Studying Physics in Colin Mc Rae Rally 2.0

Colin Mc Rae Rally 2.0 is a very interesting game in many ways. I wrote recently about different strategies you can have in this game. Now I would like to return to the physics and how this part of the game is handled. I think this game was the first rally game and also among some first racing games that I really liked (Gran Turismo was also great) and got into. It was released for PC and PS1. I played both of them.

There is no doubt that the way CMR 2.0 handles the part of physical modeling was in its time revolutionary. I know lots about games but I also have studied a bit of physics. I have learned physics mainly through school and by studying it in a school of applied sciences. However I am not a physicist. I am more of a software designer. So I know about some coding stuff also. This might open this fact a bit of how I find thinking about these subjects extremely interesting.

I haven’t seen any source code from this game. This is a commercial game and its code isn’t open source. I think for many of the fans of this game this doesn’t come as a surprise. The game was hugely popular. Releasing it as a freeware would be, well, stupid, you might say. However there are some very interesting details that open up for me as I play this rally game.

Let’s think about friction. It deals with surfaces. In a car you can have different tires that behave differently on different surfaces of road. So this is one thing. While driving on icy or snowy road you might want to use chains with tires. While driving on tarmac you want to use soft tires. And on wet surface you use special tires that perform nice on for example wet tarmac. Same goes for muddy surfaces or roads that are of gravel. You have to have a good grip on the road you are driving and friction can give you this.

There is a force that is effective on any road that you can drive on the whole planet Earth. It is called gravity. You have to have good and sufficient suspension in your car. On roads that are bumpy you have to have more suspension for overcoming the differences of altitude. Too much suspension is not good either if you drive on flat road.

You can also break and accelerate. You turn the wheel in right direction at a right time. The key is to try to steer correctly or at least keep the car moving as fast as possible. If you don’t break at a correct time you get to grass or some other surface that slows you down. Crashing also slows you down. This has everything to do with a thing called momentum. If an object doesn’t receive any push to any direction it keeps moving with the speed it has to the direction it is moving. At different time there is different amount of push to the vehicle. If nothing gets pushed the car keeps moving. Bigger objects take more power to get moving and are slower to stop moving. So the more mass you have the slower you are.

I think this is enough physics. I repeat what I said earlier. This is not so precise of a study. I haven’t seen any source code and I didn’t describe my theory so thoroughly. I hope this motivates you to learn more about physics. You can find more information using your favorite search engine. I definitely feel that you will get more excited about this particular rally game.

Breaking Down Mortal Kombat II

I’d like to spend a moment describing my experiences about the second Mortal Kombat game that was released for Sega Mega Drive in 1993. The game has some technical limitations as Mega Drive isn’t, and wasn’t even back in the days, the most powerful platform to release a game like this. Arcade version of this game might have been smoother but we aren’t going to go there today since it’s been too long time for me to talk about that here.

As a software developer graduate I can see some things while playing that I don’t know if they are so clear for people that don’t know computers, technology and programming so well. This small blog post is here for you to dive a bit deeper on how the game is played. I also understand that some people are way better at playing this kinds of games. I have only spent some tens of hours playing Mortal Kombat. Also I like to note that I am concentrating on Mortal Kombat II here instead of all two dimensional fighting games. Yes, there are many of them and I have to mention Street Fighter series here.

This stuff is very interesting for me. I can see how the game kind of “reads” your moves. The opponent, it is this time a computer, reacts to your moves. It can make a move that is most suitable for a certain situation. So the key to winning your opponent is to react with a move that is the best move in your situation. You have to time this move correctly. You have to be in a right position. And this isn’t all there is to it. You can make moves freely. You have to define when and at which position to make the move that is correct move for you to make the opponents health bar decrease.

Fighting games have come a long way since the days of 1993. It is very different to play against the computer than it would be to play against a player. I know that games like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter are very popular as genres of electronic sports. So you can have a competition against human players. This is how the game was designed. It sometimes feels like the computer is cheating but what else would it do than read your input and position and react as fast and powerfully as possible.

But to talk more about the game. It’s a great game. I find it very fascinating. The graphics are better than the first Mortal Kombats were. It seems like the development team have done a great work. The game has twelve different characters that have their own strengths and weaknesses. This makes the game even more interesting. To beat the game you have to know how to play with not only one character but many different characters that have their unique special moves and so on. You could actually compare and describe which characters are best against a specific opponent.

I am not sure what the basic attributes of all the characters are. I haven’t touched or even seen the source code. I am not aware if this code is available or is it “open source” or closed code. I know that Mega Drive didn’t have so much memory to use. Graphics and movement took a lot of processing from this gaming console also. When considering that this game was released in 1993 it is a game of very good quality. There is also a port for PC. If you are a big fan I can recommend to getting your hands on Mortal Kombat X. And to be honest I have to say that I just some days ago ordered Mortal Kombat 11 for PS4. I had to do it because the price was, I think, this time good. I hope this short blog post can give you inspiration wherever you are and in what situation with work or studying you might be.

Spending some time with Gran Turismo 4

As I may have mentioned earlier I kind of missed PlayStation 2. So it’s finally time for me to pick up Gran Turismo 4 and start getting in to playing it. The game was released in 2005. With over 700 cars and almost endless possibilities to race and tune your vehicle to it’s maximum performance it brings a huge game for the player to enjoy for a long time.

My history with Gran Turismo begins as I picked up the first game of the series. It was end of the 90s. Graphics were beginning to become more realistic. The capacity of CD-ROM brought more details and content to be used by game developers. Gran Turismo was also good for promoting PlayStation. It soon became clear that PlayStation would see some very nice driving games. The second Gran Turismo game was also released for PS1. The third one started the era of PS2s racing games.

There are lots of games that are dealing with driving a car or some another vehicle.
Gran Turismo made a difference. It delivered almost pure racing. Almost nothing else included. It had real cars and not only some but hundreds of cars that actually existed also in real life. It’s amazing to understand how the attributes of these cars tell you exactly how they behave while being handled on the road. These include mass, suspensions, tire selections, engines capability and so on. There are lots of things to mess with. You can modify the settings while testing the car. Upgrades to your car are essential. You have to win to get money for the upgrades.

I really enjoyed the first Gran Turismo. I hope my experiences with the fourth game of this series are enjoyable. I have to bring this fact up. The graphics aren’t too smooth or nice. It has been 15 years since the release. What could you expect? As the sixth game was released for PS3 there haven’t been a release of this series for a while now. Gran Turismo Sport did appear to the gaming stores but I think it was more of a eSports type of game.

We are expecting Gran Turismo 7 to be released for the newest PlayStation. I have to Google this one. And yes, the release is scheduled to quarter 1 / qurter 2 of 2021. As Gran Turismo 4 is even today a very enjoyable game with many interesting features you have to wonder a while what could there be inside the seventh Gran Turismo game.

Golden Axe series

My experience with Golden Axe series begins as I find this series second game for Sega Mega Drive. Mega Drive was already very popular as it had more power under its hood than NES. These memories bring me back to the beginning of 90s. As a kid I didn’t understand so much about ongoing console wars between mainly SEGA and Nintendo. Their gaming consoles got released one after another. First NES was released in 1983. Then there appeared Master System. Then Mega Drive got released. After that SNES was released. This war got started some years after the crisis of video games occurred. In 1978 everything looked fine. Atari 2600 made its way to many homes. There were so many bad games released and it eventually left game developers with empty hands. But this crisis that lasted some years was over as Nintendo released its Entertainment System.

So Mega Drive was the console to have back in my childhood. Golden Axe 2 was the sequel to the game that had been released already on Master System with also Mega Drive version being produced. The game caught my attention and I think it strongly influenced me to buy this console a moment later. Even today I think Golden Axe II is one of the best games ever released on Mega Drive. When I now play it I think it’s still worth playing for some hours. If I could modify it, I’m not sure if it is even possible, maybe it is, I would add some roleplaying features and theability to develop the character that you choose to play as. It already has many moves and characters have different qualities. It was good so see a female character also.

Soundtrack of this game was very inspiring. It brought tension to the game and along with amazing graphical effects affected and appealled to me as a kid growing up. My little brother also loved this game. I don’t know what’s up with him playing all these violent games. It sure was only fantasy for us and all players that ever got involved in virtual axe swinging. Back in the day there weren’t so many limitations as there is now. You didn’t have this large sticker on every damn piece of video game that tells for every human being that “this game is so and so violent, so brutal…” and so on. It left the decision to parents solely. We played these games as the graphics were poor. Only limitations were that we had to study and go to school and to practise some sports. And back then gaming went after those. I don’t know how this relationship with gaming is doing right now in my life. I think it’s not a thing to worry.

So the first Golden Axe game was released on Master System, Mega Drive and also on Commodore 64. Many gamers had also an opportunity to play it in an arcade. It was also released on PC. So there were many gaming systems that it made its impact on. There was second and third game released on Mega Drive. There was a game released on Sega Saturn, but I really didn’t get into that so much. There was also newer game released on PS3 called Golden Axe: Beast Rider in 2008. After that we haven’t seen any new game in the series. This game is all about action in fantasy world. It brings the player to this world that is a mixture of fantasy and medieval. You swing your axe, ride with a dragon, fight against evil enemies and release spells as you collect your mana and health. I recommend this game when you are getting to know Sega Mega Drive keeping in mind that this game and system are both retro stuff. If you hate retro this game is not for you.

The Story Of Remedy Entertainment

I chose to write this post about Remedy Entertainment. It was formed in Finland and I am born and living now in Finland. This makes me somewhat proud because I loved Max Payne series and Alan Wake. I evenn played Death Rally back in the days. I am not so familiar with latest releases but I can believe that they are of high quality. Latest games that were released include Quantum Break and Control.

Remedy was formed in 1995 in initiative of Samuli Syvähuoko. It was based on Future Crew that was a demo group. Demos were small multimedia type programs that actually didn’t have any interaction so they weren’t full games or anything else you could play. Demos we’re developed by underground coders, graphic artist and electronic musicians. This scene was popular in Finland in the 80s.

Remedy started working in Syvähuokos parents garage and there was no salary offered to the team developing their first game. Their first game was called Highspeed. Apogee became interested in this game. So it was later released by Apogee. The name was changed to Death Rally as Apogee wanted at some more content to this game. This is also the first game of Remedy that I got my hands on. I remember playing this with keyboard that I shared with my friend. The game was good and very entertaining. It ended up selling over 100 000 copies. This was only the start for Remedy.

As Remedy was successfull they started to form ideas for new games. In 1996 they started to develop first game of Max Payne trilogy. The game was first introduced to public in 1998 at E3 fair. The game was 3D and it reminded of Tomb Raider. Max Payne was released 2001. I remember the first time that I played it and I remember it clearly. Graphics were good, games environment was appealling and “bullet time” had me shaking my head on how good the game actually was. I couldn’t understand how this kind of piece of art did actually come from my home country.

Max Payne became a brand. There were two more games released in this series and there was a movie called Max Payne also. So it was a big thing all over the world. Then came a game called Alan Wake. That I remember playing on PC and later on Xbox 360. The game was good but in my opinion it didn’t have same feeling in it as Max Payne, a police working in New York, had. Game was althought good and I liked it. So there was lots of work that they did together with Microsoft as Alan Wake was released only on Microsofts gaming systems (PC and Xbox 360). The year was 2010. Alan Wake sold about 4,5 million copies worldwide.

In 2013 Remedy was already working with Quantum Break which was finally released in 2016 to Xbox One and PC. It is the biggest production in history of Finnish videogame industry. After that they started working with their next game that was called Control. This game was released last year (2019) and was very anticipated by gaming fans all over the world.

I have been interested in gaming since beginning of nineties. Remedy makes me still proud as it was formed in Finland – my home country. It made me have fantasies of becoming a game developer. But I found out that I’m not the only one that wants to work there and it is a big company. I have to admit that since they have office in Finland I have submitted some job applications, believe it or not, there. It is very hard to get to work there and you definitely have to have talent and skills if you really want to work there. This might not be a surprise since I have a background in programming and Remedy is very popular company and even bigger in Finland.

My gaming consoles

PlayStation Classic

I bought my PS Classic for 40 €. The price was so low that I figured I should buy it. This device flopped very sadly. It had only 20 games. Gamepad included has too short cable and it doesn’t have analog sticks. Games included were not so special though it had FFVII and Metal Gear Solid. If you consider buying this think seriously about modding it and don’t pay too much. The price was originally 120 euros.

Retro Trio HD+

This is cool gaming console. It combines NES, SNES and Mega Drive. What that means is that you can play all cartridges that you buy from gaming stores or you might have kept them for a long time. Retro Trios price was 110 € so I think it’s cheap. It also gives HDMI output so the graphics aren’t too messy. If you want play with older retro type television I don’t recommend this. In this case you should get original systems.

PS3

I didn’t really buy this one. It was a gift to my then-girl-friend-now-my-wife. It was expensive as new but now you can pick one, I think, for under 100 euros depending on games or controllers that are included. It has a hard drive. Depended on model the size of hard drive varies. There was also some kind of backward compatibility with PS2 and PS1 games which depends a lot about the spesific model of PS3. So yep, there were multiple models, for example Slim Model and so on.

PSOne

My first true console that brought us the experience of 3D graphics. I bought this one from flea market for as low as 15 euros. It didn’t have controller with it so that effects to the price of course. PS2 controllers are compatible with it so I just played with my PS2 gamepads. It requires memory card so I had to buy one for about 10 euros. Memory cards work with PS2 but PS2 memory cards don’t work with PS1. This is a smaller version of PS1. Very cool product I would say and definitely retro.

Xbox 360

I bought this one from a friend who sold it to me as she didn’t play so much and also her gaming console was becoming old. She hasn’t bought a new console. Not yet at least. I have maybe 30 games for this and I have mainly picked them up from flea markets and gaming shops. I invested 70 euros in this one. I first thought I would play and get all Xbox 360 only games so first games I played and also completed were Alan Wake and Halo 3. I also have Gears Of War, Mass Effect, Fable, Halo, Halo wars and so on. This system has backwards compatibility on some original Xbox games but not all. The list can be found Googling.

PS4

I bought my PS4 as my birthday present in 2014. That was also a moment I turned 30 years old. It cost me about 500 euros and I had Tomb Raider with it. So the game and console summed to this amount of euros. I didn’t really like this one so much. It had no backwards compatibiltity, I didn’t like so many of games that were released to it. It was a bit of a disapponitment. It had some good games. Games I played most were NBA2K14, Dirt Rally and Diablo 3. When companies like Sony keep coming up with new devices every six years or so I am currently thinking not buying fifth PlayStation but don’t you just follow me. Make that decision yourself.

PC

Personal computer was my first gaming device. It will always be there. I might play old retro games or the most new one. Provides large collection of controllers so you can pick your favourite USB gamepad. Easiest one to modify also if you want to upgrade your hardware or software. Much love to PC.

broken

– original Xbox

Yeah, so I broke my Xbox. I’m not going to buy a new used one to replace it. I now just have a large collection of games that aren’t supported on Xbox 360. So they lay now inside my dungeon and in my closet buried there. I’m not planing to sell them. Maybe some day we see Xbox Classic?

– PS2

This is sad one. It started to malfuction so I opened it up carefully. I tried to clean it. Finally I decided to try to fix it by replacing its optical drive. That didn’t go well as I had a wrong replacement part. So I just screwed back some screws and now it’s in condition that it starts up but you cannot boot a disc. So it’s useless. Maybe I buy a new used one or wait for PS2 Classsics release if there is one coming to us ever.

Diablo series – Are you already waiting for Diablo 4?

I first got in to Diablo as my brother bought it for PS1. My mom destroyed the game, but that’s another story…I played this, but got really deep in Diablo 2 couple years later. I played it on my PC. I don’t think it was released on any other system back in the day.

Fast development of my role character and action in this game soon got me addicted. One Saturday I played Diablo 2 for six straight hours and that was kind of an record for me as a young teenager. I finally got through the whole game. It took many years for me to return to this series of games.

I had heard rumours of Diablo 3 being in development. Had read an preview article about this game. Hype was very strong. I finally saw Diablo 3 on my friends apartments floor. I was surprised that it was already and finally released. I was so hyped that I almost instantly bought a copy. I had to update my PCs GPU but it only cost me some 50 €. I liked Diablo I 3 also.

I ended buying a t-shirt and a poster. I still have them. And I remember how much traffic was generated back then as the game needed internet connection to register the player and to get to playing the game. It was very popular game. Had me playing Diablo 1 and 2 again a couple of timesboth.

So I thought Diablo 3 was OK as a game. I am waiting for another Diablo now and it is number four this time. While there hasn’t been any information about release date we are currently waiting for the game to be published on PS4 and PC or at least these are the systems I am waiting it to be released for. It is somewhat uncertain and time will tell if it will be out on PS5 also.

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