Submission Text Full Submission Page
... Eh? I had this run in userfiles for over a year now?!

Goals

  1. Clear 48 tracks
    • Each loop is 24 tracks. The 3rd+ loop is identical to the 2nd loop.
  2. Collect all items
    • Allowing a CPU to pick up an item for me is considered a failure for this goal.
  3. Always 1st place
    • Requires a few techniques that wouldn't be seen in standard any%
For the 48 tracks goal, this is enough to clear two loops of the game. It is otherwise an endless game that will just keep on going. I have looked over some of the speeds the rivals move at, and on the 49th track, they are identical to what is seen on the 25th track, so in terms of difficulty, things are right back to where they were then. Even on the trophy screen, clearing track 49 will replace trophy 25! By all measure other than the numeric track counter, we're back on track 25 after clearing track 48. This is therefore a natural stopping point for any TAS.
All items and always 1st place are simply chosen as a way to maximize potential differences from any%, and should this run be unacceptable for Moons, I submit that this is the closest possible of a 100% definition the game will ever reach. If it's unacceptable as a 100% goal for Vault, then I would suggest it is impossible to provide a satisfactory 100% definition that fits the Vault tier (nothing wrong with that in itself, as 100% definitions depend on the game). Besides that, several races are fastest done where the player gets 1st anyway, and would look identical to the any% run in such races where I didn't add in the "all items" restriction.
PRG1 was chosen because it happened to be the version I had available. I made no analysis into differences of version.
The "end input early" standard that TASes seem to be submitted in is done here as well. Frankly, this is not something I like to do, as I'm a believer that null input is still input, and if the game isn't done, there's still more input to the game. One reason is that ending input like this makes track 48 end humorously (although whether anyone's left who's still engaged in watching this TAS is another question). Secondly, I do not have a proper TASing set-up after a change of laptops, so I'm not able to, conveniently, adjust the input to my personal liking. I've put off submitting this run for over a year, and I'm kicking myself for having forgotten this run until now, so I'm submitting it as is before I put it off another moment for some ambiguous moment where I actually get FCEUX ready for use on this file.

Game Mechanics

Leaving the game alone for over a year doesn't do well with whatever notes I've taken or what I could remember. Still, I have these to share.

NINTENDO letters

Picking up eight of the letters will upgrade your vehicle from the truck to the van, and later the car. The power-ups are reset, but the stats generally are that the new empty vehicle is simply better than the old maxed-out vehicle. After the final upgrade to the car, the only effect of picking up the letters is a time-wasting scoring animation every 8th letter collected, but a goal is to pick up every item, including these letters, so you can see for yourself.

Top Speed

This number isn't static. In general, each upgrade gives +2 MPH to top speed, and the next vehicle (empty of any upgrades) has +2 MPH over the prior, maxed-out vehicle. There is one spot in this upgrade chain where you actually get +3 MPH instead, but it "fixes" itself by giving you +1 MPH further down the chain. While the accelerator is held, your vehicle will try to match this speed. Note that steering will reduce the top speed.
As if this wasn't enough, speed only works in blocks of 8 MPH. That is to say, going at 71 MPH is no better than traveling along at 64 MPH. When top speed is just above one of these thresholds, steering loses can very easily drop you below it, so one strategy is to try to get as much gentle steering as possible when entering and exiting each turn, so that you spend less time at the lowered speed. When top speed is just below a threshold, you are free to glare at just how close you are to it, but it also means a wider buffer for turning, as well as keeping boosted speed at an upper threshold for longer.
Also, spinning out over oil slicks locks your speed for a moment.

Steering

When attempting to turn, the vehicle will steer by either 2 units or 4, depending on the frame count (odd or even). Its momentum, on the other hand, does not change so readily, dependent on tire upgrades, the vehicle you're using, and current speed. The typical strategy is to turn as hard as you can to properly take each curve, then straighten out afterwards to restore your top speed.
The difference of facing and momentum affects top speed. The farther apart the two are, the worse the speed drop. In addition, there is a limit to how great a difference the two are allowed. If you try to steer past this limit, momentum will suddenly keep up to stay within this limit. The limit does go up the higher your current speed is, making it more difficult to use the faster momentum shift as the vehicle's speed gets upgraded.
As for the natural momentum shifts, when you're not using the limit described above, that depends on some unknown formula of speed, vehicle, and tire upgrades. The speed becomes irrelevant when the current vehicle has maximum tire upgrades, getting a fixed rate of 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 per frame depending on vehicle. Well, more like 1/256 below each specified value, or 2/256 below the 2.0 rate, but that's a pretty small difference. The net effect is that a "gentle" steering that doesn't reduce top speed can be done at a greater rate, but it also makes it harder to use the momentum limit for the average 3.0 rate. With the final vehicle and the final tire upgrade, the 2.0 rate is still a bit too low for hairpins, yet no matter how hard I steer, because it's constantly applying that 2.0 the whole time, it takes longer to hit the limit and start enjoying the 3.0 rate.
By the way, there is no "gentle steering" control. It's just tapping left or right on the D-pad at a sparse rate, so that momentum has time to catch up to facing.

Items

The roll cages can be picked up by CPU cars. By the rules I've defined, letting them do so means I fail my goal. This sometimes means I have to go out of my way in lap 1 to get these before they do.
Bombs and missiles can be used to destroy rivals for a few moments. Apparently enough hits against any of the rivals means the orange car goes really fast. I do not know the details, just that I'm aware of the potential for any% to get races done sooner.
The power-ups, in addition to giving a permanent boost, also give a temporary speed boost. I believe the target speed is 111 MPH, just short of the 112 MPH threshold. The speed arrows set speed to 127 MPH.
Skull items are strictly disadvantageous, with zero score and you lose one ammo. It's an item. I'm still picking it up.

Final Notes

It's been way, way too long since completion of the TAS and my submission. I've forgotten too many things to give a proper analysis in my submission text, so there's some loss in information from when I finished it. Kind of upsetting, actually. I'm submitting this file without FCEUX set up on any computer I'm using, as I do not want to put off any more hours to submitting this thing already.
I do not know if this is Moons worthy. Based on distant memories, the CPUs don't give an appreciable challenge to the TAS in the first half, but start to become more interesting in the second half. If not, consider if the goals presented fit well enough as a 100% requirement of Vault.
Lastly, for anyone working on any%, this TAS should give a fairly decent starting point for how quickly the player can get 1st place. Well, I do pick up every item, so perhaps a second or two can be cut off for skipping useless pick-ups. As well, you may want my script to get at some information. Even if this run doesn't make it, knowing whether the player or the orange car can finish 1st faster will still be very good to know without having to run two passes of each track.

ThunderAxe31: Claiming for judgment.
ThunderAxe31: This is an interesting case. In this game there are 24 unique tracks that loop endlessly, and the difficulty increases only once after finishing the first loop, so any race after the 48th doesn't feature any new content or harder challenge; the awards screen does also reflect this, since it features a maximum of 48 trophies. So beating the 48th race is clearly the completion point for this game.
While this run is enough entertaining to be accepted for the Moons tier, I have to note that its goal is also applicable for Vault, as full game completion: in this game, a race counts as beaten as long as you don't get last place, and in most cases getting 1st place is slower due to the game mechanics. However, every time the player is placed 1st, a gold trophy is awarded instead of a silver or a bronze one; for this reason, getting 1st in all races fits the "maximum points" criteria for Vault. Instead, getting all items is considered as a speed/entertainment tradeoff, since a run that ignores getting all items could still obsolete this run. For these reasons, I'm renaming the branch for this submission to "all gold trophies".
Accepting for Moons as full game completion.
feos: Pub.

TASVideoAgent
They/Them
Experienced Forum User, Moderator
Joined: 8/3/2004
Posts: 12395
Location: 127.0.0.1
This topic is for the purpose of discussing #5812: FatRatKnight's NES R.C. Pro-Am "all gold trophies" in 39:06.22
Editor, Experienced Forum User, Publisher, Skilled player (1229)
Joined: 10/12/2011
Posts: 6020
Location: The land down under.
PSX TASer of 2016
Hijacking my own comment: Here's a temp encode provided by someone who won't go and do something else after promising to provide one: Link to video (It'll be HD whenever YouTube knows how to process) --- Original Comment Below --- Game dumps incorrectly compared to an actual console. Just as a point out. And I'm stating this to FCEUX, BizHawk (NESHawk & QuickNES) as well as Mesen. The bottom is being cut off. FCEUX: Console:
WebNations/Sabih wrote:
+fsvgm777 never censoring anything.
Disables Comments and Ratings for the YouTube account. These colours are pretty neato, and also these.
Alyosha
He/Him
Editor, Experienced Forum User, Expert player (2821)
Joined: 11/30/2014
Posts: 2467
Location: US
NES TASer of 2015
That’s pretty weird. Looks like an IRQ issue, I’ll take a look at it tonight.
Dimon12321
He/Him
Active player, Experienced Forum User (333)
Joined: 4/5/2014
Posts: 960
Location: Ukraine
Wow! That's how a TAS should look like. Is there any point in grabbing stars, skulls and shields? I don't mind of this: ignoring them won't save even a second, but they just give you some score. Am I wrong? Anyway, I definitely found it entertaining. Yes vote! Now it's old: https://youtu.be/oe7dEW3HOBE
TASing is like making a film: only best takes are shown in the final movie.
Experienced Forum User, Experienced player, Site Admin (974)
Joined: 4/17/2010
Posts: 10601
Location: RU
NES TAS of 2011
If it syncs on a fixed version, I think it should be encoded on that.
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!
Editor, Experienced Forum User, Skilled player (1168)
Joined: 9/27/2008
Posts: 1072
I seem to recall finding some option to change how many pixels vertically to display in FCEUX. Not as though this would solve the underlying issue, but it might let us display the lower part with an unusual resolution. For that matter, the upper eight pixels we normally don't see are apparently also used by this game. As for why I pick up everything: This is an all items TAS. I pick up all items. That is part of the specified goals.
Experienced Forum User, Experienced player, Judge, Moderator (841)
Joined: 9/12/2016
Posts: 1509
Location: Southern Italy
Gameboy TASer of 2017
I apologize for not posting my encode, but Spikestuff posted one of the same quality before mine was finished to be encoded. My PC is 12 years old. Also, I've dumped it with FCEUX 2.2.3 (it synced from start to end) but it features the same graphical problem that Spikestuff pointed out.
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"
Active player, Experienced Forum User (338)
Joined: 10/4/2015
Posts: 84
Maybe I don't have nostalgia for this game, but it seems like most of the tracks were almost identical. "meh" vote, because I think it's acceptable to vault. But I'm not convinced that 100% is any more entertaining than any% as a goal.
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 6/29/2016
Posts: 53
Spikestuff wrote:
Game dumps incorrectly compared to an actual console. Just as a point out. And I'm stating this to FCEUX, BizHawk (NESHawk & QuickNES) as well as Mesen. The bottom is being cut off.
Your FCEUX screenshot is only 224px tall - the NES' vertical resolution is 240px. Afaik, both FCEUX and Mesen default to cutting 8px on the top and bottom edges, which is most likely why you're seeing the same behavior in both emulators. Both emulators should look like the console capture you posted if you remove the overscan cropping.
Alyosha
He/Him
Editor, Experienced Forum User, Expert player (2821)
Joined: 11/30/2014
Posts: 2467
Location: US
NES TASer of 2015
Tested on BizHawk and yeah you need to use the full screen settings. For NesHawk go to NES -> Graphics Settings -> Full [0,239] You can do a similar thing in FCEUX in config -> video
Active player, Experienced Forum User (348)
Joined: 9/25/2011
Posts: 647
Speedy TAS of 2015
Very nice! I was impressed at level 19 how long you held top speed. One question: When you left an item behind, did you have to drive around the whole track to find out if an opponent had taken it?
Editor, Experienced Forum User, Skilled player (1168)
Joined: 9/27/2008
Posts: 1072
c-square wrote:
When you left an item behind, did you have to drive around the whole track to find out if an opponent had taken it?
The only items I'm aware of they can take are the roll cages / shields / color-flashy-make-others-spin-out-on-contact-power. Everything else looks to be player exclusive. I generally listen to the game sounds to detect whether a rival took something. Even if not that, I also wait long enough to see if the CPU is flashing different colors, which definitely tells me one of them picked up a roll cage. Again, I never worried about them taking any other item, and I never observed those items missing on my next lap.
Experienced Forum User, Skilled player (1501)
Joined: 7/1/2013
Posts: 424
Arcade TASer of 2017Arcade TAS of 2016Exotic platforms TASer of 2014Exotic platforms TAS of 2014
This is the TAS that this game deserves! It's unsettling to see the Drones easily overtake the player on the straightaways...even when the player vehicle has max upgrades. Yes vote!
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 4/5/2011
Posts: 4
Location: USA
I've wanted to see a TAS for this game since before TASes were a thing. Thanks for doing this!
Experienced Forum User, Player (230)
Joined: 7/30/2006
Posts: 207
Location: Alefgard, USA
Dang.... toward the end, (level 48) even looks difficult for a TAS-racer to win them! I'm wondering if they put level 48 in there as the "kill screen" for this game, thinking no one would beat it. Yes vote - I thought it was very entertaining, and I like the all items all first place goal. But I do have a question - why did you not use your bombs on level 48 to blow up the cars when they got behind you?
Editor, Experienced Forum User, Skilled player (1168)
Joined: 9/27/2008
Posts: 1072
dave_dfwm wrote:
why did you not use your bombs on level 48 to blow up the cars when they got behind you?
It's faster not to bomb them. Actually, because of just how blazingly fast they are, it's obvious they can pass me. I drive in their way as this actually pushes me forward. Bombing them means they're not around to push me. Of note, getting in their way in realtime is nearly impossible. The game actually pushes your center away from the rival's center with the most direct line possible. This in itself has negative stability. Furthermore, CPUs will try to drive side to side to avoid ramming the player in this fashion, so even if a magic spot is found, the rival will invalidate that magic spot in a few frames. I also recalled another trick I did later in the TAS I didn't take advantage of earlier. Releasing the accelerator while on a speed arrow tweaks with the sub-speed values, so when I realized its potential, from then on, I tried to maximize the sub-speed as I leave each speed arrow.
GJTASer2018
He/Him
Experienced Forum User
Joined: 1/24/2018
Posts: 180
Location: Stafford, NY
FatRatKnight wrote:
dave_dfwm wrote:
why did you not use your bombs on level 48 to blow up the cars when they got behind you?
It's faster not to bomb them.
Not to mention in this game aggressively attacking the computer opponents is a quick way to make it impossible, even with tool assistance, to get first place in a race at all - the yellow car can speed up to several times your car's possible max speed!
FatRatKnight wrote:
I also recalled another trick I did later in the TAS I didn't take advantage of earlier. Releasing the accelerator while on a speed arrow tweaks with the sub-speed values, so when I realized its potential, from then on, I tried to maximize the sub-speed as I leave each speed arrow.
Do you think there is a significant time/frame loss from not utilizing the trick over the course of the whole run?
c-square wrote:
Yes, standard runs are needed and very appreciated here too
Dylon Stejakoski wrote:
Me and the boys starting over our games of choice for the infinityieth time in a row because of just-found optimizations
^ Why I don't have any submissions despite being on the forums for years now...
Post subject: Added: Frame data of each track.
Editor, Experienced Forum User, Skilled player (1168)
Joined: 9/27/2008
Posts: 1072
GJTASer2018 wrote:
Not to mention in this game aggressively attacking the computer opponents is a quick way to make it impossible, even with tool assistance, to get first place in a race at all - the yellow car can speed up to several times your car's possible max speed!
I've never seen anything exceed 127 MPH, however. Yes, early on, this would be a quick way to switch on the super nasty mode of the yellow car, but early in the second loop, all CPU cars hit their 127 MPH cap and stay there all the way to track 48. They get "tamed" again at 49, resetting back to the level 25 difficulty. Regardless, sounds like it's worth a test to be certain. After all, in this run, I let a CPU ram my back as a way to get some kind of boost on a few tracks in the second loop.
GJTASer2018 wrote:
FatRatKnight wrote:
[...] Releasing the accelerator while on a speed arrow tweaks with the sub-speed values, [...]
Do you think there is a significant time/frame loss from not utilizing the trick over the course of the whole run?
Nothing major. We're tweaking with sub-speed values where the MPH will drop rather sharply once we're off the arrow. At best, we'd keep an 8 MPH threshold for another frame or two, and there are a few thresholds on the way back to normal speed. Starting at 72 MPH top speed, we would need 9 threshold-frames worth of savings for a real frame. With a higher top speed, we'd need more threshold-frames as we simply travel a greater distance each frame naturally, but at the same time, we also lose less speed from 127 MPH each frame. I would guess an average of 0.9 frames are lost for every arrow I didn't do this trick on. Basically, I don't even know if it would save a frame for every instance there's an arrow. But once I was aware, there wasn't really any reason to skip this minor trick. EDIT: Found my script. Well, more up to date than this one. EDIT2: Ran script for frame data:
Track 01: 1292    Track 25:  924
Track 02: 1215    Track 26:  899
Track 03: 1615    Track 27: 1275
Track 04: 1338    Track 28: 1115
Track 05: 2004    Track 29: 1584
Track 06: 2401    Track 30: 2062
Track 07: 2411    Track 31: 2023
Track 08: 4461    Track 32: 3700
Track 09: 1904    Track 33: 1624
Track 10: 1107    Track 34:  892
Track 11: 1335    Track 35: 1198
Track 12: 3174    Track 36: 2859
Track 13: 2601    Track 37: 2259
Track 14: 1607    Track 38: 1436
Track 15: 2283    Track 39: 2095
Track 16: 4034    Track 40: 3747
Track 17: 1844    Track 41: 1668
Track 18: 1022    Track 42:  947
Track 19: 3089    Track 43: 2949
Track 20: 1415    Track 44: 1365
Track 21: 2758    Track 45: 2708
Track 22: 2760    Track 46: 2758
Track 23: 1268    Track 47: 1258
Track 24: 8321    Track 48: 8272
Of note, Track 48 has its input end early. If I hadn't, the number would be 8238. It should also be interesting to note that both 24 and 48 involved a completely maxed out car, yet the times are notably improved the second time around. It's that CPU push player effect.
Experienced Forum User, Experienced player, Judge, Moderator (841)
Joined: 9/12/2016
Posts: 1509
Location: Southern Italy
Gameboy TASer of 2017
I hope you don't mind about the fact that I had to drop the "all items" part, it's mainly for the sake of avoiding redaundancy. However, I'm still open to hear opinions about the full completion branch name. I think that "all gold trophies" is the best choice because it's very intuitive, instead of something like "all 1st places" or plain "100%". I don't even consider "maximum points", because that would cause confusion since the game has also a scoring system. Edit:
dave_dfwm wrote:
Dang.... toward the end, (level 48) even looks difficult for a TAS-racer to win them! I'm wondering if they put level 48 in there as the "kill screen" for this game, thinking no one would beat it.
From the official instruction booklet:
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"
Editor, Experienced Forum User, Skilled player (1168)
Joined: 9/27/2008
Posts: 1072
After taking some time to sit on the thoughts for a day, I'm now making a post. The run's objectives: * Clear 48 tracks * All 1st * All items On the first objective, it has been determined that the game has no further content, in both the field and difficulty, after track 48. Well, the field already begins repeating at 24, but the situation is different, in that the difficulty is cranked up a ways, providing a challenge unseen in the prior tracks. Furthermore, the appearance of the trophies would also suggest this, as the 49th trophy outright replaces the 25th trophy should the run have continued. As the TASVideos standard of endless games is to pick a stopping point where beyond it would simply revisit old content, this would be a natural point to expect of a run that completes a game, and therefore has no need for an explicit branch. So, no need to mention 48 tracks. As for all first place, that is some kind of maximum. It is clearly visible as well, as the trophy screen fills with gold trophy after gold trophy. All first places is simply a means to which the effect is gold trophies, and in lieu of a run which uses scoring techniques to improve score, "maximum score" is more appropriate than "maximize scoring actions." As well, there is strong and reasonable evidence that not going after all gold trophies is faster for an any% oriented goal, by the fact races end the instant *anyone* hits the finish line, and the yellow car can be triggered to dash at 127 MPH fairly regularly. So, "all gold trophies" sounds more appropriate than "all 1st." And definitely not leave it blank, as any% would certainly be different than what's here. Finally, the goal which was determined not to be "critical." Picking up all items generally should be obvious enough, although apparently we still got a post questioning why I'm getting items. Aside from score and ammo, after the player car is completely maxed out, items have no lasting impact beyond the tracks they are found in. While I was aiming for a 100% style goal, I apparently overshot and did what many would argue is "too much." Such a goal, then, would be outside of the Vault criteria and make the run unacceptable to that tier, as there isn't anything such items are maximizing, aside from player car status, which hit its maximum before track 24. As it's not a Vault-eligible goal, it can be viewed as a lesser goal to all gold trophies. The fact remains, however, that this TAS explicitly goes for all items, and will differ from one that doesn't. Aside from time wasting animation of the letter pick-ups after the first two sets, the projected time difference of this goal is actually minimal. For what it's worth, eschewing pick-ups would mean some more levels end up identical to a theoretical any%, although it's not like two standards must maximize differences between each other. I'm on the fence about omitting "all items," but it's definitely a smaller impact than "all gold trophies." On a side note, any% would have a pretty good excuse for play-arounds waiting for yellow "mad-dash" car to finish already, while all gold trophies is limited to clearing those races quickly.
Experienced Forum User, Experienced player, Site Admin (974)
Joined: 4/17/2010
Posts: 10601
Location: RU
NES TAS of 2011
Rare is a British company, and the game was one of the earlier ones, so they just used PAL standard TVs, and forgot to account for the cropped scanlines in NTSC. It's an assumption, but I find it very reasonable. In any case, for a US release, we need to crop top and bottom as usual. It's just a programmer's oversight.
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!
Experienced Forum User, Skilled player (1501)
Joined: 7/1/2013
Posts: 424
Arcade TASer of 2017Arcade TAS of 2016Exotic platforms TASer of 2014Exotic platforms TAS of 2014
FatRatKnight wrote:
"maximum score" is more appropriate than "maximize scoring actions."
Agreed. The meaning is clear without convoluting the phrase.
Post subject: Movie published
TASVideoAgent
They/Them
Experienced Forum User, Moderator
Joined: 8/3/2004
Posts: 12395
Location: 127.0.0.1
This movie has been published. The posts before this message apply to the submission, and posts after this message apply to the published movie. ---- [3629] NES R.C. Pro-Am "all gold trophies" by FatRatKnight in 39:06.22