Monday, 30 May 2016


The next series in Forza 6 Apex is aptly named Piercing the Dark. However, I wouldn't know just how devoid of light things were about to get for me.

My choices were rather limited, since all I had was the bottom tiered car to work with.

My first hint at just how dark things were going to be was from this shot....

....which proved to be somewhat misleading, since it was even blacker than that. I made four attempts to capture the race action from inside the car, all failed around the 58 second mark into the race. I did pull off a short clip near the end, but was abruptly cutoff as the program gave out. Here is just over a minute of footage that it did record

I did finish first, but missed out on some of the other bonuses that would have helped my score. 

Perhaps, I will revisit this event and make things better.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Progress, that comes close to home

Just three more series to go and my first round journey through Forza 6 Apex will be complete.

Once again, I will use the top car I have unlocked. However, it's not the best vehicle for the series, but that could become available later, should I rack up some decent points.

Sadly, the only thing in common with my new virtual race car and my real life car is both are Hondas, with a white base paint.

Not too sure if the wife would approve of putting this livery on our car....

I won't lie here, but it was a tough race on Brands Hatch. Four laps is all that was required, however, it felt like it took hours to produce the results I achieved. Check it out here

Kinda funny, not even the same view from....Behind the Wheel. I am sure there are some folks out there are glad I don't drive the same way in real life, as I have demonstrated while playing this game.

Bond in Rio?

After making a Bond-ish run in Need for Speed World, I decided to have another look through Forza 6 Apex, to see if I could make a run in an Aston Martin. It would seem I have unlocked a Vantage S during my progression through the game.

Although a bit bright, I picked a color that closely matched a possible appearance in the films and went with a one lap, winner takes all race in Rio de Janeiro. Here is how it turned out

Thursday, 26 May 2016

A Bond-ish race

Bond, James Bond. 

Those three words can conjurer up a great many things, depending on who you ask. Some will remember the movies for the exotic locales, the fight scenes or even the women, including those out to have this iconic British spy killed.

For me, it was the car chases and fast driving action.

When Need for Speed World was still alive online, it was the Daniel Craig era, so there were no other choices for different Bond-type cars. Eventually, I own both of the Aston Martins that were available for ingame cash. However, it was the hard to drive DBS and the non-human star of Casino Royale that was my favorite between the two.

Speaking of Mr. Craig, I finally had a chance to see the latest Bond offering, Spectre. Not to give the movie away with serious spoilers, but I was certainly on the edge of my seat during the pinnacle car chase.

Which got me to remembering some of the wildest moments I never captured the first time around with the DBS. So, I fired up the Offline version and tried to recreate a one take, no power up scenario in the James Bond style, in a really rough street race....

I am sure the real Bond would have done better, in a more spectacular fashion.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Remembering and reliving my Need for Speed World, part 2

For as long as there has been any form of competition, individuals or groups have spent an almost equal amount of time looking for ways to cheat the system.

In the real world, one could Google for hours all of the performance enhancing drugs in sports cases that have come to light in recent years, for starters alone. Boxers who have taken dives in fights, using technology to spy on another team's gameplan, taking a subway to finish a marathon and so much more.

Then, bring that "I must win at all costs" mentality into the virtual world....

In July 2013,, the Russian equivalent to Facebook in the Western world, gave away 7-Day rental codes for the Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Tensor Edition. With the forums now locked and my memory a little fuzzy on the details, I do believe that it was a player proposed event, that started the ball rolling and then got support from either the development team, EA or even both, for the prizes.

The rules (if you can make that picture out) were simple enough, take the Tensor rental, run the Lion's Challenge track, post your best times without using powerups or altering the car in any shape, from the single player race.

A randomly picked picture from that era. I don't have mine anywhere, anymore, but I will come back to that.

The event generated a lot of activity, both on the forums and inagme. Even I took part, which is where the problem started. After making a few runs, I think my best time was in the 2:13 to 2:16 range, not great, but it was an honest effort. I posted the screenshot (long since removed and deleted) then went over to my profile page at the old site....

If you can read the above picture, it pretty much says it all. For the record, I never have used hacks, cheats or taken advantage of game exploits in Need for Speed World. Seriously, what would be the point? For some false, self esteem boost? To get attention from the community for something I am not? If I fail at something honestly, I own the fail and either improve or move on to something else, period.

Nevertheless, I started the discussion with the above statement, which opened up a huge can of worms. Some replies mere were the automatic and thoughtless cheater/hacker/whiner/etc drivel from those who didn't take the time to read the words and only let the numbers tell the story. Others, were somewhat sympathetic to what I had to say, even a few claiming they were experiencing the same thing.

The conversation went on for a few days, then it was closed with this final remark from a certain moderator who, for whatever reason, decided to end it on this note. The very fact they wrote that still stuns me, all these years later.

I tried to explain my situation to both the administrators at (an interesting read here, of a similar situation ) and by sending messages to the development team, but got nowhere.

The other downside, I was the leader of a crew, a competitive team in Need for Speed World I named Rosewood Renegades. I had met some fantastic players and invited them to my slowly growing clan. Over a short period of time, these players had been working very hard on the racing skills, earning the credits needed to advance through the ingame economy and even spending some real world money on buying much better cars.

I was about to taint all of their hard work if I remained, so, I deleted my drivers and walked away. In a few keystrokes, I flushed a fair amount of real world money and a lot of personal time, down the toilet.

I vanished from the first server, known as Apex, immediately. I, however, kept racing casually on the second server, Chicane, but my heart wasn't really into it. That driver was deleted shortly there after.

Almost a year later, I went back to Need for Speed World, but kept a low profile on the Chicane server and sticking with only single player races. First, I still loved the game, but wanted to be more of a hermit then the interactive, community personality I was before. The last thing I want to do was draw attention to myself and have people label me, falsely, as a hacker, based on perceptions of what happened before. Second, those bots in single player wouldn't cause any cheating/hacking/other proxy issues like what happened in Multiplayer.

I didn't participate much on the forums either, but some of the stuff I was reading was making sense to me. Seems there could have been an ulterior motive to the Tensor Challenge. Between the soon-to-vanish posts on the main forums and the ongoing discussions on the site, the great hacker roundup had a profound effect.

Quite a few players were banned from the game (only to come back under a new names, some continued to carry on with what they did before) but, the population had declined some. I know of a few players who were in the same position I was, were swept up and treated on equal terms as those who made the conscious effort to cheat their way through the game, who never went back.

In the end, everybody lost. After just 5 years in existence, Need for Speed World, along with the other free-to-play EA titles, were closed down. It didn't matter if you cheated your way to the top, or honed your skills honestly to be unbeatable, all of that is long gone. Less than a year after the game closed, the forums were finally locked, only the search results on Google and/or other search engines offer hints at the contents, now hidden from view.

For me, with the finding and installing of Need for Speed World Offline, I can continue on in peace. I have decided to go through the last recorded times from the final driver I created and set new records for myself. Unlike when the servers were online, I now capture both screenshots and videos, should somebody try to paint me as a cheater/hacker. I doubt this would have helped much back then, but those times are long since past.

Time for some new memories, with some happier reminders of days gone by, like smashing my old record on Lucky Towers of 3:38:478 set on 2014-04-08

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Remembering and reliving my Need for Speed World, part 1

There is a long story between me and my association with Need for Speed World. 

Sadly, many pictures and screenshots from those days are gone, deleted out of disgust with a major, never resolved matter. Others, are locked away behind the final closure of the forums, with very few found on the internet, through archiving purposes. The image above is one of those I snagged just in time....

Now, with having a copy of the Offline version of World, I am rebuilding my garage, mostly based on memory and the few pictures I have come across. However, somethings won't be exactly the same, being a bit of a redux with the times. Other things, will be a time-capsule, never to change again.

Despite all the games I have played, then and now, I always seem to gravitate towards those involving cars and racing, if they are done right. Need for Speed World was something new and different, along with elements of the same old successful formulas, all rolled into one.

First, the racing part wasn't a new concept, but the online, multiplayer and free to play package was one of the draws for me. Second, I didn't have to buy a new console platform to play it. Thirdly, it was an open world environment and not being locked into a sandbox, or having to follow a pre-scripted course of actions and tasks, that was another appealing factor.

World offered a lot of promotions over it's lifespan. In fact, it was the free T-Mobile Mazda 3 that got me into the game. Later on, I sold it, due to the fact the I had to buy, with real world money, more garage slots for the more powerful cars I wanted. This car, along with my never-sold-a-single-one Royal Purple Editions, would become very rare sights on the one server, known as Apex.

There were other ways to get some cool, limited time offered cars too. Facebook, and various other sites would hand out promotion codes (sometimes, with major glitches attached) like candy. Word of these events would spread like wildfire, links posted on the game forums and other sites that had an interest in the game. Added to that, there were contests for posting screenshots, answering trivia questions and other opportunities, all presented through EA as well.

Later and shortly before the original development team was let go by Electronic Arts, even more cars were introduced. By completing certain requirements, Achievement Edition cars could be earned. I only ever laid my hands on two out of the six available.

The races with other living people, taking part in team escapes by evading computer cops, just driving around in a big, open world, so many good times and memories. From the causal players who just wanted to unwind from a long day in the real world, to the competitive player who were a part of a crew and wanted to make a name for themselves and their groups, World had it all.

Need for Speed World was a real cultural mosaic that other, real world countries and societies, could and should be envious of.

However, all of that came crashing down for me on one fateful day.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

A prize and new reuslts

Seems I earned/won a new car! Too bad I don't have any other Forza titles....

However, I did go back and up the difficulty level on the Beat the Stig challenge. These are results I can live with.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Swedish for taking action

For those of you who watch Top Gear or it's spinoffs, The Stig doesn't need any introduction. However, there might be a select few out there who haven't heard of....him.

The Stig is the silent enigma who sets lap times for cars tested on Top Gear. He is also used in the series of Challenges against the presenters, sometimes to help them, other times, to serve as an obstacle against them. At the time of this writing, this was the role of The Stig, before the Top Gear relaunch set for Fall 2016.

For this series in Forza 6 Apex, I am given the Koenigsegggggggggggggggggg Agera (some might remember that joke) to challenge The Stig on his home turf....

....The Top Gear Test track (located at Dunsfold Aerodrome in Surrey, just off the A281 between Guildford and Horsham).

During my race, I don't see The Stig for long, rounding a few corners and he was just left behind.

The results felt....hollow to me. Perhaps, I will go back again and try to increase the difficultly levels. However, here was that first race

Now, I am no stranger to the Agera, I used one as my signature car, later on in Need for Speed World (my customization skills still need work, even after all these years, my attempt at making it an Agera R).

At the time, I was somewhat excited to spend real world money to buy the premium currency called SpeedBoost and purchase this car with. All the hype surrounding this Swedish machine was crushed during my first few races with it.

In both games, the Agera has fantastic takeoff speed and impressive acceleration. Another bonus point is just how much grip those front wheels seem to have. But, there is a trade off. The rear end of this car feels extremely light, the back tires breaking loose from the pavement too easily. The problem with this is the urge to over-correct the steering and start fishtailing out of control. All of that can make for a very scary ride.

After completing the Forza 6 Apex run, I decided to open up Need for Speed World and tried my best to recreate the car from memory. Not a bad job for ten minutes worth of work. Then, I took it out for some action

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The car that never was

One of the most talked about cars on the Need for Speed World forums was the Pagani Huayra.

However, everytime a topic on this particular car was started or even a decent discussion was gaining momentum, one of the moderators would come along, cite the no discussing unreleased cars line and lock the thread down.

Now, thanks to that group of folks who put in the time to make World Offline, we can see a great answer to the mystery. Within the client, all the cars are there, including never released to the public models. In the case of Pagani, either the Huayra was never completed before the original developer team was let go, or the car was cancelled from the game. So, it wasn't a matter of an unreleased car, but a non-existent one.

No doubt one of those moderators would love to flex their muscles here, but too bad, this is my house, you have no power to abuse here.

Over in Forza 6 Apex, I just recently unlocked the Pagani Huayra and was itching to try it out. Here is that first run

Looking back, not ever seeing the Pagani Huayra in Need for Speed World is both a shame and a blessing, I suppose. The shame is the car wasn't put into the game for players to enjoy and depending if it was available for SpeedBoost, would have meant some real world money in EA's pocket.

The blessing part comes from the very fact the car never made it into the game, just another memory to either try and relive or flatout forget.