Glacials is creating Splits I/O
12

patrons

$40
per month
History

Splits I/O is a website that has been freely supplying speedrun backup, comparison, and analysis tools since 2013. It's made by me, Glacials. I've been part of the speedrunning community since Justin.tv and I uploaded my first internet speedtimes in 2012 -- a set of IL timings for Sonic Colors on the Wii, published to The Sonic Center (Speedrun.com wasn't around yet).

I created the prototype for Splits I/O in college -- my biggest complaint about getting into speedrunning was how hard it was to answer the question "What do I work on next?" without sitting still for hours studying others' runs. I threw together Splits I/O, made a post to /r/speedrun that got 14 upvotes, and then kept working. Six years later Splits I/O gets 10k monthly sessions (growing only through only word of mouth from that original Reddit post!).

Openness

I strongly believe in open source software and transparency of development. Splits I/O is open source under the MIT license, a three-sentence file that basically says "you can do whatever you want with this code". This includes remixing it to make money, standing a new one up to overthrow me if I become evil, and contributing back to it by adding cool stuff on your own (hopefully mainly that one). You will often find my incomplete ideas kicking around in branches on GitHub, and I'm always happy to talk about anything I'm working on with zero veils.

Big Ideas

Speaking of ideas, here are some of my multi-year plans for Splits I/O, summarized from my personal notebook! None of these are individual features and none are guaranteed to be done in any timeframe (or at all), but this is currently what my grand visions for Splits I/O include, and what I try to work towards at a slow and steady pace.

1. Analytics to the max. When I created Splits I/O, it was focused on improvement through comparison. How do you get better? Well, you compare your splits to someone better than you! But as more data became available I started building more solo analytics, like run duration over time, resets per segment, and even predictions for amount of practice required to PB. This analytics train needs to keep going! Splits I/O has so much untapped data, and the analytics tools are just waiting to be built. Which leads me to the next point!

2. Better splitting. The effectiveness of analytics scales with the granularity and accuracy of the data. If you run a game with only 3 segments, the advice I can give you is much worse than if you run one with 100 segments. Or if your splits are inconsistent with your community's, or if you miss splits frequently, or if you're not very precise with your hotkey. Autosplitting is by far the biggest leap forward here but there are so many more leaps that haven't been taken, and so many games and platforms where today's version of autosplitting isn't reasonable to build. Regardless of game or platform, splitting needs to be better than it is today: more automated, more precise, more consistent, and more frequent. Splitting every level change is great! But what about splitting every second? Is that even possible? Would it make any sense? I want to find out. Image recognition, machine learning, audio cues -- I don't know how yet, but the better splitting gets, the better Splits I/O gets. It's a win-win.

3. More. Some of my ideas are far too nebulous to write down without looking like a crazy person (I've tried). But as with all ideas, spitballing can only help. Catch me at an event and I'm happy to share them! (I tweet whenever I'm going to an event.)

Traffic, Costs, and Revenue

In the spirit of openness, I like to share how much Splits I/O costs to run and how much money it makes towards paying for itself. In the future I would like to automate this, perhaps in a Google Sheet every month with actual precision, but for now it is constant enough to share here once and update it every year or so. (Last updated: December 2018)

Traffic: Splits I/O hosts hundreds of thousands of runs and serves tens of thousands of page requests every month. It does this from one server! It can autoscale up if needed, but it usually stays at 1.

The heaviest task for Splits I/O is parsing runs. Unspeakable hours and immense effort have gone into making parsing more efficient. Early Splits I/O would frequently crash from overloading due to parsing. It went through a few stages of life where multiple servers were needed just so parsing wouldn't kill the website. Today Splits I/O has the benefit of using livesplit-core for parsing, and I have plans in place to completely remove parsing from the server that serves traffic so the two can scale their workloads independently.

Costs: In total I pay about $150 every month to run all the infrastructure that serves Splits I/O. Depending on the month, about 60% of this goes to the servers hosting the website and doing the parsing, 25% to long-term run storage, and 15% to miscellaneous items (load balancers, domain, etc.). I'm very proud of achieving such a low cost of operation (this took effort!) considering the amount of work the infrastructure does under load.

Revenue: Patreon is by far my most favorite way to pay down costs! It lets me work on what I think the site needs, and not what I think would make it more money. Splits I/O has one display ad at the top of the page which I hate. After ad blockers, this ad brings in about $40 / month. Bust out your graphing calculator to add this to Patreon contributions, and you can figure out that I unfortunately lose a small chunk of money every month running Splits I/O. For now, this is a small price to pay for seeing my baby continue to live. But! I'm always grateful for any help :D

Rewards

I've built a few nifty features on Splits I/O that are available to patrons! See the right side of the page for details.
Tiers
Coffee
$2 or more per month 2 patrons
  • No ads!
  • Be in the footer of the website!
Includes Discord rewards
Beer
$4 or more per month 9 patrons
  • A gold thingy around your Splits I/O username!
  • Practice-until-PB regression analysis!
  • $2 rewards!
Includes Discord rewards
Redirectors
$6 or more per month 1 patron
  • New feature: permalink redirectors! Static URLs that always forward to your PB for a given game/category. Never change these links in your panels again!
  • $4 rewards!
Includes Discord rewards
Team Redirectors
$10 or more per month 0 patrons
  • $6 rewards for you and everyone on your Twitch team!
Includes Discord rewards
Game Redirectors
$12 or more per month 0 patrons
  • Your choice of speedgame will get permalink redirectors enabled for all runners!
  • $10 rewards!
Includes Discord rewards
Goals
12 of 25 patrons
At 25 patrons, I will have the financial freedom to start experimenting with machine learning to work you towards run improvements!
2 of 2
History

Splits I/O is a website that has been freely supplying speedrun backup, comparison, and analysis tools since 2013. It's made by me, Glacials. I've been part of the speedrunning community since Justin.tv and I uploaded my first internet speedtimes in 2012 -- a set of IL timings for Sonic Colors on the Wii, published to The Sonic Center (Speedrun.com wasn't around yet).

I created the prototype for Splits I/O in college -- my biggest complaint about getting into speedrunning was how hard it was to answer the question "What do I work on next?" without sitting still for hours studying others' runs. I threw together Splits I/O, made a post to /r/speedrun that got 14 upvotes, and then kept working. Six years later Splits I/O gets 10k monthly sessions (growing only through only word of mouth from that original Reddit post!).

Openness

I strongly believe in open source software and transparency of development. Splits I/O is open source under the MIT license, a three-sentence file that basically says "you can do whatever you want with this code". This includes remixing it to make money, standing a new one up to overthrow me if I become evil, and contributing back to it by adding cool stuff on your own (hopefully mainly that one). You will often find my incomplete ideas kicking around in branches on GitHub, and I'm always happy to talk about anything I'm working on with zero veils.

Big Ideas

Speaking of ideas, here are some of my multi-year plans for Splits I/O, summarized from my personal notebook! None of these are individual features and none are guaranteed to be done in any timeframe (or at all), but this is currently what my grand visions for Splits I/O include, and what I try to work towards at a slow and steady pace.

1. Analytics to the max. When I created Splits I/O, it was focused on improvement through comparison. How do you get better? Well, you compare your splits to someone better than you! But as more data became available I started building more solo analytics, like run duration over time, resets per segment, and even predictions for amount of practice required to PB. This analytics train needs to keep going! Splits I/O has so much untapped data, and the analytics tools are just waiting to be built. Which leads me to the next point!

2. Better splitting. The effectiveness of analytics scales with the granularity and accuracy of the data. If you run a game with only 3 segments, the advice I can give you is much worse than if you run one with 100 segments. Or if your splits are inconsistent with your community's, or if you miss splits frequently, or if you're not very precise with your hotkey. Autosplitting is by far the biggest leap forward here but there are so many more leaps that haven't been taken, and so many games and platforms where today's version of autosplitting isn't reasonable to build. Regardless of game or platform, splitting needs to be better than it is today: more automated, more precise, more consistent, and more frequent. Splitting every level change is great! But what about splitting every second? Is that even possible? Would it make any sense? I want to find out. Image recognition, machine learning, audio cues -- I don't know how yet, but the better splitting gets, the better Splits I/O gets. It's a win-win.

3. More. Some of my ideas are far too nebulous to write down without looking like a crazy person (I've tried). But as with all ideas, spitballing can only help. Catch me at an event and I'm happy to share them! (I tweet whenever I'm going to an event.)

Traffic, Costs, and Revenue

In the spirit of openness, I like to share how much Splits I/O costs to run and how much money it makes towards paying for itself. In the future I would like to automate this, perhaps in a Google Sheet every month with actual precision, but for now it is constant enough to share here once and update it every year or so. (Last updated: December 2018)

Traffic: Splits I/O hosts hundreds of thousands of runs and serves tens of thousands of page requests every month. It does this from one server! It can autoscale up if needed, but it usually stays at 1.

The heaviest task for Splits I/O is parsing runs. Unspeakable hours and immense effort have gone into making parsing more efficient. Early Splits I/O would frequently crash from overloading due to parsing. It went through a few stages of life where multiple servers were needed just so parsing wouldn't kill the website. Today Splits I/O has the benefit of using livesplit-core for parsing, and I have plans in place to completely remove parsing from the server that serves traffic so the two can scale their workloads independently.

Costs: In total I pay about $150 every month to run all the infrastructure that serves Splits I/O. Depending on the month, about 60% of this goes to the servers hosting the website and doing the parsing, 25% to long-term run storage, and 15% to miscellaneous items (load balancers, domain, etc.). I'm very proud of achieving such a low cost of operation (this took effort!) considering the amount of work the infrastructure does under load.

Revenue: Patreon is by far my most favorite way to pay down costs! It lets me work on what I think the site needs, and not what I think would make it more money. Splits I/O has one display ad at the top of the page which I hate. After ad blockers, this ad brings in about $40 / month. Bust out your graphing calculator to add this to Patreon contributions, and you can figure out that I unfortunately lose a small chunk of money every month running Splits I/O. For now, this is a small price to pay for seeing my baby continue to live. But! I'm always grateful for any help :D

Rewards

I've built a few nifty features on Splits I/O that are available to patrons! See the right side of the page for details.

Recent posts by Glacials

Tiers
Coffee
$2 or more per month 2 patrons
  • No ads!
  • Be in the footer of the website!
Includes Discord rewards
Beer
$4 or more per month 9 patrons
  • A gold thingy around your Splits I/O username!
  • Practice-until-PB regression analysis!
  • $2 rewards!
Includes Discord rewards
Redirectors
$6 or more per month 1 patron
  • New feature: permalink redirectors! Static URLs that always forward to your PB for a given game/category. Never change these links in your panels again!
  • $4 rewards!
Includes Discord rewards
Team Redirectors
$10 or more per month 0 patrons
  • $6 rewards for you and everyone on your Twitch team!
Includes Discord rewards
Game Redirectors
$12 or more per month 0 patrons
  • Your choice of speedgame will get permalink redirectors enabled for all runners!
  • $10 rewards!
Includes Discord rewards