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Submission + - NetHack Tournament Includes New Version (3.6.0) (junethack.net)

jonadab writes: For the first time since the release of version 3.6 late last year, the NetHack Cross-Variant Summer Tournament includes the new version of the game. Two of the public servers participating in the tournament are hosting it. NAO has the unmodified Dev Team release, and EME has a lightly patched version with the popular status colors patch. Several clans are gearing up to play. The tournament runs during the entire month of June (UTC).

Comment Re:Kind of sad, really (Score 1) 76

As much as I like NetHack (and I really do), it honestly does have a number of widely-acknowledged and somewhat serious shortcomings. Among other things: the chance-to-hit formula is so broken that it causes entire _categories_ of features (such as shields and two-handed weapons) to go mostly unused; Elbereth was severely unbalanced in 3.4.3 (the new version takes several measures to try to fix this -- it remains to be seen if they will be enough, I suspect not); spellcasting roles generally have to spend the first third of the game playing as handicapped melee combat enthusiasts, which is not as intended; the status area of the UI needs some serious improvements -- not least, it should be easier to notice when your hitpoints are getting low; if the Unicode support is good, that'll be news to me (I haven't had time to really look at the new version yet since the release -- the leaked version a year or so ago had preliminary Unicode support that needed help); the score formula is so broken that experienced players almost universally ignore score completely (both major tournaments focus on other things), and getting a _low_ score is substantially more challenging than getting a high one -- which would be one thing if the score system were designed that way, like golf, but it isn't; the last 50% or so of the game in terms of how long it takes you to complete it has the last 2% or so of the plot and interest and anything that matters, leading to situations where players get bogged down and don't play for weeks at a time because they have completed the interesting parts (up through the Castle) but aren't yet close to winning in terms of time investment -- this happens to a _lot_ of players, perhaps the majority of players who are sufficiently experienced to win the game repeatedly. Also, 3.4.3 had a number of rather serious bugs, including a number of crash bugs. Most of those are fixed in the new version. That's a good thing.

There's a reason the variant community is so active, with new variants popping up every few months. People keep seeing things that need to be _fixed_.

Comment Re:Which services does it support? (Score 1) 105

> How many streaming music and video services does your preferred media player support?

One. It streams from my playlist. Only. Ever.

> And how can a new streaming music or video service arrange to be
> supported in your preferred media player?

Streaming services can go jump in a lake. I listen to what *I* want
to listen to. If I wanted to hear random ear-punishing junk somebody
else picks without consulting me that doesn't match my tastes at all,
I could turn on a radio.

> Finally, how should a browser-based video game play its music
> and sound effects?

A) I can't think of any reason for a video game to be browser based.
B) When I do play games that have sound and music, I normally
        turn the game's sound and music off so I can listen to what *I*
        want to listen to, which is generally much better than listening
        to video game music.

Comment Re:I'm not the target audience apparently (Score 1, Insightful) 105

Indeed. Web browsers have generally not been on my list of applications that are permitted to play sound, ever since the capability to play MIDI was introduced in Netscape. Why would anyone want that? I do NOT want random websites that I look at to be able to decide what sound comes out of my speakers. I already have a media player, thanks, and the web browser is not it.

Comment Re:Stupid reasoning. (Score 1) 1094

Businesses just raise their prices to compensate. The people who really get hurt are the people who make just a few dollars an hour more than minimum wage, because they've worked hard to get raises. Guess what happens to their raises when minimum wage goes up and drives inflation? Yeah.

With that said, I'm surprised California minimum wage wasn't already more than $15/hour. In real terms, that might actually be _lower_ than minimum wage in the Midwest. I say might, because it depends somewhat on exactly what you're buying. Electronics, for instance, are generally the same price nationwide, so your minimum wage job in California could buy a lot more iPhones than an equivalent minimum wage job in Ohio. OTOH, if you are mostly buying food and housing, you'd be better off with $5 an hour in Indiana than $15 an hour in Southern California. So figuring out an exact purchasing power ratio for the general case is not really possible. But anyway, my point is, $15/hour sounds high if you live in a place with a reasonable cost of living, but it's really not high in LA. Money's just worth less out there.

Comment This is probably good, but they're spinning it... (Score 1) 141

"Business users will have the option to set their own update cycle, so they can see if any of the patches accidentally break anything for home users before trying them out."

Stripping away the spin, updates will come out as soon as they're ready (which is probably a good thing on the whole), and business users will have to test and deploy them at that time, whenever it happens, rather than having a monthly scheduled day to do so.

That "option to set their own update cycle" spin is nonsense. If you do that, every single security fix Microsoft ever rolls out goes public days or weeks before you get it -- like what happens when a zero-day goes public and it takes Microsoft several days or weeks to get the fix out, but it'll be like that for you for every single security update ever. Yeah, no, that is not the way any reasonable large business is going to handle it.

This means effectively, if you are a large company, you will really need to have people on call or otherwise available every day in case an update comes out. But, in 2015, are there any large businesses left that *don't* already have IT people on the clock every day? I see this as Microsoft catching up with the reality that at this point large businesses *do* have IT people on staff full time -- they *have* to have them -- and everyone, including the large businesses, is put unnecessarily at risk when security updates that are ready to roll out are held back to wait for a certain day of the month. It does mean occasionally an IT department's going to have to reschedule a day full of department meetings and team-building exercises to test and deploy an update that just came out, but it's worth it.

So it's the right thing to do, but Microsoft's spin is so much nonsense.

Comment Re:Just get rid of it (Score 1) 314

You should move to Galion. You'd be happy here. We're under some kind of exotic grandfather clause from Hell that has prevented us from ever joining the twentieth century and getting fluoride in our water, even to this day. So we don't have it.

And actually, if you can get past the crazy high dental bills and somewhat low educational standards, Galion *is* a fairly nice place to live, in many other respects.

Comment Re:Keep digging you own hole (Score 1) 166

I live in Ohio. We have 3.x and even 4.x quakes, I'm told, "all the time" (albeit, not nearly as often as California).

I've never felt an earthquake, nor do I know anyone who has ever felt one of these 3.x or 4.x quakes. Back in the eighties (I want to say '86 maybe) we had a 5.x, which of course was all over the news for weeks. I knew several people who claimed to have felt that one, including my father. Invariably, they were sitting at the time, and not on a padded surface like a couch or recliner, either. People who were outdoors walking around at the time -- including me -- felt nothing. We could only hear about it later and envy our friends who had actually experienced this amazing once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.

I don't doubt that it's /theoretically/ possible to feel a 3.0, under perfect laboratory conditions. But under normal real-world conditions, there's no way you're ever going to notice it. It's way too subtle.

Submission + - New NetHack Variant: NetHack Fourk (github.com)

jonadab writes: A new NetHack variant has been brought into existence. This variant is called NetHack Fourk, and it is based on the NetHack 4 codebase. The focus of the variant is on balance refinements and on differentiating existing content (roles, monsters, levels, etc.)

Comment Re:Unfortunately, it's still on piano (Score 1) 59

> And the German word for "piano" is "Klavier".

I don't know about modern German, but in Bach's time any keyboard instrument would be called a Klavier.

However, you are certainly correct about the Well-Tempered Clavier being by design particularly suited, more than any of Bach's other music, to newer instruments that were more closely approaching the modern piano than anything that had come before. That's the whole point of the piece, in fact.

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