Monday, November 12, 2018

Improving Stream Content (Monday Musings 67)

Since streaming for a few months under FuzzyJCats, while learning how to improve, I never understood when people advise, "improve your stream content". What does stream content mean?

Especially, as you can see from my past stored broadcasts, I focus on talking to chat rather than gaming, and thought stream content was how to be more entertaining to your viewers. In which case, by improving stream content, I thought the advice meant that you need to be more entertaining, but again, that's a very vague notion.

For instance, what are the prescribed steps to being entertaining aside from having the requisite high energy and enthusiasm? Do you prepare topics to talk about, make up jokes before stream and the like?

Sifting through the advice to get more information, there's the very vague idea that stream content is just picking out the game you want to play. But, this is not quite the helpful advice I need, because of course, if you're going to stream games, you have to decide on which game you're going to stream!

Now that my goal is to truly enjoy the process of streaming (letting go of the notion of chasing viewer numbers), finally knowing AND feeling that deep down, I'm now focused on "gitting gud" with streaming, and of course being with my community.

I always love the challenges of improving myself as I find reaching goals very refreshing and satisfying. I think that's one of the reasons why video games are so addictive, because who doesn't want to rise to the challenge of fighting a seemingly impossible boss, staying up until 3 AM, until you beat him. And how satisfying that is when you do!

At any rate, with this new focus on one of the more important aspects of streaming ("gitting gud"), prior to my last broadcast, a light bulb went off, and I sort of got a sense of what stream content infers.

Stream content is not just thinking about what game you want to play, but how to present it in the most entertaining way. For one, we need to think about what parts of the game are the most intriguing, two what do you want to accomplish in the game, and three, how do you showcase that?

Interesting Game Content
Viewers most likely want to see the story and missions such as the cool boss fights, rather than the grinding aspects of the game such as inventory management, collecting resources, and watching me fight trash mobs hours and hours on end to level up.

Even though I love grinding, inventory management and the like, they may not be as exciting as fighting an epic Boss. An analogy is watching a football game. You want to rewind past the ads (organizing inventory) and watch the football action, preferably a touchdown (Boss fight). 

Sometimes, though, I think it does help to show the UI of the game, customization, as well as any really cool quality of life experiences the game offers, such as Odyssey allowing you to turn down the frequency of repetitive music (thank you Ubisoft!). 

What Do You Want To Accomplish?
Since I'm streaming Assassin's Creed Odyssey, there are so many things to do in this game, which was one of the astounding things about this game, so my main overarching goal is to show all these elements.

I want my viewers to see all the things this game offers, so they can get a good sense of the game. And, if they're on the fence of whether they should get the game, they can see if it's a game they'd like to play.

Therefore, I made a checklist of the pertinent gameplay elements, and my aim is to show at least one example of each. In other words, once the viewers get a sense of a bandit camp, there's no need to tackle bandit camps endlessly, and you can move onto one of many other things you can do in this game, such as puzzles.  

Spoilers of a general list that I want to present so far:



Other things that another streamer may want to achieve are challenge runs, such as no-death runs. Quite a few streamers have gotten extremely creative about these challenge runs, like this Dark Souls 3 banana run!



But for mere mortals like me, coming up with a run of the mill objective like showcasing the diversity of Odyssey is a good starting point!

Showcasing by Prepping Pre-Stream

Odyssey is such a long and rich game that I already have 200 hrs. However, I'm only streaming 1 to 2 times a week for about 1 to 2 hrs each stream so it will take well over a year to finish the game if I don't prune content!

Realizing that streamlining is crucial, I then see where I am in the game, and determine what I want to accomplish for that stream.

For the last broadcast, I wanted to get my money back from Marcos, so my title reflects that purpose:



I then do some prep work pre-steam, such as opening up the map. This means going to all the question marks on the map, which then pop up to show if they're camps, quests and other markers, so that we can easily go to these locations during stream.

By opening up the map before stream, the viewer doesn't have to see us running back and forth to all these locations. Further, not knowing what's there, we want to avoid going to the wrong location to save time, so we can focus on the story and quests.

Another consideration is that if I'm on my way to a boss fight, and I notice I'm under-leveled and we don't want to keep fighting this same boss 100 times over until success, I can always level up before stream. Therefore, when stream starts, we're at the boss fight, ready to go!

In other words, you can easily plunge into your objective, without having your viewers suffer through the trek to get there. 

In this specific example of Marcos, now prepped, I stream until we get our drachmae back from Marcos, and that took about 2 hrs or so. I was side-tracked due to all the missions in the game, but that's okay. At least, we have a general sense of what we want to do, and although we'll invariably be side tracked, this will also showcase the game.

The tricky part here is to come up with enough gaming that will span your entire stream. So if you're going to stream 4 hours, you may want to plan more of the interesting and complex missions to do, maybe planning on doing a few boss fights as part of your content.

This clearly assumes that you know the game already and know what it offers, and what the exciting quests are. But, even if you're streaming a game for the first-time, you can do some prep.

Looking back at my Borderlands 2 first-time walk-through experience, I know I have to be well-equipped to beat missions and chapters. Since I know that I'm a bit under-leveled, I recalled grinding a few areas before streaming to be able to tank through a story chapter or side mission.

While leveling up, I also got more resources along the way.  Therefore, after this prep work is over, we can head to side or story missions for the stream, making sure the character is right near the start of the objective.

Exhibit A: One Twitch Tag is Farming
Twitch has a relatively new Tag system that helps to describe your stream content, one of which is farming (see Exhibit A). But I think viewers would prefer to watch Dark Souls' notorious boss, Ornstein & Smough, rather than whacking Balder knights until you get the rare Balder Side Sword?

If you're doing one of those ridiculously hard challenge runs like a no-death run, then clearly, you need to show the whole thing to "prove" you didn't die. But if you're a streamer who doesn't do such challenge runs, prep work can help.

In conclusion, I think this is what is meant by stream content. You figure out what goals you want to meet during stream, doing any necessary prep work before stream (if you have time), and what's the most entertaining way to present the game to your viewers.

If you're a Twitch streamer, does this make sense? Any other stream content considerations we should be thinking about would be much appreciated!

The How of Happiness Review

Monthly Progress Report For My Twitch Channel FuzzyJCats, September 25 through October 24

FuzzyJCats Twitch Channel

During this period of time, I was burned out, but in denial, and pushed through streaming. After hearing about my friend's illness, I took time off to be with him and his family, and having this time off, it led me to rethink streaming.

During my first week off from streaming, I was so burned out that I made peace with quitting streaming entirely, and I was okay with it! However, after taking more time off, I forgot how much I loved streaming.

I remember when I first started streaming, I loved it so much to the point where I was counting down the hours to stream, but I didn't stream extra than my schedule because I didn't want to overdo it. I tend to get very obsessed with things, overdoing it until I burn out completely. So I actually held back from doing extra streaming during the first couple of months to avoid my tendency to crash and burn!

I also noticed that during the time I wasn't streaming, I wasn't exercising because I wasn't doing anything that mentally challenging. When I was streaming, I really forced myself to exercise.

Putting all of this together, I realize that I love streaming. I also find it healthy both physically and mentally to continue, as long as I don't take streaming seriously. In other words, don't worry about the viewer numbers!

Also, I started out too hard and too fast by streaming 4 days a week for 4 hours a stream. It makes more sense when you start a project that you've never done before, to take it one step at a time, slowly mastering each step until you take the next step.

So, it makes sense for me to scale back until I can easily do 1 hour per stream without strain, then add 30 minutes slowly. Perhaps streaming 1 day/week to start out with and increasing slowly. I think max 3 days/week.

Don't be upset if viewer numbers drop drastically as I'm no longer going to do the ridiculous networking.

Work on:
  • Return back to streaming slowly to avoid burn-out
  • One day a week to start, for 1 hour until that's really easy, then adding another day for 1 hour up to max 3 days/week
  • Stream longer than 1 hour if I really want to
  • Move schedule to mornings, better time for me
The How of Happiness Review

Monday, November 5, 2018

How To Increase Your Twitch Viewer Numbers Without Burnout (Monday Musings 66)

Avg viewership drop!
At one point, I was thinking of writing down steps that will guarantee increase in your Twitch viewer numbers, but the problem is these steps may lead to burnout.

Once you burnout and take time off from streaming, your viewer numbers will decrease, so following the "fastest" techniques of gaining viewership may in fact backfire.

Sadly, it seems to be true that if you take 1 to 2 weeks off to refresh in a sudden and unannounced manner, your numbers may drop when you return.

The other unfortunate news in focusing on viewership numbers is if a crisis happens and you have to take time off, your numbers will drop. The conclusion is not to worry about the numbers, but if you really want to grow without burning out, this post is for you!

In other words, we need to find ways to avoid the inevitable burn-out of streaming so that you necessarily do not need to take too much time off from streaming, as consistency in following a schedule is the best way to gain and increase viewership.

These steps may lead to very slow viewer number increase, but it's better than crashing and burning like what happened to me. Indeed, coming back after a few weeks of re-evaluating things, my viewership numbers dropped by a whopping 50%. Note how it says -9 from last stream, total of 9 (exhibit A)!

Enjoy The Game
The first step is to play a game that you truly enjoy and find fun to stream. I decided to stream Borderlands 2 as a challenge to myself as I never succeeded in FPS games, and my community loves this game (a lot of Dark Souls fans also love Borderlands 2). Also the game has perfect Twitch game statistics (see below for details).

However, Borderlands 2 was a struggle to play, leading to many deaths and cringe-worthy gaming, and I wasn't enjoying streaming the game. My streams call to mind the unjust stereotype of women being bad at games. Although I recognize it as a masterpiece, it was not fun to stream for me, because of the demanding nature, and definitely a game that's more fun to play off-stream, which I intend to do.

Therefore, if you're a new streamer, it's so hard to focus and concentrate, not to mention on a game you're not familiar with. In other words, chose 5 games that you're really good at and that you love playing to start out with, and that your community would enjoy watching.

If you're a seasoned streamer, ignore this step and play whatever game you want as long as it falls in the "correct" Twitch game statistics if you want to continue to gain viewer numbers.

Twitch Game Statistics

Next, go to Twitch and type in the title of your games in question. If it's Fortnite Battle Royale that you're thinking, you'll see that all the large streamers will be on the first 20 pages, and then we relatively small streamers will be buried in the 5 trillionth page. No one is going to scroll through all those pages, rather, they'll click on the top page of streamers. You want a game where you will be near the top of the list.

Now, if the game you want to stream is Duck Tales Remastered, you'll see that there's a total of 0 viewers, so no one's looking for this game, except if a well known streamer like Shroud is somehow playing the game then there might be 30,000 viewers plus. But they're just watching the game coincidentally because it's Shroud, and not the game for itself. That again is a bad choice.

However, if the game you love and know very well like the back of your hand is Borderlands 2, that's a superb choice because it has a good number of viewers who actively look for the game. If you go to Twitch, you'll see that the top 2 channels will have about 50 to 75 viewers, then the next few channels will be around 20 to 30, and then your channel will be in the first page. Therefore, viewers looking for the game might chose your channel.

If they like your stream, you'll most likely get a follower and possibly loyal viewer. That'll surely increase your views, albeit very slowly.

Facecam
If the viewers looking for Borderlands 2 are looking at channels and see you on Facecam, they'll more likely click on your channel then a channel without, all things being equal (obviously a streamer like Lirik who doesn't use Facecam will get almost all the viewers, but Lirik is the exception).

Schedule
I thought an afternoon schedule would be just as good for me and my viewers, b/c it's a good time for the UK/EU audience who'll watch after work. However, I'm more of a morning person, and prefer to get all my "chores" done so I can have the rest of the day off.

It may seems like a red flag when I call streaming a "chore" but the reality is, even though it's fun (as long as I don't worry about viewership numbers), streaming is work being so demanding. It takes so much effort to play the game well, and read and talk to chat, being entertaining.

Indeed, engaging your audience will keep and increase viewership numbers. You can't expect to play a game without discussion, unless you're one of the few absolutely incredible challenge runners, and even then, they talk to chat.

After moving to morning schedule, it worked better for me because I don't have to fret and worry until 1 PM EST (that was my past schedule) about streaming. I can get it over and done with and move on.

When you start out, feel free to experiment which schedule works the best for you which may take a couple of weeks or so, and then try to pin down the exact hour you want to stream and stick with that schedule if possible. Indeed, anytime you change hours, your viewers will drop, so it's okay to experiment with your schedule when you start out with streaming.

Certainly, once you really like your schedule and you feel comfortable with it, keep that schedule until something comes up such as new job and the like.

In your channel panel description, I would recommend adding the stream elements or streamlab schedule countdown.

Mention in a "Schedule" channel panel that you'll stream one hour for the day(s) you're interested, in case there are days when you don't feel like streaming the "ideal" 4 hours or more. The mistake I made was starting out 4 days/week at 4 hrs/day. However, even though you note you're streaming 1 hour, you can always stream longer than 1 hour.

Once you feel that streaming 1 hour is "easy" then you can advertise that you'll stream 1.5 or 2 hours and so forth.

The rationale is that you can always stream longer, but you can never stream shorter than what your viewers expect per your schedule.

The reason why you want a set hour is so your viewers will know when to tune in when you're streaming, much like television shows. Even TV has recording and your videos can be re-watched (on Twitch dashboard, channels, turn on store past broadcasts), but the issue is you need live viewers for them to count in the demanding Twitch world.

Time Off?
Once you notice that you have a few viewers (or more) who chat in your channel and are at your streams faithfully, I think you can take time off, maybe 1 week at most, and your viewers might not drop that much when you return, because your faithful viewers will return to see you.

"But it's only 1 week," you ask, but in the world of Twitch, taking a week off is like an eternity.

Make sure you announce in advance that you'll be taking off and you'll be fine when you return.

Taking time off is crucial in preventing burn-out and then quitting streaming entirely, so if you feel burned out the 2nd or 3rd month of streaming, make sure you announce a 1 week vacation to your chat constantly so they're aware.

Again, the fact that maximum of 1 week off may be considered even "too much" if you want to keep your viewers, demonstrates the ultra-competitive nature of Twitch streaming.

Conclusion:
  1. Find a game that is easy for you to play and that you absolutely love so your enthusiasm shines through in your streaming.
  2. Make sure this game will have your channel in the top of streamers streaming the game, with adequate number of viewers watching the game (type the game title in Twitch search bar).
  3. Facecam
  4. Set schedule that works for YOU.
  5. Time off when you notice you have a handful of faithful viewers, but if you start burning out before then, take time off, maximum maybe 1 week.
I'm hoping that these relatively painless steps will improve your viewership numbers but without the burn-out.

I can write about how to network to gain viewers, but I find it unhealthy so if I ever do, it'll be a huge caveat for that post.

However, the best advice I can give is to not worry about your viewership numbers, but rather enjoy the process of streaming, improving content, and being with your community, which is what I'm focusing on now and loving it!

Are you a streamer, and what other painless tips will help improve viewership numbers? Do you want to read about networking to increase your numbers in a future post?

The How of Happiness Review

Monday, October 29, 2018

Assassin's Creed Odyssey Made Me Fall In Love With Games Again! (Monday Musings 65)

I didn't post Monday Musings last week so apologies!

This post is intentionally vague to avoid as many spoilers as possible.

My friend so thoughtfully bought me AC Odyssey (the same friend who bought me Ys 8: Lacrimosa of Dana) and it brought me back from being burned out with gaming (due to the strenuous demands of gaining viewer numbers for streaming).

I know it's in fashion to make fun of Ubisoft games - just like Call of Duty series, even though every time I see people streaming CoD, the gameplay looks so precise and fluid, brilliantly so that I never understand the hate - but AC: Odyssey hits all of my gaming buttons!

First, you can chose your avatar's gender, and instead of having the tired silent hero who just stands there not reacting to anything, the hero actually has personality. I appreciate how you can chose to be either Alexios or Kassandra. It's always a good thing to have a choice.

But if you can only be a particular hero with no option for customization, that hero better be well-fleshed-out, as with Sora from Kingdom Hearts, as opposed to William from Nioh. Despite hundreds of hours playing Nioh, I can't find a molecule of personality in William; he has no personality. 

I chose to be Kassandra and found her personality compelling - she's a wonderful mix of having a good sense of humor, being blunt at times, other times exhibiting wisdom, and using cheesy pick-up lines that work.

The NPCs and side quests are also memorable and quite well-done. Although there are so many side missions, and quite a few are fetch quests, or sorties to go out and kill enemies, those are primarily to boost your experience, as some are timed missions (i.e. you have 24 hrs to a few days to complete). However, the primary side quests flesh out the world, story and characters very well and are rather complex and sometimes startling.

The side quests that stick out are the minotaur quests (that have ever branching out story lines) I also appreciate missions which delineate a cultist's personality and story in depth, which compels you to do these major side missions. Others have very colorful NPCs that I won't soon forget. I was actually surprised when killing one such enemy, to find out that she was a cultist in the end, when she was merely considered an elite warrior. Not to say that all cultists you kill have these long-drawn out characterization, but quite a few do, which is refreshing.

The story is compelling, and although it follows the save-the-world formula, there's political intrigue and deep lore, unlike the Monster Hunter series (which is one of my favorite franchises) where it's simply a matter of a monster threatens the village, and you go kill it. Further, you really want to kill these enemies since they're portrayed so well, as so disgusting you enjoy defeating them.

The cultists are disgusting, but they're not caricatures, they're very much like real people. I know it's not kosher to discuss politics, but one such cultist reminds me of our very own cabinet member who's justifying ripping immigrant children from their mothers.

Though I'm new to AC, haven't played one until Odyssey, it has a lot of lore explained rather well during gameplay, which I appreciate--I read online summaries of prior AC games, and Odyssey does a great job summarizing the mysteries in-game.

Throughout, both in the main campaign and side missions, there are many things to do so that you won't be bored. Once I get tired of killing legendary beasts, I tackle clearing out the Ubisoft-requisite bandit and soldier camps, solve puzzles (Ainigmata Ostraka tablets that give you a puzzle to find various items), hunt down cultists using clues, fight in the Arena, participate in battle skirmishes siding with either the Athenians or Spartans, and finally, leveling up my ship, weapons, armors, and abilities.


Although I tend to hate any combat related to water, I found the naval battles in Odyssey extremely fun, which adds another gameplay component to keep combat varied. It's ever so satisfying to ram into ships, shooting arrows and javelins, then initiate boarding to finish off the enemies!

Indeed, there's just so much to do, and with the quest markers off button, I'm always exploring and looking forward to what's around the next corner. Instead of groaning when new quests show up, I get excited to see a main side mission marker on map (it only shows when you're close to the area) because of the quality of the side missions. I do groan, however, whenever I see yet another timed mission, but I tend to ignore those unless I want the experience, money or resources.

Some of the main story quests involve investigations, figuring out puzzles by hunting down clues, so it's not just going from one track quest marker to the next. It's exciting to uncover the various Cult members, and unearthing the keys.

The over-world is absolutely gorgeous with varied terrains and verticality that encourage exploration. I love the caves and tombs, finding treasures and fighting enemies along the way. Although not the most complex level design, it was fun exploring, moving storage crates to open up to another area. 

I wondered why, despite the lack of diversity of enemies, the fighting in Odyssey never gets old, just as it doesn't in the Souls and Monster Hunter series. The combat appears to be a cross between Souls and Nioh but that in Odyssey might be even more addictive than Souls'.

Although the Souls series has such huge diversity of enemies, and even within the same Hollow enemy set, each Hollow has different attack patterns. However, if you level up so high, you can easily 1hko all these Hollows. Even though the squishy sound of killing Hollows never gets old, but clearly it no longer becomes challenging.

For one thing, I so appreciate how the enemies in Odyssey level up along with you, so despite being only half way through the game, I'm at level 41 (I believe the max level enemies is 50). Therefore, I'm never able to 1hko an enemy using melee, except when I use assassination abilities. 

Since I can't aim, I haven't been using ranged tactics, primarily relying on melee and fighting the enemies as you do in Souls and Nioh. Again, the melee falls between the two. The enemies are not so easy to kill (because of how the game levels up with you) as in Souls, but they don't take forever to kill as in Nioh, so it's the perfect balance between those two great franchises (Nioh 2 will be coming out).

It's so addictive to dodge, and if you time it right, it slows down time, during which you can close the distance and whack the enemy. There's also just as addictive a parrying mechanic that is as satisfying as that in Souls and Nioh.

The Warrior Ability I tend to use is the "Shield Breaker", which satisfyingly rips off shields, and the even more hysterical "Ring of Chaos" that damages and pushes all the enemies back, stunning them. What I love about both of those abilities is that they never 1hko, rather they give you breathing space to then land further attacks.

Even at the highest tier, 3, Ring of Chaos has never been able to kill whole groups of enemies, though the ability makes me laugh out loud when you see enemies flying a couple of meters away from you, landing on their backs.

Precisely because of these addictive combat mechanics, never being over-powered as in the Souls series, and having to dodge/parry attacks as well as using abilities in a well-placed, timed manner, the combat is always fun despite Odyssey having limited enemies (humans, bears, cats, dogs)

And I haven't even touched upon the ranged and assassination approaches, which add extra layers of combat mechanics, that I can see being just as addictive as the head-on melee approach. Since I'm midway through the game, I'm using a little bit more ranged and assassination, and they appear to be just as fun as my rushing in blind attacking everything with my beloved heavy blade weapon.

Since I unlocked the passive ability of Assassin, "Stealth Master", it allows you to more easily sneak up on enemies, and again, it never gets old backstabbing and 1hko unsuspecting enemies! I believe I was only successful in assassinating all enemies in maybe 2 or 3 camps without alerting them. If I do alert them, the cheese strat appears to run away from the camp and come back to continue your assault.

I can see players getting tired of clearing out bandit and soldier camps, but I actually look forward to doing so, to see if I can clear out entire camps through stealth. Key strat here is to make sure you trap the brazier alarm so they can't call reinforcements!

The sound effects also hit my gaming addiction spot. The crunch of footsteps, the whoosh sounds of successful parrying and dodging, the satisfying "pock pock" sound when your eagle, Ikaros, finds an important item, stealing/looting drachmae (the coin sounds are quite ESMR), and the like.

I enjoy the music but there's only a few musical themes throughout the game, so it gets repetitive very quickly. However, the solution is to listen to my own music while playing the game.

I agree with a lot of the reviews I read about Odyssey, that it's an RPG following in the steps of Witcher 3 because it has good story, characters and complex missions that flesh out the world and lore. 

My major gameplay complaint about Odyssey is that I can't figure out when we can or cannot crouch, or perhaps my character is in fact crouching, but I can't tell from the animation. Sneaking up to an enemy, I press crouch, but I'm only leaning a bit forward. But other times, the animation clearly shows a crouch position.

The other issue is dealing with what appears to be infinite amount of bounty hunters - there's a red meter showing how many are after you, up to 5. Your red meter increases when you steal or kill humans except for bandits. The problem is after killing 1 bounty hunter, another resurrects. Further, anytime you kill a mercenary that also increases your red meter further, and you're soon up to 2, of which these 2 also resurrect infinitely, rapidly going to 5 as you're committing murder.

The first time I was clearing out a camp, it was easy to get rid of the 1 bounty hunter, but as described above, due to the red meter mechanics, it quickly went to 5.

Fighting 5 mercenaries at the same time, including all the soldiers, was ridiculous. I think a better mechanic would be once you eliminate the 1 bounty hunter, he or she should not be replaced.

Since I wasn't very good at stealth killing enemies (this prevents the red meter from increasing), my strategy in clearing out soldier camps are the following. First, I would see what the objectives are in clearing the soldier camp. These objectives tend to be looting treasure chest(s), burning war supplies, and taking out the captain(s).

I trap the brazier alarm to prevent more enemies from arriving. Next, I run around the camp looting the treasure, burning the war supplies, which lead to all soldiers being aggro'd. I quickly got good at running away from them, stealing and looting along the way.

Finally, I run away from the camp, push the button for night-time, then target and kill only the captains, avoiding killing the other soldiers to prevent the red meter from increasing.

In terms of technical issues, the game crashed twice, and sometimes the screen freezes. However, that has significantly improved with the recent patch, so only a couple of times did the screen freeze, but at least the game resumes. The good news is that I've never lost progress since the game auto-saves.

The other major issue is the long loading screens (not as notoriously long as Bloodborne's pre-patch), so hopefully they'll patch that out.

I'm only mid-way through the game and already played 100 hours, but there's so many activities that I haven't even completed. It's definitely the type of game that has re-playability, as I'm definitely going to do NG+, getting all my abilities maxed out and of course getting all trophies and achievements.

In conclusion, for me, Odyssey does everything right such as character and world-building, a good story with interesting main and side quests with colorful NPCs, great combat mechanics (a lot of open-world games seem to struggle with combat), graphics, varied types of quests that include exploration and investigation, and most of all, it's fun. Indeed, I would say I love Odyssey as much as I do Monster Hunter: World.

For those reasons above, I consider Odyssey a masterpiece - it made me fall in love with gaming again. 

Have you played Odyssey, and if so what are your thoughts?

The How of Happiness Review

Monday, October 15, 2018

Re-Evaluating Life (Monday Musings 65)

I found out one of my best friends was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Before finding out, I was about to write a post about how to become "successful" with Twitch streaming, and what Twitch means by "success" is having as many viewers as possible.

I felt that particular post will be instructive and hopefully helpful to those who want to gain more viewers. I can't comment on Partnership since I haven't achieved it, but I have a sense of what anyone can do to increase viewership.

But, in reality, a legitimate metric of being successful on Twitch is if you're having fun and not being burned out, even if you have 0 viewers and 0 followers. If you have 1 or more viewers, and you're making that person happy, building a loving community, then you are a successful streamer.

I noticed being burned out maybe going into the 3rd month, but what kept me going is that I've been gaining viewers after each stream. It was an adrenaline rush to see the growing numbers, as well as very ego-boosting. I must admit that this ego-boosting was thrilling, but again, it gives you a false sense of pride, because in actuality, it really doesn't make anyone "better" just because you can get more viewers.

Your sense of pride really comes from being satisfied with life, such as having loving relationships, accomplishing real goals in your career, and in the example of streaming, enjoying your streams and, if you have at least 1 viewer, creating a loving community where people are kind to each other.

Indeed, it goes against every single spiritual and religious truth that you're a worse person than someone else because you have less concurrent viewers. Writing and reading this, if I don't see how ridiculous and laughable this is, then I haven't been living.

At any rate, having around 18 average concurrent viewers after a little less than 3 months of streaming may sound paltry, but in the world of Twitch, that's pretty good. My first broadcast was July 25, 2018.

So, even as I was burned out due to following a strict schedule of Sun, Mon, Wed, Fri from 1 to 5 PM, around the 2.5 month mark, I continued to stream despite being burned out, because I didn't want the numbers to drop, and I just plugged through.

The other reason that I continued with this schedule is because of the mental effort and demands of streaming, I had to be healthy to perform adequately. I was exercising regularly after 3 years of being sedentary, getting up as soon as the alarm clock rings, and eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grain (mostly steel-cut oatmeal).

But after I heard about my friend, my wanting "success" in getting Partnership is so irrelevant. Of course, I knew that intellectually, but not emotionally. I fooled myself into thinking that I didn't care about this artificial success, though clearly I did. Only now, with my friend suffering, do I know deep down how absolutely absurd I was in taking streaming this seriously.

I was doing as much as possible to have a "successful" (i.e. more viewers) channel, such as having a regular schedule, networking by meeting other streamers and communities, keeping in touch with your viewers through Discord. Even then, what I was doing was only the tip of the iceberg. I haven't even used Twitter effectively, or getting to know the game developer's communities (usually Developers have Reddit communities), since doing these steps would make people know about you, curious about your channel and watch you. 

When I do go back to streaming, it makes more sense to me to stream early in the mornings, being a morning person, rather than wait around until 1 PM, doing networking which is exhausting. I believe I chose 1 to 5 PM to target the UK/EU communities but again, the first rule is to stream when it's best for you.

In other words, morning times will force me to be efficient by getting out of bed as soon as the alarm clock rings, doing all my chores and exercises, and then jump right into streaming, instead of doing networking.

Cutting back to 1 to 3 times a week might be helpful, streaming fewer hours than 4 (maybe 2 hours at most) - again, it's best if you want Partnership to stream at least 3 times a week for at least 2 hours, but thankfully that's not my focus anymore.

Finally, I refuse to do any networking. It's just so refreshing to watch one stream at a time, and really enjoy the streamer's and the chat's company, rather than flipping through 8 streams at once!

Even though I only streamed less than 3 months, I do know what it takes to get more viewers, but it's very time-consuming and so exhausting. I will write a post about it, as there are so many people who want "success" in streaming in terms of growing viewership numbers, but as of now, it's not for me.

In conclusion, my friend's serious illness brought me to my senses that my relationships are more important than anything else.

The How of Happiness Review

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Waking Up Challenge (Monday Musings 64)

Sorry this post is way overdue! I found Twitch streaming, while extremely rewarding, very time-consuming, so I'll recommit to the Monday Musings weekly series in a more timely manner!

Throughout my entire life, I could never get up as soon as the alarm rings, often hitting the snooze buttons (I use 2 alarms in case the other one doesn't go off) over and over again. However, while streaming, I met psychgamerrr who, throughout his life, gets up at 5 AM, exercises then after doing chores, he'd do relaxing activities such as reading before he heads off to work.

That really resonated with me, so I was successful in forcing myself to get out of bed at 7 AM three days in a row, and strangely enough, I'm getting quite used to it even after all these decades of lying in bed well after the alarm clock goes off.

By getting up on time, it reaps a lot of benefits. For one, I make sure I'm bed on time b/c I really need at least 8 hours to function, and I notice that I am getting rather sleepy when it comes close to my bedtime. Whereas in the past, since I'd frequently sleep in, it didn't matter what time I'd fall asleep on days I don't work.

I also note that by the time I finish everything I need to do, it's 9 AM, or even earlier depending on how quickly I do things--admittedly, I move around slowly after getting up since I feel very sluggish, but it's so refreshing to have all that free time after 9 AM to do whatever I want!

I also feel a sense of accomplishment for getting these things done, so I can truly enjoy my free time. When I was doing fun things while procrastinating, I couldn't enjoy it having chores hanging over my head.

I hope to keep to this routine and will report on it from time to time.

I'm curious, if you have no problems getting up as soon as the alarm clock rings, what techniques have you used to get up on time?

The How of Happiness Review

Monday, October 1, 2018

Monthly Progress Report for my Twitch Channel FuzzyJCats, August 25 to September 24

FuzzyJCats Twitch Channel

I reevaluated why I'm streaming as I was wrestling with getting Partnership, and why I feel the need to over-achieve in the field of Twitch streaming. After evaluation, I've let go of the goals of Partnership, but to rather focus on improving myself as a streamer, not worrying about the results.

I've noticed there were quite a few times during the two months I've been streaming where I'd achieve the same high I'd get when I did very intensive exercise for 45 minutes straight when I was healthy. Interacting with my community in chat gave me rush of endorphins.

My community is so supportive, positive and fun towards myself and each other, going out of their way to help by solving problems, making us laugh and feel better.

They pushed me to stretch my gaming skills and broaden my gaming horizons. I'm even playing an FPS for the first time ever (and the first time ever being this successful).

They made me improve myself in achieving goals, not just in gaming but health goals. They've also supported and helped each other achieve Affiliation and other milestones.

Because of streaming and the necessities of networking, I'm so grateful, overwhelmingly so, for meeting so many wonderful people who come from all walks of life, all of whom I wouldn't have met otherwise when I was a gamer and Twitch viewer.

I will continue my preparation for my stream. This is a must if I want to continue to improve my content because my community deserves it.

Indeed, for the next month, it's vital to keep in mind how much my community means to me, to enjoy streaming and to not worry about Partnership and plummeting views. This attitude will be my focus.

Progress made:
  • Coming to terms that I don't need Partnership, and working through my ego issues to be at peace with the decision (this hasn't been wholly resolved yet though but getting better)
    • Rather, I'm here to enjoy being with my awesome community and improving, which makes me happy
  • Smotpoker887 became my mod
  • Thanks to SpaceDandyTTV, I installed Live Now Bot to my Discord server which automates announcements to #stream_share channel whenever a member streams
  • Installing StreamElements leadership board extension to my channel description
  • Installing StreamLabs schedule countdown extension to my channel description
  • Learned how to timeout (had 1 homophobic user but didn't know how to delete comments at that time)
Improvements to be made (aside from focusing on chat primary, and gameplay at same time):
  • Continue to support members to gain Affiliation and Partner, but in healthy, sane ways 
  • Continue to be at peace with not feeling like I'm "inadequate" if I don't get Partnership but rather enjoy the process of Streaming.
  • Being able to timeout/ban LIVE in a TIMELY manner!
  • Not moving around as much as sometimes I was actually off camera
  • Listen to and summarize Stream Key Podcasts to improve content
  • Improve game skills by practicing the game off-stream
  • Continue to be consistent with prepping for stream (exercising, preparing topics)
  • Continue to be enthusiastic
  • Work on considering the pros and cons of a tip jar
  • Maintaining work/stream/life balance
The How of Happiness Review

Improving Stream Content (Monday Musings 67)

Since streaming for a few months under FuzzyJCats , while learning how to improve, I never understood when people advise, "improve y...