Category Archive: Dslyecxi On…

Video categorization, thumbnail, and title improvements

I made a video a bit back in which I talked about potentially doing snippets from time to time, which would essentially be lower-context videos of something neat from a session that didn’t necessarily warrant a fully-produced video, but was potentially interesting regardless.

As part of this, the key element was being able to make it work not just for my workflow, but for viewers as well. I wanted to do something that would clearly set expectations from the title or thumbnail, where one could easily skim through my channel and know exactly what they’d be watching with minimal investigation. I didn’t look too much further into it due to being preoccupied with other tasks, but over the last few days I think I’ve come up with a solution for it and some other things that bug me about my Youtube presentation.

I’ve just completed a basic but workable system for improved categorization, visualized by the video thumbnails. So far I’ve come up with a few different categories to describe videos, which I’ll note here and expound on.

  • Typical. This is a standard video the likes of which you commonly see – the thumbnails for these will be the normal ones you’re accustomed to. These are typical gameplay videos and range in duration from a few minutes to an hour or more.
  • Cinematic perspective. These are videos where I’m observing the scenario play out through a cinematic camera, generally because I died at some point in the mission previously. These are indicated by a blue stripe on the left side of the video which says “CINEMATIC”.
  • Highlight. This is something I’ve wanted to do, but not without a clearly-visualized method for doing so. A highlight video is something pulled from a larger video, but which stands alone as an interesting clip. My intent is to post highlight videos immediately after posting the video that they’re from – the idea being that anyone who wants the full experience can watch the main video, while those that just want to see a highlight can watch it instead. These are indicated by a yellow stripe on the left side of the video which says “HIGHLIGHT”.
  • Snippet. A snippet is a clip that may not have much context, but I thought was worth sharing in some capacity. They may be complementary perspectives to someone else’s video, or they may just be a quick and interesting clip from a mission. These have a violet stripe that says “SNIPPET”.
  • Commentary. Videos where I’m talking about whatever happened in a mission, in a retrospective manner. These will have a red stripe with the word “COMMENTARY” on it.
  • Training. While I have Art of Flight and Video Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures titles already, the “Training” tag may be used in the future to indicate a video that will help improve your gameplay or understanding of something – instructional content, in short. This will be represented by a green stripe with the word “TRAINING” on it.

Here are a few examples of these new-style thumbnails:

sample_thumbs

In addition to that, I’ve adopted a new naming scheme for my videos, inspired by a change chkilroy recently made. Video titles will now be the name of the video, followed by the game, and a few-word summary of the basic content in it. This should help to give a better at-a-glance understanding of what the video will be featuring, and should make it easier to pick from a large list of videos when time’s limited. I’ve retroactively applied this to my 2015 video list and time permitting may go back to apply it to older videos in the future.

sample_titles

Hopefully these changes help you better visualize the content I’m putting out, as well as help me to more confidently create highlight and snippet footage, knowing that people’s expectations for such will be appropriate from the start.

As long as you’re here, you’ll notice that… well, you’re here, at my site! I’ve reorganized my presentation a bit to facilitate more bloggish content in the future – you’ll see that the top-bar has a “Thoughts on…” menu that now includes subcategories for various things I might write about. I can’t promise I’ll use this tremendously frequently, but it does give me a nice, organized place to write if the need strikes, as it has here.

Anyhow – that’s all for now. Have a good one!

Patreon Year in Review

A year ago I found myself in the position of needing to decide what the future held for me, of choosing between wants and needs and reevaluating priorities. As a result of this, I turned to ShackTac and explained what I’d decided on – that instead of chasing the fickle nature of Youtube as some means of support (which is, at best, a difficult prospect – made more difficult if you happen to be in a non-mainstream niche), I’d float Patreon as an option and see what might come of it. The hope was to be able to more directly find the support needed to justify investing time into my video work, to not only sustain what I was already doing but also reintroduce the heavier projects that required so much time to produce.

To say that that’s an intimidating step to take doesn’t quite convey the significance of it. On May 9th I posted my plans to ShackTac, finding a reassuring amount of support in the process. The next week I went live with the project, posting a video about it to my channel and watching to see what the broader reaction would be.

It was humbling and motivating to see the response. Patreon validated itself as a means to fuel my work, and in short order I was able to devote roughly two weeks each month to pursuing projects for it – be they original creations, extra session videos, scripting work, or one of the other facets that fed into my productions.

Since then, I’ve done 180 videos for my channel. Here’s a look at all of them from the Patreon announce to May 5th, 2015.

1yrpat_all_vids

Out of those, I can look at roughly 40 of them and say that without Patreon, they almost certainly would never have been made. I’ve highlighted them here – that’s about one in five videos that very directly can be linked to Patreon, excluding any bonus session videos I otherwise might not have done.

1yrpat_patreon_highlighted

There are common themes to these – training videos, Q&As, opinion pieces, commentaries, compilations, videos based on scripting or design that I could only justify as a result of Patreon, or the STNT/Stamina mod releases. While the average session video might take a few hours to create, these highlighted ones generally took significantly more to produce – many of them being the result of weeks of effort, such as the VTTPs, Art of Flight, the real-world Flight series, Hindsight, the DCS flight video, etc. Anything Arma-related often requires an extensive period of preproduction, during which both in-game and voiceover scripts are developed to help visualize the topic at hand, all before ever filming anything. Mission creation took that in a different but similar direction, with iteration after iteration followed by careful testing, all in order to ensure smooth running when actually played.

Looking back on these videos, the behind-the-scenes work that led up to them, as well as the day-to-day work that feeds into every creation, it all adds up to something significantly taxing. Add ShackTac itself on top of that, plus my other non-Patreon/Youtube contract work, topped with a personal life, and my time is well and thoroughly accounted for.

In the end, I love what I do, that I’m able to do it, and that so many are willing to support it. I don’t always take the time I probably should to say that, but I hope if nothing else it comes across in the content I put out. Not a day goes by without me either directly working on or thinking about what I’ll be doing next to make good on the support so generously offered me, and I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who’d hold me more accountable for all of this than myself.

As to the future – there’s much to be done. I’ve worked up a personal list of sustains & improves relating to Patreon, and I look forward to working to make this coming year be as or perhaps even more productive than the last.

To those of you who have offered your support over this past year: Thank you very much! I hope what I’ve done as a result of that has entertained.

Here’s to the future!

 

 

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On loss


Hello there Dslyecxi! This question isn’t Arma related, nor is it a question about mods or videogames. I also don’t expect you to reply, but hey, I humbly come to you asking for advice. I recently accidentally killed my dog when I ran over him. I’ve seen the videos and read the articles you’ve posted regarding Eby and the other cat you attempted to save. It goes without saying that I too tried to save my dog from passing, but, alas. I’m having a hard time coping. How do you cope Dslyecxi?

The unfortunate reality is that a traumatic event like that is going to stick with you in some fashion for a long time. Coming to terms with it will take time, and you’ll be helped along the way if you speak to someone who’s trained to deal with grief. One of the most significant sayings regarding this sort of situation is “Pain shared is pain divided” (the flip side of that coin is ‘joy shared is joy multiplied’). As much as you can and will try to work it over in your head and ‘solve’ it yourself, you will ultimately be your own harshest critic and the judgments you pass on yourself for what happened will reflect that. Talk to a trusted friend or family member – talk it out, grieve, and if you need more, seek professional help. Don’t focus exclusively on the ending, but give appropriate weight to the experiences you had with your dog over the years. Recount the good times, remember them and hold them close – give the end it’s due, but don’t let that become the story itself. One tragic event doesn’t negate a lifetime of love and care, and the reaction you’re experiencing is clear testament to a strong and loving bond.

You can’t and shouldn’t hide from something like this, you can’t will it out of your mind and expect that to be a long-term solution. Self-medicating isn’t an answer, either. Whatever the situation may have been, look back on it critically, learn from what happened, and if you believe you made any mistakes – vow greater vigilance going forward. I found it helpful to collect my thoughts about Eby in the form of a writeup of the events – something I did shortly after it happened, so that I’d have a clear picture to reflect back on, and not one distorted by the distance of time. With the ‘Jaws’ example, I tried to take a too-common tragic circumstance and use that as a way to highlight the acts of humanity and kindness I saw during it. Perhaps writing it out, even if only for yourself, will help you to find the emotional extents of it. You can’t undo the past, but you can learn from it and you can use that to make you stronger and wiser in the future.

At some point down the road – dictated entirely by you, and not something to rush into unprepared – you’ll find yourself in a place where acquiring another pet will feel appropriate. When that time comes, seek out a local shelter, save a life, and embark on a new adventure.

 

(originally from a tumblr question)

Youtube channel and video comments

To get our readers up to speed, the following quote is from a person who I blocked on Youtube. In Youtube terms, blocking simply means disallowing a person from commenting on your channel – they can still see the videos, they’re just unable to interact with them in the typical like/comment/etc fashion. The situation at hand was relating to this video. If you haven’t seen it and have six minutes to spare, have a look (I think it’s good, hence having posted it, y’know?) – what comes next will be spoilers.

No question – just a thanks. Thank you for blocking me on YT. “Do you understand what a fake-out? ending is?” Do you understand that not everyone watches videos in fullscreen but in windowed mode with visible timelines? “Maybe you can drop your cynicism long enough to recognize a joke when you see it” Because it’s SO funny with a visible timeline. Next time think out your “jokes” before you make them. – random blocked subscriber who subbed you over 3 years ago.

To the author, I say simply – thanks for giving me an excuse to write about something I’ve been meaning to do for awhile. I’ll probably put this in video form sometime so anyone in my channel can easily reference it, but for now, text will have to suffice.

The video, linked above, contains a simple narrative misdirection – a false ending partway through that matches what’s happening in the game at the time. The author of the above comment, in the video’s comments, accused this of being a “beg for subscriptions” and seemed to miss that it was an intentionally done misdirection as a joke. It was an incredibly cynical and unwarranted comment, and when told of this, he lashed out with more negativity and insults in response. I simply blocked him at this point and removed the offending comments to avoid further sidetracking. The quote above, sent to me via Tumblr, simply continues the anger – anger at a creative decision of mine that did no harm to this particular viewer, but which he feels compelled to rant angrily at me over.

On Blocking

My views on blocking people are fairly straightforward and “common sense” to me. To roughly summarize, I block people for things like:

  • Being disruptive and hostile or showing a lack of respect towards me or other commentors in my description; trolling; generally being rude.
  • Threatening to unsubscribe. Doing this in the first place implies that I have some vested interest in preserving the subscriptions of every single subscriber, and that I will alter or make exceptions to my morals or ethos to do so. If you’re looking for a channel where the owner will pander to you and do everything they can to hold on to every single subscriber, you have come to the wrong place. Save me the trouble – if you don’t like my content, or the means by which I moderate the comments, simply unsubscribe.
  • Obvious advertising like spamming other channels, products, etc
  • Trying to ‘ride the coattails’ of successful videos by trying to redirect people elsewhere. If you’d like to promote your content, there are plenty of ways to do it that don’t involve trying to skim off the success of others.

Youtube gives everyone the opportunity to create their own ‘space’ – an area that they can present their content (channel) and interact with likeminded people or subscribers (comment sections). The rights that exist in those spaces are up to the owner – there is no guarantee of free speech – plenty of people disable their comments entirely just to avoid the shitstorms that can result. Others encourage shitstorms within their comments to try to drive drama and viewership up – something I personally find distasteful. I do not and have never claimed that my channel’s comments section was a free-speech zone – it isn’t. If you can behave respectfully and be a cool person, I’m happy to have you around, providing comments, even if they’re not sunshine and rainbows. Respectful disagreement is fine, respectful arguments are fine.

However, being an asshat – being disrespectful, disruptive, and hostile – none of that is kosher; none of it will fly in my channel. When I see it, I deal with it. There are tens of thousands of channels you can find where all-out war is an acceptable behavior for them – in mine, at least for now and thanks to the relatively small size of it, I try to keep mine a bit more policed and healthy than that. I like the results, and I’ve had enough people comment on how they’re “different” to think that it’s worth the effort.

If you don’t like it, feel free to unsubscribe, feel free to look for your negativity elsewhere. I don’t want to play that game, and I don’t want to surround myself with those who do. If you think I’m so desperate for subscribers that you dropping yours will hurt me, why not just… y’know, do so and be done with it?

Finally, the notion that someone has some special rights just because they’ve been a subscriber for x-many years or whatever is silly. As I noted above, I won’t be held hostage by people thinking that I hold a subscriber count higher than my own ethical code and moral standards. I like the idea of finding success because of decisions like those – decisions that I feel are morally and ethically correct, and not lowest-common-denominator pandering as you so often see in the Youtube ‘scene’.

Those of you that ‘get’ this, cool! You’re the ones I want to see in the comments in the first place! Those of you that balk at the notion of being polite, respectful, and constructive – feel free to take your subscriptions and head somewhere else.

Best of luck to you regardless of the path you choose. Life’s too short for anything else.

On Cynicism

Posed on Tumblr, the question was simply:

Are you cynical?

And oh, what a wonderful time to pose this question!

Let me explain in the form of a short story that happened earlier this week.

Monday

I was out driving and spotted something on the side of the road, flailing around in the gutter – a cat, it looked like. It was a busy road – no doubt dozens had driven past this same scene earlier. Some distracted, some of them not. One of them had caused it earlier – the cat had been hit and was dying in the gutter – but whoever it was, they were long gone. I stopped as close as I could, was fortunate to have a box on-hand, and ran back up the road to see what had happened. It was a cat, as I’d thought, and it’d been hit hard. One leg was twisted at an unnatural angle and it was clearly in pain. I collected it in the box, and it promptly leapt out and made a dash across the road – or the best it could, considering that it was dragging a mangled leg behind it. The two oncoming vehicles stopped for it, and me, as I went out to get it. It was a pathetic sight, but I scooped the cat up and got them back in the box, securing it so he couldn’t escape again. Those two who stopped – it was a press of their brakes to do so, a decision with no lasting consequence to them. Still, some would not have done so. A degree of humanity was exhibited there, and I thank them for it. As I was getting this cat into my vehicle, another motorist, coming from the cross-street I’d turned on, stopped to make sure things were ok. More humanity. I was ok – the next steps were familiar, if depressing.

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My thoughts on controls – RockPaperShotgun’s ‘The Flare Path’

In which I talk about the merits of mouse & keyboard for ArmA, as well as what I tend to use in more simulation-heavy games.

Check it out!

mh6_firing_from_pods

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