Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Sims as Narrative Engine Seminar

On Tuesday 25 October at 13:15 I will be performing a seminar in HUMlab, The Sims as Narrative Engine. It is open for all to attend and HUMlab is under the main library at Umeå University. I will be looking at the relationships between computer game play and machinima film. How a story emerges from game play is of primary interest to me.

How do stories get told with the world’s most popular P.C. game, The Sims? One way is through Machinima animation where visual content from game play is arranged into animated films, many of which are of very high quality, featuring advanced editing techniques, voice overs, sound effects, and soundtrack music. But what is interesting is that when a machinima film is being made in a Sims world the “actors” cannot be told what to do, but rather scenes are set up and the film maker(s) wait for what they want to happen to happen. Or maybe it does not happen and the story line changes as a result of the algorithms driving the software. This is a form of film making removed somewhat from traditional practice, and one which raises many issues regarding the role of narrative in computer game play.

The Sims as Narrative Engine can be viewed here.

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