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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2015 Retrospective for my Youtube Gaming Channel

She's Playing Xbox! by BrotherMagneto from flickr (CC-NC)

I late May 2015, I decided to start a gaming channel on youtube. It's good time to look back at how it's been going so far.

What I recorded

Before holiday break I ended up recording over 500 videos, mostly Civilization 5, and so far the channel got 37 subscribers and 7265 views, which aren't exactly massive numbers. By comparison this blog gets about 1000 unique visitors a day.

Let's Play series I made were:
  • 8x Civilization 5 (2 of them in Polish)
  • 2x Factorio
  • 2x Puzzle Quest (well, not really, first one got broken after two episodes due to hardware issues)
  • 1x Darkest of Days
There was no content other than let's plays.

I thought about live streaming as well, but BT's crappy uplink would maybe work with DOS era games, it can't even do 720p30.

Technical issues

The biggest surprise was just how many technical issues I ran into. Achieving decent audio quality was a massive pain, and it took months to get even more or less there.

My first Puzzle Quest series died to hard disk failure (videos were backed up, saves as well, but restoring saves wasn't possible), Civilization 5 Germany series died to save game corruption.

I think all of my Civilization 5 games except the last one had some problems with mods not being setup quite the way I wanted due to incompatibility between mods or between mods and map script - generally it was tolerable, but it led to many nasty mid-campaign surprises. Obviously I could play with fewer mods, but where's the fun in that?

With early Civilization 5 games I had music on, and apparently 30 seconds of background in-game music mid-episode is enough for the bullshit Content ID system to slap copyright claim on a 30 minute video. After that nonsense, I disabled in-game music.

I had a lot of "cat on keyboard" episodes, which was mostly fine.

I'm using the interface on youtube's website to fill in video data and schedule daily releases, and it's been absolutely dreadful. Does everybody use that and take the pain, or is there some secret way nobody told me about? I even checked Youtube APIs to maybe automate that, but they're fairly miserable as well.

Episode announcements

I usually announce any new series on this blog.

I've been using youtube's feature to post episodes on twitter/facebook/google+ when they're published as well - I'm not sure if that's not simply annoying to people who follow me, but then again, people sometimes watched some random episodes mid-series. I'm not sure what would be a better way.

There's also a small silliness that my channel is about 80% English 20% Polish content, and that probably annoys everybody, but I don't do enough to make splitting it into multiple channels worth it.

Future plans

I definitely still like Civilization 5, but I plan to diversify what I record a bit. I think I played Crusader Kings 2 just as much as Civilization 5, but it never seemed like something terribly interesting to record to me.

For some specific plans, I'd like to record XCOM 2 once it comes out.

I want to record some non-let's play videos like modding tutorials.

Right now I'm just back from holidays, very busy, and with nothing recorded, so it will probably be a few weeks before the channel goes back to life.

I might move to another place sometime halfway through 2016, so hopefully I'll be able to get fibre there, and then I'll give live streaming a try as well.


Noumenon said...

I suggest a separate Google+ stream that people can subscribe to to see all the videos, and a self-curated occasional link to a good episode from your main blog.

taw said...

Noumenon: I'm not even sure how to setup multiple G+ streams or youtube channels, google's dumb idea to use one profile for all services really screws with that. I can't even change my youtube thumbnail pic without also making it change on G+ etc.