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


This is the personal page of mmbossman. Due to formatting rules, the first letter of my name at the top of the page is capitalized, however I prefer that all the letters of my name be lowercase (since that's the way I've had it since I started going by the screen name mmbossman about 10 years ago). Oh well. I don't always have the most time to TAS, but it's one of my favorite hobbies, and I enjoy being active with all aspects of the site. I also enjoy poker (both online and home games), alt/rock music, all things Apple, watching my two guinea pigs run around, and playing with my beagle, Baxter (no relation to this Baxter :D )

I joined TASvideos.org in November of 2006. I was made a judge of submissions on August 3rd, 2008, and a vice-administrator on July 2nd, 2009 (I later resigned from administrative tasks due to lack of time). I took some time away from the site from May-September of 2010, but plan to again become an active player, editor, and judge. Since joining I have had 14 runs published (4 obsolete)

Useful Information

The most productive course of action that a viewer can take after watching a movie on the workbench is to post a meaningful explanation as to why they were entertained by a run, or why they think a run should be accepted. If a run is borderline for me as a judge, I am more likely to give it a longer look if there is supportive discussion regarding it, as opposed to 6 or 7 ‘yes’ votes and 2 or 3 "Looks good" type comments.

When judging a run, I take several things into consideration:

Does it follow the Rules?

  • The rules of the site will be upheld, and any run that breaks them is likely to be rejected somewhat swiftly, with an explanation of which rules were broken.
  • There are exceptions to rules, but they are few and far between.
  • A run should also have well defined and easy to understand objectives. Some examples of poorly constructed, abstract goals:
    • "Allows glitch A and B, but doesn't allow glitch Y or Z"
    • "Completes most side quests"
    • "Takes the normal route intended by the programmers"

Some thoughts on hacked games: I enjoy hacks, because they are very similar to TASes. They require creativity, time, dedication, and knowledge to create. I also tend to be as critical of hacks as I am with TASes. A good hacked game should have a decent amount of variety in its levels and design, show a large amount of polish, be a complete work (i.e. not a work in progress), and be unique from other hacks that may already exist. Unfortunately it seems that there are very few hacks that fit all these criteria.

Is it entertaining?

Entertainment is a very subjective subject. However, there are some key themes that most of the entertaining runs on the site follow.

  • They are not overly repetitive. A game that has little variety in level design or gameplay can quickly become boring.
  • They have style! The author spent extra effort to ensure that the viewer has something to watch when there normally isn’t anything happening on the screen. Spelling out words, dancing to music, performing acrobatics, toying with death and taunting opponents are just a few examples. A run is your chance to be creative, so use it!
  • They would be difficult to produce in real time. This is one of the main foundations of a tool-assisted video, although it sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. It’s entertaining to us to see a game played like no human ever could. Whether this comes from frame precise movements, noticeable luck manipulation, or skillful handling of complex gameplay, the wow factor can sometimes make or break a submission.

Does it live up to the level of technical precision that the site is known for?

An accepted run should present a certain level of precision in:

  • Movement. The run should look clean, with no glaring errors. Running into walls, missing jumps, and missing shots should not show up in a publish-worthy submission.
  • Route planning. This is usually harder to spot if the viewer (or judge) is not familiar with the game, so it is caught less often. But a submission that doesn't include a route change that saves a significant amount of time will usually not be accepted in favor of a revised version.
  • Resource management. If a run will be damage taking, health management should be taken into consideration to maximize the benefits. If ammo takes a long time to collect, plan to pick up as little as possible. Don't overload on items if they won't be used and if they cost time to get.
  • Lag. Lag is unavoidable. Almost all games have it. It usually doesn't become a factor in most TASes until a second or third revision, but that doesn't mean that it should be ignored completely on a first attempt. Often times, lag can cause a game to feel slow to the viewer, which can lower entertainment. However, sometimes it may be more appropriate to do something entertaining at the expense of lag, as an entertainment/speed trade-off. Due to the nature of this aspect of TASing, it's best to deal with on a case by case basis.

If my run isn’t perfect, will it be accepted?

It depends. I will tend to err on the side of leniency for runs that do not have a published movie yet (or several failed attempts in gruefood). As long as it follows the 3 main rules above, it will likely to be accepted with the understanding that not everyone has the time or desire to make several different test runs, test all possible routes, and try to squeeze every last frame from a run. An attempt to obsolete a run have slightly higher standards to live up to. The published run provides a framework to base a new submission on, and thus the new run can spend more time testing routes and exploring other ideas. However, just because a new run is faster than an old run does not guarantee acceptance. If there is a significant drop in entertainment or a poor level of precision shown, an attempt to obsolete a published run may be rejected.

Low (Ex: Highly repetitive gameplay, long wait periods without action, little onscreen movement) Medium (Ex: Examples go here) High (Ex: Examples go here)
Low (Ex: Examples go here) Obviously not up to the standards of tasvideos.org. Submissions like this have decreased in frequency in past years Probably good game choice, but a redo is likely to be needed before the run will be seriously considered. Technical faults will likely lead to rejection, with constructive criticism on how to improve the movie to publishable quality
Technical Medium (Ex: Examples go here) Questionable submission. Even with additional work, entertainment level may not warrant publication "Typical" submission. Not outstanding, but certainly publishable. I estimate ~75% of submissions fall in this category. Small mistakes and missed entertainment opportunities are occasional Techincal flaws are outweighed by entertainment value. Will likely be published unless a glaring mistake is present
High (Ex: Examples go here) Submission will likely create controversy, and will inevitably lead to philosophical discussion regarding site direction. Submission’s fate is left up to support of responses Good level of entertainment is bolstered by excellent execution. Clearly of publishable quality. Easily publishable movie, and will likely be a favorite of many viewers.

^I really need to work on examples sometime...

This is a generalized rubric utilizing some of the logic that I use when judging a run. It is not a complete representation of the decision making I use, as it does not take into account the number of runs that the game already has published or the clarity of the goals presented. It also is written using my internal definitions for both entertainment and technical scores, and pays no attention to the various arguments that technical ratings are flawed and/or have no merit. This rubric also tends to correlate to how I rate movies (low 0.0-4.5, medium 4.6-7.4, high 7.5-10)

Mike89's (or m-eighty, as his published name states) initial run gave me something I could use for good comparison, and ended up saving time through optimization of most levels, with a couple minor route changes here and there. A much improved final boss fight doubled what I had saved through the rest of the movie.

Randil and I started individual runs of this game, without knowing the other was working on it. When Randil submitted his first version, I noticed several things that could be improved. We decided to collaborate, and thanks to better precision, new tactics, a new route, and improvements in just about every area of gameplay, we were able to obsolete the old movie by almost 4 minutes.

My first version was simply an attempt to get a movie from 2004 off the site, so I didn't pay as much attention to optimization as I should have. Flip came along and found a way to skip all the emeralds in the first level, not to mention a route change in the last level and better precision overall. I noticed several things in his submission that could be further improved, and thanks to some more optimization and a few other tweaks, I was able to break the 8 minute mark. This will probably be the last time I work on this game, unless another game breaking glitch is found.

I tried to spice up Nightcom's prior movie by adding a second player, producing lots of explosions, using creative cursor movement during downtimes, and writing hidden messages. It also manages to save nearly 6 minutes from the previous movie, which I had no idea was possible when I started the project.

This is my second serious attempt at TASing. I started it in November of 2006, and after 3 months of work, I grew tired of fighting with the strafe-running that required perfect angles without being able to see where I was going. After an 8 month break, I did a little work on level 2, but then let it gather dust some more before I finished off the last 5 levels in the 3 months leading up to submitting. Overall I think it looks very polished, and provides a good amount of entertainment as long as the viewer isn't put off by looking sideways the whole time. However, this run left me with absolutely no desire to ever try to TAS a FPS again.

I originally thought that this would make an interesting April Fools submission, but after working with it for a while, I thought it might have a shot at getting published. I was very surprised at the amount of people who found this entertaining, and I truly hope that someone with more programming skills than I have will tear apart the game's engine to make the ultimately fast Solitaire TAS. Until then, I hold the record for the most card game TASes to be published ;)

Part 1 of 3 of my Spidey triple submission. I decided to do this run for several reasons: To test out the new (at the time) FCEUX emulator and all it's fun features, to improve a somewhat old run that had obvious improvements, and because it's Spider-Man. There is probably another 5 to 10 seconds to be saved throughout this game, most of which would come from an improved Vulture fight, but the mechanics are goofy. Some day I'll take a week and update it again, since it's such a short game.

Part 2 of 3 of my Spidey triple submission. This game is a blast to watch, and it was almost as fun to make. Spider-Man is finally given a movement set that can actually be used to make superhero like movements, and the result is a very fast paced run, with a lot of acrobatics and some well done fight sequences. This is by far the most entertaining run I've created.

Part 3 of 3 of my Spidey triple submission. What a horrible game. I came across it by accident, when I was searching for another Genesis Spider-Man game, and its horrible controls and severely crippled plot line and gameplay immediately hooked me. I found a YouTube video to help me with route planning, and figured I'd aim for a 10 minute end time. I was pleasantly surprised with the resulting time to completion, but I'm pretty sure that there's probably another 30 seconds to be saved due to further optimization. However, this isn't high on my list because the controls are horrible enough to make the TASing process uncomfortable and unsatisfying.

I originally completed my first version of this game as my second contribution to the site, but Neofix came along with a much better movie. I added some content to the final boss, and we submitted it as co-authors. However, I was never quite happy with the way it turned out, especially after learning more about RAM watching and lag reduction. Using these techniques, I was able to shave another 11 seconds off of the previous movie. However, due to the fact that the previous movies did not end at the credits screen, the movie file is actually some seconds longer than the previous version to correct this oversight. This happens to be my fourth Spider-Man game in a row to be published.

I've been meaning to do this run ever since I saw a test run by Molotov, but just simply hadn't gotten around to it. I only figured out the physics of the knee slide and jumps after finishing the first half of the movie, so I ended up redoing quite a bit, but it's definitely an interesting run to watch, and is one of the best examples of how shitty Genesis music can sound.

In my quest to have a movie published for all available systems, I came across this little brother of the N64 game. It has decent speed, but the entertainment value suffers from some repetitious levels, particularly Organ Trail. Also, the lack of variable jump height leads to a slightly sloppy looking movie, but it's still a fun watch, at least for a gameboy game.

An interesting grapple hook game, with several glitches that allow for the skipping of significant parts of a couple levels. I did not expect to save too much time over the previous movie, mostly because an unfortunate 1/3 of the movie is taken up by loading screens. However, the discovery of a couple new short-cuts and much more precise playing led to quite a large improvement.

This glitched game caught my eye because of the surprisingly low rerecord count. Once I started playing around with it, I understood why: It's retardly simple, at least in terms of movement. Aqfaq did a great job with the previous version, getting good item manipulation and luck, which is optimal as far as I can tell. The vast majority of this small improvement comes from an improved boss fight.

Have a Published Movie for All Platforms (sometime)

  • Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Famicom Disc System
  • Gameboy
  • Super Gameboy
  • Gameboy Color
  • Super Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Nintendo 64
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Nintedo DS
  • Sega Master System
  • Game Gear
  • Sega Genesis
  • 32X
  • Sega CD
  • Sega Saturn
  • Playstation
  • Arcade
  • Turbo Grafx 16/PC Engine And variants (Lower priority)
  • Miscellaneous Handhelds (Lowest priority)

Resurrect my archive and TAS full collection, as it has become horribly outdated.

Future Runs

I have adopted the philosophy of not publicly announcing any of my future runs. This allows me to work at my own pace, drop projects at any time, interrupt current projects with new and exciting runs, etc. However, I'm more than willing to discuss these things with anyone who is interested.

2004 Movies and 2005!

Misfit movies These movies just don't quite seem to fit in, for one reason or another. Not to say they're bad movies or games, but all of them could stand to have a new set of eyes look at them and improve them.

  • Don't try to make a brand new run. Without a reference run, it is difficult to achieve the level of precision and entertainment expected when you are first starting out. Instead, look to movies published in 2004 or 2005 for ideas. By having a run to refer to, you can build your skills in a more quick and efficient manner.

  • Learn to use the emulator before you seriously start to work on a run. Learn how savestates work, and how to use them. Your first movie will likely still involve some aspect of "playing" the game, likely at a speed of 20% or less (hopefully less). However, as you gain more experience, TASing will feel less like "playing", and more like "creating". For the best results, frame advance is a must.

  • Don't try to make more than one run at once. Spreading your attention between several different runs at once can lower productivity, motivation, and precision, especially when first starting out. Concentrate on one thing, and do it well. After you've learned the ropes, you can expand out.

  • Ask for help, even if you don't think you need it. Many of the more experienced TASers are more than willing to watch a short WIP, or give advice for improvement. Also, don't hesitate to seek out knowledge of the game you are working on in as many different places as you can.

Canceled submissions (Rough Drafts for newbies or myself)

#2231: AndyD's Genesis Golden Axe 2 in 13:51.22 #1874: pekopon's GBA Lady Sia in 29:17.18 #1840: maTO's Genesis Rambo III in 08:51.88 #1582: Cardboard & Vidar's SNES The Firemen in 15:26.67 #1524: Cardboard's NES Robin Hood - Prince Of Thieves in 23:42.2 #900: MattyXB's GB The Castlevania Adventure in 18:07.18 #1075: Atma's SNES Assault Suits Valken in 15:31.03 #660: CtrlAltDestroy's NES Rocket Ranger in 03:37.53

Voting Guidelines

Resource pages

  • Spider-man 3
  • Turok
  • Vectorman 1/2
  • Wolverine
  • Arumana no Kiseki
  • Spider-man: Sinister Six
  • Wild Guns :D

Obsoleted texts

Vectorman was one of my favorite games as a kid, and I was amazed it didn't have a run when I joined. I submitted my first run, thought it was great, and then nitsuja put me in my place by beating my level 1 time by some ludicrous time (like 30 seconds for a 2 minute level). But due to this, I made a much better second version which ended up being published, and also got a taste of RAM watching, which has helped me out incredibly since. So thank you, nitsuja, wherever you are! I have some ideas for improvements for this, and I may pick it up again sometime in the next year when I tire of trying new games and want to play around with something familiar again.

This is the second version of this run, and my first submitted version. It was also my first run published. I've come a long way in my TASing abilities since I completed this, but due to the nature of the game, there isn't very much I can improve. There's a set number of frames between shots, and reload times, so any improvements would come from lag reduction and shaving frames here and there. I doubt any improvements would increase the entertainment value, so I don't think I'll be trying to better this any time soon.

Other Projects

The Flash for SMS

Workbench - Go Vote!

Nothing at the moment

Questions or comments?

PM me on the forums or on IRC. You will get a quicker response from me with a forum PM.

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Mmbossman last edited by Nach on 2012-08-14 04:41:02
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