The Movies & The Movies: Stunts & Effects Expansion Pack
The Movies is a business simulation game created by Lionhead Studios for Microsoft Windows and subsequently ported to Mac OS X by Feral Interactive. It was released on November 8, 2005 in North America, and November 11, 2005 in Europe after reaching gold status on October 8, 2005.
The game allows players to take the role of a Hollywood film mogul, running a studio and creating films. Much has been made about the film-making aspect of the game, as it allows players to easily create viewable works or machinima. The game is similar to the early 1990s film production game Stunt Island; the game is also similar to the 1988 game Charlie Chaplin, the 1996 game Steven Spielberg's Director's Chair and, to a lesser extent, the 1995 game 3D Movie Maker.
On 6 June 2006, the first, and to date, only expansion pack was released, The Movies: Stunts and Effects. This expansion added a host of new features, among which were stunts (and stunt doubles), and special effects, as well as the ability to designate custom camera angles.
In The Movies, players get the chance to run their own movie studio. The game can be divided into three main areas — designing the movie studio, forging the careers of movie stars, and making movies. It is possible to focus on any of those areas that appeal most, and spend less time on the others.
The game plays through from the birth of cinema to the present day and into the near future, with all the technology and historical advances that occur along that timeline. After the movies have been made, they can be played back for the viewer to watch. It is possible once the movie is made to add voice, text and music in post-production.
The two most important types of staff in the game are actors and directors, referred to as "stars" in the game. In order to keep stars in a positive mood, the player will need to give them a salary the stars deem satisfactory (relative to their success), an image the stars deem decent, a trailer of good quality, and a large entourage. Stars can also get stressed or bored, depending on how many movies the player puts them in. Each star has different thresholds regarding when they will get stressed or bored. If stars get stressed, they will resort to alcoholism or over-eating.
Actors play a big role in The Movies. An actor's age and physique affects the quality of movies. Scary-looking actors are suited for horror roles. Younger, more handsome looking actors are more suited for romance movie roles. 30-year-old actors are suited for action roles, and older actors are suited for comedy roles. All actors and directors will retire at age 70.
All films require crew members to carry out the filming process. Early films just require a camera operator and a clapperboard operator, but more advanced films require boom mike operators, lighting controllers and other specialized crew members.
Other staff include extras (which can be promoted to Star status if they are good enough), janitors, scientists, scriptwriters, and crew members.
The studio lot is where sets and buildings are built. In order to increase the 'prestige' of the studio lot, the studio must be neat, free of litter, well laid out and with areas of grass, trees and decoration. Buildings must also be linked together by paths. Buildings and sets also decay, thus decreasing the quality of movies that they appear in. They will eventually become unusable if they do not receive maintenance or repair by your staff. Once this happens, you will need to build a new one.
The first four rival studios your studio will compete against are the following:
* Maxipack Worldwide (founded between 1898 and 1902)
* Lionear Productions (a spoof of Lionsgate Studios) (founded between 1904 and 1908)
* Creamboat Creations (founded between 1900 and 1912)
* Old Rope Cinema (a spoof of the Time Warner-owned New Line Cinema) (founded between 1914 and 1918)
Later in the game these six studios open:
* Rigormortis Movies (founded between 1937 and 1941)
* Gusset Entertainment (founded between 1947 and 1951)
* Cletus' Shotgun Cinema (founded between 1957 and 1961)
* Boney Studios (a spoof of Sony Pictures Entertainment) (founded between 1965 and 1969)
* Booboo & Dingo Films (founded between 1971 and 2000)
No other studios open for business after 2000.
There is no limit on movie length. The average movie length is between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, but user created films can be as long as budget will allow (although a 10 minute film might require over 20 game years of filming). In sandbox mode however, a director can have the movie shoot automatically with the correct options turned on, allowing a 15-20 minute movie made in about a minute. If this is chosen, however, the movie's crew rating will be announced as "awful", so it might be better to wait.
Once the actors, extras, director and crew are assigned to a film, production begins, with the entire staff of the film traveling between sets to film the movie.
The sandbox mode allows films to be created without undergoing the lengthy production process, and with budgets of over $100 million.
A film can be one of five genres: action, comedy, horror, romance or science fiction.
The main effect genre choice has is that real world events affect popularity of different genres. (The Vietnam War decreases popularity of action, the Space Race increases the popularity of science fiction, World War II decreases the popularity of horror, the post-war period increases the popularity of horror, and the Great Depression increases the popularity of comedy).
Players are able to pick a script provided by the studio's writers or write their own, although automated scripts take longer to write in game time, while user-written scripts take longer to write in real time.
For prewritten scripts, the player hires a writer at the Scriptwriting Office to make one. Multiple writers can collaborate on a single script in order to write it quicker. A series of upgrades, which are unlocked by winning studio awards, will allow the player to build higher quality Scriptwriting Offices, which increase the maximum rating a script can garner (1 star to 4 stars).
The ability to write one's own script is enabled after unlocking the Custom Scriptwriting Office, which is itself unlocked from winning an award. It is limited in terms of quality to what the highest scripting office can produce. Writing a custom script follows a storyboard-like suite. For each scene, the player chooses a set for the scene and then the action that will occur during the scene (for example: 'Living Room 1: Enter Scared'). The actors and their costumes can be chosen, extras assigned roles and mood, lighting and weather settings altered. The process will cost money though, the price increasing for each scene. The player can chose to have the structure set out for them (e.g., Introduction, pursuit, conflict, resolution) or "Freeform" mode, where there are no guidelines.
Sets are the constructions in the studio lot where the cast and crew assemble to shoot movies. The sets are divided into categories such as urban, western and rural. Different scenes have different actions available (a bar might feature many drinking related actions, while a street would feature various car actions).
Sets can be used to practice movies and increase genre experience. For example, an actor practicing on the set of a spaceship will increase his/her science fiction proficiency, leading to a better performance in sci-fi movies he/she is cast in.
Post production and marketing
Once production has finished, the film undergoes post production (provided a Post Production Building has been erected), where music, sound effects, subtitles, speech and titles can be added to the movie. Cuts and changes can also be made to the length and order of the scenes, making editing the film easier. You can also record sounds and a dialogue track for each character in that particular scene.
The game allows for lip-synching, matching the speech to the actors. However, this only works for short sound files, and only shows basic lip movements.
Once the movie has been completed, it can be saved in a proprietary file format for transferring to other PC users, or WMV format for online sharing. Outstanding player-made films will be nominated for a Stanley, Lionhead's version of the Oscars.
Once you have reached Level 3 in story mode, the publicity office becomes available. This allows actors to hold press conferences and organizes marketing for your movie. Once a publicity office is built, players can also choose an advertising budget when releasing a film. A heavily-advertised movie can make much more money, but using too much advertising can result in the movie being 'over-exposed'.
The game starts in 1920 and continues indefinitely, although technologies tail off in 2020. As a result, early films are in black and white without sound, while modern movies feature digital sound and computer-generated imagery. Inventing these innovations before rival studios can increase the quality of your films, but hiring more researchers can cost more than the extra income the advances provide. And remember the staff need pay.
The Movies: Stunts and Effects
The Movies: Stunts and Effects is an expansion pack for the PC business simulation game The Movies. The expansion pack is developed by Lionhead Studios. It was released on June 6, 2006 in North America and was released on June 16, 2006 in the UK.
The expansion pack adds stunts, stunt men, new props, effects, sets and costumes to the game. New features allow players to add stunt doubles to replace their actors to prevent injuries. Helicopters and other fast moving land and airborne objects are available. The new expansion pack introduces the 'Free-Cam' feature that allows players to move and position the camera as they like in any scenes. The player is able to buy sets like Wild West Bedroom. There were changes to The Movies Online with the release of the game. Some of the new sets include: Blue and Green Screens and Miniature Cities for giant creatures of your choosing.