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Monday, July 12, 2010


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Robustus Hax

It really is a shame Linden Lab does not promote Machinima more, or cater to the Machinima community more. Machinima actually makes Second Life look better. (good quality Machinima anyway) and the possibilities are endless.

Metaverse TV was recently contracted to do a piece in a real life film called Popular Unrest by Melanie Gilligan, which is being shown at the Chisenhale Gallery in London. http://www.popularunrest.org/ The small segment we filmed is featured in the first episode.

Linden needs to embrace Machinima. You have programs like Moviestorm and iClone that charge for the software and are not the easiest to use, and are far less collaborative, but Linden hardly ever speaks of Second Life as a movie making platform.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

"Education and enterprise applications of Second Life have not succeeded"

While I follow this claim in the context of the post, it still sticks in my writing teacher's craw. If you meant "educational applications of SL have failed to find a mass audience," I agree.

But many applications have succeeded and been featured in case studies, such as the Canadian Border Simulation by Ken Hubble (SL), that you once featured in this blog.

There are many other standout edu projects in SL, especially in medical education, that students have used quite happily for a few years.

Hamlet Au

You're right, Iggy, I just added "on a wide scale" as a qualifier. That said, I'm not aware of any education application *besides* the Canadian Border Simulation which have showed concrete, verifiable success metrics for using SL pedagogically. Are you? I'd love to know about them.

Moebius Overdrive

Machinima has been the only SL "product", our company has been able to grasp. In the last two years, I've helped produce a number of training videos for our Ethics office. It has been cheaper/faster to produce them in Second Life, than First Life.

Oddly, we use a virtual world to create videos that teach intangible skills.

Ann Otoole

I am unsure as to why but one of my reptilian videos has over 4000 views in just over a year which seems like a lot for an SL video. People are looking. So let's make more! Here is a fun one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yze9RWqh52s&fmt=22


"I've helped produce a number of training videos for our Ethics office. It has been cheaper/faster to produce them in Second Life, than First Life."

hmm... i wonder if you own the rights to all the "free ip" hamlet and others "say" you have the rights to use in SL under the "new" Machinama guidelines...and the intentions of the contents "actual" IP rights owners. Lets hope so.:)

people PAY for Iclone or other 3d animation tools BECAUSE they get paid to produce animation by clients who dont want the risk of the IP mess that "filming" for commercial usage (without proper IP rights confirmed) that using SL "offers" its "loggers on for "free"

machinima has always had IP issues which is why its not a "mainstream" commercial service.. what it really IS, without all the meta voodoo con on blogs... is animation.

If You want animation for commercial purposes- pay fairly for it- forget the cheaper come one from the LL religion. It wont feed the poor.;)

you get what you pay for. lets hope the "ethics" work using "SL machinima" is in fact...done commercially ethical.;)


Opensource Obscure

I don't really make machinima - my Second Life videos are just 1-take raw footage, with no plot, and sometimes a soundtrack added directly at Youtube (Nine Inch Nails rule).

Anyway, I often include in my videos ideas or solutions that I'd be glad to share with you who really make cool machinima: tips about light and shadows, projections (1 - 2), strange visual effects by changing Debug Settings or creative use of semi-unknown features like Recorder.
Anyone interested in details or willing to play with this stuff .. feel free to ask me in-world or by commenting on Youtube.

Also, let's improve http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Category:Machinima :)

Ramesh Ramloll

In regards to your 'concrete, verifiable success metrics for using SL pedagogically'
We have published our evaluations in various Journals e.g. Journal of Emergency Management, Journal of Public Health Education etc... in any case, prob with SL, is that blog posts about SL and SL itself seem to be so deja vu that people are bored.

Toxic Menges

Linden Lab showed how much they value machinima when they removed the machinima showcase from the website and never replaced it.

I find it amazing that a company that has very skilled users showcasing their product at a very high level giving potential new users glimpses of what is possible, and they do nothing with them.

The promotional machinima they do use is somewhat bland, and gives no real idea of the potential of Second Life.

Linden Lab should be rewarding those who make cutting edge machinima, and celebrating the view that the art gives non residents into their world.

Agent Heliosense

Extending our use of Second Life for developing museum content, The Tech Virtual has a new opportunity for machinima to possibly be brought into a new gallery about microchips at the real life Tech Museum. Competition details at: http://thetechvirtual.org/projects/microchip-clips The categories are "A World Without Chips" (think steampunk maybe) "Inside the Chip", and "The Future of Thinking Machines" (think outside the present). It's likely machinimatographers will have a unique advantage in visualizing these topics. Prizes up to $1,000 US. and deadline is Sept. 1st. Great opportunity to get your machinima in the mix for this new space!

Ann Otoole

your havok 7 clip is awesome opensource :P Almost 10k views too. The more 720p and 1080p vids that showcase the good of SL the better.

Toxic Menges

@opensource I avidly watch what you do and make notes, and then go implement that into what I do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byiETQThtEQ Thank you for finding all this stuff and making it accessible!


hmm. so let me get this right... Im being "asked" to make content for a commercial museum, for "maybe winning" 1000 usd. - typical 1 sec. of commercial animation costs---...and what i should do is "just go take screen captures" from the NEMO sim, so nice and so steampunk... add some avatars preening to unpaid for music.., and of course, pocket the 1k for myself--and not tell the dude who built NEMO ;)

yeah, its a bargain of an ethical killer app in SL....

or tell me im not laying it out as it is.;)

fun is fun, but whos paying for all this fun?

Toxic Menges

Cube, I can't talk for anyone else, but I get appropriate licensing for any music I use, and I also either buy my sets, have them made, or ask permission to film.

I try and keep my budgets to around 50usd for anything I make, and the majority of my work I don't get paid for as they are made to get a creative itch out of my head.

Ricepot Rincewind

Oi, here ya go again, Hamlet! Going on about a subject you've proven time and time again you know nothing about! Not only do you incessantly try to represent the supershort point/shoot/process-to-hell frappsing as groundbreaking machinima, but now you think Lainey Voom will be the first to go mainstream? Do you pay attention to in-world media at all, Mr. Au?

What about Pooky Amsterdam whose work in television entertainment has reached episodes numbering in the hundreds. The Treet people who have pioneered television entertainment in virtual platforms are the ones with the most tangible bodies of work with measurable results. In another machinima type you have Phaylen Fairchild who I would say created the series that is closes to replicating the success of Red vs Blue as it continues to gain a cult following having crossed into WoW. Paisley Beebe's show Tonight Live also has thousands upon thousands of views per episode and her production company has been given nods in internationally renowned publications that ARE mainstream.

But you dismiss these people, who will likely be the true success, to point out some more obscure (Albeit talented) artist - not entertainer or filmmaker who babes work on established pieces: The Dumb Man was a virtual imagining of a Sherwood Anderson story, beautifully told, wonderfully inspired, but not original. You make your personal alignments far too obvious by blatantly disregarding reality in favor of your bias. Not a shocker, it's your journalistic style.

Toxic Menges

+1 for mentioning Phaylen's Diva series, masterpiece ongoing...

Ann Otoole

Wow spite over awareness of the medium being raised. Is there a new Diva script in this somewhere? :P

You know what? I see a lot of good coming down the pike in SL Machinima. The newer video cards and the Kirstens viewer really make a huge difference and that difference is only recently come online and being realized. Add to that the hopefully soon production ready release of Havok 7 physics as well as some other recent advances for LSL that can help with sets and effects.

I see a lot of good in the near future for this medium. And I suspect there will be a lot more people involving themselves in the medium. And there is room for all.

Hamlet Au

"but now you think Lainey [sic] Voom will be the first to go mainstream"

Huh? I didn't say that, I said it's disappointing that Lainy's machinima, as great as it is, isn't being promoted by the Lindens. I specifically mentioned her "Stolen Child" because Philip himself praised it at SLCC, and said it looked like something Peter Jackson could have done. Which is true. And makes it weird they're not doing more to promote it.

The other machinima makers you mention do really good work in the sense that it has a solid audience of Second Life Residents, though I think most of it won't transcend into a mass market, because it's too targeted at the SL community. Nothing wrong with that at all -- indeed, that's what most machinima is like -- but I do think it's not likely to extend outside it. The SL machinima that has gone bigtime, Cao Fei's "i. Mirror", Doug Gayeton's "Molotov Alva", David Verbeek's "R U There", and so on, is quite different from what they do. But it's not an either/or, there's all kinds of ways of doing machinima that's successful on its own terms.


Well I'm not going to complain or comment on what LL does or has done or expect to continue not to do lol.

From my part and what I sincerely think and develop, I am in complete agreement with you, the Machinima is a mass-market, no clue about that. However I would warn, Machinima is not only second life, or anything that looks, Machinima is not only cameras that fly into a beautiful scenery, machinima is all in the virtual environment can provide, and what we can invent on this view. I also assume that we are still residents of SL and other techniques of machinima booming and how everything still needs to grow, create body and consistency. Against this view, and even found a funny coincidence, I'm doing a survey with some basic questions and I thought at the right time for elementary and producers we have a public dimension about how Machinima affects us. AU, I was thinking to share with you so we can take a conclusion, with real facts. So far, so good a summary of "we" instead of TV production (which I find very important). I find it very important within our universe that we can reflect on what really is the end product that the public want, since I started this adventure has been day after day, achievements, although still an amateur, but maybe entrepreneur. Already we can talk in small production companies who deliver work under contract (I say no more) among others.

In short, the Machinima is not currently in the hands of Mr. LL or television(from my part I won’t give them any chance of messing my work or someone work). Is Is on our side and it's up to us to be the motivating source or a link between the masses. Am I right or am I wrong?

Survey here -> http://yourmachinima.com/?page_id=1430 “ target=”_blank”> http://yourmachinima.com/?page_id=1430

ps: give me a feedback on the survey if I can count with your help. Cheers
Btw: I agree in what some others are already doing, like Pooky Amsterdam, metaverseTV among others. Let’s promote them, give them motivation and rise up this amazing media community to make a machinima - THE MACHINIMA (omg how I love this.)

Lainy Voom

Hmm, ok, firstly, I have no intentions of going mainstream, I would have thought that were obvious by the type of films I churn out.

Secondly, at Rincewind, you have me pinned as someone who just makes adaptations. My 2 most successful films in terms of viewership are "Tale from Midnight City" (37,333 views) and "Fall" (25,501 views) both of those are original. The most successful film I've made in terms of media festivals, exhibitions etc outside of SL is "Push", totalling 12 different venues in the past year, also original work. The truth is my adaptations are less successful.

Thirdly, I wish more machinimists would submit their work (if they have the rights to the music etc) to media/animation festivals outside of SL, it is a great way to gain more exposure for what we do.


Chaffro Schoonmaker

The problem with Machinima in Linden Lab's eyes is that it's content creation that they can't make any money from. They can tax your XStreet items, they can push tier up and force higher rents for in-world stores - but anyone with a good eye (preferably two) and a recording program can make machinima, sell it, be commissioned to make it, and the Lab can't get their grubby fingers on a penny of it. Hence, they won't promote it. Which sucks.

So it does come down to the individuals to promote it, and when they do, they do it very well. Look at the success that Chantal had with her MaMachinima festival earlier in the year. Yes, people like Pooky and Phaylen great views, but it requires a degree of shameless self-promotion to achieve that (initially, at least). But all machinima creators would have a much better chance of success and recognition of their work if the Lab stopped thinking about the financials and did more to help.

On a personal note, I am again utterly devastated that again my brilliant contribution to the genre has been sorely overlooked yet again. However, shameless self-promotion just isn't me.

moo Money

Chaffro is right. With development companies, they at least get island tier and upload fees. With machinima, the recording program and audio are purchased elsewhere, the land is probably borrowed or rented for a very short time, and the end result is hosted out of SL (even if it's played back into SL). It's very hard for LL to monetize machinima without completely closing it off and asking for licensing fees like Blizzard does.

When I was doing a series for machinima.com when I worked for them, they were always extremely concerned with how permissions worked inside SL. Until the new policy, it wasn't always clear, and I think that's why they ended up staying away in the end. Before that, I had to get permission for the skin, hair, clothing, textures, land, etc.


Since I started reading this blog about two years ago, I have noticed an obsession with pushing the idea that SL should become a mainstream game - with game emphasized.

So I'll say it again and again and again. SL does not work well as a mainstream game because of the dynamic constantly changing nature of the world. People who want to play 3D games have better options. SL is a dynamic interactive 3D graphics program with scripting capabilites which allows users to create interactive graphics. It also allows the sharing of music and videos in a 3D graphics space with users around the world.

This kind of program lends itself to many kind of uses, and in my opinion, the best uses are not game related.

Arcadia Codesmith

The production of machinima promotes Second Life for non-machinima uses as well as more machinima. It's free marketing for the Lab, producing value even if it generates little or no direct revenue.

It would therefore be in LL's best interest to nurture and promote it.

I'd love to see better camera controls built into the browser, rather than relying on third-party tools (some of which are quite wonderful, but all of which are subject to the limitations imposed by LSL and script execution).


Just to point out that SL, in all of its uses, is already mass market, since it has over 1 million regular users. There are over 38 countries in the world with a population of 1 million people or less.

soror nishi

The Lab does absolutely nothing to promote ANY art form within, or outside SL, so machinima is treated the same way.

I think this may be because no Linden has any understanding of SL art, namely, that the platform itself is a medium.

Peter Greenaway implied in a recent post here that the lindens have no idea what they have created (the platform) and why then would they understand it's art forms.

Ole Etzel

the creation of machinima still is a mess i think. as others said here before i´m getting permissions for what i record too, build by myself and simply record the musik on my own but... then i know lawyers that say notecards or IMs sent inside sl are no court-type evidence. meaning if you get such stuff from creators it helps you none in front of the judges. nada, gulch, zip... or what about inventory-loss or an imploded hard-disk? suddenly you will loose the rights for your work.

so do i better create every little prim, script and not to forget animation on my own to join the big machinima-market of the future? or does machinima loose it s charme if u suddenly have to work for one year on all the stuff u wanna show? wouldn´t it be much better then to use any kind of movie software and produce completly outside of sl?

opposite to all that discussion i remember machinima became big in games where it wasn´t possible to modify anything. so that was the big fun about it that everyone had the exactly same material and then it was about who had the best ideas and not who designed the best textures or background sounds or like mostly in sl who is promoted by the biggest group. i even would go so far to question if the so called sl-machinima can be called machinima in general. or if it is more like that we "rape" the sl-viewer to be a movie-makin software by using external softwarez? could be worth a discussion. so if you simply recorded by using a game-engine in the old days that was in my eyes always a violation of laws. at least if you uploaded it then later.

speakin of laws more, i know a lot of people say that it was okay to use celine dion´s "my heart will go on" in their video that showed 6 half-naked avatars dancin on a green and grassy beach under the boring default sky because that is "fair usage". only remembering all the aliens from outer-u.s. (like me) that such a law does not exist in the most countries of our planet. and your country is where they will judge u.

so i think the whole machinima and copyright laws is way too complex at least for me and the common joe. the only hope is to stay out of any commercial stuff and simply have fun until they ban your vids from wherever because of whatever!

and that is what the lindens will never get. i always hear from them what will be the big thing in the future comin out of second life. the next big commercial thing of course. besides the giant digital-penis-market nothin came true. cough sorry for that one #)

the biggest potential is their user-base. no users -> no big companies! but they will never get it...

so YES YARR! YES! promote more sl-artists. a good example is the pictures they show if you open the viewer. there are so many really good, copyright-safe photographies for example on koinup or fluckr... they only have to go for it... i dont understand why those login-pics are so boring. maybe that is how the lindens see sl... no idea.

okay enuff blabla for now :P machinima makes me blabla lotta. so be careful what u post mr. au, haha^^

Pooky Amsterdam

This is a great conversation - full of passion, ideals and a lot of hard work on the part of the film makers. Machinima is the best ambassador that Second Life has, and they have film, (done by PookyMedia and The IllClan) on their home page to prove it.
What is wonderful is how remarkable a medium it is and how much skill it takes to create really good machinima. I couldn't agree more that Second Life is a great media platform, and use it for much. From TV shows to training films, shorts to music videos, and more. What a fantastic medium, what a brilliant ability we have in our hands to make our visions come true with the use of the beautiful and amazing platform we cherish. Thank you Hamlet for pushing machinima into the forefront.


Machinema is the ONLY way i can capture the experience of SL in order to show others. It can be VITAL to showing outsiders what goes on in SL and pulling them in. Since the rest of SL is locked inside the walls of the Grid Machinima is so far the only format that gets the experience out there.

The only thing i would like LL to do in order to help the machinima community is fix up the groups and profile side of things, allow me to add youtube or vimeo to my profiles or groups.

I also envy the high processing Machinima artists who can have shadows. I'll never have shadows cos im a Mac user. But shadows arnt everything :)


Hamlet Au

"I have no intentions of going mainstream, I would have thought that were obvious by the type of films I churn out."

Lainy, there's many levels of "mainstream", and while your machinima and others on that level probably won't be playing at the suburban mall any time soon, I definitely think it deserves a showcase on outlets like the Independent Film Channel or Sundance Channel.

Paisley Beebe

Machinima is the window into our world, as you said Hamlet, but not in those words. Its a great way for non-users to be inspired to join S.L and find the places and people highlighted in Machinima, it may not mean direct income for L.L but if L.L promote it on their website, it will bring interested people in far more than showing video of shopping avatars, or words on a page will. Also Hamle,t I think Live n Kickin our Music show might translate to RL, Music crosses all boundaries and the Machinima in that particular TV show is very pretty...I could for instance definitely see it playing in a bar on a big screen.....and btw, we go by the rules with all our Machinima with permissions right across the board.

Ann Otoole

I've been pushing for people to start making compelling videos and get them posted on youtube. Been doing this in the forums for a while. Glad to see I am not the only one that wants to push this.

So, naturally, we need a better means of publicizing these fun little clips and great artistic compositions. Having the keyword Secondlife or "Second Life" in the appropriate youtube field is all well and good and needs to be there. But the new to SL people that need to see them are not going to be searching for Secondlife. It is going to take more creativity with the videos and the associated keywords to make connections that reach out to more people.

Guess we need to give that some thought.

Perhaps start using videos for blogging fashion reviews and connect SL to the fashion business that way etc. etc. Not to mention videos show the product better (and more truthfully). Same with other SL merchandising sectors.

Ideas welcomed.

Hamlet Au

I'd love to see that!

Also, I want to disagree with the theory that Linden Lab isn't paying attention to machinima because it doesn't make them money. That doesn't make sense. After all, Linden Lab spends a lot of time and money promoting socialization in SL, even though it doesn't directly make any money from that. And in fact, serious machinima makers *are* very likely to own land, so they have a place in SL where they can totally control their environment and IP rights. It's really a problem of marketing -- if the Lindens promoted land in a way that targeted machinima makers, I bet they'd do very well.

Ann Otoole

Ummmm... The Secondlife Channel on youtube has like 100 videos uploaded. So there seems to be evidence LL is aware of the usefulness of the medium. They are mostly tutorials and that would be a support overhead cost mitigation factor right there so yes I have to agree LL is not blind to the value proposition of Machinima and SL videos.

As for land to film on? Lots of available ideas there. Where is that Linden Endowment for the Arts? Maybe they have ideas. And LL could always make homesteads available to individuals, limit one, and give discounts to estate operations to offset. That way LL offloads support to estates for people wanting to go that way while increasing tier revenue from those who want one but do not want to rent from anyone other than LL.

Lots of ideas available. Is LL interested in ideas?


I agree with Hamlet. Even as an educator, I recognize that the only application of Second Life that we've done that has reached thousands of people is our youth produced machinima program, the Virtual Video Project.

While we typically get dozens at our in-world Teen Grid workshops, and perhaps a hundred or so at our simulcast events, we can get several thousand views of our youth's machinima projects.

Online video is such a powerful medium, and SL is such a great tool for filmmaking.

Delinda Dyrssen

ok Hamlet. Im a little pit upset with you right now.. I do appreciate and respect what you do on this blog so I will forgive you.. But PLEASE next time you post anything with adult language in it..warn us first? I never saw this film and had 10 year old sitting next to me when I watched the clip and I really don't want to have to explain what some of those words mean.

Thank you

Hamlet Au

Whoops, sorry about that, Delinda. But I thought Paul Rudd was telling McLovin to try some of his BBQ chicken.

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