I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I have a love/hate relationship with streaming. I like to consider myself “human-focused” so the idea behind connecting with a community directly through a shared experience should be something that fits the bill, but in reality the burden of streaming, being entertaining, interacting with strangers who are apt to switch channels the moment they aren’t feeling fulfilled…that’s a difficult row to hoe as far as I’m concerned. Why game under pressure of someone else’s expectations when I can game in solitude? Then again, I have been blogging since the mid-’90s, so I’m not public-facing averse; I just have difficulty doing it in real-time.
This weekend I spent some time on Sunday streaming Surviving the Aftermath on Mixer. Although “Twitch” has become synonymous with “streaming”, I find that I usually get at least one viewer whenever I stream to Mixer, which is 100% more people than I would normally get on Twitch. This weekend I got one viewer who stuck it out through most of the stream and was even a little chatty. I can’t say who this person was, whether they were another streamer or just some drive-by new account holder, or their age, but they were asking questions, making some game-related comments, and even took some time to offer some “helpful advice”:
I’m not entirely sure what prompted this advice, but apparently I passed this person’s test of “what a streamer should do”? I was kind of taken aback at the time for a few reasons, like how bold the user was in “critiquing” my streaming style, and why they were advising me to do exactly what they said I was doing. At first, I was a bit upset; it’s my stream, dude, and I’ll run it as I see fit. Then I started to think about who owns the stream, really. Is it the streamer? Or the audience who holds the streamer hostage to their demands lest they bail and go somewhere more entertaining?
These are the random things that I think about.
Anyway, this wasn’t even the point of this post. I was coming here to write about my recent window-shopping expedition. I had been looking at capture hardware on and off for the past few months because I was under the impression that it could be used to off-load the encoding duties and let the gaming system breath easier. Turns out that’s true only if you’re streaming to another machine. This hardware will help beef up another PC or Mac that’s actually pushing content out of the house, while your game rig is free to worry only about running the game. If you tried to use the hardware on the same rig where you’re playing, the only difference you might see is a negative one, as performance actually decreases when everything is running on the same machine.
With that plan out of the way, I started looking at lighting:
And a better green screen:
Because I am the best-equipped non-streamer on the planet, people. Really, we are in the middle of a home renovation, getting the kitchen done and the entire first floor’s flooring replaced, so I am in a kind of Autumnal “spring cleaning” mode that’s leading me to hollow out the computer area of the basement now that my daughter is away at school and no longer needs her computer or computer desk. This has lead me to consider re-working the space to be more conducive to streaming, which, you may recall, is something I don’t normally do. Maybe it’s a “workspace thing”, which I had written about back in the Levelcapped days, and which I liken to a kind of gaming “feng shui” that can either make me feel comfortable and ready to get down to business, or tired, frustrated, and disgusted with the mere idea of having to be there. I usually have some pretty lofty goals on paper, but then sit around and watch everything collect dust once I try and put it into practice.