Getting to the next Level

I’m really pleased with the progress GXP Blog has made this year. I’ve had the opportunity to review various games, discovered and befriended loads of awesome gamers (you know who you are!), joined some great communities, launched a YouTube channel (getting past the initial scary phase of being in front of a camera!) and most importantly – I’m thoroughly enjoying the journey!

With this site comes a lot of ambition. I have a long list of ideas for great content that I want to produce! Most of it is in the form of videos that go way beyond what I have done already, which is mostly pick-up videos, vlogs and gameplay videos (“Let’s Play” and recorded streams). Let’s face it, these are easy to make! I want to do SO much more!

Level Up!

The problem is that the videos I want to make require tools and equipment I just don’t have right now. Most of my gameplay footage is from Twitch streams which I export to YouTube, download, edit, then re-upload. But recently I’ve had a few technical errors where the Xbox One shows I’m online, but later on Twitch has shown me as offline, and I end up with no footage at all. This can be extremely disappointing, let alone with the added auto-silence feature they introduced a couple of months ago (with videos I’ve had permission to record for reviews).

As you can probably tell, this method is not ideal. Last night I lost over 2 hours of footage! There’s also cameras, microphones, headsets and software much better than what I’ve tried to make work. I seriously need to take things to the next level and am focussing on doing just that.

There’s only one problem…

I’m trying to make GXP Blog completely self sufficient.

Each month I’m paying for the hosting and covering the domain name each year. I’m not in a position right now where I can fund much more than what I’m doing. I’ve got a bandicam license, a Creative HS800 Fatal1ty Gaming Headset, an N64 USB adapter, and I’ve picked up a couple of really cheap retro games (and been lucky with a few consoles!). Most of which came from Ad Revenue and donations, but other than that I’ve had to behave with money as much as possible.

So why this post?

Wil WheatonI love gaming, I love my hobby, love this website and the journey I am on. I’m incredibly happy right now! Even though this website and the YouTube channel aren’t where I want to be right now, I have a strong idea of what I need to do to get there. I feel I need to explain what I’m reaching for, so possibly in a year or so I can look back and look at how far I’ve come. I watched a video yesterday where Wil Wheaton talked about his great TableTop show and how if you’re passionate about something, and if it’s hard to do, then it’s worth doing! Stick with it and it will pay off (He worded it a lot better than that).

I’m not looking for anything to “pay off” exactly. Not looking for fame and fortune. All I want is a way to express and fulfil my ideas. To talk about gaming and be creative in a way I can be happy with the final results, without having to remake them all over again in a couple of years.

So to be in with a chance of reaching what I want to achieve, I’m going to need:

A Decent Camera

I’ve recently been able to borrow a camera from my Dad which seems to shoot in HD. It’s a Fujifilm something or other. Not quite an SLR, but it kinda looks like one. A few major drawbacks include; it runs on batteries rather than being able to plug it in (so it’s a little unreliable), the focus/autofocus/any kid of focus seems to keep losing focus, and there’s no reversible viewfinder – so I can’t really see myself until after I’ve recorded. I’d also like to shoot some stop-motion animation for a couple of ideas I’m working on.

Reliable and Simple Gameplay Recording

I’m looking at something like the Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition Plus. This will allow me to record Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and Wii U footage. I don’t have all those consoles yet, but this would be a great alternative to the Twitch method I currently use. I’d also like to use something to record PS2, Xbox, Dreamcast and older consoles, but I can try to use emulators for the interim.

Better Video Editing Software

At the moment I’ve been using Windows Movie Maker. It does the job, in a way. I’m sure many of you have tried using it yourselves! It’s incredibly slow, clunky, and lacks a lot of features. I have friends who own Apple Macs and they create great videos with ease! So I think even that would be better than what I have now. I just need software that makes videos easy to edit, crop, snip, etc and add animations to. Something beyond the basic offerings of Movie Maker. It would be a start! Then I’d like to look into editing on Final Cut or similar.

Better Hardware

This goes alongside software in a way. I’m not a Mac/Apple “fanboy”, but I’ve used them in the past and found that they have great software as standard. I used to have loads of fun with Garage Band! Very simple to use. They seem to be ideal for creative types, so I’d really like to get my hands on one (I’ve wanted one for a while!).

I think I could also benefit from investing in a better microphone. At the moment I use a pretty standard/cheap mic and edit recordings using Audacity. It’s a fantastic free application! I’d probably still need to use it, but I’ve read a lot about how a better microphone helps reduce background noise, pops, and generally picks up the sound better.

Need improved hardware

Other Improvements

Not everything is to do with money, time is also a very valuable resource. There’s loads to do! Some of the things I’d like to invest more time into include:

  • A newsletter
  • A more regular streaming schedule
  • Creating more video and blog content
  • Doing collaborative pieces
  • Community gaming

Things that aren’t essential at this point, but over the next year I’d still like to aim for:

  • Obtaining a Wii U
  • Obtaining a NES and several games from my wishlist
  • More Xbox One games/games in general
  • Attend more events (going to Play Expo this year! Can’t wait! My first ever Expo!)
  • Running more competitions – these always get a great response!

Improving GXP Blog

I guess the whole reason for this article is to explain that I have so much more I want to do with GXP Blog. I get frustrated sometimes that I have so many ideas in my head that I get excited about, but I just can’t seem to action them at this point in time.

I feel at the moment that my videos don’t stand out, there’s nothing really special about them. I have such an incredible passion for gaming. It’s a huge part of my life! I love what this site has done for me as an outlet and allowing me to reach out to other great gamers; people who share the same level of passion as me!

So please bare with me. There’s so much more I want to do. I’ll continue to experiment and interact, but also look forward to a bigger, better GXP Blog.

My first games console was the Mega Drive and I've been in love with video games ever since. Over the years I've owned many systems, which I hope to cover in the future. Most of the things I write and do videos about is considered "retro", but I do enjoy playing my Xbox One and PS4 as well...

Posted on September 30, 2014 | Last modified: 30th September 2014