Battlefield 3 and punkbuster woes
So today after a long absence from the game I decided it was time to revisit what had changed in Battlefield 3. With such a long absence I was expecting to be presented with multiple hurdles and in good old (EA/Origin/DICE) fashion, they did not disappoint. The first is the ridiculous need to download the entire 2.3 GB of game file when an update is released. Why they have not bother with incremental updates which all steam games have perfected I do not know. Either way, I queued the download and after 3 hours we were ready to actually fire up the game and get playing. Wrong. It also wanted to update the web plugin that is require just to run the game from a browser. Fair enough, so I preceded to download the file, only I wasn’t being presented with the download prompt when I click the button to install. Now I normally use and have as my default broswer Mozilla Firefox and for what ever reason BF3 decided to use Internet Explorer and it wasnt recognising the button click. Switching browsers fixed the issue, having work in web companies it really is inexcusable for such a large company as EA to have not tested this functionality on all browsers. The plugin had now reached version 138 from 104 when I last played BF3. In the past this was often the end of my woes and the game would normally start. Not this time, today I received another issue, this time with punkbuster. The error was:
Game disconnected: you were kicked by PunkBuster. Stated reason: PunkBuster kicked player “Rampallion” RESTRICTION: Service Communication Failure: PnkBstrA.exe
Maybe it was that particular server I was connecting to I first thought, so I switched. Same issue, in fact the same issue no matter which server I chose, high frustrating, expecially when you think that EA and DICE would get this right after so many revisions of the update software. A quick search of the forums and I discovered I was not the only one with issues, some 32 pages filled of complaints all with the same issue. Most early posting contained no fixes just irrate and frustation so I can only imagine this was not something picked up in QA before release. Skipping to the end of the post I found some players suggesting a few working solutions for them. A couple offered fixes by adding an ignore entry into their antivirus program others recommended a reinstall of BF3 and/or reinstall of punkbuster. I didnt think the reinstall of the game itself was necessary as I had just updated thing no long before so I followed the route of the antivirus and tried switching on game mode for both antivirus and firewall. No difference, so everything now pointed to the punkbuster service itself. The steps to fix punkbuster route varied from post to post often with subtle differences and techniques making one think which one do I choose!
The one that worked for me was to download the setup file from Punkbusters website here. The file I was after was the windows 3.5 version. This page also gives clear instruction on the steps you need to do to install and also configure BF3 so that it can be identified by the system. After running setup and configuring a new entry for BF3 pressing ‘Check for update’ is required and this action will download all the files needed and place them automatically into the correct punkbuster folder. Nice. The popup that appeared showed it was trying to communicate with a server and after a few seconds the update indicated that it was successful. The final procedure was then to actually execute the punkbuster program itself (pbsvc.exe) and then also perform an update test, which fortunately passed as well. Having done all those steps accordingly and then running the game again, I was indeed able to get in.