Talk about anything and everything Squad-related here -- what you've been playing, what you're looking forward to, and how big your Pile of Shame has grown after that last Steam sale...

What would you most like to see from a new SquadCast and the Squad going forward?

In-depth discussion of a single game at a time, chosen by a cast member
1
8%
In-depth discussion of a single game at a time, chosen communally
3
23%
"Book club"-style playthrough of a single game, chosen by a Squad "elder", summed up in podcast form
1
8%
"Book club"-style playthrough of a single game, chosen communally, summed up in podcast form (old-school Squad)
3
23%
Streaming/video -- someone plays a game, others commentate and ask questions, archived online after the event
3
23%
Topic-based shows speaking more generally about a wider subject pertaining to gaming
1
8%
Genre-centric "primer" shows where cast members bring favourite examples to the table
1
8%
Something else (please give details!)
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 13
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[POLL] SquadCast Topics and Types

by Angry Jedi » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:15 pm

We're still pondering the best way to handle SquadCasts going forward. Chatting with a friend earlier, he's interested in our old-school "book club" approach, but I really don't know how practical that is these days; it was a tough enough sell getting people to play something like Psi-Ops back in the good old days -- now there's at least 10x the amount of stuff becoming available every month that there once was, it's fairly unlikely that everyone will be willing or able to play the same thing at the same time.

So I thought I'd open it up to a poll. What would you most like to see from the Squad going forward? You might like to see several of these things (or indeed none of them), but please pick the one that you're most interested in.
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Re: SquadCast Topics and Types

by Alex Connolly » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:31 pm

I'd like a wider topic-based show, only because it means greater participation - either by contributing written word on the topic, recording snippets of audio if not part of the live panel, etc.

I think the days of the concentrated single game podcast are almost over. People are older, time is far more precious and the most active threads on the board are the more broad ones.
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Re: SquadCast Topics and Types

by Angry Jedi » Tue Sep 30, 2014 12:40 pm

You're not wrong there. My only hesitation jumping in with that angle is the number of people who still, today, say to me how much they liked our old-style game-centric episodes. Looking back, those are the ones I feel most fondly about and proud of, and I feel it would be a shame to abandon that. At the same time, though, I'm conscious of the fact that, for some reason, no-one has as much time as they once did (why not? I used to do this while working as a teacher, one of the most notoriously time-consuming occupations in the world!) and consequently may not have the time or inclination to play through a game they might not otherwise have bothered with... even if that is our remit.
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Re: [POLL] SquadCast Topics and Types

by Alex Connolly » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:35 pm

I'd love for the return of the deep-dive single game missions, for sure. But it appears such a tough thing to get off the ground these days.
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Re: [POLL] SquadCast Topics and Types

by Angry Jedi » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:38 pm

Indeed. Makes me a bit sad, if I'm honest, but such is the way of the ever-evolving world we live in!
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Re: [POLL] SquadCast Topics and Types

by Teryn » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:29 pm

I wish I could have chosen at least a few things on the poll.

I like LP-style with still images and text commentary, sometimes even roleplaying like the LP is a diary of your character in-game. That could also work with videos and/or images stitched in, I think. Having one person pitch in with a broad summary forum thread and having others pitch in afterwards is good, too.

The streaming video/archived later kind of format does seem the most interesting (do I have ADD?). They would be more lively than others with discussion by third parties who are watching, which isn't really an option with extremely popular gaming web celebs; the noise to sound ratio would be deafening (probably why the "chatbox" is the only option).
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Re: [POLL] SquadCast Topics and Types

by Rampant Bicycle » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:53 pm

In all seriousness I must ask:

Why choose?

Is there any reason why the Squad could not do both broader, topic-based coverage and ALSO game-specific deep dives?

I would recommend following the example of Extra Credits, actually; have a semi-regularly rotating stable of podcast flavors. For instance:

- "Squad Recommends" - Perhaps not by that name, but some sort of segment on games that are quirky/odd/interesting but might not merit a full dive.
- Squad missions - The classic format.
- Topic-based podcasts touching on anything the Squad feels like discussing that's related to video games/geek culture.
- ...and any others the assembled devious minds here might be able to contrive.

I'd also recommend cutting the podcast's length, unless we're on a serious deep-dive or it's otherwise A Very Special Episode. Somewhere around 30-45 minutes, perhaps, so that it'll just fit neatly into the average* commute. This would have several benefits: shorter recording times would better accommodate busy schedules, and might also allow for more frequent releases with a rotating roster of hosts if needed. Consistency is super-important with a podcast, after all. And if we want more listeners, a format with less heft is considerably less intimidating.

[Edit: I'm generally not in favor of video, as it's a bit harder to get away with in my office; also, the Let's Play market is ridiculously oversaturated, IMO. This said, an occasional video special might not go amiss, and I support experimentation with the format as long as it doesn't become the one-and-only.]

*Please note that my definition of "average commute" is based on my entirely unscientific sample size of "my commute from my home to my office in Toronto." Your mileage - and your hours - may vary!
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Re: [POLL] SquadCast Topics and Types

by Angry Jedi » Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:18 pm

Good point! And no, there's no reason we have to stick to one format; I simply limited the poll to "pick your favourite" to see if there was an overwhelming majority in favour of one format or another. Perhaps "A mixture" should have been an option -- although one could argue that is covered by the "Something else" choice :)

The advantage of doing a mixture is that it potentially allows more time to prepare the more time-consuming formats (which I primarily see as being the "main mission" type things, which demand that at least a couple of people have played the damn thing through to completion) while providing something meaningful and interesting in the times between.

I am also in favour of cutting its length, if only so I no longer have to spend a whole day editing the damn thing -- something which I don't mind doing, but which I also certainly wouldn't complain about if it became a much less time-consuming commitment. My commute, as it happens, is also around the 45-minute mark, or "just slightly longer than a single episode of the Exploding Barrel Podcast" if you want to put it another way. In order to cut the duration, however, we'd have to take a close look at our format, such as it is, and perhaps put some more rigid structure in place -- at least for the less "deep divey" episodes.

I'm also generally not in favour of video because it's a pain in the arse on mobile and it's not something you can enjoy while driving -- and also I simply don't enjoy it as a format that much. I am not averse to the idea of experimenting with streaming (or prerecording), however, and I feel the format of "newcomer drives the game while experienced veteran watches, laughs and/or explains why everyone should try this game" has potential for occasional exploration. I keep meaning to get together with Beige to do this with La-Mulana but we haven't been able to make it happen yet.

Extra Credits is a good comparison, since in many respects they court a similar audience to us. I actually quite like the idea of having several different regular (note: REGULAR) features on the go and would happily commit to making at least some of them happen. But I will defer to the rest of the community before we make any big sweeping decisions about What Happens Next.

Final note: After listening to a few Exploding Barrel podcasts recently, I am hungry as fuck to do a JRPG show. I know we've already done one, but that was a long time ago now and certainly my views have changed since we recorded that.
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Re: [POLL] SquadCast Topics and Types

by Calin Kim » Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:51 pm

Yeah, I would also like it if we could have some semblance of flexibility in what we do.

Though, I will say that some of the content in the format we were using prior to the hiatus wasn't my favorite. I never really liked coming up with something for the "hot shit or horse shit" thing that we did. Also, if we were doing a deep dive, I don't think it was necessary to make it any longer than it already was with segments about other games. (Also, and this might just be me, but if we were doing a podcast on Spec Ops: The Line you all know what I was playing ;) )

I think the thing that makes the Squadcasts interesting is that we dissect games over the course of a couple of hours. I liked the mini episodes when those popped up, but I still love the idea of devoting an entire show to a single game.

I don't listen to any general interest gaming podcasts. (Alright, I don't listen to any gaming podcasts all.) I always thought what made us unique is that we took the time to do the research and formulate our thoughts before we discussed something. It was like writing a journal article but less stupid.

Also, I hate Let's Plays, so I kind of hope we don't go that direction. I also don't watch videos about games. I'm sure that I'm in the minority here, though...
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Re: [POLL] SquadCast Topics and Types

by Rampant Bicycle » Tue Sep 30, 2014 8:12 pm

I don't listen to any gaming podcasts either, in the interest of full disclosure - though I DO listen to a lot of other podcasts. Like, a lot. Seriously. Recommendations offered upon request, if you can tell me what you're interested in. ;)

My favorite of the "recurring info-bits" segments that I hear regularly on a podcast I listen to is Pop Culture Happy Hour's "What's Making Us Happy This Week" segment. This is nice because it is:

a) Really flexible! People often call out items that pertain to their specific area of pop culture expertise (the comics guy is often talking about comics, etc), but not always - and sometimes what's making them happy isn't something pop cultural (as we generally think of it) at all. If what's making you happy this week is the color of your newly-painted kitchen or the fact that you have finally mastered the secrets of perfectly-roasted turkey, that's A-OK. (Also, way to go on the turkey thing. ;))

b) Usually relatively positive. I like this in part because it's the final segment of the show (and it's always nice to end on a little bit of an up note, even if we've been ranting about something beforehand) but also because...it's so damned easy just to fall into a kind of pattern of negativeness, and one can find snark and anger and disaffected ennui pretty much anywhere. This is the internet, after all. Enthusiasm is more rarely expressed, but just about always welcome, at least in my book. I'm not into Pokemon, but I'm cool with hearing someone who loves it squee with excitement because they've just evolved their Charizard. We're all here primarily 'cause we love what we love, after all, no?

I am of course not the Happiness Police...but I guess this is my roundabout way of saying that if there are thoughts of bringing back something equivalent to "Hot shit / Horse shit" I'd suggest emphasizing the hot shit primarily, as well as making the framework a bit more flexible so that people don't feel pressured to come up with One of Each if they haven't got anything kicking around in their brains.
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