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Non-geeky

Battlefield 3 – party join problems and unlockable flares

by on Oct.31, 2011, under Battlefield 3, Gaming

So far, I’m loving Battlefield 3 – it’s great fun, and, I feel, an improvement on Battlefield Bad Company 2.

It’s not without its problems; though – here are my thoughts on what I’d like to see fixed:

Flares should be available by default

Flying is very difficult indeed, due to the fact that flares are an unlockable item, requiring you to score sufficient points in that type of aircraft to get them. So, you’ll take off in a jet armed only with its cannon, and no flares to shake off heat-seeking missiles; as soon as you’re airborne, people will be firing missiles at you, and, with no flares to throw them off, you’ll struggle to shake them, and will likely be shot down quickly, or spend your time in a series of desperate manoeuvres trying to shake off the missiles; you’ll not stay alive long enough to chalk up enough kills with the puny machine gun/cannon to score enough points to earn the flares

This means that players who have already unlocked the flares and missiles have a massive advantage over those players who haven’t yet, making it very hard for those who haven’t yet unlocked them to take part in jet/helicopter flying.

I’d like to see flares changed to standard equipment rather than an unlockable, so that you can at least have a chance of defending yourself while you try to get enough kills to unlock heat-seeking missiles yourself (something which, I believe, you’ll need to repeat for each individual type of plane in the game…).

Splitting parties on joining a game

Match-making can be a little shabby at times, too – invite friends to your squad, join a game, and you’ll quite often find you’ve been split up across different squads, and, often, even on opposing teams (even if there were only two of you) – a big failing for a game where teamwork and co-operation is important, in my opinion.

I think the match-making code needs to be able to look for servers with sufficient space to take all members of the party in a single squad on the same team without the game becoming unbalanced, and ignore that server if it’s not suitable.

(Note that I play on PS3; I do not know if the above points are valid for XBox / PC players)

EDIT: going by the number of people reaching this post with search queries like “battlefield 3 party join not working”, “battlefield 3 party problems”, “can’t join party battlefield 3”, it seems I’m not the only one annoyed by this.

EDIT 2: Looks like this is being worked on – EA blogged:

2) JOINING SQUADS AND STAYING THERE
Status: Fix pending in the very near future

Some people have experienced difficulties joining and staying in squads on console. We have identified the cause of this problem and will hopefully have a fix ready to roll out very soon. […] We will return tomorrow with an update on when this fix is live.

They also suggest following their guide to using the BF3 server browser. It’s not entirely clear, but it sounds like the filter settings chosen in the server browser apply also to the “Quick Match” feature, too.

M98B seems excessively powerful

The M98B seems to be excessively powerful compared to other sniper rifles in the game (although it may just be that I’ve just been unlucky and just seen it in the hands of very skilled players who managed a headshot every time – although I’ve been taken out with it in Canals was set up as an industrial harbor, featuring a mix of infantry, land vehicle, and boat gameplay. The attackers in Rush start out on an carrier ship and can reach the beachhead by amphibious vehicles, boats, and helicopters. All of the bases on the map hava single hit even whilst running a few times…)

You can’t quit after a round

When a match is complete, you see your stats, but there’s no option to quit – you have to wait for the timeout, then for the next map to load, and finally, when you reach the spawn selection screen, you can then quit. The most logical time to decide to quit is at the end of a round, so why not provide a quit option there? That would save a lot of wasted time, save the effort of loading the next map for no reason, and perhaps even give the server a better chance of making sure the teams are balanced, etc (it can have a clue who is planning to stay in the game, rather than doing balancing etc, only to see people drop out afterwards). Pure logic and usability would suggest allowing you to select to quit as soon as the stats from the completed round are displayed, I feel.

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Battlefield 3 beta – my thoughts so far

by on Sep.30, 2011, under Battlefield 3, Gaming

I spent some time last night playing the Battlefield 3 beta.

First things first, overall I found it awesome, and I’m rather happy I have it on pre-order; I look forward to the full game.

Going prone is excellent, something I’d really missed in BF:BC2.

However, as could be expected from a beta, I did hit a few bugs:

  • Floor diving – in some points (notably around one of the outdoors objectives in Operation Metro), going prone can allow you to “dive through the floor” – I haven’t tried this alongside anyone else who can tell me if I become effectively invisible underneath the ground yet, but it’s clearly buggy
  • After unlocking the holo sight for the RPK-74M, in the next round I was spawning with the M27 IAR – a weapon which I have not yet unlocked. I wasn’t able to re-select the RPK-74M either. In the next round, I was back to my RPK-74M with the holo sight again.
  • Torches still seem to have their blinding effect outdoors in bright sunlight; I think it would make sense for their blinding effect to only work in dimmer indoor areas, and not outdoors (or to be very limited outdoors).
  • The Battlelog “social networking and stats” pages seem a little buggy in places (and require Javascript to be allowed from some random IP address to function; also they complain about Flash being blocked, despite me not actually seeing any unblockable Flash objects).
  • The stats also claim that I have 0 kills with grenades, but 5 kills… er, what?:
  • On the subject of grenades, it appears to be impossible to hold on to the grenade before throwing; the throw seems mostly immediate, unlike BF:BC2 where you could hold the button until you were ready to throw the grenade.
  • In one game, despite joining with a friend together, we were split up onto different teams; I would have expected the game’s matchmaking to have tried harder to locate a game with two slots available on the same team, rather than splitting us up. Battlefield is a game where teamwork is really needed, so playing with friends means you really want to be on the same team to work together.
  • Sometimes friendly soldiers can “push” you; in particular, if someone spawns on you in a close spot, you can be pushed along, sometimes out of the cover you were using

Overall, though, kick-arse game.

My somewhat poor stats

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Solving trouble codes P0480 / P0482 on Vectra Z22SE

by on Sep.28, 2011, under Non-geeky

Quick post for the benefit of anyone Googling for advice on this topic, as most of the results I found when searching were simply lists of all the fault codes, rather than anything useful pertaining to specific advice.

My Vectra B 2.2 LS (Z22SE engine) was reporting the following fault codes:

P0480 Cooling Fan 1 Control Circuit Malfunction
P0482 Cooling Fan 3 Control Circuit Malfunction

Upon investigation, the problem turned out to be simple – a blown maxi blade fuse in the relay & fuse box in front of the battery – the one shown removed below:

Swapped out that fuse, and job done, no more warning light on the dash.

I like easy fixes :)

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Battlefield 3 open beta starts 29th September

by on Sep.26, 2011, under Gaming

The Battlefield 3 open beta starts this Thursday, 29th September.

You’ll be able to play the “Rush” game mode on the Operation Metro map. The beta will end on October 10.

I’ll definitely be giving it a go, as a taster before the full title is released on October 28th.

Back in August I decided to pre-order Battlefield 3 from Amazon (currently £38.91 for the Limited Edition along with “Amazon.co.uk exclusive Specact Kit pre-order bonus”), so I’m looking forward to this one :)

I think I’ll need to fit in some time for some more BF:BC2 (and BF3 beta, once it’s out) to brush up on my skills…

One notable change in Rush gameplay from BF:BC2 reported is that the M-COM station objectives cannot be damaged any more – the only way to take them out is by arming the explosives. I would imagine that M-COM stations within destructible buildings can still be taken out by taking down the building, though. I think this is a good decision to stop people trying the old trick of strapping C4 to the UAV and going suicide-bombing, which could be very irritating on certain maps.

Another interesting reported change is that the bomb timer on the M-COM station is extended if a defender starts defusing it just before it blows – the detonation is held off until it’s defused, or until the defender is killed or stops disarming.

The game is looking pretty sweet:

If you’re undecided, grab the beta and see what you think. I find the Battlefield series better fun than the Call of Duty franchise with more tactics and teamwork, rather than simple “run and gun” play.

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Battlefield 3 looks awesome… pre-order time

by on Aug.31, 2011, under Battlefield - Bad Company 2, Gaming

I really enjoy Battlefield: Bad Company 2, finding it a much better game all-round than Call of Duty, and I’ve been planning a pre-order of Battlefield 3 when it comes out, but today I saw some of the awesome gameplay videos on YouTube including this one:

It’s looking to be excellent stuff, and the new co-op play sounds interesting, too.

Amusingly, you can pre-order Battlefield 3 Special Edition on Amazon for £38.91 at the time of writing, cheaper than the “Standard Edition” at £43.56, and a shade cheaper than Play.com who want £39.81. Amazon also claim “Pre-order Battlefield 3 with us at Amazon.co.uk before 23:59 on Thursday, October 27 and you’ll receive a code to download the Specact Kit DLC – not a massive selling point, but extra stuff for free.

(If you haven’t played it yet, you can pick up Battlefield Bad Company 2 for under £15 – well worth it!)

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Slow-mo cymbal crash at 1000fps

by on Jul.26, 2011, under Non-geeky, Videos

A slow-mo cymbal crash, filmed at 100 1000 frames per second:

(via Trevor Coultart.)

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Welcome to the Blogosphere, James Ronan

by on Jun.03, 2011, under Non-geeky

Just a quick post to welcome my friend James Ronan to blogging – after many years of intending to build himself a site and failing, he’s finally given in and set up WordPress to just get blogging.

Much easier, isn’t it? Laziness++

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Thief fail, Marines win

by on Jun.01, 2011, under Humour, Non-geeky

(via Failblog)

(Likely to be fake, but made me chuckle anyway)

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