Fediverse Spotlight #4: Gaming With Werewolves
Using Videos to Showcase FOSS Gaming
What is Gaming With Werewolves?
Gaming With Werewolves is a video-game channel on PeerTube (which are still rather uncommon, surprisingly) with a focus on Linux and FOSS games.
Here's what you need to know about FediLab:
- The channel is one of many run by a user known as chriswere, who is actually rather active on the PeerTube scene. As of writing this article:
- He has continued a steady stream of contributions for almost two years. (since August 1, 2018)
- The last video uploaded to this channel was one day ago. (July 14, 2020)
- The last video he has ever uploaded to PeerTube was today. (July 15, 2020)
- The focus of the channel seems to be left rather broad. While he has mentioned an interest in being able to show off FOSS games, he also covers general Linux titles and also other games.
- The channel isn't entirely solo, occasionally, his friend HexDSL will join him to play a game.
I find the most interesting content on this channel to be the FOSS game reviews.
A lot of people are unaware of the amount and variety of FOSS games available, and as someone who is making this newsletter to help give exposure to another overlooked archive of content, I absolutely support this initiative to help promote FOSS gaming. It's a topic that's not very commonly covered, even outside of the Fediverse, and as a result it feels like a breath of fresh air.
Video is a great medium to convey this; let's plays are already a subculture on the internet, and being able to showcase gameplay footage gives us a preview in a way neither screenshots nor articles could. And since its all unified under one channel, if someone wants to keep up with the FOSS gaming scene, all they would have to do is follow this account.
When Chris is talking about the game, he often yield really interesting information, such as how Xonotic has changed since he last played it or how game jams give birth to a lot of smaller FOSS games. What he does discuss is often relevant to the game, such as level design, history, or general feel.
However, he does have a habit of getting sucked into the game and going quiet, which makes the free-form style feel disjointed. The videos could probably be improved by mixing shorter “first impressions” footage and more scripted informational portions. Trimming down the videos' length to somewhere around five minutes might help with this too.
- Chris makes sure to assist the creators by discussing where each game can be found, linking it, and sometimes even mentioning what it is licensed under.
The other content on his channel is rather varied. Everything gaming-related from video-essays to straight-up Let's Plays can be found.
I don't see an issue with this by itself , but I think a bit more can be done to distinguish each type of video.
For one, PeerTube now has a playlists functionality which could be used to organize these videos. Also, corresponding the border color in each video's thumbnail to the series they belong to would help anyone quickly skimming the channel feed with being able to identify videos in the series they're looking for.
Interview with Developer
1. What keeps you coming back and uploading content to this channel?
For me, PeerTube has an underground quality which I'm very attracted to. Somewhere on the internet which is a little off the beaten track and outside the mainstream, but a wonderful place for those willing to seek it out. It's nice to find a platform that is still small enough to have a sense of genuine community, where you can build friendships, recognise people and get lost in its quirks.
2. What are some of your favorite FOSS games?
Minetest is definitely the one I spend the most time on. I enjoy building in creative mode and building all kinds of interesting buildings. The RTS game, Widelands is another gem I regularly enjoy. I really enjoyed strategy games from the late nineties and Widelands is great at scratching that particular itch. OpenTTD is another classic I can spend days of my life on. Other honourable mentions include OpenArena, Red Eclipse, Hedgewars and SuperTuxKart.
3. As a creator, what advantages do you get from PeerTube as a platform?
There are countless better coders and developers that me in the FOSS world. For me, making content for PeerTube is my way of contributing to a software ecosystem which fits my strengths.
4. Do you use your own app to browse the Fediverse? If so, how does it feel when you're using it?
I find that viewers and commenters have deeper and more thoughtful insights than on other platforms. That's not to say those people don't exist on other networks, but they often get drowned out by the general noise.
5. What is Bootleg Penguin? (Bonus Question)
An avant-garde, one-off, never-to-return podcast which explores the deeper, more thoughtful side to gaming on Linux.