The Seal of Nehahra
|The Seal of Nehahra|
A scene from The Seal of Nehahra
|Engine(s)||Modified DarkPlaces engine|
|Running time||235 minutes|
|Directed by||J. Thaddeus Skubis|
|Written by||J. Thaddeus Skubis|
|Voices||J. Thaddeus Skubis|
|Actor control||J. Thaddeus Skubis|
|Edited by||J. Thaddeus Skubis|
|Production company||Mindcrime Productions|
|Release(s)||August 6, 2000|
|Format(s)||Quake demo recording|
The Seal of Nehahra is an American film made in 2000, created by Mindcrime Productions as part of the Nehahra Project. Made using a modified version of id Software's 1996 first-person shooter computer game Quake and released over the Internet as a non-interactive game demo package, the film was the longest released Quake movie — as Quake-based machinima was known at the time. At a total length of three hours and fifty five minutes, it is the longest single-piece machinima production as of 2006[update]. The film received high reviews from the major Quake movie review sites of the time, Psyk's Popcorn Jungle and The Cineplex.
The film serves as a backstory to the Nehahra fan-made single-player game, released on August 18, 2000, which is set five years after the events of Quake. The film is also an unofficial backstory to that of Quake. In his review of The Seal of Nehahra for The Cineplex, Stephen Lum wrote, "Many people were very upset about the plot of Quake, reasonably so, because there wasn't one." Paul Coates wrote in his review of the film for Psyk's Popcorn Jungle, "Some could say that it is basically the Quake plot, but with a lot more detail, and a lot of characters to move it along". The writer, J. Thaddeus Skubis, stated in his director's notes that "[he] told the story that Id (Software) wouldn't".
The film begins in late 2109. The first half of the film is centred on the Slipgate Development Lab, an American government project to develop teleportation technology. After a successful test, the film jumps forward to early 2110. In January 2110, a malfunction during a routine transfer of supplies results in a creature from another dimension – an Ogre – being transported back to the lab. A terrified soldier fires upon the Ogre, mortally wounding him and causing him to flee back through the Slipgate. This sets in motion a chain of events that results in an invasion by beings residing in the other dimension. One soldier goes on a personal mission to avenge the death of his friends and fellow soldiers.
The project took a year and a half to develop. J. Thaddeus Skubis, also known as Mindcrime, was responsible for writing, recording and editing the film, as well as performing the voice work for all characters. Most of the rest of the team worked on maps and coding for the project. As the modified QSG Quake demo format used in the engine was not compatible with the Quake demo editing software of the time, most of the external editing was performed via a Hex editor. Internally, the camera was mostly manually controlled by Skubis. A command was implemented into the game allowing a recording in progress to be paused and unpaused as needed. This required scenes to be performed with a single take; reshoots entailed re-recording the entire scene. Minor errors exist in some scenes due to Skubis' self-admitted lack of time or patience to reshoot some of the longer scenes.
Unlike those in conventional Quake movies, none of the characters were directly controlled by players. All characters and most of the dialogue was controlled by scripting or artificial intelligence; the latter was mainly used for combat scenes. This in itself provided problems, particularly during the scenes in which the character Phil battles through the maps of Quake; due to a bug, the character would frequently use a rocket launcher in close range combat instead of a nailgun. Skubis wrote of this "The suspension of disbelief suffered greatly when he gave a Fiend repeated hits at point blank near the end of the scene and didn't, well, die from his own splash damage."
Paul Coates gave the film a rating of 10 and awarded the film the "Psyk's Popcorn Prize", reserved for the film he considers to be the "top movie on the PPJ", taking it from its previous recipient, A Warrior's Life.
- Coates' review of A Warrior's Life
- Coates, Paul (June 13, 2001). "A Warrior's Life". Psyk's Popcorn Jungle. Retrieved 2006-08-26.
- Coates, Paul (June 13, 2001). "The Seal of Nehahra". Psyk's Popcorn Jungle. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
- Law, Caryn (September 2000). "The Nehahra Project". GameSpy Spotlights. GameSpy. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
- Lum, Stephen (August 9, 2000). "Quake Movies S". The Cineplex. GameSpy. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
- Lum, Stephen (August 6, 2000). "August of 2000". The Cineplex. GameSpy. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
- Skubis, J. Thaddeus (20 October 2000). "Directors Notes: The Seal of Nehahra". Machinima.com. Machinima.com. Retrieved 2006-08-25.
- Skubis, J. Thaddeus (27 October 2000). "Directors Notes: The Seal of Nehahra Part 2". Machinima.com. Machinima.com. Retrieved 2006-08-29.