Streaming Other Games

An stream interface I made for streaming Faster Than Light. Still in progress!
An stream interface I made for streaming Faster Than Light. Still in progress!

A few of my friends suggested trying to stream other games besides Hearthstone.

I am interested in doing that at some point, so I’ve been working on stream interfaces for the other games I play.

Right now I play League of Legends, Hearthstone, Faster Than Light (FTL), Skyrim, and Diablo 3.

The stream client I use, XSplit, only lets me have four different stream interfaces set up at a time. More interfaces are possible if I buy a subscription for their software instead of using it for free like I am now.

I haven’t played much Diablo 3 at all lately so that’s the one of the five I’ll be leaving out. A few weeks ago I began to see it more as hamster wheel than a fun way to spend my time and have quit playing since.

There are other hurdles for creating interfaces for other games as well though.

I’ve always found a stream to be way more entertaining if I can see the streamer’s face, but where does the face go?

I struggled a lot with that issue while making the FTL interface pictured above.

Initially I had the game filling the entire stream. I tried putting my face in the top right, but that blocked enemy ships.

I tried putting my face in the bottom right, but that also blocked enemy ships.

Bottom left blocks my ship’s power use. Top left blocks my ship’s health and crew.

Middle left worked okay, but I ran into a size issue there.

My face was either too small to matter, or it was blocking the back part of my ship.

I ended up scrapping the idea of having the game fill the entire frame of the stream video.

I wouldn’t call the picture above a final product, but it was the best way to include the game as well as my face.

There’s other stuff to add as well.

In my Hearthstone interface I added the URL address of my blog at WordPress to try and get crosstraffic. I’d like to do that for FTL as well.

I’d like a logo of some kind for FTL too, like the Hearthsteed pack logo I made for Hearthstone.

Eventually I want to add in a donation, subscriber, and follower trackers, but I’d like to establish myself more before going on to that part of the interface design.

I’m committed to keeping the interface art grounded in the game I’m streaming though.

Using edited screen captures from the game has worked for me on that, so I’ll keep doing that in the future whenever possible.

That’s all for now!

-Mister Ed

Thoughts on Hearthstone Streaming

An image taken from one of the streamer's I like, AppleJacked.
An image taken from one of the streamer’s I like, AppleJacked.

I did my first stream on Friday and it went pretty well.

I’d expected to get 4 or 5 viewers, but I got 9 at the peek of interest in the stream.

I’m not sure how well I did on other aspects of it though besides popularity.

Was I talking too much or not enough? Should I have been playing music? Should I have had more interaction with the people watching the stream?

I feel like interaction is the way to go.

Part of the reason I didn’t do much interaction was because I had the game in full screen mod so I had to alt-tab out just to look at the stream comments.

Next time I think I’ll keep the Hearthstone game in a small windowed mode and have the stream chat open in a browser window to look at.

Then I can see what people are posting as it happens and reply as soon as I can.

I was frustrated by the stream delay, but that happens to every streamer I think.

The stream is about 10 or 20 seconds behind what I’m actually doing because it has to go out to the Twitch server and then from there to your computers. This means that when I respond to comments it will be 10 or 20 seconds behind if I respond by talking.

I could respond by typing in the chat, but I haven’t seen any streamers do that. I can only assume that no one does that because it isn’t popular with the people watching. They want to see you talk to them, not type to them.

It’s also important for me to enjoy streaming. Right now I’m just doing it for myself. If it’s not fun, I should stop.

I won’t lie, it was more stressful than just playing Hearthstone on my own.

I tried to keep talking constantly about what I was doing and that was tiresome.

The next day I felt like I didn’t want to do anymore streaming at all.

But now that I’m a bit removed from the tiring aspect of it, I think I liked doing it a lot.

So I’d expect more Hearthstone streams in the future. Maybe League of Legends, Faster Than Light, and Skyrim as well once I figure out a good stream look for those games.

Oh, and AppleJacked is a cool streamer in the picture above. If you like interaction between the streamer and the audience then he’s your guy.

He plays songs, shows off his muscles, and says his to new people. Really cool guy.

That’s all for tonight!

-Mister Ed

Mount and Blade

I play a lot of video games but I am often far behind the latest release. I didn’t finish playing Pokemon Gold until Pokemon Heart Gold came out. I’m still working on Skyrim and Assassin’s Creed too. I’ll probably never experience Mass Effect or Dragon Age: Origins.

Mount and Blade is one of the few games I started playing when it first came out. The game was created by a Turkish couple and once it became popular they created a video game studio around it called TaleWorlds. TaleWorlds has just announced that Mount and Blade will be coming out on the Nvidia Shield. I’ve never heard of the Shield, but the people at TaleWorlds are excited to branch out beyond the PC.

In Mount and Blade you take on the role of a warrior in a medieval world with a variety of warring factions. The game is entirely sandbox based. There is no plot to follow. You have to make up your own plot.

The first time I played the game I started a civil war in one of the five kingdoms and ended up on the victorious side. The second time I formed my own kingdom and conquered the world for myself.

The gameplay is what you’d expect for a third person shooter in medieval times. You get swords, armor, bows, and other equipment to do battle with. RPG elements are mixed in as well. Your character levels up and has a few skills that influence the setup of battles as well as your combat capabilities in each battle. The more battles you win the more gear and money you get, money of course being spent on more gear.

The name of the game is Mount and Blade, so there is a fair bit of horse-riding in the game. Cavalry are vastly superior to other units in open field combat. Mount and Blade is also one of the few games to make horse combat interesting. Mounted combat meshes seamlessly with foot combat. Your character rides his horse around, hitting people as he rides by. If you aren’t careful eventually your horse will be taken out. You can try to find another horse that has lost its rider or you can continue on foot.

Mount and Blade is also one of the few games I’ve seen that fits single combat with RTS style combat. The only character whose actions you control directly is your own, but your character can bring potentially hundreds of others to the battle with him. These soldiers are given orders through hotkeys or a menu during battle. The orders can include positions to take on the battlefield, which weapons to use, whether to mount horses or stay on foot, and how tactical formations such as a wedge or turtle shape.

The soldiers that you command in battle have a morale that is heavily influenced by what food you give them. The greater variety of food they have to eat, the better and longer they fight. I spent a fair amount of game time buying more and more food for my soldiers to eat because they kept eating everything up after each battle.

Your soldiers level up after a battle just like you do. They get better gear and stronger combat capabilities with each new level. A fully leveled army is necessary for one of the greatest challenges in the game, sieges.

Sieges are the final objective in Mount and Blade. Unless you actively avoid it, your character will eventually end up in a siege. Assaulting a castle has two basic methods, just like in real medieval wars. You can wait for the combatants to starve or you can attack them with siege engines and try to take over the castle by force. Using force is almost always the better option in Mount and Blade.

Siege engines are used to breach the walls of the castle in someway first. This can be a battering ram that breaks down the castle gate, ladders that scale the walls, or a siege tower that goes over the wall allowing access. Once inside the castle walls you have to eliminate the enemy presence before your troops run out. Then you break into the inner keep and take on the guard there to secure the castle as your prize.

Your character can also defend from sieges. The same rules apply. My favorite tactic was shooting arrows at the soldiers pushing the siege towers up to my walls to try and slow the advance of the behemoth siege engine.

Mount and Blade also has an intense mod community. There are hundreds of mods that add small new things to the game or completely change it. Different mods can change the game to new historical periods, or fantasy periods. You can play a jedi on a speeder instead of a knight on a horse if you want. Some mods introduce boats. Others let you play as if you’re a King’s Guard in Westeros if you like Game of Thrones. I tried out a few. One of my favorites advanced the timeline of the basic game to Renaissance era, allowing rudimentary firearms to be used in combat.

I played the original game out as much as I felt like playing. A sequel came out awhile back, but my impression of it was, “We added some good ideas that were already present in mods and added a multiplayer mode that Mister Ed won’t be using.” A new sequel is scheduled to come out soon though! I’ve been thinking of taking a look. Maybe I’ll see you in the multiplayer mode there if I decide to try it.

You can find Mount and Blade at TaleWorlds website or on Steam.

-Mister Ed