TASVideos

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

Submission #5662: Ready Steady Yeti's GBC Noddy and the Birthday Party in 07:33.68

Console: Game Boy Color
Game name: Noddy and the Birthday Party
Game version: Europe
ROM filename: Noddy and the Birthday Party (E).gbc
Branch:
Emulator: Bizhawk 1.11.6
Movie length: 07:33.68
FrameCount: 27097
Re-record count: 4782
Author's real name: Billy
Author's nickname: Ready Steady Yeti
Submitter: Ready Steady Yeti
Submitted at: 2017-09-27 06:33:40
Text last edited at: 2017-10-15 21:50:58
Text last edited by: Ready Steady Yeti
Download: Download (6628 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

Introduction

I will be honest with you here. I know the game is horrible, but I actually LOVE this game. I mean, it's so adorable, and it gives you this really innocent feel. I actually think Noddy is cuter in this game than he is in 3-D animation. :3

But enough about my opinion...

This is yet another submission from me for a game that sounds like it's really simple, but it's actually quite the opposite. This game is highly complex, mostly due to the combination of horrid physics and horrid level design.

I HAVE TO NOTE that this run is very reliant on specific jump combos, as explained below. There are times when running instead of jumping for longer periods of time than usual is necessary to get better jump combos and avoid certain obstacles, etc. (some of which are literally invisible).

This run is more than 6 minutes faster than any existing RTA run as of 9/27/17.

Goals

  • Aims for fastest time
  • Takes damage to save time...once
  • Uses easiest difficulty
  • A small amount of luck manipulation
  • Ends input early
  • Genre: Platform

Important technical information

Version

There is indeed only one version of this game; the E version. This is not surprising, since a.) the game is based on a children's series from the UK, and b.) it's shovelware, so it wouldn't have likely made it past there.

Ending

I ended input early in this movie, because I want viewers to see the entire birthday party ending rather than just the credits. I ended the input on the frame where I don't have to give any more input for the last jump.

Difficulty

This game does have difficulty levels (but they aren't mentioned on any screens visible in the TAS). So why did I use the easiest difficulty? The easy difficulty is very clearly the fastest difficulty by far for completion; it didn't take me very long to figure this out.

The problem with difficulties in a TAS sense is that each difficulty has different placements for all the items. The easy difficulty has the most convenient locations for these items in speedrunning. The medium difficulty just has the items in slightly different locations, but these locations are inconvenient because they're out of the way and they often take away former ability to do shortcuts like you would with the Easy ones.

The Hard difficulty literally makes you go into the secret areas (see #about the game, below) to get some of the items necessary for level completion, whereas in Easy and Medium, you don't have to. Not only that, but the keys to the secret areas are WAY out of the way, so you actually have to go alllllll the way over there and get the key, then come baaaaaaaaack, go in the secret area... You know. It's a bad situation!

About the game

Noddy and the Birthday Party is about as childish (and shovelware) as it sounds. It's a game made in 2000 by several companies that is based on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noddy_(character) the British children's book and children's television character called Noddy, and the fictional universe in which he resides.

In Noddy and the Birthday Party, Noddy has to help prepare for Big-Ears's birthday party. This means he has to go visit all sorts of people in Toyland, and help them with various tasks, including grabbing seven of a certain color of balloon that fly at you in both a plane and a hot-air balloon, finding all of the tools that the fix-it guy lost, and finding all the eggs for the cake in a farmyard. As Noddy progresses through the game, he earns sixpences (I know, see below) that help him to buy the birthday cake for Big-Ears.

Okay, now wait a minute... What the hell are sixpences??? According to the Internet, they're an obsolete unit of British currency that was in existence between the 1500s and 1980. But why use a classical currency in a more modern game (2000)? I mean, everything in this game looks like a 1950s setting; the cars, the animation style, etc., so my guess is this is exactly what their intention was with Noddy. They wanted this game to look very classical.

Anyway, this game was critically panned for its extremely horrible game physics. It IS a really easy game in all, especially since it's so short and there's so little at stake, etc., BUT it is so hard to move precisely and aim for where you're gonna land, etc. The main problem is that the walking and running sequences are weird, and the jumping is far faster than running...okay really?

Some basic facts about gameplay other than its horrible physics: In each level, you get four items to give to your enemies in order to temporarily calm them down so that they can't hurt you. This mechanic was used quite frequently in the TAS in some parts, as taking damage wastes a TON of time. Not that taking damage is really a big deal... You have 8 healths (which in the HUD are represented by the bells). Therefore, there is really no damage routing that takes place in this run.

You might notice those keys that you keep seeing throughout the run. Don't get so nervous; those are keys to a hidden area in the game, that are existent in each (platformer) level (except the train level). These hidden areas are strange. You basically have to find the bag inside the hidden area in order to escape it. So, going in there wastes a lot of time.

About the levels. You HAVE to do the levels in order; I don't just do that for kicks. You literally CAN'T access later ones. The actual amount of sixpences you have doesn't actually mean anything. It's really just a feel-good allowance kind of thing. It's basically just 36 / 4. There are 9 levels you have to complete, EXCLUDING the last level as it doesn't define any sixpences.

The product of physics and level design

Okay, now we're getting into the more complex stuff; to parse the game for you. This description does NOT include the two autoscrollers and the train mini-game; those are different and will be explained below in Level-by-level commentary.

So, in the game, you notice immediately that jumping is far faster than running (or walking, which we pretty much never do), and that's why I obviously jump as much as possible to keep up the speed. But it's a LOT more complicated than just that. In this TAS, the jump combos have to be very precise to be the fastest, and it took quite a bit of testing per case to figure out which combos were the best.

Most RTA runners seem to have a lot of trouble with just this; the jump combos, and how to keep their jumps smooth and in sync. It's pretty damn hard to do non-TAS so I don't blame them.

Anyway, here's how the physics work. There are two modes of locomotion; walking and running. If you're walking OR standing still and you jump, you can only do what I call a "stop-jump". It's the same speed of a running jump WHILE you're jumping, but when you hit the ground, there's a comparatively long landing animation you have to wait through. So it's just naturally better to do the running jump IN MOST CASES; there are a few exceptions.

Then, there's running. Running is activated by walking for 3 frames and then stopping for 3 frames, then press the arrow again, like in many other games. If you're running, you can do a running jump, which has no landing animation, so you can basically keep jumping simultaneously. This is more optimal. There's also something else; a REALLY weird mechanic that I can't quite understand why it's there. If you're doing a running jump, and hit an adjacent above floor, or a corner, etc., the game automatically makes you double-jump. It wastes about 3 frames each time the double-jump occurs, but this isn't much at all; just about as many frames as hitting the ground during running wastes. Weirdly enough, this works on all sorts of platforms; even trampolines and staircases. However, the double-jump is ONLY a double-jump; you can't do it twice in one turn. For MANY reasons, this double-jump mechanic makes running even more optimal. With walking jumps, you have to wait much longer jumping through box platforms with weird walls, etc.

There are quite a few things that can cancel running jumps and the running sequence in general. If you are against a wall for too long, it can cancel running and make you walk again. If you take damage, it cancels. If you go down one of those hard-to-find fast ramps (which we never use in the TAS), it cancels. If you start doing anything on a staircase, it cancels and puts you into the staircase walking. If you turn around while on the ground running, it cancels, which is why every time we want to turn around, we want to do it while jumping.

Oh, about that... A running jump doesn't just let you turn around any time, and you can't stop during the jump; you always go forward. You have to turn around about when the jump is going back down.

Staircases. So, they're treated like normal platforms only sometimes, since the corners of a stair allow you to double-jump, but they mostly screw you over. You can jump up the staircase to save time as we do several times in the run, but it's the walking animation jump, EXCEPT during the first jump in some of them as it's the double-jump. :3 Anyway, when you run and you come up to a staircase, it forces you to walking. Any jump off of it after that is just a walking jump. That's why staircases suck so much.

Stage-by-stage commentary

Menuing and text

Text is self-explanatory.

At the VERY beginning, though, I actually do a glitch that none of you probably noticed with the menuing. With only very precise frames, I skipped the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th splash screens all at once, since the developers seem to have been REALLY lazy with their menu logistics. And it's clearly a glitch since this only can happen at 2 very specific frames. This is a similar menuing glitch, but a lot more of a *glitchy* one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcz0R_npjEc

Oh yeah. And in the car, you have to hold A, or else the driving is EVEN SLOWER!!!

House-for-one

  • Frame 525: Walking jumps aren't a problem when they're only strings of 1-2 jumps alone. It's the landing that wastes time.
  • 626: You might not see this, but we actually start out on a small staircase...
  • 936: This is actually a skip. I use the double-jump mechanic and the platform shown to skip to a higher part of the staircase than if I'd just went around. Plus, the double-jump saves even more time.
  • 1340: I do a very specific jump combo here that skips the usage of the bed as a trampoline, which would waste time because of the height of the jump and the wait time I'd have to spend for the adjacent item.

The Hot Air Balloon

So, this is the first of two of the autoscroller levels. This isn't COMPLETELY autoscroller, though. The player has some control over the speed of events. This is something that RTA runners seem to have actually missed.

The level can be sped up if you keep holding Right. Similarly, the level slows down, which you DON'T want, if you go to the left. There is no speed difference for up and down, nor for Up+Right, Down+Right.

This looks like a level that would be RNG-based, but surprisingly enough, it's actually not. The pattern of balloons and ducks is very specific. I've tried everything to make a different pattern; it never works. Do not be mistaken to think that this level is RNG-based because there is no RNG involved whatsoever.

So, in this level, you have to collect 7 green balloons. Again about speed; you not only have to collect the required GREEN balloons as fast as possible, but you have to basically make any item coming toward you disappear as fast as possible. If you don't, it delays the next item that would come forward. If you collect a blue balloon or an orange balloon, it bursts in front of you (no damage in Easy mode, though). You can make the ducks, which would normally come up and bite you unless you feed them, by feeding them on the first frame possible. The only exception to the "collect all things" rule is with the kites; the kites give you more food to feed the ducks (which we don't need anyway since we encounter only 3), but the kites don't just go away after you get them. They give an even longer animation sequence, then they fly away, wasting even more time.

Toytown Harbour

  • Frame 6600: I do a normal jump here since it doesn't matter either way. The amount of time it takes you to build up a run is exactly the same amount of time as one landing sequence from walk jumping takes.
  • 6959: I just jump at the soonest possible time off this staircase, but believe me, it takes a while for that to be possible.
  • 7208: See that thing I just threw? That's the food for the swan in this level. The swan, which you'll see in a few seconds, flies toward this food, thus getting out of your way AND making you invincible to him.
  • 7790: That was a huge shortcut. I would normally have had to go under the staircase for the last one the TAS collects, and then go all the way UP the staircase and all the way over there. This jump saves me from having to do that.

The Market Square

To be honest, I have nothing to say about this level. Nothing particularly special, just a planned series of jump combos.

Mr Sparks' Garage

This is the worst level in the game. This level has the most annoying platforms, but I take advantage of it as much as possible. Those pyramid-like piles of tires are especially annoying since they're like staircases with a flat center, so they have invisible staircase walls all over them. Double-jumps on them have to be REALLY precise.

  • 11379: I only did a run, jump, and run here because that saves time. It can't be resolved in just one jump sequence, and two jumps would waste time.
  • 13312: This looked like a glitch to me, but not sure. There are certain frames you can hit that trampoline at while the gremlin is there that don't give you damage, even though you clearly hit him. Not really sure why... but either way, it's very precise.

Toyland Airport

This level is the second autoscroller. It's the same deal, except you're collecting blue balloons instead of green, and you have a propellor in the front that helps you destroy unnecessary balloons faster.

Now, you can only go so high up the map, so some balloons that are unnecessary that are high up cannot be destroyed by the propellor, so we just collect them with our hands.

Farmer Straw's Field

  • 18880: That's feeding again. We do that a lot in this level, too.
  • 19258: I know this is slow, but it's actually faster than going up and around the platform and back through to get that egg. Plus a better jump combo happens from it.
  • 19535: That's necessary too. And feeding again.
  • 19864: I could have done less stairs, but all of those would've resulted in much worse jump combos.
  • 20128: Feeding.
  • 20613: How could a tractor be a trampoline too???

The Dark Wood

  • 22482: I REALLY LOVE THIS!!!

The Toyland Express

This level is a platformer, but has different physics.

So, if you do a run-jump, it ALWAYS cancels upon landing. A normal jump is as slow as walking here, though, so run jumps are faster.

If you do a run-jump and hold the Right button for too long, the run-jump will cancel and become a normal jump sooner than you want it too. So to do really long and fast jumps, you have to press Right for 3 frames then let it go.

Doing this level quickly is REALLY difficult non-TAS because it's so finnicky.

By the way, this is the only RNG level in the entire game. It's very simple, though. You have to collect the yellow ribbons; the red ribbons beep when you collect them. The game decides whether or not to spawn yellow or red based on your jump patterns. I notice it really doesn't like it when you do fast jumps and only stay on top of the roofs. I do a jump combo that not only spawns good RNG, but allows me to actually collect the yellow ribbons from that good RNG while running, giving me only 3 yellow ribbons at the end.

It's not all RNG though; There is at least some pattern at the beginning. It ALWAYS gives you yellow, yellow, red, yellow at the very beginning of each sequence.

Like in the balloon levels, if you don't collect the red while it's on your screen, the yellow won't spawn soon enough, so we had to collect the reds too.

I was really surprised at the major difference between the TAS speed of this level and ANY human speed in this level.

Final level (doesn't have a name)

  • 25826: This looks slow, but trust me, it's not. By the way, you can't just feed teddy bears from afar, so that made this a bit harder. I do this again later.
  • 26557: You can't feed the police officer, and he's in your way. You have to walk under to get the present. You have to take damage here. There's no way not to, really, unless you crouch under and wait for him to walk past and THAT'S REALLY SLOW!!!!
  • 26844: That was a precise jump to skip using the trampoline below in order to get up there.
  • 27087: I chose to jump on top of the table so I could end input earlier.

Conclusion

I LOVE THIS TAS, I LOVE THIS GAME, I hope you do too. :3

Suggested (portion of) description

{explain about the game and tell about the goal of the game}

Ready Steady Yeti prepares the birthday party in just seven and a half minutes. This game was critically panned for its awkward controls, but this run takes advantage of the game's extremely poor physics and level design. Jumping is faster than running in this game, and taking full advantage of this requires the use of very specific jump combinations.

Special thanks to

  • Trent Aitken ( https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRbn_yyF8GtLgbUkwVXexWw ) - He is the person who introduced me to this game. He mentioned it during a discussion we were having about games that I TAS on Discord. He mentioned that this was one of the games that he speedran that no one else took any interest in. Well, guess what, Trent? Someone was interested enough to make a full TAS of it. :)
  • Everyone in the TASVideos community who has given me moral support throughout the making of this movie

External links


GoddessMaria: Judging...

GoddessMaria: ...a very funky game, I dare say. As for this submission, nothing particularly stuck out to me as suboptimal although the audience reactions were neutral due to not being too entertaining. Nevertheless, it still qualifies for Vault and so...

Accepting for Vault.

feos: Pub.


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