This post will go over some thoughts in general on my project Starcraft Jeopardy. If you're just interested in the plan going forward, skip to the bottom for the summary.
If I had to describe my feelings about Starcraft Jeopardy 9 episodes and 3 months after the premiere of the project in a single word it would be: whelmed. There have been parts that have been incredible, surpassed even the best of my imagination. There have been parts that have been disappointing to me. And overall, I'm satisfied.
First, let's briefly addressed what worked:
- The idea. Just the concept behind Starcraft Jeopardy. I've yet to encounter a person who said "Trivia with the Starcraft Community? What a stupid idea!". Across the board, the reception to the show has been positive. It's a unique, fresh concept that most people are very excited about.
- The execution. Am I tooting my own horn to say I write good software to solve problems? I could have written questions in a powerpoint or spreadsheet and had the contestants raise their hand when they want to answer, but more than just doing this I wanted to do this fluidly in a way that was great for contestants, host, and viewers. For those of you that haven't played, I wrote up a webapp that keeps the entire Jeopardy board and buzzer system in sync with all contestants, while accounting for latency. It keeps the game active and makes each contestant feel like they're the centre of the show. I'm really proud of this.
- The Writing. Sure, we've had some duds. We've had some incorrect answers, including a very embarassing incorrect final jeopardy. But overall, we've had questions written with jeopardy-style cleverness and wordplay with broad strokes of types of knowledge, as well as types of responses. The span of questions usually keeps the shows active and pithy, and are another source of pride for me.
- The direct support. Fans of the show have opened their wallet to keep it going. Our Patreon is doing very successfully, so we're not bleeding money anymore. We haven't recouped our initial investment, and when you add on some of the value-added stuff I did like #Temp0sTempest I doubt we ever will, but I'm happy to say that, financially, this is a project that can be sustainably run.
Now, what didn't work out as well as planned:
The contestants. I was excited about this project. Everyone I talked to was excited about this project. Each weekly thread had an outpouring of excitement. This, unfortunately, did not translate into the upper-echelon of the Starcraft Community actually wanting to play. We've had a lot of great contestants of course, many of which are very core contributors of Starcraft Content on a regular basis. PengWin, Feardragon, Temp0, JaKaTaK, Lycan, Neuro - all people who were fantastic to have on. But they also all share a similar commonality: they're not really huge figures. They all have fans, but they don't have a loyal or large following. They haven't won big tournaments, casted on a main stage or really - ahem - broken out. I don't mean to shit on them -- the opposite, actually -- and every one of them knows how much I enjoyed working with them. The problem I'm addressing is that the bigger names just simply didn't want to participate. A lot of the time, I was simply ignored when inviting larger figures. Fine, they're busy, I understand. But the more common scenario, and by far much more frustrating, is the larger figures would acknowledge me - favourite a tweet, give me a cursory response, etc. - and then nothing. Needless to say, it's a huge hit to motivation and excitement when that happens.
Corollary: Shoutout to fenn3r who was on Episode 1, before the show even had a chance to prove itself.
The growth/viewership. The bump fenn3r gave us by hosting on Episode 1 still makes it - by a long shot - the most viewed episode. In terms of viewership we've had a couple ups-and-downs but for the most part viewership is declining overall. Comments on weekly threads are shrinking, and Twitch Chat participation is on the decline. This is an all-around hurt to excitement, but also makes it very difficult to get larger guests on. It's a Catch-22.
The Involvement. It's not just pros who don't want to be on. Did you know we've received, on average, 4 contestant applications per month? That number is declining, not growing. For the most part the guests that I have been able to get on have been from my chasing them down and harassing them - when I'm not getting ignored, of course. This is especially rough because if a contestant isn't excited enough about the show to want to be on, all of their own motivation, then generally they don't make very good contestants as they lack knowledge, or excitement, or both. Unexcited or unknowledgeable contestants really harm the quality of the show overall. Question contributions was also generally pretty low, another thing I thought people would be excited about. Special shoutout to EmpireWill and infeza who both have contributed, consistently, a lot of high-quality questions.
So, with all this in mind, what's the plan. Well, I'm targeting two more regular-season episodes of Starcraft Jeopardy: June 2nd and June 16th. We're going to follow that up with a couple of live shows in Toronto as the "Tournament of Champions". Gemini, Peanuts and PengWin will all be there, and we'll probably fill it with a few other people (like Feardragon - load up on the Temp0 questions).
And then we'll call it Season 1. We'll go on hiatus, probably for at least a few months. I've got a few Team League-related plans to implement and run. I've got a garden to tend to. And I've got a cabin on Gull Lake to relax at. I'm content to end the first season of this experiment on a high-note in Toronto. I hope everyone tunes in for the final few episodes. I hope they are high-quality and fun.
- 3 more episodes (June 2nd, June 16th, + TORONTO)
- Pros this is your last chance! Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be on the show.
- Show will go on indefinite hiatus afterward
- SC2CTL 3? Stay tuned-hypuuu.