FEE3 Showcase Guide

FEE3 Showcase Guide

Purpose

The purpose of this guide is to help project creators and LPers create better showcases to submit to FEE3. This guide is geared towards project creators who create showcases for FEE3 to highlight their work, with the audience benefiting most being someone who is new to the world of FE hacking, video creation, or both.

To ensure inclusivity, we’ve created self-service guidelines to help you make the best showcase possible, based on 10+ years of data and anecdotal evidence to help ensure your project meets our quality bar and is well-received.

This guide also serves as a checklist for you as a project creator. Included below are tips, instructions, guidelines, rules, and best practices to consider when putting together your showcase for submission.

If you follow the instructions & guidelines, you should be able to produce a quality showcase.

Lastly, this guide isn’t designed to say “this format stinks!” or preach “my preferred format, which is epic” it’s about helping you figure out what makes the most sense for how you want to show off your work. There’s been a lot of great execution across formats over the years, so this guide should help distill what tends to go over well with the community.

Similarly, this guide is not meant to devolve into debates over how FEE3 should be organized or lead (save it for another time) - this is purely on how to make a good video given the parameters we’ve followed for years.

Open the section tab to learn more about each stage.

Preparing Your Showcase

So, you want to submit to FEE3? Let’s get your project ready.

Being part of FEE3 is exciting. It is a great opportunity to share your project and your progress with the wider hacking and Fire Emblem fan community. The annual submission thread will have details on precise timing for sign-ups and project submission, so here we will focus on getting your hack ready for show time.

If you recently started your project, you may be asking “Is my project ready to be shown?” Let’s talk about what “readiness” looks like, since it is a bit vague and everyone’s standards may look different.

At minimum, you want to ensure that your chapter is largely bug-free and well-tested to avoid any on-screen gaffes or issues. A bug or a death screech can really derail a showcase, and if you’re having someone else do an LP for you (more on that below), it’s good practice to ensure everything is in working order before you record. Remember, FEE3 isn’t meant to be a playtest stream. It’s a showcase.

Similarly, if you’re getting B-roll for a dev podcast-type showcase or making a trailer, you’ll want to ensure you have something in working order that will not detract from your game. Even if your project is early stage, at minimum, it should work and be free of bugs or text/grammar issues that can distract viewers.

We’ll talk more about how you can figure out the best showcase format to achieve your goals down below. Whether you choose to do an LP, trailer, dev interview, or other type of showcase format, let’s help make sure meets standards and shows off your work in the best light.

How do I choose what to show?

Details

FEE3 is a great opportunity to show off your work. Choosing what to show can be a challenge. After 10+ years of showcases, there are a few things to consider when putting yours together.

  1. Show off unique aspects of your hack. What about your game stands out or is different? This can be a narrative hook, a gameplay concept, cool tech or gimmicks. If you are LP’ing a chapter, is there one that embodies the spirit of your work? What is simply cool to look at?

  2. Go with the best visuals. Pick something that features your best mugs, map palettes, battle animations, and other graphics that help give a strong impression. Avoid unfinished palettes or vanilla mugs.

  3. What is technically impressive or interesting? This can be using some neat ASM that isn’t widely adopted yet, events that make a chapter more dynamic, or a map objective that isn’t common. Anything that highlights your technical prowess across a number of dimensions is worth showing off and perhaps going into depth on during your showcase.

  4. What’s new? Showing off something people haven’t seen before is always a good idea. If you’re returning for FEE3 again, you want to avoid showing the same stuff over and over again. If you’re in your 2nd year or beyond, consider showing something new. If it’s your first showcase, what is the most exciting thing in your hack that will intrigue the viewer?

What you do will depend largely on how you choose to show off your project. Keep these things in mind as you craft your plans when making selections for what to show off and talk about.

Making Your Showcase

How do I record my showcase?

Details

We recommend reviewing these two guides for details on how to set up and choose recording software and equipment.

Software to use for FEE3 recording: Software to use for FEE3 submissions/recordings & respective tutorials

HeartHero’s video content guide: Fire Emblem Video Content: The Guide

For most users, OBS (it’s open source and free) is a good open source option to record your screen. For editing, DaVinci Resolve and Shotcut are both free options.

If you are recording your voice, make sure you have a decent mic. Test your settings before you start and ensure your levels are in a good place. I recommend reading these guides for more details.

Here is a quick summary for setup & execution.

  • Download and install requisite recording and editing software.
  • Set up your microphone
  • For OBS, set up a “scene”. This will be your emulator as well as any template you’re using to fill in the space. Test and ensure your emulator is getting picked up by the recording software.
  • Set up your save file to capture the desired footage
  • Test your voice and game volume by recording short samples to assess level and adjust as needed.
  • Record your footage and save your videos
  • View and edit as needed

Remember, you want the content of your work to shine through, any having passable quality here (visual and audio) helps remove distractions from the message - your hack is epic!

Working with LPers / editors / anyone else recording the project

Details

You may be interested in working with another LPer or editor to help support creating your showcase. While doing it yourself has benefits, working with others could elevate the quality of your showcase if you aren’t confident in your recording skills or do not have the means to do so. That said, your LPer or editor will likely not have as much familiarity with your project as you, so it’s important to communicate with them.

The best advice here is to communicate well. Provide detailed instructions for what you’d like to show. Below are a few examples of points for you to expand upon:

  • Brief summary of your game that they should share with the audience
  • Key mechanics or features
  • Plot points / plot setup for the chapter they’re showing
  • Specific art to show, such as status screen, mugs, palettes, etc.
  • Any optional talks or secrets to show off and what to share about them
  • Notes in the guide
  • Goals for the project long term

All of this should come with a patch and a save file.

In the past, we’ve had LPers receive little detail about the project, and it leads to confusion and distracts from the showcase. Even if they are able to achieve a higher degree of technical quality, it can be a bad look for your game if you don’t adequately prepare the person playing it to review your work. Here is a good example of a well-informed LPer playing a game on behalf of another person.

Additionally, you can always join for co-commentary if you and your LPer are comfortable, and we’ve received feedback that this format is popular among LPs. Here is an example I did w/ WarPath in 2019 to give you a sense of the potential dynamic. When working w/ an LPer, see what they feel comfortable with and be gracious - they’re offering their time to help you show off your work.

How do I make a Let’s Play (LP)?

If you’re recording an LP, follow the same steps above to set up your recording software of choice. Below are tips to consider when recording an LP

  • Stick to a shorter chapter. For LPs, we have a hard rule of 1 hour max for a showcase. However, we often see feedback that people tune out after longer videos. It’s recommended to pick a shorter chapter that leaves viewers wanting more. If you’re LPing, pick a chapter that can be completed in ~30 minutes at most. Additionally, don’t play more than a single chapter - you don’t want to show off everything and leave nothing for viewers to discover.
  • Pick something with a cool idea. Is there a cool chapter concept you have that shows off something different? While almost all of us will have maps with bread and butter objectives, a map with a unique setting, new class, good music, or an unusual objective may draw increased interest than a standard defeat boss or seize on the FE8 village tileset. Which chapter are you most proud of?
  • Pick something that requires little context. In FEE3, viewers are being dropped into a single chapter of your work. Provide some context, but avoid any chapter that is too contextually dependent on what came before it. Similarly, when describing your game’s plot, characters, and chapter, assume the player does not know about your hack and that they don’t have any prior investment. It’s easy to drone on about stuff you’re intimately familiar with (ie Lore), but make sure you include necessary context so your viewers can follow along closely.
  • Avoid mentally taxing chapters. While your hack may have an epic difficulty or chapter with many moving parts, as an LPer, it can be difficult to provide meaningful commentary while winning the chapter. These types of chapters are often more fun to play than they are to commentate over, so picking something that isn’t too insanely hard for a blind player would be ideal for a showcase, especially if there are other things you’d like to talk about during it.
  • Don’t feel obliged to play the entire chapter. If you’re worried about length, and feel like you need to play the full chapter to “complete” the showcase, remember that it is okay to cut it short. Additionally, it is recommended to turn off animations at the start or after a few turns to help save time and improve video pacing. This is good especially if you want to show off something that takes a bit more time, or spend more time upfront reviewing features, units, or plot, and are pressing up against your upper time limit. Remember, leave the viewer wanting more.

How do I make a trailer?

Making a trailer (full guide needed)

Good trailers require a combination of assets and direction to work. These are shortier, punchier reels that highlight your game’s story, features, and visuals.

While every trailer is different, commonly you will likely want to include:

  • Footage
  • Music
  • Other art assets and transitions

How you make your trailer is up to you, but we recommend reviewing some other trailers from previous years to get a sense of style.

[If anyone wants to take a shot at drafting this up more in-depth, please feel free.]

How do I make an interview or Q&A?

Details

Interviews and Q&A are a way you can highlight details about your development process and engage with audiences differently. These formats are generally recommended for hacks further along in development or those that are already complete.

To run a good interview, it’s important to have the following:

  • An interviewer - Who will be asking questions and leading discussion?
  • An interviewee or panel - Who will be answering questions? Is this a team or the sole developer?
  • Questions/prompts - Know upfront what you want to ask. The interviewer and interviewee should each know this list well in advance so they have time to prepare
  • Background footage - Keeping footage of your hack or splicing together footage later based on what’s discussed will provide a light visual backdrop to the discussion.

Similarly, you can also do a solo Q&A. For this we recommend:

  • Creating a google form or other survey w/ ask from the community for questions.
  • Curate the list of questions ahead of time and start to prepare your answers
  • Record and follow similar steps above

Both formats are lighter lift and focus more significantly on audio quality, so keep this in mind if this is a path you want to choose. An interview with poor audio quality will not be well-received.

How do I make a thumbnail?

[Insert Gamma guide]

Submitting Your Showcase

How do I do my own quality control?

Check for these items
  • Does my mic sound loud enough?
  • Are my visuals clear / easy to view?
  • Am I above the time limit? (1 hour is a hard limit, for LPs we recommend ~30 minutes for optimal engagement)
  • Is there anything rule breaking about the conduct or what’s being shown?

How do I submit my project for review & upload?

Details
  • When the time comes, you’ll be able to send your video and assets to the FEE3 committee for review. Make sure This will include:
    • Video Link (a file sharing service w/ a link to an mp4 file is ideal)
    • Description of video as it appears on YouTube
    • Thumbnail OR Screenshot asset for thumbnail per specs (see above)
  • The link to submit will likely be housed in the FEE3 announcement thread for that year. Keep this in mind and look out for announcements!

I hope this guide is helpful - feel free to add in your comments/questions below.

Additional Resources

What’s next?

Would appreciate help w/ thumbnail or asset guidelines (we have this pinned in an archived discord channel) as well as tips on making a good trailer. If anyone wants to write this up, please feel free to do so.

Additionally, if you have any tips or suggestions, feel free to share below for others to see.

14 Likes

So is there a specific time where we can submit it or is it whenever we feel like it? Sorry if you already mentionned it somewhere.
Also who is the FEU committee?

This thread is a guide - not specifically tied to any particular FEE3 event.

When an announcement thread goes up, this is meant to be reference for those looking to learn how to think about and create their showcase.

Precise timing will come later.

4 Likes

Alright thank you.

Now this is something I can severely get behind. Especially as the community grows and grows.

While it might not be the best example in the world. I could attempt to draft a guide for making a trailer. That being said i only really do a cut to the music type of trailer like this: [FEE3 2020] Fire Emblem: The Art of War by Apparoid - YouTube

But id be perfectly willing to write up something on how that style is achieved if you want. It might help to have several people write guides to different methods though.

3 Likes

That time of the year again, eh?

Looking forward to it!

1 Like

If you want to craft a guide to show how you got your result, that’d be great. Since trailers are diverse in nature and have the steepest technical curve among the formats, it’d be great to get a few we can reference here. Thanks!