Answers and Questions February 9, 2020

Work on nuVDU continues at a pretty steady pace, like three guides a day. Haven’t touched any of the tools yet. So far, I’m pleased about how everything looks and so is Jax. I’m finding a lot of errors and formatting I fudged in the old VDU@IceQuake pages (because it was like a month after the site died and I couldn’t be assed), and since I’m using the dcb’s scrape of that as a base, it’s been nice going back and fixing it all. This really is turning out to be the definitive Valve Developer Union site.

The list of guides I have ready to go as of writing this
These are the guides I have converted over, as of writing this. Like three a day, I think.

Another nice thing is that Jax pretty handily passed me not only the full VDU database (in JSON), but showed me how I can still access our old S3 bucket to grab any assets that didn’t transfer over to the old mirror. As a result, I discovered around five guides that were totally completed and yet never actually published, or at the very least, pulled from circulation due to my embarrassment with them.

And now, at long last, they find their way to the surface.

Three of these guides were actually the catalyst for VDU’s shutdown. The original mentality behind any VDU guide was to answer a single question someone might have in-depth, like “how can I get colored lights in my Quake levels?” or “what are tool textures?” One limitation of this I discovered pretty quickly was that bigger and more abstract topics couldn’t get covered in a single guide. “How can I start making maps for Source?” is a perfectly valid question, but one simply too big for a single guide.

My solution for this was tracks, which I initially described as “guide playlists”, a series of guides meant to be read through and followed in order to teach a much bigger topic than one can handle in a single sitting. My demonstration for this was to be an “Intro to Source Mapping” track, where I explain Hammer, brushes and entities, making those two things, and then compiling the map to test it in-game.

Nowadays, I think this probably could’ve been fudged with a category, but I didn’t want that at the time, I wanted tracks. Jax built the site using a NoSQL setup (hence the JSON) and thus tracks would’ve been basically trivial to implement, and yet, he just kept putting it off. We were already working together like cum and a hot sidewalk, so it didn’t help the tension much. Among the Union, it kinda became an in-joke.

Some meme someone made about tracks
I don’t remember who made this, but I hope they’ve either since found Christ or have since slit their wrists.

Jax did eventually finish track functionality on the backend, but it was too little, too late. The three guides I wrote for our first track never got published. That wasn’t the extent of unpublished content either; I also had plans to implement an entity reference section, but I was overworked enough as it is (which is something I’m still trying to do to myself less these days), so it never came to pass. The one guide I did finish to demonstrate that was on Quake‘s powerups and weapons; that’s going up this time too.

Here’s a full goddamn page of nuVDU for you to open in a new tab and peek at. This is at least 90% accurate to what the finished thing will look like. Hoping and thinking by early March at this rate.

A full-page capture of nuVDU as a work-in-progress

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