Tag Archives: pc gamers

#532 Waiting for my PC

If you have tuned into any of my past streams you might have noticed I have made comments on the graphical status of my gameplay feed. That is because I am currently playing on a very reliable, but still showing her age, four-year old ASUS gaming laptop.

The fact that I play on an outdated computer shows with every stream session I when I keep pushing my CPU to it’s limit for most of the my time on air and as a result my framerate was hitting 20 fps on a good day despite having almost every game played on my Twitch channel had to be cranked down to their lowest possible setting.

For the past year I have manage to able to manage with those limitations to still give a quality stream but I knew the writing was on the wall for this laptop of mine. At the start of the new year I realized that if I wanted to continue streaming I would need a bit of an upgrade, so for the past five months I have been saving up and squirreling away a nice chunk of change to eventually cash out for a custom-built PC tower for my very own.

I was biding my time, waiting for the right time to buy, which was about another month and a half but everything completely changed when this past Sunday, a sudden bout of summer temperatures that graced New Hampshire forced my computer to shut down from overheating, not once, twice, but three times. Twice when I was on Twitch and once more when I was playing a ranked A.R.T.S/MOBA. That was the final straw.

I cleaned out my fan or a bit but if my laptop was having trouble keeping up in the middle of spring, my laptop can not survive a scorcher summer. I have consulted with my younger, more tech savvy brother, for gaming computer build that fits my budget and has everything it needs to play my games at a respectable frame rate on top of meeting all of my streaming needs. If everything goes according to plan both of us will be gathering all the parts at the nearest Micro center and putting everything together on a lazy, but glorious, Sunday afternoon.

It is a statement to say that I am excited for this upcoming Sunday because on top of drastically improving the quality of my Twitch Session I will finally be able to play all the past few year’s AAA games that I have bought during the Steam’s Summer and Winter Sales at 1060p with a stable 60fps that these great games deserved to be play at.

RULES OF NATURE!

RULES OF NATURE!


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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

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#528 Twitch Trilogy: Personality

Welcome back to the final installment of the week of Twitch blog posts. Monday we talked about hardware, Wednesday we looked at software, and now we get to talk about the most subjective part of streaming; finding, creating and cultivating a personality for your stream broadcasts. The first thing you want to ask yourself is, “What type of streamer do you want to be, and CAN be?”

I break down almost all streamers into two major categories. The Hardcore, pushing the end game/meta to the cutting edge, the MVP for ever match, or the eSport champion streamer and the more casual, laid back, social streamer.

You can choose either one, there is a crowd and demand for both type of streams but you have to realize there are costs AND whichever one you choose to be you have to walk the walk to back up the talk.

I can not help you with being a good hardcore streamer. I realized early on that I could never be on the cutting edge of endgames so I elected for the social school of streaming, that was realizing my limit of free time to invest in the meta, practicing and realizing I could not be competitive enough ranked matches.

Start out by mainly playing one game, gets yourself cred and settled within a games community, after that you can branch out with other games that you and your viewers might find interesting. I had a short stream session at the very beginning  on Wednesday called “Wildcard Wednesdays” where I would stream a game I wanted to stream or that I found interesting to stream, indie games, TF2, and games kicking around in my backlog. I soon noticed that when I switched from game to game for every stream had significantly less viewers and participation than my regular Infinite Crisis nights.

No matter who you are or what type of streamer you want to be you have to find something to make you unique. I have seen some people adopt alter egos, other speed run classic games, some streamers have giveaways on stream, and a few who cosplay while streaming. I, from the start, have made good use of my positive personality, my corny jokers and extensive comic book lore to make myself out as a sunny, charismatic, and wholesome comic book geek who stream to talk about nerdy stuff, which worked really well with the game I have been streaming since day one, Infinite Crisis.

I also view my stream sessions as shows rather than live feeds of my gameplay and I draw inspiration for my on air personality from listening to how Political Speakers and Radio DJs talk and interact with their crowds.

When you start streaming you need to realize that people will be tuning in to watch you stream and if you want them to stay you need to provide a way to entertain them. That means not fumbling around with your broadcasts and doing your part to avoid extensive periods of Dead Air.

To help you with this, learn how to monologue. Go to YouTube and listen to public speakers and actors, see how they hold themselves and pay attention to how they talk to a big crowd, especially with politicians when taking questions from an audience. And always stream like the world is watching, never do a half-hearted stream just because only 2 or 3 people are there, instead cherish those few people who choose to spend their free time with you.

That being said it is normal and natural to completely botch your first few streams. When I was starting out my stream was a nervous mess and very early on I went into my setting and disabling the “record past broadcast” button, taking comfort in knowing that even if my stream session was terrible nobody would be able to find it after the stream ended.

If you get past your embarrassment and push yourself to keep streaming and keep talking, even if nobody is there, you will build confidence and you will develop a voice that warrants viewership. If you are still having problems set some time aside before streaming to make a short list of talking points and topics to mention and monologue on air. I did it when I was starting out and still do it now, it stops you from trying to scramble on air for interesting topics to talk about.

Outside of streaming be sure to deck out your channel’s panel area below, make sure it has a F.A.Q and links to all of to contact you, and make it professional looking. Also brush up on you knowledge of framing with your camera. Make sure you have a clean background, find the best position and distance to sit from the webcam and learn where your camera box ends so if you, like me, use your hands when you talk your hands do not fly out of frame.

Another solid tip I can give to all up-and-coming streamers is to have a great intro and outro for every stream session. For me, at the start I greet everyone with a “Good Morning everyone! My name is Spencer Nozell, this is Be MOP streams, and today we are playing ”

At the end of my stream I go full screen with the webcam, so it is just me at center stage to thank everyone for tuning into today and then transitioning into my ending monologue that covers; the suggestion to hit that follow button as a way to see me again, how to friend me on all the gaming platforms I am on, and plugging all of my social media links, followed by a hearty ‘Good Night’. At the beginning of my time streaming, I would also do a little comic/video game show and tell as a special thank you to the people who stayed until the end. I did that streaming segment until I ran out of stuff to show

This next tip is a big one from me, is use your chatroom on your stream. This works great with your second monitor that I suggested earlier this week, no matter what game you are playing people will eventually swing by your stream and chat room and when that happens be sure to be on the proactive and engage with them the moment you detect them, by saying hello and asking how their day has been, and thanking everyone who press the follow button (I always have my phone or my mailbox inbox at hand to see Twitch’s automated ‘New Follower” email come in real-time).

People tend to stay longer and follow you if you have a genuine conversation with them. Talking to your chat room will also make it easier to stream, by having a conversation it leads into topics and discussing you just could not reach just by yourself.

My greatest tip is do not imitate someone who is already important, instead draw inspiration and wing it and see what sticks and what doesn’t. What works for me might not work for you and your game’s Twitch community, but regardless of the community be transparent, especially if you do a one time company sponsored promotional stream or joining a partnership program. Be sure to disclose those fact from the start. It is alright to make connections with gaming companies, it is NOT alright to withhold the fact  and not disclose that information when streaming or when you give your opinions or review of the game. Trust me when I say you do not want to get caught up with conflict of interests accusations, those sort of things can destroy the year and years of faith and trust you built with a community.

For reference THIS was the YouTube video that help me understand Twitch and helped me to develop in the streamer I am now and he might be able to better better communicate some of the points I made here today

But with that I hope this mini-series worked and good luck with your own streaming adventures.


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

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#527 Twitch Trilogy: Software

Welcome back to the second part of the week long Twitch blog post series. Last time I talked about the bare minimum hardware that you will need to stream well, now we get to look at the other side of the computer coin and talk about the software needed to streaming.

The first and most important software you need is a game you want to stream. There are a ton of games out there that you could play and there are games that are ideal and some that are not ideal. From what I have seen and streamed a rule of thumb for games to stream, you want a game with high replayability and very little important voice dialogue and cut-scenes.

There is a reason why ARTS/MOBA games like League of Legends, Dota 2, & (my main streaming game) Infinite Crisis and FPS games like C.O.D, HALO, and Battlefield are preferred games to play on Twitch. All of those games have a next to no story lines, high amounts of action, and a nice amount of consistency that allows any viewer to tune in even during of a middle of a match.

Games like TellTale’s works and the Final Fantasy series with heavy story campaigns with no new game plus are not ideal for streamers starting out looking for a game to constantly play on air. Those games are great the stream once you have a viewer base and want to do a one-off gaming mini-series.

When I was preparing to start my own twitch page, I had a short list of games that I wanted to stream that fit into those parameter and in another life I could have been celebrating my one year twitch anniversary as a League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm, Heroes of Newerth or Binding of Isaac streamer.

I will mention this in Friday’s post about the social side of streaming but you will need to find a game and play that game near exclusively until you attract a following, and you will eventually. Then you can branch out into other games, that is why it is important to find a game that you actually enjoy and feel comfortable playing, but never feel like you are locked into one game forever.

The second most important bit of software you will need is a streaming program. Twitch has a recommends a few on their site, I personally use Open Broadcasting Software (OBS). For first time streamers that choose OBS I recommend THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO. If you choose another streaming program I am positive that you will be able to find an online tutorial on how to navigate through the broadcasting and resolution settings.

Before you start streaming on your official debut stream, make sure you know the ins and outs of your preferred broadcasting program. That means fiddling around with your resolution, the layout, where to put your webcam and everything else and making sure you can connect to the Twitch servers. Mock my words, there will be times when you are live and something malfunctions and it will be up to you to fix the problem, ideally without interrupting and turning off the stream.

And pro tip: listen to past broadcasts to check if your gameplay and voice sound levels are balanced, for the longest time my game volume was drowning out my voice on air.

One last thing, because I this streaming tip won’t fit into anywhere else in the three categories: Make a solid streaming schedule that has Days the Hours you start streaming and stick to it. People like consistency and it helps the people tuning to know when they can catch you on air again.


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

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#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

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#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


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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

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#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.


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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

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#504 Gone PAXin’

If you are reading this, it means that I am currently in Boston enjoying my first day at PAX East.

If you are interested in following me and my adventures navigating through the expo hall and my thoughts on all the panels, people and parties IN REAL TIME you can follow me on my Twitter page @Snozell. You can bet your bottom dollar that I will be tweeting about anything and everything in between.

Street passes and proper Boston style pizza, here I COME

Street passes and proper Boston style pizza, here I COME

 And be sure to check back here this Monday for my thoughts on the new games I saw and the event on a whole


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

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