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Current Projects: Americana Engine (Game Engine Development)

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Black Friday Traditional Line

Usually Black Friday specials occur early in the morning, or at midnight. Today I saw what it was like to be in one of those rushes.

Line for Best Buy in Stockton - at 12:30am when waiting, was approximately 450ft long and took 1hr 15m to go through. (If you're a local, stretches to where the Macy's building starts). Bought stuff at 40% off but I liked the purchase of Mass Effect 2 ($5*) the most.

Sketch Note: I knew from a friend that tents were set up Wednesday night for the tickets and saw a few travel chairs near the mall entrance, with a guitar nearby - It looked like Ry Val from a distance, but whether or not this is actually true it will show up as a sketch for Nov 23's entry. Note since my drawing skills are less than decent, and my cousin Jason Chan (who is a well known artist who creates drawings for various games, including for Magic: The Gathering) estimates at least 50 hours for a decent picture, sketches may show up much later than when they were scheduled to appear.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Returns

Thanksgiving returns with a few differences:

  • No name picking for who to give presents to
  • No modeling clay
  • Pecan pie was much better (with bittersweet chocolate added)
  • No green screen shots.
  • Black Friday starts earlier. A lot earlier.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

ZB Score Parser

This is the web program/code that results when someone decides to discontinue a "top 50" leaderboard. (UPDATE: He has returned and is now continuing top 50 leaderboards. Hopefully.)

Title: Zuma Blitz Score Parser

Description: Allows you to see a player's Zuma Blitz stats (including high score) that would normally be found under the details section of the leaderboard* and parses them into a webpage. Having a user id is enough - doesn't require that you be friends with them*. Works as of Nov 15 2011.

You will need to supply your own auth code (its different for each user) and need to be logged in to FB and must have installed Zuma Blitz to use this.

Purpose: I generally use this code to determine people's previous scores before accepting them as a friend, but can also be used to recreate a weekly high score board. Maybe even a (opt-in) world leaderboard. Hmmm...

Example: Major Mouthful (Nov 29-Dec 6) - ZumaBlitzTips (all participating players) - formatted for readability

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Farmer's Market Sweep

Soon after - a farmer's market - most items were a dollar per pound, etc. Haven't been in this part of town for a while, since there was no real reason to head down here.

Picked up one tip along the way: That you can soak a bottle of honey in a tub of warm water to decrystallize it instead of discarding the bottle of remaining honey.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I had not enough time this weekend to do a lot of things. Sadly, this includes a good portion of my homework assignments, so that means that I have to sit back from a DCM for next week.

I was only here because one of my friends invited me to this event - I wouldn't have known about this event otherwise. By going, this would be something different from the pictures I saw of this event. In the end, it's not what I anticipated. Really.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fortune Cookies: The 1 Percent

UPDATE: The receive mojo from multiple tabs was patched on January 26, 2012, so that you only get credit for one of these tabs, but this trick still might work for some people.

Over 20 million mojo has been collected in fortune cookies cumulative, thanks to a trick that allows you to greatly increase the value of these cookies. On the other hand, cookies for others are few and far between. I am the 1 percent.

BUT I'm willing to give this trick to the other 99%. (This has been discussed on the main tips page but I think this deserves a separate page.) See the above image for examples for each step.

Receiving your 1 percent

NOTE: The number of tabs you can open at one time (aka your fortune cookie multiplier) is dependent on your system specs. A laptop can typically handle five tabs while a 2010+ computer can safely handle up to 18 tabs worth of mojo (before reaching the memory limit and crashing the browser altogether). Experiment to find the most number of tabs you can open at one time while following all of the above steps.

Requirements: You have at least one fortune cookie to open. (You can only receive them from friends, and there's a small chance after every game you will be given one and the ability to share to others.)

  • Open as many tabs as you can. (See above)
  • Click on the fortune cookie button and get to this screen for each tab. (see above - note you must have at least one unopened fortune cookie before this button will appear.)
  • Press the close button on the game for each tab to get credit for that mojo.
  • Close each Zuma Blitz instance. (I like to place a window full of Zuma Blitz tabs and close them all down at once when done, reopening that window if there are more cookies.)

How much mojo will you expect?

For each fortune cookie, there's a chance to get this amount mojo:

NOTE: Mojo gained assumes you are at lvl 80. The amount earned may be a lot less if you are below that level. 
The left side is the lower end of your mojo gain per cookie (lvl 1), it's strongly recommended you don't open them.

Pct Chance  Mojo Gain (lvl 1,80)  Freshness (est) - Mojo
13.75       2  - 105              0-4   hrs        5 - 552
20.25       4  - 285              4-12  hrs        2 - 289
38.38       15 - 545              12+   hrs        0
23.62       45 - 880
4           75 - 5,500

What mojo fortune cookies will be worth at freshness level at level:    (20 cookie average - no freshness)
                                           |                |
  2        4       15       45        75   |    4       2   |  1-3       409    (3% of lvl 80 value)
  5       20       40       95       210`  |   34      19   |  4-20      1,019  (7%)
 10       35      115      235       515   |   99      53   |  21-24     2,574  (10%)
 15       55      150      260       665   |  118      65   |  25-27     3,176  (22%)
 25       80      165      340       720   |  153      79   |  28-41     3,841  (27%)
 40       90      250      455       850   |  224     116   |  42-50     5,223  (37%)
 50      135      295      500      1130   |  248     127   |  51-57     6,215  (44%)
 55      150      305      550      1370   |  259     141   |  58-63     6,794  (48%)
 65      195      385      605      1410   |  311     168   |  64-70     7,910  (56%)
 80      200      405      800      1550   |  332     181   |  71-75     9,158  (64%)
 90      245      455      835      1800   |  421     212   |  76-77     10,117 (71%)
105      285      545      880      5500   |  552     229   |  78-80     14,183 (100%)

(value of cookies are determined upon opening the game)

where mojo gain is the amount of the mojo you will get from one fortune cookie, and freshness is how long it took you to open it from when the friend sent their cookie to you.

You should earn around 12.2k mojo per 20 cookies (no freshness bonus) to 23k mojo (full freshness) for one tab. Multiply by 18, you get a decent 400k mojo towards your stockpile, more than what you might expect from a 3x mojo potion. Cookies are scarse these days (at the time of writing), and just one cookie can be enough for a full-power game, so start sharing whatever cookies you find!

Sending your 1 percent

Just because you receive one fortune cookie to share doesn't mean you can't share only one. If you happen to open the request dialog on another tab, the "send request" button can be clicked on multiple times, sending multiple cookies to people (or person) at once. Screenshots on this soon. (Note: This may not work since was patched on Nov 22nd)


Friend receives one cookie to share. Using the send method above, selects friends to send it to, but clicks on the send request button 100 times. The request to you (and others) gets sent as 100 cookies. You then use the receive method to convert these fresh cookies into 1800 of them (with 18 tabs) = ~2 million mojo received.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Penny Madness

Penny Wars: A fun competition to help raise money. In the realm of Circle K, Penny Wars is serious business, meaning that in order to win, you have to plan beforehand. Or not.

Round 1: Fairly straightforward - see the image to the left.

Round 3: (either I missed a round or they skipped it) - Groups get more aggressive. Golden gate is the only one in the black with the help of a 20 dollar bill. Divisions gang up and flood Golden Gate's jar.

Round 4: All divisions are in the red, with Desert Oasis winning (at -285) and Golden Gate at -21,410 points. SFSU enters rage mode and summons lots and lots of filled penny coin wrappers (they had at least 80 total last time I saw) - and drops them into every other team's jar to even out the playing field (ensuring that Desert Oasis doesn't win the second time.)

Results: $740.32 was raised for Not For Sale. Capital Division (our division) wins. Although the pennies in our division would cut the score close compared to other teams, We had a dollar-filled penny wrapper to ensure the victory.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Winter Came Early

In the middle of FTC, Winter came a lot earlier than expected. What originally was rain turned out into snow (first hours of snow melted as soon as it touched the ground) - ends up with groups singing Christmas songs, making angels, or just playing with it. Including sculpture making.