Splash DamageBlogCommunity Question: Watching Multiplayer Matches

Splash Damage Blog

Community Question: Watching Multiplayer Matches


Competitive play has been part of multiplayer games from the very beginning, with individuals and clans contesting everything from flags and skulls to bomb sites and entire hills. These days, online tournaments and matches of note are often available to be watched live via streams or TV clients, or can be viewed after the fact by way of video-on-demand or demo recordings.

This week's Community Question seeks to find out how many of you have ever actually taken advantage of either form of match coverage, for any game out there (no matter what genre!):

How often do you watch live streams or recordings of multiplayer matches?

To cast your vote, head on over to this week's Community Question poll and tick the appropriate options there. Also, if you can think of any stand-out examples of match coverage, either built directly into a game or provided by a third party, post them up in the comments.

37 Comments

These days a replay site like www.sc2replayed.com is essential for multiplayer games.
Posted on 20 December, 2011 - 17:40
voted: I sometimes watch live match streams I sometimes watch on-demand match recordings I also watched brink livestreams when it got released. And I have to say that the lack of 1st person spectator view made it pretty boring. ETTV is way better. Another thing that I would love to see in your next game is a proper console, the one of ET is imo one of the best I have seen in games. I use it all the time to chat with other persons, record demo's, change config variables, admin commands, look back kills, etc etc. Most modern games don't have this, which is really a shame.
Posted on 20 December, 2011 - 18:50
Great question! Actually I've watched more games played by other players, than my own in the last year or so. Ive watched the GSL, TSL3, IPL3, MLG (the last 3 tournaments), DreamHack(Valencia & Winter) and NASL2 for StarCraft II. Whats actually nice about this is, I actually suck terribly at the game. I dont watch to learn, I watch for entertainment. For ETQW I played on TV quite a bit since we always made the Semi Finals and Grand Finals every season. From a players standpoint, it just elevates the games intensity, and I tend to play better when the game is more meaningful. From a spectators standpoint, its nice to be able to control the player you want to watch, both in first person and third person view. :wink: And its nice to be able to chat about the cool moments with everyone. With streaming you only have chat. As for demo recording, I always watched my own demos after comp matches to see where I could improve. I was never really concerned about watching how other players play the game, even when they offered their demos to the community. However I would probably be more inclined to watch how other ppl played, if their perspective was automatically recorded within the demo.
Posted on 20 December, 2011 - 21:07
Sometimes on all three option, depends if someone I know if playing or not.
Posted on 20 December, 2011 - 21:39
Who doesn't like to watch people play a game to its maximum? I don't get super excited, but I do enjoy watching pro-level game play and witnessing a future frag movie live ;); plus you learn a lot too.
Posted on 21 December, 2011 - 04:54
I voted for sometimes watch on-demand and sometimes watch TV-clients. I only watch games that I (have) play(ed) and usually only if the commentary is good. The exception to this is Quake 3/Live duels, which I never played much but Greased Scotsman's commentary is pretty infectious. (Stayed up to watch the Quakecon knock-out matches live this year, how sad is that? :tongue:) A dedicated TV server doesn't seem as necessary these days, given how easy it is to stream live over the internet. But you do need good (first-person) viewing tools and a spectator HUD to make the most of any action.
Posted on 21 December, 2011 - 06:35
I love the concept op live coverage and TV servers with shoutcasts, unfortunately you can't watch these at a time you prefer. I spent a lot of time watching vods, but if tehre's a match casted on a TV server and I know of it I will be there to watch it.
Posted on 21 December, 2011 - 11:30
I'd rather watch a live stream from a website than go to a TV server. I don't really care about having my own spectator controls, i'd rather sit back and watch the match with commentary like a TV event and speak to people watching the same thing on IRC or a chat room on the website. I have used TV servers but the last time was probably ETQW and even that was quite a while ago.
Posted on 21 December, 2011 - 12:33
Agreed. But you still need the ability to have both, that way you can have different shoutcasters (of different nationalities) broadcast the same live event.
Posted on 21 December, 2011 - 13:05
Voted sometimes for all, as I don't so much anymore, but I would catch ET:QW TV anytime I could. It was simply the best way to watch a match. I miss that and Greased.
Posted on 21 December, 2011 - 13:37
I enjoy watching the L4D commentary VODs and I don't even play versus. I agree with Tok, there needs to be tools to do all these things.
Posted on 21 December, 2011 - 20:38
Let's not forget also that there are plenty of folks out there who would develop these things for free/dirt cheap. A community is sometimes the best tool for the "non-essential" features.
Posted on 21 December, 2011 - 22:53
Let's not forget also that there are plenty of folks out there who would develop these things for free/dirt cheap. A community is sometimes the best tool for the "non-essential" features.
Very true, yet the problem stems from what is deemed non-essential. IMO these things are polish and round off a product, by all means let modders come along an improve or even replace them later but to leave them out entirely from release causes a big gap which can gobble up your player retention.
Posted on 22 December, 2011 - 00:03
Very true, yet the problem stems from what is deemed non-essential. IMO these things are polish and round off a product, by all means let modders come along an improve or even replace them later but to leave them out entirely from release causes a big gap which can gobble up your player retention.
I added quotations for that exact reason. I find such features to be very much essential, but if otherwise there is always another means of making them an official part of the game on release. The SD community has a good handful of competent modders that care about the games enough to do most all of their work for free :eek:!
Posted on 22 December, 2011 - 02:22
I added quotations for that exact reason. I find such features to be very much essential, but if otherwise there is always another means of making them an official part of the game on release. The SD community has a good handful of competent modders that care about the games enough to do most all of their work for free :eek:!
Sorry, I totally missed that! I do wonder, and I'm not being bitchy here, if SD actually expect this. That being the community to finish off the features. I think my greatest disappointment with Brink was the apparent two steps back they took compared to ETQW on polish, the one thing I really thought they would have nailed is avoiding the six months of patches and features, it hurt with ETQW (apparently also on a financial scale for SD) but totally destroyed Brink. I honestly think that if SD doesn't feel these periphery items are essential (read: properly budgeted for time and money rather than appearing on a nice to have list) then perhaps they need to look at the products they're creating, to be content to release a stunning B+ game than a incomplete AAA one.
Posted on 22 December, 2011 - 06:44
@badman I think the poll question will not give you a lot of information due the people that care to answer. My opinion is that replay capabilities are right if youre looking for the hardcore competitive scene. Right things for the right customers.
Posted on 22 December, 2011 - 15:47
@badman I think the poll question will not give you a lot of information due the people that care to answer. My opinion is that replay capabilities are right if youre looking for the hardcore competitive scene. Right things for the right customers.
You're thinking this backwards. It's been a tool for the competitive scene because they're the ones who get most from their investment learning and dealing with the demo/recording tools. If the tools were more accessible more users would use them.
Posted on 22 December, 2011 - 17:28
Indeed. The competitive scene is becoming more mainstream in that more and more people start to enjoy watching professional matches being played.
Posted on 22 December, 2011 - 17:34
Demo playback isn't just locked to Competitive play, it's also a good way of finding cheats.
Posted on 22 December, 2011 - 17:51
Let's not forget that demo playback also allows more people to upload video content to the interwebs and promote the game :wink:. As we have seen in ETQW also, even the pub clans make use of tvservers as well as large scale community events. More useful than it all looks.
Posted on 22 December, 2011 - 18:04
Oh yeh, forgot about the fact you can promote yourself so you can show off your e-peen :o
Posted on 22 December, 2011 - 19:28
I've watched Live MLG matches for Halo Reach and BLOPS, which was fun and some competitions on Justin TV. I watch more Youtube Videos for games than any other way if I am not playing.
Posted on 22 December, 2011 - 23:33
May I ask what you're working on with all these specific questions? Te he he!
Posted on 26 December, 2011 - 21:06
Damage control.
Posted on 27 December, 2011 - 10:30
Damage control.
That's a pretty awesome name for a game!
Posted on 29 December, 2011 - 20:55
Or a subtitle for a particular sequel.
Posted on 29 December, 2011 - 21:37
As with sports, if I watch largely depends on if I have any connection to the parties involved. Team FPS is a hard genre to follow due to the perspective, however. Having a RTS style overhead view in a corner would really improve the experience for me and probably others not as interested in how well an individual plays as much as how the teams are doing.
Posted on 30 December, 2011 - 01:13
I imagine most can guess my answers :) Shameless plugs in my sig, of course.
Posted on 30 December, 2011 - 07:27
That's a pretty awesome name for a game!
Damage, Inc.
Posted on 30 December, 2011 - 12:15
As with sports, if I watch largely depends on if I have any connection to the parties involved. Team FPS is a hard genre to follow due to the perspective, however. Having a RTS style overhead view in a corner would really improve the experience for me and probably others not as interested in how well an individual plays as much as how the teams are doing.
The third person perspective is really decent though. I REALLY like like what Gears of War has. Some kind of smart cam that you can 'bounce' back and forth between fixed angles in the map. It's really spectacular.
Posted on 30 December, 2011 - 12:31
It's not a bad idea, you would hope that during map design camera placement and perhaps camera tracking routes would be inserted. Some fancy coding and you could have a semi automatic spectator mode (bring back the Quake III announcer!) based on objectives. These are the sorts of things, IMO, that SD needs to do and often are the first things they put to one side. Sure we want a solid game but these flourishes are the polish that make games and developers AAA. 3rd person works well because we're just every day familiar with it and it gives a good overall perspective of the situation. That said 1st person can have a lot of value too. I think (not a dig) that missing one or the other is a poor decision, ideally you'd have that server side demo option where you're able to obtain the entire data set and do what you please. As it kind of touches on it too I'd have to repeat that solid demo, editing and spectating tools should be there from the off or at least have an interface open enough for modders to do them their selves and have that available on or before release. Finally, killcam. I know it just won't work in the current engine but IF you're moving to another engine this is something I really miss from my early CoD days. It just helps improve your game when you can see exactly what you was doing wrong to die without trawling through whole demos. And making the game more accessible is a big objective of SD's isn't it? :)
Posted on 30 December, 2011 - 15:08
aww , 5 with no interest in this ? :(
Posted on 2 January, 2012 - 21:23
You're thinking this backwards. It's been a tool for the competitive scene because they're the ones who get most from their investment learning and dealing with the demo/recording tools. If the tools were more accessible more users would use them.
I stand corrected. Still the poll results probe me right! The ones that answered, almost all answered "yes". If you ask questions "do you want this?" the simplest answers will be "yes", we always want our games with more features rather than less. Other games and companies probe also that quantity is sometimes over quality.
Posted on 13 November, 2013 - 23:59
Holy necromancy, badman!
Posted on 15 November, 2013 - 08:32
well, recording in replay-mode was okay and had low-overhead. contrary to products with built-in ingame rendering, like PS2, completely screwed thus in terms of scalability and response[aside other, impacting suff in client, for sure].
Posted on 8 February, 2014 - 08:05
Most definitely regularly. In fact, almost all the time, whenever I can, when I am not gaming. :hog:
Posted on 30 April, 2014 - 15:41
Retsy, this poll is 3 years old :tongue:
Posted on 2 May, 2014 - 08:56