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A proposal to eliminate the spread of COVID-19 in Ireland

This is a long one. There is no TL;DR, but Google tells me it should take about 10 minutes to read. Or, you can skip to The Plan - Summary if you want the bullet points.
But why should you give this any time at all?
My background is in data analysis. Making sense of numbers is what I do for a living. I have been studying COVID-19 since I was locked down in March and the experience has been frustrating in equal measure. The difference between what was happening on the ground, and the story that the media told was genuinely alarming. The government / NPHET never even tried to stop the virus getting into the country, and no one held them to account for their (non)decisions. The disastrous consequences are all around us, and much of it was preventable.
Six months later, and the country has barely moved on. The ‘experts’ have no goals and little control over the virus. The media frame every issue as a crass binary choice between more or less restrictions and are otherwise happy just to have people to point their fingers at. The government / NPHET has nothing to offer the people, other than admonishments to do better and repeated cycle of restrictions.
Meanwhile students, artists, the over 70s, small business owners, the entire events and hospitality industries, and regular people who cannot WFH have been left swinging in the wind. Some have been evicted, others are relying on drugs to get by. This situation is not just a problem for one or two parts of our society: this is a widespread degradation of our quality of life. If I can do anything to help, I feel obliged to try.

Context
As I see it, we have three choices:
I won’t argue over technocratic definitions like ‘elimination’, ‘eradication’ or ‘suppression’. These distinctions are semantic in an environment of oppressive civic restrictions, mass unemployment, waves of business closures, and general misery. Whatever gets us to a place where we can live our lives as normal (or close enough), and the public health infrastructure can take care of the virus, that’s what I’m aiming for.
This proposal cannot work without public support. No proposal can work without public support. Public adherence is the single most important variable in the equation, yet it is the one that the politicians and the media and the ‘experts’ have ignored. FG burned through a lot of goodwill in the first lockdown (and money, and resources, and lives…). Instead of vilifying people who aren’t adhering to the rules, policymakers need to recognise the sacrifices that the people made (which were subsequently squandered) and they need to earn that trust back.
This proposal cannot work without support from the North. That doesn’t mean that we need to convince them to adopt our plan. It means we need to convince them that the goal is worthwhile and achievable. From there we can work together to coordinate our policies. Managing our own affairs with competence, would be a good start. Picking up the phone to talk to them, instead of trying to browbeat them through the media, would also help.
Irrespective of your goals or beliefs, some facts are certain: there will be lockdowns, there will be government spending to support the economy, and the virus will demand public health resources. All of that will happen in the coming months and years, whether we have a plan or not. The question is whether those resources are used to solve the problem, or whether they are wasted on a plan that keeps us going around in circles.
So yes, there will be lockdowns in this proposal, but they will not be FG lockdowns i.e. lock them down and throw away the key. Through intelligent policies and a greater mobilisation of resources, we can do so much more with our lockdowns to reduce the burden on the people and make their experience more tolerable. Indeed, that trade-off always exists in public policy: better policymaking = happier people. Which is why the politicians usually get the blame, and rightly so.
We need to move to a more ‘war time’ mindset. Not because we need a shared enemy to unite us, but because we need to mobilise every possible resource at our disposal and focus it on the single most important issue affecting us all. We need more tests, we need vehicles for mobile testing units, we need facilities for quarantines. Wherever there is spare capacity, we need to find a way to put it to good use. We need to take most of the power away from the narrow-minded medics, and get the rest of our society and our civic infrastructure involved in planning e.g. community representatives, legal experts, business leaders, An Garda, the army etc.
People want to invest in their communities, they want to help their friends and neighbours. There are people all over the country who would rather be volunteering as part of a national plan to get rid of COVID-19, than to be sitting at home on the PUP, going crazy listening to the ‘experts’ – who failed to prevent this – talk about more lockdowns. We need to harness that latent energy and build it into the plan.
One of the most important factors that is within our control, is the degree to which policymakers communicate with the people. And I mean real communication, not press releases or attention-seeking speeches from the other side of the world. We need to talk to the people, listen to them, answer their questions, take their feedback on board. The people aren’t stupid. They know a good plan when they see it – which is why few are paying attention to the ‘Living With The Virus’ stuff – and they have valuable information that can help make that plan work.
Underlying these points is a need to create intelligent rules, and to enforce them strictly. Strict does not mean harsh. Strict enforcement is not authoritarianism, and it is not an invitation to a fight; it is simply administrative competence. In the context of a contagious outbreak, administrative competence is the difference between life and death.
I’ll finish this section with the caveat that all parameters are suggestions or placeholders. The exact numbers will depend on resources, on more data and further analysis, and on input from communities and other stakeholders – all of which is within our control.

The Plan – Summary
Like any problem in life, if you can’t solve it directly, you break it down into smaller, less complex parts.
Instead of putting the whole country into lockdown and trying to eradicate the virus from the whole island at the same time – a miserable experience for all – we should go county by county until the job is done. We seal off a county, flood it with resources, clear it of COVID-19, and then let it reopen as normal. We repeat the process for neighbouring counties and then combine them when they are cleared, to create a larger ‘Cleared Zone’. The process continues and the Cleared Zone keeps growing until it covers the whole island.
This approach allows us to focus our resources on one area at a time (nurses, doctors, tests, volunteers etc) instead of spreading them over the whole country. We can be more comprehensive in our testing and quarantining measures, and more confident in our plans. Short, sharp, strict lockdowns work best.
By maximising the ratio of resources to population, we also lower the burden on the people. In particular, we minimise the amount of time that people spend in lockdown, and the less time they spend in lockdown, the more likely the plan is to work.
This structured approach also makes it easier for us to measure our progress and make reliable forecasts. We can allocate our resources more efficiently and plan our responses more effectively. Observers can watch our progress and judge for themselves whether it is a good idea (i.e. politicians in the North and / or protestors in Dublin).
Perhaps most important of all, the structure makes it easier to explain the idea to the people and get buy-in before anything happens. We can outline the plan, explain how it works, explain how it compares to the alternatives, and then give them realistic estimates of what would be required and how long it would take. Then we can hear their feedback and take the conversation and planning from there.
I have heard any people talking about elimination and ZeroCovid, but do any of them have a plan for getting to zero? Or a plan to get the people on board?
Step 1: More structure and responsibility from leaders
Step 2: Less uncertainty, easier decisions, better outcomes, less stress for everyone
Step 3: Profit. Elimination.

The Plan – Implementation
We isolate a county and lock it down for an initial 3 weeks. An Garda man the county borders. They are supported by the army, who provide boots on the ground so that An Garda aren’t stretched. Most routes are closed off so that all essential travel goes through a few well-manned checkpoints. If we do a good job with planning and communication, there won’t be much work to do.
We test systemically high-risk households and high-risk individuals early and often i.e. large households and essential workers. With help from local volunteers, medics screen as many people as possible every day. We use multiple measures and repeated applications to improve the quality of our results. We want to identify and remove cases at the earliest possible point, both to reduce the chance of further infection, and to protect the individual’s health.
Low risk confirmed cases (young / healthy) go to a safe and comfortable quarantine. Local hotels and guest houses could be used, ideally before we invest in building quarantine facilities. Local taxis, kitted out with extra protective equipment, could take them there. High risk confirmed cases (older / comorbidities) go by ambulance to local medical facilities as required.
During this period, we work with local politicians, community leaders, residence associations etc to ensure that everyone is looked after (in reality, these conversations will have started weeks before). We get our neighbourhoods communicating, looking out for each other, making sure they’ve got enough food or heating or whatever else they need. Local volunteers and taxi drivers can do odd jobs like sending packages, collecting prescriptions, lifting heavy stuff, or just checking in on people. If it is feasible, we can even invite local artists to play gigs for people in their streets or apartments.
Towards the end of the second week, we begin a mass testing program with the ultimate goal of testing every person in the county (scale depends on resources). Once we have completed the tests and cleared the confirmed cases into quarantine, we can begin a slow, staggered opening process. We must be especially conservative at this point to ensure no slippage.
When one county is clear, we move to the next one, and repeat the process. When we have cleared two bordering counties, we can join them together in a bigger Cleared Zone and the process continues from there. Eventually the Cleared Zone covers the whole country, except Dublin (or more realistically, the Pale).
What would the other counties do while they wait for their turn? I’m assuming that, they would be doing whatever the ‘Living With The Virus’ plan dictates. This proposal succeeds in line with what happens in the sealed off zones, so I am more concerned with them. However, it would speed up the process if the bordering counties could be encouraged to get a head start. If the plan is going successfully, I’m confident they would.
With its population density and its complexity, Dublin / the Pale will be the last county to be cleared. However, given that every other county would be cleared by that point, and with so much effort having been put in, it might make more sense just to burn Dublin down. We could go with a concrete mausoleum as per Chernobyl, but it might be easier and quicker if we just raised the city and started from scratch. The country needs to rebalance, so it’d be two birds with one stone.
Or maybe we call that plan B. Dublin’s plan A would follow the same principles as for the rest of the country. Break it into smaller parts, focus resources on one area at a time, use layers of risk measures where precision isn’t an option, and get cases as early as possible, using whatever resources available. By that stage the rest of the country would be clear and the demand for medical resources low. We would have learned a lot along the way, and we would have plenty of ammo to throw at the problem.
In general, the more resources we have, the faster we can move. The county by county approach that I have outlined above is too slow. With greater resources, we can increase the number of counties that are being cleared at any one time. One option is to work by province. Another would be to define the zones with respect to observed travel routes, in order to reduce the risk of leakage and reduce the inconvenience on local communities.
At the end of the day, lines have to be drawn somewhere, and some people will inevitably lose out. The better we communicate with people in advance, the lower the burden on the people and the more of these problems we can avoid.
Following on from that, one of the skills we need to take from this crisis is the ability to isolate and quarantine regions. Whether it is a city, a town, a county, a specific building, or even the entire country, we need to be able to seal it off and control movement in and out. This is an essential tool for outbreak management – whatever the outbreak and whatever the disease.
The same goes for individuals. We need to be able to create and operate safe, comfortable, and effective quarantines, and to do so at short notice. It should be a matter of national embarrassment that FG and NPHET couldn’t even organise a quarantine in a pandemic.
The whole process might take 3 to 4 months. That means we would have cut off all non-essential air travel for that time, but it doesn’t mean the whole country is in lockdown for 3 or 4 months. The lockdown is staggered, and the individual’s experience will depend on their location and their place in the ‘queue’.
The first group of counties to go into lockdown will also be the first to come out. Once they have eliminated the spread of the virus, they will return to a normal, although somewhat isolated, society. The experience steadily improves as more and more counties join them in the Cleared Zone (or steadily deteriorates, depending on your county pride).
While the first group is in lockdown, the rest of the country continues as normal i.e. living with the virus. Everyone watches as the first group goes through its lockdown (just think of the #banter). Several weeks later, as the first group is opening up, the second group is preparing to go in to lockdown. As the second group comes out, the third group goes in etc etc and the staggered lockdowns roll like a wave across the country.
Every county goes from Living With The Virus -> intelligent lockdown (needs a better name) -> Cleared Zone. The earlier you are in the queue, the less time you spend Living With The Virus and the more time you spend in the Cleared Zone. The individual would only be in a strict lockdown for a matter of weeks, maybe 3-6 depending on the complexity of the region and the resources available. For counties with smaller populations that have shown that they can do a good lockdown, it will be quicker. For Dublin, it will be slower.

Strengths
I think this proposal has a lot of strengths. It’s a plan, for a start. We haven’t had a plan since this thing began (the FG lockdown wasn’t a plan – it was the inevitable consequence of not having a plan). The leaders take more responsibility to lower the burden on the people, it mobilises idle resources, and it fosters communication and community across the country.
These are three strengths that I want to emphasise.
1 It provides clarity
This might be the most important point.
Uncertainty is painful. Uncertainty is a cost. Even if the bad thing is unlikely to happen, just the fact that it is a risk, or that it could happen means that you live with a cloud over your head. Suffering is bad enough on its own, but suffering for an unknown length of time is torture. And if that period is determined at the whim of a politician or an ‘expert’, that is a recipe for society-wide anger and even civil disorder.
With this proposal, we can forecast the length of the period of lockdown with greater accuracy. The people will be able to understand what is being asked of them. We can make plans around resources required versus those available. The economists can make forecasts. Businesses can plan their finances. The people can plan their weddings, book their holidays, get back to training, sign up for courses, and have things to look forward to.
At the end of the day, any successful proposal must remove the uncertainty and provide meaningful clarity to households and businesses.
2 Never let a crisis go to waste
This plan will require tools and capabilities like rapid local testing, safe quarantines, rapid isolation of towns and regions, emergency decision-making frameworks etc. If we don’t have a capability, then we need to build it. When people say ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ this is what they mean: you build the tools in the crisis that will help you protect yourself from the next one.
Nature works the same way. You lift weights until the muscle fibres tear, then they grow back stronger. We build aerobic endurance by pushing ourselves to a limit, then our body naturally reacts to increase the limit. A vaccine works similarly by stimulating antibodies for the disease. Well, we need a civic emergency vaccine for Ireland. These tools are the antibodies that will protect us next time. The sooner we build them, the better. Now is the time, not later.
3 It's the only way we can protect the economy
The risk to the economy isn’t the next few months of revenue. We can borrow to cover lost income in the short run. The real risk is a wave of defaults that precipitates a financial crisis.
As more individuals and businesses are put under financial pressure, more borrowers will default on their debts. But one man’s debt is another man’s asset, so as the borrowers default, the lender’s financial situation also deteriorates. Defaults are contagious, and if a wave of defaults threatens a major lender, the entire financial system will be at risk.
Only an elimination plan can protect the economy. Along with the virus and the uncertainty it creates, we need to eliminate the risk of financial contagion.

Weaknesses
Could ya be arsed

The End Goal
Think about what’s on the other side of this…
This is a massive challenge – the kind that defines a nation. However you think of your community, this would give you something to be proud of for generations. It would be like Italia ’90, except 10 times bigger, because we would be the players, we would be the ones making it happen.
We’d become the first country in Europe to eliminate the virus. And of all the countries in the world, we’d be doing it from the largest deficit too. Those Taiwanese and Kiwis made it easy for themselves with their preparation and their travel restrictions and their competent leaders. Our challenge is much greater than theirs, but they show us what is possible.
Have you ever wanted to scoff at the Germans for being disorganised? Wouldn’t you love to have a reason to mock the Danes? Aren’t you sick of hearing about New Zealand? Let’s make the Kiwis sick of hearing about the Irish!
If we take this challenge on, the world’s media will be on us. The FT, the Economist, the NYT, the Guardian, Monacle, Wired, the New Scientist, China Daily, RT, Good Housekeeping, Horse and Hound, PornHub… all of these international media empires would be tracking our progress, interviewing key people, reporting daily, willing us on. The world is desperate for good news, and we can be the ones to give it to them.
We would become a model for other nations to follow. They would take the Irish model and adapt it to their own situation. Instead of us copying other nations, they would be copying us. Instead of a pat on the head for the diddy little Irish fellas, we would be literally LEADING THE WORLD.
Back at home, we get our lives back, and society can breathe again, free of restrictions. The over 70s come out of hibernation. The students go back to university. The protests stop because people go back to work and we announce an inquiry into what exactly happened in February and March. The pubs go back to being pubs. Our hospitality industry is taken off life support. The tidal wave of bankruptcies is avoided. We can play sport and celebrate the wins. We stop talking about things we can or can't do. Just imagine that first session... And imagine how good it would feel knowing that you had worked for it, and knowing that you had set the nation on a better path for generations to come...
I think it’s worth a lash! Don’t you?
submitted by 4SMD1MCW to ireland [link] [comments]

Strike First, Strike Hard, the Merciless needs a buff

Disclaimer: I'm nowhere near as good as some of the theorycrafters in this sub, and better numbers may be available elsewhere but I think this is worth a read, if at all as a case study
I just clocked in full 7 days of playing this game with a build made specifically for the Merciless Exotic Rifle, and while it's widely agreed on that it needs a buff, I would like to explore the shortcomings of this gun and my love-hate relationship with it.
Let's start with the basics. What does the Merciless actually do?
Binary Trigger
This weapon fires on trigger pull and release.
If both bullets hit the same enemy, gain a stack.
At 7 stacks, shooting an enemy deals 500% amplified damage and creates a 7m explosion dealing 500% weapon damage, consuming the stacks.
Reading the talent, it sounds easy, right? A rifle with a 30 bullets mag, I need to hit one dude 14 consecutive times and he will get a nasty explosion and tons of damage.
But, the Merciless' drawback or the thing that you need to build to overcome and take advantage of, is that it's perhaps the worst weapon in the game to handle. As soon as you take a shot and see the recoil, you'd be sending it to the stash, never to see the light again.
That is unless you build with the attribute "Weapon Handling". There are two ways you can approach this:
1- Get your chest talent "Braced". Braced will give you a whooping 45% Weapon Handling while you're in cover.
2- Invest in Weapon Handling attributes.
In my experience, the sweet spot to properly control the Merciless' recoil is somewhere between 30 and 40% Handling.
That means if you're going for option 1 you are well above that ideal stat and you are deleting the chance for a damage talent in your chest piece, which neuters your build by blocking you from using popular talents like Glass Cannon, Spotter or the soon to be buffed Obliterate.
Option 2 will cost you 36% CHD, as you will need at least 3 Weapon Handling rolls to reach 30% Handling (Merciless has 10), assuming max rolls.
Whatever you decide to do, you will end up with a setup that will, more often than not, land consecutive shots and rack up those stacks. You will be seeing lots of Explosions go off...
...and it's underwhelming.
In Heroic 4-man, an Explosion is unable to finish off an unarmored purple. This is, for me, inexcusable.
I'm assuming the devs want you to make a tactical use of your maxed shot. But hitting a fully armored enemy with it barely tickles them, and you cannot one shot a red, let alone finish off an unarmored purple or yellow I'm not using Glass Cannon, so I could be losing on damage, but if I need Glass Cannon for the damage to be up to other guns in the game, why would I go with the Merciless to begin with?. So what do I get from the stacks I had to build up on the build I had to make around one attribute to make this gun actually work?
Proposed Solutions and changes
Now, not everything is complaining. I do have ideas that aren't mutually exclusive:
1- A named item with superior Weapon Handling. Like Fox or Contractor's, a named say Ceska or Grupo Sombra that rolls with 14% Handling.
2- An obviously needed buff. These 500% values are just not enough. PTS had 1200% or 900% if I'm not mistaken and it was deemed far too strong, so maybe settle in a middle ground at 700/800?
3- A base damage increase. This is probably the laziest to do and the safest.
If you made it all the way through here, congrats. You must be interested in the subject, and if you just got here looking for a Tl;dr, I'm sorry I have none. This shit is just too much to put in a sentence.
Thoughts?
submitted by thatrpgmakerfreak to thedivision [link] [comments]

OBLIGATORY FILLER MATERIAL – ESCAPE FROM STALAG SULTANATE, Part 1

That reminds me of a story.
“HELLFIRE AND DALMATIANS!” I shouted to no one in particular.
“What’s the problem, dear?” Esme asks in that way she has of telling me to calm down without having to say it directly.
“This bloody fucking country. A day late and several dollars short.” I fume. “Can’t get a new liquor license because of the bloody COVID. Can’t go to a hotel bar and have a snort because of the bloody COVID. Can’t even slip across the border to Dubai and soak up some room service and buckets of complimentary cocktails because of the bloody COVID.”
Yes, the Sultanate of Oman, in its infinitesimal wisdom, has traditionally followed other GCC countries by at least three months in making any sort of proclamations regarding this latest bugaboo: the hideous, deadly, itchy, loathsome, and possibly serially bent, noxious, pandemical COVID-19; aka, this pandemic’s entry for flu.
Their response is one of immense knee-jerk without first having thought of the consequences.
“Bloody lockdown, 2100 to 0700. What is this, the whole fucking country’s been bad and now being sent to bed without any supper?” I wondered aloud. “Idiot benchodes.”
Even Esme couldn’t come up with a rejoinder to that.
“Plus they close all the bars. And all the hotels. And the fucking bottle shops. It’s not enough that these fucking Muppets jack the ‘sin tax’ on booze and cigars by 100%, now they’re not even legally available.” I swore.
Of course, once you’ve spent even a small portion of the time that I have in the Middle East, you have your connections. Your system. Your access to the seedy underbelly of any society; the venerable Black Market.
Jesus Q. Christ on toast with baked beans, fried tomatoes, black pudding, and mushrooms, I could get most anything in the Middle East, be it legal, shady, or just plain illegal. However, before you all recoil in horror that the venerable Dr. Rocknocker dabbles in the prohibited, just remember: the ends always dojustify the means.
“I'm telling you, Esme dear; this Gulf story is getting too complicated. The weasels have started closing in.” I complain to Es as she hands me a fresh drink.
“Do you think…?” Esme asks expectantly.
Esme is more than ready to go. I’ve used this place as a base of operations for years whilst I wear out the Omani legal system suing those asswipes that think just because they’re local and I’m a kafir, they’re immune to the law.
I’ve spent a long, profitable and time-consuming period of the last few years proving them wrong.
But, time was marching onwards. I agreed with Esme, we’ve milked this particular cash cow dry. It was time to hitch up our bootstraps, call it a day, and get the hell out of Dodge.
But not before I took care of a few loose ends.
Now, the country had recently lost its venerable Sultan, who croaked back in January of this year.
Sultan Qaboos was a good egg, friend to expat and local alike. Did a shitload of good for this benighted Middle East sandpit. Dragged it kicking and screaming out of the 12th century into, well, not exactly the 21st, but a whole hell of a lot closer.
He realized that he needed revolutionary, not evolutionary change in the country. By revolutionary, he needed American, British, Canadian, and the like Western Expats here to do the heavy thinking and lifting and Eastern Expats like Indians, Bangladeshis and Nepalese to do all the scut work.
Yeah, I know. That sounds racist as fuck, but sometimes that’s the way the ball bounced.
Simple evolution of society where Omanis graduated the local equivalent of grade school, through high school, into University, and finally into Entry level jobs in the oil and gas industry wasn’t going to cut it. Took too long and the country needed a serious cash flow now.
So, that’s what he did. And it worked a treat.
Then he died.
And his chosen took over.
Except his chosen was pretty much antithetical to everything the previous and very revered and successful, Sultan wanted.
Soon, there are 100% ‘sin taxes’ aimed directly at the western expats. Tourists included.
Then there’s quotas and ‘Letters of No Objection’, which are impossible to get so that the Eastern Expats can’t switch jobs.
Then, there are Sultanic proclamations of new taxes on tourists, new taxes on fast food, new taxes on this, that and the other. Then there’s, in his own words, “Oman is for Omanis”, blatantly ridiculous and xenophobic Omanization, and the general swipe at all expats.
“GET OUT.”
This was the clear message of the new sultan.
He wanted to take over and possibly nationalize all the oil workings in the country.
Ask Venezuela, Iran, and Myanmar how well that worked out for them.
Then he wants all expats out on their asses. He wants Omanis to take over all the jobs, even though they’re nowhere near educated nor experienced enough for the positions. Then take up the massive GDP slack in lower oil production and oil prices with tourism.
Given everything else, that last line should be enough to get him off the throne.
He’s fucking nuts if he thinks people are going to want to cruise or overland anywhere near a place where foreigners are seen only as a cash supply, are despised, and would welcome these all new 100% tax levies.
Be that as it may, Esme and I decided that we have had enough of 135O F summer temperatures, virtual house arrest under the guise of a COVID lockdown, and idiots who were the only ones stupid or twisted enough not to vamoose when the great, big bloody letters were clearly written on the wall.
But, there was the physical act of getting out of the country.
Now, I had plenty of strings which I could pull, but I decided I’d start low and save those until we really needed them.
So low, in fact, we went to the US Embassy in Muscat.
“How low can you go?” reverberated through my head.
What a haven of sad-sacks, flubadubs, and third rate hobbyists.
Was either Esme or I surprised that when we finally secured an invitation to the embassy, that required a bit of string-pulling with the ex-Ambassador to Oman, now in Kabul; that besides the peach-fuzz faced Marine guarding the place, we were the only Americans in the joint?
“This is American soil!” I laughed, as I pulled out a huge Cuban cigar and was immediately told to extinguish it. “We’re as American as apple pie and napalm! We file our fucking 1040s every April; I pay my fucking long-distance taxes and demand US assistance to vacate this gloomy place of sandy, sweaty, sultry Sturm und Drang!”
“Shut up, Rock”, Esme chided me, “They don’t understand English. Much less, the florid English the way you trowel it on.”
“Fuckbuckets”, I remonstrated. “Here I had memorized the whole Patrick Henry speech he made to the Second Virginia Convention on March 23, 1775, at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia. Troglodytes. No admiration for the classics.”
“Rock, dear?” Esme noted, “It’s almost 1100 hours. Best to get to our appointment.”
True, our appointment was slated for 1100 hours. But around here, anything starting within three hours of the stated time was considered close enough.
We dragged ourselves, none too cheerfully, to the waiting room. Once we pried open the door, there was the usual “If you hear a high pitched wail, hit the deck” signs, and other things one could do while kissing one’s ass goodbye if there was a terrorist attack, we had a whole new slew of bullshit with which to deal.
“Social distancing. 6 feet. Or if you’re from Baja Canada, 1 cow’s length.”
“Must wear a mask. Bandanna, bandoliers, and large-caliber weapons or sombrero optional.”
“No sitting. Faux Naugahyde seats are too difficult to sterilize. You must stand at attention, do not talk amongst yourselves, and remain patient until your number is called.”
“Well, fuck!”, I snorted quietly, as I raised my first secret flask in rapt attention to our old glory of red, white, and blue.
“Good thing they didn’t say nothin’ about getting a load on. If I’m going to be treated like cattle, I’m going to at least have something to chew on in the process.”
“Oh, lord”, Esme grumbled, “You didn’t bring that Japanese Rye Whiskey with you, did you?”
“ルハイム”, I said, which is Japanese for “L’chaim”!
“Oh, hell”, Esme grinned as she borrowed my flask, “This is going to be a long day.”
I began to protest but remembered that I was wearing my Agency-issued field vest. I must have had at least 5 or 6 more flasks lurking around in those pockets somewhere.
Funny aside: they don’t bother with my going through an X-ray machine nor do they confiscate my phone, radio, knives, nor other field equipment when I go to the US Embassy.
It took them almost two solid hours last time, and by the time they got to my Brunton Compass, emergency flasks, a few spare blasting cap boosters, and saw the label sewn into the back of my vest, they decided they’d just send Rack and Ruin some evil Emails and let me pass unmolested.
“I’ll drink to that”, I say as I raise a flask as the locals raise an eyebrow. “Courtesy of Atheists International. We’re here for your children…”
The collective gasps and growls indicate they weren’t happy with me or my betrothed.
“Don’t care, Buckwheat”, I smiled, “Never did, never will. We’re out of here for good. You can curse my name all you want then. But, then again, why you standing in the American Embassy trying to get a visa to visit the land of the great evil empire?”
All the locals and most of the Eastern Expats crowded into a corner as far away from us as they physically could.
“BOO!” I snickered over a shot of Wild Turkey 101 Rye.
“Now serving number 58! Number 58!” came the call over the tannoy.
“Look at that”, I remarked to Es as I stashed both our flasks, “It’s only 12:35. Record time.”
We both shimmy into the glass-fronted and presumably bullet- but not C-4 resistant- glass.
We pick up the telephones there and acknowledge that we are who we said we were.
The East Indian fella, one Harsh Talavalakar, behind the multiple layers of glass asked us why we were here.
“Didn’t you read the appointment card?” I asked, “We’re here to have Uncle Sam get us passage out of this sordid and sultry place.”
“You are American citizens?” he asked, vacantly.
“That’s what it says on appointment cards and these here blue passports,” I replied.
“Well, how was I to know?” he scoffed, returning to his half-consumed powdered sugar doughnut.
“Maybe read the appointment card and see that we are US Citizens here on the behest of Ambassador Bethesda Orun?” I replied.
“Like I have time to read everything that comes across my desk”, he scoffed again.
I tapped on the glass to make certain I had his full attention.
“Look here, Herr Harsh. I’m not sure how you got this job at the American Consulate but want to be very clear with you. My wife and I are residents of this place for the last 20 years. We’re American citizens of very high standing and have more high powered connections than an Arduino in a nuclear power station. We have direct connections with Langley, Virginia and if you want to retain your cushy job, you’ll put down that fucking doughnut and pay very rapt attention to the two Americans standing here who are getting more and more irritated with some Indian benchode that doesn’t think he has to really do his job. You savvy? You diggin’ me, Beaumont
I guess the benchode got his attention. The two scowls he received from Esme and myself sort of cemented the idea that we’re not too pleased and not with to be trifled.
“Yes, sir?” he said, “And ma’am”, as Harsh quickly corrected himself as the doughnut disappeared.
“We want out. Gone. Vamoose. Outta here. AMF. You got me?” he nods behind the shatterprone glass.
“Now I know the borders are sealed and the airport’s closed, but fuck that. We want out and we want gone for good. I can’t make that much simpler or clearer. Get after it, son.” I said, as seriously as I could.
“Well, sir”, he began, “ The airport’s closed…”
“Are you deaf or born stupid and been losing ground ever since?” I asked, rhetorically. “I know that. We all know that. My HAT knows that. So, what devious little plan does the US Embassy have in store in just such an unsavory situation?”
“Well”, he chokes a bit, “There’s this unofficial lottery where America citizens are issued random numbers and if their number comes up, there are seats made available on special clandestine charter flights.”
Considering that Es and I are some of the last American citizens left in the country, I thought our chances might be pretty good.
“OK”, I said, “Let us have two of your finest numbers.”
“Yes, sir”, he said, “That will be US$500 total.”
“Excuse me?” I said.
“Oh, yes”, he smirked, “US$250 per number. Chances are you’ll never be called, but with these numbers, at least you stand a chance.”
“OK”, I said, “Forget the numbers. I want your name and operating number. I’ve got a report to file that’s due in Virginia before breakfast.”
“Oh, sir”, he smirked more, “I cannot release that information. Thanking you. Now be having a good day.” And he slammed the supposedly bulletproof shield between himself and Es and me.
“Bulletproof? Maybe. Nitro proof? No fucking way.” I groused as I fished out a couple of blasting cap superfast boosters.
“Calm down, dear”, Esme smiled to me as we walked out, “When he wasn’t looking, I took his picture, got his operating number, and full name. In fact, I think I got some information on where he lives…”
In the cab on the way back to our villa, I reviewed and confirmed Es’s subterfuge. Flasks number 6 and 8 needed serious replenishment by the time we arrived home.
“That’s fucking right, Ruin.” I yelled over the phone, “We need extraction. And now. Along with our personal effects and a few hundredweight of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ boxes of stuff we need to be transported.”
“Well, Rock”, Agent Ruin replied, “That’s a tall order. Usually, extraction is for one person and the stuff they’re wearing. Tell you what. Let Rack and I work on it for a week or so. We’ll arrange transport of your personal effects, then we’ll see about getting you and Esme to Dubai. At least there, you can order a plane. Hell, knowing you, you’ll get Tony Stark to fly in and provide door to door service. Sit tight. We’ll be back in touch.”
“Good!” I say as I slam the phone down. With these newfangled cellphone telephone instruments, they lack the same sort of satisfying “KER FUCKING CLANG” the old landlines used to have.
“Es!”, I yelled, “Start packing. We’re due out of here within a week.”
That meant we needed to do some packing triage:
• Things going home with us.
• Things being shipped.
• Things being sold.
• Things being left behind.
• Things no one was about to get their furry little mitts on.
“Oh, fuck!”, I startled. I had just remembered the John Wick-ian stash of various explosives, and adjunct materials I had buried in the basement. Obviously, I couldn’t take it home with me, I couldn’t sell it, and I sure as festering frothing fuck wasn’t going to leave it here.
I needed to call one of my more shifty and swarthy friends and arrange for passage out to the deep, dark desert. Around the area where the new sultan had opened a couple of brand new landfills.
Looks like I was going to expand them a few meters once we disposed of the few hundred kilos of accumulation I attained over the last few years.
See, I’m a packrat. I never leave nor toss anything that might be convenient. Might have a benefit. Might prove to be useful sometime down the line.
So, I’ve accumulated a bit of kit.
Like…well…a few hundred sticks of Du Pont 60% Extra Fast Dynamite. A couple dozen spools of Z-4 Primacord, in various degrees of fullness. A shitload of C-4; enough bricks for a Floydian wall. A couple, well, a dozen, well, two dozen cases of binary liquid explosives. Hey, this stuff is hard to come by…
Continuing, several thousand blasting caps and superfast flash blasting cap boosters. Some mercury fulminate. Some nitrogen triiodide. A couple tens of pounds of PETN. An equal amount of RDX. A few Erlenmeyer flasks full of shit even I’m not certain of what it is…
Oh.
And a few kilos of freshly decanted, raw nitroglycerin; packed in sturdy wooden boxes lined with new fuzzy lamb’s wool.
Not that much. Just 10 or 12 kilos.
Yeah. I can’t leave that here. Even a small accident with this stuff would lay waste to not only our villa; but my landlord’s villa with whom we share a common wall.
Besides, as Omanis go, my landlord was the only dishdasha dressed denizen for which I had any respect or admiration. He was a good guy. I needed to return his villa at least in some semblance of what I received when we first rented from him.
So, I had to dispose of many, many billions of kilojoules of potential energy. I needed to do this out in a distant and far away from prying ears and eyes regions and I needed a truck to haul this stuff out to the range.
To be continued…
submitted by Rocknocker to Rocknocker [link] [comments]

[Review] Ranking all the Switch shmups Ep26 – Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade

We’ve all had a game that is a gateway to a specific genre. That one game which made us pay attention to a style of games and allowed us to fully experience the genre. It might not have been the first one we play, but it is definitely one that stays closer to our hearts. For me, this game was Darius.
I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I will say it again: Darius is the shmup that is closest to my heart. I loved the horizontal gameplay, I loved the Silver Hawk, I loved all the huge bosses that looked like fishes. The gameplay also hit bunch of chords that resonate with what I love about shmups. I’ve been waiting so long for this, so alas, I present to you: Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade!
Publisher: ININ Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: Jun 16, 2020
Price: $44.99
Tate: Built-in
Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade is a collection of the Darius games released on the arcades. This wasn’t your typical cabinet, as one of its main features was the usage of multiple screens. Darius used 3 screens, while Darius II/SAGAIA used 2 screens. M2 really went out of their way to bring the most authentic arcade experience! The result is impressive to say the least!
This collections includes 4 games:
Darius and SAGAIA include 3 and 2 different versions respectively, bringing it to a total of 7 playable games.

ARCADE GLORY

As hard as this might be to believe, I have never played an arcade Darius game before. I always mentioned Darius as my favorite shmup, but the truth is that I began with the SNES games. I had heard on the street that the arcade versions were superior so I was very excited.
When I booted the original version, I couldn’t help but feel like I was standing next to an actual arcade cabinet. The game greeted me with 3 screens places next to each other on the center of the screen. I was excited to play, so I pressed the coin button. I was not prepared for what I was about to experience…
As soon as I inserted the coin, a typical fanfare played along as my credit counter increased by one. But there was something else. The controller started vibrating to the tune of the music. I just can’t make justice to this effect with words. It felt like being inside an actual arcade cabinet. Vibrations and sound made the experience feel authentic. It made me think about the arcade days where you would hear cabinets everywhere and just feel the energy of the place.
As soon as I started to play, the screen changed and the empty spaces were replaced by arcade artwork. This artwork was exactly the kind you would see pasted near the controllers to show you how to play and other general information. Everything about the game was designed to make you feel like on the arcade. This is the kind of presentation that every other arcade port should try to achieve.

FISH GRAVY

What truly sets apart the Darius Cozmic Collection from any other collection is the amount of features and arcade fidelity that M2 added to the game. Every single aspect, every single menu and every single feature was lovingly added to create a masterpiece.
From the get go, you will be presented with the very familiar “A boss is approaching” message featuring King Fossil. The message just says that your game data is approaching fast. It really is only a fancy way of saying the game is loading, but it sets the tone to the orgasmic experience that you are about to have with the game.
After going through the intro scene, you will be greeted with the main menu which contains all 7 playable titles in this collection. You also have a replay, manual and staff options. If you are wondering where the options are, they are specific for each game, so they must be adjusted from within each game. My only complaint here is that the manual is in japanese. There isn’t much to learn from a manual though. The only thing was the Darius Gaiden capture mechanic, so I picked that one up from the internet.

AN ENTIRE LEGACY

Speaking of the games, 7 different titles can be quite intimidating. If you are anything like me, then chances are you don’t know what’s “new ver” or “extra ver”. Thankfully, each game features a sort of museum display that features a screenshot of the menu, the title, the launch date and a very thorough description of the game. The text will navigate you through each version of the games and specifically highlight why it is different from its predecessor or what was changed when going to western markets.
Each game includes a training mode for those who wish to challenge specific parts of the game. Training mode will let you choose to play any stage and customize a variety of settings such as the strength of your Silver Hawk and the game rank, which is the in-game difficulty. The obvious use for this mode is to practice your piloting skills and go for the 1CC. Even casual players can view this as a pseudo level select cheat code for maximum enjoyment!
Perhaps one of the most amazing inclusions of the collection is the replay mode. For every one of your play throughs, there is an option to save a replay of your play session. What differs from regular replays, is that they pack an incredibly robust set of features. Other than being able to watch a recording of yourself, you can see your inputs and control the playback of the replay. You can rewind, fast forward, go back, increase the speed or even go full slow-mo to analyze your gameplay.

KING OF THE ARCADE

Challenging oneself is one thing, but going after the world is the true spirit or arcade shmups. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade features online rankings which are separated into 2 categories: “Arcade” and “All-mix”. Arcade is played with every setting on default and using only one credit. If you are playing and choose to spend an additional credit to continue, then your scoring is changed to “All-mix”. All-mix is a catch-all for every other style, from easy difficulty to hard or even static rank modes.
If you ever wondered what’s it like to play like the king of the leaderboards, then you’ll be glad to know you can download leaderboard replays! This allows you to watch the entire play throughs of top players, along with their inputs and the previously mentioned playback features of a replay. A must have for those willing to go for the record or even those curious about what it means to be a champion.

YOUR PERFECT CABINET

The in-game menu for each game will further let you customize your gameplay experience. The amount of options is truly staggering, so suffice to know that you can change in-game setting as difficulty and score for an extend, screen quality adjustments like scan lines and gadgets, and the controllers.
One menu I really want to highlight is the gadgets menu. Gadgets are responsible for making the gameplay experience truly stand out. They track all sorts of data from yourself and the enemies. From a friendly side, you can see your current level of power, the number of hits your arm can take and the information related to the current zone. From a less friendly side, you have all sorts of analyzers that display the current boss, their weakness and detailed HP for each of their parts. There’s even a life gauge that appears at the bottom of the screen for easy viewing when fighting bosses!
Although I could see an argument against being way too much information, I’m personally thankful because I’m a data nerd and I love knowing all this information. If it is too much for you, then you can always turn off the gadgets and customize the screen to your liking. The real beauty comes from creating your perfect cabinet.

THE EMULATOR ADVANTAGE

One of the main selling points of emulators has been the ability to use save states. Darius Cozmic Collection is no slouch and features save states of its own! These save states will let you cheese the game as much as you want, but they also let you replay specific sections and master them for your future arcade runs. I won’t judge you, so have fun with save states! The only caveat is that using save states will not record your score. Unfortunately, replays will only record from the last time you loaded the save state onwards. So there’s no chance of creating tool-assisted runs.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that bringing up the in-game menu will completely pause the game and show you a fully-fledged map of the game, complete with boss encounters for each zone and the amount of power-ups featured in said zone. It really is great for strategy purposes to know which stage will allow you to upgrade your Silver Hawk! Resuming a game will also give you a 3 second count down with a jumping robot animation to ensure you are ready for action. This detail wasn’t really needed, but it is one of the many ways in which M2 shows appreciation for Darius and the player.
Out of all this nitty gritty details, I have to say the song name is one of my favorites. In the bottom right corner of the screen there is a pop-up that appears when the song changes and displays the song name. I just think it looks really cool. By the way, don’t forget to check “Olga Breeze”, my favorite song!

DARIUS, THE OG

Darius, the game that started it all. Featuring 3 screens, this is the biggest Darius game featured in this collection (ha!). If I may add, I also think this is the game that highlights all the love M2 poured into bringing arcade experiences to your living room. With features such as the cabinet art and the body sonic vibration, it really brings home the arcade feeling.
As you can expect, playing the first game on the series is both, a nostalgic and a painful experience. Playing on 3 screens is truly magical, but at the same time, it is a victim to the older design choices. Not much that can be done here, after all, it is a decades old game. Just a small detail to keep in mind.
Darius helps establish the foundations of the franchise from the very first game. One of the Darius staples is the upgrade system for the Silver Hawk. Throughout the game, you can encounter 3 different orbs which are dropped by different colored enemies. The orbs can be red, green or blue.

SILVER HAWK

Red orbs will upgrade your primary fire. Each orb increases your power, but collecting 7 will upgrade your shot to the laser, and then the wave. Green orbs will upgrade your bomb, which is your secondary fire. Bombs also get stronger with more orbs and also upgrade when you reach 7. Blue orbs will give you a shield called arm. The initial shield blocks 3 hits and any additional orb will add 1 more hit. Just like red and green, you can upgrade after 7 orbs which will make it so that additional orbs give you 2 hits and then 3.
The downside to the upgrade system is that, upon death, you will lose every orb you collected in your current tier. The good news is that if you, for instance, managed to upgrade to the laser, then your shot can never fall below that. The bad news is that the number of orbs is limited per stage, which means it is almost impossible to upgrade within a stage the same stage where you died. The exception is a single stage that has 7 blue orbs in the old version and one with 7 green in the extra version.

THE FISH

The most distinguishable characteristic of the franchise is definitely the marine bosses. The stages are all over the place with a very diverse space settings, but the bosses are always one thing: fish. Actually, I’d say it is marine biology, but fish is an overly simplistic way to describe it. Darius also has one peculiarity which is that every set of stages has the same boss. For example, the 4th stage boss will always be Fatty Glutton in a different version depending on which zone you chose.
The other defining feature of Darius is being able to choose your adventure. After each boss, you can choose to go to one of 2 different zones. This choice is made by either being on the top or bottom half of the screen, as the stage actually splits after beating the boss. It certainly took me off guard the first time as I crashed into the divider. Despite having the same boss, the zones are drastically different and carry the strategic choice of having a different number of orbs. Your path will be determined by which aspect of your Silver Hawk you want to improve.

THE COINS

What struck me the most about Darius is how unforgiving it is. This is expressed in the descriptions of the newer versions. The thing about Darius, is that the game is next to impossible to beat if you didn’t fully upgrade. Later enemies are merciless and if you don’t have sufficient firepower, then you probably won’t stand a chance. This ruthlessness is exacerbated by the death system, as death will set you considerably behind. Because upgrades are usually a 2-stage effort, getting shot will set you back 2 levels worth of progress.
A fun aspect I found on Darius is the dynamic created by having 3 screens. This is probably the widest game I have played, and it brings new challenges to the table. The first one is that you need to gain screen position to succeed. Being at the front is usually better, with moving back feeling like losing real estate. The reason behind this is that you are able to shoot down enemies before they become a threat with their numbers. The other less obvious reason is the number of bullets allowed on screen. That number is limited, so it is in your best interest that those bullets expire fast so you can fire new ones. Being back equals more time before they reach the end of the screen, which is undesirable.
Overall, the game poses a unique challenge, but I’m not going to lie, it is actually really fun to play. Achieving an upgraded Silver Hawk is a hard endeavor, but that makes it even more rewarding when you pull it off!

DARIUS II/SAGAIA, THE PROOF US WESTERNERS HAVE SHORT ATTENTION SPANS

Darius II came in and simplified the game in some interesting ways. First of all it reduced the upgrade system so that it is now only a single stage that can be maxed out. The number of orbs was reduced to compensate. Another simplification comes courtesy of the screens themselves. The number of screens was reduced from 3 to 2 in order to be installed in other dual screen cabinets such as The Ninja Warriors.
Unfortunately, the single stage of upgrades means that the game is even more savage when you die. This time around, you actually lose all of your progress in terms of firepower. There will be special rainbow orbs which help you catch up a little, but even then they might be a little too late. As a result, my 1CC had to be done by never dying.

I ALWAYS WANTED A THING CALLED A TUNA SASHIMI

One thing I want to mention, is that Darius II has my absolute favorite intro sequence of any Darius game in this collection. From the music that goes ramping up to the main theme, to the voice lines calling out the launching sequence:
“Main engine energy level, 20% increase !”
“I always wanted a thing called tuna sashimi”
“3…2…1…”
It all creates an unbelievable sense of excitement!
A very fun piece of trivia is the existence of SAGAIA. It exists to be a compact version of Darius II to be sold on western markets. Then there’s actually 2 versions of it which feel like 2 pieces of the same game. If SAGAIA trimmed certain pieces of the game, then version 2 came to use those trimmed pieces and created another entry. It’s actually quite funny.

DARIUS GAIDEN, THE KING

Darius Gaiden is definitely the reason you will keep playing the arcade collection. Quality in older games under a modern eye is usually a product of nostalgia and design elements that still hold on in today’s gaming landscape. Contrasting with that, Darius Gaiden IS a fantastic game that I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase if it was released today.
For Darius Gaiden, less is more, as this time around the game was played on a single screen arcade cabinet. The game does seem to lack some of the ambient goodies such as the rumble effects, but it makes up for it in gameplay experiences.

TRUE POWER

One aspect that is radically different from its predecessor is the upgrade system. Whereas Darius II simplified the Silver Hawk upgrade system, Darius Gaiden took it back to its original Darius roots. This means that, once again, we have multiple upgrade points. Upgrades take considerably less red power-ups to achieve, which actually makes it possible to upgrade multiple times during the same stage.
Death penalties are lower as well with death only losing you a level of power. Because there are more power levels, it is more forgiving and doesn’t set you completely behind like the previous entries. Perhaps the best of all is that neither arm nor bombs have any penalty whatsoever. What’s more, you don’t even lose your arm or bomb level when losing a credit. I can say with 100% certainty that this game is actually possible to complete within a reasonable number of credits if you die on the later zones.
I would take it one step ahead and say this game has a little of the Contra syndrome. The original Contra is a game that was considered hard, but was significantly easier if you could maintain the spread shot. In the same vein, getting the earliest upgrades makes Darius Gaiden a breeze. A well deserved victory, if you ask me.

YOU’RE MINE NOW!

New to Darius Gaiden is the ability to capture mid bosses. Half-way through a stage, you will encounter a medium sized boss with a purple orb somewhere in its back. If you manage to take down the orb without killing the enemy, it will detach and slowly drift away. If you capture this orb, then the mid boss will fight alongside you until its timer expires. I gotta say that having a huge fish on your side is surprisingly satisfying!
Having a single screen makes the experience much more familiar for shmup enthusiasts. While it does lose some of the charm of the ultra wide field of view, it also rids itself of nuances such as your horizontal movement being low in terms of total horizontal space or the limit on on-screen bullets.
A combination of those factors I mentioned contribute to making Darius Gaiden a much better experience. It’s simple to play and forgiving when you lose. Every stage is unique and makes every new play through a completely different experience, not just in a different-ish way, but rather full blown new content!

A LEGENDARY PACKAGE OF NOSTALGIA

There’s one thing that you might be thinking, and that’s that I might be biased because it is Darius. It is true that I openly admit everywhere that Darius is my favorite. However, in this particular case my work was cut out for me, I don’t need to be biased because this is truly a wonderfully crafted collection that deserves to be on everyone’s Switch.
It contains every possible version of Darius you might have encountered on the arcades and then sprinkled some top notch features that make it stand on a class of its own when it comes to ports. It also helps that the Darius games remain to be as fun as they always have been, even with their caveats. I took 3-4 times more time to play this collection, not because it had a lot of content, but because I loved playing every second of it and wanted to try it all. Wanted to 1CC every version, wanted to traverse every possible stage, wanted to created masterful replays.
The only possible downside I can see to this collection is the price. $44.99 is a very high price compared to other shmups on the market. In terms of features and overall content (because remember, every game has more than an alphabets worth of different zones) it does warrant its price. Although I can see people double guess their decision, with this game being close to the cost of a first party title and significantly higher than other shmups.

TOP 3

My tentative placement for Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade was on the top 3 spots. I really had a hard time deciding where to put it, so I went back and revisited both Ikaruga and Psyvariar Delta. After finishing my Ikaruga play through, I was reminded of the magic that is Ikaruga and how special it is. Psyvariar Delta also reminded me of the buzz system and how the refined gameplay and level ups work towards creating an experience that I can’t quite put into words.
The main defining factor, however, was that I don’t think any of the Darius games in the collection beats the top 2 contenders. The 7 games as an aggregate, are certainly a force to be reckoned with thanks to the superb M2 porting labour. With that being said, I will award it a 3rd spot because the gameplay experience is incredible, but a little held back by the age of the games and the hefty price tag.
Still, Darius will always be #1 in my heart.

THE RANKING SO FAR:

  1. Ikaruga
  2. Psyvariar Delta
  3. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade
  4. Devil Engine
  5. Rolling Gunner
  6. Blazing Star
  7. Jamestown+
  8. Tengai
  9. Steredenn: Binary Stars
  10. Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax
  11. Sky Force: Reloaded
  12. Strikers 1945
  13. Black Paradox
  14. R-Type Dimensions EX
  15. Sine Mora EX
  16. Shikhondo – Soul Eater
  17. Ghost Blade HD
  18. AngerForce: Reloaded
  19. Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
  20. Q-YO Blaster
  21. Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
  22. Pawarumi
  23. Red Death
  24. Task Force Kampas
  25. Switch ‘N’ Shoot
  26. Last Resort (ACA Neogeo)
submitted by AzorMX to NintendoSwitch [link] [comments]

The motion to delay and revise the re-entry plan is not a binary issue. Don't buy the politics.

TLDR:
People are being goaded into taking sides on whether or not we should open schools. This is not the issue at hand when considering the motions made by Mr. Shurr at the most recent Special Session of the school board. The issue at hand is whether the current plan (Published June 30) is the most inventive solution we can offer that minimizes the risk of lifelong disability and/or death for the students and, more immediately, the many high-risk adults who work in the public schools around the country. If you’ve ever been in an American workplace, you know that leaders (especially exhausted ones) can find running out the clock on a decision period more desirable than engaging in critical discussion. With stakes as high as they are, the motions are meant to ensure this does not happen with our public schools.
Here is a link to the most critical 20 minutes of the Special Session of the school board meeting from Tuesday, July 21st.
The Details:
This is a throwaway account, and an attempt at a complete statement of my opinion. This does not reflect anyone’s opinion but my own based on public information. Feel free to share any and all of this if you’d like. I don’t plan to respond to comments or DMs.
A considerable number of parents, students, and teachers (many of whom are at high risk of contracting COVID-19 or live with an elder who is) feel the traditional school model poses too much risk and that we need to pause and revise the plan. Fairly, many people who need the child care/specialized services provided by the schools have voiced their frustration and unwillingness to support such a measure because they believe this must mean that schools will be closed for an extended period of time. This fabricated binary allows an outdated plan to look preferable to pausing and revising because:
All this said, the parents who need their students in school are justified in their attitudes and arguments.
At one of the large high schools
At the other,
Even if you ignore the certain occurrence of some crossover within these categories, this is still less than half of the total student population. A number of these students may still choose to stay home with the online option. Similarly, there are probably students who do not fall into these categories but still need to come to school sometimes for some reason or another. Either way, this suggests that there is an opportunity to serve a MUCH smaller number of students in the building and reduce risk to everyone involved.
I will admit this would be harder to organize at the elementary level, where districting decisions have left some schools in a more difficult situation than others in terms of student needs because some schools have:
Perhaps the lesser risk in general at the elementary level doesn’t demand an alternative-to-traditional model. Perhaps identifying students who need to be in a learning center and finding a way to get them to a less crowded school should be part of the conversation. Regardless, I imagine that some schools will already be operating at a much lower capacity than normal due to the online option while others will be close to full.
All of this should show that this is:
This is what pause and revise is really about. While I’m sure people are exhausted, I refuse to believe that Bloomington has exhausted its creativity, resources, and inventiveness on the current plan especially in light of the totally changed context. If you agree that we can do better, please reach out to the Board of School Trustees and the Monroe County Health Department in time for the last meeting before the school year. The meeting is on Tuesday, July 28.
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
[[email protected]](mailto:[email protected])
I have edited for the sake of clarity and organization. I wish I could edit the title u/Smease1 made a great point below.
submitted by Dry-Consequence-539 to bloomington [link] [comments]

Bioshock Remastered for Nintendo Switch - Review

Bioshock Remastered

Genre: First-Person Shooter
Players: 1
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Review:
Bioshock is a First-Person Shooter originally released on PC and Xbox 360 in 2007 and subsequently ported to multiple other platforms, finally making its way to a Nintendo console in 2020 when it was released on the Nintendo Switch. For those who somehow missed out on the game when it first released, Bioshock has the player surviving a plane crash in 1960 only to discover a structure in the middle of the ocean leading to the underwater city of Rapture. This city, the creation of a wealthy industrialist, was intended to be an objectivist utopia, but clearly things have gone very wrong, and players soon find themselves fighting off the city's mutated denizens, as well as automated defenses and hulking monstrosities named “big daddies”, while various factions fighting for control of the city make you the fixation of their power struggle.
With this being the “remastered” version of the game, Bioshock on the Nintendo Switch benefits from having improved textures and more detailed environments over its original release, though instead of the targeted 60FPS framerates of the other consoles, this version settles for a rock-solid 30FPS, which I found to be more than sufficient, as Bioshock is not a super fast-paced FPS. In docked mode, the game runs at a dynamic 1080p resolution, dropping to 720p in handheld mode, and again, both are very stable (thanks to Digital Foundry for all the numbers).
However, as for how this game actually looks, I'd say this still looks in many ways like an Xbox 360 game. The character models aren't especially detailed, and even with the added detail the environments can also look a bit chunky in places. On a technical level, the game's water effects are still extremely nice, even by today's standards, but everything else does look a tad dated.
However, having said that, what this game may lack in technical prowess, it absolutely makes up for in style and artistic vision. While Rapture may not be as technically impressive as it once was, it is still a stunning work of artistic design, with its art deco architecture, the oppressive presence of the ocean threatening to break through the glass and swallow everyone whole at any minute, and the crazed citizenry still decked out in creepy New Years costumes now soaked in blood from their drug-fueled killing spree. More than just about any game ever made, Bioshock is a game that tells a rather spectacular story without even needing to say a word, with the look and feel of the place itself saying far more than words ever could.
And of course, I can't mention Bioshock without at least making a nod to its story, though beyond the synopsis I detailed in the first paragraph, I feel I should probably keep quiet, as one of this game's joys is the twists and turns it takes as you find the full extent of just how far Rapture has fallen into a hellish nightmare, as well as what's really going on at the center of the power struggle unfolding as you fight your way through the city. Suffice it to say, there's a reason that many cite this game as having one of the best stories, and in particular one of the most memorable and iconic scenes, in all of videogames.
While the game's striking visuals still impress with their style, and the story is every bit as legendary as it was when it first came out, the gameplay hasn't aged quite as well. Don't get me wrong, it's all still quite good, and the mix of old-timey gunplay and magic powers (in the form of “plasmids”, gene-altering chemicals you buy in vending machines), as well as various upgradeable abilities, all make this an entertaining game that's far better than average for the genre, even today.
However, having said that, there's not too much variety in enemies, and the gunplay can get repetitive before long. The plasmids are nice and the elemental attacks they deliver even affect the environment, but before long this too becomes a bit repetitive. Beyond this, in all but the game's hardest difficulty, the existence of “Vita-Chambers” removes all semblance of challenge, as any death simply has you jumping back to the last one of these checkpoints you crossed with all of your inventory intact, and all enemies you killed still dead, meaning that success is all but assured as long as you keep persisting. Even the last boss can be defeated this way – fight, die, continue fighting, die, continue fighting some more until they've soaked up enough bullets to be downed. And while the game attempts an interesting “morality” system, it's not very well thought-out, as it's a simple binary choice and none of the options feels especially functionally different than the others.
A few more notes about this version of the game before I wrap things up. Firstly, there's no support for gyroscopic motion controls or touchscreen. However, there are a few nice extras beyond the original release of the game - there's a director's commentary you can run while playing the game, as well as video interviews you can collect throughout it. There's also a cool museum mode that has character models and artwork lined up in an actual museum you can walk through. Finally, this game includes “Challenge Rooms” and New Game+ features added to later releases of the game.
In the end, while Bioshock's gameplay may be lacking and the graphics have aged a bit, there's no arguing that this is still a classic, iconic First-Person shooter with a stellar story, fun gameplay, and some of the best world-building ever to be seen in a videogame. If you've somehow never played this game, you need to remedy that right now. And if you loved the game when it was first released and are considering a return to Rapture, know that while the city is a little worse for the wear with the years that have passed, this is still a trip well worth taking.
tl;dr – Bioshock has aged somewhat since its original release in 2007, but it's still fun to play, and while Rapture may not be as graphically impressive as it once was, it's still extremely visually-striking, with some of the best world-building ever to be found in a videogame. In the end, this is still an excellent port of a legendary First-Person Shooter, and an absolute must-play for anyone who hasn't experienced it before, and worth returning to for those looking to revisit that nostalgia.

Grade: B+

submitted by CaspianX2 to eShopperReviews [link] [comments]

Cutting my parents out of my life.

Hey guys, I'm new to this subreddit but I need some quick advice. I'm an 18 yr old Afab non-binary guy and my parents and my brother are extremely toxic and kinda emotionally, verbally and sometimes physically abusive. I been trying to decide if it's right of me to cut them out of life as they aren't good for my health and well-being. I know that I should but I feel indebted to them considering that they raised me and if I do I'll be seen as abandoning them. I live on my own with a friend of mine but a few months before that my mom had kicked me out and told me not to come back, we've since reconciled but I kinda regret it. My brother told me a few weeks after my mom had kicked me out that he didn't want to speak with me and that he didn't help "people who had abandoned their family" which is apparently what my mom had told him I did. All I had wanted was pictures of my dog who i hadn't seen because I wasn't able to take him with me. My brother is also very verbally abusive in the way he talks to me when he's upset. He'll tell me things like " no likes you" or " you'll never accomplish anything in life" or " that's why everyone hates you". He says these things and my parents literally do nothing. Sometimes he's so violent, we get into physical altercations and my parents are actually encouraging him to beat me up. On to my mom. My mom is emotionally manipulative, verbally abusive and can get physical. She uses cheap tactics, gaslighting and guilt tripping to try and make me feel bad for her. We've also gotten into a few physical altercations, all of which she blames me for. She's given me a black eye, a busted lip, a split eyebrow, and a scared ear before. She always tells me that if we get into to a fight she's going to and I quote " beat the living shit out of me and then call the cops on me". We've actually had to have CPS come to our house because she punched me in the face for not giving her the sweater I was wearing. She managed to convince the CPS worker that I was just looking for attention and that I'd attacked her first unprovoked by fake crying and lying. Every time we have an argument it always goes from how awful and disrespectful I am to how hard her childhood was and how much she struggled. She always trys to make me feel bad about being " disrespectful". Now my dad isn't as bad but that's because he's been away for four years. My dad is a recently retired Marine Corp vet and he has serious anger issues, while he's only ever been really angry before in the past, now I feel like he can't stand the sight of me. Every time he would come home to visit when I still living with them, he wouldn't speak to me, look at me or interact with me in any sort of way, and he still does that now. He'd take my brother to football games and play his favorite video games with him, and take my brother to practice driving when I'd have to beg my dad to take me driving so I could get my license, seeing as how I already had my permit, or ask him to come to my marching band competitions or to watch one of my favorite shows with me, only to be told no or brushed aside. I honestly feel like he wants nothing to do with me. He acts like he hates me and I don't know why. I want to cut them and my extended family out of life for toxic, abusive behaviors and the blatant homo and transphobia that they've shown me but I'd feel like a terrible person if I did. I still put up with them for four reasons. One, I'm physically dependent on them because I need rides to work and school. I have a driver's license but I don't have a car of my own and I can't afford one. Sadly public transportation is not an option for me because I work late and all my classes are after the buses stop running. Two, they have my dog. I've taken care of my dog since he was five months old and I love him more than I've ever loved anything in my entire life. He's the main reason why I still talk to my family because I get to see him. He's one of the few reasons I'm still alive right now. I've thought about getting another dog just like him but I'd feel awful and like I was betraying my dog. They won't let me take him with me and honestly my dog likes my dad way more than he likes me. Third, despite my brother being really awful towards me, I love him so much to the point I'd take a bullet for him and I would feel bad abandoning him even though he hates me. And fourth, I'm honestly just really scared. They've still got this hold on me and I hate it. I'm scared to stand up for myself because every time I did, I'd either get smacked or yelled at. My parents terrify me to no end and I feel like a fucking coward because I can't tell them that enough is enough and they shouldn't be treating me this way.
Sorry for the really long rant but I just needed to get that out and I just haven't known what to do. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated 😃. Thanks!
submitted by president_steaksauce to toxicparents [link] [comments]

My Truth

So it was 430am and I had been awake for nearly 2 hours now unable to sleep - things on my mind. I hope that perhaps putting into words exactly how I feel will help relieve some of the worry and pressures I'm feeling inside.
This may be long so I do apologies and thank you for taking the time to read. (Also please be aware I talk about my sexuality so just in case anything of the like may make you uncomfortable.)
So I (currently 33) was born male and as of recently lived that way and have recently come out as gender fluid however I am unsure if I truly want to be female. Constantly reinforced by society that I am a boy I should dress, play etc as a boy should. I have a boy's name which to be honest unlike most non binary I am happy with and I've never felt uncomfortable with being referred to as he/him.
However I have always felt this underlying concern/question that I am not who I am supposed to be. I remember, quite late into puberty I still had not masturbated and asked my mom if I was "broken" I had never had a sexual attraction to women so when being around male friends who would comment on how attractive that girl was or how hot celebrity x, y and z were I simply would smile, remain silent or over play it. However I never felt anything. The first time I did manage to successfully masturbate helped to alleviate these feelings of "brokenness" but again this was not due to being aroused by that of a female, or even male.
I think before moving on it may be important to highlight moments I can recall where moments that I was struggling with my gender would surface however I am aware that these could have been "normal" behavior for a young boy. I remember having my sister dress me up as we would pretend to be spice girls...I wanted to be Geri as she was the one I liked the most. I loved toys and I remember playing with my sisters Barbie and RV however this was suppressed by me having an action man doll. I remember going to the shops with my and sister looking at dresses and holding one up to me and half jokingly "does this suit me?" Of course this was seen as funny, I wanted to be an entertainer so this was just something people saw me do and think "oh you, aren't you funny". A final pre/early puberty memory I have was seeing my sister have some new heeled shoes for Christmas so I snuck into my sister's room and tried them on however being young and unsure how to walk in them I instantly tipped over snapping the heel clean off, upsetting my sister and leaving me to put this experience as a reason to not pursue wearing heels.
I know this is going on so let's move forward, in 2016 I moved away from home. I was 18 and lived over 100 miles south of my hometown living and working with a unique cast of characters my eyes opened up to all manners of people. What I take from this is this would of been the very first time I openly questioned my sexuality...perhaps this is why I never felt comfortable, why I felt "broken" however even when someone did make advances with me I panicked and once again repressing these feelings and continued with my day to day.
During this time I happily chose to cross-dress for a department football match. Now I'm not a fan of football but when the ladies team needed a goal keeper I was their only option and I um'd and ar'd ultimately until they explained that I would need to dress up as a girl which I then jumped at the chance. In a poorly fitting outfit comprised of a crop top and mini skirt I felt comfortable I vaguely remember playing it off as a joke but thinking back now it was not only fun but I enjoyed it.
Over the years after this point dressing in women's clothes never really cropped up but of course I would look at dresses in a shop and wonder how it would look on me. My friend group at the time was a very stereotypical bunch of lads beer, football and girls. I get on with them they're a great bunch but I always felt uncomfortable and out of place. I would redirect a conversation so I could join in as it would primarily be about football or girls. I continued to get on with my life, feeling forever sad, I had moments of happiness but many were forced.
Now the next part of this story could be a bit TMI so you can skip if you want however I feel it's a stepping stone to where I am and why I'm writing this. I always had a fascination of transformation I remember as a child I would watch a tv show, a movie where the protagonist would be transformed into something/someone or of course body swap with someone of the opposite sex. Now what frustrated me and again building up this narrative that I was "broken" was feeling of arousal I would get from these scenarios. After watching I would be left in a state of sadness as I wanted that to happen to me, be it being turned into an animal or having my body swapped with that of a women. So upon searching the internet I found sites that allowed people who had a similar interest and would draw and upload artwork of men becoming women, women becoming men, people being turned into animals - I was happy I had found like minded people who, through their art could satisfy this deep yearning to be someone else.
(A side note when I was younger I loved theatre. I attended a youth theatre and this was always because I could be someone else)
As time went on I found more and more sites which offered artwork, offered stories - stories where I could put myself.in the shoes of the character so in my mind I could live out that fantasy. Eventually I discovered the furry fandom, briefly the furry fandom are a group of people who are fascinated by anthropomorphic animals and where they create a character that they use to interact with one another. "Great!" I thought I could pretend to be someone else. Not thinking I chose a male based character but would regularly design a female version. The main benefit of being in this fandom was meeting many people, people of all shapes, sizes, sexualities and genders. It opened my eyes to so many possibilities. This feeling I had always pushed away surfaced again but tenfold. I first began to question my sexuality more realizing that I wasn't straight and then experimenting to see if I was gay, I enjoyed my experience but again I wasn't turned on by a man. Speaking to people who had a better understanding of the different sexualities on the spectrum we identified that I fall into the Asexual umbrella, specifically Demisexual.
Apologies for all of this info dump but I promise we are getting to end….
During this time I came across sissy pornography something inside me enjoyed how these cross dressers were wearing ladies panties, makeup, stockings etc and after some time something inside me clicked "I want to try on some female underwear" my thinking was perhaps if I tried a pair and they was uncomfortable I could remove this idea that I wanted to be a girl. So I went out to the local Tesco I walked upstairs looking like I was up to no good, I had researched sizing and worked out that back then I would of been a 22 panty size. So I picked up the first pair I laid my eyes on went to the self service (luckily no tag so I wouldn't have to ask for it to be removed) paid for my "contraband" and went home.
I took them out quickly and held them up if I remember rightly they were a pair of briefs, not full briefs, navy blue thrilly around the edge and a little bow in the centre. I took off my current pair of boxers and slid on the panty and as they rested in place I was amazed by actually how soft and comfortable they felt. I looked at myself in the mirror and I loved the way they looked and the way I felt. I felt cute and comfortable, something which I had not felt for ever or the least for a very long time. So months passed, no one knew about my "dirty little secret" . I felt bad, like I was doing something wrong. But I chalked it up to a sexual kink and not a way of me opening up about who I am. I was asked by my sister to house sit while she and my brother in law went away and while sitting in their living room I suddenly had the urge to rummage through my sisters clothes and try some items on. I found a blue/purplish dress, a pair of tights and shoes which at that time fitted me...not comfortably I might add but my feet squeezed in. I put a little bit of makeup on (poorly) I had a reasonable length hair then so I found and donned a headband and upon looking in the mirror I felt good amazingly this dress fitted it wasn't too tight or too loose the tights showed off my legs I was happy, I took a photo but suddenly I was hit by a feeling of guilt and again like was doing something illegal…"this isn't right I shouldn't be doing this" so with that I took off the clothes put everything back and did my best to forget it however the photo I took would always be a reminder of how comfortable and pretty I felt at that exact moment.
Moving forward I continued to wear my ladies underwear, I bought another pack with different patterns all still donning the tiny bow on the front of the lace always making me feel like a girl when I wore them. One day when I was visiting my mom, she wanted me to stay, I declined as I had no change of clothes but she insisted on washing my current underwear and borrowing a pair from my step dad(clean I will add). Suddenly panic rushed over me winding me, I stuttered my objections leaving my mom feeling upset and unsure as to why I didn't want to stop and spend some time with her. She was unknowing of my little ladies underwear secret and how she would react washing a pair of white panties with lace, a bow and little hearts on...which her son was wearing.
That same day and a reason I can't exactly remember my step dad took me out I think my car may have been in for its MOT hence why I was visiting. My step dad had brought up about me staying saying that it was fine for me to stay and that I could borrow a pair of his underwear (again I'll add they would of been clean) already frustrated of having to make excuses I let it out, my secret I had kept silent about for so long, was out between me and my step dad...and he was absolutely fine with it, he understood said that my mom doesn't need to know, he would offer to do the washing instead of my mom limiting the chance my mom would see my pretty panties.
Once back and feeling a little better that someone knew I bit the bullet and told my mom, her reaction was confusing. She seemed fine but withdrawn from it. I know she probably didn't understand it, why would her SON want to wear ladies underwear? Now that people close to me knew my secret I felt a little relieved. I decided to tell my aunt (whom I'm very close with) and she was extremely understanding and happy for me that I was comfortable. However over time the feeling of it being a “dirty thing that I shouldn't be doing” cropped back up. Perhaps because I couldn't go and wear more than a pair of knickers, still keeping it a secret from my sister who had that nice purple dress that made me feel so good and that I wanted to try on again without the worry of being considered a freak or it was just an odd kink.
Eventually I was tormented enough to take every pair of pants I had and throw them away, gone for good I could forget about this silly little “phase”. I eventually told my sister who was shocked at this admittance but I think it was perhaps more so because I never told her sooner. I eventually told my dad after a conversation about my sexual orientation but I think that was brushed over as it was something he didn't want to consider.
So from that point on I continued to live my life as I had before putting any thoughts about wanting to be a female to the back of my mind out of the way. I lost a lot of weight which helped me find better suiting clothing but from time to time I would see a woman wearing an outfit and I would, in my head, envy that I couldn't be her. I decided to binge every season of Ru Paul - I understand that drag queens are different from transgender however the confidence and bravery to live the life along with looking absolutely gorgeous was just another thing to be envious over.
Which now brings us pretty much up to date the last few weeks thoughts of wearing women's underwear have surfaced and the idea of pushing them away has become difficult. I see items of clothing that I think I could pull off. I find that over all I have begun to feel more feminine, I've always hated my body hair but always seen it as a "man" thing to have whereas now I have shaved and smooth legs, chest and arms feel so good.
I branched out and purchased some outfits I can wear under my male clothes, I've bought makeup to practice. To help prevent the "dirty feeling" I had when I first tried on ladies underwear I decided. I would control the narrative I would tell those closest. Granted I was a bit off handed with it as I couldn't bring myself to initially say it out loud but after the message I’d sent and was read, a deeper, emotional centric conversation was had. It was hard to hear how people thought they failed me and that they were so concerned that I could harm myself from not being happy.
However I explained that 1. Coming out as genderfluid has helped me as I don't have to worry about being "caught" which would make for a more awkward conversation and 2. Over time as I become more comfortable with who I want to be. Who my true self is, I may hopefully find a place in my life where I can sit back without feeling guilty about being me.
Of course I have a long road to go before I can be confident in who I want to be. As things stand and reciting these moments that have played a part to this point I think I will always come back to the idea that I am a woman at heart.
Thank you for sticking around. I've written this to help me identify and validate my emotions and feelings at this time in my life and also as a call to anyone who read it and had experienced a similar trail of events.
TL:DR: Can intermittent moments have lead me to this point or would my experiences have been more "above" the surface. I am just worried that how I'm feeling and how I have felt is not real and is from something else, from what I'm not sure. This is to put it out there to see if there are others whos experiences were similar.
submitted by beardedguy87 to TransSpace [link] [comments]

Hi r/shmups! I'm currently on a project where I try to review every shmup on the Switch, so I thought I'd share my reviews here! Here's the 26th entry: Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade

We’ve all had a game that is a gateway to a specific genre. That one game which made us pay attention to a style of games and allowed us to fully experience the genre. It might not have been the first one we play, but it is definitely one that stays closer to our hearts. For me, this game was Darius.
I’ve mentioned this in the past, but I will say it again: Darius is the shmup that is closest to my heart. I loved the horizontal gameplay, I loved the Silver Hawk, I loved all the huge bosses that looked like fishes. The gameplay also hit bunch of chords that resonate with what I love about shmups. I’ve been waiting so long for this, so alas, I present to you: Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade!
Publisher: ININ Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: Jun 16, 2020
Price: $44.99
Tate: Built-in
Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade is a collection of the Darius games released on the arcades. This wasn’t your typical cabinet, as one of its main features was the usage of multiple screens. Darius used 3 screens, while Darius II/SAGAIA used 2 screens. M2 really went out of their way to bring the most authentic arcade experience! The result is impressive to say the least!
This collections includes 4 games:
Darius and SAGAIA include 3 and 2 different versions respectively, bringing it to a total of 7 playable games.
ARCADE GLORY
As hard as this might be to believe, I have never played an arcade Darius game before. I always mentioned Darius as my favorite shmup, but the truth is that I began with the SNES games. I had heard on the street that the arcade versions were superior so I was very excited.
When I booted the original version, I couldn’t help but feel like I was standing next to an actual arcade cabinet. The game greeted me with 3 screens places next to each other on the center of the screen. I was excited to play, so I pressed the coin button. I was not prepared for what I was about to experience…
As soon as I inserted the coin, a typical fanfare played along as my credit counter increased by one. But there was something else. The controller started vibrating to the tune of the music. I just can’t make justice to this effect with words. It felt like being inside an actual arcade cabinet. Vibrations and sound made the experience feel authentic. It made me think about the arcade days where you would hear cabinets everywhere and just feel the energy of the place.
As soon as I started to play, the screen changed and the empty spaces were replaced by arcade artwork. This artwork was exactly the kind you would see pasted near the controllers to show you how to play and other general information. Everything about the game was designed to make you feel like on the arcade. This is the kind of presentation that every other arcade port should try to achieve.
FISH GRAVY
What truly sets apart the Darius Cozmic Collection from any other collection is the amount of features and arcade fidelity that M2 added to the game. Every single aspect, every single menu and every single feature was lovingly added to create a masterpiece.
From the get go, you will be presented with the very familiar “A boss is approaching” message featuring King Fossil. The message just says that your game data is approaching fast. It really is only a fancy way of saying the game is loading, but it sets the tone to the orgasmic experience that you are about to have with the game.
After going through the intro scene, you will be greeted with the main menu which contains all 7 playable titles in this collection. You also have a replay, manual and staff options. If you are wondering where the options are, they are specific for each game, so they must be adjusted from within each game. My only complaint here is that the manual is in japanese. There isn’t much to learn from a manual though. The only thing was the Darius Gaiden capture mechanic, so I picked that one up from the internet.
AN ENTIRE LEGACY
Speaking of the games, 7 different titles can be quite intimidating. If you are anything like me, then chances are you don’t know what’s “new ver” or “extra ver”. Thankfully, each game features a sort of museum display that features a screenshot of the menu, the title, the launch date and a very thorough description of the game. The text will navigate you through each version of the games and specifically highlight why it is different from its predecessor or what was changed when going to western markets.
Each game includes a training mode for those who wish to challenge specific parts of the game. Training mode will let you choose to play any stage and customize a variety of settings such as the strength of your Silver Hawk and the game rank, which is the in-game difficulty. The obvious use for this mode is to practice your piloting skills and go for the 1CC. Even casual players can view this as a pseudo level select cheat code for maximum enjoyment!
Perhaps one of the most amazing inclusions of the collection is the replay mode. For every one of your play throughs, there is an option to save a replay of your play session. What differs from regular replays, is that they pack an incredibly robust set of features. Other than being able to watch a recording of yourself, you can see your inputs and control the playback of the replay. You can rewind, fast forward, go back, increase the speed or even go full slow-mo to analyze your gameplay.
KING OF THE ARCADE
Challenging oneself is one thing, but going after the world is the true spirit or arcade shmups. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade features online rankings which are separated into 2 categories: “Arcade” and “All-mix”. Arcade is played with every setting on default and using only one credit. If you are playing and choose to spend an additional credit to continue, then your scoring is changed to “All-mix”. All-mix is a catch-all for every other style, from easy difficulty to hard or even static rank modes.
If you ever wondered what’s it like to play like the king of the leaderboards, then you’ll be glad to know you can download leaderboard replays! This allows you to watch the entire play throughs of top players, along with their inputs and the previously mentioned playback features of a replay. A must have for those willing to go for the record or even those curious about what it means to be a champion.
YOUR PERFECT CABINET
The in-game menu for each game will further let you customize your gameplay experience. The amount of options is truly staggering, so suffice to know that you can change in-game setting as difficulty and score for an extend, screen quality adjustments like scan lines and gadgets, and the controllers.
One menu I really want to highlight is the gadgets menu. Gadgets are responsible for making the gameplay experience truly stand out. They track all sorts of data from yourself and the enemies. From a friendly side, you can see your current level of power, the number of hits your arm can take and the information related to the current zone. From a less friendly side, you have all sorts of analyzers that display the current boss, their weakness and detailed HP for each of their parts. There’s even a life gauge that appears at the bottom of the screen for easy viewing when fighting bosses!
Although I could see an argument against being way too much information, I’m personally thankful because I’m a data nerd and I love knowing all this information. If it is too much for you, then you can always turn off the gadgets and customize the screen to your liking. The real beauty comes from creating your perfect cabinet.
THE EMULATOR ADVANTAGE
One of the main selling points of emulators has been the ability to use save states. Darius Cozmic Collection is no slouch and features save states of its own! These save states will let you cheese the game as much as you want, but they also let you replay specific sections and master them for your future arcade runs. I won’t judge you, so have fun with save states! The only caveat is that using save states will not record your score. Unfortunately, replays will only record from the last time you loaded the save state onwards. So there’s no chance of creating tool-assisted runs.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that bringing up the in-game menu will completely pause the game and show you a fully-fledged map of the game, complete with boss encounters for each zone and the amount of power-ups featured in said zone. It really is great for strategy purposes to know which stage will allow you to upgrade your Silver Hawk! Resuming a game will also give you a 3 second count down with a jumping robot animation to ensure you are ready for action. This detail wasn’t really needed, but it is one of the many ways in which M2 shows appreciation for Darius and the player.
Out of all this nitty gritty details, I have to say the song name is one of my favorites. In the bottom right corner of the screen there is a pop-up that appears when the song changes and displays the song name. I just think it looks really cool. By the way, don’t forget to check “Olga Breeze”, my favorite song!
DARIUS, THE OG
Darius, the game that started it all. Featuring 3 screens, this is the biggest Darius game featured in this collection (ha!). If I may add, I also think this is the game that highlights all the love M2 poured into bringing arcade experiences to your living room. With features such as the cabinet art and the body sonic vibration, it really brings home the arcade feeling.
As you can expect, playing the first game on the series is both, a nostalgic and a painful experience. Playing on 3 screens is truly magical, but at the same time, it is a victim to the older design choices. Not much that can be done here, after all, it is a decades old game. Just a small detail to keep in mind.
Darius helps establish the foundations of the franchise from the very first game. One of the Darius staples is the upgrade system for the Silver Hawk. Throughout the game, you can encounter 3 different orbs which are dropped by different colored enemies. The orbs can be red, green or blue.
SILVER HAWK
Red orbs will upgrade your primary fire. Each orb increases your power, but collecting 7 will upgrade your shot to the laser, and then the wave. Green orbs will upgrade your bomb, which is your secondary fire. Bombs also get stronger with more orbs and also upgrade when you reach 7. Blue orbs will give you a shield called arm. The initial shield blocks 3 hits and any additional orb will add 1 more hit. Just like red and green, you can upgrade after 7 orbs which will make it so that additional orbs give you 2 hits and then 3.
The downside to the upgrade system is that, upon death, you will lose every orb you collected in your current tier. The good news is that if you, for instance, managed to upgrade to the laser, then your shot can never fall below that. The bad news is that the number of orbs is limited per stage, which means it is almost impossible to upgrade within a stage the same stage where you died. The exception is a single stage that has 7 blue orbs in the old version and one with 7 green in the extra version.
THE FISH
The most distinguishable characteristic of the franchise is definitely the marine bosses. The stages are all over the place with a very diverse space settings, but the bosses are always one thing: fish. Actually, I’d say it is marine biology, but fish is an overly simplistic way to describe it. Darius also has one peculiarity which is that every set of stages has the same boss. For example, the 4th stage boss will always be Fatty Glutton in a different version depending on which zone you chose.
The other defining feature of Darius is being able to choose your adventure. After each boss, you can choose to go to one of 2 different zones. This choice is made by either being on the top or bottom half of the screen, as the stage actually splits after beating the boss. It certainly took me off guard the first time as I crashed into the divider. Despite having the same boss, the zones are drastically different and carry the strategic choice of having a different number of orbs. Your path will be determined by which aspect of your Silver Hawk you want to improve.
THE COINS
What struck me the most about Darius is how unforgiving it is. This is expressed in the descriptions of the newer versions. The thing about Darius, is that the game is next to impossible to beat if you didn’t fully upgrade. Later enemies are merciless and if you don’t have sufficient firepower, then you probably won’t stand a chance. This ruthlessness is exacerbated by the death system, as death will set you considerably behind. Because upgrades are usually a 2-stage effort, getting shot will set you back 2 levels worth of progress.
A fun aspect I found on Darius is the dynamic created by having 3 screens. This is probably the widest game I have played, and it brings new challenges to the table. The first one is that you need to gain screen position to succeed. Being at the front is usually better, with moving back feeling like losing real estate. The reason behind this is that you are able to shoot down enemies before they become a threat with their numbers. The other less obvious reason is the number of bullets allowed on screen. That number is limited, so it is in your best interest that those bullets expire fast so you can fire new ones. Being back equals more time before they reach the end of the screen, which is undesirable.
Overall, the game poses a unique challenge, but I’m not going to lie, it is actually really fun to play. Achieving an upgraded Silver Hawk is a hard endeavor, but that makes it even more rewarding when you pull it off!
DARIUS II/SAGAIA, THE PROOF US WESTERNERS HAVE SHORT ATTENTION SPANS
Darius II came in and simplified the game in some interesting ways. First of all it reduced the upgrade system so that it is now only a single stage that can be maxed out. The number of orbs was reduced to compensate. Another simplification comes courtesy of the screens themselves. The number of screens was reduced from 3 to 2 in order to be installed in other dual screen cabinets such as The Ninja Warriors.
Unfortunately, the single stage of upgrades means that the game is even more savage when you die. This time around, you actually lose all of your progress in terms of firepower. There will be special rainbow orbs which help you catch up a little, but even then they might be a little too late. As a result, my 1CC had to be done by never dying.
I ALWAYS WANTED A THING CALLED A TUNA SASHIMI
One thing I want to mention, is that Darius II has my absolute favorite intro sequence of any Darius game in this collection. From the music that goes ramping up to the main theme, to the voice lines calling out the launching sequence:
“Main engine energy level, 20% increase !”
“I always wanted a thing called tuna sashimi”
“3…2…1…”
It all creates an unbelievable sense of excitement!
A very fun piece of trivia is the existence of SAGAIA. It exists to be a compact version of Darius II to be sold on western markets. Then there’s actually 2 versions of it which feel like 2 pieces of the same game. If SAGAIA trimmed certain pieces of the game, then version 2 came to use those trimmed pieces and created another entry. It’s actually quite funny.
DARIUS GAIDEN, THE KING
Darius Gaiden is definitely the reason you will keep playing the arcade collection. Quality in older games under a modern eye is usually a product of nostalgia and design elements that still hold on in today’s gaming landscape. Contrasting with that, Darius Gaiden IS a fantastic game that I wouldn’t hesitate to purchase if it was released today.
For Darius Gaiden, less is more, as this time around the game was played on a single screen arcade cabinet. The game does seem to lack some of the ambient goodies such as the rumble effects, but it makes up for it in gameplay experiences.
TRUE POWER
One aspect that is radically different from its predecessor is the upgrade system. Whereas Darius II simplified the Silver Hawk upgrade system, Darius Gaiden took it back to its original Darius roots. This means that, once again, we have multiple upgrade points. Upgrades take considerably less red power-ups to achieve, which actually makes it possible to upgrade multiple times during the same stage.
Death penalties are lower as well with death only losing you a level of power. Because there are more power levels, it is more forgiving and doesn’t set you completely behind like the previous entries. Perhaps the best of all is that neither arm nor bombs have any penalty whatsoever. What’s more, you don’t even lose your arm or bomb level when losing a credit. I can say with 100% certainty that this game is actually possible to complete within a reasonable number of credits if you die on the later zones.
I would take it one step ahead and say this game has a little of the Contra syndrome. The original Contra is a game that was considered hard, but was significantly easier if you could maintain the spread shot. In the same vein, getting the earliest upgrades makes Darius Gaiden a breeze. A well deserved victory, if you ask me.
YOU’RE MINE NOW!
New to Darius Gaiden is the ability to capture mid bosses. Half-way through a stage, you will encounter a medium sized boss with a purple orb somewhere in its back. If you manage to take down the orb without killing the enemy, it will detach and slowly drift away. If you capture this orb, then the mid boss will fight alongside you until its timer expires. I gotta say that having a huge fish on your side is surprisingly satisfying!
Having a single screen makes the experience much more familiar for shmup enthusiasts. While it does lose some of the charm of the ultra wide field of view, it also rids itself of nuances such as your horizontal movement being low in terms of total horizontal space or the limit on on-screen bullets.
A combination of those factors I mentioned contribute to making Darius Gaiden a much better experience. It’s simple to play and forgiving when you lose. Every stage is unique and makes every new play through a completely different experience, not just in a different-ish way, but rather full blown new content!
A LEGENDARY PACKAGE OF NOSTALGIA
There’s one thing that you might be thinking, and that’s that I might be biased because it is Darius. It is true that I openly admit everywhere that Darius is my favorite. However, in this particular case my work was cut out for me, I don’t need to be biased because this is truly a wonderfully crafted collection that deserves to be on everyone’s Switch.
It contains every possible version of Darius you might have encountered on the arcades and then sprinkled some top notch features that make it stand on a class of its own when it comes to ports. It also helps that the Darius games remain to be as fun as they always have been, even with their caveats. I took 3-4 times more time to play this collection, not because it had a lot of content, but because I loved playing every second of it and wanted to try it all. Wanted to 1CC every version, wanted to traverse every possible stage, wanted to created masterful replays.
The only possible downside I can see to this collection is the price. $44.99 is a very high price compared to other shmups on the market. In terms of features and overall content (because remember, every game has more than an alphabets worth of different zones) it does warrant its price. Although I can see people double guess their decision, with this game being close to the cost of a first party title and significantly higher than other shmups.
TOP 3
My tentative placement for Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade was on the top 3 spots. I really had a hard time deciding where to put it, so I went back and revisited both Ikaruga and Psyvariar Delta. After finishing my Ikaruga play through, I was reminded of the magic that is Ikaruga and how special it is. Psyvariar Delta also reminded me of the buzz system and how the refined gameplay and level ups work towards creating an experience that I can’t quite put into words.
The main defining factor, however, was that I don’t think any of the Darius games in the collection beats the top 2 contenders. The 7 games as an aggregate, are certainly a force to be reckoned with thanks to the superb M2 porting labour. With that being said, I will award it a 3rd spot because the gameplay experience is incredible, but a little held back by the age of the games and the hefty price tag.
Still, Darius will always be #1 in my heart.
THE RANKING SO FAR:
  1. Ikaruga
  2. Psyvariar Delta
  3. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade
  4. Devil Engine
  5. Rolling Gunner
  6. Blazing Star
  7. Jamestown+
  8. Tengai
  9. Steredenn: Binary Stars
  10. Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax
  11. Sky Force: Reloaded
  12. Strikers 1945
  13. Black Paradox
  14. R-Type Dimensions EX
  15. Sine Mora EX
  16. Shikhondo – Soul Eater
  17. Ghost Blade HD
  18. AngerForce: Reloaded
  19. Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
  20. Q-YO Blaster
  21. Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
  22. Pawarumi
  23. Red Death
  24. Task Force Kampas
  25. Switch ‘N’ Shoot
  26. Last Resort (ACA Neogeo)
submitted by AzorMX to shmups [link] [comments]

TA Players - Favorite play styles? Styles you wish existed? (novices encouraged!)

Update: nerfing autos to about 55% was too extreme, and I think makes heavies too strong. Next I'm going to experiment with reducing the auto hitbox with a more slight damage nerf. I didn't realize that in GOTY it's 5x the hitbox size of spin, and OOTB they are more comparable.
In terms of inheritance... it feels weird with everything at 100%. Even if that's the most physically accurate and arguably most intuitive for new players, it's a lot to ask a player base that has spent hundreds/thousands of hours perfecting aim at 50%. I think I'll just try to add more impact weapons with 50% and 100% inheritance variants and leave belt/chain alone.
I'm also thinking about custom classes - my first idea is to try a new type of light chaser where they get a light fusion mortar as a primary (less damage and a little less radius than the heavy, but still enough to one shot a capper if done perfectly)
Any other class ideas?

Hi everyone! I'm looking at doing a GOTY (game of the year - when the game had all 9 classes) mod, with the work Griffon has done for the servers and Mcoot has done for TAMods! (Thanks both!)

This is a long post about my opinionated attempt to bring my platonic form of the game back! Please hit me with the constructive feedback, and any nostalgia about moments or things you like about TA (recent or old, both are helpful). Or even things you wish were viable in TA! I can use this feedback in the tweaks I make for the future. I want to emphasize brining players back to the game. I get that balance is really hard and that this won't make everyone happy, but it's an experiment.
Overall Changes:
This game is modded from GOTY. I plan to keep some changes from OOTB.
These are essentially the following. (not finished yet)
Keeping the third weapon slot for utility - ELF Projector, Repair tool, or shock lance (with light, medium, heavy variants?). Hopefully this doesn't change class balance too much, but does allow for a little more variety.
Some rework of perk system - it feels like there should be 1, more significant perk, than picking out of 2, when some classes should have things by default (like heavies being able to kill players that run into them too fast, as in OOTB)

Tweaks to auto
Personally, I feel the game is at its best with higher speed chases and impact weapons, but I still like _some_ autos and sniper rifles. As such, I currently have substantially nerfed autos - they do a little more than 50% regular damage (more extreme than necessary for now, but good for play testing to see how the meta changes), and made everything (including belt items) 100% inheritance. This means that all of your shots use all of your momentum. In the past, Inheritance was different for different weapons. Ideally, this reduces confusion and increases consistency, but I need to test more and see how people feel after getting used to it. I'm tossing around the idea of having bullet drop - meaning autos have a trajectory kind of like the bolt launcher (mentioned in a recent post by Gierling). I would like more opinions about this! If people are interested in play testing, we can schedule some times.

Tweaks to hit scan
Hitscan pistols are removed from the game. I don't feel that they improve gameplay experience.
Shotguns are nerfed, but not as much as auto, because I didn't feel they were good enough to be used very much.
(see sentry section for changes to rifles)

Tweaks to impact and belt items
none so far, besides 100% inheritance. I'm thinking of changing the number of belt items in some situations.

Class Changes:
Pathfinder: I want it to have rage and egocentric by default. I also like how fragile it is, that it can be 1-shot midair-ed by mediums and heavies.
Sentinel: I don't want to feel guilty for playing this class. As such, I've repositioned it as harder to use, and substantially worse for skirmishing and beginners (although hopefully still vital for CTF). This one is tricky, because this class is so strong with a good player. I've removed BXT1 and BXT1A and decreased some damage on SAP20 and phase. I want SEN to usually lose battles with players that come to harass, not be able to wreck full health cappers with a couple shots, and reposition the role for stopping enemy regen, and finishing blows. That being said, I want headshots to do a lot more damage, so that crazy skilled players and still do powerful things (not sure how to do this yet). Maybe offer a light fusion mortar as an alternative primary weapon?

Infiltrator: No substantial changes yet besides the auto nerf. Should have close combat by default. Not sure if I can allow this class to have a shock lance that doesn't take the secondary weapon slot. Maybe a fun option for repair tool that does decent damage to enemy base assets?

Soldier: No substantial changes yet. Plan to make spare spinfusor stronger

Technician: Currently needs a better secondary weapon and some things to make it unique. Maybe always pilot perk, and it can have a longer range repair tool and better ELF projector?

Raider: No big changes, but I have to think more about NJ5-B and Plasma

Heavies: I haven't played them as much, so I would like help with these! I think it would be cool if doom bringer titan launch was a bit longer range and could be "click to explode". If there's a way to bring back saber launcher, we should do it for the n00bs.

Bringing Players Back:
Now all of the things I've talked about above, are relatively easy changes. The hard part is getting players. I think this section (from my perspective) is devoted to the game, rather than this mod. If people hate every change I've proposed, let's look at this section as separate. TA is a great game, and it would be great to have a little bit more of a dedicated community to it.
That being said, there are a few tricky and confusing things to navigate around. Some of the community at its current state, is horrifyingly toxic. I've had some games with hate speech and bullying, old players returning who have been targeted by insta-ELF projectoring bots, and even doxxing, because hackers seem to have compromised Hirez login servers. This is why Griffon's server setup is so, so important. It's very likely that you are at risk when you login to Hirez TA servers.

So the way I see it, we have a few big problems to solve.
  1. get players en masse to the community servers. I think they will grow if the overall expectation is "there's probably at least a half full game" than "I bet no one is on"
  2. The game is probably totally inaccessible to new players at this point. Play styles might be gone in OOTB, and the current players now are really good in comparison to the typical beginner. This can be disheartening.
  3. Setting up and joining community servers is harder than it could be.
    1. Getting your account verified through taserverbot works for some people, never does for others, sometimes fails the first time, etc. While I don't have a good technical solution at the moment, I think this can be improved and would appreciate work on this.
    2. Fast, gif tutorial to set up TAMods and community should be a thing. (I will probably do this myself unless someone else gets to it first).
    3. TAMods sometimes crashes on older machines, or fails to work at all for some people. I don't know if this is because they aren't installing the right C++ binaries, or a programming error. I do know that one person had it work for a while, but then stop working permanently, even with fresh installs of Tribes and TAMods. (I love TAMods - just saying if there are ways to make it slightly more consistent, that would be huge)

My proposed solutions:
  1. Advertise to reddit and discords about scheduled play times for the new mod I'm working on (or we can pick regular GOTY, OOTB, or something else - it feels like something new and exciting to announce is important though). I don't plan on having the server up 24/7, I plan on having it up at times when people will know that people will be in it, and going from there. This seems to be a model that works well for the mixer crew.
  2. Adding in a n00b mode that players can be put into on a server - for each class, they can just get a little more health, energy, hitbox size on weapons, etc. Not sure how hard this would be to implement, or if this would benefit the game at all.
  3. Adding the GIF tutorial as discussed, and asking for help from the community! :D
submitted by kaagg to Tribes [link] [comments]

Toxic Parents Rant

Hey guys, I'm new to this subreddit but I need some quick advice. I'm an 18 yr old Afab non-binary guy and my parents and my brother are extremely toxic and kinda emotionally, verbally and sometimes physically abusive. I been trying to decide if it's right of me to cut them out of life as they aren't good for my health and well-being. I know that I should but I feel indebted to them considering that they raised me and if I do I'll be seen as abandoning them. I live on my own with a friend of mine but a few months before that my mom had kicked me out and told me not to come back, we've since reconciled but I kinda regret it. My brother told me a few weeks after my mom had kicked me out that he didn't want to speak with me and that he didn't help "people who had abandoned their family" which is apparently what my mom had told him I did. All I had wanted was pictures of my dog who i hadn't seen because I wasn't able to take him with me. My brother is also very verbally abusive in the way he talks to me when he's upset. He'll tell me things like " no likes you" or " you'll never accomplish anything in life" or " that's why everyone hates you". He says these things and my parents literally do nothing. Sometimes he's so violent, we get into physical altercations and my parents are actually encouraging him to beat me up. On to my mom. My mom is emotionally manipulative, verbally abusive and can get physical. She uses cheap tactics, gaslighting and guilt tripping to try and make me feel bad for her. We've also gotten into a few physical altercations, all of which she blames me for. She's given me a black eye, a busted lip, a split eyebrow, and a scared ear before. She always tells me that if we get into to a fight she's going to and I quote " beat the living shit out of me and then call the cops on me". We've actually had to have CPS come to our house because she punched me in the face for not giving her the sweater I was wearing. She managed to convince the CPS worker that I was just looking for attention and that I'd attacked her first unprovoked by fake crying and lying. Every time we have an argument it always goes from how awful and disrespectful I am to how hard her childhood was and how much she struggled. She always trys to make me feel bad about being " disrespectful". Now my dad isn't as bad but that's because he's been away for four years. My dad is a recently retired Marine Corp vet and he has serious anger issues, while he's only ever been really angry before in the past, now I feel like he can't stand the sight of me. Every time he would come home to visit when I still living with them, he wouldn't speak to me, look at me or interact with me in any sort of way, and he still does that now. He'd take my brother to football games and play his favorite video games with him, and take my brother to practice driving when I'd have to beg my dad to take me driving so I could get my license, seeing as how I already had my permit, or ask him to come to my marching band competitions or to watch one of my favorite shows with me, only to be told no or brushed aside. I honestly feel like he wants nothing to do with me. He acts like he hates me and I don't know why. I want to cut them and my extended family out of life for toxic, abusive behaviors and the blatant homo and transphobia that they've shown me but I'd feel like a terrible person if I did. I still put up with them for four reasons. One, I'm physically dependent on them because I need rides to work and school. I have a driver's license but I don't have a car of my own and I can't afford one. Sadly public transportation is not an option for me because I work late and all my classes are after the buses stop running. Two, they have my dog. I've taken care of my dog since he was five months old and I love him more than I've ever loved anything in my entire life. He's the main reason why I still talk to my family because I get to see him. He's one of the few reasons I'm still alive right now. I've thought about getting another dog just like him but I'd feel awful and like I was betraying my dog. They won't let me take him with me and honestly my dog likes my dad way more than he likes me. Third, despite my brother being really awful towards me, I love him so much to the point I'd take a bullet for him and I would feel bad abandoning him even though he hates me. And fourth, I'm honestly just really scared. They've still got this hold on me and I hate it. I'm scared to stand up for myself because every time I did, I'd either get smacked or yelled at. My parents terrify me to no end and I feel like a fucking coward because I can't tell them that enough is enough and they shouldn't be treating me this way.

Sorry for the really long rant but I just needed to get that out and I just haven't known what to do. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated 😃. Thanks!
submitted by president_steaksauce to depression [link] [comments]

Thoughts on "Fixing The Infantry Meta" via increased spawn time and increased time to kill

tl;dr: People feel like Squad is too fast and aggressive. The level of aggression that is the most effective at winning game is directly tied to spawn timers. The only way to fix this is increase the spawn timers. Also, super deadly rifles mean the hard work of advancing slowly/carefully can too easily be undone, encouraging recklessness, and this must be changed alongside longer spawns.
This thread is a general reply to this very popular thread, and some well thought out posts within it.
A lot of people seem to feel "infantry meta" (what works and wins games for infantry), is not good. The most common description of what is wrong is something like "spawns are too important, spawns are too easy, and everyone just tries to respawn as fast as possible and rush at the point as fast as possible", as explained in some posts here, here, and here.
I think that this description of the way Squad plays out is accurate. Infantry in Squad do tend to play very aggressively and recklessly. But the question we have to ask before we can fix this is "why do players play like a flood?"
It's because it's what wins flags. Flooding means getting to the objective as fast as possible with the most amount of bodies possible. This strategy cannot be defeated by "playing slowly", because the only response to a large amount of bodies moving as fast as they can, is an equal amount of bodies moving as fast as they can.
The game mode of AAS requires that you either meet the enemy head on, or give up flags, which are worth tickets. There is no time or space to setup a trap to outwit this charging beast. You either match the enemy's reckless flood with your own, or you lose.
To make this clear: Flooding does not amount to "throwing away tickets" it is more like "overwhelming the enemy" - Aggression will rack up very good positive kill ratios against slower enemies by dropping FOBs in every which way direction, getting to good ground before their slower enemies, and encircling them. It only feels like "throwing away tickets" when the enemy is doing it better.
This is a direct consequence of the way AAS, hell, any symmetrical battle works, and I think attempts to fix it by messing with flag mechanics is bound to fail. Squad (and PR's) history is full of attempts by the developers to fuck with the flag mechanics in an effort to respond to problems, and it really never changes anything for the better.
Modifying AAS flag value basically has a binary outcome: "Are flags worth getting, or are they not worth getting?" If the answer is "they're worth it" - then flooding is going to be the superior strategy, because the "slow and careful" strategy will just amount to losing flags. The other option of "flags aren't worth it" will just make the game pointless and confusing. What the hell does it mean for there to be a gamemode whose only objective is not worth fighting over? What kind of attack involves trying to take an objective, but is also willing to turn around and go home? Either a flag is worth dying over or it isn't, and if it isn't the game feels completely aimless.
We can't mess with flag mechanics, because flooding being rewarded is the exact same thing as a flag actually being worth fighting over, and AAS only makes sense as long as flags are worth fighting over.
So maybe ticket count is the answer? What if we cut the tickets per side in half? Each death would be worth more, so players would avoid death more? My answer is no, all it would do is reduce the length of the game.
Again, flooding is what earns flags, because flags are worth dying for. The team that does not play aggressively, the team that is not willing to die for a flag is doing nothing but giving up flags. The tactic of "wait, hold up.. don't rush in there" will more often amount to simply allowing the aggressive enemy rushers to gain free ground, time, and tickets. Lower ticket Squad games will just be shorter Squad games.
So how about FOBs? If players are willing to give up really easily, it's often only because there exist many good spawn options for them. What if we reduced the amount of allowed FOBs on the map or something?
Again, flooding the enemy with the most amount of mass and speed possible is what has the most power. Simply reducing the flood's options will not make the flood weaker, it will just localize it. Instead of having lots of FOBs in lots of directions, we will find that games are now won and loss on the basis of the few allowed fobs on the map. But attacking those FOBs will still be done on the basis of flooding it with the most infantry possible. The problem will not be solved, in fact it will probably be worse, because less FOBs will mean less strategic options.
If it isn't FOBs or flags, then what is it? What could make Squad feel less like you're just charging headlong into fire, and more like a tactical shooter where you need to slowly and carefully defeat an enemy in a firefight where you value your life?
It is spawn time. The flood is not what we want to get rid of, because we can't. We need to control it. Slow down its flowrate.
As soon as you increase the spawntime in Squad, the level of aggression, or, the flowrate of the flood goes down. If you've ever played a "one life event" you will understand that the level of aggression that is the most successful in that game is wildly different from regular Squad's, and, it doesn't "break the game." In fact, it's really fun.
Anyone who values their life in Squad right now will quickly realize that they are wasting their time, because the players who don't have returned to fight them within a minute or two, and in that time, the slower player probably hasn't gained any ground at all. The Flood is all about rate of infantry respawning, and the only way to curb this is longer spawns.
This is a difficult thing to realize, because it is not a "quick fix" - there is a serious penalty to anyone playing the game that they need to either deal with, or just enjoy it for what it is. Personally, I like slow games with some downtime so I can think to myself, but for many people it is too much.
What I propose is that we start small. Change the default FOB respawn time to 75 seconds and see what happens. It will be subtle, but players may adapt by not giving up their lives so easily, and maybe even sticking with their medics and squad leaders more. Squad leaders may be less inclined to treat their infantry as disposable and be more likely to lead them tactically.
Players who play slowly and get some kills will then create space and time to then take advantage of. Right now, because spawns are so fast, there is very little space and created by kills ,so you have to rush and be fast to fit into that tiny space and time.
In addition to this change, I think it would be prudent to increase the time to kill on players. Currently in Squad guns are very, very accurate, easy to handle, and kill within 2 or 3 bullets to even the legs or arms.
This fact makes playing slowly less likely to succeed, because your life can disappear so quickly, that any one little mistake or random chance can undo all of the work you have done, advancing slowly and carefully. Very fast kill times encourage recklessness, because at least when you die instantly, there is not much time lost.
What I propose is that the general weapon handling (sight in time, weapon sway, recoil) be made slightly worse, and the modifier for limb shots be changed so that intermediate rifles (AK-74/M4) kill in 4 shots to the limbs, and 3 shots to the stomach, as opposed to the 3 and 2 we have now.
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THE TRUTH ABOUT BINARY OPTIONS - YouTube

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