Saturday, July 29, 2017

Some Splatoon 2 reminders from RubbaChikin.

For those of you that might be playing Splatoon 2, I thought I would post a list of reminders from before, and a few new tips about the new parts of the game.

Here were the regular tips, changes are in red, photos are new.

1. Regular mode (Turf War) is just making sure you have inked more territory than the other team. Use your map to find out if there are places that really need ink. Now the map is accessed by the "X" button.

2. In the Ranked mode Splat Zone mode on maps that have two splat zones, have two people cover each one. This is less important now, as the new maps seem to either have one zone or put the two closer together.

3. In the Ranked mode Tower Control, it doesn’t do much good to just run around and paint stuff without a plan.Get the tower, hold the tower, make a path for the tower. Use the dotted line to figure out where the tower is headed. You can’t just run around the tower shooting at it – at some point someone on your team has to get on the tower. Blasters have become extremely effective at clearing the tower of enemies. Using the longer paths to go around the tower won't help. The tower now stops at checkpoints.

4. If you’re using any of the Nozzlenose weapons in Tower Control, you may find it rather difficult unless you’re extremely accurate. If you’re used to that weapon in regular mode, you may find it easier to use one of the Sloshers for Tower Control. The Nozzlenose now has better secondary weapons to make up for its minor problems. 

5. In Rainmaker mode – have the Rainmaker before you push forward through the map, and make sure the person with the Rainmaker is safe. If you have the Rainmaker and no teammates nearby, use the “C’mon” call by pressing up on the D-Pad to call them. The Rainmaker is much less destructive than before, making it that much more important to protect the team member with the Rainmaker.

6. In Rainmaker mode – No lounging around! You can only use the weapon for a limited time.

7. It's a team game, play it like one. Nobody cares how many frags you get if your team loses.

8. Don't let go of the objective during overtime! If you do, it's GAME OVER!

9. In all of the modes, don't place squid beacons near your base. You can already jump to it by opening the map with the X button, holding down on the D-Pad, and then pressing the "A" button.

10. Put down an ink mine or suction bomb on the tower if you're rushing it or defending it. Ink mines are no longer as powerful, but they do allow you to see where the enemy is. 

11. Sloshers are very good for covering the walls and ground. Use this to get your players with longer range weapons to higher ground.

12. Any weapon that you have to charge is SUPER slow when charging midair so don't try to start charging midair if there is an enemy below you. Fire off a shot or two so you can get to the ground safely and then worry about charging or attacking.

13. In all of the modes, if your weapon has seekers curling bombs and there are no enemies around it, swim right behind it. It is good stealth without losing much speed from the ninja squid ability. Seekers were removed in Splatoon 2. The new curling bombs do not home in any way but they do bounce off of walls. The ninja squid ability is slower than it used to be except when climbing walls.

14. Make sure before you super jump that you are not going to get killed right as you land. Hey - ever heard of "Look before you leap"? Also, the new ability allows you to roll once you land.

15. If you're playing one of the objective-based Ranked Mode matches, do not go off and paint stuff! Your super meter will fill plenty if you keep in the battle and watch for hazards. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Records are made to be broken, Part 2.

The World Rubik's Cube Championship (July 13-16) only had a couple of records broken, but sported a major upset. Complete results are here.

For the records, the new record average for 3x3x3 One Handed was taken by Max Park at 10.31 seconds. His times were (12.71), (9.76), 9.77, 10.15, 11.01. The times in parentheses are the high and low times that get removed, the remaining three times are averaged. This beats his own record by 0.28 seconds, and keeps him faster than Feliks Zemdegs' best average by 0.39 seconds. Feliks still has the WR single at 6.88 seconds.

The other record broken was the average for Pyraminx, with Drew Brads beating his own record by .1 seconds, taking his already amazing 2.14 average down to 2.04 seconds. His times were (1.52), 1.70, 2.26, (3.21), and 2.17.

Drew already knew where he'd have to be to beat his own record, so naturally he was rather excited on that last solve.

As far as the major upset goes, this was the first time that Felixs did not make the podium in 3x3x3. It's not like he did horrible, 4th place is still not too shabby. It's still 5 times as fast as I regularly go. What I suspect is starting to happen is that cube times are starting to get low enough that we're going to see more of who's the best on any given day, as opposed to dominance by whoever is in the best overall shape and is solving the most efficiently with the best hardware. That's not to say that there isn't still room for improvement, but more people are able to get to that level than there used to be.

I was hoping to get out to another cube event soon myself, but I was too slow on signing up for a rather popular event, so it may be a while before I compete again. I'm not concerned, it will give me more time to practice.

GIANT EDIT: It would appear that thanks to either lack of sleep or focus, I skipped the part where Felix Zemdegs got new WR's in early rounds that weren't the final with:

5x5x5 Single 38.52 WR Average 46.24 WR (53.69) 50.99 (38.52) 43.25 44.48 (SECOND ROUND)
6x6x6 Single 1:20.03 WR Average 1:27.79 WR 1:28.00 1.35.33 1.20.03 (FIRST ROUND)
7x7x7 Single 2:06.73 WR Average 2:15.07 WR 2:06.73 2:24.32 2:14.15 (FIRST ROUND)

For puzzles larger than 5x5x5, you get three attempts only and none are thrown out.

Word is, Feliks has been doing a lot better on 5x5x5 and 6x6x6 since getting some magnetic versions of those puzzles from Speedcubeshop.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Records are made to be broken.

While I have some stuff to talk about for cubing for myself, I thought that since there had been so much excitement around the record times in the last two months that I should mention some of it.

Sebastian Weyer had recently posted the first official sub-20 4x4x4 solve (19.41 seconds) at Berlin Summer Cube Days 2017 June 10-11, after Felixs had held the single record of 21.54 for 4x4x4 since 2015.

Sebastian has always been very competitive in this event, and is currently second in the world now - because Felixs had to take back the single record on June 22 in Arequipa, Peru at their Latin America Cubing tour event.

At the moment, Sebastian Weyer still holds the average record of 23.03 for 4x4x4, a full second and a half faster than Feliks' best average of 24.57

I had mentioned that at the end of April, that Max Park had overtaken Feliks Zemdegs' long-standing Ao5 3x3x3 cube record. Feliks traveled to Chía, Colombia for the Chía 2017 on June 28 and 29, another part of the Latin America Cubing tour. This was a very large competition with over 200 competitors in the 3x3x3 division. Most of them were from Colombia, but a handful were from nearby countries (Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador) and another handful were from not so nearby countries (Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada).

In the first round, Feliks posted an average of 5.97 seconds, substantially below the previous record of 6.39 seconds.

Feliks had actually done better than this at home practicing but had not as yet managed to get a time as good as that at a competition.

At the Chía event, Feliks also bested his world record single on 5x5x5 to bring it down to 41.24 seconds.
Feliks has completely dominated 5x5x5 since 2010, having had the record nearly the entire time since 2010, with only a small gap between April and September 2012 when Yu Nakajima of Japan and Kristopher De Asis of Canada breifly held the record for the single. In the same time period, Feliks has held the average record the entire time.

So, now that Feliks has taken those back - of the 33 current official WCA records, Feliks holds 9 of them.

Note - I typed this a few days ago, and this could change by the time you read it because today is the second day of the US Nationals taking place in Fort Wayne, Indiana.