Updates 2018

There are 9 replies in this Thread. The last Post () by darkwraith007.

  • Howdy folks,


    already during the Mod Awards in December I announced a few updates for Crossfire in 2018.
    One of them was a story related update introducing new Bonus missions.
    Crossfire already has a bunch of bonus missions that are not 100% tied to the main storyline. Id like to extend that a bit.
    For this purpose I will create a new thread where you can share your ideas.
    These ideas can be based on already existing bonus missions (we have a fancy new sleepership with unknown origin) or you can come up with new stuff.
    We will collect the ideas in the next few weeks and see where it leads to.


    However, before I start working on new missions there is a topic Id like to get covered first.
    We have a noticable amount of players which dont seem to be able to install the mod correctly. To be honest I have no idea why.
    Prior releasing Crossfire 2.0 the dev team has spent weeks working on the installer trying to make sure that it runs perfectly under Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Vista and also Windows 10.
    Back then we knew that Windows could be a bit quirky when it comes to user permissions and specific security settings required to get files altered. We also knew that the Freelancer Mod Manager isnt perfect and has a few stupid standard settings which could cause troubles (e.g. creating write protections after a mod installation -> thats a problem since we have to do patches via out launcher).
    All these issues we came across back then were fixed by allowing the Crossfire Installer to change specific Freelancer and Freelancer Mod Manager related settings on the registry.
    Why players still have problems gettings the mod to run correctly is a miracle to me.
    It might be that something on their PCs is blocking some of the changes we wanted to be done by the Installer.
    One possible cause of the problems also could be the installation directory.
    Most users which reported about problems had installed Freelancer/Crossfire into "C:\Progam files (86)\Microsoft\Freelancer\". Thats of course the default directory where vanilla FL wants to be installed (if you dont select a different one).
    But "C:\Progam files (86)" is also a directory which on some PCs is protected and required specific administrative rights to write into. It of course is just a guess but I think thats one of the main problems why players run into installtion problems with CF.
    Unfortunately my tries to verify this theory were not really successful since I personally dont seem to be able to reproduce the problems on my PC and I have not been able to find other players which suffer such problems and are willing and able to the required tests.
    With other words, I have no data to work with in order to clearly identify the problems and fix them.
    That is not a very satisfying situation since I cant really help players that have problems to get CF to work without detailed information and its even more frustrating to unban people from the server each day because they have a bad installation.


    I recently came up with the idea to provide a verification tool for Crossfire.
    It will work similar to the way how the launcher checks if your files are upto date. But unlike the launcher which only checks for specific files which need to be updated, this new tool will check EVERY file of CF installation for its validity and creates logs if there are errors. Users then can upload these logs to the Portal.
    This way I finally will be able to figure out where exactly the errors are created and also will be able to provide fixes without telling players to re-install their game.


    Why dont we just let the launcher do that job?
    Because such checks are time consuming and its nothing you want to do everytime you launch the game. Therefore an extra tool appears to be the best solution.
    At this point I dont know if we require to write such a tool from the scratch of if we can make use of existing code/tools.
    Thats something I will try to figure out in the near future.



    Another problem Id like to address are the clan bases which meanwhile at least once a month cause a massive problem on the server which requires me to spend a significant amount of time to fix each time.
    Huor already tried to take a look at the code and figure out where stuff goes wrong, without that much success.
    Id like to take a different approach on this issue and instead of trying to fix the source of the problem I want create a new server tool which detects when exactly the problem occurs and automatically fixes it.
    So when we cant find the source of the problem we can at least try to cure the symptoms.

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  • At this point I dont know if we require to write such a tool from the scratch of if we can make use of existing code/tools.


    Hello,
    you could probably use 7-Zip to get hash sums: h (Hash) command


    Here is the most basic way:
    1. Get 7za.exe from 7-Zip Extra package (Download) and put it into CF directory next to a .bat file with this script:

    Code
    1. 7za.exe h * > out.txt

    2. Run the batch file and checksums will be written to out.txt (an example file is attached).


    Because 7-Zip is free and open-source, I guess it can be safely distributed as a part of CF hash check tool.

  • I debated significantly as to bother to post here after the friction I received about SP-based mission-fail corrections (since I had no desire to play MP at the time).
    The defaults have not been adjusted to account for the stronger enemies, better AI, and the lackluster equipment that most companions receive.


    If OP is still interested in fixing Crossfire SP (aka the reason most people still download this mod), then a quick fix would be to significantly increase the strength of non-critical NPCs (ones that don't autofail the mission) that you should be protecting.
    An additional fix would be to make mission-critical npcs (aka if they die you fail) to be immune or otherwise unkillable such as Juni, King, etc.


    Also didn't really help to tell people you could (and would) mess with their computers through the CrossFire launcher. I know how to use a firewall and just block the connections but others are not as fortunate and may have been wary of installing or keeping it installed.


    As far as CrossFire, the solution is simple.


    First, tell players to uninstall all the things, then run a 'cleanup' utility (that you make) to cleanup and backup registry entries and any residuals from Freelancer, Freelancer Mod Manager, and CrossFire itself. Anything possibly modified or altered or w/e by any previous CrossFire versions to boot. That gives a clean slate and a optional troubleshooting log that can be sent to you so you know the kinds of stuff that people left behind on their system. You could just make this as simple as a .BAT file if you really wanted to do so.


    Finally, have the players reinstall Vanilla Freelancer in %USERPROFILE% \ Freelancer
    By default, the user profile directory won't have any typical write-permission issues so it avoids a lot of hassles.
    Then provide instructions on how to configure FLMM defaults so they don't mess up things (aka don't enable write-protection in the FLMM menu even though it is off by default).
    Then provide instructions on how to configure FLMM to point to the new Freelancer install directory under %USERPROFILE% so that when activating the CrossFire mod, it works as intended.


    Also Win10 Creators Update 1709 has had known issues with many games. Do some testing (if not already done) with it and CrossFire.


    You likely already knew all this so I'm pointing out the obvious.
    I only wish you and your community would consider building your own space game like Freelancer already (mouse-based controls & movement) perhaps with GamePad support. Crowdfund it and point to CrossFire work and get it done already.

  • even though i log into Crossfire only maybe once every 6 months, i still don't dare uninstall it because it's a PITA to install in the first place...


  • While it is possible to create checksums this way I clearly wont browse through thousands of hashs manually to find the one that is different.
    The task is to isolate the wrong ones only.

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    Only dead fish swim with the stream.
    Don't discuss with idiots. They only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience there.


    This is ten percent luck,
    Twenty percent skill,
    Fifteen percent concentrated power of will,
    Five percent pleasure,
    Fifty percent pain,
    And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!


  • Hmm, at which point do I tell you that I disagree?
    Lets start with the storyline... Misssion critical NPCs are already protected when needed. Other NPCs are balanced based on a straight playthrough (thats what most players do). The general difficulty of Crossfire 2.0 has been reduced because of the massive complaints I have received from players that the mod is too hard. I am not going to change that back.
    The feedback to the SP since that has been overwhelming positive. I am not able to please everyone but I certainly managed to create something that the majority of players like the way it is.


    Next thing, I didnt tell anyone that I would mess with their PCs other than check the FL directory and running processes for cheats.
    You are free to use a firewall but since every communication with the clients is done via the ports of the directplay protocals you would by default disable your ability to play online. Since I generally dont care what you do offline no such checks are triggered in SP. Disabling these checks (no matter if by firewall or other mehtods) will also lead to instant bans from the server.
    I am sorry that you dislike it but the protection of other players and the server is more important than what people like or dislike.



    The use of cleanup utilities have been adviced for years prior installing the game. However it never was a guarantee that everything worked. In some cases I got reports that the FL/CF intallation stopped working after using such cleanups. Reason for that could be the removal of specific non-default registry entries related to directplay (which is just a guess btw.).


    I also would NOT advice the installation in %USERPROFILE% for two reasons.
    1. not every userprofile type has all specific rights required for the CF installation (so adminstrative rights would be requested anyways)
    2. it might cause access problems for PC which have more than just one userprofile


    Next to that can write protections still be applied by FLMM even in %USERPROFILE% IF the installer didnt receive adminstrative rights during the installation process.


    The 1709 Windows update has introduced microstuttering to specific games due to a kernal microcode security update. FL however isnt affected by that.
    More serious issue here is that Windows 10 no longer prompts to install directplay when installing old games. This has to be done manually now.

    signew.jpg


    cfmoddblogo.png5904.png5904.png
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    Only dead fish swim with the stream.
    Don't discuss with idiots. They only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience there.


    This is ten percent luck,
    Twenty percent skill,
    Fifteen percent concentrated power of will,
    Five percent pleasure,
    Fifty percent pain,
    And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!

  • While it is possible to create checksums this way I clearly wont browse through thousands of hashs manually to find the one that is different.
    The task is to isolate the wrong ones only.


    Then you could add a reference file and use fc reference.txt out.txt > diff.txt
    For example, a comparison result between my two CF installations (Win 7 and XP) is attached below.


    The only drawback is that extra lines of text above and below each difference are added - there is no option to turn them off.


    An end user would only need to download a package with 7za + reference file + script, extract them to CF folder, run the bat file and send the output text file with differences back to you. Sounds like a working solution :tanz:


  • I'm sure what OP is trying to do, is make it a bit more challenging then what Vanilla was, without making it absolutely impossible. Hes balanced fighters, weapons and introduced new stuff that Vanilla had, and made NPC's more harder then standard because for most players, it was a breeze. If more, and annoyance to repeatedly finish the Vanilla Storyline. BUT he ilkeso, added a difficulty option in the Options menu where you could change it from God to Easy to Average to Insane, instead of having to mess around in game files. Because of this difficulty option, I have no idea what your problem is about the difficult NPC's.


    And also, about the gamepad thing, I don't think many players of the community would like it, everyone's hung around with their mouse and keyboard in not just Crossfire, but also standard and other mods. Not to mention with all the extra gaming mice available nowadays, you wouldn't exactly need a fancy gamepad when you could get a cheap gaming mouse with an extra six buttons.


    And about the NPC's, In my honest opinion, it makes it more fun to rely on how good or fast you are to ensure your NPC's survival. However if things get too hard, I think the difficulty option should rely on them as well.


    When I first started Crossfire, I came over from Discovery, where everything was unbalanced and it was easy to kill non-critical NPC's and it was easy to get top notch equipment. After about a week on Crossfire, I was to say it nicely: Absolutely crap. If I started on Multiplayer, I would probably have been laballed "Worst Player in Crossfire History". However as I continued, I noticed my flight skills went from terrible and horrible to "Adequate". If I went back to Discovery, I'd probably have no problem getting around in Multiplayer because of all the fun and training I had in Crossfire. I think while it may not be suited for some people, I'm sure that the majority of people enjoy it for the same reason I do.


    Just my two cents, feel free to correct me on this

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  • Then you could add a reference file and use fc reference.txt out.txt > diff.txt
    For example, a comparison result between my two CF installations (Win 7 and XP) is attached below.


    The only drawback is that extra lines of text above and below each difference are added - there is no option to turn them off.


    An end user would only need to download a package with 7za + reference file + script, extract them to CF folder, run the bat file and send the output text file with differences back to you. Sounds like a working solution :tanz:


    ill give that a try
    thx

    signew.jpg


    cfmoddblogo.png5904.png5904.png
    http://www.moddb.com/scripts/topsite.php?ts=4766


    Only dead fish swim with the stream.
    Don't discuss with idiots. They only drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience there.


    This is ten percent luck,
    Twenty percent skill,
    Fifteen percent concentrated power of will,
    Five percent pleasure,
    Fifty percent pain,
    And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!


  • I can handle the CrossFire challenge just fine. However since the FL storyline requires escort missions (and multiple chains of them) then protecting the others is part of that hassle. In EVERY video game, escort missions are seen with disdain by most gamers because of how braindead the AI can be and how it suicides to run ahead and get themselves purposefully hurt.


    In other words, like trying to herd cats but if any of the cats die you instantly fail and have to start the mission over from the last autosave.
    As a quick example, there's an NPC in New York early on (Prison Ship) being attacked by at least 3 enemy Rogues. It is quite easy to lose track of that NPC's health and have them explode while you fail the mission no matter how 'fast' or 'good' you are. I know that I attempted this at least 6+ times before throwing my hands up in frustration and turning to manually finding the NPC's code in the INI files and just making them invulnerable. This way, I could focus on my own survival against the enemy instead of worrying about braindead AI that dies at the drop of a hat.


    CrossFire has good AI. But it isn't as good/hard as 88Flak's bots. 88Flak is absolutely amazing with how their bots on 'Hard' mode are so damn accurate that it would make even veteran CrossFire players thinking they were actually PvPing. I played the 'old' difficult of CrossFire v1.9 and I found it to be a nice middle-ground between too easy Vanilla and the 'hard' mode of 88Flak.


    If you want to learn real Freelancer combat, play 88Flak. But if you want to have fun and not die constantly then keep playing CrossFire ;)


    The difficulty adjustment only affects the player and not the NPCs that must be protected. If they die then you autofail and have to restart. The entire point that I was making is that the game is not HARD, just punishingly stupid with paper-thin escort NPCs that die too easily. I was recommending OP to beef up the allies and escort NPCs, not to nerf the enemies.
    The allies are not all that useful so it won't be too crazy to just make sure they don't die from 'sneezing too hard'.


    So to summarize my points:


    Allies and escort-critical NPCs die too easily due to the changes CrossFire made. Difficulty scale only affects the player and not the NPCs (since that is what it is supposed to do). The difficulty towards the player is fine, but since nearly every mission in the story involves escorts then those escorts and mission-critical allies should be either immune or significantly beefed-up to survive the encounters with enemy AI.
    The easy fix is to just make them invulnerable (mission-critical allies and escort NPCs) but the more in-depth fix is to give them NPC-only custom equipment/ships that can't be purchased/looted and that gives them much better shields/armor. If this change is made, then also consider nerfing the ally damage to make the player have to actually participate instead of hiding while the invulnerable allies do all the work.