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Operation Flashpoint: Dragon RisingThursday 19th November 2009
So close, but such an epic fail.

I'm a big fan of all things Flashpoint. I was disappointed with ARMA2 due to the prohibitively large number of bugs which just wrecked the ability to play online. Single player was only marginally better as compared to ARMA, at least it just didn't give up.

OFP2 (Dragon Rising), was written by a completely separate development team with a completely different engine. What could possibly go wrong?

The game is stunning, the graphics are better than ARMA 2 - because they are accessible. ARMA 2 looks prettier, but somehow they seem to get in the way of being able to play.

The game plays well, and the AI will rarely get you with a magic shot in the pitch black from a mile away whilst you hide in a bush.

Alas, the command system is dire. Clearly designed for a console, and clearly a big fail. Still, it's probably best just to leave your team to return fire only and just get on with the game.

It's a bit of an arse not being able to change your weapon load-out, but liveable.

So 11 missions in, the game ends. Nicely, but it still ends. 5 hours of game play is pathetic, I get more game play out of Solitaire.

Still, at least we have multiplayer to try. Arguably the best thing about the original flashpoint was spending hours with a group of friends - or randoms - lurking behind the rocks waiting for a convoy to fall into your carefully laid trap. Just for somebody to screw it up and everybody get shot to bits.

I tried my first random game tonight. Logged on to multiplayer (logon, I mean really, why?), and browsed the server list.

Hmm... 6 servers. 2 have 0ms pings (this can't be right), 1 player and locked. The other 4 have latencies in the 300ms plus area. Again, this can't be right.

A search of the Interweb turns up that this is generally the case. There is no dedicated server support for the game, so the only way to play is with some other people on their home connection. Now unlike console gamers, PC gamers have better things to do with their lives than just sit doing nothing. If we can't join in a game, then we'll just go elsewhere. Which is a damn shame.

I was really looking forward to some decent multiplayer, but it just isn't there, and by the sounds of things it's never going to happen.

Sorry guys, I have to give you 1/5 for such an epic fail.

openSUSE 11.2Thursday 12th November 2009
openSUSE 11.2 is now apparently out. I thought I'd download it and rebuild a server which is about to fall out of support.

Alas, despite having "out now" splattered across the openSUSE web-site, and a download link. There doesn't appear to be anyway of getting 11.2, only 11.1.

I had a quick butchers at the FTP site and nothing there either.

Nice smooth release there guys. Keep up the good work! *sigh*

Memory leaks on svchostWednesday 4th November 2009
I've been seeing odd activity for a while with svchost choking massive amounts of memory on a server. We're talking about over 3GB of memory being consumed.

svchost is a process that contains a whole bunch of Windows services. I believe the idea is to save memory overall by allowing multiple services run under the same process.

The problem with this is, if one springs a regular leak, you've got no-way of troubleshooting which service, or clearing it. The only way to clear a memory leak is to kill the process (as by definition, the application no longer has a handle on it, so recycling individual services won't have any affect). Naturally, killing all your Windows services is generally not a good idea.

Though you can split the services out into their own process spaces with some commands.

tasklist /SVC /FI "imagename eq svchost.exe"

This will list all services contained within processes (you'll have to match your PIDs up with the one using the most memory).

You can then unshare the services one-at-a-time by using:

SC Config [service name] Type= own

You'll need to do this for each service listed under a shared svchost instance; and then reboot. You can reverse the change by changing "own" to "share".

I narrowed my problem down to Automatic Updates.

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