TF2 Connection Problems Persist

Team Fortress 2 has recently gone free to play, which I am guessing has resulted in a big spike in players (it is currently the most played game on Steam, with a peak of nearly 100 000 players today – no doubt it was busier at the weekend). As a result, my old post on fixing the “lost connection to server” issue has been very popular in the last few days.

I find it surprising this problem has persisted for over three years without apparent resolution. The fix that worked for me on my old BeBox was to forward to following ports to my PC:

TCP 27030 – 27039
UDP 1200
UDP 27000 – 27015

If this doesn’t fix the problem, there may be complicating factors. I’ve seen suggestions that the TCP timeout on a router may be set too low. I have a feeling that this may be what is causing connection problems a friend of mine is having, but since it does not affect me I haven’t investigated further. Wireshark would probably be useful if you wanted to probe further.

You can also take a look at my old post if you want more information.

Solo Runs In Alien Swarm (Optionally With Bots)

Alien Swarm is still a fun game, and after a quick session this evening I felt like giving a solo run a try. Problem is, if you go to “Play online” and try to start by yourself the game complains that “This mission requires at least two players playing”. Fortunately, the developers were kind enough to include an option to ignore this requirement. Open up the console (first you need to enable it under Options -> Keyboard/mouse), and enter:
asw_ignore_need_two_player_requirement 1

You may also want to enter the following to prevent people joining.

make_game_friends_only

For the optional bots part, you can add bots by using the following:
cl_selectm [character] [slot]

Quoting from wiki4games:

[character] is the character as a number from 0 to 7:
0: Sarge
1: Wildcat
2: Faith
3: Crash
4: Jaeger
5: Wolfe
6: Bastille
7: Vegas
[slot] is the slot number (from 0 to 3, or -1 to automatically pick the first available lot)
To remove a bot, use cl_dselectm [character] where [character] is a number from 0 to 7 as above.

Little Rocket Man / Get Some Grub

A6BQXSMBXD9S [for Technorati, please ignore]

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.

Left 4 Dead 2

So it’s official, Valve have announced Left 4 Dead 2;. I’m excited.  I won’t be participating in any boycott, as I’ve gotten a lot of value from the current iteration (as you can see).

Honestly, this sense of entitlement is mind-boggling. I understand that some are frustrated that it took so long for Dead Air and Death Toll to be released as versus campaigns, and we still don’t have proper community campaigns, but the rest of the product is very polished.

Actually, I can kind of see their point, especially as US players will probably have paid $50 retail for it (I paid… £27, I think). Australian users probably paid even more, but that’s par for the course (though no less irritating). However, Valve have given me a lot of value from their games, most notably Team Fortress 2. The amount of content they release for that is staggering. For free. And they are still going*. If it wasn’t for things like that, I would probably give up Steam. As it stands, the excellent value they provide just slightly outweighs my moral objections.

So, roll on November!

* They are probably releasing still releasing content for TF2 because they enjoy it so much.

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.

TF2 – ‘Lost connection to server’ Solved

Even though I have exams coming up, I still manage to squeeze in the odd round or ten of Team Fortress 2. I blame Valve for releasing the medic achievements recently.

(7 to go! One of them is ‘Family Practice’, so I need some more Steam friends to deploy an ubercharge on, hint hint. Also, for all the spies out there: FYI I am a medic – please call for me sometime eh?)

Anyway, I had been playing for a while, but had developed a problem connecting to servers. The problem was that most of the time I would get into the game, take a few steps, then it would freeze. A second later I would get the red “Connection to server lost. Disconnect in 29…28… seconds”. Sometimes I would only get to “retrieving server info” or “sending client data”, and sometimes I could play for as long as 30 or more seconds before I got ghostbusted (yes, netrek jargon). I’m sure I even got a kill after being disconnected.

Trying to rejoin would give me a “This Steam ID is in use on the server”, while my friends saw many “BertieB(1) has connected”. And I saw a lot of “Disconnected from server. Reason:” … connection to server lost… this steam ID is already in use…

This is not unique problem. Fortunately the fix is fairly straightforward.

You need to open some ports on your router:

TCP 27030 – 27039
UDP 1200
UDP 27000 – 27015

For people with a BeBox (a Speedtouh 780 WL I think, so it should work for similar Speedtouches, like those with BT internet) you can simply log into the router (at http://192.168.1.254), go to Toolbox -> Game & Application Sharing -> Assign a game or application to a local network device -> Half-life 2. Easy!

This may not solve the problem for everyone, but it did for me and others. Good luck!

Update: Thanks to Jeroen, who pointed out the typo that has been there for about 3 years.

Long awaited return post!

I have been away for a wee while down in the London trying to get some work experience and generally not doing any work at all. I returned a few weeks ago, but have been busy wasting time so haven’t gotten round to posting here. It seems the quality of posting dropped dramatically in my abscence so I am here to restore some order. I thought that I would start by going on a bit of a spiel about all the games coming out before the end of the year and tell you why they look promising. I have an awesome plan for another post, but I need to pace myself. So, get ready for a (not so) quick rundown of (in my opinion) the games to look out for this year.

Continue reading “Long awaited return post!”

Half Life 2: Aftermath = Half life 2: Episode One

 Thats right, valve have finally delivered on thier promise to make new episodic content!

Valve Software has revealed to GameSpot that Aftermath, the upcoming expansion pack to the award-winning 2004 shooter Half-Life 2, has been renamed “Half-Life 2: Episode One.” When asked whether the name change is indicative of a change in direction for the Half-Life 2 franchise, Valve marketing director Doug Lombardi replied, “episodic.” When asked the follow-up question of whether the new name meant that beginning of a regular flow of content, Lombardi replied, “yes.”

This is all well and good, as long as they are a reasonable price…and come fairly regularly and on time. Only time will tell if this is good or not.

Steam Friends Beta

Friends on steam used to work…sort of. It would let you find your friends and then join whatever server they were on…sort of. It was plagued by problems, mostly reliability issues, one day it worked and the next day it didn’t. Now Valve have released the first update to it for a long time, and it will hopefully be the start of better things to come for it. Head over to HERE for info on how to use it, and feel free to add me! (username ksyme99)