Follower Alerts – The how and why!

Whenever you follow a channel, host them, raid them, subscribe to, cheer or tip them, you may trigger an alert that was made for that instance. There are plenty of streamers that don’t have alerts but most of them will have them on. After all, it feels good to trigger something fun, something quirky or a cool sound effect and animation while reading your name on the screen. It certainly feels better to do anything if you get rewarded for it, right? So, today I wanted to talk about the process of why alerts are fun, what you can do with them, and how you set them up, as well as whether or not you should use anonymous alerts for the likes of Follows!

So, for starters, the alert box is a widget hosted by Streamlabs, Streamelements and other platforms that allow streamers to create and set up their own alerts. To do that, you simply add a sound file, some text, and/or a gif to the alert and add the browser source to OBS. As to whether or not you should use one platform over the other, I can’t really help you out too much. There are a lot of people that like Streamelements more while I’ve only used Streamlabs before. I can’t really complain when it comes to Streamlabs and I found Streamelements a bit weird to use. People don’t typically talk about other platforms but I’m sure you’ll be fine with whatever you go for! No matter what site you chose, you’ll log in with your Twitch account, move to the Alert Box section and start creating whatever you need. You can even set up different alert boxes to separate your follower alert and your raid/sub/tip/bit/host alerts as I mentioned before and you can also have alternative alerts that trigger rarely based on your own preferences. There are a lot of options but I’m sure you’ll be just fine.

As for the question, why? – It really is just for that instant-gratification effect. When people click on a button, they get a reaction. Even if you don’t say “thanks for the follow”, your alert may say “Thanks for Following!” and people will like that. Usually, it will even have the name pop up on the screen which is something that a lot of people like… but… I personally don’t do that anymore.

So, a while ago I removed the {name} section of the follower alert because quite frankly, Twitch has a bunch of problems. You can create racist account names and have them be displayed in the chat or in the alert box but a streamer might get banned for not banning those people on-sight or for saying their name out loud by accident. It doesn’t make sense. So, to not give them a platform, I essentially ended up disabling that part of the Follows and Hosts, so that goebbelsfan88 or whoever decides to follow doesn’t get the gratification of their racist names getting displayed on the screen for a solid second. 

Another reason why you may not want to have that name pop up is to not call lurkers out. Lurkers are the backbone of Twitch and while there are a lot of people that enjoy chatting, there are many that just enjoy being around and listening in while doing other things, which is fine. Calling them out is considered rude or can be weird for lurkers. So, if they follow, I personally just tend to say “Thanks for the follow” and I don’t ask them how they are and whatnot until they end up speaking up in chat. After all, I want them to be as comfortable in my chat as possible, so I won’t force them to talk all of a sudden. 

Hence, I basically changed the alert to resemble that lurker-friendly nature of my stream and not give racists and edgelords a platform. Those are my two main reasons. Instead of saying “Thanks for following, X” and essentially calling them out, I just say “Thanks for following!” or “Thanks for the follow!” – I don’t think that that change really makes that much of a difference behaviour-wise but a huge difference in terms of keeping things comfortable. Obviously, you don’t have to acknowledge anything. You don’t have to say thank you. You can also completely ignore it or insult them or call them out or whatever… your stream is your stream after all. But I personally wouldn’t watch a stream if they did that, which is just my preference, but also a preference shared by others.

At last, links to some cool streamers:

itsTwiggie – kind of sparked the idea for this post due to her recent tweet where she mentioned her preference. I personally only removed the follower name from the alert because of racist names I’ve seen containing slurs, etc. but because of Twiggie, I stopped calling out names unless people spoke up in chat. Twiggie’s streams are super cool and fun. Can recommend her streams!

CaveMobster – has been one of the first streams that I’ve seen without the name on the screen. I never would have thought of removing the {name} part of the alert message if I hadn’t seen it there first. Cave is super nice and plays a lot of simulation-type games from Snowrunner to HouseFlipper and Farming Sim. She also played Darksouls 3 with a steering wheel… which’s impressive! Check her out.

Joecrastination – one of the inspirations that got me into streaming in the first place. He’s a friend of mine and super chill and cool. I personally find it rather easy to spend hours in his stream without any issues… but it’s also fun to just hang out and lurk there. Really can recommend him!

Anyways, that’s it for the post. How do you feel about this? Do you have any preference when you’re in Twitch streams? I find it kinda weird but I don’t mind being called out. My streams remove the “kinda weird” as I remove the username from the equation, essentially, and I think that people like that more now because of that change.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Time off, Distraction, and efficiency

Today I wanted to talk about a bunch of things, including university, distractions, efficiency, and time management when it comes to Blogging, Streaming, etc.

So, I’ve been streaming quite regularly over the last couple of weeks and have been really enjoying it. Sadly, though, I’ve got to take the weekend off and focus on some university stuff as well as family time. My mom’s birthday is this weekend, so I’m visiting my parents until Sunday. That’s one of the reasons why I limited the times I left the house in the last two weeks to the utmost minimum required… Just in case, y’know? The quick covid test I did the other day revealed that I don’t have it right now (praise the test station next to the dorm) and that I’m not asymptomatic. That’s good. I won’t put my parents at risk and since my father and my sister will pick me up later today, I won’t have any chance to catch it somewhere on my way there. The same thing goes for my way back on Sunday. It’s all safe and honestly, it’s something that I really needed. With the recent events over here and us getting put back into a harder lockdown with an actual curfew (again), I’d like to take the chance to visit my family and spend some time there while I have the chance and time to. University just started, so stuff’s rather slow at the moment. I doubt that I’ll have the time to visit them after this week until August… and even then, I’ll have my exams in August until the end of the semester and I’ll have to deal with all kinds of other things… Honestly, it’s a pain in the arse and I’m looking forward to the end of university. For starters, like in every semester, I’ll have mostly online classes meaning that every professor gives you tons of homework because you’ll have to make up for the time that they waste in their zoom-meetings due to “technical difficulties” aka them not finding the screen share button or them not connecting their tablet properly. I know it’s not their fault… This situation only has been going on for a year… but I feel like it’s a bit unreasonable to just dump everything onto the students and to then pretend that it’s fair to do so. After all, reading essentially a whole book every week isn’t really the problem, understanding it is. Pair that with written homework, writing assignments, and all the philosophy classes I have on top of that that consist of reading and understanding stuff… It’s a lot of work and the workload increased a whole bunch compared to the previous semesters.

So that’s just me venting about not really having too much free time and yet I’m here also blogging daily and streaming on a lot of days. Well, I’ve been at it for a while and just like with blogging, you’ll have to stay consistent in streaming. With Blog Posts, releasing one every few weeks would be plentiful already for Google to show your posts online. I mean, I get a lot of hits as of late because I stay relevant every day. Understandably, I want to keep at it, and yet I’ve got to cheat now and actually back-schedule this post here to keep the streak and post again tonight to have a post up for today. I’m sorry. I don’t wanna cheat but I just passed out last night. So, uh, why am I doing this? Well, mostly, since streaming and blogging really are my only two creative outlets. I don’t have much free time so I’d like to do something like this more and more consistently. I want to keep at it and basically finish a post a day and stream three to four times a week and improve my English skills by writing and talking a lot in English. After all, I study English Studies, y’know? And I’m aiming to teach it, too, so there’s that, too. Overall, I like getting my work done for the day and then finishing up a post in the evening before heading to bed and it works so far… but yesterday, I was just exhausted. And with morning streams I basically have a similar thing that I can do to start off the day “productively” – I mean, I provide a space where people can distract themselves from the events in the outer world. Be it the never-ending pandemic or the never-ending police brutality in the States, it can be quite taxing on one’s mentality if you’ve got to deal with that all the time. Heck, I hate the newsticker on my phone that I can’t seem to turn off that notifies on the latest covid numbers and new measures, curfews, etc. It fucks with my head, frankly. It’s annoying and I feel like mental health topics should be talked about more often and that they should be taken seriously. So, my stream, The Crypt, is basically a place where you can lay your worries and anxieties to rest and enjoy your time without having to fear toxicity or bigotry and where everyone can have some nice chats and a chill time and listen to good music and watch me fail at games or fail at applying that gradient in Art streams and all of that. It’s basically me relaxing and essentially sharing it with others so they can relax as well. I think that stuff like that is needed, too. I’m happy if people enjoy the streams and while the numbers have been great as of late, I wouldn’t say that I care a whole lot. We just recently hit 500 followers on Twitch and I couldn’t be happier but in the end, as long as I get to provide a safe space like that and as long as I get to make new friends, I’m more than happy with how the stream is going. But I won’t be able to stream this weekend and that’s kind of annoying because I won’t stay relevant in a way, just like how breaks hurt your numbers on WordPress or any other blogging site. Hence, I’ll be happy to return to streaming on Monday… hopefully with a bit more time for that.

The issue here is, however, that I just pointed out that I have little to no time to take care of myself while also having to juggle important things like chores and university on top of having the blog and the stream going on as well…. which is why time management comes into place. Since the beginning of the stream, I’ve mostly been posting stuff on the same day that I’ve written it up… that’s something I want to change. I want to have “one in the can” and I want to have that security of potentially being able to take a day off and focus on other things while still having a scheduled post. On top of that, it would be lovely if I could have at least one review every week coming up if not even two reviews per week, despite them taking more time than my usual posts… This is why I need to manage my time more and become more efficient.

Hence, I’ve recently started using ClickUp, which is a cool website that lets you organise your tasks and displays them in a lot of ways. I have yet to figure out the best way of doing things on there but I plan on splitting up posts into multiple tasks and completing them over several days. Essentially, that will mean that I won’t edit posts after two hours but instead, I’ll edit them the next day. On Monday, I’d post a review, then I’d work on two separate posts. Tuesday, I’d write up a new review, post the one prepared on the day before and edit the other post. Wednesday, I’d edit the new review, post the post prepared on Tuesday, write up a new post. I think that splitting it up like that could increase the quality of the different posts. Similarly, it might take a load off my shoulders… I’ll have to experiment a bit with all of that but I’ll post on it again and maybe even “review” ClickUp as a whole. I’ve been using it for my university stuff since the beginning of the week and honestly, it’s really good at displaying stuff that needs to be done as a list, with tasks, subtasks, etc. You can assign statuses like “completed” and “work in progress” to it and move it over from category to category… and similarly if I increase my efficiency like this a bit more, I could maybe finally get to those interviews I had planned for YouTube.

As you can see I have a lot of things going on and plans for the future and my goal with ClickUp is to essentially manage my time better, create certain time windows for different aspects of blogging, create fixed times for streaming, and have a lot more control over my streaming hours and my university hours. The goal overall is to free up a day and be able to take care of me without getting overwhelmed by all the things I still have to do. Keeping track of the tasks, staying efficient at what I have to do, using tags to sort through things, assigning priorities, etc. – I feel like it could help me a lot to deal with this “burden” that I’m feeling right now. After all, priorities are important: University/Mental Health > Chores > Blogging/Streaming… but I still want to make everything work and because of that I just need to have the time management in control and set boundaries, set time windows and priorities to everything.

So, this post here is technically yesterday’s post… I mean, you’ll see it as “today’s post” but it’s actually a post written on Friday that got scheduled back to Thursday because I literally passed out from exhaustion yesterday after ten hours of university with little to no breaks between it due to professors going for 2-hour classes instead of 1.5 hours and because the next professor will just start the class even if you’re in another, and then I didn’t have time to eat at all or go for fresh air or anything and afterwards my head felt like it was exploding. -> Bad Time-Management on my end. 

Uh, so I’ll prepare a post for Friday and write up posts as usual for Saturday and Sunday. I’ll have to go to the doctor’s on Tuesday so I won’t stream then but I will for sure on Monday. I’ll then have to deal with the university classes and all the tasks left to do this weekend but being in a different environment aka my hometown should maybe help with my mental health and this weird headspace that I’ve been in over the last few days. Once all of that’s done, I’ll probably start this new time management schedule thingy… and I’ll have to see how it works out for me.

To sum it all up, the point of this post was to say: Hey, I’ll try this new thing and it will definitely help me out because I need better time management. It will also improve blog posts probably. It will also make studying and streaming and blogging at the same time a lot easier. That’s all.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Twitch Etiquette – The Unwritten Rules

Be it the so-called Netiquette or any other matters, there are always unwritten rules that exist in different spaces that people either abide by… or people do not potentially upsetting other people in those spaces. Today I wanted to talk about some of Twitch’s terminology and some of Twitch’s Viewer/Streamer Etiquette

For starters, (this may be a given but…) not only viewers but also streamers have to abide by Twitch’s official Terms of Service (also known as ToS). On top of those rules and terms, however, each streamer tends to have their own values and rules. Hence, I’d recommend checking out any channel’s rules upon your first visit. Most timeouts, bans and arguments happen because these rules get ignored or frankly not seen. Channels tend to have a panel with their rules or the rules mentioned in the chat rules that you see upon your first visit or by clicking the cogwheel symbol followed by clicking on the option labelled “view chat rules”.

These rules may sometimes seem unreasonable. Some channels don’t want you to mention the view count, for instance, while other channels don’t want to see emotes by other streamers… and while I don’t get the latter, if it’s a rule, you’ll have to abide by it and understand. Don’t question rules as that may seem as you arguing about it. Move on to other streams if you don’t like the rules in place in one stream. Similarly, if you’ve been banned, don’t try and avoid the ban by creating different accounts or asking people to talk for you. If you ask for someone else to get unbanned, you may very much get banned yourself. There are times when people accidentally get timed out or perma’d because of bots or misclicks but in those cases, it’s best to send an unban request or whisper a mod or streamer once and then just wait for a reply/respect their decision. I once was banned somewhere but wouldn’t know why it happened. I filled out the unban request and despite my chat logs showing absolutely nothing problematic, it got denied immediately. I then messaged the streamer somewhere but they didn’t reply at all, which was weird since they weren’t that big… but since a second or third message would be rude or maybe even intimidating, I decided to just move on instead. You can’t do much about it. Eventually, it will get cleared up and if not, there’re plenty of other streamers out there to watch instead. Respect their decision. Move on.

Often, streamers put information about themselves, their pronouns, their specs, their games, rules, commands, social media, etc. in the panels below the stream. Hence, checking out those panels before joining the chat can be helpful to get to know the streamer and to prevent the streamer from getting annoyed by repeated questions. I know that it’s not a big deal to answer a question like “Where are you from?” once or twice… but sometimes, streamers get asked stuff like that ten times within a few minutes or even more often, based on their size, so I’d say that you can play it safe by just looking through the given information a bit more before you ask stuff. I personally wouldn’t get annoyed at people for asking stuff even if it’s in the panels. I just noticed in other places that people prefer it when viewers read about it in the panels before asking, so this may be something worth considering.

Don’t be rude. There are a lot of things that can be seen or interpreted as “rude”. One of those things would be backseating, aka telling the streamer what to do. It’s weird. It’s annoying. It’s frankly frustrating and more often than not, streamers will warn you once and then time you out if you do it. Backseating not only causes frustration but can also spoil games. “You’re going to love this next part” or “You should use X weapon” or “I can’t believe you’re not doing X”, etc. is just annoying. Don’t do that. Be better. Most of the time it’s not ill-intentioned but it can ruin the experience for both the streamer and other people in chat. Similarly, spoilers are usually a no-go even if the streamer has already played the game and even if the game is relatively old. So what if it’s old? So what if the streamer has already played it? Someone else in chat may not have played it. Don’t ruin people’s time. Don’t spoil games, shows, etc.

And there’re also other things that you shouldn’t say. Stuff like “I’ll go watch Y now” or “I’ll start up my own stream now, goodbye” is just weird and advertising generally doesn’t really sit well with most people. If you want to promote your stream in some way, you can use social media or you can put yourself out there by raiding people or hosting them. Mentioning that you also stream out of nowhere… and then trying to leech off someone else’s content or channel is just annoying. Similarly, you don’t want to go to a streamer and ask them to raid you or to collab with you. If you’ve gotten to know them already, you can DM or whisper them afterwards maybe and “talk shop” but most of the time, doing that stuff on a stream doesn’t really fly well. I personally tend to be quite tolerant about that stuff. I’m not insecure about my content. I doubt people will suddenly “steal” my viewers. I don’t mind that there are literally thousands of other streamers live at the same time as me. Still, there were scenarios where my patience was tested when a viewer would dip in and out of chat and always announce that they were leaving for someone else’s stream. Like, alright, it happens once… or twice… but doing that four or five times in a row is just annoying.

And then there’s other stuff like calling lurkers or streamers out. You saw someone chat before but they’re not active right now? Don’t @ them all of a sudden. As a streamer, you shouldn’t call them out, and as a viewer, it’s just weird to get called out by another viewer. Similarly, if you see a streamer, you may say hi to them or whatever… but asking them about their streams or their channel when they act as viewers in someone else’s chat is rude and often not well-received. Apart from that, you may also want to refrain from mentioning viewer count, sub count, or other data unless the streamer is talking about it right now. Discussing purges, timeouts, bans, etc. also can be seen as rude. Saying that you’re under 13 is often an easy way to get banned (again, ToS). If you’re in a mature stream, you should still watch out for what you say. Just because a stream is 18+, that doesn’t make bigotry okay. On top of that, there’s also still the chance of minors watching, which is why you should be aware of that possibility and your language.

I feel like that’s already plenty of information and I can’t really think of much else. If you have other ideas for unwritten rules or if you think differently about things here, let me know! I hope that this list of Twitch Etiquette helps you out a bit as a streamer or viewer. I also hope that you enjoyed this.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Discord vs Guilded?

Voice chat has been a rather big part of me when it came to gaming. Sure, playing games alone doesn’t necessarily require it… but a singleplayer game can still be shared with someone else or be played while someone else is also playing it… and multiplayer games are more fun with friends. Voice chat isn’t a requirement for games to be fun… but it adds value to it. And alas, we use programs like Skype, Curse, TeamSpeak3, Discord, and as of late… Guilded.

Yes, Guilded.gg has been a rising star in the gaming community now with features that make it seem like a promising competitor to Discord while other people tend to just shrug it off as a “clone”. Hence, I figured I should maybe share my thoughts on Guilded and how it fairs in the comparison or what I think of it. 

Personally, I don’t think that it’s going to be a good competitor and I don’t think that people will switch from Discord to Guilded and completely abandon Discord… but that doesn’t need to be a thing anyways. I remember switching to Curse from Skype since Skype would pose a security risk and since Skype would make my internet so much worse… I remember switching to TeamSpeak because Curse did not have enough users at the time… TeamSpeak servers cost money and Discord is completely free. Eventually, my friends switched to Discord since nobody cared about stuff like “poking” or “whispering” and enjoyed text channels, screen-sharing and the general feel of it more… Also, you didn’t even need to have it installed and could just run it in your browser… in a lot of ways Discord was like Curse. Actually, I remember saying that it’s basically a clone…

With Guilded it’s the same thing really. Just earlier I had a discussion with people about it and about it being a somewhat serious competitor for Discord in some ways… not as in “it’s going to replace Discord” but more in a “Both platforms and voice chat apps, in general, will get more and more innovative about features because of Guilded” way. Competition breeds innovation. Twitch got better while Mixer was a thing. I’m sure there are more and better comparisons out there… but you catch my drift.

Guilded looks similar to Discord, just like how Discord (from what I remember) looked similar to Curse before it got scrapped by Twitch who acquired it eventually. Guilded’s main thing is probably how things are organised. You have different groups and sections. There are categories for things in your server, just like in Discord, but you can re-arrange them and set them up differently, making them less overwhelming. Messages become threads that are easier to see. Lists and events are amazing for streamers and people that have huge communities and want to plan things. There is a calendar that shows all of that information… and you basically don’t need to use any third-party-apps of sorts for that stuff… but you can do that if you want to. There is bot-support, like in Discord. There are voice channels, like in Discord. You can stream, like in Discord.

The main part about Guilded is that it’s very much directed at Guilds’ needs. If you’re in a raid with tons of people, stuff will get very disorganised in your discord call if everyone can speak. On Teamspeak, you can let the shot-callers whisper to certain groups of people. On Guilded, you have a similar thing with sub-groups within the same call and with every call being a thread of calls basically. You can have someone in the top hierarchy call shots for the raids while the groups themselves organise independently. It can work out very efficiently. Lists could be used to create crafting orders.

The calendar system adds a lot of value to the planning side of things. If I want to share announcements on my Discord Server, I’ll tag a certain role and post it somewhere. Pinning the message doesn’t make it more visible or anything like that. It basically gets swept away. Nobody checks the pinned messages in discord or the channel info. It’s hard to use and a bit counter-intuitive. A “pinned message” should always stay on top, like the pinned tweet in my profile on Twitter. Discord’s kind of weird. If I post more updates, announcements, ideas, and so on, I end up flooding the chat and removing the initial message… creating a new thread/channel for different things will make it harder to see. Categories and sub-categories, however, like in Guilded… they make it very easy to organise.

This and the previous screenshot were taken from a Twitch Streamer’s Guilded Server btw. Please check FederalGhosts (Twitch|Twitter) out!

If you want to enter a server, you have to apply. Guilds work similarly. Guilded has a nice application-system (that can be turned off) as well as unban-appeals. I like that idea. I’d like it if Discord had that.

But just because Guilded has some features that I very much like… that doesn’t mean that I’ll switch to Guilded. It’s more about stating that it’s there and that Discord is quite cool but it has fewer features and can sometimes be quite frustrating. I feel like everyone has been using Discord now and even though the shop failed, Discord is continuing to make at least some money. I think the platform could grow more if it took some of the ideas that Guilded implemented and if Discord could actually use those… or just frankly work with Guilded. You can “automagically” import Discord templates, roles, bots, channels, etc. into Guilded, which is super bold and brazen… maybe not even in a good way… but hey, it’s there. Guilded has its market and with so many streamers on Twitch (and other platforms) having Discord servers, I feel like Discord should do more to satisfy the needs of those streamers more.

  • Better tools for planning.
  • Better tools for organisation.

Guilded has those better tools. Guilded has nice features like comment threads that don’t clog up chat… Guilded also has a social-media-esque activity feed that you share with friends where you post “tweet”-like announcements or screenshots and files with friends of yours. Discord had something similar but it seems to be gone or just very hard to find… I’d like that honestly. Right now I don’t see a point in adding people as friends, really. Apart from privacy settings.

Obviously, Guilded isn’t perfect. It still is lacking in the userbase department and there are issues with its identity and with everything still looking like Discord… but overall, I just hope that Discord takes note and pen to hand and write all of this down to implement it themselves. Having a forum, homepage, calendar, and voice chat in one platform could be amazing for people that need those features (like raid guilds and stuff or Valheim community servers, etc.)… and people that don’t need them could still use discord like normal right now.

I won’t switch to Guilded unless Discord really doesn’t do anything… I may create a server of my own as an addition to the Discord server and see how people in my friend-group/community react to it. Will have to see.

Have you seen Guilded, yet? Have you used it already? What are your thoughts? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

My Workspace! (from the Blaugust Promptapalooza Prompt #11)

So, last year we ended up having Blapril during April to make use of the time that we suddenly had due to the lockdown and all of that. Then we ended up having the Blaugust Promptapalooza and while that has been fun… I’m not sure if I understood the rules fully and I ended up skipping one of the prompts since I was at my parents’ place at the time and I hence couldn’t post about it… and then I moved on and procrastinated a lot and… well, here’s Prompt #11 from the Blaugust Prompatalooza… a prompt about my workspace aka “A Place To Create”!

This post should’ve linked to USS… so here’s that post and check it out if you haven’t yet. Here is Krikket’s post – check hers out since she did write the first post on it.

Today, we hence talk about the place “where the magic happens” aka my desk where I create all the blog posts and where I also stream, work, eat, watch shows, study, and play games. I also hang out with people on there… and sometimes I even fall asleep on it. Ain’t that amazing? It’s a TOOMANY-in-ONE-type of deal… and I’ll show ya today what this place is about!

So, in the picture above you can see my desk here. That’s where everything happens. Generally speaking, I get tea, coffee, or anything else warm to drink before I start studying or before I work on things. My favourite mug usually stands right there on the right side of the desk. I feel like it doesn’t bother me too much. I tend to have games on the right monitor while having streams, Spotify, Discord or OBS open on the left. When I write blog posts, I tend to have the editor/Grammarly open on the right and my notes on a notepad on the desk. Works quite well for me.

As you can see I have blankets in the back there… When I stream it kind of helps with the audio… or at least I think it helps. I’m not entirely sure if it’s better than no audio-foam-stuff… it’s certainly not the same… but I don’t have space or money for that audio-foam-stuff. It may help… idk… The microphone is set up horizontally since the Wave 3 works like that, too. Up there it seems to work quite well but I may have to bring it closer to my face though but then I’ll see it in the monitor and I’ll get annoyed… maybe I’ll change the arm-setup as well. The arm is sitting on a side-table that is dividing my room into a chill and a work area. The work area being my desk and my bookshelves… and the chill area being the balcony door and the seating-thing on the ground where I tend to read blog posts, news, manga or books. I think separating the work and the hobby areas is important… but then again, gaming, streaming and blogging are also not work… so… yeah. It’s hard to do that anyway when you only have one room to function as dining, living, bed and work room, right?

So, this is basically how my room works. I’ll have to upload the pictures from my phone but I also have a tea-setup on here the side table with a candle to keep it hot and stuff while I work… while also keeping it away form my electronics/my rig. There is also my drawing pad there and the microphone and all of the sugar and tea stuff. My computer is sitting off to the side of things… far away from all the liquids in the world.

Apart from that I also am rocking that desk lamp behind the screen and I just turn it up and move it and stuff to illuminate my desk or my face based on what I need… works quite well, in my opinion.

That’s basically it. I hope you enjoyed this post! What do you think of my workspace? Would you like to know more? Ask me below!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Alerts and Overlays on Twitch? Why?

Just recently Bel from Tales of the Aggronaut posted a piece on the “machinery of streaming” and about him being tired off widgets, overlays, alerts, and all of that stuff on the screen that is in the “meta” right now on Twitch and Co. Hence, I figured I’d write a piece about it and state my opinion on whether or not all of that stuff is needed… or rather why I agree with Bel in a lot of ways. Please check out his post as well! I’ll link it below, too!

As always, take everything here with lots of salt. I’m not the biggest streamer in the world but I do analyse and think about a lot of this stuff and talk with other streamers (that are partly bigger than myself) about stuff like this, so I like writing about it. How I run my channel/stream and what I like to do doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the only way of doing things. Keep that in mind and don’t get offended. Thanks!

So, uh, let’s start this from the beginning: What are alerts, overlays, bots and extensions?

Well, alerts, extensions and overlays are ways of creating a better or more interesting experience for viewers. As a streamer, you can opt-in for them or leave them out. Alerts pop up on the screen or play a sound and a gif or something when someone follows, subscribes, cheers, tips, hosts, raids, gifts subs, or buys merch. It’s a fun little thing that pops up on the screen every once in a while and it doesn’t do much harm, in my opinion, and helps since you don’t always watch the activity feed and since the sounds help you out. You can customise everything with services like stream-elements or streamlabs taking a load of work away from you on their sites respectively. Meanwhile, you can also use Twitch-integrated extensions that show up in your panels or when you hover over the screen. There are a lot of nice ones there that may get rid of frequent questions. When I used to stream Destiny 2, I used one of the extensions for that game so that people can see my gear, loadout and power level at any time without it distracting other viewers. You as a viewer could look it up and click it away whenever you wanted to, which was quite nice. There are also things like that for other games… and games like Ring of Pain or Dead Cells even have integrations that allow your Twitch audience to vote for your items, draw enemies (in the case of Ring of Pain, for instance), choose when to heal you (in Dead Cells’ case) or even appear as an enemy (in Domina, as an example) in the game… all of those things are funny gimmicks that can add to the experience.

Now, the problem with extensions is that I’ve seen some people use way too many. You can disable, rearrange them and enable them whenever you want… but some people just tend to forget and have everything up at the same time which can be very frustrating and distracting for users/viewers. In the same way, there are also overlays that streamers add in OBS itself where the most recent follower or the chat messages and whatever are shown. You can create your own overlay or play around with downloadable packs from the internet. I have a widget that makes chat messages appear on-screen for two seconds or something and one that makes emotes that are posted in the chat float around the screen for a second. Nothing big. I don’t like boasting with the biggest tip or the latest gift-subs or follows, which is why I don’t show those off on stream… but generally speaking, they can be good incentives for viewers to do that. 

My Starting Soon Screen with my Follower Goal (temporary) and the current song that is being played. Chat can be seen on the right if I’d type something now or if I was live… alerts pop up in the bottom middle section of the screen.

The idea behind that is that having a goal on stream that shows viewers that you’re very close to reaching a specific milestone or whatever is a somewhat subtle way of creating a “call to action”. You can use timers for that or have a goal on stream. I just recently mentioned that I’d play “Getting Over It” on stream if I were to hit 500 followers until my birthday (this upcoming Tuesday) and while I hate it… I actually added a follower goal and people that usually would just forget about it now basically hit that follow button. I don’t earn anything from it but it’s a milestone… half a thousand, you know? So I wanted to celebrate it and since we’re quite close, I figured… might as well put up that stupid goal. It’s small and somewhat subtle but still, it can be quite distracting or even obnoxious, which is why I don’t tend to do that often… if at all.

With alerts and these overlays, the good thing is that viewers have this “call of action” at all times present. Some people like being called out for subscribing and supporting the stream. Some people like seeing their name there and all of that. Hence, those people get rewarded. I personally don’t like it as I think it’s obnoxious and distracting to have a live-ticker of the latest events or whatever on stream at the same time. That’s also why I don’t like news shows on TV and read the news online since I don’t care about the weather and the stock market stuff that is obnoxiously being promoted below the reports, etc. In my streams, I hence have these occasional things going on at most… the chat messages showing basically lets people see that their messages did make it to my side and that I did not ignore them for a while but there’s just a delay… meanwhile, the emote-wall overlay is just a fun little gimmick that is quite cute and cool, in my opinion, when there are raids or breaks.

On top of that, you can also use bots to keep viewers engaged with *cough* gambling for loyalty points *cough* or to mess with each other and duel or whatever. There are lots of commands and scripts out there and all kinds of bots. A bot that I use, for instance, is called buttsbot and basically, it just hops into chat sometimes and butt-ifies messages… which can be fun at times. It’s silly and nothing big but it can be a bit of fun and create moments. A streamer I watch at times, Vicksy, once said that she added a bot to her stream because she’d sometimes be so busy with League of Legends that she couldn’t react to chat at all. Sometimes there is a lot of action that requires a bunch of focus… hence, the bot is there to give the viewers a bit more to do, like the occasional heist, duels, hugs, sound commands, and other features that enable viewers to have a nice time with her stream even when she’s not looking at chat right now.

In the screenshot here you can see the extensions I currently have. For a while I did pla ya lot of Destiny 2 and League of Legends as well, so I had those overlays activated for some quick info on the game. When I don’t play those games, I have them deactivated. So, they don’t clog up space or anything and people have a nice experience. Similarly, I can activate/deactivate the Ring of Pain/Dead Cells extension when I play those games on stream. Currently there are only three extensions active on my end. Two of which are in the panels below the stream (the Emote Panel that showcases emotes in a cool way) and the stream schedule (that I’ll probably just get rid of since Twitch added a schedule feature already… I’ll think about it). The Closed Captions that I have installed (see “Overlay 1”) appear on-screen, meaning that you’ll see them when you open the stream. You can turn it off without any issues, though, if you don’t need them. It’s just something that I installed for those viewers that don’t hear well or that can’t currently listen in or that are deaf. They may not be perfect and they may not catch every word I say… but it’s better than nothing and it makes the stream more accessible to people on Twitch that may also want to see my streams. Closed Captions are one of many examples for overlays that are actually great and somewhat important for content creators. These ones right there were created by Alejo Pereyra (Twitter | Twitch | Discord) and they are relatively easy to set up and, again, work quite well. You can customise the text/background colour, the location, the size or turn it off completely. It’s all up to you and I really like that about this specific extension!

The follower goal is a temporary thing but it will be there only until Tuesday and then it will be gone forever. I do have a gif of Magi (the necromancer) in the corner of the screen at all times as it belongs to my branding and then there’s also some emotes on some corners or gifs here and there just to fill out space. It could be distracting, potentially, if they were moving a whole lot but since they’re super slow-moving or since it’s minimal movement, really, I personally like it a lot and I only got good feedback about it so far, which is nice.

Apart from that, I either have a static purple background or a moving magical purple thing looping in the background instead of those fancy borders that everyone is using for their cams and whatnot. Bel also noted that it was fun in the beginning but eventually everyone was using the same things over and over again… or everyone is doing one thing because all the big streamers are doing it. Having chat up at all times, for instance, is something huge streamers can afford to do… small streamers with an inactive chat, however, could end up seeing it backfiring on them,… which is why my messages only appear for two seconds if at all to not cover any UI or game elements but still have that effect of “message is now being read” appear. I also have a tiny widget on stream that shows what music is playing when I’m on break or when I’m chatting… because I like crediting the musicians that allowed me to use their music when I mailed them. I feel like it’s less intrusive than widgets used by other streamers and overall, it’s a small thing and better than not crediting people. 

So, overall overlays, chatbots, extensions, alerts, widgets, and all of that can create opportunities for streamers but I don’t think they’re needed. You don’t need to invest in some professionally made ones, either. I’m currently working on reworking all of my alerts to fit the Crypt theme I’ve got going on with art and animations/gifs made by myself and all of that and while it’s a lot of work, it’s going to be absolutely worth it once I’m done with everything. All my alert sounds are recorded by myself (either some sound effect that I just spoke into the mic… or a silly song cover for the sub alerts)… meanwhile, I’m not using an overlay in the classic sense at all and am still happy with my layout. I’d like to show one of those animations I created but it doesn’t seem to work in WordPress… which is a bummer… I’ll post about it once it’s done!

The most important rule in streaming is, in my opinion, to create content that you – yourself – would watch and enjoy…

And,… well, the streams that I watch don’t have all the live tickers and overlays and all the different obnoxious things going on at all times… or rather I’d stop watching streams if they were constantly flashing in my eyes or if everything was overstimulating my brain and trying to grab attention from me in all sorts of corners when I’m effectively only there for a game and the streamer that is playing it… or the personality behind the screen… or the community feel in the chat… or the interactions.

Bel also goes into his experience and him wanting to go back to streaming and also him not wanting to go back, in a way… It’s a very interesting read that goes into different directions and I enjoyed reading it a lot. I’d highly recommend checking his post out!

Anyways, what do your layouts, alerts, and overlays look like? Do you use any at all? Do you use a bot? What kind of streams do you prefer? Ever got annoyed by obnoxious live-tickers of chat and whatnot? Have you set up closed captions, yet, and if not why not? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Lurking on Twitch

In my beginning days on Twitch, I did a lot of things wrong. I’m kind of cringing at that one time where I just started streaming and would chat in a stream before that before eventually saying “Okay, I’m going to stream now. See you later” only to then be told that that counts as self-promo and that other streamers would ban me for it. I didn’t quite get that as it wasn’t my intention and I immediately apologised for it. I just figured that basically everyone on Twitch is streaming… but yeah, I think I covered that in my first ever post on Streaming on Twitch and… yeah, it’s bad. Don’t do that. But apart from that, I also did other things wrong like keeping quiet when nobody is watching and suddenly starting to talk when the viewer count went from 0 to 1. I’d also look up people’s names when they were lurking and would call them out… and… that sucked. For obvious reasons: Hence, a post on lurkers.

Lurkers are the backbone of Twitch. A lurker is someone who’s counting as a viewer but who isn’t actively participating in the chat. By having the stream open, you count as a viewer, but if you have more than four streams open at the same time, your views don’t count at all for any of them. Hence, #NoMoreThanFour! 

A lurker may be doing something else while working on things or gaming or whatever. I tend to lurk in a lot of streams while writing blog posts, studying or while I cook, for instance, as it fills the silence with someone’s voice and potentially some nice conversations. At the same time, I get to support the streamers as viewers – an important thing for discovery on Twitch. 

Lurkers are the backbone of Twitch. Without them, you wouldn’t see as many streamers at the top every day. Sure, there’s also viewerbotting and embedded streams and that kind of stuff going on, but if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t using any of those, right? Lurkers are so important because they count as viewers even when you’re on your break or whatever. They may be sleeping or working or doing anything else, and they’ll still support you with that view, which is great. On Twitch there isn’t that much discoverability, really. There are categories and tags, for starters, as well as recommended channels… but generally speaking, you’ll browse a category for a stream to watch and you’ll probably look at the big viewer numbers first since a lot of people go that way. “When there are many other people, there must be good content. Meanwhile, there must be a reason that nobody is watching this one guy at the bottom.”

There is this so-called 5-viewer barrier on Twitch with a huge percentage of the streamers on Twitch being at 0-5 viewers on average. If you sort the Just Chatting streams from lowest to highest, for instance, it takes ages to get past these streamers with no viewers at all. If you open up one of their streams, it already catapults them so much in the rating… to the point where more viewers may find their streams. The more viewers there are, the easier it is to find the streamer with these numbers.

A lot of people on Reddit or in small streams complain about not getting any chatters on Twitch while they rant about lurkers and whatnot… and I don’t get it. I’ve seen it plenty of times when I was searching for new or smaller streamers, and it was a bit of an iffy situation as I didn’t feel that comfortable about supporting someone like that. If you’re not engaging, people don’t have a reason to chat with you, or do they? If they say hi and you don’t react to it for five minutes, they won’t stay either. If people want to support you or are just there to watch your gameplay, that’s 100% fine. You shouldn’t complain about it when people are lurking as they are enjoying what they’re seeing. Lurkshaming is such a petty thing, really… ugh.

As of late, it’s been hard for me to actually keep up with chats, as a lot of the streams that I’ve been watching have started to grow in size, resulting in a less pleasant experience for me. I still watch the content or lurk there, but I don’t chat anymore as I feel a bit overwhelmed with the chat messages that pop up and stuff. There are probably ways of stopping that overwhelming feeling from happening… but effectively there isn’t really a need to. After all, lurkers are gonna lurk. It’s in their nature. They’ll chat every now and then and get into the !lurk mode again when they feel like it.

And to keep lurkers in your chat, you need to try your best to make the experience good for them. Have a good grip on your audio balance, for instance, and keep your content engaging and fun to listen to are great ways of doing exactly that. Adding a noise gate to your microphone or a compressor, for instance, helps out as well. There is also a lot of other things you can do with your voice but I’ll post something on that another time. Generally speaking, you want your content to be good, even when people are only listening to it. At least I want that and a lot of people I’ve talked to wanted that. If that’s not your jam and you want to scream every five seconds in meme-language, you can do that… but some people may not like having to re-adjust the volume level all the time or being scared shitless after opening a stream to support someone small.

There are probably other things as well to make your stream more lurker-friendly but usually, you’ll figure stuff like that out as time goes on and as you know exactly what you want to do with your stream. 

What you really shouldn’t do is calling lurkers out by stalking their names and speaking to them specifically even though they haven’t talked in chat yet at all… that’s kind of weird and in a way… scary. I mean, you don’t like being stalked because that’s creepy as fuck, duh. Looking up someone’s name and calling them out is bad and shouldn’t be done. It scares people away. The examples I mentioned in the introduction of this post, for instance, are why I was stuck at 0 viewers for the first few streams: Nobody told me that that’s weird… and I didn’t know that it was weird to do that because I didn’t think that much about that behaviour.

But then again, take everything with a grain of salt. What I do with my stream and what others do with theirs, isn’t necessarily what you wanna do with yours. If you wanna scare people away by stalking them, do that. It’s your own thing after all. What is your experience? Do you shame lurkers or do you rant about them or are you like me and thank everyone who’s lurking without calling them out at the end of the stream? Did you ever call anyone out for lurking and if so, how did it go? Let me know!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Twitch-Raids and Safety Measures

The other day I saw a tweet by some big YouTuber/Streamer that raided smaller streamers to support them. Obviously, big raids can be a great way to kickstart your community or allow you to show who you are to a lot of people… but for me personally, receiving a lot of people and jumping up from ten to a hundred viewers is more than frightening. At least, it used to be rather frightening when I just started out streaming and I wasn’t prepared for it at all.

In case you, dear reader, don’t know what a raid is, a raid is basically a feature on Twitch that allows you to bring your viewers over to a different streamer in order to support them, bring yourself out there, potentially “network” (I hate that word) and to share some love. To do so, you enter “/raid [streamername]” into the chat and wait until the timer ticks down. Once it’s up, you end your stream and you’re on your way to the target streamer’s channel. Their stream and chat is now shown on your channel and your viewers are over there now. Now, if the streamer in question raids as well, your viewers (if they are still there) will also be on their way to the next streamer. That’s what people call a Raid Train. 

The issue is that there are times when people do not wish to support you but actually have a bad intention in mind. There has been a streamer (that now is banned) who encouraged his community to “get banned” in the target streamer’s chat by spamming “fuck me” over and over again. The raided streamer was female, which didn’t make the situation better. Sexually harassing anyone on Twitch is a no-go but the streamer that raided her fully knew that (and I’m quoting here) “This is gonna be bad” while laughing.

GamerEarthJen (check her out! She’s a gem!) handled the situation really well by ignoring the messages in chat and (with the help of her mods) banning the trolls. While these instances can be quite bad, though, they are rather rare, from what I’ve heard. Hate Raids like that aren’t allowed on Twitch and Twitch themselves took action quite quickly against the streamer that incited all of this.

Now, to prepare for instances like that, you can visit your dashboard on Twitch, go into the Settings section, click on “Stream” and then select your settings for Raids. You can allow all raids (like me here) or only allow raids from friends, teammates, and followed channels (aka people you know)… or you block all raids to prevent anyone from raiding you. I feel like blocking all raids is quite radical in a way while only allowing certain people to raid you limit potentially meeting new friends, so I try to not block all of them… but in case you want to do that, there is an option for it.

Two other features that Twitch has are Followers-Only Chat and Slow-Mode. In case of a negative experience with raids, you can turn on Followers-Only Chat in your chat settings (the cog-symbol at the chatbox) to activate it. There you can select the time that people need to follow you to be able to chat. I wouldn’t do this though. 

The issue with Followers-Only Chat is that new people that actually want to participate in the chat are forced to follow you, which I often would perceive as a “dick-move to get easy followers”. Normal people on Twitch will most likely get scared off by Followers-Only Chat in smaller streams. It makes sense for big streamers with thousands of viewers… but when you don’t have many viewers, the Followers-Only Chat feature hinders your growth. 

The Slow-Mode, however, is an excellent feature. Not only does it allow you to moderate your chat better by limiting the messages that people can send within seconds to minutes, but it also lets you keep up with chat when it gets a bit overwhelming. I’d recommend activating this at the beginning if you feel like chat is getting overwhelming after a raid. Usually, people hop off rather fast or lurk after the raid, so you can deactivate it later on. If you were to receive a 200-man raid or something along those lines when you average five people, that can – after all – be rather overwhelming and stressful. Alas, the Slow-Mode is a great way to slow down the chat (duh).

Another in-built feature on Twitch is the Automod. It’s found in the Dashboard > Settings > Moderation Tab right at the top. You can customise the filtering you accept, allow or prohibit. Generally speaking, I’d recommend utilizing AutoMod, although it sometimes doesn’t allow phrases like “How” in the chat. In those cases, you’ll just accept/permit it in the chat. Quite easy-going and rather intuitive to use. I currently have it set up to Level 1 since I run a mature stream and swearing is allowed. I noticed that sometimes AutoMod can be a bit harsh on trivial things. Profanity is no biggie and if people are being excessive about it, I can tell them off or time them out myself. I have some filtering enabled for the derogative terms or “Discrimination” as it’s called here as I want to create a safe environment. Again, I could probably crank this up quite a lot higher but since I do have an active mod that I trust and appreciate and since I can also time people out myself, I set it up like this. If it doesn’t work out for ya, you can also just change the settings more easily.

Now, apart from that, you can also change your alerts to prepare for big raids. If you were to hear your Follow-alert 100 times after receiving a raid or after being botted by someone, then you’d probably get frustrated or annoyed quite a lot, especially as potential tips, cheers, subs, hosts, raids, and gift subs would also be put further back in line, resulting in you not being able to thank them in time, potentially. Hence, I’d recommend separating the alert box for Follows and the alert box for everything else for a more pleasant experience. 

I personally am using Streamlabs’ Alert Box for my alerts and can do that rather easily. You simply need one alert box link with all interactions but the Follows enabled… and one alert box link with only the Follows enabled. This way, you’ll have two browser sources in your sources. The good thing about this is that if you have too many followers all of a sudden, you can just mute/disable the follower-alert by clicking the eye-symbol in the sources. That way they won’t appear or make any sounds anymore. After the raid, once everything has settled down, you can also activate it again without any issues. I personally like this idea as it enables you to deal with different “threats” rather quickly. 

Obviously, you shouldn’t be afraid of Raids. These are just precautions or safety measures to deal with them in the worst case scenario that a huge raid shuts down your stream or overwhelms you. I’d recommend doing that follow-thing and have Slow-Mode and Auto-Mod at your disposal when needed. The Raid Settings and the Followers-Only Chat aren’t needed at all, in my opinion, unless of course, you’re a bigger streamer or you don’t want raids/chatters for whatever reason. If you receive a hate raid, simply ignore and ban them, before reporting them to Twitch later on. If you receive a nice raid by someone, then thank them and introduce yourself. Raids aren’t inherently bad and you shouldn’t be afraid of the worst-case-scenario. In my opinion, though, you should still potentially prepare for that one. Just in case.

Do you have any other tips and measures for hate raids or other negative interactions like that in place? A friend of mine got botted once (that’s where someone buys a lot of followers for a streamer to annoy them by playing the follower alert a lot) and used this specific thing to gain control of the situation and deal with it quickly. I feel like she handled that rather well and thought more people should know about the possibility and opportunity there.

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Streamer Appreciation Post

The other day, I talked about PogChamp and KomodoHype and all of that stuff and mentioned that I’m blessed to be in an inclusive and friendly bubble of streamers that aren’t toxic at all and feature some amazing content creators. Alas, since it was Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d spread some love to some of the streamers I adore and shout them out to you guys in an attempt to allow you to also find have a nice experience on Twitch. Generally speaking, a lot of people find Twitch to be a toxic place… but I don’t think that that’s the case because I’m heavily biased. The streamers I watch are great and friendly and there is no spam going on there. I am streaming as well on Twitch and am trying to also create a safe place for people to hang out and have a cosy time… but I’m just at the beginning of my journey and have still ways to go, in contrast to these amazing people featured in this post who are all just great at what they’re doing.

Alas, this list will basically consist of some of the streamers I adore and watch. I’ll do my best to get to as many as I can without this post turning into a huge list of sorts.

First things first, I love Flex’ streams. XilentFlex is an inclusive variety streamer on Twitch who talks a lot about Mindfulness and self-love. He’s an LGBTQIA+ ally and has probably the most wholesome community on Twitch, at least in my opinion, featuring an amazing mod team, some great people and a lot of fun that other people should experience. He’s probably my favourite streamer on Twitch. I love tuning into his streams and hang out and chat whenever I can. He’s been streaming full-time for about two years now and is just amazing at what he does. His stream often has slow-mode turned on so that he can keep up with chat and respond to everyone as well as possible, but I don’t mind that and I feel like he utilizes features like that rather well. Flex does a lot of Just Chatting streams as well and has been one of my biggest inspirations to get into streaming myself. He’s helped a lot with raids and advice in the past. I feel like his stream is a great place to hang out at if you’re new to Twitch as you’ll feel welcome as soon as you send your first message. I feel like Flex has a way with words and some incredibly polished social-skills that enable him to not only give great advice and bring together so many people but to also help you out and assure you that you matter. It’s a skill that I wish to have but being socially awkward and in the autism-spectrum I kinda feel like it’s going to be rather hard for me to accomplish that. Still, I learn a lot from watching his streams as to how you need to handle the concerns and problems of other people and how you can assure people that they are fine and they don’t need to apologise about things.

Urb looking cute as always!

Next up, is a streamer who I know through Flex, actually. Brian Gray aka UrbanBohemian is a black queer variety streamer that streams on Tuesday afternoons and weekend mornings. His streams generally feature a rather cosy vibe with some great music, lovely commentary and rather entertaining content in general. You can ask him anything you want which further adds to the cosy and friendly environment his stream features – something that I love on Twitch. In the past, he’s raised a lot of money for the Bail Project, Trans LifeLine, The Trevor Project and GaymerX, which is great, and generally speaking, he’s just a gem of a human being that I can highly recommend checking out. Lately, I haven’t been able to check him out as much due to my sleep schedule being more or less fixed right now but it’s always fun to have his VODs on in the background while I work on things. On top of that, he’s one of the few streamers that actually create lovely Twitter content. I love the GIFs and Videos he’s posting on there and his takes on some topics on there. I can highly recommend Urb to you and if you don’t fancy streams, you may also wanna check out his blog over here.

Fan Art for Cave that turned out well!

Another great streamer I wanted to talk about is CaveMobster who’s another inclusive and lovely variety streamer from the Netherlands. She does Art Streams as well as Simulation-type games. Sometimes she also hops into other games, like Fran Bow or Dark Souls, which is always fun to watch. Often, people have a place here to talk about things that are concerning them and Cave is great at actually helping out, giving advice and cheering people up if they need that. Cave’s goal is to normalise mental health and the conversation by infecting the world with kindness and building a loving and understanding community, one stream at a time. In my opinion, she does that incredibly well so far and it’s always a pleasure to be able to shower other people with hugs or even to be on the receiving end of that love and wholesomeness in her chat. With the pandemic and everything going on right now, life can be rather troubling and sometimes it can feel just dark, which is why I feel like streams like Cave’s actually are so important. Whenever I turn to Cave and her community, I feel welcome and like a friend of everyone, which is a nice and warm feeling to have. Even if you don’t know people, they welcome you and are worried about you and I feel like Cave has created a fantastic community in a small amount of time and I hope that it only grows stronger and cosier as time goes on. Cave’s a great streamer and I’d love it if you could check her out!

KingArgaroth, my liege, is yet another great streamer. He’s the King of the Kingdom of Argonia and could best be described as a loveable and wholesome dork who loves to banter and play games. He streams a variety of games as well as Horror Games every Sunday. Just like Cave, he also talks about deeper topics and mental health at times. His community has healthy discussions from time to time and I admire King for being able to moderate it so well and keep it civil and gentle so that everyone gets to participate without anyone getting offended or hurt. If you stop by his streams (and I hope you do!) make sure to ask him anything and engage. He’s a master of engagement and is always able to make me feel welcome and at home in his streams. On top of that, whenever I feel down or whenever my headspace is weird (like right now), I can rely on him being available over there. When I ask for help on anything, he’s got the best advice out there and is ready to listen. Just like Flex, who I mentioned above, he also is really charismatic and has a way with words. Even when you apologise for troubling anyone, he’ll assure you that you matter and that your problems are being heard and that he and everyone is actually there for you. When your head is just doing weird things and you start second-guessing everything, he’s there to shine a light into the darkness and actually help out. He’s an amazing lad that I can highly recommend checking out.

Fan Art for Joe that looked quite good!

Next up, there is Joecrastination (formerly known as MFC or TheGlassCanon) who’s another great inspiration of mine. He’s a truly kind individual who’s very entertaining, handsome and fun. Joe plays a lot of RPG games and loves getting into the Lore side of things. I played Hollow Knight and don’t get anything about the story but Joe is just out there vibing while talking about the lore whenever I have a question and it’s fantastic to see him get so passionate about these things. His streams are generally rather chill and if it was for him, Flex and Jimb0, I probably wouldn’t have started to stream myself at all. They were there with great advice and encouragement and I thank them every day for it. Joe’s been able to take a break for himself to get his stuff sorted, which is a rather brave thing to do, and he successfully came back recently, stronger than before. I love the quality of his content and his voice and his thought process on things in games and topics. I really enjoy hanging out over there whenever I can and I’m sure you will, too!

Just recently, I was invited into Team Mistakes which is a team where the streamers try to not take themselves too serious and laugh about mistakes or bad plays instead of getting angry, toxic or even violent about it. A streamer that I got to know through that is MurphyOwO, who’s a variety streamer that has been through their share of trouble in life and wants to create a space where it’s okay to talk about deeper topics while still having fun. They’re a Mental Health advocate that plays a plethora of games from Valheim and AC: Valhalla to Breath of the Wild and Genshin Impact to Among Us. They also do a lot of Just Chatting and their Sugar Gliders are just adorable. It’s always a pleasure to be in their streams even if I most often end up going to bed afterwards since it’s super late for me but I can highly recommend checking them out!

At last, I’d like to say that there are a plethora of other streamers that I’d like to talk about but since I don’t have unlimited time I can’t actually mention all of them. On top of that, I wanna say some more words about why I enjoy every streamer so much instead of just creating a huge list with bullet points like “variety streamer”, “inclusive”, “has pets”, or whatever. I feel like that’d be only fair, which is why I’ll make another post in the future talking about those that I couldn’t mention today. 

Anyways, I hope that you enjoyed this post today! Make sure to check out some of these streamers if you haven’t yet! They’re all gems and I really appreciate being able to hang out in their streams and chat with them so much lately, even if it’s just in lurk-mode or while I’m working on things or even when I go outside and ride the bus or whatever. I’ll try to make another post like this again sooner or later but for now, that’s it for today.

Take care of yourself! Hang in there! Stay healthy and warm and cosy!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Streaming on Twitch – Quality and Consistency

I haven’t done one of these posts in ages, so, today we’re talking about Growth on Twitch! Sit back, grab a snack, and enjoy!

Warning: There are cat pictures. If you don’t like cats or if you’re afraid of them, you’ve been warned. There is a cat btw that needs some help and you can find his gofundme campaign over here and it would mean the world to me if you could maybe share it so that more people are aware of Aikka. Cancer sucks and our feline friends don’t even know about why it’s hurting or why things are happening. Regardless of that, thank you!

Growth is something that a lot of people aim for when it comes to Streaming. Naturally, if you’re doing your best, you want others to appreciate that and you want “your best” to be reflected in the numbers. So, what is “the secret” to growth on Twitch? Well, in my opinion, there isn’t really much of a secret there. All you need is Quality and Consistency.

Quality means that your streams or your “content” are pleasing and entertaining to watch. People enjoy what you do because it is good content, so naturally, you grow from that. You create it, they share it with others, recommend it and you grow. Part of the “quality” is also the video and audio quality. If your microphone is bad, people won’t be able to hear you or enjoy it as much. Background noises and distracting sounds can hinder the quality, and alas your growth. The same thing goes for a bad internet connection or bad commentary. More on that later.

Consistency is about the fluctuations in your quality but also about your schedule. Today’s stream could be 10/10 but maybe tomorrow, you’re tired and you end up creating bad content that is maybe just 4/10. Creating good content consistently means that people will appreciate it more because they can rely on you “delivering” consistently. If you stick to a schedule, people will know when and where to find your content. If you’re constantly late or if you skip out on days, you’re hindering yourself. If your streams take place at different times every day, you end up hindering yourself as well. People won’t be able to tune in more often and that sucks and just makes people a rare sight.

There is more to growth than that obviously, especially because of the limited discoverability, but for this post, I wanted to focus on how to improve your quality and how to keep up with the consistency in the best way possible. Discoverability will be a topic in a later post in the series, though, so stay tuned for that.

Here’s a picture of Aikka, the cat I mentioned above!

Quality generally is subjective, obviously. There are many kinds of streamers out there and there are many kinds of viewers. Some people watch streams for the games featured in them. The Dark Souls community on Twitch is a great example of this: No matter how good your stream is, they most likely will not watch any of your other played games unless they are also souls-likes. At least, it’s very hard to convince them to migrate to those other stream categories. Some people watch streamers for the skill they have. A good example of this would be people that follow E-Sport Pros on Twitch to maybe get better at League of Legends or see some sick plays. Again, that’s totally fine. And then there are people like me that tend to watch people for the personality that they add to a game. I don’t care if people play Subnautica or not… I’m there for the person behind the screen in the community… and that’s the kind of stream, I try to build as well. The kind of stream that is more community-based in which interaction with chat is more important. 

Naturally, you don’t have to be like me or run your stream like me but I’d like to give advice on what I’ve seen a lot of people do and what a lot of people (including me) struggle(d) with. 

For starters, your hardware doesn’t matter. You’ll need a good internet connection and something that can run your game if you wanna do gameplay. You can stream on your phone as well and don’t need to worry about anything when you do that, usually. You don’t need a microphone if you don’t want to talk. You don’t need a cam if you don’t wanna show yourself. A camera can help attract people but it can also bring a lot of trolls to your stream or make you a target. The bare minimum for a stream is really just a device to stream on and something to stream. 

Getting a $7k microphone with Go-XLR and whatever isn’t going to help you produce good content. It may help with the audio quality but it won’t be of any use if you don’t talk. Similarly, you can have a bad microphone but still be really entertaining. Your content is what’s important. Nobody cares about your hardware! 

What I try to do in my streams is to constantly narrate whatever I’m doing. Try talking at all times to not let any dead air ruin your quality. Try to give insights as to why you’re doing something or as to what your thinking. Try stirring up a conversation or maybe talk about recent things that you’ve been interested in. 

What attracts people generally is passion. Do you watch anime? Talk about shows you watch. Do you love Indie Bands? Talk about your latest discoveries! You’re really good at cooking, so why don’t you try to talk about this new recipe you tried out? If you’re passionate about a subject, you can attract people to your space: Like-minded people. Your community, essentially, makes it easier for you when they like similar things about as you. 

Your audio quality can be bad at first but what matters is that you actually use your microphone if you use one. It’s important to be there. You’re not playing games alone, you’re showing them to potential other people and you’re broadcasting live, right now, on Twitch! I mean… maybe not right now, but you get what I mean.

Consistency is the other thing I mentioned before. Due to timezones, you won’t be able to catch everyone at the same time. If you stream in the evenings, you may not catch people to the East of you but more from the West. If you stream in the mornings, you may not catch people to the West of you but may very much catch people from the East of you. It’s all a matter of what works for you as there are always people awake at any time. Heck, sometimes I browse through Twitch and find streams when I can’t sleep at 2 in the morning, ALTHOUGH I’d never catch them usually. 

This is Dougal, the cat owned by Hudson who you can find over here on GSRR! Please check their blog out!

Don’t shape your schedule around your viewers but rather your viewers around your schedule. I stream in the mornings before uni starts or in the afternoon after my classes. If I stream in the evenings, I may screw my sleep schedule, so that’s something to pay attention to. After work, you may be less energetic and maybe even frustrated, so that can be bad for it… but in the end, it’s a matter of trial and error. Try looking at yourself and see what works best for you. What makes you the happiest? 

The other thing about schedules is that you have to make sure to limit your stream days and stream times in some way. You can’t be live 24/7. Not everyone can watch you for that long. Rather, you may switch to three to five stream days instead with streams that go for three to six hours, so that you don’t burn out too much. Streaming is something that I look forward to and I look forward to watching streams that I couldn’t watch for three days. If I were able to see a streamer every day, I’d think that I can “check them out another time”… and then I just never return because there is always something else. Your stream is an event of sorts and if it’s rarer, it can be something that people look forward to. 

As an example here, my current schedule is set to three guaranteed days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It works best for me that way. The other days are quite busy with RL-stuff but I may chuck in another stream into that with Art or Chatting when I finish stuff faster. This schedule works best for me as it allows me to focus on making those weekend streams special while preparing things for them during the weekdays!

Now, the other issue is the consistency of your quality: You want to deliver the best content in every stream and be there on-time, right? Well, then you’ll have to prepare for streams and make revisions, think about how a stream went and then change what bothered you. I’d recommend looking at your own VOD for that and see if you notice anything. Asking a mod or a friend for feedback can help, too! Be critical with yourself and do better next time! Obviously, you can’t give 100% every day but I think that it’s important to at least try to in order to grow more. 

A great example of that would be XilentFlex or Flex for short. Whenever I go there, I have a blast. Sometimes, there are a lot of people or I don’t like the game, so I tend to lurk more… but most of the time, I tend to enjoy my time there more than anywhere else because it’s cosy AF and wholesome. I don’t ever get “bad stream” vibes when I go there because the quality is just so good every time. Alas, I come to hang out more often or actively seek out his streams to watch them. Sometimes, I even make time for that stream! That’s how consistent Flex is with his quality!

But either way, that’s it really for the post. I feel like these two points are important when it comes to streaming. Obviously, you can take anything I say with a lot of salt because I’m a small streamer myself but this is just an opinion and it’s based on my experience as well as conversations with bigger streamers than me. Basically, these blog posts will be accumulated experience on Twitch-Streaming documented in blog-form. Next time, I will probably make a post on how to use your voice and some practices. Looking forward to writing it!

Thanks a lot for reading today’s post! Thanks a lot to Noom for allowing me to use his cat pic here and to Hudson for allowing me to use their cat pic for this post! You guys rock!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

Happy New Year! – 2020 in blogging and streaming recapped

This is a scheduled post and I hope that it’s not December 32nd now as I really want 2020 to be over.

2020 has been a difficult year with Covid being an issue for the most part. At the beginning of quarantine and the lockdowns and all of that, I ended up starting to stream five days a week instead of three days. This was mainly to give people a way to relieve their anxiety and give them some entertainment and chill times. At one point, we played Amnesia and joked about the Zombie virus and how there is a fungus (similar to the virus/fungus in TLOU) that infects ants and controls them to get eaten by birds… who then spread the spores. Very interesting. We also joked about how we would fare in a zombie apocalypse… I’d try to mediate as much as possible, and I would most likely die first… yup.

At the start of 2020, I was also messing around, saying that there is always a plague in the 20s. Guess I jinxed it. Yikes.

Overall, this has been not too much of a bad year for me personally, though. While I had my fair share of panic attacks, anxieties intensifying, depressive phases, social problems, and other problems, I also had a lot of good moments, like getting a lot of traffic on my blog and hitting some bigger milestones when it came to streaming. I also managed to overcome some of those problems and learn how to deal with them. I think I even grew as a person due to some of the struggles this year, which makes me feel more confident in handling rough situations in the future better! At one point, I also joined a Stream team which wasn’t that good since I’d always compare myself to other streamers and stuff… So, I ended up leaving Wild Abandon.

The last few months of 2020 were a bit troublesome when it came to streaming, though. My internet speed was getting slower in the evenings, resulting in me dropping a ton of frames. Alas, I changed my schedule to morning streams as they seem to work a lot better for me. Numbers-wise that proved to be a good decision as well as it has lead to me meeting a lot of awesome people. I’m lucky to slowly build a community like this and I’m looking forward to growing this Crypt of mine steadily over time with more Undead joining in to enjoy games together without having to fear bigotry or toxicity.

Back to blogging: We hit a few milestones, including one year of blogging, one-hundred followers, and also my participation in both Blapril and the Blaugust Promptapalooza! The latter felt a bit off and I was certainly struggling with providing content on my blog, especially as a lot of the prompts didn’t scratch the itch too well… but we managed to get a fair share of posts out in that time and the link-backs certainly helped guide new readers to my blog, I think. At this point, hello new readers. Pleased to meet you. Even though we don’t actually meet. Uh, pleased to write you? Pleased to read you? Doesn’t really work, does it? Uhm,… I’m pleased that you’re reading my stuff. Thanks for that!

Traffic-wise, I hit over a thousand views in some of the early months with the trend increasing into later months, so that’s something that I’m really proud of. It kind of proves to me that I’m doing things right and that the topics I post about actually resonate with people. I sometimes wonder how a post will do, especially when I try out something new or when I review a game that is just coming out. Seeing the number of interactions with the post or the tweets, however, brings a smile to my face and actually helps a lot with that “posting”-anxiety that I feel at times.

“Posting”-anxiety is probably not a term that exists but what I mean by that is that kind of fear that you have before publishing anything. Similar to how my heart starts racing once I’ve hit that “go live” button in OBS, resulting in me needing about ten minutes to calm down and be my reserved self that is actually happy to be live again. It’s a bit of an issue. What if nobody shows up today? What if nobody reads my blog post? What if nobody likes the game that I’m recommending here, even though it is a great title? Will people lose faith in me as a curator?

It really isn’t that bad with blogging, but at times I just tend to overthink anything and everything, which is something I want to get better at in 2021. I want to have more faith in my blog posts and my streams, and take better care of myself & my mental health. I want to have fun with what I’m doing and enjoy it while it lasts and while I’m able to stream and blog.

Speaking of Mental Health, I’m looking forward to going to therapy again. Due to my financial situation, I wasn’t able to visit my therapist anymore and ended up having to call all of the meetings off, as I just couldn’t afford it anymore. In the same fashion, I need to eat proper food again once 2021 starts and actually take care of my needs. Showering often, going to sleep early, waking up early, getting enough rest, taking enough breaks, getting enough steps in, taking a breather every now and then. Those things are really important and while I managed to get that kinda stuff sorted for a lot of 2020, which helped a ton, I also ended up falling back into old patterns of skipping meals, staying up all night long, eating too late and hence not being able to sleep, and so on. But then again, we had that post yesterday, so uh… y’know… read that for more in-detail-stuff.

Let’s go over my blogging goals, at last:

In 2021, I wanted to familiarise myself with the Classic Editor and all of the blocks in the Gutenberg Editor. So far, I’ve only been using the Gutenberg Editor but the Classic Editor has some features that looked more than promising, as far as formatting goes. I’d also like to meddle with all the different blocks that are available in Gutenberg. I haven’t played around too much with the different galleries, as of late, and there are plenty of features that I haven’t tried at all, yet.

That’s something I want to change. I want to bring the best out of Indiecator and get the most value out of my reviews and other posts. I wanted to be more consistent with the Monster Hunter Log and the Late to the Party posts as well as the occasional Stray Sheep and Lookout Post… post… yup.

I want to try out new things and see how it goes. Something that I haven’t tried at all, yet, is uploading playthroughs to YouTube or embedding the first hour or so of gameplay into my reviews to give people a better look at the game. There is only so much that I can do as far as explaining goes… and people will have the option of watching it or not watching it. Obviously, rendering stuff is going to be a pain in the butt, as well as editing videos again… as that’s something that I haven’t done ever since I got that workshop for Magix back in 2012 or 2013… so no clue really if my knowledge is going to be good enough for other programs. I’ll look into it, starting this year.

Apart from that, I started doing digital art in Krita in late-2020 and been really enjoying doing panel art and emote art for my own stream and other people. I have yet to think about whether or not I wanna take commissions but I’ll let you know when I do. I’d love to get into animation and bring some of my emotes to life on-screen… looking forward to GIF-creation and potentially creating some animated alerts for the Stream as well.

As far as streaming goes, there are a plethora of goals that I have in mind for that:

There plenty of things that I’m working on right now and it all is a Work in Progress! So stuff changes and improves over time! Patience is key! The other day someone offered to animate things for free for people, so I messaged them if they were serious and if I could really ask them to do something for me… free of charge. As I was completely broke at the time, I was more than happy to hear that I’m able to get an ultra-awesome Stinger transition for my Stream as well as a super-duper-awesome animated “Starting Soon” screen that is in-line with my current branding. I’m really excited to implement that into my stream and once it’s out I’ll write about it again and credit the artist and all of that. Really looking forward to seeing how people react to it! I, for one, am deeply in love with it!

Aside from that there are some other goals:

  • Always say “yes”, unless uncomfortable.
  • Use Drama experience! (for entertainment, voice tone, volume, acting, etc.)
  • Educate myself on Mental Health and LGBTQIA+ related topics so that I know more about them and so that I can spread more awareness on those topics and how to handle questions on those topics.
  • Make the Stream more accessible. (Closed Captions, Content/Trigger warnings)
  • Be more positive in general about myself and towards others.
  • Work more on my emotes.
  • Be more consistent.
  • Think up more creative ideas for the Stream and the Branding.

Now, the post is already really long, as is, but let me just quickly clarify something: When I say “always say yes” then I mean that you take an opportunity in chat and turn it into something entertaining. It’s basically the backbone of improv and I want to use more of that and my Drama experience in my streaming to an extent but I don’t want to tolerate trolls, bigots or toxic people, so I won’t *always* say yes… just when it’s an opportunity. The other day, someone said something about One Direction, so I took that and said that I’m their biggest fan. Then I mentioned something stupid about how my favourite song by them is “Sucker for you” (which is obviously not by them) and how my favourite member of that band is Logan (who was in some other band as well), resulting in someone in chat really liking it. When someone comments on how I died, I’d say that I can’t die since I’m undead. All of that is merely an illusion. When I’m not good at the game, I can play it off as giving people a chance. When I am good at it, I can act as if that’s always the case with an ironic wink or whatever. There are plenty of ways to turn something boring and use it spontaneously to make it work for you and I feel like that’s something that I want to do more often.

Consistency and Quality are the backbone of streaming, so I want to up that, obviously. I want to brainstorm more on my branding which is what I do at basically any given time… Being more positive about myself and my looks and whatever is important for my mental health, so it ties into the goals from yesterday as well, but it is also important for the stream itself since a happy Magi is going to be more entertaining than a depressed Magi.

Talking about Mental Health and LGBTQIA+ related topics has been something I’ve enjoyed a lot in the past… educating myself on that is completely understandable as part of that. I want to understand what people go through and I want to be able to help. And at last, accessibility,… is tricky to deal with. There are a lot of things that I need to do but I haven’t figured them out just yet. Eventually, I’ll be happy with how accessible my stream is, but until then I’ll have to educate myself and look things up and try stuff out. Closed Captions are the first step towards that!

Either way, I hope you have a nice start to 2021. It’s definitely going to better than 2020, I think… Take care of your mental health and your needs. Take breathers whenever possible and don’t overwork yourself. Even with vaccines on the way, try to stay safe and try to not endanger too many people. I’ll probably wear my mask forever since I’m just not used to not wearing it. Do you have any resolutions for this year? Let me know!

Again, Happy New Year!

Cheers!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken.

One year of streaming on Twitch

Today’s the 19th of November and this day is special to me as it marked the day that one of my favourite hobbies, streaming, started. In the beginning, I just wanted to do it for the sake of trying it out and honestly, I had low hopes as to whether or not I’m going to continue doing it for a long time and after many technical issues and changes, I’m more than happy, after a whole year of streaming, to announce that I love it and that I’m happy with what I’m doing on this platform called Twitch and that I’m looking forward to the future and to what I’ll be doing on this platform. 

Now, to celebrate occasions like these, I used to do 24-hour-streams and stuff like that but I know that I’m not able to do that anymore due to the bitrate issues that I have in the afternoon and the evening. Also, it’s not the healthiest thing to do and while I was thinking of doing two twelve-hour-streams, I thought to myself that I should maybe borrow some inspirations from other great streamers that have inspired me to do this in the first place. Alas, in a similar fashion to other streamers, I’ll keep the celebration simple. 

We’ll be live on Saturday, the 21st of November, at 9 AM GMT, for a total of 12 hours! During those twelve hours of fun and necromancy, we’re going to perform a vast amount of rituals to summon the dead and raise hell, by giving away games, playing Jackbox and other titles, and doing some Twitch Sings. We’re also going to talk about a lot of things, like the games we played and vote on a lot of things using the poll-feature. Apart from that, we’ll review one year worth of clips and chat and maybe do some more Art as the time goes on. 

If you haven’t already, join the Discord server to stay up-to-date and bond with other undead and living, alike! 

Either way, I hope you’re having a fantastical day and that you’re doing alright. I have yet to finish editing the one-year-of-blogging-post that I have in my drafts, so look out for that one.

Cheers!

Alex Hutchinson is out of touch with reality

A lot of streamers on Twitch have been using music that they don’t own or that they weren’t explicitly allowed to use in their streams and now have to fear DMCA strikes and potential takedowns from clips and VODs that could be plenty of years old. Twitch is trying its best to mute those VODs and clips or potentially just remove it but has also handled the situation in an iffy way as it doesn’t communicate which content is problematic and what you’re getting struck for. Instead of saying that this VOD or this clip uses music by some artist who’s now claiming it, then you could delete that specific video and just not use that artist’s music, I guess…

But it’s all a rather difficult situation. Twitch doesn’t handle it well but should’ve stopped copyright infringements ages ago and should communicate it better right now… Meanwhile, labels, studios and artists are in the complete right as well to claim what they own, although the warner bros. bots are going a bit too far at times. 

But among all the chaos in regards to DMCAs and Music and Twitch, there is one man who’s completely out of touch with the world… Alex Hutchinson who’s known for working on Spore, The Sims 2, AC3, Far Cry 4 and Journey to the Savage Planet – who now is working on Google’s Stadia! 

Hutchinson’s hot take is that streamers should rather “worry about streaming the games they didn’t pay for as well” and that “streamers should pay developers and publishers of the games that they are streaming”. According to him, there should be a license “like in any real business” to pay for the content they use.

And naturally, this blew up and he’s responding to some of the comments and I’m not entirely sure if he’s not just baiting to get some attention going or if he’s completely serious about it… but it makes for a good prompt: Should streamers pay developers for the games that they make money with? Should bloggers do the same? Should I pay developers in order to acquire a license to be able to review their games, even when they sent me a copy or when I bought the copy myself? 

Well, short answer: No, that’s stupid. And here’s why:

The problem with this whole idea is that the gaming industry works in a wholly different way from the music industry. Let’s say you’re a solo developer without a publisher and you end up selling a game for 5 bucks on steam. Someone buys one copy of your game and you earn 3.5 bucks whilst Steam takes 1.5 bucks for every copy sold aka 30%. (We’ll just use the 30% cut for this instead of the actual numbers that scale with how many copies are being sold and stuff because it makes it a bit easier.)

If a hundred people buy that game, the developer will get 350 bucks while Steam gets 150 bucks and everyone is happy. Of course, there are other costs involved like advertisement and potential losses but generally, you can get “free” advertisement by giving copies to select streamers, bloggers, websites and certain people so that they can talk or write about it and potentially play it in front of a large audience. A great example for that would be SplattercatGaming on YouTube who’s doing First Impressions of games. Meanwhile, if FGSquared streams it in front of her audience, she’s showing gameplay for more than just half an hour and is able to show the gameplay quite well to her audience, encouraging them to buy it. And on another note, I do reviews as well whenever I get the time to do so – and there are developers that reach out via mail to me and that want me to review their game or at least write about it. 

Essentially, instead of investing a whole lot of money into Facebook, Instagram and YouTube ads, you can distribute review copies to people that will advertise your game for free. They earn money from YouTube ads and Subs/Donos on Twitch and uh… I don’t earn money at all apart from blogging but that doesn’t matter as you get the idea. It’s free advertisement, essentially, at the cost of not selling a copy to that one specific streamer, blogger or YouTuber. 

On the other hand, musicians earn $0.006 to $0.0084 per play on Spotify. If the streamer plays the song in front of a large audience, they earn that $0.006 from that one play. (I’ll stick to the lower number since I also used the highest cut in the example above.) If a hundred people decide to play that song one time, the musician earns $0.60 which is… not much compared to what a solo game developer would earn. And even then, I’m not sure if that musician is getting the whole 60 cents from Spotify or if it gets split up between the artist and the label/studio, etc. 

Obviously, developers will have publishers as well that may potentially take a cut as well but generally, I’d say that small developers earn more on Steam than small musicians do on Spotify. Of course, there are also sales from other music stores (like Bandcamp!) or if you buy the album somewhere else but the cut over there can be so different from artist to artist that I’m not sure if the comparison is fair.

So while the gaming industry and the music industry are completely different in that regard, at least in my uneducated and superficial opinion (prove me right if you wanna and if you know more about it), I actually do think that having licenses could be a good idea. Not for the games but rather for the music. 

In my streams, I use music by Bonaparte, Desmond Cheese and City Girl who I wrote E-Mails to in order to get permission to use their music. Whenever I play their music, it shows on screen and I tend to talk a bit more about the songs and what I like about them. I also tend to tell people to check out the links below to get to the social media pages for the different artists… and I’m also sure that Bonaparte at this point earned a lot from me alone on Spotify. 

What if there was a license that you could pay for that would support the artists that you used on Twitch? You’d essentially pay a fee every month or so and then you’re able to use select artists or playlists and the artists would get a better cut from the deal compared to Spotify… I’d like that idea personally but I’m not sure if that would ever work properly.

Btw, Twitch is now introducing “Soundtrack” now which is an app that not only allows you to use music by approved artists that gave permission to Twitch but that also separates the audio from the VOD, resulting in an easier time for you as a streamer. The overlay for it is also on the screen and doesn’t feel intrusive at all but I’ll write it about that eventually as well at another time.

As for gaming, I feel like it’s ridiculous to pay for a game again that you already bought just to be able to stream it. A revenue share is also a rather silly idea, in my opinion, as the streamers that earn money with their content don’t earn it because of the games… but rather because of the entertainment they provide. It’s transformative, in the sense that streamers add commentary and their personalities to the gameplay. It’s not about the game but rather about the streamer. 

A revenue split would not work in a way because the streamers that do it as a hobby and that don’t earn a cent from it would still have to pay to be able to stream the game they’re playing, for free…? The idea of review copies that the publishers are HANDING OUT to certain streamers would be idiotic as the streamers would suddenly have to make less money by streaming the games that they got given. 

If we take this proposal further (ad absurdum), then the pianist is going to have to pay the guy who made his piano for every single person that bought a ticket to his concert. The piano maker already got paid for the piano but suddenly, he’ll earn more and the pianist is going to have to deal with it. 

Let me go even further: The ASMR and Just Chatting streamers will have to pay money to the some state because they’re streaming and making money off words. They’ll also have to pay money to the company that made their mic, even though they already bought it. They’ll also have to pay additional money to their landlord since the rent only covers them living there but not them earning money in their flats.

On another note, a lot of athletes use certain brands as well and hence advertise those. My siblings used to play table tennis and when they followed the better players for a while on TV, they would constantly wish for a DONIC table tennis racket. The fact that the best of the best were using those, at the time, made these already worth buying in their eyes, even if they had to save up a lot for them. 

The pianist is playing his best music on a certain piano. The soccer player is using one specific brand of shoes whenever he wins a game. A member of a famous esports team is using a specific mouse in all of his games. 

The idea of marketing and free samples and review copies is something that works quite well. Streamers playing games for their audience and hence promoting it… it works and is nothing that should get changed to get even more money for Bigfish developers and publishers while small indie studios would probably not profit all that much from it. 

At last,… Hutchinson also mentioned, jokingly, that NFL and other sports organisations should maybe pay streamers to broadcast and comment on the full games… on Twitch… and that’s hilarious because while he’s mocking the idea, it’s actually a thing. Twitch does that. The NFL does that. It’s very successful actually. Hutchinson must be trolling. I don’t want to believe that someone who’s behind great titles like Spore and who’s working on Stadia is just really that out of touch with reality. Like, that can’t be…, right? 

So, uh, let’s summarise: As mentioned above, I think that the proposal of having streamers pay for games that they already paid for is stupid (I just noticed that that’s what WoW and FFOnline are doing… I’m still not a fan of paid subscription models in games that you already bought). I haven’t even gotten into tax stuff and all of that… in Germany, you’d have to pay taxes and your channel would get treated like a small business as well when you earn a specific amount of money per year. 

It’s also stupid to demand a revenue share when streamers add a lot of publicity to games, as you can see with Among Us (which was quite “dead” for two years and then blew up because of streamers) and Fall Guys (whose whole marketing campaign consisted of handing keys to streamers). It’s stupid to criticize streamers for earning money with their own content that is based around review copies handed out by publishers and developers. It’s like jumping in front of a car and then demanding that others pay for the hospital bills, not because of them running you over but rather because of them not being there for you and preventing you from jumping in front of the car. Doesn’t make sense? Yeah, exactly!

I hope you enjoyed this post. I kind of wanting to give my two cents on it and wanted to make a post while it’s still a “hot topic”. I’d like to hear your thoughts on it and see what you think of this whole ordeal. Is Hutchinson out of touch with reality or is he really just a genius that is too advanced for our current times?

Cheers!

Edit: I added “ad absurdum” to one of the paragraphs since that’s a word that I’ve been looking for while writing up the post but while it was lying on my tongue, it just didn’t come out. Now it’s there. The “to take it further” part was meant to be an “ad absurdum” mechanism to showcase how silly this idea would sound if we replace “games” and “streamers” with “pianos” and “pianists” or “microphones” and “ASMRtists/Just Chatting streamers” or “running shoes” and “athletes”. So that’s an edit I had to make to essentially just mention that it’s supposed to sound silly and absurd because it is silly and absurd in a way.

#TwitchBlackout and how I handled it

Just recently I wrote about #TwitchBlackout and my issues with it. On Wednesday, the 24th, I actually went live and talked with my community about different issues and, here’s how that went. 

So, at first, I thought I’d talk about the issues that are currently in the focus and why I think talking about it is better than not streaming for one day to my three to four regulars. My stream would start with the usual Just Chatting and would then slowly move into a discussion with information and the links I provided and all of that.

I was fearing that a few things could happen:

  • 1. People might not like these “heavier topics” and would just leave, resulting in us not really spreading awareness. 
  • > This wasn’t the case. In fact, a lot of people new ones and regulars talked about their experiences and shared a bit of stories. One viewer, in particular, mentioned that he’s from Romania and how there’s still a fair bit of racism against “gipsies” (don’t like the term) and how being LGBQTIA+ isn’t acceptable at all. 
  • 2. I feared that the discussion would drag on and people wouldn’t like it too much or wouldn’t appreciate my input or other people’s inputs.
  • > This wasn’t the case… luckily, everyone took part in it and most people agreed with my views that staying silent is stupid and that Twitch won’t take that much of a punch when a bunch of small streamers stop streaming all of a sudden for ONE DAY. 
  • 3. Someone would be offended that someone as privileged as me is talking about those issues, being male and white.
  • > I talked about racism in Germany and that my parents were refugees, too. I talked about the fact that you’re always “the different one” and that people don’t necessarily accept you for who you are but always see you as “that other guy”, and a lot of other people talked about that as well. So that was nice, actually. 
  • 4. This would become a One-Time-Thing and would never happen again on Stream…
  • > I’m going to continue the discussions in the future. But more about that later.
  • 5. People would make it about me, suddenly. 
  • > This did happen at one point. Someone said that it’s good that I’m doing that, so I instantly refused to accept that. It’s not about me. It’s about discrimination, harassment, assault and abuse victims and survivors in the Streaming and Gaming industry. More about that later as well.

So, the discussion was rather fun and quite enlightening. We shared experiences and opinions. We talked for about an hour in total before heading into Children of Morta, a game I’m revisiting shortly for a post. During the gameplay, we still talked about it, so that worked out fine. And in the end, it has been a lot of fun and the links I shared were copied by other people to use on their streams as well. 

Spread awareness. Don’t go silent. 

Now, regarding my 4th point from earlier:

I don’t want this to be something that I do only once. I’d like to discuss these things more often in the next few streams and then see what days are the best to talk about issues like that and about discrimination, sexism or socio-critical stuff like toxic masculinity, TERFs, and other stuff. I feel like that would be the better way to handle this. We could talk about heavier topics on Wednesdays for instance while having mediocre gameplay in the background. And if the demand is there, I’d maybe have it twice per week where we talk about that stuff, discuss different point of views and try to spread awareness on other things. 

And, regarding the 5th point: 

I don’t want this to be about myself. I’m not constantly getting harassed by people. I’ve seen people creeping in female streamers’ chats so often, asking for silicone moulds of the shape of their feet and videos of them pumping the pedals or donating bits or money to get other advances. Usually, they get made fun of but I’ve also seen people not react too well about that. At the same time, there’s also a ton of people of colour on Twitch that get harassed for being PoC. I can’t say that I get sexually harassed on Twitch or that I get harassed for being German with a migration background. I can’t say that I’m getting bullied or attacked by people. I didn’t get assaulted or catcalled or even attacked in public yet for being male or “looking pretty”. 

I’m not a fan of the “other people suffer more” or “kids in Africa are starving, so you shouldn’t complain” mentality. I don’t think that people should necessarily do that. I don’t think that that’s the right thing to do at all. But in this case, it really isn’t about me. I don’t want to spread awareness because “I’m such a nice guy” or “because I’m white and need to help others”. I just want to take part in spreading awareness and talk about it, hear other people’s views. 

So, that’s essentially why I hate that “thanks for doing this” that I got there. No. Just don’t. It should be normal for people to talk about that stuff. And sexism and harassment isn’t exactly something new either. The important things jut tend to get put into focus over time. 

People forgot about the locust plague in Africa after COVID broke out. People forgot about COVID when the riots in the United States happened. People forgot about BLM and the riots when people came out with their stories now. And I know that right now people are shitting on me and others for going live. I get it. But in three weeks nobody is going to give a fuck about it since Trump will have done something stupid again. In Stuttgart there’s riots as well right now and people will forget about it once the AfD has done something racist again. 

So, that’s what I’d like to do differently in my streams. I’ll try to talk about more serious things every Wednesday and we’ll have discussions while playing Hollow Knight or some Roguelike or something. Idk. 

And I feel like the stream went well overall and I’m happy that the people in my community actually cared enough about the topics and didn’t flame me for being a white male (being bi or migration background doesn’t matter in that case, I’ve heard), so that was nice. 

And I’m thankful for that. It worked out well and all the anxiety I felt right before the stream… just vanished in a go when I saw the usual faces participate in the stream and actually engage in the topic… and well, just yesterday we had a bit of a discussion on racism and discrimination based on being a muslim or, in the case of a viewer, being arabic.

It was really insightful and I could share my fair bits on how Europe is also shitty in that regard with all kinds of “right-wing parties” spreading in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and other countries… parties that are not good at all and that always paint a bad picture on certain groups of people… and it was a lovely discussion. It didn’t turn into something one-sided or anything like that. We were able to talk about negativity and later even got into relationship stuff and, honestly, I don’t even know how but we got really deep into all kinds of topics and that’s something I’d like to turn into a more common thing.

Thanks a ton to my regulars there for actually caring about the topics and helping me with actually spreading awareness. This is not going to be a one-time-thing. I want to spread awareness on a lot of things and I wanna talk about these things without anyone having to fear their opinions, as long as they don’t harm others.

Thanks a lot.

Cheers

Going silent to spread awareness? Thoughts on #TwitchBlackout

In this post, I’m talking about why exactly I feel like the blackout-movement isn’t exactly working and what would be better. Sadly a lot of the things that I wanted to say were already put into less words in a lot better way by Lowco, so I’ve linked her video down there and tried to talk about something else in this post. 🙂 Please check out @Lowco2525!

It’s a small movement with little to no force behind it. A view thousand people stopping to stream is not going to bring down the bad guys. There are demands that are being heard but I am not a fan of the “silent protest” treatment that we’re supposed to give to Twitch. 

Be loud! Be angry! Make yourself heard!

Spread awareness!

Don’t go silent. 

For anyone who doesn’t know, the TwitchBlackout “trend” was a movement in support of #BLM where you don’t stream on Tuesdays and essentially try to host/support POC on Twitch. I didn’t participate for the same reason that I’m not participating in the movement now. 

made by @badluckbuddha

Right now, it’s to make ourselves heard about the harassment and bullying as well as the sexual assault and the abuse of power that is happening in the Streaming/Gaming industry. Women are sharing their stories once again talking about their abusers and the predators that haunt them to this day. And now people won’t stream today (the 24th of June) because… that spreads awareness? 

I’ve read plenty of these stories and it’s saddening and sickening to hear about what these victims and survivors have been through.

What a movement like this needs is for people to SPREAD AWARENESS by NOT GOING SILENT. How does one spread awareness? Well, talk to people, educate them, spread resources and links about the issues. 

Twitch-streamer Lowco summarized the issues that she has with the movement quite well in a recent video that I’d recommend checking out as well. She also put out a google doc with all kinds of important resources, links and information, so check that out as well.

I’ll set up a command with this doc so that people can educate themselves and, if they want to, support charity foundations that help assault victims. I’ll talk about it. I’ll try to show my support with a logo on the screen. That’s how I’ll try to spread awareness. By not being live I’ll just mess with my viewers. I won’t be able to spread anything. I won’t be heard. I’d be silent. 

Don’t go silent. Be heard. Be loud. 

That’s my opinion at least. And while I think that a movement like that is alright… I don’t think it’s perfect. 

There is no force behind it that pushes forward.

The tweet by @SirKatelyn that I could find was from two days ago, so there was barely any time to organize it and from what I’ve seen most “bigger streamers” that I follow don’t take part in it either. 

So overall, I’m not a fan of it. I feel like it’s pointless and harms any movement more than it helps.

I’d rather spread awareness for a longer period of time while making sure that my viewers (that possibly could get harassed somewhere else for being female or lgbtqia+ or whatever) have some place to return to where they are safe. I’d rather have that going for me than a silent, black screen with some information or whatever and no context.