I would like to start by apologizing for the lateness of this blog post. I did not realize until far into the night that there was a blog post due this week. I understood that the status quo suggests that there would be one, but the chaos of the week threw me off. When I looked on Thursday morning for the assignment and the blog post was not assigned, I figured that it was because of recent events and the effort that we need to put into our Machinima. Speaking of which…
Machinima is a very odd type of entertainment. Its entire existence is a creative misuse of video games that were made for purposes unrelated to making stories. The great thing about this is that almost any game can be utilized to make a machinima. There isn’t one go to type of game that screams “make a movie out of me”. Of course some lend themselves to the task better than others but it isn’t taboo to use a new type of game to make a machinima. This gives machinima a huge affordance as a method for storytelling. Not only does it give you graphical elements for relatively little effort, but its stock of graphical content is nearly endless.
Of course, with affordances come constraints. Machinima in particular seems to scream out its constraints to the top of the world. The main constraint that I have found with machinima is the difficulty to make a smooth and seamless visual within most games. This constraint is obviously due to the fact that machinima is creative misuse and that the games were not designed to facilitate movie making. Because of its fundamental nature to the medium, the challenge of pacing can be seen in almost any machinima. For example, in Rooster Teeth’s Red vs Blue, the lack of freedom in the subtle actions of the characters made the show jarring to watch at first glance. The characters would bob their heads to indicate speech and do exaggerated actions to indicate emotion but Rooster Teeth tried their best to make it as naturally flowing as possible. However, the end result was that the audience just had to get used to the style and accept the limitations of the show. This broke some immersion but it really was the hardest thing to get over to start enjoying the show. Eventually, Rooster Teeth started animating certain scenes to give more options to a characters actions. However, these animations were sparse and only done when they were fairly necessary. This supplement allowed them to do bigger and better things for the show and in a way shows the potential for machinima without breaking out of the medium entirely.
Another major constraint of Machinima is being confined to the theme of the game that one chooses. There is of course the option to use many games, but this is jarring and can potentially hurt more than it helps. With these two major constraints in mind, our team decided that we should find a game with a desirable theme that could facilitate movie making (various camera angles, freedom of movement, etc.). We ended settling on a game that fulfills these criteria but also limits our storytelling options. I hope that we can make pull off a decent machinima with this game. (No, I am not telling you what that game is yet….)