The growth of Twitch as a targeted developer destination is creating a cottage industry of developers who build custom and off-the-shelf solutions that allow Extensions developers to create powerful experiences.
Still, a common blocker we hear from Developers eager to build Extensions is knowing where to start. While we recommend working backward to solve a specific streamer problem, want, or need — it’s also just as crucial to be aware of the tools and building blocks at your disposal. In other words, there’s little reason at all to go it alone.
The Power of the Genvid SDK
Imagine building new ways for viewers to engage and interact with their favorite streamers and having access to things like multiple camera angles or secure interactions into those games. The Genvid SDK does just that and a whole lot more. Genvid is an interactive streaming engine, but the SDK they created allows game developers to easily pull data from games to power synchronized interactivity. This enables developers to create incredibly powerful Extensions that communicate directly with a wide range of mainstream and indie games.
“Our goal is to enable new, interactive experiences on Twitch for game developers. There are a lot of tools for streamers, but we pride ourselves on having the first developer-grade SDK for interactive streams,” says Jacob Navok of Genvid. “We have support for UE4 and Unity out of the box and a suite of tools to help you deploy on AWS, as well as samples that you can draw upon to create your first experiences in hours.”
Lately, Genvid has been busy powering Twitch Extensions, from fighting games like Omen of Sorrow to the first-person shooters like the Counter-Strike Twitch Premium Pass for their Counter-Strike: Global Offensive FACEIT Majors, as well as arcade games like Killer Queen and even a Japanese 3v3 competitive VR tile called Blitz Freak.
Take a closer look below at how developers have used Genvid to power their Extensions.
CS:GO by STATSHELIX
StatsHelix was founded with the goal of providing the best stats and analytics products to esports games and players. Since then, they have become known for using game data to enhance gaming experiences and delivering tools for broadcasters, pro-gamers, and viewers.
StatsHelix empowers viewers to be more than mere spectators. Their Extension, built on top of Genvid’s datastreaming building blocks, allow users to interact with the live stream in the way they please.Want to know the scores? No need to wait for the broadcaster to bring them up!
“Twitch has a great and diverse community, and not every viewer wants the same experience. These Extensions make the stream more enjoyable for everyone, by letting users decide what’s important to them,” says Moritz Uehling, COO, StatsHelix.
In the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive FACEIT Majors, StatsHelix exposed internal game data to power new experiences for the tournament viewers, and using Genvid’s datacapture and web APIs made those interactive and synchronized to the Twitch video frame. Some of the features that viewers gravitated toward demonstrated the pent up demand for viewers to be a part of the game rather than simply watching a game. Some of these features were a customized UI, which — among other things — allowed viewers to change the weapon’s crosshair view, the ability to call the scoreboard at any point in the game, and a live-updating minimap that showed a more detailed view of the main map, including player positions.
StatsHelix has shared some key learnings from building the CS:GO Extension that will help developers create their own Extensions. First, people love to customize things and will use almost every option you give them. It’s not necessary, of course, but it makes the experience feel so much more complete.
Onboarding matters. Viewers aren’t used to clicking on videos — make sure to teach them well.
Viewers still love the stream! Any Extension you build should enhance the stream, and not distract from it. A feature like the scoreboard is a perfect example; it helps the viewer just when they want.
And most importantly, StatsHelix says they learned that the Twitch community is amazing, and they are eager to provide the feedback that will help you build a better game for them. Don’t pass up this opportunity!
CHKN by KATAPULT
Katapult Studio is an interactive entertainment company committed to developing products for creators. Their game CHKN is an fantasy game where you choose your own adventure. Players can design fantastic animal creatures using “life blocks” that are powered by AI. It’s a toolset for players to create their own stories and characters.
Viewers can interact with a brand new Arena mode for CHKN that exists only through the stream on Twitch and is powered entirely by Genvid + Unity on AWS. Using the Twitch Extension, viewers can vote for the CHKN that will appear, clap, and cheer for their favorite CHKN, and buy items to enhance the CHKN via Bits which Genvid encourages.
“ The interactive Extension allowed us to think about how a larger community of players, streamers, and non-playing viewers could all interact with the world of CHKN. We are still early in our journey with interactive streaming but excited to be learning from our streamers and beta audience,” says Kyra Reppen, CEO of Katapult Studio.
A major part of Katapult’s journey with CHKN has been seeing just how their player community creates unique and extraordinary creature characters — that were as entertaining to watch as they were to build or interact with in-game. The interactive Extension allowed Katapult to think about how a larger community of players, streamers, and non-playing viewers could all interact with the world of CHKN.
“ Working with our Twitch users from the prototype phase, we’re able to focus on making the best experience possible through iteration on features, including balance of the level of viewer interactivity (including viewer control moments), in-game camera behavior during broadcasts, the pacing of the Arena rounds, and even in-Extension UI,” says Reppen. “We see this as the future of entertainment.”
KILLER QUEEN by BUMBLEBEAR
BumbleBear is an independent Brooklyn-based arcade game company focused on multiplayer games set in real-world environments. The flagship product is Killer Queen, a competitive 10-player arcade game. Two new arcade games are in the works, including Black Emperor, a motorcycle endless runner that is based on the teenage bike gangs of Japan called Bosozoku.
Killer Queen is a public game meant to be played in arcades so it has no customization; this is where the Genvid SDK Extension comes in — data normally not accessible became accessible, and games normally only watcheable in arcades could be seen anywhere. The Extension allows spectators to customize characters and add flair and functionality that does not exist in the game, as well as educate players about aspects of the game by allowing them to click on key elements to find out what they mean and how they are useful in the game. In future versions of the Extension, the BumbleBear team plans to integrate more stats that will add new dimensions to the game.
“The response so far has been very positive,” says Nik Mikros, CEO of BumbleBear. “We showed a prototype of the extension at GDC and many of our players came by and checked it out. I think they were all universally excited by what it will grow into.”
BLITZFREAK by ACTEVOLVE
ActEvolve are a startup developing VR content. Blitz Freak is their first title, and it was created to focus on both player and viewer entertainment.
“VR games tend to focus too much on immersive experiences for the players and leave out the people not playing,” says Kei Sato from ActEvolve. “For VR games to develop commercially, and become an esport genre, it has to be appealing to the people watching. As we were searching for ways to make the game more appealing to audiences, we engaged with Genvid Technologies, the developer of the Twitch Extension.”
The Genvid-created Twitch Extension allows the audience to not only see player status as an overlay, but also to actually participate in the match. Extensions were used to add cheer buttons and bomb buttons, which allow the viewers to cheer or bombard chosen players. This gives viewers the ability to affect the outcome of the game through active participation.
A Blitz Freak tournament was held and live streamed on Twitch with the Genvid Extensions in September 2018. Over the course of the two-and-a-half hour live stream, they had an average of 200 viewers and 313 viewers at the peak. There were over 5,000 likes and 1,000 bombs initiated via the Extension.
One learning from the tournament was the difficulty of getting the players to actually use the Extension features and getting them involved in the match. “Since the Extension features are a completely new thing for viewers, they are not used to the viewing experience they provide,” Sato says. “To have viewers constantly using the Extension features to interact with the game, we need to communicate the potential that it has, and show them how it can change the game viewing experience.”
We hope you are inspired by these shining Extension examples and leverage the growing community and powerful tools like Genvid’s SDK to power your next Extension — and you can always reach out to TwitchDev for help through our forums, on Twitter, or during our monthly live streams.