Image is ingame screenshot from the Crew wild run
Image is ingame screenshot from the Crew wild run
In today’s world an internet connection is required to play many modern games or even use popular social and production applications such as a Microsoft Word, Facebook or Youtube. We refer to these products as being cloud based and it usually works wonders. However, this access to your game or application on the “cloud” (which is really just a connection to computer servers locked in some warehouse or undisclosed location) does have its drawbacks. But many people today might be surprised to know that any cloud-based drawbacks that might occur today didn’t always exist.
For sake of a better phrase, I will call those days the good old days–a time when one could play a game or use a word processor without going online. In those days the user actually own the product they bought and wasn’t at the mercy of any internet connection or online servers. Of course those days are gone for now but there are reasons why being connected to online play or production simply to type a letter might be a good option but for this particular post I will focus on why cloud based software and gaming is actually a horrible idea for the consumer–and I believe time will bare this out.
When your online connected game or subscription is working things are good. We get to play our game or write our letter. Take for example, the Crew. It’s a massive open world multiplayer car-driving game. The playground is open for exploration and this “playground” is a condensed version of the United States mountains and deserts included. When the game works, it’s a blast especially the Monster Trucks but I digress. However, like many games and services, this game requires players to login into an online server. In this case the company who controls the server is Ubisoft. Nothing against Ubisoft as a company but when their servers are down for maintenance or other reason, the player doesn’t get access to a game they have paid for. (Speaking of down time, I write this post as I wait for Ubisoft’s services to return. The good news, my blog service Word Press is up now! )
Now had such a game as The Crew been downloadable or installable on ones personal computer not relying on another’s server for access later as games once were, there would be no down time. We would also be able to own the product instead our being involved in a sort’ve lease agreement with the game/software developer and the product. Maybe you remember the days when Microsoft Word was a standalone product that could be paid for one time and installed on your home or business computer? Now Word is called Microsoft 365 and it is an endless subscription service rather than a standalone product. Google Docs and anything Google is cloud based. Many other company’s have gone the same way because in this cloud-based system we as customers don’t require a physical drive for storage and our account is always accessible across many devices. This is a convenience when it works. Internet connection not working? Too bad for you. Your online based report isn’t getting done today. Game or application company server down for maintenance? The only thing to do is wait until it’s up again to get access to our service. Yes, this is the future. And unfortunately it’s the only future many adults and kids will ever know.
I believe we have lost our way when it comes to our dependence and reliance on cloud based computing and subscription services. This system works in a developers favor to be cloud-based because of the control they have. They control when the customer gets access or when they don’t. They get our money regardless of our access to the product or satisfaction of it and maybe most importantly they get paid for however long we want to use it! Brilliant plan for them, not as great for the user. If you have Windows 10 running on your computer you may have noticed that Microsoft has been pushing for users to use the operating system online rather than having a local only account. Why the push for online use of the Windows 10? Because we get access to our data on multiple devices? Okay, sounds great but that should be my own business if I wanted such a convenience or not. I believe the push truly comes because someday soon everything we use related to computer will be a subscription. YouTube use to be free and it still is, kind of. Currently adverstisments abound but ever heard of YouTube Red? It’s Google’s way of shoving users away from unlimited free access (with adverstisments) to a product only subscription service. Software developers are brilliant and we customers will pay–literally.
Now, perhaps it’s true that the company or developer who starts selling software again that can be owned once and installed once, without the need for a subscription will become famous again. Of course, it would take a major breakdown of cloud-based services for this to happen but by then the world might be completely gone.
But there is Hope. And it’s not based on the internet’s or some software developer’s reliability or security. His name is Jesus. Of course, one would need to know the need for Jesus in order to be really concerned. Have you consider it?
images are personal in-game screenshots from The Crew except Ubisoft Maintenence Notice
Ubisoft image source
And my response is, absolutely. By now, there are mods available which turn GTA games including GTA 5 into a similar family friendly gaming experience. Yet I believe there is money to be made for any game company/developer who developed a GTA 5 style open world game without the extensive profanity, sex and violence (specifically against others) which GTA games are known for. Essentially it could be GTA 5 lite. This game would feature the same map, same natural environment including AI traffic but different gameplay options. Police patrol? Yes. Catch bad guys? Yes. Cause explosions? Sure. Fly? Drive? Run? Yes, yes and yes.
Another option would be for Rockstar games to include a filter(s) within their games. Simple on or off options for language. Street dialogue profanity on/off. Assassin’s creed Black Flag includes a similar option to remove blood.
We already see games which feature beautiful scenery but do not focus on swearing, sex and violence at every turn. The CREW Wild Run is a perfect example. However, The CREW only features a driving mode. No running, walking, doing police patrols, exiting your car, etc. In fact you can’t get out of your car at all.
Just Cause 2 is another example of a great open world game without sex and extensive swearing. In fact, the swearing can be virtually eliminated by lowering the volume for dialogue. However, Just Cause 2 does not feature a modern American style city nor a map or vehicles like GTA 5. Additionally, there is a lot of violence in Just Cause 2 (explosions and commando style shooting)—against the bad guys.
Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption outside of missions doesn’t even feature all the sex, violence and swearing one can find in GTA 5. Red Dead Redemption isn’t available for a PC nor does the map feature a modern American-like city. In fact, RDR is a western game.
An open world game that virtually eliminates swearing, sex and allows the player assume the role of a good guy or as a cop will get my business.
At this point I will note the mod for GTA 5 called LSPDFR. LSPDFR is a police mod essentally allowing the player become a cop in the GTA 5 world. The trouble with mod’s is how they cause GTA games to crash. In the meantime, I will be waiting for a permanent solution to LSPDFR or even the family friendly mod for GTA 5. Is Police 10-13 going to be that game?
Would you like to see a GTA 5 family friendly version or similar?
The Republicans in Washington led by President Trump were finally able come through on a promise to give back to the American people. And what exactly was this promise to give back? Our money of course. This will come as a welcome relief for many who pay taxes and give their hard-earned dollars day after day to the to government. And yet there was some sad news buried in with this otherwise wonderful Christmas gift. The fact that all of the Democrats sitting in Washington voted against tax cuts for the people is nothing less than a disgrace. But it shouldn’t be surprising should it?
After all this is the same Democrat party who removed God from their party platform in 2012 and the same Democrat party who consistently defends Planned Parenthood and the outright murder of babies. This Democrat party is the one who claims to be advocates for women and yet never calls attention to the abuse, slaughter and dishonor of Muhammad’s Islam perpetrated against women and humanity. And let us not forget about the disgusting jokes, obscenities and obscene graphic material exploiting women that is produced on a daily basis by none other than Democrat city aka Hollywood.
So while hard-working Americans will enjoy a little tax bonus coming soon thanks to right thinking people in Washington, we must also not forget how much the Democrat party is hurting America and the world.
The following story is as disturbing as it is disgusting and definitely not for anyone who would rather ignore the truth.
My original post continues below
Yes, Target was my favorite store until management decided to advocate for men entering the women’s bathroom. Many believe a boycott is ineffective and I believe it might be in terms of deeply “hurting” the merchant’s bottom line. However as a matter of conviction, for me not shopping at Target has been a public statement proclaiming a disagreement in an anti God store policy. Target’s bathroom policy of course puts kids in danger of perverted men masquerading as women but most importantly it is a sin against God. Yes, a surgery or surgeries to the human body and manipulating hormones does not change what God has already ordained from birth. We all know this to be true but as the CEO’s of Target are proving, many will try to pretend it isn’t so and that God is not in charge.
I first posted about the Target boycott here. Now consider another post of mine.
I suggest a better way of reaching Target and anyone is to start by watching a movie called Audacity. If you haven’t watched it already check it out here.
Someone in top management of Target made the decision to allow men to use the woman’s bathroom and vice versa. Many people agree with this and because it’s sin (see the Good Person Test) against God what needs to happen is a change of heart. Do boycotts change hearts? No. Who changes hearts? God.
People at Target or not are all headed on a path to hell because of crimes against a holy God. Yes, (there’s a long list) and we’re all doomed unless there’s a way of escape. See the good person test. There is hope however and it’s not man-made. God through Jesus Christ is the only escape and Savior from hell and judgment to come. Are you ready?
If the name were Donald Trump instead of Harvey Weinstein we’d see a left-wing media and Hollywood frenzy of glee. And why? Simply because they are hateful of God and love their immorality. Hollywood elites have made a god to suit themselves which allows for such immorality.
So what does Hollywood do in a case like this? Cover-up and cover-up some more. And even when the truth is revealed after years of cover-up, they attempt to cover-up their cover-up because their worldview dictates it. Will Hollywood and the Democrat party ever come clean?
So who is Mr. Weinstein? Publicly, he is a Hollywood big-wig mogul, Democrat party donor and producer. And now we know Mr. Weinstein is none other than a sexual predator who used his power to manipulate and control people. He is nothing less than a bully on a grand scale. Unfortunately, because of who he is, much of his inappropriate acts of sexual abuse and harassment was ignored and probably landed on deaf ears.
Of course these are things many of us on the outside already know about the worldview of Hollywood and of the Left. We know about their blatant defense of a religion that believes in honor killings, abuse and mistreatment of women. We know about their hatred and antagonistic views toward Christians and Jews (namely due to their hatred of the God of the Bible). We know about the atrocious acts of murder seen in abortion which Hollywood defends publicly and in who they vote for. And let us not neglect to tell about the content they endorse. We see it everywhere–the sexual innuendo against women, vulgarities and immorality that permeates their TV shows, movies and games. Yes, Hollywood and many on the left may want (and try) to deny this ugly reality but sooner or later the truth has a way of catching up. When you least expect it, the Harvey Weinsteins of the world show up and expose the truth.
And yet, there is still time for us all to repent.
“These times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” Acts 17:30-31
In a not surprising move by Twitter, the social media giant tries to suppress the truth about abortion. While most everyone already knows abortion is nothing less than cold-blooded murder of billions of babies, not everyone would like you to know. The latest case by Twitter to hide this gruesome reality was seen when Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn posted a campaign video about Planned Parenthood’s practice of abortion. In her campaign ad, she boldly states, “I’m 100% pro-life. I fought Planned Parenthood, and we stopped the sale of baby body parts — thank God.”
The details were clear about the disgusting reality that abortion is and Twitter blocked her video. In a statement made by Twitter they said, “the sale of baby parts” was “deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction.”
And of course it should evoke a strong negative reaction. Abortion is the gruesome practice of murdering babies. What could be more ugly and offensive than the murder of the innocent?
The question is why would Twitter block the truth? Is it that Twitter along with other large media outlets, actually believe murder is okay? After all, they have gone to great lengths to defend Planned Parenthood in the past.
Now if the Twitter CEO’s had a strong moral compass, I would expect a strong statement speaking out against the ugly practices of Planned Parenthood with abortion, along with any murder of innocents. God hates murder. Remember, the command “You shall not kill.” Maybe that is also why so many people today hope God’s commands and His messengers would disappear.
” If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NASB)
This review is for Project Highrise plus the available DLC (Las Vegas, Miami Malls and Tokyo Towers). I purchased this game as a bundle on a Steam sale which included the available DLC and the base game Project Highrise.
Contrary to what I have read, Project Highrise in my opinion is not much like the old 1990’s Sim Tower. Yes, you can build a tall building and yes there are animated people walking around and yes there are offices, hotels, restaurants and apartments but for me that is as close as those two games get to being the same. I consider Project Highrise more in line with a city builder such as Cities Skylines because of the required planning and management aspects to it.
Tutorials are Helpful
For me there has been a slight learning curve to discovering the game’s mechanics. The included tutorials are extremely helpful although they only scratch the surface for how the game operates. Playing with unlimited resources I found has given me the best experience and the most fun in learning the game.
As of this writing, I have not played Project Highrise (PH) without the DLC but as far as I can tell, the added DLC (Las Vegas, Miami Malls, and Tokyo Towers) are welcome (essential?) additions in making PH an enjoyable experience. The DLC gives the game depth and variety with its added hotel building expansion which includes casinos, stores, art galleries, event venues, in addition to apartments, office and multi-level lobbies. Who doesn’t want to add stores, hotels, casinos and event venues to their tower? Get it all with a Steam sale and you can’t go wrong.
Additional note about DLC (Las Vegas, Miami Malls and Tokyo Towers): As catchy or flashy as the DLC titles may sound, their function is simply generic in the game. What I mean is the Las Vegas DLC adds generic hotels, casinos, and event venues as options to PH (all things one might see in Las Vegas). The Miami Malls expansion adds generic mall related spaces such as mall security, demo booths, or a mall directory with a variety of stores to choose from. Tokyo Towers adds a generic Japanese flare to apartments, art, and lobbies within the game.
In Project Highrise you get to choose the direction you want to take your building beside just up, whether it be by adding hotels, apartments, stores, businesses or a combination of all of these (must have the DLC). It’s up to you (mostly) because you get to choose the types of tenants who will make up your tower. (This is different from Sim Tower where in that game I believe the specific types of food eateries, restaurants and establishments were randomly chosen for you.) PH gives you much greater control and variety in who will move into your building. (A pizza place or a Mexican restaurant? A pet store or an electronics store? You get to decide from a list of choices.) Again, this is why I highly recommend the additional DLC.
Both the graphics and sound of PH are decent but are nothing earth shattering. The game could do more with additional animations and sound effects which would add a little more vibrancy to the game.
In the main menu, there is an unlimited money feature which allows for more creative and faster building from the start. In my opinion, this feature alone makes the game worth a purchase. However, it’s important to note that even with the unlimited money and resources option enabled, not all in-game building options will be available at the start (although plenty will be). This applies to things like 2 floor apartments, large luxury apartments, large hotel suites, casinos, large offices, metro transit, etc. (See Your Tenants can be needy people below.)
Not to fret though because having the extra money, prestige, buzz, and influence available are also important for greater possibilities to growing your building faster, bringing in consultants, fulfilling contracts and opening up a variety of future tenants.
Consultants are an essential part of PH and add an enormous amount of depth to the game. With influence the player can add consultant offices which in turn will open up more available options for constructing the perfect building. There are four types of consultant offices and tracks to choose from: Aesthetics, Politics, Operations and Tourism. Aesthetics pertain to art, sculptures and galleries in your building and also to its general appearance. Politics consultants lift some limitations and codes on building heights and will allow for public transportation. Operations pertain to the inner workings and maintenance of your building such as the number of workers available and the speed at which they build. The Tourism consultants open up the building to allow event venues, hotels and the construction of casinos.
Buzz allows for campaigns or ad’s to be placed to bring in more people to your tower, lower the costs of building materials or improve the overall moral of office workers among other things.
Prestige stars reflect the level of the good in your building and the happiness (or sadness) of your tenants and visitors. You gain and lose prestige stars by forming various actions in game or allocating space for specific tenants. Unhappy tenants and other factors can lower your Prestige level (the number of stars you have).
Project Highrise features optional contracts which are basically a checklist of goals and achievements you can obtain depending on the particular deal or contract you sign. For example, one contract might be to bring in a specific number of people into your tower (grow your population). There is no time limit to complete this task and when your tower reaches that number in population as specified in the contract, you will receive a cash reward for completing the contract. Note: Fulfilling contracts help build your wealth faster especially if you are not playing with unlimited resources
Tenants who you might wish to occupy a space in your tower will have needs or requirements that must be met before they can be placed in your building. Some have few needs like electricity and water while others have many.
This is very important in understanding who can move in immediately and who will have to wait. For example, a luxury two-bedroom apartment might need special cleaning services, handyman services, trash pick-up and more variety of restaurants and cafes placed in your building before a luxury apartment can be placed in your building. IMO the necessity to check these needs of prospective tenants adds a great deal of depth to the game-play. For some players, meeting these needs might become frustrating but for me it added an awesome element of realism and depth to the game.
Prestige stars are also necessary in order to bring in specific tenants.
Offices, stores, apartments, hotel rooms and other selected tenants need electricity to run and be happy. Some of these tenants also need water, a phone line, cable TV or Air Conditioning (hotels). Therefore as you might guess, planning and setting up your buildings infrastructure is important in Project Highrise.
Unlike Sim Tower, elevators in PH do not need to be monitored for capacity and usage times. However, their location does matter depending on what type of tenant you choose to locate nearby. Some businesses or apartments for example may not be happy if placed next to the elevators.
In addition, smells, noise levels etc, must be monitored to keep your tower dwellers happy.
One awesome thing I love about Project Highrise is the amount of space you have available to build your tower or towers. The player is actually given a few options in the main menu. There is Standard, Narrow, Short and Wide or Extra Large. I found the Extra Large option to be a wonderful amount of space to build a huge (or spread-out) tower or even multiple ones! Of course, if you choose the smaller play areas (which aren’t that small at all), the option to expand your building opens up with a building permit which you can obtain by adding influence and the proper consultant offices!
Like many games which are good, Project Highrise also has room for improvement.
PH lacks music options during game-play. In fact there is only soundtrack available and IMO was a poor choice for this game. Unless you enjoy repetitive elevator music, you may agree. However, allowing a music style selector (or mod) available would greatly enhance the music options. Fortunately, the music can be turned off completely.
The current animations and sound effects in the game are fine but having additional animations, visuals and sound effects would further enhance the game’s overall quality, likeability and charm. For example in the pet store, it would be wonderful if the cat and dog moved and we saw people actually purchase items from the stores or sit down and eat at the restaurants rather than just stand or walk through them. (Yes, there is a very large hamburger that appears on the tables but I didn’t always see anybody eating them.)
Now I realize this is a game and not to be taken too seriously but I still noticed when the model train store had dolls in it instead of expected model trains and that some restaurants look eerily similar.
The game could do better job at how it displays the requirements and needs for tenants in general. Currently (as far as I can tell) the player must first allocate tenant space (at no cost) in order to view the needs of that prospective tenant only to find you need to delete that space because your tower doesn’t yet fulfill those requirements. There should be a way of displaying the needs of tenants from the categories or selection menu before anything is placed in the building. While it doesn’t cost anything to allocate the space, it is an unnecessary extra step the developers might want to consider eliminating to make the game-play less tedious.
Waiting for things to develop can be a looonnng wait. The current speeds available are normal and fast. Sometimes fast isn’t quite fast enough.
Wish there were escalators and parking spaces. Some two story malls stores include an escalator already but it would great to be able to add one in addition to the elevators and stairs. Where are the parking spaces for cars to park? This little nugget was part of Sim Tower and I miss it.
When your tower gets big sometimes it can be difficult to spot what is making someone upset in your building and it can be especially tedious to search for specific tenants or that elusive recycling bin or eatery to check its stats. Having a view available which displays all tenants located in your building each broken into categories with specific stats, might go a long way to making them easier to find especially when something goes wrong.
Overall, I would highly recommend this game especially if you enjoy city builders and a Sim Tower style game. My nine-year-old daughter can also attest to the fun factor this game provides.
Get the game plus DLC in a bundle on a Steam sale for $10-$15 and it’s a great deal.
At the 10 dollar price point, my rating for Project Highrise (with DLC) is 4 stars (out of 5)
Have you played Project Highrise? Did you like it? Dislike it? Let me know what you think of the game in the comments below.
Image source is my own in game screen capture
While America is busy attempting to unravel and mentally sort the tragic and horrific shooting massacre that occurred in Las Vegas over the weekend, one fact remains: The Las Vegas shooter didn’t know God. This fact alone is one many people might rather ignore but its reality is undeniable and deeply important. This may seem like a trivial matter to some but had this man Stephen Paddock believed in God by trusting in Jesus Christ for his salvation he wouldn’t have committed this heinous crime. This goes for anyone, at anytime. What do I mean you ask?
Clearly the world is crumbling and falling apart. People are more and more seeking to break the law and do harm to others. The Las Vegas shooting demonstrates more of the same.
However, God has spoken a stern warning to all who seek to ignore Him. We have all broken His Law (the Ten Commandments). As lawbreakers or transgressors of the law we are all slaves of sin (doing evil). Therefore we are all under a curse. Sin clouds our minds and blocks our view (or a correct view) of God. As a result we are self-seeking sin-filled creatures who are at enmity with the God of the universe. We shoot, murder, lie and cheat. In the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve, our relationship with God was broken.
Sin is transgressing or breaking God’s law.
Have you sinned?
Broken God’s commands?
Are you willing to seek God?
These are just a few of the Ten Commandments. It’s evident we are all guilty of breaking God’s God’s law, the perfect standard for what is right and wrong. Therefore since God is holy, perfect and He cannot have sin in His presence (Psa. 5:4, Hab. 1:13) we deserve His righteous judgment in Hell.
Therefore, we need a Savior–a way of escape from His judgment for sin. (James 2:10)
Just because Mr. Paddock did not have salvation in Jesus Christ and a relationship with Him doesn’t mean it’s too late for us. We are all given a limited time on this planet. You may not have tomorrow or another minute to seek out God.
If you would like a more detailed version of what I have posted about salvation please take the good person test. Right now Bibles are plentiful in the United States. (They even have them at Dollar stores!) Please pick up a Bible and start reading in the book of John (or wherever God is leading you to start reading). Just start in His Word. When you have questions seek out answers but don’t stop looking in God’s Word.
I am not a pastor (or even part of any church leadership) but a guy with struggles, faults and battles with sin who’s only desire is to point people the right way which is to know Jesus Christ. If I can be of any help don’t hesitate to ask.
Thank you for reading this important post.
image source: top is my own
No, this isn’t a joke. Granted, there isn’t much good about a Hurricane when it hits the mainland but believe it or not I have found at least one good thing about Hurricane Irma. The good news is this: the news media which includes but is not limited to CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft won’t be leading their news cycles with fabricated fake news reports about Donald Trump, Russia or a rigged election. Instead, as we saw with Hurricane Harvey, we will now be hearing and reading news about Hurricane Irma as it makes its way on to the mainland in Florida and up the west-coast.
Unfortunately, the media has sunk so low and has become so bankrupt in its quest for complete honesty and truthfulness in their reporting it has to take a Hurricane to interrupt the daily onslaught of misinformation and lies that spew from their left-wing media outlet centers. Nevertheless, a break in such reporting has occurred and it’s a welcome pause for truth lovers everywhere.