Letters from Somnolescent October 2, 2020

10/2 – The Ballad of the Comeback Kids

by bulb

This is a little more like it! With the weather cooling down (not here though, still 60s and 70s galore, guh), the Somnolians have been feeling vital again. borb and Caby are over their Art Fight fatigue, I’m back to writing after building that absurdly big Quake level (promise you’ll get to play it this year) and feeling damn good about it, and–what do you know? More Pennyverse! Much better recap than last month–let’s get into it.

Colton has a gun

The raccoon lad could only stifle a giggle at the new, absurd low the descriptions had sunk to. “And then the big slicey robots come in, right?”

Gonzo grimaced. “Aren’t you scared? Don’t you know what they’ll do to us when they find us, little man?”

If they find us.” It was Colton’s turn to stand in front of Gonzo, this time with his hands hid behind his back conspicuously. He only smirked, his gaze zipping around the tunnel.

“…I don’t get it.”

“You think they’ll get to us when we have…one of these?” With his own dramatic flair, Colton revealed his right hand, pulling a spindly brass pistol from thin air. Various bulbous widgets, thingies, and doodads stuck out angularly from the grip and along the length of the gun. A strange knob was planted on top in lieu of a sight, and the muzzle stuck out at least half the length of the gun itself. To any observer in their right mind, it would’ve looked like a mere toy.

Gonzo was instead stunned. “T-that’s—!” he cried, reaching out limply to hold it himself. “A—CICADA.”

I apologize for taking center stage this recap, but hot off the presses, we have more Pennyverse. At long last! This one’s called “Gonzo the Dissident”, and if you’ve read any of my stories in the past, this one’s a much more fun read. It’s about our resident skittish bong rabbit having a miserable, oppressive nightmare and Colton cheekily invading it with the Guardian’s help in order to find out what’s wrong with him. Action, chases, and fallen trees ensue.

September was seriously a month in flux for me; I think I’ve finally gotten over a lot of the confidence issues that plagued my writing before, stuff I’ve already gone over in the relevant Scratchpad entry. What that means for you is hopefully much more dynamic, interesting stories and characters in the future. Seriously, if 50s ray guns and playing chicken with helicopters in an airboat sounds like fun to you, this one’s well worth it.

Caby’s cryptids

Torrone with the Mothman hovering

And the other big project to debut today: The Spooky Zone! Longtime followers of Caby’s various sites might be aware of her various guinea pig characters, and at long last, Torrone Morbido, the paranoid cryptid hunter extraordinaire of the bunch (the second one on this recap, go figure…) now has his permanent little home on her site!

Much like “Gonzo the Dissident”, The Spooky Zone has been in the works for a long time, and man it shows. This one’s absolutely packed with information, tons of lovely painterly illustrations and polaroids, and lots of personality. The Spooky Zone–plenty of laughs to be had and very creepy grainy videos of shadows in the sky to be seen.

The frontpage of The Spooky Zone
Always love all the little details Caby puts into her sites, like the hovering cows and especially writing in-character as Torrone. It’s just my thing, man.

The art fight never ends

Also a pleasant surprise: a new addition to borb’s site! Seeing as she was a bit tentative on posting the recent mass of Art Fight stuff to her various accounts, I was really happy to see her put together a comprehensive archive of each year that she’s participated for her own personal gallery. Like I said, most of this never got posted outside of the Art Fight site (natch), so if you’re looking for a ton of borb art to peek at, boy has she got just the thing.

A sample of borb's Art Fight gallery
marten marten marten marten marten marten

Festive banners!

And, if you’ve visited somnolescent.net recently, you might’ve noticed some new banners up top! Yes, I’ve implemented date-checking in the banner randomizer script, and Caby and borb have come in clutch with three new ones for the fall season! I really love these. They’re bright, vibey, and inviting. Definitely be on the lookout for new ones as the seasons change!

Arthur chasing a stray letter in a somnolescent.net banner
Letters to Somnolescent, perhaps?

Archives sweep

And of course, I throw my own site updates towards the end because they’re the least exciting of the bunch. (In fairness to myself, I spent most of the month on stories, not on site stuff.) The big site update is the VDU archives, where I fix up and mirror very old Quake/Half-Life modding sites that either have disappeared or are likely to disappear. (This one even involves frames!) The goal is more usability than total accuracy, so if Cammy has to fudge things a bit, so be it. More mirrors to come as I find worthy sites.

A screenshot of the old Forge site
This was a pain in my ass to clean up, but worth it. Important site to me.

And smaller but I’m sure no less appreciated if you make videos: I’ve managed to rip all the stock music and sound effects from iLife ’09 and mirror them for anyone to grab and use. If you watch a lot of YouTube videos, you’ve certainly heard some of this, so hey, why not join the pack?


A very pretty shot of the Somnocraft Beta 1.7.3 server
Courtesy of dcb, as always.

Well, what’s this? The return of the long-dead Somnocraft server? Yes! In fact, now they’ve multiplied! We’ve got two 24/7 servers with happenings at the moment, a Beta 1.7.3 survival server, which is where the above screenshot comes from (that be our village >:3c), and a release 1.8.9 creative server. They’re semi-public, but only for certain trusted IRC regulars. There’ll be a page on the Somnolescent site with more information to follow, and almost certainly more screenshots to gaze upon too.

The group in the midst of the most epic Somnocraft session ever
This little graphic hasn’t officially debuted on the site yet, but gosh I love it too much so I’m putting it here too.

Blog highlights

Only two blog thingies from this month, but both are really good reads (if I’m allowed to be a bit biased…). At the very least, do check out that Raven writeup; kid got an IRC bouncer and a Mindustry server working on an old Android phone. Always good to see these things find new life.

  • “The Raven LTE flies again” by dotcomboom (September 6): “Given that the phone’s hardware’s probably comparable to at the very least a Pi 1 or 2, it’s not half bad an option for many projects. I’ve seen dedicated server apps on the Play Store for things like web servers, Plex media servers, and more if you don’t want to hassle with getting stuff set up under Termux.”
  • Ranking Spotify’s Top 50 Songs Named “Undone” by mariteaux (September 24): “Nonetheless, we’ve got a lovely mix of yeehaw music, white girl piano pop, boppy electronica, acoustic torment, Backstreet Boys, and even a few artists who might not even exist.”

Art highlights

borb and Caby haven’t been too keen on posting most of their recent art anywhere, so Caby’s is exclusive to this recap and borb posted hers to her DeviantART out of nowhere while this recap was being drafted. More notably, we also have dcb joining the art highlights for the first time, seeing as he’s been drawing more and more lately! Actually quite like the one he contributed for this recap. Old-school lynx clipart vibes.

"Fuck you civets" by Caby
“Fuck you civets” by Caby (exclusive!)
"Arthur my boyy" by borb
“Arthur my boyy” by borb (September 27)
"Lince" by dcb
“Lince” by dcb (not exclusive, but I didn’t save any dates,,,,)

Hoo! That was a lot. Got a little pent up there, didn’t we? Gotta say, after the disaster that was last year, I am very much looking forward to Halloween and Christmas this year. Weather’s getting chilly, everything is turning funny colors, Seb’s outside in a HAZMAT suit–hold onto that one, actually.

About bulb

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

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