FAF Live & Viewership Feedback

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FAF Live Community Feedback


Evening, folks,

FAF Live has been around for quite some time and is in need of some community feedback. There are a few things I want to gather in this post:

  1. What is a sufficient length for a stream? What is too short?
  2. When it comes to caster style, do you prefer a fun and entertaining personality or a deeply-analytical one?
  3. What kind of content do you want to see on FAF Live? Strictly high-level play, a mix of high-level and average-joe events, anything and everything possible (the more the merrier)

Motivation for this Post


From a tournament director standpoint, tourneys and events can last anywhere between 3 to 8 hours, at least in the time I have been watching/hosting them. The first two events I have hosted so far as Player Councilor ( Mini LotS #1 and Ladder League August )

As you can see if you read through the link to the August Ladder League, there were some issues with player, caster, and director fatigue: we had one player leave, another about to, and one who felt like they will not play again because the event last too long (nearly 8 hours total!!). This is pretty severe and obviously cannot continue. The question is, what did the viewers feel while watching this unfold?

The second event, the Mini LotS #1 last about 4 hours on-the-dot, which felt, maybe a bit too short but at the same time I ended up receiving almost no negative feedback, aside from one player who was upset to have been eliminated with no further chances. I recall a few people at the end stating "it was nice to play a tourney and not be absolutely exhausted by the end."

I liked the Single-Elimination format which had 2 rounds of BO1, then into 3 focused BO3s where we chose to watch 1 of 2 matches in the 3rd round, the bronze match for 3rd & 4th place, followed by the 1st and 2nd place matches. I do recognize the downside that prospective players had a one-shot chance to beat someone and advanced, but I guess that is what it takes to get a 4-5 hour long event.

That said, I would very much like to hear from everyone possible and get an idea of what gives the most buzz and enjoyment while watching events through FAF's official Twitch channel. So please! Answer the few questions provided and anything else you can think of.


Last But Not Least, Some Notes from this Past Weekend's "Grudge Match" Stream


Jip and CaptainKlutz provided me with a really great set of notes on how to operate FAF live, including some casting etiquette:

### Checklist during matches:
 - 1. Keep track of the feedback of the audience in the Twitch chat.
 - 2. Do not curse and apology when you do.
 - 3. Do not promote other streams and / or products.

How do you feel about these 3 items? There are far more notes within the document, but these are the only ones concerning audience-feedback as the other notes are in regards to technical operation.

Thanks all!

Morax

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Why would you not promote other streams? Frankly the channel should be all about being a way for other content creators to test out casting with one another and in turn letting a variety of audiences explore other communities. If anything I wish people would be more aggressive with it. Of course lots of people helping with the channel are simply casual streamers but if someone wants to grow their audience then by all means.

In general I wish more people actually introduced who the hell they are when they’re using the channel and gave some color. Doesn’t need to be a theater epilogue but some casual conversation between casters prior to the event would be nice and a good way to connect with audiences.

For instance tons of people are still probably unaware farm has a new twitch channel now, and plenty are also probably unaware theduelist, willow, and derp exist. Pair them with an experienced player and utilize the standard color+analytical caster model.

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@ftxcommando The reason for this bit:

- 3. Do not promote other streams and / or products.

Was that Captain and I in hindsight made some indirect promotions and we weren't sure if that was allowed or not. As an example, this was for the streaming channel of someone else that was asking in the chat if he was allowed to stream too and we said that wasn't a problem and then named him.

If that is the purpose of it then please do change it, we were just not certain what the idea was. The snippet that Morax posted is part of a larger guide on things / issues / questions we ran into and we felt like that people shouldn't run into those.

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Maybe the solution is to compile an official list of FAF live approved content creators who we feel would benefit from exposure who we can promote during intermissions (eg oh did you see the new Derp video? Yeah they made a cast about x y z you can watch it on YouTube)

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And at the very least - do not leave it at the discretion of the casters. Because we were unsure about the exact rules of engagement when we were casting, except for do not flame of course.

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Im sure this is something that should be discussed alongside the promotions team on what to promote on the FAF -Live channel. this way the Promo team can collect the correct information and materials to use for the promotion for X

in my Opinion, FAF Live should be in closed ties with Player Councillor and Promo Team

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Think you are taking this way too seriously, I see no reason to have yet another layer of FAF bureaucracy added to FAFLive just to greenlight shoutouts, if it's good content and there is a reason to mention it then go ahead, same train of thought for cursing, obviously casters should go in with the mindset to behave and not say anything too risky but if the caster chemistry works well when they are being themselves and not substituting fuck with heck then I think most people would find that kind of cast more enjoyable to watch, overall there are plenty of other more pressing issues with the channel currently.

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@fremy_speeddraw I'm fine with that approach too - but then write it out for future casters that they can do this at their own discretion.

My point is that it shouldn't be as open as it was right now - it put Captain and me in a position at times where we were thinking 'is this okay'. For completeness, this is the entire guide on all the things we ran into that we would've liked to know in advance:


Checklist updated last on 2021/10/03

### Checklist (the day) before streaming:
 - 0. Set the stream key of FAFLive (settings -> streaming -> advanced -> Stream key)
 - 1. Set the correct theme: https://nerdordie.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/360043623951-Streamlabs-OBS-Overlays-Quick-Import.
 - 2. Set the correct resolution (Settings -> Video -> Output (Scaled) resolution).
 - 3. Set the right path to text files for keeping track of score and the name of the players (overlays -> Main).
 - 4. Set the correct background in (overlays -> Be Right Back).
 - 5. Perform a sound check - You and your co-caster(s) should have the same volume. See the Mixer of Streamlabs OBS. When casting through Discord, the streamer can change the volume of the co-caster(s).
 - 6. Reduce game sound - The voices of you and your co-casters should be (significantly) more present in the Mixer of Streamlabs OBS then the music or sound effects of the game.
 - 7. Set the !bracket and !casters commands on Twitch
 - 8. Enable bets in Twitch 
 - 9. Set the name of the tournament on Twitch
 - 10. Ask for an announcement in the FAF Discord when the stream has started

### Useful UI mods to inspect (the day) before streaming:
 - 1. Supreme Score Board
 - 2. Advanced Reclaim Information
 - 3. Advanced Selection Info
 - 4. Tacticalpaint

### Useful in-game console commands:
 - 1. SetFocusArmy to change army (-1 = observer, 0 = player on slot 1, 1 = player on slot 2, etc)

Set the hotkey of Tactical Paint to some numpad key. 

### Checklist between matches:
 - 1. When the game ends, switch to overlay 'Intermission'
 - 2. Update player names for the next match
 - 3. When the game starts, switch to overlay 'Main'

### Checklist during matches:
 - 1. Keep track of the feedback of the audience in the Twitch chat.
 - 2. Do not curse and apology when you do.
 - 3. Do not promote other streams and / or products.

Suggest edits as you see fit.

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@morax

  1. 15-30 minutes is most tempting for me to watch as I can combine that with household tasks.
  2. Analytical > fun, but fun is okay!
  3. Mid-level please, experimentals and epic games are over represented. I learn more from failed and successful rushes and cheeses.
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  1. As long as there are streamers to run it, i think stream can be quite long, if viewers are bored they can just cut it and come back later no ?

  2. Fun and entertaining personality. That's a shame that people like Gyle, BRNK or Willow only make Youtube vids, I sometimes wish casual tourneys could be covered in their style, and keep the analytical stuff to competitive tourneys like Lots.

  3. A mix of both I guess. I guess my ideal in term of casting would be what T90 does for AoE2. Pro stuff, serious tourneys and also casual / noob games. I think most of our streamers on FAF are either pros that only play and comment pro stuff (over 2k), or very casual teamgames. Mid range ladder and tmm (between 1200 and 2000) is almost never casted for instance.

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What is a sufficient length for a stream? What is too short?

Stream length is kind of irrelevant tbh, I doubt most people are going to sit there and watch all 8h of a tournament. So basically what Aurico said.
This should be more of a concern for the players rather than the viewers, playing more than like 4h should be an exception for something big like LotS imo. 4h is already kind of a big time investment. Also BO1 leads to more whacky (=more interesting) games I think.

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@FemtoZetta yes, I asked a number of players their feelings as I detailed in the post, found most were frustrated or turned away by events going longer than 5 hours. This is a supplemental feedback thread to inquire with the viewers of the events.

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@valki said

  1. 15-30 minutes is most tempting for me to watch

You want a 15-30 minute stream?

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I think what he means is that he comes and watches the stream for 15-30 minutes goes off to do some stuff around the house and so on for the whole stream. Anyway that's what I'm currently doing. Watch the stream for 10-30 minutes, do some stuff around the house, come watch the stream again while eating some food, do some other stuff around the house and so on.

So if anything I don't mind long streams, if anything I would be more worried about players and casters as they are after all nothing but amateurs so going on for 4-8 hours without break can be way too much for them handle.

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Hey there, this is a thing...

So some context:
I am someone that doesn't play often but watches -every- stream I can, a bit of a fangirl for Faf at this point...

What is a sufficient length for a stream? What is too short?

3-4 hour streams are perfect. I've noticed streamers struggle with the periods of waiting between games, I guess they just need to structure things better for official casts?
I want to help, don't know how...

When it comes to caster style, do you prefer a fun and entertaining personality or a deeply-analytical one?

I use to enjoy the analytical streams when I was newer to FaF, as I learnt the players and what is going on I enjoy the "meme" or banter between players and the entertaining personalities more so.. Wheele, (Drunk) Jagged, Tagada for streams...
I honestly think a balance of Analytical and Personality is needed, however, the people I pointed out are often the ones in the tourny we watch... So I want to suggest the YouTubers please stream? - I would like to cast but don't have the internet speeds for quality video...

What kind of content do you want to see on FAF Live? Strictly high-level play, a mix of high-level and average-joe events, anything and everything possible (the more the merrier)

I watch -everything- I can... From Gyle, derp-memes and highlevel casts...
I do suggest there be more Avg Joe tournies, 1500-2000 bracket... - Yes I love watching the top 10 players constantly beat each other up, but it is rather hard to keep up with their quick nature, sometimes the casters even miss things.

I'd also like to suggest a King of the Hill Tounry (In the glory of SC2 tourny that was hosted by The Great Totalbiscuit back in the day.)

I hope I've been helpful.. Dies

-Fidge-y~ ❤

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@Fidget thanks! That was a great response and helps a lot to hear that kind of feedback.

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I think there is a wide range of viewers too and they all like something different.
I think its great to have a variety of casters. A combination of an analytical one and a fun/background/flavor one might be good.
When you have a cast where two casters are both trying to analyze what is happening, it becomes hard to follow. If any, the second caster could point out action happening out of the main window if the main caster isn't noticing it, but otherwise it works.

I think nobody will watch an 8 hour stream in one sitting, but people will join and leave throughout.
It's just terrible for the casters, so be sure to have a good rotation after every few matches.
In addition, even if the tournament takes 4 hours, there's a lot more content to go through afterwards, since theres 4-8 matches being played at the same time on average normally 🙂

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What is a sufficient length for a stream? What is too short?

I'm never catching anything live so agree with what others have said, I'll just watch the stream at my own pace. Only thing I'd mention is the FAF Live channel has a lot of quite short streams as there's typically a restart or two due to technical issues. I understand this is because the stream is used by many different people so nobody is proficient, but working out those issue before starting would give a more polished feel.
Perhaps just a checklist provided by one of the experienced streamers to go through before beginning could help? (as Jip has suggested)

When it comes to caster style, do you prefer a fun and entertaining personality or a deeply-analytical one?

Considering FAF Live typically has multiple casters at once I think the most important thing is for them to have an entertaining dynamic. CaptainKlutz and Jip did a good job of bouncing off each other for the Settling Scores cast. A pattern I've seen in other RTS casts is to have a "colour" caster paired with an analytical one, since that leads fairly naturally to a fun dynamic (as FTX suggested).
Another note on polish would be for the casters to take opportunity of 'empty' moments to introduce themselves to the chat, since people (or I at any rate) usually will know names but not voices.

What kind of content do you want to see on FAF Live? Strictly high-level play, a mix of high-level and average-joe events, anything and everything possible (the more the merrier)

I personally prefer high-level, but think a mix would be best for the audience more broadly. Another consideration is that the players, casters and tournament directors are mostly drawn from higher level players, as they're the ones volunteering their time what they want to do is probably more important than what the audience to see. And of course as most FAF Live coverage has mostly been high level play to this point, this is also what the existing audience has self-selected for.
The FFA tournament a few months back was interesting to me, as an example of non high level 1v1 gameplay.