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A Better Way to Scrape?



  • With the current situation putting unprecedented strain on scraping servers I wonder if there are more efficient ways to scrape games that put less strain on their servers?



  • I have just started using retropie (as result of covid-19 I had to complete my daughter's arcade months ahead of planned) so you can imagine my frustration with the scrappers.
    For text there are some options working but I really want those videos on the interface, however everything I can get are download errors.
    I am considering to write a very complex solution, a desktop based scrapper (ssh connection to the pi, I'll need the CPU power) that would download youtube gameplay videos and cut about 20 seconds from the middle of the video. It would then detect if there are people talking over the video (in a review or commented gameplay) to search for another video if that was the case. Then handbrake encode and generate the compatible videos.
    Say we all start using this, youtube won't run out of server capacity, but is there a solution (ideally serverless) for the matching the hashs to the games?



  • @serdateclas said in A Better Way to Scrape?:

    but is there a solution (ideally serverless) for the matching the hashs to the games?

    You would need to rely on the meta information you get from YouTube. I doubt they provide game hashes. But I've seen some videos that are tagged with game information, you might need to parse that and match against some scraping db.

    How did you intend to figure out if they talk in the video? Sounds like a non-trivial task.



  • Hi @serdateclas, Screenscraper encounter some trouble with their servers, that's why you face some video downloading errors. They are working on it. you can follow the progress of the situation on their Discord : https://discord.gg/hCxqCFe



  • Right now it is very hit or miss, but in the morning seems to be the best time to get scraping done. im running a batch right now and its pulling both vid, and pics. but yesterday it was doing nothing.

    think other then writing a new program that does not use the scraping sites. we just have to try and wait it out.



  • Using skyscraper with my login info in the config.ini for screenscraper I have not had any issues scraping recently.



  • @quicksilver Do you know if it's possible to add the login info when using Steven Selph Scraper?
    I kinda like the way I can add scraped data to my gamelist, instead of overwriting the old gamelist each time. I can't seem to find that feature with Skyscraper.



  • @Brigane what's the advantage for appending the gameslist.xml vs overwriting?


  • Global Moderator

    @quicksilver The idea is that the scraper would add artwork/metadata only for the entries that don't have it. It's kind of equivalent of Skyscraper's cache, only that it used the gamelist.xml as a cache to decide to scrape the entry or not.

    @Brigane you can add credentials when scraping using the command line parameters (-ss_user/-ss_password).



  • @quicksilver I had some issues and I don't think I'm the only one. The scraper downloaded the video snaps in small sizes so they somehow became corrupted for some of the games, so the video snap didn't show up in Emulationstation. I have manually added new videos to the games I had problems with, and I don't want the scraper to overwrite them again.



  • @Brigane Sometimes you have to recompress video that didn't show up in emulationstation (you can use handbrake or ffmpeg or you can use ARRM to do this by selecting roms you want to convert http://jujuvincebros.fr/wiki/arrm/doku.php?id=compress_video_en ).



  • @Brigane I believe there is a way for skyscraper to scrape your current gameslist. That way you wouldn't lose any custom work you have done. @muldjord is this possible?



  • @quicksilver Yes, Skyscraper can cache the current gamelist.xml data using the -s esgamelist scraping module. It will grab the data from the gamelist and save it in Skyscraper cache, in turn allowing users to re-generating the gamelist with that same data in case they want to avoid Skyscraper overwriting it. But I always advice to make backups of the current gamelist.xml's, simply because people often misunderstand what it does. For instance, if you have composited screenshots in the current gamelist.xml, Skyscraper will import that as a screenshot. But because it is already composited of different artwork, users get confused when they re-generate the gamelist, since Skyscraper also composites from different artwork. So you get sortof a composite inside a composite.

    So -s esgamelistworks best for gamelists containing only raw artwork.



  • @muldjord said in A Better Way to Scrape?:

    But I always advice to make backups of the current gamelist.xml's, simply because people often misunderstand what it does. For instance, if you have composited screenshots in the current gamelist.xml, Skyscraper will import that as a screenshot. But because it is already composited of different artwork, users get confused when they re-generate the gamelist, since Skyscraper also composites from different artwork. So you get sortof a composite inside a composite.

    Thanks for the warning that makes perfect sense though I probably wouldnt have thought of that.



  • I think Skyscraper will allow you to import images from a local folder. As a suggestion would it make sense to make the images that are downloaded from Skyscraper's server available as a torrent file? That would allow many more people to access the scraper while taking images from a local PC.



  • @George-Spiggott Skyscraper doesn't have a server. Skyscraper is the scraping software. Maybe you mean ScreenScraper? Which is one of the sources supported inside Skyscraper.

    Skyscraper: Scraping software
    ScreenScraper: Online game data source



  • @muldjord Ok thanks. So the same suggestion but using images from Screenscraper or similar then.



  • @George-Spiggott It's not that simple I'm afraid. To upload such a pack would require the license / permission of the sources to be sorted out and that's just not something I have any interest in looking into.

    And I'm not really sure it's a great idea either. If a pack was created, you would go from downloading just the data you need per user (as it is now), to downloading all data for all games in a pack even though you don't need all of it. So... It sounds good on paper. But it's a huge waste of bandwidth as I see it.



  • @muldjord Yes there would be bandwidth wastage but it would be the users rather than the content providers and as I understand the situation
    it is currently their bandwidth that is at a premium.

    That said I'm certainly not trying to force my ideas on the creators. Thanks both for your work and your valued input.


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