Hugh and I spent some time yesterday using Blizzard’s World of Warcraft to create a short film. I’ve not really experimented with WoW’s machinima capabilities up until now, so I was pleasantly surprised at the ease with which we managed to achieve what we were looking for. We started storyboarding our basic idea at about noon. By five we were running off the first test render from our editing package. When you take into account the fact that a good hour of that time was dedicated to me tweaking a single tricky frame in Photoshop, that’s really impressive speed. We’ve still got to finalise the editing, and there’s virtually no sound laid on yet, but it’s still quick. We used a combination of live shooting (thank you to all the people we shoved out of the way on the European Steamwheedle server), and map viewer/model viewer compositing. The compositing method works far better than I had anticipated. There’s a little bit of trial and error involved getting the relative camera angles to correspond, and in the end it comes down to guesswork, but (as with a lot of machinima) it’s relatively painless to reshoot.
Hopefully, we’ll be able to put the finished film online sometime soon - it’s a promo for a well-known and ethically sound international charity, but it all takes place in Azeroth. Watch this space.