Armed Assault Demo – New Versions Sorta Daily

Armed Assault is my favourite thing at the moment – even though only the demo is available for us Englishers!

The demo as originally released had some issues, but BIS have been working hard to rectify and improve the experience, releasing near-daily updates.

These updates have been for both the demo client and the dedicated server (for the demo, it’s all in the one EXE), and they keep on coming…

“Daily” demo thread at the seriously-in-need-of-an-upgrade Bohemia Forums. Thanks to Marek and the team for the continuous support, I can’t wait to buy the game (pfft, game, it’s a simulation!) on Feb 22!

Windows Live Messenger feature request

I love Messenger, it is an important part of my life and has been for over seven years. There are a few things that I dislike about it, but the one that keeps coming back is this: if I don’t close each conversation window individually then that conversation doesn’t get added to the History. If I restart my computer and have 8 conversation windows open, then none of those conversations will be saved. Whenever Messenger crashes, as it does from time-to-time, I lose all of my precious conversation history.

Microsoft / MSN / Windows Live / Whoever: please change Messenger so that the conversation history is updated in realtime. While you are there, please make the history browser better – make it look more like the conversation window.

My main request, the thing I want the most, is to not lose my data all the time.

Dear Cakewalk,

(emailed shortly after uninstalling Sonar 6.0 demo)

Just some feedback. I downloaded Sonar Producer for use under Windows Vista X64. It seemed to have issues selecting the MIDI mapper, but I used a soft synth and it worked OK.

However, the second time I ran it, two days after initial installation, it claimed the 15 day trial period was over, and wouldn’t continue without registration.

After registration, it told me my key was invalid and that the trial period had expired.

So, you’ve lost a customer, but hopefully can fix this sorry state so that others don’t have to suffer.

Got any good recommendations for n00b-friendly music authoring and production packages that don’t break the bank (and work under Vista X64?)

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Later Nvidia Drivers for Windows Vista, on WindowsUpdate! But there’s a catch…

Windows Update now has later-model drivers (9746) available than the RTM version of Windows Vista, I accidentally discovered.

The drivers currently on Windows Update are also later than the Windows Vista RC2 set that Nvidia have been offering since October, and they fix a bunch of problems in Windows Vista – Media centre glitching when UI is overlaid on video, flickering when switching into full-screen mode from windowed, and general graphical hell in Armed Assault.

If you’re using the RC2s (96.85), you will need to uninstall them, go back to the RTM drivers, then use Update Driver in device manager to detect the new copy on Windows Update.

I posted this to the Armed Assault troubleshooting wiki, but it’s generally useful info, so here it is again:

The Nvidia RC2 drivers will not be replaced by doing a “Update Driver” check at this time, perhaps because they are dated later than the Windows Update drivers, despite being earlier versions.

To get back to the WindowsUpdate set, if you’ve installed the Nvidia RC2 release on RTM:

  • Open Device Manager
  • Open display adapters, and open properties for the GeForce card to the Driver tab.
  • Uninstall the driver, or you can roll back if it’s an option. This will dump you into VGA compatibility mode.
  • If you uninstalled the driver, use the “Scan for hardware changes” button in the top menu bar to re-scan and install the default driver.  I had a couple of crashes related to Nvcpl, but everything’s working fine anyway.
  • Use the Update Driver button to check Windows Update for the newer build (, dated Aug 22(!?))

Towards January 30 2007, it seems likely Nvidia will offer an updated set of drivers for most of its cards, for the launch of Windows Vista.

Confusing versioning, but again, it really does fix a bunch of issues.

Armed Assault Demo Crashing on Windows Vista x64 with D3DX9_30 Not Found Errors

When I tried to actually launch the new Armed Assault demo, it was having none of it.

I tried to search the Armed Assault forums, but let’s put it like this: they’re retarded:

  • You have to sign in to search for anything helpful – a massive barrier to getting useful things done without giving up any personally identifiable information
  • The mods decided that one uberthread for all demo issues was the way to go

I’m sick of registration-required not-properly-Google-indexed but-use-our-shitty-search-it’s-better-than-google websites used for support. The wiki they set up might be a step in the right direction, but people actually need to post useful answers there first.

Even after getting that off my chest, I’m pissed.

Why? The fix was to download DirectX 9 from Microsoft. The December 2006 release of DX9.0c. DirectX version numbering is also retarded.

Say what? I’m using Windows Vista, I have DirectX 10!

Yes. You don’t have the most recent update to DirectX 9 though. Check your WindowsSystem32 directory – you won’t have the file it claims is missing.

So – not from WindowsUpdate (at least, not yet), go download it.

Vista would be better if it didn’t suck

I have been running Windows Vista Ultimate on my laptop for a week or so now, and I am of two minds. I like the pretty. I like the usability improvements. I don’t like that things that worked fine in XP crash all the time, or that the CPU is maxed (maxxed?) almost always. The apps that crash most are Media Player and Messenger. Outlook 2007 crashes sometimes. DivX, XviD thumbnail creation makes Windows sad (even after uninstalling DivX).

I expected teething problems. That is why they call it the bleeding edge. Windows XP has had five years to mature into the very good and stable platform that it is, and Vista is new.

I know that SpongBo, Microsoft fanboy, is reading this and saying “but! under the hood! programming stuff!”. I don’t care about that (well I do, but not right now). I am a user, and this post is from a user’s point of view.

Things that are better:

  • It is prettier. Things have shadows.
  • The sounds are nicer.
  • Many of the balloon help things that popup from the tray go away quicker than they did in XP.
  • When explorer crashes, I get to keep my icons in the system tray.

Things that are worse:

  • Media Center – I use MCE as a way of playing video files, I don’t use it for TV or music. In MCE 2005 I just chose My Videos in the main menu (up, up) and then I could pick a video to watch. Now I have to go up, up, RIGHT, RIGHT to get to the same place. When I get there I cannot see the names of the files, just a square thumbnail. I have to hover over a thumbnail for the name to appear, in tiny little writing, down the bottom of the screen. Too bad if you have a hundred files in there and want to find something to watch. Then Media Center crashes.
  • I hate the stupid swirling blue doughnut. It means that whatever I am doing has stopped, and I need to wait. It is my constant companion.
  • Windows Media Player. They must have brought in a special team of programmers with a simple brief: make the Library slower and crashier. Mission accomplished. If I didn’t have most of my CDs ripped to WMA I would be using iTunes.
  • I had a “calculating time remaining” dialog stuck on my desktop for two days, then suddenly it took focus and asked me a question. I said “No”.
  • Armadillo Run is unplayable.
  • I don’t know what a COM SURROGATE is, but it crashes all the time and I don’t like it.