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Virtual Reality: Where it is and where it's going
VR is not what a lot of people think it is. It's not comparable to racing wheels, Kinect, or 3DTVs. It offers a shift that the game industry hasn't had before; a first of it's kind. I'm going to outline what VR is like today in despite of the many misconceptions around it and what it will be like as it grows. What people find to be insurmountable problems are often solvable. What is VR in 2020? Something far more versatile and far-reaching than people comprehend. All game genres and camera perspectives work, so you're still able to access the types of games you've always enjoyed. It is often thought that VR is a 1st person medium and that's all it can do, but 3rd person and top-down VR games are a thing and in various cases are highly praised. Astro Bot, a 3rd person platformer, was the highest rated VR game before Half-Life: Alyx. Lets crush some misconceptions of 2020 VR:
The buy-in is $400 on average, not $1000 as that is Valve Index pricing.
Motion sickness is easily avoidable for most people by sticking to games that have 1:1 fully synced or mostly synced body movement like Beat Saber or even Alyx with teleportation.
Most VR games offer locomotion options so teleporting is certainly not a required norm.
You don't need a PC or console; Oculus Quest is the start of the new norm where headsets are self-contained.
You are not required to stand or move about. VR has always allowed you to relax in the same way as traditional gaming by sitting on the couch with a gamepad.
VR isn't anti-social. It's actually the pinnacle of social communication devices. What it is (currently) is potentially isolating depending on how you use it.
People will disabilities often think VR is not for them, when in all likelihood it probably is, because most disabilities work fine with VR and even have a lot to gain from the use of it.
The setup of VR is much faster and quicker than it was just a few years ago thanks to inside-out tracking and standalones. A Quest user can get going within 10 seconds.
So what are the problems with VR in 2020?
Low resolution and low FoV.
Wireless isn't standard.
Only a few released AAA exclusive games.
Potential for eye strain and headaches.
Some headsets feel really outdated. (PSVR)
Full body avatars don't align correctly.
Despite these downsides, VR still offers something truly special. What it enables is not just a more immersive way to game, but new ways to feel, to experience stories, to cooperate or fight against other players, and a plethora of new ways to interact which is the beating heart of gaming as a medium. To give some examples, Boneworks is a game that has experimental full body physics and the amount of extra agency it provides is staggering. When you can actually manipulate physics on a level this intimately where you are able to directly control and manipulate things in a way that traditional gaming simply can't allow, it opens up a whole new avenue of gameplay and game design. Things aren't based on a series of state machines anymore. "Is the player pressing the action button to climb this ladder or not?" "Is the player pressing the aim button to aim down the sights or not?" These aren't binary choices in VR. Everything is freeform and you can basically be in any number of states at a given time. Instead of climbing a ladder with an animation lock, you can grab on with one hand while aiming with the other, or if it's physically modelled, you could find a way to pick it up and plant it on a pipe sticking out of the ground to make your own makeshift trap where you spin it around as it pivots on top of the pipe, knocking anything away that comes close by. That's the power of physics in VR. You do things you think of in the same vain as reality instead of thinking inside the set limitations of the designers. Even MGSV has it's limitations with the freedom it provides, but that expands exponentially with 6DoF VR input and physics. I talked about how VR could make you feel things. A character or person that gets close to you in VR is going to invade your literal personal space. Heights are possibly going to start feeling like you are biologically in danger. The idea of tight spaces in say, a horror game, can cause claustrophobia. The way you move or interact with things can give off subtle almost phantom-limb like feelings because of the overwhelming visual and audio stimulation that enables you to do things that you haven't experienced with your real body; an example being floating around in zero gravity in Lone Echo. So it's not without it's share of problems, but it's an incredibly versatile gaming technology in 2020. It's also worth noting just how important it is as a non-gaming device as well, because there simply isn't a more suitably combative device against a world-wide pandemic than VR. Simply put, it's one of the most important devices you can get right now for that reason alone as you can socially connect with no distancing with face to face communication, travel and attend all sorts of events, and simply manage your mental and physical health in ways that the average person wishes so badly for right now. Where VR is (probably) going to be in 5 years You can expect a lot. A seismic shift that will make the VR of today feel like something very different. This is because the underlying technology is being reinvented with entirely custom tech that no longer relies on cell phone panels and lenses that have existed for decades.
The resolution will be around the equivalent of 1080p monitors, so you'd probably be looking at 4K x 4K per eye or higher.
The field of view will be 30-40% higher.
Eye strain and headaches will be solved via varifocal displays and VR will become even more comfortable visually than 2D displays, as they still have these issues which can be only be solved in stereoscopic displays.
Isolation will be solved with mixed reality reconstruction enabling the real world to bleed into VR on a per object basis in real time. VR headsets are now in all senses MR headsets. (VR+AR in one device)
There will be plenty of non-gaming apps gaining bigger traction like some sort of social space or event-based app.
PlayStation and Xbox will both support VR and a PSVR2 headset will have launched.
That's enough to solve almost all the issues of the technology and make it a buy-in for the average gamer. In 5 years, we should really start to see the blending of reality and virtual reality and how close the two can feel Where VR is (probably) going to be in 10 years
VR is now effectively photorealistic in the visual and audio department and it's extremely hard if not impossible at times to tell the difference between the real world and the virtual world.
Quite a number of people start to live big chunks of their lives in VR.
Light-field 6DoF video will be common allowing you to move inside live videos or a playback of a video that are in every way indistinguishable from reality, at least visually/audibly.
Streaming becomes mainstream as an option to consume games and it is now starting to become feasible to stream VR games as well.
VAR start to replace traditional displays and devices with monitors, phones and handhelds especially on their way out, but TVs very likely still hold a strong presence due to their communal nature.
If consoles still exist, their new features are now focused mostly on VR and how to integrate as seamlessly as possible into the VAR experience. Traditional gaming is still likely the most popular way to play, but consoles must find ways to market towards the new.
VAR are the new norm for work, education, communication, entertainment and a lot of aspects of daily life.
AAA VRMMORPGs start to get popular and become the new standard for the genre, revitalizing it.
The metaverse starts to form in some small way, not yet reaching the magnitude of something like the OASIS, but still a very large and versatile world or web of worlds where the phrase "Do anything, go anywhere, become anyone, be with anyone" is the truest it's ever been.
In short, as good as if not better than the base technology of Ready Player One which consists of a visor and gloves. Interestingly, RPO missed out on the merging of VR and AR which will play an important part of the future of HMDs as they will become more versatile, easier to multi-task with, and more engrained into daily life where physical isolation is only a user choice. Useful treadmills and/or treadmill shoes as well as haptic suits will likely become (and stay) enthusiast items that are incredible in their own right but due to the commitment, aren't applicable to the average person - in a way, just like RPO. At this stage, VR is mainstream with loads of AAA content coming out yearly and providing gaming experiences that are incomprehensible to most people today. Overall, the future of VR couldn't be brighter. It's absolutely here to stay, it's more incredible than people realize today, and it's only going to get exponentially better and more convenient in ways that people can't imagine.
As you may have seen, I sent the following Tweet: “The Apple ARM MacBook future is coming, maybe sooner than people expect” https://twitter.com/choco_bit/status/1266200305009676289?s=20 Today, I would like to further elaborate on that. tl;drApple will be moving to Arm based macs in what I believe are 4 stages, starting around 2015 and ending around 2023-2025: Release of T1 chip Macbooks, release of T2 chip Macbooks, Release of at least one lower end model Arm Macbook, and transitioning full lineup to Arm. Reasons for each are below. Apple is very likely going to switch to switch their CPU platform to their in-house silicon designs with an ARM architecture. This understanding is a fairly common amongst various Apple insiders. Here is my personal take on how this switch will happen and be presented to the consumer. The first question would likely be “Why would Apple do this again?”. Throughout their history, Apple has already made two other storied CPU architecture switches - first from the Motorola 68k to PowerPC in the early 90s, then from PowerPC to Intel in the mid 2000s. Why make yet another? Here are the leading reasons:
Intel has, in recent years, been making significant losses both in reputation and in actual product value, as well as velocity of product development, breaking their bi-yearly “Tick Tock” cycle for the first time in decades. Most recently, they have fallen well behind AMD’s processor lines in cost to performance ratio, CPU core count, core design (monolithic design vs “chiplet”), power consumption to performance, silicon supply (Intel with significant manufacturing process and yield issues), and on-silicon security features. While Intel still wins out in certain enterprise and datacenter applications, as well as having a much better reputation for reliability and QA (AMD having shipped numerous chips with a broken random- number generator that prevented even booting some mainstream operating system), the number of such applications slowly dwindles with each new release from AMD, and as confidence among decisionmakers in enterprise increases. In the public consciousness, Intel is quickly becoming a point of ridicule against Apple’s Mac lineup, rather than a badge of honor.
By moving to their own designs, Apple will be free from Intel’s release schedule, which have recently been unpredictable and faced with routine delays due to poor manufacturing yields. Apple will be able to update their Mac lineup on their own timeline, rather than being forced to delay products based on Intel’s ability to meet the release window. This also allows them to leverage relationships with other silicon fabricators to source chips, rather than relying on Intel ’s continued “iteration” that’s leading to a “14nm++++++++++” process, or the continued lack of product diversity with the 10nm process. Apple will also be free to innovate in the design of the silicon platform, rather than being limited by Intel’s design choices. By having full control of the manufacturing and development cycle, Apple can bring even more in-house optimization to the macOS, as they have been for iOS and iPadOS over the years.
Using an ARM architecture on the Macs allows for a more unified Apple ecosystem, rather than having separate Mac and iOS-based products. The only distinction will be the device form factor and performance characteristics.
The x86_64 architecture is very old and inefficient, using older methodologies for processor design (CISC vs ARM’s RISC), and the instruction set continues to require support in silicon for emulating 1980s-vintage 16-bit modes, as well as ineffectual and archaic memory addressing modes (segmentation, etc.) The x86_64 architecture is like a city, built atop a much older city, built atop a yet older city, but every layer is built with NYC infrastructure levels of complexity that suited its time and no further.
Over the last 10 years, Apple has shown that they can consistently produce impressive silicon designs, often leading the market in performance and capability, and Apple has been aggressively acquiring silicon design talent.
A common refrain heard on the Internet is the suggestion that Apple should switch to using CPUs made by AMD, and while this has been considered internally, it will most likely not be chosen as the path forward, even for their megalithic giants like the Mac Pro. Even though AMD would mitigate Intel’s current set of problems, it does nothing to help the issue of the x86_64 architecture’s problems and inefficiencies, on top of jumping to a platform that doesn’t have a decade of proven support behind it. Why spend a lot of effort re-designing and re- optimizing for AMD’s platform when you can just put that effort into your own, and continue the vertical integration Apple is well-known for? I believe that the internal development for the ARM transition started around 2015/2016 and is considered to be happening in 4 distinct stages. These are not all information from Apple insiders; some of these these are my own interpretation based off of information gathered from supply-chain sources, examination of MacBook schematics, and other indicators from Apple.
Stage1 (from 2014/2015 to 2017):
The rollout of computers with Apple’s T1 chip as a coprocessor. This chip is very similar to Apple’s T8002 chip design, which was used for the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2. The T1 is primarily present on the first TouchID enabled Macs, 2016 and 2017 model year MacBook Pros. Considering the amount of time required to design and validate a processor, this stage most likely started around 2014 or 2015, with early experimentation to see whether an entirely new chip design would be required, or if would be sufficient to repurpose something in the existing lineup. As we can see, the general purpose ARM processors aren’t a one- trick pony. To get a sense of the decision making at the time, let’s look back a bit. The year is 2016, and we're witnessing the beginning of stagnation of Intel processor lineup. There is not a lot to look forward to other than another “+” being added to the 14nm fabrication process. The MacBook Pro has used the same design for many years now, and its age is starting to show. Moving to AMD is still very questionable, as they’ve historically not been able to match Intel’s performance or functionality, especially at the high end, and since the “Ryzen” lineup is still unreleased, there is absolutely no benchmarks or other data to show they are worth consideration, and AMD’s most recent line of “Bulldozer” processors were very poorly received. Now is probably as good a time as any to begin experimenting with the in-house ARM designs, but it’s not time to dive into the deep end yet, our chips are not nearly mature enough to compete, and it’s not yet certain how long Intel will be stuck in the mud. As well, it is widely understood that Apple and Intel have an exclusivity contract in exchange for advantageous pricing. Any transition would take considerable time and effort, and since there are no current viable alternative to Intel, the in-house chips will need to advance further, and breaching a contract with Intel is too great a risk. So it makes sense to start with small deployments, to extend the timeline, stretch out to the end of the contract, and eventually release a real banger of a Mac. Thus, the 2016 Touch Bar MacBooks were born, alongside the T1 chip mentioned earlier. There are good reasons for abandoning the piece of hardware previously used for a similar purpose, the SMC or System Management Controller. I suspect that the biggest reason was to allow early analysis of the challenges that would be faced migrating Mac built- in peripherals and IO to an ARM-based controller, as well as exploring the manufacturing, power, and performance results of using the chips across a broad deployment, and analyzing any early failure data, then using this to patch any issues, enhance processes, and inform future designs looking towards the 2nd stage. The former SMC duties now moved to T1 includes things like
Fan speed, voltage, amperage and thermal sensor feedback data
FaceTime camera and microphone IO
PMIC (Power Management Controller)
Direct communication to NAND (solid state storage)
Direct communication with the Touch Bar
Secure Enclave for TouchID
The T1 chip also communicates with a number of other controllers to manage a MacBook’s behavior. Even though it’s not a very powerful CPU by modern standards, it’s already responsible for a large chunk of the machine’s operation. Moving control of these peripherals to the T1 chip also brought about the creation of the fabled BridgeOS software, a shrunken-down watchOS-based system that operates fully independently of macOS and the primary Intel processor. BridgeOS is the first step for Apple’s engineering teams to begin migrating underlying systems and services to integrate with the ARM processor via BridgeOS, and it allowed internal teams to more easily and safely develop and issue firmware updates. Since BridgeOS is based on a standard and now well-known system, it means that they can leverage existing engineering expertise to flesh out the T1’s development, rather than relying on the more arcane and specialized SMC system, which operates completely differently and requires highly specific knowledge to work with. It also allows reuse of the same fabrication pipeline used for Apple Watch processors, and eliminated the need to have yet another IC design for the SMC, coming from a separate source, to save a bit on cost. Also during this time, on the software side, “Project Marzipan”, today Catalyst, came into existence. We'll get to this shortly. For the most part, this Stage 1 went without any major issues. There were a few firmware problems at first during the product launch, but they were quickly solved with software updates. Now that engineering teams have had experience building for, manufacturing, and shipping the T1 systems, Stage 2 would begin.
Stage 2 encompasses the rollout of Macs with the T2 coprocessor, replacing the T1. This includes a much wider lineup, including MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, starting with 2018 models, MacBook Air starting with 2018 models, the iMac Pro, the 2019 Mac Pro, as well as Mac Mini starting in 2018. With this iteration, the more powerful T8012 processor design was used, which is a further revision of the T8010 design that powers the A10 series processors used in the iPhone 7. This change provided a significant increase in computational ability and brought about the integration of even more devices into T2. In addition to the T1’s existing responsibilities, T2 now controls:
Full audio subsystem
Secure Enclave for internal NAND storage and encryption/decryption offload
Management of the whole system’s power and startup sequence, allowing for trusted boot (ensure boot chain-of-trust with no malicious code/rootkit/bootkit)
Those last 2 points are crucial for Stage 2. Under this new paradigm, the vast majority of the Mac is now under the control of an in-house ARM processor. Stage 2 also brings iPhone-grade hardware security to the Mac. These T2 models also incorporated a supported DFU (Device Firmware Update, more commonly “recovery mode”), which acts similarly to the iPhone DFU mode and allows restoration of the BridgeOS firmware in the event of corruption (most commonly due to user-triggered power interruption during flashing). Putting more responsibility onto the T2 again allows for Apple’s engineering teams to do more early failure analysis on hardware and software, monitor stability of these machines, experiment further with large-scale production and deployment of this ARM platform, as well as continue to enhance the silicon for Stage 3. A few new user-visible features were added as well in this stage, such as support for the passive “Hey Siri” trigger, and offloading image and video transcoding to the T2 chip, which frees up the main Intel processor for other applications. BridgeOS was bumped to 2.0 to support all of these changes and the new chip. On the macOS software side, what was internally known as Project Marzipan was first demonstrated to the public. Though it was originally discovered around 2017, and most likely began development and testing within later parts of Stage 1, its effects could be seen in 2018 with the release of iPhone apps, now running on the Mac using the iOS SDKs: Voice Recorder, Apple News, Home, Stocks, and more, with an official announcement and public release at WWDC in 2019. Catalyst would come to be the name of Marzipan used publicly. This SDK release allows app developers to easily port iOS apps to run on macOS, with minimal or no code changes, and without needing to develop separate versions for each. The end goal is to allow developers to submit a single version of an app, and allow it to work seamlessly on all Apple platforms, from Watch to Mac. At present, iOS and iPadOS apps are compiled for the full gamut of ARM instruction sets used on those devices, while macOS apps are compiled for x86_64. The logical next step is to cross this bridge, and unify the instruction sets. With this T2 release, the new products using it have not been quite as well received as with the T1. Many users have noticed how this change contributes further towards machines with limited to no repair options outside of Apple’s repair organization, as well as some general issues with bugs in the T2. Products with the T2 also no longer have the “Lifeboat” connector, which was previously present on 2016 and 2017 model Touch Bar MacBook Pro. This connector allowed a certified technician to plug in a device called a CDM Tool (Customer Data Migration Tool) to recover data off of a machine that was not functional. The removal of this connector limits the options for data recovery in the event of a problem, and Apple has never offered any data recovery service, meaning that a irreparable failure of the T2 chip or the primary board would result in complete data loss, in part due to the strong encryption provided by the T2 chip (even if the data got off, the encryption keys were lost with the T2 chip). The T2 also brought about the linkage of component serial numbers of certain internal components, such as the solid state storage, display, and trackpad, among other components. In fact, many other controllers on the logic board are now also paired to the T2, such as the WiFi and Bluetooth controller, the PMIC (Power Management Controller), and several other components. This is the exact same system used on newer iPhone models and is quite familiar to technicians who repair iPhone logic boards. While these changes are fantastic for device security and corporate and enterprise users, allowing for a very high degree of assurance that devices will refuse to boot if tampered with in any way - even from storied supply chain attacks, or other malfeasance that can be done with physical access to a machine - it has created difficulty with consumers who more often lack the expertise or awareness to keep critical data backed up, as well as the funds to perform the necessary repairs from authorized repair providers. Other issues reported that are suspected to be related to T2 are audio “cracking” or distortion on the internal speakers, and the BridgeOS becoming corrupt following a firmware update resulting in a machine that can’t boot. I believe these hiccups will be properly addressed once macOS is fully integrated with the ARM platform. This stage of the Mac is more like a chimera of an iPhone and an Intel based computer. Technically, it does have all of the parts of an iPhone present within it, cellular radio aside, and I suspect this fusion is why these issues exist. Recently, security researchers discovered an underlying security problem present within the Boot ROM code of the T1 and T2 chip. Due to being the same fundamental platform as earlier Apple Watch and iPhone processors, they are vulnerable to the “checkm8” exploit (CVE-2019-8900). Because of how these chips operate in a Mac, firmware modifications caused by use of the exploit will persist through OS reinstallation and machine restarts. Both the T1 and T2 chips are always on and running, though potentially in a heavily reduced power usage state, meaning the only way to clean an exploited machine is to reflash the chip, triggering a restart, or to fully exhaust or physically disconnect the battery to flush its memory. Fortunately, this exploit cannot be done remotely and requires physical access to the Mac for an extended duration, as well as a second Mac to perform the change, so the majority of users are relatively safe. As well, with a very limited execution environment and access to the primary system only through a “mailbox” protocol, the utility of exploiting these chips is extremely limited. At present, there is no known malware that has used this exploit. The proper fix will come with the next hardware revision, and is considered a low priority due to the lack of practical usage of running malicious code on the coprocessor. At the time of writing, all current Apple computers have a T2 chip present, with the exception of the 2019 iMac lineup. This will change very soon with the expected release of the 2020 iMac lineup at WWDC, which will incorporate a T2 coprocessor as well. Note: from here on, this turns entirely into speculation based on info gathered from a variety of disparate sources. Right now, we are in the final steps of Stage 2. There are strong signs that an a MacBook (12”) with an ARM main processor will be announced this year at WWDC (“One more thing...”), at a Fall 2020 event, Q1 2021 event, or WWDC 2021. Based on the lack of a more concrete answer, WWDC2020 will likely not see it, but I am open to being wrong here.
Stage3 (Present/2021 - 2022/2023):
Stage 3 involves the first version of at least one fully ARM-powered Mac into Apple’s computer lineup. I expect this will come in the form of the previously-retired 12” MacBook. There are rumors that Apple is still working internally to perfect the infamous Butterfly keyboard, and there are also signs that Apple is developing an A14x based processors with 8-12 cores designed specifically for use as the primary processor in a Mac. It makes sense that this model could see the return of the Butterfly keyboard, considering how thin and light it is intended to be, and using an A14x processor would make it will be a very capable, very portable machine, and should give customers a good taste of what is to come. Personally, I am excited to test the new 12" “ARMbook”. I do miss my own original 12", even with all the CPU failure issues those older models had. It was a lovely form factor for me. It's still not entirely known whether the physical design of these will change from the retired version, exactly how many cores it will have, the port configuration, etc. I have also heard rumors about the 12” model possibly supporting 5G cellular connectivity natively thanks to the A14 series processor. All of this will most likely be confirmed soon enough. This 12” model will be the perfect stepping stone for stage 3, since Apple’s ARM processors are not yet a full-on replacement for Intel’s full processor lineup, especially at the high end, in products such as the upcoming 2020 iMac, iMac Pro, 16” MacBook Pro, and the 2019 Mac Pro. Performance of Apple’s ARM platform compared to Intel has been a big point of contention over the last couple years, primarily due to the lack of data representative of real-world desktop usage scenarios. The iPad Pro and other models with Apple’s highest-end silicon still lack the ability to execute a lot of high end professional applications, so data about anything more than video editing and photo editing tasks benchmarks quickly becomes meaningless. While there are completely synthetic benchmarks like Geekbench, Antutu, and others, to try and bridge the gap, they are very far from being accurate or representative of the real real world performance in many instances. Even though the Apple ARM processors are incredibly powerful, and I do give constant praise to their silicon design teams, there still just isn’t enough data to show how they will perform for real-world desktop usage scenarios, and synthetic benchmarks are like standardized testing: they only show how good a platform is at running the synthetic benchmark. This type of benchmark stresses only very specific parts of each chip at a time, rather than how well it does a general task, and then boil down the complexity and nuances of each chip into a single numeric score, which is not a remotely accurate way of representing processors with vastly different capabilities and designs. It would be like gauging how well a person performs a manual labor task based on averaging only the speed of every individual muscle in the body, regardless of if, or how much, each is used. A specific group of muscles being stronger or weaker than others could wildly skew the final result, and grossly misrepresent performance of the person as a whole. Real world program performance will be the key in determining the success and future of this transition, and it will have to be great on this 12" model, but not just in a limited set of tasks, it will have to be great at *everything*. It is intended to be the first Horseman of the Apocalypse for the Intel Mac, and it better behave like one. Consumers have been expecting this, especially after 15 years of Intel processors, the continued advancement of Apple’s processors, and the decline of Intel’s market lead. The point of this “demonstration” model is to ease both users and developers into the desktop ARM ecosystem slowly. Much like how the iPhone X paved the way for FaceID-enabled iPhones, this 12" model will pave the way towards ARM Mac systems. Some power-user type consumers may complain at first, depending on the software compatibility story, then realize it works just fine since the majority of the computer users today do not do many tasks that can’t be accomplished on an iPad or lower end computer. Apple needs to gain the public’s trust for basic tasks first, before they will be able to break into the market of users performing more hardcore or “Pro” tasks. This early model will probably not be targeted at these high-end professionals, which will allow Apple to begin to gather early information about the stability and performance of this model, day to day usability, developmental issues that need to be addressed, hardware failure analysis, etc. All of this information is crucial to Stage 4, or possibly later parts of Stage 3. The 2 biggest concerns most people have with the architecture change is app support and Bootcamp. Any apps released through the Mac App Store will not be a problem. Because App Store apps are submitted as LLVM IR (“Bitcode”), the system can automatically download versions compiled and optimized for ARM platforms, similar to how App Thinning on iOS works. For apps distributed outside the App Store, thing might be more tricky. There are a few ways this could go:
Developer will need to build both x86_64 and ARM version of their app - App Bundles have supported multiple-architecture binaries since the dawn of OS X and the PowerPC transition
Move to apps being distributed in an architecture-independent manner, as they are on the App Store. There is some software changes that are suggestive of this, such as the new architecture in dyld3.
An x86_64 instruction decoder in silicon - very unlikely due to the significant overhead this would create in the silicon design, and potential licensing issues. (ARM, being a RISC, “reduced instruction set”, has very few instructions; x86_64 has thousands)
Server-side ahead-of-time transpilation (converting x86 code to equivalent ARM code) using Notarization submissions - Apple certainly has the compiler chops in the LLVM team to do something like this
Outright emulation, similar to the approach that was taken in ARM releases of Windows, but received extremely poorly (limited to 32-bit apps, and very very slow)There could be other solutions in the works to fix this but I am not aware of any. This is just me speculating about some of the possibilities.
As for Bootcamp, while ARM-compatible versions of Windows do exist and are in development, they come with their own similar set of app support problems. Microsoft has experimented with emulating x86_64 on their ARM-based Surface products, and some other OEMs have created their own Windows-powered ARM laptops, but with very little success. Performance is a problem across the board, with other ARM silicon not being anywhere near as advanced, and with the majority of apps in the Windows ecosystem that were not developed in-house at Microsoft running terribly due to the x86_64 emulation software. If Bootcamp does come to the early ARM MacBook, it more than likely will run like very poorly for anything other than Windows UWP apps. There is a high chance it will be abandoned entirely until Windows becomes much more friendly to the architecture. I believe this will also be a very crucial turning point for the MacBook lineup as a whole. At present, the iPad Pro paired with the Magic Keyboard is, in many ways, nearly identical to a laptop, with the biggest difference being the system software itself. While Apple executives have outright denied plans of merging the iPad and MacBook line, that could very well just be a marketing stance, shutting the down rumors in anticipation of a well-executed surprise. I think that Apple might at least re-examine the possibility of merging Macs and iPads in some capacity, but whether they proceed or not could be driven by consumer reaction to both products. Do they prefer the feel and usability of macOS on ARM, and like the separation of both products? Is there success across the industry of the ARM platform, both at the lower and higher end of the market? Do users see that iPadOS and macOS are just 2 halves of the same coin? Should there be a middle ground, and a new type of product similar to the Surface Book, but running macOS? Should Macs and iPads run a completely uniform OS? Will iPadOS ever see exposed the same sort of UNIX-based tools for IT administrators and software developers that macOS has present? These are all very real questions that will pop up in the near future. The line between Stage 3 and Stage 4 will be blurry, and will depend on how Apple wishes to address different problems going forward, and what the reactions look like. It is very possible that only 12” will be released at first, or a handful more lower end model laptop and desktop products could be released, with high performance Macs following in Stage 4, or perhaps everything but enterprise products like Mac Pro will be switched fully. Only time will tell.
Stage 4 (the end goal):
Congratulations, you’re made it to the end of my TED talk. We are now well into the 2020s and COVID-19 Part 4 is casually catching up to the 5G = Virus crowd. All Macs have transitioned fully to ARM. iMac, MacBooks Pro and otherwise, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, everything. The future is fully Apple from top to bottom, and vertical integration leading to market dominance continues. Many other OEM have begun to follow in this path to some extent, creating more demand for a similar class of silicon from other firms. The remainder here is pure speculation with a dash of wishful thinking. There are still a lot of things that are entirely unclear. The only concrete thing is that Stage 4 will happen when everything is running Apple’s in- house processors. By this point, consumers will be quite familiar with the ARM Macs existing, and developers have had have enough time to transition apps fully over to the newly unified system. Any performance, battery life, or app support concerns will not be an issue at this point. There are no more details here, it’s the end of the road, but we are left with a number of questions. It is unclear if Apple will stick to AMD's GPUs or whether they will instead opt to use their in-house graphics solutions that have been used since the A11 series of processors. How Thunderbolt support on these models of Mac will be achieved is unknown. While Intel has made it openly available for use, and there are plans to have USB and Thunderbolt combined in a single standard, it’s still unclear how it will play along with Apple processors. Presently, iPhones do support connecting devices via PCI Express to the processor, but it has only been used for iPhone and iPad storage. The current Apple processors simply lack the number of lanes required for even the lowest end MacBook Pro. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in order to ship a full desktop-grade platform. There is also the question of upgradability for desktop models, and if and how there will be a replaceable, socketed version of these processors. Will standard desktop and laptop memory modules play nicely with these ARM processors? Will they drop standard memory across the board, in favor of soldered options, or continue to support user-configurable memory on some models? Will my 2023 Mac Pro play nicely with a standard PCI Express device that I buy off the shelf? Will we see a return of “Mac Edition” PCI devices? There are still a lot of unknowns, and guessing any further in advance is too difficult. The only thing that is certain, however, is that Apple processors coming to Mac is very much within arm’s reach.
I really enjoyed m4nz's recent post: Getting into DevOps as a beginner is tricky - My 50 cents to help with it and wanted to do my own version of it, in hopes that it might help beginners as well. I agree with most of their advice and recommend folks check it out if you haven't yet, but I wanted to provide more of a simple list of things to learn and tools to use to compliment their solid advice.
While I went to college and got a degree, it wasn't in computer science. I simply developed an interest in Linux and Free & Open Source Software as a hobby. I set up a home server and home theater PC before smart TV's and Roku were really a thing simply because I thought it was cool and interesting and enjoyed the novelty of it. Fast forward a few years and basically I was just tired of being poor lol. I had heard on the now defunct Linux Action Show podcast about linuxacademy.com and how people had had success with getting Linux jobs despite not having a degree by taking the courses there and acquiring certifications. I took a course, got the basic LPI Linux Essentials Certification, then got lucky by landing literally the first Linux job I applied for at a consulting firm as a junior sysadmin. Without a CS degree, any real experience, and 1 measly certification, I figured I had to level up my skills as quickly as possible and this is where I really started to get into DevOps tools and methodologies. I now have 5 years experience in the IT world, most of it doing DevOps/SRE work.
People have varying opinions on the relevance and worth of certifications. If you already have a CS degree or experience then they're probably not needed unless their structure and challenge would be a good motivation for you to learn more. Without experience or a CS degree, you'll probably need a few to break into the IT world unless you know someone or have something else to prove your skills, like a github profile with lots of open source contributions, or a non-profit you built a website for or something like that. Regardless of their efficacy at judging a candidate's ability to actually do DevOps/sysadmin work, they can absolutely help you get hired in my experience. Right now, these are the certs I would recommend beginners pursue. You don't necessarily need all of them to get a job (I got started with just the first one on this list), and any real world experience you can get will be worth more than any number of certs imo (both in terms of knowledge gained and in increasing your prospects of getting hired), but this is a good starting place to help you plan out what certs you want to pursue. Some hiring managers and DevOps professionals don't care at all about certs, some folks will place way too much emphasis on them ... it all depends on the company and the person interviewing you. In my experience I feel that they absolutely helped me advance my career. If you feel you don't need them, that's cool too ... they're a lot of work so skip them if you can of course lol.
LPI Linux Essentials - basic multiple choice test on Linux basics. Fairly easy especially if you have nix experience, otherwise I'd recommend a taking a course like I did. linuxacademy worked for me, but there are other sites out there that can help. For this one, you can probably get by just searching youtube for the topics covered on the test.
Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator - This one is a hands on test which is great, you do a screen share with a proctor and ssh into their server; then you have a list of objectives to accomplish on the server pretty much however you see fit. Write a big bash script to do it all, do like 100 mv commands manually, write a small program in python lol, whatever you want so long as you accomplish the goals in time.
Amazon Web Services certs - I would go for the all 3 associate level certs if you can: Solutions Architect, SysOps Administrator, Developer. These are quite tedious to study for as they can be more a certification that you know which AWS products to get your client to use than they are a test of your cloud knowledge at times. For better or worse, AWS is the top cloud provider at the moment so showing you have knowledge there opens you up to the most jobs. If you know you want to work with another cloud provider then the Google certs can be swapped out here, for example. I know that with the AWS certs, I get offers all the time for companies that use GCP even though I have no real experience there. Folks with the google certs: is the reverse true for you? (genuinely asking, it would be useful for beginners to know).
Certified Kubernetes Administrator - I don't actually have this cert since at this point in my career I have real Kubernetes experience on my resume so it's kind of not needed, but if you wanted learn Kubernetes and prove it to prospective employers it can help.
Tools and Experimentation
While certs can help you get hired, they won't make you a good DevOps Engineer or Site Reliability Engineer. The only way to get good, just like with anything else, is to practice. There are a lot of sub-areas in the DevOps world to specialize in ... though in my experience, especially at smaller companies, you'll be asked to do a little (or a lot) of all of them. Though definitely not exhaustive, here's a list of tools you'll want to gain experience with both as points on a resume and as trusty tools in your tool belt you can call on to solve problems. While there is plenty of "resume driven development" in the DevOps world, these tools are solving real problems that people encounter and struggle with all the time, i.e., you're not just learning them because they are cool and flashy, but because not knowing and using them is a giant pain!
Linux! - Unless you want to only work with Windows for some reason, Linux is the most important thing you can learn to become a good DevOps professional in my view. Install it on your personal laptop, try a bunch of different distributions, develop an opinion on systemd vs. other init systems ;), get a few cloud servers on DigitalOcean or AWS to mess around with, set up a home server, try different desktop environments and window managers, master a cli text editor, break your install and try to fix it, customize your desktop until it's unrecognizable lol. Just get as much experience with Linux as possible!
git - Aside from general Linux knowledge, git is one of the most important tool for DevOps/SREs to know in my view. A good DevOps team will usually practice "git ops," i.e., making changes to your CI/CD pipeline, infrastructure, or server provisioning will involve making a pull request against the appropriate git repo.
terraform - terraform is the de facto "infrastructure as code" tool in the DevOps world. Personally, I love it despite it's pain points. It's a great place to start once you have a good Linux and cloud knowledge foundation as it will allow you to easily and quickly bring up infrastructure to practice with the other tools on this list.
packer - While not hugely popular or widely used, it's such a simple and useful tool that I recommend you check it out. Packer lets you build "immutable server images" with all of the tools and configuration you need baked in, so that your servers come online ready to start working immediately without any further provisioning needed. Combined with terraform, you can bring up Kubernetes clusters with a single command, or any other fancy DevOps tools you want to play with.
ansible - With the advent of Kubernetes and container orchestration, "configuration management" has become somewhat less relevant ... or at least less of a flashy and popular topic. It is still something you should be familiar with and it absolutely is in wide use at many companies. Personally, I love the combination of ansible + packer + terraform and find it very useful. Chef and Puppet are nice too, but Ansible is the most popular last I checked so unless you have a preference (or already know Ruby) then I'd go with that.
jenkins - despite it's many, many flaws and pain points lol, Jenkins is still incredibly useful and widely used as a CI/CD solution and it's fairly easy to get started with. EDIT: Upon further consideration, Jenkins may not be the best choice for beginners to learn. At this point, you’re probably better off with something like GitLab: it’s a more powerful and useful tool, you’ll learn YAML for its config, and it’s less of a pain to use. If you know Jenkins that’s great and it will help you get a job probably, but then you might implement Jenkins since it’s what you know ... but if you have the chance, choose another tool.
postgres - Knowledge of SQL databases is very useful, both from a DBA standpoint and the operations side of things. You might be helping developers develop a new service and helping with setting up schema (or doing so yourself for an internal tool), or you might be spinning up an instance for devs to access, or even pinpointing that a SQL query is the bottleneck in an app's performance. I put Postgres here because that's what I personally use and have seen a lot in the industry, but experience with any SQL database will be useful.
nginx - nginx is commonly used an http server for simple services or as an ingress option for kubernetes. Learn the basic config options, how to do TLS, etc.
docker - Ah, the buzzword of yesteryear. Docker and containerization is still incredibly dominant as a paradigm in the DevOps world right now and it is paramount that you learn it and master it. Be comfortable writing Dockerfiles, troubleshooting docker networking, the fundamentals of how linux containers work ... and definitely get familiar with Alpine Linux as it will most likely be the base image for most of your company's docker images.
kubernetes - At many companies, DevOps EngineeSite Reliability Engineer effectively translates to "Kubernetes Babysitter," especially if you're new on the job. Container orchestration, while no longer truly "cutting edge" is still fairly new and there is high demand for people with knowledge and experience with it. Work through Kubernetes The Hard Way to bring up a cluster manually. Learn and know the various "primitives" like pods and replicasets. Learn about ingress and how to expose services.
There are many, many other DevOps tools I left out that are worthwhile (I didn't even touch the tools in the kubernetes space like helm and spinnaker). Definitely don't stop at this list! A good DevOps engineer is always looking to add useful tools to their tool belt. This industry changes so quickly, it's hard to keep up. That's why it's important to also learn the "why" of each of these tools, so that you can determine which tool would best solve a particular problem. Nearly everything on this list could be swapped for another tool to accomplish the same goals. The ones I listed are simply the most common/popular and so are a good place to start for beginners.
Any language you learn will be useful and make you a better sysadmin/DevOps Eng/SRE, but these are the 3 I would recommend that beginners target first.
Bash - It's right there in your terminal and for better or worse, a scarily large amount of the world's IT infrastructure depends on ill-conceived and poorly commented bash scripts. It's bash scripts all the way down. I joke, but bash is an incredibly powerful tool and a great place to start learning programming basics like control flow and variables.
Python - It has a beautiful syntax, it's easy to learn, and the python shell makes it quick to learn the basics. Many companies have large repos of python scripts used by operations for automating all sorts of things. Also, many older DevOps tools (like ansible) are written in python.
Go - Go makes for a great first "systems language" in that it's quite powerful and gives you access to some low level functionality, but the syntax is simple, explicit and easy to understand. It's also fast, compiles to static binaries, has a strong type system and it's easier to learn than C or C++ or Rust. Also, most modern DevOps tools are written in Go. If the documentation isn't answering your question and the logs aren't clear enough, nothing beats being able to go to the source code of a tool for troubleshooting.
Expanding your knowledge
As m4nz correctly pointed out in their post, while knowledge of and experience with popular DevOps tools is important; nothing beats in-depth knowledge of the underlying systems. The more you can learn about Linux, operating system design, distributed systems, git concepts, language design, networking (it's always DNS ;) the better. Yes, all the tools listed above are extremely useful and will help you do your job, but it helps to know why we use those tools in the first place. What problems are they solving? The solutions to many production problems have already been automated away for the most part: kubernetes will restart a failed service automatically, automated testing catches many common bugs, etc. ... but that means that sometimes the solution to the issue you're troubleshooting will be quite esoteric. Occam's razor still applies, and it's usually the simplest explanation that works; but sometimes the problem really is at the kernel level. The biggest innovations in the IT world are generally ones of abstractions: config management abstracts away tedious server provisioning, cloud providers abstract away the data center, containers abstract away the OS level, container orchestration abstracts away the node and cluster level, etc. Understanding what it happening beneath each layer of abstraction is crucial. It gives you a "big picture" of how everything fits together and why things are the way they are; and it allows you to place new tools and information into the big picture so you'll know why they'd be useful or whether or not they'd work for your company and team before you've even looked in-depth at them. Anyway, I hope that helps. I'll be happy to answer any beginnegetting started questions that folks have! I don't care to argue about this or that point in my post, but if you have a better suggestion or additional advice then please just add it here in the comments or in your own post! A good DevOps Eng/SRE freely shares their knowledge so that we can all improve.
Experiencing different RPGs makes you better at D&D
5e is considered a very homebrew-friendly RPG, and so 5e subreddits tend to be full of homebrew and DMs spreading their game design ideas. And that's great! The fact that every DM is also a game designer is a big part of what makes D&D so much fun. But... A lot of y'all have never played another TTRPG and it shows. Hey, it can be hard to get a table together for D&D, playing something more niche is even harder. But in the same way that you can't be a great writer if you don't read anything, it's really hard to be a good game designer and homebrewer without running other game systems. And I do mean running them. DM a one shot, or a couple of sessions, or at least play in a game. Reading the system won't do it; systems reveal their value through use. I have never played a new TTRPG and not picked up something that makes me a better DM and homebrewer. Playing with homebrew in 5e can help you learn, but those rules always have to be built on top of 5e's assumptions and play style. Playing other games gives you a chance to see mechanics without those assumptions, and what they can bring to the table. A lot of these won't translate back, and that's fine. Sometimes the value of this is to show you why not to homebrew something. Playing The One Ring will show you how building a game from the ground up around concepts of encumbrance, fatigue, and attrition can lead to really engaging and mechanically interesting travel. That might also show you how much you would have to change and remove in 5e to reach that same point and not to bother. Some mechanics can easily be borrowed, though. I'll never run a D&D heist again without borrowing the flashback system from Blades in the Dark. Often times I'll hear people make the argument that since D&D has a universal skill resolution mechanic, it can handle everything. This is somewhat true, but systems matter. We don't resolve combat by saying, "roll a fighting check" and having the players win on a success vs the DC. Players will plan around and engage with the mechanics that exist, and character abilities provide hooks into the mechanics that exist. I'd love to hear from DMs who have played other systems what they think is worth learning from them, but in short here are some recommendations to other DMs. If you want travel to be interesting, try playing The One Ring. If you want dungeon crawling to be tense and mechanical, try out Torchbearer. Also, for something that does this while also borrowing 5e mechanics, try 5 Torches Deep. If you're a big believer in the Rule of Cool, try out Feng Shui 2, which is built entirely around combat looking as cool as possible. If you think combat is first and foremost about narrative, try playing Masks where getting hit in combat is primarily mechanically about how that makes your character feel. If you're a big advocate of "not all encounters are combat encounters", look to try a system that provides the same ease of creation, robustness, and variety of options for non-combat challenges that the Monster Manual provides for combat. Recently Pathfinder 2e's complex hazards are a decent starting point, but hopefully other DMs can recommend something even better. If you like running mysteries, try playing a Gumshoe-based system that does investigation based on the assumption the players always find clues, the game comes from interpreting them. If you're of the belief that D&D is first and foremost about collaborative storytelling, try playing a game that expresses that in gameplay, like Burning Wheel. If you love big character backstories, play a game where those backstories have more mechanical weight like 13th Age. If you like degrees of success, or hate binary saving throws, check out Pathfinder 2e to see what D&D is like when that's built into everything. If you care a lot about failing forward, try a game with "success with complications" built centrally into the rules. Anything PbtA is a good start. If you want to try out what roleplay looks like with social mechanics, try out Burning Wheel or L5R. It'll change how you look at high stakes conversations. Obviously you don't have to play all of these. You don't have to play any of them! But if you want to make sweeping statements about design and you've only played D&D, maybe approach the subject with a bit of humility. I see a lot of people make broad declarations about things that just aren't fun or never work or that they say 5e already does well, who clearly haven't ever played a game designed to do that thing. Or disparaging DMs who struggle with engaging players in places where 5e doesn't provide any system. Or acting like 5e can do everything because you can graft rules onto it, without any appreciation for the difference between something strapped on to an existing game and something that a game is built to do. RPG systems reflect the work of a lot of clever game designers and (in some cases, at least) testing effort. Playing different games can help you work past assumptions about how RPGs work and experience the ways game systems can really capture a feeling or experience. And even if you don't make that your next campaign, you'll come back to D&D a better DM for the new perspective.
Beginning|Previous Joan opened a link to Ambassador Amahle Mandela. Soon after, the ambassador's face filled a portion of the Admiral's Bridge. She had large, luminous brown eyes that seemed to swallow the upper portion of her face, complimenting her umber tone. Amahle smiled broadly, as she always did, once the comm link as connected. "Admiral Orléans, I assume we are approaching the departure time?" Joan nodded, "The Zix vessel will project a wormhole to Halcyon shortly. We have made what preparations we can, but it will be a highly fluid environment." Amahle's smile did not diminish, the pearly whites still shined in full force. "I am familiar with dynamic situations, Admiral, as you well know. I understand the parameters of this mission, and will abide by them so as long you do the same." Joan's lips pressed together as she regarded the ambassador. Joan had had limited interactions with Amahle prior to her boarding the Oppenheimer. Amahle was a relative newcomer to the highest echelons of political power within the United World, but her ascent had been rapid. She hailed from a prominent political family that had exerted considerable influence over the generations that had led the African continent to position of power it now occupied. Well-sourced references had called her bold and decisive. All things considered, Joan understood why Damian had chosen her, though she would have preferred a diplomat she had more personal experience with. Still, unknown and competent was preferred to known and incompetent. Joan dipped her chin, offering her agreement. "A diplomatic outcome is the preferred outcome, Ambassador. There's no benefit to antagonizing a foe we do not understand. " "Not a foe, Admiral. We must not draw lines that place us on one side and them on the other. They have suffered injury at our hands, no matter how unintentional, and we must accept our responsibility in that. We must hope that we are given the opportunity to provide context to the unlikely chain of events that has brought us to this point. We are both the victim of cosmic circumstance. There is no need for further hostility." Joan leaned forward in her chair slightly, "The priority, Ambassador, is the return of Admiral Kai Levinson. I will not stand in the way of peace, but any outcome that does not contemplate the return of a senior member of our military leadership is unacceptable." Amahle shrugged, "So it is. The priority is clear in my mind, but I do not view the goals of securing peace and the return of the Admiral as mutually exclusive." Joan offered a low chuckle. "Just probably exclusive." "I disagree, but time shall be the arbiter of the matter." "So long as you understand that, if the opportunity to secure Admiral Levinson presents itself, I'll avail myself of that opportunity, we should have no problems." "That seems an unlikely outcome. The Admiral was ensconced in a shielded holding cell when the Alcubierre departed. The past few days are unlikely to have changed that outcome." A barking laugh came out of Joan, rising up from deep within her. For the first time, Amahle's smile faltered. ----------- Left. Right. Straight. Left. Left. Kai followed the directions without thinking about them, following an intuitive sense of direction that the Overseer fed to him. This portion of Halcyon appeared to be a never-ending series of corridors, all of which looked the same. The only thing that did seem to change were the inhabitants. If he was less preoccupied with the task at hand, Kai might have spared a second glance for the odd creatures that popped into existence during his mad dash. As it stood, they were just a part of the scenery, becoming relevant only if Neeria indicated they might pose a threat. So far, Kai had been fortunate, with few obstacles popping up to impede his progress. He careened around a corner, the odd, weightless orb still tucked in the crook of his left arm. He bounced off the opposite wall, leaving a sizeable dent and then hurtled forward. Ahead the corridor opened up, and the brighter light of a mainway filtered in. Somehow, Neeria had managed to navigate him through the maze and bring him back to the mainway separating him from where he had left the Overseer. Unfortunately, evasion was no longer a possibility. In order to return to the Overseer, he would need to traverse the mainway. The mainway was already a sea of red dots. Peacekeepers. Dozens of them. Some pulsed red, indicating lethal enforcement squads. Fortunately, they were stretched along a long section of the mainway rather than being specifically concentrated around his planned entrance point, though they there were beginning to redeploy in his direction. Still, any crossing would be potentially treacherous. Neeria disagreed with that assessment, instead considering any attempt to cross aggressively suicidal. Kai rolled his eyes as he continued to barrel down the hallway. "Half the time, this works all the time." What could only be described as a mental barrage ensued as Neeria assailed the statement. The words were nonsensical on their face. At best, it was an argument for a fifty percent failure rating, which was a substantial risk. Additionally, she had scoured his thoughts for the evidentiary basis for the fifty percent estimate and found no supporting facts. The sentiment was based entirely on supposition, hubris and was entirely divorced from reality. Her estimate of a three percent success rate was significantly more likely to be accurate, particularly when her superior familiarity with the assets in play were considered. Kai wasn't sure if the Evangi had lungs, but, if they did, Kai was pretty certain Neeria was in the process of hyperventilating. Kai suppressed a childish giggle. "All right, all right. Have it your way," he said. The Overseer relaxed somewhat, pleased that she had impacted his thinking and already putting together the basis for an alternate route. It would take substantially longer and require him to obtain a large box, a micro-fitted multiwanzer and shave his head, but it may just work. It was a nice sentiment, but they were out of time. The countdown clock had started the second Neeria had fled the Council chamber, and made her way to Kai. They either found a way out of Halcyon now or they were screwed. There were no options but bad ones. So be it. Kai clutched the orb tightly and ducked his head down, his speed increasing as he charged toward the mainway entrance. "Three percent of the time, this works all the time." The mental hyperventilating returned and redoubled as the Overseer scrambled to explain that he had drawn the wrong conclusion. Three percent was a basis for not continuing toward the mainway, not charging forward. There were constraints on their time, but those limitations were poorly defined while the threat in the mainway was certain. Eventually her location would be discovered and she would be apprehended, but there was no guarantee it would happen if Kai were to take a safer route the attempted to avoid confrontation. Her stream of consciousness intermingled with his, pleading with him to change course. There was no sense in doing this. There were too many of them, and only one of him. The galaxy could not afford to lose him, he was important. Humans were important. Kai could feel the enormous weight of responsibility bearing down on Neeria. She now regretted having sent him for the encryption key, even that was of less importance than him. Panic bubbled up within Neeria as the entrance to the mainway loomed ahead. A pushed a thought toward her, somehow piercing her consciousness with his own. A single thought, pure and focused. Reassurance. He would be fine. He had come this far, and he had never started something he couldn't finish. He crouched and then sprang forward, vaulting from the ground and into the open air high above the mainway. A sea of red dots were scrambling around him. One hundred and twenty-one peacekeepers. Eight non-lethal squads and four lethal squads. Restrainer triads. Psych triads. Terminator triads. All moving in seamless harmony under the command of a single being. The name came to Kai from the ethereum of Neeria's mind, Bo'Bakka'Gah was here, leading the response. Before Kai could determine what a Bo'Bakka'Gah was and why it should matter, he was blinded by a beam of light. A sickening crunch followed as he was slammed against the ceiling of the mainway. The encryption key popped out from his arm and began to fall toward the ground, dozens of feet below. ------------- Xy: Such a thing is not possible. Zyy: Yes. In some matters, it is better to speak only truths, Grand Jack. It is best to leave these matters aside. This subject will only provoke the Combine. Jack frowned, puzzled by the feedback. He had been speaking truths. Earth's history was what it was, for better or worse, he had no reason to obscure it. Griggs: It was a terrible time for Humanity. We almost did not survive it, but we did. I developed a means for combating the artificient. Kai and Joan used it to destroy them. Xy: Then it was not an artificient. Zyy: Yes. This is correct. If it is destroyed then it is not an artificient. Griggs: I am confused. An artificient is an artificial, sentient being, correct? Xy: That is Quantic in nature. Jack nodded, that distinction made sense. Humanity had built any number of artificial intelligences prior to the Automics. They had posed no threat to Humanity. It was only with the quantum computing revolution that a rogue artificial intelligences had surfaced. Jack had studied the phenomenon with considerable interest, poking and prodding at the crux of distinction. It lay in the move from bits to qubits. From binary to beyond. When AI had operated on a bit basis, focused on binary states of 0's and 1's, the logic trees had been map-able and understandable. Each conclusion flowed simply from the chain of logic gates that preceded it. Pre-quantum AIs were confined by the black and white nature of their logic framework, permitting humanity to utilize them to great effect with few unanticipated consequences. The move from bit to qubit intelligence had changed everything. The AI's world was no longer black and white. The qubit AI could think in grey. Red. Orange. It could create its own colors. It could move beyond the visible range of Humanity to dabble in spectra beyond our understanding. The original Automic mindframe had immediately consumed information in novel ways, using it to compound its abilities at a rate constrained only by available power inputs. It had been a beautiful, terrifying event. The arrival of something truly new, truly foreign with goals and ambitions beyond the influence of Humanity. Anything seemed possible. Including their own destruction. Griggs: I understand the definition. The Automics were an artificient. Xy: Then you do not understand the definition. Griggs: That's circular logic. The thing cannot exist because if it existed we would not exist and since we exist it did not exist. Xy: Yes, you understand now. Griggs: Pretend that they did exist and we defeated them. What would that mean? Xy: It is purposeless speculation since such a thing cannot happen. Griggs: I begin to understand why Zyy felt the need to be a singleton. Zyy: I am in agreement with Xy on this. The hypothetical is nonsensical and not worth analysis. Griggs: Why? Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated, only stalled. Griggs: How do you know? What makes you so certain? Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia, the most powerful civilization in the history of galaxy, could not defeat their own artificient. Their last act was to preserve what they could. The Combine is their legacy. Griggs: The Expanse. Xy: All the galaxy beyond the Combine is consumed by it. Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia ascended to preserve what they could because they knew the truth. Xy: Yes. The truth. Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated. Jack leaned back in his chair, his eyes glancing from the prompt to the departure timer in the corner. In less than five minutes, the Oppenheimer would return to Halcyon. Jack had the eerie feeling that this was the same as before. That the Oppenheimer was the bludgeon and if only had a little more time, he could craft a scalpel. He could see the thread. He tugged at it with his mind. The connected pieces that would allow the world to escape without the mayhem and destruction. He just needed enough time to understand the puzzle and solve it. The Divinity Angelysia. The Expanse. The Combine. Humanity. The connection existed, he tried to find the words to articulate it. Griggs: What if that is why we're here? What if that's why Humanity was created? Xy: You are not the first species to think too highly of itself. Zyy: Humanity is different, Grand Jack, but they are not the Divinity Angelysia. Jack exhaled, letting his gaze rest upon the ceiling of the Alcubierre's conference room. "Maybe that's the point," he whispered. Next. Every time you leave a comment it helps a platypus in need. Word globs are a finite resource and require the rich nourishment of internet adulation to create. So please, leave a note if you would like MOAR parts. Click this linkor reply withSubscribeMe!to get notified of updates to THE PLATYPUS NEST. I haveTwitternow. I'm mostly going to use it to post prurient platypus pictures and engage in POLITE INTERNET CONVERSATION, which I heard is Twitter's strong suit.
The Importance of Freeform Character Creation in Cyberpunk 2077
I'm pretty sure people talked about this subject when the gender-optionless character creator was announced a while back, but I could find anything and maybe i have something unique to say. If not, let me know and I'll delete the post. I actually made this post a comment a day ago but I think that whole post got deleted so my comment's gone, too. I've been seeing arguments about why genital customization is necessary, and the sexual nature of Cyberpunk 2077's universe. I can understand where these arguments are stemming from, especially from people who prefer gameplay and presentation over lore, immersion, and worldbuilding. Every facet of a game takes time and money to implement. Resources spent on one thing could have been spent somewhere else, and if an element is unused/underused/ignored, then it is effectively wasted resources. In this case, genital customization that you can't even see or really interact with at all outside character creation feels like a waste. Like getting a butt tattoo in a game that's never-nude. However, this game is cyberpunk and cyberpunk is all about rebellion, using technology (whether digital or analogue) to advance beyond nature's intentions, and pure, uninhibited personal freedom. The societies of cyberpunk, megacorporation-run dystopian urban wastelands, aren't free at all, but that is the role of the cyberpunk: to battle that oppression and wrest their freedom from the chains of society. As a fiction, this narrative can be very cathartic or eye-opening for many people. Sex is a part of that. But, perhaps more broadly, total character customization, even parts you won't necessarily use, are a reflection of that freedom and rebellion. Cyberpunk 2077's genderless character creation is a game-changer on a fundamental level. We're so used to binary character representation in games. Boy or girl. Gay or straight. Up or down. It's two-dimensional and not reflective of actual human experience. No fiction, or even art, can be a total reflection of human experience, but our job as artists is to constantly strive for greater heights, to push the envelope on what is expected, "normal." And I think that's a little cyberpunk in and of itself, too. Without strict, binary gender selection, many people will get to create a more authentic experience for themselves than they have ever before. As a trans woman, I now get to be in a game. Trans characters exist in games (Poison, Birdo, Krem) but they've never been protagonists, and certainly never custom protagonists. This is a way to implement trans identities in numerous ways without explicitly making a "trans" option available at gender selection. In fact, having that option would probably result in some stereotypes being reinforced in terms of body diversity and gender presentation. But, with this subtle, loose body construction with voice actor selection, it's easier to place a queer experience without making it explicit. Queer, cis, gender-fluid; all these identities can be represented simultaneously. Maybe your meticulously crafted micro-penis may never see the light of day in-game, but having that customization there says something about the themes of the game, the messages it wants to tell, and an avenue of representation for people who have been long ignored. This isn't about sex. It's about freedom. I think that's worth the extra effort.
First of all, thank you very much to everyone who took part in the second ever Reddit Romance Club community survey! We mods were absolutely amazed by the high number of responses, so thank you for making this such a vibrant and engaged community! You all rock. After grinding the (many) numbers, here are the results, which we hope you will find as interesting as we did. Just a note: this survey was opened at the end of May and closed shortly after the June release, hence its questions only barely included Legend of the Willow and did not include Dracula: a Love Story. For this reason, we have not counted the (very few) replies that have been given in the "other" boxes mentioning characters that were not yet available as Lis/known as LIs in the May release (think Leo, Vlad, Kazu etc) as this would have not been fair to those who had answered the survey before the June update. Having said that... buckle up for the ride! Lots of interesting info ahead. ----
💎Question 1: Which RC story is your favourite?
https://preview.redd.it/rlq02ktm0y951.png?width=1890&format=png&auto=webp&s=7ac99dcf156eba4a1e7a25e118cedb51ed21847c No one will be surprised to find out that Heaven's Secret is the top story in this community right now, chosen by over 45% of the respondents. Our nostalgic heart is very happy, however, to see some old favs still make the podium - albeit trailing significantly behind. Moonborn and Shadows of Saintfour score second and third place, only separated by a handful of votes at around 11%, but newer release Chasing You is already breathing on their neck at 10.7%. A healthy mix of new and old stories follows: Sails in the fog is in fifth place with 7.8% of the preferences, while Legend of the willow, after only a few episodes, already scores a very good sixth place, in a tie with Seduced by the rhythm at 4.3% of the votes. Queen in 30 days is seventh with 3.5% and My Hollywood Story is eighth with 1.2%. Last place goes to Wave Patrol at 0.4%, which sadly doesn't come as a shock given the general feeling that the romantic/reputation points system was too complicated. ----
💎Question 2: Who are your favourite LIs?
https://preview.redd.it/x17lqdnw3y951.png?width=1020&format=png&auto=webp&s=6d560448445a77f5f076fcce43358b1dbb94c094 HS being the most popular story unsurprisingly propels some of its main LIs onto the podium with supersonic speed. Bad boys rule, with Lucifer taking the crown with a whopping 65.7% of the votes and Alexander (CY) taking silver at 49.3%. The nice guys are not too far behind, though, with Dino in third place at 47.4% and Max (MB) only just about missing the podium in fourth place at 45.3%. We go back to bad boys with Brandon (SBR) in fifth, but soft spoken Sam (CY) is ready to balance things out again with his sixth place. The most surprising result on top of the rankings is Jake (WP) who makes the top ten with a very healthy seventh place. He is really hard work, but obviously we all think he's totally worth it! Old favourites Michael (SOS) and Victor (MB) still hold onto the hearts of their fans by scoring eight and ninth place respectively. First among the women - and the only female LI to make the top 10 - is the delightfully devilish Mimi (HS). Waves' mate Sebastian misses the top ten only by a hair, placing himself in 11th place with a healthy 20.7%. Bodyguard Adam is the most favourite LI in Q30 in 12th place, followed by a row of SOS boys, with John, Derek and Aaron scoring very similar percentages in 13th, 14th and 15th place respectively. Sweetheart Ray is no longer the most favourite LI to come out of MHS, as in this round he ends up in a tie for 16th place with none other than his almost polar opposite, rough and ready Captain Jeff. Leonard from Q30 (17th place) ties with Cherry from SOS but at least he beats his brother Richard (20th place) in the heart of the readers - and we all know that he'd be pretty pleased with that. Claire (SBR) is the second most favourite female LI in 18th place, while mysterious Luke (SOS) completes the top 20 in 19th place. Here are the rest of the Lis who placed lower than the top 20: (21) Carlos (SBR) 9.2% (22) Justin (SBR) 8.6% (23) Benny Bart (MB) 8.4% (24) Tarino (MHS) 8.1% (25) Gino (MHS) tied with Stephanie (SOS) at 7.8% (26) Dante (MB) 6.9% (27) Andy (HS) 6.3% (28) Mike (MHS) 6.1 % (29) Alek (WP) tied with Dante (CY) at 5.9% (30) Kayla (WP) 5.3 % (31) Alex (MHS) 3.9% (32) Chris (SIF) 3.4% (33) Frances (MB) 3.2% (34) William (SIF) 3.1% (35) Trisha (MB) 2.6% (36) Charles (SBR) 2.1% (37) Orlando (SBR) 1.8% (38) Chris the bodyguard (MHS) tied with Adi (HS) at 1.6% (39) Ellen (MHS) tied with Manta (SIF) at 1.2% (40) Masked Man (SOS) 1.1% (41) Ellia (CY) 0.8% (42) Mermaid (SIF) 0.6% (43) Simon (MB) 0.4% (44) Charles (WP) tied with Emma (Q30) and Jackie (SIF) at 0.2%. These lower rankings include some LIs that, based on the discussions we see on the subreddit, we were not expecting to get as many votes as they did - and vice versa. Dante from CY has more votes than Orlando from SBR? And Chris the bodyguard (MHS) beat the Masked Man (SOS)? Say what... Also: Jackie (SIF) definitely deserved a lot more votes! We might have to start a hashtag or something. ----
💎Question 3: Which non-LI character you’d romance in a heartbeat?
https://preview.redd.it/vd1u59tk10a51.png?width=863&format=png&auto=webp&s=df9e41d03e7af6b60396f96dbfed685b8e425b8e Here are the top 15 most desired LIs in this community: To absolutely no one's surprise, Geralt (HS) takes the top spot with 39.1% of the readers eager to unbuckle his sexy neck belts at the first occasion. Dreamy Xander from MB takes a very respectable second place with 23.2%: we will forever long for his full lips and crisp linen suit. Another MB favourite, Prince Ethan Wood completes the podium with his Matrix-style coat and intense eyes, but sassy and sexy demon Austie (HS) is not very far behind in fourth place. Vampires Dustin Chase in fifth place and - although at quite a distance - Sophia in sixth join the ranks of the many LIs who sadly never were in MB. Cute lifeguard Zoey from WP ranks seventh, and no worries if you don't remember who she is: her screen time was about 5 minutes total - but enough to end up in a tie with angelic mentor Misselina from HS. Frenemy Candy from SOS makes eighth place, while evil stunner Monica from MB clutches ninth. To complete the top 10 is no one else but grumpy Angel Fencio (HS) - we obviously all want him to show us his collection of talismans - tied with Bean from MHS, who sadly had the audacity to get married to someone else. In 11th place is SOS great friend Bobby, whose bravery in the face of untold horrors gave him a special place in all our hearts, in a tie with another WP lifeguard, Ryan (yeah, we have little recollection of him as well). Party-loving and OSHA nemesis Anthony Wood (MHS) is in 12th place, while scheming yet gorgeous Julia (Q30) takes 13th. In 14th place is no one else but our dear Sailor Bobby - an option that was added as humorous but instead raked up a fairly respectable 14% of votes. As they say, if you are not handsome you should be handy, and no one is a better dress maker than Bobby! Plus, how can we forget when he disguised himself as a tribesman to save Adelaide from becoming soup? He ends up in a tie with a fan favourite, sweet angel Sammy (HS). Completing the top-15 is another HS angel, the ethereal Leeloo. This question also had an "other" box, where people could add names that were not included in the list. For all those (quite a few!) people who wrote Dino (HS), Sam (CY) and Orlando (SBR)... we choose to believe you misread the question, but if you didn't... oh boy, have we got good news for you! A few people also wished for Rachel (CY) and Hiro (SBR) to be LIs, so that's another happy ending there as per the latest release. Some also wished for Diego, Baron Samedi and Jackie from SIF, and Joseph, Christian and Gustavo from SBR to be LIs, and we are happy to say that, although their routes might be a bit hidden and not all of them can be endgame LIs, you can most definitely already hookup with/romance all of them. Check the wiki for details! A few people asked for the coffee shop owner in CY... we have the feeling that we know who at least one of them is, and truth be told, that beard is dreamy so we can see their point! More bearded LIs please! Those who asked for Fyr... far from us to kink shame here, but let's just hope he turns out to be human at some point! We also have some Seraph Crowley (HS) and Angel Mora (MB) fans amongst us, as clear proof that no one is ever too old for love, plus WP Agent Phillips' manbun has also scored him some eager fans. But that one person who asked for Sean from MB... we hope for your sake you are also about 12 years old because otherwise you need an old priest, a young priest and also a police officer. ----
💎Question 4: Which LI do you think is overrated, and why?
https://preview.redd.it/nea26zpyj2a51.png?width=855&format=png&auto=webp&s=dfeefda0ad627357d4a76c4e2fef0f3b4a42deca Here are the top 10 most overrated LIs in the game according to our community. You know how they say never rest on your laurels? In a surprising (or maybe not?) twist of fate, some of the most liked LIs also topped the most overrated rankings, which goes to show that the beauty of our community is that we all have different (and sometimes opposite) opinions! So please let's not fight in the comments, haha. The most overrated LI crown goes to Lucifer with the 21.9% of the votes, (which is almost as him winning an Oscar and a Razzie on the same evening) mostly due to his behaviour, which many identify as "toxic", "abusive" and "triggering". Many readers are "not comfortable with his choking/manhandling of MC", and his "lack of respect for personal space". "Being treated poorly in the hope to finally reach a hidden soft side does not seem worth it". Some think "he needs therapy", and wonder "why he's still behaving like a teen while he's possibly thousands of years old". A reason why many dislike him however, is also "the daily flood of fanart that features him": we might all be a little Lucifered-out here on the subreddit! Tied in second place (pun fully intended!) are Alexander (CY) and Victor (MB) at 11.5%: the reasons given for both of them are surprisingly similar. Both boys are into BDSM but neither seem to "truly know the rules of consent" and people think that they "overstep boundaries a little too often". Both have been described as "creepy", "controlling" and "plain weird". Victor is also guilty of being "boring" ("I asked for a tea not for your life story in India!" - someone wrote). Both have been invited to "drop the Christian Grey act" and some people think "they would be arrested in real life if they acted this way". Oh boy. Justin (SBR) completes this unflattering podium at 9.1% because of his "obnoxious outbursts" and the way he treats MC. He is "rude" and "mean" and people seem to be willing to "pay diamonds to put him in his place". Hopefully that won't be necessary! Jake from WP is fourth at 7.8%, the main reason being that he is "too difficult to romance", "too expensive and still rude", and that "we have to solve the Da Vinci code to get him" - as someone hilariously wrote. Bad boy Brandon (SBR) scores 6.1% of the votes landing fifth place, with the word "jerk" being the most recurrently used to describe him. He is "arrogant", a "vanishing act", and "he is never nice to MC for long". Come on, Brandon! You can do better! Unclaimed Andy (HS) takes sixth place with 4.5% for being "jealous" and "annoying" - although we would maybe argue that he's not really that overrated, as far as we can see from the sub... In seventh place is Max (MB) at 4.1% but we are confused by the person who mentioned "his abs being too perfect" as a reason for disliking him. Of course, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, so... fair enough? Other words used are "too boring", otherwise many people voted for him but did not really give a reason why. Max needs to work on his PR clearly! Another tie in eight place sees Adam (Q30) and Dino (HS) score 3.7% of the votes. The Royal bodyguard is described as "a barbarian" and his behaviour as "possessive" and "controlling", while the main complaints against Dino seem for the vast majority to be directed to his looks: comments range from "his eyes look disproportionally big compared to his head" to "his hair seems separated from his face" to some people calling him a "Fabio lookalike". Beauty is in the eye of the beholder indeed! Gruff Captain Jeff (MHS) makes ninth with 3.3%, mostly because of "the dodgy power dynamic between him and MC" and his "bullying": "I like puppies is not a free get out of jail card!" someone wrote. The fact that SOS Luke "drugged MC" bags him unanimously the tenth spot with 2.8% of the votes. Not in the top ten but voted often enough to deserve a special mention are John (SOS) because of his "murderous tendencies", Derek (SOS) because "people only likes him for his glow-up", and Leonard (Q30) as "he took Emma's spot as the third main LI in the story" and "that was a cop out!" Plus "he seems so good only because the other two are the worst", someone quipped. ----
💎Question 5: Which LI do you think is underrated, and why?
https://preview.redd.it/t29ndbj8n2a51.png?width=1007&format=png&auto=webp&s=c817ac45f70f9210476feda212af736ad18b8f17 Let's all cheer ourselves up with the opposite end of the spectrum! Here are the top 10 Lis that the community think deserve more love! The answers in this question were a lot more fragmented, with a lot of random characters getting very few votes, so the ranking percentages are significantly lower than in other questions. A few people chose to write "every female LI" as this question's answer, and this is reflected in the rankings below, where way more female characters are mentioned compared to other questions. So RC, we need more screen time for badass, gorgeous, interesting female LIs! HS still carries its weight as the most popular story, with three of its main LIs topping the rankings, all lamenting the fact that they are "unfairly overshadowed by bad boy Lucifer". Andy tops the list with 8.5% of the votes: players think he is "a really good guy", "sweet", "cute", "caring", "thoughtful". They admit "he has flaws" but he "will help if you need him" and "will stand up for those he cares about". It's nice to see him getting some love! Devil cutie Mimi ends up as a close second with only a few votes of difference, at 8.1%. She is "cute", "badass", and "so cool". Many people wrote they don't usually romance female Lis but they chose her nonetheless because she is "a great LI in every way". Someone wishes RC would "flesh her out a little more" and "give her more screen time". Third spot is for Dino: a "sweetheart" and "the cutest man in the game". Jake from WP nabs fourth place with the 4.9% of votes. Players thinks the focus is too much on how hard he is to pursue, while "he is totally worth it", because after the initial coldness he becomes "sweet", "kind" and "caring". His "love for his family is another big plus", and he is always "supportive", "mature", "loyal" and "intense". Someone also wrote that "his sex scenes are amazing". Gorgeous dancer Carlos from SBR is in fifth place: he is described as "cute", "great personality", "respectful" and "the sweetest". One to watch for sure! Prince Leonard (Q30) ties with Claire (SBR) in sixth place. Leonard is "complicated", "interesting" and "clever", while Claire is "sweet", "mature" and "loyal". Seventh position is for Michael (SOS) - "cute", "affectionate", "funny" - and Kayla (WP) who's "really nice" and "one of the first female LIs that didn't seem like a complete afterthought". Eight place goes to Sam (CY) - "wholesome", "the right amount of naughty and nice", "a sweet and likeable guy" - in a tie with Chris (SIF) - "funny", "strong", "loyal", "always has your back". Ninth place is another tie between Sebastian (SIF) - "sweet" and "supportive" - and Alex (MHS) - "amazing personality", "really helpful". Last but not least the tenth place is a foursome: William (SIF) gets some love for being "good", "solid", "loyal" and "fun", in a tie with Charles (SBR) - described as "perfect", "romantic" and "caring", as well as "hot", "sexy" and "gentle" - Jackie (SIF) - "an under-appreciated king", "handsome" and "fun", and Frances (MB) - a "real badass" and "one of the best LIs in MB". So, time to replay your favourite book and try out one of these Lis instead than your usual one! ----
💎Question 6: If you could eat or drink one thing from the RC universe, what would you choose?
https://preview.redd.it/q1oepb874y951.png?width=1108&format=png&auto=webp&s=fbd376a81dffac4123ffdfd8963ef87164466f35 Max (MB) might no longer hold the crown of most loved LI in the game, but his cooking skills still hold strong. A whopping 37.2% of the people in this community would eat anything he prepares. Getting drunk on Glyft at the HS Academy takes second spot with 23.1% of the preferences, while a sugar rush after a light BDSM session in CY is all what the 13.2% of us want, completing this delicious podium. In fourth place is pizza with a bunch of MHS friends, fifth is potential death - as long as ice cream and Jake from WP are involved - and sixth is Anthony Wood's juice at one of his epic MHS parties. Dinner at the SOS circus is seventh, chosen by a fearless 3% of the community, while canapés at a jewellery fashion show in Q30 score the eighth and last place. ----
💎Question 7: If you could spend a weekend in any RC story, would you:
https://preview.redd.it/0nxu9upf4y951.png?width=680&format=png&auto=webp&s=2cbcbded6cb23da8f9f16e96e7cd65be46dee8fd An entire weekend in the RC universe! What mischief is our community planning to get up to? It looks like HS is once again top of the list, with over 38% of players willing to test their wings and get some strange and possibly corrosive blue liquid down their unclaimed throats. But LOW's gorgeous backgrounds and atmospheric setting have convinced the 16% of us to go explore a Japanese village, and possibly meet some mysterious cutie. Adelaide and her SIF crew navigate steadily in third place: 10.7% of us would follow them over the edge of the world and beyond. In fourth place is a spot of murder mystery fun in CY, as 10.3% of us would happily explore a British family mansion - bloodshed possible but not guaranteed. A diplomatic trip with the Q30 Sagar Royal Court appeals to the 6.1% of us, especially if a romantic sunset is on the bill. The quaint and frankly unsettling SOS woods do not scare the 5.7% of us, but as long as no one picks up a nice bouquet of flowers, we should all be ok. In seventh place is our favourite vampire popstar Benny Bart (MB) performing at the Taste of the Night, while eighth is a dance marathon in SBR, inclusive of a trip to romantic Paris. Tarino's somewhat unusual directorial skills in MHS score ninth place, while hot surfers in WP's Miami end up last. ----
💎Question 8: If you could get more episodes of a series that has now ended, which one would you choose?
https://preview.redd.it/qts8kk8i9y951.png?width=766&format=png&auto=webp&s=2b7135c2692b604dd9c9ad4b14bafa93cd4ecad0 It's time to go down memory lane! We loved all the stories that RC has now completed, but which one we miss the most? Side note: SIF and WP were still ongoing when this survey was first opened hence they are not featured in this list. Horror story SOS takes a clear lead, with over 47% of our community wishing we could get more adventures with MC and her friends. MB is second, with a healthy 34% of readers wishing to spend more time in the company of vampires and werewolves. Q30 is third, with 13.3% of readers missing its Royal Palace and all the intrigue coming with it, and last but not least is comedy MHS, which is missed by 5.4% of this community. ---- And now, some questions about this community's gaming habits: ----
💎Question 9: How do you usually approach LI relationships?
💎Question 12: What genre of story do you enjoy the most?
https://preview.redd.it/9ht7sl4u5y951.png?width=908&format=png&auto=webp&s=834f8b8a3f6a0c9465a3b9e74d5a3f70dfe77b9c With new stories always coming up, we were curious to know which genres this community enjoys the most. Despite the game being called Romance Club, the top of the genre ranking goes to Fantasy, with a striking 74.1% of preferences. But no worries: Romance is a steady second with a great 70.8% of the votes. Third place goes to Mystery with 65.7%. Adventure comes fourth with 55.2%, followed by Horror (42.5%), Historical (35.1%), Science Fiction (29.1%) and finally Comedy (26.4%). A very small number of people (too little to make percentage) also asked for drama, thriller, detective/crime, heist/spy, high school/teens, superheroes, zombies and time travel. All great ideas! The community has spoken though: RC, give us elves and gnomes and medieval tales of debauchery and magic! ----
💎Question 13: How long have you been playing Romance Club for?
https://preview.redd.it/irpho4w06y951.png?width=832&format=png&auto=webp&s=2f4cfd29dd89db03bfc910a5355ad8d47844668e We were curious to know for how long we all have been playing this game we love. The survey showed a good mix of old and new readers, with a clear tendency towards long-term reading, which makes us so very happy to know we are all just equally addicted. 36% stated that they have been playing for over a year, 23.6% for more than six months, 17.8% for more than three months, 16.1% for more than one month and 6.4% for less than a month. Welcome one and all, we hope you are all going to be here for the long haul! ----
💎Question 14: How did you find out about the game Romance Club?
https://preview.redd.it/3rcvli496y951.png?width=745&format=png&auto=webp&s=c48166ce7feee6ee5dab1c00fac3ea6dd3ab43ff The main way in which our community has found out about RC is through the app store/google play store (70.9%). Another subreddit is a source for 13.5% of us (we probably have to say thank you to our friends at Lovestruck and Choices!) while a friend recommended the game to 8.7% of us. Instagram (3%) and Facebook (1.5%) are also popular sources, but 2.4% of us arrived to the game through adverts, which is to us the most interesting data since in the mod team we haven't personally seen any adverts for this game - ever - so if anyone has screenshots, please post them in the comments, we are super curious! Some users (too few to make percentage) also mentioned videos and memes on TikTok or Youtube, Google Search, Tumblr, Twitter, Vkontakte or even their own sister(s) as a source. ----
💎Question 15: Which operating system do you play the game on?
💎Question 16: Which other story games do you play?
https://preview.redd.it/pcyngwew6y951.png?width=807&format=png&auto=webp&s=1e3f1f4956dfb8bc4e247d6a179a4153b62fc7da Here are the top-10 story app games we play in this community, aside from RC. Unsurprisingly, market leader Choices comes first with 53.3% of the votes. Another giant in the field, Episodes, comes second - although with quite a substantially smaller percentage of votes, clocking at 28.1%. The top-three is completed by UK TV show-inspired Love Island with the 24.6%. Chapters is the fourth most played game at 24.2%, followed by Lovestruck and Love Sick - tied at 16.1%. Moments is sixth at 13.1%, new entry on the market Stories: Love and choices follows in seventh with 5.3%, Journeys is eighth with 4.7% and The Arcana is ninth with 2.6%. The top-ten is completed by Tabou Stories: Love Episodes in a tie with Originals - both at 1.2%. Some also reminisced about Storyscapes (gone too soon but not forgotten!) and many other game apps were mentioned but by too few people to make up for an accountable percentage. We surely discovered some games we had never heard of before, though, including: Fictif, Heart's Choice, Everlasting Summer, Fancy Love, Romance: Stories and choices, Secrets: Game of choices, Fictions: Choose your emotions, Mystic Messenger, City of Love and many, many more... so thanks everyone for all these new suggestions! And to that one person who selected half a dozen games and then commented with "it is a problem!" ... trust us, you are in very, very good company here!! ---- And lastly, some demographics: ----
https://preview.redd.it/hgiuu3dq7y951.png?width=785&format=png&auto=webp&s=106185756ec1cfd67c4c1bb94a8bda1ce6f5a6d3 How old are we? The survey has spoken: 44.7% is between the ages of 18 and 24; 28.1% is between 25 and 35; 21.1% is 17 or younger; 6.1 % is 36 or older. We must admit that we did not expect so many people to be on the younger end of the spectrum! Butwe hope everyone - of all ages - will always find this subreddit to be a safe, welcoming and friendly place where to discuss this game we all love. We mods work hard every day to keep this the most relaxed and fun RC space on the net and we feel so lucky that you are all as awesome as you are! ----
💎Question 19: What is your gender identity?
https://preview.redd.it/kkr5bm1x7y951.png?width=810&format=png&auto=webp&s=90068fd1b9c2762f5b181b56af647848529c14e2 The overwhelming majority of this community (93.5%) identifies as female, while 4.6% identifies as male, 1.3% is non-binary, 0,4% identifies as genderqueer and 0.2% marked themselves as confused. The fact that MC is gender-locked female and that LGBTQ routes are limited in the game is certainly one of the reasons why our community is not more diverse. Hopefully RC will expand their stories to include more diverse gender choices in terms of MCs and LIs, so to allow more people to enjoy their great storytelling skills. ----
💎Question 20: What is your sexual orientation?
https://preview.redd.it/iskgfuk38y951.png?width=749&format=png&auto=webp&s=0d0cd01d9bedfb1f577206939bc22b959bc6921e Here's the sexual orientation of our community: 70.1% identifies as Straight/Heterosexual 22.5% identifies as Bisexual 1.9% identifies as Lesbian/WLW 1.7% identifies as Pansexual 1.5% identifies as Gay/MLM 0.4% identifies as Aromantic 0.3% identifies as Aromantic/Bisexual 0.3% identifies as Asexual 0.3% identifies as Demisexual 0.2% identifies as Asexual/Biromantic 0.2% identifies as Asexual/Heterosexual Once again, we hope that future plots featuring more diverse MC/LIs will attract more diverse players to our community. ---- That's all folks! We hope you found these results interesting and we look forward to a new survey once we hit 5000 users! Until then... happy gaming and thanks for making this awesome community as great as it is! :) 💎 RomanceClub mods 💎 💎u/LauraVi 💎u/swankytutu 💎u/directormmn 💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎💎
Hi all, It's no secret that the meta is rather stale with most people going for Vayne, Jinx, and Riven comps. In almost every game I play, I don't have a lot of success playing meta and usually prefer to find weird anti-meta/off-meta picks. I got really tired of playing one of the big three so started playing Mech to limited success. Then I started 6 Battlecast and climbed from ~70 LP Masters to now 320 LP (though I played other comps too in this climb). Here are my Battlecast stats below from about 11 games played. https://imgur.com/a/nMYgpBt https://lolchess.gg/profile/na/sakuchan39 Match History This is my first guide written so let me know if there is anything I can improve on. Why play 6 Battlecast I think its a decently strong comp for climbing purposes only. As you can see, I have a really high top rate but really low win rate with this comp. To be honest, it is a bit player diff since this set I have had a low win rate in general. I think the comp is rather fun to play to see all of the battlecast procs, and is also easy due to how straightforward 6 trait comps are in general. Pros
Strong for climbing. This is because of people usually contesting one of the Big 3. Battlecast spikes early at level 6 and you will winstreak hard and do big damage to low rollers. In non high elo (GM+) lobbies, there is usually a skill gap in lobbies and people will not know how to play from behind, allowing you to at least top 6 almost any lobby through developing a large health and gold lead.
Generally uncontested. It is very easy to upgrade the units you need. Kogmaw can be contested early from Jinx players, but otherwise, Illaoi, Nocturne, Cass, are all uncontested and can be upgraded easily.
Strong matchups into Big 3 before their endgame. Nocturne jumping and getting fear on Vayne/Jinx is really good. Urgot eating Riven can quickly turn fights in late game against sorcs.
Really bad scaling. Once you do go to end game, you will probably go on a large lose streak. The purpose of this game is to win through attrition; from the large health lead you've gained through winstreaking in the mid-game, hopefully you will top 4 from everyone's end game comp beating up on each other.
Reliance on a legendary unit/spat. 6 battlecast is absolutely necessary to survive the terrible endgame. If you can't hit, you will suffer large losses and lose your win condition of barely scraping into the top 4.
Weak in stronger lobbies. I end up occasionally in GM/Chally lobbies but I cannot conclude the strength of this comp in these lobbies. I believe that it is weaker in general due to the lobby being closer in strength making it difficult to generate a high health lead (even if you win they will probably get good losses) and people knowing how to play better from behind.
Early Game The general indicators to play 6 battlecast are early upgrades to Illaoi, Nocturne, and components for Kogmaw. Kogmaw absolute core item is Red Buff and needs one of Shiv or Runaan's Hurricane. I prio Bow on first carousel because it can be either RH or Shiv, but I've seen ideas of Vest prio for Red Buff. If you get good items, but no upgrades, it may be worth it to lose streak early for carousel priority, and to stay lower level to complete Illaoi and Nocturne upgrades. Here are some early game boards. Early Kog Infil Open In Early Kog opener, Lucian is replaceable to hold Kog items, or if early Ezreal then Graves can hold Kog items. Blitz can replace Malphite. Play what makes sense in the context of your game. Mid Game The biggest spike is at level 6 and getting 4 battlecast, 2 chrono, 2 blaster with one core item on Kogmaw. Until you get there, just play whatever you have that is strongest. Again, the purpose of this comp is to win streak. As soon as I can put in 4 battlecast, I level to 6. I avoid aggressively leveling to 7 as I like to stay at 6 for increased chances of upgrading Kogmaw. Stage 4-1 is always a level 7 and then roll an appropriate amount of gold to maintain econ while upgrading your board. Since this board is pretty self-explanatory, look to snipe carries with Blitz/Noc to cheese out wins. If you can't hit these units, or have bad items at this stage, look to pivot out. I pivot to Bang Bros (shares Runaans as core item), Jinx (if high roll early Jinx), or even once Mech (had really bad items). In the mid-game, you should also look to start building Urgot items (GA and mana items) as well has hopefully completing an Ionic Spark for Illaoi. GA is really good on Urgot to trade 1 for 1 in the endgame (saving health) as well as stalling for tie breakers. Mid-game Board End-game Ideally, by the time it is time to level to 8 (between stage 4-3 to 5-1), you'll have generated a 50 health lead over the 7th and 8th place people. Now, the goal is to complete the trait with Viktor and Urgot to try and survive to 9. Until you hit these units, splashing traits like Mystic (Karma/Soraka/Lulu) or Infil (Fizz/Ekko) or front line (Gnar) are great to help you survive and can hold Urgot items. Similar to mid-game, you are looking to cheese out wins with Blitz/Infil/Urgot. Urgot targets the furthest unit in his range which is 3 hexes. Once you have hit 6 Battlecast, look to go 9 to add in Mystic/Asol/Ekko/any other broken unit. Battlecast matches up really bad against Sorcs so Mystic is usually my go to since it helps against Mech and Jinx. End-game Board Other Notes
Urgot targeting is getting changed to the farthest unit but can be blocked. This makes it difficult to snipe back row carries. He also doesn't eat through GA anymore making it difficult to fight Riven Sorcs.
Requires flexible gaming. If you don't hit early and spike too late, you will die very quickly. Think about how the items you make can be flexed into other comps. I flex RH into Bang Bros for Yi and Spark flexes into every comp. When you play 6 Battlecast, try to have an out in mind if you can't make Red Buff, can't hit Kog, or are contested by someone high-rolling Battlecast units.
Extra AP items go on Cass/Viktor. I put them on I feel is stronger at the time. Viktor 1 is also stronger than Noc 1, but I prefer Noc 2 over Viktor 1 as my 4th battlecast in the mid-game. Use whatever is appropriate (Viktor can be strong against Sorc backlines and Jinx clumps, Noc strong against solo back line Vayne).
Who does Spat go on. I haven't really had a large enough sample to tell. I really like Asol not because it is strong but because Asol is just broken. He helps you beat Sorc comps. I've seen people say Gnar which is good as added front line in a very weak front line comp, but you end up stuck with 3/4 brawler since you may need Mystic/Asol in at 9. If you hit Gnar 2 though then obviously it is better. Spat Item generally is an Urgot replacement, then Urgot replaces Nocturne.
Galaxies. Battlecast is super strong in Littler and Binary Star. It is good in Treasure Trove (access to Spat, easy to high roll items), Reroll (can high roll upgrades early, potential 3 star though I don't usually go for Kog 3), and Star Cluster (same as reroll).
I haven't played that many games with Battlecast, but the results have been very positive so far. Hopefully, this will increase the flavor of your games in the last few days of this flavorless meta. Let me know if there's anything I can improve in my guide; I realize I don't go over general Econ strategies or flex options. I think there's lots of good information in high-elo streamers on economy vs aggressive leveling. I find my playstyle to try and balance both but leaning more towards econ is king. I'll answer as many questions as I can below.
Hello comrades! Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey. I'll break down the survey below for those who want a transcription of it or for those who want a more organized presentation instead of the raw data. Here is a link to the survey results. For comparison, here is the previous survey. Please discuss your thoughts on the survey in the comments, and also continue the conversation started in the old thread about what you want to see for the sub’s future We had 600 responses to the survey, which given the size of the subscriber base is a statistically significant amount that we can confidently extrapolate from. Question 1: Age demographics We are trending younger than the previous survey, with zoomers making a major jump in demographics at the expense of 26-30 and 31-40 year olds. The early 20s seemed to hold relatively consistent. I am unsure if this means the old people are leaving or if more young people are joining. 25% of us are under 17, 29% are 18-21, 21% are 21-25, 14% are 26-30, and the rest are older. Question 2: Gender Identity Overall, we are very much dominated by men at 79.5% of the sub. There has been a slight decrease in male identification in favour of women and non-binary. But this is definitely a weakness of the sub. We need to work on ways to be more inclusive of non cis-male voices. Question 3: How non-white are we The answer is very mayonnaise at 76% non-PoC. We had an almost 5% drop from a year ago which is great but I think we can do much better. Question 4: LGBTQ+ This one is much better. We seem to have a strong representation from LGBTQ+ folks which is consistent from last year, and it is good to see the number be pushed up by around 4 points from 32% to 36%. Question 5: How non-cis are we Considering around 3% of the population is trans according to GLAAD, we seem to have decent representation on the subreddit at 7.7%. Question 6: Where do we live This question is worth looking at on the google form. They all are, but this one particularly so what with all the different possible answers. Suffice it to say, we are very much situated in the imperial core. This is somewhat problematic but to be expected given the overall reddit userbase. This is something that we should definitely try to combat. Since last year it seems the US portion has decreased by around 5 points to favor eastern europe, canada, and some growth outside the imperial core. Top five regions:
Western Europe and British Isles (tie at 9.8%)
Northern Europe (3.2%)
Question 7: Living environment Largely unchanged from last year, socialism is split roughly evenly between city living and suburbia, with a small but important section living in a rural area. Question 8: English 75% of the sub considers English to be their primary language, which is a slight drop from last year. The top non-english primary languages are as follows in descending order:
Question 9: Religion. We are largely not a religious sub, and the demographics here have largely not changed in the last year. Top religious beliefs (above 1%) are:
Spiritual but not religious- 11%
Roman Catholic- 4%
Sunni Muslim- 1.7%
Honorable mention to the 5 people who wrote in "Materialist" lol, I like you. Question 10: How long have you been a socialist We've shifted down to subscribers having less overall experience with socialism, losing from all categories above 3 years and gaining on all the lower choices. This could be from an influx of new people from the election, and hopefully it does not mean we are losing more experienced folks in large numbers. Half of the sub has been a socialist for either a year or 3-5 years, with relatively even responses for the options on either end of the spectrum Question 11: Education We seem to be an educated group. Almost 50% of the sub either has a college degree or is actively pursuing one, with 12% of us having gone to college without achieving a degree. 20% are currently in secondary education. 7% have or are chasing a graduate degree, and 6% had their education stop at secondary level. Question 12: Employment 37% of us are students who are not employed, and 18% of us are students with a job. 25% of us have a full time job, while 7% have a part time job and 7% are unemployed. Smaller amounts are either self-employed or of a non-working population. Question 13: Relationship to production Thankfully, 85% of us are either working class or dependents of working class folks. 5% are petite-bourgiosie small business owners or self employed. 3% of us are (hopefully class betraying) capitalists. Question 14: Living situation Pretty even split between renting our living situation and living rent free with family/friends. Of the rest, 13% of us have alternate living arrangements such as home ownership or mortgages. 15 and 16: Living conditions The majority of us are at comfortable or adequate arrangements (around 80%), pointing again to reddit's overall demographic. 20% of us would describe their situation as poor. 41% of us did not have difficulty in in our budgets. Top things socialism had difficulty affording over the last few months in descending order:
Necessary repairs such as home and auto
Time for the fun stuff. Top labels people use to describe their politics (over 5%) of socialism are in descending order:
Anarchist and/or Anarcho-Communist
Marxism-Leninism-Maoist and Communalist (tied)
More people are identifying as a tendency from the last survey, which means more people are reading Questoin 18: Who are we reading There were a lot of answers to this one, so I will just list our top ten most widely read or read about comrades
Karl Marx (duh)
Overall as a sub I think we definitely need to read more. Its great that we can recognize the big names on that top ten list, but the real proof of how widely read our sub base is is in the smaller names. There are a lot of people on there I hope to see increase next time! Honorable mentions from the write in list that got more than 2-3 submissions include Richard Wolff, Victor Serge, Daniel DeLeon, Stirner, and Assata Shakur 19: Working with liberals This question not worded very well or needs to be broken up into a few different questions, as working with liberals can take many forms and is something the next survey will take into consideration. Showing up to a protest organized by a liberal NGO is very different than actively campaigning for a Democrat or other capitalist party. This is a question that will definitely change next time. Anyhow, a majority of the sub supports working with liberal capitalist organizations; 40% in a limited capacity and 18% are fully on board for it. A strong majority opposes this kind of involvement, 21% saying they are generally opposed to the idea and 14% taking a principled stance against such tactics. 20: Organization 28% of us are actively organized in some way, which is great! But those are rookie numbers, we gotta pump those up. 29% of us are searching for an org in some way, and 28% are not actively looking but plan on doing so sometime in the future. 12% of us have no intentions of organizing. 21: Unions A disappointingly large 76% of the sub have never been unionized. Given that a quarter of the sub is under 17, that's partially excusable but the rest of us need to get on it! 13% of the sub actively belongs in a union, and 5% have been in one in the past. 8 of us are actively organizing one, good on you! 21: Types of organization For those that are organized, the most popular methods of organizing on socialism appears to be:
Mainstream labor union (45%)
Big tent parties such as DSA (35%)
Non-party organization (20%)
Explicitly radical labor unions (15%)
Tendency specific revolutionary party (14%)
Internationally affiliated party (10%)
Tenants union (4%)
By far the largest stumbling block appears to be lack of options in a given geographic area. There's only one way to fix that however, these things don't just spring up out of the ground fully formed! After that follows more access to information, more free time, too many shitty socialists, too much time spent working, more money, organizations not open enough, and transportation difficulties
Overall people seem to run the full spectrum of satisfaction with their organizations. 45% of those organized are happy with what they got, and 55 either see much room for improvement or are not happy with the organizations.
How should socialism be achieved:
Overall we tend to be more revolutionary. Only a quarter of the sub takes a reformist stance which is good. Almost half the sub is open to seizing power through elections if it is possible, same with those who think we should explicitly have a revolution. Doing so using general strikes seems to win support from everyone. Overall, this is an important question that the sub does seem a bit split on.
The struggles of oppressed groups:
This one had great responses. An overwhelming majority (87%) chose the correct response that socialism must fight form all struggles. There were a few different takes on the **wrong** answers, 7% think these struggles should be ignored until after the revolution and 2% actively call these issues divisive. I will politely yet firmly ask both of the latter to leave, or even better get educated.
I seriously need to consider editing or removing this question because I am not sure what it really achieves. 41% of the sub rejects the existence of bourgeois rights in the first place. 43% acknowledge that free speech is a right but does not trust a capitalist state to honestly enforce it. 18% take an absolutist stance on it, and 22% are happy with how speech is currently treated under capitalism.
There is roughly 2/3 split on this, the majority calling for open borders and the minority calling for some sort of loose restrictions but still maintaining freedom of movement.
Overall, the sub is in favor of planned economies, and are split over the question of more decentralized production for luxury goods or local community needs. Only 8% of the sub is totally against planning. This is a moderate change from the last survey where just over half the sub was for total planning.
Just under half (48%) of the sub is unsure if they will live to see socialism, and 36% of the sub think they will. This is almost exactly the same as last time.
State of the subreddit:
Most users have a positive time here, with 43% giving us a 4/5. This has also not changed much since the last survey. Hooray!
How often do you use the sub:
We see a full spectrum of use. Fairly evenly split between a once or twice a month, a few times a week, and almost every day.
Only 7% of the sub posts, and 31% comments. Not much to say here other than much more people are commenting now than they were a year ago, which is good for how we are able to engage folks!
No Mods No Masters
I have to say I am seriously dissapointed with the subreddit here. Us mods are more or less unelected self appointed regulators, and 2/3 of the subs of a *socialist* subreddit passed on the opportunity to tell us to take our authority and jump in a lake. For shame smh.
There seems to be an overall mandate from the users that we are doing a good job at keeping this a healthy place for socialists to interact with each other. Under 5% think we are doing a poor job.
Largely the same story here, though there is a bit of a jump in dissaproval. Overall the majority of the sub is happy with our stance on liberal politics, and 10% think we are not modding liberals correctly.
US Election and the subreddit:
Sub seems a bit split on this, but overall the mandate appears to be to remove liberal content, emphasize organizing over voting, while not being super aggressive with banning politically center folks. Just over a third (37%) think socdem content should not be removed, but frankly I do not see our policy on supporting capitalist party content changing anytime soon
58% of the sub would be interesting in some form of organized reading circles. Look out for this in the future, we are unsure how this will manifest but something will be decided on. We will probably have a separate thread for organizing this in the future to choose what pieces we should do, but feel free to spitball in the comments for the *form* you would like to see this take. Cheers, Mods Team
Practicing SR since July 2017; currently have a 3+ month streak
2 accounts got shadowbanned for uploading this post. Spam filter kept on removing it this post. Messaged the moderators, but received no answer. Removed many links, so check post history for full version. First time making a Reddit post. Estimated Reading Time: 15 minutes Brief summary of post:
History of Journey
Using Subliminals (affirmations converted into audio) to reprogram the subconscious, overcome nocturnal emissions, and turbo-charge the Law of Attraction
Experience from meditation retreats
Massive booklist covering psychotherapy, spirituality, and general books such as negotiating and advanced social skills
Fundamental shifts that occurred
Experiences with semen-retention benefits
How I overcame and conquered negative entities
Tantric meditation method that actually works with zero side effects
Experience on speaking Japanese for 1 full hour with native speakers without notes after 3 months of learning
Terminology: Wet dream/WD – sexual dream causing semen emission while sleeping Nocturnal Emission/NE – semen emission occurring while sleeping even without dreaming Semen-retention/SR streak – avoiding porn, masturbation, and ejaculation whether conscious or unconscious Nofap Hardmode – avoiding porn, masturbation, and conscious ejaculation. Unconscious ejaculation/WD is considered fine. As the title suggests, my current streak started in the middle of June 2017. Haven’t watched any porn or masturbated in 3 years. Experienced almost all the benefits such as massive attraction (men, women, children), an aura/energy surrounding me, enhanced charisma, less need for sleep, insane levels of energy, drive, and motivation, zero anxiety or fear, massive confidence occasionally bordering on arrogance, increased manifestation/LOA, people admiring/respecting me for no reason, online attraction, less procrastination, better athletic performance, greater creativity/intelligence, the desire to live a purposeful life, greater emphasis on spirituality, and much much more. Could probably write several posts just on the benefits themselves. Only thing that didn’t improve was my skin, which was later fixed using subliminals. It’s been a long journey, so I’ll start with background information, and later elaborate on how I managed to go from nocturnal emissions every 5 days (avg) to having a perfect SR streak for 3 months. Used to watch anime which led to hentai (2013), and eventually western/japanese porn. Don’t even bother to search these terms on Google. It’s not worth it. Thankfully, those days are long behind me. As a side-note, I discovered the nofap/semen-retention subreddit in November 2017. Didn’t even know about SR before that. I was raised a Catholic in a fairly religious family. Always started various streaks, and eventually broke them due to boredom/emotional coping/curiosity about new videos. Thankfully, I got good grades, read books, and was interested in self-development, but all that time spent on porn was a complete waste. Assuming I spent at least 2 hours everyday for 4 years (1460 days), it amounts to 122 complete days or around 4 months in total. It’s pretty sad on reflection, but at least the experience is now absorbed, and I can write this post. On June 2017, after summer break started and final exams were over, I decided to permanently quit this habit. Downloaded an application called Cold Turkey and completely blocked all websites I used to visit. Now use Leechblock, which is available on most browsers (also use it to block/restrict access to non-NSFW websites which impair productivity like ESPN). Started 30 minutes of daily meditation (mindfulness + metta). Still continue the habits to this day, although the length is increased to 1 hour. Read Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana and Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg for instructions. Have re-read these books multiple times. Mindfulness will allow you to be self-aware of your mental conditioning, while metta (feeling compassion for yourself, a friend, neutral person, and enemy) can remove thoughts of lust and fundamentally alter your mental programming. Compassion is a very powerful exercise. Read “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer” while you’re at it and learn tonglen. All of these books contain zero fluff, and are invaluable reads. Started drinking 16 glasses of water (thought it would help skin, but helped in other ways), and doing 100 pushups + 100 sit-ups everyday. Increased it to 200 pushups + 200 sit-ups after 1 month. After 2 months, I made a decent amount of gains (SR helps), and people started asking me workout tips and what gym I go to. Had a Kindle Paperwhite, which is frankly one of my most valued possessions. Still works perfectly fine after 5 years, and costs only $130. Buy one now. Read a lot of books mostly consisting of biographies/spirituality/practical social skills/800+ page novels for around 6 hours per day. Still try to read for at least 15 minutes/1 chapter even when extremely busy. Will post a small booklist at the end of this post. You can upload books to it for free if you lack money. Visit (gen.lib.rus.ec), download the ebook in epub/mobi format, open it with Calibre (https://calibre-ebook.com/), and send it to Kindle using USB. Knowledge is an investment that produces continuous returns. Warren Buffett spends 80% of his time just reading! and takes action based on that knowledge. Even managed to have the motivation to learn Japanese by joining a foreign language exchange website. People, especially women, accepted and sent a lot of invitations to have a conversation; didn’t realize online attraction was due to SR back then. None of us showed our faces, so my physical appearance had nothing to do with it. From experience, the best way to learn a language was to make a phrase sheet with the most common phrases/questions, such as “okay”, “that’s awesome”, “what is that word in English/Japanese?” Basically a human AI bot. Don’t waste time trying to learn how to write the alphabet, although my primary purpose was to learn how to speak. Google Translate is good enough to understand the pronunciation. I learned Japanese primarily by watching Terrace House. First watched the episode with subtitles, then re-watched it without, while simultaneously writing all the connectives/conversational phrases. You can try unique methods to remember, but brute-force memorization/review worked the best. Never tried Anki since it was cumbersome to use. For the accent, the best way is to watch Japanese people trying to speak English, and try to mirror their accent as much as possible. It honestly helps. After 3 months, I could have a full 1 hour conversation in Japanese with a native speaker without looking at any notes. I wasn’t “fluent” (still stuttered and made mistakes), but it was a huge amount of progress for starting from scratch. Eventually after 6 months, I gave up practicing/speaking the language. I was mainly trying to fulfill a childhood fantasy, and I’m glad I tried since I learned a lot from it and got to talk with interesting people. But in reality, I stopped watching anime, and honestly never needed to speak Japanese in real-life. Now I barely remember any of the words, except a few basic phrases. Could probably last 30 seconds of full conversation at best. So, everything was going great until December 2017. During this time period, I probably had wet dreams/nocturnal emissions every 1 – 2 months. Barely felt much difference since there was a decent time interval between emissions. Drank 2 glasses of water everyday before bed, slept on my stomach, and ate spicy food (practices that cause nocturnal emissions), but was perfectly fine. However in December I started having emissions every 2 weeks. Initially didn’t care about it. In January it started happening every 1 week. Nothing really changed in my life during this time to cause emissions to increase. Then it started happening every 5 days, every 3 days, sometimes even 2 days in a row! Most of you will have no idea how terrible it feels to be on top of the world, and then suddenly crash down. The difference between living life with/without SR benefits is night and day. Even after sleeping 10 hours, I used to feel completely exhausted. People ignored me, or worse started “joking” around me. Complete disrespect by friends, family, and acquaintances. No energy/motivation to do anything. Constant brain fog, could barely concentrate. Felt even worse than my porn days when I ejaculated everyday. Voice completely shot, started feeling anxious about oral presentations for no reason, when I always excelled. Felt like my soul was dying. Those were really dark times. People started saying I “changed”, and started pointing out and constantly magnifying my flaws. It’s strange how people exaggerate our skills/talents on SR, while they completely ignore them post WD/ejaculation, and focus only on your flaws/mistakes. It makes you lose trust in everyone around you, as if all of them are energy vampires who only like you due to SR. I grew desperate. During this whole time I meditated, practiced no lust/no arousal as best as possible since July 2017, yet emissions increased massively in frequency. Some occurred due to sexual dreams, but most were nocturnal emissions. Thought I had a UTI at first, and went to a general practitioner. He didn’t seem very reliable, so I went to a prominent urologist. Did all sorts of tests, paid a good amount of money, and the doctor said everything was fine. Having nocturnal emissions every 5 days was perfectly normal at my age. Encouraged me to masturbate regularly if it became an inconvenience :) So medical science obviously failed. Started following all the tips/methods in this subreddit, and believe me I tried almost everything no matter how uncomfortable or time-consuming. Omad, avoid food/water before bed, vegetarianism, tantric meditation, different diets, various sleeping positions, no/increased meditation before bed, no/more exercise, yogic exercises, qigong, some tips mentioned by Soaring Eagle, prayed to God. None of them worked. The only method I didn’t try extensively were kegels. Initially tried a normal + reverse kegel routine, then found an article by coincidence on this subreddit about someone who permanently damaged their penis from doing kegels. Immediately stopped, thank you to that person for sharing your experience. It’s as if the universe was looking out for me. Best to avoid such risky methods even if you’re desperate. Currently sleep on my back since it avoids any "accidental physical stimulation" from occurring. So this nocturnal emission phenomena continued for over a year. Some methods worked better than others, while for some, I wasn’t sure if it was merely the placebo effect. In mid-2019 I came across subliminal videos (finally the good part!) on YouTube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0W5AB1sGr0) This video explains it more thoroughly, but basically you convert affirmations (sentences like “I am happy/smart/handsome”) into audio using text-to-speech software and reprogram your subconscious mind. Tried a beauty subliminal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEXaAsm-Iys) as a joke, but the next day I noticed changes in my facial structure. Listened for an hour the first day, which was easy given the music. You have no idea how amazing it feels to know that you can control your reality just by using your mind. Completely magical. Supposedly it works due to the Law of Attraction; you can find out more by reading/watching “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, and later reading all the books by Neville Goddard. Started using a skin subliminal as well (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqi8Q80pspk and later moved onto https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COxz8hvl14Y ), and now my skin is completely normal. Visited prominent US dermatologists, tried all sorts of acne medicine including Accutane, and even did SR, yet none of them worked. Skin was pretty terrible, and I was glad it got fixed. Took around 4 months of daily listening although it can be shortelonger depending on your belief, blockages, and levels of positivity. There’s a CIA document on holographic universes, astral projection, time travel, and psychic powers if you need scientific validation: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210016-5.pdf Disclaimer: Although there can be bad subliminal makers, they are very rare, and there has been only 2 of them in the history of the community. Someone named MindPower and Rose subliminals. The vast majority (99%) put positive affirmations. It’s best that you verify by checking all the comments, seeing their subscriber count, general personality, etc, but ultimately there’s no guarantee. The only way to make sure the affirmations are 100% positive and safe are to make them yourself or use a subliminal that blocks negative affirmations. One thing to note is that physical change (biokinesis; search that term)/spiritual subliminals utilize the prana in your body to a certain extent to make changes. It makes sense since physical change is essentially a psychic poweenergy work. So your SR benefits/aura might temporarily decrease. Hydration is also recommended, and you will notice feeling thirsty. Personally drink 20 glasses of water everyday. Obviously, my interest now turned towards using subliminals to cure nocturnal emissions. Unfortunately there’s a huge lack of subliminals regarding semen-retention or those targeted towards nocturnal emissions. Initially bought a subliminal using a paid request (you pay a subliminal maker for a specialized subliminal), but it didn’t work that well. Desired to be permanently free of nocturnal emissions, or at least reduce the frequency to once a month. So I decided to make my own subliminal. The affirmations will be posted below, and this is how I eventually cured my nocturnal emissions. Steps on how to make your own subliminal:
Write all the affirmations in a word document and save it.
Download text-to-speech software like Balabolka and output the audio file in wav format (you want both uncompressed + lossless)
Optional but recommended; download an audio editor like Audacity, and fast-forward the audio as much as possible using the “Change Tempo” effect. Personally I speed the audio to one second and then loop it 1000x. Continue the process as much as possible, but never make the audio length less than 1 second. Some subliminal makers make their subliminals even more powerful by creating multiple audio streams of their affirmations using different voices, merging all the voices together, and speeding them up. It’s called layering. Why super-sped affirmations work better can be somewhat explained by this article (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sensorium/201812/experiments-suggest-humans-can-directly-observe-the-quantum), but science still doesn’t have all the answers. Will take time.
Affirmations Link:https://www.reddit.com/pureretention/comments/hg0tjb/practicing_sr_since_july_2017_finally_conquered/ (same content; scroll down to the subliminal section and download the affirmations file from the mega link) Listened to this personal subliminal for 1 hour everyday for an entire month. Still listen just to be safe. Took months of testing and editing affirmations to make it perfect. Experienced massive sexual dreams on certain days, more than normal, and found out that entities could be responsible. Try to avoid this subreddit as well, since reading the posts can trigger memories. More energetically sensitive now, and sometimes there’s a lot of low-vibrational energy. On a side-note, porn cripples your aura and invites negative entities (https://www.awakeningstaryoga.com/blog/expanding-away-from-porn-aura). Non-subliminal solutions:
The entire channel is a gem; these were some of the best. Have used them for a few months and feel much lighter and peaceful; experienced only headaches due to subconscious absorbing the affirmations, but zero negative effects. Advice: Remember to immediately download any subliminal video you find that is useful in wav format (https://www.savethevideo.com/download). Subliminal channels are sometimes deleted by YouTube (spam filter) or the creators themselves. Waited 3 whole months before deciding to make a Reddit post to make sure the method was 100% foolproof. Remember many people offering solutions in the past, yet 1 month later they would have another wd/nocturnal emission. The first month there was a lot of fear. Will I have a wet dream/nocturnal emission tonight? Was so traumatized it was difficult getting to sleep every night. After the 2nd month, I experimented with sleeping on my stomach and eating/drinking before bed. Nothing happened. Stopped recently to stay careful. After 2 years of suffering, this is a method that has worked. Try and see for yourself. Present day: How do you feel now? Some days it’s meh (due to flatline) like today; on other days I feel divine. No idea why flatline still occurs. Have regained all the benefits, feel love and happiness all the time. Experience intense states of bliss in meditation more frequently, although it’s just a distraction. Religiously/Spiritually I’ve moved from Christianity to Buddhism/Advaita Vedanta/parts of New Age. Found them more practical and useful in life. Was inspired to aim for spiritual enlightenment after reading “The 3 pillars of Zen” by Philip Kapleau. Read it, it might change your life. Have attended a number of meditation retreats now, along with 10-day ones. Everyone reading this post should try it. Understood how much our mental programming defined us, and that we aren’t are thoughts. Our childhood traumas define so much of our habitual reactions. Realized its okay to feel bored rather than chasing after constant stimulation. Even attended a Jhana retreat, which is exclusive for people who have attended prior retreats. Entered intense states of meditative absorption, understood the permeability/impermanence of reality, and had all sorts of mystical experiences. Experienced past lives; can confirm my mind did not make it up, since it’s an experience you can constantly replicate using the same methods. Before attempting such methods, you need to have the ability to sit down and meditate continuously for at least 3 hours. If you live in the US, attend IMS (Insight Meditation Society) or any prominent Vipassana/Theravada related retreat. Zen is a valid form of enlightenment, but it personally felt unstructured. Gave up music, took time since I was convinced it was needed for creativity. Instead, it was just a substitute source of dopamine and a way to avoid my emotions. Have much less brain fog after quitting. Only communicate using regular phone calls these days, which no one uses, and Snapchat/WhatsApp for texting. Avoid stories, waste of time. Instagram/TwitteFacebook are a waste of time unless you are using it for business purposes. The only social media you really need is LinkedIn. Women: You’ll learn more about them by reading romantic novels, Korean mangas, and watching Kdramas then reading all that seduction/red pill stuff. Focus on general charisma (men and women) instead of a specific gender. Read “The Charisma Myth” by Olivia Fox Cabane; it’s the most practical book on social skills I have ever read, and possibly the most life-changing as well. Teaches you self-awareness, applies Buddhist psychology to social interaction. Used to train executives in Google, read it now (and do all the exercises). The bibliography sent me on a rabbit hole that made me read ton of books on psychotherapy, meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhism; this was before SR. Inspired me to practice meditation, although the habit only became regular after SR. Read books such as Crucial Conversations by Al Switzer, Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, How to Talk so Kids will Listen by Adele Faber (works very well in general since even adults have childhood programming, and can act like children), Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (FBI's chief international hostage and kidnapping negotiator from 2003 to 2007), Getting More by Stuart Diamond (trains negotiators at Google), and Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff (more theoretical but useful). Also read The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan Pease and What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro. These are all books that will greatly improve your human interactions and contain limited fluff. Have re-read all of these books in difficult times, and they have never let me down. You should read it as well. Even if you become a monk, there’s lots of social infighting even in monasteries. Highly-developed social skills are invaluable whenever you are dealing with individuals. Read “How to make friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie once in a while, since most forget to apply his “basic” advice. Learned a lot about oral presentations by watching Alan Shore on Boston Legal (TV show). Current position in life? Studying for a bachelor’s degree. My family is financially well-off, and my father is paying for my college tuition and dorm. Scholarships aren’t available for all income levels. Although I come from “privilege”, the above information can help anyone regardless of their financial position. We live in an era where information is accessible to all social classes, so excuses aren’t that relevant. If you’re practicing SR, you are already 20 steps closer to success. The tips above can be applied for free as long as you have a computesmartphone. Read books starting from today, knowledge is a source of power. People spend so much time reading the news, scrolling social media feeds, reacting to comments, chatting about useless things with friends, binging shows on Netflix, browsing YouTube/Reddit, that time quietly passes by. Time is the most valuable commodity you have; don’t waste such a limited resource on things that will contribute nothing towards your purpose in life. Once it’s spent, you can never get it back. Personally, I schedule the next day before going to bed. Leisure, Reading, Schoolwork, Meditation, everything is mapped out perfectly. Try to eliminate habits that just waste time and stick to your schedule perfectly (working on it myself). If you feel tired after work/studying, take a nap or meditate instead of receiving even more stimulation from videogames, YouTube, or other artificial dopamine sources. Try NoSurf.
The End of Your World by Adyashanti (fantastic writer; must-read if you have had an awakening experience or believe you are "enlightened")
How to Attain Enlightenment -> The Essence of Enlightenment by James Swartz (best introduction to Advaita Vedanta I have read so far)
I am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (profound but advanced)
In the Buddha's Words by Bhikkhu Bodhi (best introduction to Buddhist scripture)
Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright (secular perspective but informative; his previous book The Moral Animal is a good introduction to evolutionary psychology. Read this first if you are non-spiritual)
Wisdom Wise and Deep by Shaila Catherine (comprehensive introduction by one of the best Jhana teachers in the US)
Manual of Insight by Mahasi Sayadaw
Emptiness: A Practical Guide by Guy Armstrong (good introduction to the Buddhist version of reality)
Books by Loch Kelly (practical guide to non-dual meditation practices within Buddhism; The Little Book of Being by Diana Winston may be a better introduction)
Seeing that Frees by Rob Burbea (really advanced but profound)
Books by Robert Bruce such as Psychic Self-Defence and Energy Work
Psychic Witch by Mat Auryn
Dream Yoga by Andrew Holecek (amazing/practical book on lucid dreaming -> dream yoga)