I was exploring the options within the PS5 menu and I noticed that the games I play get totalled up in terms of time played. I’m not sure if I was shocked or just pleased at the amount of time I have spent playing. I do know that it certainly justifies me spending the money on the hardware and infrastructure to experience these things.
In case you can’t quite see the numbers in the above graphic let me write them down below. I just want to point out that the game could be a PS4 game that is played on the PS5 and register timewise as a PS4 time. Hence, while I tend to play Minecraft on the PS5 its total comes only from PS4 playtime.
Gran Turismo 7 – 120 hours
Fortnite – 111 hours
Minecraft – 722 hours
Now the Gran Turismo times clearly do not include all the time I have spent playing other versions. Let’s be clear. Gran Turismo is 25 years old this year and I’ve been playing it for that long. In terms of cost/benefit I think I’ve done very well.
Recently I’ve been persuaded to have a go at playing Fortnite. The last month has been an interesting time learning all the little ways that Epic Games manage to keep the interest within Fortnite. There are lots of challenges and quests that can be completed alongside the actual game of trying to kill everyone else. If you don’t know this game is based on Battle Royale – kill all the others until you are the only survivors. It’s actually pretty good fun and I have enjoyed learning things about the maps, the weapons and the gameplay.
I never thought I’d be into different skins and customisations in a game. I’ve quite enjoyed putting liveries on Gran Turismo cars but not ones that I’ve had to work hard for, or even pay for. If it ain’t free I’m not having it. Except, I have done that in Fortnite. I’ve paid for a decent looking glider that I will try and embed in another communication – it’s loosely based on the Grumman Goose. I’ve also paid a little money for some rather cool looking skins, and they were in the sale so that’s probably OK? Anyway, I’m an adult and can spend my money on whatever I want I guess.
I’m currently at level 184 or something. The shiny skin I have in the image took a fair amount of play and even trying third party games which are generally quite shit. You get bonus XP for completing tasks and the XP goes to give you levels. I will admit, I am hooked, and with other people in my team we can regularly come in the top 5 on the island so I enjoy this game a lot.
So, Gran Turismo 7 was released last Friday. I’ve played some every day since and I’m starting to build up my licences and get a semi-decent collection of cars together. Clearly I’ll end up with about six or so cars that I tend to use mostly. These will be a mixture of FR, FF, 4WD, MR and a couple of race cars too. It’s been fun and frustration. When doing a licence test and you end up a few thousands too slow for gold and then you have to keep trying! I guess that’s part of the game.
At the moment there’s too much to do in GT7 and I’m trying to pace out my activities. I keep trying bits of pieces of the game each day and I’ve even tried the photo mode. I’m kinda skeptical about the photo mode. I’m not enough into cars I think to want to create the perfect photograph. That and there’s always racing to be getting on with. Maybe I’ll spend some time in a few months getting used to the livery editor and photo mode. I know they’ve made that a big part of the game but for me it’s the racing I enjoy.
The above photograph is quite stunning in terms of the detail you can edit. If you look carefully you can see small amounts of dirt on the front of the bonnet of the car, this is optional. I could decide the dirt on the tyres and how much dust to have in the air to create that glowing effect. It is quite lovely. And I wasn’t even really trying that hard!
The above photograph was me having a go at the replay race mode photography. I had raced the Mustang around Brands Hatch and thought this overtake at Druids would make a good shot so during the replay I entered into photomode. Although I’ve got blurring on and created a panning shot the level of detail is quite stunning. Just look at the light reflecting off the cars! I drove a race recently at Deep Forest and it turned from daytime to night and the headlights of my car searching through the forest to find the track almost had me weeping with delight.
This is communication number 2018 and so here are some things that happened that year:
Russia murders double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK.
The world’s last male northern white rhinoceros dies in Kenya.
Saudi Arabia allows women to drive.
A tsunami hits the Sunda Strait, Indonesia, killing at least 430 people and injuring nearly 1,500.
It’s been just over a week that I’ve owned the PS5 and after the initial joy of cabling and getting it in place I have been messing with some of the settings to get the best experience. The good thing about modern appliances is that they can “see” what they are connected to and output the correct formats for whatever gear you have. So, the PS5 is outputting 7.2 sound into the amp. I did have a problem with the picture format though!
The above picture shows a real mix of technologies and brands. There’s a Logitech G29 steering wheel, an Nvidia Shield Pro, the Sony PS5, a Sony AV amp, a Sonos unit, some Bose speakers, the Philips TV, a Sony speaker and a Sony PS camera. I think it all works together pretty well and even if people freak out about it they should realise that audiophile types are rare and most people can’t hear or see the difference between many basic makes and low end cables! I used to think that expensive cables were a thing that could improve your experience, but the answer is “no” they do not. Most of my speakers are connected by quite think mains cable. There isn’t a need for expensive cables.
So, back to the picture output from the PS5. I tried selecting a 4K HDR output but the PS5 was adamant that the receiving device wouldn’t be able to handle this. The PS5 wanted to downgrade the signal to 1080P for HDR rather than 2160P. Well, if I have to choose resolution over HDR then it’s the resolution that’s going to win every time I reckon. Every couple of days over the last week I would remember this issue and I played with the TV settings trying to find the magic button that would clear the way for these signals. I was pretty sure that 4k HDR was possible on the television. I couldn’t find the correct combination of settings.
I once again tried messing around in the PS5 settings to see if there was a thing I could do to fix this. I even bypassed the PSVR thinking there might be a thing inside that unit that meant it couldn’t bypass a 4k HDR signal. I also tried plugging the PS5 directly into the television but this didn’t change anything – I am aware now that this is because only one of the HDMI inputs to the TV is really set up for the best quality signal. I tried googling again and found a Forbes page which looked promising. The page suggests setting an input device to “enhanced”. This seemed like some kind of BladeRunner reference but I decided to go ahead and see if I could find this setting. Then, I remembered the AV Amp.
Why an amp needs to have a HDMI throughput setting set to “enhanced” I am not sure. But there it was, in the amp settings. The option to allow the HDMI bypass to be set to “enhanced”. I switched this. Then I restarted all the devices, because it seemed sensible to do so. I headed over to the PS5 and it was in “screen set up” mode. It wanted me to set up screen size and some HDR settings. I was reasonably excited and once the settings were made the PS5 is now outputting 4k HDR. It took a week of not-really-worrying about it but also knowing in the back of my mind that I could improve the look of the games.
I will say that once I’m engrossed in playing a game I don’t really concentrate on what the graphics look like. I don’t really notice the little details. It’s something I’ve always been conscious of. It’s the gameplay that makes the difference for me as a player. I know there a people out there who quite like just watching games and I understand that the graphics can really make a difference to them, but, for me, if the game play is good enough then you don’t really notice the rest of it?
This is communication number 2003 and so here are some things that happened in that year:
Space Shuttle Columbia breaks up over Texas.
Massive protests against an illegal war in Iraq. Governments do not listen. This is the start of my realisation that governments do what they want, not what we want.
Two people [not Musk] start Telsa.
China launches people into space for the first time.
I had been saving a few items for this communication and this is going to be a rambler rather than focussed on particular issues. I guess this could be considered my christmas newsletter to the world if you think I care enough about you – actually to the ten people who look at this site I do care. So, what sort of things have been happening?
I’ve recorded a couple of videos for YouTube showing me landing in two New Zealand airports. I’m currently there in my journey around the world and my biggest “problem” is deciding whether to island hop across the Pacific to South America or to head up the ring of fire to Japan and then cross the Bering Straits. I need to look into the range of my T-7 EFT and go from there.
I just had a look on YouTube and I hadn’t uploaded the second video, I shall attempt to do that a little later. I’ve got some music file management to do first because I had helped Kickstarter an album by the artist Faderhead. Their music hits my sweet spot and so I was happy to chuck some money towards his project. I get my name in the thanks in the CD notes.
I’ve reinstalled Twitter onto my phone, not sure why, but I think I have a slightly healthier relationship with that dark place than previously. It’s also nice to see what Cornish Pom is tweeting about.
Just over a week ago, Friday 17 December, I was chatting to one of my work colleagues and they said that they had a PS5. I don’t think I was aware of this and so I acted surprised. The person then told me that to get it they had just kept checking a couple of large UK suppliers websites a few times a week and one day there was stock, so he bought it, drove to a nearby town and owned a PS5. I was slightly surprised this method worked as I had envisioned having to keep checking stock level tweets and getting in long queues in different shops. Just for a giggle that evening I looked on the Currys PC World website and it said they had two bundles in stock! I clicked order and they confirmed that the devices would be delivered on the Thursday [23rd December]. This seemed nice as it would be a christmas present and also a 50th birthday present for me [it’s coming up].
I then keep getting emails from the delivery company saying the delivery date is being brought forward and eventually they deliver it on the Sunday! Just two days later. I was super pleased. I then spent about an hour organising AV corner in the lounge to make sure that it fit.
I’ve finally decided to remove the Blu-Ray player from AV corner. It doesn’t get used and on the very odd occasion when I do want to watch a disc I can use the PS5. The PS4 is removed because the PS5 is backwards compatible, so the 4 isn’t needed. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet. I currently have in my possession a PS3 [at work], a PS4 in a cupboard and the PS5 being used. I thought about taking the PS4 into work but the steering wheel isn’t compatible and I’m not getting another one just so I can keep the RACE club going on better hardware.
AV Corner has a 7.1 amp, Nvidia Shield Pro, PS5 and PSVR. There are a couple of cooling fans there to force the airflow as the corner is stuffy and doesn’t really allow for convection. The new system looks good and the PS5 is pretty darn amazing. I’m really impressed with the DualSense controllers. The force feedback on the L2 and R2 triggers is really impressive.
So we now arrive at the lovely xmas present the world decided to give me and that’s Covid. I tested positive the other day. Had a PCR and just waiting for those results. But, given the specificity of the LFD tests, there isn’t really any doubt. I had expected to get it at some point but I would have been happier if it was when I was meant to be at work and not during the holiday season. I felt like shit yesterday and today is better but every joint aches and I can’t regulate my body temperature. Guess I’ll just lie on the sofa and watch a load of shit all day.
Early on in this pandemic that is fucking the world I started playing Minecraft pretty much so I could engage in conversations with my kids and understand a little about the world they were obsessed with. I still don’t know everything but I know what I like and enjoy and so I’ve been building. It gave me purpose. I hated it at times, having to head off to the farm to get wool or go and get supplies so I can make concrete. I considered making a squid farm at one point, but just changed my design to have less black concrete. I quite liked the process of building a thing and then changing my mind about what I wanted to to look like or how to complete a particular section. I would often think about what to do while I was running or working.
I haven’t done everything I want. There are things I kept thinking about that I could make to increase the complexity of the build and make it look even better. I wanted exhaust tubes to be built heading from the base of the launchpad up to the ground level around 100 blocks away and these would have smoke constantly pouring out of them to look as though the rocket was taking off. I wanted to build a launch control centre like the one at Kennedy for the Apollo launches but I only have so much time and there are other things I like doing. I’m not a complete obsessive!
Once I had done enough – I don’t think I should say finished – I tried to figure out the best way to save this build for posterity. I have the world save files backed up and stored on a NAS and in the cloud. But I wanted to be able to show this off I guess so I looked into making a YouTube walkthrough. Now, I have some rules about this website and I decided I should have rules about the videos. I wasn’t going to feature my ugly face, but I decided I would in the end. I have an opening title card – ha ha, created in MS Paint – yes it looks cheap but these are my first videos. Not sure what I’ll do next. I’ve been really impressed with the video recording software and I found it very intuitive. So, here is the first in the series, Episode 1 of Megaship 3000.
It turns out I can talk much better if I have wine and it amuses me how stilted and staccato my opening words are. I think I relax a little once I get going and know what to talk about. Many, many thanks to Penguin for giving me feedback on the first few attempts at a video and I would also like to thank the penguin chicks for their advice which, as seasoned YouTube watchers, was really good. I guess it’s now time to publicise my efforts and think about a release schedule! There are eight episodes in all and I guess, one day, I might do this again.
I’ve found a website which looks through all your GT Sport data and makes in nice and clear. I’m not sure what this means. I’m not sure if I want this much detail but I am sure it’s cool. There are a couple of sites that do this:
I had a blast on Gran Turismo Sport recently. I had noticed an update and they added a the Toyota Yaris. I bought that and went for a spin around the Dragon Trail circuit and it was a good fun car to drive even if on Group N300. I wanted more and so went to race online. There was a Gr. 2 race on at Alsace and so I entered that, this would be my fourth race at that circuit. The first was in my Mazda and the tendency to oversteer on the exit of a few of the corners made me a little too slow, so I tested a Beetle and it worked well. This video is me actually winning a race, more by luck than skill as everyone else seemed to have problems, but it’s still a win.
I’ve got a slightly better version if you can’t get to Twitter.
While the structure I am standing on remains top secret I can talk you through what you can see. The green rectangle in the lower left area is my redstone testing area, it’s where I go to practice or test out builds before taking them to their proper installation place. Directly above this in the picture is Beach Station which is just visible but is made of glass and green concrete so it is quite well hidden. The lump of red in the sea is my nether portal. The monolith of obsidian is a monolith of obsidian. Below the red nether portal is a clump of trees with my beach house hidden just behind them. The small wooden structure in a lagoon is the beach bar and above that is my wood farm with height restriction.
Keep a look out for news and maybe a video of the monster build I’m currently working on. I’m currently trying to decide whether to have an external block on the latest layer and I am not quite sure – maybe it should be glass?
At the beginning of the national lockdown I went out for daily exercises with the kids and they talked constantly about Minecraft and I just nodded along. Then, I decided to join in and at least understand what they were talking about. Now, about half a year later, I still don’t always understand what they are talking about but I do at least get some of it. Our second world is progressing well and the luxury now is that we’ve conquered farming and so are able to devote time to “projects”.
I will confess that I have been using a map application to help with guided mining. While cheating I don’t think this is the worst cheat. I also started showing coordinates on screen which feels a little like cheating, but, not the worst as far as I’m concerned. Recently there have been nether tunnels made to progress around the world faster than my minecart railway from the Meadow to the Beach.
A while back I introduced the world to the HOLE via my YouTube channel. I don’t think I wrote about it on these informative pages but I didn’t really have much of an idea what to do. I think the HOLE took about two weeks to dig playing one to two hours a day. Two hours is my limit before I start getting restless.
The bottom of the HOLE is now layered with glass, there are torches placed at the lowest bedrock level and I have also filled a layer of water at the moment to save me dying if I fall into the HOLE. I might or might not remove the water, I’m not sure yet.
I have started a build project in the HOLE. It is going to take some time. So far I think I have spent about a week on it, playing for one to two hours per day. There are a few issues. The main one is resources. After building for a session I am generally out of particular resources and have to spend the next session building those resources up again. It does give me a break from the project I guess and allows me to think about how to design the next stage. The lowest level of the build was almost done as a proof of concept and it looked so good that I decided to carry on. After about a week of building the whole project started to take shape in my head and I now have most of it loosely planned. I know what I am going to do, it’s just a matter of getting the resources and doing the building.
I guess there will be a grand reveal here and on YouTube. I expect this project to take another two weeks to complete the main section of the build. I think it’ll be another couple of weeks after that to build the extras – such as minecart tracks and redstone components. So, given delays and that a national lockdown seems unlikely, this project looks set to last another month. I can’t wait to show people around the project. I will have to come up with some name for it.
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