First off, Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Go forth and kill a snake. Or drink a green beer. Or … something!
Second off, sorry for the lack of updates lately. I haven’t been feeling well. I took my wife to the hospital for tests a while back and, of course, got sick. (Because hospitals aren’t exactly places of congregation of the healthy.) I got “well” in that I kicked the disease quickly enough. But because I had to get some time-critical work done, I hadn’t been taking days off to rest, so it was just a struggle day-in, day-out, with weekends barely just giving me enough time to keep going. I literally could pull myself together just enough for work. I didn’t have enough left in me for blogging. So anywhen, sometime in the future I’ll go through my notes and backdate posts, as I tend to do. Now that I can take time to recover.
Third, the main point of this blog. So I’ve been playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky lately. I recently-ish bought it on Steam for dirt cheap. Even though I hate, detest, abhor Steam, and almost always make sure to buy the disk instead of the music, game, or movie because of rights issues, this one time I caved and “downloaded” the game. From Steam no less. I’m a hypocrite of convenience. I hate myself. But I’ll get over it.
Anyway, so I’ve been playing S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky and enjoying it. I think it might actually even rate as one of my favorite video games. I wish I’d bought it sooner. It’s a lot better than the first. Not just in being more of a challenge, or in being able to do simple basic things like repair an item, but it just all plays / feels / works so much better. I especially like the upgrades and the item maintenance. (Even if I still don’t understand why you can’t do stupid things like permanently tack weld a scope to a Viper 5.) Except for, you know, the bugs. Those darn little things that forced me to restart the game because the main plot device broke and I was eternally stuck. Nerf! Oh well.
But so the thing is, just this weekend the darn game kept crashing. Not even crashing out of the game, but in a weird in-game-ish stuck thing where it was like the underlying engine was still running, but the 3D graphics portion had crashed. So there was no longer a user interface. It just became a black screen with a mouse cursor. That’s it. Sometimes it’d be in the middle of playing. Sometimes just in the menu trying to load a game or change 3D settings. (Trying to debug the crashing.) And sometimes even while the advertisement logo movies played while starting up the game! It was absurd!
After much gnashing of teeth, trying offline mode in Steam, even trying to set the CD key in multi-player even though the single-player game doesn’t really use the CD key, I was going crazy.
Until I thought about it. I’d just seen Windows do an update. Could that somehow be it?
I know, I know, I really should turn off the automatic updates because Microsoft does throw out some real turds. And this was one of them.
Update KB2670838 happens to update Windows 7 with some changes to Direct3D, DirectDraw, etc. Yup. Damn. And sure enough, Microsoft “fixed” Direct 3D just enough to make S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky incredibly completely totally bonkers unstable.
Well nerds to that!
So I uninstalled Windows Update KB 2670838 and sure enough, S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky is nice and stable again. Imagine that.
So if you still play S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky, I hope you find this blog because chances are, right now you’re not playing it because of this bug in Microsoft’s “fix” to whatever problems they thought they had.
Or, honestly, goodness how many other video games are crashing right now because of KB2670838. Heck, programs in general. Movie players. Who knows what else uses those engines? I don’t know what Microshaft is thinking about releasing that PoS, but that update was most definitely neither thoroughly tested nor kosher.
So be warned! If you play video games, pay close attention to how often things crash after you install KB 2670838. You just may find yourself uninstalling that particular Microsoft update!