Hi. My name is Jan, and I am a 30 something year old writer / coder / gamer / pizza eater living in the United Kingdom. Since this photo was taken, my hair has changed colour. I am also at least a foot taller.
I have been writing fiction ever since I figured out how a pen works, and coding for almost as long, making my first website at 15 (A Resident Evil 2 fansite on Geocities).
As you can probably tell from the subject of my first website, I am also a lover of "interactive story media", aka video games. A large part of my day is dedicated to the online gaming world, with a focus on my Twitch Channel and surrounding community, called "The Pillow Fort".
Monday hit like a train this week, and I made the decision to not stream.
I hate cancelling streams, but when I am so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open, then I know that the stream is just going to be boring to watch, because I will clearly not be in “the zone”.
On Tuesday I was feeling much better, but still in a lazy mood. I didn’t bother with my usual hair and makeup routine (And I wear a LOT of makeup to stream usually), I decided to just stream with the camera switched off.
And then the inevitable happened. Someone asked about my streaming notebook, the Bletchley Park worthy (My handwriting sucks) collection of short notes, Minecraft coordinates, Warframe Mod layouts and Dragon Age level stats that I keep on hand at all times during streams. Darn, thought I, I can’t show it to them because the camera is off.
Then I made the decision that I never thought I would make.
Sat there, with bad hair, no make up, and a blanket wrapped around my shoulders…I switched on the camera.
It was probably the MOST uncomfortable event of my three years of streaming. AND…not one bad comment. In fact, people said I looked fine when I mentioned my fears.
So I kept the camera on for the rest of the stream. Sat there with unbrushed hair (Sorry, Mum), no makeup and a blanket.
I suppose the lesson I learned is we tend to be our own harshest critic, believing that everyone is judging us for not wearing lipstick or for having bad hair. When the reality often is that people haven’t even noticed. Or the ‘badness’ is not actually as bad as we perceive it to be.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my stream set up recently. Since getting the PS4 I’ve been realising how much easier it is to stream from a PlayStation compared to streaming from my rig. Obviously you guys don’t see anything on the front end, but behind the scenes the PlayStation is a single input, with IT’S OWN SOUND SLIDER ON OBS. On top of that, I can interact with main PC things without alt-tabbing out of the game. Granted a lot of “interactive” things I do from my laptop for this reason, but OBS etc still runs on my rig. As does iTunes for streams where I have background music.
Plus there’s the BIG advantage. If the game crashes (Detroit: Become Human I am looking at you) it doesn’t take the entire stream with it to join the crash party (Elder Scrolls Online, you know what you did.)
More and more, I am wondering if the time has come to switch to a 2 PC system. Possibly using an HDMI switch from the ‘gaming’ PC into the elgato card (Chances are I am not going to ever stream my gaming rig and my PlayStation at the same time, so they could switch) which then goes into the ‘streaming’ PC. The other advantage would be that it means that OBS and the game aren’t fighting for resources, which has never actually BEEN a problem in my streams, but there’s always a first time, and with games getting more and more intense that time is probably soon.
As it is, I actually have another PC tower collecting dust in storage, so I already have the “tech” as it was. What I lack is the space. A 2 PC set up will need space for 2 PC towers at my desk, which means making some changes. Only small ones, adding a shelf or table at the edge of my desk to hold the second tower, and then MASS WIRE MANAGEMENT of all the wires.
I’m not going to do this tomorrow. Indeed it might not even be until the summer (I’ve got a lot of sorting plans in my streaming room that I want to get done first). But it IS something I am thinking about more and more.
So while I was at my parent’s house over Christmas, I stood on their bathroom scales
Granted, Christmas is probably not the best time to take an interest in one’s weight, and I’ve never been one for buying into the whole ‘you have to be thin to be beautiful’ zeitgeist. But I do FEEL unfit, and whatever my feelings about body shape, it should probably be a warning sign when the bathroom scale reads ‘Please use scales one at a time’.
I also have a favourite pair of dungarees that ‘shrunk in the wash’ and that I would quite like to wear again.
So I did what any self respecting gamer would do in this situation. I bought Just Dance 2018 for my PS4
And before anyone asks, NO I WILL NOT BE STREAMING IT!!! Hell no. No one needs to see that. I have two left feet and the rhythm sense of a jellyfish. Streams will be sticking to Warframe, Dragon Age, etc etc.
If you WANT to see Just Dance streamed (and streamed properly, not the disaster I’m going to make of it) then check out Littlesiha
Besides my stereotypical “must get fit this year” goal, I also have my streaming goals for this year. 2018 saw the channel take less focus from me as I concentrated on my new job, which I am still loving. I have been there a year now, and am comfortable, happy, and am DEFINITELY in a much better place mentally than I was at the close of 2016. Granted I could have been a character is Les Miserables and been in a better place mentally at the end of 2016, but that’s besides the point.
2017 was the year that I gave myself to focus on content creation (and burn up my savings) and I won’t take back a second of that year for the world. It let me recharge, and it taught me a lot about myself, and streaming, and myself in regards to streaming. Above all though, it taught me that streaming, for me, will never be a full time job. I just don’t have the mentality for it. It makes me see it differently, and stop enjoying it.
So back to part time we went.
2018 saw me focus on my job more, which combined with an organic move towards the current variety format, saw the channel shrink considerably. I won’t lie and say that shrinkage doesn’t make me sad sometimes, but it is the nature of the beast, and to be honest I would rather have a variety format and a small channel, than a single game format and a large channel right now.
Towards the middle/end of 2018 I burned out on Minecraft. Like properly. I just couldn’t think creatively. Had this been a single game Minecraft channel, well that would have been a disaster. Instead I currently have a handful of games running, each with their own “days” on the schedule which is stuck to where possible. It makes things a bit chaotic, but I enjoy the format more, and it means that there is more on offer. And I am now getting back into Minecraft, after a break that a single game format would not have allowed.
Besides, it’s not as if a variety format CAN’T work on Twitch. Your Honour I present exhibit A, Pistachibow
My end goal, as always, in Twitch Partnership, but after three years and 0 progress on that front, I can’t see year four suddenly being the year I succeed, so I am instead focusing on smaller goals on the streaming front. Working towards the ultimate goal, but being smart about it and allowing for the fact that reality IS a thing.
Okay, enough waffle, let’s post some goals for 2019. First up, RL goals.
Get back into dungarees Goal weight, 10 stone. Current weight, 15 stone
Pay of credit cards Shall not post amount here, but there’s a FEW 0s after the lead number :-/
Focus on my nails My nails are quite bad. They crack easily (Which is probably because of the lack of dairy in my diet) and I always forget to paint them. So I want to keep them painted, and get them healthy, in 2019. I know, a strange one. But it is one.
Wear Make up to work Really, just take pride in my appearance full stop, to be honest.
Start saving for new house/flat I feel that I need a bigger place. I would like to live closer to work, and also have room for a proper home office, instead of a converted corner of the living room.
Actually remember to keep this blog up this time If nothing else, it will keep me motivated on goals and stuff.
And now for streaming goals in 2019. First, the numbers.
Get 20 average viewers Currently at 9.71, but I haven’t streamed in about a week so that gives me a fair “floor” to climb up from.
Get a steady 60 sub points Currently at 34, so halfway there.
And now the none numbers.
Focus on Sand Cats My stream team that isn’t really a stream team was neglected almost the moment I started it. I would like to try and get it growing this year, and maybe get some Sand Cats events running.
Focus on Pillow Fort Commit to more community events, the server, and general community, all of which were the main and most noticeable casualties of my “work first” mentality over 2018.
I normally have a ‘goals review’ on my birthday, so we will see what things are like then.