Flashback Friday: Just Push Play

jpp_bannerOut of my love and enjoyment of shoutcasting (see last week’s Flashback Friday) I had the opportunity to develop my own online radio show that was not centered around online computer gaming. In 2005, after making the switch from TsN, the Team Sportcast Network to Radio iTG (Inside the Game), management decided to add alternative online program to our gaming schedule. At this time, coverage consisted of Counter Strike, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Call of Duty, Quake III Arena, Urban Terror and Starcraft, just to name a few. The online personalities each came up with their own, unique program. My show was called Just Push Play (JPP), as I flashed back to the 1980’s!

Originally my show debuted a few years earlier preceding Blankz and his late night antics on Anything Goes. A deal was struck with Blankz and Radio Oz was introduced, a 2-hour all request 80’s radio show. Unlike JPP, there was very little on air conversation, as I let the music do the talking. Using IRC, I would take requests and do my communicating in the IRC channel. This worked well, as I was able to get some experience with a live listening audience, but I wanted something more.

When the opportunity came around, I did not hesitate. With endless ideas and a large collection of 80’s MP3s, Just Push Play took to the air on January 26, 2005. Episode 001 was challenging, wanting to come off as a professional production and not sound like a tool. Listening now to the first episode is hard but it was a learning experience and the second episode on February 02 was a hit (download and listen).

The two hour show featured lots of 80’s music, as well as segments that included; Pop Culture, Boob Tube, Flick Pick and Album Rewind. I had also planned a Button Bashers segment. Pop Culture took look at toys, video games, nostalgia, fads and fashion. This was sort of a catch all segment. Boob Tube talked about some of the classic, action television shows we remembered. Flick Pick dealt with movies that were playing on the big screen during the 1980s. The most iconic segment, Album Rewind took a closer look at classic albums of the 80s. when vinyl still existed. The Button Bashers segment never materialized, which was to feature the best local arcades had to offer in video games. Unfortunately, the station ran into hard times and I was never able to get this segment introduced before the station had their plug pulled.

aliens_posterEpisode 002 was one of my favorite episodes, not that is the best produced show, but the content made this a favorite out of all the episodes I recorded. The music was all one-hit wonders including Tommy Tutone, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Rockwell and Taco. Pop culture featured a few toys from my childhood, the Milton Bradley Big Trax, something I never did own as well as the Choose Your Own Adventure Books published by Bantam Books. Surprisingly enough, I just picked up a few of these books for my son and they are still a great read, just when I flipping pages back in the early 80s.

It could be said that many of those tuned into Just Push Play had no idea what I was talking about. Thankfully our listeners were quite diverse and many knew the music and movies, but the pop culture and TV shows seemed to fall by the wayside, unless you happened to be turned in to your weekly favorites. DVRs did not exist and VCRs were not affordable.

The Boob Tube segment featured one of my favorite shows a-teamas a youth, The A-Team. “If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team.” An American action-adventure television series that ran on NBC from 1983 to 1987 about members of a fictitious former United States Army Special Forces unit. The members, after being court-martialed “for a crime they didn’t commit”, escaped from military prison and, while still on the run, worked as soldiers of fortune (wiki).

On the big screen it was the 1986 sci-fi thriller, Aliens. James Cameron’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi horror film, Alien. The film followed Sigourney Weaver’s character, Ellen Ripley, who was found floating in space, as she returns to the planet where her crew first encountered the alien. The film grossed $180 million worldwide and was nominated for seven Academy Awards. Still one of the top 10 science fiction movies of the 80s and based on Rotten Tomatoes, ranked 31 in their Top 100 Science Fiction & Fantasy.

moving_picturesThe final segment, Album Rewind featured Rush and their undisputed best, all-time album, the 1981 classic, Moving Pictures. The album became the band’s highest selling  album in the United States, peaking at #3 on the Billboard 200, was also the first to be certified multi-platinum by the RIAA. Moving Pictures includes some of the most influential rock written by the group including Tom Sawyer, Red Barchetta, YYZ and Limelight. All timeless classics that still rock your ass 35 years later.

Through out the show, during my breaks I would play music associated with the theme of the show. Episode 002 was ‘one hit wonders’ and included Dexy’s Midnight Runners with Come on Eileen, Taco, Puttin’ on the Ritz, Michael Damian with Rock On, Falco sand Der Kommissar, Eddie Grant took a walk down Electric Avenue while Wall of Voodoo went south of the border with Mexican Radio, Red Ryder sang about the Lunatic Fringe and Tommy Tutone with 837-6309/Jenny. These songs and more rounded out the shows for the week.

All in all Just Push Play was a great way to flash back to the 1980s and remember how good we had it. It was a passion providing my listening audience the things that made the 80s great and memorable in my mind. Over the run on-air I received many accolades and requests from listeners who heard the show live, as well as those who downloaded the MP3 after the fact. While the show will never return and I won’t grace the microphone, I can still flask back with Just Push Play.

Video Killed the Radio Star?

I guess I could file this news under gaming, Urban Terror or Just Push Play. As many who have followed The 6th Floor know I currently host Urban Radio and in the past I developed an all 80s show called Just Push Play.

Urban Radio actually debuted on Radio iTG before casters from TsN broke off to form a new station, Inside The Game. For years I hosted Urban Radio from TsN and then iTG. In 2005 I had the opportunity to create new content, non-gaming related, thus Just Push Play was born.

Now on the third anniversary of Just Push Play’s second show, broadcast on February 02, 2005 I am looking for a new challenge to expand the horizons I created with both Urban Radio and Just Push Play.

The newest content to the weekly radio show was the addition of live video providing listeners the opportunity to watch Urban Radio. While I admit, it is rather boring to watch me do the show, change is coming (hopefully).

I am currently working on creating 24/7 for Urban Radio that will streamed, both live and recorded on a daily basis. Urban Radio would be live during the week, as it is now. The show would also be rebroadcast on a daily basis. Other content would include video clips of previous interviews and television appearances, as well as demos and videos from around the Urban Terror Community.

I think this is definitely a niche to explore. I will start with Urban Radio and if it ends up being as successful as I envision, then there would be a great chance that Just Push Play would be cast live on video as well, substituting music videos for the 80’s music I played and adding 80’s commercials to the mix.

Again, both of these ideas as still a few months off as I am working on the production of both. Hell, ideally I would love to give up the audio stream and go solely video, but I feel the demand for audio is still there and dropping it would not be advisable.

So, I will continue working on my plans for the 24.7 UrTV and keep the gamers in the community updated as to the progress. If you have ideas or suggestions, by all means feel free to email oswald [at] the6thfloor [dot] com.

Friends of Terror

It is still hard to believe there is a group of dedicated individuals who have the desire and make the effort to keep Urban Terror alive. The fact we still have a very strong and dedicated community is a contributing factor to the longevity and success of the game.

I have been fortunate over those years to meet (yes, face to face) with many individuals on different levels as it relates to Urban Terror, from the invite to Quakecon in 2000 and 2001, to LAN parties in NoCal, SoCal and Colorado Springs and an appearance on TechTV (when it was around). There have been closed door, sit down meetings with Activision and id Software, which was more of a “wow factor” for me at the time since we did not know where we wanted to take Urban Terror.

If I knew then, what I know now, Frozen Sand (at the time, Silicon Ice Development) could be mentioned being on par with Splash Damage. Those guys had their shit together! They also had an amazing group of talented individuals. Not saying our development team hasn’t, because we have had over the years many contribute to the game.

Meeting gamers, executives, sponsors and personalities alike have been some of the best memories I have had. I mention this because I was able to meet Lt1 (aka Rob Bergman) last night, as he flew into NoCal for some training. Now, it’s not often that an opportunity arises, which will have gamers come in contact with each other, let alone team members. Remember, outside of meeting INVIS, BladeKiller and RabidCow I have not met the other talent on our team. But we have all worked together for nearly 4 years (if memory serves me correct).

It’s always interesting to put an alias to face, face to a voice and a voice to the online persona. I flashback to Quakecon 2001 when I was employed by TsN and our station was covering the event. I wanted to meet WarWitch, who at the time covered RtCW and was just an amazing announcer, complete with an entire online persona. With his voice, I expected something other than I got. Here stands a short, maybe 5′-5″ guy with a dark ponytail. Really blew my mental image of him, but nonetheless a great person and top class shoutcaster!

LAN parties are always interesting, especially when they were Urban Terror specific. Now I attended a weekly LAN in SoCal and Urban Terror was still rather new, but when our group made the transition to Quake III Arena, we played it every weekend. I did attend the .223 LAN in NoCal in 2003, which was also the first time I met Hottlipz face to face (little did I know we would marry a year later), along with many gamers from .223 and some other local Urban Terror players.

A few larger LANs featured Urban Terror and I was fortunate enough to attend those as well. Once in Los Angeles, where I was on hand to award the winner a custom Urban Terror case that was specially designed and constructed in Australia. I was also fortunate enough to attend EverLAN in Colorado Springs a few years, once when they did use an older version of Urban Terror.

Again, it is the people who make the game. I could sit here and rattle off a list of people who I have met and known over the years. I would love to have the time to go on a world tour just for Urban Terror. I know it sounds silly (Oh, remind me to talk about my East Coast trip!), but I think it would be a great time! I am sure there are enough gamers worldwide, I could shack up with, drink beer with and game with that could easily fill one month of travel.

The itinerary would include a trip south to Los Angeles and a stop by the GGL offices, where Epileptic Gaming transmits from, because djWheat is still Inside the Game. From there it would be on to Phoenix, Arizona to hook with Blankz, also of iTG. You can blame him for getting me involved in shoutcasting, thus the reason I can’t say Euro names correctly. I would fly to Colorado and check in with Spellbinder, because he has been a long time friend. This would be a coordinated trip to stop in Mesquite, Texas for Quakecon and countless people I know at that event including: Evil John, Tapper, Precious Death, the guys at id Software, especially Robert and of course, just to keep the list short Splash Damage.

The East Coast swing would include a stop to visit with Ghozt, AGBD and Fragging Newby. Hopefully we could find MFDoom, yes the now married Doomy and Capt. Porno. I went shooting with these guys and hung out with them years ago and it was one of the most memorable trips. Especially when you don’t know dick about some guy who goes by ‘A Giant Black Dude.’ Maybe a quick stop over in Florida to kick the shit out of BasiLisK.

The European tour would start with a stop in Portugal, why? Because I still feel they are the best community of gamers going for Urban Terror (yeah flame me, then fuck off, it’s my website and my opinion). From there it would be on to England to see Dick Dastardly and his flatmate, Qster and lord know who else we would find in and around the UK.

A trip would not be complete with traversing he frozen tundra of Sweden, Denmark and Finland (sorry Norway!). Definitely stop by House Valhalla! Many in the Danes and Swedes on the list who have been supporters for many years. A tour of the Rhine, well, Germany to meet Warbird (aka Wolfseye), since he has become a good friend.

An intersting stop would be Slovania, because of SLOfaca, Blaz especially and many of his countrymen have been wonderful to cover and talk to over the years. The Netherlands would mark one of the final stops, to meet “Whoa Keeley” or woekele. I need to forgive my lack of knowledge, but I would want to hook up with J0E and Preat of FROServers.com. Then again I would hope J0E is not nekked getting into the shower.

I could go on and on about the names, faces and places. But it would be an endless cycle. It has been many years and gamers come and go, but it is interesting to note how many names return to Urban Terror saying something like, “this is the only game I come back to play.” Hopefully this sort of comment is typical through out the community. It has been one helluva ride over the years and hopefully there is more in store for our community and us, as a development team.

Parting shot, I must apologize for not mentioning dokta8, Sam Hinton, one of the original coders. He was a big influence on me, a great friend and the one who got me involved.

Urban Radio Success!

I just want to pass on a big round of thanks to everyone who showed up in support of Urban Radio today on Inside the Game. We actually had a first today, a live video feed of the broadcast. Talk about coming a long way! On Friday Spellbinder and I tested the connection and setup through a program called Stickam and it worked nearly error free. Although I am still having a bitch of a time getting TS2 working correctly for shoutcasting.

The show went off without a hitch today. I fired up the video stream about 30 minutes early and lo and behold we had viewers waiting for the show to begin, so I did a bit of a pre-show show for them as I was setting up and prepping for the show. The cool thing about Stickam is you do not have to register or download a thing. Can’t beat that, just use the link and connect to my video feed complete with a IRC style chat window.

Someone asked in the Urban Terror Forums about using it for game casting, and yes I can accomplish that rather easily. I am already working on it now in order to bring two video streams together into one. So, for example I could in a QA test server for the new Urban Terror and you could see my face in the lower portion of the screen. Ain’t technology grand?

So, from me to all of you out there in Urban Terror land, thank you much and we will see you on the respawn!

Shoutcast Comeback?

I know some have caught bits and pieces of what I do…well, what I did during my free time in the gaming community. I am a member of Inside the Game, an online, gaming related radio station. Of course there are times we stray from the standard format for something a bit different. For me, it was an all 80’s show called Just Push Play. But that show has not aired for some time due to a lack of time. The same can be said for my online gaming coverage live from Clanbase, the BEST league in the world. While there I covered Medal of Honor and Urban Terror.

With some free time today, I was able to get the shoutcast setup nearly online. I was able to move around a few monitors (whoever thought you would see the day you use 4 monitors?) and make some room and get my compressor, mixer and microphone set up. This is a good thing. I was also able to test the gaming sounds, microphone and music from my server. So far all is moving along at a great pace, but as Monday rolls around, I am sure I won’t be spending all day in front of this keyboard until Friday, at the earliest.

I am not even sure I will have time to cast, even on the weekends, but at least I will be set up if the chance rises. I still maintain an open communication with Lagus over at MOHAA for Clanbase. Not sure how their leagues are going this season, since I have not cast for some months. The next piece on the agenda is to get the audio/video server, aka the “media box” online. It will do nothing but process the audio from the mp3s and the video component in order to do some live videocasting!

Exciting time, not sure when or if it will all work out, but thought I would keep you up to date. Who knows maybe JPP will return before the end of the year, even if it is just a bullshit fest on a Friday night with requests.