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2022 VGS NES Weekly Contest - Pipe Dream!


BeaIank
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Events Team · Posted

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome!

Get your plumbing equipment ready for this week we are laying down PIPES!

Hard work lies ahead of our competitors this week, proving their worth in Pipe Dream!
The rules for this week are:

  • Pick mode A
  • Pick level 1 and speed 1
  • Play till game over
  • You cannot reach the game kill screen at the score of 8,388,600. You must stop playing before reaching that score.
  • Highest score wins
  • Genre: Puzzle

The contest ends Sunday, 04/17/22 at 11 pm EST.  Your user name should be written or typed on a piece of paper and be in the picture for your score to be valid. For speed runs that require video, that is not required.  The entire TV screen, or computer monitor if you are playing on an emulator, MUST be in the picture for the score to be valid.  No partial screenshots will be considered or accepted.  No screenshots by hitting "print screen" on a computer will be allowed.  You must take a picture of your computer monitor.  There may be instances where this will be acceptable, but it will be at the discretion of myself and the contest organizers.  Also, the use of turbo controllers is forbidden, as well as any cheat codes, Game Genies, slow motion functions, or save states if playing on an emulator.  Also, we will only be using NTSC systems for the contests.  The use of PAL systems will NOT be allowed.  Good luck everyone and have fun.

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Events Team · Posted
1st 0xDEAFC0DE 8,388,500
2nd the_wizard_666 1,117,550
3rd Krunch 757,100
4th Splain 371,750
5th PII 232,350
6th Jeevan 208,250
7th Dr. Morbis 172,900
8th RH 87,050
9th mbd39 52,050
10th JamesRobot 42,300
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Member · Posted
2 hours ago, BeaIank said:
  • If you are about to loop the score, take a picture before the loop and after the loop for every score loop you do

It's worth noting that looping the score is impossible. The game hits a kill screen around 8,388,608 points (= 2^23). I've tried playing around with this in emulator and the bug seems to have different effects depending on when it is triggered. Sometimes it just freezes, sometimes the palette and other graphical things get corrupted. I haven't gotten around to triggering it on a real console yet, but I imagine the emulators aren't far off from what will actually happen.

So, what should be done if someone hits that score? Should we just take a screen shot right before the kill screen? If multiple people hit the kill screen is there a tiebreaker?

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Member · Posted

I took a brief look at the code while I had some free time on a car trip, so here's what I found (just how the piece randomness works)

Spoiler

The next pieces are chosen in groups of 8. 7 of them are guaranteed to be the cross, the two types of straight pipes, and the four types of curved pipes. The last one is completely random (if the level is three or higher that random one will include the one-way straight pipes). Then these 8 pipes are shuffled randomly.

RNG manipulation is totally possible and should be fairly easy. The RNG is almost only called when picking a new set of pieces and when generating starting boards which are all totally controllable. The only exception I've found is that the RNG is called once per frame during the slash screens. However, it shouldn't take too long to mash through them on a specific frame to hit a set seed. After that, you can plan a route to your hearts content.

Also, it's not going to be relevant to anyone, but the RNG itself is extremely strange and unlike anything I've seen before on the NES. It probably has some patterns, but it actually seems to take way longer to repeat than other NES RNG I've seen.

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1,117,550

20220417_195316.thumb.jpg.d1c565e3b867209708ed9e1c388e718a.jpg

Now, I probably could've done better if I was any good at the bonus levels, but since I am lucky to get like 500 points on them, they're pretty much a waste of time.  Thankfully I'm good at building loops, as I'd probably have a @Dr. Morbis level score without it 😛  I probably could've gone longer, but fuck, I'm done with this game...

Edited by the_wizard_666
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Member · Posted

I've hit the kill screen score a few times.  In my experience, the screen is still readable enough to see the whole scoreboard.

Since this usually happened to me after a bonus stage, what I used to do was manually add the bonus stage points to my score.  This created a fun challenge of seeing how big a bonus I could hit once my game was about to end.

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Events Team · Posted
6 minutes ago, rdrunner said:

I've hit the kill screen score a few times.  In my experience, the screen is still readable enough to see the whole scoreboard.

Since this usually happened to me after a bonus stage, what I used to do was manually add the bonus stage points to my score.  This created a fun challenge of seeing how big a bonus I could hit once my game was about to end.

do you have a youtube vid of it?  😏  I need all the help i can get 😆

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Member · Posted
22 hours ago, Jeevan said:

do you have a youtube vid of it?  😏  I need all the help i can get 😆

Sorry, but no I didn't save the game footage or I would have posted it.

Hint: Bonus stages. It's all about the bonus stages!

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Member · Posted

I feel like Lisa in that Simpsons episode where everybody can easily solve the puzzle on her frozen dinner except for her.

It's like I have trouble thinking ahead to lay down the pipe correctly. I keep needing corner pipes and not getting the ones that I need.

EDIT: I know you can replace pieces but that also deducts points. I assume that high scorers keep that to a minimum?

Edited by mbd39
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53 minutes ago, mbd39 said:

EDIT: I know you can replace pieces but that also deducts points. I assume that high scorers keep that to a minimum?

I never noticed it costing me points, but it hasn't made much of a difference to me overall.  Still haven't died yet at the end of 4-1, and am just under 100K points.  Just don't leave unused pieces on the blank spots on the board...after clearing the level it docks points for each unused piece.

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Member · Posted

232,350       That feels a little better.  Still eatin' it pretty hard though in the bonus rounds, which feel like Tetris ate something strange from the forest.

140,150       This one's a fun time!, like Loopz complicated cousin.....   who's not welcome at thanksgiving dinner.

 

232,350.png

Edited by PII
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Member · Posted
On 4/11/2022 at 12:12 AM, 0xDEAFC0DE said:

It's worth noting that looping the score is impossible. The game hits a kill screen around 8,388,608 points (= 2^23). I've tried playing around with this in emulator and the bug seems to have different effects depending on when it is triggered. Sometimes it just freezes, sometimes the palette and other graphical things get corrupted. I haven't gotten around to triggering it on a real console yet, but I imagine the emulators aren't far off from what will actually happen.

So, what should be done if someone hits that score? Should we just take a screen shot right before the kill screen? If multiple people hit the kill screen is there a tiebreaker?

Still a bit curious on the rule clarification here. @BeaIank @guillavoie

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