Ember Dev Blog, Part 7!

Good god am I pooped on so many levels (this seems to be a running theme, doesn’t it?). I’ve been working as hard as I’ve ever worked to get the Player’s Guide to version 1.0, and I finally hit that milestone this morning at about 6:30. The new and improved PDF is up on DriveThru RPG, and I’m about to get started on the print copy files as soon as a take a breather from the heat outside. I’ve gone over that book with a fine-toothed comb looking for formatting errors, typos, and irregularities where I can improve things. Some new content has even been added in the form of two new backgrounds that I lifted from the (currently unreleased) Andromar campaign guide, along with listings for a few new items like crossbow bolts and RATIONS. I’m not sure how that one got away, but it did and now I’ve caught it and put it back in the lists where it belongs. Other minor edits include removal of all incidental references to Pelor and clawing out all mention of yards. 8-space tabs were also painstakingly reduced to 4-space ones (0.24″, if you care to know) so things look a little tighter than they used to. Items have weight now. And just for fun – and because it was necessary – I re-factored the Table of Contents. All the chapter vignettes have been refactored as well for a consistent 8.5″ x 11″ @ 300 dpi, and some new artwork graces the pages too. All the race artwork is now in color! To fill whitespace, I’ve adopted the use of Planescape-like pullquotes to add flavor to the whole thing. I think it looks purdy.

Also, I’ve removed Herobrine. 

I also need to get my act together and put my stuff up on Amazon today if I can manage it. It also occurs to me just now that I really ought to manually edit the PDF link table because the one that auto-built is a goddamned mess. It’ll be another free update.
I hope to get the hardcover version done in time for NEA Game Fest. I’d like copies in-hand to sell if there’s interest, but I don’t know if I’ll make it. LightningSource can either have your books to you in a week or they can take a month and a half. Nothing is going to happen on their end until Monday anyway, so as long as I’m in before Midnight on Sunday I should be as good as I’ll get. I hate cutting things so close.

That’s the news for today! I’m going to get back at it and do me a heckin’ publish!



Okay, I’ve been working for about 14 hours now, and I’m at my limit. My vision is blurry, I’m sleepy, and I just spent the last two hours chasing a day-stopping bug on my workstation.
My update manager has been bothering me about… well… an update for the past two days now, and I finally caved and installed it. It wanted to restart, but I held it off and went on working. A few hours later I was forced to reboot when GIMP hung on me (and took the whole computer with it). Fortunately everything was saved. I performed the reboot and…..

I was suddenly NOT at my desktop. I was looking at a tty1 session (I call it the “talk to you later” prompt), and I got a cryptic error message:

"overlayfs missing 'lowerdir' "

What the hell? That’s about as useless as Chinese to me. I took to Google on my phone, and this is not the first time it’s happened. But it’s one of them. There were about 4 posts since 2016, and NONE of them had the right solution for me. I wound up attempting to boot into an old OS I’ve still got kicking around on an HDD that I haven’t sunset yet for occasions such as this, and lo and behold I got a desktop! It took something like 5 minutes to spin up into a usable state, and I couldn’t see my other drives in the system for some reason, but it told me my hardware was good. That means it had to be software.

That goddamned update

So I yoinked all the Nvidia drivers on my system and reinstalled the previous one from a command line (furiously Googling with my phone for instructions). I’d removed snapd and Docker in previous attempts, but all that did was keep me coming back to a tty1 session. However, after removing Docker, the “overlayfs missing ‘lowerdir’ ” error went away. I honestly think the update was butting heads with Docker on this one. Oh well, I don’t need it. It was a remnant of a project that didn’t work and I never cleaned up after myself. Lesson: clean up after yourself.
With all that stuff gone, I was at a clean tty1. I tried reinstalling my desktop environment. That didn’t work. I tried screaming at the screen. That worked almost as well. Then I found a suggestion in another post about reinstalling the mate desktop:

“You can’t start the Mate desktop unless X is running first.”

Holy shit! Was that it? Was that the obvious belching yak in the room that I was missing? I could cd to my Desktop and see the files there. The kernel was obviously running. I tried the following command:

"start mate-desktop"

Nothing. Undeterred, I took the next step:

"start x"

And just like that, my desktop came to life and I was in a GUI again! WOOO! But why wasn’t X starting? I’m not sure. That’s a problem for future me. Right now I’ve got to get this book through Preflight and build a decent bookmark menu. The one generated by LibreOffice Writer frankly sucks. I almost paid for Master PDF Editor 5 to do the work, but it was screwing up the formatting. I guess it’s Adobe or nothin’. God damn vendor lock-in and proprietary crap.

But I’ve been up for 14 hours now. I’m super tired. I need a nap. We’ll hit this when I wake up.



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