Shock Troopers Mathematics 301

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Shock Troopers Mathematics 301

Post by BBH » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:20 am

Well, it's that time again for me to make one of these threads. Although it's not so much a math tutorial as it is a sort of forum blog to track my progress on a game that is very near and dear to me. But it's also necessary to post this because I have something important to say that's been eating me for a while, so I need to just come out and say it.

My "world record" on Shock Troopers is a fraud.

Not a fraud in the sense of cheating, but in the sense that it should not be compared to the Japanese Gamest/Arcadia world record of 31,356,100. The reason for this is that I truly believe that that score was achieved with the "violence" soft dip set to On, as that is what it defaults to when you run Shock Troopers in MAME with a Japanese bios. When you run it with the default European bios, "violence" is turned off.

If you don't know why this is significant, I will explain it again - with the violence switch set to On, it makes it a lot harder to maximize points. Enemies will randomly go into a new death animation after a few shots, meaning it's no longer possible to get up to 13 shots in on every enemy before they die. With enemies that are worth up to 7000 points per shot, not being able to fully take advantage of this means huge losses in points, and it's often not worth shooting them when you can just do the close-range attack and go for a 30k gem instead.

I did stumble upon something interesting though that I never realized way back when - there are no alternate death animations for enemies that are standing in water. This means that it's still possible to shoot enemies up to 13 times (or 12 times + close-range attack, which is also the preferred method when possible). This is a HUGE deal, and may be just the thing that could help me close the gap and break the world record legitimately now. The latter half of Jungle 2 and all of Valley 4 is in the water, which means that almost the same potential scores that I was getting on those levels with violence off can also be done with violence on (I say almost because there are some enemies on Valley 4 standing outside of the water, and will still randomly go into the alternate death animations after taking a few shots).

So... can I manage to break the Japanese record with violence on? I'm trying to stay positive about this (since there are certain people that take much delight in incessantly quoting me when I mention something to be "impossible"). But I have a lot of work to do in terms of re-learning my patterns on where to most effectively "stall" in each level so as to maximize points. I'm not sure how much time I'm going to spend working on this in the near future, but I imagine I'll be playing it a little bit every now and then to see if I can make any progress (and maybe start re-charting scores to figure out the theoretical max to see if I'm on the right track)

My old high score with violence on is 29,594,600 (dated March 19th 2000 apparently). I'd only ever broken 29 million twice too. This was back before I had any knowledge of the multi-shot kills that would be possible on Jungle 2 and Valley 4. Would it have been possible to squeeze out an extra 1.8 million during that run? I don't know what kind of scores I was getting on those stages without the multi-shot bonuses, but I kind of assume so...... anyway, if I can beat this score then it will definitely renew my urge to go after this record.

I don't think the old MAME recordings should be deleted, nor updated special rules - we always tend to adhere to MAME's default settings here on MARP so I think they should stand. As such there is no way for me to ever beat those old scores since I am not going to be playing this game with violence off any more. I suppose if anyone's interested I'll upload recordings to this thread if they want to see them. Actually I'll probably do that anyway if I can get up to 30 million.

As for what inspired me to finally take this game up again? Well, good ol' Ground Kontrol here in Portland recently got a Neo-Geo 4-slot cabinet that just happens to have Shock Troopers in it. How could I not resist tossing a couple quarters into it? First game was pretty abysmal, second game was just over 28 million, which was pretty good considering how rusty I am at remembering the stalling patterns (and was trying to readjust to NOT going for multi-shot kills a lot of the time)

(the old threads: here and here)

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Post by GHEMANT » Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:01 am

I must delete your score (37M) in gamest/record list, right?

is possible for you beat actual 31 M gamest score?

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Post by Chad » Mon Sep 10, 2007 11:11 am

GHEMANT wrote:I must delete your score (37M) in gamest/record list, right?

is possible for you beat actual 31 M gamest score?
I would say deleting the score in gamest is up to the list makers after they hear this info, not a straight delete yet, but if the previous score was made with different settings probably so. Mighty props goes out to bbh, one of the few top scorers who would actually question their own record for the love of the game. I'm seriously proud to have bbh among us... and think with finding enemies in the water to take advantage of, I see bbh clearing 31M is only a number rounds of practice away.
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Post by The_Pro » Mon Sep 10, 2007 12:03 pm

I`d say make it another category, keep the 37M score with a notation that violence was off and put it next to the violence on score. That 37M is awesome and deserves to be up there.

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Post by GHEMANT » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:08 pm

I hope that BBH play S.T. again to obtain "world record" with japanese bios. Is the only way to compare its score with Japanese score.

I can't add mame replay scores in that document (for comparison sure) with other settings (for exemple max difficult), gamest list is a japanese version only for all games and with default settings.

I have other doubt for neo drift out...

sometimes... there are obscure difference between "world" and "japan" games and this new info from BBH about S.T. is very important.

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Post by sawys » Mon Sep 10, 2007 4:22 pm

GHEMANT wrote: sometimes... there are obscure difference between "world" and "japan" games and this new info from BBH about S.T. is very important.
Hi :-D

Now you can understand why we decided to play with default (europe mvs) bios to challenge one year ago ;-)

Cheers.
Sawys is Sébastien GIRAUD, admin of MAMESCORE, member of MARP, TWIN GALAXIES, RETRO UPRISING and ex-member of JVRM :-D

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Post by GHEMANT » Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:40 pm

sawys wrote:
GHEMANT wrote: sometimes... there are obscure difference between "world" and "japan" games and this new info from BBH about S.T. is very important.
Hi :-D

Now you can understand why we decided to play with default (europe mvs) bios to challenge one year ago ;-)

Cheers.
yes, but...

Since japanese scores are the strongest hi-score in arcade games (with best strategies, techniques...) I prefer use always japanese settings, so I can comparate my work without doubts about different setting...

Why I want comparate my scores with japanese score and not with world scores ? (world score = world romset)

easy answer. Because I'm sure 100% that in Japan many players (hundreds players) have played every single game with 100% of application, research, study. For this, every score in gamest list is very high!

With european bios I can comparate my scores with little scores in marp (sometimes 3/6 scores only), some scores in Italian board (very little) and stop.

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Post by Chad » Mon Sep 10, 2007 5:52 pm

yes now i know why they decided to use world settings. :)

GHEMANT: go easy with the nationalism there. sure japanese players are great (super in fact) and there are harder settings in some japanese games. But you can't say that across the board japanese scores are the strongest unless you are just trying to be nationalistic. The only reason to use a certain bios setting is to have equally difficult scores to compare against. Usually, one setting is not better or greater than the another. there are just differences, and if you want to compete in gamest you use japanese settings, if you want to compete in TGyou use TG settings etc. It is the smart players who can actually determine and understand the differences.
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Post by GHEMANT » Mon Sep 10, 2007 6:14 pm

exemple (I try to explain my reasons):

I play some games with europe bios (ninja commando, metal slug, strikers 1945 plus, games release in 90's years). I must comparate my scores with very little scores in western: TG: many and many hi-score with games 1977~1984 but almost nothing for games after 1989, Marp: many scores because there are all arcade games, but quality/strategies in hi-score isn't always good and often there are little replay for some games after 1990, AIVA/mamescore site: these are small site comparated with Marp.

Moreover these western score aren't 100% techniques, secrets and strategies (except some games) and comparison is difficult.

If I play ninja commando in japanese bios and then I make a comparison with gamest score, I'm sure that gamest score is 100% best score and I can undestand if my score is good or not good

second exemple. In western, only BBH have played shock troopers with max care possible (desctructor and pat are under 25m) in japan there are many players with score above 25M

this is the reason because I play with japan romset only.

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Post by BBH » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:00 am

GHEMANT wrote:I must delete your score (37M) in gamest/record list, right?
Sure, scores with blood on and blood off really can't be compared in my opinion.
is possible for you beat actual 31 M gamest score?
I will try.
GHEMANT wrote:I hope that BBH play S.T. again to obtain "world record" with japanese bios. Is the only way to compare its score with Japanese score.
As far as I know, there are no differences across bios'es other than the game's default settings. On a European bios it defaults to blood off, on a US/Japanese bios it defaults to blood on. That's it, I don't know of any other differences between the regions other than the language, I've played it a good amount on European, Japanese, and of course US and never noticed anything different gameplay-wise.

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Post by MJS » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:31 am

Go for it BBH! 8)

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Post by BBH » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:19 am

played a couple games tonight. first was 29.2 mil (should've been 300k higher but I accidentally killed Jungle 3 boss with a red gem, so lame). Second was a new personal best of 29,935,800. Yeah, just shy of the 30 million mark... the most unfortunate thing that happened in this game was a red gem at the beginning of stage 3 that probably cost me around 200k in points. I don't think I'm doing Valley 4 "correctly" either, I usually used to reach the last stretch of the stage with 15-20 units of time, which is a good place to stall to get purple soldiers to come out (5000 points a shot). I may need to re-evaluate what I'm doing on this level.

I had a couple other things on my mind regarding this game but I'll post those later. Here are the score breakdowns by stage for the two games I played (this is mostly just for me to personally make note of):

1 - 05535000
2 - 08815000
3 - 13854300
4 - 15513300
5 - 21831300
6 - 25665800
7 - 29283300

1 - 05953000
2 - 09396500
3 - 14353300
4 - 15999800
5 - 22407800
6 - 26559300
7 - 29935800

The 29,935,800 recording is attached below. It was played on the clone romset shocktra (which I will be playing since it's the version I'm most familiar with) with WolfMAME 0.106 and -bios 5 (Japan Ver. 3 I think?)
Attachments
bbh_shocktra_29935800_wolf106.zip
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Post by destructor » Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:12 am

GHEMANT wrote:(desctructor and pat are under 25m)
I didn't maximize score. After watching booooooooooring BBH's replay I resign from this game :D

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Post by BBH » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:19 pm

I had an idea last night. I think I've had this idea before, but I never went through with it because I didn't know how feasible it would be? Since I'm inching closer and making progress again, I need to go for it since every little bit counts.

The idea is to sacrifice one of the team members on one of the stages by dying from time over. On the shocktra romset, time over does not equal game over, it simply kills off whichever character is active and then puts 19 units back on the timer. So by letting one character die, you could possibly spend longer on a level and amass more points. 19 units of time isn't THAT much, but any extra points that could be gained through this method would be a tremendous help. Of course it does make things a little tougher since the rest of the game would have to be done with the remaining two characters, so you can't make as many mistakes after that.

But... rewinding back to what I said about it only working on the shocktra romset. Would this open up a new can of worms? I mean... I literally have no way of knowing if the Japanese record was done on the shocktra romset. I have been seeking the answer as to why there are two rom versions of this game for quite a while now, and still have no clear answer. The main thing I've been able to deduce is that the shocktro version (1 life, larger lifebar) has typically been found in European countries - the original shocktro roms were dumped by ROMLIST in Sweden, and I've heard of a couple Italian arcades that has the 1 life version. Here in the US, every version of the game I've ever come across in an arcade has been the shocktra version (3 lives, smaller lifebar). Every single one. As for Japan, well I've heard from at least one source that Japan also had the 3 lives version, and I also happen to own a Japanese MVS cartridge that is the same. Also worth noting that the shocktra romset used to be called "shocktrj" (Japan) until it was changed in 0.69u3. The other thing I've been able to figure out is that the 3 lives version cartridges tend to have rather "high" serial numbers, implying that it was the most recent version, and should be considered the standard. It's for this reason that I'm relatively sure the Japanese record was done on a 3 lives version, but I suppose we'll never know otherwise.

(Gosh, I'm going a long way for the sake of justifying this, huh?)

So uhhhhh, yeah. Who am I going to suicide for the purpose of extending the timer, and on which stage? I'm thinking I will have to let poor Milky run out of time on Valley 4, it's the best possible place to get more points I think since I'm running out of time before I can completely take advantage of all the stall points. Marie needs to stay alive for Valley 5 since she gets a speed boost there, and I can't kill off Big Mama as the added offense/defense helps out immensely at the end. This seems to be the best plan of action.

(hmm... for maximum points it would have to be possible to sacrifice two team members and finish the game with the last one... but I'm not too sure about doing that just yet...)

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Post by Chad » Tue Sep 11, 2007 3:30 pm

who said what was boooooooring? :) go bbh go!
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