Flashback Friday: Shoutcasting

tsnStarting in 1999 I became an avid gamer while living in Chicago with a roommate who introduced me to the PC game, Quake II. The rest, as they say is history. Never in my wildest imaginations did I think I would find so much enjoyment, meet gamers, developers and friends from all walks of line brought together because of video games, which has become a culture. In 2000 on an invite from id Software attended my first LAN event, QuakeCon as an amateur developer for Silicon Ice Development, the team behind the Quake 3 modification, Urban Terror.

Since that time and experience my online persona, Oswald or Oz, was taken in many different directions, but one thing remained constant. Video games were the central focus. Looking back years later on what I accomplished, makes me wonder what could have been. Riding a wave of success in 2000, our first meeting with Activision, on the heels of QuakeCon didn’t quite go as planned, but it could have changed my life.

Running the development team as a project coordinator and promoting the game as public relations, I met with some interesting opportunities. Trips to Boston, Colorado Springs, Irvine and Los Angeles were just some of the requests as part of an online community known as shoutcasters. As defined by Liquipedia, “a caster is a person dedicated to the broadcasting side of esports, providing commentary for games. Casters often double as hosts for tournaments, conducting interviews and player introductions among other things.” Over nearly 10 years I worked with two online stations, TsN, the Team Sportscast Network and Radio iTG or Inside the Game. Both featured some of the same personalities and brought video games to life through their knowledge and coverage.

While this was the next step, it was an unknown personality (to me) named, Blankz aka “DJ Too Pimp For You,” who interviewedme in May, 2001, while part of Silicon Ice Development that got me interested in shoutcasting. It wasn’t long after the interview that I preempted Anything Goes with my own 80’s radio show called Radio Oz. It was really nothing more than playing tunes on request from the 80’s. Very little talk or conversation but that all changed.

itgRadio Oz as it was know morphed into Urban Radio, which debuted on December 21, 2001, which featured music and information on the game Urban Terror. While not at the apex of development, the radio show was a success with the online community. The two hour show was written and produced by myself each week through 2008 and featured prominently during release cycles that brought new game files to the Urban Terror community. This took support to the next level and broadened my horizon as a shoutcaster.

On May 7, 2002 I began providing commentary and coverage for ClanBase, one of Europe’s largest and most respected gaming leagues. Coverage began with Urban Terror, which my was expertise providing Open Cup, Nations Cup and ladder based gaming. Along with CB I provided limited coverage of CAL, FMFS, OGL, STA and TWL but my first love was European coverage.

With a falling out at TsN, I followed a small group of devoted casters who built a new station, Radio iTG or Inside the Game. The format was similar, associated with specific online gaming leagues and LAN events, but the format wasn’t all games, all the time. We were able to expand and do individual shows, Just Push Play was born.

You can now view the online archives and download any show.

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.

Interactive Radio

It has been nearly 8 years I have been producing and presenting Urban Radio to the Urban Terror Community. One of the most difficult things to achieve (outside of success) is listener/viewer interaction. I continue to try and see how I can get those gamers who tune to actively participate.

One feature that has been successful is the Urban Radio Server of the week. In 2008, the two weeks we have hosted the show just Fraggin’ and Clan Head Shots Only have enjoyed their participation. This continues to be one of the best ways to get gamers “in the game.” They play some Urban Terror on the server that is being pimped and listen to the show.

Recently, Spellbinder and I have got TeamSpeak working so gamers can interact with me, live on the air. Now, I don’t know what it is, but gamers have not flocked to this new feature as I figured they would. Sure, there were a few gamers, like Black Republican, Undertaker and Klarity who came on air and interacted. But outside of that, it has been very difficult to get YOU, the gamer to join the conversation? Why?

The video stream seems to be quite the roller coaster. One week the numbers are way up, the next they are way down. Not sure if there is anything I can do on my end in order to prove a better presentation. I have a few things in the works, but right now they are all just “developmental.”

I have always been very grateful of the gamers who take time out of their day to tune in to Urban Radio. In return, I hope I am professional in my presentation and gamers will return for the following show. If gamers don’t support the show, then like we have seen in years past, my interest will wane and the show will become the on again, off again variety that no one wants to see.

What can be done? Interact during the show! That is all that is asked, join the Urban Radio Server of the Week, join the discussion in #urbanterror on ETG or Quakenet and get on TeamSpeak and BE HEARD! There are many who throw their ‘tude around on the forums and disagree with what I say. Now is your chance for the proverbial “face to face.” Stand up and be heard. Urban Radio will only survive with the interaction and support of the community. Thanks.

Shoutcasting Returns!

Since last April, there has been no Clanbase coverage or Urban Radio shows due to my commitments to training at work. Thankfully, as you have read, I have fulfilled my obligation to training, became certified and the stress and pressure I was under the past year has subsided. This now allows me some free time to commit to Urban Terror and bringing the action to you.

Urban Radio on Sunday will mark the first show of 2008 and definitely not the last. I am planning more show coverage as the popularity of Urban Terror continues to rise. Of course, I look to the community for their interaction in making the show a success.

Next week, will begin shoutcast coverage for Clanbase Nations Cup XI. Like Urban Radio, I have been absent from Open Cup and Nations Cup action for some time. Coverage will be heard and possibly seen using Stickam Video. I am still working on getting the actual in game coverage set up.

Unlike previous Urban Radio shows, one of the unique features I introduced last year to the show was Stickam Video, giving gamers the ability to watch or listen it to. It really was a great feature and quite popular, more so than the audio side. The video side does have an IRC style channel for the show gamers can idle in, asking questions, poking fun at the host or discussion my comments.

Hopefully BladeKiller will become a regular co-host on Urban Radio, we even have the possibility to have guests online at a moment’s notice. Spellbinder will serve as the proverbial phone screener and assist or deter gamers getting air time. The ability to have guest was something that was not all that successful in years past, but we have all the bugs worked out (right Spellbinder?)

So join us Sunday for Urban Radio, it is sure to be a good time for all. Join us in #urbanterror as well on ETG or Quakenet and remember to read the topic channel for the most updated information on Urban Terror (!radio is very useful).

Twas the night before Christmas….

I thought about trying to remake that story based on Urban Terror and then decided I did not have the time, desire or effort to make it. But rest assured, I am sure someone in the community will come up with one. So I was MIA for the quiet release of 4.1. No real PR push or Urban Radio, since I was away at work with many more things on my mind than a release. There seems to be some good feedback and many are enjoying this version, which is a good thing.

As for work, I started by certification week today and things went very well. I even asked for help, which is what management and my peers want to see at this stage in training. So if I can get through the weekend, then I am gold. All I must remember are three small words. ASK FOR HELP! This has been a downfall for me recently, because I would be so focused on a single task that the rest of the system would be falling to pieces and I would fail to notice. That is not the type of person they want working. So as long as I remember everyone is there for me and at my disposal, then I should be fine because there is not much I cannot handle right now.

Christmas came early to our household, as the wife and I along with Zoom, our son opened all the gifts from my parents, as well as the wife and I exchanging gifts. I did call one of the gifts, Guitar Hero III. How and where she got it, I won’t ask, but I have it and have been playing for about 3 hours tonight. Also scored a cordless drill and seasons one and two of CSI. I made out. In return, I bought her a new Kenmore Elite microhood that goes above the matching stove, it is a combination microwave and hood.

More later I hear GHIII calling…