Jan 22

Quarterstaff Walkthrough Level 2


Well, apparently a few people are still playing this game after all these years.. Google Analytics shows several searches for Quarterstaff walkthroughs, so I went ahead and uploaded the walkthrough for the second level of the game. I still need to upload the related pages for Armour listings and the specifics of the Granite Statue fight.. in my opinion one of the most interesting and challenging fights in any RPG to date. Because of the fact that players don’t gain XP or levels, and all weapons eventually break, players have to think seriously as to if each fight in the game is worth the resources and time.. and the ~1000HP Granite Statue is by a good margin the toughest fight in the game.

Jan 18

Origami Dragon

Dragon Diagram 101

Click on the image to view the diagrams.


Ok, I have to admit it.. this particular project is neither game design or theorycrafting related. There is, however, a very strong relationship between Origami and mathematics, and many of the modern super-technical Origami model designers are Physicists, Engineers, Mathematicians, etc.

During high school and college I was very dedicated to Origami, and spent hundreds of hours folding and designing models (the most promising of which is the Dragon). At the time, I intended to eventually write a book, and so never distributed the few models I designed. Unfortunately, thanks to developing tendonitis in both hands, I don’t do enough folding and design work anymore to warrant holding onto this model for eventual book publication. So, I’ve uploaded all 100 steps of the model here, and if there’s interest, I’ll upload what I have of diagrams for a few other models I designed over the years.

This is actually the fourth version of the Dragon model I designed. I especially enjoy trying to design fantastic/mythological creatures, as they often provide unique challenges and are more open to artistic interpretation than models of existing creatures. In particular, with this dragon I really wanted something with shoulder-positioned wings. Many of the other dragon models out there have wings erupting from the middle of the back, or even have wings connected to the forearms (more like the anatomy of birds or bats), but aesthetically I’ve always felt like a dragon’s wings should erupt from their shoulders. The design style draws a number of elements from two of my favorite designers: John Montroll and Jun Maekawa, and folders familiar with the models of these two masters will probably spot the similarities. Note: I am not in any way attempting to claim that my folding and designing skills are on par with either of these master folders, but rather that I drew a lot of inspiration from their vast collection of models, particularly Montroll’s early open back designs (from Origami For The Enthusiast through Mythological Creatures And The Chinese Zodiac In Origami), and Maekawa’s Winged Devil in Genuine Origami.

Although there are aspects of the dragon model I like quite a lot, for example the sinuous length of the neck and tail, and the shoulder-positioned wings, there are of course a few aspects that I have never been satisfied with (which is why I am still slowly working on a fifth version). The wings, for example, are smaller than I would really like, and I did have to make one concession when it came to economy of (paper) space: there is one point that simply gets folded inside the body of the model, and it serves no purpose. I briefly toyed with the idea of making the point erupt out of the back of the dragon and somehow forming it into a rider, but I could never manage anything that I liked with that regard. For those interested in the design itself, the crease pattern for the model is below.


Oct 29

Quarterstaff Tomb of the Setmoth


One of my first experiences with the Fantasy Role-Playing Game genre, Quarterstaff will always be one of my favorite games. It still holds up reasonably well, too, partly because of the need for resource management and the lack of ‘leveling’ mechanics in the game. A player can go in hack-and-slash, killing everything, only to eventually realize that some of those ‘foes’ would have probably joined his/her party instead.. or a player can spend hours and hours exploring, only to eventually discover that they’ve completely run out of food, water, or light sources.

For those interested in still trying to play a game from 1988, I can verify that it runs near-flawlessly under OS9 emulation via Sheepshaver. There are two items to note, however. First, the game sound effects won’t work. Those use pre-system-7-sound files, which will only work under OS6. Fortunately, the game does not crash when attempting to play these sound files, as frequently happens with other old Mac games running under emulation. Second, DO NOT play this game with a scroll mouse. The emulator/game seems to treat the mouse wheel scroll as character return, usually rapidly skipping you through dozens of game turns with a spin.

Although I have only uploaded the first section of the game walkthrough so far, I have all but the final game level completed, which I will eventually upload here. If there is still interest out there in this game and walkthrough, though, I might be persuaded to hasten that process.

Oct 11

Diablo 3 Monk Survivability Model v1.1.1


The big change with v1.1.1 is the model now outputs a new ‘DPS Attribute Estimates’ section, showing the relative value of each applicable stat for increasing your (single-target) DPS, displayed either in DPS or as a number of Dexterity-equivalents (selectable).

To complement this new feature, the item comparison tool now also outputs the DPS value of the item(s) entered, and has several new fields to allow for inputting bonus damage, crit chance, and crit damage.

I still need to figure out how to add main and off-hand weapon options to the item comparison tool, without really adding a lot of new fields to each. I’d welcome some suggestions on how to best accomplish that.

Sep 20

Diablo 3 Monk Survivability Model v1.0.9


This update includes all of the various skill changes detailed in the upcoming Diablo 3 Patch 1.0.5 notes, including:

  • Resolve – Damage reduction reduced from 25% to 20%
  • Seize the Initiative – Conversion of Dexterity to Armor reduced from 100% to 50%
  • War Cry Skill Rune – Impunity – Bonus resistance reduced from 50% to 20%
  • Enchantress – Powered Armor – Armor bonus reduced from 15% to 5%
  • Beacon of Ytar – Cooldown reduction increased from 15% to 20%
  • All mob damage reduced by ~25% – The default enemy settings fields have been adjusted to compensate.

I also adjusted the enemy level field slightly.. it now goes from 60-63. I am still not certain on the correct level for elites/champions in each Act of Inferno, however from the patch notes it sounds like at least *some* mobs are level 63, in direct opposition of developer Jay Wilson’s comments shortly after release that all Inferno mobs are level 61.

Finally, this update fixed a bug with the Scoundrel buff Anatomy not being properly applied.

Sep 09

Diablo 3 Monk Survivability Model v1.0.8


v1.0.8 fixes a few bugs that were identified with the 1.0.7 model, and also (finally) adds Cyclone Rune DPS mechanics and proc rates. Bug fixes include:

Bug fix related to how the model calculates averaged attack speed when dual-wielding weapons of different speeds. Thanks to Septemvri for this.

Bug fix related to the cookie not storing the Crit Damage field data.

For the Cyclone Rune coding, I still am not 100% sure on the interaction between Faith in the Light and Cyclone (i.e. does Faith in the Light apply to all Cyclone damage like it does for Sweeping Wind, or only Cyclones that spawn while the 3sec Faith in the Light buff is up). The model currently uses the latter mechanic, although I’d welcome anyone who can provide quantitative data to verify this interaction.

I also still need to figure out how to model the Blazing Fists Rune mechanics.. I’d welcome any suggestions on how to be accurate with it. Also still missing is modeling for Mystic Ally DPS, although that one shouldn’t be a problem.

Sep 05

Diablo 3 Monk Survivability Model v1.0.7


This update contains two fairly important changes.. the first being two bugfixes to the value of Block value. Thanks to testing by Ucross and others, it became apparent that the model was not accurately determining the relative value of block.

The other big update, though, is the addition of a feature I’ve been working on for weeks.. a first attempt at a ‘true’ DPS estimate for Monks, combining the built-in attack speed and damage modifiers of Primary attacks, with the short-duration Faith in the Light buff, Sweeping Wind damage, the Mantra of Conviction, etc. The results so far have been very promising, but definitely need more testing/checking.

First, the character sheet doesn’t include a lot of Monk damage sources (e.g. the built-in attack speed and damage modifiers on Primaries, Sweeping Wind damage, Mantra of Conviction, etc.) , so that right there makes things difficult to fully test.

Second, the character sheet does some odd rounding internally (rounding that I do not believe is consistent with actual in-game DPS), so some values are going to be a little off.

Third, short-duration buffs like Faith in the Light are being averaged in the model, so your DPS from them is of course lower than your character sheet value while they are up. Note: yes, Sweeping Wind does correctly retain the Faith in the Light buff.

Fourth, as the Asian Gamer site mentions, the +%damage stat causes problems due to rounding on the character sheet. By using the DPS value for each weapon rather than the min-max damage range I have very slightly increased accuracy over the Asian Gamer site in this regard, but it is definitely not 100% accurate. For reference, the Asian Gamer site is accurate here to +/- 0.5 of both min and max damage, while the model is accurate to within +/- 0.05 DPS. Note: this may seem like a small margin of error, but remember that base damage is getting multiplied 15-30x, making even small error in weapon damage produce a noticeable difference in total DPS.

As always, I would really welcome some testing and feedback on the DPS estimate feature (and related Life Steal values).

Aug 20

Diablo 3 Monk Survivability Model v1.0.6


Well, this update isn’t as intensive as I was hoping for, however in light of the Diablo 3 Patch 1.0.4 release today I felt it was important to put this out. The changes for this version are as follows:

  1. Crippling Wave and Way of the Hundred Fists Spirit per hit values are increased, as per the Patch 1.0.4 notes.
  2. Exalted Soul is now included as a Passive Skill, as it now provides 1 Spirit per second as per the Patch 1.0.4 notes.
  3. Blinding Flash and related runes are added. The (base) skill is treated as giving the (elite) target a 30% miss chance for 3 seconds per CD.
  4. Added the Focused Mind enchantress buff. I know there are other increased attack speed buffs and runes I still need to add.
  5. Preliminary support is added for Sweeping Wind and related runes. Checking the box for this skill doesn’t currently really do anything, other than output a new line about ramp-up time (the Inner Storm rune works fine, though). I am still in the process of figuring out how to code a ‘true DPS’ measurement for Monks.. one that would combine character sheet DPS with the true attack speed and weapon damage of the various primary attacks, along with an accurate reflection of Sweeping Wind, Mantra of Conviction, and other damage buffs not included on the character sheet. At this point, I’m hopeful to have it finished by next week.

Aug 19

Dominion Card Picker v1.1.5


The major change for this version is of course the addition of Dark Ages cards. Currently, about 50% of the complete Dark Ages set is included in the card picker, as these are the only cards with images available on dominion.dierstraights.com. I also added a few redundancy filters related to Dark Ages, including making sure that cards with on-trash abilities will be useful.

One important note if you do use the Dark Ages cards, though. You’ll want to turn off the ‘minimize the 5/2 vs. 4/3 split variation’ checkbox.. that feature uses Councilroom.com data (which comes from Isotropic) to evaluate the strength of each opener, and of course there is no data for Dark Ages cards (and probably won’t be).

I also plan on adding a feature to randomize using the Dark Ages Hovel, Necropolis, and Overgrown Estate cards. If anyone has any suggestions for game state conditions to include these cards for, I’d welcome them. The rulebook suggests selecting if these will be used in a manner similar to deciding if Colonies/Platinum will be used.

Jul 29

Diablo 3 Monk Survivability Model v1.0.5


v1.0.5 of the Monk Survivability model includes three major changes:

With the discovery that the character sheet (details screen) attack speed value only represents the main-hand attack speed, I was forced to add several new fields to the calculator. So, the calculator now correctly determines the true attack speed for both hands, and is also able to determine the relative value of the Increased Attack Speed % stat. Fields for Increased Attack Speed are now also included in the item comparison tool. This does mean that users now need to actually look at their gear to enter a few of the calculator values. The main hand and off hand attack speeds come directly from the item, and the ‘increased attack speed %’ field requires the user to add up all attack speed modifiers on their gear (except those on their weapons).

Thanks to some feedback on the calculator, I switched the ‘item is being worn’ checkbox output very slightly. When checked, the item comparison tool will now report a value that can be either positive or negative.. this value is how much better or worse item 2 than the item being worn (item 1).

I also added checkboxes to handle the Scoundrel Anatomy bonus as well as the two Barbarian shouts, including all applicable runes.

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