Saturday, November 22, 2014

Showboating Doesn't Win Points

In the most recent UFC Fight Night, there was a lightweight fight between Bobby Green and Edson Barboza.  Green had just come off a close win over top contender Josh Thompson in July.  Green was the slight favorite but in the end, Barboza won the fight by unanimous decision.  During the fight, Green was taunting Barboza about his lack of knock out power.  He had his hands low and waved his finger at Barboza after absorbing a strike.  Then Barboza landed a perfect spinning roundhouse to the back of Green's head.  Green managed to still remain standing, which is a testament to his durability.  However, Green did not land as many shots as Barboza.  You don't get points for taunting nor showboating.  You do get points for landing more hits or takedowns.  Green's corner told him to turn the fight into a street fight.  He didn't listen, kept the fight standing, and kept playing around.  So while Green may have been the better fighter, he lost because he never took the fight seriously and gave the match to his opponent.
Green had a big opportunity to move up the ranks, but he demonstrated that he didn't care for bigger fights and didn't care for the fans.  He may have had fun messing around, but he only hurt himself with those antics.

Robert Lin enjoys basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thoughts on Grim Dawn

One research pointed out that only 25% of Steam's Early Access games become fully released.  After contributing to Crate Entertainment's Grim Dawn's Early Access cause, I feel this action RPG might be one of them.  The reason being is that there are numerous bugs that have been around since Alpha stage that are still plaguing the game.  Essentially, the game engine has limitations and the developers don't want to revamp the engine.  It would be a huge setback.  Here are several long overdue bugs that still have not been corrected: 1) some skills have pathing issues, where the player gets stuck and you have to wait a bit before you regain control again because your intended target was blocked by another enemy.  2) Enemies sometimes appear by the skill reset vendor in the town.  3) One skill appears to hit the enemy but does not, and it can't hit from point blank range.  4) Some quests if you complete the task before receiving the task, you have the option of clicking "I already did it."  Other similar tasks require you to redo the quest even if you completed it before receiving it.  There's probably a few more bugs that I haven't found since I've only been playing it for 3 weeks.
The game is fun when you overlook those few shortcomings.  There's five classes available and you can mix and match any two classes for a specific play style.  Act 2 is currently finished and the first half of Act 3 is said to come out early next year.  The game is also very generous with the loot, although I've been getting the same epic drops again and again.  It needs better RNG.

Robert Lin enjoys basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Roger Goodell should be Suspended a Year

The majority of people who are paying attention to the Ray Rice scandal will agree that the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, is a total a**hole and hypocrite.  Goodell claims he didn't know about the elevator tapes involving Rice and his then fiance, which led to his initial two-game ban on Rice.  But when TMZ released the footage to the public, Rice gets suspended indefinitely.  There has been many news articles circulating the web that both the Baltimore Ravens and Goodell knew about the tapes since April, when Rice admitted he hit his fiance.  There's reports that Rice got the two-game suspension because the Ravens' owner, Steve Bisciotti, convinced Goodell to reduce the punishment.  But since the videos became public, the NFL had no choice but to take swift and hard action against Rice.
The question is whether or not the league knew about the video in April.  The league is in denial.  So, Goodell is either lying or ignorant, and ignorance is grounds for one whole year suspension.  Where the one year suspension come from? From the outcome of the New Orleans Saints' bounty scandal.  Coach Sean Payton was banned for one year because he was unaware of the bounties his assistant coaches and several players were involved.
As ESPN contributor Bill Simmons and Drew Brees, the Saints' quarterback, pointed out, Goodell should be suspended for a whole year because he claimed ignorance and the bounty scandal already created a precedent on ignorance claims.  ESPN suspended Simmons for three weeks for his podcast criticizing both Goodell and ESPN.
Right now, Goodell has too much power.  The NFL will continue to remain messy with him in charge if there's no form of checks and balance to him.  The league has launched its own investigation of the Rice case.  However, the investigation is handled by WilmerHale, a law firm with close ties to the NFL instead of an independent and neutral one.  As a result, the NFLPA has requested that former federal prosecutor Richard Craig Smith probe the case on behalf of the NFLPA.  The union is hoping to get a neutral arbitrator to settle the case.  Unfortunately, the collective bargaining agreement allows Goodell to choose the judge.  Even if the judge is partial toward Goodell, his reign as commissioner is declining.  His legacy is tarnished and he may have to resign to save face.

Robert Lin loves basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google+.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Atlanta Hawks Owner wanted to be more Inclusive not Racist

Recently, majority owner of the Atlanta Hawks, Bruce Levenson, has felt pressured to sell his team because of an email he sent out to general manager, Danny Ferry, two years ago, which has now become public knowledge and alleges that he was making racist comments.  The truth was that Levenson wanted to attract higher income and white families to a sport venue predominantly attended by black fans.
This email would not have seen the light of day had Ferry not made these comments about forward Luol Deng of the Miami Heat, when he was a free agent this past summer: "He [Deng] is still a young guy overall.  He is a good guy overall.  But he's not perfect.  He's got some African in him.  And I don't say that in a bad way.  But he's a guy who would have a nice store out front, but sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back."  This is a description of a player who is well-respected in the league and in April was presented with J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award for his off-court charity work.
The offensive quote came from a background report, meaning a scout's report, which instead of editing it, Ferry said it out loud during a telephone meeting.  It turns out the scouting report came from a different team.  When minority owner Michael Gearon heard it, he requested to Levenson that Ferry be fired.  One of the Hawks' stakeholders called for an internal investigation.  A private Atlanta law firm performed the investigation.  During the review of over 24,000 documents, Levenson's two year old, questionable email resurfaced.

In the Levenson's email, there was the following passage:

 "I think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority" and "I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while I don't care what the color of the artist is, I want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that's our season [tickets] demo. I have also balked when every fan picked out of crowd to shoot shots in some timeout contest is black. I have even [complained] that the kiss cam is too black."

Levenson is basically telling his staff to find ways to draw more Caucasian customers.  He feels white people are uncomfortable mingling at the bar or at the arena where they're in the minority.  He advises his staff to play music that white people can identify, to hire white cheerleaders, and to have the stadium cams show there are other people besides African Americans that attend the games.  It is a sad state when the team has the second longest playoff streak at seven years, but finished 28th in attendance last season. As a businessman, Levenson wanted reform to bring out more revenue by being more inclusive of diverse customers.  It just so happens there's this witch hunt on white people because of Donald Sterling and the Ferguson case and he's being bunched in with them when he's not willfully racist at all.
In 2016, the Atlanta Braves will be moving from downtown Atlanta to the suburbs of Cobb County, Georgia.  It's called "white flight", a migration of people from a previous place that no longer meets their standards of safety and decency.  Cobb County is 65% white and has a poverty level of 12%, whereas Atlanta is 54% black with poverty level of 24%.  If more businesses relocate from Atlanta, the city deteriorates.
Levenson's email brings up the fact that Atlanta itself is a divided city.  White and black people feel unease around each other.  Levenson should be applauded for trying to be more inclusive and to keep the team in Atlanta instead of being forced to sell his team to a new ownership who might not be comfortable having a business in a black dominant neighborhood.

Robert Lin loves basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google+.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Not Rape if Unconscious

Yesterday, singer CeeLo Green tweeted a message that roughly said "It is not rape if the person is unconscious."  His Twitter account was temporarily shut down and he did apologize about the tweets.  He was going to have a reality tv show, "The Good Life", with TBS.  Thankfully, TBS cancelled the show in light of these accusations. 
Green tweeted those ignorant comments while he was on trial for giving a woman ecstasy before going back to her hotel.  The woman in question remembered going to dinner with him and then waking up naked at her hotel with no recollection of the events in between.  He tweeted, "People who have really been raped REMEMBER!" "If someone is passed out they're not even WITH you consciously! so WITH implies consent."
He compared his definition of rape with a home burglary.  "When someone brakes on a home (sic) there is broken glass where is your plausible proof anyone was raped."
In a burglary, there might be broken glass as evidence of burglary.  But when the victim is unconscious, there's no proof of invasion without consent and "not with you" consciously.  Basically, if the person is knocked out, the perpetrator has permission to do whatever.  Same as if a house has the door wide open and the house is empty.
Green tweeted that his comments were taken out of context before closing down his twitter account.
On Friday, the judge sentenced him to 3 years of probation and to be registered as a controlled substance offender.
Celebrities sometimes say the stupidest things.  It's a good thing the new "Yes means Yes" law on sexual consent will be passed. The only problem with the law is it'll be a battle of which person do we trust?  He said yes, she said no or she could have said yes, and other possibilities.  There will not be any witnesses.  Plus, asking for permission for sex between lovers ruins the whole "let's have sex" moment.
On a side note, a group of North Carolina State students is developing nail polish that will change colors in a drink if the drink has date-rape drugs such as Rohypnol, Xanax, and GHB.  It's called Undercover Colors. 

Robert Lin loves basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dishonored: Plot Device Ruins Gameplay

This weekend, Steam has free play for both Dishonored and Borderlands 2.  Dishonored is a first person stealth game developed by Arkane Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks in 2012.  The Empress has been murdered and the Lord Protector, aka, you, has been framed for her death.  Your mission is to rescue the Empress's kidnapped daughter, Emily, restore her to the throne, and eliminate the tyranny of the Lord Regent.  In this game's setting, there's a plague that is spread by rats.  Any person that becomes infected transform into weepers, creatures that are feral and spread infection. 

My biggest gripe with the game is the chaos system.  If there are many deaths, chaos spreads.  This means plague and weepers become more prevalent in addition to added security.  It doesn't matter if you kill guards, civilians, assassins, or thugs--more deaths leads to more chaos.  Now the general idea of dead bodies leads to rats feeding off them and spreading the plague is understandable.  But if you dispose of bodies in waste management bins or possess the shadow kill ability which renders killed people's bodies to disappear, then infection should not spread.  As such, more deaths leads to more chaos is a red herring--it's misleading.  It's a badly executed morality system, where you also don't know how much chaos you have generated.  At the end of each mission, the game tells you if you have low or high chaos.  If you do a good deed, say rescue a victim, the chaos decreases a bit.

Another problem with the chaos system is how it affects your gameplay.  The game gives you many options to incapacitate someone--magic, guns, grenades, stealth kills-- yet because killing leads to more chaos, all these nifty abilities are negligible.  Since there's no chaos meter, you can't figure out how many deaths you can get away and still earn the good ending.  What's the point of giving you options of how to handle a mission when the game is pushing you to play entirely by stealth and by non-lethal means since you're handicapped if you want to engage the enemy.

Robert Lin enjoys basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

From WNBA to NBA

After retiring from the WNBA, former San Antonio Silver Stars guard Becky Hammon will become the first woman to be a full-time coach in the NBA.  She will join Greg Popovich's staff on the San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach.  Hammon was a WNBA All-Star six times.  Last season, she spent a lot of time attending Spurs' film sessions and practices after she tore her ACL in her left knee.  This familiarity will help her transition to the coaching aspect.  In addition, her breakthrough in a male dominant field will help other women become coaches in the NBA too.
Previously, there was Natalie Nakase, currently a video coordinator assistant for the Los Angeles Clippers, who spent 10 days as an assistant on the summer league staff.  Before that, in 2009, Nancy Lieberman was head coach of the Texas Legends, a team affiliated with the NBA Developmental League.  Hammon has achieved the unthinkable, as she will now officially coach in the NBA.
The San Antonio Spurs were always forerunners in innovation.  They're known for having quality international players on their roster such as Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Boris Diaw, and Patty Mills.  This upcoming season, renowned Italian coach Ettore Messina will also be an assistant coach to Popovich.  Previously, he was a consultant for Mike Brown when Brown was head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.  The Spurs don't just try to break tradition.  They recognize people's talents and give them opportunity to shine.  Only time will tell when a woman will officially become a head coach in the NBA.

Robert Lin enjoys basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

David Thorpe Does Not Explain Why Byron Scott was a Bad Hire

Issac Baldizon/NBAE
Issac Baldizon/NBAE
In the TrueHoop section of ESPN's NBA website, noted contributor David Thorpe had a podcast with Henry Abbott about the Los Angeles Lakers's terrible hire of Byron Scott.  To sum it up, Thorpe thought Scott was a boring choice.  But he did not give a good reason(s) for why Scott was a bad choice.  He just assumed the Lakers made the safe move and did not bother looking elsewhere.  When Abbott asked Thorpe how does Scott operate, Thorpe admitted he did not know.  How do you criticize a coach if you don't know what is his coaching style?  Scott has had some success rebuilding a franchise, but it took time both with the New Jersey Nets and the then New Orleans Hornets.
Thorpe's advice for the Lakers was to be more innovative with management.  This meant traveling around the world for a year to find the best coaching staff.  He praised the Cleveland Cavaliers for hiring Israeli American coach David Blatt, who had great success for Israel's national team and the Detroit Pistons for hiring Stan Van Gundy, who is in the process of modeling the Pistons after his Orlando Magic team, which had one center and four shooters.
The Los Angeles Lakers looked at Scott, Lionel Hollins, George Karl, Alvin Gentry, Kurt Rambis, and Mike Dunleavy before selecting Scott.  I believe they picked Scott because he was a mentor to Kobe Bryant once, when Bryant was a rookie.  They wanted a coach who had experience working with young players, which he has.  They wanted a coach who can earn Byrant's respect and trust.  Scott might have the most respect and trust from Byrant out of the other candidates. 
While Scott's former teammates showed their support for him and shouted "Showtime is back", Scott realizes that he can't duplicate Showtime.  He knows the Lakers will not be able to be an up tempo team with the roster they have.  He's preaching defense and moving the ball around.  Coach Thorpe, that was Scott's coaching style.

Robert Lin enjoys basketball and anime.  Follow him on Twitter and/or Google.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Is That Wonder Woman?

Recently, Zach Snyder, the director of the upcoming Batman vs Superman movie, tweeted this photo of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.  While many people complain that Gadot does not have the build to portray Wonder Woman, the biggest gripe here is that it is devoid of color.  It is really bland.  Brown bland.  Most common pictures of Wonder Woman have her in a yellow, red, and blue outfit adorned with white stars.  If the upcoming movie will be shot like Sin City, okay, it might work.  But if everything else in this movie is colorful, she will look out of place.  The color makes her more suited for any other movie about ancient Greece or Rome, but not super heroes.  It also makes her outfit and weapons look old and dull.  The upper attire's design is nice, but her skirt could be longer.  The seat belt covering her chest plate looks unnecessary.  Here's hoping the production team makes some adjustments to Wonder Woman's color scheme before the movie gets released.

Robert Lin is a writer who enjoys basketball and manga.  Follow him on Twitter or Google.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

What are the Sacramento Kings Thinking?

Wiki Commons

During the NBA free agency, the Sacramento Kings chose not to resign starting point guard Isaiah Thomas and instead signed former Los Angeles Clippers backup point guard Darren Collison to be their new starter for $16 million over three years.  Meanwhile, Thomas has signed with the Phoenix Suns for $28 million over four years.  It gives the Kings a $7 million trade exception and the team is also saving $2 million a year.  However, by looking at their stats, Thomas is obviously the superior player.  Last season, Thomas averaged 20 points per game, shot 45% from the field, 35% from the three point line, 6 assists, and a 20 PER.  Collison's averages as a starter were 15 points, 48% FG, 42% 3PT, 5 assists, and a 16 PER.  PER stands for player efficiency rating.  Under the PER scale, a 16 is third option on a team, while 20 PER is borderline All-Star.  Why would anyone let go a potential All-Star caliber player for a third option?
The Kings were also pursuing Detroit Pistons forward Josh Smith, who currently is making $13.5 million and has four years left.  Smith has regressed considerably since he joined the Pistons last season.  The Kings already have forward Rudy Gay, who is making $17.8 million and has two years left.  Gay was a gunner that both the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors realized was detrimental to the team, yet the Kings traded for him.  Surprisingly Gay did have better number with the Kings than the Raptors and the Kings believe a change of scenery will do wonders for Smith too.
Most teams look for good players with cheap contracts, so the players are more valuable.  The Kings appear to want "good" players despite their bad contracts.  Hey Brooklyn Nets, the Kings are willing to trade for Joe Johnson and his massive $23 million contract because they think he'll be better in Sacramento.
The Kings were looking at Smith because they wanted a defensive presence.  There are two undrafted big men that were great defensively in college, UNLV's Khem Birch and Florida's Patric Young.  They would be better and cheaper options compared to trading for Smith.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Greedy Side of Kickstarter and Early Access 

These days, many game developers are eschewing major publishers and trying to get their games launched through Kickstarter, followed by Early Access.  With Kickstarter, the game developer uses a crowdfunding platform to raise money for their game project.  Instead of borrowing money from a major publisher, indie developers turn to the general public for sponsorship.  People that donate might get a pre-order bonus.  Since they are avoiding major or mainstream publishers, they are called indie developers.  The reason being is so they have full control over their project, IP (intellectual property), and including how the money is used. 
For example, Iron Lore made the popular action RPG (role playing game) series Titan Quest for now defunct THQ but the Titan Quest IP belonged to THQ.  Now, many of the staffers from Iron Lore have moved on to Crate Entertainment and are working on the spiritual successor to Titan Quest, which is called Grim Dawn.  Crate Entertainment have already exceeded their Kickstarter goal and the game is currently in Early Access.  Two Acts and four classes are currently available, with multiplayer planned to be added in the future.
Early Access is a sponsorship way of quality assurance control.  Normally, a major publisher would pay QA testers, people with such experience, to try the game and look for bugs and errors.  With Early Access, the public has to pay to play the game in advance and look for bugs, knowing that the game is incomplete.  Some people do look for errors, others just pay just to play the game.  As a result, the finished product might take longer and who knows if the game will be complete since the indie developer is getting free money with no strings attached.  They're making a profit and they don't have to complete the game.
Now, Crate Entertainment is not one of those developers that are "stealing" money from the public.  Anybody can see their progress from their official page or through Steam, which is offering Early Access.  But there are some companies that do or have folded because of money incompetence.  One recent example is Yogadventures.  It raised $567,000 through Kickstarter, but experienced development difficulties and now the game is cancelled.  All the Kickstarter supporters will get shit back.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Should the Cleveland Cavaliers Trade Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love?

Getty Images

Disgruntled power forward Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves wants to be traded.  He is tired of losing and missing the playoffs.  The two main suitors for his services are the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.  The Warriors may offer either three-point specialist Klay Thompson or sophomore forward Harrison Barnes in a package deal with former All-Star David Lee.  Meanwhile, the Wolves are demanding this year's top pick, shooting guard Andrew Wiggins, to be included any trade offer from the Cavaliers and next year's first round pick.
            The Cavaliers should take their time pondering over this trade.  What they don't realize is they have more power than the Wolves.  The Wolves know that they might get nothing if they let Love walk away after next season.  First, the Cavs should determine what Wiggins can do and how well he plays alongside Kyrie Irving and LeBron James.  They can still discuss trading for Love near the trade deadline or pursue him in free agency.
            The Cavs can learn from the Miami Heat in 2004 when they were pursuing the Los Angeles Lakers's Shaquille O'Neal.  The Lakers initially wanted sophomore sensation Dwyane Wade in a trade for Shaq, but the Heat refused.  The Heat ended up keeping Wade and trading away Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, and Brian Grant for Shaq.  The Cavs prefer to trade Dion Waiters, Anthony Bennett, and Anderson Varejao for Love.  If the Cavs remain patient, the Wolves might have to accept what the Cavs offer if they hope to get something of value from the loss of Love.

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