Far Cry 4

Update 2016-04-23: If you’re looking for your Far Cry 4 fix after Far Cry 4 Enhanced stopped working with version 1.10 then you’re in luck! Far Cry 4 Open World Mod, as far as I can tell, has almost everything good about Enhanced except increased difficulty. I really, really wish it did have that but pickers can’t be choosers. At least it comes with an additional version that removes some helper things like seeing enemies through walls, seeing enemies on the minimap, and removing laser beams from sniper rifles. Since Enhanced no longer works, Open World Mod is the next best thing!

Update 2015-09-05: I’ve been thinking about replaying Far Cry 4 lately after having finished the game a few weeks ago. The world is just so rich and beautiful that I wish I could go back in and experience it all over again, but I feel that I’ve already seen and done the vast majority of it. I googled around for replaying and came across some decent posts, likeĀ 5 Cool Things to do After Beating Far Cry 4 andĀ Looking back: why it’s time to return to Far Cry 2. The second article is an interesting comparison against Far Cry 2 and where the author feels we’re really lacking with 3 and 4. I tend to agree. FC2 had its problems but it got some of the more important things right. By the way, I still absolutely recommend Far Cry 4 Enhanced, a great modification allows you to play the game at a much more visceral level to get the most out of the experience. If you’ve played through Far Cry 4 once without this mod you’ll have a great time playing through again with the mod.

Update 2015-09-05 (2): Added Replay section.

Far Cry 4

I’ve just finished Far Cry 4 and, I have to say, while Ubisoft has done a lot to hurt its reputation in the past few years, the Far Cry series are consistent better-than-expected entries in their portfolio. I’ll say here and now that Far Cry 2, 3, and 4 are the best exploration games you can play these days.

Exploration

farcry4-2bWhile games like Skyrim or Witcher offer massive worlds, they tend to have that RPG-style, clunky, tick-tock-based combat that really brakes the fluidity of the game. It’s a pleasure to play in a massive world like Far Cry offers with all the fluidity of a real-time FPS.

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Secrets of iRacing

Welcome to Secrets of iRacing where I will be recording my experience, tips, tricks, resources and other helpful information as I play iRacing.

Secrets of iRacing

Welcome to Secrets of iRacing where I will be recording my experience, tips, tricks, resources and other helpful information as I play iRacing.

Secrets of X is a series of blog posts I started with Secrets of iRacing and which has grown to include Secrets of GTR2, Secrets of Automobilista, and Secrets of rFactor 2. The “secrets” part is a little dramatic but there are quite a few tips and tricks I think new users will find very valuable and interesting.

2017-10-08: Added In-Game > Calibrate Pedal Deadzone.

Update 2017-03-14: Added Tuning Car Setups main section to cover car setup basics and added the first two sub-sections Virtual Racing School Setups Academy Basics and The Simpit with Shaun Cole on Basic Setup Tips.

Update 2017-01-02: Added Performance > Unpark All CPU Cores to Reduce Stuttering tip. Added Force Feedback > Enable Simple Min Force to Reduce Wheel Chatter tip. Added Going Faster > Use All The Track (And Everything Else) tip.

Update 2016-09-12: Added Tweaks main section and Disable Head/View Rotation with Slip Angle sub-section.

Update 2016-07-04: Added The Schumacher Advantage tip in the Racing section.

Update 2016-06-26: Added Racing tip about practicing new week tracks early, cleaned up section headings.

Update 2016-05-14: Added video, “iRacing Road Racing Basics with Wyatt Gooden @ iRace4Life 2016,” a very well presented on-track demonstration about learning road tracks.

Update 2016-04-14: Added Incidents section.

Update 2016-03-20: Added Graphics section about iRacing’s new DirectX 11 (DX11) rendering mode and notes about how to use it.

Update 2016-01-01: Added Going Faster section discussing what you do besides practicing to improve your lap times.

Update 2015-07-12: Added Race Sessions and Time Trials sections

Update 2015-04-28: Added Graphics section

Update 2015-03-21: Added Racecraft section

Update 2014-12-29: Added a racing tip, clarified some points, fixed some typos

Update 2014-11-23: Organized the post a little by adding and separating sections by topic such as sales, racing, safety rating, etc.

What is iRacing?

From the Wikipedia entry,

iRacing is a subscription-based racing simulation released by iRacing.com Motorsport Simulations in 2008. Official races, special events, league races, and practice sessions are all hosted on the service’s servers. The service simulates realistic cars, tracks, and racing events, and enforcing rules of conduct modeled on real auto racing events.

And here’s one of their game trailers,

Sales and Deals

iracing-saleBlack Friday Sales

iRacing has an annual Black Friday sale where account renewals are typically half off. For example, a one year subscription usually costs $99 but during the sale it costs $49. You can renew for multiple years and the the code they give you can be used multiple times even on different accounts.

iRacing Dollars and Credits Sales

iRacing has a sale around March (Update: They did the same thing Christmas 2014) where you buy iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you extra iRacing Credits for free. For example, buy $20 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $5 iRacing Credits free, or buy $75 iRacing Dollars and they’ll give you $25 iRacing Credits free. iRacing Dollars and Credits have equal value and can be used to purchase cars and tracks exactly the same. It’s a good deal!

Tech Tracks

iracing-spa-tech-trackTech tracks are tracks currently undergoing development by iRacing. They cost $5 which is half or more off regular tracks. You only get to keep the track until it becomes an official track at which time you will receive iRacing credit for how much you paid for it and you will have to buy the track again at full price. But, hey, at least you got to enjoy it until then!

Any other sales or discounts?

Sorry, no, iRacing doesn’t seem to do sales like other online stores like Steam where games might be 50% off or more. iRacing doesn’t sell cars or tracks at a direct discount other than the iRacing Dollars/Credits sales mentioned above. So try to score when you can!

Racing

Never Qualify On New Track Days

New tracks typically launch on Mondays in the evenings (EST). If you qualify just after the switch you’ll likely be one of a few who did and you’ll be at the front of the grid. Unfortunately, most smart drivers know new track days are typically going to be pretty bad for racing incidences so they don’t qualify and start near the back to avoid first corner wrecks. So, save your SR, and just practice before the race. Enjoy the ride around the track while all the bad drivers crash out early. Qualify the next day.

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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.

Second Guessing Avatar

Here’s one simple and fascinating thing that occurred for me while watching Avatar:

It’s not that you didn’t know when you were watching computer animation, it’s that you started second guessing whether the real actors you were looking at were real.

Here’s one simple and fascinating thing that occurred for me while watching Avatar:

It’s not that you didn’t know when you were watching computer animation, it’s that you started second guessing whether the real actors you were looking at were real.

That’s what hit me about the progress of computer animation when I watched Avatar. You know the big blue guys are computer animated but they were so well animated that you start to wonder if the real actors were actually animated too.

That has impressed me quite a bit. Avatar is nowhere near the caliber of a $2 billion dollar movie but no movie to date, besides Avatar, has had me doubting whether or not something real was really real.

That’s quite an achievement in its own right.