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The Challenges of Designing a Modern Skill, Part 3

Okay, Wendy’s or Walgreens or whoever, I don’t care who you are, you’re listening to the rest.

Introduction to Part 3

Welcome back one last time to “The Challenges of Designing a Modern Skill,” a series where we discuss all aspects of skill design and development. In Part 1, we talked about OSRS’s history with skills, and started the lengthy conversation on Skill Design Philosophy, including the concepts of Core, Expansion, and Integration. This latter topic consumed the entirety of Part 2 as well, which covered Rewards and Motivations, Progression, Buyables, as well as Unconstructive Arguments.
Which brings us to today, the final part of our discussion. In this Part 3, we’ll finish up Section 3 – Skill Design Philosophy, then move on to chat about the design and blog process. One last time, this discussion was intended to be a single post, but its length outgrew the post character limit twice. Therefore, it may be important to look at the previous two parts for clarity and context with certain terms. The final product, in its purest, aesthetic, and unbroken form, can be found here.

3-C – Skill Design Philosophy, Continued

3-12 - Balancing

What follows from the discussion about XP and costs, of course, is balancing: the bane of every developer. A company like Riot knows better than anyone that having too many factors to account for makes good balance impossible. Balancing new ideas appropriately is extremely challenging and requires a great respect for current content as discussed in Section 3-5 – Integration. Thankfully, in OSRS we only have three major balancing factors: Profit, XP Rate, and Intensity, and two minor factors: Risk and Leniency. These metrics must amount to some sense of balance (besides Leniency, which as we’ll see is the definition of anti-balance) in order for a piece of content to feel like it’s not breaking the system or rendering all your previous efforts meaningless. It’s also worthy to note that there is usually a skill-specific limit to the numerical values of these metrics. For example, Runecrafting will never receive a training method that grants 200k xp/hr, while for Construction that’s easily on the lower end of the scale.
A basic model works better than words to describe these factors, and therefore, being the phenomenal artist that I am, I have constructed one, which I’ve dubbed “The Guthix Scale.” But I’ll be cruel and use words anyway.
  • Profit: how much you gain from a task, or how much you lose. Gain or loss can include resources, cosmetics, specialized currencies, good old gold pieces, or anything on that line.
  • XP Rate: how fast you gain XP.
  • Intensity: how much effort (click intensity), attention (reaction intensity), and thought (planning intensity) you need to put into the activity to perform it well.
  • Risk: how likely is the loss of your revenue and/or resource investment into the activity. Note that one must be careful with risk, as players are very good at abusing systems intended to encourage higher risk levels to minimize how much they’re actually risking.
  • Leniency: a measure for how imbalanced a piece of content can be before the public and/or Jagex nerfs it. Leniency serves as a simple modulator to help comprehend when the model breaks or bends in unnatural ways, and is usually determined by how enjoyable and abusable an activity is, such that players don’t want to cause an outrage over it. For example, Slayer has a high level of Leniency; people don’t mind that some Slayer tasks grant amazing XP Rates, great Profits, have middling Intensity, and low Risk. On the other hand, Runecrafting has low levels of Leniency; despite low Risk, many Runecrafting activities demand high Intensity for poor XP Rates and middling Profits.
In the end, don’t worry about applying specific numbers during the conceptual phase of your skill design. However, when describing an activity to your reader, it’s always useful if you give approximations, such as “high intensity” or “low risk,” so that they get an idea of the activity’s design goals as well as to guide the actual development of that activity. Don’t comment on the activity’s Leniency though, as that would be pretty pretentious and isn’t for you to determine anyway.

3-13 - Skill Bloat

What do the arts of weaving, tanning, sowing, spinning, pottery, glassmaking, jewellery, engraving, carving, chiselling, carpentry, and even painting have in common? In real life, there’s only so much crossover between these arts, but in Runescape they’re all simply Crafting.
The distinction between what deserves to be its own skill or instead tagged along to a current skill is often arbitrary; this is the great challenge of skill bloat. The fundamental question for many skill concepts is: does this skill have enough depth to stand on its own? The developers of 2006 felt that there was sufficient depth in Construction to make it something separate from Crafting, even if the latter could have covered the former. While there’s often no clean cut between these skills (why does making birdhouses use Crafting instead of Construction?), it is easy to see that Construction has found its own solid niche that would’ve been much too big to act as yet another Expansion of Crafting.
On the other hand, a skill with extremely limited scope and value perhaps should be thrown under the umbrella of a larger skill. Take Firemaking: it’s often asked why it deserves to be its own skill given how limited its uses are. This is one of those ideas that probably should have just been thrown under Crafting or even Woodcutting. But again, the developers who made early Runescape did not battle with the same ideas as the modern player; they simply felt like Firemaking was a good idea for a skill. Similarly, the number of topics that the Magic skill covers is so often broken down in other games, like Morrowind’s separation between Illusion, Conjuration, Alteration, Destruction, Mysticism, Restoration, Enchant, Alchemy (closer to Herblore), and Unarmored (closer to Strength and Defense). Why does Runescape not break Magic into more skills? The answer is simple: Magic was created with a much more limited scope in Runescape, and there has not been enough content in any specific magical category to justify another skill being born. But perhaps your skill concept seeks to address this; maybe your Enchantment skill takes the enchanting aspects of Magic away, expands the idea to include current imbues and newer content, and fully fleshes the idea out such that the Magic skill alone cannot contain it. Somewhat ironically, Magic used to be separated into Good and Evil Magic skills in Runescape Classic, but that is another topic.
So instead of arguments about what could be thrown under another skill’s umbrella, perhaps we should be asking: is there enough substance to this skill concept for it to stand on its own, outside of its current skill categorization? Of course, this leads to a whole other debate about how much content is enough for a skill idea to deserve individuality, but that would get too deep into specifics and is outside the scope of this discussion.

3-14 - Skill Endgame

Runescape has always been a sandbox MMO, but the original Runescape experience was built more or less with a specific endgame in mind: killing players and monsters. Take the Runescape Classic of 2001: you had all your regular combat skills, but even every other skill had an endgame whose goal was helping combat out. Fishing, Firemaking, and Cooking would provide necessary healing. Smithing and Crafting, along with their associated Gathering skill partners, served to gear you up. Combat was the simple endgame and most mechanics existed to serve that end.
However, since those first days, the changing endgame goals of players have promoted a vast expansion of the endgame goals of new content. For example, hitting a 99 in any non-combat skill is an endgame goal in itself for many players, completely separate from that skill’s combat relationship (if any). These goals have increased to aspects like cosmetic collections, pets, maxed stats, all quests completed, all diaries completed, all music tracks unlocked, a wealthy bank, the collection log, boss killcounts, and more. Whereas skills used to have a distinct part of a system that ultimately served combat, we now have a vast variety of endgame goals that a skill can be directed towards. You can even see a growth in this perspective as new skills were released up to 2007: Thieving mainly nets you valuable (or once valuable) items which have extremely flexible uses, and Construction has a strong emphasis on cosmetics for your POH.
So when designing your new skill, contemplate what the endgame of your skill looks like. For example, if you are proposing a Gathering skill, what is the Production skill tie-in, and what is the endgame goal of that Production skill? Maybe your new skill Spelunking has an endgame in gathering rare collectibles that can be shown off in your POH. Maybe your new skill Necromancy functions like a Support skill, giving you followers that help speed along resource gathering, and letting you move faster to the endgame goal of the respective Production skill. Whatever it is, a proper, clear, and unified view of an endgame goal helps a skill feel like it serves a distinct and valuable purpose. Note that this could mean that you require multiple skills to be released simultaneously for each to feed into each other and form an appropriate endgame. In that case, go for it – don’t make it a repeat of RS3’s Divination, a Gathering skill left hanging without the appropriate Production skill partner of Invention for over 2 years.
A good example of a skill with a direct endgame is… most of them. Combat is a well-accepted endgame, and traditionally, most skills are intended to lend a hand in combat whether by supplies or gear. A skill with a poor endgame would be Hunter: Hunter is so scattered in its ultimate endgame goals, trying to touch on small aspects of everything like combat gear, weight reduction, production, niche skilling tools, and food. There’s a very poor sense of identity to Hunter’s endgame, and it doesn’t help that very few of these rewards are actually viable or interesting in the current day. Similarly, while Slayer has a strong endgame goal it is terrible in its methodology, overshadowing other Production skills in their explicit purpose. A better design for Slayer’s endgame would have been to treat it as a secondary Gathering skill, to work almost like a catalyst for other Gathering-Production skill relationships. In this mindset, Slayer is where you gather valuable monster drops, combine it with traditional Gathering resources like ores from Mining, then use a Production skill like Smithing to meld them into the powerful gear that is present today. This would have kept other Gathering and Production skills at the forefront of their specialities, in contrast to today’s situation where Slayer will give fully assembled gear that’s better than anything you could receive from the appropriate skills (barring a few items that need a Production skill to piece together).

3-15 - Alternate Goals

From a game design perspective, skills are so far reaching that it can be tempting to use them to shift major game mechanics to a more favourable position. Construction is an example of this idea in action: Construction was very intentionally designed to be a massive gold sink to help a hyperinflating economy. Everything about it takes gold out of the game, whether through using a sawmill, buying expensive supplies from stores, adding rooms, or a shameless piece of furniture costing 100m that is skinned as, well, 100m on a shameless piece of furniture.
If you’re clever about it, skills are a legitimately good opportunity for such change. Sure, the gold sink is definitely a controversial feature of Construction, but for the most part it’s organic and makes sense; fancy houses and fancy cosmetics are justifiably expensive. It is notable that the controversy over Construction’s gold sink mechanism is probably levied more against the cost of training, rather than the cost of all its wonderful aesthetics. Perhaps that should have been better accounted for in its design phase, but now it is quite set in stone.
To emphasize that previous point: making large scale changes to the game through a new skill can work, but it must feel organic and secondary to the skill’s main purpose. Some people really disliked Warding because they felt it tried too hard to fix real, underlying game issues with mechanics that didn’t thematically fit or were overshadowing the skill’s Core. While this may or may not be true, if your new skill can improve the game’s integrity without sacrificing its own identity, you could avoid this argument entirely. If your skill Regency has a Core of managing global politics, but also happens to serve as a resource sink to help your failing citizens, then you’ve created a strong Core design while simultaneously improving the profitability of Gathering skills.

3-16 - The Combat No-Touch Rule

So, let’s take a moment to examine the great benefits and rationale of RS2’s Evolution of Combat:
This space has been reserved for unintelligible squabbling.
With that over, it’s obvious that the OSRS playerbase is not a big fan of making major changes to the combat system. If there’s anything that defines the OSRS experience, it has to be the janky and abusable combat system that we love. So, in the past 7 years of OSRS, how many times have you heard someone pitch a new combat skill? Practically no one ever has; a new combat skill, no matter how miniscule, would feel obtrusive to most players, and likely would not even receive 25% of votes in a poll. This goes right back to Section 3-5 – Integration, and the importance of preserving the fundamentals of OSRS’s design.
I know that my intention with this discussion was to be as definitive about skill design as possible, and in that spirit I should be delving into the design philosophy specifically behind combat skills, but I simply don’t see the benefit of me trying, and the conversation really doesn’t interest me that much. It goes without saying that as expansive as this discussion is, it does not cover every facet of skill design, which is a limitation both of my capabilities and desire to do so.

3-17 - Aesthetics

I don’t do aesthetics well. I like them, I want them, but I do not understand them; there are others much better equipped to discuss this topic than I. Nonetheless, here we go.
Since the dawn of OSRS, debates over art style and aesthetics have raged across Gielinor. After all, the OSRS Team is filled with modern day artists while OSRS is an ancient game. What were they supposed to do? Keep making dated graphics? Make content with a modernized and easily digestible style? Something in-between?
While many players shouted for more dated graphics, they were approached by an interesting predicament: which dated graphics did they want? We had a great selection present right from the start of OSRS: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007. People hungry for nostalgia chose the era that they grew up in, leading to frequent requests for older models like the dragon or imp, most of which were denied by Jagex (except the old Mining rock models). But which era was OSRS supposed to follow?
Jagex elected to carve their own path, but not without heavy criticism especially closer to OSRS’s conception. However, they adapted to player requests and have since gone back and fixed many of the blatant early offenders (like the Kingdom of Kourend) and adopted a more consistent flavour, one that generally respects the art style of 2007. Even though it doesn’t always hit the mark, one has to appreciate the OSRS artists for making their best attempt and listening to feedback, and here’s to hoping that their art style examination mentioned in June 2020’s Gazette bears fruit.
But what exactly is the old school art style? There are simple systems by which most players judge it in OSRS, usually by asking questions like, “Would you believe if this existed in 2007?” More informed artists will start pointing out distinct features that permeated most content from back in the day, such as low quality textures, low poly models, low FPS animations, a “low fantasy” or grounded profile that appeals somewhat to realism, reducing cartoonish exaggerations, and keeping within the lore. Compiled with this, music and sound design help that art style come to life; it can be very hard on immersion when these don’t fit. An AGS would sound jarring if its special attack sounded like a weak dagger stab, and having to endure Country Jig while roaming Hosidius suddenly sweeps you off into a different universe.
But coming back to skill design, the art, models, and sound design tend to be some of the last features, mostly because the design phase doesn’t demand such a complete picture of a skill. However, simple concept art and models can vastly improve how a skill concept is communicated and comfort players who are concerned about maintaining that “old school feel.” This will be touched on again later in this discussion under Section 5-2 – Presentation and Beta Testing.

3-18 - Afterword

Now we’ve set down the modern standards for a new skill, but the statements that started this section bear repeating: the formula we’ve established does not automatically make a good or interesting skill, as hard as we might have tried. Once again, harken back to the First Great Irony: that we are trying to inject the modern interpretation of what defines a skill upon a game that was not necessarily built to contain it. Therefore, one could just as easily deny each of the components described above, as popular or unpopular as the act might be, and their opinion could be equally valid and all this effort meaningless. Don’t take these guidelines with such stringency as to disregard all other views.

5-0 - The OSRS Team and the Design Process

If you’ve followed me all the way here, you’re likely A) exhausted and fed up of any conversation concerning new skills, or B) excited, because you’ve just struck an incredible skill idea (or perhaps one that’s always hung around your head) that happens to tick off all the above checkboxes. But unfortunately for you B types, it’s about to get pretty grim, because we’re going to go through every aspect of skill design that’s exterior to the game itself. We’ll be touching on larger topics like democracy, presentation, player mindsets, effort, and resource consumption. It’ll induce a fantastic bout of depression, so don’t get left behind.

5-1 - Designing a Skill

Thus far, Jagex has offered three potential skills to OSRS, each of which has been denied. This gives us the advantage of understanding how the skill design process works behind the scenes and lets us examine some of the issues Jagex has faced with presenting a skill to the players.
The first problem is the “one strike and you’re out” phenomenon. Simply put, players don’t like applying much effort into reading and learning. They’ll look at a developer blog highlighting a new skill idea, and if you’re lucky they’ll even read the whole thing, but how about the second developer blog? The third? Fourth? Even I find it hard to get that far. In general, people don’t like long detail-heavy essays or blogs, which is why I can invoke the ancient proverb “Ban Emily” into this post and it’ll go (almost) completely unnoticed. No matter how many improvements you make between developer blogs, you will quickly lose players with each new iteration. Similarly, developer blogs don’t have the time to talk about skill design philosophy or meta-analyse their ideas – players would get lost far too fast. This is the Second Great Irony of skill design: the more iterations you have of a lengthy idea, the less players will keep up with you.
This was particularly prominent with Warding: Battle Wards were offered in an early developer blog but were quickly cut when Jagex realized how bad the idea was. Yet people would still cite Battle Wards as the reason they voted against Warding, despite the idea having been dropped several blogs before. Similarly, people would often comment that they hated that Warding was being polled multiple times; it felt to them like Jagex was trying to brute-force it into the game. But Warding was only ever polled once, and only after the fourth developer blog - the confusion was drawn from how many times the skill was reiterated and from the length of the public design process. Sure, there are people for whom this runs the opposite way; they keep a close eye on updates and judge a piece of content on the merits of the latest iteration, but this is much less common. You could argue that one should simply disregard the ignorant people as blind comments don't contribute to the overall discussion, but you should remember that these players are also the ones voting for the respective piece of content. You could also suggest re-educating them, which is exactly what Jagex attempts with each developer blog, and still people won’t get the memo. And when it comes to the players themselves, can the playerbase really be relied on to re-educate itself?
Overall, the Second Great irony really hurts the development process and is practically an unavoidable issue. What’s the alternative? To remove the developer-player interface that leads to valuable reiterations, or does you simply have to get the skill perfect in the first developer blog?
It’s not an optimal idea, but it could help: have a small team of “delegates” – larger names that players can trust, or player influencers – come in to review a new, unannounced skill idea under NDA. If they like it, chances are that other players will too. If they don’t, reiterate or toss out the skill before it’s public. That way, you’ve had a board of experienced players who are willing to share their opinions to the public helping to determine the meat and potatoes of the skill before it is introduced to the casual eye. Now, a more polished and well-accepted product can be presented on the first run of selling a skill to the public, resulting in less reiterations being required, and demanding less effort from the average player to be fully informed over the skill’s final design.

5-2 - Presentation and Beta Testing

So you’ve got a great idea, but how are you going to sell it to the public? Looking at how the OSRS Team has handled it throughout the years, there’s a very obvious learning curve occurring. Artisan had almost nothing but text blogs being thrown to the players, Sailing started introducing some concept art and even a trailer with terrible audio recording, and Warding had concept art, in game models, gifs, and a much fancier trailer with in-game animations. A picture or video is worth a thousand words, and often the only words that players will take out of a developer blog.
You might say that presentation is everything, and that would be more true in OSRS than most games. Most activities in OSRS are extremely basic, involve minimal thought, and are incredibly grindy. Take Fishing: you click every 20 seconds on a fishing spot that is randomly placed along a section of water, get rid of your fish, then keep clicking those fishing spots. Boiling it down further, you click several arbitrary parts of your computer screen every 20 seconds. It’s hardly considered engaging, so why do some people enjoy it? Simply put: presentation. You’re given a peaceful riverside environment to chill in, you’re collecting a bunch of pixels shaped like fish, and a number tracking your xp keeps ticking up and telling you that it matters.
Now imagine coming to the players with a radical new skill idea: Mining. You describe that Mining is where you gather ores that will feed into Smithing and help create gear for players to use. The audience ponders momentarily, but they’re not quite sure it feels right and ask for a demonstration. You show them some gameplay, but your development resources were thin and instead of rocks, you put trees as placeholders. Instead of ores in your inventory, you put logs as placeholders. Instead of a pickaxe, your character is swinging a woodcutting axe as a placeholder. Sure, the mechanics might act like mining instead of woodcutting, but how well is the skill going to sell if you haven’t presented it correctly or respected it contextually?
Again, presentation is everything. Players need to be able to see the task they are to perform, see the tools they’ll use, and see the expected outcomes; otherwise, whatever you’re trying to sell will feel bland and unoriginal. And this leads to the next level of skill presentation that has yet to be employed: Beta Worlds.
Part of getting the feel of an activity is not just watching, it but acting it out as well - you’ll never understand the thrill of skydiving unless you’ve actually been skydiving. Beta Worlds are that chance for players to act out a concept without risking the real game’s health. A successful Beta can inspire confidence in players that the skill has a solid Core and interesting Expansions, while a failed Beta will make them glad that they got to try it and be fully informed before putting the skill to a poll (although that might be a little too optimistic for rage culture). Unfortunately, Betas are not without major disadvantages, the most prominent of which we shall investigate next.

5-3 - Development Effort

If you thought that the previous section on Skill Design Philosophy was lengthy and exhausting, imagine having to know all that information and then put it into practice. Mentally designing a skill in your head can be fun, but putting all that down on paper and making it actually work together, feel fully fleshed out, and following all the modern standards that players expect is extremely heavy work, especially when it’s not guaranteed to pay off in the polls like Quest or Slayer content. That’s not even taking into account the potentially immense cost of developing a new skill should it pass a poll.
Whenever people complain that Jagex is wasting their resources trying to make that specific skill work, Jagex has been very explicit about the costs to pull together a design blog being pretty minimal. Looking at the previous blogs, Jagex is probably telling the truth. It’s all just a bunch of words, a couple art sketches, and maybe a basic in-game model or gif. Not to downplay the time it takes to write well, design good models, or generate concept art, but it’s nothing like the scale of resources that some players make it out to be. Of course, if a Beta was attempted as suggested last section, this conversation would take a completely new turn, and the level of risk to invested resources would exponentially increase. But this conversation calls to mind an important question: how much effort and resources do skills require to feel complete?
Once upon a time, you could release a skill which was more or less unfinished. Take Slayer: it was released in 2005 with a pretty barebones structure. The fundamentals were all there, but the endgame was essentially a couple cool best-in-slot weapons and that was it. Since then, OSRS has updated the skill to include a huge Reward Shop system, feature 50% more monsters to slay, and to become an extremely competitive money-maker. Skills naturally undergo development over time, but it so often comes up during the designing of an OSRS skill that it "doesn't have enough to justify its existence." This was touched on deeply in Section 3-13 – Skill Bloat, but deserves reiterating here. While people recognize that skills continually evolve, the modern standard expects a new skill, upon release, to be fully preassembled before purchase. Whereas once you could get away with releasing just a skill's Core and working on Expansions down the line, that is no longer the case. But perhaps a skill might stand a better chance now than it did last year, given that the OSRS Team has doubled in number since that time.
However, judging from the skill design phases that have previously been attempted (as we’ve yet to see a skill development phase), the heaviest cost has been paid in developer mentality and motivational loss. When a developer is passionate about an idea, they spend their every waking hour pouring their mind into how that idea is going to function, especially while they’re not at work. And then they’re obligated to take player feedback and adapt their ideas, sometimes starting from scratch, particularly over something as controversial as a skill. Even if they have tough enough skin to take the heavy criticism that comes with skill design, having to write and rewrite repeatedly over the same idea to make it “perfect” is mentally exhausting. Eventually, their motivation drains as their labour bears little fruit with the audience, and they simply want to push it to the poll and be done with it. Even once all their cards are down, there’s still no guarantee that their efforts will be rewarded, even less so when it comes to skills.
With such a high mental cost with a low rate of success, you have to ask, “Was it worth it?” And that’s why new skill proposals are far and few between. A new skill used to be exciting for the development team in the actual days of 2007, as they had the developmental freedom to do whatever they wanted, but in the modern day that is not so much the case.

5-4 - The Problems of Democracy

Ever since the conceptualization of democracy in the real world, people have been very aware of its disadvantages. And while I don’t have the talent, knowledge, or time to discuss every one of these factors, there are a few that are very relevant when it comes to the OSRS Team and the polling process.
But first we should recognize the OSRS Team’s relationship with the players. More and more, the Team acts like a government to its citizens, the players, and although this situation was intentionally instated with OSRS’s release, it’s even more prominent now. The Team decides the type of content that gets to go into a poll, and the players get their input over whether that particular piece makes it in. Similarly, players make suggestions to the Team that, in many cases, the Team hadn’t thought of themselves. This synergy is phenomenal and almost unheard of among video games, but the polling system changes the mechanics of this relationship.
Polls were introduced to the burned and scarred population of players at OSRS’s release in 2013. Many of these players had just freshly come off RS2 after a series of disastrous updates or had quit long before from other controversies. The Squeal of Fortune, the Evolution of Combat, even the original Wilderness Removal had forced numerous players out and murdered their trust in Jagex. To try and get players to recommit to Runescape, Jagex offered OSRS a polling system by which the players would determine what went into the game, where the players got to hold all the cards. They also asked the players what threshold should be required for polled items to pass, and among the odd 50% or 55% being shouted out, the vast majority of players wanted 70%, 75%, 80%, or even 85%. There was a massive population in favour of a conservative game that would mostly remain untouched, and therefore kept pure from the corruption RS2 had previously endured.
Right from the start, players started noticing holes in this system. After all, the OSRS Team was still the sole decider of what would actually be polled in the first place. Long-requested changes took forever to be polled (if ever polled at all) if the OSRS Team didn’t want to deal with that particular problem or didn’t like that idea. Similarly, the Team essentially had desk jobs with a noose kept around their neck – they could perform almost nothing without the players, their slave masters, seeing, criticizing, and tearing out every inch of developmental or visionary freedom they had. Ever hear about the controversy of Erin the duck? Take a look at the wiki or do a search through the subreddit history. It’s pretty fantastic, and a good window into the minds of the early OSRS playerbase.
But as the years have gone on, the perspective of the players has shifted. There is now a much healthier and more trusting relationship between them and the Team, much more flexibility in what the players allow the Team to handle, and a much greater tolerance and even love of change.
But the challenges of democracy haven’t just fallen away. Everyone having the right to vote is a fundamental tenet of the democratic system, but unfortunately that also means that everyone has the right to vote. For OSRS, that means that every member, whether it’s their first day in game, their ten thousandth hour played, those who have no idea about what the poll’s about, those who haven’t read a single quest (the worst group), those who RWT and bot, those who scam and lure, and every professional armchair developer like myself get to vote. In short, no one will ever be perfectly informed on every aspect of the game, or at least know when to skip when they should. Similarly, people will almost never vote in favour of making their game harder, even at the cost of game integrity, or at least not enough people would vote in such a fashion to reach a 75% majority.
These issues are well recognized. The adoption of the controversial “integrity updates” was Jagex’s solution to these problems. In this way, Jagex has become even more like a government to the players. The average citizen of a democratic country cannot and will not make major decisions that favour everyone around themselves if it comes at a personal cost. Rather, that’s one of the major roles of a government: to make decisions for changes for the common good that an individual can’t or won’t make on their own. No one’s going to willingly hand over cash to help repave a road on the opposite side of the city – that’s why taxes are a necessary evil. It’s easy to see that the players don’t always know what’s best for their game and sometimes need to rely on that parent to decide for them, even if it results in some personal loss.
But players still generally like the polls, and Jagex still appears to respect them for the most part. Being the government of the game, Jagex could very well choose to ignore them, but would risk the loss of their citizens to other lands. And there are some very strong reasons to keep them: the players still like having at least one hand on the wheel when it comes to new content or ideas. Also, it acts as a nice veto card should Jagex try to push RS3’s abusive tactics on OSRS and therefore prevent such potential damage.
But now we come to the topic of today: the introduction of a new skill. Essentially, a new skill must pass a poll in order to enter the game. While it’s easy to say, “If a skill idea is good enough, it’ll pass the threshold,” that’s not entirely true. The only skill that could really pass the 75% mark is not necessarily a well-designed skill, but rather a crowd-pleasing skill. While the two aren’t mutually exclusive, the latter is far easier to make than the former. Take Dungeoneering: if you were to poll it today as an exact replica of RS2’s version, it would likely be the highest scoring skill yet, perhaps even passing, despite every criticism that’s been previously emphasized describing why it has no respect for the current definition of “skill.” Furthermore, a crowd-pleasing skill can easily fall prey to deindividualization of vision and result in a bland “studio skill” (in the same vein as a “studio film”), one that feels manufactured by a board of soulless machines rather than a director’s unique creation. This draws straight back to the afore-mentioned issues with democracy: that people A) don’t always understand what they’re voting for or against, and B) people will never vote for something that makes their game tougher or results in no benefit to oneself. Again, these were not issues in the old days of RS2, but are the problems we face with our modern standards and decision making systems.
The reality that must be faced is that the polling system is not an engine of creation nor is it a means of constructive feedback – it’s a system of judgement, binary and oversimplified in its methodology. It’s easy to interact with and requires no more than 10 seconds of a player’s time, a mere mindless moment, to decide the fate of an idea made by an individual or team, regardless of their deep or shallow knowledge of game mechanics, strong or weak vision of design philosophy, great or terrible understanding of the game’s history, and their awareness of blindness towards the modern community. It’s a system which disproportionately boils down the quality of discussion that is necessitated by a skill, which gives it the same significance as the question “Should we allow players to recolour the Rocky pet by feeding it berries?” with the only available answers being a dualistic “This idea is perfect and should be implemented exactly as outlined” or “This idea is terrible and should never be spoken of again.”
So what do you do? Let Jagex throw in whatever they want? Reduce the threshold, or reduce it just for skills? Make a poll that lists a bunch of skills and forces the players to choose one of them to enter the game? Simply poll the question, “Should we have a new skill?” then let Jagex decide what it is? Put more options on the scale of “yes” to “no” and weigh each appropriately? All these options sound distasteful because there are obvious weaknesses to each. But that is the Third Great Irony we face: an immense desire for a new skill, but no realistic means to ever get one.

6-0 - Conclusion

I can only imagine that if you’ve truly read everything up to this point, it’s taken you through quite the rollercoaster. We’ve walked through the history of OSRS skill attempts, unconstructive arguments, various aspects of modern skill design philosophy, and the OSRS Team and skill design process. When you take it all together, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the thought that needs to go into a modern skill and all the issues that might prevent its success. Complexity, naming conventions, categorizations, integration, rewards and motivations, bankstanding and buyables, the difficulties of skill bloat, balancing, and skill endgames, aesthetics, the design process, public presentation, development effort, democracy and polling - these are the challenges of designing and introducing modern skills. To have to cope with it all is draining and maybe even impossible, and therefore it begs the question: is trying to get a new skill even worth it?
Maybe.
Thanks for reading.
Tl;dr: Designing a modern skill requires acknowledging the vast history of Runescape, understanding why players make certain criticisms and what exactly they’re saying in terms of game mechanics, before finally developing solutions. Only then can you subject your ideas to a polling system that is built to oversimplify them.
submitted by ScreteMonge to 2007scape [link] [comments]

./play.it 2.12: API, GUI and video games

./play.it 2.12: API, GUI and video games

./play.it is a free/libre software that builds native packages for several Linux distributions from DRM-free installers for a collection of commercial games. These packages can then be installed using the standard distribution-provided tools (APT, pacman, emerge, etc.).
A more complete description of ./play.it has already been posted in linux_gaming a couple months ago: ./play.it, an easy way to install commercial games on GNU/Linux
It's already been one year since version 2.11 was released, in January 2019. We will only briefly review the changelog of version 2.12 and focus on the different points of ./play.it that kept us busy during all this time, and of which coding was only a small part.

What’s new with 2.12?

Though not the focus of this article, it would be a pity not to present all the added features of this brand new version. ;)
Compared to the usual updates, 2.12 is a major one, especially since for two years, we slowed down the addition of new features. Some patches took dust since the end of 2018 before finally be integrated in this update!
The list of changes for this 2.12 release can be found on our forge. Here is a full copy for convenience:

Development migration

History

As many free/libre projects, ./play.it development started on some random sector of a creaking hard drive, and unsurprisingly, a whole part of its history (everything predating version 1.13.15 released on Mars 30th, 2016) disappeared into the limbs because some unwise operation destroyed the only copy of the repository… Lesson learned, what's not shared don't stay long, and so was born the first public Git repository of the project. The easing of collaborative work was only accidentally achieved by this quest for eternity, but wasn't the original motivation for making the repository publicly available.
Following this decision, ./play.it source code has been hosted successively by many shared forge platforms:

Dedicated forge

As development progressed, ./play.it began to increase its need for resources, dividing its code into several repositories to improve the workflow of the different aspects of the projects, adding continuous integration tests and their constraints, etc. A furious desire to understand the nooks and crannies behind a forge platform was the last deciding factor towards hosting a dedicated forge.
So it happened, we deployed a forge platform on a dedicated server, hugely benefiting from the tremendous work achieved by the GitLab's package Debian Maintainers team. In return, we tried to contribute our findings in improving this software packaging.
That was not expected, but this migration happened just a little time before the announcement “Déframasoftisons Internet !” (French article) about the planned end of Framagit.
This dedicated instance used to be hosted on a VPS rented from Digital Ocean until the second half of July 2020, and since then has been moved to another VPS, rented from Hetzner. The specifications are similar, as well as the service, but thanks to this migration our hosting costs have been cut in half. Keeping in mind that this is paid by a single person, so any little donation helps a lot on this front. ;)
To the surprise of our system administrator, this last migration took only a couple hours with no service interruption reported by our users.

Forge access

This new forge can be found at forge.dotslashplay.it. Registrations are open to the public, but we ask you to not abuse this, the main restriction being that we do not wish to host projects unrelated to ./play.it. Of course exceptions are made for our active contributors, who are allowed to host some personal projects there.
So, if you wish to use this forge to host your own work, you first need to make some significant contributions to ./play.it.

API

The collection of supported games growing endlessly, we have started the development of a public API allowing access to lots of information related to ./play.it.
This API, which is not yet stabilized, is simply an interface to a versioned database containing all the ./play.it scripts, handled archives, games installable through the project. Relations are, of course, handled between those items, enabling its use for requests like : « What packages are required on my system to install Cæsar Ⅲ ? » or « What are the free (as in beer) games handled via DOSBox ? ».
Originally developed as support for the new, in-development, Web site (we'll talk about it later on), this API should facilitate the development of tools around ./play.it. For example, it'll be useful for whomever would like to build a complete video game handling software (downloading, installation, starting, etc.) using ./play.it as one of its building bricks.
For those curious about the technical side, it's an API based on Lumeneffectuant that makes requests on a MariaDB database, all self-hosted on a Debian Sid. Not only is the code of the API versioned on our forge, but also the structure and content of the databases, which will allow those who desired it to install a local version easily.

New website

Based on the aforementioned API, a new website is under development and will replace our current website based on DokuWiki.
Indeed, if the lack of database and the plain text files structure of DokuWiki seemed at first attractive, as ./play.it supported only a handful of games (link in French), this feature became more inconvenient as the library of ./play.it supported games grew.
We shall make an in-depth presentation of this website for the 2.13 release of ./play.it, but a public demo of the development version from our forge is already available.
If you feel like providing an helping hand on this task, some priority tasks have been identified to allow opening a new Web site able to replace the current one. And for those interested in technical details, this web Site was developed in PHP using the framework Laravel. The current in-development version is hosted for now on the same Debian Sid than the API.

GUI

A regular comment that is done about the project is that, if the purpose is to make installing games accessible to everyone without technical skills, having to run scripts in the terminal remains somewhat intimidating. Our answer until now has been that while the project itself doesn't aim to providing a graphical interface (KISS principle "Keep it simple, stupid"), still and always), but that it would be relatively easy to, later on, develop a graphical front-end to it.
Well, it happens that is now reality. Around the time of our latest publication, one of our contributors, using the API we just talked about, developed a small prototype that is usable enough to warrant a little shout out. :-)
In practice, it is some small Python 3 code (an HCI completely in POSIX shell is for a later date :-°), using GTK 3 (and still a VTE terminal to display the commands issued, but the user shouldn't have to input anything in it, except perhaps the root password to install some packages). This allowed to verify that, as we used to say, it would be relatively easy, since a script of less than 500 lines of code (written quickly over a week-end) was enough to do the job !
Of course, this graphical interface project stays independent from the main project, and is maintained in a specific repository. It seems interesting to us to promote it in order to ease the use of ./play.it, but this doesn't prevent any other similar projects to be born, for example using a different language or graphical toolkit (we, globally, don't have any particular affinity towards Python or GTK).
The use of this HCI needs three steps : first, a list of available games is displayed, coming directly from our API. You just need to select in the list (optionally using the search bar) the game you want to install. Then it switches to a second display, which list the required files. If several alternatives are available, the user can select the one he wants to use. All those files must be in the same directory, the address bar on the top enabling to select which one to use (click on the open button on the top opens a filesystem navigation window). Once all those files available (if they can be downloaded, the software will do it automatically), you can move ahead to the third step, which is just watching ./play.it do its job :-) Once done, a simple click on the button on the bottom will run the game (even if, from this step, the game is fully integrated on your system as usual, you no longer need this tool to run it).
To download potentially missing files, the HCI will use, depending on what's available on the system, either wget, curl or aria2c (this last one also handling torrents), of which the output will be displayed in the terminal of the third phase, just before running the scripts. For privilege escalation to install packages, sudo will be used preferentially if available (with the option to use a third-party application for password input, if the corresponding environment variable is set, which is more user-friendly), else su will be used.
Of course, any suggestion for an improvement will be received with pleasure.

New games

Of course, such an announcement would not be complete without a list of the games that got added to our collection since the 2.11 release… So here you go:
If your favourite game is not supported by ./play.it yet, you should ask for it in the dedicated tracker on our forge. The only requirement to be a valid request is that there exists a version of the game that is not burdened by DRM.

What’s next?

Our team being inexhaustible, work on the future 2.13 version has already begun…
A few major objectives of this next version are :
If your desired features aren't on this list, don't hesitate to signal it us, in the comments of this news release. ;)

Links

submitted by vv224 to linux_gaming [link] [comments]

THE SEARCH FOR THE GREATEST SWITCH SHMUP: EPISODE 28 – Raiden V: Director’s Cut

Before I begin, I just want to remind everyone that all of my reviews can be found at my site: www.azormx.com. I tried to keep it as minimalist as possible, and it doesn't have any add or any other intrusive elements, so the content is king. Do check it out, as reviews are usually live there before I publish them elsewhere. Any way, on to the review!

The shmup genre hasn’t been a mainstream genre in a long time. To be honest, I don’t think it ever was, even during the arcade days. While we certainly don’t have a shortage of shmups, let alone new release, they usually come from smaller teams. Indies have taken it upon themselves to become a guiding light for all of us. Their creations have been nothing short of amazing! However, we don’t really have anything we could call a “AAA” shmup. We do seem to have the next closest thing: Raiden.
Developer: Moss Co.
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: Jul 25, 2019
Price: $29.99
Tate: Unfortunately… no. This really needed to have TATE
Raiden V: Director’s Cut is a vertical shmup set in a fictional but real world. It claims to be the original bullet-hell, and after playing it extensively I gotta say that I agree. Raiden V features some intense air combat, coupled with giant bosses and some jaw-dropping transitions between areas.

THE GREAT INTRO CHECKLIST

Right out of the gate, what caught my attention was the intro. The best way I can put this is that it has everything great about shmups in a short video. It has a great track, it has giant enemies, it has ships and it even has pieces of lore I do not understand! Simply amazing!
Most importantly, it is a very accurate portrayal as to what you should expect from the game. Unlike other shmups, Raiden goes all out in the presentation department, with the story taking a mayor role. Another way I can put this, is that it certainly feels like a considerable effort was placed in every element of the game. Raiden V features a level of polish that very few shmups can claim to have.

WELCOME TO THE CUSTOMIZATION STATION

One of Raiden’s strength is the amount of customization you have available for your ship. At the beginning of the game, you can choose between one of 3 different ships: Azuma, Spirit of Dragon and Moulin Rouge. Each of these ships has different stats in terms of attack, defense and speed. They also have their own sub-shot which is always firing along with your main cannon.
On top of selecting a ship, you can arm yourself with 3 out of 9 different weapons. Those 9 weapons are grouped into 3 categories: Vulcan, Laser and Plasma. You can pick, or rather you must pick 1 for each category. The result is a combat style that is unique to you.
During your play throughs, you will encounter several power-up orbs. These orbs will power up each of your weapons up to 10 times! Each of these orbs can be either red, blue or purple depending on the weapon it powers up. The orbs cycle the colors, with an outer dot indicating a timer until it changes colors. This allows you to control which weapon you want to power up, giving you the flexibility to pick your own style or choose a weapon for the occasion.
The best part is that absolutely no power-ups are lost upon death! This means that you are free to retry to your heart's content and play at your own pace. Raiden won't punish you or set you up for failure with an unrecoverable situation.
I didn’t put too much attention into weapon selection at first. I figured it wouldn’t be too relevant, as I would probably just play the entire game with a single weapon, but the advanced scoring mechanics and the rank system were quick to make me second guess my decision.

ACE PILOT

At the core of Raiden V, there are 2 main systems to be aware of: your rank and your flash level. Both of them measure your combat capabilities, although in different ways. Your flash point gauge is a score multiplier that tracks how fast you defeat your enemies. By defeating enemies as soon as possible after spawning, you can earn higher multipliers to increase your flash gauge. By having quick kills, you can raise it to higher levels to increase your score. Your rank, on the other hand, only concerns itself with how many enemies you’ve defeated.
Your rank doubles as the deciding factor of which path you will be taking. Raiden features branching paths with an A, B, C or S version of each stage. Depending on your total destruction rate, you will either move up or down in rank after a stage. While I do not know the exact numbers, I believe having more than 98% destruction rate will increase your rank, 90 – 98% will keep it as is and <90% should decrease your rank. S rank stages are presumably harder than A/B/C stages, with C being the lowest.
Apart from having a higher score and challenging yourself with the difficulty, the importance of S rank is getting the true ending. In order to truly watch the ending of the game, you need to reach the final stage on S rank using a single credit. You also need to power up your 3 weapons to level 10. Once you meet those conditions, you will be able to challenge the final boss. Alternatively, you could just fulfill the level 10 weapons condition to fight the true final boss.

THE BEST CHEERLEADER

A new addition to Raiden V is the cheer system. By accomplishing certain in-game milestones like a certain number of enemies destroyed, you will get an achievement. These achievements are broadcasted to any players connected to the leaderboards. They can then “cheer” on your achievement to increase your cheer gauge. This goes both ways, as you can also cheer the achievements of your fellow Raiden players.
Once the cheer gauge is full, you can unleash it to clear the screen and gain a drastically stronger sub-shot. Think of it as a devastating bomb, only more devastating and easier to fill. It clears screens and decimates even the bosses.
Perhaps many people won’t think too much of it, but I found it really interesting to know that there’s someone on the other side celebrating my achievements. Likewise, there were times where I left my game on pause to do other stuff, but held on to my controller to provide support for my comrades.

SWIFT DESTRUCTION

Everything I’ve mentioned before plays out in the general strategy of the game. Assuming you want to get the best results, you need to know where to hit and how to hit hard. For the untrained eye, most shmups just look like games where you fire away with complete disregard and hope the enemy dies. This is definitely not the case in Raiden.
In order to succeed, you must be able to find your rhythm and read the stage. Learn the enemy formations and strategize the quickest kills. Be there before the enemy arrives and take them down before they realize what hit them. If you want to face the true final boss, then you must also learn to juggle your weapons and find the moments to upgrade them. Maxing a weapon and then switching is a recipe for disaster, as you don’t want to be on the later stages with a level one weapon and risk your flash level or destruction rate. With so many weapons and ship types, your strategy to succeed will be unique to you!

LORE GALORE

One of the main selling points, at least per the game itself, is the story. Raiden V features an extensive story that is fully voiced and occurs as you play the game. This story elements come as the prologue and epilogue scenes, as well as all the events happening mid stage.
As you fly your way to the levels, characters will be advancing the story by having conversations and narrating the current events. The dialogue is available on one of the gadgets located on the right side of the screen. You can read anything you might have missed and even pause to read the on-screen log of events (up to a certain number of events, as the log scrolls to open way for new text).
As for my opinion of the story, I have absolutely no idea of what happened during the game. I played my fair share of runs, but I found it next to impossible to focus on the dialogue while trying my hardest to survive. The voice acting would have been my saving grace, but I found the sound mixing to be the opposite of ideal for listening to dialogue. I even tried lowering the sound effects and BGM to see if I could focus on dialogue to no avail.
The text is also incredibly small when playing on docked mode. It gets even worse when playing handheld.

THE WORST CHEERLEADER

Out of all the voices, Eshiria’s was the one who got on my nerves the most at the beginning. Other than having her role as navigator on the plot, she also critiques your gameplay. In-between stage scenes, she will provide commentary describing your gameplay. She will be quick to point out if you did well, but also if you did poorly. On my early runs, when I was still learning, it would tilt me to listen to her complaining to me about stats I did not understand.
And perhaps, a huge part of my problems was a lack of understanding of the game mechanics. I listened to her complain about my destruction rate without knowing it was about my rank. She also complained about destruction speed without me knowing it was about the flash point.
The problem is that the game never bothered explaining any of its mechanics to me. I really looked around for some sort of tutorial to no avail. I had to resort to 3rd party resources. While that isn’t uncommon, I really don’t like games with obscure mechanics that can’t be discerned in-game.
Once I got better and consistently reach the S levels, I finally started to value her advice. Of course, I wouldn’t count on everyone reaching the same enlightenment as I did. In my opinion, her comments would more often than not add insult to injury. Once again, it’s not really the commentary, it’s the fact that none of what she said made practical sense until I started digging on the wiki.

GADGETS AND THE SCREEN REAL ESTATE

Perhaps the worst omission from Raiden V is the lack of a TATE mode. Vertical shooters don’t really have an excuse to do this, with the existence of add-ons like the flip grip or rotating monitors. Instead, Raiden decided to make the most out of the free space and add several gadgets.
In standard fashion, these gadgets will keep your stats like score, flash level, the dialogue and even hi-score statistics. Your left gadget can even be cycled between the score chart and cheer notification, in-game tips and global statistics. Out of those, the tips are definitely the winners. They do give some important advice, such as staying on top of the guns of the first boss to avoid damage.

NOT A FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD

Every stage is divided into smaller scenes. These scenes serve as a way to catch your breath and tally your score. There’s even a nifty “restart scene” option that allows you to replay a scene. Choosing to restart will deny you the option to upload your score to the leaderboard, but serves as a great way to practice or even “fix” a run to so can get to the true ending.
Every once in a while, the action will pan out and open the way to a bigger stage, with you looking smaller in comparison. I admire the grandioseness of the resulting scenes, but they were also quite impractical. Think about your weapons, the destruction rate and the flash gauge. An extended stage means longer travel distances from side to side. Having a bigger stage means you move slower, which reduces the pacing of the game to a crawl. Reaching enemies quickly becomes a struggle. Worst yet, I’ve counted times where it took me whopping 5 seconds to go from side to side of the stage.

THE OG BULLET HELL

Despite all the fun of blasting enemies quickly to gain flash levels, I gotta say that I found the combat, specifically the bullets, to be lacking in grace. For a game that’s the original bullet hell, most enemy volleys feel like bullet showers. There’s no finesse in them, just a bunch of bullets moving towards you. Dodging them isn’t fun, it’s survival. The problem only gets worse in higher difficulties where the bullets just go faster.
Not all patterns are as bad though. While the vast majority will be just a bunch on increasingly faster bullets thrown at you, some exceptional patterns will show from time to time. As a result, fights tend to be very hit or miss, with both hits and misses being on their respective extremes.
What certainly doesn’t help is that the bullets are very hard to see. As pretty as the backgrounds might be, they are very busy and the quick motion makes them into a blur. Bullets don’t have their characteristic outlines or color palettes to become distinguishable. Some even blend with your own vulcan. The result is a lot of cheap kills caused by intentional obfuscation. It this was their intention, then perhaps I’m being too harsh, but you know visibility is usually one of my pet peeves in shmups.

REPLAYABILITY AND LONGEVITY

As far as game length goes, I consider Raiden V to be one of the longer ones. I was surprised after my first run of the game, as it took me 50+ minutes to complete the campaign. Usually, my baseline for shmups is around half an hour, which made this one almost twice as long. While I’m not fond of longer campaigns, I know a lot of people would certainly be glad to know there is plenty of content.
Of course, playing through the campaign isn’t enough to view the entire game. If you recall, most stages have 4 versions of themselves. Those versions are separated by the ranks: S/A/B/C. This means you would need at least 4 runs to see everything the game has to offer. There’s also 6 different endings to uncover.
Also new to the Director’s Cut edition are 2 bonus levels. These level are slightly different from your typical levels. The bonus missions will challenge you to fight a new boss ir oder to obtain medals. Dealing damage will detach the medals from the boss, allowing you to catch them. Gather enough medals and you will advance to the next phase. Higher medals mean higher ranking. Taking damage will take medals away from you, so surviving continues to be a priority.
Lastly, there is a new boss mission mode that allow you to play “boss rush” missions. These missions have certain conditions, like using a specific weapon or fighting at a specific HP level. The targets are usually 1-3 bosses. Boss mission is a very fun arcadey mode for those who enjoyed the boss fights and want more of them.

SOUND EXCELLENCE

If there’s a factor that merits my highest praise is the sound department. Simply put, the OST is fantastic. The track length syncs perfectly with the stages, and it always fits the mood. I just couldn’t get enough of the OST, and listening to it while writing this review was the recipe for a perfect Sunday! I also got some good coffee that would make the captain proud.
For all the praise the music gets from me, it still is dragged down by the terrible sound mixing. Similarly to the voice acting, I tried to mess with the sound settings to increase the volume and reduce the sound effects, but it still wasn’t enough. The tracks were great but I struggled to listen to them amidst all the explosions. The calm moments were great, as they let me listen to the songs in peace.

LAST WORDS

Raiden is a master class in shmup design for the wrong reasons. Its high points perfectly illustrate how shmups should look and feel. The low points also show what you should NOT do when creating a shmup game. Despite all of this, it all comes down to how fun a game is.
Raiden V is a very fun game. It isn’t different, but it’s certainly very polished. I delivers some levels of quality that are notably absent in the majority of the games. As a concept, I feel like it serves as an example of how current gen shmups should be. The execution fell flat in some regards, but as a whole I was satisfied with the time I spent with the game. It does come with a hefty price tag, so my advice is to check this game out when you find a decent sale. I got mine at -70%.

THE RANKING SO FAR:

  1. Ikaruga
  2. Psyvariar Delta
  3. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade
  4. Devil Engine
  5. Rolling Gunner
  6. Blazing Star
  7. Jamestown+
  8. Raiden V: Director’s Cut
  9. Darius Cozmic Collection Console
  10. Tengai
  11. Steredenn: Binary Stars
  12. Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax
  13. Sky Force: Reloaded
  14. Strikers 1945
  15. Black Paradox
  16. R-Type Dimensions EX
  17. Sine Mora EX
  18. Shikhondo – Soul Eater
  19. Ghost Blade HD
  20. AngerForce: Reloaded
  21. Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
  22. Q-YO Blaster
  23. Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
  24. Pawarumi
  25. Red Death
  26. Task Force Kampas
  27. Switch ‘N’ Shoot
  28. Last Resort (ACA Neogeo)
submitted by AzorMX to u/AzorMX [link] [comments]

ResultsFileName = 0×0 empty char array Why? Where are my results?

Edit: Turns out I was missing a needed toolbox.
Hello,
I am not getting any errors and I do not understand why I am not getting any output. I am trying to batch process a large number of ecg signals. Below is my code and the two relevant functions. Any help greatly appreciated. I am very new.
d = importSections("Dx_sections.csv"); % set the number of recordings n = height(d); % settings HRVparams = InitializeHRVparams('test_physionet') for ii = 1:n % Import waveform (ECG) [record, signals] = read_edf(strcat(d.PID(ii), '/baseline.edf')); myecg = record.ECG; Ann = []; [HRVout, ResultsFileName] = Main_HRV_Analysis(myecg,'','ECGWaveform',HRVparams) end function [HRVout, ResultsFileName ] = Main_HRV_Analysis(InputSig,t,InputFormat,HRVparams,subID,ann,sqi,varargin) % ====== HRV Toolbox for PhysioNet Cardiovascular Signal Toolbox ========= % % Main_HRV_Analysis(InputSig,t,InputFormat,HRVparams,subID,ann,sqi,varargin) % OVERVIEW: % % INPUT: % InputSig - Vector containing RR intervals data (in seconds) % or ECG/PPG waveform % t - Time indices of the rr interval data (seconds) or % leave empty for ECG/PPG input % InputFormat - String that specifiy if the input vector is: % 'RRIntervals' for RR interval data % 'ECGWaveform' for ECG waveform % 'PPGWaveform' for PPG signal % HRVparams - struct of settings for hrv_toolbox analysis that can % be obtained using InitializeHRVparams.m function % HRVparams = InitializeHRVparams(); % % % OPTIONAL INPUTS: % subID - (optional) string to identify current subject % ann - (optional) annotations of the RR data at each point % indicating the type of the beat % sqi - (optional) Signal Quality Index; Requires a % matrix with at least two columns. Column 1 % should be timestamps of each sqi measure, and % Column 2 should be SQI on a scale from 0 to 1. % Use InputSig, Type pairs for additional signals such as ABP % or PPG signal. The input signal must be a vector containing % signal waveform and the Type: 'ABP' and\or 'PPG'. % % OUTPUS: % results - HRV time and frequency domain metrics as well % as AC and DC, SDANN and SDNNi % ResultsFileName - Name of the file containing the results % % NOTE: before running this script review and modifiy the parameters % in "initialize_HRVparams.m" file accordingly with the specific % of the new project (see the readme.txt file for further details) % EXAMPLES % - rr interval input % Main_HRV_Analysis(RR,t,'RRIntervals',HRVparams) % - ECG wavefrom input % Main_HRV_Analysis(ECGsig,t,'ECGWavefrom',HRVparams,'101') % - ECG waveform and also ABP and PPG waveforms % Main_HRV_Analysis(ECGsig,t,'ECGWaveform',HRVparams,[],[],[], abpSig, % 'ABP', ppgSig, 'PPG') % % DEPENDENCIES & LIBRARIES: % HRV Toolbox for PhysioNet Cardiovascular Signal Toolbox % https://github.com/cliffordlab/PhysioNet-Cardiovascular-Signal-Toolbox % % REFERENCE: % Vest et al. "An Open Source Benchmarked HRV Toolbox for Cardiovascular % Waveform and Interval Analysis" Physiological Measurement (In Press), 2018. % % REPO: % https://github.com/cliffordlab/PhysioNet-Cardiovascular-Signal-Toolbox % ORIGINAL SOURCE AND AUTHORS: % This script written by Giulia Da Poian % Dependent scripts written by various authors % (see functions for details) % COPYRIGHT (C) 2018 % LICENSE: % This software is offered freely and without warranty under % the GNU (v3 or later) public license. See license file for % more information %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% if nargin < 4 error('Wrong number of input arguments') end if nargin < 5 subID = '0000'; end if nargin < 6 ann = []; end if nargin < 7 sqi = []; end if length(varargin) == 1 || length(varargin) == 3 error('Incomplete Signal-Type pair') elseif length(varargin) == 2 extraSigType = varargin(2); extraSig = varargin{1}; elseif length(varargin) == 4 extraSigType = [varargin(2) varargin(4)]; extraSig = [varargin{1} varargin{3}]; end if isa(subID,'cell'); subID = string(subID); end % Control on signal length if (strcmp(InputFormat, 'ECGWaveform') && length(InputSig)/HRVparams.Fs< HRVparams.windowlength) ... || (strcmp(InputFormat, 'PPGWaveform') && length(InputSig)/HRVparams.Fs 300 s VLF = [0.0033 .04]; % Requires at least 300 s window LF = [.04 .15]; % Requires at least 25 s window HF = [0.15 0.4]; % Requires at least 7 s window HRVparams.freq.limits = [ULF; VLF; LF; HF]; HRVparams.freq.zero_mean = 1; % Default: 1, Option for subtracting the mean from the input data HRVparams.freq.method = 'lomb'; % Default: 'lomb' % Options: 'lomb', 'burg', 'fft', 'welch' HRVparams.freq.plot_on = 0; % The following settings are for debugging spectral analysis methods HRVparams.freq.debug_sine = 0; % Default: 0, Adds sine wave to tachogram for debugging HRVparams.freq.debug_freq = 0.15; % Default: 0.15 HRVparams.freq.debug_weight = .03; % Default: 0.03 % Lomb: HRVparams.freq.normalize_lomb = 0; % Default: 0 % 1 = Normalizes Lomb Periodogram, % 0 = Doesn't normalize % Burg: (not recommended) HRVparams.freq.burg_poles = 15; % Default: 15, Number of coefficients % for spectral estimation using the Burg % method (not recommended) % The following settings are only used when the user specifies spectral % estimation methods that use resampling : 'welch','fft', 'burg' HRVparams.freq.resampling_freq = 7; % Default: 7, Hz HRVparams.freq.resample_interp_method = 'cub'; % Default: 'cub' % 'cub' = cublic spline method % 'lin' = linear spline method HRVparams.freq.resampled_burg_poles = 100; % Default: 100 %% 11. SDANN and SDNNI Analysis Settings HRVparams.sd.on = 1; % Default: 1, SD analysis 1=On or 0=Off HRVparams.sd.segmentlength = 300; % Default: 300, windows length in seconds %% 12. PRSA Analysis Settings HRVparams.prsa.on = 1; % Default: 1, PRSA Analysis 1=On or 0=Off HRVparams.prsa.win_length = 30; % Default: 30, The length of the PRSA signal % before and after the anchor points % (the resulting PRSA has length 2*L) HRVparams.prsa.thresh_per = 20; % Default: 20%, Percent difference that one beat can % differ from the next in the prsa code HRVparams.prsa.plot_results = 0; % Default: 0 HRVparams.prsa.scale = 2; % Default: 2, scale parameter for wavelet analysis (to compute AC and DC) %% 13. Peak Detection Settings % The following settings are for jqrs.m HRVparams.PeakDetect.REF_PERIOD = 0.250; % Default: 0.25 (should be 0.15 for FECG), refractory period in sec between two R-peaks HRVparams.PeakDetect.THRES = .6; % Default: 0.6, Energy threshold of the detector HRVparams.PeakDetect.fid_vec = []; % Default: [], If some subsegments should not be used for finding the optimal % threshold of the P&T then input the indices of the corresponding points here HRVparams.PeakDetect.SIGN_FORCE = []; % Default: [], Force sign of peaks (positive value/negative value) HRVparams.PeakDetect.debug = 0; % Default: 0 HRVparams.PeakDetect.ecgType = 'MECG'; % Default : MECG, options (adult MECG) or featl ECG (fECG) HRVparams.PeakDetect.windows = 15; % Befautl: 15,(in seconds) size of the window onto which to perform QRS detection %% 14. Entropy Settings % Multiscale Entropy HRVparams.MSE.on = 1; % Default: 1, MSE Analysis 1=On or 0=Off HRVparams.MSE.windowlength = []; % Default: [], windows size in seconds, default perform MSE on the entire signal HRVparams.MSE.increment = []; % Default: [], window increment HRVparams.MSE.RadiusOfSimilarity = 0.15; % Default: 0.15, Radius of similarity (% of std) HRVparams.MSE.patternLength = 2; % Default: 2, pattern length HRVparams.MSE.maxCoarseGrainings = 20; % Default: 20, Maximum number of coarse-grainings % SampEn an ApEn HRVparams.Entropy.on = 1; % Default: 1, MSE Analysis 1=On or 0=Off HRVparams.Entropy.RadiusOfSimilarity = 0.15; % Default: 0.15, Radius of similarity (% of std) HRVparams.Entropy.patternLength = 2; % Default: 2, pattern length %% 15. DFA Settings HRVparams.DFA.on = 1; % Default: 1, DFA Analysis 1=On or 0=Off HRVparams.DFA.windowlength = []; % Default [], windows size in seconds, default perform DFA on the entair signal HRVparams.DFA.increment = []; % Default: [], window increment HRVparams.DFA.minBoxSize = 4 ; % Default: 4, Smallest box width HRVparams.DFA.maxBoxSize = []; % Largest box width (default in DFA code: signal length/4) HRVparams.DFA.midBoxSize = 16; % Medium time scale box width (default in DFA code: 16) %% 16. Poincaré plot HRVparams.poincare.on = 1; % Default: 1, Poincare Analysis 1=On or 0=Off %% 17. Heart Rate Turbulence (HRT) - Settings HRVparams.HRT.on = 1; % Default: 1, HRT Analysis 1=On or 0=Off HRVparams.HRT.BeatsBefore = 2; % Default: 2, # of beats before PVC HRVparams.HRT.BeatsAfter = 16; % Default: 16, # of beats after PVC and CP HRVparams.HRT.GraphOn = 0; % Default: 0, do not plot HRVparams.HRT.windowlength = 24; % Default 24h, windows size in hours HRVparams.HRT.increment = 24; % Default 24h, sliding window increment in hours HRVparams.HRT.filterMethod = 'mean5before'; % Default mean5before, HRT filtering option %% 18. Output Settings HRVparams.gen_figs = 0; % Generate figures HRVparams.save_figs = 0; % Save generated figures if HRVparams.save_figs == 1 HRVparams.gen_figs = 1; end % Format settings for HRV Outputs HRVparams.output.format = 'csv'; % 'csv' - creates csv file for output % 'mat' - creates .mat file for output HRVparams.output.separate = 0; % Default : 1 = separate files for each subject % 0 = all results in one file HRVparams.output.num_win = []; % Specify number of lowest hr windows returned % leave blank if all windows should be returned % Format settings for annotations generated HRVparams.output.ann_format = 'binary'; % 'binary' = binary annotation file generated % 'csv' = ASCII CSV file generated end 
submitted by MisuzBrisby to matlab [link] [comments]

BTC Global – A Huge Ponzi Scheme

Oh No! Another Cryptocurrency Scam

Since Bitcoin was created back in 2008, there have been numerous shady individuals and companies for that matter that have used the hype to their advantage to facilitate cryptocurrency scams. These shrewd schemes conned thousands upon thousands of people who knew virtually nothing about cryptocurrency but wanted to invest in this alluring venture. 2018 is underway but here is this year’s top cryptocurrency scam thus far:

BTC Global

Just a little over two weeks ago BTC Global collapsed and Broker Complaint Registry has received numerous complaints pertaining to this fraudulent broker. The company claimed to be an exclusive platform providing unparalleled earnings through valid binary trading services, but that was unfortunately not the case. Here are excerpts from there website:
“We are backed by our founding trader at Steven Twain.”
This “Steven Twain” character is not a real individual.
“Steven has 6 years of experience trading binary options with consistent success, over the last 3 years he has started providing trading services for other large account holders ($10,000+ only).”
I have not come across any trading history pertaining to Steven Twain.
“Through our partnership with Steven, BTC Global have secured access to guaranteed 14% WEEKLY returns from as little as $1,000 in your account. We have also secured extra returns to pay out as referral commissions should you decide to share this opportunity with others! There are very few legitimate opportunities to get the kind of returns on investment BTC Global is offering so we encourage you to get involved as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”
How can a legitimate company guarantee any sort of returns?
In BTC Global there were two ways one could earn:

  1. Return on investment, which was 14% of the dollar amount that was invested, paid weekly in BTC.
  2. Team shares or commissions on the people that the investor recruited or referred (think of a pyramid scheme).

BTC Global – a textbook Ponzi scheme.

The definition of a Ponzi scheme is as follows:
A deceitful investing scam guaranteeing high rates of return with little to no risk to investors. The Ponzi scheme produces returns for earlier investors by procuring new investors. BTC Global certainly fits the bill
Investment values generally go up and down over a duration of time, especially the ones that offer potentially high yields. If an investment consistently generates the same returns despite the market conditions or guarantees these high returns that is cause for pause.
Additionally, Ponzi schemes usually involve investments that have not been registered with the SEC, FSB or any other regulatory agency. Obviously, registration is pivotal as enables investors to access pivotal information pertaining to the firm’s management, services, products and most importantly finances.
Lastly and most importantly if you do not receive a “scheduled” payment or incur difficulty when trying to cash out your investment that is the biggest red flag. Those who promote Ponzi schemes regularly ask investors to “roll over” investments and often promise returns in excess of the amount that was rolled over.

How to protect yourself from a cryptocurrency scam

Although we have just talked about the BTC Global scam, this is not the only one. The very best way to ensure your funds are safe is to know how to identify and avoid ponzi schemes like BTC Global.
Stay far away from ICOs, unidentified companies and companies that do not provide suitable information. Be sure that creator’s names and all team members are publicly listed and verified and, if reviews give consistent negative feedback it best to avoid that cryptocurrency broker.
If you have fallen victim to a cryptocurrency scam, send a complaint to at [info@fundsrecovery247.com](mailto:info@fundsrecovery247.com), and we will do our very best to get into contact with you as soon as we can to initiate your funds recovery process. Visit www.fundsrecovery247.com for more information or Contact - info@fundsrecovery247 com.
submitted by dskhan34 to u/dskhan34 [link] [comments]

FCA Updates Forex Broker Scam List

FCA Targets More Forex & Binary Brokers

The FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) finally got around to updating its list of unregulated online trading brokers. This list includes both forex and binary options unregulated brokers. Despite the fact, these brokers supposedly offer numerous services they are located in financial havens such as Seychelles, the Marshall Islands or Vanuatu and provide little to no information as to who they really are, and which parent company operates them. So, without further ado let’s introduce these fraudulent companies

SolidCFD

Owned by LOK Marketing Ltd, this forex broker is supposedly located in Vanuatu, a tax haven for any illicit business. Apparently, SolidCFD appears to be forging a path for current forex brokers and others that would like to set up shop in the country, whose major exports are frozen fish and distinct floating edifices. However, upon further inspection, the SolidCFD has two other offices registered on their website.
The first is under the name MGNC Marketing Ltd. and it is located in Cyprus. A quick google search tells us all that we need to know. MGNC Marketing LTD (Solid CFD) cold-calls potential investors and offers them unauthorized or prohibited financial services. An additional address is attributed to an area in West London. However, upon further review, there is no real company located there. Unsurprisingly no company is registered in the UK under SolidCFD, LOK marketing or MGNC Marketing, which implies that the broker has no physical presence in the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, there is a whole list of negative reviews pertaining to SolidCFD. This includes clients being unable to withdraw their funds, aggressive salesmen and not being able to log back into an account once a withdrawal request is made.

StratX Markets

Registered in the Marshal Islands, the company supposedly has an office in North London. However, the address that is provided is used by a company that enables other companies to register their business under their address. This obviously implies that StratX has no workers at its given address.
Just by merely glancing at a few of the reviews tells you that StratX Markets is operated by a bunch of con-artists. In fact what is more alarming, a number of former clients are claiming that StratX personnel are operating a fraudulent fund recovery company called Linrow Clarion Solvency that claims they can recover money that was lost to illegitimate brokers like Stratx Markets.

Options Stars Global

Last but not least this “broker” is registered in Samoa, but apparently has some sort of a branch in Cyprus that is regulated by CySEC. That is patently false.
Additionally, although the website has a U.K. phone number none of their of operations occur in the country. Not only Are there plenty of negative reviews about them, there is a dedicated Facebook page against them
Users of the website report an inability to withdraw funds, threatening salesmen, and pushy brokers who tempt traders into depositing more cash into their accounts. The company has done so badly they even have a Facebook page against them.

Take Action

If you have fallen victim to a cryptocurrency scam, send a complaint to at [info@fundsrecovery247.com](mailto:info@fundsrecovery247.com), and we will do our very best to get into contact with you as soon as we can to initiate your funds recovery process.

submitted by asaston to u/asaston [link] [comments]

ABI Breaks: Not just about rebuilding

Related reading:
What is ABI, and What Should WG21 Do About It?
The Day The Standard Library Died

Q: What does the C++ committee need to do to fix large swaths of ABI problems?

A: Absolutely nothing

On current implementations, std::unique_ptr's calling convention causes some inefficiencies compared to raw pointers. The standard doesn't dictate the calling convention of std::unique_ptr, so implementers could change that if they chose to.
On current implementations, std::hash will return the same result for the same input, even across program invocations. This makes it vulnerable to cache poisoning attacks. Nothing in the standard requires that different instances of a program produce the same output. An implementation could choose to have a global variable with a per-program-instance seed in it, and have std::hash mix that in.
On current implementations, std::regex is extremely slow. Allegedly, this could be improved substantially without changing the API of std::regex, though most implementations don't change std::regex due to ABI concerns. An implementation could change if it wanted to though. However, very few people have waded into the guts of std::regex and provided a faster implementation, ABI breaking or otherwise. Declaring an ABI break won't make such an implementation appear.
None of these issues are things that the C++ committee claims to have any control over. They are dictated by vendors and by the customers of the vendors. A new vendor could come along and have a better implementation. For customers that prioritize QoI over ABI stability, they could switch and recompile everything.
Even better, the most common standard library implementations are all open source now. You could fork the standard library, tweak the mangling, and be your own vendor. You can then be in control of your own destiny ABI, and without taking the large up-front cost of reinventing the parts of the standard library that you are satisfied with. libc++ has a LIBCXX_ABI_UNSTABLE configuration flag, so that you always get the latest and greatest optimizations. libstdc++ has a --enable-symvers=gnu-versioned-namespace configuration flag that is ABI unstable, and it goes a long way towards allowing multiple libstdc++ instances coexist simultaneously. Currently the libc++ and libstdc++ unstable ABI branches don't have many new optimizations because there aren't many contributions and few people use it. I will choose to be optimistic, and assume that they are unused because people were not aware of them.
If your only concern is ABI, and not API, then vendors and developers can fix this on their own without negatively affecting code portability or conformance. If the QoI gains from an ABI break are worth a few days / weeks to you, then that option is available today.

Q: What aspects of ABI makes things difficult for the C++ committee.

A: API and semantic changes that would require changes to the ABI are difficult for the C++ committee to deal with.

There are a lot of things that you can do to a type or function to make it ABI incompatible with the old type. The C++ committee is reluctant to make these kinds of changes, as they have a substantially higher cost. Changing the layout of a type, adding virtual methods to an existing class, and changing template parameters are the most common operations that run afoul of ABI.

Q: Are ABI changes difficult for toolchain vendors to deal with?

A1: For major vendors, they difficulty varies depending on the magnitude of the break.

Since GCC 5 dealt with the std::string ABI break, GCC has broken the language ABI 6 other times, and most people didn't even notice. There were several library ABI breaks (notably return type changes for std::complex and associative container erase) that went smoothly as well. Quite a few people noticed the GCC 5 std::string ABI changes though.
In some cases, there are compiler heroics that can be done to mitigate an library ABI change. You will get varying responses as to whether this is a worthwhile thing to do, depending on the vendor and the change.
If the language ABI changes in a large way, then it can cause substantially more pain. GCC had a major language ABI change in GCC 3.4, and that rippled out into the library. Dealing with libstdc++.so.5 and libstdc++.so.6 was a major hassle for many people, myself included.

A2: For smaller vendors, the difficulty of an ABI break depends on their customer base.

These days, it's easier than ever to be your own toolchain vendor. That makes you a vendor with excellent insight into how difficult an ABI change would be.

Q: Why don't you just rebuild after an ABI change?

A1: Are you rebuilding the standard library too?

Many people will recommend not passing standard library types around, and not throwing exceptions across shared library boundaries. They often forget that at least one very commonly used shared library does exactly that... your C++ standard library.
On many platforms, there is usually a system C++ standard library. If you want to use that, then you need to deal with standard library types and exceptions going across shared library boundaries. If OS version N+1 breaks ABI in the system C++ standard library, the program you shipped and tested with for OS version N will not work on the upgraded OS until you rebuild.

A2: Sometimes, rebuilding isn't enough

Suppose your company distributes pre-built programs to customers, and this program supports plugins (e.g. Wireshark dissector plugins). If the plugin ABI changes, in the pre-built program, then all of the plugins need to rebuild. The customer that upgrades the program is unlikely to be the one that does the rebuilding, but they will be responsible for upgrading all the plugins as well. The customer cannot effectively upgrade until the entire ecosystem has responded to the ABI break. At best, that takes a lot of time. More likely, some parts of the ecosystem have become unresponsive, and won't ever upgrade.
This also requires upgrading large swaths of a system at once. In certain industries, it is very difficult to convince a customer to upgrade anything at all, and upgrading an entire system would be right out.
Imagine breaking ABI on a system library on a phone. Just getting all of the apps that your company owns upgraded and deployed at the same time as the system library would be a herculean effort, much less getting all the third party apps to upgrade as well.
There are things you can do to mitigate these problems, at least for library and C++ language breaks on Windows, but it's hard to mitigate this if you are relying on a system C++ standard library. Also, these mitigations usually involve writing more error prone code that is less expressive and less efficient than if you just passed around C++ standard library types.

A3: Sometimes you can't rebuild everything.

Sometimes, business models revolve around selling pre-built binaries to other people. It is difficult to coordinate ABI changes across these businesses.
Sometimes, there is a pre-built binary, and the company that provided that binary is no longer able to provide updates, possibly because the company no longer exists.
Sometimes, there is a pre-built binary that is a shared dependency among many companies (e.g. OpenSSL). Breaking ABI on an upgrade of such a binary will cause substantial issues.

Q: What tools do we have for managing ABI changes?

A: Several, but they all have substantial trade-offs.

The most direct tool is to just make a new thing and leave the old one alone. Don't like std::unordered_map? Then make std::open_addressed_hash_map. This technique allows new and old worlds to intermix, but the translations between new and old must be done explicitly. You don't get to just rebuild your program and get the benefits of the new type. Naming the new things becomes increasingly difficult, at least if you decide to not do the "lazy" thing and just name the new class std::unordered_map2 or std2::unordered_map. Personally, I'm fine with slapping a version number on most of these classes, as it gives a strong clue to users that we may need to revise this thing again in the future, and it would mean we might get an incrementally better hash map without needing to wait for hashing research to cease.
inline namespaces are another tool that can be used, but they solve far fewer ABI problems than many think. Upgrading a type like std::string or std::unordered_map via inline namespaces generally wouldn't work, as user types holding the upgraded types would also change, breaking those ABIs. inline namespaces can probably help add / change parameters to functions, and may even extend to updating empty callable objects, but neither of those are issues that have caused many problems in the C++ committee in the past.
Adding a layer of indirection, similar to COM, does a lot to address stability and extensibility, at a large cost to performance. However, one area that the C++ committee hasn't explored much in the past is to look at the places where we already have a layer of indirection, and using COM-like techniques to allow us to add methods in the future. Right now, I don't have a good understanding of the performance trade-offs between the different plug-in / indirect call techniques that we could use for things like std::pmr::memory_resource and std::error_category.

Q: What can I do if I don't want to pay the costs for ABI stability?

A: Be your own toolchain vendor, using the existing open-source libraries and tools.

If you are able to rebuild all your source, then you can point all your builds at a custom standard library, and turn on (or even make your own) ABI breaking changes. You now have a competitive advantage, and you didn't even need to amend an international treaty (the C++ standard) to make it happen! If your changes were only ABI breaking and not API breaking, then you haven't even given up on code portability.
Note that libc++ didn't need to get libstdc++'s permission in order to coexist on Linux. You can have multiple standard libraries at the same time, though there are some technical challenges created when you do that.

Q: What can I do if I want to change the standard in a way that is ABI breaking?

A1: Consider doing things in a non-breaking way.

A2: Talk to compiler vendors and the ABI Review Group (ARG) to see if there is a way to mitigate the ABI break.

A3: Demonstrate that your change is so valuable that the benefit outweighs the cost, or that the cost isn't necessarily that high.

Assorted points to make before people in the comments get them wrong

submitted by ben_craig to cpp [link] [comments]

Trying to find a decent but inexpensive sports bra to make me look flatter.

Hello. I’m Keelan. I fluctuate between girl and non-binary. When I’m in non-binary mode I want to hide my chest. Like I love my body and I don’t really get body dysphoria. One of my non-binary friends said “I like my boobs I just don’t want people to know I have them” and that is such a mood for me.
Anyway I have one in mind, when taking shipping into account it’s like $40+ (USD). It’s a underworks binding bra. The reviews said it runs small. I think technically imma 32B but I think a 34B might be better for me. Like I have two of the same Calvin Klein razor back bra and the cups on the 32B fit perfectly but around my...ribs? Anyway the band that goes around is a wee bit snug. Even though the 34B cups are ever so slightly too big the band fits perfectly so it’s more comfortable.
Here’s the one I’m thinking of getting: https://www.underworks.com/extreme-magicotton-sports-and-binding-bra
I pet sit and I just got a good tip from my last client so I think I can afford a $40USD bra. Though I don’t usually like spending more than $30 in one go. However before I for sure get the underworks one like to see if I find other better options first.
So I have two questions.
  1. If anyone has used the bra I’ve linked, how well does it work for you? Would it be good choice?
  2. If anyone here binds using a sports bra do you have any recommendations? Like a specific one from target? Or from a different brand? I wish I could just go to stores and try them on in person but given the global situation I have to stick to online stuff. Which is a little more nerve wracking cus it’s like “what if I make a mistake and get the wrong thing?” Especially cus a $40 bra is a bit expensive for me.
submitted by Abi_Fitz to genderfluid [link] [comments]

From being PIP'd at a startup to leveling up into a FANG in four months.

When my manager sat me down in our 1:1 to deliver me the news that I was about to be put on a PIP the next week and to use the weekend to think what my next step should be, my initial reaction was to want to take it and save my job. I knew I've been in a bit of a slump, sleeping very poorly, and not outputting as much as I could have. But to be quite honest, this was a blessing in disguise.
The company I've been working at wasn't doing that well to begin with. We raised a series D in just under two years of existence and my options have quintupled in value since joining, but we've had regulational troubles and the hardware team has been slipping. Our CTO was fired four months after I joined, and our new CTO promised to double our engineering headcount by the end of last year. We've maybe only added 5 people to a team of 30 instead by that point. To that end, I've had multiple manager changes within that time period: a total of five managers and six manager changes all within 12 months. As this was my first job out of college, I thought this was all normal for a startup.
In addition, the pay was very low. For a new grad that didn't know better, like yours truly, that number was a lot for someone who was only ever paid hourly. But after discussing with friends that went onto working at FANGs and other, more established unicorn startups, it was abundantly clear that me and my fellow colleagues were severely underpaid. Like, over 50% lower in base salary alone underpaid for the same line of work and more stress.
The work itself wasn't that great either. It was a system that had to be supported globally with different rules in different countries and with physical hardware that we had little control over. Nobody left the office before dinner was served, and seldom did people start going home after dinner was finished (well, up until recently since people stopped giving fucks). We had almost no senior engineers either, most of the work was done by fresh grads or interns from top CS schools. We maybe had only four veteran IC's, but the rest of the "senior" staff were in management. Everyone else was a new grad or junior engineer. You wouldn't find anyone that had more than two years of experience in the rest of the crowd. It's fun to be around people my age, but the work was sloppy and stressful when shit broke because you're trying to build something with little guidance and your code reviewers are other new grads that are equally as experienced as yourself. Nobody (besides maybe three people) has ever coded in the framework we used, and everyone learned the language and framework right on the job. Our only training was a link to an official guide.
I'm not going to get into the company politics, but it's sufficient to say our Blind was so spicy to the point screenshots of several call-out threads were brought up in meetings and mentioned in all-hands. It was pretty bad.
But going back to me getting served a PIP. My manager gave me an ultimatum: either take the PIP, or take severance and interview for another company. Over that weekend, I thought really hard about all the things I've seen and done in the past year, and quite frankly, I found that I haven't been happy at that place for a while now. It doesn't make sense to try to save a job I wasn't going to be happy at, where I get paid peanuts, and where my contributions are invisible to upper management because the longest I've had the same manager for was two and a half months. I decided to take the severance and leave.
This gave me time to relax, exercise, enjoy hobbies I haven't done in months, and most importantly, spend time with family and friends I haven't been around with because of this job. Oh, I forgot to mention that the company moved headquarters halfway through my tenure and bumped my commute from 20 minutes to over an hour.
I haven't touched leetcode or interview prep materials in ages since joining, so I really only hit the books about two weeks after leaving. My daily routine would be to exercise in the day, eat a protein heavy meal, and study up leetcode into the night at a 24/7 cafe. I would usually do this with a buddy or two who are freelance developers. I also kept a spreadsheet of jobs I was interested in and updated their statuses in where I was at in the process, who the point of contact was, when the interview dates are, etc. I wanted to end up at a FANG company since their offices were much closer to where I lived and the culture there would help me grow more as an engineer. My process was that I started off with companies I didn't quite care about to practice interviewing, and then build up to places I did want to end up working at.
I slowly but steadily practiced coding problems, took my time to understand what the solutions were, and apply those skills onto other problems that came up. In reality, most programming problems you encounter are really just other problems in disguise, and you just need to know the fundamentals of CS to get through them. I'm sure everyone wants to know what my stats are, so here they are: 64 easy, 50 medium, 15 hard.
After a few months of practice and interviewing at companies I wasn't particularly interested in, I started applying for places that actually interested me. In the end, I got two offers and was able to negotiate with a FANG company that has an office 10 minutes away from my house. I not only nearly tripled my TC, but I also got leveled up to an L4. After being stuck in L3 for almost two years with shit pay, I am glad my patience and steady progress paid off.
My lessons learned in this whole experience:
As for my tips for the interview prep:
Most of my system design solutions came from experiences I've had and a lot were creative, open-ended questions. My advice is to be likeable to the interviewer and not BS your thought process. For some reason, system design is something that comes the most natural to me, so I sadly can't give much tips for studying on it besides seeing for yourself how current systems are built.
And in general, you should be likeable to the interviewer. Smile, ask them what they work on, what cool projects they've done at the company, what their work life balance is like, etc. You're interviewing for the company and you're interviewing the company for yourself. Your interviewer is judging on whether you'd be a good person to be around with for 8 hours and help contribute to solving their problems, and you're judging whether the company you're interviewing for will make you enjoy yourself being there.
Everyone's experience is unique and certainly not as relaxed as mine. I thankfully had enough savings to last me almost a whole year without a job, but I realize others might not be fortunate enough to have that luxury. It'll be hard, but worth it to study up in the evenings and then take days off to go to onsites. In the end, what matters most is your sanity and happiness.
Tl;dr: job sucked, I got PIP'd, quit, took time off, studied, interviewed, and accepted a FANG offer that tripled my pay in four months.
submitted by worried_about_pip to cscareerquestions [link] [comments]

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Pablo Gómez-Rubio, Isabel Trapero(self) 4 [BOOK] Routledge Handbook of Global Populism - Carlos de la Torre(self) 1 [BOOK] Politics after Violence. Legacies of the Shining Path Conflict in Peru - Hillel Soifer & Alberto Vergara(self) 4 [Book] Emmanuel Levinas: Basic Philosophical Writings, edited by Adriaan T. 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Stokes Peebles, Jr.(self) 4 [BOOK] 'Islamic Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Islam:Cultural and Clinical Dialogues', 2018(self) 2 [Book] Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law(self) 4 [Chapter] Changing Ethnolinguistic Perceptions In The South(self) 2 [Book] Ethnographic Perspectives on Academic Writing, by Brian Paltridge, Sue Starfield, and Christine M. Tardy(self) 1 [Book] N. G. L. Hammond: A history of Macedonia. Vol. I: Historical geography and prehistory. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1972(self) 23 [Book] (request) Evolutionary Neuropsychology: An Introduction to the Evolution of the Structures and Functions of the Human Brain by Frederick L. Coolidge(self) 5 [Book] Cultural Heritage in the European Union: A Critical Inquiry into Law and Policy(self) 7 [Book] (T&F) State Interest and the Sources of International Law by Markus P. 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Sephton(self) 7 [Book] Optical Nonlinearities in Chalcogenide Glasses and their Applications(self) 6 [Book] Principles of Economics by Joshua Gans, Stephen King, and Robin Stonecash(self) 3 [Book] European Slave Trading in the Indian Ocean, 1500–1850 by Richard B. Allen(self) 3 [Book] How to Parent by Fitzhugh Dodson(self) 7 [Article] A contribution to the theory of anxiety and guilt. Klein, Melanie. (1948). The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 29, 114–123.(self) 6 [Book] Interaction of Media, Cognition, and Learning - Gavriel Salomon(self) 4 [Article] Oxygen and Diverse Nutrients Influence the Water Kefir Fermentation Process / Laureys D., Aerts M., Vandamme P., De Vuyst L.(self) 5 [Article] [HeinOnline] The Artificial Reason of the Law or: What Lawyers Know, by Charles Fried(self) 1 [Book] Structure And Mechanism In Protein Science: A Guide To Enzyme Catalysis And Protein Folding (Structural Biology) by Alan Fersht Reprint Edition(self) 3 [Article] Neurostimulation Therapies for Primary Headache Disorders: Present and Future(self) 3 [Article] Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation Reduces Nociceptive Behaviour in an Orofacial Pain Model(self) 4 [Article] Characterization of Degradation Behavior for PLGA in Various pH Condition by Simple Liquid Chromatography Method Yoo, Je Young | Kim, Jong Min | Seo, Kwang Su | Jeong, Yong Kyun | Lee, Hai Bang | Khang, Gilson(self) 1 [Thesis] Winton, Douglas Walter(self) 3 [Article] Denis Muzerelle, “Dating Manuscripts: What Is at Stake in the Steps Usually (but Infrequently) Taken,”(self) 1 Needs Digitizing [ARTICLE] Francesca Ferrari - Il fatto notorio e la rete Internet(self) 1 Needs Digitizing [ARTICLE] Francesca Ferrari - Il fatto notorio e la rete Internet(self) 4 [Book] Practising Italian Grammar(self) 3 [Book] Growth, Distribution, and Prices(self) 5 [Book] Conflict and Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific New Geopolitical Realities Edited ByAsh Rossiter, Brendon J. 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Wells and Ralph Ellison: Need the Effect of One Invisible Man on Another Be Itself Invisible?"(self) 2 [Book] Industrial Ventilation: A Manual of Recommended Practice for Design 30th Edition(self) 1 [Book] Disk recording. Vol. 1-2. An anthology of articles on disk recording from the pages of the Journal of the Audio engineering society Vol. 1-Vol. 28 (1953-1980). 1(self) 1 [Book] Cityscapes of Modernity: Critical Explorations by David Frisby(self) 1 [Book] Art and the Senses | Edited by Francesca Bacci and David Melcher(self) 1 [eBook] Mastering A&P with Pearson eText(self) 1 [Book] Emotionen: Eine Einführung für beratende, therapeutische, pädagogische und soziale Berufe(self) 3 [article] Conceptualizing Behavior Disorders in Terms of Resistance to Intervention(self) 1 [ARTICLE] 'Hegel, Hinduism, and Freedom', Merold Westphal, The Owl of Minerva, Volume 20, Issue 2, Spring 1989, Pages 193-204(self) 1 [Book] Machine Learning in Chemistry(self) 1 [Book] Youth and media(self) 7 1 [Article] The Beneficial Effect of Physical Exercise on Inflammatory Makers in Older Individuals Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2020 Jun 6. Pablo Gómez-Rubio, Isabel Trapero(self) 2 [Article] On the Determination of the Number, Size, Spacing, and Volume Fraction of Spherical Second-Phase Particles from Extraction Replicas(self) 5 [Book] Remington and Klein's Infectious Diseases of the Fetus and Newborn Infant 8th Edition by Christopher Wilson Victor Nizet Yvonne Maldonado Jack Remington Jerome Klein(self) 1 [Other] (Monthly Newspaper in France) Le Monde Diplomatique (English Edition) June 2020.(self) 1 [Other] (Monthly Newspaper in France) Le Monde Diplomatique (English Edition) May 2020.(self) 1 [BOOK] Crime and Markets - Vincenzo Ruggiero(self) 2 [Book] The Search for Meaning by Dennis Ford(self) 1 [Book] The Acts of Jesus: What Did Jesus Really Do?(self) 1 [Chapter] Gustav Mahler, the Wunderhorn years: chronicles and commentaries Vol. 2 -- pp. 408-410(self) 4 [Article] [Heinonline] 2 old Articles from the African Journal of International and Comparative Law(self) 4 [ARTICLE] 'Ways of Prediction, Ways of Rhetoric' Philippe-Joseph Salazar, Philosophy & Rhetoric Vol. 50, No. 4 (2017), pp. 390-408(self) 1 [Article] [Needs Digitizing] Wells, J. C. (1986). A standardized machine-readable phonetic notation. In Conference Publication No. 258. International Conference on Speech Input / Output; Techniques and Applications, 24–26 March 1986. London: Institute of Electrical Engineers, 134–137.(self) 4 [Book] (BRILL) Indian Diaspora: Voices of the Diasporic Elders in Five Countries(self) 1 [BOOK] 'Hegel, freedom, and modernity' by Merold Westphal, 1992(self) 1 [Supplement] Panza MJ, Graupensperger S, Agans JP, Doré I, Vella SA, Evans MB. Adolescent sport participation and symptoms of anxiety and depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of sport and exercise psychology. 2020 May 21;42(3):201-18.(self) 2 [Article] Cooley at al. (2019). Complex intersections of race and class: Among social liberals, learning about White privilege reduces sympathy, increases blame, and decreases external attributions for White people struggling with poverty(self) 4 [Book] [Brill] Resolving Conflicts in the Law : Essays in Honour of Lea Brilmayer(self) 1 [Book] Master Medicine: General and Systematic Pathology 3rd Edition(self) 4 [book] Islamic Societies to the Nineteenth Century - A Global History by Ira M. Lapidus(self) 4 [Article] [Heinonline] Conflicts between the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and the International Court of Justice by Tullio Treves(self) 3 [Book] Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders(self) 1 [BOOK] 'Wrestling with Archons: Gnosticism as a Critical Theory of Culture' by JONATHAN CAHANA-BLUM, 2018(self) 1 [Other] XXI Century | Bullfrog Films(self) 4 [BOOK] The Oxford Handbook of Ethics of AI(self) 4 [Book] Figures of Southeast Asian Modernity (JSTOR) by Barker, Harms, & Linduiqst(self) 7 [Book] Health Informatics: An Interprofessional Approach, 2nd Edition(self) 2 [Article] Rapport and friendship in ethnographic research(self) 4 [BOOK] 'Žižek on race: Toward an Anti-Racist Future' by Zahi Zalloua, Bloomsbury, 2020(self) 3 [BOOK] Classical Antiquity in Video Games by Christian Rollinger(self) 1 [Thesis] Sandro, Paolo - Creation and application of law: a neglected distinction. ERA - Edinburgh(self) 3 [Article] belated: interruption(self) 4 [Article] Reusable and Recyclable Graphene Masks with Outstanding Superhydrophobic and Photothermal Performances(self) 8 [Article] Randomized Algorithms in Number Theory(self) 4 [Book] The Routledge Companion to Digital Humanities and Art History(self) 5 [Article] Regulatory cell therapy in kidney transplantation (The ONE Study): a harmonised design and analysis of seven non-randomised, single-arm, phase 1/2A trials by Sawitzki et al.(self) 0 1 [Book] Asian Freedoms: The Idea of Freedom in East and Southeast Asia (Cambridge), eds. David Kelly & Anthony Reid(self) 2 [Article] Local Mitochondrial ATP Production Regulates Endothelial Fatty Acid Uptake and Transport, by A. Ibrahim N. Yucel B. Kim Z. Arany(self) 4 [Chapter] Modeling Liquid–Liquid Extraction for Critical Elements Separations: An overview, (Chukwunwike O. Iloeje, 2020).(self) 6 [Article] Electrical stimulation in white oyster mushroom (Pleurotus florida) production, by I. Roshita, K. M. P. Nurfazira, C. Shi Fern, and M. S. Nur Ain(self) 1 [Book] Screen Adaptation: Impure Cinema by Deborah Cartmell and Imelda Whelehan(self) 4 [Book] Earth’s Insights (Callicott 1997)(self) 1 [Book] Viscosity of Pure Organic Liquids and Binary Liquid Mixtures 2017(self) 2 [BOOK] Needed: A comprehensive etymological dictionary of the Hebrew language for readers of English(self) 1 [Book] Hydrothermal chemistry of zeolites(self) 5 [Chapter] 2 chapters from A History of the United States Author: Philip Jenkins 3. Expansion and Crisis, 1825–65 6. Expansion and Crisis, 1825–65(self) 4 [Chapter] 8. The Fall of Actually Existing Socialism Authors: Prof. Geoffrey Swain, Dr. Nigel Swain(self) 5 [article] Sci-Hub didn't work for this article so I hope someone could help me !(self) 4 [Book] Evil Men, James Dawes(self) 1 [Chapter] from the book The Versailles Settlement Peacemaking after the First World War, 1919-1923 by Alan Sharp chapter 2. The Paris Peace Conference chapter 3. The League of Nations(self) 2 [Book] Macroeconomics(self) 1 [Article] "Eleutherna, the Orthi Petra Necropolis: Slewn by the Iron" by Nicholas Chr. Stampolidis.(self) 3 [Book] Contemporary Linguistics(self) 4 [Article](http://www.eurekaselect.com/137993/article)(self) 1 [Article](http://www.eurekaselect.com/137993/article)(self) 3 [Book] Chemistry: An Introduction to General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry(self) 1 [BOOK] Mastering Chemistry eBook(self) 3 [Book] The Oxford Handbook of Sovereign Wealth Funds(self) 1 [Book] "Marx, Marxism and Utopia" by Darren Webb (2000)(self) 5 [Article] "Law and Society", by Joachim J. Savelsberg, Lara L. Cleveland, in Oxford Bibliographies in Sociology(self) 2 [BOOK] Encouraging Pro-Environmental Behaviour - What Works, What Doesn't, and Why (2019)(self) 1 [BOOK] ''Guide for the economic design of circular metal silos'' by J.M. Rotter(self) 3 [BooK](JSTOR) The Evolved Apprentice: How Evolution Made Humans Unique by Kim Sterelny(self) 13 [Article] Matthews, Graham 2020 Pandemic, recession...: Capitalism is a Sick System. 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Binary Options Review - RSI Trading Strategy (Relative ...

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