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Pause Ahead is a freeware Windows game (download) about pause glitch abuse. No, really, I'm serious.
The game concept was inspired by a tweet by Molydeux which says: "What if the pause button was a weapon? Until developers think outside the box we’re going downhill.".
The game was developed by Askiisoft in 48 hours for MolyJam 2012, and later improved and enhanced into its homonymous widely more known Flash version.

Encode

Note: for some reason, only the BGM can be heard in the encode. I was unable to fix this, sorry.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Hourglass-r81
  • Completing game in the lowest real-time possible
  • Genre: platform

Comments

Optimizing the pausing power was everything I had to make this TAS. When used, the enemies, the time limit, the player speed and acceleration will keep still until you press again the key. Also, spikes will become unharmful. This game is all about timing. Pausing in the wrong instant may result in getting stuck into the spikes or an enemy, and thus, dying.

Level 1

Well.

Level 2

Pause used to get straight to the exit.

Level 3

"Magically moving saws" faced, no need to pause.

Level 4

Thanks to the pause power, the "Guys borrowed from Bowser" didn't even notice my presence.

Level 5

A very simple level desined to make the player discover the magic.

Level 6

Quite hard level for causal play... but not for TASing.

Level 7

This is where the challenge actually started. In order to save some frames, I had to plan the route a bit.

Level 8

The initial time limit in this level is 2 seconds. The only way to beat the level, is to use the pause power to stop time, a lot. This actually forces you to spend more real time, because you don't have enough time to gain maximum speed after every turning. I touched the first two walls in order to decelerate istantly, even if this forced me to walk longer. I arrived just in time to the hourglass, which adds 20 seconds.

Level 9

2 seconds left again. Some more route planning was necessary to optimize completion time.

Epilogue

I combined jump with pause in order to stop input earlier. This resulted in a better real-time, in exange to in-game time.

Possible improvements

Maybe a frame or two can be saved during the last 3 levels, but I doubt it.

Suggested screenshot

I think this is the most explanatory screen, because shows the most memorable part of the game, that is the moment most players realize what's the game about. Also, it doesn't show the ugly early enemy graphics.

feos: Synced, judging...
feos: This run was really challenging to judge. Pause Ahead looks like a serious game, not a mere teaser of its successor, the Flash version, even though if feels like one. But this aspect wasn't the reason of my decision, neither was this run's optimality.
The real problem here is that Hourglass can't dump sound effects for this game. This sounds like a minor issue, but let's have a detailed look at all the complexity of the problem.
We've already had a Windows game submission rejected only because Hourglass can't dump any audio for it. After it was judged, FractalFusion posted, that if a stable method to provide an encode with no av desync is found, such runs might have an exception in our policy, Play Games That Are Emulated Well.
And indeed, both Warp and Pause Ahead are the games whose movies are short and can be dumped so that their audio syncs with their video. But when it comes to an exception in the policies, it becomes really hard to sort out.
We have a few ways to resolve this situation, where only the lack of easy encoding method is what leads to rejection.
  • Ignore and keep rejecting such runs. This is not the most pleasant option, but it feels stable and has no technical downsides.
  • Accept runs that require some work to get their audio dumped. This leads to further issues:
    • If we keep accepting them all, we can end up in a situation when a long run is submitted, and no encoder can dump its audio fully without av desyncs, or without too much extra work to make it sync.
    • If we only accept them on a case-by-vase basis, we end up in a situation where a run such as described above can not be encoded by those of the publishers/encoders/users who are available at the moment, but then after it's rejected, a user who can encode it shows up. And we kinda have to unreject it again.
So it all still ends up totally dependent on volunteers, and we can not guarantee we have those every time.
Moreover, even if we have the volunteers, once you rely on a method that involves live recording of the audio stream as the movie is being replayed in the emulator, you have no control over how well it goes. The game, the emulator, the OS can randomly have minor lags during the process. This leads to those lags present in the final audio stream. If it's just a progressing av desync, it can be fought, but if it's a floating av desync, you won't wish on your enemy to deal with it! Because there's literally no way to really make sure it's matching the intended audio output perfectly, at any point in time. For the record, .kkapture would dump it properly, but doesn't work with Hourglass, because Hourglass doesn't actually output any media content, it forces the games to do that.
This problem could be avoided if a run is short enough, but again, there's no stable and easy to handle way to work around this, especially for a longer run. So we had a staff discussion about this problem, and the absolute majority thinks we should not start accepting such runs without the perfectly stable ways to dump AVI of them.
So the policy remains unbent, and this run is rejected. Thanks for your attention.

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This topic is for the purpose of discussing #5317: ThunderAxe31's Windows Pause Ahead in 00:59.42
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I like this game. I like this TAS. Yes :p
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Post subject: Re: #5317: ThunderAxe31's Windows Pause Ahead in 00:59.42
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Although I enjoy the run and the mechanic, I really think you should run the full version of this game. Your version has nine levels and no real ending; it feels more like a beta of the actual game. The full version has about 20 levels, a boss battle, and a secret extra-hard ending. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV659Tg8BoQ
Post subject: Re: #5317: ThunderAxe31's Windows Pause Ahead in 00:59.42
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Radiant wrote:
Although I enjoy the run and the mechanic, I really think you should run the full version of this game. Your version has nine levels and no real ending; it feels more like a beta of the actual game. The full version has about 20 levels, a boss battle, and a secret extra-hard ending. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV659Tg8BoQ
The full version is also done in Flash, so....
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Post subject: Re: #5317: ThunderAxe31's Windows Pause Ahead in 00:59.42
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arandomgameTASer wrote:
Radiant wrote:
Although I enjoy the run and the mechanic, I really think you should run the full version of this game. Your version has nine levels and no real ending; it feels more like a beta of the actual game. The full version has about 20 levels, a boss battle, and a secret extra-hard ending. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV659Tg8BoQ
The full version is also done in Flash, so....
That's why I would wait to have some Flash-oriented rerecord tool. I'll try to work out something in the next months... And yes, I already know about the relative forum topic.
my personal page - my YouTube channel - my GitHub - my Discord: ThunderAxe31#1512 <Masterjun> if you look at the "NES" in a weird angle, it actually clearly says "GBA"
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Such a tool doesn't exist yet. Gnash is shit, and flashplayer doesn't run in hourglass.
Warning: When making decisions, I try to collect as much data as possible before actually deciding. I try to abstract away and see the principles behind real world events and people's opinions. I try to generalize them and turn into something clear and reusable. I hate depending on unpredictable and having to make lottery guesses. Any problem can be solved by systems thinking and acting. If TASing is meta-play, TASVideos Movie Rules are meta-meta-play!
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I sorta feel like this wasn't a good game to TAS.
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feos wrote:
Such a tool doesn't exist yet. Gnash is shit, and flashplayer doesn't run in hourglass.
I know. That's why I said "I'll wait" and "I'll try to work out something".
Ford wrote:
I sorta feel like this wasn't a good game to TAS.
I feel the same, so I already know this may get rejected. Also, in the case it gets accepted, it would easily get obsoleted on the day a run done on the actual Flash version is made.
my personal page - my YouTube channel - my GitHub - my Discord: ThunderAxe31#1512 <Masterjun> if you look at the "NES" in a weird angle, it actually clearly says "GBA"
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Pros: Optimized. Easy for newcomers to follow. Cons: Rather unimpressive for a TAS.
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It's a bit hard to be unimpressive enough in game choice to get rejected. [2891] DS You Have to Burn the Rope DS by NitroGenesis in 00:25.87
Warning: When making decisions, I try to collect as much data as possible before actually deciding. I try to abstract away and see the principles behind real world events and people's opinions. I try to generalize them and turn into something clear and reusable. I hate depending on unpredictable and having to make lottery guesses. Any problem can be solved by systems thinking and acting. If TASing is meta-play, TASVideos Movie Rules are meta-meta-play!
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Yes vote. Also, thanks for telling me about this game, the full flash version is really fun.
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When I first played (the Flash version) years ago, I immediately wondered what a TAS would look like, with precise control to preserve momentum and choose your angle. Thanks for satisfying my curiosity, as much as the current tools will allow. Yes vote. I'm biased toward the game, but it's short enough that I didn't get bored watching the whole thing at 50% speed.
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Does anybody know if this version was intended to be just a demo/playable teaser for the actual flash version, or the latter was a separate idea? I can only find "play online" kinds of links on google instead of useful information.
Warning: When making decisions, I try to collect as much data as possible before actually deciding. I try to abstract away and see the principles behind real world events and people's opinions. I try to generalize them and turn into something clear and reusable. I hate depending on unpredictable and having to make lottery guesses. Any problem can be solved by systems thinking and acting. If TASing is meta-play, TASVideos Movie Rules are meta-meta-play!
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feos wrote:
Does anybody know if this version was intended to be just a demo/playable teaser for the actual flash version, or the latter was a separate idea? I can only find "play online" kinds of links on google instead of useful information.
There are no evidences pointing that this game is a demo/playable teaser of any sort. The game itself was developed for a contest, and has no actual plot; in the Flash version instead there is a very deep and mysterious plot. On the official Askiisoft site there is no mention of the Windows version of the game, but on their YouTube channel there is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIPPmeiDzmE Note the description: "A run and jump platformer in which pausing the game will cause your player to maintain momentum. Made in 48 hours for MolyJam 2012." On the same channel there is also a video featuring the Flash version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpSly-UsvOg Which description reads: "Trailer for the upcoming flash version of Pause Ahead." I hope this suffice.
my personal page - my YouTube channel - my GitHub - my Discord: ThunderAxe31#1512 <Masterjun> if you look at the "NES" in a weird angle, it actually clearly says "GBA"
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Given 'The game was developed by Askiisoft in 48 hours for MolyJam 2012', the impression I get is that Askiisoft made it very quickly for the gamejam requirements, and then sometime afterwards decided that the concept was so cool it would be worth revisiting and fleshing out into a bigger game.
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What Hourglass settings are required for playback? I get "The game crashed..." with default settings in Hourglass r81. Edit: Never mind. I believe it doesn't work in Hourglass in Windows 7 because of an Nvidia driver regression in 2011 which also prevented Cave Story from running properly in Hourglass. I am waiting with great anticipation on Hourglass-resurrection to work around this. Warepire is aware. Nitsuja, please come back and halp!
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ThunderAxe31, did you try using hourglass resurrection for that game, to see if it can run it and dump it properly? https://files.tasvideos.org/emulatordownloads/hourglass/Hourglass-Resurrection-debug-interim.zip
Warning: When making decisions, I try to collect as much data as possible before actually deciding. I try to abstract away and see the principles behind real world events and people's opinions. I try to generalize them and turn into something clear and reusable. I hate depending on unpredictable and having to make lottery guesses. Any problem can be solved by systems thinking and acting. If TASing is meta-play, TASVideos Movie Rules are meta-meta-play!
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So... Looks like Hourglass is unable to capture the sound effects of this game. I can only guess that the sound effects are encoded as MIDI audio format. I tried to search for more data inside the game, but the only useful information I found inside the exe file is this image:
my personal page - my YouTube channel - my GitHub - my Discord: ThunderAxe31#1512 <Masterjun> if you look at the "NES" in a weird angle, it actually clearly says "GBA"
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Please wait some more time I think I found some Game Maker decompiler, it may help a lot
my personal page - my YouTube channel - my GitHub - my Discord: ThunderAxe31#1512 <Masterjun> if you look at the "NES" in a weird angle, it actually clearly says "GBA"
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ThunderAxe31 wrote:
Please wait some more time I think I found some Game Maker decompiler, it may help a lot
I haven't seen that post, but in any case, bring it up when you're done. What we'll need here is either the game being tweaked to allow sfx dumping, or ideas how to improve Hourglass to fix it. Right now, even the person in favor of this submission doesn't feel like fixing Hourglass blindly. Note: Warepire sent me a patch made by natt that was intended to fix midi for some game, but after I applied it, Hourglass didn't improve regarding this game.
Warning: When making decisions, I try to collect as much data as possible before actually deciding. I try to abstract away and see the principles behind real world events and people's opinions. I try to generalize them and turn into something clear and reusable. I hate depending on unpredictable and having to make lottery guesses. Any problem can be solved by systems thinking and acting. If TASing is meta-play, TASVideos Movie Rules are meta-meta-play!
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I'm sorry to have made all of you having an hard time with this submission. By the way, I'll keep researching about this game, in order to help the developing of Hourglass Resurrection.
my personal page - my YouTube channel - my GitHub - my Discord: ThunderAxe31#1512 <Masterjun> if you look at the "NES" in a weird angle, it actually clearly says "GBA"
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Looking forward to the next TAS of this game (or the full version)! :)
My Chiptune music, made in Famitracker: http://soundcloud.com/patashu My twitch. I stream mostly shmups & rhythm games http://twitch.tv/patashu My youtube, again shmups and rhythm games and misc stuff: http://youtube.com/user/patashu