Twitch recently rolled out achievements. Normally I don’t really get why you would want achievements for website usage, but I guess this both fits their brand and helps solve a very important problem: How do I know if I am affiliate or partner material?
While trying to rebuild my buffer (which I mostly also stream to my twitch channel) I noticed I was remarkably close to filling all the requirements for Twitch affiliate and on Wednesday of this week I succeeded!
I had some fun just doing more normal Heat Signature streams for a change rather than the slightly awkward non-interactive Let’s Play recording streams I normally do. I will have to see if I can make time for more in the future.
Since getting back from Australia I have been taking my time for myself. Just spending time playing what I want to play and not doing much in the way of recording. This was probably a mistake because I have surprisingly few free weekends and the current buffer ends on Sunday the 10th of December.
This means you can expect to see a fair amount of streaming this weekend while I try to rebuild the buffer. Just keep an eye on https://twitch.tv/ranneko or my twitter feed for announcements.
This week Ran Signature came to an end, and (spoiler alert) the Ransistance too will soon come to a close, this means I have to pick both a shorter game for the Sunday slot and another longer game. Generally when this happens I start looking through my steam library, trying to find recent additions or just games that have been sitting on my backlog for quite some time. I try to keep in mind game length when I do this, I reserve different lengths of games from each game slot.
Sometimes I am reminded of a game I started ages that I want to finish, or a game I remember generating a lot of discussion and I slot that in, other times I talk to people or ask for suggestions. I try to avoid First Person Shooters, not because I don’t like them, but from past experience they take too much focus from me, making it too difficult to keep up commentary. I also try to avoid games in genres I have no real interest in like sports or racing.
In the case of the next Sunday game, I have picked Emily is Away Too, I was surprised to see it pop up in the November humble bundle given I had absolutely no idea they had made a sequel to Emily is Away. I am looking forward to exploring it.
Time to play a little catch up on the channel. With Torment: Tides of Numenera completed, I needed to come up with another game to play in that slot. Time was short as this occurred during the preparation for my Australia trip and I hadn’t anticipated Torment finishing quite so soon but I quickly spotted an obvious candidate in my steam list: Pillars of Eternity.
Long time viewers may remember that I started Pillars of Eternity sometime last year and stopped because 1) I was getting a little tired of the constant fighting and 2) the series was getting a little long. Given the tendency for the audience to drop off over the course of a long series it generally isn’t a great idea to have a super long 100+ episode series.
On the other hand, I really want to finish Pillars of Eternity and doing a Let’s Play of a game helps me stick with it and play consistently. So back to Dyrwood we go, let’s see just how long this RPG is. Should I start cutting down on the fights or sidequests to speed things up?
This update was delayed somewhat on the grounds that I was helping out at and then attending a wedding. The end of my Australia trip was super busy and I didn’t have the time or inclination to get this written up.
During this particular week; I finished up Torment: Tides of Numenera. It has been quite a journey, not only was there 67 episodes of the main series, but there are another 46 episodes of Torment Thursdays and playing around with the initial beta and 3 episodes of playing the alphas. I have spent about 76 hours reading out a lot of text.
I think what I enjoyed most about the game was the opportunity to spend time exploring the setting of Numenera. Unfortunately, my total pen and paper experience with Numenera has consisted of half of a oneshot adventure but I have always enjoyed the ideas expressed in the setting. Exploring a world that has seen advanced civilizations rise and fall so many times that the world is fully of ancient debris right down to the soil and Torment: Numenera was a good vehicle to explore it.
As far as the ending, I was surprised at how persuasively the Sorrow was written. She has been relentlessly pursuing us the entire game and we have witnessed her destroy not just other Castoffs, but also other more apparently innocent people and yet she was able to explain her purpose and convince me that this could not continue. I don’t think I have ever had the villain convince me over to their side before.
The releases for the week ending on 2017-11-10 were:
I think this week marks the first time I have quit a working game earlier than intended since my unsuccessful playthrough of Heroines Quest: The Herald of Ragnarok in early 2015. During the mission I ran into 3 separate issues which culminated in quitting the game and not going back.
To start with: We somehow automatically failed the sidequest from the previous expedition. We were asked to collect musical instruments and had no less than 14 instruments in our inventory and the collector leaves in disappointment. Not a great start, a relatively minor issue, but one that sets the tone for the episode.
Then, during this expedition we encounter our first celestial shrine. Unlike most shrine effects, the celestial shrine doesn’t create a hazard, instead it create impassable terrain. As an added bonus it also seems to cover a much larger area than most shrines. This is a trap, one that can’t help but get most players the first time they encounter it. It is simply much more dangerous than most other shrines and the most likely to render an expedition incompletable. A more experienced play of Curious Expeditions would know to avoid looting such shrines unless the path to the finish is clear. This kind of trap is not great to spring on a player in the last expedition of a run, personally, I would try to ensure this was exposed earlier when it isn’t going to completely destroy a character’s chances.
Finally, having realised the hopeless situation I resolved to use the Hot Air Balloon to escape and rescue what little treasure I had. Now when you are doing this, you get the rather selfish option to kick companions out of the party to increase space available in the balloon. Given I was on the last expedition I decided to completely empty my party. Unkind? Definitely. Encouraged by the game? Indisputedly. What the game doesn’t warn you is that you need at least 1 companion to actually use the hot air balloon. Dismissing every companion renders you unable to escape.
This was the final straw. Keep in mind, the interface to dismiss members of my party is explicitly tied to the hot air balloon. Why does it let me dismiss everyone from this interface if I need one companion to escape? Why doesn’t the interface tell me I need at least 1 companion to use the balloon before I set it up? This is either a bug, or both a terrible interface and a trap. Regardless it was the final straw for me and robbed me of even the consolation of at least returning from the sixth expedition. An incredibly bad experience that soured me on ever returning to the game.
My channel has been pretty stagnant of late. In a typical 48 hour period I average somewhere between 40 and 50 views, 0 comments and no new subscribers. I’m not sure what to do about this long term, but short term there are some very obvious actions that I am always somewhat hesitant to take.
The most obvious reason why I don’t get many views is that not many people know about my videos. If you don’t tell people they exist, they don’t find them. Strange right? Unfortunately, I get pretty nervous telling people about my videos, mostly worried that they will see it as spam or that the videos themselves aren’t good enough.
This week I built up the courage to post the Heat Signature tips on the Heat Signature subreddit and almost immediately saw results. My views immediately tripled and I got a few comments on the thread from people who learned things from the tips that I’ve already put out. It is a good reminder that telling people what you are working on actually works.
Is there anything cool you have been working on that you are nervous telling people about?
I am not sure how widely I have discussed this, but most of the recording I do is also streamed up at https://twitch.tv/ranneko. There isn’t much in the way of audience interaction, and thus there generally isn’t much of an audience. The goal is to give me a backup in case I screw up with my local recording.
At the time of writing, I am actually very close to the end of the Ransistance and I am hoping to finish it off before I fly out (At the time of publishing I will already have started the first leg of my journey). I have been having a great time with War of the Chosen but I think it would be less fun if I not play it for a month and then have to get back into the flow right at the end of the game.
With the Chosen weaponry, the new hero classes, the new skill system and the near gear from the Alien Hunters DLC by the end of the game your soldiers are significantly more powerful than in the base game. I am finding the late game missions to be almost a cakewalk. I think if I play again I will try increasing the difficulty level and look at using mods built around upping the danger level.
Have any of you given War of the Chosen a shot for yourself?
I have finally completed all of the recording I need to do before Australia. All I have left is a little bit of editing and uploading and I will have videos scheduled for every day until early December.
Last year I remember pulling off something similar, but at that time my release schedule was a little more relaxed, I think I was only doing 3-4 videos a week but it still took a lot of time and effort to build up the buffer enough to cover everything. This has been a similar amount of work despite the fact I am producing about twice as many videos.
I think the biggest difference, besides simple practice, is changes to the video editor I use. Last year exporting a video would take several hours and I would need to manually kick off the next in sequence. It was hard to speed things up, because ultimately I could export maybe 3 videos in an evening with long stretches of downtime (and leaving the app open overnight).
Nowadays, VideoPad has a queue system which means I can edit the next video while the first exports, but even more significantly, the export process itself is significantly faster because the developers have made the program work smarter. Previously every frame of the video would be re-encoded, regardless of the original source. Now, if I haven’t made a change in a large section of video, and the source is the same quality as the export, VideoPad will literally just copy the data. Where previously I could render a few videos a night, now I can render half a dozen or more.
Are there any apps you use regularly that have improved like that? Also if you edit videos yourself, what is your workflow?
Suspicious Developments‘ Heat Signature serves as an incredible example case study into the weird relationship I have with traditional game news. I was entirely on-board when Tom Francis first announced he was working on a new space game, pretty much solely on the strength of Gunpoint, and I followed the associated Twitter account immediately. And then I… never looked into it? In any way? I knew it was in progress, and I had a vague idea of the graphical layout and the problems involved with mapping an enormous procedural (outer) space. But beyond that, I wouldn’t be able to tell you anything about Heat Signature right now. I’ve heard from smatterings of other reviews that it involves space ships? And boarding? And plans, and backup plans, and backup-backup plans, and plans marked ‘under no circumstances enact this’? Which you will enact anyway?
I have the amazing ability to be feature-blind to hyped indie games even if I’ve taken explicit steps to stay up-to-date with it. I know, I know, it’s like a superpower. Let’s hope it pays off in this case.