TSS#66 – Blaugust, Cats, and Drafts

Welcome to another Stray Sheep. Today I’ll talk about the upcoming Blaugust event, my participation in that, and other things. I hope you enjoy this post! 

Let’s get right into it: It’s nearly August and therefore it’s time for Blaugust. But since we already participated in Blapril just a few months ago, Bel thought of something else to switch things up and combat a few issues. 

Edit: Since this might be important to a lot of people, I added the “when and where” part here at the beginning so that people can easily find out about it.

The list of blogs currently participating, and the dates of their posts are:

As you can see, I’m right up there relatively late, on the 23rd of August with a post but, honestly, I’ll probably try to post about all prompts regardless as it’s more fun that way – and I’ll link to the “host” for the prompt as well as the next “host” in line. 🙂 Looking forward to it!

The main concern about Blaugust – as far as I understood it – that some people had was that the “competition”-style might actually not help people revitalize their or other blogs. Posting 31 daily posts can be quite stressful depending on your schedule and alas it can get quite annoying to fulfil the quota, prepare blog posts, edit them in time, find screenshots, and do all of that within one month to get some badge for your blog in the end. The badge may be the cause for this “stress” that people put themselves through… and obviously, it was debatable. I personally love the 31 posts on 31 days idea for the Challenge-part and obviously, I love showing off that badge-png on my blog… but I also was never in this “I need to post more than others!” mindset but rather was thinking in that “how far can I push certain limits?” pattern. 

During Blaugust19, I posted 31 posts in 31 days and saw that I could actually reduce the time to write reviews considerably while also having more success with it by writing shorter reviews (about 1k words instead of 3-4k) where I don’t explain the game (and possibly spoil it) to my readers but instead talk about what I like and don’t like and removing everything that doesn’t add value. During Blapril20, I ended up posting 45 posts. I sadly got busier at the end of it, so I couldn’t go for the originally planned 69 posts (that exact number because I’m still a child in my head).

And if the original Blaugust idea would have happened this month, I probably would have aimed for 31+ posts again… but something has changed. Bel is trying out something new which might be more fun and we’ll just see how it’s perceived and if it works out in the end in the way that it was intended to be. Mostly, since Blapril already happened this year, though, because of the concerns above and since some people might not be willing to do “another Blaugust-type event”. Alas, we’re trying out this.

Alas, I’m announcing my participation in the Blaugust Promtapalooza – a blog “tour” of sorts where someone posts a blog post, followed by a prompt for the next day, linking to the next blog in line. That blog then writes about the prompt that the previous blog announced and then announces the prompt for the next day, along with the link to the next blog, resulting in essentially a “blog crawl” where you can make your way through 31 blogs that wanted to participate this year. Of course, you don’t have to follow these blog prompts and of course, you don’t have to read them all or write daily… but regardless of that, I’m looking forward to it, again challenging certain limitations I have and hopefully making it through the end. 

On top of that, I was hoping to keep up with most of the blogs participating this year and reading through a bunch of them every day while shouting some of them out in a blog post at the end of the week. “This is what I’ve read this week, this is why I liked these so much. Check them out!” or something like that… I’ll still have to work on the draft-idea that I had in mind but I think that might be quite cool as some extra posts… 

And then there’s also going to be the normal posts that I would have posted anyways, regardless of Blaugust or whatever. For instance, I’ve been working on one huge post about my blog’s one-year-anniversary… for three or four days now, my blog has existed for a year… so that’s really cool… and I wanted to celebrate that with some stats and my favourite posts and that kind of stuff. I feel like that might be really cool but I also am still working on it and will hopefully get it out soon. 

There will be posts about games that have come out and that are still coming out. I have three or four interviews planned but didn’t get to write the questions just yet. It’s been a bit iffy time-wise over here, especially as my sleep schedule is quite messy at the moment (again), although I’ve managed to sleep this night for the second night in a row!

Jin and Tammy are cute as always! (Btw, my palico in MHW is named after Tammy over here!)

Apart from that, I’m taking care of cats right now. My best friend and her boyfriend are not in town right now so I need to take care of them from Tuesday until Saturday (Today is Thursday! Hello, future!), which mostly means feeding them and playing/cuddling with them since they’re very social – and I also need to watch over them so that they don’t do stupid things. It’s been quite cool so far and I really am enjoying my time with them… but as far as working on blog posts go, it’s a bit tough to do that when they want to get your attention by walking over your laptop and stuff… alas, I stopped that for the entirety of yesterday… and I’ve got to stop it today, too, I think, as they are way too cute to be ignored… maybe I’ll get productive again when they are napping later on… 

But once I get some more time to write as well as some new pictures of them, I’ll post some cute ones (got the permission from my best friend!) including some interesting ideas regarding stupid thoughts I came up with while playing with the cats. I think you might like that. 

And well, apart from that not much else has happened. I’m done with some of my exams. Ms Magi and I have been together for 13 months already. I’ve been really lucky to have met her. It’s a bit insane that my blog is only a month older than my current relationship. I just kind of feel like I’ve been blogging for ages now and that I’ve learned a bunch and got to know a lot of people. I guess all these thoughts could go into a separate blog post as well.

At last, there’s also the To The Moon Minisodes that I played actually… but I didn’t get to write a post about them just yet… and since I’ve been late already, I thought “why not wait a bit more and play games that I actually enjoy?”, so I did and alas, I’ll have to write a post about my recent Monster Hunter World endeavours, I’ve got some reviews and interviews in the drafts, I’ve been meaning to talk about Dark Souls 3 since I’ve been playing that on Stream, I’ve just finished Outer Wilds and wanted to review that… and then there is the Mystery Blogger Award that Megan tagged me in… and a ton more drafts sitting around!

As you can see there are a whole bunch of ideas in the work and I’ll try to get through those within the next few weeks! 

I hope you enjoyed this post. I’ve been up to a lot. Lately, I’ve been posting less but it’s mostly due to exams. Hopefully, that will change now!

Cheers!

This post is part of the Blaugust 2020 event. Wanna know more about it? Then check out my post on it or Bel’s post where he also linked everyone who’s participating! Be sure to check out the others as well!

How to not-promote your channel on Twitch

So you created an account as well now, eh? Welcome to Twitch! It’s a lovely platform with a bunch of issues but you haven’t heard about those yet since you’ve only been viewing people from afar or you’ve heard about all those big Twitch streamers before, so you’re trying to be like that! Maybe you’re also just new to all of this and thinking about trying it out yourself… and alas, you end up setting up OBS, hitting that “Go Live” button and playing a game… by yourself… while nobody is there. 

And alas, you’re wondering: Why is nobody watching you? 

Clearly, it can’t be you as you’re awesome! Clearly, it can’t be the category as Fortnite is popular with a ton of streamers playing it and a market that seems to be as deep as the players’ parents’ bank deposits… and clearly, it can’t be your settings since you watched plenty of tutorials before even creating a brand or anything like that!

Pet picture provided by the lovely MuddChi! Check her stream out 🙂

So you decide to watch other streamers and ask them what you’re doing wrong… and you got banned! Uh… what? Rude! Screw you! Guess we’ll go somewhere else and ask about the best obs settings for your stream and… oh, weird… you can’t chat anymore for another…. 8 HOURS?! WHAT?! It must be a bug! Let’s try somewhere else… you say Hello and have a nice convo going and before you get to ask about your initial question, you see that it’s time to go live again. You drop a follow to that streamer and say your farewells. “Going to stream now myself! See you another time!” – and BAM! The banhammer has spoken, for you’ve done the verboten! (forbidden… in German… I tried!)

So, this post is about Twitch Etiquette and promotion/networking. The Do’s and Don’t’s! The way to go and the way to not go! That kinda thing! 

First of all, that person up there… could’ve been anyone! I once mentioned my stream somewhere by accident as I was super excited and while I didn’t get banned, I received a warning that people consider that as “self-promotion” which people don’t like to see. I wasn’t aware of that at all at the time and while it wasn’t my intention to self-advertise myself, I can see how it could have very much come across like that! Alas, I’d say that people should never mention their streams in other streams unless specifically asked about it. 

Streamer: “Do you stream?” – You: “Ah, yes, actually, I do!” – […]

You don’t want to be the person to bring it up… in another person’s stream. Just like you don’t bring a sub from SubWays to BurgerKing! You just don’t do that kind of thing. It’s considered rude and you’re most likely going to get kicked out for so blatantly promoting a different store. 

“But, Magi,…”, you may interrupt, “what if I actually want to ask a streamer about something?”

Well, then, new Twitch-Person, I’d recommend DMs to you! Chat with the streamer in their chat, get to know them. Ask them questions about their stream (also quite helpful) without bringing up your stream (again, nogo!) and then you later message them on Twitter or Discord. If it’s a smaller streamer, with less than three digits of viewers, they will reply to you and probably quite fast as well! Off-stream they won’t bite off your head or whatever. I’m sure they’ll provide you with links, guides, screenshots, etc. 

Sunflower – picture provided by Threadandbearit! Check them out!

A while ago someone came to my stream and asked something about his streams and while I initially thought of banning that person for self-promoting, I thought it’s an easy topic to talk about and that it may be quite interesting for others. The person ended up not only donating money to me (which I didn’t ask for but he did it anyways while I was away) but also joining our community and they even raided me once with their community, which is lovely. In the end, helping them helped me but usually, they’d get banned for that kinda stuff. That was also the first advice I gave to him: Don’t ask about your stream on other people’s channel. People consider it rude and quite often get rather pissed off about it. Quite often they ban people for that even if it’s not meant in a harmful way.

Now, so far I’ve only talked about the less rude people that have good intentions and don’t want to promote their stream… but some people just suck. Sometimes people come into your chat and ask for followers and whatever. 

Person: “Hey, I followed you. Please check me out as well now.” – Yup, banned. 

“Follow for Follow” aka “F4F” is not only incredibly useless but also highly bannable as it violates Twitch’s Terms of Service (also known as TOS). Followers are a good indicator of how big the community is, nothing more… nothing less… People that follow you will get notified when you go live and they’ll be able to see you being live on the left side of the screen. When people follow, they become community members enabling them to get community-gift subs that are not directed at anyone in particular, which can be quite neat now and then… 

But followers don’t decide how successful you are on Twitch and it doesn’t matter in terms of view count or quality of the stream. If that was the case then you could just buy followers or set up a bunch of fake/bot accounts that follow you and suddenly you get a ton of viewers or fans or money or whatever you’re after. While you need to have 50 followers to become an Affiliate, that is your smallest problem considering the other goals. 

When I see F4F-people, I instantly ban them. I don’t want them in my community as they violate TOS openly and as they probably will start to bother my viewers as well. 

Sophie – also another lovely cat picture provided to me by TabiHastings! Check them out on Twitter/Twitch! 🙂

And then there are people that backseat your stream or that are only there to start a fight. Don’t just come to a channel and correct people on the way they’re playing. Don’t spoil their games. Don’t tell them off. Don’t make them do things for you. It’s their stream, not yours. 

Last Saturday, I did a 25-hour-charity stream for the Trevor Project. We were able to raise a total of 140.20$ with the help of some very generous viewers of mine, which I’m grateful for, and in the end, we got to unlock all the milestones in one single donation, resulting in a bunch of giveaways for the community. I was going to give away a bunch of different games from Moonlighter to Hart’s Island to Felix the Reaper to other titles. I was excited to see all of these different people get their games after we reached certain milestones and hence I put “Giveaways” into the title… but that naturally also attracts people that only are there for the giveaways…

And there he was… some guy called “madafaka” with some number at the end of his name whose literal first message in the chat was “!giveaway”. 

….

Yeah,… no. Obviously, I was already tired and sleep-deprived at that point so maybe I’ve overreacted a tad… but at the same I paused everything while telling him off as I thought that it’s a prove that has to be made clear.

I told him that it’s bullshit to go to small streams only for the giveaway and to be so bold about it that you don’t care at all about them but only care about that giveaway. One of my viewers (a lovely regular at this point) agreed with me while that guy was actually trying to defend themselves, talking about us “going to the zoo to visit the monkey” and not to “buy the monkey” or something like that. I don’t know what he was on about or if he was on drugs or whatever… but it was hilarious for anyone who saw it and “!giveaway” has become a meme on my channel now, which is lovely. 

When he then told me to “stop bitching about it”, I told him that he can tell me that again at a later time. The stream would have continued for eight and a half more hours so I timed him out for exactly eight hours. It would have been funny if he had returned… but he didn’t… which is for the better.

Jynx again, MuddChi‘s lovely cat

So, let summarize the Don’t’s of promotion:

  • Don’t promote yourself openly. 
  • Don’t mention your stream in other people’s streams unless asked about it or unless you know the streamer/unless you’re a regular.
  • Don’t bring your stream up on your own.
  • Don’t do F4F.
  • Don’t be a dick by backseat-gaming, spoiling, or by telling the streamer/moderators off.
  • Respect others and treat them like you want to be treated.

And lastly, you’ll want to ask how you promote yourself properly, right?

Well, honestly, there are a lot of ways. So, that’s going to essentially be a whole different post on its own, but to be frank I guess I could say that there are more Do Nots that are essential for that…

Just be careful and:

  • don’t beg for hosts or raids.
  • don’t expect others to do the same for you. They are not obligated to!
  • don’t make friends for the sole purpose of getting “twitch famous”. There may be a whole post dedicated to just this one topic, so look forward to that.
  • check the streamer you’re raiding out BEFORE you raid them. Best case, they’re cool and your community loves them! Worst case, it’s some bigot that offends and insults you and your community while traumatizing everyone so badly that they won’t watch you ever again!

Overall, I think that this might be a nice little series of posts that I could do. I just don’t know yet in what category to put it or if I should create a whole new category for Twitch stuff (Edit: Done! New Sub-category in the Gaming Journal!)… If you’re completely new to this kind of stuff and want to learn more about streaming or ask any questions about that kind of thing, then I highly recommend CastorDie, which is a wonderful little Twitch Community full of streamers and uh… people… of sorts… and among them is also MrGoodHand who’s running a blog as well, so check him out over here. 🙂 

I hope you enjoyed this little “guide” of sorts. It’s a bit rambly and chaotic, but overall, I’m sure that I can create some useful informational posts like this as well in the future that might be quite nice to read through. I’m sure I could also feature/recommend streamers in this Twitch-Category or whatever… I feel like that might be quite cool. ^-^)

If you have any questions, let me know and I’ll write something about it or put something together out of a lot of different opinions and stuff! 

Either way, have a nice day and see you another time!

Cheers!

Edit: Changed the title of the post from “New to Twitch, what now? #1 – Promotion” to “How to not-promote your channel on Twitch” as the earlier title was misleadin and as I don’t feel like a “series” of posts would be the way to go for this. Instead I’d rather enjoy having posts here and there on the topic of channel growth, activity on your channel and my journey on Twitch without having them correlate to any sort of over-arching category, like it’s the case with The Stray Sheep.

Indietail – Catlateral Damage

If Earth was flat, cats would have thrown everything off of it by now. 

In today’s Indietail, we’re taking a look at a game about doing just that: Flipping stuff off shelves, tables, and basically making a mess. After having been left alone by our dear owner, we’ve got to trash the owner’s place. We’re cats after all. 

Understandable…

Today, we’re reviewing Catlateral Damage!

Developer: Chris Chung, Fire Hose Games
Publisher: Chris Chung
Genres: Simulation, Cats, Casual, Destruction, First-Person, (VR)
Release Date: May 27, 2015
Reviewed on: PC
Available on: PC
Copy was purchased.

Just like Kill It With Fire, House Flipper and other games in the genre, Catlateral Damage, the First-Person destructive cat simulator, is making use of the joy the player feels when they’re wrecking a place. It’s the joy you feel whenever you break some pots in a Zelda game or when you shoot big ridiculous enemies with big fucking guns in Serious Sam. The premise works, I’d say. 

Wow, that’s huge! We can’t possibly destroy that, too, right?

You’re a cat that is wrecking its owner’s place… or the supermarket… or the museum. There are a whole bunch of different places that you’ll be able to wreck and mess with and usually, there are hundreds of objects to toss around! 

The controls are rather easy and quite intuitive as you just move around with space and AWSD while striking stuff with the three mouse-buttons. While the game can be played in VR, I was not able to test that experience since I don’t own a VR-headset. But, judging from my experience, I would say that I personally would never try the game out in VR simply for the reason that I already felt quite dizzy rather often while playing the game… and I don’t want to deal with motion sickness in VR. 

Never mind!

The game features the Litterbox Mode (Sandbox) and the Objective Mode (Campaign). The Litterbox Mode has no time limit and allows you to just go into any level of the game and use a seed of your choice so that you can wreck a place as much as you like. The Objective Mode, on the other hand, brings you into a level and gives you a certain time-limit to wreck a certain amount of objects.

During the course of your playtime, you’ll encounter several in-game-events from “Disco Fever” to hunting a mouse around the house. There are a bunch of events that are just fun and don’t do anything for you while there are also others that reward you after you have completed a challenge of sorts. I personally really enjoyed one of the more “trippy” events where all of your stats are maxed out and where you jump around and strike things at hyper speed. There is also another one with “moon gravity” that allows you to… well… fall very slowly and jump very high. 

Speaking of rewards and stats, you have three stats that can be upgraded through upgrade-boxes or through event-rewards:

  • Swat (determines the force of your paw-strikes)
  • Speed (self-explanatory)
  • Jump (self-explanatory)

I found speed and jump to be the most useful, although having all of them upgraded usually helps you a lot with the wrecking and stuff. 

By striking certain plants and interacting with other (sparkling) objects, you’ll receive upgrades as well, which is a fun idea to change up the gameplay loop. 

Worst thing is… it’s still cleaner than my place even after the “Wreckoning”

Overall, I feel like the premise of the game is fun and interesting but the gameplay loop is rather lacking in a way. Having certain challenges like “the floor is lava” or some sort of race would certainly mix things up and provide more value for the money you’re paying. There are about twenty playable cats that you unlock through achievements and challenges, as well as a bunch of collectables that are just waiting to be found. On top of multiple secret levels, you can also find references to other games on DVD-covers or action figures, which is rather amusing, in my opinion.

While the idea of collecting pet pictures, is rather neat, I don’t necessarily find it that exciting. The game is fun at first, especially due to the rather colourful environment, the chill tunes and the “destroy everything before your human returns” premise… but it gets stale, which is a bummer. 

They even referenced Easha over here!

Catlateral Damage is available on steam for about ten bucks but personally, I’d wait for a sale on that game. After about two hours, I already got bored of it. I guess I’d get back to it here and there again but unless they add a whole bunch of new tasks and challenges as well as more gameplay-elements that up the challenge or add more variety to it, I wouldn’t be willing to play more of this or pay the full price of ten bucks.

So, would I recommend it? Yeah, but with a discount on it. 

Lovely kitty!

Hope you enjoyed this review. It’s been a while since I last posted but University is keeping me busy and my game time seems to be limited to the occasional stream, so I’m not really getting to blogging or reviews in general unless I do these reviews on stream. If you’d like to see me play some of these Indie Games on Stream and if you’d like to see the process of me playing something, talking about it and taking notes/screenshots of things, be sure to check out my twitch channel over here. 

Either way, I hope that y’all are staying safe over there!

Cheers!

TSS#44 – Heros in these times

Today’s Stray Sheep is different… in these quite different times. There are people out there that don’t realise how great and important it is that they are doing what they are doing. And I’d like to thank them and praise them or rather sing hymns about them (semi-ironically)… but I shouldn’t sing as I really am bad at singing. So this post is about that.

Note: This post features cat pictures from the internet. If you’re afraid of cats, don’t click on this post. If you hate cats, ignore the cats in this post. And if you’re wondering why I’m not using my own cat pictures, I’m not allowed to own a cat in my dorm-flat. I’m quite sad about that.

With Covid-19 going around, the safest course of action right now is staying home and to socially distance oneself from others to slow down the infection rate so that nurses and doctors out there can do their thing without being flooded with patients. That’s important.

Now you may be asking what my situation right now is and uh… post on that soon, I guess?

So, best course of action: Stay home. As easy as that.
But what do we do at home? Well, you can watch shows and movies, I guess… I personally have read through plenty of books as of late (books that I wouldn’t have gotten to if my university wasn’t closed at the moment, haha)… and I’ve played a lot of games.

But there are times where you need something else to do and that’s where the hero (or heroine) shows up and saves the day!

I’m talking about people that are creating content. Online. Yup.

Now that may sound like an exaggeration but as of late I’ve been feeling bored quite often. All the big events like the Twitch Con or some student parties that I would have gone to are getting cancelled and I’m rather bummed out about that… I even had to cancel my own birthday party as I didn’t want to risk that anyone gets the virus and spreads it to others.

It is kind of sad in a way. And certainly, I can’t play games all day long… and I can’t watch shows all-day long… or read books (mostly as I’m running out of books and I rarely re-read the ones in my shelf). I also can’t write all day long and with a ton of my friends not being available at the moment, there’s not much I can do. I try to mix up my activities… I clean more often and sit outside on the balcony or read different genres and watch different kinds of shows and write about different stuff in preparation of Blaugust 2020 (Please tell me that that is going to happen, Bel!). 

And to mix things up, I’m reading a lot more new blog posts lately… and I’m also catching up on everything that I’ve missed out on. And when I’m lonely while eating food, I’m watching streamers on Twitch… and when I’m going to bed, I may watch another YouTube video to get sleepy… and when I’m wondering what a movie is like, I read a review on that… and there are a lot more examples of cases where people have been there for me without really knowing about that.

I feel like these people are getting underestimated. I’m currently streaming on Twitch as well (quite often actually) and we often talk about things and how things are and we joke around and try to have some fun to distract ourselves from everything that is happening outside of our four walls.

But while I’m talking about me here and my stream, I may be a bad example as even I have times where I can’t stream or where I am not at my best or very sleepy or where I just may not be able to post for a while and hence, it’s times like these where people need more options and more content creators to watch.

And I want to praise all the good content creators out there that are a lot more experienced and a lot better at what they’re doing than I am. And this is not some kind of “fishing for compliments” kinda paragraph. I’m serious about it. I don’t really have the best kind of way with words and I’m really not the best review-blog or variety-streamer or whatever… but I’m trying my best! So just as a disclaimer: I’m not bummed out about being not as good as others… I’m just saying that other people are a bit (or a lot) better at blogging and streaming than I am… and that’s okay as it’s all a work in progress. 🙂

Distraction is great! Distraction is important!

HENCE,
I applaud every one of you who is out there bringing joy and smiles to other people, and every one of you who is there for people that feel lonely right now or who are scared.

Please keep up with what you’re doing, no matter if you’re streaming games on Twitch or doing Vlogs on YouTube or if you’re a blogger who’s writing about Humble Choice (every month) or about Fountain Pens or about IT stuff that I like to read about but still don’t understand or if you’re a GWENT blogger or if you review movies or if you have a few lovely cats and write about those or if you write about MMOs or if you write about discussions and political topics and whatnot. 

No matter what kind of content you’re creating, you’re doing great (as long as you’re not spreading fake news and as long as you’re not harming people, of course). Keep it up!

And to everyone here reading this and maybe having a bit of a rough time… Keep on keeping on! You got this! Stay safe! Stay healthy! Hang in there! And…

Cheers!