Screenshots, Video, Text?: How To Choose Between LP formats

I’m fairly new to LP creation, having only completed one (presently working on a third, lost my second to a hard disk failure while it was still in its infancy). I’ve gone through quite thoroughly over the years, though, and seen a good mix of LP styles: subtitled vs audio commentary, text only, screenshot only, mixed screenshot and video, etc. And as I’ve accidentally gained more responsibilities with age, I think about how time-consuming all the video publishing was for my first LP… It makes me think I’d really like to try other, less intensive formats.

So, do any of you have recommendations for what sort of games lend themselves best to each format? Do you pick a format first and then think of what game you’d be able to do in that style, or is it usually the other way round? And are there challenging aspects of those lesser-used formats which a new LP creator may not realize until they’re in the thick of it?

Any insight would be great!

I feel it really depends on what you want to do with your LP.

Text-Based adventures work great when there is large dialogue trees with little to no V/O.

It also helps in series where the audience controls the story. Where the OP plays a Dungeon Master.

Screenshots are similar to this, it gives visuals to aid the user in this RP. Steering the character in the right direction. Use them in creative based games.

And video is great for games that need to be visually shown, platforming, mega story epics with cutscenes like The Last Guardian. It also helps to have good audio in the process. It’s also the default for most LPs.

I feel that there is no right or wrong way to interpret it. But you should go with your conscience and what you feel works for your game.

I wish you the best!

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I generally go at it on a game-by-game basis on whether to do video, subtitles, post-commentary or live commentary. For slower paced games like Resident Evil, I went live. For something super action packed like Silent Bomber, I went post-commentary. For Furi, I decided to do a subtitled LP not because I liked the format, but because voice would draw too much attention away from the music and mid-battle voice lines going on. That doesn’t mean it’s the only way to do Furi, I’m sure some LPers could carry it much better in voice, it’s just how I decided to go about it.

It’s down to how much editing you’d need to do if it were a video to keep it entertaining. Rule of thumb is many older RPGs, visual novels, and other slow-paced games work better as screenshot, while action-oriented games work better as video.

That said, these rules are made to be broken, and people break them all the time both ways. If you’re willing to put in the effort, no one will complain.

It comes down to what you want to do and what you think the best way to show off the game will be.

I have seen like twelve dozen people say they won’t do VLPs because they hate their voices.

Stop that. Your voice is fine. No. Really. It’s fine. Everyone hates their own voice. It’s not an obstacle to a VLP.

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I’ve been thinking about formats for doing LP’s a lot lately. I haven’t brought any over here yet, but as has been talked about getting over your own voice’s sound is really hard but worth it(I’m a trans girl so I kinda have extra horrors with that).

When it comes to formats I think about constraints that are in place. Like can I record video but not audio? This specific example is in regards to an LP I’ve been considering doing of Nobunaga’s Ambition which has voice, sound effects, music, and cutscenes. But most of the story is told through stills and text and since I’m using PS4 share functions to do LP’s(I am poor) the game actually blocks its audio from being recorded so it is just silent to viewers. Which makes me think screenshot would be much better for it.

A long example but I think it is important to consider in what ways you are limited and to plan around that.

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A bigger issue for someone like me would probably be that I’m legitimately pretty awful at the act of speaking, in that I tend to trail off, stumble over my words, or lose focus, and even when I prepare I forget what I was going to say half the time. It’s definitely something that I could learn to do better at, but screenshot gives me a lot more control in the meantime.

Yeah, I get that. I used to sound like crap when I started LPing and I lost my train of thought more often. At first I did live commentary and I basically deleted my live commentated LPs because they were so bad. Even when I switched to post commentary for my Dark Souls LP I still sounded weird for basically the entire duration of the LP. Though I did get slightly better over time. I’m now, years later, at a point where I’m pretty satisfied with how I sound and I’m more comfortable with doing commentary both live and post, solo and group.

It comes more naturally to some, but for others, like me, it’s an acquired skill. The thing is, even if I sounded a bit forced (even though I wasn’t, it was probably partially tied to me not being a native speaker) there’s still people who enjoyed my videos, people are usually forgiving of small issues like these. And around here especially, I think, you’re in a pretty safe space to just test out the waters and get comfortable with the whole thing.

I mean, hey, even if you don’t wanna do a voice commentated LP, feel free to just record yourself playing while talking, do some dry runs, so to speak, it’s more fun than it sounds and you might improve.

I once read that the way Mystery Science Theater 3000 put together its jokes was that the three commentators would just record themselves making fun of the movie over and over and over until they had enough quips to choose from for each point in the movie that they could splice them all together to make one solid recording.

Obviously it’s more time consuming to do that, but when I did my first LP that’s the method I used because I too was having a really hard time figuring out what to say, sticking to notes, being articulate, etc.

Of course that only works if you’re doing post-commentary, and requires a good amount of audio engineering so your voice sounds consistent throughout. But I’d definitely say it helped me, especially in the first handful of episodes while I was getting the hang of it. As I got more confident I’d watch the recording beforehand and dry-run like @IGgy was suggesting so I could refresh my memory on the timing and order of events.

That’s slightly incorrect, albeit on the right track. MST3K had their whole writing team throwing jokes around while watching the film over and over, and the best riffs made it into the final script which was then used for the recording (to be fair I don’t know how the actual recording process went, so you may still be right about that part).

Speaking of scripts, I write a pretty comprehensive list of the stuff I’m supposed to say in each video. I don’t follow the script exactly, of course, but I’ve found it’s good to have around. I’ve done videos without a script, but that tends to be a bit hit-or-miss and I easily lose my train of thought or stumble over simple words (being a non-native English speaker doesn’t help) so now I always write a script first. My commentary still isn’t any good, obviously, but at least it’s a bit less awkward.

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