May 17, 2019

Streaming Stuff

I have been streaming while doing art or playing video games for a couple of years now. Usually, I wouldn’t have very many viewers. In fact, most of the time I had no viewers at all. But I kept going, and my mindset was that you never know when things might pick up.

Primarily, I would stream on the Picarto platform, which is focused more on artists, and only once in awhile would I stream on the popular gaming site Twitch. I didn’t stream on a regular basis or have a set schedule, just whenever the opportunity arose. Typically, when I was able to stream, it was late at night. I didn’t really have a lot of viewers, and in fact, most of the time I had no viewers at all.

This past summer, I bought an Elgato HD 60 S, which is a device that plugs into your computer and allows you to use any HDMI input, typically a game console, as a video source in your streaming software. I wanted to do this for one reason specifically: To stream while playing Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate on Nintendo Switch. It’s a game with a strong cooperative element. Playing it while streaming has been a lot of fun, and I’ve streamed the game almost every week ever since, hunting alongside people watching the broadcast and chatting about strategies and whatever else pops up.

I started streaming more often after gaining some traction, and even without a set schedule I made a point of streaming a few days a week. I would do art streams on Twitch a lot more frequently, as Twitch has become a lot more open and usable to a variety of different stream topics, including art. I’ve got friends who were streaming art on Twitch, and so I was encouraged to do the same. Sometimes I’d stream art, or games, or both, and a few times I did streams focused on collecting where I opened up new figures and chatted about how I got each one, the history of the character, and stuff like that. My current set up has me broadcasting to both Twitch and Picarto at the same time. Twitch definitely has more traffic than Picarto, but for now it’s important to maintain both.

When I started streaming, I had no major goals. I’ve heard the same stories as everyone else, about superstar video game players, like the other famous Ninja, that make big bank on their streams by playing popular games. Good for them, but that’s not what I was ever interested in. I was just just giving it a try with the hopes of friends dropping by, maybe building an audience, and seeing what else might happen.

Well, something did happen. My average numbers got to the point where, in March of this year, I was awarded with affiliate status on Twitch, which gives my channel custom emojis, subscribers, and other stuff. It’s a pretty big step, and reaching means that I should be taking things a little bit more seriously. With that in mind, I’m trying to stream more frequently and plan things in advance. I also set up my own Discord server set up to help build and grow a community, keep viewers on top of what it going on, and give them a chance to contribute ideas. I still have a lot of work to do, with adding my own custom graphics and so forth, but I just making it to affiliate by this point was something I didn’t even think would be in the cards.

I suppose my experience in streaming is different than others because I got into it mostly on my own, without having seen a lot of other streamers. Much of this is new to me, and I often don’t really know what I’m doing. Most of the art streamers I watch are people who I know and have met in person, and I hadn’t ever really watched any game streamers. It sometimes occurs to me that I ought watch more, to see what everyone else is doing, but it’s hard to be both a creator and a consumer of content.

So, while it is more work, and it takes time from doing other things I could be doing, and people don’t always watch, why do I stream? I suppose that when there are things that I’d probably be doing anyway, why not stream while doing it in case people want to watch? Whether it’s games or art or something else, it’s more fun with people to interact with. And when there is a good crew of viewers on board, a stream can be an incredibly fulfilling experience. When the stream goes well, I feel immensely satisfied and energized to keep doing new things.

And there are lot of things that I would like to do! I want to stream old video games, new video games, games I know and games I’ve never played. I’d stream more digital art and traditional art and experiment with new kinds of art. I’m giving serious thought to streaming while making a comic so I can share the entire process. I’d even stream while playing with Lego if people would watch! Now that I think about it, I suppose that all of this would be my goal now as a streamer. I would want to have enough clout in the world so that I could do whatever I wanted on a stream and people would join in and watch with the confidence that it’ll entertaining because it’s me. That’s not really the way the Internet works, though. People want to watch specific things so they go out and find it. I’d have to earn that trust over time, and the only way do that is to keep streaming.

You can typically keep up with when I go live with my streams by following my Twitter, my Tumblr, and probably other places too.

I end my streams by telling whoever is watching to “keep following your ninja way“. I’m doing my best to live my own advice.