Streaming on Mixer

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.

Rogue Squadron 3D in 1080p

Rogue¬†Squadron 3D is my very first Star Wars game. I’ve played countless hours trying to get all gold medals in every mission in the past, today I’ve gotten them in under 7 hours.
I’ve played this game.

During the “May the 4th be with you” Steam sale I decided it was time to get it. But it’s an old game.

Prerequisites

First of all you’ll need Windows and then you’ll need nGlide. We will not be using DirectX since we want to achieve 1080p (even though we’ll have that 4:3 aspect ratio).

You’ll also need to access the registry.

Installing nGlide

Go download and install nGlide from the official website.

Once it is installed you’ll want to open the nGlide configuration to set up the game for your resolution:

My main screen is 1080p, but I’ll want to preserve the original aspect ratio. I’ve set the refreshed rate to the desktop, if you get weird issues you can try locking it to 60FPS.
Vertical synchronization might be required.

Do not forget to apply the settings.

Forcing nGlide

The game will now need to use nGlide, to do so we need to set it in the launcher and then in the registry.

Click “Hardware Configuration” then “Change 3D Video Card”. You’ll be prompted to select a video driver, select “Voodoo Card (Driver: GLIDE)” then apply.
Close the launcher once everything is set.

Run regedit by opening the Start menu, the navigate to right key:

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\WOW6432Node\LucasArts Entertainment Company LLC\Rogue Squadron\v1.0

Here we’ll have to create a String value¬†called VDEVICE and set with the value:

Voodoo (Glide)

This will force the game to use nGlide.

Conclusion

The game will now play in 1080p and your windows will not longer be moved due to the resolution change. But there’s sadly no way to play it in windowed mode and leaving the focus might crash the game.
If you wish to try playing in windowed mode just hit ALT + Enter.

This is the only game of the Rogue Squadron series you can play on PC natively and it’s a shame since Rogue¬†Leader is clearly a very good game too, Rebel¬†Strike on the other hand has some issues.

Credit goes to wALLY for his solution on how to force nGlide for Rogue Squadron 3D.

Buy Rogue Squadron 3D

Mid April update

There are a few things I want to talk about.

Comments: Standard VS Disqus

Disqus does a better job than the standard system for comments on this blogs, I’ve reverted the changed to use Disqus to avoid having to remove potential spam from the spam box.

“Motivation”

I don’t really know what this word means but I’m pretty sure it’s not food.

I have written any new posts in a while, I don’t feel like I have time for that.
There are a couple of subjects I might write on.

I’ll get around to some of these and I’ll probably pass on others.

Food deliveries

I fell into the trap of a free trial for food delivery and it’s too convenient for my own good.

Review: Wargroove

Wargroove is the latest game by Chucklefish, those that made Starbound previously and have published many great games.

Availability

The game has been release for PC, XBox One, Nintendo Switch and will be available on Playstation 4. I’m running the PC version and have purchased the game on Steam.

Gameplay

Are you familiar with Advance Wars? This game works in the same way but let’s not be lazy and let’s elaborate on that.

This is a turn based strategy game where you control units and building, you have a base and/or a commander and you must not lose either of them.
There are villages you can capture to increase your income. With your income you will craft units in barracks.

The game features a campaign, an arcade mode, a puzzle mode and multiplayer with crossplay. The game also features a built-in map and campaign editor.

Full mouse, keyboard and controller support is available. There are also accessibility settings for color blindness. So much care has been put in the game.

The “Groove”

Each commander has an ultimate move called the “groove”. For example this move heals Mercia and all surrounding units by 50% when used, or Valder can summon a skeleton from the dead.

These moves can make quite the difference but are not necessarily game changers, unlike ultimates in Overwatch for example.

Difficulty curve

The tutorial does a great job explaining where to get information and how to advance but most of the work will be done by the player and it’s a challenging game. I have yet to get 3 stars in a mission that is not a tutorial during the campaign while playing on the normal difficulty. I am not a smart person maybe.
No need to be smart to have fun.

“Ragna challenged you to a battle!”

Special thanks

I would like to personaly thank Chucklefish for bringing this game on multiple platforms and not making it exclusive to any store and also because of crossplay enabling games from everywhere, with every kind of hardware, to connect and play together.

Thank you for making Wargroove the way it is.

Conclusion

I’m not very good but I’m willing to learn from my mistakes. The game looks good and I do enjoy it very much.

If you wish to purchase Wargroove check out the official site or the tweet below:

Exclusivity is not competiton

Metro Exodus, part of the Metro series, was up for preorder on Steam. But then it was taken down because Epic slapped lightly Deep Silver with dollars bills. While the early preorder will be honored this is bad for PC gaming as a whole.

Exclusivity is not competition

When the Epic Games store had been announced they promised a much bigger share of the sales to the developers and even promoted exclusivity deals.

Painting Steam as the bad guy with 30+5% are we?

Being able to earn 88% of a sale instead of 70% is good for the developer, especially the one that wants to maximize its revenue for less sales. But is it consumer friendly ? It’s not when it can’t be bought everywhere.

This exclusivity is unfair and unhealthy to the PC gaming community.

Metro Exodus

The Epic Games store has the advantage of giving a larger share of each sale to the developers/publishers than Steam, this is good for developers, but making the game available on Steam and then pulling out for a one year exclusivity deal is unfair to players who have preordered and to those who were planning on buying it.

While I’m not concerned about spoilers and I actually have my own opinion about the value of spoilers and how I experience media, I can wholeheartedly say that I will not care about a game striking an exclusivity deal like that.
I made the decision to protest this by not getting the game (legally or not) and I will probably not even bother once it’s out on Steam.

The Steam store page currently has a notice posted:

Notice: Sales of Metro Exodus have been discontinued on Steam due to a publisher decision to make the game exclusive to another PC store.

The developer and publisher have assured us that all prior sales of the game on Steam will be fulfilled on Steam, and Steam owners will be able to access the game and any future updates or DLC through Steam.

We think the decision to remove the game is unfair to Steam customers, especially after a long pre-sale period. We apologize to Steam customers that were expecting it to be available for sale through the February 15th release date, but we were only recently informed of the decision and given limited time to let everyone know.

Source: Steam store page

Even Mike Ybarra, XBox Vice President, has something to say about it:

What a time to be alive. Is this how this great platform ends?
Steam isn’t getting killed, it’s actually not even dying, but PC gaming is hurting.

We already knew for The Division 2 being exclusive to Epic, but having Metro Exodus advertised on Steam during a long preorder period and then making it unavailable for purchase for a whole year is scummy at best.

Time to vote

It’s time to vote with our wallets.

I will personally not stand for this. Games that will be exclusive (or even time exclusive) will not get my attention. I take pride in my Steam library.

GOG and Steam are both much more consumer friendly than what is Epic now, and even when Epic will become friendlier I will still not support it. The only thing I might use the launcher for is the engine since I’ve always wanted to try making some games, but I’m still quite turned off.

The Epic Games Store

While it can sell games and microtransations for Fortnite it lacks forums, players are encourages to go to the Steam forums for interaction. It also lacks groups, wishlists, user profiles, user reviews and Linux support.

We have seen recently that user reviews have been used to review bomb, or protest, the lack of user reviews hurts consumers. When a bad or broken game comes out we can usually get an idea about what it’s like with user review in the store but this isn’t the case here.

While we could search for reviews on YouTube or on any famous gaming news website, there’s no guarantee you will get the whole picture and avoid spoilers (if you care about that), unlike store reviews that can be moderated and voted as useful.

Epic will most certainly not offer any better DRM than Denuevo.

GOG and Origin

GOG and Origin are currently the two other stores that work pretty well.
GOG is great for having DRM free games and older games adapted to run on modern systems. They have a few first party games with the Witcher series and will be getting Cyberpunk 2077 (hopefully not a timed exclusive).
They have a service used to add games to your GOG account depending on the games you own on Steam: GOG Connect.

Let’s give credit where it’s due, EA has many first party games to build their store with exclusives such as Star Wars, FIFA, Battlefield, Dragon Age and many more. They are not poaching any other stores (at the time of writing). While exclusives are still bad they still produce many first party games.

“Sorry, we only serve DRM-less games here.”

Conclusion

Epic Games doesn’t have the perfect record they should have, for a couple of months prior to this post, I’ve been receiving emails about failed login attempts and the recent account theft vulnerability¬†triggers some many red flags when launching their own store that I have no interest in giving it a try.
I’ve invested time and money into Steam and I’m happy about it.

I’m sad to see PC gaming becoming like console, where we all run x86_64 code but not the same software. They would be a great competitor if they were not aggressively pushing exclusivity like that.¬†You can read more here:

Bash reminder

I’m currently doing so much Bash scripting that I always end up googling the stuff I should know by now so it’s time for me to write it all down once and for all.

Looping through a text file

Sometimes you build up a list that you want to process, let’s say you want to wget a few URLs.

for read line; do
  wget "${line}"
done < ./urls.txt

It’s obviously a good idea to validate inputs but for the sake of this post it’s not necessary.

Redirecting STDERR

Redirecting to a file and just redirecting to STDOUT can be done two ways. I always forget the syntax so it’s always good to be reminded of it.

# STDERR to STDOUT
curl "${URL}" 2>&1

# STDERR and STDOUT to file
curl "${URL}" &> ./out.log

EOF syntax

In case you want to forward  a multi-line string to a variable you can invoke cat with the EOF syntax:

cat <<EOF
Hello World!
Why So Serious?
EOF

The syntax can actually be a bit tricky since you define on the first line the keyword that will end the multi-line string, in this case EOF.

Mounting a RAM disk

RAM disks are quick and ideal if you need a fast scratch disk, they can be mounted to any folders just like any other kind of device:

mkdir /mnt/ram
mount -t tmpfs tmpfs /mnt/ram -o size=4096M

You can now read and write on your RAM disk through /mnt/ram.

SSH tunnel

When you want to access services that are not available outside of a network you can open an SSH tunnel, which is like a VPN but not totally.

ssh -L 13306:127.0.0.1:3306 user@example.com

Here we bind the local port 13306 to the remote port 3306 through our localhost, we can then access a remote MySQL server through the SSH folder since there’s not good reason to have a MySQL server open to access on the internet.
Let’s manage ou MySQL server now:

mysql -h 127.0.0.1 -P 13306

Keep in mind that even though you can use this SSH command to proxy your network traffic, you will most certainly not achieve better performances than a standard VPN or OpenVPN setup.