7 Indie Games to Watch For from the Spring Festival 2020

Thanks to Geoff Keighley and Steam, everyone was able to play upwards of 40 indie games that were going to be featured at various canceled conventions this year. I went through the list, chose the ones that I was most interested in, and decided to play them and make a video. Here are my thoughts on the 7 I tried.
Please make sure to wishlist any of these games that interest you it will help the devs out considerably.
Also this is my first time ever doing a “list” type video really, with editing, and scripting! Please let me know how you all feel about this style of video, and if I should consider doing similar things in the future. Personally I think this came out alright, although I am clearly looking at my notes during the intro and outro bits (and would preferably avoid having my face on camera in the future lol)

An Interesting Idea for Future Gaming Conventions

Thanks to the great horror that is COVID-19 / The Coronavirus many conventions have been canceled. Emerald City Comic Con, SXSW, GDC, and plenty others have all closed up shop due to the health concerns.

Speaking to an acquaintance of mine who happens to work for a publisher about their recent trip to PAX east and future con plans, my brain suddenly had a thought.

Right now, the biggest issue with a virtual convention is “Networking Opportunities”. Those situations where you and another can meet up and chat. Plenty of publishers use these conventions to meet upcoming dev teams, influencers, and forge relationships that go beyond just showcasing a game.

Conventions are an amazing experience. I remember my first real gaming convention last year, when I went to Guardian Con 2019. It was a small convention by most standards, only hitting about 30000 sqft and having only a few major booths and some vendors. But it was…awesome. I have been looking forward to the rebranded GCX since.

Conventions are also costly however. And with these cancellations smaller studios lose a huge chance to get noticed.

So how do we address this? Virtual conventions seems like an easy idea right? Hell, Geoff Keighley and the Game Awards did that in 2019 thru Steam, allowing folx like me to play the indie game demos shown at the awards for the duration! But this still misses something. That…connection you can make with a real person.

Then I recalled a very strange little game I once messed with on steam called “Anarcy Arcade” and my brain started…percolating.

What if some ambitious game dev out there created, well, a first person virtual convention SPACE. You basically build an MMO like piece of software. You build a 3d Enviroment with booths. You allow developers to “customize” the booths (uploading art and assests). You let guests and exhibitors customize an avatar on an account system. You allow vendors to setup booths as well that link directly to their online stores.

Hell, you could even implement collison, voice chat by proximity, and lines, so people would get the full experience of hanging out in line and chatting with each other.

Doesnt need to be VR either. We already know HOW to create FPS controls. You would get the entire experience of a convention, all the chances to “speak” as it were face to face with others, but never have to leave your home.

Obviously such an undertaking would take time. But I imagine if a studio out there decided to setup this idea up and then charge for both attendance to the virtual conventions AND for renting out “digital space” (at an appropriate price, after all) you would basically have created the first ever fully virtual Convention Center.

Thats what we need.

a Virtual Convention Center in 3D.

It would let disabled people easily attend, people could create “Digital Cosplay” for their avatars, it would let folx who have issues with money or travel attend these things, hell it would help small devs find an audience!

And with space not really being an issue (its virtual, after all) you could create much larger spaces.

I am surprised no one has done this yet.

But I don’t think this is a terrible idea…. So there is my gift to you devs out there. Someone, build the first Virtual Convention Hall! Lets move forward into the future together!

Games are good, games are awesome, and deserve to be seen by as many people as possible.

Path of Exile Delirium League: Thoughts & Speculation

Its time for another discussion about Path of Exile (I write about this a fair amount, don’t I?) and I hope you don’t mind gentle readers.

Today, I wanna talk about the upcoming announced Delirium League, launching on March 13th! Its time for RAMPANT SPECULATION YET AGAIN! That is what this is by the way, speculation and theories!

First, lets give ya the trailer (its wild everyone)

Madness am I right? Now, you can view the official launch page right here which will give you a starting point for discussion. But lets break down what we know so far.

First, obviously, we have new skill gems. This comes with every league, however, unlike previous leagues which focused on specific gem types (spell, melee, bow, ect) this time the developers have apparently been given carte blanche to do what they want. Thats why we are getting things like Kinetic Bolt which is apparently a chaining wand skill gem attack (that is supposedly available at level 1) and Blade Blast, which will detonate blades that are now left behind from other skills like EK and Bladefall. Nothing has been said about upcoming new supports at the time of writing this so I can’t speak on those. We also have new uniques which are kind of interesting, like Perfidy, which allows you to use 2 Banner skills at the same time and speeds up their charge generation.

Then of course we have the league mechanic. The basic premise is as follows: you find this “Mirror of Delirium” in a zone and walk through it. By doing so you enter a warped world where monsters are given new abilities, league mechanics from previous leagues become modified, and you can find unique rewards within it. There is also mention of “going deeper” into the madness, which I assume means that after you go far enough away from the starting point things get harder and harder, with better rewards in exchange for the risk. However, I am not sure how we leave the madness at the moment. Is there a kill counter? Is there a timer? It doesn’t way in either the trailer or on the website.

There are also indications of items that will let you “Corrupt” maps at the end game coverting them into pure Delirium Maps, which will alter the rewards of the map as well. I assume this is how you will get access to the new endgame encounter the Simulacrum, which sounds like its going to be a copy of SOMETHING that you have to fight against (thats kind of what the word Simulacrum means, my guess is you will fight yourself. What is the greatest enemy of a person? Themselves Exile…themselves…their own fear and madness!)

I like the look of this mechanic, personally. I always enjoy “breach style” encounters, especially when they are optional. I am also curious how it will interact with things like breach, the temple encounters, and especially the Blight ones! Can you imagine doing a Blight tower defense encounter while inside the Delirium Mist? Dear god in heaven Exile that is going to be, well, madness!

However, the single biggest thing that excites me about this league over all are the new “Cluster Jewel” items. These things are in a word “Bonkers”. So anyone who has played Path of Exile has run into a Jewel. These are items you socket into your passive skill tree in order to add effects. An example of a normal jewel would be this!

However, Cluster Jewels are are something special. Added specifically to Delirium League, these jewels only function when placed in a jewel socket on the OUTSIDE of the passive tree. And what they do is GIVE YOU AN ENTIRE NEW SECTION OR BRANCH ON THE PASSIVE TREE WITH NEW NODES! You can even chain the Cluster Jewels going from Large, to Medium, to Small creating new paths with unique nodes. They have a good example of this on the website, but let me show you an image with some added text giving you an idea

Cluster Jewels!

These jewels appear to come in Magic, Rare, and Unique types, meaning you can get Cluster Jewels rolled with all sorts of strange combinations. There are also roughly 280 new “Notable” nodes, which are listed on that site. I am very excited to see just what sorts of combinations you can get, and this will encourage people I think to path to the outside of the passive tree JUST so they can use these nodes. I do imagine, however, you will need to spend skill points to path thru the nodes. I also wonder what would happen if you socket a jewel, and then remove it after spending said skill points. Do you get the points back as if respeced? Do they vanish?

We need more concrete info as to just how these Cluster Jewels will work in practice. The ones listed on the website are fascinating to look at. The Large Rare jewel listed there for example adds “10 New Passive Skills” and 2 brand new Notables, all focused on attack damage (so a weapon based physical build would love it) for instance. The Unique “Voices” listed there is one I imagine EVERYONE will want as it specifically adds 3 Jewel sockets + 1 small node that does nothing, meaning you can chain a TON off it! It being a large means you could connect 3 different medium or small nodes, and if you manage 3 rare Mediums you could then in theory, assuming any add sockets of their own as shown in that image above, chain more off them.

Finally they are making improvements to the Atlas of Worlds to make it more deterministic. I got bored with my build last league but I did make it to maps and actually completed 2 of the new fights, so there is that.

I am excited to yet again dive into a new Path of Exile league, and Delirium is looking to be something amazing. It releases on March 13th, and I can’t wait to dive in.

Hope to see you there Exiles!

Terminally Nerdy 3.0 Upgrade In Progress – News

>_ boot sequence started run diagnostics 

>_ scanning creations 

>_ …. 

>_ …. 

>_ scan complete.  Errors found: 39 

>_ report generating 

>_ Command? 

>_ RUN UPGRADE PROTOCOL “3 Omega” 

>_ UPGRADE IN PROGRESS PLEASE WAIT 

>_ PLAY Coheed and Cambria: Sentry the Defiant

Continue reading “Terminally Nerdy 3.0 Upgrade In Progress – News”

Blogger Secret Santa 2019 – A Gift for a Compulsive Gamer

Organized by Livid Lightning, this year I decided to dive in an participate in the “Blogger Secret Santa” event.  I want to get more into the “gaming” blogger community, work more with people and chat, and all that jazz.  Even though the vast majority of my posts on here are links to videos and podcasts.

You can view the full directory of Secret Santa posts RIGHT HERE on Livid Lightning’s blog, and I encourage you to check them all out yourself!

The premise of this was simple: Get assigned a random fellow gaming blogger, read some of their stuff, and gift them an item from the magical world of gaming and explain why you chose that.  I was given The Compulsive Gamer, who encourages everyone to Escape Reality Through Games.  I agree that the digital world is way more interesting (and honestly, less of a trash fire right now) then our own.

But what item could I give such a person?  I started checking out their website, trying to puzzle out just what one could give them.  Then it hit me, based on what I was seeing.

A Mass Effect Omnitool!  And why?

Well one major feature, a weekly one as far as I can tell, is called Mobile Monday, where The Compulsive Gamer takes a look at and reviews different mobile games.  There are a LOT of mobile games out there, and going deep into each game to give you a solid look at the basics.

One I really like (and now might have to check out) is the recent look at Soul Knight.  I can always use more portable games!

But why an Omnitool you ask?

Well first of all, the Omnitool is basically a giant super advanced cell phone.  Everyone in the ME world seems to have em, they are used for communicating and computer work.  But, because they are wrist mounted and feature holographic displays, you can much more easily I imagine play the hottest games on them in a mobile way.  This means you can much more easily collect and play all sorts of games to cover on the website!

This was a fun little exercise, and if you are into Mobile Gaming I heartily suggest checking out The Compulsive Gamer.  There is much more to the site then JUST mobile games mind you, and everything I have seen speaks of someone who has a genuine passion for gaming.  Give em a read, and Stay Nerdy!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and here is to hopefully a great 2020!

My Wishlist for Wrath of the Righteous by Owlcat Games

So on 12/4/19 Owlcat Games, creators of the CRPG Pathfinder Kingmaker announced their next CRPG project: Wrath of the Righteous. Much like Kingmaker, this will be built using the Adventure Path of the same name by Paizo, and using the Pathfinder ruleset but with some additions.

After reading the release announcement on PC Gamer and a bit on the Adventure Path on a wiki (Demonic War? Going to the Abyss? HELL YES!), I realized I have a few things that I hope they improve from Kingmaker in their new title.

Now, I have been having a blast overall with Kingmaker. I have been writing an in character journal, archiving my playthrough, and all that jazz. I have a party with their own custom history made up of Mercenary characters who all have history and backstories.

However, to get the experience that I enjoy, I had to use several mods to change how the default game works.

So lets talk about what I hope Owlcat Games does for Wrath of the Righteous.

1) More PC Portraits and Options: Its already been confirmed in the PC Gamer article that at least 2 more base classes are being added, plus the Mythic progression system from Pathfinder. The Witch and Oracle were confirmed, which is exciting for me as I love the Oracle (it’s my fav PF class) and the Witch is another fun arcane caster. I am hoping, however, for more baseline options for customizing our characters appearance and portrait. The default options in Kingmaker are very thin, do not feature very many POC options (I think there are 2? Maybe just 1), and really only give you like 2 per race. It’s really limited. Hopefully they can use their existing portraits and spend some time adding at least double if not triple the amount. Sure, we can add our own in Kingmaker, but having them in the base game will help at launch. I would also like the option to ROLL STATS instead of Point Buy during character generation. Give me that tabletop feel!

2) A built in option for Turn Base Combat: I HATE REAL TIME WITH PAUSE for these sort of games. They are built using tabletop rules, and tabletop rules are not designed for real time play but rather turn based. Anyone who has played DND or PF knows this. Now, thankfully, modders created an excellent mod for Turn Based Combat that I use in Kingmaker, and it makes play much more strategic and enjoyable for me. Pillars of Eternity 2 Deadfire also added in a Turn Based mode in a patch, and that makes me actually want to play that game. I am hoping that instead of having to rely on a mod, that Wrath will feature an option to switch between a Turn Based mode for folx like me, and a Real Time mode for those who want it.

3) Mercenary Parity with the PC / Companions: If you were unaware, you can actually “hire” mercenaries in Kingmaker. However, their cost is astronomical, and they are actually WEAKER than your PC or any Companion. Your PC in Kingmaker starts with 25 points to buy stats, and Mercs start with 20 which is a BIG drop in power. Further, in Kingmaker, Mercs are penalized if you try to use them as advisors for your kingdom! For someone like me, who might want to build specific character or party comps, this becomes an issue. Thankfully, a mod called Bag of Tricks allowed me to modify at least their stats, so I was able to make the party I wanted. I still cannot use them as Advisors though without penalty, nor do they grant me any bonus during camp sequences, which is really annoying. I get that perhaps Owlcat wants people to play with their companions, but after 1 or 2 plays using companions people may want to run custom parties based on their tabletop groups or friends.

4) Mercenary Bios: Look older CRPGs allowed us to customize the history and backstories of our Mercenary / Custom Companions. Kingmaker does not. I would love love love to see this option granted to Wrath of the Righteous. This would allow people like me, who again might prefer Merc parties, to play the way we want.

At the end of the day these are fairly minor issues that I imagine, if nothing else, modders will address. If the game is built on the same base engine as Kingmaker for instance I am sure that Bag of Tricks and the Turn Based Combat mod will be usable with some tweaking, which is good. I am excited to see what Owlcat announces for the game however, and regardless of whether or not these issues get addressed, I will still be aiming to play it (And maybe stream it) as soon as I am able.

You can learn more about Wrath of the Righteous on the official website, and follow OwlCat Games on Twitter to keep up to date.

Now if you will excuse me, I got a Barony to run!

The Terminally Nerdy Podcast #5 – #LiberateHongKong

Well it’s been an eventual week and change!  Today I bring to you another thrilling nonsense discussion about stuff!  We have what I have been up to, a discussion / my thoughts on the Wendy’s TTRPG and all that entails, and my thoughts on the Blizzard Banning of the Hong Kong Grandmaster Hearthstone Player.

Let’s just say I might get a wee bit ranty here.

  • What have I been up to?  Breath of the Wild, restarting Vampyr, and Hatoful Boyfriend!
  • The Wendy’s TTRPG Debacle
  • Blizzard Bans Hearthstone Grandmaster Player for “Liberate Hong Kong” comments

As always you can find the Terminally Nerdy Podcast on:

Google Podcast -Search for Terminally Nerdy Podcast

Player FM – https://player.fm/series/the-terminally-nerdy-podcast

Spotify – https://open.spotify.com/show/51ahU8fAsS0OOBORh8lYP7

Listen.Notes – https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/the-terminally-nerdy-podcast-clay-cmte5FGBPJn/

Stitcher – https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=461599&refid=stpr

Pinecast RSS – https://pinecast.com/feed/the-terminally-nerdy-podcast

The Hidden Costs behind Content Creation

Authors Note: Yea there are a lot of links in here, but every single creator I mention and link to is worth your time.  Check them out, please.

Hey everyone, time for another general muddle on something that has been running thru my head lately, and that’s the hidden “cost” of content creation.  As someone who, at this point, has a podcast, a YouTube channel, a Twitch channel, and this website as well as an artist wife, I pretty much have seen or done every form of main content creation out there.  And let me tell you, it’s a LOT harder to put out a quality product regularly then you might imagine.

And there are costs to the creator in both time and money, costs that most fans or consumers never realize as it’s in the background, hidden when we creatives do our work.

I am going to try to break down my own experience with doing all this stuff, and how much effort it really can take.  I want to give you folx reading this an example of each kind of content creation and the kind of time and effort (and sometimes money) that goes into all aspects of it from a behind the scenes perspective.

Let’s start with my newest venture: Podcasting.

On the surface this seems like the simplest thing to get going.  Grab a mic, get with some friends if you wanna do a group show, hit record and go.  But it’s much more complex than that.  Sure, getting started is easy!  I started my podcast in my car using my cellphone microphone…and it shows.  That episode, the very first one I did, is pretty messy.  You can barely hear me, I sound like I am in a wind tunnel, and it’s just a mess and a half.  I have since upgraded to a Lapel mic, and my audio quality has vastly improved, but every time I do a show I get a little better.  My flow gets better.  As a solo podcaster, I am responsible for everything.

I have had to learn how to work a new software, Audacity, to handle audio (which has helped with my Youtube stuff actually!) for one.  I had to go out and pay for hosting, I had to submit my podcast to directories to get it out there, and of course I have to do all the promotion and advertising myself.  And mind you, my podcast is SUPER BASIC.  I have no ads to edit into it, I have no intro or outro yet.  Other than spending $5 a month on Hosting, the cost for my podcast is solely time.  First I have to record the episode, which involves getting everything plugged in and making sure the mic is working.  Then I record it on my drive, which takes 30-45 minutes.  My drive is “wasted time” otherwise, so this is a way to be productive.  Mind you, I am generally leaving work during the recording, so it’s a commute in traffic but I always talk to myself anyway, so that’s how I treat this.

To prepare for this recording I have to come up with topics, an order then in a way that makes sense.  Once I am done recording, when I get home, I spend about 15 minutes doing some basic noise reduction, I write up the “show notes” which takes another 15 or so minutes, and then I schedule and upload the podcast to my site, Pinecast, and Patreon.  All told I spend about 1.5 hours on each podcast episode start to finish.  If I was someone like say The White Vault however, this would be WAY more involved.

See the White Vault is an Audio Drama.  So for them, they start with writing a script for each episode and sending parts out, then they have to get audio from every one of their actors for those parts, combine and stitch together that audio in the correct way and balanced properly, add sound effects (and make new effects as needed) then do all the self-promo and uploading for each episode.  Its nearly a full time job for something like the White Vault (or Welcome to Nightvale, ect).  And you can tell in their production quality that they put that effort in.  When I asked them just how long an episode takes start to finish (and their eps run about  20 minutes from what I have seen) this is what they had to say, via email.  Be ready this is quite an in depth response (its the Italic bit just to be clear).

Hey Clay,
You know all of this but to your readers – I’m a full time podcast producer & editor. My wife and I create four audio drama podcasts, the most notable being The White Vault – an award winning arctic horror adventure. My credentials are as part of a team that has released 30+ minutes of polished content every two weeks for the past ~4 years, as a well-recognized champion of the fiction podcast community, as an educator who’s talked at dozens of events around the country, and as a full-time creator with download numbers that put my shows in the top 1% of podcasts.
The first question we get after we release an episode is always “Why can’t you just release the next one now,” so I’m more than happy to outline the not-so-hidden time cost of a fully produced, full-cast fiction podcast. It takes us anywhere from 40-80+ hours to create a 30-40 minute episode, which we release FOR FREE every two weeks. That’s an average of 1.7 hours per finished minute, largely split between two people. Yes, this includes a 5 hour buffer for advertising the show because if you don’t advertise the episode your show won’t grow, and this is a discussion on hidden costs, so I’m not pulling any punches. We are very far on the ‘we polish everything to make it sound as good as possible’ side of things because we have a reputation for high quality audio. The breakdown by hour is roughly as follows:
Pre Production: ~22 hours
  • Discussing what kind of show we want to make and incorporating research into worldbuilding – 7 hours
  • Writing the script, including the initial season outline – 8 hours
  • Editing the script – 3 hours between 4 people
  • Translation (we work with multiple languages in everything we create) – 2-4 hours
  • *Casting / Auditions – 2-3 hours, not including the actors’ time
  • *Note: This only happens once per season, though I sometimes forget to cast smaller parts and have about an hour of emails per episode to fill those roles and coordinate scripts with actors.
Production: ~10 hours
  • Emailing the cast – 2 hours
  • Recording (our actors record remotely, individually, on their own) – Somewhere between 3-10 hours, cast pending
  • Recording Retakes (includes emails to and from cast) – 2 hours
  • Music – Thankfully we use very little music. Our introduction/outro themes take maybe 10 hours to create (composer, musicians, editing, mixing), so 1 hour per episode
Post Production: ~33 hours
  • *Dialogue Cut (picking the best takes and putting them together) – 6-8 hours
  • Environmental Sound Design (creating a unique location for the raw voice tracks) – 3 hours
  • Rough Sound Design (basic sound effects) – 6 hours
  • Foley (episode specific sounds, made just for the episode) – 4 hours
  • Final Editing (anything that’s missing or needs to be tweaked) – 2 hours
  • Mixing and Mix Revisions (Adjusting levels on every track to sound cohesive) – 6 hours between myself and our engineer
  • Uploading (to our Patreon/Himalaya+, then to the public through Libsyn a few days later), plugging in credits, descriptions, making episode-specific art for promo – 1 hour
  • Episode Release Promo (Social media text, posting, monitoring those posts, and replying to comments) – 4-6+ hours
*I’ve literally been given 30 minutes of takes for 20 seconds of lines, so the experience can greatly differ by actor.
 
Narrative Stories
These are a lot easier on the pre and post production side. I can easily save 5-15 hours of work in recording, editing, sound design, and mixing. They’re also a lot easier to write. We can create a 40 minute narrative story in about 15-20 hours of work. While some audio drama purist gate keepers claim that they don’t count for various intangible reasons, I’ve been happily listening to audio books my entire life and many of my favorite audio drama podcasts are narrative (NoSleep, Creepy). For a really great example of a powerful narrative audio drama that feels very natural with almost no sound design check out season 1 of Moonbase Theta Out.
 
Actual Play / Improvised Production Editing
Our D&D Podcast, Dark Dice, is also about the same in terms of the time put in, except that I typically get 45-55 minutes of polished episode instead of 30. Sure we don’t “write a script” but I spend a lot of time before each session writing descriptions for each monster, location, and character so the session goes smoothly. I also prepare text blocks for lore and NPC dialogue. The above numbers are about the same for Post Production as well because I cut a LOT of table talk and silence between tracks to where maybe an hour of content is kept per 2-hour recording session. I also edit combat heavily to where a 10 minute round of combat rolls by in about 80 seconds or less.
I’ve spoken with quite a few improvised audio dramas as well, most notably Mission to Zyxx and they had similar things to report – that you won’t use everything you record, and you will have to edit everything. Their show doesn’t sound great just because they hit record and are great improvisers. They have a really fantastic post-production team that works hard to edit and improve their (already good) raw recordings. If Zyxx is too R-rated for you, check out Civilized by Fable and Folly Productions for a great example of an edited improvised show.
Finally, in the interest of honesty, keep in mind that while your gaming or improv session “may have only been 2 hours,” it was 2 hours for multiple people. You wouldn’t only pay one employee if four people simultaneously worked 2 hours, so if you’re trying to calculate how many hours you’re putting into your show remember to multiply any action by each person present and actively participating.
For some more great scripted, full cast, audio dramas that make use of full sound design, I highly recommend:
*The White Vault – Scientists go to the arctic and discover that they might not be alone. What terrors lurk beneath the ice?
*VAST Horizon – A woman wakes up on a derelict spaceship with numerous mission critical problems. How did she get there and how can she survive?
We’re Alive – LA is overrun with zombies and this is the story of survival. You don’t need to like zombie stories to enjoy this podcast, it’s truly amazing.
The Phenomenon – This is an emergency broadcast. Don’t look outside. Don’t make any noise.
Marsfall – The first colonists to the red planet encounter mission critical obstacles.
Rose Drive – A drunk driver killed his sister in highschool and the reunion is the perfect opportunity for revenge.
*I make these shows.

Podcasting, one of the simplest seeming forms of content creation is actually insanely complex the more you want to do with it.  Also everything I am quoting here does not include any research the podcasters have to do on topics, if they are unfamiliar with them.  I know Marc with a C of the Discography Podcast frequently mentioned that the research required to do his season on The Who nearly broke him, it was that in depth and involved.

How about Artwork?

Well I have watched my wife work on things like my simple logo or my banner, as well as stuff for our mutual friends Virus and Saevrick.  My twitter logo seems on the surface to be pretty simple, yet, it took her 15 hours to do.  She sketched it out by hand first, then used that reference to recreate it with her digital tablet.  Then had to color it, make sure I was ok with everything, and then put it together.  My banner?  Took her a few days working 8 hours each day as she custom created the fonts used and everything else.  Again, this is a time consuming process, and it’s NOT easy work.  Sure, seems easy cause “it’s just drawing LOL” but believe me it’s far from that simple.  I remember my wife spending nearly a full week coming up with Saevrick’s logo or Virus MechaMay stuff.  It takes a long time to do artwork.

It gets even worse when you are doing work for someone remotely, having to send messages back and forth and deal with payments and unhappy customers and all that jazz.  The more detail, the more time.  This is the one I have the least personal experience with but having talked to various artists and seeing my own wife at work I have a healthy respect to the sheer amount of time this stuff takes.

What about Writing?

As you are reading this, you are possibly wondering “How long did this monster of a post take to write?”  Well I timed myself.  About an hour give or take, not including my thinking through how to word things, how to edit things, how to approach and format everything.  That was just putting the words down.  Then we have another 30ish minutes of just reading it over, editing it, fixing any grammar mistakes that I can find (which I am bad with) and then another 30 minutes getting all the examples put together on this such as screenshots and comments.  I happen to type 100 WPM so I am pretty fast, but even then it means a 4k word article (like my Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Review) takes 40 minutes to write, not including everything I do up to that.  Like adding in all the links into this post takes time, even if it’s just minutes.

In fact, if you factor in the fact that my written reviews, book or game, take about an hour to write/edit in total, combined with the time it takes me to consume the media BEFORE I write it, they are some of my most time consuming things.  Xenoblade 2 in that case took nearly 80 hours total between playing the game and then writing about it, sourcing screenshots, getting gameplay footage, ect.  Grim Dawn took nearly 45 hours.  Many of the book reviews take around 8-10 between reading the single book and then writing about it.  And my series reviews (like the Rick Riordan One) take around 8 hours per novel (I read insanely fast)…and that series had 22 books.  Thats a LOT of time spent for something that got me almost no return on the effort.

Writing is brutal, make no mistake.  Just like writing this article.  And don’t get me started on actual novel writing.  There is a reason those take literal YEARS.

Let’s talk Twitch/Mixer/Livestreaming!        

With Twitch it seems again simple of the surface.  Just hit “start streaming” in your software of choice and go.  And if you are just doing it as a hobby yea that’s about all ya need.  But what if you want to run a full on Twitch stream as more than that?

Well you need logos and artwork, which either need to be created by you or commissioned by people, which costs you time and money.  Then you need to make sure you have your stream overlay setup, and sometimes even change the overlays depending on the game and how the game (or whatever you are streaming) show up.  You need to have intro screens, outro screens, and even a Break screen so your viewers are not staring at an Empty Chair.  Perhaps you want music to play during your streams at certain points?  Bots to run your chat and notify your viewers of things.  Commands your viewers can use.  Every time you stream you need to make sure your dashboard is setup properly with game title, description, alerts, tags!

Oh and let’s not forget that self-promotion you need to do to notify people you are going live!

Every time I get ready to stream I spend at least an hour before the stream making sure everything is up to date, working, and ready to go.  Then you hit that go live button…and things are just beginning.  Now you have to be both decent at whatever you are doing, interesting to watch, entertaining, and engaging!  Its live entertainment, and the longer you go the more energy it takes.  I can usually manage 3-4 hours on a good day, and then I am just beyond tired both keeping up a running commentary of what I am doing on the fly, trying to play the game the best I can, and interacting/chatting with my viewers.  Then if you want to keep your footage you need to either download it off twitch or export to Youtube, and decide how you want to present it.  Folx like CohhCarnage have entire TEAMS of people working on their background stuff.  Cohh himself just hits the button and goes, while he has a team who manage him, his contacts, his overlays, the works.

If I stream for 3 hours, I generally spend a total of 4-5 hours getting everything setup and streaming combined.  Once a week I do this on average.  Sometimes a bit more if I am getting ready for a new game or setting up bots or whatnot.  Nevermind all the networking behind the scenes.

Finally, let’s talk Youtube!       

 Thinking about how much effort I put into a 10 minute or so video on Youtube is what prompted me to really consider just how insanely time consuming it can be to do content creation, and how little it’s talked about.  No one wants to hear about how you spent 8 hours editing a video that’s 20 minutes long, and no one wants to consider that the 20 minute video is going to be seen by like 20 people when you are a tiny Youtuber.  Most of my videos, without heavy self-promotion on reddit, get around 10 views within the first week.

And that’s a reality Youtubers face just trying to get going.

I primarily do Indie Impression videos, and my workflow has been refined down to a near science at this point.  I do very little in the way of actual editing, and my videos are completely unscripted beyond me talking to myself in my car to practice what points I want to make.  Seriously.

Here is my process, start to finish, to make 1 Indie Impressions video:

  • Play game for at least 2 hours (or more depending on the game, Dead Cells played for 6-8 hours for example)
  • Record game footage (usually 20-30 minutes’ worth done after the min 2 hour point)
  • Record audio for video (around 10 minutes average, depends on how much I have to say)
  • Put video together (about 20 to 30 minutes total to get all the graphics in place and created as well as audio balance and intro/outro stuff)
  • Render video (render length is equal to video length, so 10 min vid = 10 min render roughly)
  • Upload video (around 30 minutes to an hour depending on my connection)
  • Write vid description, tags, and setup Patreon/Blog post (about 30 minutes total)
  • Do all my own Promotion Work (10-20 minutes)

That’s a rough total time spent PER 10 MINUTE VIDEO of 4+ hours MINIMUM.  And I make these videos biweekly, and they are SUPER simple.  I mean incredibly simple.  I don’t edit out mistakes, I don’t edit out ums and pauses. I don’t do a lot of fancy techniques or have a lot of audio streams to balance.  And it still takes me 4+ hours minimum for a 10 minute impressions video.  Those few video reviews I have done?  The ones that are 45+ minutes?  Those monsters took me the entire time I spent on the game (20+ hours for Elex and Kingdoms of Amalur) and then around 6-8 hours of editing / creation / render / upload time.  There is a reason I no longer do those sort of videos, and the folx who do like The Golden Bolt, LGR, and Stop Skeletons from Fighting (some of my fav youtubers) have my UTMOST respect with the effort they put in, each and every video.  Which is why I watch every video they post start to finish.  Their work deserves my time.

So What does this all MEAN to me as a viewer/consumer?

I wrote this entire thing as a sort of “wake up call”.  To help folx who don’t do this sort of thing on a regular basis to understand just the sort of effort that goes into your entertainment.  Too often people demand “a new video” or “why aren’t you streaming today!” or “where is my podcast” ect ect without realizing that the sheer amount of work it takes to do ANY of this stuff is intense.

Simply put, creators are people, and we spend a lot of our time and energy doing these sort of things.  Mind you, many of us smaller ones (like me) also hold down day jobs.  I work 40 hours a week, commute for a total of about 20 hours on top of it, and then I get home and immediately get to work trying to push stuff out that feels like it goes unnoticed.  And it’s a ton of work and labor.  For the Creators who does this as an actual living?  It gets wild.

CohhCarnage for example streams pretty much every day, 7 days a week, for 2 blocks of roughly 4 hours each day with a lunch break (he sometimes skips lunch, and the blocks combined equal 8 hours).  He has to entertain an audience in the THOUSANDS, all vying for his attention and interacting with each other.  He is able to do this with an actual full TEAM of technical experts, artists, and Mods for his stream. LGR works alone, but puts in easily 40 hours a week in research, restoration, recording, editing, and producing his videos.  And I spend pretty much all my free time pushing out the podcasts, the writing, the videos, and the streams.  I only play games now that I intend to cover in some fashion.  Borderlands 3?  I did 2 streams on that to justify its purchase.  If I buy Cyberpunk 2077 I will have to think of something I can do to “cover it” (prolly talk about it on the podcast).  Ect ect.

The hidden cost to content creation is time, energy, and all the work that goes into the finish product, and it’s something many people don’t understand unless they are part of the process it seems.

I hope this has helped you to understand just the sort of work your favorite creators, whomever they are, put into what you consume.  We all create for different reasons, but at the end of the day, we all put in a lot of ourselves into this.  And I hope you can respect the effort each of us do and continue to support us and our work.

Thanks for reading, be kind to each other and Stay Nerdy everyone.

Mecha Games and Me – Why I am hyped for Daemon X Machina

Greetings gentle readers.  Today I wanted to talk about the upcoming game Daemon X Machina, releasing on 9/13 for the Nintendo Switch, and why I am personally really excited for it.  And to really drive home why I am excited, I need to discuss another series of games from my past: Armored Core.

Growing up, I started with the Sega Master System console back in the 80’s.  I didn’t get a regular NES till the SNES released.  Then I went to the PC world of gaming and did not have another console at all until the PS1 in like 1998.  I mention this because you need to understand that for the longest time the only “Mech” games I had access to were the Mechwarrior and Battletech stuff, which never appealed to me.  Not the tabletop games (yes, there are both tabletop RPGs and Miniature wargames) nor the video games in the MechWarrior or Battletech franchises.

I found the large scale mechs to be too clunky and dull for me.  I was used to faster action or more story driven stuff from my NES and my PC.  I also never really got into the mech designs either, all big, clunky, and chunky.  Mind you, today I respect that Battletech / Mechwarrior is a huge deal and I have tried over the years to understand the appeal of the games, but their focus on more simulation styled action and methodical combat has never really gelled with me at all, even now.  I suppose part of that is the anime series Gundam Wing, which always showed Mecha with much quicker combat, more flashy moves, and a design that appealed to me so much more (angular, colorful, and humanoid)

I don’t remember exactly when I ran across Armored Core, but at some point I got the very first game in my hands for my PS1.  I loaded it up, and found myself looking at Mechs straight outta Anime.  As I played, I began to really get into the faster movement, action combat, and most importantly the customization.  In Armored Core, I could paint my mechs, design my own emblems to stick en em, name em, change out all the parts (and there were, at the time, a TON of parts) and earn money from doing missions to buy new equipment/parts.  It was astonishing to me at the time.  I quickly sought out the sequel, Project Phantasm, and then eventually the 3rd game Master of Arena which has always been my favorite of the first three.

What attracted me to them, as I said, was the combat and customization, as well as an interesting storyline.  In these games you played a Raven, a mercenary for hire in a post-apocalyptic world ruled by Megacorps.  You would spend your time in a garage, modding your mech to your satisfaction, with the ability to have different leg types, torsos, heads, weapons, boosters, ect.  You would then choose from a list of missions (both primary story ones and secondary ones) to earn credits and sometimes parts.  In Master of Arena, they added an Arena system, which would let you face off against 100 other Mech Pilots for glory, riches, and another storyline.  I never could get past Rank 4 (the Rank 3 Mech was BRUTAL).  The combat was always a blast, with the ability to boost on the ground for a sprint, to fly, use different weapons (you had 2 shoulder spots, and then a sword and a gun OR weapon arms.  Yes, you could have guns as arms haha!), and so on.  There was also head to head versus, where your friend, if they had their own save file, could bring THEIR mech into the game to face you.  I did this quite a few times with my friends in high school.

Now, after the PS1 I did not own a console again till the GameCube, and then I briefly had a 360 and PS3, but I never had the chance to get any of the Armored Core games that appeared on those systems.  The last Armored Core game to release was Armored Core: Verdict Day in 2013….6 years ago.  From Software (yes the folks behind Dark Souls) were the original devs of Armored Core and they seemed to have decided it’s not worth their time anymore.  It happens, I don’t fault them for it.

Enter Daemon X Machina.

Now I only recently (a few weeks ago now) got a Switch as a gift from my wife’s family and outside of handhelds, this is my first console in like 4 years that I have owned, and the first console I have owned that is being ACTIVELY supported.  I tend to be a late adopter of tech ya see.  As a note, I have been for the last few years ALSO been trying to find a Mecha game on PC that would scratch the itch I have had for an Armored Core styled game, but have never found one.

So, I went looking at the games coming out and encountered Daemon X Machina, and the instant I watched the trailer my brain went “Its Armored Core….but better!”  I decided to pick up the preorder for it then and there (digital, so it’s already sitting on my console all preloaded and snug) along with Xenoblade Chronicles 2.  Since then I have been consuming every drop of info I can for the game and have learned quite a bit, and I am super excited for it.  Oh, and the reason it feels like Armored Core?  The Producer behind the original Armored Core series, Kenichiro Tsukuda, is the producer of Daemon X Machina.  Oh and the developers are the team at Marvelous, whose work I loved on the Rune Factory series (RF5 is gonna be hype as well for me just saying)

First, nearly every control option in the game can be customized to fit your playstyle, which is huge for a console game.  Additionally, the game describes itself as Armored Core meets Monster Hunter.  This is due to the fact that combat (as seen in videos) is very similar to Armored Core (Fast paced, fluid, flight is involved) but now you can also loot parts off dead enemies depending on how they die, which is new.  You also get to customize your pilot, there are 4 player Coop online missions (this is exciting and may cause me to get Switch Online to play with readers / patrons, maybe on stream!), there is the full suite of Mech customization, and the art style is perfect for what I personally want (bright and colorful).

Now, there have been negative rumbles due to the demos that were released (these demos are no longer available as far as I can tell).  There were issues in those demos, which I have seen mentioned time and again whenever anyone on Reddit mentions the game.  However, there was also a video released on Youtube from the devs that shows that they actually listened to the feedback and have made corrections based on the feedback from these demos which is awesome.  There is also a recent gameplay video from GameXplain, however its apparently…really bad.  Like the player has no idea what they are doing.  I haven’t watched to be honest, because I prefer to make my own observations of a game generally based on my own playtime and the trailers / reviews once its released.

I may finally have a game that meets what I have been after all these years since AC Master of Arena, and that excites me.  If any game was going to be a system seller for me, it would have been this one.  I will also be aiming to do a full written review for the site at some point, but for now I am content to know that I am finally going to get my Anima Mecha Action game again, for the first time in over 10 years for me.  And that makes me happy.

I look forward to becoming an “Arsenal” Pilot, creating and customizing my perfect robotic killing machine and pilot, and kicking some ass to some hard heavy metal tunes…maybe with some friends as well.  Course, I need to finish Xenoblade 2 before I load it up, but I am working on that!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a fantastic day!  Always remember to Stay Nerdy.

Daemon X Machina can be purchased ($59.99) on Nintendo’s official website right here: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/daemon-x-machina-switch/

EDIT: There is also now a DEMO Available on the main Switch Site linked above, that lets you carry over progress.  Everything I am seeing and hearing regarding this new demo is positive, with all the issues fixed from the original, so if you are on the fence about this game PLEASE give the Demo a try, it costs nothing and lets you make your own decision.

The Terminally Nerdy Podcast Pilot

The Podcast Episode in Question can be found on Patreon (Publicly Available Now) RIGHT HERE so click that, and leave a comment telling me what you think about it.  Also the content of this post is cut/pasted from Patreon, but I am adding some stuff here as well towards the bottom.

About 2 years ago, back when my commute was first affecting my life, twitter follower TheHussman suggested I try doing a podcast while I drove.  Given that I generally have an hour and a half or so of driving twice a day (so 3 hours total) the idea did appeal to me, but at the time I was not sure I could manage it.  All I have, after all, is a cell phone.

I decided to give it a try today, and this is what occurred.  Now that I have done it I have a few ideas on how to do it better, but the question is this: SHOULD I?  The audio quality is never going to be great unless I get a lapel mic of some sort, plus the wind noise you hear is my cars AC (Its Florida, that aint getting turned off).  Its unstructured, raw, and completely at random.

But is it interesting?

I discuss the Ion Fury debacle in this, my anniversary (today!), a bit about Control, and a few other things as well as random asides as I sit in traffic.

One thing I have already decided: If I continue this, I will first reduce my AC Fan Speed (it was running at a 3 out of 4 on my Dial when I did this) which SHOULD remove the background wind noise. Further, I will make sure that I have a list of 3-5 topics to discuss, made up of things suggested by Patrons and stuff I find on my own. That should make things a little more strutured, but it will still be mostly raw and off the cuff, as its kind of hard to do anything otherwise while driving down the road / being stuck in traffic.

Additionally, I will most likely record the episode on my drive home Mondays, and release it to Patrons asap. Then release it to everyone else on Thursdays. If it becomes something people like, I will consider getting podcast hosting from somewhere. I got enough podcaster friends I can prolly sort that out easy enough.