The First 24 Hour Livestream

Okaaaay, so I haven't sat here writing words of (apparent) wisdom for you lot since February! As always, what started off as a fun idea got shoved to the sidelines in favour of other things(improvements to my channel, pandemics, etc) but it's all good, we're back here now.
Since the last update, my Discord server is running and active! Plenty of good chatter with friends new and old alike, and it's serving as a hub for all things MoD related(I let Team Tuxedo tag along for the ride, whether they like it or not haha) be it sharing updates for the channel, managing the playlist that accompanies ETS2(thanks DF for looking after this!), posting VODs, planning gaming sessions... Honestly, it's been a godsend for building a great community.

Community has been the biggest strength behind my biggest challenge ever; my first ever 24 hour livestream. Back in the YouTube days, whenever I wanted to have a big event for charity I'd jump onto Twitch and we'd have a party. Lovestream, Race Across Europe, Hopeathlon to name just three such events. However, since I switched over to Twitch permanently(the 1 year anniversary of which is coming up!) there's been a problem. I regularly stream for 3 hours at a time, but the older charity streams were 3 hours by themselves. So how on earth do I hold a special celebratory event to the same standard as the previous ones?

Simple. Let's go for twenty-four hours. In one go.

Oh boy. What started off as a simple idea rapidly snowballed into a combination of epic support from friends and a descent into madness because who in the hell decided to go for 24 hours in one go??

It gets better than that. I'd be playing Euro Truck once again - my go to for charity events, as I strive to add ever more miles to Matilda(at the time of writing, she's on 146,938 miles and I'm on course to finish the Million Mile Challenge in 8 freaking years) but this wasn't the issue. Nope, I'd be using the Logitech G29 wheel setup - wheel, 3 pedal box and H-pattern shifter - that I'd borrowed from Watson before lockdown happened - so for 24 hours I wouldn't be using a joypad, I'd be using every part of my body and reading chat talking to everyone. Yay, genuine challenge.

And what a challenge it was. After 3 weeks of advertising and planning with Mirtai, I rocked up ready to start at 10pm on Friday 26th with the intent being to say hello to everyone before they went to bed and I'd be getting the hardest part of the stream, the graveyard shift, out of the way while still fresh and awake-ish. Oh were we all in for a surprise! Mirtai went for a nap at around 12am for 8 hours leaving me with Draz, Tort, Petzy, Jav, Meno, and loads of random people who joined in for the duration. By the time the Americans were heading to bed and the Europeans were waking up, we'd managed an average of 15 viewers throughout what everyone thought would be the hardest part of the stream! It dipped to 7 for all of 15 minutes before everyone started to come back in again.

That's the most surprising part - I was expecting the majority of viewers to pop in for an hour or two, and appear at the end to help me across the finishing line. What we actually got was people logged off to sleep.. and came back for the rest of the stream. Which brings me back to the big strength behind a challenge like this - everyone cheering me on as every second ticked by and every mile Matilda drove. As the hours went by and the fatigue set in, having you guys continuing to talk to me kept me going.
There were also guest speakers too - we had a Draz and a Tort, Meno popped in, Jav had a turn and I swear there was someone else before the Race Across Europe... but yeah. What was a loosely structured event turned into quite possibly the biggest and best charity stream I've had the pleasure of putting on for everyone.

Big thanks to everyone for your time helping me set up, promoting the stream, chatting away with me on the day, and of course your donations. We managed to raise, with Gift Aid added, £484.69 for Macmillan Cancer Support which is amazing, and will help them so much!

Special thanks to Mirtai who didn't even blink an eyelid when I threw this out as a suggestion. It meant you were on your own for the day with the cats and your ailments, but at no point did you complain. Insert cheesy comment about how you make me a better person, yada yada yada.

Parting shot: Don't expect another 24 hour livestream until next year. They're way too intense to do too often.


Building Up Again

Over the most recent holiday period, I celebrated a couple of milestones regarding my... what do you call this? Entertainment? Youtubing? Broadcasting? Whatever it is, I've been doing it for a while. I'm swinging towards entertainer, because it's something I've always wanted to do but for one reason or another get knocked back. Entertaining people is good fun, I enjoy putting a smile on your faces, even if it's only a temporary moment of joy.

We're getting off track. Milestones. I celebrated 7 years of being on Twitch, which amusingly enough coincides with Team Tuxedo's 7th birthday. Team Tuxedo, for those of you that don't know, originally started of as a gimmicky label a small group of friends attached to ourselves. Seven years on it's become a larger small group of great friends and just hearing the words "Team Tuxedo" fills me with a sense of pride, I've been onboard since day 1 and I've watched it go up and down, and my friends along with it.

Once my YouTube channel started to take off, I thought using the team name would be a great way to say thank you to those friends who'd helped me grow my own channel. It originally consisted of myself and Watson690 when we played Minecraft in tuxedo-skinned avatars, then we recruited a guy who hates labels - the little metal goth boy with metal in his soul, Tort333. After that we invited A02034040 to the party.
After that it's a little fuzzy as to the order, but Sceptical Squirrel was the first "fan" to cross over from fan to friend(thanks Tort, we're stuck with the four-eyed prick now), Warrlokk reached out to me through my F1 videos(we used to game together on a website called Pitwall) and he brought his friend Mr Kris Viking along to play too. Mirtai(my other half) and Whipstitch(Squirrel's other half) gatecrashed the party, we had a German invasion in the form of the Pastafarian and then there were the collaborations with people we though had potential to join us as team members. I grew. The others grew. Team Tuxedo was growing as a brand which only served to help us all out in a happy circle.

However, it all came crashing to a halt.

It all came with one single moment - the integration of Google+ onto YouTube.

My channel growth had just crossed 1,600 subs and the numbers were rubbing off on everyone else. I was just beginning to let myself believe that not only could I make YouTube work as a career for me(and scratch that massive itch to entertain people) but I could drag my friends along for the ride too, and help them make some money too. That all ended overnight with Google+. The integration of the unwanted social media platform(which would ultimately fail) was so tightly woven into YouTube's coding that it broke the algorithms for a lot of people with differing results.
For my channel, my videos disappeared from sub feeds and I was no longer being recommended to viewers on their video listings. My channel stayed at 1,604 subs for over 12 months despite my best attempts at networking and advertising, because the YouTube platform itself held me back.

It didn't matter in the end, as a fan click-bombed the adverts running on my videos. They say it was fraudulent activity and banned my AdSense account without any right to appeal, and as we all know with YouTube it's almost impossible to get in contact with an actual human. It took about 3 years but I finally managed to contact one, to which they told me to pretty much suck it up, not gonna happen - not getting my AdSense back, I was a naughty boy without any evidence of my encouraging people to click on adverts, which is also against YT T&C.
Eh, at this point I was beyond caring - I'd long since given up on YouTube as its constant altering of algorithms meant my channel was getting even less exposure. Real Life was a thing(Mirtai had started to get ill) and so my enthusiasm for YouTube was on the wane. But I had to try and at least get closure for the subject in question or else it would be constantly nagging at me that perhaps I didn't try hard enough to fix that particular situation.

So, closure on the YouTube part of my life. I learned a lot of valuable lessons, developed my time management skills quite nicely, relearned Photoshop and taught myself some basic video editing. I'd made some great friends, most of which are still in my life now.
Which brings me nicely into the next part of my ongoing journey to entertain people. I still wanted to put on a show, and this is when Mirtai - who has been unbelievably supportive of the whole video-making-schlick since pretty much day 1 - suggested that it would be a shame to let my gaming computer and related equipment go to waste and my sitting around twiddling my thumbs was a sign I was missing putting on a show, so why not try out livestreaming more regularly than celebratory occasions?

She had a point.

So off we go again. And thanks to the YouTube adventure, I'd already built up a solid base of friends and fans who'd follow me to Twitch. I tried to stream as often as I could, playing with stream schedules before eventually settling on a Sunday format. I'm not a high energy gamer, I'm laid back and chilled so that became the main theme of a Sunday evening whether it be Euro Truck Simulator 2 driving around in Matilda(oh yeah, we're still going there), building in Minecraft on The Dreylands or any other game you can think of. I always preferred the comments section on YouTube because that's where I could really interact with people, so having a chat window open while streaming gave me instant gratification; I was talking with people, live, and gaming in real time without worrying about editing!

It seems that the love for making videos on YouTube for the rest of Team Tuxedo died at around the same time as my own motivation. We all helped each other out, and once I stopped it kinda sucked the life out of that side of the team. I think everyone got quite burnt out from that particular journey, and I can't say that I blame them - but intact the core of Team Tuxedo remained, a solid group of friends from across the globe. I drifted in and out as Real Life took priority(we have one rule in Team Tuxedo, pretty much - Real Life Comes First) and for months, only Kris and Lokk really kept the Skype(and eventually, Discord) server alive. If you're reading this chaps, it didn't go unnoticed.

I'm trying to go somewhere with this, but it's a hell of a lot to process that I've not really put on paper before, and events of the last couple of days have made me realise just how unbelievably lucky I am to still have a bunch of friends that are still willing to help me out.
I've been dreaming up new ways of developing the growth of my stream, and currently the number 1 question I get on my channel during a stream is "do you have a Discord?" So eventually I bit the bullet and have been working on something.
But then it struck me. All this help I've been getting, and what do I do in return beyond saying thank you and putting on a show? I can't afford financially to pay anyone for their help(Watson690 created the Team Tuxedo Bot that myself and Tort use during a stream; Squirrel and Mirtai do a brilliant job moderating during my streams and supporting me on social media; Menoetia has been massively brilliant with building up the public Discord server that is still being worked on; to name but four people) and the vibe I get seems to be that thanks and a good show is gratitude enough.

The author of this blog, yours truly, is very unbelievably lucky. So many people have helped me out before, and are going to do it all over again. I'm paranoid as all hell that Twitch is going to bite me in the ass before long, but I've got 6 regular subscribers - and one of which is a person I don't really know! I'd completely forgot that aspect of supporting me, so thank you again guys and gals! And anyone reading this thinking "I'll sub to you when I can afford it," don't stress it. Real Life Comes First. There's better things to spend your money on than a once-a-week stream that lasts between 2 and 3 hours.
In addition, I have a solid moderator team that doubles as tech support for my hardware and software issues and arguably the best cheerleaders out there.

I have nothing to offer but my most sincere gratitude, guys and gals. I feel incredibly guilty knowing we're off on another adventure and it could go wrong again, but reading the chat and seeing everyone have a good time during a stream makes the guilt worthwhile. Sometimes it feels like people think I set up Team Tuxedo with Watson just to rope people into doing things for me and that I'm using them for selfish purposes, and it does genuinely keep me up at night. But then a Mirtai or a Squirrel will remind me that nobody's being forced to do anything, they all volunteered to help out before I'd asked for the help and they were all capable of telling me if they wanted to stop.

So we're at the end of this blog. I started off with the intent of writing up about how hard it's been to get back into making video-based content once again, but actually the only hard part was deciding to start. With friends like these, anything is possible.

Parting shot: if you can't accept a delay with the release of a video game, you're a part of the problem.


Comfort Zones

As I sit down to type this, it's a cold Wednesday evening. The sun has set on us, the cats are going stir crazy(for anyone new to my ramblings, we have six of them) and I've come down with a lovely case of Cold+, for want of a better way to describe something halfway between a cold and the flu. I'm wearing a Sonic the Hedgehog set of pyjama bottoms, t-shirt and socks. The heating is up and the music is down(Surprise surprise, it's hedgehog related music I'm listening to but I'm feeling like crap), but quietly playing in the background. I can't stand the sound of silence but I have a pounding headache from all the coughing. I feel a need to just retreat into a comfort zone, and I wish I'd had this before the holidays because firstly it'd be out of the way and done with and secondly, I don't get paid sick leave so every day I'm off, I'm getting poorer.

To pass the time, I've been playing games that don't take much effort. Amusingly enough, I'm not playing any Sonic games right now - Town of Salem has been reinstalled, and I've been piss-arsing around on GTA 5 on my PS4. I don't really want to play anything that requires much thought or effort; ToS I've just been a gobby little bitch in chat and GTA has been a case of driving around, running people over and getting chased by the police. I also took the time to reinstall C&C: Red Alert for the first time since upgrading my computer to an AMD CPU and Win10(I hate Win10 on a good day) and it's been good fun just playing as the Russians, getting a Mammoth Tank rush on the go.

It's not just computer games I've been messing around with. I enjoy tabletop games too (as do a few of my friends in Team Tuxedo - go ahead and ask Squirrel what he's currently working on!) and a model railway in N gauge. The railway is very much a work in progress, but it's a semi-permanent setup(5'x3' board with the rails firmly attached, but is made to put on top of other tables as opposed to a proper baseboard which is left up) and I currently don't have the strength to either move the railway around, or put any scenery on it(because I have to put it away after each session, the buildings and suchlike are designed in such a way to be able to be removed from the baseboard and put safely away to avoid damage) so I've been resorting to watching YouTube videos and reading magazines to scratch the railwaying itch.

Board games on the other hand are by definition a social interaction activity. Feeling a lot like a cold rice pudding means I don't really want to be sociable and pass this on to anyone, so much like with the railway I've been spending a lot of time reading, revisiting old games and discovering new ones. As an example, I'm a big fan of Gaslands. It's a cheap entry into wargaming - get a book, some toy Matchbox/Hot Wheels cars, and pretty much away you go. Think Mad Max as a board game. It's great fun but the issue I've had is finding opponents local to me so I've put it on the back burner.
Which kinda brings me nicely onto the newest game to come from its creator, A Billion Suns. It's another space combat game, but this one has a few interesting twists that have piqued my interest. I'm definitely going to keep my eye on it, and I'm either going to 3D print my own models for it or re-use my X-Wing stuff.

The point I'm trying to make is, we're all sad bastards. If you're sat there reading this thinking I'm a sad bastard, then turn it into a shirt and let me wear the shit outta it. I don't overly care what others think of my hobbies(Mirtai said I have so many hobbies that one of them is... collecting hobbies) and you shouldn't care too. Surround yourself with people that don't care. Those that mind don't matter, and those that matter don't mind.
Unless you're a paedo or similarly unhinged individual. Get help, you sick fucks.

Embrace your favourite past times. You never know when you're going to feel all ikky and grotty and need that safe space to retreat into. And on that note I'm going to slink off downstairs to harass Mirtai and see if I can steal the TV for some more GTA V.

Dream big,

Parting shot: Single player games that don’t require internet are going to be extremely valuable during the apocalypse.


Go Back To Zero

So I've been wanting to write a blog for a while now. I've written one on and off over the years, be it this one, a LiveJournal, something for a wargaming show... Usually the content goes down well, but RL tends to rear its head once in a while and certain projects get put on the back burner.

If you're still with me at this point, you're probably looking at that first paragraph thinking "dude, the first part is meant to be upbeat to pull readers in!" and you're right, you're absolutely right! But then again I've never been one to submit clickbait articles in any shape or form and that's the way it's going to stay.

So hi there, I'm MoD(yep, it's an acronym). This very blog has been a home for me on and off, and looks like we're back on again! I've wiped all the older entries and we're going to have a fresh start with rabid writings and occasional rants.
I intend for this to be a diary of sorts; I'm throwing myself more and more into livestreaming and RL is heading in a particular direction with my partner of 9 1/2 years, Mirtai.We're about to embark on the most amazing whirlwind adventure yet and it frightens me, it scares me, but the possibilities are endless and while I'm hesitant to go down that particular road it's looking ever more likely that this is a path the pair of us are going to have no choice but to embrace.

Now if you're reading this within a day or two of its publishing, you'll have most likely come from my Twitter account. I'll have mentioned in a livestream or two that big changes are coming, and I'll wager some of you are putting the clues together. If you do know, please keep it to yourself for now. If you don't then within a couple of months, all will become very clear to you! I will reveal all in a future stream of Euro Truck Simulator 2, which is where I do the vast majority of my RL news.

"So, MoD," I hear you ask, "if ETS2 is where you do a lot of your rambling about Real Life stuff, what's the point of this?"
Well sometimes I just like to write. I'm far more articulate with the pen than the tongue, always have been. Sometimes I just like to sit down and have a good ol' rant or discussion about a topic that's on my mind. Part of it is wanting to give people an insight into my life in a manner that I can control - I'm happy for people to get to know me, but I've had one too many invasion of privacy over the years, so it's going to be on my terms as much as possible. Part of it is I might be wanting to get all excited over upcoming content for a game I enjoy. Part of it is just enjoying writing.

I could go on, but alas this was meant to be a brief "Hi I'm back" and I've now started on my sixth paragraph. I haven't even mentioned how often I'm going to try and update this! For now, I'll love you and leave you to your own devices, and leave you hanging as to when the next entry will be.

Dream big,

Parting shot: Square Enix, you really don't need to hype the FFVII Remake any more by "accidentally" leaking the upcoming demo. The hype train is well and fucking truly in motion by this point.