December 15, 2013

Tiny Death Star - information on bugs, features, and updates (including holiday)

Emperor Palpatine wants you to build the death star! And while you're at it, hire some employees and make money.

These are some tidbits about the game that I've discovered along the way, including how to get bucks, how to avoid some bugs, and what's up with the latest versions of the game.


Latest Version: 1.2.2
Last Update: Dec. 20th, 2013

Bugs with this update:

- so far, there have been no reported bugs

Message from the TDS dev team on the TDS FB page:

"For anyone who has experienced the save game issues in Tiny Death Star, the development team is taking the issue very seriously and working on a solution. The latest update has fixes intended to prevent the issue, however we understand it is still occurring for certain players. If you are experiencing this, please contact with a description of what happened, the type of device you have, the version number and your user ID number (both found in the Settings/HELP page in game). We apologize for this situation and are working very hard to resolve this as quickly as we can."

Updates and bug fixes to version 1.2.1

- New decoration bot has been added to the VIPs. It will decorate any floor with holiday cheer. 
- Decoration bot can also be bought with 4 bucks. 
- The first decoration bot is free. 
- After 10 floors, 25 floors, and 35 floors are decorated, you will receive a prize. (I won't tell you what it is, finding out is the fun!)
- After 35 floors, the prize is 1 buck per floor decorated. 
- Darth Vader has more quests.
- Bitizens with a ? can be delivered to any floor. These bitizens pay double what they normally would in tips.
- Bitizens no longer ask to go to negative floors.


General bugs and issues: 

- Emperor Palpatine's quest of "Move in 30 bitizens" does not work
- For the Emperor's quest of "Build any 1 level", it does not work to build a food level. (fixed)
- You can not make a bitizen "unemployed" if all of the shop levels are filled. If the shops are full with workers, you must evict a bitizen who is working at one of the shops before you can make another bitizen unemployed. (fixed)
- The fastest elevator sometimes gets stuck. To fix this, remove Tiny Death Star from the active programs list and restart. 
- Game sometimes freezes when on a non-tower screen (such as the bitizen screen or the quest screen). To fix this, remove TDS from the active programs list and restart.
- Darth Vader wants the "communications" level to be built out of order. Communications is one of the last levels to be built when a specific level is not requested. When you get this quest, spend the bucks to build this level to avoid skipping these quests. There are limited quests, so don't skip any of Vader's quests if possible.

Tips and tricks:

- To gain bucks, put bitizens into their dream job. If a store already has 3 bitizens working their dream job, make one unemployed, put in the new bitizen, then evict the bitizen and put back the original bitizen. 
- Darth Vader's quests are variable. When the imperial levels are moved around, the quests change. The quests are based on level location, not name. If the first item on the quest list is from the imperial level in slot #3, and if another level is moved into the 3rd position, the quest will change to ask for those items. This can be used to either make the quests easier to get them done or harder to get bigger rewards. 
- There are a limited number of Darth Vader quests. The rewards for these quests are much better than the Emperor's quests. Don't skip any of these quests if possible. 
- The last elevator is 499 bucks. Its not worth it. It is too fast to be able to aim for the imperial levels, and is buggy. Use those bucks to upgrade levels. 
- Level upgrades increase stock by 10%. Use bucks to do the early upgrades of a level (1-5) and use upgraded bots only on level that are 6+. 
- Bitizens that work at their dream job double the production of a shop. 
- Bitizens with higher levels in a category decrease the time slightly of how long it takes to produce. The effect is accumulative in each shop. 
- There is a bug/feature that if you send a worker to an imperial level to decrease construction time by 3 hours, it actually decreases it by 6 hours. 
- To fulfill the "move any 1 level" quest, a level doesn't actually have to be moved, just get to the level moving screen, then cancel. That fulfills the quest. 
- Workers can decrease production time as well. If you have something being produced in a shop or in the imperial level, the worker will decrease that time by 3 hours. 
- When looking for bitizens in the "search for" or "rebel spy" quests, they sometimes hide to the "right" of the room, where they can't be seen. There is no penalty for choosing the wrong floor and no time limit. If the bitizen can't be found, select every floor until the right one is selected. 
- The "search for" and "rebel spy" quests are always on the top levels, never in imperial levels. And, they can be in any construction level on the top half of the death star as well. 
- Any bitizen with any level marker can be delivered to any imperial level.

List of scenes and how to unlock them.

Another source for which characters unlock the various scenes.

March 25, 2013

Feeling Meditation - Cure for Insomnia and Strong Emotions

One kind of meditation that I created as a hybrid of a tool I learned on how to deal with triggers and sitting meditation from Zen is "feeling meditation."

When I'm feeling antsy, angry, frustrated, agitated, or my mind is ruminating on something, a tool is to ask myself, "What am I feeling right now?" It's a process my therapist suggested as a way to pause before making a choice on how to respond to stressful events.

Feeling meditation takes this one step further, where I take time out to purposefully sit and feel about the things going through my mind.

Starting with some counting or other centering breathing, I sit on my mat, or lay in my bed (especially if  I'm having trouble sleeping).

Then I let my mind wander. Or, if there is a specific problem I'm grappling with, I think about that.

Then, I ask myself, "How do I feel right now? How does my body feel and what are my emotions?"

There's no right or wrong answer. And no explaining of why I feel that way. Just how I feel.

Then when I pinpoint the feeling, I let my mind wander again. As soon as I hit another thought, I ask again, "How do I feel?"

After a while, I process a lot of the distracting thoughts in my mind, and it really feels like my mind is "clearer."

It's one of my favorite meditations. I hope it works as well for you as it does for me.

March 24, 2013

It's Easier to Be an Atheist (and More Relaxing)

Today is Palm Sunday. Apparently.

The only reason I know it's Palm Sunday, is Facebook.

The only reason I know next week is Easter, is Google Calendar - and the stores being full of pastel colored candy and baskets.

Many people are preparing for Easter.

We aren't. Easter will come, we'll go outside, like we do on many other days, and enjoy spring.

Easy, and relaxing.

For most holidays, this is how it is (except for Christmas - we're still culturally attached to that one).

When we do celebrate holidays, it's with food, friends, and family. We might do a project if we feel energized and excited about it. If someone is stressed, we slow down and celebrate in a different way. Because celebrations are about life, not about trying to be perfect or satisfy a requirement (social or religious).

Holidays are simply easier, and less stressful, as an atheist. They are what they are supposed to be - fun and joyous.

March 20, 2013

Some Myths Are More True - God vs. Big Foot

I had a conversation much like this, this morning. The response wasn't silence. The response was, "But everyone knows that Big Foot isn't real. There is no way to prove the afterlife isn't real."

We have been handed down stories for generations, and we believe the stories. Once you're out, and you don't believe the stories anymore, it all becomes Big Foot.

What replaces it? Nothing in particular. Except now it's time to go out and look for evidence and see what's really going on.

Science doesn't replace religious stories. Science is what's left when we realize the religious stories are all made up. The fog is lifted.

It's hard to hate something that doesn't exist. But when someone really believes that something exists, I can see how it would seem that anyone who doesn't believe the stories "hates" the hero of the story.

Or perhaps they are misunderstanding that it's not the story, or the hero of the story that non-believers "hate", but we "hate" the fact that we are expected to believe, we are insulted because we don't believe, or have to hear the stories and ignore that they are not real in order not to rock the boat. That's perhaps where believers feel the "hate."

There is no way to prove the non-existence of anything. Big Foot seems less real that God because less people believe. The concrete evidence of something not existing is equal for all things that don't exist, despite any claims from the fog.

March 17, 2013

Difficulty of Change

Change is hard.

Even when the change is welcome and desired, it's still hard.

The old ways pull at you. Tugging. Saying, "Come back!"

But we know when it's time to change, and we must; looking back with fondness, while still moving forward.

Change is sometimes necessary, even if the past was fabulous. Sometimes it's just time to move forward, the previous chapter is over. It's time to stop hanging on to what was good before, trying to re-live that time.

That time is over, and whether it was good or bad, the next phase has started, and as difficult as it is, the transition must happen.

We know it has to. We know it's the right thing. It's still hard.

Because we want to stay in one place, where it's safe, where it feels good, or where we at least understand it, we struggle to move ahead.

It's also hard to feel the pull of others, who want us to stay, want us to be who we were yesterday, to do things the way they liked, not to put them in a position where they have to change, too.

It's time to move on, it's time to grow, and the challenge of change is part of the process that strengthens our character as we move to the next segment of our lives.

March 13, 2013

Questions We Should All Ask About Our Religion

Being raised Christian, I asked a lot of questions when I was young, and never received satisfying answers from other believers. But I thought that it was because I was young and couldn't yet understand the complex adult world and ideas, as there were many other things I didn't understand yet - calculus, politics, and football, for example.

When I arrived in my early adulthood, I was learning a lot in school, and yet, I still had questions. So I joined a Christian study group, and asked them there. I did not get answers. Instead I got silence. And the SMH response. Obviously, I didn't "get it."

Well, I didn't get it. And over time, I searched elsewhere with my questions. And I found answers but none of them were from believers. And because they cannot be answered by believers with any sound reply other than, "Because that's what I think, and so what I think must be true," they are questions that I think we should all ask about the religions that we believe in. Maybe it's time to be honest with ourselves. These questions could be used for anything, really. But for the purpose of this conversation, we're talking about religion.

1. If God exists, how do we know the religion we believe in is the one God wants us to believe in? In today's world, there are 21 major religions, and that's not counting all of the branches of each religion. Over the course of human history, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of different religions and branches. A good number of them claim to the be "one" religion or the "right" one. How can we possibly know that our religion is the right one?

2. Why are there people in the world who have never heard of religion at all? If believing is required in order to get into heaven, for example, why would God condemn so many people over the course of history simply because they don't live in an area that has religion? How is that their fault?

If people who don't have religion actually don't go to hell because it's not their fault, then why would any religion encourage the spreading of their religion? If not having religion at all is a guaranteed path to heaven, wouldn't it be better then that nobody have religion and to keep everyone in the dark about it so they won't be stuck in the life-long trap of knowing about it and then running the risk of going to hell?

3. Why does believing and worshiping God trump being a good person? Not all religions have belief in God as the deciding factor of acceptance to heaven in their belief system, but of the ones that do, why is that the case? Why isn't simply being a good, moral, person enough to get someone into heaven?

4. Would my belief stand up to scrutiny to someone who has no idea what a religion or God is? Would my belief stand up to scrutiny to someone outside of your belief group? One of the major problems I had with what I was taught in bible study and Sunday school, is that in my child-like brain, I was seeing things through a "newbie's" eyes, and it didn't make sense when looked at that way. I had to believe in order to understand what I was believing. That didn't make sense to me. Not all religions do this, but many do. This is one reason I became Buddhist, because it was a "religion" that makes sense from the outside, even to non-practitioners.

5. What if God and my belief system is wrong? I took an American Indian Religion class in college, and I was immediately struck by how many of the religions "worked" even if it was totally and completely wrong. For example, one of the tribes believed that their ancestors came and gave them guidance and supported them in the after life. Even if they were totally wrong, and their ancestors were all in their heads, they wouldn't have to change anything in their practices. People could be non-believers and still be worshipping the memories of their ancestors. I didn't see this possibility in what I was taught. Leaving Christianity to live with a non-christian world view is a major shift. Major. That woke me up when I realized that.

6. Does my belief system make other people out to be a bad guy if they don't believe? That is a self-reflection that I couldn't reconcile. Not only was I taught that those who were not Christian weren't as good as Christians, but that if I didn't abide, I'd be a "bad guy" too - and God knows even if I *think* about being a non-Christian. That is a recipe for dysfunction I there ever was one. Perhaps, there's a reason some religions teach this.

7. Does this religion allow for new truths that we learn as the human race advances? I asked many times how could the bible and today's science be compatible. The answer was usually that the bible was allegories, yet at the very same time, they would do bible study as if what they understood at that time is still true today.


Perhaps if we ask these questions more often, the dangerous and dysfunctional religious will die out faster, and be replaced with ones that don't require blind belief or a disregard for the current state of society.

February 26, 2013

The Bully Who Says It's Your Fault He/She Has to Bully You

"If you weren't so difficult, I wouldn't be so angry at you."

"It's your fault that I act this way. You brought it upon yourself."

"If you only did what I asked you to, I wouldn't have to punish you."

"I know I yelled, and pushed you. I know I talked about you behind your back. I know I rallied people around against you. But I had to. You were unreasonable. You weren't listening. You were a problem."

"Everything I did was because I had to. You made me do it. I didn't want to, but you made me."

"I told you exactly what you had to do in order to make me not hurt you, but you didn't listen, so now see what I had to do."

"It's your fault that I am not getting what I want. You know what that means."

This is a special kind of emotionally manipulative bully. They claim they don't want to be bullies, but they have to, because you made them. They don't like what's going on, so they react to whatever they can to make things how they like it. It's your fault things aren't how they like, so they have to bully, because they have no other choice.

Don't fall for it. They are still bullies. In fact, they are the worst kind of bullies, because they bully twice. Once in the initial bully behavior, then again when they blame you for their behavior.

To respond to this kind of bully it doesn't work to:

  • Try to convince them it's not your fault
  • Show the bully how they had a choice 
  • Explain how their behavior hurt you

This just gives them more ammo.

Some ways to handle this kind of double bullying:

  • Ignoring and not acknowledging their blame, and continue to do the thing that you need to do to keep your boundaries, and your values, even if the bully doesn't like it.
  • Ask, "What is it that you want?" And then decide whether what they want is doable. If it is, offer other ways to achieve their goals. If they don't like the other ways, bow out and let them find a way to get what they want without you involved.
  • Focus attention on people who don't bully. If you are in a group with a bully, give more attention and conversation to the people who want to work together as a team, and spend less and less time listening to the pleas of the bully until they stop, leave or escalate their behavior into something obvious to all. 
  • Say "I do not agree," and either change the subject or walk away. 
  • Say "The way you treated me is not OK no matter what I did wrong." - and know it. 
  • If it's an email, delete it. The bully knows they've achieved their goal if they get any kind of response at all. 
Can you see this pattern in politics? In your family? At work? Watch to see how people respond, and what works. Very rarely can a bully be talked out of their behavior with reason. They aren't acting with reason. Bullies like attention. Sometimes, losing attention can be the thing that makes the difference. 

In any case, it's not our job to fix bullies. The only responsibility we have is to ourselves, to keep double bullies from making our lives hell by playing into their story like it has any credence or possibly validity. 

If the bully escalates their behavior into direct bully tactics - threats, blackmail, physical attacks, direct attacks - then it's time to stand up to their behavior and call it out. The passive aggressive, "you want to hurt me" accusations, and "You brought it on yourself" explanations are harder to stand up to, because it's a "he said she said" situation. 

Direct action can be brought into light easier and that behavior can be asked to change, but we can't change the way people think about us. That's an important distinction to make when we stand up to bully behavior. 

The bully can hold on to us securely when we care what the bully thinks more than we care about the way he/she treats us.