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Friday Fun Thread for October 21, 2022

Be advised; this thread is not for serious in depth discussion of weighty topics (we have a link for that), this thread is not for anything Culture War related. This thread is for Fun. You got jokes? Share 'em. You got silly questions? Ask 'em.

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There's a book written by a polish author, Jacek Dukaj - "Ice". I didn't read it yet, but I thought it might interest some of the people here, especially @DaseindustriesLtd. English wikipedia claims there's Russian translation, but I'm not sure. No English translation yet.

The story of the book takes place in an alternate universe where the First World War never occurred and Poland is still under Russian rule. Following the Tunguska event, the Ice, a mysterious form of matter, has covered parts of Siberia in Russia and started expanding outwards, reaching Warsaw. The appearance of Ice results in extreme decrease of temperature, putting the whole continent under constant winter, and is accompanied by Lute, angels of Frost, a strange form of being which seems to be a native inhabitant of Ice. Under the influence of the Ice, iron turns into zimnazo (cold iron), a material with extraordinary physical properties, which results in the creation of a new branch of industry, zimnazo mining and processing, giving birth to large fortunes and new industrial empires. Moreover, the Ice freezes History and Philosophy, preserving the old political regime, affecting human psychology and changing the laws of logic from many-valued logic of "Summer" to two-valued logic of "Winter" with no intermediate steps between True and False.

Dukaj noted that in this book, science in science-fiction stands for the philosophy of history.

Plot section explains what this last sentence means, but it seems too spoiler'y.

Here's a partial (3%) translation[2] of his other book I did read, "Perfect Imperfection". I'm not sure how faithful it is; he uses fancy language structures. It has Russian translation; quote from English wiki: "One of many original twists in the book is the new language, such as new grammar and prefixes that try to describe the posthuman beings (somewhat resembling the concept of gender-neutral language). This language play also makes the book especially challenging for translators. The book's translation to Russian was nominated for a Russian awards for best translations" <yep, trying to translate it with Deepl was a struggle>

I put off reading his other books after I bounced several times from one called "Science Fiction"; IIRC I kept getting lost b/c of how meta it is (and the first time I read Perfect Imperfection I really got it only on second reread due to defamiliarization[1]).

Actually, I just remembered that besides "Perfect Imperfection" I also did read his "Black Oceans". It was good, but not very thought provoking in a way Perfect Imperfection was. But now that I looked at the Wiki, this seems interesting (given it was written in 2001):

Technological trends are far from only ones explored by Dukaj in his book. He portrays the futuristic bureaucracy, political power struggles behind private sector, government and the military, and changes in culture. Dukaj extrapolates from the current trend of increasing lawsuits and political correctness: in his world many people willingly live under constant mass surveillance of the New Etiquette (NEti), which registers all their actions so that they couldn't be falsely accused of some "personal offense crime".

He's apparently switching from writing to making video games. Translated polish article:

Jacek Dukaj has announced that he has established the Nolensum studio, which will produce video games based on his works. The first project will be "Hardware Dreams," a virtual adaptation of the novel " The Old Axolotl." That title has received international acclaim, with two TV series based on it - the Belgian "Into the Night" and the Turkish "Yakamoz S-245". The director of the game, also responsible for its visual side, is Maciej Jackiewicz: art director and co-creator of numerous animations and cinematics for games ("Cyberpunk 2077", "The Witcher")

[Dukaj's quote] You can write on paper and you can write into the world. For many years, I have watched closely as the center of gravity of culture has shifted from forms based on writing to audiovisual media. A technological revolution is advancing that makes it possible to experience the content of these media in direct sensory experiences. Much of my work has described the consequences of such transformations. Until the time came when at least some of these ideas of mine, instead of on paper, I can realize for real, out in the world. The work in which I most fully described the world of metaverses, NFTs, universal guaranteed income, the social credit system and similar phenomena was 2010's "Line of Resistance." From it comes the term "nolensum", meaning the situation when technological civilization meets our needs so well that we have to artificially create identities and goals for ourselves. The need to engineer people's sense of life arises. And the pioneers of engineering the meaning of life are the first practitioners of gamification of the human destiny: computer game developers.

The richness of Dukaj's worlds is of a scale that the budgets of Hollywood blockbusters would not be ashamed of," says Marcin Kobylecki, creative producer. - "Hardware Dreams is distinguished by its universality and scalability. Its plot is set in Tokyo, and the post-apocalyptic vision of life in a computer network is sure to gain the attention of audiences around the world.

The strategic plan is to gradually expand the team and production capacity so that Nolensum simultaneously develops several projects. Not necessarily just games. Nolensum is affiliated (through the Bellwether Rocks fund, in which Dukaj is also a shareholder and board member) with companies involved in NFTs, cryptocurrencies, metaverse and tokenization, among others.

Nolensum has secured full funding for the first year and a half of production. In the near future, Nolensum also intends to work with outside contractors.

Nolensum. Sounds promising.

[1] There are concepts / technologies which are just not explained for sth like first half of the book, in order to immerse reader in post-singularity world by showing it from a perspective of someone from ~near-future. (/u/gwern described his It Looks Like You’re Trying To Take Over The World as doing the same thing)

[2] Because I figured I'd try to translate it. Unfortunately I asked for the permission, wrongly expecting I'd just get no response, most likely. In hindsight, that was stupid.

Russian translations, at least, seem to be very easily googled (html, pdf/epub).

The premise sounds like it could be interesting, but the blurb about 'the laws of logic from many-valued logic of "Summer" to two-valued logic of "Winter" with no intermediate steps between True and False.' is concerning. Maybe something got lost in translation there, but this to me has a slight smell of the way artists sometimes take and run with the artistic gestalt of hard-science concepts that they read and failed to understand a top-level description of (in the style of "quantum computing allows you to compute all possible worlds at once!"), and then presume to lecture scientists on the morality of what they are doing based on that faulty understanding.

Victoria 3 is coming out in a few days, and I've been conflicted about getting it. For those who aren't familiar, it's a Paradox Interactive game on the Victorian Era, running between 1836-1936, and similar in style to their many other strategy game offerings. I've always thought Victoria 2 was a fantastic game, especially for focusing so much on people, trade and the economy over warfare and painting the map your color. But in the last decade or so Paradox has changed their business model to a more DLC-focused model; while Hearts of Iron 3 released three expansion packs over the next few years and then was done, HOI4 has six now six years after it was released, and with no sign of stopping. Steam lists a total price for all the content of about $185. Stellaris is at $235 or so, while Europa Universalis 4, released in 2013, has a list longer than my screen can display in one go and is $230 while on a 50% off sale. This is all without the base game.

While I'm sympathetic to the fact that a company has to make money, and they are keeping their base game at about $50 and still updating the games, I'm also reaching the end of my rope with them. Their DLCs tend to be just not that great or interesting, they break mods or split the mod community, they result in this incredible buy-in problem and it oftentimes seems to be an excuse to release badly done content and fix it later. I've tried to stop supporting them, at least somewhat, and so I'm behind on DLCs in some games or have others without any. At this point though, I don't know if I should get Victoria 3 on release at all, as as I try to temper my excitement with the knowledge that it will almost certainly be a buggy and unfinished launch with many more dollars to spend in the coming years. But I'm curious to hear from others too; is anyone else as interested in it? Does it seem worth it?

In my experience the base game by itself is usually just fine: there is no need to buy DLC unless you really want it. I play a lot of Stellaris, and after several years I've only bought two DLCs. The game works just fine without the rest: it worked just fine without those two, really. Same thing for CKII, which I haven't bought any DLC for: it's still fun. If you're a skinflint like me, just don't buy them.

But definitely wait a few months to buy it, you know it's going to be buggy as all get out on release.

But I'm curious to hear from others too; is anyone else as interested in it?

Yes. Even though, ironically, I never played Vicky 2 (CK2 -> EU4)

Part of that is just getting sucked into the community's endless memes about it. It's basically Dr Dre's Detox for strategy nerds, and that has an allure.

But part of it is just that I find the time period and mechanics interesting but absolutely loathe pre-CK2 Paradox's UI design so a Vicky III was the best case.

Does it seem worth it?

Not to preorder. Not to buy on launch day.

If the reviews are good and it's not buggy...yes. I've mostly had good experiences with even early CK2 and EU4.

It all depends on which Paradox we get. The "make a good enough game and then increment" or "make a hollow game and then increment". I don't mind waiting a few years if it's the latter.

If you had asked me this question 6 years ago I would have been extremely excited for the (hypothetical) upcoming release of Victoria 3. Or any Paradox game for that matter. But nowadays I am completely disillusioned with Paradox games. The quality of their games have diminished significantly, and their pricing models have just gotten worse and worse. Victoria 3 in particular has some baffling design decisions that has only bolstered my belief that either the talent has all left, or are being hamstrung by management. 2016 marked a serious turning point for the company, the year they went public. Though, many of horrible decisions (from my player's perspective, not business perspective) started a few years before that, perhaps in preparation for going public.

A huge problem with Paradox is that they have a de facto monopoly on their small little niche of strategy games. There's no one else really trying to make the same style of games as them, outside of a few recent indie studios that remain to see how they do. It's a similar problem that was caused by EA (yes, Paradox is turning into strategy EA) having a de facto monopoly on Sims-style games and Sim City games. They could charge ridiculous prices and have extremely consumer-unfriendly business practices because they know that no one else is making similar games to them, the players have to come to them to get their fix. Of course, the Sim City franchise was eventually challenged by Cities: Skylines (ironically published by Paradox) who beat them so hard that Sim City is now effectively a dead franchise. People often say that games like Total War or others are similar to Paradox games, but in my opinion they're not the same experience.

The quality of Paradox games have become worse. Whereas as previous games really tried to have strong historical simulation elements, dynamic gameplay elements, etc. the more recent Paradox forgo this for increasingly gamified mechanics (e.g. the absence of population mechanics). I increasingly feel like I am playing a glorified boardgame than I am a historical simulation grand strategy game. But maybe that's what the people want. They do seems to be trying to appeal to a broader audience, dumbing down their games. Maybe it is a sensible business decision, but I am allowed to call their games shittier for it. Though, I have a strong suspicion that there's a lack of talent/creative vision in Paradox devs now, with all the old guard either becoming washed-up and promoted to management, or just simply left, and the new talent just being shit.

Speaking of business decisions ruining Paradox games, I despise the monetization model they've adopted because I think it genuinely incentivizes them to make shit games. Like EA, the modus operandi is now to create a shell of a game, with bare bones mechanics and content - really putting the 'minimum' in 'minimum viable product' - and then slowly actually develop the game piecemeal and selling it to players over the next decade. This does not make for robust, interesting games. And that's even assuming they actually do attempt to develop robust and interesting mechanics for DLC. More often than not, it's lazy shit like just giving a few countries new mission trees, something that should be in the base game. Oh god I hate the mission system and 'focuses' that now have infected most of the Paradox games. I know some people like the mission system but I despise them, and embodies everything wrong with Paradox games. Rather than having dynamic mechanics that allows players to create their own story (history), we're going to rail road players (and the AI) into a couple of set paths. In its worse form the mission mechanics turn Paradox games in to interactive light novels (HOI4). This lazy, hollow development process did come to bite them in the ass with Imperator: Rome, which was released so barebones and lacking in content that even the biggest Paradox simps and fanboys admitted it was a pile of dogshit. I know that people always talk about the exorbitant cost of Paradox games, which is an issue, but to me the biggest failing of the monetization model is how it incentivizes them to make their games in the worst way possible. Also, people defending the price as 'but you'll spend hundreds of hours in' is a stupid argument, because literally nothing else is priced based on the hypothetical amount of use you will get out of it. No one would defend spending $300 on a copy of LotR because you'll read it many times. What about the person who buys a Paradox game and DLC and doesn't sink hundreds or thousands of hours into it? The reason they charge so much is simply because they have a monopoly on their genre and can get away with it.

Victoria 2 was unironically peak Paradox. Sure, Victoria 2 is extremely janky, and has some serious problems. But what makes it so good is its genuine ambition and dedication to historical simulation, such the economy and population mechanics, which allows for extreme depth and dynamic gameplay. CK2 is a close second for similar reasons, though it was the first game to embrace the Paradox DLC chain.

Will I buy Victoria 3? Definitely not on launch. Probably will some number of years from now when I can get it for next to nothing from Humble Bundle or whatever.

Rather than having dynamic mechanics that allows players to create their own story (history), we're going to rail road players (and the AI) into a couple of set paths.

I honestly don't think they have a choice. Especially due to the AI. A lot of the immersion-breaking simplifications are justified on the grounds that the AI being too dumb to not have cheats and railroads.

Now, could Paradox theoretically just fix that with more focus and elbow grease? I guess. I think this is an actual hard problem. As you point out: they're in a niche. Maybe it's for a reason.

And, tbh, even other Triple-A strategy games - despite being less complex - have serious problems with the AI. Total War has good enough tactical AI but I've always heard complaints about their strategy, for example.

The problems with Total War's strategic AI are real, and always have been a problem. As a player the main issue I would run into (not as bad in more recent games) is that the more powerful I got, the more likely people would declare war on me. Which made no sense: tiny kingdoms on my borders, instead of looking at offers of trade deals and non-aggression pacts with their superpower neighbor with relieved enthusiasm would instead spit in my face and boldly declare that they would crush me beneath their boots! After I inevitably rolled them up into my empire, the tiny kingdoms that neighbored my now expanded borders would do the same. It made no sense, but it did keep you in a constant state of warfare through the late game. Since the focus of the game is on battles, I could see why it stayed broken in that particular way for so long.

In more recent Total War games they've improved it a good bit, but more importantly they revamped the diplomacy system to make it transparent: you can not only see how much another power likes you, but also see exactly why they feel the way they do: disliking Great Powers is -X, you fighting their enemies is +Y, etc. The transparency means that you have less moments of saying "What in the world is wrong with these people? Why are they acting this way?!" Now you know exactly why, which means you can make more interesting diplomatic decisions.

And, tbh, even other Triple-A strategy games - despite being less complex - have serious problems with the AI. Total War has good enough tactical AI but I've always heard complaints about their strategy, for example.

This argument has never really held water with me, those other games have a lot of other things to sink their budgets into, paradox games do not, the AI and how it handles strategy is the game.

Paradox are just cheap and know they've cornered a niche market and are content to put in the minimum amount of effort they need to continue milking the whales that buy their dlc.

HOI4: $185

Stellaris: $235

EU4: $230 while on sale

The total costs that you give are somewhat misleading. For example, EU4's $230 figure includes cosmetic DLCs as well as functional DLCs. By my reckoning, EU4 with only the functional DLCs (labeled "expansions" and "immersion packs" on Steam) is $170 at the moment.

In any event, if you think that the value-for-money proposition is bad for these games, then just don't buy them. Steam lists me as having around 2600 hours in CK2 and 1800 hours in EU4. Maybe those numbers are slightly inflated by occasions where I left the AI running on observe mode (in order to test mods, or just to see how the world evolved), but that's still well over five hours of enjoyment per dollar spent. If you think that isn't enough, then buy another game. For example, I personally have extracted 10 h/$ from Nioh ($50 at launch, without discount) and 20 h/$ from Dark Souls 2 ($10 with discount).

I don't know if I should get Victoria 3 on release at all

I certainly don't plan to buy it until there's a discount.

The cost rate needs a caveat. Paradox games are podcast/audiobook games. You use them to engage a mechanical part of your brain while leaving the verbal and contemplative parts open. Not while learning to play them, certainly, but after the hundred hour mark.

Outer Wilds is much more expensive by rate (maybe $1.20/hour), but while you're playing it, it is the only thing you're doing and commands your attention. EU4 on the other hand becomes a glorified stress ball.

I played through the first Chapter of Hard West 2 and it's pretty good! There are some flaws that can be pointed out and I don't think it's likely to have much replayability, but the aesthetics and combat mechanics are quite good. If you like turn-based tactics, this one is worth taking a look at for $24.

What are you playing?

Having two young kids in unsurprisingly not a conductive environment for gaming. The last time I had some time to get into a game was in the summer for two holiday weeks, when I played Into The Breach with the new patch (new bots etc.), and before that in Christmastime, when I played a lot of Griftlands. I find "Spirelikes" - ie. single-player roguelikes with collective card mechanisms like Slay the Spire - very interesting, and sort of a proof that there are still innovations to be discovered within the sphere of gaming in general.

Since my second kid was born, I haven't been able to do much gaming at all so I empathize with you. My oldest is now just old enough that she can play games with me, so I've started playing Stardew Valley. It's good for her (nothing scary, and if you stay out the mines they're no enemies to worry about), and it's good for me because she likes to watch me play. We take turns, at her direction: a day with my save file, a day with hers. It's been nice.

I should note that summer was before kid no 2 was born.

Hated the CYOA nature of HW1 and was unimpressed by the tactics.

Right now I'm mostly just letting Distant Worlds 2 play itself while I do other things. I occasionally dip into Cyberpunk 2077 to marvel at the production quality, sometimes Terra Invicta to see how the Early Access is going, but I'm not sticking around much.

I occasionally dip into Cyberpunk 2077 to marvel at the production quality

Huh. That's not a sentence I expected to see based on what I've heard.

There's a resurgence in the player base lately. Apparently the latest patch fixed a lot of the issues.

Edgerunners seems to have driven a lot of new players too.

Sure, bugs. Absence of balance. Narrative issues. Too much of some kinds of content, too little of others. A lot of unfulfilled promises and unfulfilled potential. The launch, from what I hear. Keanu Reeves being really not into his role, IMO. Player choice really not having at all that much impact. The AI being as retarded as in any other game. But the product as it currently is is still fairly impressive. Visually for one, the atmosphere is pretty good, the writing is unusually good for a video game, the setting is very consistently realized, the gameplay is fairly varied and all parts are at least technically solid while some are actually quite good. It may not be a masterpiece, but in my view it's far better than its reputation and - and that's always the part that most interests me - it's very ambitious in many aspects and manages to go relatively far towards that ambition, with a relatively large scope and relatively high quality. In the end it's still just vidya, and it has a cornucopia of problems, and its ambition could be summed up as "do an immersive sim, bigger and more mature than the others" which isn't exactly revolutionary, but I'd say that Cyberpunk 2077 comfortably occupies a niche that you can find by starting somewhere near Deus Ex: Human Revolution (or maybe Mankind Divided, I never finished that so I can't say), then adding on a ton of quantity and quality. If Human Revolution was a decent or good game, then what is Cyberpunk 2077 if not a better one? One can hardly claim that it's less, or worse, than HR.

Of course in the end, Cyberpunk 2077 still suffers from one fatal flaw that I can't forgive - it's far too easy. I start it up, take a look around, go "oooh this is nice", murderhobo some gangsters with complete impunity or breeze through some story mission and close the game again, thinking what a shame that it's a walking simulator with no sense of challenge whatsoever.

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, which has completely subsumed any desire I had to pay for other roguelikes.

Modded Minecraft, with the intent of getting a couple friends to a server for the first time in years.

And, intermittently, Starsector, an incredible space combat/trading/exploration game. Basically Mount and Blade with combat distantly derived from Star Control, except set in an Alastair Reynolds book. Very aesthetic. Very moddable. One of my favorites of all time.

I have been playing Horizon's Gate, which I probably talked about on the sub, but has recently gotten an update, dragging me back in. The easiest way to describe it is as Uncharted Waters 2 in a fantasy realm with modern qol enhancements. You sail around an open world, pirating and trading and exploring. Because it is so open ended it can be daunting at first, but it does a good job teaching you how to get ahead. And when I just want to kill stuff for 15 minutes I have been playing Nova Drift, which also got a nice update recently. If you are unfamiliar with Nova Drift, it's one of those auto action rpgs like Vampire Survivors - one of the oldest and also one of the most polished. Vampire Survivors also got updated recently, but more people should play Nova Drift.

The comments made it seems like many of the battles only had one correct answer. In that sense it's more of a puzzl game than a squad tactics game. That's why I passed on it.

I was surprised to find that really irked me about Age of Decadence an otherwise very well made RPG, by making all of the tests skill hurdles, I felt very constrained. I get that that was the point of the game design, but I didn't enjoy it.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that they only have one correct answer, but there's absolutely a puzzle feel to many of the battles. For example, there's a train heist where one of the optional goals (with a nice reward) is completing it in one turn. There are probably a couple ways to pull that off depending on what group you're running, but the way you have to approach it is severely constrained by that goal. If you ignore that goal, you've got options, but it's still going to be somewhat linear because the level design (in this case) is straightforward. This is what I mean about it probably not having much replayability.

The combat ain't XCOM, but it's still enjoyable enough to knit together a fun game.

His video titles are infinitely-more click-baiting than their content, which can hopefully be forgiven as creators need to do so to grow a following. But for those with any interest in American football, Brett Kollmann released another one of his historical dives into the evolution of a particular play/concept. This time it’s how the Chiefs have tweaked the modern shovel-option, and the concept’s origin in the two-back veer option of the ‘60s and ‘70s:

RimWorld dropped a new DLC today, Biotech. Who is playing it?

I tried this game for the first time last weekend, how do you keep everyone from dying the first time a wild animal attacks?

You start with two guns which is plenty for early animal attacks. Make sure to have one colonist who has good shooting skill (more than one is better). And out of your starter three, definitely only have one (at most) who is incapable of violence. On your two best shooty colonists, give them the guns. When you get the notification that an animal is attacking, immediately draft those two colonists and position them so that they will be able to shoot at the animal as it charges your base. You might need to engage in some fisticuffs when the animal closes the gap, but you should be able to at least wound it before it gets into melee with you. Then make sure your colonists get to a bed to rest (you might need to mess with their work priorities to get them to do that), and have your person with the best medical skill treat their injuries.

Another good low-tech solution is a spike trap killbox. Make a maze-like pathway out of walls (preferably granite as they are the sturdiest), and line the whole thing with spike traps. Animals that try to get to you will go through the trapped pathway, and the traps will fuck them up. Do note that you have to have your base kind of walled off for this to work, though. And human enemies will often be smart enough to try to destroy your walls instead of dealing with the trap maze. But it can be a ridiculously effective defensive technique even so.

Also, it's pretty normal to be overwhelmed by the various things that can go wrong in early playthroughs. Each time I first played the game I'd get to a point where I was fucked, try to figure out what I should've done to prevent that, and made sure to cover those bases in the future.

Medical skill to treat wounds, kiting the opponents (or using the run-n-gun mod to skip that), building an early killbox, using the scenario editor to start with cataract armor and a monosword.

One thing you can do is stand in the doorway, running inside when the animals get close and opening the door to take potshots when they wander off.

Pick starter colonists who can actually fight.

I'm still waiting for my list of 200 mods to update, which is actually just an excuse on my part to not lose dozens of hours of free time by getting back into the game.

Yo. Also playing all the other expansions for the first time as well. Haven't gotten to any of the fun gene modding stuff yet, but I did have fun making an ideology which values supremacy, human supremacy, and body modification.

What’s the Greatest Rock and Roll Song of All Time

I was looking up the meaning the lyrics of Rosalita by Bruce Springsteen earlier in the week, trying to figure out if there was a particular slang meaning to the lines “Windows are for cheaters, chimneys for the poor, closets are for hangars, winners use the door.” What I came across was this thorough analysis arguing that Rosalita is possibly the single greatest rock performance of all time. Which got me thinking, was it? I think the greatest rock and roll song of all time would have to: be recognizably Rock and Roll to the majority of Rock audiences throughout time, I want something that Wolfman Jack would love while still having pushed and developed the genre further, so however much I love Ulver’s Nattens Madrigal it's out. From a great rock and roll band as an aspect of "career achievement" so one hit wonders are out. Can't be too obscure, the all time GOAT should be recognized by mass audiences, so anything by the Queers is out. A great upbeat car-radio song, so ballads and such are out. Covering classic rock and roll themes of teenage love and freedom and joy, so something too political like Eve of Destruction or too weird like Iron Man is out.

What are your nominations? I’ve never been a huge Stones or Zeppelin fan, so I didn’t pick one from those, but I still feel like it’s incomplete without at least a nomination for each. Mine below:

Rosalita Bruce Springsteen

Pro: Great lyrics with classic rock and roll themes of teenage freedom and cars and love affairs, driving galloping beat and energy, fits into the peak rock and roll moment when it had fully risen to cultural dominance but before splitting too heavily into subcultures (punk, metal, alt, etc) and before Thriller really split off pop as a distinct genre, just a little long with multiple excellent bridges without hitting absurd In A Gatta Da Vida lengths. I feel like this song could have opened for Chuck Berry in 1955, and for Van Halen in 1990, and rocked both crowds across thirty five years, Legendary concert piece by a classic concert band.

Con: Relies on the sax for most of the power of the instrumentals and guitar + sax is an evolutionary dead end, Bruce just generally doesn’t feel musically as influential as others on the nominations list like Dylan or Hendrix outside of New Jersey.

Like a Rolling Stone Bob Dylan

Pro: Nobel Prize winner Dylan is certified the greatest lyricist in rock history, covered by a thousand bands for the pure poetry and because it can be taken in a million directions, lines that are both so specific and so universal, The Band is great on this one.

Con: Dylan is more folk than rock and his electric era wasn’t really that long, too slow and not heavy enough, in the last forty years almost no one has ever danced or gotten laid to this which pulls it away from core rock styles.

Johny B Goode Chuck Berry

Pro: Berry deserves more credit than any other individual for putting Rock and Roll together from spare parts and the creator deserves credit for the creation, this was Berry’s most legendary song even though he stole the idea from a concert played by his cousin Marvin, it’s been covered by everyone from Judas Priest to John Lennon because they all thought it was that important.

Con: It’s only halfway there it’s the seed not the tree, the quality of the talent performance and composition just doesn’t hold up to others on the list.

You Shook Me All Night Long AC/DC

Pro: Dave Barry described the opening as the greatest couplet in the English language “She was a fast machine, she kept her motor clean;” probably the heaviest rock can be pushed before splitting away from something Chuck Berry’s crowd would recognize at all, and the overall composition is just tight and powerful and perfect.

Con: Cock rock can feel kind of lame to me at times betwixt and between heavy metal and pop music, pretty simplistic and straightforward relative to the artistry in the musicianship of Rosalita or the lyrics of Like a Rolling Stone, kind of advertisement rock at this point.

Imagine John Lennon

Pro: If you thought this was a serious nominee, for even a second, please let me know in the comments so I can ignore everything that you ever post here in the future.

Purple Haze Jimi Hendrix Experience

Pro: Rock is first and foremost guitar music and Jimi was the greatest guitarist of all time, legendary associations of Woodstock, Jimi had the courtesy to stay forever 27 and so never gets the later cringe associations of working with Yoko or Barack Obama or releasing an ersatz Christmas album {though lowkey I love that Dylan album}, everything heavier than the Doors owes Jimi a debt.

Con: Jimi doesn’t have the volume of material to deserve the “career achievement” aspect of the award, short and simplistic, about drugs.

Raw Power Iggy Pop and the Stooges

Pro: Proto-punk par excellence, what differentiates rock from what came before and after is being hard and loud and this is as loud and hard as rock and roll gets, as authentic as punk ever got before the authenticity had to be disputed for those who saw the stooges, covered with bruises. Also, watch the Amazon Documentary it’s great.

Con: the stooges really aren’t very good at music, with Iggy saying he learned most of his composition from Captain Kangaroo.

I'm really kinda thinking Rosalita takes it.

Personally, I believe the greatest rock song ever performed is Like a Bat out of Hell.

I also recognize that I have no idea what I'm talking about. Still, that album sold over 14 million units in the US alone, so I think some people out there might agree with me!

Out of the options you listed, I think Johnny B. Goode is the best contender.

Bat out of Hell is one of the greatest albums of all time. Bat out of Hell, Took the Words Right out of my Mouth, Paradise by the Dashboard Light, All Revved Up With No Place To Go, Two out of Three Ain't Bad. All bangers. I strongly considered either Bat out of Hell or Took the Words Right out of my Mouth, but I feel like the GSOAT has to come from an influential singer/group/composer, and Meatloaf really fell off after the first album.

Just have to add this one: perhaps the true spirit of rock, in the end, is best represented by this Finnish classic: (Don't bother to try to make sense of the lyrics, they literally consist of basically every English phrase the band could think of at this point thrown together to approximate a rock lyric.)

I love it. Thank you so much for exposing me to this.

I’ve got a couple of suggestions to throw into the mix.

Layla - Derek and the Dominos

Clapton’s signature song. Killer intro and compelling throughput. The story and context behind the song is also interesting.

The Boys Are Back In Town - Thin Lizzy

I love the false menace, Phil Lynott is trying to sound tough but clearly is also having great fun. A great singalong anthem that would equally be at home at a metal concert or at a boozy family party.

It probably is Free Bird though..

Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd

I once had a cheap car with a busted CD player that had two settings: free bird and off.

Sympathy for the Devil would be my choice. I don't have any real argument for it, I just love it. Besides, something from the Stones has to be included on any list.

Sympathy for the Devil would be a good illustration of what was discussed below: for someone with a similar contextual understanding to me to what "rock" sounds like, Sympathy for the Devil just isn't hard enough to really be a contestant. I also agree that if there's a Stones pick, Gimme Shelter is probably the best choice, it just has that little bit more of drive and energy to it to be there.

As much as I love Gimme shelter (which is quite a bit) the gospel vocals detract from its rock n roll ness imo, making it more rock than rock n roll. Also television taught me soldiers only had access to two songs during the Vietnam war - Gimme Shelter and Fortunate Son, and I have a hard time disassociating it from helicopter shots of rice fields.

Sympathy for the devil is definitely my favourite Stones song too (for fun here's the neptunes remix, which is the closest anyone has come to covering it well), but if it's not rockin' enough, how about Paint it black or Start me up?

I would like to have included links to all of those songs, but typing out the bbcode is a pain in the ass, we really need a URL button.

For Hendrix, I'd have picked All Along the Watchtower over Purple Haze. I think it's a better example of the musical stylings. Picking a cover isn't going to help with the career criterion, but think of it this way--all the benefits of Dylan, but with firmer credentials for rock and roll.

I feel like Queen should have a presence on this list, even if they don't win. Crazy Little Thing or, God help us, Fat Bottomed Girls?

Out of the other responses, Sharp Dressed Man kicks ass.

For some reason it made me think of Aerosmith's Life in the Fast Lane. Great riff, great instrumentation, obvious lyrical relevance. Is having a "Rock and Roll"ercoaster themed after you a pro or a corporate con?

Deep Purple's Smoke on the Water wins points for riff, for universality, and for lyrical content about rock and roll recording. It's clearly blues-derived to stay in touch with the earlier rockers. Bonus for the band's influence; penalty for the weirdness of everything else in their discography. Much as I love Blackmore, you can't go two steps without tripping (ha!) over some Bach.

For Hendrix, I'd have picked All Along the Watchtower over Purple Haze. I think it's a better example of the musical stylings. Picking a cover isn't going to help with the career criterion, but think of it this way--all the benefits of Dylan, but with firmer credentials for rock and roll.

That's a really good one. Rock and Roll's greatest guitarist plays Rock and Roll's greatest lyricist's material, in a way it's the perfect career criterion. The one who burned out playing the one who faded away.

I was left thinking - what would be the latest song that one could propose as a contender without it feeling immediately facile? Is Seven Nation Army too gimmicky? Is Last Nite by Strokes recognizable enough outside of a certain age bracket/cultural context?

The post-punk revival was rock's last breath. 7NA is big enough that random people know the riff, and The Hardest Button to Button got a great treatment on The Simpsons. The other three Big Thes have faded away, though, and post-2007 landfill indie is for people who want to listen to more stuff that reminds them of their youth, the modern equivalent of AOR.

IMHO, Smells Like Teen Spirit is the last one. That's the latest point at which Rock existed as a unified fandom, and every Rock fan tuned into or at least recognized the same band as great, more or less. After that, the splintering of Rock and its loss of dominance in popular music makes the impact of the songs just not the same. It's the difference between Jazz as a vital musical force when Kind of Blue came out, and Jazz as something I watch with a bunch of old people in a symphony hall when great albums come out today. Musically, the latter may be 'just as good' but it's not the same historical force at work.

I'm not a big Nirvana fan, I find them musically facile and boring, but that's just the way it is, Kurt Cobain was the last true rockstar. Also one of the weirdest conspiracy takes I ever heard: Cobain was killed by the CIA, along with Easy-E, to try to stop their youth movement from taking over the west coast. Bonkers.

I would guess grunge is too hard for the OP's definition.

If it isn't, some other good picks might include Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden) and Rooster (Alice in Chains).

Probably fails the BttF audience test. But I'd still use Cobain's suicide as the death of mainstream rock music in straight line descent from Howlin' Wolf and friends.

I would peg G'n'R as the last really big classic rock band to break, and Nirvana etc. as another (though obviously related) thing.

We Will Rock You has to at least be on the list, for sheer "absolutely everybody has heard this song" alone.

It is impossible to set that beat in a communal setting and not have people 1. join in 2. get pumped.

On the other hand, the opening is the strongest part.

Same with Crazy Train, really.

It's either Springsteen or Dylan. I wish I could find the effort to write more, but it's been a long week and like on a typical Friday I just want to take a shower and chill. But I think Like A Rolling Stone has forever gotten the nomination from the press because of how hard it sends the I-IV-V chorus, which is a direct throwback to foundational 50's tracks like Louie Louie and La Bamba, and it's anchoring the hit track of Dylan's musical amphetamine meltdown late 60's albums. Dylan on Hwy 61/B.O.B., and Springsteen on Born to Run, are like a lush pool at the end of roots rock, with professional bands and capable lyricists. So the best track I think would have to be a personal pick from one of those, I personally would go with Thunder Road. But really I'd go with Louie Louie by the sonics.

I think an obvious choice would be Don't Stop Believin', or maybe Sweet Child of Mine. They pretty easily exemplify the peak form of rock and roll: strong melodic vocals, a driving backbeat, rhythm and harmony guitars, and soaring guitar leads.

My immediate thought on reading this was:

Kansas - Carry on My Wayward Son

But while looking at the video I noticed the #rock tag.

AC/DC is maybe the most listened to rock song with "Thunderstruck"

and when I think of rock music I really think more of AC/DC then I do of Bruce Springsteen. I might be a younger generation than you, but Rosalita really sounds more like jazz to me than rock and roll. And it just has all the wrong feelings. When I think of a rock song that has all the right "feelings" I got to the song that is a partial parody of rock, but also nails the feelings. The writers of the song have won Emmys, Grammys, and Annies. The ultimate: Trey Parker and Matt Stone - America Fuck Yeah

Yeah, like I sort of indicated below the sound that comes to my mind when thinking 'rock' is Iron Maiden, but it might be the most correct to say it would be somewhere between Maiden and AC/DC. I remember that much of classic 60s/70s rock, when I heard it as a youngin, got me reacting like 'wait, this is supposed to be rock?'

Thunderstruck is a great choice, not only for music but meme potential (ie. randomly shouting THUNDER! at random intervals).

Crazy Train or Rainbow in the Dark, or are these too far into metal territory?

I'll throw a couple of picks to represent Zeppelin and the Stones:

Led Zeppelin - Rock And Roll. The name is maybe a bit on the nose, and it's not necessarily my favorite song by them, but the guitar riff for this song is just so much fun. It's hard to resist jamming out to this song. There's a huge variety of Led Zeppelin though, and it's hard to pick just one. If I were going to pick my personal favorite it would probably be Babe I'm Gonna Leave You.

Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter. Again, this band has an absurdly large roster of great songs and it's hard to pick just one. But this song to me is the quintessential Rolling Stones song. The lead guitar at the beginning just slaps, and the vocal work really is something imo. You could pick a lot of other songs though.

Where do you draw the line between rock and roll and rock? Like, I would place the Beatles right at the drainage divide, with everyone else in the British Invasion worth mentioning being rock musicians.

If you follow the kitchen sink rules of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, then I nominate "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" by James Brown and "Lose Yourself" by Eminem.

Where do you draw the line between rock and roll and rock?

I would define rock and roll in its pure form by that clip from Back to the Future, when Michael J. Fox does the guitar solo and the 50s teens who were dancing are just left going wtf even is that. Stuff past that gets into your heavy metal, your hardcore punk, etc. That's the test I picture in my head. You can play a later rock and roll song to an earlier audience, and that audience would recognize it as rock and roll music.

To me, almost everything by The Beatles would play just fine at a Chuck Berry joint, same with the Stones, and most of Led Zeppelin or the Who as well. Maybe the audience wouldn't love it but they'd recognize it as the same kind of music they like. For me the line comes somewhere around like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest on the metal side, and then bands like Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys on the punk side. That's where I'd imagine the music/content reaches the point where your hypothetical 50s crowd coming out to hear Roll Over Beethoven gets confused.

Lose Yourself is an interesting one, I feel like I can't take it seriously because it's a movie song.

Well, War Pigs came out in 1970 and wouldn't fly with the rock'n'roll crowd. As did Child in Time (I love the stone faces of the audience). So, on one hand, I think the birth of hard rock and metal and their emergence at the genres of rock should disqualify post-Woodstock rock'n'roll songs from being considered the best. But on the other hand, would I really disqualify the songs by 3 Inches of Blood from being on a "best of heavy metal" list just because they were written after it became a niche genre?

My instinctive choice would have been Run To The Hills by Iron Maiden, but it might not fit your rules (Maiden is too metal already, arguably, though I don’t personally see it that way, and subject matter might even be considered woke today), so I’ll nominate one I think would qualify by the criteria: Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top.

If we're going to pick a ZZ Top song, I think it has to be La Grange. One of the greatest riffs of any song, ever.

Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top.

One of the greatest riffs of all time. Excellent pick.

IMHO, any AD/DC recommendation has to come from the Bon Scott era. And if I had to pick a "Greatest Rock & Roll Song" from that era, I need to pick It's a Long Way to the Top. Had they quite reached the full maturity they would under Bon Scott? Not quite. But it's an ode to the Rock & Roll lifestyle like few others.

Also, Bon Scott was just a superior lyricist.

That's a good pick, consider it swapped.

When I would go on day-long fasts, the only way I could get myself to complete it was to look forward to my large meal at the end of the day. And I had to look forward to the enjoyable part of the meal, not the vegetables but the buttery pasta or tasty chicken. If I didn’t have this enjoyment to look forward to, or even if I didn’t already plan exactly what I would be eating, I would invariably lose motivation and quit the fast early. When it did come time to eat, the eating was much more pleasurable and relaxing than usual (imagine being hungry and stoned at the same time).

Is this a larger phenomenon that can be generalized or just a bug in my brain’s code? Do humans work better when they have a determined, concrete enjoyment that they are 99% sure awaits them? The knowledge of “fasts are good for me”, “my hunger will go away”, “this is making me stronger” wasn’t nearly as motivating as simply knowing and anticipating a half-hour of enjoyable eating.

Do you drink coffee or anything besides water before the evening?

I’ve completed two full-day fasts, one in the 00’s in my 20’s and one recently, I think in 2020, in my 40’s. Both lasted from my dinner the day before to breakfast the day after.

The first was at the urging of a friend, that we fast together and dedicate it to the Lord. At lunchtime, I went to a nearby park to read a book. Just before I was due back to the office, an ice cream truck came by the park, so I went up and bought a bar. As money and ice cream changed hands, I remembered I was fasting, and I laughed that I had forgotten. It went into the freezer at work, uneaten for the next day. After work, my friend asked where we were going to eat, and I looked at him agog. He revealed he wanted to fast because he was short on food and money. He ate; I remained fasting until the following morning because that was what I had prepared for. As I went to bed, I thanked God. Because it was half a lifetime ago, I don’t recall the urges.

The second, more recent, fast was because I was tired of feeling like I did nothing but eat all day. I dedicated this fast to God, toward whichever account He wanted to credit it. The first wave of raw ravenous need hit mid-morning, and I couldn’t believe how strong it was. The memory that I’d made it through before was got me through that first wave. The second wave was around lunchtime and I could barely think of anything but food. It seemed like it would never end. This time I prayed, bargaining with God, and that’s when I realized why saints have fasted: such raw need brings severe and immediate awareness of why I do the things I do and what Power I rely upon for endurance. The wave passed after twenty minutes or half an hour, and the relief was profound. The third wave hit in the late afternoon, as powerfully strong as the second, and this time it was memory of prior endurance and prayer (not for food, but for God to act in the world) which got me through. I was surprised that no more waves of overwhelming and lightheaded hunger hit me that day, and I went to bed contemplative, determined to remember the experience.

I now know how much hunger hurts, and that I face three terrible waves of need I cannot ignore, but I can endure. I do not know if my experience would have been different had I been anticipating a dinner at the end, before sleep, instead of breakfast the following day.

Speaking as someone who finds it very hard to envision positive events in the future or be positive about the future at all, it isn't very fun, and though I do push myself through tasks it's unpleasant. So yeah, I think this is a behavior that can be generalised.

I feel this 1000%. In fact, one of the things in life that ruins my day harder than almost anything else1, is when I have some specific libations planned out for my evening. Then my wife comes along, and fixes me different libations without asking me if I even wanted them, or me telling her to do so. They might be good, but they are not what I spent the last 16 or more hours looking forward to! What ensues is usually a fraught conversation about how I was planning on enjoying something different, and her moping that I'm not appreciating the effort she went to.

Luckily after 10+ years together, she's slowly learned that I want what I want, and trying to pro actively provide me with something "better" just ruins both our days.

1: Almost anything being limited to stuff that is likely to happen with any regularity. IE: Stubbing my toe, my alarm not going off, the kid getting into my stuff and scattering it to the 4 winds.

They might be good, but they are not what I spent the last 16 or more hours looking forward to!

I feel this hard. Any sudden change to plans I've been dwelling on for hours fills me with a sudden, irrational rage. In the throes of adolescent emotional extremes, it would fuck me up for hours. As an adult, I've learned to just take 30 seconds to let my brain error and reboot.

If she likes surprising you with her effort, has she tried asking, "when is a good day for me to surprise you?" or are you so much a creature of habit that the answer is usually "no day"

Although the surprise won't be "that much" if you're expecting it, you won't be disappointed from looking forward to your usual right?

I'm running the fourth session in my online D&D campaign today. So far it's gone well, though I've had to onboard a few new players to replace ones who proved to not be able to commit. Right now I have 5 great players and have brought on 2 more that I'll have to test out, and would like to have 8 total. It's a West Marches style game, so 4 players from the wider group do a session at a time (I hate running for/playing with 5+ players). Each player is allowed to have 2 characters and it's given the campaign a really cool sense of scale and continuity having a large circle of players and characters that rotate in and out of missions.

Since we're all living in different locations and have different work schedules, this is just about the only way we could have gotten a group together, but I've been dying to try the format for years. It's a lot of work for me, but very fun.

I spent ages developing systems to give 5e actual exploration and interaction mechanics. I created an in-depth system for downtime that lets players use their character skills to gain different kinds of resources. Each IRL week they can choose what activity they do, though often a player will do a few weeks at a time because of scheduling. There are different downtime activities that use different skills and a lot of goals they can pursue. They can do downtime for both characters they run, so they've had fun trying to optimize the system towards their ends.

I'm very pressed for time, since the session is at 7 and I still have a lot to get ready... along with the rest of the workday. Running a game online lets me make the production values very slick, but requires more input time to do so. It's worth it in my book, but taking the time to write this up may not have been, given the situation...

I just started playing a new session, it’s a great hobby. Thank you for your service being a dungeon master.

I spent ages developing systems to give 5e actual exploration and interaction mechanics…

As the saying goes: Have you tried not playing D&D? GURPS Wilderness Adventures seems to cover exactly what you're doing.

The problem with "why not gurps?" is that no one plays anything but DnD.

I considered trying other systems, but my tabletop friends have all played a lot of 5e. It came down to teaching 8+ people how to play a brand new system vs adding (a lot of) homebrew to a system we were all already familiar with. I went with the latter option. Maybe if I was running for 3 dedicated players it'd be different, but this campaign is designed for players to be able to jump in and out. Onboarding each new player with a new system was... not appealing.

5e has many issues, but ease of use and range of adoption make it hard to pass up.

Lex Fridman has recently release a 7 hour long discussion with Balaji Srinivasan that hits on a ton of very interesting topics this community would find interesting, with a focus around his Network States book and the concepts inside. In my opinion, it's one of the most interesting and possibly most important conversation Lex has had, and is very futurist-focused. Regardless of your opinion on crypto currencies in the future age of the internet, I think Srinivisan has an amazingly human-centric vision for a tech-bro. Even 3 hours in I have felt like the conversation has only been minutes long, hugely compelling and interesting.

I'm considering writing up an effortpost on his ideas soon, but it's still digesting. Though it feels very relevant to our move off reddit and internet communities as a dominant form of conversation, I have some thoughts regarding virtual-meatspace interactions that crypto-bros tend to ignore. If anyone has interesting ideas they want to talk about regarding Srinivasan's Network State and perhaps it's integration into Mottespace, feel free to leave it here.

Spotify link to pod, YouTube link to pod

Effort post please.

Is there a transcript available? I'm enjoying Network State so far, but spending 7 hours listening to a podcast which I could read in a half hour is not going to work.

He has show notes to jump to particular timestamps that would be more managable. I personally think the whole show is worth a listen, having just finished it while at work, but I understand the desire for a transcript. I have no idea if there is a full transcript though.

I was gonna make a post about Andor if nobody else did. My best friend and I have been enjoying it, and its our favorite live-action star wars media from Disney.

A few things that separate it from Mandalorian that we enjoy is that it has a strong cast of more frequently recurring characters, and it's a serial drama instead of an episodic western.

The more adult themes were a small shock, but save for the one modern-day swear word used I think the show is appropriate for the IP. A lot of the situations and characters are things we haven't seen before, and it feels like trying to right a lot of the wrongs in Rogue One, while also borrowing some neat universe elements from the animated Rebels. I'm also really interested to see what they do with our sympathetic antagonist. I'm predicting a redemption arc, but I would not have predicted that going into the show, because of identity politics.

Probably the best praise about the show is that Cassian is the least interesting character!

Just a fun video of something unexpected happening, rated G.

From the title, I thought it would be this:

This adlib tracker I'm working on is turning out to be a larger project than I at first intended.

UI programming is a pain in the dick in assembly. Even in humble 80 column mode. I learned the hard way you really want to use definitions for all the screen coordinates of your UI elements. So that was an afternoon's refactoring. Then I split them all off to a definitions file which gets included in the assembly file, just for readability and management's sake.

I did finish the adlib channel configuration page. Lets you change about 20ish settings for the selected channel? Basically everything that is exposed by the registers. I think the actual music composition screen might turn out to be easier, but we'll see. Still thinking through how I want it laid out, and how I'll use what I learned doing the channel configuration screen to do it better.

I did "discover" some interesting uses for a few assembly commands. AAM and AAD, or Ascii Adjust (after) Multiply and Ascii Adjust (before) Division. All the plebian documentation I see says to use these commands only after multiplying two unpacked BCD digits, or before dividing two unpacked BCD digits. In reality, all they functionally do is unpack or pack two BCD digits into a binary byte value. Which is handy if you need to take a byte value that ranges less than 99, and need to display it on the screen. Or accept user input that ranges less than 99, and convert it to a byte value. Which I did a good bit on the channel configuration screen. Lots of values that range 0-15 or 0-63. I'm sure at some point, when more people did assembly, this was well known.

The NuXT I ordered finally showed up today! Put a bunch of old RPGs on it. Ultimas, Might & Magics, Bard's Tales. Also threw Gateway to the Savage Frontier on there, along with Treasures of the Savage Frontier, since I own them and haven't played them yet. And most of those early Gold Box games technically run on a Turbo XT.

In fact, I went through this user collection on called, and they have a massive archive of floppy images. So I've been downloading the ones that look interesting, and throwing them on a used Gotek Floppy Emulator I scored cheap and locally. Even took out the 7 segment panel and replaced it with a fancy OLED screen which shows the actual name of the selected image. That increased it's usability about 1000%.

The only downside is I tried a booter version of Wizardry 1, and it appears it's copy protection rejects the Gotek. I had noticed this even using 86box, where the game only properly launched when it was mounted in an emulated 360k, 5 1/4 floppy drive. I have no idea what the Gotek is doing, but it's mounted in the system as a 3.5" 1.44 MB floppy drive, even though it mounts all sizes of image with no problems. Trying to change the BIOS to a 5.25" 720K drive to "match" the image the Gotek is emulating only breaks things entirely. So oh well. Other booter versions of games have worked with no problems.

I actually have a non-booter version of Wizardry from The Ultimate Wizardry Archives. But it's known, or at least extremely strongly suspected, to be bugged. Many of it's game formula's differ significantly from all other versions of the game. Most obviously, how stats increase or decrease when you level up. The chance for stats to decrease in this version of the game are much higher. Which is rather crippling in an already difficult game. So I'm thinking of going in and hex editing the formulas to correct them. Should be possible with the debug version of dosbox, and setting some memory breakpoints around the character data.

Alright, I'm curious. Is there an end-goal to programming a digital audio workstation on your own (e.g. you plan to make music with it yourself), or are you pursuing it as its own end? Or a bit of both?

A lot of reasons. I wanted to learn x86, and the original 8088/8086 instruction set is less intimidating than the 4000 pages of documentation the current x86 instruction set possess. Going original 8088/8086 means PC Speaker, Tandy 3-Voice or Adlib are your likely sound options. Then you have 40/80 column text modes, CGA or EGA graphics as your display choices.

Plus I'd been looking for an excuse to buy a NuXT. It's a reproduction Turbo XT using modern-ish parts. So you don't have to fuck around with ancient and failing power supplies, spinning rust drives, 8-bit ISA controller cards, etc. I threw a reproduction Adlib card on there, the Resound-2 from Texelec, and I was good to go. It does use NOS or recovered NEC V20 8088 compatible CPUs, and a Trident VGA chip. Not sure about the provenance of other ICs like memory and such.

Since this is entirely self directed, I had to form some goal for myself. That goal is an Ultima style RPG. So I made an EGA sprite editor first to create my own sprite sheets. Now I'm working on an adlib tracker to make my own music. It's going to be terrible. But it's going to be mine.

After that, I'm probably good to go on the RPG. I'll probably create some more utilities to create the data files for the game world, etc. I have zero to no aspirations of making any money on it. Life may well knock me off track, as it tends to do, and it'll never even get finished. But I'm enjoying myself, learning something new, and trying to keep myself sharp.

Plus I just love working a computer like the clockwork machine it is, instead of fighting through layers and layers of abstractions, and libraries, and networking, and software as a service and configuration management. That's my day job, but this is why I fell in love with computers. It helps me not forget that.

what does adlib tracker do? Does it plays music from notes?

It basically lets you compose FM synth music. There are trackers for almost every FM synth platform. Some are more fully featured than others. It's a world I'm only just now dipping my toes into.

For example, here is one called Adlib Tracker II which targets the OPL3 chip. Mine is not going to be nearly that complex. Both because it's focusing on the OPL2 chip on an Adlib card, and also because I don't know enough about trackers to even know what half of those features do. It'll let you configure the channels, the beats per minute, and play notes on different channels, change some other global settings, and that's about it.

UI programming is a pain in the dick in assembly.

To be fair, programming literally anything is a pain in the dick in assembly.

Yeah, but some things are worse than others.

Right now I'd rank UI Programming as the worst. Although I'm developing a sense for a style that works more formulaically and facilitates changing the layout at will.

Some things I actually find really convenient, thanks to x86's exposed BCD and "string" instructions. Likewise, it's loop and rep instructions.

Then there are the things that simply aren't possible with most platforms today. FM synth is a great way to programmatically create music, and directly programming the registers of an OPL chip is relatively straightforward in assembly. I guess it's not easier than telling Unity or Unreal engine to play an MP3. But if you were trying to build up something from scratch, it's a million times better.

Same thing goes for graphics programming. EGA or VGA aren't that bad. You set some registers, then start writing to memory space. The equivalent "hello world" for DX12 of Vulkan is many times larger and more complex. Which says a lot when you are comparing it to assembly! Once again, there are libraries which dumb it back down. You could use SDL if all you want is to throw pixels up on a screen. And there are always engines like Unity or Unreal. But once again, if you feel the compulsion to build from scratch...

Diwali this Monday, it is the most important Hindu festival and celebrates the homecoming of Lord Ram after a 14 year exodus which ended with his victory over Ravana. My city will have a bunch of pretty lights, people travel back home to be with their family. One of the main rituals is Lakshmi Puja where you offer prayers to Goddess Lakshmi, the wife of Lord Vishnu (Lord Ram is the human reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, he appears on earth whenever sin crosses a threshold).

Most pajeets would use this week long holiday to have a diwali party where they do not pray but just copy Anglos and get drunk and fool around. I have immense respect for anglos, I just find this to be super distasteful. The purpose of the festival is the worship of your deities and a celebration of the longest unbroken culture on the planet, unfortunately, Indians have a deep rooted inferiority complex which makes them look down on anything religious. People are lefty not just because of India never having had a single decent intellectual in the realm of political science but because of plain signaling. It does hurt to see, the only worth you have in society is based on your affluence or sex. Higher values have been forgotten which is also why everyone drinks. I am not a saint, I just cannot indulge in bad behaviors on such a holy day. There are higher and lower values, virtues, qualities etc that most would recognize. I enjoy would love to be more affluent, date more and better girls in a large town but my main identity will always be defined by Vaishnavism, my job, the virtues and qualities I want to develop are important to me because they are what makes a good life, the material and physical benefits are secondary rewards. I want to be better at academics or be a good physical culturalist or do the other things that would make up a good life because the process of doing these things is what I am supposed to do according to my scriptures. Praying is not fun yet I cannot name a single activity that calms me down and offers peace like offering prayers does. It does not make me better than others or anyone else, but it does make me feel a tad morose about the condition of society today and how far behind my civilization is, where everyone has to play these status games, intentionally or not.

People in my city pool together money to put up lights on their stores, overall it is a good time to be in my city. Always good to see the unroken chain of culture living among people. my grandfather visists the city palace as he is the titular feudal lord of his area under the Royal family. We all buy new clothes, sweets, put lights on our ancient house (haveli of sorts, built over a 100 years ago without any bricks lol). Ma fries up some season specific foods, people go out at night in the city to see the lights and burst crackers as that is a holy ritual (do not listen to pajeets who tell you it is not, head priests have clarified this thing). The festival is the peak of our happiness. I have fond memories of playing Batman Arkham games during this time of the year and lighitng hundreds of clay lamps the traditonal way with oil and putting them in various parts of the house.

Regardless, I will spend the week thanking the Gods for letting me live the life that I do, the life my family and clan enjoys. Most people do not get to have what I have, being thankful for it makes life much better.

I have also started adding 2 hours of mandatory hours of leisure in my day, I usually read theology or read blogs like the zvi(liked just two posts tho, slack and the one about doing hard stuff) and others (mostly Jim wendler, Steve Maxwell, Guzey etc). It is a good way of ensuring that I am efficient with my work.

I will also try to watch UFC 280, good card.

Happy Diwali to themotte, hopefully by next one, I will have the life I want, I most likely will but for now, just blessed to have what I do have. Life is short, smile while you can. Despite all my hatred for the Indian elites, seeing the priests and normal people doing their best this season is a massive whitepill. Me doing well in life would help others see my way of life as cool so all the more reasons to keep trying. Sure every government and political party is actively trying to stop us from celebrating but fuck them, most of us are shameless and would happily burst crackers.

See you all next week.

Jai Shree Ram

Happy Diwali! While our respective faiths are very different, I definitely agree it's important to be thankful for the things you have. I try to regularly thank God for the blessings in my life, because they aren't something I should take for granted.

Yeah, I appreciate people who have higher values. I could have been born in much much worse circumstances or not born at all. These things are hard to explain but they make sense on a deeper level. The gods aren't an atm for wishes they are the reason why I want to do well, not just beings I turn to when life's hard. Much more to be thankful about than there is to gain.

Regardless, I will spend the week thanking the Gods for letting me live the life that I do, the life my family and clan enjoys. Most people do not get to have what I have, being thankful for it makes life much better.

This is so much healthier than contemporary western attitudes, and wholesome to see. Good on you, enjoy your holiday!

lol, I do think that the west gets personal values completely wrong. Not trying to be smug, I just do not think that the current way the world is progressing is sustainable for anyone. You need higher values and forces that keep your society sane.

Meeting the Shankracharya(of Govardhan Matha, the most respected matha of the 4 there are in Hinduism) and the other religious folks I have met did change my attitude. I see urchins on red lights and people living in slums or many with permanent handicaps or other misfortunes. I am not an MIT undergrad but many kill to get where I am so keeping that in my mind helps me keep sane. You have the right to your labor and not the fruits it bares as Lord Krishna (the human incarnation of Lord Vishnu right after Lord Ram) said. Like consistent efforts and a killer finishing instinct is enough for me to get enough in life where no one walking the planet would consider it sub par. Most do not get these opportunities.

I was born in a very high clan too, one that traces its descent from Lord Ram himself which is also why the temples and priests are very respectful towards my ancestors. There are severe issues with life but from now, fuck it, I will just assume it will happen and start from that frame instead of the 'I am scared, I am sad, I will never get work done, life is unfair frame'. Go fucking all out, gun to the head.

Hell, I am younger than most if not all regular posters here so I have a ton going for me, why not be happy about it. Life will drive you crazy if you do not see the good from time to time.

Hell, I am younger than most if not all regular posters here so I have a ton going for me, why not be happy about it. Life will drive you crazy if you do not see the good from time to time.

25? In retrospect, thinking of myself and the guys I knew, I think 25 is peak arrogance in young men. Old enough to have some accomplishments under your belt that feel like major milestones in adulthood. Young enough to not realize how much further you have to go.

22, I have failed enough to never be arrogant ever again.