Friday, 9 April 2021

08/04/2021: Neo The World Ends with You revealed

There aren't many things that could catch my attention immediately and motivates me to address on my blog that is three entries in four days, but the following is one of them: the true remake of the best RPG game in the DS era, The World Ends With You (TWEWY) is finally getting a true remake this summer! The game that I have awaited for finally is finally here 13 years after the debut, along with the animation that will be on air in the coming 24 hours.

Final remix works as a memory freshener but merely amazes players simply because Switch is not DS, and many features tailored for DS were gone. This is just a porting attempt that wasn't very successful.

I am not fully prepared to write something about TWEWY in full length, at least not before we are a few episodes into the animation. But there are sooooooo many things that I would be hyped for the game:

- Story: The original 3 weeks + another days + secret report wasn't complete. And neither did the extra days from the final remix. But it is a good time to let go and enter a new chapter, and we can leave the details to the animation or novels if necessary. I look forward to a completely new story but also with reference to the old world.

- Artwork: TWEWY perfected their art expression (some complained the skinny skeleton but I don't mind really). The characters, the items and the pins all reflected the taste of Shibuya in 2008. I know Shibuya so well that I can surf freely there without getting lost on my first arrival to Tokyo. The caption in fashion with extreme variation is the key element of TWEWY that is uncontested in the DS era, and I would say it even trumps the Persona series.

In the Neo trailer Rindo and other characters are clearly dressed in the 2021 fashion. We also see a revamped Shibuya yet familiar. I look forward to the art elements in the game very much.

- Combat system: historically unique is what I would describe the original combat system. Two screen sharing the same HP bar with a completely separate input system that is controlled by a single player. Without the help of game breaking items, beating the post-game contents is a supreme but very interesting challenge. Final remix is a pain to play not just because this is stupidly ported into switch, and even all the stylus related psych's are not working as smooth as in the original version. 

In the Neo trailer, we saw a completely redesigned system so hypes are there. We also observe multiple characters on the screen so there might be another form of multi-controls. There are also discussions on Reddit finding that it is possible for the characters to be binded to a few pins. It makes sense just to consider Neku was the only one who mastered so many pins in the original game, but I still regard the variety of pins to be a great selling point of the game. We will see how that works out.

And, the 3D fighting scene. Who doesn't love Genshin-like fights?

Music: No more words are needed I guess, TWEWY contains some of the best game soundtracks around. Twister, Someday, Calling or not -- just bring it on. That is the part that I never worried about.

Misc: there are many features in the original game that was not even properly handled in the Switch version. Tin Pin is one of them. We need more multiplayer content, as it fits the current trend anyway.

...and yes, what about more Radian and So Zetta Slow noises?


Update after the second trailer: 

It's been a thrilling day. Having hundreds of TWEWY fans hyping the same trailer in the same chatroom is simply unreal. Everyone is shouting about what they found in the trailer with the slightest references to the original game. Pin style, Tsugumi references, Minimimoto....and of course Neku.

WELCOME BACK, Neku. We look forward to your performance.

I really like the deluxe package but all I want is Mr. Mew plushie and the artbook. It is a bit unfortunate that the artbook is not included in the NA version but we will see. It is also good to know that they are releasing all regional versions on the same day so that I won't need to buy the Japanese version first before going back to the English version. But maybe I will again, because it's TWEWY...

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

07/04/2021: 約稿相關






Monday, 5 April 2021

r/second: the Reddit April Fool 2021

Every year on the first of April, Reddit hosts a "social experiment" which is nothing more than a time limited inspiring minigame. One of the greatest example is the r/place which is truly impactful as a precious snapshot of the Internet on April 2017.

Many abandoned the tradition of making something funny for the day on 2020, but fortunately Reddit held on and again delivering something simple but funny this year. Introducing the r/second

This is a simple game: each round consists of three pictures sampled online including memes, vintage games, among us mates or even simple words. People would vote for one of the three, but only the one ranked the second would be considered victorious. 

There are 3 phases in total. Mid-term results are revealed during the two transitions, giving hints on which one to vote for. That of course comes with a penalty. 

Those who voted in the first phase gets +9 for a correct answer and -3 for an incorrect answer.
Those who voted in the second phase gets +6/-2.
Those who voted in the third phase gets +3/-1.

Unlike those redditors who eat chalks and murmur about tendies (you pretend that you don't but actually you do, especially those with diamond hands), you actually smelled a way to score effectively. What would you do?

The correct answer is: you should find a time machine and travel back to 96 hours ago, because the event has already ended. But let's assume that it hasn't, how can we perform well in this event?

Assume the following. 

1) The three images are indistinguishable. 
2) The population's strategy remains constant.

The first one is actually reasonable even to those who knows memes well because of the dynamics. Even if you can tell which is more popular, comparing the three is a completely different story.

A quick glance at the leaderboard reveals that top players score around 4.7 points per win. Points gained per game is actually a hidden stat, but assuming that he only goes for phase two then he has been correct for about 80% of the times. That says, his average point per game participated is around 3.7. Can we get close to this number?

Attempt 1: Blind guessing

Well if you decided to vote every time on phase 1, then according to the assumption the only thing you can do is to guess blindly. That gives a 33% correct rate and an average of 1 per game. Not bad, but we can definitely do better.

Attempt 2: Blind guessing, no middle

Someone took record of the first 500 games and found that the middle come second at only 20% of the times in contrast to 40% for left and right. If we guess blindly without middle the correct rate is raised to 40% and the average point per game would be 1.8, still far away from optimal.

Don't forget that skipping a particular round is actually a viable option, but only when you are not guessing on phase one because guessing on phase one this round or next round are indifferent according to our assumption. But what if we start to take mid-term results into consideration?

We shall note that the target average score implies that guessing on phase three is inefficient, so we now consider strategy on phase two.

We observe that when mid-term are released, people vote for both the first and second. They vote for second of course for free win, but they also vote for the first in hope that the second would overshoot. One certain thing is that no one is voting the third unless the three are close.

Attempt 3: Guessing first or second randomly

That gives a correct rate of almost 50% and an average of 2 per game. Can we do even better?

We assumed that the population's reaction to mid-terms is consistent. This is actually in line with the observation. We may therefore apply kernel estimates to create a map $f(x_1,x_2) = p$ meaning that when the mid-term reveals that the first has $x_1$ of the votes and the second has $x_2$ of votes then there is a chance $p$ for the first to win (i.e. for the first to come second at the end). 

Note that it is the percentage difference that matters: dynamics from a 45%-40%-15% distribution should be almost the same as a 40%-35%-25% distribution. So we may compress the data into a single parameter distribution: $f(x_1-x_2) = p$ when the percentage difference is $x_1-x_2$ then there is a chance $p$ for the first to win. 

Attempt 4: KDE prediction + skips

Although I never traced the numbers seriously, it can be observed that when the first leads by a large margin (say 10%), the second is almost certain to win despite everyone voting for it after mid-term. We expect the function about is quite close to 0 or 1 at the tails. We can then maximize the integral

$R(I) = \left ( \int_I g_X(x) \right )^{-1}\int _I g_X(x)(6\max(f(x), (1-f(x)))-2\min (f(x), (1-f(x))))dx $

by choosing the interval $I$ properly. The above may simplify into 

$R(I) = 2 + 4 \left ( \int_I g_X(x) \right )^{-1}\int _I g_X(x) |1-2f(x)| dx = 2+4E(|1-2X| \mid X\in I) \geq 2$, 

where $g_X$ is the probability density for the parameter $x_1-x_2$. Since $R(I)\geq 2$, this strategy is strictly better than attempt 3, and this is a strong indicator that the mid-term results are extremely useful. If we smoothen $f$ and $g_X$ so that it is differentiable (in the computational sense) then this is just a simple exercise of calculus.

There is a problem though. If we take $I$ a very slim set then we win almost every time but voting may only happen for every 5 or 10 games, but top players win 55% out of all games! That means they probably have voted for at least 75% of the available games (not taking sleeping time into account even). 

Instead one may want to maximize the score gained per game, whether you skipped or not. This is simply the maximization of score! Since the expectation is always positive for any approaches mentioned above, what you should do in this case is to participate all games and always vote in phase two. When $f(x)$ is close to 1 or 0, vote for the indicated one, and otherwise vote randomly between first and second. (Or if you trust your function $f$, always follow the indicator, since your correct rate should always be above 50%.) 

Unfortunately I never collected the mid-terms and I don't notice anyone else who did. All that was left is the final result of the rounds, which do not help too much. Yet I believe this approach will be good enough for us to match the top rankers.

One last note: the mid-terms are not fixed snapshots. You actually get to see the votes in live for a few seconds. I do not think that helps much however as the dynamics largely depend on percentage difference of the round, hence nothing significant can be extracted out there. 


Let's be honest -- there are many more valuable things we may do if we had the chance to travel back to 1/4. r/second is no match against r/place after all. This is merely a little game that expires so fast. One better thing to do on 1/4 would be watching Your lie in April in my opinion. Yes?

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

30/3/2021 遊戲meta的三兩事




屬性系統當然是一個方便的解決辦法。寵物小精靈的對戰中單對單的相剋非常明顯,就算是隊伍之間的比試當中,Uber Tier裡面也沒有誰一定可以橫掃同級其他精靈。最好的例子應該是2014大師賽的帕奇利茲,明明單隻只是幾乎沒人用的廢物,在隊際賽中跟其他精靈配搭卻可以出奇制勝。


不過現代問題有現代解決辦法。我在想……機器學習(ML)應該可以很好地預測非即時戰鬥類的遊戲meta吧?在投下新技能/角色以前用帶有新技能的trained model跟用舊有技能練出來的trained model對戰,如果可以打敗現行meta之餘對上其他打法沒有太明顯的優勢那就說明這個技能有創造平衡的潛力,如果新技能只是一通亂殺的話那只是用新meta取代舊meta的騙錢技倆而已。


其實玩家思維領先於開發者很正常,因為玩家會絞盡心思去改進成績,但開發者還有一堆別的要兼顧。這點跟八十年代的港英政府很像,不過這點以後再談。新科技的出現讓開發者追上來出現了一點可能,前提是要他們肯砸錢下去。可能嗎?不太樂觀,連龍頭大佬暴雪都一副半死不活的樣子,其他小廠又哪來的資源請data analyst呢?


Wednesday, 17 March 2021

夢.十夜 (6.5) Interlude
























她再次緩緩睡去。同一時間電腦上的After Dark剪刀石頭布的螢幕保護程式消失不見,Skype的視窗傳來了幾行新訊息。









也就是說,在這個時間點以前要以網上娛樂的人際互動為題材執筆的話可以選擇的題材十分有限。總不能寫以前他們怎樣拼speedrun紀錄吧?看Summoning Saltbismuth的影片就知道在那個時候紀錄和攻略心得都是用電郵或者頂多論壇傳遞的,與今天有一整個完整網站加上審查員的制度完全不同。


同一年代外國的網絡世界同樣精彩。日本的先不說,在英美的科網熱潮雖然已經爆破,但那些公司或經營模式並沒有立刻倒掉,大部分都撐了好幾年,甚至有苟活到現在的(比如neopets),當年的網絡世界就因為這些注資而得以百花齊放。在商業角度來看它們不怎樣成功,對我們說卻是好玩就夠了。我比較有印象的應該是AlfyAdventure Quest(到現在還沒倒也是神奇)吧。

當年網絡世界的另一個特色是大量的個人網頁--那是一個free hosting滿地跑的時代。懶人可以直接用blogger、Xanga和各種奇怪的動態留言版,但更多人都愛用Frontpage express或者Dreamweaver寫自己的網頁。單說香港的geocities網頁數已經是世界前幾名,到現在去oocities能找到的遺跡也有不少。當年的網站都有一頁連結,專門放好友網站的banner,在社交平台還沒大一統的時代一個個小圈子就是這樣撐起來的。放到現代的話有點像噗浪?



Friday, 26 February 2021

26/2/2021: Ebony & Ivory from Beatstream to Nos


An easy level 12, disappointingly easy. I got 98% on the second day.

I hate difficulty locks in MUGs by a lot. Games like Nostalgia, Chunithm and DDR partially, have an unlock system where higher difficulty unlocks only when one completes a lower difficulty with good enough scores. This is a complete waste of time because a large portion of advanced players simply do not touch the lower difficulties. Among these Beatstream had the most notorious system among all -- the nightmare difficulty only unlocks when the player completes a course with accuracy up to 95%-99%.

As a result I never got the chance to try the nightmare difficulty of Ebony & Ivory till the last play that was available to me via multiplayer game with my friend, and it plays as exciting as watching that on screen. It has one of the most iconic streams in Beatstream that is uncontested till the end of service. It's a nice song too, another great piece of work my long time favourite OSTER project.

Unfortunately the design of Beatstream is really incompatible with extreme maps. At note density as high as those top maps in Reflec Beat it looks really bad on Beatstream. This is apparent when they pushed Lv.神 on KAC which looked really unappetizing. As a result Beatstream had its service terminated on 31/7/2017. Still I am still waiting for its revival on mobile device as it is apparently one of the Konmai MUG that is more compatible with tablets (right after Reflec Beat). 

Beatstream machines were transformed into Nostalgia machine since then. It's properly designed and is connected to my beloved piano based songs. I have spent around 1000 credits since its introduction -- but I still miss Beatstream time to time. And with Ebony & Ivory became available I am triggered so write this diary as a record just in case I cannot retrieve my score screenshot anymore (I am pretty sure I have a screenshot on my Beatstream score for Ebony & Ivory but I failed to find that somehow).

Oh and something about the Nos map: the lack of Real difficulty is really disappointing, cause I have been waiting for that for a long time! The expert map yields 1009 combo whereas the nightmare difficulty from Beatstream contains 991 combo where most notes are single notes. This song is perfect for a real lv.3 I am not joking...

My Jubeat emblem, since 2017 and never changed

Saturday, 20 February 2021

The bullshit "equity math"

“You are a slow learner, Winston."
"How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four."
"Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
-- George Orwell, 1984


Recently schools in Oregon are sent toolkits about teaching maths in "proper" way and to "eliminate white supremacy". I usually don't care about lefty nonsenses but this time they went too far and touched my beloved mathematics. It went so far that I can't stop myself writing a defend against it.

Macroscopically this is just another batch of money wasted onto the "political correctness" industry, where you will only find in the States. Their way of philosophy and action are quite similar to that those from the cultural revolution in China in the sixties. Even back then when rocket scientist Qian Xuesen had to lie about agricultural production, their revised mathematics curriculum is still mathematical in context, only with a political twist in it. You get questions like "in accord to instructions from Chairman Mao we seized X acres of land yesterday and Y square meters of land today. How much land did we recover from the damned landlord in total?", and yet they are still doing proper mathematics.

We need to stop the horrible wave of decontextualization, in all possible fields. It's not just only for mathematics or science, but also in history, literature, social science and so on. Today as an math educator I feel like I should break the myth of the so called equity maths.

First of all, what is mathematics? Well this is a very complicated question with diversed answers. According to Wikipedia mathematics can be treated as a symbolic logic or its dual pair as operation of a formal language (the logical or mechanical one, not the linguistic one). Or if you like constructivism then there is also one definition for intuitionists. However if we lower the bar and ask the same question for primary/secondary school level mathematics, then it will for sure be the operation based on Peano axioms on integers, which is then extended to the rational (or real) number system. From such aspect the logic induced is consistent and unique. For every question you ask within the logic they is one and only one answer. If a quadratic equation has two roots then you don't call another root be "an alternative" to your first root. The answer is to include both roots. Giving only one of them is mathematically wrong.

For the rest of the article I want to focus on the part of solving questions within the mathematical logic. That means questions that can be completely described in propositional logic. A famous example is in Laudau's book "A Course of Pure Mathematics", where he wrote in the preface that he expects the deduction of "2+2=4" to be:

2+2 = (1+1)+(1+1) = ((1+1)+1)+1 = (2+1)+1 = 3+1 = 4

which uses the definition that 1,2,3,4 are right next to each other on the sequence of positive integers and the axiom of associativity. Similarly arithmetic calculations are within mathematical logic. High school algebra are also within mathematical logic using statements like "for all x if x^2-1 = 0 then x = 1 or -1". Geometry is a bit tricky, but we can also form a first-order logic using Euclid's axioms (with parallel postulate) and so on. I stress that this is just to give a more concise definition of the part to be taught in the subject of mathematics to be discussed in the following, but not the axiomatic approach that should be taught. For kids 2+2=4 just because "two steps after two" is four and that's it, but the problem itself can be described as in mathematical logic, that it is within scope of our discussion.

The truth of a proof for a question in mathematical logic, is purely objective. This is due to the uniqueness and consistency in the logic. In a more practical level when we assess student's work, logical errors are one of the two types of mistakes (or imperfections) from students' work. The other type of mistakes would be stylish problems (presentation, key steps being skipped etc.) which are subjective. That does not change the fact that the logic or rather the core knowledge of the subject is objective. Relativism does not apply in mathematics or other sciences.

With precise definitions, a grading scheme can also be objective by exhausting possibilities. While grading remains objective under proper settings, this is by no means an attempt to promote quantity over quality -- it is just a statistic showing the estimated understanding of the students. Grades can be used solely for the purpose of improving teaching quality. This is just one of the many standardization for the sake of efficiency, which we shall cover again later. 

The goal of solving a question within the mathematical logic is of course to complete the deduction. Focusing on intermediate steps does not mean the final answer is not important. In fact, the answers obtained in previous questions are often step stones for a consequent question. In such sense the answer is of no less importance than the middle step. Getting the right answer, is of course a major goal in a maths class. (And right here means correct(ortho-), and does not imply that political or social rightness is of the same correctness. Such discussion is a pure waste of everyone's time and resources.)

One very important consideration when you teach someone mathematics is called mathematical maturity. Roughly speaking, it is your exposure to different levels and fields in mathematics so that you can understand a new topic quickly without spending 10 minutes on every definition. Due to the correctness and uniqueness of mathematics it is always possible to introduce someone a highly sophisticated tool and he can do mechanics out of it without sufficient maturity as long as he can follow the logic. However his lack in maturity means that the process will take exponentially longer, and that is a waste of time. When I was year 1 in university I joined a open courseware site and took a course in functional analysis. Yes I can understand every word about the Arzela-Ascoli theorem, but I had truly zero idea what it was doing. This is because I simply did not have enough exposure in function spaces as well as point-set topology that I couldn't visualize what is going on (unlike now I can casually use that a few times in a single article).

For primary and secondary school level mathematical maturity applies as well. At a lower level this is almost equivalent to arithmetic fluency which is gained by repeated practices on calculation, hence the teaching sequence is almost linear. At high school level there are various topics that are indeed taught in sequence. While they may or may not be taught independently, these are designed in the way that previous topics would boost the exposure and maturity of the students to equip better against the next topic. 

Topic sequencing, alongside with many other existing standards and practices, are based on years of professional experience (bottom-up) and research (top-down). They do not come for whatever supremacy theories, but rather efficiency in teaching (and learning). We focus on formalism and mathematical rigorousness because these are the core of mathematical maturity and the key to master those topics. We grade the assignment as to reflect the portion of question that students are able to tackle. We standardize tests because that gives us an objective, scientific and reliable way to understand the progress of the students. And yes we need objectivity, just because this is how the world works.

Talking about efficiency, there are always idealistic imaginations on how education could be at its best: teachers tailoring materials for every students, personalizing feedbacks and updating goals constantly; school preparing the best peer environment and passive resources (e.g. library) for them. Is this possible? Yes and it exists -- in the few top high schools over the world, particularly in the States and Scandinavia (note that top secondary schools in western Europe and Asia took completely approaches). They mimicked what Euclid or Socrates did in the ancient times with the best possible teachers and resources around. That comes with a cost though: the tuition fee would be up to hundreds of thousand dollars if not millions per year, and this is open to the only half-hundred geniuses every year. 

Taking a step back, there are new AI technologies which automates some of the assessing steps freeing more time for the teachers to work on more inspirational stuffs. In China they took a step further by monitoring students' reaction during class as part of the assessment -- I am against such measure though, as it hinders the students' privacy.

But now...we are talking about reforms of public schools, and most of them won't have the resources to take any of these measures. Sadly this is the fact as supported by the highly valued private education sector both at the institutional level and also the individual level. Over the past 30 years, teachers have spent more and more time on out-of-the-classroom matters. It is almost impossible to squeeze out more time to boost the quality of teaching. Unless significantly more resources are being put into the sector, what we observe nowadays is basically the equilibrium point of public school teaching. 

I believe most math teachers are in the classroom to teach mathematics, and I expect most students are there to learn mathematics (at least, not politics). We separated the curriculum into various subjects that teaching and learning are specialized. What we do in the classroom can be evaluated, but only in the context of mathematics. We do not need the interference from dumb politicians and their fanatics. 

I tried to write the article without real criticism on the reform. But since I mentioned the cultural revolution at the beginning, I shall quote from Andrea Widburg something that I also observed from that horrifying cultural revolution: 'the only way to achieve the left’s beloved “equity” is to lower the standards or abolish them entirely'. Think about a world where hospitals were run by youngsters without medical knowledge, and bridges build by "engineers" who had no idea about civil engineering. As scary as it sound that really happened in China, just 50 years ago. Would you like to see the same in the western world?

Saturday, 13 February 2021

FEH: thoughts at the 4th anniversary mark

Friendship ended with Olivia. Now Dimitri is Ayra's best friend!

A typical game in its fifth year -- rigid system with stable and visible powercreeping. Since I am not really into the meta (got stuck at AR tier 36-37. I really need to get more whale units...) I am not at a good position to talk about these, instead I would like to write something about the new events.

Also, it's good to see Yuri scoring 6th in CYL, I hope that he will be in a banner soon!


Changes in Mjolnir Strike

Hmmm...the change is weird.

For now I have Cherche(Effie) and Ayra(L!Micaiah) on one side. The galeforce tactic is greatly hindered and sometimes she'd rather go to the other side and kill some blues instead. Ayra still works well as a tank on both phases, but sometimes it's tough for her to deal with half the units, basically without healing.

On the other side I have the summoner, Itsuki(B!Dimitri) and Genny(Flame Emperor), and it's basically Itsuki and Dimitri doing all the tanking and the summoner sweeps the rest. Genny sometimes need to heal on the other side, and that is essentially the same problem as for Cherche.

Larger maps means more separated unit, but the enemy is also further away from the portal. In previous maps you need to hold the line till turn 6, but now enemies at the top aren't threats anymore after turn 5. Defending the portal is definitely easier in such sense.

Difficulty-wise I simply don't see much point in the change other than finding a random place to fit the summoner in. Or to boost the sale of mystic units? AR has been the main attraction and they just don't need Mjonir Strike for that...

Pawns of Loki

Definitely a very interesting game mode. Unfortunately the same problem as for arena kicks in, that you need extreme luck to get a top score. Given that every complete playthrough lasts 12 turns it takes much longer to grind a top score out of it.

At intermediate with a proper setup, the later turns never cause any problem. Instead score optimization relies on having optimal choices during the first four turns. It's almost necessary to obtain 26+ combo score before turn 6, or you will lose a significant bit of score.

It's even harder at advanced where you get disgusting opponent with high combo score. Getting perfect score out there is simply brutal and extremely luck dependent. 

The game mode is fun, but the grinding is so painful. The only good news is that you only need a decent score at intermediate level to stay at tier 9.5, while a top score at intermediate suffices for tier 10. I really hope that they will listen to the players and change the matchup mechanics.


14/2/2021 update: the latest survey on reddit is out! The general feedback is of recent high due to accumulative improvements during the past year, altogether with the really welcomed 4th anniversary update including upgrade of the old legendary heroes, sparking on more banners and the 4* special rate which is essentially demoting all gen 1-2 units to 4* but better! We have to say that IS is doing great listening to the players over the past year, and I hope they will continue to do so in the coming days.

Sunday, 31 January 2021

31/01/21: Gamestonk

來源:Praeter之傷04 // 無關內容的插圖,不知道對誰說的,總之這番很潮,建議看看。

初音是這樣說的,No Game No Life的空白也是這樣說的。本季新番弱角友崎同學也是這樣說的,雖然他本人不一定這樣認為。



把規模拉高一點,看看那個一隻滿裝泰坦要八萬美金的EVE Online。看看那個將紀律帶到現實生活的帝國,看看那些進去連打17小時的駕駛員,這個遊戲就是他們的人生。



這些醜惡的嘴臉在美國大選時就已經暴露了出來,但部分人士可能因為政見而將這些行為視而不見;這次無關政治的事件卻又遭到它們的莫名封殺:Google將Robinhood(RH)的負評大量刪除、Reddit將r/wsb暫時封鎖、Facebook與Discord將群組以「仇恨言論」為由移除、CNBC將大散戶肉搜並公之於眾、媒體紛紛發佈空倉已平的假消息,一切都是針對無關政治的散戶行為。先不論這次震盪引起左右川派大和解,光是民間對這些deep state操作能有更深入了解就已經對國家發展來說是天大的好事了。

從2019反送中到2020武漢武炎與大選再到2021的今天,我們身處這個大時代裡,許多事情都可以歸到美中各自制度遇到的挑戰上,這正是維尼論述裡「百年未有之大變局」的精華所在。我們也許沒法在這種事情上幫上甚麼,但是活好自己跟Don't be evil就已經很好了。



Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Flash player


The end of flash player. 

Technically the phase out started quite sometime ago, when apple stopped supporting flash in 2010 (still remember the "cannot learn the move flash" meme?). Then NPAPI was gone in 2015-16. Then mainstream browsers started creating difficulty for one using flash. Adobe officially stopped supporting Flash by the end of 2020 and now chrome is stupidly blocking flash.

But I am sure there are many who would like to use flash anyhow for whatever good ol' online materials. It could be flash games in Kongregate, Neopets or Asiadog, flash vids from Newgrounds and oocities archives, or the for once state-of-the-art flash online RPG the Adventure Quest (AQ).

All you need is a get around, and here is one.

Before windows officially work against flash, the main obstacle would be flash player itself and the browser, so we need to deal with them separately.

Disclaimer: there are security problems with flash itself, even more for the older versions. This is the primary reason why it was phased out in the first place, so use at your own risk.

Flash: install a much older version of flash with update disabled.

The current one might have been disabled/uninstalled by windows/flash itself. What you want to do is to uninstall the current one (if it is still there) and install an older version. 

The reason to get old versions is to prevent adobe putting anything related to end the use of flash player into the software. In that sense any version that is more than a few years old should be fine. I tested 15.0 and 18.0 and they both worked for me, but I suspect something more recent should also work. 

I got myself the old installer from my old download stuff, but I am sure there are archived installer online with some simple googling.

Browser: DO NOT USE CHROME. Firefox and IE should be fine. Vivaldi maybe?

The picture of flash blocked that everyone posted is a result of chrome blocking flash, not that flash blocked itself. That basically means that there is no hope using flash with chrome unless you downgrade it significantly. 

I experimented with Firefox and it works even on the latest version (at least for now, not sure if flash ban is also scheduled for Firefox). Allow flash to run and disable any update prompts. You should have no problem running flash from there.

If you use modern browsers then you would like flash player that supports PPAPI (or flash for Firefox/chrome, simply speaking). If you are using old browsers then you will need flash player that supports NPAPI.

I feel like modern browsers have problem coping with really old flash versions (8/11/12), that's understandable because PPAPI were not fully established at the time, but it's also weird considering that almost everything in Neopets were build well before these flash versions.


It is definitely an incorrect approach to force the users to adapt something else by mandatory updates including updates from windows and chrome, and of course finishing flash this time. Sadly it has been the practice of those IT giants, among many of their ignorant moves.

Tuesday, 5 January 2021

夢.十夜 (6) Fire in the hole


- happysky1(小紅)的隊伍 -
2 x 「赤銀騎士」雷音 [PVP:四連擊]
2 x 「無畏劍士」西薇爾 [擊退6][PVP:麻痺]
1 x 「靜默無聲」德蕾婭娜 [擊退7][PVP:遠狙7]

- 攻城戰 -
1. 每場正式戰鬥時間為一小時整。
2. 玩家可以攻擊對方陣列、城門或進行砲擊得分。
3. 玩家攻擊對方陣列時只能攻擊敵方最前排玩家。
4. 只有當對方陣列全破時玩家才可以攻擊城門。
5.  玩家卡片攻守皆共用同一血量,所有卡片血量歸零時則進入擊破狀態不可戰鬥。
6. 當卡片並非滿血時,玩家都可以發動回復將血量補至全滿。
7.  玩家攻擊對方陣列時,若結算時未被擊破攻方可取得分數。分數與卡片戰力與剩餘血量成正比。如果攻方被擊破則只能取得極少分數。
8. 玩家直接攻擊城門時可取得大量分數,約為以同樣隊伍攻擊對方陣列時得分的兩到三倍。
9. 玩家可隨時進入探險模式收集砲台零件,期間不得進行任何戰鬥。

- 獎勵 - 
1. 獎勵分成隊伍成績與個人成績兩項。
2. 隊伍成績以勝場數及總分作排名,只有排行的獎勵。
3. 個人成績即玩家在攻城戰的個人總輸出,有排行及固定獎勵。












































































少女隨即收拾自己的東西。說是收拾其實沒有甚麼東西,本來就只是下樓吃東西而已,連抹汗用的毛巾都沒有。把喝光的的奶茶杯丟進垃圾箱後少年把手搭在年少女的肩膀上,二人慢慢地步出機廳,留下跳舞機「See you next time」的音效在機廳裡迴蕩著。












拋開自己隊上強差人意的結果,這次攻城戰還是有讓她感興趣的東西。那就是排名第九,戰績為28勝7敗的「熊熊」(Bear Eats Meat)隊。隊上的Rainmi0031(小雨)aoisora2(Sora)Lampbear(熊熊)全是她在關注的人,從來不認真打攻城戰的他們居然進入前十。主力的七名隊員都是遊戲常客,兩個新人名額的帳號的其中一個的正體到底是誰,她有八成把握能猜出來。比較可惜是這次活動他們沒能對上熊熊隊,沒法了解他們的打法。








武漢肺炎改變了世界,正如國安法改變了香港。世界沒法回到過去,正如香港也沒法回到過去。世界必須向前行,香港……人也要活下去。新的一年世界似乎不會變得更美好,對於香港來說更是the worse is yet to come。但是我們必須堅守我們的信念和身份,等到黎明來到可以光復那一天。不論你是義士還是只是星斗市民,我在此獻上微薄的祝福,唯願你們在新一年仍能緊守崗位,做正確的事。

回到正題,說到多人網遊會戰,最近最受關注的應該是EVE Online帝國與聯軍的大戰。這幾天聯軍挾連勝之勢進攻M2星系,卻因為伺服器過載的原因導致聯軍戰艦只能逐隻出現在帝國大軍面前慘遭砲決。有關這次大戰的細節可以參考這裡