What I’ve been up to.

Hiya.

So, things are a little different now.

What I’m saying is there have been some changes.

What with the state of everything and danger around every corner, I’m here to answer the question that has been on everyone’s mind:

What have I been up to?

Well, let me tell you. Quite a lot.

It turns out my specific skill-set is in high demand at the moment. With everyone now living in the computer as I have *bane voice. born into it. blah blah.* people are now wanting to do a whole lot more, and I’m endeavoring to make that work.

I know I’ve said this to many, but I’m busier now than I was before the Covid-19 non-sense. Part of it is people want/need me to do stuff, part of it is because I want to help people in the ways that I can in this socially isolating time.

Enough with the preamble, the U.S. constitution (got ’em)! What have you been doing?

Thing the first:

Because being physically in a place is hard, and people have questions myself representing Indivisible, and the others from the Working Hoosiers Vote Coalition worked to put on an online workshop. It is now online, and I think it worked well. How to organize people, answer questions, and generally keep people invested and informed. This is a model I’ll be using for other events I am helping to shape and plan. I also played around with how to use a real green screen, background replacement, and different audio feeds to pipe into Zoom.This was a huge effort by those involved and I want to thank everyone who contributed to making this happen.

Thing the second:

Tim and Matt play is often a testing ground for me, as it’s fairly low-stakes if things go awry. This particular set up I’m pretty proud of though. When Tim and I stream we usually are in the same place (my house) so making this work would be a change. In this particular game, it is not made to be played online, meaning to play two player you are usually required to play on the same device, with two controllers. I found out Steam has this really neat feature called Steam Remote Play Together, and basically it takes the host computer (mine) and streams the video to another person as a video feed, then takes their controller inputs and pipes them to my computer. The game thinks there is just another person physically there, and not across town. In addition to doing that, I was chatting with Tim over Discord, and routing the audio specifically to get all the levels correct using a third party program. This on top of streaming at 1080p60 at the highest available bit-rate to Twitch. In a totally cool, and nonchalant way, THIS IS REALLY NEAT. I hope to expand some of this to even more cool things, like net playing old games via emulator over the internet. Sega tapes, online, when they were never meant to be. FUTURE.

Thing the third:

I’ve meant to do this for a while, but I finally started doing some solo-streaming. I love Tim and Matt play, but I also want to play some games outside there, and streaming is a good way to connect to people. It’s more social and interactive than people (who don’t watch streams) think in my opinion. This is me trying my hand at it, and if you look, I’m changing my setup from stream to stream. I think I will continue to play with it as I go. I like having a camera there, too, which won’t ever happen in Tim and Matt Play, so that’s a new touch. Come hang out live sometime. My twitch username is goo3r, like everything else.

Thing the fourth:

In addition, I’ve been trying to bring friends together. We’ve done a couple virtual game nights, and I’ve hosted some virtual cocktail hours for Indivisible. It’s just nice to talk to talk to people sometime, commiserate, and let off some steam. Since I’m figuring out ways to pipe games through webcam settings and stuff, we’ve tried Jackbox, and we’ve done some online board games with some success. Still working out the kinks, but I think it’s been fun and good, and I’m always thinking of fun ways to combine all this tech.

I am getting more ridiculous with my stream setups, and I see no way this is going to slow down, so I am excited for what kind of crazy nonsense I come up with next on a budget of effectively zero.

I hope everyone is staying safe and staying home if they are able. I hope this helps everyone realize how vital all those “low-skill” workers are to our everyday existence and starts to treat them with the respect they all deserve. Sincerely, thanks to everyone out there helping out. Find a mutual aid network, call a friend, tip a food service worker or bartender’s Venmo even if they can’t give you your normal white claw or cold brew.

The Check-In. May 2018.

Already half way into June, I guess this is better than not doing it at all, probably.

Political Stuff

To be honest, I’ve taken a break this month from political stuff. Not entirely, and not on purpose. My body must have just sensed I needed a break. I have a backlog of stuff I need to take care of now, and a mountain of guilt to work through. There were lots of fits and starts, but I could not get it together to work on things.

There is actually a lot on my mind with the state of things currently, but I think that warrants a separate post because it would really just consume this, and I want to focus on that. There is just so much fucked up stuff going on at the moment in the country. Separating children from their families?!? Cages?!? These are human beings you absolute monsters.

Podcast

We’ve recorded and released a second podcast now. I’ve really enjoyed recording these, and this is like my only outlet to talk about game development. I hope to record another one this weekend. The goal is monthly.

Streaming

Tim and I continue to stream on Twitch and archive on YouTube. If you can, catch it live, or on the Twitch VOD. The bitrate on Twitch is so much better than YouTube. YouTube crunches stuff down so badly.

We have been streaming Sonic Mania recently and those have been some really fun episodes. We even had a sitcom style mix-up in the last recording session. What a pair!

Combo Breaker

I also was lucky enough to attend my first fighting game major this year, Combo Breaker. Firstly, thanks to my friend Taylor for the heads up and for being a travel partner, wouldn’t have done it without his instance. I’ve been watching fighting game streams and tournaments for years, but never anything live. It was cool to see fighting game legends in person. I was just there as a spectator because I’m garbage at fighting games, but even just watching everything was intense. Like sports, it’s different when you are there in person. It felt like a sporting event as well. There are crowds cheering, energy in the room with close match-ups, and even armchair theorists pontificating on what the player should be doing. I hope to go to it, or something like it (EVO!) again. There was even a proposal after SSF2T grand finals!

In the moments of downtime, we met up with a guy who hosts a podcast, No Cartridge, which I hadn’t heard before, but Taylor DM’d him on Twitter when he found out he was going to be there. Super cool guy, and after I heard it, really good podcast as well.

Since we were close-ish, we went to the best arcade, Galloping Ghost. I try to go there a couple times a year, just because it’s so cool. A staggering collection of arcade games, all on free play just $20 for a whole day. Can’t recommend enough if you are ever near Brookfield, IL.

Wedding!

My friends got married! They are fantastic and I love them, and they are perfect.

Running and fitness

I am continuing my journey to kill myself break my previous records.

I started taking Wednesday mornings to run a half before work and managed to do that for three weeks in a row. I’m not going to lie and say it’s easy. It’s a bear. I usually have to get up at 4:30 am and get out the door by 5 to get back, showered, and fed before work. Doing regular half-marathons is not something I’ve ever something I imagines being able to do, so it’s really cool and gratifying to see the time I’ve poured into this having a demonstrable effect.

Outside of the health benefits physically, long distance runs like that do wonders to calm my anxiety. I’ve probably talked about this somewhere in this blog before but running is meditative for me. All I need to focus on in the moment is moving forward. If I’m not listening to podcasts or audiobooks, I can throw on music and just let my mind drift. It helps process whatever I’m dealing with at that time. I know myself, and I know if I’m just sitting around, I will not allow myself the time to work through things; the stresses and responsibilities of whatever I need to do will take precedence. Running is a good forcing function.

I feel like half my blog posts are just, “Everyone, I like running, it’s good.”

But may I pose the following:

I like running, it’s good.

May 2018 Total: 82.2 Miles
May 2017 Total: 54.0
Difference May 2017 to May 2018: +28.2 Miles
Difference 2017 to 2018 to Date: +204.9 Miles

The Check-in. April 2018.

This month has flown by. One of the busiest in recent memory.

I was out of town every weekend in April doing something. Which was fun, and exhausting. In the spirit of that this post will be short and sweet and totally miss details. Always more to do.

The business didn’t stop me from keeping on those #hashtaggoals.

Political Stuff

In terms of political stuff, I moderated my first debate/town hall/forum for two of the Democratic candidates for IN-4. It was a fun, new experience that I would not mind doing again. I’d wish I would have probed on some of the answers, but I was so focused on getting through the many questions in time for the audience questions that I got sidetracked.

Here is the video for the event!

Podcast

Like all good people who are tragically online, I’ve started a podcast with my cousin, Jay Pavlina! It’s ostensibly about game development and programming, but we touch on some weird, wild stuff as well. Jay explains more here. Check out our first episode! We are recording episode two this weekend, so stay on the lookout for that.

That VG Goodness

Upgraded the setup once again to new degrees of greatness/completely unnecessariness.

Firstly, I got tired of Tim and Matt play streaming in potato quality, so I went to Purdue Surplus and grabbed the best machine they had there for $50. It needed RAM and HDD, and I had that. It proved to be a choice decision as the machine can stream and record in 1080/30 (limitation of the capture device I have) to Twitch.

Second, after trying for a while I was able to snag a gscartsw_lite, which allows me to have all my old consoles connect via RGB without having to switch. This also provides dual outputs so I can hook it up to my upscaler as well as my CRT television. In essence, I can now stream to Twitch, play on the HD TV and play on the CRT all at the same time. It’s very cool! (Like, I think it’s cool) It works, the problem is the SCART cables I bought are of surprisingly low quality and introduce an abundance of noise to the signal. I have some much better (and sadly, more expensive) SCART cables coming from the UK as we speak.

Running

Let’s see where we are this month:
April 2018: 75.1 Miles
April 2017: 30.9 Miles
Difference: +44.2 Miles
Year difference from 2017 (as of this post): +176.7 Miles

Whew, what a month. 2018 is proving to be wild.