Every week, Recall Knowledge recaps the Know Direction content of the past week, a preview of the Know Direction content of the week to come, and the director of operations, Ryan Costello, thoughts on the state of the network.
A note about KD Plays – Guns & Gears Playtest: It sounds rougher than the average Adventurous (which it replaces this week, for reasons discussed in Recall Knowledge a couple of weeks ago).
Since John and I talked in last week’s Presenting – Gamers Making Games about how at one point I thought about writing a blog on getting into podcasting, I figured I’d dedicate this week’s Recall Knowledge to a peak at what such a blog might have looked like. If you’re not interested in looking behind the podcast curtain, feel free to skip to the recap.
I usually edit Adventurous the Saturday or Sunday before release, and it takes around 4 hours for our typical 1 hour episode. In the past I’ve said about podcast editing to assume that it takes 2 minutes for every minute to edit, but additional speakers adds a multiplier. KD Plays Guns & Gears being over 3 hours long, I expected it to take at least 10 hours, so I started early in the week.
I am glad I did. After 10 minutes took me what felt like a whole night to edit, I scrapped version 1. The episode that released was version 5. Each version was less complicated and less polished than the previous.
Here’s a look at version 1 by the time I gave up:
Each colour bar represents a speaker’s voice. For Adventurous, every cast member locally records their audio, which they send to me so I can composite into Audition similar to what you see above. After I remove gaps between speakers, dull audio like most of figuring out Initiative, and any time we talk over each other, I export it to a single track, start a new multitrack and add Syrinscape soundtrack.
For KD Plays – Guns & Gears, we used Zoom’s feature where it records every speaker’s track independently. Possibly thinking doing so is a favour, it then trims some of the silence from each track.
The thing is, one track’s silence is another track’s person talking. I lined the tracks up (a process that takes about half an hour), then started the edit. Suddenly, Luis starts the adventure while everyone else is mid introduction. Evidently a few minutes of Luis’ silence were removed. I clipped his track, moved it out of the way, and then got back to what I was doing. Then Alex and Randal were off.
The rest of the night, I kept cutting tracks and moving them, then moving them back when I figured out where they belonged. It took forever, and didn’t get very far. If you look at the image, you’ll see hundreds of grey areas in the first 10% of the tracks. Those are edits. You can also see how three of the tracks are shorter than the rest. The short ones are Alex, Luis, and Randal’s tracks, and they’ve already been shifted right to compensate for lost silence.
So I started over with the audio I recorded of the call. When we record, I record my end with Audition, and having Audacity treat my speakers as an input. That means whatever I hear (everyone on the call but me), it hears and records. I added this track of everyone else talking to the multitrack, then muted it. Whenever I came across suspicious silence, I unmuted it to see if anyone was talking. This also took forever.
After a few similar hybrid attempts, I just accepted that I needed to edit with the two tracks that lined up: My local audio, and my local recording of everyone else.
So there’s a lot of cross talk, and a lot of ambient noise (mostly typing) that I’d love to get rid of, but the track looks like this:
All of the gaps on my track were audio blips I got rid of. I couldn’t do the same with everyone else, since the audio overlaps but the spikes, they are one. A soundtrack bed would have obscured some of the ambient noise, but by Sunday night, when I finished the cast track and reopened it to insert the bed, I didn’t have the energy. The episode doesn’t even have intro or outro music.
Hopefully the fun we’re all having makes up for that and you all enjoy the recording, such as it is. If you have any feedback, feel free to leave a comment on Discord. Just in case no one minds and I can edit Adventurous with the same casual attention to detail as the final edit of KD Plays – Guns & Gears.
One final note: I did enjoy this episode. I thought the roughness needed explaining, but the content is well worth the listen.
Speaking of Know Direction Network content, here’s a recap of what you might have missed last week from the Know Direction Network:
Recap of January 18th to January 22nd
What happened last week on knowdirectionpodcast.com and twitch.tv/knowdirection?
Not much, to be honest. It was our second week of the end of year holiday hiatus. All the more reason to let you know what we did release!
Monday, January 18th
Dustin couldn’t make the recording, so as a last minute replacement James Case joined us to play Merisiel in a pirate hat.
We didn’t dive into this because the episode was already packed with players and adventures, but in the two months since we spoke with Paizo’s then Pathfinder Society Roleplaying Guild organized play developer James Case about how wonderful rules are, he changed positions. James is now a designer on the Pathfinder design team. You can definitely see his gears turning at the end of the video when we share some of our feedback on the experience playing gunslingers and inventors.
One of Stellar’s strengths is the in-character tangents. I’ve never seen anything like it on other actual play podcasts. The players are clearly indulging themselves with word play and pop culture references, which would normally detract from the show. But everyone is still in character. No, it makes no sense for Perram’s bear person Enok to make a Charmin toilet paper reference, for example. But because Perram is doing it in character, it doesn’t feel like such a derailment. We get to know these characters better. And these sidetracks are funny.
I do feel bad for Vee, however. She juggles keeping the story going and needing to cut off entertaining content. At least her sacrifice benefits us all.
Recall Knowledge – Unstable Inventors and For Love of Gunslinging
By Ryan Costello
I am not immune to my own pedantry! In Know Direction 241 – Pathfinder Guns & Gears Breakdown I said I was interested in playing or allowing gunslingers in my game. I use my editorial space to correct myself -I would allow a gunslinger in my game- and expand on why I am not interested in playing one myself.
Tuesday, January 19th
Luis, Dustin, and Randal join Perram and I for this chat that’s one part a reaction to our interview with Mark Seifter and Michael Sayre about the gunslinger and inventor, and one part preview for our Guns & Gears playtest.
Luis and Loren are killing it with this series, honestly. Part one was “what is a rolepaying game,” part two is “what is Pathfinder”. It’s the mix of charm, knowledge, and enthusiasm that makes Legend lore such a good show.
Fox’s Cunning – Campaign Agency
By Dustin Knight
Dustin talks about why he doesn’t think a GM should dismiss any options that they personally dislike. He cites a lot of personal experience and makes a strong argument.
Wednesday, January 20th
Alex, James, and Vanessa jam about the Alien Archive!
Hey, it’s me!
I’m ify about being interviewed. It’s different from interviewing, where I just need to know what I want to hear, or banter, where I can say what I want. Being interviewed, I need to be able to talk about what someone else wants to talk about. And I need to be as accurate and entertaining as possible. All that to say, John did a great job in the interviewer chair. I felt at ease the whole time, and he asked questions with a lot of room for me to take them in the directions I felt best presented the answers.
Iconic Design: In the Name of the Moon!
By Alexander Augunas
Following up on his previous article about player options in published adventures, Alex builds a Starfinder solarian with a lunar weapon, a new solarian manifestation in Starfinder AP #35.
It’s always nice to see the return of Iconic Design. Alex writes more Guidance than ID these days, but it was his elaborate and thematic builds that first brought him to the network’s attention.
Thursday, January 21st
Another episode of Valiant showcases Luis’ talents as a world builder and his cast’s talents as players and performers. Plus a frog fought giant scorpions, getting them back for that “I couldn’t help it. It’s in my nature.”
Investing In: Social Encounters
By Rob Pontious
I’m torn on social encounters. I love social interaction in RPGs, they’re my favourite part of most campaigns. However, I prefer organic social scenes. As a GM, when I have to run a social encounter, I find the rules can get in the way of the roleplaying. Also, I’ve had bad experiences with GMs turning what could have been fun roleplaying into a series of dice rolls like it’s combat with words instead of swords. On the other hand, when Crystal Frasier runs the War For The Crown social encounters, she’s effortlessly (or probably makes a lot of work look effortless) juggles the characters acting naturally and still following the mechanics of the encounters. From Rob’s write-up, it sounds like he’s had more of the latter experience with social encounters.
Friday, January 22nd
The last couple of Bestiary reviews we’ve done on Know Direction felt off to me. With Bestiary 3’s upcoming release, I’ve been struggling with how to fix that. Enter Alex, James, and Vanessa with the answer! I loved how they balanced speaking broadly about the book and specifically about the elements that stood out to them.
Monstrous Physique — Langley, Excavator Robot (PF2E)
By Luis Loza
I can’t express how stupidly excited I was to open Know Direction and see that the latest Monstrous Physique was dedicated to Langley. Not only was he a memorable part of an early episode of Valiant, he played a central role in the Guns & Gears playtest, the first official Valiant spinoff. This article isn’t just original flavour Langley, either, but post-playtest Langley. Because Luis is the Kevin Feige of the Valiant Extended Universe.
Preview of January 25th to January 29th
This is back to Block 1 of our 2-block schedule.
Monday, January 25th
The theme of this playtest was “well that’s gonna skew the data.”
I will probably share my feelings on my character and my build in next week’s Recall Knowledge. For now I will say that I loved this character, largely because I loved the inventor. Also, my new favourite 2e moment came out of this playtest.
Recall Knowledge – On Actual Play Editing
By Ryan Costello
Like editing an actual play, writing a Recall Knowledge is surprisingly technical. But it does allow me to post a link to the article I am writing even before it’s published!
Tuesday, January 26th
Every time I’ve made a 2e character above 2nd level, picking General Feats and Skill Feats takes the longest and does this least. Combined that with Alex’s regular complaint that most of the abilities unlocked by Skill Feats should just be part of the feat, I believe there’s a house rule waiting to happen here to simplify 2e play and character creation.
John and Ron talk GMing Starfinder for experienced GMs who are new to Starfinder.
Andrew Marlowe shares GM and design advice for and from other game systems.
Wednesday, January 12th
We’re excited for this one. Pathfinder adventures run on a different tabletop RPG system changes expectations of what Pathfinder is and what can be expected from Paizo licensees.
Danielle, Ben, and Denice chat with designer Jason Serrato about his game, Thug Life, and designing a game with a controversial theme. In this case one he has personal experience with.
Crystal Frasier turns new concepts and narrative tropes into subsystems for a variety of RPGs.
Thursday, January 14th
Who knew the day would come where we had developers for a different system on to talk about Pathfinder?
Andrew continues his series on creating a Starfinder archetype for his original quest line.
Friday, January 15th
An actual play podcast of the Starfinder Adventure Path Dawn of Flame from Paizo, currently GMed by book 4’s writer, Paizo developer Ron Lundeen.
Loren Sieg, the DovahQueen herself, asks elaborate gaming questions of game industry personalities, Know Direction staff, and our listeners.
Now you know,