Thursday, 27 May 2021

27/5/2021: Thoughts on nos techniques

My second S on real lv.3. Stamina maps are my favourite.


Today I realized that my e-amusement album on facebook was gone. I knew that the e-amusement app removed its linkage with facebook but the album should still be there, but that isn't the case anymore. It took me sometime to retrieve all my DDR/beatsream captures, but they are worth the time. I guess it's also a good time to take record of my MUG progress.

Since the lockdown I have been playing ring fit or doing exercises at home a lot more, so I simply play DDR less and less frequent. Playing 18 is no longer a regular thing to me again, although Konami didn't produce enough sensible 18s in the past year...び is pure shit in my view.

So I basically play Nos all the time, and the progress is clear. By the end of Op.2 my recital grade was 5300, it was then 5500 by the end of 2019, and now my grade is 5760. In other words, I can obtain S rank consistently across level 11 by the end of 2019, but I can S consistently across level 12.5 and a few 13.0 right now.

What's hard to me right now are basically nonsense streams (like True Blue) or hardcore trills (like Appassionata 3rd movement, Etude Op. 25-11 "Winter Wind" or the Ballade No.1 in G minor). It takes time for me to recall my piano muscle memory...but what's interesting to me is how me or other nos player play maps at 12.5-13.0, start to differ from other MUGs. We need to deal with streams that are practically impossible to hit in a discrete way, so we need some other approaches, and the choice would be to sweep or to play like a pianist?

There are other MUGs in the arcade where you can sweep the keys instead of hitting independent to be count as a hit. Chunithm is the prime example but people also do that sometimes in jubeat, but the technique is widely adopted in Chunithm while restricted to a small group of players for jubeat. Why?

Chunithm encourages sweeping in nature: a flat input device and sliding notes exist for sweeping already, so sweeping ordinary notes is just something natural to them. The notes are usually 4 keys wide and the timing is loose -- that makes sweeping much easier. 

On the other hand, jubeat consists of a 4x4 pad, so sweeping for longer streams implies a change in direction during the sweep, and to keep a consistent pace during the sweep is definitely hard. The streams are not for sweeping most of the time where notes appear alternately on the left and right half: sweeping anything more broken than 2-7-10-15 would be extremely hard. At top level (the only instance where sweeping could be relevant) people always go for the hard mode, so positioning plus timing would be too demanding for this technique.

Nos interestingly situates between the two. Its panel is linear (although not flat) and sweeping is easy. There are also maps where sweeping is clearly desired (e.g. 
ピアノ体操第一). The timing is not as loose as Chunithm but a lot easier than jubeat on hard mode. On the other hand, sweeping is quite hard when the notes are not spaced apart enough (like Etude 10-4), and bad sweeping causes a bunch of good or misses. As a result, both sweeping or piano style are equally popular among high end players. We can even see both styles at KAC final level. 


I have been on piano style since the beginning, but sweeping really helps me to master many level 12.5 maps especially on the left hand. Typical examples include 蒼氷のフラグメント and Moonstone. For バルベリア・タンゴ I have been trying to trill in the pianistic way but it's simply too hard on the left hand. I gave up and swept with one finger instead...and that's an instant S. I felt like I have fallen somehow...

I still think for more complicated streams the pianistic style would trump against sweeping, but to do that smoothly would require much more practice to me or anyone else. Maybe if I play like now (every Thursday for the new songs basically) for another year I will be able to S half of the real level 3...?

Sunday, 23 May 2021

TWEWY the Animation: Joshua week impression

Among all of Josh's smol faces, his T-pose still impresses me the most.


Week 2 occupied 4 episodes instead of 3 or even 3.5 episodes. This is making sense because we see the most developments and basically all characters in the week. Considering the nature of week 3 which is more like a team solo that part it should be easily covered in 3 episodes (with one episode solely for the final fights), unless they want to introduce more NEO hypes (which they did also this week).

Again I will focus on the difference between OG (the original DS game) and the anime. It is apparent at this point that covering the story with like, half the detail is already impossible (when you also want to display the fights). One particular example this week is that Sho's math meme is really weird in contrast to what we saw in the OG dialogues because it's simply coming out of nowhere. The story focused on interactions among people and their feelings which is so delicate that most dialogues are relevant to the main plot. As such the producer have already done a satisfactory job to cover what should have been covered. My critics are again mainly on how the anime could have been closer to OG in terms of game mechanics.

Let's start again with pins and monsters.

On Ep.4, they finally got the monsters right: Carcinofolk appears on W2D1. Neku used Burning Melon here which is effective against crabs, but not much use against the rhinos. Instead of a fire sphere bouncing on the screen it was shown as ordinary fireballs only. He also used Pop Pendulum against kangaroos, which of course failed because this pin is too damn slow to hit them. I always preferred JoM slashing attacks as it stuns the enemy, and I have no idea why they never used those pins.

Nothing too much about Ep.5, but they have once used the ordinary Pyrokinesis pin again. Starter pin should not be used at this stage anymore! And since your Burning Melon was shown as fireball last episode, the Pyrokinesis pin can easily be replaced by some other random fire pin anyhow. Oh and taboo noises firing cannons...

On Ep.6 the game started with Garage Wolf and Doom Metal Drake...the former only appears on week 1 and the latter only on W3D7. This is just inappropriate. They finally used Frozen Cool instead of the Ice- pins, but this is the unevolved pin (cf. Blizzard Cool) so we should see one icicle instead of three. Swift Storm, Swift End is another new pin introduced and it seems like they really like Dragon Coulture. The other new pin introduced was Crackle Pop Barrier, which was shown as a weak barrier instead of time-limited invincibility. Joshua also exhibits his levitation + angel beam ability on day 6 (instead of day 5 in OG) this episode...his attack is always my favourite.

Ep.7 started with the scramble crossing mini-boss fight. In the anime Neku faced Jungle Boomer and Grindcore Minks, but there were two red minks instead of the red-gold duo! There were Mosh Grizzly around which is also untrue to OG as it should have been Wall of Grizzly (black wolf) instead. In the boss fight Neku also (explicitly) used the starter pin Thunderbolt pin for the first time...again why? Storm Warning and the Spider series are similar but much better. Thunderbolt-type attacks are effective against Sho since he evade attacks so swiftly though.

*Edit: it seems like Superfine beam were used in Ep.7 but I couldn't recall any attach like that...anyway.

Other OG related

Sho's missions started with [Game I(/II/III)] which is the same as OG. I now realized it looks like [Maths I/II/III] for Japanese's high school maths curriculum, but I am not sure if there are any relation between the two. The stupid 30+74 was also modified into sqrt(10816). 

Even before the anime we already know that many regions are renamed into their reality name as SE got the consent from the property owners. We saw the Tsutaya O-East last time, and this time it's Shibu Q-front (instead of Q-head). Then later in Ep.7 Pork City was renamed to Mark City. Back in 2008 I have not visited Shibuya so I wouldn't have react to Mark City even if that was the name in OG, but since now I have been there many time and also that the Mark City was shown explicitly (Pork City was never shown in OG -- you just enter a mall from Dogenzaka) I immediately understand the way the game describe Pork/Mark City as "where emotion gathers" -- for those who don't know, Mark City is a large complex above the Tokyu-Tokyo Metro Shibuya station...and one of the shopping malls loaded with top restaurants in Shibuya.

At a point Mr.H helped Joshua and Neku by adding new functions to their phones. This is making less sense on smartphones as they have a much more compact designs comparing to phones in the 00's. That reminds me of the time when there were shops specializing in amending the hardware of phones and GBAs adding weird functions on it.

In OG we never saw the movement of characters other than the protagonist team. Apparently the reapers can fly. Another difference in Ep.6 is that Joshua explicitly mentioning the isolated UG area, in particular the existence of Shinjuku UG.

A map was shown when Joshua talked about route 5 and that is the exact same map in OG and I loved that. 

The mission on day 7 was not issued by Sho but by the conductor himself. In OG this is reckoned by the way the mission was written. The mission started with "Game 7" instead of "Game IV/VII", but this was not delivered in the anime which is slightly disappointing. 

The representation as in Ep.7 clearly deviates from OG more than the previous episodes. Firstly we have spider noises that never appeared in OG, then we have imaginary space appearing much earlier than Sho's fight (and visually it is so different -- I wonder now how Konishi's fight would be). The fight is a bit weird though, Joshua and Neku never managed to hit Sho effectively at least on screen but the fusion attack somehow did the job...

Impressions

- Shiki's emotion was close to the OG emotions most of the time, but Joshua's smug-ness is much clearer in the anime than in OG. He simply has so many different smol faces in the four episodes.
- Tin Pin's gone. Natural choice but I hope it will at least be in NEO.
- Mr. H calling Neku correctly in anime.
- Joshua talking about they need to attack the taboo noises to deal effective damage: a possible reference to puck relay.
- The N---d Prey shown on Ep.6 after Neku's flashback

*

I can hardly say the anime met my full satisfaction so far, but I will rate it a 9/10 regardless. Let's see what would happen on the Beat week!

Friday, 14 May 2021

After Dark 4.0 in Win 10: screensaver being reset to "None"

Installing After Dark 4.0 in Win 7/10

On my new computer (win 10 of course) I frequently encounter the following problem: the screensaver, after a while, resets to "None" (no screensaver) in the screensaver setting. You can explicitly go to the setting and set the AD screensaver again, but that is a waste of time. 

After some investigating I found that this is again something that is lost in compatibility mode.

If you go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Control Panel/Desktop, you will see the default path for the current screensaver. If your screensaver was reset to "None", then the path is likely

C:\WINDOWS\system32\AFTERD~1.SCR

but it turns out that the screensaver was installed in SysWOW64!

The simplest solution is then to copy the .scr file also into system32, and that worked immediately for me without further efforts required.

Friday, 7 May 2021

07/05/2021: Chelsea's road to Istanbul

There are quite some aftermaths since ESL collapsed: protests at Old Trafford, and Chelsea allowing fans representatives to join some board meetings. But none of them matches Chelsea's competitive achievement just a few hours ago.

That is, a magnificent performance outclassing Real Madrid over two legs which wins them a ticket to the Champions League final in Istanbul -- somewhere we could have been to 16 years ago if not the phantom goal from Liverpool.

I couldn't help but to shed tears with semifinal scenes flashing through my head...

In 2008 Ivanovic scored two headers out of nowhere marking the beginning of his era in Chelsea; and of course the 4-4 is one of the most entertaining match ever.

In 2009 that was the night of fucking disgrace which I don't want to talk about that ever again. But the 1-1 game is absolutely filled with quality: Essien scored a stunner and so did Iniesta. The Barca team went on and become one of the strongest team in history (despite multiple controversies).

And 2012? I can still recite every single quote and every goalgasm from Neville for the two miraculous goals.

The semifinals are never boring, and so was today's game. Real Madrid's midfield were so exhausted and they simply failed to pressurize Jorginho -- who always play like a master whenever unmarked. 

Kante was of course the star above all, he was too good on both ends of the field. It was his change in tempo that created the first goal. His contribution to the second goal is even more direct: a clear interception before sending to Pulisic who fed Mount. He is almost flawless in the tie. He even won all aerial challenges which is amazing considering he is just 5'7!

The other players should receive their deserved praise too. Mendy's two crucial saves saved Chelsea in the first half; AZP playing the best he possibly can with his declining physicality; Rudiger who is solid as rock...it is truly a team effort. 

I don't blame Hazard for being sloppy in the game. He did he part, just that he simply lost his bursting power he had back in the days. He was thoroughly neutralized under the effort of Christensen and AZP, and the rest of Real's midfield were even less creative. Tuchel once again showed his tactical geniusness, and Zidine meanwhile, showed that his team is so awful under 3-back against top teams.

Back in the days I fell into love with Chelsea because of Mourinho and his 1-0ism. I thoroughly believe in 1-0ism works in sports in particular football (I like 1-0ism in baseball too, though I have to admit it may not be the best way there). Being good defensively however sometimes implies the lack of sparks on the other end and the lack of consistency to win against lower teams. We have seen enough of that from Chelsea during these years.

Some like Abramovich of course prefer the complete opposite: he wanted beautiful football. He bought many good attackers but most of them didn't perform as expected. On the other hand, coaches/managers that played attacking football -- like Ancelotti's team with 103 seasonal goals in 2009-10, AVB's high pressing team in 2011-12 and Sarri's Sarriball in 2018-19 -- never reached the same level of success in terms of European performance.

At a point we thought that it is impossible to play beautiful and solid football at the same time. But now with Chelsea and City's performance this year we see a glimpse of hope that this is actually possible. The key of playing solid and beautiful football simultaneously is not all about stacking world class players (like PSG). It's being able to run, to play physically, and to execute tactics thoroughly. This is the common feature we observed in both the City vs PSG and Chelsea vs Real Madrid ties. These are the two teams that overwhelmed their opponents in all aspects, and they deserve the spots in Istanbul.

To be honest I expect a dull display in the final because the two teams will probably play very conservatively, but that does not mean it is dull tactically, it is the right tactics adopted by both teams that prevent the talents from making comfortable decisions. This may not be a match that is enjoyed the most by general public, but I certainly have very high expectation on it.

Most of Chelsea's players actually never played in the Champions League semifinal let alone final, but that's not something we should worry. There were numerous players in the 2012 Chelsea team who just joined. Cahill even just joined the club during the winter transfer window! The newcomers in 2021  -- Werner, Havertz, Chilwell and Silva -- have shown their quality and we should be faithful that they can do it again on May 29.