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Wednesday, May 23 2018 @ 03:09 AM -08

Microsoft has another DUH moment

How do these idiots get such high-paying jobs? You may recall that The XBox One currently includes the Kinect motion sensor. This adds $100 to the price of the console, despite the rather obvious fact that many people have no interest in flapping their arms at their game console in futile attempts to make it do something useful.

Now comes word that Microsoft will soon ship a version of the XBox One without the Kinect. According to Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's XBox division, "We've also heard from people they just like to play games with a controller in their hands." Well, DUH.

In another stunning insight, Microsoft has also realized that forcing people to pay for a Gold XBox Live subscription just to watch videos was a bad idea, and they'll soon be dropping that requirement.

EA Games must enjoy being despised

In a move that should surprise nobody but infuriate many, EA Games has announced that they will shut down server browser support for several games in the coming months, including Battlefield 1942 and Battlefield 2.

You may already have noticed that Gamespy - the company that provides the service underlying server support for these games - has been gradually winding down in recent months. Apparently Gamespy services will cease to exist in the near future. EA could have taken over these servers or provided a workaround, but they chose not to do that.

What does this mean for BF1942 players? Mainly that you will no longer be able to find servers using the in-game browser server. If you know the IP address of a server, you will still be able to connect to it. Other web-based server browsers like GameTracker may continue to operate normally, but that's not a certainty at this point.

BF1942 fans are working on possible solutions, including setting up their own master server browser, which would effectively replace the original servers. But this requires changes to the BF1942 client software, which may create other problems.

BF2 players face a similar situation, with one additional obstacle: it's currently not possible to play BF2 online without a Gamespy account. When Gamespy shuts down, will it even be possible to play online, even if you know the IP address of a server?

Battlefield 2 mod developers for Forgotten Hope 2 and Project Reality are apparently working on their own master server.

I'll post more information here as I find it. In the meantime, let's think positive thoughts. We gamers are resourceful and stubborn, so I'm sure we'll find a way to keep things rolling.

Game producer still blind to the futility of DRM

Square Enix America's Senior Manager of Business and Legal Affairs spoke with TorrentFreak recently, and says "DRM is here to stay". His reasoning makes no sense. For instance, he says that they rely on customer feedback when considering DRM in their products. If that was true, they wouldn't use DRM at all. If he can show me a customer who likes DRM and thinks it's a good thing, I'd be very surprised. Users hate DRM. Period.

Here's an excerpt from Techdirt's analysis of the TorrentFreak interview:

"There may have been a time in the past few years when you'd have sworn DRM was on its way out the digital door. Between free-to-play games, strong consumer feedback, and the overall failure of DRM to actually stop anyone actually interested in pirating games, movies or music, there just didn't seem to be much point any longer. With the advent of new crowdfunding business models, DRM made even less sense. But not only is DRM still around, legacy players using it are actually torpedoing otherwise useful leaps forward in business in story after story. And, despite the fact that some entrenched industry players are wising up to the futile nature of DRM, others are digging in their heels."

Only truly crappy games actually cause aggression

The debate over whether video games cause aggressive behaviour in players has been going on for years. Every time there's a mass killing in the US, someone finds out that the perpetrator played some kind of video game, then the media goes crazy, saying that the video game made them violent.

A recent study has determined that yes, video games do cause aggression in players, but only when the game itself totally sucks. We've all played games that are frustrating: impossible puzzles, impervious bosses, idiotic gameplay, broken game components, and so on. Encountering frustration like that in a game does lead to aggression in players. Well, duh.

Minecraft 1.7.9 released

Yet another new version of Minecraft was released yesterday. As with the previous two versions, there was no proper announcement. Mojang staff instead chose to update existing posts for previous updates on the Minecraft Tumblr and the Mojang blog.

Minecraft 1.7.9 fixes issues with skins and the new player name changing process (which has yet to be actually enabled).

The JDRGaming Minecraft server will be upgraded to version 1.7.9 shortly.

Forgotten Hope 2.46 released

A new version of the Forgotten Hope 2 Battlefield 2 mod was just released.

The JDRGaming BF2 server is now running FH2 2.46. To join, you need to download and install the client files, which will be available on this site in the Files and Links section shortly.

All the fixes from the Coop patches (A through C) are included in version 2.46, so there are no special requirements for joining a coop server other than the 2.46 client. Because of that, I have removed the server password.

Other changes of note in FH2 2.46:

  • newly rebuilt maps
  • bots now understand more commands, including get in and get out
  • kit limiting
  • bots die immediately on entering guns deployed by humans to avoid CTDs
  • lots of other tweaks
  • improved AI bot names
  • bots use secondary weapons in vehicles better
  • bots use unarmed vehicles less

Minecraft 1.7.8 released

Today there's another Minecraft update, 1.7.8. As with version 1.7.7, this update was released in a big hurry with little to no fanfare. Details on the new version are sketchy, but apparently it fixes more server stability issues.

Unfortunately, instead of creating new posts on the Mojang blog and the Minecraft announcement Tumblr, Mojang staff chose to edit the titles and content of previous announcements, which is just confusing.

The JDRGaming Minecraft server will be updated to 1.7.8 later today.

Minecraft 1.7.7 released

And just like that, we've got another Minecraft update. version 1.7.7 was released in a big hurry yesterday, apparently to fix some server crashing problems. This time there is a post on the Minecraft Tumblr page, but it doesn't say much of anything. The Mojang blog post about version 1.7.6 was updated to include this: "We have released version 1.7.7 with an important bugfix to fix some server crashes."

The JDRGaming Minecraft server will be updated to version 1.7.7 later today.

Minecraft 1.7.6 released

Version 1.7.6 of Minecraft was announced yesterday. The new version fixes some bugs, and makes some changes that will eventually allow players to change their player name.

The version 1.7.6 client is not compatible with earlier versions of the server. This is mostly due to changes in the player profile format. Player profiles should be updated to the new format automatically by version 1.7.6 servers.

The JDRGaming Minecraft server will be updated to the new version later today.

See the Minecraft page on this web site for more details.

Mysterious tank rain in Tobruk

No, it's not your imagination. Last night I finally witnessed a bizarre phenomenon previously reported by a couple of players: tanks falling from the sky on the bf1942/Tobruk map.

Next time you're playing bf1942/Tobruk on TPU, watch the skies. Eventually, you may see one or more tanks appear way up in the sky and fall to the ground. The falling tanks often contain bots. Usually these tanks are destroyed when they hit the ground, but sometimes they survive, and rejoin the fight.

So far I've been unable to determine a specific set of circumstances in which this occurs.

My assumption at this point is that there's a bug in the map source for Tobruk, possibly introduced along with the vehicle spawning changes made for TPU. Either that, or there are simply too many units on the map now.