Monday, January 16, 2017

(ARCHIVED) The SFC Group 2017 Update + Q&A

2017 is here! With a new year, comes new changes and new content from The SFC Group! And oh boy, we've got some amazing stuff to keep you up-to-date with!

Let's get started with the first update:

1. The SFC Site 2 Public Beta 2 is now available! We're getting close to The SFC Site 2's official release in February, but there's still a lot of work to be done with the site. Public Beta 2 will be the last major public beta release of The SFC Site 2 before we get to the final release, as the final development builds (the release candidates) will be available exclusively through Backstage & Newsletter.

But enough with that, let's take a look at what has changed:

The SFC Site 2 Public Beta 2 Changelog:
- Enhanced the SFC Live page with a new Live Agenda (aka Topic List) tab; moved past streams link to Live Agenda tab
- Enhanced Backstage & Newsletter page: Exclusive content and SFC Live notifications are now optional for newcomers
- You can now unsubscribe from Backstage & Newsletter again
- Enhanced About Us page with a new "We've Been Places" section below the Members list
- Added 4 new archived videos to The SFC Archives (The Android PC Project Complete Series and the Dell Dimension XPS T550 Demonstration Trilogy)
- Removed the WIP Text Banner on the homepage
- Other improvements and bug fixes

The new website update is available today, so get a chance to check it out!

OK, onto our next announcement:

2. SFC Live will be resuming on January 21st at 7PM Eastern! It's the moment you've all been waiting for: SFC Live is coming back on the air after an almost 4-week hiatus! We've got a LOT in store for you this week: 5 rounds of Marble Blast Platinum, an session, Q&A, and much, much more!

We're also introducing a live agenda so you'll be able to know what's going on on SFC Live! The IRC Chat, live agenda, and the live schedule and polls are available on the SFC Live page on our website (link below).

Also, thanks to your feedback, we are introducing facecam on SFC Live, along with a new format! And finally, we've got some SFC Members that'll be in a private voice chat that will be playing with us during our gaming sessions!

Later during the live show's run, we'll debut other games on SFC Live, such as Rocket League, Garry's Mod, Train Simulator, and much more! We may even play games we haven't played in a while or have not played, such as Train Sim World and American Truck Simulator!

SFC Live will be resuming on January 21st at 7PM Eastern/6PM Central/12AM GMT as usual. We will also be streaming on January 28th, however there will be no SFC Live on February 4th. We are also currently running an SFC Live survey, which ends on January 20th at 7PM Eastern, so there's not much time left. Please take the survey (available on the Schedule and Polls tab on the SFC Live page) today!

Now onto the next big news:

3. Technology Showdown: The Prologue is coming out in the Summer of 2017! A bunch of people have been asking about Technology Showdown recently, and we've been quiet about it for a while. Well, Technology Showdown isn't going away, as we are officially announcing that The Prologue will be released in the Summer of 2017! Of course it could be in early or late Summer, who knows? But it's our final confirmed release date for Technology Showdown: The Prologue, so you'll have to wait a little longer for a new episode.

However, if you've been following us on social media, you may have seen sneak peeks of the upcoming episode. We'll be posting more next month, but of course we need to finish our other projects first before we do so. However, once that's done, we'll be going full speed ahead in production of The Prologue.

However (I said like 3 times already), we are also pushing out video sneak peeks of Technology Showdown: The Prologue as well later before its release date! These sneak peek videos will be available exclusively through Backstage & Newsletter, which is free to sign up (if you're registering for the first time, make sure you select "Receive Backstage & Newsletter exclusive content"). You can register for our e-mail service/newsletter here.

If you want to follow the episode's progress, please follow us on social media or go to the Technology Showdown website, and check out what we have to offer!

Now let's get into some Train Simulation action:

4. We are officially confirming Train Simulator Month: The Revenge for the entire month of March! We've announced it last year when we've reached 250 subscribers on our Youtube channel, but now we are giving out more details about it today!

We are officially confirming that throughout the entire month of March (March 1st to 31st), we will be doing Train Simulator Month: The Revenge! Here's what to expect:

- The SFC Plays Train Simulator let's play series is coming back only for this month! We will be showcasing content from TS2017 Standard Edition (North Jersey Coast Line, South Wales Coastal, Hamburg-Lubeck, and Marseille-Avignon), Pioneers Edition (Semmeringbahn), Premium Edition (NJT ALP-46, F40PH-2CAT, and GP40PH-2B, DB BR648 and BR114, Arriva Train Wales DMUs, and Hamburg S1 S-Bahn and Bristol-Swansea), and the US First Class Edition (Feather River Canyon plus WP GP20, and Solder Summit)!

- Workshop Mania is coming back, only it's going to be a segment on SFC Live! On each of our streams during Train Sim Month, we'll be playing 1 or 2 Workshop scenarios live, and you can suggest more scenarios for us to play either on our Steam Discussion page or on our Video Requests page!

- We are bringing back our DLC and Mod showcases for Train Sim Month, only it will be a part of our SFC Editorial series instead. We'll be doing honest reviews on scenario packs (Feather River and North Jersey), along with reviews of DLC and Mods you guys have requested!

- Finally, since Train Sim World will be coming out this year, of course we'll be playing it as part of Train Sim Month, so you'll be able to get a glimpse of what the game is like!

Train Sim Month begins (like I said) on March 1st on our Youtube channel, with a Train Simulator let's play video where we drive on the North Jersey Coast Line. 

(Oh yes, and Union and the gang are coming back this month, too!)

So that's all the announcements (at least the major ones) we have. There will be more announcements talked about on SFC Live. Now before I go, I do want to answer some questions that people have been asking about in the comments of our videos.

Q: When is the next episode of Technology Showdown coming out?
A: The next episode's confirmed date is in Summer of 2017. We apologize for delaying the episode many times but we are hopefully getting back full speed on production for this episode.

Q: Can you add new characters (e.g. Sad Mac and PS4) to Technology Showdown?
A: We appreciate the feedback and suggestions of new characters! However, some of your suggestions may have to appear later in Season 1 of Technology Showdown.

Q: How do I participate in your gaming sessions on SFC Live?
A: It's pretty simple really! Just tune in to SFC Live, and when we start hosting a gaming session, follow the instructions on the livestream on how to join, and have fun!

Q: Can I be a part of The SFC Group?
A: As of right now, no. There are several reasons why we can't publicly accept people as members of The SFC Group. However, we are welcome to people who can contribute to projects!

Q: Can you make more Train Simulator DLC Showcases?
A: Our DLC Showcase series is now a part of our SFC Editorial series. However, that doesn't mean we won't stop from making them! We've got a bunch coming up for Train Simulator Month: The Revenge in March!

Q: Can you do more Software Room videos (e.g. Windows 8.1)?
A: Of course we can! However, those Software Room videos will need to be done in order of OS version. Our first Software Room video of 2017 will be a remastered version of the Windows 1.01 Review! Then next is Windows 2.0, then 3.0, 3.1, etc.

Q: What recording and editing software do you use?
A: People have asked me this for a while. For recording/livestreaming, I use OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), which is free and has a lot of advanced options you can set. However, it may not work well for some games if you have a low-end PC (e.g. Train Simulator on a Dual-Core). For editing, I use Final Cut Pro X on a Mac. The software is pretty advanced, yet it does all the work needed to be done!

Q: What equipment do you use for your content?
A: For video editing/website creation, I use an iMac (21.5-inch, Mid 2010), which has a Dual-Core Intel Core i3 running at 3.06GHz, 12GB of RAM, a 500GB Hard Drive (which has macOS Sierra installed), an ATI Radeon HD 4670 with 256MB of video RAM, and a 1080p (1920x1080) display.

For gaming, I currently use a Dell Precision M4400 with an Intel Core 2 Duo running at 3.06 GHz, 8GB of RAM, a Nvidia Quadro FX 770M, a 250GB hard disk (with Windows 10 Pro installed), and a 1920x1200 display. However, due to computer performance issues with some games (Rocket League, Train Simulator, etc.), I'm currently planning to get a new gaming laptop which will be 10 times faster than my current system and has current generation hardware (quad-core processor, Nvidia Geforce graphics, etc.).

For filming, I use a couple of cameras: A Canon Powershot ELPH 110 HS camera (which records up to 1080p up to 30fps), and an iPhone SE (which records in up to 4K up to 30 fps). I may also use other cameras, such as a DSLR.

Finally, for the microphone, I use a Blue Sparks Digital Microphone. The quality is pretty good, and it has a mute function built-in! The design and construction of the mic is also well-done.

Q: What software do you use for the thumbnails?
A: It may sound weird to you, but I use Apple's Keynote software for the thumbnails. Despite it being presentation creation software, it can also be used for graphic design, animation, designing characters, and much more. I've already been pushing the limits of what this software can do, and rightfully so.

Q: Why do your videos gets dislikes?
A: Because there's just some people who have different opinions on our content, that's all.

I hope that answers all of your questions. We might do some Q&A videos in the future, as part of our SFC Editorial series, but we will have to wait and see. Anyways, thanks for taking the time to reading this, and as always, I'll see you in the not-too-distant future... ;)

- Sage from The SFC Group