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

Submission #6086: adelikat & DrD2k9's C64 Batman: The Caped Crusader "Part 1: Penguin" in 04:52.73

Console: Commodore 64
Game name: Batman: The Caped Crusader
Game version: Europe
ROM filename: BATMAN.CRT
Branch: Part 1: Penguin
Emulator: BizHawk 1.13.2
Movie length: 04:52.73
FrameCount: 17513
Re-record count: 92
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: adelikat & DrD2k9
Submitter: DrD2k9
Submitted at: 2018-08-31 21:05:15
Text last edited at: 2018-09-12 16:42:51
Text last edited by: feos
Download: Download (9691 bytes)
Status: decision: rejected
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Author's comments and explanations:

Batman: The Caped Crusader for Commodore 64

Part 1: Penguin

For info relating to this game itself please see adelikat's original submission notes.

DrD2k9's comments

One of the biggest issues with C64 TASing is load times. The first major chunk of any game from a disk or tape based media is going to be a long, very boring loading sequence. This submission presents a method to minimize this loading time and shorten overall submission lengths. Should this method be accepted by the staff/community, it will provide the potential for many future C64 TAS submissions to be shorter than they otherwise could be.

Background on how this submission came to be:

I had previously known of various programs in existence that convert C64 tape images to disk images. I thought that doing this with any games which I could only find in tape image format would save some time, as tape loading typically takes longer than disk loading. Then I thought 'Why stop there?' and wondered if there were any programs available to convert from tape/disk to cartridge format.

I found some.

EasyFlash is a C64 compatible cartridge that can be flashed with .crt game/program images and then used in a real Commodore 64.

A program called Disk2EasyFlash is able to convert some (but not all) disk based games into cartridge format. For games where this is possible, doing so yields a cartridge image that can be flashed to the EasyFlash cartridge (or in our case, used in BizHawk).

While normal cartridge games start instantly with no load time, games converted to cart format using Disk2EasyFlash still retain a loading phase before the game starts. However, this load period is drastically reduced compared to loading the game from the original disk image.

To test the theory/method of converting disks to cart for use in BizHawk TASes, I contacted adelikat to find out exactly which disk version of Batman he used for his run.

Using the same disk image, I confirmed that his original inputs (made in BizHawk 1.13.0) synced in BizHawk 1.13.2

I then converted the disk image to EasyFlash cartridge format and loaded the new cart image up in TAStudio. As expected, the load time was shorter, so I copy/pasted adelikat's inputs from where he first takes control of Batman. The rest of the run synced perfectly without any necessary alterations.

To me, this was proof of concept for converting from disk image to cart image.

Other comments on this submission compared to adelikat's original

  • I changed the version from 'any' to 'Europe'
    • I tested the game with NTSC settings and the game froze on the first item pickup.
    • I assumed this to mean it was a PAL release of the game.
  • In addition to all the time saved from the loading changes; I was able to save a further 9 frames at the end of the run by optimizing the cursor movement.
    • I confirmed that these 9 frames could be saved using the disk image TAS as well.
    • The below temp encode does not have these 9 frames cut.
    • There may be other movements that can be optimized in the run, but it will likely affect RNG appearances of a villain (manipulation of said appearances are a big contribution to the run's overall optimization)--see previous submission
  • During the NTSC/PAL testing I deleted some inputs from lag frames; these deletions persist in this submission.

Is this submission publishable?

  • Admittedly, the conversion of one image format to another, is a type of hacking/modification of the original data.
  • The vast majority of Commodore 64 games available for TASing are already cracked/modified versions.
  • This particular type of modification only serves to impact non-game-related aspects of a TAS.
  • Therefore, I see the conversion (which minimizes the boring loading phases) as an acceptable modification of the original game images and should be acceptable for publication to any tier.

Youtube encodes of current publication and this submission for timing comparison.

Current Publication

(Link to video)
This Submission

(Link to video)

For the Judge

  • This submission's 'ROM' is a unique cartridge image file that I created. As it was created from the same disk image that adelikat used in his run, I assume anyone else using Disk2EasyFlash on that disk image should be able to create an equivalent cartridge format image to verify this submission. Please feel free to contact me on Discord or via PM in the forums if necessary for verification.

adelikat's comments, if he so chooses:

feos: We recently have a lot of rule-clarifying submissions that I need to judge.

feos: Thanks for encouraging us to rethink our rules. The general staff agreement is to allow image conversions only if it's a standard practice for the platform in question, and if it's possible with unmodified official set.

There is no proof that the image conversion that happened here (writing to a cartrige) is possible on original stock C64. It can be done with extra devices like EEPROM programmer or a flash cartridge, but neither was a standard device for regular C64 users.

The original game has not been released on cartridges. Rejecting.

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