On the 30th of October, we reported about Command and Conquer ; Red Alert 3, the latest installment to the popular C&C franchise. I myself didn’t have any problems with the game so far (FYI I haven't’ played it for more than 15 mins so my experience may not count) but it looks like a lot of people are experiencing crashes and black screen problems with the game.

One of the most common problems posted on various gaming forums as well as on official support forums was that many users were getting a black screen before the menu is loaded or sluggish performance with the in game menu. EA has acknowledged that this problem is due to the game aggressively checking for updates online:

Hey everyone, We put a hot-fix patch 1.02 live earlier this evening which you should auto-update to get. Simply log online and you'll be prompted to patch. Patch 1.02 corrected aggressive patch checks that could result in main menu sluggishness. For most of you, this is the "black screen" you were experiencing. This should now be fixed with 1.02.We know this impacted many of you and wanted to get a quick fix out, should be good to go now. We want to ensure this weekend is a Red Alert 3 playing one! Ill have the EXE's on the website tomorrow morning. Thanks, APOC

As you can see from the above, EA have released Red Alert 3 Patch 1.02 to fix this problem. This patch can be downloaded via in game update or through this link.

Update: Red Alert 3 Patch 1.03 has been released. You can download it from the EA FTP. Change log is currently empty so I don’t know what issues this one addresses (apart from the fact that 1.03 incorporates all the fixes included in versions 1.01 and 1.02).

Update 2: Red Alert 3 Patch 1.04 has been released.

Release Notes:

  • This patch for Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 improves the reporting of online games to the ladder and player’s stats.
  • This patch also changes player names in online lobbies to be listed alphabetically.
  • Also includes all updates from previous patches.

These patches will not work on pirated versions of the game unless a DRM cracked version of the patch is released, which is one of the downsides of game piracy.

Meanwhile there is a thread on EA' official support forums regarding issues related to the game crashing and interestingly the thread is titled “BEWARE OF CRACKED VERSIONS”:

Hey everyone, Our development team, customer support, and our mod squad are intensely reading and patrolling our boards and assessing all the issues being raised. We are looking in to them, attempting to re-pro, and see what are real technical Patch 1.02 issues, and which are being solved with helpful technical tips from you guys. We definitely appreciate that! However, we are fully aware of various cracked versions out there right now. We have confirmed that the cracked version of the game crashes on the following missions: Allied Mission 3, Empire of the Rising Sun Mission 3, and Soviet Mission 6. We're also aware that the cracked version of the game contains an intro splash screen of a bikini-clad Soviet female character that is not in our game nor is this splash screen apart of our game. one of the above issues are occurring in the retail version and none are issues that we can re-produce. You will see some of our devs monitoring threads and asking questions to help users fix any specific issues, or acquire more info so we can assess. Some of those devs are familiar faces: EA_DevAmer, EA_Marquis, EA_Shadow If you see one of them in a thread, please say hello and help us, help you. Thanks, APOC

Note the text in bold? Initially I though these were the missions to which EA added SecuROM triggers to screw pirates. But it looks more like pirated versions of the game crashed because RELOADED (the group who cracked Red Alert 3 DRM) forgot to include a critical file in their release. RELOADED have however released a fixed version (Aka a crackfix) with this file included.

P.S.- Patch 1.01 of this game was released earlier and it DOES NOT address any of the crashes/black screen problems. 1.01 merely fixes a few non critical issues with multiplayer component of the game.

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  1. Lightning_Struck_Tower // 11/06/2008 07:40:00 PM  

    You can also try adding servserv.generals.ea.co
    line to your hosts file. If that fails, disconnect your internet and try again.

  2. TEAM FILEnetworks // 11/16/2008 10:47:00 PM  

    Update patch 1.04 has been cracked by scene group BAT. Good news for pirates.