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Offline xelnia

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Tut tut
« on: June 04, 2014, 01:20:01 PM »
"Tut tut"...get it? Lit, Ross?  <Allen>

Anyhoo, here's my introductory tutorial post on Tutankham information and strategy. Let me make this very clear up front: I am not that good at this game...yet. There is a distinct lack of information on this game on teh intarwebz. I've reached out to others on MARP and the new TG forums, but those calls for help have gone largely unanswered. So here we are. I'm going to lay out what I know and as I get better and smarter I will update this thread. Hopefully other Tut players will weigh in and we can break this game. Everything I say, especially in this first post, should be prefaced with "To the best of my knowledge..." or "I think..." My plan is to make new posts as new information comes to light, instead of editing old posts.



What is Tutankham? Robotron meets Pac-Man meets whythefuckcanionlyshootleftandrighteq;lrkgj ar;g eqrgqe

Sorry. Let's move on.

Goal and Control

In Tutankham, you control an explorer who raids the tombs of dead pharaohs, searching for treasure and fighting off enemies with your magical shitty laser and flash bombs. To progress through the game you must collect keys to open doors. The number and placement of keys and doors varies. The game is horizontally-scrolling and uses a combination of two joysticks (one 4-way for movement, one 2-way for firing) and one button (flash bomb). Once you're moving in a direction you will continue in that direction until you hit a wall or input a change in direction. Your laser only fires left and right, though killing enemies in vertical space is possible. The flash bomb kills all enemies on the screen. Enemies can also be "wiped" from the playing field by traveling horizontally to another section of the maze.

MAME originally mapped the 2-way firing joystick as buttons, meaning a player could fire in both directions simultaneously when playing in MAME. This is fixed in version 0.153. If you play in an older version of MAME, don't fire in both directions simultaneously pls.

There is a "radar" at the top of the screen that depicts which section of the maze you're in and where you and the enemies are currently located. It does not show the locations of keys, doors, or treasures. As you move around, any enemies that get stuck outside of the bracketed area in the radar will be wiped.

Stages

There are only 4 stage layouts in the game and these repeat in the same order, indefinitely. So, stages 5, 9, 13, etc. are all the same layout as Stage 1. There are significant differences in the later stages in terms of keys, timer, etc. and I'll explain those later. The basic layouts stay the same, however. How the game loops itself is a larger issue than just the physical layout, so I'll also discuss that later.

There is no known killscreen and the stage counter will show the full stage number beyond Stage 100 (though I haven't tested to see what happens at say, Stage 255 or 256). The score rolls over to 0 when reaching 1 million.

Here are the layouts of Stages 1 through 4. Keep in mind that later stages have more keys and doors.



Scoring

Points are scored by collecting treasures and keys, opening doors, killing enemies, and racking up the bonuses after finishing a stage. Bonus points are awarded in 2 ways: 1) time leftover after finishing a stage and 2) some stages have a fixed bonus for finishing.

Treasure
Each stage contains numerous treasures. The point value of each treasure increases depending on how many you've already picked up. The first treasure is worth 500 points and the remaining progress through 1000, 1500, 2000, 3000, and 4000 points (provided there are 6 treasures in the current stage and you pick them all up). See the graphic below.

Enemies
There are three classes of enemies: slow, not-as-slow, and fuck-you. Depending on the stage these enemies appear, in my interpretation, as snakes, birds, bats, gorgons, griffins, or stars. The more difficult the enemy the more points you are awarded for burning its face off with your magical shitty laser. The possible values are 20, 40, or 60 points. See the graphic below.

Keys and Doors
The only way to progress through the game is to collect keys that open doors. Keys are always worth 500 points. Opening a door is worth 1000 points.

Timer and Stage Bonus
You are awarded 80 points for every second left on the timer when you finish a stage. The fixed stage bonuses are little more complicated. Finishing Stage 1 nets you exactly 0 bonus points other than the timer bonus. Finishing Stage 5 (the repeat of Stage 1) will award you with 1000 points. This is because Stage 5 is actually more difficult than Stage 1. The maximum stage bonus is 6000 points, for finishing Stage 16.



Stage   
Timer Length
   
# of Keys
   
# of Treasures
   
Finishing Bonus
Stage 1
60
1
3
0
Stage 2
90
2
6
1000
Stage 3
140
2
6
2000
Stage 4
140
2
6
5000
Stage 5
60
2
3
1000
Stage 6
120
3
6
2000
Stage 7
160
3
6
3000
Stage 8
160
3
6
5000
Stage 9
60
2
3
2000
Stage 10
120
3
6
3000
Stage 11
160
3
6
4000
Stage 12
180
4
6
5000
Stage 13
60
2
3
3000
Stage 14
120
3
6
4000
Stage 15
160
3
6
5000
Stage 16
180
4
6
6000

oh my god shut up with the charts how do i play the game

I don't know. Maybe you could contribute something useful instead of being so negative all the time? Don't be a Brian Allen.

What do I need to be aware of?
1. Radar
2. Difficulty Level
3. Swarms
4. Long Start vs. Short Start
5. Safe Spots

1. Radar
Virtually useless. Don't watch it unless you're checking it for wiped enemies.

2. Difficulty Level
One of the big mysteries I was unable to to solve in my research was how the different difficulty settings work within the game. There are 4 settings that can be set with the DIPs. The arcade manual lists these settings as "1 (easy), 2, 3, and 4 (hard)." MAME lists them as "Easy, Normal, Hard, and Hardest." While that's pretty straightforward, different versions of MAME set the default difficulty differently. It also appears that "Normal" and "Hard" might be reversed in MAME. You can read all about it in the following threads:

Tutankham - Backwards DIPs? (MARP)
Tutankham Settings? (TG)

Ok, so even if all that gets sorted out...what does "difficulty" mean? As far as I can tell it only relates to the speed of the enemies. The enemies are clearly faster at the beginning of the game if set to "Hardest" than if the game is set to "Easy." I mentioned to Ross Benziger that I thought maybe the difficulties only related to the Stages themselves. If, for example, you started the game on "Easy" than Stage 1 would be "Easy," Stage 2 would be "Normal," Stage 3 would be "Hard" and Stage 4+ would max out on "Hardest." Then, for example, if you started a game on "Normal" then every difficulty would be offset by 1...meaning Stage 2 would become "Hard" and Stage 3+ would max out on "Hardest." Ross correctly pointed out that there may be more than 4 internal difficulties and I've changed my thinking. So why mention it? It turns out that the "Easy"/1 and "Hardest"/4 difficulty settings are probably the correct extremes in internal difficulty...meaning that they're always the easiest and hardest difficulties a player will see. The catch is that it seems there are a total of 6 internal difficulty levels.

Before I lay out how I believe those 6 difficulties progress I should note that I'm still not sure how each difficulty affects the enemy speed. Each of the three enemy classes seem to be constrained to certain speeds: snakes are always the slowest and bats/stars are the fastest and even the fastest snake will never be as fast as the slowest bat. So maybe on "Easy" all the enemies are locked in to their slowest speeds and on "Hardest" they're locked in to their fastest speed. The difficulties in between might be a result of different combinations of the enemies' respective speeds.

I played around with the MAME debugger and it appears that the DIPs only govern the difficulty settings for the first 8 stages. Beyond that the game enters a preset loop that is the same regardless of the initial difficulty level. Below is a table of how I believe the progression works. Difficulty 1 is easiest, 6 is hardest.

Stage   
"Easy"
   
"Normal"
   
"Hard"
   
"Hardest"
Stage 1
1
1
1
6
Stage 2
1
3
2
6
Stage 3
2
4
3
6
Stage 4
2
5
4
6
Stage 5
4
6
4
6
Stage 6
4
6
5
6
Stage 7
6
6
6
6
Stage 8
6
6
6
6
Stage 9
5
5
5
5
Stage 10
3
3
3
3
Stage 11
3
3
3
3
Stage 12
6
6
6
6
Stage 13
6
6
6
6
Stage 14
6
6
6
6
Stage 15
6
6
6
6
Stage 16
6
6
6
6
Stage 17
1
1
1
1
Stage 18
1
1
1
1
Stage 19
1
1
1
1
Stage 20
4
4
4
4
Stage 21
3
3
3
3
Stage 22
2
2
2
2
Stage 23
2
2
2
2
Stage 24
5
5
5
5

Two things to point out here: 1) The difficulty progression from Stage 9 to Stage 24 is the same regardless of DIPs. This same progression loops itself after Stage 24. 2) I feel this is evidence that the "Normal" and "Hard" difficulties are backwards in MAME. Notice how the progression to the hardest difficulty (6) happens sooner on the "Normal" setting.

The progression of those internal difficulties jives pretty well with my observations with MAME, as well as with this TG post by "artz" that is over a decade old (assuming he started out on the hardest setting):
Quote
One thing I noticed about the game in the later stages is that the monster speeds slow down quite considerably throughout the game. A few months ago, with cheats on, I went all the way thru stage 39 to test this theory. Here are the breakdown of the monster speeds:
1-8 fast
9-11 slow
12-16 fast
17-27 slow
28-32 fast
33-39 slow


3. Swarms
Enemies will normally spawn from their hideouts with every tick of the timer. However, every 16 ticks a "swarm" will occur where up to 8 enemies will spawn very quickly. The number of enemies that spawn in a swarm depends on how many are already active on the screen. If there is only 1 enemy present, then 7 will spawn in the swarm. If 4 are present, then 4 will spawn in the swarm...etc, etc.

The most important thing to remember about swarms is that they are governed by a timer and that timer CARRIES OVER into the next stage. If a swarm is 2 ticks away from happening when you finish a stage, it will happen 2 ticks into the next stage. Although they are always 16 ticks apart, I think there is a separate swarm near the end of Stage 2 that is independent of and does not affect the overall swarm timer.

It is crucial that you are aware of the timer, know when swarms are going to happen, and can position yourself safely to deal with them.

4. Long Start vs. Short Start
This is something I have not seen mentioned in any way in all the old posts and brief FAQs I've found on the game. The more I played the game the more I began to notice that the very first timer tick on Stage 1, from 60 to 59, would happen at different rates. Sometimes that tick to 59 would happen immediately, sometimes not until I had rounded the first corner. Each timer tick should be ~2 seconds, or 128 frames. So wtf.

I played around with the MAME debugger and discovered that the internal timer that governs the on-screen timer actually starts running as soon as the game is loaded in MAME. Every time that timer rolls to a certain value the on-screen timer ticks down. If you start a game just as that internal timer rolls over, you can short yourself an entire tick. This seems like a minor issue, but it has 2 repercussions:

1) A shorter timer means you'll have less bonus time at the end of the stage. Not a whole of points to lose, but points are points!
2) Keeping track of the swarm timer becomes slightly more complicated. At least for me. I'm not great at doing math on-fly, in my head. If I can manage to start a game with the full "60" value in the timer, that makes it easier to keep track of the 16 ticks between swarms without worrying that it's going to happen in some weird fraction of a tick.

The good news is that the attract mode loops in sync with this internal timer, so you can use visual and audio cues in the attract mode to make sure you always start a game at the same time and get the better "Long Start." This should work on arcade; not just MAME. And if you frown on that kind of pre-game tomfoolery, then get stuffed.  <Allen>

5. Safe Spots

Oh god I'm not ready for this part yet and this post is so long already. I'm still having trouble with Stage 4, so I have a lot to learn in this regard...and will save it for a future post that I will make in a couple of days.

That's all for now. Hope this provided some good introductory info and inspires some people to play and dig into this game!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 12:10:56 AM by xelnia »
"Do not criticize, question, suggest or opine anything about an upcoming CAG event, no matter how constructive or positive your intent may be. You will find nothing but pain and frustration, trust me. Just go, or don't go, and :-X either way!" -ChrisP, 3/29/15
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Offline f_symbols

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2014, 01:40:38 PM »
 Kreygasm
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Offline p2dose

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2014, 01:47:24 PM »
wow love it

Offline VON

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2014, 02:41:59 PM »
I absolutely love it!

Can't wait to dive in, and hopefully make some contributions.

Thank you Jeremy.

Offline Shnypz

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2014, 04:11:32 PM »
Nice write-up. Gonna try this tonight.

Update: Brutal but fun. It's like some weird pac-man/robotron hybrid. Haven't passed the 2nd board yet but I'm kinda drunk  :o
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 06:58:55 PM by Shnypz »
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Offline alumbrada

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2014, 07:04:11 PM »
I'm a Tutankham widow  BibleThump
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Offline Barra

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2014, 08:26:46 PM »
That post gave me multiple  Kreygasm's
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Offline fruitygayspaghetti

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2014, 12:06:00 AM »
lit mate
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Offline VON

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2014, 12:35:49 AM »
Given the information Jeremy has provided, I've decided I'm going to do all my learning of the game on the "Easy" setting.  After looking over the difficulty progression ((and the possibility of switched dips in MAME)  <Pigger>), it seems like it's the best way for me to learn the maps, and general strategy.   

Offline xelnia

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2014, 08:42:53 AM »
Thanks everybodyyyyyy.

A couple more notes:

1. When the timer runs out you don't die. The laser stops firing, THEN you die.
2. Using a flash bomb to kill all enemies on the screen will give you all points for those enemies.

Here's a screenshot of the end of Stage 2 with some info regarding the spawns in that area.



« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 12:13:15 AM by xelnia »
"Do not criticize, question, suggest or opine anything about an upcoming CAG event, no matter how constructive or positive your intent may be. You will find nothing but pain and frustration, trust me. Just go, or don't go, and :-X either way!" -ChrisP, 3/29/15
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Offline hchien

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2014, 08:55:52 AM »
Nice one Jeremy.

I've played a few games of Tut while it was at Barcade in Brooklyn.  Fun game.  I'll only add (very basic info, but I didn't see it anywhere): you only get one flash bomb per life.  As far as I know, there is no way to get another after you use it.
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Offline Shnypz

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2014, 09:25:23 AM »
Good to know about the flash bomb. I almost pulled a 9k on the first board and thought afterward that I should've used the flash bomb to push it over. I wasn't sure if those "kills" would count tho.

I finally got past the 2nd level this morning. Rolling with Easy/5 lives for the moment while learning the game. I'll probably knock it back down to 3 once I get better at level 2.
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Offline xelnia

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2014, 09:56:39 AM »
Nice one Jeremy.

I've played a few games of Tut while it was at Barcade in Brooklyn.  Fun game.  I'll only add (very basic info, but I didn't see it anywhere): you only get one flash bomb per life.  As far as I know, there is no way to get another after you use it.

Good to know about the flash bomb. I almost pulled a 9k on the first board and thought afterward that I should've used the flash bomb to push it over. I wasn't sure if those "kills" would count tho.

I finally got past the 2nd level this morning. Rolling with Easy/5 lives for the moment while learning the game. I'll probably knock it back down to 3 once I get better at level 2.

This is actually a very good point that I should have mentioned in my first post.

There are 2 flash bomb settings. The standard setting, or "TGTS" I guess, is the "1 Flash Per Life" setting that Hank mentioned. It's just what it sounds like. You get one flash bomb per life. If you use it you don't get another until you die. They don't stack, so if you die without using a flash bomb, you still only get one for your next life.

The 2nd flash bomb setting is called "1 Flash Per Game" in MAME. I have seen two documents on KLOV that seem to contradict each other on what this setting is supposed to do. Currently, in MAME, using this setting gives you an extra flash bomb every 20,000 points. There doesn't seem to be a limit on how many you can carry. This is probably the setting that is used for any "marathon" scores on TG. One of the arcade manuals on KLOV says this setting is supposed to give you one flash bomb for the entire game, with an extra at 30,000 points...but that doesn't seem to be the way it works in MAME.

One way to practice and get deeper in the game would be to use  the "1 Flash Per Game [which really means an extra every 20k]" setting.

Personally, I think the best course of action is to not stick around and clean up enemies or flash any extras at the end of a stage. No single enemy is worth more than a single tick of the timer bonus and they normally only spawn once per tick, so it makes more sense to clear the stages as soon as possible. And you definitely don't want to waste a flash if not in danger. The exception would be cleaning up a swarm near the end of a stage. If clearing a swarm will be worth more points than the time it takes to do it and leave the stage then it's worth sticking around.
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Offline Shnypz

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2014, 10:10:37 AM »
Yeah, agreed. No need to waste a flash really. I was just trying to pad my Tut "1-1" PB as I ran towards the exit <Allen>
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Offline xelnia

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Re: Tut tut
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2014, 10:40:03 AM »
Wall Shot

You can kill enemies in vertical space! This trick seems to work only when firing against a wall and when firing to the right. Here's a clip from Rob Barrett's 589k game over at MARP.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 12:14:00 AM by xelnia »
"Do not criticize, question, suggest or opine anything about an upcoming CAG event, no matter how constructive or positive your intent may be. You will find nothing but pain and frustration, trust me. Just go, or don't go, and :-X either way!" -ChrisP, 3/29/15
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