Ever realize that you enjoy watching a particular game almost as much or maybe more than you enjoy playing it? If so, don’t fret, because there are thousands of gamers just like you! No, there isn’t some special club that you join due to this, where it is possible to not only be the president, but also a client. This is just simply a love letter to game casts.
I remember playing lots and lots of Starcraft, but I stuck to a particular map called Big Game Hunters, because I wasn’t quite the micro/macro veteran. So, having a map that gave me an ungodly amount of resources helped me just build and have fun. Several years later we have Starcraft 2 and I am really excited for it! I decide early that I’ll get good at the micro/macro and I actually did pretty well for just starting out. Because I wanted to learn as much as I could I turned to the great Wide World of Webs, the Internet.
What did I find?
I came across Day 9 and his dailies. I didn’t quite realize it then, but having such a knowledgeable and exciting caster to watch became more addicting than playing the game. I enjoyed his insight and knowledge when he went over SC2 games featuring high level players. I learned a great deal and was able to directly apply what I was watching and learning into the game. But, the more I watched and the more I learned, the more I just wanted to watch. Hell, there was a point where Day 9 started playing Amnesia (first person survival horror) and that was a riot! It became much more interesting watching him go through that game than playing it myself.
One, blast from the past, shoutcaster I have always enjoyed has been Warwitch (http://www.twitch.tv/warwitchtv). He can currently be found casting games for a Return to Castle Wolfenstein tournament, RTCW Anniversary Cup 2012. Not only is he casting an old favorite of mine, but also bringing in past competitive players to drop in their insights during his live streams. He does a great job of spreading the announcer love around, while managing the stream and keeping the viewers, at home, engaged on the action. This is a pretty difficult task considering his streams are all live. Another great tidbit is bringing the spectators into the voice comms that each team is using, so you can hear how the players are reacting during the game.
Any Other Examples? And, What About Dirty Bomb?
My list of examples could go on and on and I am sure you have some favorites of your own. For instance, we could easily talk about the great videos of rivalXfactor or LevelCapGaming. Not to mention a caster (is this even the right term, now?) I’ve showcased previously, NuclearSharkhead.
Despite the number of examples available, what does any of this have to do with Dirty Bomb? Well, I’m glad I asked! I am hoping that, closer to open beta, the buzz for Dirty Bomb will be near levels of pandemonium. This would mean people would be excited to see more from Dirty Bomb as a competitive community. Not everyone can compete at a high level, maybe due to not having a team or the time committment to play, but being able to watch high competitive play is a luxury. Watching players at this high level is something new players and veterans can both enjoy and take back tips and tricks to their own games.
So, What Do We Want?
Well, I can only hope that the shoutcasting and recording capabilities of Dirty Bomb make life easier for those who want to broadcast. It is quite interesting to see what games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 are doing regarding this area. Implemented in BLOPS2 is a “Theater Mode” where you can watch recent games played from any point of view and get all the stats that happened in a game. Did you get annihilated by another player and smash your keyboard in the process? Don’t worry, you only need to use your mouse to select Theater Mode and switch between player perspectives to see slow-motion replay of how your face got shot off.
Also, the integration of Twitch.tv with Black Ops 2 is quite a step forward in making gaming available to those who would rather spectate. Some people like playing football, but quite a lot more enjoy watching it on their couch at home. The same can be applied to gaming, even though I suppose both can be done from the couch…
The fact is that these shoutcasters are bridging the gap for people not as familiar with games in helping them understand what they’re watching. The best, non-gaming, example I have of this is UFC. Sadly, for many years people watched UFC and didn’t quite understand why those two guys were hugging each other so hard on the ground. UFC completely changed their brand thanks to reality tv (The Ultimate Fighter) and informative announcers. Pretty soon, people understood that when those two guys were on the ground, they weren’t just hugging, but trying to pass the opponent’s guard and upgrade their position. Thus, fights weren’t quite booed so quickly when the fighters hit the ground because the intricacies of what was happening was starting to be understood.
If you have some examples of your favorite casters or something you would like to see Dirty Bomb implement please post in the comments. I know it’ll help me understand what you guys want to hear about and maybe even help Splash Damage think about what features they need to implement. I personally would like to see a Theater Mode brought to Dirty Bomb coupled with the Echo analytics. Those two tools alone would be invaluable for analyzing and watching games. What do you think?