My Twitch Community Asks: Why don’t you use a facecam while you stream?

The simple answer is I just like wearing ugly PJs while I play video games.

The complicated answer is a little more in depth than that.

Views: Having a large audience is crucial to a streamer’s success. Just to even be considered to become a partner of Twitch, you need to have a audience in the triple digits range (without assistance from being hosted) and you need to have a full time schedule of streaming 3-4 times a week with those steady numbers.  Another alternative is having a YouTube channel with more than 100K subscribers.

Depending on the game and what day I stream, my viewership can range from 10-25 people in the audience. My largest spike was about 66 while I was playing Dark Souls 3 for the first time. I will never forget that boss fight, nor will I forget the exchanges that happened in chat. I digress.  I will write more about that later. For a small time streamer, those numbers aren’t bad at all. I like testing the waters to see which games garner larger audiences and which ones bring in new viewers vs. regulars.

And I fully believe that using a facecam will help boost these numbers. More on that later.

The community: I acknowledge that I am by no means a big time streamer. And I also acknowledge that there are a crapton of streamers out there that no one else knows either. I like finding those people, and if I enjoy their streams, I try to support them as well. I also study and observe a variety of streamers who use a facecam and who do not use a facecam. I try to learn what works for them and what doesn’t. I make notes starting from the title of the stream being used to how they interact with chat to whether or not a facecam is even beneficial for them. Of course, some streamers don’t need any help at all when it comes to marketing themselves because they’ve already made such a name for their brand(s), they can just hit “broadcast” and they get a large audience. But for the smaller names, I pay extra attention to both their successes and their downfalls.

One note that is repeatedly jotted down is that female streamers will definitely benefit more by using a facecam.

How I stream: I think two of the reasons why people enjoy my stream are because I interact with the chat and I am a bit of a theatrical personality. I will occasionally acknowledge the chat at the expense of the progress I’ve made in a game. It makes for funny moments, and I would rather have those than ignore the people who ask questions or want to have conversations. I also get scared and enraged easily. Horror games are the worst for me and the best for my viewers.

When I first started streaming regularly on Twitch, I immediately decided on no facecam. It added a level of stress and paranoia that I did not want to deal with, especially since I wanted to learn about the culture of streaming first. It takes a lot of energy to focus on the game, focus on the chat, AND be entertaining for the chat. Worrying about a facecam was just a different level of multi-tasking I did not want to tackle out of the gate.

In case a reader may not understand this concept, everything I write and will write is my opinion only and my opinion is based off of what I have experienced and/or learned from what other streamers have experienced.

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way…

These are the reasons why I don’t currently use a face cam:

  1. I’m not great at make up
  2. I hate having to worry about what to wear
  3. I hate having to make sure that camera angles are “just right” and “the most flattering”
  4. I do not want to deal with comments about what I look like
  5. I do not want to be compared to other streamers as far as physical appearance
  6. Honestly, it’s pretty funny when people ask me if I’m a boy or a girl. I call those people Professor Oak. The feature image makes sense now, doesn’t it?

These may seem like very trivial things, but let me break this down for you. Female streamers already get a bad rep because a lot of people seem to focus on the negativity of “cam girls”. There is already a stigma attached to female streamers regardless of the type of streamer they really are. The type of streamers people complain about are the women who wear the lowest cut shirts showing off their best and biggest physical assets, stream gameplay that is previously recorded and focus on everything else besides streaming a video game.  That is what I and many other female streamers are compared to off the bat.

In my Dark Souls 3 stream, the one where I had about 66 viewers in the chat, one viewer started off with “you mean there’s a girl gamer out there that isn’t a whore? Awesome.” That’s not a compliment. And it was even worse when he started bringing all that negative stuff of the aforementioned type of streamer into the chat even after mods asked him to tone it down. The whole debate of cam girls existing is something that is currently plaguing the community, and the fact that I stream, means that I am now automatically part of that regardless of my intention to be or not be involved with it..

Do I care about cam girls? Nope. It’s not my thing. They do what they do, and I’m going to do what I do. If people don’t like them, then my advice is to not support them. There are tons of streamers out there. People don’t have to harass each other or bully each other to make a statement. Rather than tearing people down, just use that energy to support and encourage streamers you do like.

Do I care about being compared to them? In a way, yes. Again, I’m just here to play video games and talk to people. If people avoid my channel because they assume that I am a certain type of streamer and they bolt, that’s not really the type of audience I want anyway. I want people who like what I do and genuinely enjoy my streams. If people like my stream, I’m very happy they give me a follow. If they donate to my stream, again that’s something makes me happy. Everything else beyond that is stuff I don’t care to delve into.

What does make up and clothing have to do with anything? Thanks to societal standards, a woman isn’t allowed to just be herself and in her most natural state. Most people would rather pay attention to a woman when she’s completely dolled up and dressed in the most flattering attire possible. Sure, there’s a time and place for everything, but demanding that she must be in her most perfect form for every second of the day in order for her to gain any amount of positive attention? Fuck that. Not everyone thinks this way, but enough people do where it’s an issue that should be addressed.

Can I wear make up? Yes. Do I enjoy it? Sometimes. I want to “look nice” for ME. I don’t want the reason for me looking nice to be making other people happy. I can’t tell you how many times people have commented on my appearance over the years. But I can tell you that not all of those comments were made to uplift my spirits. Some were made with the direct intention of crushing me into the ground. With the veil of anonymity on the internet, it’s that much easier for people to be cruel and mean to others. I’m a stronger person now than I was years ago, but I prefer not to deal with extra layers of stress when I just want to focus on video games. Being called an ugly bitch because I don’t wear red lipstick or wear brand name clothing isn’t grounds for a healthy conversation. Luckily, these are conversations I can now control and if I don’t want to have them, I don’t need to anymore.

Will you ever consider using a facecam? Yes. I’m actually thinking of doing a stream with a facecam when I hit 1000 followers on Twitch. Since being cam-less is the norm for  me, I figure I would do something out of the ordinary when I hit a milestone. I would also consider using a facecam when I have special guests on the stream as well. I’m not 100% against the use of a facecam. I just know that right now, I am trying to figure out who I am as a streamer, and I’m discovering what works for me and what doesn’t. I don’t want to use a facecam because it’s labeled as a requirement. Like makeup, I want to do it for me and when I feel comfortable with it. It is entirely possible that I will use a facecam on a full time basis in the future. If that happens, it will be on my terms, no one else’s.

That being said, there are many streamers out there who I enjoy watching. Doesn’t matter if the streamer is a man or a woman and it doesn’t matter to me if they use a facecam or not. If they are entertaining to me, I follow them. I know what I like and I do what I can to support them and their channels. I encourage you to do the same. Find something you like? Support it. Find something you don’t like? Walk away from it.  That’s what community building is all about, is it not?

To the GFR Guild: thanks for being here. I am a lucky lady to have such a very awesome community. ❤

Shameless plugs!

https://twitch.tv/geekyfriedrice

https://youtube.com/geekyfriedrice

 

Real Talk: Supporting People Doesn’t Always Mean You Have To Open Your Wallet

“Hey, I’m doing a thing!”

“Sorry… I don’t have the money to help you out right now.”

I’ve heard this conversation happen several times since I started paying attention to ways on how to market myself and what I want to represent. I, and many other friends, are journeying down the path of creating things for people’s enjoyment. Specifically with us, the focus is streaming and video production. I tend to pay extra attention to people who use and love Twitch and create content for YouTube and Vine. I also dive into those communities and immerse myself in those cultures to better understand how I fit into them.

Overall, it’s inspiring. And any time I need a creativity boost, I look to my peers. It’s amazing how much encouragement you can receive even if you don’t know someone personally. Their hard work, your understanding of what’s put into these projects not only fuel the desire to make more things, but you want to raise your personal goals and do better every time you release something out into the world.

Another boost in confidence is watching your audience, your community, grow. I’m going to be completely honest here. Numbers matter. Increases and decreases in numbers help creators determine if what they are doing is engaging, entertaining, and tells them if what they are doing is right or if they need to head into another direction.

I have many friends who support what I do, both in moral and monetary (Patreon) support. I am more than humbled that people who enjoy my content would actually donate their own money to help me along my adventures. I will always be grateful for them. Always. I know that many others are not in a position to do so, but that’s okay! I get support from them too. Here is a small breakdown of where my community stands on various social media platforms:

Twitter: 2,353 followers

YouTube: 608 Subscribers

Twitch: 675 followers

Vine: 389 followers / 356,979 loops

Now compared to big names, those numbers are SO SMALL. But, this is my community and it’s growing. And trust me, I’m not going to slow down any time soon. Now this next part of my blog will have some shameless plugs because this post in general is to show people how they can still support their favorite creators even if they aren’t able to support with donations.

Each of these platforms offer some level of engagement from the audience. YouTubers don’t say things like “if you enjoyed this video, give it a like and sub” just to hear their own voices. Views, likes, follows, retweets, any way to show a positive reaction and/or share a creator’s work are all things a supporter can do without diving into their finances. These things may be simple but they are absolutely necessary to a creator’s success. They almost act as guides and milestones to me. Whenever I make something, I get so happy when I see someone like a post or write a positive comment on it. I feel good about what I did, and it encourages me to do more and better.

And I do what I can to pass along news of projects that friends are currently involved in. I’m in the same boat as many others. I may not be able to afford supporting every single one of my friends; however, I can tell others about what they do and whenever they create something, I do my best to read or watch what they post and I give it a like or a share.

“Jackie, here’s five dollars. That stream was awesome.”

“Hilarious video. Thanks for the smile!”

“You’re entertaining. Followed.”

All of these things make my heart so happy. And each of them are important to me because these are coming from people who I affect in some way, and they in turn are bringing good things into my life. That’s more than what I ever thought possible. For those who are currently a part of the GeekyFriedRice Guild, thank you so much. For those just joining in, welcome and high fives all around!

TL;DR If you like what someone is creating. Share their stuff. Like their stuff. Subscribe to their stuff. Follow their stuff. You may not think it’s worth much, but it’s the world to that creator.

Shameless plugs! You can catch me here!

https://YouTube.com/geekyfriedrice

https://twitch.tv/geekyfriedrice

Twitter.com/geekyfriedrice

https://facebook.com/geekyfriedriceguild

https://patreon.com/geekyfriedrice

Not so shameless plugs! Here are some of my favorite creators. Please give them a like and a follow as well!

Lozelda – Streamer & YouTuber

https://twitch.tv/RT_lozelda

https://youtube.com/rt_lozelda

Mary McDowell – Streamer

https://twitch.tv/sailortweek

Naomi Chicoine – Arts & Crafts Queen

twitter.com/NaomiChicoine

Audrey Heffers – Author

https://www.inkshares.com/books/devils-in-the-valley

Shanna Germain – Author & Game Dev

http://www.shannagermain.com/

Raf Naps – Streamer & Graphic Designer

twitter.com/raf_naps

https://www.twitch.tv/shimmysham_gaming

 

 

 

It’s August 2016 and I finally Played The Last of Us

Just going to say this early on that this post will contain major spoilers for the game.

You good?

Okay. Onward.

Overall thoughts: I would recommend the game to others. Aside from narrative, how much I was entertained by a game is a huge factor in whether or not I enjoy it. I will also say that the entertainment spiked in the beginning and then didn’t quite resurface until the last third of the game for me. However, there is A LOT that this game offers and I fully acknowledge it.

Favorite things: Soundtrack, environment, character development, writing, and voice acting.

Not so favorite things: Mechanics, story.. did I mention mechanics?

I do realize that I have an unpopular opinion here when I say that story wasn’t  my favorite thing. And let me differentiate between writing and story. The dialogue was superb. I loved the characters and how their paths were executed. But the story as a whole didn’t grasp me. I will explain that later.

I believe there are quite a few things that have affected my experience of the game.

The hype. As much as I try to stay away from hype (as opposed to strong recommendations), I do believe the constant telling of “OMFG THIS IS THE BEST GAME EVER. IT’S MY FAVORITE. YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE IT” killed some of the hype I would have experienced with it. I try to keep my expectations to a reasonable standard, but once I announced my desire to play the game, my expectations of it inevitably grew. I wanted my feelings to mirror those of who played the game previously. More than a few people have told me that they wish they could wipe the game from their memory just so they could experience it again. That’s quite a compliment. Unfortunately, after completion, it ended up being that I did not share the sentiment.

Streaming. Entertaining an audience while trying to focus on a game exhausts a lot of energy. I think I did a pretty good job of equally distributing my energy between the two, so I can’t fully say if this contributed to me not being completely connected to the game. I know how I feel once I bond to a game regardless if I am streaming or not, and I did not quite feel that with TLoU though I really wanted to.

Predictability. Aside from David being revealed to be creepy AF (seriously, eff that guy), the story was highly predictable. It wasn’t hard to determine what would happen to who ie…Tess and Henry, and it was pretty easy to figure out how the game would end. Admittedly, I was about 80% right. For fun, I will write out how the ending played out in my head. I came up with the scenario after I played the Winter chapter. And hands down, Winter was the best part of the entire game aside from the DLC.

However, as I said before, I separate writing from overall story. I very much enjoyed the characters. They were done so well, even David. Each of them served a purpose, each of them were different and held their own. I don’t believe there was a weak character in the story. Certainly, some were held longer in the spotlight than others, but I didn’t feel that any of them were filler or fluff. I didn’t have to question why they existed. Even a damn deer played an important role.

The game itself was damn beautiful. That paired with its amazing effing soundtrack was such a lovely experience for those particular senses. I couldn’t get over the details of the world. Everything about the environment was 10/10 would stare at again. The parts that were beautiful were mesmerizing and the parts that were meant to scare you were pretty terrifying. Seriously, hats off to the teams who were involved with all of the above. My eyeballs and earholes thank you.

What did take me completely away from the game many times was the mechanics. I. Loathed. The. Mechanics. Most of my rage spewed out of me whenever an NPC was being anything but stealthy or when I had to make sure that I had my firearm selected because I couldn’t remember exactly what I had currently equipped in my invisible arsenal. Seriously, the gun would be holstered after about five seconds of inactivity. Anything you would have equipped (bow, firearm, smoke bomb) would be “put away” after inactivity, however, when it came down to the second you needed your firearm, that trigger function would bring up whatever item you selected last. You ever try to shoot a Clicker with a mine? It’s not very effective.

I’m horrible at stealth games, always have been. I was genuinely scared that a lot of the gameplay in TLoU relied on stealth, but I did my best. It was incredibly difficult for me to gauge how far away I had to be from infected so they wouldn’t be able to detect me. It was near impossible for me to effectively use bottles and bricks because everywhere I threw them, they were apparently just outside of an enemy’s “awareness range” or what have you. And if I was successfully sneaking around, an NPC would just fire a round off and alert the whole damn city where we were. That last one enraged me to no end. If a game wants to add stealth, then either give a player NPCs that are also stealthy or give the player the option to make an NPC aggressive or pull back entirely. I cannot tell you how many times Ellie or Bill or whoever got me killed or made my experience a living hell because they were too trigger happy.

The ending. Just FYI, this is my blog, so I’m writing entirely in my own opinion. I was fine with the ending up until Joel lied. Now there’s a lot to process here. Is Joel a bad man? Yes and no. He acted as I think most loving parents would. I did say multiple times that I believe Joel would say “phuq mankind” in the end and he did. I did not anticipate him doing the same to Ellie. What I mean by that is by lying to her, he effectively damaged or even destroyed his relationship with her. All that time building that bond, putting up with all the BS that the world had to throw at them and he lies to her. She’s not stupid. She already has her suspicions and I don’t think she bought his “yeah, I was telling the truth” either.

Is Joel a good man? Yes and no. He’s an average guy who was placed in very traumatic situations. He has protected people he’s cared for, but it’s no secret that he’s done some shady shit in his past. He has never been completely selfless, so it wasn’t a surprise for me when he took Ellie from the Fireflies. But I was not expecting him to be so selfish as to lie to her. I think it was part a) he knew Marlene was right and that Ellie would sacrifice herself b) he didn’t want to lose a second daughter  and c) he would rather Ellie hate him while she was alive.

I don’t think he realizes that her hating him for what he did will be, in a way, worse than if she were dead. Should she figure out that he lied, she could do everything she can to leave him and go back to the Fireflies. The world had taken everyone she ever loved from her. And now the one person she loves betrays her; she wouldn’t be able to trust again and could set her down an escalated tragic hero path. Speculation, but the lying just threw me. It struck me as instead of the Fireflies killing her, he did, but metaphorically.

I could write a lot more, but this post is long enough as it is. Bottom line is that the good things about the game were great and the bad things about the game made me miserable. I recognize why so many people have such high praise for TLoU, and while I wouldn’t say that the game is a top 3 favorite, there is no doubt that it’s a good game overall, and again, I would recommend it to friends.

If you care to read more, this was my end game prediction I concocted in my head after I played Winter. I’m more than likely going to write this as a fanfiction. Don’t judge. Fanfiction is awesome.

Joel and Ellie would make it to the Fireflies. Of course, they have every intent on creating a cure; however, they find that the process to make this vaccine would ultimately end up killing Ellie. And it wouldn’t be a humane death. She would suffer. Joel wasn’t going to have any of that. So he thinks “phuq mankind” and tries to bust him and Ellie out of there. He fails. Ellie ends up mid-process in whatever round of testing they run on her, it goes wrong and she’s in so much pain ,there is no way to reverse it or help her. Joel is placed in a very emotional position. He makes the decision to kill her. The last scene is Ellie’s grave next to Sarah’s and he’s singing to them.

Pokemon Go Life Advice: Featuring Meowth

I think this will become a series and will feature various Pokemon as I catch them. I can’t help it. When I see potential for a story, I just go for it. I want to support and encourage as many people as I can. Hopefully, these little comic stories will help out in some way (while also being entertaining).

Less than three you all!

*Edited in an app called Bubblee.

 

 

Day 5. Four + Years in the Making

Haven’t seen Day 5 yet? I encourage you to do so. The series is such a huge milestone for RT as a whole because of its larger scope and the core nature of Day 5 is something RT has never produced in the past. If you’ve been a part of the community for the last few years, you know the ups and downs of the news that surrounded Day 5. If you attended RTX 2012, you may have been part of the what is now dubbed the “Joel episode” aka Episode 4 as an extra.

Back then, I didn’t know much about Day 5 at all. I was a regular weekend attendee for RTX and RT was asking for hundreds of extras to walk a street they had blocked off for a scene. Direction was simple. Walk and talk like normal, and when the signal was given, fall to the ground and don’t move until instructed. I think we did that about 5-6 times. We had to be “on set” around 6AM, I think. Probably earlier. Ben (y’all remember Ben!?) was directing our portion of the street. I couldn’t even hear what he was saying despite the fact he was using a megaphone to coordinate people, but all we needed to know was when he shouted, we were to hit the ground. It was amazing. Everyone was ON POINT. It was a simple task, but seeing and hearing hundreds of people “faint” at the same exact time was something I will never forget.

I even got to faint next to this cutie!

And I got so dirty. This was after the second fall, I believe.

We were asked to wear non-branded clothing, and I remember wearing a light blue, sleeveless, shirt. There was a baby chick on the front and it was wearing glasses. Caption read “Nerdy Chicks Rule”. Silly, I know.

But after that, I enjoyed RTX just like everyone else. I lost touch with Day 5 happenings after that. I think we all did. It seemed like it would never happen, so it was shelved for the time being. It was a little upsetting because I knew RT wanted to do something with it, but it was just not in the cards at the time.

Now, years later, we find out that Day 5 has life again! So exciting. Of course, we still didn’t know much about it, but who cared! Day 5 was coming and we were excited to see what could be done with it. Then Lazer team hit the big screen. I remember sitting in the audience, watching all the RT previews of new content. And then we saw DAY 5 flash across the screen. We cheered. And then we saw that it was meant to be a series. And people lost their damn minds. That was so cool to hear.

The finale of Day 5 will make its debut this weekend. If you’ve been meaning to check out the 6 episode series, I cannot recommend it enough. It’s a bold move by RT and it is a welcome and refreshing one. Yes, we are used to seeing and hearing adult jokes, humor and “cartoon” violence, but Day 5’s platform brings realism to a whole new level. Everything about it is solid: the acting, the writing, the direction. Just give episode 1 a look and you will know exactly what I mean. I’m so happy I got to see this come to fruition.

Josh Flanagan and Chris Demarais have done a magnificent job with this series, and I cannot wait to see the finale. Special shoutout to Aaron Marquis for making it rain recently. Matt and Burnie should give you all raises 😉

But seriously, Josh, Chris… incredibly happy and proud of you both. Now give me season 2. Kthxbai. ❤

Watching Your Community Grow is Like Witnessing a Seed Bloom Into a Garden of Awesome

I will be the first to admit that I am not always the most patient person. But I will also acknowledge that this is solely dependent on what I am waiting for. If I was waiting for someone in a store to check out and they had 50 coupons and was paying via personal check, I would just stand back and wait. However, if I were playing a video game like The Last of Us, I lose all forms of patience while waiting for a Clicker to walk by my hiding spot.

But here I am on July 26, 2016, looking over numbers and stats, comments and responses on various social media platforms that I manage on my own. I have moments where I think to myself “holy crap… I interact with people A LOT.” I remember back when I was a kid, I was very shy. I didn’t play with other kids; I just kept to myself in my own corner. My dad said he would feel bad whenever he would pick me up from school because I was always alone. I was considered a strange bird by many. I remember learning about shapes. The teacher asked us to makes squares, and I made circles. I got made fun of for it. A lot of that awkward carried over into my teenage and young adult years. I always felt out of place wherever I was. I could get along with people just fine, but I never felt like most people really understood me. There were a few, but they either moved away, physically or emotionally.

In the last couple years, I really started focusing on me. I didn’t have a solid plan, but I found the beginnings of a path that was interesting to me, and I blindly went down it. My love for video games never waned, so I learned more about the industry, the people, the products, and I found that I loved video games even more. A former co-worked connected me to Randy Greenback and he was my first look into the welcoming culture of game development. He may not know it, but the few conversations we had changed my life for the better. By the way, he’s currently working on the new Friday the 13th game. You should totally check it out.

With Randy’s helpful and wise words backing me, I delved into the world of networking. I was more active on Twitter, I eventually created the blog that is currently housing the very post you are reading, and I focused on the elements of community and bringing people together. I’ve met and e-met so many different people, good and bad, it’s quite mind blowing to me. I’ve had amazing experiences and not so great ones, but I couldn’t find a better fit for my personality.

Fast forward to now. I have a small following on the internet and it’s a fascinating mix of acquaintances, friends, family, and completely strangers. While the numbers aren’t huge compared to the bigger names on these platforms, I find solace in knowing that this is MY community. I don’t have one focus either. I update Twitter primarily, but I am active on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, this blog, Vine, and a few others. I try to create an environment where there is something for everyone. That’s why I made the GeekyFriedRice Guild. Doesn’t matter if you love just anime or video games or cosplay or movies or if you love it all… you have a place here. Nerdy? Geeky? Great. You’ll fit right in! I enjoy conversing with people of different backgrounds because it helps shape and grow my own perspective of the world.

I didn’t think I would be here. I didn’t think I would be attending or volunteering for conventions and building relationships and friendships. I didn’t think that people would actually care about me or the things I love doing. I didn’t think people would come up to me and say “you don’t know me but I wanted to say hi and thank you for what you’re doing.” I didn’t think I would ever be that type of influence for people, but it’s happening, and I recognize that, and it makes me want to do better. And this isn’t all on me either. You guys help me a great deal as well. This is a two-way street here. I hope you all know how much I appreciate you.

I just recently identified my community as the GeekyFriedRice Guild. I’m not sure exactly what the future holds for it, but it warms my heart that you are here. For real. I’m being super cereal. Thank you for being my community. Less than three you!

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