MLB Power Pros 2008 is an RPG/dating simulator/sports game where the player strives to become a major league baseball player. This run completes the game while playing as little baseball as possible, using luck manipulation to avoid random events and only occasionally practicing while the coach is watching. The player makes the Major Leagues after only 21 at-bats, with a perfect 1.000 batting average, 3 home runs, and 16 runs batted in.
There are two ways to complete Success Mode: Fulfill the Scout's Evaluation before losing the last game of the season, or fulfill the Coach's Evaluation and then win the championship game. Before the championship game, I only have to play baseball when my character, A, comes up to bat. The championship requires playing a full baseball game, which takes at least 52 at-bats - optimal play would require at least 8 minutes to complete this game. So, it's faster for A to impress the scout but have his team fail to reach the championship. A needs to have 50 Coach Eval points to be a starting player during the second year. He spends most of this year under the threshold and does not play, which saves time. The Coach awards 1 point for playing a game, 1 point per hit, 1 point per RBI, and 1 point per home run. The Coach awards 3 points for practicing in front of him while using Shiny Fragrance, which happens six times during this run.
A needs 81 Scout Eval points to make it into the Major Leagues. The Scout awards 1 point for playing a game, 2 points per hit, 2 points per RBI, and 1 point per extra-base hit. However, Scout points have diminishing returns during any single game.
A starts the game as a First Baseman, which provides a small power boost, and with automatic upgrades to become a Speedster. (Manual upgrades would take too long) Because he avoids practice unless the coach is watching, A becomes a Major Leaguer despite having an F or E in every attribute.
This game contains key events, which can't be skipped, and random events which can be avoided with luck manipulation. The random number seed is fixed until it is called by an event such as progressing the calendar, going to baseball practice, eating food, or certain events with random outcomes. Going to a practice facility when the coach is present awards Coach Eval points. Practices reduce vitality, and eating food restores it. To avoid longer random events, the run will sometimes take an unnecessary action. Going to practice, the restaurant, or the shop each take approximately 200 frames. The second year introduces more random events, including time-consuming love interests, so it is imperative to avoid these.
Every at-bat requires a loading screen, so it's best to minimize the amount of at-bats. Luck-manipulation is used to always take the minimum of 3 at-bats (by ensuring that A's teammates make enough outs to end the game quickly). Luck can be manipulated by changing whether the swing is a normal swing or "big swing", and which fielders handle the ball. Singles are the fastest type of hit, so A always hits singles during the first year. Hitting a home run takes 600 frames more than a single. Luck manipulation is used, where possible, to put a runner on base so that A can get an RBI by hitting a single, increasing his Coach Eval and Scout Eval points.
A avoids practicing in front of the coach to stay below the threshold of Coach Eval points until the second-to-last game of the regular season. Then, to collect as many Scout Eval points as possible, he hits a single or a home run in every at-bat. Luck manipulation is used to get two runners on base and a pitch near the centre of the strike zone for each of A's home runs, getting 3 RBIs each time. He takes four at-bats in the penultimate game. A's team must lose the final game to avoid the time-consuming championship game. A takes two at-bats in the final, then is automatically removed from the batting order after collecting enough Scout Eval to reach the Majors.
By RTA timing, this run's time is 20:47. The non-TAS record is 37:11.
MLB Power Pros 2008 (USA) SHA1: 371AC132766761F976E4CF2172724272DF6CA06B
slamo: Optimization looks very well done in this run. We are careful about accepting sports games, and while this is ostensibly a sports game, there are a lot of RPG elements and luck manipulation that make this non-trivial to optimize. The large time difference between this run and the RTA record shows how non-trivial this run is to complete.
The only question I have about the routing is whether playing as a pitcher would be faster. The RTA record for a pitcher is a couple minutes faster than the fielder record, but the amount of completed runs in either category is very small. There are way too many factors for me to figure out if playing as a pitcher would be faster and it seems like the only way to find out would be to actually make the entire TAS. This run is fine for now, and if someone makes a TAS as a pitcher and it ends up being faster, then so be it.
"Success Mode" is an independent game mode with a definable goal and an ending, so it's a Vaultable category.
The run is done on a developer build; given the state of Dolphin releases, and the fact that this game won't even open for me on stable Dolphin 5.0, using this build is fine.
As far as entertainment goes, the reception was pretty mild. There's a lot of mashing through text boxes with little bits of gameplay scattered throughout, so I didn't find it that entertaining either. Accepting to Vault.
slamo: It's been brought to my attention that the nKit ISO this uses is a bad dump, setting to delayed until we figure out if this is salvageable.
slamo: This has been delayed for over two months now with no new movie, so I think we should call it here. The loading time changes likely make this movie unsyncable without a full remake. I understand that this bad dump was used accidentally (they usually are), so this may seem harsh, but we try to make our movies as authentic as possible, especially when a good image is available. This movie was well made otherwise, so please try again on a good dump and it will be accepted.
Rejecting for using a bad ROM image.
slamo: This is one of those rejections that doesn't sit well with me nowadays, thankfully no decisions are permanent here. We've started allowing runs that use bad game versions in Playground, and this run fits that description. nKits are still not allowed for publication, but that is the only fault for this movie. The run is really well done and I think people can still appreciate it. To the Playground!