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A scene from Rooster Teeth Productions' popular machinima series Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, recorded using digital puppetry in Bungie's Halo series of video games and then edited in post-production with Adobe Premiere Pro

Machinima (pronounced /məˈʃiːnɨmə/ or /məˈʃɪnɨmə/) is the use of real-time three-dimensional (3-D) graphics rendering engines to generate computer animation. The term also refers to works that incorporate this animation technique. Machinima-based artists, sometimes called machinimists or machinimators, often use graphics engines from video games, a practice that arose from the animated software introductions of the 1980s demoscene, Disney Interactive Studios' 1992 computer game Stunt Island, and 1990s recordings of gameplay in first-person shooter (FPS) video games, such as id Software's Doom and Quake. Originally, these recordings documented speedruns—attempts to complete a level as quickly as possible—and multiplayer matches. The addition of storylines to these films created "Quake movies". The more general term machinima, a misspelled portmanteau of machine cinema, arose when the concept spread beyond the Quake series to other games and software. After this generalization, machinima appeared in mainstream media, including television series and advertisements.

Machinima has advantages and disadvantages when compared to other styles of filmmaking. Its relative simplicity over traditional frame-based animation limits control and range of expression. Its real-time nature favors speed, cost saving, and flexibility over the higher quality of pre-rendered computer animation. Virtual acting is less expensive, dangerous, and physically restricted than live action, but also less expressive. Machinima can be filmed by relying on in-game artificial intelligence (AI) or by controlling characters and cameras through digital puppetry. Scenes can be precisely scripted, and can be manipulated during post-production using video editing techniques. Editing, custom software, and creative cinematography may address technical limitations. Game companies have provided software for and have encouraged machinima, but the widespread use of digital assets from copyrighted games has resulted in complex, unresolved legal issues.

Machinima productions can remain close to their gaming roots and feature stunts or other portrayals of gameplay. Popular genres include dance videos, comedy, and drama. Alternatively, some filmmakers attempt to stretch the boundaries of the rendering engines or to mask the original 3-D context. The Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences (AMAS), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting machinima, recognizes exemplary productions through Mackie awards given at its annual Machinima Film Festival. Some general film festivals accept machinima, and game companies, such as Epic Games and Blizzard Entertainment, have sponsored contests involving it.


[edit] History

[edit] Precedent

1980s software crackers often credited themselves for thwarting a program's security by attaching a custom introductory sequence (intro) to the affected program.[1] Increasing computing power allowed for more complex intros, and the demoscene formed when focus shifted to the intros instead of the cracks.[2] The goal became to create the best 3-D demos in real-time with the least amount of software code.[3] Disk storage was too slow for this; graphics had to be calculated on the fly and without a pre-existing game engine.[3]

In Disney Interactive Studios' 1992 computer game Stunt Island, users could stage, record, and play back stunts; as Nitsche stated, the game's goal was "not ... a high score but a spectacle."[4] Released the following year, id Software's Doom included the ability to record gameplay as sequences of events that the game engine could later replay in real-time.[5] Because events and not video frames were saved, the resulting game demo files were small and easily shared among players.[5] A culture of recording gameplay developed, as Henry Lowood of Stanford University called it, "a context for spectatorship.... The result was nothing less than a metamorphosis of the player into a performer."[6] Another important feature of Doom was that it allowed players to create their own modifications, maps, and software for the game, thus expanding the concept of game authorship.[7]

Doom's 1996 successor, Quake, offered new opportunities for both gameplay and customization,[8] while retaining the ability to record demos.[9] Multiplayer games became popular, almost a sport; demos of matches between teams of players (clans) were recorded and studied.[10] Paul Marino, executive director of the AMAS, stated that deathmatches, a type of multiplayer game, became more "cinematic".[9] At this point, however, they still documented gameplay without a narrative.[11]

[edit] Quake movies

A scene from Diary of a Camper, the first machinima production

On October 26, 1996, a well-known gaming clan, the Rangers, surprised the Quake community with Diary of a Camper, the first widely known machinima film.[12] This short, 100-second demo file contained the action and gore of many others, but in the context of a brief story,[12] rather than the usual deathmatch.[10] An example of transformative or emergent gameplay, this shift from competition to theater required both expertise in and subversion of the game's mechanics.[13] The Ranger demo emphasized this transformation by retaining specific gameplay references in its story.[14]

Diary of a Camper inspired many other Quake movies, as these films were then called.[10] A community of game modifiers (modders), artists, expert players, and film fans began to form around them.[4] The works were distributed and reviewed on websites such as The Cineplex, Psyk's Popcorn Jungle, and the Quake Movie Library (QML).[15] Production was supported by dedicated demo-processing software, such as Uwe Girlich's Little Movie Processing Center (LMPC) and David "crt" Wright's non-linear editor Keygrip;[16] the latter became "known as Adobe Premiere for Quake demo files".[15] Among the notable films were Clan Phantasm's Devil's Covenant,[15] the first feature-length Quake movie; Avatar and Wendigo's Blahbalicious, which the QML awarded seven Quake Movie Oscars;[17] and Clan Undead's Operation Bayshield, which introduced simulated lip synchronization[18] and featured customized digital assets.[19]

Released in December 1997, id Software's Quake II improved support for user-created 3-D models. However, without compatible editing software, filmmakers continued to create works based on the original Quake; these included the ILL Clan's Apartment Huntin' and the Quake done Quick group's Scourge Done Slick.[20] Quake II demo editors became available in 1998; in particular, Keygrip 2.0 introduced "recamming", the ability to adjust camera locations after recording.[20] Paul Marino called the addition of this feature "a defining moment for [m]achinima".[20] With Quake II filming now feasible, Strange Company's 1999 production Eschaton: Nightfall was the first work to feature entirely custom-made character models.[21]

The December 1999 release of id's Quake III Arena posed a problem to the Quake movie community.[22] The game's demo file included information needed for computer networking; however, to prevent cheating, id warned of legal action for dissemination of the file format.[22] Thus, it was impractical to enhance software to work with Quake III.[22] Concurrently, the novelty of Quake movies was waning.[23] New productions appeared less frequently, and, according to Marino, the community needed to "reinvent itself" to offset this development.[23]

[edit] Generalization

In January 2000, Hugh Hancock, the founder of Strange Company, launched a new website,[24] The new name surprised the community; a misspelled contraction of machine cinema (machinema), the term machinima was intended to dissociate in-game filming from a specific engine.[24] The misspelling stuck because it also referenced anime.[24] The new site featured tutorials, interviews, articles, and the exclusive release of Tritin Films' Quad God.[24] The first film made with Quake III Arena, Quad God was also the first to be distributed as recorded video frames, not game-specific instructions.[24] This change was initially controversial among machinima producers who preferred the smaller size of demo files.[25] However, demo files required a copy of the game to view.[4] The more accessible traditional video format broadened Quad God's viewership, and the work was distributed on CDs bundled with magazines.[25] Thus, id's decision to protect Quake III's code inadvertently caused machinima creators to use more general solutions and thus widen their audience.[26] Within a few years, machinima films were almost exclusively distributed in common video file formats.[26]

Machinima began to receive mainstream notice.[27] Roger Ebert discussed it in a June 2000 article and praised Strange Company's machinima setting of Percy Bysshe Shelley's sonnet "Ozymandias".[28] At Showtime Network's 2001 Alternative Media Festival, the ILL Clan's 2000 machinima film Hardly Workin' won the Best Experimental and Best in SHO awards. Steven Spielberg used Unreal Tournament to test special effects while working on his 2001 film Artificial Intelligence: A.I..[29] Eventually, interest spread to game developers. In July 2001, Epic Games announced that its upcoming game Unreal Tournament 2003 would include Matinee, a machinima production software utility.[30] As involvement increased, filmmakers released fewer new productions to focus on quality.[30]

At the March 2002 Game Developers Conference, five machinima makers—Anthony Bailey, Hugh Hancock, Katherine Anna Kang, Paul Marino, and Matthew Ross—founded the AMAS,[31] a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting machinima.[32] At QuakeCon in August, the new organization held the first Machinima Film Festival, which received mainstream media coverage. Anachronox: The Movie, by Jake Hughes and Tom Hall, won three awards, including Best Picture.[31] The next year, "In the Waiting Line", directed by Tommy Pallotta, became the first machinima music video to air on MTV.[33] As graphics technology improved, machinima filmmakers used other video games and consumer-grade video editing software.[34] Using Bungie's 2001 game Halo: Combat Evolved, Rooster Teeth Productions created a popular comedy series Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles. The series' second season premiered at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 2004.[35]

[edit] Mainstream appearances

A scene from a machinima portion of "Make Love, Not Warcraft"

Machinima has appeared on television. For example, Time Commanders, a BBC show in which players re-enacted historic battles, used Creative Assembly's real-time game Rome: Total War.[36] MTV2's Video Mods re-creates music videos using characters from video games such as The Sims 2, BloodRayne, and Tribes.[37] Blizzard Entertainment helped to set part of "Make Love, Not Warcraft", an Emmy-Award-winning 2006 episode of the comedy series South Park, in its massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) World of Warcraft.[38] By purchasing broadcast rights to Douglas Gayeton's machinima documentary Molotov Alva and His Search for the Creator in September 2007, HBO became the first television network to buy a work created completely in a virtual world.[39] In December 2008, signed fifteen experienced television comedy writers—including Patric Verrone, Bill Oakley, and Mike Rowe—to produce episodes for the site.[40]

Commercial use of machinima has increased.[41] Rooster Teeth sells DVDs of their Red vs. Blue series and, under sponsorship from Electronic Arts, helped to promote The Sims 2 by using the game to make a machinima series, The Strangerhood.[41] Volvo Cars sponsored the creation of a 2004 advertisement, Game: On, the first film to combine machinima and live action.[42] Later, Electronic Arts commissioned Rooster Teeth to promote their Madden NFL 07 video game in the first machinima broadcast commercials.[43]

Game developers have continued to increase support for machinima.[44] Products such as Lionhead Studios' 2005 business simulation game The Movies, Linden Research's virtual world Second Life, and Bungie's 2007 first-person shooter Halo 3 encourage the creation of user content by including machinima software tools.[44] Using The Movies, Alex Chan, a French resident with no previous filmmaking experience,[45] took four days to create The French Democracy, a short political film about the 2005 civil unrest in France.[46]

[edit] Production

[edit] Comparison to film techniques

The AMAS defines machinima as "animated filmmaking within a real-time virtual 3-D environment".[47] In other 3-D animation methods, creators can control every frame and nuance of their characters but, in turn, must consider issues such as key frames and in-betweening. Machinima creators leave many rendering details to their host environments, but may thus inherit those environments' limitations.[48] Because game animations focus on dramatic rather than casual actions, the range of character emotions is often limited. However, Kelland, Morris, and Lloyd state that a small range of emotions is often sufficient, as in successful Japanese anime television series.[49]

Another difference is that machinima is created in real time, but other animation is pre-rendered.[50] Real-time engines need to trade quality for speed and use simpler algorithms and models.[50] In the 2001 animated film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, every strand of hair on a character's head was independent; real-time needs would likely force them to be treated as a single unit.[50] Kelland, Morris, and Lloyd argue that improvement in consumer-grade graphics technology will allow more realism;[51] similarly, Paul Marino connects machinima to the increasing computing power predicted by Moore's Law.[23] For cut scenes in video games, issues other than visual fidelity arise. Pre-rendered scenes can require more digital storage space, weaken suspension of disbelief through contrast with real-time animation of normal gameplay, and limit interaction.[51]

Like live action, machinima is recorded in real-time, and real people can act and control the camera.[52] Unlike live action, machinima involves less expensive, digital special effects and sets, possibly with a science-fiction or historical theme.[52] Explosions and stunts can be tried and repeated without monetary cost and risk of injury, and the host environment may allow unrealistic physical constraints.[52] University of Cambridge experiments in 2002 and 2003 attempted to use machinima to re-create a scene from the 1942 live-action film Casablanca.[53] Machinima filming differed from traditional cinematography in that character expression was limited, but camera movements were more flexible and improvised. Nitsche compared this experiment to an unpredictable Dogme 95 production.[53]

The ILL Clan performs its machinima comedy talk show Tra5hTa1k with ILL Will in front of a live audience at Stanford University in 2005.

Berkeley sees machinima as "a strangely hybrid form, looking forwards and backwards, cutting edge and conservative at the same time".[54] Machinima is a digital medium based on 3-D computer games, but most works have a linear narrative structure. Some, such as Red vs. Blue and The Strangerhood, follow narrative conventions of television situational comedy.[54] Nitsche agrees that pre-recorded ("reel") machinima tends to be linear and offers limited interactive storytelling; he sees more opportunities in machinima performed live and with audience interaction.[55] In creating their improvisational comedy series On the Campaign Trail with Larry & Lenny Lumberjack and talk show Tra5hTa1k with ILL Will, the ILL Clan blended real and virtual performance by creating the works on-stage and interacting with a live audience.[4] In another combination of real and virtual worlds, Chris Burke's talk show This Spartan Life takes place in Halo 2's open multiplayer environment.[4] There, others playing in earnest may attack the host or his interviewee.[4] Although other virtual theatrical performances have taken place in chat rooms and multi-user dungeons, machinima adds "cinematic camera work".[56] Previously, such virtual cinematic performances with live audience interaction were confined to research labs equipped with powerful computers.[57]

Machinima can be less expensive than other forms of filmmaking. Strange Company produced its feature-length machinima film BloodSpell for less than £10,000.[58] Before using machinima, Burnie Burns and Matt Hullum of Rooster Teeth Productions spent US$9,000 to produce a live-action independent film; in contrast, the four Xbox game consoles used to make Red vs. Blue in 2005 cost $600.[59] The low cost caused a product manager for Electronic Arts to compare machinima to the low-budget independent film The Blair Witch Project, without the need for cameras and actors.[59] Because these are seen as low barriers to entry, machinima has been called a "democratization of filmmaking".[60] Berkeley weighs increased participation and a blurred line between producer and consumer against concerns that game copyrights limit commercialization and growth of machinima.[61]

[edit] Character and camera control

Kelland, Morris, and Lloyd list four main methods of creating machinima.[62] From simple to advanced, these are: relying on the game's AI to control most actions, digital puppetry, recamming, and precise scripting of actions.[62] Although simple to produce, AI-dependent results are unpredictable, thus complicating the realization of a preconceived film script.[63] For example, when Rooster Teeth produced The Strangerhood using The Sims 2, a game that encourages the use of its AI, the group had to create multiple instances of each character to accommodate different moods.[63] Individual instances were selected at different times to produce appropriate actions.[63]

In digital puppetry, machinima creators become virtual actors; each puppeteer controls a character in real-time, as in a multiplayer game.[64] The director can use built-in camera controls, if available.[64] Otherwise, video is captured from the perspectives of one or more puppeteers who serve as camera operators.[64] Puppetry allows for improvisation and offers controls familiar to gamers, but requires more personnel than the other methods and is less precise than scripted recordings.[65] According to Marino, other disadvantages are the possibility of disruption when filming in an open multi-user environment, and the temptation for puppeteers to play the game in earnest, littering the set with blood and dead bodies.[66] However, Chris Burke intentionally hosts This Spartan Life in these unpredictable conditions, which are fundamental to the show.[4] Other works filmed using puppetry are the ILL Clan's improvisational comedy series On the Campaign Trail with Larry & Lenny Lumberjack and Rooster Teeth Productions' Red vs. Blue.[67] In recamming, which builds on puppetry, actions are first recorded to a game engine's demo file format, not directly as video frames.[68] Without re-enacting scenes, artists can then manipulate the demo files to add cameras, tweak timing and lighting, and change the surroundings.[69] This technique is limited to the few engines and software tools that support it.[70]

Matinee, a machinima software tool included with Unreal Tournament 2004, popularized scripting in machinima.[71] A technique common in cut scenes of video games, scripting consists of giving precise directions to the game engine. Although a filmmaker can work alone this way, perfecting scripts can be time-consuming because changes need to be verified in additional runs.[71] In this respect, Kelland, Morris, and Lloyd compare scripting to stop-motion animation.[71] Another disadvantage is that, depending on the game, scripting capabilities may be limited or unavailable.[72]

[edit] Limitations and solutions

When Diary of a Camper was created, no software tools existed to edit demo files into films.[11] Rangers clan member Eric "ArchV" Fowler wrote his own programs to reposition the camera and to splice footage from the Quake demo file.[73] Quake movie editing software later appeared, but the use of conventional non-linear video editing software is now common.[74] For example, Phil Rice inserted single, completely white frames into his work No Licence to enhance the visual impact of explosions.[74] In the post-production of Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles, Rooster Teeth Productions added letterboxing with Adobe Premiere Pro to hide the camera player's head-up display.[75]

Machinima creators have used different methods to handle limited character expression. In the Halo video game series, helmets completely cover the characters' faces. To prevent confusion, Rooster Teeth's characters move slightly when speaking, a convention shared with anime.[76] Some machinima creators use custom software.[77] For example, Strange Company uses Take Over GL Face Skins to add more facial expressions to their characters filmed in BioWare's 2002 computer role-playing game Neverwinter Nights.[77] Similarly, Atussa Simon used a "library of faces" for characters in The Battle of Xerxes.[78] In some cases, some game companies may provide such software; examples include Epic Games' Impersonator for Unreal Tournament 2004 and Valve Corporation's FacePoser for Half-Life 2.[77] Another solution is to blend in non-machinima elements, as nGame did by inserting painted characters with more expressive faces into its 1999 film Berlin Assassins.[79] It may be possible to point the camera elsewhere or employ other creative cinematography or acting.[79] For example, Tristan Pope combined creative character and camera positioning with video editing to suggest sexual actions in his controversial film Not Just Another Love Story.[80]

[edit] Legal issues

New machinima filmmakers often want to use game-provided digital assets,[81] but doing so raises legal issues. As derivative works, their films could violate copyright or be controlled by the assets' copyright holder,[82][83] an arrangement that can be complicated by separate publishing and licensing rights.[82] The software license agreement for The Movies stipulates that Activision, the game's publisher, owns "any and all content within... Game Movies that was either supplied with the Program or otherwise made available... by Activision or its licensors..."[84] Some game companies provide software to modify their own games, and machinima makers often cite fair use as a defense, but the issue has never been tested in court.[85] Berkeley adds that, even if machinima artists use their own assets, their works could be ruled derivative if filmed in a proprietary engine.[86] The risk inherent in a fair-use defense would cause most machinima artists simply to yield to a cease-and-desist order.[87] The AMAS has attempted to negotiate solutions with video game companies, arguing that an open-source or reasonably priced alternative would emerge from an unfavorable situation.[85] Unlike The Movies, some dedicated machinima software programs, such as Short Fuze's Moviestorm and Reallusion's iClone, have licenses that avoid claiming ownership of users' films featuring bundled assets.[83]

Second Life shadows.ogv
Linden Lab allows users to retain ownership of their Second Life creations, such as this video.

Generally, companies want to retain creative control over their intellectual properties and are wary of fan-created works, like fan fiction.[86] However, because machinima provides free marketing, they have avoided a response demanding strict copyright enforcement.[88] In a 2003 press release, Linden Lab changed the license for its virtual world Second Life to recognize "the ownership of in-world content by the subscribers who make it".[89] Rooster Teeth initially tried to release Red vs. Blue unnoticed by Halo's owners because they feared that any communication would force them to end the project.[90] However, Microsoft, Bungie's parent company at the time, contacted the group shortly after episode 2,[90] and allowed them to continue without paying licensing fees.[91]

A case in which developer control was asserted involved Blizzard Entertainment's action against Tristan Pope's Not Just Another Love Story.[92] Blizzard's community managers encouraged users to post game movies and screenshots, but viewers complained that Pope's suggestion of sexual actions through creative camera and character positioning was pornographic.[93] Citing the user license agreement, Blizzard closed discussion threads about the film and prohibited links to it.[92] Although Pope accepted Blizzard's right to some control, he remained concerned about censorship of material that already existed in-game in some form.[94] Discussion ensued about boundaries between MMORPG player and developer control.[94] Lowood asserted that this controversy demonstrated that machinima could be a medium of negotiation for players.[95]

[edit] Microsoft and Blizzard

In August 2007, Microsoft issued its Game Content Usage Rules, a license intended to address the legal status of machinima based on its games, including the Halo series.[96] Originally, the rules created confusion; one machinima group, Edgeworks Entertainment, incorrectly interpreted them as a reduction of machinima creators' rights.[97] Based on feedback from Hugh Hancock and an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Microsoft revised and reissued the license.[97] The rules allow noncommercial use and distribution of works derived from Microsoft-owned game content, except audio effects and soundtracks.[98] The license prohibits reverse engineering and material that is pornographic or otherwise "objectionable".[98] On distribution, derivative works that elaborate on a game's fictional universe or story are automatically licensed to Microsoft and its business partners.[99] This prevents legal problems if a fan and Microsoft independently conceive similar plots.[99]

A few weeks later, Blizzard Entertainment posted on their "Letter to the Machinimators of the World", a license for noncommercial use of game content.[100] It differs from Microsoft's declaration in that it addresses machinima specifically instead of general game-derived content, allows use of game audio if Blizzard can legally license it, requires derivative material to meet the Entertainment Software Rating Board's Teen content rating guideline, defines noncommercial use differently, and does not address extensions of fictional universes.[101]

Hayes states that, although licensees' benefits are limited, the licenses reduce reliance on fair use regarding machinima.[102] In turn, this recognition may reduce film festivals' concerns about copyright clearance; in an earlier analogous situation, festivals were concerned about documentary films until best practices for them were developed.[103] According to Hayes, Microsoft and Blizzard helped themselves through their licenses because fan creations provide free publicity and are unlikely to harm sales.[104] If the companies had instead sued for copyright infringement, defendants could have claimed estoppel or implied license because machinima had been unaddressed for a long time.[105] Thus, these licenses secured their issuers' legal rights.[105] Even though other companies, such as Electronic Arts, have encouraged machinima, they have avoided licensing it.[106] Because of the involved legal complexity, they may prefer to under-enforce copyrights.[106] Hayes believes that this legal uncertainty is a suboptimal solution and that, though limited and "idiosyncratic", the Microsoft and Brizzard licenses move towards an ideal video gaming industry standard for handling derivative works.[107]

[edit] Common genres

Nitsche describes two methods of approaching machinima: starting from a video game and seeking a medium for expression or for documenting gameplay ("inside-out"), and starting outside a game and using it merely as animation tool ("outside-in").[4] Kelland, Morris, and Lloyd similarly distinguish between works that retain noticeable connections to games, and those closer to traditional animation.[108] Belonging to the former category, gameplay and stunt machinima began in 1997 with Quake done Quick.[108] Although not the first speedrunners, its creators used external software to manipulate camera positions after recording, which, according to Lowood, elevated speedrunning "from cyberathleticism to making movies".[109] Stunt machinima remains popular. Kelland, Morris, and Lloyd state that Halo: Combat Evolved stunt videos offer a new way to look at the game, and compare Battlefield 1942 machinima creators to the Harlem Globetrotters.[110] Built-in features for video editing and post-recording camera positioning in Halo 3 are expected to facilitate gameplay-based machinima.[111] MMORPGs and other virtual worlds have been captured in documentary films, such as Miss Galaxies 2004, a beauty pageant that took place in the virtual world of Star Wars Galaxies.[112] Footage was distributed in the cover disc of the August 2004 issue of PC Gamer.[112] Douglas Gayeton's Molotov Alva and His Search for the Creator documents the title character's interactions in Second Life.[39]

Gaming-related comedy offers another possible entry point for new machinima producers.[108] Presented as five-minute sketches, many machinima comedies are analogous to Internet Flash animations.[108] After Clan Undead's 1997 work Operation Bayshield built on the earliest Quake movies by introducing narrative conventions of linear media[113] and sketch comedy reminiscent of the television show Saturday Night Live,[114] the New-York-based ILL Clan further developed the genre in machinima through works including Apartment Huntin' and Hardly Workin'.[115] Red vs. Blue: The Blood Gulch Chronicles chronicles a futile civil war over five seasons and 100 episodes.[116] Marino wrote that although the series' humor was rooted in video games, strong writing and characters caused the series to "transcend the typical gamer".[34] An example of a comedy film that targets a more general audience is Strange Company's Tum Raider, produced for the BBC in 2004.[117]

Machinima has been used in music videos. The first documented example is Ken Thain's 2002 "Rebel vs. Thug", made in collaboration with Chuck D. The following year, Tommy Pallotta directed "In the Waiting Line" for the British group Zero 7. In television, MTV features video game characters on its show Video Mods.[118] Among World of Warcraft players, dance and music videos became popular after dancing animations were discovered in the game.[119]

Others use machinima in drama; these works may or may not retain signs of their video game provenance.[120] Unreal Tournament is often used for science fiction and Battlefield 1942 for war, but some artists subvert their chosen game's setting or completely detach their work from it.[121] In 1999, Strange Company used Quake II in Eschaton: Nightfall, a horror film based on the work of H. P. Lovecraft.[122] A later example is Damien Valentine's series Consanguinity, made using BioWare's 2002 computer game Neverwinter Nights and based on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.[122] Another genre consists of experimental works that attempt to push the boundaries of game engines.[123] One example, Fountainhead's Anna, is a short film that focuses on the cycle of life and is reminiscent of Fantasia.[123] Other productions go farther and completely eschew a 3-D appearance.[123] Friedrich Kirschner's The Tournament and The Journey deliberately appear hand-drawn, and Dead on Que's Fake Science resembles two-dimensional Eastern European modernist animation from the 1970s.[123]

[edit] Competitions

Matt Kelland of Short Fuze (left) and Keith Halper of Kuma Reality Games at the 2008 Machinima Film Festival with the Mackie award for Best Technical Achievement

After the QML's Quake Movie Oscars, dedicated machinima awards did not reappear until the AMAS created the Mackies for its first Machinima Film Festival in 2002.[124] The annual festival has become an important one for machinima creators.[125] Ho Chee Yue, a founder of the marketing company AKQA, helped to organize the first festival for the Asia chapter of the AMAS in 2006.[126] In 2007, the AMAS supported the first machinima festival held in Europe.[127] In addition to these smaller ceremonies, Hugh Hancock of Strange Company worked to add an award for machinima to the more general Bitfilm Festival in 2003.[128] Other general festivals that allow machinima include the Sundance Film Festival and the Florida Film Festival.[125] The Ottawa International Animation Festival opened a machinima category in 2004, but, citing the need for "a certain level of excellence", declined to award anything to the category's four entries that year.[129]

Machinima has been showcased in contests sponsored by game companies. Epic Games' popular Make Something Unreal contest included machinima that impressed event organizer Jeff Morris because of "the quality of entries that really push the technology, that accomplish things that Epic never envisioned".[130] In December 2005, Blizzard Entertainment and Xfire, a gaming-focused instant messaging service, jointly sponsored a World of Warcraft machinima contest.[131]

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Marino 2004a, 5; Green 1995, 1
  2. ^ Marino 2004a, 5
  3. ^ a b Marino 2004a, 5; Nitsche 2007
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Nitsche 2007
  5. ^ a b Marino 2004a, 3
  6. ^ Lowood 2006, 30
  7. ^ Lowood 2005, 11
  8. ^ Lowood 2005, 12
  9. ^ a b Marino 2004a, 4
  10. ^ a b c Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 28
  11. ^ a b Lowood 2006, 33
  12. ^ a b Lowood 2006, 32
  13. ^ Lowood 2005, 13, 16
  14. ^ Lowood 2005, 13
  15. ^ a b c Marino 2004a, 7
  16. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 28; Marino 2004a, 6–7
  17. ^ staff 2001; Heaslip 1998
  18. ^ Moss 2001
  19. ^ Lowood 2008, 179
  20. ^ a b c Marino 2004a, 8
  21. ^ Marino 2004a, 9
  22. ^ a b c Marino 2004a, 10–11
  23. ^ a b c Marino 2004a, 11
  24. ^ a b c d e Marino 2004a, 12
  25. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 30
  26. ^ a b Lowood 2008, 184
  27. ^ Marino 2004a, 13
  28. ^ Ebert 2000; Marino 2004a, 13
  29. ^ Marino 2004a, 14–15
  30. ^ a b Marino 2004a, 16
  31. ^ a b Marino 2004a, 17
  32. ^ Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences 2007
  33. ^ Marino 2004a, 18
  34. ^ a b Marino 2004a, 19
  35. ^ Marino 2004a, 23
  36. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 60, 63
  37. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 66
  38. ^ staff 2006
  39. ^ a b Andrews 2007, 1
  40. ^ Wallenstein 2008
  41. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 58–59
  42. ^ Marino 2004b
  43. ^ Forbes 2006
  44. ^ a b McGraw–Hill 2007, 2.
  45. ^ Lowood 2008, 166
  46. ^ Musgrove 2005
  47. ^ Marino 2004a, 1
  48. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 19–20
  49. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 78–79
  50. ^ a b c Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 24
  51. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 27
  52. ^ a b c Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 22
  53. ^ a b Nitsche 2009, 114–115
  54. ^ a b Berkeley 2006, 67
  55. ^ Nitsche 2005, 223–224
  56. ^ Nitsche 2005, 214
  57. ^ Nitsche 2005, 224-225
  58. ^ Price 2007
  59. ^ a b Thompson 2005, 2
  60. ^ Thompson 2005, 2; McGraw–Hill 2005
  61. ^ Berkeley 2006, 68–70
  62. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 80
  63. ^ a b c Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 82
  64. ^ a b c Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 87
  65. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 87; Marino 2004a, 349
  66. ^ Marino 2004a, 351
  67. ^ Nitsche 2009, 114
  68. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 90
  69. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 90–91
  70. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 91
  71. ^ a b c Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 94
  72. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 129
  73. ^ Lowood 2006, 33; Wu n.d.
  74. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 114
  75. ^ Moltenbrey 2005
  76. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 131
  77. ^ a b c Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 78
  78. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 79
  79. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 130
  80. ^ Lowood 2008, 188
  81. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 96
  82. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 98
  83. ^ a b Varney 2007, 2
  84. ^ Quoted in Varney 2007, 2
  85. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 98–99
  86. ^ a b Berkeley 2006, 69
  87. ^ Hayes 2008, 569
  88. ^ Hayes 2008, 569, 582
  89. ^ Linden Lab 2003
  90. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 99; Konow 2005, 2
  91. ^ Thompson 2005, 3
  92. ^ a b Lowood 2008, 190
  93. ^ Lowood 2008, 188, 190
  94. ^ a b Lowood 2008, 190–191
  95. ^ Lowood 2008, 191
  96. ^ Hayes 2008, 569, 571
  97. ^ a b Hayes 2008, 570
  98. ^ a b Hayes 2008, 571
  99. ^ a b Hayes 2008, 571–572
  100. ^ Hayes 2008, 572
  101. ^ Hayes 2008, 573–576
  102. ^ Hayes 2008, 576
  103. ^ Hayes 2008, 576–577
  104. ^ Hayes 2008, 577–579
  105. ^ a b Hayes 2008, 580
  106. ^ a b Hayes 2008, 583
  107. ^ Hayes 2008, 585, 587
  108. ^ a b c d Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 40
  109. ^ Lowood 2006, 34
  110. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 40, 43
  111. ^ Tuttle 2007
  112. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 43
  113. ^ Lowood 2006, 37
  114. ^ Wilonsky 2002, 1
  115. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 46
  116. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 46; Sorola 2007
  117. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 46–47
  118. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 66–67
  119. ^ Lowood 2008, 187–188
  120. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 50–52
  121. ^ Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 50–51
  122. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 52
  123. ^ a b c d Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 54
  124. ^ Marino 2002
  125. ^ a b Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 69
  126. ^ Association of Machinima Arts & Sciences n.d.
  127. ^ Harwood 2007
  128. ^ Bitfilm Festival 2008, 3
  129. ^ Osborne 2004
  130. ^ Quoted in Kelland, Morris & Lloyd 2005, 69
  131. ^ Maragos 2005

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