Finally home from work, so now I can discuss this:
I'm new to making these videos, so I decided to use this short game for practice.
hegyak said I should probably come to this thread to discuss it, so here I am.
So, I'm not exactly sure what to say or ask, but...well, while I think the movie looks fairly good, I'm sure it can be done better. The Styx Zone in particular bugs me: I tried several times, but two of those jet-like enemies still managed to NOT get asploded. Should I find a way to asplode them anyway, or would it be better to make it look like I completely disregard them, or what?
Also, any idea how the RNG works? From the little testing I've done, it looks like it can be advanced by starting the game on a different frame, but starting the game on any frame other than the first frame locks the game into a demo state for over 200 seconds, which would seem to completely negate any benefit from luck manipulation from the machine turn-on. Perhaps luck can also be manipulated by a level on a different frame?
Should I also make an effort to do the second tunnel as well? The order of the phases is different and the game scrolls faster, but effectively it's all precisely the same material, leaving me to wonder if anyone would even find that entertaining.
I also refused to touch any of those energy pod dealies, as missiles fly far faster than the ship does, thus making shooting the preferred option for destroying enemies over turning one's ship into a rave and blasting Vultan's theme at a volume level of 11.
I'm really new to all of this and I would greatly appreciate any advice or insight anyone is willing to offer me. Thanks.
I began playing around with the RAM watch. I found the score addresses at 0x17, 0x18, and 0x19 (didn't bother to check 0x1A). I then poked them a bit and found that they had no bearing on whether or not the player progresses to the next round.
On a hunch, I began looking for values that decreased. I found one at 0x35 that decreases each time you score a kill. With the exception of the "boss," the game appears to allow you to move on to the next phase under the following conditions:
1: 0x35 must be greater than 127 (this also halts enemy respawns)
2: The screen must be clear of all enemies and pods
I also discovered that 0x16 counts every frame less lag frames. I tried freezing the address, and the screen pretty much stopped scrolling, energy completely stopped depleting, and enemies completely stopped spawning. From my observations, it appears the player is allowed to move any time this address is even, and the playfield scrolls by one tile in the first tunnel any time the address is equal to (a multiple of 8) + 1.
I'm starting to research enemy respawns. As progress through the game hinges entirely on killing enemies, understanding the rules that dictate when they respawn is crucial to an efficient TAS of this game.
They spawn in waves roughly once every 64 frames.
With this new information I've found, I feel confident that I can redo this TAS and make it better. I'm already seeing a gain of at least two seconds in the Mountain Zone.