LATEST UPDATE: Feb 28th 2009 - If you’ve been a victim of the take-downs, the Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to hear from you. I don’t have many details on this, but Obilith reports that YouTube have started taking down Machinima using commercial music: “Another bad news is Youtube that is taking down some of my machinimas for copyrighted reasons. First it was “Why Do Birds” and now it’s “Something Stupid”.
Decorgal has posted a summary of her findings from the Sims 3 Creator’s Camp, where she and a whole bunch of other people got to play around with the new Sims 3 engine, in her case looking at Machinima in it. If you’re interested in Sims moviemaking, you should definitely read through the whole thing. The executive summary, however, is that out of the box, Decorgal believes that Sims 3 will be great for music videos, but that she “can’t imagine” making talkies with it.
You’ve seen “Where The Hell is Matt”, right? If not, go watch. If so, watch the game equivalent . The Second Life, Frogger and Assassin’s Creed bits are particularly wonderful: Why feature this on MfD? Because it’s a great example of Machinima as comment on games and on popular culture. Short, funny, and actually surprisingly sophisticated in what it says about games at some points. It’s also a great example of how to craft a viral video.
OK, you know how we’ve been going on for ages about how SL doesn’t have any lipsynch, and that’s a major problem? It does, apparently. According to Phil Rice, it’s been in there for ages - since July. How? Well, it’s built into the viewer. Press CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+D, choose Character from the Advanced menu which appears, and choose “Enable Lipsynch”. And it looks pretty good! Now all we need is facial animation…
It’s been a fairly quiet year for Machinima, and as such, I’ve got a pretty short list of Machinima favourites from 2008. Oddly, only two of them are really and truly Machinima… The Dumb Man - One of the few Second Life Machinima pieces I’ve really enjoyed. This surreal short plays to the strengths of the engine, with beautiful characters, varied, detailed and abstract sets, and minimal realistic interaction or animation.
Another year, another Machinima review of the year. In many ways, 2008 has sucked. Badly. But rather than focus on the bad, I’m going to pick up a couple of interesting trends within the world of Machinima. Machinima - a silent medium? 2008 has really been the year where Machinima stopped doing dialogue. Of the top films of the year, more than ever before have been wordless or voice-over only (The Demise, The Dumb Man, Spinning Plates, and numerous music videos), and of the remainder, we’ve seen a couple of monologues (Apology and Jill’s Song, which is effectively a monologue), and only a very few films that feature actual dialogue (Clear Skies, The Monad).
“In the end, Day and her co-producer, Kim Evie … spent eight hours a day emailing bloggers about the show and marketing it through the Buffy and WoW communities.” From The Guardian’s article on The Guild. Yeah, my experience tells me that’s the kind of effort you need to put into marketing to be really successful right now. I only spent a couple of days launching Kamikaze Cookery, for example - should have spent more!
And a bunch of other guys. I’ll copy the press release below, but the short version is that Machinima.com have managed to do what they’ve been aiming at for ages - get some really high-quality Hollywood talent in to produce Machinima programs for the site. Amongst the list they’ve got former writers on Futurama, The Simpsons (indeed, they’ve got Bill Oakley, one of the later showrunners on the series) , Cheers, Saturday Night Live, and a lot of others.
What strengths and weaknesses does Machinima have right now? Well, we can learn a lot by attempting to copy other media. I ran across this parody of the Neon Genesis Evangelion intro sequence yesterday, via WoWInsider, and found it absolutely fascinating. Let me start by linking both the parody and the original: Parody: Neon Genesis WoW - Uploaded by Kamuraki to Gameriot.com Original: Lessons So - how do the two compare, and why, and what can that show us?
Whilst it’s not even really intended as a Machinima piece so much as a game trailer, the Black Mesa trailer for the upcoming Half-Life 2 -> Half Life 1 mod really shows off just how good Machinima can look these days. Just stunning. And, if you’re a fan of the original Half-Life, very, very evocative too.