I played Star Wars Galaxies from its second month of existence until the very end, more than eight years later. The day after they pulled the plug I was playing its successor, Star Wars the Old Republic, a week before the official launch, because I had pre-ordered. The new game has a lot of strengths, including amazing graphics and and nice little cartoon video scenes, but I have to admit I miss SWG and would still rather be hanging out in that universe.
There was a community there that I haven’t found in SWTOR yet. Plus I much prefer the “sandlot” approach of that game, where you could pick your own activities. After the horrible NGE much ruined the game, a spent much of my time working on a variety of houses in the city where I was mayor.
SWTOR lacks player houses, let alone cities, and instead of a sandbox is more like a series of amusement park rides, where the path is predetermined.
This little video is an initial attempt to compare the two games, and their history. Sadly, it’s hard to include everything in four minutes. For my Social Software class I’ll be exploring the two as communities and social networkds. This video doesn’t take up those issues.
One immediate concern in this day of SOPA and ACTA, every single bit of media in the video is copyrighted, video from the first Star Wars movie, game video from the two games, and from the “Game On” podcast from the Twit network. There are images from “Wired” magazine, Blizzard Entertainment (makers of World of Warcraft), the BBC News website, and the online games site MMOGChart.com, and audio from the games and the Star Wars movies.
But, under American and Swedish law, this is Fair Use as many of that media are in fact press videos or images. I am using the material to comment on or review the works in question, and actually the “Game On” video is an example of how this is permissible. I’m using “Game On” in exactly the way “Game On” is using SWTOR video to discuss the game in its report. The fact that much of this video is on YouTube, freely available for embedding in other websites, reflects that the copyright holders do not object. Moreover, using audio, from the games or from the Star Wars movies, is permitted under Sweden’s “citationsrätt”.
I put together the video using Sony Vegas Studio (ironically since it was Sony Online Entertainment who operated and ruined Star Wars Galaxies). I’ve used Windows Movie Maker as well as Ulead Movie Factory in previous video projects. The Sony program is much more advanced (and consequently more expensive), and has a steeper learning curve (which I am still coming to terms with). But it allows much more editing flexiblity that the simpler programs. (One thing I have not found that it does easily, something that is a basic feature of the audio editing programs I have used at Swedish Radio, is the ability to fade out sound, keep it low under a narration, and then bring it up again. The only way I found to do this in Sony Vegas Studio was to cut the audio into three pieces.)
I used the free program Audacity to record the narration. Clips from the two games were recorded using the brilliant program Fraps. Images were edited in Adobe Photoshop Elements. Finally, a wonderful little program called YouTube Free Downloader made it possible to download both audio and video from YouTube clips.
The video is an example of “digital storytelling”, which is defined by Wikipedia as:
Digital storytelling refers to a short form of digital film-making that allows everyday people to share aspects of their life story.
“Digital storytelling” is a relatively new term which describes the new practice of ordinary people who use digital tools to tell their ‘story’. Digital stories often present in compelling and emotionally engaging formats, they are usually less than 8 minutes long and can be interactive.
The term “digital storytelling” can also cover a range of digital narratives (web-based stories, interactive stories, hypertexts, and narrative computer games); It is sometimes used to refer to film-making in general, and as of late, it has been used to describe advertising and promotion efforts by commercial and non-profit enterprises.
One can define digital storytelling as the process by which diverse peoples share their life story and creative imaginings with others. This newer form of storytelling emerged with the advent of accessible media production techniques, hardware and software, including but not limited to digital cameras, digital voice recorders, iMovie, Movie Maker and Final Cut Express. These new technologies allow individuals to share their stories over the Internet on YouTube, Vimeo, compact discs, podcasts, and other electronic distribution systems.