Welcome to jdrgaming.com
Monday, February 19 2018 @ 11:38 PM -08

A Christmas gift from Nintendo

Nintendo has formally apologized for all of its anti-customer activity and vows to do better in the future.

Just kidding. No, Nintendo must have realized that it hadn't recently reminded us all just how much it hates us (the people who keep them in business - for now). Their latest move is to go after people who modify Nintendo ROMs to add new content.

I think there are just too many lawyers around. They are desperate to find work, or simply justify their high salaries, and convince dim-witted and ignorant executives to pursue these counter-productive and sad initiatives.

Atta boy, Nintendo. Figure out who loves you the best, and then break their hearts.

Minecraft 1.11.2 released

A new version of Minecraft was just released. Version 1.11.2 fixes a few bugs and adds some new features:

  • Added rocket-propelled elytra flight
  • Added Iron Nuggets
  • Added Sweeping Edge enchantment for swords
  • Changed the attack indicator to hint when you should attack

Minecraft 1.11.1 was released just before 1.11.2, but bugs were found in that version, and 1.11.2 fixes those bugs.

The JDRGaming Minecraft server is now running version 1.11.2, and the Minecraft page on this site has been updated with the most recent information.

Battle of Britain: help for the Axis

A TPU regular recently suggested that the Battle of Britain map was unwinnable by the Axis. Certainly the TPU version of the map makes an Axis victory more difficult: the Allied factory and all five of the radar towers - all of which must be destroyed - respawn after a brief delay.

Still, I was certain that Axis victory was possible. But I was wrong. Checking TPU's map stats, I found that of the 854 rounds played on the BoB map, exactly zero had been won by the Axis.

Accordingly, I adjusted the map setup to make things easier for the Axis. The factory still respawns after a few minutes, but the radar towers do not.

It's not a squadron of Spitfires, but I think the Luftwaffe will find the going a bit easier now, in the skies over London.

Denuvo downturn

Until a few months ago, the software copy protection technology (aka DRM) known as Denuvo was considered uncrackable. Now, games 'protected' by Denuvo are being cracked within days of their launch. And game developers are starting to dump the technology as a pointless waste of time and resources.

The game developer Playdead recently removed Denuvo from their popular game Inside, presumably so that it could be sold from the GOG web store, which doesn't sell DRM-encumbered games.

Bethesda has also removed Denuvo from the 2016 release of Doom. The Denuvo protection for Doom was defeated very soon after the game was released. According to at least one source, Denuvo effectively offers its customers a refund if a protected game is cracked within three months of its release. That may be what happened here.

Update 2016Dec20: Denuvo has responded to the media attention by saying that they don't offer refunds. But that's just semantics; not having to pay for something that normally costs money is just a proactive refund. Also, Techdirt weighs in. And again.

Fallout 4 review

Game developer Bethesda has a history of making great games. But there's a darker side to their efforts: all of their games are buggy as hell. Of course, that's never stopped them from inflicting their work on the public.

Fallout 4 is no exception to this historical pattern. The game can be a lot of fun to play, when it works. But play it long enough on a PC, and there's a good chance that you'll start to experience the dreaded 'infinite load screen'.

Fallout 4 sees every transition as an opportunity to annoy you with load screens that take forever, or just a really long time (so long that you eventually give up, anyway). Transitions (and the chance of an infinite load screen) occur when you fast travel, and when you enter and exit indoor locations (so basically, all the time). There's no way to know whether the load screen you're staring at will ever end; at some point it just seems like killing the process and restarting the game is going to be less aggravating than continuing to wait.

If you search the web for 'fallout 4 infinite load screens', you'll find something else seemingly infinite: people complaining about this problem. What you won't find is anything resembling help from Bethesda. There are lots of suggestions from other players, but sadly, none of them worked for me. And I've tried them all.

I'm giving up on Fallout 4. Bethesda may fix this problem some day, but I'm not holding my breath. And even if they do, I won't soon be able to face that loading screen, no matter how briefly it appears.

Recommendation: avoid Fallout 4 unless you enjoy frustration.

For your viewing annoyance, I've posted a video on YouTube that demonstrates this fun feature.

Minecraft 1.11 released

Minecraft 1.11 was released today. Your Minecraft client/launcher should update itself automatically.

Mojang is calling this version the 'Exploration Update'. There are too many changes to list here; see the version 1.11 notes on the Minecraft wiki for details.

The JDRGaming Minecraft server is now running version 1.11. The JDRGaming Minecraft page has also been updated.

Another game studio says NO to DRM

You can add another name to the growing list of game developers that have decided not to bother copy protecting their games. Polish game studio Flying Wild Hog apparently realized that a) all DRM mechanisms are eventually defeated; b) DRM is costly and time-consuming to implement; c) DRM is annoying to paying customers; d) DRM increases support costs; and e) their efforts would be better spent on improving their games.

The result? Their most recent (no-DRM) game, Shadow Warrior 2, is selling extremely well on Steam. Sure, some people are no doubt 'stealing' the game, but those people will always find a way to do that whether there's DRM or not.

Possible changes to TPU

There's been some discussion on the TPU Facebook page about some of the TPU maps having too many tickets. Certainly some of the maps - Wake and Midway in particular - seem to go on forever.

The current set of maps, including the number of tickets each map starts with, was set up by (and for) a previous group of players. Wake and Midway have a lot of tickets because those folks were heavily into air combat, and those are a couple of the best maps for that kind of thing. If you don't fly, grinding back and forth between the two spawn points on Midway gets old quickly.

The point is that different people have different play styles, and like different kinds of maps. There's no way to make everyone happy. The easiest way to get past a map you're not enjoying is to issue a map vote. The map voting system is set up so that even a lone player can use it to change maps.

Still, if the current crop of players can agree on shortening Wake, Midway, or any other map, I'd be happy to make the required adjustments. I could even reduce the global ticket ratio, although that would affect all maps.

If you'd like your opinion known, you have several options. Go to the Contact page for a few ideas. If you have an account on this site (contact me to set one up), you can comment on this post. You can also vote in the new poll I've set up (look for it in the right sidebar). Anyone can vote on open polls; an account is not required.

Update: most of the maps currently have starting ticket numbers of 600/600. The exceptions are Wake (900/900); Battle of the Bulge (Allies 1200, Axis 600); Berlin (Allies 600, Axis 360); Tobruk (Allies 600, Axis 900). The global map ratio setting is currently 300.

New: JDRGaming Discord server

Discord is an excellent, free, gaming-centric chat client that you can use on the web or run as a client on your computer.

I've been using the Discord Windows client for a few weeks now and I like it so much I'm switching to it for JDRGaming-related chat. Previously I was using IRC, but that was a bit tricky to set up for users. Discord is much simpler.

So there's now a JDRGaming Discord server, with channels for each of the JDRGaming game servers. You can use Discord or install the Discord client at the Discord web site.

Here's an instant invite for the JDRGaming Discord server: https://discord.gg/5KVyRUv. I've added the Discord invite URL to each of the game servers, so you should see it when you join or during gameplay.

More stories of game developers making bad (and good) choices

The recently-released Forza Horizon 3 racing game includes a special feature that you only get when you purchase the game: crappy performance. That's because the game includes resource-intensive DRM (also known as copy protection). The problem doesn't affect people playing 'pirated' copies, because those copies have had the DRM removed. So, basically, this is a great reason to avoid buying the game and find a DRM-free copy instead.

Noted purveyor of extremely crappy games Digital Homicide likes to threaten people who post negative reviews of their games. This eventually generated so much negative feeling that Steam decided to drop the publisher completely from their catalog. This setback prompted the the company to rebrand itself as 'Digital Suicide'. Okay, not really. But they did take their ball and go home, sulkily declaring that the company has been ruined by Steam's actions. Boo hoo.

'Bait and switch' is a nasty retail tactic used to create consumer interest in a product, only to change the deal, leaving the consumer with something they didn't actually want. When the product in question is a Kickstarter-funded video game, telling investors that the promised DRM-free version will no longer be an option is likely to generate some ill will. The developers of Duke Grabowski, Mighty Swashbuckler! discovered this the hard way. To their credit, they saw the light and reversed their decision, surprising nearly everyone.

Happily, there are a few game developers who truly understand their relationship with customers. PM Studios, who make the Playstation Vita game SUPERBEAT: XONiC, discovered instructions for copying the game on reddit. Instead of unleashing their dogs (i.e. lawyers), they joined the discussion, stating their appreciation for the attention, and offering a discount on the game. Result: massive increase in consumer good-will, and increased sales.