Developing my streaming process has been…a process. For a long time, I failed to see the forest through the trees. Trying to squeeze the most performance out of my underpowered hardware, I spent too much time figuring out how to present a technically-competent stream and not enough time thinking about everything else that goes into it. Didn’t have a plan to promote my stream. Didn’t think about what type of content I wanted to create once I got things working. Didn’t even think about why I was doing this in the first place beyond seeing whether I could do it at all.
My aimlessness came back to haunt me when I came up just short of reaching Twitch Affiliate status. Even though it wasn’t a goal I was actively targeting, missing the mark forced me to really think about what I wanted and the steps required to get there. Streaming is still a struggle, but having a better handle on my goals has really helped me define my approach to this demanding hobby.
As of now, this is the process I go through to make each stream happen.
A while back, I was perusing r/twitch on Reddit when I stumbled on a thread from a user who was struggling to rebuild the audience he once had after taking an eight-month hiatus. At the time, the thread only had one response, but it strongly resonated with me while summarizing the biggest lesson I’ve learned as a streamer.
I’m not a Star Trek fan. While I enjoyed the first two Chris Pine movies, the franchise’s particular flavour of sci-fi wasn’t my cup of tea. And yet around this time in 2010, I found myself dying of laughter as William Shatner went on a hilarious rant about his time working on the show. Even with no real background on his work or his life, I was moved by the sheer spectacle of this famous guy with a microphone on stage. I still haven’t really delved into the world of Star Trek, but I’ll never forget that one night at Fan Expo Canada.
Up until my wife and I visited our first convention with that William Shatner panel among many other attractions, video games, board games, and other nerdy pursuits (TM) have mostly been a pastime I’d enjoy alone or with a small group of friends. By attending my first convention, it opened the door to celebrate our shared fandoms with a community. My life hasn’t been the same since.
Originating as a Sailor Moon convention years ago, Pretty Heroes in Toronto has expanded in size and scope. More fandoms are represented, though Sailor Moon is still the star of the show. The convention has moved to a larger venue just east of the downtown core. And it’s also the first year my wife and I were in attendance!
As part of my overall streaming redesign, the space that I play in has become an integral part of the viewing experience. Starting out with just a Snorlax beanbag chair on the floor, I’ve since decked out the wall behind me with decor that reflects my interests and life experiences within and outside of gaming. Always get a kick out of eagle-eyed viewers commenting on the wall, whether they have a shared appreciation for a piece or have a question about something on display.
Every few weeks, I swap in a few new pieces here-and-there. Partially because I want to get use out of the many pieces that have sat in storage since we moved into this house, and partially to keep the backdrop fresh for viewers. This time around, the wall has gone through its most dramatic shakeup yet.
During a recent Paper Mario stream, I received a really interesting comment in the chat from a recent follower.
This may seem mean, I hope you get to be a really big streamer, but I also hope you stay small so you can interact with us like this
I have never been on a stream like this with streamer interacting like this
First off, thank you Pokemaster457 for the high praise and support! Secondly, I totally understand what you mean when you say you want me to stay small.
The process of streaming is generally a solitary experience in front of the webcam. You get your game feed and one webcam feed with the streamer playing the game. From there, you play the game while engaging with the chat as best you can. I’ve grown accustomed to that process and enjoy it. There’s something cool about being able to have these quasi-direct conversations with others in the chat that you’d never have otherwise. However, there’s a magic that happens when you bring multiple people together face-to-face, or at least voice-to-voice. As if making a regular stream wasn’t hard enough, it’s even more difficult to put multiple people from different places in the same window.
November 15, 2004. I was in the midst of my first year in college. Was also working a part-time job as a stock boy at a pharmacy. On that day, I bought Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, the sequel to my favourite Metroid game.
November 15, 2018. Exactly 14 years later, and I still haven’t played the game. I don’t remember why I didn’t play it when I bought it, but it only got harder to fit it into my rotation the further away I got.
For years, I’ve batted around the idea of putting together an Extra Life marathon. It always seemed like a cool way of partaking in an activity I loved while making a positive impact on the world. After sitting on the sidelines for many years, I finally decided to give it a shot while bringing my friends and family with me.
So glad we did it! We raised a lot of money for a wonderful cause and had a great time doing it. My body might still be reeling from the stress and adverse effects from all of the work that went into it, which culminated in a day of virtually no sleep. But it was all worth it in the end.
Right now, I’m itching to write down a bunch of the behind-the-scenes stuff that made the show what it was. Join me as I peel back the curtain a little bit on our Extra Life marathon!