I honestly do not remember when I first signed up for Hitbox.tv but it has been some time ago. I have this habit of signing up for everything that comes out if for not other reason than to reserve the name “Belghast” on any given network. I have belghast at outlook.com for example but will likely never use that email for anything considering I am joined to the hip with google products. In all honesty it was not until this week that I even considered using Hitbox for anything… until oftentimes tastemaker Scopique mentioned in a post that he was planning on using it for his website Levelcapped.com in part because he was actually able to get the name Levelcapped.
So being a sometimes devoted member of the internet Zeitgeist I gave it another look. It turns out that Hitbox has the single “killer feature” that I had been longing for from Twitch. As part of the default interface you are able to organize into “teams”, which is a functionality locked away on twitch until you become a partner. There is no way in hell I will ever have enough viewers to reach partner status on any network, let alone twitch. That said I still wanted to be able to create a shared channel for all of the Alliance of Awesome streamers so that we could give that out as sort of a television channel to anyone who was curious what all was going on in a given evening.
The other “killer feature” is the ability to have a configurable delay. By default everything on twitch is delayed by at least 30 seconds. In practice if you are doing HD streaming… this delay tends to be considerably more. Ultimately this delay was factored in for the purpose of competitive match play, but since I don’t really compete doing anything… it just becomes a pain in the ass to deal with when trying to respond to folks in chat. I’m a carebear and so rarely doing anything where prior knowledge of what I am doing… would actually matter at all. So while the stream is not actually instant either it is far more manageable, and probably something similar to the conditions that our oceanic gamer friends have to deal with on US servers.
Hitbox is Beta
The problem with the switch to Hitbox is that Twitch has become so damned ubiquitous that it works with almost everything simply by default. So while the livestreaming and video playback functionality work amazingly well, little things that I have come to just expect don’t function at all. For example after playing with it, I can seem to find no way that actually embeds a video from hitbox into my blog, nor does the documented embed a stream seem to work either. This would not be a huge deal since I try not to embed twitch either… but for the time being both their download your stream and export to youtube functionality also seems to be broken. They mentioned a few days ago on the @hitboxliveHelp twitter account that they should have a fix tomorrow… but at this point that tomorrow was two days ago.
In a day and age when “Beta” has come to mean a highly polished public preview… it is both refreshing and frustrating at the same time to see that Hitbox in fact really uses beta in the appropriate sense of the word. However none of us is really enough to scare me away from the service. For starters it seems like there might be a better integration point between my favorite little social network that could Anook and Hitbox in the near future. Also there are just so many things that are nicer for the streamer. Built in polls, and contests and the whole popout dashboard is extremely all nice. There are so many times that you have a few technical hurdles when you start up your stream, and having twitch spam your friends each time you start and stop OBS gets old. Having a panel that automates the message for you when you are good and ready is awesome. Additionally it seems to actually remember my channel title and the game I am playing, unlike with twitch when I seem to have to rename things half a dozen times each time I switch games.
All of this doesn’t really matter unless the results are nice. I’ve streamed for roughly five hours now and a combination of three different games. So far I think the end product has been excellent. There was a little bit of tweaking in my OBS settings, but I think all of that is working nicely. If you are curious check out some of the broadcasts below… since you know I can’t export them to youtube or embed them directly yet.
- Bel Faffs About in Destiny Beta #1
- Bel Faffs About in Destiny Beta #2
- Bel Faffs About in Elder Scrolls Online #40
- Bel Faffs About in Minecraft #3
- Bel Faffs About in Minecraft #4
- Bel Faffs About in Minecraft #5
I think overall the stream looks really good, or at least good enough to keep me using the service given all the other advantages. The biggest thing for me is the ability to have the Alliance of Awesome team. So if you are using Hitbox or want to use Hitbox and already a member of the Alliance of Awesome community… let me know and I will throw you an invite to the team.
I am still very much working on a mega prompts post, that I will likely make a little closer to the event. So far I have had a bit of interest in the proceedings and this makes me happy. My goal is to have sixty or more prompts that folks can pick from when in need of a topic. In part this is going to give me something to fall back on as well when I am having one of those blah mornings where I can’t think of anything to write. One thing that I wanted to make sure folks knew about is the Blaugust Anook community. If you are going to participate please pop out there and join the nook, as I am going to give folks elevated access to advertise their new posts out there.
The truth behind this initiative is a simple one. Newbie Blogger Initiative is like this shot of adrenaline in the arm of the blogging community. While it is going on everything is active and vibrant and regularly updated. That said a few months after the proceedings… folks start to wane a bit. My idea was to have Blaugust a few months after the initiative as a way of maybe kicking up the volume again. For some of the folks who have responded thusfar, this seems to be doing exactly that. At this point however I have no clue just how many people will be participating, but I am hopeful.