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All about news and updates of the (MMO)RPG games I play and general news that I deem important enough

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Wednesday's stream moved to evening
02 June 2015
Posted in General

I know that it seems a bit odd after having only recently started to stream, but the Wednesday morning stream (from 9.00 till 11.00) will be moved to the evenings from 19.00 till 20.00. This move will happen next week (June 10th) and I'll add an announcement of it during the stream as well (automated of course ). I added the Wednesday morning to get started on streaming on Twitch and I thought  it'd be a good time to get used to it. But sadly it's not the best time for me to be streaming.

First and most important reason is that darn chronic fatigue that I suffer from. Somehow during the mornings I'm a lot more fatigued than during the evenings. Most likely because I wake up every day around 6.00 and am already very fatigued. Rushing to get showered and have a quick bite don't do the fatigue well. While during the evenings I've had already a lot of extra time during the day to rest some more and have had time enough to enjoy my meals. Though still fatigued during the evenings, I found out that I am feeling a lot better than during the mornings.

Secondly and quite important as well is the audience. I mean, who's watching that early in the morning (or early afternoon in the US) anyway? The audience is pretty small and when looking at the main page of Twitch it's showing that as well.

Last but not least is my regular daily schedule... Drawing art for the game I make, grocery shopping, working around the house and such, it's all best done during the day. And the first one (drawing art and working on the game itself) I happen to have the best concentration for during the mornings.

Want to know my regular streaming schedule and be updated about extra times I'll be streaming? Just check the schedule on StreamCal.TV. Of course, you can also follow me on Twitch and you'll get notifications if you've set them to be sent

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1st scheduled stream
27 May 2015
Posted in General

I've had my 1st scheduled stream this morning and I think it's time to look back on it a bit...

First off, I did on purpose set it to an odd time as it is. I mean 9am EU times in the middle of the week is a real odd time, but for me it's a good time to get used to streaming and see how the audience 'works'. And with 'works' I mean watch the chat and that kind of stuff. Not to mention if I'd stream on a later time I'd have to compete with a lot of other streamers who've already made a name for themselves on twitch

Secondly (and prolly most importantly) I should find a door to the room the computer is in. With the kitchen next to this room, my wife would not do the dishes as she wanted to. A door would have blocked a lot of noise from the kitchen (and the rest of the house) so she could go her own way while I'm streaming. Only problem though, the door opens up the wrong way and I should work on the rabbet to make the door open the right way. And while talking about doors... The one we had was old and extremely damaged so I should buy a new one as well

Last but not least: DO NOT DRINK SO MUCH! ...or at least go to the toilet before starting to stream... I only drank half a liter of water during the stream (along with 2 cups of coffee 2 hours before I started) and during the stream I really had to go to the toilet. I didn't go though because I figured I could hold on till I was done streaming...

Then the game itself. As I've already wrote a couple of times, I'm playing Pillars of Eternity in Iron Man mode on normal difficulty. Since I'm playing the game in normal mode outside the stream to get to know the game and it's pitfalls, I figured to play something completely different. Where I normally play a woodelf druid, for the stream I decided to make myself a very cheesy character. I ended up with a Heart Orlan Paladin with his (yes, playing male for a change) origins set to The White that Wends, allowing me to stack Perception to the maximum.

But the Paladin class in Pillars of Eternity is not the one I'm used to. In most RPGs, the Paladin class is a hybrid tank/healer with a slightly lowered DPS. In Pillars of Eternity the class has more of a warrior/priest role though. The DPS is nice and you can start with either a melee skill to be used twice a combat OR the (o so corny) lay on hand skill. Knowing the game a bit I opted for the lay on hand skill, figuring I'd be a tank (which I was not). While leveling I get more skills and those are more that of a buffer than healer or warrior (up to now though). On the last level I reached I could choose between 3 aura's and I picked the one that improved endurance (used up before health starts to decline and will be replenished after battle) regeneration. This was a very good call because my party barely took damage in the battles I fought.

With this character being my streaming character, I'm not gonna play it while not streaming. Instead I think I'll continue with my regular game some more to learn more about Pillars of Eternity in general as well as knowing where to go to next without my lil' Papadin being killed...

See you next week on twitch I hope?

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Preparations for streaming going well
23 May 2015
Posted in General

The last couple of days I've been making preparation for the streaming schedule starting next Wednesday. And while I'll start with only 2 hours on one day a week, the preparations I've made are aimed to expand when my schedule allows it (read: when hospital visits are less frequent).

The first couple of days I mainly tested the stability of the stream and maximum quality I could establish on 720p. From the looks of it that's all okay now, though one thing still remains and that's keeping the stream open on one of the monitors locally. I have no problem watching some one else's stream for hours, but the moment I have my own stream open in any of the browsers on my system it just hangs after a while. The only solution I have found to get around this is by using the 'pop out' function in the FireFox browser. Perhaps it's time to upgrade the DLS line I have afte rall..?

Then the hardware issues, and those were odd ones. First off, when using the Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champion's front panel, both the headphones and microphone created a lot of noise. This happened yesterday after I bought a clip-on microphone (the Sennheiser headset I ordered is no longer available ) and gave it a test. After playing around for a couple of hours with driver settings, sound settings (and those are a lot with that card ) I figured to open up the PC case and see if there was something weird. And I was right to open up the PC case. The cables that go from the Soundblaster card to the frontpanel (which are way too long I might add) were lying on the GPU. No wonder that both the headphones and microphone had so much interference. After lifting them up all interferance was gone!

Last but not least, the most important thing to troubleshoot: the streaming software. As I mentioned before, I'm using OBS for streaming and the software is just running GREAT. But the troubleshooting comes to the stuff I'll be streaming. Just plain streaming is no problem at all, but when I want to be heard when speaking through the microphone and I want to have the option to add music played by an internet radio station. The trick here is to get the volumes well balanced where none is over shouting the other while I can speak normal and you can hear me. After dozens of tries by recording all those sounds locally it seems to be working.

Then my twitch channel itself. I have added (or rather replaced) 5 link images there, all in the same artstyle as the blog. The one you might wonder about is the 'Support the stream' one. While streaming dost cost money, I will donate half of the support to charity. The main charity I will donate to is Stichting Zwerfdier (a stray cat shelter in my town where I work as volunteer), but I'm open for suggestions from you as well.

The only thing left to do is make some more artwork for things that happen during the stream. New followers and donations are shown in the stream and I'm still using it's 'default' notification art for it. I will make something similar to the art on the channel for it later on as well.
And there's also a donation ticker I want to add to the stream. I'm not sure if I'll make one myself or will look for a program that already exists. The good thing to make something myself is that I can make it do whatever I want it to. On the other hand, why invent the wheel again when it's already done? Perhaps first see what's available before I decide to make something myself..?

I hope to see you on my stream coming Wednesday. I'll start off with Pillars of Eternity in Iron Man mode which might be very interesting to watch. Bets are on for what level I'll reach with it

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Upgrade VDSL for upload speed?
18 May 2015
Posted in General

We currently have a 32Mbps down and 3.2Mpbs up VDSL speed. This is a bit higher than our actual speed should be (30/3) but I'm not complaining. With our house being around 500 meters away from the street's distribution point, we should theoretically be able to hit around 38Mpbs down as maximum speed. That speed can only be obtained from the next speed tier our ISP offers and that's 50/5.

And that 50/5 speed is kinds tricky. Everywhere you look for information about VDSL and maximum speeds you only see information about download speeds, while for me upload speed at the moment is more important if I'll start streaming on a regular basis. I know fiber (50/50 minimum) should be a solution,  but in our city (Alkmaar, close to 100K citizens) there's not fiber available (yet) because it's a bit out of the regular route of the big cities

So today I contacted my ISP with the question if I'll upgrade to 50/5, what would happen to the upload speed. And as expected, the service representative I spoke to didn't know the answer to that. Yes, she knew that the distance from the distribution point to our house would influence the maximum download speed (40Mpbs I heard - guess they upgraded the cables and connections a bit?), but download speed? That kinda beats her  She was very helpful though and tried to contact technical support instead but she couldn't get through. As a final alternative she decided to ask her supervisor, and there an answer came.

When I upgrade to 50/5, the maximum upload speed that can be managed is the same as the maximum download speed (40Mpbs in my case). With the ISP capping the upload speed to 5Mpbs, it should be no problem at all for me to hit 5Mpbs. I even could get speeds up to 8Mpbs upload because that's the maximum that my ISP allows as upload speed And with me having 3.2Mpbs instead of 3, I guess I could hit 5.5Mpbs or so when I'd upgrade...

Next I'll have to talk to my son and wife though about this upgrade. It's not the raise in monthly subscription being a problem (only 4 extra), but more see if and how my upcoming streaming schedule will affect the regular use of our internet in general. Though the 5.5Mpbs would allow me to stream on 720p without a problem, if either of them (and most likely my son) starts using the upload bandwidth as well, there still might be a problem while streaming...

For now I'll get started with streaming on the 3.2Mpbs we have right now and see how things will turn out. After all, I'm planning to stream when my son is to school so it should not be a real biggie. If at any rate the stream will be a bit unstable I think I'd have to upgrade for sure. Though I'd much rather have a fiber connection to my home, but I fear that'll take yet an other year (which they said last year as well...)

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Starting streaming schedule
13 May 2015
Posted in General

I'm gollowing Geek Gamer Girl on twitch and yesterday evening we (most people watching) were discussing starting to stream on twitch and how to attract followers. It was some good info I heard there and most importantly the thing about attracting followers. The basic advice for this is to setup a personal schedule when you'll be streaming games and FOLLOW THAT SCHEDULE! It doesn't matter if I stream only for 1 day a week for 2 hours or every day, all day long - just keep true to the schedule and followers will come by their self then.

Looking at my current agenda and openings to stream on scheduled times, I can only come up with Friday around noon (Central European Times - GMT+1, GMT+2 now with summertime). The only problem though, the rest of the month I'm pretty busy on hospital visits and other appointments, making me not able to setup a schedule for the rest of the month.
Alternatively I could pick Wednesday as my weekly streaming day to get started (the other day each week I certainly can make time), but next week I have an appointment at the hospital and it would get me started only one week earlier. But with the summer kicking in here in The Netherlands, I'll open the doors to the street for some fresh air an catch some sun rays, Wednesday around noon would be a problem. That afternoon the schools are out and there will be a lot of extra noise from the street to enter the mic (and this the stream).

Along with that, I decided to buy a gaming headset to supply myself with a good mic. The mic used in my webcam just sucks and is extremely sound sensitive, and with OBS not having a 'minimum activation level' for a mic, you really hear everything. Using a good headset, the mic near the mouth is less sensitive and you'll hear less environmental noise (which might make the Wednesday an option to stream as well).
The headphone that I have ordered is a Sennheiser PC 320 G4ME. I know Sennheiser to be a good brand and if the range used for their headphones become a bit wider the sound will become a lot better as well. This one has a range of 15Hz to 23Khz. Though this headphone will in no way be comparebly with my (30 year old) BeyerDynamic DT990 headphones, I think this Sennheiser one will give me a pretty good gaming experience...

Please stay tuned to more info on definitive dates for my streaming schedule both here and on my twitch page!

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Twitch it is for streaming!
12 April 2015
Posted in General

Hmm... Not sure if I should be happy with this, but DailyMotion also counts my saved streams towards the amount of uploaded videos. Playing and streaming MMORPGs through DailyMotion really eats up a lot of my 2 hours upload limit per 24 hours that way. And indeed, after today's DailyMotion stream I once again hit the cap

And having today started with streaming from my PlayStation 3 as well (I bought the Elgato Game apture HD - ore about it later today or tomorrow) and that'll eat up a lot of upload space as well from DailyMotion. Not to mention that twitch has a bigger number of viewers as I found out today while playing Destiny.

With both the Elgato software and OBS being able to stream and record the game feed at the same moment, I figure I'll just have to capture my gamefeed locally, edit it on twitch for all to see and only upload to DailyMotion what I think really is worth it. Only that way I can stay under that 2 hour limit and keep content on DailyMotion of good quality (which is why they set the limit in the first place).

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A full switch to DailyMotion?
10 April 2015
Posted in General

This morning I was uploading 2 streams from my Blade & Soul gameplay of yesterday. The 2nd one odldy enough was uploaded normally to DailyMotion, but the 1st one gave an error in DailyMotion's mass-uploader. After 3 tries, I decided to upload it through the DailyMotion site directly and I got the following message:

 photo Screenshot 2015-04-10 10.26.36_zpsnyxc4hex.png

Hmm... Copyrighted content? I know YouTube lets everyone who has written a single note for a game make a claim on the video, but I wasn't aware that DailyMotion would do the same. Not to mention, as far as I know I didn't upload any of the movies from YouTube yet that certainly had a copyright claim. So I decided to inquire through email and I heard that there's an upload limit for everyone (aside of publishers) of 2 hours per 24 hours. Checking my recent uploads and that indeed was my problem

This means that I'm not able to upload all my streams from twitch to DailyMotion Until now I did that by exporting the streams from twitch to YouTube, then download the movie only to upload them to DailyMotion. So I have to be creative on what to upload to DailyMotion.
An other option is to move the streaming service from twitch to DailyMotion as well. Though it's still in beta, I think it has potential. With that, it's a France service, while twitch is US. Perhaps for you it's nothing, but for me the difference comes to privacy. Basically us EU citizens are lawless in the US when it comes to our data stored on servers on US soil (NSA rings a bell?). DailyMotion being France it has to comply to the EU privacy regulation...

I have been testing streaming to DailyMotion this morning and it seems to work pretty well. The only three problems I have found so far are:
  1. It takes quite a while for DailyMotion to pick up my livestream from the moment I hit broadcast. Several tests showed response times between 30 and 60 second.
  2. DailyMotion does not record the stream by default. Where twitch streams and records your broadcast, DailyMotion only streams it. It's a good thing that the OBS software is capable of both streaming and recording locally at the same time (unlike XSplit I must add).
  3. The stream doesn't auto-start on the website. I had to press F5 to see my stream...

For now I'm not 100% certain if I hope to DailyMotion for streaming and thus make DailyMotion full home for my gaming videos. I will certainly give it a serious thought the coming days...

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Switched to OBS - streaming 720p now
04 April 2015
Posted in General

It looks like I'll be streaming a lot of games from now on. On my son's PC I saw he was having an Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) icon on his desktop and I figured to give it a try. Looking at it I saw the same setup as XSplit's Broadcaster - an empty screen where you have to drop your stuff you want to stream. This means that each and every game I want to stream I have to put in manually there But I guess that's something I can get used to over time...

I immediately went to the options of the software and started to configure it and that was a lot easier than I initially thought. Within 5 minutes I was ready to stream. Having not played Heroes of the Storm yesterday (only started it to get my daily quest), I had at least 4 games to play, which was a good time to test the OBS software...

The only problem I was having with the first OBS streaming test was that there was no twitch chat included. I realy missed this and googled for it and ended up with a YouTube movie explaining how to get twitch chat in your OBS stream (though I think this also would work with XSplit Broadcaster). This movie was a very good explanation and I immediately downloaded the betterTTV plugin for FireFox (almost every browser out there is supported only IE not, but us gamers are not using IE to start with ) and got it running in no time.

The good thing of OBS is that I can stream on 720p without a problem. OBS shows the bandwidth it's using and 720p streaming to twitch only takes around 1Mpbs (of 3Mpbs I have available here). That means that I can stream on HD quality and play online games at the same time, without pushing my wife and son of the internet and having no stuttering on twitch either.

With OBS now fully configured I guess I'll be streaming a lot of games I play on the PC from now on. I am wondering though if PlayStation 3 streaming devices (like the Roxio one I used to have) are supported as well. I can imagine that these devices are seen as some sort of webcam and that I have to drop their feed just fullscreen on the OSB interface. Guess I won't know for now because at this moment our finances are way too uncertain for the coming months. When there's stability on that front again I might get one of those devices (not Roxio for sure!) and give it a go...

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To stream or not to stream
02 April 2015
Posted in General

I've streamed early February with the PlayStation 3 only to return the Roxio device a week later because I didn't like the loss of quality it gave me and that it couldn't switch from 1080p to 720p when the PC was not running. Last week I resumed my streaming activities (though I didn't announce it) and I'm not sure if I should continue to stream.

Okay, it's fun to stream games to twitch (or any other service for that matter), but it also eats away quite a lot of bandwidth. In my case, of the 3Mbps upstream that I have here for 3 PCs, I have to set the streaming quality to 480p to keep a stable continuous broadcast. I can set it to 720p, but then I have to lower the quality, be sure to be the only one who's using the internet at home and not be playing anything online.

And there's exactly the problem I'm experiencing. Streaming in 480p is not really worth the effort IMO, or not play online games and then stream in 720p. But when I'm not streaming and just capture the gameplay with FRAPS and upload it later on I have the best quality (1080p) while we can still use the internet at home without any problems. Not to mention, when I use FRAPS I can edit the whole thing the way I want, including speed-up certain parts that are not overly interesting but should be kept there or just cut out whole part of the gamefeed. Options that twitch doesn't allow me...
On the other hand, streaming to twitch I can get feedback from players about the game and when I forgot (or missed) something it can be pointed out and I can respond to the feedback. Not to mention, the chat is nice as well with viewers of the stream

I can also upgrade the bandwidth of my VDSL here for only 4 a month, but that doesn't necessarily warrant a boost in upload speed. I know that the 30Mbps download we have now is close to the maximum possible on our address (~35Mpbs is the best possible maximum with VDSL for us) but the problem is that they never talk about the maximum upload speed. If that follows the same 'logic', upgrading the VDSL would mean that we'd only get a maximum of 3.5Mpbs upload and thus is not worth it. Not to mention that for now our contract is still on a fixed period for the current line and I'm not even sure if I can upgrade.

Last but not least, right now I'm a pretty vivid Heroes of the Storm player, which does deserve some 'love' on the streams. But I'm not sure how long I'd be playing it. Looking at my past experiences with playing online games it might as well be that in a month or 2-3 from now I've ditched the game completely and have moved on to the PlayStation 3 for the time spent on HotS...

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Hopping to DailyMotion
29 March 2015
Posted in General

I've ranted more than once about YouTube's automated copyright detection system. Man, it's totally insane that each and every time I upload a game video that some ass who has written music for the game (and 9 out of 10 times licensed the music for the game, which in turn gives me a license to reproduce that music for game footage broadcast) makes a music claim and steals my advertisement income. Even worse, when I'm not monetizing the video I still get ads on it for the copyright claimant.


And I'm not the only one with this problem. A lot of broadcasters on YouTube have that same problem, both gamers and people who produce their own work. CPG Gray is a good example of that, who now has disabled monetization for his videos and instead has added an ad at the end of his latest clip. And I honestly can't blame him at all for doing this.

For games the problem is even bigger. Take Nintendo who recently 'teamed up' with YouTube and just claimed ALL RIGHTS of the game movies that were made from Nintendo games. The publishers (gamers that is) of those movies either had to agree to a partnership with Nintendo and get only 50% of the advertisement income or nothing. That's just OUTRAGEOUS!
Even worse is SQUARE-ENIX with their games. Only Final Fantast XIV: A Real Reborn (and I should drop a copyright notice after even using the name brand ) is allowed to be broadcasted with a copyright notice. All other games made by SQUARE-ENIX will just get a copyright claim and be monetized for them

As you can see at the top of the blog, I am now also using DailyMotion. I have even placed the logo in front of YouTube because I'm moving over to DailyMotion completely. But I won't (re)upload my old movies (yet) because I have over 500 movies on YouTube and it's quite a lot of work to get that done. DailyMotion allows me to monetize with ads as well and I get 70% of the income from that. And honestly, that's more than what I'll get from YouTube when a lot of outragious claims are put on each and every game I broadcast because someone found his music in a game that only held a loop of 5 tones played on a piano far in the background volume (yes that actually happened to a video of mine ).

Sadly though, I still do have to use YouTube. This is because twitch only uploads the highlights to that platform. Good thing that I can download my own movies and from there on upload them again to DailyMotion...

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