Setting Up

Baby Steps

Alright so first, I need a product. If you don’t have a product you don’t have anything to sell. In order to create a product I need tools. Which tools you choose can have a profound effect on how much hair you will be tearing from your scalp. Let’s take a look at our options.

Video Recording Software

I was going to go with my old school Bandicam license. Pretty sure it’s for life and I vaguely remember how to…. Nah I’ve completely forgotten how to use the thing. Let’s see what is new. The tech has had to have made some pretty big leaps since the last time I attempted something like this.

bandicam

First up is Shadowplay by Nvidia. Shadowplay. That sounds sexy. I have an(a?) Nvidia graphics card and all I have to do is hit some shortcut buttons and I’m recording. Seems like a piece of cake! I’m going to go with Shadowplay first. (Bad idea.)

nvidia-shadowplay

If that doesn’t work I can switch to Window’s Game Center. It’s stock with Windows 10 and apparently is built into consoles now. You, again, just hit some shortcut buttons and you’re off recording. Man this stuff has gotten way easier since the last time I wanted to do an LP. I’ll make this my backup option if Shadowplay doesn’t work out. (Also bad idea.)

Nifty windows toolbar for recording.

Nifty windows toolbar for recording.

Video Editing Software

So back in the day I had an old Sony Vegas platform. So I went and grabbed Sony Vegas 10 out of my bag of tricks and figured it was good back then and should work now. No further research required. (Further research was required.)

vegas-pro-10

Audio Recording/Editing Software

Audacity is most people’s tried and true open source platform for audio recording. It comes with a ton of tools. I haven’t the faintest idea how to use any of them but other people assure me that it is quite complete. Good enough. I didn’t even look around for other options. Audacity is my baby and would never betray me.

audacity

Mic

I learned my lesson and will not be using my laptop microphone. Instead, Erica got me a Skullcandy Slyr headset as an impromptu gift. It’s got a built-in mic. How bad could it be for recording some simple talking? (Apparently hot garbage.)

The Game

Metro 2033 is near and dear to my heart. It’s got some pretty spooky gameplay. It’s a post-apocalyptic shooter that takes place in the old Moscow metro tunnels that have been re-purposed to house the last of humanity. It has everything a kid could love: ethereal beings, mutated monsters, and aliens. Actually based on a Russian novel. They did a bang up job with the setting. I’ve already played through it so I can concentrate more on talking about the game than drooling over a first play though. Plus I visited Moscow over the summer so I can probably throw in some great commentary on the metro tunnels. You’d be surprised how much history they can squeeze into those tubes. (Like two or three fun facts. Apparently not enough to fill an entire let’s play with interesting content.)

Generally, you want to pick a game that you’ve played through before. It can’t have a ton of grinding unless you want to spend a ton of time cutting up your video. If you’re like me and have little video editing experience then the task seems herculean. A single long take and chopping it to pieces is about as brave as I can be here. So Metro 2033 is going to be my first attempt. Let’s get to it.

Advertisements

Background

Hello everyone. Welcome to the site. I’ve decided to LP games. For those of you aware of the trend then bear with me. LP stand’s for Let’s Play and typically involves someone playing a video game, recording their experience, and making live commentary while they play. I would almost consider it the lowest form of entertainment possible but that would be ignoring some of the comedic gold hosted on TLC. Then again, I’m not exactly a comedic genius and I’ve watched some of those shows so maybe glass rocks in stone houses.

Some of you may be asking, “Why now?” and that is a fair question. One that I am going to ignore for now and instead give you an overly long backstory which will avoid answering that question. I’ve been an avid gamer, much to my mother’s chagrin, for as long as I could remember. My father bought one of those horrid early 90’s ONE HUNDRED GAME COMBO discs and sat with me at the computer getting some of them installed. I was probably five. Objectively, they had to be terrible since nothing other than maybe jelly beans is any good in increments that high. Subjectively, I had a blast playing street fighter rip-offs until games like Starcraft and Red Alert graced the family computer.

Vintage 2002. I was 12 and installing Red Alert 2. Also pictured is a Diablo 2 case sitting on top of my cd case. Still have that CD case laying around. Doesn’t get much use since everything is digital now.

Soon enough my little brother was old enough to game and we were consigned to the basement playing Batman and Sunset Riders on the SNES. We played on a TV from a bygone era in which television sets doubled as furniture, were made of wood, and weighed a thousand pounds. It never moved for the 11ish years we lived in that house and I think it probably still sits there to this day. Stuck in the basement like some sword from Arthurian legend. Waiting for the day someone with the strength and, more importantly, the will to move it.

I got older. Started working. Went to college for history. Made friends with similar interests. Met a kid named Ben. Ben was bad a video games. Ben played bass. Ben mostly kept to himself but had some of the best wit you could ask for in a friend. So I grabbed him and decided to play up the awkward a bit. He’d play the game. We’d do the commentary. I’d handle the editing and posting. Thus “Uncomfortable Gaming” was born.

It went about how you would expect. Neither of us had experience related to anything required to make a successful LP. Arguably the only thing we had experience in was playing video games. That skill was only possessed by me but I was having Ben drive. Genius. First thing you need is a kickass intro video for all your games. Only problem was neither of us were artistically inclined nor knew how to operate video editing software. So like any sane human being, I used my webcam. Booted that sucker up. I held a piece of paper with “Uncomfortable Gaming” in sharpie on it and set to work. I sat and turned my head towards Ben while he slowly opened up his shirt to show off his pepperoni pizza to the world. It was beautiful.

It was pretty uncomfortable so we nailed that aspect.

Next, time to shoot an LP. We got a license with Bandicam so our screen recording software was taken care of. No watermarks on our products! Now for the audio. Audacity works and hell, the laptop webcam worked for our intro so why not the laptop mic for our audio? Let me tell you. That was some trash audio. Early 2000’s quality. Sounded like we were at the end of a long hallway yelling into a walkie talkie.

The only thing left at this point was to pick a game to play. We needed something exciting. Something that would grab the viewer right out of the gate. Something with great graphics and pizazz but could run on a second hand laptop… We settled on The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. For those who are unaware, this is an open world fantasy type game. It has a long boring intro that involves character creation. Once you’re done with that it’s not 100% clear cut on what you’re supposed to do next and you typically just wander around the swampy environment. The graphics aren’t exactly top quality but the content is what carried it. It just wasn’t the most exciting thing in the world to watch. Ben barely knew how to play a video game so even figuring out how to move around was a chore.

He wandered around a bit. Found some magical scrolls that let him jump super far. Proceeded to jump super far. Landed way way out in the ocean. The next 10 minutes of the LP were him attempting to swim all the way back to shore. Only to be eaten by slaughterfish (an enemy type) once he got to within sight of shore. We also never really messed with the brightness so the game was nearly impossible to see perfectly when you entered caves. I think we only ever published two episodes before the whole thing fell apart.

In a cave. You can really see everything that is happening quite clearly.

While that failed, I’ve grown older still and have never shook the desire to try again. So, I’ve got some time to kill and I might as well spend it killing in a game. I have fun writing about my experiences and I figure this is going to be equally froth with tribulation. That means it’s ripe for me to vent my frustration and share with the world my baby steps into the world of LP’s once more. Plus, god forbid anyone else want to do something like this. Maybe I’ll save them some hours of anguish.

-Arthur

P.S. This post is stickied at the top. If you want read from the beginning to the most recent post then scroll to the bottom and start working your way up.