Higher Eclectic Ground commences a new year of operations with the public unveiling and opening of its Forums. Created primarily to facilitate the interaction between its own affiliated game development & freelance talent, their audience of press outlets and other gaming enthusiasts, the Higher Eclectic Forums also invite game developers and other creators of gaming media to set up shop therein; interact, discover creativity and promote your own.
Conceived over the summer of 2015, the Network for independent game talent that is Higher Eclectic Ground functions by providing an array of PR and QA based services to independent developers of games, also playing agent to freelance gaming talent in the form of Musicians, Writers, 2D/3D Artists & more by working to garner them exposure and employment opportunities within the industry.
While nearly two years of this public activity have been spread out over numerous game development-oriented and social media platforms with this website at its core, all of Higher Eclectic Ground’s inter-member interaction, discussions and network-related announcements have since been centralised within a dedicated Facebook group called The Higher Eclectic Bulletin.
The onset of 2017 however has initiated several updates to the Network’s general policy, modus operandi and web presence, with the addition of a dedicated public forum to its daily functioning being the current highlight. As has been the norm, all of Higher Eclectic Ground’s presently affiliated game development and freelance talent is indexed within the intuitive Member Catalogue.
Each listing within this Catalogue directs to a Higher Eclectic Space; Spaces being dedicated pages/profiles maintained by Higher Eclectic Ground for members, that serve as dynamic press-kits for its game developers by integrating all development progress and other public/social information associated with their games’ activity in one place — and as dynamic portfolios/curriculum vitae’s for its freelance talent that the Network uses in interactions with potential clients and collaborators.
Now, each Higher Eclectic member’s Space additionally links to a dedicated Sub-Forum allocated to them; Game Developers maintain within their Sub-Forums a MAIN DEVELOPMENT THREAD for their games, that they now use to document all official & unofficial progress, events, announcements and development activity. Followers & members of the press may further interact with these developers by creating their own threads of queries within the respective sub-forums.
Similarly, video game musicians, 2D/3D artists and writers affiliated to the Network maintain MAIN PORTFOLIO THREADS within their own sub-forums, narrating their creative processes while inviting potential clients to reach out to them via the same. Game Developers further looking to work with specific freelance talent on a project or fill positions on their teams may let Higher Eclectic Ground know of their job openings via the Classifieds Sub-Forum.
Take note however, that activity on the Forums is not limited to Higher Eclectic Ground’s members alone. Non-affiliated independent game developers may set up threads to document the progress of their games, artists to exhibit their portfolios of video game creations, YouTubers/Twitch Gamers to build communities around their channels and even independent game journalists to create constructive discussion.
To get started, one may simply head to highereg.com/forums, register themselves and navigate to the sub-forum of their choosing. Sticky posts therein should instruct one with the typical forum guidelines on how to get started.
Other notable additions to the website include a newly established Press Room — consolidating all of Higher Eclectic Ground’s press activity and information in one place — and an updated About page that more clearly describes the Network’s current purpose, portfolio of work and modus operandi. Several member-related shifts in policy are to further transpire over the course of the following year, leading Higher Eclectic Ground to temporarily halt the acceptance and consideration of all applications for membership until further notice.
While all existing applicants have been personally informed of the same, feel free to periodically check in on when the application process does resume via our Contact page or our sub-forum for official/unofficial network related announcements. Thank you for your continued support; here’s wishing you the very best of gaming creativity for 2017.
With an unscheduled 2017 PC and Xbox One release on its agenda, Tenebrae: Twilight of the Gods is currently en route to its first playable demo release in the month of July, 2016. Troglobytes Games’ upcoming Metroidvania epic, Twilight of the Gods aims to establish a narrative of two warriors forced into battling the dark, malevolent underworld of Tenebrae while making use of its own unique twists to non-linearity, procedural generation and the like.
In preparation for said demo release however, the developers are now keen on opening up but a small slice of the game to members of the Higher Eclectic Network irrespective of their backgrounds, fields of work or choice of console — hoping to gather feedback on various control-based aspects of its current build’s playability.
Starting today, interested participants are being invited to test an early build of Tenebrae: Twilight of the Gods from the comforts of their home. Devoid of any of the full game’s characteristic game-play elements such as combat and role-playing, the build will comprise of only a simplistic test scene with interactive objects.
In their playing of this demo, users are required to test all potential movements of the character inclusive of –
- Jumping from heights,
- Jumping from the ground,
- The character’s idle stance,
- Moving up and down ladders,
- Stepping onto ledges from the left and the right,
- Grabbing onto ledges from above and below them,
- Grabbing onto ladders from above and below them.
Platform of Testing
Participants in the test are required to play the build on either of Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10. Secondly, all participants must own a gaming controller (Dualshock3, Dualshock4, Xbox 360, Xbox One Controller or any other equivalent) compatible with their choice of Windows OS.
Requirements For Testers
- Besides the Controls Test’s being open to members of the Network exclusively, developers Troglobytes lay no specific criteria as to the skills or experience of the tester. Everyone with an interest in general gaming is encouraged to participate.
- Given the test’s emphasis on controller based feedback, the testing must be conducted on the aforementioned Windows based platforms in the presence of a controller only.
- All testers must maintain a documentation of their experiences with the game, which must then be conveyed to the developers appropriately. This must include —
- Comparisons with other games/gaming experiences,
- Bugs, glitches and other annoyances. All technical errors are best accompanied with a screenshot/video of the same to help the developers understand them better.
- Testers must respect that their experiences on the build are not meant for complete public disclosure. While sharing of screenshots from the build is allowed, the sharing of the demo’s files, videos, personal reports and such is strictly prohibited.
The testing process’ best contributors will be granted a larger involvement in Tenebrae’s development henceforth. This includes constant, exclusive updates and even access to future builds as and when they become available.
While there are no rigid deadlines, participants are encouraged to send in their feedback as early as possible before the final week of July, 2016. This more than anything helps the developers incorporate their feedback into the upcoming demo in a timely fashion.
How To Apply
Those members (i.e. those with projects or services that are actively supported by Higher Eclectic Ground) interested in participating in the closed testing of Tenebrae’s Controls build may send us a message expressing their agreement of the aforementioned terms via the Contact Form below. Verified participants will then be redirected to the developers to commence testing.
All the writing here on Higher Eclectic Ground — from the regular stream of member related updates to the grander news piece or game analysis — and I still can’t figure out how this one needs to be prefaced. Nor how it should be titled, but I’d say we’re doing fine so far.
While also contemplating how this first, major round-up of the vast multitude of changes and transitions that have transpired across Higher Eclectic Ground since the rising of Spring this year should be laid out in the most interesting of manners, it occurred to me that we are a little over a month away from our first anniversary. This article would then be clichéd eternally were I to state that I haven’t really noticed that time go by, but so be it. Where does time go?
Where the energy did, here. Ever since I set out with the intention of building a hazy Gaming Community in the month of August last year, my days have been fully enveloped by Higher Eclectic Ground; it’s no exaggeration when I say that there’s barely been anything else in between. In retrospect, it’s been a year of learning more than anything — Learning how a vision isn’t always perfect, learning that it’s meant to be moulded and built upon every day, and learning that the necessary knowledge for this purpose is best gained from those participating in the same vision.
As all of you, Higher Eclectic’s existing base of affiliated gaming creators have already been informally briefed both personally and by means of the Bulletin, the months since the propping up of our website in January have been ridden with numerous updates to what was the existing order of things. Several of these stemmed from a personal dissatisfaction with where the Community (at the time) was headed, setting into motion a period of cleansing that’s not too unlike The Great Flood.
It’s a big list, and one that I’m probably going to take more than a day to reiterate. But here follows an elaboration of every change that Higher Eclectic Ground has inscribed into itself, laid bare for your understanding and knowledge as to where we are truly headed. Note that I am also going to be populating this report with snippets from our members’ own creations, giving your eyes a bit of breathing space from time to time.
By the winter of 2015, with its base on Facebook more than anything, Higher Eclectic Ground was already being regarded as a social media based promotional service of sorts. And to be fair, there was reason behind this reasoning; I had set out to develop a free-for-all gaming Community wherein every independent creator affiliated with the Gaming Industry — be it a Game Developer, Writer, Musician, you name it — would make for themselves a place to showcase and promote their creations.
In doing so, they’d also grow in awareness of each other’s craft — leading to mutually beneficial collaborations that would facilitate the development of quality games. To first develop a sense for the lay of the land and build a brand however, a decision was made to keep this proposed Community running on social media until such time a web based Community was needed and called for by all parties involved.
It was simple; anyone with anything remotely gaming involved was brought on to this social media based movement, a few discussions were held and without much ado our staff — which at the time comprised of a few gaming enthusiastic interns, an old writing peer and myself — would spend our days representing them on Higher Eclectic Ground.
Based on constant interaction and without any financial solicitations, we’d proceed to document the development of each member’s creations and crafts on social media. Yes, the Community involved mediation by the staff in maintaining Facebook albums for each member project, entering updates into these albums, making sure their updates reached out on all our social media channels and that it differed from a simple social media group.
Game Developers would have us put out progress snippets, artists put out daily drawings, musicians put out regular compositions; it was more than interesting. We’d then proceed to show off these daily documentations within Facebook groups and other social media based gaming communities in the hope that these would bring about external attention towards our members from a base of gamers and gaming creators that weren’t necessarily following Higher Eclectic — and grow our own organic audience in the process.
But social media has turned into a noisy place; between getting members and social media users to take heed of our members’ creations up to a level that would be deemed constructive, what was supposed to be about fostering a community of independent talent and encouraging their collaboration had admittedly turned into a race to have member content reach out wider on social media.
Developers with finished games and pending Greenlight campaigns, YouTube gamers with inactive channels and the like, had begun writing in to promote their work for views and clicks — and yes, we not only took them in but even appealed to those who didn’t. We were building a community after all and it was meant to be open to everyone, weren’t we? And eventually, this member base would be shifted to a grand web-based Community haven where everyone would work to facilitate each other’s growth, wouldn’t it? A closer look at our own member base then began to reveal that besides occasionally having us put up an update on themselves, most would pay no concern to the other members or happenings of the Community whatsoever.
Several had even gone on to turn inactive; dulling not only the personal effort and energy we were putting in but also the schematics for the eventual Community-for-all on the highereg.com domain. What good would this envisioned Community be then besides serving as another portfolio based website, a noise-packed arena, a glorified Facebook group?
Admittedly, the whole concept of this Community was botched from the very start. In March, 2016 finally, this vision of developing a free-for-all gaming Community began to fade. When looking for one thing that kept active members benefiting from what we did while also appealing to new ones, it dawned on me that it was the level of personal representation on the web, attention, care and effort that was being offered to each existing gaming project.
Personally tending to each member on a daily basis, documenting their projects’ progress via personally written press-like briefs on social media and articles (that came with the setting up of this website in January this year) and ensuring that this data not only reached our own organic, gaming social media audience but target groups on social media in a manner that encouraged interaction — was what was truly helping those affiliated to Higher Eclectic Ground in the first place and not some twisted vision of a Community playground.
This was what set it apart from having a developer blandly go on to a forum and drop a link to their trailer for hits in the first place. Deciding to build upon this, the word ‘Community’ from all references and mentions of Higher Eclectic Ground was dropped — as we moved to transition it into being a purpose-built Network.
With respect to its affiliated members then, it was decided after much consideration that henceforth Higher Eclectic Ground as a Network for independent gaming talent would provide —
- It’s member Game Developers with progressive web & social media based press-like exposure, organic audience development, feedback & quality assurance through every stage of development, social media growth advice and networking opportunities crucial to their game’s release,
- It’s member Artists — inclusive of only those freelance musicians, voice artists, 2D/3D designers, writers, journalists, video creators and more who were interested in providing their services towards the development of games — with equally dedicated creative and constant exposure for their services that brought them opportunities within the industry.
Its primary purpose would always be that of furthering the development of innovative, quality games — with all other artists involved playing their own unique, fundamental roles towards the fulfilment of that purpose. It would function as a reservoir of professional gaming talent, that outsiders could collaborate with, follow, support and/or hire under its terms; Via a clear specification of each member’s roles, vision and requirements, gaming creators not affiliated to Higher Eclectic Ground would be encouraged more than ever to look to the Network’s select list of talent for their gaming and game development needs.
Looking for a musician to contribute to your next game — royalty based, free or paid? Take a stroll through Higher Eclectic. Need a YouTube creator/artist to review your game without bias? Higher Eclectic, why not. Then came the start of its implementation.
The month of April saw us commence a careful revaluation of our base of members that has lasted all the way till the month of June, 2016.
First, those not directly affiliated to a gaming related craft or keen on providing their services to the gaming industry per se were disassociated from Higher Eclectic Ground. All attempts to get in touch with the non-respondent, inactive members seized, followed by us parting ways with several existing artists, writers and video creators from the old Community after a clear statement of reason.
Following this, it was also decided to abandon the Cosplay and Technology project categories on account of their irrelevance to the Network’s purpose — leading to a cumulative of nearly 30 creators were disconnected from Higher Eclectic Ground at the end of the three month period.
Effectively, every project and individual that is now visible on the Member Catalogue has a purpose of which both parties are aware of and work together to support. Their presence on the Catalogue is neither whimsical nor one to be taken lightly, given how Higher Eclectic Ground allots all its available resources in providing them with progressive, personalised support throughout the lifetime of their projects and crafts.
Meanwhile, those members and projects that are no longer viewable on the Catalogue are not supported or endorsed by the Network anymore . Availing of their services henceforth would be on their own terms — and it is recommended that one check with the Catalogue or mail Higher Eclectic directly to confirm a member’s affiliation to its Network before doing business with them.
Rearranging Member Spaces
For us to effectively provide long-lasting press coverage for our members, their creations and services, it became mandatory to ensure that their work was being appropriately conveyed by us.
This began by a re-calibration of Spaces that were provided to each existing member. These Spaces were tweaked sufficiently to ensure that they served as coherent, in-depth documentations of Gaming Projects and as concise portfolios for other Artists. To this end, the list of changes that were introduced were –
- The inclusion of clear, conspicuous links to each member’s relevant social media and other web based profiles,
- An intuitive slider to document progress reports in the case of games and creations in the case of other artists. This is in contrast to the Spaces earlier importing data from their respective members’ Facebook albums, making for inconvenient tracking and reading of information. Moreover, while the design of these sliders are subject to change — one will find that each legibly allows one to backtrack to a member’s first content posting on Higher Eclectic Ground and follow their progress there from.
- A meaningful structure; Each Game’s Space now clearly specifies its proposed premise, game-play and status, allowing first time visitors to easily determine the same. Note that the content of these Spaces are dynamically modified by our staff as the game takes form, ensuring data is at all times up to date.
- The inclusion of a comments area for visitors to leave feedback and queries.
The Network’s About and FAQ pages were then amended to reflect the new order of things in May. While this change was conveyed to all existing members, I’d like to draw attention once more to our FAQ that can be navigated to via the bottom of the About page.
Besides for the first time, breaking down the vision, purpose and other trivia associated with Higher Eclectic Ground’s creation for public viewing much like the first quarter of this article, the FAQ also publicly laid out the terms of the Network.
The most glaring addition to these were the fact that YouTube/Twitch gamers and Journalistic Bloggers affiliated to Higher Eclectic Ground were to in no way request or accept financial payments from a developer in lieu for coverage of their games. The reasoning behind this term was two-fold;
- Any financially solicited coverage — be it a review, preview, interview — offered on a game is prone to be regarded as tainted, biased and unnatural. Higher Eclectic in no way aims to nurture such talent or method of journalism — encouraging at the same time that freelance journalists, be they based on YouTube, Twitch or their own independent gaming websites, develop a revenue stream that relies on crowdfunding by an organic audience via means such as Patreon, advertisements on their channels and so forth.
- It also reflects the Network’s shift in focus from providing YouTube/Twitch gamers and bloggers with ‘views/clicks’ on their written and video content, to fostering freelance journalism. While the older community may have appealed to writers/video creators from a promotional standpoint, the Network now aims to appeal only to those independent aspiring and existing journalists who relish providing constructive coverage across multiple genres.
The other additions to the Terms included requiring member artists to notify the Network of any commissions received via it, cementing inter-personal communication between both parties to ensure that Higher Eclectic Ground is playing a purpose in their respective fields. As time goes by, these terms will be seen taking a more legal sense — the implementation of which will be conveyed to every member ahead of time.
The revamped vision, clarity of the Member Catalogue and each member’s purpose therein now allowed us to work beyond simply dishing out social media posts for each member only for them to get lost in the crowd. Efforts have now moved towards implementing a more personal level of communication with each of our members’ target audiences, ensuring that the content shared by the Network is not overlooked.
These efforts include —
- Establishing a relationship with the creators and administrators of several social media based groups that comprise of the target audience of our member’s content. These administrators have now been briefed before hand on Higher Eclectic Ground’s purpose, the reason behind any posts shared, while their members have been introduced of the same.
- Those that engage with said content are interacted with at a higher level than before, with me personally clearing their queries, acknowledging their criticism and directing them to appropriate information in relation to a game/member.
- Every update made to a gaming project is now not only beamed out across social media, but finds itself onto relevant forums and communities on the internet, news portals such as N4G and the appropriate sub-reddits that see me interacting with their respective moderators to determine the best way content is received by their members. The earlier modus operandi saw us do this on a very sporadic basis.
- With respect to the other gaming artists, rather than simply rely on our channels to have our member’s services and skills reach potential employers, efforts are actively in progress to have their services reach out to those who need them first. This involves putting up ads for our member artists in classifieds and forums of their target customers, browsing through existing ads on a daily basis and directing advertisers to Higher Eclectic’s artists by sending them links to their Spaces along with personally communicated supported briefs for consideration. Once it is determined that their terms of employment match with the artists’ own, these potential employers are connected with our artists for further discussion.
- One of the biggest issues experienced with the old order of things, was that Higher Eclectic Ground came to be seen as a Community exclusive to ‘indie games’ or part of an ‘indie gaming’ cult; The Network attempts to steer clear of that distinction by now working to attract a more mainstream gaming audience as well, which in turn translates into a more varied audience base for our members than a collection of ‘indie developers’.#DailyTrivia sees us put out the most trending industry news from the day, our social media feeds are subject to more mainstream conversations with other users, periodic social media themes invite discussions on classic games and more.
- While previously rules were set to prevent self-promotion within the Bulletins and the like, our social media forums have now considerably opened up as it welcomes new talent to share their creations and progress provided they maintain an active presence. This coupled with daily moderation rules out the self-centred, while also letting creators not affiliated with the Network provide feedback, ask for help, gather opinions for their own selves — and keep everyone busy with new content/discussions on a regular basis in the process. Naturally, this also brings our members a more diverse audience they can poll, ask for opinion themselves and hold events with.
Accepting New Members
While the old order demanded that we simply look into a creator’s creation/services to determine if their work was gaming oriented before bringing them on to the Community, the Network now sees us adopt a more formal and probing stance wherein each Game Developer/Artist that is being considered as potential additions to Higher Eclectic Ground is studied over an extended period of time.
In relation to games, Higher Eclectic Ground’s emphasis now lies in establishing a long running relationship with Developers that will see the Network support it from the early stages of its development all the way till release. Developers looking for promotions/coverage of their Steam Greenlight/Kickstarter campaigns are no longer valid candidates for Network affiliation, and those that do reach out are aptly directed to our YouTube/Twitch/Blogging journalists for coverage.
While considering a potential affiliation, E-mail and Skype discussions are held to understand the developer’s vision, drive, quality of the project, progress and goals. If it is felt that therein lies an inconsistency — the developer is asked to make further progress with us keeping check on the same, before another round of discussions is held after a set period of time to determine if both parties’ working together would truly be beneficial. Studies of the team’s members and their past endeavours is also conducted.
With respect to other Artists, similar deliberations are held to determine their terms, potential audience, rates, skills and the true nature of services being offered. References are then contacted to evaluate their history, work record and customer satisfaction before both an agreement to the Network’s terms are determined.
Higher Eclectic veterans will recall a partnership formed with the Isle of Bass in November last year; an independent electronic music label, the Isle of bass and its founder (Craig Evans, also a member of the Network) would have us highlight one trending electronic artist from their label on a monthly basis.
Highlighting involved setting up a Space for these musicians and bringing to the forefront a popular music number of theirs every week to give the old Community’s gaming members a grasp of their talents. In doing so, we’d hoped that the Network’s existing developers, YouTube gamers and the like would be encouraged to make use of this electronic musical talent for their own needs.
This however failed to receive the response we’d hoped for, with only a couple of our prior members making use of Isle of Bass’ royalty free music instead. And so, the existing structure of the partnership was scrapped earlier this year for us to renegotiate its function.
The plan now involves bringing our members access to exclusive royalty free electronic music, that will primarily be geared towards artists — for use in their demo reels — and YouTube/Twitch gamers for use in their channels. However I still feel that this not only needs to be thought out in greater detail than before, but that it also requires a larger number of YouTube/Twitch journalists and artists to truly make use of the music. And so until both parties are satisfied, the Isle of Bass-Higher Eclectic Ground partnership will be at a status quo for a few weeks or months until further notice.
All of this has opened up a new dimension for Higher Eclectic Ground, I must boldly admit. While this is evidenced by a simple study of our statistics that indicate how the aforementioned assortment of simple tweaks continue to bring every member renewed attention that continues much after their last update, the question now arises as to how this renewed vigour will be kept relevant to all those involved.
Which cheekily brings me to the closure of this article with an iteration of what Higher Eclectic Ground’s plans are for the rest of this year;
- The Spaces of Higher Eclectic’s member Artists will be further broken down to clearly depict their skills, styles, preferences, availability, rates and more.
- While the Network will naturally continue to be receptive to all incoming membership requests and considerations, there’ll be added energy put into building its base of affiliated written and video journalists — an area that is most beneficial to developers with released games.
- With the foundations of a strong, experienced social media presence in place — a renewed press presence is called for. In the weeks post this, I will be getting in touch with everyone on a personal basis to discuss the implementation of a press release service; This will see us dole out their choice of project updates as press releases, helping them build a stronger presence for their own services and games in the process.
- With this in place, efforts will commence to establish a relationship with several popular news outlets to ensure these press releases are acted upon.
- Work is also being done on converting visitors to our members’ Spaces into returning followers — à la ‘Subscribe to a Member For Future Updates’.
- A personal messaging service will be included to enable visitors and potential clients to get in touch directly with Higher Eclectic’s project creators/artists.
- The addition of a forum will come down the line, allowing for interaction via a more consistent means.
- The year ahead will also see the Network actively work on branching out wider in terms of the services offered to its members — ensuring a more rounded package of support, from the early stages of development to eventual release is provided.
The purpose of this report has been to make transparent every decision made and the reasoning behind the same, allowing you to fathom their relevance to each member in the grand scheme of things; I hope that at least has been accomplished. Whether Community or Network, Higher Eclectic’s passions will always be driven by those of its members.
I do thank you for being the fuel and motivation behind the place’s daily existence; it is what keeps it breathing, evolving and grounded. With this also being a pre-anniversary declaration of sorts, it remains important for me to recall each of those who have been integral to the growth of Higher Eclectic from behind the scenes each at their respective points of time in the year that as been — Salman Iza, Siddhesh Karekar and Rohan Mahadev, each of whom have devoted their time and creative energy to sharing in what has been my passion for the entirety of twelve months.
And of course, the small group of tech-savvy ramblers and countless other prospects who this time last year — were hearing me talk on an overseas phone about how I needed to build the first free-for-all gaming community of its kind. Oh, Sean.
Higher Eclectic Ground is now participating in the tenth season of the iRacing British Sim Racers’ Touring Cars (BSRTC) PRO Series that commences on 17th March, 2016 as Eclectic Motorsport; comprising of current BSRTC PRO Series’ Amateur Division Drivers’ Champion John Roberts, 5th place holder within the recently concluded BSR Winter Series Ben Hackeson, Series veteran Andrew Whitehead and reserve driver George Simmons, the former XLDesigns team will now be seen representing and flying the Higher Eclectic Ground colors in contention for the Series’ Amateur Division Championship.
Given how Roberts and Whitehead were previously Engine Oil Direct teammates last year, confidence within the team stands strong. ‘Bringing Hackeson and Simmons into the mix has really been the icing on the cake; We’ve all raced together in different series before, so we really are hooked up well as a team,’ explains team manager Andrew Whitehead, proud of the ensemble he’s managed to put together.
‘There’s a very positive feeling in the garage and we’re pleased to be collaborating with Euro Chip Digital and Engine Oil Direct on setups and driver mentoring. We’re all looking forward to the season ahead.’
The BSRTC of course being a user created, KIA Optima driven Touring Car league that made history last year, when the Ninth Season of its PRO Series became iRacing’s first user-created Touring Car championship to feature a $10,000 prize fund while also being broadcast on Europe’s largest motorsport channel, MotorsTV International.
Besides a Sim Racer Magazine published biography and weekly race reports provided by Higher Eclectic Ground last year, the Series remains relevant to the independent gaming community here in the fact that its members were given the opportunity to promote their games, blogs and other gaming projects amid the Series’ international gaming and sim-racing audience over the course of its final weeks.
This was done by letting them sponsor drivers during the races, which earned them a spot on those drivers’ cars to advertise their games & related brands, a 30 second ad slot for the same on the races’ iRacing LIVE and YouTube streams, along with animated pop-ups during the races’ MotorsTV International television broadcasts. The inexpensive structure established by the BSRTC & its broadcast partners Apex Racing TV for this purpose, saw nearly 10 of the Community’s members promote their gaming endeavors over the course of the PRO Series’ final five races.
With Eclectic Motorsport, more of the same sponsorship opportunities return albeit with much more structure; independent gaming talent is now encouraged to sponsor a driver for the duration of a month at a time i.e. four races instead of a week. This is to avoid the chaos that stems from multiple sponsors arriving and leaving every race, while also ensuring the advertised games and projects attain maximum exposure.
Furthermore, those promoting their gaming projects will be doing so only via Eclectic Motorsport’s cars, unlike last time where sponsors were allocated random cars/drivers on the grid. Meanwhile, the live-stream ad slots and TV pop-ups that arrived with each sponsorship last year also make a return — all part of a singular sponsorship package.
The Tenth Season of the BSRTC PRO Series will run from the 17th of March to the 17th of November this year, featuring more than 40 drivers & 13 teams competing for a $10,000 prize fund, titles of the PRO Drivers’, AM(Amateur) Drivers’, PRO Teams’ and AM Teams’ Championship — over the course of 34 races.
Drivers are allocated to the PRO and AM divisions based solely on skill, following which each attempts to place themselves at the highest point within that division’s Standings over the course of 28 races.
At the end of these races The Showdown begins; wherein only the top 10 drivers from the PRO division, top 5 drivers from the AM division and the top 3 teams from each are allowed to compete for their respective divisions’ titles over the remaining 7 races.
Each race comprises of four, 15-minute rounds, which are broadcast to an audience of nearly 2.000 sim-racing & gaming enthusiasts on iRacing LIVE and ApexRacing TV’s official YouTube channel every Thursday at 8 P.M. GMT; the MotorsTV broadcasts of the race are then televised a week later with two repeats, amid the channel’s audience of nearly 30 million subscribers across 40 countries.
Audience and viewer-base then are expected to be at an all time high this time around, given the Series’ recent procurement of an iRacing title sponsorship, along with the 45 episodes of MotorsTV International screen time that came along with it.
As practice for the Season’s opener at Philip Island progresses in top gear this week, independent game developers & gaming artists from both within and outside the Community are being invited to promote their Games, Blogs, YouTube Channels, crowd-funding campaigns and other Gaming projects via Eclectic Motorsport during the Season’s first month of races that span — the 17th of March, 24th of March, 31st of March and 4th of April, 2016. A complete overview of fees and perks, along with all other necessary information needed to do so is linked to at the bottom of this article.
Meanwhile, efforts on the Community’s plans to reach out to a more mainstream audience by involving Video Game publishers and other companies as full team sponsors & participants, that were announced back in January, are still underway. Regardless, be sure to keep an eye for all the independent gaming talent choosing to make their debut via the PRO Series over the course of its season.
This week saw our community PS4 GameTuber Zack Swader alias Sonic_X49 take to his YouTube channel to make a special video announcement – after 2 years in the running, the Sonic_X49 Channel was getting a relaunch.
The last few weeks have had Swader’s videos gaining a significant number of views than before, for which he extends his gratitude to the Community’s members for its support. His affiliation with Higher Eclectic Ground began in December last year with the intention of widening his viewer base and since then, we’ve showcased videos ranging from the Apex Online Racing Project CARS U.S GT3 Elite Series which he’s been a participant of, to headset reviews & impromptu fun. It’s interesting to note that the Sonic_X49 Channel had once begun with Swader pointing a camera at his TV Screen to shoot videos until the PS4’s Sharing feature arrived.
He seemed particularly thankful of Craig Evans – founder of independent music label and long time community partner, Isle of Bass. The Isle of Bass will now also be officially sponsoring the Sonic_X49 channel, by being the official provider of background tracks in Swader’s videos. This is not the first time the Isle of Bass has picked up sponsorship of Gaming Channels, having done so recently with community member & PlayStation 4 writer/streamer Mike Blundell’s blog & gaming channel, Mike’s Pad.
‘We’re happy to be sponsoring Zack!’, explained Evans when asked about Isle of Bass’ new-found interest in sponsoring Gaming channels. ‘IOB is always happy to help people out by providing them with music to fit their needs. Hopefully this partnership will help add to Zack’s channel and give him further creative motivation for future work!’ Besides satisfying his EDM fetish, the sponsorship will also aid Swader in avoiding any copyright issues that might crop up from his extensive us of third-party music.
Community readers might remember the mention of Swader’s new Channel avatar in member Digital Artist Kevin Andrews’ recent project announcement, A Tryst With The Humanoid. It is the very same Andrews that Swader alludes to throughout the course of his Channel relaunch video.
Unfortunately, the re-launch also brings with it the cancellation of the aforementioned Apex Online Racing Project CARS series. With Swader’s inability to switch camera angles in-game while maintaining competition and glitches breaking the ability to record suitable replays post-race, Zack had come to realize the resultant quality of the videos were far from that of what he’s striving to bring about in his current work; a point our staff had put forward in the past as well.
Regardless, it’s a big year ahead and Zack has big plans too – he promises a significant improvement in quality in the upcoming videos. While as of now he’s only pursuing making YouTube videos as a hobby, he still maintains that he strives for quality material, stating that if monetization comes along with it, it would as an added bonus. As always, one can always keep track of how that unfolds, view his prior work, pair up with him, or send in review or channel requests via his Higher Eclectic Space here on the community.
Also feel free to leave him your thoughts on his work in the comments below.