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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 4:40 am 


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Which height you go into determines the order of the character mid-bosses. Would've been cool to change the levels too though.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:02 am 


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trap15 wrote:
Which height you go into determines the order of the character mid-bosses. Would've been cool to change the levels too though.


Yep I'm aware of that outcome, but it always felt unusual that that was the purpose of three alternate routes that always end up leading to the exact same place.

I'm completely unsurprised they were working on different stage sections for it.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:27 pm 


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No miss'd this last night (replay). Excellent game and a definite improvement over Strider, though I'm not sure I'd say it's god-tier. Both games share similar problems (being short & easy) but they are less severe in Cannon Dancer's case. It would also be nice if they had a balanced, built-in autofire button. Playing without one can be annoying after a while (especially if you're not using a stick) and using your own autofire lets you obliterate everything with ease. But other than that, the game is fantastic. Great visuals, stage design, pacing, boss fights, controls - everything.

Are there any other Strider-likes out there besides this and Hard Corps: Uprising?
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:42 pm 


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Well, Strider 2 is the obvious choice.

Apart from that, check out Hagane and Run Saber (both SNES) and Zyclunt (DOS).


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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:11 pm 


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Thanks, I hadn't heard of Run Saber. It looks pretty good so I'll definitely try it out some time. I'm already a fan of Hagane and Strider 2. :P
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 9:11 pm 


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I don't think Strider 2 really plays all that similarly to Strider and Osman. Run Saber is close, but is still sort of its own thing.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:40 am 


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iconoclast wrote:
No miss'd this last night (replay).

Very nice replay iconoclast. Did it only take you one night for a 1LC?

iconoclast wrote:
Are there any other Strider-likes out there besides this and Hard Corps: Uprising?

Have you checked out Dyna-Gear?


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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 4:54 am 


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Iconoclast, watched your replay, great work. Like the way you were almost speedrunning at certain parts and just ignored certain sections. I lol'd at the swamp stage 5 (but then I usually do, I have no idea how that first half of the stage was assembled) and admired your methods in other areas.

God tier? It's just not. That last stage is still so ugh. A shame it fizzles out like that.

So back to the argument: it's a good game, but I still don't identify with the overarching praise and lack of obvious criticism. To a certain point, yes: it's got style, flair and some interesting design for the first four stages; but it's not a wholly rounded, boxes all checked game IMO.

Iconoclast, you say:

"Excellent game and a definite improvement over Strider"

Definite improvement where? Combat & moveset sure, but like I said many times before, the only area you get to utilise your full range is stage one, where pile-driving, throwing and slide snatching are part of the routine. Everywhere else? All shadow play. To me that's poor design. Strider only has his slide and his cypher, but its usage is at least engaged uniformly throughout. Strider has no bombs, so there's no get-out clause, and Strider's stage design... come on now, it's clearly superior. If you can't understand why, imagine the Osman sprite and all his bells and whistles playing through any of Strider's stages.

Quote:
Both games share similar problems (being short & easy)


Agreed, but Osman is def marginally harder. I like to think this is because of an intentional awkward factor (stage five's swamp, stage six's... arrangement), although I'm not sure how much I respect that. The aspect of design I really admire is that you're required to use your shadows and keep them at full power. But I did this repeatedly (and very quickly) until stage six, where unless you visit youtube for pointers, you get bottled into a tiring game-repeat cycle. I'll drag the PCB out of the box at some point now I've committed a personal cardinal sin of observing strategies.

And Strider just gives you more for your credit. You stealth into Russian communist Kazakh govt HQ, scale siberian outposts, volley across flying platforms to airships and airborne warcraft, destroying the core and setting it ablaze before acrobatically springing through jungles and dashing through death stars on your way to the dictator's lunar outpost. Grand scale.

Comparatively Osman's stage four sinking battleship is my favourite piece of level design, but it's over before you can blink - then it's just a dull surfing section before the boss.

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Are there any other Strider-likes out there besides this and Hard Corps: Uprising?


Stop saying that dirty word.

Strider 2 is definitely the game for you. Far more difficult than both Strider and Osman with a lot more in it: longer, more varied, with a greater catalogue of obstacles to learn and overcome. I think you'll really dig it. ;)
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:25 am 


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Skykid wrote:
Definite improvement where? Combat & moveset sure, but like I said many times before, the only area you get to utilise your full range is stage one, where pile-driving, throwing and slide snatching are part of the routine. Everywhere else? All shadow play.


I dunno, I find myself using the slide a lot, both to get out of the way of certain things and poke certain zakos. The throw is more situational, but it's pretty much designed to be. Honestly the move set isn't really any bigger than Strider 1, the bomb and the air throw are the only substantial additions and the former is very useful anyway.

I'm still not totally sold on the level design yet, but not because of the moveset. More because of not yet feeling the difficulty balance and hoping to see more random dodging as opposed to memorizer sections.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:20 am 



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I cut the game some slack in the gameplay department because it's 12 minutes long. It makes the divergences a lot less painful. Everyone's points are not just valid opinions, but. . . true (except for the autofire comment :P ). The ship would have been awesome if it were longer. Aleppo would have been a lot of fun if aerial combat were integrated more as a mechanic and the trampolines were less than a level bypass.

The last level is ugly, but I love it.

As you've changed; exacted your revenge, and become a killing machine, your matron delivers you to hell and the first person you kill is your love (notice the pants: she was taken in the same scene where Raizon turned on you and left you in the desert for dead). You climb a mountain where at the climax you meet yourself in a mirror (notice the background: same as where Jack Raizon turned on you). Heaven is probably a place a lot similar. Alone, in front of the mirror, he has so blinded by revenge he has no words for what he sees. "I smell death". After you overcome yourself, hell starts to be destroyed, and you visit Tianon, Canons and Willf one last time (Willf explains in the Japanese version you were their fourth). "I've survived the desert. . . trained in hell for this". You finally meet Slaver, where the stakes of the fight are the world. You are the true king.

The game is like Jodorowsky directed Journey. Death, rainbows, and nudity.


Last edited by ForeverSublime on Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:50 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:33 am 


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Skykid wrote:
Definite improvement where? Combat & moveset sure, but like I said many times before, the only area you get to utilise your full range is stage one, where pile-driving, throwing and slide snatching are part of the routine. Everywhere else? All shadow play.


I agree that the air throw is relatively useless, but I still appreciate its inclusion for the style-factor. The sliding throw is useful at plenty of points throughout the game, though. For example, it works well on the tigers in stages 2 and 5, the scorpions in stage 3, the soldiers at the start of stage 4, and it's what I use against Fake in stage 6. That might not seem like much, but the game's only 15 minutes long so what else can you expect? :lol:

As for the bombs, I feel like they were put in just for that triple boss fight. I haven't even tried fighting them normally, but I assume it's ridiculous. New players can also use them to get through some of the earlier stages if they're having trouble, but if they actually manage to reach the end of the game, they'll see that they're SOL. I don't really see anything wrong with that.

Strider's level design is great for the most part, but the section with the falling bombs is absolutely terrible imo. There's nothing in Cannon Dancer that annoys me like that aside from maybe the opening of stage 5, solely because you have to move through it at a slower pace (or at least I never figured out how to get through it smoothly). You can just fly right past all of that stuff though, so I can't complain.

I think that Cannon Dancer is clearly superior when it comes to mechanics and bosses, at least. In Strider, you get a couple of satellites that go around the stage killing everything on their own. I find that a little boring in comparison to Osman's shadows which make you think ahead about how you want to use them. You can have your shadows attack the head of the giant scorpion at the start of stage 3 while you kill the worms before they leap at you, you can cover multiple points on screen to kill enemies as they fly in during the surfing section of stage 4, you can place your shadows in a dangerous location and retreat to safety while having them attack, etc. Your satellites would just do that stuff automatically in Strider. As far as the bosses go, I don't think there's any competition, really.

And just to be clear, I don't want to sound like I'm downplaying Strider. I think that game is great, too. Cannon Dancer is just a refinement of the formula.

jepjepjep wrote:
iconoclast wrote:
No miss'd this last night (replay).

Very nice replay iconoclast. Did it only take you one night for a 1LC?

iconoclast wrote:
Are there any other Strider-likes out there besides this and Hard Corps: Uprising?

Have you checked out Dyna-Gear?


It was more like two days, but I did play it quite a bit. I think I put around 6 or 7 hours into it before I got the 1LC.

I hadn't heard of Dyna-Gear either, but it looks pretty fun. I'll try that out some time as well.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:23 am 


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Quote:
The sliding throw is useful at plenty of points throughout the game, though. For example, it works well on the tigers in stages 2


Ah, I found the sliding throw to be almost bug-level hit and miss outside of stage one. Case in point you exacted it on the stg2 tiger and got licked anyway - for no reason.

I can agree it's more refined than Strider in many departments - it has the fortune of several years technology. But stage design just no. I also consider the bosses to be rather average: I've seen better patterns out of most Konami games and console platformers. I'm unsure of your criteria for a solid boss fight, but Osman's don't really strike me as especially special.

The three recurring henchmen have little to no patterns, they just attack on random AI. I prefer a little more learning than flailing, so I think Gamran is one of the game's better additions.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:11 am 


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It was completely my fault for getting hit by the tiger in stage 2. I was trying to throw him toward the left side of the screen to get him out of the way, but I messed up the input (just hold the opposite direction during a throw) and threw him into the wall right in front me.

I don't think Cannon Dancer's bosses are especially great or anything (Fake & Willf are my favorites), but at least I found them satisfying to defeat. The problem with Strider's bosses is that most of them can be killed so quickly and safely that they're hardly a step up from a basic zako enemy. I like the anti-gravity ball, but even that one can be killed by just sliding and attacking a few times. The rest of them aren't any good imo.

Skykid wrote:
The three recurring henchmen have little to no patterns, they just attack on random AI. I prefer a little more learning than flailing, so I think Gamran is one of the game's better additions.

I don't think Willf has a clear pattern, but Tianon definitely does. After attacking her, she'll move away before coming back to try and throw you. If you hit her when her invincibility wears off, you can repeat it over and over. Cannons can be annoying, but at least you can reach all of his teleport locations fairly quickly if you fight him in the stage 4 arena (the blue orb).
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 11:07 am 



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iconoclast wrote:
I agree that the air throw is relatively useless. . .


It's actually the second strongest move in the game. Throw Fake or the other bosses in the air, jump up and unleash fury. You can dispatch quickly with this, minding your shadows for full effect.*

First strongest is the bomb, if used correctly. It can do a lot or a little damage. It absolutely matters where the enemy is as to how much damage it does. If you punch and unleash a bomb at the moment, you will do 100% damage against fake and the other bosses. This is especially useful if you get two of the bosses to overlap (Willf and Tianon do this right at the beginning of the fight).

*Now try the boss trio without bombing. To get a little extra time, I like to start by throwing Tianon away to the right. She's fast and gets in the way even with long range. I ignore Willf as he wastes a lot of time spinning around as a non-threat.


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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 11:52 am 


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Ah I see about the tiger. Initially I couldn't figure out why you took the blow but I realise a single throw isn't enough to kill it.

I agree about Strider's bosses, 99% are decoration. Only the tyrannosaur requires some precise timing.

That said:

iconoclast wrote:
I don't think Willf has a clear pattern, but Tianon definitely does. After attacking her, she'll move away before coming back to try and throw you. If you hit her when her invincibility wears off, you can repeat it over and over. Cannons can be annoying, but at least you can reach all of his teleport locations fairly quickly if you fight him in the stage 4 arena (the blue orb).


Really? It looks like you're just catching Tianon in a loop. A pattern is programmed for you to respond to specific openings. Few of Osman's bosses seem programmed this way. Instead you work around or create meths for their random behaviour, as demonstrated in your video. I assume this is why everyone bombs the triple boss fight on stg6.

EDIT: I've been playing this again recently and I'm *sort of* discerning a little more pattern in certain places. Wilf is just totally random, but I have scrappy, slightly unrelaible meths for the others.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:07 pm 



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Patterns are fun in puzzles.

Patterns suck in action games. I don't want to play movies on a script.

Good action is like good jazz; improvisation in a framework. It doesn't work if the other band member is stuck in a loop.


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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:33 pm 


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I have to agree, I prefer randomness in dodging. Exercising on the spot reflexes and spatial reasoning in improvising is far more interesting to me than pure planning. Not that I don't like to have an element of planning and strategy too, optimally I prefer there be a balance between randomness and strategy (giving a puzzle element to sections and a sense of strategic variety in how your forced to move and act, while simultaneously demanding reflexes and improvisation), but if I have to choose one or the other I'd go with randomness a thousand times over.

Rng is life, rng is love.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:04 pm 


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ForeverSublime wrote:
Patterns are fun in puzzles.

Patterns suck in action games. I don't want to play movies on a script.

Good action is like good jazz; improvisation in a framework. It doesn't work if the other band member is stuck in a loop.


Generally game design is about incorporating challenging patterns and multiple methods for overcoming them is part of what makes gaming special. By your rationale I assume games like Shinrei Taromaru are scripted dullfests?

Osman's bosses don't offer improvisation in a framework, they require you to weed out an exploit based around what seems like random attacking AI. That is not a positive thing.

EDIT: As above - I still believe the patterns are mostly random but I'm seeing some comeback methods.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:53 pm 


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Skykid, from what you write, it just sounds like you just didn't spend that much time developing good strategies for Cannon Dancer. With Cannons, stay right in the middle of his robot and watch which parts disassemble. If his arms or head come off, get out of the way, if his legs disconnect, stand still, when the coast is clear or Cannons gets close, whoop the guy's ass. It's actually pretty much the most patterned boss in the game.
And catching enemies in a loop is the bread and butter strategy of many action games, nothing wrong with that, and not at all a sign that a boss is badly designed or anything.
Just accept the fact that tastes are different, and a lot of people prefer Cannon Dancer over Strider. You're not gonna find any objective criteria that will put one game above the other.


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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 5:37 pm 


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CIT wrote:
Skykid, from what you write, it just sounds like you just didn't spend that much time developing good strategies for Cannon Dancer. With Cannons, stay right in the middle of his robot and watch which parts disassemble. If his arms or head come off, get out of the way, if his legs disconnect, stand still, when the coast is clear or Cannons gets close, whoop the guy's ass. It's actually pretty much the most patterned boss in the game.


I didn't need to spend any time developing much in the way of strategy for Cannon Dancer - it's too easy until the final. But you're right, I never bothered in that short time to develop a proper strat for Cannons, I always whip him a couple times and then initiate a bomb at close proximity and he's dusted. The other two don't require bombing unless I mess something up.

Quote:
And catching enemies in a loop is the bread and butter strategy of many action games, nothing wrong with that, and not at all a sign that a boss is badly designed or anything.


I don't know if I'm either explaining something incorrectly here or there's just a basic misunderstanding going on.

Catching enemies in a loop is not the bread and butter strategy of many action games. Fighting games yes, because fighting games have a loosely programmed semi-random attack nature that can be exploited. These are known as 'meths' in FG circles.

Osman's henchmen trio have a number of attack patterns that trigger randomly while you occupy any part of the screen. Osman can be completely off to one side, the boss out of view (like the above sea setup on stage four) and the boss will continue to break out attacks without seeking you out. Yotsui and Mitchell arranged the game so you don't fight these guys dead on as you do Gamran. Gamran is programmed differently: he offers you a designated window of attack that you need to be primed for and exercise reflex.

Catching an enemy in a loop is prompting the AI to keep performing the same attack, or trick the AI into a repeating pattern that you can exploit, just like Rugal '98 for instance. Iconoclast vs. Tianon is the perfect example. He keeps leaping while she's off-screen prompting her to come in for a throw and suffer a kick volley. At one point the AI doesn't register his getaway movement and sshe starts spraying her kicks for a few seconds just off-screen hitting absolutely nothing, before resuming the same loop.

I'm not sure what's getting lost in translation here, it's very straightforward to me how those bosses have been coded versus those in a Treasure game for example. Alien Soldier, Strider 2, or the aformentioned Taromaru of course require dexterity, skill, reflex and precision to take out your adversaries, but the parameters are different. You have to learn the boss attack patterns, know what the window is for damage and execute your attacks on time to capitalise and win. Osman's henchmen don't work this way.

This is basically how 90% of all videogame design works. Yes, most offer multiple avenues for victory, but the setup - even in shmups - is always pragmatically aligned around a system of safety, avoidance and retaliation: not around tricking AI into loops.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 7:43 pm 



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Does anyone know how to get Tianon in her dinner party outfit, with the black cat?


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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:04 pm 


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I think the confusion is that exploiting a loop, and executing a static pattern over and over essentially result in the same experience for a player. If Tianon's was programmed to act the way she did in the video because she was set on a definite pattern, as opposed to an ai loop being exploited, I don't think it would make much of a difference as the strategy (and the way you move as a result) would be largely the same.

Otherwise I agree, with the exception that one should have to "learn the patterns". In my philosophy, a perfect pattern would be telegraphed well enough that a player could still survive it even on the first attempt, but observation (either throughout multiple playthroughs or throughout the fight itself) and analysis of the pattern would lead to a more efficient strategy.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:19 pm 


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Anyone ever figure out the story with the truck on the final stage? All of the youtube vids show it staying put. I assume these are all from emulation :?: On my pcb the truck always falls down the hill once you venture to the right of the second red car. I noticed that the wheels seem to be spinning on the truck even though it's stationary in the vids. Emulation bug?


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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 10:32 pm 



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A relevant response is a quote not from any of us knuckleheads but from Isuke himself. "Stage as enemy" (He said this while developing Moon Diver, actually). The design elements we're looking to criticize are there within the whole, not the individual fight.

Skykid: Since you like Gamran you may find it interesting to know he may have been a late addition. Originally, Material was going to be the stage 1 boss. The mook has a screenshot of this (note: something that may be uncovered in the developer mode).


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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 1:39 am 


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Squire Grooktook wrote:
I think the confusion is that exploiting a loop, and executing a static pattern over and over essentially result in the same experience for a player. If Tianon's was programmed to act the way she did in the video because she was set on a definite pattern, as opposed to an ai loop being exploited, I don't think it would make much of a difference as the strategy (and the way you move as a result) would be largely the same.

Otherwise I agree, with the exception that one should have to "learn the patterns". In my philosophy, a perfect pattern would be telegraphed well enough that a player could still survive it even on the first attempt, but observation (either throughout multiple playthroughs or throughout the fight itself) and analysis of the pattern would lead to a more efficient strategy.


Yes.

jepjepjep wrote:
Anyone ever figure out the story with the truck on the final stage? All of the youtube vids show it staying put. I assume these are all from emulation :?: On my pcb the truck always falls down the hill once you venture to the right of the second red car. I noticed that the wheels seem to be spinning on the truck even though it's stationary in the vids. Emulation bug?


Huh, never noticed before. Weird. The truck falls on my PCB too (Osman not CD).
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:34 am 


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Skykid wrote:
Huh, never noticed before. Weird. The truck falls on my PCB too (Osman not CD).

Just out of curiosity skykid, does your osman have the damage multiplier dip switch on or off?



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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 2:53 am 


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No idea, it's packed away currently I'd have to dig it out.

Why, what should it be? You think maybe the board is set incorrectly? Seems basically the same as it did in emulation with regard to damage dealt etc.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 3:05 am 


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I'm not sure what it's supposed to be by default. I'd like to figure it out, since it makes a fairly big difference. It seems the emulated versions have it set to off. A few pages back Ganelon mentions he has a japan board with it set to on.


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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 3:07 am 


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Generally, I'd consider all DIP switches off to be the default settings. There have only been a handful of games where this isn't the case, and I'd consider games with defaults not being all-off to be an exception to the rule. I think it's safe to say unless the operator manual says otherwise, all DIPs should be off for defaults.
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 Post subject: Re: Cannon Dancer makes me cry
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 3:20 am 


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Joined: 18 Nov 2008
Posts: 962
That makes sense, trap15. This is a little different though because you can't actually set the dip switch on the board. It's set at the factory and unless you desolder the eeprom to reprogram it, it can't be changed (like the region/language dip). Same thing for mame, you can't actually change the dip unless you hex edit the nvram file and manually change it.


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