Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Science presents: Peter's Moe Scale (patent pending)

I've mentioned it a couple of times on Twitter, but maybe I need to go into more detail about it. "It" being my* "Moe Scale".

*Please note that I actually heard this from someone else, but I don't remember who.

So the "Moe Scale" has only been attempted a few times. However, on both major occurrences I am aware of, they are very limited in scope. Sometimes, it can be quite difficult to place a character.

For example, take Japanator's moe scale:

This is far too generalized. Some characters can fit between two categories. In fact, using "moe moe kyun" in the title of this scale is ironic since Mio is frequently regarded as the most moe character of K-ON, yet has breasts that go boin. Additionally, some regard tsudere as the most moe characteristic a character can have! Also, real-life (3D) people can be moe too.

This second one I found on the Crunchyroll forums and I think is getting close to a usable scale. This scale includes "GAR", the opposite of moe, to give comparisons to. However, it's actually more vague than the Japanator scale in that there's no real indication of how to give characters the right level on the scale. It's mostly guesstimating, which isn't very helpful as you'll be arguing with yourself about putting characters between other characters.

This is where my moe scale comes in. It takes an actual quantifiable unit of measure, and applies it to moe. Incidentally, this led to creating my own unit of measure. More on that later.

But first, how do we measure with this scale. First, take a standard anime episode featuring the character due to be measured. This works best if the character is on screen for extended periods of time. You will struggle with minor characters, but if they talk for a while, this could also work.

Watch the episode up to when the chosen character is due to appear. Start a stopwatch at the moment the character appears for his/her/its extended appearance.

Now, this is crucial. Stop the stopwatch the moment you feel the urge to either hug the character or go "dawwwwww"(+/- any amount of "w"s). Round the number of seconds to the nearest second. You will now have the level of moe for this character.

In order to store and share this data, it is recommended to use the unit of measure "seconds 'till hugs" or sth for short. So, for a period of 10 seconds until the urge to hug arises, this would be displayed as "10sth". Note that I am using "hugs" rather than "dawww". This is because "second 'till dawww" would be abbreviated to "std" which could be interpreted as something different.

You may be thinking that this would only be valid for that one scene. You would indeed be right, however it does give a fair indication of the moe level of the character. For enhanced accuracy, it is recommended to apply this method to several scenes over various episodes, then take the average seconds 'till hugs.

I believe this method of measuring characters' moe level is more accurate and more fair than other ways. This way, you cannot argue with yourself regarding the placement of characters, and allows for a much larger range of characters, and can also be applied to real-life 3D people too with some slight modifications.

I hope that one day, my moe scale will become the standard in moe measuring across the world. In fact, one day, there could be a global database of people's moe scale measurements for characters which get averaged and we officially find the world's most moe character/person.

Coming soon: a blog post featuring my own moe scale'd characters...

Have a nice day,

Dr. Peter Shillito PHD

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, I do not have a PHD and this article has no real scientific merit. I also do not have a patent pending on the idea as it wasn't my idea in the first place and I don't think I could patent it anyway. I do think it's an interesting idea with potential though. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Musings about TV channels

Oh hey! It's blog time! (not that there is a scheduled time for blogging since I rarely have more than 140 characters to say).

A long time ago, in a room where I'm sitting now, I had Freeview for watching TV. I still do, but I don't use it much. I heard about this amazing new service called "Top Up TV". You bought a viewing card for your Freeview box with a slot, and then paid £8 a month and got access to about 10 channels like UKTV Gold, E4 (before it became free) and a few others. I thought this was awesome, especially since you got access to Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Toonami (before it closed down). This was great because my parents refused to get Sky because it was so expensive (and still is) and the only other times I could watch these channels was at my grandparents' house (who had Telewest cable) or at a friend's house who had Sky. So I got my parents to reduce my pocket money and get me that instead.

It was awesome for a while. Since the channels were timeshared, sometimes at rubbish hours, I would record the programming on some channels either overnight or while I was at school onto a VHS on longplay mode (around six to eight hours) then watch it when I wake up/get back home. It was awesome....until it started going wrong.

First it was E4. E4 became free on Freeview. I wasn't too fussed at the time since I was too young to like any of the stuff on there. Then, some channels got less hours. In the end, even Top Up TV themselves realized that it would be pointless to continue. They're now doing some crazy on demand thing that would be cool if the programming was better.

That's not the point of this blog post. I'm missing watching Cartoon Network, Boomerang and UKTV Gold, among others. So I started thinking, could I justify buying a subscription to Sky? I have a satellite already installed into my room for Freesat, but what about other channels?

Well, Sky sell their packages with "packs" of channels: Variety pack, Children's Pack, Knowledge Pack, Style and Culture Pack, Music Pack and News & Events Pack. They also have their premium Movies Packs, as well some Sports channels. They don't have a world cinema movie channel, and sports are a waste of time and money, so I'll ignore them.

Currently, Sky are charging £19.50 for one normal pack, then £1 per pack after that. So minimum a month is £19.50. But what's actually in these packs? Sky only has "X Pack includes..." then lists some channels. "Includes" says to me, that's not all of them. So I went to ask Uncle Jimmy over at Wikipedia. There's a LOT of channels. So I'm gonna list ones that are not free that I would watch on a regular basis, along with which pack they are in:

Kerrang! - Music Pack (they used to be good but some say they're rubbish now)
Cartoon Network - Children's Pack
Boomerang - Children's Pack
Sky1 - Variety Pack
Sky2 - Variety Pack
G.O.L.D. - Variety Pack
Comedy Central - Variety Pack
FX - Variety Pack (they are now home to Adult Swim)

I'd like to say Nickelodeon too, but the only thing I'd watch on there is Fairly Odd Parents.

So that's 8 channels which are NOT free-to-air/view and which aren't available for free through Freeview.

In order to get all those channels, I would need the Music Pack, the Children's Pack and the Variety Pack. That's £21.50 a month. For 8 channels, that's roughly £2.69 a month per channel. If I include Nick, a few +1 channels and Comedy Central Extra, that works out at £1.43 a month per channel. HOWEVER, Sky don't offer the non-plus box any more. So you HAVE to get the Sky+ box. That generally makes the +1 channels obsolete.

To make things worse, you then have to pay £49 for the Sky+ box (unless you sign up for Sky Broadband and Phone, which I know is bloody awful) and a £30 set-up. So that's £79 one-off cost as well.

So, taking into account that £79 one-off fee, that's £337 for a year. Or the equivalent of £28 a month. For 8 channels, that's £3.50 per month per channel.

I don't think so Sky.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Oh hey! I didn't see you there! - Hanafuda Cards

So it's been well over a year since I last posted on this blog type thing. I've generally moved over to Twitter, but I thought I might blog about things every now and again in case 140 characters don't cut it.

Lets start with the Hanafuda Cards I got about half an hour ago through the post.

Nintendo have this "Stars Catalogue" thing where you can register a code from each new Nintendo game or console you buy, and you get "Stars". You can trade these stars for things on the catalogue. Some things are cheap, like wallpapers, screensavers or ringtones. However, the expensive ones are proper things from games to gold plated Mario Kart wheels. Some things you can't buy in shops. I was lucky enough to buy myself some limited edition Hanafuda Cards.

If you don't know what Hanafuda Cards are, I don't blame you. They're traditional Japanese playing cards from a long time ago. This is how Nintendo first started back in the 1800's. They've changed a bit since then, but they still make Hanafuda cards today. In the film "Summer Wars", Hanafuda Cards are a main part of the story (and probably what made me order them).

After I ordered them, I half expected a small cardboard box to arrive with some flimsy cards in. I was very wrong.

So this is the box it came in. Plastic, with a nice picture of Mario, and buttons to flip open the top and bottom.

Instructions on the right (that was nice of them) and a fold open bit of fuzzy stuff (dunno what it's called) to pull out the actual box of cards.

So here's the actual card box (box in a box). Each side shows the new redesigned cards featuring Nintendo characters compared to the traditional animal cards. I guess this specific set of cards isn't quite as traditional as I thought.

Here's the cards inside the cardboard box. They're surprisingly thick actually. Not bendy in the slightest!

So here's all the cards spread out to show all four cards in each month (Hanafuda deck is 4 cards per month, so 4 x 12). Note the Nintendo game characters instead of the traditional animals.

This is me trying to show how thick they are. Kinda cool, but difficult to show in a picture...

Now, some have described the games you play with Hanafuda cards as bloody difficult. The classic game you play is "Koi-Koi" where you have to make matches of different types of card. It's pretty confusing, but fun once you work it out. Fortunately, Nintendo included some rules:

And lots of them.... It also looks like this specific set of Hanafuda cards is intended for European audiences specifically, as it has instructions for various European languages, and not Japanese.

Well, I'll start re-enacting bits from Summer Wars now, albeit without the threat of computer viruses or (spoilerspoilerspoiler).

Summer Wars is due out on DVD and blu-ray in March in the UK by Manga Entertainment. I saw it in the cinema at Scotland Loves Animation, and I can't wait for it to come out. If you get the chance, WATCH IT WATCH IT WATCH IT!

Peter "The" Shillito