The Google golden age has ended

Everything sucks now. Google Photos will no longer provide unlimited uploads, Google Music has shutdown and YouTube Music is not a proper replacement, YouTube will now run ads even on unmonetized videos…

Google Photos no longer unlimited

Since I recently got into photography this one hurts quite a bit even though I already understood I was not going to benefit from unlimited uploads from my Canon 90D.

Prioir to 2020 I was snapping pictures right and left with my OnePlus 6 and I enjoyed it quite a bit. When unlimited high quality uploads was a thing I toggled this setting right away, even if it wasn’t archiving the original quality I was more than happy about it as it was.

On June 1st 2020 Google will no longer provide unlimited uploads, previous uploads that were part of the unlimited uploads will not count toward our storage usage. But this still sucks.

I was heavily using Google Photos to share albums with family and friends, I was also heavily pushing friend and family into using it instead of Facebook and WhatsApp because of how simple and efficient it was.

Now I know that photos coming out of Lightroom wouldn’t be able to be part of the unlimited uploads, but now I look like a fool.

YouTube Music

As someone with a small following and a nice number of uploaded videos to YouTube I use a brand account: SenpaiSilver.

Brand accounts permit users to have channels under a specific name instead of their own real name, used for the Google account, just like the good old Google+ pages back in the day when this had to be a thing.

So I can use YouTube Music to listen to some sick tunes with that brand account right? Possibly.

I can’t use my brand account to access my own uploads though, this makes using YouTube Music a very bad experience since I need to switch to my main account. Someone’s gonna get doxxed one day by forgetting to switch back.

Another list of issues come from the Android app:

  • Scrolling through your library requires loading after a couple of titles, can’t just scroll down through my small 500 song library in one flick of the finger;
  • The app attempts to sync very often and it might take more than minutes, killing my 2 day battery in under a day while I’m quarantined home;
  • The app might play music that is not within your queue, I’m not sure if it’s because I shuffle my music or loop it and I was not able to reproduce it.

Nothing seems right about how YouTube Music works and I wish for it to die a horrible death since I don’t see the appeal of it. Unlike YouTube Gaming, YouTube Music is an attempt a break something that was working really well and it just does that, even though no one asked for it.

YouTube running ads EVERYWHERE

As someone that is unable to monetize my own videos due to not meeting the requirements for that, I decided that the best thing to do would to just not show ads at all. Many viewers, including myself, run uBlock Origin to avoid ads and tracking anyway so how about I cut the middleman and make sure YouTube doesn’t bother trying to load ads ? Well I won’t be able to do so anymore.

YouTube will run ads on videos for channels that are not part of the YouTube Partner Program. I’d love to be a partner but I’m not meeting the requirements and YouTube is not a job nor a hobby of mine.
Previously we were able to just opt-out.

While I just confessed to blocking ads (and actually much more with uBlock Origin) I’ve subscribed to YouTube Premium for the past year and a half. I did that in part for Google Music and also because I liked the benefits such as picture in picture, downloading videos to my phone to watch later and not having ads on mobile. The thing is that right now it’s starting to become hard to justify.
I consume so much YouTube content that I make it worth it but is it really?

The golden age is over

Google isn’t the only one making bad decisions to improve growth and benefits. We could say that the internet golden age is over and direct the blame to Twitter, reddit and other popular services.

Gaming is not immune to that either, console game prices have increased, microtransactions are everywhere, storage requirements are too damn high and where’s the real fun?

Gaming: You had to be there

Recently I’ve been getting so much FOMO (fear of missing out) with some games that I just started feeling burnt out from things that I enjoy because I might end up no longer enjoying them.

Games are supposed to be fun and are to be enjoyed during my freetime. But I’m missing out on the fun because I don’t have all that freetime.

Events, seasons & schedules

Gaming is now a live service thanks to battlepasses and season passes (that actually last for a season). You no longer buy a game and enjoy it as it is, it always comes back for your money through DLC a bit like a subscription.

More often than not you’ll have the “two lanes reward system” where having the season pass unlocks a new lane in the levelling system with rewards for each level.

Sometimes you’ll only have access to certain timegated activities that happen outside of your free time.

Once a timegated event is over there’s no chance left to enjoy the content and its rewards. You missed that shiny item from a collaboration event ? Too bad mate.
And I can’t even share mine with you because it’s untradable.

Destiny 2

When Destiny 2 turned free-to-play it permitted free users to enjoy the base campaign and the two first extensions (Osiris and Warmind). One you got past the extensions you have the seasonal content that is locked behind a season pass.

Each seasons provides story elements, activities, rewards and “content”. They run for about 3 months with many changes made to the balance and the inner working of the game sometimes.

Depending on how invested you get into the seasonal event you will feel like you are missing out if you do not have the time or if you are not playing enough of the game.

Right now I missed out on the season of the worthy, it was not fun to play and was very grindy. I didn’t care enough about the season of arrivals and couldn’t grind it to the end, there’s still 24 hours in a day over here.
With some content getting vaulted I have officially missed out on some items and activites such as:

  • Catalyst for exotic weapons;
  • Raids;
  • Side quests.

I feel sad about all this because I really did enjoy the Shadowkeep extension and really got into the game for the season of undying and the season of dawn.

If you have time read what Forbes had to say about it: Destiny 2’s “You Had To Be There” Philosophy Is Turning Off Players.

Phantasy Star Online 2

Now this is something else… I’ve been enjoying Phantasy Star Online 2 since its release in Japan and I’ve built a nice big community around it. But ever since summer of 2020 I just don’t have time to farm. I don’t have the energy to think about farming it. I’m burnt out.

I’ve thought about the new North American/Global release but decided to not bother since I’ve been playing the Japanese one for ever, nothing against it and if you need to know which version to choose, just go the Global one (it even exists on Steam).

PSO2 is the kind of game where you’ll be able to enjoy being timegated to get new items because you will not have access to the raids called “emergency quests” when they happens at scheduled hours. After a while some scheduled quests might happen randomly and we’ll be given the opportunity to play they by purchasing items called “triggers”.

If you want to get the hundreds of items required to gear up, you need to play multiple emergency quests, sometimes over 50 times, before you can finally upgrade or obtain the item. Sadly this doesn’t work well with my working hours.

Lately I have not felt like farming the “divide quests” to get the materials needed to get the best weapon out there, and you only had a limited fixed yield per week.
Counting on my own luck to shorten the grind is not something I consider worth it or even healthy.

The game also introduced a battle pass system, with double the rewards if you purchase it with either real money or some in-game currency that can be obtained by playing the game (but that is not infinite).

PSO2 New Genesis has been announced and will permit you to port your weapons and fashion into the new game. This game is exploiting FOMO and will certainly run into legacy issues.

Meanwhile many categories of quests are no longer been played like:

  • Ultimate Quests;
  • Buster Quests;
  • Advanced Quests;
  • Challenge Quests.

Some quests can be enjoyed alone, but some do required at least a couple of players to be enjoyed correctly. Keep in mind that all the rewards from these quests are now totally worthless too.

Miss directing the blame am I?

Now let’s take a step back for a second.

Am I whining because I decided to play other games? No!
Am I whining because I work? Not really.
Am I whining because I’m not getting shiny new items? It’s not that…

I’m pissed at the live service games because I can not longer enjoy all of the content on my own schedule. For me gaming used to be as simple as popping a cardridge into my Megadrive and switching it on.

Now I’m supposed to live around the events and schedules if I want to be part of something.

Don’t get me wrong, if I was part of a guild/clan/team in a game that scheduled some raids or evening I’d still have to make some time to be part of it, but this is something the participants can choose to do while discussing it. We would schedule something when people are available.

Game companies on the other hand don’t have time for that, they build schedules on their own and we must be there, until we decide that we will miss out.
Sometimes life just happens.

Photography

I took up a new hobby: I take photos now!

I invested in a Canon 90D with a 18-135mm lens and the 50mm prime lens. I liked taking photos with my OnePlus 6 but I’ve always wanted to up my game and do better, and I am now.

But photography takes time because I’m shooting and I’m editing my shots (I even invested in Lightroom, classic version with Creative Cloud).

Conclusion

Like often, I’m pissed and mad. I’m whining about a first world problem that doesn’t really affect my life. Gaming is a hobby that I want to be able to enjoy on my own time and not have it dictate my life.

But currently I’m missing out too much on some things and it’s making me a bit sad because I want to be part of it and be able to say that I was there. This is no longer the case.

Keep in mind that other games than those I mentioned are also guilty of that and I didn’t even cover the stability and viability of games and the space they take on the users’ device. Getting new content is often synonymous of having to download a huge patch, introducing balance issues and all sorts of bugs that will be ironed out over time. The most lucrative exploits for players will be patched fast, but those that affect the players negatively will most likely take a bit more time to be fixed.

My FOMO will kick in.

I am no longer there, I don’t miss it.

May 2020 Quarantine Edition

I still play PSO2 on the Japanese servers even though it’s been released for North America, once again people are not willing to be patient for the issues to be fixed and I find that behavior highly appalling.
But that’s just like my own opinion.

But I’ve started making some videos in French for PSO2, so I’m really having some mixed feelings about continuer because I kinda like making the videos, but also I’m not a great commentator and the community is really entitled and icky at the moment.

I’ve been busy getting into Final Fantasy XIV, finally got past the Waking Sands in the base game, I’m currently in the first expansion (Heavensward) and I will be playing more and more of it I think.

On the programming side of things it appears I have not taken much time to do something useful recently besides writting an EQ notification bot that can retrieve some items’ prices on the PSO2 Player Shop. Nothing major besides finally touching some asyncio, aoihttp and discord.py.
The code is not public yet because I am too ashamed to show it (and the horrible commit messages).

I’m finally replacing my boot drive with a 1TB SSD, my 500GB SSD for gaming is getting upgraded to 1TB too since storage is rough. I’ll be moving one 2TB hard drive to my server for imaging and software backups.

How many games should I uninstall before installing another one?

By the way I heard there are people now roaming outside, I should probably look into that.

Recycling usernames is bad

Once upon a time I had an Instagram account as SenpaiSilver. Then I decided that I didn’t want Instagram anymore and was sick of notifications about people wanting to hijack my account, so I deactivated it.

Back in the day when senpai was just a foreign word people wouldn’t understand I was really happy to see how unique my username could be by adding “Senpai” in front. At first I stylized it with a space to be “Senpai Silver” but not every service supported spaces… So I removed it.
But still, I was happy to have a unique username.

Truth is, I might have deleted it instead and then someone recycled my username.

Recycling username in such a way opens a window for usurping one’s identity. I can understand that it can be a good thing in case you delete your account by mistake (or is maliciously deleted) but there’s usually a way to restore an old account.

Do I want an Instagram today? No. But I don’t want my username being used by someone else.

Please do not recycle usernames, even when asked to delete all data about a user.

Going mechanical: Corsair K95?

I’ve been sporting a nice Microsoft Sidewinder X6 for years, but every good thing comes to an end. To be faire there was nothing wrong with it, it still works and all but I wanted something more, something different.

I’ve switched to a Corsair K95 with Cherry MX Speed switches.

Cherry MX Speed

The Cherry MX Speed switches used in this keyboard are actually surprising. No pressure is required to push them down. Since the switches are linear there’s no resistance at all thus making me type faster, but not by much.

The switches are quiet but the keycaps are noisy without adding any rubber rings.

iCUE

The iCUE is the essential tool that you will need to manager your keyboard settings, macros and lighting. I’m skipping this part since I didn’t test it much but it missing some things.

Regrets?

Oh boy where do I start?

The Cherry Speed switches are too sensitive for me, if I hover a key or rest a finger on it will trigger a keystroke. After a week of use I wasn’t used to them at all.

The iCUE software isn’t bad, but I would love to be able to add multiple programs to the same profile, it would make life easier for keeping similar profiles together like for example the regular Overwatch profile and the PTR one.

Conclusion

I sent it back after a week. I don’t like Cherry MX Speed switches. This post isn’t even worth calling a review, it’s more of a rant and I’m actually pissed about it because I wanted to love this keyboard but was dreaming about my old Sidewinder X6…

Maybe a K70 with Cherry MX Brown switches would fit me better.

Not Streaming on Mixer

UPDATE 2020-06-22: I dropped Mixer. Didn’t even stream much on it.

They were not the savior we needed: The Next Step for Mixer.
Twitch got some improvements on its features, now I hope it’ll get itself sorted out on other aspects.

Original post

We all know by now that Ninja has signed up for Mixer and will be streaming exclusively over there. I also don’t care about Fortnite but I thought it was interesting to see the number 1 move over to a competitor.

I’ve actually tried this new platform and I like it.

What is Mixer?

Mixer is a streaming platform just like Twitch but with a much cleaner and modern UI than Twitch.

Reactions and effects can be sent to the streamer through the chat with the Sparks and Embers, a digital currency that can be bought or accumulated for watching streams.

A developer website is available for creating bots and integrating features into games or apps with Mixer: https://dev.mixer.com/

Stream Faster Than Light

Mixer uses the FTL technology that permits the streamer sub-second latency.

This technology exists on other streaming services but I’ve tried it with Mixer and I can’t live without it. I’m done waiting for my viewers to see what I was talking about and getting delayed reactions to me failing at the most basic things.

Isn’t exclusivity bad?

Unlike games being products, streamers are more like performers and they usually need to consolidate a fanbase somewhere so following is easy and communicating with followers is too.

It’s possible to stream to multiple services with a bit of setting up but interactions would be hard to handle well.

The quirks

Okay so let’s be real for a second. Even though I’d support Mixer over Twitch it still isn’t perfect and I have had multiple issues with my channel not showing the stream or the FTL streaming not performing correctly.

I made sure to not stream over 10Mbps in AVerMedia RECentral and OBS.

The settings page is actually quite easy to understand and helps setting up the encoder correctly. But there’s no way to debug stream errors for now.

Twitch is bad

Twitch also experimented with Ninja’s channel, since he’s not streaming on it anymore, to recommend other Fortnite streamers… Without validating the streams or notifying him. It obviously when wrong when someone was streaming porn instead of Fortnite. Ninja has addressed this on Twitter:

While Ninja’s channel could be seen as belonging to Twitch, attacking his brand by advertising other streamers, especially without hand picking the content, is scummy at best and is a blatant attack on his brand.

Twitch is also know for banning some streamers for little to no offense or honest mistakes while giving a pass on the more famous offenders such as Alinity (covered on the second bullet point). Sometime you’ve got to agree with PETA:

One should never feed vodka to their cat, in my book this counts as dangerous consumption of alcohol for such a small animal.

While Twitch permits other streams than gaming, it sometimes looks more like a cam show platform than anything else. Reddit user RainZone asked the following question:

…why are people bothered by female streamers who use their body for subs? I mean sure it’t not the most ethical thing to do, but nobody forces someone to watch her streams?

To which reddit user MagamanDS responded (full response):

Long story short – Twitch was built and designed solely for the purpose of gaming… Twitch has been adding categories and features outside of gaming…

Non-gamer female streamers started growing in popularity VERY QUICKLY. This made many serious gamers upset because it feels like their ‘safe space’ gaming environment is being taken over by girls who don’t play games, thus resulting in ‘ruining’ Twitch (or their safe-space/home)…

The rest of MagamanDS’ response is also very interesting and you should read it.

Let’s finish by saying that Twitch isn’t only about gaming anymore, which is not a bad thing in itself. But what is bad is having content that belongs on camshow websites such as body painting and having people exposing their bodies.

Conclusion

I want Mixer to become the major streaming platform that YouTube Gaming never became, I want it to be able to compete with Twitch on its own and deliver a great user experience.

Right now getting partnered isn’t easy due to the goals being set very high for the random nobody but I’m willing to ignore that.

I’ll be streaming a bit more on Mixer here: https://mixer.com/SenpaiSilver

Steam sales don’t suck

Whenever a Steam sale happens nowadays it’s always the same thing: people whine about the sale being worse than before.
But is it true? No it’s not.

The Steam Grand Prix event on the other hand sucks and is the worst event we have had.

Why do sales suck?

I said they don’t. The problem isn’t actually the sale, it’s the player’s library.
This is a supply and demand problem.

Every year new games come out, some get their prices lowered while other will go on a nice sale. If you buy a game you want, then during the next sale you will not buy it again, unless you are generous and gift it to someone.

When a new sale happens but you are neither interested in a game or willing to pay a price that seems to high, you will not buy anything. By not buying anything most players will think that there’s nothing of interest and therefore the sale sucks hard.

The sale is actually fine, just not particularly interesting.

Conclusion

Please don’t say this sale sucks, you already have everything you want. The event minigame on the other hand is really bad and actually quite predatory and we should call out Valve for this.

Mid June 2019 update!

Well damn, I’m not writing any posts again.

There’s nothing to apologize about, I know I could be writing easy stuff like report news or finally working on a personal project in Rust… But at the same time I also feel like I don’t have much time.

I’m thinking about maybe trying to talking about gaming news, A.K.A. blogging on cruise control.

I’ve actually enjoyed streaming and interacting with people recently so I might actually get a bit more into, we’ll see.

Since E3 ended with Microsoft and Nintendo being awesome, here’s my latest attempt at making a funny video:

I’ll try to write about E3, especially about Nintendo and Microsoft. They did well this year and actually put a smile on my face.