Final Fantasy XI

Playing around with zig to calculate time in a game world, and playing with tapes.

So I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XI. The MMORPG one. No, the other one. Surprisingly, it not only works well on Wine, installed by Guix, on Debian. It also works while using Nouveau as my graphics driver. That I didn’t expect!

It’s odd playing an MMORPG years (if not a decade) after it started shuffling towards the grade, but the world is charming, and the systems updated to support the smaller playerbase.

Time in Vana’diel

The world in the game operates on its own calendar and clock, and time passes at a speed that differs to our own. This isn’t just a way to justify a character asking you to return ‘tomorrow’ without actually having you wait 24 hours - even shops within the game have opening and closing hours that observe it.

This adds more atmosphere than I thought it would. Particularly working through the Treasures of Aht Urhgan expansion, where NPC’s regularly tell you to come back tomorrow.

I scrawled a small application to print the current time in Vana’diel, and called it vana’date. The code is up on Although I really did scrawl it out, and I suspect the seconds calculation is wrong (it doesn’t print seconds anyway). vanadate git.


So Final Fantasy XI is around 20 years old now, and all the content it has, and will have, is out. Because of that, new players like myself aren’t going to experience the game in the same order players 20 years ago may have. Expansion content can be approached in parallel, and the ‘Rhapsodies of Vana’diel’ storyline is one large overarching storyline that pulls everything together.

So while playing through the game, I’ve been enjoying the music. One rather pointless hobby I have is playing around with cassette tapes, The pieces I enjoy (which is most of them) are arranged into a playlist in an order that relates to the narrative of the game as I’ve experienced it, with some repeats to make it a cohesive record. A sort of personalised audiolog of my adventure.

That record is then split into 40-minute chunks and recorded onto Type-I C80 cassettes with Dobly S. Why not? It’s just a bit of fun, and I expect I’m more likely to have these cassettes in 20 years than I am a couple of XSPF files pointing at an NFS filesystem that may or may not have the same directory structure (let alone the flac files themselves).