Marathon Phoenix video commentary

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Marathon Phoenix video commentary

Post Jun 10th '14, 13:05

I've started doing a level-by-level commentary series on Marathon Phoenix. I've never done anything like a Let's Play before, so this is more of a personal project than anything else. I was thinking about covering other games, but I figured I'd start with one I know pretty well as a trial run.

Rather than simply playing through the game, I'm using the videos as a means to provide commentary on design decisions I've made, and stuff like that.

The first video, for the levels Botany Bay and A Space Marine is You, can be found here.

Please give me any feedback you can provide, as I am totally an amateur in this field.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jun 10th '14, 14:58

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treellama
Pittsburgh


Post Jun 10th '14, 17:20

The key part of making a "let's play" work is having a personality and voice that is not off-putting to the viewer, and to have commentary that's actually interesting. Different let's players have different styles. Some make jokes, some talk about their day, some talk about trivia or interesting facts about the game, some talk about interesting features and showcase secrets and easter eggs. So there's the informal/casual just for fun approach, and then there's the informative approach, which /can/ be done in a rather laid-back and casual manner.

Different let's players have different appeals. For Jesse Cox, it's his awful jokes and his hilarious reactions to what's going on in the game. For Necroscope86, it's the ludicrous alternatives to cuss words, the occasional amusement from freak-out moments, and the more common savestate abuse. For Chuggaconroy, it's having fun with the game while also talking about interesting trivia about the game or the franchise the game is a part of, and sometimes talking about the inspirations behind a game (like mythological references.)

I haven't seen your video yet, but from time to time I watch let's plays. (I usually watch gaming news and semi-professional first impressions videos.) I'll check your video out later today, though.

If you want to do a behind-the-scenes commentary, well, it could work if you can carry it with charisma and some form of entertainment value. There's no magic formula for having an entertaining let's play, other than having an engaging personality and where only 2 to 5% of the dialogue is cuss words. (Excessive cursing is obnoxious and not very engaging.) And having at least some idea what you're doing when you're playing the game.
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FlawedIntellect

Post Jun 10th '14, 18:44

I had your video on in the background while I read diablo patch notes, so sorry if I miss anything in my review here.

You said a lot of words. Some of them were opinions, some of them were explanations. You showed some gameplay.

In conclusion, this was in fact a Let's play type video you made.

Hope this helps.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Jun 10th '14, 18:58

Diablo's patch notes were pretty humdrum, but I'm glad I don't need legendary mats anymore for crafting because farming Twin Seas was truly soul-sucking and is probably the reason why my wizard isn't actually wearing that set. (Also I'm using Vyr's instead.)
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jun 10th '14, 19:12

Yeah, not having to farm for a shard of entsteig plate ever again will be nice. Increased set item drop rate is pretty good too.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Jun 10th '14, 19:18

Very nice!
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Jun 10th '14, 20:28

Enjoyed that.

Interesting to hear your own opinion of A Space Marine Is You - that's probably one of my favourite levels!
CitizenKane
Dublin, Ireland

Post Jun 11th '14, 03:29

I enjoyed this. I'm pretty interested to hear the design commentary for the later levels.

The only real request I have, and maybe this is only me, is a quick explanation of the overall goal of the level at the beginning of the commentary. It helps give a bit more meaning to the footage for me, since my memory of Phoenix is pretty spotty.
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$lave

Post Jun 11th '14, 04:24

The second video is available! This is for Nottingham Lace and Running From Evil.

Everything should be fine on the videos but I'm getting an error with Youtube where certain videos won't play for me, and this is one of them, but it appears that it uploaded properly because there's a comment on the page.

$lave: I'll keep that in mind. I think I mention what the objective is at some point in each video, but it's not at the beginning, and it's kind of an aside at some point or another in each video. Going forward, I'll mention it at the beginning of the video. I have recorded the audio for the next two episodes already though (I have it done through the end of Chapter 1).
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jun 11th '14, 13:38

Third video is up and they're all in a cool playlist now. This is a link. This episode is for the level Enchanting New Mexico.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jun 11th '14, 15:58

Wrkncacnter wrote:I had your video on in the background while I read diablo patch notes, so sorry if I miss anything in my review here.

You said a lot of words. Some of them were opinions, some of them were explanations. You showed some gameplay.

In conclusion, this was in fact a Let's play type video you made.

Hope this helps.

Not really. You didn't define a let's play properly. Under your definition, first impressions videos and game reviews would be let's plays. But, these sorts of videos are /not/ let's plays. There are certain specific qualities that let's plays have that are not fulfilled under first impressions.

A Let's Play consists of:
An endeavor of a player to record their efforts of playing through the entire game.
Commentary of some sort. Can be any sort of commentary. Typical Let's Play commentary involves talking about random personal things like how one's day went, opinions about this or that game or recent events, a person's feelings about the game they're playing.
Some of the higher-tier let's play commentary includes some level of the previous aforementioned stuff, but generally consists mostly of fun-facts about the game (or the game franchise).


Needless to say, RyokoTK's video series, by all means, fits the definition of a let's play.

And hey, RyokoTK, it's cool that ya made a playlist.
I look forward to watching more of this let's play. :3
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FlawedIntellect

Post Jun 11th '14, 16:16

The only reason why I don't consider it a "true" Let's Play is that my commentary isn't really about the gameplay experience that's on video. I'm not using the footage to show off the game, so much as I'm using it to contextualize my more general design commentary.

It's a pedantic difference and it doesn't really matter, you can call it an LP if you like.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jun 11th '14, 16:28

FlawedIntellect wrote:Not really. You didn't define a let's play properly. Under your definition, first impressions videos and game reviews would be let's plays. But, these sorts of videos are /not/ let's plays. There are certain specific qualities that let's plays have that are not fulfilled under first impressions.

You got me. I have no idea what a Let's Play video is.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Jun 11th '14, 16:29

A let's play is when some autismal loser plays a video game, records himself doing it, and comments on it. Which is different from what I'm doing because.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jun 11th '14, 18:33

This is actually really good stuff for me. It tells me a lot about how I need to approach my level design. The main lessons I've taken away thus far: a good use of setpieces, the innovation of new monsters, and the value of centerpieces. The first really tells me a good bit about how I need to plan out the fights, which is important because that's where I always focus my attention. The second tells me how I need to handle the new monsters in Grendel, something I've been putting a bit of effort into of late. The third will define a lot of my design schemes, building everything around one or two areas and using those areas to tie together all the other parts that would normally lack flow.
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PerseusSpartacus
Somewhere in the 19th Century...

Post Jun 11th '14, 22:41

Episode 4 and Episode 5 are up.

Episode 4 is about the level The Bistromath and Episode 5 is about the levels Static Sand Land and The Count of Tuscany.
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jun 12th '14, 19:17

Episode 6 is up. It covers the level Shades of Gray.

At some point, Episode 7 will finish processing and you can watch that one too (it will cover Vampire Killer).
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jun 13th '14, 15:09

Episode 7 -- Vampire Killer

Episode 8 -- Alexandretta and Great Cave Offensive

Episode 9 -- Pushing Onwards and Pfhor Letter Word
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN


Post Jun 14th '14, 15:56

FlawedIntellect wrote:Not really. You didn't define a let's play properly. Under your definition, first impressions videos and game reviews would be let's plays. But, these sorts of videos are /not/ let's plays. There are certain specific qualities that let's plays have that are not fulfilled under first impressions.

A Let's Play consists of:
An endeavor of a player to record their efforts of playing through the entire game.
Commentary of some sort. Can be any sort of commentary. Typical Let's Play commentary involves talking about random personal things like how one's day went, opinions about this or that game or recent events, a person's feelings about the game they're playing.
Some of the higher-tier let's play commentary includes some level of the previous aforementioned stuff, but generally consists mostly of fun-facts about the game (or the game franchise).


Who actually gives a shit?

I have no idea what a Let's Play is, nor do I care - but I am enjoying these videos.
CitizenKane
Dublin, Ireland

Post Jun 19th '14, 04:50

Episode 11 -- A Change of Seasons

Episode 12 -- Stone Temple Pilates
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jun 22nd '14, 03:23

Episode 13 -- Something Wicked

Episode 14 -- Positive Force and S'phtstorm
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RyokoTK
Saint Paul, MN

Post Jun 22nd '14, 05:02

Funny, my way of thinking about level design is pretty similar to yours - I really do not plan a whole lot (though I do probably plan a bit more than you), and I am not massively original with my concepts. :rolleyes:

Here's how I run these days: first, I get a plot. I love thinking about story, and I always want to know what my plot is before I start making levels. Second, I take down level notes. These tell me what the names of the levels will be, where they fit in the game, what terminals will be on them and what they will say, what enemies will appear on the level, and what kind of environment it will be. Third, I start building, with a general concept in mind and usually nothing more. I know what I want to start with and what needs to be in there, but I have little to no clue what the actual geometry will be like. I lay down polygons based on some vague feeling I have. From there, I'm not exactly sure what my process is - I have yet to really get a level down for good, so I guess I'll see. -_-
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PerseusSpartacus
Somewhere in the 19th Century...

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