News: 11 March 2016 - Forum Rules

Author Topic: Antstream, don't fund it.  (Read 5922 times)

Chronosplit

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Antstream, don't fund it.
« on: April 10, 2019, 10:56:46 am »
This pile is on kickstarter and is somehow making thousands of dollars already.  It's a streaming service emulator that states it uses none of what it calls "fiddly" emulation.  While most of us know better, is it really that bad?

Well, it appears that they're in the business of just having the open source do it, with no programmer.  Great foundation for a new frontier! https://www.reddit.com/r/emulation/comments/bbaevm/antstream_retro_gaming_reborn_kickstarter/

At best it'll fail quickly and take everyone's money with it.  At worst we're looking at a trend.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2019, 04:12:28 pm by Chronosplit »

tvtoon

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2019, 03:37:16 pm »
It raises a lot of questions regarding lincensing, like how can we be sure that they are not violating the free source emulators widely available (just watch out for GPL vs AGPL propositions now), how these games are loaded etc...

I think you better make sure your Ouya lives up to date. :D

PowerPanda

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2019, 11:50:00 pm »
One of the main guys behind it is Jon Burton, who goes by the username GameHut on this website and on Youtube. He released Sonic 3D Blast: Director's Cut here last year: http://www.romhacking.net/hacks/3810/

I think Anstream is on the up and up. I'd prefer a straight-up sale rather than a streaming service, but I don't think it's a scam.

Gemini

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2019, 05:58:19 am »
That ad spins quite some bullshit, like revenue for the original teams that made the games, lossless streaming, plagiarized achievement system, and more ad stunts. I wonder if those who backed this trainwreck have the slightest idea of how a streaming service works? Because on Jon Burton's Youtube channel he's been flooded with negative feedback, there's very little positive response if any. If it actually succeeds hopefully it will die in a few months. We don't need it. I mean, no patches, no hacks, no translations? Way to go on castrating themselves.
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Jorpho

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2019, 09:50:54 am »
Oh, is that what Mr. Burton is busy with these days? I was wondering why he hadn't posted any videos lately.

Reading the post, it feels like people are taking particular exception to the term "fiddly emulators", as if they are disparaging other people's work and think they can do better.

Does anyone remember that one project that advertised itself as providing legal SNES emulation because they claimed to have the carts on-site, and you could only play a particular game if no one else was "using" the carts at the same time?  I think it had "stars" in the name, and used a special fork of ZSNES?

EDIT: Ah, http://www.consoleclassix.com/ – still linked from the ZSNES news page, 16 years ago.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2019, 10:22:54 am by Jorpho »
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ShadowOne333

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2019, 10:48:05 am »
I don't know why many people are jumping on the stupid stream train.
Don't they realize that this means they get nothing better than a stupid rental system for the games at most?

They will own zero to nothing in terms of actual games.
I'd much rather prefer a LEGAL store for game ROMs than another stupid streaming service.

Is it that hard for gaming companies to make a store so that you can actually own a legal ROM of a particular game?
More so for particularly hard to find cartridges/disks nowadays, and maybe games that were never released back then (Star Fox 2 as an example).

I'm sorry, but I'm strongly against streaming service for the mere purpose of not owning shit at all.

tvtoon

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2019, 12:06:42 pm »
The idea of owning legal ROMs, seemingly a no brainer for companies adoption, yet far away from the stupid "mini" systems nowadays. It is a shame, as it would clear many things. :|

EvilJagaGenius

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2019, 04:43:55 pm »
Hmmmmm.  I watched JB's video on it, and I can respect where the man's coming from.  Piracy sucks?  Yes.  Want to give the original devs money?  Good intention.  Want to breathe new life into retro games?  Wonderful.  This is not the right way to do it.

I'm thinking Sega's approach to these things is the best at the moment.  You can legally buy old Genesis/Megadrive games on Steam, pull the ROMs out of the files, from there you can patch them however you like and use whatever emulators you want - not to mention actually using Steam Workshop to apply patches and mods.  I've tried this with a couple of freebies I got from some bundle or another, it's very much possible.  So it's quite a pity that Antstream is advertising Genesis games on their platform, but they didn't seem to learn from an already wonderful implementation of this concept.

Also a pity that JB was talking about his original idea for the service: you download the game onto your device and play it from there.  That sounds like it would have been a much better alternative.  Surely it can't take more bandwidth than a streaming service?  You download a couple of megabytes at most and you're done.  And it would have provided a way to legally buy ROMs, use patches and different emulators.

So.  I applaud the man's intentions, and I don't believe there's anything sinister behind the idea... but this just isn't the right way to do it.

SleepyFist

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2019, 07:36:55 pm »
Gamehut is involved in this? That's honestly kinda fucking sad, I had a lot of respect for the dude and was even following along with his programming tutorials, but this is seriously gonna tarnish his reputation.

FCandChill

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2019, 08:24:16 pm »
Wow, Jon Burton made a video on it...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhz4wKcuM4A

50% dislikes is pretty bad for a YouTube video!

I don't see the reason to stream retro video games. These games aren't very large, so what's the point? Also, streaming is pretty bad for video game preservation.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 08:22:59 am by FCandChill »

PowerPanda

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2019, 09:14:54 pm »
Gamehut is involved in this? That's honestly kinda fucking sad, I had a lot of respect for the dude and was even following along with his programming tutorials, but this is seriously gonna tarnish his reputation.

Oh gosh, has the internet rage machine already taken over? That is sad. Don't fall into it, dude. There's a group out there who wants to make retro games popular, and they're doing it with the full permission of the original creators. That is a great thing! They just... happen to have made it a streaming service. The good side is that you don't get a $1 charge for each retro game; you just get the whole library. The bad side is that you don't end up owning any of the games. Is it a flawed idea? Well... yeah. Is it a reason for the internet to turn on a guy and "tarnish his reputation"? Hell no. But if you don't like it, then just don't back it. It's not like rom websites are going to fold once Anstream launches.

Jorpho

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2019, 11:08:47 pm »
They will own zero to nothing in terms of actual games.
I'd much rather prefer a LEGAL store for game ROMs than another stupid streaming service.

Is it that hard for gaming companies to make a store so that you can actually own a legal ROM of a particular game?
Ironically, archive.org is doing a pretty decent job of it these days.

I still think Nintendo's approach is not unreasonable.  Look at "Sega Forever"; they can hardly even give away their library anymore.  When you release something like that, you can only really get away with it once.
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Chronosplit

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2019, 09:27:15 am »
Oh gosh, has the internet rage machine already taken over? That is sad. Don't fall into it, dude. There's a group out there who wants to make retro games popular, and they're doing it with the full permission of the original creators. That is a great thing! They just... happen to have made it a streaming service. The good side is that you don't get a $1 charge for each retro game; you just get the whole library. The bad side is that you don't end up owning any of the games. Is it a flawed idea? Well... yeah. Is it a reason for the internet to turn on a guy and "tarnish his reputation"? Hell no. But if you don't like it, then just don't back it. It's not like rom websites are going to fold once Anstream launches.
I'll be honest here.  If I was buying the ROMs outright and could download, they were contained in a wrapper with an emulator that didn't stomp over licenses, and I could remove the ROM like I can with GOG's NeoGeo games, I would be on board with the concept forever even with Archive being around.  I would buy everything and hope they would also be adding games like Battle Kid, Hind Strike, Gideon's translation of Magical Drop 2 SNES, or the Genesis version of Pier Solar (where indeed, some money probably would go to people who worked on it).  I wouldn't even care if it was windows only, I could just install in Wine and move them to a cross-platform thing.

I saw this coming as soon as I read on here that Burton was involved, unfortunately.  Though it is sad I can't help but feel that he was smart enough to know what he was getting into here.  The execution appears to be so flawed and full of false info from here that I doubt he would get out with his rep completely unhurt, even without the internet hate brigade.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 05:38:14 pm by Chronosplit »

PowerPanda

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2019, 10:29:01 am »
SCO... Antstream is a British company...  :beer:

Chronosplit, I think you're in the minority of people who would actually buy all of the games. Even if they bundled games together, I could see this costing around $1000 just for all of the launch titles.

I think Antstream is going to fail, and I didn't back it because I don't even have enough time to play the games I already own. I just adamantly believe that it isn't a scam or a scourge on humanity. It's just simply a bad implementation of an idea. Even the greats in the industry have had bad ideas. Should we apply the same logic and hate on Gunpei Yokoi because he created the Virtual Boy? Nah, we just let the idea die and move on.

Chronosplit

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2019, 10:55:18 am »
Chronosplit, I think you're in the minority of people who would actually buy all of the games. Even if they bundled games together, I could see this costing around $1000 just for all of the launch titles.
True.  It'd be over the time of like years though, I guess it's kind of like how people buy from Steam.

ShadowOne333

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2019, 11:38:09 am »
Still though, you wouldn't be obligated to purchase all 1000 games at once.
If at all, having a streaming service with thousands and thousands of games would be a mute point when you actually compare how many of those you will actually play.

I am the kind of guy that I prefer to know what I pay for, and that I know I will play it, instead of paying a >$20 dlls service for a handful of games I will play.
I prefer to pay for individual games at a reasonable price, than to have access to thousands of games that I will never play at all, and I ever do, it would only be for like 5 mins and that's it.

POWCo-op

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2019, 11:42:44 pm »
Also, streaming is pretty bad for video game preservation.

I agree with you.
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Jorpho

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2019, 11:26:24 am »
But what does "preservation" even mean anymore, really?  Probably almost every ROM ever released has been copied and hoarded thousands of times over by now in the name of "preservation", and it probably wouldn't make them any easier to find if the day came when one of them was needed.  It might well be argued that at this point, anything that actually gets people using the ROMs in question is better for "preservation".
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Psyklax

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2019, 04:09:25 pm »
Okay, I'm aware that my opinion matters as little as anyone else's, but I'm gonna throw my two cents into the well.

Browsing the Antstream games list tells me instinctively that this is both by and for British gamers: hundreds of games that most people outside Europe have never even heard of - and on systems that many Americans haven't heard of either. Believe it or not, this immediately adds to the pull of the service: the big consoles from Japan are well catered for in terms of official playing options - either on consoles like the Switch or on mini consoles from Nintendo, Sega and Sony. While there have been attempts to do the same for 80s computers, it's nowhere near the level that Antstream is attempting.

Sure, we can all buy a 6TB hard disk and get every game ever made, and fine-tune various emulators to play them, but the success of mini consoles and the like should tell you that the average consumer can't be bothered with all that. When they say "fiddly emulators", they're right: a 40-year-old who remembers playing Flimbo's Quest isn't likely to go Googling for a D64 file of the game (trying to figure out which of the six different files is the best one to use) then go download and unpack WinVice or whatever equivalent for their platform of choice, then set it up. The prospect of "just instant streaming" on multiple platforms is actually an enticing prospect for many people. Not for me, but then again, it's not aimed at me.

Regarding preservation, and how terrible streaming subscription services are and yada yada, forget it. Every game in that list is well-preserved, so that's not an issue, and if you don't like streaming subscription services, fine, neither do I, so I won't be using the service. That doesn't mean it won't be interesting to a lot of other people. No need to leave downvotes on a YouTube video - pretty childish, if you ask me.

Finally, as I said before, you CAN download every game already - we all know this. But some people want to go the legal route, and fair play to them. In that case, the fact that they're making an effort to acquire the rights is significant: without this service, there is literally no way to legally play a large amount of these games. Again, we can all go and stick them on our HDD and not care less, but I think it's fair if there's at least SOME consideration to doing things legally.

The one thing I will say is that it appears the service will stream video to your device in order to play anything - so it'll be like Google Stadia, except for games that are under 100KB. Hmm, yeah, that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, from an efficiency viewpoint. They could just let you download the file locally and use no bandwidth, or potentially have to send you gigabytes of video. Not to mention the input lag, which I think will always be an issue for this kind of thing. Still, again, the super-casual people will be like "wow, Impossamole on my smartphone" and not really care about those details.

All in all, I think the people who have the most vitriol need to calm down a tad. If it fails, it fails: no need to stomp on its grave. But if people like it, let them. Don't worry, nobody's coming to take away your 6TB hard disk. ;)

PresidentLeever

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Re: Antstream, don't fund it.
« Reply #19 on: April 15, 2019, 07:10:54 pm »
I posted about "Spotify for games" here a while back and was considering posting about this here just now. I think this is far from perfect but still a pretty good complementary thing and a way to give back for everything I've played over the years. I also don't see how it affects preservation negatively.

I am waiting to see if they get any more major companies on board though, it's not a great selection yet.
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