nawkcire

Games, Tech and Blogging…I can't guarantee in that order.

Tag Archives: lets play

Quick Change

Recently I have been taking stock of the past year; like every year before it, I try and compare myself to the previous year and find what I can do to improve myself. In the ebb and flow of time, the past year has felt more like burning bridges than building them.

From the start, I started out in a low part of my life. I thought six years ago was the lowest part of my life, within a short time I’ve definitely lucked out with the best parts of me. At the same time, I embarked a different things. I began exercising more regularly for starters. It hasn’t yielded results, it is something I want to commit to myself to live better and healthier. I have to admit I haven’t keeping up with it lately, I partially blame the season. The heat is a tad absent and the weather seems a bit more damp. Trust me, I’m trying to be fit and healthy and all that jazz.

Since January, I’ve revived my YouTube channel devoted to sharing games I like to play. For the moment I’ve stayed away from Kerbal Space Program since construction and travel takes awhile to do. Rendezvous with KOLab orbital station takes awhile in vanilla and I would like to play the entire series without the mods available to me. For now, hiatus on KSP but I’m working on playing other games. At the moment in the line-up, I am playing the early access of Interstellar Marines while using IndieDB to find interesting games to play like The Dwarves. Artistically, I have stepped away from making title cards for every video I’m making. I think rather than trying to promote my channel through a video, I should just focus on the gameplay. I’ll still make thumbnails though because it looks cleaner and well organized. A few things I should improve upon should be getting more games to play and demo. This is a bit more complicated because I don’t budget for entertainment stuff in my life. At the moment, my focus is on early access games and free to play. There are a good games that need to be out there than playing the trends. Though I do get into the mainstream and popular games, I want to show you guys the new and obscure games you’re missing.

I noticed my upload schedule has been a bit down lately, it’s for an important reason. I would like to devote more time looking for a job and trying to sort out stuff that’s going on in my life in meatspace. Only if I was a popular YouTuber or had some entrepreneurial prowess to start an internet company that just plays video games. It would be pretty amazing.

Until next time, this thanksgiving I am just thankful that even in all the bad things I don’t want to mention, there are shards of hope and happiness. And I hope this thanksgiving you guys are thankful for the happiness the world has brought upon you.

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Late Lifestyle Change

Summer’s ending which meant community pools are closing fairly soon. It’s unfortunate because recently I got into swimming again after half a decade avoiding it. I might have swam a few years back but never returned since. However recently though I’ve been feeling the need to exercise more. No pressure or anything, just thought about it and decided to do it. At first I did a bit of sit ups and push up and now I’m starting to take an interest in swimming. Likely not going to be competitive but more recreational for it’s health benefits.

After a week of swimming at the local pool, I already came to a few conclusions. First being I’m very out of shape. In my teens, I could swim a lap or two but now a lap is pretty much just out of reach at the moment. Regardless, I am definitely capitalize as much of the summer remaining to swim. Even on my “busy” recording schedule for my gameplay series on YouTube, I should find something outside and outdoors to do.

At the moment I’m still as hesitant as I was before with running and jogging. I think it’s more of a self esteem issue I want to confront but I haven’t gotten the gall to put up with it. Any advice to anyone with a friend with self esteem issues; if they want to confront their problems, help them at all cost. Seriously if I had a friend, I would want them to help me through some of these problems. In time, I’ll find my way through it; just will and the choice to do something about it will take me there.

On the video game front, I’ve been enjoying Kerbal Space Program a bit more. Maybe because I have a plan or a fixed time limit because of the series, but I’m really enjoying it. The career mode is pretty dull but combined with the let’s play series on my channel, I like it. I feel I can definitely share all the highs and lows. So far as of this post, I’ve been into orbit a few times, rescued a couple Kerbals, and set up two satellites around our fair planet. And of course since career has contracts, I’ve been working on testing parts for money and science to get the jobs I want done. For the moment in the future, big plans and construction plans are coming up. Mostly setting up a permanent presence in the Kerbol system. Maybe considering on some roleplay in career mode. Sky’s the limit, quite literally. Definitely a lot of plans for manned and unmanned missions. Hopefully go beyond what I already have done in the game in the past, which is travel to the two moons around Kerbin. With the ARM (Asteroid Redirect Mission) update, definitely want to showcase a bit of that content as well. Not sure when but definitely when I feel confident on orbital rendezvous.

Besides KSP, I’ve been approached by some Steam friends on playing some other games with them and maybe record some of those as one off videos. I did do a few videos in Insurgency but I found the content wasn’t that interesting. Who knows, I might record more Insurgency and maybe get working on an Unturned collaborative series. For now, my system can handle storing a regular gameplay series and some videos here and there. As far as having a parallel series in another game, that will require some help.

For now I have a good balance between KSP and swimming. I can upload while I swim, then coming back I can continue editing. That’s how life should be, balance. 

Everything has changed…

I’ve taken the next step into the voyage into YouTube. At the start, I didn’t want to turn it into something bigger than just to moderate my time.

Though my prowess in visual art is lacklustre, I find it fairly productive. The whole process of editing my videos have been kind of therapeutic in a weird way. Mostly indescribable the way it’s a bit calming to just go through and edit everything. After all the artwork and stuff added to the edited gameplay, I must admit it’s pretty beneficial. For time, I put away about 2 hours per video to recording and editing and about 5-10 hours on uploading. So turn around is about 12 hours for a video. Since I like to record en masse, that would come in handy since I can edit and upload at the same time. As long as can put out videos as fast as I can edit them, it’s not a problem. However throwing a wrench in the works has already taught me a few things.

Before the last couple parts of my Defiance let’s plays (part 60 and 61), OBS was the one program that required tweaking and adjusting. For most of the series, I’ve been secretly adding and subtracting numbers to find the best settings for me. Though these little additions and fixes are sparse, they have been helping me push back the file size. From a 1 GB file to just under 900 MB, not much of a reduction but it saves some space in case I need to do anything which ironically is not the case.

At the budget of “I wish I had money”, Windows Movie Maker seems to be the route to take for editing at the moment. I feel like I only scratched the surface of editing. Cutting has been pretty easy, but with all my efforts the couple tests I’ve done have only cut down maybe 5 minutes off of a 20 minute video and less depending on the size of the video. Most of the time, I cut a lot of driving and small bits of the combat in game to push through it than watching these drawn out battle scenes.

So far it’s been slow learning about visual art and video editing. It has it’s challenges and rewards. It’s definitely something that I can grow into but my interest in creating art is more or less reserved to writing than to a canvas of colour. For now, my maxim of “whatever works” has taken me this far. Until next time, let’s see how far I can really take this.

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!

Into Indies

At the moment on my YouTube channel, I have played a couple indie games but I never really just picked something up to just display it. Recently, I thought I would use IndieDB to help me find some games to make short playthroughs. As a starter, I have downloaded TubeStar.

TubeStar is a parody to making videos on YouTube and “simulates” being a YouTuber. I wouldn’t be so sure what that would actually be like but I thought I would give it a shot. Though there is a bunch of games out there so why would I pick something so obscure? Simply, I picked one at random I can download and gave it a shot. From the recorded gameplay footage, I somewhat regret my decision. It was very dull to say the least and the gameplay was not compelling.

Lessons learned from this little let’s play recording session? First would be to read about the game, then download it to play a bit to see if it’s compelling or has something worth showing. Secondly, compelling gameplay; honestly I got kind fo bored halfway through the game. Most definitely trust my ADHD-meter for interesting games. Last point to make would be pick from genres I would enjoy and not through a mystery bag system.  

So the first indie lets play on my channel is a semi-success, but I’ll let the viewer make that count. Until then, I’m sticking to my laggy playthrough of The Dead Linger. 

Working on it!

At the moment, I’m drifting away from recording video for YouTube because of the long down time for each video, but I am working on outputting more videos. For the moment, I’m thinking of moving on from my Banished gameplay for a little while. At the moment, I haven’t made much progress and I think I should wait awhile before I feel like I’m in the right mind to play it again. So for the time being, I’m considering of playing something else to keep my channel interesting. At the moment, I’m looking into playing games I already own or games which are freely accessible and may be fascinating to play and watch. I’m working on it; don’t you fret, audience.

At the moment, I have fallen off the proverbial horse and haven’t been keeping myself as well as I’m suppose to be. For the most part, I’ve been staying up to play video games which leads me to sleep in during the day. Both aren’t good things nor bad, only means my schedule is thrown off and I need to get back on schedule. For my old followers, you know I meander from my course from time to time to always return to it. I’ve been working on sorting out my personal issues and focusing on resolving this drought of employment. So I’ve been spending more and more time trying to get myself out together to find something to work towards. At the moment priority is source of income, then comes everything else I want to do. I might consider volunteering again like last year, though I want to work on getting paid employment going.

As for my YouTube channel, I’m not quite sure what to play to divert from Banished. I could get into Kerbal Space Program, Insurgency co-op or something else I have in my library. If you would like to see me play a game, leave a comment telling any games you would want to see me play. Preferably free or I own already. Or even send it to me on Steam at Shooter-90, I’d appreciate it! Likely do KSP in sandbox, though I might do Career mode as well,

Nothing interesting for this week’s entry, I’m just working on real life stuff and being “busy”. Just another dull week at “the office” (AKA my room).

Until next time, keep busy everyone!

Blackberry Back In Action & Doing Some Small Things

Awhile back, I stopped using my Blackberry Playbook for whatever reason. Most likely my wi-fi settings were incorrect, recently I gave another crack at it. So look who’s back behind their 5 inch screen?

Though not much has changed, after so long the gestures are so intuitive that it was almost reflex memory. The WordPress app seems to be the same and the Android emulation is and always has been sketchy at best. So back to blogging on the Playbook while new bits of my Let’s Play series is uploading as we speak (I could be done by now and uploading a new set). I think the exciting part for me in the series is I can open up a point of view of how I play video games. Though it isn’t as immersive as actual play, gives you insight on how I play and what I get out of playing video games. It is the second series on my channel; first being Call Of Duty with the best audio job I could back then, I am giving it another go to learn some skill in it. Perhaps if people take interest, it might drive me to do a better job and start editting the whole thing. For the time being I am sticking to a simple format; uneditted 20 minutes of commentary of Banished to follow my town from ruin to riches.

I am thinking of doing a few things with my Twitter account besides broadcasting to the world about my newest video. I am thinking of doing bits of poetry in 140 characters or less. Fairly simple, I write down a verse and I put it with a hashtag. I think I’ll be doing it for the next week or so until I am at a loss for words. So feel free to bookmark my Twitter page or just add me if you have Twitter. Staying productive is tough without a job, I can see why some folks don’t want to retire.

That’s all for now, nothing thought provoking; maybe sometime this week. Until next week, this is @nawkcire on Twitter, nawkcire on Youtube and (Yes, you guessed it!) nawkcire at WordPress.com; have a good week everyone!

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry

Underestimation

For those who have been checking out the updates I’ve made with YouTube, don’t be alarmed. I’m not leaving WordPress, I love writing too much to abandon you. Then again, I love games so games and words was going to happen sooner or later. I’ve made attempts to write reviews and banter about games here but it seems I never really get into the idea. Video form seems like the way to go but I still have some obstacles to tend to concerning technological and psychological barriers.

It’s been awhile since I did a walkthrough with commentary on YouTube. First and last was Call Of Duty: Black Ops, the results were varied since I just downloaded everything and just went for it. After a few good years of taking steps and being cautious, I’m going to reopen the channel by playing Banished from Shining Rock Software. This time, I’m going to do this right. I want to have a good audio and video quality which brings me to the updates you might have noticed here. I’m sharing test gameplay and commentary while I set up my audio and video until the 18th rolls around. Doesn’t guarantee my first instalment will be same day, the video takes about a good hour and half to upload and 20-30 to record. But I will try and keep it to at least once a week like my blog if not the same day as my blog updates. My target would be blog on the weekends and video on a weekday. With a bunch of free time from being unemployed, I got to do something; am I right? From what I learned in the last 3 years of blogging will be applied to how I execute this video series, I learned:

  • If you fail once, keep going.
  • It’s not a numbers game, it’s a game about value of time.
  • Short and sweet, sweet and simple, or simple and short are the best combinations (at least for me anyways).
  • Enjoy the ride and not hijack it.
  • Try, check, revise, try again.

There’s plenty more I haven’t learned yet but I am ready to explore that unknown until I can’t write anymore. No surrender, no giving up; we got this!

For those rare handful of readers, you personally know me as a shy guy and I’m now admitting it to everyone (I might have said something about it in the past). It’s no problem when in group of like 10 people, but in a crowd of innumerable amounts it can get scary for me. In such a case, certain criteria must apply before my comfort is satisfactory. Without details, let’s just say conclude I’m shy and have a problem with public speaking. Yes, if you listen to the test clips, I have a bit of stutter because of it. Still overcoming that hurdle which I found deep breathes help while I turn off my brain and say something. I know I’m alone in my room and I can literally wear underwear while I’m recording, but it feels like when I say something in my microphone I feel like it’s going out to at least 25 unknown folks. Even with that, my stutter would just disappear in time and I can overcome my shyness.

Maybe YouTube is a good step ahead.

Testing…1…2…3

Look everyone, I posted something on YouTube after so long. Seriously I have a lot to improve so probably some quick updates in the upcoming week. So without further ado, gamer me has something to say.

Game: Blacklight Retribution

Currently working on getting ride of the letterbox issue for Blacklight when recording, then just have to test it alongside with Insurgency, Star Trek Online then figure an upload schedule. Indeed, I’m taking what I learned in 4 years of blogging to this thing.

So far from uploading this clip, I learned a few things. First being quality is a bit off so I might have to adjust brightness. Uploading is really slow due to my connection. This 20 minute snippet was about an hour and a half to upload and process. Most importantly, re-renders lower the quality. I figured to save time to compress it a bit, but that lowered the quality. So I have to improve on quality. I’m not way too worried about high definition since those files would literally take a good chunk of the day to upload which I don’t really have time to put towards babysitting. I still have real life to tend to and I don’t think being a YouTube personality would be an overnight thing. For now, sticking to my main goal – keep busy!

Until the next test, get ready for a lot of time with Banished in 1 week, 4 days.

P.S. Fill out social media contacts on YouTube…maybe…

Trying new things…not in a dirty way (maybe)

The Steam store has finally gotten the hold on me. There are games at the moment there I want to play and explore; I just spent the rest of my previous Steam card funds on Insurgency. I decided on it on a two fold decision. First was the price, it was 10% off until the end of January so I would spend the entirety of the card. In hindsight, it could backfire wince another game is coming out and I’m absolutely pumped for it. I was attracted to the game for the co-op, I heard it was challenging. When I got the game it was challenging at first; even after a few runs in these maps, I must admit it feels very linear but the computer opponents would be it’s best to shoot back. At times, they’re ridiculous good shots or they are just a cut above the Stormtroopers. When the time is right, those bots are pretty good at keeping heads down or even just slowing down progress. Probably the best AI I’ve seen so far in an FPS, they’re not too smart and not too dumb.

Mentioning a game, I’ve always wanted to play a city building and management simulator. Ever since Simcity moved over to EA’s Origin client, there’s nothing I can find I can get from Steam – until recently when I heard about Banished. After seeing a bunch of pre-release let’s play videos on YouTube, I intensely want to play with it. With only two weeks and two days away from release day, there’s already a lot of videos out for the game. Watching the gameplay does not phase me to play it; I’m more interested in playing it considering it’s a sandbox and it seems like a well made game for one individual from what I hear. From the specs for the game, I think I should rekindle an old project on YouTube.

The last time I did a Let’s Play (technically called a walkthrough, for those who can’t find the noun) was Call of Duty Black Ops. If I can remember correctly, it was on easy too considering the difficulty is fairly steep between medium and hard. I guess it was a test of a format, thus why there’s only one on my channel and that’s all I uploaded. Perhaps when this game comes out, I will get back to doing a “let’s play” of Banished. I guess I should look into downloading the editing suite and recording software. I’ve been out of it so research might be scheduled. It would keep me busy and maybe gain some video editing and production skills, but keeping productive is probably something that sounds more encouraging while I find employment. Yay to being my own intern!

Aside from blogging, I can add making videos on YouTube to the list of things to keep me busy and close to video games. I have about a good couple weeks to get set up and get rolling or chicken out, so that’s something to look into so let me know if you guys want to see me play a sandbox city builder. Until next time, be brave and bold everyone!