Tag Archives: handy

Publishing: Hitbit, when design meets retrogaming

We decided to give retrogaming a new look, using quality design and new technology. Retrogaming is a new trend in the game industry, and many adults who used to be gamer kids in the 80’s are out there today waiting for a new old-school game machine in their living rooms. Playing retro games was easy and simple in comparison to the contemporary video games with their advanced technologies and over-complexities.

While those new video games keep attracting many people today, there is also some people who appreciate simplicity and “classiness” of the retro games like still many people today prefer music such as The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. That is why we decided to give retrogaming a new look with quality material and modern design, yet maintaining its vintage feel. And we powered it up with the newest hardware and wireless capabilities: HDMI, Bluetooth, WiFi and 2400 MIPS CPU. All of them with hassle-free configuration and the possibility of emulating thousands of classic games available in single/multi-player mode. It also integrates with modern wireless joypads.

You can find out more at their Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/537956042/hitbit-when-design-meets-retrogaming

Official website: http://designofthings.it

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/designofthingsmilan/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/designofthingsmilan/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou4PMoQMHpE&feature=youtu.be

Review: Mirillis Action v2.7.3 (PC) ~ A Let’s Player Tool.

action-1Mirillis official website

So, you want one tool that can easily record your screen, your gameplay, screenshots, record only sound, stream to Twitch AND record your stream and much more? In the past, I used various tools for that, but ever since I got contacted by the developers of Mirillis Action, I uninstalled most of those tools. Was this a good idea? Is the software good enough to replace them or does the software have holes? Mirillis gave me a review code. The software is usually 30$. So, let’s get right into the review and talk about how this software performs according to me. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion and/or thoughts about the software and/or the content of the article down below.

Specs and such

Before we continue, I should say that I tested this program on two different machines. Both on my laptop I use for classes and my gaming desktop. My laptop is a Lenovo B50-80, the only modification I did was that I changed the standard 8GB RAM into 16GB RAM. I need that much RAM since I have to run 4 or more virtual machines and each VM can use up to 2-ish GB RAM each. And yeah, if I only had 8GB of RAM, I wouldn’t be able to follow the classes.

Before I tell you the specs of my gaming desktop, a computer I built myself with my uncle, I know that the graphics card isn’t the strongest or best in these modern times to play games on; but I’m happy with it. The specs of my gaming desktop are an i7-4820K CPU (3.7 GHz), GeForce GTX 660, 16GB of DDR3 RAM, 128GB Boot SSD and a 3TB HDD for my data. It’s quite a beefy PC in my opinion.

During the time I tested the software, the software updated twice. From v2.7.1 to 2.7.2 and then again to v2.7.3. While the software update crashed on my laptop when updating from v2.7.2 to v2.7.3, it ran fine on my gaming desktop. Probably a hiccup with files that were in use by Windows Update or something. Thankfully, a simple uninstall and reinstall fixed everything.

 The positive aspects.

action-3I can hear some content creator say already, why do we need this tool? What does it have over OBS Studio, which is free? I think a big plus is how clean the interface is when you compare it to OBS.

You can do a lot with OBS, but it’s all buried in menus. When I used OBS for the first time, I was quite confused how to set it up. I had to use a guide to get started. Most features of OBS are hidden in drop-down menus and that’s a real shame.

In addition to having a better-looking UI, a big advantage in Action is that you have a better indication if you are recording or not. The counter is visibly more present than in OBS Studio.

This tool is much more than a streaming and recording tool alone. You can take screenshots and benchmark as well. These are two quite handy features to have. The more I worked with the program, the more I was amazed by how handy this tool is for content creators.

Some neat features are, you can easily cap the framerate the video, you can set a length of time to record, there is a built-in video converter for the recorded videos. I think that this tool will be quite useful when I’m benchmarking a game for a review or when I want to record some gameplay footage to refer to when I’m writing a review.

Something that might make video creators quite happy is the feature that you can record your microphone audio on a separate track. So, when something happens in-game that is quite loud, you can easily edit that out without having your commentary be too silent.

If you need any help with the program, the help button is not too far away. When you use it, the program will display a very to the point help screen. If you still need more help, you have a button that will redirect you to the website with even more information to help you.

There is also support for greenscreen webcam recording. At this moment, I don’t own a good webcam or a green screen, so I wasn’t able to test out this feature. But, from what I read online; it’s pretty good.

The Action RCU app is an amazing feature, but I’ll talk about that more in depth later in the article.

The negative aspects

action-2Now that I talked about all the reasons why I would recommend this software, here are the things that I didn’t like. Keep in mind, these remarks are made about v2.7.3. It’s possible that Mirillis patch or update their software to make these remarks invalid.

When you open Action, it displays by default a box (called the HUD) of what you will record and how many frames per second it takes. The default location for this is rather annoying. It’s in the top right of your screen. While I understand that the box is more visible there, it’s quite annoying when you have apps on full screen. While clicking the box does nothing, I keep thinking it will open the program. So, I try to navigate my mouse around it. I think it would be better if it showed by default in the middle of your screen at the right-hand side. Then, I realize that you can quickly hide it with F6. So, this is a true nitpick.

Something I miss from OBS Studio is a preview of what the video is going to look like. When you boot up OBS Studio, you see what it’s going to record. This is something you don’t see with Action. So, I had to make a test video every time I tried out some new settings.

A nice feature to have is to easily move the output folders at once to another location. In the current version, you must move it feature by feature. If an option is added where you specify a folder to output and Action creates the 4 folders it needs for the output; that would be awesome.

Something that is missing from the video recording & streaming tab, is an option if you want to record system audio. I would move that option from the options menu to the streaming and video recording tab. Since it’s more useful there.

A huge incoming update

Something I wanted to quickly touch upon is that there is going to be a big update in the feature. Action 3.0 will fix almost every negative I have with the program. The new features will include things like a live preview of the video composition and an improved HUD. Let’s not forget to mention that v3 will have StreamLabs support. You can read more about it and give your own suggestions on this Facebook post.

If you already own Action v2, you will be able to freely upgrade to the v3.

The Action RCU Android App

If you have an Android phone and you are a YouTuber or streamer, you are going to love this feature! When you enable Action RCU in the options menu and install the app on your smartphone, you will be able to control parts of the program with your smartphone. Before I forget to mention it, this is a free app! Yep, free.

In the app, you will be able to start and stop recording or streaming. But not only that, you will see the program that Is recording, how much free space is on the drive you are recording too, how many FPS you have and how long you are recording.

This is an amazing additional feature. I would love to see more promotion of this feature. Since this is going to be a selling point for a lot of let’s players and streamers.

If the app gets updated with these few remarks, I think that the app would be even better.

First, I think it’s quite dangerous that you can connect with any computer without giving a password. I think it would a good idea that you must enter a preset password before the connection is made. This password can be set in the program itself in the options menu. This would avoid annoying roommates stopping your recording without you knowing it. Or let the program pair your smartphone with the program and smartphones that aren’t paired, block them until they are paired.

Second, I couldn’t connect at first to my computer. After a bit a troubleshooting, I found out that some firewalls are blocking the app. I use Avast Internet Security now on my gaming desktop. Right after I made the connection, I can enable Avast again and the firewall doesn’t interfere with the app. There is a solution for this. You can whitelist the program in Avast and the problems will stop. On my laptop, I use Avira Free and Windows Firewall and that didn’t have any problems when I allowed it in the Windows Firewall settings.

Third, I think it would be amazing if a button is added in the app to mute the microphone. In addition to that, possibly a “light” that changes when the microphone is active or not.

Four, this might possibly in the pipeline; but create an iOS and Windows Phone version of this feature. Since the smartphone market is more than Android alone. The developers told me that they will first develop a MAC version of the program before they port the app to iOS. This is planned to start production next year.

Update 28/09: so, there is an iOS version of the app. There will be a version for MAC of the actual program possibly next year. Still, I would love to see a version for Windows Phones.

Five, if a limited record time is set, I think it would be lovely to have a countdown timer of some sorts too.

Six, add a screenshot button! Seriously, one that will be something useful to make thumbnails without having to search around in the video afterward.

And last, why not display the key(s) you need to press to pause the recording also in the app?

Apart from the first two remarks, the other remarks are just additions to improve the app and make it more powerful and even more useful than it already is.

Conclusion

Would I recommend this program? Without any doubt in my mind, I would. This program is already a great tool but with some additional features based on the remarks I raised in this article, I think this program can compete with major names like OBS Studio or DXTory. Besides, the program has more features than DXTory and is cheaper.

This powerful tool is cheap in my opinion and I’m glad that Mirillis Team contacted me to look at their software. Since now I’m a proud owner of a great piece of software that’s going to prove useful in class when I record how to enter commands to configure routers and switches but it’s also going to prove useful to create screenshots for my articles.

The program is already worth the asking price, but it can only grow and improve. The developers update this program quite often, so it’s going to only get better from here on out! In my opinion, this is one of the best recording tools out there right now.

There are a lot more than this program can do, so if this program sounds interesting to you; go and check it out. So, that’s everything I wanted to say about this program. Time to wrap up this article.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!

Gamer’s Thoughts: My Dream Con

Eventbrite.png

Not too long ago, I wrote an article about my adventures at various conventions. You can read it here.  Today, I want to talk about something unique. I was inspired to share my dream comic con after learning that Eventbrite has the tools to make an event like this happen.Today, I’m going to talk about my dream con. Well, not only my own dream con. I asked a few other bloggers for some ideas and suggestions and I have put in their answers in this article. Also, if you are interested in organizing your own event, seriously take a look at this page of Eventbrite. It’s their management page and it will make organizing an event a lot easier! So, without any further ado, let’s talk about my dream convention. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the article and/or your own dream convention.

Where would it take place?

Honestly, I’m not a specialist on this. I could talk about some places I went to where conventions took place like the Excell Centre in London or the “Heizel” in Brussels, Belgium.

Seriously, the Heizel is extremely large. But, I think it’s not really good for conventions with a lot of panels. But, I have only been in parts of the buildings, so I can’t really judge that. I honestly thought that the Excel Centre in London was better for that.

Thankfully, somebody who has more knowledge on the subject gave me an interesting answer. From the guys at GeekOut South-West, I present this answer that came from Joel, one of the writers on that site:

Without question the best venue I’ve ever been to is the Warwick art centre. I think Tim would agree to that. So far as guests go, mostly I’m in it for the other con goers so I leave it to others for good examples

And then Tim, also from GeekOut South-West, replied with:

In my view, Excel has nothing on Warwick Art Centre. Excel is big and seriously impressive! However it’s… Just space. It’s good to cram things into. The WAC is just a stunning university campus, which has space should you/a person need it. There’s rooms with all the facilities you could ever need and the people who run it genuinely care.

If ya’ll hadn’t guessed, I agree with Joel

Also, Kim from LaterLevels got a suggestion:

My favourite venue in the UK is the NEC in Birmingham. I get what Tim said about places like this just being ‘a space’ but I love how enormous it feels; and every expo I’ve been to there has had a great vibe. Alternatively, I quite like the Tobacco Dock. There’s a bit of history there and it’s a gorgeous venue – plus it’s in London and so easy for me to get to!

Who/what would be at your dream comic con?

Kim from LaterLevels replied this:

My dream con would have an area solely dedicated to adventure games: point-and-clicks, walking sims, anything heavily story-based. I also like the ‘Leftfield Collection’ areas at the EGX and Rezzed expos, where you get to meet new devs who are usually there with their first projects. They tend to be more ‘experimental’ than other games on show.

Seriously Kim? This was going to be part of my reply too. I honestly feel that games like the point-and-click don’t get enough love on cons. At most conventions, it is all the flashy games that steal the show. Yet, I want to go one step further.

I would love to have a underappreciated games genres corner. Visual novels, RTS, dungeon crawlers, indie games… I think it would be lovely to show the underdog some love from time to time.

If I would be allowed to organize a con, and allowed to forget reality for a second, I would honestly love to invite the smaller blogs/YT channels as “press”. Since I think that they would be able to grow so much with the opportunities presented to them then. Otherwise, the big blogs and big YT channels might steal all the thunder away.

Yet, in reality, I know that such a thing isn’t possible. So, I would try and make sure that the smaller YT channels and smaller bloggers get some equal attention and exclusive things to promote on their channel or blog.

Something I would love is a healthy mixture of old school and new games. I honestly think that a convention dedicated to gaming instead of one subsection of gamers would be popular. I would go even a bit further. I would love to focus the con at giving people the chance to learn about old games, new games and share games and knowledge around. I would also love to have a sort of garage sale-y thing to happen. So, new and old games can be sold, bought and traded. That would make the inner collector in me happy.

Who would you like to meet? 

So, I told you guys earlier that I asked answers to other bloggers. Well, Kim from LaterLevels told me this:

As for who I’d like to meet there… Peter Molyneux! I know that’s a pretty controversial answer but I admire his ambition (even if he doesn’t always pull it off), and I’ve always wanted to meet him. It would also be good to see Dr Mick Donegan, the founder of SpecialEffect – I’ve met him before and he’s so lovely, his enthusiasm for helping others is infectious.

So, this quite an interesting answer. Personally, I would love to meet some of the developers I had the pleasure of meeting through emails. I have written quite a few articles about indie games and learned that some developers actually live in countries pretty close to mine. So, I think it would be awesome to meet them.

Other people, I would like to meet are the people I got to know in the blogosphere. We are becoming such close friends and I would love to meet up with them and just hang out. Play a game with them, grab something to eat and things like that.

In terms of people from the gaming industry, I would love to be able to meet Shigeru Miyamoto, if at all possible. I have so much respect for the guy. All the work he did for the gaming industry just blows my mind. I want to personally thank him for all the memories he created for all of us. I don’t want to go and interview him or be a big fanboy (which, to be honest, I am), I want to thank him as a fan and as an admirer of his work. But, I want to keep it professional and respectful towards him. Maybe one autograph might not hurt.

Wrapping up

That will be my dream convention. A place where everybody can have fun. Where retro gamers would meet “new school” gamers. Also, thank you again to my blogger friends for adding their own replies to the mix. They made this article more interesting to write. But, now I’m quite curious what your favorite conventions are. I can’t wait to read about them in the comment section down below.

Also, thank you again to my blogger friends for adding their own replies to the mix. They made this article more interesting to write. But, now I’m quite curious what your favorite conventions are. I can’t wait to read about them in the comment section down below.

As always, thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another blog but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.