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How to Brand your Stream to Create a Lasting Impression

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Guest Post by: Kristen Heller

Introduction

When someone mentions streamers like, imaqtpie, Shroud, or KittyPlays, you probably know who they’re talking about. Each of them are some of the most successful streamers on Twitch, loved and followed by many.

What propelled them to such heights and how did they get so many followers, subscribers, and active viewers? Well, it’s a long journey and it takes a lot of hard work, but the most important thing to know is that you can reach this goal as well.

The Importance of Branding Your Stream

One thing that everyone can agree on is that the moment you see anything related to a successful streamer, you instantly recognize it’s them. Branding, as it turns out, is not something reserved for marketing departments; it’s super important in streaming as well!

Not many streamers think about branding when they first start out. In order to really succeed and grow your channel, you need to be easily recognizable. There are no templates here: be unique, be yourself. Viewers should know it’s you the moment they see your emotes, colors, and mascots, or hear your quotes.

What are the Key Elements of Stream Branding?

In order to start building your brand, you must think about what you wish to achieve with your stream, how you want your viewers to perceive and identify you. This is what branding is all about.

When a viewer enters your channel, what is the first thing they see? The game of course, but what else is there to it?

  • Are you streaming gameplay only, or are you actively commentating on gameplay?
  • Are you interacting with your viewers, do you talk about your day?
  • Do you have a camera set up, can your viewers see you? What about what’s behind you?
  • What does your channel say about you?

All of this is covered by branding, and here are some guidelines on how to make it work.

1. Stream Channel Design

The design is the most recognizable feature of your stream. It includes all the graphic elements that you can manipulate and design to represent you and your stream, like the logo, color palette, overlays, images, and emotes.

Unless you’re a graphic artist, chances are you’ll need someone to help you with your streams designs. Thankfully there are plenty of options, ranging from free to paid, for you to get someone to create your graphics for you.

Websites like Streamplay Graphics, and REKOYL would fall under your paid options for graphics, and if you’re looking for something designed for free, then you can often find designers on Twitter looking to offer free services, so they can build up their portfolios.

When you’re ready to start creating your graphics, make sure to choose a color palette that you will use throughout all the elements, from logo to overlays, images and emotes.

The logo is the most important of these elements – this is how viewers identify your stream. Build a logo that represents you – it can be linked to your username, your persona, your mascot, whatever you think will represent you best.

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2. Recurring Themes on Your Stream

These can be various traditions that you set up on your stream. They can be anything you want, like a unique quote that viewers associate with you, a unique name for your follower community, your mascots and more. Your viewers will associate them with you the moment they see them.

The background is also important, so pay close attention to what you put behind your webcam.

You can highlight various game merchandise, sponsor gear, fan made gifts, plush toys or mascots. A mascot can be anything. Many streamers go for plush toys, and later also turn into special icons for their community chat.

 

Some streamers, on the other hand, prefer to use a green screen so that only they can be seen on stream, so this is entirely up to personal preference.

Read the rest of this entry

Monster Highway – Indie Spotlight

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After a nuclear meltdown at a power plant, the lake next to it was quickly saturated with radioactivity. An alligator in the lake transforms into a road smashing, car crushing Monster! Your goal: be the first to build your roadway and drive your car from ground zero to your home while avoiding the monster AND of your opponents. No one is safe on Monster Highway!

Overview
Monster Highway is a 2-4 player game for ages 8+ and takes approximately 30 min to play.  Players need to create a roadway out of road tiles that leads from the center of the board “ground zero” to the players home base. The players car moves along the road built and once the car makes it to home base, that player wins the game.

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Gamplay
To start, players are all dealt, at random, 5 road tiles and 1 monster buster card for their hand.On your turn roll the two specialty dice that have images of a car, monster or road on them.If road comes up, play a road tile from your hand. If a car comes up, roll the six sided die to see how many spaces your car can move. If monster comes up, draw a monster card and see what space the “monster” lands on.

The goal is to create a roadway out of road tiles that leads from the center of the board “ground zero” to the players home base. The players car moves along the road built and once the car makes it to home base, that player wins the game.

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From the creators
From Bob and Ryan (One Day West Games) – Our inspiration for creating Monster Highway stems from our love of playing board games and our background of design.  For our profession, my brother and I are Landscape Contractors.  We have been designing and installing landscapes for many years.  Two years ago we decided we wanted to design our own game.  Typically we play games that are easy to learn but have enough mechanics to keep gamers of all levels interested.  They usually have a nice blend of strategy and chance.  Designing a game allowed us to incorporate everything we enjoy in games.   Living minutes from a nuclear power plant also helped drive the storyline!  It was a real pleasure designing Monster Highway!

Where to find it
Monster Highway launched on Kickstarter on 1/15/18. With 16 days left, they’re already halfway to their goal. Good luck, guys!

10 Things That Happened at Too Many Games 2017

Vanri and Crymson went to TooManyGames 2017! Here are some of what they experienced:

10) Vanri went to her first convention! She loved it, we got her a shirt.

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9) So many amazing cosplays!

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8) After forever, we finally ACTUALLY interviewed +2 Comedy… those nerds!

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7) ALL THE GAMES! So many amazing indie games to see and love.

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6) I played a game I’ve been waiting a year to play and didn’t suck.

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5) Got my hands on a board game I’ve been waiting a year for! For FREE!

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4) Cosplay Pro Wrestling!

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3) The most amazing Pyramid Head Cosplay, I’ve ever seen.

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2) Keith Apicary made me nearly pee myself.

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1) MrCreepyPasta was amazing to interview and we want to talk to him for hours.

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PC Gaming Peripherals to Optimize your Experience

When we talk about optimising your PC gaming experience, the first thing people talk about is usually upgrading your graphics card or processor. However, there is much more to your gaming experience than just graphics quality and frame rate.

Quality Headphones
Sound is a huge part of modern gaming. If you’re playing your PC’s sound from a pair of tiny speakers, you’re missing out on a huge part of the gaming experience.

Whether you’re listening for footsteps nearby in a first-person shooter or you’re watching and listening to a cinematic in your favorite Role-Playing Game, the quality of your games’ sound can change your experience.

A good set of gaming headphones can improve your gaming experience by allowing you to feel a part of the gaming experience, and let you feel all the small nuances of sound that the developers put into the game.

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Gaming Chair
When you play PC games, you’re generally sitting in one place for hours at a time. It’s difficult to feel a part of your gaming experience when you can’t get comfortable in your chair.

A quality, ergonomic gaming chair lets you sit and play for hours on end without getting
uncomfortable or developing aches and pains. Each person has different needs for a gaming chair, and it’s important to find the right chair for you.

Whether you need a strong lumbar pad, a comfortable headrest, and armrests, or additional side supports, the right chair will let you play comfortably for hours.

Gaming Keyboard and Mouse
If you’re looking for a keyboard and mouse for gaming, you could always just buy a $20 office keyboard and mouse combination and call it a day. However, just as your favorite music sounds better through a quality speaker, your gaming experience will benefit dramatically from a high-quality gaming keyboard and mouse.

Before you pick a keyboard and mouse, you need to think about what your needs are. Some people need all the extra buttons to assign to different actions on their game, while others are comfortable with a plain QWERTY style keyboard and a three button mouse with a scroll wheel.

Think about your gaming experience and your needs, then be sure to try different styles. You will be able to find a keyboard and mouse that addresses your needs and feels comfortable.

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Pick the Right Monitor
Your monitor displays the visual aspect of your games. Since graphics and frame rate has a large effect on your ability to feel a part of the game, you want to pick a monitor that displays your games in the best way possible.

Full High-Definition, or 1,920 by 1,080 pixels, is the minimum requirement for most modern games. However, a larger monitor combined with newer games can allow you to reach resolutions as large as 2,560 by 1,440. Remember, the higher the pixel count, the clearer your picture. So if your gaming area has enough space, a larger monitor is usually better. Running games at full 4k is a stretch for most hardware at the moment, but investing in a 4k monitor could be a good future-proofing move.

Response and refresh rate are important too. The refresh rate is how often the screen refreshes the display and response time is how quickly a pixel can change from white to black and back again. Faster response time and refresh rate lead to better image quality and smoother animations. Since LCD monitors don’t suffer from screen flicker, usually the refresh rate is more important.Your gaming experience should be comfortable, easy to use, and help to make you feel a part of the

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Your gaming experience should be comfortable, easy to use, and help to make you feel a part of the gaming experience. Making these simple upgrades in your PC peripherals will give you an entirely new gaming experience.

Written By: Craig Johnson

OPSEAT is a leading brand of PC gaming chairs.

A New Generation of Women in Gaming and Film

Wonder Woman’s success at the box office is a sign that the portrayal of women in the media is improving. This film showed the world that female superhero films can be on par with any other blockbuster within the genre. And it’s not just in terms of revenue, but also on audience impact. Like Soliyra shared in a previous RWOG post, she was floored when she realized Diana is the same as her gamer persona – a long-time “tank” player who would rush into battle and absorb all the damage. It’s a far cry from a decade ago when women were stereotyped as either damsel in distress or nurturing lovers.

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Usually, superhero movie releases are accompanied by big-budget video games featuring the same hero. Unfortunately, the gaming community is still waiting for a Wonder Woman-centered video game but fans can at least enjoy playing Diana Prince in other big titles like Injustice 2. There are also projects from non-AAA game developers who have been inspired by the character. For instance, the global player base of Slingo has access to a mobile-friendly Wonder Woman slot game that has borrowed elements from Lynda Carter’s version the character. All of this goes to show how the Amazon princess remains relevant even decades after her first appearance in comic books and TV.

But Patty Jenkins and the new Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, are just two of the women who are making waves on the big screen today. Charlize Theron, for instance, showed that she still has what it takes to be an action star in the spy thriller Atomic Blonde. She played a top-level MI6 operative on the hunt for double-agents in this flick, so there were heavily stylized and well-choreographed fight scenes.

Theron has long been an advocate of women’s rights, and she’s vocal in her support for women in the industry. She’s actually friends with Jenkins due to their collaboration in Monster and the latter expressed on ComicBook how much she looks forward to working with Theron again.

On the other hand, Warner Bros.’ trailer for the upcoming Tomb Raider film shows Alicia Vikander portraying a different Lara Croft, in the sense that the character is not yet the badass explorer like Angelina Jolie’s version. It’s necessary so as to stay true to the ‘origin story’ angle. But still, Vikander’s Lara is fierce and willing to go beyond her limits.


(video credit: Warner Bros.)

The video game industry meanwhile, has already gone far in portraying strong female characters. We have Samus Aran (Metroid), and Max Caulfield (Life is Strange), to name a few. But like Wonder Woman, new female leads are generating a lot of buzz this year.

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Guerrilla Games’ Horizon: Zero Dawn piqued many players’ interests back in 2015 when its first trailer featured the female protagonist, Aloy, battling a gigantic machine with a bow. CBR noted how the character played a big role in becoming a system seller. Since Horizon: Zero Dawn is a PlayStation 4 exclusive, it became a selling point for Sony. The decision to promote a female-led original game clearly worked because the game already sold 2.6 million units just two weeks following its release earlier this year. Some gamers even went as far as to buy the console just to play the action RPG title.

Blizzard’s popular online multiplayer game Overwatch also surprised fans when it announced that one of its characters, namely Tracer, is a lesbian. Tracer is a fan favorite, so it was a huge statement for Blizzard to present her as having an unorthodox sexuality. The move drew ire from some players, but the majority praised the studio’s initiative to diversify the world of gaming.

All things considered, onscreen female characters are now becoming more layered and varied. While there are still a lot of improvements to be made regarding our portrayal, it’s safe to say that the world openly welcomes this new generation of women in gaming and film.

About the Author: Alexa Henderson is a freelance writer and avid fan of RPGs. Her favorite game of all time is Squaresoft’s Chrono Cross.

Top 10 Things that happened to me at Zenkaikon 2017

Crymson went to Zenkaikon 2017! Here are some of the things she experienced:

 

 

10) Some utterly amazing cosplays where everywhere!

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9) I was sandwiched between two doctors in my T.A.R.D.I.S dress

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I found Wednesday Adams

8) So many people told me they love my hair!

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Waiting for Cosplay Masquerade

7) I made new friends!

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Our friends at CommonGeek.tv

7) I want hours to talk to Keith DeCandido

5) The Slants concert was AMAZING

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The Slants

4) I got a ‘NOTICE ME SENPAI!’ from a stranger

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Senpai Loves You

3) MY FIRST BURLESQUE SHOW! Not only did I see my first show

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Pre Show (Photography was not allowed)

2) I got to spend some time with Uncle Yo! Much more than an interview, I was able to see him several times, chat with him and give him a few hugs. He made me laugh, he made me cry.

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Crazy Uncle Yo

1) Ellen McClain and John Patrick Lowery Believe in me! Meeting them was definitely the highlight of the convention for me. They are two incredible people that I’d love to sit with for hours and listen to their stories. I cannot say enough positive things and hope to speak with them again.

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John Patrick Lowery & Ellen McClain are too precious for this world

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Noodle King

 

 

 

(Honorable Mention: ALL THE FOOD!)
If you live in the Lancaster Area, please eat at The Rabbit and The Dragonfly & Noodle King

Ellen McLain & John Patrick Lowery (Zenkaikon 2017)

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John Patrick Lowery & Ellen McLain

Ellen (GLaDOS, Portal Series) and John (Sniper, Team Fortress Series) were my very first interview at Zenkaikon 2017. It was my absolute pleasure to be a bumbling nervous fan before them. They strolled in from the elevator and after a moment of asking where they should sit, I smiled and told them how nervous I was to be meeting them.

They both delighted in this fact. John said, ‘Well, let’s make it worse!’ and immediately shook my hand & gave me hugs. John took my hand and looked me in the eye and told me that this was a pivotal moment in my future and began making jokes as if he’d known me for ages.

I had read so many interviews with them that I had nothing to ask! Well, I had a few things. I knew how they met already, how they helped shape video game voice acting as we know it, and that they have also been pushing for video games to be recognized as the art form they truly are. Those were just reiterations of what I already knew about them but they were items that I felt so important that I wanted to hear them out loud and keep that flow of information.

I feel that they are both pivotal to video games as we know it. I loved hearing about the growing understanding and relationship between voice actor and engineer. When we still had a lot of instructional computer programs out there, where you could just spout out lines on paper in pops Voice Acting! and it’s no longer reading lines off a page. You need to understand what the motivation is, what’s happening in the scene, what will be the characters next step, what is their thinking. You need to convey so much to the player. Flat voice acting (I.E. Peter Dinklage in Destiny.. personally I disagree but that isn’t the point) is detrimental to the experience. So many people complained about Destiny that they had the entire script redone with another voice actor. Because it wasn’t contributing to their experience.

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During Interview

To that point, John Patrick Lowery has been a part of my life, my story, for a very long time. Let me explain. John voice acted in a little known game called Betrayal at Krondor. It was in the era of adventure games and the original Kings Quest. My father bought the game for us to play; we loved adventure games and RPGs and the like. Now this was in 1997; I was 16 and loved video games.

Voice acting was not typical in games then. These games made such an impact on me that I started writing my own stories, even to the point where I used Krondor as the last name of one of my many fantasy characters. These were also very special moments that I spent with my father, we both loved video games and the stories they told. I often wonder at how he would react to the changes that have been made in the 15 years he’s been gone. So for a small thing that John did 20 years ago it had a positive influence on me, on my life, and on my relationship with my father. Maybe after I read one of John’s wonderful books, he will read one of my mediocre short stories.

With all that being said, Ellen and John are too precious for this world. I wanted to pick them up and put them in my pocket, however impossible that is. I wanted to listen to every story they had to tell me and I am sure there are so many. I wish I could even convey to you the feeling of sitting there listening them. It was one of the only times I wanted to talk as little as possible and just be present.

They were incredible. I adored them and I pray this isn’t the only time I get the pleasure of speaking with them. The highlight of my convention!