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I just finished staffing a speedrun marathon all weekend. Big Bad Game-a-thon was a neat idea people in the Kusogrande bad game tournament had to put on a marathon exclusively of speedruns and challenge plays of bad games. It was far more successful than we could have possibly dreamed.

A lot of people submitted runs, even people outside the niche of "Bad game" fans that we expected. We ever had some people who knew so many arguably poor quality games that we had to limit the number of submissions we allowed from one person. We managed to fill a 60 hour schedule with runs and have several backup runs on the side; that alone was a shock. Still as we put the word out we expected maybe 50 viewers at peak, nothing huge. Who wanted to see a marathon that intentionally ran bad games after all?

I'd been saddled with graveyard shift for emceeing. My original workload was supposed to be two four hour shifts of being on mic at about 3am local time. I work my own hours and have sleep issues anyway, so I volunteered for the grunt shifts. As the marathon started, though, we realized this was going to be a bigger deal than we thought. We had 200 viewers right from the word go, with the number steadily increasing as the event went on. Whew!

I ended up doing a little of everything: emceeing, chat modding, supporting runner setup, cutting highlights. Then some technical problems arose and I ended up developing some scripts to circumvent them. On top of all of that, I had one scheduled run in the marathon, and when we got so far ahead of schedule we needed to go to bonus runs, I had a second I was unprepared for put in (but it went fine~). In the end I was emcee, chat mod, highlight cutter, coder, technical support, runner setup, and a little bit of administration as the only awake staff member at 3am.

It was a blast. My first emcee shift, I was tense because the bot we had been using to control the marathon was having technical problems and the only person able to reboot it was asleep, but we were able to isolate the cause of the issue and some Twitch API scripting on my part made sure it never happened again; I'm proud of myself for that one. I'm not going to say I "Saved the marathon" or anything, but I'll take some credit for making things run smoothly. The staff even took time to thank me in the finale for my work, so that felt nice.

Downside: I'm tired as hell. I slept maybe 6 hours all weekend, grabbing a few naps during longer runs I found less interesting. I'm going to sleep like a rock when I finally calm down enough to crash.
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Awhile back I changed the colors I use in my speedrun timer. I kind of quickly glossed over how it was for accessibility and to let colorblind individuals be able to more easily tell the difference between splits. After witnessing and being involved in a discussion with some other speedrunners on the topic I thought I'd expand a bit.

Background: What a speedrun timer is, what splits are, etc )

The problem is the colors used by default in speedrun timers aren't very distinguishable for people with certain types of colorblindness. An alternate color set has been floating around the scene for awhile, most recently improved by HalfCoordinated. You can see a showcase of it on his Twitter here. This palette moves 'good' and 'bad' splits further apart on the spectrum to increase hue differentiation, and make it easier for a colorblind person to tell them apart. It also utilizes a feature of LiveSplit to make 'gold' splits appear in a transitioning rainbow.

I took this a step further and proposed adding this more accessible palette to the default layout list in LiveSplit. This was an operation I thought would manifest as a simple pull request to the project's GitHub page, but the developers chimed in with some ideas to even further expand the concept, and this is where the discussion started.

As I said, green, red, and gold is pretty deeply embedded in the community. So embedded, actually, that some people dislike the more accessible palette out of concern that it causes confusion for people who aren't "with it" enough to recognize what the new hues mean. Other criticisms include that colorblind people are used to it already, that colorblind people can use other data in the timer to differentiate (such as the actual split time), and that adding another feature to timers just for the sake of a small audience isn't worth the effort and code bloat.

I'm not here to argue by proxy with these objections, I merely list them to outline my next point: that these objections are exactly why I want the more accessible palette to grow in adoption. Arguably it's NOT a "big deal", colorblind people CAN use additional data to figure out what's going on, and it MAY cause confusion, but all of these concerns are transitional. For me this isn't only about suddenly breaking down a barrier that prevents colorblind people from getting involved in a good run (though it will help!); it's about bringing an issue to the forefront that most people don't think about.

When I changed my split colors to something close to HC's palette above, I got a lot of questions about why from people who had never considered the default was impossible for some people to differentiate. It sparked discussion and thought. This small change, which ultimately only made a small difference to 1 or 2 of my viewers, made 4 or 5 of them think more about accessibility for a moment. Maybe one of them walked away with the understanding that green/red is sub-optimal for accessibility, and will remember that the next time they design something.

It's just colors, and it's just redundant data that can be sussed out via other means if you can't differentiate the hues, and all my viewers understand how my splits work with or without colors, but it's something I have control over that could make more abled people think a little bit more about disability. I guess that's the big deal for me.

That's why I want to see it become the default for more streamers.
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Pointless Mastodon stuff )

That all out of the way, stream stuff I have coming down the pipe... I'm running in Handheld Heroes on Friday. I feel ready for my Rolan's Curse II run, but Dicing Knight is RNG incarnate and the game itself could just decide I will not finish my run. I'm trying to make peace with the fact that I may have my first ever mercy-kill in a speedrunning marathon, but really I'm also practicing backup strats as hard as I can. Nervous, just the same.

After that, I'm going to start a personal streaming project, to break up the monotony of speedruns and such. After all my Four Job Fiesta runs, of which I did four this year, I've had an itch to go back and play other Final Fantasy titles I have in the past, and visit ones I never finished. When I made a list of what I wanted to stream, it basically included every pre-Playstation title, with the exception of 2. So I decided to just stream all of them: 1-6, Mystic Quest, and why not throw in the extended IV gaidens and Tactics.

That's going to be a long project but I don't have to stick to it every stream. I can weave speedrun streams and other stuff between chipping away at it. Besides, it gives me an excuse to code yet another weird stream overlay widget: a custom timer for it. I mean, I won't really need a speedrun timer, but I do want to track how long the journey takes.
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I guess since I'm not quite so hesitant to Just Write Stuff here, maybe I can actually keep track of projects and stuff here. I tried on my site blog but felt like it was spamming really.

At the moment there's really three things on my plate but my time's been short lately because I'm doing some side work to get some things moved around in the house I live in.

First is the writing project. I finally have a fire under my arse about getting moving on that. I'd spent about 3 months researching how to host the dang thing because I didn't really enjoy the idea of using a blog for it because blog engines don't really sort prose (especially serial, chronological prose) in a way that makes it easy to read. I think the solution I came to is a crosspost to Dreamwidth and a engine I wrote from scratch on my site. I could even script it to post to both with one shell script and text file, if I wanted to be that dorky :)

Second is I accidentally became a Rockin' Kats speedrunner, but not a good one. I need to become a good one. It's kind of shocking that in my PB I landed all the tricks and still got a 25:30 VS the 19:15 that is the world record. Six minutes of movement slop to fix. To be fair, the 25 was my 3rd finished run ever, so it's not like it's unexpected.

Finally third is I have yet another marathon on the horizon and will need to derust Shining Soul II and Rolan's Curse II for it. I'm just glad I get to show them off in a marathon because they're neat games and the community for both is basically me and one other person.

So you know, a ton of things and I'll probably finish one of them, as I do. :)
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A thing has been on my mind for a bit. Since I have this space now I figure I'll brain dump on it.

Last week, the Ninja Gaiden II leaderboard added some new rules geared toward making it harder for emulator runners to cheat. This came on the tail of a four hour long debate on what's reasonable to expect of runners, whether emulator makes it too easy to cheat, and if it's fair to expect a higher standard from emulator runners as far as proving they are legit goes. This all started when a run was submitted that the community deemed too good to be legit. The runner, when asked to prove his ability in a live stream, deleted his run and disappeared from the community.

...and so I ramble for 8 paragraphs about speedrun leaderboard rules )

I'm a huge proponent of reducing the amount of stuff displayed over the game. Until now I said I'd fight to the death any requirement to put something in the game window to make your run acceptable but you know what? Requiring the frame counter makes a lot of sense as far as combating TASing and splicing goes. In FCEUX and snes9x-rr it's a giant eyesore, but in Bizhawk it's a very discreet, small number in the corner of the screen. I'm all for it.

Just as long as people stop requiring capturing the window border of the emulator. I've proved that that does absolutely nothing to combat cheating.

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