Machinima: 3D Game-Based Filmmaking

With the release of The Sims 2 comes a new ad campaign, featuring machinima (pronounced ma-SHEEN-i-ma), a new film genre where video game players capture footage of themselves and then edit it together with narrative. Electronic Arts hired Rooster Teeth Productions to create “The Strangerhood“, a parody of reality TV, to promote their Sims 2 game. Machinima has become so popular that The Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences is planning the 2005 Machinima Film Festival in NYC for November, and The New York Times wrote an article about Rooster Teeth Productions in their August issue titled The Xbox Auteurs.

Yesterday, the new Doom movie, based on the ground-breaking video game hit theaters everywhere. The movie truly emulates the first-person gameplay of the original. As video games draw closer and closer to film quality, and more and more game-themed films are released, will we see machinima being used in Hollywood? Recently, Autodesk, the makers of 3ds Max, the premiere 3D game development platform, announced their merger with Alias, the makers of Maya, the industry standard for 3D in major Hollywood films. What this most likely means for the 3D development community is that eventually there will be one comprehensive 3D program for both video games and feature films. The line between games and films is blurring rapidly.