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UCS to Host MachinExpo 2009!

UCS is to host an online film festival in the virtual world Second Life. The festival is the second International Machinima Expo, which showcases films made with computer games. The festival, known as MachinExpo, is organised by Phil Rice and Ricky Grove, both well known film-makers in the machinima community.

Second Life is a game-like virtual-world in which users control characters called avatars that are virtual representations of themselves. As well as meeting and interacting with other users, or residents, as Second Life users are known, people can create objects, buy goods in virtual shops using the Second Life currency, Linden Dollars, and even set up businesses.  While Second Life caters largely to social and recreational use, there is a strong educational element, and many colleges and universities make use of the unique environment a virtual world provides.

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The MachinExpo event, which will take place on November 22, will be hosted on the UCS island in Second Life, known as UCSville. Visitors from around the world will assemble on the island for the four-hour festival by logging on to Second Life and teleporting to UCSville. During the festival a number of machinima films will be screened in a virtual representation of UCS’s landmark Waterfront building, created by UCS student Radek Spacek as part of his Computer Games Design course. A jury of machinima experts will be awarding prizes to the best films.

As well as screening films and awarding prizes, the event also features interactive exhibits and discussion panels that address different aspects of machinima. 37 films were screened at last year’s 12 hour festival, in addition to ten films nominated by the jury from 130 entries submitted in competition. The event will finish with a virtual party and avatars will be able to dance in a Second Life disco!

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Eddie Duggan, Senior Teaching Practitioner in the School of Arts & Humanities, teaches a machinima module which is available to students on the BA (Hons) Computer Games Design and BA (Hons) Film and Media Studies course at UCS, Ipswich. The event will feature a show-reel of student films made with computer games. Eddie Duggan said “I’m pleased to be able to support MachinExpo and for the opportunity to show examples of UCS student work to the wider machinima community”.

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