Plans for the fall

Let me first start off by saying that I love my job and I think I’ll be able to share my experiences there in the upcoming

Linn cupping kaffehuset friele

This is me cupping at my job at a coffee roaster here in Bergen.

year. I haven’t decided if I’ll start a new blog or continue writing here, though. I like this space for all my “other” activities. But there are few of them and I suspect there’ll be fewer still. One of my main goals for the rest of the year is to do a little analysis of how I see my education being put to good use. I keep noticing skills I learned from Media Studies and I’m thankful for having them.  I really do feel like I have the right skills to do this job well – and that’s reassuring. I want to spread the confidence to other media students, you know? Because there is little understanding of what Media Studies skills can be used in jobs and the corporate world – but I see myself using these skills all the time.

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MachinimUP or MachiniMIX

I’m trying to figure out a really catchy great name for the upcoming Machinima Night at Landmark 22. October. This is what I’ve come up with – MachinimUP or MachiniMIX – but to be perfectly honest – I feel that’s just a foolish way of hyping it all up. Why not continue to be perfectly honest, frank and to the point with Machinima Night III?

I’m officially on vacation and I’m unofficially trying to get my head focused on upcoming projects and dreams this fall so I can dive straight into them when I come home. My day job will be requiring quite a lot of attention – so I must have a few things straight soon.

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Machinima – fan art?

I’ve often thought about machinima as fan art – but I’ve never felt completely comfortable with it. I’ve always felt like machinima in itself – was an artform in it’s own right. But then there are such lucious films like this. Which clearly is fan based, but a voyeuristic delight none the less!

Speaking of fan art – I’ve started a little theory about why we’re not talking enough about this in Norway. We have no word for “fan” – seriously – if you can think of something do tell me – but I don’t think we have a word for ‘fan’. We have supporter – which is generally considered to be football fans. But it’s not even that – a football fan is a supporter, although I’m not sure that a WoW machinimator is a supporter of Blizzard. It’s baffled me for a while now and there’s definitely a cultural significance in being wordless on the subject. It’s interesting – and just a thought to share.

Thoughts on analysing Machinima – part 1

I’m not a big fan of the notion that machinima will replace the art of animation. Machinima is something completely different, in my opinion. Like Henry Lowood says:

“It is important to recall that the origins of machinima lie not in content production, but in gameplay” (Lowood, 2006 in Video Games and Art)

It is something that has evolved from high-performance gameplay to brilliant meaningful content, but the essence is still gameplay. The ability to master a game so well that you can bend it and form it into your own mold of content, your own story, your own expression.

Dr. Lowood again:

“Depicting machinima as high-performance play stems from its emergence from inter-relationships of play, spectatorship, technical virtuosity and storytelling in computer games. Each of these factors played a role in defining the practices of machinima as practices of game performance.”(Lowood, 2006, Video Games and Art)

So how should we go about deconstructed machinima, finding it’s meaning, it’s aura – it’s true art?

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Virtual Worlds stuff

Just a little list of observations and things on my ‘to read’ list. I don’t know why – but I’ve been so incredibly unfocused lately. I’ve actually been very social this weekend – which has been lovely but I feel I’m lagging behind on my feedburning!

1) Finland’s Game Research Lab has had what looks to be a really great conference/seminar (I’m sure someday I’ll actually care what the difference is) – Breaking the Magic Circle. What really struck me first was Vili Lehdonvirta’s contribution, Virtual Worlds Don’t Exist. I was instantly sucked in yesterday but three pages in I was rudely interrupted – and look at me now – blogging instead of reading! Vili’s one of those people who manages to see clearly and keep both his feet on the ground when it comes to virtual worlds studies – and I honestly can’t wait to finish his paper. Because the dude’s definitely on to something.

The abstract:

I argue that much of MMO-related scholarship is implicitly based on a dichotomous “real world vs. virtual world” model, which is heavily influenced by the “magic circle” concept in game studies. I show a number of shortcoming in this perspective and propose an alternative perspective based on Anselm Strauss’s social worlds (Strauss, 1978). The alternative perspective unbundles users from the technological platform and places MMO-centered social worlds in context with other worlds like religion and workplace.

I think Virtual World Studies are growing up – and that suits me fine!

2) There are now more than 100 youth oriented virtual worlds live or in development. Look – Virtual Worlds Management has a list!

3) The virtual world VizWoz is launching a virtual cinema on April 18th, according to Virtual World News. I had a 15 minute test-run of the place and I pretty much hated it. But I’m not a teen and 15 minutes is never enough for true judgment.

I’m really tickled by the virtual world cinema concept. It’s something I’ve wanted virtual worlds to get into for a while now. I’ve always thought that this would be the way for stupid licensing issues to disappear. But I wasn’t too happy about the fact that I needed to register if I lived in the States or not while getting an account – I, of course, lied – we’ll see if I can get away with it. I’m also eager to see the quality of the films they’re going to screen.

I applaud the initiative.

4) Speaking of April 18th – Funcom is together with GameSpot offering to play PvP Age of Conan from April 18th to April 20th for 15,000 gamers. I’ll be unwired in Gøteborg that weekend so I haven’t bothered to have a look at how I can be a part of it. Yet another sign that Age of Conan won’t be delayed again, I think! I wish them luck!

5) Have to read Raph Koster’s “Is there such a thing as a casual online world?”

Cory Ondrejka’s fabulous slideshow

Cory Ondrejka explains the complexities of Virtual Worlds so wonderfully in this slideshow. It’s selfexplanatory – simple – informative – and extremely tidy.This is the third slideshare I’ve seen today – and they’re all great. I sometimes wonder if I have it in me to focus entirely on someone speaking without a beautiful slideshow. Can I learn without visual stimulation anymore?

Things to do when I get home from work

  • Snoop in the e-grapevine as to what on earth is going on at Linden Labs. Corey Ondrejka leaves? Because of differences with Philip Rosedale? – oh my oh my! I feel like my juicy gossipy needs are bursting! It’s funny – but I wonder if we all have a favorite of the two? I hadn’t thought about it before now, but they’re not very similar are they? And, well, I can’t lie, I definitely have a favorite – do you? And what does this mean for Second Life? A Second Life without Cory? It just seems wrong somehow – but then again, who am I to have an opinion – I’m hardly ever there!
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Some Machinima help, please?

Oh deary deary me!

Either my googling skills have turned to dust or I’ve never been good at it. I’m trying to find the source to animpinabox’s Dance World of Warcraft.

I can only find the YouTube video or Google – which will not do when showing stuff on the big screen! Anyone?

And the Village Elves which has been banned from YouTube – fooooooools!!! I can’t find it anywhere.

Any hey – you brilliant Machinima makers – some of you are a tad too shy and your contact details are impossible to find! Why? Are you hassled by people like me who want bigger and better quality files so much?

What else?

Oooh – yeah! I’m missing a film for our storytelling segment. The two I have are both in The Sims – any other good storytelling machinima that’s not from The Sims?

Other than that? COME!

Landmark, 9 pm – November 29th! Ooo – I’m nervous – excited and all over the place right now! Phew!

The Language thing and some heavy duty rambling on time management issues!

I woke up this morning with an intense desire to blog – so at this writing moment I’m thinking today is going to be a great day!

I think absolutely everyone in my social network has been hassled with hard questions like “How do you translate game mechanics to Norwegian?”. So many excellent suggestions, but I never seem to be satisfied. I’m not happy with the direct translation which would be spillmekanikk. I’ve been trying to write some articles for the mainstream media and at the moment half of the articles I’ve written have been published. I’m quite chuffed and proud about that. Firstly because the content isn’t always considered newsworthy and second – I’m no freakin journalist!
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Community Guidelines

I really enjoyed reading (via Raph Koster) Scott Hartsman’s “Beta Community Guidelines”. It was originally written for the Everquest II Beta in 2004 – but I think a lot is relevant now as well. In fact, I don’t think these rules apply just to MMORPGs – I think any online community would be smart in developing the same…I’m more inclined to use a word such as ethics and morals, than guidelines, but ok.