So I have entered the world of Modding Cars as my new Hobby. Like most subjects there can be allot of elitist who hold their noses up in their air. Or people who are are an intermediate stage and still learning and posing themselves as experts.
I am an a dummy when it comes to mechanical stuff. But I recognize every journey begins with the first step. And even in other areas where I am knowledgeable like Martial Arts, Music, Business, Video Games, Technology, Programming it all started with the basic.
And I have gotton into Car modding for the experience. As it’s always something I admired.
Here is a Video where I am sharing some of the tips I learned from my first modding Project (Installing a Cold Air Intake). And I will be documenting my journey for any more Mod Projects that I work on.
A Cold Air Intake is a modification that allows your Engine to take more Oxygen. Which it does so by sucking in air from the bottom of the car. Away from the Engine bay (Since Air is hotter there). As Cold Air is preferred by your engine since its denser and contains more oxygen. And increases Horsepower and throttle. And just sounds badass.
You do have to be careful with a Cold Air intake if you live in area where there is allot of flooding otherwise you can risk Hydrolock. Hydrolock is when your engine freezes up from sucking in water into it. However their allot of misconceptions about Hydrolock. You have to be in at least 3 feet of water and running over 4000 RPMs. So unless you are off roading or driving through lakes you should be okay.
Buy Oblivion Here : http://amzn.to/15I8AGw
Oblivion by Bethesda Softworks is a seriously cool game. Originally Oblivion was released in 2006. However I stumbled upon it and started playing it in 2009. Mainly because in 2006 I was taking a hiatus from playing Video Games. And getting other “important” things in my life together such as my career. But here in 2013, I am still playing it! Making it one of the games that I have played the longest.
I have finished *almost* all the quest in the game. And have created multiple characters following different paths. While having played through all the different DLCs like Shivering Isles and Knights of the Nine. Yet have continued to play it with the vast supply of user created Mods and Expandable levels (On the PC Version). Such playing through Morroblivion which combines the world of Morrowind in the Engine of Oblivion.
I first played Oblivion on my PS3. And was just blown away by its flexibility and Open World. If you wanted to be a thief running around and robbing peoples houses you could do that. And that could be a game in itself. Or you could meticulously follow every side quest. With over 200 hours of Gameplay in Oblivion it was hard to get bored. I never had been so captivated by an Open World game. The game that came closest to that level of addiction was Ultima 6.
Upon completing the main quest in Oblivion I wanted more. And then started seeing Videos on how Oblivion could be modded and customized with the PC version. It was Oblivion that inspired me to get a powerful enough PC to play the latest games(In Maxed out Graphic settings). As it showed me the difference between console and PC gaming. And the power of modding, with the difference it could make with customization. I have never been happier since purchasing a Games PC and playing my modded Oblivion.
Skyrim is now the popular Bethesda game right now of choice and garnering all the attention. And on the sidelines we are all patiently waiting for The Elders Scrolls Online. And waiting to see if it will live up to all its hype. And If it will actually capture the Elder Scrolls open world feel in an MMO. Or if it will just end up being another grindy and repetitive MMO like World of Warcraft. Yet still Oblivion is always number one in my mind.
Perhaps I am biased by the fact that its the first Elder Scrolls game I played. For some people they first played Morrowind or Daggerfall. And from that point, that became their reference point of what an Elder Scrolls game should be. And considering each game is so different with its own merits its a tough task to make comparisons.
But Oblivion to me is the perfect high fantasy video game. Which follows suit with traditional medieval RPG themes like Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. (Minus the fact their are no dwarves in the default Oblivion. However, with mods that’s a different story). Everything from its Epic Music, Bright Colours, Artwork Style, Variety of Landscapes screams of the High Fantasy RPG that I have always been waiting to be brought to life. Where every inch of it feels like a magical land. Sparking the curiosity to want to explore more. And it brings every fiber of nerd / geekiness in me and shamelessly celebrates it.
While I enjoyed a game like Skyrim ,it just wasn’t that same compared to Oblivion. I didn’t want to explore every inch of the land. I didn’t take joy in doing all the little things like collecting new armour and trading. And the cold bland land made me feel equally cold and bland in my mood. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed Skyrim and thought it was a great game. Just wasn’t my preference the same way I prefer Rock Music over Hip Hop. Yet I appreciate both genres of music. In the end its all art and different things move different people.
It’s a little crazy that I am so obsessed with Oblivion. However Obsession is its own virus and takes a life of its own. But its great to always feel passionate about something. Even if its as trivial as a Video game. It reminds us of why we are alive. And provides an opportunity for self reflection of WHY we like different things. Which in the end helps us learn a little more about ourselves.
Pretty much everyone wants to build a bigger Subscriber list on Youtube. As Youtube has brought fame to the common everyday person. Giving us the ability to be celebrities in our own right. It is reality TV at its finest and on our own terms. It has also allowed us to build an audience for very niche topics. Whereas in traditional broadcasting the same risk could not be taken.
Having a large subscriber list is certainly a key point in an maintaing motivation to produce videos on Youtube. Since knowing that people are watching is knowing that people care. Giving you continued incentive to keep on producing great videos. And now with the advertising revenue that can made from Google there are solid financial reasons
Your Subscribers are your loyal followers. Your regular audience that keeps on coming back for more. And are often the same people who comment and have discussions on your videos.
The question is how can you build more subscribers on your Youtube channel?
Many people do not know that aside from Subscribers there is something known as Youtube Friends. Since Youtube has become more than a video sharing site but a social network. Which you have your own personal Inbox similar to email. As well as your own wall on your Youtube page (Similar to Facebook). Along with the ability to post comments to other people(Which most people are familiar with that feature).
When you send Friend request as certain number of people will also actually subscribe to your Youtube Channel. Certainly getting a subscriber is better than a Youtube Friend request. However, its still a good option since you can contact those users again at another time.
The trick is how do you send out the right friend request on Youtube? You want to find like minded people who have similar interest. That’s where www.youtube-list.com comes into play. It’s a online database of Youtube Demographics. Where you get to search different Youtube Channels / Users in regards to their specifics. Such as what city they are located in. Or their age group and interest and activities.
Building your Youtube Subscribers through Friend request is certainly not a glorious way to build your Subscriber list. Sure it would be great if you could make a viral video and then have overnight success. However it’s a reliable and steady way to build your way to success. And even Rome wasn’t built overnight.
Losing a Pet can be a disheartening thing. Its like losing a part of you that you can’t ever replace. And apparently people losing pets is a pretty big problem.
The decision came to me to create www.lostpetmap.com one night when I was taking a walk in the neighbourhood. And I noticed a sign where someone had posted up a picture of their lost pet. And I thought to myself that even in todays day and age in our digital world, this was still the predominate method of getting the word out that you had lost a pet. And I didn’t really think it was the most efficient method.
Lostpetmap.com is a tool to help map out a trail of your Lost Pet. With the traditional methods, If people potentially have sighted your pet they may have a hard time indicating and describing where they saw it. Lostpetmap.com works by integrating with Google Maps. Giving them the ability to notate on a map by placing a pointer of where your Pet was last scene. Allowing the person whom has lost a pet to collect a potential trail of where your Pet may be found.
Lostpetmap.com helps you find your Pet. And is merely another resource and tool to help you in your search. But It won’t physically find your Pet. You still have to put out the work and effort in your search. Yet it may help you connect you with people who can help you. The more tools you have at your disposal the better. And the website is FREE to use so you really have nothing to lose.
The website has finished its first version and is a ready to use prototype. And will continue to progress in new features and support. It is all contingent and motivated by the appreciation and usage of the website. As I look to build additional features in the future. Such as allowing the Pet Searcher to network with others that have lost pets in the neighbourhood. And helping you setup Pet searching groups for combined efforts. Connecting you with people motivated by the same cause.
It all depends on you. If you continue to support Lostpetmap.com, I will continue to build. As knowing that I have made a small difference in peoples lives is all the motivation I need.
Hope I can help.
My Video book review of the Elder Scrolls Book “Infernal City” and “Lost Souls” by Greg Keyes. A set of books if you are an Elder Scrolls Fan (Skyrim, Oblivion, Morrowind, Oblivion, Daggerfall and Arena). Wish they would make more of these. Now they just need to make an Elder Scrolls Movie.
Reading these books presents the Elder Scrolls World from a different angle.
Skyrims graphics have been a general improvement for the Elder Scrolls Series. Featuring 3D Models and Textures which are more convincing and real. However, despite being technically superior, I’ve always felt something missing from Skyrim.
One of the reasons why I loved Oblivion was the bright vibrant colours. Which were exageratted yet they enhanced the feeling of making the world appear as a magical fantasy land. Whereas Skyrims graphics are gritty and have a darker colour pallete.
Even if its not realistic, I’ve always been a fan of bright vibrant colours. Which is probably why I like a game like Kingdoms of Amalur with its vibrant Artwork style. Extending further with my fascination with Hindu Arts and Anime which explode in colour.
Try as I might, I found Skyrim hard to get into on this basis alone. Which I then sought out to MOD Skyrim to somewhat mimick the colourful style of Oblivion. And found a small change made a HUGE difference for me personally in my experience of the gameplay. I no longer felt I was in a dry, cold land. But a vibrant, magical and mystical world.
These given adjustments can only be done if you have the PC version of Skyrim which allows you to mod Skyrim accordingly.
First step, it helps to have downloaded the latest Hi-resolution texture kit which was released by Bethesda at the time of the Creation kit release. I scoffed at this at first, not thinking it would make much of a difference. However, it really does make a significant difference in the level of detail.
Next, I downloaded and installed the FXAA Tool for Skyrim which allowed me to Overhaul the colors.
Upon installation, I only toggled the “Tone-Map” feature to be active
Skyrim FXXA Settings
On journey of revisiting older retro games, I found myself re-exploring the Sierra On-line games series. Back in the 80s and 90s, Sierra On-line was my favourite game company. With their hit series such as Kings Quest, Space Quest, Quest for Glory, Police Quest and Leisure Suit Larry. As a child learning computer programming, I used to dream of working for them one day.
Back then playing computer games was a cult hobby. So not everyone had access to it. Most other kids weren’t computer savvy enough in how to install, setup and play a computer game. And vast majority would rely on using a console such as NES or SNES, if they wanted to play a game. Little did they know what they were missing out on. As most games moved from computer to console, got dumbed down. So it could be argued that Console games were more simplistic.
I remember the first Sierra game I played, I was in awe. It was the first in the Kings Quest series. Which was an adventure game, giving you control of a character and some awkward typing commands. As commands such as “OPEN DOOR” was valid a way to navigate through the game. Back then the graphics were pixilated and blotchy, but to me it was art.
I remember eagerly browsing through the Sierra Catalogue that came with every game purchased. And I would anticipate being able to get the next game in the series. However, as I youth I was always limited by the funds on how many games I could purchase at the time.
The Sierra games grew bigger and bigger with each project in terms of budget and scope. However, they maintained a personal element with each game. As the Kings Quest series always felt they were the hand crafted work of Roberta Williams. And they started to call them “Interactive Movies” instead of Video games.
Nowadays, Video games have been easily competing in budget size and scope with movies. Yet in my mind, they have lost so much becoming loose around the edges. As a good portion of games today feel mechanical and bland. Feeling as if they were put together in a rushed manner.
I started to play some of the old Sierra games again, which was an adventure in itself. As learning how to play old DOS games on a Windows 7 platform was no easy task. However, I discovered necessary tools like DOSBOX and D-Fend Reloaded. As well as the GOG.COM website, which packages retro games so they are Plug and Play.
The graphics still do look a little blotchy. And at times the sound can even be a little awkward. But I’m filled with memories of joy in playing the old Sierra games. And that personal touch which I don’t see in games today.
I really do miss the good old days of the Sierra games. And it’s too bad the original company owners Ken and Roberta Williams sold the company in the mid 90s. As the Sierra games were never the same after that point. However, I suppose their work was done and their legacy was established. With all the fancy bells and whistles that games have these days, if they could only have that SOUL that the Sierra games had.
Sierra On-Line Download List
Police Quest 1+2+3+4
Quest for Glory 1-5
Leisure Suit 1-6
Kings Quest 1+2+3
Kings Quest 4+5+6
Kings Quest 7+8
Space Quest 1+2+3
Space Quest 4+5+6
FAN MADE SIERRA REMAKES DOWNLOADS
Play Sierra Games in Multiplayer MMO style
(Police Quest 1, Black Cauldron, Kings Quest 1)
AGD Interactive – Kings Quest 1, 2, 3. Quest For Glory 2
Infamous Adventures – Space Quest 2, King Quest 3 :
Comprehensive list of Sierra Remakes (Includes incomplete and in progress projects)
GET PLUG AND PLAY WINDOWS VERSION OF ULTIMA 6 (With 4 & 5) HERE: http://bit.ly/YWxewc
RATING 10 OUT OF 10
If I think about games which had an incredible level of immersion, Ultima 6 comes to mind. Ultima 6 stands as one of my favourite games, even competing with “The Elder Scrolls : Oblivion” from Bethesda Softworks. I remember the days playing Ultima 6 back in the early nineties (Original release was 1990). The game was so engrossing that I almost didn’t care about eating, drinking or sleeping. As the fictitious land of Britannia, felt like a virtual world of its own. That would keep on living and churning, even when I turned the computer off. I had heard of the Ultima series before and briefly played some of the previous version. However the earlier games did not sustain my attention to keep me playing. Yet it was Ultima 6 that lured me in and got me hooked.
In my mind, Ultima 6 is part of Video gaming history. And is still a relevant game in todays age for RPG players looking for an immersive experience.
WHAT MADE ULTIMA 6 SO SPECIAL AT THE TIME
Ultima 6 was the first Open world game I had played with an immense level of detail. I was in awe of the world which seemed to move and breath on its own accord. NPCs (Non-Player Characters) in the game followed their own daily routines around the clock. Which included waking up for work, working their job, going for lunch and retiring home for the night. Objects in the game world had a great level of interactivity. You could pick up a book and read the story within it. And if a NPC was annoying you, you could attack him kill him just for fun. Or wear an invisibility ring and break into his house and steal all his valuables. The level of flexibility in the Ultima 6 game world was very unique for its time.
Combined with its open world concept, it brought the Medieval Fantasy world to life. I had always been a fan of medieval fantasy. What has now become your standard world of Dragons, Gblins, Knights and Wizards. And before Ultima 6, very few video games were able to successfully bring that fantasy medieval world to life. For most people at the time, their way of bringing the Fantasy Medieval World was through reading books like the Lord of the Rings, Dragonlance or Belgeriad. And of course there was the original method of playing Dungeons and Dragons. Where you would gather a group of friends at your house (No kids, I’m not talking about MMORPG’s). And you have one Dungeon Master describe the action and challenges for your playesr. Along with rolling a dice to resolve conflicts in your imaginary world. Ultima 6 was the first time I felt that world I could only visualize before had truly come to life. Sure other games tried before, but it was the first that really succeeded in making me feel it was real.
WHAT MAKES ULTIMA 6 WORTH PLAYING TODAY?
Ultima 6 is still one of the most detailed open world games out there, despite being more than 20 years old. There are few open world games out in the market today and most of them are like games like Grand Theft Auto, Kingdoms of Amalur or Saints Row. Which still have quiet a few finite limitations in how you interact with the world. The only games that I feel rivals the level of detail of Ultima 6’s open world are from the Bethesda series. This includes games like : Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim and Fallout. So Ultima 6 is still a much more OPEN WORLD GAME compared to most of its modern counterparts.
Even for a game like Oblivion, there are some areas which Ultima 6 has more flexibility with its open world. Such as being able to move or carry almost any object in the game world. Granted that you can take the burden of the items carrying weight. Or other novelties, such as playing Musical instruments. While those given features may have little functional value, they added to the level of immersion of just being able to play them for the sake of doing it.
Ultima 6 is now economical and easy to obtain. In most cases you can download a copy for free or a very low price. So from a financial standpoint you have very little to lose. Unlike some of the modern games which can cost you $50 -$60 a game. And have as much freedom of an open world as a Prison inmate serving a murder sentence.
Ultima 6’s graphics might be a little dated, however they are still colorful and pleasant to look at. As personally I’m always in favour of artwork which uses bright and vibrant color. Which is why I love games like Oblivion and Kingdoms of Amalur. As I get depressed looking at the dark and gloomy theme which is so common in todays games. And Ultima 6 has a bright and vibrant artwork style. However, in some cases I do believe even 2D games can be better than 3D games. Which if you have seen my blog / video post, you will know why. But even though Ultima 6 is incredibly detailed, the 2D graphics helps you imagine the few areas which it doesn’t desribe in detail. Whereas the 3D interface it might be spelt out a little too much and ruin the experience.
The music by today standards is still beautifully composed and catchy. Graphics may have come a long way from the early nineties, but music hasn’t advanced that much. While the Music is MIDI generated, the selections of instruments still fit their purpose. Even after finishing Ultima 6 at a later point, I downloaded the Music Soundtrack and would listen to it on its own. (Yes I’m a nerd)
WHAT PLATFORM IS BEST TO PLAY ULTIMA 6
There are a number of Platforms to play Ultima 6 on these days. My original experience was playing it on a PC. So this still marks my preference as that was the original platform I am used to. But here are some different ways to play Ultima 6.
ULTIMA 6 REMAKE IN 3D – BY TEAM ARCHON
This is a fantastic free piece of work from Team Archon. And most likely the version modern gamers whom have never been exposed to 2D would prefer. The game uses the Dungeon Siege 2 engine and from there acts as its own stand-alone game. So it is required that you have a copy of Dungeon Siege 2 (Dungeon Siege 3 doesn’t count) to play this. Yet, Dungeon Siege 2 is also a platform that can be obtained relatively inexpensively. Dungeon Siege 2 was released in 2005, so the Ultima 6 Remake Project graphics are reflective of that era. So the texture and models are not completely up to todays standards, however it is still a big jump in the graphics from the original 1990’s Ultima 6.
The Ultima 6 Remake Project truly looks at the game from a fresh lens. Its great to see some level of interactivity you wouldn’t see in the original Ultima 6. Such as when you try on different armour, you get to see how it looks on your character. Which is part of the fun of RPGs is collecting and trying on different equipment.
There are also some side quest added to Ultima 6 Remake Project. And some of the old dynamics of the game are changed for the better. Such as only being able to teleport to spots in the game which you have previously visited.
And the development team at Team Archon was incredibly responsive. Initially I had some trouble in setting up the game. Which actually had nothing to do with their programming, but my individual setup on my computer. I did post a question on their forum asking for some assistance. And they did respond within the same day and were very involved and helpful.
The Ultima 6 Remake project can be a potentially be challenging to install if you are not tech savvy to a certain degree. Most of the setup work revolved around getting the Dungeon Siege 2 engine to works on my Windows 7 setup. So if you don’t have a comfort level of doing some initial trouble shooting, it might not be the best option for you. However, once I got the setup up and running there were no issues. But for the added value of bringing Ultima 6 into a 3D environment it can be a great option for some.
ULTIMA 6 – DOS / WINDOWS VERSION
This is the version which I would consider the “original’ and truest to the pure Ultima 6. The original game was released for the DOS operating system. And its not plug and play compatible with the recent versions of Windows such as Windows XP or Windows 7. However, there are some quick and easy work arounds for this.
The easiest way is to purchase a copy from www.gog.com. Which has a pre-configured version utilizing Dosbox. Dosbox is an Dos emulator for Windows, allowing you to use old Dos programs in a virtual environment. Yet the GOG version is virtually plug and play. Which you simply download and install using the setup wizard. The only catch is the GOG version you will have to pay for (Though for a reasonable fee). Although it is also bundled with Ultima 4 and 5, so you get some extra value.
Another way is to download the raw DOS version and get a copy a free copy of D-Fend Reloaded. D-Fend reloaded configures Dosbox, so you don’t have to tinker around with the settings. Or it allows you to use Dosbox in a graphical environment. Either way, its great to be familiar with D-fend reloaded, since its an option which you may use for many other retro games. Which don’t have an option for you to download from GOG.COM. And the best part is that it’s free.
ULTIMA 6 – EMULATOR VERSION
Ultima 6 was released on a number of other Platforms such as the SNES (Super Nintendo), Commodore 64 and Amiga version. So it’s possible that if you don’t have these consoles, you could play it using an PC or MAC Emulator. I can only comment on the SNES version, since I tried it using a SNES Emulator on my PC.
The SNES version was pretty disappointing, it is not the recommended version. On the good side the graphics were pretty similar to the PC. However, there were some times some short cuts were taken, such as the Intro scene graphics were simplified considerably.
Its obvious that the SNES version is simplified for kids. And allot of the interactivity of the open world is taken away as a result. However, even being simplified to this level it would still be considered more Open world that most modern games.
The good point is that its easy to get up and running. If you are familiar with using Emulators like ZSNES you’ll be up and running within seconds. All you have to do is download the ROM from a place like www.coolrom and your good to go. And if you play your emulator games on a controller like I do, its nice to have the controls on the on a simplified device.
However unless you do want the “coles notes” version of the game, this would not be the recommended version to play.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
There are a number of options to play Ultima 6 from. And it is still one of the best open world games today, despite its date. Ultima 6 is a highly immersive game and one of a kind. With the numerous games released, many are quickly forgotton. Yet Ultima 6 is not one of those games. Standing out as a classic that has stood strong in the test of time.
2D Games to visualize your reality from a different perspective. Similar to reading a book versus watching a movie. Where your subconcious mind fills in the blanks which are not spelt out. Similar to how when you dream and you hear a noise in your bedroom. And your subconcious mind will incorporate that noise into your dream.
In some cases when I have had the option to play the upgraded 3D version of and old 2D games, I prefer the 2D version. Because I do believe it has some strengths over the 3D interface. 2D appeals to your imaginative subconcious mind. Whereas 3D is more directed to your conscious which is reality based.
RATING : 7 out of 10
Lately I’ve had an attraction for older / retro games. As playing the currently line up of games here in 2012 there seems to be something missing. While the eye candy continues to improve on games, there is nothing memorable that sticks. With many of todays modern games lacking in ‘character’.
If I think about a game which ‘sticks’ and has ‘character’ Wing Commander comes to mind. It was one day upon my quest to find the old DOS version, I stumbled upon the “Wing Commander Saga : The Darkest Dawn” which had just been released. Curiosity got the best of me and I had to download the game to find out more.
The Wing Commander Saga is a FREE Fan created game with a completely new storyline and game. Which apparently has been 10 years in the making and finally been completed in 2012. I couldn’t believe that this was a game that was made for FREE from a fan community donating their time.
Upon playing Wing Commander Saga I have only been impressed. The game is very polished and adheres to extremely professional production values. From impressive voice acting to beautiful rendered graphics. At times, It does give hints that it’s a not a game made by a big studio. However those moments are fleeting and quickly drowned out by the overall impressiveness of the game. As Wing Commander Saga is one of the best Fan made games, if not the best made ever.
The overall engine is fairly solid and no major bugs were encountered. The only glitch I uncovered was that the Voice acting could sometimes stutter and skip. However, I’m sure the latest patch release would fix this problem. And I was impressed with the overall attention to detail. And pleased that I could even using my PC Xbox controller to fully milk that engaging dog fighting action.
The only real flaw that I could pick off the Wing Commander Saga would relate to the Wing Commander series itself. As Wing Commander was a unique space dog fighting concept back in the early nineties. And one of the reasons for its great success was the concept (Although there were other great aspects of the game). Nowadays, that concept in itself wouldn’t do much to attract new players. And would need a refresh in ideas and additions to its theme.
Had I not played the original Wing Commander, I might have had some difficulties knowing how to navigate my ship. But a quick refreshment of my memory, I found most of the keys were mapped similarly to the old Wing Commander game. I found the game to be very true to the theme of Wing Commander. And even with the updated graphics the same feeling of the old Wing Commander was carried.
It is not necessary to be familiar with the old Wing Commander games and plot to play Wing Commander Saga. However, it is most likely old fans of the Wing Commander series will enjoy it the most being fueled by nostalgia.
Wing Commander Saga is an incredible development in Fan based gaming. I found the game to be incredibly engaging and enjoyed its authentic feel. With its high production values, it’s inspiring to see what can be done for those who are passionate. As the Wing Commander Saga is a game that ‘sticks’, similar to predecessors in the Original series.