Ego Central to Machinima Filmmaker Ken Thain

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Next Gen of Machinima Has Begun

So I could go on in this space about how fantastic and happy we've been with the release of Mass Effect and how the reviews have been really great. I could also talk about how excited the cinematic design team is with the reception of the 'interactive storytelling' element of the game that we specifically worked sooo hard on. Especially when you get very phenomenal feedback like,
The cinematic design is nothing short of masterful. This is a game that takes the aspects of film that make cinema so compelling and crosses it with the interactivity of games with unprecedented success. Linear storytelling feels quaint by comparison. IGN
And you would think I would be jumping up and down right now saying 'Run don't walk! Go buy Mass Effect!!'.

But I'm not.

Instead I'm going to use this space to mention something else. Something far more important to the machinima community. On Tuesday when you think we would have been celebrating the release of Mass Effect, my co-worker Jon Perry was calling around Edmonton looking for copies of the newly released Unreal Tournament 3.

I think most people interested in machinima knows what this means. Unreal Tournament is a pillar in the history of machinima for the unreal engine it's built upon and its modding capabilities. Right from the days of Quake 2, Unreal Tournament was there with its own set of community based machinima tools. With the release of Unreal Tournament 2003/2004 a new generation of machinima came with it. And now with Unreal Tournament 3 for the PC, built with the Unreal 3 engine, the next generation of tools for hardcore machinima making has arrived. I know this because we built Mass Effect on top of the Unreal 3 engine, which is why a large portion of the cinematic design team was at EB Games today buying among the first copies available in Edmonton, right from the box they were shipped in behind the counter.

Once I got it home and installed, I went straight into the editor and started giggling like a little girl as I saw it all there. Kismet, Matinee, FaceFX, everything. Obviously you wouldn't be able to build Mass Effect with this, but all the base tools and technology we built on top of is there.

This game being released with these tools brings amazing power to the hands of machinima makers. Yes, you will have a learning curve to overcome. Yes, there will be a lot of technology to digest. And yes, there is very little help and documentation right now out there to help you through. But master this engine and tools, and the medium is yours. (ok, ok, that last part is heavy on the cheese, but you get my point).

So Run, don't walk, and go buy this game. Crack it open and start poking around. You'll be on the crest of the next gen of machinima.

Oh, and buy Mass Effect while your there.