A simple reminder. There is evil in the world and there are people trying to destroy this country and our freedoms. But there is hope. We will never forget the tragedy and the innocent victims who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
Why do you think Oculus Rift is going to require a Facebook linked account to use it? We can’t know all of the reasons….but I believe one reason is because Facebook spying on it’s users. And at its core Facebook developer’s do not love God, His Word, or support the current POTUS. Unless one has been living in a cave without the internet, Radio or TV, it’s clear that Mr. Trump is pro life and a staunch supporter of law enforcement, Israel and has been a public defender of Christians and Jews alike. Facebook backers however, along with many other left-wing media outlets, probably know this more then the average citizen. President Trump’s views simply don’t jive with theirs. And of course they won’t when you advocate for the murder of babies through open support of the Democrat party. Or how about their support for violence against police and law abiding citizens as seen in there defense for the riots in major Democrat controlled cities across the country. And let us not forget about their attempt at hiding their support for the abuse of women through their defense of Islam and the adult entertainment industry. And we cannot forget about their hate speech aimed at hurting the President and his supporters. It’s no secret that conservatives and Christians are banned on the site. And just how much does Facebook employees, members, and family members support the Democrat Party? See for yourself.
Don’t be next
So why should any support this type of platform or product? Answer. They shouldn’t. If everyone left Facebook, and all of us never bought an Oculus Rift tomorrow, Facebook would need to rethink a few things. But until that happens, Facebook will continue to lure the unsuspecting into it’s devious grasp of control. Will you be next?
After more than 30 hours of actual flying time in the game, I can officially report that this sim is both beautiful and exasperating. The game is beautiful because it does contain eye candy and stunningly realistic visuals. And this game has its exasperating moments when it decides to close/crash to desktop in mid-flight while looking at the eye candy. And why does it crash to desktop? In my experience the crashes are occurring randomly so their root cause hasn’t been easy to pin down. I will update this further if/when I find a permanent fix. (Note: The game was running flawless for about one week of off and on flying without any game crashes that is after I uninstalled MSI Afterburner. And so I thought I had figured out the root cause. But as of 9/16/20 the crashes have returned without MSI Afterburner anywhere in sight.)
Microsoft Flight Simulator is the successor to FSX the other popular Microsoft Flight Simulator released in 2006. I have been able to spend a few hours in the latest rendition of the simulator and will offer some thoughts and insights on my experience so far with the sim and whether or not it’s even worth your time.
First, I will start off by saying Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is not without it’s faults, graphical glitches and bugs but overall one word describes it for me. Wow. (and I don’t mean “wow”, that sure took a long time to download because it certainly does. Additionally that long download will contribute to inaccurate gameplay hours on the Steam version. I currently show over 110 hours but have only been in game for around 40hrs)
Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 or MFS2020 has three tiers of pricing available depending on the package you get. I won’t go into many details of each (as you can find them here) but there are Standard ($60), Deluxe ($90) and Premium ($120) versions. Depending on the version you choose, there are five additional aircraft included along with five highly detailed major airports.
Downloading MFS2020 can be a daunting task as the sim is between 90gb- 150gb (depending on the version). I purchased the premium edition from Steam and left it to download overnight. It took at least 5 hours for me but many people have said it can take 9 hours depending on internet speed. (Note for Steam users: After small initial file download of are 1gb, the actual game content downloads within the simulator itself, not Steam)
How well does it run?
Performance wise this game will depend on the power of your system. I have a GTX 1070ti (8gb), i7-8700k (overclocked to 4.7), 16gb ram and on 1920×1080 the game runs quite well on higher settings. I would ignore the system requirements as listed for the simulator because I believe they are too low. Of course, each of our ideals for how a simulator should run will be as different as we are but in my opinion running a smooth a game on low and not being able to see quality scenery is not an option. On my system, the visuals are quite stunning while running near 60 fps in most places and 35-50 fps in larger cities. Certainly there is always room for improvement on performance so a better GPU, CPU and at least 32GB ram is probably recommended. I do not think I could run the sim satisfactory on higher settings using a 4k monitor for example.
Don’t forget one setting
Besides the general graphical options, there is one setting slider that is really important to have the ability to crank up. That setting is the Terrain slider. Everything else should be set to mostly high (if not all) with Terrain at 200%. There is a settings option for buildings but I don’t think this means how many of the buildings or their quality are rendered in the Sim. More on that in a minute.
Best way to fly
I would suggest you use at least a joystick and/or flight yoke (more expensive) to fly in MFS. Straight out of the box, I wasn’t able to successful use a keyboard or mouse for flying an aircraft. However, the keyboard is great for flight systems (gear, lights, trim, flaps, views) and the mouse also works okay for changing views. A usb Xbox controller works best when using the external drone camera.
The Cloud Connection and Limitations
MFS2020 uses the internet, a lot. In fact, in order to get the graphical map details and live weather data for the location you are flying around, it uses Bing maps as part Microsoft’s cloud server (Azure) and it is used with this sim. This sounds like it should make all the visuals and systems amazing and realistic but sometimes the things in simulator don’t look (or work) right. Sometimes textures flicker under the modeled objects where there shouldn’t be any texture at all. And sometimes rivers and waterways are hundreds of feet off the ground and traffic runs through it. And sometimes the airports and buildings are either nonexistent or misplaced. For example, I was visiting a small town in South Dakota and took off from the grass landing strip as it is rendered in the simulator. The town should have been on the left. I couldn’t find it anywhere near the landing strip. I checked the airport map and found the simulator had placed the runway at least 35 miles south east of where it should have been. This brings to me to buildings and how they are displayed in the game.
How do the buildings look?
It would seem that there are at least two different ways the simulator renders buildings. There are generic autogen buildings which can be found in many rural towns like my own (see KACV and KEKA areas). And in more accurately detailed areas, such as in the larger airports (such as KSFO, KLAX or even Redding near KRDD) the simulator looks like a work of art as long as your above 3,000ft. The buildings appear to be extruded models of the underlining satellite image. Modeling in this way doesn’t make for the best visuals at low altitudes but up in the air couple thousand feet everything can look fantastic and recognizable!
Something isn’t quite right with ATC
ATC in MFS has been a little bit disappointing for me. Compared to FSX, I actually think this simulator has gone back a step or two. FSX had multiple voices to choose from and more than one voice could be heard from other pilots communicating with the towers. However, I have only heard one voice used so far no matter the airport or location. And for whatever reason, the person speaking cannot pronounce the number three or five correctly. As far as I know, my call sign doesn’t have a tree in it.
Should you get this simulator?
Apparently MFS2020 is part of long process in continued development. So there are bugs, audio, graphical and data glitches to be expected. Should you get this sim? If you were a fan of FSX or even X-plane you probably will love this simulator. Overall, I certainly have been enjoying it. And if you are a fan of flying I would not suggest a version less the the Premium edition because let’s face it, you will most likely want the extra airports that are more detailed than their standard counterpart and you will be glad you have the additional planes that can only be found in the premium edition. If you are on the fence or new to PC flight simulators then you will want to watch some videos of people using the simulator. And keep in mind most of the videos on YouTube feature the simulator running on a higher-end computer system than my own.
So if you have the money, a little patience, like flight simulation, and have at least a mid to high-end computer, you will probably have a ball exploring and tweaking Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020.
As an independent voter, I did not vote for Mr. Trump in 2016. At the time, I felt he wasn’t going to be conservative enough. Now in 2020, we have another presidential election coming up and I plan, God willing, to vote for Donald Trump for the first time. And if you care at all about supporting and protecting our American values as our founders did, I advise you to do the same.
Two vastly different worldviews
Now unless you’re a criminal or a criminal’s advocate and seek to do evil, it’s not difficult to see why everyone should be supporting Trump as president in 2020. There are two political parties and two candidates each representing vastly different views. As it stands today August 8, 2020 one candidate defends life and the other supports death. One defends innocent babies while the other sadly promotes the murder of babies. Mr. Trump has repeatedly spoken out against the religion of death (Islam) as the other candidate continues to defend a religion that beheads, abuses women and seeks to murder any Kafir (none believer) who doesn’t follow Muhammad. President Trump supports our closest alley Israel while the other candidate does not. Trump supports law enforcement and the other party’s candidate does not (see Oregon riots, MN riots).
The right party candidate will support biblical values. The right party candidate will have a moral compass. The right party candidate will love God. And the right party has not removed God from it’s party platform as the Democrat party did in 2012.
The choice is clear
So the choice is clear. Donald Trump represents the only real choice there is for president in 2020. The alternative has sadly been destruction, death and dying. Just look at the cities Portland Oregon, Seattle, New York City, and Chicago to name a few. Besides the destruction and chaos occurring from within, what do these cities all have in common? They are all Democrat controlled cities with leadership who hates Donald Trump.
I speak of those beyond pesky server disconnections that cause players to randomly lose their progress or fail to complete a mission or get a chance at some extended exploration. Why try to do anything in a game if you are going to be disconnected every 20 minutes only to have to start all over again? And this brings to me a fundamental reason I generally am not a fan of online multiplayer games despite their benefits.
I miss the days where one could put a copy of their favorite game on DVD straight into the computer and play it knowing it was your game and no person or disconnection would interrupt the gameplay. Sure the games where smaller in size but all this online cloud stuff is actually not the best thing for us.
Now days, games are downloadable from cloud based servers such as Steam, Epic games and Origin etc. and many are single-player which is an okay way to play a game but you never really own it. If the game service ever decides it’s time to say “bye’bye” for whatever reason, so does your game. Similarly, dedicated servers that allow online multiplayer games and require a constant internet connection such as Star Citizen, Eve Online and Elite Dangerous are even more prone to interruption. Any hiccup in your connection and back to the main menu to go. If you were making some great in-game progress, it’s possible the game server saved some game data but oftentimes games requiring continual internet connection only save basic stats such as your current weapons, clothing and currency. As is in the case of Star Citizen any disconnection from their game server means you lose your location in the game too and any mission cargo you may have been carrying. Losing your location is big drag especially in a massive open world because your travel time to anywhere is wiped out. Getting ready to land on a new planet? Forget it, you get to start over from your starting location. The greater the distance the bigger nuisance any server disconnection becomes.
I haven’t listed why people enjoy online multiplayer games or even why despite what I don’t like about them, they are the future of gaming. There are two simple reasons multiplayer games are here to stay.
First, a non playable character within a game (NPC) will never be able to compete with a real player. Nothing can beat the experience of two human beings playing with or against each other within the same game world. Human players are more unpredictable than any AI NPC player could be programmed to be. Besides in multiplayer games, players have the ability to team up with friends and play together in their favorite games. Those are just a couple the biggest reasons why online connected multiplayer games are the future.
Now to be clear, I don’t discount the popularity or the very good reasons for multiplayer games. It is genuinely fun to shoot bandits with a friend or even doing missions together. However, when a disconnect occurs the game is essentially over for the player who gets booted from the game. And so to avoid that problem I think a game MUST include a singleplayer component to it and one that works the same or similar to its multiplayer counterpart. Perhaps the game can fall back to singleplayer mode should any internet disruption occur. The only thing that would be lost would be your friend and other human players from your game world but you won’t lose any game progress. The game world would stay intact and so would your location.
So Star Citizen game, if you are to ever succeed game-world speaking, those random in-game disconnections that players experience sometimes multiple times an hour, must be eliminated for good to keep me coming back.
the point of this post is obvious. You cannot work your way to heaven because it is a free gift from God. He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. (Titus 3:5 nlt)
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. (Ephesians 2:8 nlt)
Star Citizen is that online multiplayer living space game currently being developed by Cloud Imperium Games. More about the development here. As of this post, Star Citizen is in an alpha state of development which its been in since 2012. It has been operating on a pledge based system where a player must pledge or pay for a starter package to enter the world of Star Citizen and play the game. A starter game package consists of, at the very least, a basic spaceship, some in-game currency (currently aUEC) and the entire game to download and test. However, one glaring question many folks have been asking is, how long until the game is actually finished? And that remains to be seen. In fact, if time is any gauge for future events, a beta version of the game isn’t even on the horizon.
How many pledges make a game go?
Nevertheless, like many other players before me, we have been curious as to the degree of play-ability the current alpha version of Star Citizen is in. YouTube videos show great scenes from the game but how much editing, if any, went into removing game breaking bugs from those videos? And what about those reports that Star Citizen is some multi-million dollar scam. I decided to get some first hand facts based on personal experience of the game and research.
According to current pledge numbers, Star Citizen has raised over 280 million dollars. I won’t say this instantly makes Star Citizen a scam simply because of all the money it’s generated through millions of pledges. Businesses make money, that’s one purpose of having a business. And yet, it would also appear that the $280 million (which continues to grow) should be a good….no wait….. a great start for being able to pay developers and build a game and a very playable game at that.
Of course the developers do need to be paid so pledges are a great way to make that happen. One big concern I would have and is something that I have since learned more about from getting my hands on my own copy of the game itself, is a little something to do with priorities. More on that later.
So, just how playable is alpha Star Citizen?
Not knowing a lot about how to play Star Citizen, I first purchased a starter package which included the Mustang Alpha ship and so my first few hours spent in Star Citizen have been doing basic spacey things and learning the controls. So far in the game I’ve managed to learn how to walk round, run, jump, fly, use the mobiglass, land better, refuel my ship and not crash, land on a platform without crashing (joystick makes this much easier by the way), quantum jump to planets, take off and not crash, attempt basic deliveries all the while exploring the only star system currently available in game called Stanton. Now, I knew going into this experience that SC was only in a feeble alpha state so I didn’t expect much but then again it’s been in development for many years. So naturally I anticipated game bugs and I most definitely expected the game to crash. I wasn’t disappointed. (Although the crashes of late have been network disconnects.)
Look, what bugs you?
The bugs I’ve experienced have mostly not been the type of bugs I had anticipated when I started. I expected a nearly complete and broken mess of a game in terms of graphical mishaps such as missing doors, broken floors, ceilings, all wrapped in some ugly looking environments due to missing textures. Instead I have been treated, for the most part, to a beautifully rendered, and sometimes jaw dropping game world graphically speaking that is. And while the game indeed looks fantastic, some of the gameplay features such as missions remain broken or seemingly not complete.
Of course you won’t know which part is broken or incomplete until you get into the mission and drop your box and the game won’t let you pick up the box anymore. Oh well it’s only 1000 UEC you didn’t get. Try that mission again. And again. And yet again. Go ahead maybe this time? And yet performance wise, the game in it’s current state runs well on my computer which apparently not everyone can report.
You’re kind’ve stuck, now what?
Now as magnificent as the game world looks, with it’s detailed and carefully rendered ships, planets and spaceports (which you can even land on and walk on) includes those broken game features that do ruin the gameplay. In fact, as of this writing, I am currently unable to play the game with my own ship because the two ships I have are not retrievable at the Port Olisar spaceport. (I’ve read of the some workarounds which includes resetting my character or spawning at a different location of which both options I haven’t figured out how to do yet nor think I should have to.) And this brings me to my biggest question for the success of this game (from a players’ standpoint). What are the priorities for the future development of this game? And do these priorities benefit the players or mostly benefit the developers and game creators)? Are they going to help new players enjoy the game or has Star Citizen lost it’s way somewhere in the verse? (The “verse” is the term used in the game for the universe for which players are able to explore).
I do wonder what the 280 plus million dollars is doing, if anything, to help make basic gameplay, such as being able to retrieve a ship or complete a basic delivery mission, become a finished polished part of the game. Especially since I don’t find the game any fun without a ship and I really don’t want to hitch a ride on someone elses ship when I paid for my own. So a game bug that can cause you to lose in game credits and/or a flyable ship seems to me to be something that should be a fundamental priority for developers to fix. First, before they create more ships. And it may be that the developers are hard at work fixing this basic problem as I speak. I do hope this is the case.
Pay 2 Win?
Another questionable situation I see in Star Citizen is something called pay 2 win. And I don’t mean the developers win and the players lose (although maybe that’s the case for some). I must first clarify that since Star Citizen is a living space style sandbox for which you the player get the freedom to explore however you choose there really isn’t any endgame or “winning” in Star Citizen. And winning I mean in terms in winning or losing a race and game over. Rather in Star Citizen, you the humble citizen player, are continually working/playing/grinding to gain in-game credits (aUEC) in the hope of someday being able to either purchase a better ship or you are free to simply have fun exploring in the ship you currently have.
However, a potential problem I see that could occur in Star Citizen is that a player may purchase with real money a powerful luxury ship complete with great combat abilities, or better storage capabilities. The starter package of $45 doesn’t do a lot for competing with a grand luxury spacecraft worth $1000 of real money. So if you are wealthy in real life you might have a better starting advantage in Star Citizen. Sure you can earn in game credits to buy that luxury starship or combat ship of your dreams but if you have a lot of real money that you think you should waste (I mean, spend), why wait? But should you be someone like me who doesn’t believe it’s wise to waste hundreds and thousands of dollars on a virtual spaceship than I guess you won’t have the better ships for a very long time. And yet if you think of it as a simply a pledge to help the game along (as I’m pretty sure the Star Citizen game studio hopes you do)……I still say those expensive ships are better than the starter ships.
Broken Ship in Basic Starter Package?
In my experience there is another not-so insignificant game bug that makes Star Citizen a game you might want to reconsider before getting your hands on it (at least with one of the two $45 starter packages). The starter package which includes the Mustang Alpha as of this post, is broken because the ship is unable to hold any cargo even though the game website shows the Mustang alpha is fully capable of hauling cargo and is game ready. Without cargo space however, personal delivery missions are impossible to do unless you rent a ship (but you need lots of aUEC to do that). So this brings me to my final question about Star Citizen. What are the priorities for this game? Clearly making money has become a priority if it wasn’t from the start back in 2012. But why isn’t the starter package on the website pledge store (which includes this particular broken cargo bay on the Mustang ship) either fixed, removed from the store or at the very least showing a note mentioning this problem? Apparently this particular bug report/complaint isn’t old but has been around for at least 3 years! And yet, there are numerous new and impressive looking ships continually being developed and added to the game every quarter. Some ships cost hundreds and even thousands of real dollars.
I would think that with a $250 million dollar plus income that a mandatory starter package (which costs real money) would include a fully functioning starter ship by now. It should be noted that so far in my experience, I have yet to see any problems with the other basic starter ship package which includes the Aurora MR aside from the game locking me out of using the ship! (Note of caution and warning: if you are still considering getting into the game with a basic starter package, I would as of now only recommend the Aurora MR because of the cargo problem on the Mustang. But a cargo bay failure might be the least of the problems you experience especially if it happens where you are unable to retrieve your ship at all and need to reset your character. )
So should you get into Star Citizen? The answer is entirely up to you because if you’ve read this far, you will know I think the game is fantastic, disappointing, better than expected, beautiful and includes game breaking and mission breaking situations, game server wipes (when an update is released) but then again sometimes missions work fine.
Disclaimer and general warning of the risk you take downloading and playing this game: Star Citizen is in alpha stage of game development which means it’s broken and many problems either exist, haven’t been fixed and/or may never be fixed. I will not be responsible for anything that might go wrong (and things do go wrong, as of this post) should you decide to purchase any starter game package for Star Citizen. Doing so is done completely at your own risk.
Firstly, this review will be from the standpoint of someone brand new to rail simulators including Run 8 but not necessarily new to computer gaming. As of this post, there is a major train simulator on the market that you may be familiar with called Train Sim World by Dovetail games. I have not played that game but have watched extensive videos and streams of it being played. Now it’s true that my experience within Run 8 has been for only a few hours but as far as I can tell, Run 8 is in a category all it’s own in terms of realistic railroad operations. While Train Sim World boasts pretty photorealistic graphics and controlled scenarios, Run 8 shines in a different yet entirely important way. With its true to life scale routes (hundreds of miles in the base version of the sim alone), magnificent sounds and horns and its giant sandbox, Run 8 train simulator has a unique way of giving the player the true feeling they are and could be a real train engineer or yard master. And if you ever wanted to simulate the air-brake operation of a 100 plus car consist, Run 8 lets you do it. The simulator won’t hold your hand in the process but isn’t learning how to do it all part of the fun?
Multiplayer and Single-player
Run 8, in addition to its realistic sounds, routes and signal operation also features the option to work in a multiplayer setting (on a server) and perform prototypical yard operations with other people who are also running a copy of the simulator. (Note: I would highly recommend learning the basics of the sim and train operations before venturing onto a server.) Of course, yard operations, AI train and player train movement can be performed in single-player mode.
AI trains part of the rail sandbox
Computer controlled trains better known as AI trains can also be enabled in Run 8. This gives the player(s) the option to have AI trains run along side (within the same game world) as you “play” in this grand rail sandbox. If you ever wanted a railroading sandbox than Run 8 is the simulation that gives you the player much freedom in how you run a railroad and a train in Run 8.
Run 8 also includes an in-game switchboard, complete with signals and switches giving you the player the opportunity to manage multiple trains or just one if you so choose. Of course whether you choose to run multiple AI trains, run alone or with others is entirely up to you!
What I like least in Run 8
The overall graphical quality of the scenery found in the sim world look like something out of a game from the 90’s or early 2000’s. The anti-aliasing (or lack thereof) isn’t much better as a moving train can appear in certain light downright distracting with shimmering edges of the distance boxcars, especially in the noon day sun.
GRAPHICS: However, up close those BNSF engines (among the others included) and rail cars look pretty nice. While Run 8 comes with many options for running a train as prototypical as possible, within the constraints of a computer, some components of the simulator simply will not work with a mouse or simply do not function at all. The best example of this I found is within a locomotive’s cab. The horn, braking lever, throttle, reverser and independent brake levers are only controllable via a keyboard or RailDriver. It’s important to note however that not having this complete control with a mouse does not necessarily ruin the overall experience of running a train just something to be aware of. Likewise the sim comes of multiple menu options to either auto start (through a menu) or manually start the train engines.
Conclusion – Is Run 8 worth it?
Because Run 8 features many realistic aspects of real-life rail work, there is a learning curve. Aside from learning how to get a train or even simply an engine moving (if you’ve never done it in a simulator before), this simulator features many keyboard bindings to memorize and learn. Depending on your experience with games and simulators this will prove to be either a non issue or possibly a major challenge in and of itself. And let’s not forget about learning how the industries, tags and symbols work. Thankfully, the current version of Run 8 features some helpful PDF files for getting yourself acquainted with basic sim operations and a handy keybinding cheat sheet. And there are also YouTube videos available for additional help to getting started in Run 8. In addition, all of the sim’s keybindings can be found (and even changed) within the simulator itself for quick reference.
So is Run 8 worth $50? Well, the answer to that is of course a subjective one but to clarify, the $50 is for the base portion of the simulator as found on the Run 8 Studios website (as of this writing). For additional trainsets and routes the sim will cost you more (between $10-$40 for each one). However, if you find that you really enjoy trains (particularly from the U.S.) and are seeking a realistic operational open world train simulation and can overlook some not-so-good graphical renditions, than starting with the Run 8 base sim might just wet your whistle! Just be prepared to have loads of fun and want to buy those addons!