Blue-screened pilots in flight-sim Machinima

Gamerz Theatre has a great little article on putting live-filmed pilots in Machinima aircraft. This is an excellent idea - particularly for close-ups, which they only just touch on. You could extend this to Eve Online Machinima, various racing games, and even Medieval Total War - a good way to combine the strengths of Machinima with the strengths of DV. If you’re doing this, make SURE you get a clean green-screen (easy enough to do with some green fabric and some bright halogen work lights, which cost about $15 each), and pay attention to matching your lighting.

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Open-sourcing Second Life is more complicated than you might think

A fairly mundane post on the official Second Life blog yesterday kicked off a discussion about the merits and practicalities of open-sourcing Second Life (a prospect which we’ve discussed on this blog previously). Unusually, a Linden Lab official chimed in to explain that open-sourcing Second Life is something that they’d still “dearly like” to do, but a number of practical security considerations have to be overcome first. Whilst I might take issue with the assumption that open-source = untrusted, this is still very encouraging news, especially after the shock did-he-fall-or-was-he-pushed departure of Cory Ondrejka last year.

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Fantastic surrealist Machinima - just beautiful

If you haven’t seen “The Dumb Man”, stop what you’re doing right now and go watch it. It’s a surrealist piece with a strong Victorian feel, made in Second Life, and it’s just fantastic. The mood and feel are awesome, the imagery is marvellous, the story’s rather good, and it represents a fantastic use of SL for Machinima creation. The character design, in particular, shows off the increasing strength of Second Life in creating great-looking characters (at least when they’re static), the lighting’s wonderfully done (it’s by Lainy Voom, creator of “Tale from Midnight City” last year), and generally it represents some fantastic Machinima work.

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So what Machinima films did your humble authors love this year?

We’ve seen some great Machinima in 2007. So yr hmbl crrspndnts decided to assemble a short list. If you ain’t seen these, you ought to. If you made ‘em, nice one. And if you’re looking for Machinima inspiration, these are, in our almost entirely far from humble opinions, your first stop. Johnnie Among Fables and Men I love machinima like this - I just love it. Unashamedly stylised, beautifully composed and painstakingly constructed.

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Machinima in 2007 part 2 - Legal Machinima and the Brain-Drain

And welcome to part 2 of my round-up of last year’s developments and issues in Machinima! In part 1, yesterday, I talked about community breakdown and feature films. Today, I’m discussing how the legal landscape has changed, and how the hirings of Machinima creators by games companies is altering the Machinima world. The Rise and Rise of Legal Machinima I’ve been doing Machinima for a decade now. And let me tell you, it has frequently been a pretty wild and lawless land out here.

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Machinima in 2007, part 1 - Feature Films and Community Breakdown

It’s that time. The time when we reflect, think back, and consider what we have learned. I’m referring, of course, to the 1st January hangover, when I’m sure I personally will be attempting to remember what happened last night, and considering the concept that next year, I should leave some Laphroaig still in the bottle. However, some mad fools also use this time to reflect on the year gone by. And this has been an interesting year for Machinima.

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Second Life CTO resigns - connection to the apparent reverse on Open-Source?

Boingboing has just reported that Second Life’s Chief Technical Officer, Cory Ondrejka, has just left Linden Labs citing “irreconcilable differences”. Since he was the man behind the movement to Open-Source both the viewer and the server, I can’t help but wonder if those differences had something to do with the apparent reversal in policy on open-sourcing the SL servers which we reported on recently. If so, things don’t look good for Second Life Open-Source right now.

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Awards!

A couple of Machinima awards popping up on the radar: The GuildCafe awards include a section for “Best Machinima”. The Online Machinima Film Festival awards are looking for nominations. And in other news, I notice that film festival submissions engine Withoutabox now includes a Machinima category under Animation when submitting a film! I’ll be writing more about Withoutabox soon.

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Another free machinima engine on the scene

Antics 3D has been around for quite a while now, but up until very recently has had a moderately hefty price tag. Not any more! Along with a shiny new website design, the Antics team have released version 3 of their product for free! Can I get a “woo”, and also a “hoo!”? The free version is the Version 3 Base Pack - you’ll still need to reach for the credit card if you want the Pro pack (it’ll cost you $595/£295 in fact).

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Second Life Open-Source Server may not happen

And some less-good news. According to the Second Life Open Source page, What source code won’t you be releasing? We don’t (yet) plan to release the code that runs our simulators or other server code (“the Grid”). I’m not sure whether this is seriously out of date, or if it represents a change of plan chez Linden. I hope it’s the former. As we’ve blogged before, not to mention also talked about in the book, an open-source SL server would be a fantastic development for Machinima in general, removing or limiting a lot of the existing problems with creating Second Life Machinima.

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