Project Aims & Objectives
The aim of this project is to generate a comprehensive framework for understanding the ways in which machinima (‘machine-animation-cinema’), a form of digital interactive user-generated content, adds cultural value to creative and cultural sectors. As a form of highly creative content blending of artistic and film-making skills with gameplay and computer technologies competences, it has attracted a wide range of participants from home-based enthusiasts, to amateur film-makers, to established digital artists in film, animation and arts sectors.
Increasing activity within the community of machinima practitioners (‘machinimators’) has impacted on our understanding of the role of computer games beyond gaming, digital interactive performance and social participation genres, and influenced developments in creative and cultural industries and new media platforms. Despite its now massive following and popularity primarily among gamers, machinima remains a largely internet-based phenomenon which few outside the online communities and digital arts scenes have heard about albeit many will have first hand experience of it. Therefore, the specific objectives of this project have been to:
- Identify a taxonomy of the types of cultural value produced by the machinima community, including both on and offline contexts
- Evaluate the impacts of machinima and machinimating on the cultural sector, exploring the ways in which the creative and cultural industries sustain and destroy value generated by machinimators formally and informally
- Assess the ways in which the creative industries are adapting to meet the challenges of machinima user-generators, including their use of new types of creative skills resulting from its rapid evolution
- Explore the issues of ownership and authorship that arise from the making of machinima including the tensions and interrelationships between the creative and cultural industries arising from the creative practices of machinimators
- Assess the implications of the machinima phenomenon for other digital participatory creative cultural genres
- Provide an evidence base of artefacts and critical analysis of the machinima genre for a naive and unfamiliar audience
The research reported on has used a qualitative design to investigate and explore the pertinent issues arising from the emergence of this important cultural and creative phenomenon outlined in the research objectives above. Appendix 1 describes the research methodology in detail.