Content Creators Guide Introduction
If you are inspired by your Total War adventures to create mods, art, blogs, tutorials or Let’s Plays, there’s loads of different ways to start making and promoting your content so that other members of the TW community can enjoy and admire your hard work.
This page is intended to help get you started and provide some advice on getting your work featured on our official channels.
In the future, we’d like to expand this page out to include all sorts of tutorials and guides on producing different Total War content.
If you have suggestions, think something is missing or you’d like to let us know about a great resource or tip that might help other content creators, please send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Getting your Content Featured on the Total War Official Channels
If you’re producing great videos or mods of Total War content, we’d love to look at featuring you on our social media channels and our new Total War Community Hub (coming soon™).
You could reach hundreds of thousands of Total War players and we’d be happy to point them straight back to your YouTube channel or Steam Workshop page.
When it comes to videos, what you include is up to you. But there are some things that will deter us from featuring a video, and some things that will increase your chances of being featured. Here’s a quick rundown:
Featured Video Do’s
- If you’re using our official assets as part of your video (like trailers, screens, art or box fronts for example), try to preserve them at their original quality and aspect ratio. So don’t squeeze a piece of art horizontally to fit it into shot, or zoom into a screenshot so far it becomes pixelated.
- Include a disclaimer in your description text that reads “This is an unofficial fan-made video.” or “This is not an official Total War video.”
- If your video features 18-rated or Blood Pack footage, mark it as such in the description or at the start of the video so viewers are aware it contains mature content.
- We’ve no problem with featuring videos that include negativity about our games if the criticism is even-handed and constructive. However, if it comes across as a rant then we’re unlikely to see eye-to-eye on the matter.
Featured Video Don’ts
- Don’t use official-sounding naming conventions in your title (like, er, the word ‘official’). In general we want the viewer to understand that it is made by you, and not be confused at all as to whether it is an official video released by us.
- Don’t swear in your videos. The occasional, rare, mild expletive is usually ok at the discretion of the Community Co-ordinator posting the content, but no F or C bombs at all.
- Include any racist, sexist, misogynistic, threatening or discriminating language or behaviour. It makes you an arse, and we’re not interested.
Featured Mod Tips
When it comes to us featuring your mods, here’s some tips to give you the best chance of getting featured:
- Don’t worry about whether you mod is a massive conversion or only changes a few values to help make the game play differently. What’s important is that it changes the game with a distinct aim or purpose in mind. If your aim isn’t clear from the title, consider letting players know what you intended in the descriptive text or even making a trailer or other video to help you promote and explain the mod.
- Make sure your mod adheres to the game’s EULA and any Steam Workshop guidance (if that’s where you have hosted it), you’ll see it when you install the game for the first time, and they are listed on the game’s Steam product page.
- Check to make sure your mod doesn’t feature any third party IP (intellectual property) or copyrighted material; this includes things like music, art, text or sounds from other games, films or books etc. Mods should only contain content you own or is Total War content.
- If other people help you create your mod, don’t forget to credit them.
Creating Video Content - Best Practices
When it comes to creating video content for the first time, there's a few secrets to success we thought we'd share.
Record in as high quality as possible
With YouTube supporting 60FPS video, it’s quickly becoming the standard in gaming related content throughout the website.
Recording at 60FPS /1080p / 16:9 will give your video a professional look to it. Nobody wants to watch a video with letterboxing (black bars) or a lower quality, especially in Total War / Strategy Games where text can be small and hard to read for viewers who don’t watch in full screen or watch on mobile.
Investing in good hardware is obviously the easiest solution to this. If you can’t manage this standard, then try lowering the graphics quality until you can achieve either 30FPS solid or 60FPS solid even during the most demanding scenes. A video that runs well usually retains more viewers than a video running at 15FPS with max graphics.
Something that is often overlooked is audio quality. A good microphone or headset combination can make a huge difference in how professional your video looks / sounds. A muffled microphone, keyboard keys, mouse clicks and background noise all detract from the quality of the video. Try investing in a studio microphone that sits above the monitor if you’re doing live commentary to be as close to you as possible while also being far away from the keyboard and mouse.
A quick render settings guide can be found on YouTube here: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/1722171?hl=en-GB
Matching these settings will guarantee you the best quality you can achieve on YouTube. Setting your bitrate or resolution higher than recommended, won’t really do much, as YouTube runs it through these settings anyway on their own render farms. Keeping it the same, will ensure their render doesn’t change your quality and that the processing speeds are fast.
Keep your content high quality.
Aside from the actual video and audio quality, you should keep the content of the video as high quality as possible. A great tip is to watch back your own video somewhere else. Put it on a USB and watch on a TV or laptop and watch the whole thing. If it isn’t entertaining, or there are mistakes, then write down at what point you felt it went wrong and go back and re-do it.
Doing this over and over again will mean you’ll get a better result and better video out of it. It’s a mistake if you feel “It’s good enough” or “I spent x amount of time doing it, so I’ll just upload it and fix the mistakes in future”. Your audience’s time is valuable, and if you waste their time with a boring section of video, they’ll be more likely to turn off. However if they are entertained the entire time, they’ll be more likely to subscribe / recommend you. Some channels create large volumes of content after they nail down what they’re good at, so obviously you don’t need to watch every minute of a let’s play you created, but it’s always good to take samples to see what you can improve.
Channel recognition and branding is very important to make your channel look professional and stand out from others.
Usually this involves creating a channel with an easy to remember name, and URL. Selecting a few bright colours to work with and using them in your logo and your channel artwork.
Thumbnail recognition is also important, keeping a series looking uniform and all your videos being instantly recognisable as yours. Think about what the user will see when your thumbnail is tiny and surrounded by others. Having clear and bright colours and easy to read text usually draws in more viewers. Don’t be misleading though! Only advertise what’s inside the video.
A good tip is to only ever use a handful of colours and keep a consistent font across all your images. If you have Photoshop or Gimp (free) image tools, then it’s good to create a thumbnail template to make it very quick to make changes to new series / videos.
It’s hard to come up with new concepts that haven’t been done before, but you may want to diversify your content to make you stand out among so many other youtubers and content creators. Make videos that you yourself would be interested in seeing and that’s usually a good way to go, whether it be reviews, let’s plays, history, lore, movies, stories, after action reports or multiplayer battles, Total War offers many interesting avenues of content to proceed down.
Collaborate with others.
Collaboration is a nice way to gain some initial traction and get your name out there. Whether it be another YouTuber, Steam Groups or Websites, there are always opportunities for collaborations with channels your size smaller or bigger. Combining audiences benefits both.
Wherever you can, try and get exclusive content or make videos on content that is fresh / new. New DLC or new games always see spikes in subscriber growth across our channels and our community members and it’s a great way to be part of the conversation if you have content relating to it.
However, don’t create content for the sake of it, if you’re just “cashing in” on “rant” style videos, opinion pieces without any research of the product, “Top 10” videos etc. you’ll lose the respect of other content creators and hit a subscriber ceiling much quicker than if you create well informed, well crafted videos.
Video Creation - Where to Start
We’re passionate about making videos, and we love that our community are too. If you’d like to get started creating content, but have zero prior experience, we’ve put together a short guide to getting on your way.
For creating gameplay videos, you’ll need a means of capturing what you’re playing. There are a bunch of different types of setup. To help give you an idea of how these options scale up, we’ll talk about a few of the ones we’ve used in the studio recently as an example.
But rest assured: if you have a gaming PC, you’ll be able to find a software solution that will get you on your way at the very least. Very good results can be achieved from the most modest of setups.
Setup #1 – Gameplay and Voice
What you’ll need:
- A gaming PC
- A Total War game
- XSplit or OBS (other software available)
- A headset with microphone (or standalone mic)
- Adobe Premiere Pro, Sony Vegas Pro or similar if you wish to edit your footage down (not needed for livestreaming)
By far the easiest setup to manage, this will work for either recording gameplay to upload to YouTube, or livestreaming.
For this example, we’ll run you through the setup we used on our “Fear the Risen Dead” video (here’s the link to the final version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn0kjw_Ix7Q)
Setting up XSplit
This video was captured locally using XSplit on this occasion (although we also sometimes use OBS, ShadowPlay or a hardware capture kit depending on the rig being used to capture).
XSplit is favoured by a lot of content creators because it’s really simple to use. In it, you set up “scenes”, which can comprise of gameplay, video loops, gifs, pretty much anything you want.
For the purposes of this example, though, you’ll just want to set up a basic scene with gameplay and a microphone input.
To start getting gameplay into XSplit: 1. First up, download a copy of XSplit. There is a free version, but if you’re looking at creating content regularly it might be worth upgrading as the additional functionality of the personal or premium versions are useful.
2. Set your XSplit resolution (top-right) to 1920x1080, either 30 or 60fps.
3. Start running your game.
4. Alt-tab to XSplit and click “Add source -> Game Capture”.
Now you should have a window inside your XSplit preview showing your gameplay coming through. Make sure you resize this so it fills the black preview area. Now you have two options: livestreaming or local recording.
Livestreaming on XSplit
If you’re looking to livestream, you can go ahead and set up your Twitch channel (make sure you’ve set one up at Twitch.tv first) by clicking Broadcast -> Add channel.
Once your channel has been added, you can check your settings by clicking the cog icon next to your channel name. We use the following streaming settings:
- Codec – x264
- Bitrate (kbps) – 2300
- Mode – CBR
- Strict CBR – On
- Max keyframe interval – 2.0
- Encoder preset – veryfast
- VBV buffer (kbit) – 2300
- Audio codec AAC LC – 128kbps bitrate
- Interleave audio and video in one RTMP channel
- Everything else to default
There’s one more thing to check: your microphone.
Click on Tools -> General Settings -> Audio and make sure your microphone is set up properly in the options. Select whichever headset or microphone you’re using.
If you head back to the main screen, you’ll see two volume bars below your gameplay – the one on the left is your microphone (be sure to unmute that before you start streaming or recording) and the one on the right is your gameplay audio. Make sure you have the right balance between the two (ask chat or do a test stream if you want to be sure of what works).
You may also have to adjust the in-game volume to make it so that your voice can be heard clearly. We’d recommend adjusting the master volume setting in-game and bringing everything back to around 50% (as we did in the Let’s Play).
Also, check you’re not duplicating your mic audio. On some setups, your microphone works on both the game audio and microphone channels. A quick fix is to mute the mic if you’re coming through on the game audio also.
If that all looks set up, you’re good to start streaming! Simply hit Broadcast then the name of your channel and you’re away!
Local recording on XSplit
The great thing about local recording is you can use your livestreaming setup and simply record to a video file instead. If you’re looking to record gameplay, click Broadcast -> Local Recording.
Here are the settings we use for local recording to optimise recording quality. Some of these settings are dependent on the quality of your rig – if you’re suffering dropped frames or excessive lag try dropping your settings down:
- Codec – x264
- Quality – Ultra High
- Configuration string: &ex:preset:ultrafast&ex:crf:18
- Audio codec AAC LC – 96kbps bitrate
- Output file type – mp4, split files at: Never
- Everything else to default
Once you’ve locally recorded your video, import it into a video editing package and tailor it to fit your style. Or upload the whole video in one go. For our Let’s Play, it made sense to compress one hour down to about 10 minutes to keep it interesting, but if you’re just playing through a battle once you may just wish to upload it wholesale.
We edit in Adobe Creative Cloud – mostly in Premiere, and add in overlay or transition effects in Photoshop and After Effects. We occasionally use Audacity to clean up fuzzy audio or eliminate background noise.
Setup #2 – Gameplay and Voice & Presenter Camera
If you’re interested in adding your face to proceedings, you’ll also need a webcam. This can add a degree of further personality to your streams and is a useful option for connecting with your audience.
Once you’ve plugged your camera in and installed drivers etc. you can click on Add source -> Webcam to bring up a window showing your camera, which you can resize. We recommend scaling this down so it doesn’t interfere with in-game UI or battle elements and positioning it somewhere where it isn’t obtrusive.
Upgrading your setup
There are many options to upgrade your setup, which will differ depending on whether you’re looking to livestream or do local recording. We often change our setup around depending on which we’re doing.
If you want to take it further, you can also create transparent graphical borders and overlays in your favourite photo editing software. We will often build a 16:9 camera border out of elements of the game UI to further tie it to the game we’re showing.
This can be achieved with a screenshot of the UI, a bit of a nip and tuck in your favourite software, and then brought into your stream via the Add Source button.
You can also change the order in which these elements are displayed by dragging around the order in which they appear in the white scenes list below the preview window. You can also enable or disable elements here.
Transitions and multiple scenes
Having a scene set up which is just your webcam, transitioning to a setup that incorporates gameplay, plus having BRB and Starting Soon graphics is another step forwards. You can set up individual scenes incorporating these elements via the scene buttons in the bottom right, and transition between these using hotkeys, much in the same way a vision mixer works.
Dedicated audio equipment
Another upgrade you can make is to your audio equipment. For streaming, a headset mic is fine, but if you want to get multiple participants involved around one PC, or improve the general quality of the audio coming through to your viewers, you might want to upgrade your audio setup.
We use Yeti Blue mics for livestreaming, mounted on flexible arms when we can. This gives us a better quality of audio for the stream and protects against breathing noises, bangs on the desk etc.
For recorded content, we actually record our audio completely separately (at the same time) using a Tascam field recorder and two Rode NTG1 microphones (one plugged into each channel of the recorder and merged later).
We synchronise our audio and video in Adobe Premiere, which can be fiddly if you don’t take note of cues to help you synchronise.
Upgraded camera equipment
If you’re planning to do a lot of presenter-driven stuff, or recorded content, consider upgrading your camera equipment also. We shoot intros and outros on a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.
For the livestreaming side of things, you can get a bunch of high-end expensive kits which will feed into ever-more-elaborate setups. But if we were you, we’d get started on the entry level kit of a webcam and XSplit which will take you most of the way there.
Once you’ve got your final content, be sure to do the following:
- Upload it to YouTube (use YouTube’s preferred video rendering settings)
- Create a custom thumbnail which sums up your video nicely (check out our channel for examples)
- Tag your video with relevant tags – this is crucial for search traffic
- Name your video something catchy
- Watch the views roll in!
If you’ve created content you think we’ll like, be sure to send it over to RallyPoint@creative-assembly.com
Creating Mods for Total War - Where to Start
This section is about making and sharing your own user modifications, or mods, for Total War games. For further information on modding Total War: WARHAMMER, please see the additional guidance in the next section below.
Modding TW games is a huge subject in itself, with differences between different titles, and a huge wealth of information and tutorials out on the net created by very experienced modders. The modding community will also be there to help you out and welcome any new discoveries you make.
To start you off, we’ve included a quick start guide that explains the modding process below, and also a quick list of further links that you’ll want to explore for more information and inspiration.
Getting the Assembly Kit
The Assembly Kit tools can be downloaded from your Steam library, you can find them in the Tools list as “Total War™: WARHAMMER® - Assembly Kit BETA”.
When launching the tools you will be presented with two options, “Play TWeak” and “Play BOB”. TWeak will allow you to access editors with which to modify the game database and BOB will allow you to build your mod pack file ready to be uploaded to the Steam Workshop.
Modding Tutorials, Guides and Discussion
While making a mod may seem daunting at first there are some official Wiki pages to guide you on your initial steps as well as numerous places that have great community created content such as tutorials and guides to help further your knowledge of modding whether you are a beginner or experienced.
There are multiple forums where modding is discussed in depth by an active community of modders, some of these locations include the official game forums (https://forums.totalwar.com/) and the most popular community run forum for modding (http://www.twcenter.net/forums/).
Uploading Mods to the Steam Workshop
Uploading a mod to the Steam Workshop is simple and is done entirely through the game launcher. When you have created a mod simply place it into your games data directory and when opening the game launcher your mod will automatically be detected at which point you can select it and upload it to the Workshop.
Modding Process – a Quick Start Guide (example for Total War: WARHAMMER).
1. Download the Assembly Kit tools – they will be available from your Steam tool library, you can find them in the list as “Total War™: WARHAMMER® - Assembly Kit BETA”
2. Once the tools are installed open them and select “Play TWeak”. TWeak is the program that will let you access DAVE, the database editor.
3. When TWeak is open you can open DAVE from the menu strip, select “Tools->DAVE Database Visual Editor” to open DAVE.
4. You will be asked if you want to connect to the database, this is your local database containing the game files – select yes to connect and continue.
5. Now DAVE is open you can begin to view and edit the game data, to do so select “View->Table Launcher”, this will open a list of all of the games data tables.
6. To open a table double-click it in the list, and once you are done editing the table select “Apply and Close” in the top right of that table’s window.
7. Once you have finished making your changes to the various tables you wish to you need to export your changes so they can be put into a mod pack. To do so select “Export->Export Changes to Binary”, or alternatively you can select “Export->Export Single Table(s)” and use the menu to export certain tables only.
8. Once your changes are exported you can close TWeak, as you now need to open BOB.
9. Again run the Assembly Kit from Steam and this time select “Play BOB”.
10. Once BOB is open you will see 3 columns, Raw Data, Working Data and Retail Data, respectively. With BOB we want to create a retail pack, so in the Retail Data column you’ll need to select the mod.pack tickbox.
11. Now you’ll simply need to select Start in the bottom right of the BOB window and when BOB is finished building your pack you can find it in your “.../assembly_kit/retail/data” folder
12. When you have your .pack file you should consider renaming it to something more appropriate and unique. This is important as it will avoid any conflicts with mods that might have the same filename.
13. Lastly to upload your new mod to the Steam Workshop all you need to do is place the mod pack in your data directory and start the Warhammer launcher at which point you can then select it in the launcher and elect to upload it.
Creating Mods for Total War: WARHAMMER
In addition to the above guidance, bear in mind that Total War: WARHAMMER contains IP owned by Games Workshop, and as a result you should consider the following when creating mods for this title.
- When uploading TW:WARHAMMER mods to the Steam Workshop via the mod manager, you’ll need to confirm you’ve read the section on Mods in the game’s EULA. This is provided as a pop-up message when you are uploading.
- Please ensure your mod meets the requirements laid out in the EULA, especially with regard to the treatment of Games Workshop and Total War IP, and ensuring that no third party IP is present.
- Do not include or alter content in a way that is offensive or denigrating to the World of Warhammer Fantasy Battles.
- Please only include Warhammer Fantasy Battles content in your mods – other Games Workshop IP like Age of Sigmar or Warhammer 40,000 is separate and is often licensed to other companies, or used in other games.
- It is not permitted to charge or ask for money for your Total War: WARHAMMER mods.
Total War Mods and Steam Workshop
For the most recent Total War games, Steam Workshop is the easiest, largest and most high-profile place to share and download mods from. As it is built in to Steam, and automatically integrates with games, your mod users will find it simple to browse and download.
Steam Workshop is enabled for the following titles:
- Total War: SHOGUN 2 (and Fall of the Samurai)
- Total War: ROME II
- Total War: ATTILA
- Total War: WARHAMMER – Coming Soon.