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  • KDMShark

    Rotm December 2015

    By KDMShark

    I will say, its been a great 5 years with this car! Sadly, its about that time to switch things up. Over the past year, I've realized that I got really bored with this car and I've run out of things to do. With this car and the way I modified it, I had the opportunity to make it into a huge car crew thats very well known and now they have expanded through out the US (Clean Culture.) There are some things I could do to the car but it wouldn't really be worth dumping the money into such a basic car. I will be keeping the car for another year but I'll be spending most of that year bringing it back to stock as much as I can. Since this is the last time everyone will see my car like this, I figured why not try to run for ROTM and end it on a good note. I wanted to thank Project Lancer and everyone for all the help and information when I had no idea what I was doing haha. My car has been an inspiration to some people in the Lancer scene and I can't thank them enough. I feel honored. I met a lot off cool people throughout my journey and made some good friends as well! CT LANCERS! Future Plans Bring her back to stock Sell it   MOD List: Plasti-Dipped Chrome Grill Plasti-Dipped Evo Nose from ARS 6K HID Low Beams 6K HID Fog Lights White Hella Horns TSUDO N1 Exhaust Fully Debadged 20% Window Tint Super White LED License Plate Bulbs Super White LED Interior Bulbs SMD 27 Super White LED Reverse Lights ARS HL Rear Lip Plasti-Dipped Center Lip Smoked Brake Light Smoked LED Side Markers Smoked Rear Reflectors Vinyl Wrapped Roof (Gloss Black) BC BR Coilovers Black Housing Headlights (Painted everything but low beam reflector) White NRG Quick Release Steering Wheel White Gumboil Shift Knob Vinyl Wrapped Dash/Door Trim with Wood Grain Brown Leather Diamond Stitch Door Panels Black Suede Pillars/Headliner Black Suede Shift Boot Staggered Wheels (18x9+25 Front / 18x10+25 Rear) Allstar SP5ive's powder coated Translucent Bronze/Copper with Brushed Lips  
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Our community blogs

  1. ROTM Winners

    TheDude
    Latest Entry

    By TheDude,

    Hey figured i'd give a shot at this, my current mods are

                                Exterior

    -Fq400 body kit 

    -duraflex evo x v3 fenders

    -chameleon  plasti dip

    -evo x rear spoiler

    -exceed front headlights

    -spyder smoked taillights 

    -shorty carbon fiber antenna

    -most bad ass carbon fiber hood you can get !

    -18 inch dai alloy wheels (can't remember the model)

                                Interior

    -2014 touch screen rockford fosgate radio

    -mitsubishi red/black stitch seat covers 

    -red vinyl trim(changing to chameleon soon)

    -mugen shift knob

    -etc....

                             Performance

    -injen cold air intake(which in switching for a sri asap because of issue with water messing up my mass air flow sensor

    -Cnt axle back exhaust

    -im working on a project with a friend of mine for super charging a cvt lancer. Something ive always wanted to do seeing how the cvt works PL will be the first to see when it happens ive heard of people doing it before just not much details about it.

    I think i should be rotm because i am very dedicated to making my car as unique and head turning as possible I want people to stop and stare trying to figure out what car im driving and when they finally realize its a lancer

    my future plans will be all about making this car into a mean looking beast under the hood i just want something that looks as good outside and drives just as good.

    20160502_172603_zpsctf1a6es.jpg

    20160502_172753_zpswzr4qgty.jpg

    2016-02-06%2017.45.31_zpsjzwha5e3.jpg

    20160429_142230_zpsvw6rqell.jpg

    20160222_121911_zps0kerkzuy.jpg

  2. Year End Awards

    KDMShark
    Latest Entry

    By KDMShark,

    Congratulations winners of 2015's Year End Awards!

    Best Exterior:

    T-Flash

    Best Wheel Setup:

    GlennQuagmire

    Best Interior:

    GlennQuagmire

    Best Performance:

    Trancedrift

    Best Overall Look:

    N/A

    Best Non-Lancer:

    White out Project 86

    Most Helpful:

    fastcar123

    Best Staff:

    EricGTS

    Most Active:

    Ericgts

    Best newb:

    WhiteHornet

     

    Please contact me via PM to receive your winnings!

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    Ideally i want this car to really preform when i need it to, in other words i want it to run really well when i am on the road and as soon as i go on the track i want it to out preform its self. The first thing i did was right up a list of all the things i want, mainly mods that i wanted to put on the car, its earthier things that i always wanted to put on a car or things that made it just look a little more better. From there I did some research on singular mods that improve lap times on a track. I have found that suspension, exhaust, and tire upgrades have a significant impact on lap times. Even though a turbo has the biggest impact on the cars performance, but in reference to price to performance ratio those 3 have the highest gains with reference to the lowest price. There will defiantly be a turbo in the future for me but not at this very moment because of prices and the over whelming amount of work needed to install a turbo system in the engine bay. Because this will be a daily driver as well as a track day car i might come up with a way to have a ECO mode for the car and a SPORT mode for the track. This way i can optimizes the ECU to reduce power output and increase the economic features for the road conditions in the summer and winter. This is my research that i have done so far, in other words this is a very general over view of what I will/might be doing...

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    Recent Entries

    So currently i am doing an intense workout 3 days a week and then on in-between days I do either cardio or yoga. These are my 3 routines and current weight for each exercise. I will be uploading progress pictures soon.

    Chest and Triceps

    Dumbbell Press

    3 Sets of 15

    12.5 lb Dumbbells

    Smith Machine Incline Bench Press

    3 Sets of 15

    10 lb

    Dumbbell Flys

    3 Sets of 15

    10 lb Dumbbells

    Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Extension

    3 Sets of 12

    12.5 lb Dumbbell

    V-Bar Pushdown (Cable Machine)

    3 Sets of 12

    20 lb

    Ab Crunch Machine (unweighted)

    3 Sets of 25

    Ab Crunch Machine (weighted)

    3 Sets of 15

    40 lb

    Dumbbell Twist (Russian Style)

    3 Sets of 50

    12.5 lb Dumbbell

    Ab Wheel

    3 Sets of 12

    Back and Hamstrings

    Behind the Neck Wide Grip Pulldown

    4 Sets of 15

    40 lb

    Dumbbell Rows

    2 Sets of 12

    12.5 lb

    Cable Rows

    2 Sets of 15

    30 lb

    Stiff Legged Deadlifts

    3 Sets of 15

    20 lb (Barbell)

    Sumo Deadlifts with Dumbbell

    3 Sets of 15

    20 lb

    Lying Leg Curls

    3 Sets of 15

    20 lb

    Seated Leg Curls

    3 Sets of 15

    30 lb

    Calf Press (Leg press machine)

    2 Sets of 15

    100 lb

    Calf Raises

    2 Sets of 15

    40 lb

    Ab Crunch Machine (unweighted)

    3 Sets of 25

    Ab Crunch Machine (weighted)

    3 Sets of 15

    40 lb

    Dumbbell Twist (Russian Style)

    3 Sets of 50

    12.5 lb Dumbbell

    Ab Wheel

    3 Sets of 12

    Legs and Shoulders

    Smith Machine Squats

    4 Sets 20, 15, 12, 10

    30 lb

    Walking Lunges

    3 Sets of 24

    20 lb

    Leg Press

    3 Sets 20, 15, 12

    100 lb

    Calf Press (Leg press machine)

    2 Sets of 15

    100 lb

    Calf Raises

    2 Sets of 15

    40 lb

    Dumbbell Shoulder Press

    3 Sets of 15

    10 lb

    Lateral Raise and Front Raise

    3 Sets of 12

    5 lb

    Ab Crunch Machine (unweighted)

    3 Sets of 25

    Ab Crunch Machine (weighted)

    3 Sets of 15

    40 lb

    Dumbbell Twist (Russian Style)

    3 Sets of 50

    12.5 lb Dumbbell

    Ab Wheel

    3 Sets of 12

  3. Here is a Paper i wrote in college that goes over the basics of turbochargers and how they and there components work.

    Turbocharging

    What if there was a device that can offer you better gas mileage, emissions, compensate for higher altitudes, and yield a 50% power increase. A device that could match the power output of a V-8 in a four cylinder engine and be more efficient than a larger engine. A device that basically powers its self using forms of free energy. Well that device is here and as a matter of fact its been for over 100 years; It?s called the Turbocharger.

    A turbocharger is a form of forced induction to get more power out of a vehicle. In any vehicle there are only three ways to increase power, change the cylinder volume, change the fuel flow, or give it more air. A turbocharger gives the vehicle more air which leads to an increase of power. This is the preferred and most cost effective way to achieve more power out of a smaller engine. The turbocharger has an entire process to follow as it increases the engines power and gives the driver a faster vehicle.

    The turbocharger itself has two sides one the intake side where the air enters and two the exhaust side where the air leaves. First, you have to understand the design of the turbocharger. To begin the turbo charger has two sets of blades connected to each other so as one spins the other spins as well. Then you have a housing around it to protect the blades. Now

    as air from the outside of your car hits the intake blades also known as compression blades it starts to spin the blades as it enters the engine. Then as it leaves the engine through the exhaust side it starts to rapidly spin the exhaust blades then goes out your exhaust. This is the basic concept of how the turbocharger works but there is a lot more to it. As you can see the turbocharger is a very efficient design because as the exhaust gases spin the exhaust blades it in turns makes the intake blades spin just as fast since there connected which compresses more air into the car allowing for a higher air intake called boost. This concept is brilliant because its never ending and it will always stay at the same rate. (Garrett Turbo)

    Boost is when you increase the amount of air into your engine over the amount of the engine if it wasn?t turbocharged or naturally aspirated. Normally aspirated engines run at 14.69 pounds per square inch (psi) of air. (Nice, How Turbochargers Work) Turbochargers can add a boost anywhere from 6psi additionally to over 30psi. So if your car is running 10psi boost then the total amount of air pressure going into your car is 24.69psi. Of course high boost numbers cannot be supported if the engine isn?t strong enough which is why boost has to be limited unless the engine has been worked on. If you run a high boost on a stock factory engine you can be guaranteed to blow the engine because it wasn?t built properly for that amount of boost.

    What happens to air as it is compressed? Well when air gets compressed it gets hot, hot air is not good for the engine and beats the purpose of putting a turbocharger on in the first place. So this introduces the intercooler. An intercooler basically cools the incoming hot air and then sends cold dense air back to go into the engine. So how exactly can you cool down the air with the intercooler? The intercooler is mounted right in the front center of your car so as you drive

    the incoming air hits this block and cools the air passing through the intercooler. So now you have cold dense air entering the engine.

    Remember that the compression blades and the exhaust blades are connected well what happens when the exhaust blades spin so fast that it brings in more air then you want in the engine? This is where the turbochargers next component comes in; the wastegate. The wastegate basically relieves the pressure when the exhaust blades spin past a certain preset boost number.(Nice, How Turbochargers Work) As you know if you go to a higher boost number than your engine can handle your going to damage it. So now when the maximum boost number is reached the wastegate will open allowing the air to bypass the exhaust blades stabilizing the intake pressure.

    This brings us into the next component similar in working to the wastegate. Every drive next to a car and when he shifted heard a ?swoosh? or ?pisst? sound. Well this is the infamous signature of a turbo called the blow of valve. The blow of valve serves almost the same purpose but only relieves the pressure of the turbo when the throttle is released. Basically, a car resets itself when you change gears so when you shift from first gear doing around three thousand revolutions per minute (rpm) and go into second you drop to one-thousand rpm. So the blow of valve eliminates all the air in the turbocharging system to start over again which is why you hear that sound. (Garrett Turbo)

    You have a fully functional turbocharged system that will work flawlessly mechanically. The next step is to tune your car to the new amount of air being compressed into the engine with electronics. As more air gets compressed into the engine it uses more fuel to burn in the cylinders giving you more power. So this leads to the fuel/air controller which monitors and modifies the new amount of air and regulates the new fuel consumption in the engine. Now we also have the boost controller this unit keeps the car running at a certain amount of boost that you designate. The boost can always be changed with the boost controller for a higher or lower amount of boost.

    Now why would anyone want to turbocharge their car and invest this money for there engine? Well for power of course the only reason people put these things on there cars are so they can go faster and faster. Wrong, this is a common misconception that people associate with turbocharging. A turbocharger does not just give you more power it is also better for your car. For starters the turbocharger helps increase fuel mileage which is a big concern in today?s world with rising fuel costs. It also decreases emissions because it reuses the exhaust gases your car throws away which means less pollutants. ?Today?s turbocharged diesel engines produce 50% less NOx and CO2 emissions than conventional engines.?(Honeywell Turbo ?Turbo Benefits?) Also a turbocharged car is preferred in places of high altitudes because at higher altitudes there is less air pressure and your car would struggle more so they add turbochargers to equal out this deficiency. Also with turbocharging you see the rise of four cylinder engines because it gives better performance, emissions, and fuel economy with a turbocharger. So this leads to less weight in the car for a better ride so why go with more engine then you need.(Markus Let's get small: why carry around more engine than you need??)

    Although there are many advantages to the turbocharger there are also disadvantages. The first one is having too much boost:

    With air being pumped into the cylinders under pressure by the turbocharger, and then being further compressed by the piston there is more danger of knock. Knocking happens because as you compress air, the temperature of the air increases. The temperature may increase enough to ignite the fuel before the spark plug fires. Cars with turbochargers often need to run on higher octane fuel to avoid knock. If the boost pressure is really high, the compression ratio of the engine may have to be reduced to avoid knocking. (Nice, How Turbochargers Work)

    As you can see if you have to much boost as talked about before it can severely damage your vehicles engine. Now the second reason is turbo lag. A turbo does not kick in right away because it doesn?t start to spin till around 2500rpm when the exhaust gases start to have enough power to spin the exhaust blades to create boost. This is turbo lag where it will take the car a bit to get up to speed to give you the turbos performance then when it gets up to speed. Although these are disadvantages if you do turbo your car the right way you can avoid these disadvantages all together.

    The turbocharger also has a competitor the supercharger. The supercharger runs off the same concept to bring in more air into the cylinders but does it in another way. The supercharger is basically added to your cars belt drive system which allows the supercharger to be spinning as soon as you start your car which means no lag and instantaneous power.(Harris ?How superchargers Work?) But with everything there is a downfall and the supercharger robs power from the car that it creates because it is connected to the cars belt system. This is why Turbocharging is still the leading forced induction method for its use of free energy.

    In today?s world turbocharging is rapidly growing and being installed into cars. Most car manufactures have realized the advantages of turbocharging and are now instituting all there vehicles with them. Manufactures such as Mitsubishi, Audi, and BMW are all very large into turbocharging there vehicles for advantages of smaller engines, enhanced performance, and efficiency. Who knows maybe in the near future we may have a combination of a supercharger and turbocharger called a twincharger in a vehicle. This is what Volkswagen is attempting on there golf gt?s in Europe to a very huge success especially with the numbers there talking about.

    A 1.4 liter engine with 168 horsepower and 177 foot pounds of torque. Zero to sixty-two in 7.9 seconds with a top speed of 136mph. To top it all off it gets 30 miles to the gallon city and 48 miles to the gallon highway(Phoenix ?The turbo-and supercharged car?). In china there is actually a tax for larger engines which is why in China there is a huge demand for turbocharged cars in the country.(Webb ?Demand for turbocharging grows in China?) As Christopher Sawyer stated ?Is Less More?? he talks about the rise of the four cylinder engines and how there taking over due to turbocharging and getting better efficiency and power than six or more cylinders. As you see turbocharging can be the answer to a lot of questions troubling us such as global warming and fossil fuel shortages. Could cars like these possibly the future?

  4. Well - As per a few requests - Here is my basic guide to post-editing photographs using Adobe Photoshop CS5. Most commands in my print-screen images below should be VERY similar to CS3 and CS4 Versions of Photoshop.

    First open Photoshop and the image you are editing.

    In my case I had one of TheDudes Images and this is the process I did. Photograph credits go to him (Great Shots) and I just did the post editing.

    This is the image before editing - A fine quality shot as is. But after a few little tweaks here and there you'll see what the computer is capable of doing.

    Image%201.jpg

    STEP 1 - EDITING LEVELS. Editing levels is tricky and really just takes patients and experimentation. Editing the levels allows you to adjust the saturation of colors, reflections, brightness, and contrast as a multi-adjust layer. I use a Trial and Error process to adjust the curves to just the right levels that are appealing to my eye.

    Step%201.jpg

    You can see here how different the car appears from the above image.

    Step%202.jpg

    STEP 2 - EDITING COLOR CURVES. Editing out color curves allows you to adjust the Red, Blue, and Green balances as well as the brightness intensity of the colors in the image. This is also more of a trial and error process. Move/Add grips on the curves line and push/pull them in different directions to see effect happens. I more or less try to edit it out to what I think looks best with a Trial and Error process and then hit OK to apply the settings to the image.

    Step%203.jpg

    STEP 3 - EDITING SHADOWS/HIGHLIGHTS. The shadow/highlight edit option in Photoshop can really add very dynamic level of contrast/appeal to your image. There are 3 sliders under each of the two adjustable options as well as 2 other sliders at the bottom of the option window. Each of the two Shadow and Highlight has an AMOUNT, TONAL WIDTH, and RADIUS. The amount is exactly what it says, it adjusts the amount of shadows and or highlights that are shown. The tonal width adjusts the intensity of them. Radius adjust the fine lines of where there are shadows/highlights. Every image has a different amount/balance of shadows and highlights so what I do is slide the bars to where I feel they are best. Just make sure you have the "PREVIEW" option selected and you will see the transformation before your eyes. The two sliders at the bottom that are very important are MID-TONE CONTRAST and COLOR CORRECTION. The mid-tone contrast really makes things pop that are otherwise washed out in a highlight/shadow. The color correction makes the color that is there very vibrant and or washed out pending what direction you move the slider. Remember it is really easy to over-do this process. Edit it through to what you think looks good and don't over do it, You want to preserve the basic integrity of the original image and just ENHANCE that integrity with a little touch of fineness.

    Step%204.jpg

    STEP 4 - REDUCING NOISE. This process adds a photo-filter layer that reduces the noise usually caused by adjusting the shadows/highlights. Noise is basically blurring of pixels in color and or on edges. A noise reduction filter will help clear that up and really sharpen up an image pending how intense you make it.

    Step%206.jpg

    Editing the "Strength" and "Sharpen Details" seems create the greatest difference for me. Be cautious when using these because these can actually make an image TOO sharp and you will see edges/lines that you don't necessarily want to see. Again Trial and Error process will yield the best results.

    Step%207.jpg

    The last two things I did with this image was to adjust the over all contrast and also desaturated the image to a Black and White image because I felt that the color that was there was insignificant enough to not have an impact being BW.

    Step%205.jpg

    Once you are done editing, do a SAVE-AS. Never overwrite your original file because you never know when you may want to go back and use the same photo in a different style editing. (Black and White, Super Vibrant, HDR, etc.) Remember it's all about what YOU think looks good but as a basic underlying principle as I've said above, remember that you created and took the original image because you saw it and wanted to freeze that image in time. Remember that the basic integrity of that original image is a work of art in itself and all editing after should be done with a level of respect for the original image. Photoshop is just a great way to really fine tune an image and make certain aspects of it really stand out. Below is the original image I used in the tutorial as well as the final product below it. Compare the two and look at the edges, shadows, highlights.

    ORIGINAL -

    Image%201.jpg

    POST-EDIT -

    Image%201%20Edit.jpg

    Look at how much more crisp the lines on and in the headlights came out. The shadows/reflections really pop more. Again I added the BW desaturation because I thought that it went well but that is up to the user when its all said and done. I hope this helps some of you members of PL and hope it really helps produce some amazing images here that you can have to showcase your car in your member ride page and even to help win ROTM!!

    ENJOY and thanks for reading!

    Here are some other before and after shots I borrowed from "TheDude" and went through the same above process with.

    BEFORE -

    Image%202.jpg

    AFTER -

    Image%202%20Edit.jpg

    BEFORE -

    Image%203.jpg

    AFTER -

    Image%203%20Edit.jpg

    BEFORE -

    Image%204.jpg

    AFTER -

    Image%204%20Edit.jpg

    BEFORE -

    Image%205.jpg

    AFTER -

    Image%205%20Edit.jpg

    Well there you have it - My little blog entry/Tutorial on the BASICS of editing out a photograph in Photoshop. I usually shoot in a .RAW format which then requires me to import using a certain program (Nikon Capture NX2 in my case) and then also post editing in Photoshop Lightroom 3. These are much more intense programs that require a lot more time and understanding of things. I'll save those blogs for another day!

    Again I hope you enjoyed the read and thanks for stopping in! If you have any questions, never hesitate to PM or e-mail me!

    Mark

  5. Well I have finally come around to writing the review for the new Bioware MMO, Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have LONG time awaited this game, and I can say with gusto that I sincerely enjoy this game. It has its bugs… It has its flaws… But the beauty of an MMO is that it is constantly changing. And the progress of this MMO will truly show depending on the developer's responses to the outcry of the public.

    For your reading enjoyment, this review will be LONG and THOROUGH. So if you expected a quick snippet, get out. There will be no expense spared in this review.

    Story:

    SPOILERS ************************ SKIP THIS PART IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS

    I will start off the story section by first telling you a good piece of advice: Read the Bioware written book "Revan", based directly off of the KOTOR main character Revan. This book ties DIRECTLY into both KOTOR 1, KOTOR 2, and the future events of SW:TOR. I say future because this new MMO takes place around 300 years after the events of KOTOR 1. Many people were complaining about this MMO, wanting a full blown sequel to KOTOR2. Well there is a problem with that. Since Bioware didn't handle KOTOR2, it would be very difficult for them to do that. If you purchase and read the book, you will see, however, that the Exile from KOTOR2 is a key part of the story in the book. As I said, I highly recommend reading this book.

    Now, for the events at hand. As you have seen in various videos, the Sith Empire is back, and on a full fledge assault against the forces of the Republic. However, this is NOT the same "Sith Empire" Revan and Malak commanded during the Jedi Civil War (KOTOR1). This is the TRUE Empire, led by their mysterious and equally dangerous Sith Emperor. For thousands of years, the Emperor slowly started to grow his forces on the planets of the Outer Rim, including their home base of Dromund Kaas. After many years, they finally led a full fledge assault to capture their burial world of Korriban, as well as launching an all out "Sacking of Coruscant". The Sith then confronted the Republic with a "Peace Treaty", after destroying the Jedi Temple. It agreed to give up several Outer Rim planets, including Korriban, and any other non-Republic controlled systems over to the Empire. This treaty now, 12 years later, is hanging by a thread, as patched groups of Republic and Imperial combat each other on several planets. The Sith, lead by the Dark Council and they ruthless agent, Darth Malgus, have begun re-inserting themselves in the galaxy, trying to reclaim their place in the universe. The Mandolorians have also arisen, lead by a new Mandolore, one who has coincidently aligned himself with Empire. The Jedi, with their new Grand Master Satele Shan (descendant of Bastilla Shan), and their new home base of Tython, are struggling to recruit their numbers to be able to resist the might of the Sith. The newly re-discovered planet of Tython was in fact the place of the discovery of the Force, as well as the birthplace of the Jedi Order. Now, the planet has been re-colonized in the name of the Republic, and the Jedi have begun training new padawans on the planet to help fight against the Sith.

    That's the back story of the lore for this game, but there are many different bits of lore that are discovered down the road. You have the opportunity to play between 8 different stories (4 republic, 4 imperial). Even though there are 16 total advanced classes, the stories are the same for each main class. I will begin to describe a bit of the Inquisitor story, as well as the Jedi Knight storyline, because those are the only classes I played.

    The Sith Inquisitor storyline (my main character) is an amazing story of slave turned Lord. You arrive on Korriban as a slave to fight your way to become apprentice to a very conniving Sith Lord, Darth Zash. On the planet Dromund Kaas, she sends you to explore the ancient tomb of a Sith Lord to uncover artifacts for special ritual that Zash wants to perform. During this excavation, you discover not only hidden Sith secrets, but as well as a secret to your own past. I cannot continue with details of this story, because it will give out the fun. Lets just say not everything is as it seems.

    The Jedi Knight story is the typical "Knight in Shining Armor" story. The Flesh Raiders, native race on Tython, have amassed great strength and numbers and are causing trouble for the inhabiting Jedi. Soon during your trials, you learn that the one organizing the creatures in fact is a fallen Jedi, bent on the failure and destruction of the Jedi. After your confrontation with this fallen Jedi, and the construction of your lightsaber, you are Mastered by Orgus Din, who hasn't taken on a padawan in many years. Together, you and Master Orgus fight the Empire and seek to destroy many of their dangerous weapons of war.

    Graphics

    I have been watching SWTOR grow since it was first announced. I remember back in the day how dismal and pathetic the presentation of this game was in the Alpha phase. The lightsabers looked like giant crayons. The landscape was something out of LEGO Star Wars. Now the game looks totally different and amazing. Many complain that SWTOR looks bland, and that this game could look so much better. But here is the thing: Star Wars has never been about bright colored Axes, flashing shoulder pads, or drop dead hard core visuals. The art design coincides with that same template used for KOTOR1 & 2. Now, that being said, there is a major issue with frames per second. The servers Bioware is running are not very powerful. Heavily populated areas/planets drop to very low FPS, and make the game feel like a slide show. Overall though, the game is very fun to look at. I highly recommend a good working graphics card so that everything is enjoyable.

    Sound

    This is one thing Bioware clearly spared no expense in. They claim to have 100's of hours of fully voiced content. And in fact, not a single being in this game lacks a voice. No NPC uses recycled sounds from other characters; Each character enacts his own dialogue options, exactly like it was for KOTOR (minus the repeating lines of Huttese). One thing that did repeat were some choices your character would make. For example, an Inquisitor would sometimes say "Now you will see what a real Sith can do!" I know that money had to be saved up, but the repetition of the exact same line so many times was a bit irritating. The music as always was amazing. They created hours of new musical content for this game, as well as reusing the awesome sounds of John Williams, and a lot of the music from KOTOR.

    Gameplay

    Im going to break this down into several categories, as this is an MMO. There are many categories people wish to focus on:

    Leveling:

    Bioware saw what all the great companies were doing for the noobs who wanted to level and put it ALL together in the same pot. The main focus though was on the stories of each planet. Quests are all linked by area, as well as the main quests. You are also assisted by your companions, who aside from help you fight the good fight, take part in the quests you take them along for. You aren't obligated to do the group quests that are available, but it does offer GREAT loot options, as well as good XP. Wanna just do Flash points(TOR's instances)? You can start off low and repeat the instances over again, till you go to the next ones. Don't like stories? Want to PvP your way to 50? You can do it the whole way through, after your initial prologue. Don't like playing other players or stories? You can do space missions your whole way through.

    Classes:

    Bioware got both innovative and lazy when it came to designing the advanced classes. The classes are innovative because most of them can stem into a wide variety of play styles. BH's and Troopers can choose between a Tanking focused toon, healing, or damage dealing. This, and the ability to wear heavy armor makes them highly versatile. However, the fact that both classes are mirror images of each other (for the most part) kinda takes away from the uniqueness. The talent trees are great in the sense that your not always forced down one tree. For different purposes, its best to have a mixture of skills to be more useful on the battlefield. Having a healer who can do good damage is always good, as well as a damage dealer who can withstand a good amount of damage.

    PvE:

    The instances for SWTOR consist of FlashPoints and Operations. What shines in these instances is both the story line and the mechanics of the fights. Each instance has an interesting story to weave, from a rogue group of Mandolorians to an arena style War Game. The mechanics of the fights are also very innovative. No fight is a simple "tank and spank". Each fight requires some knowledge and 100% attention. You got Bounty Hunters fighting you with their ship as back-up, insect creatures you fight off with turrets (Starship Troopers much?), mazes you have to complete, and even a homage to Return of the Jedi. Loot is handled like many MMOs, with a combination of commendations, unassembled loot pieces that get traded in for gear, and other similar gear drops.

    PvP

    Now here is where TOR is lacking the most IMHO. Right now, there are PvP servers just like any other game. However, it is few and rare to find moments where you encounter players from the opposite faction. You could go the whole game without encountering a single one, TBH. While its good for people who hate getting ganked, it sucks for those who want a true open world experience. There are also Warzones, just like Battlegrounds. However there are quite a few problems with this. Mainly the fact that since most servers are predominately Empire, all you EVER get for WZ's is Huttball. Huttball is the faction neutral WZ that pits two teams of 8 in a football/rugby deathmatch with arena traps and power ups. Now, this would seem like a good idea, since you don't have to wait much for queue times. However, Huttball is the worst type of WZ. It sucks to pick up a bad group, as you don't get anything great for losing. Also, there are no punishments yet for deserters. So you can literally leave whenever you feel like it. This is common practice now, and it ruins the game for everyone else. The other WZ's, Voidstar and Alderaan, are completely different. The Voidstar consists of 3 rounds. Your job either begins as an attacker or defender. You must either infiltrate the enemy ship, break through their forces, and download the files at the command console within the allotted time, or you must defend it from the attackers. Best two out of three wins the WZ. Aldreaan consists of a Republic drop ship and an Imperia drop ship. Teams of Rep and Imp players have to fight to capture the three gun turrets on the battlefield in order to shoot down the enemy drop ship. First one to drop the tickets to 0 wins. The planet of Ilum is also an open PvP planet. However, as stated before, too few Republic players makes for the combat onesided. The FPS also plummets here to as low as 1FPS. The PvP gear is collected based on commendations either purchased with tokens, or won randomly in champion bags.

    Gear:

    Heres the cool thing that Bioware did with their gear pieces: Many of the gear drops and tier pieces can have their stats removed and placed into other pieces of gear. For example, you can take your tier head piece, take out the mod and/or enhancement, and put it into a Custom head piece. As of right now, expertise (PvP stat), armoring(main armor slot for gear), and set bonuses are not removable, however there are talks of them implementing that. The idea was that Bioware didn't want everyone running around with the same armor pieces. The concept is great, but again, crafters cant make armor mods equivalent to the stats of tier pieces, as well as PvP expertise stats. Looks wise, the armor is fantastic. Juggernauts and Marauders look like evil, killing machines, while Sages look like soldiers of peace keeping. Nothing looks or feels out of place.

    Crafting:

    Here is another spot where Bioware kinda dropped the ball. The way Crafting is handled is with crew skills. The companions you pick up along the road handle all of the gathering, learning, and crafting of your selected crew skills. Each companion has benefits to certain different crew skills. You send out a companion on gathering missions, where they take upto an hour picking up useful materials for your crafting skill. In the mean time, you can send your other companions to go craft available schematics. Now the concept of how crafting works is great, for leveling. You never have to sit there and grind grind grind. All you have to do is send out your companions, and you can continue leveling without them around. The bad thing is, once you hit 50, you have BARELY any use for ANY of the craftable items. Very few of these items have any future uses. Only certain ones that drop off later Flashpoints and Operations have any value, and in the end, the mats are mostly bind on pick up (which means you cant buy them), and so are the very items you craft.

    Space:

    Space combat is by far Bioware's biggest mistake. Their intention with space was to make it an epic single player encounter where the players fly through streamlined levels blasting ships left and right. This was a BIG mistake. Not only is the streamlined content boring and easy, the missions DO NOT CHANGE. The enemy ships appear out of the same places, shoot for the same spots, and stuff blows up the same way every time. Anyone who has played any type of space game knows that you cant limit yourself to something like that. Its even worse for SWG veterans (like myself) who are used to completely customizing our ships, down to the COLOR, and being able to fly freely over a MASSIVE set of outer space maps. One of the main things that made Star Wars was its iconic space battles, and this game seriously strays away from that.

    Game Support/Advancement:

    When the game was first released, many of the bugs and issues the game contained were quite severe and bothersome. Most of the time, Bioware gave a general response for the problem saying "We're working on it". Now, in most games, those problems don't get fixed. However, when Bioware puts out a patch, and there is an issue with it, within 24 hours, they are fixing it. For example: There were quite a few problems with the release of Patch 1.1 "Rise of the Rakghouls". Within the night, they fixed the larger issues. As far as advancement goes, one month exactly from when they released the game, they had their first big patch with plenty of additions as well as changes. And they have already talked about the future changes which will be debuting soon. From what I can tell, Bioware is working REALLY hard on giving the people what they want.

    Conclusion

    I am going to agree with Kevin VanOrd main assessment, being that this game isn't a record breaking, ground smashing, history destroying MMO anyone assumed it would be, but it sure does what it does EXCELLENTLY. It might reuse a lot of MMO standards, but it does so with such exuberance that you could honestly careless what game it's similar to. It adds plenty of features, but definitely needs to focus on making most of them work at full potency. What it requires though is some time, and faith from both the developers AND the players.

  6. Greetings my fellow car enthusiast. This is my 2nd blog and a continuation point i touched on briefly in "Modding for Noobs". One of the biggest headaches for modding a vehicle can be the financial aspect of it. Lets face it guys a car is already a money pit between gas and yearly maintenance and car payments that nice ride of yours can quickly drain your wallet.

    Whats worse is a car only depreciates in value and once you start toying with it you are dumping more money into something that most likely is not going to give you a big return. Make no mistake you have more to lose while modding your car than you do leaving it stock. If you get into accident all those shiny mods can be wiped out in a blink of an eye. What prompted me to write this blog is a trend i have seen over the past year. I have seen many forum members here and on other sites wasting money like it actually grows on trees :banghead:. Modding a car is a hobby unless you actually do it for living, there are other matters in life that should be attended to first. Now I'm not telling people how to spend their hard earned cash, but what i am saying is that hard earned cash should go towards that car payment before you even think about buying a part for it. Cant mod a car that has be re-poed now can you?

    I don't have all the money in the world and i have bills to pay just like everyone else. However iv managed to get everything i want for my ride "In time" and without breaking myself in the process and without neglecting bills. So here we go I'm going to go through some points that might help others that are modding on budget.

    Once again the blog will be in bullet paragraph format for an easier read.

    *Credit Cards: Credit cards are an easy way to get what you want and pay for it later. That instant gratification for shiny and new parts will instantly take care of. However, you will buying that part over time at higher cost because of finance charges attached to you credit bill. Also, if you don't pay off in one go that nice little interest charge pops back around the next month as well. Its too easy to buy everything you want for the car and just worry about it later. IF you are responsible than it shouldn't be problem but if you are already having a hard time paying your bills putting something else on your credit card isn't exactly wisest decision. If you do buy something try to pay it off as soon as possible or at least have half of the money saved first so you can send it right away after making the purchase.

    *You are not THAT guy: I wish i could use certain people as an example here but it would be rude. Look some people have more money than you do and therefore can afford to buy more expensive parts and more frequently. You are not that person and never will be. Do not be influenced by a guy who has a new part every week. Fact is you don't know that persons financial situation. Don't get so competitive that you make bad financial decisions. With good planning and some patience you can get what you want. Besides just because that other guy has a lot of parts doesn't make his ride that much better than yours. It just means he can buy more ****.

    *Patience is a Virtue: You don't have to have that that very second. Now i understand that special deals pop up all the time and you might not have the money for it right away. If its a once in a lifetime deal than i can understand using the credit card (but pay it off as soon as you get the money)However, waiting for something can have its own rewards the anticipation of knowing that you will soon have what you want can be as exhilarating as actually getting it. Have some patience you never know a better and cheaper deal might come along while you've been waiting allowing you to get what you want at a lower price.

    *You get what you pay for: Obviously brand name parts claim to be better than the generic in terms of quality. This is often true and often its not as well its catch 22. A lot of the time you are paying for the "Brand Name" only. However, there are parts out there that are just crap and you need to know how to spot them. This is where a forum comes in handy ask around do as much research as possible before you buy. Making wise decisions about your purchases, this can save you lots of money and still get you a good product. We often see this trend with Wheels and we often hear the word knock-off. There are plenty of quality wheels out there that do not have the name 5Zigen,Konig, Enkei or BBS attached to them. However, some are just crap be smart about it. Research how and where majority of wheels are made it will change your perspective.

    *Plan Ahead: So there's a part you want and its pretty expensive and you don't have the money for it right now (PUT THE CREDIT CARD BACK IN YOUR WALLET). First start by get a total price including shipping if it is being shipped. If its something that needs to be installed by a professional call and get at least some type of labor time. Now make a plan and figure out how much money you can put away from each pay check. This method is slower but is useful since it doesn't empty your wallet. You will appreciate something a lot more when you actually have to save and plan for it. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and gives you another purpose to work hard not just to pay the bills.

    *Responsibility First: Make sure all your bills for the month are accounted for. There is nothing like buying something putting it on the car and learning you have an unexpected bill or emergency come up and you don't have the money cause you spent $700 on something you didn't need or could have waited for. Always have a buffer in general its just good sense.

    *Research Research Research: Some companies do not take refunds so be sure that whatever you order is right for your ride. Before you order and end up being stuck with something that you cant use. Do some research and save yourself the hassle and your money.

    *Sale your stuff: There is always someone looking for something you might have. If you have some old parts laying around or you are switching some out. Sell them to others its a good way to make some money towards your next purchase.

    *Insure your Parts: Many insurance companies will allow you insure your aftermarket parts on your car. I have it on mine just encase something gets stolen, vandalized, or i get into an accident. You work hard so you can buy what you want you should treat your parts like you would treat other possessions of value. Pay a little higher insurance for the comfort of knowing that if something happens you are covered.

    *Sponsors: If you are really trying to get on the fast track to modding and get into the scene ballz deep. Starting looking around for Sponsors. There are many benefits to being sponsored the 1st of course being your wallet stays in your pocket more often. Getting sponsored is not as easy as it sounds though.

    *Maximize Spending: Make sure you get as much as you can for the money you are spending. If you can get multiple items by ordering them together and save money do it. Also, group buys are popular keep an eye out for special deals and incentives for buying. Remember you are not Bill Gates your capital is not infinite.

    *The Truth: It may suck but there might just be things you can not afford. Its a crappy truth but if you are collage student you obviously don't have a lot of income so that $5K or 6K turbo is out of your reach unless mom and dad are taking care of the bill. I would love a Vila over looking the Aegean but obviously i cant afford it and saving for it is not realistic. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and set your sights a little lower.

    In the end you are the holder of your own destiny and that of your ride. No one can tell you how to spend your money. If you are not married and don't have any kids than obviously you can spend a little more frivolously than others. Today now more than ever you have to be smart about how you spend you money you never what could happen. You can have your cake and eat it too, but sometimes its good idea to eat 1 piece of cake not 4. Iv managed to get everything i want for my car over time and in within reason. If i don't have the money in my checking account to cover a purchase i don't buy it. This is just way i ensure i don't get in over my head. My methods are not for everyone but i just wanted to give some general ideas about how to avoid the pitfall of over spending. Again these are my own opinions and do not represent that of ProjectLancer.net or its staff.

    Thanks for reading. :headbang2:

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    this is my first blog so... yea xD

    I first purchased my lancer 2 years ago, and I honestly love this car (even if it isnt a fast one... just saves us money in the end) and really, i would not mind making a show car at all, the problem was: coming up with the parts, coming up with the money, and mostly.. figuring out how to do everything. I first got the car, and decided to ebay and see what came up as for parts on the lancer. sad to say not much came up at all. so i decided to join forums, see what other people have done to there cars, get ideas, and make something of my own where im happy with what i got. I started modding with buying interior led lights, replacing the sound system, led tail lights.. and most of all looking for deals. Not a bad way to start.. but i should have done it smarter by going for the bigger items, like a body kit and rims. now my car is going in the shop and will not be out until friday august 13th. i just simply do not even have enough time to prepare it in that one day for hot import nights like i planned on even from 2 years ago. Now im looking back on my mistakes, and i made plenty of them and wish i hadnt.

    i realize now if i started by getting a body kit, rims, leds, springs, an exhaust, then a sound system i wouldnt have to worry about taking parts off the old bumpers, worry about wasting my time.. and i would not be rushing at this point. once my car gets out of the shop, i have to do an entire interior clean, install my springs, install a mesh grille inside the front bumper of the body kit, install and find a way to custom fit the fog lights, and putting my led under body lights to the car. there is simply no way i could get it ready for the hot import nights that i was wanting too for the past 2 years now.

    my advice to everyone is this, if you start on a project, start from something that is more time consuming and is harder... everything will end up getting more simpler and easier to work with.. and this is coming from someone who has a bad case of moddosis and who has made a lot of bad mistakes on planning for this one event.. but also please attempt to plan out what you are looking for, by writing a list, planning down when you want to try and have it by.. and everything will work out better than how it has for me.. and hopefully this will even show that organization is a big play in not just work... but in everyday life, as well as hobbies...

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    Okay ultimately I find this a role I get thrust into all the time. Has something to do with me acting older than my true age. Anyway there is this guy that is in need of a change and has confronted me on numerous occasions about his past and where he wants to go and how he needs to change etc. Only thing is, he's 28 and I am 23...part of me is like man you gotta figure this out there should be no reason why i can manage life better than you...but another part of me is like if it was me with a messed up past I would want someone in my corner keeping me away from sensless stuff and teach me how to move on with out it into a positive direction. Ironically how we met he owned a GTS but wrecked it. Now he owns a ralliart which is what keeps us talking...but overall he is a good guy just needs a slight push in the right direction...What do you guys think.