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Awhile back I changed the colors I use in my speedrun timer. I kind of quickly glossed over how it was for accessibility and to let colorblind individuals be able to more easily tell the difference between splits. After witnessing and being involved in a discussion with some other speedrunners on the topic I thought I'd expand a bit.

Background: What a speedrun timer is, what splits are, etc )

The problem is the colors used by default in speedrun timers aren't very distinguishable for people with certain types of colorblindness. An alternate color set has been floating around the scene for awhile, most recently improved by HalfCoordinated. You can see a showcase of it on his Twitter here. This palette moves 'good' and 'bad' splits further apart on the spectrum to increase hue differentiation, and make it easier for a colorblind person to tell them apart. It also utilizes a feature of LiveSplit to make 'gold' splits appear in a transitioning rainbow.

I took this a step further and proposed adding this more accessible palette to the default layout list in LiveSplit. This was an operation I thought would manifest as a simple pull request to the project's GitHub page, but the developers chimed in with some ideas to even further expand the concept, and this is where the discussion started.

As I said, green, red, and gold is pretty deeply embedded in the community. So embedded, actually, that some people dislike the more accessible palette out of concern that it causes confusion for people who aren't "with it" enough to recognize what the new hues mean. Other criticisms include that colorblind people are used to it already, that colorblind people can use other data in the timer to differentiate (such as the actual split time), and that adding another feature to timers just for the sake of a small audience isn't worth the effort and code bloat.

I'm not here to argue by proxy with these objections, I merely list them to outline my next point: that these objections are exactly why I want the more accessible palette to grow in adoption. Arguably it's NOT a "big deal", colorblind people CAN use additional data to figure out what's going on, and it MAY cause confusion, but all of these concerns are transitional. For me this isn't only about suddenly breaking down a barrier that prevents colorblind people from getting involved in a good run (though it will help!); it's about bringing an issue to the forefront that most people don't think about.

When I changed my split colors to something close to HC's palette above, I got a lot of questions about why from people who had never considered the default was impossible for some people to differentiate. It sparked discussion and thought. This small change, which ultimately only made a small difference to 1 or 2 of my viewers, made 4 or 5 of them think more about accessibility for a moment. Maybe one of them walked away with the understanding that green/red is sub-optimal for accessibility, and will remember that the next time they design something.

It's just colors, and it's just redundant data that can be sussed out via other means if you can't differentiate the hues, and all my viewers understand how my splits work with or without colors, but it's something I have control over that could make more abled people think a little bit more about disability. I guess that's the big deal for me.

That's why I want to see it become the default for more streamers.
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Pointless Mastodon stuff )

That all out of the way, stream stuff I have coming down the pipe... I'm running in Handheld Heroes on Friday. I feel ready for my Rolan's Curse II run, but Dicing Knight is RNG incarnate and the game itself could just decide I will not finish my run. I'm trying to make peace with the fact that I may have my first ever mercy-kill in a speedrunning marathon, but really I'm also practicing backup strats as hard as I can. Nervous, just the same.

After that, I'm going to start a personal streaming project, to break up the monotony of speedruns and such. After all my Four Job Fiesta runs, of which I did four this year, I've had an itch to go back and play other Final Fantasy titles I have in the past, and visit ones I never finished. When I made a list of what I wanted to stream, it basically included every pre-Playstation title, with the exception of 2. So I decided to just stream all of them: 1-6, Mystic Quest, and why not throw in the extended IV gaidens and Tactics.

That's going to be a long project but I don't have to stick to it every stream. I can weave speedrun streams and other stuff between chipping away at it. Besides, it gives me an excuse to code yet another weird stream overlay widget: a custom timer for it. I mean, I won't really need a speedrun timer, but I do want to track how long the journey takes.
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After my last post I guess it probably sounded like I was excited to get Twitch Affiliate, and I was really. I got it today and have spent the past few hours considering the ups and downs of accepting the offer. In the end I decided to decline it (or more accurately: leave it sitting unanswered until such time that I decide it's more apropos), which I'm sure will come as a shock to most people who stream, or watch my stream.

The whys of the matter are kind of a mess in my head but I'll try to lay them out for people curious.

To start, as I said in my last post, I'm not in it for the money. My viewer max is 20 and of the 10 or so people that watch me regularly, I know the financial states of about half of them and would feel utterly bad taking a cent from them for any purpose. That kind of shoots a hole in my "some people want to interact by cheering" argument, when I would feel bad if people actually did it.

In addition, having money involved would just change how streaming feels for me. If you've picked up on subtle (or not so subtle) cues from me, I'm a massive socialist. Streaming and gaming is where I go to get away from capitalism and money for a bit. Just knowing bits/subs were there would change the entire feel of streaming for me, I know it. I thought I could address this with the charity angle from my last post (and I STILL think that's a good idea, don't get me wrong), but now that the option is in front of me, I feel like it won't.

Speaking of the charity option: Twitch has a hook in their Affiliate agreement that says they're not obligated to pay out anything until your account has $100 in it. This is pretty standard for this kind of agreement: an entity doesn't want to drown in transactions for pennies, and if they have a minimum on transfers, they get some extra scratch slushing in their coffers before they have to transfer it. I don't ever expect to receive $100, so even benefiting charity is out of the question. What's more, in the layover period between cheer and receiving the money, I'd feel on the hook for that contribution; more mental load on me for what should be a fun hobby.

Speaking of contract hooks: their content exclusivity terms would change how I stream and submit PBs to leaderboards. I don't want that.

So my grand plan of "Stream for bits for charity" is shot full of holes. What about benefits? Sub isn't on the table right now, so my one sub icon isn't attainable right now. When sub rolls out I may reconsider. Transcodes are enticing, but I already get them by merit of being a regular streamer with a not-zero view count. If I stop getting them due to priority shifts in Twitch's systems, maybe worth considering? But even then, I stream NES games...

Finally there's the arguably most silly thing for me: Twitch wants all my tax info. I'm not a tinfoil hat type but, to be frank, tying my legal info into my online presence just feels weird to me. Also since they do that, that would introduce additional tax burden on the few bucks I do get.

Long story short, the benefits are very small in exchange for a lot of small, but present, mental burdens on me. Before the $100 minimum payout and the realization that I already get transcodes, I was on the fence on the matter. With all the info I have now I'm pretty strongly in the "No thanks" camp. It boils down to "I don't want to make this about anything but games and fun". Ah well, it was a neat idea while it lasted.

I do still want to try to "do good" with my stream. I just need to find a better way.
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Twitch announced their affiliates program today. The short of it is they're giving some partner benefits to non-partnered streamers, including bit tips and some limited subscription features in the future. It's all very undefined right now but as I understand it, Affiliates will make less money than Partners, and be given fewer social-impacting features (fewer sub emotes, no custom cheer emotes, etc).

I live in Silicon Valley, California, meaning I would have to become a very large streamer for the funds to make a dent in my cost of living. So as it sits, financial gain from Twitch is not even a possibility for me or a remote thought on my mind. I consider this lucky really in that I've never been tempted to go "All in" on streaming to try to make it big. I wouldn't have a snowball's chance in hell anyway because I stream obscure retro speedruns :)

As such, I had it in my bio for awhile that if someone really, really feels the need to tip me, they should donate in my name to the SPLC or Trevor Project instead. This works for me. However, there's two untapped opportunities here.

Number 1: Some viewers enjoy donating/subbing to streamers because it increases their level of involvement in the stream and the alert strokes their ego a bit. A lot of people consider $5.00 a fair price to pay to feel more involved in their entertainment medium, and in a way I think this actually improves viewer retention. What I'm saying is that if people like tipping/subbing, why not give them the opportunity?

Number 2: That revenue stream, no matter how small, could be put to good use like charitable donations. This would actually boost the effect of point 1 in that a donator or sub would get the benefit of feeling more involved with the stream AND know their money is going to a good use rather than just my discretionary budget.

So the thought on my mind has been this: open up for tips/subs/cheers/whatever, don't ask for them, don't promote myself, and make it clear I don't get the money. Anything I happen to take, whether that be $0, $5, or $100, gets rolled into a fund I use to make charitable contributions (and probably match myself to a point). My thoughts on where to direct these funds come down to...

  • YouCaring. I'd probably focus on gender issues, because that's where a large amount of my personal activism lies.
  • Activism and protection groups like the SPLC; the specific org decided by current events at time of consideration.
  • Other streamers who are doing "emergency" events and struggling financially.
  • Charity speedrun events to buy off incentives that look like they won't make it.

...and hey, if you don't trust my judgement in where to direct funds, no one says you have to tip/sub. It's not supporting me, after all.

If I make Affiliate I may do this.

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