Friday, September 4, 2015

First Person Shooter Game Brought to Life by British Filmmakers

The London based film company, Realm Pictures, brought every video game/film nerd's wet dream to life. This past August, they created a first person shooter film that allowed random strangers they found on the internet to control the actions of the main character.

Yeah. You heard me. Realm Pictures specializes in fantasy-like films, photography and visual fx, so they are no stranger to creating interesting content that pushes the bounds of reality. With a camera strapped on to a helmet, and some tricky computer work, Director David Reynolds and his team were able to live stream an actor wandering through a church yard and fighting zombies.

But here comes the cool part. Reynolds was able to live stream the video to Chatroulette, a website that allows you to talk and video chat with random strangers. And those strangers got to control what the actor did, just like a real video game. With multiple locations, a handful of hidden weapons and items, a horde of zombies and a demonic final boss, players were able to choose their own paths by giving the actor commands, and hopefully make it through to the end, where the team of filmmakers was waiting for them in their control room. Here's the awesome video:

But how did they do it?!

It wasn't as easy as setting up an intricate obstacle course and flooding it with actors in zombie makeup. Reynolds orchestrated something very innovative technologically, that could really change both the gaming and film world. By strapping one of the zombies with a wireless router, they were able to live stream HDMI from the camera on the actor's helmet back to the control room, where Reynolds and his team controlled the website, and visual and sound effects. Reynolds also provided the voice of the shooter, so he would be able to react and communicate with the strangers. They created a behind-the-scenes video, which was even more interesting than the actual film.

And their accents, am I right ladies?

Currently, Realm Pictures are starting to produce their first feature film, so a sequel won't be in the immediate future. But, Reynolds stated "our fanciful conversations about what 'level 2' could bring are now becoming a reality real quick!", so don't cry yourselves to sleep just yet. 

This level of audience participation is pretty groundbreaking. It takes the concept of "Choose Your Own Adventure" games and films to the next level, getting rid of the preplanned paths and allowing the "gamers" to decide whatever they wanted in a controlled environment. Though video games almost look like films nowadays, with graphics getting more realistic by the second, this is truly a new way to combine the two mediums. If developed and expanded, this kind of gameplay may catch on, and hopefully Realm Pictures will be the leading pioneer to this new frontier.

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