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Garrett Holland
12-08-2019 at 02:50 PM
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TGTS Guidelines/Definition?

I've looked all over the damned place including the help and wiki section, and can't find where the elements of TGTS are defined. I know that it was established for easily-marathonable games and limits the player to 5 lives with TGES limiting to just one life, but is that literally the only difference?

  1. Snowflake's Avatar

    as far as i can tell yes, but you know how inconsistent the refs were. look at qberts cubes and centipede. on those games the "tournament" version didnt limit you to 5 lives, but rather forced you to play on harder settings, and in centipedes case outlawed leeching tactics that were allowed in the regular mode.

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  2. The Evener's Avatar

    My impression is that the TGTS is simply the name used by TG to categorize/present their "official" submission settings. Here's a link to a 2003 discussion of TGTS - there's a link on the page to a text file that contains TGTS for a big list of games.

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  3. Snowflake's Avatar


    its not like tgsap where it refers to all subs.

    i know i read elsewehre "tournament" setting were to prevent competition from "degenerating" into a marathon. sorry i never bookmarked so i'm commiting the sin of making claims without sources. however one paragraph in your link hints at that

    Bagman and Frenzy are now 5 lives only for tournaments.
    For Bagman the deaths must be counted. For Frenzy the
    game itself can be set to 5 lives only, no bonuses. Both games
    are marathons on factory settings. Read the tgts.txt file
    for other details.

    you'll notice the reason for not using factory settings is that it would lead to a marathon. TGTS tracks you'll also notice are often for games where a marathon track exist.s I am a bit surprised discs of tron was included as difficulty on hardest and easiest really make no difference -- i played the game alot i literally found no difference between the "difficulty" settings, and the game already limits you on life, only two lives can ever be earned in addtion to your starting lives. at one point i was good enough, that if the lives kept coming i have no doubt i could've marathoned it, but the fact you only ever earn two lives really limits the game

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  4. Kelly Kerr's Avatar

    Maybe i should create a marathon track for Dr. MARIO Arcade. The current and only settings are tournament.

  5. sdwyer138's Avatar

    Marble Madness on SMS says TGTS, but does not specifically call out lives. Still confused on that one.

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  6. RTM's Avatar

    The term "TGTS" was partially invented in 1984 or 1985 depending on what you choose to believe, but definitely there by 1986 (see below).

    Published evidence...the 1st TG Book of Records...chronicles that when Roy Shildt arrived at the Ironman event in 1985 that was the first time that the partial term of "tournament settings" (not TGTS) was actually used in conjunction with "marathonable" titles. However, the title in question was six (6) cities to start with no additional cities.

    Further statements from the 1984 Guinness event suggests that such settings...for this title only...existed for competition purposes.

    Fast forward to the original TG forum from 1997-1998, the ones that looked like the old DOS "directory trees"...and the terms were often discussed between classic arcade players back then. What's missing is the 1986-1987 era when the terms were likely formalized to "TGTS".

    David Palmer's "Star Wars" (TGTS) performance was dated 7/31/86 thus the formal term "TGTS" existed by that point or earlier.

    The purpose of the term was primarily a "standard"...5 lives to start, no extras. Originally applied to Williams-based titles for the most part as these were among the most "marathonable" from that era. However some titles such as "Star Wars" and "Missile Command" followed suit with a slight difference (i.e. 6 units to start).

    Further, depending on the title, the difficulty setting might have increased from that of the marathon setting.

    By the 1990's and the MAME era there was a version of MAME that was developed called something like MAME 35TG3 or something like that...a MAME historian like Mark Longridge would be able to provide some history on that version. I used it back then...somehow TG settings were pre-programmed in to some extent

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  7. Mark Longridge's Avatar

    Unfortunately the reality of MAME INP checking for DIP switch settings was/is a very complex thing.

    Ben Jos Walbeehm (unfortunately no longer with us) wrote a utility in 2001 that checked the dip switch settings used in a INP file for some games for the decathlon tournament. It was a separate executable and as far as I can recall it only worked under MS-DOS. So for the vast majority of games it really couldn't check the DIP settings.

    The problem was that there were 3,000+ games at the time (and many more now), and DIP switch settings were very game-specific. The DIP tester utility would only work for that era of TG MAME for a handful of games. Not to mention a lot of the games didn't have any TG settings, and add rom versions on top of that and one starts to to see the magnitude of the problem.

    I still have checker.exe but so far I've not found any source code. Barry Rodewald can still produce new WolfMAME versions for Linux and Windows.

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  8. spectre's Avatar

    I've always seen the Twin Galaxies Tournement Settings (TGTS) as settings the differ from the default settings of the game?

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  9. RTM's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by spectre
    I've always seen the Twin Galaxies Tournement Settings (TGTS) as settings the differ from the default settings of the game?

    RTM REPLY - to be sure, over the years there were many instances, including in the variation rules as they were entered into the TG database many years back, and in casual discussion, where for titles that did not have "marathonable" potential the partial term "Tournament Settings" or the full term "Twin Galaxies Tournament Settings" were still alternatively used in conjunction with those rules.

    Best way to kind of became a force of habit for some or a default for others.


    For example, take arcade "Tron". The rules in the TG database are as follows...

    1 Credit for 3 Bases
    1st Extra Base @ 10,000
    Difficulty Level: 5

    Note: The above Dip Switches, are not only the FACTORY DEFAULT settings, but are also the correct Twin Galaxies Tournament Settings for this title.


    Historically speaking, the above rules were created decades ago before it was deemed possible to play the title for 24 hours and beyond. Were someone in the here and now to create a "TGTS" variation it likely would be at the higher difficulty rating since this is a rare instance where a "limited life" title can be played for so very long...optimally it would be 3+1 lives at difficulty 9 (max) and called the "TGTS" variation.

    I should mention that for the above title someone stupidly and very unnecessarily created a "9+1" variation which is at the SAME difficulty setting of "5" while allowing a start of nine (9) lives with the one extra. Considering that Donald/David are both capable of 24+ hours at the title with 3 lives (and even walking away from such a game in-progress, no less) having a "9+1" variation is utterly pointless.

    In fact, the only more pointless variation would be if the capacity existed to create an arcade "Asteroids" variation (marathon mode) which starts you with 5 ships instead of 3. Although not do-able, considering the nature of gameplay on this title a variation starting with 2 extra ships (or even 2 less while still allowing you to each more) would be essentially useless.

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    Updated 12-09-2019 at 03:30 AM by RTM (typo)
  10. Barthax's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by RTM

    Best way to kind of became a force of habit for some or a default for others.

    Yep, default "TGTS" labelling/habbit across the ZX Spectrum from me. :D Plenty of titles I knew could be "marathoned" so put in variations to ensure there was competitive short options!

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  11. RTM's Avatar

    One minor point...there is a category of titles in the arcade platform which historically never had the need to have "TGTS" or "Tournament Settings" appended to the rules....although if they were the additional caveat would be superfluous.

    Titles such as "Depthcharge", "Monaco GP" and "Wheels" only have one (1) setting to them...there would be no need to qualify these titles as being "TGTS" or "Tournament Settings" as the default settings are unchangeable.

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  12. Snowflake's Avatar

    first let me say rtm thank you for the history, and my disagreement here is fairly small details, but i hope this doesnt come off as discouraging your above sort of comment as it was helpful

    I took some issues with the tron example, i believe your point was valid, and as such your point remains, but there are some issues with the example you gave. ANY TGTS can be marathoned if people are motivated enough, unless theres a killscreen or end in which case the tgts isnt needed regardless. Its not that tron is so easy so much that its a beloved game that players mastered. another point is i believe only cruz can go past 24 hours, i beleive hayes cant go past around 12. there were neck in neck until david took past 24 hours. david is truly has no equal in the game of tron.

    further, i believe this concept was known in general even then (not neccesarily known for tron but known in general). i read thats why TGES was created. when it was found TGTS wasnt good enough, then TGES was created. sadly this also wouldnt work in tron's case as i beleive more than 90% of david's score came from his first life. For tron in particular, you're just not stopping david unless you make a time limit part of the rules. oh, as for the breaks, they can only walk away in the first 4 hours. after that the safe spot no longer appears -- tron doesnt have a kill screen but after level 255 you no longer get the screen that has the safe spot. so when they walk away at that point its in a spot that allows a very brief bathroom break, not a true safe spot

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  13. Barra's Avatar

    Not every TGTS game can be "marathoned" although a lot of them can be played for a lot longer than was first anticipated when they were setup. The first TGTS Galaga arcade score was around the 1.8mil mark (not even 2 hours). Now the WR is set at 9mil, taking more than 6 (but still not a true marathon). Even in this case a TGES track submission would likely exceed a few hours.

    Maybe the new era TGTS rules could be one hand tied behind your back ;)

  14. Snowflake's Avatar

    I think there might be some semantics over the word "can". rtm said they didnt know people could marathon tron. well, at the time noone could marathon tron, so in that sense it "could" not be done. but the game itself doesnt prevent it, so eventually it happened. i was using "could" in that context. didnt mean to imply there are people capable of marathoning every tgsap title, just pointing out it "can" be done in the sense of the game doesnt prevent it and noone can predict the skils of future competitors

  15. RTM's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Barra
    Not every TGTS game can be "marathoned" although a lot of them can be played for a lot longer than was first anticipated when they were setup. The first TGTS Galaga arcade score was around the 1.8mil mark (not even 2 hours). Now the WR is set at 9mil, taking more than 6 (but still not a true marathon). Even in this case a TGES track submission would likely exceed a few hours

    RTM REPLY - the term "TGES" was created during the "Advanced Deca" event of 2004 -!!-(Locked-Thread)

    Following in the traditions set forth from the first annual Advanced MAME Deca, ten (10) favourite MAME titles have been voted on by you, the gaming community. And unlike normal MAME Deca events, these titles will be contested under "extreme settings" which could mean playing at a higher level of difficulty, fewer lives, or maybe both.

    Following the Deca event, sporadically over the years, other arcade titles had "extreme" variations created. This is usually in cases where even tournament settings prove to be "conquerable" by one or more gamers. I wish that there was a way to search the entire TG database for every example of these "extreme" settings" variations just as I wish that there was a way to search for every true TGTS variation.

    That aside, not every title warrants "TGES" either. "Millipede" under TGTS conditions is really tough...all the difficulty settings are at max and the only way to make it worse is to have a 1-life-only challenge, but then again that's still at the same difficulty setting.

    There are rare cases where even a 1-life-only setting proves to be at least semi-marathonable by expert players, cases in point being "Tapper" (1.9M 1st life by Greg Erway), "Timber" (Martin reached 2.5M on his 1st life during a Deca event many years back), and titles which have been kill-screened on the 1st life by top players (most notably "Donkey Kong", "Pacman" and the "Lode Runner" series) "extreme settings" in these cases can't really be created with existing arcade settings.

    Titles like "Robotron" and "Zookeeper" which have quite a few difficulty settings are ideal for "extreme settings" and I think that such variations, regardless of how they are named, might already exist for each. "Robotron" might have the "VidKidz" variation or something in line with that, and I remember players contesting ZK at the highest difficulty settings as well. "Defender" and "Stargate" also are ideal for such challenges.

    There are occasion titles where no matter how hard TG tried it was impossible to come up with suitably difficult tournament settings let alone extreme settings. Case in point was "Time Pilot" where the difficulty was cranked to max as was the bonus points in between extra ships. Some players rocked that title on just a single ship so in rare cases like this there is only so much you can do to spur additional competition outside of adding subjective cutoffs per stage (such as completion time once the mother ship arrives to how many parachutes you can pick up per stage)

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  16. Barra's Avatar

    Good stuff Robert

    Gyruss is another one where settings dont seem to make a difference. Thomas Bauer scored 4.5m on his first life on the hardest settings which is approx 3 hours of play

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