How Perfect Rail Networks Work [Factorio]

comfy train in snowy japan

In this post I will show you the principles behind building rail networks in Factorio, so that you understand what you’re doing before you do it, you understand the problems when they appear, and, if no mistakes occur, you create networks that never jam ever.

“Contributors are instructed: “Wikipedia is an encyclopedic reference, not an instruction manual, guidebook, or textbook. Wikipedia articles should not read like … instruction manuals. ”

When I look something up related to computer science, it is normally because I am working on a project, and need to know how to do something, so I need something that reads like an instruction manual, guidebook, or textbook. Further, anyone who knows computer science stuff is usually an engineer, so is apt to write like a textbook or instruction manual. The effect and application of the not-a-manual rule is to prohibit contributions from people who actually do stuff, which contributions they intend to share with other people who actually do stuff, in favor of contributions by people who do not do stuff, and are incapable of doing stuff – which is to say, in favor of academic knowledge.

– Jim

  • Game version: 0.15.37
  • Current number of hours played: 89
  • Longest game in hours: 30
  • Total games played: 1 regular, 2 deathworld
  • Total games completed: 0
  • Time spent figuring out rail theory in hours: 6
  • Amount of notes: 1 8.5×11″, 2 5000x5000px
  • Number of perfect rail networks made: 1

I am writing this because all other explanations I’ve found were insufficient.

They’re either video tutorials, which are too long and too slow so they don’t matter, or they’re image and text guides, in which case all the ones I’ve seen had their priorities completely backwards. Like a bad and uninteresting class they spend all their time going over jargon and then straight into generic concepts everyone could’ve figured out beforehand, and none at all on basic principles and thus are not applicable to truly useful examples. They even provide you with blueprint strings so you’ll be even more sure you’re right while being even more confused if something goes wrong.

It’s confidence in the wrong place. Which leads to the expected result, results you may have seen: big-time youtubers with blueprint books of huge pre-planned intersections and stations, all auto-built with construction robots, only to run into a jam that they run halfway across the map to fix manually. And they’ll do it again. And again. Every handful of minutes.

The problem with these guides is they emphasize signals. They’re trying to properly signal intersections. All their planning and corrections are based off of placing signals correctly.

They’re not trying to build a rail network.

This isn’t a matter of being pedantic: “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. The point of a rail network is to have trains running properly, not to have signals running properly. The signals will always run properly. The question is do they run in such a way that your network runs properly. It is about the rail network’s purpose first, then about rail placement, and only at the end do signals come into play. Things must be thought about in that order: Network first, rails second, finally signals.

Approaching rail networks with that mindset clears all obstacles.

> Let’s Look at Networks
> Think in Blocks, not Signals
> What a Signal Means
> When, or Why to Upgrade to Dual Rails
> General Principles, Summarized
> Specific Applications

> — Intersections (3-way, 4-way)
> — Train Stations
> — Personal Trains
> The Blue Signal, Revisited
> References / Other Rulesets

Continue reading

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Mindsets and PUBG

“What do they see in [thing/person]???”

It’s a common refrain when people encounter an interpretation vastly different from their own. It’s easy to say it’s wrong if others simply disagree with you, and similarly simply if you’ve seen it before and believe it comes down to personal preference. But it can go from that to feeling so foreign it’s as if it came out of the unknown.

It’s as if they came from a different world.

An inconceivable thought, to the post-enlightenment standard. Everything is made out of atoms, we all live on the same planet, we even use the same words all of which are defined right here in these written scribbles on bound pages / glowing screens! How could it be possible we live in different worlds? If it’s from someone with a different facial structure or clothing then the magical word of “culture” is invoked. If it’s from someone who looks or sounds funny then it’s chalked up to them being crazy kooks. And yet, sometime or another, we intuitively know that “we all live in the same world” is simply not the case. That perspective was explained by someone who has 99.x% the same DNA and made of the same 100% starstuff as you, saw something different through the two balls in their head. Something different enough that it makes you question not their way of looking at the world, but yours.

That is how I’ve felt about everything for a long time. Wherever I go and whatever I do there usually is some sort of rulebook or dictionary to look up, but the moment I put down the map to look at the territory, it’s without fail so wildly different I wonder if I should’ve bothered to begin with. The overwhelming proportion of the rules and definitions rarely ever have more power than mere guidelines and suggestions, so much so that they should’ve been presented instead as “some guy’s introduction to this subject matter”. It should be read as WEBSTER’s Dictionary not Webster’s DICTIONARY and Encyclopedia BRITANNICA not ENCYCLOPEDIA Britannica, which is only made harder these days because who’s actually in charge at “en.wikipedia.org” or “dictionary.com“?

Do people, the vast majority of actual living human beings, actually say, “In event of dispute, the rules/definitions laid out by this faceless third party will be the revealed word of the almighty god-or-science?” I feel instead that people usually already have some vague idea of their own to begin with. Rules and definitions, or more generally, “truths”, are less things that will strike omnipotent lightning against any and all who oppose it, and more just things that happen to be lying around for those who can use them. Like a fireteam happening to reach and secure a hill or a building before their enemies. It’s not that they’re not objectively true, or effectively objectively true (e.g. social norms). They’re loci of power, but they’re not god-or-science. Things are there, but they’re only there as much as people understand them. A military that understands cavalry but not firearms will charge; a military that understands firearms considers open land in front of a position watched by the enemy would seen as a bottomless cliff. It’s not actually a bottomless cliff. But it might as well be.

In this sense it wouldn’t be incorrect to say people create the world. One world per person. And the differences are more common than you think – so much so that it might be accurate to say,

“What you see isn’t necessarily reality.
Everyone has secrets, things they can’t tell others.
There are no normal people anywhere.”

– Celty Sturluson, Durarara!!


Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (“PUBG”) is an online PvP battle royale survival shooter: 100 enter, 1 leaves. It has been out since late March 2017, and every week since then up until recently, its peak concurrent players have only risen. It solidly holds its position as the most popular game on Steam, in turn the most popular digital distribution platform for PC games. PUBG‘s peak concurrent players at time of writing is ~2.2M, the next two positions are ~800k (DOTA2) and ~640k (CSGO). Though it has desync problems, server issues, and questionable moves on part of the developer in relation to development progress, streamers, and monetization, there has been no stops on its continued success.

I use PUBG as my example this time because

  1. I’ve recently gotten to play it myself,
  2. it’s popular,
  3. it’s easy to understand, and
  4. the parts of it I am going to use are nonpoliticized.

In general when I’ve tried to used real-world examples to talk about something else entirely, they’ve been read almost entirely differently from what I intended. I don’t see any problem using obscure comparisons, but apparently no one else agrees.

PUBG, specifically, how to think about playing PUBG, looks like it could bypass many of these problems. It’s a PvP game with no story, so the inside of it has no politics. It’s a 3D game rather than some concept, and (I think) more people have a better grasp of pseudo-physical and spatial realities than do people who can keep up with complex arguments. The game has no experience/progression system along with very few mechanics, so there’s no hidden unknowable depths that can be gatekept by “veterans”. And finally, it’s not only popular, but I feel for once I have a decent understanding as to why it is.

In other, shorter words: PUBG is a convenient coincidence.

Originally I was fully opposed to the PUBG hype. Openworld-survival-pvp-crafting has been around for a very long time, producing iteration upon bad iteration, with the original DayZ starting as an Arma3 mod in who knows what year and having been “in development” as a standalone game since 2012, then came H1Z1 and a bunch of other -Z’s whose names I forget, but it’s okay, because none of them have ever amounted to anything. PUBG though for whatever reason has not died off, and I wasn’t inclined to look into it because it was “Early Access” like all the other trash, and posters on /v/ wouldn’t stop spamming that welding helmet and the orange explosion as OP images. Literally everything else anyone talks about can come up with more than one (1) image; for whatever reason these PUBG guys couldn’t. Apparently PUBG removed the zombies, persistence, crafting, and simplified the formula down to just a battle royale.

This formula I still had problems with. Not having played or watched it much at all except to determine the general feel for accuracy and ranges, it was pretty clear that the game involved doing a lot of nothing. You have 100 people dropping into an area that’s 64km2 – that’s a really, really low population density. Even if most people start off in the same place, most of the game’s duration almost by definition will not involve combat. Most of it won’t even involve picking things up. If you don’t find a car, a very likely scenario to the average player, then most of the game involves running from “The Blue”, which over time forces all remaining players into smaller and smaller areas. A few minutes of picking stuff up, a lot of minutes just running, and then in a few seconds, loud sounds and death. Someone saw you before you saw them, they took their shots, and now it’s game over. Back to the menus with you.

If the fundamentals of the game’s balance are that aim is at all accurate, if damage is that high and fire rate is that fast, if the kill speed is significantly higher than travel speed and visibility problems are nonexistent… that’s the kind of game that necessarily results. It’s probably not too far from how it’d work in real life (“The Blue” not withstanding) but realism doesn’t mean good design. I just thought I’d do something better with my time. I’d occasionally read about PUBG in a certain blog I follow, but that was about it.

I got PUBG after watching my friend play it for a few hours. Watching him play it, with all the shiny marketing and wHoA sO cUhRaZy stripped away and replaced with a down-to-earth personality I was familiar and comfortable with, the appeal of the game was clear: it’s the tension. Saying that most of the game is spent “doing nothing” is not untrue, but the important part is that most of the game is also spent “potentially doing something very significant in the next moment”. You’re not shooting every second, but you are paying attention. At any time you could spot something in the next second that tells you that an enemy is around. Perhaps they spot you and you get notified with the crack of a bullet, perhaps with it the loss of a third of your health. Or maybe nothing will happen.

But something could.

After having played PUBG for about 30 hours now and gaining some desire to become more proficient, I’ve noticed that there are very, very different ways of approaching how to play it. My main reason in getting PUBG was simply to spend time with a friend, and certainly it explains a lot of others’ way of thinking about the game too. Just to make it simple, we’re going to pass over these “social” mindsets in favor of looking those that are about winning. Winning in this game is clearly defined: be the last one standing. But the mindsets built to achieve that are different. It’s the same game everyone’s playing, yet the understandings between them aren’t the same at all.

I’ve seen four different mindsets: four different PUBG’s, four different worlds.

They are:

  • World of Campers
  • World of Looters
  • World of Predators
  • World of Gods

“Imagine you exist within a sacred landscape. How could a modern person conceive of that? Well that’s easy. Leave home for… a while. And then come back. Let’s say it’s your parents’ home and you’ve been gone for fifteen years, and you come back and everything in the house is imbued with magical significance.

And you might say well that’s not inherent to the object. Like, yeah, sure. Depending on how you define the object. It’s completely inherent to the object as they manifest themselves in your realm of perception. And you can dissociate the object itself from the subjective overlay, but that’s not such an easy thing to do, and it’s not so self-evident. And it’s not even obvious that what you’re doing when you do that is coming up with a more accurate picture of reality, because the picture of reality that represents the item of sacred importance.

How do you know that importance isn’t the most important part of that item? That’s how you act. You won’t throw it away. Well, why? It’s just a material entity. Well no it’s not. It’s an element of being. And that’s a different thing.

And so what people prior to the dawn of the materialist age was producing maps of being, and that meant things had historical significance. The mountain where your grandfather was buried was not the same mountain as another mountain. And you might say, yes they are, they’re made out of the same clay and silica and all of that, and it’s like, yeah, man, you’re missing the point.

A Westerner might say, “yes but it’s extraordinarily useful to differentiate and to act as if there’s an objective reality and a subjective reality because it opens up all sorts of new avenues of pursuit”, and yes, that’s why we’re technological wizards. But we’ve lost something. We’ve lost our capacity to understand the reality of that overlay that we scraped off in order to produce objective reality.”

– Jordan B. Peterson


CAMPERS

A not-uncommon way to play the game involves sitting inside a building with cover on all sides, and gun pointing at the point of entry. Sometimes it’s a shed, sometimes it’s a bathroom, sometimes it’s in the kitchen, if it’s that kind of kitchen.

The idea is that it’s the optimal way to survive. Guns are deadly. The map has really wide open spaces that make it hard to see people and hard to be protected from bullets. If you don’t want to die then you need to not get shot, if you want to not get shot you need cover. And if you want to kill people before they kill you, the best thing to have is surprise. What better combination of these elements than hiding in a small room in a building? Guaranteed safety up until the moment that door opens, and while you get to hear the intruder’s footsteps, they have no information on you up until the moment they open that door. When they do, they’ll be surprised, and you won’t.

The definition of winning is being able to shoot first.

What causes loss is lack of the element of surprise.

LOOTERS

This game starts everyone off with no offensive or defensive items, air-dropping from the same plane over a random flight path. What little background lore there is on the game states that this is some deserted russian island, which just happens to have quite a few guns, ammo, and armor just laying around for everyone to use and kill each other with. There is some variety between the weapons, with pistols, SMGs, shotguns, and rifles to pick up, all doing varying amounts of damages at various ranges.

The idea of the looter is simply to win via having more/better items. If, for example, a rifle does more damage, has more bullets per magazine, and can take scopes to make longer range shooting easier, then it’s of utmost importance to have a rifle. To be the last man standing you must have some health when everyone else has none, and what causes that is more healing and more power. More, more, more.

This is how my friend and I duo – we just go around continually getting more stuff from more buildings all game long. Both in duo and in solo using this mindset has reliably gotten me to sub-25 rankings… though, since I generally also don’t hit my shots, nor ever have time to heal, I think it’s really more to do with how I initially land from the plane and how I think about moving around afterwards than anything else.

I picked this up from the blog I mentioned earlier, and idea is so strong it can get you to the overall top 0.5%. Gevlon intentionally sits as far away from anyone as possible, sometimes even deep within “The Blue”, just healing until he runs out and dies. On average he kills someone once every 33 games. My (effectively) no-items running around can reliably get to top 25, Gevlon’s heals galore reliably gets him within top 10.

And top 10 is where all the ratings gains happen. The game doesn’t really care so much how many other people you kill, it cares how long you survive relative to everyone else.

The definition of winning is the most reliable method of climbing the overall competitive “ladder”. As applied to PUBG, the definition of winning is: actively avoiding danger.

What causes loss is having poor strategy.

PREDATORS

It’s a battle royale: in the beginning there were many, and in the end only one will be left alive. Since it’s not actually Battle Royale and it’s PUBG instead, you can’t leave the island or team up to fight the power, and the actual only way to win is by everyone else dying. Since they’re probably not going to go off and die on their own, you have to kill them. And if you’re going to kill them, you might as well do more of it, sooner, where possible. Generally speaking, anyways – too much danger doesn’t work, but too little of it means that it’s not clear if it’s there. Unknown dangers are worse than known dangers, and the danger is not only out there, it’s here inside your head. If you’re constantly fighting, then you’re ready. If all is silent for just a little too long, rust builds up quick.

The definition of winning is more actively controlling and reducing potential danger.

I recently found a fairly unique streamer through watching various videos and, though he usually doesn’t drop in high-risk-high-reward areas, when he does, he chooses specific parts of it which are locally less populated and easier to secure his position. chocoTaco almost always sticks to his overall mid-game strategy of finding a certain kind of building in a central location and defending it. The type of building is one which has open stretches of land on all sides, meaning if someone happens to be around, he will have access to cover and they will not. The central location means he will never be too far from the next safe zone from “The Blue”.

The moment he sees someone he starts shooting. chocoTaco has said multiple times while in extremely exposed positions, “I wouldn’t mind taking a few shots right now. Then I’d know where they are / I’d see some action”. This isn’t an untrue way of thinking. With only a few exceptions no gun will kill you in one hit, and only rarely will a gunshot not have a sound effect telling you which direction the shot came from. Regardless of how good your eyes are at hunting pixels, you could always use the help of someone else, and if you’re getting shot at that means there’s an enemy that can see you. Also helpfully is that most people in this game are bad shots. If you have reliable and quick access to cover, a few shots are basically as good as “Marco!”.

Sure, those bullets could hit. But what if they don’t hit? What if they weren’t fired? What if you chose a poorer area with a poorer building, and someone not only could but decided they would sit near your vehicle, waiting for you to come back out when the next “Blue” is announced to shotgun you in the face? That would be more dangerous. Better to set fire to the forests before the forests decide to set fire to you.

chocoTaco’s way of playing definitely requires more skill than Gevlon’s, but with a little tweaking here and there it can be used for fair chunk of the playerbase. Pick shots rather than picking them all. Don’t run around outside. Something else he recommends is to not loot after a certain point: there’s a certain amount of certain things you need, after that don’t worry about it, because 1) after a very early point the people you’ll run into will be dangerous, 2) it increases the probability you will run into campers, and 3) if you’re looting buildings or bodies, you aren’t paying attention to what’s around you.

In this way, lack of attention, not bullets, is what causes death.

If there’s five people and everyone’s hiding, no one knows anything about anyone, which means everyone at every point might be in danger. If instead one guy is firing at another and that guy is firing back, then there’s at least two points to focus on. Not only has the number of unknowns has been reduced from 5 to 3, those 3 remaining are probably also focused on the known 2. You can decide to look for the danger first. If you find them first, you have the surprise. If you didn’t, but you didn’t die, surprise is not a factor. If you’re firing then it’s usually at the cost of your own position, but in the end it’s a decision. Are you going to put yourself in some danger to obtain information, or aren’t you? Remember, you’re in general danger anyways. It’s a battle royale after all.

Given a skill level like chocoTaco’s, that decision is a pretty easy one – to a certain extent.

Some others though play like there’s no extent.

GODS

Based on how people drop and the most popular videos on youtube, this is the most popular way. People overwhelmingly prefer to drop in the few large areas with the highest chance of high quality items, knowing full well that that’s what other people have in mind and it’s up to whoever happens to find guns first and gets better shots off that wins. And that’s all okay, because [I] WILL drop the fastest, [I] WILL get to the best guns first, and [I] WILL kill everyone before they get to kill me. Almost all the top videos are killcam highlights of crazy trick shots. The “gunplay” in this game is not very interesting, the death animations are nonexistent, yet that’s what’s focused on, because that’s the definition of winning.

The definition of winning is killing everyone as they appear no matter the situation.

What causes loss is low skill.

These are the players that will talk about “git gud”, because that’s the prerequisite. Not even a loose prerequisite, but an absolute one. If you are just running around not really thinking about what you’re doing, and you want to win, you better be extremely good at what you do. In a simple game like PUBG it comes down to putting more/bigger bullets into the enemy before they do you and, since enemies are on average really poor shots, it doesn’t seem too far out of reach. It especially doesn’t seem far with all the streamers out there, seemingly randomly getting into dangerous situations just like they do, whipping out quick kills or even instant kills with sniper rifle headshots, then turning back and answering fun and personal questions from their public chats. With little old them.

In my due diligence minimal research for this section of this post I’ve watched a bit played by a few big name streamers, and they all largely follow this line. A few hours of Shroud showed he doesn’t seem to place much of a priority on dropping safely or securing a vehicle, at one point he stands around for almost 30 seconds, pondering aloud his next move – meaning he doesn’t have a strategy or a plan. What little I watched of Tecnosh was largely the same with dropping into really high risk areas. His midgame strat though does exist: he’s permanently driving around in a type of vehicle that’s large enough to give him plenty of cover, giving him the choice to pick engagements and be in a decent position if he decides to pick one. But nothing else he did made sense.

I was watching Grimmmz for a third example, but less than an hour in I just had to hear him talk about how youtube is bad because it’s too easy for random trolls to take down other peoples’ videos. Which is unfortunate because 1) He streams a hell of a lot on a lot of different games and I had to scroll down to last month to find one that was mostly PUBG, and 2) I just happened to be on a certain thread while searching for other streamers to look up and maybe prove myself wrong, and I read that Grimmmz is the guy who set the precedent for honking while in a streamer’s game to be a bannable offense (there’s no names in-game until you’re dead so you can’t possibly know if you’re being watched), he also took down a video of some deliberate stream honking on youtube… by a copyright claim. Wow! Shortly after I found out Shroud is the one behind the banning of suspected “stream snipers”, meaning “people who watch my in-game screen, which purely by my own volition i have put up for public display, who attempt to get in the same game with me, and who use that information to their advantage”. Not that he has any problem with all the stream snipers who come up to him harmlessly and stand around to feed him kills and items though. Of course not. God I hate streamers. Streaming was a civilization-level mistake. But that’s a different topic.

Off topic as well as on topic, Grimmmz just like Shroud didn’t display anything particular of note other than very very reliable shooting skills. Everything else was a wash. These are some of the biggest streamers on Twitch, and among others are the ones you’ll hear about if you look up which PUBG players to watch if you want to “git gud”.

Those players act like gods, and in many ways, they really are gods. Generally speaking, past the first few minutes after they’ve gotten geared up, everyone they see *will* die.

However, when newcomers see and attempts to emulate “not caring and simply making things happen”, what happens is they become prey. And they’ll like being prey, because every once in a while the stars will align, they’ll get that victory screen for being the last man standing, that “WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!”, and in that moment that will overshadow all else, they too will have become a god.


Everyone who plays PUBG is playing the same game… in a sense. They’re all connecting to the same servers and interacting with the same 3D world and ranked on the same /100 in game and by some other numbers out of game.

Yet they’re not playing the same game.

So many times I’ve seen chocoTaco notice someone outside his building, someone who also knows he’s inside because he makes it obvious by breaking windows and parking right next to a door, and he simply jumps out of a second-story window to flank and make a clean kill. Most people know that it’s possible to leave a building from the second floor… when they’re safe and looting. But when they’re approaching a threat inside a building, people usually think if they watch “the entrances” then they’re safe, and “the entrances to a building”, generally speaking, means “doors on the first floor”. In that moment, their world is just the first floor’s doors. Even though they’re making an assault on a building, what they see isn’t all that different from the guy squatting on a toilet or laying down in a bathtub.

In one game I was playing alone I happened to reach a “care package”, a random airdrop which has items much more powerful than those that spawn on the island. Usually people go for these and I don’t, but for some reason this one was untouched, and I got my hands on a big belt-fed machinegun. The strongest non-sniper weapon in the game. I had survived and made it to the final 10 with such a weapon.

But with that power I laid down in the grass.

And did nothing. No damage.

And then I died.

So I might as well have had a submachinegun. Or no gun at all.

In one game chocoTaco was fired upon by a machinegun. He took up residence in the next building over, and while looking around for other enemies, he constantly wondered the machine gun was silent. Paraphrased, he said something like ‘What’s this guy doing? He has the big gun, he can do whatever he wants. Why isn’t he pushing me?’. Eventually, chocoTaco got an angle jumping around different rooftops to get a grenade in for the kill. From the time chocoTaco originally got fired upon to that grenade, the machinegun did not fire a single shot. Our bunnyhopper had worse weapons and a more exposed position. But he won and the big gun didn’t, and it wasn’t due to “luck” or some “trickshot”. He does have luck and can pull trickshots, but that’s not important.

Or perhaps it’s all that’s important. chocoTaco explains what he’s doing and is almost always doing the same strategy – a strategy that’s boring. It’s good, and when it’s fun it’s fun, but it’s boring. Gevlon has an even more solid strategy, and if he streamed, it would be even more boring.

You know what is exciting though?

“OOOOOOOOOOH!!!!!!”
“OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!”
“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?”

What was I talking about?

I’ve gone at pretty decent length describing a few things in this post, but none at all right there. So what was I talking about? Do you have any idea?

The most common player such a good idea, this reveal wouldn’t even be a reveal.

Ignore the commentary by the aggregator, just pay attention to what the people from inside the gameplay clips say.

When they do or see things like that, they see

“That could be me. This is fun.

This is a game worth playing.”

When I see things like that, I see

“Some of that stuff really was legitimately good decisions and good moves, but a lot of it shouldn’t even happened to begin with. More than a few of those bad situations were as a result of bad choices. You don’t get in fistfights with 4 people if you don’t decide to land at a terrible building in a populated area. You don’t get that far outside a circle if you pay attention.

And most importantly, all of them had really stupid reactions. Are you skilled or are you not? If you are, then it should be a “oh neat, that worked” surprise and not an “OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD” surprise. If you’re not, then yes, that’s the appropriate response… but submitting that to a “Top Plays of the Week” contest means you don’t think that. Or you do, and think the results of skills are worth no more than results of accidents.

And if there’s someone with high reach out there that makes videos accepting such submissions with a title like “Top Plays of the Week”… well.

This is a game for stupid monkeys.”

Those two games are not the same game. Land in front of an enemy formation is not the same as an enemy position watching over a bottomless cliff. The game I see in that video is also not the same game as the one I play.

It’s also entirely possible there is some method behind the madness of the streamers I watched. I like Gevlon and chocoTaco not just because they can win, but because they are a certain kind of person. They give explanations about what they do and how they think, ones which are close enough to how I think that I feel I could’ve said something like that myself.

There’s a lot of advice videos on PUBG out there and a lot of them talk about practice practice practice. Having heard “practice practice practice” might be helpful for some people but I feel like I wasted my time and wish youtube’s video ranking system still worked based on up/down votes. More than a few videos I’ve watched on How To Improve Aim give the advice to drop into highly contested areas over and over because that’s the highest frequency of fighting you can get. Which I thought was just stupid because there’s a minute pre-game, a minute dropping, and if you drop into such an area it’s maybe a minute before you’re probably going to die, all for a (one) (1) gunfight. That’s a frequency of 1 every 3 minutes.

chocoTaco says basically the same thing:

“The truth is, if you really want to work on your aim, you need to play a different game on the side. Unfortunately, PUBG is a terrible game for working on your shot. There are plans for the devs to include a shooting range in the game, but we have no idea when this will be added, or even if it will be added. The problem is there’s so much deadtime between kills that you truly can’t practice your shot. Not only that, but PUBG isn’t really a game where you rack up kills.

Let’s say you win a game with 10 kills, that takes something like 35 minutes, so that’s about 1 kill every 3 1/2 minutes. And that’s only sometimes. Sometimes you’ll get no kills. Sometimes you’ll get one kill.

Any other shooter that’s fast paced will work great for practicing your aim.”

He follows this up by saying he personally uses CSGO to practice.

To which my good friend Laxeris responded:

LAX: Absolutely disgusting
LAX: >CS:GO
LAX: DROPPED
REZ: im playing it for pubguh aims
LAX: Poor excuse
[…]
LAX: You’re better off practicing your aim in pubg
LAX: Or playing something like Osu
LAX: Or some aiming trainer
[…]
LAX: https://aim400kg.com/
[…]
REZ: why do you prefer that flash site over playing csgo or some other shooter
LAX: Because Cs go is shit
LAX: If I want to practice shooting I’ll practice in the game I’m playing
[…]
LAX: This is why I say just play bubg
REZ: but flash clickers are better than csgo??
LAX: Yes
REZ: why?
LAX: Cus csgo is shit
LAX: It’s bascially the same problem you said earlier when compairing cs to bubg
LAX: 10 seconds inbetween each shot
REZ: 10s while having to look around isnt so bad
LAX: Whereas most trainers have them at 1-5 intervals

I like these three guys because I can understand them. They don’t completely agree with each other, but they share enough of the same kind of mindset that I see what’s going on. A certain way of looking at the world… of creating the world.

And yet they come to opposite results on how the game should be played. The Way of the Looter and the Way of the Predator couldn’t be more different from each other. Within one mindset of a certain criteria, two opposing mindsets of a different criteria result. Then we add in all the other mindsets, not only the Campers and Gods (who are obviously just wrong), but those people who are just around for social reasons and don’t care about winning at all. Then add in all the things these mindsets do in not-PUBG.

Grimmmz clearly doesn’t care about freedom of speech or sanctity of law. He cares about something, but it’s not that. Same with certain other streamers and certain other things we understand to be general moral guidelines. Certainly, they’re able to get away with it because they have powerful positions, but they also have a way of creating the world that makes doing these things a possibility to begin with. That part doesn’t come from the power.

How else do different mindsets appear in all the other realms of human activity?

What else exists that we can’t see?

Game of Truth

REZ: i remember one summer a long time ago
REZ: probably middle school
REZ: i went to a “writing camp” over the summer
REZ: i.e. a class run by non-teachers
REZ: and for some reason i forget we played this game
REZ: two people would be blindfolded and put into a ring
REZ: a rolled up newspaper would be thrown in there
REZ: and there’s two stages to the game
REZ: first is someone needs to find the newspaper
REZ: second is when the newspaper is found, it’s announced, then the guy with the newspaper needs to be able to find and whack the other guy
REZ: arena size was…
REZ: i was a kid so it was smaller; i’m trying to imagine how large it’d be for an adult
REZ: 9×9′ or 10×10′, thereabouts
REZ: i wasnt the first to play so i got a chance to see others play for a while, maybe it was even the second or third time it happened until it was my turn
REZ: maybe multiple days, maybe not, i forget
REZ: but the way i saw people do it was really really obtuse
REZ: granted it’s young teens doing it but whatever they had in their minds, it was different than mine
REZ: newspaper’s somewhere on the ground, and what they do is they reach out at different spots with their hands to see what’s there
REZ: second phase was basically the same except standing up and with one guy not reaching out at different spots
REZ: maybe 3~5 minute rounds of people blindfolded, acting as if they weren’t blindfolded
REZ: as if the lights had just been turned off
REZ: the whole time.
REZ: then it came my turn with some girl
REZ: and i swam along the carpet
REZ: the objective was to find a newspaper and there was nothing that would hurt me, so the strategy as far as i could tell involved covering the largest amount of area as soon as possible
REZ: made me look like an idiot but i wasn’t interested in that
REZ: so basically, breaststroke.
REZ: unfortunately my strategy wasn’t able to get me the newspaper because i hadn’t thought through how to measure covered ground versus uncovered ground, and i started in a bad direction
REZ: i hit the edge of the arena multiple times and didn’t know where i was facing after i got turned around
REZ: so now i’m the hunted versus the hunter
REZ: and rather than walking around with the smallest profile like a girl in a movie walking down a dark unfamiliar street
REZ: my upper body was about as wide as it’d normally be
REZ: but i was basically squatting with how far apart my legs were
REZ: and rather than having (nothing) to indicate to me where my opponent was
REZ: i listened and felt for heat
REZ: if i felt something, i’d move far with only a few strides
REZ: i’d stay mostly put otherwise unless something changed
REZ: it went on for 10~15 minutes until the “teachers” finally stopped it.
REZ: i got pretty popular afterwards for a few minutes.
REZ: then afterwards the game was broken and i don’t think anyone really felt tension from playing it anymore.
REZ: both players would always start out with breaststroke and whoever got the newspaper would instantly start swinging it around like a madman
REZ: i forget if everyone actually got a chance to play in the end or if it was just stopped without comment.
REZ: oh yeah i forgot one part of the story
LAX: I feel like someone would have accidentally gotten punched like that
REZ: when the blindfold was put on, i was also the first to insist on a certain way it was put on
REZ: namely, that they didn’t cover my ears.
REZ: oh sure
REZ: i meant relatively speaking
REZ: rather than a swordsman in a dark dungeon on the wary for large monsters
REZ: the hunter actually did assume the role of the hunter after that
REZ: moved quick, “sword” in front, extended arms
REZ: one time where i really did change ‘everything’.
REZ: i solved it
REZ: and then i ruined it.
LAX: What do you mean ruined it?
REZ: what’s the point in playing a game?
LAX: To win
REZ: no no no
REZ: that’s the point when you’re already playing a game
REZ: why do you pick up a game?
REZ: why play a game rather than do something else?
LAX: Because other stuff is boring?
REZ: yes
REZ: because games are fun
REZ: it wasn’t fun after i and whoever came after me solved it, me with the search and defensive standards, and him with the offensive standard
REZ: “everyone” had a certain understanding of “how” the game was played
REZ: then i played it
REZ: and that other guy played it.
REZ: it was a game of tension and mystery
REZ: then it became a dice roll.
REZ: or rather, a coin flip.
REZ: i wonder if i was the dumb one in the end.
LAX: Nope
LAX: You were the only one to think outside the box
LAX: The rest of the kids followed in your footsteps, no one else attempted to change it
LAX: It’s like when a new “unbeatable” meta shows up in a game
LAX: Everyone conforms to that meta and no one tries to break it
LAX: Everyone was doing what you did rather than thinking about how to beat what you did
LAX: AKA they were fucking stupid sheep
REZ: as was the case with most educational summer camps, no kid actually wanted to be there and little of it was interesting at all
REZ: that was the first time something happened that was both interesting and something they couldnt simply replicate at home
REZ: you really do need a human ring creating an arena for no danger of running into things to be involved, and enough eyes on the scene to determine what the objective state of the game is
REZ: but after those two games it was just another thing to do.
REZ: and then not a thing to do, because it stopped.
REZ: back to writing stupid shit no one cares about and no one reads.
LAX: The problem with your story isnot that you ruined the game
LAX: It’s that the game was stupid.
REZ: oh sure
LAX: Or more that the rest of the kids were….
REZ: we’re adults and we have experience with games so we can see that the design was absolutely retarded
REZ: but i don’t think that changes the purpose and niche the game filled for that situation at that time
REZ: everyone played the game as if there was also the rule that you had to act as if you could actually see
REZ: and that created a certain feel for the game
REZ: i played as if that rule didn’t exist and revealed that the emperor wasn’t really wearing any clothes
REZ: good for me i suppose
REZ: but all that was left for me and everyone else after that was looking at a hairy fat ugly old man.
LAX: The real problem is that you were theonly person that actually played the game
LAX: In a competetive game the goal is to win
LAX: Or rather to beat the other person
LAX: Everyone saw that you found the winning defense strategy
LAX: If there were a few smart kids in that group the game could have been a bit more like rock paper sissors with a phsyical aspect
LAX: The problem with being smart is you tend to ruin the “fun” for everyone else who isn’t smart.
LAX: No one else there had the physical or mental capacity to win aginast a decently thought out plan
LAX: But, was there a point to that story?
REZ: i’ve been reading some of the kaiji stuff i hadnt before since i cant sleep and something in there reminded me of this story
REZ: the point was that i wasn’t sure if it was the right move
LAX: It was the right move for you
REZ: it was the right move inside the game.
LAX: Same difference
REZ: no, i think it was the wrong move outside
REZ: there’s fewer smart people than dumb people
LAX: No matter what, the same outcome would have happened
REZ: if smart people can figure out a way to win, they should also figure out the cost of ruining the whole thing
REZ: on a long enough timeline, yes
REZ: but it was a camp of like 4 weeks, maybe 16 days
REZ: and its not like we played all that time
REZ: the dumb kids wouldn’t have made it out, only the smarter ones
REZ: we could’ve played for a few hours longer rather than not
LAX: With enough iterations the game would have evolved anyways
LAX: With your strat that is
LAX: Someone would have figured out how to beat it
LAX: Really, the burden lies on the teachers.
LAX: For ruining the game
LAX: They’re the ones who cancled it, presumably
REZ: i think that way of thinking will evade the understanding of a lot of things people do
REZ: there are more dumb kids than smart kids, more dumb people than smart people
LAX: Sure
REZ: how much of society is run with the super smart people pretending just enough so that all the dumb people continue enjoying life the way things are?
REZ: or rather: not seeing how absolutely retarded their situation is, not realize such a thing, and thus also never start trying to even want to look for a way out of it?
LAX: A lot.
REZ: probably.
REZ: and people like us, not-dumb not-super-smart people, spend time looking at how to win the individual games instead.

Vector of Truth vs Vector of History

A long time ago for a reason I don’t remember, I was watching a Q&A session with developers of a videogame I didn’t play. The game was World of Warcraft, the session was at BlizzCon, the questioner was some guy and the answerer was the lead producer. Or developer. Some title that was a “lead” but not a “writer”. I remember having played AION at this point so it must’ve been 2009/2010, i.e. pretty close to the peak of the days of MMORPGs. Or in other words, the start of their decline. And World of Warcraft was the biggest one in subscriber count, in world size, in game depth, in all primary respects.

The guy asked some question about how the recent update made sense, given that some prior lore established by these minor characters in this quest somewhere said something. Took quite a while for him to explain things. Very serious business. His rhetorical skill didn’t quite get there, but from what he said it sounded like something that could potentially overturn the entire canon. At least a few few of the guys near the mic stand looked like if they hadn’t come with it themselves, they were considering it seriously now.

There were two guys sitting on stage, some head honcho money-guy and our lead. After a short pause, our lead answered the question. I don’t remember if any of the guys around the mic were satisfied, or if the camera even panned back to show the reaction.

I do remember what happened between the two representatives of Blizzard right before the answer. A quiet signal between themselves, to signal who’d lean into their mic to answer the audience. This was back in the days before the prevalence of 720p, the camera wasn’t zoomed in, and it was only there for a moment, in and out in a flash. But I caught it. Any human who was even remotely watching would’ve caught it.

It was a chuckle.


I woke up today and checked my usual internet feeds to see that /v/ had a sticky. That’s not something that happens every day, what’s in it? The line “It’s dead, jim.”, and a link to some guy’s blog. The link is some pseudo-fanfiction where all the names were changed around for some reason, which I didn’t read beyond figuring out it was written from the perspective of the real character which I knew the name of, from a game I’d never played, but knew enough about to get the gist of things. So I went to my other feed and asked, “didn’t everyone know it was dead? who’s this guy and why does he matter?”.

Turns out that this Marc Laidlaw guy was a lead writer, and the meaning of the existence of this “fanfiction” was that Half-Life 2: Episode 3 was dead.

Half Life 2 was released in Nov 2004. Half Life 2: Episode One (a sequel) was released Jun 2006, and the most recent one, Half Life 2: Episode Two, was released Oct 2007. But that sticky still got a ton of posts and the rest of the catalog is filled with threads about it.

/v/ is a place which prides itself on realism. With a few exceptions, positivity about anything is regarded as shilling/marketing. It’s seen through No Man’s Sky, Might No. 9, Star Citizen, and a lot of big names hyped by all the big journalists which turned out to be a whole bunch of nothing. Kickstarters are all bad, Early Access are all bad, anything by this guy or that company are all bad, basically everything is bad unless said otherwise – and they can back it up with a seemingly endless number of examples. And yet, even after the perhaps unprecedentedly realistic crowd reaction to Valve’s announcement of their new digital card game, many people still thought that HL3 was going to be a thing.

10 years of back-to-back constant watching and participating in other peoples’ dreams being crushed wasn’t enough to convince some that they weren’t special.

Or maybe something else is going on here.


[Review] Persona 5

5/8

Persona 5 felt like it could’ve been a masterpiece at more points than one, and simply ran out of fuel on everything almost before it started. Quality lasted longer in some areas than others, in ways that only highlighted how unfortunate the other pieces became. I really think I should give it a 3 for how glaring the holes are. But for most of the game itself I didn’t notice them, and I was just happily chugging along, thanks to a great overall feel created by a handful of exceedingly well-crafted elements.

I picked up this game because of the waifus and knew nothing about it going in other than that it had waifus, one which said “Let’s do it in the student council room”, and a character named after Mishima. I’ve never played a Persona or a Shin Megami Tensei game before, and in recent memory the only game of this “JRPG” genre I’ve played in recent memory was Neptunia Rebirth 1, which I am not going to complete. I used JP dub and EN sub and played on the PS3, final playtime was ~120 hours. HowLongToBeat average is currently a little north of 105, a number I believe is too low.

Persona 5 didn’t need to be 120 hours. Among other things videogames are unique in that they can provide such a long experience, allowing so much time and space to get invested into its world and story. Persona 5 did amazing in the first 1/8, then cruised fine until about the 2/3 mark, after which the quality disappeared conspicuously disappeared in huge chunks, only getting worse until the game finally ended. There were still a few shining bits, but they no longer made sense in light of everything else.

If you do plan to play Persona 5:

  • Read the manual, or if it’s no longer online by time of reading, search for “persona fusion chart”. That’s the important bit and it’s not explained ever in-game.
  • Dungeons, or “Palaces”, are completable in a single in-game day, and it’s important to do this to free up the other days to spend time with people.
  • The doctor gives a discount after a certain point, the fortune teller and shogi player have good abilities, and the maid will do your laundry and some other things to give more time.
  • It’s basically impossible to max relationship with everyone on a blind run. It might be possible with a guide, but even then it’d have to be really tight and even less freedom to do anything at all.
  • Maxing a relationship gives a little extra story per character at the end of the game, so go for 10s with your favorite characters over a few more 9s.
  • Upgrading to maximum armor isn’t the most important thing in the world.
  • Upgrading guns is not important at all.
  • It is better to capture lower level personas and merge them into something your level than to capture personas your level. This will always be the case.
  • Don’t read the rest of this review. You will enjoy it more if you don’t know how it works. This is true of most things, but for Persona 5 it crosses the border between barely being worth the time to arguably not at all. Arguments which I will make.

I learned a lot on how characters and ideas can be written, enjoyed the art and music immensely, and picked up a few waifus, and upon completion I thought for sure it was on the thumbs up side rather than not. But the more I thought about it the worse it got.

If it didn’t have perfectly voices with gorgeous characters, funny banter, generally fun music, and an amazing user interface – that is to say, if it didn’t have its production quality – it’d be a 3 for sure. It did have those though, and I can’t say they don’t count. Unfourtunately there’s not much I have to say about those, other than the user interface. I’m not aware enough about the implications or differences of using one voice actor over another, or a certain costume or shape for a character over another. They’re all perfect as far as I can tell. If you’re just looking to spend time with pretty voiced waifus, this game is not a bad choice at all.

What I can talk about is the writing and how time was distributed and spent.

And boy oh boy does Persona 5 have things to talk about.

> USER INTERFACE
> FLOW AND BALANCE
> — (Timeslots)
> — (Story Across Gameplay Loop)
> — (Real Time Quantified)
> — (Grinding)
> — (Combat Progression in SMT Games)
> WRITING
> — (Theme and Motivation)
> — (Plot Progression)
> — What was the story intended to convey?
> — (The Bad Ending)
> — (Characters, specifically Morgana)
> — (Characters: Akechi Goro)
> CONCLUSION

Continue reading

[Reviews] (various)

There’s a few things I’ve seen and played that I’d like to write about just a bit on my experience with them. Some are more recent, some not so much, some I’ve even written about at some length before, but for one reason or another I don’t think they’re worth posting about at length in individual writeups, at least at this time.

Especially considering how it’s been a month and I still haven’t written the one on Nier:Automata.

Currently I don’t have many reviews up so data points are overall lacking. These should give a clearer view on what the value of my opinion is.

Anime


Angel Beats: 6/8
Memorable characters. Gets a bit melodramatic at times, but it completes the job successfully, and no problems can be found with its overall presentation quality. (range: 5~8)

Amagi Brilliant Park: 5/8
The initial premise setup and its sense of urgency was done well, but for most of its runtime it felt like a mediocre variety show. Unlike its superb visuals, tonally it’s just all over the place. Maybe the original was better? I don’t remember much other than air fairy’s luscious back, the pervert pink mascot, and Sento’s sentos. (range: 4~7)

Code Geass: 8/8
Boy gains superpower and fights against the world. (range: 6~8)

Code Geass R2: 6/8
My powerlevel is greater than your powerlevel. Also not a cohesive story. It was an incredulous trainwreck which was fun enough to watch the first time, but the overall quality outside the animation was a downgrade from the original. (range: 4~8)

Cross Ange: 5/8
First half is simple but shows signs of good direction and writing every now and again. Second half is terrible no matter which way you spin it and a chore, but the character of Ange is enough to carry it… once. This is only worth watching because Ange is an interesting character type and it’d be interesting to see someone like her in a world which doesn’t simply bend over to whatever she or the plot wants her to do. (range: 1~7)

Fate/Zero: 7/8
Just like the original VN, this story is largely carried by amazing standalone scenes which make the rest of the “actual story” pale in comparison – but this time, “the rest” is also pretty good. The second half feels rushed compared to what feels like a very carefully planned and arrange first half, but other than that it’s a good experience. (range: 6~8)

Gabriel Dropout: 4/8
Great ED, terrific characters, good animation, plenty of funny reaction faces, but in the end, there’s no reason to watch this over something else. In the end, in any media, the writing cannot be allowed to be the poorest contributor. It feels like something made just to make ends meet, for an audience that just wants something to watch. Which is okay. But for me it missed the cut. (range: 3~6)

Heroic Age: 7/8
Generic story with a generic premise, filled with generic characters using generic writing. A couple of the music pieces aren’t so generic. Overall consistency in direction, though, is not generic at all. (range: 4~8)

Kobayashi’s Maid Dragon: 5/8
Ravioli Ravioli Dragon Loli. Largely a visual experience, KyoAni really knows what to animate and how to color a scene. First ~third move things along, but the rest of it feels like disjointed filler, and the final episode had people out of character for the sake of wrapping things up. (range 3~7)

Madoka: 6/8
Madoka was really annoying and I only put up with because everyone was talking about how it was that decade’s Evangelion. Madoka both the show and the character; as far as I’m concerned all she did for the first 9 episodes was cry. Episode 10 was great, and definitely it wouldn’t have had as much impact if not for the first 9, but couldn’t we have done just a bit more with ~180 minutes worth of time? And how am I supposed to accept that conclusion? There’s some pretty strict logic explicitly established about magic, and as far as I can tell it’s contradicted. I can imagine how it was a groundbreaking anime, but even as of today I haven’t watched another magical girl anime so I don’t know. Perhaps one day I’ll rewatch it and see why it’s so great. Maybe I judged too much too early. But for now, from what I remember, not so much. (range: 2~8)

Infinite Ryvius: 8/8
Lord of the Flies in Space, except this time, there’s more than one lord, there’s an overarching plot and world tying it all together, and there’s as conclusive an ending as can realistically be, with fantastic music and voice acting. (range: 7~8)

No.6: 1/8, incomplete
I wanted to see something about utopias and societal structures’ effects on individuals and cultures. I got homosexuals wasting my time. (range: 1~4)

Psycho-Pass: 8/8
I wanted to see something about utopias and societal structures’ effects on individuals and cultures. And that’s exactly what I got. (range: 7~8)

Shirobako: 8/8
It could’ve had a better series-spanning story. The main character got less development and focus than the other supporting characters introduced in the beginning. That being said, everything else about it was perfect. (range: 6~8)

Steins;Gate: 8/8
This is the only anime which I don’t remember a single dull episode. Every episode had enough to keep me on the edge of my seat for the next. Its story has parts which don’t make sense, its art is undeniably terrible, but the writing, visual composition, timings, and music worked. Things kept moving, and they didn’t stop moving. Common wisdom says things should be changed up every now and then to keep everything fresh, that’s why fighting games have slow simple puzzles in them. Perhaps there were slow periods in Steins;Gate? If I really slowed down and thought about it, they’re probably there. But everything was arranged so that the story felt like it was always flowing. (range: 8~8)

Terra e…: 1/8, incomplete
3 episodes in and we have a protagonist who is actively aware of his superpowers and spends 2 of them saying “yadaa”, i.e. “I don’t wanna”. Like, that’s what he does. His lines are “yadaa”, “yadaa”, and “yadaa”. There’s no interesting visuals or thoughts which justify him to the audience. He just doesn’t want to be involved in something dangerous, even though he’s been helped and he can’t go back to the way things were. No reason. So I found no reason to continue. (range: 1~4)

The iDOLM@STER: 6/8

With worldwide economic depression and population/demographic instability on top of blank check ideology saying change is good with corruption and hypocrisy showing through the cracks at every other turn, moe rises because of a critical “new market”. It’s the oldest “market” for storytelling there is, but one that has been disdained and thrown away by the public because of how overused and exploited it’s been in every field. In a sense the genre’s distinction shows it too is a last-ditch exploitation, as it relies on the image of innocent young girls in order to function.

Moe sells “hope”.

(range: 5~8)

Videogames


Assassin’s Creed 2: 6/8
The characters aren’t the most interesting people ever, but they’re there, and the writers play them approximately correctly. Maps are varied enough in theme to keep things interesting, even though rooftop running everywhere feels about the same – none of them are slippery due to rain or something, for example. Boats were nice. Story is revenge and stumbling upon pieces of a grander mystery. The story-relevant puzzles sucked. But Ezio’s character sold the whole package in the end. (range: 3~7)

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood: 4/8
I really liked this game the first time I played it, but after replaying it’s really just a bunch of side quests and menu mini-games in a less interesting map than its predecessor. There’s a story, but it’s sparse and forgettable. Horses and later fast-travel makes primary game mechanic largely obsolete. You also become a one-man army instead of an assassin. You also have an army. Game made entirely for fanservice. (range: 4~6)

Assassin’s Creed 3: 2/8, incomplete
A game whose primary mechanic is stealth freerunning in dense cities cities across rooftops decides it’s a good idea to put a lot of distance between buildings where there are buildings and long-range precision snipers on those rooftops with instant communication with every other sniper. There’s also a lot of space with no rooftops at all. Characters are who cares. Story is… not about anyone we care about. (range: 2~4)

Company of Heroes: 7/8
An RTS where you don’t need 300 APM! And the units have fun with you. (range: N/A)

Guild Wars 2: 1/8
I lost Fort Aspenwood for this. (last played Oct 2012)

LA Noire: 4/8, incomplete
The most boring and pointless open world I’ve ever seen, which you can thankfully avoid by telling the AI you don’t want to drive. This reduces the game to the interrogations and a little bit of clue-searching, which were not interesting enough for me to finish doing myself. I watched a streamer play it instead. Worth a watch. (range: 3~6)

League of Legends: 1/8
The game involves playing 20~50 minutes of mostly PvE to have the match be decided on, depending on the season and patch, 3~15 seconds of fighting, fighting which doesn’t necessarily involve you. This along with some other features make the game inherently “toxic”. Patches change how certain characters work entirely and come about at random, the developers won’t stop autofellating about how great and hard their job is, and there’s always, always new characters, which are just ever so coincidentally always overpowered on release. Also, it’s rigged. (last played Dec 2013)

MGSV: GZ, TPP: 1/8
This game sold a full price demo that was better than the actual game. It had a cutscene at the climax which is just two characters sitting across from one another, silently since the big song finished and it was too short, yours and the main villain’s, and you’re in a standard idle animation. In general it’s full of emptiness and false promises. Dropping a powerline and electrocuting people with it and various other “haha isn’t it funny how things can interact in that way” are the only things going for this game. The game’s map might as well have been procedurally generated, and the second “half” of the game is literally the same missions as the first half with a few extra difficulty conditions. Kojima is not a genius, he’s a hack. “Director”? Don’t make me laugh. (range: 1~4)

Remember Me: 5/8
The art, lighting, music, and world design (read: lore design, not level design) are top notch. The ass is ok. Everything else was unfortunately forgettable. (range: 3~7)

Rocket League: 8/8
An online PvP game which has a cheap box price where the devs implement continual microtransactions/patches that actually don’t screw with balance? And it’s fun? What sort of sorcery is going on here? That being said I don’t play it much because it really is physics based so experience is locked behind physical skill with a controller, which means many hours of practice – with a training mode that has lots of official and fan-made practice shots. Decent casual fun too. (last played Jan 2017)

Saint’s Row: The Third: 5/8
Yet another open world game where you get an arsenal of clothes, weapons, and vehicles, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously and has some fun. And it can be pretty fun.(range: 4~7)

Saint’s Row IV: 2/8
What’s the point in having an open world where there’s no meaning to any location, no meaning to any vehicles, no meaning to any weapons, and nothing can stop your momentum? Crashing into cars just moves them out of the way. Running into a building just sends you running up its side. The only thing which stops you are foot-sized objects, I can’t remember if they were curbs or parking blocks or what but something indescript of about that size were the only things that mattered. Enemies didn’t matter, world didn’t matter, story didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except foot-sized objects, and they were not the antagonists, though maybe they should’ve been. (range: 2~5)

The Stanley Parable: 2/8
This isn’t the first game I’ve seen talk Post-Modernism, but it’s definitely the worst. This gamename is only big because of marketing and lazy idiots who haven’t seen anything better. A waste of 20$ and a waste of 3 hours. Not worth watching either. (range: 1~3)

The Witcher 3: 3/8, incomplete
The graphics, Ciri, and Yen are great, and that’s about it. It took me quite a while to figure out what was wrong so perhaps it deserves some more bonus points, but the basic idea is that there isn’t really much to do. It’s open world, but you don’t have any good indication beforehand which areas are viable for you. I was taking what I thought was a shortcut through the woods to a certain sidequest when I got instagibbed after trying to run from an enemy I found that I couldn’t damage. The combat doesn’t pretend it’s more than two buttons and TTK is long. Weapon durability doesn’t add to anything. Never had money or anything I wanted to buy except healing and repair items. The writing was pretty good at some points, but there’s too little of it and too much crap inbetween. Probably would’ve quit sooner if I didn’t hear Sawashiro’s voice, probably would’ve quit later if I modded it to play as Ciri, but I would’ve seen the core stuff eventually. (range: 3~6)

World of Tanks: 1/8
It’s rigged. You are looking at models of tanks going through motions while after the game server flips a coin. (last played Mar 2017)

[Review] Nier

6/8

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At certain points reaches 8, but an unfortunately large amount is 2, so this will look more like a negative review than a positive one.

I played NieR because Automata[1] was amazing, and I wanted to see what else its original writer had made. It’s said that the game got a cult following, and at least one of the reasons why a sequel was made was because one of the bigwigs at Square Enix threatened to quit unless it happened. Automata was truly an experience not recreatable just by watching a video, and I had a PS3, so I saw no excuse not to get the original. I generally don’t mind things like graphics too much, so as long as the story was good I thought everything would turn out just dandy. I played the international version with Papa Nier.

But by the end of my time with it I couldn’t ignore its issues. I played through ending A and ending B, but I decided to watch C and D on YouTube. The distance between A and B was about an hour plus, and the other endings were probably equally as far away given my progress, but what faced me was so bad I decided to save two hours of gameplay to deliver story in favor of just watching the changed cutscenes in the form of a video. The story really carries that game, and I think it might’ve been a 7 or 8 if I hadn’t played Automata first.

But it only just carries it; at every other moment it was clear it wasn’t an easy carry.

My recommendation is to play Nier at least through ending B, as there’s a fair enough amount of things added that have enough importance they can’t just be watched in a video. C and D aren’t too hard, but I think the combat actively detracts enough from the experience that it’s harder to connect with the cutscenes as a player than as a video watcher. As for side quests, do them until you get the feeling they’re a bother, they don’t change too terribly many things. If it seems like you need to spend money to do them, do it, you’re not about to need money for anything else. Above all else don’t use spears. Do NOT use spears, they will break the game so much you actually are better off just watching a video. A couple of other weapons are too strong too, so the best thing is to not use any weapons except the starter one- and two-handed swords and whatever upgrades you happen to be able to afford – gathering for upgrades is grinding and grinding the obscure things necessary will detract from enjoyment.

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