21 04/04
04:08

Every bug is Sacred

Since I got my Xbox I’ve not really played many games on my computer. I recently got a new computer, and I became interested in computer gaming again. I saw a few ads over at Penny Arcade for a game called “Sacred.” The ads stated it was “A Diablo clone done right.” It looked pretty fun and was on sale when I was at Fry’s so I decided to give it a try.

 

This game is, by far, the buggiest game I’ve ever played. It’s the buggiest piece of software that I’ve ever paid money for. I’ve heard that in single-player mode that there are not nearly as many bugs. I purchased this game to play cooperatively with Jessie, so I don’t want to play single-player. Almost all these bugs have been reported by other people on the Sacred forums, so I’m not the only one experiencing these problems.

 

This game is hardly even beta quality. Thousands of people got duped into paying $40 to beta test this game. I wish I could have sat in on the pre-release meetings for this game. When I think about it, I see this guy talking and saying one of these options:

  1. “We
    finished developing the game yesterday, we’ll burn it on a CD today,
    and we’ll start making money.” (completely forgetting the “testing”
    step of software development)
  2. “We’ve found a couple bugs in testing but we don’t think anyone will notice.” (understatement of the year)
  3. “If
    we work really hard, maybe we can get a patch out before people can buy
    the game” (something all-too-common with games these days)

 

Here are all the bugs I’ve experienced:

 

  • On my machine, the game would not run at all without patching it first. This is probably related to the fact that I’m running XP SP2 RC1. Not entirely their fault.

 

  • Every time the person who runs the server saves and loads the game, their character’s name disappears. There are workaround for this, but this seems like such a common use case that they might have tested it.

 

  • There are so many problems with horses, I don’t know where to begin.
    • When you save your game and reload, your horse disappears, along with the saddle you put on it. You can swap in a cheap saddle before you close the game, but if the game crashes you never have a chance to swap.
    • If your horse dies while you are on it, you become invisible to the other players in the game.
    • Often times when you get on your horse it wont move. You have to get off, move to a new screen and then try getting on again.

 

  • While I am running the server on my machine, the game has a 50% chance of crashing when I save the game. That’s the most annoying point in time to crash. It usually goes something like “Whew. I’m glad that’s over. I should save… Doh!” The only thing I can really tell that’s different about my machine from Jessie’s is that I have Hyperthreading.

 

  • There is a pretty good chance you can’t finish many of the side-quests. You can finish the task, go back to the person and they act like nothing happened.

 

  • Sometimes when people follow you for quests, they keep following you after you finish the quest. Jessie and I both have our own little posse that follow us around and don’t really do anything useful.

 

  • I have a ring that’s not a ring. When I pick it up and drop it, it sounds like a weapon. But I can’t equip it as a ring or a weapon.

 

  • Sometimes large areas of the screen are black. Sometimes when it’s black there are walls, and sometimes there are not. Sometimes you can walk in the black area and sometimes you can’t. People and chests show up, but you’re just walking around in a black hole.

 

The one thing this game has going for it is that it’s actually pretty fun. Even though we’ve experienced all these bugs, we keep playing. We’ll probably keep playing until we hit a bug that corrupts one of our characters and we wont really feel like starting over.

08 04/04
04:09

Network Media Selector Update

I made some updates to the Network Media Selector tonight. I
fixed a bug that might corrupt the config file in certain
situations. I also added the ability to warn if the config file
has not been saved. Everyone should update to this version as
soon as possible.

networkmediaselector_081.zip

05 04/04
04:11

D5 Streaming Media Network File Importer

I found a GoVideo D2730 clearanced at Fry’s this weekend. I
had been looking at the Gateway Connected DVD player for a few weeks
now but could not justify spending the money. The D2730 was half
the price of the Gateway, and I found out it runs the same
software. I could not resist.

For those not familiar with the D2730 or Gateway Connected DVD, it’s
a DVD player that allows you to stream movies, MP3’s, and photos from
your computer. It supports direct decoding of MPEG and some MS
file format, and it can transcode Divx files for playing on the DVD
player. It has played almost all the files I’ve tried, and the
quality is quite good.

My one complaint with the software you install on your computer is
that you can’t index media on network drives. I keep most of my
media on a central server and mount it as a local drive. You are
supposed to install this software on all the machines on the network
that might have media. In my case, that would be my computer,
Jessie’s computer, and the fileserver. Since the fileserver does
not have a fast enough CPU to transcode Divx, that solution was not
great…

After playing around in the config files and registry, I found a way
to make the application scan mounted network drives. It was a
pain to maintain all the directories I needed, so I created a quick
utility. I figured other people might be interested so I thought
I’d release it.

I give you the “Streaming Media Network File Importer“:

streaming_media_importer.PNG

Just put the exe anywhere, close down the D5 Server, and run the
application. Once you run it, it should read your current config
and list the directories you have configured. If it does not,
select file->open to open your NetPlay.cfg file from your D5
directory. Add a few new folders and select file->save.
You can now start the server again and hit the “Scan” button.
Note: you will not see the new folders you added selected in the tree,
but the software will still scan them and index any files it finds.

Warnings: Be sure the backup your NetPlay.cfg file before
running this program. It works just fine for me, but I can’t make
any guarantees. Also, I tested this with the 2.1.0.9 version of
the software. It may or may not work with any other versions.

You must have the most recent version of the .NET Framework (1.1) to
run this application. You can install the .NET Framework from
Windows Update.

networkmediaselector_081.zip