Roll Eyes
Lips Sealed
1 page
List results:
Search options:
Use \ before commas in usernames
Edit history:
DarkAries: 2014-10-08 08:00:44 pm
Yup, two weeks past, and I want feedback on the marathon. From viewers, helpers, everybody. I know I'll be posting my own criticism later on today. I'm interested in what you think went wrong, what went right, and what we can do different next time. I know that a lot of you probably have loads of opinions on the matter so let' hear them. I also want to officially thank everybody who participated in any way shape or form, I kind of already did but not everybody was in the skype group.


Okay my actual feedback. Like I have stated earlier I took on a lot more work then I was expecting to. Really what happened was I saw nobody volunteering to help set up the actual stream and be host PC, so I voluntold myself. If nobody was going to do it then the marathon would probably just not happen. So that week I was also super busy since it was first week of school again, and I work 40 hours. So in my spare time I was finishing up layouts and planning out how to actually set up the stream. I ended up going the RTMP route, which may or may not happen again next year. If it does I need a serious overhaul and most of all a second server. Surprisingly the server was running on a RaspberryPi, which handled my internal HD streams flawlessly. I mean all it's doing, is pushing data from somebody, to my stream pc. You don't need a beast rig to copy data, just a good internal network, which while mine isn't super amazing, it's better then standard. Also I knew I was going to be able to handle the traffic since I have a 25/10 mbps connection with unlimited bandwidth.

Sadly however I didn't get things done until the night before. I know...terrible. But I tried to finish earlier and just couldn't. I had to keep rethinking how the keep dummying everything down in case shit hit the fan. In the ended I had the setup that went live. It was pretty decent considering the people on host pc duties managed to pick it up fast enough, but then came the issues with the runners. Everybody is the skype group knows that there was the issue with trying to figure out mumble audio. A few hours before the marathon started I said fuck it, not going to try to complicate things even more, runner has full control of audio. Best decision ever or else this marathon could of gone way worse.

Now with the RTMP server came some issues. It seemed Xsplit just refused to work for a lot of people with streaming to it. They even had issues with streaming to our backup hitbox solution, which I admit I didn't flesh out instructions for properly enough. Again last minute. Any time I did think of adding it to the google doc of instructions I did, but you can only think ahead so much. Then came issues with runners dropping out or being unable to stream. I truly thank everybody who stepped up to the plate to fill in the time slots. Without you guys the the stream probably would of died.

Also donation money wise, we aren't going to be using that tracker again. A lot of people couldn't even donate because it was an international direct credit card charge, and it just wouldn't process. That is going straight out the window next year. People couldn't donate, and trying to sift through donation comments was ass. You'd think it's just be newest to oldest....nope. They would randomly get shuffled around. Just plain and simple, no more donation tracker from whatever the hell we used. I can't even remember it's name anymore, but it was bad and should feel bad.

Sign up forms....yup. They needed to have a lot more questions. If this happens again we're going to be asking for a lot more information to try to organize it properly this time. While barney was cool and all, having a laggy streaming because your connection upload is super ass low, isn't something I like the learn 5 minutes before your run starts. Sorry to single you out, but it's just the quickest example of important info, that should of been asked. Stream quality, internet connection etc is super important during an online marathon to keep consistent quality. I tried to lower the bar as much as possible by asking people not to stream anything in HD if not needed, because I know upload can suck for a lot of people. Again only so much you can plan ahead, in such a short time span to boot.

There was also the issue with having people do hosting duty, during their actual run. That was to much work for one person and it won't be happening again. I don't even know what it was done like that, but I again, didn't set it up that way. I tried to offload work whenever I could because nobody wants to do everything. Next year, there will be shifts that actually make sense, so the runner isn't scrambling to make sure both his stream, and the marathon stream is working properly.

Also I super apologize for falling asleep during graveyard shift. That was completely my bad. I didn't expect to basically pass out in front of my computer. I guess that's what happens though when you work the day, then try to still stay up to do graveyard shift. Speaking of graveyard shift #SpeedathonAfterDark . That was a cool concept, very crude, and kind of forced. But it brought some interesting moments so if it happens again it'll actually be properly planned out to not be awkward or crude. Will probably be the time where we have more violent, crazy, meme games. We'll see. Opinions here are very welcome on how what you think would be good for this.

The twitch vods...yeah I shit the bed and didn't local record. Kind of late to magically kill the stream to let it record gigs of data though when Twitch archives them....right? Yeah that's if somebody actually saves them. Which nobody did. I just managed to save what was left on Sunday I think....there was about the whole day or two of the marathon left. Sorry folks...I didn't think I would have to save vods for a marathon that wasn't mine.

Point of all this? I assumed a shit ton of responibilty so we could still have a marathon. I dropped the ball, I get it. I'm super thankful for everybody who helped me out during the thing though, especially HalfCoordinated. He was super on the ball behind the scenes, handing out stream keys and testing all the runners when he could. Next year if this happens, expect giant changes and a lot more organization.
Thread title:  
I'm not sure if anything actually went right for the marathon.  It was a complete disaster from my point of view.  Up until 24 hours before the marathon actually started, there was no communication between the organizers and runners aside from a schedule that took a month to finish (and still only done 5 days before the marathon), and I almost pulled out because of that.  The google doc that was eventually made for runners finally solved some of these issues, but that should have been finished 2 or more weeks before the marathon, not the night before.  Then once the actual marathon started, the RTMP server being used was laggy as hell (it was hosted in someone's house in canada, of all places).  I ended up having to stream to Hitbox, which while that is perfectly acceptable to me, it should have been the primary option for people who didn't know what they were doing with an RTMP server in the first place instead of being the backup solution.

The main connection here is the organizers' general disorganization.  Things like the schedule need to be up a minimum of 2 weeks before the marathon, and streaming details at least a week, if not 2, beforehand.  This gives all the runners ample time to test their stream setup for the marathon and communicate any issues to the organizers.  There also needs to be a better place for general communication.  I received the friend invite from Nanachan on skype, but could never tell that I was in any group for the marathon.  Skype is just not the best place for this kind of thing.  Last year, #speedathon was used on the SRL IRC and that would have worked way better for this.  As far as this year's marathon went, there was zero communication unless you actually went in the mumble for hours.
The whole getting information moments before has to do with the fact that I had to end up taking on more work then I was expecting. Ideally I was just going to build a backend, let my computer be the host and beable to leave things alone. That obviously was not the case. I tried to build in as much redunancy and simplicity into the streaming aspect of the whole setup, that however ended up causing some issues for the actual runners themselves. Also just because the server was hosted in my house doesn't mean it wasn't capable. I have a 25/10 connection. I hate my ISP for dropping my connection once or twice on me but I'm switching from them now. Like I said I ended up taking a lot more work then I was expected for the whole thing.  With RTMP as well it's becoming standard in marathons nowadays. We actually were given information to a backup RTMP server by somebody in the skype group. That server ended up lagging more then my home hosted one, so we never used it.  Thanks for the feedback though. If I knew how much work I was going to do I would of done a lot more preplanning and organizing on my end.
I think given the last minute nature of info, it went really well. When the servers were fine, it was a breeze to run. We had a few runners with very odd setups and some that barely had setups at all, but we made it work regardless. I am more than willing to help again. Great crew to work with, and a fun marathon overall. Some kinks, but hey, that's how it goes ya know?
I'm sorry that I have to be negative here, but I strongly echo everything that StingerPA said and then some. Compared to last year's event, in which I was very proud to participate, this year's event felt like an afterthought from everyone involved. I was honestly not convinced that the marathon was going to happen even after I received the Mumble info and the stream of last minute tech posts by DarkAries in the thread. I can't emphasize enough how this event appeared to onlookers, including the participating runners, as being completely disorganized to the point of being nonexistent. Regular status updates during the planning stages are not just nice to have, they are absolutely required. The fact that they did not happen is an embarrassment, especially considering that such updates did occur during planning for last year's event.

As far as speedrunning goes, the event was okay. There were some good runs, there were some bad runs, there were some meh runs, and that's all fine. There were several no shows. There was also a "no show" who missed his run by 10 minutes and was immediately and completely replaced with 5 hours of filler. Given that the runner in question did show up shortly after the start time and also happened to be operating the event for huge, huge portions of the marathon, I think that this was rather unfair.

As far as charity goes, the event was a complete failure. Sorry, there's no sugarcoating it. Sure, anything is better than nothing when it comes to charity, but at the same time, we raised thousands of dollars last year in the middle of peak marathon season (Happy Tails preceded us by a month, SGDQ by 1.5 months). This year the nearby marathons were Seamergency (1.5 months prior) and JRTA marathon (week after, raising donations but not a charity event). I could quibble on the charity selection (PCF has more global impact, Special Effect is more "squishy" i.e. doesn't directly save lives but rather improves them), but the most direct cause was the nonexistent viewership. As far as I was aware, no one even knew the marathon existed this year, let alone that it was occurring that weekend in particular. (For that matter, A_Cute_Lynx, who helped organize last year's event, literally didn't know a second one was happening. I don't want to know what's up with that, but that still evinces the fact that there was no publicity.) I assume that publicity was a thing that fell between the cracks, but if we aren't even going to have viewers, what's the point of running a marathon, right?

Concrete changes that need to occur if you're even going to think about an additional event:

1) Marathon staff need to actually have time to run the event. Just because an online marathon is more straightforward than an in-person gathering, does not mean you can just make a forum post and then disappear for weeks at a time.
2) Schedules and tech arrangements need to be sorted out way in advance, at least a couple weeks. Two days is not acceptable. One day is literal madness.
3) Publicity needs to be a focus. There is no point in having a marathon if no one is watching, and there's no point in having it be for charity if no one is there to donate.

I love this event, as last year's Speedathon was one of the first marathons I ever participated in. However, the ship needs to seriously be righted before next year if you want another event, or put simply there will be no reason for anyone to participate. There are plenty of other online marathons that are better organized and more successful than Speedathon 2014 was.

Coda: MAJOR shoutouts to the various stream operators, including (but not at all limited to) Osey889, Elmagus, and Sweetnumb. You guys all ran insane shifts for the entire weekend and weathered a constant storm of technical issues, many of which were new and unique even to the runners themselves. If any aspect of the marathon could be considered a success, it is thanks in large part to your heroic efforts. Hats off.
No, I entirely agree with you. Organization was hell. Me and Halfcordinated were figuring things out on the fly because we got dropped with doing everything. The fact we had a set of amazing people to help us out made things so much less stressful then it could of been. And I'm not going to lie either. I know this ended up terrible, don't get me wrong. I just want to know EVERYTHING that was wrong so if this happens again next year, I don't let it happen along with any other organizers. I like speedathon. If I didn't I wouldn't of tried my hardest to keep things up and running, said fuck it, not given a host machine and the thing would of never happened. I literally near the end said, okay nobody is stepping up to the plate, it's crunch time, this thing has to run even if it's going to bomb, and got things running. I learnt everything on the fly, hosting my own RTMP, setting up OBS to be as dumbed down as possible, with using OBS Remote to help make the UI easy to use in teamviewer, update the twitch page, hell I set up text files to update the text on screen because right click and then leftclicking on the wrong thing could of seriouly messed things up on the layout. And I still had to work during the whole thing. I had my brother keep sending me texts so if the comp or anything dies I can run home and get everything working. Somehow it managed to survive the day which was awesome. Also I didn't even run the marathon this year, at this point I'm just being responsible for the days the marathon actually aired because I had no control of anything before hand. I honestly do thank the input guys though. Keep it coming. It's the only way a speedathon is going to happen again, if ALL the kinks get ironed out.
NowOwnsAFreaking Plane
I also wish to say I'm very sorry that my set up completely blew up the morning of my runs and I wasn't able to participate.  However, I would have had time to do testing and get it re-figured out had I known the set-up and use of mumble earlier.

Again, I'm really sorry for what happened there.  I tried to help with donating and keep the chat lively, but that wasn't enough.  I would love to participate again... but with greater notice so I can test my set up.  It just turned out that my streaming computer can't handle OBS and Mumble together.  Again, sorry that I was in the list of people who didn't run (although I wasn't really a no show), I just didn't have time due to odd stuff going on.  Ask Kefka what on earth my capture card started doing, he saw it.
I just kind of want to mention mods as well. I know I'm not a great runner or commentator. But a friend asked me to commentate on his run and during it I tried being respectful and tried to help make it enjoyable. I was somewhat harassed by chat and the chat mod at the time joined in with them and I got a bunch of random shit from people I had never spoken to before in my life and it wasn't really that great of an experience. Luckily that mod wasn't on duty during my own runs and chat was wonderful. But I just think there are some people who were in power that have right having any. That chat mod was also in the call commentating and literally at one point randomly just told me to shut up. I was super stressed out and didn't know what to say and panicky during the entire run due to this. Maybe I was talking too much or something I don't know. It was my first time commentating but that doesn't let me deserve how rude this individual was towards me or how he let the chat generally be rude as well. Like if chats rude it's rude, but don't goad them on and join in. Especially if you're a mod.

Other than that I had a great time. The re-broadcasters and everyone handling tech were great and helpful and worked super hard. And everyone else was generally super great and welcoming and just very friendly. While the technical and logistical side of the marathon may have had a lot of problems I think those running and those working on the marathon were definitely the highlight. Many kind people sitting around at odd hours of the night offering up replacement runs they could do for when there was the occasional no show and those running the stream pulled off an insane job considering the amount of work each of them had.

It is good to look at the good as well. And I think everyone who put in the hard work to pull it off even with it hardly happening and those who stepped up should really be commended and thanked.
I had mic issues (ended up ordering a new headset a couple days after the marathon was over) and I felt if I couldn't commentate there just wasn't any point. I also had an unstable stream which would of caused my stream to go offline. I apologize that I had to drop.

I wasn't around for the marathon itself but I want to thank DarkAries for his effort to help answer peoples questions as much as possible in the skype group (including my own). I just hope things next year (if there is another) is as good as last years marathon.
Edit history:
DarkAries: 2014-10-08 08:01:03 pm
DeadRobots you need to seriously PM me with more info because I didn't even know that happened and now I have a serious issue with it.

Edit: Also updated the first post with my own feedback.
i like to say that most of the comments has already been brought to attention. i do hope that even that even if there isn't a speedathon 2015 that we all learned something from this. For many this was their first marathon and had never heard of using mumble, hitbox, or even had used OBS. I know i stepped away from this with alot of lessons learned under pressure.
i'm a GOD
lots of fun, for the problems it had with runners and tech, was still cool so yea. 10/10 would speedathon again :>
One hand is enough.
I'll preface this by saying that I wasn't even expecting speedathon to happen this year. There was some group discussion among many of those that helped the year before well before the thread was posted. We all stated we were busy this year with work and other responsibilities, so I expected that to be the end of it. Still, the thread went up. I told myself I wasn't even going to get involved this year, but then the charity was announced. The goal of Special Effect is of personal importance to me, so I offered some runs. I expected to do my run, maybe provide the mumble, and then go enjoy my birthday weekend.

Instead of course, I ended up doing behind the scenes tech support for a bulk of the weekend. The scrambling unprepared nature of this marathon has been covered fairly well by others. Things were not ready, plain and simple. Instead of just restating what went wrong I will go into what needs to be different next year, especially if I am involved

The Schedule: Next year, the submission thread should go up several months in advance, and the schedule completed over a month before the date of the marathon; this will give everyone plenty of time to prepare.  The schedule also needs to be made by a COMMITTEE of organizers. This year the schedule and game selection was made by nanachan alone, and even with the best effort by one individual several things are going to fall through the cracks (My deepest apologies to individuals such as Elmagus, I still feel awful about that). The submission form needs to be much more thorough so that all runners can be adequately contacted and game selection properly evaluated to ensure minimal tech issues from the streamer's end as well as the restream.

The Restream Hitbox needs to be the standard for the runners to stream to next year, plain and simple. The fact that Aries was even able to set up a custom RTMP server still amazes me, and when it worked transitions were very smooth, but that should only be a BACKUP at most. Stream keys need to be provided to runners at least two weeks in advance so that they can properly test their streaming capabilities beforehand (providing stream keys within an hour before the runs was hell). The same is true of the mumble info, so that runners can confirm they can connect to the mumble AND also stream at the same time.

If possible, we should also have multiple host computers for the restream. Having one setup used for the entire marathon really funnels and concentrates possible problems and limits potential fixes for more serious issues. This would also lessen the burden and dependence upon a single individual for the marathon to keep going. I know you love having full control Aries, but we definitely need to spread the workload out more next time.

Donations The gamesdonequick/SDA tracker definitely needs to be used next year. It's familiar to practically everyone that would be watching, accepts more universal payment methods, and is built specifically for tracking incentives and donation comments. The donation method this year definitely prevented several donations from being made.

Huge shoutouts to everyone that helped out behind the scenes. Aries, the restreamers, and everyone that ran as well as offered runs for filler when it was often needed. You all did a great job with what you were handed on such short notice.

(I'm probably forgetting something, I might add more later)
The technical issues have been discussed plenty so I won't harp on them.  Really organization is the biggest thing that can be improved upon, which has also been discussed.

As for good things, I can't say enough on how awesome it was that people were willing to volunteer and run games to fill in for dropouts.  Many people REALLY stepped up and helped out with filling in and re-streaming help.

There was some fairly unprofessional behavior by one or two people involved that I saw (which would be unacceptable for many events, but in this one was understandable), but that happens in any marathon, so overall the quality of people participating (excluding dropouts) was very high I thought.

In the future I'd say pre-planning/organization absolutely needs to be number 1 priority.
waifus are laifu
Add another to the agreement pile of what Vulajin and halfcoordinated etc. said. I'm very lucky that my setup seems to be the most adaptable thing on the planet, and I didn't have any issues with streaming. Whoever was with me on mumble during my runs was also good with asking questions and keeping conversation going (something I noticed a lot of people having trouble with, especially with the lack of donations). Do apologize for Shepherd's Crossing nearly dying due to a slipped menu, but still got it to only go a little over estimate.

The skype group that existed for...whatever reason, I never really figured it out and ended up muting it because general conversation keps happening and my phone wouldn't shut up. Lots of people in there were asking what the group was for and why they were invited as well.

Overall it was fun and an okay showing, but very rough, like a marathon that would've happened in 2010 or so.

Quote from Vulajin:
(For that matter, A_Cute_Lynx, who helped organize last year's event, literally didn't know a second one was happening. I don't want to know what's up with that, but that still evinces the fact that there was no publicity.)

Was a bit awkward to be advertising this marathon on my twitter and having him say he didn't know about it and whatnot. I didn't want to get in the middle of anything, so I didn't say much (I think)
There was some weird setup, but it wasn't that bad.
Also restreamer died before my run Cheesy
Can somebody highlight You Are Empty run? It was a WR and I want to get my hands on VoD.