I found myself watching some players on Twitch.tv this weekend playing Vainglory. It’s pretty much the only game I play these days and has been for months.
This was the first time that I could remember actually watching Twitch streams naturally – not checking it out because it was in the news or whatever. I actually found it helpful to my gameplay, and it was mildly entertaining. Most of you are probably rolling your eyes now, but you can kind of think of this like watching the Golf Channel. If you’re a golfer, you’ll watch because it makes you better. If you’re not a golfer, it’s the most boring thing on your TV.
That’s a big part of Twitch – hanging out, learning from, and socializing with people who take a specific game (or gaming) as seriously as you do.
What’s interesting about Vainglory is that it’s an iOS game. On Twitch, a big part of the experience is watching people play the game. So, they’re streaming live from their iPad (usually with other video, e.g. a webcam looking at them) on screen too.
So, the question is how people stream from the iPad. Today, I snuck in an hour here and there to try and get it setup.
I was prepared to write a nice post with sample videos and screenshots of how I was able to successfully stream and record Vainglory from my iPad, but sadly none of the attempts were good enough to share.
At this point, my conclusion is that streaming from an iPad using a Mac is frustrating and unnecessarily complicated. It involves installing a device driver from Github (to capture audio), running either an Airplay server or routing video through Quicktime, and installing a broadcasting app that’s sparse on the on-boarding.
I gather that the situation is lot better on the Windows side of the world, but I’m amazed that Twitch is so popular considering how barebones the streaming software options are. Even the Windows options, while better, look to involve a few steps.
I’m surprised Twitch doesn’t invest directly in the stream creation experience. They do get Twitch support embedded directly in specific games – that seems to be their avenue of choice – but those integrations tend to be very specific to each game and lack the features that make the good Twitch streams interesting (PIP, the ability for player voiceovers, etc).
On the upside, I learned that Quicktime Player can record video (including sound) off of an iOS device with nothing more than the lightning cable that comes with the device. That’s going to come in handy.