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I am pleased to announce our new segment in RGN of weekly gaming news! Lets get right into it.
Our first piece of the news is that CS:GO has released its first operation in 10 months called CS:GO Operation Hydra.
The operation brought new, fun and exciting game-modes, events and skins. The operation will be lasting for 4 and a half months (September.) To get more details of the operation, check out CS:GO's website.
Our next thing in the news is that the popular game known as PlayerUnknown's battlegrounds is receiving a update which includes a new sniper rifle, motorcycle stunts, UI tweaks, more sound options and of course bug fixes. The new sniper rifle will be the VSS suppressed sniper rifle with a built-in 4X scope. Found only in care packages, it takes 9mm ammo. In addition to the update is awesome motorcycle stunts which can be seen here:
More details of the new PUBG update can be seen here.
For all those Trackmania fans in RGN, Ubisoft have released a launch trailer for the new game that has been released yesterday called Trackmania Turbo Lagoon. The game seems to have epic graphics, improved physics, awesome gameplay and much more. We have made a game review on the game which can be seen here. The launch trailer can be seen here.
The last thing of this week news is that Red Dead Redemption was supposed to be released around October of 2017 however, it was officially delayed to Spring 2018. I personally feel like this is a good thing, it means more bugs will be removed and more features could be added. You don't want to release an unfinished game.
That's all for this week news hope to see all of you back next week... And remember to stay Reckless.
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My interest in flight simulation is not something that I keep a secret, and thus, many people with expressed interest in starting to fly have come to me with advice on where to start.
“What is best simulator to use?”
“Do I need a joystick? What’s the best one?”
“Do you play by yourself, or with others?”
The questions go on, and on. I will take my time and try to answer every question to the best of my ability, but herein lies the problem. I’ve been doing this so long, over twenty years, on 8 different simulators, with hundreds of different add-ons and dozens of different hardware configurations. It may be hard to believe, but I don’t really remember how to get started! When I started, my first sim was on Microsoft Flight Simulator ’95, and it was a much simpler time then. Today you have such a wide variety of options to customize your experience…it’s crazy! There are a few topics worth glancing over though. Most, if not all, warrant a full article on their respective subjects, but for today we’ll just cover a summary of what is involved in flight simulation.
Today, you have 4 relevant choices to pick from that suit a wide variety of needs and hardware minimums. Each have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004:
We’ll start on the bottom, MSFS 2004 (Also known as FS9, being the 9th MSFS release) was released in 2003, so it’s a bit dated. This makes it an ideal selection for legacy hardware that can’t run the newer sims at a sufficient level. The default visuals leave some to be desired, but FS9 has had plenty of support from top tier add-on developers in the past, and although they no longer support FS9, their products are available to improve every visual aspect.
Microsoft Flight Simulator X:
Moving up from FS9, FSX is still a huge staple in the flight sim community. Released in 2006, it’s not new software. It is however still supported by most add-on developers and features upgraded default visuals. The downside to FSX is that the platform itself is no longer supported by Microsoft…in fact, in 2009, Microsoft went through a big downsize, and eliminated their ACES studio, the department that created the flight simulator. So…no more MSFS.
Lockheed Martin Prepar3d:
Fret not! All is not lost. The same year the ACES studio was shuttered, aerospace giant Lockheed Martin negotiated with Microsoft to purchase the original FSX source code. From that they developed an updated version of the software called Prepar3d. (Pronounced ‘prepared,’ and shortened to P3D.) P3D is largely similar to FSX, but offers a mild increase in performance and visuals, an updated UI, improved default aircraft, and most importantly, a navigational database update.
Laminar Research X-Plane 10:
For a long time, X-Plane vs. MSFS was much like Ford vs. Chevy. Both had loyal patrons, both argued fiercely theirs was better, and both did pretty much the same thing. One may outperform the other in some aspects, but in the end, they were level. X-Plane has traditionally been strong in low level, VFR graphics, and simpler airplanes. Means the planes were not system deep, but had beautiful scenery. MSFS on the other hand has traditionally been the opposite. With less stellar default scenery, but super detailed and realistic systems depth. With the closure of MSFS, the XP player base has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 5 year. XP11 is in beta release.
Hardware for flight sim can range anywhere from a $25,000 full enclosure that replicates the entire flight deck of a 737, or a $15 sidewinder joystick. One of the beauties of flight simulation is that you can put forth your best budget, and it will do its best to work with you. There are more options for hardware that can be covered in a single sitting, so I will list two…which are on two separate sides of the spectrum and have received raving reviews from their users.
This is the golden joystick. It offers a realistic Hands-On Throttle Experience, with plenty of buttons and sliders. The two halves can stay connected, or you can separate them as you see fit. The feel is solid and the durability is out of this world. For $40, this is an absolute bargain.
Thrustmaster HOTAS Warthog:
This is the previously mentioned HOTAS’s older, way cooler brother. Mad by the same company, the Warthog features precision cut mechanics, aluminum construction, real toggle switches and a real-aircraft feel. The price tag of $400 is not for the faint of heart, but is a good choice for when you win the lottery.
When I started simming in 1995, it was simpler time. Graphics were minimal, systems were basic and scenery was either green for the ground, blue for water of another shade of blue for the sky. Everybody and their brother was an add-on developer, because it was so easy to pull off. Things we take for granted today, like retractable gear, transparent windows, wheels that roll…were all either non-existent, or heavily marketed as a premium eye-candy feature. Today, there are far fewer developers, but they offer a solid range of price vs. complexity ratios.
Addons are optional, you can fly just fine without them. Especially in the newer sims, the default planes are not horrible. If you want to start considering add-ons though, I will recommend you start off with picking just one plane, an add-on for weather generation, weather textures, global scenery, one regional scenery and one or two airports.
Add-ons range in price from $15 to $140 each. The more complexity, the higher the cost. Add-ons are another subject for a standalone article but I will leave you with a few developers to check out in the meantime.
- Carenado: Cheap, beautiful models. Lacking in system depth. Good for non-hardcore pilots who appreciate a good-looking aircraft.
- PMDG: Expensive, realistic models. Models every aspect of the actual aircraft systems to the more minor detail. Very expensive, worthwhile for hardcore, long-range pilots.
- ORBX: Offers a wide range of scenery products that include everything from $100+ global scenery updates (FTX Global is worth) to free airport scenery. They offer gorgeous and affordable regional, and local sceneries.
When it comes to flying, you have three options. One, fly by yourself offline. Two, fly with others on a private server. Three, join one of the two major flight sim networks and connect with hundreds of other pilots.
I’m going to talk about option 3. When it comes to joining a large online network, you have two major options. VATSIM and IVAO. Both networks formed in 2001 after their predecessor SATCO dissolved over fundamental disagreements. While pilots from all over the world participate in both, IVAO is primarily a European network. VATSIM is the larger of the two, and its lead is growing.
Flying on VATSIM is not like flying offline or on a private network. It’s is used primarily for serious flight, that mimics real life procedures. Air traffic control is provided by real people, who participate on a voluntary basis. They do a very good job at imitating real life and is a joy to work with them. Anyone can fly online with no training. It’s recommended that you practice offline first though. If you want to be a controller, that’s a process that take a lot of time, studying, testing and practice.
In the end, there is a LOT that goes into flight simulation, so much a full-scale textbook could be produced to cover all the aspects. I’m just covering the super basic bare bones for those looking for a little information. Look forward to future articles that cover in depth each of these subjects in the future.
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Hola amigos and amigas. It is another week, which means another attempt to show you what the Hoff has been doing. Much of the feedback from the previous entry suggests that showcasing the gaming dojo is a must. So I whipped out my iPhone and took some pics. Hopefully I do it justice. Also I will be sharing some info about my retirement as founder and why I decided to step away for awhile. Lez go!
Let me begin with where I used to have my setup, and the reasons that lead me to put forth the effort into creating a gaming dojo. I am a vault dweller, meaning my command center is in my basement (and my basement is underground, do you see?). Now my basement is nothing special just a concrete floor, cinder block foundation walls and open joist ceiling exposing the bottom of the sub-floor. A simple unfinished basement with no walls in the way. No walls is exactly what made it perfect allowing for virtually any combination of layout for various desks, tvs, walkways, and the sort. BUT it doesn’t allow for much decoration-- which is now more important to me than it used to be. Which is why I decided to take over a room in my basement that is a bit more finished. It used to be a bedroom, and I hauled everything out, gave it a deep clean, then moved it all in and started the decorations. It took a few days but its come full circle.
For some reason, as I am getting older the collection of novelty items is more appealing. I want to showcase all the things I love. I think it is some kind of gamer nerd pride, similar to someone who loves horses or cats. This means you will be seeing Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead, Fallout, and Mass Effect decor pretty obviously spread through the dojo. (look at the pictures!) I’m not a huge collector but when the holidays come around I throw some items in the ol' amazon wish list.
Now here is the meat and potatoes. A couples’ gaming desk setup. Created because Big Kahuna needs a place to game when he comes over. The desk and “server” rack that myself and Kahuna whipped up are of my own design. Nothing fancy and nothing too special. I was going to stain them, but I think I'll hold off for awhile. As you may be thinking: DAMN those legs! Yes 4x4 legs attached to the desks. Have you ever felt beef, because this is it.
Before the creation of the "server" rack I had both computers sitting on the desks. As you can probably imagine, that did not leave much room for accessories. I had to come up with some idea that met a few of my specifications and was easy to build given the tools I had at my disposal. Between the ideas of a showcasey mantle and little side tables, of which I wasn't feeling too hot on either-- In comes the rack. Big giant rack. The design is simple but it had to be created around the dimensions of my desks and dimensions of the computer cases. And be easily accessible, not hinder any airflow, etc. The rack itself is a 2x4 frame which is connected to the shelving unit and table top directly. The shelves themselves are MDF squares I cutup and used L brackets to mount. The tabletop is of the same materials the desk uses. Aspen and something else. Pretty straight forward and easy and surprisingly adds a unique element to the dual desk setup. I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.
It’s a pretty enjoyable setup. After throwing in the RGB lightning and the nik-naks across it all. I can say that I am super happy how everything has come together. Even better that I have constructed it all to my specifications. So cool so custom much hip!
Quite a few RGN members have messaged me saying “is this real life”. Yes it is real life. I have retired. BUT retiring and leaving are two separate things, which I need to make clear. Retired Staff or Retired Founders ARE STILL RGN MEMBERS. Unless that person wants to leave, and at that point they would no longer hold retired _something_. Just know I don’t want to leave RGN, I need some time away from the duties.
As a retiree I no longer bear the torch that continues the progression forward. I don't want to go into extreme detail as to why I have made this decision, but just know that it was not a careless thought. Rest assured I will come back hopefully some months down the line here. So, I have put forth my best effort and now it is time for others to continue the work, ideas, and progression that RGN needs. Pick up a project. Motivate yourself to help RGN. Sure most of are here to play video games, but if you complain about the status of RGN and all you do is video game-- then your complaints are not helping. Put the effort somewhere else. Example: Nowhere does it say a community member can't host a community meeting. For those of you who want promotions and are ready to claw at any chance given to you, take the initiatives. See the weakness and tackle it head-on. And be sure to advertise the hell out of what you are doing so people know! No shame in saying you are doing something for reckless. Show the leadership you have leadership potential. This is what we look for.
Hope you all enjoyed the entry, leave some comments and tell me what you want to know or have me talk about. I want to continue to put one out every week. I'm enjoying my informal writing! Let me know if you like my DOJO please! I want to know!!