From 3D to 2D With Gamics

Comic book created in Lego Star WarsA while back, Glitchy and I were contemplating creating a comic book that instead of being drawn would be shot in a virtual world or computer game. You set up the scene for each panel in a place like Second Life, World of Warcraft or (as seen at left) Lego Star Wars, take the right screenshots, put it all together with Comic Book Creator, and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a cool graphic novelette. Well, it seems someone beat us to the idea long before we even had it, as you can see from yesterday’s Glitchy Links, which flags a report from Matteo Bittanti, who’s writing about the Gamics site. There, Nathan Ciprick has been creating “gamics” for some time now, and has cool offerings from all kinds of games and online worlds. Comic books, of course, are one of those media that do not suffer from existing in two dimensions. But I love the fact that you can go through 3D to get there. Is anyone doing this in Second Life? Plywood was an absolutely fantastic SL comic strip, though it’s no longer in production. What I’d really love to see (or create) is a comic that isn’t tied to the fiction of the world in which it’s produced, but that only uses that world as art to illustrate a fully formed story that stands on its own. Can anyone help us out?


  1. csven

    Yep. This has been around a while. This actually reminds me of the *first* digital-created comic (anyone remember that thing – I should dig that out).

    What I haven’t seen yet is a real effort to combine a next-gen game character in real world video (ala an old tutorial I did: ). There have been some stills; most notably the one’s done using HL2 a while back. But I’ve not yet seen a real mash up of machinima and video. If someone has a link, post it please.

  2. Prokofy Neva

    Hi, I do have to say that I did this for ages and ages like 5 years ago in the offline and then online sims, as did everybody else in this group of about 150 people we had called SimAlbums. We used the “family albums” capacity of the Sims to generate cartoon-like screenshots with captions, and I also used RealSlideShow as the device to publish them on a website (a product not supported any more by Real).

    There were a variety of genres — people made fanfic or fantasy sort of game things or they made cartoons with political satire or they made real non-fiction or satirical works. Example: I had “cartoon family albums” about the World Trade Center attack; the Oklahama bombing; a double-headed character named BushGore like a Siamese twin; the long never-ending serial called “Flamingo Court/Motel of Last Resort” with the main character Dyerbrook and much much more. There were literally hundreds and thousands of these works all over the Internet, some of them very good. They used then-available midi-files and all kinds of other adds ons and filled up all the free photo sites which at that time were tolerant of game screenshots.
    For example the first machinima about a historical-political event about a fire in a poor workers’ boarding house was created by Pam1500 in the Sims, gosh like 7 years ago now? I know people like moo money feel they “own” machinima today but it *did* have a history and that history is in the Sims and in Final Fantasy and other online games people used to make not only fanfic but serious or satirical works.

    My whole reason to come to SL was to try to continue this genre but it proved really hard because the screenshots, even using SimCamera, weren’t readily editable and instantly available to put captions on. Sure, you can go fetch other software to do it, but it really made a difference that right in the Sims game itself, offline, you had a photo album capacity that ordered and edited and captioned photos right there — Will Wright added that. I wish they had that in SL. My recollection of Comic Book Creator was that it wasn’t a perfect fit and clunky but I’ll be happy to try again.

    Setting up these stories is hugely hard work. With stills, and the ability to make props better than in machinima, perhaps, you would think it is easy. But with the avatar in SL, you have this expressionless dweeb who can’t get into any poses and stay in them the way offline Sims could (you could free him). Of course, sure, you can use poser, and use all kinds of other stuff; I’m just saying in the Sims it was all so easy, and all so prolific, because the game makers put the tools right in the box. In SL you have to go scouting all over for them, leveling up the learning curve as you go to use them.

  3. Mark Wallace

    Can you guys point me to any game-created comics whose stories rise to a level near something like Warren Ellis / Brian Wood / Alan Moore, etc., or even aspire to that level? I’m mostly asking not cos I don’t believe they’re out there, but cos I don’t have time to go find them myself, though I’ve been looking when I have a spare minute.

  4. Eric Rice

    I haven’t really talked much about this, however, what you describe is one angle we’re taking with the Saijo project… It spans WoW, SL, EVE, and parts of XBOX Live, with the main narrator being Spin Martin and others.

    I never was exposed to the comics that came before– the first one was Sidra Stern’s– and never have I thought this was some brilliant epiphany for me, just sorta a logical thing to do (esp with 15 years of photoshop under my belt hehe)

    Anyway, Slackstreet Studios is focusing on the story and all that surrounds it before picking a first medium. The 3D-to-2D comic idea is more of just a creative exercise. It might stick, it might not; we’ll keep doing it as time goes on.

    Happy Holidays!

  5. moo Money

    I always credit machinima back to like 96/97 with the Quake engine. I also teach people how to make machinima so that they can make their own statement. For reference, listen to my SecondCast interview in like ep 39 or something.

  6. Karen

    It’s interesting from the viewpoint of intellectual property, as well.
    Clearly any storylines would be the property of the author, but where does the copyright lie for the visuals?

  7. Trackback: Second Strip
  8. John Freeman

    I created this quick comic based on renders from Clear Sky using the ROK Comics online creator – I wasn’t sure if the thing might get me into trouble with Koch Media so I made sure it plugged the official web site just in case, but maybe I was being over cautious. The great thing about the ROK Comics player is that you can embed it on most other webs sites like a YouTube or video player