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Messages - blueblimp

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1
Other Games / Re: Hades
« on: December 31, 2020, 03:08:08 pm »
I feel like this game is a bit short on quality-of-life features. Like, there's no practice mode or level warp of any sort. There's a mod that does it (CodexMenu), which is useful but a bit janky (e.g. it seems like it hangs when I warp to Magaera while wielding specifically the sword... haven't figured out what's going on with that yet).

Edit: TBH I'm not sure this game is "for me" because I don't care about the narrative and meta-progression aspects and it seems like those are a big focus. But the arena combat is fun so I don't mind approaching it from that angle (vaguely like Hoplite, which also happens to be based on Greek mythology... coincidence?).

2
General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: December 17, 2020, 04:07:07 pm »
AFAIK, computers are still garbage at the strategic part of Starcraft.

I don't think so. AlphaStar had a decent series against Serral, and it had strictly limited APM.
I vaguely remember that being more driven by consistent micro (which is an advantage computers have even with limited APM) than by strategy. I think SC is kind of a bad testbed because being real-time makes it hard to get a meaningfully even comparison with humans.

3
General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: December 17, 2020, 05:00:56 am »
Randomness means search isn't going to help much, unlike in chess and go. Randomness isn't itself such a big problem; IIRC computers were playing superhuman backgammon before superhuman chess. But it does diminish the opportunity to out-calculate humans.

Doesn't that also work the other way round? Humans are notoriously garbage at calculating probability (especially at guesstimating it when the math gets too complicated to do on the fly), but for computers, it's trivial. Working out chess or go decision trees in your head is still impossibly hard to do even nearly as comprehensively as computers can because you just don't have the brain capacity to do it, but I don't think it's an inherently difficult skill for humans.
Could be. I'm not sure about this point.

I should also clarify that I'm imagining an AlphaZero-style AI that learns strategy for itself. It's probably more straightforward to make a superhuman Dominion AI by giving it a lot of per-card strategy hints, but that's a lot of work and not very interesting.

4
General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: December 17, 2020, 01:27:07 am »
How hard is dominion to learn for AI? Easier than chess? As hard as chess? As hard as Go? Harder?
Harder for sure.

First issue is how you deal with each card introducing its own rules. Arguably, a fully legit Dominion AI would be able to play with a new card without having to re-train the model. That's mega hard, so realistically you probably would just re-train the model.

Some strategies in Dominion need all the components in place or they are garbage, e.g. in some kingdom, if you try to play an engine without +buy it may be garbage, and with +buy the best strategy. You can't really just do random stuff and stumble into a decent strategy the way you can in chess and go. That's a problem because that's how self-play training works.

Dominion has hidden information, most notably your opponent's hand. It's like there's a little bit of poker embedded in the game. AIs can play superhuman poker now, but the techniques used for that are completely different from what's used for other games.

Randomness means search isn't going to help much, unlike in chess and go. Randomness isn't itself such a big problem; IIRC computers were playing superhuman backgammon before superhuman chess. But it does diminish the opportunity to out-calculate humans.

Strategies in Dominion are highly diverse: what's good in an engine is totally different from what's good in BM+X. This is different from chess and go, where, despite some minor variation, you're doing essentially the same thing every game. I can't off-hand think of any game with diverse strategies where computers are superhuman. I don't know if that's because it's hard or just because it hasn't been seriously tried, but it means you're breaking new ground.



I'm not an AI researcher, but if I were trying to develop a Dominion AI, I'd start by making some massive simplifications. Singleplayer only (with the goal being something like buy 5 provinces as fast as possible) and limited subset of cards (maybe just first kingdom). This already sounds pretty hard. Try to get it to discover the first game engine, for example. (Although that has Militia, so maybe it's not even good singleplayer...)

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Starcraft has an astronomically larger decision space than either of those games, and I don't think it was that much harder.

AFAIK, computers are still garbage at the strategic part of Starcraft.

5
How fast can a pure Menagerie kingdom buy out all the Provinces? I'm reasonably confident it's possible in 6 turns, maybe even in 5. I haven't worked out the details, but getting the key ideas is the fun part.

You're allowed kingdoms that Dominion Online allows (meaning up to 4 landscapes).

Here's my idea:

The optimistic plan:

Turn 1: Buy Stampede.
Turn 2: Play the Horses using Way of the Chameleon. Buy Populate. Because of Cavalry, clean-up triggers a reshuffle.
Turn 3: Buy 2 Populates.
Turn 4: Buy 4 Populates.
Turn 5: Buy all Provinces.

I'm not sure buying 2 Populates on turn 3 is actually possible, so maybe it takes 6 turns to do it. Shouldn't take longer than that though.

The 10 action cards (tentative):
Wayfarer, Livery, Displace, Barge, Hunting Lodge, Hostelry, Village Green, Animal Fair, Scrap, Cavalry

Include also Way of the Horse.

On Dominion Online, I used these action cards (except Cavalry was Supplies) to try exponential growth of Populate later in the game. So either this works as-is or should work with some tweaking.

6
General Discussion / Re: Most played board games of the past 30 years
« on: January 18, 2020, 08:36:28 pm »
That it's using accumulated plays (instead of rate of plays) makes the field seem more stagnant than it really is.
I wonder this particularly in the case of Codenames. Presented differently, its entry might actually look more impressive than the Dominion/RftG entry. It doesn't crack the top 3 in this visualization but that seems to be because the top 3 have so many accumulated plays.

7
General Discussion / Re: Most played board games of the past 30 years
« on: January 18, 2020, 08:03:28 pm »
That it's using accumulated plays (instead of rate of plays) makes the field seem more stagnant than it really is. But it also that makes the entry of Dominion and RftG that much more impressive.

I ended up watching in 2x though because 1x speed is way too slow.

8
General Discussion / Re: STAR WARS
« on: January 03, 2020, 03:29:54 pm »
There were so many great things about all the movies, but taken as a trilogy, they really feel like a joke to me.
They really do feel more like three unrelated movies than a coherent trilogy. That the 3rd movie is frantically retconning elements of the 2nd movie, when they knew _before making the 1st_ that they would be making a trilogy, is pretty unforgivable. Though, to be fair, the OT was a little guilty of this too. (AFAIK, Leia being Luke's sister wasn't decided until writing ROTJ, and that revelation creates some internal consistency problems.)

9
General Discussion / Re: STAR WARS
« on: January 02, 2020, 01:15:55 am »
I think I was saddened the most was the squandering of some great ideas. Rey having to choose between letting the Final Order kill the Resistance, or killing Palpatine and becoming a Sith... that was quite the conundrum. Then, of course, it doesn’t matter, and Rey beats Palpatine by... using two lightsabers.
The way that scene resolved was so weird. In the first part, like you, I thought they were setting up a puzzle, where the rule is: if Rey kills Palpatine, she loses. The obvious way out is for Ben to somehow kill Palpatine instead. The writers could have found a clever way to do that, or could have found a way for someone else entirely to do it. But instead the setup is basically just forgotten once Ben shows up.

10
General Discussion / Re: STAR WARS
« on: December 31, 2019, 03:45:20 pm »
It's just a sequence of plot points the author wanted to get to connected by meaningless action scenes, and the resulting story looks like swiss cheese.
One of the many examples of this was


The scene from the teaser trailer where Rey fights a TIE fighter. It's a good teaser, because it makes you wonder how she got into that situation. Then, in the movie, it turns out that it happens for no reason and has no impact on the plot. Argh.

11
General Discussion / Re: STAR WARS
« on: December 31, 2019, 02:26:43 pm »
TROS is for me perhaps the worst of the new trilogy because it's the only one where I at times felt bored while watching it in the theater. The combination of nonsensical plot plus relentless action is pretty dull. TLJ was for me the most enjoyable of the three, but it was also a mess that made the badness of the third movie almost inevitable. I guess I'd rank TLJ>TFA>TROS, but really they all played a part in convincing me that I'm done with Star Wars forever.

12
General Discussion / Re: Maths thread.
« on: December 05, 2019, 03:38:32 am »
I wrote the Putnam the maximum 4 times. It was fun. I enjoyed it more than the other math contests I've tried. I'd suggest practicing specifically past Putnam questions to get used to its particular style if you haven't, though it's a little late to do that now.

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Tip-wise, scoring on the Putnam is very bimodal, it's basically 10/9/8 if you get it or 0/1 if you don't get it.

I've been told this too, but somehow, my first time writing, I managed to get a 6 (I think it was).

13
Hearthstone / Re: Semi-interesting Hearthstone moments
« on: October 02, 2019, 11:29:06 pm »
Even just giving a random golden epic at the end of every wing on top of what we already get would have likely been enough to get me to buy them.

If they think I will pay a premium to get access to extra single player content, they are mistaken.
To be honest, I don't understand this mentality. Golden cards in general are useless bling, and a random golden epic is unplayable useless bling. You'll pay for that and not for hours of high-quality PvE content? I mean, Hearthstone PvE is better than many standalone singleplayer games.

14
Hearthstone / Re: Semi-interesting Hearthstone moments
« on: October 02, 2019, 06:10:38 am »
after a few turns of fatigue, he gets a new deck. wth?
The plague lords get a new deck whenever they change phase.

So, 4th wing is out, plus the final boss. The 4th plague lord was the easiest by far, for me. I brought a Hearthstone with me and didn't need to use it, and my deck wasn't that great (though it did have quite a bit of value).

The final boss is somewhat similar to the Monster Hunt final boss, which I enjoyed a lot, but it feels meh here. I think that's because the hero powers aren't very interesting. Monster Hunt had some very complex hero powers.

Overall, the adventure was alright but the format feels stale. The biggest change, the 300-HP plague lords, I don't like much. If the next adventure is like this one then I might not buy it.

15
Hearthstone / Re: Semi-interesting Hearthstone moments
« on: September 25, 2019, 09:37:39 pm »
The third plague lord is my favorite so far, because you have a lot more control over what's on your board compared to the others. The only thing I found dumb about the encounter is the insane amount of self-healing he runs. In particular, when he plays an Obsidian Statue in phase 2, the amount of healing he gets from it is massive.

I managed to take him down in one run (on Normal) but only because I had an OP deck and a Hearthstone to do it in two parts. I had the passive that makes your spells summon a minion from your deck, lots of huge minions (4x Kel'Thuzad), lots of cheap spells (6x Raven Idol, 2x Worthy Expedition), and also the passive that triplicates your discovers with a cost discount. My best-ever turn 1 (on an earlier boss, not the plague lord) was something like Worthy Expedition into triple Power of the Wild, which put a bunch of stuff on the board, including two Kel'Thuzads.

I'm currently thinking that Hearthstone is by far the best treasure, if you're trying to take out the plague lord in one run.

16
General Discussion / Re: roguelike games
« on: September 25, 2019, 09:30:16 pm »
Has anyone tried Noita yet? It sounds interesting, I can't justify buying it yet but it's on my radar.
I'm intrigued by the per-pixel simulation. Reminds me a bit of games like Liquid War, Lemmings, Worms, etc.

The reviews make it sound like it's in a pretty early state though. So I might wait a while.

BTW I thought they might use the GPU to do the simulation, but the system requirements make it seem more like they're doing it on the CPU.

17
Other Games / Re: Celeste
« on: September 23, 2019, 10:59:26 pm »
I think the average quality of B-sides and C-sides is higher than the average quality of Chapter 9. I wouldn't bother playing Chapter 9 until trying some of those. In particular, 1B and 2B aren't super hard. (Might actually be easier than Core A... I don't remember.)

18
Hearthstone / Re: Semi-interesting Hearthstone moments
« on: September 20, 2019, 05:19:02 am »
OK so an actual strategy involving that near-infinite trick is to cast a lot of Gnomebliterators. When starting the plague lord fight, it takes 10 damage per Gnomebliterator you cast ever during the run.

I had Elixir of Vim plus the passive that makes playing odd-cost cards discount your whole hand, so I could get Jr. Tomb Diver out reasonably early. I only bothered to grind it long enough to get 8 Gnomebliterators, though. (That was more than enough, since K'zrath was at 13 health from my previous run.)

19
Hearthstone / Re: Semi-interesting Hearthstone moments
« on: September 20, 2019, 03:28:14 am »
Here's something degenerate but useless: if you activate Jr. Tomb Diver and stall until you discover Hearthstone, you get a visit to the tavern, without advancing through the adventure. This lets you go near-infinite.

The amount you can actually modify your deck in a single visit is pretty limited, though, so the amount of time you'd need to spend to actually do much is... a lot.

20
Hearthstone / Re: Semi-interesting Hearthstone moments
« on: September 18, 2019, 11:05:20 pm »
I managed to beat the first Plague Lord in the Uldum single player content on my first run. Khadgar/Jan'alai and a bunch of crazy treasures helped a lot.
I found (on both normal and heroic) that on my first time reaching the plague lord, the board flood in phase 3 was just too much to keep up with. I'd run out of ways to clear the board, run out of cards in my deck, and meanwhile he seems to have unlimited ability to spam the board. His options to clear are also crazy strong (hero power of course, which he doesn't even need much because of Plague of Murlocs).

I can't say I like this style of boss design much. It's mostly his ability to clear and transform my board that I find annoying. It makes what I do for board development almost irrelevant.

21
Other Games / Re: Greed
« on: September 17, 2019, 02:16:37 am »

22
Other Games / Re: Celeste
« on: September 13, 2019, 05:12:48 am »
I'm glad for assist mode. I finished it by using 50% speed for the parts after the fake ending. That makes the execution difficulty more comparable with the planning difficulty, for me.

23
Other Games / Re: Celeste
« on: September 10, 2019, 05:47:39 pm »
I'm guessing that's a thing I can't access since I couldn't find all the berries.
Chapter 9 is a free DLC that just came out. At least for the parts I've played through so far, it doesn't require berries. (Maybe you need to finish Chapter 8 to see it?)

I haven't played through all of it yet (because I'm really bad at advanced techniques) but it's pretty good. It's essentially a B-side. I enjoyed the B-sides, although I prefer A-sides. (I like having a relatively easy main path with optional berry challenges.)

24
Other Games / Re: Dicey Dungeons
« on: August 25, 2019, 01:15:16 am »
I've given this a try to see whether it resolved my problems with the alpha. It doesn't, though it is much improved in other ways. Caveat: all I've done so far is beat Ep1 with the first three classes, so maybe things get better later on.

My key complaint is lack of variety. Enemies feel about the same, and turns feel about the same. For context, my favorite entry in the board-game-ish roguelike genre is Hearthstone's roguelike PvE content (much of which is free--not F2P, actually free). There, the turns vary a lot: your hand changes, the board changes, you're gaining mana, etc. The bosses tend to encourage somewhat different approaches, too.

In Dicey Dungeons, there's very little difference turn to turn. Typically, you're just trying to maximize the effect of your equipment, whether that's damage, poison, block, etc., and the way you do it is the same each turn. The enemies usually just do over-complicated stuff that results in you taking damage. There are some attempts to break this tedium, like how shocked equipment forces you to decide whether to unlock it, but to me it just doesn't feel different enough.

I also feel that the turns are too brain-burning, which is weird because I like think-y games. But here, you're calculating as much as you would to pull off a cool combo turn in Hearthstone (or Dominion, for that matter), except instead off pulling off a cool combo, you're just doing a normal amount of damage. And you gotta do this every turn. It just feels like way too much calculation for what you're getting from it.

There are some other minor things that bug me:
  • There are too many situations where dragging out a fight for farming purposes is optimal (like the situation singletee mentions). This is tedious, plus it doesn't make sense from a game universe perspective: why can't I use Bandage to recover health outside a fight? It's OK to have farming in corner cases, but it feels too common in this game.
  • So far, gold feels a bit pointless. I haven't yet failed to have money for something I wanted to buy.
  • It bugs me that you can't inspect what resistances an enemy has from the map. e.g. It sucks to enter a fight with a poison build and find out that the enemy is poison-resistant. Obviously you're eventually going to remember who is poison-resistant, so there would be no loss of strategy to tell you in-game.
  • This is probably a bug, but my equipment doesn't consistently stay in the slots where I put it.

25
General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part IV
« on: August 06, 2019, 04:25:05 pm »
Your question comes off like "Is there a reason why my neighbor's bratty kid gets tiny little wheels on the rear wheel of his bike so that he can never fall off, doesn't he know Lance Armstrong would NEVER use those?!!?"
The extra hardcore way to write division is with multiplicative inverse. ab-1 instead of a/b.

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