The art of game capture: my ‘Let’s Play’, four years in the making

Since I discovered this form of media existed, I have slowly cultivated the idea to produce something to call my own.

I believe it was around 2013 that I stumbled upon the world of Let’s Plays. Although they’ve likely been around since the availability of capture technology, it really seemed like 2013 was the year that it was becoming mainstream. It was the first time that it garnered my interest.

Sure, YouTube celebrities like PewDiePie and Markiplier were at the forefront of the Let’s Play movement, but it was a growing company known as Achievement Hunter that introduced me to Let’s Play.

I remember stumbling upon my first Let’s Play video. Two men were operating the stiff hands of a ridiculous game called Surgeon Simulator while commentating on their flubs as they attempted do heart surgery. It was absolutely hilarious. Since then, I’ve been following the Achievement Hunter troupe and taking notes on the technology that they use to create these wonderful videos.

The first iteration of my video game project.

Now, I have no intention of ever making a career out of this. I simply wanted to do this because it combined many aspects of my passions in digital media. Video games? Check. Recording? Yeah. Video editing? Yup. The creative development process behind producing a video? Many of the elements are there. From that point on, I was sold on the idea of creating my own Let’s Play channel.

But then life happened. In 2014 and 2015, I was moving around a lot in a whirlwind of work and living. I was also more heavily involved in the filmmaking community, meaning that I had to put this project on the back burner. I hate when I’m forced to do that, but there is only so much time in the day.

Around late 2014, I recorded my first Let’s Play test run with my now ex-girlfriend. We played together in a world that we created in Minecraft. It was my first taste on how difficult this process could be. Tensions were high as technology was failing. It was definitely not a success. So, I decided to, once again, put the project on the back burner.

Then more moving happened and more fell on my lap, consuming all my spare time. It was 2016 and I was living in a tiny apartment in Pittsburgh. My budget was tighter than usual, but my passions remained the same. My friend came to me with the idea to start a podcast, being one that never shies away from new opportunity, I agreed to work on back-end of the podcast, handling the hardware and software that would record, edit, and release episodes of the podcast.

I found that my aspects of the process could be incorporated into recording for a Let’s Play. Once ,
again, I felt the urge to make a Let’s Play. This time, I used the knowledge I had gained from recording a podcast.

I started with something simple. I tried capturing a mobile game off of my phone using software that was already built into into my PC. It’s a very simple setup for capturing. At that time, the Miitomo app by Nintendo had just released. This hybrid game/social app was perfect for my experiment. I event tried adding a facecam (webcam recording me while I capture my audio and the screen). The results were satisfying.

Unfortunately, I had to shelve my second attempt before I even got around to editing it. This time, it was for more personal reasons. Life really has a way of throwing some curveballs.

The most recent iteration of my gaming project.

Halfway through 2017, life was finally settling down. Again, I wanted to scratch that itch of recording a Let’s Play. On a late Saturday evening, I sat down at my desk and booted up the game 20XX on my PC. Without any script or guidelines, I recorded a playthrough.

I was highly satisfied with the results, though pretty amateurish by nature. My next step was to work on the back end and prepare all of the resources necessary to edit and publish my video. After a lengthy process of trial-and-error, software testing, and workflow testing, I was satisfied with my results.

Here is the final product:

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and thanks again if you gave the video a watch. There’s still a lot to improve on. My philosophy has always been that everything has room for improvement. Feel free to pass along any of your own input. I love constructive criticism.

Until the next time.

Cheers!
Steven

Author: Steven E. Croner

Hey, everyone. How are you? I’m doing pretty well. My name is Steven. I’ve been living in Pittsburgh for a few years now. What sort of projects have I been working on, you ask? Well, I’ve assisted with several indie film productions in that time, mostly directly behind the camera or working with camera operations. It has been pretty fun. I’ve also been working on several other projects individually. This website is a collection of those projects that I do on in my spare time. Please click on the links above to learn about some of the work that I do in digital media and writing. I hope you enjoy my collection, which is a combination of old, archived work and new content I am compelled to share with you. Please feel free to interact, engage, and help me make some friends and colleagues in the creative media communities!

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