2014
11.22

FREEMAN’S MIND: EPISODE 61.5

Youtube link

(Downloadable copy will be up later)

Subtitles: English

Here’s an episode you maybe weren’t expecting. I didn’t even decide to make this until last month. In the Half-Life series, Freeman never really gets anything resembling a “good” ending. My favorite ending of the series actually is for Blue Shift, where you just get in an SUV with other scientists, and get the hell out of Black Mesa, presumably to drive off and go have beers and hot wings. So here’s the ending Freeman SHOULD have received, in my eyes.

I know there are many concerns about my being able to make my promised deadline of finishing the series, don’t worry about it. While there was a big delay between this episode in the last one, that’s primarily because my audio editor disappeared for 3 weeks with no notice. This happens sometimes. Thankfully, “General Cornwaffle” helped step up to take his place (for now). I’ve been working non-stop the entire time on the rest of the episodes, I currently hope to finish the voicework for Episode 64 sometime tomorrow. As much as I wanted to make a vague post suggesting this was the ACTUAL end of the series, I don’t think I can do that now without raising a lot of ire in light of how long this one took to come out.

If parts of this episode have the FOV too zoomed in, my apologies, but there was no easy way around it. Part of this was filmed in Counter-strike, and it’s frigging impossible to change the FOV for that game, even with cheats enabled, go figure. Also, my voice may sound slightly odd in this one, this was the first episode I recorded after making my move and I think I may have gone a little overkill trying to reduce the echo, which made the acoustics a tad different. Future episodes should resemble what you’ve heard the past ~15 episodes or so more closely.

Assuming there are no more screw-ups, expect the next episode quite soon!

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2014
11.08

30fps vs. 60fps videos


I’ve just recently managed to move and have internet, but I’m still getting my room set up for recording, so it may be another day or two before work resumes on Freeman’s Mind, but I plan to get on it ASAP. In the meantime, I’ve received a bunch of messages asking whether I’ll be moving Freeman’s Mind and Ross’s Game Dungeon to 60fps now that Youtube supports it. The short answer is no for Freeman’s Mind and I don’t know yet for Game Dungeon. While doubling my framerate adds more time to making the videos and things more of a hassle all-round, I’m not trying to fight progress if the end results are truly better. I did some tests with 60fps and motion blur however and you can see the results yourself:

1. 180fps downsampled to 30fps (this is how Freeman’s Mind appears normally)
1280×720 MKV 30fps (7MB)

2. 360fps downsampled to 60fps (same technique as before, but with a higher framerate)
1280×720 MKV 60fps (8MB)

3. 180fps downsampled to 60fps (experimental mode using the same data as the original, but to a higher framerate)
1280×720 MKV 60fps (8MB)

I recommend watching all these videos in FULL SCREEN mode. While people will have different opinions on this, my take on 60fps is that it looks very cool in some situations, and is vomit-inducing in others. I’m someone who gets carsick easily, and the part where Freeman is spinning in this short test triggered a bit of nausea for me watching it at 60fps. It doesn’t help that Valve’s demo recording isn’t perfect and sometimes adds some twitchiness to the motion that wasn’t in the original gameplay. 60fps only amplifies that effect. It’s for these reasons that I don’t think moving Freeman’s Mind to 60fps would be a good idea, since Freeman isn’t known for having calm and controlled camera angles. It would make some sections look cooler, but would also make other sections look worse.

As for Game Dungeon, I haven’t decided yet and will have to do more experiments later. I think racing games might show the most benefit from running at 60fps, but anything involving twitchy camera motion I think could be a bad idea. Also, it could be the motion blur amplifies the nausea effect and games without it may look fine at 60fps. I think 60fps has potential, but for passive viewing, more care is needed with the camerawork in order for it to look good. For the record, this doesn’t mean I think GAMES don’t benefit from having 60fps or more, don’t believe any company that tells you that 30fps is better for gaming than 60fps unless it’s a special-case situation (like cutscenes). I have never played a GAME that felt worse at 60fps than at 30fps; but just like how I can get carsick riding in a car, I never get sick if I’m the one driving. It’s the same thing for games, you’re the one in control. With video watching, it’s not always a pleasing effect, and depends a lot on how the camerawork is being handled. Sorry if this disappoints anyone, but I have to go with what I think creates the best impact.

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ADHD version: Ross is not moving Freeman’s Mind to 60fps because it will make too many people barf. He did experiments and used science to determine this.

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2014
10.31

ROSS’S GAME DUNGEON: THE LAST STAND

Subtitles: English

Happy Halloween! Here’s another video that took WAY more time than I intended it to! I selected this game because I thought it would go faster than a normal full length game, but things kind of spiraled out of control, as you’ll see in the video. Some of you may be disappointed I’m covering a flash game for Halloween, but I’ve been wanting to cover some (and newer ones for that matter) on the Game Dungeon, I just hadn’t gotten around to it. I promise I gave it a full treatment for this episode, with some additional surprises. I hope to have a “real” game next year with hopefully more videos leading up to Halloween.

Special thanks on this episode goes to Adam Shepard, who emailed me while I was working on the video, offering to assist with some additional music. He had a very fast turnaround time despite me being a fickle bastard about the music as I tried to figure it out in the middle of deadline pressure. You can hear his music for the “safe room” music and for the in-game ending. I didn’t mention the music in this episode since it was long enough already and it was either absent or unremarkable for this game. I’ve gotten multiple offers of music help in the past, but lately I’ve been overwhelmed by sorting out my email, so for any other composers wishing to help, Adam had the luck of covenience. In the future I’m happy for more music offers for Ross’s Game Dungeon, but it may be a while before I can sort through everything. Without spoiling much, I really mean what I say in the video when it comes to being able to relate to this game.

I also want to say thanks again to everyone who donated, especially helping with the SSD. I can only imagine how much data I’ve written to it since I bought it, I’ve been giving it an absolute workout with all the video recording and processing. This episode alone I’m sure involved a few terabytes of writing at one phase or another.

* * *
TECHNICAL QUESTION FOR TECHNICAL PEOPLE

To any experienced video editors out there, I have a couple questions:

1. Are there any video editors that support WORKING with lossless compression, like HuffyUV or Lagarith? Having everything uncompressed really leads to massive file sizes, it makes me wonder how other people handle it. I use Adobe Premiere CS5 and while it will open those codecs, it is unstable and unreliable when using them.

2. Are there are any “tricks” with the colorspace to get Youtube to preserve more of the color when moving from RGB to YUV or whatever the hell Youtube uses? I preserve the colorspace as long as I can from recording and editing, but it gets lost in compression slightly more than I’d prefer and was trying to see if there better ways of handling it.
* * *

This is going to be last Game Dungeon until at least December, and I’m not promising anything then. All I plan to be working on from here until the end of the year is more Freeman’s Mind. It’s going to be an endurance test however, as I’m also moving in less than a week. I don’t know if I’ll have internet right away, but I intend to get a recording room set up ASAP so I can resume work with only a couple days downtime from the move.

Finally, I was going to include a joke about Candy Corn Oreo cookies, but found out at the last minute that South Park had also, so I decided to scrap it. This isn’t the first time this has happened. I also had an idea for a Civil Protection episode involving Cthulhu and an offshore oil rig that they also beat me on.

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ADHD version: Happy Halloween! More Freeman’s Mind coming!

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2014
10.24

8-Bit Life: Horror Movies Podcast

Hey everyone, I was invited back to a podcast recently to talk about horror movies since I’m an avid horror fan. You can check out the discussion here:

8-bit life Halloween Podcast

This actually went online just before the latest Freeman’s Mind, so I held off a few days announcing it so it wouldn’t be buried immediately. This podcast isn’t really an interview, but is more talking about one horror movie after another, there ended up being a lot of title dropping in the thread. If you’re not into scary movies, you may not get much out of this podcast, but if you are, it’s an extra bonus.

At the end of the podcast I ask the audience if they have any recommendations for any scary movies they’ve seen, specifically the truly terrifying stuff. That offer extends here also, although odds are anything you recommend I’ve already seen. It’s questionable how much time I’ll have to watch any this year, but I’m happy to add to my “to watch” list if people have recommendations for some really scary stuff.

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2014
10.20

FREEMAN’S MIND: EPISODE 61

Youtube link

(Downloadable copy will be up later)

Subtitles: English

Here’s the final Black Mesa episode of Freeman’s Mind! This one has been about 98% done for a couple weeks, but there were some complications with some of the final aspects of it. Some things that people may find interesting: 1. The volume of the last scientist is as it sounded in-game. I was kind of amazed how quiet it was. Otto was going to increase the volume to it, but I decided it worked better with Freeman shouting that he couldn’t hear him at the original volume. 2. The slipping wasn’t planned, but I thought it was a great addition to the episode, plus I’m never in a rush to redo a gameplay sequence if I don’t have to. 3. My thoughts reflect Freeman’s regarding the teleporter in that I couldn’t imagine any scenario where Freeman is still alive after being teleported if momentum isn’t preserved.

The footage for the next episode is done, though I haven’t made progress on the voicework yet. I doubt there will be another FM episode before Halloween, but we’ll see. Expect more in November!

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