Understanding Machinima : call for papers

Submissions of academic essays are invited for an edited book with the working title Understanding Machinima: Essays on Filmmaking in Virtual Worlds

“We are primarily concerned with offering critical discussions of its history, theory, aesthetics, media form and social implications, as well as insights into its development and the promise of what it can become. How does machinima fit in the spectrum of media forms? […] How does machinima co-opt [the commercial] game engine to provide narrative? How may machinima, developed from the products of game and virtual world marketing, be used as an artistic tool? […] How does the open-source economy that currently defines much of global machinima relate it to broader cultural production generally? [and] Machinima as community-based practice and performance; user created content; online publishing; fan (fiction) communities; open source”

Please submit a 400 word abstract (i.e: a summary), and a short biography, via email to: understandingmachinima [at] gmail.com by 30 August 2010. We expect that final essays should not exceed 7,000 words and will be due in by 30th December 2010.

iClone’s character types explained (video)

The growing range of character types and bone rigs in iClone is usefully clarified in a newly-posted YouTube video. I don’t think this one is a repeat-posting. The last 90 seconds or so of the video is a mini-tutorial in the customising and uniform application of character skin tones…

[ Video here ]

It includes the “G-evolver” character type, and a screenshot of the Evolver-powered online iClone Avatar Builder site — which appears to hark back to the “It’s Me!” idea of having an simple way to create a portable virtual character that looks exactly like the user (or their favourite film star, etc.). A couple of months ago Botgirl made a useful demo video of the Evolver system.

She writes…

“You can also export your avatar’s source data to a fully rigged version for leading 3D model formats.” [including Blender, Max, Maya — cost seems to be $39]

Can’t wait for the “clone your pets” quadruped version 🙂 The web will be awash with virtual LOLcats and LOLhamsters.


Need some strong science fiction concepts to give a satisfying ‘hard SF’ edge to your movie? Technovelgy is an online encyclopaedia of 1,800+ SF concepts. Need to know if the idea of a nanny robot has been done before and, if so, how it was handled? Just look up the robots page: “Psychophonic Nurse – a nanny robot”. Idea last used (badly) in 1928. Fair game! Want your aliens to have giant musical sound-weapons? Last done in 1972…

“The Krang is both a weapon and a musical instrument.” … “the machine generates some form of vibration… I confess myself hesitant to label it ‘sound waves.’ “

Of course, the problem then is to visualise the concept in iClone without it looking like this…