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Windows 10 Review for Dummies
By Ivory_Soul
Posted on 08/11/15
After all these years, and growing up with Windows 3.1, I have seen an entire evolution of computers and software. Touch screens and large resolutions were a pipe dream just 15 years ago. Now it's the norm. Going from a Packard Bell (yes, before HP) that couldn't run 3D Ultra Mini...


UrbanMasque UrbanMasque's Blog
What I learned at TwitchCon
Posted on Monday, September 28 2015 @ 20:32:04 PST

What I learned at TwitchCon

This past weekend in San Francisco, CA there were a lot of interesting things taking place. Folsom St. owned the day with its world famous Street Fair on Sunday. If you guys don't know, this event is famously known for being one of the only places in America where you can shut down an entire street for a whole day, share a beer in the sun, and watch BDSM aficionados of all types come together to put their well endowed skills on display. Seriously, Google it. A day earlier the city was concluding its Folsom Street Fair warm up act, which also included a similar celebration of depraved individuals who think that it is perfectly acceptable to immerse themselves in alternate fantasy universes for 5+ hours a day and broadcast  their disgusting activities to their friends and the world… That warm up act was TwitchCon.

When I first found out about the event I was extremely curious about what to expect. I’ve been to Cons & Expos before and I’ve see other industry events celebrate their successes and make announcements, but this was different.  I’m not sure if it was different because I actually cared and knew about the company and the industry, or if it was different because it is the first gaming focused streaming convention and it gives our hobby that much more legitimacy in the scheme of things. The feeling of legitimacy as a streamer didn’t leave either, because going to TwitchCon was the first time I viewed each broadcaster as a small business and not some DIY hobbyist.

The people on the panels, signing autographs, and playing in the invitationals were small brands with their own value, and this Convention was a way for other small businesses to share their knowledge and try to improve the community. I was lucky enough to be able to attend TwitchCon and I found the entire event extremely entertaining. For people interested in getting their broadcasting career started a lot of the panels werevery informational. Some panels felt like celebratory circle jerks of Twitch celebs, but they were still informational in their own way nonetheless.

While I do stream on occasion, I don’t really consider myself a part of any “gaming” community outside of GR. Until the Twitch Keynote (for the first half anyway), which was great. It really worked on our feels by reminding us of how far things have come and that we were all involved in getting gaming and game streams to this point. I mean for real - gamers have a lobby group (, gamers raise tens of millions for kickstarters, gamers help improve the quality of life of thousands of people by simply playing a game ( & ! As much as some of us try to fight it, we’re adults with an adult hobby whether you like it not. Not adult on the BDSM Folsom St. Fair level, but the Oculus will see to that soon enough.

Side note: The gaming lobby might become pretty important to you in the near future, especially given the a lot of the infringements on home data capping and net neutrality.

Either way its good to go somewhere and feel comfortable around people that you know, recognize, and who share your interests.  In my opinion, this was TwitchCon’s greatest attribute.  Even though the show floor felt very bare compared to a Pax or E3, the buzz in the air was still definitely felt throughout all three floors of The Moscone Center.  Visibly and spatially it felt like large areas of the floor were vacant and a lot of real estate went unused, but to be fair its the first one and they will more than likely hit TwitchCon hard as hell next year.  Like the first-born child, its growth and nurturing environment are largely an experiment, so if it winds up a bit ****ed up - you learn and move on.

From my experience walking through the floor and going home to watch some streams, the one thing they made sure to do was to massage four themes into your subconscious throughout the convention and those were Learning, Loyalty, Promotion, & Monetization. I didn’t go to every panel, but the ones I did sit in had these themes floating around the room. I’d love to hear from people who went, because maybe it was my experience and selection of panels but I think they were pushing people to find success because they obviously had an interest in making sure savvy streamers stayed within their community, got exposure, improved their streams, and made some mulah.

Duh, right?  I know, whatever, but the feeling of community was definitely there and given that the size of their streaming pie is being shrunk significantly I can see why they would want to foster that feeling.  Either way, I respected their efforts to educate. A lot of the breakout sessions and panels were about education.  Education on the importance of building your own rig so that you can learn the troubleshooting tools you need when your PC and stream inevitably crash. Education on how to clean up your “local” community, because in the end it helps all the other businesses seem legitimate.

The business theme wasn’t something that was passively mentioned, and I’m wondering if the panelist got light talking points from the staffers because the idea of your Subscriber being an Investor in your business was mentioned more than once. The comment was followed up by the idea that as a broadcaster, just like you pay stock holders dividends you should engage with the subscribers as the payout, get to know them, interact with them, and involve them in your stream - because they've invested in you. Again, this makes sense right? After all, why stream if you’re not going to engage people?  You might as well be recording it and then uploading it.

I know a lot of this seems like common sense stuff, but we have to remember that streaming is still relatively new to most people in general, so a lot of the ideas we now take for granted are things that we had to learn through trial and error. One new thing I learned from this event that I didn’t know before is that publishers (especially independent developers) are always looking to give games to streamers, free.  Not “free” like Oprah’s studio audience giveaway free, but “free” meaning that they give you the game with the stipulation that you play it on stream. You win because you don’t have to pay for a game out of your own pocket, and they win because it is free publicity. So, how do you get free ****!? If you’ve got twitter and  a channel, then you’ve got a resume that you can give to them with a simple tweet.  That is really all they want to see. There are only limited supplies for promotional games so it might take some time to get their attention, but if you’re streaming their games ANYWAY, tweet the link at them and I promise they’ll at least take note.  There is human on the other end of that twitter mention after all. Now, how your channel looks once they land on your page is on you, but at least you’ve now got their attention and might be able to finagle a few codes out of it.

There are things you can do to help yourself stand out too like improving the quality of your channel’s aesthetics and nurture the type of “community” you'd think they would appreciate, but again you’re the entrepreneur - its your call what type of business you want to run. Figure it out! If you can’t and you need a bit of help the interwebs is your best sounding board. Go to reddit, go to twitter, come to GR, heck you might even find someone willing to help build assets for you on craigslist, but I would advise against resorting to that. These communities outside of the streaming community are full of entrepreneurs like yourself and are key to how you get build inertia behind your channel. Post and promote there, but there is a thin line between a few thoughtful posts and shameless spamming.  

Sometimes, all you want are views. Thats fine, we wouldn't be doing it if we weren't interested in sharing. Looking for a quick surge in viewership? As one panelist put it, “Play a niche game.”  Those older games have dedicated communities that support them and who will support you for bringing a bit of nostalgia back into their lives, and they are constaly searching for these videos. AGAIN, like a small business - if you don’t promote your channel, your stream, and your stuff - no one will know you exist.

A streamer is definitely a brand and a name, but the idea that they are also a small business and an entrepreneur stuck with me due to how the panels spoke about their everyday dealings, setbacks, and inspirations. The idea that you can get rich quick streaming is still possible but largely fading, and now the focus seems to be how to have a semi-sustainable “career” streaming games, and I think that is right way to look at it. Its also the first time I’ve heard "game streaming career" spoken aloud seriously, in a business setting, without laughter, and while not being under the influence of some intoxicant. It was a good feeling. And many beers were had later.

The tools available to you are easier to access and easier to use than any other endeavor you might try from scratch so if you’re looking into making something in good quality then just get cracking.  The “streaming on a budget” panel advised you against throwing money at stuff and just trying things out at first.  This way you'll build a slow inventory of things you ACTUALLY need. I completely agree and think that novices interested should just fire up their PC or laptop and do a simple screen grab with a webcam, because then you’ll learn about what you need, what can go wrong, and what your current limitations are.  On the other hand, those of you who stream already *cough* longo/Ugh*cough* have no excuse for not putting your best foot forward. 

Lastly, the panelist and the convention goers in conversations I overheard were constantly offering encouragement to each other and would probably offer it to you, the reluctant streamer, if you were talking to them. Everyone acknowledged that their first streams were terrible, and that they’re constantly learning and improving as they grow their experience with their stream, but the fear of failure shouldn’t stop you from streaming and joining the ranks of game broadcasters the world over. In the words of the famous Tay Zonday, “This is the web, and its going to murder your TV”. Get in there while the gettings good. Online gaming for both the viewer and the streamer are becoming more and more popular, but you probably already knew that. This Con made me feel like streaming has hit its critical mass and everyone I interacted with there was the embodiment of that feeling. I’m glad I got to experience it. So, what don’t you know now thats keeping you from streaming? How easy it is to get started and why you shouldn’t be afraid to try it out, I mean.. you were going to play anyway right? If you stream - let us know, send a link.. a few of us will probably pop in, throw out a few dongers and contribute to your experience.

Sorry about the text blocks. Rant over.

I'm definitely going next year, hopefully I'll see you there.

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Begun, the streaming war has
Posted on Wednesday, August 26 2015 @ 09:13:34 PST's_hover_chair.png

In this war there are many fronts, and people are already starting to draw lines in the sand similar to the deep seeded hatred present among the most vehement console fanboys. I guess this happens anytime a titan gets challenged in any industry.  It's like watching a Keynote at E3, seeing a formidable challenger “move into a space” begins to feels like a heavy-weight bout that we all get to benefit from watching. Isn’t that mostly part of the excitement when you watch an industry event, and pray that they try to oneup each other? Watching and thinking to yourself, “How will they try to outdo each other and how will this benefit me?”

So now that you, the ever conscious consumer who wouldn’t dare throw his money away on bullshit, have got some serious choices about where you send and consume your digital content - how do you decide where to spend your time? Do you even have to choose? You own two or maybe three consoles and they’re getting along just fine. You’re on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr (don’t even try to act like you’re not) at the same time - why can’t I do the same with my streaming platforms?
For those of us who are less self-centered and like watching the spectacle of Twitter banter we prefer to see how these companies each position themselves.  Do you cater to the viewers or do you cater to the broadcaster? Will viewers follow the entertainers or choose to consume streams based on the platform’s features?  Face it, our hobby has just turned into a Royal Rumble and people are being tossed over the top ropes left and right! Then, just when you think you’re getting used to the flow of the fight the countdown clock starts and a new player appears. I can hear Jim Ross right now!

As far as the mainstream is concerned to game streamers and stream watchers, we’re getting close to the top three remaining wrestlers: The face (Twitch), the unsung jobber (Hitbox), and the newcomer (YouTube Gaming). Who will come out on top?
Where do you stream & watch streams primarily? Why?
Do you follow specific streams, personalities, or podcasts?
Do you only search for conferences, league tournaments, or new releases?

Be forewarned! You're going to see a LOT of questions like this proposed to you the viewer and consumer of live streams, because everyone is waiting for your reaction.  Yes! You matter and the money will flow to where the opinion of the critical mass lies.. The money must flow!  He who controls the money, controls the universe! muahahahahaha.  

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The Joys of RPing
Posted on Friday, April 24 2015 @ 10:00:05 PST

This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.
As some of you probably know I work with Corsair to help cover their gaming product launches and create content around their gaming-event based video coverage. Recently, I was asked by Corsair to participate in one of their Throwback Thursday Gaming Videos which basically interviews current employees about their early involvement with games and how those experiences have shaped their gaming habits today.

This interview was about 30-40 minutes, but for the sake of the ADD YouTube audience I’m sure its final edited duration will only include the most engaging 2-3 minutes. Knowing that well in advance, I wanted to take the time to write about the memories this conversation brought back and all the awkward feelings associated with remembering your pre-teen years. YAY!
If you’ve been lurking around the forums here long enough, then you’re probably aware that a lot of these nostalgia topics have been covered ad nauseam and what you learn is that even though our gaming interests may not have overlapped - the experiences around our earliest memories of console/PC games are probably the same. Memories like wiping the drool off your floor the first time your parent brought home that first system, the memory of troubleshooting that first system (i.e. blowing on cartridges), fistfights with siblings over cheating & cheesing, and the amount of time you spent deciding on what to name your character the first time you were given the option.

There was one period in my life where I wouldn’t leave my basement for quite some time (yes, it's a nasty stereotype - but that is where my PC and my consoles were setup so I could play and my friends could come over and play and not bother my parents). The nerdiest point of my life came way before I even started playing CS on my computer and began in the AOL Chat rooms of old. Way back when people were bombarding the chat-rooms with macros and password stealing was rampant! Seriously, old-school AOL was like the wild west. Crazy.

I’m sure this part of my story was left on the cutting room floor for a variety of reasons, but it definitely was a large part of my youth. It definitely wasn’t a video game, but I was gaining XP and following an evolving narrative - so it definitely felt like a game.  

Honestly, I don’t remember how I got into it, but I somehow fell into AOL RPing. Some of you might not think of this as a game, but I consider this a game because you played against others, the guild system was VERY structured and it was on my computer. Yeah, it was heavily text-based and revolved around chat-room conversations, but it was still a game nonetheless. A game where graphics didn’t matter because the world was built in your mind based on the level of description provided by the RPers in chat.

In order to play - basically, you had to submit your AOL RPing profile to the guild recruiters and they decided on whether or not they wanted to accept you into their fold. Your profile needed to have nice colors, a decent character write-up, and some sort of unique character background. Protip: The more emo it was, the better your chances. Once you started playing and got your “weapons” - it was up to you how you interacted with the other players - kind of open world, now that I think about it. My chatroom interactions tended to look something like this:
  -=UrbanMasque walks into the bar - sliding the cowl slowly off his head revealing the tight grey locks underneath=-

-=Looking around for a familiar face, but not recognizing any UrbanMasque makes his way to the bar=-

-=UrbanMasque sits at the only open seat at the end and waits to be served. Feeling uneasy about having his back to the other patrons in an unknown environment - he keeps his left hand concealed under his cloak gripped tightly around his purple gemmed-studed dagger [3d20]=-
..yup.. I had tons of girlfriends in Junior High School.. Actually, I lost my virtual virginity well in advance of my actually virginity (Ubuu was a stud - what can I say), but back to the story…
  If someone dared to challenge me or try to steal from me while I was at a public place, then we would roll to see if I could sense them. If I didn’t sense them, they stole my gear - if I did we probably fought. Fighting was fun because these bots existed that would randomly roll for you in chat and all you needed to do was input the dice information.
  After the encounter you’d get experience from your guild’s officers if you’ve downloaded the chat log and they can confirm with the rival guild’s officers that the “hit/battle” actually happened. The entire thing, the combat – the rooms – the conversations felt VERY ‘special’. I remember people used to do this with Pokemon and Dragonball Z battles in chat-rooms also. I miss those days *nostalgic tear*...
Soon after that Everquest came out and I traded the text-based RPing for something a bit more visual. And now I stream! I was visiting GR during that time in my life, but mostly to pull cheat codes for consoles.

Did anyone else RP Online in these chat-rooms?  
What was your AIM/AOL Username (i still have mine)?

I used to belong to an email wrestling fed also... Anyone else do this? anyone..? ..anyone..

[The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of GameRevolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. This article has been very lightly edited for grammar and style. You can find more Vox Pop articles here. ~Ed. Nick Tan]

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How much time is too much time?
Posted on Monday, January 5 2015 @ 16:54:37 PST

How much time is too much time?

If you are doing something you enjoy, is it possible to spend too much time doing it?  Obviously, you want to put a limit on how many kittens you kill in a day, but if you feel the s...   read more...

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"How do I make him jump?"
Posted on Wednesday, May 14 2014 @ 11:55:42 PST

Fact: Games are beneficial to a child's development and help improve the quality of your life. Well, this isn't really a fact as mush as it is a strong opinion, but seriously though, anyone who says otherwise is lying to themselves or are too...   read more...

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An Interesting Trend
Posted on Saturday, December 14 2013 @ 10:48:23 PST

With the release of the PS4 and its Share functionality, I'm sure everyone in the gaming community expected the amount of console streams to increase. Just the sheer curiosity gamers have over what this new button did would aid in ...   read more...

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UrbanMasque... Shilling up the place
Posted on Wednesday, September 18 2013 @ 18:47:10 PST

While at E3, I asked a significant number of gamers their thoughts on streaming and why they chose one platform rather than the other.  In essence, basically asking, “Why aren’t you streaming your games on Ustream?”  That ...   read more...

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Free Streaming
Posted on Monday, December 24 2012 @ 14:03:00 PST

...well ...sort of.

Odds are if you are streaming to, Livestream or Ustream - you are already interested in streaming and have the infrastructure necessary for maintaining a successful stream. This guide will mos...   read more...

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Posted on Tuesday, September 6 2011 @ 20:12:30 PST

So, the day has finally come! You're going to meet your WoW gf IRL!!! (if you can't follow the acronyms, you probably won't get most of the humor in this blog.. silly nUbs)   Remember, slow the F*** down! Try not to g...   read more...

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Niko Bellic... you're my only friend.
Posted on Monday, May 17 2010 @ 22:50:21 PST

Sometimes... I'm driving down the street and I wonder what it would be like to plow into a sidewalk full of pedestrians and children.  I also, wonder what I would be like to take a helicopter to the top of a skyscraper and just start pickin...   read more...

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