How it’s done? NMS does support a gamepad but it also reads/maps all gamepads to a single device. It makes no difference between multiple gamepads!
This leaves me with a very limited amount of possible buttons on the HOTAS after mapping that to one virtual gamepad using MoltenGamepad (I usually split that one up into multiple gamepads for braindead games).
So for additional buttons I used AntiMicroX to map the rest as keyboard presses.
Doing so I noticed that NMS does “look-around” on the right stick and this is where OpenTrack comes into the play. It offers a joystick output (using evdev) and that is also just… a gamepad! Needs some remapping though to get pitch and jaw to the proper axis for NMS. This is done via SDL env (basically what Steam does under the hood but boy their GUI for that sucks): SDL_GAMECONTROLLERCONFIG="000022e86f70656e747261636b206800,opentrack-to-nms,rightx:a3,righty:a4,platform:Linux,crc:e822,"
And there you have it. NMS with my trusty old X52 Pro and a DIY headtracker for 5 bucks 🤓
PS: I’m aware that the recording quality sucks. This was very spontaneous with a webcam sitting on my chair. I basically just finished my happy dance that this started working properly and decided to smash that recording button. PC was not even in “gamemode”.
Originally I was going to replace a disk on my hardware controlled RAID 5. That didn’t work out well. The controller supports hot-plugging but the LED indicator stayed on faulty. To debug this I had to boot into the controller to check for the error message and lo and behold it appears my spare has an invalid block size and the controller is too dumb to format it with another, unlike e.g. sg_format.
And this should have been the end of the story until I can reformat this on another SAS capable PC. Alas grub rescue greeted me on reboot with “error: disk `lvmid/foo/bar` not found.“
and I could not persuade it to boot the LVM member. The thing is that this disk is NOT under control of the hardware RAID controller. It’s plain SATA and it’s boot order is before the RAID controller so I really did not expect any trouble here.
Turns out I was running into this rare bug https://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=987008 where the words “time-bomb” and “critical” are dropped. The gist is that grub has a bug that prevents it from reading LVM meta data sometimes and this results in a broken bootloader.
This is not fixed with the usual reinstall dance from another boot-able medium. The trick is to manipulate the LVM meta data in some way, e.g. by adding another volume temporary.
This means running a vgscan after booting from another medium and *in my case executing* e.g. lvcreate -L 4M pve -n foo
The name doesn’t matter as it can be removed afterwards. Updating the initramfs should run without errors now and is a good indicator if this worked. Now it’s possible to reboot again.
The two problems have basically nothing to do with each other. It was just my lucky day to run into this sequence of chained issues during my free Saturday night 😩
Oh yeah, meanwhile the RAID recovered also. Another spare was added until I have time to take a closer look at the block size issue.
Did some space pew pew like it’s 1999. This is X: Beyond The Frontier. One of the very first space games using a “so called” 3D card. Haha, those crazy peeps at Egosoft updated it in 2021 to make it compatible with Win11 which means it’s basically running on Linux PC out of the box as well. Mapped my joystick and dived into it once more. Doubt I’ll play it much but that was a nice excursion down memory lane
I still have the original CD-Rom but when I noticed that it’s on a Steam sale for -,99ct I didn’t even bother to look for a CD reader. What a surprise that this runs at all.
I also have some short video footage. I’ll never forget that glorious intro. “Here is how the ship navigates… and action. Bam. Here are 1000Cr, the most basic shield and no weapons. Go! Trade! ‘Maps’? ‘Earth’? What’s that? Oh and you have to pay those Cr back. With interest.”
I hacked a mod for X4: Foundations to get ship telemetry and targeting data to my “Primary Buffer Panel” via a socket. This is a demonstration of my simulated cockpit made from cardboard on a budget usually used to play Elite Dangerous now also used for X4: Foundations. This is work in progress.
A Linux PC
A DIY Headtracker
A DIY Joystick (My Primary Buffer Panel)
A X52 Pro HOTAS
An AMD RX6700XT
…a lot of plumbing in Node-Red xD
This is loosely based on the Python Pipe Server mod for X4 that is sadly Windows only using Named Pipes. I fixed that for Linux PC by side-loading the library LuaSocket and starting a socket server directly in X4. That’s right, the Python Server is simply not needed now and companion tools may directly connect to the socket. It’s a nice bonus that LuaSocket also allows a UDP or TCP server depending on how it is started. That was some piece of work though and I’m still wrapping things up to publish my code changes. I’m also still looking for testers so if you’re interested get in touch!
Here are the humble beginnings of a working example to read the ship status of #x4foundations in a format very similar to the Status File of #EliteDangerous
Both games are quite similar and by using a “well established” format it should be possible to use this with existing companion apps – like my own #SimPit
It uses the “Named Pipe API” of “sn_mod_support_apis” – on #Linux PC 😁 This was not supported by this MOD so far but I made it work.
Well, at least on my machine 🤓
And yes, the pipe server works with some minor adjustments for other _existing_ apps as well. Here is a demo of #X4ExternalApp with a data feed directly from X4: Foundations – it does not use the #X4PythonPipeServer though, since that is not really needed, so I had to make some small adjustments in it’s connection routine but that was like 2 lines of code 🤷
This is heavily distilled early gameplay of X4: Foundations, where I started another play-through slowly expanding my little empire with trade, side missions, station building, border patrol (loosing the the “Misfit”, my good old starter-ship), a surprise Xenon attack on a station where I was just for shopping and eventually good old fashioned piracy with unexpected guest appearance of some Kha’ak trying to crash the party.
01:11 Setting up trade routes aboard The Law Abiding Windrunner 02:20 Switching over to the Misfit 03:05 Witnessing the death of a trading station (while escorting my own ships to safety) 03:50 Patrolling for money (and looting stuff) 05:48 Repairing satellites (in EVA suit) 07:32 Docking at the impressive Teladi ring station for shopping 08:45 Surprise attack on the ring station by a Xenon K (and it’s demise) 14:32 Extending my own station and buying more mining ships 11:26 Switching over to my frigate for border patrol (lots of pew pew) 14:30 Loosing the Misfit to Kha’ak (and avenging it) 16:07 Going for resupplies and preparing for piracy 16:39 Ambushing the prey, a fat water freighter looking for a new owner 17:59 Starting the boarding operation 18:40 Realizing I need more support to deal with surprises 18:58 Stumbling over mentioned surprises, Kha’ak trying to crash the party 19:51 Sending more boarders as the first group fails 20:22 Finally going home with the price, a “slightly banged up” L water freighter
I’m wondering how to present ultra wide screenshots for a while now, because most people will not have an ultra wide display at hand or not run their browser in fullscreen on such a device. A scaled down version with retained ratio also just don’t really cut it:
Now what if we could wrap this in some sort of 360° image? This isn’t really 360°, of course but you get the idea. A quick search usually yields JS libs like Pannellum (https://pannellum.org/), which look great for this use-case as well and yes we could also solve this in CSS by using an animation and go for a little camera ride.
What if we could optionally also make use of a gyroscope though? You know, that sensor every mobile phone, tablet and VR device comes along with. So the user could device where to look just by moving the device around?
This was when I stumbled over A-Frame (https://aframe.io), which is basically a library for building 3D AR or VR experiences and while I may only scratching it’s surface with my quick tests here it does deliver exactly what I was looking for.
I built demos for various games today and I don’t know how long I’ll host the files here but they all follow the very same code pattern that I’ll add in the end:
Please be aware that I’m loading a ~5mb blob of JS code directly from A-Frame in the demos so don’t check them out if that is a problem for you. The image asset adds another whopping MB so please be patient. The best experience is on a mobile phone where you should be able to look around by moving the phone left and right. It works on a desktop browser too where the mouse can be used to look around.
Feel free to copy this snippet and play around with it. Just keep in mind that you have to use _local_ assets too or they won’t show up. Make sure to read the documentation too and play with the built in inspector opened with the key combination ctrl + alt + i.
And yes I’ll happily take a CSS only variant too but I really doubt that’s possible without loosing features like gyroscope data usage.
The official website of indie game studio DBK Games, the developer of SpaceBourne series and Mesel.
So this was recommended to me by Patola and while I usually do not buy into an early access game I made an exception. I’ve only seen one hour of the game so far but this promises a lot of fun. It’s still very rough, that I can tell – and often inputs do not register or register double. Nonetheless I felt right at home and after a lot of fiddling with the inputs I was happy enough to give it a spin with my X52 Pro (that was indeed detected just fine after the initial tutorial).
So after learning the basic ship navigation and shooting up some drones during the first quest I got ordered to investigate some asteroids.
There were of course some pirates hanging around and the shoot-out did take more time than I’d like to admit. For some reasons I could not for my life get any target lock so all the shooting had to be done with the good old Mk 1 eyeball without having an idea about reach (or even arcs?) of the weapons. Probably a bug. Or user error. The jury is still out on that.
Next was a surprise. After parking the ship in stealth I was ordered to exit and do a little space walk to clear a hidden platform of hostiles. Space diving was not on the things I expected 🤯
Anyway, after some more shooting, and some more explosions, I was back with the contractor and the reward was for reasons yet unknown a freakin robot head. That kicks off a quest to reassemble that poor thing. For some reasons this unfolded into an epic space battle where two different fractions slugged it out in the middle of an old battlefield with me, the contractor helping with the parts and the robot head in the middle – also somehow attacked by scavengers as a 4th faction. What a chaos!
After surviving this I got recommended to someone else to get the robot assembled again. The person that would be able to do this resides on a station in another system though, which means travelling through a… stargate. Awesome! After filing a flight plan and requesting passage I had to line up my entry and found myself in another system – surrounded by illuminated advertisement of all things, of course.
An in-system jump later I docked at a station and found the contact that would help me with the robot. For a price, of course.
This was where I decided to stop for today. So much stuff happened during the first 60 minutes of this and judging by the in-game menus there is a lot more to come. There are skill trees, load-outs, factions and many systems to explore. Yes, it’s not as beautiful as StarCitizens but it’s perfectly playable already and I’m getting Wing Commander vibes from that and this feels rather good.
I didn’t use my Steam Link for some time and was kinda surprised by the new UI in Big Picture Mode. And also very unhappy because it was a stutter feast with buffer artefacts all over the place. Once I could get a game running it was butter though so something was up with the streaming mode of the UI. I’ve no really an idea what’s going on there but this was always a problematic thing with my AMD GPU under Gnome using Wayland when it comes to streaming and remote play. I ticked off the basics and disabled the blocklist for unknown GPUs, made sure that AMD hardware acceleration was enabled for the host in the Big Picture setting and even tried to launch it with the old big picture mode but no dice:
steam pipewire -pipewire-dmabuf -oldbigpicture
After reading around a lot on the bugtracker at https://github.com/ValveSoftware I eventually learned that the hardware acceleration for remote play is usually done with VAAPI and that there is debug information in ~/.local/share/Steam/logs/streaming_log.txt and sure enough here it was:
ffmpeg verbose: libva: VA-API version 1.16.0
ffmpeg verbose: libva: User environment variable requested driver 'radeonsi'
ffmpeg verbose: libva: Trying to open /usr/lib/dri/radeonsi_drv_video.so
ffmpeg verbose: libva: Found init function __vaDriverInit_1_16
ffmpeg verbose: libva: va_openDriver() returns 0
ffmpeg verbose: Initialised VAAPI connection: version 1.16
ffmpeg verbose: VAAPI driver: Mesa Gallium driver 22.3.5 for AMD Radeon RX 6700 XT (navi22, LLVM 15.0.7, DRM 3.49, 6.1.11-200.fc37.x86_64).
ffmpeg verbose: Driver not found in known nonstandard list, using standard behaviour.
ffmpeg verbose: Input surface format is nv12.
ffmpeg verbose: Compatible profile VAProfileH264Main (6) is not supported by driver.
ffmpeg error: No usable encoding profile found.
So the profile was missing and a check with vainfo confirmed this:
This was the moment when my brain did pull off one of it’s tricks and remembered me about the story about Fedora _disabling_ hardware acceleration for H264 due to proprietary concerns some months ago and yes I did recently upgrade to Fedora 37 🤯
Thankfully the community stepped in already and fixed mesa drivers are only one dnf install away on rpmfusion, so there is no need to recompile this with h264 support (and some others) manually. There is a caveat though because the swap command would happily delete the needed 32bit versions for Steam and only install the 64bit version of the swapped package. Keeping this in mind the required commands are basically this (and if this breaks your system I do not want to hear about it – use your brain!):
Some time ago I needed a virtual #ARM machine and while I’m not entirely sure any more why that was I did seem to have an inspirational moment and made a template of this. Here is what the #qemu config for #Proxmox _may_ look like:
It makes sense to install the package cloud-init to some stuff can be set from outside of the machine.
…and yes, it’s just as slow as expected from an ARM 🤓
I’m also not entirely sure if this is really officially featured by Proxmox (just like btrfs 🤷) but the machine was doing it’s job without an issue for years and I did just replay the template on VE 7.4 so I guess it’s fine 🤷