Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Thinking about podcasting

I've long thought that while the number of gaming podcasts is high, there's an aspect of the industry that's underrepresented... there aren't a lot of podcasts dealing with game design. Once (circa 2007 I think) I even downloaded Audacity and tried recording something... it turned out to be about a half an hour of me talking about one of my first games, All For One.

Nowadays, with the advent of crowdfunding, the amateur/indy design scene has grown quite a bit. Gaming in general has become a lot bigger and more well known, and now more than ever there are a lot more podcasts and video-casts focusing on games. Some of them are by designers, and some interview designers about their games, but for the most part I still don't see a lot of content about the actual design of games.

Prominent reviewer Richard Ham (Radho Runs Through) started a podcast series recently, and reading some comments about that new show, as well as some of the comments they made on The State of Games,renewed my interest in pursuing the idea of a game design focused podcast. I polled Twitter to see if people would be interested in hearing that type of thing, and got a general sort of "I'd listen if it were short" type of response.

Based on what I imagine people would be interested in, I was thinking that each episode might be organized as follows...

1. Recent gaming (5 min): I could mention the games I've been playing, maybe going into detail about the most prominent one.

2. Thoughts on hotness (5 min): I could give my opinion on whatever the hot topic of the day might be... a particular game that'sbeing hyped, the SdJ nominees, or some other hot topic in gaming.

3. The meat of the podcast - some game design topic (10-20 min): I figure I'd choose some topic and approach it from a "this is how I did it" point of view, then solicit comments from the audience as to how they would have gone about it.

I might ought to squeeze in there some segment for answering questions from Twitter or previous show comments. In total I'd try to keep the episodes down to 30 mins or less. I figure I could record several episodes at a time, cut it up and stitch it together into episodes with Audacity, and post them on SoundCloud or something.

So what do you think? Does this sound like something worth doing? Would you be interested in listening to this type of thing?


Paul said...

Would definitely listen to that format, sounds great.

Whilst there is a saturation of podcasts reviewing games, podcasts about the aspects of design are relatively few on the ground, so would be great to get an insider's insights.

Scurra said...

As someone who entirely hates the modern shift to podcasting* (and, worse, videos - no disrepect to Rahdo here!), I would not listen.
And the reason isn't that they are largely terrible (because, as we all know, 90% of everything is crap), it's that the pace isn't under my control. When I read, I can do it at my speed, I can go back and reread sections that I didn't understand, and so on. That's just impractical with podcasts and videos (it's possible, but extremely inconvenient.)
If they are mostly for entertainment value, then it's OK; but for something that's actually intended to be serious and even educational, then I find them worse than useless, especially if they are being used to discuss a nuanced argument. [Imagine if a game didn't come with a printed rulebook but an audio file. Not someone who was standing there explaining the rules and could answer questions, but a prerecorded sound file. How rubbish would that be?!]

That doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, or that a podcast about game design isn't a good idea. But - in the same way that some people don't like reading long chunks of text - some of us don't like the audio approach.
Now, if you proposed to post a transcript alongside it, then I might change my mind... :-)

*gah, I hate the word "podcasting"!

Seth Jaffee said...

Interesting point, Scurra!

In other news, I wonder how interested you'd be in the 37 minute long audio clip of me talking about All For One :)

AlexC said...

I'm another one in Scurra's boat. I love to read articles at my pace, copy and paste quotes from them, and quickly refer back to them months later (preferably by searching for a couple of text terms). None of that's easy or reliable with podcasts (or "MP3s" as they were called back in my day). I read pretty much everything Mark Rosewater writes, but I don't listen to his podcast - I am however very pleased with the woman who posts transcripts of a selected subset of his podcasts online. As "Always Bet on Text" put it, "Text t can be indexed and searched efficiently, even by hand. It can be translated. It can be produced and consumed at variable speeds. It is asynchronous. It can be compared, diffed, clustered, corrected, summarized and filtered algorithmically."

That said, however: while there are plenty of us who don't like podcasts, clearly there are lots of people who do too. Those would be the kind of people to poll and track down if you can find them!

Seth Jaffee said...

The response on this wasn't too enthusiastic, so unless someone decides they want to get together and do a 2-person thing, I'll probably not bother pursuing this podcasting idea by myself.

Al Leduc said...

I'm late to this party, but I love podcasts. I hope you find a partner and give it a go. Other then Ludology, there aren't any good podcasts on design with informed designers.