CodeMiko: Bleeding-Edge VTubing - Dere★Project

CodeMiko: Bleeding-Edge VTubing

We live in a world where technology is progressing faster than ever. We’ve constantly been breaking new ground. Compare any piece of technology or media from the 80s or 90s to the ones today. Phones are getting smarter. CGI in movies and television shows has progressed by leaps and bounds. Video games have photorealistic graphics. Anime is extremely smooth and detailed.

But the test part about this is that we aren’t done. This is true even in the world of VTubers, and there is no better example of someone pushing the envelope of VTubing than CodeMiko. But who is CodeMiko and what exactly did she do? Let’s find out!


Technical Details About The Technician

CodeMiko is a 3D VTuber persona created by a South Korean-American streamer and YouTuber named Youna Kang (aptly nicknamed “The Technician). Her content consists mostly of Just Chatting streams where she interviews streamers and other content creators.

The thing that separates her from most VTubers and streamers, however, is the incredible level of interactivity with both her character and her environment. She’s got an unpredictable personality, too. It’s said that her interviews are reminiscent of Space Ghost Coast to Coast, a Cartoon Network 90s classic (though she admitted in a Kotaku interview that she’s never seen the show).

Her lore describes her as a very glitchy video game character… without a game. The glitch that she possesses is very reminiscent of Vanellope Von Schweetz from the Wreck-It-Ralph movies. Her ultimate goal is to be part of a AAA title, but her glitch prevents her from doing so. The situation has become so bad for her that she is willing to take on any role in any game. It’s the classic tale of a struggling Hollywood actress (except she isn’t an actress).

She somehow managed to find a way into The Technician’s Unreal Engine project and has since settled into being a VTuber Twitch streamer.

11 minutes of CodeMiko’s best moments

Humble Beginnings

The Technician went through some tough times in her VTubing journey. She used to work for Nickelodeon (which is also where she got the idea for CodeMiko) but got laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. This was when she pursued streaming full-time. She actually went into debt just to acquire the necessary equipment for it.

In this article from The Verge, she detailed that she spent around $13,000 for the mo-cap suit, and the rest went to her computer, an iPhone, a helmet, and software subscriptions.

It was a huge risk because, according to her, “I told myself I’m not gonna have a backup. Because if I did have a backup, then I’ll give up. If I don’t have a backup then you have to make it.” To her, the entire CodeMiko project was an all-or-nothing gamble. Initially, it didn’t seem to pay off as she was only making roughly $300 monthly on Twitch. It wasn’t enough to cover her apartment’s rent. But after some time, she would get her big break and her life would turn around in a massive way.

The Breakthrough and Continued Success

She had a major breakthrough in November of 2020. She made a tweet showcasing her motion capture technology and face tracking, and it took the streaming world by storm. Her average viewership skyrocketed from about 100-200 to around 10,000 in a couple of weeks.

To give you an idea of just how massive her growth was, she had around 18,000 followers on Twitch when she posted that tweet. Six months later, she was at 715,000 followers. She currently has 921,000 followers on Twitch and 557,000 subscribers on YouTube.

CodeMiko’s success led her to interviewing large content creators like Pokimane

As her viewership rose, clips of her began to surface on the r/LivestreamFail subreddit. This introduced even more people to Miko. This surge in popularity allowed her to get in touch with some of the biggest streamers in the world. Some of the people she interviewed were Pokimane, MoistCr1TiKaL, Ludwig, and Valkyrae. It’s safe to say that her dive into streaming was a major success. All the time and money she invested in the CodeMiko project was worth it, and The Technician can live comfortably now. 

CodeMiko’s Tech Specs

CodeMiko's incredibly detailed 3D model
CodeMiko’s model is peak 3D. The detail is incredible even to this day.

Miko initially started out as a one-person project. The interactive virtual environment she uses in her streams was all made in Unreal Engine. Her 3D model consists of 36,000 polygons and was created in Autodesk Maya, with Adobe Substance used for texturing. The Technician’s VR motion capture equipment uses a suit made from Xsens, gloves from Manus VR, and a face-tracking helmet made by MOCAP Design. On top of this, she has to think about content and ideas to make her streams more interactive.

Today though, there is a full team of professionals behind the CodeMiko project. The character and environmental models each have a separate artist. There’s also a VTuber animator, as well as a rigger. They have a senior software engineer, too.

Last but not least, she also works with a management firm and a publicist. It’s pretty amazing to see CodeMiko go from one person to a full team. In a way, it’s like a startup that managed to find its feet and achieve so much that they’re now a stable business.

Pushing The Envelope

The Technician gives a full showcase of how CodeMiko works

There are two things that make CodeMiko so unique compared to other Vtubers. The first is the level of detail her entire 3D model has. When it first debuted, the face and body tracking were second to none. Today, it’s still on another level despite 3D models rapidly catching up in terms of complexity and expressiveness. Not even large Vtuber corporations are able to match Miko’s quality, and it’s seriously impressive how she has managed to stay ahead of the curve. This also extends to her streaming environment and the level of interactivity there is on her streams.

Power To Control

Giving your viewers the power to control what you do on stream isn’t a new concept. But it’s a completely different ballpark with Vtubers. Since they’re virtual avatars, you can do some really interesting things like add assets and props, have them change your outfits mid-stream, or even let people throw objects at you.

Yet even here, Miko herself stands out from the rest. She discovered during her breakthrough that viewers would pay in bits (Twitch’s own currency) to “kill” her. She said this in her Kotaku interview: “I always had interactivity in my stream, but my income tripled the day I put in this interaction where the audience could kill me. It’s a nuke. When I added the nuke and the mute—where the audience could mute me for 30 seconds—I was able to afford my rent and pay off my debt slowly.” 

But there’s more, of course: she can summon a lot of props on the fly. Her head can explode. You can make her dance by donating. Better yet, her chat has the power to change her appearance on the fly. Big head and small body? Just send her bits on Twitch and go crazy!

CodeMiko vs. Twitch

And speaking of Twitch, Miko’s had quite a few run-ins with their moderation team, being banned from the platform 5 times.

Twitch Bans #1 – #3

The first two bans were back in September 2020 and happened within a span of 3 days. There doesn’t seem to be any information on why she was banned those first two times, however.

Miko’s third ban happened on January 19, 2021. Speculations ran wild and people wanted to know why she was banned. Initially, they thought it was because she used the word “simp” on stream. During that time, Twitch was under fire because of the changes its staff made to its “Hateful Conduct” policy.y banned the usage of words such as ‘simp’, ‘incel’, and ‘virgin’ when used in a “derogatory way.”

However, Miko herself cleared this up and said that she accidentally leaked someone’s personal information on stream. She was talking to her streamer friend about harassment and asked what the worst comment she had ever received was. Her friend sent her a screenshot of the email she received, and Miko displayed it on stream. Unfortunately, it contained personal information which was a violation of Twitch’s Terms of Service, and so she got banned. Miko admitted, “We overlooked it because we were so focused on the threat of the email, but I learned my lesson.” She eventually got unbanned and returned on February 5, 2021.

CodeMiko’s bans are so prominent that even TheScore eSports covered them

Twitch Ban #4

Her fourth ban got even more coverage for, strangely enough, not covering herself. She did a stream on June 5, 2022 where she told her chat that they would be doing a “homeless simulator.” Of course, being CodeMiko, she had a back alley environment ready. But that wasn’t the only change.

The other change is that… her model was completely nude. She did blur out the sensitive parts, but the stream still violated Twitch’s TOS. The ban was temporary, at least (though Miko teased that it was permanent). That same day, she had an incident where a TikToker tried to break into her house and threw a large rock at her housemate Justaminx (which thankfully missed). It was a crazy couple of days for her.

Twitch Ban #5

Her fifth and most recent ban last March 27 was because she used a shock collar on stream. For context, she was playing games with her community, and it had a ‘you laugh, you lose’ segment where laughing activated the collar. A day later, she had Twitch look into it. Thankfully, they reversed the ban as well as removed the strike against her account.

What Does the Future Hold for CodeMiko?

It’s really admirable what CodeMiko has achieved. She went from being in debt and taking a huge gamble to becoming a Vtuber, and now she’s one of the most successful content creators in the world. She can live comfortably and travel wherever she wants – one of her recent IRL streams was her having a blast in London. Sure, her innovation and crazy ideas did result in a few TOS violations, but she’s always managed to move past them.

She’s definitely inspired many people, including myself, to become a VTuber. Let’s hope that she continues being a trailblazer in the VTubing scene!

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