Welcome to our first Maker Spotlight! Today we're chatting with the brains behind the Stream Deck Developer Platform. This team ensures Stream Deck isn't just a tool but a gateway to creative possibilities.
Our spotlight is on GeekyEggo, the Technical Lead with over 20 years of programming experience. His portfolio includes popular plugins like Sound Deck, Govee Controller, and Windows Display Settings.
How did you discover Stream Deck, and what inspired you to start creating plugins?
It all began when I first discovered Stream Deck trending online at the start of 2019. It was relatively new to the market at the time, but as someone who loves to automate everything, I knew it was the perfect addition to my setup.
I originally didn’t know there was an SDK that allowed me to build plugins. Once I did though, I quickly discovered there was a lot of potential with this little device that now sat on my desk, so I began coding.
How did you go from building Stream Deck plugins to working at Elgato?
During the development of the Stream Deck +, Elgato reached out to me and asked if I wanted to get a device before launch so I could work on adding dial support to my plugins, specifically my "Sound Deck" plugin, as it was a perfect fit for dials.
Understandably, I jumped at the opportunity. Shortly after receiving the Stream Deck +, I noticed the upcoming Volume Controller plugin had similar functionality to Sound Deck. I jokingly sparked a conversation with the team, hinting they should offer me a position to work on the plugin, and the next thing I knew, I was talking with them about a permanent role. The outcome was me becoming the Technical Lead of Stream Deck Developer Platform and working my dream job.
I later discovered Volume Controller took a lot of inspiration from Sound Deck, and I now work closely with the team responsible for the plugin, and they're all awesome.
As Technical Lead for the Stream Deck Developer Platform, how do you view the recent Marketplace update and its impact?
It’s exciting; working with the team, it’s clear that our vision is the same—everyone is a Maker! Whether it be plugin developers, audio engineers, graphic designers, or OBS experts, everyone is a Maker. My responsibility is to enable Makers to build cool things in an easy way, and then provide them with a platform so that our users can find what they’ve created—that's where Marketplace comes in.
One example of where we’re making it easier for Makers is with the new Stream Deck SDK. We’ve completely overhauled how Stream Deck plugins are created, whilst also retaining support for existing plugins. This means it’s easier than ever for new Makers to get started. We’re able to provide everyone, new and existing Makers, with enhancements to the Stream Deck API more efficiently and reliably. As a self-proclaimed geek, it’s a really exciting time.
What advice do you have for newcomers to Stream Deck development, and what can they expect from the platform?
The hardest part is starting. If you’ve got an idea, bring it to life. When you’re proud of what you’ve created, don’t be afraid to share it. If you’ve solved a problem or made something easier, there’s a high chance you’ve created that one thing that someone has been searching for. From my experience creating Stream Deck plugins, the content-creator space is full of wonderfully-creative people that will find innovative ways of incorporating plugins into their setup and content, and I love hearing from all of them!
Can you share your development background and describe your approach to creating a new plugin?
I’ve been a software engineer for as long as I can remember. I love solving problems. If there’s something I can streamline or automate, there’s a high chance I’ll have a go at it. Typically if it’s an integration, for example with a smart home device, I’ll start by researching what existing APIs and libraries are available—and how the functionality translates to Stream Deck. Once I’ve got a working prototype, I’ll send it to friends to get feedback, make some final improvements, and then make it public.
I also love building tools that enable potential Makers to create Stream Deck plugins more easily; if I can take the hassle out of building with Stream Deck and provide fun things for Makers to build plugins with, then I’m happy. Sure, it’s my "job," but this profession and space are my passion, and I feel blessed to be in the role I am.
What challenges have you faced in development, and how do you integrate community feedback into your work?
Community feedback is so important. The creator space is full of wonderfully-creative people who incorporate plugins into their setup in an endless array of different ways. I love hearing about how a plugin has solved a problem for a user or enabled them to enhance their content somehow. Their passion fuels my passion to build new, and improve existing, plugins.
One of the biggest challenges is building plugins that integrate with third-party services such as smart home devices. With these services, I’m limited by the provided API, which sometimes means I can’t deliver a cool feature that users and I would love to see. In cases like these, I tend to keep a closer eye on the API updates, keep my fingers crossed, and implement new functionality as it becomes available. Funnily enough, since writing this article, Govee have updated their API which brings support for a frequently requested feature that previously wasn’t available, so I’m excited to bring new functionality to the Govee Controller plugin.
What are your thoughts on the future of Stream Deck?
There are a lot of awesome things on the horizon. Internally we have a long-term roadmap that is designed to bring functionality to both our users and our Makers. At the same time, the industry we’re in requires us to be agile, so we also have a short-term roadmap that enables us to continually deliver features and improvements to everyone. The SDK roadmap is particularly exciting and we’re currently discussing some ideas that will really fuel the creativity of our Makers, providing them with an entirely new canvas for their ideas. This ultimately enables Makers to create new things for users, so everyone wins.
Do you have any favorite plugins or tips for others? How do you use Stream Deck in your day-to-day workflow?
My personal favorite has to be Clip Audio in Sound Deck. It was the first action I ever created in a Stream Deck plugin and was born out of the idea of wanting to make people laugh. I wanted to provide users with a way of clipping audio similar to a Twitch clip, for example from a Discord chat. This would enable them to create soundboard clips that they could play back at the most opportune time to make people smile and share some joy! Big shout out to KrazeyHazey, HellyPanda, and Verbium, who’ve made some of the most memorable out-of-context clips over the past four years, that still make me laugh today.
Exploring the world of Stream Deck shows us a story full of passion, innovation, and hard work. Looking ahead, the future is bright, especially with our Makers shaping it. Stay connected with GeekyEggo on X and see his projects on GitHub. Looking to create some plugins? Join the fun and creativity in our Makers Discord, where Stream Deck fans come together to share ideas and inspiration.