This is a WIP of Mario Tennis I spent a few weeks on following the Dream Team Contest. I'm reasonably confident in the long-term route optimization but the individual matches are horribly unoptimized. To preserve my sanity, I basically just tried different inputs until it resulted in an ace. I generally avoided using luck manipulation to ensure that I could get an ace on the next point.
It would save a little walking time to use the training center much later (on the way to the varsity team), but without power-leveling first, it is hard/impossible to ensure aces against your first opponent. Besides, I figure that upgrading power results in the ball bouncing twice and ending the point sooner, which saves time on all of the first four opponents.
Because not all of the lessons are unlocked initially, I avoided the training court until becoming champion of the senior class (not accomplished in this movie). This may have been a mistake. I am currently stuck on an opponent who I cannot consistently beat with one, two, or three shots. I don't know if she could be defeated with a few upgrades to my spin, but level ups are harder to come by at this stage and they tend to come at the cost of other categories.
My upgrade strategy has been pretty simplistic, but I feel I'm on the right track. My first priority is power because it results in faster points and can take out the first couple of opponents with service aces and return aces. My second priority is control because it is needed to maintain aces against later opponents. My third priority is spin because it might come in handy, though I'm not sure. And my fourth and final priority is speed because as a TAS, the player is omniscient and I haven't yet found a purpose for it. I upgrade any attribute as long as it does not come at the cost of a higher priority one.
My greatest insight into this game has been disassembling its experience point calculator. The formula is actually very simple, although there are still some open questions:
- Start with the opponent's "base score". I do not know where/how this is obtained.
- Add the total number of games played (NOT games won!) multiplied by some multiplier. I do not know where/how the multiplier is obtained. It is not determined solely by your opponent, since a test showed that completing the training center first increased the value of the multiplier. I suspect it is dependent on the number of stars you have in your completion screen.
- Add the total number of service aces multiplied by some multiplier. I do not know where/how... etc., etc.
- Add the total number of return aces, smash aces, lob shots, and drop shots, each multiplied by some multiplier. This is done individually, but in my experience, their multiplier is always the same, so the game could have just added them all together, then multiplied.
- Repeat steps 3 and 4 for your partner's service aces, return aces, smash aces, lob shots, and drop shots if he is present.
- Multiply by 1.5 each if you have the iron racket and/or shoes equipped. (I actually haven't tested this and don't know for certain if that's strictly true.)
From what I remember, the base score starts at 70 (typically incrementing by 10) for the first opponent and the multipliers all start at 2. By the fourth-ranked senior class opponent, the base score is 120, the games played multiplier is 5, the service aces multiplier is 4, and all other multipliers are 3.
I recall that your partner's multiplier's are typically higher than your own. Glancing over my tracelog, however, I don't see evidence for that, so it's an open question. If it is true, however, then it may be a good strategy to upgrade your partner's stats and try to manipulate them into performing return ace drop/lob shots.
For singles, the optimal strategy is clear: perform a service ace whenever possible when you're serving and, when returning, perform a return ace lob/drop shot. I do my best to adhere to this strategy throughout the WIP.
I intended this to be a 100% run, so there is still a lot of ground to cover. One possible improvement to the route would be spending a few experience points on your partner to upgrade his power and control and then playing the junior doubles matches after the junior singles matches (it's faster to reset back to the dorm anyway, so you might as well team up then). Alternatively, you could leave your partner at level 1 and swallow the loss of his service and return ace experience points, which may not make up for the gained experience you "steal" from him. It would be worthwhile to research whether investing in your partner is worth it.
I was hoping to keep this project to myself until it was finished, but since I've hit a bit of a roadblock and I recognize when I'm losing interest in a project, I'm opening this WIP up to criticism and commentary.