"The Movies": machinima for the rest of us

Monday, November 28th, 2005

Chris Anderson looks at Peter Molyneux’s The Movies, which he calls “machinima for the rest of us”:

Which is why my kids and I were really looking forward to The Movies, a new game/machinima studio from Peter Molyneux, the legendary games designer of Black & White fame. We’ve now had a few weeks to play with it, and it’s really quite wonderful.

At its core, it’s a SimStudio game, where you have to build a Hollywood studio, operate it, make movies and the rest of the usual Sim-style resource management stuff. That’s fun enough, but the really interesting bit is the ‘Sandbox’ mode, where you can make your own movies, pretty much from scratch.

You choose from a wide variety of sets, costumes and, best of all, pre-animated micro-scenes (‘Walk in with ax’, ‘Discover body’; ‘Slip on banana peel’) many of which can be tweaked with more or less tension, humor, or whatever makes sense in context. You pick pre-created actors or create your own with the usual facial modeling tools. Then you string all these together in a storyboard with some gentle plot and pacing assistance, and when you’re done ‘filming’ you can type in your dialog as subtitles or record a voice-over in a sophisticated post-production studio.

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