Letters from Somnolescent August 31, 2020

8/31 – Sleeping Through the Dog Days

by bulb

Well, admittedly, it’s been a slower month than expected here at Somnolescent. Turns out, after a month-long sprint (two, in my case…), mostly, you wanna relax. Relax we did, and so, by the time we got back in the productive spirit, it was the last week or two of the month. As such, the pickings are a little paltry this time (and admittedly no Pennyverse Month–we’re aiming for September). Still, can’t finish the month without a recap, so here we go…

An Arrogant Pawn of the Kuras

Arrogant Erratum/The Dreamscape
It’s a little dark admittedly, so click through to see it full-sized.

So writing from me dried up towards the end of June thanks to a surprise Quake level I was called on to build. For years now (since before I started modding Quake!), my friend NewHouse has been at work on a three episode expansion called The Dark Saga, and he needed a good ending for the first episode, Blue, and figured I had more to offer than I’d left behind. I always intended to return to Quake after I came to a less-than-amicable end with some of the community people, so I took him up on the offer.

Originally, the level was called “Arrogant Erratum”, for the original concept: arrogance has consequences, while waiting and humility makes a man powerful in the end. The second half of the level (now its own level) goes back to my old Calelira lore and a level I’d actually planned to build back in 2018 involving the old Kuras strongholds and catacombs. In total, this thing took 52 days and splitting into two maps to complete (because I blew right past Quake‘s level size limit…), but man, am I pleased with it.

It’s not released yet, since it needs a bit of retooling and balancing, but it’ll be available as the end two levels of Blue and as a standalone vanilla (“id1”, as it’s known) epic. If you want to read more about its development, go check the Quake blog tag on my Scratchpad.

Right, writing…

“Thylacine in the Sea”

The dark is not kind to those with eyes, he once overheard a blurry while back. It could’ve come from anywhere; an unkind shopkeeper, or a mage having a laugh at his expense. They always had torchlight spells anyway. Still, it proved true; the more he stared, the more Sophius imagined the walls as scraped flesh, a bloody, chalky red that seemed to breathe and flex at the edges of the light. Radiant yellow sulphur deposits blurred to turquoise at the edges of the cloudy blue pools of stale cave water. The wide-open ceiling branched upwards, fading as Hademar’s light failed to reach its peaks.

Remember borb’s Sophius story from June? Finally got my own Sophius story from June finished. It’s called “Thylacine in the Sea”, and it’s probably the story I’m most proud of to date. It’s not perfect, nothing is, but I love the descriptions and the way it plays out. Came out exactly as I wanted it to.

As far as Calelira goes now, it’s pretty much just that “The Fatal Commons” needs a rewrite. After that, my first rocky, shaky little fantasy world will be at rest.

AutoSite inches closer

AutoSite RC4 on Windows 98

Another release candidate of AutoSite is out, so if you’re on the bus (and you damn well should be), go grab it. It works nicer on Windows 98 and works nicer in general (including a spiffy new Quick Insert menu and a whole load of visual polish), especially if you have the window layout customized.

As for what’s leading up to the gold release, dcb has been getting the thing out to various download and shareware sites (Softpedia gave it a very glowing review), and we’d (yes, plural, I’ll be helping like I did for Legacy AutoSite) like to massively improve the documentation for AutoSite before it’s official, including a sample project. (Plus giving it the full subsite treatment, probably styled like an old-school freeware site because really, that’s where AutoSite’s DNA comes from.)

We’re coming up on a whole year of .Net AutoSite, lads. Time flies.

Blog highlights

And the Letters glacier crawls as usual. Admittedly, two of the group blog posts are me (also as usual), but trust me, there’s some drafts in the works on the backend from the other lads that you should watch for. (dcb’s got one on using an old phone as a server I’m really curious to read in full.) As for what’s out there right now though:

  • On Confidence by mariteaux (July 9): “And that’s not a blackpill, that’s the most freeing thing I can say. There is no audience to please just yet. It’s cool to write stuff only I like, and the same goes for you.”
  • More old Macs! by mon (August 8): “So I decided to do the impossible and open up my iBook G4 just to install OS 9 on the Powerbook G3’s hard drive.”
  • Vaders and Venetian Blinds: A Review of “Racing the Beam” by mariteaux (July 17): “Seriously, if you’re not turned off by the discussion of color clocks and assembler instructions, Racing the Beam is a highly recommended read.”

There’s a lot more going on that I can’t really devote recap segments to: Caby and I have been worldbuilding and hoarding art and story fragments for it, borb, Caby, and mon are all seeing some pretty major improvements to their bedrooms and workspaces (what this means for you: hopefully more regular content), and dcb and mon are back to school. Something I think about every so often is that there’ll likely come a day where the monthly recaps just stop being feasible. Life will take over. Right now, we’re a bunch of bedroom-bound college-aged kids doodling and tinkering, but we’ll be out in the proper world sooner rather than later, with jobs and kids, out exploring and maybe even meeting in person, just like they used to do on the ~old internet~.

Mmmh, wistful. Sounds fantastic, honestly.

About bulb

Group posts, recaps, and things we all contributed to. Hopefully, our hum-to-English translation is intelligible enough.

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