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    Filming paintball

    Once again there's a big argument over on the nation about filming paintball.

    Once again I'm shaking my head.

    And I killed my PbN account (set a password I can't ever find, deliberately), so I'm not about to post there.

    For background - I have some film knowledge. I worked in the TV animation industry for a few years and trained in shot composition. While I was working there I was also playing paintball and watching the (at the time) NPPL and PSP webcasts. Since then I've kept up a fairly solid interest in what it would take to film PB, why we aren't doing it well, and also trying to understand why people say it's not possible. So I'm doing this from the perspective of a marketing manager (my job), a baller, an esports fan, a sports fan, a disc golfer (you'll see why that's relevant) and someone who actually understands camerawork and has some knowledge of how to make a good show.

    Warning: this wont be short.

    ______

    The general objections most folks raise when you talk paintball film are basically this:
    • There's no focal point
    • Related: there's stuff going on all over the field at all times, so it's hard to tell what to film and you keep missing stuff
    • Related: everyone is behind cover anyway so it's hard to see what's going on
    • Sudden camera cuts around the field trying to capture the action are confusing
    • You can't see the paint, so it's even harder to tell what's going on
    • Paintball as it stands is just one dimensional and boring. TDM is the worst mode to watch in esports and is never used there (compared to CSGO and valorant's bomb planting or Overwatch with the payloads etc), and yet we've stuck with it.
    • Barrel cams are great, but they're in the "too hard" basket.
    Another objection nobody mentions, which is probably worth all of the above combined:
    • You can't see the faces. It's generally accepted in film that if you can't see the character faces, you don't care about them. Only a very few, VERY carefully designed exceptions exist (Mandalorian, Dredd), and even then the writers make certain that every other character always removes their helmet ASAP. NFL quarterbacks are banned from using sun visors for this reason alone, and the same is true in many pro sports.
    ______

    Filming other sports generally works like this:
    • Establishing superwide shot (heli, stadium, whatever), while showing stats or names or whatever. Commentary here and throughout.
    • Cut to extreme face closeups, showing emotion.
    • Cut to medium shot for action. Maintain medium shot for current action sequence
    • When/if it slows down, cut to closeup again, or back to wide overview.
    • After every major event, immediately cut to closeup reaction shots showing emotion.
    • Back to medium for action.
    • Back to close for reaction.
    • Back to wide for overview, and/or crowd shots.
    • All cameras are always on the same side of the field. Most cameras are in a single location, besides sideline cameras.
    Notice what's missing from PB? Mostly the emotion shots, but also the ability to use effective medium shots. We keep using close shots for action which don't show info, or wides, or whatever, and much of it is just accidental. People try to apply the sideline camera rule to PB and it just doesn't really work.

    ______

    Solutions have been proposed and tried:
    • Try to introduce a focal point. CTF, buzzers, AFPL redzone, Moneyball, NSL, etc. - most just fail to actually create a focal point, others just didn't work or are way too complicated to ref, or tried to do way too much at once like the NSL.
    • Slow the game down so people have time to digest what's going on and you're not as frantic in the booth. NPPL, 10man, old school ball in general was arguably better to watch due to the slow build of tension as points unfolded.
    • Speed the game up and make it an eXtReMe SpOrT. MOAR action! More points! More ROF! More like hockey or other sports! Downside is that all the above filming problems get even worse, and now you've got an arms race that screws over the industry as we all know.
    • Related: speed the game up by reducing ROF: M500, limited paint, etc. - it kinda almost works at least in terms of avoiding yawnfests and creating more exciting moments.
    • Related: reduce the problems by reducing the number of players on field. 3man TV leagues etc.
    • More cameras! Drones! Wire cams! But not barrel cams! - Honestly this works to a degree as in the current NXL, but it can backfire. Cutting to parts of the field without context can leave the viewer confused, ESPECIALLY if you break the 180 rule. Breaking the 180 rule can be ok but you better have a literally perfect reason.
    • Airball, so it's harder to hide from the cameras. Kinda worked, especially since it gives ultimate layout flexibility. Also tends to get a bit cookie cutter.
    • Color coded bunkers. Again, kinda works. NXL currently do this and it helps. It partially helps alleviate the 180 rule problems, but only partially.
    • Shooting over-shoulder rather than side on. This works and is good. Do it more. Side on shots are boring and give the viewer almost zero information.
    • Corner maps of player locations. This has pros and cons similar to splitscreen:
    • Split screening multiple cameras. This is actually generally a bad idea. A human can only look in one place at a time, so all that ends up happening is that the risk of the producer missing some action is translated to the viewer, who now gets FOMO about where to look. Not the greatest idea, and breaks all the rules of film for good reason. Much better to solve the camera problem elsewhere.
    • Regulating team uniforms to make it easier to see who you're looking at. This has had limited success: everyone still finds a way to wear overcomplex muddy black/brown/red designs that work in a brochure but absolutely don't work on camera. To do this right, the jerseys would need to be league designed and managed, with minimal team input besides logos.
    • As above with hopper numbers and jersey numbers.
    • Points for everything. Points for the pull, points for the hang, points for shooting people, points for not being shot, points for how much paint you use, points for wiping your butt. Points at this level become so abstract they have no effect on the game, and tend to slow things down.
    ______

    Solutions have been proposed and NOT tried (or, tried in tiny versions but never seriously):
    • Copy esports. At least, get creative. There's a real problem with tunnel vision in PB where people seem to think the only things we can change are paint limits and ROF. Come on people, think laterally! Specifically, modes like payload escorts, bomb planting and so on.
    • Respawns. Force the game to be about the objectives rather than the kills, again like some esports. This would require very careful game design to stop endless stalemates, but totally could be done.
    • Speaking of modes - nobody has tried making the pull worth more than the hang, especially in center flag. I think that would actually work to create more of a focal point, in the same sense that the kick used to be worth more than the touchdown in football or rugby, but over the decades they realised the Try/Touchdown is the part people want to see during the game. People probably had a similar resistance to that idea, even though it's such a minor tweak it shouldn't be controversial.
    • Ignore the standard idea from other sports of shooting from the sideline, and instead move 90% of cameras to one end of the field, looking over the shoulders of one team for the entire game/point. This solves the 180 rule, and creates better angles to see both ends of gunfights. It could work best when paired with an objective based mode.
    • Using AI/UV/something to make the balls visible. This is technically too challenging for now, though the technology exists the 8k+ high framerate cameras and processing required are beyond current budgets.
    • Clear masks. Proposed, but never tried, this is one I think should be readdressed. Pros should be required to wear clear masks - both the lens and the face part. So what if it has to be hard plastic or gets wet - they're all in the same boat. If we don't change this, I'd suggest that everything else we could do is a waste of time.
    • Actually competent game design. This one gets me annoyed. Paintball pretty much happened by accident and a kind of trial and error over the years. Very little of what we have was carefully designed by people who understand incentive balances, timing, psychology, etc. - I think applying some of this would make a world of difference if the goal is a combination of pace, focal point, skill and depth that is fun and cheap and good to watch.
    • Related: really stepping back and starting from scratch without all the assumptions about PB and what it's *supposed* to be. We've got a gun thing that shoots paintballs. Cool. What can be done with that? Forget literally everything else and start there. Forget about the existing market, forget about existing players and teams, just start from zero and see where it leads. Nobody has really done this.
    • Related: do we even care if it films well? Do we even care if it's a growth industry? Why? Gotta question all the assumptions.
    • Barrel cams. At least for replays if not for live.
    • Leaning more into post produced content rather than live. In disc golf this works well and has a bigger following than the live feed, because it's released same-day and is well produced. In PB this would allow you to not miss the big shots.
    • Does the game really have to be symmetrical? Does the field really have to be symmetrical? What about attack/defend, with only one team able to respawn? There are many options that nobody has bothered with. Many of them work well in the woods - I've tried them.
    • A big one: a 3 second feed delay on all cameras and commentary, but NOT on the cuts. The idea being: something crazy happens. Producer sees it happen on a camera that's not currently live. Producer cuts to that camera. Because of the delay on all camera feeds, the audience now sees what happened on that camera a few seconds ago, and it's seamless. This would actually solve almost the entire FOMO problem in paintball filming. The delay isn't an issue - there's about a 5 to 20 second delay on web streams anyway, a few extra seconds means nothing, and to the audience it'll seem magical that we always cut to the right camera at the right moment. This would require some custom plugins and reasonably expensive hardware, but unlike the rig required for visible paint streams it's not out of reach.
    • Tuning the layout. There are a variety of key factors controlling how a game plays out: Bunker density, field size, and player count are the big three, ignoring the rest of game design. A mode that fails might sometimes only fail because the tuning of these big three is wrong. People write it off prematurely. You gotta tune!
    ______

    TLDR; there's a lot we haven't actually tried. We're too caught up in our assumptions.

    In terms of what I think should actually be tried? I have ideas, but mostly this is just a braindump on the background issues.

    #2
    Nice analysis. You have given this much thought, and I assume you want to apply this to filmed tournament style paintball.
    All other filmed sports don't use things to hide behind. Paintball is like real combat in that sense and is difficult to film for the same reasons.
    Any war movie is fictional action. I'm afraid the the best scenes must be manipulated to be accurate to the game, giving a true sense of what it is like.
    Paintball is just not a good spectator sport. 10 or more players simultaneously shooting at each other is impossible to break down into individual real time actions.
    An overhead animated type view is the only way to accurately show the action, and that wouldn't allow individuals to shine enough to become heroes.
    Clear masks would only help cinematic close-ups which brings us back to fictional playing.
    The best solution I can see to make it better to film and watch, would be to limit the team size to 3 players per side. That would quickly evolve into 2 on 1 or 1 on 1, which would be much easier to record the action.
    Sic transit res publica

    Comment


      #3
      TL;DR: You can't show everything, so don't try.
      ________


      You restate some of the objections I've mentioned - but like I say, I don't actually agree that they're insurmountable.

      For example - pro CSGO is quite watchable, even though in theory there's nothing about it you couldn't do with paintball. It has most of the same problems for filming. So the assumption that paintball is just bad to watch is more an assumption based on what paintball currently is, rather than what it could be.

      Another example - Battle Royale streamers are totally watchable, even though there's 100 players doing independent things in the game, and the same issues with cover and etc.. Why does it work? Because we ignore 99% of what's going on and just follow the story of one player. Paintball needs to not so much focus on one player, but get something built into the game that gives us a player to focus on rather than trying to track everything.

      Say for example you take NXL as it stands. Leave the game the same, but:
      • Get barrel cams for replays
      • Get clear masks
      • Get the 3 second feed delay on cameras, allowing the director to better choose which cameras to cut to and when and not miss anything. You don't need to see everything going on - you just need to see the important stuff. Think of NFL where there are loads of people running to different places and doing many different things like blocking and tackling and whatever, but what really matters is the ball. The "ball" is the most important spot at the given moment, which will typically be the furthest forward player. We can create more of a ball too if we design the game better.
        • The delay means you *can* do cinematic closeups without missing anything, but you do those *between* points anyway mostly. Also it depends on the pace of the game you're talking about. If it's ten man you can do loads of cinematic stuff because you have loads of time.
      • Film over the shoulder on one team only rather than trying to cover everything from the side, or trying to cover both team perspectives. Don't worry if you can't see everyone - that just adds to the tension, done right. The teams swap ends anyway, so you get to see the other team do their thing.
      That would at least double the watchability even if we didn't actually change the mode.

      Then, if we were to change the mode to something with a focal point and which encouraged movement rather than just shooting everyone all the time, we could solve enough of the rest of the problem to make PB at least as watchable as most esports. That's not a high bar. Payload/bunker pushing, centre flag where the pull is worth more than the hang, capture zone, attack and defend where one team gets to respawn and it's timed who can cap the fastest, or etc etc. - it's all been proven to work. Those all create a focal point, meaning, a point around which the most important action happens.

      Like, I don't care if a back player shoots another back player. At least, no more than I care that someone off to the side got blocked in football. It's important, but to get engaged with the game I don't need to know it. I just need to know what's happening with the ball. We can do the same, even if there's no physical ball. We just need to stop trying to show everything. Go over it between points with the breakdowns and whatever, but during the action it's not that important.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by vijil View Post
        Like, I don't care if a back player shoots another back player.
        I've pondered this point as well. For me, if something happens I don't care about, then really it shouldn't be there at all.

        Strip it down. Way down. 2 on 2. Less sports team now, more wrestling tag team. Really play that aspect up in player interviews before and after the game. Naturally with so few players we're going straight elimination, but pulling off a come from behind victory should be a an exciting and fairly common occurrence.

        Each pair will have a designated color scheme, but each player will have a visually distinct uniform. Hire some graphic designers to come up with some cool designs. DO NOT LET THE PLAYERS DESIGN THEIR UNIFORMS. The point is that player John "Maddog" Doe is instantly recognizable from any camera angle and won't be confused for his teammate. This gets us around the not clear mask issue a bit. Been rewatching the old Clone Wars cartoon. With so many characters being literal clones of each other wearing identical full face helmets 90% of the time you'd think developing emotional attachments with the characters would be difficult, but key clone characters had their own stylized uniforms with distinct patterns, making them instantly recognizable. Doing something like this with the players will also give you tons of merchandizing opportunities.

        Microphone the players, let them communicate between teammates so it's not an indecipherable yell, and lets the audience listen in.

        Remote reffing. You'll have cameras on all the players all the time (since there's only 4 of them on the field). When the booth records a hit have them remotely turn off that players gun. Have a red light flash on the grip or hopper or something. You'll be replaying the hit in slowmo for the audience, better make sure the player doesn't screw it up by not calling out. This means all the guns are electro, but you can then set the rate of fire to whatever works best for the show. Maybe slow 5 bps semi, maybe full auto 15 bps, do some test games and focus group the results with test audiences.

        Individual games may end up rather quick, so treat each as a point for a set amount of play time.

        Tacticool up the field a bit. Make sure the vibe is at least kind of sci-fi, not 10 year old's birthday bouncy castle.

        Bunker design should move the players forward. So low bunkers in the back, with taller bunkers in the middle. Have an open no-mans-land in the middle if players move forward too fast. Ideally you'll want more movement than shooting. If players just camp and "burn lanes" that's just wasted footage. This hasn't been an issue in 1 on 1 and 2 on 2 games I've been in, so it's not too much of a worry.

        More later once I sleep on it a bit.

        Comment


          #5
          I partially agree. That said, there's value in having layers of depth. You want the upfront action, but then you want to be able to analyse why the things happened, and see more complexity as you dig deeper. Just like in football or other sports, the number of players on field and the unfilmed action allows this. It gives commentators things to talk about between points, and avoids things becoming one dimensional.

          The ultimate take on the idea of minimising things is 1v1. Having more points for a tag when you've moved up was an attempt to add depth and decision making risk/reward play to the ProTour PB thing, and I think it's definitely better than straight DM, but it still lacks the depth you can get from more players.

          Another way to get depth with fewer players is respawns, of course. I think we should seriously consider respawn formats in PB, especially alongside objective based formats. It adds depth without adding too much to see. How you tactically work with respawns affects the game a lot - if each player just runs off, spawns, and runs back in, then their team will normally lose in something like overwatch. You have to wait for more teammates to show up before diving in, but the wait cedes territory, and so that whole dynamic is interesting. Do you have unlimited respawns, or limited? Can you sub out when you respawn? How do you force a time delay so players don't just tap right back in, and how do you make sure there's still a good reason to shoot someone? I think it would work.

          Comment


            #6
            That's an excellent analysis, and follows what I've often thought, myself. (Spoiler: Not an expert at playing, video, editing, etc. )

            The biggest hurdle- besides the noncentralized action- is simple cost. Many of the proposed solutions basically mean more cameras, more equipment to coordinate said cameras, more people to run them, experts at on-the-fly editing and scene shifting, and so on. That's a huge extra expenditure- who's going to pay for it?

            No one wants to broadcast paintball, even the streaming sources begging for extra content. I realize it's kind of a chicken-and-the-egg situation, because up 'til now, most gameplay has been frankly kind of boring to anyone who isn't an enthusiast, but even still. Paintball is such a niche market that there's simply nowhere near enough real interest to bother broadcasting it.

            And without ad revenue, no one's going to pay for those fancy cameras and other gear.

            As for different, potentially more video-friendly game formats... actually, yes, we HAVE tried a ton of them. Maybe not specifically for video, and I'm not saying we've tried every possible combination, but really, in the forty years the sport's been around, players have tried thousands of different combinations. 1-on-1, 2-on-2, 3-man, 5, 7, 10, 15, etc. Stock, pump, semi, open or limited paint, limited or open ROF, woods, indoor, CQB, airball... We've tried where peripheral hits don't count, timed games, 24 hour games, one flag, two flags, five flags, no flags... The old ESPN games had a 30-minute event where some of the players couldn't advance past a certain point until X time into the game. (And those bunkers were specifically designed and oriented to improve video angles.)

            The base of the game is Player A tries to shoot Player B, within allotted time C. There's thousands of different ways to accomplish that, but really, unless it's 1-on-1, the game will inherently involve decentralized action. And the only way to cover said action is with expensive equipment and manpower, that no one really wants to pay for.

            And, if you do come up with some fun new way to change the sport enough to make the video easier and better... well, how much will you have changed it from the basic game? Change it too much and even the paintball players might tend to lose interest.

            Doc.
            Doc's Machine & Airsmith Services: Creating the Strange and Wonderful since 1998!
            The Whiteboard: Daily, occasionally paintball-related webcomic mayhem!
            Paintball in the Movies!

            Comment


              #7
              In auto racing, you never see the driver's face, but can definitely feel the intensity of the moment from the way it is filmed. You can't see the participant at all actually until you go to an in-car cam.

              Check out an F1 broadcast sometime, excellent balance of cinematography, technical analysis, play-by-play you name it. And you never see the participant until the end. Several focal points of action and they keep you very informed about what is happening all over the track.

              We wound up with xball because it was supposed to be more film/tv friendly. The game was just fine to play before that.

              Comment


              • vijil
                vijil commented
                Editing a comment
                This is fair.

                That said, F1 has masses (and I mean masses) of BRoll and interviews and lifestyle docos and netflix series etc. to make up the difference. They have the budget that if it wasn't a good show you'd be seriously concerned.

              #8
              Originally posted by DocsMachine View Post
              Paintball is such a niche market that there's simply nowhere near enough real interest to bother broadcasting it.
              I think this is the big takeaway. I think even if you did all the various things that OP described and did them exactly right, it still wouldn't be enough to garner a healthy interest in people who aren't already big into paintball. Take my opinions with a grain of salt though because I don't really enjoy watching any sports.
              💀Keeper of the Ointments, Ragnastock💀

              Comment


              • Chuck E Ducky

                Chuck E Ducky

                commented
                Editing a comment
                I agree I been playing for 20+ years and I enjoy watching any sport “live”. I have zero desire to watch others play on TV /Stream. (Outside of learning better plays for a specific event) They all seem boring to me MLB NFL Basketball all of em. Why watch when I could play it. Someone who has no idea what is going on is very unlikely to watch outside of “oh that looks cool” and move on. Scenario ball films much better and it’s more likely to draw new players to the sport. If that is the goal.

              #9
              "Change it too much and even the paintball players might tend to lose interest."

              Well, see, I don't care really. That's fine. The traditional speedball core is pretty toxic. If the core of PB as it stands doesn't work, then I have no problem starting from scratch in principle. The issue would be the risk of course. Take overwatch - shooting is a big part of it, but the core of the game is the objective. Shooting plays the role of tackling in football, where it's a means to an end but not the end in itself. Personally that's how I'd like to see paintball, but that's just me and YMMV. I'm the guy who runs around without a gun, trying to get the flag.

              "we HAVE tried a ton of them" (modes)

              Well.. kindof. We've tried various combinations of the big four factors - bunker density/shape, field size, fire volume and player count. These are the obvious ones. Objective based formats (ie with focal points) have been much less tried from a watchability perspective. They certainly have been tried, but not to the same extent, and generally they're tried once or twice without tuning or proper beta testing and that's it. Most of the time they're an afterthought. (buzzers...). Objective based modes tend to be more used in woodsball. Maybe that's why I like woodsball more these days.

              "cost..."

              Yeah, I understand this. That said, besides live streaming from barrel cams, there's nothing I've mentioned that's particularly more expensive than what's out there already. The 3 second delay thing is mostly a software issue - even using existing casters with little or no extra training it would improve things. The rest is just camera placement and a few ideas about when to choose which shot. In some ways it gets easier.

              "Paintball is such a niche market that there's simply nowhere near enough real interest to bother broadcasting it."

              I don't care about TV broadcast. I'm thinking entirely in terms of improving streaming. TV is basically dead. Twitch and youtube are the future, and they're what turns niche into less niche.

              I'll say this - streaming is a marketing channel. It is not a product. If the stream is PPV especially on finals day, you might as well forget about the whole thing. Better to have one endzone camera and no commentary, but free on twitch and youtube and FB, than 32 cameras and a pro commentary crew and all the graphics in the world... and a paid stream.

              Marketing paintball... well that's a whole different topic.

              Comment


                #10
                The statements "I don't care if paintballers lose interest" and wanting to put it on YouTube are almost, but not quite, mutually exclusive.

                When I said "broadcast", I did in fact mean things like streaming, YT, Vimeo, etc. The term is simply a holdover, like saying you're "filming" something.

                The fact is, it doesn't matter what medium you intend to distribute it in or on, the whole idea here is to make it more watchable. Talking about making paintball more watchable, but being unconcerned if paintball players show any interest or not, is rather contradictory. It's like buying a McDonalds franchise and not caring if anyone buys any food.

                And again, making it watchable is a laudable goal. But to do it was you say would be expensive, and without what few day-to-day players we have to watch it, it's a lost cause before it even starts.

                Doc.
                Doc's Machine & Airsmith Services: Creating the Strange and Wonderful since 1998!
                The Whiteboard: Daily, occasionally paintball-related webcomic mayhem!
                Paintball in the Movies!

                Comment


                • vijil
                  vijil commented
                  Editing a comment
                  It's generally called a pivot, or at least a partial pivot. Similar product, new market. Obviously I'm referring to ignoring the current PB market, new players would be another matter.

                  More like McDonald's aiming for a different demo with a tweaked product.

                  Absolutely it would be risky - but only in the sense that any new idea with a new target market is risky. Could totally flop. That's just how it goes.

                  The ins and outs of market selection, approach, segments, business cases etc. isn't something I've worked through in detail for paintball, but it is my day job so I suppose I could have a go at some point. I'd guess that the best current market to appeal to would be the teenage gamer demographic, as we currently have minimal appeal or reach there and it's massive. Most of my ideas are built around that. I totally get that this would mean ignoring the mcarterbrown demo... but I'm ok with that ;p
                  Last edited by vijil; 07-13-2021, 06:32 PM.

                #11
                Try to make the finished product look as much like a cinematic gunfight as possible and work backwards from there.

                That means fewer players (3 on 3?) that start far enough away and with significant cover from the other team that they don't know when they will encounter them. The field should be designed so that a viewer can instantly tell how far up or back a player is- either through thematic or color-based cues (one side could be blue in color and progressively get more red as you get to other side, possibly through lighting). All players should be mic'ed, and the editing should cinematically tell the story of how each player found each other on the field. ​​​​​​

                Comment


                  #12
                  What it all boils down to is cost.

                  There’s just not enuff profit or interest in paintball to make filming paintball worth it. Who is your target audience? for all that investment

                  Paintball was reinvented before for the sake of spectatorship. That why we have speedball. And for a while it worked as the sport was far larger and rapidly growing. People tuned into the tv to see what all the buzz was. But today paintballs much smaller and much more akin to bowling. Bowling is easy to film. But you don’t see a lot of people watching that.

                  The biggest thing we can do to make filming paintball better is get more people into playing. The larger the interest in paintball the larger the potential audience and thus the larger potential profit for filming.
                  AGD 68 Automag, AGD ULE 68 Automag, Azodin KDII, Azodin KPII, GOG V1 eNMEy, Sheridan PGP2K, Tippmann Pro/Carbine, Tippmann SL68II, Umarex TR50.

                  Comment


                    #13
                    It's generally called a pivot, or at least a partial pivot. Similar product, new market. Obviously I'm referring to ignoring the current PB market, new players would be another matter.
                    -In my opinion, that's even worse. Basically it'd be advertised as paintball, but isn't, in fact, actually paintball. You'd be turning off the enthusiasts who wanted to see paintball, and you wouldn't attract those who have no interest in the sport.

                    If you're going to try something new, in my opinion, go entirely new.

                    More like McDonald's aiming for a different demo with a tweaked product.
                    -It's worth noting that Mickey-D's tried exactly that, "upgrading" their menu with fancy "artisan" ingredients and pretentious wanna-be-Starbucks coffees. Went over like a lead balloon, despite the fact those same things sold like the proverbial hotcakes in their respective markets. Except people don't go to MickDeez for artisan chicken sandwiches and $7-a-cup coffees. They want gut-bomb burgers, a cardboard sleeve full of greasy fries, and a Diet Coke because they're trying to cut back.

                    Ditto people wanting to watch a paintball game. You tell them it's paintball, but then show is actually about people trying to play underwater poker where they have to win a hand to restart their air supply, you're not going to keep the paintball market and you're not going to attract the non-paintball viewer either.

                    Absolutely it would be risky - but only in the sense that any new idea with a new target market is risky. Could totally flop. That's just how it goes.
                    -Yessir. And the further you get from "the real thing", the riskier it becomes.

                    You're talking about two premises here: The first is to improve how existing games are recorded, to make the resulting video better, more exciting and easier to follow. The second is to change the game so significantly that it's both easier to record, and perhaps appeals to a wider range of viewers.

                    The former is comparatively safe, the latter is extremely risky.

                    Doc.
                    Doc's Machine & Airsmith Services: Creating the Strange and Wonderful since 1998!
                    The Whiteboard: Daily, occasionally paintball-related webcomic mayhem!
                    Paintball in the Movies!

                    Comment


                      #14
                      Yep, those are the two things I'm looking at. Filming, and the game itself.

                      I think I've made an OK case for some tweaks to how filming is done, but mode is always going to be trickier.

                      I think maybe you overstate the changes I'd propose making to the game. Paintball has had everything over the years - from battle royale (the first game, after all) through 10 man, 7 man, Xball, AFPL Redzone, NSL, a bunch of others. That's ignoring woodsball. Do you really think (for example, I'm making this up) speedball with respawns and a flag with a point for the pull is *that* big a change? There's also the demographic - kids now understand bomb planting, payload shifting, objective modes in a way they just didn't ten years ago, thanks to gaming. So I disagree that a new objective based format would be "not paintball".

                      Re McDonalds - interesting point. Here in NZ they did exactly that. $19 combos, gourmet burgers. In *this* market it's an absolute hit. Not so much the coffee (starbucks failed miserably here because their coffee sucks). They're by far the highest end of the big fast food restaurants and they're absolutely raking in the cash. So the lesson is more about risk and knowing your market.

                      I get it though. I helped design the HK Pro Tour 1v1 format. It was an attempt to make 1v1 more interesting than just a pure gunfight. It didn't really work. I can own that.

                      Maybe there's a bigger question here too about top-down vs bottom-up. Talking about filming paintball and pro modes and etc. is all top down.

                      Bottom up would mean you gradually design and refine your ideas at the grassroots level, perhaps with a weeknight social league in the city for the professional crowd, a few beginner teams playing over a bunch of weeks like social league soccer. Rental markers, hopperball, maybe even 50 cal. Gradually expand to get other fields involved, eventually create divisions with promotion/relegation, and then the social players become your core audience to watch the eventual top teams go at it. Set up a small webcast (cheap but very carefully done), gradually introduce prizes, and if (low risk here) the format is good and appealing, you'll be able to grow naturally. Eventually, who knows. That would be my preferred approach. No harm no foul if it doesn't work.
                      Last edited by vijil; 07-15-2021, 12:16 AM.

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                        #15
                        Why does paintball HAVE to be filmed like other sports, and why does it HAVE to be televised? Why does it HAVE to be in the Olympics? Why does it HAVE to offer million dollar professional salaries like NFL and MLB?

                        I'm totally ok with paintball being niche, and staying niche. I don't care for mainstream sports, but I love paintball. I don't want that money-centric focus ruining what I love. I'm more than content with GoSports broadcastings, and the small-time classic mech streams on YouTube and Facebook. I love the way Alabaster Slim, Nightmare, and Hidden Hedgehog present scenario games on YouTube, with a dramatic FPS perspective. I love what's going on right now with paintball and paintball media. I think ESPN coverage of the sport would only bastardize and dilute what we have.

                        Paintball isn't like any other sport. We shouldn't be forcing it to be like every other sport.

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                        • Brokeass_baller
                          Brokeass_baller commented
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                          Don't get me wrong, I LOVED seeing those Smart Parts World Championship games on ESPN. I loved waking up on Saturday mornings and watching that PB2Xtremes show every week. I thought it was great. But we have so many more and different mediums at our disposal now. Let's not dismiss what we currently have because it doesn't fit the typical sports coverage protocol.

                        • vijil
                          vijil commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Hey I actually agree. It doesn't have to be streamed, it doesn't have to be anything. I actually think paintball definitely should *not* be in the olympics, but that's more because the olympics are a sad corrupt joke than anything to do with PB. Don't want ESPN or outside influence - the internet means you can maintain creative control.


                          IMO better formats to watch would also happen to make the game more fun, and I was always annoyed that nobody believed it was possible to pull off.
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