29 December 2018

Avoiding Plagiarism and "Copy-strikes" by Copying!?

Plagiarism and copying in itself is a complicated topic. While you want to protect your own creations you also want to allow other people to get inspired, experiment with your ideas and make something even greater and better that hopefully does not steal your money - you know, ain't no rest for the wicked.

Inspiration For This Post

The reason I write this post is to share this blasphemous topic with people who read my blog or come across it. I first found this in a Youtube video, which I would've loved to link to or something, unfortunately, this video is one of two that I can't seem to find. (The other one is about pro-gaming/e-sport and improving your own skill most efficiently). How much you can trust this is your own choice (as always actually) but the points mentioned made sense to me.

Plagiarism and Copying

Plagiarism is the worst thing you can do, but what is it? Plagiarism is using the work of someone else intentionally or unintentionally and claiming it's your own or not giving correct credit to the source of information. It's literally copying someone else's work without mentioning that you took it from someone. Now you would think, I just have to avoid copying someone else and everything's fine. But...

Being Human == Copying

Every idea you ever had every thought you ever had, heck even your own opinions and characteristics are inspired by things someone else has done. PUBG would not exist if there weren't Hunger Games, most of the Metroidvania's wouldn't exist if Metroid and Castlevania wouldn't have been created. Remixes wouldn't exist either. We're taking things that exist to mix everything we experienced together in our little brains and come up with new ideas. But everything we experienced can be part of the process of shaping these ideas. This also means that everything we experienced can have a different weight to the idea. So copying or plagiarism is actually realizing an idea that has extreme weights to certain inspirational resources. If you have the idea of making a Flappy Bird RPG the weight is pretty much 80% Flappy Bird 20% RPG or so, as an example. Okay, so we can avoid plagiarism and copying by avoiding to lean too strongly on a few single concrete inspirational sources. We pretty much save if we have the one unique idea no one came up with yet, right?

Well, it's not that easy, because... your brain likes to store things and contrary to believe we don't "forget" things in the sense of having those memories erased. We forget how to access memory but the memory is not gone.[2] Also misremembering something has nothing to do with forgetting either, it has to do with us trying to access the memory again by taking what we remember and trying to reconstruct the rest. Hence why false memories may be implemented easily. You should watch the Youtube Premium show of Vsauce: Mind Field on that topic. They had an episode on this called "Do You Know Yourself". Okay, but what's the problem here?

The Problem This Causes...

The problem is that you might not remember an inspirational source and yet your brain can still use it to create ideas. You think you created an idea out of the blue and you don't remember any connection of this to any source. You are realizing your idea and once it's out on the market... it's too late. People are calling your work plagiarism and you have no idea why. This is because you might've taken too much inspiration from a source you don't remember that still exists and your work is too similar to it. Ridiculous, isn't it?

If you can't even avoid plagiarism due to your unconsciousness, you have only two choices left, really.

1. ) Intensive Research

You have always the option to search hours upon days upon weeks upon months to really make sure no one else of the 7.7 billion people on earth[1] came up with it first. It sounds like fun, doesn't it? It does make sense to check the first few pages but completely avoiding plagiarism is may not always be possible. Luckily there is software out there to take care of this, but it's either not accessible to everyone or costs money. Beautiful, isn't it?

2.) Copy Intentionally

At first, this sounds ridiculous. It does make sense and there are actually a lot of people who may be doing this already. The idea is to copy some or multiple works intentionally throw it together and then change it so much that it no longer can be considered copying. The copying turns into inspiration. Your work will be considered unique, even by software. This is pretty much the premise of the Youtube video I mentioned earlier. This way you're safer than to assume you have a unique idea because you know you couldn't have copied the work you just copied after the changes.

Funny side-note: This is pretty much what transformative work is considered, which is actually allowed by law. You can read more on it in the law under fair use.[3]



The only last issue that stays... what if someone copies the same source and does the same changes to it? Will we ever be able to fully avoid plagiarism? Or do we at some point give up on this as long we agree to credit people where possible and assume anyone's work not completely as their own but more as spilling of their collected information helping together to build upon our current knowledge to further our progress even more? 

Well, I guess not as long as there's money in the game... *le sigh*


[1] https://www.google.com/search?q=world%20population
[2] https://www.verywellmind.com/forgetting-about-psychology-2795034
[3] https://www.lib.umn.edu/copyright/fairuse

26 December 2018

If Everyone Could Do Everything...

Whether you misunderstand or take "Do What Thou Wilt" out of context or if you just would love to do everything and anything, wouldn't that be awesome? Let's think it through and see under which definition something would be allowed.

Thinking It Through

We start off thinking through some cases and create some rules or laws according to those cases. We'll also try to stay as general as possible. Then we check later on if our deductions match with existing rules or if not. If they don't or if we find mistakes or other issues we can further think through it and try to find solutions for them to fix them and get a better ruleset.

Rule I: Self-Affecting, Same Task

If we do something that has no effect on another person like, doing playing video games we run into no issues. Another person like a neighbor, for example, can play the copies of the same video games as we do on their own console.

So, "if we do A, another person can do A" if both actions are not related.

Rule II: Self-Affecting, Different Task

Let's say we keep on playing video games and our neighbor goes to buy groceries. Again both tasks are not related but different. This is again no issue since us playing video games only affects us and the neighbor buying groceries only affects the neighbor.

Thusly, "If we do A, another person can do B" if both actions are not related.

Rule III: Alia-Affecting, Same Task

(Alia meaning second or third person)[1]
If we lock our neighbor into his house with no escape possibilities - for whatever reason you would do such a weird thing. We affect the neighbor in the things he can do. Unfortunately, by doing this, your neighbor can't get out of the house, so he can't lock you into your house without any escape possibilities anymore. Even if you don't care about this, if you turn the situation around and he would lock you into your house without any escape, you can't lock him in anymore, since you're stuck in your own house.

We reached a problem there. This means for us to be able to do something we wanted we need to find a solution that allows both of us and the neighbor to do the same thing before, meanwhile and after. The only solution here is a compromise. A compromise also means we can't do everything we want anymore. We can still do everything without those exceptions though.

Which means "If we do A to someone, they can still do A to us". Keep in mind we're talking about being able to do before, meanwhile or after.

Rule IV: Alia-Affecting, Different Task

Alright, getting a little brutal now. If you would kill your neighbor, your neighbor can't longer go buy groceries. Because dead people don't buy groceries - prove me wrong! Same thing the other way around, if your neighbor kills you, you can no longer play video games - you've met a terrible fate, haven't you?

So there's another problem here. Pretty similar to the previous one though.

Basically "If we do A to someone, they can still do B".

Summarizing The Rules

Okay, so under our... let's call it law.. we are allowed to do everything that fulfills the following sentences or rules:
  1. "If we do A, another person can do A." ("If another person does A, we can do A")
  2. "If we do A, another person can do B." ("If another person does A, we can do B")
  3. "If we do A to someone, they can still do A to us" ("If someone else does A to us, we can do A to them")
  4. "If we do A to someone, they can still do B" ("If someone else does A, we can do B")

Matching With The 10 Christian Commandments[2]

  1. “You shall have no other gods before me."
  2. "You shall not make for yourself an idol and worship it."
  3. “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God."
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy."
  5. Honor your Father and Mother."
  6. “You shall not murder."
  7. “You shall not commit adultery."
  8. “You shall not steal."
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
  10. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house or wife."

1. “You shall have no other gods before me."
In our case, this one is uninteresting. Having another god before does not affect other people and if we don't have one anyone else can have one or can't have one. Thus regardless of if you do or don't, it's not a rule we must abide by our law. It doesn't mean you don't have to it's your choice in this case.

2. "You shall not make for yourself an idol and worship it."
This is the same as the first one. It does not affect another person in the sense of limiting them in what they can do. At the same time whether you do or don't is your own choice and is not forbidden by the law we just created.

3. “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of your God."
I could say the same for this one like for #2 and #1, however, if we assume God to be another being that counts into our law, using his name wrongfully can result in his reputation being ruined and as such affects the possibilities god has. As such this could - depending on interpretation and believes - count as forbidden by our law.
  4. Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy."
This one is the same as #3. If we assume we have a person who keeps the Sabbath holy and another person who prevents them from holding the Sabbath holy by for example letting them work they are limited in what they're able to do. As such this commandment matches our law in certain circumstances. However, this is only the case if there's no alternative for Sabbath to still be held holy before or after. (assuming the whole day is meant here and not holding the day holy at some point some time.)

5. “Honor your Father and Mother."
According to our rules, this is not a must. We should think about expanding our rules to include this one. Though it also depends on how we interpret this. If your mother or father wants to do something and you do not support them, you basically prevent them from being able to do what they want to do. An argument against that is that you need to do something you don't want to do. It looks like we found a grey zone, worth discussing further.

6. “You shall not murder."
Well... I already used this in the example above, so you can probably guess the result. This is enforced by our law, since killing someone prevents them from being able to do what they wanna do and vice versa.

7. “You shall not commit adultery."
According to our current rules, this is fine two. It feels wrong though since there's probably a better solution to avoid this issue to prevent hard feelings. Let's keep this in mind as well.

8. “You shall not steal."
Stealing something from another person prevents them from using that object, hence limiting them in what they can do, thus it is not allowed by our law.

9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor."
Bearing false witness, or generally lying results in restrictions of what another person can do if we take the result of the false witness or lie into consideration. Generally lying to another person that does not affect their limitations in any kind of way is not disallowed and if it allows new options or swaps old option for new ones it's another grey zone.

10. "You shall not covet your neighbor's house or wife."
The yearning itself is not disallowed according to our rules. So no problem here if no further steps are taken.

In The End

Our rules are definitely not perfect. There are a lot of grey zones and things we haven't considered yet, but we've got the basics down and talked through examples that our rules apply or may not apply to yet.
Next time we should expand more on those. Finding a solution for every person on the world is something many people broke their heads over.

I tried to explain it for people who care more about themselves but also for people that - like me - prefer the rule of "don't do something to someone else that you don't want them to do to you" (oh, and "if someone does something to you, they don't mind you to do the same thing to them." ;P). In any case, making everyone requires a compromise. You can't do everything and expect everyone else to be able to do everything, it just doesn't work logically.

[1]https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/alia
[2]https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments

19 December 2018

Guild Wars 2: How Many Days of Beetle Racing Does It Take?

I wanted to post this yesterday but... whelp. When writing an introduction talking about the difficulty of each race and their rank in difficulty I noticed it getting big real-time. Thus I decided to split it into two posts with the first one - the introduction - talking about the difficulty and their ranks and this one to actually be about how long it takes now.

Why Going Through The Racing?

Is it to win the car? To win some hardware from ArenaNet? No. Not at all. We're doing it for the completionist in us. We're getting all the novelties and skins! Okay, now, what do we need to do?
The races reward us with a new currency called Racing Medallions. This is only the case for the six new races to my knowledge. With these Racing Medallions, you can buy stuff from a prize NPC that's standing next to the time challenges or race start points. This means we need to get those medallions.
This raises the question.

How Do We Get Racing Medallions?

After actually looking at how many I get for once I noticed the following pattern. Doing the daily achievements rewards you five for every single daily and ten for the meta-achievement. So that's 
3 * 5 + 10 = 25 already. Each racing event gives you three. This means doing the daily rewards you with at least an additional nine. Additionally, there's the time trial or racing adventures. These have a bronze, silver and gold chest that each reward a different amount of Racing Medallions. Also, there's a different type of chest with the same name awarded at the practice run in Kessex Hills. Here's the result from them:
  • Gold Chest (without Kessex Hills) - 5
  • Silver Chest (without Kessex Hills) - 3
  • Bronze Chest (without Kessex Hills) - 2
  • Any Kessex Hills chest - 1
Summing it all up we have (5 * 5) + (5 * 3) + (5 * 2) + (3 * 1) =  53 in total. Why? We've got five races that award a gold chest that contains five, a silver chest that contains three and a bronze chest that contains two. Additionally, we have the Kessex Hills racing chests that award one for gold, silver, and bronze. Now if we take the difficulty into account and you only go for one try daily then anything at the level of Mount Maelstrom and higher is out of the question for the gold chest. Now we're going with (2 * 5) + (5 * 3) + (5 * 2) + (3 * 1) =  38. Cool and all, but...

How Many Do We Need?

There are multiple items that we can buy...

Item name Cost Skin Item name Cost
Mini Roller Beetle 150 Endless Mystery Fanciful-Cat Tonic 250
Racing Goggles (Heavy) 150 Racing Goggles Endless Mystery House-Cat Tonic 250
Racing Goggles (Light) 150 Racing Goggles Endless Mystery Dog Tonic 275
Racing Goggles (Medium) 150 Racing Goggles Endless Mystery Choya Tonic 300
Racing Helmet (Heavy) 150 Racing Helmet Endless Mystery Bear Tonic 325
Racing Helmet (Light) 150 Racing Helmet Endless Mystery Fowl Tonic 350
Racing Helmet (Medium) 150 Racing Helmet
To sum it up we need to be careful with the helmet and goggles as those share the same skin. That means we only need to buy one of those. With that in mind, we get a total cost of:

150 + 150 + 150 + 250 + 250 + 275 + 300 + 325 + 350 = 2200

With that, we have everything we need to answer the question.

How Many Days Does It Take?

If we do all dailies and each race on gold once a day we get 53 + 9 + 25 = 87 Racing Medallions each day. This means getting our 2200 Medallions takes 2200 / 87 = 25.29 or rather 26 days.

Now if we do our daily but only the daily races and time trials of those we miss out on two gold chests, two silver, chests, two bronze chest, and the Kessex Hills chests. This means we miss out on 
(2 * 5) + (2 * 3) + (2 * 2) + 3 = 23 medallions. In this case, we only get 87 - 23 = 64. Hence it will take 2200 / 64 = 34.375 or 35 days.

Assuming we don't want to wait for the races and just do the daily time trials we need 
2200 / 53 = 41.51 or 42 days.

Well, let's say we can't do gold on Mount Maelstrom, Brisban Wildlands, and Snowden Rifts...

Doing all dailies and each race once a day we get 38 + 9 + 25 = 72 Racing Medallions. With this, it will take us 2200 / 72 = 30.56 or 31 days.

Only doing the daily and the time trial of the respective races will let us miss out on two gold chests. But there's only a 1/5 and a 1/5 chance for that to happen. So we have a 1/5 * 1/5 = 1/25 chance to miss two gold chests and a 1/5 chance to miss one. With each gold chest being 5 medallions. On average we will lose 1/5 * (1 * 5) + 1/25 * (2 * 5) + (2 * 3) + (2 * 2) + 3 = 14.4 medallions. That means on average we will get 87 - 14.4 = 72.6 Racing Medallions. With this amount it will take 2200 / 72.6 = 30.30 or 31 days.

Okay, almost done... if we only do the time trials we need 2200 / 38 = 57.89 or rather 58 days.

Last but not least.. if we only do the daily events without the time trials (not recommended). It will take a whopping 2200 / 36 = 61.11 or more like 62 days.

Efficiency Is The Best!

And to make it even easier for you here's a trick. If a race event is starting, say you participate in it and wait for it to begin, or talk to the NPC to participate if it already has started and then start the time trial. This way you will do both the event and time trial at the same time, reaping the rewards of the time trial after the first round and the event rewards at the end. This way you don't need to do the race twice. This does not work perfectly on each map though, however, there's no special reward for being first in the goal in the race event, nor for second or third place. Thus, who cares about the place as long as you finish the event with gold.

A Little Addition

Assuming you only do the same race event over and over it will require you to do 2200 / 3 = 733.33 or 734 times the same race event. With the events taking place about every 15 minutes and a start timer of about 5 minutes it takes 20 * 733 = 14660 minutes without taking the actual race into consideration. That's 14660 / 60 = 244.33 hours which is 244.33 / 24 = 10.18 days or 11 days.
If you do this please blog or vlog the whole ordeal.


18 December 2018

Guild Wars 2: About the Beetle Races and Their Difficulty

I had the calculation already prepared for about a week, but I couldn't find the time to write this blog post due to, math homework (discrete structures), pgdp (abr.: Praktikum: Grundlagen der Programmierung, engl.: apprenticeship: basics of programming) and the winter update for Against the World, but now that I'm almost in the Christmas break... Time! Yes!

What's Beetle Racing?

Beetle Racing has been added to Guild Wars 2 on the patch of the 26th of November.[1] Beetle races are race tracks with checkpoints that have a three-lap racing event to go with them gratulating the first three winners as well as time trial adventures that save yours overall best and daily time for one round or lap. Additionally, there are bronze, silver and gold rewards for these time trials that are achieved by being below a certain time. These racing tracks are designed for the beetle mount that can grow in speed when continuously rolling, especially downhill while having a super-speed ability that is bound to the endurance bar. This endurance bar fills over time, when colliding with objects, drifting or doing tricks in the air (if skilled). ArenaNet added a total of six races, which means there are now eight beetle races in-game.
  • Domain of Kourna
  • Mad Kings Raceway[2]
  • Kessex Hills
  • Gendarran Fields
  • Diessa Plateau
  • Mount Maelstrom
  • Brisban Wildlands
  • Snowden Rifts

About the Race Tracks

Domain of Kourna

This is the first track added to the game, it's an adventure for people to experience the beetle racing for the first time and required you to have quite a good grip with the beetle to achieve gold. Not hard yet.

Mad Kings Raceway

Following the previous one, this is the second race track that was designed for the beetle and added to the game. Before the patch, this needed very good usage of the beetle. There were a lot of places that actually required you to boost and drift well enough. Especially since there were objects that unmount you on collision. It is a fairly short track though. Since the nerf you can do the track with other mounts just as well making it one of the easier ones. It's only available during the Mad King's Eve if at every.

Kessex Hills

Kessex Hills is the first of the six new ones I'm gonna talk about. Kessex Hills actually is less of a race and more a practice run. It is extremely short and asks you to do drift and learn about the speed increase when rolling downhill (if ever slightly) and the loss of speed when rolling uphill as shown to the end. Getting the drift to work and maybe using one boost is enough to get gold. It is, therefore, the one I deem the easiest.

Gendarran Fields

With Gendarran Fields the second of the six new ones were implemented. This one now features a much bigger track there are about three jumps where you can do tricks to gain endurance and multiple chances to use a boost. It's also the first map to introduce you to the water mechanic. The beetle can go over water if fast enough, it does lose speed though. According to an NPC, you can keep more momentum if you jump onto water instead of rolling into it. There is at least one spot where you most likely need to drift, which is shortly before the bridge. I recommend keeping a boost after the first water passage. Aside from that use the boosts where you're sure you can use them well. I'd deem this one the second easiest one of the new ones.

Diessa Plateau

The third one I'm gonna list goes through terrain with obstacles such as trees, bushes, walls and more in the way. There are a lot more places where you actually need to drift to get around well. You get some help thanks to some of the checkpoints working as a "start-to-drift-here"-marker. Aside from that, there isn't much more to say to this one. I deem it harder than the Gendarran Fields one though.

Mount Maelstrom

Now we're starting to get into the tough territory. Oh, and you might notice that I sorted them by the release as well as difficulty. This track starts with a lot of uphills that requires you to place your boosts at the right point. Follows up by mountainous terrain some tight corners and then even more mountainous terrain. There are a lot of spots you can easily get stuck with, you need drifting and if you don't drift correctly you're hardly better than not drifting at all. You really need to make sure you use your boosts at the right places, especially as you get hardly anything out of a boost if you can't get a grip on the ground. The boost in the air does not give you as much push as you get on the ground, quite realistically. Though even with a few mistakes here and there you can possibly get gold as the time is set gratefully.

Brisban Wildlands

Well so much about grateful time. We're starting to get a smaller window for gold now depending on how many mistakes you make. This one is considered the hardest one by people and track-wise, that's correct. However, due to the time window for gold, I do not consider this one the hardest but instead, the most time consuming one. This is the biggest and longest of the races and has many places that are mean, especially the corner at the Thaumacore Inquiry Center [&BFoAAAA=][3]. The end of the track through the Lionshead Outcrops is also tough. Another down, but there are a lot of points you can get stuck on, such as bushes and whatnot. There are some tricks though where you can use jumps to gain endurance through tricks to get faster endurance that way.

Snowden Drifts

Last but not least the one I consider the hardest. This is an extremely short race track but the timing is extremely tight. If it doesn't go nearly perfect you can easily pass on the gold time. Note that you do need to use two boosts at the start to negate the speed loss of uphill rolling, you need to get enough endurance to boost before the endurance refresher later on the track and you need to boost after the drift after the second bridge you cross. Additionally, depending on where you drift, there you might lift off the ground failing to get the angle to stay on track and losing control of the drift and beetle. Also, don't miss the last bridge.. that hurts. Some trees hate you, haha. So, many obstacles, endurance control, tight time, small passages, and drifts on tricky terrain. Yes, I consider this one the hardest.

Overall Difficulty Ranking

Well, to recap I would say:
  1. Snowden Drifts
  2. Brisban Wildlands
  3. Mount Maelstrom
  4. Domain of Kourna
  5. Diessa Plateau
  6. Gendarran Fields
  7. Mad Kings Raceway (assuming you chill through it with another mount)
  8. Kessex Hills
There is to say that this is my own opinion trying to weight the features and challenges each track brings with it. So there may be differences in the ranking.

Next Post Already Planned

So, I wanted this post to be about how many races you need to do or how many days it takes you only doing it daily but this post has gotten too big already. This means I'm going to split it into two posts instead. I hope you enjoy this one nonetheless. I'm probably going to write the next post tomorrow.

[1] https://en-forum.guildwars2.com/discussion/61676/game-update-notes-november-26-2018
[2] https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Mad_King's_Raceway
[3] https://wiki.guildwars2.com/wiki/Thaumacore_Inquiry_Center

12 December 2018

The Split Between Traditional and Modern Pixel Art

This is a post I wanted to write back when I made my first post about pixel art, sharing what I thought was a good post on making pixel art bigger without it looking too "blocky". Anyways after that post, I had a discussion with some people and it's really interesting.

Where Did Pixel Art Come From?

Back in the old days, when games for consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System were available. Hardware and software were limited. Due to only saving 8-bit per each pixel of an image only a limited amount of colors could be displayed.[1] Combining this with the limited resolution Pixel Art was the best option back in the old days.[2] Thankfully the detail in each sprite or Pixel Art, as well as the number of colors kept increasing. Continuing through to 16-bit per pixel with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System up to our 24-bit true color system that is widely spread.

Then Why Is There Still Pixel Art?

Even though we don't have the restrictions we had back in the old days, it has evolved into a style for multiple purposes. It may remind us of the old days, it's much simpler to create than drawing a full detailed picture, you have more power over each and every pixel and all the details of the picture since every pixel matters and you can decide over every of their positions, and many more I haven't captured here.

The Split Between Traditional and Modern

Now, with our much better hard- and software we are no longer restricted to the limits we had back in the old days. This resulted in a split between traditional and modern Pixel Art. So what's the difference? What makes Pixel Art traditional and what makes it modern? Where are the bounds of each?

Traditional Pixel Art

Traditional Pixel Art is very strict about its rules. Thus you are not allowed to use more than 16-bit per pixel, which can be enforced by color palettes. Additionally, you are limited in the amount of detail you can add. Plus each pixel needs to be clearly visible so that the control over each pixel is not lost. Though the exact rules may vary from person to person and additional may be added or ones may be removed. Which cuts the bounds of modern Pixel Art.

Modern Pixel Art

Breaking the limits of traditional Pixel Art, this may not be considered to be much anymore. It can be argued whether there are any rules to this but some things can be said at least. First of all, there is no limitation in colors anymore. All the colors of true color can be used for these, which means no palettes or limited color choice per pixel. Pixel Art is all about the pixels. Without any rules, isn't any computer-created art Pixel Art? This is where we can take one of the rules of traditional Pixel Art to help us. Each pixel needs to matter and a change in pixels should be visible. I think this is probably the best way to draw a line. The more detail you add the more blurry each pixel becomes and the more blurry the line between what can be considered Pixel Art and what cannot becomes as well.

Conclusion

Now, this is just my thought on this topic so I don't know how far I'm off or if I hit the bulls-eye. However, even if I'm off I consider this to be a good way to differentiate between Traditional, Modern Pixel Art and the other types of computer-aided graphics that have been made and I don't think you can do any wrong by holding onto these guidelines or rules mentioned here.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/8-bit_color
[2] https://www.theseus.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/133067/Keo_Mary.pdf

08 December 2018

Guild Wars 2: Heavy Loot Bag Drop Drop Rate

What a confusing title. I don't know how to differ this post from the drop research done on the wiki. Well let's clarify this now: I'm talking about the drop rate of the Heavy Loot Bags and not the drop rate of stuff coming out of the Heavy Loot Bags, kthx.

Actual Intent

I actually didn't do this research on purpose or anything but I stumbled upon it by chance. What I actually wanted to do is to check out how many kills I make during my time in World vs World. After doing this multiple times I realized that there are an obvious correlation and pattern between the kills and Heavy Loot Bag drops. Well, it makes sense, but it surprised me anyway.

Procedure

So, to count the number of kills I was kinda lucky that I hadn't completed the avenger title in Guild Wars 2: World vs World. If you don't know what it is, it requires you to kill 250,000 players in World vs World. That's a lot and yeah, I have managed 67k or so over the four to six years, I've been playing currently (I play other modes besides WvW too, by the way). Anyways before starting my World vs World session, I noted down the number represented in the achievement. I did this via my lovely Python console creating a new variable "kills" by setting this variable to the number of kills shown in the achievement. Next, I subtracted kills from the current amount. The result is the delta kills or the kills I've made up to the point I did the subtraction. As simple as that.

Realization

At some point, I noticed that I have almost always four times as many bags as player kills. This means that apparently about every 4th player that has been killed drops a Heavy Loot Bag. Now, these 25% is only an approximate that works at ~1800 player kills. To nail the number down to it's exact, you would have to actually collect and keep all that data. Still, this seems solid enough to approximate the number of players you've tagged, which also died, by multiplying your amount of Heavy Loot Bags by four.

06 December 2018

3D Game Development.. Beware the Rotation!

Less serious post this time around, I just want to share the fun I had during the Game Engineering lecture.

A Little To Read Before...

So to get you on the same terms. I'm currently studying Games Engineering at the Technical University Munich and we have a Unity 3D platformer project as one of the practice tutorial things. We did an STG or Shoot 'Em up before the platformer that you might see in the future that's another story though. Anyways according to the tutorial we're supposed to make different kinds of platforms and we want but there's a list of possible options. There could be falling platforms, spinning platforms, etc.. I liked the idea of a spinning platform as it reminded me of Super Mario 64. Thus I tried to implement the spinning platform and that's where the fun came out of.

A Spinning Platform, Not So Hard, Right?

Oh, boy. I created the mesh in Blender since I wanted an octagon and it was a perfect opportunity to get into Blender. Created, imported, materialized, added the script to make it spin, tested, worked.

See, it is easy. After a week or two, we were supposed to make a box that can be pushed by the player. Simple. Our player has a Rigidbody, adds another to the box. Done. Added fancy normal map and height map to the box to make it look even better and programmed it to be able to swim in the water in which the player drowns. All nice a perfect.

I went to test it and pushed the box off into the water while testing the swimming as well. Seems good, but then something happened. The boxes changed their scaling. 
"Why the hell did they do that?", I was thinking to myself. After trial and error, I started to kinda realize what it has to do with.

The Culprit Was Found

Every time a box came near the spinning platform it's scaling was changed. There was no doubt about it, it was the spinning platform. After testing some more I finally also figured out the problem, sorta. So the issue was that the spinning platform works like so: if something collides with the platform it is considered a child of the platform and spins like the platform spins. Makes sense right? Unfortunately, if some Rigidbody actually rolls or rotates the two rotates interact with each other resulting in the scaling of the object to change. The result got me my own game idea and a lot of fun even though I just wanted to do a tiny little bit of debugging during the lecture.

What's So Funny About That?

Well.. imagine the player being pushed kilometers into the air, being shot out of the map outside of the death zone, like a homerun ending up soft locked, boxes resizing into all kinds of shapes and with a short amount of code change the player changing to weird kind of shapes, scales and sizes as well. Yeah, I had my fun with this.

Let's Get Serious Again

But, let's be serious. I haven't figured out how to solve this issue. As a reminder: we have a spinning platform and different game objects with Rigidbodies that are supposed to move with the spinning platform. How do I stop them from changing their scaling? I'm currently thinking about calculating the movement and then adding velocity to the Rigidbody without rotation... I don't know.




28 November 2018

Goodbye, WildStar!

"Greetings Sapient beings."

~Caretaker from WildStar
is a quote that I took from WildStar. It's one of many quotes that I enjoyed in WildStar.

Good Bye, WildStar

Since today, November the 28th 2018, the WildStar servers were stopped. They've been running since the 3rd of June 2014.[1] That's a total of 26 days 5 months and 4 years. I've been playing it since the head starts with only one big pause and I don't want it to be nothing. WildStar might not have been a perfect game, no game is perfected. There also might have been a lot of mistakes Carbine did, but WildStar did things right too and I want to tell you the reason I played it, why I think it has some aspects that are really great and what we can learn from it.

Why Did I Play WildStar? 

At first, I didn't want to play WildStar. I'm not a fan of Sci-fi or Science fiction games in comparison to medieval games. That's the reason why I play Guild Wars 2 instead of WildStar, why I play Terraria instead of Starbound or why I play Minecraft instead of Space Engineers, etc.. Well, I don't hate Sci-fi or science fiction. Empire Earth is a game that starts in the medieval and goes through the epochs into the future. I enjoy that, but space itself... meh. Yet, WildStar plays almost completely on a planet with a few space missions here and there. With this barrier removed there was nothing in the way for me. "But you're playing Guild Wars 2. Why switch?", is a good question. Something was missing in Guild Wars 2. At the time I was playing triple trouble was the second hardcore boss they added. Fractals of the Mists has gotten boring over time and raids didn't exist. I am one of the players who yearn for difficulty. Even now I might complain and get angry at my fails, still, the reward is greater than the anger if the difficulty is implemented correctly. This is exactly what WildStar promised. It promised to be a difficult game for hardcore raiders. I'm not a raider, but I get the basic idea behind it and difficult? Yeah, I'm in!

WildStar's Approach to Difficulty

I'm fascinated at the idea of this and at the same time a little disappointed they didn't go through more with it to the end. WildStar uses a telegraph system. This means each and every attack that is not target based uses a telegraph. This allows you to mark the area in which enemies or bosses attack. You know exactly - before - where the damage or area of effect will be. This allows you to perfectly avoid damage as long as you don't have the enemies aggro since the auto attacks can't necessarily be avoided. Furthermore, the first boss of the first dungeon I've seen makes me notice something. The number of telegraphs, the number of safe spots, most of the arena was covered. This really reminded me of bullet hell games. That's actually really awesome. How many 3D games actually implement the idea of bullet hells? Even though WildStar's punishment was hard. You either stand right or you're as good as dead, but you know what you died on. "Don't stand in the red!", is a famous quote you might hear very often in games that use telegraph systems - completely or partially.

So Where Did It Fail?

There are probably many reasons why WildStar ultimately failed, which was revealed over time. Promises that weren't kept from the game developer, complete rework before release, mistakes in the stat system and complete reworks after release, weekly server maintenances, requiring high amount of players for raiding (starting with 40 decreased to 20 everywhere), organizational issues of Carbine and the publish NCSoft, etc.. One of the issues I wanna talk about is something that could be a negative precedent case. 

Difficult Can Work Though

WildStar had its goal to be a difficult hardcore game. Over multiple years, especially triple-A companies avoided developing difficult games. The reason for this is that difficult games don't sell as well as games that work kinda like "everyone wins". Additionally, for an MMORPG, the hardcore community may not be big enough to keep an MMORPG running. Especially since you can't suit every taste there is out there. Does that mean there will never be a difficult or hardcore MMORPG? Yes and no. While I don't think an MMORPG that only focuses on hard and difficult content works, I do believe that it's possible to create an MMORPG that has a casual base and expands with difficult content on top of that. Even better when they implement a difficulty curve that raises the player bases skill level.

WildStar Is No Example For MMORPGs Not Being Worth It

You might, or might not have realized it. The amount of released MMORPGs is rather scarce in the past years. The giant World of Warcraft is still alive and many MMORPGs were stopped. Resulting in a decrease in published MMORPGs. However, WildStar is not an example of there not being the possibility of having a successful MMORPG. As I already mentioned, there were a lot of mistakes done in WildStar that ultimately resulted in its death. That has nothing to do with it being an MMORPG aside from the MMO part. That's similar to making a Dark Souls MMO. It doesn't work as the community is not big enough. MMOs are one of the games that actually need to cater to different audiences and speak to as many people as possible.

With this being said. If you plan to make an MMORPG, don't make another World of Warcraft clone and don't repeat the mistakes that were done. Learn from the mistakes and build on top of them. 

Remember WildStar

I want people to remember WildStar as an example of the good and bad points it had so that we as game developers can learn from the mistakes and apply the improvements or good aspects. I don't know about you but my goal is to improve MMORPGs for players to have an even better experience.
Also, don't forget that WildStar is one of the games that didn't go with the "Ranger" and "Mage" classes. Breaking from the standard.

With all that being said. Thanks to Carbine and NCSoft for making this experience possible despite the bad things that happened. I really enjoyed all the years and it was an awesome experience. Now I can only hope for another MMORPG that learns from the mistakes and improves on it or that Guild Wars 2 expands their content into the direction of more difficult content further. We'll see what the future holds. 

Goodbye, WildStar! May your work be found as an inspiration for further games!


[1] https://www.google.com/search?q=wildstar%20release%20date

21 November 2018

Jinx - The Curse

"Don't Jinx it, don't jinx it, don't jinx it, don't jinx it.
Now you Jinxed it... "

Jinx Origin

The word Jinx also written as Jynx which supposedly stands for a spell or charm and was used to address the wryneck which is a bird that is used in divination and Magick.[1] As a spell or charm and due to its popular use with a negative connotation it could be compared more to a curse instead.

This is also the Jinx I want to talk about. No, not the children's game, sorry.

The Idea Behind It

The basic concept behind it can be explained best on an example. Let's say we have a sports game. (I could use a player vs player match as an example but I won't xD) Before the game starts one person says that they're gonna win (or that they're gonna lose) and another person could add "Now you jinxed it" to it meaning that now they really will lose.

Thinking It Through

First, let's break it down. We have something where multiple outcomes can occur but it's not yet determined which one it will be. We have someone mention one of the outcomes and then a certain outcome to occur that is either the one mentioned or another one. Additionally in most cases when we talk about jinxing we assume a negative result.

Now I know the idea of taking Quantum Physics into consideration here is either overkill or doesn't make much sense as there is no visible relation, however, I think it is important to take this into consideration as we have no idea what really is happening and so this might be one explanation that could potentially be possible if not disproven.

So.. if we take Quantum Physics into consideration and assume that the match's outcome is in a superstate between - let's say - "Won", "Lost", "Given Up", "Stopped". Throughout the game, the end result becomes more clear. If we now take into consideration how magick is used or work we expect the result to be influenced by each participant's expectation and beliefs. These expectations and beliefs then again are influenced by telling that the match will be won (or lost).

This does not only influence the way the people perform but also modifies the reality according to our bubble system (I need some more serious name for that).[2] So for each person that hears this the match's outcome should change accordingly.

Accordingly?

If we assume that if someone says that their team wins. Then their team should be more likely to win right? Well, it's not so simple. Saying and believing that they will win may only be on a conscious level. If we assume that someone unconsciously thinks that this cannot be the case it will result in the opposite. Additionally, if you hear something this might actually bring up memories or thoughts which go through the alternative options even if unconsciously. These may end up playing a role as well.

If you sum all this up you end up with the possibility that regardless of whether you claim to win or lose a match both cases will end up jinxing the outcome or increasing the chance to lose the match.

Generalized this means if you state that an unknown outcome is going to occur it may result in the opposite or different (most often negative) outcome.

Resources

[1] https://www.etymonline.com/search?q=jinx
[2] https://www.greenyneko.com/2018/09/toaru-kagaku-no-railgun-personal.html

01 November 2018

Halloween Special - My Scary Experiences

I was a little busy with stuff, real-life and in gaming but now I'm writing it. As mentioned in yesterday's / day before yesterday's post. I will go through the experiences I had in my life that were scary. 'Cause it's matching the theme of Halloween.

Defining 'Scary'

I'm not talking about shocking situations or being scared of forgetting something or failing a test. I really mean scary in the sense of "Spooky Scary Skeletons. Send shivers down your spine." ~Andrew Gold. I'm going to start with the most recent experiences and then randomly go through them as I go on.

Disclaimer

I'm not claiming any of these stories or happenings as true. Not at all. I'm going to mention them and some thoughts I have about them but if you don't believe these to be what they seem to be that's totally fine. I don't believe them all either. We all know there might be scientific explanations for it.
Additionally, I have no idea how much performing and learning magick attracts these happenings or occurrences. Well without further ado.. let's go!

Clap Behind a Door

This happened at night I assume around one to four in the morning. I usually spend a lot of time until late in the night if I don't need to stand up too early. So, I often brush my teeth at those times. Well, sometimes it's past four a.m. but that's rare. Anyways I went to brush my teeth. I always close the bathroom door so I don't wake anyone of my family with the light and/or the sound from the brushing or the toilet flushing. I was about doing my usual procedure when I heard a clap. I couldn't tell if it was behind the door or in the same room. Given the situation, I assumed it was my father. I don't quite get it why anyone would clap outside of the bathroom. I mean like.. why? It seems... so random. By the way, there wasn't more than that.

Creepy Brother Phantom Thing

I really need to write down my dreams, it's something you should do as a magician/wizard/witch. Anyways I don't remember too many details fact is that I dreamed that I was standing on my bed watching the closet for an extended amount of time waiting for something to happen. Then suddenly the closet door opened and a phantom-like creature came out. It walked towards me and changed it's face to look like my brother. However, something about the face was... off. That got me to panic quite a bit. I tried to calm myself down and put my hands out to touch it nonetheless. This may seem stupid or like coming out of a movie but it has to do with my yearning for having more progress in magick research. Also, I can imagine a foreign creature that wants to help you to change their look to something more familiar to you. Like... I understand the idea of it but.. it doesn't work well in most cases.

Being Dragged Away From Your Family

While talking about bad dreams or nightmares. I once had a nightmare where I was sitting on the bed having fun with my family and everything, when all of a sudden I was dragged out of bed by something I couldn't see. I was scared, shouting like nothing else. Even worse, I woke up on the floor right after that dream of seeing a red light (an alarm clock) from another room. I was lying there extremely creeped out, not able to get back to bed and tried to sleep there. I don't remember what I did after that.

Chain Letters Are Evil

I also just remembered that I once got a chain letter. I already knew the purpose of them and did not really believe in them so I ignored them. However, the fact of dying didn't let my unconscious rest. It was too late to fulfill the requirement of my then. So, to save myself I went to a different room and slept there instead. Of course, nothing happened. It's just a chain letter, right? Right?

White Figure in the Room

I know about people who claimed to see the "black man". For me, I never saw a black man instead I saw a white figure. I was very little then and it most often stood at the balcony or in the pathway to my parent's room. I wasn't really scared of it in particular, I assumed it was like my protecting angel or something watching over me while I sleep. I still think it's interesting to mention it.

Meeting the Shadow People

There are people out there who met the shadow people before. Same for me. However... I think no one met them like this. I woke up from my sleep right to its face. It was looking at me in a weird way like... put your hands into the air and then tilt 90° to the right. It also didn't look human but all rounded, no face, just some eyes. I remember them being white, does that make sense? I don't know. The fact is it didn't look scary wasn't scary but... THE F'ING JUMPSCARE!!! Anyone would react like that if they'd wake up to anything unfamiliar so close! After calming down and looking back it was gone. I can imagine having scared it off. Poor fellow, I'm sorry for reacting like that...

Being Pushed-down by an Invisible Force

If you follow the blog for a longer time you might have read a post about this before. It was a day I was working for my company at home and I decided to take a small nap to refresh myself as I sometimes tend to do in the breaks. I didn't expect this to happen though. I woke up and something pushed me down. Like with great force. So I tried to push back which partially worked. After pushing it back for a little while the force was gone. I immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was a demon, later after a discussion with my mentor it could've been some creature that likes to sit on energy sources and might have decided to sit on me without knowing. For all, I know that the creature could've been scared as hell as well.

Hand on the Stairs

This was also creepy to me as a child, I just imagined it to be my imagination but I actually saw a hand on the stairs. I thought it to be my imagination because it didn't look or seem real. It looked like.. it wasn't there, dunno how to put it into words.

Shadow Boy

This is also one of the dreams I had once. I don't remember the details but I was in the attic and then in our basement in the creepy room with the well in it. Anyways there was a shadow boy. I wanted to help so I put my hand on its shoulder to ask of how I can help and then it turned around and I was shaking and jumped back falling to the ground. Kinda ridiculous because, hey, what did you expect you would see when touching that child? Pffff.

Voices from Another Room

This could've been an illusion from the cold I had at that time, but I was lying in my bed and heard these voices. They could've come from my parent's room or my brother's room but.. that explanation would be too easy. First of all both groups should've been sound asleep. Second of all the direction of the voices came from the living room or somewhere outside the house. Since both groups were sleeping or at least there wasn't a reason to be in the living room it couldn't have been those. Unfortunately, I didn't understand what they were talking about or saying. I did try though. :P

The End...?

I think this is enough for now, I also need to keep some for next Halloween. :P Nah, these are the "best" (depending on definition) experiences I had so far. (from which also stuck).

If you want them to use for your Creepypasta, go ahead, I don't mind. It would be awesome if you refer to my blog though, helps me, you know.

And with that.. happy Halloween! Or.. maybe happy All Saints Day?

30 October 2018

Day Before Halloween - Fear and Being a Magick User

Greetings Sapient being. It's been a while since the last post, even had one written that I removed because I didn't realize something rendering the whole post as misinformative and wrong. It happens from time to time. I don't have a group of people who check my posts working all on my own.

Anyways we have the 30th of October on the day I'm writing this post and it's not long until Halloween. Tomorrow evening already. So I've been wondering about what to write about. You know Halloween is this famous festival where people, especially younger ones wear scary, creepy or spooky costumes and they go trick or treating - an old ritual that was performed to scare away the evil spirits. Not to be confused with Carnival where you wear scary, creepy, spooky nowadays any kind of costume to scare away whatever makes the nights longer.

To be honest... I don't have anything specific. So instead I'm gonna write two posts about how getting into magick has affected my perception of scary things and what my current relation to nightmares and scares are and the scariest things I have seen, heard or experienced in my life.

My Current Perception of Scary Stuff

The Downside of Being Scared

Depending on which direction you go into when performing rituals or magick, fear has a big factor in the result of your actions. Almost always, negatively. As such there are actual rituals that you are encouraged to do to get rid of your fears so that they can't affect the result you want to go with. The most obvious example is that of a demon. Though I must admit that I do not believe in demons in the way it has been portrait in the western world. Anyways the idea is if you're scared of a demon it gets stronger. However fear may be a more or less unconscious reaction to a situation making this kinda difficult.

Fear Rituals

Still, from personal experience, these rituals that exist seem to take care of the unconscious part not too bad. So, what's the idea of these fear rituals or rituals against fear? Basically the same thing people do when they have arachnophobia. You have to fight your fear by confronting it. The way it's done in these rituals differs from throwing yourself into a closed space with spiders or clowns if you get the thought process. As with most rituals or magick stuff, in general, this is instead done with meditation. Sorry, scary clowns that wanted to get hired. How does it work? I'm going to take the example from Frater V.D. mentioned in his book "Die Hohe Schule Der Magie" (engl.: The High School of Magic") as I've used that ritual myself and had good experiences. Additionally, it's one of the non-dangerous ones. *cough cough*

Performing the Ritual

Anyways to perform this ritual first you have to get into a comfortable position. Sitting, lying, whichever fits you best. Make sure you don't get interrupted and don't have to change your position. This will interrupt your focus. It's a meditation after all. Spend some time doing nothing, basically emptying your head so to speak. Once you're ready to go through all the things you're scared of in your head. Don't judge them just think about them or imagine them neutrally. Go through everything that comes to your mind. Once you're through every little fear or detail you repeat the phrase "Who is scared of whom?" or "Wer hat vor wem Angst?" depending on whether you prefer to use German as your "magical" language.

And that's it. Pretty simple, not too crazy. It is just meditation and it helped me.

The Results

I've performed this ritual about three times, to be honest, I haven't been scared of anything much since then and the rest is basically gone due to the believes I hold for myself at the moment. I've written about those too. Another way to get over fears is to empower yourself. It sounds crazy and egoist when you perform the "Kabbalistic Cross" claiming to be a god yourself, but whether you are or not is not to be debated, the fact is it works. Empowering yourself actually empowers yourself. You could say it's a mind trick and an amazing one at that. You may have heard one or two crazy stories about superhuman feats that were achieved in special situations like a mother protecting their child. Actually looking at research about the placebo effect and what it was able to do. Another good video for showing this is from the YouTube Red series: "Mind Field" with the host Michael Stevens from "Vsauce".

Anyways enough about the details, the fact is I've been hardly ever scared of situations. This does not mean that I'm crazy doing dangerous stuff. I'm still careful in those situations that require it, but I'm thinking things through more calmly instead of panicking.

Unfortunately, this also ruined the "scariness" factor of horror movies and games which is quite disappointing. Luckily enough Amnesia: The Dark Descent has a good story attached to it, so that's still enjoyable.

Nightmares

I still have nightmares, sorry. They're not gone unfortunately but it might not be the same as what most people experience when they have nightmares. I'm going more into the exact things I dreamed about tomorrow but for now, I can say this: 

Waking up from a supposed nightmare does not have me scared, shocked, sweating or any of these. I wake up from them just like from a normal dream. Furthermore to scary parts in the dream, I might still react as before but only for the first moment, it's like the habit taking over for the first few seconds. Afterward, I try to carefully think things through or even defend myself. If you haven't heard about it before, you can pretty easily defend yourself against literally anything in your own dream with enough practice and with the right mindset. Also part of personal development in magick.

Conclusion

So yeah, that's my current relation towards fears and scary stuff and how I got to that point. If you plan to get into magick yourself I can only advice you the described ritual. Fear is a bad thing for you in the future. Especially if you want to protect yourself from bad things that might happen. It still takes me to get through everything. Keep in mind the fear of the unknown can be described as indirect proportional to your knowledge and I assume your knowledge of ghosts, demons, youkai, magick, etc. isn't much bigger than most peoples are.

And with that... Happy Preparational Halloween. :P


11 October 2018

Guild Wars 2: Are the New Raid Infusions Worth It?

I wanted to write this post on the day after the previous one. However, once I had everything calculated I kinda felt dumbfounded. I was extremely disappointed and additionally, there's not much there to write about.

New Raid Infusions

So, Arenanet has added a new infusion that can be bought at the raid vendor for gold and Magnetite Shards. As you all know Glenna already sold the Ghostly Infusions for 1000 Magnetite Shards and 20 gold. The price of the new infusions is 75 Magnetite Shards and 15 gold. BUT! The new infusions have only +5 agony and +5 stats. The Ghostly Infusions had +9 agony resistance and +5 stats. For a person who only does raids that is no problem. For a person who plays Fractals of the Mists (FotM), it's another story. Fortunately, this +5 agony resistance and +5 stat infusions that were added can be upgraded just like any other stat infusions from FotM.

So, Which One Is Better? 

We're comparing a +9 agony resistance and +5 stat infusion that costs 1000 Magnetite Shards and 20 gold and can be sold for a bit of a sum with a +5 agony resistance and +5 stat infusion that costs 75 Magnetite Shards and 15 gold.

The first thing we gotta do now is upgrading this infusion until both are equal. Upgrading an infusion requires the stat infusion of the same level twice as well as six +5 agony infusions or +7 agony infusions. Upgrading it will increase it from five to seven to nine. So, if we want one +7 agony resistance +5 stats infusion we need two +5 agony resistance and +5 stat infusions. If we want one +9 agony resistance +5 stat infusion we need two +7 agony resistance +5 stats infusions. That's two times two (2 * 2 = 4). Thus we need to buy four. Buying four costs 4 * 75 = 300 Magnetite Shards and 4 * 15 = 60 gold.

This means we save 700 Magnetite Shards but pay three times the gold price.

Conclusion

I'm always low on gold since I'm doing a lot of achievements that require gold like the Black Lion Collections. I mean I could use real cash but... seriously I'm not that rich, not at all. 全然! Well.. this is my plan:

I'm gonna continue buying Ghostly Infusions and sell those for their price. (You can make between 60 and 101 gold plus at the moment depending on how you sell them and when) Then I'm gonna use this money to buy myself Stabilizing Matrix and use those with my fractal rewards to craft me multiple +9 agony resistance and +5 stat infusions. Makes more sense doesn't it?

01 October 2018

Guild Wars 2: Ways to get the Sigil of Nullification

I'm still having internet issues when surfing the web, gaming, Teamspeak and discord work just fine. Well, anyways. I have reached the step for which you need the Superior Sigil of Nullification for the Elegy or Requiem armor that has been added with the most recent living story update "A Star to Guide Us".

Sigil of Nullification

This sigil is a unique item that doesn't have a major or minor variant. Additionally, it can't be crafted. Since you need 20 of these for the armor achievement "The Convergence of Sorrow II: Requiem" the big question is... Where do you get them from?

There are a few ways like looking it up on the wiki. Namely:
  • An item choice once you reach level 64
  • Through the mystic forge
  • Trading Post
  • Salvaging certain weapons

Item Choice Once You Reach Level 64

This requires a character slot or characters you haven't leveled to 64 yet. Though leveling characters up to 64 takes quite some time. We want something faster. If you have them lying around you could use the birthday level up boosts. These provide you with 19, 29, 39, 49, 59 levels when starting from one. If you threw them away like be because you didn't know what to do with them there's still hope. The Tomes of Knowledge can be used to increment your character's level. Each tome rewards one level. This means you need 63 tomes for each Superior Sigil of Nullification. Simple calculation. 20 sigils 63 tomes each 20 * 63 = 1260 Tomes of Knowledge required.

Through the Mystic Forge

There is a 20% chance to get an upgraded version or superior sigil out of throwing in 4 major sigils. Now keep in mind that the superior sigil you get may not be the one you want. Exact data on which ones you can get are not known. Hence we can't calculate the exact chance. Though since you get a lot of major sigils, I'm gonna try to figure this out and add this to my research page.

Stay tuned for that ;)

Trading Post

Straight forward, buy it for its high price or buy a weapon that you can salvage to get it out. Though from what I've seen the weapons are even more expensive.

Salvaging Certain Weapons

This goes more or less hand in hand with the one I mentioned above but I've noticed looking at the weapons that there are some that you can farm for. There are also some you can craft but those have a higher crafting cost than buying the weapon or sigil itself. Anyways the ones I noticed are the named exotic weapons such as Arc or Soulstone. First, one can be found in champion bags, the latter can be found via raids.

[UPDATE] Silverwastes

How could I have not noticed this? In Silverwastes you can get a ton of champion bags by opening the lost bandit chests with bandit skeleton keys. Each key/chest rewards you with one bag. This is the most efficient way to get tons of champion bags. Making it most likely the most effective unreliable source of the Sigils. Remember it's a chance, it's not guaranteed. 

About the Tomes of Knowledge

I took my liberty to take the price of the Superior Sigil of Nullification (~15 gold at the time) and divide it through the number of Tomes of Knowledge you need to reach level 64 since I've heard you can sell that sigil. 15 / 64 = 0.2343 gold or 23 silver and 43 copper. If this sounds interesting to you, you can now make quite an okay sum using your Tomes of Knowledge.

And with that, GreenyNeko out. The next post is gonna be about the raid infusions that you can buy now.





19 September 2018

Guild Wars 2: Legendary PvE Armor Modification (19.09.2018)

This is not a new post but more of an update news thingy. Since the patch, something has changed for the legendary armor, hence why the calculation needs to be updated.

Check the Original Post >>

What has Changed?

Due to the update, the number of Legendary Insights you get was changed. The raid instance Hall of Chains no longer rewards Legendary Insights. This means you get four Legendary Insights less a week.
Luckily the event before Gorseval in the Spirit Vale of the Forsaken Thicket and the event before Xera in the Stronghold of the Faithful also from Forsaken Thicket now reward each a Legendary Insight. This means there's a total of 15 Legendary Insights available currently per week.



Gift of Prowess

The Gift of Prowess for PvE armor requires
  • 25x Legendary Insights
  • 1x   Eldritch Scroll
  • 50x Obsidian Shards
  • 6x   Cube of Stabilized Dark Energy
The Legendary Insights is a drop mostly from bosses and a few events from the raids and they only drop once per boss per account. This resets every week. Since these are limited, as there are only 17 15 weekly rewards in the raids that pass you these insights. The Eldritch Scroll item can be bought by Spirit Shards, a currency that is awarded for each level up which happens a ton after reaching your maximum level as you can continue to level up for these. Obsidian Shards can be bought in amounts of "Scrooge McDuck's safe". It just takes some karma which is awarded constantly by simply doing some events. Last but not least the Cube of Stabilized Dark Energy consists of materials. Sure, you need to salvage ascended armor, but this can be crafted and dropped - even if rarely. So, technically it's farmable. Again, we don't need to worry about this since the Legendary Insight time-gate is much, much higher than this one. For your first PvE armor, you need 150 Legendary Insights and for your second you need 300 Legendary Insights. This means we will need between 150 / 17 = 8.82 weeks and 300 / 17 = 17.65 weeks. This means you will now need between 150 / 15 = 10 and 300 / 15 = 20 weeks. Of course, this assumes you get all 17  15 every week. So, here's a table showing the correlation between the number of Legendary Insights you get and the time it would take you for the 300.

Legendary Insights 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
Time in weeks Inf. 300 150 100 75 60 50 42.9 37.5 33.3 30 27.3 25 23.1 21.4 20 18.7 17.6

Guild Wars 2: Funerary Collections: How Many Legendaries Have to Die?

Finally, the patch is out, but something I wanted to do before the release of the patch: finishing a collection. Which collection? The Funerary Weapon collection. This was really painful and took quite some time. You may or may not wonder why but lemme tell you mathematically why.

Funerary Weapon and Armor Collection

The funerary weapon and funerary armor can be bought for a measly few gold and elegies. Well, actually it's quite expensive. There are - of course - 18 armor skins and 16 weapon skins. The weapons cost between 36x Elegy Mosaic and 2 gold 88 silver and 72x Elegy Mosaic and 5 gold 76 silver depending on whether it's a one-hand or two-hand weapon. There are 10 one-hand weapons and 6 two-hand weapons. Accumulating all their prices you need 792x Elegy Mosaic and 63 gold and 36 silver.

Of course, there is one armor piece for each armor slot from foot to head and for each armor class from light to heavy too. This means 18 pieces as mentioned earlier. The price of these pieces depends again on which slot it fits in. With armor pieces that yield more stats being more expensive. The prices step from 6, 12, 18 Elegy Mosaic and varying 1 gold 20 silver, 2 gold 40 silver to 4 gold 80 silver. Additionally doing your achievement you get one full armor set.

That means we only need to buy two more. Buying a full set costs 12+18+6+6+18+12 = 72 Elegy Mosaic and 1.20+4.80+1.20+1.20+2.40+2.40 = 13.20, 13 gold and 20 silver. We have to take these times two since we get one through achievements and buy two. Of course, we can calculate times three if we assume we're not doing the other achievements to say what difference it makes.

Alright, so accumulating everything assuming we buy two armor sets and get one from achievements we need: 
72 * 2 + 792 = 936 Elegy Mosaic
and 13.20 * 2 + 63.36 = 89.76 gold, 89 gold 76 silver
Assuming we don't do the achievements we need to buy three armors, thus we need
72 * 3 + 792 = 1008 Elegy Mosaic
and 13.20 * 3 + 63.36 = 102.96 gold, 102 gold 96 silver

Elegy Mosaic

The Elegy Mosaics drop mainly from legendary bounties, according to the wiki from meta events as well. Though I didn't really check that one. Anyways something I've seen that aligns with the information on the wiki is that each legendary drops [2; 25] (between 2 and 25 inclusively) Elegy Mosaics. Though the exact amount is not rolled equally. Getting more is increasingly rarer.

I don't have any data on this as of now but the fact is: you get at least two and at most, you seem to get 25. From experience it feels like on average it's about 4-6, I'd guess. So let's go with 5.

How Many Legendaries Need to Die?

Let's start with the low end. We need 936 or 1008 Elegy Mosaic and we have the worst luck possible only getting 2 per legendary. In this case we need to kill 936 / 2 = 468 bounties or 1008 / 2 = 504 respectively.

However, if we have impossible luck we will get 25 every time. This means it will take us only 936 / 25 = 37.44 that is 38 since there are no 0.44 bounties and 1008 / 25 = 40.32 which is 41 respectively.

Now if we go with our average of 5 it will take 936 / 5 = 187.2, 188 legendary bounties and 1008 / 5 = 201.6, 202 legendary bounties.

So, this means we do not only skip about 20 bounties by doing the achievements on average, but we also have to do a lot of legendary bounties. Luckily I'm done with it so, good luck to you if you haven't and happy legendary slaughtering.



Thanks, to all the commanders and lieutenants who did these runs on a near basis daily until the patch. They will probably continue in a few weeks again. I guess that's time to mentally prepare yourself?

15 September 2018

Everything in Balance - The Concept of Ying and Yang

A few weeks or months ago I was talking to amount about this and it's a really interesting topic. You might have heard of Ying and Yang or the idea of balancing your life or you might have seen the thought experiment that went into a slightly different direction.

The Concept of Ying and Yang

The idea of there being a perfect balance that needs to be kept is something that appears in a lot of works from the eastern world. The idea of there being as much evil as there should be good and the idea of living a balanced life. It may seem far fetched or just some weird way of thinking but actually it's obvious if you think about it.

You know what. I'll tell you a few examples and if I can't convince you with these then you do you. :P

Balancing Your Body

Did you ever go to the doctor and let them check your blood? Our blood contains so many different things and it gets checked only for certain elements. For example, Vitamin D is not checked as it required a different procedure they can't do when doing the normal check. You probably know what I mean if not here are a few out of the top of my head: sugar, fat, (cholesterol, potassium, sodium).

So something you might have noticed is that on the paper you almost always have a top and bottom value. If you're below the minimum, it's bad, if you're above maximum, it's bad.

Additionally you probably also know that if your heart rate is too high, it's unhealthy since your heart could skip beats resulting in an irregular rhythm which means an inefficient amount of blood is pumped which most likely leads to death.

Another Story: Sunlight

Ah, the sun, isn't it awesome? It keeps our planet warm and people enjoy being tan. Well turns out the sun doesn't have sunlight only but UV rays as well. And these UV rays cause skin damage and skin cancer since they also decrease the skin's capability to regenerate. But you need UVB rays for vitamin D. An important vitamin for the bones especially.

Consumption of Alcohol and Drugs

In Vino Veritas. Wine or alcohol for that matter is believed to be healthy. We all know that people that drink a lot of wine, beer or any alcohol for that matter are intoxicated and with enough consumption die.

The Theme

You should be able to see it already. If not there's an awesome video from CollegeHumor that plays a good example.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPz9Fcvb1II

Versus Vegans and Vs Meat-Only

I'm sorry, I can't leave this out. There's this discussion on whether eating meat all the time or not eating meat at all is healthier. Well reading this blog post and pondering over it you should see, guys, like our ancestors it's important to eat meat. We've been eating meat for years. No plant includes the whole composition meat has, maybe we can synthesize it, though I don't know if that will do us any good. So eating meat in small amounts is okay. A bit of meat every two weeks or having just a bit of chicken in your salad every 3rd day or so should probably be fine.

However, if you're vegan because you can't eat an animal thinking about them or if you avoid eating meat to reduce the demand of meat resulting in a decrease of production of meat thus meaningless animals are killed then don't let me stop you! You're doing a great job even if it's just this small thing. 

Conclusion

"Everything will kill you eventually."
 However, having a too high or too low consumption of things you will die faster. Thus the best idea would be to find the perfect balance of everything. Unfortunately, it's not as easy since in comparison to games we don't have a bar that tells us whether or not we're above or below a certain vitamin.


06 September 2018

WildStar: Spellslinger Bug Rotation - The Ins & Out

Alright, since there are no more Redmoon Terror or Genetic Archives Prime 1 runs inside of our guild I pretty much closed up with WildStar for the time being. Thus it doesn't bother me too much if this gets me banned but I wanted to talk about this topic for quite a while since it's really interesting from a game design perspective.

I'm not going to explain every little detail but I try to tell you the most important things if you're not a Wildstar player.

Spellslinger & Redmoon Terror Set

The Spellslinger is one of a variety of classes that can be played. As weapons they use guns and their skills focus on guns and magic. Redmoon Terror is the last raid that was released in Wildstar. In this raid, every class can get a rune set referred to as RMT Set or risen class set. Each class has its own set.

The Spellslinger's risen class set basically works like this:

Every second you can get a stack when you use an auto-attack. Once you reach six of these stacks you can use an ability called assassinate that will deal 300% more damage and remove all the stacks upon hit replacing them with a buff that increases critical hit chance and critical hit severity.

Where's The Bug?

If you have played WildStar then you know that it is possible to remove a buff from your buff bar or from the stacks in your buff bar by right-clicking them. If you gather six stacks from the class set's buff you can use assassinate and the six stacks are not gone yet. Remember they are only removed when Assassinate hits. This means if you right click your six stacks before assassinate hits the enemy.

The next thing that happens now is that you have removed one stack and you have only five. Since you don't have six stacks they won't be removed you keep your five. The assassinate however still deals it's 300% more damage since this is checked when the skill is activated and not while the skill is in animation or assassinate is traveling.

With five stacks you only need one more auto-attack to shoot out another assassinate that will have the damage bonus and you can remove one buff from the class stack before it hits, just to find yourself in an infinite loop. An infinite loop of pain and damage.

Why Is the Bug Rotation Considered Difficult?

The biggest difficulty in this rotation comes from the fact that your distance from the boss defines how much time you have to remove the stack additionally the stack may not always be in the same position. Some add-ons place this buff to a fixed position in the buff bar or let you customize the position size and much more. Unfortunately, the buff bar changes its position when you gain or lose an absorb and the helper add-on throws all the buffs together in one spot and then filters all others out. So there's a chance to always click at the "wrong" moment resulting in not taking away one stack and losing all six gaining the other buff for multiple seconds. Seconds of damage loss. From experience failing this can lead to a DPS loss of around 25k. When I tried this rotation I got between 40k and 70k damage numbers in the raid.

The other issue is to balance your Spellsurge between assassinates and your auto attacks while still rotating between rapid fire and quick draw respective to the cooldowns. Each and every assassinate should be Spellsurged if possible.

How to Fix the Bug?

To fix the bug you need to know where the issue lies exactly. Luckily my explanation should have pointed you exactly to where we're searching for. So, one easy way to fix this bug is for Assassinate to instantly remove the six stacks and replace them with the other buff once it has been cast. This allows the player to have no chance to remove one stack before something could go wrong.

This would be the easiest way to fix it and quite simple.

Another way to fix it would be to prevent the player from dispelling or removing buffs on their buff bar. However, this could prevent the player from getting rid of certain buffs they don't want to have any more or that they don't want to have during damage tests. This does fix any related bugs in the future though.

Opinion

If Wildstar wouldn't be in such a bad shape as it is this issue would probably get fixed in just a few days. To be honest though, even if the DPS meter mentions one skill dealing 80% of the damage or so, actually performing the rotation is not an easy feat. As such the resulting damage is worth the work put in. Thus I would deem this to be a bug but not an exploit. Especially since the Spellslinger pretty much stays on par with the other classes damage numbers. Yet, still fixing this bug and buffing the Spellslinger damage would be the best option.

05 September 2018

Toaru Kagaku no Railgun: Personal Reality and Bubble World Concept

I wanted to make another post about magick since it's been a while at the same time I kinda felt like watching an anime. So I got a suggestion to watch Toaru Kagaku no Railgun and yes I'm enjoying it. Something that they kept repeating was this stuff about personal reality and probability and the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. おもしろい (Interesting).

Story

I can't talk about an anime or movie or other content without talking about the plot. :P Toaru Kagaku no Railgun plays in a scientifically-driven city called 'Academy City' in which pupils or people, in general, are taught to be espers. The main plot focuses on a student called Misaka Mikoto who is considered a level 5 esper and she can control electricity.

That should give you an idea on the scope of the anime without revealing anything that's happening.

Personal Reality

In some of the teachings, the anime keeps repeating the idea of finding your personal reality or your own reality. This goes well with a principle in magick that I and a few people in my contact circle often like to call bubble worlds. The basic idea is everyone lives in their own world or in their own bubble. Everything they believe in is real in this bubble. If two people get near each other those bubbles merge to a certain degree. If both bubbles are the same (same beliefs) nothing changes. However, if those bubbles differ the intersected area can be considered to be in a superstate as first. Which means it is at first not clear what it's gonna be like. What it will actually be like is later determined by the probability of which of both bubbles matches better.

Magick User vs Magick User

Even if both magick users or espers believe in magick to work differently it will still exist in both worlds depending on how open-minded they are both systems may work or both systems will work to a lesser effect.

Magick User vs Skeptiker

Assuming the magick user knows about the real world and sees it as one of many realities there's a higher chance for the normal world or real world as we know it to be the one the superstate will result in.

Skeptiker vs Skeptiker

The probability of magick to exist is nearly zero. The result of the superstate will be the normal world as we - and probably them too - know it.

In Context with the Anime

So, if we take this back to the context of the anime the idea is for your esper ability to improve you need to find your own reality, the reality in which your ability exists to a high degree. Unfortunately, this is not so simple as it sounds and it may be even more difficult in real life. The issue is that there are more than just millions of people on the world and each of their bubbles almost completely intersects with another. There's hardly any space that does not intersect. Hence why magick users create their own room or area to perform magick. At the same time, this is also the reason why magick users form groups to perform rituals as multiple bubbles with the same beliefs overlap resulting in a higher success on magick. Additionally with an increase of people believing in magick or simply being open-minded or not denying it would increase the probability of successful rituals as well. Hence why academy city houses mostly espers and almost only people who believe in it.

Outro

Lastly, it's really interesting to see another form of artwork to base itself on a concept that is used in modern magick. It makes one think if the author was inspired by those beliefs had the same thought process of maybe it's something we all unconsciously know and believe in? Whatever it is it's our best bet to explain magick scientifically. Whether or not this explanation is correct is something we will figure out as we continue to understand quantum physics and as we dive deeper into the lowest levels of physics. Funnily enough, people already believe in the placebo and have proven which amazing feats it can do and they keep on studying it. "Glaube versetzt Berge" (Faith can move mountains) is a German saying that matches this too well.
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I'm a junior game developer and software developer and I created this blog to share my ideas, thoughts and whatever I'm working on or doing.