Posts

I want to be a reason other people are happy

I like to introspect. Lately I’ve been fascinated by figuring out my own drive and motivation in life. I’ve come to find that, primarily, I want to be a reason other people are happy. This ties so deeply and profoundly into my psyche that I used to feel guilty or sad when the opposite was true: when I am happy because of someone else. But when I make others happy, that in turn makes me happy too. I crave that vicarious enjoyment, that empathetic feeling of giving someone else a positive experience and knowing that they like it. It makes me happy to make others happy.

When I was younger, I used to play video games by myself. Sometimes family would watch, usually my younger sister, but in general I was content to just play by myself. Something changed when I started doing YouTube. I stopped playing games entirely, unless I was recording them with the intention to upload and publish. I’ve heard other YouTubers talk about this experience happening to them too, and like me, they describe i…

How to livestream to Twitch and YouTube at the same time using ffmpeg and OBS Studio on a single Windows or Linux computer

I'm a big fan of OBS Studio, and I've recently started learning how to use ffmpeg for transcoding and remuxing my videos. One thing that has bugged me is that current versions of OBS Studio can only stream to one streaming service at a time (one RTMP server). There are services like restream.io that get around this, but you're basically paying them for a little bit of CPU/GPU time and some added latency to your stream, and maybe only getting combined chat in return.

Well, it just so happens that with a single ffmpeg command line invocation, you can output to multiple files and streaming services at once with very little overhead. Another benefit of ffmpeg over OBS Studio is that it supports more encoders such as hevc_amf which is the hardware H.265 encoder for AMD video cards. OBS Studio currently only supports h264_amf via the Advanced output mode. Strangely, OBS Studio has an included version of ffmpeg but the list of encoders it has does not include any AMD encoders, on…

Why I prefer minimalist art styles in games

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I'm a big fan of minimalist art styles in games - simple lines and shapes, dashes of color, the occasional complex geometry, etc. I like the way it looks, but there's more to an art style than just the way it looks.
Games have had a long history of trying to mimic reality, especially big-budget games made by large companies for mass audiences. It can be impressive to see how far technology has come, but basing games in realistic worlds runs counter to game design. Real life has a lot of limitations, and games based on real life have to devote a lot of effort to explaining why you can do things that can't be done in real life, or they blatantly ignore such conflicts and go for the "it's just game logic" option. Whether or not you care about immersion, this is a problem that wouldn't exist if the game wasn't based in reality.
Some games are quite clever with how they dodge bullets - they set themselves in futuristic settings, or make magic real. While t…

How I ended up with 1.5 Google accounts

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I'm fuzzy on some details, but this is the best I can remember about how it happened.

A long time ago, there was this cool video sharing platform called YouTube. I was pretty young, playing some random game called Super Mario Galaxy 2, when I discovered a couple interesting quirks of the game's gravity mechanics and recorded them with my sister's camera on my family's tripod. I had to ask my parents' permission to create a YouTube channel so I could upload the videos.

On October 18, 2010, I created the YouTube channel LB725C. My online alias at the time was LB, but many sites (YouTube included) imposed a 3 character minimum. Not content to add an underscore, I came up with the clever idea to somehow use 1337 in my username, but in a subtle way. It just so happens that 1337 degrees Fahrenheit is approximately equal to 725 degrees Celsius. Thus, LB725C was born as my YouTube username. Back then, usernames were also display names. I think the email address I used was…

What makes puzzle platformers challenging? What makes them good?

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I'm a big fan of puzzle platformers - games like Portal 1 and 2, The Talos Principle, The Swapper, etc. - and I've logged many dozens of hours playing such games, mostly due to community-made puzzles. In fact, I've played over 500 community maps for Portal 2, and I've learned quite a bit along the way. Someone asked me an interesting question that really got me thinking:
When do elements that are individually passable become insurmountable or too convoluted when stacked together? It's a great question, and I think the answer depends on a few factors: how many options plays have at each step, which options players are likely to actually notice, and what players typically think about each option. Every player is different, but that doesn't mean you can't estimate the qualities of a puzzle without players.
An 'option' is an action the player can perform to change the state of the puzzle, and it can either have forward progress (they get closer to the s…

Nobody is "created" or "equal"

The phrase "everyone is created equal" is a lie. It outright denies reality and forwards the idea that people were "created" before we even knew what DNA was.

Right now, almost everyone has different DNA, and even those who have identical DNA nearly always end up with different fingerprints (though let it be known that there is evidence to suggest not everyone has unique fingerprints). Everyone is raised in a different environment because we all occupy different positions in space. To say that everyone is equal is to ignore reality.

For someone to be "created", their DNA (or their atomic structure) has to be hand-arranged by another sentient being. This is not how evolution works, and we have only recently developed the technology to "create" people. In a few centuries we may well be able to say that all new people are created, in similar fashion to Brave New World, but right now as well as in the past, it is entirely not the case.

Furthermore, …

Why I prefer merging over rebasing in git

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The argument between rebase workflow vs merge-based workflow is a lot like the argument between spaces vs tabs. There are pros and cons for each side as well as compromises in or near the middle, but at the end of the day, it mainly comes down to one person's personal preference, typically held for unspecified reasons. So I'd like to share my preferences, and my reasons, when it comes to git: the (currently very popular) version control system which features Distributed Version Control for Directed Acyclic Graphs and a Command-Line Interface that many people mock or struggle with. If you don't already know what rebasing and merging are, you should probably just look them up yourself, as I am only going to give a brief overview. If you don't even know what git is, this blog post is not for you, and you can safely bookmark it for later when you do eventually learn programming.

On one hand, you have rebasing: you change a commit's parent to the one you want it to be, …