Online game-play has changed the nature of video games, taking them from solitary experiences to shared simulations where the community is as much a part of the action as the graphics or sound. But one game is taking this community involvement to a new level: the real world.
Skate 2 by EA Games is, by all accounts, a smash hit with fans of the skateboarding-game genre. That's not a surprise given the title's slick graphics, realistic physics and authentic soundtrack featuring voices from some of the top names in skateboarding.
These features – as cool as they are – put the game on a par with other titles in the category such as the hugely popular Tony Hawk franchise. But where Skate 2 is making a departure from traditional video game territory is in its creators' commitment to the community that has sprung up around it.
In Skate 2, players can film their virtual exploits and post them online. After receiving feedback from the community that the existing in-game filming tools weren't providing the kind of flexibility they needed, the Skate 2 development team decided to release a set of pro-level filming tools. Dubbed the Filmer Pack, these tools give users the same cinematic controls that the designers have access to when building promotional videos for the game.
The result has been an explosion of mind-blowing creativity that is not only driving the online community to higher levels of interactivity, but is teaching a new generation of real-life cinematographers what works and what doesn't when filming action sports like skateboarding.