There was a time when computer games released at specific times of the year, Christmas, Easter and the run up to the summer holidays. The target audience was presumed to be kids. It was a false assumption made by CEO’s – computer games are played by people of all ages! It took a while for the realisation to dawn, but now most games release when they’re ready. Of course, some games release when they’re far from ready – back to CEO’s again and their inability to understand that a solid product is more important long term than immediate shareholder gratification. It’s the Triple A publishers that are most likely to make this error and some are absolutely hated by the gaming community for their cavalier attitude. Ok – that’s better – had a quick rant… 😉

So we’re now in an era where games can release just about any time. Car Mechanic Simulator’s publisher decided to release the 2021 version on August 11th – halfway through the summer holidays. Following on from CMS 2015 and 2018, it was expected to just be a rerun of the exact same gameplay of the previous editions. Perhaps a bit slicker? I was in for a few pleasant surprises.

One of the short comings of the previous, 2018, version was poorly optimised graphics – making for some interesting visual glitches on older systems. There was also an annoying hesitation when you moved from the parking area, for example, back to the garage. If you moved the mouse during that period the screen would freeze for several seconds – that even affected top of the range systems! So 2018 had a number of minor issues. There were a number of bugs in the beginning too but, as the game had been released as early access, the community accepted them and they were soon fixed. Time to see how Car Mechanic Simulator 2021 shapes up in comparison, especially as it came out as a full release.

I’ll start with the graphics – Just so much better than 2018. I’m going to walk you around the garage as you find it when you start the game and you can see for yourself. Here is the roadside view…

…and a closer look at the main workshop…

…Go inside – there is reassuring metal roller sound if you choose to go through one of the vehicle entrances 😉 – and there’s an old school bus to greet you…

…and some posters high on the wall…

…All the basic machinery you’re going to need to start fixing cars is present – you can see the tyre removal and wheel-balancing rigs under the Fierte poster and the separator for shock absorbers is hiding behind the yellow locker. What you don’t have are work-benches to repair parts – how you get those is part of later gameplay and something that will have to be covered in another post. Go out the back of the main workshop and you can see there’s plenty of room for your business to expand…

…I wonder what we can use that building for? It looks like there’s already some work going on in another corner of the plot…

…There isn’t, yet… 😉

I think you can see from those screenshots that the graphics of the latest iteration of Car Mechanic Simulator are very nice and I find them very engaging. They make it a joy to come to work 🙂 There are none of the annoying visual glitches that existed in the 2018 version. Scene changes are swift and smooth. As hinted above, this is just the first of a series on Nuts and Bolts posts where I will be talking about CMS 2021 – the next will cover gameplay – but let me say from the start, this is a very nice game that will have you hooked for hours. You can pop in for a few minutes to do a quick repair or choose a much longer job if you want – it’s a flexible game that fits well with a busy IRL schedule. When your real job has stressed you out and you want to wind down but keep the brain ticking over, this game is a good choice – you can take your time, nothing is against the clock and there are no alien hoards to disrupt the calming process. Highly recommended 🙂

I’ve had a little bit of a break since my last post. That means I’ve been busy doing a lot of non-blogging things. Clearing the garden, trying out new computer games, playing updates to existing computer games and photographing my football team. Today, for example, I completed a challenge in American Truck Simulator and processed the images from last night’s football match prior to publishing them. I think I’m now ready to get back to posting on my blog and I have a lot of gaming things to write about. But, for Clare’s ‘Share Your Desktop’ this month, I have a Wingate & Finchley football photo and a story to tell…

…This shot was taken at Leatherhead on August 21st. We had just beaten the home side 2-1. In the photo Tee-Jay and Marc Weatherstone, our new manager, salute the fans in celebration. Tee-Jay is, I’m pretty certain, our longest serving current player though he was only on the pitch for the final few minutes as he has an ongoing injury. Marc was a player with the club from 2008 until he was poached by Dulwich Hamlet in 2016. He has over 400 appearances for Wingate & Finchley, so it was great to welcome him back as manager 🙂 The start to the season has been a bit up and down. Many of the players are young, though there have been some experienced players signed like keeper Ben Goode, on the left.

So why have I got this shot on my desktop? Leatherhead are one of our bogey teams – we usually lose against them at their place and it’s roughly honours-even when they visit us. So for Marc to engineer a win down there was quite a feat for a new manager and the team! I said to Marc on the coach as we travelled home – “You know, you’ve slayed one of our dragons”. It was a moment I’ve been savouring since. The rocky start continues for the team, a draw and 2 defeats but then, last night we beat the league leaders, Kingstonian, 3-1 🙂 It looks like it’s going to be an interesting season!

It’s good to be doing Brian’s Last on the Card challenge so close to the start of the new month for a change! 🙂

First up, from the Canon EOS 5D, the last shot from Wingate & Finchley’s away win at Leatherhead…

…That was taken on the 21st. I would normally have been at our home game on the 30th but was at a family gathering instead.

From the Fujifilm X-Pro2, one of our local buses grinds its way up Long Lane towards Finchley Central…

…There is potential for a good shot here if I catch the bus further down the hill so that the line of terraced houses on the right is more a part of the composition. Exposure will always be an issue as it will be a contre-jour shot all day. I’ll be hoping to revisit this one in future 🙂

Both shots as captured, just a resize for the web.