Streaming and suchlike

I’ve just enjoyed a quiet evening with Lady M on the sofa watching the Artyfakes live stream on Twitch.TV followed by a bit of drama on the telly. It reminded me of the occasional request I’ve had to stream the Eberron games, and just why we don’t do it. One of the things I noticed this evening was how relatively difficult it is to present and concentrate on work at the same time.

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The Roll20 Logo

Its a concern shared within the gaming group – that we’d rather just let our hair down and enjoy ourselves without wondering who was peering over our shoulders. For me in particular there’s quite a lot of fiddliness to the Roll20 interface, and we’re not making heavy use of scripts, lighting or special effects. It’s generally as close to a tabletop experience as you like. The thought of trying to interact with people outside the game at the same time is just too much.

That’s without even touching on tech trouble shooting and chat room moderating. Artyfakes have a number of mods (Lady P among them) to keep tight control, and I can’t think of anything more disruptive than trying to moderate and play.

There’s also a general antipathy among the group for publicly recording the range of dry, geeky, obscene and off the wall comments that we come up with, especially those of us with responsible jobs who might have awkward questions to answer if work got involved. Likely? No, but possible, so we’ll not even raise the spectre of having to double guess ourselves.

On the plus side, this week’s game write up is live under Wartorn Chapter 3. Hope you enjoy it.

Xbox One and TwitchTV

This week, I decided to have a go at broadcasting games on my XBox One through Twitch TV. If you’ve not encountered this site before, it basically allows people on a variety of platforms to stream their video game output alongside webcam footage and a chat client so that people can talk to you while you game and vice versa. It’s free to sign up to the basic level of access, and there are a couple of free software clients that they point people to if they haven’t invested in hardware solutions.

I’d been moderately fascinated by this practice, and I’m also a great fan of the Achievement Hunter Let’s Play series and the many, many videos produced by the EVE community. Halo 3 introduced me to the joys of sharing video clips with other players, and I think Bungie generally transformed people’s attitude towards sharing clips by basically making it easy and not reliant on expensive setups.With that in mind, one of the features of the new generation of consoles that caught my eye was their integration of game clip creation with social media. Xbox’s Upload software occasionally takes clips of notable moments and achievements in various games, but a Twitch client was also available at launch.This weekend I decided to go for it and see how easy it was to set up. The answer was: surprisingly simple. Launching the app presented me with a code and instructions to go to a section of the twitch.tv website.

This authorised a connection between the site and my console, and I took the time to also connect my account through social media accounts – as much to see what options that gave me as anything else. Back on the console, all I needed to do was launch the game – in this case Titanfall – and then launch the Twitch app, which sits in a sidebar on the right hand side of the screen. Tabbing between the game and the app is handled by double-tapping the glowing Xbox logo in the controller – and this allows you to set a broadcast name and a few options. In this case I chose to not use the Kinect camera and microphone. I may do some at some point if I feel the need to blather at the screen but its not my highest priority right now.

It pretty much does what it says on the tin. I got Lottie to check on the website while I was streaming, and the site renders and presents the video after a short delay. I’ve not sat down to count the seconds, but I think it’s in the area of thirty seconds or so. Stopping the broadcast was just a matter of clicking a button in the app, and there we were.

Saving the video streams requires a bit of messing around in the Twitch.tv website, but essentially, once you’ve validated your email account, you can choose to highlight a stream that you have completed, and the website renders this so that it can be viewed offline by visitors to my profile. So – it’s all new enough to be a bit of a new toy, not entirely sure what I’ll do with it – possibly review new games as I get them – but I’m sure this isn’t the last you’ll hear me talking about Twitch.Tv on the XBox One.

Watch live video from Ludd72 on TwitchTV