There are a lot of highly competitive games, from HoN (LoL can't match up in this regard) to MLG-rules Halo to CS:S to WoW to Sc2. All of these games have metagames developed at the highest level and played by people with excellent execution. There is a comptitive scene, so to speak. Some of them, however, draw large numbers of viewers, and some do not. I think I have an explanation as to why this is the case.
What I've noticed is that successful e-sports are in general more "watchable" than the less-successful ones. The biggest distinguishing feature between the unsuccessful and the successful spectator esports is that these games are more viewer-friendly than others. Whereas you can have a top-down view of a team fight or a gank in HoN, and independently controlled camera movements that pan easily in Sc2 and LoL, getting similar levels of camera work done is substantially more difficult in CS:S, Halo, and to an extent, WoW Arena.
It's not impossible, but it's harder. FPS games extend into the 3rd dimension tactically, which means a simple top-down view won't capture everything. Even on a flat map, you have people jumping, and weapon recoil dragging lines of fire upwards, distinctions between headshots and body shots, and other Z-axis action that's hard to catch. A sufficiently skilled cameraman, or camera team (with 3-4 cameramen and a director who cuts in the right feed at the right time) could catch everything though.
Games restricted to 2 dimensions of tactical relevance, like Sc2 and WoW, have a better time of it. WoW is still difficult due to the free pan of the camera and the movement of the involved players, but it gets done. Sc2 and games based off of similar engines (WC3/Dota, HoN, and the like) all benefit fully from the 2 dimensions trait, making camera work easier. All you need to do is point and click, and you get a top-down view of wherever the action is.
Naturally, it's fairly easy to do the low-level camera work required for observing and casting tournaments, and analyzing replays (especially since you can start and stop it with ease).
This brings me to my main point: I'm a huge fan of GSL. There are a lot of reasons why anyone would be a huge GSL fan. The players are good and well-known; the casting, albeit variegated, tends to be top-notch; the hype is big; the prize pool is bigger. Tastosis spent a lot of time casting it. Wolf is manly as hell, he'll cast it with anyone who is brave enough to do it, or alone if he has to. (lone wolf is best wolf). I get to watch my idol, Polt/Optimus, play. etc. It's a good tournament.
But that's not the reason I watch it in my free time, why I drop bank on the GSL VoDs so I can watch them after work rather than tuning in to NASL or some other excellent tournament.
Actually, I don't even know the name of the reason I watch GSL. He is an enigma, a silent guardian. A watchful protector. A Dark Knig--
Okay, no, he's the GSL Cameraman. The guy who joins as an observer and looks at the action. I'm pretty sure it's not one of the casters, because he's consistently had the same style no matter who casts. It's the same man behind the camera, pointing us towards the action, somehow catching all the multi pronged harass and all the battles and drops and fungal growths and nukes (oh, the nukes). He's certainly got a style.
The style, of course, is badass.
Unlike in 3d games like CS:S and its ilk, most of the camera work in sc2 is done for you. What's left is producing not just acceptable work, but excellent work. Most cameramen stop at "acceptable." The GSL cameraman presses on into greatness.
It was hard for me to realize why I liked the GSL so much until I watched Trickster Vs Clide. Although the games were nothing special, the camera work was superb. Even with the sound off, you could feel the excitement of the game, and the cameraman worked hard to catch all the tactics involved. I can't really say more without spoiling what went on in the game.
And then, when I think about it, how many upgrades started/finished, tech choices, micro tricks, and the like, had the cameraman caught? And how many times had he had all the casters on both sides of a fight highlighted during the dancing-around period before the armies clashed, so that, unimpeded by forest of full health bars, we could still see where the casters were and how much energy they had?
So, shout out to the GSL Cameraman. Keep on doing what you do, man. I don't even know if you speak english or maybe you're more than one person? Or you're not a man, but a woman. Whatever the case is, mad props. You're the reason I watch GSL.
Last edit: 2011-07-20 01:58:32
When you stare into the iCCup, the iCCup stares back.
The observer definitely deserves more recognition. To make his job even harder, I've noticed recently that the in-game sound we get is actually from the Korean observer, so he has to keep that in mind and so he's basically keeping up with the Korean observer as well as checking the status of buildings/upgrades/selecting units to see health boxes, etc.
TwistedHelix United States. July 20 2011 02:10. Posts 50
I couldn't agree more. Nothing pains me more than to see an incoming drop on the mini map that the observer fails to see. This never happens in the GSL. His mouse movements are so clean and precise it beautiful to watch. I like that he doesnt use the mouse as a pointer but instead just as a tool to select items and click on the minimap. Its the casters' job to bring my eyes to say the production tab, i dont need a mouse pointer to circle stuff for me.
GSL Observer HVIEWING!
aphorism United States. July 20 2011 02:24. Posts 226
I definitely agree that a lot of SC2's success as an e-sport comes from it being watchable and (to a point) understandable even to someone completely new to the game. It's fairly easy to recognize when a player has a lead in economy, or when a player is winning engagements, or when a player is using drops and harassment to attempt to get an advantage over his/her opponent. Games like Street Fighter 4 are sort-of more extreme examples of this, where most of the information about which player has the advantage is contained just in the health bars.
Having watched a bit of CoD and Halo:Reach during MLG Dallas (I think you know why), I can definitely say that it's hard to keep track of the action in FPS games, but I believe it's for different reasons. In CoD, the matches I watched were between teams, and the observer had to constantly switch first-person views. As I wasn't knowledgeable about the maps or general tactics of the game, it was difficult to tell which team was at an advantage or when a team was making a push, because each player got at most a minute of continuous camera time. In SC2, it's quite easy to understand the basic positions of each player- a player is moving out with a ball of units, it must be a push. This player a 50-supply lead, he must be at an advantage.
That being said, the GSL observer is just really really good. It's very rare to be able to completely understand a SC match without the aid of casters, but he does an excellent job of it.
Vod.kaholic United States. July 20 2011 02:35. Posts 702