View Full Version : 50th Spotlight Bonus Feature #2 - The Musings of a Retired Spotlighter

10-19-2010, 10:12 PM

The Musings of a Retired Spotlighter

Whilst reaching a golden anniversary is a great time to look to the future, it is also an opportunity to relive the past. Here we have some recollections and memories kindly written by several old Spotlight Crew members about the experiences and motives they had whilst working on the crew. Enjoy!

Distinguished from the Beginning

It was October 2008 and I had the good fortune of receiving a code for the LBP BETA. What a magical time it was! I remember feeling this sense of elation, a sense of pure joy that finally there was a game that allowed to create whatever we wanted and whats more, share it with the rest of the world. I joined this site within a couple of days of joining the BETA and it was not too long before I created my first level "World of Sponge". I created a thread which was almost completely ignored and I really did not like that feeling (this is important for what follows). I then began working on "Out of Africa". The BETA soon ended, I picked up the retail copy of LBP and realized that I lost the 10 hours I put into "Out of Africa" because I forgot to publish. I would need to begin from scratch...

Fast forward a couple of weeks and "Out of Africa" is published. I am getting great feedback and I am happy to see that the hard work and sleepless nights have paid off. I eventually get a PM saying that my level has been chosen for the first "Community Spotlight", WOW! It was completely unexpected and very gratifying to get this sort of recognition! However, it did raise an important question: how were these Spotlighted levels selected? I sent CC a PM with some inquiries and suggestions. I had an idea that stemmed from my years reading EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly) magazine which back in the day was the gamers bible (I started reading it when I was about 12 years old lol). The thing I loved about EGM was that you had 4 people reviewing the same game. This gave you four points of view on which to base your decision of ultimately purchasing a game or not. I thought this set up would make a lot of sense in choosing creations that have truly reached a level of excellence and that deserve recognition for doing so. By having 4 people we could cover a lot of levels and if we found one we liked we could recommend it to the other members to give it a go. In a nutshell, thus began the Spotlight Crew and I was proud to be an original member!

See, that experience of having my first creation ignored was a motivating force for me to "shine the light" on others' creations and make sure they received the recognition they deserved (let me clear on one point, "World of Sponge" was NOT a level deserving such recognition but the idea of not getting any sort of feedback was an impetus for all that followed). Even if I did not choose a level to be Spotlighted, I wanted to leave creators as much useful, meaningful feedback as possible to help them on their creative journeys. Having your level Spotlighted would be the pinnacle of what a creator could achieve by putting in the hard work and creating something special. If you created a great level and we had the chance to play it then it would be Spotlighted, period.

I did this for 8 episodes, episode 9 being my last one. The reason I left the crew was because I was moving from Japan to Europe and there were big changes happening in my personal life. I simply did not have the time to devote myself to the great responsibility of the Community Spotlight. It was a lot of hard work but I had the opportunity to work together with some really great members of this community. I have nothing but high praise for my fellow Crew members and the many creators who made it a joy to put out each episode of the Spotlight. Lots of great ideas were contributed and the thing has just kept evolving. It was around this time that I went into LBP "retirement" but with LBP2 on the horizon my dreams are bubbling to the surface again. My goal? To have my LBP2 creations Spotlighted!

I name thee ... Spotlighter!


A Pro at Prose

I think I joined the spotlight crew just because OCK was my friend and needed help. I was already playing and giving feedback to literally everything posted in the Level Showcase at the time. Little Big Planet Central was smaller then, and having a creative cypher of peers really cemented my desire to create for and with others when initially, I'd bought Little Big Planet to 'make my own levels' for myself with the tantalizing offer of the ultimate create-a-[something] mode that I'd always been addicted to in everything from Excite Bike on the NES to Tony Hawk's Underground on X-Box.

This naturally fostered sense of community, at the time, had a lot of walls to break down, whether it was an introverted ego stroking, back scratching cliques, or simply whittling down hordes of people trying to find a way to find a voice and outlet in the heydays of Ramp. Ramp set an impossible bar of 2 million plays rather quickly, and a mysterious sense of futility in a system that hadn't even had a 7 Day rule in place yet, if there were any rules at all. The only way to work towards this impossible goal, was to work together: strength in numbers. We all loved what we were doing, and honestly, what everyone else was doing. That was how it felt then, and I was there to give people motivation, credit where credit was due, and tell everyone "Hey, check this level out... it's amazing."

The original cool pages system really fostered negativity as well, and it seemed like every spotlight we were defending our choices and our motives. It's like nobody had adapted to having a public venue as a creative outlet yet, and LBPC had yet to be understood as a haven for sharing and support. Some people even complained about being spotlighted. I remember asking the team not to spotlight anything of mine while I was on the crew just to avoid giving the impression that we were self serving and biased. My friend OCK was pretty much fed up with condescension in general, Neverynnal had real life to deal with, and it was just myself and Ccubbage left. I think we both signed on at the same time, but he went down and back up with the ship. I still would vouch for levels I thought were amazing, unofficially, and I was glad just to be creating again.

LBP's system changed, LBPC grew, F4F was instituted, and I think if it wasn't for this community of people (and the myriad of sites we all migrated from), and positive people who really want to nurture creativity in others, LBP would be nothing like what it is today. LBPC did what Media Molecule wasn't able to do; give us a reason to be a community, to play, create and share, to strive for excellence, and to mold the game's potential into what we wanted. That's why the levels you find in an episode now are infinitely better than what you find in older episodes, and putting this thing together is probably much harder than it once was because splitting hairs between great and even greater is no easy task.

It went from beating story mode and getting lost in a sea of mediocrity to having a reliable source for quality that you can set your watch to. That's what the spotlight team is now; ten steps ahead of MM Picks. Even though sackbook's resurrection has finally been found in lbp.me, there's nothing like people you can trust vouching for someone else and their work. Serious creators are the heart and soul of LBP, and the spotlight is our democracy... here's to another 50 episodes of overworked crew members! May the future be so packed with good material and variety that you're forced to resig... err recruit even more, and the list gets so long, only a video montage and podcast will do.


Father of the Modern Spotlight

The Spotlight.... 50 episodes... wow, incredible. Almost 2 years ago I first started using the spotlight, and was amazed by the quality work creators were putting out.

I remember when I popped into LBPC and saw one of my own levels get spotlighted. I was totally thrilled, never expecting it at all. I didn't even know HOW to get on the spotlight.

Not too long after, I was asked by OCK to be part of the spotlight crew. It was a really interesting experience. When I started reading the threads and taking part in the process, I could tell it was in a bit of a turmoil state. There were a lot of questions about the eligibility requirements for spotlighting levels, such as their activity on the site.

I also realized there was a lack of coverage for unknown creators, very little communication, and a general feeling of the crew members getting burned out. In fact, within a few spotlights the entire crew suddenly quit... leaving me alone on the crew.

The bad thing was, I was suddenly getting burned out and was ready to quit myself. The GREAT thing was, ConfusedCartman allowed me to go out and pick a new crew. It was an opportunity to completely revitalize the crew and build a better spotlight.

I didn't want to be reactive and pick the wrong people - I wanted the new crew to be motivated and work together as a team. After quite a bit of hunting, I picked GrantusUK and Morgana25 - both were great creators, and had been providing useful feedback on the threads and in the reviews section.

Immediately things started turning around. The organization of the spotlight changed, the activity requirements were dropped, the communication between the team worked well - and with the addition of Coxy224, we ended up with the right team.

I think the changes we made at that point reflect the current spotlight - a consistently great and unbiased list that reflects what this community is capable of.

I hope it lasts for a long time - the Spotlight Crew provides a service that not only keeps the great creators creating, but also inspires new creators by showing them what LittleBigPlanet is capable of.


The Oldest Spotlighter EVER!

I can remember my first spotlight, clear as day. It was probably one of my most proudest moments (other than my wedding day, but don't tell Mrs. GruntosUK I said that). I was just under the 15% percent activity needed to qualify, fortunately, I hit the limit between my level being posted and the spotlight being published. So I complained (at the spotlight team, yeah I know ) CC, OCK and CCubbage made an exception and added comments in to an already busy schedule. I was blown away. I had played levels by all of these superstars and here I was, among them.

I suppose I needn't say how awesome it was to get asked to join the crew. I was literally grinning from ear to ear for weeks after. Here was my time to give something back to the community. I lasted doing the spotlight for almost a year. It robbed all my free time, and caused many an argument (please ask Mrs. GruntosUK) but I played much awesomeness, and enjoyed every second; me, Charles, Caryn and Rupert (joined by Zwollie later) had an absolute ball playing and enjoying the brilliance that LBPC knocked out week after week.

I'm still very proud when my levels get picked. It's the pinnacle of creating to me, to be chosen and have your level enjoyed by your peers means more than the cool levels, or a million hearts ever would. We've grown a great community here. Not many people would give so much to give people the best for nothing. It's still, without doubt, the best bible for the very best of what LBP in general has to offer level wise. And long may it continue.

We should all be proud, not just the spotlight crew, but everyone that's a part of LBPC, that we still make a great game a pleasure to be part of, almost two years after its release.

Sometimes, life can get a bit hard for the poor, sleepless Spotlighters ...


The Grand Den Spotlighter

When I first joined LBPC, back in January 2009 I had no idea what the Spotlight was. Heck I'd never joined, much less browsed a forum before finding this oasis of creativity and support for a game I'd learned to love. My first introduction to the Spotlight came from a profile message from Zwollie congratulating me on making the Inactive Users section of spotlight 7 with my LittleBigTron level. From then on I was hooked. Every two weeks I'd be glued to LBPC, waiting for the new Spotlight to pop up on screen. I remember the butterflies in my stomach if I had a level that was eligible and literally grinning from ear to ear if I saw it made the cut. I never forgot that feeling and after CCubbage asked me to join the crew itself, it remained with me as a motivator to make sure that every creator I could recommend would experience that same joy and awe.

From my very first Spotlight, which was Spotlight 10 in March of 2009, I looked to the crew from the past as inspiration and role models. OCK set the bar on what I thought I needed to do for the community and as a crew member and I tried in the subsequent 37 spotlights to keep his example in mind. CCubbage was also a huge influence on how I approached spotlighting and on so many occasions I'd bounce levels off him as a double check that I was on track. Grant and Coxy and Matt were so much fun to work with too. Always a chuckle, and old man joke from Coxy directed at Grant (even though I was the oldest on crew at the time) and Matt confusing me with what his real name was (You're still James to me ;) ) kept spotlighting light and fun even though there was a ton of work to do. I've been blessed to work with most of the former and current spotlighters who, and I know you guys hear this all the time but it's really true, work their tails off to bring you the best of the best every fortnight. It truly is a labor of love for us and we give so much of ourselves working on it, it's hard to say goodbye sometimes.

In the early days of LBP it seemed like anything was possible, and week after week the talented members of LBPC kept pushing that limit further and further. It was an exciting time to be on the crew and just when you thought the quality couldn't get any better wexfordian, antposteller, lockstich and a host of others would blow our minds with inventive, beautiful and fun levels to play. The spotlight was the best way for people to find these gems in a sea of bomb survivals, blatant ripoffs or h4h levels that packed the cool pages. Creators at LBPC began to look at the spotlight not only as a way to get their levels played but also as a motivator to build it bigger and better the next time. For a long time it felt like the beating heart of the community here, a central place for creators to come together and say to one another, congratulations and thank you for your time, effort and creativity.

The process that we used to organize the levels and to keep communication between the crew members evolved alongside the quality of the levels being produced as well. I'd never used a BB tag or HTML before and learning how to keep everything looking good and more importantly organized was a big part of my learning process on the crew. The number of members on LBPC kept growing and the showcase was growing right with it. The crew ended up using HTML tables with over a hundred levels each spotlight period to track and comment on the levels that were eligible. Maintaining the tables became a job in and of itself and then taking, uploading and organizing the photos for those levels selected on top of doing the actual write ups began to add more and more time to the process. The crew needed to do this to ensure that each level got the attention it deserved.

Looking to the future of Spotlight, it will only be as good as the members of LBPC make it. Given the commitment, creativity and passion of the members and volunteers here, I think it's in good hands and it's future looks bright indeed.


Writer of Ages, and Spotlights!

I remember the day I received a PM from Morgana25 about joining the spotlight crew. I couldn't wait to get started! Although I was only a spotlight crew member for a few months, I definitely had some great times. One in particular (I hesitate to share this!) was extremely funny. It was the day TheAdipose shortened my name to "PwrShtr," and I asked him not to because it looked like it had a derogatory term in it. The next thing I know Adi and Taffey are posting pictures of four wheel drive port-o-potties in my name. That was the great thing about the spotlight crew. You could always count on getting a few laughs.

During my time with the crew, we went through a lot of changes. Most of those were internal changes that made the whole spotlighting process more organized. Imagine playing a hundred or more levels in less than two weeks and having to document all of your experiences so you know which ones to go back to and write about. It was crazy!

But even after playing hundreds of levels over a few months, there are a few that stick out in my mind that I really enjoyed. My first spotlight write up was for Star Wars The Return of the Jedi: The Ewok Village by JulesyJules. Being a huge Star Wars fan, it almost felt like it was meant to be when I had the chance to write about his level. Atomic Assistance by Ladylyn1 was another level that I remember being extremely impressed with. Actually, come to think of it, that may have been the one time I held hands with Rtm223. Someone had to make sure he didn't get lost in that level!

They say that all good things must come to an end, and unfortunately that was the case with my participation in the crew. I absolutely loved evaluating levels and getting to know the crew members better. It's a shame that "real life" stuff always has to get in the way! I won't soon forget all the memories, and thank you to the team for letting me be a part of the action. Congrats to all the crew members, current and past, for 50 spotlights! I look forward to reading the next 50 as we venture together through the many worlds of LBP2.

10-19-2010, 10:26 PM
Nice work on these aya!
I can't wait to see what is going to be the bonus feature in the nest day!

10-19-2010, 10:34 PM
Nice work on these aya!

He didn't do this, the Retired Spotlighters did (excluding the first paragraph).

10-19-2010, 10:35 PM
Nice work on these aya!

I should point out that all these features were written by the Spotlight Crew, not me, so any praise ought to be aimed at them. :)

10-19-2010, 10:39 PM
Well, I never read the Spotlights (Sue me), but In honestly don't know how you guys do it. It's amazing that you can do it, especially since you play every level. And I liked these levels,so yeah. And now that lbp.me is out, and you'll inevitably include links to the lbp.me pages in spotlights, maybe I'll actually read them in LBP2. The differences in gameplay will also inspire me to play LBP2 more... maybe.

... Anywho, I have to ask... who drew those pictures? lol

10-19-2010, 10:41 PM
Keldur did the art. :)

10-19-2010, 10:43 PM
they're awesome

10-19-2010, 10:50 PM
Nice, this is very cool, great creators and drawings!

10-19-2010, 11:01 PM
Nice work on these aya!
I can't wait to see what is going to be the bonus feature in the nest day!
Aya posted these, but Tan and Morgana effectually put this one together. Keldur drew the pics! Oh, and Holguin helped too! :D

10-19-2010, 11:08 PM
Great read and the drawings by Keldur are just fantastic! :)

10-19-2010, 11:14 PM
Wow, this was amazing and so moving to read. It makes me proud to be a member of LBPC. Thanks very much to everyone who has contributed to the spotlight over the years!

10-19-2010, 11:34 PM
Ah, it's a joy to read about the history of the Community Spotlight! Thank you Spotlight Crew for spending so much of your free time compiling star levels for us to play! Can't wait for the next feature! :)

P.S. I'm liking those pictures Keldur! :D

10-19-2010, 11:48 PM
:love: go the spotlight crew. good job guys. can't believe how you can manage to get all these spotlights out fortnightly.
Amazing work for everyone who put time into this.

10-19-2010, 11:49 PM
I love those drawings...


10-20-2010, 01:55 AM
These are great! Makes you appreciate what the spotlight crew does for us even more.

10-20-2010, 02:14 AM
This was a great idea. Thanks for the Crew for putting it together, and thanks for asking me to be a part of it :) And yeah, those drawings not only look great, but they're a perfect representation of how a spotlighter feels after a hard days work of level sifting ;)

10-20-2010, 03:24 AM
Aww, nice read. :)
Keldur should post in here so we can thank him for the great pics. :D

10-20-2010, 05:37 AM
Another great feature, and I LOVE those drawings! :love:

This 50th Spotlight celebration is just getting better and better. Thanks for all the hard work to put this together!

The next thing I know Adi and Taffey are posting pictures of four wheel drive port-o-potties in my name. That was the great thing about the spotlight crew. You could always count on getting a few laughs.I have no idea what you're talking about.



10-20-2010, 05:39 AM
That was a really interesting read. Some great stories and reminiscences there and it's so nice to get a glimpse behind the scenes of the Spotlight.

Great pictures too. I love the level badges in the second one - such a good idea!

Thanks for putting this together!

10-20-2010, 07:02 AM
This is just plain awesome. Can't wait to see what's next! :)

10-20-2010, 11:40 AM
Thanks again for allowing us to do this feature, it's good to know the roots of something and understand how it became what it is today. Doing the Spotlights is hard work and eats up all of your free time. I am grateful I had a great crew to work with and would like to thank NinjaMicWZ and CCubbage in particular for the contributions they made during our time on the team together.

Here is looking to the future of LBPC, Spotlights and fantastic creations from our talented community :)

10-20-2010, 11:46 AM
Thanks to everyone that helped with this bonus feature. :)

Holguin for the intro, Keldur for the fantastic art, and, of course, all the retired spotlighters!

<3 We Love You!! <3

10-20-2010, 11:55 AM
Haha! Your drawings are fantastic! :D

You've made my day. Great job.

10-20-2010, 03:02 PM
gr8 draws i liked a lot

10-20-2010, 03:39 PM
yea more features!
waiting for stuff is sooo rewarding these days!

10-20-2010, 03:46 PM
There's something that just touching and satisfying about looking at the past. :) Great job Spotlight Crew!

10-20-2010, 10:22 PM
That was a great read! Thank you all, for sharing your insights and thanks to Keldur for the seriously cool art :) This has been the best 50th party ever so far. (Plus all the 'goodies' so far have been totally FAT FREE!!!! :D)

10-20-2010, 10:31 PM
FYI, Keldur also made the official 50th spotlight badge too ... but unfortunately, he's ill at the moment, and we don't know when he'll be back ... :(

10-21-2010, 02:35 PM
Nice reflections... Keldur really should post, Thank You all!

10-29-2010, 09:35 AM
love the drawings

10-30-2010, 05:10 PM
Very interesting thread ! And yep: the drawings are marvelous!!!

10-31-2010, 05:36 PM
Locked and archived. :)