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Thread: How to Let's Play

  1. #1

    Default How to Let's Play

    So I've been interested in doing Let's Plays for awhile now, but I don't know where to start. What kind of equipment do you need and are there affordable options? Are there any tips and tricks you'd be willing to share?
    Thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    Crazy Scot. Cid's Knight Shauna's Avatar
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    What games are you wanting to LP? Obviously console games are more difficult due to the requirement for hardware to record them. The hardware can be relatively cheap, but it is more likely that they will not be fantastic in terms of quality. Otherwise if you can emulate a game on your PC, it makes it way easier as PC screen capture software is a dime a dozen.

    Tips? Well, LP a game you really want to LP. It takes a lot of personal motivation to keep them going. Especially if you're maybe not getting as big a response as you'd hoped. Do it because *you* want to do it, not because other people make you want to do it.
    Also it's good to decide what you want to do in your LP - are you going for 100% completion, are you going to role-play throughout in your commentary, is it going to be primarily an informative experience, or are you going to be making a ton of jokes, etc etc.

    You can have a look at our own Let's Play forum to see what we have going on there.

  3. #3
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    For recording and streaming 1080p content from PS4, XB1, WiiU or Xb360, I personally use an Elgato HD60. It's a bit old by now, and there are probably newer, better versions available. It was about 150 bucks when I got it. This box does not have analogue input, so if you plan on streaming or recording from older consoles (or PS3), this would not be the device for you. However, older devices can usually be emulated on PC, in which case you could stream it directly from your system without any additional equipment.

    For your PC setup, you should ideally have at least a dual core i5 at 2 ghz at the minimum. If you want to multitask, or have an overlay of your own face or something on the stream, you should probably have a 2ghz quad core at even higher clock speeds.

    For software, I use OBS Studio, because it's free and does the job. It lets you add multiple video and audio sources, and also has a chroma key (if you want to do something with a green screen) plugin if you want something like that. The interface isn't the best, however.

    I usually stream to beam.pro, because of the very low latency from gameplay to online stream. Twitch usually has a 15 second or higher lag, while I typically see less than 5 seconds on beam.
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  4. #4

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    Thanks for the info guys! It was very helpful, and I now have a better idea of how Let's Plays work.

    I was thinking of doing Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword as my first LP since I've played it multiple times and I've heard it's best to start out with games you know really well.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lyndis Highwind View Post
    So I've been interested in doing Let's Plays for awhile now, but I don't know where to start. What kind of equipment do you need and are there affordable options? Are there any tips and tricks you'd be willing to share?
    Thank you in advance!
    I am gonna edit this post in like 18 hours but short answer:

    - System to play games & games
    - If it should also cover livestreams - high upload rate, consistent internet connection
    - Capture Card for console projection on your PC/laptop
    some cables are necessary depending on your overall equipment
    - software to stream and/or record; Open Broadcaster software is recommended: https://obsproject.com/
    - a specific cable that you might need for consoles like PS3 to connect to your capture card
    - HDMI cable
    - probably RGB cable
    - a few splitter cables in case you stream from an old TV and cannot use your HDMI cable, in this case you might also need a both-ends RGB cable
    - depending on your preference: microphone (with that cover thing because, as silly as it might sound, it is very possible that a person slightly, even very slight spits while talking and that might be heard)/headset/camera; I never use a camera

  6. #6
    Newbie Administrator Loony BoB's Avatar
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    What you need depends on what you're streaming, how invested you are in streaming long term and of course money. If money is no object you can go crazy with the stuff from Sephiroth's list. If you're just going to test the waters, PC gaming simply requires OBS, learning how to use OBS and a solid internet connection. Headsets with a microphone included make your life a lot easier as the next most vital thing. For PS4 (and XBO, I imagine?) there are in-built options for streaming which are fairly easy to learn.

    I would suggest learning with those systems before you go investing time in a fancy stream getup including capture cards etc. Although if you intend to stream from earlier consoles, you'll probably need it. If you're not really bothered so much about a specific game, try to focus on learning streaming with PC and current generation consoles first so you can learn those systems, then grow from there.
    Bow before the mighty Javoo!

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    disc jockey to your heart krissy's Avatar
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    what is your shtick gonna be

    are you gonna yell at the viewer

    or be very angry

    or laugh a lot


  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by krissy View Post
    what is your shtick gonna be

    are you gonna yell at the viewer

    or be very angry

    or laugh a lot

    I'll probably just play through the game with commentary along with some tips and techniques. I'll probably end up laughing a lot too if I'm not too nervous haha.

  9. #9
    Yossarian Lives Administrator Psychotic's Avatar
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    The letsplay subreddit has a fantastic wiki: https://www.reddit.com/r/letsplay/wiki/index

    My own advice is get a mic of decent quality. I mean, it doesn't have to be professional radio studio quality or anything but poor quality audio turns a lot of people off.

  10. #10
    Taking care of business Cid's Knight Bubba's Avatar
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    I'm currently enjoying watching Skyblade play through Pokemon Sun. He may have some pointers too

    My Mass Effect Let's Play isn't really a Let's Play... it's basically just a diary with my insane ramblings

    Looking forward to seeing yours!

  11. #11
    'Just Friends' Formalhaut's Avatar
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    Commitment. It's literally the biggest thing. I've made it a New Year's Resolution to actually COMPLETE an LP.


  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    I'm currently enjoying watching Skyblade play through Pokemon Sun. He may have some pointers too

    My Mass Effect Let's Play isn't really a Let's Play... it's basically just a diary with my insane ramblings

    Looking forward to seeing yours!
    I'm not sure I have the best advice. I mean, yeah, I have one going on, but it's still a huge learning experience for me. I'm trying to work on making it more engaging, but it's not easy. I'm glad people are still watching, though. Viewership has dropped off a lot.

    A few things I can say:

    Keep talking. People go to your content to see you. That's what makes it special (and, technically, it can be argued that it's what makes it transformative work and keeps it Fair Use). To this end, I recommend making a handful of talking points tangentially related to the game or your content. If you find your natural commentary slowly dying out, this gives you a fallback to keep the talking going.

    Stay constant. Yes, you have other obligations, but as much as possible, try to keep the content coming out regularly. I failed abysmally at this (partially due to the fact I'm moving in two weeks, which I couldn't avoid, but also didn't account for well), and I think that drove my viewer count down quite a bit. An LP (especially a long LP) can be tricky enough to follow regularly as it is. Once someone stops watching, they might not pick it back up, so keep up enough content to keep them engaged.

    Consider the pacing of your game. Persona 3, for example, is split between dungeon exploration and Social Link conversations. When playing by myself, I tend to do huge chunks of dungeon during a single night, in order to maximize my time talking and increase as many Social Links as a can. However, in an LP, this leads to very stilted episodes, with several in a row in the dungeon, and then several more with nothing but dialogue. So, consider how your game flows. If it's slower paced, take the time to explore topics and explain things, look for hidden details to point out to keep engagement up or (if you have editing skill) fast forward through truly dull or repetitive parts. If you have a game with multiple gameplay styles, either focus on balancing them all well, or skip ones which your viewers do not engage with as much. Similarly, if your game is incredibly action-heavy, don't hesitate to slow down a bit to talk to your audience, give a break, especially at the opening and closing, or when you have particular points to make (unless they're specifically about something you're demonstrating, obviously).

    Pick something you love. If you are not enthused about the work, it is going to be very difficult to get anyone else enthused about it. People don't usually enjoy the content if the person making it isn't enjoying it. Don't try a challenge if you prefer to take things easier. Don't pick a game because it's popular if it's not to your taste.

    Watch your time. I shoot for half hour segments myself. Going over or under your preferred estimate isn't too bad, but don't let yourself get carried away in a gaming session. Set a timer on your computer if you have to, or get used to checking the clock. Aiming for milestones can be good too, but sometimes you don't make progress at the rate you think you do. Or, you may be making them too short, and fail to make them long enough to be engaging or satisfying to your viewers. Pick a time scale, and make sure it works for you and your audience, and then stick to it as best you can.

    Keep your audience engaged. Ask for feedback, ask questions about the game or particular sections you passed that they can answer in comments, etcetera. While I don't know how it affects the quality of the work, I will say that, in my experience, nothing makes this more fun for YOU than audience engagement. An LP isn't just you playing a game. It's slower, more staggered. If I was playing Pokémon Sun for myself, I'd have finished it long ago, and maybe played it differently. You're sacrificing a part of your gaming experience for this, and the social aspect is a big part of the reward for that sacrifice. The more you can keep them talking to you, the more you'll get out of it, and the less discouraged that you'll get because you'll know your viewership is there, and you're making people happy.

    Plug Skyblade's Let's Plays in all your videos. Having connections to incredibly attractive and highly thought-of Let's Players is by no means required, but it certainly helps. And what better way to share that connection than by sharing the other LPer's works? Just include a quick "if you like my content, you may also enjoy Skyblade's works" and maybe a link in the description, and you'll do just fine.

    Okay, maybe not that last one (seriously, if you're going to promote anyone, plug my friend Delzethin, he needs the help more than I do). But the rest of these should be decent advice. I've made a number of these mistakes throughout my Let's Plays, and I'm still making some of them. But I'm learning. And maybe I'm wrong about all of this, but this is just what seems to work well from what I've experienced, or other LPs that I've watched. I hope it helps. LPs are fun to watch, and if done right, they're fun to make, so everyone wins!

    Remember, above all: These should be fun. For your audience, and for yourself. So have fun, okay?
    My friend Delzethin is currently running a GoFundMe account to pay for some extended medical troubles he's had. He's had chronic issues and lifetime troubles that have really crippled his career opportunities, and he's trying to get enough funding to get back to a stable medical situation. If you like his content, please support his GoFundMe, or even just contribute to his Patreon.

    He can really use a hand with this, and any support you can offer is appreciated.

  13. #13

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    Wow, thanks so much you guys! I can't wait to show you my first LP when I do it!

  14. #14
    'Just Friends' Formalhaut's Avatar
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    Can't wait to follow it! Honestly, I prefer following to creating LPs. That sense of being there with the LPer (especially if it is a first time player LP) is a very good experience.


  15. #15
    Skyblade's Avatar
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    Also, if you do decide to LP Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade (It has an official English subtitle now, thanks to the Heroes poll), remember that Lady Lyndis is the best character in gaming, so represent her well.
    My friend Delzethin is currently running a GoFundMe account to pay for some extended medical troubles he's had. He's had chronic issues and lifetime troubles that have really crippled his career opportunities, and he's trying to get enough funding to get back to a stable medical situation. If you like his content, please support his GoFundMe, or even just contribute to his Patreon.

    He can really use a hand with this, and any support you can offer is appreciated.

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