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

Submission #6162: c-square's DOS The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in 00:12.68

Console: DOS
Game name: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Game version: v31
Emulator: JPC-rr 11.2 w/ TASScript 2.0
Movie length: 00:12.68
FrameCount: 761
Re-record count: 809
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: c-square
Submitter: c-square
Submitted at: 2018-11-25 06:10:51
Text last edited at: 2019-01-04 19:52:34
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (19776 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
  You see a nondescript table. On it rests a book.

  > look at table
  I said the table is nondescript!

  > look at book
  It is an electronic book. "Don't Panic!" is written in large, friendly letters
  on the cover.

  > read book
  You don't have it.

  > get book

  > read it
  It is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is an electronic guidebook to the
  entire universe.

  > read about hitchhikers guide
  Which do you mean:
  	1) The wholly remarkable guidebook published by Megadodo Publications,
  	   one of the great publishing houses of Ursa Minor Beta.
  	2) The science fiction series written by Douglas Adams

  > 2
  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a comedy science fiction series
  created by Douglas Adams of Earth (see: Mostly Harmless). The broad narrative
  of Hitchhiker follows the misadventures of the last surviving man, Arthur
  Dent, following the demolition of the planet Earth by a Vogon constructor
  fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Dent is rescued from Earth's
  destruction by Ford Prefect, a human-like alien writer for the eccentric,
  electronic travel guide The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by hitchhiking
  onto a passing Vogon spacecraft. Following his rescue, Dent explores the
  galaxy with Prefect and encounters Trillian, another human who had been taken
  from Earth prior to its destruction by the President of the Galaxy, the two-
  headed Zaphod Beeblebrox, and the depressed Marvin, the Paranoid Android.
  Originally a radio comedy broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1978*, it was later
  adapted to other formats, including stage shows, novels, comic books, a 1981*
  TV series, a 1984* video game, and 2005* feature film.
  (* all dates in Earth years)

  > read about video game
  An interactive fiction video game based on the comedic science fiction series
  of the same name. It was designed by series creator Douglas Adams and
  Infocom's Steve Meretzky, and was first released in 1984* for the Apple II,
  Macintosh, Commodore 64, CP/M, MS-DOS, Amiga, Atari 8-bit family and Atari ST.
  The game loosely mirrors a portion of the series' plot, representing most of
  the events in the first book. As with other Infocom games (see: Zork series)
  the Hitchhiker's Guide is a text adventure game, where the player solves a
  number of puzzles to complete various objectives to win the game. The player
  has a limited variety of commands that they can enter to observe, move about,
  and interact with the game's world, such as "look", "inventory", "north" (to
  move north) "take screwdriver", or "put robe on hook".

  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy gained a reputation for its difficult
  puzzles. The most notorious involved getting a Babel Fish out of a dispenser
  in the hold of the Vogon ship. This tricky puzzle appears early in the game
  and requires the player to use a variety of obscure items in a very specific
  fashion as to create a Rube Goldberg-like chain of events, and had to be
  "solved" within a limited number of turns. Failure to "solve" the Babel Fish
  puzzle did not kill the player, but rendered the remainder of the game
  unwinnable. That particular puzzle became so notorious for its difficulty that
  Infocom wound up selling T-shirts bearing the legend, "I got the Babel Fish!".
  Due to numerous other similar puzzles in the game, The Hitchhiker's Guide to
  the Galaxy ranks #1 on gamespot.com's list of games that can become
  unwinnable link.

  Subsequent rereleases included a Solid Gold version, containing a built-in
  hint book, as well as 20th and 30th anniversary editions released by the BBC
  with augmented graphics (the interface remains text input) link. In
  September 2018* an realtime speedrun was submitted to speedrun.com link and
  later that year a tool-assisted speedrun was submitted to TASVideos.org link.

  > read about TAS
  The tool-assisted speedrun was created by c-square using JPC-rr 11.2 augmented
  with TASScript link, on the Solid Gold version of the game (v.31). One goal
  of developing the JPC-rr TASScript improvement was to create a system that
  would make it much simpler to develop a text adventure TAS. To that end,
  c-square teamed up with DrD2k9 to tackle Zork I link. Unfortunately, it became
  quickly clear that significant luck manipulation would be required for that
  TAS. In the meantime, c-square decided to run the simpler "Hitchhiker's Guide
  to the Galaxy" game as a proof-of-concept and a learning exercise.

  More information can be found under the following headings:
  	- Objectives
  	- Luck Manipulation
  	- Strategies
  	- Potential Improvements
  	- Encodes
  	- TASScript
  	- Files
  	- Color a Dinosaur

  > read about objectives
  The objectives of the run are:
  	- 100% completion (400 points)
  	- Beats current unassisted record by 9:46
  	- Luck Manipulation
  	- Finds and drinks a cup of tea

  > read about luck
  Although making the TAS was much easier with TASScript, there was still a lot
  of luck manipulation involved, including:
  	1) Getting the shortest password for getting the plotter
  	2) Always making sure the gift from the Aunt reappeared in the
  	   inventory when pulling the switch to avoid an additional text entry
  	3) Getting the desired destination to be the first destination that
  	   appears each time you go to the dark
  	4) Getting the shortest path in the maze (3 steps)
  	5) Getting the tool with the fewest letters (awl) as the tool to give
  	   to Marvin (you might say it was awl or nothing...)

  > read about strategies
  As with any text entry game, minimizing the number of letters typed is
  critical. Much of this run was finding smaller words for saying things (e.g.
  "don" and "doff" instead of "put on" and "take off", or using Mr. Prosser's
  first name) and when nouns could be omitted. This made it critical that the
  awl was the tool to be chosen at the end of the game, and the player had to
  visit the War Chamber last so that the awl was in the inventory. Each text
  entry was optimized to the millisecond.

  > read about improvements
  The TAS was made with shortest text input in mind. However, there are
  instances where a slightly longer text input results in one fewer line in the
  descriptive output, which may result in a savings. There were just too many of
  these situations to test out.

  > read about encodes
  Here is the encode of the run.

(Link to video)

  > slow it down
  You don't want me to do that. It would spoil the entire game!

  > slow it down
  No! It will make the game no fun if you just see all the answers.

  > slow it down
  Fine, fine. Don't say I didn't warn you.

(Link to video)
  A few things to know about the slowed encode:
  	1) The password to the plotter box is not manipulated to be the
  	   shortest like it is in the fast run
  	2) Luck manipulation in the rest of the run is not optimized (as it is
  	   in the fast run)
  	3) The fast run uses "Superbrief" descriptions which require an extra
  	   "look" command in the engine room. In the slow encode, the look
  	   becomes extraneous.

  > read about TASScript
  The TASScript can be downloaded here link, where you can see all inputs.

  > read about files
  HDD, 16 tracks, 63 sectors, 16 sides.


  > vote
  Are you sure you don't want to see the "Color a Dinosaur" entry first?

  > read about color a dinosaur
  A dinosaur was not colored in this TAS

  > vote
  Go here to vote: link

  > vote
  No, seriously, you're going to have to click on the link above to vote

  > click link
  Listen, this is just stylized submission text. It's not actually text parser
  input. You'll have to click the link yourself.

  > click link myself
  Argh.. I give up.

  > don't give up

  > don't give up

  > look

  > inventory

  > help

  > quit

feos: No idea what this game is, but hopefully I'll figure it out. Or not. Judging...........

feos: Removing the branch label as explained here.

feos: Okay so I've read all the text in this movie, compared it to the RTA record, looked up what the points are gained for, and I think this is a good TAS, especially with all the shortcuts text input allows. The amount (and sometimes order) of proper actions doesn't allow for too much variety, so the speedrun boils down mostly to entering the commands, as explained in details in the thread.

Now, while a few people who are familiar with the game enjoyed it, the movie is completely unwatchable as it is. Even if you slow things down you still have to either magically know what's going on, or just read all the elaborate auteur eloquence, savoring the exquisite arthouse masterpiece that is being poured onto your bemused mind. Isn't that beautiful? Maybe it was, back when this game was released, when text quest genre was everything you needed to be entertained by a computer game. But overwhelming majority of games we TAS involves gameplay that can be actually seen, and if you don't have to read at all to understand the brilliance of the work in question, the better. I could have said millions of words describing why this game is so good or bad, and why the tier it gets fits it perfectly, but let's leave the rhetoric to true connoisseurs and simply accept this movie to Vault.

fsvgm777: Processing.

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