RPG Research Suspending Most Live Streaming
Until we can acquire additional on-site studio hardware, Internet bandwidth, staff or re-train existing staff
Beginning January 25th, 2021, you will no longer see live broadcasts from RPG Research for the foreseeable future.
This will likely last a minimum of a month, and may extend beyond that depending on how long i takes for Hawke to budget replacement equipment.
We _will_ continue all of our weekly meetings, research programs, community programs, talk show recordings with special guest speakers, online meetings, and more. They will all be recorded, but we don't know when we will have the trained staff, broadcast hardware, or Internet bandwidth to get them out to the public.
This also means we will be much quieter on social media postings, focusing on generally only posting on social media our research blog updates.
RPG Research normally streams on average 6 to 12 streams per week. We have anywhere from 6 to 20 meetings, events, community activities, fundraisers, entertaining actual play game sessions, talk shows, or other programs in any given week. Sharing openly all of our training, gaming, research, talk show, and other content freely via our Youtube.com/rpgresearch, Twitch.tv/rpgresearch, Patreon.com/rpgresearch, and other sources, including extensive social media posting of our content.
For now we will only be posting content to our main website and Patreon.
Due to our broadcast studio hardware being insufficient to keep up with the multitasking load of both videoconferencing, broadcasting, and recording, our existing broadcast system can only handle one or two of the tasks, not all three. This means all of our broadcasts the past few weeks have been unbearably glitchy.
Additionally, we having trouble getting enough broadband upstream for the increased streaming Mbps from Youtube and Twitch recently, so our streams are dropping and buffering a lot now. This is in part due to the weak broadcast system hardware, but also a budget issue for the upstream connection through Comcast. It is currently $160/mo for the (max) 15 Mbps upstream. We had temporarily upgraded to the most we could get upstream, 35 Mbps, but that was over $400 month. Since the studio is still in our founders home, he pays all the Internet costs (we don't use any donor money for the Internet connection)., and he was not able to sustain that higher rate.
We will not be able to upgrade our bandwidth until we can afford a new facility. The new computer hardware should make it possible to broadcast again, but on a more limited basis. We often have several simultaneous video conferencing meetings, and community programs, running on the same backbone, so we will only be able to stream (after the improved hardware and staffing/training), when not overlapping with other community programs and meetings.
We are working on getting a stronger system for our studio to address this, but it will be a few weeks before the hardware aspect is resolved.
Meanwhile, only two of RPG Research's staff actually have enough technical skill to setup, adjust, customize, troubleshoot, and use our studio lighting sound equipment, Open Broadcast Studio software, etc., those are Hawke Robinson (our founder) and Dan Ivey (GM 1 and artist). Everyone else can just manage to stop and start streams and go on breaks, but if anything isn't working perfectly smoothly, without Hawke or Dan available, things go very awry. Also we keep having incidents of volunteers accidentally breaking the studio equipment lighting, recording, and computer equipment when they try to adjust things to their desired layout changes without Hawke or Dan there. All of that equipment is owned by our founder and we are given free use of it all, but he cannot currently afford to keep replacing the damaged equipment.
Also, due to lack of technical staff, with Hawke so busy for now, we do not have anyone to handle the video editing and upload of the recorded sessions. We are going to keep recording all of our ongoing sessions, but we don't know how many months it may be before they are uploaded.