Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game Thoughts

John Marine | 12/11/2018 05:16:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
Anyone can make a car. How many, though, can properly engineer a car from start to finish? What about the marketing aspects as well? #AutomationGame will challenge you on all of these aspects and then some. You can build any car you so desire, but you must learn to properly engineer your car(s) as well as handle the financial aspects to be the best car designer in the world. Because Automation is an Early Access game, this is not a proper review. Instead, it is a thoughts blog post based on impressions.

Before I Begin...

I had a tough time deciding between putting this blog post on "John's Blog Space" and "John's Race Space." There is no actual racing or driving you do in this game, so I put this into "John's Blog Space."






Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game


"Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game" was first released in 2015 on Steam. Its history, however, dates back to about 2012, when it won the award for Best Technical Innovation - Freeplay. It is a game developed and published by Camshaft Software, a New Zealand developer. This game gives gamers the opportunity to create automobiles to whatever specifications they so desire. The graphical experience was previously powered by the Kee Engine. However, later builds of Automation has this game running on the amazing Unreal Engine 4 for impressive graphical quality. What begins with a dream and a vision can turn into a true-to-life representation through a lot of hard work and a lot of tuning of specifications. Don't think of Automation much like a 3D modeling studio for making your own cars. Instead, think of it as being able to build your own hamburger or deli sandwich from two pieces of bread to any number of fixings to make your own dream meal. I hope you weren't hungry before reading that last sentence, but you get the idea. Automation is an automotive studio where you go from concept to completion using a handful of automobile bodies and configuring things ranging from engine, drivetrain, and more. The attention to detail actually makes you think about the automobiles you are building.

You can jump right into the Sandbox and build any vehicle of your dreams, or you can challenge yourself in a number of scenarios. The game even has some campaigns you can take part in, but I haven't been able to do any available campaigns as of the date of this initial blog post (December 11, 2018). When you're building your car, you can get a lot of information on how to construct your automobile. You even can get some pointers on car design by seeing the suggestions offered. Anything featured in yellow or (especially) red must be addressed immediately. Good luck building your vehicles!

By the way... you can download certain mods to allow for more tuning options. For example, there is a mod where you can build cars that have massive W16 engines (like the Bugatti Veyron).


Taking Your Creations Further.

Announced on July 13, 2018; "Automation" gamers can export their creations from Automation to the popular driving and crashing simulator "BeamNG Drive." This unique collaboration will allow gamers to drive (and even wreck) their Automation creations.

A look at "BeamNG Drive" will be provided in a future blog post on "John's Race Space," so stay tuned for more on this front.


Is This Game Similar in Some Respects?

To me, Automation reminds me a lot of the Carrozzeria mode in "SEGA GT," only MUCH more detailed.


A Car Builder Story.

The United States never got the Nissan Silvia S15. Back in the late 1990s or early 2000s, I dreamed that I brought the S15 Silvia to the United States under my own company, "Marine Motors." I had my own visions of being my own automaker. So a game like this kind of reminds me of being that vivid dreamer I am.


Further details now on Automation. Next section coming up...




Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game - Details


I've talked a good bit about enhanced detail in Automation. HOW detailed, though? Here is a brief look at what you will be encountering when building your own automobiles. Most of this based on what I can immediately think of without having to load up the game. So it is very likely I will skip a lot of things. But of course... these are for you to find out on your own! Anyhow, let's do this!


Bodies.

Automation begins with you selecting a body to help you begin to create your own vehicle. You have many different basic bodies to choose from as well a handful of body types to choose from. So you can make any kind of car ranging from an economical city car to the most exclusive of exotic cars. Don't like cars? No problem- build yourself a pickup truck, a sport utility vehicle (SUV), or even (don't laugh) a mini van. You could even make a commercial vehicle. Your choices can be whittled down to specific decades of automobile. So if you don't want a fancy-looking postmodern vehicle from the 2010s, you can make curve-happy 1990s car or go old school cool with a 1970s car. The options can even be subdivided into vehicles that can separated by what kind of engine layout you fancy for your automobile. You can choose to restrict your choices to front-engine bodies or try some cars not suited for front-engine placement.


Chassis.

Once you have come up with the base for your automobile, the next step is to build the chassis. This is where you begin to build the car from its chassis to the different performance bits. Think about the structure of your car as well as the different materials used to build your automobile. After thinking about the vehicle's body composition, you will then think about suspension setup among other things.

More importantly, this menu includes the various fixtures you can apply to your car. Don't like the body style you chose? You can morph certain parts of the car as close to be as close to the body style you dreamed of for your automobile. You can even paint up your car with any number of colors ranging from base colors to more interesting car paint styles. You may elect (for example) to have your car paint with lots of flakes. You can choose even some kind of color-shifting paint as well. You obviously want to add things like lights, door handles, grills, mufflers, and more. Everything is up to you to customize. Oh, and in case you're wondering- certain components to your car's design actually affect its performance (such as aerodynamic bits like spoilers and wings). So think carefully with each part you install onto your vehicle.


Engine.

Are you a talented engine builder? If you answered "no," then this section can challenge your thinking in terms of building a solid engine to power your automobile. Think about things such as engine construction, materials, engine type, performance builds, compression, ignition timing, engine aspiration, and more. Adjust a handful of options to better engineer your engine. Only you can build up your engine to the specifications you choose.

Once you complete your engine, you have the opportunity to test your engine to properly engineer it for your automobile. You may notice your engine may knock early on. No worries- you can always go back and adjust options to make your engine properly work.


Performance and Testing.

When you complete your vehicle in Automation, you can test it in a number of situations. The biggest test you can give your automobile is to take it to the Automation Test Track. Even though you can not see your vehicle in the flesh on a 3D track, the game simulates your vehicle around a track. Use this as an opportunity to further refine your automobile.


Marketing and Segments.

You have some decisions to make here. Is your car economical enough to meet the needs of the greater public-at-large? Do you prefer making automobiles only a select few can own and have performance characteristics no normal car can equal or better? Know your audience and build to your heart's content. Or just don't give a crap about your audience and just make something as bonkers as bonkers can get.


These sections give you a basic idea of what to expect in "Automation: The Car Tycoon Game." Now let me give you some thoughts of mine on this game from playing it.




Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game - My Impressions


Let me tell you right now- this game will make you think! This game is not going to punish you for not being any kind of master automotive engineer. If anything, it can actually educate you in making a proper automobile. You will begin to appreciate designing proper automobiles by simply playing this game. The video tutorials can even assist you in making sure you are making the right choices in building your automobile from start to finish. Never before have I actually tried to envision designing a vehicle while also making sure it is practical and realistic. Then again, never before have there been a game where I could actually envision a potentially bonkers machine and actually make it work. Even your wildest fantasy automobiles can be built to if they were even remotely practical. This game has helped me to better appreciate the aspects of actually making an automobile and designing it all to be as practical (or maybe impractical) as possible. It gives you a different appreciation of automobiles if you previously have not had such appreciation.

I toned down a lot of the graphics options in "Automation: The Car Tycoon Game" just to make sure it plays well on my PC. The game does tend to crash a lot. Remember that Automation is an Early Access game as of the time of this initial blog post. These hopefully will be ironed out so that the game is more efficient.

The fact that a unique collaboration between "Automation: The Car Tycoon Game" and "BeamNG Drive" offers one of the most satisfying experiences of bringing your automotive creations to life. Having both programs can produce one of the greatest racing/driving experiences in all of gaming. The ability to export cars into "BeamNG.Drive" even allows you to race a proper 3D representation of the Automation Test Track rather than the simulated version in Automation! Even if you never actually become an automaker or even an automotive engineer, "Automation: The Car Tycoon Game" will allow you to live out some of your wildest automotive engineering fantasies. So go build that dream automobile of yours in Automation!


Video Preview.

Let the video below give you an idea of what all "Automation: The Car Tycoon Game" has to offer:


^ Automation Car & Engine Design Trailer

...and let this video get you excited about exporting your creations to "BeamNG Drive" to be driven (and crashed):


^ Automation + BeamNG: Exporter Update Release


For More Information...

If you would like to learn more about "Automation: The Car Company Tycoon Game," please visit www.automationgame.com.


I hope I helped sway your interest some regarding this game. When my blog post on "BeamNG.Drive" is complete, find it on my "John's Race Space" blog. I may or may not update this blog post to include a link to my BeamNG.drive post on JRS.





I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Feel free to add this game to your game collection if you enjoyed this look at the game. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Xiaomi Mi Box S

John Marine | 11/12/2018 05:35:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
The Xiaomi Mi Box S is a set-top Android TV box powered by Android 8.1 "Oreo." This device from the Chinese manufacturer is an evolution of the Mi Box offering 4K streaming, Google Assistant, Google Chromecast, and more. It aims to be an all-in-one you can be proud of. After using it for a few days, I will let you know my thoughts on the Xiaomi Mi Box S. So therefore, welcome to another post of "John's Blog Space!"






Xiaomi Mi Box S


Let me show you the device I will be discussing here...

Xiaomi Mi Box S
^ from: banggood.com (best I could find) - The Xiaomi Mi Box S delivers an Android TV home entertainment experience and a gaming experience from a solid set-top box.

The Xiaomi Mi Box S is another attempt at Google providing a quality Android TV experience. It is a set-top box able to handle the duties of providing media consumption and even gaming. The Mi Box S runs on Android 8.1 "Oreo." The device has a sleek profile, though not as sleek as its previous iteration. It has a better Wi-Fi performance than its predecessor, and it is powered by a 2 GHz processor. The device comes with 8 GB of storage. It has Dolby and DTS sound quality. It utilizes Bluetooth 4.2 for your various Bluetooth devices. Most of all, it has a USB port that can be put in for other USB devices or even a USB hub. Just note that the Mi Box S has a 2.0 USB hub, so don't even think about putting in your USB 3.0 devices into it. The Mi Box S supports both wired and Wi-Fi connections. However, you may need to get a USB-powered dongle if you want to connect this device with an Ethernet cable. You can use Google Chromecast with it. If you have a Google Home device as well, you can use that in conjunction with the Mi Box S and its Google Assistant feature. Most importantly, you have access to all Google services and be part of the full Google/Android ecosystem.

Included in the package are the Xiaomi Mi Box S, an AC adapter, an HDMI cable, and a remote control. The remote control for the Mi Box S has a power button, a Google Speaking microphone, a four-way control with the enter button, an app button, back button, Home button, Netflix button, Live Channels button, and volume controls. You can speak into the remote control for voice searches or other voice features. The device also comes with a 3.5 mm audio jack. You can use the audio jack for private listening, but I haven't been successful using it for private listening unless I mute the TV. The headphone jack is not like one of the better Roku devices that have a remote control that you can hook in your headphones to.

The Mi Box S costs roughly $60 USD. Wal-Mart has a deal going on where you can pick up the Mi Box S along with Google Home Mini all in one bundle. This deal bundle costs about $80 USD.


My Story and Thoughts.

For me personally, this continues sort of a long story. I have used the Google Nexus Player for years before it was discontinued. I was looking at other options and came across the Xiaomi Mi Box. I ordered one online earlier this year, only to find it with crumpled up paperwork and worst of all- the actual Mi Box and its accessories missing! I got my money back after such poor packaging of the old Mi Box. Then when I learned of Xiaomi [quietly] unveiling the Mi Box S this past September, I went ahead and pre-ordered my Mi Box S from Wal-Mart online. Once I finally got my Mi Box S, I was ready to move on from my aging, yet still effective Google Nexus Player.

Most of my wanting to get a newer and better set top box was because of what the Mi Box had to offer apart from the ASUS-made Google Nexus Player. The Nexus Player didn't believe at all in external storage or other features without the need for an OTG cable. So to have the USB functionality built into the Mi Box S was a welcome sight. The Mi Box S just has so much that I wished the Nexus Player had. Its Bluetooth remote is a lot more responsive and snappy than the Nexus Player's remote. I liked that I could adjust the volume of the Mi Box S, unlike not being able to with the Nexus Player.

If you want a premium Android gaming experience, get the nVidia Shield. Otherwise, the Mi Box S still does a noble job of gaming for the most part. I haven't done too much gaming on the Mi Box S to question whether it is good for gaming or not. A problem I couldn't seem to get around was that I was unable to get my Mi Box S to pair with the ASUS game controller I had from my Nexus Player. I am not sure of this, but I think Xiaomi has its own dedicated Bluetooth game pad you can buy separately.

One last thing... this is my first-ever Xiaomi product I have used.


Now on to my Final Thoughts regarding this device.




Xiaomi Mi Box S: Final Thoughts


If you ask me, I am very pleased purchasing the Xiaomi Mi Box S. I am probably disappointed that I didn't get a Mi Box in proper packaging before learning of the Mi Box S. It does so much more than the Google Nexus Player I originally have used and enjoyed. You can not really go wrong in any such way by getting yourself the Mi Box S. Have you a Google Home Mini, you can have control of not only your media but also other connected devices in your house. Needless to say, you can't do much wrong by picking up a Mi Box S for your media consumption and even your gaming.

The Xiaomi Mi Box S is not a bad way to spend about $60 USD for a solid Android TV experience. If you get a Google Home Mini or some other Google device along with the Mi Box S, your set-top Android TV box can also serve as your fancy home network. Ease of use and not totally expensive- the Mi Box S is a winner in my book! It may not be the flashiest or most in-your-face Android TV experience, but it is certainly a worthy device to be in the Google ecosystem. Especially if you have used the Google Nexus Player before, think of the Mi Box S as a much improved Nexus Player. Don't let the fact this is exclusively sold through Wal-Mart deter you from thinking this is a great product. I say it's worth it to get one of these.


For More Information...

If you want to learn more about the Xiaomi Mi Box S, please visit the US Xiaomi Mi Box S page for more information. Or from Android's website, there is this page on the Mi Box S: Xiaomi Mi Box S on android.com.





The post has concluded. That concludes this look at the Xiaomi Mi Box S. I hope I have spurred your interest some if you are interested in getting a Xiaomi Mi Box S. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

10 Years on YouTube!

John Marine | 11/08/2018 11:23:00 PM | | Be the first to comment!
(UPDATED: November 15, 2018)

On November 8, 2008; "JohnMarineTube" was born on YouTube. I made my debut on YouTube on that day, then posted my first video of any kind a week later. It has been a long journey. For the longest, I wanted to make a return to YouTube, but never found the courage or came up with a proper video to show I'm back and haven't forgotten my YouTube audience. For this blog post, I want to offer thoughts on my 10th Anniversary on YouTube.


LATEST UPDATE(S)/REVISION(S)

NOV 15 2018 - added my first video on YouTube; edited post





My YouTube Journey.

I joined YouTube on November 8, 2008. A week later, I would post my first video, and you can see that video here:


^ "Introducing Myself"

For one thing, YouTube is a lot of work to make quality material consistently. I began mostly with a Creative webcam at 320x200 resolution videos and using a USB headset to offer audio. I later would go to pick up a Logitech webcam at about the same resolution. I really did not begin to feel in control until I got the Logitech QuickCam Pro 900- which was at the time, one of the best webcams to use. I later went from doing 320x200 videos to 640x480 videos. Windows Movie Maker used to be what I used to edit my videos. That is, until I bought Sony Vegas Movie Studio. I had a bit more control and even could create videos that didn't tax my computer's hard drive. I felt that I needed something better if I wanted to make videos away from my PC. And so therefore, I was looking for my first video camera. My first video camera was the Sony Bloggie. The Bloggie served me well in taking pictures and in the occasional video. I loved using it. The next step was a more proper camcorder. In that regard, I got myself an Insignia camcorder capable of HD-quality video. I don't think I ever successfully created a video 720p or greater with it and released it online. When I wanted something a bit better, I looked at the budget-friendly Samsung HMX-F90. Besides that, I went with a newer version of Sony Vegas Movie Studio (Version 13), and I even used Corel VideoStudio Pro X6. Even once, I made videos for YouTube using VSDC Free Video Editor as well as OBS Studio.

All the while, I tried all kinds of software and all kinds of tricks to try to expand my array of videos and video topics. I have been fairly pleased with my work.


Dealing With the Audience.

Even before I joined YouTube, I knew what I was getting into. I would deal with loads of people who have interests and personalities different from what I would consider normal. I knew I would encounter trolls, racists, homophobes, and people like that. I knew I wasn't going to be any kind of superstar, but I hated to be on the receiving end of somebody's hate.

Two things I learned: (1) be careful posting any video regarding government, ethnicity, religion, or anything like that; and (2) don't make current event videos. Case in point for my first point: I made a video about black college football. The whole thing was taken out of context, and I ended up with some pathetic comments. The second point regards making a video shortly after certain current events. I can't feel too bad about this because one of those current event videos ended up being one of my most-viewed. I posted a video about KanYe West interrupting Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards once. The video got up to 4,000 views in just two days. Then sadly, it would reach 5,000 views nine months later. I got the attention, but it was never enough to be one of the most popular videos around the time I posted it.

If something keeps me away from YouTube at times, it is dealing with a fickle audience on YouTube. Like I want to try to be more popular than I already am; but I have to deal consistently with people who just think I'm some big-lipped, robot-sounding person from Houston, Texas, USA. There was a time where the popular YouTuber "Rooster Teeth" died. Some commenters said that the lady who got emotional at this tragedy was crying fake tears. That just made me feel horrible that I am among this crowd trying to make my own videos.


Memorable Moments.

There was one YouTuber who wanted to set up a podcast or something to interview certain YouTubers. I had the honor of being one of those individuals. Me and this individual had about a 45-minute Skype chat. Unfortunately, the podcaster didn't save the material. We still had a great chat. I won't disclose names, but I wanted to offer that as Honorable Mention in my YouTube career.

Another cool moment to me was when "Inside Sim Racing" saw one of my videos and commented. It was nice to know some small-time YouTuber can get a decent comment from a major channel.

At one point, I asked a former YouTuber if she would entertain the thought of returning to YouTube. And as she returned, this lady even shouted out to me and thanked me for getting back on YouTube even if only briefly. I want to honor this lady if she's reading this. This is a lady named Candy. So thanks for adding to my YouTube career, Candy! :)


Plans for the Future.

"JohnMarineTube" has 430+ subscribers in the 10 years I've been on YouTube. I posted a few videos of different topics and styles. I have planned a return for the longest. However, I never got around to doing anything of interest. Once I find the strength to make something interesting, I will return to the YouTube circuit as if I never left.


Never Been to My YouTube Channel?

"JohnMarineTube" is my YouTube channel. To begin your journey into my YouTube realm, click on the link below:

JohnMarineTube

Thank all of you on YouTube who support my work and have supported my work.





This concludes my blog post about my YouTube channel. However here, I am still banging out solid blog posts. So be sure to Follow/Subscribe in some capacity if you enjoy my work. Following can go from you bookmarking my blogs to even Following using FeedBurner or Bloglovin. So PLEASE show your support any way you can! Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Kiyomi

John Marine | 10/25/2018 10:35:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
I encountered @kiyomimusic on Myspace long ago. Kiyomi Hawley is a recording artist from New York City, New York, USA. She defines her music as "finding the magic in life, through word and song." Kiyomi is Japanese for "pure beauty." Considering her music career began in 2011, she surely is pure beauty in singing and personality. This sweet-faced recording artist has a fine singing voice and really delivers heart-felt passion and power in her singing voice. A big part of Kiyomi's life is that she was born and raised in a cult. Even still, music has shaped her life for the better.

So who is Kiyomi? She would be this lady:

Kiyomi Hawley
^ from: (Amazon) - Kiyomi Hawley, recording artist. Isn't she adorable? :)


Singing Preview.

To showcase Kiyomi, allow me to showcase her latest song, called "Meet You There." Have a listen:


^ "Kiyomi Hawley - Meet You There"

I must say "Meet You There" is a beautiful song. Perhaps you enjoyed hearing Kiyomi with this example I provided.


What I Would Tell Kiyomi (if she read this)?

I have respected you and your music for quite some time. I can only wish you continued success with your music and your life. I only want the best for you in all aspects of life.


Would I Want to Meet Kiyomi?

From the times I've communicated with her, Kiyomi is very humble and sweet. I surely would want to meet her.


For More Information...

To learn more about Kiyomi Hawley and her music, please visit kiyomimusic.com. From there, you can further connect with Kiyomi and her music through her social media platforms.





A variety of topics and a lot of opinion is what drives this blog. Did you enjoy my work? If you did, please don't forget to Follow or Subscribe in some capacity. Or at least add my blog(s) to your Bookmarks. Just support me any way you can! Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Cord Cutting

John Marine | 10/23/2018 11:55:00 PM | | | | Be the first to comment!
If television is boring or pricey, you want something to watch instead. These "cord cutters" are looking to things like Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Roku and more for TV consumption. People want away with cable. Regardless, there are a number of different ways to enjoy television without being bound to a contract with Dish, DirecTV, and other providers. Even various series and such are shown exclusively on platforms like Netflix. This is a brief post regarding cord cutting.


cord cutting cable satellite TV
^ from: (The Montreal Gazette) - Care to get rid of Cable TV? There are many "cord cutting" options available to you.


Why Cord Cut?

To some people, people want better ways to enjoy television media. So people sometimes look to something like YouTube or Twitch. Some people who love sports but are dissatisfied with regular TV often look to live streams or highlights online. Some people even want a broader variety of content to view. A lot can be available online for viewing pleasures and catering to different entertainment tastes.

My parents have had Dish for 16 years before going to something else. We did Sling TV, and that was like... 30 second to almost a minute's delay with not as many channels to choose from. Then later, we went to XFINITY X1. I do like the XFINITY XI experience. Most of it, though, is to see my Houston Rockets and Houston Astros play on AT&T Sportsnet. Having lots of channels from Dish was something I missed. XFINITY X1 still gets the job done for me and my family, though. But even I look for something to watch on Android TV and my Android set top TV.


Should You Cord Cut?

You should probably consider cord cutting if you want to enjoy television without having to stick with the modern culture of television. Certainly if you're the binge-watcher, definitely enjoy the likes of Netflix and Hulu. While I don't watch television too much, I do admit I watch Twitch and YouTube for when nothing is really on regular TV. So I have my options for TV media consumption. If you want something different to watch from regular TV (and especially from a service provider), then check out the many cord cutting options available to you to enjoy television in a different way and with different sources.


(Some) Cord Cutting Options.

Care to cord cut? Here are some options for you all:

Netflix
Hulu
VUDU
Roku
Android TV (more an operating system than some service)
Apple TV
PlayStation Vue
KODI (formerly XBMC)

There are plenty more to choose from, but this will get you started.





Thank you for visiting my blog! Care to discuss? Here's my question to you:

Would you consider cord cutting? Could you enjoy television without having cable or satellite TV?

Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Blake Stone: Planet Strike

John Marine | 9/17/2018 01:36:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Blake Stone returns in "Blake Stone: Planet Strike!". Released a year after "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold," this game offers a somewhat different experience in the continuation of the story. This blog post reviews the sequel to Aliens of Gold.






Blake Stone: Planet Strike


In "Blake Stone: Planet Strike," you are chasing down Dr. Pyrus W. Goldfire to various installations of Goldfire where his lethal creations are still developed. You were able to destroy the many minions of Dr. Goldfire through the first Blake Stone game. You are now looking to eliminate both Dr. Goldfire and his other creations once and for all. There are 20 different areas to explore. Rather than go to one location with multiple floors, you are instead investigating 20 different areas going from teleporter to teleporter. When you get to Area 20, there is no Security Cube to destroy. This is where you will face Dr. Goldfire one-on-one!

This game is not terribly unique compared to its previous title. Really, most of this game has some retouched and updated graphics compared to its previous title. You actually can see the weapon bob up and down as you go through the levels. This would be a feature of first-person shooters for some time to come. Different with this game is that the map of each stage is permanent in your heads-up display, and that display of the map rotates. You can now use your map to know where exactly you are without needing to use the Tab key. There are some certain perks to using this new system. Explained later, you can use certain features to find certain entities as well as secret walls in conjunction with your radar map.

Unlike "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold," there was never any shareware version of "Blake Stone: Planet Strike" that I know of. So this was exclusively a retail title.


Gameplay.

Instead of six locations with nine floors each, you are instead going through 20 individual areas where Goldfire's creations are still being developed. And rather than traversing by elevator, you are instead going from teleporter to teleporter. The goal of each stage is to destroy the Security Cube in each area to access the next of the different installations. To destroy the Security Cube, you must first find the Fission Detonator. The Fission Detonator is a red barrel you must place by the Security Cube to destroy it. Once the Security Cube is destroyed, you must find the the teleporter you entered the area in and go to the next installation until all of the installations have been defeated.

You can always return to a previous level to improve your score, restock health, or restock weapons. Getting 400K points will give you an Extra Life. It is a one-time deal. Get a MEGA SCORE to get free full health and full ammo. Find all possible points, keep all Informants alive (if any), and defeat every enemy to earn 50K bonus points for each accomplishment. If you want to challenge yourself in this game, try to play this game on Veteran difficulty and earn all bonuses for each area (even in the Secret areas)!

A word of warning: try not to forget where the main teleporter is. This game doesn't indicate where the main teleporter is on the map, unlike finding the flashing blue dot on the map in "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold." One thing you can do is make a separate save file when you start each level so you can gain an idea of where the main teleporter is.

Another word of warning: the game can be pretty dark at times. So you may want to disable lighting if you can't see around the levels.


Items and Weapons.

A lot of the same dynamics and elements from "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold" appear again in "Blake Stone: Planet Strike." However, there are two new items to collect- Magnification Energy and the Anti-Plasma Cannon. The Magnification Energy can be applied The previously-mentioned Fission Detonator is also new, but you can not use it as a normal weapon. The Anti-Plasma Cannon delivers the destructive power of the Plasma Discharge Unit, but in mostly rocket launcher-style form. The Magnification Energy is used when you zoom in with your map radar. Zoom down to 2x to see visible actors and entities. Zoom down to 4x to find secret walls indicated by cyan dots. The longer you are in either zoom mode, the more your magnification energy is depleted. So use this feature wisely and be sure to pick up Magnification Energy where you can.

Be very careful using both the Plasma Discharge Unit and the Anti-Plasma Cannon! The blast impact from both weapons can destroy Energy Packs and even attack anything in radius- even including Informants who may be in the blast range. You also could take damage from the blast radius from the Anti-Plasma Cannon.


Enemies.

Many of the same enemies from "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold" return but with some new artwork. You even will be fighting against the Guardian enemies from "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold," such as the Spider Mutant from the first mission of "BSAOG." Many of the same offensive strategies from "Aliens of Gold" apply towards defeating the various enemies in "Planet Strike." There are a few new enemies, however. These include some basic enemies as well as some newer boss-type enemies.

Just like in "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold," if you see a Bio-Tech, remember to talk to them before you shoot them. Any stage that does not have Informants means you are free to kill the Bio-Techs without penalty. You know if a stage doesn't have Informants in them if you see "N/A" in the "Informants Alive" stats.

About every five or so areas, you will encounter a unique boss character. A lot of them may be guarding Security Cubes or important areas. Area 20 has no Security Cube- you will instead be ready to face Dr. Goldfire one-on-one once you find him!


Now that I have given you a general idea on this game, let me offer you my thoughts on it.




Blake Stone: Planet Strike! - Final Thoughts


"Blake Stone: Planet Strike" doesn't offer too much to the table, nor does it offer too much that the previous game provided. This game is actually a bit more frustrating than the previous title, "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold." A few things make Planet Strike not as enjoyable as the previous title. The game still remains intense and stressing. If you enjoyed the first Blake Stone game, this one is going to be just as entertaining. Just be ready for a somewhat more frustrating experience. The music is great in this game. I found it a bit annoying that the game has to keep warning me to find the Security Cube once I have the Fission Detonaor. I could be trying to find push walls or something, and the interface will remind me that I have to find the Security Cube.

"Blake Stone: Planet Strike" game has its annoyances, but it is otherwise an intense first-person shooter.


Video Preview.

Let me give you a video look at "Blake Stone: Planet Strike." Take a look at this video and see if this game interests you:


^ Blake Stone: Planet Strike - Playthrough - Area 1


If you like this game, you can buy it on GOG.com and get some extra goodies to enhance the experience.





I am pleased you could make it out to see my latest blog post. Subscribe/Follow if you enjoy my work. Get social with me on social media to keep up with my work further. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Mondello Park

John Marine | 9/12/2018 01:22:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
The only Irish international motor racing circuit is Mondello Park International Racing Circuit. Mondello Park is Ireland's premier racing facility. Situated in Kildare (or Caragh?), Ireland; this 2.268-mile (3.503-kilometer) race course features 13 corners along with a pretty nice flow overall to it. I will be sure to mention this racing track in further context with this blog post.

NOTES: This a blog post I first created in 2014, but I never finished the post until now in 2018. So this post was mostly four years in the making! I also found out this is the first time I blogged about a race track in over three years! What is old is new again!






Mondello Park International Racing Circuit


Here is a look at Mondello Park (picture may change if I am unable to use it for copyright reasons):

Mondello Park International Racing Circuit
^ from: (Motor Sport Magazine; best I could find and use) - Mondello Park in Ireland.

Mondello Park was established in 1968. Many gamers may have first played this track in "ToCA Race Driver 3." There are a good amount of elevation changes on a rather twisty track. The layout I know of best is the Mondello Park International layout. It has played host to a number of motorsport disciplines. Among others, it has hosted touring car racing, single-seater formula racing, motorcycle racing, and even drifting.

If you ask me, Mondello Park is a pretty tough course. Its layouts have a competitive flow that will keep you honest all lap long. This is a lot more of a technical course than any high-speed battleground. You folks over in Ireland have a very solid race track in Mondello Park.


Video Preview.

Here is a video lap of this challenging course:


^ Mondello International - Qualy Lap


For More Information...

To learn more about Mondello Park, please visit their official website at: www.mondellopark.ie.





I love all of my readers and visitors worldwide. Maybe some of you Irish folks can appreciate me talking about your country's fine motor racing facility. Be sure to Subscribe/Follow in some capacity if you enjoy my work. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold

John Marine | 9/11/2018 07:45:00 PM | | | Be the first to comment!
"Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold" was released in 1993 by JAM Productions and published by Apogee. This somewhat forgotten first-person shooter was a game changer with first-person shooters. Forgotten no more- as I'm here to discuss this game to you all. So if you never heard of "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold," keep reading this blog post to get as much insight into this game as I can provide. Let's do this!






Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold


In "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold," you play as Blake Stone somewhere circa the year 2140. You are sent out to investigate a diabolical plot by Dr. Pyrus W. Goldfire. Dr. Goldfire plans to unleash a horde of mutants to take over Earth. In a preemptive strike, you are to destroy these creations across Dr. Goldfire's six facilities across known space. Defeat these creations to save the universe!

"Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold" plays a lot like Wolfenstein 3D. However, this game offers effects like texture mapped floors, ceilings, and lighting. Also unlike Wolfenstein 3D is that you can return to any floor of the level you have played previously. This will allow you to increase your score or find many more secret walls and points. You can access the map of each level at any time to see where you want to go as well as keep track of how you are doing in each level. So while this game may do a lot of things like Wolfenstein 3D, "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold" is a lot different from Wolfenstein 3D.


Levels and Items.

Every mission in "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold" consist of 10 stages- 9 regular floors and a Secret stage. To advance to the next stage, you must find the Red Access Card. You will need to find other Access Cards to unlock certain doors. You must find Food Tokens to be able to purchase food from the Food Unit machines. You can carry up to 25 Food Token credits. Just make sure the Food Units are working prior to accessing them. You can also find various edible items to recover ranging from fresh water in bowls to big juicy steaks. Really, you want to find the various First Aid Kits for the most healing power. Floors may also have a bunch of weapons lying around for you to pick up and add to your collection. Early on, try to get the Rapid Assault Weapon.

When I say points, I mean things such as defeating enemies and finding various loot. To get the best possible score for each level and go for 100% completion, try to find all of the items that will increase your score. There are four different bonus items you can find that will increase your score. When you reach about 400K points, you will get yourself an Extra Life. You later will get a MEGA SCORE which will give you full health and full ammo. Take advantage of this early in your runs in "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold."

Each of the nine regular stages in each mission offer a handful of enemies and surprises. When you reach the 9th Floor of each mission, you will battle Dr. Goldfire followed by finding the major enemy creation for that mission. Defeat both Dr. Goldfire and the major enemy to clear the ninth floor.


Scoring.

To get the best scores in "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold," you will need to find as many points as possible, defeat as many enemies as possible, and keep Informants alive. Yes- this is a first-person shooter in which killing everything in sight works AGAINST you. The ones in question wear white doctor robes and black pants. Some are Informants that offer advice as well as items. Some others, however, are Bio-Techs that will shoot at you. Before you attack one of these people, be sure to talk to them. If you see a statement that doesn't seem like something informative (for example: "Do you know what time it is?"), that is more than likely a Bio-Tech, and you can kill a Bio-Tech without penalty. Bio-Techs also move much faster than Informants. Some stages have no Informants. So if you see someone dressed up like an Informant in a stage with no Informants, you can freely defeat that Bio-Tech. The rest of your scoring takes place by defeating enemies and finding all items to improve your score. This includes finding secret areas filled with loot. Finding all points, keeping all Informants alive (if any), and defeating all enemies on each floor will grant you 50,000 bonus points each.

Don't worry if you fail to find everything in one level- you can ALWAYS go back to that level through the Elevator. You may even go back to other floors of a mission to find items like health and ammo.




Enemies.

The game features many different kinds of enemies ranging from organic, to robotic, to various non-organic enemies. Three kinds of enemies will give you the most trouble- Automated Heavy Armored Robot Turrets, Electrospheres (or Plasma Spheres), and the High Energy Plasma Aliens (especially from generators). The Electrospheres/Plasma Spheres are more like mosquitoes in this game. If you don't waste these Electrospheres, they can take away a good percentage of your health. Another enemy that may give you trouble are the STAR Troopers. When you think you defeated one of the STAR Troopers, they may come back up and go for the coup de gras. You will know if you defeated one if one of the STAR Troopers drop an item. In the later levels, more fierce enemies await you. Even counting as enemies are some of the canisters that carry toxic waste. Everything in path of the explosion will cause lots of destruction- even including wasting Informants. So you want to be careful exploding drones or these containers.

You can be covert in your attacking by using your Auto-Charge Pistol. Firing any other weapon or destroying something can result in enemies in the area to go attack you. Some props in levels can be attacked to where enemies are spawned. Check containers like canisters and alien eggs to make sure you wipe a floor completely of enemies. More of these regular containers will spawn more enemies on harder difficulty settings. However, not all containers will spawn enemies. The safe bet is to attack any kind of container with your Auto-Charge Pistol.

There are some times where Dr. Goldfire will teleport in. Deal enough damage so that Dr. Goldfire will leave the area. He otherwise will pepper you with fire from his Slow-Fire Protector. Defeating Dr. Goldfire in a normal setting doesn't count towards 100% completion unless you are fighting him on the 9th Floor.


Pro Tips.

Here are some things to take note of...

• Since the High-Energy Plasma Aliens mostly originate from generators, don't worry about trying to defeat them to get 100% completion. Do destroy these plasma aliens to avoid them becoming a nuisance later.

• On the 9th Floor, don't spend too much time in the area where you fight Dr. Goldfire. He may come back at full strength for you to execute again! So be sure to find any and all points and secrets and promptly leave that area.

• Not all weapons defeat all enemies. For example, the robotic gun turrets can not be attacked with pistols or the Plasma Discharge Unit. The best weapon to have most situations is the Dual Neutron Dispenser for its rapid range of fire and power. So get find this weapon when you can. It can make a world of a difference.

• Use your map to find out how you are progressing in each stage. Before starting a level, use the map to see if there are any Informants in the level. If you see "N/A" by "Informants Alive," there are no Informants in that stage. So anyone who looks like a Bio-Tech probably is a Bio-Tech with a level with no Informants in it.


Now for some final thoughts of mine to share...




My Review of "Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold".


"Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold" is a game with great game play mechanics and some often times intense battles. The music is great, and the levels are not extremely challenging. Finding push walls can be a bit addicting since there sometimes seem to be a number of push walls in succession to activate sometimes. You can spend hours trying to perfect your skill across all of the game's floors and missions... and that time spent will be well worth it!


Video Preview.

Here is a look at this classic game...


^ Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold


I hope I have gotten you to be interested in this game.





This blog post is over about this game. I am glad you could be here to take a look at my content. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Friday, August 24, 2018

Wolfenstein 3D

John Marine | 8/24/2018 12:39:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
Wolfenstein 3D is one of gaming's most iconic franchises. Many imitators and challengers surfaced after Wolfenstein 3D hit the market in 1992 by id Software. Are you death incarnate? Get psyched! This blog post will give you an idea of this iconic game courtesy of me, John Marine. So let's do this!






Wolfenstein 3D


Let's get started with this post.

At some point, you have either heard of or played Wolfenstein 3D, or maybe both. Wolfenstein was no Johnny-come-lately in gaming. Wolfenstein 3D was actually one of the later titles of the Wolfenstein series with its 1992 debut. I first learned of Wolfenstein 3D some time in the mid or late 1990s on a CD featuring a lot of demo games. Wolfenstein 3D was quite impressive on PC. There would be ports of Wolfenstein 3D to systems such as the Super Nintendo, the 3DO, and even a version for the Texas Instruments TI-83 calculator (if you can believe it). A lot of the different elements of Wolfenstein 3D would be mainstays of a lot of first-person shooters that surfaced after this game. Among those are pseudo 3D sprites, push walls, secrets, and things of that nature. It also meant using mostly 128x128 bitmaps to lay out the level design. Raycasting techniques helped bring 2D to life complete with textured blocks and various object and actor placement.


Storyline.

In Wolfenstein 3D, you are Captain B.J. Blazkowicz, a prisoner of war deep within the belly of a Nazi stronghold during World War II. After killing one soldier, you are armed with a knife and that poor soldier's pistol as you try to shoot your way through the stronghold. It won't be easy with so many soldiers and other opposition trying to kill you the moment they lock eyes on you. Can you blast your way through the various floors of the stronghold and escape?

Wolfenstein 3D contains three episodes of gun-blazing fury. An add-on package called the Nocturnal Missions added three additional episodes for more insanity. I bought Wolfenstein 3D through either 3D Realms or GOG.com. Most of my time prior to getting the full game was with the demo to this game and even a sequel to Wolfenstein 3D called "Spear of Destiny."


Gameplay Basics.

Each level features a huge area to explore. You start off with a pistol and eight rounds of ammunition. Kill soldiers to acquire more ammo. Trust me- you'll need it. Be careful when firing your pistol. Chances are, you may have other soldiers in the area come towards you once they hear gunfire. So you can use your knife for when you don't want to cause too much commotion. In fact, it is possible to complete the game using only your knife.

Various items along the way will help you gain that needed edge. You can find a machine gun for better rapid fire action. If you are REALLY fortunate, you may find a chaingun for the ultimate enemy-wasting firepower. Pick up food items along the way to restore your health. The most healing is done if you find First Aid kits. Later levels will require you to find keys to unlock doors. Pick up loot scattered across levels to increase your score. More loot may be found through pushing walls to uncover more material and perhaps even secret exits. Speaking of exits, you complete each level once you find the elevator to go up to the next level. You complete the final level of each episode when you defeat a boss and head for the exit.

Your score for each level depends on three factors:

• enemies killed
• items found
• secrets found

To gain the best possible score, defeat every enemy and find everything in each level.

You start off with three lives and 100% health. You can actually find extra lives in some levels. If you are defeated, you can always use one of your extra lives to continue; however, you will return to the start of the level with only your knife and pistol. If all of your lives are exhausted, the game is over. It is recommended you save your progress when you can rather than have to go with the extra lives system. You can gain some extra lives with a high-enough score.


Final Thoughts.

Wolfenstein 3D was imitated and duplicated for a number of reasons. It set a standard that many games wanted to try to improve upon or better. The intense action and memorable gameplay made Wolfenstein 3D the iconic classic that it is today. Never before has a game like Wolfenstein 3D featured a handful of realistic graphics, impressive sound quality, and intense action. While you may be enjoying games today like PLAYERUNKNOWN'S Battlegrounds (PUBG), Fortnite, Overwatch, or any other first-person shooters of today; pay respect to one of the innovators of the first-person shooter genre- Wolfenstein 3D.


Video Preview.

This video demonstrates Wolfenstein 3D to you. Take a look:


^ Wolfenstein 3D

Maybe I interested you enough to get this game and be excited for it, even as a very old title.





I try to keep this blog going strong. I am happy you were able to take time out of your day to visit my blog(s). Be sure to Subscribe/Follow my work thought any means if you enjoy my work. Get social with me if you want to further get involved with my work. Thank you for reading! Take care and be well.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

John's Corner - Freelancing

John Marine | 7/18/2018 11:19:00 AM | | | Be the first to comment!
I grew interest in freelancing lately. In my "John's Life Space" blog, I posted two blog entries in partnership with BetterHelp. I haven't done sponsored blog posts much. When I did post, I would be paid for my posts. I have been blogging for a long while even before migrating to Blogger/Blogspot from Myspace. With no traditional 9-to-5 job, I have to do SOMETHING to financially profit. At least when I did certain paid posts, I got some money for my work. Recently, I was handsomely paid for my two blog posts on "John's Life Space" that I did in partnership with BetterHelp. If it was possible to gain such pay for posting quality posts, it means that I have discovered a different avenue of blogging which I never considered previously. I will explain much more about this topic as I welcome you to another installment of...

Johns Corner
John's Corner!






Freelancing Thoughts


When you are a freelancer or do freelance work, you don't exclusively work for someone. You basically take up offers or give offers towards things you want to be a part of. You usually work with a certain client and can still work with other clients rather than be totally tied to one entity. While I don't consider myself an "influencer," I do want to at least expose my material to the world.


Why I Did Not Consider Paid Posts Before?

The big reason why I didn't go with many paid posts or partner posts is because I am very selective with whatever money offers there are. I have always done blogging with the intent of providing content to the masses; NOT [necessarily] to make money for my posts. I always feel doing something for money means that you are posting for attention rather than providing something worthwhile to others.

A long time ago, I admitted that I wanted to blog for money and to make a living doing so. I didn't even see blogging as a "side hustle." I wanted to do this kind of stuff for real and financially profit from it. When you consider lucrative offers, you want to be careful. Some paid work and some paid offers can be very sketchy. This is also why I am cautious when people send me inquiries to post blog entries in my blogs for some money.


Some Past Offers.

There were posts I have done in which I was paid for posting. All I had to do was make a quality post including some of the individual guidelines suggested. I've done a few posts in my fashion blog (StyleSpace by JBM) and paid through PayPal for those posts. Of late, I did two posts for BetterHelp on "John's Life Space." I was even offered to have a blog banner run on my fashion/beauty blog. A number of my collaborative works have been with my fashion/beauty blog more than any of my other blogs.


Freelancing Considerations.

Since there are some sites that will pay you at least US$50 for posting quality material, I almost have been reluctant to find as many high-paying sites to post on. I was fortunate enough to take up on BetterHelp's offers. Even if it means I will be able to profit more than I ever did using Adsense and/or Amazon, so be it. I want to be able to make a living while even taking up on lucrative offers.

Getting these legitimate offers, however, is not easy. Someone has to care enough about my work to where they are willing to pay me to make quality posts about them and their work. I always make quality posts and feel it is paramount to establish my image and my purpose as a blogger. Even with some of the work out there and money left on the table, I don't consider myself an "influencer."

Since my blogging pace hasn't been as popular in recent years, I still keep going forward because I still love blogging and still feel I can contribute in a number of ways. I still want to take part in certain freelancing offers based on my interests and what I feel I can contribute to cyberspace. Blogging is not a traditional 9-to-5 job (unless doing so for any major companies). Even still, being able to make quality posts and get paid for doing so is what makes me feel happiest and feeling like I am contributing in a number of ways.





I am willing to take up certain interesting offers if introduced to me. So look at the "Media Kit" and all of the sponsorship material I have posted in all five of my blogs. Thank you for your interest in my work if indeed my work interests you. Thank you also for reading! Take care and be well.

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