UPDATE: We have added a Frequently Asked Questions section at the bottom of the page. Please make sure to read it!
- BlazBits is an unofficial project, one made by the community for the community. BlazBlue, Chronophantasma, its characters, and other distinctive licenses belong to Arc System Works, Aksys, and/or their respective owners, publishers, and distributors.
- The following sample footage may not fully reflect the final product, as BlazBlue Chronophantasma is due for a version update coming in May 2014. The finalized tutorials will accurately represent this upcoming update.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to BlazBlue Chronophantasma. By Arc System Works, the same designers behind renowned fighting game series Guilty Gear, BlazBlue is a popular series with a worldwide following. As with most Arc System games, BlazBlue Chronophantasma features complex mechanics and a deep fighting engine.
And who are we? We're Chemical Lovers, the minds behind Guilty Bits, an in-depth video tutorial series aimed at helping new players better learn and understand Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus R. More recently, we've been working on and releasing episodes of Airdash Academy (Debuting on March 20), exploring the nuances of airdash-centric fighting games.
The man with the voice. Also a professional copywriter and a competitive fighting game player, who makes sure the scripts are well written and as clear as possible to your average newbie.
The visual designer, adding that vital visual flare to our videos. Also a passionate BlazBlue player, with vast knowledge of the entire cast, overviewing our content for accuracy and effectiveness.
The video and content editor. Novril has been making fighting game tutorials for years and is always looking for ways to do it better. Usually a Guilty Gear player, but currently working on improving his Relius in Chronophantasma.
Character Experts from Dustloop.com
More than 20 different character experts from Dustloop.com’s BlazBlue community, to make sure the information being presented is top notch.
There has been heavy demand from BlazBlue's enthusiastic player base for "BlazBits," a similar tutorial video series for BlazBlue Chronophantasma, and we want to deliver.
But we need your help to make it a reality, for three important reasons:
We don’t like unfinished stories. We want to guarantee that if we are taking on this task, it will be done in full, with every character getting the best treatment possible. This is why we're going with a fixed campaign. Either all the characters are getting episodes, or none will.
We have been perfecting the format in order to create tutorials that are far and above what we have done in Guilty Bits. We want to bring you the best guides possible, in a revolutionary way that will utilize both careful editing and content selection, and plenty of audio-visual methods to really help you understand, in roughly 10 minutes, what you need to know about a character. We are aware that many international players are interested as well, so we are putting in extra effort to make the videos accessible for non-native English speakers. In simple words, we are striving towards developing the best possible format for relatively short yet highly informative character guides. All those improvements take extra hours to implement, and the content is going to cover more advanced material compared to Guilty Bits. We want to give you the absolute best fighting game tutorial series BlazBlue Chronophantasma can have, with no compromises!
A project of such a scale simply cannot be done over the weekends during our free time, also considering the other ongoing channel projects. Well, technically it can, but it means you may only get to see your character's episode a year from now, or maybe after the next version of the game is already knocking on your door, considering the pace Arc System Works churns out games. This funding will allow us to work full time on the production, so that the series can be done in merely several months rather than a whole year. Note that all 20+ people who help with the production will get paid accordingly for their time and effort.
So, on your end, you put in several dollars and you get back A LOT in return.
If you haven’t watched Guilty Bits or Airdash Academy (Debuting on March 20), click the playlist links below and check them out. If you have, then you know what we have achieved. But we're not content to keep it at that; we want to improve on those already high standards.
Because you will be playing an active role in this project, you get more control over the content: For contributions of $10 or greater, each dollar you contribute counts as a vote for a single character you want to see an episode for. (Please ensure your Indiegogo email is accurate, as we'll be sending email forms to tally votes.)
And the more votes a character has, the higher up in the production schedule they'll be slotted. Characters with more votes will have videos made for them first. If you feel like contributing more, not only do you get to cast more votes, but you also get some other various rewards and tokens of appreciation, which you can review below on this page.
Thank you for your time and consideration!
Q1: I’m unable to donate. Will I still be able to watch the series?
A: Of course! BlazBits will be freely available for anyone to watch on our YouTube channel.
Q2: Which version of BlazBlue Chronophantasma will the series be about?
A: The video example we showed was based on version 1.0 of the game, but the series itself will be based on 1.1 which has just been released in arcades, and will come to consoles on May 2014.
Q3: Can you describe how the budget you ask for will be spent?
- Q4: Can you describe the process of making each video?
A: This will be similar to how we produced each episode of Guilty Bits from scratch, with various additions. It’s divided into a script phase and a video phase.
During the script phase, Novril writes the script together with the character expert(s), carefully deciding which content to include and how to describe it. This is done by discussing and brainstorming for several hours, depending on the unique challenges of the video at hand (e.g., how to best talk about optimal ranges for key moves, or making apparent the "point" of an unusual move in a character's arsenal).
At this point, Specs proofs the script and changes the wording so every piece of vital information is conveyed as clearly as possible. Then we invite another expert of that specific character for peer review. Any suggestions and problems once again go through the process of brainstorming and proofing.
When everyone involved is sure the script is perfect and ready to rock, we format it into short lines to be presented in the video as text on screen.
Specs narrates the script and handles the post production of the audio file, adjusting volume, removing static and other unwanted noise, and generally ensuring the narration sounds good.
Tuka handles the art: he makes a unique background for the character, sidebars, and inputs of arrows and buttons for each move mentioned in the episode, and any other visuals the episode requires.(An aside: you see much of Tuka's hard work in place with the HUD, logos, and other constant visual elements.)
Then Novril organizes all the visuals in the video, fits the inputs and the text to the timing of the audio, and makes sure to loop a character theme track accurate down to the frame.
Now comes the recording phase, in which each scenario is carefully constructed to not only show the concept, but also to fit the time it takes to finish the sentence in the audio, so the scenarios are recorded with the audio running in the background. This is one of the main two time sinks in the production, and can take additional time if narration tweaks are required, where Specs will adjust and re-record as required.
We are also considering outsourcing some of the footage recording to people with HD capture cards and better execution. It’s worth it for us to pay someone a small sum to easily record combos of his main character, compared to us wasting precious time learning to do them just to demonstrate them, especially in the case of the execution heavy characters like Carl Clover.
The next phase is to take all the recordings and fit them in the video timeline, and take care of various clip length problems that arise while trying to sync it with the audio.
Now we take all the scenarios we couldn’t create for various reasons, mainly that they need to be shown in a real match, and find proper footage of top players to present them. Finding the specific situation you need in a match video can take a while, but it has to be done.
After that, the timeline is full, and after the final check, the episode is ready to be rendered, uploaded, and shown to the character experts for approval. Any problems that they spot need to be fixed, which leads to another round of rendering, uploading, and approval.
Then the episode is finally ready.
Q5: How will BlazBits improve over Guilty Bits?
A: Presentation-wise, we will be improving the visuals and including text on screen to make everything clearer, especially if English is not your native language, as seen in the video example. All while keeping the old features like general topics and arrow notation alongside numpad notation for every move, to help people get used to numpad notation.
The content will also expand beyond the general playstyle and talking about important moves. We’ll also dive deeper into each move, going through its possible chain routes and the tactics that arise from them, and cover movement options, angles of approach, and space control. We are planning to do it in a way that is less like a list and more like a flowchart, striving to simulate the order of thinking that takes place in a real match when playing as that character.While several Guilty Bits episodes were about 5 minutes long, each BlazBits episode is planned to be around 10 minutes. The two saving graces that makes this more practical for us on the production side are that BlazBlue characters have overall less moves to talk about compared to Guilty Gear characters, and that we have already improved our work process after a year of experience with Guilty Bits, so we can achieve more in less time.
Q6: Can you explain a bit more about the additional stretch goals?
A: Past the first stretch goal, another $1000 goes for things we think are important for the “complete package”, but not AS important as the character episodes.
The 27th episode is not going to be a basic system guide, as that is easily available information. Instead, we want to cover the tactical applications of the various system mechanics. This episode will require just as much work in production as the character episodes, and will even require its own experts.
Focusing on combos is not on our priority list, but the extra funding will allow us and the character experts to dedicate some time to cover this subject properly, and we hope viewers find it useful.
People remember Mike Zaimont from his narration of the Tager section in the official BlazBlue Calamity Trigger DVD guide, and he also helped us since in narrating the Potemkin episode of Guilty Bits, so we’ll be delighted for the opportunity to get him to narrate for an Arc System grappler tutorial once again, provided he has time to do so.
The final stretch goal beyond that, costing $6000, is to produce 15 tutorials of Guilty Gear Xrd. While that's lower compared to BlazBits, even relatively, we will use our prior experience with the series and its characters, and the production experience we’ll gain from producing BlazBits, to try to lower the amount of necessary hours even more.
Q7: I think BlazBits should cost only X amount of money, or take only X hours to make.
A: We did not arrive at our estimated costs and minimum Indiegogo fixed* funding amount on a whim; we took into account our work making tutorial videos for a year, along with in-depth planning. Every amount was considered, and reconsidered, and reconsidered again, not just by the core team but through survey feedback. The final dollar amounts were discussed at length before finalizing our decision.
* "Fixed funding" means that if we don't meet our $9500 minimum, we get nothing. Indiegogo optionally allows for projects to receive any funding committed (i.e., "flexible funding"), even if below the minimum, but we opted not to go that route. This means that if we don't make the minimum, Indiegogo returns all donated amounts with no fees. Please refer to Indiegogo's FAQ for more details (http://www.indiegogo.com/indiegogo-faq).
Look, it's easy to take a broad view and lowball the time and effort such a project truly demands. Before we committed to making Guilty Bits, we did the very same thing, underestimating just how long it would take to make sure each video looked and sounded great; how much fine-tuning the audio to remove every errant breath would take; getting all the art and aesthetics done and looking just right. A year of doing tutorial videos fairly consistently taught us just how much it takes to do the job right.
As BlazBits was heavily requested and not initially on our radar, it isn't unreasonable to consider crowdfunding. And the beauty of crowdfunding is that it isn't mandatory and appeals to anyone looking to donate. If you disagree with our financial assessment despite laying it out (see Q3), feel free to not donate; you'll still get to enjoy BlazBits should it meet its funding goal. And if we don't meet that goal, well, we still have a lot of free video projects in the works for fighting game players.
A: We don’t need any money for equipment and hardware, as we already possess everything we need for the production. We calculated the costs purely based on the full-time work hours it will take to make the series. The participants are the core production team (with Novril, the content and video editor, working full-time on the project), and 1-3 experts for each character, to help cover the characters we don’t play.
The core team’s budget is based on minimum wage, which means $7.50 USD for every hour of work, both the script phase (1 day of work) and on the video production phase (3 days of work). (See Q4.)
Overall the core team’s work alone for 5 months on 26 different 10 minute episodes will cost roughly $6000 USD.
Each character expert, while only working on the script phase of a single episode, will be getting $10 USD per hour. Overall the costs to pay our character experts amount to roughly $1750.
After all of that, 15% (~$1200) is added as backup money for potential unforeseeable problems. This is a must when planning the funding of big projects, as it will prevent the worst case scenario where we get the money yet can’t fulfill our promises. If things go smoothly as we hope, after the series ends, any backup money that is left will be split between the character experts, based on the hours they put in.
On top of all of that are the Indiegogo and PayPal fees (7%), and then some more Paypal fees to transfer the money to all the different people. This amounts to another $700 USD.To summarize: $6000 + $1750 + $1200 + $700 = $9650 USD
Airdash Academy Playlist - goo.gl/TGOeT4
(Debuting on March 20)