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mikwuyma: 2013-04-26 05:03:19 pm
mikwuyma: 2013-04-26 04:56:21 pm
My feelings on The Demon Rush
I know I said I would do this a couple of weekends ago. Sorry for the delay!

Donations for the charity

I highly recommend that you convince the charity to make a paypal account because it is much easier. The money goes straight to the charity, and you're not legally responsible for the money. Trust me, I know from experience.

As a general rule, the more receptive a charity is to making a paypal account for your event, the more receptive they'll be, period. A good example is the Prevent Cancer Foundation, who made a Paypal account just for our event.

Paypal does have a nonprofit guide here:

I would recommend showing that guide to a nonprofit to save them the time and hassle of finding the information themselves.

If you're going to take donations yourself then send them to the charity, you'll need a letter of approval from the charity, because Paypal is incredibly anal about raising money for charity. I sent romscout a dollar as a test donation for JRDQ and Paypal immediately asked him for a letter of proof.

WARNING: If you take donations yourself, then that counts as income that you received, even if you're merely being a passthrough to the charity. I highly recommend you don't go this route unless if you really can't convince the charity to make a paypal for you (but then are they really a responsive charity?).

Here's are two widgets you can use. Note, I haven't used these widgets myself because we use a custom tracker. (I know this has a problem actually accepting the payments as donations)

If anyone has other widgets to suggest, then speak up.

I know in the long run SMK wants to make his donation tracking program useable for any speedrunning marathon, but that's a very long-term project.

General Tips

-Start small: Our first marathon, Classic Games Done Quick had 20 people, maybe 50 games, and ran over a single weekend.

I didn't start at the AGDQ 2013 level of marathon, it just naturally grew to this level. Smaller marathons are easier to organize than bigger ones.

-Spreadsheets, databases, and documents/notes will be your friend. A spreadsheet for managing equipment (yes, even online because you have to make sure everyone has streaming equipment!).  An excel/google spreadsheet for managing the schedule. Having a notepad or document file on your computer just reminding you what needs to be done immediately is also very helpful.

Having these tools will just help you stay more organized. Now if you have different tools for keeping yourself organized, more power to you! Everyone has a different method for organization.

-Speaking of schedule, the irony is that the looser you make the schedule, the tighter it gets. What do I mean? For AGDQ 2011 we were originally supposed to end around 3:30 AM on January 11th, and we ended up going until 6 or 7 PM on the same day. That's a difference of about 15-16 hours. Compare the final schedule with the imgur png that has the original schedule.

Final schedule:

Original schedule:

Emptyeye brought up a great point. If I have 100 games on the schedule, and if each game is five minutes late, by the end of the marathon I will 500 minutes late, or 8 hours 20 minutes late.

To prepare for AGDQ 2012, I did two things.

1. I added at least 5 minutes of buffer for setup. For longer games I added more time for setup.

2. I inserted one setup hour each day, except for the first day and the last day.

Now going late isn't as big of a concern if your marathon is over a weekend, but it's still something to consider.

BTW, PC games always require stupid amounts of setup time. You should add more buffer for PC games than console games.

-Don't do all the work yourself: If I were to do all the work myself, I would need to know a lot about streaming, a/v equipment, web design, programming, and more. Even if I was knowledgeable in all of those things (which I definitely am not). My role is to organize the event, figure out logistics, and talk with people to make sure everything goes smoothly. Now for a smaller event like this, you might be able to get away with doing most things by yourself, but even just one or two friends to take on some responsibilities is great.

-When the marathon starts, be relaxed: I know this one is sometimes easier said than done, and sounds really weird, but it's actually important. As the organizer, if you're calm, then people around you are generally going to be more calm, but if you're really nervous and anxious, then that anxiety will spread too.
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Edit history:
mikwuyma: 2013-05-11 06:19:48 am
mikwuyma: 2013-04-26 05:04:51 pm
mikwuyma: 2013-04-14 06:23:02 pm
My feelings on The Demon Rush
I've seen streams for online marathons before, and I'll go over the pros and cons of the streaming methods.

I'll list the pros and cons of letting each runner stream for themselves, and doing a restream. BTW, account security is not a concern if you let each runner stream for themselves, because you can just hand them a stream key (you do this through your account settings) that you can delete once your marathon is over.

Runners stream for themselves:

+Logistically much easier: All you have to worry about is the runner being ready to stream once they're up.
+Less setup (in theory): The runner has lots of time to prepare their stream in advance so setup should be minimal.

-Stream goes down in between runs: You can mitigate this somewhat by making your offline screen saying "stream will be back up shortly." Or something along those lines.
-Stream layout is dependent on runner: Some runners will have prettier looking streams, while others will be barebones.


+Stream never goes down in between runs until you switch restreamers
+Stream layout is consistent in between runs, which is visually pleasing.

-Logistically much more difficult. I would very much recommend against restreaming on your own, or else you will be crazy and sleep-deprived by the end of your marathon. However, if you have other people also restreaming, then you have to set up a schedule for the restreamers.
-More setup because not only the runner has to prepare their stream, but you also have to be prepared.
-If you or one of the other restreamers has a bad computer, then your stream will stutter.

If you want to make things easier for you, then I would just make everyone stream for themselves. If you want a consistent look and you have enough dedicated people, then restream.

Another thing that can happen during online marathons is people flaking out. It's rare (fortunately), but it does happen. If a hole suddenly appears in your schedule, then you have two choices.

1. Just take the cut. This can be the best option if you're running behind schedule.

2. Fill up the time with other games. This is the best option if the cut will put you too far ahead of schedule (1 hour+). On the other hand, you need people willing to fill up the time with games to run.

I will be the first to admit that I'm not the most experienced when it comes to online marathons, so outside input is welcome.
My feelings on The Demon Rush
I'm just wondering if people would be interested in equipment for marathons, ranging from cheapo setups to the current agdq setup and beyond.

Also, if I think of more marathon tips or advice, I'll add it to the first post.
Tip on online Twitch marathons when people do their own streaming: Resetting your stream key is a good idea if things glitch out, but know that it takes a little while for a stream key reset to take effect.  So don't expect it to be an immediate fix.
Echoing the "make charities have a Paypal." Unless you want to spend 3-4 years battling the IRS for "income" that you "received." Don't do it. It's not even deductible on your taxes unless you qualify for a number of other things.
Edit history:
mikwuyma: 2013-04-26 05:01:34 pm
My feelings on The Demon Rush
Well in romscout's case, he only spent a year or two battling the IRS. :-/

Just echoing Lee's statement. The only exception I would make is if your event isn't going to raise more than 1 or 2 thousand dollars, but even then I wouldn't recommend it.
ᕦ(° Д°)ᕤ
Quote from mikwuyma:

Another thing that can happen during online marathons is people flaking out. It's rare (fortunately), but it does happen. If a hole sudenly appears in your schedule, then you have two choices.
Happened a lot during TSG community marathons.
Edit history:
iMysty: 2013-05-01 05:34:07 pm
iMysty: 2013-05-01 05:32:39 pm
iMysty: 2013-04-26 08:33:13 pm
There's a few points I would like to add.

If you are wanting to organise any sort of marathon do not underestimate the amount of planning, work and dedication you will need to put into it. Being completely honest here. When I first thought about organising a marathon I didn't think it would be too hard seeing as it was an online marathon. Boy, was I wrong! Even though you don't have to worry about location, travel etc. There is still a huge amount of work that you need to put into this and you need to make sure you have the time and commitment to do it.  Don't get me wrong, it was a lot of fun and I had such a great time organising it but it was a lot of work. Depending on how big you plan to make the marathon (and I definitely agree with Mike when he says start small) try not to overwhelm yourself (hence why Mike has said don't do it by yourself).

Making a schedule with people to do all the admin work is vital. Even if you do not plan to re-stream anything. When I say admin work, I mean reading out donation, making sure the next runner is ready, sorting any problems that may arise. Essentially being "The Host".  This is one thing I did not do and because of it I ended up having to stay awake over 36hours until a friend who lives locally to me could take over whilst I slept for a few hours and then I was back up for a further 24hours. If you watched the Marathon you saw that my brain was fried and it takes a while for your body to recover from that considering for all that time you are trying to keep everything together.

Quote from presjpolk:
Tip on online Twitch marathons when people do their own streaming: Resetting your stream key is a good idea if things glitch out, but know that it takes a little while for a stream key reset to take effect.  So don't expect it to be an immediate fix.

This is a key tip. We had the problem where a runners power got cut before he was able to end his stream the twitch stream thought he was trying to reconnect. We then changed the stream key multiple times before being told by an admin that it takes a while to take effect (but even then with Twitch you cannot just kick the current streamer off so maybe have a back up twitch channel made if you planning to have the streamers stream locally)

Make sure way in advance what type of communication software you are going to use. I know this sounds silly, but I had a few options available (Skype, Mumble etc) which came in handy as some of the runners couldn't use Skype. I would say make sure you have a few options available, especially let's say if all the Skype servers went down so you have a back up.

All the major things have been covered by Mike but I thought these minor points might help too Smiley
My feelings on The Demon Rush
Those are really good points, iMysty. I haven't organized online marathons myself so I'm unaware of some of the logistics.
Never too much Tales...
Hey guys, I'm completely new to this whole scene as far as planning/executing (viewing's the easy part) one of these streams, and was wondering what kind of equipment you guys use? Actually any kind of pointer would be great.
My feelings on The Demon Rush
Rangalin, sorry for the late response.

The question is what kind of marathon are you preparing? If it's just going to be in your house/apartment, then all you need a cheap capture card like a dazzle, easycap/ezcap, or diamond one-touch, and a usb headset (just get a 20-30 dollar one). You can use windows stereo mix to get both your voice and the game audio.

A Blue Yeti USB mic can work for the sound, but there are problems with overpeaking when people laugh, and you'll either need to turn up the tv volume up so the mic catches it, or turn it down so it's not doubled when you use stereo mix.
Edit history:
Boxfat: 2013-05-12 08:52:37 am
Arbitrary forum emu
A personal recommendation that I have is to add people as broadcasters to one channel.

If you give people the main broadcaster key, you risk running into the issue that iMysty mentioned.

Adding people as broadcasters and giving them their own individual keys seems to work differently. Instead of one global key, each person gets their own "sub" key. The person in charge of the channel can then add/remove casters as they see fit.

An advantage of this system is that if one person is broadcasting with their own key and another person goes online, it boots the first person off. I believe this would have avoided the problem that we had and is generally a more secure practice. Not to mention this can make things transition much more smoothly - instead of having to go offline to swap streamers, you just have the person who's going next start! It'll change casters without any downtime. :3

To add people to the list of broadcasters that can broadcast to a channel, log in with that account and go to settings -> videos and scroll down to "authorized broadcasters."


I hope that was useful (and correct) information. Feel free to correct me or tell me if that's not relevant.
% bad secrets
Quote from mikwuyma:
I'm just wondering if people would be interested in equipment for marathons, ranging from cheapo setups to the current agdq setup and beyond.
Actually, I have always wondered about this when watching the videos. I'd love to know. Smiley
Edit history:
mikwuyma: 2013-05-28 04:30:19 pm
My feelings on The Demon Rush
Okay, I'll be out Thursday-Monday, Eedis, and I'll actually be pretty busy the first half of June, so you might have to remind me around the latter half of June to make this thread. I will say that what I said in my last post is fine for a cheapo setup. The combined cost of a capture card + headset shouldn't set you back more than 50-60 dollars.

This is assuming your computer is good enough to stream in the first place, but considering I was able to stream on a 1.73 ghz single-core laptop on Flash Media Encoder, that shouldn't be an issue.
% bad secrets
As long as you remind me to remind you... >.< heh... Thanks though. Smiley
Hockey enthusiast
Did a quick search in this post for "test" and didn't find a single match.

Whenever you are doing a marathon, don't underestimate the undertaking. There are thousands of things that can go wrong. You can plan for weeks only to find out that you forgot something that might seem irrelevant. I feel that testing is not done enough. And that goes for online and offline marathons alike.

A couple of examples from the recent weeks:

Framerate missmatch at the Metroid Marathon.
- Kottpower streamed at 60 fps, which is what he always does. But the restream had a different framerate, this is an issue that could been avoided with proper testing.

Locked computers at Gamefest.
- I had requested a tower computer to be able to put my own capture card which had input options the provided Elgato box did not have. This request was made 2 month prior to the event. When arriving I noticed that the provider had locked the side of the tower, making it impossible to insert the card. Opening up the side upon getting the computer would have solved this issue.

- Broken TV's at Gamefest
When doing a final checkup of all games and system available (not all of them were available) I noticed that the provided HD-tv didn't have a working component input. Testing this prior to the event would have solved this issue since.

- Modified consoles at Gamefest
The run of Ikaruga had to be streamed with a webcam. Due to the runner booting the game with a boot-disk. Because we were stuck with the Elgato there was no way of capturing the output. Prior to the event I had requested that all games should run on their intended consoles to eliminate these kinds of problem with a PAL console outputting a NTSC signal which most of the self capture cards cannot handle. If this had been tested prior, the game would not have been accepted under those circumstances and the issue would have been solved.
Or if we would have access to the intended capture card, this issue would have been avoided.

This might seem like a rant. But after seeing and experiencing several marathon failing at trivial points, the need for testing needs to be stressed!

Do a dry run and test everything before going live, any issues will reflect badly on the event and 90% of them can be avoided!
Quote from Edenal:
Framerate missmatch at the Metroid Marathon.
- Kottpower streamed at 60 fps, which is what he always does. But the restream had a different framerate, this is an issue that could been avoided with proper testing.

I completely agree with this. I did underestimate how much testing needed to be done, and that was a really big oversight that really damaged the viewership of kottpower's 100% run, which is my bad for missing that.
Jumping Turtle
Testing even the silliest of things is necessary. Last November I had a fundraiser, and I could see the volume bar moving along to game audio. I guess it had actually been going through my mic, because for months I could not get direct game audio to come through. I took half an hour during the event to attempt to fix it, to no avail. Had to eventually just turn up the tv and get back to playing. :^/
raising the stakes on being bad!
Hey guys i just got done with a MMX relay and was hoping to leave some input / suggestions for that type of "marathon" as it runs a bit different.

many of the issues that i read here could have fixed some of my problems but some of the more(less) obvious fixes were missed.

for commentary Push-To-Talk i cant stress enough after the relay was over i wished i had though of that.

have control of your mumble. in my relay i had some one else set up my irc channels mumble overlays, and a few other things, but in the end i realized i didn't have control over my own relays commentary, because i wasn't op.

practice (pre relay) before hand and know the games that will be run and get knowledgeable runners get familar with commentating each game and how to do it wont happen over night. be sure to try and clear your "couch" after each game is done and bring in the next wave of commentators

for a relay who's audio do i use? a simple fix for me, have 3 teams and rotate the main screen use the main screens audio. there are many other ways to do this but it allows you to show the game you want to point out in commentary.
I haven't tried but i imagine some thing similar could be done w/ 4 or 2 team relay races.

make sure your runners are practicing if they are not it wont work all the hard work you put into balancing teams will be for naught,.

And one of the most important how ever you choose to communicate with your runners make sure every one knows there names like Bushu is tiki in srl irc ( which even i didnt know at the time)

and don't forget in a relay you aim to promote that speed run and those runners make sure you have a good way to have people in chat easily follow them (wither it be a doc of copy pasta or a bot spamming based on a command!)
Hmm... I guess this goes here more so than elsewhere: just something I realized after accidentally stumbling on a dev commentary run when I was expecting a normal one. If your YT guy has the time, think about renaming all the dev com ones so it reflects that fact, because that's going to make it a whole different story for any runs you've already seen plenty of times and won't be checking out otherwise.