Andrew Steinborn

Catching up on things

  • 4 min to read

It's been a long time coming, but I have bitten the bullet. My blog, once a fairly stodgy thing I hadn't updated in over 2 years has received a total redesign with a focus on extremely fast load times. My goal is function over form and I think I have delivered that. Of course, I did make some concessions to keep the format largely sane. But while my blog sat empty, many things have changed in my life.

The new blog #

My previous site was built on Hugo. Now I wave goodbye to Hugo and say hello to Eleventy. Eleventy is just as fast and much more flexible for my needs. I found Hugo to be somewhat limiting even as some of its features like image resizing were rather nice.

How the coronavirus pandemic has affected me #

I've been touched by the pandemic myself, even having a scare back in October. I have managed to avoid catching the virus, however I have family that have managed to catch the virus. Thankfully, they are fine and we haven't had to attend any funerals. Yet.

The ongoing (as of this writing, of course) coronavirus pandemic has aroused a new sense out of myself. It has led me to some truly unique opportunities but it has shown my limitations and some of the past choices I've made were not optimal. I'm working to correct that this year.

A summary of my 2020 #

I didn't stop working during 2020, of course - I made sure to keep myself busy with projects.

Block By Blockwest #

I had the opportunity to participate in the Block by Blockwest event that was originally going to occur on April 25th, 2020, but was postponed to May 16th, 2020. This was largely because of higher than anticipated demand. In the span of 3 weeks, a new team (including me) managed to get Block by Blockwest up and running on a more scalable setup and the event finally succeded in holding a maximum of approximately 1,700 concurrent players. Perhaps my most important contribution would be the rapid deployment of the Velocity Minecraft proxy at scale.

Velocity #

For this, you could consider the announcements on the Velocity forum to be my de facto blog for all of 2020, but 2020 saw the release of the Velocity 1.1.x series, which included a slew of new features and a sustained effort at optimizing the proxy as much as possible. The optimization work paid off handsomely, since larger Minecraft networks including LemonCloud, The Archon, and several others switched to Velocity. In particular, networks that have switched to Velocity from BungeeCord derivatives have reported that CPU utilization often goes down drastically.

Fabric #

I also started dabbling in Fabric modding! My first ever Fabric mod was CrossStitch but I also developed and released Krypton and LazyDFU which have seen some popularity. It's only a matter of time to see how much Minecraft will continue to capture my interest given recent developments.

Where I am now #

Of course, that was last year. Now it is 2021. We've already seen quite a bit happen, especially with America seemingly filrting with yet another far-right authoritarian disaster thanks to the Capitol insurrection, egged on by the now-former president of the United States himself! How fun.

Branch #

The most exciting news I have to share this year is that since February I am now employed by Branch. Of course, this was somewhat assisted by the fact Dayton has worked with me before on another project of his, Statscraft (later purchased by Tebex). I am mostly taking this opportunity to begin shifting away from Minecraft into other interests.

Branch is in an industry that could have never been viable without the COVID-19 pandemic: virtual, spatially-oriented offices. Work-from-home is destined to outlast the COVID-19 pandemic and I'm proud to be a part of that trend. As a company founded by gamers trying to stake a middle grouhd between Minecraft but for enterprise and Zoom but not boring, Branch is quite unique. I am looking forward to working with Branch!

Slowing down my Minecraft involvement #

I'm still committed to most of my Minecraft projects but I'm winding down my involvement on some of them.

The following projects will continue:

College #

I have been ambivalent about college since late 2019. That ambivalence has now snowballed into an active distaste for it. The reason is simple: I haven't been intellectually stimulated enough by my classes.

Therefore I have decided to put college on hold for the coming year, working on Branch and some personal projects. The first few days of not having class have been extremely liberating to me. I've been able to focus on things that really stimulate me - see for instance my recent work on writing VarInts very quickly. It's been exciting to be liberated from college work. I want to keep this up and have a good balance of work and leisure for once.

As for the blog... #

This blog will get periodic updates. I can not and will not promise when things will get posted, though I have provided an RSS feed in case you want to subscribe. I promise to write about interesting things.

I also decided to change up the hosting situation. My previous blog was hosted with Cloudflare Workers Sites. Workers is a great product, but I did not wind up using its full functionality. I decided to use another recently-introduced Cloudflare solution, Cloudflare Pages. With the fast build times of Eleventy, I think it's a good match!

How fast can you write a VarInt? 🡺🡸 Tuning Minecraft for OpenJ9