Stavelot – Belgium

I spent some time racing around the gorgeous circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. I was slightly bothered about the challenge being made in a Porsche but it turns out this particular car was very well behaved. This will be a 4k video [when processed] which I recorded and uploaded. My god, it looks amazing.

While I was watching the replay I noticed the amazing graphics of the brakes getting hot and decided to take a photograph. This was taken at the end of the long straight after Eau Rouge.

Heavy Braking at Spa Francorchamps
Heavy Braking at Spa Francorchamps

When I played this session it was far more satisfying than some recent gameplay. I’ve been attempting some races that I’ve actually struggled in! I also really love the dynamic weather but it’s a bit irritating to not know at the start of a thirty minute race what weather might be affecting you about fifteen minutes in! I will persist and get better.

You’ll Get Bored Soon

I’ve been playing a lot of Gran Turismo 7 because it’s fun and looks nice. There’s a photo mode which I mess around with now and then but it’s not really why I play the game. You can take a car and place it somewhere in the world where GT7 people have got high res images of certain locations. Then you can pretty much adjust every aspect of the car, position, lighting and camera details until you get the photograph you want. I then screen shot the best ones and we are at a stage in device connectivity that these media files now appear on my phone in the PS app. I quite like how it all links up. This makes it quite a bit easier for me to save the pictures rather than using a USB memory stick or sharing to Twitter and then downloading that file.

German In Germany
German In Germany

This image was set up and taken quickly for a bronze trophy within the game. You have to photograph a BMW Gr3 car at the Nürburgring. Fortunately I had won a BMW Gr3 car for completing some challenge or other so I already had that vehicle. The other photograph trophy is an Audi R18 at Le Mans and I’ve got to save up to buy that particular car as it’s three million credits in game and I only have about 1.2 million at the moment. The time will come though. In a short while I’m going to work on the Dirt Track trophy so look out for that tweet.

Bora Horza Gobuchul Racing Form
Bora Horza Gobuchul Racing Form

This is my car at the Nürburgring, I own a grey Prius like the one on the photograph except mine doesn’t have a body kit fitted to it, or a wing. While you can’t see the details in this photograph I have modified the car body as far as I can and reduced the weight of the vehicle by taking out everything that’s not needed. The engine has been tuned to a high degree and the suspension and brakes have been uprated. I’ve install some super sticky racing tyres and added a few racing details for fun. I think I’ll take a few more photographs of this car with a standard Prius next to it so the details stand out a little more.

I still don’t have the real Bora Horza Gobuchul because, oddly enough, the parts that are needed to replace the stolen parts are in high demand because too many of the catalytic converters are being stolen. I probably could get a decent one from eBay, and it might even be the one from my car, but it’s with the garage people right now and I’ll leave it there. Meanwhile I have an FR branded Ibiza which you might think was a little hot hatch but it most definitely not. I’ve counted the cylinders and I got to THREE before I ran out of cylinders to count.

It’s Beautiful And Hard Work

I’m clearly still playing Gran Turismo 7. I have the PS5 version and I have to say it looks absolutely amazing. The lighting is fantastic. I’m enjoying the game but it is quite challenging and I’ve struggled at a couple of the licence tests and also some of the circuit experiences.

I took quite a while to complete the Brands Hatch circuit experience mostly because it was in a Radical and they are a touch twitchy as you head around the track. I got there but it took about an hour. I’m currently on about two hours of work on the final licence test. I’ve passed at the silver level but I really want a gold. That would mean I have every licence at gold level and I would consider that an excellent achievement. The test is around a drying Spa circuit in a 1970 Porsche beast that doesn’t like a single wet patch. You have to really stick to the dry line around the circuit and so you don’t have any room for error. I’ve found it so frustrating I’ve even watched a few people on YouTube to get some tips.

This is not a helpful comment - GT7
This is not a helpful comment – GT7

Sometimes when you come off the track again at any of the bloody corners – I’ve crashed at every corner multiple times – you get this chap popping up onto your screen telling you to watch the demonstration. At first this seems like good advice but after two hours of trying and seeing this comment multiple times you end up telling that person to “fuck off” whenever they show up. I almost want to scream “leave me alone”. It’s emotionally challenging and I’m not sure how I will feel when I finally shave the last three seconds off my time and get gold.

Air Display while at Spa - GT7
Air Display while at Spa – GT7

At least the whole game looks amazing. The above clip is from a race at Spa and these aircraft I could only hear while the race started. I couldn’t see them from the car. I had to go to the replay to see them. Such attention to detail is pretty good. I also think the lighting in the “winner” screen is gorgeous and it makes me feel good:

Winning screen - GT7
Winning screen – GT7

Right. I have to get on the PS5 to have another day of swearing at the Spa circuit and hating my car.

How Long To Platinum?

I was a little upset the other night as I had finished a particular championship on Gran Turismo 7 and I got the ending movie! I wasn’t expecting it so soon. I’m hoping they add more championships over time but there’s still plenty of game content for me to work through. Apparently I have 294 trophies to get through to unlock the platinum trophy. Now, I have never unlocked a platinum so maybe I won’t make it but it is something to aim for. I had the following in a nice email from the Sony people:

GT Finale Email
GT Finale Email

The Set Up

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 Current Set Up
The Current Set Up

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.
  • Concorde makes its last commercial flight.