Thursday, September 1, 2005, 01:11 PM - Machinima
Machinima is one of those nasty little buzz words that nobody quite gets without a hefty explination. Sometimes people will sit a bit for it, sometimes they shrug and walk away. I’ve had close friends who watch us make magic and still not get it, wondering why we just don’t use 3Dmax. Sometimes I have to ask that too...
Look, first things first, we’re artist, then we’re storytellers, then we’re activist. When working on a project, any project, we’ll layout the main ideas and then brush all that paper work for later, so that we can focus on the art direction. The art is our number one focus, 90% of our project ideas all focus on breaking the visual mold. How can we take Machinima to the next level, go beyond the borders of acceptable and produce the exceptional. If you ever wonder why there’s such a long time between our releases, well, this is it. We’ve worked on so many movies that were scrapped for looking “not quite right.” Another thing to realize is after Fake Science we decided that we could no longer accept using even a pixel of someone else’s art. Too much chaos and legal gray line involved, It’s bad enough we’re using unlicensed technology to make these things. We made Fake Science without realizing the consequences of even moderate critical success, and the lessons we learned almost drove us from Machinima completely.
The first glaring lesson was that the press is capable of much evil, and we’re real glad they’ve been so damn nice to us, we should continue to not piss them off. Second lesson, ELUA’s suck, we knew going in that we wouldn’t truly have any rights to our film, but had we known then what type of opportunities Fake Science would open up, we would have used something a bit more, open source. It’s really hard on your creative spirit, when no matter how much work and dedication you put into it, that someone else can swipe it away in court with the wave of an ELUA. Fake Science will forever be our bastard child, both loved for opening the eyes of the world to us, and hated for being limited not on an artistic level, but on a legal one. For all intents and purposes any Machinima we make with an off the shelf game, can never truly be ours. We cannot accept this, and we should not accept this. So what are our choices? One, we can somehow budget a few hundred thousand dollars on licenses. Two, we can make it with their tools anyway and give them the bird while selling DVD copies to our adoring fans. Three, not use Machinima at all, and stick with traditional animation packages. And four use open source, somehow.
On the threshold of Space Man Biff we find our selves at a possible impasse, where we once again must make a hauntingly difficult choice. We played it smart this round, and everything is being made as assets that we can easily port to any game, or render straight up for possibly more pleasing results. First instinct is to utilize HL2, a bit crisper output than the trusty Unreal engine, but limited in oh so familiar ways that make me cringe. Chances are, that when we release SMB, we just won’t say what tech we used, and sell the hell out of it as only true rebels can. The EULA resistance is born!