Golden Era Game of the Week 7/24/04: Crystal Castles

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Golden Era Game of the Week 7/24/04: Crystal Castles

Postby Weehawk » Fri Jul 23, 2004 1:26 pm

Golden Era Game of the Week

See introduction here

The Game: Crystal Castles

romname: ccastles

Screenshot:
Image(click to see current MARP scores)

Reward: $50 (usd)

Deadline for submission to MARP: July 30, 2004 2359 hours GMT

Further Bounties: $250 (usd) for exceeding 910,722 by November 1, 2004

I've told a couple of people who inquired that if they wanted to provide the prize for a given week's GEGOTW challenge, I would let them name the game - subject to my requirements and final approval.

This week's game is brought to you by MARP forum member MasterDave69. Dave has not yet submitted any recordings to MARP but I expect him to do so with this one. Dave will reimburse me for this week's bounty and I am offering the further bounty myself if anyone can exceed Frank Seay's arcade machine record of 910,722 points by November 1st.

This is a game I never personally cared for, but once I got the hang of the first couple of warp moves, it wasn't that bad. If I had more time I would have liked to have done a little better.

Mark Alpiger (MDARULZ on MARP) is a former world record holder on the game and has extensive information on the game here:

http://www.classicarcadegaming.com/games/cc/index.htm

MAME .84 has numerous problems yet to be ironed out. It does not read the game settings (like analog sensitivity) from the cfg file. Rather than have to reconfigure the controls every time we play we will use WolfMAME .83 for this challenge and probably stay with it until .85 is released.
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Postby zlk » Sat Jul 24, 2004 7:48 pm

JTC I am not sure if wolf83 is a good version for this game. Your replay goes haywire after you perform the 2nd warp trick. Can anyone else get JTC's replay to work?
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Postby Weehawk » Sun Jul 25, 2004 12:36 am

zlk wrote:JTC I am not sure if wolf83 is a good version for this game. Your replay goes haywire after you perform the 2nd warp trick. Can anyone else get JTC's replay to work?

:oops:

I never bothered to check playback on this one. It blows up no matter what.

Tried the clones. Tried AlphaMAME70. Tried AlphaMAME62.

Playbacks all crash one way or another...with sound.

Pity, the sound adds a lot to this game.

You must record with -nosound

Playing back likewise will then work.

I'll upload an improved recording shortly.
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Postby JoustGod » Sun Jul 25, 2004 1:41 am

It used to be an nvram issue with this title. Now it's sound? Argh!
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Postby Weehawk » Sat Jul 31, 2004 2:53 am

Results:
1st: Don Hayes
2nd: Phil Younger


Congratulations again, Don.

And welcome to Dave Davenport, who submitted his first MARP recording this week.
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Postby MDARULZ » Sat Jul 31, 2004 10:38 am

Oh, man - I wish I would've known about this ! Actually, I have a terrible 613K 'record' on MAME CC, vs. my #2 arcade (and former wr) score of 898,815 points, set 07-02-1987. The reason I have not decimated the so-so scores on MARP is, like a lot of games out there, an issue of the controller. I have not found a mouse or trak-ball that I can do anything with on MAME CC, so, for now, Donut's scores are safe.

BUT... had I known about this challenge, I definitely would have topped Donald ! I could even beat his score with my foot (!!), albeit on the arcade version ! For anyone not believing me, you should have come to the recent Funspot contest, where I challenged Mr. Hayes to just such a duel - him playing regular, and me not using my hands (I chose to use my foot, vs. other appendages !). He won, but, if I had set things up (with a really high stool, to avoid leg cramping), I might have won - just barely ! I actually have a score of about 550K, using my foot (yes, I got bored one day back in the '80's, and tried it !!).

In any case, congrats to Don, and I really MUST check out John C.'s challenges each week. I only missed the $50 by a day ! Damn...

Mark Alpiger / MDA / MDARULZ

http://www.classicarcadegaming.com/


P.S. John, you could offer $250,000, and no one would beat Frank's score. They wouldn't top 900K, or my 898, or probably even 850K (which is what the minimum is for consideration of being a somewhat world-class player). I, and a couple of other people, am the only ones who know how max his score is. It would take me, at my peak, and on the arcade version, at least 1500 games to beat him, and probably more like 2500 ! Now, with the totally inadequate controls on MAME, it would take... well, can you say, a googolplex of games !! Only someone rigging the original trak-ball control to work as on the arcade game would have a chance at above 850K. So... your money's more than safe ! Thanks for the offer, however.
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Postby JoustGod » Sat Jul 31, 2004 2:17 pm

MDARULZ wrote: The reason I have not decimated the so-so scores on MARP is, like a lot of games out there, an issue of the controller.


Gee, thanks for bringing a dose of humility to MARP. While not all MARP CC scores are great, they are hardly "so-so". Please don't talk about decimation, just do it and we'll beat your chest for you. Are your arms tired after that post? ;-)
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Postby destructor » Sat Jul 31, 2004 3:05 pm

Hehe. I wait for decimation... impatiently. :D
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Postby Weehawk » Sun Aug 01, 2004 2:28 am

MDARULZ wrote:I have not found a mouse or trak-ball that I can do anything with on MAME CC

Have you given it much effort? I know the analog overflow issue makes the lightning-fast striking moves needed in Centipede impossible, but I wouldn't have thought that would be so much an issue in Crystal Castles. I would have thought that once one got used to the different "feel" of the mouse control, it might be just as good, possibly even better than the original trakball. What exactly do you find makes the control in MAME so inferior?

MDARULZ wrote:I definitely would have topped Donald ! I could even beat his score with my foot

New rule....no feet allowed in GEGOTW. :P

MDARULZ wrote:P.S. John, you could offer $250,000, and no one would beat Frank's score

Well, not being a rich man, I wouldn't have offered $250 of my hard-earned money if I thought it was easy, but I certainly think it is possible.

MDARULZ wrote:Only someone rigging the original trak-ball control to work as on the arcade game

It's been done on other games. Tommi Tihonen has a real Tron control panel for use on his computer.

destructor wrote:Hehe. I wait for decimation... impatiently.

And what happened to you? I was sort of expecting an upload from you.
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Postby dbh » Sun Aug 01, 2004 8:54 pm

Thanks again, John!

I too am a bit surprised that there were not more uploads this week, although I was a bit relieved that MDA didn't notice it until too late :) But, Mark, saying you can beat my MAME score with your foot isn't quite accurate since you're comparing it to your arcade foot score. My high on the arcade game at Funspot 2002 was over 590K so I've still got your 550K foot score beat! I do think with a bit of practice that I could finish the game too, so unless you believe you'll be able to do that with your foot then I should still be able to come out on top.

I do agree with Mark about Frank's 910K score. From what I've heard and read about the game and scores of that caliber (much of that from Mark directly and from his web site), I believe that it is considered extremely difficult (nearly impossible??) to get over 900K on a single credit. The 910K is actually a two-credit situation where the first credit is used to allow you to warp to just level 2 on the next credit, and then the rest of the game completed from there without warps. So, based on the current MARP rules this would not be allowed.

MDARULZ wrote:
I have not found a mouse or trak-ball that I can do anything with on MAME CC

Have you given it much effort? I know the analog overflow issue makes the lightning-fast striking moves needed in Centipede impossible, but I wouldn't have thought that would be so much an issue in Crystal Castles. I would have thought that once one got used to the different "feel" of the mouse control, it might be just as good, possibly even better than the original trakball. What exactly do you find makes the control in MAME so inferior?

There are a couple place in CC where you really do need to make quick moves similar to Centipede so I think the overflow issue could affect gameplay as well, although maybe not as bad as with Centipede.

Is there any hope of that overflow issue ever being fixed?

It's been done on other games. Tommi Tihonen has a real Tron control panel for use on his computer.

There was a Tron control panel on ebay last week but the price went a bit higher than I wanted to pay :)
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Postby Weehawk » Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:51 pm

dbh wrote:The 910K is actually a two-credit situation where the first credit is used to allow you to warp to just level 2 on the next credit, and then the rest of the game completed from there without warps. So, based on the current MARP rules this would not be allowed.

8O
I didn't think TG allowed that either!

Is there a record kept for a single-credit game then?

dbh wrote:Is there any hope of that overflow issue ever being fixed?

Mahlemiut has suggested that the increase in the input ports may have a positive effect here. I have not got my hands on MAME .84u4 or u5 to try it out myself, but it will be the first thing I check when I do.

dbh wrote:There was a Tron control panel on ebay last week but the price went a bit higher than I wanted to pay

I'm still looking for a Defender setup.
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CC and MAME don't mix ???

Postby MDARULZ » Mon Aug 02, 2004 12:54 am

Hello all - I knew my post would get a few replies ! As has been the case in the past (see http://forums.marpirc.net/viewtopic.php?t=9801, post #7), JG is eager to hop on me, and assume the worst when I write matter-of-fact commentary, rather than the opposite (as I prefer to do). DBH, as always, is reasonable and intelligent (OK, JG, before you again make assumptions, I wasn't saying that you weren't, necessarily; I'll let forum readers judge that for themselves...).

JG, I may appear outspoken, but, I am always merely matter-of-fact, tho that can come across rudely at times, I realize. You were eager to quote me on the 'decimation' part, where one could say that I appear pompous, but, you don't denote my acknowledgment that my current MAME CC 'record' is "terrible". I call a spade a spade, and, if I had good control of the game, I'd post a great score, and, yes, decimate my 613K score, Donald's score, and Donut's score. Of course, I have to compare apples to apples, and, the aforementioned two players have similar conditions of play as I had, I would presume, so their scores are fine on that basis (actually, Donut's are pretty extraordinary). My point was that the actual MARP highs on the different CC roms are so-so scores, compared to the arcade; what is not so-so, however, is the play that produced the scores - it's fabulous, given the limitations of the controls. I should have made this inference into a more clear point, I'll admit.

JG, as I said, I can't decimate, without decent controls, or overflow problems. That much I made clear. I do beat my chest - but only when I can back it up !! Come to Funspot (as I invited you previously) and / or California Extreme (this coming weekend), and I'll gladly shake your hand, show you what I can do in the coin-op world, and look at your mastery of (among other titles, no doubt), Joust. Fair enough ??

destructor: I think you'll be waiting a long time, until the control issues are resolved. Believe me, you and JG may think I'm one non-humble bastard, but, as many gamers will tell you that I've told them, I am decidedly clustered below the middle of the pack, when it comes to decent gamers playing an array of titles. I'm more of a specialist, and claim nothing else.

Weehawk: Again, thanks for your generous and ingenious idea of offering these weekly contests. Hats off ! Yes, I pursued getting decent control on CC using: all roms, a myriad of MAME versions, changing speed and sensitivity settings, trying 5+ mice and 3+ trak-balls... You get the idea. The problem is, I need instant stops / starts, and super-fast acceleration and deceleration. For a feel for this situation, go to my web site's CC page (John lists it in his starting post on this thread), and choose the last option. Look at the video of the play, and then play CC on any level, and try to get near the control, precision, speed, etc... There's no way. You can get away with this issue on Centipede / Millipede (tho you can't do as much as you'd like, as Don alludes to), and you can also tolerate it on Marble Madness (since you primarily go in only one direction). But, CC is unforgiving, at least in world-class (850K plus) games. It's why the Star Wars scores suck too. Again, the play doesn't suck, since you're stuck with shitty controls, compared to the arcade, but the scores suck, compared to the arcades (a comparison which I feel one must do, since so many MARP scores approach, or even beat, their arcade counterparts).

Beating Frank's score via MAME is impossible, for so many reasons. As Don correctly states (thanks for carefully reading my web site !!), part of the reason is that you cannot use the continue feature of the game on MARP. Now, if you look at my web site, and are a CC genius, you'll find my theoretical maximums that I took (literally) around a total of 20 hours to calculate (yes, I counted each and every gem on each and every screen, all 37 (!!!), not to mention the other point counts). OK, I had a lot of time on my hands in the mid-80's !! Anyway, I calculated that the max at the end of level 2, as Frank played it, was 163,480 points. BUT, we can't continue, and use the warp to level 2 feature. We must do a single game, and can therefore only warp to level three, using the spot at the back left of the first screen (you should skip level 1, because the points there are so low, you'd have a net loss if you played it straight through, versus warping to 3, which awards 140,000 points). Now, by my numbers, not being able to play Frank's way loses you 23,480 points. Subtracting this from his 910,722 (which, keep in mind, is still total max, from a player at his peak, on a perfect controller arcade machine) gets a comparative score of 887,242 points, which, is quite far from 910K. Wait - there's still another variable - time bonus. The game awards time bonus, assuming your game takes less than (approximately) 13 minutes. Here's an exclusive for you: Frank never got a time bonus on a 'good' level 2-up game, tho he did get a small one once on a game that was poor in score. Still, by skipping level 2, you'd gain around 50 seconds or so, and get around 12,000 in time bonus, assuming the rest of your game was fast enough (no guarantee). Still, this total is just shy of 900K, and well below Frank's 910K. In any case, the money is safe, and, with the hit you take for missing the level 2 points, plus the fact that getting more than a few gemeaters on higher levels is basically impossible on MAME, over 830K would pretty much be a miracle. Still, I'll continue to try, off-and-on, as I have the last few years...

Yes, I've heard about rigged controls, and I love it ! Anything to help a player (fairly) get good MAME scores rules ! But, again, I worry that even the CC trak-ball would have an input speed limitation, making the rigging useless. Sigh...

DBH: Indeed, as I told JG, I took a bit of artistic license in saying I could beat you, since I was only referring to me playing the arcade version - not a fair comparison, but, playing with one's foot isn't fair either ! As you point out, you have beaten me both ways (1/1 on, and 8/1 up) in our 'Dr. Scholl's shootout' ! Maybe we can do it again, and entertain the CE crowd, if you're going ! Anyway, I don't think I could ever top your 590, but I'm sure I could beat you from 1/1 up, if I had a high perch to sit on...

Indeed, I think 900K on one credit, considering time bonus, from a fast game, is possible, but probably more difficult than Frank's 910K, because now you not only have to totally max the game, and have all 6 lives going at the end of the game, but you also have to do all of that while playing fast !!! Talk about high-pressure... On the arcade version, I'd say it's a 1 in 10,000 chance, from a world-class player at their peak. On MAME... totally impossible. John, I may offer a bounty myself for MAME, maybe something like $1 per every 1000 points over 800K, just to see what happens...

Final thots; on the TG settings issue, yes, CC is about the only game where a game 'continue' is allowed. Why ? Because the designer, Franz X. Lanzinger (a personal friend of mine) designed it to be that way in order to establish the optimal level to warp up to. It sucked in the arcade, since I'd be out an extra token, but, since I bought the actual arcade game in 1986, I didn't much care, then... And, no, no one (not even me, and I'm anal-retentive - just look at the detail on my site !) tracks the max score on a CC single-credit game, just like no one (but me) tracks the differentiation between a game warping to level 8 (record is 902,265, by Frank), and level 2 (the infamous 910,722 score, which incidentally is about the only arcade gaming achievement that I'll ever classify as a masterpiece, tho Phil Britt's Paperboy wr, David Palmer's Star Wars wr, and some of Hisa Chan's stuff almost qualifies !). It's just all lumped together, and because of the 'hit' you take on points by playing a single-credit, that score would never stack up to the others, and therefore, isn't tracked (or, even played, on the arcade version). As a matter of fact, I don't even think Frank or I ever cared to try to see what we could do on a single-credit. Maybe one day, when I have time... - Mark Alpiger / MDA / MDARULZ
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Postby JoustGod » Mon Aug 02, 2004 3:48 am

Fair enough, Mark. Maybe I should just take your style of commentary as though you were auditioning for a spot on the WWE roster. ;-) Yes, it can come across as a bit pompous/rude...but, I give you respect for you noting this yourself. There's nothing more annoying than someone coming across as pompous and then that person not having a clue that is how he could be perceived.

I would gladly take you up on your invites to the two major events for classic gamers. My problem is finding the time to do so. Family and work pretty much take most of my time and energy these days. I envy those that attend Funspot every year. You guys sound like you're having a great time. I don't doubt your skills in the realm of coin-op at all. In spite of my nick, I can't place myself anywhere near the top Joust players. Back in the "golden age" perhaps. Not anymore. I think patwos would be the first to agree that I'm old and can't play worth crap anymore. After all, I'm likely to be the oldest here at MARP with the exeption of the Berzerk great, Phil Younger.

BTW - I hardly view your 613K on CC MAME as "terrible"!
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Postby Patwos » Tue Aug 03, 2004 6:00 am

Hm..... are you ever too old I wonder?

I think if anything my reflexes are better now than they were back in the day...... when I can find the time to play some games that is.

Unfortunately I seem to have less and less time these days. :(

Cheers,
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Postby The TJT » Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:16 am

Yeah! I'm 34 now, and have not noticed any major problems with reflexes. Timing seems to be even better now vs then. Play many games better now compared when I was 15 or so.
Marathon games seem harder though...

JG, maybe 40 is the limit :lol:
HOPE NOT! :P
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