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Moonshiners in Red Dead Redemption 2 will require swag.

Moonshine & Economy – Red Dead Redemption 2

Moonshining in 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.

Moonshiners Red Dead Redemption 2
Moonshiners Red Dead Redemption 2

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.

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.

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

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!

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

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

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

GTA-Online-Casino-Exterior

Not everyone is allowed to play at the new GTA Online Casino

GTA Online – Your account does not have permission to complete this purchase.

ALERT: Your account does not have permission to complete this purchase. For further help, go to:

This is the message that a bunch of players are seeing when they try buying chips from the cashier at the newly established GTA Online Diamond Casino Spa & Resort in bloody Los Santos.

The very anticipated Casino has just opened today – but gambling is not for everyone. Killing, stealing, trafficking is all well and good in GTA Online but DON’T YOU DARE GAMBLE!

Apparently, people from at least 50 countries, including Portugal, Hungary, Israel and Argentina have been prevented from trading in any chips.

These left-out players aren’t able to access the free daily bonuses at the cashier, or the wheel spin at all. It may also affect bonuses from the Penthouse, missions, world collectibles, and unique clothing and items.

GTA Online Casino
GTA Online Casino

Apparently, there’s a region lock to access the Casino’s features. This includes buying chips and playing with them – effectively limiting all gambling activity for some players.

We’re talking funny money here. In-game cash translates to the same amount of in-game casino chips which can only be refunded to in-game cash.

If there’s one thing Rockstar is used to deal with …is lawsuits.

Apparently, the reason for this region lock is that Rockstar does not want to register as a gambling entity (such as with other online gambling websites). Even if you now have to accept a new EULA, this effectively means that they’re not able to deliver this type of content to a large number of countries.

As far as I understand the law (and other games that do this), the real problem here is the fact that players are able to buy in-game currency with real money and then spend it all gambling (instead of buying new in-game cars).
Well, if that’s the problem, then the already present chip currency could be used to *legally* buy stuff without having to convert it to the real-cash-connected GTA bucks – that wouldn’t be gambling and that would solve the legal conundrum. Think about it Rockstar!

Make sure you follow me on Twitch if you wish to stay up to date about when these things change or a legal alternative has been found!

Most countries have grey-area laws on online gambling.
Most regulate physical gambling effectively but lack online regulation.

Here in the EU, only a few players in Germany seem to be able to access the Casino features. This has sparked a rush to VPN services. Players are trying to connect via VPN to get a German or American IP address in order to play at the Diamond Casino. Note: Some people argue that this practice may get your account banned for trying to bypass common online identity checks.

ALERT: Your account does not have permission to complete this purchase. For further help, go to:

Rockstar support is inefficient

Rockstar support is completely inefficient at informing players why they’re unable to use the Casino. There’s not a single official reply to queries regarding this situation and the players were left to figure it out for themselves.

I’m hoping that they eventually revise their region-lock limitations or that, at the very least, they inform players that they won’t be able to access this content beforehand. Some people are complaining that they bought Twitch Prime to access the “free” content and Penthouse at the now pointless Casino.

Players will eventually find a way around this issue. They’ve done that before with private servers, hacks and the RP server boom in the past couple of years.

They will find a way to make it work – legally, or otherwise.

Nope. She ain’t givin’ you no moneys.

In any case, it feels lame that the largest GTA Online update in years is locked to so many players around the world.

And there I was. Looking at the shiny new slot machine.
Press E to interact.
ALERT: Your account does not have permission to complete this purchase. For further help, go to: www.rockstargames.com/support

So frustrating!

This update should never have been developed in the first place. Their energy should have been spent on new content that everyone would be able to enjoy. Besides the Casino and the Penthouse, the remaining content is just a couple of missions, a few new unremarkable vehicles, and a pair of easily-outdated cosmetics.

Heists is where GTA Online truly shines – co-op missions with cinematics and a story to play with your friends. Yet, no new heists have been released in a VERY long time. Instead, we’ve been stuck with mostly cosmetic updates that don’t effectively expand the story or the replayability of the game.

GTA-Online-Casino-Exterior

The truth is that the game is still fun.

Rockstar-outlawed private servers and RP have given it a boost recently. But the updates have mostly been delivering content that is both very expensive and insubstantial.

I live in Portugal. I’ve got a casino across the street from my home and I’m not able to play on GTA Online with funny money. *shrug*

If, like me, you’re not able to play at the Casino, check out my post on How I became an Undead Pirate in Sea of Thieves. A fun read. I promise. And you won’t lose any chips.

Alternatively, you may also want to check out my Twitch channel and join me playing this and other games!

I’ll see you in Los Santos (but not at the Casino),
-ViLa4480

Microsoft Flight Simulator Screenshot

What to expect of Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020)

A long, long time ago (back in 1982), Microsoft came up with the first iteration for Microsoft Flight Simulator. It looked amazing for that era and featured unrivaled 3D graphics!
It was the start of a whole lineage of popular flight sims.

Microsoft Flight Simulator 1982

As I mentioned in my previous post, I did not get to experience the joy in flight sims until very recently.
However, even if things look different nowadays, I’m 100% sure that the feeling of accomplishment for taking off the runway was the same as today’s.

Sure, the game grew over time. Immensely.
Better graphics, more planes, more buildings, better flight mechanics, multiplayer.

But at its core, the fun of the hobbyist flight sim experience is definitely the sense of achievement you get for taking off, landing and the idea of freedom, movement, and control (or lack thereof).

I won’t lie. To me, that’s not enough to truly enjoy flight simming. I love the notion of purpose in a sim.

I decided to turn the sim into a game – by adding an objective!

Microsoft Flight Simulator Screenshot

Make it a game!

During my streams on Twitch and Youtube, I did a trip around the world using Microsoft Flight Simulator X and FSEconomy.

FSE allows you to rent planes and do cargo runs. What usually happened was that I would rent a plane and do short cargo runs from one place to another. I started back in Iceland with a small Cessna 172 hauling mail.

I ended up transporting tourists in Brazil, by going through the eastern coasts of Canada, the US, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panamá, Colombia, Venezuela and, finally, Brazil. My plan was to make the cross to Africa, but I couldn’t yet afford a plane large enough to cross the Atlantic. What an adventure!

FSEconomy changed the way I saw flight simulation forever.

Beauty matters.

Over time, graphics have improved drastically. They went from being an IFR flight mechanics simulation to becoming a true world representation simulator which featured accurate flight mechanics.

The new Microsoft Flight Simulator trailer seems to showcase just that.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Screenshot

I’m sure that there’s a lot more to the whole.
But the graphics engine and the weather effects are the real stars in this E3 trailer.

I usually don’t fly large planes.
I get excited by the beautiful landscape and the prospect of doing short hops towards a far-away destination.
The detailed scenery is vital for VFR (low-altitude visual) flights.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Screenshot

Microsoft seems to have nailed this in the previous trailer, by showcasing VERY detailed scenery.
The pyramids in Egipt, the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco or the Seattle Space Needle are rendered in very high detail.

More than that, it features outstanding (and massive) cloud formations and weather effects. It also shows detailed traffic that is sure to melt CPUs and GPUs everywhere.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Screenshot

To me, however, it is the dynamic details that tease me the most. The pink flamingos flying over the coral area or the giraffes on the plateau demonstrate unprecedented attention to detail towards fauna and flora in different regions of the world.

I’m also expecting Virtual Reality and Multiplayer to be included by default. One can also hope for some degree of mod compatibility with previous releases.

The eternal wait

Microsoft took too long between Flight Simulator versions. The last one, Flight Simulator X was released back in 2006. It was effectively being laid as an improvement to its predecessor, Flight Simulator 2004.

This 13-year hiatus has led to Microsoft losing its unbeaten lead in the world of flight sims.
Nowadays, X-Plane, P3D (a third-party updated FSX version) and AeroflyFS2 are major contenders for the title (Dovetail’s Flight Sim World now excluded!). In the past few years, combat flight sims have also resurged with games like DCS, War Thunder or World of Warplanes.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Screenshot

Nevertheless, the impact of FSX in the flight sim universe was huge – and any new version that Microsoft puts forward will be regarded with hope and expectation.

It will be a few more years until the mod community catches up to the new flight sim. But the prospect of having a brand new engine capable of doing new things is very enticing for every flight sim enthusiast.

Now that we finally have some serious competition from other contenders, it should also spark innovation in the coming years.

Microsoft Flight Simulator Screenshot

Looking forward to the future!

What are your thoughts on this?
-How will Microsoft Flight Simulator succeed in the current Flight Simming scene?
-Do you think that the focus on low-altitude visuals will affect the jetliner flight experience?

I will be sharing more details on this title as they become available.
Subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitch or Twitter to be notified when a new post is published!

Answer in the comments below!

Oh! And make sure you check out my previous post on Microsoft Flight Simulator and how flight sims landed on me!

Clear skies everyone!
-ViLa4480

Prison Architect

Paradox is the new Warden for Prison Architect – PANIC!

This is one of my favorite management games of all time.

Prison Architect is now 3 years old (since its final release), but it was first released as an alpha version 6 years ago after a very successful crowdfunding campaign.

Paradox Interactive has recently acquired the rights to the franchise from Introversion Software. How will that affect the game? Why are so many fans outraged? Why would Introversion do it?…

Introversion Software is a small team of developers known for creating small but deeply innovative games such as Multiwinia, Defcon, Darwinia or Uplink.

Prison Architect is their crown jewel.

In fact, the whole Prison Architect venture has been very successful throughout its crowdfunded open development cycle.
The devs kept releasing regular updates with brand new content which maintained a healthy and engaged community over the past few years.

The latest update actually introduced an unexpected and seemingly inadequate feature for a game that has passed its maturity.
They added multiplayer!

You might ask: oh really? Why is multiplayer such a surprise ViLa? Other games have it…
-True. But besides the fact that you won’t find that many multiplayer management games, most of them haven’t been adapted from a single-player game to a multiplayer one.
To have multiplayer in a game is as big as… deciding whether you’re building a 2D or a 3D game! You don’t just build a single-player game and then try to fit multiplayer into it. It doesn’t work that way!
Not if you’re a sane developer that is!

However, we’re talking about Introversion Software here… and adding multiplayer to a singleplayer management game is pretty damn cool.

A new warden has arrived!

The hidden 3D game mode

This is why the news of Paradox buying the Prison Architect franchise hit the fans like a rock. They’re afraid that the garage-built feeling that they get from playing this amazing management game will fade in the hands of Paradox. Above all they fear that Paradox will do what it has done to all of their other games: DLC spam!

In the good old days before the internet, games would either have sequels or expansions. A sequel pretty much meant recycling of previous game ideas and graphics updates.

Expansions or content packs, on the other hand, increased the depth of the current game. This kept the player base interested in the game – at a fraction of the price – until a sequel would be available. If the game was successful, more expansions would be available. This was as a good commercial compromise for a developer.
Instead of building a whole new game they would use the tools that were already in place – this, in turn, saves time and money.
Expansions were actually large when compared to the base game and relatively expensive as they had to justify the physical distribution costs.
Nowadays, expansions are called DLCs and due to the fact that they are now downloaded, they tend to be cheaper and distributed in smaller chunks.

Paradox has become a master at releasing DLCs – Paradox’s Crusader Kings 2 has 30 DLCs.
The reason why Paradox does this is because they specialize in creating niche games (high value to their niche players) that rely on very complex game engines that only they own.

Game engines are the core of a game.

They are the technical aspect of the game that takes the longest to build. It provides games with their core attributes – UI systems, Audio, 2D/3D Rendering, Multiplayer etc.

Resultado de imagem para hearts of iron map

So instead of building a brand new engine for each game, most companies decide to make different games with the same engine. Europa Universalis, Victoria, Hearts of Iron, Crusader Kings, Sengoku, and even Stellaris all use Paradox’s own Clauswitz Engine.

Paradox Interactive (the publisher) is often seen supporting innovative smaller developers such as Colossal Order (Cities in Motion, Cities: Skylines). They seem to be drawn towards developers who own solid custom engines that will be able to support great games in the long-run. Engines that lean towards having less sequels but more expansions.
Paradox is also well known for allowing people to mod their games to exhaustion. Modding adds even more life and value to their games.

DLCspam!

The reason why Crusader Kings 2 has got 30 DLCs in its bag is because the game has been released in February 2012! …Think about it… the game is now 7 years old and it still gets brand new updates like Holy Fury which was released last November.

Most of the DLCs are cheap, most of them are cosmetic, many of their major expansions are VERY deep and have parts of it released for free and most of them are fully available for free when you’re playing in multiplayer if the other player owns them.
The best part: Paradox’s games are deep and solid enough at launch to provide countless hours of gameplay without the need for DLCs.

The reality is… you don’t need to buy any DLCs if you don’t want to.

Now, I understand that my position regarding DLCs will surely anger most fans. And I must clarify that I completely disaprove the idea of launching DLCs when the game has just been released. That is simply ridiculous.

However, most people see DLCs as a money-grab opportunity – which it is… but… is it that bad really? DLCs represent optional content that you’re able to get if you REALLY like the game. It helps support the company so they are able to keep on updating the games you love with brand new content.

-No, Crusader Kings 3 isn’t coming out tomorrow. But an amazing Holy Fury expansion has just been released at a fraction of the cost – have you played it yet?

A Peace Treaty! Please!

Introversion made a good deal when selling their most-valued franchise when their sales after 3 years are surely gone. Let’s celebrate that! A small company making a ton of money that they can use to come up with brand new ideas!

They would not be making Prison Architect 2 anytime soon – it is not in their DNA to rehash games like that. They would likely need a new engine and many new ideas to pick it up again.

Paradox has likely bought the “Architect” franchise so they can make brand new games with the “Architect” title in them …not necessarily Prison Architect 2+50 DLCs!

Finally, some people are also loudly complaining about the fact that a crowdfunded game was sold to a publisher.
Now that the game has been released for 3 years …does that REALLY matter anymore?
Is it possible to be happy for having been able to make this game a reality and enjoy it as it is?

TLDR: This is how I see it:

  • Prison Architect isn’t going anywhere – It is still here. If you own it you’re still able to download and play it!
  • Introversion made some money – I’m happy for them. Can’t wait for more of their innovative game concepts!
  • Paradox bought a great franchise – a great publisher might start using the “Architect” theme in other games we’ll love!
  • DLCs – don’t buy them if you don’t want them!

Have you seen my recent post on How Steam broke my Valve? You might find it interesting! Go check it out!

I’ll see you in the warden’s office!
-ViLa4480