Dealing with Technical Difficulties

There’s nothing like having an argument over which actor played in a certain film, and then turning to your smart phone for an instant answer. When I was growing up, we were still chiseling out our math homework on stone tablets. And also lumping our dinner over the head and dragging it into the cave. But times have changed…greatly. People video chat with family members across the world and surfing the net can be done alone at home or in a crowded bus next to thirty strangers. Isn’t technology grand? It allows thousands to spectate E-sports and gamers from around the world to huddle together and bond. And the best part about technology is it can also kick you right in the nuts for no reason. Technology is so beautiful…right up until it’s viciously cruel.

MY SETUP:

Most Streamers when then start out will have the basics. A computer. A webcam. A microphone. And a game. And as they move up the streaming ladder or save up money, they’ll buy more and more components to enhance their streaming experience. I use the word enhance, because it’s possible to gain thousands of followers and become successful as a Streamer just with the basics. But sometimes having a little extra equipment can help smooth the process. So what do I use? I have two monitors set up vertically for the various applications running; one tiny TV for the actual gameplay; a console of choice; the Elgato for capturing the video; a Logitech webcam; a green screen; and finally a Blue Yeti microphone mounted to a stand. On top of all this there are several programs running on the computer at once. OBS of course is the streaming software; Streamtip for if and when I ever get tips; Hexchat to be able to see the chat without having to squint; everyone’s favorite Moobot; and an audio player to play captured sounds and songs depending on my mood. Some Streamers will have even more (especially the big Streamers) and—most importantly—some Streamers will have less. But the point to all this is even though you may have the newest toys or the greatest software, there will come a time when all that becomes insignificant. Why? Because no matter what you use, you’re still beholden to technology. And when technology decides to take a day off, you’re going to have a bad time. So how do you deal with these moments and why not just give up then? Well, anything in life that’s important to you will always be an uphill battle. So strap in and consider that…

TERRIBLE STREAMS WILL HAPPEN:

You could be rocking seventeen different computers with six different Internet providers as back up, and you will still have streams that make you want to punch babies…because of technology. Just like people, everyone’s computer is different, coming preloaded with its very own set of quirks. So you might stream on a Monday and have the greatest experience of your life and then come back on Tuesday and your computer just decided to take a nap. So what do you do? You could take all your equipment and throw it out the window for quick gratification, but in the end that’s just counterproductive. You have to learn to take the bad on the chin and keep pushing forward. Keep persevering. And not to add salt to the wound, but not only can your computer decide to take the day off, but so can Twitch. There are days where Twitch constantly goes down, leaving your viewers pissed off and you wondering why the stream isn’t working. I recently had a broadcast where everything worked but the chat. The chat! My bread and butter. The only reason why I stream. I’ve become so accustomed to talking with people and interacting that I almost went silent for a few minutes…almost. On the outside I smiled, but on the inside the rage was real. There wasn’t anything I could do. Technology is amazing, right up until it isn’t. So here’s…

THE BEST WAY TO HANDLE TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES:

Laugh it off as best you can. Make a joke of your problems. Why? Because raging and getting pissed off will only create a bad atmosphere in the chat. People come to Twitch to be entertained and to enjoy video games. If you let the problems get to you, people will leave and go to another stream that’s having more fun. I watched a stream once, where a broadcaster dealt with a video coloration problem for over two hours. Two hours! And he still kept his viewer count up. In fact, the number even rose a little. Why? Because he made his faults and difficulties entertaining to watch. Sure it was killing him on the inside, but on the outside he kept his cool and just rolled with it. That’s the sign of a true professional. Now…don’t get me wrong, there may be a point where you do have to call the stream and hope the next day will be better, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. If you feel as though you can’t handle the problems or they’re so bad you can’t go on, then kill it and come back the next day ready to kick some ass.

VIEWER COUNT (SIDE NOTE):

(This doesn’t pertain to technology, but it fit the theme). The same could be said for viewer count and followers acquired. There could be a broadcast where your viewer count hits an all-time high and followers keep rolling in like you’re giving away free donuts and coffee with every push of the heart. And then the next day, you could be streaming at the exact same time, playing the exact same game, and carrying the exact same charisma…and have no one show up. Why? That’s one of the great mysteries in streaming. There’s really no answer. Just know that it has nothing to do with you. You did everything right that you could do. And sometimes it just comes down to dumb luck. But the one thing you shouldn’t do after a bad broadcast is give up. Why? Well, because there’s always…

A LIGHT AT THE END OF TUNNEL:

The silver lining to all of this is…there’s always tomorrow. You as a Streamer must always remember this. There’s always the next broadcast, where you can try again and make up for yesterday’s tragedies. So, after having no chat for hours on a Saturday, I bit the bullet, and fired up the stream the very next day. And do you know what happened? It was perfect. In fact, the conversation and laughs rolled on for hours. And in a short span of time, the tragedy of the day before fell into the void and completely disappeared. So no matter how bad your stream goes, you should never throw in the towel. If there weren’t losses in life, you could never truly embrace the wins. And it’s these wins that make streaming all worth your while.

CONCLUSION:

So you may have the most extreme setup for broadcasting possible: fifty webcams to capture every inch of your glorious body; a PC that’s so powerful it actually makes you breakfast; an Internet speed that would make Superman look bad; and a microphone that makes your voice so sexy your viewers can’t stop throwing money and their undergarments at you. Or…you may just stream from your console. Either way, at one point, technology will kick you in the groin, but you have to get up and keeping on trucking. You have to let the bad luck slide off your back, so you can focus on the good. Success in video game broadcasting doesn’t come in an instant. You have to work at it, just like anything else in life. So the best advice I could give you is never become discouraged, and never stop chasing your dream of becoming a successful Streamer. Just imagine if everyone in history quit after their first failure or hundredth…we’d still be living in caves, grunting, and chasing our food with a pointy stick.

twitch.tv/hankbananas     Gaming with a hint of sarcasm.