YOUTUBE INTROSPECTIVE

I wrote up a piece about my YouTube videos. I feel quite silly putting it on here.

 

In the unlikely event someone reads this without prior knowledge of /tf2g/:

/tf2g/ is the TF2 general discussion thread on 4chan’s /vg/ board (‘generals’ being sort of like sticky threads, in that when they reach 750 posts and start falling off the front page, a replacement thread is made so that the discussion never ends). I found it towards the end of 2012, and started using a tripcode (a hash next to your name that generates a string of specific characters, variably for proof of identity or attention-whoring) in 2014 as a shortcut to escaping the 8th tier and becoming at least somewhat relevant. It was all futile in the end, because an awful lot of people left in early 2015 – some to the tf2g irc, some to Dota 2 and CSGO, some to their own Mumble cliques, some to other generals, some to jobs, education and lives – and the thread’s been on the decline ever since. It’s on something like a rebound now, with all the furry/loli spam relegated to the /trash/ thread, but the average skill/entertainment level has plummeted to r/tf2 depths and it’ll never be like it used to (invite players, pugs, fraudulent MGE tournaments, a hundred thousand competitive teams all falling apart within weeks). It was my primary online hangout spot for a long time, and I still chill in the irc/discords most days, and Insomnia LAN meetups are halfway to being an annual thing (though that’s obviously much harder for me now I’m in New Zealand).

 

My first YouTube video was “shout out to sol and no-one else”, made in May of 2015. It’s a 3-minute excerpt of a tf2g pub session, starring my boys Renard, qror, zigzag, omobonov, my epic and scarfy; they’ve been stomping Skial 5gorge for a while, and I’m eager to join in and get some ‘fiendishly challenging frags’. It’s a general parody of all TF2 YouTubers – part ironic frag video (I miss most of my shots, most of my kills are random crits), part ironic live commentary (given by a text-to-speech program which uses Arabic curses at the enemy team), part attempt to be cool and ironic like my idol at the time, Carpet. I was worried it would be taken seriously despite all that, so I made sure to make it look as shitty as possible so people were certain it was just mirth: there are random Movie Maker effects, the music for the first half is one of the more postmodern pieces from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and the video slowly does a 360 degree rotation as it plays out. At the end of the video, I get humiliated by two panicking Medics and a Pyro whom I can’t hit (in a dramatic slow-motion sequence), so I disconnect. This is a running theme for my first run of videos (season 1, you might call it): there’s an underlying desperation in every one to ensure the viewer understands I don’t think I’m very good at TF2.

I can’t remember why I made it. I think someone else was uploading dumb TF2 videos to YouTube – fsidu, redward, indexer, icywind, I can’t remember who – and I thought I’d give it a go. Maybe I thought I could do better. The jury’s still out on that one; I thoroughly enjoy rewatching sol, but there are a few moments I try to forget. The vitriol towards random people (“furry fucking autistic virgin pyro”, “some homo on r/tf2” [sileanimus for the curious, who was adamant the Scattergun was overpowered]), the inexplicable Arabic text overlays, the ‘zigzag joined blu on purpose’ joke that fell completely flat; overall, at this point it smacks distinctly of a video made to entertain a bunch of people who, if they didn’t post anymore, still met each other through 4chan. It reminds me of 2015, when I was still insecure about my popularity in the dying tf2g community, felt like I was either ignored or brown-nosed in irc with no in-between, and kept trying to find different ways to make everyone like me. Did it work? I can’t remember. It’s been 2 years. I posted the video on /vg/, irc and possibly Steam, and since it’s garnered over 500 views since then I’d class it as a relative success.

Final note: I was very lazy, and left it to irc to come up with a title and description. I think ‘shoutout to [x] and no one else’ was a weapon name roll meme (someone buys a name tag, picks a weapon, takes a screenshot and asks the thread to name it, and the response whose post number ends in the same digit as specified by the asker is used for the name). If it wasn’t, I think it was made up for the video, and became a minor gimmick afterwards. “more like Fsid-WHO lol” was in reference to how people kept asking who fsidu was when he posted lobby webms.

 

Less than a month later, I decided to make another video. “im sonic” (or “half left male genital extravaganza, ft. footrest and peanut untouchable”), again named by irc (with a snappy xenosbid quote at the start to boot), was about triple the length of sol, just shy of 9 minutes long, and a lot of my later video conventions were first thought up here. Rather than the video game music from sol, I started using actual songs to accompany my ironic frags – in this case, Die Antwoord, Nas, Ratatat, and ending with Epica. I don’t know if I find that choice embarrassing anymore. I definitely did around 2016.

The video’s plot is more elaborate than before. I’m pubbing again – on a Valve KOTH server this time, on Nucleus – but only with one boy, Xenosbid, who if I recall had just reinstalled the game after replacing his dead laptop. My struggles to defeat him in combat are compounded by my astronomical ping (as explained in the video, 300 out of nowhere, plus another 200 to make it that much worse by seeding all my torrents). I really wish I hadn’t played the music as I was recording – if so, I’d never have used “N.I.G.G.E.R”, a song so serious and socially conscious that the only way it has merit in a silly TF2 video is if I go off the irony deep end and claim it’s an intentional juxtaposition. But it’s not. I just had Foobar on shuffle.

The editing is more elaborate too, but in a primitive, clumsy manner. The short-lived 1v1 I take with Xenosbid at around 2:52 is accompanied by a song from Soulcalibur V (Hilde’s theme, Daybreaker or something), over-amplified and sped up, and the colour tone goes dark blue for no reason. That’s probably my least favourite part of the video; that said, the three critical-death Scout screams playing together at the end of the fight might be my favourite part, so I guess they balance each other out. The commentary is more of the same – with less edgy Islamic humour (just the Arabic title sequence, one reference to Allah at the start, and Shaytaan at the end) and more pedestrian belittling of the enemy team. The whole thing just feels very unprofessional in retrospect. The timing is off for a majority of the jokes, and that’s because of the ‘do it live’ mentality, with little editing done to the pacing (just the opposite, in fact, with the BASE jumper Market Gardener Xenosbid frag celebration that takes 10 seconds of bass-boosted rainbow-hued Die Antwoord to get over itself). Also, I used the ‘shit terrible nigger ass’ etc TF2R copypasta which probably reflected poorly on me to everyone who didn’t know/remember where it came from (i.e. everyone but me)

I don’t think I like this video very much. It drags on too long and the footage is just not very interesting. I guess you could say it’s a parody of the ‘two skilled friends fight each other in a pub’ sort of ster and jerma/tagg and b4nny style video, but that honestly never crossed my mind until just now. The video was very much just me thinking ‘boy, that first video was easy, I bet if I make another, longer one then everyone will like me for sure!’ It has a better like-dislike ratio than sol, but I don’t think that reflects their quality accurately. As a matter of fact, sonic is the main reason I unlisted all the TF2 videos.

 

I must have recoiled from sonic quickly, because it took less than a week to drop the next video, “no_nottis.mp4”. This is a 20-minute epic, the last in the original trilogy, where I’d run out of ideas and just threw every vaguely amusing thing I could think of on top of this mediocre Thunder Mountain gameplay. I eschewed the text-to-speech (because I lost the URL of the site I was using), so there’s more text overlays and video effects. I call the first three videos a trilogy because they share a lot of features not apparent in my later stuff: they were made in Movie Maker, the music is pretty haphazardly chosen, editing is kept to a minimum, and the plot doesn’t go much further than “me play pub with friend”. I know it’s silly talking about the plot of gameplay videos, but I don’t know how else to make my point. It’s just boring pub action with some gimmick limiting my capabilities beyond the usual depths: mouse sensitivity in sol, high ping in sonic, and input lag in nottis.

There’s something I forgot to mention. The videos at this point are something like a cry for help with regards to my joyless technical experience of TF2. Everything has stopped working at some point or another, hardware and software both. They’re demonstrations of what’s stopping me from being able to play to the standard I expect, dressed up as satirical frag videos. Of course all these problems are fixed now, so my videos now focus on making jokes once again.

The music for this video is wider-ranged than before, owing to the massive length. We go from Panic! at the Disco, Kanye West and N.W.A. (Foobar on shuffle again), to music from Yoshi’s Story (credits and beach theme), The Wind Waker (Earth Temple), Soulcalibur V (Maxi’s theme), Equinox (Quagmire) and Mimicking Birds (Owl Hoots at the very end) added in post-production. I recruited omobonov and Alexander Grothendieck to assist in my efforts, but it wasn’t enough. The ending gets me kind of pumped despite everything; the song builds up just as the clock runs out, and dies back down as the round ends and everyone I spec dies. I dunno, maybe it’s cool.

Lots of dumb edgy jokes I wish I hadn’t made in here. I included the pozz-cuckold copypasta, the Daenerys dysentery chapter from A Dance With Dragons and the audacious ‘its your best furry friend Xionang here’ pasta at the end. Also called Soldier’s skill floor “easy faggot retard baby” tier and referred to my “autistic nintendrone childhood”. Still very 4channy. Embarrassing.

 

The next video was kind of a transitional one. It was another couple of months before I uploaded it, and I remember it took a while to finish editing because it was a little longer than nottis and much more intricate. “jocelyn’s day off *explicit* [r-18]” was the last video named by irc (Drawings in this case), the first one edited with Vegas, and the first to do away with smarmy Carpet text overlays in favour of letting the viewer understand why what they’re seeing is funny. I diced up two separate videos, of me playing alone on Doublecross and with Psyche on Frontier, and took the most amusing parts of my struggle against an abysmal framerate and arranged them in an order that had some actual thought behind it for once. That said, I now firmly believe it would have been far better as 3 separate videos – one Doublecross (just the part with the Dynasty Warriors 7 song, which is the first tightly-edited thing I ever did), one Frontier (just the part where I’m holding last) and one of the PDF (Pottis Defense Force, the last ever /tf2g/ competitive team, which reached Steel Highlander playoffs despite a roster of about 30 and nobody knowing what they were doing but Pinto) match on Badwater.

The music here is a little more eclectic. Unfortunately, I still listened to music as I recorded the Frontier segment, so there are some weird cuts where I try to mask the jumps in Alejandro and uhh some Ratatat song (though there’s a part where I’m scoping in on the last choke before last, shoot, and it cuts to me headshotting someone in the same place a minute or so later, and the music lines up perfectly – I used this an awful lot more in “botkiller” and “the dishes”, these crafty seamless transitions). In the PDF segment, I’m listening to Fried Chicken by Nas in-game, but playing Lex by Ratatat over it in post-production, which makes it kind of kooky to listen to. The weird flute piece at the start is Kakariko Graveyard from The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, reversed at some points for a reason I can’t remember. After Alejandro, My Chemical Romance’s Demolition Lovers starts. My favourite part is probably either the start of the second Doublecross segment, or the intermission where I completely annihilated a text-to-speech DK Rap performance in Audacity. Mario Kart: Double Dash!!’s Peach Beach song plays shortly after my first ever Bane joke. And back to Panic! at the Disco for the end credits.

I only have this unlisted because I regret not splitting it into 3 so much. If I still had the raw files, I’d definitely re-edit them and do so, but I was using dxtory to record uncompressed footage at this point, so my hard drive basically filled up with every session. Oh well.

 

I gave up making TF2 videos for a while after this point. At least, I gave up recording actual gameplay. I was starting to hate everything I’d uploaded, nobody was paying attention to them, my personal circumstances were getting worse, and TF2 was starting to run like shit. The next thing I uploaded was in the same month as jocelyn’s day off: “a sandvich a day”, which was sort of an announcement video for a TF2 texture pack I was going to make, slapping the pottis face on everything. (You might know the face from the ancap memes or just from free 3D smiley websites, but before it was any of those things it was the most abstract meme tf2g ever came up with). Heavy frolics through an empty cp_powerhouse server and reacts to the pottis textures on the healthpacks. Obviously, I never made anything else for the pack – the only thing I even kept installed myself was the “kindly please pottis a dispenser here” voicelines. The only reason I didn’t unlist the video is because I like the Funny Part at the end, where Heavy sees a stretched texture and starts punching the health pack in zany and unpredictable anger, and the visuals with the pottis face at the very end. The songs here are The Chimney Sweep by Mimicking Birds, and The Second Stone by Epica.

 

Then came my critical darling: “ytp: you tube poop”, a postmodern riff on Michael Rosen YouTube Poops where he plays out the ‘pottis a dispenser here’ interaction, then a minute passes, and it zooms in on a piece of Pokémon fanart. The song in the background is Mimicking Birds’ “For The Birds”, reversed and at very high speed. I put this one on Steam, and it became a minor sensation for a week or so, making it my only video with over 1,000 views as of writing – and a 67:0 like-dislike ratio, though I’m certain most of the people who watched didn’t get it at all (going by the comments). I meant to make some kind of sequel for ages, or at least another anti-YTP, but nothing was ever actually made until the dishes in 2017.

 

I was a busy bee in August. The next video wasn’t until the end of September 2015, and you can tell the difference in how I felt about my own stuff as well as everyone else’s that I was parodying. “cyber celf expreción” was the first video in season 1 that I named myself and didn’t really tell anyone about before uploading, because it all takes place in a listen server on tr_walkway. It’s the first time I tried to parody my own work, and I really like the first half because it’s a succinct summary of what all my videos were. I don’t think words give it justice, unlike everything that came before. It’s all good up to the halfway mark, where the excellent idea (getting trickstabs on walkway bots) was ruined by the Sailor Moon music, incomprehensibility of the visuals (I basically split the scenes randomly on Vegas and shoved them wherever, making some parts a few frames long), and my decision to intersperse death scenes from Dragon Ball Z Abridged’s Namek Saga rather than the original dub, because I already had the source files on my hard drive. I think this video was a ripoff of another one someone did, possibly Carpet, where they headshot stationary bots. And “ConeBone 69 in “Cone Bownage!”” puts the whole thing to shame. Oh well. It was formative for later videos.

 

halfoween: a team fortress tragedy in 2 parts” purported to be a Halloween special, but deviously tricked the viewer into watching almost 15 minutes of trade server action. I did want to make a Halloween video on the new maps, mostly just to use the superb title ‘halfoween’, but the map changed to Byre and I pretended that my PC crashed, so instead I followed my buddy Shoebox into a trade server as he tried to sell his backpack and cash out of the game we all thought was dead. And I thought: why not make a video anyway? So I made a video anyway. I struggle the most to watch this, because it pains me listening to the ‘carpet’ guy (not the carpet) legitimately bragging about killing 12 year olds in a trade server. The music’s from Sailor Moon, something by Psapp, and some Fugazi song at the end.

Check out the flat textures on this btw. I miss them. I’m glad I got to capture the last time shoebox played TF2, but again it’s full of dumb choices and awkward footage. I call the real Carpet a fag too! Very rude of me. I was going to keep it public because it has a sequel, but it just embarrassed me too much looking back.

 

That was the last time I made a conventional TF2 video for 1.5 years. By the end of 2015, a huge majority of my friends stopped playing TF2, most going to Overwatch, and I think I uninstalled myself for a while. In that time (late December), when the thread was probably at its worst, I made “epic – official music video”, which needs some backstory. And here it is: I wrote a silly ‘im epic’ rap verse on tf2g in 2015, one time Shoebox vocaroo’d it, and I took the vocaroo, found a backing track, extended the vocaroo to fit the instrumental, and provided quick-fire visual gags to justify putting it on YouTube relating to the lyrics. Half of it is that, at least – the other half is webms from redward, yelo, indexer, sops and fsidu, three of whom had quit tf2 by the time I made the video. I unlisted it for a while because it’s just a dumb fucking song with a dumb fucking video, but when I looked back I realised there was nothing really embarrassing so it’s back up. I get a melancholy feeling when I watch it, because to me it was a kind of swansong for tf2g as I knew it. I didn’t intend to make any more TF2 videos afterwards, but I got the itch again sooner or later.

 

In February 2016, I clearly reinstalled TF2, but didn’t feel like recording anything from an actual game. So I took the idea for cyber celf expreción and ran with it, creating “botkiller”, which is 10 minutes of me abusing bots in a listen server on Badwater. To the tune of the Constructus Corporation, Sailor Moon R and Skepta, I modify the gravity and spawn merasmuses in entertaining fashions. It’s a hoot!

It wouldn’t be unlisted if not for the fucking intro where I portrayed myself as Aragorn saving pottis (tf2g) from /v/ and Reddit. That’s a real step backwards into the mire of cringeworthy 4chan humour I’d slowly been weaning myself off of over the past 8 months, and I regretted including it basically as soon as I hit upload. And some parts – the random Dragon Ball fight scene, bullfrog fight, cat webm – are entirely pointless and just filler received from my request for videos to irc. The rest of the video’s nice though. I especially like the part where I lose track of Merasmus, and find him killing everyone in blu spawn repeatedly. Funny!

Addendum: I rewatched it in its entirety, and decided the last half makes up for the first half, so it’s public again.

 

In the same month, I finally decided to call it quits, and made another video based on the idea for cyber celf expreción, this one focusing on the self-parody. “logical extente”  features several things going on at the same time (I discovered chroma keying in epic, learned how to use it properly in botkiller, and it became my main tool from then): a screenshot of my bright yellow irc (symbolic of my reliance on irc to come up with video titles, help me ingame and watch the videos afterwards), a heavily distorted clip of me playing MVM by myself (I guess this makes 4 botkiller videos if you count cyber celf expreción and this), a looping gif of a man performing a 540 kick taken from Wikipedia (I can’t remember the significance), and a mirrored video of two ibexes butting heads, which I decided later was my internal struggle to choose whether I wanted to make silly parodies or actual worthwhile content (as you can tell, neither one ever won out). It’s a shame, really; I had a lot to say about logical extente when I first made it a year ago, but now I’m actually writing about it for the first time, I’ve forgotten what everything means. I’d hoped people would ask me what it was about at the time, but nobody ever did. I can at least tell you what the title means, though: it refers to both the ‘logical extent’ of my TF2 videos, taking the bare components and making them as extreme as possible, and more nebulously the word ‘entente’, which Google says is an understanding or agreement between two military powers, so officially that’s referring to the intention for the video to let the viewer understand something? I can’t remember. It made a lot of sense at the time.

If epic was my swansong for tf2g, extente was my own personal farewell, to my audience of 34. Nobody played TF2, barely anyone I made the first videos for was around on irc anymore, I was an intensely frustrated NEET, and at this point I regarded YouTube as a failed experiment.

 

Then, 3 months later, I reinstalled TF2 and remembered how to have fun. The trick is to load listen servers and kill bots on tr_walkway. It worked for expreción, and it worked for “botkiller 2”, which is my shortest TF2 video to date, and refreshingly simple. It’s just me building about 6 level-3 sentries where the bots spawn (using some console command I now forget), putting host_timescale up to something silly, and revelling in the continuous, deafening stream of beeps and killsounds (Ganondorf laughing from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time), all to the tune of Split Enz and with the climax of the first episode of Sailor Moon going on, slightly slowed down, behind the TF2 (with liberal chroma keying). For the curious, my hitsound (not killsound) was the Game Boy Horror sound from Luigi’s Mansion.

Botkiller 2 got a better reception than a lot of the videos uploaded before it. I should probably have learned my lesson, but instead I decided to go make some extremely short or long projects that nobody understood or had the patience to watch.

 

My next three videos, made while I was working my last UK job, were a radical new idea I had (and I can’t remember the inspiration): recording footage of many different games, as well as other stuff, and just playing it all at the same time, with so much chroma keying you can see everything happening at once. No edits, no commentary, no effects (apart from chroma key); just a full-on sensory overload. Or “sensory-overlaod_edited-1”, named after a picture of a distressed child I found on Google Images to illustrate my inability to cope with rocket trails in TF2 to the people of neo-tf2g.

They’re all episodic. In the playlist I describe them as ‘Let’s Play “With Perception”, Episodes 1-4’ (4 episodes as of writing, more on the way). You could bill them as the future of the let’s play: I squeeze more content into an hour and 41 minutes than your average Content Creator gets done in a week. The first episode has The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, raw TF2 pub footage, episodes 2-4 of Sailor Moon, and some footage of a little family of ducks at my local park.

The second one continues where Wind Waker and Sailor Moon left off (episodes 5-7), has another TF2 session, as well as the beginning of Equinox and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past playthroughs. The footage is roughly the same length, but sped up to fit the runtime of 1 hour.

The third one took a while to make, uploaded in July, shortly before my cathedral-hopping summer holiday that culminated in i58. There’s more TF2, more Wind Waker, Equinox, A Link to the Past and Sailor Moon (just episode 8, slowed down somewhat), as well as a 20-minute session of Pinball Space Cadet and the first chapter of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone audiobook. The video halves in length from its predecessor, down to 30 minutes.

The fourth one took approximately 9 months to make. I started work on it basically directly after uploading #3, but ran into several issues (the footage was either too long to compress or too short to extend to 15 minutes, a lot of the footage kept fucking up graphically) and ended up forgetting about it until March 2017, when after I got the dishes done I felt reinvigorated to just let #4 play out to its 21-minute-or-so runtime. As well as TF2, TWW, ALTTP, Equinox, Sailor Moon (episode 9) and Harry Potter (chapter 2), we start a black-and-white Ocarina of Time playthrough, and there’s some footage of my local park from the UK that I kept around for a long time.

#5 should be 10 minutes long, and following the pattern it’ll have one permanent new source as well as a one-off (I’m thinking The Minish Cap and Skyrim).

 

I made some very short vlogs on my month-long pseudo-hike in August 2016: “Cool survival tips”, where I made high-quality jokes about walking in stinging nettles and using a bungee cord for a belt, “How to frag”, where I threw a paper ball in the bin of my hotel room, and “Having a good time”, where I showed The Viewer my view of Gloucester, shoddy electric fan, TV (with Michael Palin’s Niger documentary) and book. They weren’t very interesting, I used my earphones mic, and I sounded like a bit of a tit, so I unlisted them.

 

a good ole V lber” doesn’t have much to discuss in it, but I guess I’ll explain why it was made. I was going to make a silly Skyrim let’s-play, where it was packed full of absurd mods, my guy was Pottis Man, lots of common sound effects were replaced with Mario Kart 64 soundbytes, and uh I’m sure other hilarious stuff was bound to happen. This was something I could say was foreshadowing the Skyrim videos when I eventually made them, hence the V (Elder Scrolls V), the high-treble Peach soundbyte (which I replaced the ‘jumping out of shallow water’ sound with in my Skyrim) and the description. There’s also another layer to it: the title really refers to the £5 note in the video (“a good old 5 pounder”), which I was intending to hang on to due to the introduction of the new plastic £5 notes, but I don’t think I did. The orb you see the Queen through is the Dragon Ball I spent money on in i58’s expo hall. To its left is my bus pass for that week. The park clip at the end is also used in sensory-overlaod_edited-4. I’m glad I didn’t make the Skyrim video, because I think someone in Vinesauce did the same thing recently and mine would probably pale in comparison (since I can’t run high-quality mods on my pathetic excuse for a PC).

 

Then, a year after the trade server debacle (actually on Halloween this time) came “halfoween 2016”, which was a spin on a classic Tagg video format – that of entering and just observing a bizarre TF2 server. That’s my plan for every subsequent halfoween, by the way. Look forward to it! In this one, I visit LazyPurple’s Silly Server, where two excitable guys learn that there’s a plugin to give dispensers hats, and babble about it for 5 minutes and 30 seconds.

I stopped being happy with this one before I even finished rendering it, not least because the footage size was so massive (I had no configs on or anything) and it failed to render about 3 times in a row, and even the one time it did work, there are so many graphics errors that a lot of the jokes are lost because their video layers didn’t render. I also over-relied on subtitles for the two main protagonists, which I feel detracts from the experience, and makes me look like a dick for making fun of their speech impediments.

The end is still good. Fun fact: I liked the idea of playing “HIT” and “KILL” Heavy voicebytes when I hit or killed people so much that I turned them into my hitsound and killsound after this video.

Unfortunately, it looks like the views have dried up. As of writing, halfoween 2016 has just 48 views, and the dishes (made 4 months later, out for a week as of writing) already has 46. It’s extremely dumb to start calculating viewer metrics when the stats are in the 2-3 digit range, but it’s kind of disheartening all the same.

 

Finally, we come to the last non-overlaod video I’ve made: “ytp: the dishes”. Michael Rosen does the dishes (as mundanely as possible), while his brother Clarence tries very hard to get an airshot. We then fade to Clarence’s perspective, as he stands on the 2fort battlements waiting for someone to jump him. I turned configs back on before recording, and used an alt because I deleted my gibus and goggles on my main, and I guess it turned into a “bullying children” kind of video because this one guy kept taunting after +forward meleeing me as Scout so I started calling him a noob every time I killed him afterwards, and the entire server started chiding me for being an idiot noob myself. Joke’s on them, I fragged them all to death! It ends in a callback to sol, where I disconnect and sit on the title screen for a long time, except this time I captured the ‘hl2.exe has stopped working’ and it cuts to black for a while.

I wanted to do something with Michael Rosen, maybe recapture the success ytp saw; the 6 minutes of TF2 gameplay were a complete afterthought, but I think it turned out pretty well. It could have done with more highlighting of the chat since that’s where all the humour comes from, and towards the end I cut too fast and you can’t see my disgusting airshots, but I like what I did with the transitions (in time with the music and blending sounds together).

 

I really need to shit so I’ll make the conclusion brief. These are the videos I have made. And mostly also why I made them. Maybe the insight will be interesting? Who knows? I’m going to make more soon. I’ve had an amazing idea for a new TF2 series, parodying a faction of TF2 YouTubers I haven’t targeted before, and I’m also going to keep making the overlaods, the po-mo ytps, another botkiller, and the halfoween community server shenanigans (and maybe more seasonal stuff).

Further down the line are some more eclectic projects: REDDO NO DENSETSU/RED########, maybe some stuff on TF2G RPG, the ZELDA movies, and the soundtracks to all these things.

Yeaaaa

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LA-Z-BOY MAKES LA-Z-BLOG

I made a blog. Welcome to it.


BAD HABITS

I’ve fallen back into some bad habits since moving into the new house and getting my PC back.

I find myself waking up in the afternoon, forgoing breakfast or lunch to lounge around on the internet until dinner, playing casual matchmaking in TF2 for several hours straight, and staying up to talk to compadres in different timezones until the wee hours of the next morning.

This is not conducive to achieving my goals (getting: fit, a job, a car, even a desk) and it’s pretty unhealthy to boot. I should really stop doing it.


FORMATTING: A SHORT POEM

The spacing on this website is absolutely dire.


REDの伝説 時のオカリナ

In the few days between getting my PC set up and getting broadband, I sat down and ended up writing the script for the first two episodes of REDの伝説 時のオカリナ, or ‘REDDO NO DENSETSU: OCARINA OF TIME’. For the unaware, it’s a Source Filmmaker project I’ve been cooking up for some time, crossing over the universes of TEAM FORTRESS 2 and THE LEGEND OF ZELDA in a surreal, serialised half-hour format, like an awful fanfiction given life. Obviously, there’s a long way to go before anything is concrete, since I need to learn to use the software (courtesy of my amigo Yelo) and animate, edit and score the first set of episodes to professional enough a standard before anything like an end product ready for upload becomes apparent, but it is nice to finally have something of substance tied to the product.

Between moving to New Zealand and moving into this house in Lower Hutt, I was staying with my grandma with very little privacy and free time, and largely kept myself sane by watching THE SIMPSONS on my laptop – episodes picked largely at random, between Seasons 3 and 9. Towards the end of January, I ended up watching Seasons 4 and 6 back-to-back, and looking at the scripts I’ve written there’s a definite Simpsons influence there now. Scenes meant to be brief – the Engineer’s tangles with the law, BLU Team’s road trip, RED Team bumbling through the bowels of the Deku Tree – became extended, largely to meet the running time of 30 minutes (24 of which consist the actual episode), and much of the dialogue has this offbeat, benign satirical vibe, which was totally unintended. I think it works well for the story, and keeps more of TF2’s absurdist tone than was retained in the idea’s conception.

If my one-line synopses prove doable within 24 minutes each, and I don’t have to cut any packed episodes in half or merge anemic ones in two, the series will be 107 episodes long, with 7 story arcs of varying length. As you may have guessed from the title, the plot closely follows that of THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: OCARINA OF TIME, with one major difference: there’s a lot less Link and a lot more mercenary. Merasmus interferes with the RED Engineer’s experiments and sends the whole team to Hyrule to get Soldier out of his hair. Engineer abandons the Gravel Wars in favour of tracking the wizard down to have his teammates brought back, while BLU Team steals the RED Sniper’s camper van and hunts Engineer, who’s brought the intelligence briefcase with him on his little vengeance trip. Meanwhile, RED Team winds up in the Kokiri Forest and walks the tightropes of destiny, lied to by every magical authority around that helping them achieve some heroic feat will hasten the return to Earth; and all the while, the Administrator is sending her best and brightest after Miss Pauling, vanished from her office and believed to have deserted the organisation with half of the Teufort mercs.

Baesd on my experience watching serialised YouTube shows, of the likes of DRAGON BALL Z ABRIDGED, I decided I didn’t want that agonising wait between every episode. To that end – and also to make it feel more like it’s being syndicated on TV – the plan is to write, animate and edit an entire arc’s worth of episodes, then work on the next arc while the completed episodes are being uploaded (every Saturday and Sunday at 6:30pm EST). That’s not to say there won’t be gaps – it’s ridiculous to work on the assumption that another dozen episodes can be made upload-ready in the few months the previous episodes are ‘airing’ – but I think gaps between arcs are more tolerable, and maybe more realistic, than periods of radio silence after every single episode that make the audience lose interest and forget where the show got to, and the creator continually screw up the series’ pacing, coherence and tone.

There’s no conventional spoken dialogue as such: the TF2 mercs (both RED Team and their slightly-different BLU counterparts) and Merasmus will use spliced and sentence-mixed voicelines from the game, and everyone else (Pauling, Administrator, everyone from Hyrule) would speak their language (Hylian represented by Finnish, Gerudo by Spanish, Zoran by Latin, Goron by Hebrew, all poorly Google Translated) in Animalese, the “voice” used in Animal Crossing (really just a rapid sequence of individual voiced phonemes), each with their own unique tone. All dialogue will be subtitled, no matter what language, to ensure clarity for the viewer. The language barriers thing is a holdover from the birth of the project, when it was another form of my “realistic subversion of X fantasy conventions” dream which I’ve since largely put to rest. Pyro’s mumbling somehow translates to perfect Hylian, which he can understand himself due to being fluent in Finnish, but the team can’t understand him. Luckily, Soldier’s time spent at Merasmus’ castle has made him a polyglot who can somehow understand every language in Hyrule, though he can’t speak them, so it’s his unreliable interpretation they rely on until they meet someone who can translate both ways.

As for music: tying into another of my excellent life plans, I’ll be putting together a soundtrack by myself, heavy on the violin, harp, piano and funky polyrhythmic snare drum (have to learn the former three first), incorporating motifs from both OCARINA OF TIME and TEAM FORTRESS 2.

It’s a lot of work I’m signing myself up for. But it’s also a hobby in the making; a hobby which I reckon has a fair chance of going some way towards my private island ambitions. People like SFM, they like Zelda, they like TF2, and I’ll be darned if they won’t like my retro flavour of action dramedy and groundbreaking cinematography. But don’t expect anything until the last half of the year at the earliest.


BOOK

I am also writing a book, very slowly. Having just realised how many details I’ve bored you with regarding RED######## (as I cunningly refer to it in shorthand), I won’t do so regarding THE DETERMINATION OF NETTIE MILLER.

Instead, I’ll tell you all about how WRITINGS FROM ANCIENT EGYPT is an excellent source for getting a handle on the philosophies, ideals and (in contrast) banal realities that catalysed, developed and later justified Ancient Egyptian culture, society, warfare and stability, the latter enforced largely through the strict and far-reaching policy of pharaonic reverence, promoted by the ruling elite and military commanding class through the perceived power of the written word.

THE SAGAS OF ICELANDERS is another superb book if you want insight into pre-modern society, this one focusing on the restless young middle class of Icelandic farmers and their audacious feuds, equal exaltation of pioneers and warriors, and attitudes toward the east (Norway) and the south (Britain), depicted in the 9th to 11th centuries in a collection of prose sagas (essentially proto-novels) from around the 13th to 15th centuries.