Machinima Night III program part 2

MTV GENERATION

I cannot touch on the topic of Machinima without mentioning the music videos. It’s a storytelling format which the MTV-generation understands so well and they’re able to use their literacy of music videos to create their own. It’s a wonderful way to be a fan of both the games and the music. I have a soft spot for the music Machinima that doesn’t have a glossy feel – but rather amateur love.
I showed two very old music Machinima films. The first one is from a very well known machinima artist, who I’m sure wishes that I showed some of his newer stuff. B. Kiddo has been creating machinima for years and his artful skills in The Sims and Second Life are just awesome. But this Machinima film is one of the first I ever saw. I was so touhed by it. Although it isn’t smoothly made – it’s very emotional. I showed this to a girl friend of mine who thinks I’m totally weird for being interested in this stuff and would rather I focus my attention on finding a man and go shopping – and she welled up. Which of course gave me immense satisfaction!

B. Kiddo – Bitter Sweet

Watch here.

The other music Machinima I played is actually Chinese and made Everquest. I stumbled upon it by chance. It is very simple – but the song is just so catchy I can’t help but love it! I’m told the song was a number one hit in China about 10 years ago (thanks KML) and I can understand why. I find myself humming the song several times a day and I enjoy simplisity of the Machinima film.
Peter Tan – Look Over Here!
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Machinima, copyright and schools

I had an interesting phone conversation the other day.

There’s an organisation that promotes art to schools here in Norway, Kunst i Skolen. It’s completely new to me, but it’s existed since 1948 (way to go Norway!). So I’m still kinda dazed about this – but from what I can gather, they have these travelling exhibitions for schools (and I think members – although, I’m not sure if the schools need to be members). They’ve got loads of great stuff to offer, including CD-roms of collections and art for teaching purposes.

So why am I getting into this?

I was asked on Tuesday if I could put together a DVD of some Machinima films and I also offered to write a little summary of what machinima is. Now – ofcourse I’m having difficulty. Since they’re an official organisation they need all the copyright details to be in order – and I’m struggling. The game companies certainly have come around the last couple of years – but the music industry – hell no. So when trying to present an art that’s all about reproduction of media – fan art – remediation – or whatever we’re calling it these day – what to do?

It’s frustrating, and in my opinion needless, ridiculous and depriving so many of some great art. But I take comfort that they can be found online – which is just another rant waiting to burst out of me soon – but another time.

Anyhoo – I’m in desperate need of machinima with copyright issues in order. I have to play catch-up on my machinima copyright laws, but if memory serves me right Blizzard and Microsoft are fair – leaving it up to the artist as long as they don’t make any money off it. I’m unsure about The Sims, though, but I’m thinking they’ll be alright. What about Take 2?

Please let me know if you have any good ideas and machinima to offer.

I have a time limit on this that’s insane – I basically need to send this in the post on Monday. But how could I refuse? Machinima in schools? Are you kidding me?! I love it!

Aesthetics?

Yesterday UiB hosted the “New Aesthetic Technologies Conference”, which I really would have loved to attend! Firstly because I really want to know what my (?) university department thinks about aesthetics and new media – because I’m not sure I know. Two years ago (good golly – has it been that long?) – the brilliant Rune Klevjer put together a conference called “The Aesthetics of Play” – it’s just such an excellent title, don’t you think?
Look what I found!!

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State of Play Conference

It was fun!
The conference started off with a bang. We got to see Glenn Thomas’ “Ideal World. A Virtual Life Documentary” – which is brilliant (Glenn’s also a super dooper, charming and smart man, by the way!). He’s really managed to get the full compass of The Second Life story into it and I applaud him for it!
The panels were exciting and from vast disciplines – which I thought was great! Some of the conference delegates (220 attending) had some amazing questions to the panels, which brought some great insight and discussion. I’m not too comfortable writing in detail here, as I’m in the middle of writing other articles for a serious publication. I’m not used to all this journalism thinking and I’m not sure what’s allowed and not in duplication matters on my own personal blog. So let me tread lightly till stuff gets published.
I’ve met some truly amazing people which I hope to keep in touch with. Lots of bright and colorful minds were present and I felt so privileged to meet them. All shall be mentioned when I dwell deeper into stuff here.
I found being a ‘journalist’ quite hard, however. Finding stuff that was news worthy for ‘regular people’ was challenging, which is why we’re holding off publication till it’s all in a lovely understandable package. It’s also quite hard finding the correct Norwegian words for stuff – any Norwegian readers out there willing to have a go at ‘in-world’? It’s such a great way to pinpoint what you’re trying to describe, “they met in-world”, “in-world business transaction”, I just can’t seem to find the right Norwegian wording for it. I have also found a great appreciation for the word ‘business’ in English. I think we have about alternatives in Norwegian and I find none of the satisfactory! Speaking of which, I need to get back to work.

Naw – lawsuits can’t happen here because it’s virtual FANTASY world!

This is an odd tv segment. I found it interesting and just really weird (even odder – I was absolutely certain I’d blogged about the case – but apparently not, must be getting confused with my del.icio.us’ing).
So for those out of the loop:

South Korea claims tax on Virtual Goods

Worlds In Motion (which I’ll get back to later) reports that Korea’s National Tax Service (NTS) “has begun adding the new tax automatically to all virtual transactions involving real money as of July 1st, says the report, translated as follows:

Sellers who do between 6 and 12 million won ($6,500 – $13,000)/half year in
business will have VAT auto applied by transaction’s middle-man.

Sellers who do more than 12 million won/half year in business will need a
business will need a business license and will pay the tax by themselves”

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This whole copyright licensing of media thing


Like the rest of the world, I became enchanted by ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent when I saw Paul Potts‘ remarkable performance on YouTube – oh the tears! This of course led to hunger for more and I randomly went through some of the related YouTube videos. At one point I thought ‘hang on – I’m sure they’ve got a website with better quality clips and a much better organisational overview’. And they do -yay! But no – I get this picture up. “This content is not for viewing outside of the UK due to rights reasons”. Urgh! My thoughts go to the delightful Ben Hammersley‘s words:

The audience is actually quite happy to pay for these things. Witness the sales of DVD box-sets, or the success of the downloadable episodes of hit shows in the iTunes Music Store. Again, though, the television industry shoots itself in the foot. Would I pay for downloadable episodes of the Daily Show? Yes. Will anyone take my money from me? No. Why? Because I’m in the wrong country. Well, I tried. I’ll be thinking about how little their broken business model is my problem as I boot up my torrent software, download the show, and watch the whole thing, including the adverts and any in-show sponsorship.It’s a curious business indeed that turns away customers. It’s exceptionally puzzling when an industry ignores offers of cash. The reason for this seemingly counter-intuitive approach to business – where those with the supply actively avoid those with the demand – is that selling programming is not the business channels are in.

The Guardian, March 20, 2006

“Get with the programme”

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MMORPG professionals

Raph Koster writes about a new group that calls themselves “The Virtual Citizenship Association”. It’s a new group advocating virtual citizen ehm ‘rights’. In his blogpost he points out the relevant problems with their social contract – which I completely agree with – so I’m not going to bother repeating it all in my own words here – you should just read it – I can’t do his words justice here!
But entering the site – I was quite intrigued by how they define themselves:

“We’re a group of MMORPG professionals, people who enjoy playing in online universes in general and people who advocate the use of Free Software.”

I find that interesting. When I think of ‘MMORPG proffesionals’ I think of game operators and designers – not players, but it’s a relevant point! Why shouldn’t players be labeled as MMORPG professionals? I kinda like it – it tickled me!
As for what they’re advocating, I agree with Koster when he writes:

“I’d prefer any such social contract to focus more on how operators have to treat players, than on forcing particular business models on operators.”

Too right!

And in case you don’t have the time to read the comments, I have to paste glorious Mr. Bartle’s comment – where would this industry be without his precious sense of humor?

“Why is it that these “players’ rights” advocates always target the virtual world developers and never the people who run guilds?

Richard

PS: Wouldn’t it be amusing if a virtual world developer banned membership of such organisations under its EULA?”