>Counter Strike on Archlinux

>Well, got a few shots of Vodka, and now I’m very sleepy, so forgive my sloppy writing. FYI, I’m not a regular drinker, and drinking spirits is prohibited in my religion.

The old good Counter Strike, it’s outdated but it’s awesome since it could run on cheaper, outdated graphic cards, including the built-in Intel graphics card on my Acer Aspire 2920 laptop without any problems. Haven’t tried Point Blank or newer FPS…

So it happened that my friends in the student association played CS, and I was invited to join too. I downloaded an illegal copy from a local server, then tried to install it on wine.

The installation went fine, but then, when I run the binary, what I got is Half-Life instead of Counter Strike. A little bit of googling gave me the command flag ‘-game cstrike’ as the argument needed to run Counter Strike from hl.exe.

It works fine, I’ll explain it later.

There are several problems, however.

First, if you tried to join a multiplayer in the middle of a round, the app seemed to freeze, but that was not the case. Just call the in-game menu, and exit from it, then it’ll be fine.

Second, you can’t invoke ‘wine start $Path_to_executable/hl.exe -game cstrike’. Unless you’re in the installation directory, the app will crash before it load, returning some error messages. You must call ‘wine hl.exe -game cstrike’ from the installation directory.

Third, Counter Strike (or Half-Life) runs in SDTV 4:3 aspect ratio, instead of widescreen in a normal Windows environment. I guess it’s just a matter of application settings.

Anything else just works out of the box, you could play it seamlessly, without any lagging or other problems, even in multiplayer mode (there are network connection errors sometimes that crashed the app, but it’s very rare).

FYI, I’m not a good CS player, out of 5 times being killed, I only manage to kill once… :p

There are other Windows games I’ve tried with wine, too…

Ragnarok Online, works fine, only if there were not-so-many other human players around. If you happened to be on a party, be prepared for a horrible lag, almost making it unplayable (my processor is 1.8GB core2duo, and an onboard weak Intel graphics card, I dunno if it worked well on better hardware).

Some japanese visual novels. At least Symphonic Rain worked out of the box, including its VOS-like mini game session. Alas, another VN (I forgot the title) crashed when playing in-game character dialog (I think it also holds true for most VNs). Fate/Stay Night failed as it couldn’t recognize the mounted image as a real original CD needed to run it (or maybe I just couldn’t make it work).
Hmm… I doubt that Wine would make it for high-end games, such as Unreal Tournament.
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>Counter Strike on Archlinux

>Flac to Ogg Converter (Bash Shell Script)

>

My recently gathered collections of anime and Japanese musics are mostly FLACs. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a free and open source encoding for storing the exact data from a WAV audio file (this is the one you get directly from ripping an audio CD – CMIIW, the data dump from an audio CD) at half of its original size. This means, you can get the equal quality of an audio CD track with only half of the original space.

Of course, if you have FLAC files, it doesn’t mean you could enjoy a crispy bright playback of an audio CD. There are several more factors, they are, your sound card, your amplifiers and speakers. As for me, with only on board sound card and a Sony Ericsson standard Walkman phone headset, it’s meaningless to play FLAC tracks on my laptop. It just a waste of precious harddisk space. But nonetheless, I still spare them for keepsake, in case someday I could afford a better audio system.
So, the solution for a time being is to burn my FLAC collections onto DVDs, then ripping them into OGG format. This tutorial on Archlinux Wiki provides the basic script, I made some slight modification to it so that the final result would be OGG instead of MP3. This script will work on any UNIX system with bash shell on it (including Cygwin).
First, you need to provide all the dependencies. You will need these binaries (refer to your distro guide on how to install them).

flac oggenc

Then, copy the following script to your text editor, save it as anything you feel like (the convention is not to give any extension to the filename, as this is an executable , and normally executables don’t have any extension). In this example, I save it as flac2ogg.
#!/bin/bash


for a in *.flac


do
OUTF=`echo “$a” | sed s/\.flac$/.ogg/g`


ARTIST=`metaflac “$a” –show-tag=ARTIST | sed s/.*=//g`
TITLE=`metaflac “$a” –show-tag=TITLE | sed s/.*=//g`
ALBUM=`metaflac “$a” –show-tag=ALBUM | sed s/.*=//g`
GENRE=`metaflac “$a” –show-tag=GENRE | sed s/.*=//g`
TRACKNUMBER=`metaflac “$a” –show-tag=TRACKNUMBER | sed s/.*=//g`
DATE=`metaflac “$a” –show-tag=DATE | sed s/.*=//g`


echo “$a”


flac -c -d “$a” | oggenc -q 8 -a “$ARTIST” -G “$GENRE” -t “$TITLE” -d “$DATE” -n “$TRACKNUMBER” -l “$ALBUM” – -o “$OUTF”


done
The next step, as a superuser, make it executable.

$ sudo chmod 0775 flac2ogg

Still as a superuser, copy it to the local binary directory, /usr/local/bin.

$ sudo cp flac2ogg /usr/local/bin

The final step, as a normal user, add /usr/local/bin into PATH environment variable. To make it handy, we will need to modify the .bashrc file so that/usr/local/bin is always in PATH every time you log in. Now you can call the script from anywhere.

$ export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/bin

Add the same line above to your .bashrc.

To use it, navigate to a directory (in a terminal, of course) where you place your FLAC files you want to convert. Simply type the script name, the terminal will show the encoding progress. The final OGG files will have the name and tags from the original FLAC files.

Now you can manually remove the unused FLAC files.

rm -v *.flac

Adding this line will get your script to automatically remove the original FLAC right after it has been encoded to OGG. Put it before the very last line (before done).
rm -v “$a”
done
PS:
The blogger editor fails so hard, either in HTML or WYSIWYG mode. Srsly, they need to fix it up. It always complains errors when I add images, and it also messing up the ‘quote’ command. I wonder why they always said blogger is better than wordpress.
Edit:
PHAIL. It cannot change the font into fixed-width font (Courier). blogger.com sucks.
>Flac to Ogg Converter (Bash Shell Script)

>Random: Some Japanese Bands

>Well, I’ve got no idea on what should I post, lately. So, maybe I’ll just recount my encounters with J-Music, and the Japanese bands.

FYI, most of my playlist entry are Japanese songs, some of them are anime OSTs. Sometimes, I enjoyed Western metal bands too, but they’re only getting less than 1% of my listening time.


L’Arc en Ciel (Laruku)
Like most Indonesians, my first encounter with J-rocks was via this band (Indonesians even had a clone, a band named J-Rocks, thank God they’re now more than just a bunch of Laruku wannabees). They have mostly easy listening music (sometimes they went cheesy), and Tetsu’s unique bass lines tempted me to learn bass (later I found out that they were just simple patterns between root and fifth note of the chord). I adored them, collected all their albums prior to Daybreak’s Bell. Too bad, they had gone too cheesy and too electronic recently, and I don’t listen to them anymore.

X-Japan
Strong metal, hard noise of distorted guitar riffs. They have some nice ballads with beautiful piano. But most of their songs were monotonous (especially the drums, the drummer was an excellent pianist but he certainly lacked creativity needed to compose the drum parts for his band), hard to tell a song from another because they were too similar. Hard rock with staple rhythm, staple melodic line, then a cooling down with a little bit piano, then back to hard rock again… it goes all the way like that for most songs.

Glay
They had better skills than Laruku, but I didn’t like the harsh guitar sound and the vocalist’s unstable pitch.

Dir en Grey (Diru)
Too loud for me to enjoy…. Except a ballad piano arrangement for one of their songs, alas I forgot the title.

Tokyo Jihen
Well, they’re way too intellectual. Their harmony was too ear-clashing for me. Their piano and keyboard lines were challenging, tho…

Kurahashi Yoeko
Unique vocal character that sounds much like a singer from 80’s era, and naughty melodic lines. I’ve just listened a few, but I like her. Wish there were more of her songs in the internet.
Depapepe
Monotonous, they repeated that melody and that pattern over and over again.
Sound Horizon
Hmm…. good balance between musical showmanship and nice, easy listening and beautiful romantic rock/metal. Revo is certainly a prodigy, for he composed and arranged the songs all by himself. Still, my acceptance rate for his songs is much less than Kajiura’s.

Kalafina
A trio of three young, beautiful vocalists…. I fell in love with them the instance I heard ‘Natsu no Ringo’. Kajiura did the composition and arrangement well, she keeps teasing my ear with her unique blend of European Classical and anime atmosphere, as well as her superb brew of musical arrangement and tight vocal harmonization.
Kajiura makes the most of her slaves vocalists, each vocalists are assigned to a specific part of a song (or even the whole song), and sometimes the key changes as the singer switches from one girl to another.
While certainly Kajiura also has her own weakness (read it here and here), I always listen to her music everyday, humming them as I walk. It’s been several months since I first listening to Kalafina, but my honeymoon with them (wew… great isn’t it? a harem of three beautiful girls) hasn’t been over yet.
>Random: Some Japanese Bands

>Wandering Son Ep 04

>

Epic win!!
This show is pretty slow-paced, and it’s not in my top waiting-list-of-the-week. But it seems to get into the right direction, things are getting exciting when it’s about to turn into a boring show.

Here’s a screenshot.

The couple looked so well-matched, except that, the boy was the girl, and the girl was the boy.
Somehow, I could understand what Nitori-kun felt to some extent. I’ve always been dreaming about a relationship (heterosexual one… don’t get me wrong) where I, the feminine boy, was the girl and my masculine girlfriend was the boy.
Yeah, I want a female boyfriend.
And if one day she raped me, I wouldn’t mind at all…. No, I’d die happily….
>Wandering Son Ep 04

>Sakamoto Maaya: 奇跡の海 (Kiseki No Umi)

>This really beautiful song, from Record of Lodoss War anime series.

You can watch the TV-size version below, along with the original footage from the anime.



This song starts off with something like an African tribal chant (which continues just before the beginning of the verse), and then aura suddenly switches completely into Japanese.

Here, Maaya Sakamoto sings the distinctively Japanese melody with her falsetto voice. This style is much similar to Shikata Akiko’s in 片翼の鳥 (Katayoku no Tori) or VII, minus the hectic atmosphere and intense-ear-exhausting choir from the latter two songs.

An image of a small, isolated island in Japan, with its forest and hills, and traditional Japanese houses, came into my mind the first time I hear the verse. Going further into the imagination, I could easily pictured out a Japanese girl on her kimono looking into the endless ocean. The refrain brought me on a journey in the high seas with her, into a far away land, where much more stories and dreams awaits.
>Sakamoto Maaya: 奇跡の海 (Kiseki No Umi)