Commentary Criticism

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Commentary Criticism

Post by agnos »

As a shoot off, since I actually enjoyed watching SW this past weekend I wanted to offer some (hopefully) constructive criticism:
1. Focus on the play. It sounds dumb and obvious, but numerous times discussion veered towards the stream chat and then commentators miss multiple things in game and are asking what happened.
2. Focus on the "why" and "how, not the "what." Olson and company did a great job of this in regards to "the big purple card" and how it affects how the game can be played. Focus on explaining why the player is doing what he's doing and on why there could be a better line.
3. Ignore exact deck lists. Instead, focus on what cards player X needs and why he needs them. Focus on how card Y changes the matchup. If a card is shown, that's one thing; but don't go digging for specifics both to limit potential scouting and because it removes all "tension" from drawing or playing a card. TBH, I don't think anyone should be given decklists for SWCCG as it's heavily unlike Magic where key cards can go unseen for multiple games/matches.
4. Don't ignore chat. The discussion on the farm deployment in Emil v Chu was fantastic. Engage chat in a way that it adds to commentary.
5. Don't just talk about who's advantaged, explain how. I think Tom brought up an solid explanation of OA v TTO. Just make sure you give more than X seems like it's advantaged.

Overall, I though the stream was still pretty amateur but very enjoyable. Who ever is doing it for events, should spend some time watching Star City Games (specifically Cedric) twitch coverage for events as they are the best I've seen.


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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by spideyguy0 »

I once suggested making Cedrick and Patrick required viewing for all future commentators. They are the gold standard for NARP-friendly commentary. Experienced players can tell what's happening just by looking at the game state. NARPs are who we want to tailor the commentary towards.
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by agnos »

spideyguy0 wrote:I once suggested making Cedrick and Patrick required viewing for all future commentators. They are the gold standard for NARP-friendly commentary. Experienced players can tell what's happening just by looking at the game state. NARPs are who we want to tailor the commentary towards.
I agree. I'd also recommend LoL games cast by Montecristo/Doa mostly being LCK vods (season 5-6 I think are where they shine). That shows a bit more critical/snarky side of being a commentary. Sometimes I think Cedrick is a bit too soft on calling out bad lines of play. I think he errs a bit to much on "being nice" but he does quite well in making sure to explain why X play is better (in his view).
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by Hobbie »

I know we tried hand cams this year and the angle on it was way off so they went back to showing the card screen and commentators side screen.
The card screen doesn't do anything for me cause I can't read the card. But I can see a picture of it...

What about two overhead cams? We had pretty good shot of guys hands just from the overhead shot. About about having a high over the shoulder shot of each player? Almost like a POV? Might help eliminate the glare of the middle of the board as well.

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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by Xanth »

Sorry for my amateur commentary on day 3, if it was as such! I'm still trying to get the hang of it. Perhaps I should leave it for other players who are better at it!
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by Thekillerkiwi »

Hobbie wrote:I know we tried hand cams this year and the angle on it was way off so they went back to showing the card screen and commentators side screen.
The card screen doesn't do anything for me cause I can't read the card. But I can see a picture of it...

What about two overhead cams? We had pretty good shot of guys hands just from the overhead shot. About about having a high over the shoulder shot of each player? Almost like a POV? Might help eliminate the glare of the middle of the board as well.

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I am curious what the current setup for the stream is. What kind of camera is the PC using?
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by agnos »

Hobbie wrote:I know we tried hand cams this year and the angle on it was way off so they went back to showing the card screen and commentators side screen.
The card screen doesn't do anything for me cause I can't read the card. But I can see a picture of it...

What about two overhead cams? We had pretty good shot of guys hands just from the overhead shot. About about having a high over the shoulder shot of each player? Almost like a POV? Might help eliminate the glare of the middle of the board as well.

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I don't think the angle of the cam is really that important. It'd be nice if there were less glare off of the cards since I don't know all the new images/etc. But for me, the upgrading technical stuff is a lot more costly/difficult than upgrading commentary. You don't need TV quality in order to have a good stream; so long as the discussion is good people will watch.

I'd even recommend against hand cams. It's kinda neat to be able to see all the actual available options and does open up some lines of discussion regarding decision trees, but for the most part I find the various support staff keeping track of hands, top of library, etc. on the Pro Tour streams to be pretty distracting. Plus, the current setup generally gives a good idea of what in general is in the player's hand; enough to serve the point.
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by lsrubin »

Sunday was my first time doing commentary and I found it to be a very fun and positive experience. I want to do it again and keep getting better.
agnos wrote:1. Focus on the play. It sounds dumb and obvious, but numerous times discussion veered towards the stream chat and then commentators miss multiple things in game and are asking what happened.
This is a good note, and we all need to get better here. I find that it's a very delicate balancing act.

For example, there's the new(-ish) feature where we can display a card image for the stream to see. This requires pulling up a series of menus which temporarily block the view of the game on our computer. (On the stream, you can't see any of this.) So, when we're trying to pull up an image of Black Sun Fleet, for example, because the exact text could be relevant to the battle that's about to take place, we can't see the actual battle (which, as it turns out, is over by the time we find the image, and a key card is now on top of lost pile).

This is tricky. We try to gather information and give as much context as possible in order to enhance the viewing experience, and that sometimes necessitates looking away from the screen.

Bottom line: Commentating on SWCCG isn't like announcing a football or baseball game (where there's plenty of time to give context in between plays), it's more like announcing hockey, where the crucial, game-winning move could come at any moment. Getting the hang of this takes a lot of practice, and it's something that I personally messed up this weekend, but I think we are getting much better.
2. Focus on the "why" and "how, not the "what." Olson and company did a great job of this in regards to "the big purple card" and how it affects how the game can be played. Focus on explaining why the player is doing what he's doing and on why there could be a better line.
Wholeheartedly agree here.
3. Ignore exact deck lists. Instead, focus on what cards player X needs and why he needs them. Focus on how card Y changes the matchup. If a card is shown, that's one thing; but don't go digging for specifics both to limit potential scouting and because it removes all "tension" from drawing or playing a card. TBH, I don't think anyone should be given decklists for SWCCG as it's heavily unlike Magic where key cards can go unseen for multiple games/matches.
Yeah, I don't think we were really thinking about scouting etc, but it's a good note. In order to follow your second piece of advice the best we can, we find ourselves looking to decklists for "answers." (What answers does he have to this threat? How could this line of play pan out? etc.) Once we put away the decklists at the stream's request, it was honestly refreshing to not have that "crutch." I recommend that future commentators try to do it without decklists when possible. Preserve the tension for the folks at home, it's better TV!
4. Don't ignore chat. The discussion on the farm deployment in Emil v Chu was fantastic. Engage chat in a way that it adds to commentary.
When it doesn't mean missing what's happening in the game, yes. (See point 1.)
5. Don't just talk about who's advantaged, explain how. I think Tom brought up an solid explanation of OA v TTO. Just make sure you give more than X seems like it's advantaged.
Yep.
Overall, I though the stream was still pretty amateur but very enjoyable. Who ever is doing it for events, should spend some time watching Star City Games (specifically Cedric) twitch coverage for events as they are the best I've seen.
I'll have to check that out!
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by marines28 »

Man, whatever someone does or does not do is going to be criticized. Even people that are paid to announce don't put on the best shows.

Personally, I enjoyed listening to the Alt Commentary and everyone else (mostly saw Dan, Jerry, Matt C. from what I have seen so far) and it was fine.
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by Hutch »

As hokie of an analogy this may be, I think there is some definite value in it. Take a look at how wrestling uses its commentators. Each commentator has a specific "lane" or an area they're responsible for. For a 3-man announce team in wrestling it's usually 1) Play-by-Play, the no-nonsense guy who is focused on what is actually happening in the ring (ala Gorilla Monsoon or Jim Ross); 2) Color Commentator, the humorist who adds flavor to the broadcast and is typically the antagonist of the group (ala Bobby Heenan or Jerry Lawler); 3) Analyst, this is usually a former wrestler who explains the "why" of what the competitors are doing (ala Larry Zbyszko).

This could help some of the conflict of paying attention to whats happening vs paying attention to the chat vs explaining why they're doing things. Assign roles before commentating. Your best tech guy is responsible for monitoring the chat and pulling up card images, if you have a guy with broadcasting experience he covers the "what" and if you're fortunate enough to get a great player like Desai, Olson, or Haid on your commentary team they explain the "why".

And just for kicks maybe every once in a while we get Scott to fill the Vince McMahon announce role and just yell "WHAT A MANEUVER!"
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by The Honky Tonk Man »

Thanks to everyone for their contributions. Solid work!
dx_37 wrote:And just for kicks maybe every once in a while we get Scott to fill the Vince McMahon announce role and just yell "WHAT A MANEUVER!"
:lol: :lol: :lol: so good

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Re: Commentary Criticism

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The Honky Tonk Man wrote:Thanks to everyone for their contributions. Solid work!
dx_37 wrote:And just for kicks maybe every once in a while we get Scott to fill the Vince McMahon announce role and just yell "WHAT A MANEUVER!"
:lol: :lol: :lol: so good
Best idea in this thread. Can we make this happen. :lol:
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by deck »

I would just like to point out that this was a 60 person tournament and I don't think the stream ever had 60 viewers watching at once. The job isn't easy, and having someone different doing it at each event doesn't help.

And again, there is very small viewership, and most of the people watching are familiar with the game. A game with so many virtual cards isn't NARP friendly anyway. And if you are catching things in game and the commentators aren't, what do you need them to explain it to you for?

I thought the stream was awesome, and I love being able to watch my friends and former opponents play this game when I can't be there.
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by marines28 »

Well said, Mike. I agree.
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Re: Commentary Criticism

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deck wrote:I would just like to point out that this was a 60 person tournament and I don't think the stream ever had 60 viewers watching at once. The job isn't easy, and having someone different doing it at each event doesn't help.

And again, there is very small viewership, and most of the people watching are familiar with the game. A game with so many virtual cards isn't NARP friendly anyway. And if you are catching things in game and the commentators aren't, what do you need them to explain it to you for?

I thought the stream was awesome, and I love being able to watch my friends and former opponents play this game when I can't be there.
I don't disagree that the job isn't easy. I think it's really tough; it's a hard balancing act. But I do think there are things we can do better. I do think that considering how popular various streams are and how common place it is for nerds to watch streams that we can use the the stream (even in a little way) to help revitalize the community. To give an example, streaming SC:BW was a major reason the classic game came back to prominence in Korea after the 2010 gambling scandal; it's also in part why the scene was able to stay alive. I don't think it's unimportant to make the stream the best it can be (given the limited resources).
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by quesosauce37 »

agnos wrote:
deck wrote:I would just like to point out that this was a 60 person tournament and I don't think the stream ever had 60 viewers watching at once. The job isn't easy, and having someone different doing it at each event doesn't help.

And again, there is very small viewership, and most of the people watching are familiar with the game. A game with so many virtual cards isn't NARP friendly anyway. And if you are catching things in game and the commentators aren't, what do you need them to explain it to you for?

I thought the stream was awesome, and I love being able to watch my friends and former opponents play this game when I can't be there.
I don't disagree that the job isn't easy. I think it's really tough; it's a hard balancing act. But I do think there are things we can do better. I do think that considering how popular various streams are and how common place it is for nerds to watch streams that we can use the the stream (even in a little way) to help revitalize the community. To give an example, streaming SC:BW was a major reason the classic game came back to prominence in Korea after the 2010 gambling scandal; it's also in part why the scene was able to stay alive. I don't think it's unimportant to make the stream the best it can be (given the limited resources).

dont take this the wrong way, but itd be nice to hear from you more often, if this is something you are serious enough about to write these critiques, id honestly think youd be the exact type of person who we would want to do commentary or production. When you were super active, you were a contributor to the game behind the scenes and a player that a few of the top players would go to for decks, and tech. But you dont play anymore (afaik correct me if i am wrong), and you seem interested in making commentary better. Get out ahead of it and volunteer to help, like i did, and you (and people like you) can do the commentary, or produce it, and make it the way you want. I got to do commentary because i asked scott if they needed help, its helpful to write critiques, but this is me challenging you, and the others out there with the same opinion, that if you want to make it better, do more than just post critiques.
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by agnos »

quesosauce37 wrote:
agnos wrote:
deck wrote:I would just like to point out that this was a 60 person tournament and I don't think the stream ever had 60 viewers watching at once. The job isn't easy, and having someone different doing it at each event doesn't help.

And again, there is very small viewership, and most of the people watching are familiar with the game. A game with so many virtual cards isn't NARP friendly anyway. And if you are catching things in game and the commentators aren't, what do you need them to explain it to you for?

I thought the stream was awesome, and I love being able to watch my friends and former opponents play this game when I can't be there.
I don't disagree that the job isn't easy. I think it's really tough; it's a hard balancing act. But I do think there are things we can do better. I do think that considering how popular various streams are and how common place it is for nerds to watch streams that we can use the the stream (even in a little way) to help revitalize the community. To give an example, streaming SC:BW was a major reason the classic game came back to prominence in Korea after the 2010 gambling scandal; it's also in part why the scene was able to stay alive. I don't think it's unimportant to make the stream the best it can be (given the limited resources).

dont take this the wrong way, but itd be nice to hear from you more often, if this is something you are serious enough about to write these critiques, id honestly think youd be the exact type of person who we would want to do commentary or production. When you were super active, you were a contributor to the game behind the scenes and a player that a few of the top players would go to for decks, and tech. But you dont play anymore (afaik correct me if i am wrong), and you seem interested in making commentary better. Get out ahead of it and volunteer to help, like i did, and you (and people like you) can do the commentary, or produce it, and make it the way you want. I got to do commentary because i asked scott if they needed help, its helpful to write critiques, but this is me challenging you, and the others out there with the same opinion, that if you want to make it better, do more than just post critiques.
100% fair and 100% will be up to do commentary at the MPC if they'll have me. I'll need to brush up on some things (meta, what's advantaged vs what, etc.) but that's very doable.
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by quesosauce37 »

agnos wrote:
quesosauce37 wrote:
agnos wrote:
deck wrote:I would just like to point out that this was a 60 person tournament and I don't think the stream ever had 60 viewers watching at once. The job isn't easy, and having someone different doing it at each event doesn't help.

And again, there is very small viewership, and most of the people watching are familiar with the game. A game with so many virtual cards isn't NARP friendly anyway. And if you are catching things in game and the commentators aren't, what do you need them to explain it to you for?

I thought the stream was awesome, and I love being able to watch my friends and former opponents play this game when I can't be there.
I don't disagree that the job isn't easy. I think it's really tough; it's a hard balancing act. But I do think there are things we can do better. I do think that considering how popular various streams are and how common place it is for nerds to watch streams that we can use the the stream (even in a little way) to help revitalize the community. To give an example, streaming SC:BW was a major reason the classic game came back to prominence in Korea after the 2010 gambling scandal; it's also in part why the scene was able to stay alive. I don't think it's unimportant to make the stream the best it can be (given the limited resources).

dont take this the wrong way, but itd be nice to hear from you more often, if this is something you are serious enough about to write these critiques, id honestly think youd be the exact type of person who we would want to do commentary or production. When you were super active, you were a contributor to the game behind the scenes and a player that a few of the top players would go to for decks, and tech. But you dont play anymore (afaik correct me if i am wrong), and you seem interested in making commentary better. Get out ahead of it and volunteer to help, like i did, and you (and people like you) can do the commentary, or produce it, and make it the way you want. I got to do commentary because i asked scott if they needed help, its helpful to write critiques, but this is me challenging you, and the others out there with the same opinion, that if you want to make it better, do more than just post critiques.
100% fair and 100% will be up to do commentary at the MPC if they'll have me. I'll need to brush up on some things (meta, what's advantaged vs what, etc.) but that's very doable.

thanks for that, and if you need any help, let me know :D
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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by arebelspy »

I think commentary from people who don't play is some of the worst.

The better the player, the better the commentary in general.

Obviously a high level player might give poor analysis, and we can find counter examples, so I'm not saying it 100% holds, but there's a strong correlation.

Having someone who doesn't know what each deck is trying to do can, at best, describe what's going on. They can't analyze mistakes, gameplans, etc.

I'd rather have an offsite high level commentator (say tom kelly couldn't make the MPC or something) than an on-site person who hasn't played in year(s), personally.

Nothing against agnos, this applies across the board.

Agnos's points are correct. He can say what MAKES good commentary. That doesn't mean he can DO good swccg commentary. Like I could commentate swccg fairly well, I think, but I couldn't commentate, say, hockey, just cause I know what makes good commentary.

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Re: Commentary Criticism

Post by quesosauce37 »

off site commentary just feels so disconnected from the main event.

they dont have a direct connection with the TD, they cant go in and get more deets, theres no interviews with players between rounds, etc
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