After struggling for weeks with various technical hold-ups related to producing my machinima project, I’ve decided to to put the actual movie itself on the back-burner so to speak and instead produce a report documenting the challenges I encountered on its journey from inception to execution.
Machinima is a marvelous form of ‘produsage’, as coined by Bruns in Distributed Creativity: Filesharing and Produsage; it perfectly fits into his definition of a ‘never finished process of content development and redevelopment’ utilizing available material within a game or engine to remix the meaning and produce an entirely new one as a consumer. That said, the game or engine needs to have some basic features available for machinima producers to meaningfully invest their time with that particular software to make their creations. This post will be a bit of a brain dump for me as a preliminary evaluation of my future dossier content and help get my thoughts out on the table before compiling a draft dossier assisted with insight from scholarly readings by Chris Moore, Berkeley, Bolter & Grusin.
Week 8’s video update was almost another samey blog post, because the Rainbow Six: Siege game I’m using as my machinima tool would not let me record footage without first doing an update, even while attempting to play in ‘Offline Mode’. Okay; I’ll do the 8gb update. Unfortunately, the uPlay client used as the update tool for the game kept inexplicably pausing (not cancelling thankfully) the download approximately every 10 seconds and returning an unintelligible error. After much googling, there were many others with the same problem yet no solution other than to repeatedly re-start the download. Eventually, after my insistence it stopped pausing and continued as necessary. I had almost needed to resort to using the technically inferior PS4 version of the game and settle for 720p/30fps.
The inability to create a custom-match, the only way to satisfactorily place custom cameras and get good camera angles, is only available via LAN games and required a full set of people to start. Ubisoft’s staunch refusal to even make it slightly easier for aspiring film-makers within their community to willingly create their own ‘playbour’ was frustrating me, so I made an attempt to reach out to the developers and ask their recommendation for fans wanting to create a video highlighting the game’s details and unique setting…
…to no avail.
As previously mentioned, an additional insult to machinima creators is the broken ‘Widescreen Letterbox’ mode that is presumably made specifically for those endeavoring to create cinematic videos. If they’re going to give us nothing, it would at least be appreciated if they were consistent and that ‘feature’ removed or better, fixed.
My dossier will be much more constructive, with an outline of basic necessities that games need to embrace and incorporate if they want to foster a machinima community. This includes the ability to spectate regardless of gametype or number count, the ability to engage in a ‘free-camera’, the ability to turn of the HUD, a playback feature to automatically capture gameplay from previous rounds played regardless of a conscious effort to capture scenes, and options for altering the IQ of the game to change filters etc. wouldn’t be amiss either. GTA V has its own video editing suite for crying out loud.
The take-away is that Siege simply isn’t a user-friendly experience for machinamists and is an interesting case study to pick apart and learn these lessons of necessity from which will be fully expanded upon with readings and analysis in my dossier.