News | Changelogs | Info
- Fixed MovieManager bug
- Fixed possible HDR Mode bug
- Windows 8+ latest updates compatibility fixes
- Changed masterserver name (T-Gamer > PLAYBF2)
- Removed Battlelog checks and button lable (was too lazy to do it nice way)
- Other small changes
Also at the moment this means that the current version have only a new HDUI v2 and all fans of the old HD user interface (if there are any) will have to resort to various tricks to continue using it.
HDRender added to the launcher from the version 2.1 and deservedly can be called one of the most interesting program options. First of all I must say that this function should be used only if your video card has some extra performance margin with the current game settings and if you don't have a High-End video card, I recommend always use the "mode one".
HDRender designed to improve the graphic component of Battlefield by significantly improving the quality of rendering all objects and their textures in the game. For clarity, the picture above shows a tree rendering scheme in the standard mode (with high video settings) and using HDRender. You can immediately notice that by default the entire quality change (geometry and textures) occurs within the first 15% (~100m) of total visibility, that often looks like sudden trees "shape jumps" in the game. Also clearly visible the "hole" between the point where their rendering stops (First label "100") and total visibility boundary, that's why we constantly observe how objects appears suddenly out of nowhere by engine magic. This was done mostly for performance reasons because Refractor 2 engine isn't optimized and takes a lot of GPU. So HDRender shifts the quality switching points further from the player and increases the range of objects drawing beyond the official visibility boundary into the fog zone. Why so?
The whole trick here in the game-specific fog display, we expect the fog line to be uniform and linear, but in BF2 it is far from true. In a certain line-of-sight, the real world rules are respected, but if we changing the viewing angle slightly it becomes clear that this border looks like this:
This is the answer to the last question. To ensure the realism and seamless display of objects in the game world, HDRender increases their visibility a little further from the beginning of the fog. Almost all of the above can be equally related to the rest. Except for the difference in figures, the picture is common for displaying the landscape, buildings, all vehicles and players models.
Values vary depending on the map, for example on maps with maximum visibility, the players models, cars and small secondary static objects disappear at 24% (±10m) of view distance, large vehicles as tanks at 65% and after another ~ 50 meters static medium size objects. With HDRender absolutely all of it will be visible until it disappears behind the fog regardless of viewing angle, moreover, the quality of the models and textures will be significantly improved. Look closely at the picture below, in spite of the fact that its size greatly reduced, you can notice all of what I said.
Here is another example that clearly shows the rendering of soldiers. Part of the picture is enlarged to the original size (captured from 1920p). And this is not the limit - players (and everything else) will always be seen until they turn into a pixel, or disappear in the fog.
Despite the fact that the zoom mode removes some rendering limitations, this example clearly shows a bug where you can't harm the player in the sight just because the billboard wasn't rendered.
Ultra option was used along with HDRender, which slightly affected the pictures colors, keep this in mind.
The new ULauncher version was completely rewritten as a new application and introduced significant changes except main UI which stay the same. This release includes many improvements and new features.
• No dependencies on frameworks, mostly pure WinAPI
• All time-critical sections are written in assembly
• Non-interference policy, doesn't change any files or registry
• One-click masterserver selection, including offline authorization
• Compatibility with other game launchers and Punkbuster
• Game engine optimization
- Integrity check bypass from v1.0 added back, so now you can play on all servers without «Modified content» kicks
- HDUI v2 («High-Definition UI»)
Completely updated HDUI
- new icons
- new fonts
- all the missing glyphs are added
- default kerning was fixed
- new minimap
- new vehicles HUDs
- everything is redrawn in a much better quality
- full-screen TV visors with red targets designators
- resolution check added (to get max visual quality)
- forced english localization
- fixed some game textures bugs
- auto-disable if resolution is less than 1280p
- HD Render - new option for PC with high-performance graphics cards
- Ultra - new option which can make the the game looks even better
- Movie Manager - the game backgrounds manager, allows to quickly replace menu backgrounds, or add new ones
- Virtual key
- Allows you to save your cd-key, which will be used when you join any online servers with ULauncher. Doesn't affect the original key in the registry, which will be used as usual without ULauncher. Since the virtual key is registry independent, it allows you to play even if the record is corrupted, or doesn't exist at all. You can enter key manually or copy and paste it, format isn't important, all the extra characters will be filtered automatically.
- The «radio messages» volume control
- You can use instead of, or together with «Mute radio spam». Allows you to adjust the volume independently for each game round. Activated by pressing hotkey ( Pause/Break by default ) after map loading. Menu hotkey can be changed in the settings by clicking on the keyboard icon near the «Volume» option.
- Added Settings button to open the settings file in the default text editor
- Added Cache button to clear the game cache
- «Muter» algorithm has been improved
- Menu's music changing algorithm has been improved
- Accelerator improved, but the UI acceleration was temporarily disabled
- Removed squad invitations limit
- Fixes a bug for servers with the increased size of squads, when you can't invite more than 5 people
- Added BF2HUB client patch notification and ability to restore it
- Added «fast windowed launch» by holding Shift
As expected, in the overwhelming majority of all problems were reduced to antiviruses. In some cases I have observed that besides the standard protection ( ASLR, Windows Defender, SmartScreen, Windows Firewall, UAC ) and installed third-party antivirus ( ESET~Kaspersky~McAfee etc ), some users has an extra layer of protection (more other anti-malware programs).
And this protection layered pie besides visibility of safety and system solwdown cause correct app launch significantly much more complicated. I even had to see such surprises as fake antiviruses. Now I will not be ironic about OS protection and the recent Microsoft epic fail with Windows Defender | Security Essentials ( although it's really ironic when OS malware protection engine supposed to protect your PC, but in this case it’s working against it and can be exploited remotely without any user interaction ), let's see why antiviruses don't like the launcher.
Modern antiviruses eventually admit their insolvency, now, it is obvious that signature search is useless, heuristic analysis is just as much an art as a science and emulators are not almighty, so just for the life's simplicity any file that can't be analyzed ( or contains functions that could be considered even close to suspicious ) is classified as a malicious, unless! it contains a trusted certificate. Code Signing certificate allows IT developers to digitally sign their software before distribution over the Web. End users downloading your digitally signed program can be confident that the code has actually come from you and has not been modified since it was signed. Since the signature mechanism in most cases uses a pretty complex crypto-stable algorithm, overall confidence level in the signed code has spread and antivirus vendors are also guided by this logic - if the code is signed, then it obviously can not be a virus so it can be trusted a priori. So modern anti-virus products just excludes digitally signed files from scanning by default, which increases AV scanning speed and reduces the probability of false positives. Moreover, signed programs are often automatically whitelisted by various HIPS and similar analyzers. The problem is that the certificate doesn't guarantee the absence of malicious code. There is no need to go far for examples. Not so long ago a well-known (to us all) developer have found a Trojan-Dropper in one of the recent Revive launcher version (which downloads a spy module on victims machine) . The disclosure of this fact would do more harm than good to BF2 community so we decided to didn't advertise it. The author was informed and immediately removed the malicious code by releasing a new launcher version. Therefore his certificate hasn't been revoked and is still valid. Actually Revive project (Battlelog) doesn't exist anymore.
ULauncher doesn't have a signature just because it was originally made for our community internal usage, and obviously we know that it's safe, so there is absolutely no need to waste time and money for the certificate purchasing. At the same time, it has some built-in protection, which makes its analysis more difficult and gives antiviruses heuristics reasons for suspicion. None of the existing for today online AV services can't analyze it and all what you can get from them is something prefixed like Gen\Susp etc (what in fact means «hmm... well, it looks like some unknown virus»), the users antiviruses can do more but in most cases will behave as was written above. That's why you need to add the game folder to the exceptions. And if you have more than one PC security solution installed, make sure that each one is is set up properly.
In a perfect world, ULauncher would be a small opensource project somewhere on GitHub ( the actual size of the compiled full-featured program code without GUI is not more than 80kb ), but unfortunately our world is far from perfect and additional protection is a necessary evil, which brings the lion's share of the program bugs and valid environment requirements. I'll say it again - ULauncher isn't quite a public project it wasn't made to work for everyone and everywhere, there are some not the most universal solutions in its code ( for the most part because of my laziness, but still ), however, for the most of users everything should work just fine.
Scheme which I've done for you at the beginning of this post is a dramatically simplified version of the program execution flow ( in real life it's much more complicated and doesn't always work that way, but again for simplicity of life, such an interpretation is good enough for us ). All that after any program launch will be between the compiler functions calls and OS kernel calls we combine into one abstract «WinAPI subsystem» block. This memory area mostly contains the system libraries code and is fairly predictable. Modern antiviruses almost never work with this range and control everything within the system kernel (SSDT, IRP, mini-filter etc) but in rare cases some AVS can temporarily change the userspace code (until OS restart). But for some software dealing with this memory ranges it's the usual things and there is nothing wrong with that. Malicious software also likes to fool around with executable code and in most cases due to system limited rights all manipulations is taking place exactly at this memory block. When you start ULauncher, it checks the correctness of those code fragments which it interacts with and if some anomalies detected in the way, he would prefer not to risk and exit safely and since the check only affects the most critical moments, problems occur only with antiviruses and bad coded software tricks. In the first week of the alpha-test launcher has helped to identify malware in two users machines ( with antiviruses installed ) and started up normally immediately after manual PC cleaning. Damaged (infected) system files can also be the cause of the inability to run the launcher, then best solution is old good sfc /scannow.
In one of the cases, for a long time I couldn't understand what the problem was, and after several debugging attempts I found out that current virtual machine version ( yes, ULauncher executed under a virtual machine, which takes up almost the entire file size btw ) sometimes has problems with DEP disabled so if the launcher doesn't start, make sure it's turned on.In spite of everything Google has done his evil job and the alpha test went far beyond not only our community and I have received messages from different countries, however, the picture was the same everywhere and all the problems were limited to what is written above. At the moment, I don't plan to spend much time developing, but I'll try to fix the founded bugs and do some optimization as far as possible, so the feedbacks are still welcomed.