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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


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I somehow doubt that people would like to wait 5 days to see stuff on the news.

Scylla Rhiadra

I can only thank the makers of this machinima for the revelation that the take-down of bin Laden proceeded against the soundtrack of some suspiciously foreign-sounding Pakistani (?) music (which remains, sadly, uncredited in the video, but heck, it IS foreign, after all, so who really cares?).

Thank god for the reassuring sound of those calm American voices breaking in over the sinister strains of the music, and the hysterical and incoherent screaming of that equally foreign woman. "Good work, team!"

Anyone care to decode what this video really implies about "the War on Terror"?

Lounge Daddy

While I doubt that news teams would waste 5 days to build a set for a few mins of simulation...

I can see news networks building nice looking generic sets, as well as a menu of avatars. This way when they have a story to reenact in, say Boston, they select an appropriate urban set and the proper avatars and they are ready to go.

It would sure beat the crappy all-purpose bland rooms they use.

Lounge Daddy

I just realized a potential for this. All the various (and conflicting) stories of what happened could be reenacted and filmed.

So one reenactment could show Bin Laden being shot in his bedroom, another outside by the helicopter; one could show the team's cameras going out for that 25 min "blackout" and the rest showing the cameras filming everything; one could show Bin Laden using his wife as a human shield, another could show him shooting back, and another could show him retreating to an upstairs room and hiding ...

With so many stories, it would provide days of reenactment fun. :)

Ann Otoole InSL

It only takes a few hours to construct a scene in SL if you have the right professional movie maker quality textures, expert building skills, and reference data. I was going to make historically accurate castles until I realized people stopped buying large parcels for such things. It doesn't take long if you have the floorplan and pictures.

Getting professional quality actors wearing professional quality costumes is a different story. However there are loads of heavy immersion role players throughout SL and a savvy news organization could/would pay for and maintain a stock wardrobe of currently accurate garments and hand held equipment (weapons, comms devices, etc). And keep a few professional SL builders/modelers at the ready for emergency building.

So yes it is possible for SL to be used for a simulation platform. After all that is exactly what SL is. Given how you can buy so much exactly accurate equipment in SL already then it could be easier. If only you could find what you need.

Arcadia Codesmith

If I were a newsroom art director, I might consider an OpenSim solution... if I had or could find a single staffer who could put something like this together in two hours. From scratch. As an intern.

argo nurmi


this idea of yours in truly frightening. If a dozen different versions could be quickly filmed and circulated any truth could be forever hidden among the forest of competing re-enactments. Carefully constructing the plots of each to conform with known regional preferences would ensure instant groups of believers. Propaganda via radio, film or TV never could achieve such a thing.

Scylla Rhiadra

Everything about this video suggests why SL would *not* be an appropriate medium for the production of news-related simulations.

Simulations for news organizations are supposed to be based upon objective and verifiable fact -- or at least, only such "information" as is made available. The vast majority of detail in this machinima is based purely on the speculation, or imaginings, of its creators.

The compound itself may -- or may not -- be accurate, but the radio chatter, the equipment carried by the SEALS, the narrative of the firefight, the cries of the woman, the posture of the body, etc., etc. are not. The addition of this kind of fictional "detail" is misleading: it suggests that we know a great deal more than we in fact do. In this particular instance the "details" verge on propaganda: what we "know," for instance, suggests that bin Laden did not die in a firefight, but was unarmed when shot.

There is a good reason why news organizations use apparently sketchy 3D representations: it's because they don't wish to misleadingly present "details" that they don't in fact know. A simulation created in SL is undoubtedly nice eye candy, but objective "news" it is not.


ahahahaha! wtf? blue sky? high noon? bang bang, blam blam!? sad try


It's an impressive machinima, for sure. Good use of music, audio effects, voice, photorealistic build and avatars to immerse you in the scene. I enjoyed it as purely a work of machinima.

That said, I wonder how this kind of imaginative simulation / recreation of a real life event contributes to our common discourse and understanding of that event? How does this help bring clarity to what really happened there? Bring a new perspective that we hadn't considered before?

Now maybe if it were a simulation of what it might be like to be a neighbor seeing the attack in progress, foreigners swooping in and shooting up a nearby house, that might be a helpful contrasting perspective.

Or a scenario where the US acted on bad intelligence and killed the wrong guy. Obama did say it was a 50/50 chance they were wrong.

The problem with imaginative recreations of historic events, whether it be a "second gunman," a 9/11 conspiracy, or how OBL was taken down, is that they have the allure of authenticity. "Maybe it DID happen that way? It certainly SEEMED plausible." It can narrow the search for the truth, or differing perspectives.

Still, great technical work by Avatrian.

Rodion Resistance

I can't quite get it why no one understands the words "loose re-enactment"...is there no such phrase in the English language? I understand whatever opinion people might have about the sensitivity or sociopolitical context about the event, but this is all I have to say when: HAVE PAINT, HAVE CANVAS--WILL PAINT!

Rodion Resistance

And I want my sky MARMALADE ORANGE instead of black!



my 2c:

yes, props, animation, editing, realism is vastly superior to the stuff being shown on the news networks.

however, the dealbreaker is the tone. the news networks want to feel "serious", and it's up to you as the filmmaker to convey that feeling.

if you recut the video to be "serious" - i think you'd have a strong demo to show to CNN et al.

Rodion Resistance

@qarl, I think the keywords you're driving at are a)accuracy (to the known and published facts) and b)polish, and I have to say we are very capable on both aspects, but just chose not to, when we made the video.



rapid inaccurate emotional response animations...
yeah, what new's organizations or people need.

Rodion Resistance

@Cube, whoever said it should REMAIN inaccurate? the fact is that it CAN be accurate. What we did was just a *boilerplate* video--in fact, we encourage other people who perhaps possess more accurate information about the event, to create their own "polished" highly-accurate down-to-that-last-blade-of-grass versions of the event.


Chenin Anabuki

I liked reading all of the comments about the machinima. Most of the points are valid to me. It is very important to point out though that whenever we produce a machinima, we are always faced with the classic Project Triangle of good, fast, cheap. We can only have two out of three (never all three). In the case of this particular machinima, we opted for fast and cheap because it is an internally funded project. Good (in terms of being historically accurate, having better avatar equipment, more actors, higher quality audio, convincing animations, original voice overs, more textures, additional weapons, accurate uniforms/clothing, sculpted prims, added details, etc...) had to take a back seat. In spite of that, I still think the machinima and the accompanying 3D site in SL is much more engaging and interactive than what traditional news outsets used.

Hypothetically, let us say that we had a client fund this project with a US$4,000 amount (just for example). I can assure you then that the Good with be 10 times the level of where it is at now. Correspondingly, Time will go from 5 days to 10 days as it takes any developer much longer to create detailed content. And, you know what happened to cheap, US$0 goes to US$4000. If only I know who to contact in CNN to pitch this alternative, I would because I am almost 100% sure they spent way above US$4,000 for those bland, black and white simulations.

In conclusion, our operations are confined to that Project Triangle....can't have more of one without reducing the other two.

Nathaniel Flores

I haven't had the opportunity to watch the video yet, but qarl's comment sounds about right. A news organization wants the thing to be a fairly sterile, "just the facts" view of the events. I do think that SL is capable of that, however.

That said, it struck me that it provides an interesting venue to interactively view the event, or at least where it took place. If you can imagine a news report using a second life machinima as the computer-generated re-creation of the event and then having the anchor say, or tagline that says "You can explore a virtual re-creation of the Abbotobad complex via Second Life at ." Wouldn't that be something? People would be able to put themselves sort of in the shoes of the SEAL team members, walk through the complex, get an idea of what they saw.

There would have to be some boundaries, of course, you'd want to present the thing without, say, bloody depictions of the dead terrorists, but a primitar mannequin to note the positions of each person they encountered (if you had that info) along with some signs explaining what happened, and just the opportunity to walk through the house would provide people another perspective on what happened. Sort of like an instant museum related to that event.

I have enjoyed sims that provide an opportunity to put your feet in some historical place or event for similar reasons - the ability to place yourself inside the event for a different perspective, or to virtually visit a famous place that you might never be able to go to in RL.

I visited a sim once that was sort of a museum of the Kennedy assasination. You were able to put yourself in the window of the book depository and look down on the street as an (empty) recreation of the presidential limo went by, or stand down on the street for a different perspective, or even ride in the limo if you wanted. It's just a different way to view a historic event, and I think it's one of the most interesting uses of virtual worlds.

Hamlet Au

Watch the NBC News re-enactment of the same thing (linked above), it's way more inaccurate to the known events: along with the graphics being really bad, the architecture is off, the outfits and props are totally ridiculous. I'm not a military expert, but I seriously doubt SEAL Team 6 dresses in regular infantry uniforms and carries M-16s. It's trivial to get much more plausible outfits and weapons/gear in Second Life, there's whole armories in-world.

Penny Patton

The people claiming that the incorrect details in this video prove that SL could not be used for visual recreations of newsworthy or historical events need to reexamine their logic.

Had SL (or Open Sim for that matter) been employed to make a recreation by an actual news programme, it's highly unlikely they would have embellished the event in the manner that the team behind this particular video did. Such embellishments are not at all representative of the technology or potential and should not factor at all into one's conclusions about the software being used for such purposes.

Penny Patton

Regarding the build itself, I think it highlights both the potential and problems with using SL for virtual recreations of historical and newsworthy locations that people can explore first hand.

When I was there last night, the sim full of avatars due to it having just been listed in the Destinations Guide, I was struck by the fact that almost none of the avatars wandered inside the buildings.

The reason why is obvious. Since the build was made to accurate scale, every avatar present, aside from my own, was taller than the doorways.

The doorways themselves were phantom and the ceilings raised slightly to accommodate SL's rampant scale problems, but even when an avatar wanders inside, the ceilings are still low enough that the default camera is an issue.

Scaling the entire build up for SL's massive avatars would have resulted in a build that takes up twice as much area and nearly double prims. Most people scale up twice that amount to work with SL's camera placement.

No wonder few real world recreations in SL aim for such accuracy.

Rawst Berry

Yeah, because Americans can only comprehend the news if it resembles a movie or video game. And CNN has time and knowledge to hunt down machinima makers, or buy all the props themselves or hunt down roleplayers who already have the gear to be their actors.
"Lock and load." Lol.


no - what i meant was "seriousness."

for example - if you really want to put this on CNN you've got to drop the soundtrack.

soundtracks are great for movies - not so much for hard news.

Trin Trevellion

Why not play a random level out of a Tom Clancy game? *rolleyes

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