The Movies: Stunts & Effect

The Movies: Stunts & Effects

The Movies: Stunts & Effects

Effectively stunted?

As a psychologist, I'm often called upon to nod and frown, whilst someone pays me lots of money so they can recline on a leather couch. Sometimes, I even get to do some psychology, which mainly consists of mentioning the word schizophrenia, tutting and frowning, like the world's axis rests on the gravitas of my words. Then I get paid lots! It's great.

So, in the case of the movies, I diagnose... schizophrenia! Or rather, multiple personality disorder (that costs double). The Movies wanted to be both a great management sim and a great movie-making program, and found that it couldn't live up to both. It wasn't bad by any means - a solid Ron Howard standard of game, rather than the hoped-for Terry Gilliam. It was just that the management side was difficult to navigate and control, while the movie-making side proved hard to get good results; you could make much better machinima with an FPS, a few friends and Microsoft movie-maker. Look upon Stunts & Effects as electro-shock therapy then. It looks spectacular, it sounds cool, and it might just heal those niggling weaknesses. Or it could drive the movies deep into mediocre madness.

Stuns & Effects does exactly what the Ronseal feller says. Starting in 1960 it adds a new class of actor, the Stuntman, as well as a selection of supporting buildings and sets, and updates some existing sets. The effect of the Effects bit is to improve how these sets look, by adding in fire, explosions and so forth. We're not going to touch on the effects bit again, so we'll just say it makes the movies look ever so slightly nicer. There are some extra-cool sets included as well, from green and blue screen stages, which allow you to replicate just about any scene, to a miniature city set.

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E3 2006: Activision

Tony Hawk, Quake Wars, Marvel and more...

Held at the entirely unremarkable Marriott hotel in downtown LA, after being bribed with slightly stale pastries and fancy imported teas, we, the assembled throngs of the press were ushered into a surprisingly intimate meeting space for Activision's pre-E3 press conference. Opening with traditional bluster, Activision revelled in not only holding the status of No. 2 publisher in the US overall, but also scoring the No. 1 Xbox 360 title with Call of Duty 2, allowing it to segue nicely into announcing its next-generation line-up - the pride of place going to Call of Duty 3, in development for all three next generation systems. No further details were revealed about the title, though we know Treyarch, not Infinity Ward, is developing it, and neither does it appear that they feature at the show in playable form. Thankfully, Activision proved to be a lot less tight-lipped on the other major franchises that are a major part of their upcoming line-up - not least new Tony Hawk's titles Tony Hawk's Project 8 for PS3 and Xbox 360, and Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam on Nintendo Wii (and DS and GBA).