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Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #1529: Comicalflop's N64 Wetrix in 00:50.25

Console: Nintendo 64
Game name: Wetrix
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Wetrix (U) [!]
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 00:50.25
FrameCount: 3015
Re-record count: 3456
Author's real name: Joshua Nyer
Author's nickname: Comicalflop
Submitter: Comicalflop
Submitted at: 2007-04-22 19:01:00
Text last edited at: 2007-05-09 20:12:04
Text last edited by: comicalflop
Download: Download (1875 bytes)
Status: decision: cancelled
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Author's comments and explanations:
What happens when you add 3 dimensions, water, bombs, mines, ice cubes, fireballs, ducks, and rainbows to Tetris? You get Wetrix, a fun N64 puzzle game that's added elements makes it more complex, intricate and unique compared to other Tetris games.

This run plays 1 minute challenge mode, attaining a high score of 67,401, which is far higher than the real time world records for this mode, of which 18,071 is the highest.

This game is similar to the Tetrisphere run in that a lot is happening very fast, and that even players of the game will get confused by all that is going on. However, this video on youtube shows what normal gameplay looks like.

I chose 1 minute mode because the pieces fall faster, and the timer is shorter, so it doesn't last that long. I figured the mode with the fastest pace and shortest time would maintain audience's attention the most, and get them interested in the game to possibly set up more runs in other modes. The pieces falling faster looked more entertaining to me, IMO. For those interested, this is a .m64 demonstration of what 5 minute challenge looks like. My strategy was very flawed, but it was a proof of concept for what the game looked like tool assisted.

This game is very complex. There are many score bonuses, and score multipliers. There's also a very fluxating feel to the board, with constant changes to the structures and environment. In less than 10 seconds the board can look completely different. Challenge mode is more about survival, so it has more dangerous elements than classic mode. This means that ice cubes, bombs, and other hazards drop more frequently, which makes keeping a unified, symmetrical board impossible. Also, the uppers and downers do not fall in the same forgiving, helpful patterns as classic, making a clean board very hard to maintain.

The 1 minute challenge is played way faster than was intended, and thus a lot happens very fast in a very short amount of time. Many strategies were experimented with to achieve the highest score. The main strategies were to create duck lakes- separate squares filled with water that doubles each score bonus; forcing ice cubes to land on dry land- this gives a bonus instead of freezing water; putting bombs in the right corner to minimize water lost, then putting an upper over it to receive a repair bonus; and using fireballs on wide areas of water. One main source of points is rainbow, but that requires a massive, clean board/main lake, and 1 minute challenge has the smallest board of any mode, which makes getting a rainbow practically impossible. It was far more beneficial to create many duck lakes.

Luck works very strangely in this game. Unlike other Tetris games, you cannot manipulate what comes *next*, but you can manipulate *where* the next item will appear on occasion. Sometimes I put a piece in one place in order to get the next piece to be closer to where I want. This was also important in making the ice cube fall directly on a dry piece of land that I designate, which gives a bonus instead of freezing water.

Holding A makes the pieces fall the fastest- sometimes too fast. I occasionally have to let go of A to make a piece fall where it needs to. In one case this caused some unavoidable lag, which makes subsequent pieces fall a little slower.

Goals:

  • Aims for Highest Score
  • Manipulates Luck
  • Plays in 1 minute Challenge Mode

Settings:

     *  EMULATOR -- Mupen 64 rerecording 0.5
     * ROM – Wetrix (U)
     * COUNTRY -- USA
     * CRC -- 4FB5A8CE
Video: Jabo's Direct3D8 1.6

Sound: Jabo's DirectSound 1.6

Input: TAS Input Plugin 0.6

RSP: RSP emulation Plugin

Controller 1: Present

Controller 2: Disconnected

Controller 3: Disconnected

Controller 4: Disconnected

About the Run

Wetrix is very similar to Tetris, but instead of placing blocks down on a 2D screen, you place them on a 3D map. The blocks add up making barriers, which holds the water in. As you play along, you try to manage your board, and create lakes, fix disasters, and try to amass the highest score as possible. The game has many different modes of play: classic mode, where you play attaining score until you lose; the 1 and 5 minute challenge, where you try to play the board under very difficult circumstances and survive until the timer runs out; predetermined sequence, where you're giving a listed set of what will come next, and have to play with that; and designated number of pieces, where you try to get the highest score using only 300 or 500 pieces, at which point the mode ends.

This game is comprised of certain pieces and items, here's a rundown of what they do and how they're used:

Uppers: these are the red arrows, they are the "Tetris blocks" by which you build barriers. They stack up one on top of another, and are used to create the walls to keep the water in and make structures. As uppers are placed, the earthquake meter on the left goes up, if it reaches the top, an earthquake occurs and the board is scrambled up. Int he run, the meter never got too high. These come in 3 shapes: line, square, and L.

Downers: These are the green arrows, and they do just the opposite. The depress any uppers that they land on. They can be helpful in clearing out space, making the earthquake meter on the left side of the screen go down. if there's no good spot for the downers to go, I place them on empty space, and they do nothing. Comes in two shapes: line, and square.

Water: H20. Agua. This is a main proponent of how scores can be attained, creating certain affects, and the resource which you must preserve to avoid losing. The water comes in globules, and you drop them on the board. The idea is to keep them in lakes, and prevent them from overspilling (which is indicated by the water leakage meter on the right, which if gets too full you lose. Blue arrows point to areas where water is leaking off the board.) Water comes in 3 sizes: small, medium, and large. Putting a large water in a tiny upraised area will cause spillage, and make the water overflow onto the lower areas (which is sometimes a good thing.) During the 1 minute, random raindrops fall from above and slide off the edge, which raises the leakage level slightly; however these are insignificant enough to ignore for the most part, unless an upper piece that needs to be ditched can stop it, killing two birds with one stone.

While on the subject of water:

Duck lakes are formed when you have a squarish area that is 2 upper units deep full of water (like for example two square uppers placed on top of each other.) Ducks are multipliers, they increase all score bonuses by x2 for each duck lake you have. Each duck lake multiplies each other too, so 3 duck lakes is x8 on all scores.

Rainbow is very difficult to obtain, but you need to have a very big, main lake, and have it a certain area and depth. Rainbow increases the score multiplier by x10. Unfortunately, due the survival nature of Challenge Mode, the pieces did not fall favorably to create a rainbow. It was tried, but the 'cards just weren't playin' right. Also of note is that the 1 minute challenge has the board with the smallest area, and rainbows are far easier to create with bigger boards, since you need a wide, big lake.

Mines: These fell in the water, floated, then disappeared. They do something bad I'm sure, but in my run they sat there and nothing happened. Can't complain with that.

Fireballs: These are major sources for score. They disintegrate water that they land on, and the more water area, the more points. If they hit ground, they explode like bombs, which is no fun. In the run, I had two fireballs drop one after another towards the end with nothing I could do to make the 2nd be major scoring. That's just not right man! Curse this game's luck.

Bombs: They land, and explode. Kaboom! They leave a nice big hole in the board, where lots of water can leak out. The best thing to do with these is to place them as far right as possible, where it won't make water leak, and then place an upper over it to get a repair bonus.

Ice cube: These things suck. When they fall and hit water, the freeze it, which is no good. However, you can manipulate them to fall over dry land, where it'll give a dry land bonus. Luck was manipulated to make these fall over an area of the lake where I conveniently placed a single upper to "take the hit" and give a dry bonus instead. Future planning for the win!

Thanks

This run was pretty much done by me on my own, but two people are worth noting:

Vidar, for watching some wips, and pointing out that the high score for 1 minute challenge was 18,071 and that my initial strategy was, in all likelihood not going to beat that score by that much because it lacked multipliers.

AntMan, the holder of the 18,071 score. I asked him a few questions, I showed him some progress.

I think this game is very open to competition. There's many playable modes, and it's huge complexity can lead to many different versions that beat previous runs by just that little bit of score, with a different stroke of luck or a different strategy. Possibly varying what frame you enter a mode may affect the luck, or just starting a new .m64 might change things up, but I haven't tested it that much. I do know that once a mode is entered, you cannot affect the items that will come in the future, even if you completely vary where you put pieces beforehand. It might be interesting to play Classic Mode and see what the maximum score possible for the game is. To my knowledge, 105 million is the highest reached so far by human playing. But many modes and incredibly varied tetris gameplay makes for a good game that deserves more than just 1 run. It will be very interesting indeed to see not only many more submissions competing against each other and but also playing all the modes.

Enjoy this fast 50 seconds of play!


adelikat: Nice movie, looks well played, and has gotten good viewer response. Accepting for publication.

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