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Saturday, February 24 2018 @ 03:57 AM -08

STALKER: Clear Sky - buggy as hell but still fun

My problems with S:CS start on its main menu. No, that's not a joke. The currently selected menu item lags behind mouse movement so badly that unless you wait for it to catch up before clicking, nothing happens; or - worse still - the wrong menu item is activated.

This kind of sloppy and unrefined programming permeates S:CS. Of course, being essentially an RPG, this is hardly unexpected. Aside: why is it that RPGs as a class of game seem to be the buggiest? Many of S:CS's bugs have been squashed or ameliorated by way of patches, but many remain.

TPU server outage

The TPU server will be unavailable from 12:30pm for up to two hours while new network hardware is installed. Sorry for any inconvenience.

UPDATE: All done. It went faster than I thought.

Please let me know if you notice any new problems or unusual changes.

Giving credit where it's due

I'd like to point out that the modded Midway and Gazala maps currently in the rotation on TPU were the work of DarkRyda. He and TenaciousMojo have been working on a new set of changes to some of the core BF42 maps, which I will most likely add to the rotation once I've checked them out. Stay tuned.

A few minor tweaks

I finally worked out why friendly fire kickback and splash kickback were not working. The values for these settings are stored as floating point numbers between 0 and 1, while all the other friendly fire settings are stored as integers between 0 and 100.

Friendly fire kickback and splash damage kickback have been set to 25%. So now, when you hurt someone on your own team, you feel it - just not quite as much as the guy you shot.

Thanks to Tenaciousmojo for reminding me that kickback wasn't working.

Mojo also pointed out that on the player stats page, only the player's top 20 maps are shown. I bumped this up to 40.

Remote intrusion attempts may account for some lagginess

I recently started experimenting with intrusion detection on my network and immediately discovered several attempts to gain access to my development system remotely. So far these attempts have been unsuccessful, but since the attacks are automated, they tend to flood the network with traffic for periods ranging from ten minutes to two hours, every few days.

Since there have been reports of lagginess on the TPU server and I have been unable to find any specific cause, I'm investigating these intrusion attempts in an effort to determine whether they might be the culprit. I hope to either confirm the intrusion traffic as the source or rule it out definitively.

Anyone noticing lag on the TPU server should report it to me (see below), indicating the date, time and approximate duration of the lagginess. That should help narrow things down.

jrivett AT jdrgaming DOT com

Tweaked Battle of Britain

At DarkRyda's recommendation (and it was a good one), changed the radar towers in Battle of Britain so that they respawn. This means that now the Germans can't just bomb the hell out of the factory and win. Also, it should give the idiot bots somewhere to go in those jeeps at the factory. I also bumped up the number of spawns for the planes.

UPDATE: Well, not quite. There are a lot more planes around, which makes for a busy time if you're in a Spitfire. Yay! But the stupid bots still sit in Jeeps at the factory, even when there are places to go, like the now-respawing radar stations.

Map list updated

Aside from the addition of the BG42 rotation on Sundays, the TPU maplist hasn't changed for over a year. By popular demand, I've now shuffled the maplist so that some of the more popular maps appear first, and the Secret Weapons and Road To Rome maps are at the bottom, grouped together. We'll see if that draws in more players.

Lag issues

There have been a few more reports of lag with the TPU server.

I've performed some diagnostics and haven't found anything conclusive, except that the uplink buffer size for my ISP is excessively large. I don't think that's the problem, though.

I did end up making some changes:

[1] Updated the TPU server's NIC drivers.

[2] Disabled the Windows XP firewall on the TPU server.

[3] Ran the Speedguide.net TCP Optimizer on the TPU server, which made a lot of changes.

Let me know if this makes any difference.

High winds affecting internet speeds

It was very windy yesterday and according to Shaw, TPU's internet service provider, this has affected network and cable hardware. They hope things will get back to normal soon, but in the meantime, TPU lag may be much worse than usual.

A few minor changes

Over the weekend I tweaked the server settings a bit. It seemed to me that during January, when the server scheduler was failing and only the Axis server was running, more players showed up. My theory is that since the server NAME was changing when it changed from Allies to Axis and back again, this made the server less likely to appear on server browsers. Based on what I can see from server traffic stats, traffic went up starting early in January and dropped again to pre-January levels after I fixed the scheduler.

To test this, I changed the server settings so that the server name no longer changes. Now, it's always "Tanks'nPlanes Unlimited CO-OP". I also changed the intro messages and the timed announcements so that important information appears in capital letters. Apparently this attracts players' attention a bit better.

Anyway, I'll monitor things over the next few weeks and see what happens.

Next I plan to shuffle the maplist a bit to put the more popular maps at the top and group the Road To Rome and Secret Weapons maps.