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About
Just a simple Belgian ( actually Flemish ) guy. Father of 3 awesome kids, a boy (3yo) and twin girls(1yo ).

I'm also the main host of the EuroNARPs and "owner" of Teh Lair ( but I get a LOT of help from my best mates so I don't really see myself as the actual owner )
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Xbox LIVE:Johanneliesje
PSN ID:mistic192
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mistic
5:04 AM on 03.16.2015

When I was about 7 years old, my family gave me a Sega Master System, one of the first games I got for it was "Ayrton Senna's Super Monaco GP II"... This couldn't be anything but AWESOME...

I feel I'm one of the first generations that has grown up in the golden age of video games, I was a teenager in the 90's, when gaming really became acessible in Europe... Sure, I'd played my uncle's Commodore64 at a younger age, but the arrival of the Sega Master System changed my life... But I've had to wait till much later before finally arriving at the walhalla of racing... 2015... but first... some more memories!

Need for speed... This has changed my life possibly as much as the arrival of the Sega Master System... Hell "Need For speed II" is the 'cause' of my nickname... At the time, my brother, a mate and me had a tiny DJ-team and we played some parties, I jockeyed as 'The Mistic DJ' and when NFS2 came out, it had the awesome feature that you could set your own license plate!!!888111!!! Sadly, it was limited to 6 characters, so "The Mistic DJ" became just "mistic", almost 20 years later, I'm still using it...

NFS and it's consorts really drew me into racing games, and much later, into a huge love-afair with cars and racing that's still going strong today... I evolved from NFS to GT ( Gran Turismo for those of you that're not 'in the know' ) and anxiously awaited the arrival of the "Lunapark", one weekend per year, in our town... You see, in Belgium, we didn't have arcades... ( at least not within a 100km of my home ) but we did have fairs, they would visit town after town, so we were able to go to about 3 fairs a year, most mof my money ended up in the Lunaparks, kind of mobile arcades...

for 3 weekends a year, this was my battlegrounds... Now, if you're lucky, you have about 3 days per fair to visit, one of them being only 1 or 2 hours, IF you're lucky and can save up enough money :-) I quickly was an imovable block of concentration in each racer available, Daytona, Sega Rally, whatever they had, I'd be in it ( also lightgun-games, but that's a whole other story ) and by the end of the weekend, every racing game HAD to HAVE my name on top of it, it also showed me that my village, was not filled with gamers :-(

At home, our DJ-setup was in the garage, with an old TV and a couch, I hooked up my playstation every weekend ( I was at boarding school ) and we had mates over and gamed whole weekends away.

Ever since then, a steady trickly of Need For Speeds and Gran Turismo's has been my diet, then started the age of strife, with the arrival of the very first Forza Motosport game... I had at the time an xbox to play Halo, almost exclusively Halo and a PS2 for my racing needs with GT3, but then an article in a gaming-magazine told me about Forza, and I had to get it... So I did and fell in love all over again with racing-games... I tried to convince many of my mates that this was the better game, and failed miserably... They'd grown so used to the GT-feel, that they just didn't "get" Forza...

The "Need For Speed"-fans and the "Gran Turismo" fans had never been friends, the former considered the latter as a bunch of tight-assed serious dry men and the latter felt the former were huge noobs... But here was a games that tore appart the "GT-fanbase, to make matters "worse", this is also the time PC-simulation started getting into real shape. Games like "GT Legends" and the awesome "Race Driver/DTM Race Driver" were showing the limitations placed on console-sim-racers, the sim-community was split even further... ( GT Legends is still being played, modded and raced in tournaments to this day! )

The age of a new generation heralded another stage in the Age Of Strife... Forza and Gran Turismo fans fought eachother while being mocked by the "PC Gaming Master Race". As for myself, I've always been a bit of a hoarder in videogames, and I couldn't choose sides, adding to that the fact that I was studying for a college-degree in informatics, I was lucky enough to have all available avenues to race in all great games of the time. The wait for Gran Turismo 5 had one amazing side-effect though, more and more GT-fans kept hearing about all the amazing racing to be had on xbox360 and bought a 360 as a second console, just to play the Forza games until GT5 was finally released...

by the end of the previous generation, the Age of Strife was coming to a close as well, most racing-fans had double dipped, getting a 360 and PS3 to experience all the racing all the time, an amazing timeframe gave all console-racers a rythm of new games... Forza2 -> GT5Prologue -> Forza3 -> GT5 -> Forza4 -> Forza Horizon -> GT6, it was but the preamble to the true "Walhalla Of Racing"...

It is the year 2015 and the state of (Sim)racing is the best it has ever been... There are amazing games to play for EVERYONE on ANY SYSTEM... There are some upcoming games that will blow us away even more and by the end of the year, it gets even better...

On the consoles of the past generation, the marked end of the Age Of Strife... We have Gran Turismo 6 on the PS3, it's in my eyes the perfect evolution for GT5, GT5 was a huge mess and they know it... GT6 might have better been off with the name GT5.5, but it's an amazing game in it's own right... the GT Vision part of the game is AMAZING, such great cars... It's incredible... The fact that we'll see the AMG GT in real-race-setup, racing the VLN and Nurburgring 24hrs is even more amazing!

As for the Xbox360, it's ending was incredible as well, Forza Motorsport 4 dragged any 360 screaming and begging for mercy to it's knees, it has a brilliantly paced carreer-mode, ForzaVista, incredible MP and possibly one of the greatest time-sinks in racing-game-history... "Rivals", in this game-mode, you race against a ghost from one of your mates and try to beat his score, each time you beat one, you get a new better ghost and the rewards increase... It's the racing-equivalent of "Just One More Level", a bit later, the 360-crowd got something completely new... Forza Horizon... A sim-racer, hiding in an arcade-racer... If you set the difficulty high enough and the aides off, you'll get pretty close to a sim-racer but with arcade-tracks, it's brilliant!

On our newest generation of consoles, we have a bit of a mixed bag, but greatness is sure to come... On the Xbone-side, all things a hunky dory... They've had Forza Motorsport 5, which was kind of a cashgrab, but still an awesome game and Forza Horizon 2, which is simply incredible. Both are geared towards a very different group of racers, but most players you meet, will have both anyway and upcoming is Forza Motorsport 6 that'll have the new Ford GT!

On PS4, the ground is quite barren at the moment, they're basically stuck with "Driveclub", and it's a pretty good game in and off itself, but I personally feel it can't hold a candle to the offerings on the "other side of the wall". There've been some rumours about GT7, but no official word yet, so it could be anytime now or another 5 years of waiting... I'm hoping, next year for a Prologue and maybe 2017 for GT7...

The PC-side of simracing has been the most ignored side for a good while, we still have no games like Forza or GT that allow you to build a race-car from an ridiculous piece-of-trash car... BUT we do have triple-screen racing, life-like Force FeedBack and a great array of games with a limitless amount of mods for them... We've just had a release of the "Assetto Corsa Dreampack DLC", which included a true-to-life laserscanned version of the Nurburgring, this is the holy grail of racing-games and I have to say, from my experience, they've gotten pretty damn close to the real thing ( I've done about 20 laps myself and about 50 passengerlaps in real-life ). Even better, we're happily expecting news from iRacing.com about their Laserscanned-version of the Nurburgring and there's also R3E from the veterans of GT Legends, rFactor(1/2) and the RSRBR-team who've once again made an update to the age-old-title with a new 2015-version mod.

In a few months, a new game-changer will arrive on the scene... Project C.A.R.S, pCARS, Project Community Assisted Racing Simulation... Back in I think 2012, I heard about this game for the first time, the team from Slightly Mad Studios wanted to make the ultimate-sim-racer, but no publisher believed there would be an audience for it, so SMS set up "World of Mass Development", a precursor to Kickstarted and it's ilk... I bought in on a whim, and was ( as many were at that time ) deeply dissapointed, but unlike others, I didn't ask my money back, I had faith in them and saw the potential greatness in their ideas.

Every few months, I'd update the game, boot it and play around with it... For a long time I just couldn't get into it but then came SETA ( their new tire-model ) and it transformed the game into one of the most pleasant I've ever experienced, even better is that it actually has everything a sim-racer could want... They have ever cam-position you can imagine, every weather situation you can get into on a track ( including thunderstorms! ) and possibly the greatest 'feature'... it's coming out on ALL PLATFORMS of this amazing time!

So, we have a sim-racer upcoming that can be played by all racers, casual or hardcore on any system, a bright new future of games on the new technologies and it just doesn't stop... Later this year, or possibly early next year... We'll have access to true virtual reality goggles, we'll even have a choice in different possibilities! But one thing is for sure, if there is one kind of games where VR-goggles have almost no drawbacks, it's racing... In real life you're stuckin a seat, so it makes sense to be sitting down while you see movement all over the place :-)

My mates and I have been lucky enough to have been able to test a DK1 last year for a whole weekend and we found that racing-games are perfect with VR, drifting in Dirt3 and then looking sideways to see the road through my sidewindow while looking past my co-driver was a live-changing experience... Not to mention leaning forwards to look past the A-pillar a bit, looking back down the side of my truck in Euro Truck Simulator 2 by actually leaning out of my chair and turning my head back and many many more...

So... if you're not a racer yet, get yourself a great racing-game and have at it, I assure you it'll be worth the time you put in and remember, if you're winning against AI, your difficulty setting can go higher! This is the greatest time ever for Simracing, and it'll get even better! This is truly the "Walhalla Of Racing"

 

 









Sooo... It's been about a year since my last update about the building of the ultimate location for hosting EuroNARPs... So the time is right for a small update I think :-)

For those of you that missed the previous bits, here are the previous blogs:


Part1: CLICK HERE


Part2: CLICK HERE


Part3: CLICK HERE

And now... PART4!

As I said last time, the room was usable, so we hosted our first EuroNARP there, one-night only, it was awesome yet the fact that the bar still wasn't finished, meant that drinks etc was a little messy (it still is now...) But a lot of other things have happened and at the moment I STILL have to build a bar and soundproof the ceiling, but we have MOAR consoles, MOAR TV's and some more stuff... So without further adoo (?) Here we go:

I've always been a fan of multiscreen gaming, due to space-issues I never actually had a triple-screen setup though, so when a mate of mine offered me one for sale for a relatively cheap price...

Sometimes, I also need to get shit done around here, and I've learned that a standing desk really helps a LOT with that, so I built my own miniature version of it.

This resulted in a deskarea that looks like this:

and made that side of the room like this:

So as I hope you understand, I'm quite proud of that side :-) My son is now 3,5 years old, so I've started "training" him whenever I get a chance ( my daughters are only 1.5yo, so still waiting), my son loves this room though :-) :

Space is at a premium though, so I had to install some shelving:



On New Year's eve, one of my former neighbours came to celebrate, so tehLair^3 was once again open for business:

I'd gotten quite used to my triple-screen-setup, but there was always the issue of the wheel... Either I'd want to race and not feel like having to mount the whole damn thing ( Thrustmaster T500 RS is HEAVY ), or, I'd have to play other games and surf the web with a damn wheel in my face...
I also felt the screens were a bit too far off for full immersion...

So... I returned home and bought myself a special huge board of beechwood ( it's like multiplex but 2 inches thick and pure beechwood ) ( this is only half of the total plate though )

and started building my idea...
First, a nice and big hole for myself and my deskchair:

We kept the piece we sawed out though:

made some nice sturdy feet:

make it fit nice and tight again:

give it a nice clean oil-colour that is 100% water and stain resistant (Rubio Monocoat):

And then stick it all back together again:

"Normal Mode":

"Race mode":

So... to celebrate all this... We've had another EuroNARP:


Of course, with one of our legendary BBQ's on saturday-evening!

Photo Photo Photo








It's been a long time again, the build of the new TehLair has stalled for a few months as well due to Real Life getting in the way a bit, but I'm finally able to give you guys another update on the transformation of my basement to the ultimate version of TehLair!

In case you have no clue what I'm talking about, check out PART 1 and PART 2.

Those who know TehLair a bit, know that one of it's hallmarks is the use of fluorescent paint... So for TehLair≥ we had to do this as well. As this will be the ultimate version of TehLair, I had to use a shitload of masking-tape:
detail of one of the corners:


The endresult is EPIC though:




the next step was installing a decent floor ( with sound-deadening underneath ):




Tadaaaa!:




After the floor was installed, we could finally reinstall the door:


All of this was at the end of december, and after all this time I wanted to try it out a bit and since I had to wait for delivery of some parts, we put most of the stuff back that was allready onsite:


This gave us a glimpse at how the endresult would be:






After that, we had a slight ( 2 months ) hiatus, but I'm glad that thanks to the temporary setup I finally got to enjoy my new basement a bit... In february we started work again, starting with moving the last of the items still in TehLair≤.

It was a pretty big pile of stuff to move:


We stuffed it all into a 30 year old truck ( owned by my father ) and drove 100km at 90km/h max to get it halfway across Belgium:


Before the actual unloading, we quickly installed the plinths/baseboards ( that had only been delivered a few weeks before that ):


Finally we had the right seat at the right place:


Next was a whole lot of cleaning, sorting and testing of the collection:


We also built a test-setup for the 2nd area ( still in the same room though ), this'll probably be the setup until I get a chance to build the bar/TV-cabinet that I have planned:


Finally it was time to put up the shelving that had been lying around since october, but not after adapting them to fit the style of TehLair:






Since we were hanging stuff to the walls, we also mounted some of the speakers:


After being in a box for almost a year, Mr Destructoid and his dad were finally placed in their rightful place:


And this is how it all looks now, this side is about 90% done I think:


Next weekend we'll be doing a mini-NARP with everybody that has helped with the renovation and hopefully this summer we'll be able to do the official opening :-)








After a few weeks of silence, I finally have some time to provide you guys with an update to my previous blog. In the mean time, a LOT has happened and Teh Lair^3 is getting its final shape.

This'll mostly be a pic-report as most explanation is in the first blog :-)

We've installed the power plugs (19 in total):


Of which several ones are on the ceiling:


Strikeman fixed the power box so we now has 6 power lines with each about 4000 Watts available, should be enough for anything we can throw at it :-):


It's truly a nice example of craftsmanship:


The final pieces of wall have been "wrapped" as well:


The UV-lighting is ready too:


A load of bars to mount the LED-strips:


Insulation materials for the ceiling:


Mounted the bars on the walls:


Quick test-setup of the LEDstrips:


I felt bad about being able to see the LEDs from the LEDstrips, so I installed another piece of wood in front of them to improve the lighting even more:


And the end-result is AWESOME:



No-Use and I cleaned up the whole place ( 40/50 pounds of dust from weeks of drilling and sawing ) so we could start painting:




The whole place is literally underground, there's no natural light, so I picked a few very bright colours for the walls:












So that's the current status, hopefully I'll be able to start mounting the insulation this week and next saturday we'll be installing the floor if all goes alright, then the temporary setup can be placed until the rest of the stuff in TehLair^2 can be moved there, I'll keep you guys updated!








I haven't blogged in ages, but I've been very busy... My real life has changed a lot since my last blog, I've got a new job, I've moved to a new home and last but not least, I've become a father of twin girls ( My wife and I already had a son, so it's a full house now ).†

As I now have 3 kids, hosting the EuroNARPs in their old format was going to become a LOT more difficult. For every EuroNARP I had to be away from home for about 5 days, 2 days for setup and 3 days for the actual NARP. On top of that, my father wants to sell the little forest where Teh Lair^2 is located.†

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out this blog detailing it all .



So, what's going on right now?
In my new house, one of the main criteria was that it needed a basement to build a new location for Teh Lair. As you can see from the picture above, I managed to find a house with a brilliant basement. I did a little test-setup when we first moved into the house and wanted to go from there immediately, but fate had a whole different idea...



After a few weeks in the basement, we found out that there was a rather big problem... Whenever it rained hard for a few days, water would seep into the basement, if you want to build a huge room filled with electronics, water is the LAST thing you want in that room. So a full rebuild of the room is needed and we're on it! First we had to empty out the whole room.†



I like building stuff, but to solve this issue, I needed some help from the pro's. So we had a professional company come in to build a new floor that would give the water the possibility to be pumped away. First they ground a few 'ditches' in the floor to give the water a route to get out the room to a pumping system.



after that they installed a special kind of plastic floor and filled it up with concrete.



the floor, drying out... With a nice and new floor, the walls had become a bit of an eyesore, so I decided to do a full-on rebuild with new walls, new electricity and everything else needed to make this damp old basement into the ULTIMATE NARP-location.†



One of the plans made for the final layout, this was the idea, but reality has gotten in the way a bit, so the actual layout will be slightly different, but WAY better and a LOT more practical :-)



We started installing a few extra electricity circuits, as you'll see later on, these few are escalating to a LOT more, just to be sure we have enough POWAAAH for the future, but this was the actual start of the rebuild.



My favourite material to work with is wood, so I bought a huge load of plywood and beams to build a completely new set of walls.



It took a lot longer then expected ( real life is a bitch ), but after a few weeks, a full frame was finally mounted on the walls, ready to have the plywood mounted!



Here you can see me mounting the plywood.†



All the existing pipes, lightswitches and power provisions need to be accessible, so we had to adjust every piece of plywood for them, as you can probably imagine, this was a lot of work, in the pic you can see Strikeman going at it with a passion ( and a saw ).



After 2 days of hard work ( and a quick trip to the LEGO-store ), 90% of the walls was done.



The pile of plywood is a lot smaller now:



I'm now building some of the smaller parts, like a box for the pumping system.



During the mounting of the walls, we ( Strikeman & I ) have decided to add more electricity circuits, so I'm doing this now with the help of DenBelg.



So far it looks like we'll be adding 7 electricity-circuits in total.

The Future!
Once again, Real Life invaded, I had some issues with one of my toes which were handled by a doctor, but for about a week I've been unable to wear any socks or shoes, hopefully I'll be able to continue next week.

So still to go now:

- finish the last pieces of wall
- fix door
- add 2 more electricity circuits
- mount additional ventilation
- cover the concrete floor
- install electricity box
- paint walls
- install network
- build some additional furniture ( like a bar )
- install and decorate everything

and then finally:

Host the first of the EuroNARPs at Teh Lair^3!
Photo Photo Photo







mistic
3:23 AM on 03.14.2013

I "discovered" Dtoid in its infancy, through Digg.com I kept seeing this site pop up that I'd never heard of before but it was posting articles and links at a frightening rate... Lots of the articles were real eye-catchers and I ended up visiting the site without being referred to it by Digg.com... A few months in, I discovered the concept of NARPs and how a bunch of US-dtoiders were hosting them regularly... I loved the idea ( having grown up in the LANparty-age ) and I wanted to bring it to Europe...



This lead to the very first EuroNARP. I've been "collecting" old gaming-consoles since I was a student. I had a pretty great student-job and was able to buy shitloads of old crap at various yardsales etc, but I felt that it would all go to waste if it wasn't used, this lead to the first "Teh Lair" that I built with Undergod ( PICS & original broken blog about that ).



So anyway, the first PAX was coming and since I live in Europe, there was no possible way for me to get there ( really don't have the money for stuff like that ), so I posted an invite for all Euro-Dtoiders: "Can't get to PAX? How about a NARP? (NSFW prolly)". As you can read from the blog I posted after the NARP, it was F*CKING AWESOME! =>EuroNARP Recap



After the first one, we had the taste, we started hosting 2 BIG NARPs every year. We do a summer edition in the summer ( DUH ) and a Winter-edition around february ( will be next week this year due to stuff & reasons ). And in between we host tiny NARPs to fill up the gaps. We've done all kinds of NARPs too, we've done "RetroNARPs", "NintendoNARP" & "SegaNARPs". Always at the same awesome location: Teh Lair^2



Yes, you see that correctly, it is indeed just a few containers stacked together & rebuilt into the ultimate gaming-paradise :-) Every NARP we try to "surprise" our regular guests and thus the inside & outside of Teh Lair^2 have changes significantly every year. This is how it all started: Before Po0ky & I started the rebuld and then it became this: EuroNARP 1, Main Room At the moment it mostly looks like this: "Welcome To Teh Lair"-blog.



Every single NARP has been a huge pleasure to host & we've had people come from ALL OVER THE WORLD, which is incredibly awesome to say the least... You have no idea how great it feels to have a visitor that has travelled for a full day or more just to be at your NARP... We've had Dutch guys ( Simon & Bob ), German guys ( n0brein, 3roticN3rd, Fana7ic ), guys from the UK ( Njsykora ) and even someone from Brazil ( NuclearPsycho ), I'm probably even forgetting some people due to all the alcohol-consumption at the EuroNARPs...



The biggest honour came for me last year... Hamza & Niero were going to do a EuroTrip and I invited them over to Teh Lair for EuroNARP 4.5, sadly they wouldn't be able to make it to that one, BUT they would fit a few days in Belgium into their schedule so they could at least visit Teh Lair... So, we hosted a one-night-NARP, EuroNARP 4.4 and it was incredible! I hope they weren't to bothered with me being so starstruck, but it was so awesome to have them come over, and then they totally RAPED our asses at any game we threw at them... we even had to create a specific Halo3 mode for MP that we still play now.



It's called "Deathmatch for when Hamza joins in" and it basically punishes who-ever is in the lead by depleting their shield and setting them at half health... and he still won almost every single match...



Every single NARP has been special to me, but the visit by Niero & Hamza was a truly special occasion for all of us that waste days and days at setting up and preparing Teh Lair for every single EuroNARP...

The next one is next week and it'll be AWESOME once again, I'm sure :-) It might be the last one at Teh Lair^2 because I'm gonna rebuild it in my new basement of my "new" home, but the EuroNARPs will keep going as long as I can hold a controller in my hands!

Thanks to everybody that has ever been to one of our EuroNARPs and if you read this guide you can start hosting your own NARPs and join in the fun!

It has been a pleasure ( and will keep on being one, I'm sure ) to host these NARPs and I hope to see you all at the next one, or the next one, or the next one...

Warm regards,
mistic, Po0ky, UnderGod & No-Use[youtube]