TASVideos

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

Submission #3700: partyboy1a's SNES Plok! in 29:00.38

Console: Super NES
Game name: Plok!
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Plok! (U) [!].sfc
Branch:
Emulator: Snes9x 1.51
Movie length: 29:00.38
FrameCount: 104423
Re-record count: 98607
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: partyboy1a
Submitter: partyboy1a
Submitted at: 2012-09-13 04:53:18
Text last edited at: 2012-11-05 12:54:46
Text last edited by: feos
Download: Download (7649 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Plok, done almost 4 minutes faster. More warps, more sliding, and abusing a bug to skip large parts of the last few levels.

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(Link to video)

Story

Plok is in a hurry, so he looks for opportunities to travel faster. He's lucky: He finds slides lying around almost everywhere. He finds nice presents making him a lot faster. He finds tiny holes in the Flea Pit making big shortcuts. He finds helpful sawblades, nice guys pushing him into the right direction, and even a lovely fish helping him climb a mountain. Even water helps him climb a mountain to discover one more slide. Being the only creature which can do bigger jumps without his legs, he decides to use this special ability a few times.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Snes9x 1.51
  • aims for fastest time
  • abuses programming errors
  • uses warps
  • features 1 1/2 levels, half a race, and one boss fight from the published movie, so kooz might be a co-author of this movie.

Parts played by kooz

  • about half of Plok town (wasting 4 frames to waste 4 shells, which should be unnecessary... but when I removed it, the eggs didn't behave the same way)
  • the complete Penkino fight without any modification
  • Easy Riding (adjusted to let it sync, lost 8 frames for worse enemy positioning)
  • Some part of the Crashing Rocks race was copied too

What is worse than in the published run?

  • 3 seconds added for a Bonus Plok, because I'm collecting a lot more shells (but one slide alone justified it.)
  • at least 23 frames of extra loading time (I used Snes9x 1.51, kooz used Snes9x 1.43)
  • bad luck at the end of Gohome Cavern, costing a few seconds (I needed to hit the eggs to kill the fleas.)
  • it seems like the input ends 6000 frames too late (You need to press X after having seen all the credits to show the very last final screen.)

Improvements come from

  • using a different warp strategy, and playing shell games
  • abusing level design flaws
  • using powerful slides almost everywhere

What can still be improved?

  • If you are a luck manipulation master, you can also kick those eggs into the air, and let the fleas hatch and jump in midair in a good place and the right direction. This should improve Gohome cavern by a few seconds if done everywhere.
  • If you are at least as lucky as FractalFusion playing Monopoly against 4 CPUs, you can use beans to kill fleas which are out of your path. I got it to work in Ploktown, but it was slower than the usual way (I couldn't get it optimized enough)
  • Optimizing slides is a lot of trial-and-error, and requires watching RAM all the time. One more frame of sliding can easily let you gain 10 frames or even more. It requires you to watch the RAM very careful.

Special thanks to

  • kooz for creating a very good run
  • Mecha Richter for showing me a shortcut I didn't even think of
  • fran_friki for proving the shortcut in High Flying

Level-by-level comments

I'm using a different warp strategy. I'm getting one less Plokontinue (you get one for completing 4 levels), and I do get the Plokontinues in other places. Getting a Plokontinue costs a few seconds.

Cotton Island - Beach

I'm using a different route. 23 frames behind kooz before the level starts (emulator changed. lsnes would require 5 more frames.)

Cotton Island - Crazy Cradles

This level has been skipped before. It was quite complicated to optimize the initial jump and the following slide at the same time. 1513 frames ahead afterwards.

Cotton Island - Blind Leap

Yeah, you see the all-mighty slides very often.

The unicycle can slide too, but you must not press "left" or "right" while sliding, otherwise you lose this tiny bit of extra speed. The race clock is 0.7 seconds better in my run. 1974 frames ahead.

Acrillic - Plok's House

Yay, the egg was manipulated better. 20 frames faster, but only 1981 frames ahead.

Legacy Island - Mace Cove

The sliding section here is quite difficult to optimize. 2203 frames ahead.

Legacy Island - Fool's Gap

Some little slides. Getting the spikes out of the way while still getting back Plok's legs was quite a challenge. 2444 frames ahead.

Legacy Island - Sponge Rocks

Yay, one of the longer slides. Now playing the very long shell game. First part of Sponge Rocks plus shell game costs more ingame time than just playing through Sponge Rocks and Swifty Peaks, but you skip the cutscenes related to Swifty Peaks. Therefore, this does save time. 4525 frames ahead.

Legacy Island - Log Trail

I thought I have to take damage two times to use the slides in the beginning. But then I was lucky enough to get the second slide working without taking damage, saving an additional 90 frames. 4910 frames ahead.

Legacy Island - Crouch Hill

Yay, another slide at the end. 5048 frames ahead.

Legacy Island - Bobbin Bros

This fight could be improved by a tiny bit. 5045 frames ahead, although the fight was improved by 17 frames.

Acrillic - Plok Town

Slightly better egg manipulation. 20 frames saved, but only 4863 frames ahead. I got a Plokontinue here.

Acrillic - Penkino Bros

Exactly as it was played by kooz in 2005. 0 frames saved, 5045 frames ahead. kooz got a Plokontinue here.

Acrillic - Venge Thicket

Playing a shell game here. 7764 frames ahead.

Akryllic - Dreamy Cove

I was slightly faster because I used the all-mighty sliding. It was enough to catch the rotating platform in the right moment. 7857 frames ahead.

Acrillic - Womack Spider

One more slide, using the same strategy. 8088 frames ahead.

Acrillic - Creepy Crag

I tried a lot to get the jumps over the gaps to get working, but I failed many times. Even with a bot there were still 30 pixels missing with my best attemps. Finally I got the idea: Without your legs, you don't need to press "down" to maintain your speed, allowing you to do longer-than-normal jumps. Quite a nice time saver, it could be used twice. 8817 frames ahead.

Acrillic - Gohome Cavern.

Now you see the longest sliding section in the entire game. Plok becomes insanely fast in this level. About 12 seconds saved by making the slides really powerful, and about 10 seconds saved for using an unexpected shortcut. 10501 frames ahead. Got a Plokontinue here, seems to have an effect on the delay after the next stage.

Acrillic - Crashing Rocks

Jumping above the last block of stones saved me almost one second. 10357 frames ahead.

Fleapit! - High Flying

Bumping into the ceiling gives an immediate speed boost. This is one of the levels which allows you to fly below it. In this case, practically everything is skipped. 11985 frames ahead.

Fleapit! - Easy Riding

This is a copy from the old movie with slight modifications. Too bad I got a different enemy pattern. 8 frames lost, but only 11962 frames ahead.

Fleapit! - In A Spin!

Another level with a minor skip. 12484 frames ahead.

Fleapit! - Real Rumblings

I used a better strategy in the beginning, and I had some more health, which allowed me to skip an additional cycle of the rotating platforms in the end. 12959 frames ahead.

Fleapit! - Silent Running

Yes, another mayor skip. Now 14123 frames ahead.

Fleapit! - The Flea Queen

Somehow I got it to improve this fight. 14223 frames (3 minutes, and 57 seconds) ahead.

The credits

The old movie ended input here, I don't. I want to show the very last final screen.

Other comments

This game has some mean physics: With your legs, you have to hold "down" while in air after sliding, or your extra speed decreases drastically. Without your legs, you will only lose litte speed in air, but you can't do the high jump. In some places, you need the extra wide legless jump, and shortly afterwards, you need the high jump. But if you shoot them away, they will only come very slow towards you. You can get them back instantly if you hit an enemy or a shell with it. It can be quite complicated to get that work right. You can see a good example for this in Log Trail -- the legs hit the enemy behind me. If this wasn't happening, I would have to wait for the legs to come back, totally destroying the improvement.

If you want to see some kind of "making of", you can download all the WIPs here. It might also help you if you want to find further improvements.

Suggested screenshots: 16795, 21628, 21839, 34474, 50942, 61561 (this might be the best one), 65384

And now enjoy the movie!


Dooty: Improvements are always welcome, even more when they're so carefully planned and executed like this one. Accepted for publication.

feos: Processing...


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