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The Lensation - Issue 2

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Welcome back to this week's edition of The Lensation. It's time for what you've all been waiting for: The Weekly Wrap-up! The blog should more or less follow such a format for future editions, with the weekly commentary followed by a short interview with one of the POTW community members. This week's commentary will be focusing on GPOTW 109 and POTW 550, of which the latter has an amazing 11 submissions!

GPOTW 109 Commentary

The thread where you can see the submissions and vote is here - click me!

Submission 1: The character in this screenshot is holding the torch in a rather nonchalant way. The lit torch really adds to the atmosphere here, and it makes the picture much better by casting light off of the walls. Kind of reminds me of Tomb Raider. Speaking of which...

Submission 2: Hey, Tomb Raider! This is mine, so I'm not going to say anything.

Submission 3: The focus is on the two characters on screen. I'm assuming one is dead and the other is grieving, and this was a good angle to capture these emotions from, especially with the way the characters are positioned. The screenshot is also rather dark, and gives off a gloomy, depressing atmosphere, which fits well with the content of the screenshot.

Submission 4: Hey, look, the characters are in positions kind of similar to submission 3, but here spider man is punching an old guy. The sparks and the dim lights of buildings in the background add contrast to this picture. With the help of the rain, the screenshot looks much more dark and foreboding, as befits the scene.

Submission 5: The grass is well rendered, and the tank is positioned at an angle which helps us appreciate both the front and side. A suggestion would be to remove the UI elements from the screenshot, though this is not always possible.

Submission 6: I remember playing this mission! (Not the game, I was at a friendís house and just hopped in) Dated graphics but that does not detract from the quality of this screenshot. Lots of action and a nice, bleak atmosphere, complete with explosions and jet flybys.

Submission 7: This looks like an advert for a new Samsung TV in Full HD and with motion blur! I'm joking, I love the angle and the action the tank commander is doing, and the smoke in the background really adds to the 'war' feel, and the sun, oh gosh that is bright! A very high level of contrast and saturation!

POTW 550 Commentary

The thread where you can see the submissions and vote is here - click me!

Submission 1: This picture has a lot of fire, embers, and smoke. I see something like the Colosseum in the background, which gives off a very foreboding aura, and makes me feel as if the Roman Empire is being brought to its knees.

Submission 2: Hey, that's me! *insert Cinema Sins voice here* Skip!

Submission 3: The sky is a vibrant orange, which is really cool. I like the simple setting, and the grim faces of the men as they wait for the order to charge, but I also can't stop looking at the distinctly orange circles near the horses' mouths, which I am 100% sure is no fault of the screenshot artist.

Submission 4: A sharp image, giving off a clean and polished look, and taken at an angle which provides a nice contrast between the foreground and the background. The gaps between the defensive fortifications gives me an Ďinto the breach!í vibe.

Submission 5: Another sharp image, but this time with a focus on combat. Nice facial expressions as well. The screenshot artist has taken this shot at the epicenter of the action, which is good.

Submission 6: A top down view, with a disturbing, vast blanket of fog setting in from the north. There is what looks to be like a heavy amount of saturation. Nice.

Submission 7: A zoomed in photo with a focus on the two combatants. The bloodstains on the soldier on the left look more like someone's painting, but that's no fault of the screenshot artist. Must have been hard to capture this exact moment, especially with the fire.

Submission 8: A very cinematic looking photo of cavalry charging with shields raised. The embers add some color and contrast to the upper right portion of the screen, which is good. The black borders are, in my opinion, not really necessary, but does not detract from the quality of the screenshot at all.

Submission 9: Another screenshot captured at the right moment, with regards to the unit commander. Good contrast and saturation, and combined with the color, the pic looks just a tiny little bit fantasy-ish.

Submission 10: Ahh, the lovely Shogun 2 sun with cannons parked on top of a hill. A very nice setting, as Shogun 2 is famous for, and captured at the right moment with the artillerymen still turning the wheels. There is a bit of an unnatural purplish hue, but I myself have experienced the same hue in my POTW 544 submission, so I donít blame the screenshot artist at all.

Submission 11: I don't have Warhammer, but this is what looks to be a 1 on 1 duel with 2 legendary lords, one casting a spell and one flinching in agony. Again, beautifully captured at the right moment.

This week, The Wandering Storyteller has kindly agreed to share his views on screenshots and the POTW forum with us. The replies have been edited very slightly for grammar and formatting, and TWS has agreed to publish this version.

A Short Interview
Swaeft (S): Hi The Wandering Storyteller, thank you for agreeing to do this, you've been a regular in the POTW competitions and it's a pleasure to get your opinion. Let's start with a simple question. When did you discover the POTW forums?

The Wandering Storyteller (TWS):
Hello Swaeft, glad to be a part of this. I discovered it maybe in 2010-2012. I don't have many memories of the 2010 TWC, but it was very busy during this time back during the old days of NTW and Shogun 2. Very nostalgic as so many mods were being released during that time.

S: I see. I myself registered around late 2012, and I certainly remember the high levels of activity back then. On that note, what's one of your best memories in the POTW forum?

TWS: I did submit pictures back then but I never won anything in particular. It took me a lot of time to get entries that could win anything, so when I won my first one, I was elated. My best moment was winning GPTOW 102 when I had the screenshot of a Spartan holding his shield against a burly Persian. I loved that screenshot. AC Odyssey is a very good game.

S: I loved that screenshot as well, I think I remember asking which game it was from. So, what do you think makes a good screenshot?

TWS: Not much really, I write a lot so my imagination runs wild. For example, I read a lot, and my fantasy novel takes inspiration from historical civilizations. I can imagine a tropical beach, with a cavern, while pirates are in the cove dealing with bandits. Instantly I try to replicate that screenshot in the total war games or historical games like Assassin's Creed. At other times, I may think of the burning of Rome, so I go for whatever is in my mind. I've so many screenshots for my AARs and novels - it's really fun.

S: That's really interesting, I can tell you like taking screenshots that fit your stories, your AAR certainly has many fine specimens. Generally speaking, and I don't hold you to any commitment for this, what do you usually look for when voting in the POTW competitions?

TWS: This one is straightforward for me. Basically, I look for great screenshots that tell a story. Your Shogun 2 screenshots of the fire and the troops emerging out of that fiery gate - that has a lot of prompt imaging - it makes you want to write a story out of it. Or Gussie Fink Notte's cannon shot - that's such a contrast - a new sun rising over a new japan, the old japan is gone etc.

S: Ah, a man after my own heart. One last question before we wrap this up. What do you usually use to edit your screenshots?

TWS: Not much, I use graphical mods for RII, Aztec graphics and Gerula, and for Shogun 2 I'm not sure. For Warhammer I had some lighting mod called Blockbuster but I messed it up and it didn't really work out. So only graphical mods and pausing the game often!

S: I see. Thank you very much for your time and for agreeing to share this with the rest of the POTW community.

TWS: No problem, it was my pleasure. Keep submitting those screenshots, people!

Thank you The Wandering Storyteller, and that's all for this week's edition. If you haven't voted in the above-mentioned competitions, now's your chance, the polls run for another 4 days. I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the POTW community, be it the submitters or the voters, the rate of participation is very impressive. Stay tuned for the next issue when the polls next go up.


All photos were taken from, and are completely free to use under their license.

Updated January 30, 2019 at 11:41 PM by Swaeft



  1. The Wandering Storyteller's Avatar
    Thanks Swaeft!
  2. Swaeft's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by The Wandering Storyteller
    Thanks Swaeft!
    The pleasure was all mine
  3. King Athelstan's Avatar
    Well written!
  4. Swaeft's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by King Athelstan
    Well written!
    Many thanks, your Majesty!