New Year! New Machine!

24 cores!

New format for stuff too!

I picked up an ‘interesting Chinese motherboard, a dual LGA2011 board, some DD3 ECC memory, and 2 of the cheapest ‘widest’ chips I could find, the 6 core E5-2620 v2. The board cost me $200 US, the memory was $90 and the CPU’s were $40. Although the board is E-ATX, and that means I’ll need to get a new case as it won’t fit anything I have lying around.

I think I finally got the hang of Vegas. It’s taken far too long to get here, but I was hoping to have received the board much quicker as it shipped from 30km from here, but they did their best to NOT ship to Hong Kong.

I know it’s far too long, and far too maranding. Oh well it’s late and I’m just babbling like crazy.

Stanford uploads 111 lectures by Donald Knuth.

This is pretty cool! I didn’t know they were recording stuff back in 1980!

Stanford has a nice playlist here.

Naturally it’s full of TeX & Mathematical writing, along with trees and other ‘fun’ CS stuff.

While we are overall drowning in cat videos, and other uh ‘multimedia’ content, it’s still amazing the wealth of information that is available to the world (well the part of the world that can view YouTube).

I have no idea what the licensing is, but it’d be such a shame if it was hosted on additional platforms to make them available to the larger world.

Test video of Fallout 76 on a 2006 MacPro

So, I thought my mic was working but yeah it’s not. I’ve shot a bunch a footage, and did some capture stuff too. Turns out the audio I though I had working isn’t. I should have started with a 10 second short to get things ironed out.

I’m using old crap I’ve had lying around in this case, software wise, I’m using liteCam Game: 100 FPS Game Capture, which I guess is ‘okay’ for video capture. It runs on my 2006 MacPro so that’s great, but the video compressor it likes to use, the RSUPPORT MPEG4 Codec isn’t understood by the video editor I’m using, VEGAS Pro 15 Edit Steam Edition.

So FFMPEG to the rescue!

ffmpeg.exe -i 20190107-122714.avi -t 00:05:00.0 test2MP4_.mp4

This gets me a 5 minute clip trans-coded from one MPEG-4 to another, but at least Vegas can read it now.

I used the great program myTube to clip audio from another video, and convert only the audio stream into something Vegas could deal with:

ffmpeg.exe -i DASH-Yakety Sax- Music.dasha” -vn -c:a copy Yakety Sax-Music.mp4

Editing was a fun time flailing around figuring out how to cut tracks, fade in/out add in other layers, and that’s when I noticed that my MIC wasn’t capturing anything. And I didn’t want to try to literally phone it in, so it’s a test video.

24 minutes to render a 5 minute video!

I was kind of crazy, and used the 2006 MacPro to make the video file. I should have known with the ‘blazing’ speed of 0.407x doing the trans-coding that this was going to be SLOW. Obviously dual Xeon 5130‘s @2Ghz isn’t really ideal for video editing today.

Clearly I need a bigger boat.

But just like running Fallout 76 on a 13 year old computer, it still runs. SLOWLY.

I wanted to some crappy branding/art things, but as I made a new channel I’m too much of a n00b apparently to set custom thumbnails. So I need to fluff it out or something I guess.

So here we go!

Consider it more of a process test, I need to get some lighting, and figure out what is up with my audio, maybe hit SSP and get an old audio board or something. Let me know how terrible it looks/sounds… I’m still working on transitions and stuff. I got Vegas on sale for a tiny fraction of the price, I guess it’s high time to use it.

Quake 2 for MS-DOS full playthrough

Playthrough by TheSlipGateUser

I was just alerted to this playthrough of Quake 2 for MS-DOS by TheSlipGateUser which showcases the game play under DOSBox.

Honestly I’m terrible at Quake, QuakeWorld and Quake 2, but it’s great to see someone who knows that they are doing, and more so that under emulation the game is holding up.

I know the MS-DOS port isn’t exactly the most popular in the world, although I suspect if it had been a thing in 1997 there would have been an audience with people that didn’t want to have Windows in the background as a distraction.

That said, any new people will of course want to check out the excellent (if I do say so myself!) series “Porting Quake II to MS-DOS“.

Origin of the Windows XP ‘Bliss’ wallpaper

Charles O’Rear’s Bliss

You’ve probably seen this iconic image everywhere at one point.  This is Charles O’Rear’s picture simply titled ‘bliss’ that was bought by Microsoft in 2000 and used as the default wallpaper for Windows XP.

Interview with Charles

I found this interview of him recently and thought it was interesting enough for a quick post.

20 years of iMacs

Wow the time sure flies!


(Video in MPEG-1/Audio MPEG-2 care of JSMpeg).

I know it's terrible quality but finding video from these old Apple events seems to have been recorded on VHS, and then re-recorded using the 'best' video capture technology for under $100 of the era leading to some really poor quality.  Such is the internet I guess.

I didn't buy a first generation but I did have a 2nd generation 333Mhz green iMac to run OS X Server 1.0 ... Who wasn't excited for the prospects of the next millenium?

BBSs and early Internet access in the 1990ies

This talk explains how individuals were able to communicate globally in the 1990ies using self-organized networks of BBSsin networks like FIDO and Z-Netz, before individual access to the Internet was possible. It also covers the efforts of non-profit organizations to provide individual access to Internet Mail+News via UUCP and later via IP during that period.

This talk covers how individuals could participate in local, regional and global message-based data communications in the 1990ies. It covers the technologies used to access such networks, both on the infrastructure (BBS) side, as well as on the user/client side.

At the same time, the talk is a bit of a personal journey from

  • accessing dial-up BBSs using accoustinc coupler and modem
  • becoming CoSysop of a BBS and learning about how to operatie BBSs
  • being a Node/Point in message based communications networks like Z-Netz and FIDO
  • using UUCP to participate in Internet mail/news (Usenet)
  • working in the technical team of Kommunikationsnetz Franken e.V. to set up a community-based ISP with modem and ISDN dial-up banks, satellite based Usenet feeds, analog leased lines ISDN-SPV.
  • helping getting Germany’s alleged first Internet Cafe (we then called it an Online Bistro) connected

I never was able to know anyone close enough to do fun stuff like back to back DSL modems, or even in this day & age run fiber optics, do ATM or anything fun like that.  As they say telecoms always break down at the last mile, or in my case the first mile.

Putting the 2015 Romero DooM level release to use

or how I learned to love Freedoom.


So back in the distant past of 2015, John Romero had released a bunch of assets to DooM, including the source to the maps. And like a fool I never really did anything with them.  But I decided to do something about that.  Obviously just compiling a map isn’t anywhere near good enough, you need graphics, music and sound right?

Enter Freedoom

Now what is great is that the Feeedoom folks have had the whole ‘apple pie’ stance to their project, with everything included.  However they have drifted tools, build processes and other methodologies through the years. But thankfully the full archives are online, so I could go through and piece stuff together to my liking.  Of course this all needs various tools, and oh boy does it ever need tools.  You need:

  • Perl
  • Python
  • a C pre-processor
  • ImageMagick
  • idbsp10
  • deutex-4.4.902
  • midi3mus
  • sox-14.4.2
  • A Unix’y build environment, I used the ancient MSYS

And probably many more I’m forgetting.

The first was to compile the levels.  I used Ron Rossbach’s ancient IDBSP, a C port of iD’s command line Objective C level compiler.  I did run into two slight issues, the first is that Ron’s tool expects their to be a line in the level’s dwd file telling us the name of the wad it’ll compile to, which of course is missing.  The other is that I suck a makefiles, and just cheated forcing the tool to use a .wad extension on whatever .dwg it converts.  And with that out of the way, I had the levels all built.

However that is where I found out the hard way that Freedoom doesn’t target something like my goal of being able to run this wad with the original DooM v1.1 release.  The first problem is that Freedoom uses a different palette set, where it looks like it should be deeper?  I’m not sure, but one thing was for sure everything looked like a rainbow sea of wrong and any vanilla or chocolate engines.  And that is where I got a fun chance to play with ImageMagik.  It really is quite powerful.

The first problem of course is the palette.  Buried in the Python build scripts is a Perl fragment for generating a palette, and the all important playpal.lmp & colormap.lmp. I also got to spend a lot of time trying to extract that palette and do something useful with it to no avail.  But googling led me to VGA_palette_with_black_borders.png, on Wikipedia of all things. So using this as a base I could convert, dither, and re-map the higher color Freedoom artwork into something that would play nice with Vanilla Doom.  The downsite is that I didn’t try to find out exactly what assets a DooM version 1 wad needs, so I converted them all.  On a good Xeon or i7 it takes about 10-20 minutes all the images.  I can’t even think about how slow this would be using a 486, 68040 or MIPS.

ImageMagick-7.0.7-18-Q16/convert ../graphics_freedoom/wia00001.gif -dither Riemersma -remap ..\playpal\VGA_palette_with_black_borders.png wia00001.gif

Imagine running that some 1,558 times.

Vanilla DooM v1.1 only plays audio at 11,000 Hz, 8bit deep.  All the later ones needless to say use better sampling, and once more again Freedoom was at a higher level.  I used sox to re-sample all the audio into the lower frequencies.

sox “../sounds_freedoom/dsslop.wav” -b 8 -r 11025 -c 1 “dsslop.wav”

Later engines also are capable of directly playing MIDI files, and taking advantage of OPL3 chips, instead of v1.1’s OPL2 level. Thankfully Natt’s midi3mus is still online, and I was able to use this to convert Freedoom’s MIDI into the more restricted MUS format.

midi3mus ../musics_freedoom/d_map11.mid d_map11.mus

The last tool is deutex, which is not only capable of building iwads, but also decomposing them.  I ended up having to add the ‘musid’ flag to force it to honor the older sound format.

deutex -v0 -fullsnd -rate accept -rgb 0 255 255 -doom2 bootstrap/ -iwad -musid -textures -lumps -patch -flats -sounds -musics -graphics -sprites -levels -build wadinfo_ult.txt wads/doom.wad

But because I wanted to verify my build against DooM v1.1 I also had to address one other thing, which is the status bar for DooM version 1.1, which I had patched around in my lame source port. I was able to just decompose the shareware 1.0 wad, and extract the following:

  • stabarl.bmp
  • stabarr.bmp
  • starms.bmp
  • stbar.bmp
  • stmbarl.bmp
  • stmbarr.bmp

And injecting them into the final wad gives me something that the Vanilla DooM  v1.1 engine can actually run.

I’ll put up something online later, and a video of me playing, I guess.  It’s a weird Doom, I mean it is the “normal” DooM, just looks different.

As suggested it’s now called zeeDoom. I’ve uploaded the project, some of the 3rd party programs to build the project, and of course the built wad file.

Download zeeDoom

And as mentioned a play through E1M1 video.