Tuesday, October 19, 2010

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Minecraft Machinima: Beautiful and Innovative New Video from Maker of the 8 Mile Minecart Viral Hit

"Dreamcraft" is a new Minecraft video from Brett, who made the viral 8 mile Minecart video only last week. Not satisfied with doing just that, he's come up with some impressively clever techniques for turning Minecraft into a machinima platform. Some people say Minecraft isn't pretty, but where most only see retro, blocky graphics, Brett sees profound poetry. And makes this machinima, as he puts it, "to show what Minecraft is before people create and mine. The way the world is before we change it." Watch:

“The inspiration for the shots was the music mostly,” Brett tells me. “Being pretty largely into photography I just seem to be drawn to certain areas, and frame it up. I enjoy wide, but low angled shots. These kind of shots show scale well and the grandeur of whatever is being shot."

But to do that, Brett had to create some innovations in the Minecraft level he was shooting in. “Minecraft has very little flexibility with filming,” as he puts it, which means lots of improvising. He used the Minecraft building tools to create a kind of hillbilly shooting system:

Minecraft machinima

For example, the solemn panning shots, which were captured in real time. Ordinarily, Minecraft movement is extremely fast. To slow those down, Brett explains, “I built a series of glass panels behind me and angled my movement to slowly slide along this ‘dolly’ track to get the speed I wanted.”

To remove the game's user interface from the footage, he had to get into the very code of Minecraft: “Basically you take the user interface files [in Minecraft] and erase them, then replace them in the game's archives.” (He has a demo video on how to do that here.)

Brett acknowledges that the sandbox game has a way to go before becoming a full-fledged machinima platform. “For now,” he says, “Minecraft is pathetic in that respect, but the community has come up with a lot of shortcuts. From removing the HUD to having a flycam for skyviews of the terrain, I'm sure they can continue to make up for what is missing in the game.”

Got Minecraft news you want to share? Contact me, part-time Minecraft reporter Wagner James Au at wjamesau at well dot com. (My Minecraft avatar was made by Bone Mosten of Punching Trees).

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Eggy Lippmann

Random fact: The Minecraft engine can simulate an area 8 times larger than Earth, though Notch presently has it configured by default to not exceed 1.76 the size of Earth.

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