Twitch Plays Bees / Twitch Plays Everything / Twitch Plays MIDI

This Fall, due to COVID-19, I’m teaching a class about online multiplayer games. It’s a great excuse to learn new skills and run some little experiments in these long, socially distanced days. As class material, I put together two Processing templates to facilitate Twitch-powered multiplayer experiences. Every Twitch channel comes with an IRC chat and it has been used, most notably by Twitch Plays Pokemon, to create interactive live streams.

TwitchPlaysEverything (github source) is a generalized template that turns chat commands into system inputs (mouse and keyboard). I used it quite successfully to let users play the cult AI drama Fa├žade, the game doesn’t rely on quick reactions and it’s based on natural language input. Unfortunately but predictably, the random Twitch users simply ended up trolling and flirting with the AI characters, which is not the most interesting way to play the game.

TwitchToMIDI (github source) lets Twitch users control a MIDI channel on your computer. The setup is a bit complex and it requires some kind of DAW but I can see it potentially used to spice up live DJ set or live-coding performances online.
The code was used for two Twitch Plays Bees streams (video documentation above), in which users made drone music from the sound of my beehive in real time. They controlled the knobs of two filters through chat commands like “mix 100 10” (turn the controller labeled “mix” to 100% over 10 seconds). In the second stream the hive was quite noise since it’s was being attacked by robber bees from another colony. It made for a more interesting sound texture and a more exciting live stream.