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.”

X: Beyond The Frontier (on Linux PC)

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.

My DIY cockpit for X4: Foundations (on Linux PC)

In use:

  • 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!

So you _still_ think you can’t space pew pew on Linux PC? Think again. I do it all the time: https://beko.famkos.net/2021/10/16/space-pew-pew-on-linux-pc/

Here are the humble beginnings[1] of a working example to read the ship status of in a format very similar to the Status File of

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

It uses the “Named Pipe API” of “sn_mod_support_apis” – on 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 with a data feed directly from X4: Foundations – it does not use the 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 🤷

[1] TBF the humble beginnings were back in 2021 (https://beko.famkos.net/2021/05/01/getting-into-x4-foundations-modding-on-linux/) but I kinda let it slide to tinker and build my Primary Buffer Panel (https://beko.famkos.net/category/simpit/) first. Other games made it easier to retrieve game data and I did learn a lot during that time but it was X4 that started it all.

Another night in the X4 sandbox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=665hXLKSfek / https://tube.tchncs.de/w/pHFP8jZf7PYLyLZSARZQ4T

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

SpaceBourne 2 by DBK GamesDBK Games (SpaceBourne 2)
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:

vainfo --device /dev/dri/renderD128 --display drm
Trying display: drm
libva info: VA-API version 1.16.0
libva info: Trying to open /usr/lib64/dri/radeonsi_drv_video.so
libva info: Found init function __vaDriverInit_1_16
libva info: va_openDriver() returns 0
vainfo: VA-API version: 1.16 (libva 2.16.0)
vainfo: Driver version: 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)
vainfo: Supported profile and entrypoints
      VAProfileMPEG2Simple            :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileMPEG2Main              :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileJPEGBaseline           :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVP9Profile0            :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVP9Profile2            :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileAV1Profile0            :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileNone                   :	VAEntrypointVideoProc

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!):

dnf install https://download1.rpmfusion.org/free/fedora/rpmfusion-free-release-$(rpm -E %fedora).noarch.rpm
dnf update
dnf swap mesa-va-drivers mesa-va-drivers-freeworld
dnf install mesa-va-drivers-freeworld.i686

And sure enough vainfo now has a way more complete list – including the previous missing VAProfileH264Main profile:

libva info: VA-API version 1.16.0
libva info: Trying to open /usr/lib64/dri/radeonsi_drv_video.so
libva info: Found init function __vaDriverInit_1_16
libva info: va_openDriver() returns 0
vainfo: VA-API version: 1.16 (libva 2.16.0)
vainfo: Driver version: 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)
vainfo: Supported profile and entrypoints
      VAProfileMPEG2Simple            :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileMPEG2Main              :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Simple              :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Main                :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVC1Advanced            :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264ConstrainedBaseline:	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264ConstrainedBaseline:	VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264Main               :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264Main               :	VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileH264High               :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileH264High               :	VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileHEVCMain               :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileHEVCMain               :	VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileHEVCMain10             :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileHEVCMain10             :	VAEntrypointEncSlice
      VAProfileJPEGBaseline           :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVP9Profile0            :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileVP9Profile2            :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileAV1Profile0            :	VAEntrypointVLD
      VAProfileNone                   :	VAEntrypointVideoProc

And sure enough the Steam Link started working again. Somewhat. Now I have issues that some games don’t get captured or loose focus eventually but that I’ll debug another day 😩

Video: Starting Steamworld Dig 2 and showing system overview

Linux Gaming in 2023 is easy. Remote Play… not so much.

I usually play on Linux PC. I switched to Proton because I was eager to see some upcoming changes, like support, on the public_beta branch. And while this works[1] I was once more flabbergasted how complicated it is to set my desired display resolution of 5760×1200. I’m using a multihead setup with several displays and as usual the game engine would not let me _simply_ set that. Even in windowed mode (I mean I get that this won’t work with fullscreen).

There are several ways to work around this, especially with Proton, but I was looking for the prefs file I know from Linux. I found it in the end in the file compatdata/1781750/pfx/user.reg (that’s like the Windows registry but as plain file read by Wine) where the values are stored as dword under [Software\\StarGoat\\FlyDangerous]. In hex.

"Screenmanager Resolution Height_h2627697771"=dword:000004b0
"Screenmanager Resolution Width_h182942802"=dword:00001680
"Screenmanager Resolution Use Native_h1405027254"=dword:00000000

So 0780 and 04b0 are in the end 5760 and 1200. And sure enough, on the next game start I get _my_ desired resolution:

Sadly when I change settings in the game this gets overwritten again – so keep a backup around and drop it in again. This may even be added to a script – let’s see how long until this gets on my nerves and I automate that.

For the interested: This is how the same thing looks on the native version in the file ~/.config/unity3d/StarGoat/FlyDangerous/prefs

<pref name="Screenmanager Resolution Height" type="int">1200</pref>
<pref name="Screenmanager Resolution Width" type="int">5760</pref>
<pref name="Screenmanager Resolution Use Native" type="int">0</pref>

Why games|engines in 2023 still seem to have ideas about screen layouts is frankly beyond me.

[1] Headtracker quick test recordings: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13L0GlQyf_Q / https://tube.tchncs.de/w/fTYSUc9fTBmnTLHp2fpW4n

Working on a loosely based on NZ-43 (14C). It’s approximately 12m long 🙂

First time I’m trying my luck with a vessel and not a building. The curving is difficult to realise in tho.

It started life in the old Java version of the game because the new Unity version has no posters yet. I had to segment the plan of the cog (carved in a very bad resolution from a PDF) into several in-game posters that had to be aligned in-game again to get the proper measurements.

After that I moved the blueprint of the frame over to the new version and started putting planks on it. A cumbersome process during which I learned a lot. I’ll probably make another and more improved hull based on the gathered know how.

I also fell straight into another “not yet implemented” trap. RisingWorld has a flip command to mirror an object and I kinda assumed this would work with blueprints too. It does not. And I was really not looking forward to put plank on both sides of the frame.

Luckily most of the leg work to read the binary blueprints was done by @paulevs before who released https://github.com/paulevsGitch/BlueLib under the MIT license. It has been a while that I touched Java but I could come up with some code of my own that would flip the planks only (I used rounded cubes for the planks exclusively) making use of this lib and the very first try at it looked promising already.

Here is the source I came up with in case you wonder:

package blueprint.flip.maybe;

import java.io.File;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.util.ArrayList;

import paulevs.bluelib.blueprint.Blueprint;
import paulevs.bluelib.blueprint.BlueprintIO;
import paulevs.bluelib.blueprint.element.BlueprintElement;
import paulevs.bluelib.blueprint.element.BlueprintElementType;

public class App {
    public static BlueprintElement cloneBlueprintElement(BlueprintElement el) {
        BlueprintElement element = new BlueprintElement(el.type);
        element.setPosition(el.posX, el.posY, el.posZ);
        element.setSize(el.sizeX, el.sizeY, el.sizeZ);
        element.rgba = el.rgba;
        element.setRotation(el.rotX, el.rotY, el.rotZ, el.rotW);
        element.setSurfaceOffset(el.surfaceOffsetX, el.surfaceOffsetY, el.surfaceOffsetZ);
        element.texture = el.texture;
        return element;

    public static Blueprint readBlueprint(String pathname) {
        File file = new File(pathname);
        Blueprint blueprint = null;
        try {
            blueprint = BlueprintIO.read(file);
        catch (IOException exception) {

        return blueprint;

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        final Blueprint blueprint = App.readBlueprint("/path/to/Blueprint-flip-maybe/cog_base_split_1670726695.blueprint");
        System.out.println("Opened " + blueprint.name);
        System.out.println("Blueprint has " + blueprint.elements.size() + " elements");

        ArrayList<BlueprintElement> elements = new ArrayList<BlueprintElement>();

        blueprint.elements.forEach(element -> {
            if(element.type == BlueprintElementType.ROUNDED_BLOCK) {
                System.out.println("T: " + BlueprintElementType.getElementName(element.type));
                System.out.println("pX: " + element.posX + "pY: " + element.posY + "pZ: " + element.posZ + " rX: " + element.rotX + "rY: " + element.rotY + "rZ: " + element.rotZ);
                BlueprintElement el = App.cloneBlueprintElement(element);
                el.posX = el.posX * -1;
                el.rotY = el.rotY * -1;
                el.rotZ = el.rotZ * -1;
                System.out.println("pX: " + el.posX + "pY: " + el.posY + "pZ: " + el.posZ + " rX: " + el.rotX + "rY: " + el.rotY + "rZ: " + el.rotZ);

        elements.forEach(element -> {

        blueprint.name += "_flipped_X";

        File outputFile = new File("/path/to/Blueprint-flip-maybe/" + blueprint.name + ".blueprint");
        try {
            BlueprintIO.write(blueprint, outputFile);
        catch (IOException exception) {

I’m kinda happy with the result. This Lib also allows me to change the texture of the elements so I don’t have to worry how the used texture during the construction may look in the end.

Now onwards to improve the curves. I really wish for a bend mode where the beginning would snap on to an existing object and the opposite plane could be moved around individually.

Bagged on GoG today and had a blast. Needed some fiddling to get my X52 Pro up and running since the game only supports _one_ Gamepad but that’s nothing that would stop my 😂

Video: Flight tutorial snippets from Rebel Galaxy Outlaw played on Linux PC

Update: I found _way later_ that there is a switch in the launcher to enable joystick support (which brings up my X52 just fiine). What a strange design decision.

Fly Dangerous on Steam by Jay FaulknerJay Faulkner (store.steampowered.com)
Extremely high skill-ceiling 6dof flight racing in a variety of environments with leaderboards, multiplayer and VR support

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1781750/Fly_Dangerous/ released today as early access. It’s free, fast, opensource and has . The flight model is inspired by games like (Newtonian flight model). Oh and it has . o7