Path beater

Ray Tracey is a PhD researcher who has been undertaking a series of real-time animation tests this week…

“These tests undeniably show that real-time high-res path tracing of highly detailed and complex scenes is possible today using just one or two GPUs [graphics cards]”

Above: the Brigade game engine with photorealistic lighting and shadowing in real-time, on 2 GTX 580 Nvidia GPUs.

Turning machinima into a job

An academic paper from June 2010, available free from the author’s website…

Under The Radar: industry entry by user entrepreneurs. Research Policy No. 39 (2010), pages 1198 – 1213.

“We study an emerging group of [business] firms founded by users of video games who became entrepreneurs on entering the animation industry by producing Machinima, a new film genre characterized by shooting film in video games. We explain how user entrepreneurs gain access to complementary assets (video games) for their new use (shooting film), how they deal with intellectual property issues when using other firms’ assets, and how user entrepreneurs combine domain knowledge about film production with their experience in video games and the art of Machinima.”

Literary Slipstreams, papers invited on machinima

The Children’s Literature Association’s 2012 conference is on “Literary Slipstreams”. One of the topics they are inviting papers on is “Machinima”. Deadline for application: 15th January 2012. The conference…

“invites participants to think about literature for children and young adults as a literature both of and in transition.”

Fan Fiction and Copyright

A review in the THES of the new book, Fan Fiction and Copyright: Outsider Works and Intellectual Property Protection, which has relevance to machinima…

“While Schwabach does not provide a detailed fair-use analysis, what matters for most readers is that the conclusion is correct: much fan fiction is legal.”

Journal of Visual Culture machinima special – free again

Free access to the SAGE Journal of Visual Culture special April 2011 issue on machinima, through to the end of 2011. It had been free on publication, but was then taken behind the paywall. Now it’s free again.

Those seeking more writing on the topic should look at Henry Lowood’s bibliography on machinima, and also my own more recent machinima bibliography which covers publications from 2007-2011.

Watch Me Move, London exhibition

If you’re in London this summer, there’s a host of animation talks and other events (PDF link) around the Barbican’s Watch Me Move, an expensive £12/$20-ticket retrospective exhibition of 150 years of animation.

Two of the highlights (although Marina Warner is sadly only limited to one hour) are…

28th July, 8pm, Cinema 2.

Fourth Dimensional Minds Eye Summoning

“Pioneering music producer Paul Smith orchestrates a fever-dream performance of a new text by Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Watchmen) and elemental electro-sonics by Edwin Pouncy (Savage Pencil).”

1st Sept, 6.30pm, Barbican Art Gallery.

Gallery Talk: Marina Warner

“Acclaimed author [and thinker] Marina Warner discusses the art of shadow play animation, as seen in Lotte Reininger’s celebrated film The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), through to works by contemporary artists William Kentridge and Kara Walker.”

The Machinima Reader book due in a few weeks

The hardcover of MIT Press’s The Machinima Reader is now showing up in Amazon UK, albeit only in hardback and without a cover shot. £28.50 will get you a copy, and Amazon have a shipping date of 27th June 2011.

MIT Press usually give away the table-of-contents, introduction, first chapter and index for free, so even those who can’t afford it should be able to get a reasonable peek at it. MIT Press books also tend to get fairly good exposure on the Google Books preview service.

Journal of Visual Culture – special open machinima issue

Sage’s scholarly Journal of Visual Culture has a special machinima issue out now. Normally such publicly-funded academic work is hidden from the public behind commercial journal paywalls, but for this issue only the editor has requested that they made the April 2011 issue open access. Here’s the contents list…

A ‘Different Technical Approach’? Introduction to the Special Issue on Machinima

Towards a Manifesto for Machinima

A Look Back at Machinima’s Potential

Machinima’s Promise

Machinima is Growing Up

Machinima: Limited, Ghettoized, and Spectacularly Promising

Where Were You the Day Onyxia Died?

Massively Multiplayer Machinima Mikusuto

Machinima in a Fanvid Ecology

Does Machinima Really Democratize?

Eight Questions (and Answers) about Machinima

Censorship as Criticism: Performance Art and Fair Use in Virtual Territory

Opportunity and Liability: The Two Sides of Machinima

Machinima as a Viable Commercial Medium

The Future of Machinima as a Professional Animation Resource and its Growth as Real-Time Animation in Virtual Worlds

Molotov Alva’s Further Adventures: A Conversation Which Could’ve Happened (But Never Did)

‘A Counter-Friction to the Machine’: What Game Scholars, Librarians, and Archivists Can Learn from Machinima Makers about User Activism

Perfect Capture: Three Takes on Replay, Machinima and the History of Virtual Worlds

Anyone reading this far in the post may also be interested in the May 2010 edition of my free academic ‘overlay’ ejournal The Journal of the Imaginary and Fantastic which was on ‘Machinima, the first decade‘, and which linked to selected free / open-access works.

Shocking videogames

Prestigious academic journal Nature reports that applying a 9v battery charge to your scalp while videogaming can double the rate at which you learn how to play the game…

“Volunteers receiving 2 milliamps to the scalp (about one-five-hundredth the amount drawn by a 100-watt light bulb) showed twice as much improvement in the game after a short amount of training as those receiving one-twentieth the amount of current. “They learn more quickly but they don’t have a good intuitive or introspective sense about why,” says Clark.”

Nice. Will iClone 5 ship with a small “thinking cap” and a couple of spare batteries?

Animation Explosion conference, UK

Birmingham City University (UK) will be hosting an Animation Explosion conference on 14th September 2011. The event is sponsored by the UK’s Society for Animation Studies and they’re now inviting papers. There seem to be two broad areas of interest: approaches to the analysis of animation; and explorations of the expanding breadth of animation practices and communities. No mention of machinima, but I’m sure it’ll be welcome as a proposal for a paper.