Streaming Code On Twitch

As more and more of my friends have started streaming their gaming brilliance on Twitch I’ve become steadily more interested in the platform as an opportunity to share my creative process with projects.

On Monday the 24th of February I decided to take the plunge and set myself. I hooked my Macbook Pro up to my Razer Kiyo webcam, my Razer Kraken headphones, and two external monitors that I had been using for my desktop. I downloaded OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) and was quickly up and running. I decided to work on my toy search engine and quickly got into a good groove. Even though I had no more than 2 people simultaneously watching, I noticed a bunch of benefits:

  • My posture was much better
  • I was able to ignore social media as a distraction
  • I got practice answering questions and then returning immediately to productive work
  • I was able to effectively “rubber duck debug” by explaining what I was doing to the stream

I got a lot of work completed on the project in the ~2 hours that I was streaming and received really good feedback from the friends who had watched the stream.

As the week progressed I spent more time streaming my project, gaining confidence and rapidly building out features. Starting from my second stream, I swapped to using my Windows desktop computer, which had a lot more grunt (i7-8700K hexacore, 32GB RAM) than my Macbook Pro which continuously sounded like a jumbo jet taking off while streaming. In doing so, I also moved to Streamlabs OBS, a modified version of OBS with more features, integrations, and a simplified user interface.

I continued working on my project and found fielding questions from and asking questions of my viewers really helped cement my understanding of my own work, as well as help discover new directions to take my project.

A tertiary benefit I realised during the week is it feels like it’s given me more purpose while I’ve been looking for a new job. Rather than having large gaps during the day where I’d be otherwise working, I can jump online and stream while building something, so I’m getting some social contact while still expanding my skillset and acting in a professional capacity.

I think this is something I want to continue on and develop, potentially decorating my channel and stream further and maybe even setting up dedicated streaming+project time to develop a routine and a habit I can hopefully continue when I’m back to full time work.