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Tool-assisted game movies
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Submission #6082: Exonym's Genesis Tinhead in 17:46.24

Console: Sega Genesis
Game name: Tinhead
Game version: USA
ROM filename: TinHead (USA).md
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk-2.2.2
Movie length: 17:46.24
FrameCount: 63892
Re-record count: 43973
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: Exonym
Submitter: Exonym
Submitted at: 2018-08-27 15:36:59
Text last edited at: 2018-09-01 13:41:33
Text last edited by: Stovent
Download: Download (39432 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Take your time. Since Tinhead isn't a timed game, you can be patient with your movements and don't have to hurry from Sector to Sector. -Tinhead manual.

It's been quite a while since I made the first version of this TAS. I figured that since I didn't have access to current tools like TAStudio, there might have been some small mistakes in my older runs. It didn't take long after looking over it again to start finding improvements. But I was surprised at how many I actually did find. The total frames saved was 2619. Not only were new tricks discovered, but entire new routes in many stages were found to be faster.

Temporary encode of the new improvements:


(Link to video)

Let's start off talking about the basics of the game again. In each stage, Tinhead must collect a star before he is able to exit a stage. Entering a teleporter without the star will not accomplish anything. Tinhead fires small round metal ball projectiles from his head. The direction in which they are fired can be changed by pressing A (this is shown by the indicator at the top of the screen in the shape of an arrow). Like most things in this game, there are frame rules between how often you can change the direction of your shots. In this case, 10 frames is the limit before you can change again.

There are 3 angles to shoot with.

The Down+Right Arrow

Your shot will be lobbed in an arc, and will continuously bounce along the ground, and ricochet off of walls. This shot lingers longer than any other shot before it disappears, and is especially useful for hitting enemies below you; if it's timed right, it can fall faster than tinhead will fall. It also has various other uses for hitting enemies in specific situations which the other shots can't reach.

The Right Arrow

Your shot will fire straight in the direction Tinhead is facing. It will bounce off of solid objects 180 degrees. It cannot change position vertically, this shot only moves horizontally. When Tinhead is in his basic form, this shot will travel much faster than he can run, so it's useful for shooting down enemies directly ahead of him. When jumping up to higher solid platforms, this shot can be used to get an early hit in on enemies.

The Up+Right Arrow

This shot fires diagonally UP+(whatever direction tinhead is facing). That means the shot can either be Up+Left or Up+right. This shot will ricochet off of ceilings (forming a 90 degree angle) making it quite useful for hitting flying enemies and is especially useful for getting early hits on enemies that are standing on semisolid platforms that you must jump to. There's also the odd case where if you shoot directly into the corner of a solid object, it will actually bounce back at a 180 degree angle. This is used once in World 3, and will be explained later.

Now that we have the ways that tinhead can shoot, it must also be noted that there is also a frame rule between shots. You guessed it, 10 frames. With that said, let's cover the powerups. Also, projectiles will disappear from existance as soon as they are off screen, so it is important to keep them on screen if you want to hit anything.

Multi-shot powerups

These powerups increase the number of shots that are allowed to exist on screen at the same time. There is also an indicator for this in the top left of the screen. It's the number right next to the arrow of the shot direction from the previous segment. The number indicates how many shots can exist. The powerups come in +1, +2, and +3 varieties. These do not set your shot limiter to that number, but rather increase it by that value. No matter how many you collect, this number maxes out at 5. Generally, you're not going to have many opportunities to have 5 shots on screen at once due to the shot frame rule, but there are a couple of cases where we do. Taking damage not only reduces your HP, but it also reduces your shot counter by 1 each time. You can imagine this is annoying, but in many cases you don't actually need to have that many shots on screen at once.

Health Powerups

Tinhead's HP carries over from stage to stage as well as from World to World. This means you have to carefully select where to take damage. That's where health powerups come in handy. They come in 2 forms; the battery (canister with lightning symbol), which increases your current hp by 1. This same canister is also used to display your total HP, which is conveniently placed in the top left corner of the screen. Then we have the blue lightning bolt (called Sparks by the manual), which maxes out your health at 5 instantly. These are usually worth grabbing, even if you have to sacrifice a little bit of time to get them. More on why this is will be explained in the next segment.

Heart Pieces

Collecting hearts increases your number of lives. I think we all know what that means. The same icon is used to display said lives in... yes: the top left corner of the screen. These are completely irrelevant for a TAS, because killing yourself must absolutely be avoided. Not only is the respawn time incredibly long, but if you happen to have collected the star for that level, it is now gone. There is no reason to kill yourself in this game.

Points Objects

Also completely irrelevant, there are many many different types of items that give you points. The most common are the metal orbs, which litter the maps.

Bonus Stage Item

These take you to a bonus stage, where generally you're given a small room to stock up on powerups and points. You have to teleport into it, in the same manner as entering a stage, and you exit them in the same manner you normally exit a stage, via an exit portal. You can imagine this is really long and not even worth considering. The bonus rooms are timed, if you haven't exited via the portal when the time runs out, it will force you out. Sometimes there ARE transformation powerups (next segment), but you are not allowed to keep them, be it by exiting normally or running out of time. So in essence: these bonus rooms are useless.

Transformations

Now we get into the powerups where this game takes off in my opinion. There are 4 different transformations that Tinhead can undergo, most of which are useful.

Hyper-Hopper

The one exception to the useful powerup rule; this one. This is incredibly slow and awkward and should be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, world 1 still has 1 location that it must be used, and despite how slow it looks, it is the fastest known way to do that segment.

Rocket Pack

Next powerup seen in the run is the rocket powerup. This one moves fairly fast horizontally, but not as much vertically. I guess now is a good time to talk about horizontal movement in the game. With most powerups, Tinhead actually can move faster to the left than he can to the right. Most of the time he doesn't do this on his own, you have to release your direction for 1 frame and then resume. With the rocket powerup, you can travel left at a speed of -6. Travelling right maxes out at 5 no matter what you do. Controlling this powerup vertically is very awkward, as you do it by pressing the jump button. You naturally float downwards and have to feather pressing and holding jump button for various intervals to increase your vertical speed upwards. It is very sensitive as well, as if you want to just barely fly upwards, you literally only need to press C for a few frames. However your momentum is carried upwards, and there is no fast way to correct it downwards, you just have to let the game carry you down with it's own momentum system.

Gyrocopter

The next powerup is the Helicopter powerup. This is viewed as the god powerup for the run, as it can fly very fast in all directions (except downwards I guess). Unlike the rocket powerup, this one is not controlled by pressing jump; You only need to use the d-pad to direct it. This makes maneuvering much more accessible as you don't have to wait for momentum to carry you downwards, you can simply press down on the d-pad. This also brings up vertical speed variance, which is very similar to the horizontal one mentioned before. This time, you can travel faster upwards with this powerup than you can travelling downwards. This requires you to release Up for one frame before resuming, increasing your maximum upwards speed from -5 to -6. Downwards speed is always 5.

Unicycle

The final transformation in the game you will see is the unicycle (yes that's the official name the developers cleverly came up with). This powerup can obtain the highest horizontal speed in the game. Like the other powerups, travelling left has the same speed boosts. During a standard jump to the left, your speed is -4. You can guess what happens if you let go of left for just one frame. Yes: -5 speed. This is actually a very good thing because certain skips were only possible because of this slight increase in speed. Travelling to the right while airborne is set at 4. However, this also works to the left when travelling down slopes. Normally, your speed caps out at 10, but by doing our handy-dandy frame release trick, it now caps at 11. Also it sets our max horizontal speed from -8 to -9. But this only occurs on flat ground after you have descended a slope sadly. If you reach ground by any other means, it still caps out at -8. The final quirk about this powerup is it's used to trigger another variant of our graphical glitch. More on this discussed in tricks section.

So, with our transformations out of the way, let's talk about Tinhead's basic form for a bit. His speed along flat surfaces caps out at 4 and sliding down slopes, it caps out at 6. Then unfortunately we must talk about his basic jumping. How this passed judgement from a coding and playtesting perspective is beyond me, especially considering the unicycle powerup does not suffer from this same flaw. What flaw? Well as you'll probably notice very early on: Jumping sucks. It MUST be avoided whenever necessary. Sure, when you first start your jump, your speed is fine. However it quickly declines to the apex of your jump, where it reaches the lowest possible speed the game can render: 1. That's right, 1. This also occurs on any ledges you drop down from, and THIS is why I mentioned that health powerups are essential. You want to take as much damage as possible to avoid jumping in your basic form. Something that should be able to be used freely makes management in this game unnecessarily difficult. With that said, let's talk about some tricks that can cut down on this a bit.

Tricks/Glitches

Right-Facing Ledge Downwards Teleport

When you're in basic form approaching a rightwards cliff, pressing left for one frame before a blank frame just as you reach the very edge causes you to slip inside the terrain just a bit. Since the game thinks you shouldn't be there, naturally it lags as it's trying to determine where it can send you. However; Instead of the normal zipping techniques used in many other games, this game searches for a specific terrain tile and sends you there instead. Since the game thinks you're still on top of the ledge, it tries to put you back on a ledge, but it checks beneath Tinhead (for whatever reason) This instantly sends him to the next ledge available that's below. If there is no ledge below it will eject you out the side of the terrain instead. Now why is this useful? Well, as I said before jumping sucks. Being able to instantly teleport to a ledge below (despite the game lagging for a few frames) cuts that entire falling segment out entirely. No frames of falling at 1 speed. Instead you're now on flat ground and you can accelerate to the max speed of 4 in just 4 frames. Yes, your speed increments that fast: 1, 2, 3, 4. Unfortunately (or fortunately if you like not knowing what's going on in the level) this usually breaks the graphics in most cases. It offsets them by the distance you've teleported downward, and in some levels it's done multiple times. So the terrain is likely to get entirely lost in those levels. It also has 1 other instance of significance in world 2. If you're at the correct pixel position when you perform this, pressing right just after the lag frame will actually teleport Tinhead back up to the ledge he started from. How is that useful? Well in that particular level, I needed to grab a rocket powerup that was down the ledge. It just so happens even though you're being teleported you still trigger the item. Instantly teleporting back up allows you to then grab it. I'll explain more on it in the stage notes for that level.

Non-steep slope traversing

In the first world, the slopes are very gradual. If you let go of the direction for just 1 frame, you start your sliding animation. This snaps you to a location further up on the slope. If you resume travelling that direction immediately after, you've gained that much distance. Travelling right, you've gained +12 pixels. Travelling left you've gained +10 pixels. That's the equivalent of moving at a speed of 12 for 1 frame or 10 for 1 frame respectively. Of course you can't do this every consecutive frame as doing this usually causes heavy lag. Mitigating when to do it where it doesn't cause lag is a chore, but it's faster to not have the lag there. You can't just muscle your way up every slope like this. It's possible to gain a slight advantage on the steeper slopes seen after World 1, but only at the very top of the slope, and it only saves time if it doesn't cause a frame of lag. Sometimes it doesn't, but most of the time (especially in later stages) it will cause lag. What I'm talking about is doing the trick at the very top, so that when you are advanced forward you are now on top of flat ground. Doing this allows you to not get thrown backwards by the steep slope. Because of this you can only do it 1 time when there's a steep slope and only saves 1 frame every time it's successful.

Slide Cancelling

When you slide in your basic form, reaching the bottom will cause a slight skid where your speed will drop considerably. However, if you press left for one frame and then resume pressing the direction you're going you can cancel the skid. The net speed lost from pressing left outweighs the speed lost if you allow the skid to occur.

Unicycle Slope Teleport

This is similar to the vertical teleport mentioned before, however it occurs horizontally on slopes when you have the unicycle powerup. This can only be done on right-wards facing slopes. In this case when you manage to wedge your hitbox into the slope, the game is tricked and doesn't know which direction you're actually facing. Since the game knows you're inside a slope tile it decides that it needs to check which slope tile to send you to. However, it checks to your LEFT when you're already facing left. It locates the nearest slope tile to the left and sends you there instead. This is an instant teleport and will send you to one as long as there is one anywhere on the same horizontal plane as the slope tile you clipped into. Naturally this trick saves a lot of time as you can travel great distances instantly. If there is no relevant slope tile to the left the game freezes in infinite lag frames because it knows you're inside terrain but can't decide where to send you. This is not advised.

Powerup Cancelling

Powerups can serve as an extra hit of damage of sorts. While it's usually not beneficial to take damage with them, sometimes it's forced by the stage layout or used to cut out the long animation when you enter the exit portals. Also, taking damage in this form does not reduce your HP value or your Shot counter; It simply removes your powerup. I take advantage of avoiding the exit portal animation whenever there's a relevant source to take damage near enough to the portal. The animation lasts just as long as when you first collect the powerup, so you can see why we want to avoid it.

The Duck Shot

I promise no ducks were harmed in the making of this movie. Instead, ducking allows you to shoot just a bit lower with the straight shot than you would normally be able to. This is used to hit small enemies that are low to the ground or otherwise awkward to jump over. As a general rule, most enemies that take 3 or less hits to defeat are best just killed instead of jumped over. And any that require 4 or more hits are best jumped over or damage boosted through. Usually.

Faster Magnet Sliding

With some new routing in most stages, there's actually very few places I actually use the magnets in World 4. The magnets behave like.. magnets. If Tinhead jumps too close to them he gets his head stuck to them, but he can still slowly slide his way back and forth along them. You can also drop down from them. But the trick here is pressing L+R just as your slide is about to halt. This allows you to perform a second slide almost instantly, and saves time in a very similar manner to the Slide Cancelling trick.

....I think that's about it for any major tricks. The rest is just routing and platforming optimizations for the most part, so let's get on to the stage commentary.

But before I do that, I have something else to add! I promise we'll get there. Due to emulation differences I start off the run behind the previous publication. Starting the very first level of the game, I'm already 33 frames behind, so the savings will actually start off negative. Anyway, now that you know that.. Level commentary!

World 1 - Crystal World

This is the most basic world in the game, with the weakest transformation representation. The only transformation that exists is the bouncy ball, and there is one place it must be used. I guess I'll go ahead and re-list the enemies and their relevant HP values, just because... I know you want to know. I will now refer to them by their official name taken directly from the manual:

Orbus: 1 shot

Krystal: 1 shot

Rokk: 1 shot

Gunky: 1 shot

Saw-Sir: 1 shot

Spike: 2 shots

Crystal World 1-1 (started off -33 frames, ended up -25 frames; Saved 8 frames)

Not really much to say about this level. It is super short, but it does introduce the first use of the new Right-Facing Ledge Downwards Teleportâ„¢. Also contains first use of the Slide Cancelling and Non-steep slope traversing tricks. Take damage near the end to allow me to run through the enemy that can't be killed without slowing down and 2 consecutive sets of spikes that would take forever to jump over.

Crystal World 1-2 (Started off -25 frames, ended up -0 oddly enough; Saved 25 frames)

For ease of access to what I'm saying, I guess I'll add the frame in which I'm referring with my notes

02285 - I avoided taking damage on the Gunky enemy just before so that I could abuse these three ledges with the downwards ledge teleport. The damage animation didn't last long enough from testing the aforementioned damage, but it does if I take damage on the first set of spikes here.

02459 - By delaying my jump for just a few frames before entering the wind from the fan, I spend less time hovering above it. Also I avoid some sort of sticky coding where tinhead stalls out on the adjacent ledge if he lands on it via the previous method.

02950 - It may seem like I should take damage on this spike here instead of jumping over it and then walking through the spike below. Well, this was certainly approached and the damage animation surprisingly doesn't last long enough to make it through the second set of spikes. Jumping over them both is the way to go here.

03199 - I enter this tube backwards which doesn't actually lose any time. What it does allow me to do is move and duck earlier when exiting the other side. Why does it do that? /shrug

Crystal World 1-3 (since I broke even now I'm just going to start only stating time saved; 7)

04455 - First relatively major route change in the run. I now use the vertical cliff teleport here and take the lower route. Turns out it's faster than going above because I spend a little bit more time running along ground.

04618 - Another delayed jump into this fan's wind to cut the jump short.

04730 - OMG! A transformation powerup. That's super awe...ful. Yep, it's the Hyper-Hopper.

04786 - Just want to point out here that it's not possible to do the vertical teleport on a cliff that's attached to a slope. This is probably due to the properties that stick tinhead to the slope and don't allow you to fall at the same location.

Crystal World 1-4 (-36; 43 total)

05916 - I land on this ledge here in order to do the vertical ledge teleport to trigger the powerup item faster. This is the worst part in the run, because we're forced to use this to jump over the large wall to the left. Believe me, I looked for alternate routes. The only way to avoid this would be to find some glitch to clip completely through floors or walls. With how the teleports work in this game, it isn't that farfetched to believe that such a trick could exist, but currently there is no known method.

06205 - Since I'm already forced to do these awkward bounces, it actually wastes very little time to grab the Spark here for full health replenishment. It more than makes up for it with some of the damage boost skips coming up.

06289 - The first damage boost skip. This is also the perfect chance to ditch that pesky Hyper-Hopper transformation. It also lets me jump up to the ledges to the right and avoid going a long roundabout route to achieve the same thing.

06520 - Another necessary damage boost. This position is interesting, because you can actually do the ledge teleportation trick here. And yes it takes you ALL the way to the bottom of the stage instantly. But for some reason since I've taken damage here, Tinhead became completely invisible. This was cool and I wished there was a place where it could have been used in the run. Unfortunately being down at the bottom of the stage is not what we want because then we have to travel right and traverse a bunch of platforms up to where we could have just fallen to anyway.

06680 - Another damage boost. This is the location we would ultimately end up from the previous note, but at a lot slower pace.

07037 - In the previous movie I took damage from this projectile. I'm not sure why that seemed like a good idea, as you can avoid while only losing around 2 or 3 frames. There are better places to use that damage boost.

07342 - Like here for example. Damage boost so that I can run through this and the next set of spikes.

07732 - So this portal happens to be located right beneath a portion of the stage we could have reached very early on in the stage. If only a trick would exist that teleported you vertically through terrain, we could skip most of this level. Sadly that does not seem to exist, yet?

Crystal World 1-5 (-117; 160 total)

08753 - Rather large route change here. Taking the path to the right here bypasses the section where you have to wait on rising platforms. It also has plenty of slopes for advancing quickly, so the overall time save here is pretty decent.

10010 - The gap above seems like a very reasonable place to damage abuse. Unfortunately there are no enemies nearby. There's an Orbus above but they only travel horizontally, nothing will ever come in range of damage boosting here. The hole is just here to taunt me, I'm sure of it.

10796 - Jumping on the last frame where Tinhead has a speed value of 6 from the slope actually preserves that value for 3 additional frames than it would last otherwise. This slope also happens to be positioned just perfectly to jump into it and the extra speed frames help into landing in the teleporter faster.

Crystal World 1-6 (-20; 180 total)

11408 - By timing my jumps when the platforms have sunk to the lowest point possible, I save a small amount of time because that means my jump off of them is shorter. And we all know how jumping sucks in this game and should be cut short at every opportunity.

11580 - Taking damage here was proven to be faster than where I previously took it, which was at the section of spikes directly after it.

13193 - New damage boost strats here since I determined that I don't actually need to take a third hit of damage from the World Guardian... .. .. ..... The boss.

13753 - You may think I should be damage boosting underneath some of these platforms. Well the fact is Tinhead is just too large to fit under there.

Crystal World Guardian (-11; 191 total)

As stated before, I determined that the third damage taken on the boss in the previous run was pointless and I'm not sure why I did it back then.

World 2 - Space Port

This is where the manual stopped giving enemies names so I guess I will revert back to my expert naming used in the previous submission:

Double Barrel Hopper: 2 shots

Rocket Kiting Guy: 1 shot

Giant Stationary Gun: 5 shots

Little Flag Dudes: 3 shots

John the Tank Engine: 3 shots

Space Port 2-1 (-5; 196 total)

16859 - Hooray, we can use the ledge teleport trick on the trampolines in this world. That's a little more comforting because the ledges in this world and Star Hulk are overhanging. Meaning they have almost no use for the teleport trick.. UNLESS we just want to go straight down. The trick will give you one frame that boosts you downward by 9 pixels. Better than nothing, but does not save time if you only need to travel horizontally.

17063 - You can't make that jump from the top ledge. I know that it looks like you can. Did I mention Tinhead's horizontal speed while falling is 1? Don't try it.

17451 - Grab this spark because health is important and it's not too much out of the way.

17953 - With the new improvements to this stage this enemy did not want to behave so I have to delay killing him. He still dies in the end, so jokes on him.

Space Port 2-2 (-550; 746 total - not bad)

18517 - So these enemies are the base reason why I grabbed that spark from the previous stage. You'll see a lot more of them soon. They are the ones I refer to as Giant Stationary Guns. They are huge and tanky and they suck.

18825 - This delay is intentional to be sure the Rocket Kiting Guy can keep up with me. I'll need him just up ahead for a pretty large damage boost skip. You'll see. Unless you didn't watch the movie.

18907 - If I didn't jump this high, the enemy would swoop in lower and get caught on the side of the ledge and never make it over to where I need him.

19112 - The first and only use of the double teleport technique. Since the object that contains the newly discovered rocket powerup is between tinhead and the floor below, the only way to get it normally is to fall and go all the way around and ride that escalator-esque moving platform back up. That's slow, but luckily the double teleport is not, and somehow the item gets triggered on the way down. I'll take it.

19250 - Flying a bit higher to avoid some massive lag that occurs below. Grab another Spark here because it's convenient. In the previous movie I grabbed the spark in the next level which required me to go a lot more out of the way. The end health result is the same and this one wastes very little time.

Space Port 2-3 (-22; 768 total)

20169 - Here's that falling shot trick I mentioned before. Very useful for hitting enemies below you, if timed well.

20282 - Hugging the right wall here might seem awkward, but it's actually an enemy manipulation. I can fire a shot from closer and kill the John the Tank Engine above faster.

20451 - Don't ask me to explain exactly how the elevators in this game work. I'll give my own explanation on them a bit later. If I feel like it.

21308 - I felt like it. So... The elevators often like to change direction on you instantly after you ride them up. How do you prevent this? By jumping into them at a slight different angle. That's all I've got to explain this bizarre phenomenon. Sometimes if you move right after your jump it will change before you jump. But if you just jump straight up it won't. I love it when elevators decide on a whim which direction I can go. In other words, these are actually being manipulated to not change their direction and I can keep riding them up.

21960 - I fly up over the last ledge to build up vertical speed, because that's how platforming things work. I didn't do this before because I didn't know how platforming things worked.

22106 - First instance of the powerup cancelling trick. It's good that spikes are so close to the portals sometimes.

Space Port 2-4 (-397; 1165 total)

22890 - This is where I went previously to grab a Spark in the old run. Yep, I walked all the way to the left here off screen and walked all the way back.

23425 - I also skip grabbing this Battery (+1 health), because the extra HP at this point was deemed unnecessary based on the discovery of a new transformation.

23630 - The new transformation.

24000 - This Giant Stationary Gun is sitting right under a ceiling, meaning I can't fly past him and I can't damage boost past him otherwise I will lose the transformation. The only way is to kill him and that sucks with the awkward hovering controls of this powerup.

24382 - Though the graphics are offset, you can still see the space between the conveyor and the spike. The only way to get past this point is to duck while in normal form. We are not in normal form, therefore we must take damage and unfortunately lose the powerup. That sucks because it would have been very convenient in the next section.

24780 - Some weird shenanigans are to manipulate this Rocket Kite Guy into a favorable position. I need him to fly under the conveyor belt in exactly the right spot in order to damage boost off of him to the ledge to the right. This is in contrast to the old method of damage boosting to the left and using the slingshot to reach that ledge. If I just run right while standing on this (invisible) conveyor belt, he will fly up and to the left and end up on top of it with me. That's no good. I must fall back down in order to lure him down there.

25010 - One more vertical teleport glitch off the top of the exit portal. This also means I can just fall inside of it instead of dropping to the floor first and then jumping.

Space Port 2-5 (-13; 1178 total - I know, sad)

25833 - Might as well trigger this almost-free Spark item, so I can collect it on the way out after being flung by the slingshot. Seems especially useful since I have 0 Battery Power. I heard robots don't run too well without batteries.

26230 - More shenanigans with the odd elevator behavior. Manipulating the arrow to stay in the up position.

26450 - I should just point out here that there are actually 2 exit portals in this stage. One of them is to the right, and that's where I'm going for this run. The other one is to the left and it requires you to ride the teleporter up one more time. And then it's a bit of a long flight. You can actually see that exit teleporter at the very start of the stage.

Space Port 2-6 (-13; 1191 total - Just as sad)

27592 - I jump into the side of this button so that I'll already have downward vertical speed when the direction on the elevator changes.

27938 - Damage boost off this laser because there is a Little Flag Dude and Giant Stationary Gun up ahead. I can just walk past them now, and still have enough time to kill the big dude.

28588 - I get some extra damage on the second Little Flag Dude here so that I an kill him on the return trip. It just so happens that when I'm coming back, he is in the worst spot and is literally impossible to jump over. And I want to save my damage boosts for other parts.

29684 - These turnarounds on this double trampoline are to get the right pixel alignment so that I can just walk over them. This eliminates having to jump over the middle of the trampolines and saves some time.

Space Port Guardian (-8; 1199 total)

The only change here is jumping onto the ledge after the boss is killed. This prevents having to make an extra jump on the reverse conveyor belt. I still grab the multi-shot powerup and the Spark item here because they are convenient, and I have 0 hp.

World 3 - Star Hulk

Pink Blob: 4 shots

No-eyed Hopping Blob: 3 shots

Green Alien Saucers: 4 shots

Speedy Green Aliens: 2 shots

War of the Worlds Monster: 2 shots

Star Hulk 3-1 (-271; 1470 total)

31385 - Yep, another major route change. This being; the discovery of yet another missed transformation powerup. Initially it seemed out of the way, but some careful analysis reveals some hidden walls that create a good path through the stage to get the star.

31763 - I take damage on this No-eyed Hopping Blob because it's more convenient. It allows me to run through the spikes, and I need to take a second damage boost in the spikes to also bypass that Green Alien Saucer down below.

32490 - Able to somehow hit that button while falling past it, even though I'm nowhere near it. I'm gonna stop complaining, because it's faster. The Pink Blobs are rather annoying. If you shoot them, they retaliate with projectiles in either direction. They also take 4 hits to kill, meaning flying over this one is the only option.

33278 - I actually have noted an improvement to the run here, but implementing it causes immediate desyncs everywhere in the next stage. Namely the No-Eyed Hopping Blobs rng are all completely different and throw off my shots to kill them, among other things. This will just be noted in future improvements if I ever revisit the game. It saves around 20 frames or so. The improvement is to just fly directly into the exit portal and the rocket de-transformation begins. However, the Pink Blob's projectile is actually still able to hit Tinhead while he's de-transforming. This cuts that animation short and you directly end the stage instead.

Star Hulk 3-2 (-2; 1472 total - This is because of note 34653)

33696 - Using the ledge teleport trick here teleports you onto the moving platform. You get stuck to it for a bit so it actually pulls tinhead inside of it. However, you just get pushed out to the right. Seems like nothing can be done with it.

34653 - I go a little bit out of the way to collect this extra multi-shot powerup. It doesn't waste too much time since I already activated it on the way in, and I'll want to shoot lots of enemies more rapidly in the following stage.

34732 - This Green Alien Saucer is actually tricky to kill with the Gyrocopter. It requires perfect positioning.

34770 - You don't actually lose any horizontal speed by ramming into these doors. It still stays at 5 and when the door opens, that's the speed you start out with. I do however need to slightly position myself for the next segment to work out.

Star Hulk 3-3 (-42; 1514 total)

35815 - Have to wait on the platform to come down anyway, so might as well grab this extra Battery.

36389 - Land on the ledge to the left so that I can jump into the button faster. I didn't do this in the previous run, I fell all the way to the floor first.

36780 - Just going to point out at the spot that there IS a Gyrocopter powerup in this stage. However, guess where it is? Go on, I'll let you watch the entire stage first and see if you can find the object that contains it.

36940 - This platforming is clunky and it does not help that tinhead has a huge hitbox. The movement seems awkward, and it is.

38170 - So, did you look through the whole level for that Gyrocopter yet? Well, yes.. That is indeed it right above the exit teleporter. You're so good at guessing. You probably also guessed that it doesn't save time to come way down here for the Gyrocopter powerup.

Star Hulk 3-4 (-208; 1722 total)

38840 - Why yes of course there is a hidden path in this wall here. Why did my 2011 self not see this obvious route.

39060 - Grabbing all the multi-shot powerups because I want to feel powerful.

40320 - This Spark powerup is still really convenient. It is definitely worth the +4 HP. Also general movement all around in the Gyrocopter is better this time around. Making full use of that left-wards acceleration trick.

40540 - Unfortunately there is nothing to take damage from here, so now you can see why we usually want to avoid this animation.

Star Hulk 3-5 (-23; 1745 total)

41100 - It was actually faster to go around to the left when jumping up this part of the stage. In the previous run I went to the right and that means I have to delay my jump because of that Green Alien Saucer above.

42565 - More proficient at killing these No-Eyed Hopping Blobs, but other than that the stage is pretty much the same.

Star Hulk 3-6 (-84; 1829 total)

43208 - First use of the magnet sliding technique. This is also the only portion of the game where we ever need to use the magnets at all.

43815 - Only go out of my way here because there's a 3-shot multishot powerup and a Spark item right on top of each other. I'm in desperate need of both at this point.

44300 - In the previous movie I took damage on these crushers here. Turns out it doesn't actually speed anything up, the moving platform just after will arrive at the same time no matter if I damage boost through these or not. So I figure it's better to conserve that health for some other better scenario.

44385 - Yes here is another realization after the run was done that I could grab this 3-shot multishot powerup with no time loss while waiting on the moving platform. I don't know why this escaped me the first time. It wouldn't make much difference in the overall scheme of things, it would just make for some more flashy kills on enemies.

45273 - This is an example of the diagonal shot into the corner of a wall, and the resulting 180 degree return. I use this to hit the Pink Blob here again for no reason other than the fact that I can.

46295 - Grab another combination of multi-shot powerup and Spark item because they are convenient and I need them for the upcoming boss.... I mean... Guardian.

Star Hulk Guardian (-50; 1879 total)

The boss has given me a better pattern in regards to where his arms are travelling. I want to kill the right most arm as close to the boss's center as possible so that I can immediately start firing and damaging it. It just so happens that his arm is willing to cooperate politely and position itself for me. I also drop down to get a faster last hit on the boss. The boss's center has 20 hp. I just felt like telling you that.

World 4 - Inctec Planet

Horned Zombie Dinosaur Thingies: 5 shots

Pterodactyl: 2 shots

Piranha Shooting Plant: 3 shots

Dart Blowers: 5 shots

Spiky Stegosaurus Wannabes: 5 shots

Inctec Planet 4-1 (-25; 1904 total)

47975 - Since I'm taking damage past these enemies anyway, I figured why not just drop down and eliminate a couple of jumps while I was at it. Turns out that was the correct decision. Turns out I used to not be good at making correct decisions.

49472 - Getting Tinhead to notice these slopes is sometimes hard, but if you let your finger off the gas for just 1 frame, he usually finds it. This happens all over the place in World 4.

49912 - Delaying the turnaround here for a few frames means I have longer time on the ground to accumulate speed. Because of this, I can reach a speed of 8 before reaching the end of these platforms.

50049 - The first instance of the Unicycle Slope Teleport, and certainly not the last. Teleports me to the nearest slope to the left of tinhead that is on the same horizontal plane. It just so happens there is one on the other side of that terrain to the left.

50484 - There is no way to get the unicycle powerup past the spikes in this section, so I just throw myself into them on purpose. Trust me there are spikes there. They also help me get up onto the ledge. Nothing much to say about the rest of this level, just have to wait on that moving platform to get in position so I can make the leap to the exit portal.

Inctec Planet 4-2 (-71; 1975 total)

51604 - Jumping from off these slopes does initially slow you down. But what it does do however is allow you to land on the above platform earlier and start accelerating much faster. If you just follow the slope normally without jumping, Tinhead actually sinks down into the slope for a good while and he doesn't accelerate during this period.

52725 - Though you can't see it.... at all.. I'm jumping up the leftwards slope here. This is actually faster because of the leftwards speed trick where you can get a speed of -5 in the air. If you just stay on the ground you can only manage -4. Each jump also initially slows you down here, but the net gains from having all the -5 speed in the air results in time saved.

52822 - I jump over the Spiky Stegosaurus Wannabe here at the end of the stage instead of taking damage from him early. This is faster because the unicycle actually handles jumps properly and I can damage boost directly into the exit portal.. Which very much does exist in this location.

Inctec Planet 4-3 (-105; 2080 total)

53480 - I very much wish this ledge was fully solid. Unfortunately there is a hidden passageway beneath, so the vertical teleport will not work here as much as I wish it would.

54550 - Still using the slight time delay in order to grab the multi-shot powerup as well since it's so close to the transformation powerup. I'll need to kill upcoming enemies quickly.

55070 - Here's another great example of how the teleport works. There is clearly a gap here, and since the game doesnt just look for an open space (because if it did, it would obviously put you into the gap between these 2 slopes) it sends you directly to the closest slope. Which it determines somehow is the adjacent slope on the other side of the pit.

55319 - You will not notice this without viewing the terrain script yourself, but this was a veryyy tight jump, made only just possible by using the -5 in air speed trick. I tried this jump multiple times without the trick and it's just not possible with -4 speed. Thank god this trick exists. In the previous run I jump up and over the ledges above and it's slow and tedious.

55700 - I grab a battery and multi-shot powerup here while I'm chipping away at the stegosaurus here. So it doesn't actually cost any time to collect these. Free pickups are always nice. Just to reiterate I absolutely must kill these anyways regardless, as taking damage loses the unicycle.

Inctec Planet 4-4 (-50; 2130 total)

57422 - Still going to grab this triple-shot powerup because I'm going to take a lot of damage directly afterwards. I immediately vertical teleport glitch to reach the ledge below quicker, and then fall into the fire and run across it to prevent all the tedious and slow jumping across the platforms above. There's really not much else to say about this level; it's very short.

Inctec Planet 4-5 (-24; 2154 total)

58985 - Because of some slight time saves earlier on in the level (or perhaps some other reason, I'm not sure) this pterodactyl comes flying at me like a bat out of hell. And nothing I do will cause him to do otherwise. So he is just dealt with using the super Gyrocopter blade. All hail Gyrocopter. The rest of the level is just better optimized navigation using the powerup.

Inctec Planet 4-6 (-339; 2493 total)

60936 - So yeah, this path exists that takes me straight to the Unicycle powerup. This prevents needless backtracking to get it later, which of course is what I did in the old run. I also do not waste time grabbing any extra multi-shot powerups in this stage, because 3 is plenty for the final boss. You'll never have a chance to have more than 3 in the air at once due to the nature of the shot frame rule.

61503 - yet another jump that's only possible with the leftward speed trick. Some enemies are in the way here but it's better to just jump around them than to try and kill them because they each take 5 shots to kill.

61727 - I travel further left here so that I can start accelerating on the slope earlier.

62251 - More gymnastics to avoid the long and tedious process of gunning down these enemies. The leftward speed glitch also helps a lot to overcome these guys. The dart at the end of this hallway is triggered when I approach a certain distance to it. This is why after the last enemy I jump over I turn around for a bit. It doesn't waste any time it just delays when I reach the certain point that triggers the dart. It's just barely possible to beat it by doing this.

62915 - The last use of the Unicycle Slope glitch. Rest in peace to this amazing teleportation glitch, you served me well. Now it's time to fight the Bo-... FINAL GUARDIAN

Inctec Planet Guardian Ultra Mega Finalboss Showdown Extravaganza (-126; 2619 total)

I get a few cheap shots in on the way up to the top platform. I need to go up to this platform to ensure that I can keep him in a stun lock of sorts, where timed jumps and positioning will ensure that he never leaves the right side of the screen. I also manipulate him to drop that pesky egg that likes to block your shots. When he drops it, the egg has 2 hp and I use 2 shots to get rid of it. This ensures I can gun down the first phase of the boss sooner. Not to mention that the previous attempt that did not kill this egg resulted in the second phase of the boss freezing infinitely. For what reason I can't even begin to say. Probably something stupid. But let's talk about the second phase, it enters from the top of the screen also. This is yet another reason why I hastily rushed up to the top so I can begin shooting at it as early as possible. Oh and the first phase of the boss has 32 hp. Second phase, each side has 10 hp and the center has 10 hp as well. 30 total hp for the second phase, 62 total hp for the entire boss fight. Just some little facts for the fact enthusiasts out there. Anyway with that is the Tinhead improvement.

I've stated a couple very minor improvements that threw the entire game off when trying to implement them quickly. Nothing amounting to a whole lot, but I bet there are even more opportunities to save time. This game behaves very strangle and it's pretty hard to work out all the kinks with it. But in my opinion that's what makes it a great game to TAS, you never know what weird technique or trick will be discovered next.

It's still sad to see the basic jumping in the game. In my opinion it looks like it had huge potential to be a great game. The graphics are great, music is okay (not the greatest but listenable). It's just some design choices, the basic jumping mechanic that should have been the first thing the developers worked out. Instead we get this super awkward momentum-killing jump which often times leads to missed gaps or falling directly into a pit of spikes. Of course it's not as much of a problem in a TAS, besides making the game take longer to complete, but for casual play it's very awkward. Not to mention the hitboxes for tinhead and most obstacles are huge, and the game overall plays just a bit too herky-jerky. They did include the option to move your camera while the game is paused, which is actually pretty nice. But it's still painfully hard to avoid obstacles and enemies that appear on screen faster than you can react to.

But knowing all that I hope the run is entertaining with all of the new routes and improvements.

Special thanks to ThunderAxe31 for providing a terrain script for Worlds 1 and 4, which were the largest source of broken graphics in the run. If you're curious to see it yourself, you can do so here: http://tasvideos.org/userfiles/info/49376389630595710

Also thanks to anyone who may have been following the run lurking in the shadows. I know you're there!


ThunderAxe31: Judging.

ThunderAxe31: File replaced with a 301 frames improvement.

ThunderAxe31: Great job with the optimization and the new glitches. Accepting as improvement over the current publication.

Stovent: Processing...


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