Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10 Different Bairs

10 Different Bairs

Puff’s bair has decent frame data (hits 9-12, IASA at 31, AC at 25, 10f Lcancel lag) and good range (I know I know, it looks ridiculous when isolated but honestly that’s pretty standard for a good move in melee). But when you combine the raw frame data with Melee’s 1f of hitbox drag and Puff’s aerial mobility you end up with a move with great utility/flexibility.

In years past, Hungrybox would usually answer questions on smashboards with “Bair more.” The phrase wasn’t exactly wrong, but it was definitely unhelpful and contributed to a bad culture for learning. In order to bair better (or as Puff’s opponent, to punish bairs better), it’s important to recognize the different tasks that bair is used for.

To that end I’ve compiled a list of 10 fundamental uses for bair in neutral and attached a brief description to each.


1) retreating AC bair
This is basically a quick retreat that drags a huge hitbox behind you. Puff can choose mid-jump how much stage to give up based on risk-assessment. It is difficult to punish on reaction, but carries a stage cost. It can be punishable with a read. Note that with practice Puff can SH bair DJ bair. This makes it a little bit better on defense and offense.

2) advancing AC bair
This is a quick and flexible poke. Because Puff can be active as soon as f18 after hit (or SH bair DJ bair), it is particularly great for combos past a certain %. Puff can choose whether to continue to fade forward or begin to retreat as the hitbox comes out. Advancing AC bair is easily punished with FHs, CC, some OoS options, etc.

3) neutral rising FH bair
This is a flexible, relatively noncommittal poke. It’s generally used as a method to protect the ascent to FH height from an immediate attack from the opponent, at which point puff has more mobility (can immediately choose to go up, down, left, or right). It is difficult to punish, but can be blown up with by preemptive FH dair/nair or by running forward after the bair and pressuring Puff to retreat.

4) retreating rising FH bair
This is a quick retreat that is safer than an AC bair with a bit higher stage-cost and a different end position (puff at FH height rather than grounded). It is very difficult to punish directly but very easy to punish indirectly (just walk forward and take the free stage).

5) descending low bair
A spaced, low-as-possible, L-canceled bair is a great poke because it is almost never directly punishable except out of CC. It carries low reward until the % at which bair forces tech, at which point it earns at least hefty stage on hit. On some characters a low bair is safe on shield even when non-spaced provided that puff buffers a crouch. A descending bair is punishable with a preemptive attack/FH (think: dtilts), CC (difficult), or an indirect threat (example: Puff tipper low bairs Fox’s shield. He can’t get anything immediately OoS, but he can WD or SH and force her to shield/jump away/etc).

6) descending high bair fadeback
If puff chooses to bair at head-level as opposed to feet-level then she has time to mix up her drift pattern before landing. This kind of bair is especially strong against many character’s shields and can often shieldpoke, but because of the extra endlag from falling farther it is very bad against CC or on whiff.

7) descending high bair crossup
This bair is identical to the above but instead of fading back puff does a crossup. It is universally less safe and you normally don’t see it unless the puff player is a) bad or b) cutting corners because they’ve conditioned a level of respect. It’s worth noting here that a descending upair works in a similar way.

8) in place aerial DJ bair
When Puff is in the air, she can use a DJ bair to protect her air-space from attack. This is whiff punishable and can often be traded with.

9) fadeback aerial DJ bair
When Puff is in the air, she can use a fadeback DJ bair to protect her air-space from an attack more safely at the cost of a little bit more stage. The fadeback makes it effectively immune to trades and very difficult to whiff punish without a read on the drift.

10) low DJ bair
If Puff is descending (from any position, be it a FH, SH, or otherwise), she can DJ and bair at the last moment. This creates a situation very similar to a rising FH bair, with a couple notable differences. First, the bair does not hit as low. It won’t hit many crouching characters and will whiff completely vs shorter characters. Second, it comes out faster by virtue of not having any jumpsquat. This bair is often used to the FH effect and/or as a read on an opponent's FH, especially in the corner.


The next time you play or watch Puff, keep an eye out for these techniques and watch how they accent puff’s other options. Additionally, watch for any opportunities that her opponent takes or loses to punish any obvious bairs via option coverage or reads.

Friday, June 23, 2017

How to Combat Puff Planking (and Save Melee Kappa)

How to Combat Puff Planking (and Save Melee Kappa)

In order to promote understanding, jump-start meta development and accurately demonstrate planking’s strengths and weaknesses, I’ve put together the relevant frame data for Puff’s ledge options and outlined a methodology for creating counter-play.

First, we need to examine Puff’s options.
All frame data assumes perfect execution with ledge invincibility, thus any vulnerability listed is minimum.
Keep in mind that melee is programed with a mechanic that prevents characters from regrabbing ledge before f29 after letting go (with some exceptions), guaranteeing Jigglypuff a minimum of 8f of vulnerability.

• Empty Refresh (with or without sing), not active, vulnerable 30-38
• Fair Refresh, active on 9, vulnerable 30-42
• Bair -> Sing Refresh, active 15, vulnerable 30-50
• Ledgedash, actionable on 21, vulnerable 30+
• Poke w/ Fair L cancel, active 9, vulnerable 30-44
• Poke w/ Bair L cancel, active 34, vulnerable 30-44
• Poke w/ AC Bair, active on 16, vulnerable 30-44
• Poke w/ Pound, active 14-29, vulnerable 30-47
• Poke w/ AC Upair, active 11-14, vulnerable 30-47
• Poke w/ AC Dair, active 7-29, vulnerable 30-47
• Ledgejump, actionable on f40, vulnerable 30-39+
• Hax/Softdash (Let go, DJ, hold forward to grind up against the stage until you pop over, waveland backward, buffer a FF. Multiple frame perfect inputs, not tournament viable), not actionable, not vulnerable, regrabs on f30
• <100 Getup Attack, active 20-24, inv 1-30, vulnerable 31-56
<100 Roll, inv 1-29, vulnerable 30-49
• <100 Empty Getup, inv 1-30, vulnerable 31-33
• >99 Getup Attack, active 43-59, inv 1-39, vulnerable 40-69
>99 Roll, inv 1-53, vulnerable 54-79
• >99 Empty Getup, inv 1-55, vulnerable 56-59
• Let go->DJ->delayed attack, variable frame data
• Nothing, actionable at any point after first 8f, vulnerable on 38+

As is clearly demonstrated by the above, puff has a large number of options from the ledge with similar levels of viability. However, as her opponent, the number is not actually overwhelming because the principles (when/where she can attack and when/where she can be punished) are very similar. Most of these options are slight variations on each other. The options themselves are not especially good or tricky, it’s her potential to change the timing. Let’s say that you decide to put an attack over the ledge area at frame 31. Fantastic, that can punish most everything. However, Puff’s aerial mobility is profound enough that she could be in any of several places and depending on what you’ve committed to this could avoid or change your punish. Additionally, with an empty let-go -> double jump, Puff can sacrifice invincibility in order to alter the timing of her attack. She can burn her 29f, stay out of the way, then should you attack where she would have been on frame 31, she can whiff punish you by delaying the attack until let’s say f40. This is the primary sense to the mixup. It’s not What so much as When.

Thus, there are three main timings of vulnerability to attack
1) Just before Puff grabs ledge (not possible for her to be inv or to have a hitbox out and grab)
2) About 30f after Puff’s commitment from ledge (whiff punish)
3) 38f after Puff grabs ledge (start of vulnerability should she do nothing)

So the question for the opponent to consider is: what are the primary tools that the character has to engage with the above three timings? What are the options that have a high enough reward attached to a low enough risk to make this very simple version of the neutral game unprofitable for Jigglypuff? Are there options that will straight up win? It is also important to consider how much cheating you can do via reactions. That is, if this is like a game of rock paper scissors, can you use an approximate human reaction time of 20f and delay your throw enough to win without guessing? Can you cover multiple options at the same time or stagger them (i.e. if A whiffs then immediately do B and it’ll cover a second option).

I’m not going to do this work for you 'cause it's a time investment, but I will say that finding the solutions is as simple as making a list of proposals, checking to make sure that they can collectively cover everything, then eliminating any needless crossover until you end up with a group of 3-5 or so that will cover everything with the best risk-reward. Generally, any angled projectile invalidates planking on its own. Long range pokes work well for 1 and 3. FH aerials work well for 2. Additionally, you can use shield/CC/WD to space around attack timings and threaten to grab ledge and eject the Puff into an invincible bair of your own. There's a lot of flexibility.

Here is a group of non-character-specific counter-play ideas


• Shoot projectiles timed to beat regrab.
• Wait on side plat, react with fall-through bair.
• Wait on side plat, fake SH fallthroughs until you can react with fall-through bair.
• Run up CC.
• Run up shield.
• Run up shield pivot, WD onto ledge.
• Walk up f/dtilt.
• Backwards FH, wait to DJ or bair or grab ledge on reaction.
• Run off double jump aerial.
• SHFFL ledgecancel -> DJ

Again, none of these or any additional, character specific options will be enough by themselves. However, in every MU a group of 3-5 should be more than sufficient to turn an irritating stalling tactic into a high risk high reward scenario, if not a more winning low risk medium/high reward one. At that point, beating a specific Jigglypuff is just a matter of matching the ratio of your mixup to the ratio of her refresh options and/or practiced execution.


Notes:
• Although it is pretty frame-tight, Sing regrab can sweetspot under spaced fox dtilt (but NOT mid dtilt).
• Punishes don’t always have to be direct. Taking center may be just as valuable as getting a hit. It depends on context/priorities.
• Remember, with the new 20xx replays it is extremely easy to practice scenarios exactly like this one.
• 8 minutes = 686 puff fair ledgegrab refreshes. There is no reason that puff should give you hundreds of opportunities to punish any of three timings without your engaging and profiting from the situation. Rather than a pain in the ass, look at this as an opportunity to gimp the ungimpable character or at least to get good damage after forcing her off.
• Obviously combating marth or sheik or another character’s planking will have different frame data, but the process for developing the best mixup will be the same.
• As the Puff player, the same process should be gone through with an eye not for sustaining the situation but for getting stage control or a nice punish. Puff's planking is a gimmick. It relies on an opponent's bad understanding to work. Puff can do better.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Flow/Peak

Flow/Peak

Flowstate is a name by Mihály Csíkszentmihályi (a chief creativity researcher) for what is popularly called “being in the zone.”

Flowstate is characterized by high levels of focus on the task at hand and low self-consciousness. It’s that state where you get sucked into the task to the degree that you lose track of self and time and experience your highest performance. For this reason, achieving flowstate is the goal of traditional sports psychology.

Contributors to flowstate:

• Structure
• Realistic, achievable goals
• Unambiguous progress-markers
• Task-focus
• High challenge level
• High skill level
• Intrinsic motivation
• Feeling in control

Detractors:
• Anxiety
• Self-focus
• Feeling out of control

Checks:
• Intense focus
• Little to no self-reflection
• Merging of action and awareness
• Don’t care/notice time passing
• Could you hold a conversation? If so you're not even close.

While similar, flowstate is sometimes distinguished from what we’d call “total absorption,” in which your awareness of everything but the task fades out completely. The easiest way to tell the difference is whether or not you feel like you’re coming to your senses when leaving the state. If you were so unaware of your senses that they seem come back to you as if to fill a void, that’s absorption. If you were aware of them but they weren’t as central as your hyper focus, that’s flowstate. At first this distinction seems like hair-splitting, but consider the following: Who is more likely to succeed? 1) A competitor that is focused on the game and his mind is committed to thought/the screen or 2) a competitor that is focused on the game while 100% present in the moment. Different question: Who is more likely to get hit by a car? A car crash isn’t likely, but surprises are all but guaranteed. Being mindfully focussed rather than totally absorbed preserves your capacity to deal with them.

All this being said, flowstate as a concept is a somewhat problematic because, to my understanding,
a) its theory and research is nascent.
b) its chief context (traditional sports psych) is largely badly conceived.
c) cognitive science isn’t developed enough to provide mechanical answers to the pragmatic questions. Flowstate itself is too nuanced.

The primary problem with the flowstate concept is the subtext that it is outside of your control. The belief is that you cannot control the state itself, you can only lay out the conditions as best you can and then trust that it will show up. This is easily illustrated by describing the primary problem with traditional sports psychology in general. In summary: the primary purpose of sports psychology is to provide psychological skills training that will achieve flowstate on game-day. Because flowstate has been thought to be impossible to achieve with anxiety, these psychological skills usually involve a huge amount of self-correction i.e. self-monitoring. As a result of trying to eliminate anxiety, they actually introduce a secondary flow detractor, self-focus. Traditional sports psychology has been demonstrated to have very weak efficacy. That is to say, if conditions are perfect then the athletes go straight to flow. But should conditions be any less than perfect the athletes are just as distracted by their self-corrective focus than they would have been on their anxiety and while they are better able to handle themselves psychologically on the long-term, they show NO performance increase, sometimes even showing a decrease. This matches my personal experience with traditional sports psych skills.

There is an alternate perspective that rejects the notion that flowstate is uncontrollable; peak. Peak and flowstate are effectively interchangeable terms, but the circles that use peak tend to be less micromanagey. They do not subscribe to the methodology in which you control conditions in order to prime for the optimal mental state in order to prime for the optimal behavior in order to prime for optimal performance. Rather, they choose to skip first few steps and focus on optimal behavior or things directly related to it. Chief among these is MAC, a method increasingly used by olympic athletes and champion sports teams. In the MAC model, psychological skills are used not to eliminate anxiety, but to instruct athletes on how to avoid changing their behavior if anxiety is present. This is obviously more consistent than the alternative. In this way, peak is controllable and, should the skills be effectively learned, very consistent. It becomes an artificial or approximate flowstate that may or may not bleed into a deeper flow/superfluidity, but always has a very high baseline.

The takeaway here should be that a high-performance state is not up to chance. It is not reserved for experts or geniuses. Rather, where and how your focus rests can be easily cultivated just like any other skill or habit. The smallest effort to that effect will go a long way!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Legality and Controllers

Legality and Controllers

In the following article I will be laying out a rational examination of the issue of legality concerning Melee controllers. I say rational (not objective) intentionally, for reasons that will be expanded on below.

While I’ll try to be brief and clear, I also want to be comprehensive. If you take issue with a line of reasoning or have an issue or solution that I didn’t think to add to a section, please email me. I always sincerely appreciate corrections/discussion.


Contents
:
Function and Fairness
Dashbacks/PODE
Notches
Arduinos
Box Controllers



Function and Fairness

Before talking about controllers, it’s important to frame the conversation with two concepts; Function and Fairness.

First, what is the function of a controller? As was laid out in Mental Game and Execution, the performative aspect of Melee as an esport concerns translating our ideas into the game itself via execution. Essentially there’s a clean progression from our conception of the game to our strategy to our mental performance to our physical execution to our controller/hardware to the software to the results. If any one area suffers then results suffer. As competitors, our want for hardware is simple; ideally, a controller should seamlessly translate our fingers’ commands to the game exactly as they were input. We want any blame to lie on us.

This demand is a reflection of our need for fairness. Fairness is a competitive hallmark.
If a game isn’t fair then it isn’t competitive.

Fairness requires that
i) the only meaningful variable between competitors is the skill being measured.
ii) other differences are either negligible or irrelevant.
iii) rules are maintained to preserve fairness.*
Basically, “Anything that you can do, I can do too.”

Competitive games measure skills objectively, but which skills they mean to measure is a subjective judgement shaped by rules. Frequently, difference in subjective judgements is at the heart of a rule disagreement. In these cases there is no right or wrong answer. Either position can be defensible, depending on your personal priorities. But subjectivity does not imply irrationality. The two are not identifiable.

Any discussion on the legality of controllers needs to primarily (if not exclusively) address this framework in order to be relevant or productive.

Throughout this post I will make frequent reference to the relevant competitive hallmarks as well as subjective judgements because I think it is the only to make clear, rational, and responsible arguments. I read recently that for humans, a contrasting idea is processed in the brain exactly like a physical threat. We experience an impulsive, emotional reaction/rejection. But it’s definitely possible and necessary to examine ideas (especially our own) rationally for coherencethat is, examining them outside of that emotional reaction even when they’re subjective/value driven. My opinion on several of these topics changed as I examined them against the context, and I hope that you can be as forthcoming while reading/reflecting.


* One blanket statement that follows from the third fairness principle, the rational NEED for rules. Rules that don’t exist can’t be followed. While I am in no way advocating for needless bureaucracy, it is an inherent responsibility for TOs to address issues of unfairness. TOs ABSTAINING FROM MAKING RULINGS IN THE FACE OF A FAIRNESS ISSUE IS A DISSERVICE TO COMPETITIVENESS/COMMUNITY. Those rulings need not and should not be impulsive or immediate. A rational, well-reasoned, well-documented, as-scientific-as-possible explanation is of course the top priority. But refusing to engage with a (meaningful) issue by definition damages fairness and competitiveness. That being said, the word “meaningful” can be a bit fuzzy can’t it? Hence the difficulty and the need for cogency.



Dashbacks/PODE

Dashback is an in-game mechanic that interacts inconsistently with controllers because of how they are manufactured/break in. Having good dashbacks in game is low in skill and high in dependence on luck/controller. This hardware issue is competitively highly undesirable as it introduces variance as a small, additional layer between your understanding and results. If everyone had access to good dashback controllers or some method to consistently create them this would be a non-issue because it’d be an even playing ground. However that’s not the reality. The playing ground is decidedly uneven. Reportedly, only some 1-3% of controllers are top performing dashback controllers, and only after some amount of use. Finding one essentially becomes a controller lottery that hugely favors top players that are popular enough to utilize better resources. Thus, good dashbacks are not a reflection of skill at all, they’re a reflection of luck/resources. They are by definition unfair and hurt competitive validity.

So the relevant question is how relevant dashbacks are. Traditionally, the answer would be “somewhat.” Good dashbacks have historically been a small advantage enjoyed by a handful of players, but not an advantage that is overly influential OR (and this is important) one with a clear solution. However, opinion and circumstance has shifted recently. Dashback controllers have become a hot topic in part due to Armada dropping out of Dream Hack Austin “because his controller was not properly malfunctioning.” While a resource detailing a statistical advantage enjoyed by dashback controller users does not exist (and would be overly difficult to make), Armada for one considers this mechanic to be important enough that he refused to compete without said advantage. Mew2King, Hax, and other top players have expressed similar sentiment, and this is not unreasonable.

The biggest recent change (besides awareness) to the dashback issue is that it can be solved with software. However, individuals have taken issue with the idea that solutions create a new controller disparity, the means involved, and over the integrity of the game.

Disparity: When the smashbox was announced, some individuals claimed that the advantage offered by created a new controller disparity in which players will have to purchase a special controller or mod for good dashbacks. This particular argument against special controllers does not hold water simply because as described above the disparity already exists and is exactly the fairness issue in question. If anything a new market of dashback controllers lessens the disparity.

Means: This is a somewhat relevant concern. Dashback can be solved for by making certain that the stick doesn’t register on its way to smashturn from center, but how this is done could be potentially problematic. Creating software on a per-controller basis with Arduinos is a viable solution, but arduinos are problematic for other reasons (detailed below). Arduinos radically lessen but do not totally solve the disparity problem. The more complete solution would need to be implemented through the game itself via a Magus Code or similar variant. Currently, the resources exist to run a tournament in which each console has code running to universally equalize dashbacks. This cleanly eliminates the disparity for all participants. However, some individuals dislike this solution as it alters the game that we play.

Integrity: Part of the appeal to Melee is that it’s an older game that hasn’t had any patches. Every issue that’s come up has been solved for by the meta or lived with. Software fixes (namely 20XX:TE) exist, but haven’t found widespread use in tournament. Melee = Vanilla Melee and always has. For someone that subjectively values that integrity more than competitiveness, running a code (that would be considered a small software patch to compensate for hardware inconsistency) to equalize dashbacks is undesirable. For another individual that subjectively values competitiveness more than the integrity of the game, that trade is acceptable. Thus, which side of the fence you’re on depends on your priorities, including how big of a deal you think dashbacks are.

Personally, I value the game’s fairness regarding to dashbacks more than I value the game’s integrity. Were I still actively TOing I would implement the Magus code, as the integrity issue is the only argument against the code that I am aware of.



Notches

Similarly to dashbacks, manufacturing inconsistency renders some controllers better than others at shielddropping with consistency due to the angle of the gate relative to the stick box (this is not as well-known, but the upward 45s are similarly inconsistent at upB without double-jumping). While good shielddrop notches ARE a distinct in-game advantage, unlike dashbacks, getting them is not prohibitive. The problem is easily remedied by filing your controller gate to the desired value.
I’ve personally filed give or take a dozen controllers. It takes a file/exacto knife, one of the two most recent versions of 20XX or a Magus ISO, and 10 minutes (alternatively: a friend that has these). For this reason shielddrop notches are not meaningfully unfair because by way of notching their controller, everyone has reasonable access to them. The playing field is effectively even. There is some talk of implementing a software fix and while that change would also be viable it is not especially necessary.

The trickier problem comes from additional notches, such as those for perfect wavedash/firefox angles etc. These are also a distinct competitive advantage via consistency. Additionally, these mods are utterly intentional. Unlike dashbacks or shielddrop notches, no controller has them from the box. But while you can pay someone to do these mods for you, in this case disparity is actually irrelevant because reproducing them is relatively easy for anyone with a file and 20XX. I’ve done 4 myself. They take considerably longer than shielddrop notches because it’s more involved but the process is not really any more difficult. In this case, the question is whether the competitive advantage offered by the boon in consistency performing very valuable and otherwise difficult tactics (perfect wavedashes/firefox angles) is dramatic/relevant enough to merit a ban. The answer depends on the degree to which you value precision as a skill compared to consistency of execution. For some individuals, the left-thumb techskill involved in locating precise angles without the help of additional notches is a highly valued skill. For others it is not.

Personally, I do not have a problem with additional notches specifically because
a) the in-game advantage is not severe. It offers consistency, which I value, not anything that is otherwise impossible. It does not overcome decision-making. I personally come from the perspective that muscle-memory related techskill is more like an arbitrary barrier/time-investment than a valuable skill to test. I don’t devalue techskill, but I wouldn’t prioritize it over creativity or consistency.
b) it is easy to do yourself should you desire it.



Arduinos

Arduinos create software solutions on a per-controller basis. By virtue of being cheap and relatively simple to install, they are not a disparity issue. The interesting problem with Arduinos is that they force two issues: how much we value techskill as execution and cheating.

Arduinos can fix a controller’s dashback, 1.0 value dash, and shielddrop inconsistency in one fell swoop. They level every playing field and are in that way very good for fairness.
However, as mentioned in the section on dashbaks/PODE, dashbacks, 1.0 dashes, and shielddrops by a memory card or like game-bound software patch (as opposed to a controller-bound patch) is cleaner and inarguably better in terms of fairness. The only reasonable argument in support of Arduinos but against a Magus-like code is inherently sentimental in that it rejects the cleaner solution with more universal results in order to preserve the game’s integrity.

Beyond fairness, though, a few Hax Arduino functions (those for easier perfect firefox/WDs as well as for the downward) are described as effective input-map alterations. These are philosophicallythough not pragmaticallyproblematic in comparison to any mods mentioned so far because they go beyond patching for hardware inconsistency and instead aim to address in-game consistency, to the degree that it is a pronounced competitive advantage somewhere beyond notches. It seems to me that Hax is using the input-map alterations to intentionally push boundaries, most likely to justify some of the B0XX’s functionalities.

Then there is the issue of cheating. The biggest problem with an Arduino is that it can do anything. It doesn’t have to only have dashback etc fixes, it could just as easily have perfect multishine/waveshine/angles/SHFFLnair/etc macros programmed to a specific button or combination of buttons. You could easily program instant ICs jump or tilt desync to X, for example. That kind of abuse is why macros have always been banned. While the use of Arduinos does not make macros legal, their use does bring macros as well as some gray areas to the surface by virtue of being difficult to detect/distinguish from more legitimate use.

In my opinion, Arduinos with the proposed changes are not necessarily ban-worthy. They mean to patch for consistency (level the playing field) and buff angle consistency (which, again, is fine unless you value left thumb techskill more than consistency). However, as a preventative measure, it would be better to ban Arduinos categorically and implement the hardware consistency solutions through an alternative means (i.e. Magus code).



Box Controllers

Note: everything written here on this topic pertains only to the Smashbox. I cannot comment on the B0XX because it has different design principles and is rumored to have some drastic divergences. Without more detail it is not possible to review its competitive validity.

Box controllers have been a huge source of controversy almost solely because of Analog -> Digital inputs. Because the Smashbox replaced an analog stick with a group of digital buttons, the team had to design a method to achieve precise angles. That system is interesting, but like the Hax Arduino raises the issue of extreme software consistency because with digital inputs far beyond being less likely (like a notch) it is not actually possible to miss an angle. As a consequence of its design, the problem with a smashbox is identical to that of notches/angle consistency. How much do you value left-thumb techskill compared to consistency? If you think that left-thumb techskill is a very meaningful skill then the smashbox, which doesn’t require said skill in the same way, is undesirable. If you value consistency over left-thumb techskill, then the smashbox’s digital inputs are desirable. In fact, if the precise control offered by a smashbox is severe enough then like a dashback controller it creates a disparity that is unfair in proportion to its prohibitive cost (but to be fair relative to other games $200 is not especially prohibitive).

In my estimation, advantages offered by a smashbox are not severe enough to merit banning. Once more, the design is to offer consistency, not anything that is otherwise impossible. The other advantages (dashback consistency/1.0 dashes/shielddrops/etc) are obviously not unique to the smashbox, so it would be disingenuous to ban it for those reasons. The only defensible reasons to ban the smashbox are 1) if the community values left-thumb techskill over consistency (as well as in this case accessibility) or 2) if the smashbox offers some other competitive advantage that breaks the game.

Because smashboxes are not yet readily available, tests for game-breaking smashbox tech are not possible, but the most frequently referred to is broken burst MSDI. On that note: I cannot cite it because as far as I know it was not published, but I read of a comparative test between keyboard MSDI and practiced Wank DI that got effectively identical results. Wank DI is actually preferable, as all of its inputs are approximately in the same direction. It will be interesting to see what tests surface after release.

To prevent abuse from smashbox-based variants, I was briefly consulted by Smashbox Dustin re: a ruleset. Using one discussed by a group of content creators/frame data nerds as a basis, I gave him the following:
• No Macros.
• 1 to 1 mapping only (This means that you can only have 1 A button, 1 B button, 2 jump buttons, etc).
• Analog may be converted to Digital BUT it must include only ONE North, South, East, West set attached to ONE stick OR wasd. NO additional 45 degree buttons. Modifiers are acceptable.
• No Digital to Analog Conversion.


In my opinion the Smashbox is a very interesting and potentially hugely beneficial development. I personally value its offer of consistency and accessibility to currently alienated players (including FGC members as well as those with hand issues etc) more than I value left-thumb techskill. Should any tech appear that is game-breaking then a ban can be discussed but a preemptive ban would be lazy and sensationalist rather than well-reasoned.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Ruleset Development as Related to Melee

Ruleset Development as Related to Melee

Contents:
Rules and Hallmarks of Competition
Bans in the FGC
Culture and Subjectivity
Rulesets Cannot be Perfect
Melee Community
TLDR



Rules and Hallmarks of Competition

Games are played with certain inherent limitations. For a traditional sport, these mostly include physical limitations such as laws of physics, human endurance, and the like. For an esport, these include the limitations of the game such as programed physics, character limitations, and the like. Sometimes these limits can be bent to our competitive advantage. Other times they need to be bolstered in order to preserve fairness or competitive validity. This is the purpose of a ruleset.

Rules are artificial, additional limitations that we put on a game so that it will be a better measure of competitive skill. Skill can be understood as expertise or ability. It can be very clear-cut (running fast in a footrace) or more inclusive (using teamwork, strategy, tactics, and other practiced physical and mental sub-skills to beat another team in basketball). The word Competitive, though, is a bit loaded. To better understand it we need to consider the following hallmarks of competition, which are well articulated here.

To paraphrase, in competitive games

1) Skill is measured fairly.
All variables are constant except the skill being tested are constant. You are allowed to do everything that your opponent can. Any difference in conditions other than skill is either negligible or considered inconsequential in comparison. In a footrace, every competitor runs the same distance in the same conditions. Although they may wear different shoes, shoes are not generally consequential in comparison with the skill of running fast.

2) There are universal rules designed to preserve fairness.
These rules will emphasize rather than change what the game measures. This may be a fine line. Swimsuits are all fair game until their sole influence adequately determines results, at which point they are bannable. In a less ambiguous example, doping is banned as it effectively eliminates the skill being measured and substitutes it with “access to steroids.”

3) Results are unambiguous.
The more skillful player wins. The less skillful player loses. Any draws contribute to rankings by way of a ladder etc or are solved by sudden death etc.

Some games are naturally very competitive. Others are not. There are two main indicators of natural un-competitiveness. First, if a game is overly simple and the skill-cap too low, its competitiveness suffers. TicTacToe is so easy to play perfectly that it is not competitive. Second, a game can be too high variance. A game where luck determines results more than skill is not competitive. Uno is not a competitive game. That being said, there are some games (including Poker) in which variance does not outweigh skill so much as accent it. Generally speaking, a game that is high in luck and low in skill (Rock Paper Scissors) can be competed in but is at least not a good competitive game. By default settings, Melee is such a game. However, over its competitive lifespan, the Melee community has used an evolving set of rulesets/bans to all but eliminate variance and emphasize skill. It is now a very competitive game.


Bans in the FGC

Traditionally, FGC rulesets (best of 3, 90 seconds or what have you) are simple and in the game itself. Those kinds of rules are in place already and rarely need to be altered. The purpose of a rule-change or ban is to make the game more competitive than it is natively. To avoid abuse, rule-changes are treated seriously and their reasoning is well-documented. On occasion a tactic or character appears that changes the competitive landscape enough to warrant banning. The guidelines in place for bans are spelled out in Playing To Win.
PtW says that any ban must be
• Enforceable (detectable)
• Discrete (completely defined/unambiguous)
• and Warranted (dominates the game)

Because these criteria (particularly Warranted) are so strict, the FGC rarely bans in-game techniques or characters that don’t make the game unplayable. Rather, they accept that strong tactics are strong tactics. As long as it is possible to beat a character without the exclusion of other tactics, that technique, while strong, does not break the game. If it makes the game unfun or uninteresting then in truth the game was always unfun or uninteresting; you just didn’t know before. But more often the rampant use of a strong tactic drives the development of counter-tactics and counter-counter tactics, actually radically deepening the level of play. For this reason preemptive bans are unacceptable. They will not ban anything reflexively before it is demonstrated to be meaningful, dominant problem that breaks a game’s competitiveness. This approach is very fitting with the FGCs harsh, Get Good, adaption-centric culture. It is also quite reasonable, considering that any tactics that are not clearly bannable are likely to disappear with time, be it through meta-evolution, update patches, or a new title in the series.

Interestingly, in the same chapter PtW describes a concept it calls a “Soft Ban.” A soft ban is a sort of social stigma against using “unfair” characters or techniques. In the book, it describes top players in Japan refusing to use Akuma or Old Sagat, despite their being borderline bannable. Because they weren’t used except by uppity players that were quickly humiliated by veterans, these characters never dominated results and thus a ban wasn’t warranted. Relying on a social taboo wasn’t necessarily perfect, but in this case it was sufficient to keep the game worth playing and preserving the potential for meta-development. It is interesting to see this anecdote in a book called Playing to Win, a book that places extreme emphasis on removing moralistic judgement from your approach to games. It reminds us that these games are not played in a vacuum. They exist within a culture of players with complex value systems. In the smaller, insular communities that PtW was written for, soft bans are not just acceptable but preferable to hard bans. They are, for the time being, good enough. When they aren’t good enough then presumably a hard ban comes into effect OR the game is patched/updated at which point the problem vanishes.

Note: I do not think that the FGC criteria as defined by PtW is the best system, but it is definitely foundational.


Culture and Subjectivity

Ultimately, competitive games are an objective measure of skill. However, what skills they are designed to measure is a subjective judgement. This is easy to demonstrate with SSBM. As a community, we have decided to play with 4 stocks, 8 minutes, and no items. This is a radically different set of in-game rules than the default 2 minute time match with random items. Some casuals complain that competitive melee is not a measure of “real” skill because it does not account for other aspects of the game such as the situational awareness that comes from coping with items or some stages. That opinion seems scrubby to us, but it is not untrue. The current competitive ruleset does measure specific skills at the necessary exclusion of others. It measures a smaller set of skills that we collectively decided to be more desirable. In particular, we reject most variance. Most of our ruleset is specifically designed to root out randomness in favor of consistency. But in an alternate universe, a competitive melee scene based on an alternate set of values could exist. In universe B where competitive melee is played out in coin battles there would be an entirely different culture that develops entirely different rulesets that give rise to entirely different strategies, tier lists, and rankings that are all still highly-competitive. That would be fine. The difference between universe A and B is what skills we prefer to measure, what we value seeing and experiencing, what we think is good. While not quite arbitrary, this is obviously a subjective judgement.

It is also important to recognize that Melee is unique game with specific and individualized possibilities. Those particular possibilities excite and inspire the community that is drawn to it. If you ask competitors what they love about melee you will receive a number of different responses, but all of these will be particular to the game and are the basis of the culture that surrounds it. Melee, like any expressive medium, becomes a meeting point for people, their values, their experience, and the particular idiosyncrasies and limitations of each. The best possible ruleset is the best possible catalyst for this meeting as competition. It is not just possible but probable that its subjectively valued skillset will have a different identity than those of other games and subcultures. Which is all to say that melee is a unique game that attracts a unique culture and that its ruleset requires unique consideration. Furthermore, the creation of its ruleset is synonymous with the identification of values.



Rulesets Cannot Be Perfect

Very competitive games demand constant evolution. In order to get an edge, players constantly push the boundaries of what is possible. Consequently, there is a huge amount of uncertainty as to what techniques or strategies will remain at the top and rulesets can no more predict this than the people that make them. Rulesets cannot be perfect. The relationship between the game's rules and the community is at least as fluid as the meta. Sometimes bans (soft or hard) are appropriate, sometimes they aren’t. Because the skills that we choose to measure are subjective, any elaborations that we make upon the game’s limitations (i.e. rules/bans) are also subjective. In the FGC there’s an implicit understanding that rulesets are not perfect so much as serviceable. They are free to evolve and likely to fall into disuse as new patches or new games come out. Because Melee has been around for so long, we tend to forget this.



Melee Community

Because Melee is not a traditional fighter, some of the guidelines to traditional fighter rulesets do not apply so readily. In particular, liberal stage bans in the smash community have undoubtedly been positive, as have the other format changes that FGC criteria would have a hard time justifying. It is important to recognize that while a traditional fighter can rely on the meta, patches or new games to clean up its messes before any rule changes, Melee can only rely on meta and rule changes. Luckily the game has been able to sustain an astonishing amount of counter-play development, but some rule changes have been beneficial. The strict PtW guidelines are are fantastic, but certainly not unassailable gospel. Rather, it would be to our benefit to better identify in hot topics the exact points of disagreement as they relate to competitiveness and skill assessment while recalling the usefulness of soft bans.

Many disagreements over rulesets are disagreements over what skills or priorities you value. If the skill that we mean to measure is subjectively determined (but remember, objectively assessed) then that means that the ideal boundaries (rules) of the game are potentially different per individual. There are those subjective skills as represented in the current ruleset, then there are competitors that just want to win, competitors that want the game to measure different skills, spectators that want the game to measure the same or different skills, and spectators that just want their guy to win. All of these individuals have different priorities, articulate or not, rational or not. For example: how much emphasis should be placed on which sub-skill? How much of melee skill is physical execution vs tactics (controller controversies)? How much is conventional vs unconventional win conditions (timeout controversies)? Etc. But as should be clear by the groundwork laid out in this article, all disagreements can be better argued if not outright resolved if they can be better articulated in relation to the above.


TLDR:
• Rules are artificial limitations that we put on a game so that it better measures what skills we subjectively value while preserving fairness. (Swimming suits are legal until the impact of suits overtakes the swimming skill, but racing cars is different because developing driving and developing cars are both subjectively valued. Different sports use different criteria.)
• There are hard bans (rules) and soft bans (social taboos). Both are effective, but hard bans (PARTICULARLY PREEMPTIVE BANS) are undesirable because it likely impedes unexpected meta-development.
• By applying rules to a game you make it an objective measure of a subjectively determined skillset. That is ok and actually really cool when done well because it creates a meeting point for people and their individual values/experiences.
• Because the players push boundaries there are always unknowns that the community can't be ready to make a judgement about. Thus no ruleset is perfect. It is an approximate and flexible set of limitations.
• Disagreements over rules are disagreements over values. They are best resolved when those values are clearly articulated in a specific-as-possible context.



Sunday, April 30, 2017

Tilting

Tilting

I have found that the simplest, most effective abstraction for dealing with emotions is the idea that poker players call tilting. It contains a few topics, but isn’t overly complicated and is extensively helpful.
You should understand going in to this though that the illustration is a heuristic (an idea that is not perfect, but is sufficient for immediate goals). Because there are so many different emotions that have so many different neurological ramifications, it’s not possible let alone practical to have the perfect analogy or plan for each possible emotional experience. Instead, by painting emotional experiences and how they work with broad strokes, this illustration should demystify them enough that they become workable through experience.


What is Tilting?

Imagine a meter that measures your mental state. As an emotion accumulates that meter tilts over from vertical toward horizontal, as if it was measuring pressure. Let’s say that something is making you mad. Normally, every time it happens your needle moves a bit and you lose a little bit more of your cool. The significance of tilting is that this experience is exponential. In the case of frustration and related emotions, as you get more upset that same experience gets more upsetting. Something that is a mild irritant when you’re level-headed is positively infuriating when you’re tilted. Interestingly, it can accumulate over a long term! For as long as the root problem isn’t addressed, the strength of the trigger needed to get you from 0 to 100 will gradually decrease.



Why Does Tilting Exist?


In order to start to tackle tilting, we have to understand a bit more about why it happens. This is simplest in two parts.

The first has to do with what emotions are for generally. Why do emotions exist in the first place? Let’s imagine that you’re a hunter-gatherer and you stumble into the path of a saber-tooth tiger. This is a high-stress, high-stakes situation. Your body pumps you full of adrenaline, neurotransmitters, anything that will help you survive. Your body needs the fastest, most effective way possible to motivate you to act, so it builds up an emotion. At the fundamental level, an emotion is your brain’s evolutionary assessment of the situation and its unmistakable suggestion as to what you need to do. In the case of the saber-tooth tiger you need to fight or you need to flight and you need to do it now. Emotions are designed specifically to suspend or overwhelm analysis/meta-cognition and drive your behavior-- to force the priority, force the response, and make you run.

The second has to do with what triggers the kinds of emotions that typically correspond with tilt. These tend to center around cognitive dissonance. The human brain is an amazing thing, but it has a big weakness in that it hattttttes being wrong. Can’t handle it. It hates being wrong to such a degree that it actively warps our perception of reality just to avoid having to consider that one of its truisms is flawed. As a biproduct of how it digests information, an opposing idea is perceived as dangerous (and emotionally driving) as a physical threat. When the brain runs into an experience that contradicts its beliefs, it will go to great lengths to avoid or reject having to change those beliefs, including inventing false narratives/justifications/moralizations (exactly like these) or by triggering a debilitating emotional response.

That’s all a bit dramatic, but then, we’ve probably all seen how dramatic tilting/rage can get even over something as silly as a children’s party game.


How is Tilting a Problem?

Next, we want to take a step back and reexamine the usefulness of emotions. As has been mentioned, experiencing emotions is not a bad thing. They are meant to provide crucial chemical resources and/or direction in a time of need. It’s totally natural. Biologically, emotions are there to serve as warning signs, quick, automatic notifications that something is up, that something needs to change. And that’s great! How useful! On a more meaningful level, emotions obviously enrich our lives. They give color and depth to our experiences by shifting our mental processes enough to see things from a different perspective. Not only is self-censoring emotion unnecessary and largely a fool’s errand, it would be a real shame.

So outside of being socially in-palatable what exactly is the problem with tilting? If you look back at Mental-Game and Execution, we demonstrated that mentality is just an execution tool. It’s only a weakness if it prevents you from executing your strategy. The real issue with tilting (as far as gameplay is concerned) is not how we feel but what we do.


So:

The onset of an emotion is not something that we can or should control. Remember, many emotions are chemical changes/accumulations within your brain. It’s not immaterial, there’s something measurable going on in there. This is partly why suppressing your emotions is ineffective. If you’re getting angry, you can’t just decide not to be angry anymore because that’s a lie. You are angry. You have the chemical signals for angry coursing through your body. You have increased heart-rate, blood pressure, and perspiration. Your nostrils may flare, your posture may change. Your risk-assessment shifts, etc. Anger is already neurologically, chemically, physically present and trying to censor your emotions won’t change that, it’ll just contribute toward a ruthless downward spiral of frustration when your anger dissipates at its own pace rather than at yours. Instead of controlling the emotion itself, we should strive to control our interaction with them, namely to accept them for the temporary signals that they are and to commit to deliberate behavior. The distinction is subtle, but profound.



Two strategies for dealing with tilting:


Short Term (in the moment)

1) Is this worth getting any more upset over?
2) What am I feeling? That’s ok.
3) Make decisions consciously.

First, identify what’s going on. Sometimes getting upset is appropriate but we have a tendency to overreact and lose perspective. Mentally acknowledging a rational perspective cuts the fuel supply to a renegade emotional response. Choosing to actively engage with the situation rather than the emotion allows you to acknowledge it without giving it power.
Once you’ve given yourself that quick reminder of what’s real, take stock of your emotional state. Whatever it is, that’s what it is. And that’s ok!
Finally-- and this is of superlative importance-- make a conscious decision. This is the red pill/blue pill moment. You’re either going to execute your strategy or stray from it. You get to make a choice between rational and irrational, between deliberate and manipulated, mindful and mindless. But if you’re in the position to make that choice consciously then you’re already in a fantastic position to make it well!

Consider: What’s the worst that could happen? You don’t have to worry about a saber-tooth tiger. The worst thing that can happen is that your strategy was bad and you lose. Would making the impulsive choice and stalling at the ledge because you feel fear, random f-smashing because you feel desperation, or rushing in because you feel irritation really do you any better? Do you recognize how pervasive these emotional situations are? Tilting is just the extreme version. The more tilted you are, the more mental muscle it takes to hold your decisions up. But here’s the kicker; every time you make a conscious choice rather than an impulsive one, even if it’s small, even if you’re relatively level-headed, your mental muscle gets stronger. That’s a rep. If you’re starting to tilt and you can manage to make a mindful decision despite it then that’s a bigger rep! With practice, your mental muscle gets stronger and stronger and you’ll get better and better at making choices. And that’s the goal, making active choices rather than being led around on an emotional leash. There’s no reason to censor emotions if they don’t control your behavior. It may or may not be easy but it is pretty simple.

If you feel overwhelmed then you feel overwhelmed. That’s fine. It’s ok to fail. Failing often is actually the best possible way to learn. Every choice is a new opportunity to make another rep. I personally think this perspective is exciting.


Long Term (after the moment)

Tackle your cognitive dissonance. Tilting always means that you believe something that isn’t true. You should figure out what that is. This isn't some arbitrary trial, it's the perfect chance to improve by weeding out false beliefs! What’s setting you off? Why are you experiencing an emotional reaction there? What is the disconnect between your brain and the rational reality of the situation?

It could be as simple as “Oh, I get mad when I trade with falco uptilt because I thought my nair hitbox was better than it really is.” Many fixes are exactly as easy as identifying the problem.

Other fixes revolve around what we'll call Should Statements. "I shouldn't have lost that match." "That should have worked." "I should be able to do that by now." "Why would he do that?" "He only won because I messed up my techskill." "I should be able to control my emotions." Etc. Should Statements are obvious protests against reality and are thus easy indicators for cognitive dissonance. Similarly to the presence of emotions, you can simply accept that things are what they are for a reason. Not a mystical reason but a real one. "I should have won that match," Maybe you want to have won, but you lost because you made the exact mistakes that you did. If you want your results to change then you need to change! That's easier to do with mindful acceptance as opposed to defiant protest against reality lol.

Identifying and fixing these or similar bad mental habits is exactly like unshackling your brain. It feels amazing and makes such a big difference!



Conclusion

Some things (like the onset of your emotions) are outside of your control. Other things (like your decision-making) are controllable. Either way and no matter what happens, the key to making progress is accepting reality for what it is. Maybe you get upset. (Short Term: Ok, now what? Long Term: Ok, why is that?) Maybe you make a mistake and lacked discipline. (Short term: Ok, now what? Long Term: Ok, why is that?) It's not really good or bad, it's all just information/material/opportunity that you can use to learn from and continue to make growth-oriented choices in the new present moment. In this way, the mental-game process can be seen as elaborations on a fundamental process of Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Commitment, a psychological skills-training model that I'll expand more on at a later date.



Afterword

For more on the topic of tilting I highly recommend The Mental Game of Poker, recommended to me by S0ft. It goes further into the specifics of different kinds of tilt.
I personally had a lot of trouble with tilting (not with anger but with debilitating disappointment and anxiety) despite having studied all of this until I started specifically practicing accepting my internal states as they are and avoiding self-censoring in meditation. I have used http://headspace.com/ and http://mindgames.gg/ This is of course anecdotal but in addition to getting a firm handle on tilting I enjoy myself much more and feel much more confident.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Mental-Game and Execution

Mental-Game and Execution

The following (and all of my my writing on the topic of mentality) is based on research, the most useful/impactful of which can be found here, here, and here.

Today we’re going to look at how the mental-game relates to the game itself.

Review the following flowchart.


















(Understanding -> Strategy -> Execution -> Hardware/Super Smash Bros Melee for the Nintendo Gamecube -> What happens/Results)

We have some ideas about Melee and how to play it. Those ideas may or may not be accurate, but they influence how we play the game. Those ideas, through thought and practice, get integrated into our in-game strategies, tactics, and playstyle. But however good or bad your strategy, it won’t matter if you don’t have the techskill or execution to input it into the game with your controller. The game reads your inputs, then outputs actions. Those actions either work or don’t and eventually you either win or lose.
This is a simple way to look at how our understanding of the game gets translated to our results. If one area has some kind of fault or error then the others suffer as well.

So where does the mental-game fit into this flowchart? You might be surprised to realize it’s actually part of the Execution step! If Execution is located between your strategy and your controller then there are only a few important subcategories.
  1. You must have the techskill necessary to execute your strategy. Techskill is simply a matter of rote muscle-memory. That being said, we play a complicated game so there are a huge number of small skills to learn.
  2. You must be physiologically able to execute your strategy. If you are inebriated or overly tired or aren’t wearing your glasses or have cold hands having just come inside from the snow etc then you have a problem. Luckily, esports are not especially physically demanding. It’s still important to be healthier than not but not to the same degree as say, rugby. Different games emphasize different things to different degrees.
  3. You must be mentally able to execute your strategy. You can’t get overwhelmed by your emotions or the perceived pressure of the match or wandering thoughts or the noise of a crowd or a whole range of other mental experiences. If you do then your execution will suffer as you use mental resources on yourself instead of on the game. Your reactions will suffer. Your inputs will suffer. Your character’s actions will suffer. Your results will suffer.
Mental-game is NOT about motivation.
Mental-game is NOT about controlling your mood.
Mental-game is NOT about controlling or censoring your emotions.
Mental-game is NOT about controlling the conditions in which you play.
Mental-game is NOT up to chance.
Mental-game is NOT incomprehensible or even especially complex.
Mental-game is NOT about avoiding mistakes.

Mental-game IS about directing your FOCUS and your BEHAVIOR.

It might not be easy (it will almost definitely take practice and strategies of its own) but it can be that simple.

Currently, a better Melee player (or even a top Melee player) is set apart from a worse one by some degree of understanding, some degree of strategy, and such a large degree of execution that it can’t overemphasized. In this game improving your execution is the quickest way to make the biggest difference. You may have heard it said that Melee at the top level is “all mental.” Once you’ve reached a certain techskill/physical fitness threshold, mentality is all that’s left to differentiate your level of execution from your opponent’s. In this way, the mental-game IS execution.


I will be writing posts about more specific mental-game issues (including the ominous topic of tilting) in the near future.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Performance-Based Cognitive Architecture

Performance-Based Cognitive Architecture
a visual take

Previously, we’ve used CLARION to talk about top-down and bottom-up types of learning. I’d like to expand on cognitive-architecture today, as it can be very helpful to visualize mental processes and can suggest interesting ideas.

Upon review, CLARION (to my understanding used chiefly in AI and simulation) is not especially well-suited for talking about performance. For this reason I have made some substantial edits to better suit our subject matter. It should be noted that this new model, like any cognitive architecture, is not remotely close to literally true. Cognitive science is far too underdeveloped. The goal is not so much reproduction of the complex system as it is to sufficiently mimic paths as an aid to understanding our mental experiences.


Sense Experience is input.
Perceptions and sense experiences elicit responses in the Drivers Subsystem as well as the Meta-Cognitive Subsystem, even if we aren’t consciously aware of them. These could be sounds, images, smells, touches, conditions, states, etc.


Drivers Subsystem
The Drivers Subsystem is designed to initiate or facilitate change or action. They suggest our current needs to the the rest of the cognitive system. It contains a natural hierarchy of

Emotional Drivers
Emotions are chemical flags that appear in an effort to provide us with unmistakable status updates. If left to accumulate they are specifically designed to shut down and bypass meta-cognitive function (“overwhelm logic and reason”) in order to control our actions. Emotional drives include motivation/inspiration, overconfidence, perfectionism and a number of other feelings that can dictate behavior in addition the more obvious fear, anger, boredom, uncertainty, shame, lust, etc. For the sake of relevancy I didn’t want to include it as a separate function, but animal instincts would function like a stronger emotional driver.

Habitual/Structural Drivers
Habitual or structural expectations suggest what should be done and massively reduce the amount of effort needed to commit to action. These are useful because they are independent of how we are feeling emotionally or located mentally at the moment. They are quick to form and difficult to break.

Value Drivers
Value drivers act like emotional drivers but are less fickle. Our values change, but not so rapidly or unpredictably. Orienting our behavior around what is important to us on the long-term is a principled process rather than a chemical one. For this reason it has less oomph as a driver but is normally of greater importance in a modern context.

Each of these driving functions feeds into the greater Meta-Cognitive Subsystem but can feed directly into the Action Subsystem if the Meta-Cognitive process is weak, preoccupied, or overwhelmed.

Meta-Cognitive Subsystem
The Meta-Cognitive Subsystem directs and negotiates cognitive processes involved with learning and behavior, which is to say that granted force, the meta-cognitive process directs and empowers cognition itself.  It includes

Reinforcement. When we do or perceive something, there is an internal mechanism that instantly (and largely unconsciously) judges the outcome. A quick yes or no. A yes reenforces neural pathways and thus feeds right into our habits (procedural knowledge) as well as experiential, intuitive knowledge. A no quickly checks and refines neural paths. Reinforcement is a powerful tool that functions best with instant and unambiguous feedback.

Goal-Setting translates our drives into specific wants and develops plans to fulfill them. These plans may be short or long-term but are formulated as priorities for our focus and values in the future.

Thoughts (Stream of Consciousness) are located on the outside edge of the MCS. While it has enormous influence over meta-cognition, it is important to recognize that the popular view of stream of consciousness thought as the seat of consciousness if not identity is wildly inaccurate. It is in fact just a small, non-central part of a subsystem within a system. Thoughts are an instrument used to better navigate and negotiate the complex intermingling of knowledge, drives, and sensations within meta-cognition. It is easy to let it overwhelm and stall the rest of the cognitive process in a similar way that unchecked emotional drives can be overwhelming. With practice (most accessibly via meditation), identifying thoughts as simple internal states not unlike sense experiences comes more easily.

Focus
is an additive function that allows for greater efficacy within. It does not exclude what lies outside. Focus may wander but can be deliberately held in place with effort. If trained, Focus, in tandem with Goal-Setting, may dictate behavior independently of a driver. Additionally, it is the only means to learning beyond rote repetition/reinforcement. Focus is uniquely widened and actualized during Flowstate.


Knowledge Subsystem
The Knowledge Subsystem operates as a two-level database containing vast quantities of learned information.

Declarative knowledge
is specific, formulaic, and can be easily communicated in verbal or representable form. It includes all named concepts or procedural rules. If you can explain it to another person without metaphor then it’s declarative.

Intuitive knowledge is holistic, fundamental, and outside of our verbal grasp. It is knowledge that has been experientially gathered, then pieced together and solved unconsciously. It comes in the form of hunches, notions, and insights just beyond the edge of our conscious understanding.


Behavioral Subsystem
The Behavioral Subsystem operates on two levels and initiates action.

Deliberate behavior is purposeful, measured, and demanded by our decision-making.

Automatic behavior is not quite involuntary but outside of our deliberate control. This may be because it is driven by declarative, procedural knowledge (knowledge that is practiced to the degree of unconscious competence) or because it is driven by intuitive knowledge that we aren’t ready to acknowledge verbally. Automatic behavior driven by intuitive knowledge is precious and a hallmark of growth.

Action is output.


Notable Implications:
• Each function is like a skill in that it can be weak through neglect or improved in its use with concentrated effort. Similarly, they can be “re-programmed.”
• Drivers can be helpful or harmful but are not enough on their own to determine behavior UNLESS we are not mentally present or able.
• Drivers are not actually necessary to commit to action. You can draw a line from experience to an action without passing through any drivers. In this way they are like stimulants. They lend some quick and easy strength to our decision-making but you can achieve the same effect or even overcome them with trained mental-muscle.
• Thought is not central. In this model focus is the most important function.
• Learning is ONLY possible through focus and reinforcement.
• Deliberate action is ONLY possible through focus.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Powershields Reference Post

Powershields Reference Post
- - -

• To get a normal powershield, you must transition from no shield on one frame to a full digital press on the next frame. This is difficult on unmodded controllers. It is easier on controllers with lubricated trigger tracks/weakened springs or controllers that have been plugged into the system with the triggers mostly depressed. PSs are easiest on controllers with no spring.

• PSs CANNOT be buffered shields. For example, if you wavedash and continue to hold down the trigger after the airdodge then it will buffer a shield on the first frame after your landing lag but this shield will NOT be able to powershield. To PS on the first frame out of endlag you'd need to press shield on that frame exactly.

• The window for reflecting a projectile is 2 frames. That is, the projectile must collide with the reflect sphere (an area within the digital shield sphere) on the first or second frame that it is active.

• The window for PSing a physical attack is 4 frames. The hitbox must collide with the PS sphere (i.e. your normal, digital shield) on frames 1-4 of an active shield.

Note: Because the reflect sphere is slightly smaller than the shield itself, PSing projectiles can be inconsistent unless the shield appears over the hitbox. If you try to hold a stationary shield and allow the hitbox to collide naturally then you run a small risk of the hitbox colliding with the shield, but not deep enough on that frame to connect with the reflect sphere. This is partly why some PS setups (including crouching under lasers as puff/sheik/marth) seem so much more consistent.



• PSing a projectile reflects a projectile AND skips any hitlag/shieldstun/pushback. You are immediately free to do any normal OoS action.

• PSing a physical attack has a normal amount of hitlag/shieldstun. There is added shield pushback. After shieldstun, Guardoff (dropping shield animation) can be canceled with any A or B attack or jump. In order to cancel Guradoff, you must have no more than 3 frames of shield active after shieldstun.

• PSs do not take shield damage.


- - -




There are several exploits that allow for slightly different versions of a PS. They are listed and detailed below:

• ADT-PS (Analog Digital Transition Powershield)
execution: one frame of lightshield before digital shield.
The reflective sphere on frames 2 and 3 (frames 1 and 2 of hard shield) mimics the size of the initial lightshield. However, The window for powershielding physical attacks is reduced from 1-4 to 3-4, and the shield actually has downtime vs physical attacks after the digital press.

• DAT-PS (Digital Analog Transition Powershield)
execution: digital press at the same time as light press, then release digital press within the PS window.
DAT-PS increases the size of the PS sphere to match a lightshield on frame 3. The analog press may be 1f earlier than digital press but the window for a PS remains the appropriate 2 or 4 frames from when the shield activates. As the size increases after the PS window for a projectile, this is not an effective technique for reflecting projectiles, despite a false visual cue that in real time makes it appear as if the reflect sphere gets bigger on frame 2 if a projectile is reflected on that frame. It does not. DAT-PS increases shieldstun to match that of the lightshield after it expands on frame 3.
This technique has niche but profound uses and is relatively easy.
https://www.reddit.com/r/smashbros/comments/2rkczd/light_powershield_possibly_new_technique/


• Z-PS (Z-Powershield)
execution: while holding A, press a digital shield and Z on the same frame.
Z-PS increases the size of the PSsphere proportionally to the lightest lightshield on frame 1. It has shieldstun in accordance with the lightshield (about double) and dramatically increased pushback. It has wide application, but the need for a buffered A press makes it awkward to use in competitive play.
https://smashboards.com/threads/official-ask-anyone-frame-things-thread.313889/page-17#post-18512581


• ADT-Z-PS (Analog Digital Transition Z-Powershield)
execution: input analog shield, then a digital press and Z on the following frame. This negates the need to buffer an A press to perform a ZPS. Additionally, ADT-Z-PS has a 1-2 frame window of downtime from physical attacks after the digital press. However, this is not very significant in context and the bigger drawback is that it will remain to some level inconsistent due to the nature of one frame links.


• <3 AKA Heart Shielding (PS storing)
If you perform a frame 1 PS on a physical attack that does <3% OR miss a frame 1 PS against a projectile that does <3% because it collided with shield but not the reflect sphere then the next physical attack to connect with the shield will be PSed, even if it is transitioned to lightshield. This happens most frequently vs a falco with stale lasers.
Because Yoshi’s shield acts differently/buggy, he has different conditions and greater potential for expanded PS storing.
https://www.reddit.com/r/SSBM/comments/4yd5kb/heart_shield_powershield_storing/
https://smashboards.com/threads/some-yoshi-information.351635/page-9#post-21400329


- - -

None of this information is original to me. I am simply gathering some common, not-as-common, and should-be-common knowledge into one place for ease of reference. TY to @taukhan for proofreading. The bulk of this can be further researched from kadano’s post here https://smashboards.com/threads/official-ask-anyone-frame-things-thread.313889/page-17#post-18512581

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Analysis for maXy

https://flowfeedback.com/feedback/8xvPpNDza7a2fTvsY
Analysis of maXy(puff) vs MINT(fox) at Schism
will do your sets for $10/game

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Analysis for Denko

Denko vs Ichigo (2/2/17) Analysis

Notation by in game timer

Game 1
BF
8:00 both players open waiting for the other to overextend in neutral
then aerial in at the same time lol. The better decision was to approach from the ground ready to shield/WD back. Same objective (take center) but safer.
7:55 bad spacing, can’t be under falling falcon without a shield at least.
7:51 this bait and bair were fine, the bair was just started a little too slow
7:49 you need to be super careful commiting to falling upair after bair. Good players will shield and then punish it hard.
7:42 don’t ever pound here. It’s tempting but really predictable and easy to punish. Instead try to purchase space to land by threatening bairs.
7:38 instead of downthrow you should upthrow falcon. Better followups.
7:35 nice nair. Because you started it before falcon was even able to start an aerial it was going to win. A little slow to follow it up though.
7:31 good mash out of dthrow
7:30 you are habitually crossing up the shield every time you hit it. Crossups are generally unsafe until you condition your opponent not to expect it. Additionally, they’re not really worth the risk much of the time anyway. Instead try to prioritize a low as possible bair.
7:12 you get a heavy punish on an input error. Should be an easy edgeguard.
Good job grabbing ledge, but now because you know he has to upB instead of fairing him on his way up you can actually just chase him. If you had just ledgedashed and then jumped then you could have baired him off into another edgeguard.
7:08 great recognition of the situation and grab. Backthrow was correct at this % and I like your prioritization of the ledge. Again though, an immediate fair has a low reward. In this case because there wasn’t time for anything more I would have done a dair -> grab -> another backthrow.
7:03 you ran forward when it wasn’t safe. By this time you can recognize that this falcon player always jumps at you when you’re in the corner, even if he waits a moment before he does it. That means you can just wait for him to come and then grab him.
6:57 Falcon players like to stomp on top platform between stocks. Never approach this stomp from below. Instead, go to the side platform and come up beside him with bair. Aim for his elbows. Just be ready to fade away if he chooses to drop below so that you can’t get upaired.
6:55 this dair could have been grabbed on reaction very easily.
6:54 you had time for a second fair. Instead you do a weird fsmash. Not sure why.
6:50 because falcon is off and below the stage and has to use his jump right away it is safe to chase after him with a fair without grabbing ledge first. You should look at that. First bit of homework for you: Watch this set back and pause every time you get an edgeguard situation. Then write down the best possible thing you could have done to cover ALL of his options or (what happens immediately after them) (double jump, aerial, fast fall, upB, airdodge). You’ll notice explicit patterns.
6:44 Again, this dair is grabbable. You have a habit to aerial out of shield. Try to do the best thing in every scenario until it becomes your new habit.
6:39 See how when you are out of his range he always waits to see if you will jump forward then gets impatient and jumps at you himself? This is exploitable.
6:30 very risky fair. Use bair to purchase space to land. That’s your only goal when off stage.
6:25 good spacing.
6:15 ah, big opportunity but flubbed movement keeps you from getting the grab.
bair afterward is a little slow.
6:14 Good jump but he is ready to shield. In this situation you have to sometimes fast fall and grab or he will shield every time and win this scenario 100% of the time.
6:10 remember that you can crouch cancel these nairs.
6:05 nice crouch, nice rest.
6:00 you shield, but then change your mind and try to jump. Don’t change your mind! Have some confidence. If you’re right you’re right and if you’re wrong you’re wrong, but if you change your mind then something awkward and bad for puff will happen pretty much every time.
5:57 was a grab, not a fair. Fair is hella slow compared to grab.
5:55 lol looks like a shieldpoke on your tiny little puff ears
it wasn’t the best roll anyway. Just back off a bit and give falcon the chance to mess up, no need to rush into center stage when he’s in control.
5:49 you overextend with your inv and get hit out of it
your goal is to use inv to get center or a clean hit that will lead into a combo, not both.
5:44 your rising bair is too slow again. You need to practice that.
5:42 blegh, good pressure but bad spacing.
you keep trading afterward because you two keep having the same idea, haha
5:30 good reaction to his tech
5:27 you get pretty lucky with that pound. He happened to be really late to react to your going off stage.
5:20 he’s unsure of how to get you off the ledge and gets distracted into letting you crossup.
5:18 this time you waited for his approach but misspaced when it came.
5:17 this fair is really bad. It doens’t threaten anything but a weird preemptive empty jump and is very punishable on whiff. Instead turn your back and purchase space.
5:15 unsafe pound.
5:10 lmao baited.
5:04 wow. He either read you like crazy or messed up his spacing and got crazy lucky.
4:58 poor DI after the knee. DI down and away, mash either jump or rest, if you see the knee connect with you then DI up and in for survival.
You also need to use pounds on your way back (as long as you’re out of range to get punished) so that you don’t have to make a predictable straight line for the ledge right away. You almost died there.
4:50 falcon shieldgrabs too late and gets uptilted. If he was early enough then you easily could have died instead.

Stocks Taken:
Bair whiff punish on ledgeknee
Falcon wanders into a pound
uptilt rest
uptilt rest

Stocks Lost:
Poor spacing vs falling bair
Roll into a shieldpoke knee
Unsafe recovery pound.


Ok so I have a good understanding for the themes here.
A group things that you have to fix, one at a time.

1) Don’t cross up every time you hit a shield. There’s no good reason to most of the time. Instead, space a low and spaced bair if you think they will WD/drop shield, an upair if you think they will jump, or a fast fall empty land grab if you think they will keep shielding. Those three will get you much much more reward much much more often. There’s no way around it, just practice. Play a session where you just play your normal game other than focussing on doing this instead of unnecessary crossups. Sometimes a crossup is the right call, but most of the time it isn’t.

2) Practice your aerials in frame counter
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMUC9rH4NSQ
your rising aerials are too slow and it’s making a difference. You can also practice just general movement and fastfalling as soon as possible in frame counter. I would tell you the numbers for exercises but a) I forgot where I wrote them down (lol) and b) it’d be like cheating, you’ll learn way way more looking them up yourself so I’m going to make you do that. Anything that you want to practice in frame counter, go into debug mode and count in frame-by-frame how a frame perfect jigglypuff would do it. Then write those numbers down, plug them into frame-counter mode and practice. It’s AMAZING. By far the best way to practice your movement/timing. If you have any questions about setting up frame-counter or debug mode just message me and I can walk you through it. I’ll tell you though that I learned the most I ever learned when I started using debug mode to try and look for what a theoretical god puff would do in common situations.

3) As I mentioned, watch the vid over and pause every time there’s an edgeguard. Write down the “correct” response.
Generally: Falcon is going to go high or low. You’re going to go to either the ledge or to right outside of his aerial range. Then you’re going to punish his commitment.
Double jump/DownB: reposition to cover his next option
UpB: bair so that if he fades forward the base of your bair hits him, if he fades back then the tip does.
Aerial, bair/fair his endlag
airdodge/upB that you can’t reach: punish his landing lag.

4) When you are recovering only pound when it is not punishable. Generally, try to stay high just above his FH upair range when possible. Postpone making a commitment to ledge or to top/side platform until the last possible moment. Wait to see if he will slip up his spacing and give you one of the two for free. Remember that your only goal is to touch the ground safely. Don't get baited into trying to hit him. Turn your back so that he backs off a little bit, touch ground /then/ get back into the game.

The MU:
Most of this MU is made much simpler by keeping a specific spacing goal. Try to stay either
a) in the air outside of his nair range or
b) right at the edge of it on the ground.
It’s not always easy because he can DD but that’s the goal. When you are there your goal is to punish any big commitments that he makes on reaction. You will shield grab/CC/or aerial whiff punish any approach that he does.
Remember, if you crouch liberally and are confident in resting whiffed grabs then falcon has to jump to approach you. Additionally, his aerials are all slow and reactable. That means that you can either CC them or shieldgrab them all on reaction if you are on the ground, so being just inside of his SHFFL range isn’t a problem for you. If you are outside of it /then/ jumping is safe. In order to punish this kind of range falcon has to start DDing aggressively and start doing fakeout SHFF empty land grabs. Your answer to that is to use WDs to fine-tune your spacing when on the ground and, if flacon should truly refuse to commit to approaches, start to use spaced bairs or frame advantage to inch him into the corner where FH fairs will shut down his range and force him into an easy edgeguard.
In the next game I’ll point out instances to use parts of this broad strategy.


Game 3
FoD
8:00 Falcon starts the game off really aggressively, whiff a whiff punish so he gets a ledgecancel bair into a CC stomp upair knee. Ouch. You just didn’t react to the hits fast enough to get hard enough away DI to escape the combo. Not a big deal. Will come with experience thinking about it.
7:50 you bait falcon to the ledge and get a fair. In this case upair would have been the better punish, if you were looking for a whiff punish there.
7:49 you give up a bit more space than you need to but that ends up being nice because he runs right into it with a grab. You should have grabbed after he whiffed then gotten an edgeguard. Instead he gets another ASDI down punish.
7:41 the upair uptilt wasn’t a bad idea, he got a lucky timing to get through
7:40 sick nair. This is a good example of using frame advantage to gain space. Because he committed to dash forward FH he couldn’t turn around, jump, and aerial the right space before your nair came out. You don’t whiff punish his counter attack cleanly enough but that’s ok because you got the information that he’s just going to keep stomping when he’s uncomfortable. Try to whiff punish it with an upair next time, since you know it’s coming.
7:37 ah, speak of the devil
nice combo extension with the upair bair
7:25 good patience coming back, no rush.
great spacing outside of his aerial to get that grab. Exactly what you want to be doing.
7:21 A little premature punish vs the aerial.
7:18 there’s the stomp, grab.
you can space the upair to poke shield.
7:15 great spacing outside of his aerial again. See how simple it can be? You miss the grab, but that’s just execution.
7:08 def should have rested after the DI in on dthrow.
7:06 again, spacing outside of his counter attack aerial and getting a punish
7:01 would have been another but your bair is slow
6:51 terrrrrrrrible pound
6:46 don’t worry about fairing, just stay safe until you’re back at your position goal. FH fair is not safe.
6:42 upair was way too slow
6:35 miss an edgeguard opportunity by fixating on ledge, should have been spacing outside of jump and then kicking it. You get the pickup after getting upBed though.
6:29 sloppy crossup gets you hit and bad combo DI gets you hit some more. DI down and away to avoid the combo.
6:23 supppper unsafe nair. Doesn’t work vs falcon, his upair is too big.
6:20 you go into the air inside of his SHFF and get kneed. See how if you stayed on the ground it would have been a shieldgrab?
6:12 bair is too slow again
6:11 don’t doubt yourself. if you want to shield then shield.
6:10 bad spacing to jump.
6:06 bunch of meh fairs. If you instead focus on position then you’ll get interactions with more punish potential.
6:03 there it is. See how because you jumped from the plat you were outside of the SHFFL range and your aerial whiff punished?
6:01 good grab, wrong throw.
Nice read.
6:56 not the best DI. Could have been bad. DI out harder.
you establish your space but then give it up a little hastily, then the recording ends at 5:49 so I can’t comment on the end of the match. In any case it’s likely that you just took too much damage from the scuffles after misspacing and lost?

Stocks Taken
upair whiffed grab, WoP
bair, edgeguard
techroll read rest

Stocks Lost
ASDI downs your fair, dthrow knee
whiff upair, get kneed
whiff bair, get kneed

The takeaway: look at how much potential you get when you just focus on staying at the outside of falcon’s aerial range. You don’t have to worry about what to do in scuffles if instead of entering into them you just back off, give your character a moment to get into position, and start whiff punishing again. Once you force falcon to respect your punish game off of whiff punishins /then/ your FH aerials will start to be very effective.

systems model of creativity notes

Systems Model of Creativity
https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Systems_Model_of_Creativity.html?id=DuFsBgAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button#v=onepage&q&f=false

raw notes:

Herbert Simone: given the correct information(problem), a computer can solve a problem (such as the elliptical paths of the planets) in a tiny fraction of the time it takes a human. That is, if creative discovery is just fast problem-solving then computers are also capable of creativity. You run into presented problems vs discovered problems.

creativity: flow and the psychology of discovery and invention
systems model of creativity

musicians improvising vs executing highights DLPFC region of the brain, poker but not chess, having to make decisions with  insufficient knowledge, discovering problems

art that discovers a problem through its process rather than executing a pre-conceived plan, is universally rated as more valuable/original

Where is creativity?

creativity is, unfortunately not a process that can be identified or possessed. Rather, it is a word used to describe the event in which an agent for change makes innovations within a field, located between the individual, the field, and the cultural domain.
This is Csiksezentimihalyi’s counter to Herbert Simon’s computer program capable of replicating creative scientific problems. Simon claims that if it was creative for Newton to draw up a formula, the exact same formula from a computer is also creative. Csiksezentimihalyi claims that this is not the case because creativity is defined by its context. Thus, van Gogh is more “creative” than a van Gogh forger. In this way, according to Csiksezentimihalyi, the object itself is no judge. In the contemporary, Giotto is boring and of questionable worth. In context, that is, after we are instructed of its art historical or religious or aesthetic value, then its creative value changes. “In the contemporary” requires a context of its own that lies totally outside of the work itself. The field and the domain are necessary for creativity to exist. It— we could say like art— is invented. Social construct.
Consider Mendel’s contributions to genetics. They were not appreciated, not even by Mendel himself, until 40 years after his initial experiments at which time the theory of natural selection and variation had a need for them. Where is creativity? In the experiments, in Mendel, or in the framework that needed them? It is inseparable from any, as long as they are together.

It is important too to recognize that we don’t want just new ideas— we want new good ideas. And it is the realm of the realm to determine goodness.

Enter, the gatekeeper. The popes made art history. A handful of gallerists made art history. Greenberg made art history. Saatchi/Gagosian are making art history. The establishment is the domain. The establishment creates taste. The establishment rules on what goodness is. Leonardo traveled in accordance to which patron had the more money.
Sometimes, in the event of a radically new field, the domain widens a bit.

creativity (as a construction) emerges over time.

the system, the construction, the architecture of related ideas forming a canon is domain.
It is cultural heritage and in evolutionary terms, the convenient packaging of extra-biological ideas worth passing on, called memes.

Florentine artists weren’t exceptional, Florence was. Nor was this accidental. It was a conscious, calculated policy decision on the part of the oligarchy in en effort to build a new Athens. It supported its arts financially, educationally, culturally, and this paid off. It set a task and the artists fulfilled.

Questions: What are the ways in which information is stored and how does the structuring of the information affect creativity?

innovation, creatvity, problem finding, originality
formulating something in a strikingly better way

following domain of the domain
creativity is a subjective judgement. It is not an objective quality. Judges will assess it differently according to their past experience and even their personal idosyncricities, even when judged to be experts on creativity themselves. The creativity is a product of a social sphere.
So the personal creativity (a second individual individually “discovering” Einstein) must be paired with the Persuasion to be recognized. “In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whme the idea first occurs.” If you define creaativity as making innovations within a field that are then incorporated into the domain, that is, within the systems model, persuasion is an intregal part. So close in fact that Csikszentmihalyi says they are inseparable as far as the empirical is concerned, for if you can’t persuade then who is to say that you have at all? If we are to pin it down this seems the simplest way. To call it creative is to call it a worthy change to fit into the domain. Creative is here maybe better called genius. It must affect change.

This model appears problematic to me in that it is circular. It MUST exist in the way that it does and it identifies creativity as only that which works. “Of course, one might disagree with this definition of creativity.”

Without rules there cannot be exceptions and without tradition there can be no novelty.

creativity in 4 stages
1 preceding hard work and research, preparation
2 idle time alone, incubation
3 moment of insight, illumination
4 hard work and elaboration to bring to fruition, verification

“anything that is attractive has to have an aspect of obviousness”

“If you cannot persuade the world that you had a creative idea, how do we know that you actually had it? And if you do persuade others, then of course you will be recognized as creative.” So freakin problematic. Downplays inherent motivation/reward as somehow necessarily secondary to external. It’s not even the fruits, it’s the gregariousness of the thing that determines creativity. And if that’s not what creativity is then well hell, let’s just move the goalposts. He assumes that it’s the only useful or measurable creativity. I don’t accept that.

Likens it to evolution. Variation that is tested then if successful integrated by being passed on.

imminent individuals are flexible and curious
they are introverted exactly when they need to be
they are extroverted exactly when they need to be
and intensely
optimal?
their behavior is determined not by rigidity but by the demands of the domain/moment/value


if a structure is not capable of recognizing let alone accepting change then change can’t exist. Thus, the more expedient action is to alter not the input but the receptivity. Agents will follow. So we practice mindfulness and ask more questions.

ah, Csikszentmihalyi’s model is static
by having a defined field and domain it is so heavy-handed. Will make its point at the cost of nuance. It is a bit determinist, which is fine. It seems that the entire purpose and utility is to direct conversation away from the idea of the promethean genius. That is obv progressive, but a bit… I don’t think it’s the best response.
Strongly prefer nietzsche’s 500 hands. It’s more artful, appropriate, and so much less stupid. Nietzsche makes each a servant of the other in paradox, which is what it seems that Csikszentmihalyi means to suggest but tramples on.