Posts for ktwo


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I'm interested in understanding the mechanics behind the pass locations for RTA purposes. The pass location is stored in $7B8 and is set at the beginning of each level. If it's 0, it's in one location and if it's 1, it's in the other location. The same address is used for levels 1, 3 and 4. From what I can tell, the relevant piece of code determining if it's 0 or 1:
LDA #$01
AND $2A
STA $7B8
$2A is an RNG counter that changes every frame and takes player input (and probably other factors) into account. By observng $2A, I can't see any pattern in the parity of it. The values seem to be completely random. So based on this, I would expect the pass locations to be evenly distributed between the two locations. However... Console attempts point towards a quite heavily skewed distribution and it's unfortunately for the wrong locations... This is where I was hoping for some support. So, if you're familiar with game code and intrigued by this problem, any help would be appreciated.
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I've implemented the improvement I mentioned in my previous post for 38 frames saved: http://tasvideos.org/userfiles/info/52172702659307300 The improvement consists of pressing A (jump) at frame 39540 iso 39504 and then minor adjustments to sync up the rest of the movie. Delaying the jump results in spawning the enemy on the level above earlier than before, which eliminated waiting time later on. I've also created an encode for the new movie. Link to video
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I've never done encodes before, so it would be great if you could do it. I guess I should look into how to make encodes one day though. However, I'm pretty sure I've come up with a minor improvement, so I suggest you keep off the encode for a few days. I'm not able to implement the change and submit a new vid atm because of being away for the holidays.
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Thanks DrD2k9. I know you're joking, but don't worry, I'm not targeting your runs. I pick my games based on interest of working on console speedruns. Creating a TAS for the same game is something I've started doing recently as that's good way to find some less obvious strategies. Thanks to this TAS, I've found a bunch of improvements for my console attempts and I found the answer I was looking for to a few questions I had. I personally don't see the point in making a new TAS of the NA-version. Except for the first level, which would see some minor differences, the rest would be a literal copy-paste, with frames inserted/removed to account for the lag differences. A tedious exercise, but not of much value in my eyes. Of course, I encourage you or anyone to continue working on the game and find improvements though. I think it's going to be difficult to find improvements by just watching the TAS, but if you take your time and play around with the different possibilities, it wouldn't surprise me if better solutions could be found in some places.
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GJTASer2018, it's a pretty silly reason actually. The font of the menus is different for me in 2.x and it looks ugly/less user-friendly.
Post subject: Basic bot - help to get started
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I've entered the following in the bot window: * [Main value address] 431 [Operator] = [Value] 3 * (the controls I'd like to the bot to iterate on) When I press run in the control area, the simulation runs as I would expect. However, despite that I can see that the target value is hit from time to time, the simulation doesn't stop. Also, I don't see how to retrieve the inputs from a given attempt. If anyone can point me in the direction of a description of a successful use of basic bot or has experience with how it works, it would be appreciated. In case it matters, I've tried the same thing in BizHawk 2.2, 1.13 and 1.12.
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Yes, you're of course right about race 14. Skipping a nitro there wouldn't result in 250 more money. However, I think you're on to something when considering leaving some of the nitros for lap 2. The first 2 on that straight aren't collected by the other cars, but the last ones are. So there doesn't seem to be too many alternatives for nitros that are converted into money. If the one in race 10 is a bad candidate, the only other one that I can think of is one in race 5 behind a zipper. Skipping that one would allow you to take the double-zipper on both laps. Yes, the dollar bag in race 15 I had in mind was the one collected by the blue car. I'm not saying that the idea of "getting another money item, so you can skip a nitro" is better than skipping another money bag. It was just to throw it out there as a possible option. I've only played this game in "console conditions", so some conclusions might differ from "TAS conditions". However, slowing down before a jump to make a tight turn was faster when I tested it. I'm not sure there is much for you to pick up by looking at my routes, but since there aren't many other resources for this game, here is the link to my pb: http://v.speeddemosarchive.com/rcproam2-20180426/rc2_3118sda_HQ.mp4 .
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The speed steps of 4 make sense. When we discussed the motors, it seemed strange to me that Silver was only +2 over Black, since I knew it was a quite noticeable improvement. I actually knew about the hidden nitro around the dirt patch of race 24 (the other one was new to me though). Since I knew that hidden items were a possibility, I've been keeping my eyes open for other ones. I haven't found any though. But it's not like I've done any extensive research, so there could be more. Once again, excellent progress. A few comments: * You made a very wide turn after the two last zippers on the last lap of race 5. I'm surprised that turned out to be faster than slowing down a bit and cutting the corner. * I noticed you missed a few zippers to collect nitros. Couldn't an alternative be to collect another 100 (there is for example one before the bridge in race 15 that's not too far out of the way) and then sacrifice a nitro for one more zipper in race 10 or 14? * In race 21, you made a wide turn in the same spot as in race 5. I haven't done any detailed testing in that area, but I'm again surprised that that turned out to be the fastest path. * Am I imagining things or have you changed the approach to how you negotiate corners? It felt like you used to constantly bump into the corners before, while now you're much more often steering around them.
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Even though I might not be fully up-to-date on button mashing, I'll try to reply from my perspective. I'm guessing the average of the bell curve would be around 10 presses/second. Specialist button mashers should be able to come up to 14-15/second, but I'm not sure if there is anything documented on players that can go beyond that. This is only for one button though. I don't think there is much of an advantage mashing two buttons, given they have to be pressed alternately, so I doubt you'd be able to score many more presses than you do with one button (possibly less, because the alternating is a pretty limiting requirement). Unfortunately, I don't have any means to attach a controller to the computer, mash in the emulator and look at the result. It could have been interesting though to see if I'm beyond any threshold that makes any of the mashing counter-productive. However, I doubt it, considering the mashing required, assuming that you described. I'm usually ending the tug-o-trucks with 91 or 92 left on the timer (93 is my best), if that's of any help.
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I smiled when you broke the rubber band of the green car in race 6. It looked pretty disoriented when you lapped it. Overall, it looks great again. The manipulation in race 6 is crazy when you know what lies behind it. It's only a pity that you can't collect the lower of the three letters and take the zipper at the same time, but I don't see how that would be possible and it looks like you don't either. I don't have much to say other than what you already know (avoiding some of the money detours since you can buy Mega with less money). However, there are two things I'm wondering about: * How does the lap count work? I did some basic testing to see if I could single out an address or so, but without success. It could be worth quickly playing around with to make sure there is no exploit waiting to be discovered (along the lines of driving back and forth over the goal line instead of driving the intended way around the track). To be clear, I haven't seen any sign of such a thing being possible. * Similar to above, but for the tracks with intersecting paths. Any way to shortcut into the "wrong" path? Again, I have no indication of this being possible, so it's just an idea for the sake of excluding the possibility if you're anyways in "exploration mode". I didn't think of the 1up in race 13 to reduce lag. That will be useful in real-time speedruns as well. Unfortunately, I got a pb not long before I saw your post and I think that will stand for a while. I have to correct you regarding the free cpu letters. The cpu cars always get letters in the corresponding races. The letter they get is the next in order. So a car having P, R and M will get an O, regardless of it's race x, x+4 or x+8. The only exception I've seen is when they upgrade the car. Then they don't get a free letter for the new car.
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Glad to hear that the personal things have improved. Thanks for the info about the lights. I assume you were referring to my graphs in the guide that indicated the possibility of some bias that could possibly be race-dependent. Those graphs were done by me early on, but I don't recall the method. I've been sceptical about these for a while though. As I've gotten more experience from playing the game, it didn't feel like they reflected what I was seeing and I decided to redo them a few days ago. Suddenly the graphs just showed a seemingly random distribution and no bias. I'm pretty sure it was me who used some biased method in the previous set of graphs and that was what created the patterns. I think it's likely that the RNG-function is doing at least close to do what it's supposed to. Even though I guess you can never be really sure until you study it in detail. But imo, that's not worth the effort.
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Ok, thanks. I think it's clear to me now. The reason I asked was because it didn't feel like I was always getting the expected percentages according to the 2^(-x) probability distribution (and with the rest going into 'I'). It was just based on a feeling though. It could then have been a sign of the RNG generation algorithm being imperfect so the distribution of of 0s and 1s in the "RNG-address" would be tilted one way or the other. But it's probably just me looking at a too small sample. If your number-crunching script notices anything of the sort, I'd be happy to know though. Since some letters will never be collected by the cpus, my current strat is to focus on collecting those, while avoiding some of the ones that are in their path. Even if this gets me slightly more out of the way than taking the shortest path, having the opponents on roughly the same letters as myself gives a better chance of seeing letters I don't have, instead of ending up with the 1x races being filled with 'I', which was often the case before. The room for picking and choosing letters is a bit limited though, so there is only so much that can be done. But I can definitely say that things have improved.
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It looks great! Excellent job so far. The money management seems to work out perfectly for red (1), sliver (3) and skinny (4), which is awesome. I can't say that I have any comments at all at this point. All I can say is good luck with race 6... I've been more focusing on implementing the recent findings into the real-time route. There are some interesting decisions that follow from better understanding the RNG. It's still a probability game, but the odds are slightly improved. After having read through your posts several times and tried to look into the code a bit, I'm however still not sure if I have understood how the RNG-addresses (756-759) end up in the letter addresses (1CD-1D2). Would you mind explaining that again or just quote yourself if there is something I'm overlooking in your previous posts?
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Thanks very much for the explanations. It makes perfect sense and fits well with what I've been observing. In real-time attempts, I think it's actually better to leave some of the letters alone and let the cpus collect them to avoid that their missing letters (i.e. 'I') pollute race after race. I'll map out races 9-14 myself, no worries. Well, by "spin out" I thought it was something along the lines of heavy turning and screeching tires. After your post about the RNG-addresses, I noticed that you could get them to change in race 1 by driving round in a circle (at least in some spots). I just tested it again and I couldn't change the RNG other than through very time-consuming maneuvers of heavy steering. In case this was news to you, you might want to check it out, but from what I can tell it's not going to be useful. In my real-time attempts, the mega saves around 2 seconds on race 22. Needless to say, the type of track and number of laps would impact this, but as a ballpark figure I think that's what one can expect. This is also in agreement with the following very rough calculation: 1500*(1-132/138). Even if one lap is a few hundred frames longer or shorter than 1500 frames, it's still very roughly a one second difference. So sacrificing a 30ish frame-saving nitro for only $250 is a poor trade imo. Regarding the nitros, I thought of something that I'm not sure you're aware of. You can go "out-of-bounds" if your speed is so high that the graphics aren't updated fast enough. See for example the following vid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tSriFMRFsUM As far as I can tell, this is a fake oob. I haven't managed to clip into the landscape or something like that. I admit that I haven't studied this in more detail, so I'm not sure if there actually is some kind of shortcut taking place or if it's purely a visual glitch. You can create this effect even in the earlier races with the help of zippers and/or nitros, but the faster you go the more pronounced it becomes. Other than looking into the above, I can't immediately think of any ways to generally make nitros worth more frames. Since the nitro boost isn't impacted by obstacles, you should try to use them where you're anyways forced to lose speed though (driving through obstacles). However, the additional lag created by the nitros might cancel out the time save so it's not always the right place to use them.
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So, the game takes the negative of someone's letters (XOR #$FF), ANDs it with an RNG address, then picks out a letter.
* First of three letters: P2 (01CE)
What does this mean? For example, let's say P2 has 'P', 'R' and 'M'. Does that mean 'O' is the most likely, followed by 'A' and 'I'? According to which probabilities? Are 'P', 'R' and 'M' impossible to be generated in this case?
The race 2 letters depend on: * Lone straight letter: Random player (01D2) * First of three letters: P2 (01CE) * Upper left of three letters: Race (01D1) (P2) * Lower right of three letters: P3 (01CF) not DF. Crossing that t... The race 4 letters depend on: * Close to zipper letter: Race (01D1) (P4) * Far from zipper letter: P4 (01D0) * Letter past zipper: P1 (01CD)
The initial group of three letters. Lower-left: P2 - Upper-right: P3 - Upper-left: Race (P2). First letter of straight: P1 Second letter of straight: Random player Zipper "side pit": Random player
I don't see the pattern between the 6 dependence possibilities and how these are attributed to the different letter items here. Is there a way for any given race to make a similar list of how the letters are generated for the individual letter items? (I'm mainly interested in race 9-14)
We may want to manipulate something rare in race 1, as then we'd have a better shot at getting three letters of sorts we can pick up in race 2. The RNG is somewhat stiff, giving 256 possible "worlds" for any given race 1 output we do. And well, one "world" is clearly 255 frames of wait compared to another "world". The oil slick we can find in race 2 gives us more "worlds" to pick from by race 4, though.
Just thinking loudly here, but couldn't you create a minor spin-out in race 1 to change the RNG the way you want it for race 2? If it's done right before the finish line, it can't be very time-consuming. At least surely less time-consuming than waiting at the map screen for an 'I'.
Ye, snap! That's not a small amount of money! We're talking Mega by race 11! ... If we somehow get like all the cash from all the races. I did spend a nitro at the very end of race 4, on a straight road just before the finish, and removing that takes 35 frames. If nitros never amount to more than 35 frames with Black motor and default car, 20 nitros is 700 frames or 5000 cash. I suppose asking whether getting Mega one race earlier is worth 700 frames is a fairly good question at this point. Nearly 12 seconds of difference on spamming the nitros on races 5, 8, or 10 looks unlikely to overcome.
I very much doubt sacrificing "cleanly" used nitros in order to buy Mega earlier will pay off. Unless of course it's really an edge-case, where you just need $250 or $500 more to get the purchase done for a particular race. But the first ones to go would obviously be where you spent a nitro in the wip right before the finish line and so on.
Post subject: Re: Finding RNG calls, yo!
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Very interesting read. What I've noticed in my real-time attempts is that the earlier letters ('P', 'R' and 'O') are easy to get in the first few races, while 'I' is usually the last one to complete the upgrade. However, once you reach race 9, the roles seem to be inversed. 'I' suddenly becomes extremely common, while 'O' and, especially, 'A' are the most likely to be the ones missing for the second upgrade. It's also noticeable that at least some letter items are skewed towards a specific letter. Especially letter items that tend to an 'I'. What I'm thinking is that maybe each letter item has a certain preferred start letter with the 50% chance. If that happens to be 'I', you could get a probability of 75% (50+25), which sounds reasonably close to what I'm observing. This is just pure speculation from my side, but I'd be very, very interested if your script could confirm this or find whatever else is the correct theory for this behavior.
Oh, and those lights you might have looked at in a later race could have been skewed by timing the earlier race's start differently.
Could you rephrase this or elaborate on what you refer to here?
In my WIP, I managed Black ready by race 3, and was short a Mega by $410 by race 15. I also gain more than $4000 in race 15 as well, where if I went Silver, I'd be just $160 short by race 16. Let's assume I could have gotten the $410 difference, perhaps realizing nitros are worth cash like you said. So I'd have Black in races 3 to 14 (12 races), and Silver in races 4 to 15 (12 races). I'd be enjoying an extra +2 speed in 11 races, and suffering -12 and -6 for races 3 and 15, respectively. The total is a rather slim +4.
According to this calculation, red (after 1), skinny (2), silver (4), mega (16) would be another +4 over skinny (1), silver (3), mega (15). That has to be balanced by not having skinny in race 2 though. From experience, the red motor is a significant improvement over the standard one, so it doesn't surprise me that this combination is a good choice on paper. But there is only one way to find out which combination is in fact the fastest... Luckily, it's only a few races that need to be tested. Edit: skinny (1), black (2), silver (4), mega (16) would be another +4 again. However, it would be balanced by not being able to use the nitros collected in race 3 and 4 and then you'd have to manipulate an additional money item. For example the upper dollar item before the finish line on race 3.
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I'm very glad this game is already in good hands! Thanks also for the information. I didn't know about the parameters governing the tires and I thought until now that 05C2 was the speed (probably not far from correct, except not taking into account the nitros, but your description seems to be the correct one). I'm wondering about your position addresses though. Are you sure about them? I use 0531/052C (x) and 053B/0536 (y) and haven't noticed any flaws with them. I've watched the wip and have a few comments: - I'm certain that the silver motor will pay off, even if it means going into race 3 without a motor upgrade and the risk of delaying mega by one race. - In a TAS, you should aim for getting the 1st car upgrade after race 4. In race 1, you get one letter, in race 2, you get 3 and then finally you get the 3 in race 4. - Unused nitros are converted into $250 at the end of the race. It looked like you hardly got any boost from some of nitros when using them right before the finish line, so it might be better to save them if it helps getting a purchase a race earlier. - When you purchase mega, wait a bit on the menu screen. The menu will after a few frames default to the next motor. So if you have the black motor, the menu will start on silver etc. - This might not be important, but in some races the opponents will miss collecting stuff, so you can grab it during the second lap. E.g. the upper dollar item before the finish line in race 3 is not always collected (very rarely though). If you end up just short of money, this might be good to keep in mind. - I'm guessing that red (1), skinny (2), silver (4) will be close to skinny (1), silver (3) and should therefore be tested. I didn't see anything about the RNG in your post, so I'm guessing you haven't looked too much into it. However, it's absolutely indispensable to take into account for the following reasons: 1. Get the letters you want. This will allow you to get the 1st car upgrade after race 4 and the second one after race 7 (should at least in theory be possible). 2. Manipulate the timer for the green light to be as short as possible. 3. Manipulate the car order on the starting line. Much of this will be TAS-only, but there are some patterns that are discernible even during real-time play. I'm hoping that a better understanding can produce some real-time strats as well.
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I've taken an interest in this game lately. Right now I'm focusing on real-time attempts, but I'm not excluding working on a TAS at some point (but I hope no one is holding their breath for it). However, as of right now, some vital information is missing for both. I'm collecting the information I find here: https://kb.speeddemosarchive.com/R.C._Pro-Am_II/Game_Mechanics My main issue is how to approach the RNG. There might be several different RNGs in the works, but the most important one determines the letters, line-up position and traffic light timing. I know 043C is a key in this. When you press start at the shop screen, the value of this address determines all three of these. I'd like to know if the value of this address can be converted into which letters the next race will contain, the line-up order and the traffic light timing. I know it also depends on the initial state, so it's not "only" a case of mapping out the 256 possibilities for each race. It's of course possible to test all 256 possibilities over and over again from different initial states and try to find patterns, but it would in practice be extremely time-consuming. I've made a few attempts to look at the code, but I feel like I lack the necessary background for being able to extract the relevant information in a case like this. If anyone is interested in helping out understanding this aspect of the game mechanics, I've uploaded a movie file that might be useful for testing: http://tasvideos.org/userfiles/info/46245166692451240
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nesrocks, I assume you mean the skips with the bonus stages. I first saw it in a video from 'Takenoko' (たけのこ) from 2012. I can't say if that's the person who discovered the skip or not, but I have at least not found it in videos prior to takenoko's.
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Challenger, I crashed to collect a key (= activates the bonus room) in a hidden egg. The skateboard has a minimum speed and you can't collect any hidden eggs while you're on it (there are exception(s) to this, but at least these ones aren't possible to collect). mtvf1, yes, it's the same TAS. I wasn't sure whether to link to the video on nico or youtube, but went with the one from youtube, since I assumed that's the most accessible of the two versions, even though that's clearly not the case for you. That's also why I referred to the youtube handle. If there is any indication that the nico handle is the preferred one, I'd be happy to edit the comments.
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I briefly considered a 2p run as that would give some more room for target shooting and most likely would save time in some parts. The main reason i abandoned the idea was because the game doesn't give you twice as many upgrades. That will be a problem with the speed upgrades. The first speed upgrade in area 2 is very early on, while the next is only much later (links to area maps: https://kb.speeddemosarchive.com/Ikari_Warriors/Level_Maps). Part of the distance could be dealt with by killing off player 2 at regular intervals, but you don't have enough lives to cover the whole distance this way, which meant using the continue code (ABBA). The continue code is a cheat code so I didn't feel that was the right way to go. There were a couple of other concerns/questions as well that I had about how a 2p run would work out, but I didn't see a way forward with the speed thing so I didn't spend time on investigating them.
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I've accidentally self-exploded several times in the helicopter in area 1. However, I've been so focused on getting a deathless run (I have a bit of an old-school mindset when it comes to death abuse vs deathless) that I never reflected on how that mechanics could be useful in area 3 and 4. I did a quick test right now. In a real-time attempt, you should save a couple of seconds in area 3 and probably in average 10+ seconds in area 4 (mostly due to how you usually need to make a detour for the fuel drop) if you go for death abuse. Not to mention that the run gets quite a lot easier. I'm not sure it's going to be beneficial in a TAS though since you'll anyways be moving more or less in a straight line and can manipulate the fuel drop with only a minimal detour. But I'll of course test that when I get there. I haven't done much progress on the TAS since my last post, which wasn't long ago, but I have at least found out that it will be faster to skip the B-upgrade.
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Thanks to the help with the fuel drops, I've managed to complete my console speedrun. I'm now looking into a TAS. It's the first time I'm attempting a TAS and it's something I plan to have on the side, so progress might be a bit slow and irregular, but I have at least completed the first area: http://tasvideos.org/userfiles/info/38672276706293120 It's three seconds faster than on console, which is roughly what I expected. Two of them come from frame-perfect inputs and one second is due to a diagonal movement method that isn't feasible in real-time. My only regret is the helicopter section. It's possible to fly until the fuel almost runs out before going into the flying state. The flying state is interesting for a few seconds, but quickly gets old, so it would have been nice to stay in the helicopter for a bit longer. However, for unknown reasons, that doesn't seem to work with the movie I have (the jump at the end gets messed up) and I had to leave the helicopter almost immediately. Before continuing, I will have to find out if it saves time overall to skip the B-upgrade. Grenades are tossed at a lower rate with the B-upgrade, so you can save ~3 seconds on the bosses in area 3 and 4. However, proceeding without the upgrade will also cost a bit of time in several places, so I have to test if it pays off in the end.
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TaoTao, thanks for your patience with me and for explaining it step-by-step. The first level of understanding of the enemy drops is perfectly clear to me now. I've started studying the drop in area 3. I have a fairly good understanding of what it takes to get the fuel now. The good thing is that it doesn't rely on some frame-dependent counter (at least not at the level I'm looking at), but can sort of be predicted by visual cues. I'm still far from having a reliable method of manipulating the fuel though, because it depends on the order the object addresses are populated, which is subject to quite a bit of randomness (= it's beyond the level of detail I'm looking at). I'm not sure it's going to be possible to come up with a fool-proof way to get the drop in real-time. However, there are plenty of things I still need to try out, so I expect that at the very least I'll be able to eliminate some bad methods and thereby somewhat improve the odds compared to just blindly playing and hoping for the best. In the best case, I'll be able to out from the different possible enemy movement patterns be able to come up with case-specific actions for getting the fuel drop. But that might just be wishful thinking... Thanks a lot again, these findings are huge for me.
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i'm not sure I'm reading your reply correctly. It sounds interesting with addresses that somehow follow the type of item drop, but $0674 stays 0 for me in both your movies. What am I supposed to see by looking at that address?