Upgrade In Quality

I’m still playing on the PS5. Recently I’ve been messing around in Minecraft and organising some things in that game within a new world – expect some videos at some point. The first thing I build, once the resources are ready, is a kelp farm with XP generator. This is handy for enchanting equipment and fixing equipment, anything where you need plenty of XP. I’m also still working my way through Gran Turismo. I reckon I’ll be able to get my first Platinum trophy on a Playstation Game within a year. I’m nearly there, just have to take part in 100 online races and 100 time trials. This will take time. Oh, and I need to buy three of the most expensive cars. Anyway, there’s no rush.

In the meantime I’ve been working my way through the circuit experience challenges. You have to complete sectors of each circuit within certain time targets and then the final challenge is a complete lap. Sometimes I smash this easily and within a few goes. Sometimes it takes a little longer. I don’t mind it taking longer, I get a better sense of achievement when I do get a Gold lap in.

I reckon the 122 miles I did of Laguna Seca is tiny in comparison with the distance I did around Spa to get the I-10 licence gold. But I’ve got the dedication to keep going in this game even with all the frustrations.

I’ve recently found the 4k screen recording option within the PS5 for capturing clips of play. I only really capture stuff that I’m proud of and normally this will be a replay of a decent lap or race that I’ve saved. I can’t imagine anything worse than watching actual gameplay! Can you imagine seeing me crash fifty times in different places on a lap as I build up to a complete Gold medal win? Here is a 4k video I took of my gold lap around the Dragon Trail Seaside Circuit as part of the circuit experience. It took a while, mostly because of the walls of death and not being allowed to scrape the barriers!

Along with this here’s my lap around Deep Forest in the circuit experience. I got gold but it took some time to completely hook up a decent lap in every sector!

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.

All Gold – Licence Tests – Gran Turismo

Today was the day I managed to complete all Gold in the Gran Turismo 7 Licence section of the game. I had been struggling with the final test which was a drying lap around Spa in some crazy-assed Porsche. I struggled so much that I even watched some YouTube videos about completing the lap. I spent around 300km yesterday going around Spa and in that time I think I managed to complete about THREE laps. I constantly went off track or crashed. Today I spent another few hours working on this. The idea being that the track settles in my brain over the night time and I get better each day. I’m not sure I got better because it took another 395km to get a lap completed within the Gold time. I did find that I was getting better at Eau Rouge and was generally coming off in the later part of the lap more and more so I knew I was getting better and it was only a matter of time before I smashed it!

It doesn’t look much, the video. But trust me. It took a fuckton of effort to get to that point. If you touch the wet line you are fucked. If you touch a kerb you are fucked. If you accelerate too much in some corners you are fucked. Basically you are pretty much fucked at every stage of this track. You need to pull off a perfect lap and also make sure you don’t crash on the last few corners which you only see a few times because you spend the rest of the time in the chuffing barrier.

Here’s a map of Spa and here’s my list of troublesome corners in this test:

  • La Source
  • Eau Rouge
  • Radillon
  • Les Combes
  • Malmedy
  • Bruxelles
  • Double Gauche
  • Las Fagnes
  • Paul Frere
  • Blanchimont
  • Chicane

That’s right people, pretty much every shitting corner caused me problems and I crashed regularly at every single one [except Kemmel]. Obviously I crashed most at La Source because once you’ve crashed there you can’t crash anywhere else around the circuit.

Everything’s Connected

I have been quite impressed with the capabilities of the PlayStation 5. The graphics look amazing, the load times are impressively short and the sound is great. They recently added the ability to link screen captures into the app on a mobile phone making it much easier to save images and videos from games. I can now save a short video, get it on my phone and then send it anywhere I want. This is brilliant. PlayStations have had the ability to directly share with YouTube and Twitter for a while, they might even do Faceshit but I don’t really do that one. Having said that it’s impressive that I can now get this stuff on my phone I’m going to show you some captures I made recently and then uploaded to YouTube.

This first video I captured from Gran Turismo 7 was me driving a Ferrari thing and absolutely smashing it. I really enjoyed this short test. This most definitely wasn’t the first go at this licence. You see, the first go is generally learning about the car; how good are the brakes, how well does the thing turn in, what’s the oversteer like, what’s the engine sound on gear shift? Once you’ve got a grasp of all of that you can then start with a solid run to get the licence and then build up to the limit to get the Gold. Well, that’s how I do it.

This video is another Ferrari but this time a complete circuit around Monza. I really enjoyed this but it definitely wasn’t the first attempt. See the previous paragraph.

The final video I put on YouTube, for now, is me completing one of the Super Licence tests which is a complete lap around Interlagos in a Pagani. This took quite a few attempts and was good fun, although I don’t really like the accidental change into first at the last slow corner.

Getting Gold on every licence test is a bit of an obsession. I mean, why wouldn’t you? One of the Super Licence tests is an F1 clone type car around Laguna Seca. I think it took about an hour of my time to get gold. Sometimes I went off at the third corner, sometimes the last corner. It’s quite frustrating to get close to the end of the circuit knowing you are a couple of tenths ahead of the ghost car [your previous best lap] and then bin the car in the gravel.

Having said all the stuff above I am enjoying the game. I like the challenge and I’m happy plodding along doing a little each day. I know there’s been quite a backlash to the rewards and “lucky dip” that the game designers have made but I also wonder if people just aren’t patient enough to want to play a game long term. I very rarely finish a game but one thing I know for sure is that I’d rather enjoy it that complete it, if that makes sense. I don’t see games as movies which I suspect is how many other players see them. If the game can allow me to do something I can do in real life and make it fun then I’m happy.

Probably The First Of Many

Just a short communication today to point out my first screen share video uploaded to my YouTube channel. I’ve uploaded a few short clips to my Twitter feed but this is the first I’ve really thought about. I saved the replay of this in GT7 and then video captured it. I guess I should have a go at streaming from the PS5 but that can happen later. The video shows me attempting, and passing, one of the challenges. I had to overtake all three jeeps in front of me [well, the couldn’t be behind me]. I passed, but only just. I was really impressed with the dirt graphics and the headlights. Man, the headlights.

This is communication number 2019 and in keeping with a recent tradition and genuinely not having a clue about what to do in three communication’s time here are some things that happened in that year:

  • A mine dam breaks in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil. At least 248 people are killed, with 22 missing.
  • Scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope project announce the first ever image of a black hole, located in the centre of the M87 galaxy.
  • The redefinition of the SI system of measurement adopted by the majority of countries in the world takes effect.
  • First known human case of Coronavirus disease 2019, in Wuhan, Hubei, China.

Not Quite Caves And Cliffs

I’ve been busy over the last while playing Minecraft now and then. This video is long overdue as it’s a walk through of the latest base area, which I think was finished a few months ago but I just hadn’t got around to recording the walk-around. Things have been quite busy. This last weekend gave me the opportunity to spend some time setting up the recording software again [it hadn’t been used really since the new screen was purchased]. It took a while to figure out how to create new scenes and get widescreen recording to work nicely. However, this Minecraft video is in standard 16:9. Why? Because I don’t think Minecraft looks good in ultra-widescreen. I’d rather put a decent product onto YouTube than one where I think I’ve compromised in video quality. I’ll be uploading some flight sim stuff soon and that will be in lovely widescreen.

Comms#1993, here are some things from that year.

  • A 21st birthday party ends in hilarity.
  • A bomb in a van under the WTC explodes killing 6.
  • Waco siege, Texas. 76 die.
  • Jurassic Park is released [first DTS film].
  • Marine dumping of radioactive waste is banned.
  • Doom is released.

Correction Communication

Something went wrong. I’ve recently been adding some extra information to my communications, partly to keep track and partly to add content that might be interesting. I’ve been using the “posts” count within WordPress and at the end of each communication I write a little about what happened in that year, just as an extra. I did try this somewhere in the 1600s as I thought it would be fun but I got bored and couldn’t be bothered. Then I started it again in communication number 1897.

There has been a problem along the way because the communication number I have been using at the end of each post is now out of synchronisation with the number that WordPress thinks it is on and I have no idea how that happened. Either I can’t count [which is likely] or WordPress can’t count, which is also quite likely as there is no fool proof method for computer systems to count things. So, this communication will not have any exciting information at the end of it to bring the comms# into line with the WordPress number and to make sure that I hit 2000 spot on, or close enough. It’s almost embarrassing that the count on this site is going to be 2000+-1.

So, for a little extra content here is an embedding of my most popular YouTube video when scored by views:

This video was recorded just at the beginning of my lockdown in 2020 and features my new Philips Ambilight TV.

Not Sure When I’ll Stop

I’ve been playing around with a few things in X-Plane. I’ve tried direct flight routes using the in-flight computer along with saving flights and then recording the replays from “interesting” angles. My round the world trip started at RAF Valley, I’ll try and find a date if I can. Originally I was going to fly the coastline of Great Britain or maybe even the UK but I ended up turning right at Jersey and have been heading around the coast of Europe and then Africa. I’m currently in Namibia but struggling to find airstrips along the coast so I’m inland for a little while.

I’m trying to tweet each journey with a screenshot just for posterity. My hashtag isn’t unique and so when I try to look back I’m going to get photographs of lots of people who are going around the world for real. I guess one aim of this is to see other places and see what the world looks like. Even if this is virtual at the moment maybe one day I’ll find somewhere cool to live when I retire!

Here’s a video of me landing somewhere. I recorded the flight and then managed to replay it while moving the camera around [not a great landing]:

This next video is me flying from Ruacana to Ondangwa in Namibia. I think I start the flight halfway through and then go through different views so you can see the sort of thing I look at while flying [another not great landing]:

This is communication number 1908 and so here are a few things that happened in that year [AD]:

  • An opera house fire in Pennsylvania kills 170.
  • The UK acquired the rights to the first major oil discovery in the middle east.
  • The model T is launched by Ford – who by the way was a fucking massive anti-Semite.

Going Live

I’ve been playing around recently with live streaming on YouTube. Why? Not sure, I think it’s because I can. Also, each thing I do will get saved and added to my video collection. I have no idea if this is sensible or not but it seems fun at the moment.

My current plan is to fly down the west coast of Africa and then head up the eastern side. I’m hoping to get distracted by some mountain ranges and fun stuff. My general plan is to find an airport around 100 miles away, bomb up to 30,000 or so and then fly there. I’ve decided to skip Cape Verde, because islands are mostly boring. I figured that out while heading around the Canaries.

There’s not a lot that happens as I don’t commentate as I’m doing this. I’ve got the microphone off as I don’t want any house noises coming over the video. You can follow me on this map, but you’ll have to make sure you click on the link when I am flying or it’ll be boring, which even when I’m flying will be the case.

World Tour 2021

I’ve decided to fly somewhere in X-Plane. I’m not sure where I’m going to end up but so far I have travelled from RAF Valley to Mauritania [the worst country you’ve never heard of]. I’m doing short hops heading around the coast. The route has, so far, been roughly:

  • RAF Valley
  • Bristol
  • RNAS Culdrose
  • Southampton
  • Jersey
  • Somewhere in Brittany
  • Bordeaux or so
  • St Sebastian
  • Santander
  • Portugal somewhere
  • Lisbon
  • Faro
  • Gibralter
  • Morocco somewhere
  • Canaries – various
  • Mauritania somewhere.

For a laugh I have streamed some of these. I had streamed to Twitch but that doesn’t save your videos AFAIK and so I’m now streaming this stuff to YouTube. These videos are really NOT interesting. I’m not talking over them. I’m just recording the screens and considering that I get to FL300 and then go straight there isn’t a lot to see. I’m also using this as a way of learning more about flying aircraft. I think I’ve got the basics sorted. I can take off, manoeuvre, land etc but I want to learn a little more about a/c systems and so on.

I’m hoping the scenery will get a little better as I head further south through Africa. I think I’ll sneak out to Cape Verde on the next hop. I’ll also try to remember to fill the plane with fuel and use reheat most of the way. I’m curious to see just how fast I can get it going.

I’m using a multi-screen set up for these trips. The devices are as follows:

  • Main PC screen – X-Plane standard cockpit or outside views.
  • Second PC screen – X-Plane Garmin device and VR Tablet add-on.
  • Android Tablet – browser with details from X-Plane and ability to turn switches etc via the touchscreen.
  • iPhone – running X-Plane Control so I can see approach angles and flight information.

So, when it looks as though I’m not really looking at the main PC screen I’m not. I’m probably doing plenty of other stuff on other screens or just letting the thing fly. I don’t think I have breakages turned on so nothing should go that wrong as I’m flying. Mind you, I’ve had a couple of occasions where the aircraft has ejected me for some reason and I’m not sure why – I suspect it was over-g at low level. Anyway, I’m looking forward to seeing Table Mountain when I get there.