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EDITIONS
 Monday, 10 June, 2002, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
Shouting about online games
Tribes2 screenshot, Vivendi
Online gaming growing in popularity
Online gaming is rapidly becoming a sport. It has teams that vie for cash and trophies in tournaments and it even has spectators and commentators. Online game commentator Niall Chadwick reveals all.

What kind of fool would commentate on an online computer game?

Well this one does, but let me tell you more about why I do it, and what is involved.

Commentating, or Shoutcasting as it is known, on online games, particularly ones that are fast paced, is very much like commentating on a football match.

All the listeners are well aware of the game itself, the rules and the surface, or map, upon which the game is played.

What differs from game to game is the tactics used by the teams, the individual plays used to get an advantage.

Ego boost

Like most sports there is an atmosphere generated around the game, such as anticipation of a forthcoming match. As a commentator, it is up to you to bring that feeling to the people that are listening.

Niall Chadwick, Shoutcaster
Niall aka Chadman online
Many people have likened online gaming, usually referring to first person shooters like Quake, to a sport.

Certainly a good deal of dedication and time is needed to improve your gaming skills.

One reason why online commentating on games is proving popular is because players like to hear their name being mentioned during the broadcast, maybe during a particularly good play, or during a display of individual skill.

Call it egotistical if you will, but many players would admit that it is nice to see the hard work and dedication they have been putting in being appreciated and noticed by someone observing the game.

Team talk

Using a program called Internet Relay Chat, the broadcaster has immediate contact with his listeners, allowing feedback and comments on the broadcast.

It also allows a commentator to involve his listeners to a degree not often seen in conventional radio.

Tribes2 screenshot, Vivendi
Tribes2 is one of the games that Niall has Shoutcasted
There are even programs that allow players to "call in" to a show, and comment on a gaming issue, the game just played, or any other subject, very similar to talk radio stations.

Many people ask: "How hard can it be to commentate on a game?"

But it's not as easy as you might think.

One thing that becomes clear is how quickly you can run out of things to say. As a broadcaster, you need to entertain the listeners, even when there is nothing happening.

That is when it becomes hardest to maintain a decent flow of words, as the action grinds to a painful halt.

But as you become more experienced, you form friendships with the people that you commentate about. This helps you to relax and make the broadcasts seem more natural.

See also:

21 May 02 | Entertainment
30 Apr 02 | Science/Nature
29 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
31 May 02 | Science/Nature
06 Jun 02 | Science/Nature
02 Apr 02 | Science/Nature
16 May 02 | Science/Nature
09 Jun 02 | Technology
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