Mega-Lo-Mania is a real-time strategy game released for the Amiga in 1991 and ported to other systems. It was released as Tyrants: Fight Through Time in North America.
This TAS beats all 27 battles plus the final battle Megalomania in 15:55.630
Lag and Optimisation
This game is a nightmare to optimise. For example, if a menu comes up to click a button for the next screen, pressing the button on the soonest frame possible may not load the next screen as fast as possible. Sometimes delaying the press can load the next screen faster. Similarly, moving your cursor to different bits of the screen can make some things load faster. Even holding directional buttons can make tickers tick faster and so on. As such, this game will never be at a point where every frame is squeezed out, but I have tried to squeeze out as much as possible.
I have done some testing with turning off sound effects and music. This saved about 5 frames in most battles but it actually took 100 frames to turn off the sound. I decided to just keep music and sound on as a speed entertainment tradeoff, but I suspect this is faster anyway.
The game consists of 9 Epochs each with 3 battles. You get 100 men per epoch and the number you have rolls over to the next Epoch. Usually you would have to plan out how many men to use and balance the 900 you get over the whole game.
The number of people used in a battle is set based on the counter when you pick your sector, but the number used up is set when the game fades into the battle. This means you can use hundreds of people in a battle, without using any up if you’re quick enough to get it back to 0 before the fade out. This is made easier by: Choosing a low sector, holding the button to keep the fast counter (by 12s), and being the first person to select (as the other people selecting has to happen before the fade out).
This can be used to send up to about 500 men into a battle for free, but in practice it is often less, since it still takes time to tick your counter up to 500.
Optimizing Intended Game Mechanics
Hand picked resources
Different weapons in this game have different recipes. Most early weapons can be made with hand picked resources (wood, tin, bone, rock). These resources are immediately available and don’t need to be mined. Mining is significantly slower and is avoided at all costs. When mining has to be done, recipes are chosen to have some hand-picked resources and some (minimal) mined resources.
Picking optimal sectors
Optimal sectors will depend on what is possible with hand picked resources. The best strategy is to pick sectors which minimise mining. I made a pdf for the best sectors to use with backups for RTA runners. It was also pretty handy for routing the TAS: https://www.speedrun.com/resourceasset/wutgb
Early game – Since barely anything needs mining, the sectors are nearly the same. But some will have more resources than others. For example, Aloha has 66 rocks available in the top, and 50 rocks available in the bottom, so I pick the top.
3rd Epoch – Many 3rd Epoch battles will have just one sector available which gives pikes without mining. This is the part of the game where sector choice matters the most. The enemies are manipulated to not pick these sectors.
4th & 5th Epoch – Mining becomes mandatory from here. Most maps have sectors which allow for just 0.5 or 1 mined resource per weapon, rather than the usual 2 or 3.
Late Game 6th-9th Epoch – Nukes are introduced here. Mining doesn’t matter as much, since we only need to make 2-3 nukes per map. But I try to pick sectors where nukes can be made using some hand picked and some mined resources.
Manipulating Sector Choice Order
Depending how many opponents you have, you can get to choose your sector 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th. Normally you want to choose 1st because you can guarantee you get the best sector and get yourself more people from the men glitch. However, sometimes it is better to have a computer choose first, because you can spend the time that they’re choosing increasing your army numbers without losing time to it ticking up. Choice order is one of the biggest factors affecting RTA speedruns, but it can be dealt with through manipulation in a TAS setting.
The choice order is set at the start of each Epoch and can be manipulated by changing your timing of finishing the battle on the last battle of the prior epoch. Note that changing your timing on clicking off the “finished Epoch” screen doesn’t affect the choice order for the next Epoch. The choice order is manipulated favoribly in this TAS. There also had to be tradeoff between time saved with optimal choice order and time spent manipulating for optimal choice order.
Manipulating Enemy Sector Choices
Enemy sector choices don’t matter too much but they can save a bit of time when done right. In the early game, I manipulate enemies to pick sectors next to me to reduce travel time. In Epoch 5, there is a map called Nausea which normally requires planes to beat, but I manipulate all enemies to share the same island as me so that I can just use cannons. In the late game, I try to keep enemies locked to small islands / landmasses so that they can’t spread out as much. If they spread out it kills a lot of time because you have to nuke both their sectors plus any sectors where they have armies.
Manipulating Enemy Army movement
Subtle movements on the map can change where enemies send their armies. You can’t usually stop them from sending out armies but you can manipulate where they go. I make it so that the army usually returns to their own sector to save me chasing them across the map.
Shutting down sectors
To access the final battle, you must shut down a sector by freezing it. Doing this requires you to advance the sector to 2001 AD. This can be done from the 7th Epoch onwards. To advance a sector to 2001 AD you need to keep researching different things. I shut down the sector in the 9th epoch because you have to research less to get to 2001 than you do in Epoch 7 or 8. When shutting down the sector, you need an army out elsewhere so that you still have some people alive, so I use UFOs rather than nukes in Yoga where I shut down.
Ergonomically Terrific Recipes
Some weapons have a recipe that is “Ergonomically Terrific”, which causes research on it to happen twice as quickly. This happens when you make the weapon out of specific minerals/ingredients. You would think this would be useful, but in reality its usually far more optimal to minimise mining by using specific recipes rather than trying to minimise research time.
You wouldn’t think it, but the cursor movement is quite intricate. You have the 8 directions to move, but can also press the A button to zip to pre-set positions on the UI. Usually pressing A will zip you to your sector on the map, but then it cycles through zipping you to your person, then the play field, then the top of your menuing section. Pressing A to get up to the map is usually quicker than moving up manually.
Midway cursor clicks
Since this game is adapted from a mouse cursor, clicks will work if the cursor is over the thing you’re clicking, even if you aren’t moving to that spot. An example of this is pressing A to go to your own sector on the map, but pressing the enemy sector to send your army in there while your cursor moves over it.
This midway clicking has an application when nuking different sectors. In very specific circumstances when doing what was described above, you can nuke someone and click back onto your sector. This keeps you in the deploy army menu and saves significant time.
Speeding up counters
When placing people on mining, building, etc. the number will tick up by ones. But once you’ve held the button for a while it will tick up by 12s. This faster ticking will remain until you let go of B or C. This means that for the majority of the run, B is held down to keep all tickers ticking up quickly.
Pre-emptive Cursor Positioning
Your cursor position carries over between screens. As such, I move down at the end of each battle to get closer to the start battle button for the next battle.
In a similar matter, I pick the green character to move my cursor closer to the start battle button on Aloha. This is a lot quicker than picking pink, because there is a delay for when you can click your character, meaning you don’t lose any time moving down to green as you’re waiting for the delay.
Map updates – Game Freezing
The game will stop momentarily when the map updates. This could be when you destroy or build something in a sector. It also freezes for a bit when you swap to viewing a new map. Due to this, map updates are minimized where possible. In the early game, I swap back to an empty sector when killing enemies as it saves a bit of time. Viewing sectors being nuked takes a lot of time too, so that is avoided.
I used to think finishing on a nuke was slow, but it’s actually faster to watch the last nuke in a battle play out.
: Sick, I love tyra- Wait, no I don't. Judging.
: Wikipedia lists the name as "Tyrants: Fight Through Time", so I've updated the game name to reflect that.
Anyway, YOU NUKED THEM! I got heavy Civilization
vibes from this, just absolute dominance of a strategy game through careful luck manipulation, creating armies out of nothing, and... Okay, Civilization never reached the nuke stage, but still. This was a joy to watch for me, and it's clear you put a lot of time into this game. Heck, you even handily beat the RTA record from some guy named The8bitbeast
! Mighty impressive work!