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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

BeamNG.Drive

John Marine | 9:50 AM | | Be the first to comment!
#BeamNG is a driving simulator that is the evolution of "Rigs of Rods." You can do almost anything operating vehicles- even (especially) crashing. The soft body physics makes wrecks as brutal as brutal can get. Many people have dared take on their creations and make them available in the wild world of BeamNG.Drive. No matter what gets you even interested in this game, you know you are in for a wild ride when you take on the world of BeamNG.Drive. And so for this post, I will offer some general thoughts in regards to BeamNG.Drive in this blog post on "John's Race Space."

"BeamNG.Drive" is currently an Early Access title, so this is not a proper review of the game. It will instead be a collection of impressions of mine in regards to this game.


A Note About This Post:

The version of "BeamNG.Drive" as of the time of this initial blog post is Alpha v0.14.0.4, which is what this blog post is based on.






BeamNG.Drive


"BeamNG.Drive" (NG stands for "Next Generation") is a driving simulator that allows you to go almost anywhere and do almost anything related to operating vehicles. Its history dates back to about 2013. It builds upon the modding and physics abilities of "Rigs of Rods" to include many more kinds of vehicles. Maps you can access in this game are expansive. There are no goals for you to accomplish in this game. For the most part, this game is a sandbox of doing almost anything that involves operating a vehicle. Feeling like taking on challenges? "BeamNG Drive" features some driving scenarios for various maps. Do not, however, expect these to be anything easy. Just like "Rigs of Rods" had a healthy and active community for modding, the same applies for "BeamNG.Drive" If anything, "BeamNG.Drive" is better catered towards a variety of vehicles instead of "Rigs of Rods" seemingly more catered towards heavy vehicles than average automobiles.

I was drawn into the appeal of "BeamNG.Drive" when I learned you could take creations from "Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game" and be able to drive them in "BeamNG.Drive." And of course... be able to wreck those creations to your heart's content. I have also seen a lot of videos on "BeamNG.Drive" featuring various brutal crashes and unique challenges.

Not every PC can readily handle "BeamNG.Drive." You can scale down a lot of options to ensure you can play the game. The game can still be enjoyed even if you don't fully meet the requirements for it. Even as a last resort- you can disable crash physics to improve game performance! To a lot of people, this is a foolish thing to do because "BeamNG.Drive" is all about wrecking cars to most people. "BeamNG.Drive" is a driving simulator at heart. Maybe not driving sim levels of rFactor or Assetto Corsa, but still fairly realistic for the most part. So even if you disable crash physics, it still doesn't take away from "BeamNG.Drive" being a solid simulator for driving.

In some respects, "BeamNG.Drive" can be thought of more like "Hard Drivin'" or "Race Drivin'" in the sense of driving simulators that have a variety of stunt track elements. Maybe these games were an inspiration of making this game.


After having played a good bit of "BeamNG.Drive," I can go ahead and offer up some thoughts on it in case you want to enter the realm of this game. So please feel free to read the next section.




BeamNG.Drive - Talking Points


There is a lot to do in "BeamNG.Drive!" Despite this, let me sort of guide you in the right direction in regards to playing this game.


Game Modes.

Here are the modes you can take part in:

• Try the Campaigns to take on a series of challenges. Complete all events in the Campaign them all to win! The Campaigns are more like championships and stories.

• If you want to take on driving missions, try the different Scenarios. The Scenarios range from individual driving missions to races.

• Do the Freeroam to drive around any map In any vehicle(s).

• Perform a Time Trial to take on any course with any vehicle.

• Can you properly take people around on Bus Routes? Try the Bus Routes mode. Select a bus, a map, a route, and you're set!

• Later builds of "BeamNG.Drive" allows you to run a mode called "Light Runner." I know very little about this mode except that you are racing neon-style cars around a track in a futuristic setting.

As of the time of this initial blog post (December 11, 2018), the game has a "Career" option, but it is coming soon to "BeamNG.Drive."


Vehicles.

You can operate any number of vehicles in "BeamNG.Drive." Vehicles ranging from compact cars to exotics and race cars can be driven as hard as you like across any such map. None of the default vehicles are licensed. The default vehicle you start off with is a basic Gavril D-Series D15 V8 4WD (A) pickup truck. This truck is more than suitable to take on on-road and off-road duties. Though if you want something more capable, try some of the other D-Series trucks or maybe even a totally different automobile.

You can filter all of the different vehicles by drivetrain or certain other specifications. One thing to note is that this game is different with AWD and 4X4. AWD is more like for your rally cars or high-performance road cars. Vehicles with 4X4 are great for rock climbing and serious off-roading. Other factors, such as transmission type, weight, nationality, value, and more can be used to further filter your vehicle choices. The models themselves even come in various trim levels. These include normal models, tuned models, and even racing variants. It goes without saying that there should be no problem finding any vehicle to use in "BeamNG.Drive."

A vehicle used can be replaced, or you can place in extra vehicles to use instead or even apply AI to extra vehicles. You can use the Garage to even customize some of the vehicles in your BeamNG.drive collection. You can even remove certain elements on a vehicle to affect the performance and look of your vehicles. For example, removing a rear racing wing of a car will greatly affect the rear-end downforce of a vehicle. Make these modifications carefully and be mindful of what can happen to your vehicle with certain modifications.

Of course, if you are not truly satisfied with what "BeamNG.Drive" offers by default, you can always download more vehicles and even make your own. The latter, though, can be a quite tedious process to make new vehicles. Thankfully BeamNG.Drive's home page has a Wiki that instructs you on how to design your own vehicles from start to finish. So be sure to visit the game's official website for more details on this.


Maps.

The maps in "BeamNG.Drive." encompasses a variety of environments. These include race tracks, open-world maps, and more. You can drive on regular roads or even take on off-road disciplines. If you have an off-road capable vehicle, you can take on rock climbing in certain maps. This will allow you to take on a number of different adventures. This is a look at some of the different maps you can engage in...

• Try the "Grid, Small, Pure" map to test out the basic performance aspects of your vehicle. There are no obstacles around (unless you place some in, of course), so feel free to use the seemingly unlimited space to do any kind of vehicular madness you so crave.

• A map you can use as a baseline for game performance and car performance is the Gridmap. This map allows you to drive around a course with a handful of obstacles to test out the performance of your car and even opportunities to wreck your vehicle.

• If you crave a true off-road adventure, try the Utah maps. Utah allows for rally racing and even rock climbing. Use this rocky setting to fulfill your off-road desires or even to go full speed on the dirty tarmac.

• Visit the "Automation Test Track" to race a 3D representation of the test track used in "Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game." If you have any creations you ported from Automation to BeamNG, you can drive and race those creations proper on this map.

• Visit "East Coast, USA" to race on mostly tarmac roads with forest areas and small villages.

• Try out "West Coast, USA" to race on a variety of locations ranging from urban locales to some interesting on-road and off-road locations. This is one of the largest and most diverse maps in the game.


Be warned that some maps can be massive. Therefore, some of the maps may take even a few minutes to fully load the entire landscape and all the different objects that come with the map.


Repository.

Visit the Repository to download individual mods to enhance your "BeamNG.Drive" experience. You can even download Automation creations made for "BeamNG.Drive" from the Repository as well.


These are all to help you get started with "BeamNG.Drive."




BeamNG.Drive: Thoughts and Impressions


Allow me to share some general thoughts on this game.


Driving

As far as driving is concerned, do not look to "BeamNG.Drive" to replace rFactor or Assetto Corsa. However, it still has a good sense of simulation in driving. You actually can have simulations of tire wear and loss of traction. This game even has some simulations such as a loss of horsepower at higher elevations.

Certain vehicles even have certain modes. For example, you can make some adjustments if you have a 4X4 type vehicle. You can even toggle driver aids and such while driving.


Crashing.

"BeamNG.Drive" is a driving simulator while also being a great crash simulator. The crash physics can be quite insane. You could literally turn almost any vehicle into a metallic pancake considering how hard you can wreck these machines. The soft body physics were what made "Rigs of Rods" such a respected game even before "BeamNG.Drive" came along. I'll tell you this much- if you're a fan of the Burnout games, the crashes in this game are much more serious and much more realistic than in the Burnout games.


Environments and Maps.

The maps can be massive in this game. This means you can do many things in one map. It can also, however, be too massive on your PC if it isn't up to snuff. If you can't take the massive and detailed maps, you may have to stick to either the "Grid, Small, Pure" map and do your driving madness there.


Vehicles.

I like how you can modify some vehicles to offer different performance characteristics. The variety of automobiles are also great. Individual vehicles have multiple variations to offer different levels of driving. You can even click on parts of your vehicle with your mouse to do things like roll a car back onto its wheels after rolling over. You will be kept busy for sure. You can drive/fly using your keyboard, a gamepad, or even a steering wheel. Try a different variety of vehicles as well as different configurations of the same vehicle.

I have not attempted yet to make a car in "Automation: The Real Car Company Tycoon Game" and then drive it in "BeamNG.Drive." So I can't comment on this aspect of the game. I will let you know if I do attempt this, though.


Hopefully this gives you a little perspective on BeamNG.




BeamNG.Drive - Final Thoughts


I think "BeamNG.Drive" is only going to get better once it no longer becomes Early Access or when the final Beta drops. While the game is known for its crashing, the driving dynamics are pretty good also. I still say you are better served with a proper driving sim if you want incredible physics for dedicated racing and driving games (like Assetto Corsa). Still, "BeamNG.Drive" is to be respected as an overall driving game rather than just a crashing game, though crashing your vehicles is just as appealing. This is a game you can appreciate if you are moving on from "Rigs of Rods" or if you plan on making a car from "Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game" to play in "BeamNG.Drive." You have your options, but this game is fairly solid if your PC can handle it (even on the lowest settings).

BeamNG.Drive is trying to be your general driving simulator. What adventures will YOU take part in with this game?


Video Preview.

Here is the official video showcasing "BeamNG.Drive." Take a look:


^ BeamNG.Drive: Steam Early Access Trailer

...and here is an older video of BeamNG.Drive...


^ BeamNG.Drive


For More Information...

Visit www.beamng.com to learn more about "BeamNG.Drive." The site features a free tech demo so you can play-test the game in an older build to see if your PC can handle it. Visit the site also to buy this game on Steam.





I hope this post was to your liking. If so, feel free to Subscribe/Follow for the latest posts of mine! Do so for my other blogs if my content interests you equally. Your comments are always welcome. But remember- spam and other suspicious posts will not be tolerated. So think before you comment. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, December 10, 2018

Rigs of Rods

John Marine | 10:21 PM | | Be the first to comment!
"Rigs of Rods" is a driving simulator heralded for its soft body physics. It is a free and open-source driving simulator mostly heralded for its soft body physics crashing model. This game been around since 2005. I will offer my own look at "Rigs of Rods" for your enjoyment.






Rigs of Rods at a Glance


"Rigs of Rods" allows you to try any number of vehicles for some go-anywhere, do-anything driving goodness. You are not using this game to do any races. "Rigs of Rods" is basically your own sandbox for any kind of driving. Or maybe you don't want to drive. Maybe you want to... pilot a boat, fly a plane, or even control a train. You can do those things too! With skill, you can make your own mods for RoR ranging from vehicles to terrains. None of the vehicles are properly licensed, but you can drive (for example) machines like the Mercedes-Benz UNIMOG. Some vehicles even come in different versions.

"Rigs of Rods" is more importantly heralded for its soft body physics model. As easily as you could control any vehicle, you can easily crash the daylights out of your vehicle to become a mangled mess of metal. People who provide mods for this game even make various terrains to allow your vehicle to become crushed in all kinds of ways.

Despite being out for so long, "Rigs of Rods" is today considered ancient as it has been succeeded by game made by most of the same creators of RoR- "BeamNG Drive." RoR is still played by a good number of people. Some even play RoR more than "BeamNG Drive" for those who don't have the PC requirements to efficiently play "BeamNG Drive." So if you are considering getting the more advanced "BeamNG Drive," "Rigs of Rods" can be a nice preview.


Vehicles and Objects.

While "Rigs of Rods" features a handful of vehicles (and some non-vehicles), RoR is better tailored towards heavy vehicles. From the base package, you have many different performance trucks, commercial vehicles, and even various light vehicles. You can place certain props into the terrain if you please. For example, you can place items like concrete barriers, cones, metal containers, and more into terrains.


Terrains.

Some terrains allow you to go anywhere and do anything. Some terrains can be used for things like time trials or hot lapping. Let me tell you a bit at some of the default terrains. There is Bajarama which is is this fairly open off-road race track complete with bumps and jumps. It is a track that would mostly suit trophy trucks and buggies more than rally cars. Well, maybe Dakar-style "cars" and "trucks." It mostly is for off-road racing. This is also not a track for things like rock climbing or any serious off-roading.

There is an F1 course that is about handling on tarmac on a race track. You can test to see how a heavy vehicle could handle a proper tarmac race course. Venture elsewhere on this terrain, and you can race on some different tarmac configurations at this course. You can certainly use the street cars around this track, but do not expect an experience like rFactor or Assetto Corsa with these cars. This next sentence may sound like a deal breaker to some of you: while this game features various Chevrolet Camaro models and even a Dodge Viper, they feel more like any other heavy vehicle rather than a proper sports car. Be warned.

Penguinville is an open-world city you can use to drive around in either civilian vehicles or commercial vehicles. Try driving around on the streets in a bus or some kind of commercial truck here. Or, you can be a rebel and do some street racing in some performance car. It is all up to you as to how you want to motor around this city.

Most of the other offered terrains are mostly test terrains you can use to do almost kind vehicle controls to your content.




Rigs of Rods: Final Thoughts


"Rigs of Rods" is a very good vehicle simulator. Unfortunately, the fact it seems more tailored for commercial vehicles diminishes its value for having various light vehicles. RoR is still a very decent driving simulator if you just want an unapologetic driving simulator to do almost any kind of driving you please. Considering the mod community is deep, you can always find mods ranging from vehicles to terrains to help enhance your RoR experience. This is also the game to play if you are considering going to "BeamNG Drive." Granted "BeamNG Drive" is much better catered towards various vehicles and has a more dynamic damage model, RoR is still not to be overlooked or disregarded despite its age. While "Rigs of Rods" is best regarded for its crash physics from its soft body physics model, it is also a more-than-decent driving simulator for almost any kind of driving. So don't look to RoR exclusively for wrecking vehicles. It is one of few driving simulators where you do not feel required to race a vehicle or anything of that nature.

If all you want is an unrestricted game where you can command almost any kind of vehicle and do almost anything driving-related, "Rigs of Rods" should be a strong consideration. However, the fact this game is mostly catered towards heavy vehicles and not so much on basic automobiles, it may be a deal breaker for those who want proper performing basic vehicles outside of heavy vehicles and even proper off-road trucks. Do not also let the fact this is a very old game deter you from thinking you can't still have fun with it. You could even create content for RoR to put into "BeamNG Drive" if you prefer to and if you have the skills to do so.


Video Preview.

Here is a trailer someone made of "Rigs of Rods." Take a look:


^ Official Rigs of Rods Trailer | 2015

Maybe this will spur your interest in "Rigs of Rods."


For More Information:

If you want to know more about "Rigs of Rods" or even download this game, please visit www.rigsofrods.org. The latest version (and maybe final version) of RoR is the 0.4.7.0 release.





This post is over. I hope you got a good amount of perspective in regards to "Rigs of Rods." I hope you get a good amount of perspective from any game I review in my blogs. Make sure you Subscribe/Follow my work in any capacity and help support my work any way you can. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, December 3, 2018

Death Rally (1996)

John Marine | 8:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
The world of Death Rally is seedy and gritty. Vehicular combat and intense racing is what Death Rally is all about. Released by Remedy Entertainment and Apogee in 1996, Death Rally puts you into a rough racing league where victory is measured by leaving your opponents in a mangled metal mess. This is not some so-so racing game about finding the best line or making proper shifts. Instead, you're trying to avoid coming up dead. This blog post takes a look at this racing game.

Before I Begin...

There are two Death Rally games- one from the 1996 and re-released as a free game in 2009, and the other from the 2012. This blog post concerns the classic Death Rally from 1996.






Death Rally (1996)


Let's look at Death Rally, shall we?

Death Rally classic 1886
^ from: (Wikipedia - best I could find) - Death Rally - Death in the fast lane.

Death Rally is a gritty racing game featuring vehicular combat and some pretty competitive racing. You are among 19 other people trying to be the best racer in all of Death Rally. You obviously want to prove yourself to be the absolute best of the field. If you can prove yourself to be the best, you will have the honor (or maybe dishonor) of racing the undisputed Champion of Death Rally- The Adversary. Defeat The Adversary, and you will be king (or queen) of Death Rally!

Death Rally features a module-based or tracker-based soundtrack of mostly energetic electronic dance music and a little rock. It is a 2D racing game, but there are some 3D objects placed into the game for some depth. The end result is a unique blend of 2D and 3D in a mostly 2D game. A keyboard or a game pad can be used to play this game. And if you don't want to, you don't have to use weapons in this game!


So You Don't HAVE to Use Weapons?

If you prefer racing in Death Rally without weapons, you can! It won't be as exciting, but at least you can depend on your racing ability to win rather than have racing ability and combat skills. Just make sure to choose that you do not want to use weapons when you start a new game. If you disable weapons, you will not be able to access The Underground Shop.


Now for some extra notes about the game.




Death Rally: Game Play


Here are some talking points of this game.


Basics of Death Rally.

You begin by picking a race of a certain difficulty. Pick a race fast! The races you can choose from will fill up with entrants. You will not be able to enter the Medium or Hard races without a better car. Races last anywhere from four laps to six laps depending on the difficulty level race you enter. These are all circuit races. There are no time trials or anything. Each race features four cars to a track (including yours).

Tracks you race on include everything from urban locales to various off-road venues. Various items can be picked up that will offer power ups or even power downs. Take advantage of these items to give yourself the best chance of winning in Death Rally. In some races, there are big items that will grant you more money or greater repair of your vehicle. Be sure to grab these to get those perks.

After each race, you will earn points good towards boosting your rank. Skipping races could hurt your rankings. So make sure to enter a race quickly. Obviously win to gain the most points. If you are ranked atop the Death Rally board, you will qualify to have the chance to face The Adversary. Beat The Adversary to become the greatest racer in all of Death Rally!


Shopping and Upgrades.

After each race, you will be able to go to The Shop to make repairs, get upgrades, or buy new vehicles. When you enter The Shop, you will be able to do your shopping. The game features six cars. You begin with the weak Vagabond, but you can always enhance your weak little car by purchasing upgrades. An Engine upgrade will give your car better top speed and acceleration. Tire upgrades improve your car's handling. Armor upgrades helps reduce the amount and rate of damage your vehicle takes. Each vehicle can have a certain number of avaialble upgrades, and the faster machines allow for more upgrades. Speaking of the vehicles, here is a brief look at each one:

• Vagabond - the first vehicle. Armed with a revolver.
• Dervish - an agile pickup truck some basic guns.
• Sentinel - a capable sports coupe/sedan with some moderately powerful guns.
• Shrieker - a powerful muscle car with some chainguns.
• Wraith - a true sports car with moderately powerful chainguns.
• Deliverator - an absolute speed demon with very powerful chainguns.

If you enabled weapons for your game, you will be able to enter The Underground Market to try to get an added edge against your opposition. These include a handful of upgrades that will make you tougher to stop. If in a financial pinch, you can even take out a loan in The Underground Market to get some extra money. Just like with any loan, though, make sure you pay it back. To take out a loan you must have a vehicle other than the Vagabond.


Rules and Tips in Death Rally.

There are two ways to win races in Death Rally: finish ahead of everyone, or defeat all of the racers in the race. The second method requires that your opposition wastes each other during the course of the race. Remember that everyone is racing against themselves and will do anything to make sure they don't even cross the Finish line. So you may want to hope everyone else gets into trouble so you can have a better chance of finishing well.

You can earn monetary bonuses by winning with less than 5% damage, defeating all of the racers in the race, or winning consecutive races. Stay out of trouble as best as you can to get the bonus for low damage. Try to be the only driver left driving after the opposition takes itself out (or if you contribute to taking out everyone). Finally (and obviously), try to win a string of races to get some extra money. Sometimes, you may be offered certain money-making opportunities by some sponsors before a race. If you fulfill their needs for a given race, you will earn some extra money.

Here are three important things to remember- (1) don't finish last, (2) don't cut the course, and (3) don't get lapped. If you commit these acts, all of your earnings will be null and void. So make sure to stay on the course and try to finish 3rd or better.


Other than that, have fun! :)




Death Rally: Final Thoughts


Death Rally is an excellent game offering some great action. It has some great visuals and an equally great soundtrack. It is classic top-down racing with a dose of personality and firepower. It is fast-paced and enjoyable. It may not the greatest experience in racing games, but it is surely anything but vanilla.


Video Preview.

Here is a look at the classic Death Rally. Maybe this will sway your interest a bit more if you are interested in this game:


^ Death Rally


Want Death Rally (1996)?

Death Rally was a paid game, but Remedy Entertainment offered it for free in 2009. So be sure to look online to get Death Rally (1996) for free.

Though it's free, you can buy Death Rally (Classic) on Steam here: Death Rally Classic on Steam.





That does it for this blog post. I hope I've done good showcasing another game in my racing/driving game blog. Subscribe/Follow my blog(s) if you enjoyed my work and want to see more of my work. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Trading Paints

John Marine | 8:46 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
You @iRacing types may have heard of @tradingpaints. Trading Paints is the marketplace and community to share racing liveries for iRacing vehicles. Why Trading Paints? Some people can't design their own iRacing liveries. Some people want to have the most solid paint schemes for their cars. Some want purely unique liveries that set themselves apart. So rather than lament not having the artistic talent to design liveries, we have a solid service and community like Trading Paints to cater to those seeking solid paint schemes.

Usually, "trading paint" is an expression for when race cars usually grind into each other or into the wall during the course of a race. Trading Paints is all about offering many fine paint schemes and liveries for those who want some fresh liveries. A great looking livery won't give you any performance advantage to win races, but it will help you feel good and confident. And as we say, when you look good, you feel good. So why not go ahead and give your racing machines a bangin' livery job? Trading Paints can help!

To get started on Trading Paints, you must have an iRacing subscription. Paint schemes offered on Trading Paints are offered for free. You are regardless getting solid schemes from a world of iRacing artists. You use your iRacing account along with providing a valid E-Mail address and password to get to use the service. From there, any car that you can make your own custom livery with is available to you to download. Liveries can range from re-creations of real-world paint schemes to a handful of unique fictional paint schemes. If you fancy the different artists whom have provided such schemes, you can see more of their work by looking at some of their other paint schemes. There is also a Trading Paints Pro service which allows you more freedoms and liberties in showcasing your iRacing paint styles. It is fairly realistic to say that you WILL find a livery for your favorite iRacing vehicles that suits your interests and that you will enjoy. Unless you fancy creating your own liveries or have someone else make a racing livery for you, Trading Paints will fix you up proper.


DISCLAIMER:

I am not on iRacing, nor have I ever paid for or used iRacing. I have provided this blog post based on impressions and opinions. My current PC can't even handle iRacing based on a performance test I once ran. I am also not a very good sim racer to take on the challenge of iRacing. Hey- at least I'm honest about my material!


For More Information...

For more information on Trading Paints or to get started with Trading Paints, please visit www.tradingpaints.com.





This post has concluded. Thank you for reading! Subscribe/Follow my blog(s) if you are interested in my work and love it. Please take care and be well.

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Sunday, October 28, 2018

Tsukuba Circuit

John Marine | 9:23 PM | | | | | | | Be the first to comment!
Tsukuba Circuit packs so much track in its 1.287-mile space. This track debuted in Gran Turismo 4, and you can race its motorcycle layout in Tourist Trophy. You can find Tsukuba in Shimotsuma, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan; not too far north of Tokyo. This blog post offers a look at Tsukuba from the realm of Gran Turismo.

Can you believe this is my first blog post about any Gran Turismo track in over three years?






Tsukuba Circuit


Tsukuba Circuit
^ from: greasyblocks.com, by way of photobucket.com - Tsukuba Circuit and its almost 1.3-mile layout.

I blogged about this track in my main blog, "John's Blog Space." So the following advice applies to the in-game version as well. Read the old post of mine here: "Tsukuba Circuit" - John's Blog Space.

With all due respect, Tsukuba Circuit proves that you don't have to be some 12+ mile course to be an ultimate proving ground. Tsukuba is an intense proving ground despite its 1.287-mile length.

All of Tsukuba is really tough. The very first corner is absolutely one you must get right because it can set the tone for the rest of the lap. The two hairpins are both intense. The sharp corner leading to the Dunlop Bridge. is pretty sharp as well. Make sure to keep your racing machine stable after passing the Dunlop Bridge leading to the much sharper second hairpin. The outer portions of the track are high speed. That high speed, however, requires some braking on the very long final corner. Very fast cars can clear this course easily in less than a minute.

The motorcycle variation is a chicane that comes up as you cross under the Dunlop Bridge. That configuration extends the 1.271-mile length to 1.287 miles (2.070 km). This chicane is about as sharp as almost as blind as the chicane after the high-speed backstretch at Fuji Speedway (since its 2005 renovation).


Strategy.

You may want to tune for acceleration since this track is so short. Find a good handling balance for this course. Tsukuba has a little of everything turn-wise. You want something capable enough to take on the hairpins, but also something that doesn't snap on you with the sweeping long final corner.

On the motorcycle front, most of the same strategies apply. This track is infamous for its difficult Yamaha TS250 event in Tourist Trophy to try to unlock it. I will leave it up to you to try to clear that challenge in Tourist Trophy on this track.


Video Preview.

Here is a look at the course from Gran Turismo SPORT:


^ "Gran Turismo Sport Onboard: Mercedes AMG GT3 - Tsukuba Circuit


There you go. Enjoy Tsukuba!





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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Rubber Banding in Racing Games

John Marine | 5:33 PM | Be the first to comment!
No lead in racing games is safe when rubber band AI (artificial intelligence) comes into play. In an attempt to keep races close, some racing games have AI that makes it hard to win by a large margin. Large leads are natural in sports. Think of when a powerful team is defeating the other in a blowout. In the case of rubber banding, the lead will be kept closer than normal so you don't feel like you are ahead by a country mile (or multiple country miles). Even when you are on top of your game and making next to no mistakes, you somehow fall into a trap to where your once dominating lead is shrunken considerably. And if unfortunate... you may even get passed or sustain terminal damage. This blog post is all about rubber banding AI, primarily in racing games.

There is a balance between keeping races competitive and keeping races realistic. Unless the leading racer makes a huge mistake, it is unlikely someone down by a lot will come right back and win a race. Even games with not very aggressive AI can still do just enough to rattle your brains some. The AI gets tuned in a way to where it realizes you are racing impressively and then decide to tweak things to bring you back down to earth. How sad is it that the difference between being a great racer and a bad one depends on the AI or the mechanics of a game?

Is rubber banding AI good for racing games? It can seem totally unfair to play a racing game if the AI always seems to always have the upper hand. You can have it all- the most powerful vehicle, the most racing skill, and complete knowledge of a track... yet still lose because of AI deciding to get better all of a sudden while you are leading profoundly. Maybe there is rubber band AI to remind you that you are not invincible or unbeatable no matter how good you are. So I would say rubber band AI is not appreciative, but understandable.





If you'd like to chime in on this issue, let's discuss:

What do you think about rubber band AI in racing games?

So this concludes another blog post on "John's Race Space." Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

How I Will Remember Each Gran Turismo

John Marine | 10:57 PM | | | | | | | Be the first to comment!
Of the six Gran Turismo games, there are things to remember each one by. I have never played Gran Turismo Sport, so I will only focus on the major six GT titles in this blog post. This will give you an idea of what I think of when I am given each Gran Turismo. Perhaps your visions will be similar or different to mine. Having said that, let's go to work!






How I Will Remember Each Gran Turismo


It is time to begin taking a look at how I will remember each Gran Turismo game. It is not about how everyone should view each GT, but more like how I remember each Gran Turismo and how I will remember each Gran Turismo.


How I Will Remember Gran Turismo 1.

Gran Turismo 1 was the catalyst to blaze a fire that would change racing game history. Though Gran Turismo 1 is a sim, the game has its fun factor in being so loose. Kazunori Yamauchi didn't even think his game would become any kind of great success. So therefore, I will remember Gran Turismo 1 mostly for being a relative unknown capable of almost anything. It is this sort of unknown status that makes GT1 capable of almost anything and mean almost anything in the minds of others.


How I Will Remember Gran Turismo 2.

Upon the success of Gran Turismo 1, GT2 was to try to expand upon what GT1 started. And did it ever! I personally didn't enjoy GT2 as much as I did GT1, but the fun factor and charm are still there. Many more cars would surface into the roster of automobiles in the GT2 lineup. This even includes cars of differing speeds across different decades of automobile. In addition to more car types, Gran Turismo 2 also debuted rally racing. So this was about Gran Turismo trying new things and offering new experiences. It also meant a lot more endurance races and some more longer races.

Gran Turismo 2, then, is how I will remember for diversity and maturity. With Gran Turismo evolving and maturing from GT1, it was time to take on some new character and personality in slowly becoming an "encyclopedia of cars." It was now the time for Gran Turismo to take itself seriously as it has something special going with its portfolio of automobiles. No more of a mostly Japanese-biased franchise. It is now about trying to see the world and race the world. This game would slowly start the coming of age for Gran Turismo as a franchise. It was Gran Turismo recognizing itself as offering a world of automobiles to individuals who may otherwise never get to drive or use any such cars offered.


How I Will Remember Gran Turismo 3.

It was time for the Gran Turismo series to get a complete overhaul in going from PlayStation 1 to PlayStation 2. It began with the prototype of Gran Turismo 2000. GT2000 later would slowly evolve into "Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec." Though GT3 had about 1/3 of the available cars in GT2, most of the manufacturers remained intact. GT3 was met with smoother frame rates and faster racing action than what GT2 provided. That said, GT3 still sort of felt like a prettier-looking GT2. Longer races and championships made up the character of racing in Gran Turismo 3. Also among the features was a curious Special Stage Route 5- all soaking wet. It also meant Gran Turismo 3 would need some more advanced physics to provide a new driving experience that will blow the minds of GT1 and GT2 types. This even means trying out a specially-made steering wheel to get the most performance out of Gran Turismo 3.

I would like to look at Gran Turismo 3 as being a game that looks back while moving forward. I would equate this to how GT3 has aspects such as oil changes, more Le Mans style prototypes, and more importantly- the fantasy Formula 1 cars. Gran Turismo 3 still felt like Gran Turismo 2, but GT3 is a touch more mature than GT1 and GT2. It also felt like more could have been possible if a good amount more time was put into making more vehicles available for GT3. Still, we enjoyed GT3 and anxiously awaited what Gran Turismo 4 had to offer. Speaking of which...


How I Will Remember Gran Turismo 4.

Gran Turismo 4 marked a significant quantum leap to the character and the style of Gran Turismo. Many more cars and locations were added, even including the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife and the also legendary Circuit de la Sarthe. It also meant some deeper varieties of car ranging from different eras of automobile. This even marked much more detail in 3D modeling as well as driving physics. Its own game changer was controversial- B-Spec. There was also the ability for you to take pictures of your automobiles.

Was Gran Turismo 4 destined to become the greatest GT ever? Not everyone thought so. For one, there still wasn't any Ferrari, Porsche, or Lamborghini. People even complained that there was still no damage to cars. Let us not forget the real reason most people were looking forward to Gran Turismo 4- online play. So while GT4 didn't deliver in these respects, there are a few respects I do see Gran Turismo 4 in. Among others, I see GT4 as a see the world through cars and locations kind of game that is even more a jump in maturity and evolution from GTs past. You can compete in a number of different locales as well as race in many different exotic locations. Some real-life locations and countries are raced on for the first time in Gran Turismo history with GT4. Among others- New York City, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas (drag strip and photos), Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Seoul among others. There was a lot to do in a game as massive as Gran Turismo 4. Lots to see as well. Even if you can forgive what Gran Turismo 4 could have delivered but couldn't, there are still those who consider GT4 the greatest GT of all time.


How I Will Remember Gran Turismo 5.

Now it is time for Gran Turismo to go from PlayStation 2 to PlayStation 3. This meant even more overhauling. It means even more tinkering to evolve the franchise. It began with Vision Gran Turismo and continued with Gran Turismo HD. Really, not many people cared about Gran Turismo 5 until the arrival of one manufacturer appeared in Gran Turismo HD- Ferrari. It was a long time coming for Gran Turismo to finally feature the Prancing Horse of Ferrari. It would later be a part of of the roster of cars with Gran Turismo PSP. GTPSP would feature another long-time coming car company- Lamborghini. Lamborghini WAS in Gran Turismo 3, but never the full brand and never any proper autos. Gran Turismo 5 would feature more game changers- variable time and weather. But most of all, damage! There was also a handful of online action. In a number of respects, some people see Gran Turismo 5 as what Gran Turismo 4 could have been to be the absolute best GT. If any one element of Gran Turismo 5 was supremely controversial, it was how some of the cars were handled. The prejudice involving the combination of Premium and Standard cars is borderline atrocious. Standard cars are basically carry-over cars from Gran Turismo 4 and retouched for Gran Turismo 5. Only certain modifications and characteristics apply to certain cars. Certain cars could receive amounts of damage. And for the first time, you can take paint chips of cars and re-color certain cars to your heart's delight. It is just so much a hodgepodge of different cars and races with no real complete package.

So how will I remember Gran Turismo 5? With all due respect, I see Gran Turismo 5 as a game with many great ideas but no real coherence or execution, and also a game that could have been so much more than the eventual package featured. It was almost as if Gran Turismo 5 doesn't know what it wants to be. It provided many different experiences, but not many of them seemed polished. There seemed to be fewer or more interesting races. Why so? My theory was that online play makes up for what seemed to be a not-very-good single player experience. Almost as if to say others can come up with better races than the Polyphony Digital team. There were just too many faults that Gran Turismo 5 had that led me to believe Gran Turismo 5 could have been so much more despite the total promise and potential it had.


How I Will Remember Gran Turismo 6.

Gran Turismo 6 seemed more like the game to right the wrongs of Gran Turismo 5. For the most part, it did. There was still a bit to be desired. The game still featured Premium and Standard cars. Thankfully, though, the prejudice among those cars was not as brutal as with the previous title. There was still mostly a lot to be desired. Gran Turismo 6 did have some interesting ideas. The least of which included the likes of the Goodwood Festival of Speed and the lunar missions. Though I love stars and space, accurate starry skies was a nice little perk. A bevy of tuning options made tuning interesting in GT6. You even can go with different styles of wings and even various other modifications. Unlike in Gran Turismo 5, any car color you pick up in Gran Turismo 6 can be purchased for any car at any time. So you can paint any car in Reflex Spice or WR Blue Mica without needing to buy copies of one car for having the same color.

I sort of will remember GT6 mostly for the Vision Gran Turismo cars. The game seemed more casual and accessible with some rather short races. It also seemed easier to go All-Gold. Maybe it is to say this is the most accessible Gran Turismo for a racing game franchise that was mostly accessible to begin with. Gran Turismo 6 may be the most unexciting Gran Turismo in history. Nothing seemed to be overly brash or in your face with GT6. That said, it was still a quality Gran Turismo title to play.


At least... this is how I will remember the different Gran Turismo games.





Thanks for visiting "John's Race Space!"

How will YOU remember Gran Turismos 1 through 6?

Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

GRID Autosport

John Marine | 4:41 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
The ultimate in GRID is GRID Autosport. This 2014 title is more in line with the classic ToCA games than any GRID prior. Different disciplines of tarmac motorsport make up the handful of races in GRID Autosport. This is a blog post that takes a look at the wild world of GRID in GRID Autosport. Are you ready? Let's do this!






GRID Autosport


Meet GRID Autosport:

Codemasters GRID Autosport
^ from: (Amazon) - GRID Autosport brings the series closer to its ToCA roots but with a different style.

GRID Autosport was designed to bring the series much closer to its ToCA roots apart from GRID 2. In it, you get a return to different disciplines of motorsport rather than a mostly street car-focused GRID like GRID 2 was. You are trying to establish yourself as one of the best drivers in the world across many disciplines of racing and in many different kinds of cars.

Like ToCA Race Driver 3, there are different disciplines to concern yourself with in GRID Autosport. You are out to try to prove yourself among the different tiers of competition with different kinds of cars.


Cars.

As with most other GRID and ToCA games, you will have a fair share of classic and modern vehicles. Everything from muscle cars, hot hatchbacks, utes, GT race cars, prototype race cars, formula race cars, and much more fill up the number of racing machines offered in GRID Autosport. You can tune and even upgrade cars prior to races beginning.

When online, you can have a set of cars that you can customize and add liveries to. Unfortunately, you are unable to port over your Career Mode cars to Online. It's one of the same fallacies of GRID 2.


Locations.

The locations are a mixed bag of temporary courses and permanent race courses. Take on a host of city street courses the world over along with a handful of proper race tracks like Circuit of the Americas, Mont-Tremblant, and Sepang among others. A lot of the courses have different layouts for your racing pleasure. So you can try out any number of courses offered.


Teams.

Unlike the previous two GRID games, GRID Autosport gives you the choice to race with certain teams. There are 11 teams, but really, there are 10. I am at least including one team as one team with color variation. So here are the 10 teams in GRID Autosport:

• Ravenwest Motorsport and Ravenwest Motorsport (White)
• Oakley Motorsport
• Liqui Moly Racing Team
• Team Kicker
• Cusco Racing
• K&N Motorsport
• Intel Motorsport
• Forge Motorsport
• Monster Energy Racing
• Razer Motorsport

There are no advantages or disadvantages to racing for any specific team. Also, not every team has livery for each car. So one car may have livery options for all teams except a few. Also, some cars don't have specific team liveries like the teams you see above. Instead, you will mostly see generic named liveries like "Livery 1," "Livery 2," etc.


Races and Championships.

Each of the individual disciplines are laid out for you to take part in. Here are the five displines of motorsport you will take part in:

• Touring - the best in the wild world of touring car racing.
• Endurance - high-powered sports cars and race cars await you here.
• Open-Wheel - show your prowess in these capable, yet fragile pure race cars.
• Tuner - race in tuner cars and performance-tuned cars.
• Street - compete in mostly street stock vehicles ranging from compacts to hypercars.

Each discipline has its array of individual series dedicated to each specific discipline. Be sure to complete as many of the different races as possible.




GRID Autosport: Final Thoughts


GRID Autosport is a great game especially if you feel GRID is too far out of touch of the ToCA games that inspired GRID. GRID Autosport is actually a blend of the arcade-style madness of GRID coupled with the unforgiving reality of real racing that the ToCA games provide. So you can say this little-of-everything game offers the best of GRID and ToCA in one package. Any real shortcomings regarding GRID Autosport are mostly nit-picks. To be honest, there is not to much to complain about, except matbe if you were expecting a customization package for teams like in the first GRID rather than have a separate set of cars for Career Mode and Online/Racenet Mode. There is just enough racing to keep you busy when you play GRID Autosport.

If this kind of action excites you, then hesitate no longer- get this game NOW!


Video Preview.

Maybe this will show you what GRID Autosport is about:


^


If you want to get GRID Autosport, I can help! If you're going to get this game, I would like to present you with the top-of-the-line version. So here you go:






I tried to push this post sooner with the frequency I posted about the other GRID games. Sadly, it took this long for a mostly completed blog post. That's one of the disadvantages of being a solo entity in the creative realm. Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed this post along with my others. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

RACE 07

John Marine | 9:59 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
RACE 07 took (then) SimBin to a new direction. Upon the success of the two GTR games, RACE 07 offered many more styles of racing to its already impressive portfolio.

NOTE: This review is based on my experience with the PC version through Steam.






RACE 07


Let's delve deeper into SimBin's fine racer.

RACE 07 Simbin
^ from: (Amazon) - RACE 07 offers a mind-blowing experience in terms of cars, tracks, and racing. How much so, though? Find out in this review!

RACE 07 is the omega of the RACE games. The RACE games are touted for bringing the FIA World Touring Car Championship (or WTCC for short) to gamers. RACE 07 is NOT the first variation of the RACE games. This series actually dates back to its 2006 origin. Cars and tracks from the 2007 season are featured in RACE 07. Released in October 2007, RACE 07 lets you race in a variety of different racing series. Some 300 cars are offered across nine different classes on 32 tracks worldwide. Not fully satisfied with this package? You can go get some downloadable content (DLC) to enhance the experience! From the Steam download of the game, the Formula RaceRoom add-on is free.

RACE 07, for the most part, is mostly about mid-tier level racing along with the premier WTCC. There are no very weak series, but also no seriously powerful cars. Just because this game mostly features mid-tier racing machines doesn't mean you still can't enjoy the action.

Before I offer a look at RACE 07, I must offer a personal story to help you understand.


A Personal Story: 11 Years in the Making.

Around 2007 or 2008, I upgraded my previous HP computer's RAM in hopes of buying RACE 07 to my PC game collection. Despite adding the RAM, I never got to buy RACE 07 for my PC. So I ended up wanting to get it for my current Acer PC. I wanted to go get it on Amazon. However, I started to be more convinced to get the game on Steam. I always been the old-fashioned type- I prefer physical copies of games I can fall back on. So I wasn't as moved to buy the game on Amazon but instead Steam.

This experience, therefore, is the work of more than ten years. I wanted to review RACE 07 as it is before I add any number of expansions to it. I hope in the future to review the biggest of the RACE 07 expansions (because it requires this game to play)- GTR Evolution.




RACE 07 at a Glance


Now that you have some perspective on RACE 07, it is time to take a closer look at what all this game has to offer. RACE 07 can surely be enhanced with a handful of mods and downloadable content (DLC). This is a look at bone stock RACE 07, though.


Vehicles.

To offer the thrill of racing in this game, there are many different vehicles to choose from. The game offers a handful of touring cars. You can race with WTCC touring cars from 2006 and 2007 as part of the driving experience. However, it is not the ONLY experience offered. You get to race WTCC 87, Mini Coopers, F3000, Formula BMW, Caterhams, and Radicals. Each series is offered as classes you can click on to access them. In the case a class has multiple vehicles, you can select the manufacturer you want to select. Manufacturers that have more than one model in the class will allow you to choose between models. You can then select whichever car you want to race.

All cars have Car Info you can look up to gain some general stats on each model. Only with WTCC 2007 and WTCC 2006 can you also get Driver Info.


Locations.

The roster of tracks is impressive. You can race on four different continents- North America, South America, Europe, Asia. One of the big features of this game was the ability to race the Macau Grand Prix. Macau is arguably the toughest street course in the world at over three miles long with many tight corners and even some points where there is only one lane of traffic. Not many games have featured Macau previously. Besides Macau, you can race on a number of world-class racing facilities as well as some tough temporary courses. You can even race the fictional street course, Vara Raceway in Sweden. A lot of the tracks have extra configurations you can race.


Racing.

Let's go racing! You have these options available to you for racing: Race Event, Championship, Additional Events, and Multiplayer. A Race Event is a simple race weekend you set up to any number of options. Additional Events allow you perform Time Trials or Practice. A Time Trial is all about trying to post the best time around a track. Practice allows you to try out a car and a track. Improve your skills! A race can have a maximum of 25 drivers (yourself included).

In Championship play, you must finish 8th or better to score points. You can run the 2007 FIA World Touring Car Championship season if you like. Or, you may elect to set up a Custom Championship to your liking. Definitely try the Custom Championship if you want to set up your own unique racing experience. Championship progress can be saved so you can always come back to the racing on your time.

There are no time changing options in RACE 07. You can, however, adjust whether you want dry conditions, wet weather, heavy rain, or changeable conditions. Races can be adjusted to be run under laps or time. You may even use a certain set of rules if you like. The default is WTCC rules with the WTCC cars.




RACE 07: Final Thoughts


RACE 07 offers the kind of experience I was hoping for back when I upgraded my previous computer. It is a game that offers intense and realistic racing action. Great graphics, realistic driving dynamics, and and entire host of options for tracks and cars make this a great overall racing package. Be disappointed, though, if you are expecting the RACE games to overtake GTR2. The lack of things like AI driving or time cycles can be a deal breaker to a number of people. This game still remains a quality title for almost any simulation racing game fan. It is a great racing game even for its age.


Video Preview.

Here is a video look at RACE 07:


^ Race07 Trailer

You can get RACE 07 for PC here:


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That's all for this one. Remember that I may do GTR Evolution or certain other expansions in the future. So stay tuned to "John's Race Space" for more! Meanwhile, thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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