1. #1
    Ubi-Kay's Avatar Community Manager
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    Community Highlight - Episode 4: "Belannaer - The Finn that builds"


    Every now and then, we have the opportunity to sit down and learn a bit about some of the people within our community. And this time, we travel to Northern Finland, to learn more about Belannaer. This writer/steamer/curator is an indie specialist focusing on managing and building strategy games.

    Who are you and what's the story behind your username?

    Hey, Iím Riku-Ville Vaske, a hairball from northern Finland, that people mostly call Belannaer. I got my username when I first tried IRC over 20 years ago as part of computer club for youth that our city was running. It kinda stuck and since then Iíve been using it everywhere.


    How did you get into PC gaming?

    All the other kids in the neighborhood were older than me and one of them had Commodore 64 from his older brother. I was already into console gaming so it was a good gateway into other gaming than just on NES and Gameboy. We spent a lot of time playing a bunch of games on it, especially flippers and RPGs, as we played a lot of pen-and-paper roleplaying games as well.

    A bit later an older friendís father bought a PC for work reasons and we got to play PC games on it like Dune 2 and X-COM: Terror from the Deep that my friendís older brother had bought. It was very much a hand-me-down kind of system to get all of us into gaming in the neighborhood.


    Why PC?

    I would have likely stayed with consoles but both my NES and SNES broke down very close to each other and repairing them or getting new ones would have been very expensive. My parents got a really good deal on a PC and thanks to older friends I was already into PC gaming so we decided to go with that. If they had not broken down or broke a bit later, when for example the original Playstation was being released, I would have very likely gone for that instead.


    Why building/managing games?

    Ever since the original SimCity on SNES Iíve been in love with that kind of games and my friends were all into strategy games so it kinda became my thing too. Itís something Iíve been doing always and with streaming I decided early on that I needed some kind of focus for my stream to make it easier for people to find me and like-minded people. I was involved already with some other streams that played a lot of games from those genres so it was an easy one for me to choose and get that initial push to get some followers.

    I do still play a lot of variety, especially on my time off. Lately Iíve been sinking way too many hours into Warframe.


    What is your favorite PC game?

    This is one of the hardest questions ever to answer as it kinda changes over time and few different ones are favorite ones for different reasons. But from my childhood, I think X-COM: Terror from the Deep is my favorite, as the game type is one of my favorites and it holds up well to this day, plus there is a lot of good memories associated with.

    My current favorite is probably RimWorld as it combines the building, management and strategy aspect in a very good way and allows for almost infinite replayability.


    Which PC game would you buy a friend to introduce them to PC gaming, and why?

    This depends a lot on the person and their previous experience in gaming and what they might like but generally I would probably recommend Bethesdaís games. If the person likes fantasy then itís Skyrim for them and if they like more modern/futuristic stuff then one of the Fallouts. They are fairly easy games to get into and have huge worlds to get sucked into where you can spend a ton of hours. Any flavor of multiplayer game is also a good recommendation especially if they can play with you/friends and have fun together and get support on their first steps to PC gaming.


    Which future game are you most excited about?

    Itís hard to say which future game Iím most excited about because thereís so much good stuff coming in the next year or two but my short list of awesomeness Iím really looking forward to would be Anno 1800, Megaquarium and Mechwarrior 5. In addition to those, itís hard to not be insanely hyped about the Cyberpunk 2077 after the trailer and info from E3 this year. The creator of the original X-COM is making a new similar game called Phoenix Point that Iím very much looking forward to playing also.


    What made you want to provide people with recommendations and reviews?

    It kinda happened accidently. I had been streaming for about year and a half at that point and a long-time viewer of mine kinda poked me to do a YouTube channel where I could upload playthroughs and other content. He gave me a game (Banner Saga) that would be the first one to go there. I started putting content on YouTube as well, mostly playthroughs from my stream but also in increasing numbers, videos that I made just for YouTube.

    Around that time I saw a tweet about the release of the curation program and I thought it was interesting and just decided to give it a go. Since my stream was already focused on building/management/strategy games I went with the same focus. It was a thing I knew a lot about and my viewers always ask my opinion about them anyways so it felt natural. I just quickly listed basically all the games I had or had played in the past and linked videos from my YouTube to them. My intention with the group was to just give my viewers a quick way to see my opinions on a bunch of games. But then the curator group kinda blew up unexpectedly and I was like ďoh **** I need to put some effort into this and holy crap thereís a lot of people that value my opinion on these games.Ē And so I started putting a lot more effort to the whole thing and doing actual reviews and not just linking to my playthroughs. There is still a lot more I want to do with it but finding time to do everything is hard.


    Why are you operating a large curator by yourself,
    And what are the challenges in doing it alone?


    The group started as ďmy opinions about gamesĒ and Iíve wanted to keep it as such, especially after itís been like that for a long time now and has a big following. Iím also a bit of a control freak and want to keep everything under my control if possible. Now the curator connect allows developers and publishers to directly offers their games to the curators, so there is a big monetary value to it too. The system is kinda bad and the last time I checked it didnít have proper permissions system etc. within the group so itís hard to trust other people with it.

    The biggest challenge with doing it alone is that nothing happens if I donít actually kick myself to do something. Which sometimes can be a good thing too. The group is very chill and thereís very little need for community management and similar things with it and Iíve never really tried to build it into a super active community. I mainly want to keep it as a place where you can get reviews for games you might be interested in. Splitting time between making reviews, streaming, writing a novel and all the other stuff in life is very difficult on the best days. Usually one or more of them have to suffer if I need to focus on one of them more. Quite often it is the reviews, and there can be long periods between new reviews, until I guilt-trip myself into having to make several in a short burst.


    What's the best and worst memory you have from streaming?

    Itís hard to say what the best memory is, since thereís a lot of really awesome ones. I think the last 2 years in general have been really amazing. The curator group blowing up allowed me a lot of opportunities that a streamer of my size maybe would have not had an opportunity to do. One of the things Iíve absolutely loved is being in contact and working with different game developers and publishers as itís allowed me a peek into the other side of gaming that isnít so clear to everyone. And itís particularly crazy when you meet developers, publishers and people working in the games and they recognize your face and name, especially when itís people related to some of your favorite games.

    A more specific awesome memory to streaming though is when I was streaming Transport Fever and my viewer numbers were blowing up. I went from my usual 50-100 viewers to 1000-1500 every day for several weeks. At first I thought it was someone maliciously viewbotting me because almost none of the new viewers spoke anything and their names felt kinda off. It turns out it was just hundreds and hundreds of viewers from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong who every day switched to my stream after their favorite Chinese Transport Fever streamer ended his stream. There was a gigantic language barrier for them to communicate with a strange Finn trying to speak English. But I had few viewers who could understand a bit here and there and few of them could write a little bit English and with the help of Google translate we were able to communicate. It blew my mind how awesome this was, that we can be from anywhere on the planet and be able to communicate with each other through medium of streaming and gaming. Bringing people together and having discussions about all the things, especially food, with my viewers is probably the best thing about streaming.

    I havenít had too many really bad experiences with streaming but the worst thing about it is that it is very time consuming. Not only do you stream for 6-8 hours a day, or how long your schedule happens to be, but you also have to do a lot of stuff outside of the stream like community management, emails, hunting new games and so on. All this takes a lot of time from other things like spending time with my wife or other hobbies and you have to do sacrifices. Streaming is also a very fickle thing and itís hard to take long breaks for travel or vacations. It immediately affects your viewer and subscriber numbers, which means immediate loss of money from your job that you then need to spend time to build up again. Because of this Iíve been looking for earning opportunities that would allow to keep streaming as much as possible but bring financial stability.


    Do you have any awesome future projects you want to tease or share?

    Gaming in mind I donít have anything big coming up other than doing my normal stream every day on my Twitch channel and doing content for YouTube. I will be at Gamescom this year and Iím hoping to see and meet a lot of awesome people there, in addition to some great games!

    Outside of gaming this year Iím hoping to finish writing a novel that I started last year and see if I can maybe get it published. And I want to dedicate more time to my second YouTube channel ďBelannaer tastes the WorldĒ where I eat and try out different things from around the world. I may need to clone myself though to find time for all the things I do.


    What's the first thing that comes in mind when you hear these words?

    Gaming - Fun
    Hardware - Expensive
    Framerate - Stable
    Console - Switch
    Indie - Interesting
    Strategy - Xcom
    VR - Motion Sickness
    Pixel - Retro
    Streaming - Work
    Achievements - Frustration
    Winning - Charlie


    If you want to know more about Belannaer, you can follow find him here:

    Twitch: http://www.twitch.tv/belannaer

    Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/belannaertv

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/belannaertv
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  2. #2

    thanks

    Wonderful info thanks for sharing.
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  3. #3
    Nice work. I appreciate you. It is most value able info for me. Thanks for sharing
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