CoronaBASS

I finished this hollow-body Bass during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine. Luckily, the weather warmed up a few times so I could finish the body. Similar to my previous semi-hollow, this fully hollow bass uses Basswood around the perimeter with Maple top and bottom surfaces. The neck is Rosewood.

I soaked the top surface in paint thinner and ignited it with a welding torch. I carefully navigated the flames with thick gloves to control burning around the edges. This resulted in a beautiful charred appearance that was finished with Watco Danish Oil and about a dozen coats of lacquer.

The guitar uses 2 hummbucker pickups at the neck and bridge positions. The pickups are wired though their own volume pots, into a selection switch, then to a final volume and tone control. The selection switch allows for neck, combined, and bridge pickup settings.

This guitar is extremely easy to play. It frets super-easily and has great feedback. The hollow body picks up a lot of extraneous sound, pick scrapes, and sting buzzes, so a little extra care is needed for a clean sound. It is much richer than the semi-hollow bass, deepening the gap with the growl and thump of the Disco Boss.

It still isn’t finished. A graphics designer is working on a logo for the headstock and I have some upgraded tuners to install once the logo is ready.

Appalachia Semi-Hollow Bass Guitar (2019)

This is a semi-hollow 4-string Bass guitar with in double hummbucker configuration. The perimeter of the body is Basswood, the top and bottom of the body is Maple, and the fretboard is made of Rosewood. It is setup for 33.75 scale with 20 frets. The back of the neck is finished about a dozen coats of polyurethane and sanded to 1000 grit for maximum hardness. You don’t want a guitar with a sticky neck when your hands get sweaty.

I used a welding torch to burn the body before finishing with Watco Danish Oil followed by about 20 coats of Lacquer. This gave a wonderful natural look.

The knobs are setup as neck volume (logarithmic), neck tone (linear), bridge volume (logarithmic), bridge tone (linear), selection switch, and final volume (logarithmic). I spent a lot of time in headphones when wiring the guitar, using a VOX 1/4″ adapter amplifier and noise-cancellation cans to resolve the smallest details.

The guitar has a nice, rich, open sound, very unlike the tight punch of the solid-body Disco Boss.

 

2×4 8″ Bass Cabinet (2018)

So I had a pile of old Stryke Audio 8″ Fiberglass drivers and though, maybe I’ll make a bass cabinet. Pine wood is not the best for a cabinet, but I had some laying around. So this whole cabinet is for “free” using spare materials.

It’s not finished yet, but I thought to post some few pictures of the progress. I’m going to finish it during the COVID-19 quarantine period.

Disco Boss Bass Guitar (2017)

So this isn’t a Clash article but I’m going to make a series of posts about guitar-making. I’m going to start with my Disco Boss Bass that I made circa 2017. I asked my daughter what type of guitar I should start with, and she replied “Disco!”. So here it is, the Disco Boss Bass Guitar.

It uses solid Ash for the body and a recycled neck from a trashed unknown brand guitar. It uses EMG active pickups in P-J formation. The bridge was taken from another recycled guitar of unknown origin.  The knobs are wired for P-J blend (logarithmic), tone control (linear), and output volume (logarithmic).

This guitar is very punchy, great for four-on-the-floor work. The solid Ash body gives a lot of grunt, especially when driving on the P pickup.It is painted matte iridescent gold to be the ultimate Disco Boss.

Best War Castle Defense Troops (October 2018 Update)

There are a few basic rules when considering castle troops.

Immunity to Poison Spells

Assume that the enemy will use a poison spell to deal with castle troops. Your war castle defense troops should be built around a fundamental core that is relatively immune to poison spells. These troops are in order:

  • Lava Hound (7600 HP)
  • Golem (7200 HP)
  • PEKKA (6300 HP)
  • Electrodragon (4200 HP)
  • Dragon (3600 HP)
  • Baby Dragon (1700 HP)

The poison spell does a maximum of 220 HP per second and decreases troop movement and damage speed by about 50%. For example, an Electrodragon takes 3.5 seconds between attacks. Under a poison spell, it will take (3.5 x 150%) = 5.25 seconds to attack. Combined with the DPS of the poison spell, the DPS of a high-level Archer Queen can take out the Electrodragon before it can attack.

The fastest attacking tanking troops are the Dragon (1.25 seconds) and Baby Dragon (1 second). Both of these troops have advantages. All Dragon-type troops have splash damage and the Baby Dragon has rage mode. The Electrodragon has longer splash radius plus relatively insignificant death damage (60HP per exposed troop).

  • Baby Dragon (1 second)
  • Dragon (1.25 seconds)
  • PEKKA (1.8 seconds)
  • Electrodragon (3.5 seconds)

Therefore, against enemies with high-level Archer Queens, the Dragon and Baby Dragon are preferred.

Against enemies with moderate or low-level Archer Queens, the Electrodragon is a candidate.

Ground troops (i.e. PEKKA) are generally ineffective against air attacks, so I don’t recommend a ground troop as the core defense troop.

High DPS

The best attacking troops will have a combination of tanking hitpoints (HP) and damage per second (DPS). High hitpoints allow the troop to remain on the battlefield longer, absorb more damage, and allow surrounding defense weapons to inflict damage. Golems and Lava Hounds have high hit points but low DPS. If the enemy lures the Lava Hound away from defensive weapons, it is basically useless. The castle troop needs to have high DPS.

The highest DPS troops by housing space is illustrated below. I used the Geometric Mean of each troop’s DPS and HP to calculate a relative rank:

MWSnap513

For example, the Balloon occupies 5 housing space and offers 236 DPS. This is 47 DPS per housing space. It has 840 hitpoints, giving it 168 HP per housing space. Calculating the geometric square is sqrt(47 x 168) = 89.

Below is the relative rank of each of the key troops:

The Balloon is the undisputed champion of the most DPS and HP per housing space. I had to add in the DPS and HP of spawned troops for the Witch and Lava Hound. The Lava Hound ranking is deceptive because all of the DPS comes from the Lava Pups, which are easily killed with a poison spell. Therefore, a Lava Hound is not recommended because the DPS (pups) are decoupled from the HP (Hound). The PEKKA is only effective with ground troops and doesn’t protect against air attacks.

Movement speed is a major issue that should be included in the analysis. Slow-moving troops are easy targets, especially under a poison spell. Below is a geometric square ranking of troops including movement speed:

Again, the Lava Hound is deceptive, because the high Pup movement speed (32) skews the results. The Valkyrie fares extremely well.

Observations

  • The Dragon is resistant to the poison spell and deals splash damage. It consistently beats the Electrodragon (per housing space) for DPS, HP, attack speed, and movement speed.
  • The Baby Dragon in rage mode stands out. However, no other air troops can be used because the Baby Dragon must be alone to achieve rage. The Baby Dragon’s relatively low hitpoints make it an easy target for high-level Archer Queens.

Possible Troop Combinations

Here are some recommended troop combinations and supporting calculations using the geometric mean equation:

30 Housing Space

  • Baby Dragon, 2 Valkyrie, 1 Wizard (score: 65)
  • Baby Dragon, 1 Witch, 1 Valkyrie (score: 72)
  • Dragon, 2 Balloon (score: 68)
  • Electrodragon (score: 37)

35 Housing Space

  • Dragon, 3 Balloon (score: 71)
  • Dragon, Baby Dragon, Balloon (score: 58)
  • Baby Dragon, 2 Witches (score: 74)
  • Baby Dragon, 3 Valkyrie (score: 62)
  • Electrodragon, 1 Balloon (score: 47)

Conclusions

The basic rules of this analysis can be summarized by:

  • Each defensive combination needs to be built around a high HP core troop resistant to poison spells.
  • The core troop should also have high DPS.
  • All Dragon-type troops have splash damage to affect attacking troop clusters.
  • Attack speed is important, especially with the speed penalty of a poison spell.
  • Movement speed is important, especially with the penalty of a poison spell.
  • Versatility of attacking both ground and air is important.

The best core troops, in order, are:

  • Raged Baby Dragon
  • Dragon
  • Baby Dragon (combined with other air troops)

The best supporting troops, in order, are:

  • Witch (ground and air, spawns skeletons)
  • Valkyrie (ground only)
  • Balloon (ground only)

What about the Electrodragon?

The Electrodragon appears to be a feasible defense troop for enemies with moderately low-level Archer Queens. Higher level Archer Queens can kill the Electrodragon with relative ease, especially combined with a poison spell. Electrodragons would also be effective against attacking LavaLoon armies if not lured out of the clan castle prior to launching the attack. Skilled LavaLoon attackers should always be expected to lure the Electrodragon using a killsquad before releasing the Balloon army.

What about the PEKKA?

The PEKKA is a formidable tanking defense, but has slow attack speed (1.8 seconds), slow movement speed (16), no splash damage, and inability to attack air troops. The PEKKA would be useful against TH8 or TH9 attacking ground armies (i.e. GoWiPe), but otherwise generally ineffective.

Why I think Dawn of Titans is Dying

Dawn of Titans had the global launch on December 8, 2016. I joined the game on global launch day and quickly found an alliance. As a long-time Clash of Clans player, I recognized the value and fun of joining an active clan. Dawn of Titans was developed by Natural Motion from the UK. The online gambling giant Zynga (ZNGA) had purchased National Motion for $527M a few years earlier and was having trouble managing their new acquisition. Zynga had never seen a profit since floating in 2011 and the expensive Natural Motion acquisition was seen as a financial disaster: the purchase price of $527M was a staggering 26 times of NM’s profit value. NM had never managed to profit over $20M. When Dawn of Titans was released, Zynga was massively underwater with NM, still posting $125M losses.

However, new acquisitions in 2017 (such as Harpan and Peak Games) have bumped the Zynga stock into profitable territory. Zynga’s profits are now coming from gambling apps. Wizard of Oz: Casio Slots, Zynga Poker, and Hit it Rich: Casio Slots are ranked as the number 46, 61, and 67 top grossing apps.

Words With Friends 2 is current Zynga’s best game, dithering around rank 120 on the top grossing chart. Dawn of Titans is considered by market analysts as a failure, hovering around number 180 on the top grossing chart (from Seeking Alpha):

In this context, the shadow of Dawn of Titans – a much anticipated game but ultimately a commercially disappointing one – looms large …. Dawn of Titans on December 8, 2016, points to a systemic failure across Zynga’s development and business strategy operations. Dawn of Titans prolonged development has resulted in a game that looks and feels dated. Dawn of Titans launched on December 8, so it’s much earlier in its lifespan, but has already fallen out of the US iPhone top-grossing top 100 chart, and is only ranked as a top 100 iPhone app in 22 countries … Clearly, no one would spend $527 million for a company that could provide that level of annual revenue.

When I started Dawn of Titans on global launch day, it was horrendously buggy. The game would crash unexpectedly in battle, causing the loss of troops and relic usage (relics could only be used a few times before expiring). It would drop connections, titans sometimes didn’t show their skills, relics would crash the system, and more. Beta players (early test players predating the global launch) were insanely high levels with maxed castles and maxed titans. The game started on day one unbalanced.

Cheats were rampant and trivially easy. Users could easily download patched .apk files and run cheats on rooted androids. Early players got a huge advantage if they cheated by collecting an impossible amount of high-level titans that would take a present-day player months to level.

Exploits were rampant and trivially easy. The simplest was to use “airplane mode” to force the game off-line when rolling for random titan skills. If a good skill was rolled, disable airplane mode, and the game would register the skill on the server. If an undesired skill was rolled, the game would timeout. Reconnect to the internet, and try another roll. Repeat until only desirable skills were rolled to make an optimized titan with a perfect skill set.

The beta players had special “shard” islands that generated crystals that could add a star to their titans. This feature was disabled on global launch day, but the islands persisted for months until the Lands Awakening update (June 14, 2017). The island update gave hit points to islands, so the shard islands slowly lost their hit points and disappeared forever. But those beta players out there have things like 4* Kobars.

Zygna was under a steady stream of fire and criticism from the extremely hackable, extremely buggy release of from their extremely expensive acquisition of Natural Motion. The developers patched the biggest bugs with the Lands and other summer 2017 updates but several obvious bugs remain, now 9 months later:

  • Occasional dropped connections.
  • Crashes on some Samsung Galaxy tablets.
  • Some icons must be touched several times before registering.
  • Badges and icons on the victory screen sometimes appear incorrectly or don’t appear at all.
  • Panthers.
  • Troop AI.
  • Relic forging system displayed percent chances have been analytically proven incorrect.
  • Some relics refuse to be forged altogether.
  • Goliaths walking off the edge of map.
  • No confirm screen when spending gems.
  • Food and gold icons sometimes appear sideways over the mines and farms.
  • Throne Wars crashed and the event was cancelled.
  • Cheats and exploits still exist, although at a reduced intensity.

These are indications that the developers are not committing any time on Dawn of Titans. Some of these bugs are trivial: button presses, icons appearing wrong. Others might be more thoughtful, such as troop AI and Panther behavior, but these are inexcusable bugs for a global launch mobile game. The most inexcusable was the Throne Wars event failure. The relic forging system is a flat-out lie. Users have posed Bayesian statistical analysis of relic forging results that are massively different than the percentages displayed on the screen.

There are other indications that the developers are not committing any time on Dawn of Titans:

  • No new adventures for the Adventure Guild. The only Adventure is the one that came with the launch.
  • No efforts to balance the game. The attack meta is grossly imbalanced with Ranger titans, relics, and panthers. Now approaching 1.5 years, re-balancing will be difficult without alienating players who have spent months upgrading their titans and relics. The imbalance is baked into the game.
  • The only new content are re-skinned events.
  • It has been 4 months since the disastrous Throne Wars failure with no signs it will be fixed.

It is the author’s opinion that no developers exist to support Dawn of Titans. Whoever was the creative force behind the Adventure Guild and the events is gone. They tried to implement the Throne Wars but failed and appear to lack the ability to fix it for another attempt. The only content is recycled events with ever-increasing powerful reskinned titans (aura x) that serve no purpose but to exacerbate the already unbalanced gameplay meta.

TH10 Upgrading

I prioritized my TH10 upgrades in opposite order of war ranking, saving the inferno towers for the final addition before the home stretch to TH11. There were long periods of dumping excess Gold and Elixir into walls and getting raided by far stronger enemies for loot. Despite these downsides, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience with TH10 using this upgrade path.

Phase I

Early TH10 proved to be very Elixir intensive. The most important upgrades:

  1. Spell Factory to unlock additional spell slot
  2. Barracks to unlock Miners
  3. Dark Barracks to unlock Bowlers
  4. Laboratory to unlock new troop upgrades
  5. Clan Castle to 35 troops
  6. Army Camps for a total of 240 troop space
  7. New Gold Mine, Elixir Collector, and Dark Elixir Drill
  8. New walls and new base layout
  9. New Cannon, Archer Tower, and Xbow
  10. Upgrade Traps

During the early phases of TH10 upgrading, I spent my time in Crystal II using mostly GiGob with focus on Elixir. Naturally, a lot of Gold and Dark Elixir were also farmed.

2-3 Builders – working on priority Elixir upgrades (Laboratory, Spell Factory, Barracks, Dark Barracks, Army Camps)

1 Builder – Hero upgrading. Between Hero upgrades, build and upgrade new Gold Mine, Elixir Collector, and Dark Elixir Drill.

1-2 Builders – Upgrading Traps and Weapons

It’s very tempting to start the Inferno Towers because during this period, you will be raided mercilessly. Stick to the plan. Here are the defensive structure war ranking of upgrading an individual defense to maximum TH10 level as of last known values, in order of war ranking:

400    Air Defense

800    Tesla

1207   Cannon

1222   Archer Tower

1275   Xbow

1720   Bomb Tower

2760   Wizard Tower

3690   Mortar

7900   Inferno Tower

It is apparent that installing an Inferno Tower is equal to adding a lot of new weapons!

I stared by adding the new Cannon and Archer Tower. It took several weeks (and two builders) to advance the new baby defenses to equal the levels of my other weapons. I alternated builders to upgrade Giant Bombs, Air Bombs, and Seeking Air Mines. During this time I was elixir farming to upgrade Barracks and Army Camps, spending extra gold on these defensive upgrades and extra Dark Elixir on Hero upgrades or troop upgrades in the Laboratory. Any extra Gold can go towards getting your new walls to Level 8.

After the new Cannon and Archer Tower were upgraded, I added the new Xbow. It takes about a month to install and upgrade the new Xbow.

About this time, the Barracks and Army Camp elixir upgrades were about finished. At this point, my base was pretty solid:  three new resources Gold Mine, Elixir Collector, and Elixir Drill, all fully upgraded. Three new defenses, Archer Tower, Cannon, and Xbow, upgraded to equal my other defenses. Upgraded Barracks making Miners and Bowlers, Army Camps with 240 spaces, another spell slot (and the Clone Spell), and the Laboratory churning out upgrades. Any my Heros had a few new levels, too. Phase I complete.

Phase I summary:

  • Several Barracks upgraded to Miner
  • Dark Barracks upgraded to Bowler
  • Spell Factory upgraded
  • Army Camps upgraded to 240 troop space
  • Clan Castle upgraded to 35 troops
  • New walls (> Level 8) and new base layout
  • New cannon, upgraded to equal my other Cannons
  • New Archer Tower, upgraded to equal my other Archer Towers
  • New Xbow, upgraded to equal my other Xbows
  • New Gold Mine, Elixir Collector, and Dark Elixir Drill, fully upgraded
  • Some Giant Bombs, Air Bombs, Seeking Air Bombs fully upgraded

Phase II

Starting Phase II, I switched modes and put my attention to upgrading Hidden Teslas, Air Sweepers, and Air Defenses while still spending some Elixir on the last few Barracks upgrades:

 

  • Upgrade Hidden Teslas to maximum TH10 levels
  • Upgrade Air Defenses to maximum TH10 levels
  • Upgrade Air Sweepers to maximum TH10 levels
  • Continue Laboratory upgrades
  • Continue Hero upgrades
  • Continue upgrading walls

When you finish Phase II, you should have no Elixir upgrades remaining except Laboratory upgrades and walls!

Phase III

Phase three is a lot easier. By now your base is solid. You might be getting badly raided occasionally but get accustomed to it.

  • Upgrade all Cannons and Archer Towers to maximum TH10 levels
  • Upgrade remaining Bombs or Air Bombs to maximum levels
  • Continue Hero upgrades
  • Continue Laboratory upgrades
  • Continue upgrading walls

This Phase will last a few months to get all the Cannons and Archer Towers finished. In the meantime, you’ll have the time for some serious Laboratory upgrades and Hero upgrades. The Laboratory upgrades for TH10 take about 1 year, so expect each one of these phases to last several months.

Phase IV

Your base now looks like a serious contender, just without Inferno Towers. I did not add mine until the end, but you may be considering them now.

  • Upgrade Xbows
  • Upgrade Bomb Towers
  • Upgrade Wizard Towers
  • Upgrade Mortars

Phase V

Now your base is complete. The only thing lacking are the Inferno Towers and remaining Laboratory upgrades. I spent a few months in Phase V, and they were very enjoyable months. I raided often for wall and hero upgrades while patiently waiting for my Laboratory upgrades to slowly tick away.

  • Install and upgrade Inferno Towers
  • Upgrade Heros
  • Upgrade Walls
  • Keep Laboratory running

There you have it! The five phases of TH10. It was my favorite TH of the entire game.