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Grand Theft Auto

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

A cowboy resting in RDR2

Red Dead Redemption 2 – Fix CPU Lag, Disconnects

Welcome to the Wild […LAG SPIKE…] West!

As you might remember from my previous post I’ve been playing Red Dead Redemption 2 recently. Unfortunately, sometimes, as with Grand Theft Auto 5 and The Division 2, I would experience CPU and graphics card usage peaks that caused the game to pause for a few seconds or even disconnect from the online game when the peak was too long. Sometimes I would get stuck in a loading screen for ages until finally, the game’s online status timed out.

The game “loses” connection to the server, not because of an Internet connection problem, but instead due to an extended delay in a response to the server. This is caused by the local CPU/GPU.

Because of this issue, many players get this message when playing Red Dead Redemption 2 online:

ALERT: You have been disconnected from Red Dead Online due to a fault on Rockstar game services (Error: 0x20010006)

ALERT: You have been disconnected from Red Dead Online due to a fault on Rockstar game services (Error: 0x20010006)
This is the error many players are getting because of poor CPU/GPU performance

This was particularly common when Red Dead Redemption 2 got released, but I thought I had fixed it until yesterday (14th November 2019) when the new patch was delivered. Apparently, this affects some CPUs and NVidia graphics cards.

I’ll go over the official and the non-official fixes. I’m currently using both.

How to fix stuttering, disconnects, and performance with Launch Arguments

Before following through this post for more in-depth fixes, check out a tool I developed to help you set up Red Dead Redemption 2 launch arguments. One of the sections on that tool is specific to performance. It also helps with graphics, bugs, stuttering, etc.

Go check it out at this page: PopcornGamer’s Unofficial Red Dead Redemption 2 Launch Argument Composer.

If it helps you, let me know!

Hold your horses! Update your drivers!

Before changing anything, make sure you update your graphics card drivers! I’m pretty sure this is a CPU+graphics card issue and it definitely might help to make sure you’ve got the latest graphics driver – especially for NVidia graphics cards.

The Official Patch

This new official patch actually introduces a CPU load balancing feature – but it has to be enabled manually in the Rockstar Games Launcher. To do this, you should go to your Rockstar Games Launcher and click Settings on the top right corner. Then at the lower-left corner select Red Dead Redemption 2, which will display your options for the game. Scrolling down to the bottom you’ll find a Launch Arguments section, where you should input the newly added argument (on the 14th November 2019 patch):

-cpuLoadRebalancing

Red Dead Redemption 2
Don’t forget the “-“!

Another Official Update – 14 Nov 2019

On the same day, Rockstar dropped an article on how to fix an issue related to certain NVidia graphics cards. Check it out:

Players with NVIDIA graphics cards and 4-core or 6-core CPUs should install the GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 441.34 from NVIDIA and remove any launch arguments to resolve this issue.ROCKSTAR

This alternative hotfix is available right here by installing the latest GeForce Hotfix Driver Version 441.34.
Apparently, if CPU isn’t your problem, then the graphics card might be the culprit!
Let me know if this solution fixes it for you!

The non-official way to improve system stability

Let’s start by reducing your current CPU load.

By doing so, we’ll be giving more room for the game to function properly without resorting to RAM buildup or disk caching which both may cause bottlenecks and thus stutters, disconnects, and crashes.

CPU, RAM, DISK, how does that even work… and why is that a problem?!

As you know, a processor makes mathematical calculations, but it takes some time to deliver them.
Let’s say you are the CPU and I’m giving you a paper which says 3+5=?. Easy. Right?

Red Dead Redemption 2

Now I’m giving you a sheet of fifty pieces of paper, each one with a different calculation to perform.
Aaaand now I’m giving you one hundred more calculations.


You can’t really hold them all in your hands and you need more time to deliver those results before I give you more calculations to perform!

…This sounds a lot like my old boss.

So you put those sheets of paper on your desk while you make your calculations. That’s your RAM. Once your desk is filled up and there’s nowhere else to put more paper on it you start using your desk’s drawers, which takes a bit longer because now you need to open them up before placing the paper in there. That’s your DISK.

Slowing down to a halt

Okay, so my CPU isn’t the best.
I’ve been using it for a few years now and it is starting to feel the weight of age with heavier processes and games.
GTA V was also very CPU intensive. I also love flight simulators which also consume a TON of CPU capacity. I’m really looking forward to the new Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020. You have got to check it out. It is absgorgeously beautiful.

This has led me to try and find ways to circumvent this issue and get the best performance out of my rig. So let’s get right to it.

Steps to reduce CPU usage

Let’s start by freeing up your CPU from unnecessary calculations and clearing up your RAM usage by turning off stuff that isn’t required to run the game.

Start by closing EVERY browser window, WhatsApp, Spotify, opened Windows folders, etc. also check your tray icons next to your system clock for useless software that might be running in the background. Disable any on-going anti-virus full system scans (no need to turn real-time protection off).

Google Chrome is a heavy CPU load hog – make sure you save this page to your bookmarks and close it now! I mean, later, when you’ve read through this post!

Check your system load by pressing CTRL+SHIFT+ESC to bring up your Windows Task Manager and click on the CPU tab to check which processes are consuming the most out of your processor and make try to turn them off if you can.

Red Dead Redemption 2
The tabs are in Portuguese, but notice how RDR2 chews up so much CPU!
I’ve opened up a folder on Windows Explorer and it consumes 7% CPU just for laying there!

Note: to the right you’ll also see a tab for GPU usage. If you notice that your GPU usage is above 70% then you definitely should consider upgrading your graphics card. Check your graphics card at GPUCheck and see how it performs compared to more recent card models. If instead you wish to see how your CPU compares, check out PassMark.

An alternative to improve CPU usage and reduce stalling

Red Dead Redemption 2 Lasso

I’ve been using Process Lasso recently.

It helps to maintain system stability by adjusting CPU process priorities. This means that it will do its best to make sure that your system keeps running smoothly by prioritizing processes that are critical to System stability. RDR2 likes to peak CPU usage from time to time – to a point where it will make the whole system unresponsive, which leads to a crash to desktop or a BSOD (it did happen to me before using Process Lasso!).

You may also use it to safely free up RAM automagically.

I have to say that I noticed a significant improvement in system stability since I started using Process Lasso.

They have very nice documentation that explains how to use it in detail. Make sure to check them out beforehand!

In conclusion…

Sure, maybe your old machine needs an upgrade – but the truth is that even with new PC builds, you’re prone to encounter issues like these again, as the CPU usage spikes are abnormal and caused by bad programming and rushed software development.

I play RDR2 in an Ultra Wide resolution. See how.

Before spending any more money, follow my tips and see if they solve your problem!

Let me know if they help you play this awesome game!

Stay WANTED for life!
-ViLa4480

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 – Fix Ultra-Wide Resolution

Extend your ride into the sunset!

I just recently decided to hop into Westworld… I mean, Red Dead Redemption 2 on PC knowing that this would be a game I would enjoy.
I’m currently writing a review for it (If only I could stop playing it to write my review…).

Unfortunately, just like its older brother, Grand Theft Auto 5, it doesn’t natively support my NVidia Surround ultra-wide screen resolution for my triple-screen setup.

How to set triple-screen ultra-wide 5760x1080 on Red Dead Redemption 2
Click for a higher resolution.

This fix may not be required for everyone, but for some reason, the resolution simply didn’t show up on the game’s graphical settings. It only went up to 1920×1080.

Just to be clear, I’ve got 3 monitors and I’m also a streamer on Twitch with a streaming computer that uses one of my screens when I stream, which automatically changes my screen resolution to 3840×1080 – I’m using DisplayFusion to achieve this behavior. Plus HDMI routers, DVI adapters, screen recorders… Not even my computer understands what’s going on with my screen resolutions.

How to fix ultra-wide surround screen resolutions the easy way with Launch Arguments

Before following through this post for more in-depth fixes, check out a tool I developed to help you set up Red Dead Redemption 2 launch arguments. One of the sections on that tool is specific to screen resolutions. It also helps with performance, bugs, stuttering, etc.

Go check it out at this page: PopcornGamer’s Unofficial Red Dead Redemption 2 Launch Argument Composer.

If it helps you, let me know!

This fix should make the game run in any screen resolution.

UPDATE: As of the last patch, it seems like some of these tricks aren’t working for some users. Check the bottom of this post for alternative ways to make it work! Leave me a comment if it does!

A couple of years ago I posted a video on Youtube explaining how to make GTA V work at 5760×1080. Guessing that the engine was the same I thought about doing the same on my blog, but this time regarding Red Dead Redemption 2.

Apparently, the game engine has progressed quite significantly since GTA V. Back then, I managed to find a work-around for GTA V, but RDR2 seems to accept 5760×1080, much more easily.

To make 5760×1080 work, I had to go through My Documents folder and find the Rockstar Games folder. Within it, the Red Dead Redemption Folder and then the Settings folder. In it, you should find a file called system.xml

How to set triple-screen ultra-wide 5760x1080 on Red Dead Redemption 2

In my computer this is located at:
C:/Users/[windows username]/Rockstar Games/Red Dead Redemption 2/Settings/system.xml

In this file, down at the bottom, you’ll find:

<video>
    <adapterIndex value="0" />
    <outputIndex value="0" />
    <resolutionIndex value="14" />
    <screenWidth value="5760" />
    <screenHeight value="1080" />
    <refreshRateIndex value="0" />
    <refreshRateNumerator value="50000" />
    <refreshRateDenominator value="1000" />
    <windowed value="2" />
    <vSync value="0" />
    <tripleBuffered value="false" />
    <pauseOnFocusLoss value="true" />
    <constrainMousePointer value="false" />
  </video>

Here, you should set the screenWidth and screenHeight to your desired screen resolution.
After this step, you should save and close the file and then right-click on it and go to File Properties and set it to Read-Only. This prevents the game from making any changes to it. Keep in mind that setting this to Read-Only will keep you from saving adjusted game settings from within the game. This means that if you make any changes in-game, the settings will be reset every time you launch the game.

Also note that, for even more exotic users, if you’re using several screens but only wish to use one set of them, then you should change the outputIndex and/or the adapterIndex value. This may only be required if you’re using more than 3 screens, or when you’re having trouble with stretching or positioning on 2 screens.

How to set triple-screen ultra-wide 5760x1080 on Red Dead Redemption 2
The cowboy rests.

Alternatively, if this change fails to set your resolution correctly, try following my GTA V video which uses windowed mode and a piece of software called ResizeEnable.

An updated method to get 5760×1080 in RDR2!

As of the last update, it seems like some of these tricks aren’t working for some users. Instead, try using the command line.

Go to your Rockstar Games Launcher -> Settings -> Red Dead Redemption 2 (on the left sidebar) -> search for the launch arguments text field
Then type the following:

-width 5760 -height 1080 -borderless

You may also replace borderless with “-windowed“.
Alternatively, try using

-allowResizeWindow

…and then try to stretch the frame of the window to your screen resolution (can’t do this in borderless mode)

The reason why you’re not usually able to go full resolution is that when not in surround mode, the game knows you have 3 screens but thinks that you only play in one of them so it sets itself to 1920×1080.

You’re done!

Now bask in the glorious landscapes that this game has to offer.
They look absurdly beautiful at a 5760×1080 resolution.

Next step: VR.

If this guide helped you, send me your best Ultra Wide Wide West Screen Shots!
Too many puns. Bang!

Stay WANTED for life,
-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