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

Submission #5761: DrD2k9's DOS Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon in 11:55.11

Console: DOS
Game name: Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon
Game version: unknown
ROM filename: SIERRA.COM
Emulator: JPC-rr 11.2
Movie length: 11:55.11
FrameCount: 42906
Re-record count: 4400
Author's real name: Mike D
Author's nickname: DrD2k9
Submitter: DrD2k9
Submitted at: 2017-12-23 22:59:46
Text last edited at: 2017-12-24 01:12:55
Text last edited by: DrD2k9
Download: Download (51299 bytes)
Status: decision: cancelled
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Author's comments and explanations:

Space Quest III: The Pirates of Pestulon


After escaping Vohaul's asteroid, Roger Wilco is asleep in a cryochamber and adrift in space. A garbage freighter, perceiving Roger's drifting craft as nothing more than space junk, picks up the ship and deposits it into it's cargo hold. This stops the ships functions and awakens Roger.

Roger then finds himself trapped and in needs of escape; and so begins his next adventure.

Yea it's not much plot to go on. In fact, the plot is not understood until nearly halfway through the game; even then it is only discovered by a chance discovery of a secret coded message in an arcade machine. (Not seen in this run.)

Temporary Encode

The final input occurs quite a while before the end of this encode (and could be much earlier save for two necessary 'Enter' presses to clear text boxes).

(Link to video)

TAS Notes

  • Aims for fastest time.
  • Minor Speed/Entertainment trade-offs:
    • The speed eliminates opportunity to read the humorous game text that would theoretically add entertainment value.

  • Emulator used: c-square's modified JPC-rr 11.2 with mouse and improved typing support
    • Default CPU speed settings were used as they are appropriate for when the game was released.
  • Game Version 1.018

Challenges and Opportunities

Keyboard Input Inputting text commands freezes game action while the text is being entered; unlike SQ1 and SQ2 where text can be entered as the game progresses. Further, the game's engine only performs 1 character/keypress every 7 frames. This affects both text input and maneuvering via keyboard; as such, the mouse is often used for character movement. Multiple keystrokes can be buffered into emulator memory on a single frame and will all be displayed as the game polls for input. I attempted to keep text commands to the shortest possible inputs to save time. i.e. simply typing 'crt' instead of 'look at screen' or even just 'screen.'

Desyncs As has been mentioned before, JPC-rr is horrible for being able to splice in changes after the fact. Making a change causes many desyncs down the line. Therefore, it is imperative to make sure every screen is fully optimized before moving on to the next.

Area Specific Comments

Intro: The intro is skipped outright by using an F9 input to jump directly to the beginning of the game.

Garbage Freighter: Pretty straightforward adventuring here; nothing special. Roger assembles a working ship, the Aluminum Mallard, from parts he scavenges on the freighter.

Phleebhut: Roger wanders around the purple desert planet and buys some trinkets from the tourist trap. Upon leaving he encounters Arnoid the robot who is tasked with killing Roger for breaking the slot machine back in SQ1. Arnoid enjoys the chase and thus allows Roger a head start. Arnoid must be killed to get his invisibility belt for use later in the game. There are two ways to kill Arnoid:

  • Going around the side of Fester's World o' Wonders, Roger can access the machinery for moving the buildings arms/mouth. Arnoid can be knocked into the gears to destroy him and collect his invisibility belt. Though there's minimal RNG with this method, it does require extra commands and screens as well as waiting for Fester on the elevator making this the longer of the two methods.
  • Roger can lure Arnoid underneath some rather deadly carnivorous pods in a cave on the surface of Phleebhut. Whether or not Arnoid appears on the screen and how long it takes him to arrive are both RNG dependent. Using one extra screen transition allows for him to arrive as quickly as with the shortest distance for him to get to the death pods. This method is used.
The text box before Arnoid leaves his ship could not be cleared earlier with input.

Monolith Burger: (Not seen in this run)Normally Roger must buy a meal and get a decoder ring as an in-meal prize. He can then play the AstroChicken arcade game to receive a coded distress message from the creators of the game, the two guys from Andromeda. The message informs Roger that the guys need rescuing. As none of this is necessary to complete the game, all of the Monolith Burger sequence is skipped outright.

Ortega: After dispatching Arnoid, Roger heads off to Ortega (for no reason). On Ortega, Roger destroys a shield generator that is hiding its moon, Pestulon from the scanners on Roger's Ship. This allows Roger to navigate to Pestulon where the two guys from Andromeda are being held captive. There is an unfortunately unavoidable wait for the space pirates to leave their survey site before Roger can progress; as there's very little space where Roger can move (about half of which is behind rocks) on this screen before the pirates leave, no goof-off actions were taken to try and increase entertainment value here. Sorry.

Pestulon: Roger uses Arnoid's invisibility belt to sneak into ScumSoft's headquarters where the two guys are being held. After finding a janitor's closet (big shock), Roger is able to move about freely so long as he collects trash from the rubbish bins. This allows Roger to find and release the two guys from their Jello prisons. Unfortunately Elmo Pug (the head of ScumSoft) catches them again and forces Roger to battle him in Rock'em Sock'em Robotesqe mechanical suits. Elmo is beaten as quickly as possible so Roger and the guys can escape.

  • A note, Roger takes the first hit as no control inputs would move him before he is impacted. I believe this is due to both the CPU and in-game speed settings.
  • A second note, this is an arcade sequence.

Space Battle: As Roger and thy guys fly away, Elmo sends space fighters to bring them back. This arcade sequence requires Roger to destroy 5 enemy ships to continue on. This is an arcade sequence. After the battle, Roger is free to escape with the guys who repair the light speed systems of the Aluminum Mallard sending them into a black hole and the end-game cut-scene credits.

The End: Roger and the guys travel through the black hole into a parallel universe (ours) and land on Earth at Sierra headquarters. The two guys from Andromeda are hired as software developers for Sierra and Roger is forced to head out alone into the unknown.

Potential Improvements

  • There is some minimal RNG manipulation on wait times. More efficient RNG manipulation than I discovered may improve the run.
  • Though I have attempted to optimize Roger's walking distances and speed, sometimes the direction he walks can impact his movement speed. There may be some slight room for improvement with different directional movements that I did not deduce.

Other Comments

  • Two 'Enter' commands are necessary after the space battle to clear text boxes to reach the end-credits. If these were not necessary the total run time would be drastically reduced.
  • It seems Sierra wanted to make up for not having an arcade sequence in SQ2 and thus put three into this episode.
    • AstroChicken (not seen in this game)- Land a flying chicken on a landing pad.
    • Robot Battle - Rock'em Sock'em style boxing match. You can move, block and punch. Unavoidable.
    • Space Battle - Destroy 5 space bandits from the Aluminum Mallard's weapons system. Unavoidable.
  • As this game foregoes multiple point gathering opportunities and entire areas of the game, it's definitely not a 100% run.
  • I'm hoping we can get at least one run of each official game in the SQ series published on the site. Official SQ1 VGA remake included.
    • So far SQ1, SQ2, and SQ4 have runs.

Comparison to human speedruns

Besides when the timer starts/stops, this run foregoes zapping a few trash bins that nearly all human speedruns I've found do zap. Any future runners could benefit from watching this TAS to see which ones aren't necessary as well as shortening their text commands(many of which are longer than necessary).

Suggested Screenshot



Timestamp MD5 Size Filename
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19900101000000 53f823d23484325ea25d8d1ba01f3505 5825 CMS.DRV
19900101000000 ed4fb7b3973f4ec008701bbbe227b683 219 DEFAULT.CFG
19900101000000 d2f9e9ea730745558926518c930e7375 1952 EGA320.DRV
19900101000000 ab91b093a010aeb63866f71bc491110e 446 IBMKBD.DRV
19900101000000 c1a273f3ac6f9e39ae14b1399f0b26a7 541 JOYSTICK.DRV
19900101000000 7ced0fc0a7cc5395a1e4321250fcd943 1626 MCGA320.DRV
19900101000000 c465a944ca233b5fe97d5e19dea097c8 3179 MT32.DRV
19900101000000 60118bdc3e57076dc2d3d909730ff4af 490247 RESOURCE.001
19900101000000 c1526bd99391b674f0d68347f78b0fd2 715777 RESOURCE.002
19900101000000 69d74c5056144e09c6fdac85cc357cb3 703370 RESOURCE.003
19900101000000 634128488166ddb6e799b86bc5cfab00 215 RESOURCE.CFG
19900101000000 6509ea8a27cca3503aa2e18672c5d604 5730 RESOURCE.MAP
19900101000000 21f53b56b4bea50a28acbeeb0de37ade 76609 SCIV.EXE
19900101000000 48e6faeb6af8e540fed0523f17ec4c0d 538 SIERRA.COM
19900101000000 e022fac068d78e62b21a1cc938a2f450 9778 SNDBLAST.DRV
19900101000000 53f67f80f57577c0ef2e8bf897f45b4c 2466 STD.DRV
19900101000000 4f1243083efe33a01144eacc94fc84c6 7 VERSION

I feel like I'm forgetting to put something in these notes, but I can't remember what it was. If I ever do, I'll edit the submission text.

DrD2k9: Cancelling due to anticipated improvements.

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