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Offline YesAffinity

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YesAffinity Blog
« on: July 11, 2015, 10:30:21 AM »
Hi All,

I figured it was time to start my own blog.  I've got enough random posts going throughout the boards, that can be easily be compiled into the story of my personal DK journey.

For me, video games started around age 5, probably earlier.  An Atari 2600 was the first console my mom and dad bought for the family.  My dad brought home a vic 20 from his work for a few weeks, at one point, which we played text-based games on.  And there was an arcade less than a minute's walk from my parents house, in the little shopping center on the corner of an otherwise upper-middle-class neighborhood.  I remember Super Pac-Man being my favorite game there, and my sister would take me whenever my parents would have a big blowout arguement/yelling match, which was probably once every 2-3 weeks.  Those are my earliest memories of video games.

Fast forward through the ages of playing at the arcade across from the high school between last period and the start of football practice, countless consoles, falling in love with Street Fighter and other fighting games, purchasing my first jamma cabinet with 2 friends, getting married, having kids....  And here we are today.  I turned 40 in March, in May I bought my DK cabinet, and now have a MAME jamma cabinet, a dedicated SF cabinet, my DK cab, and a retro console corner, all in my man cave.

As for my DK history, I started playing somewhat infrequently once the first JAMMA cabinet got converted to a MAME cabinet.  The cabinet when first purchased, resided at the home of my closest friend, best man and one of the co-owners of the cabinet (all the same person, to be clear) Josh, which was the party house at the time.  When first purchased, the cabinet had a bootleg version of street fighter in it.  This was fun for a bit, but we soon purchased a legitimate street fighter board (Hyper Fighting), which stayed fun for a bit, but we all soon grew restless for more games.  Mortal Kombat was purchased, Marvel vs. Capcom, High Impact Football, NBA Jam, and some others.  At the same time, I wired a 3-game or 4-game JAMMA switcher, so we had 3 or 4 games hooked up and could cycle through them.  That lasted for about 6 months, then I embarked on turning the cabinet into a MAME powerhouse.  That is how the cabinet remains to this day, and it is from this evolution that my DK history begins.

We (Josh and I) put Donkey Kong in our regular rotation of games to play every time we got together.  At the time, prior to either of us being married, and obviously, a more care-free time in our lives, it was typically Saturdays and Thursday nights that we would get together.  There would always be beers involved.  I think either of us were yet to break 100k.  Gradually, over time, one of us broke 100k then the other.  Somewhere in there, I moved into a house with my wife and stepson, and the MAME cabinet eventually made its way to my garage.  I specifically remember one day, when people were coming over to hang out and drink some beers, I had started a game before anybody showed up.  About 30 minutes later I was approaching 100k.  I ignored friends as they showed up, and remember Josh saying from inside the house "Chris is about to break my high score" (he was holding the high score in our ongoing 2-man competition at the time).  I ended up scoring I think just over 127k that day.  He eventually broke 130k, and held the high score for a long time.

The friendly competition continued, with the needle on the high score mark creeping up slightly over the years.  I don't think either of us ever got much past 140k.

Then, of course, king of kong came out.  We watched and enjoyed it, and committed to never letting DK leave our rotation.  We were still meeting up weekly or semi-weekly to play.

Now, we are in late-2014.  The Arcade Expo was coming to Banning, CA.  I passed a billboard for it, while driving outside of San Diego County, for work.  I took a picture and texted it to Josh, thinking hey that's cool that they're having that, not really giving it much thought past that.  His immediate response was "we're going".  It was on.  The expo was a blast.  We were there Friday and Saturday, and man....so many awesome classics.  I posted a 178k DK score.  New personal best.  And the defining moment when I knew without question that I was incompetent in passing L4+ elevators, and I would never substantially improve my PB if I didn't do something about that.

Well, lots of watching tuts and vids from the current greats in the game, and I slowly taught myself how to beat elevators.  Then I identified that my barrel game was weak (still working on that one, but improving little by little), and pie factory was probably my biggest hindrance after training myself on the elevators.  So, back to the training vids, researching and finding great info on DK forums, and watching the greats on youtube and twitch.  It's a work in progress.  My PB's are in my signature, and my current goal is a kill screen.  Upping my PB's has plateaued off, but I feel I improving my early game and getting the fundamentals down, which is going to improve my overall gameplay.

In an nutshell, I'm a video gamer from way back.  Many things have come and gone in my life, but video games have always been a constant.  I am blessed to have a wonderful son and daughter (both of whom by no coincidence love video games) and a loving wife that (mostly) supports my "habits".  It can be a challenge balancing family, work, school, church, personal commitments, etc etc etc and still find time to do the thing I enjoy most, but in the end, it's all worth it.

Below are links to the posts on the forums that add to the story, and further below are pics of my man cave (described above).  Thanks for reading.

My DK cabinet: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1286.0

Video/audio capture from DK board edge connector project: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1315.0
« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 10:51:35 AM by YesAffinity »
Matthew 21:22

DK Arcade PB (verified): 970,200 KS
DK Start PB (verified): 126,600
DK L1-1 PB (verified): 11,400
DK PB 1st Man: 622,000

www.twitch.tv/yesaffinity/
DK Blog: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1357.0
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Offline YesAffinity

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2015, 10:42:42 AM »
The retro console corner.  Madden '99 playing on the N64, which was the last game that got played in the retro corner, on July 4th when a friend came by and we drank some beers.  Also worth mentioning as part of the story and "who I am", I am a fan of craft beer.  San Diego is the craft beer central of the world, and what a great place to live and be a beer lover.  Kreygasm
« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 10:53:15 AM by YesAffinity »
Matthew 21:22

DK Arcade PB (verified): 970,200 KS
DK Start PB (verified): 126,600
DK L1-1 PB (verified): 11,400
DK PB 1st Man: 622,000

www.twitch.tv/yesaffinity/
DK Blog: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1357.0
DK Killscreener Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger

Offline YesAffinity

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2015, 10:43:38 AM »
The cab corner.  A couple different angles of the same thing.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 10:54:05 AM by YesAffinity »
Matthew 21:22

DK Arcade PB (verified): 970,200 KS
DK Start PB (verified): 126,600
DK L1-1 PB (verified): 11,400
DK PB 1st Man: 622,000

www.twitch.tv/yesaffinity/
DK Blog: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1357.0
DK Killscreener Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger

Offline p2dose

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2015, 08:26:51 PM »
sweet Kreygasm gl with your future games!

Offline xelnia

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2015, 09:28:44 PM »
Get this man a blogger badge!
"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 DadsGlasses

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 04:53:13 AM »
Your cab corner looks great!  I've enjoyed watching your progress. Also very cool to see the progress of your edge connector video capture project.

Good luck!
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Offline YesAffinity

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2015, 01:48:02 PM »
Thanks for the interest guys!

A quick update.  My start game is slowly getting better, although more frustrating than rewarding at the moment.  I had a good run today, albeit with a death at L4-3.  Without the death my start score would have been 121,300.  Now, I know that doesn't qualify, for both the death and the butterfly effect, but it feels like I'm making progress.

I posted a 10,300 (PB) L1-1 score submission yesterday, and the next game got another 10,300.  I've had a handful of 10,000 L1-1's over the last few days, and plenty of upper-9k L1-1's.  It is at least some reassurance, for all the less-than-stellar and abandoned games, that I am at least not going backwards.   ::)

Lastly, I had a 570k run earlier today.  Strictly running boards.  Since posting my latest PB score submission, at 656k, I've had I believe (4) 500k+ runs, and nothing breaking 600k.  The kill screen continues to elude.  >:(  <stirpot>
Matthew 21:22

DK Arcade PB (verified): 970,200 KS
DK Start PB (verified): 126,600
DK L1-1 PB (verified): 11,400
DK PB 1st Man: 622,000

www.twitch.tv/yesaffinity/
DK Blog: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1357.0
DK Killscreener Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger

Offline Adam_Mon

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2015, 02:41:28 PM »
Keep going good sir!  <Walter>

Offline YesAffinity

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2015, 08:11:26 PM »
Thanks Adam, congrats on your L1-1 score!

Well, I upped my PB start score by 9,100 points, to 123,100 today.  That coupled with upping my L1-1 over the weekend (only 300 points...but still better than a stick in the eye), I've finally ascended past the plateau I was on for a good 4 weeks.

I can sense my gameplay fluidity increasing...but, still plenty of room for improvement.

The big takeaway from the past few days, which I was utilizing competently in achieving the new start score:

Standing still for wild barrels, when on girders 2 and 3.

To expand on that, for those that are reading and are interested in further explanation, let's count the girders from bottom to top as the bottom girder is girder 1 and the top girder is girder 6.  As stated, standing still for wild barrels on girders 2 and 3 makes them much more manageable.  Most of the time they deflect to within a few jumpman lengths, but are not truly a threat.  On girder 4, I've learned to keep kong's hands in my peripheral vision, and as soon as I detect a wild barrel, focus and adjust.  Be prepared to jump, because they are often ankle biters.  On girder 5, I've learned to watch Kong's hands.  Once the hammer is grabbed, timing barrel smashes with Kong releasing barrels gives you the stop frames to see if the barrel is either a) suspended above the girder (normal release down the girder) or b) on the girder (wild barrel).  If it is a wild barrel, focus and smash or evade as necessary.  One last thing: when ascending the short ladder from girder one to girder 2, if a wild barrel starts coming, run left.  Once the next barrel is release, run right.  If it's normal, you can stand still or wall jump.  If it's wild, you can double wall jump, but beware the timing has to be such that neither of them bite you in the ankle or catch you mid-wall-jump.

One last thing before I sign off for tonight.  I left a 570k run on twitch, just cuz it was one of my better recent runs, and it actually has 3 views.  While it was mostly JRTFBDN, with some basic point pressing, hopefully the gameplay was informative to someone trying to pick up some tricks to improve their game.

Thanks, as always, to this forum and the community.  I hope to meet up with some of you some day, for a DK event.
Matthew 21:22

DK Arcade PB (verified): 970,200 KS
DK Start PB (verified): 126,600
DK L1-1 PB (verified): 11,400
DK PB 1st Man: 622,000

www.twitch.tv/yesaffinity/
DK Blog: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1357.0
DK Killscreener Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger

Offline YesAffinity

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2015, 07:33:21 AM »
Today, I finally had a decent run after being in a rut for a couple weeks.  ~520k.  I was feeling strong up through level 12, but then hunger started getting the best of me and I started losing focus.  DK is not just about skill, but about having a strategy for longevity.  My strategy is slowly evolving: have water, some sort of caffeine to sip when attention span starts waning, go to the bathroom before starting a run, and now adding to the list to have something to munch on like a granola bar or some mixed nuts or something.

Some minor insight gained from the session.  On pie factory, after the possibility of a "weibe freebee" has been eliminated and it has turned into fighting the way to the top, it can be an easy path to cautiously proceed to the upper left ladder using the left ladder on the center platform, with a fireball on the upper left (hammer) platform.  I used this path 3 or 4 times on L5+, with success.  You just have to keep tabs on the fireball, and if he comes up the ladder, then get back down to the middle platform and wait for another opening.  Once on the middle left conveyor belt (to the left of the burning oil barrel), with the fireball on the upper left (hammer) platform, you can gain ground by jumping, assuming there are no pies, or by timing pie jumps.  If pies are absent, I recommend not jumping once jumpman is past the center point of the conveyor.  Try it out, let me know if it works well for anybody else.
Matthew 21:22

DK Arcade PB (verified): 970,200 KS
DK Start PB (verified): 126,600
DK L1-1 PB (verified): 11,400
DK PB 1st Man: 622,000

www.twitch.tv/yesaffinity/
DK Blog: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1357.0
DK Killscreener Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger

Offline YesAffinity

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2015, 07:15:11 AM »
Well, gameplay-wise there is not much to report recently.  Continuing to plug away, practice as much as possible, and strive for a KS.  I had a ~725k run and a couple 500k+ runs, but mostly just average gameplay due to being tired, not having much free time, and other DK hobby related developments taking time away from DK gameplay.

On the hobby side of the game, it was a big week.  I finally got the a/v output from the DK board edge connector working (http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1315.msg24208#msg24208).  Now I just have to find some means of capturing the a/v output that will actually work with the jrok board.  (2) different USB capture devices, going to my laptop, do not do well with the signal.  Jrok suggested a PCI capture card which he has had success with.  The problem is the location of my DK cab in proximity to my desktop computer.  Looks like I will doing some re-arranging in the man cave to get this project over the finish line.

I also picked up a spare monitor this week.  One came up for sale on craigslist for $75, and I figured at that price it would not hurt to have a spare in case I ever have problems with the original.  The guy selling it was really nice.  He has a very nice DK cab.  Cosmetically, all very clean.  The control panel plexi and stickers were a bit rough, but overall a very nice cab.  Anyway, the monitor has a bit of burn in on it.  The chassis is completely re-capped.  Somebody put a hand label of "Play Choice" on it.  The date sticker at the rear says the manufacture date was June 1983.  The image on my cab currently is a bit "wavy".  The image is crisp enough, but some of the ladder lines are a bit skewed in areas, and you can see vertical columns of "waviness" under moving objects such as kong and barrels (looks like visual distortion that heat coming off of blacktop produces, for lack of a better explanation).  It is pretty minor, and once you start playing, you don't notice it, but still, wanting my cab to be perfect, my intent is to sooner or later swap the monitor in the cab now into the recapped chassis and re-install that combo in the cab.  This may be a ways out, though, as upcoming weekends are pretty busy and this is something I definitely want to take my time on, and make sure I do it right.
Matthew 21:22

DK Arcade PB (verified): 970,200 KS
DK Start PB (verified): 126,600
DK L1-1 PB (verified): 11,400
DK PB 1st Man: 622,000

www.twitch.tv/yesaffinity/
DK Blog: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1357.0
DK Killscreener Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger

Offline DadsGlasses

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2015, 10:41:54 AM »
Nice pickup!
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Offline YesAffinity

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2015, 09:54:56 AM »
I got around to putting togehter the complete schematic and some general information on how to get a direct feed from a DK PCB.  This project was extremely time-consuming, and was more costly than I think I could have ever expected, but hopefully what I've learned will help others to do it more efficiently and minimize their costs.  Please see the write-up here:

http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1413.0
Matthew 21:22

DK Arcade PB (verified): 970,200 KS
DK Start PB (verified): 126,600
DK L1-1 PB (verified): 11,400
DK PB 1st Man: 622,000

www.twitch.tv/yesaffinity/
DK Blog: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1357.0
DK Killscreener Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger

Offline YesAffinity

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2015, 08:24:24 PM »
I've been obsessing over my twitch feed, with DKO #3 if full swing, spending as much time troubleshooting the audio side of the feed as I have been trying to grab a bounty.  With Jeremy's thread about what is required for a direct feed submission, I want to make sure there's no room for any of my submissions to be rejected.  The biggest potential hang-up is the requirement to provide audio.  I posed the question of whether it needs to be game board audio, webcam audio, either or both.  The question was put to the forum members to offer feedback, although none has been provided to date.

My biggest issue with my setup is the direct feed audio is way behind the webcam audio, primarily due to the archaic capture device I am using to capture the direct feed from the PCB, and the time it requires to encode and decode.

Well, I messed around with OBS's settings enough, and finally got the webcam audio and direct feed audio pretty well synced.  In the webcam properties, within OBS, I set the webcam audio and video to a 500ms delay (the settings are "Use Buffering" and "Audio Sync Offset", respectively).  You would think they would just call them the same thing, even something more obvious, like "Induce Video Delay" and "Induce Audio Delay", or even just the same thing with they've already got, "Video Sync Offset" and Audio Sync Offset".   <confused>

Well either way, here is the latest and greatest result from my efforts:

http://www.twitch.tv/yesaffinity/v/16261636

The audio slightly de-syncs cyclically, but stays pretty well synced overall.  I blame the capture hardware for the slight de-syncing.  The video is "shaky" in this clip.  That goes away after the cabinet and the capture device have been streaming for a couple minutes, for whatever reason. If you watch the barrel rolls closely enough, you can see it is a bit glitchy.  It's not overly noticeable, but is definitely not perfectly smooth.  I assume the same is true for the captured audio, while I have more confidence that the webcam audio is smooth and not the cause for the de-syncing.

Anyway, that's about as good as it gets with the current setup, and hopefully satisfies submission requirements.

Next stop: AVerMedia Game Broadcaster HD, so I can start streaming component video from my direct feed setup.
Matthew 21:22

DK Arcade PB (verified): 970,200 KS
DK Start PB (verified): 126,600
DK L1-1 PB (verified): 11,400
DK PB 1st Man: 622,000

www.twitch.tv/yesaffinity/
DK Blog: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1357.0
DK Killscreener Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger

Offline YesAffinity

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Re: YesAffinity Blog
« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2015, 07:28:58 AM »
Just got my first KS.  919,000.  I almost pulled the plug after my first death on level 4.  Almost pulled it again after second death (I forget the level, but I was even more discouraged after a second "early death").  Historically, if I haven't made it to at least level 8 with all men alive, I haven't felt I could get to the KS.  Obviously I proved myself wrong.  ;D

Nerves started kicking in around level 18.  Had to keep taking deep breaths to try to stay calm.  My 6-year old daughter came into the man cave around level 19, and despite my pleas, was determined to not let daddy finish his game in peace.  I finally convinced her around level 20.  She is the love of my life, but man she's a tough negotiator.  :-*

Luckily, the boards through levels 20 and 21 weren't throwing any major curveballs.  20-6 was surprisingly textbook: Run up the left side, clear out 2+ firefoxes with the bottom hammer, get to the top hammer and clear a path with it, lastly clear the top right rivet.  Easy peasy.  I was envisioning rolledcigs' heartbreaking 20-6 as I was approaching the board, with firefoxes swarming every possible path and no good option to clear the board.  Fortunately for me, that was not the case in my game.

Big shouts out to the forums, for all the support and the vast wealth of knowledge that makes it possible to learn the ins and outs of this great game.  Big shouts to my family, for tolerating my excessive time commitment to video games, and to DK in particular.  Big ups to my best friend Josh Lennard, who has been there every step of the way in the evolution of understanding the game and pursuit of the KS.

Next stop: 1M.  ;)
Matthew 21:22

DK Arcade PB (verified): 970,200 KS
DK Start PB (verified): 126,600
DK L1-1 PB (verified): 11,400
DK PB 1st Man: 622,000

www.twitch.tv/yesaffinity/
DK Blog: http://donkeykongforum.com/index.php?topic=1357.0
DK Killscreener Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger