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Spoiler Warning: Season 14

By Shamus
on Wednesday Jan 29, 2014
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

 
 

Yes, it’s been something like 7 weeks since our final episode of Metro 2033. It didn’t seem to make sense to launch a new season during the holidays, since we would be busy and the blog traffic would be way down.

When the break ended, we got together and found that Twitch.tv was basically broken and unusable.

See, Josh streams the game to us while he plays, so we can see what’s going on and comment. But this appendage of the ugly oddball technology contraption that makes this show has always been the most wonky. In the early days we used Livestream. Livestream was unreliable. It would go down, refuse to broadcast, or just plain stall in the middle of recording. The only part of the service that worked were the advertisements, which worked incessantly. We’d see the same ad 7 times in a recording session. It was torture.

So we moved to Twitch.tv. That was awesome until the start of the new year, when they rolled out changes that made it all useless to us. (Rumor has it that this change is to accomodate the influx of streaming PS4 users.) We normally watch Josh on a ten-second delay. That’s a bit annoying. We’ll be in the middle of a conversation and all of a sudden Josh blows our ears out with screaming. It interrupts our talk, but we can’t see what he’s seeing, so the show falls apart for ten seconds while the rest of us catch up. This confuses the conversation, and kind of isolates Josh from the rest of us.

Under the new system, the delay is over forty seconds, which is just too dang much. We basically can’t talk to Josh or comment directly on what we’re seeing, since by the time I say, “Oh, this guy! I liked this character!” Josh has already finished the conversation and walked away.

We’ve run a bunch of tests. The lowest latency was in a Google hangout, and was only a second or two. That seems like the smartest way to do things, since we don’t really need to broadcast our stuff to the world, we only need to share it among the five of us. But Google Hangouts aren’t quite designed to do what we’re doing and it didn’t really work right for a bunch of annoying reasons I won’t get into.

It looks like we’re going to use Hitbox.tv. Reasonable ad intervals. Latency of about 10 seconds or so. Good quality. The real test will be the weekend when we record the first episode of season 14.

Speaking of seasons, I’ve added Metro 2033 to the Spoiler Warning page, and created YouTube playlists for the seasons that lacked them. Let me know if anything else is missing.

Oh yeah:

splash_sw_skyrim.jpg

So we’re doing that. If we’re all extremely lucky, it might even start next week.


 
 
Comments (138)

  1. The Unforgiven says:

    I’m really excited for the new season! However, I’m curious how you’re going to be doing it, since you’ll either have a ‘reasonable’ amount of episodes and barely get into the game, or you’ll have somewhere in the area of a bajillion episodes and still be doing this a year from now.

    • Warrax says:

      I am so looking forward to this, but I’m also really scared. We haven’t had a game “break” the Spoiler Warning crew in a while. Skyrim might do it.

      The closest thing they’ve ever done to this kind of thing before were FO:3 and FO:NV. Those were both technically sandboxes, but they were still a hell of a lot more structured than a TES game, and those were very long seasons.

      I like Skyrim, it’s an excellent sandbox, but I don’t think playing it that way is going to work with this format. I suspect they’re going to have to stay on the soft rails, and OMFG some of the writing is brain-bleedingly bad. Even worse, a good portion of it it also offensively boring.

      This will be fun to watch. I don’t think a game I’ve already played a lot has ever been SW’d since I started watching, so this will be a new experience for me.

      • Warrax says:

        Oh wow, the first sentence of that second paragraph I wrote is really awful. WTB edit function, so I don’t look like such an idiot O_O

      • Volfram says:

        A couple of friends and I had the idea of trying to LP Skyrim.

        The gimmick was that we would rotate players any time we picked up a new quest.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        I think unimaginative worldbuilding and the bad writing are precisely the reasons why this game deserves the SW treatment. Also, seeing as many people consider Morrowind the high point of the TES series, is “in Morrowind” going to become the “in the original games/Fallout” of this season? And I’m trying to think of an equivalent of the “you’re not a mercenary” line…

        • Grudgeal says:

          Something to the effect of “you’re the dragonborn, fulfill your destiny” or something, I expect.

          Or more babbling about who this ‘Alduin’ supposedly is when you only interact with him directly twice in the whole story, or how terrible he is when he really isn’t.

        • Nick-B says:

          I liked Skyrim more than the previous games, mostly because the dang game engine caught up to what I expect things to be like in a game. I tried a bow-only build in Oblivion, and remember a time I pelted a guy in iron armor with 30+ silver arrows before he finally died. The game just really REALLY wanted players to use magic / swords so badly, yet included bows so NPCs could piss you off.

          And Morrowind… Same things. Unless you cheese the magic creation system, all spells suck and the game engine was just so bad.

          I don’t much like how the series keeps throwing the “YOU ARE SPECIAL AND THE ONLY ONE LIKE YOURSELF” bit of the story. Skyrim is cool, but I really hate the “dragonborn” part. I usually start out, and don’t even do the first quest in whiterun that starts the stupid loot-chest dragon spawns until I finish everything else.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      I think they’re probably not going to do a whole lot of the optional questlines, most likely just a quick mention of whether or not they liked a given storyline when they arrive at a relevant town or meet a relevant NPC. Though the Companions’ theme of murder and intoxication may be somewhat appealing for Reginald Cuftbert and I wouldn’t be against DB.

      It’s probably a safe bet that the team will be staying away from Thieves Guild for obvious reasons. In fact I wouldn’t be against breaking the “no mods” rule and installing something that would allow for nuking the town from orbit, or at least using the console to “de-essential” the initial questgiver and stabbing him to death.

      • James says:

        Or for the sake of showing people who don’t read shamus’s written work how awful the thieves guild is, i think they should do it. but not the chimpanions line, its kinda dull and doesnt go anywhere really other then granting Lycanthropy, which then does nothing.

        The real question is which of the DLC’s will be on display, Hearthfire is fun but might not work cus its alot of bust work and no real gameplay, Dragonborn would let Ruts and Shamus talk about Morrowind, and the Vampire one is kind of interesting, some of the time.

  2. Cody says:

    Oh Skyrim, this should be interesting. Do you plan on doing both main quests or just the dragons? Also any idea if the DLC will be covered, because if you do I will have to actually go back and try to beat the game again.

    • Michael says:

      If they do the DLC, Dawnguard actually has some interesting characters among the vampire hunters. Particularly a leader who has a very specific level of crazy he’s willing to go to.

      • Klay F. says:

        If they do, they’ll have to do Dawnguard pretty much within the first 3 episodes or else basically every every shopkeeper in the game is going to die…

        You know what, I’ve changed my mind. That has the possibility of being very entertaining. >:)

      • Eldiran says:

        Please do Dawnguard so that others can share in my hatred for the most railroady nonsense plotline in the game. >D

        • Michael says:

          I don’t know, I think The Pitt might be a better contender for that title. At least with Dawnguard you’re actually signing up to fight Vampires or Vampire Hunters. As opposed to, “I’m going to sell you into slavery so you can kidnap a baby.” “Cool! :D”

  3. noahpocalypse says:

    Eeeexcellent. What questlines shall be slaughtered, I wonder?

    • SyrusRayne says:

      I’d say “the dumb ones” but I’m not sure the crew is up for a 200+ hour season. (Heyo!)

      I hope for the main plotline, and some of the more interesting setpieces. DLC as well, I suppose? Who knows! We’ll find out. :D

      • newdarkcloud says:

        The problem with saying “The dumb ones” is that the only quest that made ANY sense in my honest opinion is the Companion quest line.

        Even the Dark Brotherhood questline is written poorly, even though it’s one of the best on a gameplay front.

        • Warrax says:

          Really? I thought the Companions were squarely in the offensively bland and boring category. The Dark Brotherhood wasn’t perfect, but it was at least thematically sound and interesting. I’d say the DB was the strongest of the major side quests.

          I can’t decide which of the guilds was the worst though. Thieves seems like the easy choice. It was the worst in terms of squandered potential, insomuch as it seems like it would be so easy to write something better, and they clearly put so much effort in to something that ended up so bad.

          The Mage’s College though… the more I think about it, the more it actually makes me angry. It’s hard to criticize the plot when there really wasn’t one, just a half-assed placeholder for a plot. At least the characters and some of the sidequests were kind of cool, which you definitely can’t say for the Thieves.

          • Sleeping Dragon says:

            Yep, I’m willing to forgive DB a lot just for the fact that it had characters and gameplay that made me interested, unlike most of the other storylines.

            • James says:

              It was cool and killing the emperor was a nice touch, but Oblivion’s was better imho, if a bit wonky on the whole optional skyle kills.

              The companions was boring, like not as bad a fighters guild, but not much better imho.

              Mages guild has some nice lore bits surrounding the dwarves (which are actually elves) and whatnot, but its alot of Fetch this, dungeon delve that. and nothing compares to the fight with Mannimarco and his lich staff.

          • Lachlan the Mad says:

            The College of Winterhold storyline made sense to me from a perverse point of view. In my first couple of hours with Skyrim, I signed up for all four Guild storylines and bounced randomly between them. My character was a mostly magic-free assassin build, but I somehow got around to finishing the College storyline first. None of the things that the mages were saying to me about the Eye or the Staff or the Psyjic Order made any sense to me, and it wouldn’t have made any sense to my character either because her magic skills consisted mostly of using vast numbers of Soul Gems to keep all of her Daedric artefacts fuelled. So my cluelessness at the quest storyline was entirely within character, I guess?

  4. Galad says:

    And in their tongue He is called Cuftbert..the Bonnetbearer!

    :D

  5. Theminimanx says:

    A new season! Huzzah!
    And it’s for a game that I quit halfway through because of the lack of choice. Oh well, at least I’ll get to see Josh troll everyone I didn’t like.

  6. sudowned says:

    Oh hache-ee-double-hockey-sticks yes. I think I speak for most of us when I say “this is the Spoiler Warning we’ve been waiting for.”

    Seriously. This could be as good as the FO3 season (which I LIKED, by the way.)

  7. Neil D says:

    “We basically can't talk to Josh or comment directly on what we're seeing, since by the time I say, “Oh, this guy! I liked this character!” Josh has already finished the conversation and walked away.”

    And in this case, “finished the conversation” means “stuffed a live grenade in his pants, looted his remains, and ingested every narcotic in a fifteen-foot radius, not necessarily in that order”.

    • Paul Spooner says:

      I feel like Josh has been, for lack of a better term, type-cast into a role that might not be in the benefit of the show. The sociopathic drug abusing min-maxer was funny in Fallout, because that’s what you have to work with. But that doesn’t mean that Josh, as a person, needs to cleave to this playstyle through every game they tackle.

      Josh has shown himself to be stunningly skillful, historically savvy, and technically reliable. He spends a lot of time putting the videos together, besides the time actually playing the games themselves. I just kind of feel that we, as an audience, should be giving him more encouragement to enjoy and excel while playing the games, instead of constantly chanting for more Cuftbert.

      • Neil D says:

        Oh, I absolutely agree. And I normally resist the temptation to go for the overdone running gag, but the mood just struck me today.

      • Corpital says:

        Aye, I agree. BUT we usually get both. Masterfully executed murder and helpful random bugs often leave enough time for navigation reminiscent of a dead dove, insanity and unhelpful bugs.

        Thanks to exactly 400hours playtime and the recent AGDQ run, Skyrim is still rather fresh in my mind, can’t wait for it.

        One question though: Skyrim with all DLCs and no mods?

        • Michael says:

          There isn’t really much reason to do a “playthrough” of Hearthfire. Given there’s no real content, just housing and roleplaying options.

          Dawnguard and Dragonborn are both good. Dawnguard has some hilariously stupid writing mixed in with a few interesting characters. Dragonborn digs out the Bloodmoon disk and makes a few slight modifications… like nuking Vvardenfel.

          • Corpital says:

            In the Fallout 3 season, episodes often started in the player house/apartement in Tenpenny Tower, sooo…maybe a bit of Hearthfire? It would also lend itself to a Q&A episode, like probing in ME2.
            Just sayin’.

        • Disc says:

          I’d guess it depends on how firmly they want to keep to the old formula whether they’ll use mods or not. It’s not exactly a game that keeps surprising you with its gameplay after the nth hour so I’d imagine they’ll do what they can to keep things interesting, and modding is, in all likelyhood, one of the easier ways to get the job done. Not to forget that Josh actually has to play the game too, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some gameplay fixing and/or enhancing mods.

      • Viktor says:

        Yes and no. Keep in mind, the games are usually long. Josh has to use multiple combat styles, to keep things interesting to watch. He can’t afford to die often*, same reason. So that leads to boosting reliable stats to support all this and repeated use of consumables. Plus any exploits he finds can both skip a tough repeated-death fight and give us something actually interesting to watch.

        The only variable part you said is ‘sociopathic’, and often, that’s either the most efficient way** through the game, or the most visually interesting way. If Innocent Widow wants Josh to go through a massive dungeon and fight the Infinite Hordes of Satan before she’ll give him the Wedding Band of Plot Progression, then yes, Josh is going to stick a grenade in a poor widow’s dress and then take the one relic of her dead husband from her corpse, likely while complaining that she didn’t have any good loot. The fact that it’s funnier for us is just a side perk.

        *excepting when it’s SO TOUGH that they can montage the repeated deaths.
        **keep in mind Bioshock, where Josh was a moral paragon because that was more profitable

      • Klay F. says:

        It doesn’t work here because there is absolutely no way to be drug-addled, or a min-maxer, or a sociopath in Skyrim.

        • Grudgeal says:

          Really? I felt no empathy for anyone in Skyrim because they’re so poorly characterised and most of the quests (especially the Daedric ones) practically pushed for me to treat anyone I encountered as a disposable object for my own gratification and get rewarded for it. About twenty hours in I was forced to stop up and re-examine exactly what the heck I’d been doing and came to the conclusion that I roleplayed a textbook sociopath because, vicariously, that was how I related to the entire game world.

          • ACman says:

            I modded the game to be allowed to murder children and threw the Jarl of Whitetrun’s son into the firepit in front of the throne while they all sat there imapassively.

            Fuck that kid.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        Oh yeah, The Cuftbert meme is definitely a show/character thing and not a Josh thing. Personally I always thought it was something of a running (and gunning) commentary on some of the absurdities of gameplay mechanics when you look at them closely. And a lot of the more suicidal “rush in and murder everyone possibly with explosions” manouvers are definitely because of the pacing of the show.

        And then there’s stuff like the incinerator which is not character and is just Josh trolling…

        • I think Josh as Chaotic Stupid came from a desire to get through the games more rapidly for the sake of the show.

          What’s amazing to (I think) him, the rest of the cast, and many of the viewers is how “easy” video games become when you’re not as invested in enjoying the game the way it was meant to be and you’re just barreling through like a drunken hobo armed with a heavy incinerator.

          It’s kind of like how your English teacher would give you a C on the creative writing paper you slaved over, but you’d get an A on the one you wrote an hour before class because you’d forgotten the assignment was due. I’m not sure what that says about creativity and competence, but there you go.

  8. hborrgg says:

    *cue music*

    DOVABURT!

    DOVABURT!

    DOVABURT!

    . . .

  9. Hal says:

    Modded or original flavor?

  10. Zagzag says:

    I’ve been hoping for Skyrim for the last two and a bit years now. I’ve been imagining Cuftbert’s adventures in Skyrim for some time, and I just hope that this series lives up to my expectations. Any predictions for which guild he’ll end up in?

    • hborrgg says:

      My guess is most of them. Probably not the bards’ college because it sucks and he’ll probably finish the arch-mage questline by punching things with his fists.

      • IFS says:

        Why not finish every questline by punching things with his fists? Its seriously one of the most powerful attack options available, Khajiit with smithing and heavy armor can kill everything in the game barehanded with little difficulty.

      • Guvnorium says:

        I completed the mage quest line with duel-weilded maces. It works.

        • Lachlan the Mad says:

          You can complete the College of Winterhold questline with only a single spell (not counting staves) if you’ve already completed a small amount of the main storyline. You can satisfy the woman guarding the gate with a Dragon Shout if you choose the right dialogue options, and similarly you can blow down the wall behind the Saarthal Amulet with an offensive Shout.

          The only time you must cast a spell is when you get a quick tutorial on how to cast Ward spells, and even that might be skippable if you use Spellbreaker (the Daedric shield which creates a ward for you). I’m actually tempted to test that now.

          You also have to use the Staff of Magnus to beat the final boss of the questline, if you want to count that as a spell. I don’t.

  11. GiantRaven says:

    Of all the faffingy about games you’ve played, this promises to be the most faffingy aboutist.

    I can’t wait.

    • Lachlan the Mad says:

      FAFF ABOUT, verb

      Alternate forms:
      – Noun; faffing about
      – Adjective; faffing abouty
      – Adverb; faff aboutingly
      – Verbal noun; faffer about
      – Enhancer; faffing abouter
      – Extreme; faffing aboutest

  12. SAD1 says:

    Looking forward to you guys Tearing Skyrim a New One! (even though I thoroughly enjoyed the 100+ hours I put into it).

    Also, in response to your last Tweet, its 7 Celsius (45 Fahrenheit) and Cloudy here in Vancouver, with the snow all staying on the Mountains where it belongs. :)

    • Humanoid says:

      To contrast, about 38C ~ 100F here. I’m staying late at work most days not to do work, but to enjoy the air conditioning.

      Pretty happy to see Skyrim – it’s been quite a few games in a row where Cuftbert has been placed in a straitjacket and allowed no freedom. But he has now burst his bonds and is ready to terrorise Bethesda developers once more.

  13. IFS says:

    Sorry to hear you had such difficulty finding a good streaming site, but glad to hear you got it figured out. I’m really looking forward to this new season, its been a while since you did an open world game and the Fallout Seasons are among my favorites. Also the thieves guild article was pretty interesting, so hopefully this will give more stuff like that, you never did go over all the ways the Markarth Conspiracy sidequest is awful after all.

    I am curious what questlines you intend to explore in the game and to what extent, most of the group has made their opinion on the thieves guild clear enough but the other guilds haven’t received nearly as much attention, plus they’re all fairly short questlines.

  14. Aaron says:

    i am exited for the new season…but, will we ever make it through the opening cut scene? Josh will go out of his way to research how to activate every bug/glitch or crash that has ever happened

    • Paul Spooner says:

      I’ve been thinking about this off-and-on for a while now, and I now suspect that the bugginess is a result of exactly the same factors which lead to Josh being the one who plays the games and edits the show. Namely, he’s the one with “the powerful computer”. Cutting edge hardware (even if it’s not cutting edge NOW, it probably was at the time) tends to be less stable than mid-range hardware.

      I know this because I generally buy upper-end hardware when I upgrade. I justify it to myself because video editing and 3d modeling/rendering is a huge resource hog. Sadly, a side effect is that things operate at a very slight angle. You never know when it’s going to all go sideways. For example, my current setup is unable to boot to Linux from a USB… No one has been able to figure out why.

      In any case, he’s said multiple times that he isn’t trying to cause these errors. The whole issue of platform compatibility will hopefully be addressed by SteamBox standards. In the meantime, yeah, there are a lot of bugs.

      • aldowyn says:

        Your ‘cutting edge’ theory is at least partially true, I think, but I’m *convinced* streaming itself causes issues. I get so many more bugs when I’m recording for Disclosure Alert than I did in my original Alpha Protocol playthrough, it’s ridiculous.

        • Naota says:

          I’ll second this with Full House. I get some really bizarre failure states in otherwise stable games while recording (is it any wonder? Fraps + Open Broadcaster + Call Graph + Audacity all running in parallel?) though I’d also be inclined to blame Josh just… being Josh. He tends to inspired games to break of their own accord just by poking around in them in unintended ways.

      • As someone who runs multiple heavy-duty apps at once, I’d place the blame more on hardware stress than how new/old it is. Also, in the Tomb Raider season, they ran into the game not working right on Nvidida hardware no matter what you did.

        What’s kind of a pity is that they’ve patched all of the “entertaining” bugs. I don’t think we’ll see any flying horses or animals that drift away like deflated grocery bags when they get killed.

  15. EBass says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that I love Spoiler Warning for the games I’ve played, I find it a bit meh for the game’s I haven’t. The Alan Wake and Tomb Raider series didn’t do much for me as I haven’t played them. This of course isn’t your fault at all, so I’m glad to see you’re back to a game I know.

    From listening to a lot of your comments, I always feel you’ve been a bit harsh on Bethesda. I feel Beth get a lot of flak that’s often underserved, so I’ll be interested to see how you take this.

    For season after next, maybe Witcher 2? Did you ever get round to playing it Shamus?

    • Paul Spooner says:

      Strangely enough, I’ve only played a very few of the games covered in SW. In fact, I generally avoid playing them, since I feel that I get just as much out of listening to SW as I would playing the games themselves. Evidence that let’s-play shows reduce sales? Eh, maybe. I don’t generally play/buy AAA games anyway. For me, Spoiler Warning is a no-budget way to stay marginally current on modern videogames. I suppose it’s more about efficiency than empathy in my case.

    • Rutskarn says:

      My take on Skyrim is that it’s the best shitty game I’ve ever played. It’s a pretty well-implemented game designed by dickheads, except the occasional brilliant idea implemented by stupid monkeys. It’s terrible and I like it.

      • Michael says:

        With Elder Scrolls, it’s always had this AD&D quality. Where there’s a really complex setting, that was thought out by professionals.

        It then got handed to a semi-competent DM who has a vague plan of what they want, and is making shit up on the spot for everything else.

        • Tizzy says:

          I can’t speak much for the other games in the series, but Skyrim was more like someone left the player’s manual, some random maps and encounter tables, a few pages of flavor text, and a note saying “enjoy yourself”. No DM.

          • Corpital says:

            Spot-on description. Who but the players themselves would be mad enough to give then the power of the gods after the first hour of playing?

            • Michael says:

              Incompetent DMs that are trying to lure their players to the game with the prospect of being really powerful?

              I’m kinda being a smartass here, but the feel does fit, from poorly run campaigns I’ve been in.

              You have the overarcing plot that kinda makes sense. “An ancient evil is waking up, and you need to stop it.” “Demons are overrunning the world, and you need to push them back and save the world.” “The Dragons have returned, and they’re going to cause the end of the world.”

              You have elements that tie into the existing lore, like the dragons, the daedric lords, and the lost sixth house of Morrowind.

              Then you have the actual story pieces, which make no sense whatsoever. (Fallout 3’s actually guilty of this as well, by the way.) They manage to accurately capture the feel of someone making shit up on the spot. It works for one second, and falls apart the moment you think about it critically from a different perspective than the writer.

              In fact, the SW season of Fallout 3 really reminded me of a Twilight 2000 campaign I was in, years ago, where the GM would say something, push their story at us, and the players would snark, crack jokes, and point out how stupid it was for the next 10 minutes.

              Oblivion and Skyrim really nail the feeling of a session, where the DM has a campaign outline, “they go to the hidden temple, talk to the NPC, get exposition about the crystals, and then take the crystals back”, and nothing else. So, when the actual scene plays out, it’s somewhat random, the logic is only weighed against that scene, and the GM might not even remember what they did three sessions ago.

              Then we have the ludicrous loot. I know Rutskarn has come down on this in the past, but this is an easy mistake for inexperienced DMs to get into. They’ll drop a fantastic piece of gear on the part, which then mandates much tougher enemies… or they’ll drop an innocuous item on the players, that the players then realize they can exploit, and go to town. Then the DM is left with fudging the encounter rolls up, to present an actual challenge, or with a string of unsatisfying encounters that the players curbstomp.

              Actually, in some ways, Skyrim actually feels like a DM that’s been going through that for ages just throwing in the towel and tossing some egregious encounters in the mix because they’re tired of the players whining about how easy everything is… but, I might be taking that reading too far.

              If I’m really honest… it may sound like I’m trashing TES… but I’m not. It’s a very specific feel that provokes a lot of nostalgia for me. So, while it is bad writing, it is enjoyable. It doesn’t mean I won’t love seeing the SW crew tear it a new one.

      • Nalyd says:

        So you’re saying this season will be an endless fountain of vitriol.

      • Ryan says:

        That’s… that’s pretty accurate, actually.

        Though there’s no way this season comes to a close with anyone involved in the ballpark of ‘liking’ it, if the past seasons on ‘fun-but-flawed’ open world games are anything to go by.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        That’s an interesting way of putting it.

        I mean, despite all the bitching I’ve done about Skyrim over the years, I’ve sunk more than 300 hours into it total.

      • Dude says:

        I think that’s going to be the gist of the season.

        Maaaan. Now I gotta play Skyrim again along with you guys. Do you know how much time we’re talking about investing here, catching butterflies and killing ice trolls?

      • TheMich says:

        This kinda reflects all the reasons why I’ve waited this announcement since the game came out. I can’t wait!!

      • Warrax says:

        Sorry, I’m gonna need to see a numerical score before I can tell how you really feel :P

        How about i stars out of 5? Or 10/0?

  16. Paul Spooner says:

    I’m astounded that there is not an existing solution to this problem. We use a Cisco WebEx reliably to do screen sharing, would something like that work?

    Thinking about it for a moment, the ideal situation would involve three seperate systems with different requirements.
    1. Audio stream. This needs to have nearly zero latency, so that people can have conversations.
    2. Video stream. This should be low latency at the expense of quality. A low quality stream that is up-to-the-second is better than a high quality one that lags by tens of seconds.
    3. Image stream. This should be high quality screenshots that the player can push a button to publish to the other participants. This way if there’s something that requires a high level of fidelity to distinguish, or comment on, it is available, albiet at a slight lag. The other advantage is that this screenshot archive could provide touchstones for discussion and a history of where the episode has been so far. They could be layered on top of the stream in post if necessary.

    Getting all three of those systems working well would certainly be difficult, but it seems technically trivial, especially for a handful of people. Streaming to a thousand people is what twitch and youtube are designed to do. Streaming to just four or five should be possible with a simple peer-to-peer system, without advertising or big servers.

    Like I said, it’s surprising that this solution doesn’t exist. Or, if it does exist, that it’s so difficult to locate.

    • Thomas says:

      Josh’s set-up I believe follows the 3 streams you mentioned right?

      The problem with the middle stream is that I can’t think of many situations where it’s required. I guess screen-sharing software might not be well adapted to displaying 30FPS videogame footage and video-chat doesn’t need to be able to do that either. Maybe no-ones got round to working on a solution, or they made a solution but no-one knows about it because most people’s needs are covered either by Twitch or by Skype.

      There are lots of other multiperson Let’s Plays though right? I wonder what they use? Maybe e-sports casters have found an answer? Except I think normally their needs are served by an in-client system

    • ET says:

      Apparently you can do your own streaming, using VLC, which would be ad-free, and lower-latency since it’d be direct from the host to the other participants.
      I don’t know which options and junk you need to select when hitting the “stream” menu, but it should be technically possible.
      …although there might also be some long-standing bug(s) which prevent this from working.
      I actually was looking this stuff up by coincidence, after watching the Sex Machine For Pig Butts episode, and couldn’t find a lot of useful information, or information newer than 2007-2010-ish. :S

    • Zak McKracken says:

      Didn’t Bittorrent rease a serverless P2P streaming client last year? Oh, there it is:
      labs.bittorrent.com/experiments/bittorrent-live.html
      …seems to be experimental, though :(
      Voice-wise, I’ve become a fan of jitsi (jitsi.org). Open-source Jabber client. Will do instant messenging, voice and vido chat, including for groups. Also P2P, properly encrypted. Many people already have a jabber account through their e-mail provider without knowing. And it can do screencasts as well, but not broadcasting, afaik.

    • Naota says:

      As someone with the exact same demands and basic production pipeline in my Full House series, I’d also like to know if some alternative exists. Latency is of paramount importance for me and my commenters, well before image quality and even the general stability of the stream (I’d take a crash/refresh every 15 minutes if it meant 1-2 seconds of latency rather than 10, or god forbid, 50 like we now see on Twitch).

      Basically, Twitch is now unusable for anyone who was expecting to interact with their audience in any even vaguely immediate way. The only streamers who won’t notice the difference are those with audiences so big they literally can’t interact with them on an individual basis. They’ve taken a family-sized car and made it into a limousine, then attempted to deflect the complaints of “my vehicle is functionally inferior, bordering on useless, in every way that matters to me” by telling people that it can now seat three times as many people, as if this was a feature anyone wanted, let alone at such a cost.

      Is there a P2P alternative which would work for small groups (5-10 viewers) of people? As you’ve pointed out, streaming services are built for hundreds and thousands of viewers and don’t really scale down so well for projects like Spoiler Warning.

  17. bucaneer says:

    Do try the custom stream setup I described earlier if you have the opportunity. According to some highly scientific tests* performed just now, the stream latency with it is about 1 second (possibly less) over a distance of 800 km and a ping of 50 ms or so. Plus, no ads, quality as good as you want it to be (i.e. as good as Josh sets it in the encoder settings), full privacy, no reliance on third party services, and the warm feeling of only using free open source software.

    * not actually scientific

    • bucaneer says:

      I should probably add that the ~1 second figure comes from streaming a 720p x264-encoded video (settings: preset=ultrafast, tune=zerolatency). A local version of the test (that is, capturing -> encoding -> sending through crtmpserver -> displaying in Firefox all on the same machine) with full-screen 1080p video takes about 0.2-0.3 s. And that’s with a 5-ish year old Core2Duo E8400 CPU.

      • Winter says:

        Yeah, something like this would be the best solution. Really, they could do like a kickstarter for $500-$1500 or something to put it together.

        • bucaneer says:

          It shouldn’t cost anything, that’s the point. Performance-wise (as far as CPU and RAM are concerned), broadcasting an RTMP stream is free. The only possible issue is upload speed/bandwidth use – nice quality video for four viewers would require about 2 MB/s upload speed and, assuming it takes 2 hours to record Spoiler Warning each week, about 14 GB monthly bandwidth. No idea if those numbers would present a challenge to the hosts, but they look very reasonable to me (I happen to live in the land of uncapped triple-digit Mb/s connections which may skew my perception). For example I could totally see a setup where Shamus would boot to his Linux install (which is obviously still present, right?) and act as a re-broadcaster to the other hosts.

          • Bryan says:

            Alternately, Shamus could maybe run the rtmp stream server on the shamusyoung.com shared host while they’re doing the recording. It has to have tons of upload bandwidth, and basically everyone involved can see it; the only question would be whether the machine is *able* to run the server (almost assuredly yes; it is Linux after all), and then whether the hosting provider *lets* him run the server (no idea). The last one is the only thing that might kill that type of setup.

  18. Greg says:

    I assume you’re doing completely vanilla Skyrim, which’ll be interesting as I have so many mods running I can’t remember what the original even looked like. Hopefully we will see a rant on the offensive Thieves’ Guild questline to rival Little Lamplight. I’d also be interested to see whether your reactions to the College questline were as totally uninterested as mine; that has to be the most “meh” quest I’ve ever seen involving unstoppable magical artifacts and ascension to mastery of magic.

    I also assume Reginald Cuftbert will make a return as the player character, and I’m eager to see how he’ll be built, and whether a concession will be made and a bonnet mod downloaded. I predict a light-armor wearing battle-axe barbarian who nevertheless always carries around a couple spare steel plate armors just to equip them for the final fight.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      TH questline is stupid, rairloady, poorly written and counter-intuitive to what you’d expect from the faction but it does have two advantages of Little Lamplight.

      First, it is optional, while you can cut short through LL with skill or perk you can skip TG alltogether other than that one NPC pestering you once.

      Second, to me at least it was still less aggravating. The profanities and attitude of kids in LL always felt like a huge middle finger at the player from the devs. I can sort of understand having to take attitude from NPCs in power and beyond my reach (though it still feels better if the game gives me a chance for payback or something along these lines) but Little Lamplighters are basically giving you attitude just because they have both plot armour and are a quest that can’t be worked around.

  19. Lavitt says:

    So that’s all right, isn’t it?

  20. Tychoxi says:

    oh, not particularly my preference. Then again Bethedian RPG is pretty much the perfect medium for Reginald, so I’m bit torn here.

  21. TMTVL says:

    Skyrim, huh? I’ve never managed to sit the game through. It’s probably due to how I play the game, but any encounter basically goes one of two ways: I get mercilessly slaughtered, or I steamroll it. So I just get bored after a couple of hours and go play some Oblivion.

  22. avpix says:

    I really want to see Reginald Catbert, unarmed Khajiit and Slayer of Dragons.

  23. You know Shamus (or should I direct this to Josh instead maybe), I’m pretty sure I read that Youtube now has live broadcasting support, no idea on the latency, but if a private group live broadcast was possible then that would be good solution.

    https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2853700

    It uses Google Hangout On Air, the trick is to set it to private (unlisted).

    “You will be able to choose from your Desktop, Google+ Hangouts, or whichever program you have open”
    http://www.eduhacker.net/technology/google-hangouts-lecture-capture.html

    So in theory this is how it would work:

    Josh live-streams a private/unlisted Google+ Hangout On Air, Shamus, Rutskarn and Chris hang around in Google Hangout where they can see what Josh sees and hear what he hears, Josh can hear (and possibly see Shamus, Rutskarn and Chris).
    Once done then Josh should be able to either fetch/download the recording, or edit it on Youtube (adding intro/endtro etc. and shortening parts, not sure if sped up or slowed down effects are supported on Youtube editing).

    What the latency is I have no idea, but as far as I know Google Hangout uses the new web standard Opus codec.

    The cut off voices bug that had plagued SW for so long should be gone, and it will be all in one software in stead of two (!) that is currently used.

    My suggestion is to take a close look at this method.

  24. Disc says:

    Well, let’s hope y’all can avoid burning yourselves out too quickly. You should at least install a mod that lets you kill the Thieves’ Guild. And the Black-Briars while you’re at it.

  25. Tony Kebell says:

    Skyrim? HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE, HYPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Also I lurk to much except for Spoiler warning =( I need to rectify this, but rarely have anything witty or necessary to say…

  26. Thomas says:

    My experience of Skyrim was a really long boring cutscene that wasn’t a cutscene, walking through the door and finding out I’d apparently made a decision and had to kill people now, trudging through a cave, getting out and not having a clue what I was doing, walking to a village where anything interesting failed to happen and then never playing the game again.

    Hopefully Spoiler Warning will be a bit more indepth

  27. Lalaland says:

    Yay I can finally see what happens in the main quest without having to play (and mod the hell out of) Skyrim again! Man did I loathe both the Imperials and the Rebels, stopped following the quest line immediately after meeting the brat ‘King’. I hope you do the Thieves Guild quest line even if you already covered it on the site.

    • Veylon says:

      I’d like to point out – in case this is what stopped you – that the civil war can just be ignored. You can beat the game without caring about any of the political drama. I also hated them both and was happy to discover that “a plague on both their houses” is a perfectly valid way to play.

  28. Michael R. says:

    On the one hand, Skyrim would be the perfect game for Spoiler Warning. It’s a decent game, with equal parts terrible and wonderful, so the gang should have plenty to talk about.As well, the open world should be conducive to Josh’s antics, so there will be plenty of hilarity.

    On the other hand, the season could easily become rotten, like Fallout 3 or Bioshock, where Shamus&Co. do nothing but say,”This game is complete crap and Morrowind was sooooooooo much better!”
    So I guess we’ll see how it turns out.

  29. Gshem says:

    I wonder what race Reginald is going to be? Do any of the races have giant mustaches? He’l probably be a Nord, though from a min-maxing prospective kajit would be better for running around punching people as they have claws. Wait! Kajit are a race all about taking drugs right? They emphasize in the moment thinking without forethought and having no concept of private property…

    Someone needs to make a mod to give kajit appropriately sized mustaches and add bonnets.

  30. Ilseroth says:

    As someone who used to stream, yeah the 30+ seconds on twitch are extremely frustrating for people who want to interact with the viewers. Fun fact, I used to stream Skyrim, specifically, speed running it. I held the world record for about 5-6 months before someone else picked it up, I showed them how to get my record, then they beat it.

    I fully expect that Josh will claim the next record ( I think it is down to about 54 minutes?), good luck :)

  31. Henson says:

    Given that Josh is driving, I’m wondering what kinds of mods we’ll see in the Skyrim season. Will Cuftbert dance through a playthrough resembling the Week of Madness?

    Also, this is probably the first time Spoiler Warning is covering a game that I’m actually still playing. Should be interesting.

  32. Coarsan says:

    This is what I get for opening a link to the Amnesia video yesterday and only watching/commenting on it today. I know some other people have turned to Hitbox so I suggested that in the comments there, only to find out immediately after you’re already using it. Ah well, looking forward to the new season of cabbage telekinesis and broken horse physics.

  33. Talby says:

    Please do the Markarth prison quest. Shamus mentioned way back in his Thieves Guild takedown that he considers it the worst written quest in the game, and I’d like to see him tear it a new one.

  34. Dragmire says:

    Ooooh, I’m looking forward to this!

    Skyrim crashes too much for me to enjoy the game so I stopped before getting far. I’m looking forward to see the things I missed!

    … Oh, according to Steam I have 189 hours in it… Well, I didn’t get far in the story anyway…

  35. Steve C says:

    This seems like an easy technical problem to troubleshoot. There’s only been one commonality between all the streaming issues- Josh. Get a new Josh and no more latency.

  36. kdansky says:

    At Josh’s expense, he could play the game, then you could all watch it together and do after-the-fact commentary. Then everyone would be on the same page. Or he could try to get a normal Skype/Hangouts call working, and stream the game instead of his face, by pointing a webcam at the screen (or hopefully using some technological magic to use a different input/output).

  37. Mr.EID says:

    I’ve been looking forward to the prospect of a Skyrim Spoiler Warning ever since it was mentioned on the Diecast a while back. I think this has the potential to be a fantastic season; Skyrim is equal parts good and bad, and filled with things for the crew to break.

    A lot of people have mentioned the Thieves Guild and Mages questlines for being notably bad, and I imagine we’ll see them take on at least one of those, if not both.

    Personally though, I hope they also tackle some of the Daedric quests; notably those in Markarth. ‘House of Horrors’ and ‘The Taste of Death’ always stood out in my mind as two of the worst quests in the game, where you are forced, quite literally in the former’s case, to do some atrocious things. I think it’d be interesting to hear a rant on those.

    …Doubly so for ‘The Taste of Death’ if Mumbles will be joining them on this one.

  38. Kilt'd says:

    Skyrim. I am strongly in favor of this. It’s also good to see the Youtube playlists for other SW seasons, but the Dishonored playlist at least is out of order (it runs 18-1, 21-19).

  39. rayen022 says:

    Well this will make three spoiler warning seasons i haven’t watched. maybe i’ll go back and watch the walking dead or tomb raider since at time of broadcast i hadn’t played either and was thinking of purchasing them. ultimately i didn’t and have no real motivation to now… But skyrim i fully intend to play at some point in the near future… maybe… if i can get the money…

    Couldn’t you guys just play morrowind?

  40. The Ground Aviator says:

    I would say I’m excited for the new season but… I’m half expecting Josh crash this game into Video game bug oblivion and when he does it will be known as the crash heard around the world…. Or wait, was that the Tomb Raider season? I’ve actually lost track by now, god help us all.

  41. Otters34 says:

    I’m glad you folks are doing another season! Love the articles, and always have(the break down on Final Fantasy X, a game I’ve never played, is still charming) but Spoiler Warning can get pretty entertaining and informative too.

    I’m surprised you picked Skyrim though, of all things. Mr. Young mentioned not long ago that he was more or less sick of it, Mumbles seemed pretty heartily disappointed with its limited scope of interactivity and role-playing options, and most of what I’ve seen and heard about it strikes me as kind of washed-out and monotonous.

    Hopefully season 14 won’t turn sour and into a slog-fest where everyone complains about the same unrelenting annoyance for five episodes before the end. Despite what gets said, the best parts of the show are where everyone’s enjoying themselves.

    As a side note, what where the other candidates?

    • Shamus says:

      The full list of candidates was pretty large, and I don’t remember most of them. Here are a few…

      Max Payne 3: Seems like people really don’t care about this game all that much. It was consumed and forgotten and there’s not much to say about it afterwards.

      Metro: List Light: Probably someday, but not so soon after 2033.

      Walking Dead Season 2: Too soon.

      Dragon Age: Gah. The friggin Deep Roads. And The Fade. And a lot of other really excessively long combat sections. That, mixed with the fact that none of us are really enamored of the game would probably make for a long, bitter season once the game wore out its welcome.

      KOTOR: Always a bridesmaid but never a bride, this game. It’s always on the list but never makes the cut. It’s in 4:3, the cutscenes are problematic, and after all these years we’re not sure how much there is left to say about it other than as a comparison between BioWare then and now.

      Batman: Arkham *: I’m in favor of this, but Josh is really “meh” about the game and he’s the one who has to drive. I think the gameplay just isn’t his thing.

      There are a lot of others. The choosing of games is pretty complicated and is a mixture of preferences and practicality.

  42. Mailbox says:

    Spoiler Warning is finally tackling Skyrim after all these years. Will we see mountain climbing horses? How many times will Josh break the law inside a city? These questions and many more I hope to be answered. It wasn’t for certain that Spoiler Warning would ever play this game, but now it is confirmed. Now we will see a hero, a Cuftburt, rise up and become a true champion! Countless deaths abound! Hundreds of Nord Mead to consume! Cheese Wheels! 568 iron daggers crafted! There will be blood. There will be Dragons! There WILL BE TONS OF SHOUTING!
    (Well, at least until he takes an arrow in the knee.)
    Prepare yourself for Spoiler Warning Season 14: The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim!
    (Don’t forget to bring Lydia!)

  43. Phantos says:

    Will SW be doing the whole speedrun treatment that Steam Train managed to pull off, or will Josh take time to stop to smell the bland, under-saturated roses?

    Any mods that’ll be used?

  44. John Doe says:

    Why isn’t this listed on the main SW page?

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