Forums  /  NASA  /  North American Speedrunner Assembly 2017  /  NASA 2017 Feedback & Suggestions

I'm posting the collective staff response to stuff except stream tech, Aries will cover that next.

First, thanks to everyone who attended the event or watched at home. NASA was a blast in general. From what we (as the NASA staff) understand, the atmosphere was chill, we stayed mostly on schedule, the space was acceptable if a bit cramped, the hotel rooms and their staff were mostly okay, and the free breakfast was nice.

Now let's discuss some of the cons:

Music during intermissions were chosen from a MonsterCat playlist acquired via HumbleBundle. It was a $1, figured we'd avoid copyrights with it. Initially started with a heavy bass playlist, but switched to a more chill one. Still, a lot of folks found it to be in bad taste and wanted video game music. We will either look into a better playlist that won't trigger any copyright scripts, or focus on uploading local vods to edit/avoid the muting.

MSGA Hats may be in poor taste to some, but we purposefully do not have rules about attire people wear on stream except that it doesn't get the stream banned. The hats may reference MAGA, but that doesn't mean everyone who wears them has that political affiliation.

The event lacked some extra technology such as practice PCs and power strips. Most of the tech was provided by Dark-Aries, Lanayru, lurk, Jymotion, Naegleria, and PvtCB brought his PC and had it setup in the practice room. Others may have brought CRTs, shoutouts to you if so.

In addition to lacking tech, initially the rooms did not have wired internet, even though we confirmed the hotel had quality wired internet in both rooms. The fix for this was to run a ethernet cord from the storage room down the hall. This only reached the stream room, so the practice room had no internet. Our plan had been to hook up a switch to it for general use. This also meant we couldn't setup the stream in the practice room to view it there.

The food choices were great but our original hotel choice had a lot more, especially for the late night. Our plan is to book the next venue sooner so we won't run into these complications, assuming we can get the venue vetted for our needs.

The registration form was supposed to have a spot for additional information regarding attendance, but was one way or another deleted on accident. We also lacked the ability to email folks after they had registered/paid to let them know everything had gone through. We're working to make this possible for next year. Please do not hesitate to ask about moving runs prior to the event - we can make it work.

The stream room had planned to provide more monitors for people in the back to see runs. This didn't happen for some runs until we used one one my monitors (only a 24") and it wasn't an option for races. We will look into getting something to hook into the streaming PC to projector onto so everyone can see from the stream's point of view.

The space in general was good for our size, but for next year we need more. The stream room got very hot when packed, and although that was partly due top the A/C not working properly, there is also a lot of equipment in use. Eventually I went and purchased fans, but it was still warm. It's also clear that we need a third multi-purpose room for board and card games, late night mafia when it can't take place in a lobby or lounge, and just more space in general for setups. Next year we'll look into a bigger stream room and an additional practice-size room. This may raise attendance costs by a bit.

The date of the event was chosen through a google form, and ended up being in May. This combined with our hotel troubles meant that we had already announced the event dates, but wish we could have changed them. A lot of things were closed for Victoria Day, and Anime North was happening at the end of the week which filled up hotels around the area. We plan to move the event to early June, and as mentioned above, book early once the venue is vetted.

Glad it was a blast.

MASHMASH and BingchangBingchang like this. 

Alright so here is the tech feedback. Honestly all things considering, this went way better than last year since I had time to prep and get some proper equipment. The setup was basically what we tried out at Dreamhack Montreal but on steroids. I unfortunately did not get around to creating tutorial videos on the setup but that will be my goal to do going forward. The setup we have goes way beyond a normal home setup and therefore has a bit of a learning curve. Since I was the only one who knew how to run it all properly it led to some delays. ThoseCrazyGuys eventually got a bit of it figured out and I could rest some more, but this isn't adequate. This will be remedied in the future, and anybody interested in learning about this stuff stay tuned onto our youtube channel, I'll be trying to pump out a video series on all this stuff there.

The setup day was great since it allowed us to get everything set up, or set up everything we could anyways. It also let us figure out the internet issue. The unfortunate part about the first day was the fact we had a race so early on. Since we didn't have the consoles till the runners appeared, really couldn't get things setup like I wanted. In the future I want to setup like a console rack where all consoles will sit, and can be setup for the next run as the matrix will have all the video cables needed, and power cables will be plugged in already. The event involved a lot of hot swapping at times which led to setup times being sometimes longer than usual.

This year we went full RGB where possible. This led to a very good looking stream beyond a few issues with a couple games. The first one issue was during the pokemon puzzle challenge race. This issue was nothing more than a bad hdmi cable, and a very long hdmi run. This can easily be fixed by buying a good quality long hdmi cable or having an equivalent analog run. Either way, it was just a bad cable but I had no other quick option at the time. The second video issue with Land Before Time was just the fact that the datapath didn't flip itself from RGB to YPbPr colourspace. Literally opening up the datapath program fixed it. It looks like it is a limitation of OBS itself but again, quick fix and I got it fixed up for the JSRF race which had to use the same capture. Wario Woods. I fucked up during that game and killed an OSSC. I grabbed the wrong power adapter for the scart to YUV box and therefore had the wrong power cable for the OSSC. Why the second OSSC was even unplugged to begin with I can't remember. But since I mismatched the power cables the OSSC was dropping video since the power adapter it had didn't have even amperage. And then I fried it by using again the wrong psu that used 12v instead of 5v. That OSSC is fixable, I just need to order replacement parts. This is why we had to have a webcam staring at the TV for the run though till I rerouted everything through the dvdo iscan hd. Overall since this was the first real stress test of the whole setup, I know what the weak points are and what to do to strengthen them.

For the stream computer itself we used ThoseCrazyGuys pc since it had the most amount of PCIE slots that we could fit our datapath capture cards into. Which we only had 1 out of the 3 (at the time, we now have 4) for the start of the marathon. When lurk arrived we got to bump it up to two cards. These capture cards saved my ass multiple times during the event. There were times where the pexhd and the avermedia internal cards we had did not see a signal, either from the hdmi splitter or ossc, but the datapath did. If you are going to run a marathon and want a solid capture card, invest in a datapath visionrgb e1/e1s or e2/e2s . You will thank me later. This however led to the stream computer's massive flaw. Lack of PCIE lanes. Since a graphics card takes up 16 lanes, and each datapath takes up 4, this means that even if you have room available on the motherboard, you can't actually use anything else since you've maxed out. So while we had 3 capture cards internally , we could only ever use two. I forgot to pack my livegamerportable but bingchang brought his brand spanking new one. Bingchang you are a bro and a great example to “if you think you might need it, bring it” , I also highly recommend grabbing a livegamerportable or whatever the newest model of that device is. They are low latency external capture, have hdmi passthrough and can output audio via 3.5mm jack. Perfect for sending the hdmi sound into a sound mixer.

The sound along with the video got a massive upgrade. Lanayru invested in a brand new soundboard and some lavalier mics. The board itself is fine, even if it is missing a cue/isolate button on the channels. The lav mics gave us some trouble though. Knowledge drop, microphones needs power. In this case the lav mics had little coin batteries. You could not switch them off since that would create a buzzing noise, so you keep them on all the time and just mute the channel on the sound board. This ended up killing the batteries and we literally had no mics for Geurge's run. We scrambled and figured out how to get the webcam's audio (which was garbo but at least you could hear). We then used a snowball till we could get some new batteries. We are already looking into other options for audio but overall, sounded much better than last year, was actually at a respectable level of loudness. Future improvements involve a room mic so you can somewhat hear people chilling but are not micced up, or just what is going on in the room during intermission.

The length of the setup times during races really killed me. I also almost injured myself during the bonus stream lifting a crt. I normally can lift it fine but I had literally just woke up from sleeping at the stream station. The reason races took so long to setup was because we had to use both TVs to show the same video otherwise people in the room wouldn't be able to see at all. Once we get a proper dedicated screen for the OBS projector output we should be able to minimize setup during races, since we'll have tvs freed up. The same goes for pc games. The Dark Souls race took forever because we literally had to set up two computers from scratch and then capture them. We didn't have the desk space so it involved lots of moving around, unplugging things etc. Going forward we can hopefully have dedicated space for this.

Overall I think the event went well. We can only improve from here. It was really funny when last year we had a stream that was barely of any quality due to internet issues, this year the stream was too high of a quality and without transcoding many people buffered endlessly. For the record the event was mainly streamed at 1280x720p60@6000kb/s. We had to bump down to 4000kb/s since something was going on with the internet upload at one point, but even then it is very watchable. If you have any questions on the tech just lemme know

MASHMASH and BingchangBingchang like this. 

I never did get my own feed back for the event so here it is;

Decently cheap and comfortable rooming if you could get others to share with you.
Staff did very nice job with sorting out the initial issues as best they could and keep the stream running as smoothly as possible.
Decent distance from restaurants and other convenient locations for attendees during the morning or afternoon.
Venue choice was easy to get to being close to major transit which is always a plus.
Morning breakfast that was part of the group booking was decent.
Very relaxed environment for the majority and greatly enjoyed the company and meeting of the many attendees and the staff as well.

Stream room was a too small 50 occupant capacity is too small, should try for a room that could fit 100 comfortably with the equipment and better conditioning as it got pretty hot at times.
Would have been nicer to have the practice room closer to the stream room but still was not that bad.
Lack of free water to keep attendees hydrated because the rooms were like ovens sometimes.
Lack of night places to go to for food or other conveniences.
No actual private lounge area to keep the stream and practice room free from other random stuff people wished to do.
Lack of HDTV's that could be double as extra monitors for practice use.
Was hard to enjoy the run as a spectator at the event if you were not in the front rows, I suggest a area to set up a way to show the stream perhaps in the stream room from over head or behind the runner/set up area.
Should try to run more on the side events for others to do that are not doing runs either on stream or practice.
Better badges and ones that differentiate Staff, Volunteers,Runners and or spectators.?

I probably could say more if I can think of it I will post more.
Thank you again for the opportunity and privilege to be part fo the event and help out when I could.
Look forward to next time.