The value of looking back

When I first started streaming, I held a pretty frequent schedule, 3 nights a week for ~3 hours each.  Given that I worked full time, have a family, a kid, and other things, it took up quite a bit of time, and was one of the reasons I took a long break from streaming.

When I started again, I picked one day a week.  It was a good fit, but left me wanting a bit more – so I decided to take a 2nd night which I was going to devote to creating content specifically for youtube.  I’ve been considering this for a while, but I finally took the time to record and edit a video.  I spent about a week thinking about what I wanted in the video, then about 1 1/2 hour recording the video, then another 1 1/2 hours trying to edit it down to 15 minutes or less.

In the end – I scrapped it all.  But, I learned so much.  Why?  Because I learned so much and realize I can do so much better.  At the end of the editing session – in which I only managed to edit half of the video – I asked myself: “Would I watch this video?” and the answer was “maybe, but I wouldn’t give it a like…”

The wonderful thing about the editing process is that you can get rid of all your “umms” and “ok, so…” and crop out lots of tedious footage of you running around your world that you don’t get to do in a live stream.  But, since you aren’t interacting with a live audience, the content you have to create must connect with the viewer on a deep level.  What you say must make sense, and most of all – it must provide value.  At the end of the day, the content I created simply did not create enough value.

Thinking about it – life is the same way.  Unless we stop, and really look at ourselves and the work we do.  Unless we try to edit our day down to a low-duration high-value video, we can never get a good picture of our impact – good or bad.  Taking the time to reflect on our actions, and ask: “Is this the person I want to be,” we can never truly be the person we want to become…

So, back to the drawing board I go, to think about how I can create some awesome content for Youtube.  I have some ideas, and will have a teaser trailer up soon.

Thank you as always for reading.

-Wiz

It’s my birthday, and I’ll raise money for charity if I want to!

Quick Links:

Stream: http://twitch.tv/thewizardllewyn
Subscribe to stream: http://twitch.tv/thewizardllewyn/subscribe
Donate to Mary’s Meals: https://www.marysmealsusa.org/en/fundraising/project/nick-ruffilo/game-for-good
Donate to Convoy of Hope: https://fundraise.convoyofhope.org/fundraiser/1092169

The Rest:

I’ve avoided my birthday for the past 20 years or so.  I’ve always felt like it was more of an achievement for my Mother than me.  Heck, all I had to do was show up!  I also have an odd aversion to attention when I don’t feel it’s earned.  But – I’ve finally found a good purpose and reason to celebrate my birthday – use it as a time to raise money for charity and give to those who need!

I’ll be doing that in the best way I know possible – by playing games with friends and creating quality content for people to enjoy.  On Saturday September 16th starting at 10am EST I’ll be hosting a 10+ hour gaming event to raise money for Mary’s Meals and Convoy of Hope.  All events will be streamed from my twitch channel although participants are welcome to stream the event as well, as long as they provide links to the charity pages in their chat.

UPDATE: I’ve added a new donation incentive.  If we reach $1000 or more in donations, I will read “The Little Prince” live on stream as a bedtime story.  If the donation goal is met before 8pm EST, I will have Dexter join me in reading it.

What’s in this post:

  1. Want to donate without paying any money?  If you have Amazon Prime, you can donate for free (details outlined)
  2. What incentives are you offering for those who donate?
  3. What games will you be playing at what time?
  4. I want to join – can I?
  5. I want to donate now – where can I?

Want to donate without paying money?  Have Amazon Prime?

I have recently become a twitch affiliate – which means people can “subscribe” to my channel.  If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can subscribe to one channel for FREE every month.  All subscriptions to my channel will be donated directly to the charity.  If you don’t have a twitch account, you can create one free.  If you want to link your twitch account to your amazon prime, you can follow these instructions.  Then, subscribe to my channel: http://twitch.tv/thewizardllewyn/subscribe and choose “prime” as your payment option.  This will not auto-renew, so if you wish to have this be a monthly donation, you would need to subscribe every month.

What incentives are you offering for those who donate?

When donating, in your donation message, you can specify what incentive you would like to donate towards.  There will be different incentives for different events, and they will be listed in the schedule below on the page.  Donation incentives start at $5 (small) $25 (medium) and large ($50+).

What games will you be playing and when?

Because this is the first major event like this I’m holding, and the schedules of players, most events will be Minecraft-related, although to keep things fresh, there will be lots of variety in the types of events.

10am EST – Noon: Ender Dragon Speedrun

Working with a group of people to defeat the Ender Dragon in as little time as possible.

Donation Incentives:

  1. $5 – Give a player 16 arrows, 1 ender pearl, or 16 baked potatoes; OR force a player to eat a spider eye or zombie flesh
  2. $25 – Give a player a stack of arrows, stack of food (your choice) or 10 ender pearls; OR force a player to survive the next night without armor.
  3. $50 – Give a player a stack of arrows, stack of food (your choice) AND 16 ender pearls; OR force a player to destroy everything in their hotbar.

Noon – 12:30pm: Lunch break and chat

Food is important.  Grab some food and lets try this “social eating” content thing.  No donation incentives during this time…

12:30PM – 1:30PM: building an arena

In preparations for the next event, players will be asked to BUILD a fighting arena.  The players will have 1 hour, in creative mode, to create an arena with mazes, buildings, and obstacles to create a thrilling fighting experience.

Donation Incentives:

  1. $5+ – Naming Rights: You can claim any building, maze, or structure and have it named (keep it PG).  While announcing the event, the announcer will use that name.

1:30pm – 3:30pm: All out brawl

Using the arena built in the last hour, players will duke it out an several different forms of melee.  Fighting with pumpkins on their heads, bows only, fish only, with and without armor, teams and free for all, there will be tons of challenges.

Donation Incentives

  1. $5 – Give a specific player a handicap or boost in the next fight.
  2. $25 – You pick the next battle conditions.
  3. $50 – TNT Launch or God Mode – pick a player and they will be forced to stand on lit TNT, or will be given a set of diamond armor for the next fight.

3:30 – 4pm: Break time

Stretch, potty, just general chatting and relaxing.  No donation incentives.

4pm – 4:30 pm: Creative Building contest #1

To get warmed up – builders will be given 20 minutes to build in a 16×16 area.  The theme will be auctioned off to the highest donor.  Winner will get a statue of them in WhoCraft.

Donation Incentives: From 4-4:10pm, whomever donates $5 or more will be able to add to theme (either a required block, or concept) and the final theme will be determined by the highest donor.

4:30 – 6pm: Creative Building Contest #2

Once warmed up, players will be on to the real challenge – a solid 1 hour for building.  Each player will have a 32×32 plot and 1 hour to fill it with a wonderful build.  The theme and blocks will be determined by donors.

Donation Incentives:

  1. $5 – Require a specific player to use a certain block (before building starts)
  2. $25 – Require a specific player to use a certain block (after building starts)
  3. $50 – Apply a constraint to all players, or require an addition to the theme (only before building starts for second one)

6pm – 6:30pm: dinner

I’m having Chinese, what about you?

6:30PM – 8PM: To be determined

This was originally going to be Worms, but the slot will now remain open and determined as the time approaches.

8pm – 9pm: Break

Stretch break, put my son to bed, and will either host someone else, or use skype to let someone control the channel.  Not sure, but we’ll see.  If the donation goal of $1000 is met by this time, I will read “The Little Prince” with my son Dexter.

9pm – 10pm: Keep talking and nobody explodes

Can we diffuse the bombs?  Possibly, but we’ll see what wrenches get thrown.  Depending on the number of participants, we will go round-robin style with players playing different roles.

Donation Incentives

  1. $5 – Forced Error – the reader must give a misleading or false clue to the bomb diffuser.
  2. $25 – Box of Sillies – suggest a voice or character for which the reader must pretend to be/talk in.
  3. $50 – Both #1 and #2.

10PM – End: Cards against humanity

Wait, I thought you were a PG streamer?  Well, I am, but I’ll make an exception to raise money for charity.  I will stream, live on air, me playing Cards Against Humanity – one of the most offensive card games ever – if we receive $1000 or more in donations by this point.  If not, the stream/event will end in a flurry of thanks.

 

I want to join – how can I?

If you want to participate in any or all events, please email me at llewyn@thewizardllewyn.com.  Let me know what event and what timeslot you would like to participate in.

I want to donate now, how can I?

I have decided to split support to two charities during this drive.  You can donate to either charity.  This allows you to choose what you’d like to support.  The first is Mary’s Meals, a charity that I’ve supported for the past few years and does amazing work providing food for those who need while helping to bolster the local communities to support themselves.  The other is Convoy of Hope, which provides meals and services to disaster areas, such as Hurricane Harvey.

Donate to Mary’s Meals

Donate to Convoy of Hope

Wizard and Rogue – Putting the Role Play back in RPGs

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Co-conspirator, long-time friend, and Superhero Delivery Service member Dave G (who played Baldur in SDS) and I have decided to kickoff a new livestream full of humor, games, and role playing.

When?

Thursday Nights 10pm – 11pm Eastern

Where?

On Twitch (TheWizardLlewyn) and Youtube.

What?

Dave (Rogue) and I (Wizard) will be playing through PC RPGs as if they were tabletop RPGs.  We are starting with Diablo II but will be playing a wide variety of RPGs.  Our playthroughs will poke fun at both the absurdity of tabletop RPGs as well as the absurdity of video game RPGs.  We hope you will join us on this crazy quest of ours!

 

Farewell

Nearly a year after first pressing “start stream” for the first time, I am here to say goodbye.  I’m not ending my stream forever, but I’m drastically cutting back to one day a week, and not going to have a set schedule anymore.  This last year has been an awesome journey and I’ve met tons of great people, played tons of fun games, and learned quite a bit, but the time has come to move on and do new things.

Why are you stopping?
I gave myself a year to get partnered.  Streaming is an expensive hobby (largely in time, but to put on a high-quality stream, you need high quality equipment, which is not cheap).  Not only does streaming take up the time you are live (for me, that’s ~7 hours a week) but it also requires prep time – I often try to get ready 30 minutes before going live – so that is another 1 1/2 hours.  For Superhero Delivery Service, I had to write two balanced adventures before every stream.  For Topic Tuesday or Game Dev I had to have a plan of what I was going to discuss and how to teach it.  Then for the event on Friday I had to think of the event, and do prep work for that.  As you can see – that’s quite a big time commitment – especially considering that I have a full-time job and a family.  Sure, much of this was fun, but because of the schedule, it also started to feel like work.

My reason for wanting to be partnered was so that I could justify the effort I was putting in with a small stream of revenue.  For lots of reasons, that didn’t happen.

Are you going to completely fall off the face of the earth?
Nope – I’ll still be on twitter, and Discord, and I’ll keep playing on the community Minecraft server (although less frequently than now).   I also hope to stream 1 day a week.  There will be little structure, and it’ll be me and a friend or two playing any video game we want – the goal is now not to get followers or build/grow a community – the new goal is simply to have fun and turn on a stream and let people join if they want.

Will we see more of Dexter?
I doubt I’ll stop the occasional Minecraft streams where I play with Dexter.

What do you plan on doing next?
I hope to use my newly freed up time to focus on some existing priorities that I haven’t given the attention they deserve.  Additionally, I will most likely be starting up a YouTube series “Practical Programming” which is short tutorial videos teaching people how to be better programmers.

Final Notes
This week I’ll be keeping my normal schedule.  Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, 9:30pm eastern.  Monday is SDS, Tuesday is “The Meaning of Life, Part 2 – Ask me *Almost* Anything” and Friday is a Farewell event on the Minecraft Community Server.  All I ask is that if you enjoyed the streams or the community during this past year, is that you show up in support (hosting is an extra bonus).  I’d love to go out with a bang.

We’re not alone…

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Last week on the WizCraft server, The safety and security of the world was put on check.  An enemy wizard found the location of the world and was seeking to create a portal strong enough to bring in his armies and take over the world.  While his portal was being constructed, the members of Wizcraft located and destroyed a horde of ghasts, blazes, zombies, skeletons, and even a large number of withers – all to keep the portal from opening.

During all this, it was discovered that there were new portals popping up in the world – 5 of which to be exact – that the players will have to find and close, otherwise deadly monsters can arise and threaten the safety and peace of WizCraft.

Follower Server Basics

This is a basic tutorial on how to do things on my Follower server.

  1. Claims: You will need to make a stick, that is the basic item to claim a spot.  There are premade 13×13 claims outlined in cobblestone, but you’re welcome to claim any area you’d like.  Minimum claim size is 10×10, but the maximum you can claim when starting is 13×13.  Just right-click with your stick on 2 corners of an area to claim.
  2. Claim Bonus: You earn 50 additional claim blocks every hour you play so after a few hours you can claim much more than your initial 169 (13×13 blocks)
  3. Claims keep your stuff safe – anything in your claim can ONLY be accessed/broken by you.  Additionally, anything others have claimed are protected to that user.
  4. Community Areas – There are tons of community areas that are not claimed – be respectful of these areas – and help contribute to their creation/maintenance!
  5. If you wish to give up a claim you have, type: /abandonclaim while standing in that claim.
  6. FOOD – There is a shared wheat farm in the center of town you can use until you have your own food source going.
  7. Mailboxes – you can craft your own mailbox using 5 iron, a chest, and a piece of wool (more on this later)
  8. Rules: Be respectful
  9. Client-side mods: Anything that does not affect other people, or allow you to fly or “cheat” (auto-kill mobs, etc) is acceptable.  You can use shaders, mini-maps, etc, but the server will always work with Vanilla 1.8.X client.
  10. Rewards/Events – Every Friday night at 9:30pm Eastern, I will run a live event.  There are often rewards for participating in events.  Additionally, I will reward players who go above and beyond and do awesome builds or set up really great things or help others.  Rewards could be custom items, rare materials, additional claim blocks, pets, etc.
  11. Have Fun: The goal of this is to play minecraft with a bunch of other awesome people.

Origins of WizCraft The Wizard Llewyn Follower Server

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A world where peace brought about unrest, and magic users – while rare – were extremely powerful, is where Llewyn originated from.  Fueled by a mixture of curiosity and a desire rule over larger domains, wizards gathered to create spells powerful enough to both create and travel to new dimensions.

At first, they served as an extreme luxury to the wealthy – a completely secluded place to vacation, or a place to send ones enemies.  As uses grew, the temptation to abuse the power grew as well.  Dimension creators became organized, and began to eliminate competition in whatever way they could.  With competition gone, illegal activities (and their prices) rose significantly.  The ruling council hired the remaining dimensional travelers to try to find and stop crimes.  For a time, Llewyn was the council’s elite and most senior ranking traveler, but as his success grew, so did the bounty on his head.

During an assassination attempt, Llewyn barely escaped by hopping into a relatively unknown dimension.  Instead of returning home, he spent the next six months crafting a spell to create an entire dimension that would keep himself and friends safe.  Despite having left all his possessions, Llewyn was excited at being safe and having the chance to start an entirely new world.

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Self VS Identity

I’ve spent the past 8 months building a persona “TheWizardLlewyn.”  He is a live-streamer on twitch that plays video games, creates video games, tells stories, and runs an interactive storytelling system.  In many ways, he is me.  His stories are mine, his experiences are mine, but in many ways he is not me.

To explain a bit better, I must share a funny story from the other day when I was signing Dexter – my 4 year old – up for the next season of “Story Time” at the library.  I had to fill out a form with a bunch of information.  Son’s name – nailed it.  Son’s birthday – nailed that one too.  Library card number – I cheated and looked at my library card, but still answered correctly.  Then I got to the hard question.   “Your name.”  Easy, right?  Want to know what I wrote?  “Daddy.”  Ok – to be truthful, I stopped at “Da” but you get the picture.  I spend tons of time with my son, to the point where I think of myself as “Daddy.”

I do my best to be a good role model, so as Daddy, I don’t curse, I talk through my frustrations, I shy away from adult topics, and I constantly promote healthy eating and habits.  What I also do is censor myself – quite a bit.  When he acts inappropriately – but in a funny way (kids are masters of this) I prevent myself from laughing and try to tell him what he did wrong.  When a funny situation arises where the humor would be above his head or something I would be embarrassed about him repeating – I won’t say it.  From my experience, this is pretty normal parent behavior (although some parents are a little less censored than others).

Add to this my professional persona.  In 2010, I started writing as a journalist, and speaking at conferences.  In attempts to differentiate myself (and not simply by my baby-face that often was a point of teasing) I decided to dress to the nines.  I would wear black dress pants, white-button down shirt, suspenders, suit (if cold), and a nice hat.  All this while others were mainly in business casual.  Thankfully, it was well appreciated, and for many has been seen as part of who I am.  In fact, I’ve had certain colleagues fail to recognize me while I was wearing regular clothes and no hat.

The personality that someone knows you by – that persona – is a powerful thing.  If it remains consistent, it makes people at ease.  People like to know what they can expect, it makes them comfortable.  But what happens when different personas collide?  When professional colleagues tune in to watch Superhero Delivery Service?  When Dexter gets old enough to watch one of my streams – or watch a youtube video I made?

I’ve actually spent a great amount of time figuring out what my personas would be.  My vocabulary, my reactions to certain situations, and my clothes have been thought about in advanced.  When thinking about streaming – I’ve always wanted to be PG, inclusive, and as funny as I could be without being offensive (BTW – Most really funny jokes are offensive to someone.  I have nothing wrong with that, and love comedians like Chris Rock, Robin Williams, etc, but that’s not the type of humor I’d want to do on my channel).

All of these personas are technically me.  None of them are disingenuous, but the struggle I’ve been having recently is – as these other personas take up more and more of my time/life – will it absorb my self?  Which begs the question – who am I?  As I’ve learned through the years, who I am can and does change (thankfully I’ve been able to change for the better and shed some of my more obnoxious traits).  But I think of myself as the words I want to say, but swallow.  For example, when the kids are playing at the park, and one of them says something horrible (not realizing what it really meant) and I want to blurt out “that’s what she said.”  Or even being able to play something like “Cards Against Humanities.”  While I can play that in private, I can’t possibly imagine playing it on stream – or the repercussions it might have to my streaming persona or my business one (some argue it would boost my stream, but is my business persona ready for that?  No.)

It seems a trend – I’ve had a handful of discussions lately with different people about a struggle for identity.  Friends questioning their gender identity, their sexual orientation, their motivations, you name it.  Feeling alone in their struggle was a common thread – as if they were the only ones struggling with identity.  In fact, many times in my life I felt as if I was struggling with my identity – both who I was and who I wanted to be.  Maybe it is wisdom, or maybe just years of reading Taoist and Buddhist writings, but I’ve come to see this process and both completely normal and an exciting part of life.  Instead of a crisis of self – I now see an exciting opportunity to pick whatever path I want.  Additionally, I’ve learned that knowing yourself fully is not a requirement to being happy – and often knowing yourself does not mean putting a label on, or putting yourself in a box, but being comfortable with your choices and actions.

Medieval Fantasy – A RPG in Minecraft

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Starting Friday December 18th, I’ll be opening up a semi-public Minecraft server which will host an RPG based survival world.

How will it work?

The server will be open to all followers of my twitch.tv channel, TheWizardLlewyn.  It will be Minecraft version 1.8 and will make use of a few server-side plugins to prevent grief as well as add some fun RPG and other game elements to the game.

Weekly Events

Every Friday at 9:30 pm Eastern, during my live-stream, as Game Master, I’ll run an event on the server.  Archery contests, Parkour Challenges, Build challenges, and a bunch of other events.  Myself and a few select members of the community will be Game Masters who will be playing in creative mode and helping to weave a story.  Castles from evil enemies will be constructed for players to explore, and lore will be weaved using signs in game, as well as blog posts here.

Survival Minecraft

The server will be – for the most part – a normal survival server.  To start, everyone will be part of the same community/castle working together, but as the number of active players grows, I’ll introduce factions that can choose to ally of fight for power.  Outside of events, players will be able to claim plots of land, build as they see fit, and make their home.  Active players may be given special missions – outside of standard events – which will be rewarded upon completion.

Server Details

For server details, and to be whitelisted, make sure you are following my twitch channel: http://twitch.tv/thewizardllewyn and request to be whitelisted during my Friday event streams, or send me a PM on twitch.  Thanks and have a great day!

September 11th Rememberance

On September 11th, 2001, I was in Hoboken, NJ – barely over a mile away from the towers…  I’m not really sure I have the words to explain the stream, but I wanted to have a remembrance, and build the towers – as they were before that day.  While I couldn’t finish the full skyline.  I’m happy with what I accomplished.  Here are images of the build.

 

 

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If you want to watch the stream: http://www.twitch.tv/thewizardllewyn/v/15587770