Push Button Millionaire - Binary Today - Binary Options ...

Greed is Subtle

The morning alarm woke up Ghen. With an annoyed sigh, he stretched out his arm and silenced the foul-sounding chirps. Slowly sitting up in bed, he let out a deep yawn and got to his feet.
Running a couple of chitinous fingers along his antennae to stimulate them to life, he made his bed and then went to his closet. Today was a work day, so he needed his suit. Once the pants were on, he stretched out his wings so that he could button up the shirt, then relaxing them once all the buttons were secured.
Dressing for the day was done, now for the morning meal. Entering his kitchen, he took out the chilled leftovers of the evening meal last night and popped it into the radiator, first defrosting and then slightly cooking it.
During that process, he also fished out a ceramic cup and placed it in his brewer, serving himself some synthesized caffeine. His idle thought led him to being amused that, when eaten directly off a plant, it has a concentration that could kill him three times over. But after going through some refinement and roasting, all it does is make him hyper.
Once the meal was put together, his plate of heated leftovers and a cup of almost-piping-hot cup of Xia's, he took his time to enjoy it. His communicator vibrated. When he looked, he found it was from his boss.
"Hello?" Ghen answered.
"Ghen, the meeting's been moved up to a few minutes from now." His boss, Xkik, announced. "Apparently higher up has something important they want to say. We have a terminal ready for you, I'll message the login details."
"Wha-, what's so important?" Ghen asked in bewilderment. "Did a water line rupture or something?"
"No, nothing like that." Xkik replied with a slight chuckle. "It's actually about the rumors we've been hearing. That human corporation wanting to acquire us? That's what they're talking about."
Ghen could feel everything inside his thorax drop to the floor. "That must mean it's true then, right? Did we get sold off by the Queen to this company then?"
"Show up to the meeting and you'll get your answer." Xkik said simply. When he finished, Ghen got the notification on his communicator. There's the login details, allowing him to remotely attend the meeting. "They're about to start, hurry up."
Once Xkik disconnected, Ghen worked fast to login and set up the remote viewing. Once everything was done, his screen started transmitting the meeting room. It was already packed. And off by the main board, he saw his answer. There was a human, resting against the wall on his two legs. Standing right in the center of everyone's view was the coordinator, Tizx, watching the clock periodically.
As soon as the meeting's start time was reached, the coordinator began. "Alright everyone. I realize that this was rather short notice, so I want to say how appreciative I am that you made it. Now then, let's just get right to it. For some time now, many of you have been hearing rumors that a human corporation has been interested in us. Why? We never really knew. We're just an organization responsible for finding, extracting and providing water to the colony here all under the direction of the Queen herself. Well, as of now, I have the answer for you. Why don't I let Ryan say that?"
Stepping back, Tizx motioned for the human, Ryan, to take over. With a nod, Ryan practically bounced over and then took the position. "Good morning to you all. I hope my Zazk is passable, heh. Anyways, the answer to those rumors, is yes. Terran Galactic Company is indeed interested in you all. Which now leads to me. I'm here to announce that, effective yesterday evening, this water company is now a subsidiary of Terran Galactic Company, under the name of Zilia Water Delivery."
Many other sub-coordinators broke into hushed conversation, no doubt speaking their thoughts with each other about this move. Ghen could only wonder if this was even a good thing. What will the humans do? Will he still have his job? Will he have to learn how to deal with the ruthless humans?
"Now, I am well aware this is quite the...uh, change." Ryan continued. "That's why I'm happy to inform you that, no, nothing negative or detrimental will happen to you. You just have new people to answer to. Operations will continue as normal, everybody here will still keep their jobs. The only real change any of you will personally experience is that Coordinator Tizx here will now report to someone else. On behalf of the Terran Galactic Company, we are extremely excited and are looking forward to working with you all. Thank you for your time."
A week later.
At least Ryan wasn't lying. After the initial shock wore off, things went back as they normally did. There were no terminations, no reductions in annual pay or anything. Nothing really changed. At least until this new meeting was called. Ghen was at the worksite this time, so he took his seat and watched as, once again, Ryan led the meeting.
"Hello again, everyone!" He said cheerfully, his Zazk noticeably improved. "I hope I didn't end up looking like a liar, right? Everything's still normal, all that?"
All the zazk in the room confirmed, providing comments to their pleasant surprise as well as lingering thoughts.
"Awesome! Awesome." Ryan said jubilantly, his fleshy mouth revealing his bone-white teeth. "Now then, you're probably wondering why I'm here again, right? Well, I got another fantastic piece of news for you all! Two, actually. I'll start with the first: Zilia Water Delivery has just completed its IPO. The company is now publicly traded!"
Ghen and the others voiced their confusion, having no idea what in the name of the Queen Ryan was talking about. What was Ryan talking about? What's an IPO? And why exactly is being publicly traded such a significant thing?
"Oh, you guys don't know any of that?" Ryan asked in surprised confusion. After everybody confirmed, he let out a quick huff as he began his explanation. "Well, to begin, IPO is short for Initial Public Offering. Basically what that means is that, before today, Zilia was privately held. Only certain individuals could buy and sell shares here. But now that we're public? Literally anyone can buy and sell shares in the company, hence us being publicly traded."
"Uh, what's a share?" Ghen asked, still completely lost.
"Oh, boy..." Ryan muttered under his breath before returning to his peppy image. "To simply put it, a share is short for having a share of ownership in a company. When you buy a share, you're buying a piece of ownership, and when you sell, you're selling that amount."
"So wait...if someone buys a share, they're a co-owner then?" One of the other team coordinators asked.
"If they get enough, yeah." Ryan nodded. "You need a lot though, and that really depends on the company. If I had to give an answer though? I'd say usually you need to have a lot more shares than a lot of people combined to be officially a co-owner, but we call that being a majority shareholder."
"And how do we do that?" Ghen asked, now growing curious but still not understanding why such a concept exists.
"Simple. Buy shares." Ryan said simply. "And that leads into the second piece of awesome news. Zilia's corporate has a product in mind, a premium-package of water delivery. Instead of the usual water that you pump out, filter and ensure its potable before delivery, with the premium package, not only will you get that, but you'll also get all of the required nutrients and vitamins the zazk body requires! And they feel you guys have the best expertise and understanding to pull it off! So, here's what we're offering as a good-faith bonus: A 25% increase to your annual salary as well as being given stock options."
Ghen wasn't sure about the second part, but the salary definitely got his attention, as well as everyone else's. Although his job was considered to have a good pay, Ghen isn't going to say no to a higher salary. In fact, he's been focusing his work on getting a promotion so he can come home with even more credits in pocket.
"What do you mean by stock options?" Ghen asked after some time.
Ryan let out that smile again, the one that revealed his teeth. "If you choose to transfer over to the new group, you'll be provided 50,000 shares in Zilia itself. Why's that awesome? Let me walk you through it. Right now, our last closing price per share was 3.02 credits. And if you have 50,000 shares during that time, you're sitting on 151,000 credits, if you cash it out immediately."
"And why shouldn't we?" One of the coordinators demanded in an ambiguous tone.
"Because the price per share changes a lot." Ryan explained promptly. "When we got done with the IPO? It closed at 2.73 a share. Right now? My money's on the closing price being 2.99 a share. However, we are extremely confident in this premium package being successful. If it does? Well, my bet is that the share price will skyrocket to 3.12 a share. If you hold those shares and the price gets to what my bet was? You'll instead get 156,000 credits. Just by holding onto them, you just made an additional 5,000 credits!"
"And what if we have more shares?" Ghen questioned, now getting excited at the prospect of free money.
"Even more money!" Ryan laughed a bit. "And don't forget about dividends, but that's for another time. The premium group is gearing up right now, we just need the workforce. If any of you wants in, I'll be back tomorrow with all the forms needed to make it official. Take the day and tonight to think it over, yeah?"
Everything else melted into a blur. Ghen was practically on autopilot that whole day. Was this the secret to the humans' incredibly massive economy? How so many of them have amassed so much money out of nowhere? All you had to do was just buy this share out of a company and you get more money without even working?
As soon as he got home, Ghen knew what he was going to do during the night. After feverishly looking through the galnet, now having the human race connected to it, he looked and gathered up as many books that were translated into zazk as he could find, all talking about the human economic system. The last time he undertook such an intensive study was during his primary education phase.
And during his search, he even found forums on the galnet that were completely dedicated to the human's economy. All of them talking about strategies on what company, or stock, to pick. How to analyze a company's performance to determine if it was worth the money, or it had potential to grow over time. And that was when he discovered the humans found another method to the extremely simple buying and selling process. There were humans and some other immigrated aliens who made five times what Ghen could receive over a simple month just by watching the share prices during trading hours, and then buying and selling them at the proper times.
Ghen's mind was just absolutely flabbergasted. He thought it was just some strange concept only aliens could make, but no, not with the humans. They've practically made their economy into an art or a science. No, not even their economy. Everything. If humans can see a way to make money off of it, they'll do it. And if there isn't, they'll look for a way.
Healthcare was monetized. Galnet services, transportation, shopping at the store, they even made all of their utilities into profit-oriented companies.
And it was there that Ghen paused, the realization slamming into him. Everything was monetized. Which means, if you don't have the money for it, you're not getting it. Right? Are the humans truly that ruthless? So obsessed with making money? To the point that they're willing to deprive their own people of the absolute necessities if it's a source of credits?
Ghen let out a scoff. There's no way. Nobody is that cruel and callous. He's never been to the United Nations. He can't rely on what a bunch of random people on the galnet says. He decided that from here on out, he'll only go as far as saying that humans are a little obsessed with credits, nothing more.
...
There he was. Ryan, sitting in the office provided to him. And there was a rather large line leading to him. Looks like word got around. Although, the line wasn't as large as he expected it to be. Maybe the others thought it was just a ruse? That there's no such thing as making free money by spending it on such a made-up concept?
Ghen only knows that, if it is a ruse, it's an extremely elaborate one, where all of the humans are in on it. And he believes that's just extremely ridiculous. At the end, if he's unsure, he'll just take the transfer for the very real increase in his very real salary. And although he spent a very good chunk of the night reading up on how humans do things, he's still going to play it smart. He'll leave his 50,000 shares alone and see where it goes from there.
"Good morning sir." Ryan greeted warmly once Ghen took his seat. "Now, name please?"
"Ghen." He answered, barely keeping his nerves down.
"Alright...and what's your position at this location?" Ryan questioned after scribbling on his form.
"I monitor the pumping stations near the extraction sites." Ghen explained, staying on point. "To be more specific, I check to see if they're in need of maintenance, as well as reading the flow rate that's determined by the calculators installed there. If there's too little for what's needed, I pump out more. And if there's too much, I pull it back a little."
"Nice...and how long have you been doing it for?" Ryan complimented with a nod.
"As of tomorrow, ten years." Ghen replied, voice quickly changing to minor awe once he realized that fact.
"Excellent. Do you have anyone in mind you'd like to replace you here?" Ryan questioned after another scribble. "If you don't have anyone, you're free to say so."
Ghen took a moment to think it over. A bunch of names went through his mind, but one stuck with him. "Tilik. He's just been accepted here, but he's learned quickly. Very attentive and he always catches something subtle. I think he'll do really well in my position, even better actually."
"Tilik, really?" Ryan questioned with a little shock, going through his completed forms. Ghen felt a short sense of panic in him. Did something happen, or was Tilik actually transferring? His answer didn't take long to reveal itself. "Right, Tilik was actually one of the first people to want to transfer here. He's actually requested to be part of the testing teams specifically. Do you have a second choice?"
"Um...no, actually." Ghen replied, feeling a little ashamed. "Tilik was my only choice, to be honest."
"Hey, don't worry." Ryan said assuringly with his hands raised. "Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, there's just nobody up to snuff, right? 'Kay, so, last question. Is there anything specific you'd like to do when given the transfer?"
"If you need someone monitoring new pumps, I'd be happy to do that." Ghen stated.
"So basically same job but with better payoff, am I right?" Ryan grinned. "I hear you. Sometimes, we're just not paid enough for what we're doing. I know I think that sometimes. Uh, our secret, yeah?"
"Yeah, our secret." Ghen nodded, thinking it'd be better to have friendly relations with the human, just in case.
"Awesome. Back on topic, that's it." Ryan announced, placing the form on his pile. "We'll give you a call when you're accepted."
"Oh, uh, that's it?" Ghen questioned with a shrug in shocked surprise.
"What, expecting a question like, why do you want to transfer?" Ryan chuckled a bit as he leaned in his seat. "You can bullshit all you want, but we both know the answer. Sweet money and stock options. Not saying that's a bad answer of course, just that it's pretty obvious."
"I suppose it is." Ghen commented, realizing the point. "Also, you mentioned this...dividend? Is that for Zilia shares?"
Ryan laughed a little bit before nodding. "Yep, announced before I came here. About 0.43 per share. Want to know why that's awesome? Instead of waiting for the proper price to cash out your shares, now? The company pays you for each share you hold."
"A...Are you serious?" Ghen demanded, flabbergasted.
Ryan nodded with his now-trademark grin. "Dead serious. If you get the transfer, and get those 50,000 shares? A little head math...right, if you hold onto those, in addition to your salary, you'll now annually be paid 21,500 credits, if you keep it at 50,000 shares. Only you can decide to sell or buy shares."
Ghen just stood there silent and motionless, no idea of whether to believe it or not, to which Ryan just laughed. Once he walked out of the room, he managed to snap back to reality. Again, just focus on the very real pay-raise. He'll deal with the other parts later.
After he returned to his spot, he spotted Tizx approaching by his desk. The coordinator seems to be as casual as always.
"I saw you in that line a bit ago, Ghen." He said as he leaned on the desk. "Guess you're really taking that human's word?"
"I mean, I don't know about all this share business or what not." Ghen began with a shrug, his tone sounding a little defensive. "But I mean, having a bigger salary? Course I'm going for it when I can. And if all this magic credits turn out to be real? You realize we can live like the royal servants, right? Get the best cars, the nicest food and all that?"
"I'd be very careful, Ghen." Tizx warned in a sudden shift in tone. "Don't trust those humans. The way they just...obsess over money? Come up with more and more insane ways of getting credits? I don't know, it just makes my wings twitch."
"You think this is a bad idea?" Ghen asked with a little surprise at the change-in-demeanor.
"I think you should be careful, with the humans, and with what you're saying." Tizx replied, straightening his posture. "I wouldn't put it past those Earthmen to backstab you if it gets them a few more credits. And we all know how the royal servants get if any of us lowly commoners start thinking we can break into their circle."
"I hear you, I'll be on my guard, promise." Ghen stated with a nod. With a confirming nod of his own, Tizx returned back to his duty, walking past Ghen's desk.
Several weeks later.
Everything became so much better. Ghen got the transfer. He didn't need to relocate to a new residence either. And after he was walked through into learning how to manage his stock account, and seeing that new form of payment in his hands, he already felt as though he made the best decision. But it was only when he decided to take those shares more seriously that he became privy to what he was given. After receiving the dividend payment, and actually seeing it was real, valid credits after transferring it to his main bank account, all he could describe was the most powerful high he ever felt.
While his first thoughts were to buy himself a royalty-class car, some nicer furnishings for his home, or even a better home entirely, he ended up going the smarter route.
After going back to his stock account, he discovered that Zilia's shares rose to about 3.22 credits in price. Knowing that this was the easiest money he could ever make, he took all of his dividend earnings and bought more shares in Zilia, bringing him to owning 56,891.
And from his new regional coordinator, a human named Dylan, tomorrow is the grand release of the premium package. For just a monthly rate of 14.99 credits, the tap water will now include a sizeable portion of all nutrients and vitamins required in the zazk physiology. Still, Ghen has to admit. He's not entirely sure why anybody would want such a thing, if they'd even go for it. But, as long as he's practically swimming in easy credits, he won't pay much attention to it.
And just like when he was intensively studying the basics of how the human economy worked, he barely got any sleep. His mind was constantly thinking about the things he would buy. Or rather, what other stocks to put his credits into. Even now he can still hardly believe it. Just spend your money on some, make-believe thing and, if you wait long enough and picked the right stock, you'll get more than you spent back?
His mind even wandered onto what human colonies, or even their homeworld, Earth, was like. If everybody was making so much money, what kind of things would they offer? What kind of ridiculous service or product or item can you get? He's even debating on joining some forum and just asking around. Explain how he's new to how humans do things and was wondering what he should expect if he's successful.
By the time he felt like he can go to sleep, the binary-stars of the system were rising from the horizon. After getting out of his bed and changing to clean clothes, his mind returned onto what-ifs.
What if he bought better clothes? He's had his eye on that human brand of luxury clothes, Tessuti di Venezia, that's been all the rage amongst the royal servants. Or maybe he can go on vacation and just check out Earth for real?
It was a short ride to his workplace from his home. After getting stuff his stuff and preparing to walk through the doors, he heard the roar of a car grow louder. When he looked, he saw the sleekest and quite possibly the coolest looking car he's ever seen. Each time the engine revved it would startle him, both from how harsh it sounded as well as just how intense it sounded. And after it parked, he saw the doors pop out and then slide along the body back. And there, he saw Tilik, the seat literally turning and extending out a bit before he got off.
As soon as he saw Ghen staring, he struck a rather prideful pose after putting on his lab coat and then sauntered over to Ghen.
"What do you think?" Tilik said, without any doubt inviting praise or compliments.
"D...Did you actually buy that?" Ghen asked, unable to tear his eyes away from the car.
"You're Queens-damn right I did!" Tilik laughed happily. "Thing takes off like a starship, has temperature-controlled seating, all-in-one center console, barely any bouncing on rough roads. Hoof, best decision I've ever made!"
"How much did that thing cost?" Ghen asked after letting out an incredulous laugh.
"Five million credits." Tilik replied, earning an absolutely shocked stare from Ghen. "And thanks to the incredible salary I have, in addition to all these shares and dividends, I'll pay back the credits I borrowed in no time!"
Ghen needed a few moments before he could speak again. "All I've been doing is buying more shares."
Tilik laughed and then patted the now-envious monitor's back. "Smart man. I got a little carried away, yeah, but not anymore. Any spending credits I got, going right back to investing. That's what it's called right, investing?"
"Yeah, it is." Ghen nodded, feeling a fire light up in his thorax. "And also? Today's the day that the premium water thing is being released. Here's hoping it starts out well, right?"
"Oh it will, trust me." Tilik chuckled as they both began making their way inside the workplace. "Lots of research, lots of study. By the Queen, so much of it...it'll make your head spin."
And after hearing that, Ghen had a moment of realization. "Hey, Tilik? How did you get such a nice position anyways? Weren't you just studying under me before the humans came along?"
Tilik let out a sigh after opening the door. "I'll be honest, I never wanted your job. Not because it's boring or terrible, just...I didn't suffer so many sleepless nights in the science academy just to be a glorified button pusher. This is what I've always wanted. Doing science, solving problems rather than just applying the solution, you know?"
"Wait, you got an academic certificate?" Ghen questioned, completely floored. "How did you end up beneath me then? I should've been answering to you!"
"Simple." Tilik gave a heavier sigh. "A royal servant was asking for the same job I was. Take a guess at who got it."
"Ouch. Good thing the humans came along when they did, yeah?" Ghen was taken aback. He never heard anything about a servant taking a job at his place. "Looks like you're proving yourself to be well suited."
"By the Queen, of course I am." Tilik nodded. "Like I said, I nearly broke my wings through so many nights, got certified top of my class, all just to get pushed to the dirt because someone who was born into a particular family wanted the same thing I did? I know I'm smarter than any of those empty-skull servants back in the Center. I know that, whatever, uh...corporate? Yeah, whatever corporate wants out of science, I will xeek give it to them."
"Well, let me know how things go in the lab." Ghen said, admiring his drive as they neared the main office floor. "Because this is where the button pusher needs to go."
Tilik let out a laugh as he nodded. "Hey, how about we meet up at Queen's Fine Eatery tonight. I'll pay, yeah?"
Ghen, at first, wanted to admonish him for choosing such an outrageously expensive place to go. But he quickly realized that, he truly is good for it, thanks to the humans. "Well, hey, if you're paying for it."
...
It was a fantastic opening. After being told what news sites to keep in mind for stocks, he first heard it from Dylan, and then got more detail on Business Today. There was such a massive demand right from the start that Zilia needs to increase extraction just to meet it. But what really got his attention was the effect it had. Zilia Water Delivery's share price just blasted off. After seemingly holding steady at about 3.15, by the time he got home and logged onto his account, it already reached 7.04 a share. The calculator on his account told him that he got a value-gain of 54.26%.
Never in his entire life had he felt such...joy. With all of the shares he currently has? He's sitting at 400,512.64 credits. He knows that it is woefully pathetic compared to what the royal servants have just in their pockets, but the fact that he has such money, just by owning some intangible concept? Why even work at Zilia? Why doesn't he just sit at home, figure out what companies to invest in and make his money that way?
What's even the point in working a real job, getting a pathetic pay when you can just take the money you have, determine where to spend it, and get triple back? All just sitting on your wings at home, researching?
He was so wrapped up in his excited high that he completely forgot he was going to meet Tilik at Queen's. After quickly and haphazardly putting on his nicer clothes, he got to the place only a few minutes late.
Tilik was there by the guide, no doubt having been waiting for him. As soon as he strode up, Tilik's wings stiffned out some. No doubt he must've seen the numbers as well.
"I can see your wings, Ghen." Tilik began with an excited chuckle. "Made some serious credits?"
Ghen let out an incredulous scoff, struggling to find the words for a moment. "Incredible. All I'm going to say."
"Likewise." Tilik chortled some before nodding to the table guide. "All here. Table please?"
"Right this way, sir." The guide said politely. It was a short walk, travelling between round tables. The vast majority were populated by zazk, but Ghen was surprised at seeing a few humans here as well. No doubt corporate workers checking out the local food. He did spot them having bowls filled with some kind of mass. Some were brown, others white with what looks to be black specks on them.
They arrived at their table. A rather nice one, affording a view out the windows into the busy colony streets. Once Tilik and Ghen settled in, the guide handed out the menus.
"May I suggest our rather popular option for tonight?" The guide began. "Human ice-cream. Ingredients sourced from Earth itself. Very cold, but incredibly sweet, and coming in many flavors. The most popular amongst us is called vanilla-bean. The vanilla itself soaks in the cream for much of the process, and then the innards sprinkled on top of it near the end. Rumor has it that the Queen herself has demanded personal shipments of such a treat straight from the home of vanilla, an island on Earth named Madagascar."
Ghen didn't even spare a single thought. "Vanilla bean ice cream then, please."
"Same." Tilik seconded when the guide glanced to him. With a slight bow, the guide proceeded to ferry their orders to the kitchen. Thankfully it was just a short wait before the guide returned, carrying a large plate containing bowls of ice cream. Ghen could feel the saliva on his mandibles as the bowl was placed before them. He could just feel the cold air around that glistening mass of sugary goodness. The white snow decorated with the black dots of vanilla bean.
Once the guide left them, Tilik and Ghen both dived in at the same time. As soon as the ice cream entered his mouth, touched his tongue, he exploded in incomprehensible bliss. The sweetness, the smooth and creamy mass, even the taste of vanilla he wasn't sure about was just absolutely delightful. It was so overwhelming that his entire body limped, slumping in his seat as he was forced to ride on the surging tide of joy and happiness sweeping over him.
Tilik was no different. He too was taken completely by the effects of the ice cream, his wings fluttering some against the seat. Ghen could hear some noise. It was the humans they passed by. They were chuckling, grinning, and glancing over at them discreetly. Unlike the two zazk, the humans seemingly just enjoyed the ice cream as if it was just another nice dessert to them. Or perhaps they couldn't allow themselves to succumb to the high?
And as soon as the wave of indescribable bliss and happiness subsided, Ghen knew. He just knew. This was the life. He wanted this. The ice cream was just the beginning. So many things denied because he didn't have the credits, or worse, not the blood. Because he was just a drone in the great Collective, even if he had the credits, he wasn't allowed because of what caste he was born in. That fire that sparked in him when he saw Tilik's new car? It exploded into a raging firestorm.
And when looking into Tilik's eyes, Ghen could see the same. He was on the same page as Ghen was. Both of them were sold. They have the credits. And the humans? If you can pay for it, they'll never discriminate. All they cared about is if you have the money.
And by the Queen, Ghen and Tilik will endeavor to amass as much credits as physically possible.
The rest of the night faded into a blur. A blur that evokes only one thing. Bliss. It was only when he walked through the door of his pathetic hut that Ghen's mind snapped back to focus. His mandibles felt sticky. And he felt a weight in his stomach. How much ice cream did he eat? Whatever it was, he ate such volume that the lower-section of his throax extended and rounded out, visible even under his shirt. He felt something odd in his pocket. It was a receipt. 43,000 credits for ten bowls of vanilla bean ice cream. Was that ten bowls for both of them? Or individually? Ghen didn't care. He's good for it.
Returning back to his calculator, he acted upon the decision that he had made at that eatery. He's acquiring as many books about investing and stock trading as he could find, frequent and study all the discussions and arguments presented by other like-minded individuals such as he, all to ensure he can live the good life. And he had a very good feeling Tilik was doing the exact same thing.
Well, first, the gurgling in his stomach, as well as the feeling of something rising demanded his attention. Looks like he'll need to take the night off to let his stomach get back to normal.
Three Years Later.
Ghen looked out beyond the horizon, seeing the colony that he grew up in. On the far side was where his old house was. With only a simple robe on, made from the finest silk from Earth's nation-state of China, he relaxed in his seat.
It was a long road. Stockpiling credits from pre-existing investments and from subsequent pays, he and Tilik made it. From having only half a million in assets and cash, now transformed to over eight-hundred million. And now, his call contracts on American Interstellar? They've just announced a breakthrough in their next generation of warp drives, reducing the speed coefficient even further, resulting in far faster travel. And with that, their stock price climbed sharply.
Another hundred million credits in the bank. Soon, very soon, he and Tilik are about to become the galaxy's first zazk billionares. But that's not enough. There are many humans who are billionares. Only those he can count on one hand are considered trillionares. He's going to break into that circle. He and Tilik.
Looking beyond the colony, he saw the abandoned building of the workplace he transferred to when the humans arrived. Turns out, the reason for such a high demand was that the humans also slipped in sugar to the tap water. As soon as that broke, many influential royal servants demanded investigations and outright banning of Terran Galactic Company's influence over the former government division. Zilia's stock price plummeted. But thanks to an advance tip from his human coordinator, Dylan, he and Tilik made a put contract. And that's where they struck gold, as the human saying goes.
Dylan warned that if they were citizens of the United Nations, they'd be investigated and convicted for insider trading. But, since they weren't, and the Collective were only just introduced to capitalism, there's no risk at all. Now the colony is going through a withdrawal phase, Zilia has been dissolved and reformed back as a government division and are currently at work re-establishing the standard, plain water delivery.
"Well, shit." Tilik muttered as he walked up to Ghen's side, taking well to human speech. "Looks like you win. American Interstellar's announcement really was a good thing. There goes a million credits. Ah well, the Royal Shipyards will make it back for me soon."
"Oh? Did they just go corporate?" Ghen asked curiously, glancing to Tilik.
"Hell yeah they did." Tilik chuckled, sitting down. "Queen and her retard servants fought it hard, but Royal Shipyards is now officially a human-style corporation. And, to a surprise to all the xenophobes in the galaxy, they're already being offered contracts for ship production. That'll raise the stock price pretty good."
"What's that human word...?" Ghen muttered, already having a reply in mind. "Dick? Yeah, calls or suck my dick, Tilik."
Tilik roared in laughter. "Already made them. Forty credits a share by this day next month."
"I have half a mind to go thirty." Ghen chuckled. "Either way, until then, I heard from Dylan that he knows a guy who knows several prime human women who happen to be into zazk."
"You're interested in women?" Tilik said as his wings fluttered. "With how often you tell me to suck you off, I'd have thought differently."
"Oh, I always thought it was you who was into men." Ghen responded dryly. "Just wanted to be a good friend, you know? Considering how you never seem to make it past, Hey sweet thing, I'm rich you know."
"Oh, go fuck yourself." Tilik countered with a little laugh. After he stopped, wings stiffened, he looked to Ghen. "So, know any royal servants we can put the squeeze on for more revenue streams?"
"I got just the one." Ghen nodded, sitting up. "Fzik. He's been fighting to control the ice cream trade. Worried it's a corrupting influence. Got done talking with the human CEO of Nestle earlier. If we clear the way, he'll know how to squeeze a little more gains in stock price when he makes the announcement."
Tilik's wings stiffened even more, signaling his approval. "Alright, time to throw some credits around, yeah?"
AN: Sorry for the period of no updates. College is starting up, lots of stuff to clear and work out. Not sure why but I just got a bug up my butt about incorporating money and the stock market into a short. Here it is. Sorry if it seems abrupt, character limit fast approaching. Let me know how you guys think about it!
submitted by SynthoStellar to HFY [link] [comments]

An introduction to Linux through Windows Subsystem for Linux

I'm working as an Undergraduate Learning Assistant and wrote this guide to help out students who were in the same boat I was in when I first took my university's intro to computer science course. It provides an overview of how to get started using Linux, guides you through setting up Windows Subsystem for Linux to run smoothly on Windows 10, and provides a very basic introduction to Linux. Students seemed to dig it, so I figured it'd help some people in here as well. I've never posted here before, so apologies if I'm unknowingly violating subreddit rules.

An introduction to Linux through Windows Subsystem for Linux

GitHub Pages link

Introduction and motivation

tl;dr skip to next section
So you're thinking of installing a Linux distribution, and are unsure where to start. Or you're an unfortunate soul using Windows 10 in CPSC 201. Either way, this guide is for you. In this section I'll give a very basic intro to some of options you've got at your disposal, and explain why I chose Windows Subsystem for Linux among them. All of these have plenty of documentation online so Google if in doubt.

Setting up WSL

So if you've read this far I've convinced you to use WSL. Let's get started with setting it up. The very basics are outlined in Microsoft's guide here, I'll be covering what they talk about and diving into some other stuff.

1. Installing WSL

Press the Windows key (henceforth Winkey) and type in PowerShell. Right-click the icon and select run as administrator. Next, paste in this command:
dism.exe /online /enable-feature /featurename:Microsoft-Windows-Subsystem-Linux /all /norestart 
Now you'll want to perform a hard shutdown on your computer. This can become unecessarily complicated because of Window's fast startup feature, but here we go. First try pressing the Winkey, clicking on the power icon, and selecting Shut Down while holding down the shift key. Let go of the shift key and the mouse, and let it shutdown. Great! Now open up Command Prompt and type in
wsl --help 
If you get a large text output, WSL has been successfully enabled on your machine. If nothing happens, your computer failed at performing a hard shutdown, in which case you can try the age-old technique of just holding down your computer's power button until the computer turns itself off. Make sure you don't have any unsaved documents open when you do this.

2. Installing Ubuntu

Great! Now that you've got WSL installed, let's download a Linux distro. Press the Winkey and type in Microsoft Store. Now use the store's search icon and type in Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a Debian-based Linux distribution, and seems to have the best integration with WSL, so that's what we'll be going for. If you want to be quirky, here are some other options. Once you type in Ubuntu three options should pop up: Ubuntu, Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
![Windows Store](https://theshepord.github.io/intro-to-WSL/docs/images/winstore.png) Installing plain-old "Ubuntu" will mean the app updates whenever a new major Ubuntu distribution is released. The current version (as of 09/02/2020) is Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS. The other two are older distributions of Ubuntu. For most use-cases, i.e. unless you're running some software that will break when upgrading, you'll want to pick the regular Ubuntu option. That's what I did.
Once that's done installing, again hit Winkey and open up Ubuntu. A console window should open up, asking you to wait a minute or two for files to de-compress and be stored on your PC. All future launches should take less than a second. It'll then prompt you to create a username and password. I'd recommend sticking to whatever your Windows username and password is so that you don't have to juggle around two different usepassword combinations, but up to you.
Finally, to upgrade all your packages, type in
sudo apt-get update 
And then
sudo apt-get upgrade 
apt-get is the Ubuntu package manager, this is what you'll be using to install additional programs on WSL.

3. Making things nice and crispy: an introduction to UNIX-based filesystems

tl;dr skip to the next section
The two above steps are technically all you need for running WSL on your system. However, you may notice that whenever you open up the Ubuntu app your current folder seems to be completely random. If you type in pwd (for Print Working Directory, 'directory' is synonymous with 'folder') inside Ubuntu and hit enter, you'll likely get some output akin to /home/. Where is this folder? Is it my home folder? Type in ls (for LiSt) to see what files are in this folder. Probably you won't get any output, because surprise surprise this folder is not your Windows home folder and is in fact empty (okay it's actually not empty, which we'll see in a bit. If you type in ls -a, a for All, you'll see other files but notice they have a period in front of them. This is a convention for specifying files that should be hidden by default, and ls, as well as most other commands, will honor this convention. Anyways).
So where is my Windows home folder? Is WSL completely separate from Windows? Nope! This is Windows Subsystem for Linux after all. Notice how, when you typed pwd earlier, the address you got was /home/. Notice that forward-slash right before home. That forward-slash indicates the root directory (not to be confused with the /root directory), which is the directory at the top of the directory hierarchy and contains all other directories in your system. So if we type ls /, you'll see what are the top-most directories in your system. Okay, great. They have a bunch of seemingly random names. Except, shocker, they aren't random. I've provided a quick run-down in Appendix A.
For now, though, we'll focus on /mnt, which stands for mount. This is where your C drive, which contains all your Windows stuff, is mounted. So if you type ls /mnt/c, you'll begin to notice some familiar folders. Type in ls /mnt/c/Users, and voilà, there's your Windows home folder. Remember this filepath, /mnt/c/Users/. When we open up Ubuntu, we don't want it tossing us in this random /home/ directory, we want our Windows home folder. Let's change that!

4. Changing your default home folder

Type in sudo vim /etc/passwd. You'll likely be prompted for your Ubuntu's password. sudo is a command that gives you root privileges in bash (akin to Windows's right-click then selecting 'Run as administrator'). vim is a command-line text-editing tool, which out-of-the-box functions kind of like a crummy Notepad (you can customize it infinitely though, and some people have insane vim setups. Appendix B has more info). /etc/passwd is a plaintext file that historically was used to store passwords back when encryption wasn't a big deal, but now instead stores essential user info used every time you open up WSL.
Anyway, once you've typed that in, your shell should look something like this: ![vim /etc/passwd](https://theshepord.github.io/intro-to-WSL/docs/images/vim-etc-passwd.png)
Using arrow-keys, find the entry that begins with your Ubuntu username. It should be towards the bottom of the file. In my case, the line looks like
theshep:x:1000:1000:,,,:/home/pizzatron3000:/bin/bash 
See that cringy, crummy /home/pizzatron3000? Not only do I regret that username to this day, it's also not where we want our home directory. Let's change that! Press i to initiate vim's -- INSERT -- mode. Use arrow-keys to navigate to that section, and delete /home/ by holding down backspace. Remember that filepath I asked you to remember? /mnt/c/Users/. Type that in. For me, the line now looks like
theshep:x:1000:1000:,,,:/mnt/c/Users/lucas:/bin/bash 
Next, press esc to exit insert mode, then type in the following:
:wq 
The : tells vim you're inputting a command, w means write, and q means quit. If you've screwed up any of the above sections, you can also type in :q! to exit vim without saving the file. Just remember to exit insert mode by pressing esc before inputting commands, else you'll instead be writing to the file.
Great! If you now open up a new terminal and type in pwd, you should be in your Window's home folder! However, things seem to be lacking their usual color...

5. Importing your configuration files into the new home directory

Your home folder contains all your Ubuntu and bash configuration files. However, since we just changed the home folder to your Window's home folder, we've lost these configuration files. Let's bring them back! These configuration files are hidden inside /home/, and they all start with a . in front of the filename. So let's copy them over into your new home directory! Type in the following:
cp -r /home//. ~ 
cp stands for CoPy, -r stands for recursive (i.e. descend into directories), the . at the end is cp-specific syntax that lets it copy anything, including hidden files, and the ~ is a quick way of writing your home directory's filepath (which would be /mnt/c/Users/) without having to type all that in again. Once you've run this, all your configuration files should now be present in your new home directory. Configuration files like .bashrc, .profile, and .bash_profile essentially provide commands that are run whenever you open a new shell. So now, if you open a new shell, everything should be working normally. Amazing. We're done!

6. Tips & tricks

Here are two handy commands you can add to your .profile file. Run vim ~/.profile, then, type these in at the top of the .profile file, one per line, using the commands we discussed previously (i to enter insert mode, esc to exit insert mode, :wq to save and quit).
alias rm='rm -i' makes it so that the rm command will always ask for confirmation when you're deleting a file. rm, for ReMove, is like a Windows delete except literally permanent and you will lose that data for good, so it's nice to have this extra safeguard. You can type rm -f to bypass. Linux can be super powerful, but with great power comes great responsibility. NEVER NEVER NEVER type in rm -rf /, this is saying 'delete literally everything and don't ask for confirmation', your computer will die. Newer versions of rm fail when you type this in, but don't push your luck. You've been warned. Be careful.
export DISPLAY=:0 if you install XLaunch VcXsrv, this line allows you to open graphical interfaces through Ubuntu. The export sets the environment variable DISPLAY, and the :0 tells Ubuntu that it should use the localhost display.

Appendix A: brief intro to top-level UNIX directories

tl;dr only mess with /mnt, /home, and maybe maybe /usr. Don't touch anything else.
  • bin: binaries, contains Ubuntu binary (aka executable) files that are used in bash. Here you'll find the binaries that execute commands like ls and pwd. Similar to /usbin, but bin gets loaded earlier in the booting process so it contains the most important commands.
  • boot: contains information for operating system booting. Empty in WSL, because WSL isn't an operating system.
  • dev: devices, provides files that allow Ubuntu to communicate with I/O devices. One useful file here is /dev/null, which is basically an information black hole that automatically deletes any data you pass it.
  • etc: no idea why it's called etc, but it contains system-wide configuration files
  • home: equivalent to Window's C:/Users folder, contains home folders for the different users. In an Ubuntu system, under /home/ you'd find the Documents folder, Downloads folder, etc.
  • lib: libraries used by the system
  • lib64 64-bit libraries used by the system
  • mnt: mount, where your drives are located
  • opt: third-party applications that (usually) don't have any dependencies outside the scope of their own package
  • proc: process information, contains runtime information about your system (e.g. memory, mounted devices, hardware configurations, etc)
  • run: directory for programs to store runtime information.
  • srv: server folder, holds data to be served in protocols like ftp, www, cvs, and others
  • sys: system, provides information about different I/O devices to the Linux Kernel. If dev files allows you to access I/O devices, sys files tells you information about these devices.
  • tmp: temporary, these are system runtime files that are (in most Linux distros) cleared out after every reboot. It's also sort of deprecated for security reasons, and programs will generally prefer to use run.
  • usr: contains additional UNIX commands, header files for compiling C programs, among other things. Kind of like bin but for less important programs. Most of everything you install using apt-get ends up here.
  • var: variable, contains variable data such as logs, databases, e-mail etc, but that persist across different boots.
Also keep in mind that all of this is just convention. No Linux distribution needs to follow this file structure, and in fact almost all will deviate from what I just described. Hell, you could make your own Linux fork where /mnt/c information is stored in tmp.

Appendix B: random resources

EDIT: implemented various changes suggested in the comments. Thanks all!
submitted by HeavenBuilder to linux4noobs [link] [comments]

Says flair added no button still

So excited Can't sleep Options plus leverage Love when autistic leverage an absolutely null awareness of risk reward the righteous. Join me in Sueing @RobinHoodClassAction in your spare time. They are dirty they do shady unethical things like counter party risk against the other platform they also own. While not allowing. You to enter it exit a position Ah or PM but I.digress. make a separate piece for that later. Heheem Step 1. Use abuse worthless broker the aforementioned. With as much leverage as will not set off there risk assessment team. For example voldemortTicker U an then E plus C . We are not allowed to say . Makes mods bum bums sore. They reject your script off rip. Once theta decayed on calls an price fell below 93 cents. You could purchase an even better write options for 1 dollar an 10 cents, expiring in as little as one week for 1 dollar. That's right trade 100 shares for 1 dollar. So naturally I grabbed 250 for the 20th of this month. An then more for the next 2 consecutive months out. I had to pay 10 dollars per contract bc, I have no patients but not relevant. Step 2. Make sure there is an event of non tech analysis origins that will move price one way or the other. *note this doesn't even necessarily have to be in your favor direction. You don't have to be insane or extra and look for a binary outcome like myself. Honestly I was aggrevated an looking for a way to be pretty after multiple PDT suspension the 3rd wasn't even my fault. Anyways you sell for as little as one dollar more than you payed then you double down. Till you get. Txt saying we are closing your position or deposit funds. Example of event . Us in 2019 decided to limit the supply of yellow cakes from foreign power. Global demand is constant or increasing. Step 3. I like the added insurance of volatility of using a Mico cap. 300m or less. Fellow NPC an employees at the scam or company will decide my fate. Not some nasty market maker killing momentum to collect HTB an weekend. Margin. Nor hedge funds that positions by the Quarter. Who buy or sell side institutions catching a hair across the ass. My outcome is bc you worthless NPC panic sold or brave heart avingers assemble hold the linens held the Line!!!!!!! In Unison- So yes why you Wana rinse an repeat. They have all these bogus Greek letters that destroy your position based on price time an baloney. It's better to take a little piece an start mixing a bigger pie An you can do long short . Straddle or strangle her while you hit her from the back. Rule of thumb price of contract falls more than 20% in one day and your not the one purchasing get rid of it. Give that opportunity to the next man live to fight another day. I totally forgot what I was saying maybe some one in the comments will sumorize for me. Last point about scaling. It helps you find instead of picking a top or a bottom. Just increasing the time you have until you push the buy buttons does miracles. Already holding a few is like getting your mourning fix no fomo sickness no chasing. Yolo with finesse ya savages an buy my #stonk cheaper than. I did your welcome NPC
submitted by Mr_Frost360 to smallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Node.js Application Monitoring with Prometheus and Grafana

Hi guys, we published this article on our blog (here) some time ago and I thought it could be interesting for node to read is as well, since we got some good feedback on it!

What is application monitoring and why is it necessary?

Application monitoring is a method that uses software tools to gain insights into your software deployments. This can be achieved by simple health checks to see if the server is available to more advanced setups where a monitoring library is integrated into your server that sends data to a dedicated monitoring service. It can even involve the client side of your application, offering more detailed insights into the user experience.
For every developer, monitoring should be a crucial part of the daily work, because you need to know how the software behaves in production. You can let your testers work with your system and try to mock interactions or high loads, but these techniques will never be the same as the real production workload.

What is Prometheus and how does it work?

Prometheus is an open-source monitoring system that was created in 2012 by Soundcloud. In 2016, Prometheus became the second project (following Kubernetes) to be hosted by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.
https://preview.redd.it/8kshgh0qpor51.png?width=1460&format=png&auto=webp&s=455c37b1b1b168d732e391a882598e165c42501a
The Prometheus server collects metrics from your servers and other monitoring targets by pulling their metric endpoints over HTTP at a predefined time interval. For ephemeral and batch jobs, for which metrics can't be scraped periodically due to their short-lived nature, Prometheus offers a Pushgateway. This is an intermediate server that monitoring targets can push their metrics before exiting. The data is retained there until the Prometheus server pulls it later.
The core data structure of Prometheus is the time series, which is essentially a list of timestamped values that are grouped by metric.
With PromQL (Prometheus Query Language), Prometheus provides a functional query language allowing for selection and aggregation of time series data in real-time. The result of a query can be viewed directly in the Prometheus web UI, or consumed by external systems such as Grafana via the HTTP API.

How to use prom-client to export metrics in Node.js for Prometheus?

prom-client is the most popular Prometheus client library for Node.js. It provides the building blocks to export metrics to Prometheus via the pull and push methods and supports all Prometheus metric types such as histogram, summaries, gauges and counters.

Setup sample Node.js project

Create a new directory and set up the Node.js project:
$ mkdir example-nodejs-app $ cd example-nodejs-app $ npm init -y 

Install prom-client

The prom-client npm module can be installed via:
$ npm install prom-client 

Exposing default metrics

Every Prometheus client library comes with predefined default metrics that are assumed to be good for all applications on the specific runtime. The prom-client library also follows this convention. The default metrics are useful for monitoring the usage of resources such as memory and CPU.
You can capture and expose the default metrics with following code snippet:
const http = require('http') const url = require('url') const client = require('prom-client') // Create a Registry which registers the metrics const register = new client.Registry() // Add a default label which is added to all metrics register.setDefaultLabels({ app: 'example-nodejs-app' }) // Enable the collection of default metrics client.collectDefaultMetrics({ register }) // Define the HTTP server const server = http.createServer(async (req, res) => { // Retrieve route from request object const route = url.parse(req.url).pathname if (route === '/metrics') { // Return all metrics the Prometheus exposition format res.setHeader('Content-Type', register.contentType) res.end(register.metrics()) } }) // Start the HTTP server which exposes the metrics on http://localhost:8080/metrics server.listen(8080) 

Exposing custom metrics

While default metrics are a good starting point, at some point, you’ll need to define custom metrics in order to stay on top of things.
Capturing and exposing a custom metric for HTTP request durations might look like this:
const http = require('http') const url = require('url') const client = require('prom-client') // Create a Registry which registers the metrics const register = new client.Registry() // Add a default label which is added to all metrics register.setDefaultLabels({ app: 'example-nodejs-app' }) // Enable the collection of default metrics client.collectDefaultMetrics({ register }) // Create a histogram metric const httpRequestDurationMicroseconds = new client.Histogram({ name: 'http_request_duration_seconds', help: 'Duration of HTTP requests in microseconds', labelNames: ['method', 'route', 'code'], buckets: [0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 1, 3, 5, 7, 10] }) // Register the histogram register.registerMetric(httpRequestDurationMicroseconds) // Define the HTTP server const server = http.createServer(async (req, res) => { // Start the timer const end = httpRequestDurationMicroseconds.startTimer() // Retrieve route from request object const route = url.parse(req.url).pathname if (route === '/metrics') { // Return all metrics the Prometheus exposition format res.setHeader('Content-Type', register.contentType) res.end(register.metrics()) } // End timer and add labels end({ route, code: res.statusCode, method: req.method }) }) // Start the HTTP server which exposes the metrics on http://localhost:8080/metrics server.listen(8080) 
Copy the above code into a file called server.jsand start the Node.js HTTP server with following command:
$ node server.js 
You should now be able to access the metrics via http://localhost:8080/metrics.

How to scrape metrics from Prometheus

Prometheus is available as Docker image and can be configured via a YAML file.
Create a configuration file called prometheus.ymlwith following content:
global: scrape_interval: 5s scrape_configs: - job_name: "example-nodejs-app" static_configs: - targets: ["docker.for.mac.host.internal:8080"] 
The config file tells Prometheus to scrape all targets every 5 seconds. The targets are defined under scrape_configs. On Mac, you need to use docker.for.mac.host.internal as host, so that the Prometheus Docker container can scrape the metrics of the local Node.js HTTP server. On Windows, use docker.for.win.localhost and for Linux use localhost.
Use the docker run command to start the Prometheus Docker container and mount the configuration file (prometheus.yml):
$ docker run --rm -p 9090:9090 \ -v `pwd`/prometheus.yml:/etc/prometheus/prometheus.yml \ prom/prometheus:v2.20.1 
Windows users need to replace pwd with the path to their current working directory.
You should now be able to access the Prometheus Web UI on http://localhost:9090

What is Grafana and how does it work?

Grafana is a web application that allows you to visualize data sources via graphs or charts. It comes with a variety of chart types, allowing you to choose whatever fits your monitoring data needs. Multiple charts are grouped into dashboards in Grafana, so that multiple metrics can be viewed at once.
https://preview.redd.it/vt8jwu8vpor51.png?width=3584&format=png&auto=webp&s=4101843c84cfc6293debcdfc3bdbe70811dab2e9
The metrics displayed in the Grafana charts come from data sources. Prometheus is one of the supported data sources for Grafana, but it can also use other systems, like AWS CloudWatch, or Azure Monitor.
Grafana also allows you to define alerts that will be triggered if certain issues arise, meaning you’ll receive an email notification if something goes wrong. For a more advanced alerting setup checkout the Grafana integration for Opsgenie.

Starting Grafana

Grafana is also available as Docker container. Grafana datasources can be configured via a configuration file.
Create a configuration file called datasources.ymlwith the following content:
apiVersion: 1 datasources: - name: Prometheus type: prometheus access: proxy orgId: 1 url: http://docker.for.mac.host.internal:9090 basicAuth: false isDefault: true editable: true 
The configuration file specifies Prometheus as a datasource for Grafana. Please note that on Mac, we need to use docker.for.mac.host.internal as host, so that Grafana can access Prometheus. On Windows, use docker.for.win.localhost and for Linux use localhost.
Use the following command to start a Grafana Docker container and to mount the configuration file of the datasources (datasources.yml). We also pass some environment variables to disable the login form and to allow anonymous access to Grafana:
$ docker run --rm -p 3000:3000 \ -e GF_AUTH_DISABLE_LOGIN_FORM=true \ -e GF_AUTH_ANONYMOUS_ENABLED=true \ -e GF_AUTH_ANONYMOUS_ORG_ROLE=Admin \ -v `pwd`/datasources.yml:/etc/grafana/provisioning/datasources/datasources.yml \ grafana/grafana:7.1.5 
Windows users need to replace pwd with the path to their current working directory.
You should now be able to access the Grafana Web UI on http://localhost:3000

Configuring a Grafana Dashboard

Once the metrics are available in Prometheus, we want to view them in Grafana. This requires creating a dashboard and adding panels to that dashboard:
  1. Go to the Grafana UI at http://localhost:3000, click the + button on the left, and select Dashboard.
  2. In the new dashboard, click on the Add new panel button.
  3. In the Edit panel view, you can select a metric and configure a chart for it.
  4. The Metrics drop-down on the bottom left allows you to choose from the available metrics. Let’s use one of the default metrics for this example.
  5. Type process_resident_memory_bytesinto the Metricsinput and {{app}}into the Legendinput.
  6. On the right panel, enter Memory Usage for the Panel title.
  7. As the unit of the metric is in bytes we need to select bytes(Metric)for the left y-axis in the Axes section, so that the chart is easy to read for humans.
You should now see a chart showing the memory usage of the Node.js HTTP server.
Press Apply to save the panel. Back on the dashboard, click the small "save" symbol at the top right, a pop-up will appear allowing you to save your newly created dashboard for later use.

Setting up alerts in Grafana

Since nobody wants to sit in front of Grafana all day watching and waiting to see if things go wrong, Grafana allows you to define alerts. These alerts regularly check whether a metric adheres to a specific rule, for example, whether the errors per second have exceeded a specific value.
Alerts can be set up for every panel in your dashboards.
  1. Go into the Grafana dashboard we just created.
  2. Click on a panel title and select edit.
  3. Once in the edit view, select "Alerts" from the middle tabs, and press the Create Alertbutton.
  4. In the Conditions section specify 42000000 after IS ABOVE. This tells Grafana to trigger an alert when the Node.js HTTP server consumes more than 42 MB Memory.
  5. Save the alert by pressing the Apply button in the top right.

Sample code repository

We created a code repository that contains a collection of Docker containers with Prometheus, Grafana, and a Node.js sample application. It also contains a Grafana dashboard, which follows the RED monitoring methodology.
Clone the repository:
$ git clone https://github.com/coder-society/nodejs-application-monitoring-with-prometheus-and-grafana.git 
The JavaScript code of the Node.js app is located in the /example-nodejs-app directory. All containers can be started conveniently with docker-compose. Run the following command in the project root directory:
$ docker-compose up -d 
After executing the command, a Node.js app, Grafana, and Prometheus will be running in the background. The charts of the gathered metrics can be accessed and viewed via the Grafana UI at http://localhost:3000/d/1DYaynomMk/example-service-dashboard.
To generate traffic for the Node.js app, we will use the ApacheBench command line tool, which allows sending requests from the command line.
On MacOS, it comes pre-installed by default. On Debian-based Linux distributions, ApacheBench can be installed with the following command:
$ apt-get install apache2-utils 
For Windows, you can download the binaries from Apache Lounge as a ZIP archive. ApacheBench will be named ab.exe in that archive.
This CLI command will run ApacheBench so that it sends 10,000 requests to the /order endpoint of the Node.js app:
$ ab -m POST -n 10000 -c 100 http://localhost:8080/order 
Depending on your hardware, running this command may take some time.
After running the ab command, you can access the Grafana dashboard via http://localhost:3000/d/1DYaynomMk/example-service-dashboard.

Summary

Prometheus is a powerful open-source tool for self-hosted monitoring. It’s a good option for cases in which you don’t want to build from scratch but also don’t want to invest in a SaaS solution.
With a community-supported client library for Node.js and numerous client libraries for other languages, the monitoring of all your systems can be bundled into one place.
Its integration is straightforward, involving just a few lines of code. It can be done directly for long-running services or with help of a push server for short-lived jobs and FaaS-based implementations.
Grafana is also an open-source tool that integrates well with Prometheus. Among the many benefits it offers are flexible configuration, dashboards that allow you to visualize any relevant metric, and alerts to notify of any anomalous behavior.
These two tools combined offer a straightforward way to get insights into your systems. Prometheus offers huge flexibility in terms of metrics gathered and Grafana offers many different graphs to display these metrics. Prometheus and Grafana also integrate so well with each other that it’s surprising they’re not part of one product.
You should now have a good understanding of Prometheus and Grafana and how to make use of them to monitor your Node.js projects in order to gain more insights and confidence in your software deployments.
submitted by matthevva to node [link] [comments]

Big ol' post. How I went about researching top surgery (and to some degree, my identity), therapy, experience with parents, early life and signs, etc. I found personal accounts to be helpful when I was starting to look into things, so here's my contribution.

My therapist keeps telling me that it's good for people to know what's possible, both bad and good. I've been lucky in a lot of areas and I didn't want to post about it because I don't want people to feel bad. But she keeps telling me that hope is an important tool for people so, if this is upsetting, blame her lol.
First some context and personal info about me. I'm nonbinary, but I lean and present masculine. I'm not on hormones. After wanting it for roughly 15 years, I got top surgery this year at the ripe old age of 29 (kidding about being old--sort of. I think this sub tends to skew pretty young, so I feel old compared to a lot of you lol).
I am so sorry about the length of this. I tried to break it down into chunks so if you want to skip headers you can.
Quick TL;DR Timeline:

Early Stuff

Until ~puberty~ and the dreaded body changes, gender was largely not something I thought about. I knew people tended to fit someone into either male or female, and I knew people viewed me as female and treated me as such, but it's not something I felt strongly about for myself at all. Puberty wound up sending me into a bit of an existential crisis. I hated my breasts. I hated how they made my shirts fit weird, I hated how people treated me differently if they were sort of on display, I constantly felt like I was smuggling a pair of grapefruits around.
My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 50, and had a mastectomy. I was like, holy shit? I WISH I WOULD GET BREAST CANCER SO THEY'D HAVE TO CUT OFF MY BOOBS! Yes, in retrospect, holy fuck that is an awful way to go about it. At the time I didn't know you could just like... get surgery. My only experiences with surgery were emergency situations, so I thought something had to be immediately, grievously, life-threateningly wrong in order to get surgery.
So I carried that ungodly wish around for a good several years. Yikes.
At the time I also hadn't heard of the term "nonbinary" and it was also really eating at me. "Woman" absolutely felt wrong, but "Man" didn't quite feel right either. I used to joke about feeling like a shapeless amoeba and being happy like that. But there was no way that was valid... right?? Obviously I was wrong, I found out about different gender identities and was much happier in that regard.
It may sound weird or look the same on the outside, but a lot of my masculine traits and tendencies are less about actually being masculine but really more about being less feminine. I know it looks the same from the outside but internally, it was an important distinction for me.
Still hated having boobs, tho.

Parents??

This is one of the areas I really lucked out on, and the biggest thing I didn't want people to feel bad about. When it comes to my identity (and unrelated to this but my sexuality as well) my parents have been, well, remarkably chill.
My dad has always been tuned into my social media, so he already knew everything and ultimately was the one who was like "what are you waiting for? Schedule an appointment already!" I had to bring him to a therapy appointment once to talk about surgery strategy, and he basically said "parents who can't support their kids unconditionally shouldn't be parents" without missing a beat so that was nice. Otherwise he basically just lets me take the lead. Let him know what I need from him, and he'll do it.
My mom I was definitely more worried about, though it turned out to be pretty unfounded. My mom and I haven't had the greatest history. It basically boils down to a clash in personalities. I was a pretty shy kid, she was always pushy about it, and neither of us handled my Moody Teenager-ness well. Things have improved a lot since I became an adult and since I started antidepressant/antianxiety meds. I also had to bring her to a therapy appointment to talk about surgery recovery strategy, where it turns out she always knew about my identity in some way, she was just waiting for me to tell her myself. And then she was all hands on deck. She checked in with me after every pre-op and post-op appointment, she asked if there was anything she needed to do or buy, she dug up a bunch of her current husband's old button-ups for me to wear post-op, she stayed with me at the hospital and took me home, etc.
There was never any weirdness or questioning from either of them. I knew my dad would be chill, I was always worried about my mom though, but it was all a pleasant surprise.

Researching Top Surgery (and Therapy)

Thanks to the internet and places like Tumblr, I was introduced to the concept of gender affirming surgeries. I was initially skeptical that I qualified (the good ol' "am I trans enough??" question) but the more I read personal accounts and stories from people, the more I realized that I did indeed fit the bill.
But I was working at CVS at the time, had no health insurance, was (and still am) paying off student loans... it just wasn't going to happen at that time. So for 5 years I did nothing. Just plucked away at life.
Then I got a new job with actual health insurance. Interest renewed. It would still be a couple of years before I even called to make a consultation but, I started looking into everything again.
So I came up with a list of questions and goals that needed to be answered and researched:
I would like to emphasize, I knew NOTHING about insurance going into this. But honestly, it's not that difficult. Go through it slowly, google any terms you don't know or understand, and don't be afraid to call or email your insurance to ask even the stupidest of questions. It's their job to answer your questions.
First, I found my insurance's policy for "Gender Affirming Services (Transgender Services)" which is its official title within my insurance. I read it several times, and in my case I was glad that the language avoided sticking strictly to the binary, because I was worried I wouldn't qualify. They used phrases like "gender identity other than that assigned at birth." I actually just looked at it now and it's been updated even further to be even more inclusive, which is nice. It has a list of services and surgeries that are covered, along with any requirements. I saved the pdf, as well as printed it and stuck it in a big 3-ring binder that would become my go-to resource.
Next I started looking at surgeons that accepted my insurance, and whose results and reviews seemed good enough for me. Transbucket was still working at the time, so I went through the images and wrote a list of surgeons down. I live in NY, which has a few good but long-waitlisted surgeons, so to keep things a little less complicated I decided to narrow the list down to NY surgeons. I read some sketchy things about Mt. Sinai's surgeons at the time, so I decided to nix them from the list. Ultimately I decided to go with Dr. Bluebond-Langner with NYU Langone. Knowing there was going to be a long wait to deal with the rest of my prep, I called to schedule a consult pretty much immediately after I made my choice. The consult wound up being a year later, so that gave me time and a concrete deadline to work toward.
Call date: January 2018
Consult date: January 2019
NYU Langone sent me a pretty comprehensive packet of info, including some requirements for getting surgery. Mainly it was a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and letter from a therapist, which would also cover my insurance requirements.
So my next step was finding a suitable therapist. I had already read about the long wait times between consults and surgery, so I didn't immediately jump into therapy. There was a long stretch of just doing nothing.
Initially I started out by using the "find a provider" tool on my insurance website to try and find a therapist, but it wasn't really getting me anywhere. BCBS's various websites suck ass. After having some initial talks with a few therapists, I found out it's kind of annoying for them to work with insurance in NY, so they work out of network but provide the receipts and codes for you to submit a claim on your own.
So instead I started by searching "WPATH therapist [location]" and scoped out the results. They weren't necessarily registered with WPATH, but they were at least familiar with it and that was the important factor, for me. I reached out to them explaining who I was, what my identity was, and that I was seeking a diagnosis and letter so that I could get top surgery. I told them that I was absolutely okay if they were uncomfortable with this and did not want to continue.
Everyone responded kindly and was down for it, but I was put off by the short responses from some of them or the informal abbreviations. In any other normal everyday situation I absolutely would not care, but I had taken the time to write this formal email where I basically bared my deepest secrets to them, and getting back a "k" was like... nah man. This ain't it.
Except one woman who responded with the kind of thoughtfulness and care I was expecting, and seemed like a perfect fit. I love her to death and I'm still having sessions with her on a regular basis.
Therapy start: May 2019
It was my first time being in therapy at all. Some of it was about my identity, some of it was just general life stuff, but she's great at guiding things along and she's not afraid to ask me if that's what I really think or if I'm just saying what I think she wants me to say, stuff like that. Also I've slipped out a few curses in front of her (I curse a LOT in casual conversation) so it's pretty funny when your therapist isn't afraid to say "fuck" in front of you now.
In November 2019 we worked on and finalized my letter. She had me read it a dozen times before I signed off on it, and we made sure all the pertinent info and requirements were in, including the diagnosis code for gender dysphoria. She faxed it over to the hospital and also gave me a copy. Ultimately the letter was good for one year but she made it clear that she would absolutely change the date and resubmit it if my surgery date wound up falling past that point.
A big source of my info on surgery, recovery, and good stuff to have around has come from blog posts and from this sub. You have been invaluable. It was good to see the gamut of recoveries from "ridiculously smooth" to "absolute hell" and help me plan for the worst case (which thankfully wasn't necessary).

The World's Longest Home Stretch AKA Approaching Surgery

Consult in January 2020 finally arrived. I was in the waiting room longer than I was actually in any part of the consult lmao. Dr. Bluebond-Langner is nice and great, let me be clear. But for her it was just another Tuesday, so she was basically just blasting right along and asking me questions while taking measurements of my chest. I had some questions and she was happy to answer but I was also just kind of nervous and caught up in the expediency of the whole process, so it was all done in like, 3 minutes.
Then the photographer team took photos of me shirtless in several positions and angles. Super, duper weird and awkward but they were extremely nice and professional, and pretty made it as un-weird as possible.
The good news is that they have a stellar patient portal where you can ask questions pretty much whenever you want, and they also sent me another email and another physical packet of information which largely covered anything I forgot to ask in my stupor.
About 3 days later I got my surgery date.
Surgery date: August 2020
Obviously COVID has been a hell of a thing. Appointments were pushed back, masks were worn, hand sanitizer was applied judiciously, temperatures were taken at doorways. I waited with bated breath to see if my appointment would be rescheduled. Thankfully I lucked out big time and hospitals started doing non-emergency surgeries again before my date came up, so they called and told me I was still on for August.
I had to have an appointment with my Primary Care Physician (PCP) and explain that I was having surgery and I was going to need a bunch of tests done, and the results sent to the hospital. My doctor's office is a teaching office, so I basically had to come out to my PCP and the student shadowing her, but it was all chill. My doctor told me that she has several trans patients now and they're seeing an increase in people who are more comfortable to come out, which is nice. So she was 100% down to do whatever tests the hospital needed.
In practice, getting the results in and to the hospital on time was a bit of a pain in the ass. I think technically several of my results were late but it didn't screw me over. The tests had to be done within a certain window before surgery (not too early, basically) but the processing took forever on a couple of them, and I had to ask and triple check with the doctor's office a few times because the hospital was still missing a couple of them. It was a bit of unnecessary stress leading up to surgery lol.
PTO scheduled, bag packed, took a train into the city for surgery.

Surgery Experience

First off, everyone at the hospital was super nice the entire time I was there.
You're not allowed to eat or drink after midnight the night before. That night I woke up every hour from a nightmare that I had accidentally eaten something.
I showed up in sweats and a hoodie, got my patient wrist band (with my preferred name!) and then waited for what felt like an eternity while my mom and I chatted.
Someone came and got me, I had to brush my teeth and use mouthwash (something about cutting down on possible infection), had me pee in a cup one last time, and gave me a gown. My mom was allowed to join me in the "staging area" where other people were stationed and waiting for their surgeries to start. It was just a lot of taking vitals, starting the IV, people introducing themselves to you and what their role was going to be in your surgery, Dr. Bluebond-Langner marking up my chest and asking me how I was feeling.
It was the most chill hospital experience I have ever had. Granted all of my other experiences were like, emergency room visits where things were much more hectic. This was all planned out, everyone was relaxed, everything was fine.
After that, one big nap. The last thing I remember was getting up on the table and apologizing for being in the way while someone said "don't be sorry, you're the star of the show, we're all here for you" and then I was out like a light.
Next time I woke up I was in the recovery wing, where they stash you before they bring you to your permanent room. Initially, I was pretty dizzy and out of it, but I was definitely waking up. They were getting ready to move me, so I had to stand up, but I somehow managed to pull one of the drain bulbs out (NOT the tube that was in my body, thank god) so I looked like I was in a horror movie with a big puddle of blood on my side lol. They had me swap gowns.
While this was going on and I was standing up, it was the only time I felt bad. I felt sick and I told someone I think I needed to sit down. As soon as I sat down in the wheelchair I immediately felt better, and they were ready to wheel me to my room.

Post-Op in the Hospital

Dr. Bluebond-Langner keeps people overnight, so I stayed the night in the hospital.
This is another area where I feel a little bad, but my recovery has been pretty stellar and apparently I'm part Wolverine from X-Men because doctors and nurses keep telling me that I'm healing really well. Almost immediately, I was fairly mobile. The anesthesia hasn't really hung around. I was walking city blocks upon city blocks to my post-op appointments, and I'd say maybe about 1 month post-op I really started getting my range of motion back in my arms. I'm a little over 2 months now post op and can fully raise my arms over my head, etc. My pain management was also basically nonexistent. I used some extra strength tylenol for a few days until I forgot to take it, realized I didn't really seem to need it, and just stopped from thereon out.
STILL NO LIFTING THOUGH! Everyone is adamant about that.
After my initial hiccup with the anesthesia, it wore off pretty fast. I was up and able to walk laps around the hospital without issue. The nurse taking care of me had to keep telling me to slow down. I was wide awake, chatting and eating full meals (side note: the hospital food there was REALLY GOOD). I was able to get in an out of bed on my own, I started stripping my own drains (scared the crap out of the nurse who just saw someone moving behind my door and didn't realize I was able to do it on my own).
A few times throughout my stay, either Dr. Bluebond-Langner herself or someone on her team would come by and undo my compression vest to check things out and make sure there were no issues.
If I had one complaint, it's the IV fluids. I had to pee CONSTANTLY.
My mom stayed with me until the end of visiting hours, chatting and doing her own work, occasionally helping me reach things, flagging down a nurse when I had to pee for the hundreth time, etc.
Otherwise, I was discharged the next morning. The Uber ride and subsequent train ride home were pretty smooth. I was worried that every little bump would kill me, but the tightness of the compression vest kept everything pretty secure.

Recovery at Home

I was pretty self-sufficient. We had already moved a bunch of water glasses onto the counter for easy access, and I had a bunch of reasonably healthy easy-cook food ready to go. I had an adjustable incline pillow for sleeping on my back and keeping me somewhat elevated, coupled with a neck pillow and a total blackout sleep mask. My dog kept me company.
Sleeping is honestly probably the worst part. I am very much a side and stomach sleeper. And although my recovery was pretty smooth, surgery is still surgery and I found it difficult to get a good, restful sleep through the general uncomfortableness.
Showering and bathing was probably the second worst part. Taking a shallow bath was definitely easier but I basically couldn't get really clean because I was constantly worried about accidentally pulling the drains, or getting something wet.
Part of my dismissal included a packet with a calendar for measuring and recording my drains. I tried to do that at about 9am and 9pm every day to keep an even 12 hour spread. I'm not a particularly squeamish person, but even I initially was a bit grossed out by the contents of the drains. I got used to it after a couple of days, though.
My drains were, mercifully, not painful or irritated at the drain sites. The only issue I had was a VERY small hematoma on my right side, down where the drain actually starts in your body. Emptying my drains on that side started to produce a slightly painful pinching feeling in that spot, and putting pressure on it would hurt a bit. I contacted the surgeon's office about it, and they gave me the option to come in, or just ride it out and let it reabsorb itself. I chose to leave it alone, and it started feeling better after a few days.
I had several post-op appointments, 1 each week after surgery for 3 weeks. First week was just a checkup, nothing super notable to be honest. Basically just a "holy crap you're only one week out? I would not have guessed, you're walking around just fine."
At 2 weeks, we took the drains out. Thank god, because I went back to work the next day and really needed a proper shower. I still had to keep the compression vest on, but I was at least allowed to take it off and wash it. That thing was rank. And I was allowed to wear deodorant.
At 3 weeks, I was officially allowed to take the vest off. They showed me how to do scar massaging, they did a quick draining of some fluid in both of my sides (in Dr. Bluebond-Langner's own words, she was being "nitpicky" about it because it was a minor amount, but figured she might as well just do it while I was there), made me promise I'd keep moisturizing my nipple scabs, and said they'll see me in a month.
The scabs fell off eventually by the way. I think one fell off at like 3 weeks, the other at 4. Yes, it looks terrifying. No, they didn't die. Yes, it's normal. It is weird to see the very pink, fresh skin underneath but that's normal.
Now I just oil up my scars with bio-oil every day and massage as part of my morning routine. I already made a previous post about my scars being hypertrophic and how I'm fine with that, and it might be hard to believe when you see hypertrophic scars, but they look and feel much better now than they did, and they're only going to keep getting better.
I was using the silicone strips, but my scars kinda go up near my arm pits and when I get sweaty at work, it makes them come loose. I was taping those parts but the tape irritates my skin, so I just stopped trying to make that work for now.

Closing

So that's where I'm at now. I feel much, much better. I stand taller instead of hunching over to try and hide my chest. I'm probably a lot older than a lot of folks in here who probably can't even imagine waiting until nearly 30 to get to some of these points. I guess if there's a takeaway it's 1) sometimes surgery goes pretty smoothly and 2) your life doesn't end if you don't transition before 18.
I THINK it's pretty comprehensive in here but, if there's a particular question you have about something feel free to ask.
submitted by CrimmsonWind to ftm [link] [comments]

THE SEARCH FOR THE GREATEST SHMUP: EPISODE 27 – Darius Cozmic Collection Console

This is it. We have finally managed to reach the shmup that started it all. The one shmup I played before any other and which inspired me to devote my time to the genre. It isn’t the best Darius game by any means, but it is certainly the one closest to my heart. We are finally reviewing Super Nova!
Ok, maybe we’re not just reviewing Super Nova. We are going to be taking a look at the entire Console Cozmic Collection and seeing how it stacks up against the Arcade Collection. They say console ports are usually downgraded versions, but will it also be the case here?
Publisher: ININ Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: Jun 16, 2020
Price: $59.99
Tate: Please don’t use your flip grip on this one
The Darius Cozmic Collection Console is a compilation of Darius games released on consoles. This port was also developed by the brilliant M2. You can definitely set your expectations on high, because this collections is as high quality as the arcade collection, albeit with some notably absent features.
The titles included in this collection are:
THE BESTEST PORTS ARE M2 PORTS
If you read my review for the Arcade Collection, then you know what to expect from this collection. Each of the 9 included games feature a wonderful wrapping of quality of life enhancements as well as customization options.
Each title can be accessed from a main menu that features a museum style listing for each game. When highlight a game, you will be presented with an image of the title screen and a brief description of the game on its right. I found the descriptions extremely helpful when deciding which game to play. Having several versions of the same game is great for collection purposes, but the descriptions provided some much needed guidance.
While in-game, you can pull a special menu at any point by pressing ZR or ZL. This menu lets you customize several aspects of a game, such as the controls and the visuals. Just as the arcade collection, you can set your controllers to map buttons to be fire+bomb and even adjust the rapid fire setting. The visuals have less options, but staples such as the display type and scanlines are available. The “other” tab is quite lacking, as it only has the volume setting.
It wouldn’t be much emulation without some save states! Each game has a quick save option which lets you save your current state in one of 12 different slots. The saving and loading process is very smooth, and it doesn’t take any time at all to load any given state. Unlike the arcade collection, there are no ranking penalties for using save states. Rather than being a good thing, it mostly relates to a lack of rankings, but more on that later.
THE MISSING FEATURES
Whereas the arcade collection felt like a love letter to the arcade culture, the console collection lacks a lot of the charm. It’s in part understandable due the nature of consoles not being as flashy as arcades. I don’t mean to say that the work in this collection is lacking in comparison, it’s just that in general arcades had much more going on.
One of my highlights in the arcade collection was my introduction to Darius I with controller vibration in sync to the music. Sound and vibration fanfares were not available on console because there is no such thing as coin operated credits. As a result, rumble is completely absent in this collection.
All of the gadgets are missing from this edition as well. Rather than getting the art of the arcade panels or useful information, all the console collection gets is a background. When looking at both collections side by side, the console collection like extremely empty, as you only have the game screen and nothing else. The only exception is Darius Alpha, which has a boss gadget on the right side of the screen.
THE LONG LOST GAME CHANGERS
To the detriment of gameplay, some of the more useful gadgets won’t be making a return. Losing the boss analyzer and life gauges is rough, but pales in comparison to losing your arm counter. Other than relying on in-game visuals, you no longer have additional graphics showing arm strength, weapon strength or even bonus score counters.
Another addition I was really fond of was the map/zone overview on the pause screen. Most of the games show the route progression in-game (except for Darius Plus). What is lost is the ability to see the map at any time by pressing ZZL, and even worse is losing the information related to a zone. I really enjoyed knowing how many power-ups were present in a given stage, but I absolutely loved knowing which bosses would appear on which route. My routing decisions have 100% been influenced by fighting cool fishes.
To make matters worse, the replay system has been completely revamped. You can no longer save replays of your playthroughs in most of the main games. Instead, replays are reserved only for the special modes of Darius Alpha, the boss rush of Darius Force and the boss rush of Darius II. While this means there’s still a way to relive some of your greatest moments, it is limited to some modes which pale in comparison to the actual games. Oh yeah, the leaderboards are also limited to the special modes as well.
But enough about the collection, let’s get to the games.
DARIUS II/SAGAIA
Darius II and SAGAIA are ports of the original arcade game into the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis. As with arcade ports, the game had to undergo some changes in order to be playable on consoles. Sprites were redrawn to be smaller, gameplay was adapted to a single screen and co-op had to be removed. Still, it manages to fit the entire Darius II in both versions, as opposed to arcade SAGAIA which was a reduced version.
Just to clarify, Darius II and SAGAIA are the same game. The difference in naming comes from localizing the game to North America.
I’ll be honest, out of all the games in the collection, this was the one I played the least. I don’t mean to say the game isn’t good. My reduced play time comes from the fact that I already played A LOT of Darius II for the arcade collection, so for an in-depth overview I recommend checking out the Arcade Collection review.
However, I did get a couple of full playthroughs and I gotta say that it does a great job at capturing the original game’s essence! Gameplay is essencially untouched, so expect to go through the same all-or-nothing upgrade system, branching paths with Darius II bosses and some wacky endings! One of my thoughts that I have to rehash is that the game is either a cakewalk or extremely brutal depending on your upgrade level. If you keep it maxed, then the game is a breeze. If you fall even once, it’s a very tough hill to climb.
SAGAIA MASTER SYSTEM – THE BUDGET DARIUS
In an odd turn of events, a version of SAGAIA was released for the Sega Master System. For those unfamiliar, the Master System is basically the equivalent of the NES. This game exists because the 8-bit market was still going strong in Europe when it released.
As impressive as it might be to have SAGAIA on an 8-bit console, we have to consider that it had to be downgraded from an already downgraded version. If it sounds rough, it is because the game itself is extremely rough. The framerate is lower, the sprites flicker on screen and the game lags when there are too many sprites on screen.
I found it next to impossible to play this game for long periods of time. It really is hard to justify playing the lesser version when I have better alternatives in this same collection.
DARIUS TWIN
Darius Twin was the first Darius to actually be made for consoles. It isn’t an arcade port or a game adapted from a multiple screen format into a single screen. Darius Twin is a completely original entry, and as such it takes full advantage of the console format for the better!
Out of the box I have to say this: Darius Twin is easily my favorite game on this entire collection. The biggest reason is that this feels like a game that doesn’t try to be a coin sink. Instead, it plays around with the concept of a single credit and balances the game around it. The result is a shmup that feels much more fast paced, but never overwhelming and certainly not one where it’s impossible to repair from death.
In terms of mechanics, it is by all means a Darius game in its fundamentals. Pilot the Silver Hawk through branching paths, collect red/green/blue upgrades and beat the fishes. One distinct difference is that you do not lose your power level on death. Although it doesn’t sound like much, I do believe this is the one difference that greatly improves the experience.
Previous Darius games have felt, to varying degrees, as games that should be played without getting hit or else risk not being able to recover. Since Darius Twin doesn’t have this hindrance, you are always in your best shape and it helps keep the fun going. You do have to be careful, as you respawn without arm, but other than that it’s never a lost cause.
SNES AND SUPER FAMICON
Darius Twin comes in 2 different versions: One for the SNES and the other for the Super Famicon. Unlike other entries, the versions are for the most part the same. The difference is that the SNES version has localization. It also features stereo sound, whereas the SFC version had mono. Although it is nice to have the SFC version, in reality you probably want to play the SNES version all the time. Unless, of course, you want humanity to create weapons made from the bones of its kill instead of wood and rocks.
One of the most surprising aspects about Darius Twin is the sound. I’m unapologetically a SNES fan, so when I heard the game’s OST and sound effects, I felt a wave of nostalgia. The tracks and sounds are very SNES-ish and it is a style that I’m very fond of.
I really encourage everyone to go hard on this game. I really enjoyed it and I think you might share my love if you give it a go! It offers a perfect blend of action and challenge which pushes you to your limits, but is never unfair. As an extra bonus, it features several different endings depending on how many lives you lost, with the best ending being unlocked on a true no death run. Also, once you max your wind slash, don’t pickup the weapon swap.
DARIUS FORCE/ SUPER NOVA
Super Nova is a special game for me. It is the one game I remember seeing on the video store and renting thanks to the cool box art. The first stage is a memory I can vividly remember. The first enemy waves, the trilobyte miniboss, the boss theme and even his name: Biohazard.
As a side note, to this day I don’t really know who is the boss on the Super Nova box art. Judging by how long it is, it might be Peace Destroyer, but I’m not really sure.
Darius Force was released after Darius Twin. It certainly has console gaming in mind, but it draws several gameplay elements from arcade Darius. Sadly, they brought my least favorite: the checkpoint system. Dying in Darius Force has to be one of the most disappointing experiences. Upon death, the screen blacks out and you are taken back to the last checkpoint you crossed. Your beam and bombs are reset to level one, although you keep your arm upgrade levels.
It’s also the first game to feature bosses other than marine organisms. Expect to see prehistoric creatures and dinosaurs.
To counter balance the checkpoint system, Darius Force is much more generous on the power-ups. After returning to a checkpoint, you are always treated to a beam and arm power-up. A level 2 beam is quite a downgrade, but at least you get an arm to claw your way back into the game.
A TRIBUTE TO THE CLASSICS
One of the new features of Darius Force is the ability to choose your ship. At the beginning, you are given a choice of 3 different models of the Silver Hawk. The green Hawk is based on Darius I and has the wave upgrade path. The blue Hawk is based on Darius II with the napalm beam. Finally, the red Hawk is an original ship.
Another change is the fact that beam and bombs upgrade together. There are 8 different upgrade levels, with your main beam switching fire type until its final form. Collecting a red power-up will upgrade both of them 1 level. As mentioned before, dying will set you back to level 1, so it becomes crucial to stay alive once you reach level 8. A neat change is that, for the first time, you can switch your bomb type between bomb and laser. Bombs will deal more damage, while laser will go through weak enemies.
The merger of beam and bombs also has a neat strategic implication. For one, you can no longer freely shoot your beam in tandem with your bombs. If you attempt to press both buttons at once, you will fire a downgraded version of both the beam and bombs. This means you need to be more mindful of whether you want the power of your beam or the power of your bombs.
INTENTIONAL WEAKNESS
Luckily, downgrading your weapons might actually be a desirable outcome. For me, the middle levels of the green Hawk were too awkward to use, as they were piercing lasers. By pressing both buttons, I was able to revert to the trusty spread shot until my level was high enough to bypass the beam in favor of the wave shot. If you think about it, the laser is a lot like puberty. No one really likes puberty, but it is an important transition phase we can totally avoid by firing and bombing.
Darius Force includes an extra boss rush mode that was previously accessible with a special code. Rather than needing complicated button inputs, the boss rush mode can be directly accessed when choosing Darius Force from the main menu (not available for Super Nova). It is also one of the few modes which have been blessed replays and leaderboards.
DARIUS PLUS/ DARIUS ALPHA
Finally rounding up the collection are the PC titles. You can think of them as parallel universe versions of the main game.
Darius Plus is a “lite” version of Super Darius, which itself is a souped up version of the original Darius. So you can think of it as just a port of Darius on a single screen format.
As a port of Darius, it has all the levels you are familiar with, while boasting 16 different bosses. The rest of the gameplay is straight up Darius, with the notable exception being that the action is reduced to a single screen instead of having 3.
In terms of where I stand on Darius Plus as a game, I gotta say it is fun but a straight up worse version. The game doesn’t look as clean as the arcade version and the sound is also worse. I also feel like the levels are longer, or perhaps it’s just the screen reduction making levels seem longer than they should be. One thing for sure, is that the gameplay feels dragged on to the point of feeling boring at times. There are sequences that felt like they repeat endlessly until you reached the end of the stage.
The one thing it’s got going over the its original arcade counter part is the 1cc gameplay. Rather than being able to pump credits endlessly, Darius Plus plays on a single credit and is balanced around that as a result. One particular change that makes me happy is that you don’t return to a checkpoint upon dying.
This game exists to remind me how much I hate the laser on the original Darius.
DARIUS ALPHA: THE BOSS RUSH: THE GAME
Finally we have Darius Alpha, the compilation of the extra modes. Instead of being an actual game, Darius Alpha is a boss rush against the 16 bosses. Just like Plus, you have a single credit to beat the whole game. Power-ups are automatically acquired in between boss rounds, but the same restrictions as the main game applies. This means that you will lose your power level if you die, up until your latest upgrade.
The selling point of Alpha in this collection is that it has most of the ranking modes for the collection. The extra modes are the following:
LAST WORDS
Out of the gate, I have to say that this is the worse of the 2 collections. The arcade collection has the Darius games in its pure arcade form. Games which stand strong even to this day when it comes to quality. M2 took these games and made them even better with their porting expertise and several love letters to the games. The console collection not only contains downgraded versions, but also lacks some of the finer details that made them great in the first place.
Despite having more games, Darius II/SAGAIA and Darius Plus are basically downgrades of Darius II and Darius I respectively. This leaves us with Darius Twin and Darius Force to carry the collection, and they actually do! Darius Force might not be as fantastic as I remember, it certainly feels slower than I remember, but I did constantly revisit it while creating this piece because it is a very enjoyable game. Darius Twin was the great surprise, as I find it to be my absolute favorite in this collection, and a strong contender to Darius Gaiden in my opinion.
With all that being said, I consider the contents of this collection to be very good, but with a very notable flaw: the price. At $59.99, this collection is a very tough sell. I can’t in good faith recommend it highly, as the same amount of money can purchase several highly rated titles in this list. In fact, it could even get you the arcade collection and the #1 shmup Ikaruga. Still, the quality of the collection is something I can’t deny, so I’ll be weighting that much more than the price in its final ranking.
THE RANKING SO FAR:
  1. Ikaruga
  2. Psyvariar Delta
  3. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade
  4. Devil Engine
  5. Rolling Gunner
  6. Blazing Star
  7. Jamestown+
  8. Darius Cozmic Collection Console
  9. Tengai
  10. Steredenn: Binary Stars
  11. Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax
  12. Sky Force: Reloaded
  13. Strikers 1945
  14. Black Paradox
  15. R-Type Dimensions EX
  16. Sine Mora EX
  17. Shikhondo – Soul Eater
  18. Ghost Blade HD
  19. AngerForce: Reloaded
  20. Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
  21. Q-YO Blaster
  22. Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
  23. Pawarumi
  24. Red Death
  25. Task Force Kampas
  26. Switch ‘N’ Shoot
  27. Last Resort (ACA Neogeo)
submitted by AzorMX to shmups [link] [comments]

[Review] Ranking all the Switch shmups Ep27 – Darius Cozmic Collection Console

This is it. We have finally managed to reach the shmup that started it all. The one shmup I played before any other and which inspired me to devote my time to the genre. It isn’t the best Darius game by any means, but it is certainly the one closest to my heart. We are finally reviewing Super Nova!
Ok, maybe we’re not just reviewing Super Nova. We are going to be taking a look at the entire Console Cozmic Collection and seeing how it stacks up against the Arcade Collection. They say console ports are usually downgraded versions, but will it also be the case here?
Publisher: ININ Games
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release date: Jun 16, 2020
Price: $59.99
Tate: Please don’t use your flip grip on this one
The Darius Cozmic Collection Console is a compilation of Darius games released on consoles. This port was also developed by the brilliant M2. You can definitely set your expectations on high, because this collections is as high quality as the arcade collection, albeit with some notably absent features.
The titles included in this collection are:
THE BESTEST PORTS ARE M2 PORTS
If you read my review for the Arcade Collection, then you know what to expect from this collection. Each of the 9 included games feature a wonderful wrapping of quality of life enhancements as well as customization options.
Each title can be accessed from a main menu that features a museum style listing for each game. When highlight a game, you will be presented with an image of the title screen and a brief description of the game on its right. I found the descriptions extremely helpful when deciding which game to play. Having several versions of the same game is great for collection purposes, but the descriptions provided some much needed guidance.
While in-game, you can pull a special menu at any point by pressing ZR or ZL. This menu lets you customize several aspects of a game, such as the controls and the visuals. Just as the arcade collection, you can set your controllers to map buttons to be fire+bomb and even adjust the rapid fire setting. The visuals have less options, but staples such as the display type and scanlines are available. The “other” tab is quite lacking, as it only has the volume setting.
It wouldn’t be much emulation without some save states! Each game has a quick save option which lets you save your current state in one of 12 different slots. The saving and loading process is very smooth, and it doesn’t take any time at all to load any given state. Unlike the arcade collection, there are no ranking penalties for using save states. Rather than being a good thing, it mostly relates to a lack of rankings, but more on that later.
THE MISSING FEATURES
Whereas the arcade collection felt like a love letter to the arcade culture, the console collection lacks a lot of the charm. It’s in part understandable due the nature of consoles not being as flashy as arcades. I don’t mean to say that the work in this collection is lacking in comparison, it’s just that in general arcades had much more going on.
One of my highlights in the arcade collection was my introduction to Darius I with controller vibration in sync to the music. Sound and vibration fanfares were not available on console because there is no such thing as coin operated credits. As a result, rumble is completely absent in this collection.
All of the gadgets are missing from this edition as well. Rather than getting the art of the arcade panels or useful information, all the console collection gets is a background. When looking at both collections side by side, the console collection like extremely empty, as you only have the game screen and nothing else. The only exception is Darius Alpha, which has a boss gadget on the right side of the screen.
THE LONG LOST GAME CHANGERS
To the detriment of gameplay, some of the more useful gadgets won’t be making a return. Losing the boss analyzer and life gauges is rough, but pales in comparison to losing your arm counter. Other than relying on in-game visuals, you no longer have additional graphics showing arm strength, weapon strength or even bonus score counters.
Another addition I was really fond of was the map/zone overview on the pause screen. Most of the games show the route progression in-game (except for Darius Plus). What is lost is the ability to see the map at any time by pressing ZZL, and even worse is losing the information related to a zone. I really enjoyed knowing how many power-ups were present in a given stage, but I absolutely loved knowing which bosses would appear on which route. My routing decisions have 100% been influenced by fighting cool fishes.
To make matters worse, the replay system has been completely revamped. You can no longer save replays of your playthroughs in most of the main games. Instead, replays are reserved only for the special modes of Darius Alpha, the boss rush of Darius Force and the boss rush of Darius II. While this means there’s still a way to relive some of your greatest moments, it is limited to some modes which pale in comparison to the actual games. Oh yeah, the leaderboards are also limited to the special modes as well.
But enough about the collection, let’s get to the games.
DARIUS II/SAGAIA
Darius II and SAGAIA are ports of the original arcade game into the Mega Drive/Sega Genesis. As with arcade ports, the game had to undergo some changes in order to be playable on consoles. Sprites were redrawn to be smaller, gameplay was adapted to a single screen and co-op had to be removed. Still, it manages to fit the entire Darius II in both versions, as opposed to arcade SAGAIA which was a reduced version.
Just to clarify, Darius II and SAGAIA are the same game. The difference in naming comes from localizing the game to North America.
I’ll be honest, out of all the games in the collection, this was the one I played the least. I don’t mean to say the game isn’t good. My reduced play time comes from the fact that I already played A LOT of Darius II for the arcade collection, so for an in-depth overview I recommend checking out the Arcade Collection review.
However, I did get a couple of full playthroughs and I gotta say that it does a great job at capturing the original game’s essence! Gameplay is essencially untouched, so expect to go through the same all-or-nothing upgrade system, branching paths with Darius II bosses and some wacky endings! One of my thoughts that I have to rehash is that the game is either a cakewalk or extremely brutal depending on your upgrade level. If you keep it maxed, then the game is a breeze. If you fall even once, it’s a very tough hill to climb.
SAGAIA MASTER SYSTEM – THE BUDGET DARIUS
In an odd turn of events, a version of SAGAIA was released for the Sega Master System. For those unfamiliar, the Master System is basically the equivalent of the NES. This game exists because the 8-bit market was still going strong in Europe when it released.
As impressive as it might be to have SAGAIA on an 8-bit console, we have to consider that it had to be downgraded from an already downgraded version. If it sounds rough, it is because the game itself is extremely rough. The framerate is lower, the sprites flicker on screen and the game lags when there are too many sprites on screen.
I found it next to impossible to play this game for long periods of time. It really is hard to justify playing the lesser version when I have better alternatives in this same collection.
DARIUS TWIN
Darius Twin was the first Darius to actually be made for consoles. It isn’t an arcade port or a game adapted from a multiple screen format into a single screen. Darius Twin is a completely original entry, and as such it takes full advantage of the console format for the better!
Out of the box I have to say this: Darius Twin is easily my favorite game on this entire collection. The biggest reason is that this feels like a game that doesn’t try to be a coin sink. Instead, it plays around with the concept of a single credit and balances the game around it. The result is a shmup that feels much more fast paced, but never overwhelming and certainly not one where it’s impossible to repair from death.
In terms of mechanics, it is by all means a Darius game in its fundamentals. Pilot the Silver Hawk through branching paths, collect red/green/blue upgrades and beat the fishes. One distinct difference is that you do not lose your power level on death. Although it doesn’t sound like much, I do believe this is the one difference that greatly improves the experience.
Previous Darius games have felt, to varying degrees, as games that should be played without getting hit or else risk not being able to recover. Since Darius Twin doesn’t have this hindrance, you are always in your best shape and it helps keep the fun going. You do have to be careful, as you respawn without arm, but other than that it’s never a lost cause.
SNES AND SUPER FAMICON
Darius Twin comes in 2 different versions: One for the SNES and the other for the Super Famicon. Unlike other entries, the versions are for the most part the same. The difference is that the SNES version has localization. It also features stereo sound, whereas the SFC version had mono. Although it is nice to have the SFC version, in reality you probably want to play the SNES version all the time. Unless, of course, you want humanity to create weapons made from the bones of its kill instead of wood and rocks.
One of the most surprising aspects about Darius Twin is the sound. I’m unapologetically a SNES fan, so when I heard the game’s OST and sound effects, I felt a wave of nostalgia. The tracks and sounds are very SNES-ish and it is a style that I’m very fond of.
I really encourage everyone to go hard on this game. I really enjoyed it and I think you might share my love if you give it a go! It offers a perfect blend of action and challenge which pushes you to your limits, but is never unfair. As an extra bonus, it features several different endings depending on how many lives you lost, with the best ending being unlocked on a true no death run. Also, once you max your wind slash, don’t pickup the weapon swap.
DARIUS FORCE/ SUPER NOVA
Super Nova is a special game for me. It is the one game I remember seeing on the video store and renting thanks to the cool box art. The first stage is a memory I can vividly remember. The first enemy waves, the trilobyte miniboss, the boss theme and even his name: Biohazard.
As a side note, to this day I don’t really know who is the boss on the Super Nova box art. Judging by how long it is, it might be Peace Destroyer, but I’m not really sure.
Darius Force was released after Darius Twin. It certainly has console gaming in mind, but it draws several gameplay elements from arcade Darius. Sadly, they brought my least favorite: the checkpoint system. Dying in Darius Force has to be one of the most disappointing experiences. Upon death, the screen blacks out and you are taken back to the last checkpoint you crossed. Your beam and bombs are reset to level one, although you keep your arm upgrade levels.
It’s also the first game to feature bosses other than marine organisms. Expect to see prehistoric creatures and dinosaurs.
To counter balance the checkpoint system, Darius Force is much more generous on the power-ups. After returning to a checkpoint, you are always treated to a beam and arm power-up. A level 2 beam is quite a downgrade, but at least you get an arm to claw your way back into the game.
A TRIBUTE TO THE CLASSICS
One of the new features of Darius Force is the ability to choose your ship. At the beginning, you are given a choice of 3 different models of the Silver Hawk. The green Hawk is based on Darius I and has the wave upgrade path. The blue Hawk is based on Darius II with the napalm beam. Finally, the red Hawk is an original ship.
Another change is the fact that beam and bombs upgrade together. There are 8 different upgrade levels, with your main beam switching fire type until its final form. Collecting a red power-up will upgrade both of them 1 level. As mentioned before, dying will set you back to level 1, so it becomes crucial to stay alive once you reach level 8. A neat change is that, for the first time, you can switch your bomb type between bomb and laser. Bombs will deal more damage, while laser will go through weak enemies.
The merger of beam and bombs also has a neat strategic implication. For one, you can no longer freely shoot your beam in tandem with your bombs. If you attempt to press both buttons at once, you will fire a downgraded version of both the beam and bombs. This means you need to be more mindful of whether you want the power of your beam or the power of your bombs.
INTENTIONAL WEAKNESS
Luckily, downgrading your weapons might actually be a desirable outcome. For me, the middle levels of the green Hawk were too awkward to use, as they were piercing lasers. By pressing both buttons, I was able to revert to the trusty spread shot until my level was high enough to bypass the beam in favor of the wave shot. If you think about it, the laser is a lot like puberty. No one really likes puberty, but it is an important transition phase we can totally avoid by firing and bombing.
Darius Force includes an extra boss rush mode that was previously accessible with a special code. Rather than needing complicated button inputs, the boss rush mode can be directly accessed when choosing Darius Force from the main menu (not available for Super Nova). It is also one of the few modes which have been blessed replays and leaderboards.
DARIUS PLUS/ DARIUS ALPHA
Finally rounding up the collection are the PC titles. You can think of them as parallel universe versions of the main game.
Darius Plus is a “lite” version of Super Darius, which itself is a souped up version of the original Darius. So you can think of it as just a port of Darius on a single screen format.
As a port of Darius, it has all the levels you are familiar with, while boasting 16 different bosses. The rest of the gameplay is straight up Darius, with the notable exception being that the action is reduced to a single screen instead of having 3.
In terms of where I stand on Darius Plus as a game, I gotta say it is fun but a straight up worse version. The game doesn’t look as clean as the arcade version and the sound is also worse. I also feel like the levels are longer, or perhaps it’s just the screen reduction making levels seem longer than they should be. One thing for sure, is that the gameplay feels dragged on to the point of feeling boring at times. There are sequences that felt like they repeat endlessly until you reached the end of the stage.
The one thing it’s got going over the its original arcade counter part is the 1cc gameplay. Rather than being able to pump credits endlessly, Darius Plus plays on a single credit and is balanced around that as a result. One particular change that makes me happy is that you don’t return to a checkpoint upon dying.
This game exists to remind me how much I hate the laser on the original Darius.
DARIUS ALPHA: THE BOSS RUSH: THE GAME
Finally we have Darius Alpha, the compilation of the extra modes. Instead of being an actual game, Darius Alpha is a boss rush against the 16 bosses. Just like Plus, you have a single credit to beat the whole game. Power-ups are automatically acquired in between boss rounds, but the same restrictions as the main game applies. This means that you will lose your power level if you die, up until your latest upgrade.
The selling point of Alpha in this collection is that it has most of the ranking modes for the collection. The extra modes are the following:
LAST WORDS
Out of the gate, I have to say that this is the worse of the 2 collections. The arcade collection has the Darius games in its pure arcade form. Games which stand strong even to this day when it comes to quality. M2 took these games and made them even better with their porting expertise and several love letters to the games. The console collection not only contains downgraded versions, but also lacks some of the finer details that made them great in the first place.
Despite having more games, Darius II/SAGAIA and Darius Plus are basically downgrades of Darius II and Darius I respectively. This leaves us with Darius Twin and Darius Force to carry the collection, and they actually do! Darius Force might not be as fantastic as I remember, it certainly feels slower than I remember, but I did constantly revisit it while creating this piece because it is a very enjoyable game. Darius Twin was the great surprise, as I find it to be my absolute favorite in this collection, and a strong contender to Darius Gaiden in my opinion.
With all that being said, I consider the contents of this collection to be very good, but with a very notable flaw: the price. At $59.99, this collection is a very tough sell. I can’t in good faith recommend it highly, as the same amount of money can purchase several highly rated titles in this list. In fact, it could even get you the arcade collection and the #1 shmup Ikaruga. Still, the quality of the collection is something I can’t deny, so I’ll be weighting that much more than the price in its final ranking.
THE RANKING SO FAR:
  1. Ikaruga
  2. Psyvariar Delta
  3. Darius Cozmic Collection Arcade
  4. Devil Engine
  5. Rolling Gunner
  6. Blazing Star
  7. Jamestown+
  8. Darius Cozmic Collection Console
  9. Tengai
  10. Steredenn: Binary Stars
  11. Stardust Galaxy Warriors: Stellar Climax
  12. Sky Force: Reloaded
  13. Strikers 1945
  14. Black Paradox
  15. R-Type Dimensions EX
  16. Sine Mora EX
  17. Shikhondo – Soul Eater
  18. Ghost Blade HD
  19. AngerForce: Reloaded
  20. Aero Fighters 2 (ACA Neogeo)
  21. Q-YO Blaster
  22. Lightening Force: Quest for the darkstar (Sega Ages)
  23. Pawarumi
  24. Red Death
  25. Task Force Kampas
  26. Switch ‘N’ Shoot
  27. Last Resort (ACA Neogeo)
submitted by AzorMX to NintendoSwitch [link] [comments]

In-depth Review of Yandere Simulator Part 2: All the elimination methods

Hello Osana once more. A while ago I made a review of my first impressions on the Osana demo, which you can read over here: https://www.reddit.com/Osana/comments/ikcxc4/first_impressions_indepth_review_of_yandere/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3
As you can see, my first time playing the game… wasn't that positive. I found many bugs and a lot of glaring issues about the game's design, and at the end I came to the conclusion that Yandere Simulator is far from being 91% complete. A lot of its current features need to be reworked, rebalanced, and improved, a lot of new features are needed, and if we add to this all the rival-specific elimination methods and the multiple endings planned, it's hard to see this game being anywhere close to finished. It is still a very amateurish product, and I hope those working on it can see that and making the necessary adjustments.
Some bugs have already been fixed, but for that I'd have to redownload the game (pro tip: bug fixes should be a patch, never force players to redownload the entire thing).
Because my previous attempt at eliminating Osana failed, mostly due to me not knowing the game's most hidden mechanics and failing, I've decided I would test out every elimination method but this time using guides. In this review I'll be analyzing each method, trying to be as brief as possible. This will be a long review but hopefully I can make it bearable for you.
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Matchmaking Osana
Because Matchmaking doesn't require me to eliminate Raibaru, I've decided this would be the first method I'll use. However I wasn't very eager to try it out, as it seems quite repetitive. First off: stalking Osana to see her likes and dislikes is a good idea, in theory. Unfortunately, if the player is caught off doing other stuff, they can miss the opportunity. The conversations should not happen at such specific times, as the player has no way of knowing when these interactions will take place. And, indeed, because I missed the Monday interactions, I had to buy info from Info-chan which is much less entertaining.
The "follow me" mechanic is confusing. It's easy to get lost in the school, so most of my time was spent trying to find the library, then running back to the suitor to make him follow me again. Why is there a timer to count down when the guy is following you? I understand realism and avoiding exploits, but when it's so easy to just run back and talk to him again it only seems like a waste of time.
Most of the lunchtime was spent on me trying to talk to Osana and do her task. However, she gave me a line of how she's busy right now and can't talk, forcing me to skip ahead time without me really knowing why Osana refused to talk. But, once the task was done, there was nothing else I could do, other than just go home.
The following days were spent in a repetitive cycle. Talk to the suitor, talk to Osana, select good answers, skip to the next day. Having to constantly wait for slow animations makes it even worse. Nothing about this particular method was noteworthy, fun, or memorable. At times, it felt like filler gameplay; no more than something to keep the game going.
At the end, because I didn't wait for the ending sequence and instead skipped ahead, the game glitched out. My fault perhaps, for refusing to download the latest build… but considering it wasn't a simple bug to miss, I have my doubts.
In summary: Matchmaking is a boring, repetitive elimination method that offers no real or fun challenge.
How would I improve it?: In a way, the repetitiveness could be tolerable if there were more in-between events for the player to do. Basically it stems from what I mentioned in the previous review, there's nothing to do at school once you've completed your objective. If, instead, I had to fix this method as it is, I would make it more like a visual novel. Add more of a conversation. Allow the player to think through their answers based on where the conversation is going. Perhaps make Osana take the initiative at some point and have the suitor respond accordingly, instead of it being the other way around. And more importantly, don't make the bar at the top raise or decrease with each "good" answer; instead, I would make it so it raises a specific amount at the end of the date, allowing for more of a challenge but also a margin of error. Easy should not equal boring.
I decided to download the September 22nd build (the time I'm typing this review). Fun fact: my browser recognizes it as a virus LOL.
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Attacking Osana
Before I said I couldn't eliminate Osana because the game didn't allow me to eliminate Raibaru first. Well, guess what, I managed to kill Osana… Using exploits. After successfully matchmaking her with her suitor, Raibaru goes away. Eliminating the suitor is easy, and a friday event makes it so Musume separates them. With this, I could use the same trick to steal a phone: drop water onto Osana and killing her in the baths. Later it was only a matter of getting a clean uniform and dispose of the evidence.
Admittedly, this was slightly more entertaining than the previous methods. When I saw Musume asking Osana to follow her, I saw the opportunity. It was something made with exploits, but at least it was interesting. If the game was made like that, with more opportunities and freedom to the player, it would be much more fun.
However it was still an exploit so I did it the "intended" way. The first step was to get rid of Raibaru, but the only way to get rid of her permanently was to lower her reputation. The first two days were quite a tedious grind, of improving my own reputation and gossiping about Raibaru. This mechanic has the same issue as matchmaking: it's just grind, there is nothing to spice up the gameplay. Either way, I did that and next day Raibaru was gone, so that was cool.
The rest was simple enough. I made Osana follow me to a hidden place near the furnace (inside that garden, hint hint) so no students would see her corpse, then I fought all the delinquents to make them go away (something I wouldn't have known, hadn't I been following development of the game). Unfortunately, as I was carrying Osana's corpse, a student council girl saw me, getting me an instant game over with no way for me to defend myself. Next try, a regular student saw me and because he ran away to fight against me I had to kill him. Sure it was a sloppy murder but at least it worked.
For some reason, though, after everything was done, a teacher called the police because of a "mysterious bloodstain," despite the fact that I'm certain I cleaned everything, even made sure to double-check with yandere vision.
The end was a bit anticlimactic. Not sure what else was I expecting, but considering it's just the demo I'll let it slide.
In summary: The gameplay here was decent. Nothing to write home about, but nothing too terrible either. Raibaru is still a pretty boring/tedious obstacle, and I would argue it would be better if she wasn't there.
How would I improve it?: First, remove the instant game over when a student council member sees Ayano. Players should have a way to defend themselves, even if it's a bit more difficult than a regular student. Also, the consequences can be much bigger when they are killed, so the player would want to avoid being seen by them. Second, make bloodstains more visible in yandere vision, either that or make small bloodstains unnoticeable. Third, the "follow me" mechanic is a bit broken. It's easy to find a concealed spot and kill Osana there. Working around her schedule might be a solution, but make sure the player has access to this information. Fourth, less time to murder your rival would be a good idea. Before school there's two in-game hours to do whatever you want, more than enough to complete this elimination method. And fifth, add more ways to decrease reputation, because the current method is no more than "select option A then option B" over and over.
Bear in mind 3rd and 4th suggestions would not work well for Osana as the tutorial rival, but rather, for future ones. That being said, some systems can be reworked so even the easy rival is fun, even for veteran players.
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Befriend Osana
Some people called this the "best elimination method" so we'll see. Restart the week my boys.
I found a bug with the topic not unlocking even after eavesdropping on the second Monday conversation, which is a bit annoying. After restarting the day, I kept going with the scheme as planned. It was strange how I couldn't put a note in Osana's locker, instead I had to find it first using the menu, then put the note, but details.
As I was waiting I pushed a student off the rooftop, just for the giggles, and the police came just in time for my meeting with Osana. Thought that was funny and decided to share.
The rest of the gameplay is basically an interactive cutscene. Unlike murder, where you have to be prepared for unexpected circumstances, this follows a very detailed plan. The idea of visiting the stalker's house is quite interesting, but again, no more than a cutscene. If this could be reworked I can see it being quite fun, but as I was playing I never felt the sort of adrenaline expected from a stealthy side-mission like this one.
By the way, the voice acting of the stalker's mom and sister is on point.
There's no real reason to avoid the stalker seeing you, as the game progresses the exact same way regardless. Hopefully this is because something is planned for future weeks.
That being said I have to wonder why the final cutscene doesn't have animations. When this method was used with Kokona, it was fully animated; it was all a matter of replacing the models and rewriting the dialogue, so I have to admit I was a bit confused.
In summary: It's good. Not as good as I was expecting, but good. It's just lore at this point rather than gameplay.
How would I improve it?: Definitely by making the stalker's house section more varied, perhaps more challenging, so that they can feel some sort of adrenaline. We are at a stranger's home, and someone who's potentially dangerous, so the gameplay should reflect that. Aside from that, the scheme feels too specific; multiple ways to reach the same end result would be much better for this kind of elimination method.
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Betray Osana
This won't be long. It's the exact same method as Befriend, with only a minor change at the end. Simple summary: there's no real reason to choose one or the other, other than to feel more like a yandere I guess. Betraying Osana has no benefit and only downsides, since I think this method will have more of an impact in Senpai's sanity.
How would I improve it?: There's multiple ways to do so. Because I explained previously how the scheme is so specific, I would consider making it less specific, and depending on how the player decides to help Osana, the game would automatically determine which cutscene would play out. The second option is to simply make Befriend have some sort of negative outcome; perhaps, simply Osana being the one to betray the player by confessing to Senpai anyway, making Betray the safer option but also the one that mostly affects Senpai.
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Expelling Osana
The first part of my playthrough was spent testing out different hairstyles and accessories. Considering we already have all those models available I wonder why Ayano doesn't have some sort of character creation screen as this was probably the most fun I had in the entire game lol (don't blame me, I love creating characters).
Later on I tried stealing Sakyu's ring as the scheme instructed. She saw me however, said "please don't touch that," then continued eating. Even though I had the ring, the game wouldn't let me put it inside Osana's bag. Also, restarting the day doesn't solve the issue as the scheme becomes unavailable.
The problem I have with this is that at no point did the game tell me that this was some sort of "fail state," on the contrary, the scheme kept on going. Even if it did tell me, how is this little interaction an instant fail on the elimination method? Especially when the solution is nothing special: just stand closer to the wall and take the ring; you can't even send a student to distract the sisters, something that would make much more sense mechanically. This little scheme was strange.
Next day, I had to place cigarettes on Osana's bag. Side note, I found it strange that the guidance counselor said possession of cigarettes is illegal, but that's just a nitpick. This scheme is a bit uneventful and there are ways to improve it but let's move on for now.
Next day on the scheme asked me to "wait" until a certain time of day. And tell me, what kind of game would ask the player to "wait"? It can suggest you to wait until a certain time when doing the scheme is more convenient, but there's an issue when the only option available is do nothing.
Next step was to steal the answer sheet and I failed this twice, having to go to the guidance counselor twice. The timing is way too tight here, becoming more frustrating than anything. Then, when I went to report Osana to the guidance counselor, she made no mention of how it was me the one that was trying to steal the answers. It would have been interesting if Ayano had to convince her through a series of answers/manipulation.
In summary: This elimination method feels too specific for no reason. Osana's phone, realistically, could be stolen on the last day; instead, the game requires you to steal it on Monday.
How would I improve it?: I still have serious issues with stealing Sakyu's ring; the way it's done feels more like an exploit or a glitch, not stealthy gameplay, so I would improve it in a way that the sisters have to go away before the ring can be stolen. As for placing cigarettes in Osana's bag, purchasing them from Info-chan is a bit boring. It would be much more interesting if the player was allowed to steal them from another student (say, Musume), then report Osana for both theft and smoking. With this in mind, the effectiveness of this method could be increased or decreased based on the player's actions, allowing for a more fluid gameplay instead of a binary outcome. Also, someone on this sub a while ago pointed out how it would be suspicious for Ayano to be reporting the same students for five days, and that instead it would be better if she could manipulate students into reporting Osana for her. I think this is a great idea and ties well with my previous suggestions: you could threaten Musume with reporting her to the guidance counselor for cigarettes, unless she reports Osana for the same. Finally, make all methods available at all times, and even add more, for more variety and less strict schemes.
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Burn Osana
The only way to kill Raibaru is to get a mind-broken slave, send her to Raibaru, and stab her at the same time. Because the topic of torture is kind of a trigger (and eff movies that constantly show it), I simply made use of debug commands. Apparently, though, the game wasn't made to have a mind-broken slave on Monday, meaning that as soon as I attempted it, everything kind of broke apart at the same time. I couldn't attend class because "a murder was taking place," but Raibaru just froze in place, so I basically softlocked the game.
A few attempts later I could do it… somewhat. The animations still didn't work but as long as the game recognized Raibaru as "dead" I was satisfied.
Anyhow, the rest of the scheme proceeded as usual. The only problem I had with it is how the player has no way of knowing which path Osana will take to the showers (as I put the candle in the school plaza), but that can be avoided by just putting the candle in a more obvious place.
In summary: This elimination method is decent enough. Raibaru is the only annoying thing about it.
How would I improve it?: As I said this one is decent and even easy enough, but it doesn't require much stealth from the player. Perhaps, because this method is more brutal than stabbing Osana, it could have a much more negative effect on Senpai. With other rivals though I expect this method to be a bit more challenging/fun.
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Framing Osana for Murder
This elimination method was actually more fun than the others. It allowed me to go into a killing spree without being caught and without having to dispose of corpses; after all, Osana was to be made responsible for them and Raibaru was not even an issue. I found it a bit annoying that the teachers could always see me trying to dispose of the bloody uniform, as there is no way to distract them or anything, and because of that this method took way too many attempts from me. However, it was fun enough; I think the game is at its most fun in this kind-of-sandbox state.
In summary: Perhaps the best elimination method so far, even though it requires no interaction with Osana.
How would I improve it?: As I've said, the amount of freedom it gives you is great. I think the player should not have so many instant game overs and instead be allowed to get through everything with enough skill. Just like with other methods though, more ways to get Osana's fingerprints would be good. More ways to remove your own fingerprints without the need of being in the drama club, and more ways even to make Osana look suspicious. It is kind of a plot hole how the police arrests her, seeing as she has an alibi (Raibaru) and both know it was Ayano the one who asked her to touch the box cutter. That might need more work.
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Rejecting Osana
If the previous was the best elimination method, this one is easily the second-best. I think this is one example of a well-designed method, even though it needs tweaking. Personally, I've been relying on schemes this entire time, as a new player. However, in this particular case, schemes take away much of the fun with it.
When I say this elimination method is well designed, it's because the player can get all the information they need right from the start. Osana speaks with Senpai right when the day begins, saying what they will do later, meaning the player can now use that information to their advantage.
The problem I have is with certain days. For example, throwing Senpai's book inside the fountain is a simple enough solution. However, recording Osana's conversation with Musume with a directional mic then going into the computer lab to edit said conversation and save it into Osana's phone seems like way too convoluted for the player to guess without the use of the scheme.
In summary: It's well designed and more elimination methods should follow this formula, but making it in a way that the player can do it without the need of a guide. This method also suffers from the same issue as expelling Osana in being too specific at times and not allowing a lot of choices.
How would I improve it?: Changing Osana's interactions with Senpai completely. Sabotaging their events doesn't have to be easy, but I guess… realistic? Also, it might be a good idea to sabotage them in a way that reinforces a negative aspect of Osana. For example, her being a tsundere makes Musume's conversation kind of believable, but her having a girl's panty shot is a bit strange for her. Definitely the biggest change though is to remove or rework Info-chan's scheme in a way that makes the player think through more.
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A few other elimination methods
Because the rest is more of the same, I just got them here in a little list.
Crushing Osana: This one is pretty easy, just like the burn Osana scheme. There's not much skill required and it's easy to get away with murder using this method.
Decapitating Osana: Decent again, although there's no way to cover up your crime. It seems there's finally a little use for the sanity meter, but because it's so easy to restore it, it kind of seems like a cosmetic effect in this case.
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Miscellaneous
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Final Thoughts on the Demo (Too Long, Didn't Read)
As I said in my previous review, the demo needs a lot of work still. It clearly has something going for it, but gameplay-wise it needs more work.
Mainly, the game is lacking in things to do. Waiting for something to happen is awful for any game, and the solutions are to include more content or rework how time works in the game. One of my suggestions is to include more side-quests and follow side-storylines. Again, Yandere Simulator has a lot of lore going for it, so why not take advantage of that? Each student's profile has a good amount of information and backstory about them, why not, instead of just doing a task for them, make the player follow a side story to gain certain advantages?
Example: Sakyu Basu and Inkyu Basu are said to be demons. Simply make the player follow a storyline where they try to uncover their real identity, and if they beat it, they could gain a simple perk such as… being more respected with the Occult Club, a reputation increase, or any other stat increase. This system is a bit similar to Persona 5, and seeing that game is already an inspiration, it would be a good idea. Sure, that means more work ahead, but also it means the game could be more fun and interesting to play.
That being said we should be aware of limitations. While this solution might be more fun, in the long run it'll take a lot of time to implement. Instead, reworking in-game time is perhaps the most sensible solution in this case. Knowing when to stop adding features is as important as knowing what to add, though that's a question that anyone in a development team has to ask themselves.
A side note before moving on: The game clearly doesn't know what it wants to be, so even though some of my previous suggestions might work well in their respective methods, they might not work completely as a cohesive idea and need more brainstorming than just an afternoon. Example the matchmaking suggestion; YanSim is not a visual novel, so more stealthy/manipulative methods might be more effective for this type of game.
As for what the game is at the moment, this might be a hard pill to swallow, but I think it's time to go back to the drawing board. The game isn't fun, it isn't terribly boring either but for the six years it took to get to this point it isn't anything impressive. Again the fact that this is "91% complete" is extremely worrying because a lot of its elements just don't work well together. So it might be a good idea to step back, think about what the game really needs, and work on that.
The problem is that YandereDev clearly can't see that as a viable option and I can understand that. Hate and disappointment would be the words of the day and the game would lack support because of it.
So instead, I'd say keep going with the crowdfunding campaign, but after a team is assembled, go back to the basics and start from scratch. Some of the current elements can be reused; as I said, the game does have something going for it, but trying to fix everything that went wrong would be much more expensive than just starting over, and I think that's the best solution at this point.
It's nothing I see happening soon, but I am aware that a lot of people are trying to make their own Yandere Simulator games. Hopefully this overly-long review can help any of them.
See you all around!
submitted by Tagerii to Osana [link] [comments]

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