Friday, 12 April 2013

New Fairbank Radio: Behind the scenes

Good Friday all!

On suggestion from @OldManMyke today's post is a behind the scenes about NFR and how we go about recording the world's first ever (and only) MaliQuest Podcast!

Where do I start? Well I think before I say everything, I'd like to thank both @oldmanmyke and @jdmickleburgh for their help getting this up and running. Maybe they didn't realise it, but the couple of times I appeared on their show The Malifools I was accidentally learning how to make my own cast.

Anyway, here's the process:

Arrange A Game
First things first, I need to get the crew together. That's not as easy as it may sound.

What with everyone having different schedules that change on a daily basis, getting 4 people together to record is difficult enough, as was revealed in Episode 02 when Tom was unable to make the show.

Also, because out of the crew I am the only one who really uses Twitter, this has to be done over Facebook's messaging service, which is an ass!

Planning The Show
Next up is all about how the show is planned. Now this is probably the hardest part of all. I have to think of what story event can happen in our session, what beasties the players can go against that won't easily kill them, but will pose a challenge - this is something that I've been sucking at currently.

However, there's another factor that needs to be included in this stage, Time. You see I could send 10 Zombie Dogs at the players, and due to sheer numbers they'd almost certainly pose a threat, however as each show is aimed to be somewhere between 30 and 60 mins, and the sheer number of Actions in this suggested encounter would completely throw that off.

Playing the game
The next step is actually playing the game itself.
Now I've heard a few Malifaux podcasts, and I know a running order is normally a good idea, but for those who know me, they'll know that planning to this degree is not what I do. I'm more like how the Joker describes himself in The Dark Knight, an agent of chaos who just "does" things, like a dog chasing cars.

This of course translates into the game, and as such nearly everything is spontaneous. If people are finding the encounters too easy I'll try and make it harder on the fly (as was seen in the infamous "the zombie magically finds armour" encounter).

As with the initial encounter planning, on the fly adjustments is something I need to work on, burst the very least, being a beardy GM seems to make people laugh!

It is during this game playing that the term "uploading into your box" has begun to crop up. This is a mechanical thing that's required to play the game.

You see, other than Sarah and myself, none of the crew are in the same building, instead they're all over the country, so we play our games over Skype.

In order to provide players with an understanding of what loot drops and what they can use, any loot cards that are dropped is uploaded into my own Dropbox (a web hosting tool that interacts with WindowsOS), each player has their own folder, or box and so I upload the loot into their own folders for them to see and read by looking at their own personal web page on the fly. These folders are then zipped up and made available for download when the show airs.

There are a few potential issues playing the game this way, namely we can't see eachother's cards, so there is no way of knowing if someone is cheating, as such an element of good faith is required. However as I see it as the role of the GM to give the players a fun experience as they progress to the end of the game, I see no reason why anyone would want/need to cheat. It's just not in their interest.

After recording, we then have the editing phase.

This is one of the interesting parts for me, as I get to cut out unnecessary sections (like this week, I cut out nearly 10 mins of book shuffling and rules checking, something that I assume other non-game casts probably don't have to worry as much about. I also get to go through each pause that every player takes as they draw cards or decide on actions and turn it from a 10 second pause to a 1 second pause (and all together that saves about another 10 mins from the time).

There is also the chat editing itself. You see a lot of what we talk about is either personal to us, and not something we want put onto the Internet (after all we are friends from the real world who've known each other for years) or something that is too much of an in joke and therefore not of interest to the audience, or just boring in general (about 8/10ths of what I say).

Finally there's the music. We have the intro, the intermission and the outro (the outro is the following week's intro). As you with hope have noticed, I aim to make the intermission to be something fun or unusual, what with the use of Richard Cheese, Now You're A Man and Wolves of the Sea. This is something that I hope to continue doing and I hope it provides some light relief.


And that's it!

Sure at the moment it's very rough around the edges, often with a recording happening on a Wednesday evening and being released in the same night, but I hope you've been enjoying the show.

If you have any suggestions, either from a technical perspective, or any part you'd like to see more/less of please let me know.

And on that I'll leave you to it, stay safe and I'll see you breachside!

- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley

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