After hearing and reading comments from SAP community members about the event and about my character, I felt the need to make a statement. The overall negative sentiment focuses on the Creator Toolkit and me being a scumbag. Let's get into it.
First off, you're right. You got me. BIG TIME scumbag here. I've actually been in the process of legally changing my name to Brian Scumbaggo, but the paperwork did not complete in time for the tournament announcement. Might be my biggest failure as a human to date.
Damn, could you imagine if I ended the blog post right there? OMEGALUL.
Okay, let's get back to being a little more serious versus full throttle silly and sarcastic.
Recoil Against the Creator Toolkit
For anyone that missed the comments on streams, in chats, and on discords, there is a large outcry about the Creator Toolkit. Most of the negative attention has been focused on the penalty section and the watermark.
Fundamental Issue with Creator Toolkit
Objectively speaking, the Creator Toolkit copy was written poorly. I had rushed the blog post, because I was on a crunch timeline to get as much ready as possible for the Monday announcement. In hindsight, I should have just posted a Save the Date Tournament Announcement post, and taken more time to thoughtfully craft the Creator Toolkit blog post.
Holy crap is the "copyright strikes" mention such a stupid and terrible line. Definitely wish I had a second opinion and editor to help me, but unfortunately I'm a one-man show and I mess up. Also the watermark did not consider everyone's needs, and that's because of my blind spots. I tested how it would look over the game, but didn't factor in various stream overlay setups.
Why Did I Make a Creator Toolkit?
I have the impression that there are a lot of people in the community that don't understand my intentions, and I get that. The announcements were not executed as well as I would have liked yesterday.
So here's my plan, how we got to the posts yesterday, and the structure of the event moving forward.
Main Idea: Test a Larger Tournament Series by Organizing a Free SAP Tourney That Makes Sense to Finance
SAP Open 1 is just the beginning of my master plan. I've been saving up money, cutting spending and expenses from my life, to put on a massive tournament series in 2023. But saving money to pay for the events is just one piece of the puzzle. Before I can commit to doing the tournament series, there's a lot of things that need to be tested and explored.
1) Practice and Learn Through Running a One-Off SAP Event Before Announcing a Larger Tournament Series
Announcing a tournament series that spans over 9 months without running a smaller event first would be a bit foolish. I do have plenty of experience in the space. I've been a competitor for decades, and I've worked in gaming for 8-10 years. That gaming work experience includes being a manager at a card shop, being a Tournament Organizer for local events, and also working as the Head Scorekeeper for Yu-Gi-Oh! Regionals and YCS's.
A) Test the Logistics of Running an Event
There has been chatter about the format for the tournament, and I'm excited that people are excited to try something new. It might be a hit. It might totally suck. Doing the SAP Open 1 will help us find out if Custom Pack Same As Host is a good format or not. Other things that need to be tested: Tourney Bot handling pairings, standings, etc. And there are more questions that need data to answer. What's the ideal time limit per round to reasonably finish a match? What's the best way to showcase someone's gameplay for commentary on stream? I could go on and on, but you get the idea here. And SAP Open 1 will help a lot in making sure a future tournament series is clean and tight.
B) Emulate a Big Beat Tournament Splash
If SAP Open 1 is going to help test what it's like to run a longer tournament series, it would be ideal if the event can also feel like a serious organized play tournament. Fun fact: I'm old. And over the decades, I've played in countless tournaments for various games. One thing I've noticed that make a streamed tournament feel really special and serious is when there's consistent branding across all the streamers. Teamfight Tactics (TFT) is a perfect example. TFT does a great job of making it really clear when someone clicks on the Twitch category that a tournament is happening. Ultimately I would love to have the same effect, because I want to launch an organized play series of similar caliber: think what Star City Games has done for Magic.
C) Imitate As Best As Possible the Prizes Of Future Events
The prizes were carefully calculated to make sure it was close to my plans for individual events next year, but make the Open by itself feel special and important (since the Open is a stand alone event). I have a long history in playing in local tournaments, big open events, and championship invitationals. I would love to make all of those things a reality for the SAP community. I think it could be possible if I do stuff. Okay cool. I think the coast is clear now. So people generally don't like reading, and many won't make it this far into the paragraph. We're in the middle of a long blog post, and this section only got an H4 heading. Most folks will scroll past for sure. So this is a perfect time to reward the people that read most of the words with a spoiler for next year: I'm looking to have an invitational event where I give away one thousand dollars in total to top eight. Will that still happen? Really depends on how much the community appreciates my efforts on one-off beats like SAP Open 1, and if people care to shout out what I'm doing here at Full Belly Laughs. More on those sentiments later.
2) Create an Event That Is Taken Seriously Via Prizes, Professionalism, and Structure
I don't want SAP Open 1 to be just some random thing that's forgotten. My goal is to make it the seed of something bigger. There's a few ways that I can achieve the feel of "this is a big deal".
A) Make the Prize Structure Competitive
Coconut Clash 4 had a total prize pool of $260, which I'm matching with SAP Open 1. From my limited research, this seems like a good number to make the event seem big. Maybe my research was bad. Based on some remarks in the community, this prize purse isn't good enough. So maybe I'm too poor to attract people to play. I won't know without more feedback, and testing out an event with a proposed prize structure.
B) Post Professional Content
Making just a post in one Discord isn't enough. There's a reason I'm doing multiple social posts, sharing in several discords, developing assets, posting blogs, etc. etc. The event should not feel like Tuesday Modern at the card shop; it should feel like an SCG Open. That can be accomplished by putting in the time to create graphics, write blogs, book guests, etc.
C) Attractive to All Stakeholders
Going back to the Star City Games example, not every duelist plays in their tournaments. That's because not everyone plays the same formats or even plays competitive MTG. But they got great viewership on the SCG Tour, because it was an approachable broadcast for all types of players. Ideally SAP Open 1 and future events should be fun for the sweaty players, the casual players, and people who just like watching the various steamers. I'm hoping the random prizes will help in this regard, but we'll see.
3) Find Alternative Ways to Justify the Cost (Time and Money) Without Charging an Entry Fee
I've spent plenty of money in entry fees to compete in tournaments. Frankly, I'm over it. I think there are better ways to finance an event. Ultimately it starts with how you view the purpose of running an event. Some organizers expect to make money from a tournament. For me, I'm fine spending the money if it's an investment in myself.
A) Raffles for Players and Viewers
This naturally encourages people to at least stop by the Full Belly Laughs (and co-commenter) streams, because that's where the raffles will take place. If all else fails, at least people will stop by the channel to win something.
B) Encourage People Who Stream the Event To Shout Out Full Belly Laughs
There is up to $260 in prizes available, specifically $210 for players with $160 of that being distributed to the top 8. Every player can stream the event, and that's not counting the exposure they'll receive on my stream (and the co-commenter's stream). The event is also free. My hope is that these details would make fellow streamers eager to shout out me, the organizer. I did mess up with the delivery of that message, because the Creator Toolkit original post was like "do this or else." That was dumb. I should have strongly encouraged shouting out my channel, versus taking a contract approach. Lesson learned.
C) Make Shouting Out Full Belly Laughs As Effortless As Possible
This was the goal of the Creator Toolkit, but unfortunately the horrible copy got in the way. The rules about the watermark were also cumbersome. Ultimately though, something like the Creator Toolkit should make it so easy for a streamer to shout out a tournament organizer, that they would have be to beyond lazy to not use some of it. The packet should include suggestions for stream category, stream title, chat commands, links to important documentation, graphics, etc. Ignore the bad copy of the announcement, I still fell short in this area with the original post. For example, I should have totally created several pre-written chat commands that a streamer can copy-and-paste. That way it's super easy for their viewers to find out what's going on in their stream. Either way, an easy to use kit will make it so shouting out the organizer is no longer a chore. Speaking of chores ...
A Tournament with Prize Money Is Not A Charity
Just so we're on the same page, let's recap what it takes to run a great tournament without a staff: determine a prize structure; raise the money and secure the prizes; determine the format; test the format; choose a tournament software; test the software; develop a brand for the event, which includes the name, look-and-feel, etc.; develop assets for the event such as graphics, icons, and videos; develop content for various platforms leveraging those assets such as social, web, and video; release that content on a schedule that reaches the right audience, and continues to remind them about the event; actually run the tournament, which includes registration, check-ins, round pairings, dropping players, handing disputes between players, and performing an entertaining broadcast; handling prize payouts after the event; and finally, organize all content created for and during the tournament to be leveraged for future events (example: clips of amazing plays).
It's a lot.
If I wanted to just give away money to the community, I'd gift 50 subs across a bunch of SAP streamers. I'm giving the money away to viewers/players in a tournament, and putting in the work to do an event, because I want to help grow Full Belly Laughs. I'm fine writing off the money and time attributed to making the event happen, but only if it's a marketing expense.
TL; DR: Creator Toolkit Is Now a Suggestion, And a Way to Tip The Organizer
There's no longer any requirements for streaming the event.
Real talk: I was never going to enforce them. I'm a one-man show over here. I can barely make time to eat, since this tournament is essentially a 3rd job for me (I have a day job plus other life commitments). I have rewritten the original announcement about the Creator Toolkit to reflect the above sentiment. Hopefully this better reflects the intentions stated above in the Main Plan, and resonates better with the community.
To ensure that this post reaches novella lengths, let's add more content after the TL;DR.
"But, Brian, You're Still a Scumbag"
Many commenters and chatters expressed that I'm a despicable person today, and probably still feel this way after reading or hearing about this post. There is one category of hater that I do want to address. Are you upset that I changed the copy of the Creator Toolkit blog post? If you were in the middle of a hate post/video about me, fear not, because the old copy can be recovered! Just post up in the Full Belly Laughs Discord, and I'm sure I can get you the resources you need. Happy to help you with your content.
Thank You to the Fans
Although a vocal minority, I truly appreciate the support. Taking my example from before about running a tournament vs donating money, you can extend that idea to compare running a tournament vs investing. So why don't I take this extra money I have saved up and just build a stock portfolio? Because it does bring me great joy to entertain, and put on cool events for folks. If I didn't care about that, I would just play the market instead of investing in Full Belly Laughs. So for everyone that has supported me in the past, and continues to support me, thank you. It wouldn't be worth challenging moments like this without you.
Let's Have a Great Tournament
Are you still down to play in (and possibly stream) a free tournament were you can win money? Awesome. You can pre-register now in the Discord. The registration form is located in the #tourney-registration channel.