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Descent 3 - Descent 3 dedicated server tool for Windows
Written by Thomas   
Friday, 19 October 2012 09:02

 

This article is meant to help troubleshooting some common issues with the Descent 3 server tool D3Server3 and dedicated Descent 3 servers hosted by it.

 

Most recent version of D3Server3

Before you begin troubleshooting you should ensure that you have the latest version of the server tool D3Server3. Have a look at the release notes and compare it with what D3Server3 tells you when you click on the About button in its main window to check if you have the latest version.

If both versions are different you can either download and install the latest version or switch automatic updates on:

D3Server3GlobalOptsUpdates

Note that this may not work on very old versions (earlier than 3.0.39, which would be at least several years old). As a general rule of thumb, if you have a file called D3Server3.ini in the folder where D3Server3.exe resides, turning on automatic updates and their downloads can fix your issue. If the file D3Server3.ini is not present you should go to Download D3Server3 and download and install the latest version.

 

Regarding update checks and automatic downloading of new versions, here are a few more well-known issues:

Warning: Version check failed.

Error: Automatic update failed.

Error: Update download failed.

Error: Failed to receive file.

Less recent versions of D3Server3 used very tight timeout values for HTTP requests and responses. If you encounter one of these errors or warnings it could be that the version of D3Server3 you're currently running is too old and its timeout values are too low. The original D3Server3 had been developed and tested by using permanent and powerful internet lines within just a few selected countries. More recent versions have been tested within many more countries and lots of dial-up lines. If you keep receiving those errors or warnings, and if you're sure that you haven't got a firewall or any other network issue within your own local network, you need at least D3Server3 version 3.1.0. This is the first version that increased the timeout values from 2 seconds to 30 seconds. It is very likely that more recent versions allow for even higher values.

Version 3.1.7 of D3Server3 reintroduced a bug that had been in the software in several versions before already. Once the update failed it could never be put in a state of which it recovered to successfully update again. In this case you'll need to download at least 3.1.8.0 or any newer version for the update process to work again. Did I already mention that it's always a good idea to use the very latest version of D3Server3? Laughing

However, there are other reasons why you might receive those errors or warnings. One example is if you haven't used D3Server3's installation program or if you opted to not let it create the necessary entries for the Windows firewall. Maybe you also received a warning from Windows that informed you that the server tool requested access to the internet but you wouldn't let it. This can also cause the update functions to not work.

Allow D3Server3.exe within the Windows firewall configuration explicite access to the internet by selecting the executable file directly.

 

User Account Control (UAC)

Microsoft has introduced something wonderful for Windows users. They called it User Account Control and it might save (or maybe it even has already saved) many Windows users from disaster.

As wonderful and delighted this may sound for many computer users, running D3Server3 requires that you are an Administrator on your machine and that UAC is turned off.

D3Server3 is a long-running server application that controls other processes (the Descent3 dedicated servers). It is a 32 bit application only, and an enabled UAC on a 64 bit system is going to fool around with it. D3Server3 can run as a Windows service but also interactively. Without being able to re-gain control during the switch you'll lose the server processes in nimbo, and the game trackers would not be able to contact the correct ones again. The automatic restart and updates cannot work reliably either.

See Disabling User Account Control (UAC) on Windows Server at the Microsoft support pages. Use a similar procedure to switch UAC off on any other Windows operating system to run D3Server3.

I'm not saying that it's impossible to run D3Server3 with UAC turned on, but I'm afraid without a lot of experience, extensive knowledge about permissions and user groups, file system access, virtual redirection ("virtualisation"), etc. you'll cause yourself a lot of unnecessary headache, in particular if you also intend to run the software as a Windows service and use server events.

So, make sure UAC is turned off before using D3Server3.

 

Vortex doesn't show the real mission name. It only shows the .mn3 filename.

When you host a dedicated D3 server with D3Server3 and then check with Vortex if the mission has been announced to the game trackers properly your server only shows up with its mn3 file's name instead of the real mission name.

This is most likely a firewall issue on your end. All servers automatically show up with the filename of the .mn3 filename, no matter whether the trackers can reach the servers or not. Once Gamespy can connect to your server it'd show the correct mission name, but because it can't it only displays what the game server has told it.

Make sure you have port forwarding set up correctly on your router. The Gamespy port should be forwarded to the machine that hosts the dedicated server(s).

 

I also had this issue every now and then with a LevelOne router which was obviously broken. Every now and then all servers would only show up with their .mn3 filenames. A router reset solved it for about two weeks, then the issue came back again. A new router restart solved it again for another two weeks and so on. Maybe a firmware upgrade would have solved it, but fortunatley the router died completely after a few months anyway and needed a replacement. Since then the problem never came back apart from once, when the ports were accidentally forwarded to the wrong computer (see above).

 

I have a custom msn file in my Descent 3 folder but D3Server3 keeps deleting/overwriting it.

Older versions of D3Server3 only create msn files if "Loop on" has been selected in the dedicated server's configuration. Newer versions also try to provide up-to-date download links by creating msn files with the correct download URLs (links) in them. This is intentional. To avoid that D3Server3 overwrites or deletes your custom msn file(s) set the file write-protected. Right-click on it in Explorer and protect it against overwriting. D3Server3 won't touch the file if it is write-protected. If it does, you have an awfully outdated version of D3Server3. Update to the latest version, ensure that checking for automatic updates and automatically download and install new versions is turned on, then try again. It should work this time.

 

Bug reports and feature requests

Both, bug reports and feature requests should go here. There's also the Descent3 ServerOps forum, which I try and check regularly but I can't promise it. In case you post at the ServerOps forum, please drop me a line here to let me know that you did.

 

 

 .

Last Updated on Tuesday, 29 October 2013 17:24
 
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Re: Troubleshooting D3Server3 and Descent 3 dedicated servers
Oct 29 2013 17:17:42
I corrected
...with UAC turned off
to
...with UAC turned on
. No idea what I thought when I wrote this.

However, the text is still incorrect, though. In the meantime I think it is not possible to run D3Server3 with UAC on unless the server OP is permanently in front of the computer.

I tested the tool today on Windows 8 with UAC on and an AVAST virus scanner.

Not only UAC prevents D3Server3 from running without permanent interaction but the AVAST suite has a similar effect by trying to be ways too protective against the software.

That's not very appealing for a server application, though.
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