TagDestiny

Two Titans and a Hunter – My Podcast

I have been playing Destiny since September 13, 2014 and poured 1518 hours into it. I have played Destiny 2 since September 6, 2017 and have poured 1063 hours into it so far. I say so far because I continue to play it almost daily. From a 15 minute dip into the pool to an almost 14 hour gaming session where 5 hours 55 minutes of that was our first attempt at the raid, a 6-player team-based activity.

And of course, people in the community have made apps and web sites where I can look up all this information.

Destiny is a lifestyle. It’s the only game I spend much time on. It’s where I went into battle with a real-life friend and have made so many more in the years I’ve spent chatting and shooting with them. I count my friends reaching from my home near Washington DC to the UK, Canada, Australia and those are the ones I can list off-hand.

For a couple of months, we thought about doing something with Destiny. None of us are good enough to be streamers. We’ve not Youtube stars. Nor do we aspire to be. We love playing the game and talking about it. So that’s what we’ve been doing since early last month.

Two Titans and a Hunter is my Destiny 2 podcast.

Two Titans and a Hunter logo

It was Nitedemon’s idea to start it. He was talking about it and I was interested. No1RespawnsinRL was excited about it too. Together, we make a good trio of opinions, styles of play and what we want to get out of the game. We released our first episode on Feb 6th and have kept up a weekly pace. With an extra bonus episode mid-week once since we had a great conversation that didn’t really fit into the episode so we released it on its own. After 7 episodes and 320 downloads it’s been a blast to do and I look forward to it every week.

It’s been a fun challenge trying to work around life and schedules and a 5-hour time difference between the east coast of the US and the UK. That’s been an interesting challenge running with my clanmates from across the world as well. Trying to remember what time it is in Australia when I am online. Am I catching a buddy at the start of his day or as he’s struggling to stay awake choosing to exchange game time for rest.

It’s a niche podcast for sure. And as I tell people I’m podcasting, they ask what about, then their eyes roll as I say it’s about the video game that I play. But that’s OK. It’s not for everyone, nor should it be. We are not gaming professionals. We’re three guys talking about a video game (with occasional guests from the Fr0zen Clan. Motto: “We tried to win, but we let it go.”)

In addition to the audio podcast, we release a video version on Youtube where I take the show and put some gaming footage I’ve collected that week behind it. It’s more interesting than the static image we had up for the for few shows and since we don’t record with webcams, it would be a very dull video watching Skype icons light up when we talk.

I am a very amateur video “editor” and I have all the respect in the world for the folks who do this professionally in the gaming realm, television and on the web. It’s a ton of work! A lot fewer kids would want to grow up to be Youtube stars if they knew the hours of work behind it.

Each week we put out 60-90 minutes of show. During the week, I try to record 5-6 hours of footage that’s clean. Games where I don’t open my menu and switch armor and weapons too much. Complete matches where the game hasn’t errored out. I’m always looking for fun little moments to bookend the show with. A clip of a buddy and I using the same special attach at the same time. A couple of people dancing or doing the same emote in a group. An absolutely epic failure where I lunge off a cliff to my death. I try to find a little Easter egg for someone in the clan each episode or something that makes me laugh (or cry).

After I collect the footage, I open it up and review it, seeing how much unbroken game play I can string together. I review the footage, usually playing it at double speed or more to look for any glitches or things I don’t want to make the audience sit through. Then I split the clips together with natural cuts in the action, usually fading to black between them since it’s the transition I’ve figured out and works reliably.

Then after putting it all together, I rend out the video file which went from 6 hours on my first try down to just under an hour once I better understood what I was doing. Then it’s time to upload to Youtube. That’s an adventure in itself. I have no idea how long it will ever take to upload. Sometimes it’s an hour. Other times it’s multiple hours. It loves to sit at 95% for a seemingly random amount of time.

Once it’s up there, it’s time to name it, add in the show notes from the podcast page, tag it as a podcast, add it’s gaming footage with the hopes it’ll catch someone’s eye or get picked up in a search and then go to sleep since it’s usually between 1 and 2am when I do this. I try to get the show up on Youtube as close as I can to when the podcast gets released.

If you’ve stuck with me this far. This is all to say, I am doing a Destiny podcast. It’s a lot of fun. It’s made me appreciate the game and my friendship with my co-hosts all the more. I look forward to sitting down to talk with them every week and I hope at least some of that comes across in the show. As much grief as Nitedemon (the suave British voice of reason) and No1RespawnsinRL (guaranteed to be angrier on a random Tuesday than you ever will be in your entire life) give each other. We love this show and playing together.

If you are interested at all, you can find our show on Podbean. It will give you the RSS feed to put into your podcatcher. We’re on iTunes, PocketCasts, Overcast, Spotify, and Youtube. Search for “Two Titans and a Hunter” and you’ll find us in your audio purveyor of choice.

Most of you will roll your eyes or skip this post entirely because who cares about a gaming podcast to a game you don’t play. It’s OK. I fully expect most of you to be the Merlin Mann to my John Siracusa. And that’s OK. Because we don’t all have to like the same things. This is my little thing and it’s been a ton of fun to make.

Video games keep us in touch

While I don’t play Fortnite, this resonated deeply with me because video games keep me connected to my friends as an adult.

I have a small group of friends I play with regularly, who are scattered around New York City — they’re all busy with their creative, interesting lives, and we don’t see each other enough because we all have shit to do. But we talk fairly often, the rotating four or five of us. About our days, about our feelings, about what’s really going on. For us, Fortnite is an excuse to talk on the phone. It’s an excuse to stay connected.

Via Fortnite was 2018’s most important social network

This is why I play [Destiny](http://destinythegame.com/). I have a [group of friends](http://fr0zen.party/) I met through the game. And I will never be able to hang out with them in Texas and Missouri and England and Australia.

I barely find time to see my friend that lives an hour away in the same state. But gaming keeps us connected. It’s a reason to talk. It’s a place to vent and ask for advice. It’s a place to compare horror stories and find reassurance.

It’s a place to laugh with people. It’s an oasis in adulthood.

Using Facebook Group emails to post updates

I’ve spent 942 hours playing Destiny That’s 5 weeks 4 days 6 hours 8 minutes 45 seconds of my life I’ve spent inside a world created by Bungie. I love this world and my gaming friends. Bungie puts out news about the game on their blog which some of us read religiously and some ignore completely. In an effort to get the information into people’s hands more easily, I wanted to set up a way to get the new post to our Facebook Group every time Bungie publishes a new update.

I thought this would be simple through IFTTT but they removed the Facebook Groups channel. I learned that each Facebook Group has its own URL and Email address. It’s usually Groupname@groups.facebook.com. However, my group’s address did not work. I had to setup the address since we never had (and didn’t know we could.)

Facebook provides a good article for creating a web and email address for a group I administer. In short, do this:

To create a customized web and email address for a group you admin:
1. Go to your group page and click the … in the top-right corner.
2. Select Edit Group Settings.
3. Next to Web and Email Address click Customize Address.
4. Enter your web and email address.
5. Click save.

Now you’ll be able to post to your group using that email address as well as being able to access and shared the Group’s page directly at http://facebook.com/groups/GroupName

I used this to create an IFTTT recipe to send Bungie’s Destiny updates to our clan’s page.

IFTTT Recipe: RSS to Facebook Groups (via email) connects feed to gmail

This recipe can be used to send any RSS feed to any email address. Not just for Facebook Groups. But it solved the problem I had.

Playing with your idols

A lot of people laugh at the idea of eSports. Playing a video game professionally is a scoff-worthy idea but is it so different from other sports?

Someone spent thousands of hours practicing and playing a game and now they’re extremely good at it. My brother and I poured far too many hours to count into NBA Jam when we were growing up. We kept records of our point/steals/block totals in games.

We could try to blow out the computer-controlled team or hold them scoreless, if we could. We had a blast playing and that was with a Super Nintendo in our living room in the country.

Today, it’s possible to play games with people from all over the world and I’ve made friends in London and Australia. I have friends all over the United States and Canada. I never would have found these people if it weren’t for video games.

Video games are fun. I play to unwind. I play to blow off steam. I play to escape from the real world and emerge myself in someone’s else’s reality. The game maker’s reality.

There’s something about eSports that levels the playing field unlike other professional sports. The ability to play with or again your idols.

Reading my Destiny Twitter list, I saw this tweet:

So I had to check out the video. (Embedded below.)

It’s so much fun to see kids freaking out and having so much fun playing a game against someone they admire. Ms 5000 Watts is a Destiny gamer who streams her videos and she posted a video of the match against the Pint Sized Guardians.

One of the many reasons I love Destiny is because of the inclusive, caring community. The big names are good-natured folks who love the game and love their fans.

Amid all the bad news and uncertainty floating around online and in the world, it’s good to know my refuge is still a place where things like this are happening.

Reinforcements have arrived

There is nothing better than unexpected help coming when you’re struggling.

This is just as true in life as it is in video games. When I started playing Destiny, there’s a lot of patrolling Earth and the Moon. I spent a lot of time and bullets trying to bring down the same level enemies as I was. It was hard and I struggled.

There are some public events in those patrol areas where players have to take down a much stronger foe. Or need to defend a certain point on the map or even chase a band of enemies across the map and take them out at a few separate points.

These public events were very hard starting out. It was a big struggle to be successful. Which brings me to my favorite parts of Destiny.

Higher level players would show up and help!

Reinforcements have arrived

One of the things I love about Destiny is how you can run into strangers and all work together. When I started out, I would meet players 10 or even 20 levels higher. And even though we never spoke, they would help kill enemies and complete public events.

We would point and wave and dance together. And it made me feel so good when someone would show up to help and then run off again.

It is those small interactions that really makes Destiny a special game.

Paying it Forward

Later on, when I was a higher level player, I always go out of my way to help out lower level players. It is very important to me to pay forward the kindness of those strangers when I was first starting out.

I try to always be a friendly and helpful player online. I want to have a good time and help others have a good time too. That’s what games are for. Fun!

Recently, my Fr0zen clan and I were running a friend through Vault of Glass for the first time. It was an easy run because it’s an old raid and we’re now overpowered for it.

The raid starts on Venus, in an area that’s also part of the open Patrol. As we began the raid, we were a person short of a full team and we saw a random person around us. He hung around as we started to play it and we decided to toss him an invite to chat with us.

He accepted and we asked if he wanted to join us. He did and we invited him into our group. Just like that, we were running with a full team of six. And we got to meet another player and help him make it through the raid.

He was a nice guy and we had a good time. Destiny is great for the random encounters you can create or stumble into.

We’ve invited people to our team in the Crucible (a player-vs-player game type). Just like in Vault of Glass, we had an almost-full team and we played a few matches with the same random person. So we sent him an invite and he joined us.

This all came to mind as I was listening to an episode of Guardian Radio. There was a comment from BrutalGear about making Public Events better.

The idea was to add the ability to send a distress beacon out to your friends and ask them to come help you in an event. The events could be made bigger and involve getting through multiple rounds of enemies and then a mini-boss at the end of it.

I love this idea because the enemies always get to call for help. I would love to be able to put the call out for allies to come to my aid. But since I can’t, I’ll continue to help other players out and make new friends.

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