Modding and Machinma; The Best Free Way to Market a Game

Samantha Silva

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With constant advances in gaming technology, especially concerning graphics, players are showing more interest in their desire to modify parts of games, or even create videos from the engine on which they are working.  While this form of gaming has been around for many years, its presence is becoming more and more common.

Modifications, or “mods”, are the aspects of games that allow players to modify certain aspects of the game, or even create completely new games using the existing model.  “Machinima in the making of animated movies in real time through the use of computer game technology.” (Lodwood) “machinima-makers learned how to re-deploy this sophisticated software for making movies, relying on their mastery of the games and the software.” (Lodwood)  Both allow the user to further immerse themselves into the world of the game in the sense that it allows the player to become a creator as well.

For example, This Spartan Life uses the Halo series as a base for a talk show.  The director and producer, Chris Burke, is also the host for the show, operating under the name Damian Lacedaemion.  This acceptable machinima allows viewers to listen to content that they are interested in, while seeing Burke’s view of the game.  It allows them to be immersed in a world that they may already be familiar with, but seeing it from a different perspective.

Other machinima like this truly allow players to see the expertise of those creating these shows or movies.  While this may be considered to be a hobby to some, others use this as a means of promoting themselves and their abilities to those in the gaming community.  But it is not only the creators that benefit from this sort of publicity.  The gaming companies who originally produced these games also benefit from the free work of these enthusiasts.  While they do not make profits directly from YouTube videos or other productions that are shared using various media websites, these companies benefit from the publicity that some of these shows generate.

The extra work put into mods and machinima gives those interested in the games a way of experiencing the games that may have not been intended by those who created the game.  It also gives users more gameplay options that the creators were not able to make themselves while originally working on any given game.  Thus expanding the game further, and for free.

So in cases where players are given the possibilities to expand and create within a game engine, the result can be beneficial for both parties.  The gamers are given more to play with and more options to explore within the game, and developers are given free labor that can act as a great marketing tool.   Although, it can also be dangerous for both parties.  The games can be modified or shown in a light that might not give off the impression desired by the developers, when the engine is easily accessed, it can also lead to copies of a game appearing across the market.  For the creator/player, it may lead to a developing company to take legal actions against the creator to stop progress of the mod or machinima.  While the negatives are present, when both parties cooperate, great work can be created.  Games can be improved without the developers having to do much work, and players are given the opportunity to further interact with a very interactive form of media.

Citations

Lowood, Henry. “Real-Time Performance: Machinima and Game Studies.” iDMAa Journal 2.1 (2005):10-17.

“This Spartan Life.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

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