(There's a TL;DR at the bottom)
Youtube's a bitch
So, I upped the ante a lot, for several months, I almost literally did nothing else but youtube. I took some savings to pay for my living and worked 7 days a week, 10 hours a day on this channel to get as much videos out for you as possible in the hopes that it would accelerate the growth of the channel drastically - but it actually made the channel shrink. The subscribers increased slowly, but the number of subscribers is actually way less important than people think. What counts are the views and they went down, down, down - which became pretty frustrating over time.
But it was not only youtube, but probably myself too, who made some ... strategical mistakes on the way.
Refocus on game design
One thing I noticed was that when I asked 4 people what my channel is about, I usually got 4 totally different and very unclear answers. None of these answers included game design/game development, which was my initial vision for this channel. That is not good at all. For a small channel like mine, people should know what they return to. At this time, I'm kinda all over the place and noone really knows anymore what this channel is about. Which also puts me under a lot of stress. So, maybe you have noticed, but I'm trying to get back on that initial course again - with 'making games' as the central focus of my channel.
Change 1: The id-software Motto: When it's done / multipart series
The first big change that's about to happen - and that's important for you folks here on Patreon - is that I will cease releasing videos on a strictly weekly basis - but instead give myself all the time those videos need. The weekly schedule was being forced on me by the ominous youtube algorithm and my network (which I'm about to leave) who kind of demanded "weekly videos is the most important thing for growth"... yes, we've seen that this is rubbish.
It leads to me being stressed out to the brink of a burn-out - and maybe even to sub-par quality. I mean, I'm happy with the videos I release, but in the future I will give myself more time to polish what I release and also tackle way larger projects - things I've been wanting to do for a long time.
This includes long and intricate multipart series to certain topics like Metroidvania Games, Adventure Games and Survival Horror Games that go into pretty much every aspect - history, important franchises/companies/persons, game design, etc.
Now - maybe you think "I'm getting less videos for a monthly donation" - and if this is how you feel, then please reduce or remove your pledge to me, I won't be mad or disappointed.
I was thinking about changing it to "per video", but in the end that would not reflect the work I'm putting into the videos. Because I will still work as much as before on the projects - just that they will take longer to make.
Change 2: Monsters of the Week
There have been less Monsters of the Week in the past. This has several reasons.
1. This series grew from a very strong momentum a few months ago. The topic for the first video about PT I literally had (as cheesy as that may sound) in a dream. I woke up several times during the night to write down my ideas and produced that video as fast as I could.
The next topics really came from my heart, it was things I always wanted to talk about, but then the demand for new videos became more and more - and I started to really scavenge for topics until it turned into a "must-deliver" instead of a "woah-cool-I-need-to-say-that".
It's not that I didn't enjoy making them, but I really burned myself out on some topics by now.
2. My favorite videos got blocked by stupid movie companies. The Jacob's Ladder video and the X-Files video got both blocked worldwide and my network didn't offer me any help to get them back online. The JL video took me almost 4 weeks to finish, I literally watched the entire film frame by frame and more than 12 times. It felt like a dissertation and I'm extremely proud of that script and video.
Well, gone. It's fair use, but as a creator, youtube gives you absolutely no power at all. There's no reason for Lionsgate to block that video - I have all the rights - fair use and all, but they did it anyway. As well as the X-Files video.
I've been working on that big Twin Peaks script for a long time now. But this made me abandon it. I'm very very sorry. But I won't risk another blocking - or maybe even a DMCA takedown notice for no reason, because that would severely damage my channel. Another huge chunk of work down the drain so to speak.
--> Monsters of the Week was never intended to be a weekly thing, despite the name. More like every 2 weeks.
But in the future, I will make Monsters of the Week episodes when I have a REALLY good idea - not one I scavenged for, but one of those gold ideas. There's one in the back of my head, and it's mainly about Silent Hill 2/3/4 (Basically that you're playing a serial killer in all those games - I have good evidence ;) ) - and I will make that sometime in the next 2 months (I suppose), but this series will get way less focus in the future.
I really hope you're not disappointed by that - but I want to keep everything transparent. If MotW is the main reason you decided to support me here - then I'm sorry.
Change(?) 3: Gameplay Commentaries
One thing I would like to keep is the format of my gameplay commentaries.
I'm not sure if everyone is really familiar with them, but it's basically a more easily scripted type of video, where you'll just see un-edited gameplay footage in the background and I'm talking about any topic that comes to mind.
These videos have never been huge in terms of views, but that's totally fine - because they're my way to talk about more light-hearted topics and I want to do that more in the future. Talk about whatever comes to mind, tell a bit about myself maybe or completely unrelated topics. These videos usually don't take more than a day to finish so that's also something that feels good once in a while - to just be able to finish something quickly.
More focus on Game Design in the future / No more forced weekly videos / Large, very analytical multipart series coming / Monsters of the Week way less frequently / Regular Gameplay Commentaries / I'll still work my handsome buttocks off
Alright, that sums it up I believe. Please feel absolutely free to give me your thoughts on this. With a comment or a private message. You know I read and answer all of them quickly and always enjoy your feedback.
xox, Ragnar, updat0r