Idea for a TAS competition

Discussion in 'Suggestions & Feedback' started by nineko, May 22, 2021.

  1. nineko

    nineko I am the Holy Cat Member

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    Hello, here's me again with yet another idea for a competition.

    I was wondering, how many of you would be interested into a TAS competition? Let me clarify: I'm not talking about "beating a level as fast as possible", goals would be diverse.

    The Super Mario 64 community has been doing this for years, someone runs the competition for 10 rounds and comes up with exotic goals (e.g. collect all coins, open a cannon, kill all goombas, never touch water). Any strategy is fair game as long as that goal is reached. Then someone else acts as a host for 10 more rounds, and so on.

    This can easily translate to Sonic games, and it would be a good exercise even if you never looked into TASing (I think Flamewing is the only outlier here, Upthorn hasn't been around for years afaik), since we're talking about movies which would be a couple of minutes long at most. The timeframe for each round might be a week or two, that can be worked out according to people's feedback.

    Before anyone asks: no, this isn't an excuse for me to have more content to upload on my Youtube channel. I know that the host of the SM64 competition usually uploads compilation videos, but I don't plan to do that, I would upload my entries at most.

    I do have a secondary dream, however. There is a certain hack which I would really like to see TASed. If this idea goes well, after a few "warm-up" rounds, I might suggest to TAS that hack level-by-level as a community, but that's for a far future.

    The emulator of choice would be Gens ReRecording, of course.

    Discuss. Should I get a green light, I might start a test round, at least.
     
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  2. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Administrator

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    Is it soniNeko by any chance?

    *runs*

    I don't have an issue with this and I doubt anyone else would, although others are entitled to their own opinion. You just need to plan out what you need and we can accommodate easily.
     
  3. DeltaWooloo

    DeltaWooloo Another dead account Member

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    Ah yes, TAS. I haven't heard that great name of gaming since the early 2010s. I do like to see it happen to be honest since I'm just getting sick of seeing many of them being based on Mario games (specifically SMB3, SMB1, SMW and SM64) and even Kazio ROM hacks. However, some of us aren't competent at TAS and learning how to imply it via Gens would take a while to get it perfect after some research online. I do have a few suggestions for TAS speedruns' goals, such as getting the highest score, 100% completing the game, glitchless speedruns, getting every ring in-game (perfect bonus, basically =P) and destroying every badnik. For hacks, the same rules can apply to the goals I previously said unless the hack adds a feature you want to speedrun at challenge mode, another character, a specific manner, and many more. For leaderboards, a lot of people have been submitting TAS speedruns to TASVideos. There is also Knuckles Emerald Hunt has a leaderboard online. Suppose you graciously request to MainMemory to include on for TAS speedrun regarding the hack. In that case, she could allow everyone to obtain the ability to send TAS records of KEH via Gens ReRecordings or SRAM. I also agree with a competition every week or two but isn't that too short? A lot of us have jobs with long working hours and have personal lives to prioritise. You could try and do it every half a month or a month, just so more people can participate in it. But, overall, I'm on board with your suggestion, man. We will have to see what everyone thinks first before finalizing the solution though, but at the end, it should turn out well.
     
  4. nineko

    nineko I am the Holy Cat Member

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    lol no, it's a hack by someone good, and I always thought it would be a perfect hack to be TASed. But that's a long-term eventual dream.

    Thanks. If this really comes along, the only thing I might ask is if it would be possible to add .gmv as an allowed extension for attachments, since compressing movie files is just impractical. They would be a few kilobytes big at most, anyway.

    Hence why I suggested there could be a few "warm-up" rounds to allow everyone to familiarise with the tools. Aside from Flamewing (and Upthorn, but he's gone), I don't think anyone here is an expert. Even I only know the basics about TASing, so it would be easy for you to outdo me by practicing.

    You're thinking too big, see below.

    As I mentioned, I'm not talking about full game completion or permanent leaderboards. Tasks are usually limited to a level or two at most. A typical Super Mario 64 task might be "collect the 8 red coins without jumping" or "climb on exactly three different trees". Submissions are not going to be perfect, by definition, otherwise everyone would be tied as a winner.

    Look, I'll go ahead and start a test round to see how the idea is received by the public, even with the SMPS competition the first handful of rounds have been experimental at best. Rules and deadlines were all over the place.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2021
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  5. DeltaWooloo

    DeltaWooloo Another dead account Member

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    That makes a lot of sense now. As long as they are short tasks, I'm on board that many of us will get the chance to participate. I originally thought that we had to complete the whole game or something complex. :p

    I'll consider finding the right time to prepare for the competition. :)
     
  6. MainMemory

    MainMemory Well-Known Member Member

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    I'd love to see TASes of KEH, but the game is so randomized that being one frame off gives you an entirely different set of emeralds in a level.

    Also, why Gens? Why not BizHawk?
     
  7. nineko

    nineko I am the Holy Cat Member

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    That's actually perfect, because a TAS is always deterministic: with a given input log, the "random" number generator will always give the same outcome, so finding out the best combination of emeralds for each level would be part of the challenge. Routing and planning are as important as the actual TASing. There are examples of such things.

    Gens is widely considered to be the better option when it comes to Sonic TASes (like Mupen is for SM64), so I just went with the flow. However, as I said, this is all experimental for now, and if there is a wide consensus against Gens, majority will win.
     
  8. DanielHall

    DanielHall Well-Known Member Member

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    Hey, I've been speedrunning Sonic 1 for two years, and TASing. I would be very interested in this type of competition. Keep me in touch!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2021
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  9. MainMemory

    MainMemory Well-Known Member Member

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    You'd have to make sure everyone uses the same (probably empty) SRAM, or use the netplay version that doesn't save, since the random seed is saved to SRAM.
     
  10. nineko

    nineko I am the Holy Cat Member

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    By default, SRAM is blanked when a TAS is replayed, for this very reason. Performing a full game completion of KEH from a blank state is always going to sync. I talk from experience.

    I don't usually like strict rules, but this is one case of TASvideos doing it right, they hate movies starting from "dirty" states so much that it's actually very hard to do such a thing in the approved emulators.
     
  11. Keiro

    Keiro The Fluffy One Root Admin

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    I'll look into that.
     
  12. nineko

    nineko I am the Holy Cat Member

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    Thanks, but there's no need.

    I didn't officially say this yet, but I assumed it was obvious that this contest idea failed. I guess not many people are interested into TASing around here. Oh well, it was worth a shot.

    Still, I appreciate you being up to help :)
     
  13. Spanner

    Spanner The Tool Administrator

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    I wouldn't say it died off, maybe some people didn't see it as it was in The Lounge. Or maybe you could have bumped the thread a few times to remind people.

    I'd say it's worth another shot and if you want to do it as a regular thing maybe we can give it its own forum like the SMPS Music Competition did, which stopped late 2019 it seems.

    If anyone has any other ideas with what to do with the forums feel free to suggest them in Suggestions & Feedback.
     
  14. StephenUK

    StephenUK Working on a Quackshot disassembly Root Admin

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    The thing that put me off having much interest in this is the very fact that it's TAS based. If this was just an internal challenge competition designed to test people's skill level then I'd have been a lot more for it, but there's just something about TAS speedruns vs normal speedruns that just never really appealed to me.
     
  15. nineko

    nineko I am the Holy Cat Member

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    Stephen, I see what you mean. Unfortunately, it's hard to prevent cheating in online RTA competitions, hence the TAS idea, so everyone has the same tools available and it becomes a challenge of skill again, albeit a different one.

    However, things aren't mutually exclusive! If someone else wants to host an RTA competition, I'd gladly take part in it whenever I can.

    Well, I posted it in "The Lounge" because it didn't feel appropriate for the other sections. Maybe it could have fit in "Discussion", especially because it was a test, non-competitive round, with the goal to help people familiarise with the TAS workflow. In my mind I hoped that people could come in and ask "why did you jump in that way" or "how do I use frame advance", things like that, it wasn't a "real" round in that sense. Sadly, it didn't look like there was much interest, but sure, you can move that topic to "Discussion", and I'll try to revive it just once.

    Maybe that topic can stay open for general questions about how to TAS, and I can go ahead and post a second topic with the first, real, competitive round to see if that gathers more interest. Dunno.