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Posts posted by ManipulatorGeneral

  1. Having finished the game this weekend:

    The Good:

    • New tiles add freshness to the game. Doppelgangers are particularly amazing.
    • Bonus flags totally change the focus of competitive play. A harder but better scoring solution increases replay value and encourages a player to improve their skill. And sometimes their strategy, as bonus flags might actually be not worth the time!
    • Enough CCLP3-ness towards the end to be puzzling, given the large number of easier levels. An occasional secret item that we won't find out about unless we make an "illogical" move at the very beginning (such as Push-Up Maze), but makes the level solvable, could be frustrating but may also encourage logical reasoning.
    • Despite the fresh tiles, a lot of the levels are familiarly structured to CC1 since they were made around the same time by the same people.
    • Enough time spent introducing most of the new elements gradually, including in low pressure settings without time limits or challenges. Some might find it frustrating that nothing ever says that X can do Y, not even the official elements guide, and we have to experiment to find it out ourselves. Potentially fatally, such as the red teleport death trap in Thinktank. However, a more seasoned player might find this conducive to experimentation and thinking outside the box.
    • A refreshing emphasis on small but powerful levels.

    The Not As Good:

    • Some of the new tiles are frustrating. At least half my deaths in bowling ball levels were by walking directly after one and "tripping" over it.
    • Loud sound effects, as mentioned.
    • Despite the fresh tiles, a lot of the levels are familiarly structured to CC1 since they were made around the same time by the same people. This also means they retain some of the drawbacks to the original levels: extended treatises on the same subject that offer little to no additional content as the level continues and thus grow tedious, such as Clear II.
    • Not enough time spent introducing some of the new elements in varied contexts. Maybe I was lazy trying to learn some of them, but I barely learned how the latch gate worked and, in Bombs Quad, I chose an alternate solution that avoided using it entirely because I didn't know how it would work and didn't want to lose six minutes of gameplay if I was wrong. I had to ask people in the CCBBC about some mechanics I didn't understand that had not been explained.
    • The railroad tracks, mostly when switches are included, are very difficult to follow visually. This got better slowly, but levels depending on bowling balls and railroad switches were still mostly trial and error exercises.

    Is there a specified sequence to the rover's behavior? Levels requiring the use of the rover to accomplish tasks were challenging because I had no idea how to control it.

  2. Even considering that I have shown my face very little in the community as of late, it is possible that I will make an about-face years later, but except in that unlikely eventuality, I will remove myself from consideration from CCLP4 staff positions. I will definitely vote for Michael as a playtester candidate, again dependent on the state of the community years down the road.

  3. The digital clock in my bedroom, specifically when the power or its battery failed and the time started flashing. I feared that flashing red alphanumeric matrix like an ant fears Bigfoot. I guess, when exposed to flooding (sudden exposure to a phobic stimulus), I didn't leave the room and eventually the fear response was deconditioned...regurgitating what I've just learned in psychology class WIN!

  4. I honestly don't have much sway on how to arrange the business proposal, but should a non-monetary postscript be needed to persuade AOP to accept that business proposal, then there is much for me to contribute. Chuck knows to a degree (when I wished him happy birthday) how much the presence of Chip's Challenge in my life affected my human development, not just learning life skills from solving and optimizing the puzzles, but also priceless social skills many autism spectrum individuals have difficulty learning from interacting with this community; perhaps my destructive optimization obsession served as the catalyst for recent positive changes in my life. The unitive power of the CC community and the blood, sweat and tears we have poured into it, and our CC Wiki, boards, and ChipWiki and its annotations, are additional evidence that CC has non-material benefits to the world as well. It is also possible, perhaps even the coup de grace, to appeal to AOP's Christianity, emphasizing the above aspects to prove such an inherently educational game can transform the world in hidden but radical ways, which is at the heart of their mission; I consider myself the ideal vanguard of this facet of this enterprise.


    If Beth and the board are shown convincing evidence that Chip's Challenge and related titles are games which benefit their financial, ideological, and other goals, numbering A] firsthand testimony from each of our members to B] our loyal fanbase and the surprising numbers of PC users who miss playing MS CC (of which I have discovered many) and C] the extensive CC resource libraries we have built, and that we are thusly committed to maintaining CC and our collective promotional tools are powerful allies for their business, they will have all possible incentives to release CC2. Even if they will not receive immediate benefits from releasing the game now and it appears a losing operation, which could be their stumbling block now and even for many past years, we can provide very strong indications that, with our cooperation and support if necessary, that will change and flashing the green light is a wise decision in the foreseeable, feasible long run. I do not know how much information James has relayed to AOP in his e-mails, but I sense they have not witnessed the whole picture yet. I furthermore believe that, if we can launch this operation, I am fit to stand as one of its leaders; I have largely drawn what I have needed from Chip's Challenge, though I still reap the lessons it taught me every day, and am more concerned nowadays with preserving the legacy of this classic and creating a better world through it. In some manner, we are all united in this mission, and here is our best chance to band together and strike now. David, although we have the requisite ammunition, we need your help in order to shoot the moon.

    • Upvote 2

  5. Threshold - Pilot in the Sky of Dreams


    This song has grown on me so much, especially the vocal melodies and words, keyboards, and heavy, driving guitar riff. It's a progression through life and our dearest hopes to soar through the sky, damaged by our fears that our planes will drift off course and crash on the rocks. Who truly is there to keep us on course? It's a question we all have different answers to, but we know whoever keeps us afloat well, and daily have heartfelt exchanges like this. It's a line like this which cuts me deeply, why I love this intricate combination of intensity and sheer emotion. Even without words, there exist moments like the wrenching guitar solo at 8:22 which enliven the feeling.


    "Did I promise you a sky where rain would never fall,

    or did you listen to a lie?

    Did you radio to base?

    I waited for your call, but you left without a trace

    But I can stop your plane from drifting out of range..."


    Despite lacking guitars, BASS or drums, this song is an unforgettable ride. The processed piano scales, including some dissonances, combine with the desolate wind and electronic ambience and especially the torturous vocals for a despairingly bleak finish to a dystopian concept album for the ages. The sheer intensity and power the singer enlivens from 3:05 must be heard, and he's also impressive at softly fading away over the last minute. I'm buying this CD as soon as I can find another nice price on it, which I missed beforehand because I had another source for this album.


    This album, of the same name, is becoming extremely personal to me, as it is reflecting much of what I have been through in the past months and what I hope to accomplish with the rest of my life before moving onwards. One can interpret the album title as undergoing a rebirth: personal, spiritual or philosophical. This piece is probably the heaviest on the album, most definitely metal compared to the less heavy pieces I've previously posted. The vocalist is extremely talented and sings his throat out, rallying against the darkness that has overtaken the world; the guitar work, from sludgy riffs to crashing chords, a blistering solo at 3:52, and a fragile, hopeful coda at 5:37, is dynamic, crunchy and exciting; the drummer's lumbering hands and agile fills crash amidst the ruins in this battle for the future. Perhaps this explains the kind of music I appreciate the most; give this song a spin whoever you are. Images of Eden are inspired by forces I cannot comprehend.

  8. Back over to James: My initial exploration is whether an infinite temporal regress is possible. If not, this would entail that the first cause could not exist within time, else it would contradict itself because it would also be part of the regress and thus not the first cause. I simply find the timeless, changeless, spaceless, immaterial, enormously powerful, personal, and eternal qualities of God most suitable for a first cause, offering the most reasons why the infinite regress could be averted, why it could and should create the universe, and even why existence has progressed from its initial form to the point it did today rather than fizzled out (because it's under the control of a being who knows how to prevent a fizzle). Do you have any origin theory at the moment? Other atheists I've questioned on this hold to the Hawking spontaneous creation model, but I find this unsatisfactory. I find it failing to overcome the initial infinite regress problem, an inadequate motive for ever creating anything, a wholly inadequate reason why it arbitrarily produced a universe, and no particular reason why such universe would have survived this long either.


    You have stated that you don't yet know the origin of everything and will just wait for the problems to be worked out, but that's precisely why potential issues with the theistic model don't bother me much. I can trust that God has an answer for something I don't know or understand (and there are dark personal events I still don't know the reason behind) and could dismantle any of my objections with that answer, merely because of the nature of the God concept. What I'm unable to accept is the idea that this universe is the chance result of an astronomical chain reaction of contingencies when it could instead be an astronomical chain reaction of intelligent planning. Following from that, I could also introduce separate ideas about how we deeply search for an objective purpose and what that means, whether we would be as likely to feel that need if there was no cure, and why no other species feels the need for purpose if it's natural to want such knowledge; I've heard well-written explanations of this (evolution progressed to the point of philosophical thought in humans), but they again depend on contingency rather than God's deliberate effort. It's all dependent on what you have the capability to accept, one or the other; after philosophical and also personal inspection (this thread will definitely reach this area next, thanks Dave), atheism became beyond my scope to reconcile with existence as I perceived it. (Thanks again, there were new crevices of these thoughts I hadn't explored before, and I'll want to have them challenged and thus developed.)

  9. ...even if you believe that there is a God, you still have the "why is there anything?" dilemma. You just have to take it back one more step...


    That question should be considered, yes. The fact that anything does exist evidences that it stopped somewhere, and I find that God is the most plausible beginning because the nature of God offers the most possible reasons why He could be the first cause (such as eternality and, as sometimes argued, necessary existence); I also find God the most plausible explanation for why anything beyond the first cause both could and should begin to exist, and the more complex the course of time grows, the more I am hesitant to assign existence to mere contingency when it could simply be all intentional. Certainly it's valid to ask this about God in return, because He is an additional element, as to whether God is complex, contingent, etc, but even discounting the arguments offered by some apologetics that the concept of God is neither complex nor contingent, I am more willing to believe that the nature of God avoids these initial philosophical problems in some manner than the nature of whatever else could have been the first cause. It largely sums up the centrality of my choice for faith: that existence as it is appears markedly more plausible under theism than atheism, such that I couldn't imagine this universe arising without God, and even if it could (returning to earlier thoughts), God is more able and likely to cause this universe than anything else.

  10. I looked over James' study somewhat; we critiqued four social psychology research projects as part of our analyses on them in class, and so I'm applying that thought to this. I have found two major weaknesses:

    • The study only explores religiously motivated generosity in America, a nation famous for its stingy Christians (wish I could attach the article into a URL with imposed text, like I do in the song thread, but here: http://www.christian...calsstingy.html ) Honestly speaking as an American, we are overall a poor representative of the average self-proclaimed Christian's generosity, and it also remains to be questioned how many of these individuals have been born again, as so termed; though it's usually hard to measure authentic adherence to a religious faith, again with emphasis on Christianity, I'm becoming quite excellent at detecting it within others and (without trying to boast) receive feedback from individuals occupying all spectra of the God rainbow. Many of us have had our fair share of mean, pushy or even hateful Christians, and I can guarantee the proportion will be smaller in poorer countries, as more reliance on God (I think we can both safely assume this), and also each other, will be seen as desirable. How much of this generosity is caused by faith and how much by pure compassion (routinely seeing somebody in need because it happens so often) is difficult to measure, but it's simpler to examine the degree to which an American compared to, say, a Filipino, lives the faith preached; if this study is done in a poorer country, both religious and non-religious will be similarly affected by that same "need to share" and the religious population, with some emphasis on Christians, will be a more accurate representation of religious values. I believe that the more one is committed to Christ and His mission in heart rather than word, the more one's motives, as well as behaviors, will be changed; I find this occurring dramatically in my life over the course of 2012, but that's a digression...
    • Only monetary acts of altruism were considered. Most of us have experienced occasions where emotional, spiritual or other support has meant the world to us and, if we really have hearts, understand that there exist things worth more than money; sometimes I give monetarily, but it's far more valuable to me to lend emotional and spiritual support wherever it's needed. I could also wager that if there were a feasible test of non-material generosity, the results would differ.

    In summation, I find that studying the ulterior and ultimate motives of the religious is difficult, if not impossible, and religiously related behavior and data is even harder, again if not impossible, to quantify and measure scientifically. Researchers have attempted prayer experiments in hospitals, but these have displayed their own weaknesses because introducing God also produces too many variables for a human-conducted experiment to detect. Perhaps the magnitude of experimenting with God may invalidate tests which indicate a positive skew towards the believers, but overall, like our own attitudes towards God, religion and faith, we have to experience and examine this ourselves. For me, a variety of personal experiences lead me to question the results of this research, the same types which have led me to choose God. James, you seem to have your own daily experiences, so let them hit the fan!

  11. Isn't this the motivation behind 99+% of all prayers?

    What you appear to be suggesting is that the chief motivation for many who declare "I'll pray for you" is to receive admiration from the person and anybody else witnessing this. I'm curious where you receive the 99% figure from, firstly, and even if that is true, certainly you're well aware that a plurality doesn't change the morality (wow, what a catchy tagline). I can also cite that declaring a prayer intention can make some people angrier. My first goal is to simply comfort and provide for somebody in need, which falls under the "just because" category of altruism; perhaps being admired does make me feel better, but it's only a pleasant side effect. I'm unclear what your argument is, James.

  12. and if your motivation for doing good is to score brownie points with God so you'll get into heaven, that's a *very* bad reason.


    It may be surprising to some, but Christians agree with this as well, perhaps the most strongly of anybody. Deeds done for the sake of reward or acclaim are quite roundly condemned as shallow and hypocritical by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, and it is also explicit that people relying on those good deeds before God at judgment will find them meaningless as Pearly Gates credit. I still fall into the trap of seeking my own interests sometimes, but I always feel much better when doing good because I believe a Christian is called to do good, and I find goodness manifesting further in both my life and the person I assisted in some way. Every step brings me closer to God and other individuals. As James has stated in our conversations, eliminate the theistic parts and we're practically identical.


    (oh, and thanks for resurrecting this thread...didn't want to think it had gone to hell, literally. ;) )

  13. ^Well, again, remember that you can have a label attached to you and still be who you are. :)

    However, there is a dark side of being labeled autistic. I feel that I internalized the label as a negative trait when I was younger and thus limited my potential, and that autism became a crutch for me when things went wrong or life was too hard, even an excuse to behave badly and/or give up. The best solution, I find, is to work at progress, publicly discuss struggle and progress, and inspire others still living with autism and even other disabilities; I realized how valuable my testimony was in recent times, and this makes me less of an "autistic person" than a "person with autism," a distinction made in last night's anthropology class that makes all the difference in our self-image. The things that drive us to transcend ASD are important to know and appreciate in order to land on the positive side of the fence; for me, they are my friends, family, faith, instructors, appreciation for the finer things in life, and knowledge that my story does impact people. We should be aware of who we are as autistics, but not letting autism define us, rather to let what we make of it define us.

    • Upvote 3

  14. ^Two days later, I'm still listening to the same song. Apparently one of the traits of autistic people is the ability to listen to the same song on repeat for hours (or days, or weeks) at a time. I am living proof of that! My neighbors must hate me. Well, at least I'm not on an "I Should Be So Lucky" binge right now...


    Perhaps this autistic tendency only shows up in my tolerance for long musical recordings, sometimes exceeding two hours. By contrast, I find it torturous to sit through many books, which is something I've fallen short of explaining except by concluding that I have a deep personal, spiritual, and/or what have you, connection to music. No other medium seems to excite me as much. With that said, I still find listening to songs on repeat boring, and this erodes my appreciation for albums where all the songs sound alike or for bands without particularly distinctive styles. My Asperger's traits started to confuse me when I inspected them, and sometimes I still don't understand why my report seems so overall inconsistent. Perhaps it was when I started to think of myself less as developmentally disabled and viewed myself as normal that I became more normal, and in some ways, I'm still catching up, which could explain this inconsistency which music seems to display the most starkly. With time and grace, though, progress will be made. (We ought to make an autism spectrum disorder thread. In addition to the many of us who have come out, Chuck told me his son was on the spectrum.)

  15. Power of Omens - "Word on a Line"


    Way too many amazing parts to name: the intro, the singer's high notes at 4:31, 4:48 and 5:05, and the entire instrumental section afterwards, but particularly the BASS and guitar countermelody at 5:41, the passionate guitar solo at 6:06, the mystical band unison from 7:06 (check out these antique keyboard tones) which climaxes so dramatically at 7:54, and then a seriously cool keyboard solo at 8:04 with a pretty BASS line over the top later on. I miss this band so much...they're from my home state, and I'm as proud of that as J.B. is proud of CCLP3. (Y)

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