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.

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

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:

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: Review

Super¬†Smash¬†Bros.¬†Ultimate has been released on December 7th 2018 and boy it’s good. The last game I’ve played was the 3DS version, it was fine and ran pretty nicely for the hardware.

I’ve purchased the collector edition with the GameCube gamepad and the adapter.

The game

As announced the character list is massive with over 70 characters in the base game and only the original roster unlocked on a fresh save, there are many characters to unlock and to fight with and against.

The menu is what you would expect since Brawl, you’ve got the main modes which are classic and versus, and you’ve got the adventure mode, World of Light.
Versus and classic are basically the same, with classic replacing bosses depending on the character you are playing.

World of light is the new adventure mode where you will be able to literally go on an adventure, more to follow below.

“Will it hurt?”

Performance

With the lowspec hardware of the Switch, one would expect that great engineering went into optimizing the game. It feels as smooth as it gets and look very nice while not dropping enough frames to notice.

There doesn’t seem to be more input lag than on the previous entries from what I’m used to with the GameCube controller.

Victory!

Controls

Being used to the feeling of the XBox 360 gamepad and the Joycons, I’ve rediscovered the Gamecube controller and have battled with it a bit. The good thing about the controls is that they are the same since melee, the bad thing is that we need the adapter which requires being in docked mode or a hub.

Adventure: World of Light

The trailer does a pretty good job showcasing the adventure. You start with only Kirby and you’ll smash your way through to awaken your allies in the quest to take down Galeem.

The adventure lasts at least 20 hours and has a couple of different challenge based around fighting. This isn’t the adventure of Melee.

When you win a fight you will earn a spirit that can be used to set certain skills on your fighter and buff his attack and defense.

Online versus

As experienced with Super Smash Bros 3DS the online experience will be different for everyone and against everyone. You can feel even the slightest lag and the game doesn’t seems to have proper matchmaking at the time of writing.
The experience can be really bad if you are stuck in a fight that is lagging so much that in game time is slower than real world time. No one wants to have a minute extented to 5.

As an example here are two fights that provide two different experiences. The first fight is a laggy fight, not really fun but it gives you time to see what you did wrong.
The second fight is what you should expect, performance wise, of a good and faire fight.

On the bright side of things you can have pretty good fights when everything goes well.

Conclusion

This game is fun. While I’m not very good I have enjoyed the adventure more than expected and I was surprised. The new characters feel really polished and I’ll be playing Ridley more seriously.

The changes to the already existing fighters are good, Link feels much more interesting to fight with his new bombs.

Can’t spell slaughter without laughter.

Nintendo Switch: hands on

With Pok√©mon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee and Super Smash Bros Ultimate coming out, I couldn’t pass any longer.

Handling the console

It’s quite wide. The joycons are not the most comfortable and need some serious getting used to, especially on games such as Monster¬†Hunter¬†Generations Ultimate!

The pro controller¬†is not cheap at all, but since I didn’t buy it (yet?) I can’t speak about its comfort. It looks much better for using it while the console is standing or docked.

The triggers are awkward to use, the sticks are not placed ideally. It’s looks like a hot mess at first and getting used to it is part of the learning curve, not that it’s a good thing.

I’m a trained soldier though!

Get a glass screen protector

The screen glass is low quality compared to the smartphone glass, it will keep your fingerprint like the police just arrested you. It might scratch really easily too, especially if the dock is used a lot.

Any tempered glass screen protector should improve the screen durability, the biggest challenge will be placing it correctly with no dust or air bubbles. I have yet to master this skill.

No memory card included

As expected there’s no micro SD card included, I’d recommend getting at least a 32GB if you plan to screenshot a lot and purchase games from the eShop. Just to list storage requirements for a couple of games:

  • Super Smash Bros Ultimate: 14.7GB;
  • Zelda: Breath of the Wild: 14.5GB;
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 2: 14GB + 4.5GB (DLC);
  • Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate: 12GB;
  • Mario Odyssey: 5.6GB;
  • Stardew Valley: 1GB.

No one is safe from storage heavy games anymore.

The Nintendo eShop

The eShop should learn from other stores. There’s no way to get easily a list of free games or demo without resorting to the search features and ordering by price.

Sometimes by going back through the prompt instead of pressing B will throw you back to the eShop home, not what I though would happen when I started downloading a couple of demos.

Album

When saving screenshots and short clips of 30 seconds they are sent to the album which is the screenshot folder where nothing seems to be sorted. The only way to transfer these files is by ejecting the micro SD card, which is a fine option.
But there’s no way to upload videos to YouTube!

It’s possible to only share screenshots and videos through Twitter and Facebook, or you could buy a card reader and turn off the console then dump the micro SD card’s media onto your computer.

Not every screen can be screenshot and the output format is always JPEG, not the best quality.

Regrets

The red joycon doesn’t look red like on the pictures. It’s closer to a neon red than a bright red color. I’m nit-picking because I really like red. The controls are not as comfortable when getting started too, it’s like there’s a break in period for your hands.

Accessing the other region stores, like the Japanese one for Phantasy¬†Star Online¬†2¬†Cloud (to get the Breath of the Wild items), requires adding another user. If you keep that user on the Switch you will be asked to select a user to launch at game… I’d prefer a default user in this case.

There’s no option to upload videos to YouTube as of right now.

Conclusion

As I have not had the opportunity to play a game online I can’t comment it just yet, same goes for cloud saves and any of the advertised features of the subscription. I just really hope that the sales won’t be lock behind the subscription since I don’t plan on paying¬†until I get a game that can be played online (like Smash).

I’ve bought Super¬†Mario¬†Odyssey with the console and got Pok√©mon¬†Let’s¬†Go¬†Pikachu when it came out, for now I feel satisfied since they are both great games and the upcoming line up is great.

There have been talks of new Switch hardware, I’m not sure how to react to that but an upgrade might be coming.

Pokemon Let’s Go Pikachu: review

No matter how old I get I still love these games. Pok√©mon Let’s Go Pikachu/Eevee are the latest games of the Pok√©mon series. Everybody knows about Pok√©mon, it’s like the Coca Cola of the gaming industry, but healthier.
You will walk 10Km to hatch that egg!

The screenshots and video recording are all done through the Switch’s feature, thus we are working with low bitrate video capped at 30 second, low quality JPEG screenshots. PNG lives matter!

Mainline game or spinoff?

This game is like the 12th time we had the opportunity to visit Kanto but it doesn’t get all that old. The game is solid and definitely is a mainline game. It plays the story like Yellow with come additions.

It’s not even my first time

Capture

The capture mechanic is the same as Pokemon GO at the exception of the way you throw the Pok√©¬†Ball. You feel like you have less control than on the mobile game and it doesn’t always feel rewarding because you don’t battle Pok√©mons to catch them.

The wild Pokémons roam the world, no more random encounters unless they spawn on you. You get what you see.

In handheld mode you just press a button, but it seems you can aim the view with the gyroscopic features of the Switch. In detached mode and Poké Ball Plus you swing to send a Poké Ball.

Of course if there’s no battle mechanic that means that you can make wild Pok√©mons sleep and make catching them easier and that’s really a shame.
This is the core mechanic from the series.

It’s simple

Starting with generation 2 we were able to make our Pokémons hold items, this is missing. Since forever we had PC boxes to store Pokémons, this has been replaced by the bag.

This game seems to start on something new with Combat Points showing a value that represents all the stats of a Pokemon.

Poké Ball Plus

The Pok√©¬†Ball¬†Plus contains mew. It’s a 50‚ā¨ piece of DLC and game controller. As a DLC is easy to use, just get the mystery gift inside it and you are done. As a game controller it’s not the best at all… It tends to rotate in the hand and some menus can’t be access since there are only two buttons.
While it’s possible to shake it to trigger a “third button” you can’t get more details on your moves during combat with it.

Against wild Pokémons you can swing it to throw a Poké Ball, just like with the detached joycon.

It also has more features, you can place a Pok√©mon on it and use the pedometer to gain more experience and some reward for walking around. When it’s linked to Pok√©mon GO you can have it vibrate when it spots Pok√©mons… Depending on your location it won’t stop vibrating.

I took Pikachu on a stroll and played some Pokémon GO

What’s missing?

So much is missing… First of all there are much less tactile interactions. You can pat Pikachu with the touchscreen and that seems to be it. You can’t navigate the menus or send Pok√©¬†Balls with the touchscreen.

The abilities from the 3rd generation are missing too. This is good to avoid some of the weird quirks you’d face when battling certain Pok√©mons (like heatproof).

The Global Trading System (GTS) doesn’t exist, that’s a shame because it helped completing the Pok√©dex. No Wonder Trade (WT) but it’s not a big deal for that.
Trading and all other online features are locked behind a subscription.

Not as expensive as the others, but do we need that?

Conclusion

The game is pretty well made, going back to Kanto feels good and the additions in the story are not bad. I regret not being able to battle wild Pokémons to make them easier to catch though.

The framerate of the game feels smooth enough, this was hard to achieve with Sun & Moon and is really nice to look at.

I hope that the next entries to the series will bring back fighting wild Pokémon.