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MenaceNsobriety

FFG please Stream your events!

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FFG I hope you read these forums because the lack of streaming at your large events is just ridiculous. We are interested in seeing this great game played as much as possible. No Celebration stream? System opens being streamed out of pocket by your customers? Please help grow your game by letting us see great players complete.

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2 minutes ago, sozin said:

Hoth streaming still a thing. And worlds last year. And tons of other events. OP had systematically demonstrated lack of interest in this area. Maybe they have become spoiled by the community here.

Yeah I am very glad we have an awesome community or we wouldn't get to see any of these games. I guess FFG OP figures why do it themselves when they can get people to do it for them for free. Mentioning Hoth reminded me I need to go track down Gold Squadron's go fun me page and donate to their worlds coverage. 

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I concur with Sozin. And I think we just try to help here.

FFG has unarguably to me become the very best board game company ever in terms of game quality. And I don't have the figures, but it feels their X-wing sales and tournaments attendance are standing quite good.

Having the climax of their biggest season yet, with 8 qualified people from different parts of the world, all having won a major tournament with hundreds of people in attendance (who themselves traveled hundreds of miles and trained for the event), looking like that ...

 

I mean, to the unaware people, FFG's reported pictures of a couple back tables in a random room would exactly look like a low attendance remote casual tournament report.

We don't ask them to change the "fly casual" and the 'grown-up' feeling we love in X-wing tournament attendance. But could not they do something a little bit more professional ?!

 

Solid broadcast is actually what makes otherwise worse games very much alive. I am certain that the seriousness of Magic: the gathering pro-scene is what kept the game doing very well. And it's obvious that it's very beneficial to them to actively broadcast and communicate around their championships. FFG could certainly put a ridiculously small fraction of X-wing profits into setting something a little more shiny. And I am sure they would benefit from that ! I just bought an ARC-170 because I was intrigued by a list that did well at the Steele open that I casually watched.

There are even members/organizations in the community that could help doing that if they really want to commit minimally. But the game maturity sounds to me well past the point it could invest a little more into broadcasting its competitive scene.

 

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If live streaming is really an issue, sure. I don't like the reason, but if streaming capabilities are actually a huge issue, so be it.

But no recording at all? Seriously, just tape the thing and pay someone a few bucks to commentate then drop it on youtube.

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2 hours ago, Kdubb said:

If live streaming is really an issue, sure. I don't like the reason, but if streaming capabilities are actually a huge issue, so be it.

But no recording at all? Seriously, just tape the thing and pay someone a few bucks to commentate then drop it on youtube.

I think TC is doing just that for the final. Not sure why they aren't recording some of the other games.

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Speaking as someone who's done quite a bit of streaming in both my home set up, and for various kinds of events, I can tell you it's tough to set up. The number one issue is simply whether the venue has the bandwidth. Many places just don't have a stable enough connection to make it possible, and you'd be surprised how common this is in places you'd expect more of. Convention centers generally have decent connections, but limited bandwidth per connection (fine for phone/laptop browsing, but chronic upload bottlenecks, ping times, and often a timed reconnect of as little as 15 minutes).
The next biggest issue is convincing the venue to essentially turn over the bulk of the bandwidth to you for an event, bearing in mind that venue will have far more patrons than just that event. To say they're generally reluctant would be an understatement. I once had a venue manager just outright laugh in my face and walk away. 

The more obvious issues follow these: gear, talent, crew, organisation. In that particular order, to boot. 
Streaming an event to a decent standard is more than just a laptop and webcam. It's often a high end, or even purpose built, computer with capture cards to input video from dedicated cameras. Multiple cameras for various cuts (X-wing would likely be four scenes, maybe five if you include a pulled out crowd shot). Great quality mics are massively important, and that'll require a mixing desk to balance out the announcers, as well as integrate table audio/crowd. Lighting would probably be required, but can be worked around. On top of all this, you need to have overlays for days ready to go; not just for between games/breaks, but for information during games and surrounding them, and someone to constantly update them.
Talent wise, if the event is long, you're going to need a team of announcers that can sub in for each other so it's not always the same people on the call. This is important for saving the announcers voice, but also so that the viewer is getting a different voice, angle, and opinion, keeping them engaged. 
In terms of crew, you'd be surprised. As I mentioned above, you're basically dedicating one person to overlays for the day. A couple of grips running around for set up/tear down, and checking cables/mics/cams etc throughout. A director running the cam feed, in comms with someone overseeing the event itself to get an idea of what's coming in the next round, so you can line up the best possible games for the viewers. That should also be in conference with someone handling social media/live chat to get a good view of what those people actually want to see coming up (eeeeveryone wanted to see the 4x HWK list at the UK Open...). Ideally there'd also be a handler or two helping the announcers and director to potentially line up a few interviews with players as the day progresses, but this can also be done by the announcers that are off call at the time. And, of course, you always need a pair of gophers for the duration of the day.


So basically, it's not a small undertaking if you want a professional looking webcast of the prestige events (which I agree is what should be taking place). With all that said, you can fire up a decent laptop with a decent mic and a MacGyver'd cam set up (hacked GoPro, SLR tethered to a USB capture card, etc), and provide basic coverage of anything as long as you have the fundamental part: bandwidth. That which brings us back to the first problem: venues rarely have it, and those that do rarely want to turn it over...

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Good write up. All of those points would be facilitated greatly by an organized play broadcasters program, fleshed out with:

- Helpful document like the above to guide the caster through technical standards,  pro tips, style guide, etc

- Incentives to the broadcasters who volunteer their free time

- schedule of previous and upcoming broadcasts 

- a point person in OP to help deal with logistical issues and do program planning and coordination 

All requiring investment and time FFG. And why should they bother? The game is hugely popular and the lack of this kind of media investment doesn't seem to hurt them other and the occasional negative/constructive feedback threads like this one.

Regardless, you don't have to go all-in to improve things even a little. Public acknowledgement and gratitude is easy and cheap (but won't happen, go read FFG's Glassdoor reviews if you want some insight into their internal management culture). Setting expectations via Twitter / website is another easy win, ("Sadly we will be unable to cast this event live due to reason X, but the event will be recorded by TC and we will provide live picture coverage with lists and commentary.").

 

 

 

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Agreed, and honestly, if there was to be a community-led broadcasting group, I'd be happy to pitch in to it in whatever way I could. I'm describing the ideal scenario to properly cover an event like Worlds, or the upcoming Euro Champs, which would have massive community interest, but relatively few capable of travel. At this stage, however, I think many would settle for less than ideal if something that was at least organised and watchable was in place. 
A high quality broadcast would do the event justice, and go a long way toward promoting the game. Most new players these days are picking up this game because they're seeing games in action, and learning the nuances through watching old replays. That kind of community growth is immeasurably good for the game, for the amount of effort it takes, and ensures it's growth. For seasoned veterans, it's both interesting and entertaining to watch, and for many the kick is getting to watch a friend or sparring partner from your FLGS competing on a broadcast.

There's some simple, key things that are needed, and beyond that it's just down to support. Basics like announcers understanding how to play roles (main/colour, main/tutor, expert/patsy), knowing what to do with breaks in the game, having informative cutaways for what's happening elsewhere in the tournament (how often do we ask what the standings are in these things?), updates on key games etc. Some of these things are covered by graphics without breaking the flow of the game. Some are covered between games while players are moving, and some are just straight reporting by announcers. Quick chats with players on camera after games engage the viewer. There's so much you can do. Much of it just takes some experience, but all of it can be learned quickly with some support.


But, like you said, FFG isn't doing it. At the very basic level, there should be someone posting up the lists of the Top 32, and displaying some kind of bracket that we could follow with updates. Let the audience engage with the results by speculating on their own filled in brackets as the knock-out rounds progress. People love that. Jeez, I'm Irish, and even I filled out a March Madness bracket...

 

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21 hours ago, atr127 said:

It was the same last year in London.  It's not ffg, it's Disney licencing rules. 

The excuse last year was that they didn't turn in the paperwork in time. This year they had the knowledge before hand and just didn't do it. Obviously the games could be recorded since TC recorded the Final. FFG chooses not to.

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We were given a handful of similar (and frankly unconvincing) excuses at Worlds last November as well. We ended up casting over a mobile hot spot connection and having to pay out of our pocket (denied access to the onsite corporate wifi network). Gold Squadron recently had to pay out of their own pocket to broadcast Hoth.  About a month ago the podcast alliance tried to get formal support for casting at Worlds this year, and were denied. 

We always return to the same issue, which is that FFG senior management (hi Christian, if you are reading this) does not think this is a priority, or doesn't want us doing it, or is content to cynically freeload off the community, or ... 

By conparison, WOTC seems to do a pretty good job of taking ownership of this.

Over the last four years that I have run ListJuggler I have experienced this multiple times. It is part of the reason why we decided to focus on the online X-Wing community, where we are in control of our own Destiny (as it were). I would like to think that we have had better success here, especially on the software side - the software ecosystem is really rich and strong right now, all due to community effort.

Edited by sozin

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52 minutes ago, Tbetts94 said:

The excuse last year was that they didn't turn in the paperwork in time. This year they had the knowledge before hand and just didn't do it. Obviously the games could be recorded since TC recorded the Final. FFG chooses not to.

That's a completely fair point actually. It really is such a shame, regardless of the reasons. 8 of the best players in the world facing off would have been hugely popular, and a great way to launch an official streaming service. 

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As strange as this sounds, I think a community driven show needs to just push forward and do it themselves to prove there's an audience and a positive player-base benefit. It's the only way to push for something official, I think. Even if it's just starting with live-to-tape recordings for YouTube upload, rather than a stream, as long as it's regular it's going to gather interest and an audience. In fact, if we could build stream assets as a community for everyone to use, so there's a uniform look to overlays, that might go a long way toward helping those who want to try it, as well as improve the overall look and feel.

I have to give massive credit to the podcasts that are taking the lead on this charge, too, and I think their sacrifice to do it isn't really understood in some ways (it's a hell of an undertaking just logistically, and paying for the kind of hotspot charges you'd amass for a stream is no joke).

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1 hour ago, sozin said:

We were given a handful of similar (and frankly unconvincing) excuses at Worlds last November as well. We ended up casting over a mobile hot spot connection and having to pay out of our pocket (denied access to the onsite corporate wifi network). Gold Squadron recently had to pay out of their own pocket to broadcast Hoth.  About a month ago the podcast alliance tried to get formal support for casting at Worlds this year, and were denied. 

We always return to the same issue, which is that FFG senior management (hi Christian, if you are reading this) does not think this is a priority, or doesn't want us doing it, or is content to cynically freeload off the community, or ... 

By conparison, WOTC seems to do a pretty good job of taking ownership of this.

Over the last four years that I have run ListJuggler I have experienced this multiple times. It is part of the reason why we decided to focus on the online X-Wing community, where we are in control of our own Destiny (as it were). I would like to think that we have had better success here, especially on the software side - the software ecosystem is really rich and strong right now, all due to community effort.

Worlds is already streamed by ffg. But every game gets and deserves its time in the spotlight. There is games other than X-Wing. 

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That is partially accurate. We streamed games at Worlds last year when FFG was not streaming, and also streames top 16 games from Paul Heaver. Many members of the community thanked us for filling in. For Paul's game, someone compared it to being like FIFE not casting Brazil playing.

So yeah it was being  cast. But it could have been much better?

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Twitch and YouTube have their game upped sufficiently high that streamed is the same thing as permanently recorded. Granted you don't have to stream to record, so TC's post facto is better than nothing! 

Good example of the value of this, from last years Worlds. Two of the best players on the planet during it out: 

EDIT

Sadly not going to happen again, since the podcast alliance was denied casting/recording privileges at Worlds this year.

Gold Squadron and Kryats are stepping up to cast this year! But this time it won't my mobile hotspot eating up the cell phone bill this time, it'll be Dion's :-) 

Edited by sozin

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1 hour ago, NakedDex said:

As strange as this sounds, I think a community driven show needs to just push forward and do it themselves to prove there's an audience and a positive player-base benefit. It's the only way to push for something official, I think. Even if it's just starting with live-to-tape recordings for YouTube upload, rather than a stream, as long as it's regular it's going to gather interest and an audience. In fact, if we could build stream assets as a community for everyone to use, so there's a uniform look to overlays, that might go a long way toward helping those who want to try it, as well as improve the overall look and feel.

I have to give massive credit to the podcasts that are taking the lead on this charge, too, and I think their sacrifice to do it isn't really understood in some ways (it's a hell of an undertaking just logistically, and paying for the kind of hotspot charges you'd amass for a stream is no joke).

I think you are right on here. The good news is that most of the data you are talking about is already out there. There is so much good recorded material on Youtube! Here's some of my favorites:

Your point about the stream assets is also very important. 

So yeah, lacking enlightened corporate sponsorship, community driven is probably the way to go. This is not a fight I'm going to sign up for though - I'm burnt out trying to promote change in this space, and would prefer to just let sleeping dogs lie. I've been openly critical of FFG anyways, so most likely my bridges are all burnt :-) 

 

Edited by sozin

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5 hours ago, sozin said:

Sadly not going to happen again, since the podcast alliance was denied casting/recording privileges at Worlds this year.

I know Gold Squad had plans to stream from Worlds even if they had to go out of pocket again this year. Are you saying that FFG is not even going to allow them to do that?

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