November 2021 Completely Machinima History with Ben Grussi
Ben reviews some of the major happenings during November in the early days of machinima, including Phil and Damien’s first contributions; release of legendary machinima games Halo 2, HalfLife 2, World of Warcraft & GTA San Andreas. Red vs Blue Season 1 went gold and Second Life’s release of copyright statement are highlighted during this month, plus Hugh Hancock and Paul Marino made it to British TV Channel 4’s ‘The Toon Commandments’. Also a notable mention to Nvidia, whose GeForce FX series of graphics cards was launched in November 2002, signaling the dawn of cinematic computing. Listen up and follow the links on our blog post.
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And Now For Something Completely Machinima
Ben Grussi 00:09
Hello, welcome to November's history of machinima, some definitely some good highlights this month. The first one for the year of 1996, we have Torn Apart Part One. This is The Rangers next film after The Diary of a Camper or actually part of the collection. They released quite a few in October, November, December, so they were quite prolific. A year later, Quake II is released. And also Key Grip, the very first version for Quake I is released by David TRT Wright. And our very own Phil Rice's Zarathustra Studios opens up for business in 1997, right before he prepared his release for Father Frags Best. In another year after that in 1998 HalfLife I was released. Another year after that, in 1999, the very first edition of Epic Games Unreal Tournament I came out - that was the first version where they didn't do it in years yet, they didn't treat it as a sports team game, they just treated it as just a regular PC game. A year after that in the year 2000, we have three notables: Jagged from Jagged's Cineplex retires; had enough and just off into the sunset. But luckily, his archive is still around if you wen't looking for it. Hugh Hancock was invited to join the Game Developers Conference again, for the second time in a row - that was held in March of the following few months. Another interesting tidbit that I bet you a lot of people have not seen because it was done on British television, but I was able to put it up on the Archive which the link to is in the show notes as usual. It's a show that is called the Tune Commandments and it was done on the British television national network, Channel Four, it was under the Tune Commandments and Phil, not Phil, Paul Marino and Hugh Hancock were both interviewed on both coasts, he in Edinburgh and Paul in New York, and they just expressed what machinima was and what it was going to entail and its future possible future. So kind of an interesting nostalgia piece. If you're one of the vets that want to take a look at it if you haven't seen it before.
Another big deal his Spineless Pictures debuted on the scene. A lot of people are probably not familiar with him. But he made some very good, very high quality shorts. With Quake II - he did it in such a degree that it was kind of like Hardly Workin' where his pieces you couldn't tell that it was done in Quake II at all. They were really well done. And actually, he had a keen eye. One of his shows, actually, one of the brief blip of Smart Gun was actually done in one of the AMD processor TV commercials, just to show the two scientists just being in shock of how fast their processor was going. So there's a quite neat, neat tidbit.
Another year after that in 2001, we have our very first edition of Halo for the Xbox, Combat Evolved. That's the very first Halo came out in 2001. IL-2 Sturmovik, on probably mispronouncing it... that game was released, unbeknownst to a lot of people, it was a very strong flight simulator, and quite a few people did machinimas. for it. There was quite a few entries from this game in the various film festivals that came after it for 2000 to 2003, respectively. And even further on. In 2002 Nvidia actually took off it's wraps to the GeForce FX series, that's the fifth generation of the card. And this is where nividia really put in their investment into the technology to give it more oomph after definitely had a good showing for the GeForce three series with Doom III that this is the big foothold that they were trying to do, as they were evolving to really tap into the cinematic market.
And also in 2002, the ILL Clan Hardly Workin' actually became part of an exhibit part of a gallery that was located at the American Museum of the Moving Image Digital Media Gallery, which focuses on new works in digital media. As you know, the Museum of the Moving Image has been quite the home for the film festival on several occasions, so it's quite a neat accolade to be part of that group. In 2003, in November of 2003 Machinima.com, we actually announced the immediate availability of the 2002 Machinima award DVD that we were giving out that was part of that was being sold at the Museum but now people could actually have it mailed to them and enjoy it at home on their DVD player. They didn't have to be actually the at the film festival to get a copy. Also, the ILL Clan released a teaser trailer for their upcoming series called Lenny and Larry on the campaign trail. It was quite an interesting series that lasted for three or three episodes. People that actually attended the film festival that year actually got a live performance of it right before the film festival. So it was quite an interesting adventure. Also, the ILL Clan announced that they've been hired by Spike TV, coined the first television station for men, to produce some vignettes for their video games award show that was set to air on December 4.
Also, Second Life did a formal announcement that anything created by its users like machinima movies, or personal assets and stuff like that are covered under a personal routine, under personal retaining a full intellectual property protection for digital content, they create and can be sold without restriction. So that's a really big deal, you know, especially with content creation, and its viability as being a money making opportunity. That was a big deal, and still is a big deal. Another interesting hiccup with Spike TV, in trying to capture the momentum, Spike TV attempted to hold a contest of machinima awards and award a prize however, it goofed because it forgot that the legal contract that people who submitted their work would have had to abide by unfortunately, the issue was the ownership rights which made machinima makers you know, unfortunately, stay away because unfortunately, ownership rights to game engines are very sticky and that one hadn't worked out really well. So unfortunately, a lot of people had to stay away because they wanted to avoid the legal ramifications if any came to pass.
This is also the month the very first season of Red versus Blue DVD had gone gold for manufacturing and to be ready for mass production. So that's awesome. Also, Jason Choi, the one who made the only strong survive, he released his Max Payne tribute video. That was quite good. So that rounds out for 2003. 2004,w e have Halo II is equal to Halo that's released and was the biggest release up to the even bigger than the biggest movie release. So it was a really big deal of its release, you know, just knocking out the sales records out of the park. Also HalfLife II was released in 2004, as well, and also World of Warcraft. So three major platforms are released in the same month in the same year and have a really big impact on the Machinima development as you've seen over the years, if you've definitely been keeping an eye on. A very interesting notable that a particular film I Surrender, which was a movie slash music video, it was released by Tristan Pope. He actually was one of the people that further in his machinima career actually was hired by Blizzard Entertainment and actually became part of their cinematics division, and actually was part of the team that created Make War Not Lovecraft, he was part of the team that brought that to fruition. So that was a very high accolade that he earned with his machinima experience. But another notable that when he released his his video, that the interest to the video and became such a success, it actually pulled down over 30,000 downloads, just within a few hours of release, and even one of the biggest file sharing sites at the time, which was File Planet, they got front page bill, so that was amazing. Another notable to Rockstar in preparation for release for their next game in the Grand Theft Auto series, they created the San Andreas machinima prequel where it was dubbed The Introduction. It was a 20 minute film that he did that tried to give you an explanation of all the characters in the story and kind of give you the prologue to what you're getting into with the game. That was part of the GTAs San Andreas soundtrack collection. It was packaged with it and it was released on December 7 of 2004. Another good book that was actually announced to be published in the spring was actually done by a Matt Kelland, Dave Morris and David Lloyd. They were the ones who actually were part of Short Fuse. They're the company that developed machinima stock moviestorm, actually, and also the little unknown video that he did was No License. So they're definitely very much a part of the community. And they're just announcing that in the spring, they'll get to be producing 160 page full color book. That's more of an art book that just shows up the various aesthetics that machinima can bring to the table from a visual standpoint and offer a bit of information here and there. Its quite a good book.
The next thing in 2005, we have the Machinima Premier, that is the site that the veterans and a quite a lot of other people went to, after the community fallout with Machinima.com occurred. So the very first movie monthly award they gave to films was actually two DaS Entertainments' Falling into Darkness, Star Wars fan film. And is some of you might know that's actually Damien's original production company before he went into bigger and better things. So a bit of a nostalgia for some.
So this year, again, we had another Machinima Film Festival at the Museum of the Moving Image that was quite one of my favorites, with all the stuff coming and going. So that was definitely a joy to be at. Also, Short Fuse actually made a very big milestone, they were able to get a lot of investments from a consortium of some private and institutional investors, which are very, very prestigious, and it's very good that it reinforced their ability to actually bring Moviestorm to market. So that was definitely a big deal. Also, during the film festival, we found out that The Movies was finally released after three years of development. That's the one that brought us The French Democracy, and stuff like that. So that was a very big deal. Britannica Dreams, released a very interesting project, which is entitled Visiting Scrooge. It's a mini feature film that is based on Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and the voiceovers are being performed by the Colonial Radio Theatre players. So definitely professionals who do a very good job at what they do. So quite an interesting holiday treat. A very interesting event happened as well. And on Thanksgiving cheat specifically, Gmail was celebrating just the holidays in a very particular way they were being they were listing some of the stuff that they were being very thankful for. What was very unusual and very surprising is that Panda Productions got a front page mentioned on GM gmail.com. For that they made a fan video for an individual called Hothead, who had under his label of Hothead Music, created a song that really wanted to shout praises for Gmail. And she actually took his music and actually made a dance video with it in Sims II, and it got the attention of the Gmail team. And they quoted to say, "things we are thankful for, especially this video and one fan video and we love in particular". So that was quite an interesting bit. And it actually was for Google Video, which actually predates that was the predecessor to YouTube, so quite a bit of nostalgia there.
And running it out for 2006, we have a very special treat that I was able to find. For the 2006 Machinima Film Festival. Some of the teams actually did a secret collaboration project. This team include the skills and the influence and you know the voice talents of the ILL Clan team when they did Trash Talk. We have our own Phil Rice doing a bit with his Male Restroom Etiquette piece. Red vs. Blue had a hand in it, and also the team from Bill and John, the French team that did pretty well in one of the previous film festivals. It's quite an interesting treat. If you get a chance to watch it. I put it on the Archive.org so everyone could enjoy it and really have a kick out of it.
And closing it out, we have RoosterTeeth produced a commercial on Monday Night Football for the PlayStation III version of Madden 2007 and it aired on Monday Night Football so quite a lot of eyeballs for that commercial. Unfortunately don't have a link for it, but just again, it's still notable. So there's your history for November. So, enjoy your holidays and I will talk to you in December where I have December and there's quite a few notables there as well. Thank you.