#526 Twitch Trilogy: Hardware

This week I am going to be reaching an very important milestone with my Twitch stream. Come this Tuesday I will be reaching my one year anniversary of taking the plunge and diving head first into the world of live Streaming on Twitch. As a treat, here’s last year’s blog announcement about Twitch.

Since then I have been streaming almost every Monday, Friday, and Saturday nights, and because of my adventures I have made some new friends, have become a member of the Infinite Crisis Community Stream Team, and even received some fan art from the people who watch me stream.

I have a folder full of fan art. This is the most nomral

I have a folder full of fan art. This is the most normal

So to celebrate my one year stream anniversary I am going to spend this week’s blog posts breaking down everything I did when I started streaming, from prep-to-execution covering everything I have done from hardware to social interaction.

Today I am going to be focusing on just the hardware that I feel like you need to competently start streaming.

Let this week serve as a giant responds to anyone who might ask the question, “Spencer How do I start streaming?” or “what streaming tips would you give me?”

Hardware

My advice to anyone interested in streaming is to get started RIGHT NOW. Despite what you or I might have initially thought about the requirements of streaming, you do not need a super high-powered computer to start streaming. Start streaming now, get your name and your face out there in the community with whatever computer you currently have right now and slowly upgrade from there.

That being said, do some trail runs first to make sure that the computer setup that you have can handle the resource inventiveness of streaming. Don’t worry about the graphics, just make sure that you can meet the bare minimum before setting out and then working up from there

A decent computer is necessary for streaming, but there two additional accessories and one luxury item that are must haves if you want to start streaming, at least in my book.

First grab a decent headset with a mic. This is a no-brainer, if you are going to be streaming, you will be talking, and you will need to make sure that your voice is being properly picked up by the mic without much background sound. Just grab a sturdy headset from a Walmart or local electronic store for $5 – $15.

Next you will need a webcam. I can not stress this enough, you NEED a webcam if you want to attach viewers. Speaking from experience, and I am sure you can attest, it is much more enjoyable watching a stream with a live webcam feed in the corner than just watching a feed of some narrated gameplay. People on Twitch want to match a face to a voice, and to see people actually talking to them and more importantly people will tune in to see your reaction when you make a big play or fail expressly hard in a match, it is part of the Twitch experience.

Most laptops have webcams built-in, if you do not have one, again they are not too terribly expensive at the stores.

The luxury item that I mentioned before is a second monitor, for me, personally, it is a must have. This second monitor I have attached to monitor output on my laptop lets me play and stream the games I want at windowed full screen while still being able to look at the chatroom, check on my Twitch Dashboard, and see the status on my OBS without ever alt tabbing away from the game. It does not matter what screen resolution the second monitor is and if you have a tech savvy Goodwill/Savers/Salvation Army shop you can grab a second hand 720p or 900p screen for pretty cheap. Besides all the benefits of streaming a second monitor serves as a nice personal upgrade for your computer.

To get back to the main point of this blog post, it does not matter if your computer is not cutting edge in the hardware department, I am speaking from experience with this. I am, at time of writing, currently streaming on a four-year old gaming laptop (an Asus G73Sw). She is a beauty and she has been able to play most proper games at around 30-60 frames per seconds at medium graphics but once I started streaming and getting the rest of my set up running I had to crank that graphic setting of my main streaming game, Infinite Crisis, to VERY LOW, just to achieve stable frame rate so I would provide a fluid gameplay on stream. Even then I have been running into issues with my CPU hitting it’s limit and for the first six months of streaming I was using the built-in 480p webcam, but people still watched me and came back for future stream sessions.

People do not realize it but the people on Twitch do not tune in for the graphics, they watch for the gameplay or for the personality, I know I’m living proof of it.


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

Disclosure: I am apart of the Streamer Partnership Program for Turbine’s A.R.T.S/MOBA, Infinite Crisis, which is a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.
This blog post was written without approval, consent, or knowledge from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment or any of it’s subsidiaries

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

#525 Questions raised by Valve’s new Paid Mods

The PC gaming side of the internet had an explosion yesterday with the with Valve’s announcement of their launching of the paid player generated mods for Skyrim, with the Fallout and future games in mind. The internet is not happy about this business move from Valve and Steam, and rightfully so.

Mods has been a staple to one of the best arguments for choosing PC gaming over console gaming, on top of the over all better hardware and software systems that PCs has over the consoles; the backwards compatibility to play any game from your childhood to the most recent AAA title that launched last weeks, the community mods scene were always the third corner to the trifecta of PC gaming, breathing countless additional hours of game play back into those year old games. Skyrim and Fallout are almost synonymous with their mods, from their graphical improvements to the novelty mods, people like myself will buy the game for the mods instead of the main game.

steam paid mod

But Valve’s asking the community to start pumping out paid content, by installing a forcing a new market into the Steam Workshop seems….greedy at best and evil at worst.

This one move might cause serious repercussions within the greater gaming world. We might see mods artists who do this for free, or because it is a passion project, be pressured to monetized by Steam and by the market to get recognized. Also we now open up a can of worms within the modding scene about money, because money always complicates everything,and questions that are now raised that were never asked until yesterday.

First there was the reveal that Valve/Steam takes a 75% cut of all paid mod’s profits and there is a $100 payout limit so only time that a paid modder can cash out all their earnings is when they make $100, or to put it the other way, when their mod programs grossed $400 or more in the market place.

steam 75

Why is Valve taking 75% off the transaction? Valve mentioned that it is going to be split between Valve, for hosting the program on their servers and the game company of the vanilla game but what is the spit between companies? Why is the cut so high?

With the fact that Steam now has a premium mods that are behind a paywall, will we now start to see Steam start to phase out or DRM lock games to only use steam approved/bought mods? The biggest competition to valve right now is NexusMods which has thousands and thousands of mods available for free, and the easiest way to stop that competition, to gain maximum profits, would be to ban those third party mods from the games the Valve hosts.

How will steam make sure that these mods actually work with the main game? This is now a product sold by steam and now there is some responsibility of product assurance because unlike proper DLC, which is made and QA’d by the same team that made the game, mods are community made and they might be coding something that breaks something deep within the game’s engine. How will Steam handle the complaints from the paying community when a published mod does not work, or worst when a the game patches with an update and waves and waves becomes obsolete?

The funny thing is that I, and we the gaming community, would not be demanding these questions if Valve did not make this one move to build a paywall but these questions. but these type of questions needs answers in order to build trust for this new market. I guess, in hindsight, we saw the prototype to paid mods back with community made hats and cosmetic items sold in the marketplace in TF2 and Dota 2 respectfully, but this entire paid mod program looks like crowd sourced microtransactions for single player games, which is something I would see from EA.

oh yes, I just went there

oh yes, I just went there


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

#524 One Final Goodbye to Club Nintendo

Very soon we will be seeing the absolute ending of the six year long Club Nintendo consumer loyalty program by the middle of the summer of this year

We have seen the slow phasing out of this program since the beginning of this year, with their announcement of the discontinuation in January, the last day to redeem Nintendo coins ending at the end of March, and the closing of the entire site at 11:59pm in June.

Even though with the closing of this program we have seen Nintendo ending things out on a high note, with the last batch of club rewards being almost every past game up for grabs. We have also seen Nintendo still hold true to their past club reward promises, like the delivery of the physical copy of the Smash Soundtrack and a free DLC code for Mewtwo if you bought both platform copies of Super Smash Bros.

I’m still going on about the Smash CD because in this day and age any other gaming company would have just emailed you a download link to their soundtrack, but Nintendo went a step beyond and mailed out packages to everyone, which gives them incredible amount of respect in the consumer relationship department.

Just recently Nintendo announced their final rewards for all their Gold and Platinum club members and for a second year in a row I was able to secure a gold status on my account, although I just barely missed Platinum status by the skin of my teeth. Even though these rewards have been out since the start of the month I am talking about them, and saying my goodbyes now because I am fashionably late when it comes to redeeming these codes and discussing about them on this blog.

not a bad turnout

not a bad turnout

With my gold status I was able to snag Pushmo for the 3DS, because it fulfilled the categories of being a game for the 3DS and being one of the few games on that list that I do not already have on my device. I did not have much expectations for Pushmo, because it was a free game and only acting as a filler game between now and when I eventually get my hands on Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition, but I have found myself really enjoying this very casual platform puzzle game, marathoning through level after level and even getting stuck in a few places. And pushmo has been doing a great service for me by distracting me with this good free game so I do not spend so much time on the terribly implemented F2P Pokemon Shuffle game

Although I have already downloaded Pokemon's OTHER f2p game.

Although I have already downloaded Pokemon’s OTHER f2p game.


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

#523 Here’s to the Mature Games

Grand Theft Auto V’s PC edition and Mortal Kombat X has both launched and for the both of them I wish their launches  the best of luck and I will hopefully pick up GTA V PC later, when it is featured in one of steam’s famous seasonal sale sessions and once I build a better computer that can handle Rockstar Game’s newest game at 1080p resolution at 60 frames per seconds.

Since their first editions of GTA and Mortal Kombat both game series has received their fair share controversies over the years. From claims from promoting and encouraging violent activity and negatively impacting how the player view and interact with reality to being too gruesome for the players.

In the past few months and recent years we have seen a push to try to make the videogame world more grown – up and artistic, tackling social and economical issues of the real world and society and a noticeable push back against the violent games and games with sex appeal. The news stories that came out around the time of MKX, GTA V, Hotline Miami II and Bayonetta comes to mind.

Despite the fact that several scientific studies have found that playing violent or high sex appeal videogames does NOT make the players more aggressive or sexists, we still come back to this conversation with every new mature game.

At this time I just want to take this time to congratulate and applaud all these mature games, From first person games taking place in setting that mimics the conflicts that are taking place in other corners of the world, to fantasy games with questionable story lines or themes, and games with an unnecessary blood and depiction of violence.

Thank you to Rockstar for making a sandbox game where you can commit felonies in detail, thank you to Platinum Star for creating a female character who is confident enough and has achieved Self-Actualization to fight demons from the deepest corners of hell while confidently showing off the assets she has, and thank you to the people behind Hotline Miami 2 for having just the right amount of too much violence and blood.

Thank you to the game developers for making all these hyper violent and hyper sexualized games for us to enjoy and more importantly making the decision to make their games even within this gaming political environment. I respect the self confidence in a game that realize their main selling points might not be for everyone, or might get blowback from some people, and then going ahead and advertising it anyways.

Being mature means doing what you want, choosing to be violent as you want but realizing that there will are challenges that you will have to face, taking responsibility, and deciding if it worth it to go ahead and do what you want anyways. Not every mature, or any game needs to face important contemporary issues (or have them in there in the first place) and these games knows what sometime people just want a videogame to have fun by performing ridiculous over the top acts of violence that either, like the case of Mortal Kombat, physically could not perform or, like in GTA V, could not commit and still carry on with their normal non-felony life.


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

#522 Another Filler Non-post

Too busy to write a blog post…… spending too much time playing Mewtwo and re-rocking out to the Smash soundtrack

This has been an off week for me, but next week I will be back with proper content

This has been an off week for me, but next week I will be back with proper content. I promise


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

#521 Spring Break

Up here in New England this is the first day in a long time that I can confidently call a real Spring day. As a result I spent almost all of my free time today outside enjoying the wonderful break from the cold winter months,instead of indoors playing video games or working on a blog post. If you live in the New England area I suggest you do the same.

What's this? uploading a World of Warcraft screenshot to Be MOP? WHAT YEAR IS THIS!?

What’s this? uploading a World of Warcraft screenshot to Be MOP? WHAT YEAR IS THIS!?


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

#520 The Pickings from Wave 4 Amiibos

The newest wave of Amiibos are just around the corner, May 29th to be precise, and with that I have to evaluate which Amiibos are worth picking up.

I have done this with every Amiibos waves, from the first wave I was able to secure my Smash main plus a handful of others, I chose Princess Zelda from all of Wave 2, and I went on a bit of an adventures in the search for Mega Man and and the Golden Mario amiibo from Wave 3. Now with a month away I get to do the same thing this this batch,  this wave we have Wario, Charizard, Pac-man, Ness, Robin, and Lucina.

 I have to evaluate all the waves so I don't go out and buy all of them (there were so many times I picked up Sheik and Sonic for no other reasons besides just to have more amiibos)

I have to evaluate all the waves so I don’t go out and buy all of them (there were so many times I picked up Sheik and Sonic for no other reasons besides just to have more amiibos)

This time next month I am going to try my hardest to secure a Pac-man Amiibo for a variety of reasons: He is a video game veteran, I like his play style in Smash and he might be the first Amiibo after Star Fox that I will be leveling up to 50 in Smash. Before I watched the April Nintendo Direct the biggest purchasing point would have been that Pac-man, like Mega Man, would NEVER have any non-smash support from Nintendo. That was my plan until Nintendo casually mentioned  that both of these two 3rd party Smash champs will be getting their own Mii racing costumes with the next patch to Mario Kart 8.

I'm still not letting Mega Man out of his box until we get a Amiibo Supported Wii U or 3DS Mega Man game

I’m still not letting Mega Man out of his box until we get a Amiibo Supported Wii U or 3DS Mega Man game

Maybe my initial outlook on third party, and the less popular amiibos, being left out in the cold while Mario and his gang gets constant support for every future game might have been wrong. It could be quite possible that Nintendo does have a plan to bring non-smash support to every one of their amiibos, so far we have Fire Emblem support in Codename S.T.E.A.M and amiibo support for the other third party game, One Piece: Super Grand Battle X.

So there is some hope out there out there for constant across the board first and third party support for every amiibo on the market.

I don't count games like "Amiibo Touch & Play : Nintendo Classics Highlights" as a proper amiibo supported game, because just like the 'Masterpiece' feature in Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, it is only there to promote and sell other eshop games.

I don’t count games like “Amiibo Touch & Play : Nintendo Classics Highlights” as a proper amiibo supported game, because just like the ‘Masterpiece’ feature in Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, it is only there to promote and sell other eshop games.


I’m also on Twitter

Be MOP focuses on the world of videogames with my own reflections about the current news and developments that happens throughout the gaming industry. Updates Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized