And Now For Something Completely Machinima

Completely Machinima 6.3 Machinima Discussion July 2021

July 15, 2021 Ricky Grove, Tracy Harwood, Damien Valentine, and Phil Rice Season 6 Episode 3
And Now For Something Completely Machinima
Completely Machinima 6.3 Machinima Discussion July 2021
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Tracy,  Ricky,  Damien and Phil discuss key issues for making machinima in metaverse and open world games with themes including collaboration, why people left machinima for let's plays and meme-making, the role of memory making, and the future of machinima.

Full notes for this episode are available at:

Podcast 6.3 Machinima Discussion

Tracy,  Ricky,  Damien and Phil discuss key issues for making machinima in metaverse and open world games with themes including collaboration, why people left machinima for let's plays and meme-making, the role of memory making, and the future of machinima.


machinima, game, metaverse, people, play, stories, talking, world, create, life, omniverse, phil, modding, virtual, film, ricky, environment, creators, tardis, explore


Damien Valentine, Ricky Grove, ANFSCM, Tracy Harwood, Phil Rice


ANFSCM  00:08

And Now For Something Completely Machinima 


Tracy Harwood  00:13

This is the final section of our podcast episode 6 And Now For Something Completely Machinima. I'm Tracy Harwood and I'm the lead co-producer for this episode of the show working with Ricky Grove. Here I'm joined with Ricky.


Ricky Grove  00:26



Tracy Harwood  00:29

and Damian. 


Damien Valentine  00:30

Hello there. 


Tracy Harwood  00:31

And Phil. 


Phil Rice  00:32

What's happening? 


Tracy Harwood  00:34

So in the first section this month, we discussed game experiences in the metaverse inspired by Captain Grim's overview of Classic World of Warcraft. In the second section, we discussed some of the films that reflected our thoughts on the key issues that arise from making machinima in these expansive environments. And in this our final section this month, we're going to explore how these things play out in today's contemporary machinima world. But before we dive into that, Phil, do you want to let...


Phil Rice  01:08

Go to completely and click the talk about. It's very nice. You click it, and then it show you all the ways to talk to us. We have the email, you can send the email to us. You have the text and the voicemail through the reverb dot chat. And then we have a discord but nobody there so don't do that.


Tracy Harwood  01:39

Thanks Phil. So right, let's get going then. Group discussion then firstly, what are the key issues that arise for collaborating in machinima making in metaverse games and how does that contrast with traditional machinima filmmaking workflow? Ricky, do you want to start on that one? 


Ricky Grove  01:59

Sure.  I think that unlike an MMO, I think that because it's a completely open world, there's no story structure to hang your other stories on. A lot of times in Second Life, you go to other people's creations and you make a film out of that, like a documentary. It's a blank slate. But the cool thing about an open world is that you can find little parts of that world and make a movie about it's something that moves you. I remember Phil and I spent a considerable amount of time in multiplayer Grand Theft Auto once and we discovered things that the creators had put in that no way if you followed the traditional story of it, you would have come across, the only way to come across it is by exploration by wandering around. So it fulfills that sort of need for to just explore this world to see what's going on. And I those memories are actually more vivid in my mind than the actual gameplay of Grand Theft Auto, which to me just seem to be traditional and, and vice like and all of that. I didn't I didn't care much for the regular game. I think collaboration in a metaverse that you can make things and other people can discover those inside of the metaverse. You can have philosophical discussions, you can have discussions about whether something is or something isn't. Sci fi is a great genre because there's stories that are derived from technology that uses as a medium medium, the very technology that's being storied. You know, I think that's interesting. And one aspect that I want to discuss while we're in the course of this recording is sex inside of metaverse. I think that's something that is not been discussed very much and sex machinima which I think is very active. But you just don't hear much about it because of our puritanical society. And that's my thought.


Phil Rice  04:18

Well, I'll uh, I'll pick up the baton from there. Yeah. I wanted to comment also, when Ricky mentioned about the the true metaverse environments that aren't games, Second Life, for example. It's funny that a lot of the a lot of the filmmaking there, the filmmakers still try to self reference. So they'll end up they'll end up making a movie that basically is understandable, most intelligible to other people who play Second Life. And that's really it. And so they reference a lot of things and all that and I always felt like that's kind [Right. Right.] missed opportunity, first of all, but but because there's, the possibilities are endless, but I think that puts a lot more pressure on. And a lot raises the difficulty quite a bit for storytelling if you can't lean on that existing IP, and yet the tendency is to still try to.  When there's not really a story there. It's, you know, I mean, the experience of being in Second Life isn't really a, it's not a very compelling story. It might be entertaining to other people who are also using that world, but doesn't really have much, much reach beyond that. Yeah, as far as as far as sex, yeah. Second Life was interesting to explore. There was a section called Amsterdam, virtual, human avatar controlled call girls. And I had a conversation with one once just to try it. Like, what are you doing? You know, what, what is this? And I kind of got a lot of copy paste type responses, which makes me think that they were just hired to, you know, oh, they said this, okay, put this in just drop rate from the script. That it wasn't like somebody had said, Oh, I'm gonna go into Second Life, and you don't have a vocation I'm gonna choose. It's didn't seem like that was what was going on there. But there was one interesting afternoon when there was a period, when I ended up getting involved with this group of machinima filmmakers who actually mostly worked in the Sims. I would say, almost all of them, female filmmakers, very talented. And they all discovered Second Life at the same time, we all did. And so we went around a small group of us and exploring this different things. And the next thing you know, we're in this room where, alright, so I've got to be careful here, there was a some kind of contraption that a person could click on to interact, and then their avatar would be put on that and have things done to them. And so here I am with this, this person who I've spoken to in real life, I know them. I'm married, she's married. And here I am watching her be violated by this virtual machine. And it was so uncomfortable. It was just so awkward, cuz she's still still talking about Oh, yeah. And Seattle, the rain has been really, really. And she's, and I'm just like, you know? And finally, I told her look, can we go do something else? I'm like, really uncomfortable with this. It's really strange. It's just so weird. And yeah, and then I got made fun of for being a prude about that. But yeah, it's like, what's the big deal of Donkey Kong? It was interesting. So but yeah, there's, I mean, the internet was that way, I think would the first business to really succeed on the internet was was sex, wasn't it? You know? So and that's true for almost every, every open platform like that is it will get used for that. That really doesn't. That's not the kind of collaboration that I think I was being asked to talk about. But yeah, I don't know that there's, there's not a dramatic difference with how you collaborate in metaverse or MMOs, it's really, there's a lot more emphasis on team. Like we've we've talked about in the past couple episodes. There's there's still a space I think, for a solo creator. But it's, it's much, much easier and in some ways, I think more rewarding to take the effort and get a team together, to collaborate together. And probably the only people for whom that's a challenge is people who are a little bit more introverted, and maybe that's not their strength, or they don't feel like it's their strength. And or they're just used to working alone. But that's, that's where the real strengths of a metaverse platform come about is those people that are there, those other minds that can be put to, to the task and riff on your creativity and all of that. So I don't know that there's a dramatic difference other than those platforms offer a lot more creative freedom than the typical, even heavily modded game does.


Tracy Harwood  10:06

And Damian,


Damien Valentine  10:07

I'm sure as a sci fi fan, it's no surprise to people to learn. I'm a Doctor Who fan. So when I was exploring Second Life, I bought myself a Tardis that someone had built and programmed are one of the options was you could pry random, a random place anywhere in Second Life. So this is a great way to explore. Because to look through a list, I just pressed that random button and the Tardis would just leave where it is. And it will materialize where it should, where there's new places, just like it doesn't the show, it's kind of fades and all the sound effects and that kind of stuff. So I press the render button. And this thing, and my connection wasn't that great. So the new location started loading in slowly as it did back then. I don't know it's like now but so bits of the walls disappearing, and then these tables appearing. And then couples on the tables started appearing. And I don't know if they're advertising or if they're just animated. I think some of them probably were real people. And when I realized what was going on, I just kind of stare at screen thinking. I'm not sure who's more surprised them or me... any of these people having this Tardis appear in this room. First, the random button again. Excellent. I do remember walking around Second Life exploring. More seriously, I did go into one of these areas. And I was single and friendly I was going around with she was also single. And we decided to experiment with some of the pose balls it have and go into some very awkward situations. And we're on the subject. I'm going to share these two stories. But I don't think that Tardis one. Yeah. Yeah, that's fair collaboration. I think it's good to have if you got a group of people you're friends with and you will enjoy this one virtual environment. Why not? team up and create the story? And some some folks you've obviously do you do so like the two Elite Dangerous videos are covered this week. I believe they were solo filmmakers. I know that the the one about the princess had a voice actress to voice the princess, but I don't think she played the game. I think she just did some voiceover. It's just one person who is animated and the same thing for Void. There's no reason that more people couldn't get together and make a film. Some of the others I looked at definitely were several people playing because there are several different spaceships during this whole chase sequence around the space station, which is very well done. And you have to coordinate it very well, because one static camera and you have to make sure that these spaceships are very maneuverable, still in frame while doing all these elaborate maneuvers. So they don't crash into each other or into the space station. And I think giving people a chance to work together and to make a film and test out this or this case, test their piloting skills to make the film as well. I mean, it's, it's fun. And it's good that you have that because a lot of single player games, you don't have the experience. I use iClone which is a very solo experience, because it's very difficult to upload a project you everyone else has to have the all the same content, otherwise the scenes don't load. So I don't have that experience of working with other people to make the actual film, yes with voice actors yeah, but that no one else is in the virtual world with me. So I like kind of like to explore the idea of working with other people to direct them in the virtual world.


Tracy Harwood  14:19

Well, obviously I don't make machinima so I can't really add too much to what you've said there. So on that let's move on then why did people leave machinima and move on to memes and let's plays? I think you probably got two issues there. Do you not I think, you know why do people leave is probably a separate thing to Why do people make memes and let's place this is this is picking up on some of the comments that Captain Grim actually made. Where we're basically he was saying that actually, creativity got hard in these metaverse environments. People ran out of ideas. Maybe and memes were a lot easier to do with actually reflecting some of the points that you guys, I think, say, means are a lot easier to do than just copying other people's stuff and just doing it in a slightly different way. And let's plays are just, you know, speed runs and run throughs of different sorts or another. But why do you think people left machinima?


Ricky Grove  15:19

I think it's partially because of a lack of a central community. The loss of talented filmmakers who went on to become professionals who were leaders. I think there's a natural movement of technology to become commercialized.  Machinima was in it's a sort of innocent form, and then became commercialized and then collapsed. The whole reason for doing it became turned into a money making scheme. And then and so you have that collapse happening and it's sort of dropped out a hole created a big hole for people. And I think people just left and they they weren't being inspired because a good deal of machinima has to do with the community responding to each other. For example, I re-read Katie Salen's wonderful essay and the Machinima Reader. I've mentioned it before, Arrested Development: Why Machinima Can't or Shouldn't Grow Up. And in it, she says, participants use machinima as source material material in crafting their online identities. And I think, because we lost that central community of people coming together and being inspired, it pushed the community on to satellites, little satellites. And I think those people said well, you know, it's just easier to do let's play videos, you know, and then they started to become popular on YouTube. And so somebody says, well, hey, that's popular so why don't I do that? Because I'll get more people, more views. I mean, machinima has always got higher views with stunt videos than narrated stories, right? I mean, even from the very beginning, if somebody did some stupid stunt video, there were three times as many views. So I think the answer to that question, is it it was a kind of a natural evolution of this overhyped mode of making movies? Yeah,


Phil Rice  17:25

I think that I think the main driver is the ease of production which is, I guess, understandable. You know, if, for someone who I think the let's play and meme type, you know, the remixing equivalent of video content creation, that's what that stuff is, you know, and it's a lot easier to download the stem tracks for a song and remix it, yeah, it takes talent to do so. But it's a lot less effort than to construct all those sounds, and come up with the idea for the melody and the lyrics and all that. And I think the same is true in video too, that. For me, the streaming that I've been doing, it wouldn't have worked for me as something to play around with, unless I could come in, sit down, and within about five minutes, turn some things on, start recording, to boom done. And then because of the unscripted nature of it, I can basically just curb your enthusiasm, style, just having a general idea of Okay, these are the things I want to talk about today on the stream, and just get there. You know, and because I've got the skill or talent or whatever, to do that, and not be all then I can pull that off. And all these let's players have, you know, are stuffed to the gills with that kind of talent, you know, where they can just improv. So I think ease of production is just, it's very attractive, you know. But I also recognize that if I've got some intimate narrative tale that I want to tell, or some idea that I want to convey, sitting down with OBS and doing Twitch, that's not going to get that done. You know, that takes a lot more effort to craft something like what what Damien does and iClone, that's it's not that let's praise don't have craft, we've talked about this before they do. It's just different kind. And there's a lot more. There should be a lot more emphasis on the details. And there's, there's just a, there's a different standard I think that is pretty widely embraced for what constitutes a good story film, and what constitutes a good let's play? There are two very, very different answers, you know. And they both, they both require talent, but one of them is just easier to do if you're of a certain personality type, you can sit down and do those things, you know, requires a base of knowledge, you got to know what you're talking about to some degree, or know how to play the game. And you got to most of the time, you got to know how to be funny and say things in interesting ways. That's, that's, that's the common thread through all these let's players, there's certain phrases that they'll reuse that if just resonate with people, or certain greetings, they sign on the same way they sign off the same way. There's craft there. It's just not the same kind of craft is when you got to tell a story in a very specific way. So yeah, I don't know. For me, I think that's right. part and parcel. That's the whole attraction to those other forms of entertainment, is that they're just easier.


Tracy Harwood  21:09

Damian, what's your view on this one?


Damien Valentine  21:12

I can basically agree with that, what Phil said I can talk about so my experience with it is I made for basically feature length Chronicles of Humanity stories. So the first two about an hour and 20 minutes long, the third one was two hours long. And then the fourth one was roughly about one hour long. Each one of those took a year to make just just the simple time of collecting all the voice recordings, and then how to animate all that footage. I mean, that's feature length productions. And so it takes time. And each of those had a few 1000 views. Which, that's not a lot for the amount of work but I'm, I'm still really proud of my work. And they got to tell us to I wanted to tell, but it kind of goes back to a little test video I did 14 years ago, I can see on there, the Death of  JarJar. I spent two days working on that. And even now, it still remains my most popular video ever made with over half a million views. I thought I just does a little test to see if I could do something with this Star Wars game. I didn't expect anything to happen, other than it would be just a silly fun. And that's, that's the one that everyone knows not the ones I spent years of my life working on. So I can see why let's play videos are so popular. I mean, if you can spend an hour playing a game, you can record the whole thing and have it streamed and that's your video. I've taken an hour whereas I took years to produce an hour of animation doing handcrafted so I can see the appeal of not having to spend so much time to create the same amount of content. Although the content would be very different from the... if I recorded myself playing a video game for an hour. That's gonna be very different from me sitting down and producing an hour worth of story or whatever I want to tell.


Ricky Grove  23:10

Although I have to say that I think good let's play videos are more carefully thought than just sitting down and in an hour coming up with something. Yeah, I mean that guy that used that wonderful let's play that you showed us with this Sims. Yeah, fellow terrible this this labyrinth for his characters. He had to have thought yeah, he had to think through that you know I think there was time spent on creating it and organizing it there was more than just your put the recording on and make funny jokes...


Phil Rice  23:45

He has an editor that he pays to edit his videos. So for him it's probably a three or four hour recording session. Poor editor who gets to cut it down to 15 minutes with nonetheless Yeah, you're on you got to come up with the idea.


Damien Valentine  24:09

You know, its like one of the other videos we covered you know the one I brought up this the The Worst City Ever. You know that guy is building the city you want to be? Yes, dystopian mega city. And then I know you guys didn't like it so much. But last week I talked about last month I talked about that flight simulator video. Choose the right one there to really show off what he does. But he basically is sitting down and he cuts out lots of nothing happening and then just focuses on the funny bits but his whole identity there is knows exactly what he's doing surrounded by idiots. So my understanding of what he does, he will record a whole gaming session which could last out an hour or two or three, and he'll just chop it up into episodes and then do it that way. So you get the 10 minutes videos.


Tracy Harwood  25:04

Okay, well, I'm going to focus on the Why did they leave that? And, you know, we've talked a little bit about some of the, you know, the way back when stuff. And I think by about 2007 some of those original creative creators were really fed up also with some of the legal wranglings that were circling around the game based communities at the time. And I'm sure Phil can probably speak quite eloquently about some of his experiences with that. But maybe in afford to talk about that in a little bit more detail. And tied to that we've got this, you know, this whole kind of thing around Source Filmmaker mods, which meant you didn't really have to play the game. You could use the models and create your own stories using things like iClone and Moviestorm. And so there was this kind of proliferation of new animation tools that were easier to use, which also kind of became a factor. And I think you have to remember that a lot of folks in the community were really using the game as a cheap way to create their own 3d CGI-like CGI, like animations rather than some of the ones that we've been talking about where they use the gains to inspire the stories that they wanted to tell. So you have these two kind of very different perspectives. I mean, Hugh was, you know, he often said to me that had he had the choice again, he would never have made machinima, because of the legal issues that it's presented with him, he would have always made it in an animation toolset. But those tool sets just didn't exist for him. So, you know, maybe, maybe some of the game day storytellers then just ran dry? Possibly. You know, some of these worlds are so expansive. Where do you begin as we've kind of been talking about here?


Ricky Grove  26:59

Well, you know, I think I think Hugh was wrong in a way because there were tools out when he started in machinima. Lightwave was a major 3d application that people were using for VFX, where you could create models, it's just that the learning curve was so high, that you basically had to spend a year working with it before you became accomplished with it. And I don't think Hugh [render time] had the patience for that.


Phil Rice  27:28

And the render times as well.


Ricky Grove  27:30

Yes, the render times.


Tracy Harwood  27:33

Yeah, well, fair points. I mean, and then, you know, as you guys have alluded to, one of the other things was that some of the best machinima creators were taken out of the community they came, they kind of became professional creators. So Paul


Ricky Grove  27:48

And never came back.


Tracy Harwood  27:49

Yeah, exactly. So you know, Paul, Marina became the lead cinematic designer for Mass Effect, which was launched what two or three years after he joined to much critical acclaim because of the work that he did on that because of the skills that he brought to it. And similarly, Leo Lucian-Bay, who we talked about in Episode One with with The Beast was also snapped up by by folks like Bioware. And then I think there's this other issue this whole focus on the money trails, which we've also kind of talked about through through things like the network channel partnership deals that were brokered by Machinima Inc. as it was taken over by the DeBevoises. I think that really changed the course of machinima as we all knew it before. before their involvement, it became, I think, the ultimate marketing tool, and it was all about distribution. And, and fundamentally, it's machinima that launched YouTube in 2005. And I think it's really somewhat ironic that when you think back, it was actually YouTube that became the sword of Damocles over the head of Machinima Inc. just a couple of years ago, I think that's super ironic, really. So the way that whole channel partnership situation spawned a generation of get rich quick streamers who cut corners in their creativity by generating memes and focussing on being viral rather than on the production values of storytelling.  I think there's far more of those than the examples we've drawn out in the machinima that we're talking about in the let's plays that we're talking about which do have production vaues associated with them. So you know, that that get rich quick thing was a big turnoff I know, to lots of folks that were part of the original community, they just didn't want anything to do with it. So I think what's super ironic, of course, is that, that one of those kind of key issues that emerged there is that copyrighted content became this increasingly, you know, folks, getting the became increasingly subjected to takedowns. And, you know, on the basis that they kind of violated infringement typically relating to music. So it was the music industry that influenced what what then went on on the on the internet. And I don't know if you've seen it. But in the news this week, even now, Twitch is also seeing the beginnings of being pursued. Or, or the beginnings of the pursuit of the let's play, folks. Let's play streamer. Well, further use of ingane copyrighted music not so much for takedowns but for paying license fees associated with the use of it in the streaming that they're doing. So I don't, by any means seeing the end of the issues that these monitors are going to, you know, have for folks even producing let's plays.


Damien Valentine  30:54

Along those lines, Cyberpunk 2077. has an in game tool deliberately for streamers to disable certain music tracks. [Yeah.] So I beat you to it for because they were aware that some streamers might get into trouble if certain music tracks are played by the game. So you can turn this off if you want to if you're streaming.


Tracy Harwood  31:16

That's really interesting, isn't it? I guess, a lot more games are probably going to have that kind of thing if they are thinking about the role of machinima and let's face it, most games have always been pretty happy, happy to have machinima and machinima creators, do their marketing for them. And why not? Because it's cheap. It's low cost advertising for them. It's even profitable if they can take a stake out of the creative process along the way. So that will mean more people doing other stuff with machinima very possibly, I think I don't think machinima is going away anyone anytime soon. 


Ricky Grove  31:56

No, it's not especially when you have films like Void being created.


Tracy Harwood  32:03

Absolutely. And so what to what extent then do you think metaverse machinima will help you to create memories and communities? I mean, I think we've reflected on this a little bit in our discussions here. How do you think that sort of nostalgia and camaraderie feed into new entries into the game market for machinima, and our thinking here, for example, Fortnite, The Sandbox, Omniverse perhaps. Do you think as a roll there?


Damien Valentine  32:36

I think so. Because you get friends playing these games together. And if they created something, then that can always look back at this film that they've created. Doesn't matter what it is, doesn't matter how good it is. They've made that thing. And they had a lot of fun doing it. Well, at least I hope they did. So. So 5 or 10 years in the future, maybe when the game servers have been shut down. You can't play it anymore. They can still watch this video. I think we have a lot of fun making this thing. This is something we did together.


Tracy Harwood  33:05

I think you know, that's a really good point. Danien, I think, you know, it was Episode Two, I think we talked a lot about some I think, was it Episode Two, I can't remember. We talked about old machinima anyway, and most of our reflections, I think, now have been on nostalgic memories that we create with being in these virtual spaces, with friends and what went on and, you know, the, you know, the way the spaces evolved, and what was explored and how narratives were told. And, you know, what, what went on beyond the beyond the game world in itself, and it's, I think the stickiness of the, of the stories that that actually create communities. The fact that those stories are shared with others means that the community itself lives on beyond the game. So maybe what you'll see, and I don't know here, but maybe what we'll see is is the relaunch of a lot of classic versions of games, which will be become a thing in the future.


Ricky Grove  34:13

Very much so very much so. I mean, a Metro 2055 just came out, the Diablo Classic is coming out pretty soon. I think that whole movement towards re releasing them in upgraded video quality is gonna have a whole range of nostalgic feelings from people having played the game before.


Damien Valentine  34:37

It has to be done. It has to be done well because last year, Warcraft 3 and Command and Conquer these two games used to be huge rivals, it's always discussions were fans arguing Command and Conquer or Warcraft. And so Warcraft 3 had a remaster and a specific reason hearts graphics, and they were going to redo all the cutscenes on the in game cutscene and so on. And it was a disaster because they promised things that were never going to happen and made such a mess that you couldn't even play the classic version without downloading this huge, updated version. Even if you just want to play we're gonna see it. And it was so buggy and glitchy that they couldn't fix it and it just abandoned the entire Warcraft 3 game, so you can't play.  In contrast EA, which you'd expect to be the ones that do read cheaply and just throw them together spent they really crafted the Command and Conquer. remaster series the first game and red alert and they went back and try to upscale the sort of FMV sequences as best they could. They went reanimated all 2d in game graphics and press the spacebar you can automatically instantly switch back to the original graphics if you want to. They did a fantastic job on their remaster. So I think it's great to see these classic games being remastered but they have to be done right because as Blizzard very easily so very clearly sugar it up. Yeah, I was worried that that's what's gonna happen with the Mass Effects Legendary edition because I'm really fond of those games. But luckily, EA once again, a surprisingly, did it really well. And we've got another excellent new remastered game. So now you can enjoy it on a modern system.


Tracy Harwood  36:28

You know what, though it makes makes mission more even more important, really. Because of course, you know, when these games move on, even though when you know, when they're remastered and re-presented to you, it's actually you know, when you think about it, mission is the only tangible memory you've got of those original experiences. And I'm kind of, you know, I think it makes me even cross over, you what YouTube and machinima did in 2019. Even it's even more of a travesty when you think about it, because, you know, they switched off servers, and basically in the process destroyed a whole generation's cultural memories, a whole generation. However poor quality most of that content was that's, you know, that's effectively what they did. And, frankly, I think that's absolutely deplorable, and should never never be allowed to happen again.


Ricky Grove  37:23



Tracy Harwood  37:23

But of course, you know, I think our memories are getting shorter, and our pockets are being picked in many ways. I guess really I suppose that's one, I've been kind of curious about this, you know, the the sort of the driving of the cart towards the NFT world that we've been talking about the last couple of podcasts as well, which, which, frankly, I don't think is the answer. But at least what what it's about is finding some way to recognize the contributions that creators make in the workflows. And what NFT's do. And also, what I was referring to, I think, in the film section we were just talking about is that it kind of documents a moment in time. And and I think one of the great challenges here is how fast time is moving in these game spaces and what time actually looks like, and how that environment is evolving. And issues that probably reflect I suppose there are issues that do reflect the real world and real filmmaking. You know, think from little things like, you know, daylight or at day of the year to the to the effect of aging on characters and the degradation of the environment and so those things are kind of playing out in those, those virtual spaces. I guess, you know, I suppose you have to think can you can you ever go back and replay the same scene in a massively multiplayer online environment? You probably could never do that.


Tracy Harwood  37:45

I don't think you can.


Tracy Harwood  38:53

And which is it's kind of interesting, even if you script it, you can probably never recreate it. And then then I think you've got this whole messy business of, of, you know, what is the role of that environment owner? What are they going to do with it? And of course, you can never really be sure of that. So it's kind of this whole issue of persistence that presents this this greatest challenge for me, I think in these kinds of metaverse, environments.  I suppose yeah...


Tracy Harwood  39:36

One more thing I want to say really, which is I wanted to reflect a moment on Nvidia's Omniverse. And some of the things that I've been looking at what's going on with with this omniverse concept, which is perhaps something a little bit different to what we've been talking about with with metaverse. Now. I think what's interesting here is that video discussion robbing omniverse as the beginning of the metaverse, although we probably all say that it isn't really quite true. Anyway, what it what it's about is connecting different environments and tool sets to develop a creative workflow that crosses the different platforms so crossing different platform boundaries. And I think clearly what their vision here is, is that it's, well, you know, in our world, what they're doing is visualizing what they're describing, automating and simulating different aspects of the world. But but what their machinima toolset is doing is just the visualizing part. And that's about creating narratives that they can connect then to physical and virtual spaces, probably in some sort of conceptual analogy of, of, of a, I suppose the Second Life parody of Molotov Alva that we just can't kind of discussed earlier. But the meaning of Omniverse is is everything. And it includes the universe, everything that we can see the multiverse, which is multiple universes, and the metaverse, the virtual universe, and includes all of these things. I think what they're playing with is a really interesting physics analogy, and one which alludes to their attempt to be potentially world dominating, should it come to fruition. It's basically the new internet. If it comes off, I think we might call it not an internet. Yeah, we'll probably now talking about something you might call an Exonet. Everything is externally, which I think is really interesting concept. So it's, it's a metaverse plus plus plus. Which is really well meeting and I think machinimas role is absolutely central in it. For all the reasons that we've been talking about.


Ricky Grove  41:58

I think you've blown my mind. Thank you.


Tracy Harwood  42:03

All right. Real sorry about that. Because I know we're at the end of a really long session. My voice is beginning to go. And so one final thing, one final word from you then? What's the future of metaverse machinima? And what's the current state of modding for these persistent game environments? 


Phil Rice  42:20

Modding maybe means something different in these metal verses because they are inherently moddable? You know, it's modding traditionally has been kind of outsourcing the crowdsourcing, the ability to change the game, normally, the only the developers would do that. And modding is allowing the users some access to part of the code base or to the resources of the game or whatever. And taking it a little bit in their own direction, while with with, you know, with these truly metaverse, games that maybe the codebase isn't exposed, but but, you know, modifying that environment is kind of the whole point. So, yeah, what does modding mean in that context, or is modding now just a feature instead of an afterthought, or a way to? Or a hack? That's right, it's not hacking anymore? Is it? If there's a hack, here you go, you know, we've built this so you can do that? [That's right.] So I guess that's exciting. But it, you know, how do you color outside the lines when you're the ones drawing the lines? You know? Yeah. So


Ricky Grove  43:45

You don't.


Damien Valentine  43:47

Its a very tricky balance to play with, allowing people players to have fun and create things, but not in a way that makes it unfair for people who just want to play the game. And so they're not being griefed, or people can't cheat and you know, ruin the experience for who else. Something like World of Warcraft, that you can't really mod it beyond... my understanding is you can do things to the interface so you can have more buttons for different special attacks and all that kind of stuff. You can't actually go in and change you know, the what the abilities do or, or create new characters from scratch or anything like that, you can just modify the interface unless.  It makes sense because they don't want people cheating. But then something like Minecraft, modding is much more open because you can run your own server and it doesn't matter. You're not cheating because it's your own personal environment you can play around with and you can build it, you can modify it, you can change the graphics if you want to. And so I guess it depends on the context of the game and how much developers want to allow freedom. For that modification, and also making sure that the game still a safe place to play without people ruining it for


Phil Rice  45:06

Yeah, and for the for the meta verses that aren't actually games, then the word cheating doesn't, doesn't really make any sense. But But there still have to be laws, so to speak, you know. To keep people from because... people will infringe on one another, you know, in the real and virtual world still do. So if, if that door is there, so, yeah. And then it's a matter of well, whose responsibility is it to write and then enforce those laws? If the metaverse creator is just saying, hey, people, here you go. Do your thing. So even The Sandbox game is as open as that is, I'm sure that there are law like structures in place. Because what what good is a NFT based value system if someone can, okay, it's not cheating, it's stealing. You know, there has to be something that protects that. I mean, the blockchain itself offers a certain degree of protection, but within the virtual world. Yeah, that so that's, that's a challenge, you know, who do you who's, who's the policeman, you call when that law.


Ricky Grove  46:26

And I also wonder if some of the impulse to mod, you know, in the past modders modded because it was fun. It was challenging, it was a way to prove your skill, and it was sort of you were sort of on the edge of everything. Well, I wonder if some of that impulse to mod has gone to game making, like Unity and Unreal, because you can create mods that you can sell in their marketplace? I mean, wouldn't you rather make money off of something in a game based atmosphere than just give away your, your mod, I think many people feel that way. Especially, because the work is so hard, you got to be at a


Tracy Harwood  47:12

You have to make living, right? You.


Ricky Grove  47:17

And now that possibility to be able to do that on simply writing script for Unity is there. So why write it for Second Life?


Damien Valentine  47:27

I remember, one of the Machinima Expos that I can't which one it was, but one of them, we did end up with a griefer turning up and spawning loads of stuff in our environment that we'd set up. But I think we had to. We didn't have the person who owned the environment wasn't there. So we couldn't get them removed until I remember walking down, getting kicked out and they had to change the settings.


Phil Rice  47:50

Didn't they like get up on stage inappropriately dressed? 


Damien Valentine  47:59

I bet you able to... [I remember that!] eventually the person who owned the land came in and kicked them out and change the setting so that they couldn't spawn any unwanted objects. Or something we had to put up with for a little while.


Tracy Harwood  48:19

I remember I remember you interviewing me once, Ricky in Second Life and some griefer that came sat on my knee.


Ricky Grove  48:30

I remember that!


Tracy Harwood  48:32

I was hugely uncomfortable thinking what the hell is going on here.


Ricky Grove  48:37

I think Second Life is an interesting place. And it's still very interesting for people to want to create things, and it still has an active community. I mean, it's down. It's about 800,000 people in Second Life, whereas at its peak, it was about 1.2 million. But you know, a lot of my friends don't do Second Life anymore. I love Second Life because I got tired of the griefing and I got tired of the lack of development of technical, technical problems. You know what I mean? You always had to deal with the same technical [stuff] every time you went and there was no improvement on it. So I just finally left because I didn't improve it very much. But I think many other places that are metaversus an open world games are going to continue to grow and be very attractive places not just for machinima filmmakers, but for creative types of all of all kinds.


Tracy Harwood  49:31

I think that's a really good note to finish this episode on Ricky. Thank you very much all of you for really great conversation. And let me wrap this one up. What we've done here is discussed issues around the metaverse, which actually was inspired by Captain Grim's machinima film Did Classic WoW Live Up To Expectations? And frankly, it's led us on somewhat of a wild tour around the history of the future of machinima, which certainly I've really enjoyed the discussion that we've had. Thanks very true. So I think next month, Ricky is going to take the lead again. But before we head off into the sunset this evening, Phil would like to remind us again of the ways that folks can get in touch with us, please?


Phil Rice  50:22

Yes, if you go to our website, click the talk link in the menu at the top and that will show you all the different ways to interact with us. We've got an email address, talk at completely we've got a mobile number. You can send a text message to.  We've got voicemail through reverb dot chat, just go there record a question or a comment and then email that link to us and we'll comment on it on the air. And then we've got a Discord server, which is full of crickets and could use some content so we monitor those as well as our Facebook page and our Twitter account. And we would love to hear from you however you would like to get in touch.


Ricky Grove  51:04

Hey guys, can I can I do a quick thing here at the very end to sort of share my talent as an actor. All right, let me let me let me gather myself. Okay. Guys, I really want to hear from you. Can't you just send us an email or something? I mean it would be a real big thing to me and Phil.  I'm sorry. I'm sorry, guys.  So okay, you guys are gonna send us something or email or anything?


Phil Rice  51:49

That's I think that's our trailer for this month! 


Tracy Harwood  51:53

Sorry, I've lost it. I wish you good day and cheerio from me. I'm Tracy Harwood and Ricky Grove. 


Ricky Grove  52:03



Tracy Harwood  52:06

And Phil Rice, 


Phil Rice  52:07

See you next time. 


Tracy Harwood  52:07

And Damien Valentine 


Damien Valentine  52:09

Take care everyone. 


ANFSCM  52:11

And Now For Something Completely Machinima

Collaborating to make machinima in metaverse games and its contrast traditional games
Ricky on discovery, sci-fi and sex
Phil on virtual Amsterdam, sex and being solo
Damien on surprising journeys with a Tardis
Why did people leave machinima and move on to meme's and let's plays?
Ricky on community, leadership and professionalism
Phil on talent for let's plays
Damien on making Chronicles of Humanity vs let's plays
Ricky and Phil on the craft of let's plays
Tracy on why creators left machinima: legals, tools, running dry on ideas and the money trails
The role of making memories in communities
Ricky on classic game releases and remastering discussion
Tracy on the travesty of Machinima Inc's switch off, role of NFTs, aging game spaces and ownership of metaverse environments
Tracy on Exonet and the future of machinima
The future of machinima
Phil, Damien and Ricky discuss modding and infringements