Black Lives Matter

As I sit down to write this, I’m still not exactly sure what I want to say or how I’m going to say it, but I need to say some things.

With everything that’s happened since the murder of George Floyd (and certainly not to treat anyone lightly that came before him in similar situations), racism in the United States has become – once again – front and center in the minds of many Americans, as well as in the minds of people all over the world. This man was outright murdered by police, and hopefully they will be brought to justice. When this situation and everything it sparked started to dominate the news cycle, my initial stance was “all lives matter”. This made sense to me, because everyone should be treated the same, no matter the color of your skin, your religious beliefs, your gender or your gender identity … anything. But as it turns out, I was so wrong about this, and my position has changed.

This change came from an interview I saw with Keegan-Michael Key, where he explained what the difference is and why Black lives do matter more (emphasis mine):

“[It’s] like saying the fire department should spray down all houses in a neighborhood even if only one house is on fire because all the houses matter. And yes, your house does matter 100 percent, but your house is not on fire.”

This made me realize that Black lives do in fact matter more than any other, because theirs are treated far worse than any other in this country, and have been for almost 200 years. While we have the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968, they have obviously not stopped the systematic mistreatment of Blacks everywhere.

I remember seeing a tweet the other day that showed pictures of three individuals from the same town that had committed the same crime. Two of the men were white, and one was Black. All three were fined. One of the white men was fined $100, and the other $200. But the Black man was fined $500 for the same crime the white men committed. This is exactly the type of thing that needs to stop. Racism needs to stop.

Even though I don’t remember all the details of what happened on that day, I have experienced racism first hand, and I have never forgotten it, even if some of the details have escaped me in the 40+ years since it happened.

Back in the mid 70’s (I was a preteen at this time), my dad was in the Air Force, stationed in Georgia. He regularly participated in intramural softball on base, as well as the teams he played on participating in off-base tournaments around Georgia on weekends. One weekend, we were traveling to a tournament in southern Georgia and we had arrived at the town where the tournament was taking place. With it being around mid-day, we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. As we all sat down, a server came over to our table and said something to the effect of “we don’t serve your kind here,” looking at one of the Black members of the team (I don’t remember how many there were on the team). Everyone just looked at each other. Rather than getting into an argument or causing a scene, after a moment or two everyone just got up and left, didn’t say a word, and we went somewhere else to eat.

Obviously not knowing what was going on, my dad had to explain it to me later. I had never seen anyone treated like this before, and I honestly don’t remember how I processed it back then. But as I got older and truly understood, the sense of anger and frustration began to resonate. There is absolutely no way one human being should ever treat another that way just because of the color of their skin. I had always known these men on my dad’s team as Mr. Jones or Sergeant Smith, etc. The thought they were anything different from my own dad or their teammates never even occurred to me.

There is something each of us can do, in our own way, to help in the fight or to bring awareness to others that may need some guidance. Whether it’s monetary donations, attending peaceful rallies and protests, saying “I’m sorry, and I’m with you” to a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor, the person that bags your groceries or takes your deposit at the bank – there’s something everyone can do. And if you feel your local politicians aren’t supporting the Black community the way they should be, register to vote and vote in November to have them replaced.

So, in order to show my support for the Black community, I will be doing the following:

  • I have made a $250 personal donation to Color of Change, through Tiltify. They can be found at, and they design campaigns powerful enough to end practices that unfairly hold Black people back, and champion solutions that move us all forward. My donation is going through a fundraiser for my friend and fellow Twitch streamer Izzy Leo Hill. You can find her fundraiser at
  • For the entire month of June (retroactively), all donations made to my Twitch channel, as well as all new subscriptions, gift subscriptions, and re-subscriptions will be matched by myself, dollar-for-dollar, and will be totaled for an additional donation at the end of the month to also be made to Color of Change. You can find my channel at
  • All of the screens during my streams from June 6th to 13th will be shown in black-and-white, and will include the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. Also, instead of the normal EDM I play during my breaks on Friday and Saturday nights, I will be playing excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech during this time period.

This has been going on for far too long in this country, and we have to fix it. And the only way we can do this is to stand up for what’s right, and to stand up for those that have been wronged for far too long. And we have to do it together.

We have to DO better. Together.

We have to BE better. Together.

End of story.

Setting up a Stream Deck


Those that own an Elgato Stream Deck swear by it. It can make the many tasks a streamer does simple, automating them down to a single button press. It can also group similar items into folders, making organization easy, as well as providing more “real estate” on the device buttons themselves.

But I’m not here to sell you on a Stream Deck. If you’re reading this post, you are either seriously considering getting one or have already purchased one and you’re looking to get the most out of it. While not all streamers’ setups are alike, I’m going to explain and show how I have mine set up, so anyone can hopefully get the most out of the device they can if your situation is similar to mine. If you have any suggestions on how you think I can set these up better, please let me know. Contact information is at the bottom of this post.

Note: This post will not cover the basics of the Stream Deck and how to set it up – including the software – it assumes you already know how, and have done it.

The Situation(s)

At its most basic, the main tasks a streamer needs to do when they stream are (a) going live, (b) taking a break, and (c) shutting down. There are other simpler, one-off tasks that can and need to be performed while streaming (like playing a specific SFX when something happens on stream), but those are minor compared to these, so they won’t be covered individually. Rather, we’ll cover some of those as part of the overall setup of the three main tasks listed above.

NOTE: I use StreamLabs OBS (SLOBS) for running my streams and will be using those options below. If you use other software (the Stream Deck also supports OBS Studio and XSplit), you will need to adjust to what your software is and which Stream Deck actions you have available. The concepts will be the same.

Going Live

When going live, I typically need to do the following steps, executed sequentially:

  1. Turn on my lights. I have two Elgato Key Lights, and I need to ensure they are both on.
  2. Start Snaz. Snaz is a great little utility that provides a few niceties, such as a countdown clock, countup clock, etc. you can add to your scenes as a text element, pointing to a file Snaz writes. I use it so I can show the current time where I live on my Lobby screen.
  3. Start StreamLabels. This is the utility I use to ensure my Lobby screen shows the appropriate events/viewers for Last Follower, Last Donation and Last Bits.
  4. Switch to the Starting Up screen
  5. Start local recording. I record all my streams locally, in addition to what gets sent out to Twitch/Mixer, etc. This is a feature that is turned on inside SLOBS.
  6. Start the stream/Go Live
  7. Play the startup song. I typically play an MP3 file when I start my streams – usually about four minutes long. This allows me to take care of last-minute things like getting a drink, a quick trip to the restroom, etc., before the game actually starts.
  8. Once the song has finished playing, switch to the Main/Live screen, or to the Lobby screen, depending on what I need to talk about before I start playing.

Here is a screenshot of my Going Live setup, showing the specific actions I have my Stream Deck take.


These steps are all pretty straightforward, but there’s some trickery involved around the timing of when things happen when media files are played from the Stream Deck’s Soundboard option. More on that shortly.

The setup of the Elgato Key Lights will not be covered in detail here – just follow the instructions that came with the lights (including installing the software/mobile app and getting them up and running and configured to your liking). When the software is installed, it will add a Control Center section to the Stream Deck, where actions such as On/Off are available, among others.

As far as starting Snaz and StreamLabels, these are done with simple Open actions from the System section. Select the program you want to run, give it a name and you’re done.

The Stream Deck software has direct integration with the major streaming software packages, so it can “see” the scenes you have defined in them so you’ll need to make sure you first have everything already set up in the software you’re using. Simply select the Scene action from the SLOBS section, choose the appropriate Collection and Scene (Startup in my case) from the two dropdowns, give it a name and that’s it.

Starting the local recording is a simple “toggle” action. Select the Record action from the section for SLOBS and choose Start from the dropdown (when using this for stopping the recording, perform these same steps but choose Stop).

Starting (and Stopping) the stream itself is almost identical to starting a local recording, except it’s done using the Stream action under the SLOBS section.

Now that the stream has started, we need to play our startup song. For this, we’ll need to choose the Play Audio action from the Soundboard section. This will allow us to pick a local file (MP3, etc.) to play, as well as set its volume.

The problem with the Soundboard is that it doesn’t stop the Stream Deck from moving on to the next action in the list while the song plays, so in order to make sure it doesn’t do this, we have to add a Delay action to the list immediately before or after the Play Audio action we just added. The Delay has a user-defined length in it in milliseconds (one-thousandth of a second) that will need to match the length of the media file selected for the Soundboard. The Delay will cause the actions to wait until the defined timer expires before moving on to the next action in the list. This allows us to “pause” our actions until after the song finishes. This will be critical in the Taking a Break section below where we have to play multiple media files in succession. For calculating the correct value to put here, use the following formula:

Delay = (Minutes * 60 * 1000) + (Seconds * 1000)

So, for example, if we have an audio file that is 3m35s in length, we would enter 215000 ((3 * 60 * 1000) + (35 * 1000)). Depending on how much fade in/out the file you choose has, you may need to adjust this up or down appropriately.

I also add additional Delay actions on both sides of the Play Audio action just to make sure everything transitions properly. These are not necessary.

And finally, we need to switch to the Main scene to get the actual stream started. This is the same as the Startup option above, but pick your main scene.

Taking a Break

When I take a break, I like to have a looping video of falling snow play in the background while MP3s play. Typically my breaks lasts about ten minutes, or a few minutes longer on weekends, as my streams on weekends cross over lunch, so I take a few extra minutes for food. These are the basic steps:

  1. Switch to the On Break screen.
  2. Play the break song(s).
  3. Switch to the Main or Lobby screen, whichever is appropriate.

This one is way more complicated than it sounds, and it’s because of the way the Stream Deck works in regards to playing media files, as discussed in the Going Live section above. But there’s even more to it than that. Some streamers will display a “crawler” at the bottom of the screen to give attribution to the artist that performed the song (and in fact, some require it to use it for free). While SLOBS can display static or scrolling text on the screen, there’s no way for the Soundboard action to send information to SLOBS to do it (via writing the information to a text file), so you have to. There are audio players (through plugins, such as Foobar2000) that can write the artist and title of a song to a text file, but the Stream Deck software does not give you enough control via the Multimedia action under System to play a specific song by name from the Stream Deck – it only does Next/Previous, Pause/Play and Stop.

So how do we do all this? Without a custom Stream Deck plugin (for which there is an API available to do), we have to do it all through SLOBS and standard Stream Deck actions. We essentially have to “fake” it to make it look like the way we want it, and it takes several steps. Here is a screen capture of the Stream Deck side of things, and we’ll cover that first.

Note: If you do not have a “crawl” in your scenes, you can skip that section.


There’s really nothing new here we didn’t already cover before in Going Live, but here are the steps:

Stream Deck

Create a Multi Action action from the Stream Deck section and give it a name, such as “Break”.

Add a Scene action from the SLOBS section, choose the appropriate Collection and Scene (Break in my case) from the two dropdowns, and give it a name.

Add a Play Audio action from the Soundboard section, select the file to play, and set the name as well as the volume.

Add a Delay action and set its length in milliseconds as described in the Going Live section, using the described formula.

Repeat the three previous steps for each additional song.

Add a Scene action from the SLOBS section, choose the appropriate Collection and Scene (either to return to your main scene or to a lobby).


Now we have to set up the scene(s). Part of the trick here is that we have to duplicate the Break screen the number of times equal to the number of songs to be played during the break. This is easy enough to do in SLOBS by right-clicking the scene, selecting Duplicate and giving the duplicated scene a new name (I would suggest putting the name of the song there to keep them straight). This is what you should wind up with (using mine as an example):


For each scene that has a crawl, add a new Text source to it, and place it on the scene where you want it – set the font, style, color, etc. In the Text field on the dialog, enter the text you want while the song is playing – mine is typically the name in quotes followed with “by” and the artist name.

Now, in order to get the crawl effect, you need to right-click on the Text source just added and add a new Scroll filter for it. On the Scroll properties dialog, you can set the horizontal and vertical scrolling speed as well as the width and whether to limit it. You can tinker with these to get them to your liking, but I have my Horizontal Speed set at 85 and Vertical Speed at 0. The text and scroll setup values should be set to the same for each break scene so you have a consistent look.

Repeat the previous three steps for each additional song.

Once you have all the scenes set up the way you want them, now we have to concern ourselves with the transitions between them. This will be critical if you have existing transitions between all of your other scenes. These break screen scenes should be treated as a “set”, and as such, should not have a “visible” transition between them. You want the transition to not be noticeable to the viewers. To set up a proper transition, on the Scenes section of SLOBS, click the gear icon and on the resulting Scene Transitions dialog, select the Transitions tab at the top. This will show the existing list of transitions you have, if any. Click on Add Transition, and in the resulting dialog, select the Type as Fade, the Duration as 0, and give it a name.

Now, we have to tie the break scene transitions together so the same transition is used between all the break scenes. We do this using a Connection. On the Scene Transitions dialog we used before, select the Connections tab at the top. Click on Add Connection, the select the Beginning and Ending scenes from the steps above, as well as the Scene Transition you created above.

That should be it. Now, when you go on break, all you have to do is hit one button and the Stream Deck will do all the audio playing and scene switching to properly run your break for you. This is easy enough to test while not streaming to validate the timing is correct, transitions happen the way they are intended, etc. The only problem with this setup is you have to do a lot of work if you want to change your break songs, or even more if you want to add another song to an existing set for the break. But this should be simple following the above directions.

Shutting Down

When shutting down, I typically just reverse the Going Live steps. By the time you get here, everything will have been described for getting it set up – there is nothing new here not covered above.

  1. Switch to the Shutting Down screen.
  2. Start the shutdown song. I typically play an MP3 file, much shorter than the startup. While I don’t want to abruptly end the stream, I also know people will typically bail when I start this (or go watch the other streamer I’ve hosted or raided), so I want this short(er). As mentioned above, we’ll need to add a System Delay here so the next step doesn’t execute until the media file has finished playing.
  3. Stop local recording.
  4. Stop the stream.
  5. Turn off the lights.


Create a Multi Action action from the Stream Deck section and give it a name, such as “Shutdown”.

Add a Scene action from the SLOBS section, choose the appropriate Collection and Scene (Shutdown in my case) from the two dropdowns, and give it a name.

Add a Play Audio action from the Soundboard section, select the file to play, and set the name as well as the volume.

Add a Delay action and set its length in milliseconds as described in the Going Live section, using the described formula.

Add a Record action from the SLOBS section and choose Stop Recording from the dropdown.

Add a Stream action from the SLOBS section and choose Stop from the dropdown.


This is now I have my stream set up for the basic actions a streamer typically takes – starting, taking a break, and shutting down. While it may seem complicated at first, hopefully by the time you’ve gotten here it will make sense and will have been easy to follow. The Stream Deck is a very flexible device, and the limit is really your imagination.

Questions? Comments?

We can always improve, so if you have any questions about what was covered in this post, or any suggestions on how I can improve it, please let me know! You can either leave a comment below, email me at, or join us at The Igloo on Discord at

And … we’re back!

I listened to your comments, suggestions, etc. – both public and private – and I have decided that I would start streaming again. I will, however, no longer be streaming Mondays through Thursdays – only on weekends. The Friday schedule will be the same (all times Eastern U.S.) at 6pm to 10pm. On Saturdays, I’ll be going a little earlier, from 4pm to 8pm. On Sundays, the time will be from noon to 4pm. If we need to adjust those times from there, we will.

I have also decided to retain subscriptions and donations. StreamLabs will stay for donations, and I have decided to add Ko-fi as well. Since GameWisp is no longer available, I have created a Patreon account, so that is also an option for ‘pledges’ – it has the same tiers as Gamewisp with the same benefits. This should be a good set of choices for those that choose to show support this way. As always, these are completely optional, but very much appreciated.

Patreon: (pledges)
StreamLabs: (donations)
Ko-fi: (donations)

I hope you guys don’t get tired of me saying this, but Thank You for your support – on-stream, on Discord, monetarily, etc. I have been completely humbled by you all. I hope I can continue to deserve that support. I will damn sure try!

Taking a Break

It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce this, and I’ve had an internal debate with myself for about a month now if I should even post this (I’ve written this so many times now), but I am taking an indefinite leave of absence from streaming, effective at the completion of the Dead Space 3 playthrough. The remainder of #IcetoberFest is being canceled. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest one is that I haven’t grown as much as I thought – or hoped – I would. While I never expected to become a partner in six months on either Twitch or Mixer (not that I really wanted to), I had hoped I would have a few more people – more new people – come out for my streams on a regular basis than I have had. I have always maintained if I could have maybe 10 people come out on a regular basis and be at least reasonably active in chat, I’d be happy. I don’t even get half that. I understand part of the reason for this is because of the time of day and the short number of hours I’m able to put in each day since I already have a full-time job, plus the hours I work. I have tried to balance my stream with newer and older games, streamed different genres of games, held giveaways, “given back” to my followers, had a Discord server, etc. I try to have a nice, simple, clean presentation with startup/shutdown/break screens, themes based on time of year, special events; I’ve done streams for charity; I have music, sound effects, games in chat, and I also maintain a website – all of that. I only know one way to do things – ALL IN.

While I’d like to think I’m good at the gaming side of things, I’m just not a good “entertainer” nor do I have the right kind of personality to make people want to come out and return. Don’t get me wrong – please – I do appreciate the support and viewership everyone gave me. It means more to me than you know – that you take time out of your day to stop by when you can to say Hi and maybe watch for a while. And especially for those of you that have supported my channel with subscriptions and donations. But, frankly, by the same token it’s also rather depressing to have only one or two people there on a regular basis – the “return on investment” from a viewership standpoint is just not worth it. I’ve been doing this for almost two years now – there has to be more. My channel, for the most part, is stagnant. This also isn’t me being burned out – I have a good schedule that works for me now. This is about results, and they’re just not there.

To close, this isn’t goodbye – I’ll still be around while I work through this, I’ll still be on Discord, I’ll still come out to other streams when I can (I haven’t been able to as much as I’d like because I just never had much time – my “days off” from streaming really weren’t days off all that often).

Again, thank you all for the kind words, words of encouragement, laughter, and your friendship.



I’ve been listening to new podcasts lately, and some of them talk about a streamer’s (or, a content provider’s) “brand”.  This is the one thing you’re known for, whether it’s the type of content you normally produce (videos, streams, podcasts, blog posts, etc.).  One of the things I’ve never been happy about is the logo for my brand.  In addition to having others take a stab at something for me, I decided to have a little fun with it and use a caricature of myself I had made recently as part of it.  What do you think?


Why ‘TheIcemanCometh’ ?

I’ve been asked a couple of times recently where my gamertag came from.  Here’s the story:

“That nickname was actually given to me a long time ago. Actually has nothing to do with gaming. Back when I was in the military, I used to play a ton of intramural softball and was pretty good at it. My friends and teammates always thought I was cool under pressure, so that’s where the “iceman” part of it came from. As far as the rest, that was just something they would say when they saw me coming. Started off as “Here comes Iceman”, and over the years evolved into the gamertag I have now.”

Welcome to The Igloo!

Hello.  I’m The Iceman, and welcome to my little corner of the internet, The Igloo.

I’m a part-time, variety video game streamer on the Twitch network that plays on Xbox One, Playstation 4, PC, and Nintendo Switch.  I currently stream between 17-20 hours per week on weeknights and on weekends.

You can find my channels at:


So, take a look around and see what I have to offer, even visit one of my streams.  If you have any suggestions or comments, I’d like to hear them.