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Virtual limitations: A comparison of sims 2 and half life games engines for machinima narrative

Ford, D. (2007) Virtual limitations: A comparison of sims 2 and half life games engines for machinima narrative. In: DIMEA '07 2nd international conference on Digital interactive media in entertainment and arts, 19 - 21 September, Perth, Western Australia pp. 191-198.

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This paper presents an alternative model to conventional feature filmmaking using two different games engines SIMS 2 and Half Life 2. This alternative method of narrative drama, i.e. telling stories via a hybrid machinima medium, is important in highlighting some of the potential that the new media 'auteur' approach provides individual filmmakers.1 By reflecting on the production processes that this new mode of digital narrative enables, the paper identifies some limitations of the machinima movement at a crucial time where emerging practitioners and industry are embracing this hybrid medium rhetorically as the 'salvation' to new narrative-making.2 The approach undertaken here is to demonstrate the application of representative scenes produced from a feature film thriller script, entitled Blue Skin, written specifically with this research in mind and trialed in two different games engines: SIMS 2 and Half Life 2. The methodology draws from my PhD research that explores the machinima medium as a novel mode of relating 'realist' genre narratives.3 By comparing the similarities and differences in the production process with the final 'demo' look, it is proposed that each different games engines affect genre, both subtly and substantially, and thereby intrinsically changes the dynamics of 'same' story being 'told' and 'received' Furthermore, the paper demonstrates that the capacity of machinima to evolve and challenge the cinematic paradigm of auteur filmmaking by telling stories in this hybrid and virtual domain.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Information Technology
Publisher: Murdoch University
Copyright: © Murdoch University, Western Australia, 2007
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