Four months ago I had written an account of a man and his idea to stream games over the internet to strangers; it wasn’t pretty.
Now that the new year has rolled round and I have vanquished the gremlins that plagued that early attempt at streaming; I thought the time had come for me to update those impressions.
“Why now?” I hear you scream, well MrJohnSherry has written a piece on the topic of Twitch chat on these hallowed pages and gamemoir also covered another issue over there too! All within the last week; someone has to offer a differing viewpoint and it might as well be me 😀
So grab a comfy seat and settle in for my tale of being a small-time streamer on twitch.tv (and with that a new monthly feature is born).
I’m very happy to report that since my last post on this matter not only have I streamed successfully; but I’ve also streamed regularly!
In the gap between my failed attempts to become a streaming God, I kept an eye on the development of both Xsplit and OBS; to see which one would support my beloved Rocket first – Xsplit did and they got my pounds. On launching it for the first time it was like a dream come true, it was beautiful, I was ready.
I started my regular stream in late October (just in time for Hallowe’en) and used it as the excuse to replay my beloved Resident Evil Collection; this was the first change in my gaming habits that twitch changed, I was now playing games rather than allowing them to collect dust. This change came about from not wanting to bore my audience.
As I own the Resident Evil series on Nintendo Gamecube I moved my Wii down to my PC, connected it to my Hauppauge HDPVR Rocket and thought I was ready to go…I was not. In Nintendo’s infinite knowledge they created the Wii with SD outputs only. As a result my monitor was unable to display it (well; display it while not making my desktop look like a pile of excrement).
Not to be beaten (I hadn’t been yet) I rummaged around t’internet for a solution – I found one in dolphin emulator, I burned my games as ISO files and I was ready to rock. Hallowe’en. Resident Evil. Twitch.tv.
This was threesome that couldn’t fail to ignite an audience and grow the channel.
And I was right! Couple my weird streaming times and choice of; rather unpopular, games I found that people would visit my stream, watch for little while (silently, possibly breathing hard) and leave – like ships in the night. I didn’t know them, and they didn’t know me. Those that did interact with me were all good lads and ladies. My stream was small, I found myself with audiences of 0 many times, getting 2 viewers was an achievement.
In saying that though I did notice that my follower count was slowly climbing up, by the end of November I was rocking a 20 follower count and over 100 views! Internet fame was surely just around the corner…
Throughout my play-throughs of the Resident Evil series I noticed that there were a few viewers that came each and every time I was live (well almost every-time) and we have formed friendships through my crappy play-throughs but first class banter. Some of these still frequent my channel and we have played games together on several occasions – my steam friends list has grown through my streams and my PC gaming is no longer a lonely experience full of tears.
This is the biggest bonus to streaming. Friendships. While I agree with MrJohnSherry’s post about the make up of twitch chat – I’m very thankful that I have only experienced one troll in my 3 months of streaming. I’m using all my skills I’ve acquired as a teacher in my attempts to create a good community. When the troll showed up I gave him the benefit-of-the-doubt even though he was rude to me, it can hard to gauge intent while reading text on a screen, I gave him a warning. He persisted. A second warning was issued. Again he persisted.
He was banned.
It was that moment that the toxic atmosphere in my chat cleared. My viewers were much happier and so was I. My community is so important to me, I will let no-one ruin it. I’m, glad it was a one-off!
Over the course of these last few months in twitch chat we’ve discussed the following topics:
1) the state of video gaming
2) survival horror and it’s future
3) early access and it’s role in pushing forward gaming
4) we have written and performed a rap for a heartbroken viewer
5) the state of English language, the role of the internet is ruining it, the challenges facing teachers in teaching English and how it’ll impact society at large!
My community is genuinely superb and the ‘Luvva Boys’ are growing to know one another everyday – it’s a good community to be part of and I’m proud I played a role in its creation.
Having a dedicated audience is also benefiting my streaming technique. It is refining everyday, interacting with the audience is much more natural now I’ve trained my eyes to watch two screens at once. My voice is much more natural now too; I’ve also added a lot of features to my stream and this has seen a big increase in audience and followers…I’ll explain this more.
When you download Xsplit it has two versions; Gamecaster and Broadcaster, which are incredibly different.
Gamecaster is the easiest to use – it has several preloaded plug-ins and streaming is literally as simple as press a hotkey and you’re off! Gamecaster is also incredibly limited – you cannot add more plug-ins and it is riddled with bugs (at least I found this) such as hanging when your capture card connects (once a day) and random crashes as you stream also occur. In saying that; it’s a good program, it got me streaming regularly and gave me the confidence to approach its’ more powerful brother.
Here’s an early stream via gamecaster
Broadcaster is an amazing program, its’ much more open-source than game caster and the tools you can utilise with it give your streams a much more professional look. I’ve added follower alerts, viewer counts and visible chat window into my streams. Viewers appreciate this and it encourages them to stay for longer and maybe talk to you via chat. Since I moved to broadcaster I have found my audiences have grown (to about 5-10 a stream) and my follower count is currently at 59. Hardly lirik numbers, but it’s a good jump.
A much more recent stream via broadcaster
All-in-all my experience has been a brilliant one. Twitch streaming is something I look forward to doing all week, I love meeting up with my friends in chat and having a good laugh.
I am just a guy, playing games.
They are just people, who like watching games.
I remember seeing a review stating that “one day playing games will be the same as broadcasting them” – this is my life, if I’m playing a game it’s live to my small audience on twitch.tv.