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Author Topic: TACTIC Issue 4, 05March07  (Read 938 times)
Seka
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« on: Mar 05, 2007, 09:42 PM »

This week we bring you an edition, not an addiction, of TACTIC!

In this issue: The continuation of our swordfighting series started in Issue 2 and a brief thought on incredible sailing.


Tip of the week: Seka's Guide to Swordfighting, Part 2ÖÖ

Pre-Basics: Practice Practice    

I was once asked what the "secret" to Sword Fighting was. (Ok, I was never asked but just play along.).  My reply was simply, "Practice."  Practice  is the most important requirement for improvement.  If you want to improve you have to show up, place your bet, grip your keypad and fight.  You also have to fight people who challenge you, if you are to improve. (If they can beat you, then they can teach you, and thatís even better.) If you avoid sword fighting the better fighters, you will not advance.

Not only do you have to "practice," you have to be there mentally when you practice.  When you are sword fighting you have to concentrate on fighting.  Itís fun to chat to people; itís fun to tell stories and to read them; but this is not sword fighting.  You canít swordfight very well while your mind is elsewhere.  You have to be there, mentally in the fight, as well as just sitting at the table.

These are what I call the "pre-basics."  Now we can move on to the basics.  Iím sure others may wish to add to or in other ways alter what I present here and that is fine.  There is no single right way to learn to swordfight, but there are some basic factors that must be addressed, in some manner, with any approach. 

The Basics:

  • 1. Breathing 
  • 2. Balance
  • 3. Timing 
  • 4. Equipment
  • 5. The mental game (the most important aspect of all)
.

Breathing:

Yes, it's very silly.  Whatís there to learn about breathing?  We do it all the time.

Yes, we breathe all the time (or else we die) but sometimes we stop breathing, or stop breathing correctly, in the middle of a sword fight!  Usually this is due to poor concentration (the mental game), and a lack of training.  Clearly the worst time to stop breathing, or to breathe short, tight, hesitant breaths, is when your screen is almost full and you hear that dreaded sound of another sword about to strike. Itís moments like this that you need all the oxygen you can get.  Unfortunately, the stress of almost-instas can cause us to actually breathe less.  Breathing less, or shallowly from the upper chest, tends to produce rigid movements, slow thinking, and poor reactions.   

How do you breathe correctly?

You could take some Yoga classes or practice calming yourself. I find placing your hand on your heart, closing your eyes, and taking 5 deep breaths will have a very calming effect. Yoga does a very good job of teaching how to breathe, even while under stress.  In short, you want the act of breathing correctly to be so engrained that you donít have to think about it. You donít want to have to consciously attend to your breathing, but you do want to be aware enough of your own body that you will become aware when you start to tighten-up. With training, you will be able to change to deep breathing, without having to consciously attend to it.

Well, "big deal!" you might say. "Everyone knows when to breathe more heavily, itís when you get short of breath, right?" 

No, actually by then itís probably too late!  If you do not switch to deep breathing before you get oxygen-deprived, you may not be able to raise your oxygen level high enough, fast enough, to continue fighting effectively.  [Remember this "secret formula": a "good fighter" minus enough oxygen =  a "bad fighter!" ] Once you become consciously aware of losing focus, you can begin to breathe deeply from your stomach, and not tightly from the chest.  That may be enough to keep you going, but it is better to not lose focus in the first place.

Becoming tense is a natural response to stress, but it also takes a lot of energy that can be put to much better use fighting.  When you breathe correctly, you will feel your body loosen up.  When your body loosens up, your fingers become more efficient.  You can produce larger combos, react to your opponent's attacks more effectively, and your mind will be more clear.   

Practice slow, deep, breathing, especially while under stress. It helps before a confrontation with the boss at work, speaking before a group of people, or anytime you need to calm your mind and body. What you are used to doing is what you will most likely do when you're sword fighting.  If you are used to slow breathing when you're stressed, you will probably do so when fighting as well.

Another aspect of breathing, and sword fighting, involves "timing" of your breathing and the best time to attack your opponent.  In general, you will get more power when you throw a shot containing small combos quickly. 

Balance:

Yeah, balance, OK, I know, I know, thatís real simple too, just donít make a straight line down the middle!

Balance is a bit more complicated than just that (though not straight-lining is a good start!)  Most of use two hands, which, when fighting, are most often in contact with the space bar and the arrow keys.  This means that we have two points on which to balance, speed and direction. 

With only two points contacting the keyboard, we are always in danger of being defeated...  Think of just how tricky this whole process is.  Sword fighting is a form of controlled falling.  We have to push our limits of balance to the "full screen" level and then catch ourselves, with our next piece, to eliminate our opponent. 

If you are off balance you will more easily make a mistake. Receiving instas and over building are seldom wining techniques; so being balanced is generally preferable.  But, there are times when you may choose to move off balance, to make a shot.  The important thing to consider is whether or not you intended to move off balance or not.  You make this decision based upon experience, intuition, and your perception of the likelihood of being able to make the clear after the fact.  There is an element of judgment in the choice to go off balance, but you only do it for a reason.

So, keep both hands on the keyboard, and never drink your tea, or smoke cigarettes during a sword fight. It is usually better to slide an inch or so back in your seat, take a deep breath, and try not to blink.  If you receive a large hit, or are caught off guard just as you have overbuilt a combo, you will probably suffer for it.  The closer your pieces are to the bottom is off-balance for your opponent's attack, and hopefully for your counter attack...

(Stay tuned for the conclusion: timing, equipment, and the mental game!)


Query of the week: How can I get incredibles while sailing?

The short answer, mentioned above in reference to swordfighting, is to practice.  Better scores and standings on any of the puzzles really come from improving at them, and how long that takes depends on the pirate...

But what to practice?  Ah, there's a question!  For sailing, one of the keys to do well at the puzzle is to build combos.  It's easy to get focused on the target platforms.  Afterall, the only way to clear a board and more up on the star meter is to clear the targets.  With some forethought, however, it's possible to clear multiple groups and targets with a single drop through a chain reaction.  Look to building combos to help increase your sailing score!


We wish ye a great week!  Remember to breathe!

--Your TACTIC editors


TACTICís mission is to bring ye weekly game tips, questions, advice and other such parley.  Think of it as your front door to the Tips and Tricks boards.  Larger or regular topics may be moved to independent threads for easy reference.  We hope that ye find it useful and consider contributing!  All TACTIC issues are posted independently to invite ye to comment and discuss.  Any submission ideas be welcome!  Yar!




Edited for TACTIC formatting and readability
« Last Edit: Mar 05, 2007, 11:16 PM by Mistymate » Logged
Rome
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 13, 2007, 07:06 PM »

Very interesting.  It's true, the best swordfighters also play a mental game!
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Dacheat
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« Reply #2 on: Aug 30, 2007, 04:49 PM »

This isn't about sailing.... I was sure I clicked incredible sailing
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Mistymate
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« Reply #3 on: Aug 30, 2007, 08:15 PM »

Actually, the second part of the newsletter, the Query of the week, is about incredible sailing.

It's true that it is not sailing tips with pictures, etc.  =-p

I wonder if I could figure out how to link to the middle of a post...
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Tawnee
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 06, 2007, 08:31 AM »

But, but, if I don't smoke durin' a swordfight, I won't look as cool.

*looks around* Huh? Oh, aye. Smokin' is bad kids, don't do it, just say no, stay in school.
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Tawnee says, """This vessel is out of buckets of water, unable to wash cannons""?!?!!???1"
Katalina says, "o.O"
A sudden chill creeps over the vessel.
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