The Most Epic Let's Play in History
MR What was your routine? What went into playing, recording, then writing up a turn? How much time did it take?
GH I wrote the updates on morning weekends; I'm one of these sick freaks who gets up a 5:00am without the need for an alarm clock, so I have several hours before the wife gets up. I tend to listen to RPG podcasts while I'm doing them, as I can multitask pretty well. I load the game and check over a few things I'd thought of between sessions, then fire up a pre-made document with all the location headers.
I start the turn and then when something interesting happens, I hit Print Screen - WITP hates FRAPS, so I have to go old school. I basically write the updates as I go, editing them for continuity as more things happen in a location - WITP jumps around a lot in the turn playback, but by setting several zones, I can contain the story to manageable lumps. Once the turn was done, I take the report screen shot, put the relevant data into my giant spreadsheet and then write a quick summary of the day if I feel that I have something worthwhile to say. Finally, I add in images of future plans and ship kills, then save up.
I tend to do three or four updates/turns on the trot, to minimize forgetting to move that one unit. Normally a turn takes about half an hour to write up, but that can go up to an hour for a day where I have a large battle or lots of units to move around. No one's interested in "Hey guys, I sent another supply ship to middle-of-nowhere island," but I still have to do it behind the scenes. So sometimes a long update can take less time to play than a day where nothing happens "on screen," but I'm moving lots of units around.
MR How much of a buffer do you generally keep?
GH The buffer varies, but I like to keep 2 weeks to a month - any longer and I forget what’s happened, but I still need to be able to vanish for a week without it impacting the game.
MR Did you ever feel like you might not be able to continue maintaining the LP (ie a time when life kept getting in the way)?
GH Sorry to say it, but not really. There were no sudden crises in my life, and most of the major events tend to give you plenty of time to plan for them. My main worry was in my interest flagging, but it never happened - only playing the game a couple of times a week certainly helps with that.
MR Your Let's Play generated a devoted following on SomethingAwful. If you had to guess, how many people were following you on a daily basis?
GH That's a tough one. A lot more people read than post, but there is no way of really counting views to viewers - the closest I got to an accurate count is the video turns, which had about 150 views in the first couple of days - but even then, that could be one guy watching it three times to catch what I was saying.
MR When and how did the wiki start?
GH The Wiki is fan based - it started about a year in I think, when people began to want to know the last time we had seen a certain Japanese ship, or when a battle took place. Of course, it then grew as people began to add tales of the Lovecraftian horrors of Eniwetok island, and of course, J-Rations. This time around, the Wiki has been in place from day one. I have to say it’s one of the things about the LP that surprised me, the amount of detail in there that people have scraped from the updates, places like Sinyang, KIAfang and Eniwetok have whole stories written about them. Some even have casualty estimates! I am worried that there is at least one schoolchild out there who has gotten lost and submitted a very interesting account of cannibalism in the Marines during the Pacific war to their teacher . . .