So you want to be a commentator…

Currently, YouTube and similar sites are commentator crazy. The cost of recording gameplay and then yabbering over the top has come down so much over the past year or so means that gameplay commentary has become feasible for many more people. If you’re thinking of getting in to commentating then this article should give you some idea of how to go about it and the best way to get the most out of it. What this article is not about is how to become “YouTube famous” or gain oodles of subscribers.

What you’ll need:

1 – a mic
2 – recording software
3 – something to talk about

That’s simple right? Sure it is. Go for it!…….. Was it a breeze? Are you an instant success? If so then you’ll probably not need to read on. But if it wasn’t quite as simple as you thought it would be then read on.

Let’s have a look at each of the items we need and then we’ll work on putting it all together. Firstly, the mic – how can you get your commentary done if no one can hear you!? You can use literally any microphone available, from one built in to your computer (if necessary), to some really expensive bit of kit that you purchase especially for the job. But let’s be honest here – for the majority of people out there, you’re not likely to make much, if any, money out of doing commentaries so to begin with that in mind to ensure you keep your costs down.

I’ve personally tried a variety of different microphone setups with varying levels of complexity and success, but what do I use to do my commentaries? An £8 ($10) mic with a £5 ($7) pop filter. Some people use their gaming headsets to record their commentaries and others use more professional equipment – but if you work out the limitations of your equipment you can produce excellent audio results for a fraction of the price. Obviously the acceptable tonal or volume range of a cheap mic will not be as large as that of an expensive mic so you’ll notice distortion quicker from plosive speech sounds (‘T’, ‘S’ and ‘P’ sounds “Test Pop”) and if YOU YELL IN TO THEM. Chances are, you’ve already got a mic suitable for the job, you just don’t know it yet.

Next you’ll need some recording software. Again, you can pay hundreds, or even thousands of your favourite currency on some swanky piece of software, but in reality the majority of commentators are currently using a free audio program called Audacity (Download Link for Audacity). It’s simple to use and that’s basically all you need – but obviously software choice is a personal thing so if you’ve already got something you’re comfortable with, use that.

And lastly…. something to talk about. Okay, I’ve played fast and loose here because there’s more to it than just having something to talk about. I’m sure everyone has come across a commentary and have clicked off it because the commentator’s voice does not work for us. They could be talking about the most important subject on earth, but still we mute them, or watch something else. Why is that?……

This is why: Most people are familiar with the saying: “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it” and this is very important to remember when you’re communicating with others without them being able to see you, your expressions or body language.

One study at UCLA indicated that up to 93 percent of communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. Another study indicated that the impact of a performance was determined 7 percent by the words used, 38 percent by voice quality, and 55 percent by the nonverbal communication.

So, what you’re looking at is that when doing a commentary you’re already missing 55-93% of your effective communication skills. And how people interpret what you’re saying is broken down to a sort of 80/20 mix of how you say the words you’re saying. Before a word comes out of your mouth the odds are not in your favour to be received well if you don’t get your personality across straight away. Which means that if you talk in a way that is not interesting to other people, chances are they’re not going to listen.

What to do? Don’t be shy. Don’t mumble. Be positive and upbeat. Avoid ‘ums’, ‘ahs’ and awkward pauses, and for the love of the baby Jeebus and his little cotton socks never ever say “So…. um….. yeah” (that’s a pet hate of mine, say it if you like, but it is incredibly annoying). Let’s get something straight here: You can make your commentary in as many takes as necessary so if you screw it up, or become a stuttering bumbling fool hit STOP and do that bit again. You don’t have to restart the whole thing – record in sections if you have to, no one will mind, and chances are most people won’t notice either (a ten minute commentary of mine can be made up of up to thirty separate audio files).

Positivity is really the key. An important tip that will help you come across more positively in your commentaries is a really simple one: Smile. You don’t have to be a grinning fool, forcing your words out through gritted teeth but smiling, especially when you’re relating something that is supposed to be funny or amusing will lift your vocal tone and put some emotion in to what you’re saying.

Even if you’re talking about a seemingly negative subject you don’t have to sound like a miserable old sour puss. The most popular commentators have an upbeat and positive vocal commentary style – even when they’re being negative about something. No one wants to listen to someone who sounds bored or uninterested. If you are actually bored and/or uninterested when doing a commentary then either you need to take a break, or do something else. Putting out negative commentaries will not serve you well (and I can promise you that).

You’ve got the technologies, you’ve got the attitude, now what to talk about? That’s the million dollar question. The best advice – talk about what you know. Talk about what your listeners don’t know. If you’ve got a gameplay up then in most cases you won’t need to give a play by play description of everything that’s going on as people will most likely be watching it. So you telling them what they’re seeing will be redundant. It’s better to mention specific points in the footage without discussing the entire game like a sportscaster.

You may want to discuss other things that are going on other than the gameplay. Many people do that with great success. However, you’ll do well to remember “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it”. People will misinterpret what you say, and others will completely miss the point, so be careful, especially when sailing the seas near the rocky shores of contentious subjects (don’t know what a contentious subject is?…… best stick to the gameplay then).

Don’t talk about something just because everyone else is – YOUR commentary should be YOUR commentary, not a rehash of what someone else has said (especially if it’s complaining about something). If you’re starting out, chances are you’re really low down on the priority list for people to watch/listen to so you could be the tenth person whining about whatever it’s cool to whine about – and by that time people will be bored of hearing it. Why complain anyway? Complaining doesn’t solve anything, it just makes you in to a moaner.

For best results – be yourself, and be positive. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Do your own thing. Do what you want, not what you think people want you to do and you’ll be fine. The most successful commentators out there got there by being themselves, not by emulating someone else.

And that, my little satsumas of joy, is that. I’ve been David, and I hope you’ve found that useful, interesting or somewhere in between.

Peas and loaves.

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David Nicol is Articles Editor for, YouTube gaming commentator and blogger based in the UK.

BFBC2 Tracer Guide

Since the patch that upped the usefulness of the Tracer Dart Gun on BFBC2 I’ve been able to get some footage of its usage with varying results. Pre-patch I don’t think I managed to plant a tracer on a single helicopter as it was generally easier for me to crack out the CarlG or RPG-7 and use that instead.

Although the tracer velocity has been increased it is definitely not an easy tool to use. It is easy to miss if the helicopter pitches or yaws as your perfect shot reaches it. In the video you’ll see a couple of times where the tracer crosshairs are right on the target but after firing the helicopter moves slightly resulting in a miss. Although the dart is not affected by gravity, it moves at about the same speed as a grenade round which means that in the time it takes to get to the target, the target may have moved slightly resulting in the tracer over or undershooting. There’s a fine skill in getting on target and anticipating the movement of the target vehicle.

I include my many misses in the video for two reasons – 1: I’m not very experienced with the tracer gun and, 2: to show that you need perseverance when you first start using it. It would be simple for me to edit out all the misses but I think that that is a bit disingenuous to take out all the fails.

The main tips are:

  1. Take your time
  2. Anticipate the flight path and lead the target, or…
  3. Wait for the target to hover, get close, or execute a turn in your favour

Big thankyou to TyeWebb for the link to the War Room app that I use to show Mike Island on Isla Inocentes. To go to the app yourself, here’s the link: –
And just to put all the information in one place, here’s the vid on locking on to tracered vehicles too:

And here’s Geoff’s vid on taking out helicopters using the CarlG – Old School Styley!

Peas and loaves

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The Correct Usage of C4

When I posted my Using Smoke vid to YouTube there were quite a few good videos in the Related Links bar to the right. One of them was Coynosham who also likes to use smoke.

But smoke be damned! Let’s blow shit up:

His channel is worth a look –

Peas and loaves

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BFBC2 Using Smoke

As I use a lot of smoke in my commentary vids I get messages and comments asking about using smoke. As it’s something that I’m actually experienced in I thought I’d make a tip video showing the different ways to use smoke.

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding smoke is whether or not it looks thicker to the enemy. Well, on the PS3 at least there is a definite difference between friendly and enemy smoke:

Friendly smoke is greyer and less opaque than enemy smoke. The example I use in the video is the first time that I’ve encountered enemy smoke so although I feel it is an underused asset, it would appear to be rising in popularity.

It’s important to remember that smoke is a support tool. You can’t use it on its own and expect to win a round – you also don’t get any points for using it (unless you kill someone with a direct impact). Think of it as an advantage multiplier. If the enemy can’t see you and are blindly entering an area you have a much better chance of winning the engagement. You can use it at a variety of ranges depending on what you and your team are doing.

On the attack you can use it to cover an advance, to make the defenders look in a direction you are not, and when you get to the MCom station to make it difficult for the defenders to approach the objective. Smoke behaves differently in the open as opposed to inside. Although the duration of the smoke remains the same the density/opaqueness is different (it remains thicker in an enclosed place like real smoke would).

When it comes to defending I tend to use smoke to thwart snipers and slow down the enemy advance. The enemy are less likely to run flat out through a wall of smoke, and snipers cannot spot through it. A nice wall of smoke will therefore protect your team and the objectives for longer than a skirmish line alone. Although it is just a game there is a psychological advantage to using smoke, especially against players who are more interested in whoring their KD than playing as a team.

Although smoke grenade kills are cool I’d suggest not running around with the smoke launcher equipped as a primary weapon. You won’t win many firefights that way. In the videos that I’ve put up where I’ve gotten a smoke grenade kill they are at times when I’ve been smoking an area and an enemy has rushed at me. It’s more effective to pop the grenade round at them and then switch to primary for two reasons: 1 – if it hits them they’re dead and, 2 – if it misses it’ll shroud them in smoke increasing your advantage in the impending fight.

Lastly – countering smoke. If the enemy are using smoke there are two things that you can do: 1 – concentrate fire on the smoked area, especially with grenades and other explosives. Chances are there are enemy close to the smoke (why else would they use it….). At the very least it will make the smoke route undesirable – but don’t forget, the smoke may be a diversion, don’t get fixated on it. 2 – fight smoke with smoke. Unless DICE introduce a massive fan add on or thermal scopes for the weapons you can’t do anything about smoke except wait for it to dissipate. So why let a smoking enemy have it all their own way? Make their smoke unappealing to them by firing your own smoke in to it. If you thought friendly smoke was hard to see through, try a frenemy mix.

So that’s the boring blurb – let’s see it in action:


After watching this vid it seems that friendly smoke on Xbox is a lot thicker than on PS3

Peas and loaves

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BFBC2 Post Patch Tracer Gun Tips

***There is now an updated Tracer Gun Post here including gameplay video from me using the tracer***

A while a go, in response to search engine terms, I posted about tracer gun tips (BFBC2 Tracer Gun Tips). I’m not a great user of the tracer gun, so I let the experts do the talking. In this case it is oplim77:

Pretty awesome eh?

Although I don’t tend to use the Tracer Gun myself I do have some input when shooting down traced helicopters:

– you can lock on to the tracer while in cover. Just keep your reticule on the box until the distance appears then shoot up, or around your cover and Bob’s your father’s brother.

– don’t wait for the lock on if you have an easy shot. If the helicopter is just hanging there in front of you, or above you just aim and let fly. As long as it’s the same size or bigger than the main reticule line you’ll hit it.

Tracers can also be planted on enemy soldiers. You get points for the plant and also if they are subsequently killed while traced. If a tank is traced, for extra awesomeness pretend you are a Javelin missile by getting the lock on and then shooting directly up in the air.


After Mike did a sterling job with the tracer gun while defending on Isla Inocentes I was able to make my own tracer tips vid:

Peas and loaves.

***There is now an updated Tracer Gun Post here including gameplay video from me using the tracer***

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Building Sandcastles in the Desert

The guys at RoosterTeeth/Achievement Hunter have uploaded a video showing the location of a sandcastle Easter Egg in Battlefield Bad Company 2. It’s on Atacama Desert so I’ve never seen it myself as to date I have not played a single game on that map.

Judging by the location it would seem to have been placed there by some filthy camping sniper, constructed during the time that he should have been spotting for his team.

Peas and loaves.

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Miscellaneous Search Topics

As is usually the case, just as I make a post saying that there are no interesting search topics a bus load rolls in. They’re not particularly earth shaking in their content, but they do represent queries that I think I’ve touched on in other posts, but not necessarily covered properly – and now post patch BFBC2 means that some subjects need to be revisited.

These queries are lifted straight from the search results:

Query: “can i stop people from joining my squad”

Yes….. and no. When you start the game, choose “Play With Friends” and then click Create Squad. You’ll now be in your very own squad, and you can either invite your friends, or head to a game on your own – but people on your Friends List will still be able to hop in to your squad. So you can stop random people joining your squad but not your friends.

Query: “can you get in trouble boosting in mw2”
Officially, anyone found to be boosting/hacking will be banned by XBL or PSN. In reality this doesn’t happen. Personally I’d prefer it if Chuck Norris kicked in your door and round housed you in to next week for being a pathetic douche. But life isn’t perfect so losers will continue to boost and ruin the games of those people who actually want to get achievements and attachments by *gasp* achieving them properly.

Query: “how do you lock on with the carl gustav?”
The Carl Gustav and RPG-7 both have the ability to lock on to a tracer dart. So the first thing needed is a traced vehicle (or soldier). A traced vehicle or person will have a red square reticule on it (similar to the one you see when using a stationary AT or the AT-4) you need to aim your CarlG/RPG-7 at the red square until a distance appears in white letters. When you see this you are locked on and can fire. The rocket will fire by the directest route – so if there are any obstacles in the way (including your own team) your missile will hit them instead of the target. Although once locked on you can shoot over or around obstacles. This video shows the tracer gun pre-patch hence leading the chopper. You then see him shoot ‘around’ the terrain to get the heli kill:

Query: “bfbc2 tracer dart how to use/tracer how to use dart in bfbc2”

Since the patch the tracer dart moves much faster in BFBC2 now so you no longer need to lead the vehicles as much as previously. The dart is now probably on a par with the speed of a sniper rifle round (anyone got any advances on that notion?), but still has no gravity pull/drop off. When you successfully trace a vehicle/person you’ll get the notification on screen and some points….. and then even more points if that vehicle/person is then given a heavy dose of RPG PAIN!!!!

Query: “bfbc2 how to get c4 on assault”
In order to use C4 with any other kit than the Recon Class you need to use an All-Kit weapon. If you’re starting out then these will be shotguns, but later you will be able to access the M1A1, M14 and G3 rifles.

Query: “bfbc2 no voice comms”
…. erm, not sure what this query relates to. But if you can’t hear anyone then either no one is speaking (most likely) or you have the game voice turned all the way down.

Peas and loaves.

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Who remembers Choplifter? While getting my links ready for this post I discovered that it was a computer game before an arcade game which is quite unusual. It wasn’t until after I played it in the arcade back in the 80’s that I then played it on the C64 (I think it was the Commodore). My older brother introduced me to it, and although it was yet another game that I wasn’t particularly good at I enjoyed the concept of being a rescue pilot dodging death in a hot LZ.

Battlefield Bad Company 2 now allows me to relive the 80’s in glorious 3D HD but with a much more immersive experience than pumping my ten pence pieces into an ungrateful gaming cabinet that would reward me by shooting me out of the sky with a tank – an event that is not only illogical, but also pretty ludicrous.

I like piloting the helicopters in BFBC2, although the one you come across most often is the BlackHawk which means that unless you have an ace gunner on board you’re not going to get many points for being a glorified taxi driver. However, the points don’t matter when you’ve got a tidy squad with you and you use the helicopter as a troop transport and mobile spawn point:

Effective use of the Blackhawk can allow you to quickly out manoeuvre the enemy, spot their positions or provide a distraction and/or covering fire while your team get the objectives secured and quickly flank areas that would be difficult to approach by land.

Helicopters rock.

I’ve also uploaded the Valparaiso game to dropbox:

It’s a 1gig file and runs for 28 minutes.

Peas and loaves.

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