Origins of the Show
Chronicles of Humanity was originally created in 2005, with The Titan Incident a five minute video about a mining accident, told entirely through news segments.
The format worked well for a short one off film but it wouldn’t really be effective for long term storytelling. It wouldn’t be exciting to create nor would it be interesting to watch after a few episodes, no matter how good the story was.
So when the time came to continue the story, a more traditional, character based approach seemed like the best way.
Starting again from the mining accident, a few changes had to be made so the story could progress but nothing major. The end result, a ten episode script that would make up the first season with a good outline of events to follow in the second season.
The Sims and Nexus
With the script complete, production could begin. The Titan Incident was created with Jedi Academy, a game we were very familiar with but it was not appropriate to keep using it for this story.
Instead, The Sims 2 was chosen for its flexible character and set creation tools. It was easy to create a wide range of faces and all the locations needed.
The script also called for extensive space scenes, ships flying about and epic battles. That is one thing The Sims 2 simply could not do and with some research, Nexus: The Jupiter Incident was the ideal choice. The game included many different ships, looked stunning and was easy to set up the situations needed for the story.
The two games combined well, although The Sims 2 turned out to be a very difficult way of making movies. Characters would misbehave, many of the animations were far too silly for the serious nature of the story and the lips wouldn’t to match the dialogue. This incarnation of the series was released in 2009.
Alone with Moviestorm
With the completion of the first season, it was time to plan the second. However, it was obvious that The Sims 2 was not up to telling the story the way it deserved. In October 2009, Damien adapted a short horror story he had written for school many years before. It didn’t take much effort to make it fit into the Chronicles of Humanity world. Instead of The Sims 2, a new piece of software called Moviestorm was used instead.
It provided a similar but more powerful interface for construction and character manipulation to The Sims but removed all of the game play elements that got in the way of telling the story. No longer would characters misbehave and now their animations and facial expressions could be controlled directly. Not only that but the support for mod making meant it was easy to create an entire new set of props and sets. Instead of trying to make a house look like a spaceship, it was possible to build an elaborate interior for the Novaya.
The resulting film, Alone, was released for Halloween that year. It looked so spectacular, it was the obvious choice for the second season but that would mean people would still have to refer back to The Sims version of the story to see how it began.
With some experimentation, it became clear that Moviestorm could also handle the space footage as well. While not designed specifically for those kinds of scenes, there were ways to do it. The biggest implication of that is it would be possible to create an entire set of spacecraft unique to Chronicles of Humanity. Another big step forward. There was only one thing for it. Rather than create season two, it would be better to tell the story again from the beginning, using the much more superior Moviestorm.
After nearly a year of work, the remade series was released in 2011 to high praise and with no need to switch software again, the second season is already well underway.