Edgeworld Strategy Guide

Strategic tips:
1) When attacking a player who is online, do not end the attack prematurely; keep the clock running for the full 5 minutes. This can help frustrate the opponent.
2) When using a 15 minute XP boost, attack Factions (PvE) about half the current level. When the experience bar reaches maximum, end the battle and re-attack. This can help accelerate level gains to a rate of about 100 levels in one 15 minute boost.
3) When given the opportunity to spend a Cerulean core, choose offensive structure upgrades such as warp gates, tech lab, fleet academy, generals quarters, etc.
4) Be cautious with Battle Cruisers on higher level bases. They can get wiped out easily.
5) Always keep queues full: buildings upgrading and troops training.


Star Wars: Tiny Death Star Strategy Guide

Inheriting its game mechanics from Tiny Tower, sales can be maximized in the same way within a Tiny Death Star: After building 20 or so levels, focus on re-stocking only 3-coin inventory. See the prior article for a bit more on this. Work toward evicting any Bitizen not in their dream job. On each apartment floor, try to keep one slot open for a new move-in. (Evict any new tenant if no dream-job is available.) Save Imperial Bux to upgrade the elevator.


Formulas for Squircles

The Desmos online graphing calculator is useful for visualizing mathematical equations such as the squircle.

The formula for the red circular arc is for comparison. The blue line is the squircle and the orange and green lines are higher order shapes. Odd values produce tangents. Closer inspection of the higher order shapes reveals a gap above of the x-axis. Why is this?

Additionally, the calculator supports sliding variables so the numbers 2,4,6,8 above can be replaced by the variable "a" in a single equation and assigned a stepping value of 2. (Also try 0.2)


Pocket Trains Strategy Guide

Below are some tips for Pocket Trains (iOS version 1.0.6), serving as guidance from level 4 through level 20 with expansion to the North American continent. An enjoyable and engaging interactive experience with some geography lessons for good measure.

Getting started:
Aim to build and operate five railroads between 11 cities in Europe. This is sufficient to fund the start up phase.

The Jobs button leads to a list of available cargo to haul, grouped by city, mixed with items parked in the yard. Upgrade the station to increase the yard size. Each prospective shipment has a coin-number assignment (1 through 4) to indicate relative value of the job. Maximize profit by prioritizing selections in the following order: bux, crates, event cargo, 4-coin, yard cars. Choose 3-coin and 2-coin only if the higher priority shipments are not available. This strategy might involve hauling a few pieces in the opposite direction temporarily. Choose to haul as many cars as possible. Don't bother with 1-coin offers unless there's no better option and it is delivered at the next destination - storing single coin cars clutters valuable yard space.

Let's take a closer look...


Galaxy Empire

We reviewed this free on-line strategy game last year. Since then, we've developed eight planets, acquired five moons, gained over 27 million points, and ranked in the top 70 players on one of the many game servers. With this experience, we've compiled a few tips and tricks learned along the way:

1) As new planets are developed, don't bother with solar plants...they are a waste of space on the planet. Fusion plants are much more efficient. If a little extra power is required, put up some solar satellites. Here's an example: if Energy Tech is researched to level 15, the output from a level 16 Fusion plant is 8889 energy. The solar plant on the other hand requires level 28 to generate 8075 energy - not quite as much, yet it uses up valuable planetary space that can be put to better use by increasing mines to higher levels.

2) After making careful observations of all metrics across planets, research, production, construction, ship efficiency, battle reports, etc., we could find no benefits to improving Plasma Technology beyond level 10, other than gaining double score points for spending resources on research. We asked Support about the specific effect when upgrading Plasma Tech beyond level 10. Here is their response:
The plasma tech can be used in the construction of the new fleet, the tech has powerful combatting force. Every upgrading the tech can let you to construct the higher one or the stronger weapon or fleet. if you did have the relative tech, you can not have other fleets or weapon.
Huh? We were hoping for a comprehensible response such as, "there is a 1% gain in metal mining production", or "there is no specific gain beyond level 9", or "good idea - look for an improvement in the next version".

3) Each scan using the EU-X radar array costs 50K in gas. Be sure to have a reserve available on the moon.

4) Try specializing some planets. By sacrificing a few levels in the other mines on a planet, a higher gain can be had in another. For example, a level 39 metal mine with Lv7 four-star metal galactonite equipped on the planet produces 770K/h. That's over 18M per day...not bad!

5) Researching Hyperspace Tech reduces fuel requirements for fleet transit. As a result, there is a corresponding increase in the amount of cargo that can be loaded. It doesn't change the cargo capacity of the ships, but be aware that the fuel used for flying is also loaded into the cargo bay, therefore reducing fuel requirements increases space for transport.

6) To identify where improvements can be made, create a one page spreadsheet to tally building levels and production numbers across planets. For example, to optimize for Destroyer production, aim toward the ratio 48:40:12 - that is 48% of total production should be metal, 40% crystal, and 12% gas. Our next goal is to determine the optimal configuration of mines for a given planet size with respect to Destroyer production. Stay tuned.

7) On the defensive side, every 16 ion cannons is equal to one large shield dome. It takes 2.5 plasma cannons to take out a dreadnought and 3.5 to eliminate a destroyer. Build accordingly.

8) Expenditures of gas to move ships around does not contribute toward score.


Root Beer Research

Barq's root beer tastes better the colder it gets. Near freezing, it becomes more syrupy and fizzy...refreshing on a warm day, especially after some heavy-duty yard work. Looking at the ingredients however, it is sad to see HFCS (high-fructose corn syrup) and sodium benzoate. Time for a change. Further investigation online revealed a store appropriately named "The Root Beer Store". They carry over 100 brands of root beer, and although prices are a tad steep, we are seeking these four brands of root beer: Bulldog, Virgil's, Sprecher, and Capone. (...almost sounds like a law firm!) These selections are based on favorable reviews found on The Soda Jerks. Elsewhere, we discovered several good reviews of Vintage brand root beer which can now be found at Trader Joe's stores.

Update: Obtained the four aforementioned items from the Root Beer Store and wow, the Bulldog is amazing. Two additional recommended root beers to obtain and sample: Hank’s and So Duh! Rockin’. Plus, Centennial Root Beer from Brewbakers in Huntington Beach.


Objective-C and Code::Blocks

Tricky to get this combination operational. The wiki entry is helpful for configuration. Not finding any of the Objective-C libraries in the default installation, we located what might be the correct support files on the TDM site. But after adding these matched libraries, we ended up with compiler warnings and a segmentation fault during the first alloc, using the simple test code on the wiki page. Next thing to try was the troubleshooting suggestion of removing libobjc.dll.a ... but that resulted in a laundry list of "undefined reference to" ... precisely the message the wiki entry claims the removal will avoid!

Finally, what worked was removing the entire mingw installation from the CodeBlocks directory (just delete everything in the mingw directory, version 4.7.1) and install mingw using the installer referenced on the mingw website. During installation, set the install directory to the mingw directory under CodeBlocks and then select to install the C, C++, and Objective-C compilers. This resulted in a good installation of GCC 4.6.2, a warning-free compile, and a faultless run...yay!!! (Remember, you cannot do any Apple development with this configuration, so including foundation.h is not allowed. But you can learn and play with the fundamentals of the Objective-C language on the Windows platform in preparation for moving to a Mac for iOS or OSX app development.)


Artist Clarification

People sometimes mistakenly refer to a bust of Giuliano de' Medici by Michelangelo as a bust of David by the same sculptor. Although they may look similar, a careful study of the two sculptures reveals that the two faces are quite different. Here are links to images in Wikipedia: Giuliano and David.

David (left) and Giuliano (right)


The Blockheads

Clever, intriguing, and well-engineered game! Presently investigating optimal methods to mine for gold and time crystals.

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