June 22, 2016

See you around, King of Nordic

It’s been awhile, so figured I’d jot down a quick update about the hectic happenings in my life of recent.

I’ve been involved with a media company in Sweden called ESEN Studio, which produces a weekly CSGO show called King of Nordic. I’ve work there about a year, doing everything from videos (such as this play of the week), broadcast packages, logos, web design, and more. The coolest aspect was definitely the chance to be a commentator for CS:GO. Every week I’d hop on and provide energic, yet on-point analysis and play-by-play of the game. It was pretty exciting.

Sadly, things did not work out with ESEN, and I’m no longer working on that project. It was really unfortunate in the timing, too. I was supposed to fly out in early July to spend a week hosting a gaming LAN event. Would have been the first time I’ve been in that position in over four years. The last event I attended (to produce/host) was QuakeCon in 2012.

And while that ship has sailed, the burn to continue working in esports and media projects continues. I’ll likely try to start up something in the next few months, as I’ve made a lot of awesome people who also want to commentate Counter-Strike. We’ll see. Maybe I’ll just make some sick frag videos (haha), or continue work on the CSGO map I’ve been working on.

I’ve got a lot of other exciting things in the works, including some developments with my current gig at DOJO MADNESS. We’re working on some awesome tools for CSGO Broadcasting with a really tight team — I’ll share some news about that in the coming week.

In the meantime, if anyone is looking for CSGO analysis or commentary talent, feel free to reach out.

Cheers, Matt

March 10, 2016

The Division Impressions & Review

The Division has gone a long way from it’s initial, very impressive E3 reveal in 2013. A lot of uncertainty has spilled forth, as information about the game was scare, and the hype seemed unreal. Watch Dogs played a big role: a similar open world concept with fantastic, next generation graphics and seemingly innovative gameplay. The problem with Watch Dogs was the game did not live up to its hype, and The Division seemed almost destined to follow a similar course.

The good news is that The Division largely lives up to the vision it shared in that famous 2013 trailer. The graphics, real-time lighting, detailed New York city landscape, and RPG/FPS hybrid gameplay are all in excellent form. And hey, you even shut the doors for cars you’re using as cover. Wicked.

The bad news is that The Division is only as fun as your expectations let them be. It’s not an open world survival game. There is very little inspiration from games like DayZ or Rust: there’s no urge to survive, no resources to collect, no constant countdown that is pushing you forward. It doesn’t have a deep PVP. It’s not a true MMO. The strengths lie in it’s co-op gameplay elements, and really shines when you can work through the game in a group of 2 or 3 other people. Sadly, groups are limited to 4, which can seem a bit limiting at times. Still, it’s enough to enjoy a really compact co-op game.

The graphics, sounds, customization, and environments are all next-generation, amazingly rendered, and have blown my expectations quite a few times.

January 11, 2016

Being funny and hosting a show, podcast, or livestream

Hosting a show is challenging, but also is a lot of fun. The goal is to constantly be entertaining, funny, sarcastic, quick, and smart. Quips are fine, interruptions are fine, but try to feel out what the flow is of the show–it feels messy whenever you start over-talking on your co-hosts.

Build your personality, and project it. What makes you funny? What makes you unique? What makes you noticeable, standout, entertaining? Find those qualities and embrace this, and don’t be afraid to do and act a bit larger than life. After all, this is all a show.

Discover other personalities and play off of them - no need to be the same personality as your co-host. If you’re hosting with someone who is really sarcastic, try to play it a bit more straight. If someone is very passionate about a subject, maybe throw in a sarcastic jab or a quizzical what?” If someone is being goofy, try to take a smarter or more analytic approach. Feel free to jump around in terms of your tone and style, but stick to your general personality: highlight what makes you you.

Take risks. Tell a joke that you might only find funny, or make an outlandish point. Don’t be afraid to spurt out something that you think might not pan out — just see what happens. When you have a co-host that says something questionable, or awkward, keep the flow going. Back them up, and even if you don’t agree, just keep the conversation flowing naturally. Saying hold on. wait. what? let’s unpack that.” is totally fine, and can lead to funny moments.

Always feel free to laugh at something, as the more you laugh, the more you back up” your fellow hosts. Poking fun is fine, but don’t pile on. Remember your a team, but sometimes teams rag on each other. Just remember it’s a balance — don’t be mean about it.

Consider your personality something that you build. Consider your co-hosts personalities a bridge you have to build to. Consider how everyone flows to one another, and how you fit into the whole picture.

Each week, just try improve yourself a little, and figure out how you can build your personality and presence into the polished show host you know you can be. Take notes. Listen to other podcasts and shows, and find out the little details that you like.

If something isn’t working, save it till after the show. If someone is being negative, try to remain positive. Energy and passion is important, so try to project as much as possible.

Have a quick get together after the show: share ideas, comments, critiques. Let everyone get their say, but don’t get too negative or critical. It’s a learning process, and just try to improve a little each week (or however frequent your show is).

January 7, 2016

A quick trip to New Orleans

Just spent two days in New Orleans, and while it was a work trip, it offered plenty of opportunity to check out the great food, nightlife, and the beautiful cityscape. Only thing that sucked: it was over too quickly.

Scored some mouth-watering barbeque shrimp at Pascal’s Manale, wandered around Bourbon Street (and the surrounding French Quarter), enjoyed my first fried catfish po-boy, and had the opportunity to hang out with my co-workers. Overall, wasn’t so bad.

The weather was unseasonably cold (it barely was out of the 50′s), but it was still a very pleasant break from winter-y West Virginia I came from.

Will upload some photos of the trip shortly, but for now you can view them some snaps from my instagram.

January 2, 2016

Another year, another blog.

It’s 2016. A lot of interesting, unique, and shareable stories and moments have happen for me. It’s been a great year, I’ve just done a bad job at sharing these stories on the blog.

I’ve visited Tampa, New York City, Tampa, DC, and various smaller destinations through Virgina and West Virginia just in the past month or so. Been an awesome couple weeks, but also super busy. Going to be posting a few photos and blogs as soon as I have a bit more time.

In other news, been making progress on two notable side projects: a redesign for an online TV station” and a website launch for an eSports VOD startup. I’ve also been working with a few close friends in putting together a weekly podcast / gaming livestream show. Really excited about that. January is shaping up to be another busy, yet awesome month.

Hope to set aside some time for writing, photos, and updating this blog a bit more in the future. Here’s to 2016!