Random Stuff

Bowling Update – End Of Sept

by Tass on Sep.30, 2010, under Personal, Random Stuff

So my main league is Wednesday nights. I’ve also been filling in on my father’s team Tuesday nights, until they find someone to replace me… which I doubt will happen. So, I’m bowling 2 leagues back-to-back nights. My goal is to average 215+. I’ll be happy with anything over 210, but 215 is what I’m shooting for. My highest book average is only 208, and that was 4 years ago (I’ve been battling hand injuries pretty much ever since, and my hand finally feels great again). So, I’ve been keeping track of my scores in both leagues, and figured I’d share the progress with you:

I’m pretty much right on track for 215, and overall I feel like I’m not bowling my best. So we’ll see where things go from here… the seasons are early, and averages can still move a lot in a short period of time. Also, another goal would be to shoot 600+ every series… not a very realistic goal, but so far so good.

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Gave My Dad A Whoopin’

by Tass on Sep.05, 2010, under Personal, Random Stuff

It’s been a long time since my father has been better than me at sports. Probably since I was 14, maybe 15 (depending on the sport). However, he still greatly enjoys the competition. Over the course of the summer, I’m somewhere around 40-3 in basketball… maybe 100-12 in bowling (scratch; I do give him handicap, since we bet on the games)… and 6-0 in baseball (by a combined score of ~95-3).

Today, however, marked a new level of beatdown in our 1-sided battles. The final score of our baseball game was 27-0. We play by a 10-run rule, but I scored 23 runs in 1 inning… and only ended the inning because I was bored and tired, so I switched to batting right handed… and still got 2 hits before being retired. We play 1 out per inning, the game lasted 4 innings. I offered him the ability to quit multiple times, but he’s stubborn and wouldn’t. Maybe next time I won’t be so nice and will keep going until he legitimately gets me out.

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Giving Handicaps In Sports

by Tass on Sep.04, 2010, under Personal, Random Stuff

I love bowling. I’ve talked about it before in my blog. When I was in LA, I bowled in 3 different scratch leagues. A scratch league means that there is no handicap given to even out the differences in skill between the teams. 1 league was a singles league and the other 2 were team leagues (3 and 4 man, respectively). I really like scratch bowling, for 3 main reasons. 1) I’m a pretty good bowler, and am confident in my abilities to be competitive. 2) I want to push myself every single game to win and improve. 3) If I am going to lose, I want it to be because I was beaten, not because my opponent bowled slightly over his average… winning scratch but losing because of handicap is unbelievably frustrating.

Most handicap bowling leagues use some variation of a 90% differential. This means that if you have 5 man teams with 100 pins difference in average, the inferior team is only losing 2 pins per person over 150-200 pins. Aka, about 1%. Figure at absolute most, you’re down 3%. I’ll leave the statistical variance calculations to someone else, but it’s clear that that is extremely minimal. In poker, 53% vs 47% is still referred to as a coin flip. And that’s what 90% handicap leagues are, mostly… coin flips, at least for individual games. In the long run, that 3% edge widens (and 3% is a very generous number), but it still gives way too much help to inferior teams on a week by week basis. I don’t understand the 90% handicap except in a youth league, where the goal is to make things fair and even for everyone. In a money league, where tens of thousands of dollars are being put into the pool, it should be more about skill and less about luck; for anyone to want it to be so heavily luck based is extremely illogical and baffling to me.

My belief is that, just like in scratch leagues or any professional sport, the best teams SHOULD win. Just because the St. Louis Rams or the Pittsburgh Pirates have been terrible for years doesn’t mean they stop playing… they still go out there and compete, even though their odds of winning are far less than 47%. However in bowling, I keep getting told that nobody will bowl in a 70% handicap league (or scratch) because all the “bad” bowlers will leave. This was not the case in LA… many people liked the challenge, even though they knew they had no shot (and the good bowlers liked the bad bowlers because they were free money). I suggested a 70% handicap for the league I’m currently in (which is the supposed “big boy” league of my area), and I was shot down by more than 90% of the league; good and bad bowlers alike. It makes me sad.

What are your thoughts on handicap in sports? And to note… the only time I find handicap acceptable is when it’s for wagering on a game-by-game basis, and even then I wouldn’t ever give an opponent 90% of our difference (I usually give 80%, if it can be calculated).

tl;dr version: the majority of the people in my league are giant pussies that either aren’t confident in their abilities, don’t want a competitive environment, or are afraid to challenge themselves with superior competition.

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The Long Tail

by Tass on Aug.31, 2010, under Personal, Random Stuff, Statistics

The summer has been pretty good, business wise. Since June 1st, I’ve released 54 videos. I’ve done 11.3 million views. No individual day was under 85,000. And only 1 video released during that span has done 300,000 views. How is that good, you ask?

To me, my business is all about the long tail. The bigger my long tail, the better I’ll do. Sure, big hit videos give short term spikes in views… but it’s the long tail that keeps the ship afloat. Despite only having 3 videos over 500,000 views released in the past 6 months (out of 21 total, none of the 3 in my top 14), my long tail continues to increase. A few videos released over a year ago continue to bring in 1-2k views/day… and believe me, over 500+ videos, it all starts adding up.

It’s hard to judge the line between the power of the new release and the long tail, when viewing things as a whole… so it is important to keep releasing content. But some interesting tidbits for you… as per data publicly available on TubeMogel.com: Shaytards‘ top 10 most viewed videos for yesterday were 74% of his total views (622k/838k). VenetianPrincess‘ are 89% (282k/317k). Sxephil only had 280k views yesterday because he hadn’t released a video since Thursday. My top10, however, only resulted in 34% of my views (44.8k/130k). What does this mean? It means that if many of the top vloggers on YouTube stopped, they would instantly lose their popularity and daily views; I, on the other hand, have a nice long tail and will continue to get a solid amount of traffic for a long, long time even if I didn’t release another video.

So while I’ll never do the overall volume that the top channels do, I have the nice position of knowing that if I want to take a break, I won’t suffer that greatly in revenue, as opposed to many others who are bound to constantly release new content.

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My Life Since Moving Back To Philly

by Tass on Aug.29, 2010, under Personal, Random Stuff

Things have been fairly busy since moving back 2 months ago. I’ve been wined and dined by family and friends to the point that I’ve gained 10+ pounds (to a whopping 150!). To balance that, I’ve been playing an awful lot of basketball with my father… who while is not the best competition, still provides a solid workout. And lots of bowling, of course… my league starts this Wednesday.

Also many members of Whorli’s family have visited. Her brother flew with us on the initial move, to carry a cat for us and help with things. Her sister was with us for 2 weeks while attending a summer program at a local university for high school kids. And her grandparents just left after being with us for a few days, headed on a cruise to Canada.

To top all that off, I still don’t have a car. Hopefully that will be fixed soon.

All in all, things have been fairly busy, plus work is going nicely. It’s a different pace from when I was in LA.

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Tassistants Wanted

by Tass on Aug.26, 2010, under Personal, Random Stuff, Site Stuff, Walkthrough, youtube

From time to time I need assistance in creating the walkthroughs that I make. Either from lack of skill, time, whatever… reason isn’t important.

I have a large number of people who I trust that help me when all I need is a solution that I can duplicate after having it explained or shown to me. However, I only have a small number of people who are able to assist me should I need them to create raw video themselves.

That is what I’m looking for. To increase my list of possible assistants for whenever a project comes along that I need someone else to do the recording.

What you need to do:
-Email a resume to Tasselfoot@gmail.com explaining your gaming skills. Include accomplishments, badges earned, speedruns, etc. Examples of your videos are highly encouraged.
-Tell me a bit about yourself.
-You must demonstrate the ability to record both high quality video and in-game audio (not from a microphone).

What I’m offering:
-Sporadic paid contracted work. Either a flat per level fee or a CPM on the game’s video views.
-The chance to play games before they are released

Use the above email if you have any questions.

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How To Play Games For The Purpose Of Making Walkthroughs

by Tass on Jul.29, 2010, under Personal, Random Stuff, Walkthrough

I was talking with my family over dinner about my process for walkthrough creation, and it dawned on me that there are 3 very specific steps in the process.

Step 1: Exploration. The first time through a level or game, it’s all about figuring out HOW to beat it. Whether it is a tricky level late in a game or a point and click adventure, the first step towards showing others how to beat it is to do so yourself. This is not always easy, and I often find myself trying many different methods in an attempt to find the correct one. For point and clicks, this usually involves randomly clicking everywhere in the game with everything in my inventory, along with trying to combine anything with something else… whatever I can do to progress in the usually linear nature of the game. In level-based puzzle games, this means trying every route available or clicking pieces in every possible combination or firing a projectile at many different angles/strengths. The goal is always the same… find a way to solve the level/game.

Step 2: Memorization. Once you know how to beat a level or game, you need to do it in a way that clearly shows others how to do it as well. In a level-based game, you want the solution to each level to be fluid. You do not want pauses, mistakes, backtracks, misclicks, or extra moves shown… this will confuse someone trying to copy you. The same is true in a full-game video. To do this, you need to run through the game or level multiple times until you have it memorized and can do it without making a mistake. I will often record my memorization playthroughs, as I will do them without a break to keep the solutions fresh in my mind. Then, when I have it down, I easily transition from memorization into the 3rd step…

Step 3: Optimization. This goes hand in hand with memorization, but merits its own step. Memorization has no specified number of attempts to it, but when it is done correctly, it IS the Optimized run that I will upload. It is also during the memorization runs that I will look to fine-tune my method, so that the final optimized product is as flawless and close to optimal as possible. A walkthrough should not just show the solution, it should be of a level of success and mastery that people strive to match or surpass it. Anyone can record themselves beating a game; a walkthrough should be something you’re proud of… an accomplishment of your victory over that particular game.

Well, that’s at least how I do it.

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Back To Reality

by Tass on Jul.02, 2010, under Personal, Random Stuff, Tasselfoot Studios, Upcoming Games

Finally have my desktop set up in Philly. Thankfully, nothing important broke. Just 2 bookshelves and a table. We’re also missing a box, but not sure what’s in it.

Bidding should close on Ditloid in the next week.

Have a few other small games in the design phase that should start being made this month. A satire game that will be kinda similar to Take Something Literally, a 1-screen platformer, and a upgrade-distance type game.

This also means that my walkthroughs will return to their 100% quality, as opposed to the 80-85% quality (my terms) that I was getting from Whorli’s laptop.

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More Milestones + Update

by Tass on Jun.07, 2010, under game design, Personal, Random Stuff, Tasselfoot Studios, Walkthrough, youtube

Over the weekend, I had my 4th video hit 1 million views. This is the first video to hit 1+ mil that is not a fully self-contained walkthrough; instead, it is 50% of my Wake the Royalty walkthrough. The other half has 944k views and should hit 1 million sometime this summer.

Recently, the total viewcount on YouTube has been lagging. It seems to only update every few days. So I’ve been tracking my viewcount through TubeMogel instead, which is not QUITE as accurate on the short-term, but is fairly damn accurate long-term. All TubeMogel does is take a snapshot of the viewcount on each video at midnight, then sums them all together for your account total. This is dependent on YouTube updating the counts, which is why it’s often off in the short-term… but it evens out to be only a very small margin of error in the long-term. That explanation aside, My viewcount on TubeMogel as of Midnight this morning was 39,950,000… which means sometime today I hit 40 million total views. Yay!

My desktop is still in the shop, for exactly 1 week now. Going to call tomorrow to see what’s going on. Tass is starting to get the DTs from sexy computer withdraw. Sadly, I’m going to have to be without my desktop again in 2 weeks. The moving truck is taking all our stuff on June 22nd, and is not expected to arrive in Philly until June 29th. That means 1 more full week with the craptop. *sigh*.

Oh… and in other news. My big game project has basically been on hold the past week because of the desktop issue. Which sucks. Probably won’t hit FGL until July at this rate. However, I’m designing another quick satirical game with Benologist; but because of both of us being busy this month, that won’t see the light of day until July either.

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A Hectic Morning

by Tass on Jun.01, 2010, under Flash, Flash Flash Revolution, Game, Personal, Random Stuff, Upcoming Games, Walkthrough

On Sunday, I woke up to a borked desktop. This sucked. I tried doing some basic troubleshooting, but it did not work… and because I’m terrible with hardware and my desktop is like my child… I didn’t want to mess with it too much. It’s under warranty, however the company is not open on Sundays (and was also closed for Memorial Day).

So I set my alarm for 8:30 this morning, so that I could call them nice and early and get my comp down to them ASAP. I called them and explained the situation. They said I could bring it in and they’d fix it. The place is in Pasadena, which is 44 miles away as per Google. It took 80 minutes, leaving at 9:15am… gotta love LA traffic. By 10:55, they diagnosed it as motherboard failure and they did not have a replacement in stock, but that new ones were already on order. So I said ok, and now have to sit and wait until they call me to say the mobos are in and that my sexiness is fixed.

I also had a lunch meeting with Troy/Maldon/Dawnerd scheduled for 12:30 in Santa Monica, which I wasn’t sure whether I’d make because of the computer. Since I was done in Pasadena by 11, I headed off to Santa Monica, which is 35 miles from Pasadena, as per Google. That took about 50 minutes; got in right around noon. My bowels were troubling me greatly, so I used the time to find a public bathroom… which is much harder to do than one would expect, as Santa Monica has tons and tons of foot traffic. I wound up meeting up with Troy at 12:40 and we grabbed Subway and chatted for about 45 minutes on the future of FFR and life in general. We’re both on the same page, and I think we have the basics of a deal worked out. This is good. :)

Then I needed to get back from Santa Monica to the Valley (San Fernando). Google was telling me to take the 405, which was displaying RED for traffic most of the way. I decided to take the PCH and Topanga Canyon instead, which probably took the same amount of time (40 minutes), but is peaceful, scenic, and fun to drive.

And now I am home, on Whorli’s laptop, trying to quickly download my video recording/editing software so that I can re-make a walkthrough that is stuck on my desktop and needs to be ready for a game’s release tomorrow. *sigh*.

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