LP Update/Comment Thread

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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby Falchion » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:38 pm

IskatuMesk wrote:I finished my recordings for Conan. I had no idea what depravity awaited me when I started this game, but I can definitely say it's one of the worst ps2/ps3 games I have ever played. Imbalanced, untested, buggy and broken to hell, Conan was nearly the death of me in many ways.


You had the guts to play Conan!? Now I'm shocked...
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby IskatuMesk » Mon Apr 09, 2012 5:22 pm

Are you familiar with this game?
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby Falchion » Tue Apr 10, 2012 3:43 am

IskatuMesk wrote:Are you familiar with this game?


Man, EVERY movie-franchise-based game I see I make sure to AVOID playing, unless it really calls my attention.
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby IskatuMesk » Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:34 pm

So, you're not familiar? That's too bad. I would have felt a bit better if I knew someone had shared in my anguish.
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby IskatuMesk » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:07 pm

Quick updates -

GoW2 - Encoding files, done verifying all Vegas content, done editing my fixup for the final recording of the last fight & related garbage. Need to verify the fraps segment prior to this, when I'm done encoding, then process the audio streams and mix. Estimating a week or less if things go well (they never do).

GoW3 - Done recording, on standby.

Conan - Partly encoded, partly verified. On standby.

The Ball - Dormant.

BW Video - Dormant.

Future recording project - Armies of Exigo

/e

I keep forgetting about Hunted. Shit, that's the oldest thing to go now. I don't really have an excuse besides lethargy.
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby IskatuMesk » Fri Apr 20, 2012 5:15 pm

Audio Processing

There never seems to be a perfect solution. A right answer. There's just problem solving and rolling with the flying dicks.

There are many steps involved in my productions, especially Console-based recordings like God of War 2.

To keep things short, this is what God of War 2 so far has looked like.

RECORDING

PHASE 1

Video - Blackmagic Media Express - Offers no native resolution preview or fullscreen, so can't fraps. Thus playing on a difficult to read low-res mangled mess.
Audio - Game and Mic recorded independently in Vegas.

So, I often ended up with desynced audio because of interns. Viking, Dante's Inferno, etc etc all had majorly broken or desynced audio. I then discovered that Vegas doesn't desync it in God of War 1. At least not yet. When audio is desynced like it was in Viking I need to manually resync it every minute or so. This takes many, many, many hours of precision work. (Probably 40 or so hours for Viking).

PHASE 2

Video/Audio - Frapsed virtualdub in the last 2 segments. Much more effective. No desyncs. No problem loss of audio data (unless windows touches my devices like it did when I updated at the end of gow2). This is how it should have been from the start.

I need to be 100% sure the volumes are good before starting because fraps is coded by lazy interns and doesn't allow you to save as multiple streams. Someone reverse engineer that shit.

PROCESSING

OLD METHOD USING BME -

PHASE 1

Video -> Encode
+ Verify (I discovered mkvmerge made Alice segments BSOD DXVA, so I had to roll back to an early version. I then discovered megui was causing artifacting in Conan, prompting a switch to another launcher.)
+ Mix audio
+ Verify sync

PHASE 2

Video -> Encode
+ Verify

Audio above and beyond takes the longest to do out of all productions, exceeding playtime AND video production work by at least two fold.

PHASE 1

Audio -> Initial verification. I sit through the entire video to make sure there are no problems of any kind.
+ cleanup. In GoW1 and 2 there is a lot of headache-inducing fan rumbling. I need to remove this. This entails;
- Exporting the audio streams as individuals into Audition to clean them up one by one, usually per video segment for organization.
- Testing my methods as much as possible to maximize quality, but there will be major quality loss overall.
+ merging mic and game audio. I completed this in GoW2 to discover that I was getting different volumes in audition then I was in vegas for some reason. GoW2 was almost ready for release but I felt the game's audio was too quiet during cinematics. I must now roll back and repeat many steps.
+ merge with video

FINALLE

+ Merge internal segments into main segments for release.
+ Verify once again. mkvmerge is very unreliable these days. I want to make sure it doesn't desync or crash/bsod. I + jump through the video making sure everything is ok.
+ Upload for peer review.
+ Release when it's all uploaded if everything looks good.

If I've recorded with fraps, the steps can be summarized as;

+ Record
+ Encode
+ Verify
+ Upload
+ Release

But because of the simple reason that Blackmagic Media Express is programmed by retards and lacks a simple critical function, I have to go through a billion extra steps to make sure everything is ok. On top of that, environmental changes like my fan I need for summer heat cause additional complications. GoW1/2 had many attempts to suppress the fan noise for the mic and all were failures. This coming summer I must make much more extreme attempts to prevent that noise from becoming a problem again, because I won't have multiple audio streams to work with anymore.

The lesson of the day is - if you give interns the opportunity to make something difficult/annoying they will take it.
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby Mucky » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:00 pm

IskatuMesk wrote:BW Video - Dormant.

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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby mark_009_vn » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:22 pm

Mucky wrote:
IskatuMesk wrote:BW Video - Dormant.

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Notion supported. :P
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby IskatuMesk » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:37 pm

GoW2 is up.

I intend to address the BW videos when I figure out how exactly I'm going to ream the broken videos so I can actually finish it. If I ever record this game again I'm using fraps.
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby IskatuMesk » Thu Apr 26, 2012 11:36 am

Conan is done verification but mkvmerge continues to get in my way. Other than when it would bsod windows with Alice, it also likes to make chunks of video that "skip" over certain areas or plainly don't work. It's still doing this semi-reliably, even though I rolled back to reliable versions - the consistency increases with new versions. So, I'm going to roll all the way back to several major versions prior, the ancient version I was using a few years ago, and see if it keeps happening or not. If it does I'll seek an alternate program entirely.

Once I've hammered out the segments for Conan, fixed the audio for seg4 (The boss audio is obnoxiously loud), and made sure nothing is goofed up, I'll upload the remaining segments to be uploaded and release it.

I'm deep into Armies of Exigo now with no sign of reaching the end yet. I'd say it's an average game erring on very indie-like. A nice break from all the ARPG's I've been doing, though. I don't know what to record when it's done, but my upcoming energy will be devoted to God of War 3 soon. As I mentioned, I'll soon be experimenting with Hi10p aka 10-bit encodes. If my tests prove favorable you could be looking at smaller filesizes and better colors.

Currently I'm not concerned about the repairs needed for the BW video and The Ball, but they haven't left my mind. The Ball especially I want to finish up because most of it's verified except for the broken part. However, I'm likely to finally get rid of Hunted before I think about fixing either of those projects. Hunted is an ancient recording now, and in dire need of being finally verified, re-encoded, and released. But my lethargy in work is proving my greatest enemy, for I have no will to do anything anymore and even the simplest of things require herculean willpower to accomplish in weeks of time.
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby IskatuMesk » Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:58 pm

Conan is up! It should be free of problems but I was running into mkvmerge fuckery during the verification phase so not 100% guaranteed. Everything seems ok on my end though.

I will begin my testing phases for the GoW3 encode in the near future.

EDIT - NOTICE (April 29 9:21 AM)

A comment on my blog noted that somehow Conan seg6 has a problem that got past me. Seems like mkvmerge broke it around the 1:11-1:12 hour sort of region. What'll happen is the video player will stop playing it (at least MPC does, not sure how VLC will respond). You can get past this by one or two ways;

A - Skip past the broken part.
B - Wait for me to upload a fixed video.

The segment will be unavailable for download for around 30-60 minutes from the time of this edit.

/e 2 - new version is up. Should be problem-free.
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby IskatuMesk » Tue May 01, 2012 3:10 pm

Test results for encoding experiments;

I'll be using Simple x264 Launcher for my experiments.

Using a fraps chunk from the final battle of God of War 3 that is around 3:30 minutes long 720p, I set out to create a baseline set of 8-bit encodes for GOW3 using three Constant Quality settings;

(Lower is higher quality/more size)

30 - What I used for GoW2 I think. Sometimes I used as low as 32.
25 - Very high quality given other settings not being altered.
20 - Stupidly high. I don't think I've ever used this high constant quality before.

Results -
Encode speeds;
45fps @ CRF 30

Sizes;
Baseline size - 4gb
30 size - 50mb
25 size - 94mb
20 size - 182mb

Image quality;
Note that imgur converts the images just like a shitty image host would.
Also note that these images may contain spoilers.
Baseline: show
Image

8-bit 30 CRF: show
Image

8-bit 25 CRF: show
Image

8-bit 20 CRF: show
Image



Conclusion - 8bit
8bit always butchered my Vegas encodes. While the "8bit" we get out of these videos is much better than what I ever got out of Vegas, a CRF of 30 alone is not going to work very well for high-motion high-detail videos. If I push it lower I get more respectable returns but the size increase is dramatic. I can cut hairs and go for 28/26 but ultimately I want to deliver an experience as close to the source without breaking the host in the process.

The compression occurs the worst in any kind of dark colors. The rocks on the left, the rim of the very top metal bits, these all lose a shitton of quality on the lower settings. In a low-quality game like Conan this is of little consequence, but for GoW3 I want the best of the best.

The encode times are pretty quick for such a small video, but the 20 CRF is notably slower.

Let's try 10-bit.

Encode speeds;
33fps @ CRF 30
30fps @ CRF 25

Sizes;
30 size - 50mb
25 size - 94mb

Conclusion - 10bit

I expected massive changes out of 10-bit but can see virtually no changes at all upon first glance. The difference in CRF between 8bit and 10bit is practically non-existent, with only returning 300 kb out of a 90mb file. I didn't even bother uploading the screencaps because they are nearly identical - the blur is just in slightly different locations. There is no difference at all in the darks. However, as I study the images very closely, I notice that the major difference out of the minor differences is some edges with brights and darks are slightly less blurry. It's an improvement, a very subtle improvement.

While the encoding speeds are indeed slower they are not significantly slower enough to impact my pipeline. Something I had read was that 10bit's changes were so dramatic that you'd want to record with lower quality settings - I tried this and it's just as vomity and ugly as I'd expect. The impact I'm seeing here is nitpicky at best, absolutely nothing like what was described in various guides.

I decided to pursue tuning settings next, starting with Animation. This, too, had no impact. Grain, on the other hand, the setting that Nef uses for some of his older game encodes, produced some interesting returns.

The size increased from 50 to 76MB on a 30 CRF, but the image quality sky rocketed.

Direct PNG screencaps via FTP
Baseline: show
Image

10-bit 30 CRF: show
Image

10-bit 30 CRF with Grain tuning: show
Image


When paying attention to the flames on the box in the middle and the characters, there's little change to be seen in screenshots other than the obvious loss between baseline and compression. The goal of our efforts is to get rid of that loss. (It also seems the baseline is a different frame wtf) The Grain modifier definitely helps it in motion, and the size increase is acceptable. If I boosted the CRF to 26-28, the differences will be even less significant though you'd probably be looking at close to 100mb for 3 and a half minutes with no audio. Ouch. I was hoping to reduce the size demands, not increase them. Lowering the CRF to 32 brings us pretty close to the original size @ 59mb in exchange for some blur making it back in - I wouldn't use this for GoW3. Maybe CRF 31?

The size increase with Grain is due to the motion prediction. But Simple X264 Launcher offers no motion prediction settings. I slapped together a basic profile of CRF 30 and Grain in megui (using 8bit) but the encode times are literally 1/3 as fast and it's predicting an even larger file. Well then.


Major tests

A test encode with GoW3 using CRF 30 and Grain in 10-bit brings out a 2gig file for 2:26 hours (with no audio). A perfectly acceptable return. The quality is pretty decent. Not perfect, but workable.

Extras

mkvmerge is still giving me issues with videos regardless of the program version. The issues include the DXVA bsods from Alice and the "freeze" issues that Conan seg 6 have had and are much more numerous. As of yet I've been unable to find a replacement program or any mention of this problem elsewhere.

God of War 3

I want to switch to 10-bit on behest of potential advantages, but I'm still hesitant.

The biggest issue with GoW3 I'm seeing in regards to the first segment right now actually has nothing to do with the quality. Rather, the camera shaking. GoW3's camera shaking is the most stupidly violent camera shaking in all of the games I've LP'd thus far and, frankly, it makes me sick. I get motion sickness and the first 30 or so minutes of gow3 literally gives me a headache. It was like this during the gameplay but not nearly as bad as the encode. There could be a few reasons why.

1 - Fraps doesn't handle high motion 1:1. In fact, fraps is dropping/skipping/fucking up frames during the intro cinematics and you can see they are kind of "choppy". Possibly due to the fps getting halved and extra frames getting dropped randomly. I can possibly avoid this in the future by unlocking the FPS (same thing I plan to do when I test N64 emulation again).
2 - The grain tuning might be fighting motion prediction, and motion prediction hates camera shaking. I have two encodes, one with grain and one without, but it's next to impossible for me to discern any real defining difference in the way the motion is handled, especially when I already feel queer.

Ultimately this problem has little bearing on 10-bit. I'm going to say, update your players if you haven't for some reason. I'll need to test this more carefully and more slowly. I know most people don't get motion sickness like I do (the flight points in Tera have the same effect), but I want to make something as comfortable for me to watch as possible. How to tackle this unique problem I do not yet know. Whether it's related to the grain tuning I don't know. Worst case, I drop Simple X264 launcher, go to megui, and do some major fuckery with motion prediction to try to achieve something.

/edit

I can say with 69% certainty I will probably switch back to megui for GoW3 due to the new motion prediction settings I'm using since they alleviate my motion sickness a bit. So, there is unlikely to be an immediate switch to 10bit.

That said, segment 1 is just about verified, so this shouldn't take very long either way.

As an aside, I'm removed almost all non-public video material from the FTP to trim space.
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby IskatuMesk » Wed May 02, 2012 3:23 pm

Setting up shop

The struggle with CTS and lethargy wages on, but physical pain is often at the forefront of my challenges when making lengthy recordings. With summer fast approaching, temperatures skyrocketing, and my efforts to clean up the dead hookers in the ditch going relatively smoothly, I'm setting stage for a long road of LP productions in the rest of the year.

Last year I spent $300 on a new leather computer chair in an effort to combat my physical decay, but this has not helped. In fact, I believe it has made the problems even worse. I bought a new keyboard, mouse, and more to try to change things up. A new desk. I no longer fight just CTS but joint pain, back pain, knee pain, everything hurts in some way or another. With so much money, so much time, no end to the fight seems in sight.

Today I put down another $570 on a huge, L-shape desk similar to my days of old when I was making music. It will arrive friday and I will have to basically rebuild half of my room. It will be painful and difficult but I do it to continue the fight to improve my environment. I was about to shell out another $600 for a chair but decided to hold off and see how the desk goes. My current desk is not fantastic, it's too high and all of the pressure when using my mouse goes straight into the bone below my thumb. That skin is a deep red, withered and worn after years of abuse.

Every nerve in all of my fingers tingles and burns when still or in motion, keeps me awake at night and is generally in agony. My hands are fucked, and I must do what I can to try to ease the pressure if I am to undertake a summer of content production.

To make a very long story brief, I am in pain. I knew I would end up this way and I knew there was nothing I could do to change it. I decided to ignore it to the best of my ability and work to the best of my ability. To this day that mantra holds true, but now I have the money to change my environment, and I am going to do so.

Storage & Hardware

I wanted to upgrade my system in 2012 but decided against it because the cost->performance is not significant for me. Instead I bought a new 3tb a while ago to replace prebuilt external that spins up. Works like a charm.

I plan to buy at least one more 3tb this year to replace a 1tb internal and use for SD recording.

I plan to buy a second monitor for dual monitor to help with my general workflow and multitasking.

I'm in possession of an Xbox 360 and am looking for 360 exclusive titles worth LP'ing. Please send me recommendations.

Software & Encoding

I experimented with 10-bit encodes but found no benefit to using them. No quality increase, no size change, nothing. All major video players natively support 10-bit now regardless, so there's no harm in using it anyways. GoW3 will not use it though.

mkvmerge is giving me issues with videos and always has. It's random and part of my verification process to spot them and try to fix them. I missed one problem in Conan seg 6 and someone immediately pointed it out, so I fixed that. But I'd rather just not have to worry about it. I need a solution or a replacement ASAP.

Almost all of my software and settings lost when I reinstalled windows for Black Sun are now re-instated and functioning again.

Major Projects

All plans for a UDK project were dropped at the end of Black Sun, but I will still write out the game document to bring my ideas into paper. The video-based version of this game document is not likely to ever live unless I find extra time.

The BW video, The Ball LP, and Hunted are considered in stasis, but Hunted at least will get tackled in the near future. I am not sure how to solve the other two yet. I do plan to get to them eventually, but right now, I honestly just don't care enough to spend the hours necessary to solve the mysterious problems when I've already spent so much time.

There are zero plans for another Black Sun episode or any related elements but I won't rule them out if I find the strength to turn my life around and start getting motivated again. Don't bother hoping for it.

TOA, my life's work, is considered dead for the same reason everything else moves at a crawl - lethargy and no motivation. With my anxiety strengthening, I feel non-stop, physically painful tension in my chest and it renders all basic tasks difficult and trying. Two and a half years have passed since it last breathed. It is over. I live now for the moment, and nothing more.

I have no intentions of casting Starcraft 2 ever again.

LP Summer Projects

These games are extremely strong considerations for being a part of my summer marathon;

Demon's Souls
Dark Souls
DMC series
Various N64 titles including Body Harvest
Many vintage games on a provided list are likely to be attempted, including the Castlevania series and FF6/Chrono Trigger
Golden Axe: Beast Rider
Heavenly Sword
Darksiders 2 (when it comes out)

I will not be LP'ing diablo 3 or hots.

Current video projects

I am editing God of War 3, recording Armies of Exigo, and plan to finish verifying Hunted as soon as convenient. I will pursue efforts to finish the BW video but offer no promises. Following Armies of Exigo I could attempt anything.

I have cleaned up a lot of my hard drives and, if I can get the BW videos out of the way, I'll be fairly able to accommodate large-scale recording projects like RPG's.

For all those who have been a part of my audience this long, I welcome you into the new stages of my productions. I build these videos for you, now. I do not advertise in any shape or form, I am not paid for anything I do, and I'd have it no other way.
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby IskatuMesk » Fri May 11, 2012 4:23 am

I have verified Segment 5 of an estimated 7-8 of God of War 3 so far. But things have been going very slowly, what with other work to do and various commitments to tend to. I hope to be rid of all of this nonsense soon, and above all, hope I can start to focus a little more.

Armies of Exigo is an estimated 1/2 way recorded, this will certainly turn out to be one of my longer productions, for it is game containing three separate campaigns a la Starcraft or Warcraft 3. It has surprised me in many ways, and despite its many shortcomings, the experience has been generally positive and entertaining.

I cleared up about 500gb or so on the previous windows drive to be used for recording, but it seems to be rather fragmented and thus slow.

/edit

For some reason, possibly because I verified internal pieces individually, I missed a 40 minute chunk of video in muxing Segments 4/5 of Conan. How this escaped me, and furthermore how no one noticed a huge chunk of video was missing bamboozles me. I guess next to no one watches the videos.

In any event I am upping the missing video as Segment 4b and it will be added to the thread in the near future.

/edit 2

GoW 3 verification complete. Expect release in the near future.
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Re: LP Update/Comment Thread

Postby IskatuMesk » Tue May 15, 2012 9:14 am

God of War 3 is now available! Horray!

It's 8-bit, not 10-bit. It's also encoded with higher settings than Conan, and it has more motion, so it's bigger.
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