the crone, the princeling and the dragon
A Cautionary Tale for Players of Three-Way Games.

Loaded 21 June 2013.

A training video with purpose

This is a tale that grew in the telling.

Three of us were presenting on an important but dry topic at the   Summit 2013  so we decided to run with a highly visual presentation style. That style eventually grew to include some "dark" animation ideas which, to my surprise, my colleagues agreed to.

In the presentation there were to be three related clips; One where the future was being foretold and two somethings else, not quite visible, were happening; One where the surprising cast of three players and the foretelling were revealed; And a last where the game reached its conclusion. Now I had to deliver!

Game Theory

Game theory  is very clear on the outcome of any three-way game that allows collusion. Inevitably, overtly or implicitly, two of the players will gang up on the third in order to cause that player to lose.

The metaphor behind the clips is that the subjects of the presentation, FOFA and Stronger Super, are power struggles between three competing parties; Consumers, Regulators and the Institutions. Without too much stretch each of the three FOFA parties can be cast as any of the clips' three players - and if you could ask any of the three parties, they'd probably cast themselves as the unfortunate victim.

The Crone, The Princeling and the Dragon

This consolidated 50 second offering strings all three clips together and adds a soundtrack. Forgive the two interclip transitions - the three clips were not built to string together so there is some lack of continutity. And there is the twist at the end that steps outside the metaphor to introduce a risk to we who are but mere observers.

Fun in the soundtrack

I set out to make a serious soundtrack, but...

... as I acquired various required sounds from "" , I could not stop myself veering to somewhere between melodrama and farce. I think it was the "comic bite"  that was the tipping point ... so "over the top". In the end I had huge fun just in making the soundtrack; and yes it's not a professional job - but I laughed a great deal getting it to where it is.

Bug Magnet City (aka Technical Snippets)

Where to begin? The set build and the animation for this was done 100% in Studio  because it was a static and fairly constrained animation.

Amongst the good is that I learned heaps about using, and more importantly creating and editing, "aniblocks" the very powerful tool that allows animation action to be packaged into workable chunks that can be copied, repeated, stored, retrieved, slowed or speeded and more. This included (in retrospect) discovering some amazing issues in getting continuity when one aniblock ends and another begins that were not solved even after hours and hours of finessing. The solution is to copy the animation key frames into a single, longer aniblock.

And the root of the ugly is that I was working with a beta version of DS4, first 4.5 then 4.6, with maybe five updates along the way, some requiring complete uninstall/reinstalls in a process that takes in multiple programs and consumes over an hour. I must have filed ten separate incident (bug!) reports along the way, mostly fatal crashes. Some I saw fixed as new builds were released (and that was over the less-than-four-week period of this project) and some remain quirky random problems to now.

But it is worth it because DS4.6 is a leap ahead of the DS4.0 I purchased.

And last, I'm using a new edit/compositing tool. It is not as good as the old one but it works with modern compressed formats where the update to the old one seemed to crash too often. "Ah Well!"


A lot of moving parts have come together satisfactorily and I'm better skilled for the next project. I hope you enjoy "The Crone, The Princeling and The Dragon."

And here is an interesting list of List of game theory games . I liked the description of Peace war game  best, especailly the groovy gif of Ghengis Khan's empire over time.