Some of you are aware that two weeks ago my Mother passed away. She was 72 years old and died suddenly of a massive heart attack. I got the call from my Dad letting me know she was in the hospital, but she passed before I could get there.
To be honest with both my viewers and more importantly with myself, the past few months have been a struggle with keeping content on the channel going. I absolutely love gaming and I’m not stopping. But unfortunately, the process of creating content does change how I enjoy the games and more importantly how the games help me to destress from a long day.
Most of the more mature gamers I know all play games for much the same reason. First before we were older gamers, we were younger gamers…so it’s just been a natural progression over the years. Second, we enjoy the disconnect from life’s stressful moments, if only for an hour or two at a time.
The passing of my mom has somewhat awoken me to what matters most in this life we live. I’m not going to get all “philosophical” on you, but will just say that I have an insight on a few things now that I didn’t have a few weeks ago.
In one of my last YouTube Farm Sim videos I talked about my health and what I had been doing to get in better shape. Both of my parents suffer/suffered from many of the health conditions I’ve been trying to address through diet and exercise. The sudden passing of my Mother has motivated me to do everything in my power to not follow the same path.
As most content creators will know, producing content for YouTube takes time. For now, I’m going to continue to play and enjoy all the wonderful simulation based games I own including Farming Simulator 19, American and Euro Truck Simulator, Car Mechanic Simulator and Flight Simulator. I’m not making any hard decisions regarding the future of the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube channel other than to say that I’m taking a YouTube break for now.
However, I’ve always enjoyed writing and I have many additional topics I want to share on my blog site. Actually I just finished a “Basics of VATSIM” flight sim tutorial which I’ve been working off and on since early March. This will release either tomorrow or Wednesday. So if you are interested in getting started with the flight sim multiplayer environment known as VATSIM, then hopefully that tutorial will help you.
So for now, I’ll do my best to stay in touch via Discord and over at PC-SG. I’ll re-evaluate things with YouTube in a few weeks or perhaps a few months. Thank you for understanding.
My apologies for communicating to you all this way. I had every intention to record a short video to announce my break from YouTube over the weekend. But time simply got away from me. I’m writing this on my flight to Orlando and plan to create a short video consisting of a title slide just asking everyone to read this note so you’re aware of what’s going on. It’s the best I could come up with and I didn’t want to leave you all wondering what was going on another week.
For those who have been around from almost the beginning of my GBS YouTube channel, you know I live a fairly busy and hectic life. If work isn’t keeping me pulled in a half-dozen different directions, my darling wife and her almost never ending project list certainly keeps me busy, busy, busy. This past weekend was a good example, just before it was time to drive to the airport for another work trip I wrapped up some outdoor work which consisted of replacing a few cedar boards which were showing signs of rot along the side of the house. Anyway….
Between the previous business trip, the weeklong visit with my parents and all the other tasks required to keep an almost 40 year old house running…I’m out of videos. I have more work travel and other work related projects which I’ve scheduled during July and early August…then thankfully, my two week long European vacation will happen in late August/Early September and trust me when I say, the vacation can’t get here soon enough.
Basically, let me get to the point before this turns into another novel. I need to take a break from YouTube for a while. This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be playing my favorite sim games and it also doesn’t mean I’m going to disappear. I may actually live stream from time to time (if time permits) but I just simply don’t have the time at this point to devote to creating recorded content for YouTube.
I will do my best to touch base with everyone on Discord and most likely you’ll continue to see some activity here on my blog site. It’s much easier for me to continue to write about simulation gaming while traveling than it is for me to produce content for YouTube.
I sincerely hope you all understand. Life is busy for all of us and we must always ensure we focus on the areas that matter most and while I consider each and every viewer a friend, I need to take some time away and I hope you’ll understand.
More than likely you’ve been a long-time YouTube viewer and perhaps you have often thought to yourself, “I’d like to record my game play and upload that content to YouTube for others to enjoy”! This is exactly the thoughts that entered my head a little over two years ago and I’d like to share my journey.
The Fine Print
LOL…yes, there’s a little “fine print” I would like to throw out there for your consideration. First, this is not meant to be the definitive guide to getting started with YouTube. Far from it actually. This is simply my journey, my thoughts, my opinions etc. on the subject. Anyone…yes, even YOU can record your video game play and upload that content to YouTube. The process isn’t rocket science once you gather a few key pieces of software which I’ll discuss later. But is that all you need to do? Can you then call yourself a YouTube Content Creator?
If you Build it, they will come
If you enjoy classic movies, then most likely you’ve seen the film “Field Of Dreams” starring Kevin Costner. The premise behind the movie was if the character played by Kevin Costner built a baseball field in the middle of his corn field, the players from the 1919 Black Sox Scandal would return to play baseball. He built the field and low and behold, the players showed up including Shoeless Joe Jackson. Nice story, but is running a YouTube channel as simple as Field of Dreams? Meaning, if I create a YouTube channel, will viewers flock to it and will I become a YouTube sensation overnight? I’ll return to this question in just a few minutes.
First Things First, WHY?
I just want to get you thinking about one simple word…WHY? Why do you want to start a YouTube channel? Again, this blog posting is not meant to be the definitive guide to getting started with YouTube. I’m merely sharing a few thoughts, ideas, concepts etc. with you which I’ve learned over the past two years. While you are contemplating on your own reasons of WHY, I’ll share mine…
I’ve been a huge fan of YouTube since it all began back in 2005. I began producing content on YouTube in 2007 under a different user account and completely different topic than video gaming. I produced and created “how to” content supporting the hobby and service of amateur radio (also known as ham radio). Amateur Radio is another hobby I’m passionate about and I enjoy speaking to fellow hams all over the country and world. Anyway, the entire idea behind my early start with YouTube was in an effort to share my knowledge with others.
Having a face for radio, I soon moved away from YouTube and started my own audio only podcast talking about and sharing information and knowledge. When I began my audio podcast, it was one of only two or three in existence related to the hobby. When I finally ended that show almost 8 years after it started, there was well over a dozen different podcasts related to amateur radio just in the USA alone. But after producing an average of two episodes per month, I felt I had talked about and shared just about everything I started out to do and felt it was time to move onto greener pastures.
But just like you, I had been watching many YouTube content creators producing excellent content on some of the simulation based games I also enjoyed playing. It felt like a good time to see if I could create a channel with more or less the same concept I used for my podcast so the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube channel was born.
Of course, I thought long and hard about what could I do that was different from some of the others. After all, regardless of the video games you choose to play/record…the general idea is going to be the same. Flight Sim videos will be about flying. Truck Sim videos will be about trucking and Farm Sim videos will be about farming.
Finding Your Niche
Yes, it helps to be different. I had been watching a lot of Farming Simulator 15 channels in an attempt to find one or two things which I could somewhat capitalize on and say this is how the GrizzlyBearSims channel will be different than everyone else. The first was to establish my channel as 100% Rated G. If you are unfamiliar with the motion picture rating system, a “G Rated” film is considered to be suitable for all ages. Regardless of anything else….I wanted the content I created for my channel to be suitable for all to enjoy.
The second area which I felt important was to be helpful. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that I needed to become an agricultural expert and know everything there is to know about farming. Or worse, pretend to be that expert! No, I’m simply talking about being helpful to those who are wanting to enjoy the game and get more from it. I often talk about the fact that I’m just an IT Guy…I’m not a real life farmer. While I grew up in rural Texas and have had many agricultural experiences which I often reflect back on (including four years of FFA), I don’t actually know a lot about modern day farming. Nor do I really need to know a lot about it. What I know and what I strive to share with my viewers is simply agriculture based on the way Farming Simulator 17 depicts it. Part of this goal of being helpful is keeping an updated list of all the mods I’m using in my game play. Of course, there is nothing wrong with gaining real-life knowledge and applying that to the virtual world. I’ve learned more about real-life farming and I do strive to apply that knowledge as much as I can within the limits of the virtual world.
The third and final thing I’ll mention is remain humble. I really didn’t do much in the early days of my channel to promote it. I stuck to my plan and just produced the sort of content that I desired to watch. Yes, subscribers came and my numbers began to grow. Some stayed and some left. In time, the dozen or so subscribers I had became two dozen, then fifty, then one hundred, then two-hundred, five hundred etc. But each and every time I sit down to record an episode, I’m recording and producing that content based on the original dozen or so subscribers I had in the beginning. It is also why I try very hard to acknowledge each and every comment viewers leave for me on my videos.
Do you need to base your channel on these same principles? No, absolutely not. You’ll need to decide what works for you. But I do urge you to give the subject some thought and once you figure out your niche, stick to it and make it your own.
The Tools I use
At a minimum, you’ll need a method of capturing your game play so it can be uploaded to YouTube. Like most things in life, you’ll find there are a few different solutions for this task. Some GPU’s (graphic cards) may have the ability to capture/record your game play. Nvidia is one of these and provides a solution called Shadowplay a second very popular solution (and the one I use) is called OBS (Open Broadcast Software). OBS is super easy to setup and does an excellent job in capturing your game play (with voice audio) and also livestreaming. I recorded a video about a year ago regarding my specific OBS settings I use. You can view that video here. There are two varieties of OBS at the moment. The first is OBS Classic (that is what I discussed in the video I mentioned) and the second is OBS Studio. I’m now using OBS Studio, but I haven’t had the chance to record a video on that, but will try to do that at some point in the future.
As previously stated, OBS will capture the game video and game audio. But what about your audio. Do you plan to provide commentary while playing? In my opinion, the answer to that question should be YES! Some only upload their game play video without commentary. But very few YouTube content creators can do this is such a way to keep me engaged for the entire video. I personally believe it’s important to have audio commentary as part of your videos. This can be role play based or just talking about what you are doing, the weather, things going on in your life etc. But to do this, you’ll need a good microphone.
I won’t lie to you. I have a $500 microphone mounted onto a boom mic stand which I almost never use. The reason for this is I get pretty good audio from a brand of headsets I’ve used for years. The brand is Plantronics and they are designed for VoIP audio applications. I currently use a Plantronics USB headset model Blackwire 720. Now these won’t be the most expensive, nor will they be the cheapest headsets you can find….but they work very well and most importantly they work very well for me.
I simply have my headset audio configured to capture/record by OBS. OBS records my game play video/audio as well as my headset audio commentary into one file. If simplicity produces a quality product, then why overcomplicate it?
Are there other ways to do this? Yes, absolutely. But remember, this isn’t the definitive guide…this is the GrizzlyBearSims guide or way of doing things.
A Few more thoughts about audio
All things being considered, OBS (or even ShadowPlay) will do a pretty good job capturing your video game play. But you’ll need to do a little experimentation where it comes to audio levels. Most of the simulation based game titles I play (and record content from) have a few different audio controls to adjust audio/sounds from the game. If able, you’ll want to turn any control you might have for controlling music to ZERO. Any music which gets captured and included in your video will be subject to copyright rules. Leaving this audio in your final edited/rendered/uploaded video will most likely get you into trouble with YouTube. This includes the intro music for games like ATS, ETS2 and even Farming Simulator 17. Ask me how I know this? Yep…I learned the hard way.
You may also need to individually adjust audio controls for other sounds including vehicle engine noise, birds singing etc. You don’t want your audio commentary to be lower in volume than your tractor sounds. There is a happy medium and experimentation will help you achieve the perfect mix.
To Record Audio During or After….that is the question!
OK…one last comment regarding audio. I personally record my audio during game play and I allow OBS to capture/mix both the game audio and the audio from my headset at the same time. This process works well for me and I believe I receive acceptable results. Some will use an additional piece of audio software called Audacity to capture their voice audio then they mix the two together during post production. While I personally believe this process will give you more control over your spoken audio, it is an extra step which I simply don’t believe fits into my own workflow.
Finally, some folks will record their audio commentary completely after they have recorded their game play. Almost think of this as being similar to a play-by-play sports broadcaster. Again, this extra step most certainly will give you better control of the spoken audio. But it is another time consuming step which doesn’t fit well into my workflow.
So you have a video file, now what? Am I done?
Congrats! But now what? Can I just simply upload the video file OBS created to YouTube and call it a day? Yes, of course you can. After all, it’s what many others do as well. But should you? I say no….
Up to this point, I’ve given you the basic information you need to record your game play. But if you truly want to set yourself a part from those who just simply upload their raw, unedited OBS output file….then please keep reading.
If you’ve spent time thinking about why you are wanting to start a YouTube channel and you’ve formulated a few goals you desire to focus on for channel success, then take it a step further and edit your videos for a more professional appearance.
I use a relatively inexpensive video editing software called Cyberlink PowerDirector. You should be able to purchase this for around $50.00. I actually use an older version from 2014 and find it still does the job I need it to do. But I believe its very important to edit your videos for YouTube.
Like many I suffer from seasonal allergies. But just because I suffer, doesn’t mean you must suffer along with me when watching my videos. Meaning, I do everything possible to edit out my coughs, sneezes and sniffles in my videos. The other benefit from editing your videos is the benefit of time which I’ll discuss next.
Time Waits for No One
If you are familiar with my channel and my videos, then you know I strive for a finished video to be in the neighborhood of 30 minutes in length. In my opinion, anything longer than 60 minutes is just simply too long and most of your viewers will think so as well.
Just like me, you’ll have lots of competition on YouTube. You’ll certainly earn fans who will watch just about anything you produce and hopefully they’ll sit at their PC’s or on their mobile devices refreshing the page until they are alerted that you’ve just released a new video, but you may not find many who only watches your content exclusively. Well except for your wife, your mother etc. But even then….don’t assume they are not watching other content as well.
Everyone has a limited amount of time. The time I spend watching YouTube videos is part of the available time I have for gaming, recording game play content, editing etc. In the very early days, I used to watch a lot more YouTube videos…but sadly I’ve had to cut back as I have many other commitments. So you must also think about your viewers in the same way. Most likely, if someone is watching your FS17 videos (as an example) they too play that same game. They may also have time commitments of school, work, family etc. This is why the 30 minute video length works for so many.
To Stream or Not To Stream
While the subject of this blog post has primarily been devoted to creating/producing recorded content for YouTube, many enjoy livestreaming as well. When time permits, even I really enjoy livestreaming as it allows me an opportunity to interact with my viewers in real-time. But if you are seeking my advice (and you must be if you’ve read this far down the page) there are a few cardinal rules you must follow.
First, be engaged with your livestream audience. You’ll need a way to view the livestream chat while you are playing and streaming. A game like Farming Simulator (in my opinion) is one of the best simulation based games which allows you the opportunity to stay engaged with your audience. The pace at which you are driving is slow enough that you can glance at your chat, read comments and easily provide commentary and answer questions. Games such as ATS/ETS2 are just a little more difficult, but still very much doable. The key is if you get your audience interacting with you, your livestreams will be much more enjoyable and successful. If you fail to stay engaged with your viewers during a livestream, then you will fail at livestreaming.
Second, This is just a pet peeve of mine. But don’t clutter up the livestream video with a bunch of chat boxes, cheesy animations etc. Yes, I realize a lot of folks like the self gratification of seeing or hearing their name when they subscribe…but to me (and perhaps this is only because I’m of the older, more mature crowd) it just causes a huge distraction and takes away from the main subject. I subscribe to the philosophy of less is more.
Third, operate your livestream the same way you operate your video feeds. Meaning, if you are running a G Rated channel and only producing G Rated content, then you need to ensure that your livestreams follow these same guidelines. Recruit a few of your loyal, trusted viewers to act as moderators. This will help to ensure your chat remains clean.
Getting Rich Quick
With the new rules governing YouTube Partnership and monetization, if you are just beginning your YouTube journey, then don’t count those chickens before they hatch. You’ll be disappointed if you do. Now I didn’t say that because I don’t believe being a YouTube content creator is not a real job. While there are lots of people who have become quite successful in producing content for YouTube and earn a nice income from it, I have a feeling these individuals would find it a little harder to recreate what they have today based on the new rules. But that’s not what this article is about so let me force myself to get back on target.
Once you meet the criteria to begin to monetize your videos, you have the potential to earn a little money. I use the word “little” because until your channel grows and all the other factors grow along with it, you will only earn a little bit of money in the program. But don’t let that discourage you from starting a channel if you desire and certainly once you start a channel, don’t let this discourage you from monetizing it if that is also something you desire.
Be Prepared for Criticism
Unfortunately, haters are gonna hate. There are some YT viewers who make it their daily job to surf from one channel to another writing crude, rude and generally obnoxious comments just for the sake of getting under your skin. For the most part these folks are not even watching your content. They just write these comments and move to the next video. While this is an issue, don’t let this stop you from seeking comments from your viewers.
The Power of Suggestion
Do you ever wonder why fast-food restaurants always ask “would you like an apple pie with your order”? It’s because most of the time when you step up to the counter (or drive thru) and order that burger and fries combo, you are only thinking about burger and fries. You may realize they also sell apple pies, but you aren’t thinking about that. When that person utters the words “would you like an apple pie” your brain goes, oh…yea…that’d be nice and you say YES! Well the same somewhat applies here. During my videos (when I can remember) I generally always ask my viewers to “Like, Comment and Subscribe”. Because if you don’t ask, you may never receive.
Hopefully I’ve provided you enough information to help you get started. Once again I just want to remind everyone that this isn’t meant to be the definitive guide to getting started on YouTube. These simply are just a few thoughts of my own based on my own experience. While I must thank many individuals for helping me start my YouTube adventure, over the past two years I believe I’ve also mentored a few as well. It’s all part of the “give and take” of life. I hope this article helps you and if I can be of further assistance, please reach out to me via my Discord channel.
As always, Thank You for your time. Please consider sharing this blog article on your favorite social media platforms using the buttons below. I appreciate it and I’ve just proven how the power of suggestion actually works. Funny huh?
The number 50 is a pretty special number for me in many ways. I turned the BIG 5-0 just a few weeks ago, but even more important….my little YouTube Channel has officially reached 50 subscribers. Because of this, I’m extremely happy. Actually….I’m ecstatic. I truly am! Yes, I know the number 50 is still very small compared to some YouTube channels. I know I have so much to learn and I need to really polish, polish and polish some more to get anywhere near the level of quality as those YouTube virtual farmers I truly look up to and admire. I truly thank each and every of the 50 individuals who took the chance and subscribed to my channel and will work very hard to improve and make you all proud to be the first fifty.
A very special “Thank You” to Mike (Reefy1952) who (unbeknownst to him) serves as my mentor and personal inspiration.
As we continue together over the next several days, weeks and months….I will strive to do my very best and work hard to keep each of you as subscribers while hopefully gaining even more.
I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. We are now officially just two weekends away from the release of the much anticipated Farming Simulator 17. I know everyone is counting the days (and perhaps hours) but for now, FS15 is doing the job. Episode five of my “Let’s Play” of Paradise Hills finds us just after selling off all our Silage at the BGA and we spend some money….
Enjoy the video. If you haven’t done so, please consider subscribing to the GrizzlyBearSims YouTube Channel and also please consider leaving a “Like” or “Thumbs Up” for the video. It’s very much appreciated and serves as motivation to keep going.
I’m really having fun recording my Farming Simulator 15 game play and making it available to whomever would like to watch. Likewise, I’m also learning a lot as well. First, I realize my voice audio is low. I will correct this, but unfortunately because I’ve recorded several episodes the adjustment won’t be noticed until around episode five. I’ve made an additional adjustment for episode seven which should make a more noticeable difference. This is really the first time I’ve committed to record my game sessions in this fashion. In doing so, I’ve also realized this isn’t easy.
If you watch other gamers who either stream or record their game play, you might think “How hard can this be”? While the setup and the actual process of capturing the video game play isn’t rocket science, remembering you are actually recording a video and keeping the conversation lively is altogether different. But then again, sometimes keeping our mouth shut for a short period of time is also a good thing. Anyway….
In episode two, I harvest the corn crop which is on field 2 into chaff to transport to the BGA. At this stage we are still playing without soilmod. Just taking our time getting the three different fields which were pre-planted harvested and then soilmod will start in episode four.
We are finally less than one month away from the much anticipated release of Farming Simulator 17. Can you believe it? Unless you’ve been living under a hay bale, you probably have the date of 25 October circled on your calendar. Actually, you probably have 24 October and perhaps even 23 October circled as well just to serve as a reminder. While we all anxiously await the release of FS17, we also must certainly be prepared to enjoy only the vanilla aspects of the game for possibly several weeks and perhaps even several months before our favorite mods have been made available. For those of you who only know Farming Simulator via the console, then this won’t be an issue. But for those like myself, the first few weeks of FS17 will remind us of the early days of FS15. Said another way, for those of us playing FS15 via PC (with mods)….we better practice driving a tractor, combine etc. in a straight line without the GPS mod. ha ha
A few weeks ago I started playing on the Oklahoma map and reviewed it here on my blog. I also stated that I felt the Oklahoma map would see me through until the release of FS17. While I absolutely love the Oklahoma map, I’ve come to realize that the map is just too large for me at this time. Unfortunately, the amount of time it takes to harvest even the smaller fields (even with multiple combines) is just more than I have time for in a single sitting. Perhaps my OCD is a bigger deal, but I really like to be able to complete the task during a game play session. I’ve also found that in order for a single player to accomplish anything on a map this large that you must heavily depend on Courseplay. Anyway…
My blog site turned 6 years old just a few weeks ago. I don’t spend my time blogging in an effort to make money. I do it as an extension of the hobby and in an effort to give something back by helping others. This blog site is fairly popular. The site receives over 5,000 hits per month and all things considered, I think that’s pretty good for mostly written content in this day of vlogging and podcasting.
More than once I’ve considered doing more than just written text. In other words, more than once I’ve thought about using video to help showcase the game titles I play and also use this medium to help others. Other than having a really busy life, I’m also very much aware that there are many, many fine YouTube presenters who spend countless hours showcasing games like Farming Simulator as an example. I’ve created a few “how to” videos regarding Practical Soilmod Workflow and my most popular video with over 2,400 views on how to configure BOTH the Logitech G27 and Joystick.
While my time is still somewhat limited, I plan to record and produce YouTube videos which I’ll showcase here in this blog. I’m not 100% certain what the video release frequency will be. But at the moment I’m spending a few days building up a small queue of videos so I can try to keep a consistent flow of content coming out. For now I’m going to shoot for 1-2 new videos per week. Again this is just an extension of my hobby and not in any way to attempt to become a YouTube Partner.
I’ve decided for this first video project to play the Paradise Hills map by Stevie. I’ve been a huge fan of Stevie’s maps since the days of his Ringwoods version of Westbridge Hills. Paradise Hills offers a nice mixture of small and large fields and most will fit exactly into my schedule and game play style. At the present time I’m harvesting all the pre-planted crops. Once this is done, I’ll install the wonderful Soilmod.
I will say this much. I’ve recorded six videos which will publish over the next few weeks. For those guys who create YouTube content on a regular basis…it may look easy from the outside. But once you get started and make the decision to start producing content, you soon realize it’s not easy. It’s not easy to keep conversation going and having something different and interesting to talk about while you are farming along. SO, with this in mind…please be patient with me as I grow and learn along the way. Together we’ll see where this thing goes.
If you are interested in following this series, please visit my YouTube channel. Thanks for watching. Here’s episode #1, Paradise Hills…