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2023 Recap (sort of)

I used to do this type of post every Christmas, when I had my blog in Spanish, but for whatever reason is a tradition I didn’t port to this blog. Although I’m not sure I want to start doing it, 2023 has been weird in several ways and it may be interesting doing some reflection here.

A good example is that after leaving Twitter for Mastodon, turns out that the social network where I am most active is… IRC.


My wife looking at my screen: is that... IRC?

I was a heavy IRC user on the mid to late 90s, but after that I only connected when I was working on an open source project and either I needed support or I was contributing and it was useful to be there –for example, when I was working with OpenStack Kolla–. For me, it was instant messaging with XMPP (Jabber back then) what replaced IRC, and I didn’t think I was going back. XMPP didn’t succeed the way I was expecting and that’s mainly why I’m only on Signal now–, but that is a story for a different day.

Where I am “active”? Mostly on Libera: #gamedev, and others channels like #haskell-gamedev or #cpc; and AfterNET: #dosgameclub and #ludumdare.

I also spent a lot of time on tilde, but because I was connecting to IRC via ctrl-c club; when I decided to connect directly from home because the club was kind of unstable, I dropped that network because there was no way to conceal your IP –unlike Libera via cloaking and AfterNet by default–, and I didn’t like it. I know it probably doesn’t matter, but there you are.

Although the channels are dedicated to specific topics, turns out people may talk about anything; which is kind of the opposite of Masto thinking about it: a social network about anything but we choose to focus on the topics we like. You find a lot of channels that aren’t very active, if at all, and sometimes there’s that user that is very annoying and that may even spoil the channel to the point of not being worth it; but that’s OK because you can just leave the channel if that’s the only thing you get from it.

The DOS Game Club podcast channel is a good example of good and healthy community, and links nicely with another thing I didn’t see coming this year until it happened: making DOS games. Also: one of the channel members lives in my same neighbourhood, which is a happy coincidence that allowed us to met for a beer!

This year I have released two very different games for DOS:

  • Gold Mine Run!: targeting the second age of DOS gaming; meaning 32-bit, VGA and Sound Blaster.
  • The Return of Traxtor: targeting early IBM PC/XT; meaning 16-bit, CGA and PC Speaker.

I’m happy with these two games, and I have released a library for DJGPP to make easier reuse the code I wrote for “Gold Mine Run!”. I started doing some bits with CGA/EGA, but I didn’t get too far. In any case, I think there are chances of more DOS games coming from yours truly.

I even streamed the development of one of the games, which was very intense because I tried to finish the game for a game jam, and there was no enough time. And then I stopped streaming.

I kind of like doing it, but I was making a big effort to ignore that I don’t like how both Twitch and YoutTube fund themselves with ads –and tracking users–. I investigated other options, like live streaming with Peertube or Owncast; but got to the conclusion that streaming video is expensive, and I’m not sure that what I stream is worth it. It is a bit like the cost of Mastodon, really –although it is much less, and I’m happy donating a small amount every month to the SDF social media efforts–. I may revisit my decision next year, but at the moment I don’t see a way forward with that.

I have worked on other things, but none of them got close to be on a finished state –most notably “Outpost” for the ZX Spectrum 48K that I really wanted to finish this year–. As I mentioned recently, I’m sharing my gamedev time with reading books, and that was a factor. Looking forward to see what will happen in 2024.

Outpost WIP

It is taking too long, but it will get there!

Finally, my return to old protocols didn’t stop with IRC. I also spent some times reading groups on Usenet; although I’m not posting often, so I guess I’m still not completely in. I’m keeping my notes on Newgroups up to date, in case anyone wants to take a look. Things move slow, but they still move!

Other than that, this blog keeps going, and posted a couple of times on my Gemini capsule –although I’m not spending time reading there, since last year–.

I have played games this year, but not long ones after I abandoned Persona 4 on the PS2 –another one to the unfinished pile–. But I discovered Lutris, and that has simplified gaming for the whole family. I linked our GoG account, and tinkering is over! Basically: if the game works on Linux, Lutris will make it work as optimally as possible, which is allowing us to play games I didn’t even know my humble PC could run. I still have a lot of games to play from –by the way, how disappointing has been their take on Masto–, but I don’t miss the time that sometimes take to get a game to run OK-ish!

My GoG library

Of course, I play one thing at a time -- also: Transistor is amazing!

Other than that, I have an Anbernic RG-350 that I bought in 2019 –and I haven’t used much– that now is my Pokemon Sapphire machine. Ready to pick up and play any time, I’m 13 hours in and it is good fun. I haven’t played many 8-bit games this year, old or new. Nothing has excited me enough anyway.

And I think this is enough for a recap, although I’m sure I must have left out some things. I guess if those were important, I should have written about them in the blog anyway.

Would you like to discuss the post? You can send me an email!