If you're reading this, there's a good chance you like Valve's first person shooter, Team Fortress 2. There's even a chance you've heard of KritzKast, the TF2 podkast. But there's no guarantees, so for all of you who are new to the game and especially new to KK he's a quick overview of our history and the relationship with have with the communities surrounding this wildly popular title.
KritzKast was first thought up during a clan meeting. When we should have been talking about clan servers and admin we'd be distracted with talk of our own exploits in game and what we'd seen elsewhere. It was no surprise that we all came to the same conclusion at the same time. I've long since forgotten what the topic of the conversation was but the very moment my grinning lips imparted the phrase, "We should do a podcast about TF2" it was met with exclaims from Dr. Zaius and Tempest who had both independently come to the same conclusion. Tempest has some musical talent, as anyone who's ever listened to our musical episode will know. Dr. Zaius carried much respect within the clan and I, well I was enthusiastic.
The show started out shakily. We had pretty much no idea what we were doing. We tried recording on mumble and Skype but our attempts at editing were miserable. We didn't know how to structure a show maintain levels or work with RSS feeds. Everything we tried seemed like incredibly hard work for appalling results. We'd originally hoped to record one a week but that schedule slipped to one every few weeks then one a month. It was too much effort, not at all the fun that we'd wanted it to be and the content was starting to stink.
It all came to a head at around episode 6. In later years we'd use the 6th episode as a litmus test to see if a podcast was going to survive. We all got together and figured out where we were going to go with this; carry on, or finish it. Dr. Zaius had chosen "life" over gaming so it fell to Tempest and myself to lock it down. We elected to keep the show simple, each record our own feeds and stay to that. Tempest, had created an intro sequence and now a basic website. We were aware of our rivals, at least in content, Control Point and used their RSS feed to hand write our own. Chronos had become a regular guest so we used that triangle to form a level ground. B00bies joined the team a little later and his knowledge and organisational skills powered us on to bigger and better things. Before long the very thought that we'd come so very close to packing the whole thing in seemed a forgotten dream.
So that's how we began, a bunch of people who liked TF2, talking about TF2. We'd originally expected to be able to talk about our own clan's exploits each week but that wasn't enough to fill the show and the more followers we got the less relevant it seemed. Looking beyond our own front door we started reading other TF2 clan's community boards. It was on one such excursion that we came across Playstuff.net and your very own Logan.ps (we knew his as Colt Seavers). We had cut our teeth interviewing the guys from Gaming Masters, the creators of PropHunt. We had had to coax Dark Immortal into actually talking to us, the same could not be said of Colt. To this day this Episode 43 - Penguin Sex remains my favourite interview. Colt has an incredible gaming history and shared it with us in such a way it felt as if we were chatting in a pub, pint in hand. If you get the chance to meet him or talk to him in real life, jump at it.
One our our big turning points was when Robin Walker agreed to be interviewed by us. We had hoped for audio but that's not how he works so we made the best we could of written questions. I drew up a rough draft and passed it round, adjusting and tweaking the words so as to be blunt but innoffensive. It helped that B00bies was born an Ozzie. Knowing exactly how to pitch a question brought about the best results and steering clear of the classic HL3 iceberg ensured we didn't kill the relationship with Valve before it began.
Since then we've interviewed YouTubers (Shibby2142, STAR), animators (James Benson, MaxOfS2D, MisterMild) and modders (Mecha the Slag, Drunken F00l) to name but a few. Valve have recognised our work by giving us our own hat the Lo-Fi Longwave for distribution to our fans. The hat was made for us in less than 48hours by Ruskeydoo. He has since become a regular host on the show.
Now we're on to our 3rd website. Many of the things we've had to do by hand are automated, largely down to the skills of B00bies, JimboMcB, Tempest and others. We've taken to broadcasting our live feed over Twitch.tv which works well for us. As a hidden advantage we're now included in the teamfortress.tv site even our mad ramblings before and after the show are captured. We have a HighLander Team, KritzKast: Distinguished Ducks, competing in ETF2L div. 3 and UGC tournaments and we've our own competition. Coming off the back of a drunken suggestion from Tempest that competitive would be much better without soli, demo or scout, the KritzKast Lo-Fi Offclass Cup (KLOC) is travelling the world: appearing in South Africa, Australia, Western Europe and Asia. Another such comment from Ruskeydoo may have spawned another competition to do with spies.
KritzKast itself has expanded beyond our own boundries. We created a podkasting group called The PodKast Company Ltd to handle the day to day stuff and to help out anyone thinking of starting their own games related podkast. We are involved in more community events than I care to think about. The biggest and best that I am free to talk about is the TF2 Mix-up where the community has been commisioned to raise money for charity in the hopes of playing with some of the coolest TF2 players in geek culture. We made a commitment a long time back, one that's proving easy for us to follow; so long as there is TF2 there will be KritzKast.