FEE3 2019 in Review - Observations & Recommendations

#1

After the conclusion of another successful FEE3, the now 8th(?) consecutive year, I wanted to make a post to summarize my feelings on the event. As someone who was more involved on the back-end this year, recording roughly one in four projects of the 40+(!), I want to talk about what I thought went well, and where I see opportunities for improvement. MK404 also asked for feedback, so I’m glad I thought to write this up.

Before we go section by section, I do want to thank MageKnight404 for hosting, Arch for coordinating the event, all of the volunteer LPers, and most importantly, the hackers who submitted projects this year. This does not happen without all of our combined effort, and it’s impressive that as a collective FE hacking community, we’ve done this event 8 years in a row.

This post is not meant to be a call out to anyone or their hard work, but rather looking at the event as a whole. I broke down my thoughts by section, which will have a summary and a recommendation. I’m curious to get others’ thoughts so we can have a discussion as we start to plan for FEE3 2020.

We have the potential to generate a lot of buzz, interest, and most importantly, showcase our work to a larger audience to help grow the community.

Timing (Dates/time of day)

FEE3 2019 was hosted during the first half of November. Each day, there would be videos released staggered throughout the day, typically starting at 12 EST / 9 PST. With ~4 videos per day, and the varied length, we would often have 3-5 hours of content each day. From what I saw, the videos would start at 12 PM EST, with the last one premiering at 7 PM EST.

Two things I want to discuss with timing - the time of year and the way videos are staggered. I know that in years past, FEE3 was hosted over the summer, and was pushed back due to outside events. This year, FE16 was released in July, and so the event was pushed out to November to accommodate the hype of Three Houses.

For next year, do we think November is the right time to host the event? I’d be curious if we think shifting next year up to July/August would be beneficial to help. I know this perspective is American, but given that the majority (albeit not a huge one) of the community, hails from the US, there may be benefit to hosting the event over the summer, where students typically have more free time to work on projects and record.

Similarly, with time of day, with projects premiering on the daily, I wonder if there is more consideration we can premiere videos at a time that would be more conducive to getting live viewers. For myself, I am at work during every premiere, and I’m sure many other folks on the west coast of the US are in the same boat. I’d be curious to understand the demographics of the FEE3 audience to determine the ideal time to reach the largest viewerbase at time of premiere.

At the very least, I recommend that next year we submit which timeslot we would want for our projects to premiere at so that creators and LPers can participate in the chat and view live. I was fortunately able to see my project live and answer questions as they came up. However, it would’ve been nice if I didn’t need to sneak away at my job to do so (priorities!!)

tl;dr - Potentially push up event to July/August, consider premiering videos at times that will either a) gain greater number of viewers live and/or b) be conducive for creators and LPers to participate and view live as well.

Premiere formatting

This year, FEE3 experimented with YouTube’s premiere formatting, which enables the first view of a video to play like a live stream at a set time, with a chat available to those watching the event on the first ‘premiere’ of the video.

This has come up a few times as there was negativity spread during the chats, aimed at projects and LPers, and both Arch and MK404 needed to remind people of the purpose of the event, and to stop spreading negativity.

While opening up the chat and the premiere formatting are nice adds that help engage viewers who make the live recording, it can also create a fear of missing out if you are not able to make the video, similar to missing a live stream. And while it can be nice to see questions and see feedback in real time, it can also be a cesspool of mean comments. I noticed that this was only the case on a few videos, and people became more respectful towards the latter part of the event post-warning.

Overall, I think the format has potential and we should continue weighing the pros and the cons of using it. I’d be curious to see the impact that it has on views of videos and overall engagement with the projects.

tl;dr - what are your thoughts of the premiere formatting? Don’t have a strong opinion here, but I’d lean more towards keeping it, but premiering videos at times more conducive to get views (whatever they may be)

Quantity of projects per day

With FEE3 expanding to what I believe is the largest number of projects in its history, and poised to continue growing in the coming years, the number of projects per day has historically increased.

Given that we have so many projects, do we think that it makes sense to have 4 or 5 videos premiere in a single day? As mentioned earlier, with 4 videos generally leading to 3-5 hours of content, is that too much for the viewer to handle and consume? Does it allow each video its proper time in the sun?

I would argue that extending the schedule so that the event is longer and that there are fewer projects per day could help create more hype, and also mitigate the tradeoff issues of making time to watch. For me, I know that I have to pick and choose what I can try to watch live at work, but also what I will prioritize viewing when I am home - more content per day than I have time to watch! (not that this is a bad thing)

tl;dr - consider extending the event and spreading out the number of videos each day to help drive more views to each video per day. Would want to see how others feel about this and how much content they’re able to consume.

How Projects are Submitted

One issue that I’ve noticed that doesn’t get talked about much, is the quality of the submission itself. Not the quality of the game, but the information posted on the sign up thread. In cases where the hosts or LPers know less about the hack, the hack does not get a proper showcase, and the LPer is left to guess what to call out about the hack besides their raw reaction. This can lead to LPers seeming to be confused or frustrated at the game, which does not bode well for the project on FE romhacking’s biggest stage.

I propose we make a more detailed sign up form that calls out specifically what people want to have shown off, a link to the .sav file (or equivalent), a short list of notes to send to the LPer for specific mechanical changes or things to call out about the hack, and a brief description of their project to put in the description of the videos when they go live.

I received feedback that there were things I missed in the showcases that I did. This could’ve been solved by a bit more information. There were other instances where hack creators didn’t get the chapter that they requested to show off get shown, or cases where they’d say “play up to X chapter”, and it didn’t happen (I am guilty of this too).

tl;dr - have hack creators provide more info up front so LPers can give their games better showcases.

LPer Communications

Since 2018, with the arrival of FEbuilder and the explosion of new projects, the prior format of having a single or a few select LPers go through each project was put to the wayside, and creators were asked to find their own LPers, record themselves, or be assigned a volunteer LPer by Arch. This helps with streamlining the video production aspect of FEE3 and helps bring more voices and commentary styles to the table.

A challenge with this is coordination. There were at least two instances this year where one person recorded a video, only to find out that someone else had recorded the same video. This was typically after a lack of communication with Arch, leading to him needing someone to pinch hit and record on someone else’s behalf, only to have their work not used because another LPer ultimately sent their video in.

While having multiple LPers is great, it can also create frustration when videos are recorded and then not used, especially when most showcases tend to land around the hour mark. It can also be sensitive if a more well-known LPer records a video that replaces that of a lesser-known player, leading to dissatisfaction and potential resentment - in short, being upstaged isn’t fun!

How can we solve for this? I propose three solutions:

  1. An LPer chat is created ahead of the event, and a spreadsheet with project ownership is shared among all volunteer LPers. This will allow for communication between LPers, while also removing the onus on Arch to contact people individually. This will also help create a sense of responsibility, as multiple LPers ghosted this year, creating confusion. By having a group chat and shared visibility into the projects, it can help reduce duplicate efforts across projects and (hopefully) increase the likelihood things get done on time.

  2. More stringent timelines. Every year projects are submitted late. While this may be solved by adjusting timing FEE3 is hosted (if only partially), the videos that get submitted on time should be the ones that are used. I also am biased towards punctuality, and dislike when deadlines are disrespected by others. I think even the idea of a more stringent timeline would help ensure we get things done on time, preventing a last minute scramble for backup videos, or at least mitigating it.

  3. Double (or triple) features. If we have multiple videos in these cases, can we not use them? Tales of Ternon had three videos, and while it is unique both because it is a community project and has three routes, could multiple features work for other projects as well? This could prevent negative feelings if one’s work is replaced by another’s, by simply leveraging both pieces of content made. This is something that we arrived to on each occasion that it happened, and I want to call this out as a good solution.

tl;dr - Have LPers in communication with each other to avoid duplicate work and help with coordination to create more transparency while reducing Arch’s workload. This will also hopefully mitigate the likelihood of LPers completely ghosting, which ties into my next point.

Collaboration with larger Fire Emblem YouTube community

As FE has grown over the years, from a niche SRPG to one of Nintendo’s most profitable IPs, Fire Emblem YouTube has grown tremendously alongside it. There are a lot of ‘big’ personalities that play Fire Emblem, many of whom also play hacks and fan projects on their channels. This helps build interest in these projects, and by extension, the hacking community.

However, the overall engagement in the event from more known YouTubers is sadly low. For example, there was a breakdown of communications with Mangs that lead to him posting his own showcase on his channel after missing the deadline. Mekkah and Ghast (who previously hosted an FEE3!) were nowhere to be found - this shouldn’t happen.

This limits the potential reach FEE3 has as an event. We can argue that hacking is a niche corner in the community, but part of it is due to a lack of exposure. We have a terrific community working on lots of neat stuff, and also plenty of resources and support to help would-be hackers get started.

Mekkah streamed TLP to an audience of 200-300 viewers each week recently. Mangs did an LP of Order of the Crimson Arm which garnered thousands of views per video. Ghast obviously made Bloodlines and would showcase hacks on his channel regularly (which is how I learned about quite a few!) - there is interest, but if the fandom isn’t aware - how do we reach them?

My question - how do we drive engagement from other YouTubers to get them involved in the event to help drum up interest and grow the community? Both FEE3 and FEtubers have something to gain from the interest in the event, whether it be reaching a new audience at the event, or supporting a game that they could play on their own channels down the road.

Even my paltry youtube channel had a spike in subscribers during the event. Maybe the same can be said for other LPers? I’d be curious to find out.

One idea could be to host different videos on different channels and keep them in a master playlist so that one could see videos cross-channels. This would help expose the videos to a wider audience, but also provide some tangible benefit to the channels hosting the event by being linked into a larger collaboration (and getting sweet youtube $$).

I don’t have a clear answer for this, but I think it is something worth considering.

tl;dr - Fire Emblem YouTube is growing. We should find a way to partner with more content creators to help build each others’ communities.

Cross-Promotion on other FE Sites

FEU is a niche community. We predominantly hack a gameboy advance game from 2004. We are the biggest and most productive community that does this in the world (I do not think JP’s hacking scene is larger).

However, there are many other places where FE fans hang out and where there may be an interest in hacks. Serenes Forest, r/FireEmblem, Fire Emblem Amino… There are a handful of other major pockets of FE activity where hacking is not the primary focus, but where interest can be built.

I’d recommend we do more to promote FEE3 in these circles. We should be contacting moderators or leadership and ask them to help us promote the event. We should have a thread where videos are posted daily. We should be in their discords. I’ve seen this happen ad hoc, but I think there is an opportunity for a more coordinated promotions effort.

tl;dr - Let’s post stuff on other sites, not only when the event is live, but also to build hype leading into the event. While FEE3 is hosted by and made by FEU, it can be enjoyed by a larger audience. Let’s make a plan to engage them next year.

Expansion into new markets

My last point, on a similar note, is expansion into new markets. With the advent of FEbuilder by Japan native 7743, the western community and the Japanese community had a bridge that did not exist before. With more prominent translation projects, such as the collaboration with Ken and Pikmin1211 on the Nameless Heroes and now the Yggdra UI patch for English, there is growing interest in projects built by other communities outside of our own, primarily English-speaking audience.

We’ve also had submissions from the FELatino hacking community and some collaboration with Chinese hackers as well. Is there an opportunity to more proactively engage these communities and bring them into our event?

While it is easy to argue that language differences can be a challenge, there are so many other projects not part of this event - what can we do to more proactively engage these other groups, and make FEE3 a celebration of romhacking around the world? The Olympics of FE romhacking.

tl;dr - Let’s make FEE3 2020 a global event and proactively engage other FE hacking communities to help showcase their work. Also, who wouldn’t want more land boat at FEE3??

If you’re still here, thank you for reading. FEE3 is a fun event and I enjoy playing a part in it. As our community grows we have lots of opportunity to make the event larger and bring our work to a broader audience.

What are your thoughts? It’d be great to have the discussion.

28 Likes
#2

Wow that’s a lot of text. Don’t have time to read through it all and comment right now (probably will later), so I’ll just comment on the one thing that stuck out to me the most:

I started out FEE3 hyped up and intending to watch at least some of each video, but it was kind of impossible to keep up. Especially with the premiers meaning I couldn’t just sit down at whatever point in the day I wanted to watch stuff at (if a video was premiering at 5 EST, I couldn’t watch it in the morning, etc). The huge length of some videos was a little off putting too, feels like it’d be a bit better if they didn’t go so much past an hour.

That said, what I had time to watch was generally quite neat. It’s super impressive to see how far the hacking community (and everyone’s projects) have/has come. Big thumbs up to everyone who submitted projects and or LPed projects. Goal for next year’s FEE3: actually have something to show off myself

2 Likes
#3

Even if not something new to show off, I had a thought after I posted this - but FEE3 could be a neat opportunity to do a “learning” day, so maybe having short tutorials of different parts of romhacking to help people who are interested get started.

But yeah, I agree with you on the timing.

3 Likes
#4

Can definitely say that Snek and I learned from our mistake with video length this year. Might be worth advising people in future years that showing off more than 3 or 4 chapters may not be the best idea.

I pretty much agree with everything you had to say, Dan. Even though a lot of people here on FEU I know are hesitant to get involved with other FE forums or FETubers, I think getting FEE3 better integrated into the community at large is a good thing. A ton of Fire Emblem fans I meet irl don’t even really know about the hacking scene. Getting other YouTubers and forums involved would help promote the event, even if we keep hack submissions exclusive to FEU.

Personally, I definitely noticed lack of views and engagement this year. Most people who were active in chat were pretty typical people seen around the forum and discord servers a lot. FEE3 this year very much felt like we went through the ropes, people looked at projects they already knew. I really like the idea of having written introductions in the description and stuff so that people get a better snapshot of what they’re in for.

TL;dr Dan is right

4 Likes
#5

defos agree with this one.

i think the distribution process needs to be given a big review.
presentation is a huge part of how these hacks strengths are conveyed and it ultimately defines the impact the project has on its viewers. (since at the end of the day, nobody can deny a large part of FEE3 for the devs is about marketing and project awareness ;))

people have different commentary styles, hack tastes, energy levels etc. that compliment certain projects. for example your style suited the more professional Faith and Blood whereas mine leant more to projects like the oddball Cancer Emblem, which really benefits the videos and by extension their success, evident by the reception the projects got.

I could see in a few of videos the LPers weren’t always enjoying themselves, often going quiet or just their commentary trailing off. if the LPers aren’t engaged or having fun, then the viewers aren’t going to be either
I think a system to discuss who would suit which projects before distribution could help rather than people getting thrown random projects and then having a load of ‘leftovers’ given to people that really don’t suit their style.
i’ve heard people saying they felt left out of the process, and it’s very evident when watching their videos. there was a huge range of enthusiastic people LPing this year and it’s way more important than i think people realise to take advantage of.

granted I know not everyone is a youtube star, but it’s little structural changes like this that can help people make much better content, which just benefits everyone at the end of the day.

anyways, really insightful post panda, what would we do without you? : p

p.s i’m writing this at like 3am sorry if it’s a bit sloppy
9 Likes
#6

I agree with a lot of what you’re saying, but I think this is really important.

I definitely had the most fun showcasing projects I enjoyed or contributed to. The co-commentary with creators was a fun way to do it too.

Some of this happens informally, but I agree with your later point that some projects don’t get as much care as others. I had to turn down recording a project last minute and I felt bad about it.

3 Likes
#7

Even on the East Coast, most of the premiere times fell during work hours. It’s going to be inconvenient for someone, regardless of when it is uploaded.

Conversely, causing the event to run even longer (let’s say 1-2 videos per day for a month instead of across a week or so for argument’s sake) may cause burnout and fatigue from viewers. I wasn’t even watching all of the videos and I already feel like the length was too long, and that’s just speaking about the number of days, not even the fact that some videos were just way too long and needed edited down or less content played.


Submission, Communication, and Deadlines

I agree on the deadline thoughts to the point that, in an effort to maybe help with the overabundance of things and potentially prevent issues with recordings, I suggest the following:

  • Hard deadline for sign ups
  • Hard deadline for patch submission for projects, no extensions (projects being handled by their own creator skip this step but follow the same timetable as videos done by those covering other projects)
    If you miss either one of the first two bullet points, you have to wait for the next FEE3 (see below).
  • Organized list of projects, the goals of the project, relevant notes for the players, and who is assigned to cover each project with a “Point of No Return” date at least 2 weeks before the showcase for LPers to hard commit to their assigned/requested projects (if they want to back out because they may not have time, etc. to do it before the video submission deadline, this is their last chance)
    I don’t necessarily know if a chat for LPers is needed, but a handy resource for both creators and volunteers to know who is doing what and how to contact each other (if in need of interviews, if there are bug problems, or just for better direction in their coverage) would certainly be helpful I imagine. When steps are done (patch delivered to player, video made by player, video sent in to host for showcase), they should be marked with green so that whoever is coordinating the event and whoever is hosting the event can keep everything charted.
  • One Strike and You’re Out policy for LPers
    Failure to submit by the hard deadline or backing out after the hard commitment window results in not being accepted as a volunteer for future events. The goal is to instill responsibility on those volunteering in order to help prevent the coordinator scrambling to get everything covered when someone inevitably doesn’t do what they said they would. There needs to be a sense of reliability from the volunteers since the video coverage is the main part of the event - without them, the projects don’t get shown outside of posts in their topics, screenshots, or self-made videos.
  • Two FEE3s per year, 6 months apart, limit 1 FEE3 per year for a given project
    Let’s say it holds steady at 40ish projects per year. Splitting these across two showcases will limit the number of videos that will go up per event to more manageable numbers, could better accomodate people’s schedules throughout the year (school, work, vacation, whatever), could allow for new tech to be shown without having to wait until the normal FEE3 window each year, and could be a safety net for all involved (project not going to be ready for one showcase, back out and wait until the next one in 6 months).
    This also keeps it fresh between events because projects wouldn’t be shown “back-to-back” without skipping a showcase (Ex: Shows are May and November - could do November 2019 as the show for this year and May 2020 for the show next year, but would then have to wait until at least May 2021 for their next showing). Not sure what kind of effect this would have on viewership though since it might make it “less special”.

Have each volunteer submit a list of the projects they’re interested in covering in order of interest. Combine with multiple showcases of the same project if you want, but this should at least be a way to help guarantee that the LPers have enthusiasm about what they’re covering. If a project wants a specific LPer, they can request them first, then open it up to volunteer wishes, and fill in any cracks that might still need coverage.

5 Likes
#8

I know we’ve been discussing this on Discord but I feel like a lot of what was said would be pretty good to get out to the community, and see what people may have to say.

I really like the premiere idea, even though I may not have been able to really tune in to any LIVE - it does allow for some “wow” factor, and I think pushing the event back to the Summer would alleviate some of the issues that come with the premieres - we’re all in school or working, but the brunt of the viewers are students, and Summer is just a much better time frame for viewership in general.

We also mentioned (thank you, Levin) time zones being an issue and - as dumb as it sounded in my head? A 6 hour interval content drip - premiere every 6 hours. We would have the ability to plan around specific showcases, we wouldn’t be left wondering what time things happen, and there would be something easily accessible for every timezone, every single day - yes, this event is centered in the West, but that is not the whole community. A little something for everyone could go a long way.

Further, I think having more developer interaction with the LPs would be great, as well as direction (as Pandan has stated). A lot of the showcases were just the LPer being left to their own devices, making assumptions or vague recollections from weeks past; bring the developer in to be interviewed, ask important questions, community Q&A and include it in the premiere.

Lastly, I think premieres as a whole are a dope idea, not just in that we get a “livestream” feel, but it allows us to provide a higher quality showcase by allowing us to trim fat, cut and alter audio/video, multiple takes, you name it; no one really made use of these advantages, but it is a very real aspect of the presentation format.

All in all, I think this year turned out pretty great, and I would love to see some of these changes going forward; I would also love to be an LPer for next year if people would be into that - I’m not super well known, nor the greatest FE player in the world, but I would love to be someone to interview a project lead or two, try out something the public hasn’t seen yet and contribute to the community’s visions.

To summarize:

  • Maybe shuffle back to Summer time slots to accommodate the primarily student member base;
  • 6-hour interval content drips to accommodate multiple time zones;
  • More developer interaction and direction (saves, specifics, interviews) and less LPer guessing games;
  • Zanryu for FEE3 2020
8 Likes
#9

oh please
most of the ones I did no one told me anything lol

1 Like
#10

Therein lies the problem - I feel like, not just for the benefit of your project, but for the sake of the LPer who, quite frankly, is doing you a favour, you should at least give them some guidance and maybe talking points if you aren’t going to be doing joint commentary. It results in an all around better production and better viewing experience.

3 Likes
#11

I definitely think the premiere format was a good addition- the live discussion creates a real e3 showcase feel and excitement. I think livestreamed projects should take place during the event rather than before. It would work with the format rather than against it. Livestreams before the premiere result in the LPer interacting with an audience that doesnt exist during the actual event. Combining the viewers with a youtube livetsream would be ideal.

There were definitely a lot of meaty videos rather than trailers or previews, which was fun to experiment with. I don’t regret making a movie length showcase but next year, I’m going to focus on a more condensed video. Focusing on video length could benefit the event. Maybe allow the creators with the shortest videos to get the best or their preferred timeslots.

More creator-LPer communication can’t hurt. Definitely should try to improve that. Require LP instructions/guide from creator?

I agree with what most of what Dan said. FEE3 was fun this year, and I look forward to seeing how the event evolves in the future!

3 Likes
#12

I think a large part of lower viewership comes from the amount of content uploaded each day; day 6 having almost 8 hours of content was ludicrous and harmed viewership for every video of that day. Day 6 in particular was scheduled such that all of the projects from last year’s FEE3 day 6 were on the same day this year, which is arbitrary and played to the detriment of every hack involved. I definitely think the amount of content each day should be capped around 2-3 hours and I’d almost go as far as to suggest caps on length of individual videos but that may be too much. I do think that encouraging more trailers and less LPs would be a good way to balance showing off 40+ projects but I also wouldn’t want to arbitrarily prevent newcomers from having their projects LPed, as that’s antithetical to how I think this community should conduct itself and I can’t think how else that would be done other than arbitrarily.
In order to schedule videos to cap the amount of total runtime per day, videos would also need to be all in before the deadline, which I know has been an issue in the past with projects not yet recorded getting thrown to the end of the schedule. Deadlines need better enforced around here in general, and definitely so to improve FEE3.

Premieres I really enjoy in concept and in execution, but YouTube’s premiere system has a number of issues that likely contributed to other aspects of this year’s FEE3 (If you premiere a video YouTube is less likely to reccomend that video to users in the long run, likely contributing to lower overall view counts). I think best case would be coordinating an actual livestreamed FEE3 event, but I also understand the challenges that would entail.

For reaching out beyond just FEU, submission threads on both FEU and SF, as well as advertising the event in Fire Emblem communities all over the internet leading up to and during the event, would be a great way to spread the word and garner a wider interest in the event. Making it clear the event is for absolutely anyone and everyone that wishes to participate can only improve things.

It’s also possible that FEE3’s format may need a radical change to it. The format has been the same since 2011, at which time there were only a handful of projects involved. As hacking becomes easier and more projects pop up all the time, the flaws of the format become more pronounced. Focusing an hour+ on each submission leads to 40+ hours of content, which is a looot for a viewer to sit through and the sheer volume of likely puts people off of tuning in at all. Perhaps a structure more similar to an actual E3 presentation or Nintendo Direct would be a better idea; a pre-planned, pre-recorded showcase of projects that spends only a few minutes on each submission, perhaps longer on some of the higher profile submissions, that runs in total around an hour would be much more accessible than 40 hours of gameplay. This could then be followed by more in-depth gameplay of most or all submissions, with the hook of the initial presentation to get people interested in seeing it. This would definitely increase the workload of the event, but it would also likely improve viewership across all aspects of it.

As for LPers being informed on what they’re playing, I’m definitely guilty of not submitting more than the bare minimum information for projects - in the one case where I submitted anything more than a patch, the save file given to me to send in the creator of had cheated their way to the chapter in question, which completely threw off the unit balance and reflected poorly on the game. If there had been communication between the dev team and the LPer, this likely would have been avoided. So, both increased communication and requiring more specifics at the time of submission both would be beneficial to the quality of the final product.

Tl;dr
Space out content more
Appeal to a wider audience
Better communication between LPers and devs
Premieres likely harm the growth of the content, thanks to YouTube
Restructuring the event entirely may be in order to deal with the ever-increasing number of projects

4 Likes
#13

while I have no data in favor or against this, I personally felt that the premieres were cool. it was nice to see what kind of projects were up each day instead of just waiting to see what popped up throughout the day.

1 Like
#14

I am just going to throw in my two cents here from last year’s FEE3 where a hack of mine was showcased. I am not exactly sure whether it would still be relevant/pertain to this year’s and going forward, but I figured I may as well drop my thoughts here since there is an existing thread.

To be frank, I was pretty disappointed(if not completely) with what ended up happening with/through the showcase of my hack. The gameplay and commentary were okay, not too many complaints since it was at least neutral, but the comments were overall rather negative; I understand that the comment section is really out of the realm of control, but hear me out here. I think which portions of the game that were showcased(Chapters 0x and 1) were okay, though looking through FEE3 2018’s playlist, I noticed mine was the shortest, at 24 minutes, which excludes animation/ASM-type showcases, which were shorter, while the average was probably 40~60 minutes. However, I had private messaged the LP’er beforehand regarding organizing details such as which sections to showcase and whether a joint commentary would be possible. I never got a response, and the LP’er just did essentially two chapters and called it a day, and even to this day, the LP’er never responded. What disappointed me was the absolute lack of response/communication with the LP’er and me that occurred(I believe I messaged at least two days in advance[even simply a “no, sorry” would have sufficed, as I at least know the message was read and acknowledged]), not being able to co-commentate or at least give insight/heads-up [to the LP’er] to what I wanted in the showcase, how overly short it was compared to almost all the other showcases, and the overall mostly negative comments in the comment section which did little in providing constructive criticism or guidance, essentially amounting to calling my work terrible, to some degrees. One thing to call it terrible, another to call it terrible, state why, and provide insight as to how it can be avoided/improved, even if very briefly.

I believe there was a list in the original post that indicated who the LP’er of each hack was, though I forget if it also listed the time/date of recording and/or posting, which is how/why I messaged the LP’er beforehand to see if I could somehow influence the showcase of my work.

A big part of why I refused to participate this year(and even watch any showcases) was how poorly mine resulted from last year and not wanting to waste my time preparing for a presentation that will get my work called terrible once more that yields no constructive feedback/criticism. (Also that I want more to be shown off than I have worked on currently, though an easy solution to that would be to showcase anything past Chapter 1 in this case since that was as far as the showcase of my hack got). Still have that bitter taste left in my mouth from last year when seeing this year’s pop up.

I see that at least the discouragement of negativity was encouraged for this year, which I think is quite a nice change. As I chose not to participate, I cannot say whether or not communications were/would be better, though good communication is always key in many aspects of life.

Overall, the baseline of my thoughts are:
Better communication, less negativity without criticism/feedback/ways to improve, possibly “peer review” with the hack(like what one would see with scientific papers and such, though it need not be overly extensive, yet should still provide some insight and guideline as to how/where to improve) that could be done by a separate person/crew or the LP’er themself [though this probably has less to do with FEE3 in general than many other aspects, but could possibly contribute to the “less negativity” if there were comments encouraging positivity/constructiveness already present at/near the time of posting].

Let me know if I stated something that is not comprehensible or contradictory or has already been addressed/fixed in this year’s FEE3.

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#15

I think some limits or structure in terms of how many videos are shown, and how long said videos are would be preferable.

For those new to the format like myself, we may not know what is going to be reasonable or not in terms of what we ask the LP to do? I was lucky enough that MK404 was excellent in communicating with me, and I was able to share a little bit, and also warn him ahead of time about a glitch in the patch.

I watched both the original Twitch stream(after the fact), and then the Premiere of the LP. Actually being able to chat with the viewers during the LP was great, and Bluid and I were both lucky enough to be on and available for that. It’s enjoyable seeing peoples reactions, and also being able to warn/defend little glitches or design decisions that didn’t pan out.

That said, our video ended up being over 1 and a half hours, which isn’t short. Next time around I’m going to cut that showcase time down. The very first video, Sacred Echoes, was short and sweet in its showcase, as were the animation videos and they left you wanting more because of it. As some have suggested on discord, 30-50 min in general is a solid time but multiple videos going past 1 hour or 1 1/2 hour may not be given a chance by the general viewing public if they don’t have something to draw them in?

Some people prefer the longer LP videos though, so maybe things could be structured so that the long videos end up as the last video of the day? Let’s Play Long Last Video? Or something?

#16

Of note regarding engagement to add to the timing bit for comparison in future FEE3s:
I basically attended every single premiere (one or two exceptions) and on average the live view count tended to be in the 50 viewer range, with some some lows in the 20 viewer range and highs in the 60 viewer range, and usually upon finishing most had between 100-200 views. Unfortunately I didn’t have the foresight to document exactly which one is which to compare how they relate to the hour they premiered however I can say that the high of 60 was from what I believe was Wednesday? But mostly it seemed to be affected by popularity, the SRPG Studio projects tended to be in the 20 viewer range, any project that has been around for a while and with a decent amount of popularity tended to be in the 50 range. New projects without threads of course also were more in the 20 viewer range (although I remember Book of Exiles having a bit more?). And notably the short showcases like trailers and animation showcases didn’t have high counts but would see significant increases in views after the premiere (this can be attributed to them being too short for the live audience to come in before it ended tho).

Don’t know whether it will help or whether Ray can access the youtube analytics to get a better picture.

Edit: As an addendum to the timing, this might seem insignificant but if we look at the anime style videogame community as a whole, fee3 had some bad luck this year of happening during a sort of “pokemon season” with their big new game coming out during the event which which basically killed any potential growth it could have had outside the utside of the dedicated FE ROM Hacking and fangame community. Heck even in the general Fire Emblem community it went by without much fanfare as nothing fee3 related on the subreddit managed to leave the New section.

2 Likes
#17

I like a lot of what I’ve heard about the scheduling, and had my own thoughts as well. My attempt to synthesize into an actionable plan:

Day 1: opening, and then all of the tech demos and animation showcases for the year. These videos tend to be only a few minutes each, so bundling them together works for balancing out the overall video time. These should not be premiered because there’s no point - even if they were long enough to draw in an audience, nobody wants to comment in real time on this sort of thing (I think?). Just dump the videos and let the view counts roll. Putting these on the first day also helps set the stage for the rest of FEE3, since a lot of the tech and animations being demonstrated will be present in the same year’s gameplay hacks.

Days 2…N-1: Gameplay videos. Everything that’s going to be livestreamed should be livestreamed during the actual event; set up 4 time slots per day every 6 hours (so every time zone gets a chance and so insomniacs can stay hype 24/7) and assign them after it’s been determined who’s going to LP what. (Credit @Zanryu for the idea; I do think that four videos per day is a good number, and the issue really is more to do with video length.) Fill in the remaining time slots with premieres for hacks that have prepared videos. Either way, everything should be at most 1 hour long, optimally closer to 30 minutes. If possible, the livestreams should be pushed towards the beginning of the schedule, to allow editing time for…

Day N: Highlight reel and closing. A few minutes from each hack, all edited together (with YT timestamps) as an executive summary for people who couldn’t be awake at the right times (or who just want to watch the first and last days). For the streamed hacks, take an excerpt of the footage - perhaps a turn of gameplay, or perhaps a moving cutscene - whatever got the audience most hype during the stream. For prepared hacks, this would also be provided in advance by the author - it could be a section of the original video, but it could also be some extra content like a promo reel or a brief interview segment. 3 minutes each for 40 projects would make a 2 hour video here, which seems reasonable.

BTW: I think it’s perfectly reasonable to have gaps of a day or two in the schedule, if it lets people work when it’s most convenient for them. Ideally this would allow the opening and closing to both happen on the weekend.


Now then, the other aspect of scheduling - the calendar. FEE3 was announced early August this year and is now finished mid-November - and it still feels rushed in some regards. While I like the idea of doing two events per year to keep up hype levels throughout the year, I think we need to be aware of what we’d be getting into, organizationally. (Also, they’d need separate labels instead of just being “FEE3 <year>”, and I can foresee angry arguments about which projects go in which event…)

As far as the timing goes, keep in mind that the time of year when the videos are shown won’t be the same time of year that the hacking work is done, but it will be a lot of the same people in both groups who have the same calendar scheduling pressures. IOW if you want to show videos in summer to accomodate the school crowd, then it needs to be right at the end of August so those same people can also take advantage of June and July to do the actual production.

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#18

I already briefly said my piece about premiers in the thread proper, but this definitely provides food for thought. I’ll post my thoughts about everything addressed.

Timing: Summer is generally a more convenient time for projects, as students would be on their summer holidays and would have more time to work, since there wouldn’t be the pressures of school and study. Older FEE3s were earlier in the year as well.

Premiers:

The timing for me was pretty good since at 5pm GMT I was out of school and at home. However, I still feel like I’m missing out on something if I don’t watch the video live, which disincentives going back and watching the video later. Traditional videos can be watched whenever, and while premiers can also be watched whenever, the psychological feeling of missing out does affect things. Chatting with people while watching the video is nice, but maybe I’m just an old bore at the end of the day.

Project quantity:
Ever since FEBuilder came on to the scene, the amount of projects skyrocketed. They all have to be accommodated in some way or another. I’d be wary of extending the event too much: logistical burnout and viewer fatigue may kick in. I’d probably set the limit at around 14 days, two weeks: if the event lasted a whole month it would just feel dragged out by the end. Video length is also a part of this, as well.

Avenir is an extreme case, but many videos broke the hour mark. The most popular videos were short and snappy, such as Nuramon’s animation showcase. A large amount of the videos were also just unedited Twitch streams, with one incident coming to mind was a random Twitch bit scheme being advertised in the Olethian Princess video on Youtube. That is completely irrelevant to the video and should have been edited out. This all adds up to large videos that aren’t really reviewed for quality. Banning streams of submissions and forcing prerecorded videos would be extreme and alienate some contributors. Perhaps a team of video editors can be gathered to review Twitch streams so the actual video can be trimmed and polished, while the original content creator can still get their exposure with a livestream. This still leads to disjointed chat references that can’t be seen, though.

Communications: This is vital for running a good event. My own submission this year nearly had the wrong chapters recorded due to a memo not being sent with the project, and last year an outdated patch without documentation was sent instead of the correct one. Of Pandan’s three proposed solutions, I like idea #1, but expanded so everyone who has submitted a project get into a “backstage chat”, so to say. I typically just let Arch select an LPer himself because I don’t really know any personally. With an organisation chat, I could discuss details of a project with any LPer interested in LPing it without relying on a middleman who might forget to send something in by mistake. As for 2, FEE3 has always been traditionally dogged with delays, and unforeseen circumstances might force delays. FEE3 2017 got severely delayed due to a bad hurricane, for instance. I wouldn’t support 3 outside of special circumstances: having two videos for the same project showing largely the same content would be somewhat pointless. Being upstaged is bad, but improved co-ordination should mitigate upstaging.

Bringing in FE Youtubers: I wouldn’t be too enthused by this. They’d have to do it for the sake of the event and not just for a paycheque. Their own interests would lie elsewhere. We could reach out to them, yes, but we’ve done it before and their records have been spotty. I’d also be against having the videos scattered around the internet, since it would make things harder to find.

Advertising elsewhere: The community as a whole is a lot larger outside of FEU. FEE3 was officially supported by Serenes in 2016, but they don’t seem to have considered it worth their time and have since deleted the sub-forum the event was organised in. Still, I would support trying to advertise it elsewhere to get more attention. Restoring submissions from Serenes would be a good start, but that would require more middlemen in order to get the submissions back to Arch.

Foreign community participation: Language barrier. The event is run in English, and communication breakdown would be even more likely and severe if the prospective entrant did not know how to speak English. Entries from East Asia, Latin America, and anywhere else in the world should of course be welcome, but I’d say actively recruiting someone to facilitate entries from their respective communities would be difficult. They’d need to be competent at both English and Japanese/Chinese/Spanish/whatever, and I’d say it would be a logistical nightmare that wouldn’t be worth the effort. The videos should be exclusively in English, as that is the language of FEU. Non-English videos would severely turn off people from watching them. As a consequence, the creators wouldn’t be able to understand their project being played and so would not get any feedback. It’s awkward, and I wouldn’t consider it worth the trouble.

And that’s all of Pandan’s points. I want FEE3 to be successful. Next year will be the tenth annual FEE3. We should do something special, and make it an FEE3 to be remembered.

1 Like
#19

Youtube can automatically add subtitles by voice recognition.
and, The subtitles can be translated and displayed by machine translation.
Because it is machine translation, the quality of translation is not good, but we can still understand the meaning.
I think we can overcome language barriers if technology advances in the future.

It seems that you can also post subtitles manually, but it’s not easy because it takes time.

1 Like
#20

This was my first thinking on the issue, but I was swayed by @Bloopy’s argument about streaming during the event to enhance engagement. Hence the idea of having final-day excerpts to get the benefit of such editing. Ideally it would be possible to reach the livestreams via Youtube, and perhaps have the video replaced with a slightly edited one after the fact if there’s a need to remove extraneous livestream-setup sorts of things (like the thing about Twitch bits).

Even not knowing the LPers, it would be helpful for submitters to include a submission statement that categorizes their work, so that it can be more easily assigned to someone appropriate. Not every author is going to want to negotiate this sort of thing personally, though.