wt-replays.org: Replay to YouTube conversion; why it’s really cool, and why it may no
As the subject says; I’ve now been asked about 6 times in as many days by as many people about this, and while I wish I could say “why yes, let’s do it”, the reality is a bit of a different story. It involves a few things that nobody really considers.
First, there’s the issue that to turn a replay into a video, you will need to actually play it in the WoT client, and use Fraps or another screen capture tool to record it. That in itself offers it’s own fun problems because how do you record a video cleanly without the loading screen, and where it will stop once the replay is done playing? The one way to do that involves messing with the game client files, which is doable but not entirely in line with the EULA.
Of course then there’s the raw video encoding, and finally the upload to Youtube. The russian site that happens to offer this service works because the owner of the site runs the recording and encoding service off his home PC; in my case, my internet speeds won’t allow for it. And that’s where we head into the real issue holding things back – it’s not a technical problem, but a financial one.
Getting faster internet service where I live will cost more than a grand per month (I kid you not…), so the easiest solution is to co-locate a server. But, the server has to be, for all intents and purposes, a gaming rig. Good video card, enough memory, fast harddisk, and so on. And realistically, those don’t come cheap. Getting one as a dedicated server (where the company that actually owns the thing rents it out to you) is almost impossible, and this would be the one thing that you can’t really do “in the cloud”, as it were. Granted, I’ve had more than one person offer me assistance with various things including hosting, hardware, and so on, but for something like this we’re talking about more than a couple bucks per month, this is more a case of either 3 grand of hardware up front, plus monthly fees, or a monthly fee that costs you about the same as you pay in rent or mortgage for your house.
And that’s the rub, really. I’ve had to explain (patiently, I might add) to people that just because I could make it work doesn’t mean I’m going to, because it’s a hobby project. And while I don’t mind spending some money on a hobby, paying $50/mo for a dedicated server to run the site and it’s associated bits and pieces is one thing, and paying 10 times that so replays can be turned into videos is another – it’s not the kind of money I can freely spend, and that seems to be something a lot of people have trouble understanding.
Since the site opened, back in April 2012, through it’s first shutdown, and through it’s 2nd shutdown-due-to-hardware-failure trip, I have received the whopping sum of $5 in donations. That’s right, 5 whole dollars. And you can’t run big and expensive replay-to-video converter services on $5 a year.
So in principle, it’s possible. It’d be insanely cool to have it. But it’s not going to happen any time soon, because it’s financially not doable.