Boring Cythera Experiments

  • When I say I don't have a way to play Cythera anymore, that's not quite true. There is one way left, but it's a nuisance. It involves going up to the guest room, setting up my old iBook (Miss Shinjy) and big heavy external monitor, patiently trying to adjust the monitor cord until the monitor will acknowledge my computer, then using the computer/monitor in whatever awkward angle it ends up in once I get the cord working; and running Classic on the iBook.

    Anyway, I really miss Cythera, so I've been going to this trouble the last few days, and doing some of the Cythera experiments that I've been wanting to do ^ ___^ I say they're boring experiments, because it's probably really boring for y'all and I don't expect anyone to respond to this. But I can't tell you how much I enjoy it! ^ ___^ And hey, at least I'm not programming a Javascript strange device, right? :x

    So my first experiment was: "What's the best way to spend training points?"

    First of all, if you're planning to use a sword in combat, is it more worthwhile to train in Attack, or Sword?
    According to the Cythera Documentation, Attack is "used to determine the base chance of hitting during combat" and Sword "determines how well you can use a sword in combat. It adjusts not only your chance to hit, but also the amount of damage you do (since, when trained properly, you can use the weapon more effectively)." That makes it sound like Sword is the superior skill, since it not only raises your chance of hitting, but also the amount of damage you do. However, does Attack raise your chance of hitting more than Sword does? I experimented.

    In my experiment, I started out at level 1 with 35 experience points and a long-sword. I went to the sewers and killed ratlizards until I had gained roughly 300 experience points. I performed the experiment four times.

    • The first time, I had 15 Attack and 0 Sword training. I "hit" ratlizards 33 times, missed 0 times, and ended with 337 experience points.

    • The second time, I had 2 Attack and 15 Sword training (the 2 Attack points being from my class aptitudes, not actual training). I hit ratlizards 35 times, missed 24 times, and ended with 340 experience points.

    • The third time, I had 15 Attack and 15 Sword training. I hit ratlizards 27 times and missed 1 time, ending with 346 experience points.

    • The fourth time, I had 2 Attack (aptitude, untrained) and 0 Sword training. I hit ratlizards 27 times and missed 22 times, ending with 337 experience points.

    Although this isn't very good data, I think it's obvious that Attack raises your accuracy a lot more than Sword does. I'm still not sure if Sword increases the amount of damage you deal per turn, but to get a better idea of that, I should have experimented with a beast that's harder to kill than ratlizards. I'm not planning to experiment more on this, but maybe I'll change my mind later. I'd recommend focusing your training on Attack more than Sword.

    My next experiment was for Casting. Does training higher in Casting (significantly) reduce your risk of failing to cast a spell? I tried to experiment with some basic spells at only 1 level of Casting, but I never seemed to fail to cast those at all. I decided to experiment with Death Strike, though it was necessary to train my Casting up to level 5 just to learn the spell (even from the scroll - I didn't know that). Thus, in this experiment, I attempted to cast Death Strike 51 times. I performed this experiment twice.

    • The first time, I had 15 Mana and 5 Casting training. I successfully cast the spell 41 times, and failed 10 times.

    • The second time, I had 15 Mana and 15 Casting training. I successfully cast the spell 49 times, and failed 2 times.

    I conclude that a higher Casting level will reduce the risk of failing to cast a spell, but maybe not enough to be worthwhile, if you're low on training points.

    I also wanted to test Eteocles' skills - are any of them worth the training points?

    I was a bit surprised to find out (or remember?) that it's actually possible to pick locks if you have the skill, though you'll probably destroy several lockpicks in the process. So you'd need to buy or replicate enough lockpicks, and there's easier ways to get past a locked door (magic, a mace). However, I recall being able to generate a mushroom steak after learning lockpicking, making that skill a lot more valuable in my eyes : __D (I still can't figure out any way to make Aethon pick a lock - he ignores me when I order him to do so.)

    As far as I can tell, "Trap Detection and Removal" doesn't do anything that "Awareness" doesn't do; and there's no point in learning it if you already know Awareness. The description of the skill makes it sound like you could check a container for traps (like the poison traps in Halos' crates or the blast traps on the Comana ruffian's chests), but as far as I could tell that wasn't possible. I wonder if this skill has any use besides finding hidden spike traps?

    For the Gambling skill, I did an experiment. I started with 844 oboloi, and played 25 rounds of dice with Apis. I did this experiment four times.

    • The first time, I was not trained in gambling. At the end of 25 rounds, I had 871 oboloi.

    • The second time, I again was not trained in gambling. At the end of 25 rounds, I had 861 oboloi.

    • The third time, I was trained in gambling. At the end of 25 rounds, I had 862 oboloi.

    • The fourth time, I was again trained in gambling. At the end of 25 rounds, I had 860 oboloi.

    The evidence indicates that there's no benefit to training in gambling.

    Thievery was a little harder to test. There are many objects in the game that you're allowed to take without it being considered stealing (like any food, certain keys, sapphire books, etc.). Other objects are considered "not yours" and if you take them without moving them, your soul will be stained, and NPCs on-screen may be upset with you. Actually there are a few objects that you're not allowed to steal even if you move them, but not many. Thievery is the only one of Eteocles' skills that is ranged, so you can train in it up to 15 times. The higher the level, the more likely you are to get away with stealing something (without staining your soul or upsetting NPCs). To experiment with this skill, I stole 40 objects. I performed this experiment three times. My daughters were disturbed, watching me do this (and the NPCs feebly trying to attack me), and suggested that maybe I shouldn't steal everything : __(

    • The first time, I had a Thievery skill of 15. I got away with stealing 36 objects, and stained my soul 4 times.

    • The second time, I had a Thievery skill of 1. I got away with stealing 5 objects, and stained my soul 35 times.

    • The third time, I had a Thievery skill of 6. I got away with stealing 25 objects, and stained my soul 15 times.

    So the Thievery skill "works" in that it really does decreases the chance that you'll get in trouble for stealing, but it's still easier to just move things before stealing them.

    The last skill I tested was Haggling. If you know Haggling, you can lower the fee for Meleager's services (from 50 oboloi to 35 oboloi), and the fee for joining the Ratcatcher's Guild (from 50 to 40 or 35). However, does it help at all with normal marketplace haggling?
    I'm sure from experiments I did ages ago, that there's a minimum price that merchants will offer for their goods, & that it's possible to reach that minimum whether or not you know Haggling. However, I believed that it was easier to reach the minimum price with Haggling, and that merchants will be less likely to be offended if you know Haggling. I didn't really do an experiment on this one, just tried to haggle down Apis' food several times, with and without the Haggling skill. How long it took her to become offended seemed to be random and knowing Haggling didn't seem to affect it, as far as I could tell. It was kind of funny offending Apis and watching her say "Bah! Ingrate! Please come back." ^_ __^

    Okay, that concludes my "what's the best way to spend training points?" experiments, and at the moment I'm not planning to do more on this topic. (But if there's something you actually want me to experiment, let me know!)

    I'm currently working on something different - charting out what the NPCs do all day. Cheers~

  • From looking at your test results, I'm inclined to agree about the value of Attack versus Sword, although you are correct about it being hard to gauge damage levels on ratilizards.

    You are probably correct about the values of Casting, but I'll probably stick to finishing it just for consistency :p .

    It is interesting that Gambling and Haggling don't seem to have any effects, although I think examining Haggling with one of the other vendors might be worthwhile.

    All in all, an interesting analysis :) . Do you have any plans to examine the effects of training in Missile or Barehand?

    Also, it sounds like you're daughters are getting old enough to play Cythera and you have a semi-functional computer. I hope you'll be starting them on the game soon :p .

  • I'm touched that you read my boring ramblings, Sely ^_ __^

    I actually think I will experiment with Haggling a little more, maybe not until after I finish my "day in the life of NPCs" project.

    I wasn't planning to check Missile or Barehand, I just assumed that those, along with Axe and Mace, would be the same as Sword (but for other weapons). I might be wrong and maybe I should check, but it doesn't sound as much fun as some experiments.

    Today I was going to work on my NPC-schedule project, but I got distracted by the fountains in the game. I decided to play with those, instead.

    Different fountains in the game taste differently and have different effects.

    • All of the four-tile square "pools" that I tried tasted "cool and tasty." Even the ones with fountains, and even the ones in Catamarca. As far as I can tell, "cool and tasty" water has no effect on the player.

    • There's a bigger fountain in Catamarca up near the cemetery. Before you cure the plague, that water will probably taste "warm and brackish," and doesn't seem to have any effect.

    • However, there's a chance the big fountain in Catamarca (before curing the plague) will give the message "Ack! The water tastes poisonous!" The fountain in the Scylla temple also gives this message. As you would expect, it poisons the player.

    • The spring underneath the citadel in Catamarca tastes "cold and brisk, quite revitalizing." After curing the plague, the big fountain up by the cemetery has a chance of tasting this way too. This water heals 1-4 of the player's HP per drink.

    • More often, the big Catamarca fountain will taste "tasty and refreshing" (after curing the plague). The fountain in the depths of Eioneus' cave and the fountain at the Headwater ruins also taste "tasty and refreshing." This water will decrease the character's hunger level by one point. So, taking ten drinks of water from a "tasty and refreshing" fountain would be equivalent to eating a loaf of bread, for example. (This was actually news to me, I didn't know any water in the game could cure hunger.) This explains why Eioneus visits the spring at lunchtime, and why he never eats any food. The water doesn't work when the player's "hunger/fullness" level is at or above 100, but this probably wouldn't happen in typical game play - if your fullness level is at 100, you won't get hungry for four whole days.

    • The spring under the Cademia sewers tastes "very cold, with a heavy taste of minerals, but very refreshing." This seems to be the most useful spring in the game, it heals poison as well as 1-4 HP per drink. However, it does nothing for hunger.

    • The spring in the Kosha kesh lab gives the message "yuck! It's salt water!" but doesn't seem to have any effect on the player.

    • The wishing spring below Pnyx gives the message "Hm - the water tastes odd and tingling," and doesn't seem to have any effect on the player. However, after you drink from it several times, it asks you your wish, & then starts spouting nonsense from TV commercials.

    Those are the only kinds of drinkable water I found, let me know if you think there's any other kinds I should test.

  • I had not realized (or had probably forgotten) until recently that water affects HP. It is interesting that the spring in Cademia is the healthiest one, despite the constant references to the good water at Catamarca.

  • Sounds like the Cademians are trying to lure you to Catamarca so they can keep the best water for themselves.

  • Either that or the people in Catamarca have engaged in a long conspiracy to conceal the spring below Cademia.

  • I'm not sure anyone's ever been down there. After all, would you drink from a spring you found under the sewers?

  • ...asks the person who apparently already has :p .

  • It's different if you're playing a video game : __P

    Well, I've put my NPC-schedules on hold. I hadn't been working on it much anyway, but now I've got a book on inter-library loan that I'm not sure I can finish reading in time, so I'd rather use my free time on that ^_ __^

  • Considering that we're discussing the actions of NPCs in a computer game, I think my point stands :p .

  • I finished reading Dragon Wing (I recommend!) & was eager to play more Cythera, but was sidetracked with a different "boring experiment." Tyry asked if I knew the Cytheran moon cycles, which I didn't; so I was curious & tried to figure them out.

    I'm not confidently that I understand it completely, but here's what I've got:

    Cythera has two moons (both of which are smaller than ours). The larger one is white and the smaller one is red. As far as I can tell, the red one is always "full" - it always appears to be round. It peaks in the sky about every 20 hours, slightly less. Maybe 19 and a half hours? Using Awareness, I can tell what hour it is in the game, but not what minute. So I never know the exact time, and now I realize it must have been a lot of trouble for Wizzy to program his time and location pane to every 15 minutes instead of just every hour.

    Anyway, the red moon rises about once every 20 hours (19hr 45min? sorry I don't know exactly). It takes about 2 hours to rise and about 2 hours to set (behind the buildings in Cademia). As far as I can tell, it's always round.

    The white moon rises about once every 23 hours. It takes about 3 hours to rise and about 3 hours to set (behind the buildings in Cademia). The white moon has different images for full moon, first/third quarter, and waxing/waning crescent. Likely some of the days that I marked "full moon" were meant to be not quite full (waxing/waning "gibbous" according to the internet), but it's hard to tell - that image is so tiny! The new moon is not visible at all. It takes about 24 days (25 "rises" - one hour shy of 24 days) for the white moon to go through its cycle. I think the cycle is: 3 "rises" as waxing crescent moon, 3 "rises" as first quarter moon, 3 "rises" as waxing gibbous moon, 3 "rises" as full moon, 3 "rises" as waning gibbous moon, 3 "rises" as third quarter moon, 3 "rises" as waning crescent, and 4 "rises" as new moon (on the first "new moon" day, you can see the waning crescent begin to rise before it disappears, & on the last "new moon" day, you can see the waxing crescent setting).

    Once per white moon cycle, the white moon and red moon will "peak" at the same time. Although that only happens once every 24 days, it's more common that you'll see one of the moons rising while the other sets. Maybe half of the days, you'd have an opportunity to see both moons in the sky at the same time at some point.

    I could post my moon-notes but I doubt anyone's interested in analyzing this further. (Also, as you might expect, my notes aren't great quality. If there's something in particular someone wants to know about Cytheran moon cycles, I might be happy to try to figure it out. If it's not too hard...)

  • I had no idea the lunar schedule was even acknowledged in Cythera. That's pretty cool. Though I can say with relative assurance that I know more now than I'll ever need to about them. :)

  • I need more info! If you post a lot more detail on the timings (like when the moons rise and set on each day), I promise to use that information in a future story.

  • Let's see.

    If the phases cycle fully in 24 days, that means that the large moon completes an orbit in 24 days. If it rises earlier every day, that means that it's in a retrograde orbit, which is unusual (it's thought to indicate that the satellite was captured from elsewhere).

    The small moon is probably in a 4:1 resonance orbit with the larger one, meaning it completes an orbit in just 6 days. That's fast, though not crazy fast, like Phobos is. Incidentally, Phobos is also in a 4:1 resonance orbit with its big brother, Deimos. I think that resonance also means that once each during the moon cycle the moons should rise and set at exactly the same time.

    I'm going to see if I can build a model of the moons quickly. If we have a model, then we can adjust it until it gets the predictions right. When is the first full moon (assuming that the middle of the three is full, and the other two are slightly gibbous)? When is the first day that both are at their peak?

  • I'm very quickly getting out of what I can understand here :x

    I have the first three in-game days marked as full moon. If we're considering those to be waning gibbous & you want to know when the true full moon is, I would say that would be Day 24 at midnight. It would be visible in the Cademian sky from 9pm on Day 23 to 3am on Day 24. I may be off by up to an hour, & now I want to do the experiment again. I'm going to see if I can make some kind of timeline.

    According to my notes, the red moon first peaks on day 1 at 6pm, the white moon first peaks on day 1 at 10pm; and they both first peak at the same time on day 6 at 5pm (the white moon appears as a third quarter moon).

  • I don't have the parameters figured out just yet. Here is what I made:

    I'm calling the moons "Makros" and "Mikros" because I feel like it. I think I've got Makros keyed in correctly, but maybe I'm wrong about the resonance because Mikros doesn't seem to be moving fast enough (?).

  • Come to think of it, do any characters have anything to say about the moons? There's two, so you'd think they might have names for them.

    I assume that the year is still 365.25 days.

  • Amazing, Fiery! Am I supposed to be seeing something in the empty white box? o_O Also you seem to have named both moons Mikros. (As far as I know the moons don't have names, but Makros and Mikros sound good ^_^ Also, a Cytheran year is shorter than an earth year, but apparently no one knows how much shorter... I never understood how they could not know how long their years are, since they do keep track of what year it is.)

    I started working on a timeline but haven't had much time today, so haven't gotten very far. I'm trying to do a Google Document Spreadsheet, hoping that it would be easy for other people to see it if they want; but I'm not sure I'm doing it right. Does this link take you to my timeline? (And if it does, will the link remain the same after I keep adding to it?)

  • Very interesting, I'll have to ask Wizard if he remembers anything about Cytheran lunar events from his work on that subject.

    Naming the moons is a good idea. It could be useful in future stories.

    Very nice work, 453 and Pallas :) .

  • Yes, it's supposed to illustrate the current positions of everything. I fixed it for Safari (hopefully for your version).
    The parameters are maybe pretty close to correct now. We have both moons high in the sky on day 6, around 5:30.

    You know, I think it's a little funny that the two remaining active boards are the EV boards and the Cythera boards and we're the ones discussing astrophysics.

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