A Commentary On My First Game Commentary

Yes, I realise you nosey parkers are going to inspect all the objects on my shelf

Yesterday I did my first-ever game stream (well, I did try with Thief a couple of years back, but I basically didn’t commentate), with Cities: Skylines. How did it go? Well, let me tell you about it via the medium of talking nervously to a webcam, as well as giving you another chance to watch my fumbled attempts to get to grips with Paradox’s anticipated city-builder.

Quicker than typing, if providing infinitely more ways to humiliate myself:

(My webcam doesn’t work properly with Windows 8.1 so annoyingly I wasn’t able to film that in HD. Will source a replacement for the future).

Yes. Hmm. Meta? Not exactly. Don’t worry, I won’t do this every time I stream a game, but I’m trying to become more au fait with the camera/microphone and for your sins I’m going to practice on you.

Here’s the Cities: Skylines stream, all 90 minutes of it. For the reasons mentioned in the above video plus my own glorious ineptitude, I make a horrendous cock-up to start with but eventually find my feet, somewhat. I’ll have more thoughts – written for sure, spoken TBC – about Cities: Skylines next week

Oh, and people have asked that we do this kind of thing on Twitch rather than Youtube. Will look into it; basically right now we’re all set up for the latter but not the former, but we’ll get to it before too long.

41 Comments

  1. iainl says:

    So it’s not just me who upgraded to Windows 8.1 and found that the only things that didn’t work was my Microsoft-brand webcam and Microsoft-brand Flight Stick? Well, that’s a relief of sorts.

    Not exactly the problems I expected with it…

    • Alec Meer says:

      Yeah, it was a Microsoft camera too. Known issue they’re not doing anything about, it appears.

      • Radiant says:

        If you have a kinnect [better to use the old 360 one] it works wonderfully as a webcam.

  2. morbiusnl says:

    you did great. I prefer the calmer youtuber then someone who is constantly being dramatic/shouty. So I will be certainly looking forward to more of you.

  3. Orija says:

    Man, you look so Turkish it makes me suspect that you do oil wrestling on weekends.

    • Orija says:

      I feel the need to add that you have the most soothing voice I’ve heard since Bob Ross.

      • All is Well says:

        How is it that a written-word site like RPS employs so many great voices?

    • Alec Meer says:

      I have some Jewish blood in me that tends to make itself very apparent, but Turkish is news to me.

    • Rizlar says:

      Did noone else think ‘Jeff Goldblum’?

      • amateurviking says:

        I’m basically always thinking Jeff Goldblum.

      • Darth Gangrel says:

        I think Sacha Baron Cohen and with a moustache, Alec would make a good Borat look-a-like. Borat is from Kazakhstan and Orija thinks he looks Turkish, while Alec is in fact Jewish, so that means that Alec is a lot of things.

    • der_Zens0r says:

      Hmm, I always imagined Alec as a little bit overweight. And know the first thing I thought is “Stuard” (the owner of the comic book store in Big Bang Theory) :D

      Nice video btw (voice and talking), but I couldnt watch all of it because of your game style :D

      Am I the only one who only sees SimCity in this game? Even the tiny cityspace is there!

  4. Barberetti says:

    Don’t burn the guitar. I’ll have it if you don’t want it!

  5. amateurviking says:

    Ah the grand tradition of Alec’s phizog.

    Never forget: link to rockpapershotgun.com

  6. Sloopy_DE says:

    Would be great, if you could do such streams on Twitch in the future, ’cause here in Germany we can’t watch YouTube streams… at least I can’t. Anybody?

    • Nova says:

      Yeah, it seems they are blocked by default. The broad and easy way to prevent the usage of copyrighted material. Thanks GEMA.

  7. Koozer says:

    Why does everyone love Twitch so much? Apart from the GEMA dodging mentioned above.

    • Muzman says:

      Was wondering that too. Is it the chat or something?

    • Koozer says:

      PS. The stream was entertaining!

    • MrStones says:

      Yeah I’d love to know the answer to this as well, Is it people hoping to watch it live? Is it just to stop the “unavailable in your location” stuff? Do people prefer their youtube comments in real time?

      Wish I could find it now but I was looking at a site recently that said something along the lines of “Download {video} now and stream it anytime, anywhere!” which Is either incredibly stupid or I’m completely missing something. Has stream become the new hip word for watching a pre-recorded video, like how lag has seemingly become the word to describe any and all problems in a game?

    • scannerbarkly says:

      Twitch is built specifically to stream and just does it better. Chat is better, quality is better. Youtube streams can have big FPS issues, huge issues when going to full screen etc. Twitch has apps and add ons and other stuff that can make a stream better, Youtube has none of that stuff.

      Plus, its ecosystem comfort. Most people watch streams on Twitch, so like to be able to watch streams on Twitch.

      • MrStones says:

        Hmm I think mostly my confusion with it comes from a stream, that has already been streamed and not currently streaming (already recorded), being called a stream. It’s kind of a weird “I’m going to see a live band tonight, yeah it was on last week”. More a problem of language making it as confusing as hell.

        Also when I think Twitch I mainly think live and Youtube would be pre-recorded. I know they each have both but I would consider them their main strengths so I find it odd when people want to watch something that has already happened on Twitch. Last time I tried (Divinity:OS modding stuff so last summer) I remember it being a bit of a nightmare to find anything or doing simple things like rewind/fast forward. Maybe it was having a bad day or I’m a bit of a muppet, either could be true but I wasn’t long making my way over to YT.

        Is there any benefits to watching already recorded stuff on Twitch? I’m genuinely curious.

        • Hyetal says:

          As opposed to youtube, you mean? No, there are no benefits. Twitch’s video player is much worse. But you can automatically keep recordings of your entire broadcast, so if you’re too lazy to export it to youtube, it’s an easy way for people to watch something they missed.

    • Radiant says:

      For the chat.
      I’ve found that it mostly doesn’t even matter about the game so long as the streamer is fun to “talk” to for most people.

      Youtube gives better ad rates then twitch but has no chat and no built in subscribe or donate functions which twitch does [and takes a massive cut for].

      If youtube added paid subscription, [anonymous] chat and all the bells and whistles that twitch did people would RUN to it.

  8. Muzman says:

    I liked it. Good audio. Relaxed delivery. It suited this sort of game too, perhaps. But I think in the commentary on these sorts of things people often feel the urge to fill in, to pick at the game “because they’re a critic”, or pick at themselves, or try to be amusing (I know I do). Better not to over do it I think, especially if you’re not going to add a whole lot of substance. Which isn’t to say people shouldn’t try to add substance, but it’s hard to do on a first go round without really knowing your stuff.
    So I’d say this time going in cold worked fine. Do prep on whatever is next if you feel like it and see what happens.

  9. Moth Bones says:

    I commented during the stream that I was enjoying it in part because you weren’t an expert – your first city quickly failed, we saw plenty of faffing with pipes and whatnot – but by the end of the session you’d got things going. I like games like this but quite often bounce off them due to initial bewilderment; this gave me the impression that I might get into the game in spite of that possibility. There’s definitely room for your style too, affable and easygoing is good.

  10. spacedyemeerkat says:

    Nice to see you have the ability to operate your eyebrows independently of each other. It’s a much underrated ability and a very useful one.

  11. dangermouse76 says:

    I can only say I encourage more video/audio stuff from you guys. You are ( all ) new to it, there are already some polished guys out there doing video content; but I enjoy hearing and watching your work. I would love the occasional RPS audio podcast chatting about game related stuff.

    If that’s not your thing fine, just wanted to say I would be interested in seeing you guys explore that space.

    Basically dont be put off trying………you may be surprised.

    • amateurviking says:

      Graham does the Crate and Crowbar podcast with Marsh and sometimes Pip (and even a Jim and a John very occasionally) and a couple of the PC Gamer guys every Friday. It is top, and very much what you might expect from an ‘official’ RPS pod, but with 100% less transformers as no Alec :(

      • dangermouse76 says:

        Thanks will check it out.

      • Fiyenyaa says:

        I love the Crate & Crowbar, but I love the old RPS Internet Wireless Show – I want it back! I would absolutely love it if it made a return – I guess the issue is that the writers are more scattered through the country than they used to be which means either a lot of travelling (thus expenses) or a lot of skype podcasts, which lose a fair amount of natural…. uh…. naturalness? We’ll go with that.
        But yeah, if someone can find a way to resurrect the RPS Podcast in some form – please do it.

  12. amateurviking says:

    I have now watched a bit of the stream and the commentary inception. I like it.

    Have you thought about co-opting someone else in to sit with and be the equivalent of a ‘colour commentator’? Might make it easier to draw ideas out.

  13. Borodin says:

    For the record, I was very impressed Alec. Your nervousness is understandable but unwarranted: I think you have a fine radio voice. Don’t forget that people don’t want to see a slick demonstration that shows off the product, they want to see the sort of experience that they would have in the same situation.

    I watched it end to end and enjoyed every moment, perhaps with a little schadenfreude! More like this please. If you can achieve this without any previous experience at all then your future is formidable.

  14. Laurentius says:

    Yeah, dude, I haven’t watched it b/c somehow this game isn’t looking all that apealing to me but don’t get discourged by first attempts. You may not be there yet as other people doing LP’s and stuff but it doesn’t mean you can’t get there. I would like RPS to try video a bit often. All crew seems like nice bunch of guys and gals that is skilled by expressing themselves in written word but my hunch is that at least some of you got it in then to sell their personality voice/video style.

  15. caff says:

    I like the calm, no idea what’s going on approach.

    Also – you definitely have an Ikea Markus. Great chair.

  16. xfstef says:

    I’m sorry Alec but you are pretty rubbish at citybuilders.

  17. Amnesiac says:

    I have that computer chair too!

    • Houghtezo says:

      Me too! It is very comfy, has served me well over the years

  18. celticdr says:

    I watched the whole thing, you did quite well for your first time, although it was frustrating at times when you ran power lines through your city evicting tenants unnecessarily and how you painted roads in a disorderly fashion, but overall I found it entertaining and your voice is naturally soothing, which is a good trait for doing videos.

    I give you a: B+ (I think for the next video a short sneaky go of the game beforehand would be beneficial).

  19. bill says:

    I can’t watch it because I mostly read RPS during downtime at work. No sound.
    So I’m probably not the intended audience. But anyway:

    1 – It seems like a kind of self-fulfilling-prophecy that you always introduce all the videos by talking about being nervous, fumbling and inept. Not really the way to project an aura of confidence, or make yourself confident.
    I always do this too, but it’s just much more obvious in written-on-RPS form.

    2 – Though I rarely had a chance to watch them, I rather enjoyed Nathan’s “game and a chat” series. They had lots of technical issues and were hardly professional, but they were fun and informative. Drafting in random other journalists, floor sleepers, game developers was cool too.
    Getting everyone together on the bed for a games-conference round up with added random chums was fun too. More like this please. (Unless nathan copyrighted it).