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

Submission #5218: FatRatKnight's NES Overlord in 03:57.34

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Overlord
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Overlord (U) [!].nes
Emulator: FCEUX 2.2.2
Movie length: 03:57.34
FrameCount: 14264
Re-record count: 834
Author's real name: Leeland Kirwan
Author's nickname: FatRatKnight
Submitter: FatRatKnight
Submitted at: 2016-09-08 19:55:05
Text last edited at: 2016-09-13 07:54:58
Text last edited by: Samsara
Download: Download (1515 bytes)
Status: decision: rejected
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Author's comments and explanations:
Vault this. Its only purpose is record keeping.

Something I happened to do in my spare time. Sitting around since 12/22/2015 (mm/dd/yyyy).

About this game

Overlord is some kind of strategy game. I can't really tell, as the icons don't give enough information, in-game time passes in an annoying fashion along with unskippable dialogue, and combat isn't really the best thing around. It's not an amazing thing to play, though that's my judgement.

... Anyway, here's the eight obvious buttons of the main screen:

  • (Not used) Terraformatter is used for making planets usable. Need to buy one, first.
  • Hangar lets you prepare ships, filling them with crew and fuel
  • That rocket ship lets you direct a ship where you want them
  • (Not used) Graph tells you the individual planet status, as well as letting you set taxes
  • (Not used) Spying gives way too little information for way too much money
  • Skull and crossbones lets you attack a planet with an attack cruiser
  • That fist icon, you can buy defenses, and stuff for the attack cruiser
  • Finally, you can also purchase various ships and stations

While you're gaping and giving blank stares at all the possible options, time is passing. You select something to buy, and while the text scrolls in, time is passing. As you impatiently hit that button to buy the darn thing already, time is passing. When fighting on an enemy planet... Well, time isn't passing.

In any case, the goal is to take the enemy's starbase, which is on the opposite side of where your own starbase is located. You can select from four different enemies, and this TAS picks the hardest one. You can slowly build resources to then strike the enemy with a full-powered ship. Or something like that. I do not feel inclined to give more details.

If you like micromanaging cargo transfers to maximize the productivity of specialized planets, well... Go ahead, I guess.

The title screen music is decent, at least. It's rather long, too. In the time it takes to finish the first loop (about frame 12780: 3m 33s), the TAS is on day 60:3166. A shame this quality is no longer noticed after pressing start.

About this run

The plan: Get Attack Cruiser. Get Hover Tank for Attack Cruiser. Prepare Cruiser. Send Cruiser to enemy. Win with tank skills.

In the meantime, you get to sit around watching spinny stars for a good three minutes me play with taxes and other boring stuff just waiting for the cruiser to even get there, while also noting this sentence alone is longer than my entire plan.

The rest are merely explanations on how my plan came to be, rather than the plan itself.

First off, in order to actually use the ship you just got, you have to go to the hangar and prepare it. As this is the first time it's prepared, some people are removed from your world and sent in, along with a full tank of fuel. If you don't have enough fuel, the refueling is aborted and the ship can't go anywhere, as the game refuses to give partial fueling.

Now, each ship has its own capacity for fuel. The weaker Attack Cruiser B, with low capacity for offenses, also does not have enough fuel to go from planet 1 to 32. So I'm forced into picking Attack Cruiser A. With 1600 fuel, this is barely enough to make the trip spending 50 fuel to pass each planet. It also takes one game day to travel past a planet plus one more to actually make the stop at the target planet, so that explains the long wait.

As for what we do once we're actually there, we need a weapon of some sort for the Attack Cruiser. We have exactly three to choose from: A missile, another missile, and a tank. Since the tank is the only one we have direct control over, as well as able to do damage more than once, it is used with TAS precision to destroy the enemy defenses.

You start with enough money to buy Attack Cruiser A and the Hover Tank immediately. You also start with enough fuel to fill said cruiser, which has enough capacity to reach the enemy homeworld without first claiming a closer planet. A single tank is enough to defeat any defenses with enough skill. Therefore, the fastest strategy to win is extremely straightforward.

The amount of effort necessary for perfect menu navigation isn't high. The only real action is at the very end, and you won't need much high-precision TASing for very long then.

If the spinny stars don't sufficiently hypnotize you, I'm pretty sure this thing will get vaulted with a rather low entertainment rating. I'm only submitting this for the sake of record keeping, so that it's one more game off the list of games yet to be done. Likely Vault eligible for reaching the ending using the fastest known path. Not likely eligible for Moons.

Possible Improvements

Not likely. Considering what happened on my first submission, maybe if I say this, someone will find a glitch to bypass the wait.
EDIT: It turns out I did improve it. I knew it, the moment I say "not likely", an improvement shows up.

The menuing should be perfect. Thanks to some design decision, just confirming you want to buy something takes a bit of time on its own. Ordering the Attack Cruiser a day earlier might speed things up, if you can even do so. Screen transitions delays the day timer, and as much as I want to change planets from the hangar screen, doing so there invokes screen transitions, as opposed to the main screen. You can't change planets in the ship screen, that indicator there is merely the destination for ships, not the actual selection.

If you can do three minutes of nothing faster than I can, go ahead. I can't even do interesting nothings in particular, as even the cursor selection has its own timer every time you change selections. Nothing TAS-like about moving the cursor 5 times a second. I do tweak around with every option the game lets me, without needless screen transitions, but I don't think there's much more one can do. As for the music... You're joking, right? The only background noise involves the occasional icon animation and the blips for selecting an option. It's otherwise silent. I can only use the hypnotic spinny stars. There's a limit to that. I have no clue what to subtitle in, so even that is absent. Sorry.

Of course, we have the combat at the very tail end of the run. Conveniently, the spot more difficult to optimize than menuing is at the very end of the movie, so editing this spot to be faster means zero effort in getting the rest of the movie to sync.

Samsara: File replaced with a 72-frame improvement (the more entertaining one). Also, judging.

Samsara: Took a look at the run, played around with the game for a bit, and I've come to the conclusion that there just isn't enough here to warrant a publication. Out of a 4 minute movie, only about 10 seconds have any TAS-like precision to them, and a bit of practice could probably mimic those 10 seconds in an RTA environment. In a way, it reminds me a lot of Palamedes, where the vast majority of the run is just spent waiting before something mildly precise comes up. Both this run and Palamedes look optimized from a technical perspective, but it doesn't change how trivial the game is.

With no RNG to speak of, and with the "defense" of the run containing the following lines...

"Everything up until the combat is trivial in RTA."

"...so even there you can waste zero frames in real-time in a lot of screens."

"Then again, the combat is short enough to rehearse some steps to get it pretty fast."

"In terms of strategy, RTA can get it done on the same game day, no trouble."

...I feel like the game is just too trivial for site publication.

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