Separate your audio streams for streaming on Windows

Streaming and recording video games is something I’ve been into, casually, for years (since 2006). Recording gameplay with audio usually includes all the system audio and this can be a problem.

Recording all system audio issue

Windows, your web browser and the game’s audio will play through the default device. That default device is usually your headphones or your speakers.

OBS and ShadowPlay usually record that default device, this is something we’ll have to change.

Virtual Audio Cable

I’m using Virtual Audio Cable (VAC). You can use the trial version, buy it or use an alternative virtual cable driver, this is all up to you.

Open the Virtual Audio Control Panel as an admin (always) and setup the desired number of lines. Each line will be setup to receive audio from certain apps depending on the usage you want.

I have the main line for gameplay, my Discord line to record people I’m talking to. I also have a third line for miscellaneous things and a fourth that I’m not using.
Ideally I would’ve have set one line specifically for gaming, but Windows 10 being what it is (and standards being what they are) it ain’t going to work like that.

To complete the audio setup I also need to output those lines to something and that something is my headphones. Each output line automatically inputs the sound into a virtual input too, that way you can listen to it.

Basically this is how things go:

  • Outputs:
    1. Headphones;
    2. Line 1: Main output (default output device);
    3. Line 2: Discord output;
    4. Line 3: Misc output.
  • Inputs:
    1. USB Microphone (default input device);
    2. Line 1: Main output mirrored as input into my headphone;
    3. Line 2: Discord output mirrored as input into my headphone;
    4. Line 3: Misc output mirrored as input into my headphone.

Windows 10 doesn’t remember

Like I said previously one problem that forces me to set the line 1 as the default output device is because Windows 10 can’t exactly remember correctly which app is outputting on which device.

This issue could also be the other way around where an app will have a different output selected but still output to the default device, I’m not sure why but answers would be appreciated.

OBS recording

OBS is a great piece of software that permits me to merge lines and split some too! This is perfect for recording gameplay and streaming (at the same time).

First we need to specify that we will be recording several tracks into our ouput in OBS, for that we need to go into the settings: File, then Settings.
From there we go into the Output section and select in Streaming the first audio track as the one we will be using for streaming like so:

In recording we need to tick all audio track to enable all audio tracksfor later:

Then of course we need to name them and change the audio bitrate if you desire:

In my case I have everything playing on track 1 since it is the default track.
Track 2 will contain the game audio or the main subject of the video/stream.
Track 3 is my voice, followed by track 4 with voices from Discord.

Having different tracks enables me to control what is output when I record and stream, this way I’m able to make audio commentary when preparing a video and after that replace that commentary with a carefully recorded one, while keeping the gameplay audio without altering it.

To select where what track plays it’s necessary to go into the Edit menu, then Advanced audio properties. Set the different inputs and outputs as you wish in the new window:

Keep the first track checked for all lines, check the other numbers as you need.

Troubleshooting: static/glitch audio

After a while if the computer is not rebooted for days it might happen that the audio fizzles, glitches or becomes static. This isn’t a good experience.

The fix consists in restarting Virtual Audio Cable or the audio service from the control panel (as an admin).

FFXIV: Toggle Gamepad/Mouse mode

I love Final Fantasy XIV. I’ve been playing nothing else than FFXIV since the apocalypse pandemic started.

My setup

I’ve been playing a Monk from the start and have enjoyed it very much, at first I was having a hard time using my combos and to optimize them I must use appropriate positioning. Switching to a gamepad was really helping.

I also play Dancer, Gunbreaker, Dark Knight and Red Mage.

Healer struggles

I’ve been interested in learning how to play as a healer, Astrologian to be more precise, because I want to at least learn the job and be able to at least be good enough for any role. The things is, for healers at least, I can’t spend all day cycling through targets.

Hitting down twice on the D-pad will permit me to target the first tank, all is good until my brain glitches or I hit another direction. I struggle with precise selections with the gamepad and this isn’t good.

Thankfully, FFXIV has great UI customization and macros that will help me:

  • Design a better mouse UI;
  • Toggle the display for hotbars or the crosshotbars (gamepad bars);
  • Switch the UI;
  • Switch classes.

I’ve already played around with macro to make a quick side collapsible menu, but now I need to understand how I can tweak the whole UI with macros.

One setting to rule them all

First of all it’s important to identify how we will interact with the main menu and the best way is to enable the mouse input to avoid having a non clickable main menu that only fits gamepads.

FFXIV: Character Settings > UI > General

We must make sure to be in Mouse Mode Type either by click the toggle on the left top side or in the Main Menu choices.

This is not strictly required but it will make life easier since you cannot interact with the main menu without a gamepad in gamepad mode (big oversight? Please fix this Square).

Two macros for switching

I’ve built two HUDs that will display differently based on my selected input device, the gamepad HUD is less dense on the lower part of my screen while the keyboard/mouse HUD keeps everything important at arm’s length.

Click to enlarge.
The main idea is to have a HUD you are comfortable with. Trial and error is the only way.

Macro: To keyboard

Create a macro with the following:

/hudlayout 3
/hotbar display 2 on
/hotbar display 3 on
/hotbar display 4 on
/crosshotbardisplay off

Macro: To gamepad

Create a macro with the following:

/hudlayout 1
/hotbar display 2 off
/hotbar display 3 off
/hotbar display 4 off
/crosshotbardisplay on

Toggling between the two

You will now need to add both macros to a hotbar, this is up to you to do. Keep in mind that if the game settings window is open the macros might not work well since some commands are disabled.

You can also add these macros to your switch classes macro if you do that. That is what I did.

Assume no changes in Git tracked files

Git is great, I’ll sing its praise until the end of times. Lately I’ve been having some issues with configurations that I don’t want to push and since I’m not the one who made the decision to version certain files I’m not going to remove them or .gitignore them.

Git: assume unchanged

Git is great, I can keep track of a file and assume the local copy is unchanged by updating the index. To assume that a file has not been changed without removing it you will need to use the following command:

git update-index --assume-unchanged <file>

Git: assume changed

Git is still great, it can revert the process and restart tracking changes again with the following command:

git update-index --no-assume-unchanged

Git update-index

The magic happens thanks to git update-index, you can read more about it here: https://git-scm.com/docs/git-update-index

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.