#4813: Weegeechan's NES Balloon Fight in 02:39.62

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Well, I finally did it! I've completed my very first TAS and it's of one of my favourite NES games. It took some time getting used to the physics and coming up with some of the strategies but I'm really happy with the way this turned out. I'm definitely looking forward to making more TASes.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 1.11.1
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Controls 2 players

Comments

Balloon Fight is a classic NES game first released in 1984 and programmed by the late Satoru Iwata. It was first released in arcades and was later ported to the NES. The NES version came with a new mode called Balloon Trip and had some drastic level changes.
This TAS makes use of the 2 player mode to complete the game as quick as possible. 2 Player Game allows two people to take control of balloon fighters to complete levels together and to compete for points. This makes for some interesting and otherwise impossible strategies to complete levels as quick as possible. Some bouncing strats may occur.

Stage by stage comments

NOTE: I only complete up to Phase 12 because all the stages after that repeat. This is similar to other arcade Nintendo games likes Donkey Kong, Mario Bros., etc.

All Bonus Stages

There is not much to do in the bonus stages so I just mess around until the last 4-5 balloons appear. There are 20 balloons total and popping the last 4-5 speeds up the end and brings you to the results screen quicker. This works because when the last balloons on screen get collected quickly (almost as they spawn), no balloons have to rise to the top thus ending the bonus game.

Phase 1

Yup, not much to say here.

Phase 2

Things already start to get tricky. I wait for 1P to pass before making 2P rise or else they collide and ruin the strategy.
SPOILERS: Also the only phase where birds manage to inflate their balloons :B

Phase 3

Here I abuse the bouncing physics to kill the birds near the top quicker.

Phase 4

Not much to say here. Pretty simple strategy.

Phase 5

In this phase, the birds on the pillars can actually be killed much lower than intended. Having the top of your balloons near their feet will almost always kill them making it look like they weren't even touched! I combine this with some bouncing and complete the phase pretty quickly.

Phase 6

Similar idea to 5, killing birds lower then bouncing to keep momentum.

Phase 7

Yes, I finally get to use a flipper to complete a room! When a flipper is vertical or horizontal, hitting it on a certain side will send you in a specific direction. It's hard to control where you go sometimes and it takes a lot of trial and error. Here, I get the flipper to propel P1 upwards to get to the eastern birds quicker.

Phase 8

Here, I make P1 and 2 bounce off of each other to keep momentum because the spot is too tight for them both to fit.

Phase 9

Same as phase 4 but I instead delay killing the bird to manipulate Bonus 2 to be able to finish it quicker.

Phase 10

This was horrible. HORRIBLE. Trying to optimize the flipper propulsion and whatnot was annoying. Damn flippers.

Phase 11

This may look like a walk in the park, but this was a little troublesome to optimize. It was not quick enough for both P1 and 2 to get up to the platforms on their sides from the left/right so I had to make them squeeze through the platforms so they could reach them.

Phase 12

Same as phase 6.

Possible Improvements

  • I improved all of Takanawa's times and some of my own and shortened my previous version of this run by about 5 seconds! I can't really think of any improvements I could make as I couldn't find anymore :)

Screenshot Suggestions

(Frame 6523)
(Frame 9263)

Special Thanks

  • I'd like to thank IcySpeedruns for his WIP he posted on his youtube channel. It helped out a lot and made for a very good starting reference. I even took inspiration for some of the bonus level shenanigans. Thank you Icy ;)
To see his WIP, check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWoMraO6NwA
  • I'd also like to thank mtvf1 for introducing me to Takanawa's TAS of this game and for posting a very handy frame-by-frame comparison to his run! With it, I was able to shorten my run considerably! :)

ars4326: Claimed for judging!
ars4326: Updated movie file. New time: 02:39:87 (9608 frames).
ars4326: Updated movie file. New time: 02:39:62 (9593 frames).
ars4326: Hello, Weegeechan. Congrats on completing your first run! Going back and improving on all of Takanawa's times (as well as tightening yours even further) was also respectable and indicative of a good attitude. The main stages were done remarkably fast and the bonus stages had a good dose of entertainment value, as well. All in all, very nice work here.
Accepting for publication to Moons!
fsvgm777:Processing.

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This topic is for the purpose of discussing #4813: Weegeechan's NES Balloon Fight in 02:39.62
BigBoct
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It looked good to me, although I feel like there was more you could have done to liven up the bonus stages. It's not enough that I won't vote Yes, though. One question, however. Does the game get harder in subsequent loops? In cases where that happens, TASVideos defines the end point as "the first repeat point where there is no change in content."
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I like the choreography you did in the balloon-collecting levels bonus stages. However, I didn't quite understand how you chose how many balloons to pop.
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boct1584 wrote:
It looked good to me, although I feel like there was more you could have done to liven up the bonus stages. It's not enough that I won't vote Yes, though. One question, however. Does the game get harder in subsequent loops? In cases where that happens, TASVideos defines the end point as "the first repeat point where there is no change in content."
For the bonus stages I was trying to make it like 1P and 2P were always fighting. Sorry if it didn't come out entertaining enough :P It was hard to think of something entertaining to do since I can't grab balloons until the last 4-5. If I find any improvements I will try to change up the bonus stages as best I can ;) To answer your question, no, the game does not get harder. The game starts looping Phases 4 - 12.
Bisqwit wrote:
I like the choreography you did in the balloon-collecting levels bonus stages. However, I didn't quite understand how you chose how many balloons to pop.
The (few) RTA runners of this game discovered that only grabbing the last few balloons at the end of each bonus game will bring up the results screen quicker. I have no idea why this happens. So I tried to come up with clever ways to avoid grabbing any other balloons.
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It's a bit of a shame that the bonus levels last so much longer than the regular stages. I think you did a pretty good job with the playarounds there. I could imagine the players' frustrations chasing each other down and popping each other's balloons. As for the actual stages, they're quite speedy. The usage of bouncing is pretty fun, and it's good to see a few occasional strategy changes like hitting the flippers. This is a good run of a short game which still has good variety!
Used to be a frequent submissions commenter. My new computer has had some issues running emulators, so I've been here more sporadically. Still haven't gotten around to actually TASing yet... I was going to improve Kid Dracula for GB. It seems I was beaten to it, though, with a recent awesome run by Hetfield90 and StarvinStruthers. (http://tasvideos.org/2928M.html.) Thanks to goofydylan8 for running Gargoyle's Quest 2 because I mentioned the game! (http://tasvideos.org/2001M.html) Thanks to feos and MESHUGGAH for taking up runs of Duck Tales 2 because of my old signature! Thanks also to Samsara for finishing a Treasure Master run. From the submission comments:
Shoutouts and thanks to mklip2001 for arguably being the nicest and most supportive person on the forums.
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For the bonus stages, shouldn't you try to make the point countdown as short as possible? That would mean distributing balloons evenly to both players. Or does it not make a difference in how long the bonus screen takes? The actual levels looked good though. Congrats on finishing your TAS.
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Nice first run! Yes vote.
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I didn't mind this. It wasn't terribly long that it was boring. It's entertaining enough for me to vote yes.
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Thank you for all the comments guys! :) I'm glad you all like it.
Derakon wrote:
For the bonus stages, shouldn't you try to make the point countdown as short as possible? That would mean distributing balloons evenly to both players. Or does it not make a difference in how long the bonus screen takes?
I can't believe I missed that! Yes, it turns out to be faster to distibute the points evenly. I saved 6 frames simply for the first bonus room. But for some odd reason, it desyncs phase 5. I'm not even sure why. I adjusted the levels to match the lag frames but It simply just doesn't work anymore. I'll have to mess with it later because I'm currently busy at the time.
dekutony
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Entertaining enough 4 a yes vote! Hoping to see more TASes from you.
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I vote yes. I remanber Takanawa did a 2 players run many years ago. Yours is about 50 frames faster than him. But he has deleted all his movies in 2013, include nico and youtube. I only have a 30fps download with lua display the frame. This is my comparison: You Takanawa saved all 293 310 17 17 stage1 688 695 -10 7 stage2 1029 1036 0 7 stage3 3203 3205 -5 2 award1 3480 3482 0 2 stage4 3820 3886 64 66 stage5 4161 4229 2 68 stage6 6296 6032 -332 -264 award2 6628 6373 9 -255 stage7 6948 6703 10 -245 stage8 7227 6986 4 -241 stage9 9101 9117 257 16 award3 9398 9414 0 16 stage10 9679 9690 -5 11 stage11 9866 9917 40 51 stage12 It's seemed someting luck in awards stage. I hope you can improve your tas.
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Wow, thanks mtvf1! I didn't know there was another TAS of this out there. According to that, it should be possible to save at least 5 seconds. This makes for a very good comparison. Looks like I'll be attempting to shorten this TAS! Btw, is there any way to share his video? Also, is it worth cancelling this submission? I'll be wanting to shorten this run with this new knowledge but should I wait instead?
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You don't need to cancel, just make it to delay. Takanawa's tas download: https://www.mediafire.com/?of384dkvj0lc5u2
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The main stages are fast. The bonus stages, ruin all the fun and speed. The second bonus stage was entertaining. The first and third, not so much. But, there is a limit on what you can do.
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Before I actually watch, is this as fun as another guy's attempts?
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so that's the origin of the flippers..... yes vote, short and sweet
ars4326
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So could even more time be saved in the bonus stages (which were nicely done, btw) by not accumulating any points, at all? Also Weegeechan, as mtvf1 stated, if you need some more time to include Takanawa's improvements we can go ahead and temporarily set your submission to delayed.
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." - 1 Corinthians 2:9
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ars4326 wrote:
So could even more time be saved in the bonus stages (which were nicely done, btw) by not accumulating any points, at all? Also Weegeechan, as mtvf1 stated, if you need some more time to include Takanawa's improvements we can go ahead and temporarily set your submission to delayed.
About the bonus stages: It seems the game was programmed to bring up the results screen quicker when the last 4-6 balloons on screen have been collected. I'm not sure why, because even collecting all the balloons makes the stages go on for longer. The same goes for not collecting any balloons. It's very odd indeed and I'll have to do some extensive testing on the stages. Also yes, I would like this to be delayed :) I've saved 6 frames on Phase 1 even when I thought it couldn't be done quicker! I have to redo entire parts of this TAS anyways because each bonus stage's balloon RNG changed just from beating Phase 1 quicker. I'd rather have an even more optimized TAS submitted so I hope I don't take too much longer! ;)
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Weegeechan15 wrote:
Also yes, I would like this to be delayed :) I've saved 6 frames on Phase 1 even when I thought it couldn't be done quicker! I have to redo entire parts of this TAS anyways because each bonus stage's balloon RNG changed just from beating Phase 1 quicker. I'd rather have an even more optimized TAS submitted so I hope I don't take too much longer! ;)
It's always so refreshing to see attitudes like this. I can't wait to see the even more optimized version!
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It might be worth seeing how many balloons are on-screen when the 20th balloon spawns, because collecting exactly those ones (as interestingly as possible) should end the bonus stages as quickly as possible. Waiting for the 20 balloons to fly off the screen would be a lot slower (and I think there's a 'NO BONUS' flash when you collect no balloons -- checking that now -- which would be slower still than collecting at least one balloon, as is done in the encode).
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Well guys, I did it! :) I shortened this run down from 2:44 to 2:39! Thanks for everyone's help and support. I posted a new encode in the submission text along with some new screenshot suggestions due to frame differences. Here's the download for the new movie file: http://tasvideos.org/userfiles/info/25232880317148660 It seems I can't change the submission file so is it possible for one of the staff to do it?
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Got you covered, Weegeechan :)
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The main stages were nicely choreographed. The bonus stages, while a bit slow, were still entertaining enough to keep me interested all the way through. Definitely a great first effort!
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Nice improved! But did you compare your every bonus stages? you may find something interested. A B C B-A C-B 1012 2839 3198 1827 359 4150 5655 6032 1505 377 6962 8471 8861 1509 390 Did you think about why this happened? Edit: comparison: http://www.mediafire.com/watch/3e35rgok4u39194/Balloon_Fight.mp4
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mtvf1 wrote:
Nice improved! But did you compare your every bonus stages? you may find something interested. A B C B-A C-B 1012 2839 3198 1827 359 4150 5655 6032 1505 377 6962 8471 8861 1509 390 Did you think about why this happened? Edit: comparison: http://www.mediafire.com/watch/3e35rgok4u39194/Balloon_Fight.mp4
Thanks for going to the trouble of making that video! Bonus 1 is actually different than the other two because the first balloon doesn't spawn until later so it will always be slower. BUT, I managed to manipulate the last bonus stage by killing the last bird in phase 9 slower. I got the balloon RNG to change so that it was possible to grab only 4 balloons to end the stage quicker! It turns out that bonus stage RNG changes what seems like every frame so I played around with a lot of the ending frames to finally get the proper stage! I saved 23 milliseconds thanks to that. It is also possible to manipulate the second bonus stage to only need 4 balloons but it doesn't save any time in the end. The reason is because bonus 3 still requires manipulation meaning the 12-14 frames saved from bonus 2 would be lost. It also turns out that the results screen can't be brought up sooner than frame 8467 anyways. SO, without further ado, here's my FINAL version of this TAS: http://tasvideos.org/userfiles/info/25254033441215639 I'm really sorry to want to change it again but I want this to be as optimal as it can be. :P