Trackmania II - Trackmania Nightmares

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2024-07-05 05:00:04

We began this project near the end of September of 2023, and started seriously training near the end of February. Perhaps two weeks of that time were spent writing machine learning code, and the remaining months were spent playing whack-a-mole with one stupid technical issue after the next, trying again and again to just install the game, or a dependency, or a library, or an operating system, or sshing. If you’re only interested in the overview or the theory, skip to the reflection section or feel free to skip to the next post: you won’t be missing much. But if you found this page because you’re trying to fix a technical issue with Trackmania on Linux yourself, read on, because we might have encountered the same problem ourselves.

Step one of every project is to get your hardware lined up. If you’re a fancy-schmancy researcher with a lab or a startup with a budget, that probably means writing configuration at scale, worrying about networking, figuring out how to get your Kubernetes pods to ingest via Istio and whatever other forms of black magic are required. For us, it meant booting up old reliable Sotano, a computer so named because it had lived in Felipe’s parents’ basement for half a decade. It was the computer that had carried us through HATETRIS, which we had lovingly upgraded with a brand new GPU when we thought we’d need such things, and which had been a pretty reliable workhorse.

Step zero was, of course, to get a few hundred gigabytes of old HATETRIS runs off the machine and onto an external hard drive; a task that took all of 20 minutes of effort. Then, realizing the python installation was broken and we were on an ancient version of Linux, we decided maybe it was time for a reformat and OS upgrade. Hardly a challenge. Flash a USB drive, restart the computer, enter boot mode, install the OS. Forty minutes later, the Ubuntu 22.02 Server Edition was installed. Reboot, get ready to set some settings…

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