Golden Era Game of the Week 11/20/04: Gravitar

Golden Era Game of the Week
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Postby Weehawk » Sat Nov 27, 2004 5:23 am

Twix wrote:Well my neighbor brought his PC over to my home office today and I played Gravitar in WolfMame 88 through the entire game -- 614,200 points -- so that should be enough to win as long as the game can be replayed on John's machine. My neighbor emailed the zipped file before 5PM MST -- the file was 19+ MB and compressed down to about 170K he told me.

It made a huge difference playing in my office on my 19" monitor as opposed to his house (bedroom) on his 17" monitor -- I had total control over my environment.

John, Let me know if you got the file and if it works for you.

I almost didn't make it through the entire game -- I really thought I wouldn't be able to do it -- some how I managed to dig down deep and persevere. I had 3 ships and about 5-6,000 fuel units going into the last part of the final planet of the 4th universe (Negative Gravity/Invisible Landscape) and my hands were cramping -- again, I really thought I would not be able to complete it.

A few highlights are the final planet of the 3rd universe (positive gravity, invisible landscape) -- I make my way out of the planet through the end of the maze -- then I have to go back in to finish off the final 2 turrets (that part is normal play for me - not the exiting the planet in the dark though)

Also right near the end of the game I make it back to the invisible planets and go into the Red Planet -- I make it through the spiral to shoot the Reactor -- though the game only gives you 9 seconds to get in, shoot the reactor and get out. It takes about 9 seconds to get in there and shoot the reactor as it is, so no time to exit.

I would have played to a higher score, but my wife had her jewelry show and I had to help her get ready for that, so I purposely ran the last few ships into the death star at the very end of the game -- still I was very pleased with the game. (my second highest Mame game so far).

Hope you all like it, enjoy,
Dan Coogan

Where to start...

First, the contest is for MARP submissions. The inp wasn't submitted to MARP.
Weehawk wrote:Each week I will name a "Golden Era Game of the Week" for which I will offer a monetary prize for the highest MARP submission on.

Prior to 2359 hours GMT each Friday I will post in this forum (or if the Game of the Week forum has been abandoned, with Seymour's permission I may hijack it) the name of the game, the amount of the reward, any rules I may choose to apply, and in some cases in addition to the reward for the highest score submitted that week (before 2359 the following Friday) I may offer a further "bounty" for reaching some goal I choose to set on the game achieved by a more distant deadline.

Also, the inp that was emailed to me on your behalf is not a WolfMAME recording.

It may have been recorded with regular MAME .88, I cannot be sure. It starts correctly when played back with MAME .88, but desyncs on the second planet. Does it play back all the way for you? If you did use regular MAME, the playback problem may be from the use of NVRAM. That is one of the advantages of WolfMAME, it disregards NVRAM unless otherwise instructed. With regular MAME, you must delete the NVRAM file every time you start a recording or a playback for the game to be in the same state, and therefore play back correctly.

Not sure how you thought you were recording with WolfMAME if you weren't, but the further bounty for finishing the game is still availlable if you figure it out.

The zip file is attached in case anyone wants to try to play it.
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Postby Twix » Sat Nov 27, 2004 6:13 am

Weehawk wrote:Where to start...

First, the contest is for MARP submissions. The inp wasn't submitted to MARP.

John,

my friend / neighbor Justin emailed the file to your email address before 5:00 PM MST -- we named the file: coogangravitar614200.inp -- I personally told him to name the file that, so it would contain my name, the game name- Gravitar and the final score. Sorry if we didn't email it to Marp, but if you got it on time I don't see how it matters -- this is Thanksgiving week, I'm playing without sound, trying to beat a game on a keyboard. This is my first time dealing with mame on a PC -- we got Wolfmame 88 working on his PC and I played the game to 614,200 points.

Weehawk wrote:Each week I will name a "Golden Era Game of the Week" for which I will offer a monetary prize for the highest MARP submission on.

Prior to 2359 hours GMT each Friday I will post in this forum (or if the Game of the Week forum has been abandoned, with Seymour's permission I may hijack it) the name of the game, the amount of the reward, any rules I may choose to apply, and in some cases in addition to the reward for the highest score submitted that week (before 2359 the following Friday) I may offer a further "bounty" for reaching some goal I choose to set on the game achieved by a more distant deadline.

Weehawk wrote:Also, the inp that was emailed to me on your behalf is not a WolfMAME recording.

It may have been recorded with regular MAME .88, I cannot be sure. It starts correctly when played back with MAME .88, but desyncs on the second planet. Does it play back all the way for you? If you did use regular MAME, the playback problem may be from the use of NVRAM. That is one of the advantages of WolfMAME, it disregards NVRAM unless otherwise instructed. With regular MAME, you must delete the NVRAM file every time you start a recording or a playback for the game to be in the same state, and therefore play back correctly.

Not sure how you thought you were recording with WolfMAME if you weren't, but the further bounty for finishing the game is still availlable if you figure it out.

The zip file is attached in case anyone wants to try to play it.

John,

1. My neighbor downloaded Wolfmame 88 from this page:
http://tinyurl.com/5onoq

2. He never even heard of mame before I mentioned it to him.

3. John, the Gravitar Rom (sensitive information edited - jc) works with Wolfmame 88 -- so I have no idea what other version of mame it could be.

4. Does the file play all the way through to the 614,200 or not? That is the only file we had to send. I did not have any time to watch the playback, however, he zipped the only Gravitar.inp file on his hard drive within 1 hour of my finishing the game, and it was 19.1 MB which makes it quite a large game, (i.e. 614,200 points) -- as I mentioned my wife had a jewelry show and I had to go help her, so I felt lucky to have the time just to play through the entire game earlier today. I cannot thank my neighbor enough for the help he gave me letting me play on his computer for 10+ hours (i.e. multiple attempts + figuring out how to get mame to work on his PC) this week to complete the game.
http://www.cooganphoto.com
"Photography with a Vision"
Also, visit my Gravitar site
http://www.cooganphoto.com/gravitar/
- dedicated to the 1982 Atari classic video arcade game Gravitar. Hints and playing tips with screen captures, etc. included...
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Postby tar » Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:08 am

i reviewed the 600k score by twix

used wolfmame 88
used mameplus 87 update 4

various settings , 12 attempts
deleted NVRAM
29,450 each time playedback
microsoft windows '98 me
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Postby Weehawk » Sat Nov 27, 2004 9:11 am

Twix wrote:Sorry if we didn't email it to Marp, but if you got it on time I don't see how it matters

Just that the challenge is for MARP submissions.

And you don't "email" them, there is a submission page. You'll find out more if you create a MARP account and submit a recording.

Twix wrote:1. My neighbor downloaded Wolfmame 88 from this page:

That page contains links to WolfMAME .88, and other mame versions.

Twix wrote:John, the Gravitar Rom ...works with Wolfmame 88 -- so I have no idea what other version of mame it could be.

MAME ROMsets aren't changed very often. If a ROMset works for WolfMAME .88, it will work for any MAME version since the last time it was changed.

Twix wrote:4. Does the file play all the way through to the 614,200 or not?

It does not. It desyncs on the second planet. I think the end score was 29,450. George "gastrainga" Strain reports similar results.

Twix wrote:I did not have any time to watch the playback

I'm guessing it won't play back for you either.
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Postby Twix » Sat Nov 27, 2004 12:26 pm

Just a follow-up question:
What are the three high scores on the high score list?

OK, I just went to my neighbor's house and watched the replay of the file -- it played to 241 thousand (and change) -- that was the game I played on Thursday evening, so I'm not sure what happened to the game from yesterday.

Agggghhhhhh!!
this is frustrating.

so Tim -- he's the father of Justin, downloaded Wolfmame 89 and was able to record a sample game and play it back -- looks like the version we downloaded was mame 32, but we did download Wolfmame 88 the Monday night from the page with all the Gravitar scores. I really don't understand why this doesn't work, but I will give it another shot to complete a game.

Will you accept a file recorded in Wolfmame 89?
http://www.cooganphoto.com
"Photography with a Vision"
Also, visit my Gravitar site
http://www.cooganphoto.com/gravitar/
- dedicated to the 1982 Atari classic video arcade game Gravitar. Hints and playing tips with screen captures, etc. included...
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Postby Ian Sutton » Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:24 pm

First off congratulations to JBS. A weird way to win but hey they all count.

The TJT wrote:Damn, Ian. If you only play THAT game one week, then...you...really...have talent. !!!
Now sing me child in time, and I DO ask your autograph :)


Sorry to disappoint you Tommi but I played this one a few years ago. :D
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Postby Twix » Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:33 pm

Weehawk wrote:
Twix wrote:Sorry if we didn't email it to Marp, but if you got it on time I don't see how it matters

Just that the challenge is for MARP submissions.

And you don't "email" them, there is a submission page. You'll find out more if you create a MARP account and submit a recording.

Is this the submission page - http://marp.retrogames.com/index.cgi?mode=fetch
it would be a good idea to add the link to the rules page -- this is the first I heard about the submission page, that's why we emailed the file to you.

I've got a marp account (don't I?) when I signed up for this forum, or is the forum account (my user name: twix) seperate from an account that allows you to submit a recording?


Twix wrote:1. My neighbor downloaded Wolfmame 88 from this page:
Weehawk wrote:That page contains links to WolfMAME .88, and other mame versions.
we clicked on the link that said "Get mame 88" -- I don't know why we ended up with the incorrect version, unless the link is linking to the incorrect version of mame (mame 32) -- I saw my neighbor click on the link to get Mame 88 -- I pointed to the spot on the screen and said "there that's the one you want, mame 88."

Twix wrote:John, the Gravitar Rom ...works with Wolfmame 88 -- so I have no idea what other version of mame it could be.
Weehawk wrote:MAME ROMsets aren't changed very often. If a ROMset works for WolfMAME .88, it will work for any MAME version since the last time it was changed.


Twix wrote:4. Does the file play all the way through to the 614,200 or not?
Weehawk wrote:It does not. It desyncs on the second planet. I think the end score was 29,450. George "gastrainga" Strain reports similar results.

What do you mean by "desyncs"?

Twix wrote:I did not have any time to watch the playback
Weehawk wrote:I'm guessing it won't play back for you either.

It did playback to 241K, which was the game I played on Thursday evening. Are saying you could not get it to play back higher thn 29K -- try playing the file in Mame 32, apparently that's what we recorded it in -- even though we clicked on the link that said "Get mame 88."

Do you understand how frustrating this is for me? I know I scored 614,200 -- my wife saw it, my neighbors saw it -- if the 3 high scores on the scoring table show it (how else would it have those top three scores?), I don't really know what else to do or say. I don't think there is anyone in the world right now that can beat me at this game and I've proven time and time again that I am capable of completing this game -- except you cannot view the file that I sent in (and apparently did not record correctly) so all my efforts this week were for nought.

In a strange way, I feel like I'm visiting another country -- except I don't speak the language, and regardless of my ability, the person who scored much less than me actually wins the prize -- well good for him, he earned it I guess.

Again, I ask -- Will you accept a file recorded in Wolfmame 89? Tim downloaded this version and was able to record and play it back successfully.
http://www.cooganphoto.com
"Photography with a Vision"
Also, visit my Gravitar site
http://www.cooganphoto.com/gravitar/
- dedicated to the 1982 Atari classic video arcade game Gravitar. Hints and playing tips with screen captures, etc. included...
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Postby The TJT » Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:38 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:Sorry to disappoint you Tommi but I played this one a few years ago. :D


Oh well :(
I was just about to start an Ian fan club, seriously :wink:

Nice score anyway.
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Postby Twix » Sat Nov 27, 2004 3:57 pm

Ian Sutton wrote:First off congratulations to JBS. A weird way to win but hey they all count.

Yes, well to quote George Costanza from Seinfeld, Episode 85 - The Hamptons
http://www.seinology.com/scripts/script-85.shtml
GEORGE: It's like I'm Neil Armstrong. I turn around for a sip of Tang and you jump out first
http://www.cooganphoto.com
"Photography with a Vision"
Also, visit my Gravitar site
http://www.cooganphoto.com/gravitar/
- dedicated to the 1982 Atari classic video arcade game Gravitar. Hints and playing tips with screen captures, etc. included...
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Postby Weehawk » Sun Nov 28, 2004 3:06 am

Twix wrote:looks like the version we downloaded was mame 32

Uh...which MAME 32? Not that it matters much since you have better recordings than that one anyway.

I saw my neighbor click on the link to get Mame 88 -- I pointed to the spot on the screen and said "there that's the one you want, mame 88.

Uh...no...you wanted WolfMAME .88. Not the same thing.

What do you mean by "desyncs"?

Oh boy. Forgive me if I'm getting too basic here but: When you record an inp file with MAME, all that is really being recorded is the stream of inputs that are being made to the game program. If this stream is given to the same program in the same state on replay, the results should be exactly the same. If you have questions as to how this could be, some of them are likely answered here:

http://marp.retrogames.com/random.htm

When a recording does not play back properly (and the causes for this are myriad) it usually does not actually crash MAME, that is unusual, rather the input stream will merely lose sync with the events in the game that took place when the recording was made, and the results will obviously be different. Once sync is lost, the player usually dies pretty rapidly. When I and others have tried to watch the recording you had mailed to me, the first stage (the red planet) works fine, but you crash repeatedly from the start of the second planet. This may simply be because we haven't discerned which MAME version you were recording it with. I was guessing since it wasn't WolfMAME that there would also be NVRAM issues, but in that case I wouldn't expect it to play properly for you either.

It did playback to 241K, which was the game I played on Thursday evening.

So it was the wrong recording anyway...

Do you understand how frustrating this is for me?

I can imagine.

I don't think there is anyone in the world right now that can beat me at this game

I don't either. One presumes Ray Mueller's game is probably a little rusty at this point. :wink:

I know I scored 614,200

I'd search that computer for that lost inp file if I were you. It may not be in WolfMAME either, but I would certainly check. Could save you a couple hours work.

Again, I ask -- Will you accept a file recorded in Wolfmame 89?

Sure. Unless otherwise specified, for the further bounties I will accept the WolfMAME version used when the announcement was made, or a later version.

I've got a marp account (don't I?) when I signed up for this forum, or is the forum account (my user name: twix) seperate from an account that allows you to submit a recording?

This forum and MARP are two separate entities. To submit a recording to MARP you will need to create a MARP account. Nothing to do with your account to this forum.

Is this the submission page - http://marp.retrogames.com/index.cgi?mode=fetch
it would be a good idea to add the link to the rules page -- this is the first I heard about the submission page, that's why we emailed the file to you.

Bear in mind this whole challenge series was for MARP submissions. I haven't really touted it much outside of MARP, though we have had some new members join because of GEGOTW. Since I was primarily aiming the challenge at MARP members, providing a lot of instructional material for newbies hadn't really been much of a consideration. Such material is certainly available at the MARP website, however.

I hope your luck with this improves, and if we can be of assistance, post here. People more expert than myself here are very helpful.
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Postby Twix » Sun Nov 28, 2004 3:26 am

Thanks for the help. I also spoke with George Strain today and he cleared up a few questions for me. Sorry it didn't work out for this weeks challenge, but I will attempt to complete the game again using Wolfmame 89 -- hopefully tomorrow.

best,
Dan
http://www.cooganphoto.com
"Photography with a Vision"
Also, visit my Gravitar site
http://www.cooganphoto.com/gravitar/
- dedicated to the 1982 Atari classic video arcade game Gravitar. Hints and playing tips with screen captures, etc. included...
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Postby Weehawk » Sun Nov 28, 2004 4:54 am

Results:
1st: JBS
2nd: Ian Sutton
3rd: tar


Pretty impressive performances this week, and if Dan can get WolfMAME figured out we may see a completed game.

Looks like the top three are pretty well locked down. No one else can get in, and with 23 and 19 point separations, any movement among them would be surprising.

It's been an interesting year. I hope others have found it as entertaining as I have.
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Postby Twix » Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:29 pm

Well George emailed me that Ian Sutton had completed a game of Gravitar (all 4 universes) so I congratulate Ian on his accomplishment and JBS for coming so close to completing the game -- you have the skills now, I'm confident you will be able to do so.

I'll not be submitting a game -- at this point it's unnecessary to do so. I would have won this week's competition with a score of 614,200 if we had been able to figure out the technical side of recording a game correctly -- oh well.

My question to Ian and JBS is:
Did my web site http://www.cooganphoto.com/gravitar/ help you in any degree with the game play (hints etc) and especially regarding the answer to completing the final planet (Northwest - upper left planet) in the invisible landscapes?
http://www.cooganphoto.com
"Photography with a Vision"
Also, visit my Gravitar site
http://www.cooganphoto.com/gravitar/
- dedicated to the 1982 Atari classic video arcade game Gravitar. Hints and playing tips with screen captures, etc. included...
Twix
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Postby The TJT » Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:47 am

Looks like I have to start that Ian fansite anyway :P
Congrats.
Feel a bit sorry for Dan. Sometimes mame has playback problems, not very often, but sometimes. You can submit macmame replay for marp anyway, atleast mac users here should be able to playback that. And yes, I think your site is awesome, you must have done a lot of work for that.

Cheers,

TJT

P.S. Dan, as you like asteroids type vector games, you should try out Zektor, that is one cool game. Spinner + 2 buttons.
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Postby Ian Sutton » Mon Nov 29, 2004 1:16 am

Twix wrote:Well George emailed me that Ian Sutton had completed a game of Gravitar (all 4 universes) so I congratulate Ian on his accomplishment and JBS for coming so close to completing the game -- you have the skills now, I'm confident you will be able to do so.


Thank you. It makes me wonder if JBS was trying to finish it too.

Twix wrote:I'll not be submitting a game -- at this point it's unnecessary to do so. I would have won this week's competition with a score of 614,200 if we had been able to figure out the technical side of recording a game correctly -- oh well.


Hmm, I expect you feel like you got "Tanged" again. I hope there's no hard feelings there, but I felt I had to give it a shot. Re: submitting an inp, I believe TG accepts wolf78 submissions for world records if your neighbour (and your wife!) has the patience. You might have to check the site on that.

Twix wrote:My question to Ian and JBS is:
Did my web site http://www.cooganphoto.com/gravitar/ help you in any degree with the game play (hints etc) and especially regarding the answer to completing the final planet (Northwest - upper left planet) in the invisible landscapes?


I'd say that your site was fairly comprehensive, definitely entertaining, and extremely helpful. As for the final planet - I copied your strategy for the most part. If the bottom two turrets are left it makes navigation easier for sure. Of course you have to leave the left one to find the entrance. The right one I think you could destroy early and save a little fuel. Your method seems easier so that's what I did. Once I destroyed the final turret I went back through the maze picking up the fuel, trying in vain to destroy those last 2 turrets and finish it on one life.

Seriously I think those designers must have been smoking crack when they came up with that invisible idea. Those levels are impossible without a good knowledge of the layout.
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