Friday, October 12, 2007
Interview with StarCraft English Announcer: DiggitySC (part 1)
In the midst of the release StarCraft 2, hidden in the depths of YouTube is a niche of incredible StarCraft video goodness to soak up. Hours of it in fact. The best StarCraft you will ever see. If you are not already familiar with Korea StarCraft Pro league, their television shows, you need to read on. Wait, you don't speak or understand Korean? No problem...you don't have to. Why?
Because of StarCraft: Broodwar English commentaries.
Today, I bring to you an interview with Diggity (youtube:diggitysc)real name: Zach Smith. Zach is a 26 year old employee of UCSD, in San Diego, Califronia.. We discuss StarCraft 2, English Commentaries, StarCraft as a game, strategy, the Korean Pro League and much much more.
Next week I will bring you another interview with english commentator Moletrap. On to the interview...
Interview by William Hessian (www.zombierobotfrosting.blogspot.com) on October 12th, 2007
DiggitySC, It’s a pleasure.
1. To start off this interview, how would you describe Starcraft as a game, to someone that has never played before?
Starcraft is like full contact chess. In its core elements it is a game of strategy, but it still maintains an aura of intensity. It truly delivers a fresh adrenaline rush. It is a test of how well you can reason under pressure. There is almost something feral about it.
2. When did you start audio commentating?
I began commenting on matches and uploading videos to youtube September 17th 2007.
3. Diggity, you just recently have been receiving youtube awards for most subscribed and as of October 3rd, 2007 you have 406 subscribers and over 14 thousands views, what do you attribute to your rapid success?
I wouldn't attribute my rapid success to my amazing commentary skills (though I am getting better as time goes on). I feel like there is a growing interest in Korean Pro-gaming. I hope that Blizzard taps into this growing kraze and fosters it into something great.
4. English commentating on StarCraft is a relatively new and relatively hidden niche in the gaming world. How do most of your subscribers find you? Where are they coming from?
I honestly have no idea. I know a lot of my initial fanbase came from teamliquid.net, sc2.org and the youtube starcraft group. From there its just been spreading virally.
5. Let's hear how you personally got into the act of commentating on Star Craft games on youtube? Why did you feel the need to commentate instead of simply watching the videos?
I began watching professional starcraft after my friend Noah (moletrap) introduced me to VioleTAK. VioleTAK uploaded professional starcraft games pretty regularly until recently. Needless to say I was instantly hooked. Not too long after that we stumbled onto Klazart's youtube account. He is really the father of English Starcraft commentary.
Some time later I found myself glued to the championship set between GGPlay and Iris. A few friends joined me but they had a hard time keeping up with the action and they really didn't have any sort of context. I turned down the volume a bit and began my first English commentary. In retrospect I think that was the moment I committed myself to being more than a spectator.
Sometime later Klazart left Moletrap and I fiending for more audio commentaries. It was shortly there after that we both decided to start commentating on our own to try to fill the huge gap he left.
6. You mention that you are friends with Moletrap, another Star Craft English commentator, how do you know him? What are your histories together?
I have known Moletrap since highschool. If I were getting married tomorrow he would definitely be in the wedding party. I think he knows me better than anyone else that is currently alive on this earth. We started playing Starcraft together during college. I StarCraft is one of the reasons we have been able to maintain such a good relationship despite great distances at times over the years.
7. Where do you find the Star Craft videos to comment on?
There is a very active world wide Starcraft community called Teamliquid (www.teamliquid.net). VODs (Video On Demand) are regularly uploaded through torrents there. When I need an out of date game I usually rely on Sonuvbob (he is my hero). The people there are fantastic.
8. So what is your process from finding the StarCraft videos, to posting them on youtube for the world to experience?
I do things a bit differently from moletrap since he is on a mac.
The general process for me is as follows:
1) Download a StarCraft video for commentary
2) Convert it to a compatible format for Windows Movie Maker
3) Load the movie file into Windows movie maker
4) Use the built the built in narration feature to view the video and comment on it simultaneously.
5) Split the video into segments that are less than 10 minutes and 100 MB (youtube standards)
6) Put in video descriptions into youtube
7) Upload the vid
9) Remove from oven and enjoy
The process usually takes about an hour depending on the game. Shorter games can go as quickly as half an hour start to finish. One upload took me about 3 hours.
9. Ongamenet and MBCgame both run Star Leagues in Korea, featuring the best Star Craft players in the world. What is your feeling about these leagues, and the way they broadcast the game of starcraft?
Honestly both leagues are brilliant. There were definitely rough times during the beginning. If you look at some of the old videos of professional play you will see guys dressed up in ridiculous costumes. Fortunately that has been replaced by stylish jumpsuits and fitting music.
I really appreciate how they have developed the style we see today. Everything is so streamlined and sharp. The game is really treated there with the respect it deserves. I feel like there is so much lost potential here in the US. That is partially why I decided to start I have sent emails to blizzard and other corporations encouraging them to mimic the Korean model of corporate sponsored teams.
I think having the readily identifiable names like Samsung, MBC and CJ Entus really propelled the sport by giving fans something more to cling to than a screen name.
10. How did you run across these leagues?
When you watch any decent amount of professional starcraft, they are really hard to avoid. I think the point of no return for me was the Stork Bisu match for the MSL championship last season. Every game dripped with tension and the final match was epic. I still get a warm fuzzy feeling when I sit and think about it.
11. What is your favorite race to play with in StarCraft? Why?
I have always loved the swarm (Zerg). I enjoy the fact that they are very basic and very fluid. Its more difficult to pull off a hidden upgrades, but you can seamlessly shift from mass production of one unit into mass production of another.
click here to read Part 2 of interview with Diggity