Sunday, February 10, 2013

Infiltrator Action Intro Video

After a lot of work in Blender and GIMP I've finished creating the intro video for my Infiltrator Action Twitch channel. I plan on running the video before each streaming session on Twitch.

All of the video in the intro was taken with my AVerMedia Live Gamer HD in 1080p at 15000kps at 30 FPS while I was streaming to Twitch with OBS. I then converted the mp4 video to a mpeg4 AVI using ffmpeg and the various clips were extracted with Avidemux 2.6. Why did I not just use the mp4 directly? Blender doesn't seem to handle H.264 video very smoothly and it even had a tendency to crash on me a few times.

I used Blender to take all the video clips, NC theme music extracted from the game assets, and 2D assets I created in GIMP to put the video together. Blender has a great video editor that is relatively unknown primarily because it has a very steep learning curve. I would almost call it a leaning cliff but once you get the hang of it you can do some amazing work with it. Since Blender is also used for 3D modeling it's very easy to add 3D elements to scenes.

I hope you like the final result.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Twitch Channel Redesign

I've been spending a lot of time in GIMP recently redesigning my Twitch channel to work with the new beta layout. It's done for the most part so I decided to retro fit the images into the regular layout. I think it worked out pretty well. The redesign also put my channel's Infiltrator Action name in the forefront.

Old Layout

Unfortunately the new beta layout looses a lot of flexibility like linking to external images. So I will not be able to link my PS2 sig from PSU. The new layout uses markdown but suspiciously doesn't support the image tag from the spec.  They want you to upload an image so you can't make it generated by URL.  I don't want to turn this into a Twitch rant. It's still in beta and things can change so i'm taking a wait and see approach. The way it is now people don't like it.  So... we will see.

New Beta Layout

All of the new images used  for the redesign were created in GIMP with the help of some of the PS2 game assets. I figured out the ForgeLight Engine's .pack format of the game resources way back during the beta so I can extract them. Almost all the images are in DDS format so I used SageThumbs to convert them as needed. I still haven't had any luck extracting the models. The models would be useful in creating some Machinima down the road.

Included  in the redesign are all new Infiltrator Action intro, playing , intermission  and  outro graphics for the OBS scenes. I even added a screenshot rotation to the intermission scene to help entertain people while I take a bio break or take a phone call for a moment. It's a lot better then having my infiltrator just stand there rifle in hand waiting to be shot.





Thursday, February 7, 2013

Switching to Open Broadcasting Software. Goodbye XSplit!

I stumbled on tlrtense's Twitch channel the other day. He plays Vanu but I can forgive him for that since he turned me onto Open Broadcasting Software. I've been using XSplit for my stream when ever I wan't to do any fancy overlays but to get the best performance using game capture or stream 1080p you have to pay for it. I got a 1-month trial with my AVerMedia Live Gamer HD capture card and I eventually paid for a 3 month subscription when the trial expired.

OBS is a free open source streaming software very similar to XSplit. Some would say it's almost identical if you strip away all the fancy UI look and feel  from it. It has scenes and various elements you can overlay on your stream. I've only attempted to stream to Twitch but other options exists. The real advantage that OBS has over XSplit (besides the price) is encoding performance. I don't know what OBS is doing different but my FPS drop in PS2 is considerably less that XSplit when using the game capture. I can stream 1080p @ 60 FPS with very little frame rate drop.

The only drawback I did see during my tests was it seems to perform much better on Intel than AMD processors. I doubt this will be much of an issue for most PC gamers as anyone buying new hardware the past few years has gone Intel anyway since AMD just hasn't kept up in performance or the market for the past few years. I think some of this has to do with developers just not prioritizing  AMD optimizations because of the lower market share.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Blog Redesign

Since I'm in the process of redesigning my Twitch channel and making reference to my domain I really needed update the look of the blog. If I'm going to have people coming in from Twitch and YouTube I need to have it look like I spent more then 10 minutes messing with the color swatches because that's what I totally did.

So, here you go the mostly redesigned blog to the extent that Blogger will let me with out replacing all the HTML or moving to a different blog system. At the very least I decided to make a little header image in GIMP. Graphics heavy websites are on there way out as most of them are going for the minimalist approach. I figured it was appropriate.

I also added an RSS feed option. I have no idea why I didn't add that before. I use Google reader for everything.