Monday, December 29, 2014

Battle Camp has evolved into a money spinner

I have been playing Battle Camp for some time and sad to say, it has been evolving to a state where money is everything and game play is not important.

Why do I say that? Initially, battle camp was a lot on strategy. How do you combine different elements and different zodiacs to get different attack strategies. The zodiacs are random but pretty much you could get your first super quite easily.

Now? It has evolved tremendously to favour those who spends and to kick out those that don't, judging by the number of mentees (ie low level newbies) who left the game after 1 week of playing.

The facts:
  1. Previously you can pretty much get a Super if you work hard enough at the raids.

    Now, you dont get any supers regardless if it is a normal raid or hall raids.
  2. Previously you are encouraged to get different mobs as the bosses have different elements and attack differently. Different elements may get different reactions so its to your advantage to get different mobs of the same zodiac.

    Now, you have something stupid called TvT which doesnt have any of this abilities and can pretty much let anyone use less effort and get 5x more trophies than hitting the actual boss.
  3. Previously, the chance of you get a pretty decent monster from the spins at the store is quite ok. I got my ultras and epics from there.

    Now, you either get rares or specials.

What happens when you "feedback" to them? For point 2, they say that they will feedback to their team which they basically did nothing. For points 1 and 3, they blame it on chance and there is nothing they could do about it.

Seriously... Chance? Again, the facts. If it is really a game of chance, I won't be seeing the spins dropping at the exact same spot 5 out of 10 times. To me, in technical terms, it looks a lot like something called a weighted chance.

The concept of weighted chance is simple. You assign a certain weightage to all the items so some will get hit more often than others. It doesnt matter how many times you see an item being repeated because the weightage will overwrite it. Therefore personally, to me, the reply they gave is **.

What they can do to fix it? Very simple changes.
  1. Fix the chance issue for the raids and spins and give everyone a fair chance in getting their mobs. Getting the zodiacs aligned is already hard enough. Don't push it.
  2. Fix the TvT by limiting its effectiveness. If you really want the game to be balanced, limit the TvT to 5 energy per hit and boosters have no effect. Otherwise, you will get more trophies hitting just only TvT than hitting the boss. This will also give a fair chance to those who cannot hit the boss to get some trophies.
  3.  Stop changing rules halfway through the game. If you really want to inject an element of uncertainty, just do ONE change and that's it. Don't keep changing it as it gives an impression that you just want people to spend.

Seriously battle camp creators, do you think so many people are spending for the event? Just look at the hacks available for battle camp for Android. Sooner or later, your loyal players will leave.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

How I respond defines my character

I quote from Walter Anderson:
Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have - life itself.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Inflation is down 0.3%

These are the Singapore inflation rates for 2014:
January: 1.4%
February: 0.4%
March: 1.2%
April: 2.5%
May: 2.7%
June: 1.8% 
July: 1.2%
August: 0.9%
September: 0.6%
October: 0.1%
November: -0.3%

Both Food and Education & Stationery inflation again rose by 2.9% and 2.7% respectively year on year. Transport inflation trend continued from last month, going down by an amazing 5.3% in comparison to last month which was more than expected. Housing inflation has also dropped 1.2%. The transport inflation is the only reason why inflation went negative I believe.

Food inflation remained high, with almost all the food prices rising compared to last month. In fact, I believed due to the food inflation, the average inflation seems to be stubbornly stuck to 1.1% even though the transport and housing inflation was going down.

Unless there is a huge downward change in the housing and transport inflation, this year's inflation will most probably not go below 1%.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What is benign dictatorship?

Recently I heard this term "benign dictatorship" and I was wondering what does it mean. Apparently it was mentioned a long time ago about someone talking about the Canadian government. In case you're interested, let me quote from Harper and Flanagan which was back in 2011 if I am not wrong. It is quite self explanatory.
Although we like to think of ourselves as living in a mature democracy, we live, instead, in something little better than a benign dictatorship, not under a strict one-party rule, but under a one-party-plus system beset by the factionalism, regionalism and cronyism that accompany any such system. Our parliamentary government creates a concentrated power structure out of step with other aspects of society. For Canadian democracy to mature, Canadian citizens must face these facts, as citizens in other countries have, and update our political structures to reflect the diverse political aspirations of our diverse communities.


We are conservatives, and it is not our place to speculate at length about what the left could or should do. Yet voters on the left are as much entitled as voters on the right to effective elected representation. Electoral reform might well revive the left. It could, for example, lead to cooperation between the NDP and the left-leaning wing of the Liberals, perhaps producing a national social democratic vehicle with a genuine chance of governing, or at least participating in a coalition cabinet.

Of course, none of this can be foretold in detail; political change always produces unexpected and surprising consequences. But we believe there is good reason to think seriously along these lines. In today's democratic societies, organizations share power. Corporations, churches, universities, hospitals, even public sector bureaucracies make decisions through consultation, committees and consensus-building techniques. Only in politics do we still entrust power to a single faction expected to prevail every time over the opposition by sheer force of numbers. Even more anachronistically, we persist in structuring the governing team like a military regiment under a single commander with almost total power to appoint, discipline and expel subordinates.

Among major democracies, only Great Britain so ruthlessly concentrates power. In the United States, President Clinton cannot govern without making concessions to the Republicans in Congress. In Germany, Chancellor Kohl needs to keep the support not only of the CSU but of the Free Democrats. In France, the presidency and the national assembly are often controlled by different party coalitions. In most of the rest of Europe, proportional representation ensures that coalition governments routinely form cabinets. In Australia, the Liberal prime minister needs the National Party for a majority in the House of Representatives and, often, the support of additional parties to get legislation through the Senate. In New Zealand, which used to have a Canadian-style system of concentrated power, the voters rebelled against alternating Labour party and National party dictatorships: electoral reform now ensures coalition cabinets.

Many of Canada's problems stem from a winner-take-all style of politics that allows governments in Ottawa to impose measures abhorred by large areas of the country. The political system still reverberates from shock waves from Pierre Trudeau's imposition of the National Energy Program upon the West and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms upon Quebec. Modernizing Canadian politics would not only be good for conservatism, it might be the key to Canada's survival as a nation.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How could the rats problem only happened a month ago?

I normally do not take notice of such news but one comment made by the residents there made me sit up and take notice. The resident said that the rats only became a problem one month ago. That's ridiculous.

Rats normally take 20-25 days to give birth to a litter. More than 140 rodents have been caught as of Saturday night, and is still increasing. How could it be that the issue only happened last month?

What does this prove? This has happened for a long time and no one did anything about it. Meanwhile, the focus was only grass cutting and grass growing longer at one side of the road than the other. Isn't that weird?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Life is what you make it

I quote from Marilyn Monroe:
“This life is what you make it. No matter what, you're going to mess up sometimes, it's a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you're going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends - they'll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything - they're your true best friends. Don't let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they'll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them - actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can't give up because if you give up, you'll never find your soulmate. You'll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn't mean you're gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don't, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life's a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about.”

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Lightning is the next energy source?

Many many years ago, I have written in a forum about solar panels on HDB rooftops to help power some of the energy used in the daytime. Now that this has come to pass, I have recently thought about another energy source that is untapped... Lightning.

Lightning has the power to spark wildfires and kill, and climate change may lead to 50 per cent more of it by century's end. In Singapore, there are times where we have terrific lightning storms or lightning displays without thunder. Why can't we harness this energy to power our appliances?

Even for solar energy, many are trying to find a way to store the power during the day so that it could be used at night. Why can't the batteries be used to store the electrical charge from lightning so that it could be distributed out?

So now the next step forward is no longer about catching the energy from renewable resources. It's about what do you do with the energy after catching it. Once we crack this code, the energy that we consume can finally be self sustaining.

Don't you think so?

Friday, December 12, 2014

What is Stress?

I quote from Andrew Bernstein:
Stress is a byproduct of subconscious beliefs you have about the world. You can't choose not to believe something. You believe it because you think it's true. To eliminate stress, you must learn to challenge these beliefs so that you see them differently. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

A case of design over function?

Seems a bit too late for commenting on our National Stadium pitch, but all along when I read about the initial problems facing the pitch, only one thought is in my mind. It seems like it is a classic case of design over function.

In my line of work, I have corresponded with some interior designers and I've encountered similar situations. Do note that I'm not sterotyping but I have encountered more than once designers putting design aspects over functional or operational requirements, and giving the standard one liner that technology is so advanced now I'm sure you can resolve it. Seriously... If technology is so advanced right now, I do not need a car to get to work. I could "teleport" to my workplace immediately.

If those people that are in-charge of the operational and functional aspects of the solution did not say their piece, then in the end, they will realise that the designers have "sold" the idea of the "awesome looking" design to the senior management, leaving you to wonder how on earth the thing will work in that design.

The skill of the subject matter expert may be an issue here but seriously, anyone with common sense knows that if real grass is often trampled upon, it will not grow. Look at those soccer fields in schools. Look at those well trampled pathways along fields that are shortcuts to places where people always go. It's everywhere. I'm not sure how on earth they ever thought that grass that is being trampled almost every week will look great for those important events.

Not only that, looking at the design of the stadium, the stadium is not even fully open-air. How could plants grow in that kind of situation? Isn't that Science 101?

I don't need a degree for that. All I need is to apply simple common sense.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Live forward

I quote from Soren Kierkegaard:
Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Don't always look backwards in life because your life can only move forward. Therefore, live forward.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Taxi issue is also due to the taxi company

Recently I have realised that the focus has always been on the taxi drivers when we talk about availability of taxis. This to me is weird is because there are always 2 sides of the coin. Why only target the taxi drivers?

Look from the taxi drivers' perspective.
  1. They have to pay rent to the taxi companies.
  2. They have to pay for diesel regardless if they have passengers or not, and 
  3. They are forced to travel at least 250km daily even though Singapore is only even though Singapore is only 50km x 26km. 

Why are the taxi companies not going something about the taxi utilisation? That's because their job is to buy taxis and rent out to taxi drivers. Does it matter to them that they are hogging up the roads with many un-utilised taxis, or the livelihood of the taxi drivers as long as they get their rentals? I do not know.

The drivers should not be the only one penalised for this rule. The taxi companies should be ultimately responsible because the simple fact is that the taxis belong to the company.

If you need more taxis during peak periods, why don't you reduce the rental during that period so that more drivers are willing to drive during those periods?

If you need more taxis to have 2 shift periods, you can also reduce the rental if a taxi is shared by 2 or more drivers so that the taxi becomes well utilised.

All this is possible, but is the taxi company willing to do it? Not likely because it will affect their revenue. Unless... ...

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