Single Status Update
blogpost 2020 edition: not rona'd or dead for other reasons, also gonna rant a bit
You would have noticed that I was active again during the most part of 2015 if you were paying attention to the ZDoom/Zandronum forums, but then significantly decreased my online presence to almost nothing - reason being is that I ended up switching jobs in October 2015 (went back to a full-time job that I had previously quit as I was offered a higher salary with a promise of two raises within 12 months) and stayed there until I was made redundant in mid-2019. That job had mentally drained the hell out of me (constant 50-60 hour weeks without overpay or time in lieu, never got those raises but given the circumstances of why there was financial issues at that company, I'm not angry about the lack of raises) and has put me off wanting to work permanent jobs indefinitely. It also threw me into a deep depression due to the massive amount of stress, but I got through that period with mostly playing board games with friends as I barely wanted to touch my desktop PC while I was working full-time. Much prefer the contract life where I can blaze through some project, had an easy 3-month contract job late last year that was great. Started job-hunting again in mid-February this year as the IT market is naturally dead from Christmas to early-Feb, but unfortunately some pandemic decided to go global a month later and the job market went to shit. Right now I'm waiting to hear back on a contract job opportunity that I was shortlisted for and had a phone interview, so hopefully that leads to some real income again!
So with this year being as it is with social isolation being the main theme, I've been spending a lot of time this year doing some long-needed cleaning - physically, virtually and mentally. It's been utterly fantastic to have either thrown out or sold a lot of unneeded physical cruft, and that's mostly done though I do need a little bit more shelving to properly organise some misc belongings. I don't think I'll ever organise my hard drives 100% to my liking since I've been accumulating 20 years of crap and have minimized data loss, but it's certainly better than the haphazard mess it was and having a GlusterFS clustered network storage using ODROID-HC2 nodes and a Netgear GS748Tv3 that I scored for free from the last contract job (which I modded with 40mm Noctua fans) is an incredibly cost-effective way of having scalable redundant storage, so I can worry even less about data loss short of a catastrophic disaster. Getting back to a good mental state has been challenging, but at least it's going in the right direction and that's always A Good Thing™.
With all that in mind, I'm looking forward to get back in the swing of Doom things and hopefully stay around for much longer than my last attempt in 2015, prioritising on OMGWPNS and Endless Survival along with jamming some DM/CTF map layouts that I may or may not release depending on whether I'm satisfied with them. I also want to revamp the map I made for DUMP 3 (MAP30) as I was hit hard by time constraints and work dominating my time. I've been setting up some streaming equipment and I'm aiming to get up and running on Twitch within 2-3 weeks. Focus is to do Doom stuff at least once a week on Sunday at around midday (2AM UTC) and other stuff on Monday/Wednesday/Friday night (tentative) mostly focusing on Amiga and going through my huge GOG backlog, but also some Mega Drive, PS1/PS2 and XBox stuff. As for playing competitive DM/CTF, there's an extremely low chance of that happening since repetitive strain injury had screwed my right wrist over in 2015 and I don't know if I can ever get back to a skill level that I'd be happy with. Who knows, I need to git gud again in general anyway so we'll see how that pans out.
The biggest challenge for my stream setup though is ironically my desktop - I refused to migrate to Windows 10, after I had bought a new Vega 56 GPU last year and fatally killed it three months later (due to uhh... modding it a bit too much) I ended up switching to Linux with a total hardware swap (as my i7-2600 was getting long in the teeth and my Radeon 7790HD had mysteriously died while my Vega was in use - the Ryzen 3700X is a beast and the RX 570 is a damn good GPU for its value) and eventually settled on Gentoo of all distros as the freedom of customising packages is far better than dealing with binary distros and their shortcomings, and compiling with the 3700X is an absolute breeze. Unfortunately there's still a few nagging issues here and there - neither Odamex or PrBoom appear to play MIDIs, (and something is a bit screwy with modifying the PrBoom config in general) the Zandronum Linux binaries don't play nice with Wayland at all in that using the mouse makes it crap out hard, and Wayland support in OBS is still very much WIP where recording at 60 FPS results in either severe jitter or frame drops ranging from 16% to 40% depending on the PC game for almost all instances - this is a non-issue with X11, but I'll take Wayland over the screen tearing, input lagging and microstuttery mess that is X11. Fortunately the HDMI capture card I have works great with Linux and OBS has no issues recording that at 60 FPS, and I can easily get away with streaming Doom at 30 FPS even if it's a bit below 35 FPS. Hopefully Zandronum will compile fine and will play nicer with my system, otherwise I can always resort to running the Windows binaries through WINE as they work fine, though it does make Doomseeker a bit more of a pain to use. Oh yeah, also need to figure out how to get SLADE to work properly without needing to resort to Flatpak.
That's essentially what I've been up to in a nutshell!
A bit of digging around and sorting out the Odamex and PrBoom MIDI problem was fortunately easy, just needed to set the SDL_SOUNDFONTS environment variable - that's one step closer towards having my stream setup ready, woo! PrBoom still keeps nuking its config file 90% of the time though, going to need to debug and file a bug report on GitHub once I've pinpointed the issue.