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

Submission #7157: Winslinator's INTV Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain "all tools" in 00:32.09

Console: Intellivision
Game name: Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Cloudy Mountain
Game version: any
ROM filename: Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (1982) (Mattel).int
Branch: all tools
Emulator: BizHawk 2.6.2
Movie length: 00:32.09
FrameCount: 1923
Re-record count: 3294
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: Winslinator
Submitter: Winslinator
Submitted at: 2021-06-30 16:51:47
Text last edited at: 2021-07-21 18:53:13
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (3624 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
This TAS completes Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Cloudy Mountain was later added to the title to distinguish from the sequels) with all tools collected. For comparison, the RTA world record is 1:58.


(Link to video)

Objectives

Goal "Tools" as defined by the game's instructions manual, are any items which can be used indefinitely once collected and include the boat, axe, and key. Once acquired, a flag is set for each which tells the game that the player can pass through rivers, forests, or gates respectively. These tools are only found in blue, red, and purple mountains respectively. Collecting any of these tools multiple times will have no effect. Quivers of arrows, while it can be argued that they are items, are NOT considered tools. Quivers are different in that:

The above reasons are hence why I went for the "All Tools" goal instead of "All Items".

Difficulty The game was played on the hardest difficulty, which the manual calls "Hero" difficulty. It features the fastest enemies.

Using Two Controllers This game supports playing with two controllers simultaneously even though it's single player. We can use this fact to squeeze twice as many inputs into certain places, which was used extensively in the run. Two spaces can now be moved at once on the overworld map, and picking up items and shooting or counting arrows can both be done while running.

Considerations looking forward The TAS will require going through three mountains to collect the three tools, and finally Cloudy Mountain to get both crown halves and beat the game. The restrictions on getting the fastest time in the first three mountains are pretty severe: the tool must be in a chamber adjacent to the starting one with the exit ladder adjacent to that one (their placements are RNG-determined). To know immediately whether this is the case...

Additionally, each room we visit can be one of eight possible shapes, as shown by the image below. The preferred room type is any which has a straight connecting corridor in the direction we're travelling. All the connections highlighted in red are bad, as they are curved and therefore waste too much time to traverse. Luckily, the majority of connections is straight, so getting good corridor RNG is more likely than not.

Entertainment-wise, I will actually use every tool on the map screen in addition to revealing as many mountains as possible and showing off all sound effects when waiting for RNG to advance.

The Key Two of our three arrows were used to kill the dragon guarding the key, but why use the arrows here instead of somewhere else? Well, dragons and winged dragons are the only enemies on hard difficulty which cannot be outrun unless you're crafty, i.e. slowing down in spots to manipulate AI. Therefore, no need to use them on demons and snakes. However, enemies on screen like this one generate lag and we want to avoid any slow AI manips. So, it is best to use two arrows to kill this guy instead of three for the first winged dragon on Cloudy Mountain, which means less time for lag to accumulate. Besides, future RNG patterns become very disagreeable if we let this guy live.

After exiting, you can clearly see that the mountain we were just in was gray. The key is only found in purple mountains so how is this possible? By inputting a map movement on controllers 1 and 2 at the same time, we can enter a black mountain before the game is even able to process the mountain's true identity. Inside, a black mountain is identical to a purple mountain. This was done both for entertainment and the fact that this mountain had straight corridors unlike the others.

The Axe collection should seem pretty straightforward until right before taking the ladder where I press the "0" key to count my arrows. This changed the RNG to work more in our favor over the next two mountains.

The Boat collection is straightforward.

Cloudy Mountain All we need to do is find both pieces of "The Crown of Kings", each being guarded by a winged dragon. RNG manipulation is easier this time since the order we find the objects doesn't matter. These dragons are formidable however, and with just one arrow, the only way past them is to trick their AI. By running smack into the back wall of the first dragon's lair, he gets stuck on the wall long enough to where he's no longer a problem. Not only does our brave adventurer get past both winged dragons with plenty of health to spare, he intentionally counts his last arrow twice then misses it to reduce costly lag !

Unfortunately, there was no better pattern available cave geometry-wise that I could find so we had to cut our losses and take a single curved path. When making this TAS, I did not experiment with other start frames from the title screen so if someone is looking to fix this inefficiency, that would be a good place to start.

Suggested Publication Notes

"The gameplay of AD&D: Cloudy Mountain involves exploring a series of randomly generated mazes, searching for tools or arrows with which to progress on the overworld map, or to defeat monsters. The end goal is to reach Cloudy Mountain and recover the Crown of Kings from the fearsome winged dragons!

Winslinator uses two controllers and substantial luck manipulation to tear through the game's content while collecting the key, axe, and boat in the process.

If you're itching for more Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, we also have a run for this title's fastest completion."


feos: Thanks for detailed explanations! Reading them as well as the game manual allowed me to understand what's happening in an RPG. Watching this alongside the human record and the any% TAS makes me additionally appreciate the luck manipulation happening here. But as said by Zinfidel , this game is incomprehensible to the uninitiated, and the any% has terrible rating. Accepting to Vault as a full completion branch.

feos: Let's make use of this obscure judgment decision for one time. Needs more info.

feos: The confusion has been resolved, so now I can properly accept this run.

fsvgm777: Processing.


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