Glorious Sunrise in Minecraft

7. April, 2011

I’m working on my crystal tower. While roaming the country, I stumbled over this cliff (Minecraft Beta 1.4):

Too Much Time on Your Hands? Try Minecraft

28. March, 2011

I’m addicted to a new game: Minecraft.

It’s a bit like Lego: Everything is a brick, simple rules, no documentation. Unlike Lego, you got lots of bricks. Lots. The levels are huge.

I actually managed to get lost once. Fortunately, I built my house on the highest mountain that I could find (even above the cloud layer). Right now, I’m turning the mountain into a Swiss cheese 🙂

Besides carving your dreams out of a huge pile of rock, you can create stuff in a “crafting area” in your inventory. So far, I managed to craft shovels, hoes, picks, axes, stone, a bucket and a mine shaft trolley.

What can I do with leather?

Nah, don’t tell me, I’ll figure it out myself.

Numpty Physics

17. March, 2011

I really liked Crayon Physics. It was simple idea, great brain teaser, the perfect UI.

If you liked it as well, have a look at Numpty Physics.

Mass Effect 2 for PS3

6. February, 2011

I started playing Mass Effect 2 for the PS3. Nice game.

Dear EA: Console users want to play, not listen 1 hour for an installer to scrub the game disk with the read/write head. Hint: Other games show an elaborate intro while installing, not instead of installing.

Also, there is no turbo in the elevator; loading times in the ship itself could be much better. Fortunately, running around in the ship is only necessary in the early stages of the game.

Collecting shady individuals from all over the galaxy and poking planets for resources is quite some fun; I just wish the shooting sequences were not so dominant. Luckily, that seems to get better later in the game where you can roam space stations, break into walk-in safes of criminals, etc.

All in all, quite some fun.

Humble Indie Bundle

19. December, 2010

Good games are rare today. Most games feel like DOOM clones with better graphics. Fun if you have the reflexes of a 10-year old … and the intellectual horizon. Makes me wonder why a lot of them have an “adults only” sticker or must not be sold to minors … Most of them don’t run on Linux (or need a remove-the-f***ing DRM patch – so playing the game I just bought is illegal).

But there are exceptions and The Humble Indie Bundle #2 is one of them. Five of them. Even though I don’t like all of them. So four of them. Three … I didn’t play Revenge of the Titans, yet.

Braid. An insane jump’n’run with time travel and non-repeating puzzles. I think more than enough has been said about this game.

Cortex Command is a 3D shoot-em-up, the graphics are coarse, I fought more with the controls than with the game plus it’s a game for 10-year olds. ‘Nuff said.

Machinarium. Wow. Beautiful graphics, sad story, clever and demanding puzzles. The only flaw: It uses flash. It’s not really a flaw of the game – there simply isn’t a better cross-platform framework than Flash. Sad, isn’t it?

Osmos brings slow motion back. No need to rush things. Some levels take a long time to complete. A little push here, wait, a tiny push there, … atmo sound. Great to relax.

And best of all, you set the price and the split. With freedom comes responsibility 🙂

Finished single player SC2

24. October, 2010

I just finished the single player missions of Starcraft 2SC2 Trailer – Wings of Liberty. Except for the video sequences and the end scroller (which both stuttered badly – a coder on the C=64 would have been shamed to death), it was a very nice game and story.

Since I’m not the typical PvP guy, I’ll now wait eagerly for the second part. Until then, I’ll collect my points for the other two modes of each level.

SC2 Tips: Liberation Day

24. August, 2010

Send your troops to the red cross

I’ll post some tips to help you beat the levels in StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty here from time to time. Let’s start with the very first level “Liberation Day”. During that level, you’ll learn how to move your troops.

There is little to say about this. If you advance, use “A(ttack)” and click somewhere you can see. This way, your troops will open fire as soon as they spot an enemy. Keep your troops centered on the street to avoid having one member “cut off” (i.e. out of range to shoot the opposition). This way, all your soldiers will be able to fire at once.

If you can, right-click on single enemy soldiers to kill them more quickly. That will help to reduce damage but comes at a cost: There will be a small pause before your soldiers will start shooting the next target. So be ready to right-click the next target as soon as the previous one goes down.

The most important part is the cut scene in the middle where new troops are deployed from orbit. This is not a video, it’s in game! So as soon as you see the enemy soldiers take cover in the central area, press “A(ttack)” and get your mouse into position. As soon as the pods land, click to get your troops moving.

Timing is important here. You want to arrive there as soon as your fresh troops open fire to catch the opposition in a crossfire. If you arrive too early/late, you will take unnecessary damage.

It helps to advance your troops as far as possible without triggering the attack. See the image for a good spot. Otherwise it will take too long for them to arrive.

Another tip: If the street is too narrow, send your soldiers a little farther than necessary to open fire and then attack. This way, everyone in your army will be in range to shoot at the cost of a bit of additional damage in the first moments of battle.

Related Articles:

Mission 1 – Liberation Day (

Updating StarCraft 2 to 1.0.3 on openSUSE 11.3 SOLVED

19. August, 2010
A Protoss warrior, as displayed in StarCraft II.

A Protoss warrior, as displayed in StarCraft II. (Image via Wikipedia)

I had a lot of problems to download and install the patch to 1.0.3. Here is my solution after 144 failed attempts: Install IE6! The BlizzardDownloader.exe doesn’t work with the IE emulator (gecko) so use winetricks or /opt/cxgames/bin/cxinstaller to install IE6 instead and it won’t crash anymore.

Hint: The crash happens somewhere in the JavaScript DLL js3250:

=>0 0x0245b44c in js3250 (+0xfb44c) (0x0033b4b8)
  1 0x0245b2e6 in js3250 (+0xfb2e5) (0x0033b4d8)
  2 0x02459d62 in js3250 (+0xf9d61) (0x0033b4f8)
  3 0x023fc423 in js3250 (+0x9c422) (0x0033b548)
  4 0x01025b6a (0x0033b594)
  5 0x0033df84 (0x0033df84)
  6 0x02420b5a in js3250 (+0xc0b59) (0x0033dfd4)
  7 0x0239f43d in js3250 (+0x3f43c) (0x0033e1f4)
  8 0x023b21bb in js3250 (+0x521ba) (0x0033e2a4)
  9 0x02368391 in js3250 (+0x8390) (0x0033e2e4)
  10 0x0164c6e5 in xul (+0x5cc6e4) (0x0033e3a4)
  11 0x014eaf8d in xul (+0x46af8c) (0x0033e4e4)
  12 0x014eaa7b in xul (+0x46aa7a) (0x0033e5c4)
  13 0x014ea1c6 in xul (+0x46a1c5) (0x0033ea14)
  14 0x014e7cad in xul (+0x467cac) (0x0033ea74)
  15 0x0156ca4b in xul (+0x4eca4a) (0x0033eb54)
  31 0x01c634e4 in xul (+0xbe34e3) (0x0033ef44)
  32 0x01c0b086 in xul (+0xb8b085) (0x0033ef74)
  33 0x01bd77ce in xul (+0xb577cd) (0x0033ef94)
  34 0x7eccecfa WINPROC_wrapper+0x19() in user32 (0x0033efc4)
  35 0x7ecd0819 in user32 (+0xa0818) (0x0033f004)
  36 0x7ecd1cac in user32 (+0xa1cab) (0x0033f044)
  37 0x7ec9541e DispatchMessageW+0x9d() in user32 (0x0033f134)
  38 0x7ec660b9 in user32 (+0x360b8) (0x0033f194)
  39 0x7ec6626f DialogBoxParamW+0x8e() in user32 (0x0033f1b4)
  40 0x00406156 in blizzarddownloader (+0x6155) (0x0033fd84)
  41 0x7e725b64 in ole32 (+0xd5b63) (0x004cd07c)
  42 0x6b735a42 (0x0044303a)
  43 0xfffffec2 (0xe8f18b56)

Look for “xul” and “js3250” in the stack trace. If you use cxgames, start the game with

"$HOME/.cxgames/Starcraft II_ Wings of Liberty/desktopdata/cxmenu/StartMenu.C^5E3A^5Fusers^5FPublic^5FStart^2BMenu/Programs/StarCraft+II/StarCraft+II"

If you need to kill the game, use this line:

kill $(ps -e -o "%p:%a" | grep -E 'winewrapper.exe|wineserver|system32|StarCraft|winedbg|Blizzard'|grep -v grep|cut -d: -f1)

That should get rid of all leftover processes.

[Update] I sometimes get a window asking where to store a download. Ignore it; it closes eventually. Click outside of it, it if bothers you to hide it behind the update manager window.

StarCraft 2 on openSUSE 11.3: Update to 1.0.3 fails [update]

18. August, 2010

Found a solution! See this blog post.

When I tried to start the game today, it told me that 1.0.3 is available and that it needs an upgrade. After 49% of the download, the BlizzardDownloader.exe crashed. So I started it again. And again. And again.

The problem is always the same:

wine: Unhandled page fault on read access to 0x00000000 at address 0x245b44c (thread 0019), starting debugger...

I’ve opened a support ticket on codeweavers.

According to some comments in Wine’s AppDB by MrNice, restarting the installer eventually solves the problem.

[Update] It seems to help to delete the sc2-* files in the program directory and the file sc2-22660-22801-x86-Win-enGB-bnet-bin in the Updates folder. When I restart the game, I get the error dialog. Sometimes, a bit of the file has already been downloaded, sometimes, not even the changelog has been loaded. After closing the error dialog, the download resumes and hangs again at 49% with 3.8MB left.

[Update 2] Some people say that you just need to try often enough. That didn’t work for me. But I found a couple of *.torrent files in the installation folder which I showed to Vuze. After a couple of minutes, Vuze really started to download them … well, 4 of 5 of them. So I can’t play because no one has the 92666 byte file “sc2-16223-16291-x86-Win-deDE-locale”. Tragic.

StarCraft 2 on openSUSE 11.3 [update]

13. August, 2010

As you may have heard, StarCraft 2 works on Linux. It’s even officially supported by CrossOver Games. It’s only Silver (which means “runs with minor issues”.

One of the issues is that the game crashes at startup or shortly afterwards. This seems to be a kernel bug.

To solve the issue on openSUSE 11.3, you need to install a kernel with version 2.6.35. Luckily this is pretty simple:

  1. Add the repository  with Yast2 (under “Software Repositories”). Give it any name you like.
  2. I suggest to set the priority to 120; that way, the other repositories will be considered first and entries in this new repository won’t pollute your system unless you ask for them.
  3. Open “Software Management” in Yast2
  4. Open the tab “Repositories”
  5. Select the new kernel repository
  6. Locate the package “kernel-desktop” and select it
  7. Click on the “Versions” tab at the bottom
  8. Select the one with version “” (the last digit can be different).
  9. Click “Accept”

Yast2 will download the new kernel and install it. After a reboot, you can enjoy StarCraft II.

[Update] I’ve played the first six single player missions and had no major problems so far. The frame rate could be better but that’s about it.

[Update 2, 11th Nov. 2010] Kernel 2.6.36 has been released. You can find it here.

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