United Ranger Films

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United Ranger Films was a machinima production group responsible for the first examples of machinima. They were an offshoot from the Quake deathmatch clan, The Rangers, and were made up of members of the clan. Their first movie, Diary of a Camper, was a revolution at the time, because it was the first time an independent story was filmed inside a game. This was possible because Quake could record players' actions to a .dem file for later playback. Thus, their subsequent, more adventurous projects acquired the moniker of Quake movies or QMovies, and others followed suit in making their own.

After Diary of a Camper, United Ranger Films continued with Ranger Gone Bad and Torn Apart. The former was a prelude to their most successful production, Ranger Gone Bad 2: Assault on Gloom Keep, which brought United Ranger Films a big profile in the Quake community, then still in its infancy. Later came Torn Apart 2, the first Quake movie to employ recorded speech for dialogue, rather than in-game text messages previously used to represent subtitles.

Their final two projects never reached completion: Torn Apart 3 and Ranger Gone Bad 3: The Fist of Set. Although members of the Rangers clan were involved in the very first movies being made about the Rangers, by this point they were all involved in United Ranger Films instead, and the two groups continued separately. The first fifteen minutes of RGB3 eventually surfaced, but neither the finished film nor any part of Torn Apart 3 have ever appeared. Nevertheless, United Ranger Films are still noted for the part they played in promoting this form of filmmaking.


Diary of a Camper[edit]

Main article: Diary of a Camper

Ranger Gone Bad[edit]

Ranger Gone Bad.png

Ranger Gone Bad is a machinima film made using the Quake game engine. It was made by United Ranger Films in 1996. At the time of the film's creation, The Rangers (as they were known) were virtually the only group making movies in Quake (the term "Quake Movies" or "QMovies" became a common name for them).

The movie is essentially a set-up for the sequel, Ranger Gone Bad 2: Assault on Gloom Keep, as it involves a first-person view of the central character Judas walking around Gloom Keep surveying that everything is ready for the upcoming attack.

The film inspired several parodies, most notably Ranger Gone Plaid being the first, but also Ranger Gone Mad.

Ranger Gone Bad 2: Assault on Gloom Keep[edit]

Ranger Gone Bad 2.png

Ranger Gone Bad 2: Assault on Gloom Keep is a 1996 machinima film made using the Quake game engine. The movie was recorded at a LAN party featuring a number of participants, and made available for download shortly after. The movie is notable for being the first QMovie to have a genuine movie-like feel to it, at a time when there were little or no facilities for editing .dem files used for recording Quake. The movie uses text comments made by the players to represent subtitles - The Rangers' follow-up film, Torn Apart 2, would be the first QMovie to feature actual speech. The film was very well received, and was arguably instrumental in encouraging other individuals to create QMovies of their own. It was to be followed afterwards by the epic Ranger Gone Bad 3: The Fist of Set, but the film never reached completion as the Rangers disbanded.

As with the vast majority of machinima released during the Quake movie period, the film was recorded by a player using the game's internal demo recording command. The film can be played back using a copy of Quake.

With Diary of a Camper being widely acknowledged as the first ever Quake movie (and, by extension, the first ever machinima piece), the importance of Ranger Gone Bad 2 has become lost on many. Whereas Diary of a Camper was viewed as little more than a fun curiosity by the Quake community, Ranger Gone Bad 2 made people sit up and take notice, and realize the potential of what the Rangers had achieved. Stephen Lum of The Cineplex described the film as "the Quake Movie that made Quake Movies popular", and Paul Coates of Psyk's Popcorn Jungle described it as "the movie that launched the Rangers into superstardom... and, considering its age, is very well choreographed, has some brilliant camerawork (done using the RangerCam), and bucketloads of action thrown into the proceedings... many Q-Movies have come after this, but none have surpassed, or equalled, the action in this". The creators of Operation Bayshield said that "after seeing the Rangers' movie, we decided that in between DM'ing we should try making a movie ourselves" - presumably referring to Ranger Gone Bad 2. (Quote taken from Operation Bayshield original .zip download)

Torn Apart[edit]

Torn Apart.png

Torn Apart is a 1996 machinima film made using the Quake game engine. At the time of the film's creation, The Rangers (as they were known) were virtually the only group making movies in Quake (the term 'Quake Movies' or 'QMovies' became a common name for them). The film was created in the short period between the production of URF's Ranger Gone Bad series, and is a short experiment utilising a Quake patch that allows players to become the monsters featured in the game. In this case, the film follows the story of one of the Rangers marines in an encounter with a fiend. The film was followed by Torn Apart 2 and the unfinished Torn Apart 3.

Torn Apart 2: Ranger Down![edit]

Torn Apart 2.png

Torn Apart 2: Ranger Down! is a 1996 machinima film made using the Quake game engine. It is notable as the first movie of its kind to employ recorded speech for the characters, as in-game text messages had previously been used to represent subtitled speech - a practice that continued with early QMovies, but died down soon after.

The plot is very similar to the film that preceded it, Torn Apart. Once again, it involves several Rangers getting caught by fiends (controlled by players using a Quake patch to simulate the appearance of fiends), in the same map as in Torn Apart.

The film was due to be followed by a sequel filmed in Quake II, Torn Apart 3, but the film was never completed.


  • Diary of a Camper (1996)
  • Ranger Gone Bad (1996)
  • Torn Apart (1996)
  • Ranger Gone Bad 2: Assault on Gloom Keep (1996)
  • Torn Apart 2 (1996)
  • Ranger Gone Bad 3: The Fist of Set (unfinished)
  • Torn Apart 3 (unfinished)

Further reading[edit]

Longwood, Henry 2006. "High-performance play: The making of Machinima" Journal of Media Practice 7.1
—Also as:

Machinima.com staff (February 8, 2000). "Ranger Gone AWOL". Machinima, Inc. Archived from the original on 2006-03-15. Retrieved 2008-08-23. 

External links[edit]