arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

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arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by arebelspy »

Next weekend I'm heading out to Atlanta to commentate both days of the SWCCG U.S. Nationals day. I'm super pumped!

I would love to get some pre-event input on this from all of you, whether you're intending to watch/listen, or if you'll be at the event, or even if you just have ideas in general.

Part I: Analysis

My goal is to provide "high level" commentary--e.g. in-depth analysis of potential lines of strategy the participants could use given their decks, the matchup, etc. I want to provide some insight into how I think about, and approach, the game, and hopefully really help people improve/sharpen their SWCCG skills.

Thoughts?

I do realize a potential pitfall of this is making it inaccessible to newer players, so I am aware of that, and will try to provide the basic explanations of what's going on, what cards do, etc. as well, as best as I can remember to, but I do want to focus on not just those basics, but really getting into how to think about SWCCG in-game, and how to make optimal decisions and plays.

One big concern I have about that is coming off too negative. I often--when watching a GEMP game, or whatever--find myself thinking "ooh.. I wouldn't have done that" or "that's a mistake" or whatever. I think it's important in order to provide strategic analysis for me to point out things that I think are mistakes, or where I'd have done something differently, and explain why I think one course of action is better than another, but I am worried about it sounding like I'm constantly criticizing. I don't want the people listening to think I'm just ragging on the people playing (it can be hard to play a high pressure game against a good opponent, on camera), and I don't want the participants to watch/listen later and feel bad.

I tend to be a very blunt person, and I am aware that this can come off as rude or negative, and I don't want that to sour anyone's experience, so I'm thinking about it now, to try and make sure that doesn't happen. :)

Of course, I'm not going to be mean in any way, but even just a regular stream of pointing out of mistakes could be seen as being negative. Is this something I should get over (other than just trying to be as nice about it as possible, which I definitely will try), and just recognize that to provide commentary about ways to improve, it naturally includes some criticism? Or is there something specific or actionable I can do towards this?

Or should I not even be approaching this upcoming commentary the way I am, with that intent to provide that feedback, and instead just provide play-by-play commentary, and skip the critical analysis? Which would people prefer?

Part II: Guest Commentators

I think it'd be cool to have people (remotely) jump on with me to commentate a game or two. It'd be especially neat if there were several people interested, so we could rotate through and get some fresh voices/ideas. Is there anyone interested in doing so and free next Saturday the 28th, or Sunday the 29th?

Part III: Questions

- Any suggestions for me?
- What are things that do commentators that you appreciate?
- What are things commentators do that you don't like?
- If you previously heard me doing any commentary at Day 3 of Worlds last year, or Day 2 of Seattle this year, was there anything specifically I did or didn't do that you liked or disliked?
- Anything else you want to say that I didn't think about above? Anything else I should think about or be aware of?

Any and all thoughts and comments appreciated, on any of the Parts I, II, III, or anything else!

I want to make this as enjoyable as possible for anyone watching live, or recorded later. :-D



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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by retwin316 »

Why aren't you playing? I would have let you use the Mike Honcho handle if I knew ot would get you to play

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Re: RE: Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by arebelspy »

retwin316 wrote:Why aren't you playing? I would have let you use the Mike Honcho handle if I knew ot would get you to play
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Now I know how much you really care, Mr. Fred.

I wanted to commentate. I really enjoy doing commentary, and hardly ever get to because I'm always playing. I'm very excited about it. :-D

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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by imrahil327 »

I'm excited to listen, and would point to Joe's efforts here as a lesson to future commentators. Preparation, including considering your own strengths, weaknesses and biases, is very helpful to providing a good experience for the viewers.
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by puck71 »

Maybe it takes a second monitor to effectively do this, but I've tended to think there needs to be more interaction with the twitch chat. Not you typing into it, but interacting or responding in the commentary. There's a fine line to this obviously, but there can be some good insight from chat.
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by WiseMarsellus »

i should be available to help commentate. my availability being open, i'll fit in where others cannot. as for basic commentary advice, two things you didn't mention:

most important thing is to test out the stream in advance of the event, including remotely connecting in with others. very often the first game or two of an event is lost because the audio isn't working, or the obs is messed up.

also keep in mind you are representing the pc and their product. you do have a history of being blunt and negative with respect to the pc itself and its volunteers. this should not have a place in an official cast. that's not to say you have to whitewash issues, like if you feel there is something wrong in the meta. but such things should not be dwelled on.

as for pointing out mistakes, do it a reasonable amount. if the mistake is gamebreaking, it's fair to talk about it a lot. for a minor one, talk about it less. but in proportion to what else is going on in the game and the event. it's a judgment call, but after a certain amount of time probably it's best to save discussion of errors for post-game comments. bringing up the error and how the game could have looked different becomes repetitive and theoretical after a while.
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by quesosauce37 »

I'll be around on sunday if you need help then
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by chriskelly »

Not a commentary suggestion per se, but please have them streamed in whatever form allows them to be quickly uploaded to YouTube. I’ve heard that means stopping the feed between games but I don’t know much about this.

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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by quesosauce37 »

you dont have to stop the feed, i think its better that way for day 2 when you have inconsistant start and stop times, but if you just start and stop the recording, then you will have a break inbetween games for the hard copies to easily upload them to youtube/twitch

i think it comes down to philosophy, do we want the stream to stay active the whole time, so as to keep people glued to the stream, and then just put up a message that says BRB AFK when stuff isnt happening?
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by chriskelly »

Production-wise never going offline may be better. So long as it doesn’t interfere with making sure each game is saved and can be uploaded to YouTube promptly (by game, vs just the whole day), I’m sure whatever is good. Casey knows better than I though about that process.
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by puck71 »

Whether you actually stop the steam or not, be sure to sign off after each game so there's a clear place to crop out the games for YouTube.
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by gogolen »

OBS has 2 buttons...start/stop Streaming and start/stop Recording.


You hit the Recording button before/after each game, which then makes them separate videos on the hard drive of the laptop. Then they can be uploaded to Youtube very simply.
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by spideyguy0 »

gogolen wrote:OBS has 2 buttons...start/stop Streaming and start/stop Recording.


You hit the Recording button before/after each game, which then makes them separate videos on the hard drive of the laptop. Then they can be uploaded to Youtube very simply.
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by spideyguy0 »

Also, Joe, the best advice I can give you as a commentator is to practice. Go watch a game on GEMP and record yourself commentating on it. Then listen back, and identify what you liked and what you didn't like about your commentary. Do this 3 or 4 times. You've already done a good job of identifying things you want to work on (engaging both NARPs and vets, not being too negative) but being cognizant of that stuff is only half the battle. Getting reps is big too. The more you hear yourself doing commentary and are able to break down what was in your head at the time vs. how it sounded on the recording, the better you'll be.

As far as the NARP stuff, I try, while the players are setting up, to discuss every card that starts on the table, from the objectives, to the locations, to the effects, and give a brief description of what those cards do, how they help the deck's overall strategy, and what type of impact they'll have in this particular matchup. I try to do the same whenever a new card (character, ship, effect, etc) is played to the table during a game. Sometimes you won't have enough time to do that for every card, but I try to do it as much as possible, and that pretty much covers you as far as NARPs are concerned. Then you spend the rest of the time talking to the vets.
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by arebelspy »

puck71 wrote:Maybe it takes a second monitor to effectively do this, but I've tended to think there needs to be more interaction with the twitch chat. Not you typing into it, but interacting or responding in the commentary. There's a fine line to this obviously, but there can be some good insight from chat.
I definitely want to keep a constant eye on the twitch chat and interact--answer questions, discuss things people want to hear about, etc.

I don't know if there will be a second monitor, but I'll do my best to do this regardless.
WiseMarsellus wrote:i should be available to help commentate. my availability being open, i'll fit in where others cannot.
Great!
most important thing is to test out the stream in advance of the event, including remotely connecting in with others. very often the first game or two of an event is lost because the audio isn't working, or the obs is messed up.
Very high on my priority list, having everything prepped early. Matt C and Robbie have both been very helpful with instructions ahead of time, and plans to help with setup where necessary.
also keep in mind you are representing the pc and their product. you do have a history of being blunt and negative with respect to the pc itself and its volunteers. this should not have a place in an official cast. that's not to say you have to whitewash issues, like if you feel there is something wrong in the meta. but such things should not be dwelled on.
Definitely on my mind, and I'm sure something a lot of people thought of with regards to me. As I said, I want to make this as enjoyable as possible for anyone watching live, or recorded later. :-D
as for pointing out mistakes, do it a reasonable amount. if the mistake is gamebreaking, it's fair to talk about it a lot. for a minor one, talk about it less. but in proportion to what else is going on in the game and the event. it's a judgment call, but after a certain amount of time probably it's best to save discussion of errors for post-game comments. bringing up the error and how the game could have looked different becomes repetitive and theoretical after a while.
Yeah, I'm not going to dwell on a mistake that happened five minutes before which I already covered like "oh, if only he had done that back then," but even treating each game moment as its own instance, if more mistakes keep happening, and I keep pointing them out (separate, unique ones), I don't want it to seem like I'm just constantly criticizing. But I also don't want to not point out things I feel are mistakes (along with, of course, the explanation why, and what my thinking on it would be, etc.)

That's where my concern lies. Not how the game could have looked differently, or keeping talking about mistakes I've already covered--I don't think that'll happen much. But bringing up new ones, basically, too much.
quesosauce37 wrote:I'll be around on sunday if you need help then
Awesome!
chriskelly wrote:Not a commentary suggestion per se, but please have them streamed in whatever form allows them to be quickly uploaded to YouTube. I’ve heard that means stopping the feed between games but I don’t know much about this.
Good point. This is a high priority.

The stream will continue running, but the recording of the games will start/stop with each game, so they can be individually uploaded. The stuff streamed between games (whether dead air with a "back in 15" sign or more talk/discussion) will not be recorded in that case.
spideyguy0 wrote:Also, Joe, the best advice I can give you as a commentator is to practice.
Okay. Given the event is a week out, I won't have a ton of time to "practice" specifically for this event, but I have commentated before (both Star Wars, and other games).

Thus my asking if anyone had feedback for me personally if they heard me commentate at the most recent Worlds Day 3 or Seattle GP Day 2.

Is there anything specifically you try to do, or don't do, for yourself as a commentator?
As far as the NARP stuff, I try, while the players are setting up, to discuss every card that starts on the table, from the objectives, to the locations, to the effects, and give a brief description of what those cards do, how they help the deck's overall strategy, and what type of impact they'll have in this particular matchup. I try to do the same whenever a new card (character, ship, effect, etc) is played to the table during a game. Sometimes you won't have enough time to do that for every card, but I try to do it as much as possible, and that pretty much covers you as far as NARPs are concerned. Then you spend the rest of the time talking to the vets.
That seems... excessive. No? Going over what every single card does when it hits the table? Do you have much time for anything else? That doesn't drag?

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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by arebelspy »

Thanks everyone for the thoughts so far.

Definitely interested in more, regarding thoughts on balancing constructive criticism/analysis with trying not to be too critical, anyone interested in hopping on the stream to commentate with me, and any/all of this:
arebelspy wrote:Part III: Questions

- Any suggestions for me?
- What are things that do commentators that you appreciate?
- What are things commentators do that you don't like?
- If you previously heard me doing any commentary at Day 3 of Worlds last year, or Day 2 of Seattle this year, was there anything specifically I did or didn't do that you liked or disliked?
- Anything else you want to say that I didn't think about above? Anything else I should think about or be aware of?

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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by spideyguy0 »

arebelspy wrote: That seems... excessive. No? Going over what every single card does when it hits the table? Do you have much time for anything else? That doesn't drag?
It takes some practice, but if you're doing solo commentary you'd be amazed at how much dead time you have during a game. You're not gonna do it for every single card, but when I do it as much as possible I get a ton of feedback from NARPs about how helpful it is and how hard it is for them to watch the stream otherwise, because they're not great at recognizing pictures or knowing immediately what the cards do and why they might be important. But my philosophy on commentary is that an experienced player can still watch a stream without any commentary and have an enjoyable experience. A NARP can't. My first duty is to the NARP, to make sure that they're able to watch the stream at all. And then my secondary concern is adding additional insight for the experienced player.
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by puck71 »

Make sure to use headsets and not an "open mic" setup.
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by quesosauce37 »

puck71 wrote:Make sure to use headsets and not an "open mic" setup.
yea this! going back the endor videos on day 2 we used open mic, and its quieter than i remember
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Re: arebelspy Commentates U.S. Nationals - Pre-Event Questions

Post by Throdo »

I know Kessling was helping get this event setup. Is he helping with technology stuff like this or is anyone else locally? Because I am local and can reach out to others if we need help with setup of things like this. (I don't have the tech we probably need but I can reach out and ask around etc if it isn't already taken care of).

Thanks for everyone putting work into this.

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