Monthly Archives: October 2013

I’M SO IRRATIONALLY EXCITED OMGEARD

Drunk With Robots

So, in case you didn’t know, Blazblue Chrono Phantasma dropped in Japan today. For us not-Japanese types, we’ve been waiting (impatiently, rioting in the streets) for PSN to update so we could download it off of the Japanese PSN. WHICH MEANS I HAVE LESS THAN 4 HOURS (ish) BEFORE I CAN PLAY ANOTHER BLONDE GIRL WITH GUNS GUYS (lots of guns–laser guns, too!).

If you’re thinking about getting it, here are some fun facts (OR OPINIONS OR WHATEVER) I’ve collected from my travels:

  • Jin is currently stronger (and more stylish) than Ragna. Ragna’s damage got reduced, Jin’s damage got buffed (I think?), and he has a few cool new moves (a Sekkajin alternative that, instead of being a combo-extender, knocks back and wall bounces)
  • Taokaka actually has combo strings now. People have been comparing Japanese-Taokakas to Valkenhayns. This means that you’ll still always be bad at Taokaka, regardless of how…

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Our First episode of our Podcast! New every week!

We are starting our new Weekly podcast now! Check out the first episode right here!

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Minecraft Architecture 101: Building Your First House

So, you are new to Minecraft or perhaps just never mastered the art of building between those pvp matches or whatever non-builders do in Minecraft. Regardless, you don’t want your first house to look like shit. Well, good news! It doesn’t have to! Below I’ll walk you through how not to make a shit first house.

A shit house. For reference.

A shit first house. For reference.

The first thing to understand when trying to build anything that looks good is to not just have solid walls of nothing but one block. Big flat cobblestone walls and wood plank squares look like utter shit. You need to mix it up by adding texture and depth. The way you add some texture is to break up the bland single block walls with blocks of a different but complimentary type. The simplest way to do this with a basic wood house is to add in log supports for the corners. That simple change improves the look of your house vastly.

It's still pretty shit though.

It’s still pretty shit though.

While it’s better it has no depth to make it feel like anything more than a thin one block wall. This is were stairs come in.  Stairs are pretty much your best friend when building. They enable you to build not totally shit roofs , arches, support beams, thick looking foundations, furniture, and even sometimes staircases. Their most important use is definitely for roofing though. Making a decent roof is probably the biggest step to making a nice looking house.  The simplest stair roof is the old standby peaked roof. You just build up and inward one block at a time from from the log corners till you meet in the middle making a triangle shape. It looks best when you do the peak on the shorter side of your rectangle. Do this on both ends of your rectangle. Then you just build stairs on top of that adding a one block over hang out from the blocks underneath to give it that depth I mentioned earlier.  This is the point where you start to move in decent looking territory.

Case in point.

Case in point.

Now that you have a basic roof, you can get down to the business of adding some more texture and depth to your house with a little detail. The best blocks to play around with when doing this are half slabs, fences, stairs, trap doors, and decorative stuff like flowers. Here are some examples:

Add some depth to your entry way with some half slabs and fences.

Add some depth to your entry way with some half slabs and fences.

Add some window shutters using trapdoors.

Add some window shutters using trapdoors.

Or perhaps a flower box.

Or perhaps a flower box.

Up until now we’ve been strictly building even sided rectangles for our houses. However, there are better looking dimensions for building houses. The simplest and the one I usually use in most builds is to have an odd sided rectangle. It’s a simple change but it allows you have a single block center and it lets you balance your buildings easier.

Simple, efficient, and balanced. J'adore.

Simple, efficient, and balanced. J’adore.

Now there is another, slightly less simple, way to build structures and many Minecraft builders swear by it. Those of you who have ever taken an algebra class will know it as the Golden Ratio. It is the ratio that is most pleasing to the eye.

Golden Ratio.

And mathematically speaking, it looks like this.

However, for our purposes all you need to know is that means having either a 3 by 5 rectangle or more likely a 5 by 8 rectangle. Of course if you want to scale up your build you’re gonna have to dive in the Fibonacci Sequence….

I'm starting to understand why I don't use this method much.

I’m starting to understand why I don’t use this method much.

Or you could just remember that the next number in the sequence is simply the last two added together. So a 13 by 8 rectangle or a 21 by 13 rectangle and so on.  Yeah, that’s probably easier than algebra. This method has a lot of positives in terms of what you can do with it and is definitely the most professional looking.

But it makes the over hang roofs look wonky. So fuck it.

But math, so fuck it.

Now you’ve got all the basics. If you combine all this and experiment a bit  you can make a nice quaint little house. Good luck fellas.

An example.

A nice quaint little house.

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Lest this blog goes under…

Howdy, friends.

So, in the midst of probably the largest anime-fighting game release this year, I’m here to write about League of Legends. And more math. Seriously, does anyone actually ever get tired of math? Concepts, mind you, rather than computations.

I have a particular bone I’d like to settle with everyone who plays AD carry, because I don’t think people quite grasp what it is to “be in a fight.” We’ll start small.

Here’s a scenario: you’re early-game laning as, say, Tristana, against Corki. For the sake of simplicity, neither of you are using skills, and Tristana’s range is negligible for the time being. Assume that all dps is comparably similar (you’ll see that it really doesn’t matter anyway). You go in and start shooting him, and he starts shooting back before he realizes that he won’t win this and stops shooting to run. He’ll get away because of frame animation, but not before he takes a few more shots. When he stops firing, his dps goes from whatever it was to fucking-zero, while Tristana’s bottoms out after she gets done firing. BUT WHAT DOES IT MEAN

The next scenario is a team-fight. You decided to blow rocket jump early and now there’s a Nasus all over your ass. What do you do? You’re withered, catching Q’s to the face, and everyone is out to touch your butt. What’s your dps right now? Zero. Yep. You’re a walking target and because of your initial positioning of “getting shat on,” you aren’t doing a single thing. Yeah, you were there in that team-fight, but were you really a part of it?

This has been something that I’ve been grappling with for a while–when you’re trading, when do you stop, and when do you follow up? I main support (sometimes by choice, but mostly not) and I’ve been supporting a vast number of ADCs that won’t commit to a poke-game, which lets our opponent come strolling back into lane with a potion, rather than forcing him to go back and suck up losing out on farm. I get it, it isn’t safe, where’s the jungler, too many moving parts blahblahblah BUT IF THEY’RE IN RANGE AND RUNNING AWAY THERE’S A PERSPECTIVE ZERO DAMAGE YOU CAN TAKE FROM THEM, AS LONG AS THEY’RE RUNNING AWAY

Same goes for team-fights. If you’re being kited by a Vayne as Darius, then maybe it’s time to chase someone else (personal experience last night), or wait for her to make a mistake later, because if you’re getting kited, there’s a good chance that YOU DUN FUCKED UP. On the other hand, before you decide to engage in a team-fight, ask yourself, “is this an idea that will take me out of the fight?” Reposition, be patient, all that. Seconds can change the game, but so can an AD carry deciding, FUCK I HATE BEING ALIVE

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FLG Film Mini-Reviews: Machete Kills

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Genre: Grindhouse/Action/New Wave Bad Cinema

Year: 2013

This movie transcends simple grind house. It’s like the grind house genre and Scifi-Originals had a freaky orgy and this was the result. It was just a fun give-no-fucks film that had me laughing my ass of the whole time.  The fact my buddy and I had the theater to ourselves and we’re able to go all Mystery Science Theater on it’s ass just made it all the better. It’s an instant classic in what I’m going to artsyly call “New Wave Bad Cinema”.  I can’t wait for the sequel.

11 spinning blade kills out of 10.

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Tournaments

Tournaments.

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A monologue concerning performance analogues

I want to preface this entry with, yes, I’ll be talking about League of Legends. Yes, I will be talking about math. Yes, it will probably bore you to tears. Yes, I feel the necessity to write this.

In the Tampa FGC for anime fighting games (dubbed, “Tampa anime” for here on out), there’s a joke that’s passed around: “if you want to play competitively, pick top-tier.” It’s partly a truth, and partly a jest at the eSports scene. The interesting part lies in the former, obviously, and that’s what I’ll be nitpicking about today.

As with any good proof or analysis, let’s first define some variables. Top-tier can refer to a number of different things: colloquially, it describes the best character, whereas more intimately, it describes the most effective character at a specific task. There are always wrenches thrown into the cogs, mind you, as time goes on, and because of that, top-tier analysis is usually an empirical (that’s to say, “defined by experience moreso than by logic”) scale.

An example: Solomon Grundy in Injustice (I use this because everyone’s EXPECTING ME to do something anime HAH SUCK IT NERDS I’M EVERYWHERE). Day-1 top-tier. Second day, they found something close to a 60% combo that can be frame-trapped into a reset (or something–I forget, it’s been too long since anyone has talked about him). Third day, he won first place at several tournaments, to include some big ones. Fourth day, people found out about Death Stroke. Fifth day, people found out about Aquaman. Solomon Grundy died on the sixth day, and was buried on the seventh day. That was the end of Solomon Grundy. Props if you got the reference.

Let’s talk about why he was so good, though. Earlier, I used the word “efficiency,” which is (SUPERGENERALDEFINITIONSGO) a ratio of capital put in, versus the amount of capital put out. Note that this can be used to describe all sorts of things. Is it more efficient to invest four hours into a job to get $100, or one hour into a job and get $100? Now, what if, for that one hour, you had to scrub a hyperbolic time chamber, and it felt like years for you? WHAT NOW, HUH?! It’s a rhetorical example.

Ready for the next batch of terms? The first is “learning curve,” and the second is “skill ceiling.” A learning curve is how much you learn over a time (or experience), until mastery. That’s to say, if the learning curve is steep, then the beginning of your training, you’d learn a lot and how to do well with very little experience, but because mastery is set at the same point for all graphs, it’ll start out steep but then rapidly decrease and you’ll learn very little after that first spurt. The exact opposite goes for the converse of a “steep learning curve.”

A “skill ceiling,” on the other hand, is how well one can do with a set of skills given to them. It can be defined by the player’s capabilities (i.e., in Chess or Go), or a mixture of that and that which is given to her to work with. For the latter, the player’s performance can be taken out of the mix and determined through a variety of different quantification methods (Elo system, MMR system, etc., etc.), and those typically assume equal playing field for those in league. What I’d like to point out is this big-ass other part of that: “that which is given to her to work with.”

Solomon Grundy had both a steep learning curve and low skill ceiling, which equates out to players learning how to be decent with him quickly (while the other players who played a character with a more moderate learning curve caught up), and then petering out quickly because the people would top out with him, and better characters would beat him when the players finally caught up. Even played at the top of his game, against, say, a Superman or Aquaman at the top of their game, he doesn’t have tools to deal with their pressure or whatever.

WHERE THE FUCK AM I GOING WITH THIS.

I had the sheer delight of seeing two kids arguing over a character in League of Legends, Blitzcrank, and his lack of nerfs. If you don’t know, Blitzcrank is known for having a hook that pulls you into him, a knock-up that disallows you from doing anything, an AoE silence+DD, and a movement speed buff. It equates out to sounding like “holy fuck why” but remember: every champion has its strengths and weaknesses. The pull is on a high cooldown, for instance, and takes retarded amounts of mana. He starts out squishy. He’s melee. So on, so forth.

“But drunkaigis! What does that mean about that six-page essay you wrote earlier?!”

Note how I wrote about Solomon Grundy earlier; we took out the player performance to net a (rather conceptual) grasp on him in comparison at separate times to other characters in the game. For the lack of a better word off the top of my head, we’ll call this a “theoretical grasp,” as opposed to an “empirical grasp” that stems more from one player’s experience with the character (playing as, playing against, or playing with–it is a team game, after all).

In the end, how do we determine who was right (or has the bigger e-peen?!)? It’s a sticky situation, because both are valid points! However, even though they’re both arguing different ranges of performance on the overall spectrum of Blitzcrank-play, both of them are failing to see the dilemma that Riot is faced when they have to make the decision to buff or nerf a champion (as well as failing to see why I hate “balance discussions” between players in general)–how do they balance a champion in a game with so many moving parts, and who do we cater to? Do we cater to the lowly nubs who don’t understand team synergy yet, or do we cater to the professionals who make millions of dollars to know key points on how to wreck a Blitzcrank’s day?

Now, I don’t pretend to know the answers. I know my observations: Chie’s an asshole, Aigis needs buffs, Ragna needs corner-combo nerfs and less stupid overheads, Millia is fucking sexy–but I don’t expect anyone to change anything based off of my observations, and I sure as hell don’t think I’m qualified to bitch and moan about someone being OP (godihatethatterm). I don’t care if you’re god-damn super-platinum uranium -3, or have 4200 PSR, or are so in-tune with Awesomenauts that you can fucking read the secrets of the universe ONLY through a monitor with the game playing–you don’t get to decide who is nerfed and who is buffed, because in the end, “balance” is an arbitrary construct anyway. Trying to balance a MOBA is like getting a million seesaws and stacking them on top of each other, a mandatory four seesaws stacked on one seesaw until you run out, taking into consideration wind gusts and meteor attacks.

Moving parts. They’re hard to predict.

So stop fucking talking about something being overpowered and enjoy your fucking games.

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