Blizzard Hearthstone Blank Screen Not Responding FIX

If you are trying to play Hearthstone, now in open BETA, and are having a problem where as soon as you hit the Play button the screen or window goes dark and the process in the task manager says it’s “Not Responding”, I may have a fix for you.

I had this very same problem and after no help from the forums or tech support, I figured it out myself. Really it was just basic troubleshooting. Getting to the part that helped me with the problem, I disabled my firewall and associated agents (I am running Avast Internet Security, one of the best), the game suddenly ran fine! Imagine that. That meant that the problem was with my firewall. Sure enough, I re-enabled everything and the game stopped working, went right back to the blank screen.

So, here is where the fix comes in. Even if you aren’t running Avast, this could be your problem regardless of what brand of firewall you are running. Check out what I found and see if you have the same problem with your firewall.

I went into the settings and in the application specific rules section, where firewall rules are associated with specific executable programs, I found rules for the Blizzard Agent, the Updater and many more, even the Hearthstone Setup executable. What I did not find was any rule for the Hearthstone game app at all! They had rules for everything but the game itself! So, I simply added a rule for the Hearthstone executable itself

C:\Program Files(x86)\Heartstone\Hearthstone.exe on my system

and then all went well after that, the game ran fine. The whole problem was that the game executable could not talk through the firewall. Once that was enabled, everyone was happy, including me! I hope that helps you with your problem.

More Hacking Without The Slashing

Blizzard Ninja ProtectionIt seems that earlier this week (8/5/2012 –  8/11/2012) the network and I am sure some servers at Blizzard, the game company behind most notably World of Warcraft got hacked. A list of games that are either played or are accessible online are at the end of this post for your reference in order to help determine if this company is behind a game that you play/like.

At this time, Blizzard “security experts”, and law enforcement are investigating what happened. They are working to find out how someone managed to get into parts of Blizzard’s network where they didn’t belong, but also what information might have been lifted before the nefarious access could be cut off Go Here. So far, Blizzard claims that at this time there is no evidence that any financial information such as credit cards, billing addresses, or real names were compromised. Their work is far from over, but they have found nothing to suggest that these pieces of information have been accessed.

The only information that they can confirm was illegally accessed include a list of email addresses for global Battle.net users, outside of China. Players on North American servers (which include players from North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia) had information regarding the answers to personal security questions accessed, and even information about Dial-in and Mobile Authenticators was gotten too. However, based on what Blizzard currently knows, this information alone is not enough for anyone to gain access to players Battle.net accounts.

It appears too that some encrypted passwords were taken as well, however, Blizzard is confident that their encryption methods and use of SRP (Secure Remote Password protocol) to protect these passwords, will make it extremely difficult to extract the actual passwords themselves. They do recommend that all Battle.net users change their passwords for good measure, and take care if the password used here is or was used anywhere else, for any other services, and recommend changing that password also.

All in all, this is a bad way to end the week for Blizzard. I expect that a great effort will go into finding whoever did this, catching them, and using them as a bright and shiny example of not messing around with Blizzard. Just my 2cp worth.

*Notes: Other games that Blizzard is known for and currently active with include World of Warcraft, Diablo II, Diablo III, StarCraft II and more. However, these are the most relevant and Internet connected of them.

Gratuitous Space Battles and the error “Failed to initialize 3d engine”

Gratuitous Space BattlesHowdy folks, here is a tip for some of you gamers out there.  I don’t know how many this might help, but as with some of the other posts on this site, this tip comes from figuring out an error that I ran into myself, so I thought I would share the solution with everyone.  This relates to the game Gratuitous Space Battles, but this type of fix might be something that could fix other games as well, who knows.  This tip does involve deleting files, so as always, be sure to have an appropriate backup in case you need to put them back!

OK, on to the good stuff weight loss fast pills.  I have the game Gratuitous Space Battles and I rather enjoy playing it.  I purchased it through Steam and up until now, haven’t had any trouble running it.  I installed it recently on my laptop, which is acting as a fill in for my main computer since my Alienware desktop finally died on me.  What this means is, I hadn’t had this game installed on my laptop before, but I had the contents of “My Documents” from my desktop restored to my laptop since it was now my main machine, the desktop where GSB had in fact been installed.

I tried the game yesterday for the first time and when it started up, all looking like normal, I received the following error:

Failed to initialize 3d engine

I tinkered with the game a bit but didn’t have the time to fix it so I just closed it up and bagged it for the night.  Then tonight I decided to dig into it, I tried it again just in case the shutdown and restart from last night might have had anything to do with it, but nothing, I got the same error.  I then did some digging and found that in my “My Documents” directory, and then further down into the “My Games” directory, there was a Gratuitous Space Battles directory from where it had been installed on my desktop.  I know it was full of old data because all of my screenshots I had previously taken were there.  What does this mean you ask?  Well, all of the configuration information from the desktop setup is in that directory, including settings for the 3d engine!  Well now, that should be easy enough to fix.  I make a copy of that directory, just in case, and then delete the thing (even going so far as to emptying my recycle bin).  That directory should recreate itself when the game restarts, complete with all new default settings.

So, I fire up the game once again and what do you know?  The game starts up, no problem at all, and the directory gets created again fresh.  Now I can play the game on my laptop!  It’s fascinating to me how simple things like that can be the problem and the fix for so many things.  I hope this tip helps someone out there, until next time … Enjoy!

A free game and a quick link

And a heads up!  I added a link to the links section here on the Solarum site, and it made me want to drop a note up here to remind folk about that particular section.  The links section is where I post links to various and sundry things that appear to be useful or humorous to folk in one way or another.  So, you might want to check it out because you never know what you might find, like today where I just posted a link to a the great game Baseball Mogul version 6 since it has been released for free by the company that makes it.  Come back often and check that links section out, lots of goodies in there.

Your Shader Model And You

As technology moves ever onward, getting more and more complex, it becomes more and more important to know what you have and what it can do.  In this case I am talking about graphics cards and figuring out what Shader Model it supports.  I am seeing more and more games that have not only memory and processor requirements listed, but also things like what Shader Model and DirectX version your hardware supports.

I ran into this recently and although the DirectX version is easy enough to find out, the Shader Model was a bit tougher.  So, after working through the problem and gathering some information from around the ‘net, I have put together some instructions and a handy reference chart for you that should make figuring this out a bit easier. Continue reading

Beware World of Warcraft Cataclysm Beta Opt In Scam

In yet another new and trendy spammer and phishing ploy, I have been getting a few copies of a message claiming to be from Blizzard regarding Beta access to the Cataclysm expansion coming out soon.  This one did give me pause at first because I am signed up for the Beta, waiting to see if I get in.  Luckily, I noticed some blatant signs when I inspected the message.  The biggest thing was not only the Cataclysm website they wanted to send you to for account information harvesting being wrong, as in the wrong URL (not even close LOL), but I received several of these and they had different URLs between them.  One other thing was that I received this to several email addresses, none of which were the one actually associated with my WoW account.  Obviously these guys (or gals?) are carpet bombing and hoping they snag a few of the 10 or 12 million or so WoW players.  Just wanted to pass this on, be on the lookout if this fits you in any way!  In the words of Mad Eye Moody “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!!”