How to make your game appeal to streamers

March 9, 2016

 

You might think if your game is Youtube-friendly, the streamers will also love playing it. While in some cases this is true, we are seeing an evolution of how streamers build their own loyal communities and interact with them live. It's a different experience than making a funny Youtube video with lots of cuts of fun moments.

 

Here are 5 tips how to make your game more appealing to livestreamers.

 

 

1. It needs to be playable for a loooong time.

 

Roguelike or session-based games are perfect because they provide ample opportunity for replayability. Most streamers will have a stream for at least 3 hours. Some will play for 8 hours straight.

  • The content needs to be there -- so for single player games, you need to have 3 hours worth of content.

  • The content can't be too stressful or overly exhausting -- this is why not many eSports streamers play normal games and vice-versa. Games need to have downtime so streamers can interact with their audience. It's difficult to be both entertaining and playing well in a game like SpeedRunners as we found.

 

2. If you're doing twitch integration, it needs to be extremely easy to understand

 

Often developers think that if they do some form of twitch integration, it's a sure thing that everyone is going to stream their game. Wrong. Very often I see games that forget about making it easy to setup.

 

Let's say you have a voting system where people vote on certain things to happen. We did this with Party Hard, and many other games like Tomb Raider also had success. It worked because we had very clear in-game indicators of what's happening - it was easy for both the streamer and the audience to see what was happening.

  • Make in-game UI that replicates whatever your chat is interacting with

  • Be sure that the streamer doesn't have to read any manuals and that it's obvious what's happening

  • Have a chat-bot that tells everyone live what's happening. You have unpredictable delay with the livestream, and whenever interactions are open - the bot needs to say so live, and spam the commands into the chat

  • The commands need to be clear and bundled together. Something like "#vote 1" is easy to vote for item 1. If you have multiple commands, send a clear message how to use it. "#vote 1 100" can be used to "Bet 100 on Option 1"

 

3. Stream the game yourself!

 

Imagine you've sent a streamer a build, and for some odd reason OBS or Xsplit doesn't work properly with it, causes lag, or whatever. Odds of it being played are now about 0.

  • Go stream some games

  • Setup your own game

  • See if it works in all major livestreaming apps

Also by streaming it yourself you get an idea of what it's going to be like. Invite your friends into the chat and tell them that every time you mess up, you'll do 10 push-ups -- this totally works! You'll do a dry-run of points 1 and 2.

 

Also be sure to watch streamers play games. If you're coming into this completely blind, you should be watching something on Twitch right now.

 

 

 

4. Think about gameplay that feels like a shared experience

 

Very often I see streamers play games as if they're sitting in the same room with the chat. It's part of what makes Twitch great -- it's like the old days, where multiple people got together to watch someone play. You hang around, eat popcorn, and comment on each others' game.

 

Here, streamers will use "we" a lot. "We are going into this dungeon now", it feels very inclusive. I want to participate, I want to weigh in, I want to help.

  • Games with decisions tend to do better than rollercoasters. Think of Stardew Valley vs Call of Duty -- the first one you play at your own pace and have your own adventures, the second is action packed and scripted

  • Getting the chat to weigh in on decisions - even without any sort of integration can help everyone be included

 

5. Think outside the box - there are no rules yet

 

We are in completely new territory here and very soon it will evolve and some well-known strategies will emerge. Now though, there are no rules. What if you use a livestream as a platform to launch your game early? That worked for Punch Club.

 

What if you [random crazy idea]? It might just work.

 

This is the key takeaway you need from this article. We recently shifted from passively watching TV, to live-tweeting TV-shows, and now watching and interacting with our entertainers real-time. We watch them with thousands of other people, and can interact with each other. You have the technology to facilitate this interaction, and it scares me where this is going.

 

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