Resilience, building and Dark Souls 3

I’ve been away from the car for a few days as Christmas preparation has sucked up all of my free time to build. I have had time to reflect on my progress and learnings so far. The learnings vary from the simple (testing continuity with a multimeter, and how you don’t need the circuit to be powered – thanks Jason) to the fiddly (clearing out a thread full of swarf with a tap so I could finish installing the engine on it’s mounts, doing up the top bolt on the front dampers, getting those damn steering bushes in place with the steering column also in place). Actually, more fiddly than anything else. My patience has been tested, frustration levels often high, but always with the right outcome and a feeling of achivement. My progress is equally rewarding; I’ve installed and engine and gearbox into a car and built the front suspension including the lights, and tested that they work (again, thanks Jason!), overcoming and solving problems on the way.

It strikes me that building the car is an exercise in determination and resilience. There’s always problems to solve and the simplest jobs can make hours of effort disappear. When time is at a premium, that’s hard to take. Setbacks can seem insurmountable. Frustration is never far away. It’s much like playing a game of Dark Souls 3.

Dark Souls 3 Art

Dark Souls 3 Art

Dark Souls 3 is a masterpiece of a videogame. It’s rare, in that it doesn’t hand-hold the player, but treats him, or her as an equal. The manual is next to useless. The rules of combat are not explained. The objective of each level has to be discovered through play. The bosses at first appear impossible to defeat. Without determination and resilience, players give up. But, for those who refuse to be beaten, progress can be made. Over time weaknesses appear, ones that can be exploited. Step by step, the battles last longer, the boss more weak before winning. Eventually, sweet victory; the player finally gets the better of the boss and, after many, many attempts, it falls. Then to the the next area to explore and new challenges to learn about and engage.

Building the Caterham has many parallels to this. The poor manual, the need for resilience and determination, the unclear path to the end product. And, most of all, the highs of a completed component, or major milestone passed. In the world of videogames, there is nothing like it outside of Dark Souls 3 (except perhaps it’s close cousin, Bloodborne), and I haven’t come across anything else as frustrating and rewarding as the build of my Caterham in the real world. Once it is completed, it will truly be mine, on a different level to any other car or bike I’ve owned, much as my relationship with Dark Soul is unlike any other videogame I have played.

Ready for battle

Ready for battle

It’s a challenge, but I am determined. Dark Souls 3 determined.

4 thoughts on “Resilience, building and Dark Souls 3

  1. Hi Rob, have been following your build blog with avid interest as I just made my 2nd stage payment on a 360 which i am going to build with my son when he finishes his GCSEs in June.

    Keep up the great work on the blog even in those ‘dark’ times!

    Richard Balshaw

    • Hi Richard,

      I’m so glad you are enjoying the blog. Fantastic news on the purchase – you’re really committed now! Have you gone for an S3 or SV chassis? It would be a great father/son project, many happy (and possibly frustrating) memories are coming your way.

      Do keep in touch and let me know how you get on.I might still be building by the time you start yours in June.

      • Hi Rob

        I can (just about) squeeze into an S3 so Ive gone for that with the R pack as I wanted most of the bits that came with it anyway.

        I had ordered a 310 but decided to test drive the 360 before the 2nd stage payment and although it was wet and slippy on Saturday 10 minutes in the car with Caterham South convinced me I wanted the Duratec engine. You’ve defintely made the righ choice, the tourque is amazing!

        I have zero mechanical knowledge but my son is thinking of doing mechanical engineering so together I hope we can work it out!

        Will definitely keep in touch and good luck with the rest of the build.


        • Nice choice – I’m too tall/wide for an S3, plus I want to tour in the car so added fuel and luggage space was a bonus. Never fear about your mechanical experience. I hadn’t used a torque wrench in anger before I started this build, and there is great support out there in the community of Seven owners when times get tough. You, and your son, will have a blast!

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