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WIP Update: KritzKast – What we do (part1)

Posted by on July 11, 2012 | One comment

This is what we do

At time of writing KritzKast has recorded 176 episodes. Initially running once a month(ish) it quickly became obvious that we needed to run to a regular schedule in order to both keep and grow our audience. While we were good at talking even in the early days, it wasn’t much fun to be the guy doing the edit. The audio quality was brutishly bad and we were loosing as many listeners as we had gained with our content. It took a while to work out how to record, clean and edit the show into a format that works well and is easily repeatable.

We started the organisation, The PodKast Company Ltd in order to allow us to work with other companies and help new podkasters realise their dreams. So, this is what we do at KritzKast each week to give us the output you love.

I’m going to skip over a few things that are important for a podkast to work. Fear not, I’ll come back to them in later posts. For now though we’ll start with the simple things:

The idea

It all started with an idea. We were chatting each week about what was going on in our TF2 Clan. We were talking on mumble and having fun with it. The conversations went back and forth, work was done and fun was had by all. I think the three of us all had the same idea the same week, “Let’s do a podcast!” And the rest is as they say, history. Oh those rose tinted nostalgic spectacles. The important thing was the idea. In the case of KritzKast the idea was to have a place to talk about a game that we all loved. For you that game may be DOTA2, Minecraft or Star Craft 2. It could be a genre of gaming, a platform or a review of other communities. To be completely honest what you’re looking at each week can be as simple as on-going projects in the gaming world.

In many regards we lucked out with TF2. Even back then Valve Software were pushing out updates on a regular basis (this was back before hats, the steam workshop and trading) and there was a quickly establishing community. The game had legs so years on there’s still enough content coming out on a daily basis that we always have content for the show. Whatever you what to podkast about make it something you’re already enthusiastic about, something you love. If things go well you’ll be talking about it for years to come. If it turns out this was a passing fad for you, then your show will suffer for it, your audience will leave you and the work you’ll have put in to building everything up will have been for naught.

The Cycle

So this is going to be something you’ll be doing for a while. Think about your school or job, your social life, your gaming life, your health. If you’ve still got time after all of that to research, record and edit a show then you’re probably more organised than I am, or you’re better at lying to yourself. How often you and your co-hosts record and push out content will be dependant on all the above but it’ll also depend on what everyone else is doing. With KritzKast we can rely on the TF2 community to come up with interesting things even when Valve don’t have an update that week. We can afford to make KritzKast a weekly podkast but the guys at Asemble have to wait for a few weeks to have enough Portal 2 content for their show.

We didn’t start with a regular schedule. The first few episodes came out once a month, then once a fortnight, then once every six weeks before we finally buckled down to the weekly format. Our audience would find the show, subscribe, not see anything for a few weeks then unsubscribe, never to return. As much as we say we’d do this even if we didn’t have an audience, a steady or growing audience offers us the chance to do amazing things.

Just do it

The last thing I’m going to talk about here is the first thing you need to do; it. Like the first paragraph of an essay, the first time you try and record your podkast it’ll be crap. At the time you make it you’ll probably think it’s amazing, the best thing to ever happen to anyone’s ears. Trust me though, it won’t be. It’ll be crap. The sound will be full of hisses and pops. You’ll be waffling. Every third word will be “err”. You’ll trail off into giggles. You’ll stutter and there be long blank spaces of dead air. Trust me on this, it’s crap. KritzKast episode 000 was crap, and we thought it was brilliant. But we made it, and that’s the main thing. You can’t learn how to make a good or successful podkast by reading blogs, even this one won’t help much, a little maybe, but not much. You’ve got to learn by experience.

Figure out what your show will be about and sketch out a plan for that content in advance. Keep #000 down to no more than 10mins. Record it then leave it for a day before you come back and listen to it.  Don’t bother sharing it with anyone, just regard it as a first take and record the same show again. #000 take-2 will probably still be really bad but at least now you have something you can share with your mates. Get some feedback and build from there. Use the positive feedback to decide what’s good and the negative to decide what to spend more time working on or throw out completely. We were lucky enough to have Clan VenGeaNce and they ripped our first efforts to shit. Thanks guys.

**Part 2 – Recording**

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WIP Update: PubComp – Reports of our demise

Posted by on June 30, 2012 | No comments

You know how it is when life gets in the way of a really good game? That’s how it has been for me and Work in Progress. So too for Parable and the team behind PubComp.

For those joining the story now, PubComp was an ambitious project to provide a platform for non-competitive and competitive players alike. It was to have been an enhanced version of TF2lobby, allowing players to jump from casual play directly into a highly configurable match at the drop of a hat.

The project was began in summer of 2011 and was supposed to have seen an alpha release later that year. But here we are, months later with everything seemingly forgot. It’s far from unusual to have ambitious projects scrapped mid flow but this one held such high promise and had drawn together some incredibly dedicated and driven people. The day of death is a hard one to pin down, even while the programming group where failing to meet deadlines the community group were supporting competitive collaborations across the world.

Most of the original staff are still playing and working in Team Fortress 2 related activities. Though reports of their demise have not been greatly exaggerated, it may be that the dream of PubComp lives on.

Update: PubComp is now dead – see my final interview with the dev team

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WIP #016: VanillaTV – SNSD Companion CUBE

Posted by on March 19, 2012 | No comments

VanillaTV has many stars. The Team Fortress 2 shoutcasting site seems to collect tallent in much the same way Valve Software do. Not only has CUBE been able to find his own place but he’s rapidly reshaping their YouTube to page.

CUBE was with the original TFTV crew but initially decided not to come over to VanillaTF2 when VanillaTV was being formed. Since then he’s joined (arguably) the strongest Highlander team in Europe, SNSD. The team have won everything they’ve entered but in his opinion the competition is catching up.

Under his guidance their YouTube channel has changed from a repository of previous live shows into being a collection of brand new crafted content specifically for drawing in new subscribers; informing and teaching the public the finer points of competitive game-play.

The three new video sets are:

  • Insights – digging into an individual protagonist’s experience of a TF2 match
  • Analysis – an expert breaks down retrospectively some of the plays in a match
  • Frag movie review – frag movie makers critiquing the best frag movies the community has to offer
Intro/outro created for WIP by Cryogenetic.

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WIP #015: GangGarrison2 – Psycho

Posted by on January 26, 2012 | No comments

Some projects WIP follows measure their progress on a daily basis, others weekly. Gang Garrison 2 feels rushed if they push out more than two major updates a year.

That said I know how they feel. This interview was recorded in December of 2011 and one thing or another has kept me from releasing it till now. The major 2.4 update happened for gg2 in October. The release combined a new play mode with greatly enhanced mod intergration.

Dual King of the Hill, requiring a team to hold their own point while taking the other team’s before the timer starts to go down, is an expansion on the standard KOTH mode associated with Team Fortress 2 the game’s spiritual forefather.

Possibly the most important part of this big update comes in the form of the mod update. Lead gg2 developer, Psychopath takes us through the benefits of the new open format for map makers and modders.

Intro/outro created for WIP by Cryogenetic.

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