Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Farm Report: Harvest Moon - 1st Spring

I've started playing a few different farming games recently. It started with Farmville 2, then WoW farming, and then I bought a Harvest Moon game (Back to Nature)to play on the train to and from work. I haven't played a Harvest Moon game since Harvest Moon 64 for the Nintendo 64 many years ago. Fortunately I still remember a bit about the games and that seems to have helped me starting off.

I made two mistakes in the first season of the game. The first was not buying seeds on my first day, since the market was closed on the second day (it's closed on Tuesdays). This set my gardening back by two days, which slowed down my ability to reinvest in my farming. The second mistake was I upgraded my axe first, which doesn't actually have any ability to improve my immediate farming ability. Getting the watering can upgraded would have simplified my watering process and upgrading the hammer would have let me clear out some more portions of my field.

I planted some cucumbers because they were a recurring crop and then invested the rest of my money into potatoes and turnips, which are cheaper, single-harvest crops. I was also able to get four patches of grass planted so that I'll be ready to start investing in animals come summer. While I didn't have many crops initially, I spent much of my time in the mine to get extra money and some items to sell. Having upgraded my axe I also made sure to go to the hills to break up stumps for lumber for future house upgrades.

I was able to get my hammer and watering can upgraded near the end of spring. Quite fortunately it rained one of the days my watering can was out for upgrades (it takes 3 days for them to upgrade an item) so my farming wasn't set behind so bad.

My plan for summer is to harvest a ton of crops and invest in animals, so I can have a sizable stable come Winter when you can't plan crops without a greenhouse/hothouse. To that end I'm setting up two animal areas, one for sheep/cows and another for chickens (their building aren't next to each other like the were in Harvest Moon 64. I also hope to start the path down romance during the summer.

I've never played this particular Harvest Moon before. This one, Back to Nature, came out for the PS1 8 months to ~1 year after Harvest Moon 64 was released. As such the two games play very similarly and seems to share many assets. I have absolutely zero problems with this since I absolutely adored Harvest Moon 64. The layout of the town and surrounding areas is completely different and your farm is laid out differently as well. Some of the game systems are slightly different, and the characters, while they look the same, play different roles in some cases and the story bits are different as well. The graphics aren't quite up to the pace of the 64 title but it's not a very big difference.

So far, though, I'm really enjoying my time playing this game. You unfortunately can't take screenshots of PS1 titles on the Vita (licensing issues I presume) so I can't provide evidence that the blacksmith greets me with "Well if it isn't Tau from the Butts farm."

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Risk Battle Statistics and Simulator

Number of Attackers: Offensive Airfield
Number of Defenders: Defensive Airfield

Offense Rolls:
Defense Rolls:
Offense Wins:
Defense Wins:
Cumulative Offense Wins: 0
Cumulative Defense Wins: 0
Offensive Kill-Death Ratio: NA

I was trying to find an image to put above and then I had the bright idea to code the above simulator. After an embarrassingly long amount of time due to my Javascript inexperience, it is done. An explanation of how battle works in Risk is at the bottom following the *

A long time ago I wrote a post that contained some probability calculations associated with the popular board game Risk. This was long before I knew how to format things nicely on the internet and before I was aware of some other things. That said, I think that I can approach the content and its presentation much better now than I could then so I've redone the post.

The original post was focused on showing that you should always choose to attack and defend with as many units as you can, that the odds work out best for you that way. This means that the offense should always attack with 3 if possible and the defense should always defend with 2.

It turns out that the latest version of the Risk rules (which are the rules used in Risk: Factions, a downloadable title for the PS3 and XBox 360) can have situations which modify your battles. Fulfilling certain objectives can allow a player to attack with up to 4 soldiers or defend with up to 3. Furthermore, the player can obtain an airport which bestow a +1 bonus to that player's highest die roll when attacking or defending for any battle that takes place on or adjacent to the territory which has the airport.

I decided that I wanted to see how these variables affect the probabilities of success and the kill-death ratio for the offense. To quickly explain the data in the chart:
  • Most entries fall under "X Kills" which is the probability that under those circumstance the offense will kill X of the defender's pieces. Remember that if the offense doesn't kill a defender's piece then the defender kills a piece belonging to the offense.
  • KDR stands for Kill-to-Death Ratio and is how many pieces the offense should expect to kill for every piece they expect to lose. For example, in the 3 vs 2 matchup with an airport for the offense, the offense should expect to kill almost 2 of the defender's pieces for each piece they lose. A KDR>1 is good for the offense. A KDR<1 is good for the defense.

Probability of offense winning X rolls and KDR
3 vs 2
2 Kills1 Kill0 KillsKDR
Off +151%31%18%1.97
Def +124%41%35%0.80
3 vs 3
3 Kills2 Kills1 Kill0 KillsKDR
Off +120%25%31%24%0.88
Def +18%21%27%45%0.44
4 vs 2
2 Kills1 Kill0 KillsKDR
Off +163%25%12%3.11
Def +130%45%25%1.09
4 vs 3
3 Kills2 Kills1 Kill0 KillsKDR
Off +137%25%24%14%1.61
Def +114%31%27%28%0.78

There's nothing surprising here, but it is very interesting to see how much of an advantage the offense has in the normal situation and how much that advantage changes depending on various conditions. There is another advantage that the offense has that isn't discussed here. The offense gets to choose when and where they attack, which allows the to pick battles that they are fairly certain they can win. Play wisely, everyone.

*In classic Risk the objective is to conquer all the territory on the map. You do this by engaging your enemies in battle. To do this you select up to three units on a territory you control to attack an adjacent territory. The owner of that territory can defend with up to two units (these numbers can be increased under certain conditions)

Each player rolls a die for each unit they are attack/defending with and sorts them from highest to lowest. The compare matching dice and if the offense's roll is higher than the defense's the defense loses a piece. If the defense's is higher or there is a tie, then the offense loses a piece. This repeats until the defender loses all their pieces on the territory or the offense gives up.

Example: The offense attacks with 3 pieces and the defense defends with 2. Their rolls are
  • Offense: 4 6 2
  • Defense: 5 4
Sorted, the offense has 6, 4 and 2 and the defense has 5 and 4. The offense's 6 beats the defense's matching 5 but the defense's 4 beats the offense's matching 4 since the defense wins ties. Both sides lose a piece. The 2 is ignored.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Where Does Bending Really Come From?

Twitter this morning prompted some really interesting discussions about the world in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. People were mainly discussing the relationships at first which prompted a thought from myself, "Perhaps Tenzin is with Pemma instead of Lin because maybe Lin didn't want children." Now, there's no firm evidence to suggest that Lin wouldn't have wanted children, necessarily, but what if she didn't?
Incompatibility over the desire for children is an unfortunate reason to not be with someone, but it's very important to many people. I can especially imagine why it would be important for Tenzin, since he would have been (at the time) the only Airbender left. It's possible that Tenzin felt incredible pressure to pass on Airbending. Or perhaps, he was worried that if he were with Lin and if they had children, that none of them might have been Airbenders. It's impossible to know why, but it's something to think about.

This left me wondering about what it takes to becomes a bender. Is it innate or is it something that can be learned? The show certainly portrays bending as an innate skill. Benders must descend from the particular tribe that has their skill and it even seems as if a bender must have a bender for a parent (I've been trying to find proof or counter to this point and haven't been able to).

The show does seem to contradict itself w/ bending being an innate skill. For example, all of the bending origin stories are of people learning the skill from something else. Firebenders learned it from the dragons. Waterbenders learned it from the moon and ocean. Earthbenders learned it from the badgermoles. Airbenders learned it from the sky bisons. If the original benders were able to learn it from something else, then what would keep a non-bender from learning it? Are these stories false/folklore?

The "learned" aspect of bending is reinforced by the Airbenders, though. From their own description, the Air Nomads are so spiritual as a people that all of them can Airbend. If, as the origin stories and the implications of the Air Nomads' spirituality are true, then bending doesn't actually seem to be an innate skill, because then why would it be more prevalent with the Air Nomads that with the other tribes? This would appear to be at odds with many of the themes of the show. The first season contained a big panic because Aang was The Last Airbender. If bending isn't some hereditary trait then that's not as big of a deal as the show portrays it; somebody could relearn it from the extant texts. Furthermore, if bending is something that can be learned, that undermines the Equalist movement.

The spiritual connection aspect of the Airbenders and the spirit bridge aspect of the Avatar seem to imply that bending isn't something that was learned from animals or by watching the tides but has to do with one's connection to the spirits/spirit world. This is affirmed by the Waterbenders' weakness when the moon (moon spirit) is killed. But the existence of the dragons Ran and Shaw confuses this. Do the bending animals have a connection to the spirit world?

The existence of the Avatar is the biggest check mark in the spiritual connection column. Not only is this because of his role as a bridge between the spirit world and the physical world, but the way it passes from tribe to tribe upon death. Such a thing traveling around the world upon death is not something that would happen naturally. If bending comes from the spirits, keep in mind that it could still have a hereditary aspect, it just would have originated with the spirits. Something I wonder is what would have happened if Aang died a natural death with no children. Would the Avatar cycle have continued and a) skipped over air b) stalled and ended or c) created a new airbender?

Whether bending is hereditary/innate or learned is something that the show lands on both sides of. The show runs with the idea that it's hereditary/innate but so many of the clues and event in the show indicate otherwise. It's an important distinction because it definitely colors and changes so much of the tension in the show. I'm wondering/hoping that The Legend of Korra will shine some more light on this issue.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My Journey: Becoming who I want to be

I really hope you listen to the music in this post.

As anyone who follows me on twitter is well aware, I've been applying to jobs recently. This is due to the fact that, come August 10, my job won't exist anymore as my company did not win our bid for the government contract that we currently work. I've waited until recently to do this because I wanted to get my degree wrapped up and I wanted to wait until we were closer to that last day. I wanted to wait until that last day because I don't want to leave my company high and dry without me, at least not for too long.

You see, the word "Senior" is part of my job title, and it's not because there are a bunch of "Normal' or "Junior" of my position who work below me. It's because I'm the only person with my job title. If I left there would literally be nobody to do the things that I do. There used to be at least three people who did the work that I currently do. My company also used to do Medicare work for more states, so I believe that the job necessitated that many people. However, the number of states that we work went down, and 2 of the people in my position moved on to another company in our umbrella that does private insurance. Then, the last person decided to move on as well.

When I was hired I was to replace the only person still working this job. I also only had three weeks to get up to speed. Fun fact: I had never worked with databases, SQL, or MS Access a day in my life before my first day here. Those three weeks were pretty brutal. A bunch of medical terminology was flying past my head and my predecessor/trainer tried to make sure I was acquainted with all the regular reports and analyses that I would have to perform. We did a pretty good job of it, but I was definitely not fully prepared once I was handed the reins. There was still much that I would have to teach myself, and I did.

Just a couple months into working here I was already a far more capable SQL (specifically SAS/SQL) programmer than any of my predecessors. I know this because I've had to work with all the code that they left behind. Since that's the primary method by which I do my work, that's pretty important. In December a recurring data request came up. I called one of the predecessors to find out where the code that they used to do it was and when I ran it...well, it ran for five hours and then crashed. The error produced seemed to indicate that the database server had run out of memory with which to process the request, a terrible sign indeed (since databases servers are designed to work with massive amounts of data).

So I dug into the code. The code was creating several different (temporary) tables and then writing them each to files at the end. (I would then write those files to a CD and send it off) I changed the code so that it would create one table, write it to a file, and then drop the table to free up the memory for the rest. Instead of getting all the data together and then writing it to files, I'd do it one at a time. Run again, still crash.

This time I decided to really look at the code of each query to see what it was doing. The program begins by importing some tables that will be used in the processing of all the data. Then it loads data from our tables and joins the information together. The tables that were imported at the beginning had claim information, and they were being joined with our data not on the claim number, as is typical, but on the procedure code. The problem is that procedure codes are by no means unique for each record, so this was creating a tremendous amount of duplicate information. Then the code would use the GROUP statement (by grouping on all the variables) to remove duplicates instead of the DISTINCT modifier, as one should.

I had to rewrite all these queries so that they weren't horrible. I started by writing a new query to figure out what all the procedure codes in the loaded tables were and then added a condition to the original queries that states "Only pull claims that have one of these procedure codes". Then I got rid of the imported tables completely; they weren't necessary anymore. Then I touched some things up, removed the check for duplicates since it was no longer needed, fixed syntax problems, and then I ran it. Instead of the 5 hour failure that it was before, it was a 5 minute success.

That's just one story. I'll spare you the story of the code that I literally had to print out and mark up with a pen so that I could figure out what it did and then rewrote to be at 20%-25% of its original length.

I guess this is all really about my resume, which is really weird. I just received my Masters, which took me 4 years to get, but I've been working for a year already, in a "Senior" position? It seems like all of that would raise a ton of red flags for someone looking at my resume, not to mention the two typos that I keep beating myself up over. I hate all of this because I know--I KNOW--that even though I have skill gaps and only have one year of job experience I could pick up the skills that I need very quickly on the job, and that once I had I'd be an incredibly valuable employee. This is something that I would love to be able to communicate in my cover letter but doing so would require acknowledging and pointing out a weakness that I have, which seems like a bad idea.

Over the past week I've applied at tons of places. I currently have 25 outstanding applications (those which I don't know the status of) at many different companies. Some of them I'm definitely qualified for. Some of them are a bit of stretch. I really hope that I hear back from some of these. I'm ready to move on to a more stable position in my life. Earlier, I felt stable but I still didn't have my degree, which was keeping me from feeling at peace with myself. There was still so much guilt wrapped up in that. Then I learn that I'm losing my job but now I have my degree. Fortunately, people don't really tend to lose degrees so once I get a stable job I'll feel secure.

I'm tired of being lazy and making the easy/only remaining choice. I'm done with that. So much of my life has been dictated by that. A couple months ago I was notified of a position at our parent company that my skill set applied to and I probably could have gotten easily. But I'm just not interested in working in medical insurance anymore. I could have taken it, but I decided to go the hard way and that I would try to get a position at a company that I truly wanted to work at.When we play games, we're usually playing a hero. Heroes aren't the people who make the easy decision. Heroes aren't lazy. Heroes don't wait until the last minute. Damn it, I want to be a hero. I don't necessarily want to be a hero to the world or even to a large number of people, but I want to be able to see myself as a hero. I want to be one to the children that I one day hope to have. I want to be able to look at myself and my actions and be proud. It's time for me to become the person that I want to be.

I'm going to keep applying to jobs until I get one. I'm going to keep improving on my resumes and cover letters. I'm going to start looking into filling those skill gaps that I have. I'm going to do every thing that I can to get the best damn job that I can. This way I can't look at myself and beat myself up for not trying hard enough.

I've added a new link to the top of my page. It goes to an anonymized version of my resume. I encourage you to take a look at it. If there's somewhere you think I should apply--even where you work--I am enthusiastically accepting all recommendations. My email is on it if you want to email me. You can also pass it along if you want.

Friends, if there's something that you want to accomplish, I heartily encourage that you go for it. There is not one of you that I don't wholeheartedly believe in. You may not think much of yourself, but I do. Each and every one of you has skills for which I envy you. Go for it. Why not? You deserve only the best.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

An Update on Me

I talked on twitter a while back about a presentation that I had to do that you may have been able to surmise involved World of Warcraft. However, I didn't say what it was for. It was for my Masters program. I needed to do that presentation to graduate. The real truth is that it's taken me forever to do it. For comparison, the last class I took for my degree program ended in December 2010 and for the past year and a half I have been fighting myself to do that presentation.

It all started with my biggest flaw, sloth. I didn't work on the presentation because I was worried about the cumulative exams that I have to take and whether I'd pass those. I figured I would work on it after I got past that hurdle. I got past that hurdle and there wasn't enough time left in the semester to finish the project and present it. So I planned on doing it at the beginning of the next semester.

Well, I didn't work on it because, "Hey, I have plenty of time, at worst I can just present it later in the semester." Laziness compounded on laziness and I didn't get it done by the end of the semester. This turned into me being afraid to contact my professors. What if they would judge me for my tardiness? What if they told me it's too late? Then guilt set in. I was letting down so many people by not having done this already. I couldn't even think about it without feeling bad about it, so I would avoid thinking about it, and therefore would avoid working on it.

Laziness, forgetfulness, and avoidance due to guilt built on top of each other, turning a 2 year degree into a 4 year degree.

I'm glad I don't have this kind of work ethic when I'm at a job. It somehow just seems to apply to my personal life

Finally I kicked myself in the butt and it's done. There was some judgement from my professors about the delay, but not much and everything went fine, and now I feel so much better. It damn-near literally feels like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. The question now is: "What now?"

I still have to look for a job (due to my impending unemployment), that hasn't changed. I don't feel like I'm done learning. I don't have any immediate desire to pursue a doctorate, that's for sure, but there are still things that I would like to learn. To begin, I didn't know that there are SAS (statistical software) certifications. I wasn't surprised that they exists, I just didn't know. So I'm going to be pursuing some of those.

I'd also like to get a deeper understanding of R. Right now I've been taking a "try and find solutions on the internet to your immediate goals" and I'd like to take a more structured approach. Maybe I'll buy a book, because right now I basically just now data manipulation and basic operations. I don't know how to do actual statistics with it.

I think I'll look through MIT's OpenCourseWare for mathematics/statistics courses that I could self-teach. I'm also interested in various computer science courses that relate to internet programming. I'm not interested in server stuff, but I am interested in webpage programming (in case you can't tell from previous blog posts).

Now that I'm free from the pursuit of degrees, I think I could actually enjoy taking courses. Perhaps I could take some computer science courses and fill out knowledge there that I don't have. I could make a serious effort at learning a foreign language. That is, once I find out where I'm going to be living/how employed am I going to be.

I wrote most of this about a month or even more ago. Yesterday (6/6/2012) I actually received confirmation from the office of records that I would be graduating. The request for graduation had been "pending" for so long and I was worried that it would fail to go through because of some clerical error. I'm very relieved to have this confirmation. I've been applying for jobs but I need to apply for more. I only have two months left here. There's one job application that I'm particularly excited for, but I won't say what it is (at least, not in such a public space). 

There is something that I've also been thinking about lately, which is tattoos. I've kinda been wanting one for a while. I even created a Google Docs spreadsheet of ideas. I think I may have settled on what I would get, if I ever get up the nerve to do so. I would get a lowercase tau. I've been using it long enough as part of an identity that I've really grown quite fond of it and attached to it.

I'm officially have my Master's now, and I feel pretty good about that.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Why I'm Not Combining Gems Until the Patch 1.0.3

A change is coming to Diablo III where it will take fewer gems to combine into higher gems. Here is the relevant quote
...reduce the cost of combining gems so that it only requires two gems instead of three (up to Flawless Square)...
 This will occur in patch 1.0.3. I took this to mean that it will only take two to make something of Flawless Square quality or below. For an individual tier, this isn't a big deal, but as you work your way up to Flawless Square it becomes rather significant.

Number of Chipped gems to make...
GemNew CountOld Count
Flawless Square1282187

As you can see this is a pretty significant change.  After a few tiers the difference becomes great. For example: 9 chipped gems would just make you a regular gem in the current system, but would make a flawless gem in the post patch system and leave you 1 chipped gem. That's an extra upgrade with a chipped left over.

The potential gains that you can achieve by waiting until the patch to combine gems. Blizzard is making this change partly because it's most cost effective to just sell chipped gems instead of combining them to make higher gems to sell on the auction house. However, the price has also tanked so they're basically selling at vendor price, defeating the purpose. Making it easier to make higher level gems will hopefully rectify this situation. I'd be willing to bet that if this change isn't significant enough that they'll push this change up to higher tiers as well.

So I'll just wait until the patch to combine my gems thank you very much.

UPDATE: In addition to lowering the number of gems needed to combine, they are also drastically reducing the associated gold cost to combine gems at these levels. Relevant post here.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

BlizzCon 2013 Predictions

"100% chance we'll see these costumes." or "BlizzCon dot j p e g"
A while back, much to the dismay of everybody, Blizzard announced that there would be no BlizzCon in 2012. They cited a lack of good information to dispense, since I guess game would either be to close or to far from completion to talk about. But they did assure us that they're planning on hosting on for 2013. Since it's never too early to speculate, here are my predictions for what we'll see at BlizzCon 2013.

At this point, I expect that Starcraft II's first expansion Heart of the Swarm will be released. We first got details about the game's new multiplayer units at Blizzcon 2011. The multiplayer for the game will be playable in June at the MLG Spring Championship and I highly doubt that it would take Blizzard another year from then to release the game. Especially since Starcraft II was released back in summer of 2010.

The big question for me at this point is whether we'll hear anything about a Diablo III or World of Warcraft expansion. Since Diablo III just came and people expect Mists of Pandaria to be released by the end of summer, both games would be a year of more past their release by the time BlizzCon would roll around. If we were to only get one announcement, I would expect a WoW announcement, since they are trying to stick to a schedule when it comes to WoW releases and since WoW is the largest property for BlizzCon.

 Titan. If for some reason we don't get a WoW, Diablo III, or Starcraft II announcement, then I'd have to bet we'll have a reveal of Titan. We're getting to the point with Titan where there is always hope, but little reliability of prediction. All I can say is that if we do get a reveal of Titan, I will be incredibly excited.

It's not games that I'm most looking forward to about BlizzCon 2012. What I'm really looking forward to most about BlizzCon is the potential of meeting my internet friends and guildies! Seriously, you all. I'll be so psyched to meet those of you that I can. I went to BlizzCon '07 and '08 but I've never gone to BlizzCon to meet guildies before so that will be a new experience for me.

We'll have to get together, alright?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Minipost: Fixed Post

For RSS feed readers: I fixed the post from earlier today. It turns out I had forgotten to add the javascript to it. Go there now and check it out!

WoW: MoP Drop Rate Statistics Calculators

Normal Loot

Drop Rate
Number of Kills
Probability of drop =
Kills Needed =
Average Next Drop Prob Median
??? ??? ≤???

LFR Drops

Drops per boss
Pieces eligible
Pieces Needed
Average Next Drop Prob Median
??? ??? ≤???

Explanation of the Normal Loot section
First, you'll have to enter in the drop rate. From that, the table below will populate. It will tell you the average number of kills needed for the piece to drop, the probability that it will drop on the next kill (which should be equivalent to the entered probability) and the median number of kills required to see the item drop. If, for example the median number of kills is 4, then there is a 50% or better chance it will have dropped on or before the fourth kill.

Second, if you enter in the number of kills that you've performed, then it will tell you the probability that the item should have dropped at least once in those kills. If you enter in something in the "Probability" field, it will tell you the number of kills needed to have that probability of the item dropping at least once.

For example, if you have a drop rate of .5 and 5 kills, there is a 0.968 (actually 0.9875, but the results are rounded) probability that the item will drop at least once in those five kills. If the drop rate is still 0.5 and you enter a probability of .90, it tell you that 4 kills are necessary to have a 90% or better chance of the item having dropped at least once.

Explanation of the LFR Drops section
This is based on the LFR loot system that will be introduced in Mists of Pandaria. An explanation can be found here. You just enter in how many piece of loot the boss will drop among the raid, how many pieces of loot in its table you are eligible for, and how many of those pieces you actually want. When you have that entered the table will populate with the same type of information that is in the above table.

I based this on the assumption that a boss will drop a particular number of pieces. If it is the case that you have a fixed X% chance to win loot, then I will alter it. It is also based on a 25 player group. Furthermore, the top section is about a piece dropping and not necessarily that you'll win it. The bottom section involves you winning a piece that you want.

If you have any questions about this or about loot drops, please don't hesitate to ask below. If you have comments, recommendations or requests, then please ask.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Myth of Compound Interest

Banks and mathematics courses will talk about how monthly compounded interested is better than yearly compounded interest. You might even see a demonstration of it such as this one dealing with 6% yearly interest.

Which shows that a 6% interest rate, when compounded monthly, provides a slightly higher amount of interest. Now, the amount of increase you get is dependent on your base interest rate. In our example, a 6% interest rate becomes a ~6.17% interest rate. A 12% yearly interest rate becomes a ~12.68% interest rate, which is a far better gain than what 6% achieves. But a 12% interest rate is incredibly unlikely to get anywhere.

So why am I calling this a myth? Well, because it's only better than yearly interest under certain conditions. The example they give you presumes that you aren't depositing or withdrawing money from the account. And if you're not depositing or withdrawing money from an account, what good is it? It's either a small amount of money, in which case the additional interest in negligible. If it's a large amount of money, then the person is likely financially secure or wealthy, so they could benefit significantly from the increased interest.

Suppose you're depositing money into the account every month. If you have monthly interest, then a small amount of interest is applied to small amounts of money at the beginning of the year, and larger amounts of money at the end of the year. If, however, you have yearly interest, all of the interest is applied to a large sum of money at the end of the year. Why apply interest to a small amount of money when you could instead have the interest applied to a large amount of money?

The question then becomes, how big of a deal is this discrepancy? Well, I'm glad you asked. I used an R program to come up with some numbers for us. I used a 6% yearly interest rate and invested in the account at $300 per month. Now, the $300 figure isn't important, these results will hold true no matter what the amount is, $300 just seemed like a good figure to work with.

YearsNo InterestMonthlyYearlyDifference

From this, it would appear that the yearly interest is always better than monthly interest, but when you carry the calculations out you find that monthly interest will eventually exceed yearly interest.
Click to Enlarge
From this chart, if you have a 6% interest rate and deposit money at a constant rate, then monthly interest overtakes yearly interest at the end of the year only at year 27. Monthly interest accounts exceed yearly interest accounts in the middle of each year because of the interest that is applied during the year, but at the end of each year prior to year 27, yearly interest comes back. From this graph we see that yearly interest provides, at most, a $1161.17 advantage (with a $0 initial balance and monthly deposits of $300). This scales as long as your monthly deposit is the same. So the advantage maxes out at roughly four times your monthly deposit.

There is another situation where compound interest is better. When the amount of money in an account is in decline, it is better to have compound interest because then the interest will be applied when you have more money (before you lose said money).

So what affects whether monthly or yearly interest is better? The factors are your initial balance and how much you invest each month. If you have a high initial balance, then monthly interest should always be better. If you have little to no initial balance, yearly interest will be better for a long time. If your investment rate increases with time, such as starting by depositing $100 and depositing more and more as time goes on, then yearly interest will stay relevant longer.

So banks tell you about this wonderful thing known as compound interest when it isn't necessarily better for you. I know how you all must feel right now. I mean, how could the banks betray you like this? It's just so hard to believe that they could be like that. I mean, that something they would tell you is a good thing can actually be a bad thing (unless you are financially secure enough to save a large amount of money for a long time.

I think I'll do a followup post that investigates some other investment situations. Keep an eye out for that. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

10 Things I've Never Done in WoW

Turn into an ogre and swim in lava? Done it.
Bravetank posted a writeup of 10 things they've never done in WoW, and it has similarly inspired me to do the same. This may or may not have to do with me not writing about WoW in a long time.

Never have I ever...
  1. ...cleared any Cataclysm raids. The guild I started the expansion with wasn't capable, and I just haven't made an effort to get that done. This is all despite the fact that my current guild does raid every week. I just have trouble getting inspired to pull the time together to do so. No LFR. I only completed Baradin Hold when it had one boss in it.
  2. ...leveled a Horde character past the low 60s. My highest level horde character is a Forsaken warrior who's still in Hellfire Peninsula. I started playing as Horde, but fell out of playing Horde because Sarah and I wanted to level a paladin and a shaman together, and thus we rolled Draenei (since this was before Cataclysm when Tauren gained paladins).
  3. ...leveled through the 1-60 content after Cataclysm. I think this is mainly because I took a break during the middle of Cataclysm. I know that there is a ton of really great stuff out there and I really want to see it.
  4. ...leveled a plate wearer to 85. I have a level 80 Death Knight from Wrath that just kinda happened? I started it out of curiosity and that curiosity carried me to 80 where he stagnated. I'm currently leveling a Blood Elf warrior who is in his 20s.
  5. ...done the Molten Front. I'm working on it right now and I HAVE to do it. I have a thing about hippogryphs and bear pets. I got both of the hippogryphs from the Argent Tournament as well as the bear, squire, and the squire's horse. The Argent Tournament had a TON of great stuff.
  6. ...gotten a Amani Bear. I was upset that they removed the bear from Zul'Aman back in patch 3.0 and was so happy that they added the bear back into the revamped Zul'Aman. This is another thing that my guild is doing that I for some reason haven't gotten involved in.
  7. ...used a highly customized user interface. I use the base interface (I don't even have a boss mod or recount right now). I don't think I actually have any addons at the moment.
  8. ...been an auction house aficionado. I just post my stuff just below where other people have it posted. I've very rarely bought an item and flipped it for a higher price or bought something to make it into something else to sell at a higher price. An AH Baron, I am not.
  9. a Warcraft novel. The only WoW fiction that I've read was some of the comics. The Ashbringer series of comics was quite excellent and I highly recommend reading it. But there is no way that you could get me to read a novel.
  10. ...gotten any of the Cataclysm drakes. I just realized that while writing this. It seems like it'd be prudent to do so. I think I'd like to do this through the Glory of the Cataclysm Hero achievement. 
So what have you never done? My list is pretty decent and I really hope to accomplish some of these some day.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

How Many Diablo III Builds Are There?

In Diablo III you can have a an ability mapped to both of your mouse buttons and to the 1-4 keys on your keyboard. By default each skill in the game can only be placed on a particular button. For example, my Zombie Dogs have to be bound to the 1 key. This means that under the default settings you can't have some skills on your bar at the same time because they would have to be bound to the same key.

There is, however, an option called elective mode that removes this restriction and allows you to put whatever skills you want on whichever key/button you want. This has led me to wonder how many different builds you can get out of each particular mode. So to look at this, I will use my witch doctor, Tauzex, as an example. The number of skills I use in this post will come from him. Other classes have different numbers of skills, so these numbers will vary from class to class.

Some background on what goes into a build
  • You have 6 active skills and 3 passive skills at max level
  • Each active skill can have 1 of 5 runes attached to it. 
  • I will assume that you'd never want to use a skill unruned
  • In both modes at max level, you can pick any 3 of your passive skills with  no restrictions.
I will not be considering a build with the same skills but on different buttons as being a different build. 

For my witch doctor, the number of skills that I can attach to each key in standard mode is
  • 1 key: 4
  • 2 key: 3
  • 3 key: 4
  • 4 key: 3
  • Left Click: 4
  • Right Click: 4
  • Passive Skills: 15
In general, the number of builds in either mode is the number of choices you have for your active skills times the number of choices you have for your passive skills (since your active skill choices and your passive skill choices are independent of each other). In both modes, the number of passive skills that you can select is the same
The middle section is read as "15 choose 3" and is explained in the footnote*
To count the number of active skill choices, I will first count how many choices of skills you have and then factor in the different rune choices for those builds. If you have a selection of 6 skills and each of those skill has 5 runes, the number of ways that you can rune a particular set of skill is 
So now we just have to count the number of skill choices each mode has.

Active Skill Choices in Standard Mode
To figure out the number of builds in standard mode, I just have to multiply the number of choices I have for each skill slot. This comes out to
choices for your active skills. In whole, this brings active mode to 
builds for your character. That's over 16 billion distinct builds.

Active Skill Choices in Elective Mode
In elective mode, you aren't restricted by abilities needing to be placed in certain positions. So as a witch doctor I would just need to select 6 active skills out of my 22 total active skills. The number of choices in elective mode is 
choices for your active skills. In whole, this brings elective mode to 
builds for your character. That's over 530 billion distinct builds. This can be done for the other classes as well, which gives us the following table.

ClassGuided ModeElective Mode
Demon Hunter21,840,000,000717,670,078,125
Witch Doctor16,380,000,000520,451,796,900

We shouldn't forget our followers! They play an important role in single-player gameplay. So how many choices do we have for our follower builds. Well, there are 3 followers, and each one requires that you make 4 choices that each have 2 options. 

So that multiplies the number of distinct was to outfit your character by 48. Of course, since you don't have a follower in multiplayer mode, this doesn't apply there.

Wow, that's a ton of different builds for your characters, and elective mode has so many more builds. In fact, elective mode over 32 times as many builds as standard mode does. I don't believe I have to tell you that that's an impressive number of choices!

* As I said above, that particular notation is read as " choose ." In mathematics it's known as a combination (as opposed to a permutation) and is calculated as follows.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Differential Equations and Support Tickets

Slope fields are very useful in Differential Equations.
This one approximates the situation described below.

"It's been 3 days and my ticket still hasn't been resolved, this is bullshit"

"Why don't they just hire some temp support staff? Then they could just work through the backlog and then fire them and we'd have instantaneous response times."

I'm back with another entry that nobody asked for. Here I'm going to be talking about yet another practical use for mathematics that relates to World of Warcraft.

We often have to deal with situations where we have to wait for something to get resolved by someone else. And we'll find ourselves wondering why it's taking so long. We wonder why the queue is so long. We wonder why they don't just hire somebody else to work through the backlog.

The truth is that it probably wouldn't solve the problem. But looking at that is probably a question for differential equations. Normal equations relate to quantities. Here we'd be looking at the length of the support queue as a function of time or some other factor. For the purpose of this analysis I'll be looking at time. Often times it's incredibly difficult or impossible to come up with a function that describes certain situations. However, it can be relatively easy to come up with an equation that describes how a particular value changes.

You may have taken a calculus class at some point in time. You may remember that the derivative of a function describes how that function changes with respect to its variables. If we let Q(t) be the number of messages in the support queue at any given moment in time, then we'd be more concerned with
which is the rate of which Q(t) changes over time. So now we just have to ask ourselves, what causes Q(t) to change?

Well, Q(t) increases whenever somebody has some sort of error to report. And Q(t) decreases every time a petition is answered. So we might be inclined to say that
Where p is the rate at which petition-able items occur, and a is the rate at which the game masters can answer petitions. But that's not true. If the queue size is particularly large, people become less likely to submit a petition. We may do this because we're impatient or because it may be the type of issue that could resolve itself in that amount of time (say with a bugged mob). So I'm more inclined to say that the function more closely resembles.
Where k(q) is a function is always positive but decreases as q (the length of the queue/wait time) increases. It is the probability that a person will report their issue given the length of the queue. Now, if we presume that p and a are constants, meaning that petition-able items and the rate at which petitions are answered aren't affected by anything here, then our function is a differential equation of one variable, q.

So what does this mean. Well, if the queue is long, then q is high,  k(q) is small, and the value of our derivative is negative, meaning that the queue will get shorter. If the queue is short, then q will be small, k(q) will be higher, and the value of our derivative will be positive, meaning the queue will get longer. It turns out that if p and a remain constant, then the length of the queue will tend towards a value for which
 When the derivative is zero, that means that the length of the queue stays the same. So the length of the queue will tend to wards a particular length and then remain stable, provided p and a don't change. This is especially true of more demanding queues, such as the post office, where you must physically wait in line. It's still true for passive queues, such as WoW reporting system.

So hiring temp workers to reduce the queue length won't work, because once those temp workers are gone the queue length will return to normal. This is why it's very important for Blizzard (and other agencies) to create more automated support systems, so that smaller, easier-to-fix problems can be handled automatically and bypass the queue.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Diablo III First Impressions

Diablo III came out yesterday (5/15/2012) and although it spent much time down because of the massive amount of traffic they were experiencing, I was able to spend a good couple of hours playing. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to play until a couple hours before doing so. I originally settled on the wizard but when I got to the character creation screen I went for the witch doctor. I feel like whatever attracted me to play him is the same thing that made me want to play a warlock in WoW.

I logged in and watched the great character intro scene. Once the game started I did the first thing necessary: turn down my graphics settings so it played at a decent framerate. I was a bit dismayed that my computer had as much trouble as it did, but it's from 2007 and its graphics card is from 2008 and well, what do you expect?

The witch doctor started out okay. I had Shoot Poison Dart and Stab With Knife for my two actions. I didn't really enjoy that very much. But Shoot Poison Dart was quickly replaced by Throw Jar of Spiders and I really started to love the flavor of the class. In short order I also received Grabby Zombie Hands, Summon Zombie Dogs, and Shoot Flaming Bats and I was quite happy.

The voice acting in the game is a wonderful addition. It allows you to take in the lore and story without slowing down and stopping, which is very important so that you can keep that Diablo pace without miss out on the story. I really enjoy the random spurts of lore you occasionally get from the "Lore" button that will occasionally appear in the bottom right of the screen. The more thorough questing system is a wonderful addition to the game. It still feels like Diablo (as opposed to WoW) but makes it much easier to keep track of what's going on.

I also think that the skill system in Diablo III is great. For those who haven't played it you have skills bound to left mouse, right mouse, and 1-4. Each of those buttons has a particular set of skills that can be assigned to it, and there is no overlap in what skills can go in each position. Furthermore, skills have runes that are accessed as you level up which augment them. And skills cannot be switched out mid-combat.

Having your skills locked to certain buttons gets me really excited. It's simultaneously simplifies the gameplay and challenges you. By not having access to all of your skills at a time you're forced to strategize outside and inside of battle. You have to figure out what skills go well together and execute them well. It allows for a great diversity of gameplay because switching out your skills and runes you can create a vastly different character.

And yes, the game still feels like a Diablo game.

With regards to the launch day issues: I don't feel contempt for Blizzard, because I do understand that there is a limited degree to which you can prepare for these things, but it is still their responsibility to prepare for it and I do hold them accountable. I understand all the reasons that they have for requiring the online connectivity and agree that it's the best choice, because it's not JUST a single-player game. There is an economy, of currencies both virtual and real, that is attached to this so that security is of paramount importance.

Interestingly, I read an article a short while back about Zynga's server structure. They have their own servers that they use to host all of their games that they have custom built and everything, like anyone with a large number of servers should. However, they also utilize Amazon's cloud servers to deal with spikes in their server needs. This way they can quickly react to changing server loads without having the type of errors that Blizzard is having. Now, I don't work for Blizzard nor am I particularly versed in server things, so I don't know if there may be something that could keep them from doing such a thing, but it's definitely something that, if I were an executive and Blizzard and I had heard about, I would have the right people look into it.

In short: amazing game :) but launch day issues :(

Friday, May 11, 2012

Minipost: My 2012 Sex Life

I saw this meme on tumblr, and since I don't have a tumblr (I subscribe via RSS) I'm doing it here. I hope it spreads in the WoW blogging community. The meme is as foloows
Pick up the nearest book to you. Turn to page 45. The first sentence describes your sex life in 2012.
Alright then. Let's do this. The closest book to me was Starcraft: Ghost - Spectres by Nate Kenyon. The first sentence (that begins) on page 45 is
Its alien rage ate away at her brain, a nearly mindless urge to destroy.
We'll have to see how 2012 plays out, but I'm definitely excited. What about you? If you do this, try and leave a comment below and tweet about it. If you're an adamant tumblrer, here's a link to where I saw it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Math of the Deeprun Tram

Moving Away At Other Station Coming Back Arrives At Your Station Leaves with you m w m w m How many times have you gone to the Deeprun Tram and it was there, waiting, but was gone before you could get to it? If you're a frequent Alliance player, probably tons of times. And whenever that has happened, have you said to yourself, "They should make it wait longer, then people wouldn't miss it so often and people would get to their destination faster." How would you feel if I told you that wasn't the case and that perhaps it waits too long?

On the left I have a little diagram, the part in orange is the part of your journey which you must always endure, the actual travel. The part in white represents where the tram may be when you are actually ready to board it (and not just running to be ready to board). When you are ready to board you may arrive at any one of those points. So your actual time spend waiting on the tram and traveling on it is
where X is a uniformly continuous random variable that ranges from zero to 2m+2w, where m is the amount of time spent moving from one side to the other and w is the amount of time the tram waits at each stop.

What we want to do is we want to minimize t. Or rather, we want to minimize the average value of t. We do this by calculating what's known as the expected value of t, E(t).
I'm fairly certain that I don't REALLY need to go through this next part, but it's a good indication of where calculus is helpful in real life type situations. That and I've spent a good amount of time teaching mathematics and I can't resist a good example. In order to minimize a function (which E(t) certainly is), you take the derivative and check the value of it when that derivative is zero, at endpoints, and at discontinuities. In this case, our variable is w, the amount of time spent at the station. The partial derivative of E(t) with respect to w is
This is because the partial derivative with respect to w of 2m is zero and the partial derivative with respect to w of w is 1.

Here we find that the derivative is never zero, so that means our function, E(t), must be minimized at an endpoint, in this case w=0. So with the goal of people arriving at the other side as fast as possible, it is optimal that the Deeprun Tram (and this can be said of other transports) not wait at all? Well, this is a mathematical model, and there were some limitations put on it to make it simple. What this tells us is that it is optimal for the tram to wait only long enough to let the people who are waiting for it board, which when you think about it, makes sense.

Why is that so? Wouldn't it benefit from waiting longer so that people who are close can get on? No, because if the tram waited longer, that would make its round trips longer and it would make the people who are on it and waiting for it to depart have to wait longer for it to leave.

This post was a fixed-up, more elaborate, better version of a blog post that I did when my blog was young. Many of those older posts have good content, but I was just terrible at writing/the web at the time and I feel they deserve a second chance. Furthermore, since it was old, I bet nobody saw it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wealth and the Standard of Living

I just read over this article, and I'm particularly interested in the first part. Specifically, this quote
But rage against the 1% is misplaced. Income is not a zero-sum game: The rich aren't getting wealthier at the expense of the poor. Harvard's Lawrence Katz has calculated that even if all the gains of the top 1% were redistributed to the 99%, household incomes would go up by less than half of what they would if everyone had a college degree.
That shit is awful.

Let's leave aside the fact that college isn't right for everybody. This quote is saying that if everyone in the United States had a college degree that our incomes would go up substantially more than by redistributing income from the 1% to the 99%. I certainly understand how Harvard's Lawrence Katz calculated that figure, but it ignores many things.

First of all, if Americans did become substantially more wealthy, where would that money come from? Other countries. The other countries of the world would necessarily become poorer, because with a fixed level of production, wealth is a zero-sum game (or, rather, a fixed-sum game). Consider this, everything that I (and you, and everybody else) consume is produced somewhere else. So by extrapolation, the sum of all consumption equals the sum of all production.

 The standard of living is this figure divided by the world's population. And when I talk production, I mean real, physical goods. When people produce non-physical goods such as entertainment or news they are bartering insight, information, and entertainment for money which they then go and exchange for goods.

There are only two ways to increase the worldwide standard of living. The first is to increase production. This is done by getting more people involved in production or by making production more efficient. The other way is to reduce the population, which is what I like to call "the psychopath option". I think we can all agree that murdering people who don't produce isn't the right way to go here.

So what are some ways we can increase production? Technology is the first that comes to mind. Technology allows you to harvest resources that were previously unharvestable. It allows you to use resources more efficiently, producing more goods from the same amount of material. And it allows you to create goods using fewer people, which allows those people to work on producing goods in other ways.

The other way is to get more people involved in the production of goods. There are tons of places in the world where there aren't good ways/places for people to work or make goods. If you really want to help an impoverished area, find a business that you could start there.

Another way is to recycle more. It let's you get more use out of the same resources. MAGIC!

So even if everyone in America had a college degree, that wouldn't really fix the really problem, it would just toss the problem on somebody else's shoulders. We need to focus on technology and worldwide jobs growth. America will benefit from helping out other nations.

Now, this isn't all to say that education is a bad thing. Education is good. Education allows people to fulfill their maximum potential. It will create more technological innovators whose ideas will allows us to produce more efficiently. It will do so many things. But education isn't the only thing that needs to be done. Jobs aren't the only thing that needs to be done. The income disparity problem, specifically as it relates to taxation, needs to be fixed. That is just the beginning of what needs to be done.

Now let's try and forget about the fact that the world only has limited resources and that eventually our population will grow to a level where poverty and its effects will be absolutely awful. Population growth is something that we need to work on because it's a hell of a lot faster than most people realize it is.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff

[[If you can't view the images in this post, then you are likely reading it on a phone or in Internet Explorer. Don't worry, they're not integral to the experience.]]

 The universe is mysterious. It's filled with secrets and strange things such as dark matter and black holes. I find existence to be just as puzzling, and one of the things that I find most puzzling is time. People generally seem to be in agreement that there is a "now" and that time is constantly hurtling us into the future. Here we will be talking about two things: time and matter. I have serious questions about both subjects. Primarily I'm confused by the fact that stuff exists.

So the prevailing understanding of time is like watching a VHS tape, it's always moving forwards to the next frame/moment (I prefer the more analog VHS analogy to anything else). If, like a VHS tape, some outside observer could rewind it to see what had happened in the past, there are two options as best as I can tell.

Definite Beginning

When rewinding the tape of the universe in this scenario, it will eventually stop, because there is nothing prior to that point. No matter. No energy. Literally nothing existed. The idea of this feels weird to me. That there could be a point in time for which nothing preceded it. If there were some sort of spontaneous genesis of all energy and matter in the universe, then I'd have to ask, "How the hell did that happen?" Is it possible for nothingness to create something? I don't personally feel like it is.

The only way that I could see this happening for us is if there were some sort of creator, separate from our universe, that had the power to create a universe. Or maybe we're the dream of some greater entity, like the Wind Fish in Link's Awakening. Even with that, that creator would itself belong to its own universe for which the question would repeat itself.

No Beginning

In this scenario, time and matter precede every other moment in time. People may see this and respond with "But the Big Bang!" but I would remind them that the Big Bang was not necessarily the beginning of time. This depends on how you feel about the cyclic model.

I'm more fine with things extending infinitely backward than everything coming into being ex nihilo. However, this model isn't without some weirdness. It has to do with the idea of "now". The idea of having a constantly-moving-forward state of "now" doesn't work with this model.

 If time extends infinitely to the past, yet "now" is always moving towards the future, then it could not be "traveling" at a constant speed. It, in essence, would never have reached what we would call "the present". The idea of having a "now" that is constantly traveling into the future relies on having a specific point to be the beginning of time.

So maybe it's the idea of a "now" that's flawed. Maybe the timeline of the universe is just laid out and my consciousness has just been dropped into my body to fulfill its role? Or to observe but without realizing it has no control? At that point, the universe and it's timeline become less like a real thing with uncertainties and and change, but instead more like a fact that my consciousness can only see part of [tries to put in another quarter to buy more time].

I'm not in love with either of these scenarios, and I can't think of an alternative that's any better. A spontaneous genesis either makes no sense or relies on a creator for whom the question repeats itself. A timeline that extends infinitely into the past is better, but I'm still not fully sold on the idea.

Regardless of how I feel about timelines and the idea of "now", it doesn't solve the weirdness that I feel about the fact that matter exists. This is the most bothersome thing in the world to me. Matter exists. Why? The alternative (that there would be and never had been nor will be anything) seems far more reasonable.

I think, therefore something is, and that bothers me.

What do you all think?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Minipost: -isms and -ists in MMOs

There's been some recent discussion about sexism by characters in World of Warcraft that has been sparked by a particular NPC in the beta named Ji Firepaw. On one side you have "This is offensive, please change it" and on the other side you have "It's not offensive" and "That would be censorship" and some other defenses. I'm not here to argue the cases, those link above do a much better job of explaining that than I could. I'm here to talk about what makes such a character different in an MMO versus a book/movie or even another video game.

In a book or a movie, a character such as Ji is targeting their offensive statements at other characters. In a typical video game, they're targeting their offensive statements at a character you're playing. In an MMO, they're often targeting their offensive statements at you.

Some video games let you customize your character so maybe you might argue that the character is you. However, even in Mass Effect it's not you, it's Shepard. Some video games do have the quality of MMOs where the character is close to you because they lack a firm identity but I'd argue that the character is more 'you' in MMOs because it's how you interact with other players. The other players affirm that the character is you, in a way.

Furthermore, video games are about the freedom to do what you want. You have agency in this world, but that agency is incomplete. When NPCs do things such as that, you often have absolutely no means by which to correct them. You just have to sit there and let it happen, powerless to change the attitudes of the NPCs around you, which is incredibly disheartening.

And that's why these things matter more in an MMO.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thrill Digger

Rupees: 140 Games: 1
Bombs: 6 Rupoors: 6
Safe Remaining: 28 Hazards remaining: 12

The Rules of Thrill Digger

Thrill Digger could be described as "minesweeper with uncertainty." When you click on a cell, instead of displaying a number that tells how many bombs surround that cell, a color is revealed that provides vaguer information about how many hazards surround that cell. The colors are:
  • Green: Zero hazards, is worth 1 rupee
  • Blue: 1-2 hazards, is worth 5 rupees
  • Red: 3-4 hazards, is worth 20 rupees
  • Silver: 5-6 hazards, is worth 100 rupees
  • Gold: 7-8 hazards, is worth 300 rupees
I say hazards because there are bad things other than bombs. Bombs, like in minesweeper will end your current game. There are other hazards called Rupoors which instead of increasing your rupee count will decrease your rupee count by 10.

What are rupees for?

The game is hard, and your chance of winning a particular game is very low. A new game costs you 70 rupees and the real goal is how many games you can play before not being able to pay for a new game. So your real goal is to get as many rupees as possible before hitting a bomb.

Differences between Skyward Sword and this version

In Skyward Sword, after you dug up a spot, the game wouldn't leave a reminder of what you had dug up there. This made the game excruciatingly hard because it's really hard to remember so many things. Furthermore, there was no way to mark a location where you thought a bomb to be located. Lastly, I took Skyward Sword's Expert difficulty and adjusted it down a bit to a level that I find to be much better. Lastly, in my version, your first click will never be a hazard, which is very important in minesweeper-esque games.

To mark cells as dangerous, toggle the "Digging" button and then click the ones that have hazards.

I may come back and update this with more features or a better look. But right now it is without bugs (as far as I know) and fully playable.