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hairylarry
Tomorrow! Saturday at 11:00 AM Central. Inspired Unreality open game chat. This Saturday is bring your own topic. Or we could roll one up. Or Actual Play.

Inspired Unreality is held in the gamerplus chat rooms at Tankar's Tavern on Discord. More info here.

https://gamerplus.org/index

Everyone is welcome. All gaming is on topic. We look forward to chatting with you.

Last week Duca schooled me in the arts of EU4. He's into historical role playing too. A history buff playing down through the centuries.

Lately I've been posting some of my writing and session summaries so I thought I would feature another Gamer+ gamer today.

Call To March
Follow Me And Die

I had this idea for a short story. I started it about an hour before the Wednesday night game I play in. This is a first draft with minimal editing for the most grievous typos. I’m curious what you think of it.

The youth, slim of build and lean, not yet muscled from long marchings with pack and armor looked to the grizzled veteran. Young Jaran idolized the aged veteran, survivor of many battles, who bore a white scar over his sightless left eye.

Hurry lads, grab your packs and cinch them well before the call to march ends!

How far today, Goram? came the call in unison from the youthful members of the company.

Continue reading

https://followmeanddie.com/2022/04/13/call-to-march/

And here's the Follow Me And Die Gamer+ page.

https://gamerplus.org/user/FollowMeAndDie

Please forward this email and share this link.

https://gamerplus.org/blogs/post/909

We are looking forward to getting together with our family.

Happy Easter,
Hairy Larry
https://gamerplus.org/user/hairylarry
https://mastodon.social/@hairylarry
hairylarry@deltaboogie.com

hairylarry
Inspired Unreality open game chat tomorrow, Saturday January 8, at 11:00 AM Central. Bring your own topic. All gaming is on topic.

Inspired Unreality is held in the gamerplus chat rooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. Everyone is welcome to come chat about games.

Last week was Fantasy and Science Fiction and I did some short readings from the Lyonesse Trilogy by Jack Vance illustrating my idea that every NPC deserves at least two sentences. There is nothing like short descriptive text to help the DM portray the NPC in a believable manner. Jack Vance is a master.

Thanks to Ducalisto for joining us at Inspired Unreality open game chat.  We discussed fantasy and scifi gaming systems.


https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/4414


The main page at Gamer+ is down. I have been working on it trying to resolve the issue. I've also been adding occasional posts trying to scroll the issue off the screen. So far no luck. Somebody needs to roll luck for me.

All the other pages are working fine. You can still post and read other people's posts, comment, etc. It's just the Main page that's not working.

So as well as trying to fix Gamer+ I have also been looking into changing platforms for Gamer+. Oxwall is a good platform for computers but the mobile app is poor at best. In today's world most people prefer to use their phone so I would like to upgrade to a platform with good mobile support and good tech support too.

Any suggestions? I have been looking into the Open Source Social Network. I have also used Elgg but I don't know how good the mobile support is on Elgg. It will be work to change platforms so I want to do my research up front.

We got a domestic robot. I for one look forward to serving our robot overlords. But until then scrub that floor.

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/4416

Vivian and I played an Ari and Caper in a Milyagon game yesterday. The brownies made Ari a wreathed hat out of wildflowers that acts like a love charm. The Milyagon witch gave Ari a basket to keep it in so it's not "on" all the time.

Vivian also filled in a lot of back story about Ari and Tude and set us up for an encounter with a family she met on the road.

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/4420

Thanks,

Hairy Larry

https://gamerplus.org/user/hairylarry

https://mastodon.social/@hairylarry
hairylarry@deltaboogie.com

hairylarry

Here's the good news for a change. The software needed to set up a twitch stream is free.


I am using Streamlabs OBS as my streaming platform. Before that I used OBS. These are both free software.  I used OBS recording audio only podcasts but for my twitch stream I wanted to view the live chat as part of the stream, and not just see the chat on the twitch interface. Streamlabs OBS supports that so that's how I get my live chat on the left side of the stream.


https://streamlabs.com/


To display my tablet playing iReal Pro on the right side of my stream I use scrcpy, also free software.


https://github.com/Genymobile/scrcpy


I had to download and install a windows driver for my Zoom H6. No charge for the driver and the install was painless. I use the Zoom as an interface between my PA and my computer.


I am planning on  implementing the ability to record multitrack to make it easier to collaborate with other musicians. Pro Tools First is a free download and Pro Tools is the industry standard for sharing audio files.


https://www.avid.com/pro-tools


I use Openshot for video post production. I like it. I even use their titling templates. It makes life easy.


https://www.openshot.org/


I am using VLC to monitor my videos. Under tools I can view the codec information to make sure I'm recording everything right. VLC will also compress your video files in case they end up too large.


https://www.videolan.org/


GIMP is my photo editor. Video producers need photo editors the same as anyone else.


https://www.gimp.org/


Some of this software is open source. Some is not. But it is all free to download and install. Which is good news because twitch can be an expensive hobby.


Next week I'll discuss workflow and backups. Can't wait.

hairylarry

It's important to know the big idea for a twitch stream before talking about equipment. Different streams have different equipment needs from top to bottom.


A very common idea is the streamer playing games while they talk to their audience in a small window. This only needs one camera but it needs a really good computer or game console.


Another popular twitch topic is DIY that streams only live video. So the computer needs are less but this type of stream might benefit from multiple webcams providing multiple scenes. A scene is a single shot or several shots combined on a screen. DIY crafts streams often benefit from a top down view so that would be a scene but another scene showing the streamer talking to the audience might also be desirable.


So this is why it's important to work towards an idea when gathering equipment for your twitch stream.


Since I play piano on my stream I opted for a single scene made up of four elements, a shot of me playing, a top down shot of the piano keyboard, a window showing my tablet running iReal Pro for the chord change and backing track, and a window for the chat box.




I have a nice T420 laptop with an i7, 16 gig of ram, and an Nvidia card. I used it to test some of my ideas and it did fine streaming from the built in webcam but when I set up multiple windows with Streamlabs OBS the whole thing bogged so bad that it was unusable. I hope to use this laptop for field streaming but that is a work in progress that I will write about later exploring the idea of running a stream wherever you want using all battery operated equipment.


So, I needed a more powerful computer. I needed two webcams. My old tablet wouldn't work with scrcpy so I needed a newer tablet. And, as always with video production I needed lights. Fortunately I already have audio recording equipment. I am using my Zoom H6 for an audio interface and an Audio Technica AT4055 for my microphone. I also have tripods and mic stands but I do some carpentry DIY for stands as well.


Here's what I got.


On ebay I bought an HP Z640 Workstation, Xeon E5-2620 2.40GHz, 32GB, 1TB, NVIDIA Quadro K2200 Video, Windows 10. This cost around $325 with shipping and taxes. Since 1 TB is not enough disk storage for an extended video project I added 2 HGST 4 TB drives in a RAID 1 configuration using Win 10 Storage Spaces. These ran about $105.


To update my tablet I bought a 10.5 inch Samsung Galaxy Tab A SM-T597 32GB, Wi-Fi for about $100 used in excellent condition.


I bought two Audkey webcams for about $30 each.


And for lights I got two 8.5 inch clamp on utility lamps and daylight bulbs for about $20.


Really, that's it.


Computer --- $325

Hard Drives - $105

Tablet ------- $100

Webcams ---   $60

Lights -------   $20

                   -------

Total -------- $610


So my whole setup to implement my big idea costs less than a high end graphics card required for twitch game streams. At megantopia my daughter spent more than twice this amount for her gaming computer.


I'll continue this series next week. Future topics will include bandwidth, DIY, field streaming, post production, and more. Please ask any questions in the comments.


Also, please contact me if you use twitch to play RPGs. I am very interested in this.


Here's our links.


https://www.twitch.tv/megantopia


https://www.twitch.tv/hairylarryland


hairylarry May 17 '21 · Tags: twitch, streaming, piano, jazz, gaming
hairylarry

It's all Megan's fault. When she set up https://www.twitch.tv/megantopia Vivian and I started watching. Before that I knew it was a popular site for live gaming but twitch flew under my radar. Once I saw what Megan was doing and I started to understand how twitch worked, and how it can be used for videos that are not about gaming, I became interested.


The problem with video production is post production. Post production is a lot of work. It takes a long time. There's always a few more tweaks that can make it a little bit better. It can wear you out.


Live streaming takes post production out of the equation. Like the evening news it happens in real time, it's as good as it is, and it's done when it's done. There's no post production and even when videos are excerpted from the stream post production is minimal.


The tradeoff for no post production is the setup. Sure, you can stream with just a laptop, phone, tablet, or game machine. But since it goes out live with no post that can be dull. The goal is a live show that's entertaining. It can be high energy or chill but it can't be boring. So you have to put a lot of thought into the desired look of your stream and then figure out the hardware and software to achieve that look.


The key element is OBS, Open Broadcaster Software.


https://obsproject.com/


I have used OBS for recording podcasts on Discord but I didn't realize it's real power until I started using it for twitch videos. OBS is free and open source. The good thing about that is that it's legal for others to build on it. For my stream I chose Streamlabs OBS because of the ease of setup and features like the onscreen chatbox and the ability to include running programs in the stream. You can do these things with OBS too and there are other options to explore but my most direct route was Streamlabs OBS.


https://streamlabs.com/


I watched several videos on Youtube about setting up streaming for DIY streams and other streams that use live video instead of gaming screens as their primary focus. This opened my eyes to what is possible and led me to dream about what I actually wanted to do and how I wanted to setup my screen to be helpful and interesting.


So here's my big idea.


The name of my stream is Hairy Larry Practicing Piano. A big part of why I wanted to do the stream is to add discipline to my piano practice. I practice every day and sometimes for several hours a day. But what I was missing in my practice was scheduled rehearsal of a specific repertoire. My twitch stream provides that.


And choosing my repertoire I decided to practice all songs that I wrote. This avoids copyright issues and it allows me to tailor the repertoire to the stream. Practicing improvisation is easiest with short changes that have one or two interest points. Baby steps.


And so once I decided what I wanted to do on my stream I began to visualize the screen. I wanted the central focus to be me, practicing. I wanted to be able to pull a microphone over to talk to the audience and sing but I also wanted to be able to push it off shot for instrumental numbers. I wanted an angle shot that would show my hands on the keys. And I wanted it to feel like a live jazz show.


There are many musicians teaching jazz piano on the internet and they almost always have a top down view of the piano keyboard across the bottom of the screen. I like that, it's helpful and visually appealing. So I decided to include that in my screen layout.


I am using iReal Pro for my backing tracks providing bass and drums. The iReal Pro screen shows the chord symbols and highlights the chord being played. I wanted to include that screen as part of my display.


Twitch uses text chat for the audience and voice chat for the performer as it's standard chat format. The performer can also type but it's easier just to talk and shout outs from the performer to viewers in the chat box are the way it's done. So I wanted to include the text chat on the screen to provide context for my shout outs and other responses to the ongoing text chat.


And I wanted to be chill. Many people use twitch as background noise while they go about their business. I wanted it to be easy for people to just let my stream play in the background, enjoying the music, without having to be fully engaged. Kind of like Bob Ross or Mr. Rogers but practicing piano instead of painting or telling stories.


So that's my big idea. In future posts I will discuss equipment, both purchased and DIY, software setup, extracting videos from the stream, bandwidth issues, and even home renovation.


In the meantime you can enjoy my stream here.


https://www.twitch.tv/hairylarryland

hairylarry

Here's four webcomics that I like and some of them even have something to do with gaming.


I don't like rom com movies much. In fact I don't like movies much. I prefer my TV in small doses. But I do read a lot of coming of age fantasy and science fiction which is kind of close to rom coms. Especially "The Wheel Of Time" which I am definitely planning on rereading, all 14 volumes.


But it turns out that I like rom com webcomics. I guess the dosage is about right.


"Questionable Content" is alternative history science fiction. It's present day but in the recent past Hannelore's dad discovered true AI and built it into robots. So it's a rom com with robots. (Shades of Isaac Asimov) It's actually my current fav and it turns out I must have started it in the middle because when I went to episode 1 to link here I hadn't read it. But there is an AI robot right at the start. Plus rom com. It is a lot different than the more recent episodes but I'm restarting at the top and you can too.


https://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1


Oh yeah, it's drawn by J. Jacques. And it's 5 days a week.


Dumbing Of Age is a College Webcomic by David M. Willis. This is my latest fav and it's actual contemporary fiction rom com. It has more about cartoons than about games although D&D does get an occasional mention. Big on superheroes too with an actual superhero character who is actually just a shy girl with tendencies towards violence.


7 days a week. Yaaaaaay!


https://www.dumbingofage.com/2010/comic/book-1/01-move-in-day/home/


The absolute best webcomic ever is all about D&D with in jokes right from the first episode. The Order Of The Stick is about an adventuring party drawn as stick figures. If you haven't already read this it's a treat. The only bad thing about it is that it's a weekly so I save it for my weekend reading. It's by Rich Burlew.


https://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0001.html


And my new find is Gunnerkrigg Court. It's also in a school setting but so far not a rom com. Definitely fantasy and I'm not far enough into it to tell you much more. Except that I like it so far. Not sure of the publishing schedule but the art is great and it's drawn by Tom Siddell.


https://www.gunnerkrigg.com/?p=1


Please add your favorite webcomics in the comments. Especially if they are about gaming.


Thanks


hairylarry Mar 28 '21 · Comments: 8 · Tags: d&d, fantasy, gaming, webcomics, cartoons, superheroes, sciencefiction
hairylarry
Inspired Unreality tonight! Open game chat. Our starting topic will be the importance of tradition in life, literature, and games.

Join us every Monday night at 9:00 Central in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. If you've never been to Tenkar's Tavern there is an invite for you here.

https://gamerplus.org/index

At our last Related To Geeks Podcast we were all present. Megan, Carl, Kier, Sarah, Vivian, and Larry discussing DIY Gaming.

https://anchor.fm/relatedtogeeks/episodes/Related-To-Geeks---Season-2-Episode-13---DIY-Gaming-ens695

The music for the podcast is from the song "Treehouse" recorded by NJHB and can be heard on Hairy Larry Rocks Funkwhale.

https://funkwhale.hairylarry.rocks/library/albums/35/

Enjoy! And Merry Christmas, peace on earth, goodwill to all.

Thanks
Hairy Larry
https://gamerplus.org/user/hairylarry
hairylarry@curators.mixremix.cc (on Friendica)
hairylarry@deltaboogie.com



hairylarry Dec 20 '20 · Comments: 1 · Tags: tradition, related to geeks, inspired unreality, games, gaming
hairylarry

Well, today is the last day so it's not too late to check it out.


http://neagamefest.com


It's a benefit for the Paragould Children's Shelter. Today you can buy a badge for $5 or contribute directly here.


https://www.gofundme.com/f/nea-game-fest-2020-for-the-children039s-shelter


I played "Goat Crash!" hosted by Will Hose and "Lizard Wizard" hosted by my granddaughter, LizardQueen aka Elizabeth Brown.


And I also attended "Make your own adventures!" hosted by Carl Heyl and featuring panelists, Mike Stewart, Casey Christofferson, and Levi Combs. They discussed the creation of exciting adventures to wow your players and bedazzle your dungeons as well as playtesting, publishing, and marketing.


I also did a bit of hanging out in Discord chatting with other gamers, always the most important part of any gaming convention.


So I am sending out a big thanks to the NEA Gamers Guild for putting on such a fun event in trying times. It got me through another week anyway.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/neagamersguild/


It's still going on. I am now attending "Sarah, Kier and Megan are about to count down our top ten board games for anyone who wants to witness the madness!!!".


They are closing out the Game Fest with "Um Actually".




hairylarry
Gamer+ News February 10, 2020

Tonight! On Inspired Unreality we have two guests, vbwyrde and Pexx. Pexx has info about the Swords & Wizardry Kickstarter. vbwyrde has bee working on his Sci-Fi Campaign, "The Way Of All Flesh". As always this is open game chat, voice and text, Ask Pexx or vbwyrd anything you want (about gaming).

Inspired Unreality is held in the gamerplus chat rooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. We start at 9:00 PM Central every Monday night.

Next week on Inspired Unreality the Related To Geeks Book Club will discuss "Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow. More info here.

https://gamerplus.org/groups/28

This is a good book. I am looking forward to re-reading it for the book club.

Thanks,
Hairy Larry
https://gamerplus.org/user/hairylarry
hairylarry@deltaboogie.com

hairylarry

Gamer+ will be hosting the Related To Geeks Podcast on the Inspired Unreality game chat at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord, Monday, September 2, at 9:00 PM Central.


Check out Main or Dashboard for Join links. (and instructions)


We will start with The Geek Agenda where those of us who are Related To Geeks take a minute to reveal our plans for world domination, that is, what we've been doing and what's coming up next.


Then we will smoothly segue into The Geek Topic which will be "Winging It" for September. Discussing The Geek Topic will be open to everyone so come with your stories about how your party went left instead of right and suddenly you were winging it.


After The Geek Topic we will quit recording and go to our usual open game chat where anyone can suggest a topic and all gaming is on topic.


I can't even express how much I am looking forward to this. See you there.

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