I'm actually out with some friends right now. I didn't know if I'd be back in time to write a full length blog post but I didn't want to leave it blank. So instead here is a video that I put together after realizing that I don't lead an active enough life to own a go pro. Buyer's remorse? 100%
I gotta be honest. After last week's blog I've been struggling on where I wanted to go this week. There seems to be a trend that I'm only ever really writing when I'm super stressed or worried, otherwise it just becomes a laundry list of what I'm doing at TheTapStream. So, I figured fuck it. Have the video of me being attacked by a duck. I've talked about it enough on stream before why not show it?
Are you done laughing? No? I'll wait.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, last week's blog was a bit on the stressed side. However, despite the fact that I asked you not to, people still reached out for which I thank you. Doubt is fear that's made it's mind up. Everyone of you that commented, messaged, or tweeted me helped realise that there is very little to fear. Except I guess following orders. I'm kidding. Seriously Trey, you've got to learn to accept compliments.
God of War dropped this week and I think that might be the highlight of my week. I'm a newcomer to the series but there seems to be enough distance between it and its predecessors that I don't feel lost. This newest entry is showing maturity and pensiveness of which I never saw in the originals. Again, never played them, but from an outside perspective there always seemed to be this caricature of blood, sex, and violence that was continuously on display. However, this latest entry is tackling themes of loss, and unhealthy emotional coping. Gameplay wise it's an absolute delight. There's heft behind every attack, and the ability to throw your axe and summon it back to you at any time is so incredibly satisfying. I couldn't help but scream, "I'm THOR," the first time I used it and the imagery has stayed in my head since. I'm still on this side of the halfway point but God of War is already shaping up to be one of my favorite games of 2018, a spot previously held by Celeste. Now to figure out how I'm going to juggle finishing Kingdom Hearts and God of War this week. monkaS. (For the non twitch people that's an emote. It's a thing. Don't ask.)
Another pretty big highlight of the week is that my podcast, Nobody Knows What We're Doing is now on iTunes, Pocket Casts, Anchor, and Overcast. I've been wanting to do a podcast since 2008 and the fact that I'm in a position to do so is exciting. The latest episode features an interview with a designer from the Aroma.io app team and it was so fun to get to sit down with them. Speaking candidly? I was ready to let the podcast die. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, not good promoting skills on my part right? I had done the two episodes with Skini Mini and Carelessrex and I enjoyed them, but there was doubt that I would be able to continue it in a consistent fashion. (There's that doubt again.) But like most of my endeavors these days, I was inspired by the ProfessorBroman podcast to keep trying. He said perfectionism is the enemy of good. We get so fixated on trying to make things so perfect that we rarely finish the things we set out to do. There's this emotional pressure that we let build up on this idea that things have to be perfect or its not worth releasing. And as we agonize over minute details we lose the spark that set this creativity in motion in the first place. I was so dead set on trying to find a way to make Nobody Knows What We're Doing a weekly podcast until I realized, fuck it. I'm striving for monthly, and if I hit it, I hit it. But in time I'll get better. I'll find ways to optimize the time it takes record, edit, and publish one. I'll get better. Seeing my podcast up on iTunes and Pocket Casts, and soon Spotify and Stitcher was the spark I needed to continue. Vanity has its uses I suppose.
I start Keto tomorrow. I don't have much to say other than dieting has always been hard for me and my track record with diets is worse than my track record of Sharknado movie nights with the community. However, I've been on the plus side of weight gain these last few months and I'm not ready to let the hard work of last year go to waste. I got down to 250, I'm back up to 269. I want to hit 200 by the end of the year so Keto it is. Plus, if I can get in shape and hit my ideal weight I'm buying a Captain America costume. A good one. So, there's my motivation. Hold me to it.
PS This time next week I will have seen Infinity War and BOY. BOYYYY.
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon, fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud".
It finally happened, I finally missed a blog post entry last week. Faced with the choice of getting sleep and staying up to write another post I ended up going with more sleep. For those who don't know, I'm in the lawn service business and that means that this time of year is my busiest time of year. Energy levels have been on the lower end of things, which really hasn't helped my 'Be Everywhere,' motto, but I'm working on better time management. I've already made the decision to end streams and hour earlier than usual until I can catch up with more sleep. Tonight doesn't count though.
Introductions aside, I actually had a really productive day today. Finished up and packaged the Tap Shirts for the Charity stream incentives and will have those out tomorrow, which only leaves the Alien Isolation videos to make. I've been getting confirmation from others that the postcards I sent earlier this week have finally made their way to some people so that's a sense of relief too. I once told a friend that everyone I know and care about is within driving distance so I never really had to mail out stuff before. A lot has changed since being introduced to streaming and it's been so nice being able to send stuff to people.
I feel like my streams have been all over the place lately with unexpected schedule changes and unhealthy fixations on beating games that are just within reach of my skill level (glares of CupHead). I don't think I've addressed it fully in the blog, but CarelessRex and I have made the decision to permanently move our Multi-Monday streams to Mixer. The co-streaming feature over there allows us to have our videos side by side and synced so that people don't have to rely on third party websites to do it for them. Our viewer count and chat is combined as well so there's no longer too much juggling between us and we can manage it all in one spot. Mixer seriously is the best place to do multi-streaming. Back on the Twitch side of things I've still been chipping away at Kingdom Hearts. We're actually really close to the end of the game and I'm fairly certain I'll be able to wrap it up by Wednesday. Which leaves us perfectly ready to tackle the new God of War on Friday. For the record, the God of War stream will be held on Twitch. Fridays have been reserved for our Mixer streams as of late but due to the inconsistencies of my schedule I'm still trying to service the Twitch side of things for the time being. Mixed signals much? Maybe. I wish I had more time.
If I were to pin down the highlight of my week I honestly think it would be the Matt and Kim concert I went to on Friday. I've seen them before and the easily became one of my all time favorite live acts, and this last experience only further cemented that fact. The energy that they bring to their live shows is unbelievable, and their ability to cover and sample rap songs in between their songs is masterful. I went with four of my cousins, one of which is FrankieFastHandz from the stream. I saw him let loose in a way I've never seen him before, and as he emerged from the mosh pit wide eyed and with an exclamation of, "THAT WAS AMAZING," I knew that this weekend was special. I think this makes three years in a row that I've been to a live show with my cousins? I want to keep that trend up. Oh, by the way I totally embedded a song by TwinKids called Jigoku Tengoku. They were the opening act for Matt and Kim and I honestly can not stop listening to this song. I highly recommend it.
Still wondering why the blog post started with the definition of Imposter Syndrome? It's something I wanted to be open about in this post, but I felt important to lessen the blow by waiting to talk about it until the end. I think the thing that's hard about this is that the initial reaction to people going through this is to assure them that the opposite is true. I promise I'm not fishing for that. My goal for 2018 has simply been to be everywhere. In doing so I'm finding myself surrounded by more and more creative people and it's one of the most rewarding feelings. The thing that fuels me creatively is being in the presence of other creative people and being able to champion their passions of creativity. However, there looms this mental darkness that keeps chipping away at the confidence that I belong. Stop it, I'm not fishing. Honestly, the best way to describe this comes from Toy Story 3. You know how the movie opens up with the action being matter of fact only to be abruptly revealed as the imagination of Andy? There's this disconnect between Andy's imagination and reality and when it cuts to the real world, it's a hard cut. That's the fear. That's the imposter syndrome. How much is the work I'm doing here Andy's imagination, and how much is being boxed up and shipped off to daycare? Still not fishing, stop it. I know it's not true, you here reading it is living proof that it's not true. The people that take time out of their day to engage with the things I'm making is proof. The friendships I have made is proof. But, that's what makes imposter syndrome a bitch. It only worsens the more I add to my work flow. Another avenue for doubt to come strolling through. I've done my best to downplay it these last few weeks for reasons stated above but I feel comfortable being more open about it here. The people reading this blog are the most entrenched in the shenanigans going on here so I'm trusting that I'm painting an adequate enough picture to recognize that I'm okay. In fact, I'm hoping that it's enough reassurance for others who may be feeling the same to be like, "yeah okay, me too." I think 'never going to be enough," is just a weight that a lot creative people carry. It works the muscle that pushes people to constantly keep improving, to constantly keep changing, to constantly be working. However, sometimes that muscle is sore as fuck. I guess right now I'm just really sore. It'll pass, but I'm sore.
On February 6th I received a discord message from LaceyaFinley detailing a project to raise money for Child's Play. She invited me to guest stream along with the other talented members of EPIC Streamers and I said yes. The next several weeks went into preparing for this weekend, and the fruits of their labors were on full display. EPIC Streamers set a goal of raising $4,000 dollars and they have doubled it as I'm writing this. You ask me what the highlight of my week was? Watching our communities come together for such an amazing cause.
The charity marathon started this past Friday and by the end of the day, they had already hit half their goal. Stream after stream, I popped in and watched as generous people from all over donated and hyped up the cause. Streamers kept the event going with so many amazing incentives. Singing, dancing, drawing, exercising, eating, storytelling, the list goes on. Admins and moderators handled chat and giveaways while also keeping the chat lively. The weekend was a blast. My personal stream slot was at 11:00 PM CDT March 31st and I gotta be honest, I was a nervous wreck. I was pacing up and down the house only stopping to bend over because I had never done something like this before. I was going through test after test to make sure everything I had set up was ready. Self-doubt was starting to creep in. I don't write this to fish for anything, but to emphasize how much it means to me to see my corner of the Internet come together and rally along with me.
Within moments of going live, I was reassured of the incredible group of people I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by. Video games are what united us and the fact that we can take our passion for what was once seen as a childish act and turn it into a force for good? I'm humbled. Perpetually humbled. So thank you. Thank you Laceya for inviting me on. Thank You Epic Streamers for the organization, talent, and hard work you put towards this. And thank you to my community. Almost 24 hours later and I'm still processing this. Sometimes I'm still confused on how it happened, but I am fortunate to have met every one of you. You continually brighten my day and I am a better person because of you.
Today was a pretty busy Sunday and despite the fact that I got up at a reasonable hour I'm still getting a late start on this. Maybe by now that's just the norm. There is no late start. This is just protocol. There wasn't a lot of time for reflection today so instead, I'm going to be talking about something that I'm still pretty hyped about. Sea of Thieves.
I don't know if I consider Sea of Thieves a good game. I streamed the game for seven hours on Saturday, had a ton of laughs, brought in an admirable amount of concurrent viewers, and a plethora of clips, but I don't know if I would recommend the game to someone. In fact, the question, "is it worth it," was brought up a lot but every time I was faced with giving the same conflicted answer of, "I don't know." The gameplay loop is short. Get a treasure map, sail to the island, find treasure, and bring it back without getting harmed by the environment or other human players. The first few go-arounds are fun but it's something that should get stale pretty quickly, especially if you're playing solo. The islands are all pretty similar, the enemies seem to be limited to snakes and skeletons of slightly different varieties, and as far as I can tell the only real use for treasure is to buy more items to dress up your character. Bear in mind though, I am me after all, so there is a pretty high chance that I'm doing something wrong. However, if that's not the case then I feel like I've seen just about all this game has to offer in a relatively short time. So why am I still so hyped about this game? Because the game finds its strength in facilitating ways for the players to tell stories, something that is incredibly invaluable as a streamer.
The very first time I loaded up this game I spent thirty minutes terrorizing other players with an accordion. That's it. I didn't even mean to play for that long but I was instantly hooked in watching what the other live player would do if I just constantly followed them around while the same sea jingle belted from my player. At first, it was fun and games as they would respond with the proper emotes of dancing or clapping, but eventually as they grew annoyed they tried to outrun me. Their escape sent them straight into the ocean where they thought they would finally find safe haven from my antics, but no. The game didn't care for realism, I continued playing my accordion underwater and I couldn't stop laughing. When I actually streamed the game I found myself befriending wild chickens and giving them different names and 'jobs,' while I continued on with my pirate business. Sometimes that business involves finding ways to distract other players while trying to turn in your buried treasure and then having that go horribly wrong.
Sometimes it's as simple as just sailing out on the open sea and enjoying the scenery while having good conversations with chat only to be quickly alerted to the pressing need of patching up a boat that's taking on water in the middle of nowhere. Other times it involves spending a good amount of time securing a bunch of treasure only to return to your ship and find out that it's been captured by enemy players who are ready to ambush. Success brings moments of elation and celebration where failure leaves you stranded on a new island trying to decide how to get yourself out of that predicament with whatever loot you may still possess. Either way, you're in control of the narrative. Sea of Thieves has found this sweet spot of being just enough of a blank slate where the streamer gets to take center stage, while still offering up enough things to keep things from being too stale. You're ability to tell stories and flex your improv muscles shines in a way that many games don't allow. My main concern is how much mileage can you squeeze out of a game that's already feeling kind of thin? I definitely don't have the answer, but I'm willing to give this game more time to find its groove. After all it's only been one stream on my end so far. There'll definitely be more to follow. If you got Sea of Thieves stories of your own though feel free to share. I can't be the only one getting into this much mayhem!
p.s. My schedules are about to get a lot more lax so hopefully we'll get back to less excuses and more words. We'll see
One of these days I'll start this at a reasonable hour, but that day isn't today. I feel bad that the last three blogs have been sort of rapid fire off the cuff entries with no real structure to them but it happens. The reason I'm getting a late start on this is because I spent two hours working on a video and right as I finished Premiere decided to crash and not keep any of the work I made. The wind has been sucked from my sails, but I'm gonna limp into station with this blog post. Oh yeah, there's no embed spotify song this week because apparently it was messing with the site? Who knows, I'm not an html wizard but I know enough to know not to test the fences in the same spot. Suck it Muldoon.
Okay, big takeaways this week? I finished A Link to the Past. That game was equal parts fun and frustrating. There were quite a few times where I thought I wasn't going to finish it but luckily I was able to lean on chat in some of the more difficult parts of the game. Zeldas are always fun for the stream and I'm glad that I'm spacing them out. It really helps ease the time in between Breath of the Wild and whatever sequel to Breath of the Wild we get. The next Zelda game I'll tackle will be Twilight Princess but for now we're moving on to Momodora. There was a small reprieve in the video game cycle but we're starting to get to the point where bigger hits are starting to surface. We've got God of War at the end of next month and I've got to find time to position myself for that. I've never played a God of War game so I'm not entirely sure if I want to do a series run leading up to it. The only series run I've ever done was Uncharted and at 4 games that was a bit of a commitment. We'll have to continue to play it by ear.
Tech issues are ever present but I think I finally figured out the issue with my SNES Classic and capture card. For whatever reason OBS doesn't like it when the SNES Classic is on before opening up the program. Annoying but not a deal breaker and something that's super easy to keep in mind moving forward. It bums me out that it continues to plague my OBS though because I missed out on a really cool moment where Hubbit and I played through Journey which was his first experience. I really wanted to record it and upload it to youtube but we ultimately decided to just play it without recording. Next time.
I got into the Fortnite mobile access which is super cool. FrankieFastHandz, my cousin, was kind enough to share his invite with me and I've been enjoying the hell out of it. Call it bandwagoning but I'm really getting sucked into the game. Playing it on PC was a lot of fun with Rex but now that I have the ability to play on the go and continually upgrade my character cross platform I'm feeling myself going all in. I definitely want to find more ways to incorporate Fortnite into what we're doing with TheTap because it's a goodie. I just gotta work on getting better. Maybe.
Okay, so it's a super brief entry this week which I feel bad for but I don't want to stay up too late tonight. I need to stay ahead of whatever this sickness is that I'm feeling. I'll adopt the Gavin Free ideology and just will this sickness out of existence with pure defiance. To make up for it I'll leave this video that I always find myself falling back on whenever things start to boil up and get to hard to take. I feel like 2018 has been testing a lot of us this year by throwing curveballs and moments of doubt. So watch this. I'm not entirely sure I 100% understand it all but it makes me feel comfortable. Okay, goodbye.
Another week and now another late Sunday where I'm starting entirely way too late on this post. There's no excuse. I spent the majority of the day sleeping and being lazy. Guilt and laziness aside, I needed the rest. It's been a pretty busy week and they don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. I guess the biggest take away this week was the second stream in a row on Mixer and a new commitment to streaming on Fridays. (Except this coming Friday. Family time, yo. Also as of writing this I just realized that I didn't update the schedule whoops. I'll get that tomorrow afternoon.)
Some of you may have seen that on Friday I spent the evening playing Halo on Mixer.com. For the unaware, Mixer is an alternative streaming platform that is very much like Twitch. There are some bells and whistles that Mixer has which makes it an enticing platform but it's still very much suffering from the younger brother syndrome. Despite its secondary status, there still seems to be this push to stream on Mixer given that there is more room to grow on the platform due to less saturation than on Twitch. I honestly wouldn't have batted an eye, (that's the horrible decision making in me,) if it weren't for the Ask Broman podcast lauding the opportunities on Mixer and advocating the importance of being first. I want to make the point clear because conveying this can't be said enough, I have no plans in the immediate future to make a permanent move to Mixer. I've got a pretty humble momentum with Twitch right now and I like the direction that my channel is heading. So, everything we're doing on Twitch isn't changing anytime soon. However, the more I listen to the Ask Broman podcast the more I'm worried that if I don't make some sort of effort to branch out the more it might bite me in the ass.
Every time I start to describe streaming to family or friends the first thing I say is that I honestly feel like I've been given a time machine and have gone back before Youtube exploded. We're at the forefront of this streaming space and it's honestly one of the most exciting things I've ever been a part of. There's an unspeakable amount of gold in being the first to something, no matter how much shit online forums give you for that dead horse, 'first,' comment. It's why I worked so hard on making the Mario Make My Day series whenever Twitch introduced uploads. My thought process was that I wanted to be up with consistent content first on the off chance they started really pushing uploaded content. That didn't pan out but I still stand by that logic. So when I'm faced with the opportunity of being among the first to be consistent with Mixer, or Facebook Gaming, or whatever platform that arrives next I feel like I need to bat an eye. I don't want to be so quick to write off an opportunity. Everything I'm doing right now is planting seeds in hopes that something starts to sprout. I used to fear that spreading myself too thin would segment the audience but with this website, discord, twitter, and our lovely community I think we're strong enough to bring in as many people as we can. So that's my plan, and it starts with these small Friday night Mixer streams.
I've only done two so far but it's been a really fun experience. I've met new people and even have a few regulars that followed me over to Twitch that I wouldn't have met if it weren't for branching out. I'm averaging about 5 viewers a stream and peaking around the 10 mark which isn't exactly setting the world ablaze but it's more than enough to get started somewhere new. After all the focus is just meeting as many people as possible. My entire gambit is that there are more people who use Mixer AND Twitch than there are people who use Twitch and any other secondary platform. I'm going to spend my free time going out and introducing myself to those people and then end every broadcast by letting them know that they can find more of this content on my main home, Twitch. It's worth a risk I think and at the very least I'll have a foot in the door should things take a turn for the worst on Twitch. You know, like guilting people into resubbing to their favorite broadcasters without the broadcaster's consent. I'm in this for the long haul and the more I can establish my base the more I think I can sustain my channel. Rooster Teeth always makes the point that they were never the biggest channel to be watched on the Internet but they're definitely the longest running due to their adaptability. There's no better model to learn from than them in my opinion.
Being that Mixer is a Microsoft service it felt fitting that I would stream Halo, but after two test weeks, I'm thinking of trying a new game. Again, there's a reason Mixer is second to Twitch and that's the lower viewer base. I spent some time looking at the Halo directories and for the most part, they're pretty dead. I'm interested in seeing what I can do with a more popular game right now so the next time we're on Mixer I'm gonna continue our Monster Hunter run there. There's that general rule that you should always steer clear of popular games when you're first starting out but I feel like it'll be a fun test. Which I'm fully aware of my ego here. Part of the fun of being in a new space is getting the chance to start over but with all the things you've learned. We'll see how that goes. Oh, and for all the drum beating, it's worth noting that I'm actually not going to be able to stream this Friday on Mixer due to family plans. Mixer is supplemental after all, so I'll see you all on Twitch for our regularly scheduled chaos.
I know what you're thinking, "Trey didn't you already cover this in your tantrum post about your emotes?" You're right but it was brought to my attention that my plan for streaming on Mixer wasn't entirely clear so I wanted to spend some time hammering that point home. With two years under my belt, I've learned that you can never go wrong with communicating your information multiple times. Hence the reason I usually post my weekly stream schedule in like 3 different places all while still being prepared to answer the, 'what are you streaming this week,' question.
It's been a bit since I've recapped what's been going on on Twitch so I'll give a quick recap here. Monday night CarelessRex and I switched things up and played Fortnite and it was an absolute blast. I take back all the negative and irrational opinions I had about Fortnite. The game is fun plain and simple and is honestly making so many strides in the gaming space it's honestly crazy not to jump on board now. We're poised for another Minecraft style take over here. Being on all consoles, PC, and soon mobile? There's no telling how high this ceiling will go. But you're right, this is supposed to be a recap of my stream. Rex is currently on break but I think we're pretty much settled on streaming Fortnite once we get back into the swing of things.
The rest of the stream weak was consumed with Zelda A Link to the Past. It's my first 2D Zelda game and BOY is it a toughie. I'm absolutely enjoying it though even if it takes me quite awhile to make any progress. Not to discredit Zelda for the amazing series that it is but I know I never would have gone back and experienced this classic, as well as others, were it not for having this streaming space to share it with. The stream keeps me consistent and I'm thankful that I get to share this with people. Which leads me to the final thought on this post.
Nintendo featured their Nintendo Direct this past week where they outlined their upcoming games for the year. This was the first time that I've ever gotten to watch one live and it was probably one of the most memorable moments this week. In case you didn't know, a little game called Super Smash Bros was confirmed to be coming out this year and the Internet went absolutely crazy. Personally, the experience of watching my discord EXPLODE with little notifications after that announcement brought so much joy to my face. Not because of Smash but because it all boils down to the fact that we get to share this. Maybe I go back to this over-sentimental well one too many times but I'm always baffled and humbled by the home that we've created in this space. It's moments like these that I'm going to remember as we grow older. We all reached this points with different backgrounds, different problems, different goals, but we're all united by our common passion of gaming. I've formed so many friendships, and have watched friendships form outside of me all because of this place. It's enough to put a smile on my face, especially when I think about how much I'm going to beat their butts in Smash Bros.
I could've stayed where I was and have a life you'd be proud of
After weeks of shouting, thetapLurk was approved. I'm still not sure whether or not anything I did had an affect or if it was just random chance by the grace of a coin flip at Twitch. As I sat down to write this blog post I didn't think there was a way to get through this without acknowledging it. There's still a small part of me that feels self conscious for all the borrowed mind space, but every story needs an ending so let's put this one to bed.
This past Monday I finally got the email that my thetapLurk emote was approved. I was caught off guard by the fact that it was actually approved, especially after being told multiple times about the 'no single letter,' rule. Obviously I believed I had a fighting chance, else I wouldn't have made all the ruckus that I did, but I was surprised that my immediate reaction wasn't elation. I was first caught of guard by a resounding, 'oh.' Only at first, and then that's when the excitement started kicking in. I was at work and I rushed over to my dad shoving the cellphone in his face exclaiming that the emote had finally been approved. (What? You thought the Internet was the only one that had to deal with the brunt of my rants?)
You ever find yourself finishing a book and then left with that feeling of what now? Or maybe even finishing a video game you've spent 200 hours in and then checking off that last side quest? That's where I'm at right now. If you remember, I actually scheduled Tuesday night off this past week, and it was mainly due to the fact that I was on the verge of writing out a long open letter twitter thread to twitch about the inconsistency of their rules. That's just what my generation does. I wanted to be around to answer any, if at all, responses that would be headed my way. Luckily, it didn't come to that, but there was that, 'oh,' feeling again. I had all this pent up energy stored and was ready to make a fool of myself, but I ended up with my emote after all. So why am I writing this out? Partly because it makes a good read, I hope, and partly because I felt like there needs to be some acknowledgement after all the noise I made.
I spent a lot of time thinking about it and I came to the conclusion that if the only thing I'm doing is yelling because of one emote, then I'm just throwing a tantrum. There had to be a bigger reason for all of this than just what was at stake for me. I think there are still parts of the emote approval process that needs to be addressed over at Twitch. As difficult as the situation is, Affiliates should have the option to allow their current standing emote remain while pending approval of another one. If the process is going to be left up luck of the draw depending on the eyes of the approver then we shouldn't have have our fate be tied to chance. I'm not asking for instant approval like Twitch Partners, but I do think there needs to be a much more forgiving system. I was fortunate that the artist I worked with was kind enough to fix the emote without charging. This won't always be the case for everyone, nor should they have to experience it. These emotes aren't just some silly emojis, they're a representation of the streamer's cultures. The atmosphere that they are creating in their chats with their viewers. Any revamp to the system that allows Affiliates a little more control than what they're getting now would be a much welcomed addition, however like I said earlier this week in my tweets, I digress. For now, I have a feeling of pride every time I see thetapLurk flooded in chat, and not because I feel like there was anything I did, but because of the people that were supporting me. I spent a lot of time 'Jeff Goldbluming,' as I was pointing out this and that, and I had friends coming in support with their own examples. I had reassurance from viewers that they weren't subbing because of an emote, and I even had other viewers gifting out subs even without an emote to use. So everytime I see that cute little Captain America behind his shield, I'm reminded that I'm surrounded by a lot of amazing people online, and I thank you.
Oh man, okay so that was totally meant to be a quick final thought on the whole mess but it ended up being a lot longer than I thought. I swear, you can ask people in chat, I mentioned that I was trying to think up a theme for this week's blog post and I thought I had settled on tech issues, but whoops. It's getting late now so I'm not going to dive as deep into it as I wanted to. I think the best way to sum up this week's issues actually comes from Saturday's stream. Earlier in the week I had issues with my capture card not working and it actually caused my OBS (Open Broadcast Software, program used to stream) to crash. I took the time to get it all fixed and even did a really long test stream on Mixer. Everything was perfectly fine, but come time for Saturday's stream it started borking again. However, I found that as long as I didn't click 'ok' on the 'OBS has crashed,' window I could keep streaming. If that doesn't sum up technology then I honestly don't know what does.
That's the thing about tech issues. You never really know when they're going to pop up. You can go months without a single issue and think you're absolved of any more issues, but then there they go again reminding you that they're still haunting you. That paranoia is enough to suck the energy out of you, but I think if there's any silver lining to take away from it all is that it's kind of amazing to see the resilience. You never really have to look too far on Twitter for someone dealing with one thing or another, and usually without fail they keep coming right back after being knocked down. When I first started streaming I remember I straight up texted my cousin, RG, that I didn't think streaming was for me. I couldn't figure out how to sync the audio and video of both my camera and my gameplay and it was frustrating to the point of wanting to just quit. Thankfully there was still this spark that kept me going because I don't think I can imagine my life now without streaming. I guess what this is boiling down to is that there will always be the easy route of quitting laid out before you, but when given the opportunity to keep pushing past the limits of your knowledge, the limits of your patience, or the limits of your confidence, you'll often find that you had it in you all along. Now if you'll excuse the self congratulatory ending, I'm going to go to bed. Summing up the sum up? Don't give up. I once wrote 120 page script on the subject called, "For Sale," and now I just did it in one blog post. Progress. Goodnight.
I'm going to keep this one rapid fire given that it's late and I'm doing my best to get ahead of my lack of sleep this week. I've already scheduled a night off from streaming on Tuesday so that I can get to bed early that night. I remember a time not so long ago where I would literally waste hours watching Vine video after Vine video. Now I'm scheduling more sleep. What is life?
That last line was pretentious, but this is rapid fire so we don't have time to backspace. In all serious though, I am taking the night off this coming Tuesday. It's the night before our Community Night so it seems only fitting to have a night to recharge. I think taking a break the night before will be the new standard. I've been preaching more about the importance of self-care and the constant battle against burnout but if I don't actually employ the words that I'm speaking then they're just hollow motions. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm in this for the long run, and in the grand scheme of things one night isn't going to derail me.
I spoke with a friend earlier this week and we talked about how when we all started we read that same advice, "always be on, always be consistent, no matter what." We trained ourselves to be caught in this , "go, go, go," mentality and it worked. But now we need to retrain ourselves and recongize that it's okay to take breaks. This has never been more evident than with how much these last few sentences come across as being self reassuring.
Streams have been really good to me this week. Monster Hunter World continues to be a fun romp but I'm dedicating less stream time to it so I don't know how much longer I'll be able to keep up with peers. We both started and finished Shadow of the Colossus this week and boy was that an incredible experience. Really felt like the perfect stream game in my opinion. Amazing boss battles with plenty of clippable 'wow' moments, all of which were perfectly paced with quiet down time to talk to chat in between. Happy to have finally added that game to my resume.
I did stream Yooka-Laylee this week but the game didn't hold my interest as much as I wanted it to. I may not have been in the right mindset to start this game but after I was given the chance to do a day stream this past Wednesday I needed an easy jump in and jump out game. What's really got my focus right now is playing The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for the first time. I'll forever be late to the party on the Zelda games but having the chance to go back and correct these wrongs is great. I'm not that far into ALttP but I can already tell it's going to be a really fun stream experience.
If I had to square in on the biggest take away this week I think it would be just how bonkers everything is right now. The opening paragraph is quick to highlight the contrast in the ways I used to regulate my time, but the differences don't stop there. I'm on 'season three' of my streaming path and there's real history here. Saturday night we celebrated a 9 month long sub, thanks ArthurTheLastAncient, and they joked that we were having a sub baby. It blows my mind that I'm even in a position that we can make a joke like that. Never mind having a sub button for 9 months, but the fact that there are people who are using it? Bonkers.
The very first time I ever started doing QotW it was this idea that I was very self conscious about and even had a few people poke fun at it. Now there are people commenting how difficult it is to decide on which one to vote for. Bonkers. Which shout out to Bexsona by the way for suggesting the poll idea. Turning QotW into a Chatmocracy versus a Taptorship has breathed new life into the quote game and being able to highlight all the incredibly funny people in our group is my favorite part of the week.
We've been doing a weekly MCU Marathon where I get to geek out about my Marvel passions with others. There are even people who are messaging me their reactions to newer Marvel movies and their live thoughts as they watched the ones released to home video. Bonkers. I'm spoiled by the people in this community. We're heading into the third month of 2018 and it's been a pretty fun ride so far. Bumpy? Sure, but fun. There are things in motion that I can't talk about but it's an honor to be a part of these projects. Actually, one drops tomorrow morning and I'm super excited to share it with you.
Okay, this is a bad post, but it's a rapid fire post so there's little editing and forming these thoughts in a cohesive manner is out of the picture for now. Just know this, I can't thank this community enough. So much of what I am doing is a learning experience and I'm feeling more and more reassured that we're on the right path. I feel like I'm never the best at adequately communicating just how thankful I am whenever people show their generosity so I wanted to make sure I stepped back and said it again. Thank you. Life is bonkers right now, and I'm happy that I get to share it with you.
I think the biggest take away from this week is the ongoing drama that is my tier one emote and you better buckle up because I'm fully aware of how silly it seems to be so up and arms about this nonsense.
For those who don't know, I commissioned the wonderful Bilvy to create a Captain America lurk emote to be the new tier one emote on my channel. ThetapSeeks was the very first emote I had made and it will always have a special place in my heart but I felt like it was time for a change. As an affiliate, the only option I have to replace an emote is to delete the one that I currently have and then upload the new one. Pain in the ass? Sure, but it usually takes about a week for the emote to be approved and all the subs are back to enjoying their emote. Except for this time Twitch decided that my emote was against their rules and denied it. Apparently, "single letter emotes," are banned on Twitch. Let's just humor this idea that my Captain America emote is just that, a single letter, and examine how silly this is.
Yes, if there are a plethora of single letter emotes then people with ill intentions could use them to bypass filters and spell out offensive stuff. This is a reasonable rule, but only when followed. Gamersmack was the first to come to my defense and point out the litany of Super Mario emotes featuring the iconic M on his hat. You could make the argument that Mario gets a pass because of his iconography status in the video game space but the list of single letter emotes doesn't end there.
So yeah, "no single letter emotes," isn't exactly sitting well with me. It seems silly to be so upset about something like this given that this doesn't begin to crack the surface on some of the issues Twitch needs to focus on. I've had people advise me that this might not be worth fighting given that even larger streamers have a hard time winning this fight. I'm just angry that a lot of people are being restricted, unevenly, because of those who would abuse the system. A simple revision could fix it. I could replace the A, I could add a butt, I could do a lot of things, but all of those feel like admitting defeat in the face of something incredibly stupid. Which I won't.
The main issue is I keep coming back to how the people who sub to me are without an emote. If you asked anyone of them they'll tell you that they are there because they support me and they don't mind that the emote is gone. I love them for that but that's not good enough for me. I've said it before but I'll say it again, I will never disrespect the honor it is that people allow me into their lives. That they take time out of their day to watch the silly stuff I do online, and it blows my mind that some of them are even willing to spend money to support it. I shouldn't have to be caught in this limbo of Twitch deciding on what is and isn't appropriate, especially given I could probably replace Captain America's A with a butt and it would have been approved the first time. Even if this went off without a hitch and my emote was approved, the process is flawed. I hate that we have to take down the approved emote and then wait on pins and needles for Twitch to flip a coin and grant access to the next one. So maybe if Twitch could stop hiding behind their thinly veiled 'no single letter emote,' defense and offer up a better reasoning than what they're giving I wouldn't be so quick to lean towards favoritism. I wouldn't have spent money on this particular design. I wouldn't have asked an artist to spend their time creating it. For the people who are quick to offer up 'well if you don't like their rules then you don't have to stream on their platform,' I say you're right.
I experienced a lot of Internet issues this week and it finally culminated in a giant mess on Saturday. After a night of troubleshooting and hair pulling, I was finally led down the path of trying out Mixer. If you don't know what Mixer is, it's a different streaming platform that's on the rise. There are some pretty nifty features they've got to offer such as synced up multi-streaming and FTL stream delay which results in about a second delay. Unfortunately streaming to Mixer proved that my Internet woes weren't exclusive to Twitch but it did offer up a chance to see what the other side was like. I've been streaming for so long on Twitch that the question of streaming on another platform had never crossed my mind before. In fact, the very first month that I ever started streaming, Youtube gaming had recently launched and I was faced with a decision of going with Twitch or Youtube. Twitch is the top dog, there's no questioning that, but the chance to start on a new platform was enticing. As ProfessorBroman puts it, "being number one on the second largest streaming platform is nothing to sneeze at." Ultimately the community on Twitch is what won me over and I never thought about it again.
However, there was something exciting about being on a new platform this past Saturday. I was reminded of the early days when I was first starting and learning how to stream except I was comfortable this time. I was in a new space with a new reach and a chance to bring in even more people to this community. Yes, the backdrop of Internet hassle and missing a stream with my regulars was still weighing down on me but a spark was created this past Saturday.
The exclusivity clause does not otherwise restrict Affiliates from using other streaming platforms to do live streaming. For instance, an Affiliate is permitted to start a stream on Twitch and, after ending that stream, immediately start a new, separate stream on another platform -- assuming the Affiliate is not also using Twitch to broadcast that same content at the same time.
There's nothing preventing me from streaming on other platforms, (except maybe a broken Internet but I'll touch on that later), and so this idea of carving out time to stream in more places is exciting to me. Before you get the wrong idea I want to hammer home the point, I have no intentions of changing the schedule on Twitch whatsoever. Monday through Thursday as well as Saturdays, you know the drill. What I've got going for me is working right now but there's this new spark to start branching out and seeing how far I can take this content creating dream. The main goal for The Tap has always been to create your next favorite entertainment platform. So when I ask myself where my loyalties lie, Twitch, or you, the answer is always going to be you. The Internet is a history book of giants that never saw their end coming. Geocities, Xanga, Myspace, Aim, Vine, and so on. Who is to say where Twitch will be in the next five years, hell, who is to say where I'll be in the next five years? The goal for The Tap has always been to be your next favorite entertainment platform, no matter where we go.
Okay, that's enough chest puffing and anger for the rest of the blog. If you can't tell I'm pretty heated with this whole emote nonsense. Actually, at the height of it I got drunk Friday evening which started my Twitter rant, and although I'm pulling back, for now, I'm not done arguing about this. Instead, I wanted to provide an update on what's going on. If you were around Saturday you noticed that my Internet finally kicked the bucket. Frame drops and stream disconnects aren't new to me. They would rear their ugly head every now and then but they never seemed to last for more than a minute to two minutes. Ignoring this was my hubris slapping a band-aid called, 'that'll fix itself,' on the issue. I finally sucked it up and got an ISP tech out and he replaced a lot of old wires, I'm talking Road Runner days, and did some of his Internet magic. I ran a 'stream to twitch,' test for about 30 minutes at 6000 kbps and it was rock solid, which was more than could be said for Saturday. After that test seemed good I streamed to a secret test account and had some friends pop in to confirm that things are peachy. I gotta say that I wouldn't have been able to get this far if it wasn't for Bexsona, Gamersmack, VestofHolding, and MorninFrost helping me troubleshoot and test things Saturday night and Sunday afternoon (Thank You).
In conclusion, it's been a week. For a week of mounting frustrations, I'm glad it ended on a high note. I was really worried that my Internet woes would decommission me for a while but that's not the case. I'm happy that I'm going to be able to continue doing what I'm doing, and I'm even more excited to see how far I can branch this out. Moving forward I've still got to figure out what I'm going to do with my tier one sub-slot. The artist I use is still not taking commissions so I'm just waiting for that to open up because I can get a replacement for the Captain America one. Is this the last you've heard of the emote drama? Probably not. I know that keeping this argument might not be the wisest thing to do but I'm not done yet.
Streamer, writer, creator. One day I woke up painfully aware of my existence and I've been apologizing for it ever since.