Games aren’t just for playing anymore.
Games are primarily for playing, but the form that playing takes is very flexible. Some people use game engines to replace physical architectural models. Others have adapted them to art installations. Still others make movies that their budgets or the real world wouldn’t normally allow: these are machinima .
Back in the wilds of 1996, when the world was so fresh that people still thought “dot-com” sounded neat, Quake emerged from the tortured brains of id Software, and it was good. Quake inspired other things, including the rise of the 3D accelerator, the growth of the mod scene (which had started with DOOM), and Daikatana, which wasn’t so good.
Quake was one of the first 3D games to provide a genuinely 3D world, rather than a cheap 2.5D fake like virtually everything that came before it. It also sparked the mod community; people could, and did, edit almost everything that made it a game. Quake also had the curious ability to record games as replayable demos.
It’s obvious, in retrospect. Essentially, moviemakers now had a real-time 3D environment they could customize at will—virtually unheard-of outside the realms of $300K Silicon Graphics stations—with the ability to film any action they wanted to put into it. Looked at from a certain direction, Quake, and every other 3D game that has followed, is a completely customizable, completely controllable virtual movie set: the indie film director’s ...