Hobbies

It’s been a bit of a slow couple of weeks, but I have plenty to look forward to. Here’s my list of things I want to do for the next few weeks:

Racing
I’ve slowly gotten back into PC racing games. I’ve been playing Forza 7 and The Crew 2 for a few weeks, and while they are a bit of fun, I’m not completely satisfied with them…I just want a bit more.

I launched up Assetto Corsa for the first time in months and played around the Nurburgring using my Logitech G920 Wheel and Shifter, Oculus Rift, and DXRacing Chair setup. I found it satisfying. I did the same in Project Cars 2 and found it just as satisfying.

Assetto Corsa is great on one hand for the realism and the online play. But for graphics and single player, Project Cars 2 takes the cake. I’m not really at the point of choosing one versus the other as they both have strengths and weaknesses…but in a way they seem to compliment one another.

I’m going to try out iRacing tonight for its online play. I’ve heard many great things about it, and while I’m not completely a fan of the subscription pay, it does help weed out the trolls who aren’t serious about competitive racing. I also enjoy the aspect of gradually earning your license and rating in races, series, and seasons. I especially appreciate that it has a practice mode, so I don’t ruin my rating for accidentally crashing into someone else as I learn a new track.

Flight Simulators
I’m enjoying Prepar3D immensely. Doing some low altitude VFR flights in a C-182, I was able to see some famous landmarks around places in Germany. I wouldn’t be able to do this in X-Plane 11 due to the lack of landmarks and scenery elements in the simulator.

Unlike racing sims on the other hand, I’m finding it more difficult to see P3D and XP11 compliment each other. In most cases, I can get the same aircraft and the same scenery in both simulators. I don’t want to pay twice to have the same aircraft in both sims, or pay for New York City scenery twice…for example. I feel I must chose between one or the other as far as addons.

So far I’m leaning more towards P3D. It has the best scenery textures, the best weather engine, and the best Cessna 182 and Boeing 737 simulation out there. The downside is the nav data is a bit out of date, and many of the airports in the sim are greatly in need of an overhaul (which costs money).

Fortunately there’s a third option that I usually overlook: DCS.

While DCS is a combat simulator, it’s self contained in that I don’t need external third party addons to enjoy it. Most aircraft have excellent compatibility with my stick and pedal setup (especially the A-10C which my HOTAS is modelled after). It also has excellent VR compatibility that works great with my system setup. The multiplayer in DCS is simply fantastic, and I enjoy joining in on the Acrobatics server just to practice flying around and doing fun stunts in VR.

With that said, I’m going to attempt to do more DCS flying in the weeks to come. I’d also like to do some Prepar3D flying if I have some extra time. I’m currently set up to fly between Leipzig and Nuremberg, Germany. I’d also like to do some FSEconomy flights, but that’s low on my priority list.

Train Simulator
I’ve been playing around between London and Portsmouth with a new route addon that came out recently. It’s fun, but I feel in some ways…kinda done with Train Simulator 2018.

It’s hard to explain why. I love the variety of routes, especially to places I’ve been or plan on visiting. It just feels a bit stale I guess? Jump in a train, stop at a bunch of stations, and finish up after an hour or so.

The graphics engine is outdated, the sounds are weak, and it feels more like a chore going through some of the scenarios. Quick Play on the other hand helps with the monotony of the scenarios, but it’s limited by some stuff, such as lack of AI traffic, proper signals, and goals.

Train Sim World, which is the latest iteration of the simulator is much better in that regard. The graphics are fantastic, the trains are fully detailed and you can manipulate practically every switch and knob. My only issue is that it’s still a bit buggy, especially when I save/resume scenarios. Also, the routes are much shorter than their TS2018 counterparts.

Still, I’m going to invest some more time in TSW. I have a lot of scenarios I’d like to play through as well as services that are fun to play through as well.

Gaming
Not much going on with games. I’m currently playing just Octopath Traveller. It’s a decent RPG though I wish there was interactions between the different characters. Still, the stories are good and I have no complaints so far. I’m trying to limit myself to just a one or two games as having a more broad focus is just way too much for me to handle with the limited time I have and Octopath Traveller is the perfect game to fill that void.

TV
Likewise, with gaming, I’m also limiting myself to just a couple shows: Bakemonogatari (an anime) and Stranger Things Season 2.

D&D
I’m also planning on possibly attending a D&D game tomorrow. Unfortunately I haven’t had the time to develop a new character (I’d like to play as a Bard, if possible). I have a Level 3 Ranger I can play as, but it depends on the group and where their progress is in their campaign.

Sometimes though, especially after 10 hours of work, I can be a bit anti-social and a bit too exhausted to do a 4 hour game session. But maybe I can have some fun and make some new friends in the process.

Other Hobbies
I have the Jesta Gundam model kit to work on, I’m about 50% done with assembly.

I haven’t picked up much on One Piece this week. It’s usually a bit easier for me to find time to read before I go to bed, but after my recent vacation I’m trying to catch up to my old sleep schedule and I’m just too exhausted to do much of anything by 9:30PM, let alone read a book or a manga.

I haven’t picked up on much as far as figures and statues (a good thing because I have way too much and I’m trying to cut back). I’ve placed a couple preorders on some new figures that are due to release this month (most likely next month).

Also ordered some new clothes this week, so they should be trickling in the mail over the next week or two.

That’s about it for the Life of Scott. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming trying to do everything that I like. Sometimes I wish life were just simpler: Come home, do some chores…watch some Netflix, go to bed…

But no, especially due to ADHD I have just way too many hobbies. Some days I’m happy, some days I’m not…it’s just sometimes I don’t know if I should embrace it, or fight it? That’s a question best left for another day…all I can do is just my best.

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Weekly Update

Heya!

Just another week has gone by. What’s new?

First, I finished Narcos, Season 1 and 2. Not sure what to do next:

  • Start Narcos Season 3
  • Finish Westworld Season 2
  • Watch Stranger Things Season 2
  • Start on Legion Season 1

On the anime side of things, I’ve started getting back into One Piece by reading the manga. I’m on Volume 18, Chapter 162…so quite a ways in. But considering there is about 88 volumes currently, I still have a long way to go before catching up with the series. Still…it’s really good.

I think what draws me into One Piece is the unique characters and their designs as well as a captivating story. Also, being a pirate setting, it’s unique in the sense that it gets away from the typical fantasy or high school anime/manga settings.

I haven’t played much in games this week. Mostly played The Crew 2, which is…okay? It’s nothing special but it’s fun in its own way. It reminds me of the need to be more selective in what games I pick. Some games sound great on paper, but in reality I’ll play just a little bit and get bored.

With that said, the next game on the horizon that I’m looking forward to is Octopath Traveller, coming out next Friday. I’ve played much of the demo and it’s a blast. I just hope the full game is just as good as the 3 hour chunk that I’ve played. In the meantime I’m not sure what to do since getting into another JRPG will undoubtedly take up a lot of my free time. Perhaps I’ll play something light, like One Piece Pirate Warriors 3.

I haven’t done anything as far as simulators this week. Just too lazy to pull out my joystick or steering wheel. I did manage to (slowly) update P3D to version 4.3. It took a few days and some crashes…but finally got it fully installed onto my SSD and all the add-ons seem to be working so far.

In a way, it’s nice to take a break from simming. After a while I get too invested into it and I sometimes spend more time thinking about flying (i.e. which sim to fly, which plane to fly, where to fly, etc…) than I do actually flying. I get frustrated at times, particularly with the simulators crashing or my addons not doing what they should be doing…so stepping away from it is a good choice.

Next plan is to fly through northern Germany. I just picked up the C310R, which is a beautiful looking GA aircraft for P3D V4, so I’ll definitely be doing some flying soon.

Also got the MG Jesta Gundam model kit. I will receive it probably on Monday, and I’m looking forward to working with it as I’ve been away from model kit building for months.

With anime, since I’ve been at a standstill on what I want to watch the past week, I decided to check out a new series: Bakemonogatari. I heard good stuff about it, so hopefully I’ll like it.

So to sum it all, here’s my plan for next week:

TV: ??? (Probably Narcos Season 3)
Games: ??? (Probably One Piece Pirate Warriors 3)
Anime: Bakemonogatari
Manga: One Piece
Simulators: P3D – C310R over Northern Germany
Books: The Wheel of Time – Eye of the World
Model Kits: MG Jesta Gundam
D&D: No plans this week
Drawing: No plans this week.

Weekly Update

Hello World,

Not much the last couple weeks regarding flight simming. I went back into gaming for the time being to catch up on some stuff.

While I love flying, sometimes it can be a bit much with keeping up on addons, downloading orthos, etc. Yet sometimes when I do go out and fly, I feel somewhat bored. “Hey I’m in the air…okay now what?”. I’ll just sit there for 45 minutes watching the virtual scenery. At a certain point, even FSEconomy isn’t enough to break that boredom.

When it gets to that point, it’s okay to take a break. I do plan on hopefully taking another flight in a few days, perhaps from Cologne to Hamburg. I haven’t decided on which simulator to use yet, but I’m leaning a bit towards P3D since there’s some aircraft I’d like to fly with it, and I have Orbx’s excellent Germany scenery as well. On the other hand I have all of Germany rendered in ortho in XP11, and a ton of great GA aircraft as well.

But alas, the focus is on gaming. I’m keeping things simple and not too overwhelming which usually kills my desire to play games. Right now I am just playing The Witcher 3 and the demo for Octopath Traveller for the Switch. My other free time is spent watching My Hero Academia and WWE events.

In other news, picked up some game cases for the Switch and 3DS. It’s really nice to have my entire game library fit in the palm of my hand, which is something I can’t say for the PS4.

I also got a couple art books. One is the Legend of Zelda Encyclopedia (Book 3 in the Zelda art series). The second is a book on the art of Magic the Gathering, which I don’t really play but I love the fantasy artwork.

So with the next three days off from work, what are my plans?

  • Flight through Germany
  • Play the Witcher 3
  • Play Octopath Traveller
  • Watch My Hero Academia

Along with that, I would also like to:

  • Pick up on Assassin’s Creed Origins again
  • Play Monster Hunter Stories
  • Play House Flipper
  • Play Farming Simulator 2017
  • Play Blazblue Calamity Trigger
  • Watch Dragon Ball Z Kai
  • Run another Euro Truck Simulator route
  • Practice starting up the F/A 18 Hornet
  • Work on Car Mechanic Simulator
  • Play Horizon Zero Dawn

Phew! Long list, but there’s so much I’d like to do the next three days. At least I have some stuff I’d like to do though.

Anyways have a good week!

Monday Update

Hey World,

Been a somewhat eventful weekend.

First off, had some issues with P3D. The program crashed about 30 minutes into a flight, which frustrated me. When I tried to restart the program, it would no longer load the flight and would crash every time. Turns out my weather generator was pointing to the wrong directory, which caused a lot of issues.

I think I fixed it, although there was a couple crashes last night when I tried to move my camera around. I think it had to do with me moving it while scenery was still being generated…I’m not sure yet, but I do not like these crashes at all.

I’ve been working with X-Plane 11 instead while I figure things out. I did a FSEconomy flight from Wenatchee, WA to Victoria, BC using the xEnviro weather engine and some new orthos from “Forkboy”. It turned out well at first, then the frame rate started getting choppy mid-flight, and by the end of the flight my plane was bouncing all over the place with impossible crosswinds (it was reported at 4kts, but the engine was generating winds from upper layers). I still managed to land the plane under very, very difficult circumstances.

I ended up shelving xEnviro for now and just sticking to Ultra Weather XP + FSGRW since it doesn’t give me those sort of issues.

The frame rate issues seem to stem from the new orthos/meshes I installed. I found a feature in my ortho generation program though that enhances airports and the surrounding area to a higher quality, so I’m reworking all of the areas I had previously generated with the higher resolution since that’s a big deal for me.

In the meantime as I was trying to come up with solutions for these issues, I had to take a break from civilian flying and installed the new beta for DCS World to fly the new F/A-18 Hornet. It’s a huge deal and a high detail plane with intricate and realistic systems. I look forward to flying this plane soon!

Anyways, it still brings up some questions, P3D versus XP11. I still prefer both for different reasons, but when I can’t do a flight due to P3D crashing at random. It’s frustrating…

I’m leaning a bit towards XP11 again, if anything due to the improved flight dynamics, graphics engine, up-to-date navaids and airport layouts, and the free ortho scenery. It’s just that P3D has better addon planes, better weather, and better addon scenery.

Still, if I can’t even fly the better simulator due to random crashes…what’s the point, right?

Simulator Updates

Hey World,

Some good news for a simmer. First off, SCS has announced they will be revisiting Germany for the next update. This is great, considering I’ve been using Promods as the vanilla Germany is terrible (basically highways that trails off into enclosed cities…very boring and unrealistic). I’m using Promods to fix this issue, which is a great mod…but I can’t take part in some events. Ideally I want to move away from Promods to take part of many of the events, plus I find SCS’s quality in their newer DLCs better than the modded version

Next, Train Sim World is coming up with the West Summerset Railway addon tomorrow (I’m off that day!). Despite some of the criticism I have of Dovetail Games, I still enjoy driving trains every once in a while and I’m looking forward to trying a new route.

Flew yesterday from Venice to Florence, Italy. It was a one hour journey and there wasn’t much to see. I had a lot of fog and visibility issues which made flying very difficult. I then realized that the real world weather is set to real time, which means it’s early morning in Italy (in real life), so it’s perhaps a morning fog layer. I ended up setting it to historic time and matched my computer time with the weather, that way it matches what it was at 6PM Italy time the previous day (instead of 2AM).

I’m surprised to see that several Florence landmarks were modelled in P3D. It’s something I wouldn’t normally see in X-Plane, where I would just see generic houses and office buildings. I did install a new VFR package for XP11 that adds real world buildings and towers, but unfortunately it changes some of the stuff in the US, so I’ll see unrealistic depictions of Cathedrals in Seattle that stick out like a sore thumb.

On the flip side, I installed some orthos for the Florence and Venice areas in X-Plane, and the scenery looks gorgeous. Given that it’s actual satellite scenery, I’m looking at the real lay of the land. Still, P3D looks equally convincing with the Orbx addons…and it’s often hard to distinguish between what’s real and what’s not. Orbx also takes only a few GB of space, where ortho scenery can take hundreds of GB just for small regions.

I’m currently grabbing more ortho scenery for X-Plane 11 though, but if it comes down to space versus orthos, I’ll have to make the decision to delete either some unfinished games, or delete ortho regions.

Something I have been weighing on is what to do with two sims. I plan on doing some FSEconomy missions this weekend, but often I’ll be presented with multiple choices in aircraft. If I want to fly in a certain part of the world, and the only aircraft available I already own for XP11. What do I do? Purchase another one for P3D? No, that would be stupid. Instead I decided to stick with what is the best for each platform. For example, I have a great Beechcraft F33A with a REP pack for XP11, where the one for P3D sucks. So I can fly that around the area and perform missions. Where on the other hand I have an excellent C182 for P3D, but not for XP11…so I can fly that in P3D.

Problem solved!

I do have a couple of duplicate aircraft, on the other hand. But they are the X-Plane default C172 (with REP) and B737 (with Zibo). The P3D addons are superior models though, so I’m going to stick with them.

That’s about it for now. So the plan for my days off?

  • Fly from Florence to Rome
  • Take on some FSEconomy missions
  • Try the Summerset railway
  • Finish some Euro Truck Simulator event deliveries.

After that, no clue. I’m just happy to have three days off. 🙂

Who knows, maybe I’ll do some streaming? Or at the very least maybe I can upload some videos on YouTube.

Progress

In some ways, I think the last few months, I’ve been discontented. I spent a lot of time on games, but I feel in some ways that I wasn’t quite happy. I’m back to simming and I’m enjoying it a lot. Here’s what’s new since my last post:

Flew from Dusseldorf to Koblenz, Germany, right over Cologne. Then I flew from Koblenz to Frankfurt, then Frankfurt to Nuremberg, then Nuremberg to Munich, then Munich to Innsbruck, and from Innsbruck I landed at a small airfield in Trento, Italy. Next stop: Verona.

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It’s been quite fun, and really relaxing. I’ve been playing around with a lot of airliners lately, and while they are fun…they take so long to set up and can be quite stressful at times. I can spend an hour or more just getting set up before I even take off (which is usually reserved for the weekends). Sometimes I just want to jump in and fly. I’m in a C182 which is essentially a more powerful, longer range C172.

Next I’ve just picked up the new update to Euro Truck Simulator 2, and the new Promods addon just came out late yesterday. There’s been some internal debate over whether I should include Promods or stick with vanilla (for events and such). I prefer realism over events, so I’m going to stick with Promods. I’ll at least get rid of some of the other mods I have as it was getting too difficult to manager.

I also picked up a new expansion to the Soldier Summit line for Train Simulator, but at the moment I’m running a few German routes in Quick Drive mode. Focusing mostly around the Munich area.

Not much else to talk about today. Just excited to get back into things. I’m also happy that my focus has been narrowed down instead of being so broad as it was last month.

Hello world!

I believe I have my schedule now set for the European tour my mom and I are taking next year.

First we’ll be travelling from Seattle to Amsterdam, we’ll stay in Amsterdam for a day before taking the train to Cologne. Then I’ll travel from Cologne to Frankfurt, Nuremberg, then Munich. Then I’ll go down to Innsbruck, Verona, maybe go east to Venice before heading back down to Florence, Rome, then back up to Milan, Lyon, Paris, Brussels, then back to Amsterdam for the flight back. Visiting each city for a few hours to a whole day depending on our mood.

So basically we’ll be travelling in a giant circle. It’ll be a lot of fun!

In the meantime I’m using my simulator to fly the areas and look at the sites, maybe spot any cool landmarks or buildings from the air that I can visit. One of the advantages of P3D and the Orbx scenery is that it accurately reflects what real world cities look like and I can see accurate landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, etc, as opposed to the generic autogen buildings that X-Plane renders.

On the flip side, X-Plane with Ortho scenery is as real as it gets. Basically it uses real satellite scenery to render the area, so I’m looking at the ground as it would in real life. It doesn’t replace buildings, obviously, but it makes the world stand out and look alive, especially in mountainous regions. The airports stand out as well, and are not low resolution like P3D’s default airports are.

I’m a sucker for landmarks, so I’m flying P3D right now, I flew from Amsterdam to Rotterdam in a C182, then flew from Rotterdam to Eindhoven. Later I plan from travelling from Eindhoven to Dusseldorf.

Other than that, just transferred a lot of data from my HDD to my SSD for P3D (using symbolic link). Unlike X-Plane, which load times typically are about 5 minutes, P3D can take at least 10-15 minutes to load. That’s insane. I’m hoping the SSD might speed up the process but I doubt it, I might have to remove scenery to make this work.

Also got Envtex and Envshade to enhance the graphics. The differences are subtle but worth it. It makes the world look less grey and dull.

That’s it for now. Have a good day.