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Pilotwings is a flight simulator game from Nintendo for the SNES. The player earns pilot's licenses through light plane, skydiving, rocketbelt, and hang gliding events. This run clears all 8 lessons and the 2 helicopter missions in 20 minutes without ever piloting the light plane.

Emulator details

Game objectives

  • Genre: Simulation
  • Aims for fastest possible time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Uses a game restart sequence

Lesson 1

Points needed: 120
Landing on the moving platform automatically gives you a 100 for a level. No need to waste time on rings.
One frame sacrificed prior to entering the level for luck manipulation. The game rotates bonus stages in the pattern "A-A-B-C" on a per-frame basis. The frame counter increments between levels and during pause. Stage C is the fastest for getting the 20 points needed to end lesson 1.
I reset in between levels to get through the unskippable certification screen about 2.5 seconds faster.

Lesson 2

Points needed: 220
Skydiving: 150
Rocketbelt: 70
I chose this route because getting 150 in skydiving is 26 frames faster than getting 160, whereas the difference between getting 60 and 70 points in Rocketbelt is less than ten. One frame sacrificed prior to skydiving level for luck manipulation.

Lesson 3

Points needed: 220
Hanggliding: 120
Rocketbelt: 100
No skydiving unfortunately. TAS hang gliding is still slow and boring, but it's faster than the 2-minute light plane circuit and has a bonus stage.
Getting 20 points on the bonus stage is likely ~105 frames faster on the rocketbelt stage. However, I believe landing on the bonus platform makes up the difference on hang glider stage.
When taking sharp turns with the rocketbelt, I found that propelling yourself backward is faster than taking the time to turn off your jets and turn. This saved a second off my time on this level.

Lesson 4

Points needed: 300
Skydiving: 170
Rocketbelt: 130
Getting 70 on the skydiving bonus stage takes the longest because you have to travel farther horizontally at expense to your vertical speed. However, the difference is negligible compared to a single super jump in the Rocketbelt bonus stage. So I chose this route, which allows me 300 points without having to do a single super jump in the rocketbelt bonus stage.
One frame sacrificed for luck manipulation.

Secret Command

Not very exciting. To maintain a low altitude, I kept the throttle as low as possible without losing lateral speed.

Lesson 5

Score needed: 140
Back to a one-event lesson. Three frames sacrificed for luck manipulation.
Note: This 40-point bonus level is one frame slower than the next. I didn't fix it because I have to wait 1 or 2 frames in the next lessons for luck anyway; if I changed it, that would become 2 or 3 frames instead and I would come out even.

Lesson 6

Score needed: 240
Rocketbelt: 100
Skydiving: 140
Light plane comes close to being viable here. However, the icy runway adds too much time.
One frame sacrificed for luck manipulation. I did these in the reverse order from usual because I was seeing if switching them would get rid of this frame. Each case resulted in one frame. After I was done experimenting, it was easier to keep them in this order.

Lesson 7

Score needed: 240
Hanggliding: 140
Rocketbelt: 100
Another lesson without a skydiving event. Nevertheless, I optimized this hang glider event as much as I could.

Lesson 8

Score needed: 320
Rocketbelt: 160
Skydiving: 160
One frame sacrificed for luck manipulation (switching the order saved a frame).

Secret Command 2

This one ended up pretty cool, narrowly weaving through missiles. The game neglects to address that the helicopter will probably be shot down immediately upon takeoff ...

Final Thoughts

There are 2 glitches one can use, but they are usually slower. One can bounce off the ground in one's landing animation in skydiving or hang gliding. In Lesson 8 skydiving, I used this to bounce over the water onto the moving platform until improved to falling straight onto it. One can also fall into the water after clearing a level. This is entertaining, but provides no frame advantage.

Mister Epic: Added JWPlayer module. Many thanks to RadioKJ for the web space!
Mukki: Judging...
Mukki: The votes here are not particularly great, however those who voted yes (and posted) were enthusiatic about doing so and seemed to enjoy the run. I found certain parts of this run to be rather repetitive, however the rocketbelt stages proposed interesting strategies and optimisation opportunities. Audience response proves decisive. Accepted.
Nahoc: Processing...

Experienced Forum User
Joined: 1/19/2011
Posts: 259
Location: France
Voted Meh. I liked the movie, found it enjoyable and quite entertaining, but still, I'm not sure it's the kind of game that should be TASed, or maybe by doing it in another way (which I can't think of, which is why it's a Meh and not a No).
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 12/19/2010
Posts: 126
nice playthrough, but is this really a TAS? the only thing you used for TAS was the reset, a Meh for me
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Flezki: you're welcome to try playing the game to that level of precision in realtime.
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Experienced Forum User, Player (35)
Joined: 9/11/2004
Posts: 2592
Location: Atlanta, GA
I thought it was very well done. I would like to see a longer version of it that completes all of the stages. :)
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Experienced Forum User, Player (104)
Joined: 12/22/2006
Posts: 193
Location: Flowood, MS
Not great. Was kinda waiting for the run to end shortly after the second half came around. Meh vote
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Experienced Forum User
Joined: 4/3/2007
Posts: 29
I voted yes. I was entertained, and it felt very technically sound. The only thing I really don't like about the game choice is Pilotwings is essentially the same game twice, just harder the second time around. Overall, I think TASvideos has room to publish this one.
Experienced Forum User, Player (174)
Joined: 12/24/2010
Posts: 144
Location: Brazil
For me this one deserves being published due to being well done, he aimed for fastest time and did quite a good work, also like I said before, this one is at list of ideia which will reduce it list if this get accepted.
My main objective here is to TAS the most obscure games titles!
Experienced Forum User, Player (146)
Joined: 2/4/2011
Posts: 61
Thank you all for your feedback and honest votes. I have no grudge against any downvoters. I agree with the reasons given. I have no misconception about the entertainment value of the movie. For my first run, I followed the guidelines and stuck to my goal at all times (so please don't chalk it up as a failure to educate. The articles were excellent and very helpful). As dunnius mentioned, the controls don't lend themselves to tricks, and definitely not without losing time. Pilotwings showboating does not add much to entertainment. Despite the lack of entertainment, I chose this game because it was on the list of suggestions, and it's a Nintendo game that a lot of people hold in high regard.
dunnius wrote:
It does feel like there may be some improvements, but I won't know until I figure out the game physics, which I will do eventually. I am not sure about the choice of Hangglider over Skydiving on Lesson 7. Having to wait for two thermals seems lengthy, but then again, skydiving takes a long time too. Also, it may be possible that the Light Plane is faster than the Rocketbelt in Lessons 2 and 6. I might be proven wrong after some testing is done.
After some testing is done, you will find that there is no Skydiving option in Lesson 7. =P Don't bother with Light Plane on Lesson 2. It's in the ball park of 40 seconds (compared to 22 seconds). The biggest room for improvement is in the rocketbelt levels. I had numbers (coordinates, speeds, times) to help me, but I did not get scientific with it; just eyeballed. The rocketbelt propelling you vertically as well as forward limits your abilities. You're also dependent on the moving platform position in some stages. All-in-all, I'd be surprised if a perfect run saved a second per level. If you could get to 700ft on the first thermal current in lesson 7 hang gliding, that would be a big deal. If you figure out the exact math behind diving and flaring and thermal currents, go for it. Excuse me for not responding sooner. I just wanted to be an observer for this one, and not to bias the judge. I notice in the submission text now that it's a good idea to respond as stuff comes up. Noted. Thanks to Mister Epic for encoding, and Mukki for judging. Also thanks Derakon and DarkKobold for helping me out in my newbie thread. Before you finish publication I think you'll want to correct something in the encode. The rerecord count is listed as 72K. That's the frame count. The re-record count is 3742. (I also recall hexing in about 60 rerecords worth of something early on) If you enjoyed this run (also everybody who complimented the technical aspects), let me know what else you'd like to see. I finished this run over a week ago and have been feeling the itch to play a new game very slowly and count frames and read memory and stuff.
Active player, Experienced Forum User (375)
Joined: 9/7/2007
Posts: 329
Computer TASer of 2015Computer TAS of 2015
tall wrote:
After some testing is done, you will find that there is no Skydiving option in Lesson 7. =P
Yes, yes, that is correct. I guess it is obvious that a few years have passed since I played the game. And my mind is on other games at the moment.
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 6/25/2007
Posts: 732
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
tall wrote:
If you enjoyed this run (also everybody who complimented the technical aspects), let me know what else you'd like to see. I finished this run over a week ago and have been feeling the itch to play a new game very slowly and count frames and read memory and stuff.
My request: N+ for DS! I beat that game myself and found that there are some really awesome things you can do and some really tricky levels. In my opinion, it's far better than the original Flash version of N. I'm not sure if Andymac is still working on his run. Anyway, for game choice, I think N+ would get a universally positive response; highly contrasting from Pilotwings.
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Exotic platforms TASer of 2014NES TAS of 2013
tall wrote:
If you enjoyed this run (also everybody who complimented the technical aspects), let me know what else you'd like to see. I finished this run over a week ago and have been feeling the itch to play a new game very slowly and count frames and read memory and stuff.
You could try Drill Dozer. Be warned that a full TAS will probably be over an hour long. I don't think anyone's currently working on it, but Pekopon posted many useful shortcuts for (almost?) every room.
Post subject: Movie published
Experienced Forum User, Moderator
Joined: 8/3/2004
Posts: 12516
This movie has been published. The posts before this message apply to the submission, and posts after this message apply to the published movie. ---- [1751] SNES Pilotwings by tall in 20:08.97