Monday, September 28, 2015

Bravely Default: Stat Modifiers

Stat modifiers seem fairly straightforward.  After all, it's just telling you "this stat is this much better".  However, there's a nuance to some of them that I'm going to take way too long to explain.  Consider this screenshot of the effects Tiz had when I sent Rapid Fire recently.

frosted butts

At first glance, Critical 1000% might seem a bit excessive.  After all, a 1000% critical hit rate is way more than necessary to guarantee a critical hit.  But think again, because that's not how it works.

The special move I used to get Critical 1000% on Tiz was the second Katana special, Breaking Wave.  It raises your party's critical hit rate by 900%.  That may sound confusing and just as excessive, so now I'll actually explain what's going on.

Your characters' critical hit rate is determined by their stats, job level, and so forth.  It's a percentage, as you might expect.  Breaking Wave and the other special moves and abilities that raise critical hit rate don't raise it directly, rather, they raise a multiplier that starts out at 100% and gets applied to the character's critical hit chance before the game determines whether or not you're going to get a critical hit.  In this base state, your effective critical hit rate is 100% of your base critical hit rate.  So if your base critical hit rate is 10%, then 100% of that is still 10%.  Using Breaking Wave to raise your critical hit rate by 900% is adding 900 percentage points to this percentage multiplier, making it 1000 (as pictured).  So, 1000% of 10% would be 100%, and a critical hit would be guaranteed in this scenario.  Your characters' actual critical hit rate may very well be higher or lower than 10%, but when using Breaking Wave, a base critical hit rate of 10% is the absolute minimum you need in order for Breaking Wave to guarantee you critical hits until the effect wears off.

It helps to remember that any time you see a percent sign next to a number, divide that number by 100.  100% is 1.00, 10% is 0.10.  So, multiplying a 10% critical hit rate by 100% means multiplying 0.10 by 1.00, which if you know your basic math, then you remember that multiplying anything by 1 doesn't actually change the value.  Multiplying that same 10% critical hit rate by 1000% is the same as multiplying 0.10 by 10.00, which results in 1.00, meaning the effective critical hit rate would be 100%.

Being that I've now explained it twice using different terms each time, hopefully you now understand what's going on.  In the end, I had the Critical 1000% effect for the rather obvious reason that it would enable Tiz to get a critical hit, and thus Rapid Fire would deal more damage.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

3DS Special Mii Abuse

Periodically, Nintendo sends out a Special Mii via SpotPass.  In the StreetPass Plaza games, these Miis give you special benefits.  So naturally, you want to see them more often than you actually do.  There's a way you can hack your own personal Mii to give it gold pants and have it show up for other people as a Special Mii, but... that only benefits them, not you.

Fortunately, there's a way that you can keep getting the same Special Mii over and over again.  These directions only ever seem to be posted on forums like the GameFAQs forums, where they'll get inevitably buried in the sands of time, so hopefully by reposting them here, I can save them from getting lost in that manner.

As long as you follow these steps verbatim, it will work.  I don't know if the process can be simplified or not, but I've done it this way on two different systems and it's worked for both.  These directions only work while Nintendo is still distributing the Special Mii, which generally happens for 24 hours.  As time ticks on, you do run the risk of losing the Special Mii forever, if that's something you care about.

So, how to do it:
  1. Go to System Settings → Data Management → StreetPass Management.
  2. Select StreetPass Mii Plaza's icon, hit Deactivate StreetPass, and hit OK.
  3. Exit out of System Settings.
  4. Go into StreetPass Mii Plaza.  It will ask you if you want to enable StreetPass, say No.
  5. Select the Special Mii and delete it.
  6. Restart StreetPass Mii Plaza.
  7. Go into the Settings (it should start up with the Settings icon selected), and re-enable StreetPass.
  8. Once you confirm that, it shouldn't take very long for you to get the blue SpotPass notification light again.  Make sure you have an internet connection available!
  9. Restart StreetPass Mii Plaza to be able to greet the Special Mii once more.
This is megas useful nyoro~n for Ultimate Angler if you've got all the islands cleared, as in that game, Special Miis will give you a sighting for a mysterious fish that you haven't caught before.  Since all the special Miis that Nintendo sends out have their region set as "Nintendo", you'll also get a gold permit, which is otherwise rare and costs an arm and a leg if you want to buy one with play coins.

Edit (2015-10-30): It's important to note that when doing this, you'll most likely get a few other SpotPasses, which should mention a new panel in Puzzle Swap and the Plaza 4.0/4.1 update.  You can and should disregard these.  Also, apparently this can be done entirely from within StreetPass Mii Plaza, so long as you delete the Special Mii with StreetPass and SpotPass disabled, and then restart the Plaza and re-enable both StreetPass and SpotPass.  Hitting HOME a few times should make the "Someone's here!" message show up and from there it's business as usual.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I Don't Get "Being Social"

So, I have friends and hang out with them a couple times a week.  That's really all the "social" I need, and I spend the rest of the week "recharging my batteries", as it were.

In the meantime, my mom sees me being quiet and not talking a lot and goes "are you okay?".  I typically respond by saying yes and asking her what she thought was wrong, and the response is always something along the lines of "I don't know, you just weren't talking very much.".  In day to day speech she'll be saying things to me that I don't feel really need a response, and unless I respond with one of "okay", "yeah", "uh-huh", "all right", etc., she acts like I'm not listening.

Then, on the flip-side, if I ever do start talking and participating in the conversation while we're out at dinner, making jokes and generally going with the flow of things, suddenly it's too much and my dad complains about not being able to get a word in edge-wise.  Despite the periods of silence where both myself and my mom are eating.

Make up your mind, would you?  Am I talking too much, or not enough?  I don't know.  I honestly don't know.  But if I bring up this mixed message, somehow it's my fault for not knowing, or my mom just goes silent because I'm "being argumentative".

I don't feel like speaking without really having anything to say adds anything to a conversation.  So generally I sit there and be quiet.  But apparently that's not okay.  I prefer isolation, meaningful communications, and meaningful social interaction.  I honestly don't believe I should talk just to fill the dead air.

This also manifests itself whenever my parents have a party.  If I retreat back to my room after hanging out with the guests for a while and having some food, I get accused of not being "sociable".  Well, consider that pretty much everyone my parents invite over has nothing in common with me, and the available conversation gets exhausted during the "hang out and have food" segment of the party.  After that, there's nothing left, and my presence adds nothing.  Sometimes I "solve" this by helping out with the party itself, cleaning up, assisting with the food, etc., and that's generally welcomed because it's helpful.

At the same time, I don't feel as though I should be shamed for not wanting to participate in social interaction.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tangential Rant Time

So, in the latest episode of Far Lands or Bust!, Kurt talks about real estate and owning vs. renting.  One thing I know from having rented in the past that he didn't mention was that when you rent a place, certain things get subsidized into that rent.  The water bill is a common example.  For apartment complexes, things like yardwork and maintenance are also included in the rent, because the apartment complex has a list of companies they've contracted for various things like that.

tan( rant ) =

So my experience renting a place was both good and bad.  I liked not having to deal with my parents on a day to day basis, even though I did see them twice per week anyway.  I liked having certain bits of maintenance essentially be "schedule a work date with the apartment complex".  They covered all kinds of things, including regular replacement of the air filter in the HVAC unit.

But you're not here to see me rant about things I like, are you?  No, you're not.  You want to see me complain and rage about things.  Well, here you go.  Also, language, because I don't discriminate against words.

I guess it was just a delusion of grandeur.  I thought that living in an apartment with two other guys that I was already friends with would be great.  And in case either of them ever read this, I mean no slight against you.  However, when one lives with other people for an extended period of time, there are certain assumptions one has, namely doing stuff with the people you live with.  All three of us are gamers, but guess how many games I played with them?  Zero.  Both of them worked at a movie theater, so guess how many movies I ended up going to see?  One, which was Pacific Rim.  There were maybe one or two spontaneous "hey, let's go grab some food" moments.  I guess what I really expected was a bit more spontaneity than I got.  Then again...

There were always guests over.  They were friends and never objectionable people.  While I'm not opposed to the idea of having guests, and certainly not every guest needs to be scheduled in advance, it got a bit overwhelming at times.  This was mainly because the guest bed was a fold-out couch that happened to be right next to my computer.  Whenever someone stayed over for a couple days, I basically lost all my personal space.  I know, I had a bedroom.  It was full of boxes from the day we moved in to the day we moved out.  We planned on setting up the network situation so people's computers could be in their bedrooms, but that never happened.  Thus, 95% of the time I spent in the apartment was right there in the living room, and everything else that happened in the apartment happened all around me.

It also seemed like even when having guests over was a scheduled thing, I got told at the last moment and was typically the last person to find out.  This held true for a birthday party for one of my roommates.  I found out about it from a friend who'd been invited.  Apparently all the planning had taken place on Facebook, and given that I don't really use Facebook, I was out of the loop.  Asking the other roommate later, he said "well, I felt like I could just tell you anytime, and I guess I kinda forgot.".  Okay, that's fine.  But seriously, do try not to forget to tell me about a party when it involves cramming at least fifteen guests into our small apartment and some degree of help setting up.  Really, I do event staffing on a yearly basis, I think I got this.  Just tell me when it's happening and what I need to do.

Also, the specific location of the apartment complex let itself quite well to tenants that I really didn't want to be around.  The complex was mostly targeted at college students.  Students whose mommies and daddies often pay for things like rent and bills.  Students who therefore have very little attachment to the area, their neighbors, or even the buildings themselves.  We never once heard a peep from our downstairs neighbors, but our upstairs neighbors were an entirely different story.  I still to this day don't understand what was happening up there.

I have this mental image of the layout of their apartment, based on all the thumping and things being knocked over on a regular basis, but it has no basis in reality because I never once interacted with them, let alone entered their apartment.  On any given day it sounded like there were anywhere between four and seven people, all male, in that apartment.  Given the noises they were making, all three of us deduced that they very much enjoyed incredibly rowdy gay sex.  We could also hear their conversations with each other on most occasions, because they were the type that only had one volume level, which was shouting.  They called each other "bro" on a regular basis, and also blasted (and occasionally sang along to) Miley Cyrus on a regular basis.  They would litter the concrete patio area out front of our apartments with empty beer cans on a regular basis, and not clean it up, despite there being a single-stream waste disposal dumpster a short walk away.  Plus, one of them was always taking my parking space. *grumble*

The apartment complex itself definitely had its shortcomings.  Our illustrious hardwood floor sagged and squeaked in a number of places.  We had to get all the outlets replaced because the things we were plugging into them would not stay plugged in.  The kitchen was a closet with a horrible excuse for a vent fan in the wall next to the gas stove that always ran ~50 degrees too hot and burned several pizzas that didn't deserve it.  There wasn't even an in-unit washer and dryer.  They had maybe two laundry rooms for the entire complex and they each had three coin-op washers and dryers in them.  The coin receptacles on these things would regularly get jammed and eat your money.  This was one of the two reasons why I still saw my parents at any point during the week, because at least at their place I could do my laundry.

Also, I'm convinced that they had fewer parking spaces in the complex than tenants, judging on how hard it was to find a parking space sometimes.  Plus, it seemed like the apartment manager wanted access to our apartment for something at least once a week, whether it was painting the railings on the balconies, or putting a sticker on everyone's broiler door (gas stoves are weird) that said "LOL DONT STORE THINGS IN HERE BECAUSE IT GETS HOT".  Yet, when we reported that all three of our bedrooms had broken windows, when filling out the move-in inspection thing where they already know everything that's wrong with the place and just want to see how much of it you can find so they know how much they can ding you for later when you move out, they just went "meh, you can live with it.".  So for the entire duration of our living there, we had towels underneath the cracks in the windows, because every time it rained, water would come in.

I don't really have a good way to wrap this up, so you'll just have to deal with the sudden ending.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

On the Subject of Ordering Pizza and Little Caesar's

So, unless you've been living in a hole, you probably know that the most recent ad campaign by Little Caesar's advises us to avoid the "hassle of ordering online" by driving down to one of their locations to pick up hot and fresh pizza.

Now, I've ordered a lot of pizza online in my day, so I feel thoroughly qualified in saying that I don't see where exactly the hassle lies in ordering pizza online.  I find it to be quite convenient, to be honest.  But, to properly break it down, I'll go into what's necessary to order a pizza online versus getting one from Little Caesar's.

Ordering OnlineLittle Caesar's
Log into the Papa John's siteGet dressed
Decide what to getGet in the car
Enter payment information, check outDrive to the nearest Little Caesar's
Pizza arrives 30 minutes laterFind a parking space
Eat pizzaWalk inside, stand in line
Enjoy lifePlace order
Obtain pizza
Drive home
Park car
Go inside
Remove pants
Eat pizza

Now, I'm not entirely sure, but wouldn't the process with the fewest steps be considered the least amount of hassle?

Edit (2015-11-18): I just had another thought.  If Little Caesars' Pizza is always "hot and fresh", that means it's been sitting out under a heat lamp for who knows how long before I get there.  Hot, yes.  Fresh, no.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Burning questions about racing games

I'm taking no prisoners here.  Everything gon' get criticized, ya heard?

This started out of a reply to one of the replies to a post on the Mindcrack subreddit, discussing the intro to Forza 6.  It expanded from my original reply to far beyond the scope of that thread, and was off-topic from the beginning, so enjoy.

Things that bother me about Forza Horizon (specifically, FH2, but likely also pertinent to the original):
  • For a racing festival that's as well-known and attended as the Horizon Festival is made out to be, the complete lack of organization befitting of an auto racing event astounds me.
  • Why do they send cars that aren't designed for off-road racing into off-road races?
  • Why do many of the events still have regular street traffic involved?
  • Why are the non-street circuit race courses not clearly defined?
  • Why don't they encourage safe driving outside of races?
  • Why is every last exhaustive detail of the car's setup left up to the driver?
  • Where do they get their liability insurance?
  • Where's the police during all of this?
Devolves into general rant about simcade/sim racing games/the occasional jab at arcade racers, rehashing points from above as necessary:
  • Why does everyone talk like they're desperately trying to sound like they're cool?  This whole "if I dress like them and act like that and get my hair cut, then maybe they'll like me!" thing never got anybody anywhere.
  • About the safe driving thing, if you really want to prevent the next generation of street racer douchebags from acting like regular traffic is their playground, provide in-game monetary bonuses and achievements and whatnot for staying in the proper lane, below the speed limit, following traffic laws, and not hitting anyone.  In fact, deduct in-game money from the player to pay for all the damages they cause.  The token "This game is a work of fiction.  Always obey traffic laws and wear your seat belt." notice when you first start up the game doesn't work because nobody sees it.
  • The thing about car setup being entirely up to the driver: Professional race car drivers have an entire team of engineers who crunch the numbers and arrive at a base setup for the car, every single race weekend.  The driver assists in tweaking parts of it like downforce and tire pressure from there, and handles other things from in-car controls.  The driver doesn't have to give two shits about 99% of what the player has to mull over in simcade/sim racers.  Now, obviously, this is street racing we're talking about, and no self-respecting racing engineer would want to be within any sort of arbitrary radius of a street racer, so how about an option in the game's garage to set up the car for a specific event?
  • Why is it that people who play iRacing go around to all videos of any other racing game ever and leave comments such as: "you should play iRacing", "he should play iRacing", "have you tried iRacing?", and "iRacing is better, play that!".  This is exactly the same as the "you should play tekkit/feed the beast/modded" comments on Minecraft videos, and the "now do that on real guitar" comments on Guitar Hero/Rock Band videos.  News Flash: if you're posting these types of comments, all you're doing is turning people off to whatever it is you're trying to promote.
  • Why is it that powerup-based arcade racers almost always have to have that one powerup that completely breaks the game or whatever?  You know what I'm talking about.  The fucking blue shells.  "Hey, you know what's a great idea?  How about we actively punish people for being good at racing and having figured out the game mechanics we've provided to them by having a powerup that makes it so that nobody actually wants to be in first place until the last moment of the last lap?  That's a great idea!  I'm sure players will love it!"
  • Why is it you can't play through a racing game co-op with a friend anymore?  If you're playing with a friend, you have to play against them now.
  • In a similar vein, why can't you use co-op/multiplayer gameplay in racing games to unlock unlockables?  Why do they have to be reserved for the singleplayer?
  • There's one game I know of that's an exception to the last three points, that you may recall me mentioning before on this blog: Rumble Racing.  It has no anti-leader powerup, you can play it co-op, and you can unlock all the cars and tracks in the co-op mode.
  • Why is it that some racing games can't create the feeling of speed?  This is a more deeply-rooted problem, I feel.  Some would say it's related to the game's framerate.  Personally, I have no clue.  I do know, however, that Gran Turismo 3 was terrible at it.  I was driving a car (I actually forget which one, but it was a street car) and saying something about "oh well I'll do this or that once I get up to speed" and my dad looks at the on-screen speedometer and says "you're going 80mph, you know".  Have you ever driven a street car at 80mph?  Shit's fucking intense, yo.  More recently, there's Ridge Racer 3D, which has its problem at the other end of the scale.  It makes speeds in excess of 300kph (my favorite, the Kamata RC410, maxes out around 340kph) feel slow.  What the fizzityuck?