16th November 2009 - The concept of machinima or machine cinema art has been around since at least the turn of the century. Increase in graphic processing power, the rise and rise of Youtube and a glut of video content on the inter-web, has seen any one from professional directors to the kid next door try and film the next Emmy award winning 'art-house piece' using nothing more than some video capture and a pirated version of Half-life. Tools like Gary's' Mod or forge have opened up opportunities for level design while virtual worlds like the Sims are rife for the picking.
Even more recently, actual film makers from Hollywood along with a basic budget and rudimentary green screen have begun adapting many iconic game figure into live action shorts, not content with the limit of in-game models. This has seemingly raised the bar for all sorts of high end game conversions, so All Age Gaming brings you the best, in no particular order:
Halo inevitably gets a double mention in this feature, and for good reason. Where as the amount of Half-Life 2 inspired comedy is rife on the Internet thanks to the tools of Gary's Mod, Halo is perhaps more user friendly, and the general populous is starting to pay attention. In a time when even the new Star Trek film can have its own comic, it not surprising that some of the best anime artists in the world have come together to put their unique spin on the Halo Universe.
Divided into 7 short stories of varying length, they are like the Animatrix ,decidedly more 'Asiatic' in their styling, less Hollywood and wholly more artistic.
The quality of the production varies as does anime which can be poorly dubbed and rushed out at a moments notice. Already rocking the charts thanks to Halo WayPoint; this is one to check out.
Assassins Creed Lineage
Wait long enough and everything will come through XBOX Live. This 3 parts series, as a 'spiritual predecessor' to the events of Assassins Creed and 2, has gained mixed reviews in part because it was delivered through Youtube and was better than expected. Perhaps also because the lead is actor is, less than attractive.
The unique thing here is that actual voice actors from the game are posing as their real-life but in game versions dressed up like a cos-play fourth of July. The acting could be better, but if you ever wanted to meet the face behind the voice,then this is the way. A lot more CG than the Halo shorts, it has less action but perhaps more 'drama'.
Halo: Landfall- We are ODST
Forget a Live action movie from Peter Jackson, this is the next best thing. Curiously, it was Neill Blomkamp who made the shorts, that went on to make the acclaimed Section 9 with none other than Peter Jackson himself. So thats where all the money went...
Both directors are fond of the Halo Universe and it shows as the few minuets of production are some of the best around. When a live action short on your favorite video game can move you to emotion- you know you're a Halo Fanboy. Released alongside Halo 3 and with a nice mix of CG and Live, this set the benchmark for other attempts namely Assassins Creed 2.
The proverbial grand-daddy of western consumer machinima, these boys just don't know when to stop. Not only have they created over 150 episodes in the Halo universe using nothing more than a few computers and their voices; they have a whole season of 'The Sims' called “The Strangerhood” and a slew of live action comedy shorts.
When Bungie buys the rights to your created game mod 'Griff Ball' so named after one of the characters in your animation, you know you've done something right. Texas lay-abouts or animation alumni, you decide. After 5 seasons and 100 episodes of Halo they re-booted the series using the Halo 3 engine and are already well onto season 3. Available also through Xbox Live.
Burn alone. One of the most beautiful scenarios around, after Half-life 2; people jumped on Team Fortress 2 with it's cartoon characters to see what they could do. Ignis Solus was one of the first. This Indie production house has made some of the finest and yet hidden, gems in regard to machinima. Before they were recognized for this they had already dabbled in a number of Half-life 2 shorts making ample use of Watermelons and explosions alike.
Weather it's full blown machinima, using all the assets of a AAA title, a cartoon or anime adaption, Live action or simply Robot Chicken making light of the industry, there is a wealth of material and a variety of mediums to choose from. Who know's , you may even have tried it yourself!
Article Written By Ian Crane