Our class had the extreme privilege of having the director of the documentary/video game Fort McMoney come to our class to present insights about the process of producing such an elaborate project.
The idea for the project was loosely inspired by Sim City–it focuses on re-creating Fort McMurray as a virtual town in which players are responsible for the fate of the town, whose main resource is oil. The game generates debate around economic development and environmental issues by allowing players to vote on referendums that change the town dramatically. Rather than computer-generated imagery, the highly navigable town is depicted photographically: a result of over 60 days of shooting on location. Below is a printout of one possible trajectory for a player: a story map showing the video game logic and the structure of the narrative. It stretches the whole classroom, too big for the photo!
We were able to ask questions about the production logistics, funding and conceptual inspiration for the project. Some references we came away with include the film Lady in the Lake by Robert Montgomery (first film shot entirely in subjective-camera) and the early choose-your-own-adventure video game Zork 1.
The real takeaway was that when doing a project at this scale, collaboration is necessary, and so is curiosity.
The project was produced by NFB Interactive, and we were soon to hear from the head of that program.