TASVideos

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

Submission #1566: Baxter & AngerFist's NES Mega Man 3 & Mega Man 4 & Mega Man 5 & Mega Man 6 in 39:06.92

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Mega Man 3 & Mega Man 4 & Mega Man 5 & Mega Man 6
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Mega Man 3 (U) [!].nes, Mega Man 4 (U).nes, Mega Man 5 (U).nes, Mega Man 6 (u).nes
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 39:06.92
FrameCount: 140815
Re-record count: 129820
Author's real name: Lennart W. & Yashar Nasirian
Author's nickname: Baxter & AngerFist
Submitter: Baxter
Submitted at: 2007-05-17 02:24:07
Text last edited at: 2007-09-26 21:18:47
Text last edited by: Baxter
Download: Download (29241 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Ladies and gentlemen, we present you with Tasvideos' first Quadruple run! A fcm file stores what buttons are pressed on every frame. A specific sequence of input can complete a game. It is however also possible to complete two games with a single movie file... or three games, or four. The goal of this movie is to complete Mega Man 3, Mega Man 4, Mega Man 5 and Mega Man 6 as fast as possible. It can be compared to playing four games with one controller; all games respond to the input of that single controller. Input is stopped after all four games are beaten, which happened after 140815 frames, or 39 minutes and 7 seconds. The longest currently published movie of those games is Mega Man 4, completed in 34 minutes and 34 seconds, so completing the other three games also only took 4 minutes and 33 seconds longer. Even more remarkable might be comparing this movie with the first Mega Man 4 run which completes the game in 39 minutes and 45 seconds, or the first Mega Man 5 run which completes the game in 40 minutes and 28 seconds.

Our goal wasn't just to produce a movie file which completes all four game, we gave our total commitment, heart and soul to make all games "fast as possible". Sometimes we had to deal with desyncs (when for instance the movie only played back three games correctly) and had to redo a segment. We played segments of 4000 frames each time, and then it was the others turn to play. After each segment we checked for desyncs, and luckily we seldom ran into desync issues. There were also sometimes difficult situations in the games, but these were all dealt with in their own ways (check the 'Techniques' section for how we avoided some of these difficulties). Even though we made this TAS ourselves, we often seem to notice new things when watching it again. This is probably because when making the movie, we had to do everything frame by frame. You will probably also see stuff you didn't notice the first time, when watching it a second time.

Movie playback

To play back the movie on the emulator, you must do the following:
  • Download FCEU 0.98.16
  • Open the emulator four times, and align them
  • Load the four Mega Man games and pause them
  • Enable Background Input (at config), if it was already enabled when FCEU started, disable it first, and enable it again (it

will automatically enable Run In Background

  • Load the movie file at all FCEU's (note that it will only give a correct ROM checksum for one of the games)
  • Unpause (with a hotkey... background input will make all games unpause at the same time)

Why this?

We have thought about what game we were going to do for quite some time. There was this idea floating around at the time of a single movie which completed all six Mega Man games. It was probably more like a joke than a serious idea. We wanted to do a big project, since we can both be very productive when we put our minds to it, so completing all six Mega Man games in one movie was one of the ideas we considered. At first it was also as a joke, but then we thought it would be pretty cool if it actually happened. There are however several reasons why we didn't include Mega Man 1 and Mega Man 2 in this TAS.

First of all, a single movie which completes multiple games is only meaningful if the games actually look like each other. If a single movie plays Pinball and Adventures of Lolo it will not be visible that it is the same input which completes the games. Watching them at the same time would be pointless, because the movements don't correlate. You might as well watch them separately, and then you would just be watching two runs that are less optimal as they could have been. Mega Man 1 and Mega Man 2 are different from the other four NES Mega Man games for several reasons. For instance, the currently published Mega Man 1 run takes about 15 minutes to finish, and the currently published Mega Man 2 run about 25 minutes. This is a lot less than the other four, which all take over 30 minutes.

Another big difference is the fact that Mega Man 3 through 6 are able to slide, which makes the gameplay quite different. The gameplay is quite different anyway, since Mega Man 1 and Mega Man 2 TASes are based on glitches. Then there is the option of pressing select in Mega Man 1. Select doesn't have a function at other Mega Man games, so the select button would be used all the time, resulting in something that won't be pretty to watch. We must admit that even in this movie, with four games it is sometimes difficult to spot that it's all from a single sequence of input... but this would even be worse if the other two Mega Man games were added.

Then there is a practical reason for not doing six games; it would be even harder to watch than four games. Four games can form a grid of two by two. With six games, the grid would have to be three by two, which would make it absolutely improssible to pay attention to the rightmost and leftmost games at the same time. When watching on full screen, the bottom and top of the screen wouldn't contain anything, so then it would be a lot smaller too.

Another good reason for not doing all six Mega Man games is the fact that the more games you add, the crappier the gameplay will become. The more games you add, the less perfect the movie will turn out. The movies will be less accurate and longer. Lastly, we must admit, it would also be more difficult to TAS six games at the same time. It would require concentrating on six runs at the same time. We also had more knowledge of the Mega Man 3, 4, 5 and 6 glitches and tricks than we did for Mega Man 1 and Mega man 2. This is however not the reason why we didn't do all six, those reasons are listed above ;)

Techniques

This section discusses techniques that are specifically for multiple Mega Man TASing. How certain specific game tricks and glitches work won't be discussed here.

Lag is a key factor that made it possible to do certain actions without interfering with other games. Lag is created when too much is happening on the screen. The game will freeze sometimes for a frame, and during this frame, no input will be accepted for that game. During this frame, we are able to stuff like stopping a jump, shooting, or pressing start to go to the menu, without affecting the game where the lag occured. Lag can be experienced in normal playing by the game slowing down. We sometimes deliberately created lag, by shooting, or moving a lot, in order to perform certain actions like switching to the start menu.

Another great help were the cutscenes. In between the levels, or when a room is scrolling, the game is obviously not affected by any input given. These were especially useful to move left or right in some games when needed. Also for switching to the item menu obviously. It is nearly impossible to create lag for 3 games, and not for the fourth game, in order to go to the item menu in that game. Often, a combination of lag and cutscenes was used to go to the start screen. Sometimes our strategy allowed multiple games to go to the menu, which also made it easier. Mega Man 4 provides another option, since this game won't be affected by pressing start when Mega Man is sliding.

Of course, completing an entire 'left-room' takes longer than it takes for a screen to scroll. Often, we tried to make the game that has to move left face left, while the others face right. This can for instance be done in a frame of lag at other games. When dropping down into a 'left-room', it is good to face left for a frame, right before the screen starts scrolling.

When the screen is scrolling down, the other games are able to progress to the right. After the screen is done scrolling, it is possible to move left in the left-room, and still move right in the other games, with sliding by pressing down+A. This doesn't change the direction of megaman, which makes it possible to move in different directions in different games. A nice example of this comes early in the run, when Mega Man 5 drops down in the second room of starman (the first level). It doesn't always work however. When Mega Man needs to jump in such a room, left will have to be pushed, which is why sometimes the other Mega Mans are affected. Mega Man 6 can avoid this a little, since megaman6 will move left when you press left and right at the same time. The other Mega Man games won't move, so it is easier to movie left with Mega Man 6 than with other Mega Man games. If you stop walking, Mega Man will take a few frames to get in his final standing position. During these frames, it's also sometimes possible to press left without changing megamans direction.

This short time it takes for Mega Man to position himself after running was also used in other occasions. For example when one of the games has to jump to the left, and it was possible to keep another Mega Man which didn't need to move to the left on the ground. If pressing left is skipped for a frame, the Mega Man on the ground will position himself for like ten frames, so he won't move to the left. The Mega Man who is moving to the left will only stop moving for one frame since he is on the air. It was also used at instances where Mega Man had to move on a rushjet to the left, and a lot when multiple boss battles where going on at the same time.

There are also several ways to make differences in jumping. If two games have to make a big jump, we tried to do them both at the same time, since you can't start a new jump when the other is still pressing the A button. Often though, when only one game has to make a big jump, it is better not to jump with the other games. The game that has to make a big jump will reach a ladder or a platform, and can move on. The other games will be high in the air at that point. If they avoid the jump, they can make a slide right after that one game is done jumping, since they are on the ground then, instead of in the air. Avoiding a jump can be done for instance if there is a frame of lag at the game that has to do the jump. Not pressing A at this frame will stop the jump for the other games, while the jump continues for the game that has to jump, if A is pressed right away after the frame of lag. If the others are already on the ground, such a frame of lag in the game that jumps will allow the other games to make a slide. Differences in the height of a jump can also avoid jumping in certain games. Mega Man 3 will generally land sooner for instance. Jumping from a slide will also sometimes allow not jumping in certain games. Mega Man 6 will not jump right away from a slide. If Mega Man 6 has to jump, and the others not, you can press A for 1 frame, then release, so the others will stop jumping. They are still in the air, but megaman6 will be on the ground, since pressing A only stopped the slide. If you now wait a frame, you will be able to make a big jump with megaman6. Similarly, megaman6 can avoid a jump when it's sliding. Megaman3 also has a differences in sliding than the other games. Mega Man 3 will not make a jump right after the sliding has started. The only way to stop the slide is to walk in the opposite direction. This also is an easy way to avoid a jump in megaman3. After Mega Man 3 is over this first half of the slide where you can't jump, there is a second part of the slide where everything will make megaman jump, even pressing down+A. This is why megaman3 sometimes accidently jumps when the other megamans start a new slide (good thing that megaman3's one frame jump is very short though). This however also creates a great chance to make a jump with megaman3, and not with the others. Pressing down+A will make megaman3 jump if it's in the second part of its slide, while all other Mega Man games will never start a jump when down+A is pressed. As you can notice from this, Mega Man 4 and 5 move pretty much the same.

(Baxter) Thanks

  • I'd like to thanks everyone who showed interest in this run. The people on the irc channel, the ones who posted in the forum topic, and even those who just followed the topic. Every new reply caused hundreds of views to the topic, which showed many people were interested. This was a great motivation.
  • DeHackEd, for encoding the wips we released at the start of this run.
  • Most of all, I'd like to thank AngerFist. I can say without a doubt he is the most enthusiastic member of this community. He was constantly motivating, and I couldn't have made/finished this movie without him. He is a great TASing partner, and a very good friend.

(AngerFist) Thanks

The long journey is finally over. I have literally no words to express how greatful I am that this huge project is finally over. Of course I will first thank and bow down to my very special friend and partner, Baxter. I wholeheartedly cannot imagine how I would have done this without you. Folks, Baxter did not only contribute to the run, he also helped me go through that very dark and depressing week when we initially began working on this run. Would also thank the people who showed true support during that week. You know who you are: moozooh, Fabian, Vatchern, Vandal, Asteron, Truncated, Cardboard etc. Secondly, I would love to take this opportunity and dedicate our run to the 3 communities who have inspired me incredibly a lot in so many positive ways. They have always kept and still keep producing fine and entertaning runs during these years. I salute TASVideos, Speeddemosarchive and Metroid2002.com. Much love and respect for these communities. Stay strong!

More elaborate, the people I look up to, respect and enjoy watching their respective runs are: Baxter, Mike Uyama, Paul 'Bartendorsparky' Evans, James 'Psychochild' Conway, Patrik 'Cremator' Salonen, Silent Echo, kip, Megatherium, Marshmallow, Shin, JXQ, Fabian, Shinryuu, Phil, adelikat, Genisto, Bisqwit, FODA, Spezzafer, Stanski, DjGrenola, Kazooie, Atma, SprintGod, flagitious,hero of the day, Arc, Arne the Great, Walker Boh, DeHackEd!, Sleepz, NITSUJA :) Finalfighter, I can go on and on...


adelikat: The votes have been numerous and heavily on the yes side of things. It is a run that is unique and required immense effort to make. I am accepting this movie for publication.


DeHackEd: This movie will be published pending a way for me to break the site's publication rules without angering Bisqwit too much.

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