The blog of roncli blog
Houston, Texas, United States
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Current Posts
Friday, May 22, 2015
Coding down, content to go
Posted: 1:36:00 AM 0 comments
I am happy to report that 68 months to the day after I first mentioned that I had begun work on the new, I have FINALLY finished coding it. Mind you, it still needs content. It just doesn't need code.

So what the hell took me so long?

First, the project was restarted 4 times. First, it was going to be part of a website solution called Gate. That project was too daunting, so I restarted, focusing on just, and writing it in ASP.Net. Then, I decided I wanted to do it in Node.js, starting it in Express. I ditched the outline of that attempt and restarted it again in the same technologies.

Finally, I discovered Rendr and on May 9th of last year I restarted it one last time. This is the one that stuck.

Scope on the project had changed wildly over these 5+ years, but one thing remained constant and that was the purpose of the site. highlights my interests: music, coding, gaming, and life. With each restart, I continued to narrow focus on what was important to me in a website that shows off these topics. I did a lot of simplification over time, and in the end came up with a website that is ultra personalized for me and my interests, yet easily extensible.

I learned a lot about Rendr and it's moving parts, and contributed in one way or another to about a dozen different open source projects. I even created one not just to help others get started with developing in Rendr, but to get my next websites off to a quick start as well.

So what's left?

  • Blog - I will be converting all of the tags on Blogger and Tumblr to a unified format. Likely Tumblr's format will win, which means I will have to change tags on 400+ Blogger posts. Fun.
  • Music - I need to upload my entire catalog to Soundcloud. My followers are going to get spammed to high hell with my music, and some of it's pretty bad. Hehe.
  • Coding - I am going to launch with my GitHub projects, and I need to do write ups on them. In the case of, I plan on doing a video series for it as well.
  • Gaming - I am usually fairly modest when it comes to my personal projects, but this page? I fucking knocked it out of the park, bitches. From this one hub, you will be able to follow my adventures with the Six Gaming Podcast, and practically track my every move when I play World of Warcraft, Diablo III, League of Legends, Descent, and more. I also need to move my Quadra FAQ over, as well as link to my Descent levels, which now reside on the DMDB.
  • Life - I have many, many pages to create for this part. I plan to put Aries Wing, my Descent fan fiction, online, along with pictures and videos from past vacations. This section needs the most fleshing out, but it is the section I have the most freedom with as well.

This will begin in earnest this weekend. With all that I have coming up, I need to get this out sooner rather than later. I am already nearly 2 months behind my original timeline for 2015, and the calendar is not ticking away any slower. So here's to late nights and lots of asskickery. This site's going to be fun for me to launch.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015
Stuff I've been up to
Posted: 1:52:00 AM 0 comments
It's been a rather busy month so far. I've been getting lots of stuff done and have been slowly progressing in my competitive gaming.

League of Legends

I've won another series and am now at Bronze II on the season, but not even Colz can stop me from getting wrecked by bad teams it seems, I'm 2-4 since placing into Bronze II. My mechanics are really bad, and I'm starting to wonder if I should be playing more than once a week to improve at my mechanics, but then I remember that it's Ron's Bronze Plays, and the plays won't be bronze if Ron gets good.

Descent Champions Ladder

I've won 3 more games against silver pilots recently, and that has rewarded me with becoming a silver pilot myself. I was never all that great at competitive Descent 1, and playing the masters of today really makes me feel that I have more to learn than just piloting. Granted, some of these pilots have spectacular aim as well, which is why I'm planning on switching over to mouse once my mouse patch gets into DXX Retro and becomes generally available. I'm almost to where I am today in skill with it, but need a lot more practice. I'm going to a Descent LAN in July, and I'm hoping that is when I'll be able to make the switch over to mouse.

I actually have good news about the website!

That's right, I'm almost DONE! There are only 4 bugs left. The font loading issue hasn't happened lately and I might be able to get rid of it. The login from cookie is a really strange bug that I can't reproduce, but is something I need to figure out and fix before launch. The allowed playlists deal was just a bad design decision I made earlier that I need to fix. And the fix image widths bug is where I have really big images that aren't being scaled down, which is causing the layout to break.

After that, it's all about content. The blog is easy enough, but adding the songs to Soundcloud will take time, and I need to write the pages for all of the rest of the content I intend to have. That alone might take days, but at least the major coding milestones have all been hit. I'm nearly 2 months behind my original target, but I think it'll be worth the wait!

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Wednesday, May 06, 2015
The problem with mice in Descent
Posted: 2:07:00 AM 0 comments
Descent was an awesome series. Hell, it still IS an awesome series. Six degrees of freedom, claustrophobic tunnels, murderous robots... what's not to love about this game?

The fact that it was made in 1995 for one. Originally written for MS-DOS, Descent was designed to run on computers that didn't know what a Pentium was. It ran great on those computers, but as computer processing power increased, it started to become obvious that the game was not written to scale well.

At first, the homing missile became impossible to dodge. Written to work fine at 30 frames per second, the homing missile began to turn faster and faster as that 30 became 60, 60 became 100, and 100 became 200. Fortunately, this bug has been fixed and has made playing Descent quite bearable.

However, recently, a new bug reared its ugly head involving mouse play. Descent plays at a constant 200 frames per second, assuming you don't have vsync on, or have otherwise limited the frame rate. The average mouse in Windows is only polled at the rate of 125 times per second. So, your graphics card is getting more frames per second than Windows is getting mouse positions. How does this cause problems in Descent?

One of the quirks about Descent is that, unlike traditional first person shooters, you are not allowed to just 180 your ship in an instant. The Pyro has a maximum turn rate, and is hard-limited in the code, throwing out extra movements that are made beyond the maximum allowed. This means that you can whip your mouse around the mousepad, and you won't move very much.

The turn rate for the mouse, however, is determined per frame. So, what'll happen is you'll move the mouse, say, an inch, within 2 frames. You only need to move it, say, a quarter of an inch to reach maximum turn speed. At the end of the first frame, the first quarter of an inch is processed and the next quarter of an inch is thrown out. Same thing for the second frame, the next quarter of an inch is processed and the final quarter of an inch is thrown out.

However, let's say in the first frame, your mouse didn't get polled at all. At the end of the first frame, Descent - and Windows for that matter - think you haven't moved the mouse. Your Pyro does not move at all. In the second frame, the mouse is polled and sees you moved an entire inch. The first quarter of an inch is processed, and the other three quarters are thrown out. All that movement for nothing!

Having a fellow pilot suffer greatly because of these issues, I decided to dive into the source code and develop a fix. Now what happens is that you turn on the Mouse Overrun Buffer setting, and then instead of throwing out the extra movements of your mouse, it is stored in a buffer, with anywhere between 1/16 of a second and a full second of movement stored, depending on how high you decide to set your buffer. Then, in the next frame, anything already in your buffer is added to whatever mouse movement was detected that frame, and that is used to determine how much your pyro moves, storing any excess back into the buffer again.

You can find this code in a pull request for DXX-Retro, a source port of Descent dedicated to the competitive community. If you own the original game, you can find downloads for DXX-Retro at the Descent Rangers download page.

And if you don't, go get it! Classic first-person shooter action.

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