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

Submission #3022: tall's SNES Pilotwings in 20:08.97

Console: Super NES
Game name: Pilotwings
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Pilotwings (U) [!].smc
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 20:08.97
FrameCount: 72538
Re-record count: 3742
Author's real name: John B.
Author's nickname: tall
Submitter: tall
Submitted at: 2011-02-26 17:30:43
Text last edited at: 2011-11-07 07:58:49
Text last edited by: Ilari
Download: Download (3355 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Pilotwings is a flight simulator game from Nintendo for the SNES. The player earns pilot's licenses through light plane, skydiving, rocketbelt, and hang gliding events. This run clears all 8 lessons and the 2 helicopter missions in 20 minutes without ever piloting the light plane.

Emulator details

Game objectives

  • Genre: Simulation
  • Aims for fastest possible time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Uses a game restart sequence

Lesson 1

Points needed: 120

Landing on the moving platform automatically gives you a 100 for a level. No need to waste time on rings.

One frame sacrificed prior to entering the level for luck manipulation. The game rotates bonus stages in the pattern "A-A-B-C" on a per-frame basis. The frame counter increments between levels and during pause. Stage C is the fastest for getting the 20 points needed to end lesson 1.

I reset in between levels to get through the unskippable certification screen about 2.5 seconds faster.

Lesson 2

Points needed: 220

Skydiving: 150

Rocketbelt: 70

I chose this route because getting 150 in skydiving is 26 frames faster than getting 160, whereas the difference between getting 60 and 70 points in Rocketbelt is less than ten. One frame sacrificed prior to skydiving level for luck manipulation.

Lesson 3

Points needed: 220

Hanggliding: 120

Rocketbelt: 100

No skydiving unfortunately. TAS hang gliding is still slow and boring, but it's faster than the 2-minute light plane circuit and has a bonus stage.

Getting 20 points on the bonus stage is likely ~105 frames faster on the rocketbelt stage. However, I believe landing on the bonus platform makes up the difference on hang glider stage.

When taking sharp turns with the rocketbelt, I found that propelling yourself backward is faster than taking the time to turn off your jets and turn. This saved a second off my time on this level.

Lesson 4

Points needed: 300

Skydiving: 170

Rocketbelt: 130

Getting 70 on the skydiving bonus stage takes the longest because you have to travel farther horizontally at expense to your vertical speed. However, the difference is negligible compared to a single super jump in the Rocketbelt bonus stage. So I chose this route, which allows me 300 points without having to do a single super jump in the rocketbelt bonus stage.

One frame sacrificed for luck manipulation.

Secret Command

Not very exciting. To maintain a low altitude, I kept the throttle as low as possible without losing lateral speed.

Lesson 5

Score needed: 140

Back to a one-event lesson. Three frames sacrificed for luck manipulation.

Note: This 40-point bonus level is one frame slower than the next. I didn't fix it because I have to wait 1 or 2 frames in the next lessons for luck anyway; if I changed it, that would become 2 or 3 frames instead and I would come out even.

Lesson 6

Score needed: 240

Rocketbelt: 100

Skydiving: 140

Light plane comes close to being viable here. However, the icy runway adds too much time.

One frame sacrificed for luck manipulation. I did these in the reverse order from usual because I was seeing if switching them would get rid of this frame. Each case resulted in one frame. After I was done experimenting, it was easier to keep them in this order.

Lesson 7

Score needed: 240

Hanggliding: 140

Rocketbelt: 100

Another lesson without a skydiving event. Nevertheless, I optimized this hang glider event as much as I could.

Lesson 8

Score needed: 320

Rocketbelt: 160

Skydiving: 160

One frame sacrificed for luck manipulation (switching the order saved a frame).

Secret Command 2

This one ended up pretty cool, narrowly weaving through missiles. The game neglects to address that the helicopter will probably be shot down immediately upon takeoff ...

Final Thoughts

There are 2 glitches one can use, but they are usually slower. One can bounce off the ground in one's landing animation in skydiving or hang gliding. In Lesson 8 skydiving, I used this to bounce over the water onto the moving platform until improved to falling straight onto it. One can also fall into the water after clearing a level. This is entertaining, but provides no frame advantage.

Screenshot suggestions

Mister Epic: Added JWPlayer module. Many thanks to RadioKJ for the web space!

Mukki: Judging...

Mukki: The votes here are not particularly great, however those who voted yes (and posted) were enthusiatic about doing so and seemed to enjoy the run. I found certain parts of this run to be rather repetitive, however the rocketbelt stages proposed interesting strategies and optimisation opportunities. Audience response proves decisive. Accepted.

Nahoc: Processing...

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