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Sunday, May 27 2018 @ 05:17 PM -08

Second XBox 360 bites the dust

Sigh. I bought my second XBox 360 after my first died of the horrible 'Red Ring of Death.' I had successfully modified that 360 a few months earlier, installing padding (under the lid of the DVD drive) that prevented the drive from scratching my game discs. Unfortunately, opening the 360 had also eliminated the possibility of returning it for repair/replace as part of the extended 3 year coverage specific to RRoD issues. Oh well. That 360 is now a pile of parts in a box. I tried one of the X-clamp fixes on it with no success and plan to keep trying at some point, but meanwhile I bit the bullet and bought another 360.

Server schedule changed

Schedule changes completed. Here's how it works now:

* Axis mornings (6am-noon) & evenings (6pm-midnight)
* Allies early mornings (midnight-6am) & afternoons (noon-6pm)
* Allies mornings (6am-noon) & evenings (6pm-midnight)
* Axis early mornings (midnight-6am) & afternoons (noon-6pm)

TPU game server back up at new location

The Tanks 'n Planes Unlimited server is back online in Burnaby, British Columbia. The new IP address for the server is Hopefully it will start showing up on in-game server browsers soon. Otherwise you should be able to connect directly via IP. Let me know if you have any trouble connecting.

Stats are down

I'm not sure what's going on, but the TPU stats page is currently down. I'm looking into it and hope to have it sorted out within the next day or so.

UPDATE: it's fixed. My provider (A Small Orange) moved this site and its subdomain http://tpu.jdrgaming.com - home of the TPU stats - to a different (and better) server. This involved a version change for MySQL that necessitated a small configuration change in the stats software. They fixed the problem for me (gasp!) and let me know about it today. It's fixed, and their explanation made sense. I like these guys!

TPU planned outage June 7 - 8

The TPU server is going down at about 7am PST on June 7. Since I'm moving, it's hard to predict when it will be back up, but hopefully it will be running again by June 10. The server IP will probably change, so you may need to update your in-game server list.


There have been a few reports of lag on the TPU server lately. Anyone who can verify this: please leave a comment to this post or send email to jrivett AT jrdgaming DOT com.



TPU not appearing in server lists?

FIXED. The lesson: a three parter:

  1. Don't upgrade router firmware unless there is a good reason to do so.
  2. If you do upgrade router firmware, make sure you can revert to the previous version before you start. If you can't, there had better be a REALLY good reason for upgrading.
  3. If you're going to upgrade, make sure that you use the correct version for the hardware revision.

UPDATE: if you can't see the TPU server in your in-game browser, you can still connect to it directly at this IP:

DarkRyda reports that some users are unable to see the TPU server in their in-game server browser. Apparently this may have been going on for some time. I did notice a drop-off in player numbers in the past few weeks.

I checked a few third-party tools, including Game-Monitor, which shows accurate, up to date information on the TPU server. Other tools show it as well. I added a Game-Monitor block to this site as well, which you can see to the right.

On my own game machine, the BF1942 in-game browser doesn't show the TPU server, but I'm not sure that's a useful test, since I'm on the same LAN as the server and subject to the same router port forwarding rules.

I would appreciate feedback from anyone who uses TPU or has tried to use it: does the TPU server appear in your in-game server browser? Let me know either way, by adding a comment here, posting to the related thread in the discussion forums, or by sending email to me directly:

Send email to Jeff

STALKER: Clear Sky - problems with copy protection

Oh boy, here we go again. When will game publishers finally realize that copy protection is a waste of money. It doesn't prevent games from being cracked and distributed worldwide to those who don't want to pay for them, but it does annoy the hell out of paying customers, such as myself. If a game publisher persists in using particularly lousy protection, I tend to do one of two things: avoid buying their games in the future, or download a version without copy protection for free from just about anywhere.

Fallout 3 - RPG replayability lives!

For me, the defining characteristic of a truly great game is replayability. Despite being a story-driven RPG, Fallout 3 - like its predecessors - has plenty of replayability. For instance, when you first begin to venture out from the comfortable surroundings of Megaton - which for most players is their home base - you will probably encounter a nearby grocery store. I say probably because it totally depends on which direction you decide to wander. Anyway, within and around that store is a band of raiders, and they guard a fair-sized pile of resources. Now, you can skip this encounter if you like. There are a lot of them and only one of you. You can sneak in and take only what you need, then get the hell out, which is the approach I took my first time through. I returned later on to confront the raiders when I was stronger. But there are many more ways to play this. I can see someone deciding to challenge the raiders early on, to take on this store full of maniacs, picking them off one at a time, heading back to Megaton to heal and rearm, until they are all wiped out. Cool.

Far Cry 2: wow! ugh! groan. wow!

Rarely have I had such mixed feelings about a game as with Far Cry 2. The first Far Cry was loads of fun. Sure, the ending was stupid, but 95% of the time I was playing it I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Great sound and graphics, scary and humourous in turn, nice weapon choices, a variety of transport choices, tough encounters and innovative gameplay made it one of those rare commodities: a mostly-scripted shooter that is fun to re-play.

Far Cry 2 has a lot of those same qualities. The graphics and sound are so utterly immersive, I often feel that I am alive inside the landscape of the game. Escapism at its finest. I haven't reached the end yet, so I can't comment on that, and so far there has been very little humour or anything particularly scary, which is a shame. Weapon choices are diverse, although quite limited at first. Transport choices are also abundant. Encounters are so far relatively straightforward, but I have heard that I should expect more challenge later on. And of course FC2 includes some gameplay innovations. But does it all work?