We couldn’t do what we do without the support of our incredible community of streamers, and as part of our Stream Team Spotlighted Streamer interviews we recently talked to DrKayRoss!
Hey there Dr Kay! Thank you for your support with the launch of the SpecialEffect Stream Team! Please introduce yourself.
Hello, everyone. I’m Kay, my pronouns are she/her, and I go by ‘DrKayRoss’ across most platforms. I’m best known as the physicist who left research to work on a game called ‘Elite Dangerous’! I’ve always enjoyed multiplayer and social gaming, watching and encouraging others to play, and discussing aspects of games from their narrative to development.
I stream on Twitch playing co-op games, retro games, modern ones, indie titles… all sorts usually once or twice a week. My emphasis is on having an open and welcoming chat and community first and foremost. The channel is 18+ due to occasional naughty language, but we also have an openness to discussions on adult focused topics.
I love nature, hiking, wildlife, cooking… but also motorcycling, heavy metal, and weird old, animated films. I’m a publicly out trans woman, who has transitioned somewhat in the public eye due to being community facing in some of my work. I try to advocate and educate as misinformation and obfuscation on this topic is rife.
That’s so cool, you’ve got so many varied interests! How did you get started as a creator?
My first foray into streaming was around 2016/2017, doing art streams on Picarto and Discord, as I wanted to hang out with people and chat whilst I painted with acrylics.
I then came back to streaming around the start of 2020, partially inspired by a very good friends move to being a full-time content creator, and partially from seeing the pandemic brewing in the first few months of the year. This was I was I kept socially active in the upcoming lockdowns.
I fortunately already had a serviceable microphone from some hobby work in voice acting, but otherwise started with an ancient webcam and a lot of trial and error. I found help and advice from within Twitch communities – growing my understanding of the platform and how to run a stream whilst finding good friends across the platform and enjoying other people’s work on there. I did get somewhat of a boost due to my day job at the time, with fans of ‘Elite Dangerous’ popping over to see what one of the devs was up to in her spare time!
Gaming is such a wonderful tool for community and inclusion, it’s great to hear it worked for you! What’s your favourite kind of content to make online?
Whilst I mostly play video games, I still love the occasional painting stream. Painting provides an opportunity for free-form conversation to flow, though I do feel somewhat self-aware that I’m not perhaps the finest of artists out there!
Games-wise, I enjoy streaming titles where there is a narrative to discuss and secrets to uncover. It prompts discussions with my viewers and that helps to keep me interested in where a story may be going. Bonus points if the stream is for a charity, allowing me to segue between themes in a game and aspects of the charity being helped.
My absolute favourite streams are when I get to co-stream with one or two others, giving even more opportunities to bounce ideas and skits off each other.
So, you love to stream co-op games, but what are some of your favourite games to play?
I’ve played so many games, from the C64 through to the current gen, and there are a few which still stick with me as very important games:
Outer Wilds – There is very little I can say about this game without spoiling it, as I’d very strongly encourage everyone to experience this game without any prior knowledge. It’s all about exploration, and discovery, as a member of a society which is starting to explore their solar system.
Night in the Woods – This game presents so many of my interests in a unique way. You play Mae as she drops out of college, returns home, and tries to return to her life… all whilst something suspicious is happening around town. I loathe to give out spoilers, but I must say this game is very close to my heart due to some of the topics it touches upon and how it’s explored throughout the game.
Frontier: Elite II – The first game in the Elite series of games that I played, and a game which inspired me to learn more about astronomy as a child. It directly led to me being employed to work on a sequel 20 years later!
Excellent choices! How did you first hear about SpecialEffect, and why have you joined the SpecialEffect stream team?
I first became aware of SpecialEffect through a work colleague at the time, who is now actually a member of the SpecialEffect team! There are also Elite Dangerous Commanders in the SpecialEffect team, and the wonderful ED community in turn have previously run charity streams in support of the charity.
Since then, I’ve been involved in co-streaming charity events in support, getting involved where I could!
Why did I choose to support SpecialEffect? You only need to watch one of their videos to see how they’ve helped someone experience and participate more in life to just feel how much of an impact and difference they can make.
Gaming is not just a distraction or a hobby – it’s a way of engaging imagination, exploring stories and moralities, widening horizons, and a robust platform for social inclusion and community. Everyone deserves that. This aspect of the hobby, be it watching friends play or participating in Twitch, has been helpful for my well-being over the years. Everyone deserves access to gaming.
We couldn’t agree more! Do you have any tips and tricks for running a charity event?
First of all, and this might be obvious, but make sure your game choice is not antithetical to the values of the charity you’re supporting. There’s space for discussion and exploration in streaming, but please use sympathetic judgement in which titles you choose.
One of the main things is to keep the charity you are supporting at the forefront of your content. It gives context as to why people should donate or get involved, it gives reminders to check out the fundraising page, and it helps to be able to segue from the game to the charity, and back again. SpecialEffect has a series of helpful videos which explain what the charity does, who they are, and examples of solutions found for various people they’ve worked with.
It’s very helpful to bring engagement to your viewers – donation goals and rewards can encourage people to participate if they’re getting something direct and immediate from it. An example could be a donation reward that makes you do something silly in the game, or to sing a song to your chat!
Those are fantastic tips, thank you for sharing! Before we sign-off, do you have any final words you’d like to share?
A message to everyone – be kind to others but also to yourself! You’re worthy, and you’re valued.
Thank you for your time, DrKayRoss! Where can people find you online?