Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Category: Geekery (Page 1 of 85)

Satisfactory: Copper Redux

How about a game status update for the thing that has taken over most of my free time this past month? (Yes, I bought it on Dec 3rd 2020 and here it is, Jan 3rd 2021 and the honeymoon ain’t over yet.) I managed to send up another shipment via the space elevator, which means I unlocked the potential to make petroleum products such as plastics and fuel from the newly-available oil.

The operative word there is, “potential.” In order to take advantage of the ability I’ll need to craft a bunch of materials needed to build the production facilities. I have a spreadsheet for tallying up the requirements.

Yes, a spreadsheet. For a video game. No, I don’t know what sort of stranger I’m becoming, either.

At any rate, a big part of today’s session involved retooling my meager copper operation into something which can crank out more materials, faster, routed and stored more usefully. I need Wires (made from copper) to pair with Steel Pipes (made from steel, which is made from iron and coal) to make Stators which, when paired with the Rotors that the iron works produces, makes Motors, and I need hundreds of those to get the oil fields project running.

You get the idea. Maybe.

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Satisfactory Is Quite Satisfactory

Early this month, a friend on Twitter invited me to watch their streaming session, a tour of a power plant they’d just finished in an early-access game they’ve been playing and talking up for a while now: Satisfactory. The game’s a bit like a mash-up of a survival game (“you’re alone in this wilderness with a couple of basic tools, now make something of the situation”) and a systems-management sim (Factorio comes notably to mind).

It didn’t take long for me to decide that I needed to try this game for myself. The demo of the Hyper Tube sealed the deal, if I’m honest. “I have got to try this!”

(Spoiler: I have not yet tried the Hyper Tube. I’m close to unlocking the tech, but I have other priorities at the moment.)

I ponied up the thirty bucks, connected to my (ugh) Epic account (on the off-chance that at some point multiplayer is something I want to try), and found myself in the desert on an alien world, armed with a taser (needed for dealing with the occasional hostile local fauna, not that combat is much of a factor in this game most of the time) and carting around a box of parts to build my starter “hub.”

Weeks later, I’ve poured nearly 24 hours of playtime into this thing and am loving it. The gameplay loop boils down to facing a new logistics challenge and figuring out how to achieve the immediate goal in as efficient a manner as you can fashion, then moving on to the next one. It’s not really an “open world” affair: You are given a strict hierarchy of milestones, though within a given milestone level you can choose in which order you want to tackle them, and the details of exactly how to meet your goals is in your hands. This is ideal for me, as I work best to a clear set of guidelines.

The first stretch of the game is very… manual. You hand-craft most of the things you need, you hand-feed the various machines, your equipment is strewn around wherever you can clear the space, and so forth. A lot of your early game time is spent collecting every single piece of plant life you see in order to power the “bio-fuel” power generators that keep your equipment churning out needed materials. Your main goal at that point is to progress far enough along the tech tree to unlock coal power, then acquire said coal power. Once that’s up & running you can stop spending every free minute collecting & processing plant life and start focusing on the larger picture.

A big part of improving that larger picture is making your production environment look a bit less… haphazard.

Let’s talk about my latest project by way of example.

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Server Migration Time

Considering that the Linode VPS known as “node2” started out several years ago as an Ubuntu 14.04 LTS system (the “14” part indicating it was built five or six years ago now) and I upgraded that in-place to 16.04 (which mostly taught me to never again do an in-place Ubuntu LTS upgrade) and seeing as how 20.04 is available now… I decided it’s time for “node3” to take over.

Yesterday I built node3 with the same “hardware” specs as node2, performed the necessary steps to make it a LAMP rig, and migrated over two of the non-database-driven websites (the PmWiki sites in the frell.co domain) successfully. Then I set up backups, because you always prioritize backups, y’all.

Today I migrated one of the WordPress sites (the mostly-defunct myduckonstuff.com) without notable drama, which is certainly encouraging.

My goal is to have this all done by month-end so I can turn off node2 and not pay full rate for both servers. Wish me luck…

I have the new computer. I installed Blender on it. I started playing around with a silly idea. I… made some progress, sort of.

 

But clearly I have some things to learn about the physics engine in Blender. Whoops.

(Ignore the lack of lighting; that’s a problem for much later in the project at this point. And yes, I gave my marble a marble texture. Because I’m a dork.)

I Buy Shiny

Given that the old home PC, which I’d kept functional far past its original expected lifespan by judicious hardware replacement over the years, was finally starting to balk at doing anything computationally intensive, I decided to splurge (based on generous tax refunds and leftover company bonus money from the holidays) on another iBuyPower gaming rig build.

The main stats? Intel i7 (9700K? Does that mean anything) CPU, 16 gigabytes of RAM, an RTX 2070 for generating pretty pixels, solid state drive, yadda de yadda. Oh, and because you can’t get a custom gaming rig built nowadays without shiny stuff, this one glows in whatever color you want.

New home PC tower

My very own “green computing” initiative, on display.

So far it’s definitely quite peppy. I haven’t had the chance to properly run it through its paces yet, however, mainly because this is also my “work” computer during these here Coronavirus stay-at-home shenanigans so I had to prioritize loading in all the office software over games and Blender. Maybe this weekend I’ll see how hard I can push things now.

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