GuildWars2 Machinima: Thoughts and Suggestions

A game’s community consists of a wide variety of aspects. Today I want to talk about a part of the extended experience offered by a game’s community: player-made videos. Otherwise known as Machinima. For years now YouTube and other video sites have been swarmed by videos of gaming footage, music video’s, series and even South Park episodes entirely created in-game. It allows players to enjoy the game in new ways as a self-sustaining part of community plus it offers free promotion to get your game out there.

Now the current development of GuildWars2 had me worried for a bit. There’s no way to unlock the camera angle at the moment and even other features such as spectator mode are still early in development or just under discussion. Wouldn’t it be cool to receive some freedom with the camera so you can really enjoy the environments around you, or get that perfect angle for your scene? Or maybe you want to show off a great kill you scored in a recent PvP match.

Examples

Before I go over some possibilities for GuildWars2 I’d like to go around and check out some other games of which some have already accepted and provided extra features for their players.

  • Runescape is over 10 years old and still manages to expand it’s features time upon time. Last year they released a new item especially for Machinima creators called the Orb of Oculus. It allows to control and save/load the camera position and hide the UI elements. More on their development blog and wiki.
  • World of Warcraft already has plenty of examples of Machinima of every single type. This has been aided greatly with the unofficial Model Viewer software.
  • The Source Film Maker is a video editing tool with a load of options. You’re able to create and edit any scene, have full camera control, add audio and custom lip sync. There’s plenty of examples to be found for Team Fortress 2 and Gary’s Mod.
  • Black Ops and Uncharted 2 both allow for automatic recording and match replay in their Theater or Cinema Mode. You can share replays, watch all angles and adjust playback speed. Uncharted 2 even takes it a leap further by allowing to change a load of camera, texture and lightning settings of your replay footage. They also have a more advanced map viewer with a green screen option and a lip sync option based on our microphone input or recorded audio!

Possible Features for GuildWars2

I expect to see a lot of player made videos created with or based on GuildWars2. While I’m not very experienced with creating them I did try to compile a list of relevant features that would only benefit the GuildWars2 community.

  1. Ablity to hide the UI : Should be in-game already
  2. Quick Screenshots : Automatically saves a screenshot in a format of your choosing to a pre-set location
  3. Character Animations, lots of them! =D
  4. Advanced Camera Controls :
    4.1. An unlocked camera so you can fully enjoy the environments you discover or capture any angle!
    4.2. A personal environment where you can adjust time, weather or particles around you – just on your own client – to pick the right environment for your video!
  5. Match Replays : Being able to record and save matches is great for tournament replays and commentary.
  6. Live Spectator Mode : Spectate a running match for a livestream during organized tournaments or events. This is an important feature especially considering the eSports factor of GuildWars2. This might be tricky to implement to avoid cheating by watching your opponent’s moves. GuildWars delayed viewing observer mode for PvP games because of this.
  7. Offline Character Creator : Now there’s been a lot of <3 for such a thing from the community. You can try out all your character features, colors or costumes as downloadable software or a mobile app.
  8. Model Viewer / Map Editor : Allows to re-create any instance. Full control over creatures, their animations and the environment plus an unlocked camera. Probably too good to be true since it requires a whole separate software package and not all model animations are as flexible.
  9. -ADD- First Person Mode : Watch details of the world around you by looking trough the eyes of your character. This was in GuildWars but not in the recent GW2 Demo.

Support and Discussion

Some of these suggestions may be good to be true, but while GuildWars2 is still in development it is the best time to step forward and say what you would want or just to discus the topic. I have created an official feedback page on the wiki so that all suggestions are legally allowed to be adopted by ArenaNet. If you have any experience in creating your own Machinima, more suggestions or just have thoughts about the subjects please post them here or on the discussion part of the wiki page.

Further reading:

This entry was posted in Explore, Guild Wars 2, Screenshots, Video and tagged , , by Karasu. Bookmark the permalink.

About Karasu

Raven (aka Karasu) is a physicist and is currently studying for Master of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology. Just being a Guild Wars fan is not enough, it's the community and developers that really drive his passion for all things Guild Wars. Besides that he's got hobbies such as Improv, Frisbee, Percussion, PC and gaming. Follow me on @GWKarasu.
  • Anonymous

    Brilliant article. It is also an issue which I’ve considered. (Most off my online time I spent on youtube watching one machinima or another).

    When gw2 hits ill be hopefully getting into game commentary and showing off both the pve and pvp aspects of the game through a sort of weekly “let’s play” series.

    •  Thanks! Since there’s going to be a complete new community built on the game, I’m really curious to what kind of creative stuff we’ll see from the community. Anyone who starts off with regular, quality videos will get loads of viewers for sure!

  • Anonymous

    I -love- machinma. There were a few from WoW I watched fairly religiously.
    “Dude, where’s my mount?”, “Azerothian Super Villians” and .. one other I can’t remember the name to. Though I don’t play anymore, I still keep up with “Blizz Blues” these days.

    One night my friend and I even marathoned the Tales of the Past series, the third part of which was an epic full feature-length movie that followed the lore of Warcraft from the PoV of a regular guy who becomes a hero.

    SO FREAKING GOOD. 

    If I had the time / patience I would love to make a GW2 series but I know I definitely won’t. So I’m counting on the great community to do that much, and I’ll do what I can to promote it XD

    As far as features, I pretty much agree with what you said. Hiding the UI is in, it’s the same command as it is in GW now (ctrl + shift + h, I think). The lack of 1st person camera view, though, is a huge bonerkill in that area. hopefully that gets adjusted soon enough. 

    Good post. 🙂

    • There’s bound to be equally great series to be made in GuildWars2, that’s one of the reasons I wrote this article. As for the first person camera I also noticed that during GamesCom but forgot to put it in. It would be a shame if simple features like those wouldn’t make it into the game.

  • Thrangis TheRed

    This would be great!  I would love to see an indepth First Person Mode.  Great post.

    I wish I would have looked more into my uncharted 2.  I didn’t even know it had this!  >.>

    • I didn’t know too before yesterday. One of my friends recommended it for this topic and it was a great example of implementation. Note that Uncharted 2 worked together with the guys from Machinima to create the perfect set of tools for it.

  • Krzysztof Kotarba

    Fact that you can put your wow server and use wow model viewer makes WoW most machnima frendly game (beside Valve’s stuff). I wish someone could make GW2 model viewer.