Monday, November 9, 2015

Things I've learned about myself from YouTube

I've been meaning to post this for awhile, but things in the real world have gotten out of hand for awhile and things are just now getting back to normal.  It's amazing how doing several jobs at the same time can wear you out.

In addition to my business review of starting a YouTube channel, I've done a personal review as well.  I've wanted to see how this new venture has been affecting me, good and bad.  There's been some surprising things I've learned about myself in the process.  Let me share them with you (in no particular order).

1) I sigh a lot.

It seems I sigh a lot while I'm recording.  I'm not really aware of it, but I hear it when I do the editing.  I've been trying to consciously think about NOT doing it but that makes me self conscious about other things and then I start fumbling my words.  I have adjusted my gain on the mic and maybe my sighing won't get picked up as often as it has in the past.

2) I say "dude" "guy" "all right" "seriously" and "no no no" a lot.

Sometimes when I listen to myself while I'm editing I think I'm in an old '90s stoner movie because I say "dude" and "guy" and "seriously" a lot.  I sometimes sound like I'm stoned too.  I don't know where I picked up this verbal ticks and even I find them annoying.  The problem is I don't know that I'm saying them until after I've said them.  I don't usually think about what I'm saying before I open my mouth.  These words just come out naturally.  I don't want to try and change them because I think that would make me sound pretentious.  I want to sound natural so I guess you'll be hearing a lot of "dude", "guy", "all right", "seriously" and "no no no" a lot.

3) I say "thank you" to AI characters (only sometimes sarcastically)

Like they really have a choice about helping me out.  They're programed to do specific things.  But sometimes I struggle with them not helping me out, so when they finally do, I thank them.  I guess thanking someone is a good things, right?  Unfortunately I also use "thank you" sarcastically too.  When someone (human or AI) does something not very helpful I thank them sarcastically.  That's just me.  I can't hold it back.  I sometimes get a smart mouth on me.  I use to control it better when I was in school because I didn't want to get in trouble, but I'm finding it slips out more often when playing video games.  Let the natural sarcastic asshole in me come out.  Sorry, I don't think there's anything I can do about this.

4) I make a weird clicking noise with my lips sometimes

I don't know how to explain this.  It's not a lip smacking, or teeth sucking noise, but it's not much different.  I usually do this when I first start talking, especially if I've been quiet for awhile.  I'm not even consciously aware I'm doing it at the time, but I hear it in the editing.  I've adjusted the gain on the mic so hopefully it won't pick it up as often.  Even though I'm not consciously aware that I'm doing it I think I haven't done it as much since I've become aware of it.

5) It's hard working two jobs.

Because I'm treating this like a second job I take everything I do seriously.  I started to keep track of time spent doing things and it's been eye opening.  To render, sync, save, edit, resave, compress and upload to YouTube a video that ends up roughly 30 minutes takes about 3 hours to do.  That means if I post a video five days a week it takes 15 hours just to edit and upload them.  That's not counting filming time.  I typically try to keep the filming to 45-50 minutes before ending the recording.  Some have gone longer.  Some shorter.  In the process of editing, I take that 45-50 minutes video and get it down to as close to 30 minutes as I can without losing continuity of the game.  So to make 5 videos in a week I need to film for 5-6 hours.  That's my Saturday in a nutshell.  Sunday is editing as much as I can.  The rest of the week is more editing or filming depending on what I need at the time. 

That means I spend about 20-30 hours a week on making content for my YouTube channel.  That's on top of my 40 hour a week job, laundry, cooking, cleaning, paying bills, real life crap, etc. that I've got to do.  At times it's exhausting.  I'm not getting paid to spend all that time doing this and I'm okay with that . . . for now.  I'm learning so much and it's so much fun to do.  Right now what I sacrifice if I need more time is sleep.  Which leads me to . . .

6) I'm sleeping a lot less since I started my channel.

I was typically getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  Even though that was enough sleep sometimes I woke up tired.  Now I'm up editing until 11:30pm or 12am before finally calling it a night and slipping in between the sheets for some shut eye since I have to get up at 6am for work.  Except I can't shut my brain off.  I miss writing and being creative and the editing process on my videos is filling that void in me.  Because of that my brain starts reeling when I edit.  I think of all the possibilities and my juices start to flow.  By the time I need to go to bed my brain is in full gear. 

I've tried everything I could think of to shut my brain off so I can get to sleep, but so far nothing has helped.  I'll lay in bed until 2:00 or 3:00am before my body is finally so exhausted my brain doesn't have a choice but to power down for the night.  This means that I'm only getting 3-4 hours of sleep a night.  You would think that I would be dragging myself around the next day at work.  But I'm not.  Oh sure, my ability to come up with the quick answer is a little bit slower, but I get there eventually.  Physically I feel fine.  Mentally I'm just a little bit slower than normal.  And all this lack of sleep hasn't caught up to me by the end of the week.  I usually only get an extra couple of hours of sleep (5-6 hrs) on the weekend from what I get during the week.  I don't know if this lack of sleep will eventually catch up to me and rear it's ugly 3-headed monster at me and pound me in to oblivious sleep like Rip Van Winkle, but so far it hasn't affected me and I feel fine.

7) I'm not as depressed as I once was.

Every now and then in my life a wave of darkness seems to come over me.  It usually comes when I start thinking that I'm not where I want to be in my career, my life or my relationships.  The darkness threatens to overwhelm me but it usually passes within a couple of days or a week or two.  I've learned to embrace the darkness instead of fighting it.  That seems to help it pass much quicker than it would otherwise.  Like a fleeing summer thunderstorm.  It comes in menacingly, dumps a bunch of rain all over you, but that moves out and leaves everything fresh and new behind in it's wake.

Ever since I starting my channel I haven't noticed those coming thunderstorms.  I don't know if that's I'm just too busy to think on those things that trigger the depression in me, or some other reason.  I do know that I'm very happy doing everything for my channel, even if I find it exhausting at times.  It's playing the games, the process of editing and making something and seeing that finished product out there in the world that I really enjoy.  I don't care that I'm not making any money off of YouTube.  Yet, that's all the stories you hear about is some YT celebrity striking it rich where reporters wonder why.  I don't care.  The process makes me happy and that's good enough for me.

Well, those things are just some of the stuff that I've learned about myself since starting my YouTube channel.  There's more I could tell you, but I've bored you enough so far.  It's been a fascinating experiment for me and I'm glad I'm doing it.  And I'll continue to do so for a long time, I hope.  If you're interested you can find my YouTube channel here: Pengwenn's YouTube channel.  I hope you have as much fun watching as I've had making the videos.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My start up business 6 month review

When I sat down and finally decided that I was going to do something about starting a YouTube channel, I made the conscious choice to treat it like a business.  More than a job, because that's just what you do to pay the bills; this would be treated like a start up business.  Now, that doesn't mean I started doing things with making money as my top priority, which is what people generally think of when someone starts a business.  Making money off of my YouTube channel has been the farthest thing from my mind.  And it's something I'm not even remotely interested in at this time.  I was looking at taking this seriously and handling it professionally and in a timely fashion.

I very easily could have said that I was going to start doing YouTube as a hobby.  You know, "I'll post a video whenever I feel like it".  I didn't want to do that.  I also didn't want to make promises that I couldn't keep.  I was going to get serious about this, but I was also going to have fun with it.

So, before I even started I sat down and a made a plan.  It was a 3 pronged attack.  I didn't put this plan together on a whim.  I actually thought about it for several weeks before I committed anything to paper.  I'm very careful about things.  Especially setting goals . . . and starting a business.

Prong #1 of my attack was titled: Physical/Equipment/Hardware.

I sat down and started to make a list of all the physical things I would need in order to start capture videos for YouTube.  This part of the plan was the easiest and the one that I was the most familiar with and most ready to execute immediately without too much research and preparation.  Before I could even start to capture videos I needed the equipment to do so.  I already had the consoles to play games on and capture from, but I needed a capture devise.  In my research of capture devises I settled on the Elgato HD 60.  The only problem with that was that I also needed to get a new TV (one that had HDMI inputs) and a new computer.  These were extra expenses I probably wouldn't have thought of if I had just jumped into this without a plan.

Getting a new TV and laptop can get expensive.  And it was.  But the benefits for things beyond capturing were worth it.  But I had to plan ahead and make sure I had the money to get the items I wanted.  But also to get the best that I could afford.  Is there better out there?  Absolutely.  Could I have afforded them?  Nope.  What I got has been very good, although storage space on my laptop is sometimes lacking.  File management is an almost weekly thing.  External hard drives are on option, but I'm back to saving up for the things I want.  This is a business.  I'm trying to be responsible.

Once I had all my equipment in place I could start working on prong #2.  Software/Social media.

The hardware is great but it needs software to help it run and work.  Same goes with starting a YouTube business.  I had to do a lot of research when it came to this part of my plan.  Software is so much more selective according to personal taste and function that it gets overwhelming to me at times on picking a specific program to do a specific thing.  With the extra expense of a new TV and computer I didn't have the money to get some of the software that I really wanted to get.  I still don't have the funds but I'm saving up for them and hopefully I'll get able to get them soon.

One of the things I wanted to get was video editing software.  Unfortunately with no funds left for development I had to settle with what I could get for free.  That was Movie Maker software that came free with my laptop.  If you've been watching my channel since the beginning you'll know that I was having a lot of audio problems while I was recording.  I bought, tried and returned several microphones before I finally settled (somewhat unhappily at the time) on using Audacity to record audio knowing I'll just have to spend extra time syncing up the audio and video file before editing.  Not the solution I was hoping for, but I had to make it work.

I think I have.  But I still have lots to learn.  I've tried to spend some time learning Audacity and Movie Maker so I know what I'm doing and hopefully learn to do it better all the time.  It hasn't been easy.  I did searches for "how to" videos online and most of them haven't shown me anything that I hadn't already figured out for myself on my own.  I know there's still a lot I don't understand and/or use that I could, but I'm getting there.

But no all of prong #2 is software related.  I have a Twitter account.  I've had one since 2009.  But I really wasn't using it.  No particular reason either.  I just didn't think about it when I wanted to say something.  That was what this blog was for.  I followed a bunch of people (that list grows and shrinks as I find new people and/or drop people I don't like anymore).  I just never been one to communicate in 140 characters or less.  I'm not an emoji child.

Starting my attack on prong #2 meant I needed to get on Twitter more and use it.  This has probably been the hardest part for me.  I'm not an extrovert by nature.  I'm not a complete introvert either.  I can be very extroverted but usually only with my close friends.  With strangers it's much scary.  And I've have to keep everything within that 140 character limit.  If you've read this blog at any time you know I can be a bit wordy at times (this time included).  I like being able to explain myself.  My thoughts and ideas are brief so why should my communication be as well?  I think I'm falling down on the job as far as this is concerned.  I'm getting better.  But I'm not where I want to be at this time.

The other part of the "social media" aspect is this blog.  My blogging hasn't been consistent.  Ever.  I've set goals to do it X number of times a weeks.  But when I force myself to sit at the computer and type something up when I have nothing to say things don't go well for me.  But hopefully you've noticed that I have blogged more than I have in the past.  There's room for improvement, but I think I'm getting better.

I'll go into prong #3 at a latter post.  That's a whole other story that hasn't written itself yet.

So, why am I telling you this?  Because it's my 6 month review for my new business.  And while it's my start up and I'm doing this for myself right now (more on that later), I still hold myself accountable for the content that I put out.  And you're my friends, so I think you should know my thought process on this whole thing.  When I tell people what I'm doing on YouTube they just don't get it, unless they're a gamer.  And forget about talking about this with my family.  Parents just don't understand.

Even though I don't have the views or subscribers right now, I'm not worried about it.  I'm just trying to make content that I love and enjoy.  Hopefully that will come across in my videos.  And hopefully other people will find it and love the same things that I do.  Will I get better at it?  I hope so.  Will more people watch?  I hope so too.  This has been a whole eye-opening experience for me.  In good ways and bad.  But don't worry I'm going to blog about that too.

So what do you think about my new start up business?  Have you seen any of my YouTube videos?  How did you find them (hint: you can find my channel here  )?  What do you think.  You can leave me a comment here, or you can leave me a comment on one of my videos.  That would be nice.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Double goose eggs, really?

So I was playing a couple of new games recently.  Nothing serious, just trying to dink around in some games to get a feel for them.  And I got a couple of achievements in the process.  But they weren't worth anything.

The first game I tried out was Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.  It was free to Gold members on Xbox One so I thought I'd give a shot.  It's been a long time since I've played a Metal Gear Solid game.  I've been thinking of trying to play the whole series for my YouTube channel but that would take forever.  Plus there are a couple that I'm missing in order to complete the series.

There was also a couple of achievements highlighted for that game and one of them was to start the game within the time frame that that achievement was active.  So I did.  I started the game and the achievement popped up.  But there was no gamerscore tied to the achievement.  Bummer.

So I put in another game.  One I've played before, but not on an Xbox.  Abe's Oddysee for the original PlayStation was remade for the PlayStation 3 (and probably the PlayStation 4) and was now available for the Xbox One.  It's now called Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty. 

I played this game on the PlayStation and I wondered how it would translate to the Xbox One system and controller.  For starters, it looks stunningly beautiful.  I was blown away with the upgraded graphic and how smooth things were.  So blown away that I pulled a level to open up the floor before I realized that one of the Mudokans I was suppose to rescue was sitting on the trap, scrubbing the floor.  Oops.  Which is exactly the name of an achievement that popped up.  But it also wasn't worth any gamerscore.

What's the point of having "achievements" where you actually have to do something and achieve something if you don't get rewarded for doing it?  I'm not saying turning on a game and pressing the start button is worthy of an achievement, but if you're going to have it in the game, give me something for it.

And I know there's an achievement for rescuing all the Mudokans in a level and that's worth something.  Why can't accidentally killing one be worth something too?  If you give points for doing that you might have gamers actually feel sorry that they failed and got someone killed.  They might try even harder to save everyone the rest of the game.

There were a lot of these types of "no gamer score" or "stupid actions" achievements in the beginning.  Developers weren't sure about achievements and how gamers would react to them.  But hey guys, it's been awhile.  We all know what achievements are and what they mean.  People are obsessed with increasing their gamerscore (present company excluded of course, but you're not buying that are you?).  Developers, you can do better man.

I got both achievements in about 10 minutes of each other and that double dose of goose eggs were enough to turn me off of those games for awhile.  I will play them.  But right now I want to play games that reward me for playing them.  Is that so much to ask.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I'm in Dead Space

I totally forgot something.  I only remembered it as I was playing a game.  I'M IN DEAD SPACE.  At least my name is anyway.  My gamertag is Pengwenn but all my friends call me Peng.  And that name can be found in Dead Space.  And there's an achievement tied to the name and all.  I haven't unlocked it yet, but I'll be sure to let you know when I do.  Here's a little screen shot of Dead Space with Issac lovingly looking at my name that I took from my gameplay.  The video will be up in October for my Halloween/scary month of video games.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

September YouTube schedule

So, now that Lego Star Wars is complete I can finally focus on some other games.  The problem is I'm not sure exactly which game to focus on.  For completing the story or earning all achievements/trophies.  So for the month of September I'm trying a few games out.

I'll still be playing and posting Rayman Origins.  I think I'm getting close to the end on that one so I want to see it through.  Those videos will continue to be posted on Thursdays.

For Monday's I'm posting some Dark Cloud videos.  This is an old PS2 game that I had almost finished before my stuff got robbed.  I loved the game so I would really like to see if finished (even though there are no achievements or trophies to earn).  This can be a really long game and I don't know if I want to tie up Mondays with this game for a very long time.  We'll see how it goes and if anyone watches those videos and says anything.

For Tuesday's I'm posting Halo videos.  I have a confession to make about Halo.  I've played Halo in the multiplayer a lot, but I've never completed the campaign in any of the Halo games.  So . . . I thought this game might be a good one to keep myself on track and finally finish the campaigns in all the Halo games.  Kind of like what I did with Lego Star Wars.  This too might take a while but at least I can finally say I've played them.  Even though I own all of the versions for the first Halo game I am playing the one in the Master Chief Collection on my Xbox One.  It looks pretty.

On Wednesdays I'm trying out some Prototype 2 from my PS3.  This isn't a game that I would normally pick up and play but it was a free PSN download a while ago and I tried it and liked it.  It's vastly different than any type of game I've played so far.  And while I'm loving the game I'm having a hard time going back to it.  I can't seem to remember the controls and I fumble around trying to do things that came naturally the last time I played it.  I just might need more practice in the game.  This is one I'm not sure if it will be a full play or not.  I'll have to wait and see what people think before I decide.

On Fridays I wanted to do something special, but I couldn't decide what . . . or exactly which game.  I'm going to do "Final Fantasy Fridays" and post videos from Final Fantasy games.  The problem is I can't decide which Final Fantasy game to play.  I like so many of them.  I want to finish FF X-2 because I'm curious about the story because I've finished FF X.  But I was almost finished with FFIX when my stuff was stolen and I REALLY liked that game so I want to finish that game.  Plus, I really like Final Fantasy Tactics and FFVII is a game that started this whole blog so I should really try to finally finish that game.  Maybe I'll rotate and do a different game per month.  We'll see.

As for October, I've got some Halloween inspired games that I'll like to post so anything that I post in September might take a break for awhile.  I hope you don't mind, I'm just trying new things out here.  I'll keep you posted.

Is there any of those games that interest you?  Have you played any of them yourself?  What game would you like to see me play instead of those?  I'll take suggestions.  If I don't have the game I might be willing to go out and get it so I can post videos of it on YouTube.  Just let me know in the comments.  And check out my YouTube channel to watch me play games, die (a lot) and generally make a fool out of myself.  That's me.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Digital or Disk?

So I perfected Lego Star Wars and bought my Xbox One.  And I'm loving it.  I'm having a blast in Titanfall and Destiny and recently Gears of War Ultimate Edition (of whatever it is called).  But all this excitement has me thinking.  And that's a scary thing.

I have a shelf full of game cases for all my systems going back to the PlayStation.  I'm running out of room to put new game cases.  I can't image what it will be like a year or two from now.  So I've been thinking about going all digital vs. buying disks.

I probably wouldn't have even considered this a couple of years ago but having the Games with Gold option every month it's nice to get a full game and not clutter up a shelf with a case that will never be used.  Plus I don't have to flip around a big CD case looking for a game disk of what I want to play.  I know the Arcade titles have always been digital but in the past I've preferred to buy a disk when I wanted a retail game.  Now I'm rethinking that.

I don't store my disks in the case they came in.  Instead I put them in to a very big CD folder (which I'm running out of room in between my PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One games).  Those game cases are now just decoration . . . and clutter in my living room.  I guess I could always pull a case out and look through the insert manual for help in playing the game.  But wait, games aren't coming with inserts anymore.  And there's no organization to my shelves at all.

So why not digital?

That's what I've been asking myself for the last couple of months.  When I started to budget for getting an Xbox One and heard the announcement of a 1TB system I knew I had to get that larger hard drive space . . . especially if I wanted to get all digital.  On my 250GB hard drive on my Xbox 360, I've run out of space several times.  All of my Arcade titles are now stored on a thumb drive and I've deleted all the extra stuff for games that I probably won't play for awhile.  I figure I'll just re-download them if/when I play that game again.  File management has been a bitch.

A 1TB hard drive should be big enough, right?  If not I guess I'll have to look in to some external storage for my XBO.  I like not having to flip through a case but instead flip through a couple of titles on my screen.  And there isn't the hassle of having to get up to change disks whenever I want to change games.  I can see the beauty in going all digital.  But it doesn't feel like I "own" anything when I purchase a digital game.

I love to read but I have no interest in going to a digital platform for books.  My tablet is a Nook from Barnes & Noble but I have no interest in reading a book on it.  I prefer the paper and glue method of delivery that I've used for years.  I feel like I "own" those books , , , even if I've only just checked it out of the library.  There is something about holding something in your hand and saying "this is mine" that is very satisfying to me.  That's why I've been buying disk copies of games.

And it always seems to me that I can find cheaper copies of the game if I buy the disk than if I buy a digital copy.  Recently I've been looking for a copy of the game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West for Xbox 360.  I saw that GameStop had a used copy for $3, but in the game store on my Xbox a digital copy was still going for $15.  Now why would I want to spend $15 on a game when I could get the same game for $3 somewhere else?  (In fact I got the game for $1.50 somewhere else so I saved even more money.)  For less than $60 I was able to pick up 5 games only one of which was new (Gears of War Ultimate Edition $40).  For less than $20 I was able to pick up 4 more games that I wouldn't have been able to if I had purchased the digital version of Enslaved.

Until digital pricing goes down on older games I'm not so sure that I want to spend more money than I have to for older games.  That doesn't mean I won't buy digital at all (and I won't stop getting Games with Gold games for free if I like them).  But maybe I only pay full price on new games.  You know, when the digital copy is the same price as a disk copy.

Yeah, I won't have any little inserts or "24 hours free Xbox Live Gold membership" cards in a case.  But I also won't have a case cluttering up the space in my living room.  I'm running out of shelf space as it is.  And with digital some games have the option to pre-purchase and pre-download so you're ready to play the game from minute one on the day it comes out.  I like that.  But whether it is digital space or shelf space I don't see myself stopping to buy video games anytime soon.  New or used.  I only see more video games in my future . . . especially this holiday season.  Lots more games.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Xbox One is in the house

Since I finally perfected an Xbox 360 game I got the reward of treating myself to a new Xbox One system and games.  I was so excited when I opened it up and hooked everything up.  There were a lot of downloading and updating to do so I didn't get the chance to play on Friday.

I did get the chance to look at my friend's list and finally see what my friends were playing.  It was so annoying on the Xbox 360 so see my friends playing "Xbox One" and not know what game it was.  Now and I could see.  And what were they playing?  YouTube.  TV.  And "watching a video".  Really?  That's what you were doing?

After all the grief I had been getting for the last couple of years of not upgrading, yet when I finally do that's what everyone was using their system for?  What about games?  Do my friends still play those?  Maybe this is just the void before the storm as there are lots of great games that are coming out this holiday season.  Let's hope so.

But when I was finally able to get online and play, my friends online were still only watching TV or videos and not playing games.  I was starting to get sad.  Then I put in Titanfall.  And then I felt better.  It would have been great to play with friends, but it was still nice to play a game that I had waited a long time to play.

You see, there were several games that came out that when they did so they were for both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.  Of those games, I decided to wait to get them for the Xbox One instead of the Xbox 360.  That meant I wasn't playing Titanfall, Destiny and Shadow of Mordor.  I could have, but it was my choice to wait until I could get the newer system.  I think the only exception to that was Thief.  I just couldn't wait to get that game on an Xbox One.

I don't know how many of the great games that will be coming out this year I'll be able to afford.  I hope my friends that do have some of the games that I do have will play with me like they use to in the old days.  I guess we could always watch TV or YouTube videos together too.  It's just not the same.