Saltybet: Tips and Observations

  • Posted on: 25 September 2013
  • By: Keiya

Why have I not finished GTA? Because I am obsessively watching Saltybet. Saltybet is a free 24/7 Twitch stream with a fake-money betting system. The stream runs random CPU vs CPU battles off of M.U.G.E.N a 2d fighting engine with literally thousands of characters downloaded from wherever. The things that I find fascinating about Saltybet aren't the matches themselves, but rather the meta game and the community surrounding the meta game as everyone tries to figure out which characters are more broken than the others. Here are a couple of observations, starting with character properties, All of these of course, are subject to change as ultimately, Saltybet is pretty random regardless of any pattern.

  1. AI: Probably by far, the most important quality that a character can have. Very very little can make up for having a shit AI. You can sometimes tell if a character has an aggressive AI by looking at their idle animation. If it is abnormally fast, there is a decent chance that their AI will go into turbo mode when the match starts. Similarly, if they don’t have an idle animation or don’t look like they will move they quite frequently won’t, unless of course the character looks like it was specifically designed to be OP.
  2. Damage/health: Characters vary greatly in damage and health. Mexihealth and mexidamage referring to insanely high health and damage stats respectively. These aren't deal breaking stats as characters with high damage and health stats can and often are beaten by characters with a better AI.
  3. Supers: Shit characters with a one-hit KO super can still win (eg the weird dbz characters from Brazilian sites have 'mexibeams' as they call them). On the other hand, shit AI's can mean that a character ends up never using any supers.
  4. Hitbox: Remember that large characters aren't necessarily better because they (usually...) have large hit boxes. Non-retarded small sized characters will quite often confuse the AI of larger sized characters. So unless their AI spams some cheese move, there is a chance that a larger character will lose...unless they are enormous. Always bet on fighting game bosses (characters that literally take the entire screen) as they usually have insanely high damage/health in combination some attack that they spam that is literally unavoidable because it hits the entire screen. 
  5. Hierarchy of attack types: Bullshit attacks > beam spam > swords > non-sword weapons > fighters > other. A lot of the Waifus and decent anime characters have some ranged beam or death ball that they spam constantly. Good luck determining who does and does not beam spam though. Regardless of attack type, I think aggressive AIs have a higher chance of winning (doing something is better than being a potato). Again, good luck determining who has a more aggressive AI...
  6. Misc properties that may or may not matter: Having more special attack bars, having a longer name, having an adjective name (evil, dark, shin, ghetto, etc), being more glitchy than the other glitchy character.

Per series
Remember that no two Kens are ever the same. Also, don't ever mess with Rare Akuma, any variation of Ronald McDonald, or Barney. There's a list of god tier MUGEN characters floating around, but these are the ones that I have heard about and seen.

  • At least half if not more of the MUGEN characters are Brazilian DBZ characters and as a whole they, as in 90% of them suck ass because they all have terrible AIs. The super small-sized DBZ characters are terrible as are any of the characters that look like they use charging as a game mechanic because that is literally all they will do for half of the match. There are a few normal/large sized DBZ characters in the higher tiers but good luck sorting them out of the lot. Nail for example is one of them since he apparently has little to no hit box...
  • Naruto characters (stiff Narutos specifically) almost always lose. The only time I have ever seen one win was against DBZ.
  • Always bet on Card Captors, Sailor Moon and any weird female Japanese fighting game character based off of doujins: TouHou, Melty Blood. Their frail outer appearance is offset by beam spam of some sort.
  • Watch out for fakes.
  • Kenshin characters are a safe bet. They don't have spammy beam attacks but are for the most part insanely fast with a decent AI (they also all have swords).
  • A lot of the non-fighting game video game characters are pretty decent except for Chrono Trigger. 
  • The characters that are ripped from actual fighting games (real not fakes) seem to be fairly balanced in that they are at least guaranteed to do something since all of their normal moves have been copied over to MUGEN. So against a character with a crap AI (DBZ, Naruto) they will usually win. Bet at your own risk. Of the fighter characters, Puzzle Fighters are pretty decent as they all have that green cheese roll.
  • The robots that explode when they win have a fast attack rate but low damage.
  • Made up characters are a mixed bag. IIRC they tend to have pretty OP attacks if they ever manage to pull them off, as they can either literally stand there and do nothing or end the match in 10 seconds. I've heard to always bet on MS paint but to be honest, most of those seem to be a wildcard. 
  • Ninja turtles (I think it may be just Michelangelo though) have a very high chance of winning by a timer scam (they will get a few hits in and then glitch out of the arena until the timer runs out)

When you lose all of your money, will will get $10 in pity cash. If you are stuck in the salt mines always go all in on someone. $10 can win a lot if there’s a big upset. There is an account based leveling system in place btw, so the more you bet the higher your level and minimum cash will rise, making it easier to get out of the salt mines. If you want to win big you have to take a risk on an underdog and hope for a big upset. This is kind of where I am right now (went all in and lost).


Grand Theft Auto V

  • Posted on: 22 September 2013
  • By: Keiya

I am about a quarter of the way through Grand Theft Auto V so far. In all honesty, the only Grand Theft auto game that I have ever played the main storyline through completion was Vice City. I will usually play the storyline most of the way through, at least up until the point at which all areas and weapons are unlocked, and then screw around until I burnout on the game. I thoroughly enjoyed San Andreas, but it too a large extent felt like one giant mini-game. GTA IV was more focused on the main storyline, which was part of the problem: Once the novelty wears off, the core missions for the most part are repetitive (Drive to point A, shoot someone/pick something up, go to point B) in addition to Liberty City lacking interesting things to do that aren’t bowling with Niko’s cousin.

The core missions in GTA V are structured quite different because of the new featured gameplay element: Character switching. Each character has a distinct personality and social situation (to say the least) and each character also has his own strengths and weaknesses thanks to the new stat system. Michael for example, is a skilled marksman, Franklin is a superb driver, and Trevor, an expert pilot, is pretty decent all around. Each character also has a special ability that can be activated while in combat (Franklin for example, can slow down time bullet-time style while driving). Stats can also be improved by engaging in relevant activities: Driving more will increase your driving skill, running will increase your stamina and so forth. I have a feeling that the stats were designed to be leveled up naturally as you play through the missions given that it is fairly trivial to max out most of them by spending a minimal amount of time at the gun range, flight school, etcetera. In all honestly, I don’t think I’ve really noticed that much of a difference in gameplay in regards to each character’s skill. So whatever effect skills have seems to be minimal at best.

Back to character switching: Dividing the storyline 3-ways mitigates some of the repetition. Tired of Franklin’s storyline? Switch over to Michael or Trevor. I do worry that having 3 main characters will make it easy to dilute the storyline or make it easy to lose track of characters by favoriting another. But so far, that hasn’t really been an issue in fact, I’d say that being able to switch characters does make the game more engaging, so in that sense, it is a success. If I do have any criticism though, it would be that so far, being able to switch characters within the same mission has been grossly underutilized and I do worry that this gameplay element will not live up to its full potential. But as mentioned before, I’m only about 25% into the game. I do wish that the game made it more clear as to who can do what missions. I know the game color codes them, but it’s a little hard to see without zooming in. It would also be nice to know exactly where each character is at any point by looking at the map, but I suppose part of the joy in switching characters is not knowing exactly where they are and what they will be in the middle of (such as spooning another man in pink pajamas…) when you switch over.

Also new to the game are heist missions (I love a good old fashioned heist). So far these missions seem to be broken up into 4 stages: Observation (stakeouts, recon), planning (choosing what approach and who to bring), preparation (gathering necessary supplies), and execution (heisting). You can choose what type of approach and who you want to bring. Team members vary in skill level; highly skilled members will obviously ask for quite a bit bigger cut than low skilled members, so that’s the trade-off. For example in my case, I chose a stealthier approach to breaking into a jewelry store. I had a fair number of hackers that I could choose from, but I took a risk on a guy that I had met earlier in the game during a mission. He wasn’t as skilled as the other guys, but Michael had a good feeling about him and he was only asking for 4%. Ultimately, that decision may have been a poor one but hey. We got away with the cash, everyone learned something. All around successful heist.

I am very impressed with GTA V’s graphics quality and level of detail, especially considering the PS3’s age and especially especially in comparison to its predecessor GTA IV. It’s clearly pushing the upper limits of what the system can do. Anti-aliasing is pretty lacking to say the least, but I haven’t really had any issues with pop-in (I have the physical copy, heard that there are quite a few technical problems with the digital copies) or framerate drops, with an exception for situations where say, about 20 cars are exploding within 10 meters of each other. What an astounding level of detail. It really does feel like LA down to the specific neighborhoods and minor landmarks, food chains, buildings, etc.

Overall: Looks good, fun missions, controls feel tight, love the customization and the weird social media aspects when Rockstar’s servers aren’t on their knees. Oh and no more bowling.

GTA

Odds and Ends: September 17th 2013

  • Posted on: 17 September 2013
  • By: Keiya

I am so conflicted. I have a virgin copy of GTA V ready and waiting for my undivided attention, but we are almost caught up on Breaking Bad. We have one more episode to watch and before we can enjoy being up to date with the rest of the world (for once) for the last two episodes of the series. I suppose we can spare 40 or so odd minutes to watch one episode. It seems that there are a lot of strong contenders for most shocking scene in a television show for this year. Anyway, a short update on things that I have been watching and playing:

  1. We have been religiously watching Attack on Titan as I imagine virtually every anime fan is given that it is the new hotness anime blockbuster. I've heard that between the anime and the manga, the anime is better paced and easier to follow. I really want to binge read the manga, but I really enjoy anticipating watching the anime each week
  2. MOBAs are the last bastion of genres that I have never really played for one reason or another (the only other games that I don't really play are sports games if I recall correctly). My goal is to at minimum make it through the DOTA 2 tutorial and play 3 games at some point. 
  3. Still flirting with the idea of picking up FFXIV to play on-and-off casually, but since it is out of the time and money budget, I will just press my nose against the window and keep a watchful eye on it. Pretty sure that PvP was slated to be released at some point. So if the game is still alive at that point, I will probably consider picking it up at that time.
  4. Why would you review a game as "very good but imperfect" then give it a perfect score? 
  5. The lies of Locke Lamora digital copy is on sale via both Barnes and Noble as well as Amazon for 99 cents. It comes highly recommended as a fun fantasy read. Conveniently enough, it was next up on my list of books to read.
  6. I...I may need to buy this when it comes out.

On the D3 Auction House Removal

  • Posted on: 17 September 2013
  • By: Keiya

From Blizzard's recent announcement:

When we initially designed and implemented the auction houses, the driving goal was to provide a convenient and secure system for trades. But as we've mentioned on different occasions, it became increasingly clear that despite the benefits of the AH system and the fact that many players around the world use it, it ultimately undermines Diablo's core game play: kill monsters to get cool loot. With that in mind, we want to let everyone know that we've decided to remove the gold and real-money auction house system from Diablo III.

Better late than never I guess? Killing monsters and getting cool loot to use, what a novel concept. I think, the feeling that the entire game (loot system especially) revolved around forcing you to use the AH in order to be viable in the higher difficulties killed Diablo 3 for me. Very interested in seeing how Blizzard plans on remedying the drop system in Loot 2.0, in which I assume will be a pre-patch for the expansion. 


Steam Family Sharing

  • Posted on: 11 September 2013
  • By: Keiya

There is a beta sign up for Steam Family Sharing. Starting mid September it seems that a few lucky folks will be able to share their libraries with up to 10 people. I am assuming that this feature was designed to address Steam account user and password sharing as a method of not having to pay for multiple copies of a game. The big limitation to this system of course, being the fact that only one user can access your library at any given time (lender has priority). So I guess it's kind of like lending out your steam account or computer minus the security risk and plus the ability to use your own saves/achievements. 

It is kind of a bummer that only one user is able to use the library at a time instead of say, being able to simultaneously use an account but being limited to one user per game. It is however, probably the fairest legit game sharing system that we are going to get. Also kind of a bummer that libraries have to be shared in their entirety. It's not a feature that I personally care about but I can picture parents for example wanting some ability to limit certain games. But, that is a nitpick at best.

This feature is perfect for people like us who really don't need or ever want to purchase multiple copies of a single player game, given that we sit 3 feet from each other. It's also perfect for playing games on the HTPC without having to log off or exit out of Steam on my computer. Very cool idea and probably long overdue, truth be told. Not taking your own digital security and privacy seriously is a dangerous mistake to make in this day and age.


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