Things I’ve learned making Let’s Plays

I’ve never put in so much time for one thing I wanted to do; okay, I put in a lot of time for a few things. However I never been devoted to be a bit creative. It was always something I lacked. I can be creative at times to think of ideas (thus how this blog was born) but I never really been a visually creative person. Start of this year, I decided to make let’s plays on YouTube which somewhat harkens back to my old Black Ops gameplay. I always wanted to do something constructive or creative to develop something I had problem learning. For my new readers, I’m ADHD and I am not a very creative person; quite the unusual irony.

Over the past six months, I learned a few things from playing and recording video games. To veteran recorders and producers of gameplay, it may be obvious; but I do admire the fact the consistent and persistent nature of YouTubers. They remind me the humbling experience of being unpopular, bottom of the pyramid, way of finding a style. To those who haven’t had their mind set on WordPress wanting to do LP’s or record gameplay, I want you to learn from someone who doesn’t have a following and started with pretty much with a lot of time, plentiful amounts of procrastination and no money to put forward to upstart a hobby or interest. Take this as a warning or advice (or both).

Starting off, I needed a recording software. Something light on the system and can record the amount of time you need. For me, I need it to record continuously because I never know if there will be some good action bits. At the moment I’m using Open Broadcaster Software because it allows a one click solution with minimal set up but enough functionality to make changes to the encoding. At the beginning, I downloaded the program to replace CamStudio because the installation file I downloaded for The Dead Linger didn’t work. Both are free, but after having an experience in both products, I’ve come to realize the interface with OBS is easier and built towards online streaming and local recording than for tutorials and short presentations.

When I started with Banished LP’s, I recorded them in large huge batches. I’m talking like files sizes of 1GB times how much time I had. So in under x amount of hours, my hard drive would be capped out on raw video files. I think at one point I had 10 files lined up for uploading and those uploads would take up to 12 hours per file to upload. So it would take about 10 days to upload if you include time for me to just use my internet connection for anything besides uploading. So in the 30 plus episode run, it took a day each. However in TubeStar, the same 20 minute file would take about an hour or two. So if the game is very action based would require more frames. Therefore the file size will be larger compared to text based or 2D games. This is true in OBS by the way, try with your recording software of choice!

In making The Dead Linger, I found a difficulty with sandbox games where travelling is required. For one thing, you have to fill the time walking with something interesting. If you are a quiet gamer, definitely cut out the nothingness. If you have something to talk about, just talk and don’t hold back until you’re done. It can be interesting, informative, funny or just be somewhat like a small video journal about your life while you play. Just let it out and even if you are going to cut it, then cut it but it’s always to have some extra bits to have more to add if the video is a bit short.

Length of the video to me is only the limitation to the audience and your hard drive. However personally, I think people have a bit of a short attention span. With that in mind, I do my best to make my videos 20 minutes or less. At first, I aimed for 20 minutes. Now I end it when I think I have enough content or I set an end point. I guess it’s because Defiance has missions unlike The Dead Linger. So I can end one mission as a video. What I’m trying to say, find a way to end a video.

Early on, I said I’m not a very creative person. The truth really unfolds if you watch my YouTube channel compared to everyone’s LP. I don’t have a visual introduction, no end cards or effects. I just play as is and I do that because two main reasons. First being theory; I don’t really want to promote myself, I want to promote the games I play. The games are the feature on my channel and I want people to find their niche in video games. The large part I want them to see my video and try the game themselves. I think the second reason why I don’t have visuals is obvious. I’m not the best editor or graphic designer. I’m usually the idea man, the guy who wants to do it and get it done. I like to be the person to establish point A and point B and let people define the direction of travel. But at times, I do regret I’m not a visual person. I wish I could have some creativity so I could make graphics. But for now, you got to like where you start out. You don’t have to be established to start something, you just have to start.

Have I learned everything from making videos? I’m just about to get started. I don’t have a job, I don’t have the creativity, I don’t have best of anything. I just do it because I go in knowing I could fail and I would learn something from it or succeed and gain something I don’t really know and I could get interested into it. I might not make money from it because I consider myself small time but it doesn’t matter. For better or worse, I do what I love. I love video games, I love playing video games and I want to share my love with people who are still finding their love.

If someone who loves to teach a noob about graphic design and video production, let me know!

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#200 – Woop woop!

I intentionally wanted this as my 200th post. This is technically 201, sorry!

Huzzah! I have written over 200 posts on WordPress over a span of a few years. Though I quietly celebrated 100 posts, I think 200 is a bigger accomplishment. On the occasion, I want to reminisce back on the last 200 posts and give you folks the view on this side of the Internet.

Origins

When I started this blog, it was for a few reasons. During the time, I was a pretty angry person. Just pent up with anger that I just needed an outlet. I didn’t really have anyone to vent to; the only times I ever felt like I was myself and calm was when I was writing. Not just journal writing, but a medium where someone will read it and maybe people can share or chime in. I wouldn’t say my blog is a success story, but I can say I’m calmer because of it.

I tried vlogging a few times, all failures. For one thing, I had to edit them intensively. Devoting an hour of unpaid work for a few minutes was not feasible for me, not even now. That and also I find my voice and face pretty unattractive. Maybe some day, I will vlog.

So I decided to blog, choosing the host site was problematic since there were a lot of blogging site. For awhile a was milling about having it on Blogger. Just before I had this blog, I was still in high school if you can believe it. One of the classes had me create a Twitter, I never update the thing after I got out of the class. Microblogging  like Twitter is not as appealing as a medium that doesn’t restrict you on the amount of content to can put out. Sure I can have parts to a tweet; but if you ever read my long posts, you will know this isn’t very scalable. Tumblr was pretty hip during the time, but it’s seemed very much of a popularity contest to get content features. I’m not funny or an adorable cat so I couldn’t really be sucked into that drama. WordPress seemed to be a good choice since the community was somewhat inspiring and the interface was and still is very understandable and not super user friendly. One thing I like is the fact I have control over a lot of things on my blog.

As I said, I was pretty angry so I thought to let it all loose. Every time I had something to say it would be a long rant. At the time, my free time was a warpath in video games. I was playing up to 8 hours a day, “hooked” would hardly describe it. You think it would make me violent or more angry but it helped me calm down a bit after a day of before the day starts.

“One Post a Week”

This was my mantra and usually still holds firm. At the beginning I feared I might burn out if I put out a blog post every day or every time I finished one. So I thought to release one every half week, but I still thought  burn out was pretty short. So once a week sounded pretty reasonable; weekly content and I can think about each topic and prep a good list of topics to hit on before I publish it. Aside from this, it allows me to supplement with new content that might be relevant for the week. For those who have followed since post #1 would know sometimes I publish one or two more for the week. I sometimes I have a different topic I wanted to touch on before I forget it. But I try to stick to a schedule of one a week even though sometimes I might be early or late on a post date. I do this on my free time which at the moment I have plenty of; if I drop names, I drop it because I like it not because I’m not being paid for it. Yeah Allahweh, I’m talking to you; name dropped.

That ADHD!

I’m never up front about my mental condition since society has a monopoly on taboos. People don’t really know how it feels to be ADHD or try and play it up as “well, you’re just lazy” or “why can’t you sit still for 5 seconds?” It’s very tough to explain from my point of view if someone asks how it feels. The way I put it, it’s a good thing if you can control it or at least manage it and a bad thing if it’s slowing you down. In a way, it’s a gifted curse. I allows me to broad my horizons and learn things in general, but academic performance would vary. I may not hold many post-secondary qualifications, but I can study bits of it and get what it’s about. People will tell me it’s not right, not normal. To me, being right or normal is never the point of living. If it was, everyone would be perfect and boring. And if you know me, perfect isn’t normal. Perfect is an idea and not a way of life. Life is imperfect and in itself, is unique between everyone. In short, being imperfect makes you a more unique individual.

Randomly Yours

If I could somehow let you into my mind, you would see some crazy stuff and maybe hear some very random ideas. It’s not a hallucination, but it would be all the stuff I daydream and think of from a day to day basis. I always wanted to put it in perspective for those who don’t really know how it feel like you have a lot to say but no necessary outlet – or you just forget about it and when you remember, you say “Dang it!” So here I go to emulate in words of stuff in my mind.

I got to email this guy. But first, Chrome –> Youtube, Facebook, WordPress. I wonder if anyone still uses writes “Facebook” as “FaceBook”, I use to remember a few people who did that. Same with YouTube. Was WordPress use to be known as WordPress? Gotta watch this video, watching this video linked here. I wonder if there are any Facebook update. I wonder if those bloggers have anything new posted – tab up! Note to self: write blog post. I got ideas right? Well, probably come to me when it comes to me. Crap, I got to pack for that trip. Huh, the more I think about it my neighbourhood is pretty good to hide in the zombie apocalypse. Assuming each building houses an average family and most buildings are detached so they can’t jump and get me. Being a Canadian, so firearms are going to be hard to find. Unless someone on my street secret has a firearm or a police car happened to stop right there before the end of the world. Though it would be semi-likely to find a cop car within 4 blocks from me. If there isn’t a cop car, there are a couple school nearby. I could raid the janitorial closets for a shovel or something. Maybe fashion myself a spear with safety scissors. Hah! Most people would say large populated areas are pretty bad for a zombie apocalypse so the local malls are out of the question which sucks since there’s just a large gold mine of materials to loot if it came down to it. Probably for the best is to gather food and materials and go self-sustaining.The local supermarkets sell seeds so get a small wind turbine or something steam powered for an underground or backyard greenhouse and surplus power for anything interesting. There should be a game like that. Just a video game where you gather junk and craft it into barricades and stuff to survive a zombie apocalypse. There use to be a television reality series on Discovery, The Colony. If there was a video game, it should be closely to that. Huh, I remember there use to be a season 2 of that show; did they every make a third? Google it! Well, I spent a good 6 hours on YouTube and still nothing done today. I feel like playing video games.

Without reason or provocation, I would sometimes have some good ideas and sometimes my head feels like it’s riffing random thoughts and things I should do. I can’t stop myself aside from drowning my thoughts with music or just trying to hang on working on one task. Even with that, my mind can permeate through the noise. Whatever you want to call it, right or wrong, that is me and that makes me unique.

Going On, Going Strong

After 200 posts with almost 80 subscribers, I can say it’s fairly unexpected anyone would hear a lowly voice. Starting this blog had only one goal in mind, an outlet. I always come up with ideas and opinions that strike serendipitously and the forays into games which lead me to this very point where I am content with what I have. It’s small following, but no doubt I am very thankful I have this very opportunity to share to the world at large what I think about it and what I think about myself. I don’t expect to possess the best material on WordPress, but I do want to try and aim for the best material I can ever provide. As for number 200, lets celebrate it by bringing back my old Twitter account? Yeah, why not!

Thanks for those of you following, liking, and subscribing; here’s to 200 more posts!

My blog in 2011 – How time just flew by…sometimes.

Happy new years, first one for 2012. WordPress looks back on my blog and some fascinating stuff about what I’ve done.

Also to people that are counting, it’s not a competition.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,600 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 27 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Fireworks are a nice touch to the start of the year.