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Red Dead Redemption 2

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

★ 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

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

Red Dead Redemption 2 Launch Arguments Composer

Red Dead Redemption 2 Launch Argument Composer

What are Red Dead Redemption 2 Launch Arguments for?

Red Dead Redemption 2 Launch Arguments allow you to unlock features, fix issues and improve your Red Dead Redemption 2 experience on PC. I built this free tool based on the official guidelines to simplify composing Launch Argument commands on Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto V.

Why should I use this tool?

The official guidelines are unclear, complex and incomplete. This tool aims to help players find the launch arguments they’re looking for – or even find new ones to improve gameplay.

PopcornGamer’s Unofficial Launch Argument Composer only makes it easier to find and understand possible launch argument codes that help players on PC solve their issues with the game.

This helps with graphics issues and improvements, performance optimization, CPU lag spikes, Benchmarking, CTD crashing, stuttering, FPS, launch issues, BSOD’s, Ultra-wide screen resolutions, Disconnects, etc.

This is not a cheat, hack, or mod.

It only makes it more convenient to find the codes you might be looking for, or even find new ones you were unaware of. It also prevents you from using codes inadequately. Some launch argument codes are mutually exclusive and this Launch Argument Composer prevents misusage.

If you find a way to somehow cheat using this tool, shame on you.

_

How to use the Launch Argument Composer for Red Dead Redemption 2

Simply click on the green separator buttons on the left and tick the boxes you wish to use, then copy the code that gets generated at the bottom textbox.

Open up your Rockstar Games Launcher. Now at the top right corner of the launcher click on “SETTINGS“. On the left select Red Dead Redemption 2, then scroll down until you find the Launch Arguments section and paste your custom Launch Arguments there.

Go back to “GAMES” and start Red Dead Redemption 2 with your custom launch arguments.

What if I have no idea what I’m doing and mess things up?

The Launch Argument Composer helps you by explaining clearly what each option does. It also prevents you from duping launch argument commands that may cause conflict. You’ll also find pre-made builds for barebones performance optimization, graphics improvements or benchmarking.

It is very unlikely that you’ll have any trouble using it.

If you have make a mistake, simply remove the launch argument codes you added and try again.

That said, I won’t be liable for any misusage or damages, but I’m available to help you out. Just leave a comment below if you run into any issues.

How to fix CPU performance, Disconnects or Ultra-wide screen resolutions?

Many people are experiencing disconnects (Error: 0x20010006). These are actually not connection issues, but rather CPU related communication delays to the servers. I recommend that you read my previous post on how to fix CPU issues in Red Dead Redemption 2.

If you’re having trouble with Nvidia surround triple-screen resolutions such as 5760×1080, 4K, or even 384×1080, please check my other post that tackles ultra-wide screen resolutions on Red Dead Redemption 2. You can then use this Launch Argument Composer to fix your issues.

To help fix the UI not adapting to the new ultra-wide resolution, you may also try adding this argument -noDPIAdjust – Thank you Jon and NorbzFR for the suggestion!

If you can’t launch Red Dead Redemption 2 because of the error ERR_GFX_STATE, I suggest using -ignorepipelinecache in your launch arguments as well. It seems to be related to Nvidia graphics cards. More info on this soon.

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.

Star Citizen Black Hole

Star Citizen – One game to avoid or one to embrace?

…and will Star Citizen ever be delivered?

Ah. Star Citizen.
I avoided posting anything about Star Citizen on my blog for years now.

I’m an original backer since when it first was announced way back in 2012.

I wanted to distance myself from the game before posting on my blog since Star Citizen is (still) in development.
Thoughts about the game’s development tend to be polarized and I did not want my fan enthusiasm to compromise my perception of the game.

I used to stream Star Citizen all the time on Twitch (you will make me smile if you go follow my channel right now!).

Maybe now’s the time to clarify some misconceptions and point some concerns regarding Chris Robert’s massively crowdfunded project.

I won’t hide it.

I am biased in favor of Star Citizen.
The skepticism of some people is understandable, and the wait isn’t for everyone. -Are you one of these people?

Hopefully, you’ll find out after reading this article.

I will try to analyze some of the frustrations, doubts, and expectations that the fans and the haters are experiencing or discussing – hopefully enlightening newcomers to the game.

The aim of this article is to clarify and avoid buyer regrets.

Should you avoid Star Citizen?

A little bit of context first.

What is Star Citizen?

Star Citizen Cockpit
Star Citizen is hard to define, but let’s start by saying that it is one gigantic sandbox for many different types of emergent gameplay. Composed of two parts, it will feature a single-player campaign (Squadron 42) and an online Persistent Universe (MMOG-like).

They create the universe, you make the rules.

As with most 4X space games, FREEDOM is the keyword for the universe. Star Citizen allows you to become a space farmer, a miner, a bounty hunter, an explorer, a smuggler, a racer, a law enforcer and anything in-between.

The Star Citizen team is looking to develop a sandbox universe that provides a fertile ground for emergent gameplay. They are creating the tools for you to become whatever you want to be.
As an example, for a while, I had fancy a ship called Constellation Phoenix, which I planned to rent out to factions interested in using it for important meetings. During their stay, I would provide them with drinks, entertainment, and security.

I eventually traded the Connie for the Endeavour – a sprawling modular ship that will allow me to cultivate plants and make drugs on the same ship (legal …or otherwise) – it even stars a hangar to allow willing traders to dock with my ship!

The game will feature unprecedented sci-fi realism and a ton of complex missions and mini-games that will require learning and skill to master.

Nothing is dull or simple in Star Citizen.

Star Citizen FPS Mining

As an example, mining requires foreplanning and skill – unlike most space games, you actually have to learn how to mine and be very careful when doing it in order to avoid damage to your ship or even loss of life.
Selling your minerals won’t be linear either. Prices fluctuate according to supply and demand in different parts of the Universe, influenced by real-time player and NPC interaction. This was also analyzed in my other post that discusses economics.

This sandbox gameplay leads to many venues of gameplay exploration. This freedom to do whatever you want is the core focus of Star Citizen.

I also expect this game to become a major social hub for me and my friends.

COMPLAINT #1 – The game has no objective.

Objective – Achieve fun (0/100)

There’s no denying it. It’s true.
Is that REALLY a problem though?

Just like Grand Theft Auto online, or Red Dead Redemption 2 online. Star Citizen‘s Persistent Universe won’t hold your hand or set you on a campaign path. You get to choose what to do, where to go, what to see and who to meet.

If you really think you need guidance, then why not set YOUR OWN goals?
Why not set a personal goal to explore every single system?
…or instead to amass wealth and spend it all on a luxury liner like the 890 Jump?

890 Jump
890 Jump

The ghost cruise ship of enjoyment

A long time ago, I used to play a game that had very much the same essence of Star CitizenFreelancer, a game by the same head developer (Chris Roberts) that I mentioned in my previous post.
When playing Freelancer online, you would find yourself cruising the star lanes for long periods of time on your way to make a trade.
One day I was crossing a remote part of the game’s universe when I spotted a massive player ship that was constantly communicating in system chat. Oblivious to my presence, this was his message to his own imaginary crew of tourists:

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have now arrived at the Tau-31 system. To our left, you will be able to spot the beautiful semi-desertic landscape of Planet Harris, one of the first terraforming efforts by Planetform, Inc.
Please return to your seats.
We will dock at the Holman Outpost in 5 minutes.”

To think that this player was investing his time roleplaying as a tourist cruise ship really blew my mind. That route was probably not even profitable – but he didn’t care – because having fun was his objective. And whatever he was doing was fun for him.

Oh, by the way, there’s no “endgame” in Star Citizen either. Sandbox.

If you can’t understand the concept of setting your own goals, then please stop reading now. This is NOT the game for you – Abandon ship!

COMPLAINT #2 – The game is pay-to-win.

As I discussed in one of my previous Youtube videos, the concept of Pay-to-Win is that you get an edge in a competitive environment by injecting real money into the game.
Whoever pays the most has the most chances of “winning“.

Star Citizen Pay to Win Youtube Video

Although it is true that you are able, through various means, to buy in-game credits or ships with real money, the real question is WHY would you do it when the game has no end-goal…

Star Citizen is not about genital length comparisons. There’s no point in spending money in this game except for two very honorable reasons:

  1. To support the game development process if you believe in it
  2. To unlock new gameplay layers without having to grind to get there

However, if grinding is made fun (which seems like it will be with so many different things to do), you will actually be LOSING content by skipping gameplay aspects that you would otherwise have to explore and experience to achieve your final objective.

That sense of progression

This is exactly the reason why I’ve considered giving away all my ships – so I could start with the smallest, cheapest one ever and see my own game story grow from there.

If you believe SC is still pay-to-win then embrace it this way – or Abandon ship!

Instead, think of the guy cruising his tourists for fun.
-Does it really matter how he bought his ship?
-How does his enjoyment affect you?
-What are his goals?

Star Citizen Cockpit

COMPLAINT #3 – The game is too expensive!

You’ll often see news titles like “Player X has spent over 15.000$ to play Star Citizen“, or “Star Citizen’s new ship pack costs an absurd amount of money

Today, the cheapest game package costs 50$.

A few years ago you could buy one for 26$…

Sure, there are ships that cost over 400$ and there are ship packages which include a ton of ships (which are actually at a bargain price when you consider each ship’s individual price). But those ships and packages are NOT intended for just one person or a newcomer. They require several people to play.

Think of the Banu Merchantman which has a crew capacity for 8 people and costs 430$. Divide 430$ by 8 people and you get the price of the cheapest game package. Go gather your friends and buy one!

Banu Merchantman

These massive ships are NOT intended for solo play.

People who buy large ships now are simply trying to support the game’s development.

Also: every ship will be available to purchase with in-game money.
GTA V does this well. It gives people a reason to try to make in-game money. Something to strive for. An objective.

COMPLAINT #4 – The game will never be finished

Star Citizen has been in development for 8 years now.
The same amount of time as the sci-fi single-player game Cyberpunk 2077 by CD Projekt Red studios – which is expected to be delivered in 2020.

However, unlike Cyberpunk, Star Citizen is nowhere near completion.
At the same time, and unlike Cyberpunk, it shares its progress with the community regularly, instead of working behind the scenes and ultimately presenting a finished game. The complexity of developing each game is also radically different.

Some claim that the game will never be finished because of the feature-creep-Cthulhu. Others say their plan is actually to never even deliver a finished game. Even more skeptic ones say that Chris Roberts has run away with the crowdfunded money to a tropical island in the Pacific.

Feature Creep

Star Citizen Drake Dragonfly
Drake Dragonfly – hover bike

If you’re one of the investors (a.k.a. players) who feels frustrated by the way that they seem to keep adding new features and delaying the final delivery – then consider accepting it as a requirement or, instead, by blaming it on the idealistic dreams of the community.

A couple of years into development Chris Roberts suggested he could deliver a simplified game in two or three years.
One day a poll showed up on the Star Citizen website. The developer wanted to figure out whether the community would prefer to see a simplified version of Star Citizen within their initially planned timeframe or instead to deliver a more in-depth experience, one which would require a longer development stage.

As I somewhat expected, the community overwhelmingly (I believe almost 70%) asked for the later without knowing exactly what the real timeframe would be.

This meant that Chris Roberts could freely deliver his dream game. One he had been preparing for most of his career as a film director and game developer (Wing Commander, Privateer, Freelancer). Now he had big plans for Star Citizen and hiring the feature expansionist Tony Zuroveck (Ultima series) would only reinforce his interest in developing very in-depth and detailed game mechanics.

Innovation and delay

Even though many of these features or minigames are a gameplay delight, they take time to develop. A very long time for some. They also exponentially increase the number of bugs to tackle and problems to solve.

One of these features is the planetary tech they’ve developed. To render such massive planets and avoid loading screens sure was impressive – but it was also one of the reasons why the so-difficult 64-bit precision had to be accomplished in the engine.

Ships, in order to support the newly added features or concepts also have to be redesigned from scratch, like the Cutlass Red which serves as an ambulance and integrates with the health system, or the Carrack for the exploratory aspects of the game.

As a result, yes, feature creep is real and a real concern. It does divide the community between those who just want to play the game as is but in a more polished state and those who instead want the game to become better, with more content, features, and professions to explore.

star citizen medical

Star Citizen will never be released!

We should consider that the initial team for Star Citizen was rather small (50 employees) and the company had to slowly grow. Now they employ approximately 500 people in 5 studios across the world. This meant that more people had to be introduced, and teams still had to learn to work together on core aspects of the game, which ultimately lead to a slow start.

To support the growing number of employees, the initial record sales of the game wouldn’t suffice.

Looking at their latest financial report, one would quickly realize that what’s keeping this game in active development aren’t the initial sales anymore, but rather the on-going ship purchases, upgrades and merchandising. These sales sustain the whole team throughout the year.

Some people claim that they’re only making ships and concepts for ships to make money.

Well… this is… true.
They need to do so, in order to keep the project alive and proceed with development.

The reality is that the players are frequently buying paper ideas that aren’t yet realized in-game and are likely to change. Understandably, spending a lot of money on something that doesn’t yet exist seems difficult to accept for many outsiders.

Tic Tac Tic Tac

Adding to all this, as time goes by, age takes a toll on the game’s engine and assets, which has to be updated from time to time. Physics-Based Rendering (PBR) wasn’t a common feature in games back in 2012, but as time passes and technology evolves, it had to be introduced to avoid the pitfall of ending up with an already outdated game on release.
This meant refactoring all ships once again.

The same happened when the components feature was introduced. Ship components are parts of the ship that can be handled, fixed or replaced. The ships weren’t prepared for that and had to be refactored one more time.

Due to the live development approach, CIG prefers to deliver functional updates to allow the players to access other features or content.
These features are developed iteratively, being later on optimized, improved or further developed to add new innovations. The fact that they keep revamping the same features over and over is not a pre-planning issue but instead a requirement of the live development process.

Star Citizen Tumbril Ranger Bike
Tumbril Ranger Bike

Drinking Mojitos

I don’t think Chris Roberts is on an island in the Pacific.

This is his dream work. His unique chance to build his masterpiece.

His previous games have revolved around this theme and now he’s finally got a chance to make his vision truly come to fruition on his terms without any form of corporate pressure. Why waste the opportunity?

This is what led me to back this project. I’m a huge fan of his sadly incomplete Freelancer and I really want to see Star Citizen succeed.
I’m usually relaxed and I don’t excited about a game easily. Well maybe except for Red Dead Redemption 2 and Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2020!

My concern

The fact that the game development costs are just as high as their regular revenue is a concern as there’s a point when players stop investing in new ships and merchandise. They will constantly need to reach out to new players in order to keep development going.
This could also be seen as financially and strategically sound to work as fast as they can with the assets they have access to.

Apparently, last month was one of the most profitable ones for Star Citizen with many new citizens joining the ranks.

I’m convinced by my peer’s attitudes towards this game that there is a significant amount of people who are actually interested in the game but still patiently waiting for it to release before buying it. Maybe still afraid of it being vaporware.
If true, this should act as a life-saving device as they can “release” the game whenever they want and get a large influx of fresh new money to sustain development for a few more months or years. The truth is that the game is more than playable right now, even if it still lacks content.

Eclipsing thoughts

Star Citizen is said to be being developed to achieve a 10-year longevity goal. This is the main reason why they wish to build a solid core game engine that allows for improvements and extra content over time.

Game development tends to become faster and faster as more of the foundational game mechanics are set in place.
We should see a LOT more content coming in 2020.

What are your thoughts on Star Citizen and this article?
Do you share my view? What are your concerns?

Leave me a comment below, or check one of my other posts!
If you liked this one, you might also like THIS one.

You should also check out my Star Citizen Ship Comparison Tool which is currently on standby waiting for some support from the community. Leave me a comment if you would like to see it shine again!

I just made a new post on the economy of Red Dead Redemption 2 that analyzes Star Citizen’s economy layout. Go check it out!

See you in the ‘verse!
-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