Adventures in Streaming: Episode One: Day 1-14
So I fell in love with gaming all over again. It sounds strange, but as things began to get stale I found myself looking for other ways, other games, other methods to enjoy my gaming time. I spend my evenings online with a group of friends, some of which I have gamed with for over a decade. Together we run a thriving clan that games almost every night of the week. Still, gaming was getting stale, and I didn't know what to do about it. I thought maybe I have beat enough games, played enough online matches and the thrill wasn't there anymore. I was losing my decade long obsession…
Then I stumbled upon twitch. At first I found it awkward, and I thought all the hype was misplaced. What I came to realize is each streamer has their own flavor, and one streamer I may might not particularly like, may be loved by others and vice versa. I started looking at specific games, and I was clicking through streams until I found Nosterex (http://www.twitch.tv/nosterex). He is an older gamer from Australia that really struck a chord with me. Not only did I enjoyed his stream, but I began to look forward to the time when he typically logged on. I even donated to his cause so that he could afford a more professional microphone. I felt invested in his games even though I wasn't playing them myself.
This was my introduction to a new way of gaming, “streaming”, and an unforgiving, unrelenting, and very public way of exposing your short comings. Keep in mind, our gaming culture is not kind to the new guy, it didn't matter that I have gamed for over 25 years, it only mattered that I was a Newb. The issue I faced was what kind of streamer did I want to be, and the truth is it didn't matter. No matter how much I wanted to play a certain role, I always ended up being me. I wanted to stream with no cussing...well that last 20 minutes. I wanted to be that super informed gamer...but there is always someone who knows more than me despite my research. I wanted to be that professional gamer people learned from...but I knew those days were over because my hand eye coordination couldn't maintain that facade. So I dove in, updated my PC, and researched the different streaming software their support apps and I started streaming as just me!
Before I began, I talked to three different people who had been streaming consistently, and I asked for their sage advice. All three said the same things, don’t stream really popular games right off the bat because you won’t build a community that way. I was also told that consistency is key, set up a schedule and keep to it as much as possible. Lastly, make sure you interact with your audience as much as possible. Make the stream about them, and they will make it about you. I thought this was good advice, so I picked a low budget early access game called Stranded Deep, and I began under the gaming alias MindscapeTMFL…
Day 1, I could not explain to you how awkward it is making your inner dialog your outer dialog, but I can tell you it is 10x worse when there is no one there to listen to you. I had a couple people jump in and watch, but most just stayed a minute or two and then left. Eventually a more established streamer that was higher up the play list called it a night and I picked up 3 viewers. An amazing thing happened: for the next 3 hours these viewers made the stream magical. They chatted, joked, and gave me advice and steps to further my survival. I talked back and started naming deadly sharks after them and followed their direction. I was in control, but so were they and when the stream ended I felt successful and emotionally exhausted. I picked up 4 followers…
Day 7 I realized that after a week it takes time to gain a following, not that I had visions of grandeur, but I did expect more opportunities than I got in the first week. Essentially early on while you stream it’s a grind, you literally add one follower at a time, and they usually stumble into a game that you’re playing when no one else is playing it. Half the time you don’t know your being watched because it take a while for the stream to be updated. By that time, you’re so used to talking to yourself you forget that actual human beings will jump on and see if your worthy of their time. It can be frustrating, but it’s like most things in life, you have to pay your dues before you get successful at anything. It took me 4 sessions to break 25 followers; my initial goal was 100 followers in the first 6 months so I considered this a success. I also had another first, I had someone donate to my stream. It was shocking they went out of their way to financially support what I was doing. It was an amazing feeling!
Day 13 I had my most productive stream to date, I was given an assignment to review a strange game called "I am Bread.” I decided to stream it, so I could get a feel from other gamers what their initial impressions were. The game itself (which is amazing http://www.the-gamers-lounge.com/scott-wood/2015/5/5/i-am-bread-review) was hard and frustrating, and the protagonist in the game is a dirty and mentally unstable man. I just started a monologue on why it had to be a man, and I questioned how anyone would live like this. Eventually I had a good amount of people watching and interacting in the stream. They began to support me, and I gained 11 followers in one day.
Day 14 This day was important, I was warned about trolls, and I knew they were lurking out there looking for easy prey. When I started my stream I had a group of 4 people jump in all at once and “follow me” almost immediately, which typically doesn't happen. Soon they began back seat gaming me to death, cursing, and making my small community of viewers uncomfortable. At first I tried to ignore them, but as most of you know that doesn't work, eventually I had to ban them from the chat and continue with my stream. Even though I was prepared for them I was not ready, and it was a lesson learned. I completed my two weeks of streaming with 42 followers and 453 views.
Day 15 I wrote this article and plan to stream tonight. I stream every night Tuesday-Sunday at www.twitch.tv/mindscapetmfl).