Tuesday, December 31, 2013

GT Racing 2 - mastering rear wheel drive cars


GT Racing 2, the game (Apple App Store - & Google Play) can get really difficult once you buy a RWD or rear wheel drive car. The funny thing is that you need to pay Cash to buy and not Coins. Since, Cash is difficult to get, this get fairly annoying as you lay down your hard earned Cash points only to get a car which is more difficult to drive and seemingly slower than the all the other cars that you have bought and driven before.

What happening?

All the starter cars are FWD or Front Wheel Drive. This means the power from the engine is given to the front wheels. IRL, all "family" cars are usually FWD because they are safer. They are easier to drive, and generally understeer. So, you don't end you losing control if you hit the accelerator too early in a turn. GT Racing 2 simulates this pretty much. So, with your starter cars on GT Racing 2, you often struggle to make stiff corners without hitting the barriers unless your speed is low.

With RWD cars, the behavior is different. Power is feed to the back wheels of the car and not the front. The real advantage of RWD cars is that they have better traction. That means they accelerated faster and are able to hit top speed pretty quickly. They essentially 'push' a car because the power is given to the back. This comes with a price though. If you accelerate while turning, then its very easy to oversteer. In GT Racing 2, this effect is pretty much in place and as a result the car that you put up Green cash for, is now very twitching. Plus, if you have both steering and brake assistance on, then mysterious the car does NOT accelerate even when you are on a straight or slight curve.

That's because you could be off the best line (as indicated by the green arrows) and the steering assistance is trying to get you back on it. Since its trying to steer the car, and its accelerating, there is a tendency for the car to oversteer and hence the braking assistance kicks in, slowing you down. Before you know it all your starter cars are faster than then brand new car.


You need to master RWD. Period. Its not going to be easy though. I still haven't mastered it but here are some steps that I think will help.
  1. Try to drive as smoothly as possible and stay on the green arrows as much as possible. Being on the best line automatically means that you will be ready for turns in a smooth manner.
  2. Catch the car often. Its going to take practice but you will need to catch the car. Try to anticipate any oversteer and apply steering in the opposite direction just a bit. This will allow the car to settle into a line quickly and you will not crash into the barriers unnecessarily. Now, this is quite difficult and may seem like you are slower, but slowly you will build up your driving skills and hopefully be smooth enough such that you don't need to catch the car out of corners
  3. Rerun races with steering assistance off. This is a must. I found that the annoying braking assistance on straights does not come in if you turn off the steering assistance. The car doesn't try to get on to the best line by itself as a result and you will accelerate. That means even if you don't get on to the best line, you won't penalize yourself by slowing down.
  4. Get as much practice as possible. You will slowly improve over time and get better at driving the RWD cars.
  5. And finally, tune the car. The more handling upgrades, brake updates you install, the easier the car gets to control. The funny this is that once you get used to RWD, FWD cars just seem to be slow, unsteer all the time into an outer wall and in general, not as much fun!
That's it. Hopefully you will have fun with GT Racing 2. If you have any more tips, drop a comment. I would love to hear from you.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Michael Schumacher Ski Injury

Update 6 - 

Schumacher's condition stable but more information emerging about his accident.

Update 5 - 

Schumacher's condition stable after 3 nights in the hospital.

Update 4 -

Doctors said on Tuesday that Michael Schumacher has improved but not yet out of danger. Good to hear. Plus, an interview with Sabine Kehm - Michael Schumacher's Manager where she says that he was not even skiing at a fast pace and it was very very unfortunate that he hit the rock.

Update 3 -

The full press conference by the Hospital on Michael Schumacher. Having seen the video, its pretty obvious that the injury is very serious. Let''s hope and pray that he pulls through. Thoughts and prayers for him and his family.

Update 2 -

Michael Schumacher is still in critical condition. The doctors say that he has had lesions within his brain on both hemispheres. I'm not sure what that means though but the surgery was primarily to relieve pressure due to the bruising/swelling of the brain. More details on what is Intracranial Pressure is here (Gary Hartstein's blog - Twitter Handle @former_f1doc) and here.

Several F1 drivers, personalities and teams have wished him well and a speedy recovery on Twitter. (Shameless Plug - my twitter list for F1 is at https://twitter.com/shortsightedsid/lists/f1. Subscribe to it to get the latest on MS.) Plus, Ferrari have posted their wishes too.

Update 1 -

As per a statement from the hospital, Michael Schumacher arrived in a coma.
"Michael Schumacher suffered a serious head trauma and arrived in a coma, making it necessary for him to undergo a neurosurgical procedure."
Looks like he may have undergone need a second surgery but only has been performed so far. Professor Gerard Saillant is the doctor looking after him. He has undergone surgery overnight and shouldn't require another surgery.

Initial Story - 

Looks like MS's injury is pretty serious. He had a fall while skiing off-piste (i.e off country on unmarked slopes) and hit his head against a rock. According to the BBCJA and GPUpdate he is in an induced coma at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble hospital. That's pretty serious. I'm not sure what serious but not life threatening means if he is in an induced coma.

I'm not a big fan of Schumacher's driving esp. in his Ferrari days given that I am a McLaren fan, but this is something that one doesn't want to hear or read about. He really was magnificent in his driving days and while the news is still coming in, one can only hope that he does well and recovers soon..

This reminds me of the death of Natasha Richardson who died in 2009 from a skiing accident. That was really tragic and I remember her role as the Mom in the Parent Trap. Hope Michael Schumacher pulls through; the main difference being that he wore a helmet unlike Natasha Richardson.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Kung Fury is a really cheezy kickstarter project

In case you haven't seen the trailer yet, then it's a must. Kung Fury is a Kickstarter project that aims to be a 80's action comedy. You know - the ones which enjoyed watching, but with a twist. 

I just saw that tweet and was intrigued. If you do see the trailer, then don't die of laughter! And another thing, this movie has already crossed the $200000 goal set and as of Dec 29th, 2013, it's $300000+. Wow. Here's a movie that I will definitely look forward to seeing. It sure will be one of those "leave your brain on the side" kind of movies. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

candy crush game strategy

Candy Crush is a lot of fun. Basically, all you do is get 3 or more in a row to clear and get points. As you do that you advance in levels. Each level is unique and comes with it's own challenges. That's what makes this game really interesting. To a large extent the game is driven by chance and while there are plenty of information out there on 'cheats' and 'hints', don't bother too much. Instead have fun playing the game

Having said all that, here is some basic strategy you can apply.

  1. Unless you are in time limited level, take your time. Being quick on the trigger isn't always a good thing in this game. Sometimes a stripped candy or a wrapped candy will be there for the taking and you can miss it because you cleared something else.
  2. If you are in a time limited level, make sure you focus on getting the +5 candies. These add to 5 seconds to your time and ensure that you can play for longer.
  3. Sometimes, you will get an opportunity to play for a stripped candy or a wrapped candy i.e by making a particular move you get a stripped candy but by playing a different move on the same set you can get a wrapped candy. As you know the stripped candy can be used to clear a row or a column while the wrapped candy is basically a bomb that clears an area of 3x3. The way I see it, the stripped candy costs 4 in a row while the wrapped candy needs an L or T of 5. That means the wrapped candy is worth more! So, my advice is - given a chance, go for the wrapped candy.
  4. Combing the stripped candy with colour bomb seems to be a better choice that combing a wrapped candy with a colour bomb. Nevertheless, don't be too hasty when joining them up because, you need to make sure that there are enough candies of that colour before you join them up. If you don't have enough of them, just keep clearing candies at the top (of a different colour) till you build them up.
Any more strategic ideas? Share them via the comments below. Also visit the official Candy Crush forums to learn more. Have fun!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Arvind Kejriwal's interview on NDTV after Delhi election

Saw an interview of Arvind Kejriwal on NDTV today (video). Boy! He's fantastic. I hadn't heard him or listen to anyone from AAP in real life. So far atleast, AAP is primarily a Delhi Party with little or no impact on a place like Bangalore. My initial impression was to think of it as an Indian Tea Party with a strong grassroots message but no real electoral plan. After this election in 2013, I'm not so sure about that. They seem to have a plan.

His message is really powerful and it touches a raw nerve. Anyone who has had to pay a bribe or massage some "official's" ego will connect with the message. I can recall several instances where I have either being made to pay a bribe or paid one inadvertently like the time when the lady at the RTO cash counter didn't give me Rs.4/- in change. The funny thing is that I realized why all government services have weird fees like 274/- or 38/- or 136/-. That's because they pocket the change and none's the wiser. A subtle form of corruption. BTW, if you have paid a bribe then report it at http://www.ipaidabribe.com/.

Google Trends show the picture - searches about Arvind Kejriwal since 2011 has been amazing

When Barkha Dutt asked him if he would take Congress's support to form a government, his answer was a classic. His point was that in actuality Congress and BJP are the same and they should ally with each other. Wow! What a retort! Here I am gushing like a giddy schoolgirl, but end of the day one really respects what he has done and the goal he has set for everyone else.

Some of his points that I really liked were

  1. Congress and BJP are the same. They should ally with each other because their approach is the same. His stance is simple - anti-corruption and that's not a cliche.
  2. His example of how a father pleaded with him not to give ticket for his young son because he was afraid of the consequences. AK's point was that politics has now reached the stage where the average man doesn't want to be involved and he wants to change that.
  3. How people have given up their time, their careers to volunteer for the AAP. There was even one person from my office who took a sabbatical to campaign for AAP. Now I know why. 
But in the end, I think Sheila Dixit did the best she could. Its not easy to govern a state for 3 consecutive terms and one must give credit where credit is due. There is no doubt in my mind that this isn't a verdict against her governance but the an indication of the mood of the times. This is my first every post on politics but its taken a simple interview of an extraordinary man to drive the point.