TASVideos

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

Submission #5970: arkiandruski's NES Conquest of the Crystal Palace in 10:41.43

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System
Game name: Conquest of the Crystal Palace
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Conquest of the Crystal Palace (USA).nes
Branch:
Emulator: Bizhawk 2.2.2
Movie length: 10:41.43
FrameCount: 38549
Re-record count: 20379
Author's real name: Andrew Araki
Author's nickname: arkiandruski
Submitter: arkiandruski
Submitted at: 2018-05-14 01:30:50
Text last edited at: 2018-05-19 16:32:09
Text last edited by: feos
Download: Download (7436 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
So, since I have no life, I decided to marathon working on this run.

Like I said, this run is a reset from nearly the start. For anyone who is interested in deep diving into the process of TASing this game and seeing some of the things I tried that ultimately ended up slower, I have a TAStudio project which includes a few branches of interesting ideas and branches to demonstrate what would happen if I made slightly different decisions.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1hVrJkKuwnGzzqNMh9iDaWfoTpsaIPAZu

This run is 1494 frames faster than the currently published movie for this game and over 400 frames faster than my previous submission. A large part of the improvement comes from a faster 2nd stage boss fight, but there are minor movement optimizations throughout.

Comparison video:


(Link to video)

Conquest of the Crystal Palace is the story of a boy and his dog who overthrow an evil rock (or is it a brain?).

While it may seem rather simple on the surface, it is actually quite deep in terms of mechanics and requires a lot of strategizing to play properly. It also features quite a few TAS only tricks which elevates it to a game worth making runs for and worth watching.

There are quite a few things to keep in mind when you're making this run, so let's cover them.

1. Randomness

The way the game handles randomness is a little strange. A lot of the enemies are actually scripted in where they will show up and when they will come on screen with small variations. The thing is some of the small variations can drastically change what you can do with the run. Making small changes to the movement doesn't seem to have a large effect on the randomness either. To make a significant change in the randomness, you have to change your movements significantly, by multiple frames.

Things that are affected by randomness are some enemy placements and how long the 2nd level boss takes to show up on screen and the first move he decides to do. It's very depressing when you fight for a large number of frames only to get a worse initial pattern from those bosses.

2. LAAAGGGGG

Yeah, I know, I made that joke last time, but it's a big part of the run. Having a lot of enemies on the screen slows the game to a crawl, and often the moves you need to take to get rid of the enemies cause lag in and of themselves. The sword is usually safe, but it can cause a lag spike. Fireballs and the dog are much more likely to increase your lag, so you have to be really careful about when you use them, especially if there are a lot of enemies around. Sometimes, though you have to accept a small lag spike or delay to get rid of enemies that will cause large lag spikes later. Because of the randomness and lag, it forces you to think of gains and losses of frames on a much larger scale. There are multiple points in this run where I accept a small loss in frames in order to get better enemy placement or less lag later.

3. The dog

Is a good boi. Call him on screen and he jumps from the side, taking out all enemies he runs into. You can also stand on top of him. You can also land on top of him in mid jump, but that requires frame perfection. The best time to land on the dog is right after you call him since he will jump on the screen at a pretty consistent height above your level. You can also tell him to go away the frame you land on top of him. He is still solid until that cloud disappears, and the cloud moves when the screen scrolls since he stays on the same point in the screen rather than staying at the same position in the level. If you jump off him while the screen is scrolling vertically, this allows you to land on him again when he's higher up and jump off him a second time. If you manage to get yourself near the top of the screen before it starts scrolling vertically, the screen will scroll faster to try to catch up. If you are on top of the dog at the time, he will drag you up with him.

4. Hitboxes are weird.

It is very possible to deal damage to something when it looks like you whiffed, to pass through obvious damage areas and to land on a platform lower than where the platform actually is. Sometimes I use it to save time. Other times I use it just because it makes things look weird. It's not super consistent whether a hit box will register or not, though.

5. Attacks!

Your normal sword attack does 4 damage. Each fireball from the fireball powerup in the 3rd level deals about half that, so enemies that took one sword swing to kill take two fireballs. If you collect a fireball powerup when you already have one, you gain the ability to shoot two fireballs at once, meaning if you can manage to get both fireballs to attack the same enemy, you can do the same damage as a sword attack.

The backwards attack from the sword does 16 damage. Under certain specific circumstances, some enemies can accept damage from the backwards attack twice on a single swing. These enemies are the ones that don't go invulnerable after taking a hit. So some enemies can take 32 damage rather than the normal 16. It is the second most devastating attack in the game. It takes longer and makes you drop like a rock, though, so you have to really plan ahead for when you are going to use it, and if you want to attack in midair, you need to make sure that you're above the target before you start.

That's about all I have, I think. I tried to do a level by level breakdown, but mostly found myself repeating information I'd already given. A lot of stuff I had typed before is now cut out because it was deemed unnecessary. Hopefully I've managed to cover all potential questions. Please enjoy the movie.


Masterjun: Judging.

feos: The author confirmed on IRC that this is the file intended for replacement, updating.

Masterjun: Removed 1 frame of blank input and replaced the file.

Masterjun: Looks great and has nice optimizations. Accepting as an improvement to the previous movie.

feos: Pub.


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