TwitchCon: I Thought I Knew Twitch, But I Didn’t

Hey everyone,

I hope you’re all doing well. For my part, I feel lovely! After spending 5 days in the beautiful and sunny San Diego, it is hard not to.

I wanted to write my recap on TwitchCon as soon as possible, while my memories of the event were still fresh in mind. There are many things to discuss when it comes to TwitchCon, but what I want to talk about is how clueless I really was about Twitch and its community in general. Don’t get me wrong, I am a user of Twitch and have been for a few years. Like you guys, I watch my favorite video game events, e-Sports competitions and my favorite streamers. I’d dare say I’m well familiar with Twitch, even. The truth is that after attending my first edition of TwitchCon, I came to the conclusion that I thought I knew and understood Twitch, but in fact I absolutely didn’t.

Welcome to TwitchCon, where memes and dreams come to life.

Welcome to TwitchCon, where memes and dreams come to life.

TwitchCon won’t be completely packed. Wrong.

Look, I’ve been to several PAX and other big video game conventions in my life. And I’m not saying there were more people at TwitchCon than at PAX East. In fact, I don’t know the official numbers and they are unimportant for the matter at hand. At a convention like PAX, you can expect a huge audience to show up because this is an event that celebrates the entire video game industry. From the indies to the AAA’s, from the publishers to the streamers, everyone attends PAX. But for TwitchCon? Twitch is just a community (albeit the largest one) inside video games. It is a fraction of the industry, or so I thought. Boy, was I wrong. This event was quite eye-opening for me, I was surprised by the sheer number of people attending. Twitch is part of gaming now and it is here to stay. Every gamer nowadays is familiar with Twitch, no matter the type of game he plays or the platform he uses. And that’s a good thing.

The San Diego Convention Center, home of TwitchCon 2016, was at full capacity.

The San Diego Convention Center, home of TwitchCon 2016, was at full capacity.

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The Kappa Theater, one of the many showrooms at TwitchCon 2016.

Twitch is just a by-product of gaming. Wrong.

I always thought Twitch was just a by-product of gaming. I initially put it on the same level as voice-chat programs, some sort of secondary tool for gamers. Boy, was I wrong. The truth is, Twitch brings gaming to another level. Really, the longer Twitch stays around, the better it is for gaming. It makes the experience both for the viewer and the streamer better. It was a big factor in making video games mainstream. Streamers can now easily showcase their skills and personality to a large audience and viewers have an easy way to watch content online.

Of course, I’m not saying Twitch is perfect. We’ve all heard about the horror stories; the bullying, the police raids, etc. But these examples are a water drop in the sea of interactions on Twitch, which for the most part, are positives for everyone involved.

Despite the overused memes, Twitch chat is a powerful tool that makes watching or playing games more interesting.

Despite the overused memes, Twitch chat is a powerful tool that makes watching or playing games more interesting.

 

Twitch is also so prominent among the community that game developers have started to integrate Twitch features in their games. Shardbound and Streamline are two examples of games that are made with a stream-first mentality. There are several ways to include the viewers in a game, these are called Stream First tenets by Twitch:

  • Game UI: Display a user interface that is comprehensible to viewers, not just players.
  • Inclusion: Include the audience in the streamer gaming experience.
  • Recognition: Recognize the audience for their involvement in the game.
  • Community Achievements: Give the entire channel community a chance to make progress.
  • Audience Feedback: Allow the audience to influence the gameplay.
  • Motivation: Reward the audience for their contributions.
  • Community Co-op: Ensure that everyone in the community feels included.
  • Twitch Plays: Allow the audience to play the game directly using Twitch chat or other controllers.

As you can see, a game experience can change drastically with Twitch. The viewer is now involved in the process, he can participate and engage with his favorite streamer. And this brings me to my last eye-opening realization.

Twitch is just about video games. Wrong.

I thought for the longest time that Twitch was just about watching people play games. Boy, was I wrong. Twitch is beyond the scope of gaming. It’s much more than that. First and foremost, it is about social interactions. It’s a mean for people to connect with others. I realized this when I walked in the lobby hall the first day. Seeing people that had never met at all (in real life or online) hug each other and start talking like good friends was a bit of a shock. People connected so easily with each other, all they needed was an interaction about their favorite streamer or their favorite content to watch.

I was also surprised by the amount of love the popular streamers received. I attended some of these ”Meet and Greet” reunions and some streamers were receiving cookies, t-shirts and all kind of crazy stuff from their most faithful fans. And thinking about it, why would they not? If you watch someone every evening, he is part of your life even though you have never met him in the flesh.

I also found out that there is a big audience on Twitch that is not watching game-related content at all. Some people have a cooking channel or a painting channel. You can watch pretty much anything on Twitch, it is quickly replacing television.

The bottom line is that the viewers on Twitch watch for different reasons: some are seeking attention (donation message and shoutouts), some are looking to interact and chill with others (Twitch chat), some are simply enjoying watching their favorite games or e-Sports competitions and some are watching pro players to improve their own play. And that’s the beauty of Twitch, everyone is benefiting from it. Each and every streamer has his own channel’s theme and way of streaming, and the same can be said for viewers and their watching habits.

 

MANvsGAME, a popular streamer, has built his channel around struggling and beating every video game he can get his hands on.

MANvsGAME, a popular streamer, has built his channel around struggling and beating every video game he can get his hands on.

Some streamers, like FuturemanGaming, have a very recognizable element to stand out from the crowd.

Some streamers, like FuturemanGaming, have a very recognizable element to stand out from the crowd.

Twitch brings a very diverse crowd, even the UFC champion Demetrious Johnson can be seen streaming regularly.

Twitch brings together a very diverse crowd. Even the UFC champion Demetrious Johnson can be seen streaming regularly.

 

To conclude, I really enjoyed my time at TwitchCon 2016 and as a game developer, I truly understood what this platform was all about.

That’s it for now, stay tuned as we will have a big announcement about Light Fall in a week or two.

Cheers!

-BEN

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Light Fall: Introducing the Shadow Strike

Hello everyone!

Today we’d like to share a new game mechanic that will be possible with the Shadow Core. It’s something we’ve been working on for a while and something we always wanted to do. Finally, after putting many hours into it and after a few iterations, we are now ready to present it publicly.

Behold, the Shadow Strike!

That’s right, you can now spin your Shadow Core at high speed and turn it into a weapon to break various elements of the game! Take control of the level and show everyone who’s the boss. The idea came from the clumsy nature of the main character, who inadvertently breaks things around him while travelling across Numbra.

Obviously, not all elements of the game are breakable. There is also a downside; you cannot move your character while you are taking control of the Core, so think carefully before going berserk!

Below are some other examples where this new in-game mechanic will come in handy.

We hope you are excited about this new mechanic, which will open up many possibilities for the level design. One thing is certain, with the Shadow Strike on your side, you will have what it takes to survive the many dangers of Numbra. We wanted to empower the player with this mechanic, you now have a clear impact on the world around you.

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Bishop Games: Introducing Ben Corriveau

Hey everyone, today we have a new guy in town to introduce! Please welcome Ben Corriveau, the newest employee at the studio. You read that right, we now have 2 Bens on board… our success is now guaranteed.

On a serious note, Ben joins the team as a full-time employee and as the second programmer of the studio. He will help us realize our vision of Light Fall and make it a great game. We are very excited about having Ben on the team, we share a common vision and philosophy when it comes to making games.

In his brand new and shiny Light Fall shirt, Ben Corriveau will help us in making Light Fall an amazing game.

In his brand new and shiny Light Fall shirt, Ben Corriveau will help us in making Light Fall an amazing game.

 

Here’s a short interview in which Ben introduces himself to you all. Have a good read!

  • What were you up to before joining Bishop Games?

I was living in Drummondville with my family. I completed an accounting degree and worked in this field for two years. Then, I realized I wanted to do something else in life. I completed a short course in programming, something I already did as a part-time hobby. This led me to work at Frima Studio in Quebec for one year, then I joined the guys.

 

  • What was the process of joining Bishop Games, an indie studio, like? Did you know the guys?

I already knew David beforehand, as he was my teacher at Bart College, the place where I took my course. I also briefly worked on Light Fall before joining Frima, a year ago. So I had already met the guys. As for officially joining the team, David offered me the job around a beer and I quickly accepted!

 

  • How does it feel to join a project like Light Fall?

It feels awesome! I had already backed the game’s Kickstarter last year and now I’m working on it full-time… Quite the funny situation. The guys also seem really laid back and fun to work with so far. It’s really different working on your own IP (intellectual property) than doing servicing contracts for other clients. We have much more freedom and we just try our best to make a fun and exciting game instead of doing exactly what the client demands.

 

  • What are your favorite video games?

All-time: Bad Company 2, Guild Wars (1), Halo 2-4. Recently: Destiny, Salt and Sanctuary, Ori and the Blind Forest. I mostly enjoy FPS and platformers, with some RPGs from time to time.

 

  • What is your favorite meal?

I can’t choose between poutine and pad thai!!!

 

  • Lastly, the most important question, how cool is it to have two Bens in a team of four?

Obviously awesome! Although, it’s sometimes confusing when someone simply says ‘Ben’. We have to work something out I guess, but it’s a small price to pay for all the awesomeness it brings!

 

 

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