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Tuesday, May 22 2018 @ 09:48 AM -08

Here we go again...

There are early indications that some new XBox One consoles have bad Bluray drives. The problem is immediately obvious: the drive can't read discs, and may produce abnormal knocking sounds.

Microsoft says that the problem is "affecting a very small number of Xbox One customers". Sound familiar? That's what Microsoft said about the classic "Red Ring Of Death" problem on the XBox 360. That problem led to at least one set of design changes for the 360.

Microsoft also says: "We're working directly with those affected to get a replacement console to them as soon as possible through our advance exchange program." So if you experience this problem, contact Microsoft support to get a replacement.

UPDATE: Apparently Microsoft is giving away free games to XBox One owners affected by this problem, and at least one person was able to fix their console through application of "percussive maintenance".

Your newly-unpacked XBox One is a brick

In a move that has baffled many observers, XBox One consoles will be useful only as expensive paperweights until they are connected to the Internet and a critical update installed. Once again Microsoft seems oddly biased against people with poor or no Internet access, and there will be many sad faces on Christmas morning as a result.

Nintendo forces Super Mario Brothers recreation to shut down

A fan of the original Super Mario Brothers game lovingly recreated the entire game in a web-based format. As the owner of the copyright on the Super Mario games, Nintendo chose not to welcome and and embrace this project, and instead threatened its creator with legal action. And so the site, Full Screen Mario, is now offline.

Unfortunately, it seems that Nintendo is one of those companies that can't see past even the very remote possibility of something eating into their profits. They also have a hair trigger for legal solutions, releasing their lawyers at the slightest provocation, when there are always better - and less hostile - solutions. The upshot of all this is only that Nintendo has damaged its own image in the eyes of fans. Way to go, Nintendo!

Witcher 3 to have no DRM despite piracy of previous games

CD Projekt Red, developers of The Witcher and its sequels, have confirmed their stance on piracy and announced that there will be no DRM on the upcoming Witcher 3. The two earlier games in the series were pirated heavily, but CD Projekt realizes that trying to prevent piracy is a waste of time and effort, and they are concentrating on building player goodwill - and a good game.

Special event: next Tuesday is DarkRyda day on TPU

By special request, next Tuesday (2013Oct29) will be set aside for playing DarkRyda's maps on TPU. That includes The Race Track, always a crowd favourite.

For this special day, the Allied:Axis ratio will be 1 to 1 and of course the ratio will not flip every six hours. The game mode will vary, depending on the map, and will include Co-op, Conquest and Capture The Flag. You can play on either side, and killing other players is allowed.

To play all the maps, you'll need the DarkRyda Map Pack as well as The Race Track, both available for download from this site.

DarkRyda day will start at one minute after midnight on October 29 and end 24 hours later.

We're hoping DarkRyda himself will make an appearance, and I will try to be in game as much as possible. See you there!

I'm now available via Skype

I've been using Skype for a development project for a while now and despite some misgivings about security, I like it a lot. It works well as a basic text chat client, but it can also be used for voice chat and of course video. I find that the novelty of video chat wears off pretty quick, and nobody needs to see me looking weird at my desk, but voice chat can sometimes be handy. The basic version is free, but if you pay for a subscription you can initiate multi-way conversations, which can be very useful.

I leave Skype running all the time on my main computer, so as long as I'm at my desk (Skype status: online) you can reach me at jeff.rivett. Those of us who have been playing on the BF2 server are using Skype to alert one another when we're available to play. Feel free to join in!

TPU stats: points formula modified

I just noticed that repair points were being too heavily weighted in the points formula, so I changed the formula to reduce the impact of repair activity. I also reduced the impact of healing activities. As a result, the player stats (when sorted by points) are a lot closer together than before. It's still a good idea to repair and heal, but doing so won't give you an excessive advantage.

The stats points formula is posted in the forum in the Server/stats FAQ.

VOIP enabled on BF2 server

This morning I enabled VOIP on the BF2 server. To use it, you'll need to enable VOIP in your BF2 client settings.

Here's how to use it:

  1. Join a squad (press CapsLock).
  2. Hold down the 'B' key to talk. Your voice will be heard by all your squadmates.
  3. If you're a squad leader, hold down the 'V' key to talk to the Commander.
  4. If you're the Commander, hold down the 'V' key to talk to all squad leaders.

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.