At the end of that post, I also made this statement:
On a similar note, I would really like a recording tool that just took all that incoming information and stored it in a data file that could be loaded and played back in a mock-client with standard camera and playback controls. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to record a raid in that way and then be able to play it back with a free-roaming camera? Rewinds, pauses, fastforwards. No more Fraps limitations. No more being constrained to the viewpoints of whoever happens to be recording. No more trying to balance getting compelling shots of the action and being able to actually...you know...do your job in the raid. This would be an amazing tool for raid leaders and machinimaists alike. I realize this would take some development resources for a feature that a relatively small portion of the playing population would actually use. But that didn't stop them with the gear manager...Honestly, I was willing to leave it at that. A "nice-to-have" that sat at the back of my mind.
Then I found something out last week that I didn't know before: Starcraft II has this.
I don't own SC2, so I haven't been able to play with it myself. And good YouTube videos of how the feature works have been difficult to find. But I did find this one.
If you watch the vid it looks like there's some basic functionality there...pause the replay, speed it up, or slow it down. You're able to move the camera to any point on the battlefield and see what's going on with both players. Clicking on any unit or building will let you see details about it, including what instructions it's being given.
It also looks like there's some additional functionality that may exist but just isn't used in that video.
There's still some thing I haven't been able to figure out. I don't know if replays are saved locally and then uploaded somewhere, or if they're stored on the Battle.net server that's hosting the game. I've seen replays available for download from different websites for viewing, so it looks like you can save and access them locally, but they may have to be downloaded from Battle.net first. I don't know?
I don't know if all games are automatically saved for replay or if that's an option that can be turned on or off (either before the match, or at the end). It definitely appears that you have to have the game client loaded up to watch the replays, though.
So there's a lot going on there.
Now granted, SC2 has one thing going for it that WoW doesn't...definitive start and end points. Each battle is a self-contained event. And there's a finite, known number of players involved in each battle. WoW, obviously, does not break down so easily.
What's apparent here, though, is that the framework is in place. It would have to be adapted for WoW, but it could be done.
The big questions would be around how and when to record. Obviously with thousands of active players across entire continents, you wouldn't want to record constantly. There's just no reason to do that.
So what if it was restricted to Dungeons and/or Raids? Well, you probably still wouldn't want to record and save every single one. But it could be an option open to the player.
But that would leave a lot of practical uses out of the tool. If I were a machinima creator, I might want to record my character running through a bustling capital city for some reason. I should have that option. But Blizz would obviously not want to be in charge of storing that kind of data for everyone in Dalaran at any given time.
It's interesting, though, in the possibilities. I wish I had a better grasp on how it currently worked for SC2. It might give me something more to work with while brainstorming a similar feature in WoW.
Still, the simple fact remains that this little "wouldn't it be nice" idea that was floating in my head a few months ago is now a raging "please, Blizz, give us this!"