(Link to video)
Submission Text Full Submission Page

Introduction

IronSword is a charming action/adventure game that I wish I had played when I was younger. Instead, here I am, shaving 5.2 seconds out of its last stage. This movie was a challenge/consignment by Alyosha, who thought it would be a good idea to apply a bot to the infamous last boss fight in this game.
The final boss fight consists of 4 floting element heads that come and go on a 2D plane, attacking the protagonist. It is particularly difficult to optimize manually, given the butterfly effect-like every decision you make has. I ran the bot on an exceptionally large exploration database while constraining the hero to stay put (he cannot run). And it did find a better solution.
This movie contains only changes to the aforementioned fight (for a longer description of the rest of the game, see [2777] NES Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II by Aglar, Randil, Alyosha, rchokler, Samsara in 07:14.32, and its 315 frame faster solution introduces a seemingly new concept: multi-fire. So it seems you can hack the game into firing multiple times before the previous projectiles leave the screen (if this was known but not used, disregard this paragraph).

Comparison Movie

Software + Hardware

Rom Information

  • Name: Ironsword - Wizards and Warriors 2 (U)
  • SHA1: 03130F8464B3F4418427BF124EB15FBAEB86E09D
  • MD5: CD28188CA6B0A4D1E7C34FA47285BEC9

Emulator

  • EmuHawk 2.8.0 (Core: NesHawk)
Manually resynchronized from a EmuHawk 2.8.0 + QuickNES movie.

Routing Bot

  • Bot: Jaffar
  • Routing Core: QuickNES
  • Platforms:
    • AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X Processor (64 cores, 128 threads) + 256Gb RAM (Average Exploration Performance: 1.1M States/s)
    • 2 x AMD EPYC 7742 Processor (128 cores, 256 threads) + 512Gb RAM (Average Exploration Performance: 2.2M States/s)

Q&A

Q: Why not bot the rest of the game? A: While the bot has achieved success on many 1.5D games (Castlevania, Ninja Gaiden, PoP), where the hero mainly traverses the level horizontally and ocassionaly jumps on a platform, this game is proper 2D. This means that the paths here can have dominant X, Y or diagonal directions. This makes the exploration space much bigger. Although I believe it could be still successful in saving a bunch more frames, it would be a months-long project and I'd like to take a break from juggernaut projects for now (burnout).
Q: Can the final fight be improved? A: Yes, of course. I had to cripple the hero into not being able to run in order to avoid him from pursuing one of the heads and falling to oblivion. If anyone wants to manually optimize this fight making use of the multi-shot and being able to run, then there's a real chance to improve it. But then again, in 5/10 years I believe we'll have powerful enough systems to approach a pretty much perfect solution.

Acknowledgements

Thanks Alyosha for the fun challenge, I look forward to new ones.
Thanks to the authors of the previous movie: Aglar, Randil, Alyosha, rchokler, Samsara. Yours are the giant shoulders on which this movie stands.

feos: Claiming for judging.
feos: Nice improvements! If it's true that everything up to the final boss was done by Aglar and Randil (it's non-trivial to tell since they had a bunch of WIPs, the most optimal of them being unfinished), then the authorship of this movie looks correct, because inputs for the final boss fight in this run are completely different from the predecessor. Accepting over [2777] NES Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II by Aglar, Randil, Alyosha, rchokler, Samsara in 07:14.32.

despoa: Processing...

TASVideoAgent
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ShesChardcore
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I love everything about this game and this TAS. That final boss fight was a thing of beauty. Easy yes vote.
Arc
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You improved only the final boss but claim sole authorship credit?
Alyosha
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Wow what a great improvement, the fight looks so smooth now! Thanks for taking on this challenge, this is some really impressive work. It's really cool to see general purpose botting advancing like this, it's something I wouldn't have considered possible even 5 years ago. Console Verification: Link to video
Challenger
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Wow the bot even manages to optimize very tricky situations such as that infamous final boss fight! Great job optimizing it by over 300 frames, and the fight looks so solid this time. Yes vote.
My homepage --Currently not much motived for TASing as before...-- But I'm still working.
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Arc wrote:
You improved only the final boss but claim sole authorship credit?
Going to agree with Arc on this one as the current publication and this submission are identical all the way until frame 25229. (Bar the reset frame, and the obvious 1 frame difference between FCEUX and BizHawk but that's practically null in terms of differences since it happens at the start.) The 47 rerecords should be added onto the 24334 from the current publication, and the authors of that movie should be correctly acknowledged by being the actual authors to this submission as well. Taking credit for yourself on others works where all you did was change the ending sequence is actually a poor sight to see.
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Spikestuff wrote:
Arc wrote:
You improved only the final boss but claim sole authorship credit?
Going to agree with Arc on this one as the current publication and this submission are identical all the way until frame 25229.
Perhaps the authorship was just a mistake, since they explicitly state they only changed that fight, and thank each of the previous movie's authors by name:
This movie contains only changes to the aforementioned fight (for a longer description of the rest of the game, see [2777] NES Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II by Aglar, Randil, Alyosha, rchokler, Samsara in 07:14.32
Thanks to the authors of the previous movie: Aglar, Randil, Alyosha, rchokler, Samsara. Yours are the giant shoulders on which this movie stands.
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Alyosha
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Everything in the previous movie besides the final boss fight was done by Aglar and Randil, so if anything only they need to be added as authors, although personally I think its fine for eien86 to remain sole author.
eien86
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Thanks for your kind comments! As per the crediting the movie, please do not rush to assume malice. I am fine following the community's opinion as to who should be co-authors. Reading this: [https://tasvideos.org/MovieRules#MovieMustBeProperlyAttributed], it seems to be the case that Aglar and Randil should be credited:
If you are improving a published run, you are only required to credit the previous author if [...] you are directly working off of their input file.
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The elementals don't "come and go" as much as they orbit around Kuros's position. I made a Lua script some years ago that draws their movements. Anyway, nice improvement. Yes vote.
Current Projects: TAS: Wizards & Warriors III.
Post subject: Movie published
TASVideoAgent
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This movie has been published. The posts before this message apply to the submission, and posts after this message apply to the published movie. ---- [4839] NES Ironsword: Wizards & Warriors II by eien86, Aglar & Randil in 07:09.06