More than just streaming…..

Well, I am just coming to the end of a two week break from work and looking back on what I have achieved, I am somewhat disappointed that I haven’t actually streamed more than what I usually do. You would have thought, without the time sink of work, I would be able to complete everything that needs to be engaged with in ‘normal’ life in the mornings and then stream for the majority of the afternoons and evenings. However, if you have been following my Twitch Channel, you will be aware that this has not been the case. Why? Well when it comes to streaming I always seem to have a lot more other things to do apart from the actual act of streaming…

Two weeks away from work seems to be a long time, but I must admit that it is only when we approach the last weekend that I actually feel that I am getting close to being caught up on things. My regular streaming schedule means that I am streaming at least five times a week, with the Thursday evening stream being the flexible game one (currently Guild Wars 2) and optional quick streams possibly happening after radio shows. So if I haven’t been at work and I haven’t been streaming what have I been doing with my time. Well believe it or not there is actually quite a lot which goes on in the background apart from the streaming. In order to give you some idea of what I get up to up I thought I would write this brief waffle, please remember, I’m not including work and or radio station work in this waffle – I do all that as well…

  • Adventures and Rules – Probably what takes up the majority of my time in between streaming is the role-playing aspect of my streams. As you will be aware I DM/GM two campaigns, a Shadowrun one and a Dungeons and Dragons, both 5th Edition. Since I am relatively new to the games there is a lot of rule reading required in order to become more familiar with the games. Coupled with this is the exploration of the rules which govern various situations which occurred within the gaming sessions. While streaming the games I try to make up what I consider to be suitable rules on the fly if I don’t know them, in order to keep the session flowing. Once the lights and cameras have been turned off, I need to locate the actual rules and see how to deal with the situation next time. As well as delving into the rules, new adventures need to be created. I’m going to be writing a waffle about how I go about these in the future, but for now consider that if I am not actually typing up the adventure or creating maps for new locations I am thinking about ideas and trying to develop effective plot lines. It is at this point that I know and realise that I should be doing the exploration of the rules with every game I am playing – I don’t currently do this, guess that’s why I always appear to be such a noob!
  • Intros, Overlays, Maps and Tokens – If there one thing I wish I had it was a creative bone in my body. I am one of these people who would love to be able to draw and create fantastic images and narratives but always end up failing shortly after starting. I completely disagree with anyone who says that everyone can draw. I agree that every one can draw but few can draw well. It’s like saying anyone can dance – well me in a tutu is not a good sight! Anyway, I digress, because I am streaming there are certain elements which need to be created and I need to sit down with the tools I own and try my best. As well as the Twitch Channel, I am also trying to develop my YouTube, so many of the streams are recorded. These need to be edited and then re-rendered and uploaded to YouTube. Using Premiere Pro I try my best to make these of view-able quality, creating thumbnails and titles in order to make them not only enjoyable to watch but also to entice people to the videos (also see the last section for more information about this). As my stream changes, overlays and intros also need to change and this means that whenever I can some significant period of time off work I need to sit down and start to recreate. This ‘holiday’ I have managed to redo the Dungeons and Dragons introduction and introduction to the stream videos, both using After Effects, and created some new overlays. I know, there are not the best around but I am a literally a one person band here and creativity is definitely not one of my strengths. However, I do try and after hours of work I usually have managed to adapt and reduce my expectations to come up with something which is remotely passable. Until I see another intro of one of the ‘big’ streamers – how do they do it!

  • Advertising and Involving – I am always keen to promote my stream and develop the associated community. I know that I am not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ and being old and grey, I am never likely to be able to reach the dizzy heights of partnership of even more than fifty viewers but, I always think that if you do nothing you will get nowhere. I always want to get to the end of life or my streaming career and say that I enjoyed it foremost and, secondly, did my best. I’m always looking for ways to improve and promote my stream and in order to do this I try hard to use a range of social media sites to promote it. I really like Discord for this, but I also continue to try and promote this site, especially the forums, as well as the Facebook Page. I am also looking more and more into Twitter, trying to develop some sort of automation in order to publicise my streams and website content. Shouting from a tiny corner of the internet however is not the best way to develop my content. I am a strong believer of it is not what you know but who you know. Because of this I also spend some of my time engaging in other people’s streams asking questions, answering forum and Reddit posts and trying to get to be known. This is often very difficult and there is a real dilemma for any small streamer. You know that if you can get noticed by one of the ‘big’ streamers of the game, you might get a few more viewers but, the chances of any of the ‘big’ streamers actually answering or engaging with you so very small. Supporting other streamers of my ‘size’ is often a better policy. I do, however, still watch and try to engage with other streams – even donating to them, so that they can get that same feeling that I got when I received my first ever donation. I guess it takes some time to be accepted or invited into a community and then even longer to achieve recognition for what you are doing. At my age I think this will take probably even longer but it doesn’t mean I am not going to try…

  • I do wonder whether streamers ever get to the stage of just logging on and streaming? I suppose, eventually they have other people who create their introductions for them, their overlays and even their adventures. I’ve seen streamers with nice chairs and exciting setups and I often wonder how long it took them to achieve such accolades. Perhaps they all still, like me, have to complete a lot of other ‘jobs’ in between streaming in order to continue to develop their communities. It was never my intention to write this waffle to show everyone all the work I do, more to assure you that I haven’t been sat around doing nothing for the past two weeks. I guess you could also consider it as an excuse why I haven’t been streaming 24/7 during this time. It might not be a good excuse, but I’m sticking to it….:)

    If you are a streamer, what do you get up to away from your streaming? Are you lucky to have someone to do your overlays and introductions for you or are you, like me, a one person band? As always, if you have any thoughts or comments on this post then please add them below or send them to me via any of the social media sites I frequent. You can keep up to date with my content by following me on Twitch, Twitter and Facebook. If you are interested in joining or playing Minecraft, then please check out my Minecraft webpage for details of joining the the server. Of course any subscribers to my YouTube channel are always appreciated.

    Have fun and I’ll catch you all later and, until then, consider yourself waffled!

    2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

    1. February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

    2. March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
      I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
      I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
      I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
      For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
      I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
      For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
      For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

      I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

      The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
      I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

      Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
      Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
      Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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