Xorian Wars has Finished!

My 8 year long campaign has finished and the conclusion is now uploaded to YouTube!

 

It’s pretty long. Thirteen hours of me jabbing with my friends about Dungeons and Dragons. I’ve noticed that people who do this professionally make recap episodes that are about 10 minutes long with summaries and only the best bits of the action. That’s something I might do if a lot of viewers request them.

I’m proud of the visual setup I created for this. The globe picture seems like it would work for any genre of RPG and I have other camera borders ready to go for other genres.

I had some issues with the audio, but they were easy to fix. I’m aware of them for the future.

Skype was also annoying in how the video locations kept changing when people left the call or turned off their cameras. I’ve started looking at alternatives that might have a better interface for capturing the images with OBS. Current list includes: Discord, Hangouts, Jitsi, VSee, and Viber.

Streaming was definitely popular with the members of the D&D group. We’ll keep doing it, if only for ourselves to rewatch.

Nerve Movie Review

NerveNerve is, dare I say it, a summer blockbuster.

The title refers to a fictional streamed game where users sign up as a Watchers or Players.

Watchers watch the Players, duh, and give the Players dares to complete.

Dares come with a cash prize if completed and there’s something about losing all the money you’ve won if you fail a dare that isn’t fully explained.

Players are competing against each other. Nerve is set up as a 24 hour game. The two Players with the most Watchers at the end of the day move on to the Finals.

This game is funded by a $20 fee put forward by each Watcher.

The movie stars Emma Roberts as Vee (short for Venus), who is using the game to prove that she takes risks to her risky, risque friend, Sydney.

Vee joins the game as a Player and soon joins up with another Player named Ian.

The team-up catapults Vee and Ian to the lead, but as they get more Watchers the dares they must complete get more and more dangerous and more and more illegal. Vee and Ian must decide whether to continue, risking death and possible arrest, or drop out and lose all the money they’ve won so far.

The trailer made me feel that the Watchers would start to manipulate Vee and Ian to their benefit with dares like, “Rob a bank!”and “Leave the money by my apartment!” but none of that happened.

Vee and Ian do end up fighting back against the game with the help of their friends. That’s where it got a little weird for me.

Nerve is supposedly an open source game that anyone can edit the code of as long as the majority of voting users approve those changes. A nice premise, but it doesn’t hold up.

First of all, the money. Where does it go when its taken out of your account? Who is spending it on keeping the streaming service up and running? Who decides the prizes for dares? It’s not a group of people voting in a chat room like Twitch Plays Pokemon. We all know that wouldn’t be fast enough for this sort of entertainment.

The answer is that there MUST be a group of people that made and still control the game. They are the voting users that decide top level issues for Nerve.

This group is necessary, but they remain unconfronted by the end of the movie. Nerve is supposedly defeated, never to return to endanger people’s lives. Unfortunately, there is literally nothing stopping this group of creators from starting the game up again.

Not that this is a bad thing, the movie was good and I’d like a sequel, but the problem was that the movie didn’t acknowledge that there must be a specific group toying with the Players. Everything was just the evil behavior of “the mob.”

So that’s most of the plot along with the plotholes.

Stylistically, the movie was amazing. Good acting, good costuming, GREAT effects.

The special effects are used to show the “behind-the-scenes” on the Nerve app. Lines connecting Watchers to Players. An aerial shot with beacons showing where the Players are in New York. Other good-looking stuff like that.

Lots of fun stunts in the movie as well.

It is a really good thriller movie with bits of action and lots of thinking moments. Go see it with someone else! It’ll give you plenty to talk about afterwards.

Nerve definitely gets my recommendation.

-GoCorral

Warband Streaming

Steam had their usual Halloween sale and I snatched up a game I’d been watching for when it went on sale, Mount and Blade: Warband.

I wrote a review of the original Mount and Blade game back in March 2014. While my review was positive, I felt like after two playthroughs that I was done with the game and probably finished with any sequels as well.

To be fair those two playthroughs were massive in length and I didn’t want to get any sequels because I felt the gameplay wouldn’t be any different. Kind of like how I’ve only played the first two generations of the Pokemon games. I caught all 250 already, dammit! I don’t need anymore!

But eventually the call of a game I loved so much becomes too strong… My mind says, “You know you want it. And its on sale. Its only $10. You can get it.” And my mind forgets to mention that the real cost of a game for me isn’t the money, but the time I spend playing it instead of doing other things.

I usually play Mount and Blade when I’m by myself, so what other things could I do by myself that I’d be missing out on by not playing? I could read, watch something on Youtube or Netflix, draw, write something, stream a video game on Twitch-

Wait! What was that last one? I could stream a video game on Twitch you say?

Well, why not stream Mount and Blade?

I’ve been doing that and it’s tons of fun!

I’m exploring more of the mods for Warband. I’ve been learning more about tech trees and trading within the game. I’ve found other people who play it (Finally!). All around I’ve been having a blast replaying it. I even got my wife to play it for a minute which is a rare thing indeed.

I’ve been streaming in the morning on weekends and I plan to do a little more during the week as well. You can catch me at http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral

-Mister Ed

Twitch.tv Panels

I did a little bit more work on setting up my Twitch channel and I think it is close to its “final form.”

Twitch has these things called panels that hang out below the video of a channel.

Panels Down There

Normally you’re just watching the channel or using the chat and not paying attention to what else is on the page. But what if you want to know a little bit more about this streamer?

That’s what the panels are for.

I added a little bit of basic bio info, some Disney Channel level interview questions, my computer specs, and a list of what games I play.

Here's what that looks like. Or you could go to the channel and see for yourself at: http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral
Here’s what that looks like. Or you could go to the channel and see for yourself at: http://www.twitch.tv/gocorral

What’s next for the channel? Well, one of my friends keeps bugging me to wear silly hats while I stream, so that’s probably something I should do.

I still have a random frame dropping issue that I need to deal with. The easiest way to fix that is unfortunately just dropping the quality of the stream slightly.

That sounds bad, but having slightly less detail on the video is probably better than a huge ten minute section of my video having 1 frame per second.

Which brings up another issue, my internet speed. Bad news on that front as well.

There are only two significant internet providers in Davis, Comcast and AT&T. I use AT&T currently and I’ll be damned if I sign up for Comcast ever. That company is run by Satan.

But I already have the fastest upload speed available to me with AT&T. There is no way for me to boost my streaming quality except signing up for the better upload speeds offered by Comcast.

That’s just not happening. One of my friends posts a Comcast horror story every couple months. The most recent one was this guy who spent a year arguing with them on the phone for an erroneous $2000 charge. Comcast ended up calling the guy’s work and getting him fired because he wouldn’t pay their bogus charges.

Just… Not gonna get involved with a company like that.

Back to the stream! The internet speed thing means I can’t stream my League of Legends games. League of Legends eats up to much of my bandwith. If I stream at the same time the video quality will be reduced and my League game suffers some lag problems as well where I can’t react as fast to stuff in the game.

This is fine. I can get by without streaming League, but it creates another issue.

I’ve been wanting to stream my Sunday hangouts with my friends. We get together to play D&D and some video games nearly every Sunday.

The video game we play most often is League. We play at least one game every Sunday.

So if I’m streaming on Sundays, there’s gonna be this random gap in the stream when I leave to play League.

And this is also very strange for a Twitch channel. I imagine a viewer being like, “You’ve stopped streaming so you can play League of Legends? The most popular game on Twitch?”

Another option I’ve considered is throwing a switch to reduce stream quality while I’m playing League of Legends on Sunday. That’s probably a good compromise. I wish AT&T just offered better internet speeds though.

The final thing I’d like to do for the stream is to establish a weekday night where I stream every week on that night. Even if its just for half an hour I’d like to have some consistency. I think that’s the best way to build a fan base. Along with wearing funny hats.

-Mister Ed

Editing for Youtube

Making a new video called Blood Knight Adventures.
Making a new video called Blood Knight Adventures.

I started up my own Youtube channel to have another place for my Twitch videos to be watched.

I’ve uploaded my highlights from Twitch to Youtube and I’ve been posting some edited highlights as well.

Twitch is rather limited in how you can edit a highlight. The highlighted video has to be a specific section of the video and that’s it. No other modifications allowed.

So if you wanted to create a highlight that combined a section from the first minute and the last minute of your broadcast, but nothing in between… Twitch’s in browser editing application doesn’t let you do that.

Fortunately, as I’m streaming I also set my streaming software to store the broadcasts to my hard drive. From there I can edit the videos and produce a better finished product.

The two videos I’ve made so far are called “Holy Alchemy” and “Why Mind Control is Amazing in Arena too.”

They’re pretty basic. I highlighted a specific card in each video from my early Arena runs on my Twitch stream. I edited all the shots of those cards together and slapped some music on it.

Playing with my new editing software was fun. I started using Movie Maker which is a freeware editing program put out by Microsoft.

I took a video production course in high school that helped me learn the basics of video editing. The program I learned on was called Final Cut Pro.

I’d like to use Final Cut again. It has a lot of things that Movie Maker doesn’t. But it also costs $300. 😦

The first hurdle I had to jump over with Movie Maker was the file type for the recorded videos from my stream.

Almost every internet video site, Twitch included, broadcasts their videos using the Flash file type (.flv). My broadcasting software saves the recorded videos to my hard drive as Flash videos as well.

Movie Maker can’t understand Flash videos. Kind of dumb considering that Flash is the most popular video type now, but whatever.

I had to download a converter to change the recordings into something that Movie Maker could understand.

After that it was simple enough, throw the video in, pick which sections I want, delete the other sections, etc.

I remember Final Cut being easier to work with and having more options than Movie Maker.

Movie Maker hides transitions under the Animations tab. Adding titles is also hidden under the home tab.

I’m still unsure if Movie Maker allows custom title movements, cropping a frame, moving a frame, or even multiple audio tracks.

It might that I just can’t find these things yet within Movie Maker’s interface or maybe there’s nothing there for me to find.

I’ll stick with Movie Maker f it does have those options and I find them. Final Cut’s software is better because I know how to use it. Once I’ve mastered Movie Maker there won’t be any reason to switch.

Go check out the videos if you like Hearthstone! I added in some public domain music from Youtube’s audio library. Enjoy!

-Mister Ed

Twitch and Audible Magic

The first part of an email that Twitch sent out to all their users.
The first part of an email that Twitch sent out to all their users.

Twitch answered my questions about whether copyrighted music is allowed on live streams in a recent email/blog post.

Unless I get permission from the artist/label, the answer is “NO!”

Twitch recently did a restructuring of their website. This included Twitch’s precursor website Justin.tv.

Justin.tv has been removed and Twitch is now focusing on their more profitable product, Twitch.tv.

They’re also attempting to make Twitch more profitable by reducing the amount of storage space they’re using for the website.

Previously, a streamer like me could store ALL their past broadcasts on Twitch.

Not many people watch those and it requires Twitch to have a lot of hard drive space to store them.

With the benefit of this infinite storage being next to nothing for Twitch, they’re removing that service.

Past broadcasts are now saved for about a week. That week allows a streamer to cut out the best portions as highlights to save forever.

The removal of Justin.tv and the extra storage space both sound like smart ideas to me. Twitch saves money and the majority of their users don’t care.

The audio protection also makes sense, but a lot of people are upset about it.

Audible Magic is a service that identifies copyrighted music and flags it for Twitch.

Flagged videos then have the 30 minute section around that copyrighted portion muted. That seems excessive to me for what could’ve been a 30 second clip of music, but whatever.

But that’s only for videos, the past broadcasts that Twitch is removing and highlights that might contain copyrighted material.

Audible Magic will not be screening live streams on Twitch for copyrighted material, so thousands of streamers can still get away with playing copyrighted music in live streams.

I’d prefer not to do that. If I really want my Twitch channel to succeed in a big way I cannot break the law to do so. Twitch has made it clear, playing copyrighted music without permission to do so is not okay.

A lot of high profile streamers use public domain music, so that’s where I’ll be going next.

There’s a lot of places to look for music I can use. If anybody has any suggestions, feel free to let me know!

-Mister Ed

Naxxramas Construct Quarter

My Mage deck for taking down Heroic Patchwerk.
My Mage deck for taking down Heroic Patchwerk.

I did a Twitch stream on August 15th of the new Construct Quarter in Naxxramas. The stream will be available for a limited time on the GoCorral channel at Twitch if you want to watch.

I wasn’t able to finish all the bosses and class challenges this time. Mostly because the class challenges weren’t knock over easy anymore. I tried about a half dozen times on the Warrior challenge and had to end the stream defeated.

Later on I took a crack at the Heroic bosses and I took down Patchwerk on my first try with the deck pictured above.

If your eyes/computer can’t process pictures the decklist is:
Ice Lance x2
Mirror Image x2
Frostbolt x2
Mad Scientist x2
Murloc Tidehunter x2
Sunfury Protector x2
Arcane Intellect x2
Duplicate x2
Ice Barrier x2
Ice Block x2
Kirin Tor Mage x2
Fireball x2
Water Elemental x2
Sludge Belcher x2
Pyroblast x2

Patchwerk is the most unusual Naxxramas boss so far. He doesn’t have a deck.

All Patchwerk has is a weapon that he starts with and his hero power.

Patchwerk’s weapon, Hook, has a deathrattle effect that puts it back in his hand so he can play it again.

His hero power costs 4 and destroys one minion of Patchwerk’s choice. He’ll always pick a taunt minion or your strongest minion.

Patchwerk’s turn is easy to predict. If his Hook is in his hand he’ll play it. Next he uses his hero power if he has enough mana to do so to destroy the largest taunt minion you have or if there are no taunt minions, your largest minion without taunt. Finally, Patchwerk attacks your taunt minions or your face.

The only difference between the Normal and Heroic version of Patchwerk is the Hook. The Normal Hook has 5 attack and 8 durability. The Heroic Hook has 4 attack, 8 durability, and windfury so he can attack twice per turn.

So fiendish! So devilish! The Hook of Patchwerk!
So fiendish! So devilish! The Hook of Patchwerk!

A game against Patchwerk won’t take very long because his strategy focuses on hitting you in the face instead of clearing the board.

The deck I made is focused around freezing Patchwerk or stalling him with weak minions.

I won my first game against him by playing Mirror Image early, and then a Kirin Tor Mage to get a Duplicate secret down as well.

Patchwerk wiped out the Mirror Images, but the Duplicate put two more of them in my hand to stall him even further.

I used my Sunfury Protector, Murloc Tidehunter, and Sludge Belcher to stall further with other cheap taunt creatures while my Kirin Tor Mage hit Patchwerk for damage every turn.

Patchwerk hurt himself by using his Hook to take out my minions, but he was never smart enough to use his hero power to destroy the Kirin Tor Mage that was slowly murdering him.

I played two Ice Blocks to stall further and I had an Ice Barrier in hand to last another turn as well.

Another strategy of the deck is to get a Water Elemental down along with some taunts. The Water Elemental will keep Patchwerk frozen and unable to attack while the taunts will soak up the hero power instead of the Water Elemental. If you get that strategy going, you’re guaranteed a win.

Things I might change about this deck if you’re trying to build it or something similar include:
Taking out the Pyroblasts. The game ended on turn 9. Usually you won’t get a chance to use one.
Taking out Arcane Intellect maybe?
Adding Defender of Argus and Razorfen Hunter to have access to even more taunt creatures
Maybe adding cards like Dancing Swords and Coldlight Oracle to force Patchwerk to draw and hurt himself with fatigue damage.

I hope that helps you take down Patchwerk! I’ll be working on other decks to beat other Heroic bosses in the Construct Quarter soon.

-Mister Ed

Streaming and Stress

I’ve been thinking about all the things I’m doing with my website and how to balance that with the upcoming responsibility of graduate school.

Last year I was employed while my wife went to graduate school for her elementary school teaching credential.

At the beginning of September we’ll switch and I’ll  be going to graduate school for molecular biology while my wife teaches 5th grade at the neighborhood public school.

While I’m not stressed now with work, my day-to-day responsibilities, and all the other things I do for fun, that might change.

I saw what my wife went through for her graduate program. Her typical weekday was waking up at 6, leaving at 7:30, and not being done with her classes or her homework until 8PM.

If I have to do the same thing… I might not have time to do blog posts every day, stream every week, or improve the website and attached video channels as often.

I have to add descriptions to half these videos... So much work!!! #sarcasm
I have to add descriptions to half these videos… So much work!!! #sarcasm

Updates won’t stop, but I expect they will reduce in frequency.

I don’t want to make a commitment I can’t keep. I’ve already slipped a little bit on doing updates every weekday.

I usually miss a post because I’ve had a long day and don’t have the mental energy to write something worth reading.

Typically I make up a missed post on the weekend, but I’m still behind by two posts.

I’ll try to make those both up by September, but after that I think I’ll be switching to weekly updates.

I hope my schedule will allow me to write posts more often, but I can’t guarantee that until I’ve started my classes and know for sure what my workload will be.

-Mister Ed

Online Videos and Copyright

Public domain music is a mystery to me.
Public domain music is a mystery to me.

I’ve been thinking about including music on my streams and Youtube channel.

There’s just this problem of what music I’m able to include.

I want to play my typical playlists that I listen to on my own.

But all that stuff is copyrighted!

I can’t play The Beatles, Elvis, or Johnny Cash. I can’t play the modern stuff I like like Katy Perry, Ke$ha, or Barenaked Ladies. Not without getting slapped by a copyright notice.

Youtube has software that searches a video when its uploaded for copyrighted music.

If Youtube finds copyrighted music, it plays an ad before the video. The revenue from the ad goes toward the owner of the music.

Additionally a link to iTunes appears below the video so that someone can buy the music played in the song.

I could live with that eventually, but when I setup my Youtube channel I was looking forward to the possibility of making money off of it. If I use copyrighted music, then the ad revenue goes to the owner of the music instead of to me.

One of my ideas was to play music while streaming and then using editing software to eliminate the music from the audio track.

I have a theory for how I could do that, but I’m not confident that it will work successfully.

If I can’t get that to work then I either can’t play music during my streams, or I can’t profit directly from uploading clips of my Twitch streams to Youtube.

A separate problem that I hadn’t considered is whether its legal to play copyrighted music while streaming.

I’d need to relook at Twitch’s license agreement that I barely skimmed when I first agreed to it.

If it turns out that I’m not allowed to play stuff there then only one option remains for playing music on my Twitch and Youtube channels.

Public domain music.

I have close to zero experience with public domain music and no idea how I’ll find stuff that I will like or that will be appropriate.

I’m willing to give it a shot though!

-Mister Ed