Collaborative Learning through Machinima
Here is a project by my students from year 4 of the BSc (Hons) in Computing and Games Development at Dundalk Institute of Technology during the Spring 2012 semester, for the Designing for Cultural Diversity elective. The class were set a project to present a practical demonstration of reappropriation of game engines and language localisation through the medium of a machinima movie. They produced the following mockumentary ‘Skyrim: You’ve been Maimed’, along with a ‘making of‘ micro-documentary.
A machinima is a movie made using the environment and assets of a videogame engine. For example, the online multiplayer 3D world of popular game franchise Halo is the setting for the chat show This Spartan Life. In it the host and interviewee converse amidst intermittent gunfire from the other occupants of the Halo gamespace.
By combining both theory and practice in a self-referential assessment, the project learning outcomes are reinforced for the learner, providing deeper understanding through first hand experience. The game environment also provides unique opportunities for reflective exploration of digital space and communicative expression.
Leveraging closed source media in a creative context unintended by the technologies originators allows the consumer to take control, recontextualising closed digital artifacts into fresh creative materials. Furthermore, pushing closed source computational media from read-only (or play-only) to a read-write state through creative hacking blurs the distinction between media-consumer and media-creator. Remixing disposable digital media compliments the use of open-source in the classroom, providing a more holistic view of creative technologies beyond mainstream platform and licensing parameters.
In other words, it’s important to go beyond mainstream creative toolkits, all media is fair game for creative use.