GCG Feature: 'Machinima: Bridging Games, Film, and Animation'

In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, Savannah College game design student Brian Shurtleff, explores the world of machinima
In the latest feature for Gamasutra sister educational site Game Career Guide, Savannah College game design student Brian Shurtleff, explores the world of machinima, including its history from 1988 to present, comparisons to traditional animated media, and its various methods of creation. In this excerpt, Shurtleff traces the history of machinima back nearly twenty years, with its roots in 'replay demos' use in computer games, and follows its route forward to 2000, when the word machinima itself was born: "The history of machinima begins with the invention of the replay demo. This was first pioneered by Dani Berry with Modem Wars in 1988. In such a system, demos are recorded not as video, but as a set of instructions for the game to replay exactly every movement that had been made during gameplay for any user that downloaded, installed, and played the file in their copy of the game. Machinima grew in particular out of the large demo-scene around the later game Quake, where many created ‘how-to' demos for players to learn new techniques or to show off particularly exciting matches between expert players - however none of these demos were any more narrative than sports footage. That soon changed, however, when a clan (a group of players that play together as a team) called the Rangers realized the potential for using Quake's demo tools as an audio-visual medium and created the first true machinima, entitled Diary of a Camper. Its popularity inspired others to make movies using Quake, and thus the earliest machinima were known as "Quake movies". Programmers soon developed tools to allow more advanced filmmaking to be done - for example, a program called Keygrip let the filmmaker add in extra cameras so the view did not have to remain in the first person perspective. Machinima took its name in January, 2000, when Hugh Hancock and Anthony Bailey decided a new term was needed to encompass not only movies made in Quake but in any game engine. They combined the word "machine" and "cinema" to make "machinema". However, Hancock's accidental misspelling of it as "machinima" stuck." You can now read the full Game Career Guide feature on the subject, with more from Shurtleff on how to create machinima, and its potential uses both inside and out of the industry (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).

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