With the current campaign of Doctors and Dungeon Masters coming to an end, I wanted to take time in this blog post to reflect on some of the practices for streaming D&D that we adopted, adjusted, and abandoned throughout the campaign’s two-year run.
We began our campaign January 2019 with a one-microphone setup with several webcams capturing the DM and players – one of which always hung precariously over the edge of the television to capture the battle map, where we substituted miniatures with random dice and objects we had laying in the collab. The setup was comfortable, albeit not ideal for tabletop gaming because we did not have much room to spare and our voices naturally were different volumes and timbres, making the audio not the greatest when we had everyone talking through one mic.
The following year, we upgraded to a new set-up. The collaboratory space got a makeover after a weeks-long planning process that ended up with a space dedicated for digital games and one for tabletop games. We upgraded from one mic to four, but the advanced setup meant more advanced issues – leveling, cable management, computer processing, and camera placement all became issues that were not present in a one-microphone setup. Despite several trips pre-game and hours of playing around with the mixers, the audio it took several weeks before we had the audio just right for the streams, since the condenser mics were significantly less hot than the USB Yeti we’d been previously using.
And just as we got our setup configured, lockdown happened.
Now without the resources of the collab, we scrambled to get DnD to work the best we could on our home laptops – and mine certainly wasn’t meant for streaming. Now, our audio could not be controlled at a central location and instead was at the mercy of our piecemealed setups and whatever background noises we had in our respective homes – and my background noise primarily came in the form of dogs barking. However, over time, we came to adjust to our new settings. While I regret that the campaign cannot wrap up in the comfort of the collab that it started, I look forward to what the next campaign that Doctors and Dungeon Masters has to offer.