On the regular or whatever

With this blog, I promised myself that I would NEVER do one of those 'sorry I haven't been blogging' posts. I feel like a) that's a death knell, and b) it makes the thing feel like a job.

So, guess what? I'm not doing that here.

Honestly, I've been juggling this and the streaming thing, plus all the normal aspects of my life. I work, I run, I have kids, the Cardinals are in a pennant race, the oldest boy is back into acting, and on and on.

So, how's the streaming thing going, you ask? Well, here's the current playlist for my ginormous Mass Effect trilogy playthrough.

Pretty cool, eh? I think I'm going to do another episode tonight.

That's been mostly fun. I'm still working out what works best for me and my personality as a streamer/YouTuber, and I'm finding that those two are distinct concepts. So, I'm still working that out.

I'm also actually really gaining some momentum with the weight loss. I'm down about 25 pounds now, and it's still coming off. Honestly, it was just cutting out snacks, cutting my overall intake, still eating tasty things that aren't bad for me, and getting my heart rate up for extended periods at least three times a week.

That, and really believing that I am the only one that's in control of my weight. I dictate how fat I am. I am in total control of this situation. It's work, yes, but it's work that I've earned, and I can definitely do this. It's worth taking precious time away from my wife and kids to do the exercise three times (or more) a week, because it's actually going to make me live longer, which is more time with them.

And, I believe, living every day like it's your last is fucking stupid. If I did that, I wouldn't fucking exercise. I'd have an orgy while eating pizza and running slow drivers off the road.

My approach is to just live every day. Some stuff is fun, some stuff just keeps you moving forward, and some stuff just is what it is.

Anyway ...

... some quick hits

I am still madly in love with Dark Matter.

I am loving Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, even if the optimization is a bit lacking on PC.

Divinity: Original Sin 2 early access hit, and it's blowing me away. The first Original Sin was, by the time the Director's Cut or whatever it was called was done, an absolutely wonderful, amazing experience. Wholly original and utterly enjoyable. This takes all that, and iterates in all the right places, and brings natural evolutions to systems in great ways. And I really, really see Chris Avellone in the writing. It is so fucking good. Not just the writing itself, but the way conversation are structured now is just fantastic. Man, what a great game. This and Torment are my two most-hyped games on the horizon. Even more than my beloved Mass Effect.

Anyway, yeah, September always gets a little outta control for us. It's the moment when summer has slammed into a concrete barrier at 75MPH, and we're hurled through the windshield and into fall. Shit just gets crazy.

So, that's what's going on.

Oh, and Tokyo Game Show is happening RIGHT NOW. There's a Twitch team here where you can watch. Just bear in mind, they're half a day in the future.

Alright, I'm out. I'll post something on Twitter when I'm going live later tonight, or just subscribe to my channel!



That Mass Effect Series I'm Doing

So, I'm really excited about the Mass Effect YouTube series that I kicked off yesterday. Mass Effect is a series that is very close to my heart, and I'm really pumped that I get to share it with the world.

To that end, even though I've played through the trilogy multiple times, and ready/seen everything that expands the universe, I'm doing a fair amount of research into both the development history, and the in-game lore. And I'm having a fucking blast doing that. I love this series so much, and I'm really enjoying putting the work in to make it great for you.

In fact, if you wanna check out the first episode, here ya go:

And if you wanna keep up with the series, and/or be notified when I go live with a new episode, PLEASE subscribe!

Now, if you REALLY wanna do it right, do a little homework before watching my stream! Check it out!

First, read the Mass Effect: Evolution comic! It provides some background on a key character that comes later, as well as gives you some familiarity with the conflict between humans and Turians.

Second, read the novel Mass Effect: Revelation! It's a fun read, and really gives the reader some insight into a couple key characters from the series. And for real, it really gave me a deeper appreciation of a particularly nasty character in the first game.

Third, read Mass Effect: He Who Laughs Best. It provides a neat little bit of background for one of the main characters of the series, and is a fun read.

After that, you're basically ready for the first Mass Effect.

I'm now actually contemplating doing an 'intro' video that explains some of the history prior to the first game. What do you think? Maybe a PowerPoint? I dunno. Opinions are welcome here.

Anyway, if you wanna join me and help guide some of the choices of my current Shepard, then join me during the next stream, comment below, whatever. And if you subscribe to my channel, you can get notifications for whenever I'm going live or publish a new video.

Other than that, I am thoroughly enjoying Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. I'm not streaming that one. I decided that I don't really like sharing my first playthroughs of game. I like the solitude and privacy my first time through.

Anyway, I played through the Dubai intro, which was stupid and frustrating, but I've really liked everything after that. I'm still in the main hub area after Dubai, doing side missions and learning the new Praxis system.

I also really want to, soon, set aside some time to really focus on playing Wasteland 2. That's such a great game that I've just never made the time for.

Oh, I'm also reading the latest Deus Ex novel, Black Light, by James Swallow. It bridges the two games. Give it a look. It's solid.

And that's it! Thanks!



YouTube and Me

I've been pondering the next 'move' for my YouTube Gaming Channel after my fairly successful DXHR run.

The marathon part was a bit much, but it was actually pretty fun to have folks come and hang out for a while and talk Deus Ex.

The long-form continuous playthrough, though, has actually gained some traction, which surprised me. I can understand why it would be interesting to watch, theoretically, but I can't fathom someone actually setting aside the required 30 hours to do so. But, some folks are. Cool!

I like doing it, and I seem to slowly be finding a niche audience. Where do I go from here?

Well, I've been thinking about that, and here's kinda where I am:

01. In thinking about what I want to see more of on YouTube, I want to see:
   a. someone that doesn't scream in falsetto (or at all, really)
   b. someone that's committed to the roleplay of the character in-game, but not to their audience
   c. in terms of a long 'canon' playthrough of a game, mods that enhance the original vision of the game
   d. someone knowledgeable about the game's lore
   e. someone knowledgeable about the game's development
   f. someone that has well-founded opinions on the game, and that can communicate them in an intelligent, non-hyperbolic fashion
   g. someone that's cool and funny
02. I enjoy sharing some of my gaming with the world; for example, I'm enjoying playing DXMD for the first time by myself, and wouldn't enjoy sharing that with YouTube; conversely, my new 'MMO & Chill' streams are there for hanging out and socializing; what I did with DXHR was my second playthrough after five years, and that really enhanced the experience; it was technically my first playthrough of the Director's Cut; streaming subsequent runs of games that I know and love is fun, especially when I can balance, commentary, comedy, and knowledge
03. I think my channel, for me to stick with it, needs to have more than one 'product;' that's where the 'MMO & Chill' thing came from; I don't want to just be that guy that makes 15-20 streams for one game, and it's this really long, involved, intense thing
04. I think I might get away from, altogether, playing brand new games on the channel; there's a ton of people already doing that, and that's really not the way I enjoy discovering games
05. I think I'd really enjoy devoting my channel to not-new games; not really 'retro' games, though some of those might come up; I'm not one of those dickheads that believes that everything good stopped being made after year X. I love all kinds of games from all kinds of years, and fully believe that every year, the best games ever made are being made

So, with that in mind, I think this where we're going from here.

01. I'm going to have an ongoing series in which I'm playing through a game (or series), at least an hour a week. Probably more. I may even have two in parallel. It'll usually be pointed at an upcoming release, but not always. The series that are will be titled 'The Road to [insert upcoming game].' They'll always be subtitled 'Blaine vs [insert title of game or series that's being played].'
   a. in support of this, I will have done a lot of research on both the in-game lore, as well as the behind-the-scenes so that I can drop interesting knowledge bombs while playing.
   b. I'll install mods to crank up the visuals to their max prettiest. I may install mods that bring cut content back. I won't install the 'Skyrim Needed Thomas the Tank Engine' mods, unless that somehow suits the theme I'm going for.
   c. These will almost always be on a weekend night. I'm going to look into expanding my streaming schedule, but for now, this is what you get.
02. My other stream series will be Sunday mornings, and that will be my 'MMO & Chill' series. I'll rotate the following MMOs: Elder Scrolls Online (which was featured this morning), SWTOR, Guild Wars 2, Final Fantasy XIV, Star Trek Online, Guild Wars 1, and Neverwinter. I'll also try out others if enough people request them. The objective of this stream will be to just chill and do whatever in-game.
03. I don't have any other series planned yet.

I'm also part of a larger network of streamers called The 1UP Rejects, and we're slowly building a pretty decent catalog, with something for anyone. Give it a look. In particular, the Single-Player Multiplay is pretty cool. It's my buddy Marc and me each playing through DXHR, but totally differently. I dig the shit outta that.

So, here's what's coming next (for my channel):

Rest of 2016 + early 2017: The Road to Mass Effect Andromeda: Blaine vs the Mass Effect Trilogy
Later 2016: Blaine vs the KotORs
2017-2018: The Road to Dragon Age 4: Blaine vs the Dragon Age Trilogy
2017: add another weekly show (lemme know what you want)
2018: add another weekly show

The plan isn't super-aggressive, and that's intentional. I'm a husband, father, developer, writer, and too many other things right now to just set everything aside and do this, though I really enjoy this. The plan is to build up a bigger support structure for this over time, and we'll just see where it goes.

On that note, I could really use your help. Check out my channel. Watch my videos. Subscribe. Like. Donate. Comment. Share the videos. Please. And give feedback. Seriously. If it's constructive and/or praising, I really need both.

Here's a look at my first 'MMO & Chill' stream:

It wasn't as chill as I would've liked, but it still ended up being pretty fun.

I'm going to try and get started with my 'Road to Mass Effect' series today, but it may not happen. We'll see. I have a lot of modding to do with it first, and some of these mods are nearly the size of the base game install.

Anyway, give my stuff a look, lemme know what you think, and hit me with any requests.