Spoiler Warning, The Book, and Autoblography

By Shamus Posted Monday Oct 17, 2011

Filed under: Notices 100 comments

People have been asking questions as of late. Rather than try to answer the same four questions spread throughout eight different comment threads in six different posts, I’ve gathered them all up here where they may be answered in bulk.

1. When is the Autoblography series going to end?

I’m writing the final entries now. It looks like it will end around part #34, which will be sometime next week. No, I’m not going to do my entire life in the same detail that I covered (say) my senior year of high school.

2. What’s the deal with the book you’re writing?

I actually did an interview with a podcast about a month ago, and I’ve been waiting for that to go live. In that interview I talk about the book in some detail, and I’d like for that interview to be news to listeners when it appears.

This book is an interesting challenge. I’ve got over a hundred thousand words all lined up, taking the reader well into the third act. That’s a lot of work, and now I’m suffering from a bit of self-doubt. I began the book as slightly comedic and lighthearted, but it turned a little more serious in the telling. That’s fine, but now the ending feels a little… eh. I don’t know. I feel like it needs more oomph to go with the slightly more serious tone.

I really want to make a living as a writer. That’s the dream: Produce work that I can be proud of, and earn enough to pay the bills. I can hammer out my planned ending, release the book as-is, and see how it earns. Or I can continue to polish it, and make something that I’ll like better. The longer I wait, the closer we get to the point where I have to bail and take a desk job. But the longer I wait, the better the final product will be, and so the more successful it might be.

So, I’m deciding when I’d like to roll the dice. I’m toying with the idea of putting up the first chapter and getting some feedback. That will help me as I finish things up, but it also might annoy people to read a chapter of a book that won’t be out for a few months.

Keep in mind that we’re all in this together. If I blow it, or if the book doesn’t pan out, then my taking a day job will greatly reduce the time I can put into this blog.

3. What happened to Spoiler Warning last week?

Several things. Josh was sick. Then I was sick. (Really, I was barely on this site for the last five days. The only reason the place didn’t go dark is because I’d written the AutoBio posts ahead of time.) So Josh wasn’t able to edit the episodes and I wasn’t around to make an announcement.

Also, the cast has been talking about how this season is going, and there’s been some concern that this season is falling apart a bit soon. We always get sick of a game before it ends. BioShock is our most notorious example. But here we’re hitting that “last five episodes of BioShock” point about halfway through the game. The occasional episode of trolling, puns, griefing, and nitpickery is fine, but I don’t think we should attempt a half a season of it. As I said before, Assassin’s Creed II was a compromise for us. None of was was particularly delighted with the game, but it was the one title we all hated the least.

So now we’re halfway though Assassin’s Creed II and we realized we needed to either abandon the season or put more work into it, because we can’t keep going the way we’ve been going for twenty more episodes. I’m reviving my long-abandoned play-through so I’ll be able to analyze the plot and do my thing.

4. What happened to Josh Plays Shogun 2?

Again, he was sick last week. If all goes well, he should have the next entry later today.

5. Hey! Where is your review on X?

I still have things I want to say about Deus Ex: Human Revolution, preferably before I forget them. I’m playing through Frayed Knights, which I’ve been waiting for since, uh… a long time ago. Now I’m also playing through Assassin’s Creed II.

So.. I don’t know. Maybe once I finish the autoblography I can dig my way out of these reviews.


From The Archives:

100 thoughts on “Spoiler Warning, The Book, and Autoblography

  1. TehShrike says:

    Glad you’re better! I caught the Cold of Death and Plugged Head-Holes last week, too.

    A chapter from the new book would be pretty awesome – I’ve been drooling for another full-length book since I read Free Radical a few years back! :-D

  2. noahpocalypse says:

    It’s all good. Whatever helps you out, you do it, man.

    P.S. That doesn’t mean I don’t want moar reviews and stuff. Just saying to do whatever works.

    P.P.S. Rutskarn was sick as well.

    P.P.P.S. Does Mumbles have Arkham City yet? If so, Spoiler Warning might cease for more than a week or two…

    P.P.P.P.S. Is this really how you do it? So many Ps.

    1. Yep – Post-post-post-post script is totally a legitimate thing

      1. HeroOfHyla says:

        Though it’s entirely unnecessary in a digital medium.

      2. DaveMc says:

        Though I’m not sure we should accept the word of someone going by the name “PurePareidolia” on the subject of how many P.P.’s one can add to a P.P…P.S. :)

  3. Risven says:

    A quick note on the ‘release chapter one of the book’ – I think more than a few authors do this. I don’t know what stage they are at in the writing when they do, but I routinely read the first three or four chapters of a novel I’m anticipating – Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files is what I’m thinking of.

    For me, at least, this does nothing to dilute anticipation of the full novel itself. Instead, it plants the idea in my mind and I usually find myself thinking about it more often. I also have a friend who claims it is annoying to read the first chapter but not be able to read the rest – so he just holds off and waits for the whole thing.

    Basically, I think releasing a chapter of the book is a good idea.

    1. Museli says:

      I’d also like to see a preview chapter. I recall Yahtzee releasing a chapter from Mogworld early, which I read through The Escapist. It was from the middle of the book rather than the start, but it really whet my appetite for the book, which I then bought as soon as it came out.

      With regards to Spoiler Warning, I’ve been enjoying ACII, although I’ve liked it less than other seasons so far, aside from Bioshock. Switching to Italian seems in hindsight to have been a mistake, as plot analysis is one thing you guys do really well, and you can’t do it if three of you have not played it much before and you can’t read the subtitles on the stream. It being the game you all hated the least is not an encouraging sign – if there’s potential games which have been vetoed by only one of you, maybe you could try a season where that person just takes one for the team and puts up with it. Over the course of a few seasons you could all take a turn.

      1. Peter H. Coffin says:

        Plot analysis is tricky if you haven’t played the game, regardless of Italian fluency.

      2. Aldowyn says:

        That… wouldn’t work too well. One unhappy person who doesn’t want to do what they’re doing can ruin it, at least if you want anything other than puns and trolling and stuff. I’m thinking instead of “taking one for the team” they should bow out for a season.

        1. TSED says:

          Or a combination of the two. It’s not like they REALLY REALLY REALLY need to be there for EVERY episode.

          Unless they’re Josh.

    2. Meredith says:

      I’m with your friend. I tend not to read preview chapters because of the frustration of waiting and/or because I want to experience the book as a whole later with no preconceptions or spoilers. Especially if it’s something I’ve really been looking forward to, the next part of a series or something.

      I’m not saying it’s a bad idea, just putting the opposite viewpoint out there.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I third this. I am a great fan of endings and am deathly allergic to spoilers. All sorts of preview chapters, to be continueds and even running series frustrate me horribly because I tend to devour a story (in whatever form it is presented) very quickly when it’s available, especially when it’s good.

    3. Exetera says:

      I agree with the parent, except… don’t release a preview chapter until you’ve got a preorder link to put at the end of it. You’ll want the impulse buys.

      If you’re getting sick of Assassins Creed, do you think Deus Ex HR is old enough for you to LP yet?

  4. Sorry to hear you guys have been under the weather, I figured as much.

    Anyway, we’re halfway through AC2? it feels like we’re just out of the first act – we’ve barely killed anyone important yet.

    Could you just limit it to story missions and skip out the running around in between? There’d still be a decent amount of the game left, and Josh would still have to do a full playthrough, but there’d be a lot of running around missing.

    Another idea would be doing a short one shot episode every other week as a palette cleanser. Like that Trainz one a while back. Maybe have Half Life 2 running very slowly over the course of a couple of seasons?

    Alternatively you could have on guest commentators or something – probably not more than one at a time, but I’m sure a lot of people here would love to chime in audibly. Guest players? probably too hard to make sure things stay on track…a live stream?

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I wouldn’t say we’re halfway either but then again the AC games are pretty short if you skip everything that is optional.

    2. 4th Dimension says:

      They are already skipping side quests, it’s within their MO.

      But problem with skipping such in ACII is that half the background story IS within optional quests, specifically you get a great deal of info on conspiracies running behind major world events in by decoding those symbols, and listening to 16s rants, not to mention the bomb of the decoded TRUTH video.

  5. Naota says:

    To ask something of a less conventional question related to the novel, what do you do to keep up your interest in seeing it all the way through? Writing something of that scope and magnitude is an extremely work-heavy and time consuming process, so I can’t help but wonder how you keep up the drive to stay focused and finish it over such a long timescale.

    As I’m sure is true of most people, when it comes to writing fiction I tend to think up ideas far faster than I can put them to paper or craft them into any reasonably refined form. I either force myself to work on the project I should and hit a wall of substandard motivation (and sometimes creativity), or adopt a new idea and find myself working on that rather than making progress where I should.

    I doubt there’s any easy answer to this age-old dilemma, but I figured it was worth a shot just to get some extra perspective.

  6. Caffiene says:

    Great to hear more about the book.

    Although I am kind of disappointed about the “info on a podcast, not from this site” idea. I check this site regularly, but as of this writing my playlist has well over 30 hours of podcasts lined up… the chances of single episodes of random podcasts making the list is rather small. I can read this site while listening to a podcast, but I cant listen to two podcasts at the same time.

    1. Shamus says:

      Oh, I’ll announce here after the podcast goes live. I just want to give it a few days, so when the interview goes up it’s not old news.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        Could you tell us which podcast it is?

  7. X2-Eliah says:

    AssCreed – Yeah, ditch it. No reason to stick with a sinking ship, and if LP videos are a chore to make, then better just swap to a different game. Or at least a game you guys have stuff to talk about.

    @Shamus – actually, ever since this whole RAGE release fiasco, and taking into account your pre-release praise of id\Carmack, I’m quite interested to hear your take on the whole shebang.

    1. burningdragoon says:

      I second the RAGE thing. One of the first things I thought when I heard about the issues with it was “I wonder what Shamus has to say about this.”

      1. Shamus says:

        Sadly, none of my normal review channels has provided a copy of the game, and I’d like to see the tech up close before I comment.

    2. Sleeping Dragon says:

      Out of sheer curiosity, what fiasco? I’ve been hearing the title mentioned a lot recently, like it’s all the rage or something, but after seeing a few screens and branding it pretty much as “yet another shooter” I figured I’d give it a pass and didn’t really bother with checking further.

      1. Irridium says:

        Basically, ID were working on a set of drivers they edited and were supposed to go live with the game. They didn’t, so a good chunk of the PC playerbase experienced things like… like this:


  8. Adam says:

    Is there any chance of more Project Frontier? Last time you posted there was promise of cloud talk but it hasn’t materialised yet. The programming posts are my favourite on this blog.

    1. noahpocalypse says:

      Yeah, this too. But again, it won’t pay the bills. Once you’re settled in nice and comfy, then code away!

    2. MichaelG says:

      Yes, I want to know more about this too. I thought you had a lot more to say about it.

    3. Adam F says:

      I also agree! Together we make a di-adamic molecule of agreement.

  9. Tom H. says:

    On the book’s ending: that’s the sort of question real professional editors are useful for.

  10. Kdansky says:

    You should drop AssCreed 2 when you get bored with it, and do some other game. Switch games every couple episodes and don’t finish them, then you can easily do a few that someone doesn’t like as much. Most games just pad their content way too much to prevent reviews from bashing them with the “too short” stick. If you want an extreme example, play Devil May Cry 4. Four out of five rooms are purely filler, and utterly boring.

  11. SolkaTruesilver says:

    Obviously, Shamus is lying when he mentions the unfortunate “delay” of his book.

    It’s just that he doesn’t want to publish it about the same time as the upcoming movie of the 3 Musketeers. Shamus knows the movie doesn’t stand a chance by comparison, and he’s being a good sport about it, letting them a chance to make some buck before he overwhelms the Steampunk genre.


  12. Wilcroft says:

    If you guys decide to ditch AC2, have you considered maybe doing Dragon Age 2? I know you’ve vetoed DA1 because of the Deep Roads, etc. (which is completely understandable). I don’t think DA2 suffered from that (it had… *other* problems….). You could definitely finish the game in under 20 hours.

    1. Zukhramm says:

      Dragon Age 2 both had a lot that I liked and a lot of problems. That’s the perfect game for this kind of thing, and it’s shorter than the first game.

      I wouldn’t mind if you droppped Assassin’s Creed, you don’t seem to have much to say about the game itself.

    2. Irridium says:

      Yeah, DA2 would be a good choice.

      Not DA1 though. Lord no.

      I love the game, but it’d be painful to watch.

  13. Reet says:

    I’d just like to say that I really appreciate the work you do here. In my busy life this site is one that I can come to to relax. I only came here recently but this place is now a constant for me. I’m not sure why I wanted to say this but thanks, thank you for all of this, I am really grateful. I think I just needed to get that off my chest. So for what it’s worth you have improved the life of some random internet denzien. Good luck with the book, I’ll be getting it for sure.

    1. David W says:

      Just in case you’re unaware of the option: http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?page_id=10852

  14. Phoenix says:

    I do hope that the book you’re writing is cyberpunk.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Fantasy as far as I can tell.

      1. Irridium says:

        Fantasy-Cyberpunk set in London, I think.

        1. Irridium says:

          Victorian London, I believe.

          1. Syal says:

            With dinosaurs, isn’t it?

  15. Jarenth says:

    I have to say, I’m a little surprised to hear you guys are growing bored of AssCreed II already. I really hadn’t gotten that impression, as I’ve really been enjoying the jokes and banter in the last few episodes.

    I personally don’t think the well has been fully tapped yet, but there’s no sense in continuing if you’re not up for it. None of us want a repeat of Dead Money, or Operation Anchorage.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I’m kinda with Jarenth on this one. I have to say the episodes have been a lot of fun but have also been visibly less game related. Most likely because, if I understand it, 3 out of 4 of you haven’t played it in advance and Josh, who did, is actually holding the controls so he is less verbally active, especially during gameplay intense moments. This issue is further amplified by Italian dubbing since you mentioned you can’t read the subtitles.

      Again, the episodes have been entertaining and I would feel sorry to see the season cut in half, or even switched to another game, but if you feel you’re struggling with it I would prefer to see AC dropped rather than risk it making you sick of the series altogether and jeopardizing future seasons.

  16. Groboclown says:

    I’m playing through Frayed Knights now, too. I’m interested in your take on it.

  17. BeardedDork says:

    I’d recommend giving Dean Wesley Smith’s blog a good once over and think about some of the things he says as it relates to writing a book. It’s really helped me produce salable work.

    1. acronix says:

      It´s quite useful for pumping up the “creative-side of the brain”, as he calls it, but is quite harsh on the “critical-side”, often despising it. It makes it look like aproaching your texts with a critical eye is anathema and you should only be a sparkling muse of inspiration and creativity that only ceases to be creative to fix typos.

      Of course, since he is a best selling author, I can´t argue with success.

      1. BeardedDork says:

        Well, like he says, every writer is different. I think his opinions are worth the read, then use and discard as works best for you.

  18. Even says:

    What is the usual reason for one to get sick of a game though? I just get the feel that many problems could be avoided if you planned out your Let’s Plays a bit more. Analyze the games a bit before hand, make an estimate of how much hours the playthrough might take and give yourselves a deadline you’d prefer to meet. Just. Make. A. Plan. And then stick to it. If it looks like you can’t keep to it, change it or just drop it, and move on.

    In hindsight, I believe you could have well covered much more even in New Vegas if you’d had some long term plan on what bits you’d like to visit and then let it fly from there. Instead of the seeming ADHD-clusterfuck it turned out to be. And don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed it for the most parts. You would just have thought that at least in a sandbox-y game you could avoid the repetition of the more linear games. The general lack of focus was at least personally that one thing that bothered me the most about last season.

    For this season I was reminded again why I’d rather play the game first than go in cold. It wasn’t a game this time I was particularly interested in playing, but trying to immerse myself with the story when the game is played by Josh and everything gets ridiculed by constant commentary, I just get the feeling I should be playing the game myself instead to get a better feel for the game.

  19. gragsmash says:

    The biggest problem (IMHO) with this season of SpoilerWarning seems to be that none of you have played through, so we don’t get the analysis that is normally the appeal of your let’s play – you’re watching the game live and reacting, rather than having some thoughts already on the storyline and who the characters are.

    That being said, if none of you were interested enough to play through, that could be the problem.

    That being said, when are you doing KOTOR?? : )

    1. some random dood says:

      Nice trolling ;-)
      However, I would also like to see KOTOR 1 and/or 2, but the chances of Josh getting them working satisfactorily on his rig seems unlikely.
      I would also like to be able to *play* KOTOR 1/2 again myself, but I think the odds of getting them working on Win7 are pretty slim… :-( Has Steam put together a version guaranteed to work with Win7 yet? If not, I think they should give up and give the games to GOG to sort out – imagine, KOTOR 1 and 2 working on Win7 and without DRM. I can dream though, can’t I?

      1. madflavius says:

        I did an entire video LP of KOTOR, with cinematics, with a friend. (the show was called WASD if anyone is interested). Josh, if you need help figuring out the cinematic thing, let me know, I got it to work on Win7 without too much hassle. RadTools has a free converter that converts the Bink video to .avi, and then you can replace the black screen that is captured by FRAPS when the cinematics start to play.

        1. Josh says:

          That’s pretty much exactly what I figured I would need to do – convert the cinematics into something I can just drop into the editor to replace the black screen that plays when you record them with fraps.

      2. gragsmash says:

        Wasn’t really intending to troll, except for the KOTOR part. I know they can’t get the darn thing to work, but it is still disappointing.

        As for the first part, I have felt that for awhile, but didn’t want to be rude about it. Now that he is admitting to feeling MEH about this season, I figure it is ok to share my opinion on the matter.

        It is a tough situation when you really appreciate that someone is doing something, and they have done better work in the past, and you want to offer a critique. Don’t want to sound unappreciative of something that is being given away and is really good.

        1. some random dood says:

          oops sorry – meant the “trolling” part in a good way about the KOTOR reference only. Think it’s been a running joke for *months* now just about every time the team asks for suggestions for the next game to be Spoiler Warning’ed…

          1. Dovius says:

            Yeah, KOTOTR has become pretty much the ‘Freebird’ of Spoiler Warning these days.

  20. some random dood says:

    Re the book – think I mentioned it before, but why does it have to end in this one? Obviously, you may have a definite story arc that has a natural end point, but otherwise consider leaving the book to finish, not at a cliff-hanger (as that is so frustrating and old-hat now), but at a place where the main character(s) can take a pause, a breather, ready to push on to the rest of the story…
    If you feel concerned about the present ending then maybe it is a hint that you have not really found where the story really leads to yet. Taking the tale to a breathing space allows the characters, the setting and you to take a break, a long look around, and a chance to see what the place and people within the book are telling you is the natural ending.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      I believe that’s called a “series”, and I don’t think he’s that ambitious yet. Then again, he could just leave it at a reasonable ending, ala Star Wars, but with the ability to be picked up again. Also, we have no idea how that would work with his book.

  21. noahpocalypse says:

    Dwarf… Fortress…


    Duke… Nukem… Forever…

    Big… Rigs…

    Sorry, sorry. Just had to stick those out there.

    1. gragsmash says:

      That’s right – we need a spoiler warning for Big Mutha Truckers!

  22. Peter H. Coffin says:

    Other ideas, sublime or ridiculous:

    Cities In Motion
    John Deere: Ride Green
    18 Wheels of Steel: American Long Haul

    Really looking forward to seeing what Josh does with the Deere one: “I AM THE REAPER!!!! GRAR!”

    Fully expecting that most of these can largely be addressed in an hour each..

    1. Dnaloiram says:

      Actually, I think a Stalker: SoC playthrough would be pretty cool. Shamus has already played the whole thing, so he could definitely have some good insight, too.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        Overlord. That could be hilarious. Not enough story I don’t think, though. The Witcher 2, perhaps. Or Fable.

        Darksiders also has some potential, plus a much cooler looking sequel incoming.

        1. el_b says:

          overlord would definately work, theres an entire army of cuftberts and much trolling to achieve…or…goblining i guess.

          soc would be too long and arduous, i cant imagine josh getting past the first farm battle the first time, imagine how he does in that agroprom sewer with the respawning bandits!

  23. littlefinger says:

    One thing I noticed this season is that the main objection against Alpha Protocol – the dialogue timer – doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. AC 2 also has continuous dialogue, which you talk over. So did Mass Effect occasionally, with the long cinematic cutscenes and exposition dialogue and the Quicktime events. The only difference in AP is the suave/agressive/professional choice, and all you need to do is discuss in advance how to approach dialogue/character xyz.

    Apart from that, if you do opt to abandon Creed, just choose a game that at least 2, preferably 3 people have played before.

  24. rayen says:

    spoiler warning… i dunno i never got to play ASC2 so i’m kinda enjoyiong it, but yeah the “everyone sitting around talking about a game while someone plays it thing” is turning into “josh is playing it cause it’s fun for him but everyone else has moved to the living roon pulled out the PS2 and started playing guitar hero.” And thats not productive. of course i can’t think of a game to do. You could always do a bile filled season with the PC port of Halo, or a praised filled one of halflife 2. Or a balanced one with half life; blue shift.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      Hey, Halo wasn’t that bad. I’m of the opinion that it’s just as important (maybe more so) to console FPSes as Half-life was for PC. As for the PC port, I don’t see anything wrong with that either. I play it fairly often, and it’s quite enjoyable for me. (I beat it on Heroic on a .. 10? inch netbook that occasionally lagged on lowest graphics settings. With a trackball mouse.)

      Halo 1 certainly had some good aspects, including a decent story-driven narrative (As in I can actually follow it.)

  25. KremlinLaptop says:

    I hate to say it, but drop Assassin’s Creed and find something more fun. I like the commentary on the level of the interaction you guys have… but the game in LP form? Is proving to be incredibly dull. It just doesn’t work, especially when you lot just don’t seem to interested with it.

    To be honest, I’d love to see you guys — instead of doing a season long LP of ones game — do more minis like the HL2 one. This way even if one of you didn’t fancy the game at all it’d only be a shortwhile doing it instead of one whole season.

    1. Destrustor says:

      I think the fact that only Josh has played it hurts this season the most. Its like we’re a crowd of strangers gathering around a single guy playing the game while trying to explain it to the crowd, while also being interrupted by two dudes and one dudette whose voices cover the sounds of the crowd itself and are constantly arguing with each other. Nobody understands what’s going on and the only guy who could explain is either busy or inaudible.
      It sadly does not make great entertainment.

      1. Yeah, the lack of anyone having played it before is generally this show’s biggest weakness – things always go downhill when it’s just Josh, no exceptions.

  26. Flakey says:

    “That's a lot of work, and now I'm suffering from a bit of self-doubt.”

    “I can hammer out my planned ending, release the book as-is, and see how it earns. Or I can continue to polish it, and make something that I'll like better.”

    Reading an interview with John Ringo and Eric Flint, two of the top authors of the Baen Books stable of authors. Is the point they say one of the greatest hindrances to new authors is this period of self doubt, and the desire to keep polishing until they absolutely satisfied with their work, and never get around to offering it to a publisher.

    As they say you can not sell a book if you never put it up for sale.

    1. David W says:

      Yeah, I’ve heard the same sort of thing (applied to software as well, actually!). You’re never done, but eventually you just have to hang up the keyboard and ship.

  27. Zombie Pete says:

    Speaking as a professional writer (tho’ not as a novelist, so take this free advice for what it’s worth), I wouldn’t release the first chapter online if you’re looking to use that as way to get feedback. The nameless, faceless folks around here, although probably well meaning, won’t all necessarily have useful notes to give. This isn’t just lack of experience, it’s because they don’t know how it ends. This is especially true if you still have the abrupt change in tone halfway through the book. I’m sure the first chapter would be as great as the writing that we’ve come to expect from this blog, but that doesn’t mean the book will be that successful when taken as a narrative whole. Many of my favorite authors occasionally have awesome first chapters and enjoyable reads throughout, only to drop the ball on the one-yard line. When you’re reasonably finished, I would give the whole thing out to a close cadre of 5-10 people whose advice and taste level you can trust (and who promise to read it quickly). Take those notes aboard, or not, as you see fit; ultimately, it’s you who has to be satisfied with the final result.

    However, I’m wholeheartedly in favor of releasing a chapter as a teaser after you’re done and happy with the whole thing (with a pre-order link, like somebody suggested).

    Good luck and good writing.

    P.S. What happened to Project Frontier?

  28. RTBones says:

    The hardest part of AC2 seems to be that the entire cast isnt “current” on the game (either havent played it at all, or havent touched it anywhere near recently) so comments/criticisms are sometimes coming “live” – meaning that you’ll see something in the game and comment on it without having seen it before and been able to formulate your thoughts about it with regard to the rest of the game. This is further hampered by the fact that the cast cant read the subtitles due to stream quality (perhaps a reason to go back to English vice Italian – even though you may prefer the Italian but dont speak it.)

    Things you could do? Well, as others have suggested, you could cherry-pick missions between now and the end and just record those. You could also intermix the odd episode of something else – HL2, Minecraft, TF2, whathaveyou – games you all have played and enjoyed. You could also do intermittent episodes where someone OTHER than Josh drives (ala the Hitman series).

    I’d hate to see you give up on a game before the end.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      I’m with that last part. It sets up a bad precedent.

  29. Jokerman89 says:

    I have also bought Frayed Knights – not started it yet, trying to find some time to really dig into it.

  30. 4th Dimension says:

    I tough we all learned our lesson that you SHOULDN’T LP the games half of you haven’t played. Especially if Shamus haven’t played them.
    And on top of that main attraction for me in ACII is it’s valid attempt to tie all big world events in a big conspiracy, and I thinks they made a valiant effort.

    So what I propose is for the gang (or at LEAST Shamus to play the game first) and THEN return to this LP.

    I really wouldn’t like it if you never finish this, since I just acquired and finished playing ACII last week specifically because of the Spoiler Warning.

    Also about the book.
    I would like to ask you Shamus, have you thought this thing about writing through. As far as I can tell only a FRACTION of writers that WANT to publish a book, manage to do so. And only a FRACTION of them manage to break even (meaning the money gained through book sales is equal or greater than money that could be earned by turning all those book work hours into some more payable job). Small is the number of people that manage to write for living, unless they are REALLY good (or have enough readers who think that way), and publish often.
    Also from what some rather successful writers tell, it’s quite possible that first, or even second book is turned down by publishers, because simply put writing a book is a skill that can only be learned by writing more books, and since you by now only have that System Shock book in your belt, that as far as I know no formal editor has seen or reviewer reviewed, I don’t want you to be discouraged if/when this book deal flops.

    Also considering how enthusiastic people about this book are here, if it flops, try selling it as an e-book through this site. Say $5 per download? It won’t be much, but it might help.

    As far as preview chapters goes, that you should see with your eventual publishers (you do have people you can contact in book industry right?), because it depends on them and on the writer. Many publishers are a bit outdated and don’t like giving things for ‘free’, on the other hand some people (like for example Baen books who are on a veritable crusade AGAINST e-book DRM) often publish significant portions (1/3 1/4 and in sometimes more) of books for free (although this tend to be unedited versions) in order to hook their readers (Baen also, while we are talking about them, often put up older books that are part of a serial, for FREE with no DRM).

    So in conclusion, would like for SW to continue IF the gang first plays ACII.
    And about the book, the life of a writer is NOT easy and it’s likely you still might need a dayjob even if you are writing for living.

    1. ngthagg says:

      It IS really hard to make a living as an author. But it’s getting better. If you can’t find a contract in the traditional way, self-publishing through Amazon is an option that just wasn’t available to aspiring authors even a few years ago. And although Shamus is unlikely to make a living just from sales to blog-followers, there are two advantages. First, even selling a few copies is income, and it can give him the breathing room to write a second novel. Second, there may be doors that open up to an independent author who has proven his ability to sell books.

      To Shamus: please take the time to do at least a second draft of the novel. Not even the best writers do their best work in the first draft, just like no programmers write bug free code the first time. The result will be worth the extra time.

      1. 4th Dimension says:

        Yeah, my only problem is that to me it seems Shamus is under impression that he can simply drop his dayjob and only work on writing, which I don’t think is realistic. And he might be seriously discouraged by pittance he receives in royalties for his book, or in worst case if the book gets turned down.

  31. zob says:

    You really should drop the AC2
    Josh for some reason fails horribly at parkour parts of the game. (probably because of pc controls). That makes series longer than it should be. Mumbles clearly despises the game Rutskarn doesn’t care. Only other person who have an idea about the game besides Josh were you Shamus and now you are clueless as others.

  32. Hitch says:

    I’ve been suggesting for a couple seasons that the way to go with Spoiler Warning might be more of a highlight reel format. An opening segment where everyone shares their overall views on the game, followed by episodes that skip ahead to the most interesting and/or mock-able parts of the game, while basically cutting out as much ‘rock climbing’ as possible.

    1. Robyrt says:

      That would have made the Bioshock LP about ten times better.

      1. Josh says:

        The downside to that is that it increases the amount of editing work I have to do by a lot. The Amnesia episode probably took eight to ten hours total to edit, and I ended up shrinking down over an hour of raw footage into exactly 15 minutes. We have more flexibility length-wise with youtube now, but there’s still a time overhead to everything we do that could make the show more complex.

        That’s not saying we couldn’t do it, but we definitely couldn’t stick to our four-episode-a-week schedule.

  33. silver Harloe says:

    You could always empower Rutskarn and Mumbles to post directly to your blog so they could announce things like “Shamus and Josh are too sick to show up this week.” I’m sure Ruts would never, ever do anything evil with that power.

  34. Rebecca J. Thomas says:

    But what of the procedurally-generated game world you were making? I really wanted to hear about that!

    1. Destrustor says:

      And I miss those awesome screenshots!

    2. Rick says:

      I think most of us do, but unfortunately Shamus seems to be in the awkward place where Project Frontier is a WANT that is overshadowed by plenty of NEEDs.

      Having been in a somewhat similar position of losing numerous jobs and getting thrown about, a can appreciate the difficulties wanting to make sure you gave your best before you fall back to Plan B. But the longer you leave it the less Plan B actually helps.

  35. Destrustor says:

    I can’t imagine how limited the choices must have been if you settled for “the game we hate least”. I think the priority should have gone to the game you had the most to say about.
    This season’s choice seems like a last ditch panicked effort to “find a game QUICK BEFORE THE INTERNET HATES US” or something. This may be a controversial opinion, but I actually think you should stop spoiler warning entirely for the time being, at least until you find a game you can all discuss properly.
    SW has become the main event of the site way too much, and the strain is showing. It is time to let it catch its breath before it dies from exhaustion.
    And it would give both Josh and Shamus more time to work on other, neglected projects.

    1. Shamus says:

      By “game we hate the least” I did mean “game we all had the most to say about”. There were other games on which I would have tons to say, but others haven’t played and don’t care about. And vice-versa.

      And while you are tired of the show, you’ll notice that a lot of other people are really fond of it.

      Also, I put as much time into SW as I do into just one medium-sized blog post, so for me it’s actually a great way to get a lot of blog content for very little effort. (Because the effort come mostly from Josh. :))

      1. Aldowyn says:

        Which is the secret reason that Josh doesn’t have his own blog!

        And I think there’s plenty of non-SW content. He has the autoblography, Josh’s LP (which doesn’t really count!), and he at least DID have Project Frontier, plus anything on his book, and the VERY occasional nowadays XP or Stolen Pixels.

        And, lastly, I can testify to how long making a video like this takes. I run a Youtube channel (dormant for the last couple weeks due to school :/ I should make a vlog or something talking about that… with my new smart phone XD), and even though my main ME LP is just directly FRAPSed and uploaded, it takes a minimum of 15 minutes a day with absolutely NO hiccups and not including uploading (which you always have to include, for some reason). Anything that is more complicated, like the LoL commentaries I’ve done (I more fully appreciate how difficult a shoutcaster’s job is…), takes quite a bit more time. When you actually edit significantly… shudder. The most time-consuming part of SW is already mostly taken care of by having the episodes recorded into the series (stopping and starting at defined times). All Josh should have to do is actually split it and add the intro and/or closing sequence.

      2. Destrustor says:

        I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that as “I don’t like SW and you should stop”
        I do like it, a lot, which is why I don’t want to see it crash and die. We, the viewers, might have put too much pressure on you guys to crank out too much content too fast, and it seems to be taking a toll on the quality. We should all just take a break until you find a game that you know as well as say, new vegas, and that you can analyse properly. Plus, AC isn’t rpg enough to let Josh’s troll side really shine.
        So what i’m saying is take a break. We can wait and the anticipation will only make us appreciate it more when you blast us with a shiny new season.

        1. Shamus says:

          On the RPG thing: You’re right. You don’t really have a lot of story agency in this game, which is a big part of what we do. I was pushing for Batman: Arkham Asylum, and Mumbles was (surprisingly) against it, but now I see her point. While the player has a lot of freedom to move around, there isn’t a lot to let them distinguish themselves. I could watch 10 minutes of someone else playing the game and ten minutes of footage of myself playing the game and have no idea which was which. (This is true of both Aassassin’s Creed 2 and Batman.)

          The problem we faced was that we didn’t want to take four months off, and that’s how much time we needed to fill. On the horizon we have Human Revolution, Skyrim, and Mass Effect 3, all of which are pretty much ideal for our format.

          We’ll see about a break. We all agreed that we could be doing better, and all of us are taking steps to change how this season is going. We’ll see how that goes.

          1. Aldowyn says:

            Why is HR “On the horizon”? I suppose you might have started AC before it came up, but still…

            1. Shamus says:

              Yup. We like to give games a couple of months before we cover them, and I would never have guessed that HR would be:

              1) So good
              2) Open enough to work for SW

              We usually go back and forth a bit when choosing our next game, but barring any sudden changes or technical problems it looks like HR is the clear winner.

              1. Dys says:

                Spoiler Warning : Human Revolution?
                Hell yeah!

                I had tentative hopes for the game based on interviews and preview stuff, but it blew all of them out of the water. It’s far from perfect, but in some vaguely defined way it feels like Deus Ex.

                Main fault is that the augmentation system is too simple to allow for multiple playthroughs. By the end of the game there was nothing I didn’t have.

  36. Kaeltik says:

    This is my first season of SW. So far I’m finding it immensely enjoyable. The only way that I’d encourage a break is if it meant that we could get our hands on the book sooner.

  37. Mersadeon says:

    About Spoiler Warning: I think once you have played the game again, you will find a TON of stuff to mock.

    About our book: I hope I can somehow get it in Germany for a reasonable price – I would love to read it. I already read Free Radical and I enjoyed it – it was better than most books I bought last year. I think I’m gonna read it again.
    Oh, and I would really like to read the first chapter – even if I will have to wait for a month till I can read the whole thing. Those who don’t want to read a chapter and ten wait – well, they can simply NOT read the chapter ;D

  38. Zastrick says:

    A concern about dropping AC2 is that I imagine you guys picked to play it because it was the best choice. At least in theory it means the next game is going to be something that was lower on the “best choice” scale and that doesn’t seem like it would fix the problem.

    Personally I don’t watch Spoiler Warning to see games (most of which I have played and beaten) played to the end, and I feel the quality of the show is at its best early in games. Were you guys to opt to pick a game, play it until you feel you’ve covered what’s worth covering, and move on, I would be perfectly okay with that. I think it would help because it would increase the amount of games you could play to include ones that don’t have a definable end, ones that are very long or stop introducing new concepts early, and it would allow you to play open world games and play the fun/interesting quests instead of pushing through the main story so the game doesn’t have 500 episodes.

    Potential downsides of this system is the people who do watch the show to see a game played to completion probably wouldn’t be happy. Potential increase in workload on Josh depending on how difficult it is to get a game to behave with his recording software.

    Even if you didn’t switch to that system entirely, I think the show would benefit from peppering that style into it, perhaps as a break between major games or intermissions for games that drag on too long.

  39. Dys says:

    As regards the book, I speak with all the authority of someone who would love to write, but is crippled by perfectionism. I can never get past a first chapter, because I have to get it perfect before I can think about a second.

    That never works, because as a wise man once said, art is never finished, only abandoned. I expect you already realise that, but it’s important and bears repeating. Set a deadline, I think one of the most valuable things a publisher does for an author is demand they at some point abandon their work.

  40. HiEv says:

    Well, regarding #3, I think I may have a solution to your KotOR problem.

    You said that you can’t capture video from the cutscenes, which reminds me of an old problem/workaround I used to use to capture frames of video when they didn’t want to be captured. You see, when video is rendered it normally uses a special video mode to play the video faster. That video mode uses overlay, which cannot be captured normally. However, only one window at a time can use that video mode.

    So, the trick is, open a video player, start a video, then pause it. Now if you start another video player while the first one is still open, it will render that second video in a way that it can be captured.

    Tell Josh to open Media Player Home Cinema (or some similar low-memory-usage media player) and to open, pause, and leave paused some video. Then crank up KoTOR, Fraps, and whatever else you use, and then see if the cutscenes get captured properly or not.

    Worth a shot!

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