Sim Racer Copa Petrobras de Marcas by Reiza on Steam

I just came across Reiza’s Copa Petrobas de Marcas on Steam today. It’s a full-fledged, free, Game Stock Car Extreme-based/rFactor-engine-based sim racing game simulating a championship experience, something like Sector 3 Studio’s RaceRoom’s DTM Experience. Here’s a taste from Empty Box:

 

BAMX.com – Free Web Arcade with a Smart Twist

BAMX.com is a web arcade, a collection of flash and html5 games playable in your browser, and is one of my hobby projects these days. When I initially launched the site I didn’t give much thought to game quality or organization but recently the site has undergone a complete overhaul. Here’s a look a the site and I’ll explain the site below…

BAMX.com

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GTEye Progressive Brake Spring for Logitech G27

Update 2015-07-03: I just put in the new trio of springs tonight and I am very pleased indeed! I had previously put in and removed the brake due to an Achille’s Tendon issue but I’ve now put them all back in and they absolutely transform the pedals into a much higher quality pedal set. The feel is just so much nicer and more informative. I still say a must-have upgrade for G25/G27 pedal owners and well, well worth the price.

Update 2015-06-05: GTEYE has released throttle and clutch springs! I haven’t tried them but if they do for throttle and clutch what they do for brakes they’re a must have for G25/G27 pedal owners!

Update 2014-09-01: Following up on my concerns about my wheeled office chair moving too much because of the new spring stiffness – it’s fine now and my chair stays in one place. I didn’t need to do anything to the chair to get it to stick so I’m happy about that.

Update 2014-08-20: The pedal now feels very pliable now, very movable, not the stiff thing I thought it was in the beginning. This is great! I can still feel the progressiveness of it and I can still finesse the top range of motion into corners where fine motor control is needed. It’s amazing how much my perception of the feel of this pedal has changed, for the better, since I started using it just over a week ago. Well worth $30 as the first upgrade for Logitech G27 owners!

Update 2014-08-15: I have to say I’m back to normal and at home now with this new brake spring. I feel I’m more consistent, as well. I’ve put in a lot of laps of practice in iRacing before stepping into a few races and I have to say, while I had my doubts about how I would perform with the new brake spring, I performed quite well in the race and the brake pedal was really not a problem for me. This is a great upgrade and I highly recommend it for G27 owners!

Update 2014-08-12: I emailed the GTEYE guys about a less stiff but still progressive spring and he replied that it wasn’t really something they were going to do but he did give this interesting tidbit: “If you study the spring rate graph, you will notice that the initial spring rate is the same as the original spring, and by the end of its travel, its about 80% stiffer than the original. To my best ability this was the most appeasing to the larger audience, trying to find a one-spring fits all design, that does not detract in any way to the racing experience.

Update 2014-08-11 – 2: Just a few hours after I received the brake pedal, and I was getting 1:54s/1:56s on a course I can do routinely at 1:52, I’m already back at 1:52.5s high 1:51s! I’m also starting to feel how this brake is going to help me be more consistent. The resistance you feel from the pedal really helps you stick to a certain level of pressure much more easily than with the stock pedal which, I take it, is so easy to move around that your legs just don’t have that level of fine motor control. I’m very pleased to see how this is turning out so far!

Update 2014-08-11: Check your brake calibration! In iRacing I noticed a little bit of red was showing on the brake pedal meter while driving without touching the pedal. That meant the game thought I was pressing the pedal a little bit. No problem, though, just go to your options, click on the Pedals button and it’ll allow you to recalibrate. That fixed it for me!

GTEye Progressive Brake Spring for Logitech G27

I’ve just received my new GTEYE progressive brake spring (eBay page) for the Logitech G27. I’m writing this post as I assemble the pedals and then step into a game and actually try it for the first time going around a corner(!). My thoughts so far…

GTEYE-Hero-1000

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Far Cry 3 and the Survival Experience Mods

Update 2015-07-24: I picked up Far Cry 4 a few weeks ago during the Steam Summer Sale and I am delighted that Ubisoft actually heard and listened to the Far Cry 3 survival enthusiasts and added lots of options to the game to disable certain helps that take away from the potential immersion of the experience. The game is a real charmer, its puts a grin on your face from the first moments when you finally get to move on your own, in particular if you’ve come from and love Far Cry 3. The extra survival options only go so far, though, for example you earn money way too easily for the price off the items you buy everything and you earn so much you have nothing left to spend it on. So I went googling for some survival mods and came across the Far Cry 4 Enhanced mod. Good news, just like Ziggy’s Mod back for Far Cry 3, it comes with a “Hardcore” mode that makes it a pretty tough but rewarding survival experience. Note! At the time of writing, the latest Steam version of Far Cry 4 requires the 0.19 beta version of the mod! Without this the very first shop in the game crashed the whole game for me.

I’ve been playing Far Cry 3, again, after letting it sit since beating it a couple of times last year. I even upgraded my system recently to see the game at its visual best. Some time ago I posted about injecting some life into Far Cry 3 after you’ve already beaten it, largely about encouraging exploring, and trying out new, more difficult ways of playing the game. Recently, I’ve come across some blog posts about Ziggy’s Mod, a mod that attemps to really go after the hardcore, wilderness survivalist thing that Far Cry 3 seems on the verge of nailing.

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How to inject some life back into Far Cry 3

If you’re like me, you tore through Far Cry 3 and learned that if you took outposts out early and raced to unlock radio towers you were able to see more sooner and get to story missions quicker. Now that you’ve finished the game, you have this feeling that you want to play in that beautiful world again, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a point to it anymore? Here’s a few things to try to reinvigorate your Far Cry 3 experience…

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Beautiful Vistas Gone Bad in Lord of the Rings Online

Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO) is a massively multiplayer online game based in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. I started playing sometime in 2009 and was happy with the decent graphics but delighted by the beautiful artistry put into the game. The vast landscapes, in beautiful shades, crafted with majestic features, was pure enjoyment in itself. But something changed…

I can tell you exactly what changed down to the specific graphics options in the game and it’s very simple: Object Draw Distance and Landscape Draw Distance were nerfed.

I have a system that can push the game 50fps on maximum graphics settings.

For those familiar with LOTRO, I have two versions of each video, starting with Distant Imposters Off and the other version will be Distant Imposter On. Distant Imposters is a hack in the game to prevent having to render 3D object models after a certain distance away. You might expect if Distant Imposters were off that you would get 3D objects to your maximum view distance. This is not the case. Instead, what you get is no 3D objects after a certain distance. You get a barren wasteland of ugly.

In the video above, note how the forest below the player pops in bit by bit. It should already be loaded in from the top of the hill. Additionally, there’s a rocky hill on the right of the player, at the foot of the hill, in full-screen you can notice the muddy texture that should be hi-res. Yes, a hi-res texture does pop in – far too late.

Here’s the same video with Distant Imposters On. An improvement, but the pop-in is still completely jarring.

In this video, note the forest popping in out of nowhere as the player runs down into the little valley and then comes up on the side.

The same video with Distant Imposters On.

Watch the textures of the cliffs in the far background. They are horribly muddy. Watch as one section pops in to a new hi-res texture while the rest of the cliff, very nearby, still has lo-res textures. Brutal.

The same video with Distant Imposters On.

The problems shown in these videos are standard throughout Lord of the Rings Online.

My real issue with these graphics problems is that Lord of the Rings Online is such a beautiful game that it really takes you out of the immersion of the game. A large part of the enjoyment of the game is the beautiful vistas which have been ruined by these graphics changes. I thought I would get over it but every time I play I notice the problems.

So, dear Turbine, please reconsider what you’re doing to the graphics engine.

If you’re interested in more examples of these issues, see my youtube videos.

GOG.com alive and well!

I’m happy to report that GOG’s earlier website shutdown was a “stunt”, admittedly poor, and the truth is they’re relaunching after completing their beta phase. Congrats to GOG, here’s to many, many more amazing titles.

I’m happy to report that GOG‘s earlier website shutdown was a “stunt”, admittedly poor, and the truth is they’re relaunching after completing their beta phase. Congrats to GOG, here’s to many, many more amazing titles.

GOG.com releases original Serious Sam – The First Encounter

GOG.com just released Serious Sam – The First Encounter. This is the original version, not the HD version on Steam.

GOG.com just released Serious Sam – The First Encounter. This is the original version, not the HD version on Steam.