## [Fixed] FTL – Blank Maps & Invisible Ships Problem

Update: fixed! The recently-released FTL by Subset Games has a problem with the 12.8 AMD Catalyst Drivers, whereby the jump map and enemy ships are not rendered See below) due to an issue with edge detection in anti-aliasing. The fix is to create a custom profile for FTLGame.exe in the Catalyst Control Center to over-ride the settings (support thread with instructions, and setting).

Example:

Update: Now with video!

(yes the overlaps the menu, but there’s not much interesting there anyway!)

## Nostalgia is Playing Wipeout 2097 Again

Let me paint a picture for you. It’s 1996. Clinton is in power in the US and can do no wrong, while on this side of the pond John Major’s grip on power is weakening. One bright grey afternoon at my sister and brother-in-law’s flat my sister pointed out a new device on the floor of their living room. “Do you see what we’ve got?”. Not being familiar with the device in question, I asked “A Nintendo 64?”. The reply came smugly: “No… a PlayStation.”. Ace! I’d heard of that! It was supposed to be really cool. “Can I see?”.

So in due course Wipeout 2097 was loaded (I should say wipE’out” 2097, or Wipeout XL for our American friends) and I gazed in awe at the marvellous 3d graphics and smooth gameplay. Soon enough I was playing it myself, even more in awe of the power of this new machine.

So I took a trip down memory lane today and relived my first PSX moment. Despite being very rusty I breezed through the first four levels, but on the final two my lack of practice started to show:

It’s still a really good game, in my opinion. And while the music wouldn’t be my first choice for a lazy Sunday afternoon, it definitely complements the game.

## Plain Sight Dedicated Server Crash Fix

Plain Sight was on sale for the staggeringly low Â£1.60 / Â£1.20, so I decided to get a copy. It is a very fun, fast-paced game, with lots of great moments – where you pull off an attack a split second before an opponent does the same, or when you detonate just as three people come gunning for you. However, it is not without issues. I am writing this post as I wait for the master server to let me log in and play, and matches will occasionally crash half of the people on the server to the desktop with what looks like an array out-of-bounds exception.

Frustratingly, the dedicated server software itself has problems. One problem occurs even before running – where do you get it from? It is not well-signposted on any of Beatnik Games’ websites. As it stands, you have to go to the members’ area of plainsightgame.com (http://accounts.plainsightgame.com/), where you can download both the server and the client.

(The TLDR version: If you have Steam, use the dedicated server included with that. Strip out whitespace and comments (//) from the example dediconfig.txt on the wiki. If you don’t have Steam or don’t want to faff about, use this zip.)

Now, it is good practice to have an example / default config file available for those that want to just run the server… which the dedicated server zip doesn’t have. So if you run it, it complains about not being able to find the config file and then crashes. Right, no problem, just copy from the wiki page on setting up a dedicated server and paste into the new file dediconfig.txt. Ah, hang on, that crashes the server on launch with a System.FormatException.

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Problem signature: Problem Event Name: CLR20r3 Problem Signature 01: plainsightserver.exe Problem Signature 02: 1.0.0.0 Problem Signature 03: 4bc74e1c Problem Signature 04: mscorlib Problem Signature 05: 2.0.0.0 Problem Signature 06: 4a275af7 Problem Signature 07: c43 Problem Signature 08: 59 Problem Signature 09: System.FormatException OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.1 Locale ID: 2057 

Stripping out the whitespace and comments lets the server run. I would be more specific, but I can’t actually tell what is causing the problem. It disappeared when I got down to two / one comments, and reappeared when I added another. My debugging skills couldn’t detect any commonality though. Anyway, it runs… briefly. Checking the log file (plainsight.log) shows that it is exiting due to not having the “Updater” directory present. eg:

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0 Connecting to master server(s)... 0 New master server connection status: AwaitingChallenge 633 New master server connection status: VersionCheckFailed 633 New master server connection status: NotConnected 633 New master server connection status: AwaitingChallenge 650 Error Updating: System.IO.DirectoryNotFoundException: Could not find a part of the path 'D:Gamesplainsightdedicated4UpdatercwRsynccwRsync.cmd'. at System.IO.__Error.WinIOError(Int32 errorCode, String maybeFullPath) at System.IO.FileStream.Init(String path, FileMode mode, FileAccess access, Int32 rights, Boolean useRights, FileShare share, Int32 bufferSize, FileOptions options, SECURITY_ATTRIBUTES secAttrs, String msgPath, Boolean bFromProxy) at System.IO.FileStream..ctor(String path, FileMode mode, FileAccess access, FileShare share, Int32 bufferSize, FileOptions options, String msgPath, Boolean bFromProxy) at System.IO.FileStream..ctor(String path, FileMode mode) at PlainSightServer.Program.LaunchUpdater() 650 New master server connection status: NotConnected 650 New master server connection status: AwaitingChallenge 

Now, you can get this from the directory in your Steam directory that contains the dedicated server (!), or from this zip file: Updater.zip. Now, if you want to continue down this path that’s grand, but for me it *royally* screwed up permissions on that folder, to where I couldn’t even run the server executable file! It is possibly due to the rsync updater running as System / nobody, but even still I feel it’s a bit harsh! Of course, it might just be a Windows 7 thing. Despite that, even when I (think) I had sorted out the permissions, the game was still crashing with an error in KERNELBASE.dll (see below). Eeep. So, what I did at this stage was to make a copy of the Steam version of the dedicated server, copy over my dediconfig.txt file and run that. Then it ran.

For those of you who don’t have Steam, I have created a zip containing the dedicated server with a working dediconfig.txt file: DedicatedServer.zip

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Problem signature: Problem Event Name: APPCRASH Application Name: PlainSightServer.exe Application Version: 1.2.0.0 Application Timestamp: 4c6e7ef9 Fault Module Name: KERNELBASE.dll Fault Module Version: 6.1.7600.16385 Fault Module Timestamp: 4a5bdbdf Exception Code: e0434f4d Exception Offset: 0000b727 OS Version: 6.1.7600.2.0.0.256.1 Locale ID: 2057 

## Playing The Steam Version of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis

As someone who still has the original floppies for Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis (or IJatFoA, it’s easier that way), I thought I’d give the Steam version a whirl. I picked it up (along with The Last Crusade) probably when it was on sale as part of a bundle.

My initial thoughts are: “what have they done to the music?”, “since when did the characters have voices?” and “this is a lot simpler than what I remember playing as a 7 year old”.
Continue reading “Playing The Steam Version of Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis”

## Little Rocket Man / Get Some Grub

If, like me, you are looking to round off your Half Life 2 Episode 2 achievements, you’ll want to have a look at the following two guides:

Get Some Grub

Not tricky, just time consuming. Have a look at Nibbles’ guide on GameFAQs (link), which painstakingly walks you through all 333 of the grubs. My advice is to save regularly on different slots, and if the number you have doesn’t match what the guide says you should have, reload. It just saves on headaches further down the road. Should only take you about 3 hours, and that’s if you’re carriny the gnome with you…

…which brings me nicely to:

Little Rocket Man

This one is time consuming as well, but not particularly difficult. Just set him down when fighting and carry him with you the whole way. The tricky parts are the car segments, as the gnome tends to slide out. I would recommend wedging him in the back window; this way he doesn’t slide out while you are driving (unless you hit something, which releases the ‘wedge’. Or you can put him under the steering column and drive slowly.

This is all fine, until you get to the bit with the gunship. Oh, the gunship. It will fire at you and knock the gnome out your hands, hurt you plenty (even on easy), and if it could sspeak I’m pretty sure it would taunt you all the while. What I ended up doing was driving for say 300 metres, getting out, picking up the gnome, carrying him from behind cover (eg under trains), wedging him in, driving for another short bit, leaping out and getting him again, and so forth. The key is cover.

Have a look at Tommy Gun’s guide at Cracked Rabbit Gaming. It gives more useful info, like where you can safely leave the gnome for certain segments.

## HOWTO: Highlighting Kill Weapons In Battlefield 2142

I’ve been playing a little Battlefield 2142 recently. Because I notice little things, I missed the weapon highlighting that I was used to in Battlefield 2. In trying to rectify this, I found that it’s actually quite tricky to find out how to do this. Most searches include posts about the BF2 version, with 2142 in the text as they by happenstance have a 2142 forum whether the HOWTO was posted.

So! Here’s what to edit and what to change.

1. Go to the 2142 install directory, then navigate to the mods folder, then bf2142, then finally the Localization folder.
eg for me it is D:\Games\2142\mods\bf2142\Localization – just substitute C:\Program Files\ or whereever.
2. IMPORTANT: Back up the file “strings.csv” in this directory. Copy it somewhere safe. Actually do this step – not having backups SUCKS. Trust me, I know.
3. The highlighting code is |C1001. So, open strings.csv in Excel or OO.o Calc or notepad and search for the line: HUD_HUD_KILLEDBY_KILLS. The first entry is the English version. Change it from
Â§0#PLAYERNAME1# [Â§1#WEAPON#Â§0] #PLAYERNAME2#
to
Â§0#PLAYERNAME1# [|C1001#WEAPON#|C1001] #PLAYERNAME2#
4. Save and close
5. (optional: if things didn’t work, restore the backup and try again… you did back up, right?)

Similarly, if you want to know what someone was killed with for teamkills (I do), go to the HUD_HUD_KILLEDBY_TEAMKILLS line, and change
Â§0#PLAYERNAME1# [Â§1TeamkillsÂ§0] #PLAYERNAME2#
to
Â§0#PLAYERNAME1# [|C1001Teamkills - #WEAPON#|C1001] #PLAYERNAME2#.

I haven’t tested it yet, but I think that other colours and size modifiers should work. Try codes used from BF2, replacing the hash (#) with a vertical pipe (|). Let me know if it works.

## Team Fortress 2 Pyro Update

To go along with the Medic update released a while back, Valve are now releasing the Pyro version. Not only is the release time shockingly soon after the medic update, they seem to have learned from that, and changed a few things.

Firstly though, the other stuff. This update also includes 2 new maps, cp_fastlane and ctf_turbine. I haven’t played fastlane but have played turbine – it is a good compact map which should provide quite a competitive experience. Although you could play both these maps previously, now they are officially released, now you will at least be able to find servers running them!

Also, the pyro is getting a treat to the vanilla flamethrower. The alt-fire will now “blow back” shit. People and projectiles namely. This could prove really interesting and I can’t wait to see how it will work. Blowing people off ledges, blowing crazy melee pyros away or a soldier while you make your escape, it should improve the survivability of the pyro greesatly.

The unlocks – first there is the flare gun to replace the shotgun, which basically launches a ball of fire to set stuff alight. Looks quite cool, and a nice contrast to the high damage close range shotgun, some long range, relatively low damage fire. Next there is the backburner, which is basically like a normal flamethrower, but with 100% crit chance on the back of enemies, and 50+ health. I am assuming the “blow back” stuff is going to be really awesome…otherwise there is a no brainer between this and the regular flamethrower. Lastly is the axetinguisher, a lovely axe that provides 100% crits on burning enemies, but is weaker against none on-fire enemies. These look like some nice unlocks that shouldn’t skew the balance too much…

Achievements – not going to list them, jsut comment. To me they look, in general, easier to get than the medic ones, as well as not being so ridiculous (3 uber scout kills anyone?). However, they will probably take longer. This suits me fine, just means I will have more to come back to over the next few weeks/months!

Another important point to note is that out of the 35 achievements, you don’t need all 35 to unlock everything, you need 15,20 then 25 for the 3 unlocks. This means you don’t have to do the really long or silly ones if you can’t/don’t want to but you still get to play with the new toys!

Overall, this looks like a really good update, and I can’t wait to get into all the pyro madness!

Oh, also, free weekend this weekend, so get anyone you know not already playing, playing, and also Meet the Sniper video has been released…and it may well be the best so far.

## Spore Creature Creator

Long time no blog, but bored now. The Spore Creature Creator Demo has been released to the wild. It is a trial which contains 25% of the goodness in the full creature creator which you will be able to purchase for \$10. Seems like a bitchingly good way to make money to me, a lot of people will purchase this now and then the full game later in the year when it is finally released. I was a bit skeptical about buying it, it is just the creator after all, but after playing with it for a bit I am quite tempted!

It is great fun just starting randomly playing the spine, getting a weird shape then finding the best places for arms, legs, eyes, mouths and weapons. Then you can colour it in in loads of ways to suit it’s character. Then you can easily share your creation with others as the preview thumbnail png actually contains the info for the creature, so all you need is the png and you can play with the creature at your will!

Here are my creations so far:

None of them are particularly creative, it is just me mucking around at the moment. Searching the Internet you will find thousands of creations, some brilliant, some shit, and some childishly rude (refrained myself so far…). Give it a go and see what you can come up with.

## Bf2s Returns!

After what seems like forever being down, the premium Battlefield 2 stats site is back up! I am quite excited, as it now means i can track every bullet fired and make sure I put all my effort into getting a little digital badge to say I have spent a long time playing a game!

See the HoG Leaderboard here, or go to the main bf2s page.

## Crysis Sequel Update

It has always been hinted that Crysis is the first in a three part story, and after finsihing it I can say this seems very likely. Plus, Cevat Yerli hinted at this a few days ago in an IRC chat with the Incrysis community (the full chat can be seen here). Now it seems there is another hint of a little bit of news on the whole thing. Steven Bender who is head of the Animation team at Crytek, said at a recent event in Berlin that the second part will not only continue the story of the aliens and Koreans, but also improve on the graphics (somehow…). He specifically mentioned improvements to animations and facial textures. Their goal is to get the game feeling so realistic it’s like you are in a film. He also hinted that Crytek were working on another project, a rumour also fueled when they opened up another Studio a few months ago (source: google it you lazy people).

Well, You can’t fault them, it’s not two weeks out the door and they are already seeing ways to improve the graphics. Here’s hoping we get some more information soon and that we don’t have to wait 3 years for this second part to be released!