The Sims 4

The Sims 4 – Best mods in 2020

A couple of weeks ago I made a post on COVID-19’s new symptom: Playing The Sims 4. After 7 years of development, The Sims 4 is now a mature game with a solid modding community that has worked to expand and optimize their mods over the years.

As you might have guessed, I too have been playing this game for quite a few hours during this lockdown. As you might also know, I truly love using mods in my games.

Please note: in this article I won’t delve into any Custom Content (CC) – just mods.

In The Sims 4, some people prefer to avoid using mods altogether.

While it is true that mods can affect the game in ways that are detrimental to the game’s vibe or performance, it is also true that mods can add a lot to The Sims experience. They expand the base content and improve gameplay, which adds replayability and fun.

I’m using several mods in my current 2020 The Sims 4 build. They all seem to work together without any conflicts and greatly expanded my game.
I’ll be sharing a list of the top mods in my current build:

One mod to rule them all

The Sims 4

This mod should be at the top of our list, due to the vast array of features and integration with other mods.
It doesn’t add gameplay features, but it allows you to customize almost every aspect of the game and its characters. It also helps to track down issues with in-game notifications and detailed logs.
We’re talking about MC Command Center by Deaderpool (MCCC). A common, must-have, mod.

LittleMsSam’s plethora of juicy mods

Whether you’re a newbie to modding The Sims 4 or an expert family planner, there’s no avoiding LittleMsSam’s vast collection of mods.

Most of LittleMsSam’s mods are actually really small and simple, but the huge collection of useful mods available that actually affect gameplay is astounding. It’s like picking free candy from a candy shop.

Some of LittleMsSam’s mods fix base game bugs and issues, while others expand the game by adding small bits of gameplay mechanics.

When used together, these mods become even more interesting – like adding layers and filling to a cake. And then a cherry on top.

All mods are very well documented, although sometimes the language used to describe them lacks some clearing up. If you’re new to modding The Sims 4 however, this is definitely the place to start.

Some of LittleMsSam’s most interesting mods:

The Sims 4
  • LittleMsSam’s Live in Business – This is my favorite mod in this article. Live in Business allows you to run your own little shop on the same lot where your family lives. Using LittleMsSam’s Live in Business, you won’t have those pesky loading screens, or Sims splitting away for work. Build your own family bakery or art gallery on the same lot where your family lives!
  • LittleMsSam’s Live in Services – A great addon to Live In Business – you’re able to hire services by providing rooms for your maid, gardener, or a nanny. They’ll work harder, better …and you get to spy on them when they’re not working.
  • LittleMsSam’s Roommates – This mod allows you to invite people to live with your household on the same lot. They will pay rent and you get to watch their lives unfold. Useful if you wish to build a small active neighborhood in a single lot. Just don’t forget to lock your doors! (there’s also a mod to help you with that!)
  • LittleMsSam’s More Buyable Venues and new Venue Types – Customize your lot and make it whatever you want it to be! You’ll be able to build prisons, motels, movie theatres, gyms, museums, etc. The astonishing part is that they actually work well and feature some interesting gameplay loops. I built a haunted hotel where my character actually has to use a computer to check-in guests, collect payments, and assign bedrooms. Immersive and fun!

Making money in The Sims 4 is a bit too easy.

Satira’s Lower Salaries and LittleMsSam’s (Zooroo’s) ATM mods make The Sims 4’s finances a bit more interesting, by lowering your job payouts and allowing you to go for a credit loan instead of selling your TV when things go bad. Staying at home picking up collectibles still earns you more than most jobs though.

I haven’t yet found a mod to make your financial life more challenging by adding cool new events. SacrificialMod’s Life Tragedies does add armed robberies, ransoms for kidnappings, and disease treatment costs, but it also adds a ton of non-essential death mechanics, violence, and other unnecessary stuff that kind of breaks The Sim’s happy vibe.

I’m looking for mods that boost this financial aspect of the game. Let me know your suggestions in the comments section below!

Add personality and life to your Sims

A few years ago, I ranted on my Twitch channel that Sims are too flexible with their emotions. They may feel very upset but that doesn’t prevent them from doing certain activities that drastically shift their mood to the exact opposite.
Here’s a list of mods that not only help balance emotions but also add cool new lifestyle mechanics to the game:

The Sims 4
  • RoBurky’s Meaningful Stories – it makes your Sim’s emotional state veer more like a cruise ship rather than a mosquito. It aims to make emotional states more natural and flow through intermediate states. The events in your Sim’s life will feel more important.
  • Simsmodelsimmer’s Realistic Reactions – This modder’s webpage features a bunch of interesting mods to explore, including Set Family Relationships, which adds family degrees to Sims. However, Realistic Reactions is on this list because it adds reactions to cheating between couples and how children react to their parents fighting.
  • Have Some Personality Please! by PolarBearSims – Default Sims are too quick to jump into a relationship. This mod makes romance a bit more challenging and progressive by restricting the number and type of interactions available. It also cuts idle chat and adds additional autonomy to your Sims.
  • KawaiiStacie’s Slice of Life – bring a new level of realism to your The Sims 4 mods with SoL. Your character will blush when embarrassed, cry when sad, or even bruised from a fight. It includes a personality system that acts as traits do. You will experience sicknesses, menstrual cycles, and body insecurities. Also, pimples!
  • Wicked Whims (+18) – This is a very extensive and very graphic mod that adds a ton of sexual interactions and animations. However, if you feel it breaks The Sims 4’s vibe, you are able to disable or tone it down and instead value the other aspects of the mod, such as nudity, pregnancy, STDs, window peeping, emotional reactions or pubic hair.

Quality of life mods

Some mods aim to make things easier to play or to fix small annoying bugs.

The Sims 4
  • Don’t Wash Dishes Where You Angry Poop by Scumbumbo – The very visual name of the mod is actually very accurate. It prevents Sims from washing dishes in bathroom sinks.
  • Nisa’s Lot Trait Extender – Because we always need more lot traits! (especially with other mods that require you to add lot traits)
  • LittleMsSam’s No Auto Food Grab – If you’re planning on setting up a custom bakery or a restaurant, this is a must-have mod. It prevents your Sim from taking a bite out of each cake he bakes for his customers.
  • LittleMsSam’s No Inventory Sharing – This mod prevents stuff that’s in a fridge or chest from being accessible in every other fridge or chest in the lot. Very useful if you’re using LittleMsSam’s Roommates, as it prevents your neighbors from eating your stored food!
  • LittleMsSam’s Force to Leave & Lock Door – Tired of those annoying neighbors dancing all night in your living room? Expel everyone from your house immediately! Then lock the door and sleep comfortably.
  • Scumbumbo’s Unlisted Phone Number – Sims can be kind of creepy, but mostly irritating by regularly calling you in the middle of the night. This mod prevents other Sims from calling you unless you give them your number (which also adds some fun RP to it).

Refresh your game!

When you really like a game, but you’ve explored most of the game’s options, mods are the way to refresh it.

Besides fixing bugs or adding content, mods are able to enable new gameplay mechanics that can be very fun to explore. Being able to play your favorite game as if it was the first time is well worth the time investment of finding the right mods.

So go ahead and push the boundaries of The Sims 4 now!

What are your favorite mods? What mod ideas would you like to see added to The Sims 5? Let me know in the comments section below!

Also, don’t forget to support your mod developers on Patreon!

See you in Strangerville,
-ViLa4480

NVIDIA RTX Voice

Remove microphone noise FREE with revolutionary Nvidia RTX Voice

This COVID-19 situation has many of us working, studying, and streaming from home. But for many, this may be a very difficult task, due to unavoidable sources of noise around them. NVIDIA RTX Voice to the rescue!

The sound of kids running and screaming in the back, dogs barking or mechanical keyboard strokes might be extremely difficult to muffle and may affect your performance or credibility.
You might at first want to gag your kids, but this tool might just solve your problem.

Oftentimes, however, the issue is on the other end of your Teams video call with very loud video partners.

To tackle this, NVIDIA has developed a technology that is currently in a free beta stage. This is called NVIDIA RTX Voice.

Oh, you don’t own an RTX graphics card? Don’t despair!

Even though it is “officially” limited to the RTX range of NVIDIA video cards, we’ve found a way around that and you’ll be able to use it with your non-RTX video card.

Fixing sound with graphics cards?

As many of you might know, dealing with sound has been a reference of what’s trickiest to do in computer sciences since its inception. The fact that it requires very fast computational power demands specific processors and tools to handle sound efficiently.

Ray-tracing in computer graphics has exactly the same problem.
Considering this, then it might come as no surprise that NVIDIA has now tackled complex real-time sound processing with RTX graphics card software.

Nvidia RTX Voice is surprisingly good

There have been many ways to subtract or reduce background noise. However, NVIDIA’s AI solution seems to clearly outperform other approaches.

As a reference, I was talking to my microphone while violently punching my table and having my girlfriend yelling next to me (please note: not at me). The results of NVIDIA’s RTX Voice were outstanding.

My voice did have a slight fluctuation in volume as I hammered the desk. But considering how much noise we were making, in the final recording, I was unable to hear anything else but my voice.
I would say that the result was pretty good and well worth the try.

As a reference, my non-RTX graphics card is an NVIDIA GTX 1080 non-TI. Using this software did increase my old CPU load by 5%, which is perfectly manageable if you toggle it off after each call.
RTX cards shine brighter because the loads for RTX cards are minimal.

How to install NVIDIA RTX Voice

If you own an RTX graphics card, things are easier to set up.
Simply go to NVIDIA RTX Voice’s official website and follow the instructions they provide.

If, however, you DON’T own an RTX NVIDIA graphics card, there’s still a way to make it work.

NVIDIA RTX Voice
NVIDIA RTX Voice

If you own a non-RTX NVIDIA graphics card, you’ll need to manually remove the constraints from the installer. They prevent you from installing the tool in non-RTX computers.

To install it in your non-RTX computer, follow these instructions from the Guru3D forums:

  1. Go to NVIDIA RTX Voice’s official website and download the free beta version (v0.5.12.6 – 386Mb).
  2. Run the file you downloaded. A message stating that your graphics card is not compatible is expected and the installer quits to desktop.
  3. Go to your C:\Temp\NVRTXVoice\NvAFX folder and open the file RTXVoice.nvi with a text editor such as Notepad.
  4. Search and remove a section that reads:
    <constraints>
    <property name=”Feature.RTXVoice” level=”silent” text=”${{InstallBlockedMessage}}”/>
    </constraints>
  5. Save your file and run setup.exe, located at C:\Temp\NVRTXVoice\
  6. Proceed with the installation and follow the configuration instructions at NVIDIA RTX Voice’s official website.

Using this tool to minimize your own background noise is pretty simple.
Just run the app and select your microphone as your input and your regular output (usually speakers). Then go to the tool you wish to use such as OBS for streaming or Skype for meetings. Finally set NVIDIA RTX Voice as your microphone input.

NVIDIA RTX Voice

If instead, you wish to protect your ears and sanity from loud or obnoxious meeting partners, there’s a solution as well.

You are able to set your output device on Teams, Zoom, or Classroom as NVIDIA’s RTX Voice. Then all you need is to set NVIDIA’s RTX Voice’s output to your speakers/headphones.
If you’re having trouble setting up this sound route, you might want to try the free donation-based Voicemeeter Banana/Potato, which gives you full control over input/output paths for sound.

Peace at last

Whether you are a Twitch streamer with a loud mechanical keyboard, using Discord or OBS, or having a Teams meeting that your kids are keen on ruining, or even attending classes via Skype, Google’s Classroom or Zoom, this tool will help you muffle your background noise but also protect your ears from everyone else’s noise as well. The results are stunning and well worth a try.

Let me know how it worked out for you!

If this helped you, consider subscribing to Popcorngamer.com!
-ViLa4480

The Sims 4

COVID-19’s new symptom: Playing The Sims 4

The 7-year old game is apparently making a comeback. Why are people playing it again? What changed in The Sims 4 and how come that this dinosaur is not yet a fossil? What led to this resurgence of the stale-genre game? Who plays it and how?

The rise of an oldie

7-year-old games are considered old by videogame market standards.

A sequel was due for some time now, but it never came. Instead, Maxis and Electronic Arts opted to keep releasing mostly cosmetic but expensive DLCs.

The Sims is pretty much alone in its own market, there’s not much of a competition to worry about (until now with the upcoming Paralives). They’ve always controlled the Life Simulation genre they’ve created and aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Instead of releasing a new game every two years (like most AAA game sequels), they were keying on setting solid foundations with a solid base game and then update and add new content with expansive (and expensive) DLCs. EA has released 9 large expansions already, yet 12 are expected until the end of The Sims 4 lifecycle.

Even though this strategy keeps current users feeding them with each DLC, it doesn’t do much in the way of attracting new ones.

In March 2020, things were about to change – but not in the way they were expected to.

Trying times

The Sims 4

Nowadays, every social media platform talks about The Sims, plays videos about The Sims, links to podcasts about The Sims, and, like me, people are blogging about The Sims. It almost feels like The Sims 4 had just been released. Also, Animal Crossing.

COVID-19 is the root-solution to our question.
COVID-19, the coronavirus that won the game by putting the world on pause. No more lines at the Post Office, traffic jams, crowded malls, delayed flights, air pollution, noise pollution. Was it not for the sad side-effects of social distancing, this would sound more like a blessing.

However, this horrible virus had an unexpected super-power. It managed to lock most of us in our own homes, afraid to go outside – waiting for it to leave us alone and abandon our doorstep.

Influencer lockdown

Self-isolation caused a huge number of social influencers to stay indoors. It was fun for a while – plenty of exciting chitchat about the situation filled their blogs and vlogs.
…But after a week or two, these fashion and travel influencers were still stuck at home with nothing new and exciting to report about their awesome way of life. No new clothes or makeup to show, no restaurants to try and no foreign places to explore. Their blogs and vlogs were running dry.

Some turned to cooking – but apparently, their cooking skills were not that great… or they just couldn’t make it captivating enough for their audience to enjoy.

Then they turned to gaming – a sensible marketing decision since gaming ranks high in social media projection. Even though these fashion vlogger’s streaming/gaming rigs were pretty much non-existant (as were their games list or gaming skills altogether), they still had their hordes of loyal fans thirsty for content and stuck at home with nothing to watch.

Some of these (mostly female) vloggers, in their early 30’s, went through their early years in an age where The Sims 1 and 2 were all the rage. So they naturally leaned towards The Sims 4.

The fact that it is a non-competitive sandbox game that features endless fashion and decoration customization options, that requires no skills at all and that supports a Mac version, and low computer specs certainly did help those fashion and lifestyle vloggers to take the leap.

The fact is that the stuff that made their Youtube channels popular was all there. In The Sims 4, there were new clothes to try, new makeup to show, new restaurants to experience and plenty of virtual foreign places to explore.

A cringy reality

I noticed some really sad streams, where the host used an uncomfortable wall shelf instead of a desk for gaming/streaming. Where they were unaware that their camera was on or that their microphone was off, that their lighting was terrible or their FPS were lame. Then some of them didn’t know how to handle the controls or built very large concrete boxes instead of real homes for their Sims. Naturally, none of them knew how to interact with the audience properly.

Even though this was a sad thing to watch, what truly frustrated me was the huge numbers of viewers watching. There are plenty of interesting, well-performed streams on Twitch, Mixer, or Youtube that don’t get half the views they deserve.

Some of these streams and videos drew quite a crowd and lead other vloggers to follow their example. Nowadays, Youtube is flooded every day with The Sims 4 videos by popular non-gamer influencers. This drives ads and posts on Twitter, Reddit and Youtube/Google results.

Nowadays, The Sims 4 seems to be everywhere.

The Sims 5 and sharp marketing pencils

In a typically sad EA move, they did once threaten The Sims fanbase by stating that The Sims 5 would never happen if The Sims 4 wasn’t successful. However, and even though it had a rough start with mediocre reviews, The Sims 4 turned out to be a very successful investment. But with 4 DLC expansions to go, EA isn’t going to stop milking its cow and replacing it with a new one anytime soon. The Sims 5 is, for now, just a marketing ploy.

When it comes to marketing, timing is critical …and EA has sharp pencils and minds.
EA cashed-in on the coronavirus unexpected wave of new users and influencers by starting to drip some bits of info regarding The Sims 5, which seems to be in the early stages of development.
In order to cause the most impact, they even started with one of the most anticipated and controversial features: Multiplayer.

There were several Twitter posts that caused some sensation. We’re likely to get more juicy info on The Sims 5 over the coming months.

How has the game changed and how are people playing it today?

Going back to playing The Sims 4 in 2020. I noticed that there’s a surprising amount of new content out there. Not just the official 32 downloadable content packs and expansions, but also the absurd amount of Custom Content created by users.
These mods didn’t just grow in quantity. They also improved their quality significantly over the many years of updates that a stable build of the game provided for.

As a dedicated PC gamer, I love modding my games.
More than adding customization options to my characters, I really enjoy adding new gameplay elements that make the game more realistic, immersive, or complex.

The Sims 4 is fertile ground for great Custom Content.

Some of the best Custom Content like Slice of Life, Meaningful Stories, Live in Business, or even Wicked Whims (18+), truly add a host of new features and allow you to explore multiple new ways of playing the base game.

A new look

I’ve recently started a brand new The Sims 4 household. I’m trying to create a small neighborhood with multiple families living on the same lot (thank you Roommates mod). I’ve also got my own bakery business on the same lot (thank you Live in Business and ATMs). It’s just awesome seeing an empty lot turning into a small venue and meeting new Sims. My Sims have interesting personality traits and awesome jobs, there are gangs, drugs, and violence on my streets and I’ve got a ton of furniture to decorate my house with.

7 years past, the game is fresher and more polished than ever with many many new ways to explore.

The Sims 5 isn’t really around the corner. When it finally gets released, it will likely lack the depth and polish that The Sims 4 offers right now.
The upcoming life simulation contender, Paralives, will be interesting to explore, given the type of customization it provides. But Paralives’s success will be limited by the lower amount of gameplay content provided by years of development and mods currently available in The Sims 4.

Give The Sims 4 a new try!
There has never been a better time to explore this green gem of a game.

If instead, you’re looking to play something fun in multiplayer, check out the awesome Sea of Thieves.

See you in San Myshuno,
-ViLa4480

Red Dead Redemption 2 Online – Moonshine Recipes

Moonshine recipes in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online give you the ability to make your special booze, own your very own speakeasy and earn a lot of money. It’s a fun addition to the world of RDR2 and in this article I’ll be covering all there is to know about RDR2’s Moonshine Recipes.

If you’re new to this whole moonshiner business thing, you should first read my Guide to Moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2.

To make the most of it, I highly recommend that you also check out my previous post – Red Dead Redemption 2 – Moonshiner – How to lower mash prices. It includes all sorts of tips on how to optimize your moonshining business, including Moonshine shack locations, recipes, and strategies for the Bootlegger Missions.

In this post, however, I will simply go over the recipes and ingredients that are required to make the best moonshine.

A cowboy resting in RDR2
This is what happens when your ‘shine is too strong

Add power to your booze!

First things first: upgrade your distillery as soon as you can.
That will increase profit drastically and the distillation takes longer, which allows you to do other stuff in the meantime. Sure, the upgrade costs are steep, but the value you get in return is well worth the investment.

Here’s a rundown of the upgrade costs:

  • Condenser Upgrade: 2 Role Tokens + 825$ + Moonshiner Rank 5
  • Polished Copper Upgrade: 3 Role Tokens + 875$ + Moonshiner Rank 10
Moonshine Shack Décor Upgrades

The best booze recipe!

Booze recipes come in 3 strengths:

  • 1 Star: Weak Moonshine
  • 2 Stars: Average Moonshine
  • 3 Stars: Strong Moonshine

A stronger distillation sells for a higher price.

To make a batch of a more valuable moonshine you need to upgrade your distillery and then gather all the ingredients.
Some recipes only become available by progressing in the Moonshiner role.

Also, keep in mind that buyers change every two hours or so – so you’ll be wise to account for ingredients for different recipes.

Distillation was strong in this one…

Here’s the full list of recipes available

(click the green bar to open)

★ Tropical Punch Moonshine
  • Canned Pineapples
  • Vanilla Flower
  • Pear
★ Wild Cider Moonshine
  • Apple
  • Currant
  • Ginseng
★ Berry Mint Moonshine
  • Canned Berries
  • Blackberry
  • Mint
★★ Evergreen Moonshine
  • Evergreen Huckleberry
  • Wintergreen Berry
  • Ginseng
★★ Apple Berry Crumb Moonshine (Bootlegger Story Progress)
  • Apple
  • Blackberry
  • Vanilla Flower
★★ Berry Cobbler Moonshine (Requires Rank 2)
  • Red Raspberry
  • Peach
  • Canned Peaches
★★★ Wild Creek Moonshine (Requires Rank 6)
  • Wild Mint
  • Vanilla Flower
  • Creek Plum
★★★ Spiced Island Moonshine (Requires Rank 12)
  • Caribbean Rum
  • Golden Currant
  • Canned Apricots
★★★ Agarita Sunrise (Complete Bootlegger story)
  • Agarita
  • Canned Strawberries
  • Evergreen Huckleberries

Time is money

Some of these ingredients are available by picking herbs in the game world. However, others are canned fruits or liqueurs and may be harder to find.

Pro tip: many recipe ingredients are buyable via the Wheeler Rawson Catalogue. Rather than the cost, consider them as an investment of …time – as you won’t have to go find them in the game world.

These will allow you to make higher quality moonshine that sells for a LOT more money, which justifies their initial cost.

Always keep a healthy supply of fruits, herbs and liqueurs with you at all times.

Always keep a healthy supply of fruits, herbs, and liqueurs with you at all times. You should guarantee enough fruits and herbs to fulfill two or three 2-star or 3-star recipes.

Simply buy batches of up to 30 cans of fruit and fetch them from the Post Office and try to gather the few remaining ingredients from the game world.

Rise and ‘Shine

You should aim for the more valuable drinks. Namely, the Wild Creek Moonshine, Spiced Island Moonshine, and the Agarita Sunrise whenever possible. Keep this list at hand:

  • Wild Creek Moonshine: Wild Mint, Vanilla Flower, Creek Plum
  • Spiced Island Moonshine: Caribbean Rum, Golden Currant, Canned Apricots
  • Agarita Sunrise: Agarita, Canned Strawberries, Evergreen Huckleberries
RDR2 Moonshine Shack
Moonshine Shack in Lemoyne

Again, keep in mind that some items are buyable via the Wheeler Rawson Catalogue. I highly recommend that you use the Catalogue’s Online version, as it allows you to quickly find your ingredients by using the search functionality.

In the Wheeler Rawson Catalogue you’ll be able to find:

  • Canned Apricots (0.75$)
  • Canned Strawberries (1.20$)
  • Canned Peaches (1.00$)
  • Orchard Apples (0.40$)
  • Canned Berries (1.20$)
  • Canned Pineapples (1.50$)
  • Bartlett Pears (0.65$).

From Madam Nazar’s shop you’ll also be able to buy:

  • Currant
  • Ginseng
  • Caribbean Rum (via collector map)

Other ingredients are rather easy to find:

  • Golden Currant – West of Van Horn, near Kamassa River
  • Red Raspberry – South East of Stillwater Creek
  • Vanilla Flower – South East of Lake Lagras
  • Wild Mint – South West of Valentine, near the river
  • Wintergreen Berry – North of Brandywine Drop

In order to find these items more easily, consider using JeanRopke’s RDOMap.

The elusive Poison Poppy recipe

There’s one other recipe that I purposely avoided talking about in this article. The reason is simple: it is difficult to understand how to make it and find its ingredients. I will attempt to clarify this topic:

In one of the Moonshine Story missions, you are required to brew a vial of Poison Poppy. However, you don’t get to keep the recipe for this drink. In order to unlock the Poison Poppy recipe, you must first find a recipe pamphlet. There are multiple locations where this spawns.

Try to find a small moonshine operation camp in one of these locations. Go there at night to easily spot the campfire.

Credit: Fun2, Tez

Look for the recipe inside the camp’s chest. Once you have read the pamphlet (in your satchel), gather the following ingredients:

  1. Oleander Sage
  2. Prairie Poppy
  3. Absinthe

Go back to your Moonshine Shack and it should now be available.
This recipe is harder to find, but it is worth 247$, like the most valuable ones. If you’re having trouble, check out GTAO W’s video.

Don’t forget to optimize your Moonshine business by following my tips at my other post – Red Dead Redemption 2 – Moonshiner – How to lower mash prices.

Let me know in the comments section if this guide was valuable!
-ViLa4480

The Sims 4

The Sims 4 – Best mods in 2020

A couple of weeks ago I made a post on COVID-19’s new symptom: Playing The Sims 4. After 7 years of development, The Sims 4 is now a mature game with a solid modding community that has worked to expand and optimize their mods over the years.

As you might have guessed, I too have been playing this game for quite a few hours during this lockdown. As you might also know, I truly love using mods in my games.

Please note: in this article I won’t delve into any Custom Content (CC) – just mods.

In The Sims 4, some people prefer to avoid using mods altogether.

While it is true that mods can affect the game in ways that are detrimental to the game’s vibe or performance, it is also true that mods can add a lot to The Sims experience. They expand the base content and improve gameplay, which adds replayability and fun.

I’m using several mods in my current 2020 The Sims 4 build. They all seem to work together without any conflicts and greatly expanded my game.
I’ll be sharing a list of the top mods in my current build:

One mod to rule them all

The Sims 4

This mod should be at the top of our list, due to the vast array of features and integration with other mods.
It doesn’t add gameplay features, but it allows you to customize almost every aspect of the game and its characters. It also helps to track down issues with in-game notifications and detailed logs.
We’re talking about MC Command Center by Deaderpool (MCCC). A common, must-have, mod.

LittleMsSam’s plethora of juicy mods

Whether you’re a newbie to modding The Sims 4 or an expert family planner, there’s no avoiding LittleMsSam’s vast collection of mods.

Most of LittleMsSam’s mods are actually really small and simple, but the huge collection of useful mods available that actually affect gameplay is astounding. It’s like picking free candy from a candy shop.

Some of LittleMsSam’s mods fix base game bugs and issues, while others expand the game by adding small bits of gameplay mechanics.

When used together, these mods become even more interesting – like adding layers and filling to a cake. And then a cherry on top.

All mods are very well documented, although sometimes the language used to describe them lacks some clearing up. If you’re new to modding The Sims 4 however, this is definitely the place to start.

Some of LittleMsSam’s most interesting mods:

The Sims 4
  • LittleMsSam’s Live in Business – This is my favorite mod in this article. Live in Business allows you to run your own little shop on the same lot where your family lives. Using LittleMsSam’s Live in Business, you won’t have those pesky loading screens, or Sims splitting away for work. Build your own family bakery or art gallery on the same lot where your family lives!
  • LittleMsSam’s Live in Services – A great addon to Live In Business – you’re able to hire services by providing rooms for your maid, gardener, or a nanny. They’ll work harder, better …and you get to spy on them when they’re not working.
  • LittleMsSam’s Roommates – This mod allows you to invite people to live with your household on the same lot. They will pay rent and you get to watch their lives unfold. Useful if you wish to build a small active neighborhood in a single lot. Just don’t forget to lock your doors! (there’s also a mod to help you with that!)
  • LittleMsSam’s More Buyable Venues and new Venue Types – Customize your lot and make it whatever you want it to be! You’ll be able to build prisons, motels, movie theatres, gyms, museums, etc. The astonishing part is that they actually work well and feature some interesting gameplay loops. I built a haunted hotel where my character actually has to use a computer to check-in guests, collect payments, and assign bedrooms. Immersive and fun!

Making money in The Sims 4 is a bit too easy.

Satira’s Lower Salaries and LittleMsSam’s (Zooroo’s) ATM mods make The Sims 4’s finances a bit more interesting, by lowering your job payouts and allowing you to go for a credit loan instead of selling your TV when things go bad. Staying at home picking up collectibles still earns you more than most jobs though.

I haven’t yet found a mod to make your financial life more challenging by adding cool new events. SacrificialMod’s Life Tragedies does add armed robberies, ransoms for kidnappings, and disease treatment costs, but it also adds a ton of non-essential death mechanics, violence, and other unnecessary stuff that kind of breaks The Sim’s happy vibe.

I’m looking for mods that boost this financial aspect of the game. Let me know your suggestions in the comments section below!

Add personality and life to your Sims

A few years ago, I ranted on my Twitch channel that Sims are too flexible with their emotions. They may feel very upset but that doesn’t prevent them from doing certain activities that drastically shift their mood to the exact opposite.
Here’s a list of mods that not only help balance emotions but also add cool new lifestyle mechanics to the game:

The Sims 4
  • RoBurky’s Meaningful Stories – it makes your Sim’s emotional state veer more like a cruise ship rather than a mosquito. It aims to make emotional states more natural and flow through intermediate states. The events in your Sim’s life will feel more important.
  • Simsmodelsimmer’s Realistic Reactions – This modder’s webpage features a bunch of interesting mods to explore, including Set Family Relationships, which adds family degrees to Sims. However, Realistic Reactions is on this list because it adds reactions to cheating between couples and how children react to their parents fighting.
  • Have Some Personality Please! by PolarBearSims – Default Sims are too quick to jump into a relationship. This mod makes romance a bit more challenging and progressive by restricting the number and type of interactions available. It also cuts idle chat and adds additional autonomy to your Sims.
  • KawaiiStacie’s Slice of Life – bring a new level of realism to your The Sims 4 mods with SoL. Your character will blush when embarrassed, cry when sad, or even bruised from a fight. It includes a personality system that acts as traits do. You will experience sicknesses, menstrual cycles, and body insecurities. Also, pimples!
  • Wicked Whims (+18) – This is a very extensive and very graphic mod that adds a ton of sexual interactions and animations. However, if you feel it breaks The Sims 4’s vibe, you are able to disable or tone it down and instead value the other aspects of the mod, such as nudity, pregnancy, STDs, window peeping, emotional reactions or pubic hair.

Quality of life mods

Some mods aim to make things easier to play or to fix small annoying bugs.

The Sims 4
  • Don’t Wash Dishes Where You Angry Poop by Scumbumbo – The very visual name of the mod is actually very accurate. It prevents Sims from washing dishes in bathroom sinks.
  • Nisa’s Lot Trait Extender – Because we always need more lot traits! (especially with other mods that require you to add lot traits)
  • LittleMsSam’s No Auto Food Grab – If you’re planning on setting up a custom bakery or a restaurant, this is a must-have mod. It prevents your Sim from taking a bite out of each cake he bakes for his customers.
  • LittleMsSam’s No Inventory Sharing – This mod prevents stuff that’s in a fridge or chest from being accessible in every other fridge or chest in the lot. Very useful if you’re using LittleMsSam’s Roommates, as it prevents your neighbors from eating your stored food!
  • LittleMsSam’s Force to Leave & Lock Door – Tired of those annoying neighbors dancing all night in your living room? Expel everyone from your house immediately! Then lock the door and sleep comfortably.
  • Scumbumbo’s Unlisted Phone Number – Sims can be kind of creepy, but mostly irritating by regularly calling you in the middle of the night. This mod prevents other Sims from calling you unless you give them your number (which also adds some fun RP to it).

Refresh your game!

When you really like a game, but you’ve explored most of the game’s options, mods are the way to refresh it.

Besides fixing bugs or adding content, mods are able to enable new gameplay mechanics that can be very fun to explore. Being able to play your favorite game as if it was the first time is well worth the time investment of finding the right mods.

So go ahead and push the boundaries of The Sims 4 now!

What are your favorite mods? What mod ideas would you like to see added to The Sims 5? Let me know in the comments section below!

Also, don’t forget to support your mod developers on Patreon!

See you in Strangerville,
-ViLa4480

NVIDIA RTX Voice

Remove microphone noise FREE with revolutionary Nvidia RTX Voice

This COVID-19 situation has many of us working, studying, and streaming from home. But for many, this may be a very difficult task, due to unavoidable sources of noise around them. NVIDIA RTX Voice to the rescue!

The sound of kids running and screaming in the back, dogs barking or mechanical keyboard strokes might be extremely difficult to muffle and may affect your performance or credibility.
You might at first want to gag your kids, but this tool might just solve your problem.

Oftentimes, however, the issue is on the other end of your Teams video call with very loud video partners.

To tackle this, NVIDIA has developed a technology that is currently in a free beta stage. This is called NVIDIA RTX Voice.

Oh, you don’t own an RTX graphics card? Don’t despair!

Even though it is “officially” limited to the RTX range of NVIDIA video cards, we’ve found a way around that and you’ll be able to use it with your non-RTX video card.

Fixing sound with graphics cards?

As many of you might know, dealing with sound has been a reference of what’s trickiest to do in computer sciences since its inception. The fact that it requires very fast computational power demands specific processors and tools to handle sound efficiently.

Ray-tracing in computer graphics has exactly the same problem.
Considering this, then it might come as no surprise that NVIDIA has now tackled complex real-time sound processing with RTX graphics card software.

Nvidia RTX Voice is surprisingly good

There have been many ways to subtract or reduce background noise. However, NVIDIA’s AI solution seems to clearly outperform other approaches.

As a reference, I was talking to my microphone while violently punching my table and having my girlfriend yelling next to me (please note: not at me). The results of NVIDIA’s RTX Voice were outstanding.

My voice did have a slight fluctuation in volume as I hammered the desk. But considering how much noise we were making, in the final recording, I was unable to hear anything else but my voice.
I would say that the result was pretty good and well worth the try.

As a reference, my non-RTX graphics card is an NVIDIA GTX 1080 non-TI. Using this software did increase my old CPU load by 5%, which is perfectly manageable if you toggle it off after each call.
RTX cards shine brighter because the loads for RTX cards are minimal.

How to install NVIDIA RTX Voice

If you own an RTX graphics card, things are easier to set up.
Simply go to NVIDIA RTX Voice’s official website and follow the instructions they provide.

If, however, you DON’T own an RTX NVIDIA graphics card, there’s still a way to make it work.

NVIDIA RTX Voice
NVIDIA RTX Voice

If you own a non-RTX NVIDIA graphics card, you’ll need to manually remove the constraints from the installer. They prevent you from installing the tool in non-RTX computers.

To install it in your non-RTX computer, follow these instructions from the Guru3D forums:

  1. Go to NVIDIA RTX Voice’s official website and download the free beta version (v0.5.12.6 – 386Mb).
  2. Run the file you downloaded. A message stating that your graphics card is not compatible is expected and the installer quits to desktop.
  3. Go to your C:\Temp\NVRTXVoice\NvAFX folder and open the file RTXVoice.nvi with a text editor such as Notepad.
  4. Search and remove a section that reads:
    <constraints>
    <property name=”Feature.RTXVoice” level=”silent” text=”${{InstallBlockedMessage}}”/>
    </constraints>
  5. Save your file and run setup.exe, located at C:\Temp\NVRTXVoice\
  6. Proceed with the installation and follow the configuration instructions at NVIDIA RTX Voice’s official website.

Using this tool to minimize your own background noise is pretty simple.
Just run the app and select your microphone as your input and your regular output (usually speakers). Then go to the tool you wish to use such as OBS for streaming or Skype for meetings. Finally set NVIDIA RTX Voice as your microphone input.

NVIDIA RTX Voice

If instead, you wish to protect your ears and sanity from loud or obnoxious meeting partners, there’s a solution as well.

You are able to set your output device on Teams, Zoom, or Classroom as NVIDIA’s RTX Voice. Then all you need is to set NVIDIA’s RTX Voice’s output to your speakers/headphones.
If you’re having trouble setting up this sound route, you might want to try the free donation-based Voicemeeter Banana/Potato, which gives you full control over input/output paths for sound.

Peace at last

Whether you are a Twitch streamer with a loud mechanical keyboard, using Discord or OBS, or having a Teams meeting that your kids are keen on ruining, or even attending classes via Skype, Google’s Classroom or Zoom, this tool will help you muffle your background noise but also protect your ears from everyone else’s noise as well. The results are stunning and well worth a try.

Let me know how it worked out for you!

If this helped you, consider subscribing to Popcorngamer.com!
-ViLa4480

The Sims 4

COVID-19’s new symptom: Playing The Sims 4

The 7-year old game is apparently making a comeback. Why are people playing it again? What changed in The Sims 4 and how come that this dinosaur is not yet a fossil? What led to this resurgence of the stale-genre game? Who plays it and how?

The rise of an oldie

7-year-old games are considered old by videogame market standards.

A sequel was due for some time now, but it never came. Instead, Maxis and Electronic Arts opted to keep releasing mostly cosmetic but expensive DLCs.

The Sims is pretty much alone in its own market, there’s not much of a competition to worry about (until now with the upcoming Paralives). They’ve always controlled the Life Simulation genre they’ve created and aren’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Instead of releasing a new game every two years (like most AAA game sequels), they were keying on setting solid foundations with a solid base game and then update and add new content with expansive (and expensive) DLCs. EA has released 9 large expansions already, yet 12 are expected until the end of The Sims 4 lifecycle.

Even though this strategy keeps current users feeding them with each DLC, it doesn’t do much in the way of attracting new ones.

In March 2020, things were about to change – but not in the way they were expected to.

Trying times

The Sims 4

Nowadays, every social media platform talks about The Sims, plays videos about The Sims, links to podcasts about The Sims, and, like me, people are blogging about The Sims. It almost feels like The Sims 4 had just been released. Also, Animal Crossing.

COVID-19 is the root-solution to our question.
COVID-19, the coronavirus that won the game by putting the world on pause. No more lines at the Post Office, traffic jams, crowded malls, delayed flights, air pollution, noise pollution. Was it not for the sad side-effects of social distancing, this would sound more like a blessing.

However, this horrible virus had an unexpected super-power. It managed to lock most of us in our own homes, afraid to go outside – waiting for it to leave us alone and abandon our doorstep.

Influencer lockdown

Self-isolation caused a huge number of social influencers to stay indoors. It was fun for a while – plenty of exciting chitchat about the situation filled their blogs and vlogs.
…But after a week or two, these fashion and travel influencers were still stuck at home with nothing new and exciting to report about their awesome way of life. No new clothes or makeup to show, no restaurants to try and no foreign places to explore. Their blogs and vlogs were running dry.

Some turned to cooking – but apparently, their cooking skills were not that great… or they just couldn’t make it captivating enough for their audience to enjoy.

Then they turned to gaming – a sensible marketing decision since gaming ranks high in social media projection. Even though these fashion vlogger’s streaming/gaming rigs were pretty much non-existant (as were their games list or gaming skills altogether), they still had their hordes of loyal fans thirsty for content and stuck at home with nothing to watch.

Some of these (mostly female) vloggers, in their early 30’s, went through their early years in an age where The Sims 1 and 2 were all the rage. So they naturally leaned towards The Sims 4.

The fact that it is a non-competitive sandbox game that features endless fashion and decoration customization options, that requires no skills at all and that supports a Mac version, and low computer specs certainly did help those fashion and lifestyle vloggers to take the leap.

The fact is that the stuff that made their Youtube channels popular was all there. In The Sims 4, there were new clothes to try, new makeup to show, new restaurants to experience and plenty of virtual foreign places to explore.

A cringy reality

I noticed some really sad streams, where the host used an uncomfortable wall shelf instead of a desk for gaming/streaming. Where they were unaware that their camera was on or that their microphone was off, that their lighting was terrible or their FPS were lame. Then some of them didn’t know how to handle the controls or built very large concrete boxes instead of real homes for their Sims. Naturally, none of them knew how to interact with the audience properly.

Even though this was a sad thing to watch, what truly frustrated me was the huge numbers of viewers watching. There are plenty of interesting, well-performed streams on Twitch, Mixer, or Youtube that don’t get half the views they deserve.

Some of these streams and videos drew quite a crowd and lead other vloggers to follow their example. Nowadays, Youtube is flooded every day with The Sims 4 videos by popular non-gamer influencers. This drives ads and posts on Twitter, Reddit and Youtube/Google results.

Nowadays, The Sims 4 seems to be everywhere.

The Sims 5 and sharp marketing pencils

In a typically sad EA move, they did once threaten The Sims fanbase by stating that The Sims 5 would never happen if The Sims 4 wasn’t successful. However, and even though it had a rough start with mediocre reviews, The Sims 4 turned out to be a very successful investment. But with 4 DLC expansions to go, EA isn’t going to stop milking its cow and replacing it with a new one anytime soon. The Sims 5 is, for now, just a marketing ploy.

When it comes to marketing, timing is critical …and EA has sharp pencils and minds.
EA cashed-in on the coronavirus unexpected wave of new users and influencers by starting to drip some bits of info regarding The Sims 5, which seems to be in the early stages of development.
In order to cause the most impact, they even started with one of the most anticipated and controversial features: Multiplayer.

There were several Twitter posts that caused some sensation. We’re likely to get more juicy info on The Sims 5 over the coming months.

How has the game changed and how are people playing it today?

Going back to playing The Sims 4 in 2020. I noticed that there’s a surprising amount of new content out there. Not just the official 32 downloadable content packs and expansions, but also the absurd amount of Custom Content created by users.
These mods didn’t just grow in quantity. They also improved their quality significantly over the many years of updates that a stable build of the game provided for.

As a dedicated PC gamer, I love modding my games.
More than adding customization options to my characters, I really enjoy adding new gameplay elements that make the game more realistic, immersive, or complex.

The Sims 4 is fertile ground for great Custom Content.

Some of the best Custom Content like Slice of Life, Meaningful Stories, Live in Business, or even Wicked Whims (18+), truly add a host of new features and allow you to explore multiple new ways of playing the base game.

A new look

I’ve recently started a brand new The Sims 4 household. I’m trying to create a small neighborhood with multiple families living on the same lot (thank you Roommates mod). I’ve also got my own bakery business on the same lot (thank you Live in Business and ATMs). It’s just awesome seeing an empty lot turning into a small venue and meeting new Sims. My Sims have interesting personality traits and awesome jobs, there are gangs, drugs, and violence on my streets and I’ve got a ton of furniture to decorate my house with.

7 years past, the game is fresher and more polished than ever with many many new ways to explore.

The Sims 5 isn’t really around the corner. When it finally gets released, it will likely lack the depth and polish that The Sims 4 offers right now.
The upcoming life simulation contender, Paralives, will be interesting to explore, given the type of customization it provides. But Paralives’s success will be limited by the lower amount of gameplay content provided by years of development and mods currently available in The Sims 4.

Give The Sims 4 a new try!
There has never been a better time to explore this green gem of a game.

If instead, you’re looking to play something fun in multiplayer, check out the awesome Sea of Thieves.

See you in San Myshuno,
-ViLa4480

Red Dead Redemption 2 Online – Moonshine Recipes

Moonshine recipes in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online give you the ability to make your special booze, own your very own speakeasy and earn a lot of money. It’s a fun addition to the world of RDR2 and in this article I’ll be covering all there is to know about RDR2‘s Moonshine Recipes.

If you’re new to this whole moonshiner business thing, you should first read my Guide to Moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2.

To make the most of it, I highly recommend that you also check out my previous post – Red Dead Redemption 2 – Moonshiner – How to lower mash prices. It includes all sorts of tips on how to optimize your moonshining business, including Moonshine shack locations, recipes, and strategies for the Bootlegger Missions.

In this post, however, I will simply go over the recipes and ingredients that are required to make the best moonshine.

A cowboy resting in RDR2
This is what happens when your ‘shine is too strong

Add power to your booze!

First things first: upgrade your distillery as soon as you can.
That will increase profit drastically and the distillation takes longer, which allows you to do other stuff in the meantime. Sure, the upgrade costs are steep, but the value you get in return is well worth the investment.

Here’s a rundown of the upgrade costs:

  • Condenser Upgrade: 2 Role Tokens + 825$ + Moonshiner Rank 5
  • Polished Copper Upgrade: 3 Role Tokens + 875$ + Moonshiner Rank 10
Moonshine Shack Décor Upgrades

The best booze recipe!

Booze recipes come in 3 strengths:

  • 1 Star: Weak Moonshine
  • 2 Stars: Average Moonshine
  • 3 Stars: Strong Moonshine

A stronger distillation sells for a higher price.

To make a batch of a more valuable moonshine you need to upgrade your distillery and then gather all the ingredients.
Some recipes only become available by progressing in the Moonshiner role.

Also, keep in mind that buyers change every two hours or so – so you’ll be wise to account for ingredients for different recipes.

Distillation was strong in this one…

Here’s the full list of recipes available

(click the green bar to open)

★ Tropical Punch Moonshine
  • Canned Pineapples
  • Vanilla Flower
  • Pear
★ Wild Cider Moonshine
  • Apple
  • Currant
  • Ginseng
★ Berry Mint Moonshine
  • Canned Berries
  • Blackberry
  • Mint
★★ Evergreen Moonshine
  • Evergreen Huckleberry
  • Wintergreen Berry
  • Ginseng
★★ Apple Berry Crumb Moonshine (Bootlegger Story Progress)
  • Apple
  • Blackberry
  • Vanilla Flower
★★ Berry Cobbler Moonshine (Requires Rank 2)
  • Red Raspberry
  • Peach
  • Canned Peaches
★★★ Wild Creek Moonshine (Requires Rank 6)
  • Wild Mint
  • Vanilla Flower
  • Creek Plum
★★★ Spiced Island Moonshine (Requires Rank 12)
  • Caribbean Rum
  • Golden Currant
  • Canned Apricots
★★★ Agarita Sunrise (Complete Bootlegger story)
  • Agarita
  • Canned Strawberries
  • Evergreen Huckleberries

Time is money

Some of these ingredients are available by picking herbs in the game world. However, others are canned fruits or liqueurs and may be harder to find.

Pro tip: many recipe ingredients are buyable via the Wheeler Rawson Catalogue. Rather than the cost, consider them as an investment of …time – as you won’t have to go find them in the game world.

These will allow you to make higher quality moonshine that sells for a LOT more money, which justifies their initial cost.

Always keep a healthy supply of fruits, herbs and liqueurs with you at all times.

Always keep a healthy supply of fruits, herbs, and liqueurs with you at all times. You should guarantee enough fruits and herbs to fulfill two or three 2-star or 3-star recipes.

Simply buy batches of up to 30 cans of fruit and fetch them from the Post Office and try to gather the few remaining ingredients from the game world.

Rise and ‘Shine

You should aim for the more valuable drinks. Namely, the Wild Creek Moonshine, Spiced Island Moonshine, and the Agarita Sunrise whenever possible. Keep this list at hand:

  • Wild Creek Moonshine: Wild Mint, Vanilla Flower, Creek Plum
  • Spiced Island Moonshine: Caribbean Rum, Golden Currant, Canned Apricots
  • Agarita Sunrise: Agarita, Canned Strawberries, Evergreen Huckleberries
RDR2 Moonshine Shack
Moonshine Shack in Lemoyne

Again, keep in mind that some items are buyable via the Wheeler Rawson Catalogue. I highly recommend that you use the Catalogue’s Online version, as it allows you to quickly find your ingredients by using the search functionality.

In the Wheeler Rawson Catalogue you’ll be able to find:

  • Canned Apricots (0.75$)
  • Canned Strawberries (1.20$)
  • Canned Peaches (1.00$)
  • Orchard Apples (0.40$)
  • Canned Berries (1.20$)
  • Canned Pineapples (1.50$)
  • Bartlett Pears (0.65$).

From Madam Nazar’s shop you’ll also be able to buy:

  • Currant
  • Ginseng
  • Caribbean Rum (via collector map)

Other ingredients are rather easy to find:

  • Golden Currant – West of Van Horn, near Kamassa River
  • Red Raspberry – South East of Stillwater Creek
  • Vanilla Flower – South East of Lake Lagras
  • Wild Mint – South West of Valentine, near the river
  • Wintergreen Berry – North of Brandywine Drop

In order to find these items more easily, consider using JeanRopke’s RDOMap.

The elusive Poison Poppy recipe

There’s one other recipe that I purposely avoided talking about in this article. The reason is simple: it is difficult to understand how to make it and find its ingredients. I will attempt to clarify this topic:

In one of the Moonshine Story missions, you are required to brew a vial of Poison Poppy. However, you don’t get to keep the recipe for this drink. In order to unlock the Poison Poppy recipe, you must first find a recipe pamphlet. There are multiple locations where this spawns.

Try to find a small moonshine operation camp in one of these locations. Go there at night to easily spot the campfire.

Credit: Fun2, Tez

Look for the recipe inside the camp’s chest. Once you have read the pamphlet (in your satchel), gather the following ingredients:

  1. Oleander Sage
  2. Prairie Poppy
  3. Absinthe

Go back to your Moonshine Shack and it should now be available.
This recipe is harder to find, but it is worth 247$, like the most valuable ones. If you’re having trouble, check out GTAO W’s video.

Don’t forget to optimize your Moonshine business by following my tips at my other post – Red Dead Redemption 2 – Moonshiner – How to lower mash prices.

Let me know in the comments section if this guide was valuable!
-ViLa4480

Marcel the Cook Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Online Moonshiners

Red Dead Redemption 2 – Moonshiner – How to lower mash prices

How to lower mash prices in RDR2

Moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2 can be a surprisingly profitable business. There are ways to increase revenue and reduce costs (to lower mash prices and even save on supplies). Some up-start investment may be required.

But before I give you a couple of tips, if you’re on the fence on whether to start moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2, let me start by saying that it is a rather fun profession to explore. There are plenty of missions to do and they feel quite varied. Playing with friends also seems to increase the number of available bootlegger missions.

Becoming a moonshiner in RDR2 will also allow you to purchase some fancy clothes and items. However, it is the money aspect that most players are after.

Okay, so how do I lower mash prices in RDR2?

Straight to the point: in order to lower mash prices, all you have to do is to accept Bootlegger missions from Maggie. Talk to her and hold the R key.

RDR2 Maggie
Maggie will guide you through the Moonshiner life

Be aware that there’s a 15-minute timer between missions, during which you’re unable to do another one.
Sometimes Maggie isn’t there, or she’s stuck in an animation sequence – in which case you should go out of the moonshine shack, give it some time and then go back in again. If this becomes a repeating issue, try using my new tool that helps you optimize CPU performance. Its called RDR2 Launch Argument Composer Tool

Bootlegger Missions

By doing Bootlegger missions, you will eventually be able to lower the cost of producing alcohol significantly. As an example, you will be able to lower the 30$ mash cost down to 10$.
This is most noticeable when you upgrade your distillery to be able to produce stronger moonshine. Stronger moonshine requires more time and mash to produce. Instead of paying 30$ per mash dosage, you’ll be paying 50$. The upside is that stronger moonshine sells for a LOT more money. Depending on the quality of the ingredients you’re using, you could sell a batch of booze for up to 247$ per trip. Doing Bootlegger missions also earns you plenty of collectibles, since you’ll be fighting Revenue agents and rival moonshiners that have plenty of expensive items and ammo to loot.

One may argue that the time it takes to do the Bootlegger mission isn’t worth the 20$ discount on mash prices. However, the loot you get from all those revenue agent bodies is worth it in the long run. It earns you special bullets, antique liqueurs, and gold watches, which makes it all much more profitable.

Making the most of your Moonshiner role means optimizing your business in the long run. I highly recommend you check out my additional suggestions on how to make the most of the Moonshiner role:

Oh, and if you would like a detailed overview of the Moonshiner role, Bootlegger mission tips, as well as some other ideas on how to make the best use of this new content, make sure you check out my other postA Guide to Moonshining in RDR2 (my most popular post EVER!).

The best Moonshine Shack Location

RDR2 Moonshine Shack
Moonshine Shack in Lemoyne

Location, location, location

Start by considering where you’ll be placing your Moonshiner shack.
Keep in mind that if you’ve already bought the Moonshine shack, you can talk to Maggie to move it somewhere else for 250$.

It may, at first glance, seem irrelevant or hard to figure out the pros and cons of each location. Here are your options:

  1. Bayou Nwa (Lemoyne)
  2. Grizzlies (Ambarino)
  3. Hennigan’s Stead (New Austin)
  4. The Heartlands (New Hanover)
  5. Tall Trees (West Elizabeth)

So let me give you some perspective: Some locations are easier to access. Some are safer or quicker to traverse. It all pays (literally) in the long run.

I’ve seen a lot of players debating this topic, but none seem to ever have mentioned what I consider to be crucial when picking a location. RDR2 will have other businesses coming out in the near future. Making sure that all your businesses are close together is key to maximizing profits over time by reducing trip lengths.
We may not know exactly what other businesses are coming, but we may have an idea of where Rockstar is going with their updates and try to guess their new business locations.

Upcoming specialist roles in RDR2?

Rockstar has confirmed that they are interested in seeing more roles arriving in RDR2. They are also considering expanding the playable map, which allows new roles to become feasible.

Grand Theft Auto V Online has always surprised players with their extensive expansions. There are lots of new varied businesses, each with their own missions, upgrades, and perks. But all of them required a physical location to use them.
Rockstar did that again with the Trader and Moonshiner roles in Red Dead Redemption 2. Bounty Hunter and Collector roles don’t require a player-controlled HQ or shack, but they do rely on the Sheriff’s office’s Bounty Board and Madam Nazar’s traveling wagon to operate.

Marcel the Cook Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Online Moonshiners
Marcel the Cook

Rockstar seems to be extremely creative when coming up with stuff to do. Let’s see what the community comes up with – here are some community-suggested roles and activities:

  • Rancher
  • Farmer
  • Horse Tamer/Breeder
  • Miner / Hauler
  • Herbalist
  • Bank robbing
  • Monster hunting
  • Chariot robbing
  • Train robbing
  • Photographer
  • Sheriff
  • Pleasure giver

Here are my 6 additions:

  • Cook
  • Gold miner (panning on a river)
  • Miner (in the mines)
  • Funerary services
  • River trader (transporting goods on a ship)
  • Army Mercenary

These ideas are not that wild. Most use gameplay mechanics already in place or easy to add to the game. If Rockstar decides to add any of these roles, they will likely either require a large plot of land, being close to a town, or a brand new map expansion.

Where will the new roles appear?

They will try to pepper the map with new interactive locations, but the far reaches of the map or the most rugged terrain areas tend to become less populated (like the snowy Ambarino regions up north and the Grizzlies to the East). Most of the coastal regions have towns that tend to be crowded and hard to navigate in. The far West towns (Armadillo, Tumbleweed), even though they do feature some mines, are way too barren to be expected that they grow with many new industries.

RDR2 Transporting Moonshine

This leaves us the center core of the map as a prime region for placing role buildings. from the Tall Trees region to the west, most of the New Hannover area, and the non-swampy parts of Scarlett Meadows.

Being at the center also provides you with more options for expansion as every new location option should be close enough.

Van Horn, Annesburg, Tumbleweed, Armadillo, Strawberry, Valentine, and Rodes, all lack either a butcher or a tailor. Both very important requirements for a very practical town.

This is the reason why Blackwater is my favorite town.

Blackwater has most of the stores that you may ever require. It’s small enough that it’s easy to navigate in. It is also very easy to reach via the Great Plains (an amazing hunting ground). Blackwater is also a coastal town with two rivers nearby and it features a Fast Travel post and a bounty board at a convenient location. It doesn’t have a railway line, but it is close to a military fort. No tricky swamps or cliffs to fall and lose your cargo.

All things considered, when choosing a Moonshine shack location, these two would be my ordered best picks:

  1. Tall Trees (West Elizabeth)
  2. The Heartlands (New Hanover)

The Tall Trees region is beautiful and brimming with wildlife. It is easy to transport goods across the Great Plains and to avoid enemies, players and roads entirely. It is also near other areas of potential future interest such as MacFarlane’s ranch, or Thieve’s Landing.
To make the most of it, set your trader camp in the Tall Trees or Great Plains region and supply Cripps while waiting for the booze to be ready for delivery.

How to increase profit when making Moonshine

Some of this information is also covered in my latest special article Red Dead Redemption 2 Online – Moonshine Recipes. It also includes info on how to get the elusive Poison Poppy recipe pamphlet!

There are two ways to increase profit.
Improve your distillery to make stronger moonshine and improve the quality of your recipe.

Add power to your booze!

I highly recommend upgrading your distillery as soon as you may, as it increases profit and the distillation takes longer which allows you to do other stuff meanwhile.

  • Condenser: 2 Role Tokens + 825$ + Moonshiner Rank 5
  • Polished Copper: 3 Role Tokens + 875$ + Moonshiner Rank 10

The best booze recipe!

Booze recipes come in 3 types:

  • 1 Star: Weak Moonshine
  • 2 Stars: Average Moonshine
  • 3 Stars: Strong Moonshine

To make stronger moonshine, all you have to do is to have the right ingredients when you’re picking your flavor. Keep in mind that some recipes are unlocked by progressing in the Moonshiner role. Buyers change every two hours or so – so you’re best going for different recipes each time.

Here’s the full list of recipes available

★ Tropical Punch Moonshine
  • Canned Pineapples
  • Vanilla Flower
  • Pear
★ Wild Cider Moonshine
  • Apple
  • Currant
  • Ginseng
★ Berry Mint Moonshine
  • Canned Berries
  • Blackberry
  • Mint
★★ Evergreen Moonshine
  • Evergreen Huckleberry
  • Wintergreen Berry
  • Ginseng
★★ Apple Berry Crumb Moonshine (Bootlegger Story Progress)
  • Apple
  • Blackberry
  • Vanilla Flower
★★ Berry Cobbler Moonshine (Requires Rank 2)
  • Red Raspberry
  • Peach
  • Canned Peaches
★★★ Wild Creek Moonshine (Requires Rank 6)
  • Wild Mint
  • Vanilla Flower
  • Creek Plum
★★★ Spiced Island Moonshine (Requires Rank 12)
  • Caribbean Rum
  • Golden Currant
  • Canned Apricots
★★★ Agarita Sunrise (Complete Bootlegger story)
  • Agarita
  • Canned Strawberries
  • Evergreen Huckleberries

There’s also the secretive but very profitable Poison Poppy recipe, for which you will find in-depth info on how to get it here.

Some of these ingredients are available by picking herbs in the game world. However, others are canned or liqueurs and harder to get.

So here’s my tip: many recipe ingredients are actually buyable via the Wheeler Rawson Catalogue. They’re not that expensive and they will allow you to make higher quality moonshine that sells for a LOT more money.

Always keep a healthy supply of fruits, herbs and liqueurs with you at all times.

Always keep a healthy supply of fruits, herbs, and liqueurs with you at all times. You should guarantee enough fruits and herbs to fulfill two or three 2-star or 3-star recipes. I usually buy batches of up to 30 cans and fetch them from the post office whenever I need them.

That being said, you should aim for the most valuable drinks. Namely the Wild Creek Moonshine, Spiced Island Moonshine, and the Agarita Sunrise whenever possible.

  • Wild Creek Moonshine: Wild Mint, Vanilla Flower, Creek Plum
  • Spiced Island Moonshine: Caribbean Rum, Golden Currant, Canned Apricots
  • Agarita Sunrise: Agarita, Canned Strawberries, Evergreen Huckleberries

Again, keep in mind that some items are buyable via the Wheeler Rawson Catalogue. I highly recommend you use the Catalogue’s Online version, as it allows you to quickly find your ingredients by using the search functionality.

In the Wheeler Rawson Catalogue you’ll be able to find:

  • Canned Apricots (0.75$)
  • Canned Strawberries (1.20$)
  • Canned Peaches (1.00$)
  • Orchard Apples (0.40$)
  • Canned Berries (1.20$)
  • Canned Pineapples (1.50$)
  • Bartlett Pears (0.65$).

From Madam Nazar’s shop you’ll also be able to buy:

  • Currant
  • Ginseng
  • Caribbean Rum (via collector map)

Other ingredients are rather easy to find:

  • Golden Currant – West of Van Horn, near Kamassa River
  • Red Raspberry – South East of Stillwater Creek
  • Vanilla Flower – South East of Lake Lagras
  • Wild Mint – South West of Valentine, near the river
  • Wintergreen Berry – North of Brandywine Drop

How to minimize losses

Once your booze is ready you will have to deliver your batch to a local buyer. When delivering your moonshine, make sure you stick to the road at a medium-fast pace.

Going off-road will guaranteedly break your bottles and your profit will take a toll. I highly recommend using the cinematic camera (V) and then control the vehicle’s speed using Shift or Ctrl.

RDR2 Transporting Moonshine

I don’t usually stop at the Revenue Agent’s roadblocks. There are a couple of reasons why I don’t do that:

Sometimes they won’t stop you at all. If you stop, there’s a very low chance that they let you pass unharmed. Their shots damage your cargo but only slightly. It is much more dangerous to the integrity of your cargo to go off-road.

If you’re being chased, you’re best served by slowing down your vehicle, kill them and then proceed with your trip. Going too fast will likely send you off-track. Stopping will consume time and their bullets will start to hit you.

I’ve seen players kill the revenue agents before they reach the roadblock. But the truth is that you’ll be fighting a lot more agents than you really need to – and in this business, time is money. Just go past them as fast as you can without going off-road or breaking your bottles. You may also want to experiment with the Toxic Moonshine bottles thrown at the roadblock Revenue agents, although I think it might be too expensive to do so every time they show up.

Closing thoughts

Moonshining is a fun specialist role to experience. It certainly earns you quite a bit of money – and you’re able to go hunt or do other stuff while you wait for your next batch of booze to be ready. However, some argue that the bootlegger missions are pointless, as the 20$ savings don’t justify the time cost of doing them. On the other hand, revenue agents tend to carry pretty good loot and collectibles. Thus, in order to justify your time, make sure to always go for their loot!

Keep this page and its useful hints at hand!

If you’re new to this business I highly recommend you check out my other in-detail post called A Guide to Moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2 in which I share a bunch of other useful tips.

Oh and check out my new tool that allows you to optimize your game – RDR2 Launch Argument Composer tool.

If this article helped you, let me know in the comments section below!
Which other specialist roles would you like to see?

Stay WANTED for life!
– Rui Sampaio AKA ViLa4480

Battlefield Update 6.0 Miasaki Yamashiro

Battlefield V – Update 6.0 Launched Today – See what’s new!

Battlefield V‘s Update 6.0 moves the war forward and into the jungle.

Moving further away from the ruins of Europe, it also leads us closer to the end of the war. Nevertheless, DICE mentioned it has plenty of content to deliver until mid-2021. The latest update was featured in Battlefield V’s latest teaser trailer.

DICE just recently released patch notes for their latest update. The free expansion features a brand new map, a bunch of new weapons and a new elite commander, Misaki Yamashiro.

Battlefield Update 6.0 Misaki Yamashiro
Battlefield V – Elite Commander Misaki Yamashiro

The new Battlefield V update is now available for download, but it will only go live next Thursday, February 6, at 9AM GMT.
PS4 and Xbox updates will go live 1 and 2 hours later respectively.

Welcome to the Jungle

The new Battlefield map takes inspiration from the Solomon Islands. It features a river that runs across the whole map. As expected, it includes plenty of choke points and close-quarters action.
The new map will be available on Conquest, Squad Conquest, Breakthrough and Team Deathmatch.

The update also brings a crate of brand new old weapons, including the Type-11 LMB, Model 37 Shotgun, M2 Carbine, and the M1A1 Bazooka.

A new suicidal Lunge Mine is also expected. Lunge Mines are literally bombs on a stick that you use to banzai-charge tanks – hopefully harming them and certainly killing yourself.

Further updates incoming

DICE has announced that they expect to release a bunch more fixes, balances and even new content in the coming months. Two new elite commanders are expected later in the chapter. Update 6.2 will also feature a considerable change to weapon balancing.

Tank customization seems to have been progressing steadily with the latest teaser trailer which featured a tank with a “Coming Soon” text and an American flag.

Battlefield 5 Tank Customization Teaser
Battlefield 5 Tank Customization Teaser

My thoughts on the new update

This is my own personal viewpoint.

I love playing Battlefield games. I certainly do enjoy Battlefield V – but somehow, it feels like its getting less and less enjoyable by the day.

Maybe I’m getting old, but even though many players seem to really enjoy game modes such as “Grind”, I find them extremely chaotic and tactic-less. Personally I prefer matches where intelligence plays a part. Where you can make use of the map’s scale and try to outsmart and flank your enemy.

Unfortunately (for me), maps seem to be getting more and more focused on close-quarters combat, even when their scale is enormous. New weapons seem to be faster, more deadly and less precise. The age of long-range hunts is at an end.

Battlefield 5 Jungle Update 6.0
Battlefield 5 – In the Jungle, the mighty Jungle…

The new update brings even more of this with the new choke points, new shotgun and even the Lunge Mine that prevents tanks from pushing into enemy territory. Coward tank pilots are definitely NOT something we need in this game.

Because of this, and even though I appreciate any new content, I’m shrugging at the sight of the new update.

Do you feel like there’s something strange going on with Battlefield V? Check out my other post!

See you on the battlefield,
-ViLa4480

RDR 2 Online Poker Table

Red Dead Redemption 2 Online – How to play Poker?

Red Dead Redemption 2 Poker – not for everyone

Would you like to play Poker with your posse on Red Dead Redemption 2 Online? Well, you might be out of luck. Not everyone is allowed.

…But is there a way around it?

This isn’t the first time Rockstar cashed out on players.

A sad day for GTA V

GTA-Online-Casino-Exterior
GTA V Online Diamond Casino Exterior

6 months ago Rockstar surprised a lot of players by launching an update to Grand Theft Auto 5. It featured the eagerly awaited Diamond Casino Spa & Resort in Los Santos. Unfortunately, the seats at this casino’s tables were not available to everyone.

Many players were facing issues when attempting to use the casino’s chips, tables or slots. Rockstar did not release any information regarding this issue which made players think it was a bug of sorts. It appeared like there was a connection issue – but nothing mentioned that gambling was disabled for certain players.

Rockstar was blocking players from certain countries

The restrictions were unclear and apparently unreasonable. Some countries have strict legislation against gambling and were able to access Rockstar’s casino games.
Now, I live in Portugal. We have a ton of casinos and gambling halls in our country. Plenty of online sports betting websites. Pokerstars and mobile gambling. There’s even state-endorsed gambling available and yet we’re unable to access the Diamond Casino games in Grand Theft Auto 5. Meanwhile, our friends over in Spain who have pretty much the same regulations as we do, have no issues playing at GTA V‘s online casino.

It is kind of sad that some players get free items, free content to play with and all sorts of activities that many others are prevented from accessing altogether.

This is even more ridiculous if you consider the fact that you can’t even cash-out the money you earn. It’s all virtual. It isn’t really a gambling addiction problem, just a regulatory one.
In GTA V you do have the option to buy GTA$, but you can’t convert it into real money. However, in RDR 2 Online, you can’t even buy $ – only gold, which is a very different currency.

Here’s a list of countries unable to gamble in GTA 5‘s online casino, according to Reddit user SlapshotTommy:

Afghanistan
Algeria
American Samoa
Argentina
Azerbaijan
Bahamas
Bhutan
Bosnia Herzg.
Belarus
Brunei
Cambodia
Cayman Islands
China
Cuba
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Ecuador
Greece
Iceland
Indonesia
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon
Libya
Liechtenstein
Luxembourg
Maldives
Mali
Mauritania
Malta
Malaysia
North Korea
Oman
Paraguay
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Somalia
South Africa
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Sudan
Syria
Taiwan
Thailand
Tuvalu
UAE
Vietnam
Venezuela

Red Dead Redemption 2 Poker? Same thing, different game

RDR 2 online Poker Table
RDR 2 Online Poker Table

I like playing Poker. It’s fun and relaxing and a great way to socialize and meet new people.

One of the reasons why I bought RDR 2 was because Poker was a thing. It seemed like it would be a lot of fun to play against other players online.
There aren’t that many 3D Poker games out there since PKR was terminated a few years ago, so I thought this would be great fun.

Apparently I was wrong.
I was not going to be allowed to play Poker in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online. I’m guessing Blackjack won’t work either, even if you’re just playing against an NPC like in singleplayer…

Rockstar does not inform RDR 2 players properly

I’m a PC player. I missed the news that this was an issue back in May 2019, when it first came up to the PS4 and XBOX players.

In fact, I thought that this was not yet implemented. Until yesterday, when a random player approached me in role-playing style. He asked me if I would like to play poker with him.
I laughed and said that I would love to – but that the only way to play Poker right now is the singleplayer game mode. Then he replied that he had been playing with his mates.

I was confused.

Rockstar did not release any info regarding this topic. There’s no contextual info or error message. Nothing. You can see the NPCs playing by themselves, but there’s no interaction button or error message.

The reality is that they’re hiding content to avoid complaints. In a way it kind of angers me more that they hide this content instead of informing players in-game that the content isn’t available for players in their specific region.

How to play Poker in RDR 2 if you’re excluded?

RDR 2 Online Poker Table
RDR 2 Online Poker Table

The answer is simple. Go live somewhere where your IP isn’t blocked by Rockstar… or get an IP from a different country instead.

VPN networks seem to have been working as a great workaround for players in GTA V wanting to play at the casino. This isn’t a cheat, this isn’t a mod. Now, the question is:

  • Will Rockstar ban you for using a VPN? Unlikely.
  • Is it possible they will? Sure.
  • Is it reasonable to do it? Nope.
  • Is Rockstar known for being reasonable at anything… ever? Nope.

Alternatively, play in singleplayer mode. Boring. I know.

Cashing out.

I can’t understand Rockstar’s criteria for picking certain countries, but not others.
The lack of info regarding this topic as if it wasn’t an issue at all is ridiculous.
I won’t accept that they would advertise something that really isn’t available at all.

Rockstar is weird when it comes to gambling. I sure will remember that the next time I avoid buying a game with that feature.

I won’t see you at the Poker table,
-ViLa4480

Microsoft Flight Simulator plane

Snow is falling in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020!

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is now a winter wonderland!

There’s snow in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020!
Microsoft has surprised us again with their brand new iteration for the Microsoft Flight Simulator franchise.

Snow is now present in Microsoft Flight Simulator!

Their attitude towards this simulator has been very peculiar about this release since its announcement.

There was a 13-year gap between the last version (Microsoft Flight Simulator X) and the latest version announced at E3 2019. It features the most in-depth and accurate representation of the Earth in any digital media (except maybe Bing or Google Maps). However, their announcement seemed to lack enthusiasm. Or maybe they were just being humble – which would be surprising for a Microsoft release.

Microsoft Flight Simulator
A Winter Wonderland!

At the preview event, they mentioned that they had access to the very detailed Bing maps satellite data. They developed a way to integrate that with a game engine, thus providing Microsoft’s Flight Simulator with very accurate satellite imagery for their sim. They said that lightly as if it wasn’t that much of a big deal. In reality, it provides VFR pilots like me an amazing reason to fly and explore the world.
As I said in my previous post, I only fly VFR because I enjoy the views and the sense of exploring the world.

A few weeks after their preview event in one of their videos, they released a list of “highly requested features” by the users they had the chance of interacting with. In it, you would find stuff like seasons, ATC, Virtual Reality, etc.

To be honest I was actually displeasantly surprised at the lack of commitment shown when some of these features were first announced. Many of them were present 13 years ago. Most were now being considered as “possible features” to be developed still. The sad truth is that with most games, after their announcement, any additional significant changes either take years to develop or don’t get developed at all due to the complexity of adding new functionality to existing code.

Microsoft Flight Simulator
Will we have vortex snow in the cockpit?

Apparently this is not the case with Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, as they just unveiled a *VERY* short video where snow can be seen covering the sim’s very detailed landscape. This was one of the features that were still being considered but not guaranteed.

Seasons in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020?

While this doesn’t entirely remove “seasons” from the wishlist, it does tackle one of the most difficult things to achieve in a flight sim. Snow changes textures globally and locally. But it also adds a variable depth layer to trees and buildings that require some clever tricks to simulate geometry efficiently.

We’ll soon see whether they’re able to make it snow in just specific areas instead of the whole world, according to real-time weather patterns.

The difference between snow and seasons is that an autumn theme requires global texture changes. This is especially true in the forest or green areas of the world to make them look gold or brownish. This is especially difficult with satellite imagery. The precision of maps that sort what is a building or a road or a tree are critical to a believable color correction. You really don’t want a green building changing to brown during the autumn! Another aspect to consider is falling leaves on the sidewalks or trees without any leaf coverage. This would likely have to be affected by geometry changes which are typically very cumbersome to process.

Microsoft Flight Simulator
Will the whole world be covered in snow?

We’ll have to wait and see how they figure out a way to do it. The fact that they’re pre-rendering everything on their servers means that their 2 petabytes of data might have to be slightly multiplied for each season. Not really a problem for the regular user. That is, unless they wish to download everything to their hard drive instead of streaming the geometry from their servers.

What’s your list of wanted features?

I have my very own list of “highly requested features”. Top of the list is Virtual Reality support. I only fly FSX or P3D using VR googles. It is the most immersive VR experience I ever had. I was really sad to learn that it wasn’t announced as featuring in the new Flight Simulator 2020. Instead, it’s listed as one of those features that might or might not be developed.

Second on my list of requested features is geological and extreme weather effects, like volcanoes, tornadoes, forest fires, geysers, etc. I mentioned this on my Reddit post a while back.

Third would be crew and passenger flight models and sounds. I just feel like flying an empty plane feels… empty! Something that Star Citizen aims to tackle with their passenger transport roles.

Fourth would be Multiplayer shared cockpit. Because it would allow me to introduce my non-flight-fan friends to flight sims!

How about snow piling up on the wings?

Anyways, I’m sure we’ll have another video explaining their snow coverage technology very soon – and I’ll be here to review it for you guys!

What other features would you like to see in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2020?

Oh and go check out my other post on Microsoft Flight Simulator and how Flight Sims landed on me!

Clear Skies!
-ViLa4480

A Guide to Moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2

How to moonshine in Red Dead Redemption 2

As we’ve talked about in my previous article, with the latest update to Red Dead Redemption 2, Rockstar allows you to start producing moonshine in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online for PC and PS4.

I don’t usually drink alcohol at all, but I will be drinking a cup of Bailey’s throughout the writing of this article. Please don’t mind me if the last portions of it are a bit parched weee…

With this update, you’ll be able to produce moonshine, own a bar, hire a band, have patrons showing up and serving them drinks. Smells like profit.

Want to know how to increase revenue and lower mash costs?

If you’re reading this article, looking for info on how to reduce mash costs in RDR2, please know that this article details all aspects of moonshining – including how to lower mash costs. However, you should definitely check out my other specialist post as well. It focuses not only on ways to reduce mash prices, but also on how to improve revenue via other means.

Improve your game with the new Launch Argument Composer

Let me also share a free tool that I’ve developed recently. It helps you set up Launch Arguments to improve graphics, performance and help with bugs, crashes, stuttering, etc.
Go check it out at this page: PopcornGamer’s Red Dead Redemption 2 Launch Argument Composer.

Wheeler Rawson & Co Club Pass 2

With the new update, the Wheeler Rawson & Co Club Pass 2 Outlaw Pack No2 allows players to gain access to a huge selection of exclusive goodies – enough to make you tipsy!
These include a new dog (huskie), weapon ammo, clothing, horse masks, discounts, treasure maps, gold bars, emotes, etc.

With 100 levels and almost one reward per level, there’s plenty of content there. Regarding price, the pack costs 40 gold bars – but playing through it should unlock approximately the same amount of gold bars, plus all the discounts and ammo savings. It is one humongous task to unlock everything though.

As a reference price point, 55 gold bars cost 20€ at the Rockstar store. If you do the daily quests each day, you should be able to get approximately 5 gold bars per day.

How to start Moonshining

Before you start, please keep in mind that you need to rank up your Trader role to rank 5, or at least completed a sale.

To begin your brave new entrepreneur life, you should find Cripps at your camp (if he hasn’t packed it already!). He will handle you a quest to find Maggie near Emerald Ranch. You should also receive a letter from Cripps asking you to go meet Maggie at the Emerald Ranch. Alternatively, press F1 once the Moonshiner update notification pops up. After the descriptive menu shows up, hold the spacebar to initiate the quest to become a moonshiner.

Maggie will pack your bar when you’re not looking

You will then be able to purchase your very own speakeasy and become a booze baron in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online.

You will first need to pick a location for your moonshiner shack (you’ll need to pay 25 gold bars upfront, although I believe this might come for free with a Twitch Prime subscription). Later on, if you’re not happy with the location you selected, you will be able to change your shop location by paying an additional 250$.

After buying the location, you’ll be awarded several new booze recipes to explore.

Later on, you will also be able to upgrade to a bar and even add a dancing stage and a band. The bar expansions or the patrons that show up to your bar do not earn you any money. Most extras are just cosmetic, with the exception of the distilleries that provide you with a stronger alcohol that sells for more money.

Producing and supplying the bar

You can access the Moonshiner Shop when talking to Maggie. There you will be able to expand your moonshine operation with an underground bar. This costs 950$ plus one token – or 38 gold bars instead.

At first, the bar feels empty and sad and more like a milk parlor.
There are 6 people in there quietly sipping their milk. Fortunately, you will be able to change this by drawing in more patrons and improving the room decoration.

Marcel, the cook, will supply the bar with whatever recipe is being produced. If you’re not giving Marcel the right ingredients and tools, he will supply the bar with a standard quality recipe. This doesn’t really draw that many customers in. To improve your business, you should upgrade your recipe on the table next to Marcel.

This connects with the supply missions, where your mission is to deliver moonshine to potential customers on the world map. The mash cost can be lowered from 50$ to 30$ by asking Maggie to do Bootlegger Missions, explained further down this article.

Marcel the Cook Red Dead Redemption 2 PC Online Moonshiners
Meet Marcel the Cook

On the table next to Marcel you are able to pick the type of moonshine, and the flavoring (ingredients which can be bought or picked outside, like fruit and herbs). Distilling takes time. Once a batch of moonshine is ready, you can go deliver it to your clients. You are transporting fragile cargo, and special care must be taken not to break the bottles of moonshine.

While on your way to your client, you might come across Revenue Agent roadblocks. You can either let them search your cargo or try to break through the barricades and avoid inspection.

The best way to prevent any bottles from being destroyed during the transport is to use the Cinematic Camera. Going off-road is certain to cause damage to your cargo. Bullets will harm your cargo just slightly. So it is best to stop your transport, kill the baddies and then start moving again. Trying to keep running while shooting back at the agents is a recipe for disaster.

To increase your profits you should upgrade the strength of your moonshine. To do that, you must first buy the Condenser and Polished Copper upgrades from Maggie.

A batch of booze that costs approximately 30$ to produce can be sold for 80$ with a weak distillery. If you upgrade it to a strong distillery, you might be able to earn up to 247$. This makes for a very good investment (if all goes well with the delivery). The time it takes to produce a batch varies, but it should take somewhere between 30 minutes (weak distillation) to 60 minutes (strong distillation) to be finished and ready for export.

Setting up shop – the story missions

The first mission Maggie will give you is to find Marcel, the French cook. The mission is rather simple – he has been kidnapped. Just go rescue him by the small bandit camp nearby.

Alternatively (non-exclusively) you can also permanently borrow some moonshining equipment from a nearby rival moonshining operation.

Once these two quests are finished, Marcel will show you the “Engine Room”. This is where he will show you the distillation tools and equipment.

Marcel tip: A stronger alcohol sells for more, but it takes longer to produce.

After this is cinematic, you’ll be spawning outside the shack. Once you go back in, Maggie will allow you to access the Moonshiner Store, which grants you access to recipes, bar and band building expansions, bar decorations, equipment to improve the quality (and price) of your booze, and a bunch of pictures to place behind your bar counter. All of this for a price, of course.

At the moonshiner store, you’re able to buy a toxic moonshine bottle or pamphlet (recipe). These create a noxious cloud that chokes and stuns enemies.

If you can’t afford the 1 token + 950$ for the bar, you can always buy the upgrade with 38 gold bars instead. It sounds absurd, but its true. You’re better off trading with Cripps until you get those 950$ and save the 38 gold bar expense for other stuff!

Just another beautiful day in the West

Before we go into the next missions, let me just add that sometimes the game won’t allow you to accept a new one in order to progress with the storyline missions. This could be because either Maggie is stuck in an animation, or maybe because there’s a timer between missions. Relogging seems to solve this issue sometimes. Doing these missions will lower the price of the mash ingredients to make the beverages.

Blood is thicker than ‘shine

You need to pick up Maggie’s nephew Lem. Lem is being transported to the penitentiary. Once you arrive at your destination, you will need to find Lem’s prison transport documents which are located in a chest inside the larger tent to the south (might depend on where the camp spawns). Listen to the officers talking – they will tell you where to look. Stealth is an option if you manage to get to the chest unnoticed. Be careful not to waste any lives – you will need them later on!

After clearing the camp or running with the documents, you will have to wait for the convoy to arrive at a different location. There will be plenty of enemies – I recommend a rolling block rifle and a shotgun. Be careful – these enemies are not your usual bandits. Their weapons are good and their aim is very accurate at long distances.

While taking Lem to your shack, a cutscene shows what happened to Maggie, and what caused her gruesome scars.

Once you finish all the missions, you will be able to replay them at different difficulty levels. Considering this one is tough in regular mode, it should prove challenging to play it in higher difficulty levels.

Where There’s Smoke There’s Firewater

This storyline mission takes you to the swamps of Bayou Nwa.

Possible locations for the lockboxes in the first part of Where There’s Smoke There’s Firewater

You will first need to find Maggie’s explosives in the Scarlett Meadows. Look for clues to their location. I highly recommend using a bow and arrow to quietly dispatch the two guys overlooking the stable. The explosives should be inside a lockbox in one of three locations. The clues highlight a trail to those lockboxes.

Further down the road, a wagon will appear. Use it to infiltrate the moonshine camps undetected. Take out the driver as soon as possible, as to avoid being spotted by the camp’s guards.

Arriving at the camp using the wagon avoids detection

Once inside the camp, avoid collisions and be prepared. This is a huge camp with many enemies. Alligators roam the outskirts of the mission area. You’ll be fighting Lemoyne Raiders, which are easy to kill – but there are plenty of them. Many of them are carrying sawed-off shotguns – so you’re better off attacking them with a repeater or a rolling block rifle to avoid close-range surprises.

Once you find all the stills, all you have to do is attach a stick of dynamite to it and light the fuse. You can also shoot the stick of dynamite. These are Maggie’s sticks of dynamite and not the ones on your inventory. There’s a collectible tarot card at the entrance to the first house next to the northwestern bridge.

Shoot the dynamite instead of lighting the fuse!

There’s no timer on this mission so take your time to pick them rivals one at a time. Most of these enemies have very little loot, though some collectibles may be found.

Come Hell, Come High Water

A trip from Annesburg to Van Horn should be easy, right?

In this mission, you are tasked with protecting Lem, during a ship delivery at Van Horn. The mission is rather straightforward – just hop on the boat and shoot at the enemies until Lem manages to reach a safe harbor and deliver his trades.

During this mission you will find enemies on small boats, along the shores and even on a moving train. When facing enemies on the shore, be aware that some carry dynamite to damage Lem’s ship. Make sure to take them out before they reach the ship.

Hixon, the moronic hick

The train is so far away that you need a rolling block rifle to take out those enemies. There are ammo boxes for rifles and shotguns on the top tier of the boat.

A Bitter Means to a Bitter End

In this one, your objective is to ruin a rival’s production by adding a special mixture to the booze. Tainting the vats will earn you a bigger reward.
If for some reason you fail to accomplish this, you can always destroy the vats with your weapons.

To make the mixture, you will need fresh ingredients. Maggie points out the location of some of the ingredients. Along the way you will find a bear (watch out) that will supply you with animal fat. Closer to the objective you’ll find a couple of tents with 3 enemies being attacked by a cougar. Try not to be seen by crouching and avoiding them. Grab the Oleander sage past the camp. If they spot you, take the time to loot them and skin the cougar.

We must be vewy vewy quiet… shhhh!!

Move forward to the next camp and go around it until you find Creeping Thyme. You only need one. Try to avoid the guards as there are many of them.

To craft the mixture hold E to rest and then R to craft.

Next up, you will need to taint the vats without alerting the guards by staying undetected. If they are looking at the vats, wait for them to move away, or deal with them silently.

These guys have an army of dirty, sick dogs that will sniff you out and attack you if you’re detected.

To destroy the vats simply shoot them and they will blow up.
They will send a couple of horsemen after you – a fight you can easily avoid by running towards the final objective.

The Certainty of Death and Taxes

In this mission, your job is to protect Lem, capture your rival Danny-Lee and get rid of Hixon.

On the first part of the job you will need to prepare an ambush by spilling moonshine around an area. Then you wait.

BA-DA-BOOM!

Things don’t really go as planned. Grab a shotgun and run after Hixon. Instead of killing them one by one, simply push your enemies into the fire or fire at them into it.

When you finally exit the fire corridor, you’ll find yourself on a road riddled with enemies. Use the trees for cover. There are some crates along the road so try to avoid it. Move to the left of it. It will be easier for you to spot them on the road, behind cover. There’s also a very good reason to move left of the road. There’s a deadly Maxim machine gun at the end of the road. When you move to the left, the machine gunner will have his view obstructed by a tree and thus unable to hurt you.

Inferno at the swamp

After dealing with Hixon, avoid all enemies by running into the swamp and over the railway. Keep running towards Danny-Lee, hogtie him and deal with the enemies. If you’re unable to call your horse, grab one from the bandits and stow Danny-Lee on it. Then make a run to the final objective.

This was the last storyline mission.

You are now able to repeat these missions at a different difficulty level. Besides any loot and mission rewards, you should earn 50$ through the Benefits menu that shows up when you access the multiplayer main menu (simply press ESC while in free roam).

Bootlegger missions

“Bootlegger” missions are available from Maggie. These represent simpler-than-storyline-missions that also help you lower mash prices.

The lighting effects in RDR2 are phenomenal.

In one of them, you need to deviantly poison a rival bootlegger’s stock. Alternatively, you’re able to destroy it and then deal with every enemy around it and the ones that spawn later on. Be careful when approaching the distillery as, when punctured, it fires steaming hot vapors that throw you to the ground. Enemies deal a significant amount of damage with their weapons, and time is a concern as things can get tricky if you start respawning too often.
In one situation, the initial mission objective was so far away from my shack that the timer wasn’t enough to go there while going in a rather straight line.

In another mission, Maggie asks you to clear roadblocks placed by the Revenue Agents in two locations. Once you reach the first one, a timer starts, so make sure you don’t waste too much time dealing with all the agents. A stealth approach is possible but very difficult as they face both sides of the road. Revenue Agents are trained shooters. Be aware that they are very precise even at longer distances. Shoot the oil lamps to prevent them from taking cover behind the boxes nearby.

The third one was my favorite. I even giggled a little. You have to escort a drunk patron from the nearest saloon. While doing so, you will face a couple of enemies with their fists raised, ready to strike you. The patron is too drunk to go from point A to point B in a straight line, so expect having to follow him into some dark alleys. This mission is rather simple and easy, but fighting with your fists is always tricky in RDR2. Make sure you do it after drinking a few shots of moonshine.

Corpses, corpses everywhere

The substantial number of corpses leftover from these missions means that there’s plenty of stuff to loot. These Revenue Agents also seem to hold special ammo very often. Considering the number of shots required to take them out, it is only wise to loot them all afterward!

This article was made possible by the contributions of several Redditors: Waydownunder91, dbern707, Freejaveliner, (adding more as they come)

The original Reddit post is available right here.

Moonshiners in Red Dead Redemption 2 will require swag.

Moonshine & Economy – Red Dead Redemption 2

Moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2

Moonshiners Red Dead Redemption 2
Moonshiners Red Dead Redemption 2

It’s official! You will be Moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2 Online very soon. Starting on the 13th of December with the new Frontier Pursuit update.

Moonshine? Owning a speakeasy?

Coming up with the new update, you will be able to own your very own moonshine production facility. You will require a place to do it. Soon after, patrons will start pouring in asking for your very spicy miracle tonics served in a glass.

Red Dead Redemption 2 Moonshine
Let the Moonshiner Operation begin!

Eventually, you will be able to upgrade your moonshine “facility” into a very dandy and customizable speakeasy. Afterward, you’ll surely want to add some entertainment – like a local band and a dance floor.

Moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2 wouldn’t be complete without new gear to make you look like a proper booze king. You will also meet a new character, Maggie who will provide some missions to help you set up shop.

Strangely enough, this will require the player to be Trader rank 5. This might be kind of cumbersome to obtain. Alternatively, you are able to acquire it by completing a sale. Selling is ridiculously easy once you’ve obtained the Butcher’s table. I will eventually post a guide on how to progress your trade rank quickly! Subscribe to my blog via the sidebar on the left to be the first to know!

Moonshiners in Red Dead Redemption 2 will require swag.
Moonshiners in Red Dead Redemption 2 will require swag.

Now that I’ve given you the latest news, let’s delve deeper into what this effectively means but also how economy systems can add immersiveness to a game, or break it entirely – and why I feel like Rockstar’s fears are a missed opportunity (if at least they allowed us to mod it…).

The gaming dreams of a trader

Meet Maggie. She will pack your speakeasy and move it somewhere else when you’re not looking.

Trading and owning a store is one of the coolest things I love seeing in a videogame. Unfortunately, this ability doesn’t come along often.
Most games do not support this feature. The ones that do are usually limited in their nature to have it run at a very basic level.

In particular, I love the concept of buying and selling stuff online, to other players and NPCs.

I’m pretty sure I am not alone.

Star Citizen‘s most profitable month in 2019 just passed. It featured a concept sale of a ship (the Kraken Privateer – more like a mobile station) that allows other ships and players to dock and shop inside it. It also marks the detailing of the game’s economy system. This system is definitely of the juiciest and most complex ones I’ve seen in ages. I’ll detail this subject later on in another post.

A balancing act

The problem with most PTPE (player-to-player-economy) game mechanics will always be balancing supply and demand.

There’s only a limited variety of stocks – which everyone is getting all the time from actively farming the game. There’s also a need to have a surplus stock of every item to avoid absurd prices or unavailability of stock. This means that supply needs to exceed demand, which in turn lowers prices over time to a nil-value.

Most games that feature an economic system, have centralized market prices or, instead, player-driven shops. The first reduces your liberty to set the prices for your items but makes it easier (and boring) to buy/sell goods. The second one creates an anarchic price system where each player charges whatever he wants to charge for exotic seashells.

How much are exotic seashells worth right now? Oh well. I’ll just spend all of my money on this one right here sir, thank you.

Other games tackle this challenge more creatively.

I remember playing Pirates of the Burning Sea – almost 10 years ago now – and spending most of my gameplay time at the game’s player auction house. Until I realized… it was rigged!
Well, supposedly it wasn’t, at the start, but having a fully realized player-driven economy is no easy feat.
Commodity prices were skyrocketing and plummeting at such a quick rate that it became impossible to figure out the value of your items. Large trade guilds were able to sell silly amounts of supplies in an instant – thus selling their wares at a very steep price and forcing the price to plummet for everyone else in one server tick – just before they were affected by price updates. This made the auction house obsolete and the game’s economy was ruined.

As mentioned before, Star Citizen attempts to fix this imbalance caused by the players by introducing a majority of NPC-generated trades. However, these NPCs aren’t just averages and hidden calculations. They are actually real NPCs present within instances of the game world, hauling cargo, consuming and producing goods. Moreover, the developers devised a system in which the whole universe breathes economics. NPCs will become unemployed and wander aimlessly on the streets or, instead, the city booms with trade and becomes fancier and more crowded.
The minerals for every missile that players use need to extracted, transformed and sold as missiles. This will be a very interesting economics system to study.

One other big concern for online games with an economic system is cheating – and Rockstar haaaaaates cheating. They avoid the problems of failing economies by tackling this in a very smart, albeit slightly frustrating way.

Rockstar’s economy system isn’t frustrating because of what it is, but because of what it could be and isn’t.

In reality, they only give you the illusion of an economy system.
All the money you own only exists in the bubble that is you.

In Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption 2, you may be incredibly rich and feel like a boss (no, I mean, literally) by owning several companies and employing NPCs that generate revenue on their own – but you will never ever exchange money with another player. One example is buying drinks at your friend’s bar in Grand Theft Auto V which earns him 0$, yet your wallet shrinks a little.

In Red Dead Redemption 2 Your hunting sales aren’t affected by the price of fur in a particular area and all the money you make can only be used to buy cosmetics or other means of making money. You can’t buy a horse for your girlfriend. You can’t even gift her a hat or buy her a drink.

No sugar daddies allowed in RDR2.

Ah… Taxes. Can’t live with them. Can’t live without.

One other issue with Grand Theft Auto V – that I predict will be coming to Red Dead Redemption 2 soon enough – is the time and money cost of maintaining these establishments. Grand Theft Auto businesses follow the same logic as the Trader role in RDR2. They only generate revenue when you constantly supply them with tools or stock. The butcher table in RDR2 does give you revenue semi-passively, but it consumes time. A lot of it.

Moonshine Red Dead Redemption 2

What happens with GTA V is that, when you own many different businesses, you will have to pay regular fees to keep them running. To a point where it will eventually become too expensive to keep them running without supplies. This is only an issue if you’re running around trolling other players or role-playing with your friends or if you just want to have fun without having to worry about sustaining your businesses.

With the incoming moonshiner trader role update, which adds a speakeasy with a band, I’m prrrreety sure these recurring fees will be applied.

These fees act as an economy-balancing mechanism or money-sink. Even if the economic system is just an illusion and individually-set, they keep adding new content to the game and they charge prices according to the global value of money. You will notice that the average price for new cars in GTA has been increasing proportionally to the global amount of money available to purchase them.

In Red Dead Redemption 2 you will likely see this price climb more significantly in most items.

To slightly counter the effects of having too much money in-game, they charge the wealthiest players, who actually own several money-making establishments, with these unavoidable regular fees.

Riding into the sunset…

Don’t get me wrong. Their system works really well. It makes players focus on the fun aspects of the game instead of turning this into a spreadsheet simulator like EVE Online. However, there’s a layer of economic strategy that is missing as well.

As I said before, I feel like It’s a shame for what it isn’t – an immersive, real player-driven economy, where your money is made and lost by the effects of other players around you and where your actions affect others. However, it is really good for what it is – a simple game that entices players to keep playing it for arcadey fun.

There’s room for modding – if only Rockstar would allow us to do so…

I’ll be honest, I was a bit disappointed when I realized that I had gotten the wrong impression before buying the game. I thought that being able to open up shops was already a feature present in the game. It wasn’t. My bad.

Moonshining in Red Dead Redemption 2 makes things more interesting and I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait for December 13th and all the missions and assets that the new update brings. These updates are free content that we all get to enjoy piece by piece.

Do you think the economy could be improved in RDR 2? Variety of content to spend your money on seems to be a common request. What are your thoughts on this?

Leave me a comment below this post!

Meanwhile, check out my recent posts on fixing CPU, Lag and widescreen fixes for Red Dead Redemption 2, or my latest one on whether to avoid or embrace Star Citizen!

I’ll find you at sunset,
-ViLa4480