Let's Play!Want to showcase yourself playing a game? Want to write a guide on how to beat the hardest levels of a game? Or maybe you want to give your review of a game you have? If so, this is the place for you!
LPing is fun, simple as. Why else would you want to do it. Everyone thinks about doing an LP now and again, maybe one of a game they really love, one that has just come out, or maybe just because they feel like it. However, one of the problems with LPing can be that not everyone has the right tools, don’t know what tools to use, don’t want the internet to hear their voice or other things, but they are ok. In this guide, I aim to, hopefully, cancel out those problems. I will be discussing different types of LPs, how to LP correctly, what software you need and what is available to you, free or paid and more.
I will cover as much content as possible and I will also have example LPs that I consider to be good. This doesn’t mean you should do it exactly like the examples, but I do think people should check them out and maybe gain some inspiriting and guidance from them.
II – What is an LP?
An LP stands for ‘Let’s Play’. It is normally when someone/ a group of people, play through a game, commenting on it as they go through. A lot of the time, they are entertaining due to the humour of the LPers. This is normally done through a video, where the LPers are recording the gameplay and talking over it, or it can be screenshots with captions. However, if someone didn’t want to do a screen shotted LP, but didn’t want to talk, this is just as good, as this is called a ‘Long Play’ and are still popular.
People sometimes ask which one gets more popularity and traffic? Personally, I say the video LPs get more traffic, only because they are normally posted on YouTube, where as the screen shotted LPs are normally on forums. However, this doesn’t mean that it is a waste of time doing the latter LP, they are still popular and nice to read through if you don’t want to be watching a video.
III – The Basics
You need to first find a game that you think could be very fun, or if you know it is fun. Putting it nicely, no one is going to watch you LP something that has the equivalent of paint drying. For your first LP, you could take a game you love and know, the only reason I say this is because you might be a little nervous making your first, so picking a game you are familiar with might help to ease your nerves due to knowing it well. This is what I did for mine, I picked Tales of Symphonia as my first LP and I felt relaxed as I was going through, because I knew I wasn’t going to get stuck for an hour because I couldn’t find something and end up getting frustrated and embarrassed; all something you don’t want to happen on your first LP outing.
One thing you should always be is yourself. If you try to act like some crazy person, it might not work in your favour. Be yourself, be humours if you wish, but you have to enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, then you aren’t doing something right and you are missing the point of the whole project you have embarked on.
Update your LP regularly. If you let it die, people will forget about it, if you can’t be bothered then just let people know you are busy. Communication with your fanbase is one of the most important things. If you drop off the face of the earth, they won’t notice if you aren’t that big and you will be forgotten. It is a harsh reality, but it is true. By updating your LP thread AT LEAST every week, you will be able to keep it alive and you will be able to keep your fanbase informed nicely. If you are not able to do a video for the week, or you are busy, then let them know.
IV – What do I need?
I am mainly talking referring to PC LPs, as they are the easiest to do, but you can LP consoles games if you wish.
A game (Let’s take Football Manager 2012 as an example)
Screen capturing software (Will cover the different options further down)
A microphone (If your computer/laptop doesn’t have one) OPTIONAL:
Video and/or Audio Editing Software (Will cover the different options below)
First off, you will need a game, this is clearly obvious, otherwise what would you be doing an LP of? The game can be anything you like, but note that if a game is 18+, then you might struggle to find a ‘clean’ site that will accept it.
The Screen Capturing Software is a very important bit of kit that you need and you will need to make sure you pick the right one, or you could have recorded so much content, to realise that it is no good. There is so much software available to us, that it can be difficult and confusing to decide on which to use, or which would be the best for us to use, when taking into consideration what we are doing. I have also compiled a list of available software for you to use, which will is located at the end of this section.
If you are going to be commenting on the game in real time, then you will obviously need something to record your voice with. Most standard laptops now-a-days have a built in microphone, so you won’t need to purchase an external one. If you have a desktop, then you may need to buy one. They aren’t very expensive and you don’t need the top of the range, band recording equipment that reduces a lot of stuff. You are, most likely, going to be doing this in a relatively peaceful environment, so a standard £/$10 one will do.
This part is for people who want to go a little above just having a straight recorded video. The usage of video software is for post production on your LP videos. This is sometimes done to balance out audio that isn’t right, add in special transitions, join two videos together, maybe if you stopped half way because your cat decided to jump on your keyboard and ruin your recording.
Post production isn’t an easy thing to get the hang of. You can go basic and just cut together takes to make them seamless, but going that extra mile by creating opening for your LPs, or such things as this can take time. I know a lot about Post Production because a part of my degree had a large section on it.
V – Software & Sites
With so much software available to you, it is difficult to decide which you should use. In this part, I am just going to say what the most common and most useful ones are for each part of the LP and which are free and paid. Please note, Post Production software is only normally good on a paid version, because it is a powerful piece of kit, which has had a lot of work, go into making it.
PLEASE NOTE: I WILL NOT ANSWER PEOPLE IF YOU ASK HOW TO GET PIRATED SOFWARE. Any such question will result in punishment, as I am not here to accommodate your law breaking ways.
NOTE FOR USING IMAGESHACK (Thanks to bobandbill for this):
Originally Posted by bobandbill
Remeber what I said about imageshack forcing that image limit thus meaning people need to reupload all the images and either start a new thread and/or replace all the urls manually for their LP images if they were with imageshack?
So if anyone is in the same pickle I was with that and their imageshack images have a consistent naming scheme followed by a number ignoring the imageshack part of the url for images (in other words, I had for instance:
then I can adjust my program so you can replace image urls in a post if you save it to a .txt file automatically after a few extra small steps. Just throwing that out as it might be useful for more than myself.
VI – Hints and Tips
BE YOURSELF! I can’t say this enough. To act like someone else will mislead your audience and once they see through it, they will lose interest. Don’t try to emulate your favourite LPer or someone that you have seen who is popular, just take it at your own pace and it is that simple; there are too many wannabes out there, so be a shepard, not a sheep.
When uploading your video to Youtube, don’t upload all your videos at the same time. I know I can’t stand it when I sign onto my Youtube account and I have been spammed by one person uploading all their videos. Upload one or two a day at the maximum. This way, people are more inclined to watch those uploaded videos, if they are 10 or 20 minutes long, instead of watching a 3 hour compilation of videos that have all been uploaded at the same time. We all lead busy lives, I know I don’t have that amount of time to spend watching videos on Youtube.
Keep the length of one sit-in, between 10 and 20 minutes. This is because of the same reason said about the uploading part. People won’t want to sit through a 30+ minute video of you going through an LP. Sure, it might be amazing, but 30 minutes to sit there and watch something on a computer is a long time. I normally keep my videos between 10 and 12 minutes, because, for me, that is the amount of time I will watch one video for before I start to get a little bored, regardless of if it is good. Don’t forget, your audience are in the era of the ‘easily bored’ people.
Plan out what you are going to say. If you know what the game is and you have played it before, then you could have a little brain storming session of what you could say in parts. Obviously, one big parts of LPing is the improvisation and if you have a completely scripted video, it is going to be very boring for people because they will see right through it. One thing to do, could be to make a note of big, important parts in the game, like a big boss fight, an important bit of dialogue and have something to talk about for that. I normally make a note of what is coming up and write important pointers about it, but I mainly improvise.
If you don’t feel like doing a video one day, THEN DON’T. If you aren’t enthusiastic about a video, then there is no point doing it, because if you are feeling bored while producing it, how do you think the viewers will feel? Just take a day off, your viewers won’t die if they don’t get their daily or weekly fix.
VII – Conclusion
I hope this has helped you guys and girls in any questions you might have had. The main reason for this is to get those people who are on the fence into the wonderful world of ‘Let’s Play’.
As you know, I am the moderator of the Video Games board and the Let’s Play board, so you are more than welcome to ask me any questions about an LP you are thinking of, or anything else at all.
If you have an idea for a guide you would like me to do or if you are unsure of anything, then ask me and I will see what I can do.