“The end of an era, the beginning of a new one”
With VanillaTV open mic launching, it is time for the last post I will make as head of TF2TV, and the last post from TF2TV. After this post, TF2TV, and www.tf2tv.com will only be existing as a testimony to the past, as an archive. I recommend everyone who has been part of TF2TV to visit VanillaTF2′s website and read the announcement post for VanillaTV.
Before I start, a short introduction should be in order: My name is Lazar “Comedian” Jovic, and I am the current head of TF2TV as well as one of the three co-creators. I Want to make clear to everyone what the reasons are, despite my ownership of TF2TV and its amazing success, to join forces with VanillaTV.
I think TF2TV’s strengths can very easily be described in one word, “coverage”, TF2TV has an absolutely enormous coverage, in the past eight months we have covered almost every event we have managed to get our hands on, from the UKCS Highlander cup to the Tt eSPORTS challenge, we have produced 262 vods on own3d.tv alone, that’s more than one vod per day. One of my standpoints has been it is absolutely vital to get coverage of nearly every event, and because of that we have had issues with maintaining a level of quality during the casts at times. On the other hand, when we did have casts that we were prepared in advance with tip-top quality, there was no good way for us to identify those casts as the prime quality casts that stand out neck and shoulder above the rest.
However, when in the middle of may, I was approached with an offer to join together with VanillaTV, it was a very hard decision for me to make. TF2TV has, and always be, something I will be immensely proud of, and letting go of something as close to my heart as TF2TV will never be easy. But after many meetings I came to the conclusion that by bundling our strengths, and using the knowledge and capabilities that everyone has, and bundling this under one casting platform, namely VanillaTV, we would be able to provide a level of coverage that will be far beyond what TF2TV could offer.
With those words said, lets move on the the main dish, my story behind the scenes in TF2TV.
The barren land of TF2 coverage, pre-TF2TV
Before TF2TV existed, in 2010, there was a bit of a hole in the TF2 casting market, namely, the lack of easily accessible coverage though streaming video (instead of just mumble + stv), a way to view vods and maybe more importantly then that, an opportunity for people to be able to sit down on almost any given day of the week, grab a bottle of wine, a beer or maybe some soda, and just enjoy and watch TF2 coverage. Up until that point, there was some TF2 coverage around, definitely, but while the quality of the casts itself was great, there was a large lack of content. ETF2L radio and eXtv were one of the few content producing platforms around, and both had severe limitations, ETF2L radio was bound to ETF2L, meaning that their coverage casts from other leagues or cups (ESL, Wireplay, ESH, etc.) could be problematic. eXtv on the other hand is mostly the work of eXtine, who is located on the other side of the pond, making it hard for the European TF2 community to watch American casts live and hard for him to do European coverage, or having to wait for the post production vods which could take quite a few days to produce.
so, after playing around with the idea a bit, on one faithful day, d2m, pledge and yours truly decided it was time for something new, something better than the current platforms could offer, something called TF2TV.
The birth of TF2TV
I have never been one to prepare massively for projects, many projects or ideas which have great potential to become these amazing things never see the light of day, and TF2TV was created in this spirit. On the 19th, i had never really thought about creating a casting platform like TF2TV. Looking back at things, its very silly how the three of us came together and created TF2TV. We were all part of the same team, team Vertex, and one afternoon when we knew there was going to be some awesome games, Pledge, d2m and myself happened to get caught up in the spirit, and boom, less than 24 hours passed from those talks on mumble, to the launch of TF2TV and the announcement post on vanilla. Many of this has to be contributed to pledge and d2m, the two of them have done most of the work on TF2TV in those first hours, I logged off around 1am, and when I woke up on the 21st, pledge and d2m furiously worked all night long, and created a site, got support from the amazing guys at team thermaltake (back then still known as fakkelbrigade) with a 1000 slot mumble, assess to their relay setup. Things were moving so incredibly fast, I was part of a project of which I did not go where it would go, or what my place would be in it. You see, while I loved the excitement in those first hours on mumble, putting down our dreams and hopes, I never knew what my task would be. Pledge was destined to become the lead caster, and what a caster he was! On the other hand we had d2m working on the technical side of things, getting the website done and making sure things were moving. But at the time, I did not have a clue what I would be doing in the project. We quickly realized that we needed to get streaming, and that would be ideal for me, decent internet connection, good PC specs and most importantly, a willingness to learn. The first few casts were done without a stream, just a mumble and STV but on the 26th of October, we had our first cast with a stream.
These first few streams were nothing compared to the streams you can see today. My directing was terrible, we were using the tool provided by livestream on their website to cast the matches which was not nearly suited to the things we wanted to do, livestream has a 500kbit cap on the stream quality meaning the image looked terrible, and the channel could only hold a grand total of 50 viewers due to arbitrary limits by livestream. But, even with all those faults, every single cast was an amazing experience, being heard by so many people was truly mindboggling, and we were improving the stream quality as much as we could.
The next few months
In the months since those first casts, since the birth of TF2TV, the way this project has gone through and the support people and our staff members have, we polished the service, switched to own3d.tv, got more people on board, and started improving more and more which has caused some moments which are among the proudest in my life
we have had great coverage from an amazing array of events, we have nerdgasms and Goosebumps during the winter assembly finals we managed to get over a thousand people on our stream, we have been mentioned and linked too many times on the TF2 blog to count, I have casted for over 12 hours in a row with pledge and hugged forever alone guy at maxlan. I have casted at 4am for an Australian LAN event, Shox and Krimson have shined during the epic 5 lan coverage, I have had the pleasure to meet the amazing guys at team epsilon during maxlan, pledge has gone to the ice covered hell is known as Finland to cover TF2 while it is -25 degrees Celsius outside, I have been interviewed by both gamerFM and kritzkast, I have made good friends with an amazing amount of people, I have made my first submission to the that TF2 wiki, discovered whole TF2 communities I did not know existed, spoken to many people who are famous for their hard work and dedication for TF, and not to forget, we have had the pleasure to get in contact with the people watching our stream! We have had people donating to help us out when we need it, people have given us advice on a thousand and one things, from microphones to casting, I have had people coming to me to tell me just how much they enjoy this cast we have done, or sometimes that they didn’t like it , and rightfully so.
It has been one hell of a ride, and while I can’t say every minute of it has been great, I can say one thing, and that’s that these past eight months have been the best months in my life. And I want to thank everyone who has been a part of TF2TV in whatever way shape or form for being part of this truly fantastic and amazing experience.
- Lazar “Comedian” Jovic
Tiny URL for this post: http://tinyurl.com/5tczm9f