Friday, July 21, 2006

WGA From Hell

If you have installed the Windows Genuine Advantage validation checks and are regretting it now (for whatever reason), I have something for you.

We all know that there are a lot of cracked .dll's around. But you could have run into the following problem while trying to copy/overwrite the files: "Can not delete folder: It is being used by another person or program." or some message like that. Basically, it means that Windows won't let go of the file.

Booting into safe mode doesn't help, the problem is still there.

Luckily there are some "Unlocking"-tools which will resolve the problem.

I have downloaded a nice little package with a batch script which tries to automate the process. I have completed this with the newest .dll-files, and automatic unlocking. Just extract and run execute.cmd. Enjoy.

Note: there is nothing harmfull in this script, in fact: why not open it in Notepad and check it out for yourself.
Another note: I have tested this multiple times, but I will not held responsible for any damage done. Running this script is completely up to you. If it doesn't work, you can still unlock and copy-paste the files manually.

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Devhook 0.45 Out

Read all about it here (watch out though, the site is getting Dugg).

Guide on how to do it can be found here. This is great news, Devhook is the reward we 1.50 users get for being patient such a long time. (A shame for the people who bought a 2.50+ PSP...)

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Headlines Of Today

Actually: make that yesterday (15th). It's late again.

I'm going to post a link dump below. If you follow the news a bit you will probably know all of these already. Still there might be some surprises.

I'm not trying to replace your favorite newssite nor your RSS reader by doing this, it's just something I would like to post a bit more from more on...

  • IBM To Support Xen Virtualization Software For Suse 10 Linux (from Digg): just nice and interesting.
  • Gnome 2.15.4 Release (various sources): I really like Gnome (next to xfce) so this is always good news. Can't wait for 2.16 though.
  • Framework Performance: Rails, Django and Symfony (various sources). I'm experimenting with various frameworks so this is an interesting read. Although not very detailed in describing the process or configuration used.
  • Google Spreadsheets getting charts (various sources): this would be ultracool/helpful. This stays an impressive application. People seem to forget that it is not easy to build such a webapp which works on various browsers and that it's free.
  • (From Digg and Slashdot.) NTFS-3G writes and reads to NTFS partitions in Linux! Awesome news! (although it seems the driver can only successfully create around 10 files in each directory. Still: the fact that is doesn't corrupt your drive and that this is still a beta is something a lot of people have been waiting for.)
  • How A Scanner Darkly (film) was done. Really interesting if you're into this or just like the movie. (You should definitely try watching some trailers and the movie itself once it's out. Also: watch the movie Waking Life.)

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Game: Prey

So, Prey it is: the newest first person action game from 3D Realms (that's right, the same guys who'll hopefully deliver Duke Nukem Forever at some point in time).

As always, I'll keep it short since you probably know enough about this game already. As always: check out the Gamespot Review for a full quality in-depth review.

I've been playing this game for a few hours now, and after finishing a few levels it leaves me with mixed feelings... (So no Pro's and Con's this time, but slightly different: using "feelings".)

Feeling 1: "Wow, this runs smooth!" It runs smoother than Quake 4 and especially Doom 3, it looks better too in my opinion. Although everything still looks like it's made from plastic.

Feeling 2: "Oh there's a story?" But it's a FPS-one, so it tries to throw in some Cherokee-mysteries in the mix together with an alien invasion (woops, was that a spoiler?). So you'll probably end up ignoring the story and blasting stuff. Which doesn't have to be a bad thing.

Feeling 3: "Oooh, weapons!" And they're nice, they're just your basic rifle/sniper/bazooka/grenade/yadda yadda type of stuff, but instead of the basic "marine"-look they come with a nice "alien-technology"-outfit, since you steal them from fallen enemies.

Feeling 4: "Portals are wicked." They are, you might have seen the trailer/review where you can see a supercool-looking portal effect in action (you shrink and walk on a sphere, I'm not going to spoil more here, since you have to see that for yourself). Another thing worth mentioning is that the transition from area to area through the portal is unbelievably fast. I would like to know how these things were implemented technically.

Feeling 5: "Gravity is wicked, too." There are some gravity-based puzzles and traps. Also the walkways provide some interesting gameplay opportunities ("Am I walking on the ceiling?") and looks amazing. People who get sick fast: be warned, it looks real and there are people who do get sick from the views.

Feeling 6: "The main character uses other words to describe the above." Instead of "wicked" you hear "This is really fucked up!" from some weird voice actor. This is definitely 3D Realms here, all their game characters talk like they have been listening to Nukem too much, which is somewhat funny.

Feeling 7: "And now you shoot, again." This was my main problem with Quake 4 and Doom 3 too: since there is no real compelling story (like in Half Life), you get bored with shooting stuff quite easy. The game itself however is more than long enough for real action fans to enjoy thoroughly.

Well, that's about it. If you're a fan of good action shooters, you should consider picking up this game. If you must choose between Prey, Doom 3 and Quake 4, choose Prey. Throw F.E.A.R. in the list and the choose might get more difficult (depends if you like scary stuff or prefer shooting aliens or commandos). Finally: if you add Half Life 2 (Episode 1) to the list: my choose is quickly made...

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sacrifice RAM Problem (Or: Fixing An Old Game)

Update: check out new post with updated instructions over here.

Recently I found back my copy of Sacrifice (Gamespot link). I really like this game because it reminds me of Jullian Gollop's Chaos. (Has anyone ever played this game on the Spectrum?) It's a bunch of wizards fighting it out.
The graphics are not that amazing anymore as they used to be.
But who cares about that if you get a great gameplay experience (running at 120fps)?

So I decided to install this game... on Windows XP... with more that 4Ghz processing power... and 4GB RAM... You could say this meets the minimum requirements.

Install went fine, I start the game and... I get an error thrown into my face. "Not enough Virtual Memory" or something like that (I should actually write the exact error message down so people googling for a fix will find the following solution).

After reading on various message boards I found that the best solution someone could come up with was: "completely disable all virtual memory". So I did, and now the game worked. But I did not want to sacrifice (pun intended if you will) my virtual memory. And thus I did not play the game for another week or so.

I was just about to uninstall it when a friend of mine tried to install another old game on a fairly new machine: Championship Manager 01-02, which also gave an "hey you do not have enough RAM"-error.

So back to the message boards, where I now found that people had been using an advanced compatibility tool from Microsoft. Which gave a lot more options than those you get when doing "Properties -> Compatibility". It's called QFixApp. And it lives in your Windows XP CD under \Support\Tools\act20.exe. After running it you had to follow the following steps:
  1. Open QFixApp.
  2. On Layers select ProfilesSetup.
  3. On Fixes select GlobalMemoryStatusLie (check it).
  4. Now from the browse button select cm0102.exe.
  5. Click on Run.
  6. Play the game.

After you have checked the box click the advanced button and then click the create fix support button it will then ask if you want to install the fix click yes compatibilitye permanently implemented into a fixes database so cm will run every time, the compatability in the properties of an application are only basic the appwizard gives more detailed options.
This situation, of course, reminded me of my own Sacrifice-experience, so I tried to hunt down the program. ("Where's that damned XP CD!") Only to download it a few minutes later of eMule (just search for "QFixApp" or drop me an e-mail).

After setting up the options and checking "GlobalMemoryStatusLie" and "GlobalMemoryStatusTrim" too (!), Sacrifice worked and now runs like a dream.

There are a lot of other fixes too (who knew Microsoft had released such a helpful tool) so why not try it on some older programs which refuse to run on XP.

The "not enough RAM while I do have enough" is quite old. In fact, I remember trying to install Duke Nukem 3D Plutonium Pack on my new Pentium machine back in the day. (Which had, what: 133 Mhz and 32 MB RAM?) The installer threw a nice error out saying "You need at least XX or more memory!" while I had plenty... A pity that Internet wasn't that common in those days.

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Back For More

Hello all.

It's been a while, so I'm sorry for not posting any updates recently. I've been buried with work lately, but now I'm off to a (well-deserved ?) vacation.

I've been watching some movies and playing some games, about which I will make some posts in the near future. Also, I've been checking out and learning various web frameworks, so expect some programming/development posts soon too.

So see you very soon...

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