Saturday, May 27, 2023

Remote Desktop Connection Stuck In Please Wait State

When opening a remote desktop session, there are times when its stuck in a "Please Wait" state.

The workaround for this is the following -

  1. Open Powershell in Administrator mode
  2. Run the following query -
  3. "query user /server:[server_name]"
  4. Take note of the sessionname
  5. Run the following query -
  6. "reset session [session_name] /server:[server_name]"

This should reset the session and allow logging into the server via remote desktop.

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Cyberpunk 2077 (PC) Review

Where do I even begin talking about Cyberpunk 2077? It's a very divisive game, and while I believe it was somewhat redeemed by the developers, it is a cautionary tale about hype, false advertising, and misleading marketing. It was beyond disappointing because CD Project Red, who gave us the fantastic Witcher 3, failed so spectacularly. I intend to talk about the events leading up to the launch of the game, the disastrous launch and the redemption that followed.


Cyberpunk 2077 was first revealed in 2012. There was a lot of buzz around the announcement at the time. I didn't have much of an opinion about this. I haven't played The Witcher, and CDPR was not on my radar. I was too busy playing Battlefield 3. With limited time to devote to gaming, I had to pick and choose my games and Witcher didn't make the cut.

It wasn't until the release of Witcher 3, that the series and the developer caught my attention. Witcher 3 was hailed as one of the best games of all time. The footage I had seen was very impressive. I wanted to get into the world of Witcher, so I proceeded to play all the games and the expansions. Witcher 1 and 2 had a lot of issues (both technical and game design), but Witcher 3 and its expansions addressed all the issues, and they remain the best single player games I played to this day, even better than the original Deus Ex.

After finishing Blood and Wine in June 2018, which I immensely enjoyed, I could not wait to play the next game from CDPR. Their games are released on GOG without any DRM, and this makes them an exemplary company, in my opinion. At this point, the release of Cyberpunk 2077 was a little over two years away. intended to buy the game at launch, which I rarely do for single player games.

The game was scheduled to be released at the end of 2020. However, the onset of the pandemic in early 2020 had a huge impact on game release (along with everything else).


I did not buy the game at launch. I decided to wait for the reviews, and that was a good thing. The launch was an unmitigated disaster. It goes to show that any company can succumb to release deadlines and cutting corners.

The game had so much promise and potential, but the disastrous launch disappointed many, and threatened the future of the game, and the franchise. On old gen consoles it was supposedly unplayable, which led to Sony removing the game from their digital storefront, and both Microsoft and Sony issued refunds to gamers who purchased the game through them.

Cyberpunk 2077 was lambasted in the media. It was quite clear that the game was launched to meet the holiday sales quota. The highs and lows of Cyberpunk are quite incredible. All the good will that CDPR built up to this point appeared to have been lost.

Some wrote this game off as a lost cause.


Soon after the awful launch, CDPR issued a statement and went on to release some much needed fixes to the game. The December patch fixed some problems with the game, but it was nowhere near the quality we got to expect from CDPR. There are still a lot of issues with the game, especially with NPC behavior, graphical glitches and performance problems.

Patch 1.6 Edgerunners Update adds some much needed features to the game. I started playing this game after the release of Patch 1.5, and during my playthrough Patch 1.6 was released. I did not have to put up with all the issues, but I still felt that there was some depth lacking in certain aspects of the game. The lofty claims of the developers were still not quite realized.

Open World

There is something surreal about the atmosphere of Night City. CDPR did something magical with the setting. The city is a wonderful playground.

To anyone looking to play CP2077, I would thoroughly recommend using bikes. There are some nice cars to be found in the city, but even the nicest car did not compare to riding a bike especially in first person mode. Weaving between traffic at high speed is an exhilarating experience. There some driving issues here and there with bikes, but generally speaking, they are a LOT of fun. I avoided using cars because I did not like the driving physics. I believe there are mods that tweak this, but I have not tried it.

There is no vehicle customization in the game and I think this is a huge missed opportunity. This would have elevated experience to a whole new level. I spent many hours riding bikes in Night City. On an ultra-wide monitor with all settings maxed out, the game is a fantastic experience. I am not sure there is any other open world RPG that managed to do what CDPR did with Night City. This is especially why the lack of any vehicle customization, cosmetic and otherwise is very disappointing.

The skyline in Night City is amazing. It appears photo realistic. Its a real treat to walk around Night City, with RTX enabled. The reflections, especially in certain areas at night where the lighting is just right, its so unbelievably beautiful.

Witcher 3's world is vast and expansive, and in contrast Cyberpunk's map isn't nearly as big, but its very dense, and there are a lot of activities. There are so many skirmishes that happen in the world which the player can engage in, and also a number of fairly interesting side missions. I really enjoyed the random assault encounters. They are a lot of fun. I would rate the world of Cyberpunk to be on par with Witcher 3. I love the open world in both games for entirely different reasons.


There is a wide variety of weapons such as smart pistols, shotguns, ARs, sniper rifles, and plenty of melee weapons. I gravitated mostly towards LMGs, pistols and shotguns. I did not use any of the smart weapons in the game. There is room for character customization which allows the player to make a build of their choosing, which can specialize in a specific type of weapons.

Shotguns and revolvers feel excellent. The LMG also packs a punch. Combat can definitely get easy as you progress in the game. I switched the difficulty to Hard half way through the game. Once I leveled up enough, combat became a lot easier. My character was too powerful for most enemies. I could wipe out an entire battalion of enemies with every little effort.

I want to do another playthrough of the game and focus on other weapons, such as ARs, and sniper rifles. I also did not spend much time with melee and smart weapons. I have future plans to revisit the game and try a very different character. Perhaps when I build a new muchine in 2025. If I end up doing another play through, I will be sure to add an update.


I confess I did not understand parts of the story. I cannot tell you why Johnny Silverhand is hell bent on taking down the Arisaka corporation. Nor can I tell you what exactly happened at the end, but the ride itself was quite enjoyable. While it was not an incoherent mess, I could not relate to the grievances of Johnny Silverhand. Keanu Reeves voice acting is quite excellent, but some of the lines he had to utter were definitely cringe inducing.

I loved the final mission. It was a lot of fun. Rogue was the stand out side character for me There weren't any truly bad characters, but I didn't think they were quite as memorable as the characters in Witcher 3. This does not make it a bad game or anything in my opinion, but as I look back, I dont find myself thinking about how great certain characters were, like I do with Witcher 3. We shall see if the DLC changes any of that. Witcher 3 DLC characters were fnatasitc, especially in Hearts of Stone. There are some pretty neat easter eggs thrown in.

The player gets to choose the starting point of the story. I played as the Nomad. To my knowledge, the consequence of this is fairly minor. This is not like Witcher 2, where choosing one option locks a whole area off to the player for the entire play through.

This was not well received by some players. I didnt bother me one way or another. I felt like I got the full experience of a nomad.


I was fortunate enough to play the game on a very powerful PC. I am glad I waited to play this on my PC because the game looks fantastic. On a 3080Ti, at 3440x1440 with RTX and DLSS on, the game is truly breathtaking, no pun intended.

Without DLSS, the frame rate takes a big hit on performance with RTX on. However, RTX really elevates the game, so I recommend playing the game with a card capable of ray tracing.


This is a divisive game, and even after most of the issues were addressed, some folks feel that it is too shallow. I tend to agree that some of the mechanics are quite shallow. That said, the overall game is very enjoyable. Considering that it sells at a discount most of the time, I recommend it.

Do temper your expectations. Enjoy the game for what it is, do not go into it expecting it to be groundbreaking like Witcher 3, because its not, and it will be disappointing. However, it is a damn good RPG, and the graphics are up there with the best. This game realizes the Cyberpunk world extremely well. The crowd AI definitely leaves a lot to be desired, but I can overlook this because the enemy AI, and the world design is very well done.

I cannot speak for the console experience, but on a PC, especially one with a medium/high end GPU, this game is amazing experience.

Verdict - Must Play

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Private Internet Access - Request Timed Out Issue

Short Story

I had to update the firmware on my TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Switch to resolve the connectivity issues when using a VPN client. I installed Build 20220930 (Published Date: 2022-10-12 ) and that took care of the problem.

Long Story

My plan was to self host my blog using PIA VPN's static IP feature. My website is currently on Blogger, and I get the feeling that Blogger has been abandoned by Google, and won't be around for much longer. Also, this will be some much needed experience with some basic frontend web development, and I could create my own CI/CD process etc.

I did not want to host the website on my main server, so I decided to provision a Windows 11 VM (my Linux skills are subpar, and also I get to play with Windows 11, which I haven't a chance yet) and create my first prototype website. I did the necessary networking in VMWare Player 17; I created a bridged connection so that I could RDP into the VM if I needed to.

Having installed the PIA VPN client, I noticed that my connection was extremely unstable. Running the following command would result in Request timed out.

ping -t

At first I thought there was something wrong with the VPN service. I disabled the firewall, tried a combination of VPN related settings, and nothing seemed to help. I began searching for any reported outages etc., but there didn't seem to be any. NOTE: I have not yet purchased the static IP. I was only testing the viability of using a VPN to host a website and if I couldn't even get a stable connection, there is no point in self hosting.

After many hours of troubleshooting over a course of few weeks, I gave up on the idea until yesterday when I decided to give it another go. As a part of troubleshooting process, I installed PIA VPN (with default settings) on the main home server, and noticed the same issue. Whenever I am connected to VPN, I had a ton of packet loss. I realized that there was something else going on here, and its not just the VM or PIA service that was having issues.

I decided to connect to PIA VPN (with the settings shown) from my main gaming machine, and monitored ping to at the same time from both the main server and gaming machine, and I noticed that the gaming machine had no packet loss whatsoever. This obviously rules out PIA VPN.

At this point, it dawned on me that the gaming machine is connected directly to the cable modem, whereas the main server is connected via the TP-LINK switch. I started exploring the settings of the switch itself through the web interface and changing them did not help. As a last ditch effort, I decided to upgrade the firmware. The existing firmware was from 2021 version. Unfortunately, I did not take a note of the exact firmware version. I attempted to update to TL-SG108E(UN)_V6_1.0.0 Build 20230218. This was unsuccessful. I downloaded the next latest version, which was from 2022, TL-SG108E(UN)_V6_1.0.0 Build 20220930.

Updating to this version was successful...sort of. Once I kicked off the upgrade process, the switch rebooted, but the Easy Smart Configuration Utility would show that the update was still at 84%, however, this might just be the UI not updating, because closing an reopening the utility showed that the upgrade was successful.

Following the upgrade to TL-SG108E(UN)_V6_1.0.0 Build 20220930, I am no longer getting the packet loss. Hopefully, this will help someone out there looking to resolve connectivity issues, especially when using a VPN service.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter Review (PC)

Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter was released for the PC in May 2006. I remember playing the demo way back in the day, and my computer could barely keep up with it. The big marketing point at the time was the advanced physics capabilities of the game on PC. This title was supposed to take advantage of Ageia’s PhysX card. This was of course before Nvidia incorporated PhysX into GPUs, which I am glad they did. Imagine having to install a GPU and PPU to get the full experience.

I got this game as a part of Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Pack on Steam in May 2012 for $7.49. This included the original Ghost Recon games as well as G.R.A.W and G.R.A.W 2. However, these two games are no longer available for purchase on Steam or on UbiSoft Connect. I am not sure why this is the case, but there are forum posts that suggest that this is because of a licensing issue between Grin (the Swedish software company that made the PC version) and UbiSoft. Unfortunate. It appears that UbiSoft has this habit of abandoning games. Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X games were also met with the same fate.

Apparently it is possible to download this game because its in copyright limbo, having been abandoned by UbiSoft, and Grin has gone bankrupt. There is a link to be found here, but I have not tested this.

Playing this game 17 years later, on an i7 6700k with a 1080Ti, I have to say it does not look great, and that is not necessarily a slight against the fidelity of graphics, but its the art style that is rather poor. It is after all a product of its time. On the console, it was very much like a generic third person shooter from the mid 2000s complete with a brown color pallette, and obnoxious UI. While the game plays very differently on the PC, i.e., as a tactical shooter, it still retains the brown aesthetic, which is not something I consider anything remotely beautiful. That said, the runs very well, when its not getting bogged down by visual glitches. The UI fairly minimal on the PC. The hud is very clean looking, and modern titles should learn a thing or two about designing a clean UI.

The levels are very well designed. Often times there are multiple ways of approaching an objective. This can be useful in the later missions where the most obvious approach may not be the most ideal. Its always beneficial to look for an alternative route. The gameplay is very slow. Typically, it takes about one or two shots to kill an enemy. the physics in the game pale in comparison to anything a modern title has to offer, that said, I can see how it was revolutionary for its time. There were part of the game, where I used the physics in the game to gain advantage over the enemies. For example, I shot at the wheels of a vehicle, which caused it to dip lower, revealing the enemy. Little details like this really elevate the game.

This brings me to weapon selection. It is underwhelming to say the least. Since enemies die so quickly, there is no reason to try different weapons. I played most of the game with Scar-L. I tried Scar-H, but there is no notable advantage to this weapon because of the damage model. I played a little bit with the M249, and it was not great. Side arm selection is equally anaemic. There is an automatic Glock which is very powerful, and there are a couple of SMGs. I went with M8 Compact. Equipping this with a suppressor made it very handy at hip fire. 

The overhead map is very useful. It can used to set waypoints and issue orders to your team, which can include tanks at times. Of course, this highlights the AI path finding, which is not very good. There are many instances where the teammates would not obey the orders given, they stop short of where I instructed them to go, and at other times, their AI is extremely competent, and will quick scope enemies. Its very inconsistent. The good thing is, even if your teammate gets killed in a mission, they are available again in the following mission, provided the mission designed for it. Some missions are solo mission, but you are given the command of a drone, which is very useful for spotting enemies.

The last two missions are particularly brutal with how the checkpoints are located. In the 10th mission, it felt as if they forgot to include a checkpoint towards the end, which resulted in a section that I had to repeat about 10 times. Extremely frustrating. This did however result in one of the most tense encounters in a game that I had in a very long time.

Playing this game now is a little bit challenging because of the technical issues. The two main game breaking issues that everyone is going to encounter are:

  • The middle mouse button, which is supposed to issue orders on the fly, does not work.
  • Ready To Bear mission will immediately start to glitch up on starting.
There are fixes available for it online, while they are not particularly complicated, and I tried my best to document the fixes, depending on how someone acquired the game, it may or may not be possible to apply the fixes easily.

In addition to this there are texture flickering issues which would cause the visuals to completely glitch revealing a wire frame of the level, and this has been useful at times because I could see enemy location behind walls, and as far as I know, there is no fix for this.

It seems to me that the only way to buy this game now, if you don't already own it on any digital distribution platform is to buy the CD version. Do I think its worth the trouble? Not particularly. There are enough technical issues here for me to not recommend this game. I will write my opinion on G.R.A.W 2 when I get around to it. Maybe in 2024.

+ Level design
+ Physics

- Technical issues
- Inconsistent checkpoints
- De-listed everywhere
- Poor weapon selection
- Frustrating Teammate AI

Verdict - Not recommended.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Fix Error When VT-x (Virtualization) is Enabled in VMWare Player

I was unable to enable virtualization on my Windows 10 VM on a Windows 10 host. I did have virtualization enabled in the BIOS, but that didn't seem to help. When I check the box to enable this feature, Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI, I would get an error. 


I want this feature enabled to run Docker in my VM.

This is my system configuration:

  • Microsoft Windows 10 Pro
    • Version 10.0.19045 Build 19045
  • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-6700K CPU @ 4.00GHz, 4008 Mhz, 4 Core(s), 8 Logical Processor(s)
  • American Megatrends Inc. 1.I0, 6/26/2018
  • Installed Physical Memory (RAM) 32.0 GB
  • Realtek High Definition Audio
  • Killer E2400 Gigabit Ethernet Controller
  • Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
  • Samsung SSD 850 EVO 500GB
  • WDC WD10EZEX-08WN4A0

I know my computer is more than capable of running a VM with virtulization. I did some searching, and I found several powershell commands out there, and running them did not help. I did some digging and realized that not all the Windows features that prevent using virtualization were removed.

I resolved this problem by doing this:

  1. Open Turn Windows features on or off.
  2. Turn off the following features:
    • Hyper-V
    • Virtual Machine Platform
    • aWindows Hypervisor Platform
    • Windows Sandbox
    • Windows Subsystem for Linux
  3. Save and restart the computer.
  4. Open VMWare Player
  5. Select the VM and edit the VM settings
  6. Enable Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT or AMD-V/RVI

Once the virtual machine is up and running, install Docker. This will require installing WSL2 in the VM. If everything is done right, Docker should start successfully.

How To Fix Middle Mouse Button To Give Orders - Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter (Steam)

This is a fix for the middle mouse button not working when giving orders in Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter. I am using the Steam version for this, but I would imagine this fix will work on any PC version.

1. Navigate to the following location:
E:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter\Settings

2. Open the following file in a text editor:

3. Change the following line:
<button id="hud_select" binding="2" device="mouse" group="misc"/>

To this:

<button id="hud_select" binding="2" device="mouse" group="tactics"/>

4. Save the file and start the game.

Here is a video showing this process.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Stepping Out - Brief Initial Thoughts on Doom (2016)

I put off playing Doom (2016) for many years because I wanted to have a machine powerful enough to play it. After finishing Gun yesterday, which was a thoroughly mediocre shooter, I was in the mood for something good. Considering that I am now fortunate enough to own a fantastic computer, I decided now is the time.

To this day, I avoided all media related to this game. After watching the gameplay reveal video many years ago, I decided this game needs to be experienced without any spoilers.

I am glad I did this. In my opinion, this game probably has the best introduction of any game, ever.

Following this excellent opening, you get to step out of the confined location you find yourself in and into the open world, and seeing the fantastic world in front of you is truly breathtaking.

It reminded me of the time I played Fallout 3 for the first time, and I stepped out of the vault.

The art design of this game is totally something else. I will review this game once I am done playing it. I get the feeling I am in for a real treat.

GUN (PC) Review

I first played this game in 2009, and I never ended up finishing it. I recently picked up the GOG version and I beat the game. The game is fun for the most part, but there are aspects that really set it back.

The story is set in late 19th century America, specifically in the Old West, and involves finding the lost city of Quivira, where this is lot of gold to be mined.

Its somewhat of an open world game, and the player gets to backtrack between cities. There are quite a few side missions as well, and completing these missions reward the player with cash, which can be used to buy weapons and upgrades. I had a very tough time in certain missions and I think its because I didn't do any of the side missions. I went straight for the main missions. I think this was a mistake. Not having weapon upgrades make the game a lot more difficult even on Normal difficulty. 

The game has a thoroughly budget feel to it. It is a poor man's Red Dead Redemption.

The save system is confusing. It appears that you can save the game at any point, but when you load the game (and you have to quit the current game to do so), it begins at the start of the mission. There is no auto checkpoint system to go along with the manual save system. There were times when I forgot to manually save the game, and I lost progress. Very annoying. I would much rather have a manual save system, and a quick save system, but modern games have taught me to expect a checkpoint system, which I loathe.

The story is well told, and the voice acting is quite good. I remember thinking this when I was playing the game, and I later learned that the voice actors included some Hollywood talent, not that having Hollywood actors voice lines in a video game necessarily makes the gameplay any better. 

Visually, the game looks alright. There is no support for widescreen resolutions. I played the game at 1600x1200. I have a computer that is dedicated to playing older games, and on a 1080p monitor, the game is very playable. I would not play this game on my ultrawide monitor because it would not scale very well, and it would end up looking awful. 

I had to reduce the mouse movement speed all the way to 0 within the game, because my Razer DeathAdder's sensor is perhaps way too sensitive for this game. I was having issues with camera control on default settings. The game is a console port, and it shows. The interface, controls are all made with a console in mind. I feel for those that bought this game at full price on the PC.

By far the worst aspect of this game are the boss battles. They are horrible. It feels as if the enemies cheat, and have wall hacks the way can shoot you when you peak from behind the cover for a second. This gets really annoying towards the end. I had to find a way to cheese my way through because it was damn near impossible to play fair and square.

Its possible that the reason I had this problem because I did not play any of the side missions, however, that means there is a problem with scaling the difficulty of the boss battles.

If you can find the game for less than $2, and you are curious to check out this forgotten game, then go for it. Any price more than that is not worth it, in my opinion.

+ Voice acting
+ Visuals in certain locations
+ Gun play in general

- Boss battles
- General budget feel of the game
- Weird save system

Verdict - Worth about $2.

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Assassin's Creed Unity (PC) is Looking Good

I recently started playing Assassin's Creed Unity after briefly watching Whitelight's video on this game. I had this game in my library for a long time, but I just haven't gotten around to it. I finished Black Flag and Rogue earlier this year, and those are the only two AC games I finished to date. After playing other games for a while, the time felt right to get back into an Assassin's Creed game.

When I first started this game, my impressions were not great. It felt less polished than Black Flag (which is understandable given its launch). However, once I scaled up the Notre-Dame cathedral my view on this game changed for the better. The game looks beautiful. Climbing up to the top of the cathedral and scanning the vista was done very well. I get the feeling that there is something very special about this game. Whether or not it lives up to its potential remains to be seen. As with all UbiSoft open world games, there is a lot of bloat in terms of collectibles, missions, etc.

I wonder if this is the largest Assassins's Creed in terms of map size at this point. The crowd density was a talking point, and I have mixed feelings about it. The crowd AI is nowhere near as sophisticated as the trailer suggested. Some of the animations can be very clunky.

There are also technical issues with the game. I was able to get the game running running fine at 3440x1440 resolution. I had to run this in a borderless window mode to prevent the game from resizing all the other windows I have open in my secondary display. In addition to this, recording videos at 60FPS in ShadowPlay causes jittering in the video files. I had to reduce the video capture frame rate to 30FPS to get stable recordings.

I haven't formed a strong opinion on the rest of the game, but so far, I am enjoying it. Unlikely as it might be, my hope is that this game will surpass Black Flag as the best Assassin's Creed game.