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Submission #6585: Lobsterzelda's GC NFL Street 2 "NFL Challenge" in 25:52.9

Console: Nintendo GameCube
Game name: NFL Street 2
Game version: USA
ROM filename: NFL Street 2 (USA).iso
Branch: NFL Challenge
Emulator: Dolphin 5.0
Movie length: 25:52.9
FrameCount: 558540
Re-record count: 6828
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: Lobsterzelda
Submitter: Lobsterzelda
Submitted at: 2020-01-03 03:14:22
Text last edited at: 2020-03-05 16:08:02
Text last edited by: Dacicus
Download: Download (20197 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Hello everybody. After a 3 month long hiatus from posting TASes to TASVideos while working on TASing all of the challenges in NFL Street 1, I am finally ready to submit another TAS to TASVideos: NFL Street 2's NFL Challenge mode.

Mechanics:

Similar to NFL Street 1, NFL Street 2 allows your player to style around the field, to juke, hurdle and stiff arm opponents, and of course to perform basic football moves such as running, passing the ball, diving, etc. However, NFL Street 2 has some key differences in gameplay mechanics from NFL Street 1. You can perform "wall moves" by holding L and attempting to make a pass, a catch, a juke, or a dive near a wall. If done correctly, your player will jump off the wall and then perform the corresponding play. Additionally, there are "hotspots" in NFL Street 2, which are posters along the walls of the stadiums. Doing a wall move off of one of these posters will award you 20,000 style points, which is useful for challenges that require getting a lot of style points quickly.

NFL Challenge Mode:

In both NFL Street 1 and NFL Street 2, the main mode of gameplay is a mode called NFL Challenge mode. In NFL Street 1, NFL Challenge mode consists of a series of optional challenges to unlock more skills for your players and a total of 41 required games: 1 against each of the 32 NFL teams, 1 against an All-Star team with the best players in each division (there are 8 of these total) and a final game against the NFL Legends, which are a team of all-time great NFL Players. Each game features the ruleset of "first team to reach 36 points wins." Once all 41 games have been beaten, you have beaten NFL Challenge.

In NFL Street 2, NFL Challenge mode is very different. You are given 150 days to prepare your team for a tournament against all the other NFL teams, with the winner taking on the NFL Legends. In order to make days pass, you need to complete challenges (which each also increase the skill level of your players). Once you get down to 5 days left or less, then the tournament will open up, and you will have the option of playing in it. Thus, for a TAS, the following is the fastest strategy to beat NFL Street 2: Choose the combination of challenges that allows you to get to 5 days or less left as fast as possible, beat the 5 NFL teams needed to win the tournament (which similar to NFL Street 1 has a "first team to 36 points wins" format), and then, lastly, beat the NFL Legends team.

There are not very many different possibilities for the number of days that a challenge can take up. A challenge can take anywhere between 1 and 5 days or it can take 17 days. The simplest/easiest challenges take 1 to 2 days. The harder challenges take 3 days. All of the challenges that take 4 days require beating another challenge that takes 2 days to unlock them, and there is only one 5 day challenge in the entire game. Almost all of the challenges can only be done one time. The one exception to this is the NFL Player Challenge, which takes 17 days per challenge. The goal of this challenge is to complete 3 wall passes and 3 wall touchdown dives against an NFL team of your choice before either team scores 24 points (or on the same play in which your score goes above 24). Winning this challenge lets you take a player from this NFL team to put on your team.

Taken altogether, the fastest way to get down to 5 days left (from the original 150 days) is to first do the NFL Player Challenge 8 times to get down to only 14 days left. From there, you can't do the NFL Player challenge again (since there are less than 17 days left), so you have to do at least 3 more challenges from there to get to 5 days left. With all of this background information out of the way, I will now summarize what route I actually took in this TAS.

The TAS:

The first challenge I did was the challenge Highlight Reel in the Eagle Heights District (in the Backlot section of the district). This challenge requires scoring 35,000 style points or more in 1 play, and consumes 2 days. I did this by getting a wall catch off of a hotspot and getting a first down, which was enough to get a little more than 35,000 style points.

After this, the challenge Highlight Reel 2 is unlocked, which I do next. In this challenge, you need to score 50,000 style points or more in 1 play, and the challenge consumes 4 days. I did this by getting a wall catch off of a hotspot, spinning to avoid getting tackled (which gave me +7,000 style points) and then running for a first down.

After this, I went on to do the 8 NFL Player Challenges in the backlot of the Eagle Heights District. I did the first 4 against the Bengals, and the last 4 against the Bears, simply because they appear first in the list of teams and thus require the least scrolling. Each of these games had the same format: On my first play, I did a wall pass, and then dove for a wall touchdown at the end of the play. Then I intentionally failed the 2 point conversion to save time. Then I intercepted the computers' pass on the next play, then I did another wall pass and wall touchdown dive play. Then I intentionally failed another 2 point conversion. Then I got another interception off of the computer. Then I got one last wall pass and wall touchdown dive to win the challenge. By doing all of this, I was able to beat each of these 8 challenges in the minimum number of plays (which is 7).

After this, I still had 8 days left, so I then did the Outstyle 3 challenge in the Sportsplex area in the Eagle Heights District. In this challenge, you need to be ahead in style points over your opponent after 1 defensive stand, so I simply intercepted the ball once and ended the challenge.

After that, the NFL Tournament opened up in Gridiron Park in the Downtown District, so I went there. Each game there was a game to 36. I played against the following teams in this order: the Giants, the Patriots, the Saints, the Jets, the Raiders, and the NFL Legends.

My strategy for each of these games to 36 was as follows: get a passing touchdown and passing 2 point conversion to start off each game, manipulate the CPU to call a quick option play on the next play, and then steal the pitch and recover it in the endzone for a touchdown. This stolen pitch play was then followed by another passing 2 point conversion, and this cycle of stealing a pitch and getting a 2 point conversion was repeated until I got up to 30 points, at which point I intentionally failed the 1 point conversion to save time, and then stole pitch for a touchdown on the next play to win the game.

After finishing the whole tournament, I went back to the main menu and played the credits, at which point my TAS ended.

Goal:

The goal of this movie was to beat the NFL Challenge mode in the fastest amount of time possible at any cost. Currently, this beats the RTA world record of this category by about 35 minutes (this run is 25 minutes, and the world record for a human is a little over an hour).

Movie Creation Process:

In order to manipulate the computer to call the play I wanted on the next drive, I would have to do random actions at the end of the previous play until one combination gave me the desired play. For example, as one player was catching a 2 point conversion or being tackled, with the other player I would jump up in the air, dive, or run towards an opponent player to advance the games' RNG. This was the main reason why I used 2 players for this TAS (the other reason being that it makes each pass play a little bit faster since you can give your receiver a running start with the second controller, as opposed to waiting until catching the ball to run as occurs when you use only 1 player). For some challenges where I just wanted a quick intercept-able pass, this didn't require too much manipulation. However, for the NFL Tournament games where I wanted a quick backwards lateral on each play (which only has a 1% chance of occurring on a given play), this took a lot of effort. The most time I spent on a single 2 point conversion in this TAS was 2 hours. All of that time was spent trying to change the end of the play to make the computer throw a quick pitch on the next play (as the computer refused to call a quick pitch on that play for a long time due to random chance).

Each game in this TAS takes the minimum possible number of plays to complete, and the minimum total number of challenges/games are played in this TAS. Thus, I believe that the challenges I chose for my route represent the fastest route for TASing this game (i.e. there isn't a faster combination of other challenges that could have been done).

Improvements:

On any given play, there is a chance that the computer will delay 5 seconds between selecting a play and hiking the ball, 6 seconds, or 7 seconds. This seems to be chosen by random chance, and could be manipulated in a manner similar to how I manipulated the CPU to always call a quick option play. I went back through my movie and counted a total of 49 seconds that could be improved from this movie just by manipulating the computer to hike the ball after 5 seconds for every play.

The main reason why I didn't bother to optimize this is that there's only a 1-3% chance of a quick option play being called, and if I were trying to make the computer also delay only 5 seconds, then each quick option play with a 5 second delay would have a 0.3-1% chance of being selected of all possible plays. If I had some idea of how the RNG worked in this game or knew what memory address stores what the next play the computer has called is, then I might have tried to save this time. However, given that I don't have this information, I would have needed to brute force random inputs to try to get this to happen, which would triple the length of each game to TAS (if each play took somewhere between 20 minutes to an hour and a half, then this would increase the length of time to TAS a play to being between an hour and four and a half hours roughly). Some might see this as laziness on my part, but i've already spent the last 5 months TASing NFL Street and NFL Street 2 pretty much exclusively, and redoing this TAS with all of the timesaves would take about 2 months (I won't have as much time to TAS in the upcoming weeks as I do now). In any event, I adopt the convention in the movie guidelines of ignoring timesaves that have a 1/300 chance of occurring. Besides, there is one more reason listed in the next section which explains why I didn't want to devote 2 months to this timesave for something which a casual viewer of the TAS wouldn't be likely to notice...

Reasons for Rejecting this Movie:

This may seem like kind of an odd section to have in the submission text for a TAS, but here we are! The movie publication guidelines currently have a rule that no more than 2 sports games from the same series on the same console can be published to the Vault. Since NFL Street 1 for the GameCube is already published for the Vault, if this movie were accepted for the Vault, then either this movie would have to obsolete my NFL Street 1 movie or this movie would have to be rejected. Quite frankly, I'm not sure if this game is really entertaining enough to deserve being placed into Moons tier, which means that the movie is likely Vault-bound. For that reason, this movie is likely to be rejected, and will serve mainly as a test of this rule.

With that disclaimer out of the way...

In any event, I hope you enjoy watching my run!

Link to an encode:


(Link to video)

Iso Checksum: d8603281a9a84a525ac7ae3dddbc30ea4f6bb190


feos: As I explained in the thread, this game is rather different from the first one, in both time and entertainment/impressiveness, and they can't easily be directly compared. They feature different aspects, as people agreed too.

The movie rule in question didn't cover the situation when the 2 games are different enough to work as different branches or game versions. So in agreement with admins this was cleaned up in the rules and matches our general policy on movie differences.

So this run can be properly accepted alongside the first game's movie. Yet it's still not entertaining enough to get into Moons, so Vault it is.

Dacicus: Trying my first GC publication...


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