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20 Point and Click Games You Should Play Right Now!

1. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge
Monkey Island 2 follows Guybrush's continuing adventures some time after defeating the Ghost Pirate LeChuck. His arrival on Scabb Island was in pursuit of the legendary treasure of Big Whoop. LeChuck's Revenge plays like most SCUMM-based point-and-click adventure games. Actions and dialogues are depicted on an Animation Window which covers the top of the screen; verbal commands are listed in the lower left-hand corner of the screen, while Inventory items are shown as icons on the lower right-hand corner. A Sentence Line is located below the Animation Window and serves in describing the actions of the player.The game was one of the few adventure games that offered the player a choice in levels of puzzle difficulty. In some versions, before starting the game, the player is prompted to choose between regular version and "Monkey 2 Lite", a relatively stripped-down experience that bypasses many puzzles entirely. On the back of the game's packaging it is (jokingly) stated that this mode is intended for video-game reviewers.
2. Day of the Tentacle
The game, a loose sequel to Maniac Mansion, is focused on Bernard Bernoulli — the only one of the three playable characters that was featured in the first game — and his friends Laverne and Hoagie, as they help Dr. Fred Edison using a time machine to prevent Purple Tentacle from taking over the world. The game utilizes time travel and the effects of changing history as part of the many puzzles to be solved in the game. Day of the Tentacle follows the point-and-click two-dimensional adventure game formula, first established by the original Maniac Mansion. Players direct the controllable characters around the game world by clicking with the computer mouse. To interact with the game world, players choose from a set of nine commands arrayed on the screen (such as "pick up", "use", or "talk to") and then on an object in the world. This was the last SCUMM game to use the original interface of having the bottom of the screen being taken up by a verb selection and inventory; starting with the next game to use the SCUMM engine, Sam & Max Hit the Road, the engine was modified to scroll through a more concise list of verbs with the right mouse button and having the inventory on a separate screen.Day of the Tentacle uses time travel extensively; early in the game, the three main protagonists are separated across time by the effects of a faulty time machine. The player, after completing certain puzzles, can then freely switch between these characters, interacting with the game's world in the separate time periods. Certain small inventory items can be shared by placing the item into the "Chron-o-Johns", modified portable toilets that instantly transport objects to one of the other time periods, while other items are shared by simply leaving the item in a past time period to be picked up by a character in a future period. Changes made to a past time period will affect a future one, and many of the game's puzzles are based on the effect of time travel, aging of certain items, and alterations of the time stream. For example, one puzzle requires the player, while in the future era where Purple Tentacle has succeeded, to send a medical chart of a Tentacle back to the past, having it used as the design of the American flag, then collecting one such flag in the future to be used as a Tentacle disguise to allow that character to roam freely.The whole original Maniac Mansion game can be played on a computer resembling a Commodore 64 inside the Day of the Tentacle game; this practice has since been repeated by other game developers, but at the time of Day of the Tentacle's release, it was unprecedented.
3. The Secret of Monkey Island
It takes place in a fantastical version of the Caribbean during the age of piracy. The player assumes the role of Guybrush Threepwood, a young man who dreams of becoming a pirate and explores fictional islands while solving puzzles. The Secret of Monkey Island is a 2D adventure game played from a third-person perspective. Via a point-and-click interface, the player guides protagonist Guybrush Threepwood through the game's world and interacts with the environment by selecting from twelve verb commands (nine in newer versions) such as "talk to" for communicating with characters and "pick up" for collecting items between commands and the world's objects in order to successfully solve puzzles and thus progress in the game. While conversing with other characters, the player may choose between topics for discussion that are listed in a dialog tree; the game is one of the first to incorporate such a system. The in-game action is frequently interrupted by cutscenes. Like other LucasArts adventure games, The Secret of Monkey Island features a design philosophy that makes the player character's death nearly impossible (Guybrush does drown if he stays underwater for more than ten minutes).
4. Loom
Loom is based on a serious and complex fantasy story. With its experimental interface, it eschewed the traditional paradigm of graphical adventures, where puzzles usually involve interactions between the game character, the environment, and items the character has in their possession. Loom's gameplay centers instead around magical four-note tunes known as "drafts" that the protagonist, Bobbin Threadbare, can play on his distaff. Each draft is a spell that has an effect of a certain type, such as "Opening" or "Night Vision." Some drafts can be reversed by playing their notes backwards, so the "Dye" draft played backwards becomes "Bleach," while others, such as the "Terror" draft, are palindromes (e.g. C–E–E–C) and so cannot be reversed in this manner. Bobbin can learn drafts by observing an object that possesses the qualities of the desired draft; for example, by examining a blade while it is being sharpened, Bobbin can learn the "Sharpening" draft. When the game begins, Bobbin is only able to play drafts using the notes C, D and E, limiting his ability to reproduce more powerful drafts. As the game progresses and additional notes become available, so his ability to play new drafts increases. The game can be played at three difficulty levels, each differing in how clearly the notes being played are labeled. For example, the "Standard" level indicates the notes on a scale below the distaff, while the "Expert" level shows no notes and must be played by ear. In the original release, expert players are rewarded with a cutscene that does not appear for the other two difficulties. The later CD-ROM release, however, shows an abridged version of this scene to all players.
5. Beneath a Steel Sky
Beneath a Steel Sky is a 2D adventure game played from a third-person perspective. The player uses a point-and-click interface to interact with the environment and to guide protagonist Robert Foster through the game's world. To solve puzzles and progress in the game, the player collects items that may be combined with one another, used on the environment, or given to non-player characters (NPCs).The protagonist converses with NPCs via dialogue trees to learn about the game's puzzles and plot.Clues and other information are obtained by clicking on items in the inventory and on objects in the environment.Unlike in most adventure games at the time, the protagonist's death is possible, after which the player starts from the last save point.The player controls a character called Rob Foster. Rob was rescued by a tribe of bandits as a child after he was found as the only surviving member of a helicopter crash, on which his mother was also a passenger. He is raised by the tribe and comes to look upon them as his family, learning skills such as hunting and building himself a robot from discarded scraps found in local garbage dumps. They inhabit a barren wasteland known as "The Gap", a deserted area that was once part of the Australian outback, a harsh place where daily survival is a struggle.
6. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure
Last Crusade was one of the most innovative of the LucasArts adventures. It expanded on LucasArts' traditional adventure game structure by including a flexible point system—the IQ score, or "Indy Quotient"—and by allowing the game to be completed in several different ways.The point system was similar to that of Sierra's adventure games, however when the game was restarted or restored, the total IQ of the previous game was retained. The only way to reach the maximum IQ of 800 was by finding alternative solutions to puzzles, such as fighting a guard instead of avoiding him.This countered one common criticism of adventures games, whereby since there is only one way to finish the game, they have no replay value.Also, the point system helped the game to appeal to a variety of player types. Some of the alternative fights, such as the one with the Zeppelin attendant, were very difficult to pass, so the maximum IQ was very difficult to achieve.
7. Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
The plot is set in the fictional Indiana Jones universe and revolves around the eponymous protagonist's global search for the legendary sunken city of Atlantis. Sophia Hapgood, an old co-worker of Indiana Jones who gave up her archaeological career to become a psychic, supports him along the journey. The two partners are pursued by the Nazis who seek to use the power of Atlantis for warfare, and serve as the adventure's antagonists.Fate of Atlantis is based on the SCUMM story system by Ron Gilbert, Aric Wilmunder, Brad P. Taylor, and Vince Lee, thus employing similar gameplay to other point-and-click adventures developed by LucasArts in the 1980s and 1990s.The player explores the game's static environments while interacting with sprite-based characters and objects; they may use the pointer to construct and give commands with a number of predetermined verbs such as "Pick up", "Use" and "Talk to".Conversations with non-playable characters unfold in a series of selectable questions and answers.Early on, the player is given the choice between three different game modes, each with unique cutscenes, puzzles to solve and locations to visit: the Team Path, the Wits Path, and the Fists Path.In the Team Path, protagonist Indiana Jones is joined by his partner Sophia Hapgood who will provide support throughout the game.The Wits Path features an abundance of complex puzzles, while the Fists Path focuses heavily on action sequences and fist fighting, the latter of which is completely optional in the other two modes.Atypical for LucasArts titles, it is possible for the player character to die at certain points in the game, though dangerous situations were designed to be easily recognizable.A score system, the Indy Quotient Points, keeps track of the puzzles solved, the obstacles overcome and the important objects found.
8. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers
Sins of the Fathers follows the eponymous Gabriel Knight, owner of a rare book store, and fledgling writer, as he investigates a series of local murders he plans to use as the basis for his new novel.Its story unfolds, mostly linearly, over a sequence of "days", each of which has a required set of actions which must be performed before proceeding to the next day. However, within each day, play may be nonlinear. Throughout the game, a running score is kept as new challenges, both required and optional, are completed.Unlike newer graphical adventure games using context-sensitive cursors that change based on what the cursor is hovering over, Sins of the Fathers uses "dumb icons" or "dumb cursors" so that the correct cursor must be chosen for a specific interaction with an on- screen object. The various cursors are accessed by either selecting the respective icon from the "icon bar" or by cycling through the cursors in a predefined order. The available cursors are: "WALK", "LOOK", "ASK", "TALK", "PICKUP", "OPEN/CLOSE", "OPERATE", and "MOVE". Inventory items can also be used as cursors with the active inventory item also available in the cursor cycle.Also located on the "icon bar" are the "INVENTORY" and "RECORDER" buttons, the active inventory item window, score, and the "CONTROLS" and "HELP" buttons. Clicking on the "INVENTORY" button will open the inventory window, where items can be selected and combined as well as cursor icons that allow the player to use "READ", "OPEN", and "LOOK" commands with any inventory item.The "ASK" and "TALK" cursors differ in their functions. The "TALK" cursor functions as a short, general, interaction with most characters. The "ASK" cursor is available in "interrogation mode" and is only available with main characters. Interrogation mode allows the player to ask the main characters questions by clicking on a topic from the displayed list. Global Topics may be asked of any character and are always present in the lists, while specific topics are unique to each character and are subject to change. Past conversations are accessible through the "RECORDER" button which opens a recorder tapes window that displays tapes for each of the main characters.At certain points during the game, the player is required to translate and send Drum Codes and Voodoo Codes. This is done by either selecting the correct character for the Voodoo code or by selecting the correct sequence for the drum code.
9. Full Throttle
Set in the near future, the game's story follows Ben, the leader of a biker gang, who is framed for the murder of a beloved motorcycle manufacturing mogul and seeks to clear his and his gang's names. Players can move the player character to any place on the scene, interact with objects that are highlighted by the cursor, or leave scenes via exits - either on foot for most scenes, or via the character's motorbike, both types denoted by their own icon. As with other LucasArts graphic adventure games of the era, dialogue plays a large part in the game, presenting story elements and information necessary to advance, as well as fleshing out the characters. During conversations with other characters, several choices of dialogue are presented. The currently selected choice is highlighted, and once clicked, the player character responds with the selected choice. Choosing the correct response allows the player to advance the conversation and ultimately advance the scene.Following on from LucasArts' previous graphic adventure, Sam & Max Hit the Road (1993), which introduced a new inventory and interaction system to replace those of their prior games,Full Throttle continued to refine on the changes introduced in Sam & Max Hit the Road: Objects or characters with which Ben can interact are indicated by a red square appearing around the cursor's crosshairs when it is placed over the object. When this occurs, holding down the control on this causes a contextual pie menu to appear - designed upon the emblem of Ben's biker gang: a flaming circle topped by a skull and flanked by a boot and a gloved hand. The player hovers the cursor over elements of the emblem and then releases the mouse button to attempt various interactions with the object; for example, selecting the skull's mouth to speak to a character, its eyes to examine an object, or the hand to pick up, use, or pull the object. Right-clicking anywhere on the screen brings up the player's inventory of collected objects, which can be examined or dragged and dropped in order to use them with other items in the inventory, or with objects or characters in the scene.
10. Sam & Max Hit the Road
Based on the 1989 Sam & Max comic On the Road, the duo take the case of a missing bigfoot from a nearby carnival, traveling to many Americana tourist sites to solve the mystery. The player uses Sam to explore the pre-rendered cartoon environments of the game and solve a series of puzzles using a simple point-and-click interface.The game's puzzles have logical solutions, although a number of them have far-fetched solutions due to the game's cartoon setting. Players can set the game's cursor in a particular mode to designate how Sam interacts with the environment: Sam can walk around an area, talk to other characters, look at objects, pick them up or otherwise try to use them.The cursor's graphic changes when it is hovered over an in-game entity that Sam can interact with. When talking to another character, the player is given a choice of subject areas to discuss, depicted in a conversation tree as icons at the base of the screen. In addition to specific topics involving the game's plot, Sam can inject unconnected exclamations, questions and non sequiturs into a conversation.The game incorporates an inventory system for items that Sam picks up during the course of the game. Items can be used on other entities in the game world, or can often be combined with other inventory items to provide a new object necessary for solving a puzzle. Although Max's character will walk around the game's areas by his own will, Sam can also use Max at various points by using an inventory icon of Max's head on game objects—usually on characters where the solution to a problem involves violence.Sam and Max travel to different locations in the game using their black and white 1960 DeSoto Adventurer, which when clicked on in-game will present a map of the United States with all the available locations the pair can travel to shown. As the game progresses, the number of locations on the map increases.In addition to the main game, Sam & Max Hit the Road includes several minigames. Some of these, such as a carnival game based on Whac-A-Mole but involving live rats, must be completed in order to receive new items and further the game's plot, while others, such as a car-themed version of Battleship, are entirely optional as to whether the player uses them.As with the majority of LucasArts adventure games, Sam & Max Hit the Road is designed so that the player characters cannot die or reach a complete dead-end.
11. Simon the Sorcerer
The game follows a boy named Simon, who is transported to a parallel universe to embark on a mission to rescue a wizard called Calypso from an evil sorcerer named Sordid. As a point-and-click adventure game, the player controls Simon using the mouse.Gameplay involves moving Simon around and interacting with objects and other characters. The player can make Simon perform actions such as giving an item to another character, talk to another character, and pick up (add to inventory), examine, use, move, consume, wear, or open or close an item. Some actions are binary: they involve two objects and the player sometimes, after telling Simon to use an item, needs to specify what to use it with.A map that enables Simon to instantly transport to a major landmark (if it has been discovered) is provided.The postcard is used to load, save, or quit the game.The game includes parodies of various popular books and fairy tales, including Rapunzel, The Lord of the Rings, Discworld, The Chronicles of Narnia, Jack and the Beanstalk, and the Three Billy Goats Gruff.
12. Simon the Sorcerer II: The Lion, the Wizard and the Wardrobe
The Evil wizard Sordid is brought back to life when a magic-book of his is set ablaze and thrown into the middle of a chalkboard pentagram by the father of Runt, a young boy wanting to become a mighty sorcerer. Sordid promises him that he can become his apprentice if he helps him exact his vengeance on Simon.Several months later, Sordid's Fortress of Doom is reconstructed and Sordid has a new robotic body. He sends a magical wardrobe to fetch Simon but it accidentally ends up on the doorstep of Calypso, the wizard Simon had to save in the last game. Simon then starts to look for a fuel called mucusade which he needs to power the wardrobe in order to get home.
13. Flight of the Amazon Queen
Flight of the Amazon Queen is a point and click graphic adventure game. It follows a pilot for hire named Joe King who is hired to fly a famous actress to her next job, but ends up in a lightning storm and crashes deep in the Amazon Jungle. In the jungle, Joe uncovers a plot by a mad scientist to take over the world by creating an army of dinosaur women created from Amazon women.
14. Dark Seed
Unlike most point-and-click adventure games, which give the player time to explore, many actions in Dark Seed must occur within precise time limits, or the game will end up in an unwinnable state. As a result of this, one must start over repeatedly to win without resorting to a walkthrough. Amiga Format, in its review, stated with regards to Darkseed's gameplay: "Too many things in the game need to be done within a specific time, or in a certain order, and you don't necessarily know when you've passed that 'critical point' after which you're fighting a lost cause. As a result, you often have to play the game several times over, going through scenes you've seen countless times before." Certain events/puzzles rely on the player dying and then learning from there what to do: for instance, on day two, police wait outside Dawson's house in the afternoon to arrest him if he steps outside the front door, with no clue as to their presence until it's too late, resulting in a game over. Similarly, the player must take a painkiller each morning in the bathroom or the protagonist continually complains about a headache after every line of dialogue; there is no hint or indication to do this.The player has three real time hours within which they must complete the game, which is the equivalent of three in-game days. Time can also be passed by using the in-game wait function, and the time can be checked by looking at Dawson's watch, or by inspecting the grandfather clock in the house. At the end of each day, Dawson goes to sleep and upon going to bed, each night he has a nightmare of the Dark World. Dawson automatically goes to sleep at ten P.M. each night, regardless of where the player is. If it becomes night while Dawson is in the Dark World, he will fall asleep and die, resulting in a game over. Dawson is able to access the Dark World on day two upon receiving a piece of a mirror in the mail and re-assembling it with the rest of the mirror, creating a portal to the Dark World. Every room, person and object in the normal world has a Dark World equivalent and this is often necessary for puzzle solving.When interacting with objects, the options available to the player include look/inquire, touch/manipulate, and move, denoted by a "?", a hand, and four arrows pointing inwards respectively. Looking at an object and manipulating an object are context-sensitive: the "?" becomes a "!" when the cursor is over items or areas of interest and the hand icon points upwards when the cursor is over items that can be picked up or manipulated.
15. The Dig
In the game, the player takes the role of Commander Boston Low, part of a five-man team planting explosives on an asteroid in order to avert its collision course with Earth. Discovering the asteroid is hollow, Low and two of his team are transported to a long-abandoned complex, filled with advanced technology, on a strange alien world. Low and his companions must utilize xenoarchaeology to learn how the technology works, discover the fate of the alien race that built it, and solve other mysteries to find a way to return home. The Dig is a point-and-click adventure game, where the player, as Commander Boston Low, uses the mouse cursor to point to people, objects, and other parts of the environment to look at or interact with them, collect and use items in their inventory, and talk to non-player characters. The game runs on the SCUMM game engine, and was the eleventh LucasArts game to do so. A minigame can be found on the communicator menu, consisting of "Asteroid Lander", a Lunar Lander like game. During development, there were plans to include role-playing game elements, but these were scrapped before the game's release.
16. Maniac Mansion
It follows teenage protagonist Dave Miller as he attempts to rescue his girlfriend Sandy Pantz from a mad scientist, whose mind has been enslaved by a sentient meteor. Maniac Mansion is a graphic adventure game in which the player uses a point-and-click interface to guide characters through a two-dimensional game world and to solve puzzles. Fifteen action commands, such as "Walk To" and "Unlock", may be selected by the player from a menu on the screen's lower half. The player starts the game by choosing two out of six characters to accompany protagonist Dave Miller: Bernard, Jeff, Michael, Razor, Syd, and Wendy. Each character possesses unique abilities: for example, Syd and Razor can play musical instruments, while Bernard can repair appliances. The game may be completed with any combination of characters; but, since many puzzles are solvable only by certain characters, different paths must be taken based on the group's composition. Maniac Mansion features cutscenes, a word coined by Ron Gilbert, that interrupt gameplay to advance the story and inform the player about offscreen events.The game takes place in the mansion of the fictional Edison family: Dr. Fred, a mad scientist; Nurse Edna, his wife; and their son Weird Ed. Living with the Edisons are two large, disembodied tentacles, one purple and the other green. The intro sequence shows that a sentient meteor crashed near the mansion twenty years earlier; it brainwashed the Edisons and directed Dr. Fred to obtain human brains for use in experiments. The game begins as Dave Miller prepares to enter the mansion to rescue his girlfriend, Sandy Pantz, who had been kidnapped by Dr. Fred. With the exception of the green tentacle, the mansion's inhabitants are hostile, and will throw the player characters into the dungeon—or, in some situations, kill them—if they see them. When a character dies, the player must choose a replacement from the unselected characters; and the game ends if all characters are killed. Maniac Mansion has five possible endings, based on which characters are chosen, which survive, and what the characters accomplish.
17. The Lost Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Serrated Scalpel
In November 1888, Sherlock Holmes is engaged by Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard to help with the murder investigation of a young actress, Sarah Carroway. She was killed outside a theatre in the Mayfair area of London. Lestrade thinks the manner of her death shows that this is another strike by Jack the Ripper, but Holmes believes someone else committed the crime. It appears that the victim was killed with an unusual knife, one shaped like a scalpel but with a serrated blade.The investigation takes Holmes and Dr. Watson to many parts of late 19th Century London, including a perfume shop, the zoological gardens, the morgue, a pub, several dwellings, Surrey Commercial Dock, Savoy Street Pier, St Pancras Station, and of course 221B Baker Street. They encounter a number of characters connected to the case and also get assistance from Inspector Gregson, the leader of the Baker Street Irregulars named Wiggins, and the invaluable tracking dog Toby. The player moves around London via an elaborate overview map. Additional locations become available when Holmes finds additional leads. In each location, the player can select nine different verbal options to interact with objects or people. When accessing the inventory menu, the player has three different verbal actions to manipulate any items Holmes has picked up. When talking to people, Holmes has different dialogue options to gain information or try to get their cooperation. Dr. Watson can give his views, which may serve as puzzle hints. He may even help Holmes to perform an action he cannot do alone. Dr. Watson's journal also references the events in the gameplay.The graphics are VGA, with MIDI music and a few scenes with digitalized speech (in the intro and end sequence, and the cutscene at St Pancras Station. In the other scenes there are sound effects, but no speech). The player interacts with the characters through a command menu with verb icons that is intuitive for anyone who had played other adventure games of the period. The 3DO version consists of full voiced dialogue and the portraits of the talkers were replaced by clips with filmed actors, but also drops Dr. Watson's journal feature.In the video clips in the 3DO version, Sherlock Holmes was played by David Ian Davies, and Dr. Watson was played by Laurie Main.
18. Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders
The story is set in 1997, 9 years after the game's production. The plot follows Zak (full name Francis Zachary McKracken), a writer for the National Inquisitor, a tabloid newspaper (the name is a thinly veiled allusion to the National Enquirer); Annie Larris, a freelance scientist; along with Melissa China and Leslie Bennett, two Yale University coed students, in their attempt to prevent the nefarious alien Caponians (who have taken over "The Phone Company", an amalgamation of various telecommunication companies around the world) from slowly reducing the intelligence of everybody on Earth by emitting a 60 Hz "hum" from their "Mind Bending Machine". The Skolarians, another ancient alien race, have left a defense mechanism hanging around to repulse the Caponians (the "Skolarian Device"), which needs reassembly and start-up. Unfortunately, the parts are spread all over Earth and Mars.
19. The Curse of Monkey Island
The game's story centers on Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate who must lift a curse from his love Elaine Marley. As the story progresses, he must deal with a band of mysterious pirates, a rival stereotypical French buccaneer, a band of cutthroat smugglers, as well as his old nemesis Captain LeChuck. The Curse of Monkey Island is a point-and-click adventure game. The SCUMM engine was also used in this Monkey Island installment but it was upgraded to a "verb coin" (modelled after Full Throttle), an interface that consisted in a coin-shaped menu with three icons: a hand, a skull, and a parrot, basically representing actions related to hands, eyes and mouth, respectively. These icons implied the actions Guybrush would perform with an object. The hand icon would usually mean actions such as picking something up, operating a mechanism or hitting someone, the skull icon was most used for examining or looking at objects and the parrot icon was used to issue Guybrush commands such as talking to someone or opening a bottle with his teeth. The inventory and actions were thus visible on click, rather than on the bottom of the screen as previous point-and-click games by Lucasarts.The player controlled a white 'X' cursor with the mouse, that turned red whenever landing onto an object (or person) with which Guybrush could interact. Holding left click over an object, whether in or outside the inventory, would bring up the coin menu, while right clicking it would perform the most obvious action with this particular object. Right clicking a door, for example, made Guybrush attempt to open it, while right clicking a person meant talking to him or her.
20. Grim Fandango
Grim Fandango takes place in the Land of the Dead (the Eighth Underworld), where recently departed souls aim to make their way to the Land of Eternal Rest (the Ninth Underworld) on the Four Year Journey of the Soul. Good deeds in life are rewarded by access to better travel packages to assist in making the journey (such as sports cars and luxury ocean cruises), the best of which is the Number Nine, an express train that takes four minutes to reach the gate to the Ninth Underworld. However, souls who did not lead a kind life are left to travel through the Land of the Dead on foot, which would take around four years. Such souls often lose faith in the existence of the Ninth Underworld and instead find jobs in the Land of the Dead. The travel agents of the Department of Death act as the Grim Reaper to escort the souls from the Land of the Living to the Land of the Dead, and then determine which mode of transport the soul has merited. Each year on the Day of the Dead, these souls are allowed to visit their families in the Land of the Living.The souls in the Land of the Dead appear as skeletal calaca figures. Alongside them are demons that have been summoned to help with the more mundane tasks of day-to-day life, such as vehicle maintenance and even drink service. The souls themselves can suffer death-within-death by being "sprouted", the result of being shot with "sproutella"-filled darts that cause flowers to grow out through the bones. Many of the characters are Mexican and occasional Spanish words are interspersed into the English dialogue, resulting in Spanglish. Many of the characters smoke, following a film noir tradition; the manual asks players to consider that every smoker in the game is dead. Grim Fandango is an adventure game, in which the player controls Manuel "Manny" Calavera (calavera being Spanish for 'skull') as he follows Mercedes "Meche" Colomar in the Underworld. The game uses the GrimE engine, pre-rendering static backgrounds from 3D models, while the main objects and characters are animated in 3D. Additionally, cutscenes in the game have also been pre-rendered in 3D. The player controls Manny's movements and actions with a keyboard, a joystick, or a gamepad. The remastered edition allows control via a mouse as well. Manny must collect objects that can be used with either other collectible objects, parts of the scenery, or with other people in the Land of the Dead in order to solve puzzles and progress in the game. The game lacks any type of HUD. Unlike the earlier 2D LucasArts games, the player is informed of objects or persons of interest not by text floating on the screen when the player passes a cursor over them, but instead by the fact that Manny will turn his head towards that object or person as he walks by.[2] The player reviews the inventory of items that Manny has collected by watching him pull each item in and out of his coat jacket. Manny can engage in dialogue with other characters through conversation trees to gain hints of what needs to be done to solve the puzzles or to progress the plot. As in most LucasArts adventure games, the player can never die or otherwise get into a no-win situation (that prevents completion of the game).
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"Of Nen and Zen". A short essay concerning the eastern philosphy and mysticism in hunterxhunter.

Soo.. this has taken a lot longer than anticipated, but I think it is ready.
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I believe I found something that shines a new light on togashi's nen system(maybe somebody already pointed this out but, maybe not. Either way this will be my own spin on it.) This will take some time to explain and is not the easiest of topics to convey with words, but I'll try my best. So bare with me. It will be worth it I promise.
Oh and by the way, I'm not a native speaker, so there are probably many misspellings and grammar fuckups included. I tried my best with what I've been taught, but yes there probably will be A LOT. :D
If anyone would like to help improve the grammar of this post, please message me.

- The book of changes -

how two makes four

So, I'm really interested in eastern philosophy and mysticism and while researching the four basic elements, I came about a system that goes up and beyond. It's kind of like the binary system actually. It starts with 2 components, light/hard and dark/soft. Those would resemble the dual level represented by 1/0 or yin and yang. They are portrayed as a continuous line **--- for yang(light)**and a discontinuous line - - for yin(dark). It's a bit un intuitive as they are drawn in black, but what can we do. While it doesn't visually fit with light and dark, there is another property included that is portrayed better through the lines and that is --- yang(hard) and - - yin(soft). The space really helps in conveying the soft quality at least. But enough critiquing of ancient peoples work. I really like to believe they wanted to do better, but just couldn't get their hands on that white ink. So let's cut them some slack and move on.
There are many things in nature that share a dual relation like that, to name a few: cold/warm, fast/slow, night/day, male/female and also to heaven(天) and earth(地) as in spatial directions. They're relation might seem opposite at firs,t but only on the conceptual level. In nature its an ever flowing and changing process.



Yin, dark, soft (female) - -
Yang, light, strong (male) ---
https://preview.redd.it/qqc7wzuv8av21.png?width=600&format=png&auto=webp&s=d239c1dc11520a33e78c0d7a07cce70d7eb8d388
So, right now we have only 2 distinct states, but if we add another line to the image we are suddenly left with four different states (in mathemathical terms this would be 2^2[ two exponent two] in this case 2\2, the first number being the possible states of the unit and the exponent being the number of units combined.* It's neat to see this, but if you totally loathe math, just ignore it, it's not needed to understand this.)
Anyway, I think these are the ones most people are familiar with: air(wind and sometimes wood), water, fire, earth also called: old yin, young yang, young yin, old yang. They make up a continuous cycle while inheriting and recombining the above properties and are fundamentally described like this:

Wind, (風)

dry, subtle, coldest (male)

Water (水)

most humid, dense, cold (female)

Fire (火)

dry, subtle, warmest (male)

Earth (土)

humid, densest, warm (female)

That's already pretty interesting I'd say, but what I really want to show you goes one step further. If we now add one more line (2^3), what we get are called the "8 trigrams". I first learned about these in German and now upon taking a closer look at the English versions out there, I chose to take the best from both worlds and use what I can.
Also, from here on out I can include the corresponding Unicode symbols (yes, they really are included, but unfortunately pretty small. But it's nice they don't count as images that way, curse you image limit!)

The 8 trigrams


Parents:

☰ Kiën (乾 qián),

the creative, is the force, is strength, is the sky, the father

☷ Kun (坤 kūn) ,

the receptive, is the field, is devotion, is the earth, the mother

Children:

☳ Dshen (震 zhèn),

the thrilling/exciting, is movement, is shaking, is the thunder, the oldest sun

☵ Kan (坎 kǎn),

the abysmal, is danger, is deep water or clouds, the middle son

☶ Gen (艮 gèn),

the solitary, is serenity, is standstill, is the mountain, the youngest son

☴ Sun (巽 xùn),

the gentle yet penetrating, is the wind or wood, the oldest daughter

☲ Li (離 lí),

the adherent, is radiant, is conditioned or bound, is the sun, the flash or the clear flame, the middle daughter

☳ Dui (兌 duì),

the joyful, is happiness, is the lake, the youngest daughter

These archetypal forms of energy or emotion are also in a continuous cycle just like the four elements, having additionally gained complexity and character, they inherit everything from their ancestors. At this stage they take on a more personal form. Atleast the 6 children that is, as the parents are still pretty much yin/yang and are, because of that, "out of the picture". They somehow stand above and influence all six, while not descending into their play.

As you probably have noticed this can be done another time creating now 16 variations, but let's not go there, the really important ones right now are the 6 children. Because, you now what also comes in the package of 6?

Yes, Aura types.
Could it really be possible to match these with our 6 categories of nen? Well I have tried. Tell me what you think:

Btw: This is my first drawing since like 10 years and that was highschool art class, so please spare me. If anyone wants to improve this. please do. :D The color grading is still pretty on point though and I wouldn't change that much about it if I did another one. Also this was born directly out of my inspiration when I found out about this, so it kind of grew on my heart. So shush! :P

- Wheel of emotion -


https://preview.redd.it/xbk15ksis9v21.jpg?width=960&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=069ead2f6d93e12b7179b8da51e0803d50c28e9d

Note: This is my own system of ordering it. I choose it to match togashi's system and also because I think it's the most fitting when looking at personal energies. Only in this order you can really show the flow of energy visually. The original from the book of changes which is funnily called the "I Ging" (at least in German it is. I think there are different pronunciations out there) includes all 8 trigrams, but leaves out circular motion. (I will add that too as reference) .

So what does that jumble mean?
Basically, one could look at it as an age cycle of energy. from young age "Li" all throughout the maturing process right into old age "Gen". But there are many things happening in between that can be looked at.

To get a better understanding and overview, let us first look the symbols in the corner that represent our previous four basic elements:

alternate symbols

fire > passion, action

water < flow, emotion

air ^ renewal, intelligence

earth v courage, memory


The second part of this attribution comes from the yogic sciences, where there are four pillars of yoga.
Yoga however does not mean "twisting your body". It means unity and is the path of seeking inclusion.
I included them because they are the only 4 sources you can use to enhance your self.

Fire: Karma yoga. The yoga of action. Using your body and your movement to generate energy.
Water: Bhakti yoga. The yoga of emotion. Using your emotion to include something into your self.
Air: Kriya yoga. The yoga of life energy. Bringing change to once own life energies.
AiEarth: Ghana yoga. The yoga of intelligence, Using your mind to penetrate the world and become something more.

This is how they get extracted from the geometric hexagram:
https://preview.redd.it/o3izr2k5bav21.jpg?width=186&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=cecb97951ad379f0aca1bc77b964850a3890765b

There's also another symbol right at the bottom (where gen is), that looks at bit weird.
It's the lesser known fifth element:

Akasha or Aether


It's somewhat mysterious and hard to describe as it is invisible in nature.
It's below and above the other four elements in the way that all of the other elements happen in it. It is:
Space.
No, not the literal space out in the night sky.. whereby it's often used as a visual representation, but what it really points to is the space that's all around us.
There are things in space and there is space. That's akasha.
There are different symbols used to represent it. In nature it corresponds to the universe, plasma or the color purple


https://preview.redd.it/5cq8wv2at9v21.jpg?width=509&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=30c627c1b302ec90ea5a9cf2689086fb13443550

So far we've seen only the main attributition. Here's a more in-depth list of personal traits and correspondences for the four in their pure form. If we look at them in the dynamic spectrum they can mix quite heavily. Aether is not really relevant in that sense, but I think it's important to know its there.
(It's interesting how akasha is not really an element and specialisation is not really a class. But still I fail to see a direct connection. Also the symbol of the hunter association looks very similar.)

https://preview.redd.it/pq0nro4tbav21.png?width=200&format=png&auto=webp&s=b12c84b25d6aee9e7fb8260f790bf6fc4d76a7ed

Elemental correspondences:


The element of fire (choleric)
Positive qualities: vigorousness, zeal, enthusiasm, courage, decisiveness, power of creativity, daring, sedulity...
Negative qualities: quarrelsomeness, irritability, urge to destroy everything, passion, immoderacy, jealousy, voraciousness, vindictiveness, violence, hate, anger, sudden ebullition...
The element of air (sanguine)
Positive qualities: clarity, intelligence, vigilance, care-freedom,diligence, kind-heartedness, swiftness, clarity, lightness, independency, dexterity, optimism
Negative qualities: overly intellectual, lack of perseverance, dishonesty, gossipy, cunningness, garrulousness, inconstancy, touchiness, prodigality...
The element of water (phlegmatic)
Positive qualities: understanding, placidity, mildness, trusting nature, devotion, mercy, forgiveness, modesty, compassion, , pliancy, meditativeness, internalization...
Negative qualities: corruptness, lust, depression, indifference, heartlessness, laziness, indolence, rigidity, lack of daring, lack of concern, unstableness, dejection...
The element of earth (melancholic)
Positive qualities: consistency, conscientiousness, perseverance, punctuality, caution, resistance, responsibility, carefulness, firmness, reliability, sobriety, ambition, respectfulness, matter-of-factness...
Negative qualities: stuffiness, superficiality, laziness, indifference, cumbersomeness, touchiness, lack of conscientiousness, irregularity, timidity, scornfulness...

Somehow they also relate to the four major principles, but I haven't found a way too assign them sufficiently. This is all I got so far:

Technique Main element -> properties Supporting -> properties
Ten Water control of flow, serenity, rest in emotion earth steady, calm, balance, unmoving
Zetsu Earth no outflow, contain, rest, - -
Ren Fire power,strength Wind growing through change, tempering of will (objective)
Hatsu Fire aggression, release, outward projecting, ready, decisive Wind movement, change
While not perfect, there's definitely a tendency to be seen here. Most noticeably that ten and zetsu both employ "female" qualities, while ren and hatsu are dominated by "male" qualities.


While being more subtle, correspondences like that can also be found for each of the trigrams. I haven't found a source for that so I'll list all that I picked up:

Trigram Nature correspondences Properties
Li flame, flash, sun radiant, clear, light, adherent, bound, conditioned, steady
Dshen thunder, quaking, roaring movement, action, agitation, thrill, excitement, loud, rash, energetic, rushing
Dui lake, swamp, spring joy, innocence, open, light hearted, happy-go-lucky, avid, kind
Kan abyss, deep water, gorge playful, versatile, trickster, hidden, danger, knowledge of evil, corrupt
Sun wind, wood, tree soft, balancing, understanding, knowledgeble, intelligent, calculating, penetrating, strict
Gen mountain, rock, stone independent, strong, firm, solely, serene, unmoving, still.

Now that we got ourselves acquainted with the elemental 101 we can go and look deeper into it.

- Relations between children -

(I advise to keep the image of the wheel of emotion open in a sidetab, so it can be looked at while reading the explanation. Otherwise you'll need a very good memory or an avid scrolling finger, But it seems i can post it one more time, so here you go:)

https://preview.redd.it/drvjr4z1s5b31.jpg?width=960&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=e70992e5977a6ca650471474fcef25b4dbd1f57d
The arrows in the middle that form a hexagon display the hierarchy from oldest to youngest child of each gender and also indicate the parents from which they inherit. As you can see male and female alternate with every image. While not a classification on their own they have a subtle impact on all six. However, one can't simple say that dshen is purely male as these "borders" get washed out increasingly through generations (if there ever were any).
The neighboring images are balancing each other, as one seems to always want to reach into the next.
Progressing like: -> li - dschen - dui - kan - sun - gen -> into li again.
There are many interactions seen in this: The stable earth (gen) wanting to become energy (li) -> pure energy becoming excitement (dschen), energeticness wanting to get a taste of colorful emotion (dui) -> the resulting happiness longing to become deeper emotion (kan) -> deepness becoming gentle and intelligent (sun) -> then growing strong and independent (gen) and finally the lonesomeness wanting to become warm again through communion with the outside world (li).
This example is arbitrary and also you can't really set boundaries on this. I just did, so you have a general understanding of the flow that's being portrayed here. The early form of a trigram differs so heavily from its late version, it could be a new classification on it's own. But more on that later. First let's look at some rules in relation to the hunterxhunter system:

Adjacent categories have a 80% learning capability and are always the ones, that are, not of the same age group and also of the opposing gender. Admittedly, it's a bit difficult to see, so here's an example:
specialization/gen (youngest son) 80%-- conjuration/sun( oldest daughter) 100%-- transmutation/kan (middle son) 80%
When the classification that is looked at for adaptibility is conjuration, which is a daughter, then it would mean the most promising categories will be the sons of a different age group. (Okay.. and what does that mean? I don't know, but that's how it is.) And that's also were the natural balancing flow of energy wants to go:
The strictness and composure of conjuration(sun) wanting to become free through the unbound emotional deepness of transmutation(kan) and the burden of the working intelligence wanting to become cool, steady and lonesome through specialization(gen). While there's a definite tendency towards clockwise progression, it's fair to say that change and interaction can be noticed in every direction. For example the gentleness of sun can calm the troubled waves of kan.

2.
Categories of the same gender always have a 60% learning capability.
If the classification look at is again Conjuration/Sun(oldest daughter), then it would be the other both daughters manipulation/Li(middle) and enhancement/duì(young), that can be learned at a 60% rate. They form a triangle and always have a son in between.
same sex=same rate

3.
The polar category is the one that has the same age, but is of a different gender. I sometimes look at it as the archenemy category, because it's so opposing. If we look at conjuration(sun) again our counter would be emission(zhèn). Heavy planning and thinking and perfectionism against well, Leorio.. :D If one wants to wield the other there is bound to be chaos. And maybe that's why its 40% only,
Here are some Nen users that share this connection.

Gon & Pitou
Leorio & Kurapica
Netero & Meruem
Killua & Illumi
Hisoka & Illumi

Here's a chart that brings all aura types into perspective

Aura type Abilities, Talents Tendencies Real world professions (allthough any can be all) Sin
Manipulator influence, control, govern, guide, teach outward, change/love teachers, parents , leaders, politicians, malevolence
Emitter being heard, bringing change, enforcing will outward, justice/ truth speakers, politicians, dancers,singers, police forces wrath
Enhancer physical, simple approach, improving, strenghtening outward, courage/carefre athletes, labourer, dancers egoism
Transmuter bending energy, keeping flow, shifting states, jokes, wearing a mask inward, love/change comedians, trickster, actor, artists, singer, dancer, writer, poets insanity, lust
Conjurer understanding the world and it's rules, living by it and creating something from it -> strategy, science, math, writing, poetry inward, truth/justice investigator, strategists, professors, academics, poets pride
Specialists doing everything alone, special talents who have to be seen, unique inward, carefree/courage people who need nobody yet attract others because of that, types you just can't label. Know'em when you meet'em. indifference

You could look at it for days in this way and find harmonies and disharmonies, it's quite beautiful. For me it has become more than an anime fighting system. Its energy and emotion in the play of life. While you certainly can't just pull out hatsus in real life there are some overlappings with the realm of talents and mastery of the real world. It really makes you wonder. But to spare you from my fascinated rambling, I will now move on unto the next thing I have found.



- And Zen what? -


As I have said before it's possible to add another line to the informational pool to achieve 16 variations(2*2*2). But that's not whats being done by the book of changes. It skips this stage entirely and directly combines two trigrams into one hexagram. If this is done for every possible combination there are suddenly 64 hexagrams. They create a much bigger array of possible states and changes between them, but to be honest that's too much work to show and explain right now. For one, this is no taoist university (I wonder if there really is such a thing) and it also goes beyond of what is useful for our purpose here. If you are really interested, look into that on your own. It's not that it's not worth it, but I don't want to infodump you to death.

I will now look at some specific constellations of the hexagrams that are of direct importance for the hunterverse. First we have the 8(6) "double images". It's obvious that when recombining all of the trigrams, we should also be left with 8 images that are a repetition of themselves. They give some new insight and add on on what we already now. The quality of amplification and repetition shines through in their meaning.

Note: All of the description that will follow are from a collection of sources. "Buch der Wandlungen"(book of changes from Richard Wilhelm). Excerpts used and translated into english by me.
original: https://schuledesrades.org/public/iging/buch/?Q=5/1
Quotes and descriptions from different english sites.
And infoormation and symbols from this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hexagram_(I_Ching))

But now, let's get started.

離 (lí), "radiance"

Other variations include "the clinging, fire" and "the net". Its inner trigram is ☲ (離 lí) radiance = (火) fire, and its outer trigram is identical.
The origin of the character has its roots in symbols of long-tailed birds such as the peacock or the legendary phoenix
Fire has no definite form, it adheres to things and burns that way. Like water raining from the sky, fire blazes upwards. Everything that is shining in the world is bound to something that it adheres too, only in that way it can shine on. For something to shine endlessly, there surely needs to be tenacity.
The clinging means resting on something. When the waters of the Abysmal flow into the pit, we search for something to cling to." Li is the image of the Clinging Fire, formless except the essence of fuel that keeps it burning.when undergoing drastic changes on the outside the only footing is the reference point of the personal self.
What emerges from any difficult transition is the discovery of that thing which will guide and support you when all else is taken away. This is like a light that is always burning in the darkness. Although events ‘out there’ orchestrate the changes, they merely lead you to cultivate a shift of awareness ‘in here.’


震 (zhèn), "the shaking"

Other variations include "the arousing (shock)" and "thunder". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☳ (震 zhèn)
This movement is so intense it's frightening. The image is the thunder who burst out from earth and by his quaking causes fright and trembling. While initially dreadful the uproar ensures renewal and success in the future.
It's the oldest sun, who vigorously seizes power. A taking of charge. A new status quo. -
When children ride roller coasters, they discover that allowing fear to have expression is energizing. If only we could always remain joyous in approaching our fears as we move along our dusty road. Unfortunately we grow complacent and seek security and stasis. Anything in nature that becomes stagnant will be re-energized by the unexpected. “Shock brings success. Shock comes – oh oh! Laughing words – ha ha!” Whether hurricanes balance ocean temperatures or tumultuous autumn and spring storms invigorate new growth, nobody can hide from nature’s power to keep all things thriving. The Shocking can symbolize the unexpected things that generate emotion and wake us up.
The feelings arising are quite unfamiliar but refreshingly new. What worked in the past will no longer do. The two words most associated with Zhen is ‘uh oh!’ However, it should be viewed in the same laughing sentiment as children riding a roller coaster. Something is coming that is unexpected but is meant to awaken you to how you hide. Each day we witness the mutability of nature and fail to recognize it in our own life. No matter the event, the pace may quicken and you may suddenly find your heart racing and a smile on your face.


兌 (duì), "the joyous, lake"

Other variations include: "open", "usurpation" and swamp. Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☱ (兌 duì).
The happy mood is contagious, that's why it's prevailing. But joy needs a foundation of stability, so it doesn't degenerate into utter foolishness. Truth and strength need to dwell in the heart, while meekness is for all to see. contrary to intuition joy is not the result of the softness of the topmost line. The property of the soft/dark principal is not joy, but melancholy. The real joy comes through it's inner toughness and strength, which shows itself through the means of softness.
The repititon: The happy mood is contagious, that's why it's prevailing. But Joy needs a foundation of stability, so it doesn't degenerate into utter foolishness. Truth and strength need to dwell in the heart, while meekness is for all to see. -

More often than not it's inner opening rather than the effort or movement to change outer events that has led to joy. Often we feel the opposite of Joy in the form of unhappiness and see it as something negative. Unhappiness is the hunger pain for change so how can it be bad? The saying, “if you never fail, you will always succeed” means that if failure is taken in stride as a prerequisite to success it isn’t really failure. This accepting outlook leads to joyousness on the journey.
“Content in your circumstances and genuine in kindness, you are the expression of the love that renews all things.”
While we can do little to change the events that unfold around us, a change in perspective can magically change everything. Be Joyous in thought and action and celebrate others. Since life is your mirror it will reflect joyousness back to you.


坎 (kǎn), "the abysmal"

Other variations include "Gorge" and "repeated entrapment". Its inner trigram is ☵ (坎 kǎn) and its outer trigram is identical.
Through repitition of danger there is accustoming. Water serves as a good example in these kind of situations. It's always flowing and ever only fills all those gaps that its flowing through. It's not leaving out a single dangerous spot, fears no ledge or fall and is in that way always staying true to itself. If a situation is handled internally, there's a good chance it will sort itself out externally. To fully prevail through danger, there needs to be thoroughness, so that everything that needs to be done, gets done and there is no chance of succumbing to the danger. -

For the benefit of the flowers, we water the thorns too. – Egyptian Proverb

Can one honestly look back and not see the meaning for any of challenges that were had in the past? Going through the danger is necessary to discover who we are, what we really need and what we are capable of accomplishing. There is great power and realizations to be obtained when confronting fear in the deep waters of the unconscious. The dangerous flow of water can lead somewhere beneficial if you just relinquish control and let go of your fear.
Without trusting in the flow of events, many situations can seem threatening, but only in proportion to the disparity that exists between the necessary transition and the fear of going there. When you recognize the things that you cannot change, you discover life's power to lead you. The path is frightening but a commitment to move forward and jump into the flow leaves no option of turning back.


巽 (xùn), "the gentle (the penetrating, wind)"

Other variations include "ground" and "calculations". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☴ (巽 xùn).
It's image is wind or wood, it's property is gentleness and yet it is penetrating like the wind or the wood with it's roots. In nature it's the wind, which is clearing the clustered clouds and enabling the sun to shine through. For humanity it's the penetrating clarity of righteous judgement, which knocks out all ulterior motives. In society it may be the influence of a powerful figure, who reveals and disperses any and all shady schemings
.
When the oak is felled the whole forest echoes with its fall, but a hundred acorns are sown in silence by an unnoticed breeze. – Thomas Carlyle

There is gentleness and enormous power associated with the hexagram of penetration. Like the wind blowing over vast periods of time against a mountain, the smallest influence when applied with a steadfast attitude can break down any barrier.


艮 (gèn), "the mountain"

Other variations include "keeping still, "rooted" and "stilling". Both its inner and outer trigrams are ☶ (艮 gèn)
True peace is holding still when it's due and moving forward when the time to move forward has come again. In this way, rest and movement is in balance with time and it's necessities. The image is end and start of all movement. As a symbol it could be the spinal of the human body. In it, all nerves controlling movement join together. If there's a seizing of action for all of these nerves, total standstill of the system will be the consequence.
If now a human becomes this still on the inside, then he may face the uneasy and quarrelsome world. He will not get dragged into the fights and upheaval caused by it's inhabitants and has the necessary calmness needed to comprehend the great rules and workings of the world. He, who is acting from this place of deep rootedness, doesn't make mistakes anymore.
In the book of changes rest is described as a polar state, only achieved through the constant counterbalancing with movement.


So there's that. I would like to continue here, but apparently there's a 40.000 character limit. So the continuation will be in part 2.
And that's also where it really gets interesting.

https://www.reddit.com/HunterXHuntecomments/bixqj0/part_2_of_nen_and_zen_a_short_essay_concerning/

See you there!

submitted by Valiant-Turtle to HunterXHunter [link] [comments]

Let's talk about SciTE4AutoHotkey, what Groggy is up to, why he's currently groggy and why that's the reason for the update. Here's a thread for info, comments, and suggestions. (PS - Happy Friday, everyone!)

Hey guys. I'm pretty excited about getting to post this. Warning: Wall of text incoming. This is like an account of all the stuff that's happened. Don't worry, to prevent total boredom, I've added pictures and gifs. Like a picture book.
Anyway, I've had this big bout of insomnia lately. Like 1-3 hours of sleep a day. Less than 20 hours in a week. It SUCKS!
Maybe it's because my my laptop is inoperable due to fan failure. I had to order a new one because the original died and we all know shipping time is brutal from China.
I'm mentioning that so I can mention this. Me getting 1-3 hours of sleep a night = Hella free time. Hella free time + my main machine being down = X Solve for X. X = I needed a project.
Of my options on "Things to do", SciTE4AutoHotkey was something that had been on there a while, piqued my interest, was something I could start from scratch, could be done on a sub-par laptop, and it seemed beneficial to not just me but everyone. So, I picked it up like a pair of scissors and ran with it.
Some of you may have seen my comment the other day. Twas not a bluff or an attempt at getting free uppies. A couple days before that post, I had already started (and have been actively) rewriting the entire ahk.api and ahk.keyword.properties files from scratch.
I'm also worried about the fact that it has been like 1/2 a decade since someone has updated these files.
I finished rewriting and "carding" every command, built-in function, and built-in variable a couple nights ago. Since then I've (mostly?) finished getting all the "other keywords" listed (What a pain in the ass. Even at this point I know I've missed some stuff. There are just so many options, subcommands, sub-subcommands, properties, methods, options...you guys are smart. You get what the hell I'm going on about.) Last night I started getting into the guts of the program, commenting out the AHK files, reading up on .api files, reading about SciTE's options, etc... More SciTE info for those interested.
So, what changes have you made to the API?
The following numbers are rough but accurate. Items refers to commands, built-in variables, built-in functions, flow controls statements, and other keywords. "Other keywords" refers to language verbs, options, subcommands, subcommand options, etc... Example:
and not in is between extends this on off alwayson alwaysoff toggle ... 
Registry words/values, sound options, sysget/winget/process options, etc... are all "other keywords":
REG_SZ REG_BINARY HKLM HKU PCSPEAKER SYNTH Monitor ID PID ... 
You get the idea.
The Old API has about 1093 items. Of those 1093 items, only 123 have any type of additional info bundled with them. 970 are cardless/infoless. The ones that do have info provided have only the most basic of information and options with no info about anything else.
At the time of this posting, the new API I've written has 1383 items. Up 290 items from the old API. (I can guarantee this will go up before beta release.) Of those 1383 lines, 738 of those items (almost every single command, built-in function, variable, and flow control statement) has a card. Up 615 from the old API's basic info. Of the 645 of those items that don't have cards, most lack one, because they're either "other keywords" or are options|subcommands that are covered on a main command's/function's card.
Why even bother adding all those extra words to the API? It seems like a lot of crappy work for no payoff.
A few reasons.
  1. It causes those commands to show up in the word list.
  2. It makes typing things easier to type. Example: Typing REG_ shows all the Registry stuff in the word list. Pick the one you want and hit enter.
  3. Having all the different keywords listed allows them to receive syntax highlighting. This can be used like a form of visual validation while coding.
A little more info on the updated API (because everyone loves tables!):
Count New Old Increase
CHARACTERS 119,338 28,930 x4
WORDS 17,451 3,533 x5
PARAGRAPHS 1,383 1,093 x1.3
WHITESPACE* 19,123 2,485 x8
* Lots of padding from formatting and cheat sheets.
What exactly are these "CARD" things?
Cards are what I'm calling extended tooltips. For example, with the old SciTE4AHK, if you type #KeyHistory you'd see this. With the new version, you'd see this. (That's one of the lesser detailed cards).
Why bother making cards?
Well, I get sick and tired of wasting time alt+tabbing back and forth from SciTE to the docs just to get small pieces of info. It seems like this wastes a lot of time.
Does this function return a 1 or a 0? Or an empty string? Does it return a word? If yes, what word? What does that word mean? What's the subcommand for this command? Does the subcommand have different syntax?? What are that subcommand's options? What's the option for removing duplicates when using the sort command? What about that option that lets you sort by numbers even if they're inside of a string? Does this command's field use traditional or expression format? Does this command set an errorlevel? Have you the Format() command?!
Do you see what I mean? Time wasted because we need some tiny bit of NECESSARY info to make everything work.
I thought "Why the hell not just update the tooltips to have all the info right there?" Why not make SciTE4AHK better by making its calltips more robust and more like a quick reference guide?"
It sounded good to me so...I did it.
How do these cards look?
Currently, each card is set with its full syntax (multiple lines if the command warrants it) followed by its use and whatever extra info goes with it. I've tried to keep these cards small and compact but still pack in as much info as possible. Commands with multiple subcommands have all subcommands listed at the bottom and each subcommand should have its own card with its own options. The goal is not to cover the entire documentation of each command on each card, but to streamline the important info, the options, get return/errorlevel info, etc.
To the newer users out there, you should always read a command's/function's documentation before using it. Don't go off just the card/calltip. Some commands have tons of info that I could never fit onto 1 card. You might miss an option you need or you might misunderstand a command's usage/output/etc... Though I don't think this will be likely because the cards are pretty straight forward.
Here's the general layout/legend for the current card setup. This lists the majority of LABELS: I use with the cards. No one card will ever have all these.
Command, Value|Subcommand, [OptionalParams, Select|One|Option] NOTES: Item refers to any command, built-in function/variable, or keyword. Parameters separated by | pipes indicate "select one of these". Items inside [] brackets are considered optional. TAGS: USE: What a command/function is used for. VALUE: Variable/text/number. Used as input/output for commands. SUBCOMMAND: List of subcommands for the current command. Most subcommands have their own card and own options. DEPRECATED: A command is phased out and should no longer be used. Deprecated tags always come with a replacement tag. REPLACEMENT: Replacement commands/functions for deprecated items. REPLACEMENT: Use SubStr() instead. REMARK: Additional or beneficial information about an item. REMARK: Omitting WinTitle will default to LastFoundWindow. RETURN: The values a function can return and what they mean. RETURN: 1 = Key Down. 0 = Key Up. ERRORLEVEL: Possible ErrorLevel values and what they mean. ERRORLEVEL: 0 = Failure. 1 = Success. EX: Example of command/function use. Most items have these. Also shows return values and/or how the new data looks. R = Return value of command/function => vaobj after of command/function runs EX: arr =: [1, 2, 3] Arr.RemoveAt(2) ; R=2 ; arr => [1, 3] CHEAT: This item has additional data or info on a Cheat_Sheet_ card. These are used for reference charts, data tables, or other info that just can't fit onto 1 card and tend to be larger than normal. 
About cheat sheets: This is a new category I've added. It's a bunch of cards that have the prefix Cheat_Sheet_ and can be called just like any other command or function. Type "cheat", select the one you want from the word list, hit enter to make the text appear (unfortunately, this is necessary) and then hit space. Like I mentioned before, have you seen the Format() function!? That thing is getting its own cheat sheet.
Examples: Cheat_Sheet_HTML_Color_Names Cheat_Sheet_RegEx
Deleting the word makes the tooltip go away. Ctrl+Backspace deletes a whole word instead of just 1 character. It makes things easy. Or just hit esc.
If you're close to being done with the API (and subsequently the keywords file), what do you have left?
I still have quite a bit left.
Re-organize some of the content Homogenize card formatting (make sure every card follows the format that I've changed like 8 billion times since starting) Proofread EVERYTHING again to find errors, typos, etc... Quite a few cheat sheets to create/finish/prettify. Find a clean way to incorporate hotkey card changing/scrolling. Wanting to use mousewheel up/down and arrow up/down (or possibly ctrl+up/down for this). Get TillaGoTo to recognize functions correctly. Change the opening/closing behavior of calltips/cards and find a way to ensure that the wordlist comes up when it's supposed to. Add a new syntax category that acknowledges AHK's built-in properties and methods. Example: File object methods, file object properties, default object methods, exception object properties, etc.. I'm considering making a "lite" version of the API for those who want minimalistic calltips. 1-3 lines per card? Let me know if there's a want for this. Add a light/dark mode for the wordlist, calltips, and tillagoto. See if there's a possibility to add color support for wordlists/calltips in the themes/option. Looking at bundling Maestrith's GUI Creator with this instead of Smart GUI Creator. I feel Maestrith's GUI Creator is a much better GUI Creator. Or, should I leave Smart GUI Creator in along with it? Opinions? Also, I'm thinking about bundling this impressive message box creator called Magic Box to replace the older MsgBox Creator.
It's a long list but I'm trying to knock stuff off it little by little.
Here's hoping to have a working Beta available soon for you guys.
Speaking of releasing a Beta... If you guys notice a typo, error, come up with a word(s) that should be added, or anything else, SPEAK UP AND LET ME KNOW. Worst case scenario: I disagree with you, I don't add it/change anything, and you're not out anything. Best case scenario: I agree, add it, and you+everyone else get the functionality you requested. Same goes with design ideas/suggestions. But, being honest, I don't have plans on doing tons of expansions to this program (I might not even be capable of it). Regardless, feedback is a great thing. Opinions on the name SciTE4AHK_GO? For GroggyOtter Edition.
When the beta is released, I'll be making a new sticky post. If you'd like a tag notification, leave a comment below with "notify me" in it.
I'll post edits if there's anything else worth mentioning/updates to give. Make sure you check back.
Gonna go grab a burrito. <3
Edit: Still actively working on this. I've invested quite a bit of time into it and will probably be investing quite a bit more as the list of things I want to change/add is growing. Also, my fan finally came. Didn't work. Wrong brand. Wrong amperage... The moral of the story is don't order things from China.
Edit 10Oct2018: For those checking back, I'm still going at this full bore. I had to, unfortunately, rewrite my rewritten API. I did a really REALLY dumb thing. During a simple RegEx search/replace during a formatting thing I was doing, I managed to not click the "in selection" box. It wiped out everything after a comma... All the items and their formatting were saved, but a lot of sentences became 1/2 sentences, commands had all parameters wiped, examples were blanked, etc. :( "Why didn't you just ctrl+z?" Because I didn't know about it until way WAY after. "Why didn't you restore a backup?" The last one I had was pre-finish, let alone pre-formatting changes I had started to do. So, yeah, moral of the story is back your shit up (frequently) and don't make formatting changes to a master document...
On a positive note, I've gotten EVERYTHING redone except for commands H-Z (so like 90% of all lexems in the lexer). As a bonus, the rewrite (I don't like saying rewrite. It's more like re-transcribe and re-format...) allowed me to restructure everything and made the whole process go much faster and smoother. It took probably less than 1/2 the time to do it the second time around. :)
I've also added quite a bit to the "things I'd like to change/implement" list. Not going to post it because I don't know what I want to keep and not keep and don't want to get hopes up. But I will mention one thing I came up with that I really liked and want to run with. I came up with this option. No name yet but I'm thinking SynGUIs or SynStrings. Anyway, the current idea is based on a .syn hotstring. It checks the command/function just typed, looks it up, and then loads a small GUI with that command/function and all its parameters preloaded with defaults (maybe add an option to save user preferred command defaults?). The first design was to use all edit boxes but then I decided to use param appropriate controls. If there are only 3 options, add a dropdown with the 3 options. If there are multiple options, add some checkboxes. Tab navigation. Escape to close. Enter (or click OK button) to insert command where it just was. AKA mouseless navigation. Also, I'd like to implement some kind of error checking. I'm hoping something like this will result in faster code creation with fewer errors. I've already started working on this as a "take a break from writing and formatting the API".
So, that's the update. I hope to have a working beta for you guys sooner than later. Just know that I'm actively working on this every day during my free time. :)
Edit 18Oct2018: I've pretty much written an entire AHK v1.1 Lexicon from the online docs. From that I've made an updated/revised ahk.api rewrite. Admittedly, I think the calltips are a bit large and I need to consider trimming them down or possibly just making a "lite" version with more minimalisitic calltips. I've created some more Cheat_Sheets. Yay! I'm currently working on updating the syntax file with the new categories I've made. This will expand what gets highlighted and allows for more color options.
I've started updating TillaGoto. All the regexs for labels, hotstrings, and functions have been rewritten. Yes functions now show up! Overhauling the GUI and adding some new features. A new sort feature has been added to sort the results in the lsit box by 1) The order it was found 2) ascending order or 3) descending order. Can be seen in the screenshot below. The original colors were really bright, especially against my happy hacker theme. Screenshot of original TillaGoto. I decided to add a "dark mode". Updated TillaGoto in dark mode with the same file. Dark mode can be accessed from the new system tray icon. If anyone wants to design a neat new icon, feel free to post them. I'll let you know if I want to use it. I want to add classes to the detection list and possibly class method detection. I also want to add a tab system that will allow users to sort results by specific type. So there would be an All tab, a Function tab, a Label tab, etc...
That's not everything, but it's a good chunk. With the lexicon rewrite (which I will be posting, too) and api being done, I'll be able to really focus on the changes and updates I wanted to make.
Cheers.
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