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Topics - ProdigySim

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Videos & Media / Who's that pokemon?
« on: February 03, 2012, 04:03:01 pm »

Videos & Media / Video Quality Guide
« on: January 29, 2012, 11:48:03 am »
or "5 Tips for Better Video Quality"

I didn't have time to spice this up but I figured it was worth reposting.

1. Turn off mat_monitorgamma_tv_enabled when recording
This isn''t a huge deal, but might help keep your videos from looking washed out. I add gamma in post to pretty much every video I make, but this is a pretty standard practice when doing video editing anyway. Try to get as realistic of a source as possible and add more junk in post.

2. Disable frame resampling!
When you render/encode your video and send it to youtube, you only need 30fps. If you have source footage with a higher framerate, you''ll need to convert it to 30fps somehow. By default, most video editors will "resample" your video, blending frames together to get 30fps. This can sometimes make footage look good, but most often you''re going to lose sharpness/detail on your video as a result. BRB BOWFLEXIN` makes some really good videos that use frame-blend resample. purple and mason generally use drop-frame conversion for pretty vids.

IMO, the best option is to simply use a drop-frame framerate conversion instead. This is done in Sony Vegas by disabling resampling.
Tutorial: Vegas Resample disabling Tutorial <--

Pause at random points during these two videos and you will see the difference: (Sorry I don''t have equivalent comparison videos)
1. 720p with frame-blend resampling.
2. 720p with no resampling (drop frame).
As you can see, the frame blending looks far less sharp. (TODO: Add a good comparison video)

3. Make your final video 1920x1072
This has been fixed by YouTube and is no longer an issue! Feel free to upload full 1080p now.
So, this is an odd one. If you''re uploading to youtube, 1920x1072 comes out WAY better than 1920x1080. There''s a note about it on some support docs somewhere, but it''s hard to find.
Check these out:
This image is from a 1920x1080 video uploaded to youtube. (Source)
This image is from the same video, but 4 pixels were taken off the top and the bottom (total of 8 taken off) of the video before it was uploaded. Much clearer. (Source)

This likely has something to do with their encoder splitting the image up into 16x16 chunks. Since 1080 isn''t divisible by 16, it may be squeezing the image in some way or another for some part of the encode *shrug*

Also, using 1080p instead of 720p is preferrable. I''ve always been somewhat dissatisfied with the quality when I upload 720p videos--I feel like maybe youtube makes better 720p encodes when you upload a 1080p video. Shrug again.

4. Add motion blur if possible.

When I was working on amalgam, I was testing out a bunch of different rendering/encoding options. I tested out different motion blur settings using a constant quality encode with x264 (actually --crf 18). As I turned up motion blur settings and used more sensitive motion blurs, the bitrate of the output video decreased. The motion blur was actually *simplifying* the video for the encoder.

Motion Blur has a dual purpose. Yes, it looks cool/pretty, but it also makes the video stream simpler for the encoder to encode. Encoders like x264 are able to compress video in large part by simplifying high-motion segments of video, and encoding them at lower bitrates. By adding in motion blur, we actually help the encoder complete this task.

So, tl;dr there: Adding motion blur will let Youtube''s encoder preserve your video''s quality better.

There''s some free motion blur available like MVTools, but the best quality motion blur is hands-down ReelSmart Motion Blur. It''s available for Sony Vegas 10+, After Effects, and many other editors. I use its default settings, and it really makes great looking motion blur.

Just a warning, adding motion blur WILL increase your render/encode times by a large amount. I like to add RSMB to my vegas projects via Track FX, so I can toggle it on and off easily before I do renders.

5. Do the highest quality encode you can stand to wait for.
I''ve messed around with a bunch of encode settings--trying to mimic Youtube''s encodes, various profiles, etc. There''s no magic bullet here. Youtube *WILL* re-encode your video no matter what. So, just try to create the highest quality input for it to work with. Giving it a lower quality encode doesn''t really help at all.

My personal workflow is something like the following:
Use Source Recorder to create TGAs + wav at a steady framerate.
Use VirtualDub to create a lossless Lagarith AVI from TGAs+wav, then delete the source files.
Use Vegas to do editing with a bunch of lossless files, edit in full 1080p @ 30fps.
Export from Vegas to lossless Lagarith again, at full 1920x1080.
Use AVISynth to do the final top+bottom 4 pixel crop, and feed that into MeGUI to do a final encode.
x264 high/unrestricted profile, --crf 18, Very Slow setting. Lame -V0 audio. Muxed to MP4 or mkv.

Rendering (with motion blur) takes about 30 minutes per minute of video footage for me... Encoding takes about twice that amount.

I can do some more in-depth guides on any of these topics if people have interest. I just wanted to cover some of the most important aspects with this guide.


Examples: Resampling Options and Motion Blur
Resampling + Motion Blur Test 1920x1072
Uploaded at 1920x1072. The source video was full 1080p @ 60fps. You can decide for yourself which style looks best. YMMV.
See Also: 720p 1080p.

Added bonus! - Basic Vegas project/render settings + my x264 settings from megui

See other posts below for more goodies.

General / Desktop screenshots
« on: January 27, 2012, 07:24:04 pm »
so I finally made my desktop not look like shit so I thought I'd recreate this dumb thread

Edit: and laptop

General / Lerp Guide v2.3.4c
« on: January 23, 2012, 05:09:49 pm »
The Lerp Guide v2.3.4c
by ProdigySim and Don

What is Interpolation?

Interpolation was meant to help keep gameplay smooth even when packet loss occurs, or when waiting between update packets.

When using an interpolation value of 100 ms, the game state you see (all player/object positions) is an interpolated game state that pulls from:
  • The most recently received game state (last update/tick)
  • The game state from 100 milliseconds ago

Essentially, this is going to mean that with cl_interp 0.1, what you see is going to be 100 ms behind the latest game state you received. Add on a ping of 50, and your client is behind the server by a full 150 ms every time it gets an update.

What does interpolation affect?

Your average player isn't going to care much about messing with interpolation values at all, but in competitive play it can be very important.
  • How early/late you can deadstop (and where the hunter or jockey appears to be when you do)
  • How near or far you appear to be to a Survivor when you scratch or punch them (See: Tank Long Arms)
  • How much time you have to skeet/deadstop something before its tongue/charge/pounce/punch lands
  • How much things will move if you DO start losing packets
  • How smooth things will look on a frame to frame basis

Basically, lerp can play a lot of different important roles in melee-ranged situations. Most players will benefit from adjusting their lerp from the default value. Note that your lerp value has nothing to do with whether you actually DO lose packets or not. That's controlled by network conditions entirely. Interpolation is just one solution to combat the jerkiness caused by lost packets and by the wait between packets.

So, an interpolation setting of 0 will make you lose smoothness (most people report jerky commons and SI), but it will give you the most current game state possible on your ping, and usually give you more time to deadstop hunters and whatnot.

What should I set my interpolation to?

In general, you want a lerp that's lower than the default of 100 ms. Some people switch their lerp when changing between survivor and infected side, but any forms of lerp toggling are usually frowned upon. Current Confogl configs watch for lerp changes and announce them, and leagues and tournaments are developing rules about lerp changes.

For Survivor play you are always going to want a lower lerp.
The maximum value generally people use is 67 ms, and the lowest is 0 ms.
Other popular settings: 10 ms, 16.7 ms, 20 ms, 33 ms, 38 ms, 40 ms.

It's important to note that the time between ticks on l4d2 is 33 ms, so we basically see a split in preferring < 1 tick of interpolation and > 1 tick of interpolation. Theoretically, many of these values are redundant, and only make tiny differences in what you see on your screen and how the server calculates your position and your hits.

For infected, higher lerp values can often be useful, as survivors generally run away from SI. Usually a survivor is going to make sure he/she is just out of the tank's reach. But, if the tank is using high interpolation, he won't see the survivor start to move for an extra 100+ ms. When using lerps extremely high, such as 400 ms or 500 ms, this problem is exacerbated greatly. The same phenomenon occurs when other special infected scratch survivors.
Confogl blocks lerps higher than 100 ms for this reason.

In general, though, you can still do everything you need to do as Infected with 0 ms, so it's recommended that you set your lerp to a value you're comfortable with on Survivor side.
Also, pouncing or charging another player will get harder the higher your lerp is, because the survivor position you see will not match up with the server's model. You will find more often that you pounced/charged right through a survivor and didn't hit.

How do I set my interpolation?

Your interpolation value (lerp) is determined by the following formula based on your client cvars:

Code: [Select]
min( max( cl_interp, cl_interp_ratio / cl_updaterate ), 0.5f )
To put this in english:
Your cl_interp value is limited to a minimum value of cl_interp_ratio / cl_updaterate and a maximum of 0.5 (500 ms), and is set by the cl_interp cvar value.
Note that for example cl_interp 0.04 results in 40 ms lerp.

When setting your lerp, a good idea is to set your cl_updaterate as high as possible, your cl_interp_ratio as low as possible, and then your cl_interp to what you actually want. This will minimize the value of the cl_interp_ratio/cl_updaterate-imposed limit and let you pick what you want for interp.

For example, I use 16.7 lerp, and my autoexec contains the following

Code: [Select]
rate 30000
cl_cmdrate 100
cl_updaterate 100     
cl_interp 0.0167
cl_interp_ratio -1   // actual value will clamp to the minimum value allowed by the current server

Normal servers allow 60 updaterate and a minimum interp ratio of 1. Confogl servers lock updaterate to 30 and allow interp ratio 0. This kind of a setting covers both bases.

Note that as you can see from the code, it is normally also advised to increase your rate setting to the L4D2 maximum of 30000, which tells the server that you can receive up to 30000 bytes/s which every normal connection nowadays should be able to handle. I also like to keep my cl_cmdrate value the same as my cl_updaterate, although due to engine limitations it technically doesn't make a difference whether you use 30 or 100 cmdrate.

If you use this snippet, edit the value for cl_interp as you wish depending on which lerp you want to use.
Note that on regular servers such as VALVe's official dedicated servers, the minimum lerp you will be able to use is 16.7

So what lerp should I use?

If you are still unsure what lerp to use after reading the guide until here, I would recommend you to stick with the 16.7 lerp for now. If you see too many jerky animations, increase it until you feel comfortable with them. A lerp above 50 ms should give most users completely smooth common infected animations.

Lerp on Net Graph

The source network graph will show your your lerp value somewhere in the middle. See for picture.

This value is going to be your calculated final lerp value in most cases. i.e. this value will be the calculated result of the min/max formula above. This can be useful in determining if your interp-related cvars are set correctly.

The COLORS on the net graph are mostly useless to be honest. All they do is make people misread the TF2 Network Graph article and spread stupid rumors like:

Quote from: Uninformed Moron
35 on Valve servers is orange, which is okay. That represents a warning of possible lost packets. Yellow IS lost packets.

I learned all of this from word of mouth and decided to ignore all existing literature on the subject.

Yellow Lerp: The server's framerate is such that its own internal update interval is less than your interpolation time. Usually L4D2 servers calculate 30 frames per second, so, again, anything below 33 ms will show up as yellow on a Valve Official/default dedicated server. Of course, your interpolation value will still work just fine. It will just look yellow on network graph. :|

Orange Lerp: Your interpolation value is set to less than 2 / updaterate. This condition can only appear while the Yellow lerp condition is not triggered. This is also completely bullshit. It's basically a warning that when you lose packets, you'll probably see entities jump around. The value they use (2 / updaterate) Is not completely arbitrary. If you actually set your interpolation value to 2 / cl_updaterate or above, you'll have 2 extra buffer packets in your interpolation range in case any update packet ever gets lost.
Again Orange lerp is all about "What if I lose packets?" It's only a warning that entities may jump around if a packet is lost.

Neither yellow or orange lerp on network graph are indicators of packet loss or any other network issues.
If you have yellow lerp, asking the server admin to turn up the server framerate is a good idea. In practice, neither of those conditions really matter at all.

Questions and Myths about lerp

Quote from: Random Player
Shouldn't I set my lerp so it's close to my ping?

No, lerp has nothing to do with ping. Lerp is merely for creating smooth animations.
The server knows about your current ping and always automatically corrects your hitboxes when calculating hits server-side.

Quote from: Random Player
Won't my hitboxes be more inaccurate the higher my lerp is? I can even see the difference If I enable the hitboxes!

No, the hitboxes you can see with sv_showhitboxes are the server-side hitboxes. When the server calculates whether you hit a shot or not, it knows not only about your current ping but also about your current lerp and moves the server-side hitboxes of other players back in time to correct this offset.

Quote from: Random Player
Don't I need to time my deadstop differently depending on the ping or lerp of the target hunter? Don't hunters with higher lerp screw me up?

No, the pounce hit detection from hunter and jockey as well as the charge hit detection are different from the melee hit detection of scratches or tank punches. No matter what ping/lerp a hunter, jockey or charger uses, you always have to time your skeet/deadstop/level/dodge exactly the same. Your timing only depends on your own ping and lerp.

Quote from: Random Player
My Lerp is a funny color in net_graph! I'm losing packets! ABANDON SHIP! You broke my game ProdigySim!

No. Lerp cannot cause packet loss. See above section on colors.

Experiences and extensive testing of several players from the community

Announcements / Forums defaced again, back up now.
« on: January 19, 2012, 12:07:18 pm » was defaced again today by Blade, who used an FTP account which was left in for him.

It is my fault for not locking down security when I started working on, but I have to say I didn't think Blade would do anything again. Last I heard he expressed interest on helping put the site back up.

We're working on locking down security, and meanwhile most of the site's files have been restored from a backup. Some of our addons are not yet working, but this will be fixed shortly.

Thanks for your patience, and we're sorry this happened.

Feedback & Suggestions / Recent Posts or Recent Topics?
« on: January 17, 2012, 01:31:58 am »
So, I'm messing around with this new portal layout, kind of trying to emulate the old L4DNation.

I know some people complained about the "recent posts" thing blade had on his l4dnation, but some people found it more useful.

Anyway, I've configured this to be "recent topics," which should be like the old old old l4dnao/l4ndation "recent threads" feature--where the topics which have been most recently posted in show up on top.

The main difference between "Recent posts" and "recent topics" is that with "Recent Posts" you'll get multiple posts listed from the same thread, and with recent topics you won't get this.

Vote in poll plox

Videos & Media / Testing video embedding
« on: January 16, 2012, 04:48:19 pm »
Here's some unposted videos from the past few days

Luck on the Parish Finale

keen observation fever & bow


Announcements / Welcome to L4DNation rev. 3!
« on: January 13, 2012, 10:53:27 pm »
Hopefully this time we can do it right!

We'll be working hard over the next few days to get settings, moderators, admins, and modifications set up. Please be patient if the site isn't working properly.

If you can think of any boards that need creating, think that you need admin/mod status, or want to help out in some other way (banner/layout?), please don't hesitate to contact either me or BRB Bowflexin` through these forums or steam.

Thanks so much and have a good time!

Viva la L4D!

- ProdigySim

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A dedicated community website to competitive L4D and L4D2, ran by the community, for the community. L4DNation supports all continents of play and focuses on bringing together the community as a whole to a central hub of information.