Camera Ludica, a video game walkthrough

Marco De Mutiis, Camera Ludica, a Video Game Photography Walkthrough, 2018, for The Photographers’ Gallery Media Wall.

Camera Ludica is a video essay exploring the recent phenomenon of what is often called in-game photography. This term comprises a range of practices – from taking screen shots to playing the character of a photographer, from game modifications created by players to photo modes developed by game studios.

The work is divided into three sections through which de Mutiis reveals the significant lineage of photography in games dating back to 1989. Together they offer a new understanding of photography’s relationship with computers.

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source: https://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/whats-on/exhibition/camera-ludica

Photos in Final Fantasy XV and Prompto’s in-game photography

In Final Fantasy XV (Square Enix, 2016) one of the character, Prompto Argentum, has photography skills and will take pictures of the gameplay, which are shown to the player when the characters are resting.

Prompto could be seen as an alternative Photo Mode “outsourced” to an NPC.

 

source: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/boards/719092-final-fantasy-xv/74657693

Prompto’s photography skill is a passive ability that is used throughout your time playing Final Fantasy 15, requiring no input to progress. It generally progresses naturally as Prompto takes photographs of various things as you explore the game world.

At the end of each day Prompto will show you a list of photographs he has taken that day. You do have the option of saving the pictures into a gallery or even sharing them with your friends on social media, although this has no impact on leveling the skill itself.

Typically Prompto will take shots of exciting events throughout the day. Boss encounters, group exploration and meeting new figures within the story are all popular points for Prompto to take a quick snapshot.

At some points during the game you can influence Prompto’s photograph choices. When driving Prompto will ask Noctis what he wants to see in his photographs, you can reply with any of the main characters as a response – prompting Prompto (see what I did there?) to take more photographs featuring that specific character.

source: http://www.gamersheroes.com/game-guides/final-fantasy-xv-promptos-photography-skills-guide/

Interestingly, the photo feature was explicitly built to encourage circulation of images online and “impact social media”:

The photos feature was born out of the idea that more people are using smartphones and thus being connected to social media, and the developers wanted Final Fantasy XV to have an impact in that sphere.

If people are playing on their smartphones, then a lot of them are also using social media, right? So one of my goals in creating 15 was to craft a game that could have a big impact on social media. That’s what you’ve seen with the photographs and all the videos the players are sharing, and that’s a way of sort of reaching this audience. I think we did a pretty good job of it.

—Hajime Tabata, director of Final Fantasy XV
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However, some players have complained about the Prompto’s photographic skills:

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The game also contains photography as game mechanics, and photo shoot “missions”.

 

A Photo Mode that can be operated by the player is also available:

 

more info on Prompto’s photography AI: http://gdcvault.com/play/1024023/Prompto-s-Facebook-How-a

Marco De Mutiis – Photo Modes as a Post-photographic Apparatus

De Mutiis, Marco. 2017. “Photo Modes as a Post-photographic Apparatus” In Augmented Photography, edited by Milo Keller, Joël Vacheron, Maxime Guyon. Lausanne: Editions ECAL. ISBN: 978-2-9701157-4-8

 

[in] Photo Modes, players by default cannot not share their in-game photos when they take the picture on a PS4. Indeed, PS4 controllers have a dedicated button for taking the picture, labelled the ‘share button’. On the official Playstation YouTube channel, the Photo Mode tutorial for the Last of Us Remastered game – perhaps the first game to popularize Photo Modes – reminds us: ‘Once you have framed up your shot, just press the share button.’ And ‘this new mode allows you to freeze action in the game, adjust the camera, and add custom effects and frame before sharing them with the share button […].’ Photo Modes entirely transform the shutter button of traditional cameras by merging its function with the compulsory sharing of the image on the internet. In this sense, the role of the player-photographer within Photo Modes aligns with that of the Flusser’s clueless functionary, operating at the service of the black box. Even with a lesser degree of freedom, as the player-photographer is only left with two operations:

1. Aesthetic configuration

2. Sharing

With the material world gone and the physical apparatus disappeared, we are left with the momentary pleasure of tweaking parameters and adjusting colours on screen until we can finally execute our job, the creation of what Beller calls ‘computational capital’.

[…]

While Photo Modes may appear, at first glance, to be merely a nostalgic simulation of a simple photographic past made of shallow depth of field and poetic colour filters, its inner mechanics reveal that they are in fact part of contemporary post-photographic apparatus and integrally connected with the distribution and circulation of images online within the attention economy. Following this line of ideas, I would like to suggest that Photo Modes can be understood as a specific kind of Seeing Machine, one that requires functionaries to generate value through the acts of taking and sharing a picture. Photo Modes are inscribed within a larger ecology that includes fan trailer videos, ‘Let’s play’ videos, in-game screenshots etc. and, at the same time, offers a unique construction provided by the game developers that showcases a specific economic and political model of the photographic medium.

read the full article here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3lqya01wtlarr6r/Photo%20Modes%20as%20post-photographic%20apparatus%2020171021.pdf?dl=0

Scapes: GT Sport Photo Mode

via Gamescenes:

source: http://www.gamescenes.org/2017/08/tool-scapes-redefines-in-game-photography.html