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UK keyboards have this weird right angley looking character with one line shorter than the other. Yeah.
edit - just made it a lot shorter, nothing important was cut out

Quote from T3tsuya:
Oh my. This is looking to be a lot more complicated than I first thought.

I'm starting to see the same here. I see a lot of possibilities regarding making the run as perfect as you can, but I also think it may be too ambitious to mine down to the core. You can always submit improvements later. In the meanwhile let's see what we can find.

Quote from T3tsuya:
On original mode vs arcade mode. I picked arcade mode as the arbitrary default selection, I didn't want to overcomplicate things, but Sega seems to have done that for me. I think I'm going to stick to an arcade mode run though as it seems the difficulty scaling is in both modes.

The primary reason why that may be a bad choice is how is level 5/level 6 is gonna work? In original mode you wouldn't run into that problem. Of course whichever you choose, you can run the other one later because they're fundamentally different anyway. And maybe in arcade mode you could choose to run just levels 1-5. But if it's true that difficulty levels carry over from one level to the next and I don't see how to get around the bias that creates for level 6 easily.

Quote from T3tsuya:
I'll definitely be praying to the RNG gods[.]

Let's try to find out what the range of possibilities is and then figure out what's feasible in IL's and SS.

Quote from T3tsuya:
The strengths look fixed. I have not yet observed a yellow or blue tranquilizer in level 1 ...

I just ran a series of test runs on level 1. I noticed you can pick up yellow tranqus from at least one or two boxes along the way and get blue ones for completed missions. Difficult to establish what the difference is before we can make difficulty level studying more systematic. Even if the manual has it they're supposed to be different.

Quote from T3tsuya:
On health items vs continues, I -THINK- it might benefit me to find fast places to get hit, keep my combo relatively low so I dont get more health and then coast on my one remaining health until I need to use that continue. I'm thinking it'll be best to pop continues in front of boss fights to keep phrase length down.

Yeah you really have to keep an eye on the gauge. I noticed that now that I've gotten fairly confident at typing correctly, I'd have to relearn making little mistakes. I wonder what the optimal way to do that would be. Maybe you don't really need a method if it's such a small detail in the end.

The question of optimizing continue usage - Only place where it's clearly wasted is right at the end, say the final phase of a boss fight. But is it better to lose one right before a boss fight than it would be if it had happened say half-way through the level or at the very start? Maybe you end up getting the same difficulty for the boss fight in either case. Or maybe as early as possible is best if the effect ripples through the whole level? Let's experiment.

Quote from T3tsuya:

Sorry but the options menu only has word size: large or small. Meaning how big the text boxes are. Smiley For the sight-impaired or something.

Quote from T3tsuya:
On dictionaries, not only do the genre dictionaries keep the words shorter, I've found it's usually the same stock set of words. You can memorize them the best you can and get those typed out fairly quickly. But they really do not last long and they're usually only used for zombie challenges which Im skipping anyway.

On my last set of experiment runs, I noticed you sometimes get shorter and really fast-to-type words from genre dictionaries, but sometimes even double the length of other words in the same area, so it's one of those luck-determined things.

One last note on genre dics - you're right that they're short-lasting. Actually their effect is limited to the mission or to a predefined set of zombies in the area you picked the item up in.

Quote from T3tsuya:
This is going to take longer than I planned originally, there's going to need to be a lot more testing done routewise and some deeper looks into the strategy of the whole thing, but the end result will be worth it.

Again I thought I'd bring up the idea of being prepared to let certain things slip just for the sake of getting some sort of run out in a reasonable time. That's what I'd do if I saw there was gonna be a lot of complications.

Quote from T3tsuya:
Thank you again for the continued help and support on this. I would have easily submitted a sub-par run without this advice. I really do appreciate it. If you find or think of anything else, please don't hesitate to post it up.

I'm only probably as enthusiastic about the game as you are and glad to be able to help out in whatever ways I can. I'll be happy to be part of the preparations for this run for as long as I'm around, but I am already planning a departure within the month probably for an unknown time period.

So what do I mean by analytical/empirical approach to route planning? The empirical approach would be just timing yourself doing different routes to establish an average time taken for each of them. That's simple to do, but requires lots of repetitions, plus you can't make 100% sure conclusions, because it's a form of inductive thinking as I see it. The analytical approach would be more trying to break the game's flow down into little parts like for example: "If I take route A here it's followed by 2.56 seconds of camera panning before 2 zombies of difficulty level C appear on the screen. There's a 25% probability of getting a yellow tranquilizer from the box. Is this the optimal route choice?" That sort of thinking can help you make conclusive conclusions if you can find out how much camera movement, how many zombies, how many items etc. each branch has and somehow sum it all up and compare with all the alternatives. I'm thinking you could do that by recording yourself playing and studying the videos afterwards.

Speaking of recording oneself playing (recording the screen that is) I did a brief study of word lengths just to see how that'd work out. I captured ten runs of the "Mr. B Guy" drill, which is the one that you have to get all A's and B's in. The word length increases steadily as you go along so I thought maybe it's passing through different difficulty/word length categories. I managed to create a table of the results which does show e.g. that the first 5 words are 3-5 letters long, then the next category would be 5-8 letters etc. And the point is if you collected more data you could eventually work out what the current difficulty level of the game is by looking at the word lengths. And this in turn would help assess in a more scientific way what the effect of losing a continue or picking up a tranquilizer is in as concrete terms as possible. That might be a possible starting point for a more analytical approach to optimizing your strategies. Still I wouldn't say you absolutely had to do that in order to produce an SDA-standards-meeting run by any means.

Another way to get more insight on how the difficulty level works would be to try to access the word lists in the game's data files. I don't know if that's just not doable. I already tried opening the .bin files in NotePad, but I guess it was never going to be that easy. Smiley

Here's a list of all the things that might benefit from systematic empirical exploration (probably by studying recordings of gameplay). I made it so if anyone else would be interested in helping out they'd have an idea of what's there to do:
-trying to establish difficulty/word length categories in the way I outlined two paragraphs up or by other means
-trying to establish what tranqus and continues do to the difficulty
-just plain trying out different routes and measuring time taken to reach the boss or whatever - I imagine you'll have a lot to work in this if you're the only one doing it, and in any case others could help confirm your findings
-other stuff as well

I just had a realization that should further discourage overly perfectionism about the run: if you wanted to find out which zombies are the best to take damage from, you'd have to count in the effect of the difficulty level I think. Which I guess changes according to how early you lost the first continue and how many continues you've lost so far. So it's even more complicated if I see this correctly.

I noticed that if you use the "adjust display" option, you can lift the perfect gauge up to the very top of the screen. This means you can see certain zombies' text boxes earlier. Works at least for the guy jumping down off the bridge near the end of chap. 1. It would mean to change a default setting, though, by some interpretations at least... The "default" button doesn't change the view back, but if it's not the boot default it's not the boot default.

BTW you mentioned earlier that you have a WPM of something like 120. How does that convert to the WPM used by the game? What results are you getting in the post-chapter evaluations?
I want off the ride....
my game clear said 22words / minute and i type ~120 wpm w/ 95% accuracy. I have been known to float around 110-130 but 120 is my avg.

i can run more tests when i get back home... i'm currently helping my parents renovate the house ( i live in an apt near where i went to college). so yeah.

I might also try to run some vdub caps of runs and let you guys take a look for comparisons. I type too quickly and mess up (i guess kinda strategically) a lot. Or at least i like to hit a lot of double keys. Longest chain i had was 6.

as for arcade mode, i think you just need to do chp 5 before chp 6 (dont need to do the rest) and original you need to get 20 coins (possible in 4 stages) to get chp 6. I'd ultimately (for original) want to probably do 1 2 4 3 so that you could build up the acids to abuse on the hydra head. You dont ever want to continue in an original mode run since the 5th coin is always "clear w/o continue", unless its the final stage. And at that point it'd probably be well worth the difficulty drops.

Chp6 is easy to take damage w/... and i'm still fair sure
taking damage from thrown axes is the best option
What test did you do for your wpm?

If you wanted to do some tests for the run, but aren't sure what to do, you can for now collect more data on the mr. B guy and I'll know how to utilize that data. Just record what words he gave you (1 - ufo, 2 - fish etc. starting in a new column for every new attempt) and put it in an excel file. Otherwise if you don't have a vision of your own it's currently a bit difficult to say what would be the most appropriate thing to study.

You obviously can't go get items from other chapters if it's supposed to be an individual levels/chapters run. At least for me that seems to go against how IL runs generally work.

You dont ever want to continue in an original mode run since the 5th coin is always "clear w/o continue"

I don't see why you need to get those coins in these runs.
Edit history:
LotBlind: 2012-02-20 03:36:01 pm
So I'm absolutely sure on difficulty of chap 6 depending on how well you did in chap 5. Therefore I recommend forgetting about chap 6 in AC mode or going for some sort of "chaps 5 and 6" time.

I made an Excel table out of some Mr. B words and did some analysis. Would benefit from more data, which I think I'll just collect some of now, but it shows a somewhat logical pattern which could probably be used in the way I envisioned, to try to be scientific about what effect of various choices is on difficulty. Basically most of the time the average length of words increases by around 2 letters if you count numbers and special characters as 2 letters worth each.

If someone wants to see it, I can send it over by e-mail.

Oh and I noticed this useful little thing: If you're left with exactly one health entering a mission, taking a damage and using the continue there stops the "mission fail" screen from showing at all!
Sorry I haven't been posting up as much as of late. Had a lot of personal hoo-hah come up. But let me dive right into this.

Jesus LotBlind. You blow me away. Got a lot to think about with these posts to be sure. At this point it looks like the most realistic chance for a run would be to do it in a full on arcade mode single segment as every level seems heavily dependant in one way or another on how've you've been doing in the previous levels. 5 and 6 especially.

When you refer to the "Mr. B" guy what boss are you referring to? Because I really can't think of one that requires you to get all A's and B's. Closest to that I can think of would be Magician which requires you to not make errors.

As it is right now. I have some rigorous testing to do. Here's what I'm going to end up working on in the coming weeks with the girlfriend who is running this aside me. 2 people testing will go much faster.

    - Most importantly, fastest general route.
    - Tranq rate and how to best utilize them / what to realistically hope for from the RNG gods.
    - When to best pop continues and take damage to keep word difficulty low. (Rane gets the point with the flying weapons so far. They're by far the fastest)
    - Memorizing Boss Phrases (Hydra)

I'll probably get a test run up in the next few weeks. If anything new pops up I'll definitely post back up here with it. I hope the conversation with this continues though, I'd love to hear anything else you come up with or find out, if you think of anything to add to my list of tests, by all means bring it up.

Pretty psyched about getting this started.
Edit history:
LotBlind: 2012-02-20 03:37:28 pm
Mr. B is one of the drills. He gives you a constant stream of words with difficulty gradually increasing.
Did quite a few tests and as it is, I think I have a route down. I'm fairly sure I could get a really good testrun in the next week or so. Probably getting a full run in the next couple of weeks.

I'll keep everyone updated.
Sounds like a good idea to show your route to everyone interested so we can try to find mistakes in that.

Good luck!
I was planning on putting up a full explanation with the test run. There's a lot of little snippits that just make more sense if you have something to look at. We'll pick it apart at length there.
I want off the ride....
hrm, looking forward to it T3tsuya...

i took a short break then went back and found i was slightly faster. Or i've learned to cope with the random phrases ToD likes to throw at you..

I thinkt he problem is.. there willl always be like 1 new phrase here and there that will screw ya.

Also Magician is a horrible horrible horrible troll.
Edit history:
T3tsuya: 2012-02-28 02:08:33 pm
I'm actually having much less trouble with the Magician than I do with the end boss. You really have to hope Emperor chooses to do a short attack sequence over a long one, because he can do both. And it's random.

Reaaaaally irritating.
I want off the ride....
its more or less, there are only two boundaries from me doing a "1cc" run of ToD (which no deaths would prob end up being a category?) and thats Magician and Emperor. Magician is far worse for me cause of the multiball attack and guess what attack screws me on emperor? his copy of magician's multiball.

Emperor has the easier finish =/ Type a sentence, win.
Best way I've found to deal with the magician is to waste a continue directly before him to lower the difficulty so yeah I can see why that would be a problem for you trying no deaths.

Solution: Type fast. Really fast.

Really no other way around it if you're letting the difficulty scale up Im afraid. Make sure you error every so often as to not let the meter build up and scale the difficulty higher.
Tet, are you already mostly settled on where to spend lives? Or on the route in general? I hope you're still working on IL's for now, cause that saves you the trouble of exploring the alternate entrances.
could a max difficulty boss rush be included alongside the ILs?
I think this game could potentially have at least the following categories: IL Arcade mode, IL Original mode, SS Arcade, SS Original. And the boss rush.
I'm just trying to impress you.
Has this been abandoned? I picked up the game and intend to collect the bounty. Here's my skeleton route of major choices:

Ch1: Save the civilians at the fountain, continue on the mission, let the woman die to the barrel
Ch2: Save car civilian, skip the key, save woman before gate, let all others die, continue on the fish
Ch3: Open Water Gate, let final civilian be attacked
Ch4: Continue on mission, save civilian in vent
Ch5: Continue before car ride
Ch6: Continue on second mission

I still need to optimize intentional errors to avoid extra HP from filling up the perfect gauge, from there it's just RNG grinding a good run in terms of agreeable phrases and tranquilizers. With that route I should be able to cut 30 minutes any% ss on 3/5/Normal. My final stats tend to hover around 30 in-game WPM.
Fucking Weeaboo
Good luck man.  I've played this and Chainsaw dude is BRUTAL with those long sentences.
Edit history:
LotBlind: 2012-04-08 02:58:16 pm
What mode are you looking at Peaches? And are you doing this SS? Been a while since anything was heard from Tetsuya, but he seemed to have been working on the route quite a bit at one point, so it'd be great if the two of you compared notes at least.

Anyways looks like you're making use of the strats that were thought up during tetsu's preparations, and I don't see immediate problems with your route outline comparing it with my own experience of playing the game.

Have you done any recording yet? A non-RNG-optimised video showing your route would probably spawn a lot of interest and maybe someone will come up with another source of improvement, who knows.
I'm just trying to impress you.
It would be arcade mode with default settings (except for US keyboard) and yes it would be SS. I'm timing from when I hit enter on the mode select to when Emperor's death cutscene starts. I did some test runs today and am able to get 31's pretty easily. If you or anyone else has a time to compare I'd be interested in hearing it.
My words per second is only around 20, so... And as I keep saying you don't have to be the fastest in order to submit. I'm sure there's always someone who can type even faster.
torch slug since 2006
my avg wpm is 101 atm, but it dosent really help me in totd, its like i get to stressed up there, having to choose what word to write etc.

peaches: good luck, are you playing the dreamcast version btw? cause i saw you stream and it looked like dreamcast
I want off the ride....
Ok, so new info

Rank E's lower your overall difficulty ranking. Meaning any and all times you plan to take damage, taking a rank E kill as well will help you even more.
This is harder to manipulate during missions in which you wanna take damage as some enemies just dont ever want to activate to hurt you while you are killing off their friends.

Also accuracy has no effect on ranking. or at least very negliable effect. By taking Rank E's all throughout stage one (dont save the first girl for best comparison) i never got anything above 6 letters, maybe 7 the whole stage. This did not lower, or change the difficulty of the boss. Bosses seem to have a set "minimum" difficulty. So while i was completely under it, the boss was no more difficult than normal. But by taking rank E's at good spots, one can lower the rank and make it faster. This also means that Rank A may just not be the best thing for you.

As Rank A seems to shoot the difficulty up high quickly. But some bosses require Rank A or B typings.  So don't play the Rank E card on them.

-Abuse where you will take damage. If someone is throwing an axe, type out their 'word' as slow as possible finishing it as you get hit or just before. Taking a Rank E. If you only plan to take one damage, and there are two throwers. Kill the non-thrower quickly then be as slow as you can for the other. Even rank c or d can help you out enough.

As for accuracy. In tests where I ranked E and did it perfectly vs non. There was no change in the enemies. Rather it got easier cause i got more HP to sacrifice to lower the rank. So I cannot accurately tell you this at this moment. But so far I think if you can roll with perfect typing, that might be better. You'd get 1 hp before the mission in stage 1 doing though meaning to continue you'd have to double tank a hit, or you could just avoid that continue.....
When I wondered if accuracy would change rank, I wasn't asking if "accurate E" and "inaccurate E" were the same, but this -- if you type all but the last letter in a phrase quickly, then spammed letters, would the rank be lower when you completed it vs a Perfect completion that took the same time? I'm pretty sure I've had some B's and lower where I flubbed some letters but still thought I typed quite quickly.

If inaccuracy does lower rank, this would be very advantageous to spam during some of the 'autoscroll' zombies, where it's possible to type them before their related stage animation ends, such as the one near the end of Ch1 who jumps off the bridge, and the 4th and 5th ones on Chapter 2 when walking up the stairs.