I have a secret project.

2 11 2012

I’ve been pretty quiet on this blog over the past few weeks, considering how much effort I’m putting into it. I really want to talk about XCOM because I play a lot of it, I really enjoy it, and I want to get better at it. Talking about a game (like anything else) helps me refine my thinking on it, and nets me (potentially constructive) criticism. All of this contributes to making me a better player.

I find talking about XCOM on  my blog a challenging endeavor, because describing a scenario in full is very difficult. I can describe the setting in general terms, but that all pales in comparison to actually showing you what I’m talking about. Just look over my shoulder and see where each of my soldiers are when a Cyberdisc sneaks around a corner. Well, you can’t do that if you don’t live in Boston, so the next best thing is to watch a video of it happening.

A video is far more effective than pure exposition for this task, as it is both more thorough and far more efficient at showing you all of the detail. When my best soldier eats a fatal plasma shot (through two walls, through heavy cover, hunkered down) I want you to feel that loss with me. It’s heartbreaking and, really, that is the best part of the game: feeling that heartbreak. Also, I very much enjoy watching other people play XCOM when I’m at work (when I can’t play the game) as I learn from it, enjoy their commentary, and share in their heartbreak. So, why not do it myself?

I have no expectation that I’ll ever net more than a dozen views for a given video (most of which will be me forgetting to log in) but I’m not in this to become a “Youtube Partner” or make it big; I really just want to talk about XCOM and learn more about it. I also do want to experience the production aspects of making a Youtube channel just to see what it’s all about. In some ways, it’s the same reason I got into blogging.

So, I’ve spent these past two weeks playing with applications like Fraps and Avidemux in my efforts to record XCOM game play; the goal will be a full play through on Classic Ironman which you all can follow and watch, if you like. This will invariably involve me getting excited about various characters I create in my soldiers, as well as inevitable heartbreak as some (or even  many of them) die in their efforts to save the Earth. This happens frequently as I play anyway, and – since my record on Classic so far is that 50% of my games make it to the Temple ship, you may see me go down in flames to mistakes and bad luck.

That’s XCOM, baby.

I’ve been biting my tongue on this as I’m very excited about it, but I wanted to make sure it was going to happen before talking about it. Here on the blog I’ll both talk about the videos, as well as what I put into making them to share what I learned all around. I probably won’t post a video until late next week at the earliest, and I probably won’t be able to adhere to any form of schedule due to real life constraints. It’s a project I’m excited about, though, so maybe I’ll surprise myself.

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