Movie-Making Games (Was RE: Spam: RE: [MUD-Dev] Star Wars Galaxies: 1 character per server)

Damion Schubert damion at zenofdesign.com
Sat Feb 15 20:12:59 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


From: Travis Nixon

> Huh?  DAoC records movies?  Or is it somebody throwing stuff out
> to a video capture and making an avi or whatever out of it?  I
> never tried WW2O, and the two times I played Air Warrior weren't
> really enough to get into the nitty gritty details of everything.

There definitely are Dark Age movies.  However, they tend to be
quite limited in scope, since in Dark Age, you can't really
disconnect your camera from your avatar.  So most Dark Age movies
tend to be 'Life Recordings' - weddings, guild initiation rites and
memorial services for people who passed away in RL.  I do not know
what the players use to record these.

More machinima artists (as opposed to, say, game-specific fans) tend
to use the Quake engines, which allow for easier editing and camera
freedom and control.  These are frequently distributed as
game-playback files (see below),until that game goes out of style,
when the maker translates them into standard playback (i.e. MPG) so
that the piece of art isn't lost by the wayside.
 
> The implementation I'm thinking of would be server-based, though,
> and require rather obscene amounts of logging.  :) I can't really
> think of any way other than that to let people trade them around
> easily (without making them email multi-megabyte sized files), as
> well as fulfill all the other neat possible uses.

Playing back a movie is really nothing more than saving a data
stream and then replaying it back in the client in a different mode.
Thus, a one-minute movie saved to disk isn't going to be
substantially larger than the data stream it takes to distribute
that to a single client.

It's fairly easy.  The largest challenge (as well as largest
file-size hit) is reinitilizing the landscape that the movie takes
place on (i.e. people's initial clothing, set pieces, the terrain,
lighting, etc).  While this problem is worse if you allow players to
'splice' different scenes together, it's a problem you'll have to
solve for other situations in the real game anyway (example: login).

Incidentally, the game that I'm working on now (Shadowbane) has a
built-in movie recorder.  Not a lot of work was put into it, but it
works quite well.  The only down side, again, is that only people
with the SB install can ever hope to view it.

--d

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