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Thread: The Long-Standing TG Policy on "Free Play"

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by anningmay View Post
    Hi George!

    Actually, I knew that about PacPlus. The difference here is that one can do it EVERY TIME as opposed to 1 out of every 64. This amounts to a HUGE difference in my mind.
    Hi Dave. I agree that it does make PacPlus easier to pattern having it on Free Play since if you hold down the 1P button as it powers on, you'll get the same start, so perhaps on PacPlus Free Play shouldn't be allowed for submissions. But what you originally wrote was "I believe that patterning mazes becomes possible if the game is set to free play", and as I replied, patterning mazes on PacPlus is possible every without Free Play. And as qnz wrote on the CAGDC post I linked to above it is much easier than 1 out of every 64, provided you are doing it from a reset the machine (or MAME).

    Quote Originally Posted by qnz
    Re: getting the 'proper' start. More on this below, but the short answer is that for any general set of continuous pacplus patterns, you have a 1/64 chance of getting the right start, if you just walk up to a machine and have a go. If you're starting from some known cue, like a particular spot after booting the machine or starting MAME, then you can do a lot better. You have to time it to within 1/10 of a second, which isn't too awful. Not trivial, but doable with practice and retries


    Quote Originally Posted by anningmay
    As for MsPac, I wasn't speaking of the fruits (which I already knew were unaffected), I was speaking exclusively about the ghost behavior. In my mind, being able to CFP MsPac goes contrary to the intentions of the developers, who very definitely intended to eliminate this possibility.

    Naturally, controlling the fruit in this way would be far more useful than controlling the ghosts, and I don't think having a game set to free play would allow one to beat the WR. As you point out, the fruit behavior is unaffected by this. Nonetheless, the possibility of creating CFP patterns by taking advantage of free play bothers me enough to believe that the technique should be banned, whether or not any records are at stake. Ms. Pac-Man was designed to be unpatternable (or at least, not patternable for the first 30 seconds of every maze).
    You aren't going to be able to make CFP patterns on Ms Pac even with Free-Play. The link I gave to the old TG forums above specifically talked about fruit, but ghost movements are similarly random. Please try the experiment I originally proposed above or do this one: Set MAME (or arcade) to Free-Play. Restart, and press and hold 1P as the game starts up. Try and run just the beginning of a very basic pattern that goes to the bottom of the screen then runs a square around the whole first screen. The ghosts won't behave the same each time since it isn't humanly possible to have all of your joystick presses start and end in exactly the same 1/60th of a second each time you run the pattern. CFP patterns on Pac-Man or PacPlus aren't very hard to run since you just have to pre-turn every corner, but patterning Ms Pac would require frame perfect patterns of joystick input which only a program or bot could do.

    That said, I do think it is interesting that "restarting" the machine before starting a game, which some players suggest should be a requirement for all submissions, does make some games easier to pattern, with or without Free-Play. Berzerk and a lot of trivia games are other examples.

    -George

  2. #22
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    BERZERK- adding this as it should probably be searchable via TG now that things are rolling. Here is a map of all the Berzerk mazes and where you start if you start the game before the first maze is drawn in attract mode. if you die it is impossible for a human to figure out where you'll restart in the maze...but you could realign your spot in the map if you were a biological quantum computer maybe. One of the Masters once told me he has hundreds of maze series memorized from playing Berzerk for 3 decades.

    And to dispel the long term myth, there are really only 876 unique mazes in Berzerk. :)

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    Last edited by 1500points; 01-06-2015 at 01:14 PM.
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    The RNG does NOT have to specifically be the element of the code that changes. It may very well be that the RNG remains the same, whether on free play or not, BUT, the
    parameters/ranges that are drawing off of that RNG could of shifted, either by design or by glitch. You would need to do an extensive investigation of the code to "sort of" qualify
    either way. And, just to be sure of any findings, you would need to put that code "in motion". When I say "in motion" I mean by an ultra expert that understands the nuances that
    even an above average player can't recognise.
    I know 100% for certain that the initial RNG state in zookeeper does NOT change (from a memory clean boot) regardless of free play or not. However, there is no way of knowing if
    any of the other ranges/parameters have been changed. The main reason that I can't know this is because I never record/play in free play mode i.e ..I have no sample data.

    As it stands, RIGHT NOW, free play should not be an issue. See the below video from TG. At about the 57 second mark, the guy specifically states, without concession, that "free play is NOT allowed"
    There is nothing to analyse about that directive. It's clear and it's concise.








    I want to compete on as level a footing as there can be. I'm sure that most of us do. Some CLEAR rules need to be put into place. If no clear rules are in place, peeps will just bend and argue anything and everything to meet their own ends. Their friends of coarse will back them up. i.e....collusion.



    john
    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexmark View Post
    I want to compete on as level a footing as there can be. I'm sure that most of us do. Some CLEAR rules need to be put into place. If no clear rules are in place, peeps will just bend and argue anything and everything to meet their own ends. Their friends of coarse will back them up. i.e....collusion.

    john
    .
    I agree with John, 100%. I also have no reason to doubt what Matt Osborne has found in his analysis of the code he has looked at.

    My point, regarding both freeplay and inserting more than one coin before starting a game, or even resetting a game in between attempts (and I'm talking Arcade here - I don't know enough about console, though I think rules should apply across the board) is why not just comply with a single rule for all games.

    To rehash what I said about Wonderboy, the game does in fact act differently if you have a bad first game, and then try again a 2nd time - there wouldn't be (at least shouldn't be I hope), any referee that would pass a Wonderyboy submission if I played a bad game first up, and then submitted my 2nd score without first resetting the machine.

    Surely it is easier to just say:

    Arcade submissions:
    1. Game must be powered off and on before each attempt
    2. Game must not be in free play mode
    3. Game must be played with a single coin drop only

    Honestly, it is not hard to comply with these settings. Maybe no game in history is altered by putting in a 2nd coin prior to starting, but why do it in the first place? If you want to make another attempt, you should be powering off anyway meaning that you will lose the credit.

    The answer if you are not going to following the above 3 points, is analyze every game in the database, and say yes or no to each point - seems like a complete waste of time and resources when you could just say this is how it is.

    Everyone also needs to remember that TG now appears to have mended bridges with Guinness. No one on earth I believe takes world records with the same seriousness that Guinness does and the last thing we want is former record holders writing to Guinness disputing scores because old practices were just done away with. The KISS principle should apply to all submissions, don't make things more complicated than they need to by allowing everyone to pick and choose settings which probably don't change game play.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John73 View Post
    To rehash what I said about Wonderboy, the game does in fact act differently if you have a bad first game, and then try again a 2nd time - there wouldn't be (at least shouldn't be I hope), any referee that would pass a Wonderyboy submission if I played a bad game first up, and then submitted my 2nd score without first resetting the machine.

    Surely it is easier to just say:

    Arcade submissions:
    1. Game must be powered off and on before each attempt
    2. Game must not be in free play mode
    3. Game must be played with a single coin drop only
    This invalidates any score without an immediate reset (obviously your intent) but this also then rules out typical live competition events and most already-verified records. This really is too much detail required and invalidates the "spirit of the game" especially for arcade machines where the spirit is people use a machine that may already have had numerous previous attempts. Note also, for games like Mortal Kombat, it will not be possible to compete against those scores already in the database where prior games are a must to achieve the massive secret bonuses or for games like Pole Position where no-one, even the experts, know what gave that one extra car in the top performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by John73 View Post
    The KISS principle should apply to all submissions, don't make things more complicated than they need to by allowing everyone to pick and choose settings which probably don't change game play.
    Yet your suggestions make it more difficult than it needs to be.

    Now, if there are known issues with an individual game then please do pursue a change in rules for a specific game where weird stuff happens due to a prior game.
    Last edited by Barthax; 01-07-2015 at 12:57 AM.

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    I'd rather be last on every game than throw my time away chasing only one score.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barthax View Post
    This invalidates any score without an immediate reset (obviously your intent) but this also then rules out typical live competition events and most already-verified records. This really is too much detail required and invalidates the "spirit of the game" especially for arcade machines where the spirit is people use a machine that may already have had numerous previous attempts. Note also, for games like Mortal Kombat, it will not be possible to compete against those scores already in the database where prior games are a must to achieve the massive secret bonuses or for games like Pole Position where no-one, even the experts, know what gave that one extra car in the top performance.



    Yet your suggestions make it more difficult than it needs to be.

    Now, if there are known issues with an individual game then please do pursue a change in rules for a specific game where weird stuff happens due to a prior game.
    I just don't understand where all of this non-powering off stuff came from. As of Oct 7 2013 (using Wayback Machine - http://web.archive.org/web/201310070...submission-faq) - and most likely up until the day the previous incarnation of TG went off line - the rules regarding arcade records were 100% clear. A machine should be powered off prior to the recording beginning. It also states that if opening the machine to film inside doesn't power the machine off, it should be powered off and back on again at the end of the recording. The powering off thing has been a rule for a long time, and the fact that TG allowed this to be a rule for video submissions, but not live play tournaments was a massive oversight.

    Now I don't believe the rules explicitly state that you can't make more than one attempt during power on/off cycles, but I always believed that it was implied. I can't recall if any recording information ever said "your first attempt only", I know that was the case for MAME. I know you were a former TG ref, did you verify many arcade records where the score achieved was done on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th attempt? You'd need to watch all attempts to verify that nothing was done on the sly between attempts. @RTM - I'd like to hear your thoughts on this, as you probably verified more than your fair share of arcade records over the years. Did those submitting on tape make multiple attempts on a single recording without the powering off?

    I'm not meaning to invalidate scores, what I am saying is that there should be one set of standard rules that everyone follows. If someone wants to play a game on freeplay, then everyone should play on freeplay. If someone wants to drop 10 credits at the start, everyone should. It is just muddying the waters when people do their own thing and most of it is just not necessary. We may as well as a community agree on things now, because it is going to create a whole lot of problems in the future - well it's causing problems already because as you say, some MK scores aren't achievable because the existing rules were not followed 100% in the past.

    Final note, I don't think my suggestions make it more difficult, but if they do and it is agreed that you can make multiple attempts in between powering on the machine, then in still doesn't get away from the fact that the existing rules said filming must begin prior to the machine being turned on. I've already witnessed record submissions where the footage starts with the machine turned on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John73 View Post
    I just don't understand where all of this non-powering off stuff came from. As of Oct 7 2013 (using Wayback Machine - http://web.archive.org/web/201310070...submission-faq) - and most likely up until the day the previous incarnation of TG went off line - the rules regarding arcade records were 100% clear. A machine should be powered off prior to the recording beginning. It also states that if opening the machine to film inside doesn't power the machine off, it should be powered off and back on again at the end of the recording. The powering off thing has been a rule for a long time, and the fact that TG allowed this to be a rule for video submissions, but not live play tournaments was a massive oversight.
    Recorded performances must always include a power off. I haven't disputed this & fully support it.

    Quote Originally Posted by John73 View Post
    Now I don't believe the rules explicitly state that you can't make more than one attempt during power on/off cycles, but I always believed that it was implied. I can't recall if any recording information ever said "your first attempt only", I know that was the case for MAME. I know you were a former TG ref, did you verify many arcade records where the score achieved was done on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th attempt? You'd need to watch all attempts to verify that nothing was done on the sly between attempts. @RTM - I'd like to hear your thoughts on this, as you probably verified more than your fair share of arcade records over the years. Did those submitting on tape make multiple attempts on a single recording without the powering off?
    Powering off in between every attempt is what I dispute: there is no requirement for the vast majority of Arcade and other platforms. MAME is the exception and even then, MAME has exceptions even to this (Mortal Kombat).

    Quote Originally Posted by John73 View Post
    I'm not meaning to invalidate scores, what I am saying is that there should be one set of standard rules that everyone follows. If someone wants to play a game on freeplay, then everyone should play on freeplay. If someone wants to drop 10 credits at the start, everyone should. It is just muddying the waters when people do their own thing and most of it is just not necessary. We may as well as a community agree on things now, because it is going to create a whole lot of problems in the future - well it's causing problems already because as you say, some MK scores aren't achievable because the existing rules were not followed 100% in the past.
    TG has a long history of creating exceptions and any new unilateral rule produced will invallidate lots of attempts including the perfect Pac-Man scores (another example). Unilateral rules do not work.
    Quote Originally Posted by John73 View Post
    Final note, I don't think my suggestions make it more difficult, but if they do and it is agreed that you can make multiple attempts in between powering on the machine, then in still doesn't get away from the fact that the existing rules said filming must begin prior to the machine being turned on. I've already witnessed record submissions where the footage starts with the machine turned on.
    Again, powering on the machine is not the issue. Powering off and back on between every attempt is my point: a worthless exercise that invalidates prior scores and makes the best scores for many games (multiple platforms) impossible.

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    I knew there was an exception even to the Power Off rule & I've just remembered the exception as it was me that wrote it while I was platform editor... Due to battery-backed up RAM, the Commodore Amiga must be turned off for at least 10 seconds before the submission. There's still a power off (still not an issue) but there must be proof of being turned off for a duration.

    Are you on my radar?
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    Quote Originally Posted by John73 View Post
    Now I don't believe the rules explicitly state that you can't make more than one attempt during power on/off cycles, but I always believed that it was implied. I can't recall if any recording information ever said "your first attempt only", I know that was the case for MAME. I know you were a former TG ref, did you verify many arcade records where the score achieved was done on the 2nd, 3rd or 4th attempt? You'd need to watch all attempts to verify that nothing was done on the sly between attempts. @RTM - I'd like to hear your thoughts on this, as you probably verified more than your fair share of arcade records over the years. Did those submitting on tape make multiple attempts on a single recording without the powering off?
    Every score I've ever submitted never had a power off in between attempts and my previous WR submission for Elevator Action that was verified/accepted was done with Free Play enabled as the coin door wiring has never worked on my machine. I did 4 or 5 scores in one day at the arcade once and all were submitted/accepted and none were powered off in between attempts. My Zoo Keeper score was done at Funspot, accepted via video and certainly was not reset prior to playing. I'm with Barthax in that if there are specific issues with games/tracks it should be noted but some degree of common sense in a community vote situation should always prevail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pwnasaurus View Post
    .... noted but some degree of common sense in a community
    there you go. ;)

    I'm fine with the coin drop/power off as a "TG thing" as long as it is clearly noted that this is an ARBITRARY TG policy not founded in programming or technical logic. Avoids the superstition and voodoo factor from being on the table.

    but one thing that isn't clear to me: the coin-drop, i get how that is a nod to arcade tradition of quarters/tokens. but how does shutting the game off relate to arcade history?....we would have been laughed out of arcade or reprimanded for shutting off the game and restarting before dropping a quarter....erases the daily high scores and such....that never would have flown in a real arcade. plus most small arcades have the games packed in and most games have the switch in back so how would you have done that in most cases? ha ha ha.

    also, some games are prone to popping fuses if you power/off restart too quickly. i can't see people wanting to constantly be flipping the power on and off on 30 year old relics just because they restart a record attempt multiple times or playing a game that goes fast..
    Last edited by 1500points; 01-07-2015 at 05:16 AM.
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