Workshop Archive

Machinima workshop - Games as Tools

26 | 27 | 28 | 29 september 2006

26 Sep 2006
29 Sep 2006

Machinima is about making films in the realtime 3D environments of computer games. In this dense 4 day workshop, the participants learn skills from 3D animation, filmmaking and game design to become DiY (Do-it-Yourself) machinimakers.


machinima bang -

The exciting thing about the new cultural practice of Machinima is that it changes the way we look at games: it turns them into tools.
From the point of view of a machinimaker, games are not so much a programmed experience, but more like a box of lego: stuff to build and experiment with, and to produce ones own scenario's, next to those of the original designers.
This workshop is about making films in game environments in the first place, but we'll also take a look at ways in which games-as-tools can be used in live performances, interactive storyspaces and more.

Workshop approach

In this workshop traditional film making techniques are combined with real-time scripting within a virtual environment. Participants will make their own small machinima production. They will be guided through the process by experts from the fields of gamedesign and animation. Besides technical instructions on set design, character creation, re-camming and post production, we will focus on cinematic and artistic possibilites of shooting film in 3d engines.

Trainers & speakers

Friedrich Kirschner (D) - renowned machinima-maker, chief editor of Machinimag.

Friedrich’s Machinima series Person 2184 won him awards for best Technical Achievement and best Visual Design at the 2005 Machinima Film Festival, and has been showcasted at numerous others. Also, he is teammember of the Ars Electronica Center and the Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences.

Daniël van Gils (NL) - programmer, interaction designer, media educator.

Daniël is an independent designer and programmer who mainly work s in the field of culture. Besides guiding participants through aspects of 3D animation, level design and sound in 3D spaces, he will demonstrate his brand new MIDI-driven machinima tool (if its finished on time!)

Jonas Hielscher (D) - designer interactive / educative game installations, co-founder

Jonas founded, an organization that supports young new media artists, and has built a range of interactive performance and gaming installations.
He ran a Sims2 Machinima workshop at the last Cinekid Festival.

Target group

This workshop is intended for filmmakers, animators and gamers, who are interested in each others arts. Some experience with playing video games or film editing is helpful, but not essential.


In preparation for this workshop a collection of books, articles and media has been put together in the Machinima Reader.

Workshop Report

by Klaas Kuitenbrouwer and Deborah Meibergen

During the second Machinima workshop here at Mediamatic, we did not only make films in gamespaces. We also looked other kinds of contexts in which the realtime 3D technology of computers games could be interesting to use, like architecture or VJ-ing. The background of the participants clearly showed that machinima is growing out of the gaming community, especially in Germany. Nearly all participants were german filmmakers.

Getting hands dirty

A guided tour through the wonderful world of machinima with all the basic questions what?, how? and in which game engine? kicked-off the brainstorm of the participants on their workshop projects. Some had come with a goal in mind, but most started from scratch.
Proposals were discussed and tuned either up or down to the possibilities of a time frame of a 4 day workshop and to the (wide!) collection of game engines available.

Everybody tried their hands at three important tools: Machinimation, Sims 2 and MovieSandbox to understand the different principles, but half the participants choose yet other environments (the HalfLife engine; an online multiplayer world for small children; online chess) to work in.

There was a bit more pressure than usual on the participants, because it was the intention to present some of the work on the Machinima Salon, a large public event in the context of the CrossMedia week. And indeed the workshop led to some quite astonishing results.

Notably the project of architect Olga Vasquez-Ruano, who used the Quake3 level editor to build a virtual generic hallway with rooms on the sides. She dressed up the walls with pictures taken in a real office hallway of different proportions, and experimented with the visual effects of those differences. Then used kitchen utensils to create game characters that lead a life of their own in this eerie place.

Peter Jäger and Jan Marquard made a project in which they blended three games: an online chess games that supossedly is played within the Sims2. But zooming in on the chess pieces, they turn out to be a characters in an Unreal level.

Michael Rasmussen set out to tackle the intricaticies of the HalfLife script tool, and came up with fascinating sketches of a game that is all about trying to silence a preacher that keeps going on with his sermons.

Machinima Salon

The workshop finished with the Machinima Salon in the packed Ketelhuis Cinema at the Westergasfabriek, where Paul Marino showed the audience around the highlights in the history of machinima, Olga and Peter showed their clips and worksprocesses and Daniël van Gils impressed and entertained the crowd with his midi-steered Doom3 level, that allows him trigger events in the game space using his dj set. Do check out the reactions in the Adformatie blog