TASVideos

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

Publisher Guidelines

This page discusses things one should know when publishing and subsequently filling out the publication page for TASVideos. It is designed to guide a publisher though the publication process and minimize errors.

For information on the requirements for the position, consult Roles.

Table of contents [expand all] [collapse all]

This section walks a publisher through the publication form as well as additional steps that need to be taken to publish a movie.

Game header information

Game version

Use USA, JPN, or Europe for their respective regions. Use JPN/USA for multi-region releases. For worldwide releases ("JUE" or "W"), use "Any". ROM version and revision ("v1.1", "PRG0") identifiers should be added if necessary.

Game name

  • Always do research on the official game name spelling. Sources to check, in the order of precedence:
    • Game manual
    • Game cover art
    • Title screen of the game
    • Unofficial web sites: MobyGames, GameFAQs, Wikipedia, Wikia
    • Official web sites are usually hard to find for games we're mostly TASing, but it'd help if you examine those too
  • Subjects to check: subtitles, colons, apostrophes, capitalization
  • Limit character set to printable ASCII characters. If the official game name contains different characters, replace them with printable ASCII characters that are close enough, like Pin-Bot for PinBot. Use the existing resources to check if there is a traditional replacement already.
  • If the game had a release under an English title, use it even if the movie was made on a non-English release
    • For games that were officially only released under non-English titles, romanize their names using just printable ASCII. Exceptions can be made for games like NES Adventure Island 4, which was only released in Japan, but belongs to a widely known NES series of games with English names.
  • Capitalize game names according to the rules of English language, even if official game names contradict them, unless the way they are named traditionally is against the rules.
  • Use full game names, unless there is a common tradition to shorten them. But never shrink them to abbreviations, even if it is as common as SMB for Super Mario Bros.

Branch name

General notes

  • Do not add quotes, as those will be generated automatically.
  • Labels must be lower-case, except for names or something otherwise internally capitalized.
  • When picking a branch name, ensure that it accurately depicts the goals used and achievements obtained in the run, and properly differentiates it from other runs for said game.
  • Try to ensure consistency with how the branch name is used across the site with other published runs of other games.
  • Descriptions for branch names which are already well known and in popular use in gaming communities should only be used if they accurately depict the focus and achievements of the run, fit in with the same branch name as used elsewhere on the site, and properly differentiate a particular run from other runs that exist or may appear for a said game.
  • Expand acronyms that are not universally recognized. For example, BLJ is not as obvious to our broad audience as HTML and SRAM are.
  • A branch name can consist of more than one focus if concise and most accurately reflects the goals, for example, "pacifist, warps". When adding a second goal, make sure it's not a subset of the main one nor implied by it. Still avoid having more than two goals in the label. All the extra conditions can instead be put into movie description.
  • If a branch name is non-obvious, please discuss the name over with others in the run's thread, and call attention to it for staff members to weigh in.
  • Do not use a branch label which isn't true. For example, don't label a run "pacifist" if performs avoidable kills.
    • If a meaning is debatable, for example, whether killing a certain enemy is avoidable or not, or whether there is a large trade-off involved to pedantically conform to the fullest to a label, treat the branch name as non-obvious.

Structure

The point of branches is to highlight specific goals that runs may conform to. Two kinds of goals exist:
  • Internal condition - something the game directly and unambiguously offers as an optional component of play which significantly affects what is seen from the game (warp usage, player amount, character choice).
  • External condition - something the players limit themselves to (exact completion percent, pacifist, certain glitch set).
We don't have a concept of "default goal", therefore we don't use labels like "any%" as a branch label. Instead we identify what is unique in every branch or set of branches, something that the other branches of the same game don't represent.
  • When a run aims for showcasing internal goals of the game, each goal needs to be put in the label.
  • When a run aims for showcasing external goals, each goal needs to go to the label. But only if each of them is uncommon and rare, has unique nature, and is explicitly chosen by the author.
  • When a run uses a combination of internal and external goals, we need to find out which of them it prioritizes, and which of them it only happens to have as a result of the primary goal.
    • If it aims for fastest speed for the primary goal, and doesn't particularly care which other goals happen to be encountered, such extra goals don't need to be mentioned in the label.
    • If it explicitly and independently prioritizes more than one, and each of them is chosen for the sake of unique entertaining content, each needs to go into the label.
    • If it explicitly chooses several goals for entertainment, and there are counterpart runs different by one of its internal conditions (including speed-based and obsoleted), such condition needs to be mentioned in each counterpart run.
Examples:
  • Battletoads suggests internal conditions of player count and warp usage, so we label each option.
    • Battletoads "warpless, 2 players"
    • Battletoads "warpless, 1 player"
    • Battletoads "warps, 2 players"
  • In Castlevania, the author decided to use two external goals that are independent of each other, so we label each uncommon goal, and avoid labeling the common branch.
    • Castlevania
    • Castlevania "pacifist, minimalist"
  • In Super Mario Bros., the author decided to avoid pressing B, which prevents running and shooting. And to showcase unique entertaining content, the author plays through all the levels and forgoes warps. We label both internal and external goals.
    • Super Mario Bros. "warpless, walkathon"
  • In Super Mario Bros. 3, the author aims for fastest "game end glitch" by any legitimate cost. Warps speed up the progress, so they are used. But they are not mandatory for the primary: if a way to reach the game end faster is found without warps, they won't be used. So we only label the primary goal.
    • Super Mario Bros. 3 "game end glitch"

There are cases where some branch is unique in not setting any unique conditions. There is nothing special to put in its label, since it explicitly avoids external goals, and the game doesn't have any internal conditions. We refer to such runs as the trunk and leave their labels blank. Remember that this is not related to "any%" or "default goal", because these things are complicated, relative, and not always clear. Also note how "trunk" and "branches" are metaphors for a concept in the real world: they describe a tree. We try to structure runs of the same game in a similar manner.

When there is only one branch, it might still need a label by the above guidelines.

Percentage and counts in labels

If the game has a built-in definition which best describes a run, then use it where it makes sense to do so. For example, the Metroid series displays an item collection percentage upon game completion, use "0%" or "100%" to describe a branch as depicted in-game.
  • If a game uses numbers in a loose sense, for example, full completion of the game is defined in-game as 105%, use "105%", even though it really means 100%.
If the game does not have a built-in definition, or the built-in definitions aren't necessarily used, for example a Metroid run which aims to visit the entire map, pick a concise description which best describes the goal, for example "100% map".
  • For achievements which are not directly counted and displayed in-game, use labels such as "0%" or "100%" only if there was nothing less or more that could have been done respectively. Otherwise use labels such as "low%" or "high%". In cases where percentage isn't clear cut, but there was an aim for maximum unique coverage, use terminology like "max%".
When counting some units instead of percents, apply similar logic.
  • Refer to collecting all items as "all X". When all are not collected, but the goal is still getting as many as possible, use "maximum X". If the goal is to collect none, use "no X". Finally, use "minimum X" for aiming to collect as few as possible, but not getting 0.
  • When all items are collected, and their resulting count is present in the game, we include it in the branch label like this: Super Mario world "all 96 exits".

Major skip glitch labels

If the glitch used belongs to a common glitch type (SRAM glitch, game end glitch, warp glitch, demo glitch), put both the type and the word "glitch" in the label.
  • Chrono Trigger "SRAM glitch"
  • Mega Man "game end glitch"
If the glitch used or avoided doesn't belong to any common type, but has a common special name, such as Backwards Long Jump in Super Mario 64, put just its name in the branch label.
  • Super Mario 64 "1 Key"
  • GBA Sonic Advance "no Ultraspindash"
If it has no common name and doesn't belong to a common glitch type, invent a new descriptive and accurate type for it. Consult with community members and staff as mentioned above.
  • Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back "item glitch"
  • Final Fantasy "stairs glitch"

ROM name

  • Ensure the ROM name is correct.
  • Go by the standard GoodTools filenames. Use Super Mario Bros. (U).nes, not SMB.nes
  • Add PRG info when multiple versions exist, such as Super Mario Bros. 3 (U) (PRG0).nes
  • Either W or JUE is acceptable for region independent games, such as Golden Axe II (W).bin
  • Add overdump or baddump information to the name, if applicable, with [o1] or [b1], but only if the movie does not sync on the good ROM dump. Note: Movies should not be published using these ROMs.

Use ListAllMovies as a reference of previous spelling & naming conventions.

Tier

  • Select the tier indicated by the acceptance message from judge.
  • (inherit) inherits the tier of run obsoleted (in this case, the run must obsolete something).

Flags

Various extra flags:
  • Notable improvement: The movie is a major improvement over previous, or has major route changes.
  • Console verified: The movie has been Console verified (please link in movie text).
  • First platform: The movie is first for its platform.
  • Known record: Don't use (as of now).
  • Atlas Map Encode: Movie has atlas map encode (please link in movie text).
  • Has commentary: Movie has commentary (subtitles, audio track, etc..). Please specify in movie text.

Game select

Select the game this publication is for. Use GamenamesEditor to create the entry if needed.

Player information

General rules on the entries

  • Before the last name in the entry, always use an ampersand (&), otherwise, use a comma.
  • Do not use the Oxford comma.
  • In the Full name field, put every author's nickname in parenthesis right after their real name.
  • If the real name isn't available (always search for it in the database), just go with the nickname alone, no parenthesis.
  • If the nickname or the real name was changing over time, try to contact the person in question directly, asking about their preference. If they're not available, use the most recent name.
  • If the real name equals the nickname, don't put anything in parenthesis.
  • Do not change author order without consulting the author(s).

Example:

John Smith (johnS), Frank Black, BigBrain5 & HRT (taser888)

Submitted name(s), nick(s)

  • This is filled in by the submitter and automatically placed here.
  • It should probably be left alone for first time authors. Otherwise, make sure it is the same information as a previous publication of the author.
  • For author groups, use commas and ampersands (&) to separate names.

Select player

  • If the player exists on the player page, he or she will be in the drop-down menu. If not, fill in his or her name in the full name menu, and nick in the short name menu.
  • Again, for author groups, use commas and ampersands (&) to separate names.

Sometimes, the player already exists in the database, but the publication form does not recognize the similarity and offers to create a new player entry. Be sure to select manually the existing player from the "select player" select box in those cases. (Applies to Xipo among some others.)

Remember, if this is an author's (or author combination) first publication they will need to be tied to their forum account (see below).

Files

Input file

  • Name of input file: This is what the input file will be named in the submission ZIP file.
  • Ampersands (&), slashes (/), periods (.), and spaces cannot be part of the name.
  • The author's name should be first. Use a standard abbreviation of a long name if it exists, such as cad for CtrlAltDestroy.
  • Add v2, v3, or another appropriate version indicator if it is another submission by the same author.
  • For multiple authors, use a comma (,) with no spaces to separate their names: randil,cad-mickeymousecapade.fcm.
  • Place a dash between author's name and the game name.
  • The game name should be concise and consistent with the name in the MKV/MP4 file.
  • Use precedent when possible. For instance, it should be chipdale instead of chipndale
  • Use common abbreviations, such as smb for Super Mario Bros.
  • Add j if it is the Japanese version of the game or e if it is the European version (assuming other versions exist but were not used for a particular reason).

Attaching a screenshot

  • Be sure to add .png (or .jpg) to the filename when filling out the filename field, such as 1462M.png.
    • Note: The site will no longer error if you forget the extension. Instead, it will add it for you.
    • Note: It is now possible to add dashes (-) to a screenshot filename.
  • Pick a screenshot that represents the movie or the game well.
  • It should be pleasant to look at. Avoid ugly and monotonous colors. Choose beautiful and clearly visible poses of the characters.
  • Beauty in the image should be equally distributed ­― not localized in a corner or an edge.
  • It should give an idea of the genre of the game and the movie to an audience who doesn't know the game.
  • It should be interesting, preferably with action on the screen.
  • If the movie is atypical to the game (a highly glitched movie for example), the screenshot should display something atypical happening, but without conflicting with the earlier guidelines.
  • If the screenshot is a PNG file, it should be optimized.
  • Use PNG over JPEG, unless a PNG file would be considerably larger than a JPEG of similar visual quality. The JPEG image should not have any obvious compression artifacts.

MKV/MP4 files

This site was born from of the need to provide good-quality multimedia files of TAS movies. We take quality very seriously, and strive to produce files that are both pleasant to watch and are as small as possible. This is one of the guidelines we follow in the publications; the Encoder Guidelines tells more and is mandatory reading for anyone who wants to make MKV/MP4 files to be published on this site.

  • The file name of the video file must follow proper convention.
  • Do not use uppercase characters or characters not allowed in video filenames.
  • The movie name must be first. Keep it concise. See input filename for details.
  • If it is some form of speedrun (aiming for fastest time within the confines of a set of parameters) then add -tas after the filename. If it is a playaround or does not aim for time then use -playaround.
  • Add v2, v3, or another appropriate version indicator if the publication obsoletes a previous movie by the same author, such as doubledragon3-tasv2-xipo.avi
  • Add additional special info after this, if necessary. For example, if a single author controls 2 characters then it is 2p-alone such as doubledragon2-tas-2p-alone-adelikat.avi. Or a special route could be added, such as castlevania3j-tas-sypha-samhaingrim.avi.
  • Add the author name last. Remember to remove spaces and uppercase letters.
  • Abbreviate especially long nicks if there is an easy way to do so.
  • If there are multiple authors, use a comma (,) with no spaces to separate their names. mickeymousecapade-tas-randil,cad.avi

Adding a BitTorrent file

All video files must be available through the site's BitTorrent tracker.

  • Our tracker is: http://tracker.tasvideos.org:6969/announce
  • Make sure you uncheck the private marker.
  • The torrent filename should be identical to the encoded movie file, with .torrent appended. Example: amagon-tas-tailz.avi becomes amagon-tas-tailz.avi.torrent
  • Where you have uploaded a movie to a mirror site, add the mirror as an HTTP seed to the torrent. (For clients that support both the GetRight method (url-list) and the older webseed method, use the former.)
  • Note: Our tracker will reject your torrent requests until you publish the torrent file.

Adding mirror and streaming URLs

For publication purposes, a mirror of the downloadable encode and a streaming media must both be present - this makes it easy for our viewers to obtain and/or view the video.

  • Use of archive.org is strongly recommended for published movies and/or movies about to be published; use of archive.org outside of this is strongly discouraged.
    • If you use archive.org, we strongly recommend that you manually create the _512kb file for your entry, as the ones that archive.org automatically derives tend to have an inferior quality.
      • You can upload the _512kb file at the same time when uploading the main video file (archive.org will not overwrite it; this is handy with FTP uploads).
      • If you use FTP upload, remember to acknowledge it (there is link for doing that on the FTP upload page) after completing the actual data transfer.
      • Place the archive.org uploads in speed_runs category. If you can't do that yourself, contact Brandon.
  • Do not exceed one torrent/mirror link at the native resolution of the emulator and one streaming media link per streaming site with as high a visual quality as possible on any individual encode. Exceptions may be allowed if the game in questions admits camera hacks / alternative HUDs / other utilities which would enhance viewing for the average viewer, in which case one additional link in each of the two categories will be permitted.

Note: When creating an archive.org collection, avoid using quotes in the entry name.

Description and movie categories

Select the movie that will be obsoleted

  • In most cases, this will be obvious. Check with a judge's decision if need be.
  • If it does not obsolete a movie, make sure it says "None".
  • Note: Double/triple obsoletions are rare, but possible. Select one movie to obsolete and contact adelikat (or another admin/adminassitant/senior) to add additional ones.
  • Cross platform obsoletions are also possible but must be done by an admin as well. Select none and then contact one to add the obsoletion post publication.
  • Selecting a movie to obsolete will automatically fill in the Categories and Movie description.

Categories

  • Follow the Movie Class Guidelines
  • Select categories which represent the movie and help to recognize it.
  • Do not select categories that are obvious for the game in question. For example, if the best ending in the game comes by default, do not select "best ending", or if taking damage would kill the character immediately, do not select "takes no damage".
  • Select one or more genres for the movie. Use the genres of similar games as a reference.

Movie description

  • See discussion
  • If the publication obsoletes a previous movie, make sure to link to it (such as [109M|previous] movie), mention the author and tell approximately how much the improvement is.
  • Preferably, mention some notable improvements or link to the author's submission text if it is detailed.
  • Avoid one-liners and overly long descriptions. Screenshot height often makes a good reference.
  • Try to adhere to NPOV as much as possible (i.e., avoid praising or criticizing the game, the movie or the player in question excessively).
  • Run a spell-checker on the text and re-read it a few times to ensure no obvious mistakes.

Additional steps

Assign new player roles/ranks

  • If the publication was of a new author (or a new combination of authors) you need to assign their forum accounts to the new player entry on the Players-List page. Do this by clicking the "Edit" tab on the right hand side of the group's entry. Their names should automatically be on the top of the list. Click each other their names and the "add" button. Then click "save". Don't create a new entry if the author already exists, this creates duplicates and causes data inconsistencies.

Ensure availability of new videos

  • Add any additional streaming media URLs and link them on the publication page, such as if the movie has been uploaded to both YouTube and Dailymotion.


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PublisherGuidelines last edited by feos on 2018-05-06 16:29:31
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