The Shamecast: Grand Theft Auto V

By Shamus Posted Sunday Mar 4, 2018

Filed under: Notices 48 comments

Last Wednesday I did an hour long stream of Grand Theft Auto V. We drove around the city, fussed over environment detail, talked about the walk cycles of pedestrians, discussed the tricks used to make storefront facades look believable, looked at environment maps, analyzed different sidewalk textures, got excited about the dynamic day / night transitions, and killed hundreds and hundreds of people.

I’ve uploaded the video to YouTube for those of you who missed the stream.

Link (YouTube)

This was actually really fun. I was always worried that streaming would be stressful, but this was pretty chill. I guess it helped that only 40 people showed up, so I didn’t have the anxiety of learning to stream in front of a huge crowd. It felt more like hanging out with a small group of friends and talking about games. (There were 40+ people, but only a handful participated in chat, so still felt like a small group.)

I’m not going to commit to making this a regular thing, but I do plan to try it again this week. Wednesday night at 6pm eastern time / 11pm GMT.

Stuff I’m working on:

  1. The framerate was too choppy. I ran some tests, and according to Twitch my internet connection is just fine, so the choppy performance was certainly due to my computer’s lack of power. I’m going to work on making it smoother. That means making the game window a little smaller.
  2. Since the game window is smaller, we’re going to have some empty space in the frame above my face. So I’m going to put the chat window there. This way you can see what I’m reading. (Which isn’t always clear, because viewers are on a 5-10 second delay and the thing I’m answering may have scrolled off by then.) This will also make it so that people watching the VOD on YouTube will be able to follow both sides of the conversation.
  3. I’m going to fiddle with the lights a bit. I’m not going to blast myself in the face with studio lights or anything (yuck, I have no idea how people can play like that) but I’ll see if I can add some illumination so my face is lit by more than the monitor and my keyboard.

I’ll probably keep doing this until I get bored of it. See you there.


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48 thoughts on “The Shamecast: Grand Theft Auto V

  1. Anonymous says:

    FYI, the video really starts at the 3 minute mark. Before is just technical.

  2. The Rocketeer says:

    I’ll probably keep doing this until I get bored of it. See you there.

    Funnily enough, this is almost exactly what you said about DM of the Rings.

    1. General Karthos says:

      So I’m not the only one who immediately thought of that.

  3. Zak McKracken says:

    My recommendation is something like this:
    (of course, there’s a million similar models available from any other furniture place…)

    It doesn’t blind you, but it provides some pretty light, especially in combintion with a low white ceiling, and/or standing in front of a white wall. It’s above your normal plane of view, so it shouldn’t affect you at all standing next to the desk (and behind the monitor plane, so it doesn’t shine on the screen, either).

    1. This is a way better solution (just point it at wall or ceiling, can mount it almost anywhere)

      1. Zak McKracken says:

        I politely disagree. The small lamp doesn’t make a lot of light (88 Lumen) — just about noticeable if you point it directly at your face, and with a large floor uplight (so that’s what Ikea calls them?!) you could easily have 1500 Lumen. Way easier to outshine your monitor.
        I’ve shot portraits with one of these, and while a single one of these is certainly not enough to light the whole room properly (if you want to read a book, you should sit close to it), it makes faces look way better than the main ceiling lamp would, since you get some semi-diffuse light directly from the lamp (not blinding since the source is spread out a bit), plus the more diffuse light coming off ceiling and wall.

        1. ayegill says:

          Sigh… What’s uplight?

    2. Echo Tango says:

      If Shamus got some yellow safety glasses from the local hardware store, and a tripod-mounted floodlights (from the same store ,naturally), he could have his face well-lit, and not go blind!

  4. Leipävelho says:

    I missed the live show and was hoping you’d upload it on Youtube.

    1. Echo Tango says:

      Twitch makes it easy to save a copy of videos for posterity. I came in at the last 5-10 minutes, and just re-watched the video the next day. :)

  5. Ermel says:

    Thanks for uploading. My connection and/or computer are really too slow for livestreams, but I’m looking forward to watching the *cough*downloaded*cough* video tonight.

    1. JC Degtyarev says:

      Seconding this, really appreciate the youtube upload. I work overnights so the only time I’m awake and able to watch streams is when no one else is awake. I rather enjoyed the hour of dicking around and commentary.

  6. Ryan says:

    What streaming software are you using? I’m guessing it’s probably OBS?

  7. Brian Sniffen says:

    Could be your computer. Totally could. But in a household of techies and other devices downloading stuff, I would think hard about bufferbloat issues and your router.

    The cheap check: if your machine is the only thing on the network, does it smooth out? Is it smooth for a few seconds, then chops?

    1. Good point.

      @Shamus, could you do a local recording with OBS and see if that is choppy or not?

      1. Shamus says:

        I’ve changed a ton of settings since the stream last week. Window sizes, layouts, codecs… Right now my recordings look pretty smooth, but that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison.

        We’ll see what happens on Wednesday.

        1. default_ex says:

          It looks to be something on your end since the YouTube video is relatively smooth in comparison with the stream. Looks like either your computer was choking or your router is being overloaded with traffic. If what you’ve done doesn’t help, setting up QoS rules to prioritize your stream makes a huge difference if your computer can keep up. Had to do that for my brother so that whenever I pop on YouTube or Netflix it doesn’t drop his livestream down to a choppy mess. Can still handle Netflix on 3 different devices at HD quality so no perceivable difference but the router I’m using is no pushover so your mileage may vary.

  8. RichardW says:

    Hmm. It definitely felt like the game was being streamed at half the frame rate of the camera feed, which by contrast was as smooth as 30fps can look. Might be worth checking what settings Twitch is using as well.

    There’s plenty of stuff you can turn off to claw back more performance in GTA V though, the depth of field and tessellation are fairly heavy hitters and it looked like DoF was enabled in the stream.

    1. Mousazz says:

      Skuldwyrm mentioned a few probable causes in the stream itself (it’s still up on Twitch, btw, as of the time of this comment’s writing), which made me imagine it like this – it could be that something (Twitch? Recording software?) is recording the game footage at half of the standard fps. So, if Shamus is playing at ~57+ fps, it records at 60/2 – 30 fps. If he plays at <57 fps, it records at 30/2 = 15 fps. In that case, it might just be a single setting that needs to be turned off – perhaps possibly starting with vsync, since that usually tends to mess with fps rates.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You touched on the traffic laws,and that made me wonder:Is it at all possible to obey the speed limit in a game like that?Not because of the controls or patience,but because of the scale.Because the scale of these games is not perfect.Some things are shrunk down more than others.Also the time is being shrunk in a different way than space.So what would 60 kp/h be in this world anyway?

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Well cars and such aren’t actually scaled down, it’s just that the cities are MUCH smaller than actual urban sprawl. So while a modern metropolis can sprawl over dozens of kilometers, in GTA a big city plus it’s suburbs will take couple kilometers.
      Sooo 60 kph will still likely be 60 kph.

      Now that being said, one could wonder if the traffic is actually going at normal speeds. They might have slowed it down to make AI easier and player more able to steal moving cars.

      What has, and is ALWAYS nerfed into the ground are the aircraft. Their speeds tend to be PATHETIC compared to the real thing.

      1. Rack says:

        Probably for good reason though. Crossing the game world in 8 seconds might make it feel a bit constricted.

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    5 games in,and flimsy overpass railing is still sturdier than telephone poles.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      In my experience it’s usually the bushes and other greenery that are the worst offenders. In a game where you knock down lamp posts without slowing down and can play pinball with family cars a lone bush is going to be the proverbial immovable object and a shrubbery is as tough as a brick wall.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Instead of gta or other games like that,how about we see a stream of something really pretty?I propose a stream of factorio.Can we get 10 votes for that?

  12. Ilseroth says:

    I’m excited you finally decided to bite the bullet and start streaming. Despite the tech issues (which honestly weren’t a big deal, people like to make mountains of molehills) it was really fun to shoot the breeze while you shoot some folks. Or in your case, walk down the beach punching people in the head all the way up to a 4 star rating (which I actually didn’t think was possible without killing cops, I thought the limit you could get to by killing civilians was 3 star)

    Looking forward to Wednesday then, whatever you choose to play, should be fun.

    1. Meriador says:

      Did Shamus actually kill any civilians on his rampage? He punched a few hundred people in the head, but I’m not sure if anyone actually died. There were a few lost hats and nasty bruises, sure, but I think he got 4 stars for spree punching, not spree killing.

      1. 4th Dimension says:

        Even if he did, I’m pretty sure the killcount for the overly zealous police firing into civilians they are “protecting” is higher.

  13. Son of Valhalla says:

    The display windows are actually people plastering fake paint on their windows to keep your character out of their stores.

    Judging by what you can do in GTA games, I think it’d be perfectly reasonable for people to board up their windows as an insane person who’s going to acquire a five star wanted level and go on a murder-fest approaches.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      And then raise shields over those windows so that not even tank shells can penetrate them.

  14. Somniorum says:

    That was actually very entertaining – yes, you didn’t do any missions, but you’ve got something that most other streamers don’t, which is a fairly informed technical commentary. For people like myself who really know nothing about that stuff, it’s really interesting to hear about all the little things that go into it that I wouldn’t easily notice.

    Plus, you rampage good.

    Shame I missed it when it was live, but glad you uploaded it : )

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      Yeah, add another up vote to this. What made that stream interesting was the commentary on technical aspects, and frankly nerding out about it not the game play so much.

  15. Jabberwok says:

    This is probably a lot to ask, but I would love a summary of your thoughts from the stream when these get uploaded. I’m interested, but sparing an entire hour for it is difficult these days. Understandable if that’s too much extra work.

  16. @Shamus

    I’m curious about the framerate.
    You said on the stream (I’m Skuldwyrm BTW) that you have OBS set to 30 FPS.
    Which is fine if the gamed runs at 30 or 60 FPS. But your game dipped below 60FPS, I did not notice any screentearing so if vsync is active then OBS’ 30FPS would then become 15FPS.

    A quick way to check this is to watch the twitch video at
    Find a place with “regular” movement (like driving a car) like at this point (8:37 mark)

    Now pause the video, then press the . key (that’s the punctuation key) to move a single frame forward (Youtube lets you use the , (comma) and . (punctuation) keys to step one frame back or forward.

    You streamed at 30FPS so the Twitch youtube video should also be 30FPS. But moving frame by frame looking at the car I see the car stand still every other frame or so which indicate 15FPS.

    Now if you have vsync off in GTA then I have no clue what is the issue, but again it’s probably related to the framerate.

    Besides your plan of making the window/resolution smaller (can you really hit 60FPS?)
    Might I suggest trying to lock GTA to 30FPS. Yeah gameplay wiull be less smooth (more console’y).

    But looking at your stream your machine seems capable of hitting a stable 30FPS, and with OBS streaming at 30FPS, as long as vsync is on and you rarely if ever dip below 30 (which would cause framerate to drop to 15) then it should be smooth for te viewers.

    A lower framerate is far more tolerable than uneven framepacing/speed.
    GTA should have a half rate vsynnc option if I recall correctly. You could still play in a window but you wouldn’t have to compromise that much on the graphics quality (which I’m sure your and the viewers will appreciate since Twitch needs all the fidelity it can get due to re-compression).

    Edit: Looking at the stream I see even 3 repeated frames (15/2 = 7.5) outch. No wonder it juddered so much.

    1. Shamus says:

      I had VSYNC on last time. I’ve turned it off now.

      The game is running between 80fps and 120 fps. That’s pretty good. I haven’t run a test stream to see how it handles gameplay+streaming. If things are still smooth, then I may nudge the resolution from 720p to 900p.

  17. Hitch says:

    One suggestion, which you are free to ignore. I watched some of the stream live and I would suggest making the face-cam box landscape rather than portrait, so you can lean forward or back without going out of frame.

  18. Mr Compassionate says:

    I’m gonna say it, I miss Rutscarn. Where’s he at these days?

    1. ZzzzSleep says:

      Well, his twitter can be found at

  19. Lanthanide says:

    I love the nonchalant mention of being a mass-murdering psycho-path.

  20. Hector says:

    I didn’t catch it live; just now almost fell out of my seat laughing when you “tested the audio levels”. That was a *very* GTA thing to do.

  21. Alex says:

    I didn’t see it live, but I enjoyed watching after the fact and listening to your thoughts on the game.

  22. Soldierhawk says:

    This is just my own two cents so take it for what it’s worth (not much).

    I hate hate HATE it when streamers have the chat window in their actual streaming window. I get how it could be kind of nice when watching the VOD, but I personally find the movement of chat really distracting and annoying to the point where I don’t watch streamers I love who do that just because it makes me unable to enjoy and pay attention to their stream.

    Again, that’s just my own hangup and personal feedback. I’m happy to see that the stream was so successful!

  23. Rack says:

    Weird that GTA III really let the player go wild with creative solutions and they just locked it down for GTA IV. My particular favourites were stealing my targets car, fitting it with a car bomb, then carefully reparking it in the same spot so the car chase just ended immediately. Then there was the time I crashed a load of cars all around my targets location so when he tried to drive off he was quickly penned in.

    1. Droid says:

      Don’t forget shooting all the tires of the pimp’s limo in San Fierro in GTA:SA. Or doing the same to the guy who took over Madd Dogg’s villa. Or getting a police/army uniform in Vice City whenever they would become useful. Stealing the tank in Cortez’ mission by letting it blow up inside your garage, then making it respawn from the wreckage (by closing and reopening the garage door). Flying off the coast instead of overland in NOE in GTA:SA (where you have to stay under the radar and drop off supplies in that village near Mount Chilliad).

      I could go on for a while. IV (and presumably V) had exactly none of that. The only way to cheese missions is to use exploits, since otherwise, you (the player) do not really have any agency in the story. Which is a pretty damning thing to say about a power fantasy.

  24. Mako says:

    So… No stream? :(

    1. BenD says:

      Oh wait! It looks like it’ll be in 20 minutes.

    2. Shamus says:

      Crap. I thought 11pm GMT = 7pm EST, but I see it’s actually 6pm. Oops. Gonna go live in a minute.

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