This was my first try for a TAS and JPC-RR, so I just jumped off the deep end here ...
- I followed the instructions for JPC-RR, http://tasvideos.org/EmulatorResources/JPC.html, for setup of the sound card. It did work, so I thought nothing more of it - what would be the correct settings here?
- Played around with that in my first WIP, although I just did it to kill time, but if I remember correctly I made a mental note of possibly using it to avoid damage from enemies.
- I discovered the positioning tricks after publishing that video, since I did some more thorough research after not beating the RTA record for mission 2 :)
- I don't remember why I put the troopers there, but probably because I thought the rockets did more damage.
- Here I just mimicked the RTA WR, but in later tries I noticed the trike fired at the building when I was positioned correctly with my unit.
- I wasn't aware that it could be defeated with military victory. That might be worth a try in the map were Harkonnen starts on the top, which gives easy positioning for extra damage. I also noticed in the "insider's guide" that mission 1 has both credits and MV listed as conditions - is MV possible there also?
Have done a handful of runs up to capturing the harvester, and when it didn't improve my time I just restarted. Also tried figuring out the RNG for harvesting, which would be super helpful in later levels, but after looking at the source code for OpenDune it doesn't seem to be an easy way to do it.
I started on a run to maximize the credits to be stolen when taking over the construction yard, but I think I'll just try doing a MV-run to see how that turns out.
Experienced Forum User, Experienced player, Judge
Good to see you're still around! I'll try to help out as best I can.
I'm not that well-versed in JPC-RR, so I can't help you with the sound settings. Someone in the MS-DOS emulator subforum or on IRC or Discord can probably help.
That mission 1 can be won by military victory is wrong, as far as I know. It should be like this:
Mission 1: Spice only
Mission 2: Spice or Military
Mission 3-9: Military only
For the trick on mission 1, did you try other ways than entering the construction menu? I think using Restart, or Save+Load, also works.
That stuff about the harvester RNG is interesting. I had no idea that spice collection rate varied. Even if you manage to figure it out though, you still need some way to affect RNG, preferably by player input, so you can cause it to always pick up spice. (And preferably, never decrease spice on the ground.) I guess this could be used to deny the enemy spice, too.
Looking forward to a test of MV! I did it in real time in 4 ingame minutes, but I don't know how much real-time that was, or how much it could be improved with TAS tools.
I got it fixed by using "I5" instead of "I7" in the BLASTER-variable, so the voices are there now when I click on units! A subtle detail that's easy to miss :)
I double checked mission 1, with Harkonnen, and it didn't finish the level when I killed all enemy units, so it's spice only.
I only replicated the RTA run, and at the time only the construction version was used, and I guess it's the fastest one if the game still counts ticks when inside the construction menu.
If you search through the source code for the RNG-function, you'll find it being used for randomizing animation and other things. It doesn't seem to be any other way than through animation it can be manipulated actively.
So as it stands now it's "impossible" to control it consistently; so I guess harvester micromanagement will be the way to go.
Did a test TAS of the beginning of mission 1 and noticed that the voices suddenly disappeared after the announcer says "Warning enemy unit approaching from ...", it actually silences right after "Warning".
Found this thread describing the problem, and tried a run using the "fixed" PAK-files, but with those there was no voices at all. I think this is against the "tampering" rule anyway.
Verified that it didn't happen in DOSBox, so I'm not sure if it can be fixed by using some other settings, will have to try different setups.
I did also discover a reliable way to trigger the "1000 credits" bug, which is usable for RTA too. Immediately after starting the mission, you press F3 to open the construction menu, and press B to start building a concrete slab. After the building has used 1 credit you press F3 and B again, and when the screen is closed you press O to put the building on hold. If you did it correctly the credits should now stay at 1000, and is faster than restarting the mission.
Link to video
So I did a run of mission 2, which unfortunately desynced at the start of mission 2.
Can the sound issues be the cause of the desync? I made a video after the desync occurs and music/voices are gone.
However, military victory results in 2 minutes and 24 seconds from start to victory, which is a 1 minute and 40 seconds improvement over the "refinery capture"-method.
Forgot to make the troops attack the barracks at the end, so there might be some time to save there.
Here's the video from the remaining part of mission 2:
Link to video
Experienced Forum User, Experienced player, Judge
I don't follow with the desync problems. It desynced, but you remade it? I don't know what the cause could be.
Anyway, amazing to see that going for the suggested military victory worked out so well. You already noted that the troopers attack the wrong unit at the end. Some other thoughts:
1) About the quad attacking the soldier right at the start, at 0:04. Does the soldier even do enough damage to bring the quad down to half health? With correct positioning, it only does 1 damage per attack, and the quad has 130 hp, meaning it has to attack 65 times. The harvester should get there and crush it sooner than that, no?
2) After the Windtrap goes down, the troopers use their weaker missile attack against the Silo. I happens later on too. Would it be better to assign a closer target? Perhaps they can be moved between attacks? It isn't a huge difference (4 vs 5 damage) so don't bother too much about it.
3) At the end, you should probably sacrifice the troopers by entering buildings. This deals 90 instant damage (45 hp * 2) assuming the troopers have full health, and that the building has more than 90*2 = 180 hp left.
The trooper takes over the building if the building has less than 25% health remaining. For the buildings in question, this is:
Refinery: 450/4 = 112 hp
Const.yard: 400/4 = 100 hp
Windtrap: 200/4 = 50 hp
Silo: 150/4 = 37 hp
(Barracks and Radar outposts cannot be taken over. They are unfortunately the last remaining buildings in your movie.)
The 90 to 111 instant damage can be compared with the 5 the trooper does every attack otherwise, so it's pretty significant, corresponding to 18 attacks. Even if the order of building destruction at the end isn't changed, if you sacrificed them before the last two buildings, it would probably still save time.
Stylistically, I think it would be interesting to see the health status of the buildings as they're going down, if you're just waiting anyway.
Practically any settings change will make a desync happen in JPC-rr, which is why it's very important to get your settings finalized before starting to make your movie. That said, last year I created an improvement to the emulator to make recovering from a desync a lot less tedious. It also contains the ability to drag the mouse pointer which I think would be useful in making your run. I highly recommend checking it out!