XSplit VCam

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with using my camera on stream, so in the past I have tended to only use it ad-hoc or when doing charity events.
I know it’s fuelled in part by my own self-image, but there was always some unknown factor that I struggled to nail down exactly what it was.

Since March when we left the office to work from home, I have had to get used to being on camera for longer periods of time attending virtual meeting often 6+ hours a day, this became the norm and I once more pondered using my webcam on stream. Of course one of the features that many of these video chat software offer is removal or blurring of background, this one feature was key to me feeling more comfortable being on camera a lot more.

Seems that unknown factor was down to having more control over what’s visible on the camera.

Blurry

I don’t have a lot of space for my Streaming setup so my Camera is going to be limited to a monitor mounted one, I get that other focus techniques exist on other equipment, but this isn’t going to be a option for me, at least at the moment.
So I went on the hunt for a webcam blurring software, in part fuelled by the fact I had a community goal in October for a jump scare play-through of an old game that scared the crap out of me in my youth.

After playing around with a demo for bit, I signed up to try Xsplit’s VCam software to give me the background blur effect that I was looking for, it has other options such as removal or replacing the background (just like those conference calls I’ve been in all year) but for me, Background Blur was the main thing that I was seeking.

I signed up for the monthly price with was $5.95 (before tax) which meant I was able to do a good few streams using the software before I had to renew it, there are some other payment options that bring the price down if you are wanting to invest for a longer period.

The software does a fairly decent job considering that I’m always wearing headset, which it sometimes determines is part of my head, and on occasion the gap between my head and the headset will show un-blurred content, not a massive concern for me at this stage as I’m frequently not in full screen and it normally only lasts a fraction of a second before vanishing.

However the Software will blur my mohawk 100% of the time when I wear it up 😆

Masks

After ensuring that VCam delivered the features I wanted, I then turned my focus on picking a camera mask that trimmed the view down to the area I wanted to appear on stream, of course you can alter the dimensions of the video input, but masks just allow you to shape the video input into something more unique and to your liking.

If you would like to try out some masks I suggest that you check out the following blog post from Hey Shady Lady, which contains links to guides on setup and with a download for 30 webcam masks that she has created for free https://littleshadylady.com/blog/webcam-masks-for-your-streams/.

Going all in

I had been using VCam for two months when a discount came up around Thanksgiving for the Lifetime Licence, I had been pleased with how it had been working and could see me using this long term not only for Streaming, so it was an investment that made sense, plus with the discount it would also save me about $12 of the normal cost.

In November another feature of VCam was announced, XSplit Connect : Webcam, which allows you to use your Android or Apple Device as a camera connecting it to VCam over WiFi which is handy if you haven’t got a webcam or you want to show off projects in more detail without having to unplug or re-arrange your camera set-up, but isn’t a feature I see myself using at the moment, but with some future Lego stream, it maybe a option to consider. The software is free and your license for VCam is the key part.

Ancient Enemy : First Thoughts

I had the pleasure of playing the newly released Ancient Enemy by Grey Alien Games on stream this evening. It is a really fun RPG card battler game with an atmospheric and compelling story, underpinned by some great mechanics and customisable loadouts.

Firstly it’s worth pointing out at first the mechanics feel similar to those in Grey Alien Games previous game Shadow Hand (worth a look), but rather than just repeating them they are expanded and reimagined and make up the core being of Ancient Enemy.

These mechanics give you flexibility to take a loadout that suits a certain playstyle, but you will need to work out strategies to overcome an enemy’s resistance or immunities, while ensuring that your own defense can counter whatever they throw at you too.

Added into the mix are Passive abilities and Active abilities, these influence the actual cards inplay on the game board, which are used to accumulate power for your actions.

Defeating enemies unlocks certain items, but you accrue resource point during play also, which allows you to purchase some upgrades too.

So far I’ve put in just 3 hours of playtime and I’m really loving the art style the game employs it fits the overall tone and feel the game has going on.

I plan to to continue the the same save on Sundays stream (9am BST), for those of your following along at home. http://www.twitch.tv/welshtroll

Diablo 3

I don’t think I have really posted about Diablo 3 on my blog aide from when I got started and some seasonal updates, I spotted a post by Jen over at https://bookofjen.net and I thought I should rectify this fact.

I didn’t play D3 at launch despite being a fan of the franchise and I really enjoy ARPG’s as they are always a good method for story telling. Growing up on a diet of isometric RPG titles I think ARPG’s always feel like a natural progression of that genre.

So I picked up Diablo 3 a few of years after the launch and the auction house kerfuffle, when I was on the hunt for a new title to play. I had hear good stuff from friends and the folks on the Gamers with Jobs podcast.

I am a sucker for in-depth lore and of course Diablo lore reaches back to 1997 and is very rich and detailed.
I was fortunate to get the Book of Adria: A Diablo Bestiary as a gift last year and the books contain so many notes and details at aren’t necessarily obvious through the medium of the game.

It’s a Social thing

I have come to really enjoy the social element of the seasonal events, for a 2 month period there is a swarm of activity, we get to help each other out and team up to push Greater Rifts.
It may not be the same a say a raid in a larger scale MMO title, but then it feels more ad-hoc and relaxed which again makes it fun rather than a chore.

Favourite Class

I adore the Crusader class, I endeavour to play it every season where possible, mostly as I love the flexibility that the class brings, it grants me solo play and group play without too much alteration of my build, usually just those elements that offer team support that I usually don’t run if solo.

My second most played is Necromancer, I love this last addition to the D3 class list, it plays so different and has very different options like the health sacrifice elements that makes using it challenging and different.


Do you play Diablo 3?
What is your most enjoyable class?

My Outer Worlds

Since I first heard of The Outer Worlds I wanted to try it, however I’ve kept myself at arms length from all but the most basic details of the game as I really wanted to go into it blind.

For me the game is just right.
There is no denying that I enjoy a good story, but I also enjoy diving into lore and backstory equally as much.
Lucky for me then that The Outer Worlds is filled to the brim with all of these elements, plus you are able to play in unique ways focusing less on combat (scratching that Deus Ex itch) and more on how you feel your character to behave/act.

Obsidian has created a great universe that I really can’t wait to see more of, fingers crossed we will see some DLC for the title as I really can’t wait to immerse myself into it again.
I have however started my second playthrough

I am sucker for those first encounters moments, crafted like any good movie scene they become permanently etched into your memories of a game, Outer Worlds seems to present you with amazing vistas repeatedly without making a huge song and dance about them.
In my playthrough I had a very similar problem to the one I face in the Elder Scrolls Online, you crest a hill or turn a corner and you stop in your tracks as the sights can some be overwhelming.

 

 

 

International Picture Posting Month 2019

I’m taking part in International Picture Posting Month (IntPiPoMo) organised by Chestnut. The event is the picture equivalent of NaNoWriMo, but since a Picture is worth a 1000 words the goal is to post 50 in the month of November.

You can learn more and/or sign up here https://gamergirlconfessions.com/2019/10/31/time-for-intpipomo-2019/.

I thought I’d kick off with some game screenshots from some of my favourite titles this year, generally I take far more screenshots than is necessary but I always enjoy looking back over them.

First up is “Dance of Death: Du Lac & Fey” an indie title that I first seen at EGX Rezzed last year, set in London in the year 1888 the game has a focus around Jack the Ripper, but more interestingly the two Main protagonists Arthurian characters Lancelot du Lac and Morgan le Fay. The game has a wonderful voice cast and tells a great adventure.

 

AER : Memories of Old –  I had this game for some title gathering dust in my Steam Library, I decided to play it on stream one Sunday morning and found such a wonderful game waiting for me. In a world of floating islands, full of ancient ruins and exploration, you play a shape-shifter sent to the land of the gods on a pilgrimage. The game has very relaxed feel and focuses on discovery and puzzle solving, it also has a great soundtrack.

 

Draugen – This is the first new title from Red Thread Games after finishing the DreamFall series. This is a first person adventure/exploration title, This one is set in the 1920s, you play an American naturalist who heads to a small Norwegian fishing village to find his sister. This game was everything I hope it would be from the mind of Ragnar Tørnquist