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Pretty Good Hat

Tag: games

A TV showing the title screen for Hades, with an Xbox Series S and white controller in the frame, also

I started playing Hades yesterday and … this game is great! I know it was on a bunch of best-of lists last year, so I’m un-fashionably late to appreciate this one. It has great mechanics, deep storytelling, feuding gods and family drama. I love it.

I played a whole bunch of Inscryption, today. It’s pretty brilliant! It unfolds in really surprising ways and I had some of the same “oh!” moments figuring out successful mechanics as I had discovering things in Outer Wilds. What a fantastically crafted game.

a black and white in-game photo of a car viewed from the side, racing across a bridge An in-game photo showing a very large, colorful parade float speeding along a road.

🎮 I’m having quite a lot of fun in Forza Horizon 5, and the photo mode is great. Also, there’s an event where you drive a two-story parade float off a ramp into a canyon at 80mph. Recommended.

Destiny 2 Power leveling tool in R

The latest piece of my homebrew Destiny 2 toolset is Travelr, a power leveling tracking tool built with R and using a much simpler process than most of my prior nonsense. (Aside: I'm still using ArmoreR, but it has some key limitations that I haven't spent much time with, including a problem incorporating the authentication flow more fully into Shiny so that I could make it an app that others could use in a more friction-free way.)

The power climb is part of the game with each new Destiny season. A lot of this process is luck: A player can only get so many pinnacle drops per week and there's no guarantee that a given drop won't be in a duplicate category. But, some drops can be targeted to broad categories -- armor versus a weapon, for example -- and there is some efficiency across characters if you can strategically raise one category to increase the base level for all characters. 

I was inspired by a fantastic tool written by a member of the small Destiny 2 community I'm in, that identifies categories to target (or, try to target, anyway; a lot of it is still frustrating random luck, sometimes), and decided to try building my own version. It doesn't do anything unique, but it works and it's wonderfully satisfying to step through an R markdown notebook that authorizes me to the D2 API, retrieves all my equipment statistics, calculates my maximum power level and indicates which, if any, categories should be targeted.

For example, here's a screenshot from the beginning of the season, where every single equipment type would increase my total maximum power level:

A screenshot of a table of data showing lots of equipment categories that would increase power level to the next integer

... and later in the season:

Travelr screenshot showing a table of armor and equipment values, highlighting values that would increase the total maximum power level to the next highest integer

It's been great fun to have this small tool with me during the season's play. It's currently dependent on another small tool that grabs the equipment "manifest" file, and I'll be publishing the whole notebook to github when I finish incorporating that into the repository. 

🎮 Hey micro.gamers, do you yearn for the days of Left 4 Dead? Back 4 Blood is pretty good! And in Game Pass for both PC and XBox. Want to run from zombies together?

And: Inscryption is an intriguing new deck builder. You should try it so I have people to talk about it with!

Today I dusted off my latest video game hobby project, ArmoreR, my Destiny 2 armor stats profiler, and finished some improvements that have been on my list. I haven’t been motivated to dig back into it for a while partly because I just … didn’t feel like it … and partly because I had hit a point of complexity with it that made it hard to approach again. But I had a really nice time catching up with just how it works and then gradually identifying and implementing the improvements I wanted to make. It’s a good lesson that is sometimes hard for me to remember, that small but concrete steps add up.

Destiny nerd warning, most people can probably stop reading now: This version adds something really useful to loadout building: class items! I had to think on how to do this for a while, because most class items don’t add much to the stat value of an armor build, and each added class item combinatorially increases the number of armor set combinations that have to be measured. I settled on including only masterworked class items because they add enough stat points to tip one or more categories into the next tier. Still, for characters that have a lot of armor to choose from, doubling (or more) the total number of builds does add to the time that the tool requires. I added some ways to optionally include/exclude more armor to try to make this processing time more bearable. I also found a few improvements to make and fixed a number of bugs along the way, and will plan to return for a round of efficiency-finding later.

The tool is at a neat, workable point right now, where it’s actually useful for finding armor builds and, really critically, the armor pieces that work across multiple builds of interest. I’ve learned a ton working on it, and am pretty proud of it. There’s more documentation over at the application and if you happen to be into Destiny I’d love to hear what you think.