Farewell to Streaming

I did one more stream, this time playing Desktop Dungeons from the beginning. Why the switch? Partly because I figured the few people who watched were probably getting bored with Gearheads, but mainly because I wanted to see if the same problems would manifest. They did. My software reported that in excess of 98% of frames were being dropped.

So I’m thinking I’m giving up streaming, at least for a while. It’s not that the problems are unsolvable. It’s that they’re unsolvable without buying additional hardware, and that’s more than I’m willing to do on a lark. All the streams I’ve done so far have been from a 2015 Macbook Air, over wifi. “You fool,” shouts every streaming advice article on the ‘net, “you should never stream over wifi!” And I was all ready to hook the machine up to my router via ethernet, and was even pleased to discover that I had an ethernet cable long enough to reach from the router to my good streaming spot, but then I realized that a 2015 Macbook Air doesn’t have an ethernet port. Ethernet-to-USB adapters exist for this purpose, but that falls under “buying additional hardware”.

OK, so maybe I could stream from my desktop PC instead? I could stream a game, certainly, but this machine doesn’t have a camera, and it seems like watching the player’s face as they gurn and overemote is an essential part of the experience. I could buy a webcam, but again, that would be buying additional hardware. At this point I start getting clever and thinking: What if I hook up the laptop’s video output to the desktop machine? I’m pretty sure I have a video out adapter for the Macbook somewhere. That way I could use the laptop’s camera. I could even play the game entirely on the laptop but use the desktop machine for streaming — which sounds more efficient anyway, because that way the game and the streaming software aren’t competing for cycles. But you’ve probably already spotted the flaw in this plan: my PC has no video input.

Even if I fixed my hardware problems, my chief limitation is probably just the upload speed from my ISP. So I’m giving up, but I imagine I’ll have the means to do proper streaming at some point in the future. I mean, I didn’t get as close as I did on purpose. Laptops just happen to come with cameras now. Open-source streaming software exists. It’s kind of amazing how easy it’s gotten to do video broadcasts over the internet that fall just short of adequate.

As for Desktop Dungeons, I may get back into playing it. I still haven’t beaten the final dungeon.

1 Comment so far

  1. malkav11 on 31 Dec 2018

    I admit I’m not the primary audience for livestreams as my feeling is that we invented streaming video to get -away- from having to check in on someone else’s schedule, but I do enjoy watching recorded streams or the like on Youtube and actively prefer not having a facecam in the process. YMMV.

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