To promote the latest installment of Illegal Danish, their popular World of Warcraft machinima series, D.W. Hackleman and his brother Clint came up with a clever conceit: They fully recreated the trailer of the hotly anticipated game Starcraft II with elements of Warcraft. Now instead of a cigar-chomping space Marine donning an armored helmet, the Hacklemans’ version ends with a spunky purple-haired gnome named Dirti G, ready to rock.
Converting Warcraft’s medieval fantasy trappings into Starcraft’s military sci-fi milieu was a painstaking task that Clint estimates took the brothers about 700 hours to complete. At the end, however, they had a machinima appealing to both Warcraft and Starcraft fans. (Both games, not coincidentally, are from Blizzard Entertainment.) That’s likely to attract more viewers to their Danish series, which according to Clint, has already been viewed over 10 million times. (He says the Starcraft II parody, which went online July 4, has already attracted 50,000 views.)
Known professionally as Myndflame, the Hackleman brothers have developed a lucrative career from their machinima; Clint tells me the projects earn them $50,000 to $100,000 annually. Adhering to Blizzard’s rules around machinima, the brothers don’t sell DVD copies or downloads of their Warcraft movies, but instead monetize them with online ads and CD sales of the movies’ soundtracks. In fact, Clint tells me, “Blizzard is going to be adding some news to their community sites to promote our latest movie next week and seems to be in good spirits (as they should, given the free advertising!)”
To create the Warcraft-to-Starcraft conversion, the brothers used WoW Modelviewer, a program that extracts characters and models from World of Warcraft’s game engine, then heavily modified and composited these elements in 3-D with Maya. “The scene with the shoulder armor being placed onto the gnome was probably the most difficult,” D.W. tells me, “because it used a complex combination of 2-D and 3-D effects with more than a hundred layers.” That’s one way to get medieval on a Marine.
Illegal Danish 3: The Ballad of Dirti G is set for a fall release. But what’s with the title, anyway? “The Danish itself is a mysterious pastry (think of it similar to The Simpsons’ ‘Forbidden Donut’) with powers that vary depending on who’s telling its tale,” Clint explains. Glad that’s cleared up.
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