Archive for December, 2006

YASU users know it, after use, and no matter if it’s been executed again before reboot, all (optical and virtual) drive letters are mixed up. There is no fix to this date, and setting it up again manually is a pain in the ass. At least some guy came up with a decent workaround.

Enter “diskpart” into the command line, followed by “list volume”, the list shows all drives. From this list get all the volume numbers of your optical drives. Now create a txt file, containing all the drives which letters need fixing, for example:

select volume 0
assign letter=X noerr
select volume 1
assign letter=Y noerr
select volume 2
assign letter=Z noerr

Save it somewhere as drive-fix.txt (or whatever), now create a *.bat file, containing (example again)

DISKPART /S “C:\name of your txt.TXT”

With this little trick, a click on the bat file is enough to have all letters re-arranged. Big time-saver.

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Plot Summary for “Live Free or Die Hard”

When a criminal plot is in place to take down the entire computer and technological structure that supports the economy of the United States (and the world), it’s up to a decidedly “old school” hero, police detective John McClane (Willis), to take down the conspiracy, aided by a young hacker (Long).

And some people are ranting about Indy 4… The title alone “thrills” me.

One of the things I hear all the time, is that the ZC is too powerful and cannot be defeated in GC, not true I say. Even the hard difficulty setting is way too easy. The secret (if there is one), is like in reality only one thing. Credits. The problem with the ZC is, that they don’t just attack like the Empire, but also use their credits to hurt the player. They corrupt all planets and then sabotage many buildings, that’s very annoying. Credits are gone for rebuilding and permanent attention is needed. And some planets with “Coruppt Militia” have to stay that way, because removing the corruption will result in a total loss of all structures plus the space station. Rebuilding all the sabotaged buildings is easier.

It’s true that lots of credits are wasted by just removing the corruption, but it hurts the ZC financially and they attack less (fewer units built). The “trick” how to keep up, is to choose 3 or 4 planets max, to install all of the buildings to produce all available units and to make all other planets mining planets only. If rebel planets are nearby and raid fleets could be a problem, station units there too. And it’s important to use the retreat feature, it makes no sense to loose units in a hopeless battle. Keeping ressources together that way, really sums up and gives a big advantage over the enemy. When attacking a planet spying can be a good solution, to attack only when the own forces are big enough. And an invasion should only be started, when it results in conquering the planet, what I’m saying is, that there’s no point in winning a space battle and then retreating all forces. A loss of a space station doesn’t hurt the enemy, at first opportunity the station will be rebuild and all was for nothing.

There comes another important lesson, the point is not to destroy enemy units, but to conquer the planet. Because that’s were the ressources are, the enemy can rebuild all his (destroyed) units with the planetary ressources, if they are still available. So if an enemy retreats, fine. It doesn’t make sense to pursuit or anything. If that strategy is used long enough, the player will notice that suddenly the credits start adding up instead of being back to zero every day. Here comes one of the very few things I still miss in this game, units should gain experience, like in some other real-time strategy games, so that it really pays off to get units through in one piece.

All factions (rebs+imperial) should, in general, use all the available money for tech upgrades, in the early stages of the game, because the ZC only needs to build up space stations to reach the heavy cruisers. Everything on the black market is only additional options, ZC units are dangerous enough without them. And, very important, with the tech upgrades all factions receive new hero units. With Thrawn, Piett and Vader (Executor), it’s almost impossible to still loose a space battle. Yes, Vader isn’t for free, but that’s okay, the Executor is worth every credit. Imperial players should always unite those three heroes along some Victory Class Star Destroyers and use the option to let Vader jump in first (and alone). Then place Piett and Thrawn next to the Executor, at last the Victories between them. It’s just not possible to loose in this constellation. Didn’t happen once. It’s also cheap, those are relatively few units (not much build-time and needed credits) and there are no losses. So all earned credits can be used for removing corruption and building up planets. Consider to not build the DS II, because the ZC can easily hack it and this will result in destroying the entire fleet accompanying it (hacking DS II with IG88 costs 39.000 credits, so go check the economy stats and DON’T build the DS II if the ZC has that amount available and if you do, make sure they never reach that amount by attacking them all the time). The DS II is cool, but if it’s too risky, the credits can be used for Victories just as good (or AT-ATs for ground assaults).

The reasons why I said it’s too easy are told fast, with the exception of the ZC, no other faction builds level 5 space stations (rarely happening) and almost no capital ships. The player, of course, has a massive fleet with capital ships – at a certain point, it’s not even possible anymore to still call it fighting. The AI can retreat when the player’s fleet falls out of hyperspace. The AI doesn’t even try to hold central planets (for example the few planets where capital ships can be build). Empire and Rebels have the worst AI, they often have (even very late in the game) level 2 space stations, no idea what they did all the time. During land battles, the AI starts building anti-infantry turrets, when the player attacks with assault speeders or lancet wings. It’s would be okay if the AI would show this behaviour in easy mode, but in hard? That’s what this mode is for, battles which demand everything from the human player, and where mistakes have consequences. Not just a resistance which slows the player down in building up a massive fleet which will enable the worst player to crush everything, even when using no tactics at all and loosing massive parts of the fleet in every single battle. Another, VERY annoying thing is, the AI very often retreats even if they would win easily. It happened to me tons of times, that I had 1-2 ISDs in orbit along 1-2 VSDs and the rebels jumped in with a massive fleet, containing like 40 Assault Frigates, I still thought “great, now the system is gone”, and then they jump out, not without loosing a few ships, because I use the opportunity to shoot out some of the engines. It would take several ISDs to make a stand against 40 AFs. But the AI doesn’t know that.

Some of the worst AI bugs are fixed in the upcoming patch though. The AI is now capable to destroy long range scanners… instead of idling around, until the player killed all enemy units with the hypervelocity gun. And less land units are “stored” in space, about time. I’m also very anxious to see the AI actually defending their own space stations (!), not much action there before. Okay, let’s hope the patch is out soon.

Lately I was fighting against Miranda and my wish to enable GnuPG encryption with it. I was about to give up, because my goal was to chat, but a part of me thought, that I could already do that. So there was not much (maybe even nothing) to gain, was it? (I could now give it a positive direction, that it’s worth the extra work nonetheless, because you, in fact, DO gain something worth the trouble, but… :P )

What really made me angry were those plugins, there are douzends, but all have different kinds of problems.

The ugliest problem on the end was the sound, every incoming and outgoing (encrypted) message made a sound, I tried to deactivate it, but it didn’t work. After deleting the wav files, Miranda used the PC-Speaker to torture me. It was just like 1991 again. The only solution I’ve found was to enable sounds again, but use wav files without sound… Audacity did the trick. Fantastic program by the way.

Now everything’s running and it’s working really well, the only drawback I noticed so far, is that gpg.exe is started and closed every time a message is sent or received, which visibly slows down things a bit. Like 1 second per message.

Now that I think about it again, file transfer still doesn’t work for Jabber…

Dreadful (and necessary) plugins mentioned:

SecureIM, Crypto++, and Popup

Typical, I just downloaded 3.1, right before 3.2 was released. Thanks a million times people, for making these patches! You ROCK.

v3.2
—-
Restored cat model to 609 and removed flickering blood on the Dane.
Added humanity loss for killing innocents in several combat areas.
Modified bad discipline effects for non humans, thanks to Populism.
Used hidden Ithaca sound, gave Colt to Boris and fixed more props.
Renamed Bloodsuckers’ to Bats’ Communion and updated female Sabbat.
Made Imalia and Mitnick turn better and Isaac give his gift later.
Fixed hunters spawning on main hubs and another Imalia’s quest bug.
Repaired possible freeze on freeing Lily and left over respawning.
Corrected GLOCK name, modified clothing text and added cl_smooth 0.
Made sure the fast Nosferatu dies and rendered Empire TV inactive.
Improved first Heather dialogue and fixed Vandal and Bertram lines.
Changed Yukie log, two pc prompts and wrong level re-enter sounds.

Download.

I wasted time again. Here’s what I did. Since SSL isn’t special enough anymore, it had to be GnuPG. Miranda is a good “multiverse” client, it only needs few addons. SecureIM (the plugin for encrypting – see the forum entries) + Crypto++ (the library used for en… and de…). GnuPG can be obtained here. GUI slaves like myself may even want to use a graphic interface for GnuPG, since that is command line only. WinPT fills that gap. Be aware that WinPT already includes all that’s necessary, no need to leech GnuPG too.

So, copy all the plugins for Miranda in the plugin folder, install GnuPG, create/exchange public keys and get started. Isn’t that hard, is it?

I just played the FoC Campaign for the second time, but this time on hard. The only point where winning was a problem (even hard is way to easy), was during the escape from Coruscant after the heist, when all units “have to” use the Juggernaut to drive through that path, which is flanked by torpedo turrets. Different from playing in medium, the Juggernaut was always destroyed, nothing worked. I used the Rancor to walk before the Juggernaut, to draw some of the fire, so the Transporter would made it, no chance.

The MDU units were “trapped” inside the building, so no help from there. Because of the massive Stormtrooper units in the way, the Juggernaut often stopped, taking heavy damage. The Stormtrooper “supply” is unlimited, so defeating them before driving through is no solution either. I finally won through a trick, cloaking Typer Zann and Urai-Fenn und walking to the target resulted in a completed mission. Sulri stood next to the juggernaut, I left her behind, cause she can’t cloak herself. It didn’t effect the mission success – good for me.