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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Podcast thoughts and news

With 13 episodes under our belt, and the better part of a long break remaining, I thought it might be prudent to talk about our Podcast for a quick second. This is a sort of a "State of the Union" if you will, and something I hope the listeners will appreciate. We value constructive feedback and are constantly trying to improve the show- both for ourselves and for our listeners.

If there is one thing I'd want people to remember as they listen to our show, it would be this:
We are not professionals. We know the audio quality and content is not necessarily anything to write home about. What we are is a group of passionate gamers who devote a significant portion of our free time to recording a podcast. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes, despite what the drunken silliness you hear may imply. More work could be done in preparation, but this is a meta-hobby shoe-horned in to several already busy lives!  I hope you can look back and notice the constant, almost linear progression in quality (both in terms of content and audio quality).  We will be constantly improving for ourselves and for our listeners!

Because I strive to make sure we are a "by gamers for gamers" podcast, I ensure we go to great lengths to reply to every e-mail we get, and remain accessible. This has lead to several continuing e-mail chains with people who we generally find very interesting and have grown quite fond of! We are opinionated fellows, but we know we're not always 100% right! If you totally disagree with us, let us know! We'd love to chat about it- we're gamers. We love a little good natured conflict!

I think we've settled on the Format we'll stick with for the immediate future. Three segments broken up by two breaks just feels about right, Similarly, the two hourish timeframe is where we seem to have naturally settled. I was adament about keeping the podcast much shorter when we started, but frankly for the amount of time it takes to setup and get everyone together, any less than an hour and a half feels rushed. I know the length has turned a few people away and I do apologize for that.

We still periodically have intermittent audio problems and I am very cognizant of that. I have a ton of good recording equipment from my days of recording and playing in bands. Unfortunately though, most of the microphones I have are not "broadcast" mics. They are designed for adequately picking up a drumset in a big room, but not so great at being close up for someone's voice. As our podcast continues to mature I do intend to get some broadcast microphones, so just bear with me! In a lot of the episodes we had such a mismatch of mics, that some people came in sounding very badly, and others too loud- I am working on that as well! It takes me a while to develop an ear for something. I got good at recording rock bands, but now I have to shift gears and try to get spoken voice down. That is part of the hobby appeal of podcasting for me as I am a tinkerer at heart.

On a related note- after listening closely to the last few episodes I've settled on two changes: No more AAAARRGGGHHHH section, and no more than 3 people in the studio at once. The decision to cut the AAAARRGGGHHHH section has to do with pacing and mood. I really don't want to have a whole segment devoted to us being negative anymore, even though we tried to have constructive criticism thrown in for good measure. I know lots of gamers are whiners by nature (you know who you are :) ), but I don't want to perpetuate that. Though we were always aware of that fact, it's hard not to have that segment devolve into us wantonly complaining. I think those segments are a little bit embarrasing.

As for cutting back to 3 people, I've just found that with 4 there's too many "side conversations" going on, and everyone trying to get a word in edgewise- combine that with booze and cheery dispositions and we get entire stretches of the podcast that are unlistenable garble. Conversely with three people, conversations seem to flow more smoothly. On top of that, the audio quality is much harder to get right with 3 people as there aren't 4 different mics all coloring everyone's voice tone and generating barely noticable phasing issues. 

In closing, our Podcast has been an absolute blast and again I want to thank all the WWPD crew for helping me out with it! Mostly, I want to thank the listeners for making it worthwhile. When someone goes out of their way to tell us they like the podcast or that we help keep them interested in FoW, it warms my heart! Likewise, when someone chimes in with constructive criticism, we always take it to heart and try to re-evaluate ourselves constantly. Here's looking forward to 13 more episodes!

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