The Animation of Mega Man – Video Game Animation Study

The Animation of Mega Man by Video Game Animation Study on YouTube

An extremely insightful and fun look at how Mega Man’s movement and animation has and has not changed in 30 years. I really enjoyed the wide range of games, remakes, ports, and whatnot that they looked at in this study. I was surprised that Mega Man 9 and Mean Man 10 were not included, but that could be due to the fact Capcom co-developed those games with Inti Creates. Nevertheless, there is a rich well of animation history to dig through here. It was a blast to watch while work videos exported.

Craig Mod’s “Where are all the Nightingales?”: A 30-day Kumano Walk and Newsletter

Where are all the Nightingales? Day Two by Craig Mod

About twenty minutes into my walk today, I saw an old man leading a group of even older women in front of a small temple. Come come, he motioned to me.

Placing his head uncomfortably close to mine we peeked through the temple window, and in pidgin English he began to explain the dark interior. It wasn’t making much sense, so I cut in in Japanese saying, Oh this is the famous jizo temple, yes? And just like that he flipped to fluent Japanese, breaking down the various bodhisattvas and buddhas enshrined along with the jizo.

Damn, I love this road, I told him as his gang of ladies listened from a safe distance. I’ve walked a bunch of Japan and this road is so quiet and oddly well preserved.

And he said, Yes yes, this wasn’t firebombed during the war like the industrial areas north of here. So this road — the Ise Kaidō — is in good shape.

Craig started this walk just two days ago as of this writing. Even this short into the journey, I have found these daily newsletters stirring. There is warm nostalgic glow for a place I have never been to. The way Craig is using technology to bring the quietness of Japan is comforting. His photos, to me, are finding subtle beauty in what is likely just background noise to local people. 

Day Two’s newsletter in particular reminded me of A Graveyard of Fireflies, which is quite a way to start my morning. Not in a somber way, but in grounded, realized way.

If you’d like to read, see, and watch (he’s doing binaural 4K videos too) while Craig is on the walk, you can sign up here. Once the walk is over, Craig is just deleting everyone’s email from this list. One and done.

This particular project of Craig’s has me thinking about the world of newsletters and how they have reemerged (not that Craig is new to this at all), but that’s a post for another time.

Hunting for a New Microphone – Wave 3 Thoughts and Impressions

It’s time to upgrade my microphone and recording set up. I’ve been rocking a Blue Yeti for nearly 8 years. Now that I’m back in the podcast game with a personal focus (i.e. obsession) on quality, I wanted to finally bite the bullet and upgrade to a “real” microphone. Torn between two options, I hemmed and hawed over which microphone to buy. At the beginning, I was lured in by the sleek hardware over there at Elgato.

Elgato want to be the one stop shop for live streaming, recording, studio design, etc. They have practically everything one may need, including the Wave 1 and Wave 3 microphones. I’m a big fan and user of Elgato’s capture cards and I own a Cam Link 4K. When they announced their Wave line of microphones last summer, I kept them in the back of my mind, curious how they worked.

I’ve seen the mics everywhere. All of Kinda Funny seems to be using them. Sponsored streamers pop up in my Twitter feed on the daily. The Wave 3 in particular has some nifty sounding features. “Clipguard” to keep you from distorting audio when you get hype. A cardioid pattern mic, which just means it focuses on the sound in front of the mic more than to the sides or behind. It also has USB-C, auxiliary out for real time monitoring, and a capacitive mute switch for silent muting. Pretty solid on paper and all for $160. After asking some friends that have a Wave 3 and hearing their positive experience, I went ahead and snagged a Wave 3 with its proprietary pop filter and shock mount, bringing the total to roughly $220~.

Before talking more about my experience with the Wave 3, I need to share one more tidbit about the Wave 3. The other major focus on the product page is a software program called Wave Link. This is essentially Elgato’s crack a digital mixer. It reminds me of Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack or Loopback. This software is what completely ruined the Wave 3 for me.

No where on the page (as far as I could tell) does Elgato share the most important fact about the Wave 3 and Wave Link: The microphone will not work without the software. Not even under System Requirements (Settings for you Windows 10 users)!

“Why is this a problem,” you may be asking me through the screen, “Aren’t you just using your own computer?”

Well, no I’m not just using one computer. That’s not the main issue, but it is a significant one. This automatically means travel with the mic is contingent on the computer wherever I go. It means it won’t work on an iPhone or iPad, despite the USB-C connection, since it can’t run the software.

The bigger issue is the dependency on the software. I plugged the mic in before installing software, simply because I assumed Wave Link was optional. I chose the mic as my input and output and got bupkis. It simply requires this Wave Link to work on macOS or Windows 10.

This means the mic’s entire future is dependent on software support from Elgato. I’ve rocked my Blue Yeti for 8 years, zero software. I’ve had an Elgato Game Capture HD since 2013, it still works. But my new Elgato 4K60S+ doesn’t have compatibility with the Mac (I knew this when I bought it). Looking at Elgato’s position in the streaming market, under Corsair ownership, I’m not entirely confident in rock solid or equal macOS support for the next decade.

Bringing it back to the present, the software they have delivered today in 2021 is just not good for standard recording projects. To hear yourself and the audio through your computer, you have to balance a mix between PC audio and mic input. The two sources are intertwined: No independent slider for the mic or the computer. This mixed slider is also a dial on the mic, but it stifles the computer audio if you go below 100% PC output on the mix. The dedicated volume controls on my computer are separate making the computer sound muffled and restrained in my headphones. I just want to hear myself and my computer simultaneously, no software fuss. Maybe 8 years of the Yeti just doing this with its volume knob and my laptop volume has trained my brain. There’s an allure of simplicity and function in the physical knob on the Yeti (really just physical knobs and switches in general) that makes this process easy.

I did record one show with the Wave 3. It was delivered roughly 90 minutes before I had to record. There is no rush quite like setting up a brand new mic that you have zero familiarity with before having to record. With my minimal (self-inflicted) time to fiddle, the recording sounded great! Definitely a step up from my Yeti. It did seem catch different sounds of the echo in my office, no foam in here. No complaints as far as the actual quality.

I did have the gain low—real low. My co-hosts that evening said I was coming in softly, which isn’t ideal for them. Possibly further tweaking on my end could have corrected that.It definitely helped emphasis some of my poor mic etiquette—mouth noises, little pops, breathing—all the sounds folks love to hear in their ears. This is good to be more aware of, as the speaker, so I can focus on getting better at not making those sounds.

Despite the nice sounding quality, my gut said that a software reliant microphone was the wrong call for me, especially considering the financial investment and how long I would want to get out of whatever microphone I bought.

So what did I buy? After Amazon refunded me, I turned around and bought the Shure Beta 87A microphone to use with my H6 Zoom. I have had my eye on this microphone for years, thanks to the Mega-Review from Marco Arment. This is probably what most people picture in their mind when they hear the word “microphone.” It uses an XLR cable, which is why I have to run it through the H6 Zoom to my computer. The H6 can act as a USB interface for the microphone. I do want to get a dedicated interface (I already have my eyes on one), but I already own the H6 so it will tide me over until I can buy dedicated hardware.

My initial tests of the Shure Beta 87A sound great. I’m actually recording the next episode of The Max Frequency Podcast soon and can’t wait to give it a real test run. I did have some issues setting it up. I made the mistake of running the XLR cable right by at least three power supplies tucked under my desk. This lead to hisses, pops, and cracks in the audio. I rerouted all the audio cables to the side and made sure they were far away from power cables.

In the end, the Wave 3 just was not for me. That’s not to say it is a bad mic or won’t work for you. If I had known up front that the Wave 3 required software, I never would have bought it. Software dependency is not something I’m down with for a microphone. It did help that I did not care for the implementation of the software either. The Wave 3 seems like a great fit for streamers and people looking for a decent mic to set up quickly. Call me old fashioned, but I just want my mic to work without dependency on software.

Episode 6: That’s Why They Call Me a Podcast Killer with Casey Liss

Casey Liss from ATP and Analog(ue) joins me this time on The Max Frequency Podcast. We chat about how preserving ones and zeros is harder than you may think, flying drones, and celebrating working for yourself. Then Casey asks me about my own joby job.

Continue reading “Episode 6: That’s Why They Call Me a Podcast Killer with Casey Liss”

Tom Olsen Celebrates Metal Gear Solid 2’s 20th Anniversary Early

Tom Olsen Twitter Account

Do you know what day it is today?

Another day, another dollar

via Twitter

I highly recommend starting at the beginning and following the month-long journey. What a perfectly Kojima-inspired way to celebrate Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. And, honestly, a good look at how the message of the game still rings true to this day.

I have really enjoyed following the Big Shell Incident through Tom’s eyes. Maybe I’ll revisit the Big Shell myself before too long.