This week, I decided to create my own assignment to help push myself to do something creative and learn new skills using the “mashup” concept. This is my first time creating an assignment, but I think that it’s a really interesting option to be able to guide your own creative learning experience. Having this opportunity to force myself to try something I’ve been wanting to do for a while has been very beneficial.

As an avid watcher of Twitch streams, I find myself enveloped in the community and always wanting to engage. My favorite streamer, Kurumx, has the best community I’ve found in over 7 years on Twitch and a great deal of the engagement comes from the use of fun and silly emotes. These emotes can be anything from GIFs of John Cena eating ice cream to still images of an extremely happy frog throwing it’s arms up in the air and everything between. Because of this, chatters are always looking for new ways to use emotes, but more specifically, new emotes to add to the channel’s arsenal.

With this heavy emphasis on emotes in Kurum’s chat, I decided to become the “tiny hat” guy. For some backstory, there is an emote called “peepoBlushHat,” seen above as the image for the assignment in the assignment bank, that I’ve always loved. Feeling inspired, one day I jokingly asked if Kurum would wear nothing but a tiny hat on stream for us, pairing the message with this emote, and it quickly became “my thing” in chat. Before long, I was showing up to chat each night sending “peepoBlushHat” as my only “hello” message in chat and I would get a tsunami of chatters sending nothing but the emote in chat, as well, responding to my greeting. I knew that this was the start of something special, and months and months later I still am the “peepoBlushHat” guy, but not for much longer.

When watching Twitch streams, you gain channel points from being there, being active in chat, and participating in a gambling feature. Streamers can set channel point rewards to be redeemed by viewers, giving a reason to want to gain more and putting pressure behind gambling points. One of the point rewards in Kurum’s channel is “active any emote you want,” which gave me an idea. Because the streamer ultimately came detached from the idea of the hat, drifting away from the idea of him wearing a hat and more towards me being the hat guy, I wanted to redirect things back on track a bit. To do this, I figured I could put the hat and blush from the frog onto Kurum instead and submit it as an emote, then claim the reward in the channel to enable it for everyone to use. As previously mentioned, it was perfect timing because of the nature of the assignments required for this week, so I decided to make an assignment out of it.

I started by taking the original image, peepoBlushHat, and loading it into GIMP to crop out the hat as best as possible. Then, I contemplated how I would get an image of Kurum smiling in a similar, very adorable manner. Unfortunately, at the time of creating, Kurum wasn’t in a great mood and was a bit mopey, so I was worried I couldn’t take my own screenshot and instead would have to find a generic picture of him online to use. Regardless, I decided to still take a shot and see if I could miraculously catch him mid-smile. Using a PC app called Gyazo, I highlighted a box around Kurum’s face cam and waiting to grab the screenshot. With some incredible stroke of luck, only seconds later someone in chat said the funniest thing all night and I was able to grab a picture of Kurum smiling very genuinely. This was perfect because I had a unique image that isn’t being used elsewhere and was able to get it quite easily.

Once I had this last element, it was just a matter of positioning and resizing the hat, editing out some of Kurum’s hair because it’s so tall, and applying a light pink brush to his cheeks to replicate the blush. This was the most difficult part, though, as I’m decently new to GIMP and was having trouble with layers, selection, and resizing. Thankfully, though, after a bit of time, a few tutorials and Google searches, and a decent bit of effort, I was able to complete the emote.

Though ultimately it wouldn’t be a tiny hat, which would be sticking true to the origins, there was a couple problems with that. For one, the only hat emote I could originally find to represent this tiny hat I wanted Kurum to wear was peepoBlushHat, which ironically features an average size hat. Thankfully, I was able to manipulate this concept enough to explain it like, “when it’s a tiny emote in chat, the hat is also tiny.” Secondly, shrinking the hat down to an actually tiny size would in turn make the hat so small that it may not be viewable on some monitors, or at least would be very difficult to make out. Regardless, I transferred the elements over from peepoBlushHat very well, kurumBlushHat was born, and chat LOVED it.

As soon as the emote was added, the chat started flooding with it, and as you can see, people instantly knew who made it and what it was made in relation to. Deathrider3’s comment, “finally tiny hat,” and lilkahuna directly addressing me in chat show that the tiny hat phenomenon has existed for a while. Now, I’ve finally been able to leave my mark on Twitch in a small way, but more specifically the community that I actively engage in most nights. This experience was incredible and I feel that much closer to fellow chatters. Hilariously, Kurum trash talked the emote calling it a “monstrosity” and an “abomination,” all the while laughing and enjoying that hundreds of viewers in chat were spamming it. After making those comments, people started saying things such as, “Bro, it’s literally a picture of you with a hat on blushing, so you’re an abomination?” Even though the streamer was joking, chat was very wholesome and supportive saying, “But he worked so hard on it >:(” and things of that nature.

The entire journey that this assignment has taken me on has been incredible and I really hope that current and future students have a similar connection with a Twitch community and are able to make something fun, at the very least. Making the emote was a great deal of fun, especially when things were really coming together, but the experience that followed was priceless. Because of this story and journey, I felt it appropriate in the assignment description to allow the assignment to be counted as 4 stars if someone else can have this experience.

One final thing I wanted to share to close out the blog post is another bit of feedback I received on the emote. When enabling it in Kurum’s channel, it was used a lot immediately, and some chatters really loved it and enabled it on their own streams as well. Other than myself and Kurum, 8 other streamers enabled the emote in for themselves and I’ve been able to use it in their channels as well. This means that it has spread past my initial hopes for it and is making an even bigger mark than I had originally anticipated.