From carnival games, to arcade machines, to escape rooms, interactive amusement attractions continue to evolve. Activate Games in Canada and the US combines elements of virtual and physical play to create an experience unlike anything else I’ve experienced to-date.
A fundamental challenge with game streaming is that you have to find a way to split your attention between the game you’re playing and the audience you’re entertaining. Being able to manage these disparate tasks is a challenge, but it’s a skill that one can develop with practice.
Introducing friends into the mix divides your attention even further. In the heat of the moment, it’s incredibly easy to forget about your audience as you banter with your friends. While there’s a certain level of communication required for teams to coordinate with one another, a stream where the dialogue only consists of teammates calling out sniper positions or yelling for healing doesn’t make for a great viewing experience.
Even between matches, don’t assume the banter between you and your friends is inherently engaging from a viewer’s perspective. By focusing solely on your group chat, viewers can feel like voyeurs in your gaming session rather than welcome members of the experience. When viewers feel like they’re creeping on you, they’re more likely to leave.
Here are some things you can do to make your squad streams better from a viewer’s perspective!
One of my favourite non-gaming corners of Twitch to visit is the music section. From musicians showcasing their talents, to producers talking shop about the creative process, to DJ sets that give me something to listen to for extended sessions, there’s a lot of entertainment to be had here.
I also think there’s a lot that we as game streamers can learn from music streamers, even if we don’t have a musical bone in our bodies.
At a certain point in my streaming journey, I made a very important distinction for myself:
Playing video games and streaming are two separate activities.
Making this adjustment has helped me manage managing my mental health while also putting myself in a better position to work towards my streaming goals. Here’s how I differentiate between the two and how I benefit.
Video game dodgeball has existed since the 80s with the likes of Super Dodge Ball. As a whole though, dodgeball is an underutilized concept. Maybe other game designers didn’t want to step on the toes of the Kunio-Kun universe. Maybe they just didn’t have any ideas to expand on the core concept of hitting people in the face with balls.
Enter Knockout City. Taking cues from team deathmatch shooters, Metroid Prime, and…fighting games(?)…this might be the most ambitious dodgeball game yet.
If you can dodge bullets, you can dodge a ball?
No, there aren’t any actual balls to duck in the Dodge Ball mode found in Rogue Company. But that doesn’t stop this side mode from currently being the best reason to play this free-to-play shooter.
Underneath the veneer of fantastical dodgeball, Knockout City is a team deathmatch shooter. Players roam around an enclosed space, hitting each other with projectiles to score points.
In practice, Knockout City feels very different from a traditional shooter. Not because you’re hurling dodgeballs instead of firing bullets. Its unique feel is derived from the absence of a core tenet of shooter design: aiming.
What makes for a good streaming overlay? With streaming as a medium still in its infancy, the answer is rapidly-evolving and highly-subjective. Once upon a time, overlays weren’t a thing. Then we moved into a phase where streamers filled the screen with design elements and widgets. These days, the new wave is a larger camera view within your gameplay scene so that viewers get a better view of the streamer.
Furthermore, overlays aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. As one example, I greatly prefer the look of streams that put the camera overtop of full-width gameplay. However, that particular presentation style doesn’t work for speed-runners who display their time splits on the side or for retro games that are presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio.
Based on my experiences of watching Twitch and tinkering with my own overlay, here are aspects of overlay design that I like. There are links to every streamer I reference in case you’re interested in checking them out. I’m by no means an expert on overlay design. Just using this post to share design elements that I appreciate!
Earlier this year, YouTube launched its Shorts video format. YouTube Shorts are vertically-oriented videos with a browsing mechanism similar to TikTok. Even in this early stage, a number of creators have greatly expanded their reach through this new format.
With YouTube being a priority for me, I decided to start making videos within the Shorts format. I was already making clips for Twitter and Instagram, so making YouTube Shorts was simply a matter of reformatting them for a vertical screen.
As it turns out, that YouTube Shorts vertical format is also same as TikTok. Though I’ve been reluctant to support more platforms with my content, I figured that if I’m going to make vertically-oriented clips for YouTube anyway, why not also post them on TikTok for greater reach with little extra effort?
Thus far, not much has come out of YouTube Shorts. TikTok though…
Your voice is your most valuable asset as a streamer. No one else in the world sounds exactly like you. No one else has your exact perspective on the world. No one else can share your specific insight on a game or subject. The more you use your voice, the more you will stand out amongst the masses, even if you’re playing the same games as everyone else.
In spite of this power that we all wield, countless streamers under-utilize their voice. They sit silently for minutes at a time, even when some are streaming with the best microphone audio can buy. Considering how first impressions are usually made in seven seconds or less, viewers may be leaving in droves because your silence gives viewers the sense that you’re just another streamer playing a video game with nothing else to offer.
Coming up with stuff to talk about for hours on end is difficult, especially if you’re not the talkative type. Thankfully, there’s a convenient source of material to draw from right in front of your face: the game you’re playing. By narrating and commenting on you’re in-game actions, thought process, and reactions, you’ll almost always have something of value to say. Here are some tips for narrating and commentating like a pro!