If you've ever walked out of a movie seething with unbridled anger that you've just forked out the best part of a tenner for two hours of vacuous rubbish, then The Movies could be just the thing you've been looking for.
The game sees you taking control of a film production company between the early 1900s and 2010, and allows you to make your very own films, though as lead designer Adrian Moore explains, these won't always be full length. "To play the game you need to make mini movies that are 2-10 minutes long, but if you're just interested in making films then you can make full-length movies."
Since we last caught up with the project, The Movies has made some pretty major advances, especially in the graphics department. "Our biggest advance in the last year has been a facial animation system for the actors, which means they can convey emotion as they act their scenes," says Adrian.
"We also now have a full 3D engine which allows the player to zoom right into ground level and experience life in their studio, plus a new lighting engine that creates some great shadow effects." A quick glance at the screenshots on these pages confirms just how much progress the team has made in a relatively short space of time, with sets and characters now featuring a far more lifelike look and feel that'll add enormously to the believability of your movies.
But how will the movie creation process fit into the game's wider gaming mechanic, in which you have to run every aspect of a film studio? "You can have as much or as little freedom as you choose," states Adrian. "If you want to focus on other areas you can simply commission a script, green light it and the movie is made without any input from you. But there is the facility for the player to control every single aspect of the filmmaking process if that is what they want to do. It depends on whether you're making films to win the game or for your own pleasure."
With the freedom to convincingly realise your visions and create celluloid masterpieces (or teen horror movies), you'll also have the chance to test your acting (in)ability by adding your own dialogue.
And thanks to another newly implemented feature, your recorded words will be lip-
synched perfectly by each actor.
But all that's just for starters, as Adrian claims that The Movies will also feature some highly advanced AI that'll allow your actors to intelligently interact with their sets. "Actors will always behave in an appropriate manner to the setting they're in, so if you put them on a rooftop set they'll jump from roof to roof, put them in a bar and they'll play cards or brawl, and put them in a bedroom and well, I'm sure you can imagine that," Adrian explains. "They also learn from experience so if you continually cast them in horror films they'll get better and better at that genre."
Your actors will also rack up experience every time they rehearse or are cast in a film, though some will be more temperamental than others. As such, you can expect to see hissy fits and flying Evian bottles as overpaid luvvies storm off to their trailers mid-shoot because they can't find their motivation, or turn up half-cut with talcum powder spread liberally over their nostrils. Wait a minute, that's not talcum powder...
We've been excited by the prospect of The Movies for quite
a while now, but with all of these improvements and innovations hopefully embellishing what was already looking like a potential blockbuster, our expectations have risen yet further. Just think, in a few short months, you may never have to fork out ten quid to watch a bad film again. Oh no - you'll be able to make an even worse one in the comfort of your own home instead.