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Ubuntu gnome-flashback nvidia-auto-select by hcs at 3:49 AM EST on January 3, 2016
Spent a good deal of time and anger figuring this out...

I just got a gaming PC (nothing to brag about, but serviceable) and I've been suffering trying to get it to work right with my TV over HDMI in Ubuntu.

So I'm running Ubuntu 15.10, with the proprietary Nvidia drivers, and I installed gnome-flashback (which gets rid of the irritating Unity interface in favor of a traditional GNOME 3 setup). There is an issue wherein the TV cuts off something like 50 pixels on the border of the screen when the resolution is set to the full 1920x1080, so I've bumped it down to a lower resolution that actually fills the screen (1360x768 if you must know).

The problem is that every time I restart and/or log in, the resolution resets to the best the monitor supports, 1920x1080. I've tried setting this in the settings ( unity-control-center, Applications -> System Tools -> System Settings ) as well as in the NVIDIA X Server Settings ( nvidia-settings, Applications -> System Tools -> Administration -> NVIDIA X Server Settings ), thus writing it to /etc/X11/Xorg.conf, but neither worked.

I saw a piece of advice that advised me to copy my ~/.config/monitors.xml (which had the correct resolution) to /var/lib/lightdm/.config/; this fixed the resolution on the login screen (which is the lightdm greeter). But the other advice in that thread, which involved explicitly running xrandr to fix the resolution, struck me as just papering over the problem. (It didn't work straight away, either; the /usr/share/ script worked great when I ran it but I had to add it as a Startup Application ( Applications -> System Tools -> Preferences -> Startup Applications ) to get it to fix my session. I abandoned this in favor of the fix I describe below.)

The problem manifested in the Xorg log ( /var/log/Xorg.0.log ) as the following line appearing:

(II) NVIDIA(0): Setting mode "HDMI-0: nvidia-auto-select @1920x1080 +0+0 {ViewPortIn=1920x1080, ViewPortOut=1920x1080+0+0}"

I didn't want this, and I couldn't tell where it was coming from.

Eventually, after blundering around in dconf-editor for an hour (dconf-editor comes from the dconf-tools package which isn't installed by default), I found the answer: There is a setting org.gnome.gnome-flashback.display-config which defaults to true. "If set to true, then GNOME Flashback application will be used to provide the display configuration."

Now I have no idea where GNOME Flashback is supposed to get the display configuration from, but it evidently isn't the same place as where unity/gnome-control-center does. I don't know where that is anyway; there's a lovely little thing called org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.xrandr which seems like it is involved in the initial resolution setup, as toggling the active flag off then on will set the resolution, but the default-configuration-file points at a nonexistant path. I'm assuming that this plugin gets run before GNOME Flashback gets its chance, And then GNOME Flashback reads no particular setting and thus defaults to auto-selecting the mode.

So by setting org.gnome.gnome-flashback.display-config to false I prevent things getting screwed up on login, much better than papering over the problem. Why this is set by default when there is no apparent way to actually configure flashback's display config is a mystery to me.

Glad that's over. I should probably post this on the Ubuntu forums somewhere, but I just wanted to get it online at all, so here it is.


Hm, here's a possible clue: I was looking into why the sound indicator applet's "Sound Settings..." doesn't work, looking at the log (which is in ~/.cache/upstart/indicator-sound.log) it turns out that it is trying to run gnome-control-center:

indicator-sound-WARNING **: service.vala:231: unable to launch sound settings: Failed to execute child process "gnome-control-center" (No such file or directory)

instead of the unity-control-center which is actually installed. This is a little odd as indicator-sound doesn't require *-control-center, it recommends either unity-control-center or gnome-control-center, but clearly it doesn't know to look for unity-control-center.

This makes me wonder if gnome-flashback is actually looking to be configured by gnome-control-center, and thus why it has the trouble it does with the display configuration. gnome-flashback in general is I guess not very well supported.

edited 4:54 AM EST January 3, 2016

Anyway I fixed it with "sudo ln -s /usr/bin/unity-control-center /usr/bin/gnome-control-center". I wonder what terrors await.

edited 4:56 AM EST January 3, 2016
by TabuuAkugun at 11:55 PM EST on January 8, 2016
Been hard at work developing a Smash fan game in Unity 5. A lot of TMR, TSoR and even music from here has come in handy. :) It's not playable yet, but I've got a working title screen and save file creation system.
by TOURIGNY6x at 2:54 AM EST on January 10, 2016
Hi, i'm new to this forum.
by Can of Nothing at 9:36 PM EST on January 12, 2016
This is really half post and half question, but I felt it was better than making a whole topic for this:

As of late I've been getting back into Namco's franchises (especially their older arcade games), and what struck out to me was just how good the Namco WSG sounds. I'm surprised that so few people have set out to emulate its sound, although part of it might have to do with the difficulty of doing so.

I've been using Chipsounds' Wave channel (sourced from the DMG) and using the Audacity N163/FDS plugin myself, but a big problem is finding rips to work with. Mostly I've been using songs that either have a section where only one note plays, or has a conversion to vgm format (Namco WSG games are not compatible, alas) that sounds reasonably accurate (ie: Namco Classic Collection and PC-Engine games), but I've recently read that Hoot can play Namco WSG games. I've been trying to get it working, as a result, but I just can't quite figure out how to open files in it. Any help would be very much appreciated.
by Dais! at 6:56 AM EST on January 13, 2016
Hoot can be rather tricky. Have you used it before? Where did you get your copy and associated files? I usually suggest MIJET's curated Hoot bundle to people who haven't used the program before, but it's set up somewhat differently from how the program normally is.

On the specific matter of loading files, you generally need to make sure that the necessary sound data is in the appropriate folder. In this case, you'd probably want the MAME-compatible ROMS for the games (or just their relevant sound data) still in zip format, and they should go in a folder called "roms". After that, you should run the program and hit Ctrl-R to have Hoot scan for new files. After that, it should appear as something you can select in the bottom listing, using the up/down keys and Enter.

Actually, it looks like that curated version of Hoot is compatible with the CUS15 sets available at the JoshW Hoot archive if you stick them in the "Data - Other" folder. CUS30 sets don't seem to be working, though. And you'll have to exit and re-enter set playlists to reset the tempo, it seems. That, or Hoot is just acting particularly weird, which it is very good at doing in any configuration. Whatever the case, you'll want a more conventional installation to hear other stuff.
by Can of Nothing at 6:26 PM EST on January 14, 2016
Thank you so much for the help! The curated version's working, as you said (doesn't seem to work with Pac-Man or Pac-Land, but I have ways around both). I don't think I would've found out about that unless you hadn't told me, ahaha.

I'd been using a convoluted mash between this version's executables, and the xmls on the JoshW archive - I guess it's no wonder why it didn't quite work. Since my primary reason for using Hoot is for isolating individual channels of Namco songs, this version you've showed should more than do, though!
by einstein95 at 2:30 PM EST on January 22, 2016
Shameless plug here for my hoot_xml repo.

Using the latest version of the executable. It's a combination of the official XMLs, WIP XMLs from kurohane, the JoshW XMLs (with fixes) and various other XML entries from 2chan, the Hoot arcade wiki and a Japanese BBS.

edited 2:34 PM EST January 22, 2016
by hcs at 4:01 AM EST on January 23, 2016
@Can of Nothing:
I'd prefer if you start a thread, in general.
Threads are cheap!


Myself, I've been plugging away at finishing TIS-100. I first played it back in July when it came out, but I left a few puzzles at the end unsolved. Finally finished the last of the main series today, the sorting puzzle, after banging on it for a few days as it was really tricky for me to fit into the level. There's a whole 'nother set of contributed puzzles from the community, but I don't know if I'm going to dig into them again...


...mostly because The Witness is coming out in a few days (Jan 26)! Been looking forward to this since 2010, it's pretty much my religion at this point. I'm expecting it to not just have clever puzzles, but puzzles with a point to teach.


I also worked through Human Resource Machine recently. It's another assembly game, sort of like TIS-100 but with a more standard, single-thread architecture and a lot more user-friendliness (it's entirely mouse-driven, by the World of Goo guys and it has a similar drag'n'drop feel). It is similar to World of Goo with optional optimization goals, I felt compelled to get those and finally did a little while ago. (in Spacechem/Infinifactory/TIS-100 there's a histogram to give some background to how you're doing, but no particular performance goal, besides getting the solution to fit in the level, which can be pretty hard)

I didn't really find HRM particularly interesting, for some reason. Maybe someone never exposed to these ideas before would find it interesting, it does seem to go quite out of the way to be friendly. I'd like to see how non-programmers play it. Anyway I felt like I had to beat it and understand it, given that I'm always thinking about programming games, but I think it may have revealed to me that an "intro to programming" game isn't really what I'm after.


Another game I played recently and enjoyed a lot is Toki Tori 2+. I felt like it contained incredibly clever puzzles and did a brilliant job helping you to figure them out without saying anything. The minimalism of the controls explodes into a huge variety of possibilities.

My favorite thing about TT2+ is that you're only limited by what you (as a player) know how to do. You gain power by learning ways to manipulate various combinations of enemies and environment. The game gives you a power not by something you collect, but with a puzzle where some new combination of mechanics is the obvious (more or less) solution. Then you learn it and it is a part of you, the player.

Part of the magic of it for me was that I hadn't read anything about it before I played it (I ran across it in this Game Maker's Toolkit video and grabbed it on the strength of the recommendation), so a lot of the specific UI touches caught me by pleasant surprise, such as tweeting songs. There is almost no text in game, yet a lot of things are very successfully communicated nonverbally. I have to admit, though, that I had the main goal of the game backwards: I thought I was working to somehow repair the crystal, not destroy it, so the end sequence caught me by surprise!


Anyway, yay for video games. Here's me on Steam.


I've also been reading through The Digital Antiquarian in Ebook form, a blog dealing in the history of interactive fiction (considered pretty broadly). This isn't a genre I've ever cared much for playing, but Jimmy Maher is a good writer and it is a pretty interesting story to follow.

Other recent reads I've been bouncing between:
Leibniz: An Intellectual Biography
I'm not sure how I got to Leibniz but I feel like I ought to know more, in part because of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, maybe also because of Kurt Gödel's interest in him. Speaking of whom:

Incompleteness: the proof and paradox of Kurt Gödel
I don't know nearly enough about the man, and I understand this is a well-written biography, but I haven't gotten past the introduction yet (which got me distracted with Einstein).

Two Jack Copeland histories I'm trying to get into:
Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine
I've read a few things (mostly the misleadingly-titled Turing's Cathedral) around the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study computer, von Neumann's dream machine, but I'm interested in what kind of computer Turing wanted to build once he got the chance.

Colossus: The Secrets of Bletchley Park's Code-Breaking Computers
There's quite a lot in here about code-breaking which isn't keeping my interest, unfortunately.

Working Effectively with Legacy Code
I'm thinking of this as something to mine for game design, it involves a lot of treatment of specific issues that come up in understanding and refactoring legacy code. My first real job involved a fairly large module I was given ownership of, which I struggled to get my head around and debug, so I'm also hoping to get some useful techniques. So far he can't say enough how unit tests are what separate maintainable code from unmaintainable.

Against a Dark Background
Sci fi set against a planet with a long, long history of lost technology and knowledge. I've enjoyed Iain M. Banks' "Culture" books and The Algebraist, though this one isn't really grabbing me irresistibly yet.

Some stuff from The Teachable Agents Group
This is kind of in line with an idea I'd had where a player tries to teach an AI how to do things. This could be a different approach to a programming game, and also touches on "learning by teaching".

edited 4:04 AM EST January 23, 2016

edited 5:46 AM EST January 23, 2016
by Nisto at 4:49 AM EST on January 23, 2016
hcs, do you follow Security Now by any chance? You seem to dig similar types of games/books as Steve Gibson. A recently discussed game on the podcast was Auralux. Ever tried it?
by hcs at 5:46 AM EST on January 23, 2016
Never heard of the podcast or Auralux, I'll check them out. RTS isn't really my thing, but I dig "abstract, essentialized, and simplified".

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