Thursday, 3 December 2015

How To Mix Audio for Commentary Without A Physical Mixer

As I mentioned when discussing this year's SXC, I had a large pile of issues with the audio for the anime stream. These would all have magically disappeared if I had a proper physical audio mixer, but I am currently short on the cash to make such an investment. In my quest to work out what the purely digital options are, I discovered that what meagre documentation exists is horribly obtuse. As a result, here is a simple guide to setup the following:

 - Audio picked up by Open Broadcast Software
 - Two microphones picked up by Open Broadcast Software
 - Game Audio through both commentators' headsets
 - The microphone of whichever headset you're not wearing through the one you are wearing, allowing for both commentators to clearly hear when and what each other are saying.

Step One: Acquire Virtual Audio Cable

You can do so right here. It costs $25US if you don't want the ability to complain to the dev if something goes wrong. Less if you sail the high seas. This is the only investment we'll be making.

After installing VAC, right-click on your volume icon and take a look at your Playback and Recording devices.
You should see a new device in the listings called Line 1. This is essentially a big connecting cable we're going to bash several audio inputs into so OBS can receive more than its customary two.
That's it there at the bottom. It's in the Recording tab as well.
The setup we're going through requires two, so let's fire up the configuration tool!
Run it as an Administrator, just to be safe.
The only part of this configuration we care about is circled in red. Simply increase the number of Lines to whatever you want (in our case 2) and click Set. You should see it appear in the white area below. Then check that it's in your Playback/Recording Devices.
Step Two: Preparing your Virtual Cables

Obviously we need two headsets. The two I am using are a mix of Triton and Logitech. We need to put these through one of our new virtual cables. I use Line 1.

To do so, go to your list of Recording devices, find one of the microphones you're using and right-click > Properties.

From here, we want the Listen tab. Check the (most likely unchecked) box labelled Listen to this Device and select Line 1 as the device to play the microphone back through.
Repeat the process with the second microphone.
In order to have full control on where the main game and application sound goes, we'll be shoving that all through Line 2. We can't use Listen functions, so we shall instead go to the Playback tab, right-click on Line 2 and set it as our Default Playback (and Communications for safety's sake) Device.
We now have multiple audio sources condensed into two, ready for OBS to use! Fire up your copy and go to the Audio tab in Settings.
In order for the setup to work conveniently for our commentary team, something counter intuitive is going on here. We actually need Line 1 (the microphones) to be picked up by OBS as the main audio while Line 2 (the main audio) is output as the microphone. This is the trick to allow us greater control over which headset hears what microphone. Otherwise both commentators will hear themselves repeating which does even the best public speakers' heads in.

Step 3: Configuring the Headsets
Return to your Virtual Audio Cable start menu. We need to use a program it provides to tell what all our headsets are going to be picking up from our fake cabling.
Make sure you're using MME, not KS for this. Don't forget to run as Admin!

This will bring us a new configuration tool. We need the Wave In option to be Line 2 (our main audio). We need Wave Out to be one of our headsets.
Simply click Start to get it going. I strongly advise firing up the programs providing the audio you want streamed after setting this up. In the event that the audio becomes crackly or stutters, simply restart the program providing said sound. It happens now and then, likely a bug of the particular version I'm using. Feel free to minimise this once you've tested the audio and know it's working.

In order to hear only the other microphone, we need to fire up another instance of this Audio Repeater. This time we want the Wave in to be the name of that microphone while the Wave Out stays the same as above.
Once again hit Start, talk through that other headset while listening to the receiver and check that it's all working. If it is, minimise this one too.

Then simply repeat this process with your other headset. You'll end up with four copies of the Audio Repeater like so.

And there you have it! Run some test recordings of your combined audio + microphones to make sure it's all working then enjoy speaking with each other! If you need to adjust the game volume, use your good ol' Windows Audio Mixer by right-clicking that sound icon.

I hope this all makes sense to you. If not, shoot me a comment and I'll edit this piece accordingly.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Southern Cross Championships 2015 Writeup!

Last weekend marked the third year Southern Cross Championships, South Australia's fighting game major event was held. Here's the results for the tournaments I ran.


Persona 4: The Ultimax Ultra Suplex Hold

Guilty Gear Xrd -Sign-

Under Night In-Birth EXE:Late

 Like last year, Nerk and I stuck up our hands to take care of the airdash games. Unlike last year where my aim was to handle some brackets and recording while putting up serious competition, my main was to focus entirely on the administrative end so Nerk would have less on his mind and win the games he deserves to win. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the result since Nerk won two games, Alex 'Giggles' Gigney won another and Isorropia, the King of Australian Blazblue finally had his crown bumped off.

I have a saying that applies to most of life and is highly pertinent to running any sort of event. It goes like this:
Mistakes are a natural part of doing any activity. The trick is to not repeat them.

So with that in mind, let's go over how things went in more detail!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

13 Remarks About PR I've Written This Thursday

1. If you aren't actually the Public Relations representative for a company, please don't claim you are.

2. If you are actually the PR rep, keep in mind that people will remember and talk about one bad experience more than ten good ones.

3. If you're not the PR rep but want to raise lots of noise at a grassroots level, remember that you are still representing the company.

4. If representing an organisation, product, company etc, everything you do in public view represents them.

5. If you don't have a stranglehold on internal information, everything you do in private also represents them.

6. You do not have a stranglehold on internal information.

7. We all make mistakes. Learn to be humble and accept feedback.

8. Treat consumers with respect. Your job is to be the shining beacon of light for the organisation you're paid to represent/have volunteered to represent.

9. If you respect consumers, you won't go leaping into their conversations about your product that haven't solicited you.

10. If there's some genuinely incorrect information being spread in a conversation, correct them in as gentle a manner as possible. People hate being told they're wrong, so correction needs to be about building a bridge, not a demolition project.

11. If you're representing a niche product within a niche community within a niche genre (like, say, an airdash fighting game with extremely long combos, large loading times and no netplay), don't expect to have an explosion in popularity overnight. Or over a year. You're playing a numbers game that requires a large amount of patience to find the audience at all, let alone draw them in.

12. No, your catchphrase is neither amusing nor endearing.

13. Never tweet.

Monday, 31 August 2015

On The Title Screen

As graphical and storage technologies have improved, it has become inevitable that the medium of videogames has gained a variety of conventions from film and television. Heavily scripted events allow for photographic techniques without fear of a player straying away from where the camera wants you to be. Visual filters can be crafted to give the illusion that a game is being recorded to 35mm film or recorded with a cheap digital camera. Games such as Dragon's Lair essentially take player input and decide which film to play. Cutscenes with no interaction themselves outright transform a videogame into simply being a digitally produced film. It would be easy to assume that the videogame title screen exists as a borrowed convention from film titles or opening credits. Let's take a quick look at  the two media's approaches and reasons for having them.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Oh Alright; Here's My Week 1 Rising Thunder Thoughts

Rising Thunder is a free to play 2D fighting game currently undergoing an open alpha test on PC. It is designed by Seth Killian, Tom Cannon and Tony Cannon. The latter two are the creators of the GGPO library, a toolset for rollback-based netcode. They're also key staff in the organisation of the Evolution (EVO) fighting game tournament. Seth Killian is also a long-time Capcom Fighters community member, as well as one of the lead designers for Vanilla Street Fighter 4. I've hit Gold rank in the alpha and figure I'll put some thoughts down about the game before I either run screaming or hurtle further into the vortex.

I can summarise the game for you in a single image. Here it is.
If you already have an opinion on the above title, you do not need to read further. However you feel about that game, you will feel about Rising Thunder. The game accentuates just about everything that defines the game before Ultra's release.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

What is Fun?

"Fun" is a three letter word that I have seen create contention in all sorts of discussion. Particularly discussion of games, both tabletop and digital. What is fun? According to a running gag on the videogames section of a certain imageboard, "fun is a buzzword for when you can't actually think of any reasons why a game is good." If you talk about utilising all the tools in a competitive game available to win, someone may say that you're prioritising victory over fun. There's a saying that any game is fun with friends. Are these accurate statements? Can we quantify this fun? I want to unpack this word in relation to games.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

"I Want to Play Fighting Games on the PC. What's there to play?"

This question pops up everywhere. Facebook groups, conversations at local nerd gatherings and even while I got my hair cut once. Let's run through this based on your needs.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Guilty Gear's Buttons: Here's the Rundown

Guilty Gear is one of those rare fighting games that uses 5 buttons by default. Naturally, this often leads to newcomers being thoroughly confused as to how they should configure their buttons or have difficulty grasping the traditional default layout. To help you work this all out, let's have a talk about what each button actually does in the game. If you're feeling uncomfortable when playing, hopefully this will ease some of that.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Rise of Incarnates is in Open Beta Now.

Remember when I talked about it? Bamco's attempt at bringing Gundam vs Gundam to the West? Remember how I said it had none of the things that actually make that series satisfying to play?

Well, at the end of the last alpha it brought in a pile of things from the Extreme Vs games. Things like super meter to gain refills. You can even cancel an attack into a secondary attack!

You know what you can't do though? Dash cancel projectiles.

You know what is the entire crux of what makes Gundam vs a thrilling footsie game conducive to high latency environments and a wonderful teamwork game? Dash cancelling projectiles.

Every addition so far has been a superficial improvement. The sort of thing that appears to provide extra depth but ultimately doesn't because the fundamental core of the game isn't in the game. To cap it off, Bamco gave us this wonderful message when announcing the date for the open beta:

"Faster gameplay and shorter hit stuns
This aspect has evolved the most since the Beta. Numerous testers brought up slow gameplay speed as a major issue, and we admit that we watered things down because we were cautious about introducing an entirely new style of gameplay. We were proved otherwise. So you can look forward to some very fast, intense gameplay!"

In other words "we thought that releasing a game on the same platform as Quake 3 wouldn't have an audience that could grasp a game about space control and goading people into overextending so they can get hit."

And then they left the pace of the game the exact same as the last alpha anyway.

Please, do not play Rise of Incarnates. Play some Push instead.

Alright, let's talk about Xrd 1.10's Loketest

So, this weekend is the first location test for the first serious balance adjustments to Guilty Gear Xrd. Before I jump into what's going on with the changes, I'd like to talk about where the game currently stands. From there we can see what the aim with the update is and what it'll do to the game. So, let's jump in!

Saturday, 3 January 2015

7wonders XX ^C +B

Let me tell you about 7wonders. It's a drafting card game designed by Antoine "Hanabi, Takenoko and Ghost Stories" Bauza. It was released in 2011. I played this game a ton last year. I'll be playing it likely just as much this year.

The game flow is pretty simple. Each player is dealt 7 cards. They each draw a card from their hand, place it face down and pass the remaining six on. Everyone then reveals what they've taken, picks up the hand passed to them and does it again. When there's two cards left, one is taken and the other discarded into the center of the table. After this draft, each player fights the two on either side and gain victory or loss tokens. This is done with three hands of cards and then scores are added up based on what you've taken.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

F.K. Digital Updated WHAT?!? - A Super Cosplay War Ultra Infinity Primer

So it turns out that on Christmas Eve 2014, F.K. Digital, creators of Chaos Code went and updated their other fighting game. Super Cosplay War Ultra. That freeware game with the autocombos they first released in 2003. What a glorious way to end a year that saw a 1.2 release for E's Laf (and a sequel announcement!), Wonderful World updates bringing it ever closer to 1.0 and French Bread releasing a commercial cash-in licensed game! Oh and some dickheads charging money for Vanguard Princess on Steam when the same version is available for free.

So with that run-on sentence out the way, let's break down my platonic lifelong partner, Super Cosplay War Ultra ~Infinity~