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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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EuroNARP4.4 : The US-edition!
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE DATE HAS CHANGED!!!!!

Dtoiders of the Europe-Mainland, now is your chance! Our hallowed overlords Niero and Hamza are visiting the Old Continent in a few weeks and they will be passing by @ Teh Lair!

To celebrate this we're having a special mini-EuroNARP!
if you don't know what a NARP is, go here: How To Host a NARP


Teh Lair from the outside

So on the 4nd of February we'll open Teh Lair for a crazy night of gaming, beer and fun with anyone that wants to join us! Though as it is a mini-NARP, we'll have limited seating available, so if you want to join in, be sure to register for the event ASAP by mailing to "Tehlair" + "@" + "gmail.com"


The Main-room in full action @ EuroNARP4

Details

Location:

Teh Lair
this is located in a small village in the North of Belgium: Essen ( beware there's a city in Germany that is named Essen as well but that's 100's of km's away from the one in Belgium ), more details if you are actually coming.

Date & Time

We'll be starting around 9pm on saturday the 4th of February and Teh Lair will be closed again around 10/11 am on sunday ( depending on when we finish breakfast )

Stuff To Bring

- 15 euros per person for entrance ( free beer all night long! )
- Sleepingbag + something to sleep on
- Games / Controllers / TV : let us know when registering if you want to bring something allong and we'll let you know if we still have a spot for it!

Please note, we don't really like having to ask for money for entrance, but we kinda need some money to keep all these containers in usable condition, but if you drink enough, there's nothing to be worried about :-D


Late-evening-beamer-gaming @ EuroNARP4

This is your chance to meet the guys that have made all this possible, the big examples of "Living The Dream", our overlords from the US, so join us in this celebration of Gaming & the Dtoid-Community

Hope to see you all there!


ALSO: if you can't make it to EuroNARP4.4, EuroNARP4.5 will be happening from the 17th of feb till the 19th of feb, so feel free to join us at that one! More info will come, you can join the Dtoid-EU-mailing-group Here


ALso2: here's the official recap video of our last event ( EuroNARP4.2 )
watch it here








As some of you know, I'll be a father soon. I've been a fan of racing games for years, but really became an avid fan of simracers over the last few years. This requires a wheel + seat for the best experience. So far I've built 3 "rigs", 2 of them were basically just plywood contraptions to keep a wheel and racing-seat from a GOLF2 together, the last one of those was in my gameroom:

Seat + book-cupboard by Van Loon Johan, on Flickr
Full set of pics for my gameroom

We just have a 2 bedroom-apartment, so when my wife got pregnant, my gamerooms days were numbered, so I had to find a solution and quick! Luckily, my wife is very supportive of my gaming-quirks, however putting that racingseat in the living room was simply out of the question, for one it looks hideous, takes up a shitload of space and it would mess up our otherwise nice and clean living room. So how to have a racing-setup in the living room without making it look like a mess?

The first part of the solution was the birthdaygift my wife gave me in february, the Fanatec Rennsport Wheelstand, she suggested I store it in the bed room and just to grab it if I wanted it. The PC would be on it's 'old' Ikea-Desk that was in the gameroom... HOWEVER... I've grown up in a carpenter family ( father & youngest brother are carpenters ) so I know my way around a woodshop. I decided to build my own custom desk.

Designing it took a little longer then planned as I had to wait 3 months for the wheelstand to arrive, but after that it all went great :-)

So here's my home-built racing desk:

When it's closed, it's just a nice and clean-looking desk.

desk as a real desk. by Van Loon Johan, on Flickr

And then the magic starts happening ( takes about 5 minutes to set up completely ):

IMG_2655 by Van Loon Johan, on Flickr

After the panel is secured, we start setting up the wheelstand:

IMG_2656 by Van Loon Johan, on Flickr

wheelstand is ready to go back in:

IMG_2658 by Van Loon Johan, on Flickr

add a chair from the table:

ready to race by Van Loon Johan, on Flickr

and RACE:

racing on the desk by Van Loon Johan, on Flickr

lots of possibilities with 3 different systems in the cupboard:

the goodie-cupboard :-) by Van Loon Johan, on Flickr

all the crap back in the box (not the gigabitswitch on the side):

all tucked away by Van Loon Johan, on Flickr

The actual desk area:

Desk in it's 'normal' state by Van Loon Johan, on Flickr

Hope you guys like it!








Everybody's pissed at Electronic Arts at the moment, either it's Origin-steam-feuds, ridiculous Battlefield-decisions, buying this-or-that-developer and more. Recently the focus is directed at EA for not allowing Turn10Studios to use Porsches in their next opus: Forza Motorsport 4.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm mad at them for all of the above as well, but there is a very simple way for EA to make it all up to me and probably a LOT of other gamers, especially the people of the last and newest group: the people that'll be missing the Porsches in Forza Motorsport 4.

Here's what I'm talking about:


Hear me out now, I want this game, BUT I also want to play Forza4 with my G25, alas since it doesn't work on a 360, we can make a LOT of people happy. First a short introduction for our younger public:

My love-affair with Porsches really started with the original Porsche Unleashed on PC, I didn't have a wheel yet, but I did have a controller on my PC, a kickass soundsystem and I was at a public boarding school that allowed the 6 people in the last 2 years of highschool to have their own private (30 room) floor without any supervision... We all had PC's and we were racing in this game almost non-stop for months after it was released on a small network with hubs and cables hidden behind our curtains and posters and our fireproof ceiling. ( most of us were studying informatics or graphics as a major so we needed decent PC's :-) I worked a whole year to buy a ,ew gaming PC )



The "Factory Driver"-mode was EPIC, you got to drive with virtually every important Porsche ever built, is was the first semi-serious NFS-game in the series in that regard :-) Multiplayer was a blast, especially in knock-out mode since whoever sucked most was left behind and had to wait the longest for his next run :-)

Now, as much as I loved that game back then, it's got a problem. It's Need For Speed, as much as I love the series ( I've owned ever single game they ever made at some time or another and still buy every one that comes out), I've been longing for a more realistic experience, my hopes were aimed at shift, but they've been shot down a bit. Don't get me wrong, I still really like those games, but they're not sim-experiences in my eyes, being used to GTR:Evolution.



So, how to handle all this? Well, first step is, you've been overtaken in the realism-field by Turn10Studios, plain and simple, they've done Porsches ridiculously great for years already now so why not get together, you're a publisher, they're a brilliant dev and their engine simply rocks!

But, all us true fans of simracers that own G25's (and sometimes a lot better) on PC are missing out on games like Forza, where we can change anything we want and get a true feel for the cars and the race. I've driven the 'Ring about 20 laps myself and about 50 as passenger with drivers of various skilllevels and with my limited experience, I truly feel that Forza's representation of the 'Ring and driving a car on edge feels a lot more realistic in Forza then in Shift, no matter how many aids you turn off. And once again, they're great at building Porsches:



So, what to do?

1. Get Forza-engine and port it decently to PC
2. Get Forza-Porsches ( all 35 of them ) and build the whole catalogue of Porsches ever built yourself
3. Give Forza licence for their own 35 plus the ALMS-Porsches, but only for 360
4. make new Factory Driver mode but take all the rest from FM3 :-)
5. release game as PC exclusive ( not 360 as not to interfere with Turn10Studios )
6. PROFIT and LOTs of it



PS: Also, RELEASE IT ON STEAM please.
Photo Photo Photo








NARPs are one of the greatest things I got from Dtoid, I've been hosting them for 4 years now and we've had about 15 EuroNARPs. The number only goes up with the summer edition, in betweens are decimal numbers like 2.5, 2.6 etc. Since we can always use more people doing NARPs, especially this side of the ocean, here's a short introduction to how to host a NARP.

1. What is a NARP?

NARP stands for No Apparent Reason Party. It's kind of like a LANparty, but instead of using PC's, which are mostly single-player-devices, we use consoles. The benefit is that most of the time you'll have to get to know the people to get to play, as a result, everyone goes home with a bunch of new friends :-)

NARPs come in any shape/size you want them to be, we're lucky to have a dedicated location for EuroNARPs, but you can just as easily do it in your own home/dorm/garage/garden! Which brings us to the most important part.



2.Location, Location & Location!

As with all things in live, the most important part is having a place to do it. We're really lucky to have Teh Lair ( see first part of article ) but as said before you don't have to have something over-the-top like that :-)

There's just a few things that you need to think about...
- Gamers/Games are generally pretty loud, so if you're doing a 3-day-NARP like we do, warn your neighbors before it happens or find a place where neighbors aren't an issue ( we're "hidden" in a small forest in the middle of an industrial site, surrounded by factories :p )
- Seats!!! Make sure you have enough seating available or ask people to bring their own foldable chairs, nothing sucks more then having to stand up for hours on end...
- Powah!! This might seem logical, but it can be trickier then you think, lots of TV's & consoles together use an awful amount of power so make sure you're using different circuits in your location. We didn't have power until friday afternoon 2pm even though we were there since wednesday. Or to be correct, we had too much power, 400V iso 220V :p

Also, if you do a multi-day-NARP like us, you'll need to provide people with a place to sleep, we set up a campingground in our forest during the summeredition and use the available seats & floorspace in Teh Lair when it's too cold for that.


next up...



3.Games!

You can't have a gaming-festival without games, but which ones? Well, I believe any game is ok and welcome at a NARP, but logically MP-games are the most interesting.

our 2-player-racing-area ( farthest one is on a triplle-screen :-) )


MarioKart NGC ( Wii version is too easy! )


Worms:


if you read through the recaps of our previous events, you'll find some good tips on which games to play, the alltime classic for any EuroNARP at Teh Lair is "Mashed" on the regular XBOX ( Track: Polar Wharf Weapons: Chaos Airstrike:ON ) this one track gets played more then ANY game ever played at any EuroNARP ( it's what's being played on the beamer up there :-) )



4.Catering

This kinda depends on the size & location of your NARP, we're once again lucky to have someone like Strikeman who is a master of the BBQ. We also have deal with our local liquor-store that we can take along as much beer as we want and then return whatever is unopened ( per package of 24 of course ). Finally we made a deal with the local bakery a few years back, and he delivers our breakfast around 7am when most of us go to bed, so we can get up at 11am for breakfast and more games :-)

On nights where we don't provide food for all, we generally make 1 big order at the local pizza place and they'll deliver it since we order so many pizza's, as most gamers don't make too big a deal about this, there's generally nothing to worry about :-)



5.People

1. Get in touch with your local city-group ( or create one if needed ) e.g.: DtoidEurope via their blog
2. make sure it appears on The Dtoid Meetup-page
3. invite friends over, it might make them new dtoid-fans :-)



6.Rules

We have a few rules to make life at the NARPs easier for everyone.

1. Gaming takes precedence over ANYTHING: watching a movie on the PS3 but somebody wants to try out MOVE? too bad for you, Gaming Goes First!
2. Multiplayer >>> Singleplayer: trying out the MOVE on PS3 but a few people wanna play a 4-player-game of COD-splitscreen? Move over mate :-)
3. No sleeping in the couches unless it's too cold to sleep in the tents ( aka don't take up gaming-space if you just want a quick nap :p )

Now, go forth, host & visit NARPs!
Photo Photo Photo








I started out playing PC-games when I was 7, at 8 I got my first home-console ( Sega Master System II ), but I stuck with PC-gaming until slowly but surely the original Xbox and Halo convinced me of the viability FPS-games on consoles... Before I knew it my gaming-pc was hopelessly outdated and I was playing my games exclusively on consoles, as always, I kept playing shitloads of FPS-games ( also racing-games, but that's another story ).

As I grew up as a PC-gamer, FPS's on consoles were a LOT easier then what I was used too but I kept on feeling that nagging idea in the back of my head "I'd have gotten that kill with a mouse!" "Damn movement is sooooo fucking slooow" etc etc however, the comfort of playing from my sofa and no hassles to get a game started kept me on consoles.

Gears Of War, Modern Warfare, Halo3, Resistance 1&2 all convinced me that I "was doing it right", though the nagging feeling still remained... About 2 years ago, I built a brand new gaming PC ( I got a nice bonus at work and wanted to spoil myself a bit :p ) mainly for racing with my G25 in GTR:Evolution, I installed some FPS's that I still had from my previous PC, but even though I thoroughly enjoyed the speed & precission that came back with playing via a mouse, I was missing my sofa...

Then MAG came out for PS3, and I LOVED it, 256 players in a single map is just amazing... I was missing the mouse-speed & precission once again, but just the shear scale of this game kept me coming back...

then...


I've always been a fan of cool peripherals, so I bought a Move-set in the first month that it was available, I got beta-access to "MAG_with_Move" and the first match I got utterly RAPED, I went back to the 'tutorial-section' and played around untill I started to get a feel for it...

And then it literally changed everything for me... Once you take the time to actually get used to playing an FPS-game with a Move-controller it's actually really precise and a lot more enjoyable then a regular controller is when compared to a mouse-keyboard setup.

A few months back, Killzone3 was released, the first real FPS designed from the ground up with Move ( and 3D :p ) in mind and it showed!


yeah, I bought this too...

The sharpshooter is just the icing on the cake, I can't tell you how immersive this makes an FPS-game, you really have to experience it ( and take the time to get used to it ). I'd even venture to say that a sharpshooter is to an FPS like a racing-wheel is to a racing-game, sure it takes some time to get used too and is sometimes even harder then with a regular controller ( try going full-opposite-lock from left to right on a G25 and then try it on a controller :p ) but once you try it, you'll just get bored with a regular controller, there's just so much more fun in playing an FPS with an actual gun in your hands :)

The only "downside" is that soo many people try it for just a few matches and expect to be at the same level as they were before switching to a Move-setup, while you really have to take your time for it, you weren't at the top of the ranking when you started FPS's, nor when you switched from kb+mouse to controller, so why should this be any different? Just GO FOR IT!

So what is the end result for me? A steam-sale brought me Battlefield:BC2, so I'm still playing FPS's on PC with a keyboard and mouse ( guess you just can't stop what you started with ), but on my PS3 I'm almost exclusively playing with the sharpshooter if available, sure it takes some time setting up and finding the setting that work best for YOU, but once you're used to it, you'll never want to loose that precission again... I now find myself thinking "damn I'd love to play this with the sharpshooter" while I'm on my PC :)

So in the case of Move, I'm an avid supporter!
Photo Photo








Just got back from Singapore, as a loyal Dtoid-member, I took all my 3 dtoid-shirts with me, sadly only one of those ( STFUAJPG ) is not black, so I had to wear that one the most ( luckily my mother-in-law cleaned it regularly for me so I could wear it most of the days :-)



I left from Brussels in my Kamikaze-shirt, which turned out to be both a great Idea and one of the worst ever in travelling :-) It was a great idea since it's such a recognizable t-shirt. We had just passed security in Frankfurt ( Germany ) when suddenly a security-guard comes running at me, I crap my pants as I've got a lighter and matches in my backpack, both of which are banned from flights, but they didn't find them on me, so I figured he had spotted it after all... but he just points at my shirt and goes "That's from Destructoid right? I'm a huge fan of the site!" so I handed him my contact details so he can join us for the EuroNARP in August :-)

When I arrived in Singapore, I noticed all locals staring at me like I'm crazy, at first I figure it's because of the bright yellow jogging-suit I'm wearing ( very comfortable for 13+ hours flights ), but as we leave the airport with my parents-in-law, my mother-in-law points out that it's not very "nice" to wear a shirt with the Japanese WW2-flag on it in a country that was ass-raped by the Japanese in those days... ( so that's why it was a horrible idea :p )


upon our arrival we went for a late night dinner ( 10 pm by then ) where I stunned Chinese people ( the people suffering most from the Japanese invasion in WW2 ) by still wearing the shirt ( as I didn't have a chance to change yet :p )


Singapore is a city of tech-addicts and gamers, on the first real day out, we found this Sony-booth where a huge contest was taking place in FIFA World Cup on PS3, pretty fucking sweet :-)


There was also a anime-convention somewhere in town ( never made it there in our short trip ) but there were people cosplaying all around town, like these examples show :-)




In Singapore, they try to put statues in the places where they're supposed to be, like this one of children swimming in the Singapore-river. While I "took a dive" a group of Japanese tourists was passing by that obviously thought my pose was hillarious as I saw a shitload of flashes go of :p


For the rest I mostly walked around with Dtoid-shirts all the time :-)





Sadly we weren't allowed to take pics/vids in this arcade or I would've been able to let you feast your eyes on 2 asian teen chicks cosplaying in japanese student outfits totally destroying a Dance Dance-machine a 2 player Expert-mode match... ( My wife wasn't too happy about my looks at them but she understood it was more the awe at the quality of their playstyle :p )



I had gone to Singapore thinking to spread the word about Dtoid everywhere I got the chance, however it turned out that it wasn't needed at all, Dtoid had already invaded BOTH toys-museums!

MINT Museum Of Toys:



I couldn't help myself (vid at bottom of blog):


Magical Children Museum:


In short, Singapore is a fucking great city with 3G and 4G-networks all around, even on the subway you've always got FULL coverage, 60% of the people on any given subway-train is doing something on their smartphone, 15% are playing a PSP and the rest are just staring at you :-)



Dtoid-robot in action:
Photo Photo Photo