Author Topic: Dean's DK Blog  (Read 14617 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline up2ng

  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 234
Dean's DK Blog
« on: May 18, 2013, 07:14:36 PM »
Ok, I suppose it's about time that I started my own blog in order to share my ideas about the game of Donkey Kong in a less formal and more stream of consciousness sort of way and also to share my experiences about playing this game and other classic arcade games.

So far, I have been very impressed at how much this forum has taken off, how much the community has expanded and how well things are run here that I finally feel comfortable that I am starting such a blog at the right place!  If I inadvertantly begin some strategy discussions here that may be useful in the Basic or Advanced Strategy sections of this forum, I certainly hope that the mods will make the information available in those sections as well -- I'd rather they didn't actually CUT and paste any discussions as it would be strange to have content removed from a blog, but if the information were COPIED and/or LINKED in some manner that would be perfectly fine.

First things first, I want to say that I feel like I have met a lot of amazing people and have made some great friends since discovering this little competitive classic arcade gaming scene back around 2007, right around the time that I stumbled upon and watched the KOK movie.  More than anything, that is what has kept me interested in participating in competitive CAGing in general and in this game in particular.  It also came around during a particularly chaotic period of my life and it has been very useful to have found a hobby that I really enjoy and an interest that I can share with other great people when I really need a couple of hours here and there to get away from the stresses of real life and to do something fun instead.  So, thank you to all the folks around here who have given me support and friendship over the years.

Hopefully a few people will find my posts here useful or at least interesting along the way, and if not, then I guess this will serve as sort of a public diary with respect to this hobby which would be fine in and of itself anyways. 
Donkey Kong:  1,206,800  Kill Screen
Donkey Kong:  898,600     16-5
D2K:                 380,200     L=9
Donkey Kong Junior:  In Progress
Twitch TV  Streamer DK Killscreener MAME DK WR Holder DK 1 Million Point Scorer DK 1.1 Million Point Scorer Wildcard Rematch Champion DKF Blogger DK 1.2 Million Point Scorer

Offline marinomitch13

  • Strategy Moderator
  • Spring Jumper
  • *
  • Posts: 1779
    • How to Play DK
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2013, 07:49:38 PM »
Hey, Hey, Hey, Dean is here!

Not gonna lie, this is the blog I've been waiting for! Glad to see you'll be discussing some of your journey with DK and not just high-level strategy. I arrived after your 1.136m and 1.153m games and I always love hearing about 'back in the day' when Ross was posting on the Million Point March thread and you were picking up the game again after getting like 250k or something like that. Wish I coulda been  there, but KoK hadn't found it's way to me yet. ;)

Good luck with your 1.2m attempts! Keep pushing through.
IN THE FACE! IN THE FACE!
“Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” -Augustine, Confessions.
Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger DK Killscreener

Offline up2ng

  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 234
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2013, 10:58:16 PM »
Ok, so by far the biggest obstacle for me right now -- and I'm sure many of you can relate -- is the length of time required to play a full game of DK.  And I'm not talking right now about the physical and mental fatigue that inevitably sets in towards the tail end of a long game while playing at a high level, which is a very real obstacle that prematurely ends a lot of great games for most people.  No, I'm talking about how many of us have pretty crazy lives on a day to day basis and finding a 4 hour block of time to yourself with no interruptions where you're not worried about the time and you're not preoccupied with real life problems and you happen to be fully rested and awake and ready to kick some butt -- those opportunities are feeling downright rare lately.  I have to confess that these days, at least 70 - 80% of the time that I fire up a live stream of my games I know in the back of my mind that I have almost no shot of finishing a game during that session.  I'm cutting things too close timewise and I know I have to be somewhere, or I know that my family is likely to come back home after visiting with neighbors for a play date within the next couple of hours, or a million other possible things that just put that little bit of doubt in the back of your mind which messes with your mental state just enough to be unable to play at 100% -- and with DK generally if you're not at 100%, it ain't happening.  That doesn't mean it's not possible though.  I can remember specifically one of my PR games began after 3+ hours of failed attempts and restarts and I was just about to wrap it up for the night after 2am when all of a sudden a Start broke out, and then all of a sudden I had passed Level 6 and then Level 8 on the first man -- so I looked at the clock and just mentally buckled down and tried to focus and somehow managed to kill screen that game at after 5am, completely exhausted.  So, it's possible, but it would be so much easier if ideal conditions were to present themselves a bit more often so that I'm not feeling rusty when a good opportunity arises.

-------------------------------

My focus with the game right now and for the last year or so is to break 1.2 million points.  When I first set this goal it was definitely out of reach.  Even while point pressing with all of the main pressing tactics that many people are aware of and are well documented, this number is just a bit too high to hit so it requires finding a lot of small improvements and taking just a bit more risk than most people are willing to take.  Think about averaging 10,000 points per screen for the whole game (including the early levels) -- that's only 1.16 million.  How about a simple formula of beginning Level 5 with 130,000 points and then averaging 60,000 points per level for the rest of the game (something no one has ever done when not including points with lost men) -- that's just 1.15 million.  Coming up with that extra 40,000 - 50,000 along the way on TOP of fully pressing the game is just massively difficult.  At any rate, it has been a bit of a "holy grail" score among most players for a long time and for the last several months I feel like I have all of the pieces in place to make it happen -- IF I can ever execute at a high enough level for over 3 straight hours, which is obviously extremely challenging.  I'll keep you all posted on my progress towards that goal here.

------------------------------

Some gameplay stuff I've been working on:

Barrels:
One significant improvement that I've made technique-wise over the past several months -- nearly every time I execute a broad jump of a barrel(s), I make a conscious decision about which direction to press the "stick" while in the air.  I had been doing this for a long time while performing standing jumps, but only pretty recently have I been doing this such a large percentage of the time for broad jumps.  It can make for some awkward or difficult movements that may be problematic for arcade players, but I am proficient enough on a keyboard so that I can do things like run left, make a quick adjustment back to the right, quickly switch back to the left to (left) broad jump a double group of barrels, immediately press and hold RIGHT while in the air to claim my 300 points while travelling left in the air, then hit the ground running LEFT again.  And do this constantly, literally every 1 or 2 seconds or so.  It's a ton of extra inputs for a relatively small impact on the game, but it IS an impact if making these decisions well. 

I'll often combine this with another relatively recent improvement -- which is to often look TWO levels up for opportunities to group barrels.  For example, I might be running RIGHT on the 3rd girder towards a the small ladder, getting ready to group and jump two barrels.  While doing this, I look to the upper left corner and notice a different group of two barrels on the FIFTH girder right under Kong that could be grouped on that small ladder.  So, as I'm broad jumping the current group of barrels to the right, I'll press and hold LEFT while in the air to group up those other barrels -- once I land and climb the small ladder, that other group of barrels will be coming towards my on the 4th girder.  If I had run left to group those barrels before broad jumping to the right, I would have lost a lot of efficiency, and by the time I got all the way back into position to climb the small ladder, that other group of barrels which I just grouped up might have rolled too far along to allow me to safely climb the small ladder, so now I delay my climb, which often leads to further delays, missed barrels and lost points.  By doing this maneuver in the air, I continue with efficient climbing while getting an extra 100 points off of those two barrels which otherwise may not have been grouped.

Tactically, I've really been trying hard to maximize points while transitioning from the bottom hammer to the top hammer, which often results in chasing a triple group back down from the 3rd girder to the 2nd girder -- definitely a high risk / low reward maneuver due to the world of crap that can line up to haze you while getting back up to the 3rd girder in the lower left corner, not to mention really bad potential problems with the fireballs.  Most top players have deemed these tactics to be just too risky.  I'll admit, even after lots of practice trying to make this work, I still have mixed results and a lot more deaths than I otherwise would have.  However, I do think that if done correctly tactics like this SHOULD yield significantly more points than just beelining up to the top hammer.  The tricky part of the tradeoff is that delaying the run to the top hammer loses time (you don't technically lose BONUS on barrel screens, but you CAN lose additional barrels and additional opportunities to use those barrels for big points up in the scoring zone below Kong).  So, you need to be gaining more points by "playing from the bottom" than the opportunity cost of forgoing more time in the scoring zone below Kong.  Remember, if you could have gotten even one additional double group and rejump due to arriving at the scoring zone 5 or 6 Bonus seconds earlier -- that's 400 points gone that I could have had by just racing to the top.  If MULTIPLE rejumps could have occurred, now we're definitely talking about a potential waste of points.  On the flip side, the simple act of chasing that triple down to the 2nd girder and rejumping it (assuming no additional delays or lost barrels) gains 500 points -- and often additional double or triple groups can now be formed en route to the scoring zone.  I think moves like this -- if done aggressively and efficiently CAN and SHOULD yield an additional 200 - 300 points during this transition phase between the hammers above and beyond the opportunity cost (other top players disagree with this math and I'm open to debate about it).  But it is very risky and difficult.  Still, there are 51 barrel screens between Levels 5 - 21 and finding an extra 300 points per screen here could be the difference between hitting 1.2 million and just missing it.

Pies:
One thing I've been messing with just a bit lately is looking for opportunities to aggressively use the 2nd hammer in an offensive manner.  Traditionally, what I've always felt about this hammer is that it's a good back up plan to use in a defensive way when necessary, but that it's not really very useful for point pressing.  However, I've been rethinking that lately.  Depending on the setup, if I can get to that hammer without delay while there are 3 or 4 fireballs in the immediate area, I think it may be worth point pressing with this hammer.  Keep in mind that using up this hammer can be risky if you remain trapped in that section after it expires -- and I've already had a few deaths result from this -- but I think with the right balance we might have positive expectation to gain some decent points here with only moderate risk ... again, if the situation is favorable.  This includes any situation where you expect to otherwise be delayed anyways.  For example, if one of the five fireballs is clearly preventing a quick escape up the right side (after using the bottom hammer) and I'm clearly going to be standing around for a while on the left side waiting for an opening anyways, then why not stand around with the hammer in hand and try to smash a few fireballs?  One of the best scenarios occurs when you use up all of the hammer time smashing fireballs and during this time, that 5th fireball on the right side made it's way to the top of the screen and you are able to jump to the middle section after the hammer expires and race up the right side -- this is big points when this happens (getting all 3 prizes along the way).  Another possibility is if you recognize that only one fireball remains up above you and the others have drifted to the middle section -- now a good choice is to miss smashing the last fireball across the gap on purpose, leaving it in the middle section and try to quickly climb up the left side at the first opportunity -- again, this is risky if that last fireball comes down your ladder to your section and other fireballs are still lingering in the middle section -- that's the classic trap and is often fatal -- but in terms of Bonus efficiency it's much better to try ending the screen in that manner if that's the setup IMO.

Rivets:
I had been thinking more about the rivet screen recently and I think my latest couple of long games showed some good improvements in my rivet averages.  Basically, I'm coming to the conclusion that in a surprisingly high percentage of situations, the top hammer is actually a waste of time and points.  I think that when the setup is slightly bad and you feel there is a large chance that you will NOT be able to create an opportunity to taunt out the rest of the screen with at LEAST 2500 Bonus remaining (which creates a net gain of 1000 points), and you can find a way to quickly and aggressively finish out the screen while skipping the top hammer -- you are likely going to score MORE points doing it this way than you would have if you had gotten the top hammer.  It's not very intuitive but it's becoming more and more clear to me that there are many situations where this is correct.  Remember, holding the hammer in hand spews off 900 Bonus points, and based on how far out of the way you went to get it, it may be a cost of closer to 1100 - 1200 Bonus points to get the hammer WITHOUT ANY DELAY!  Based on what we now know about fireball scoring probabilities, you'd need to make close to 3 smashes JUST to break even with the hammer time.  Often times you won't even get enough smashes.  But, MANY other times, you just run into BIG delays either trying to get to the hammer, or waiting near the hammer to try to set up better smashes, or even after the hammer expires while trying to finish out the screen -- often these seemingly minor delays will cost 1000 - 1500 Bonus points without even realizing it!  IF, instead you had an immediate opportunity to clear the screen instead, take it.  You'll probably score more points.
Donkey Kong:  1,206,800  Kill Screen
Donkey Kong:  898,600     16-5
D2K:                 380,200     L=9
Donkey Kong Junior:  In Progress
Twitch TV  Streamer DK Killscreener MAME DK WR Holder DK 1 Million Point Scorer DK 1.1 Million Point Scorer Wildcard Rematch Champion DKF Blogger DK 1.2 Million Point Scorer

Offline Svavar

  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 155
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2013, 12:21:24 PM »
How about a simple formula of beginning Level 5 with 130,000 points and then averaging 60,000 points per level for the rest of the game (something no one has ever done when not including points with lost men) -- that's just 1.15 million.

I was watching your 1,167,400 point game and counted up only 5100 points from your deaths. That means you were averaging ca. 60,111 per level not including death points. Or maybe you meant that nobody besides you has done it.

On another note... Do you still take every free pass in the pie factory on your way to 1.2m? I had been thinking about whether it might pay off to hang around a bit on the conveyer, given that the fireballs behave nicely, and wait for a good opportunity to grab the hammer instead of taking the free pass. Maybe it introduces to much risk in a long game and I guess you have probably put thought into it before
Twitch TV  Streamer DK Killscreener DK 1 Million Point Scorer Crazy Kong Killscreener

Offline mikegmi2

  • Elite Member
  • *
  • Posts: 433
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2013, 06:55:32 AM »
Barrels - Just a few quick things.  First, I feel I have a better bottom hammer that nets maybe an extra smash sometimes...along with it feels easier to me...if I run to the far right side of the screen, and steer all barrels down ladders by running left  for the first few seconds of the hammer (even barrels rolling toward the far right ladders).  I feel like it leaves you with more real estate to work with, and also removes some of the constant left-right-left-right movements required for steering barrels down ladders during a bottom hammer. More than anything, having more real estate between you and oncomming barrels is important.  An extra couple inches of screen space can mean the difference between being able to do a quick right-left to steer down a barrel up top...or having to stand still and smash all the oncomming barrels...possibly missing an extra 300 points.
Second, the odd running left jump you can make to get 300 points off of one of the first rolling barrels that comes down, and a falling wild barrel.  It's weird how often this happens...but its a net +200 points than if you just standing jump over the rolling barrel and ignore the wild.
Third, tapping the controller between barrel smashes. There are times when barrels are almost right on top of one another, and you usually stand still and just let the hammer do it's work...also to avoid letting a barrel sneak under the hammer if you were moving toward it.  It sometimes nets an extra smash if you are looking up at barrels that are right on top of a ladder.  You can tap the controller between barrel smashes and get barrels to steer down.  It only takes the slightest tap.  I believe this can even be done if barrels are right on top of one another.  Obviously, you don't have time to do this if Mario has his back to the barrel...the barrel must be in front or Mario (also another reason to start off your bottom hammer by running right...then continuing left...more real estate...more ladders mario is facing and can control barrels with by moving in one direction).

Pies - Totally agree with your analysis.  Huge points lie within extra fireball smashes...and when you're going for 1.2M, obviously you need to take the risk and get any extra points you can.  With a little luck, you can net an additional 900-1000 points...or more, by grabbing the left hammer.  Since fireballs respawn immediately after being smashed, and run towards you after they respawn...you can net 4-5 smashes sometimes with the left hammer.

Rivets - I agree and always look for an opportunity to run up the right side, clear the 2nd to the top right rivet, jump back, and run up to clear the last rivet.  Though it's somewhat rare, and normally you are grabbing that top hammer to smash firefoxes to have a safer route to clear the top right rivet...you can net more bonus timer points finishing the screen asap...than waiting around unnecessarially to always grab the top hammer.  It's all too often that 1500 ticks off the bonus timer as you wait for a chance to grab the hammer, net 1-2 smashes, then run up and clear the screen.  Unless both are 800 smashes, it wasn't worth it.
Though it rarely happens, I have died (probably due to being too agressive) trying to run up the right side and clear the last 2 rivets without taking the top hammer.  An agressive fireball can shoot down one ladder from the very top, then immediately shoot down the next ladder and catch you off guard.  It happens so fast sometimes, even if you think you are far enough away to get away safely...they can catch you.  I think it's natural to be too agressive sometimes when you are trying to do this.  With one fireball guarding the hammer, and probably 1-3 up top...it's a high stress situation that takes split second decision making.  You have to be able to judge whether or not the fireball guarding the hammer can run over and get you as you clear the second to the top right rivet...and at the same time keep an eye on the fireballs at the very top to make sure none are in a position where they can run to the right and shoot down the ladder after you.     
It should also be pointed out that the 'running up the right side' method is sometimes your only shot at clearing a rivet screen.  Stubborn 'freezers' can make it impossible to climb the middle ladder...as they can freeze, climb down and freeze, climb back up and freeze again...and keep repeating this over and over until you're out of time.  It's beneficial to be able to understand when 'running up the right side' is the way to go.

(obviously a lot of this stuff is not important for a player like me who is only going for 1M currently, but just wanted to add to the discussion)
Donkey Kong - 1,076,000 (arcade, KS)
Twitch TV  Streamer DK Killscreener DK 1 Million Point Scorer

Offline up2ng

  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 234
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2013, 09:37:48 AM »
How about a simple formula of beginning Level 5 with 130,000 points and then averaging 60,000 points per level for the rest of the game (something no one has ever done when not including points with lost men) -- that's just 1.15 million.

I was watching your 1,167,400 point game and counted up only 5100 points from your deaths. That means you were averaging ca. 60,111 per level not including death points. Or maybe you meant that nobody besides you has done it.

On another note... Do you still take every free pass in the pie factory on your way to 1.2m? I had been thinking about whether it might pay off to hang around a bit on the conveyer, given that the fireballs behave nicely, and wait for a good opportunity to grab the hammer instead of taking the free pass. Maybe it introduces to much risk in a long game and I guess you have probably put thought into it before

Hi Svavar, perhaps I never did a proper analysis of that game ... I can't seem to find my stats on it.  I had thought my level averages on that one were around 59,000 but if you're right then that's my mistake.  Anyways, what I meant by that post was that up until a year or two ago it was thought that getting your level averages up to where you can maintain 60,000 points per level throughout an entire game was a very difficult task that would require "maximum" point pressing for the whole game and is about the upper threshold that players could hope to achieve in the long run without an especially good run of luck during a game.  And yet, this only brings the expected score up to around 1.15 million points until you begin to factor in points with lost men.  So, trying to push beyond that pace to the point where a 1.2 million point game becomes legitimately within reach has been the focus and I feel like I have now made enough improvements to my pace that I have a decent shot at it.

And yes, I have thought a lot about when to take the free pass and when to press the screen for more points.  I have actually been trending TOWARDS taking MORE free passes lately, as it is very rare to have a full game with pie factory averages above 8400 points.  Skipping the free pass and trying for more points is VERY hit or miss and can become frustrating when you do a lot of risky stuff and then you look up and the screen yielded 7800 points or something and you know that you could have had an easy free pass.  However, if I feel like there is a setup that should yield a lot of smashes with the bottom hammer, I will often go for it based on the possibility of having a big screen.

There are a few components that go into "beating the clock" on the Pies.  The first is the number of smashes, and remember, smashing a pie tends to score slightly higher than smashing a fireball.  The second is the number of prizes collected.  Lastly, how much Bonus is conserved.  For example, let's say that you do a reasonable job of finishing the screen with just some minor delays and manage to finish with 4000 Bonus.  Well, when you think about it, that's 2800 lost Bonus points as compared to taking the free pass!  That's a lot to make up.  Now, depending on the route, perhaps an extra prize was grabbed along the way -- that's 800.  But, now you need to make up an additional 2000 points with smashes -- which means you need nearly 5 smashes just to break even.  It's really not that common to get significantly more than 5 smashes with the bottom hammer.  So, at best we're talking about a lot of effort for small gains here.  But, I still say that it's worth it if this scenario is likely.  However, if we're too eager to press the screen, occasionally you get a very weak bottom hammer with only 1 or 2 smashes, or you can get into situations where you face more serious delays.  Remember, if you look up at the end and see that you are finishing with 3000 Bonus or less, you almost certainly lost points as compared to the free pass (unless you happened to use both hammers very effectively, which is also rare).  Anyways, it was a good question -- getting good at making that particular decision is one of the major keys to point pressing this game.
Donkey Kong:  1,206,800  Kill Screen
Donkey Kong:  898,600     16-5
D2K:                 380,200     L=9
Donkey Kong Junior:  In Progress
Twitch TV  Streamer DK Killscreener MAME DK WR Holder DK 1 Million Point Scorer DK 1.1 Million Point Scorer Wildcard Rematch Champion DKF Blogger DK 1.2 Million Point Scorer

Offline up2ng

  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 234
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2013, 10:10:16 AM »
Barrels - Just a few quick things.  First, I feel I have a better bottom hammer that nets maybe an extra smash sometimes...along with it feels easier to me...if I run to the far right side of the screen, and steer all barrels down ladders by running left  for the first few seconds of the hammer (even barrels rolling toward the far right ladders). 
...
Second, the odd running left jump you can make to get 300 points off of one of the first rolling barrels that comes down, and a falling wild barrel.  It's weird how often this happens...but its a net +200 points than if you just standing jump over the rolling barrel and ignore the wild.
...
Third, tapping the controller between barrel smashes.
...
Pies - Totally agree with your analysis.  Huge points lie within extra fireball smashes...and when you're going for 1.2M, obviously you need to take the risk and get any extra points you can.  With a little luck, you can net an additional 900-1000 points...or more, by grabbing the left hammer.  Since fireballs respawn immediately after being smashed, and run towards you after they respawn...you can net 4-5 smashes sometimes with the left hammer.
...
Rivets - I agree and always look for an opportunity to run up the right side, clear the 2nd to the top right rivet, jump back, and run up to clear the last rivet. 
...
It should also be pointed out that the 'running up the right side' method is sometimes your only shot at clearing a rivet screen.  Stubborn 'freezers' can make it impossible to climb the middle ladder...as they can freeze, climb down and freeze, climb back up and freeze again...and keep repeating this over and over until you're out of time.  It's beneficial to be able to understand when 'running up the right side' is the way to go.

Hey Mike, good points.  Yes, many players just don't understand proper positioning when using the bottom hammer on barrels.  The further to the right you can keep yourself positioned throughout the process, the better your results will be.  This is something I picked up early on from studying Ross's games when he was streaming a lot several years ago.  He always made an effort to stay positioned about 3/4 of the way to the right side, where there is a large gap between ladders when looking up.  If you just run to the left right away, you quickly pass beyond some of the ladders and you now must make decisions about which barrel to try to steer instead of being able to steer both at the same time with one motion.  A lot of players also just feel that it's safer to make sure to get beyond the long ladder and steer barrels from the left side so that they are rolling away from you just in case the hammer runs out -- while there is some merit to this, the resulting lost points from being so conservative in this particular case is just disasterous.  I watch players habitually get 7 - 8 smashes here instead of the 11 or so smashes that should be common and then leave themselves with a somewhat messy board to deal with after the hammer expires.  Staying as far to the right as possible is the way to go.

I will say that in a long game I'll sometimes make an exception to this if I feel like it's advantageous to immediately chase down the fireball(s).  My default is actually to leave the fireballs alone until the very end of the cycle, which is a much higher risk tactic than most other players are comfortable with, but based on the position of the fireball and the barrels I'll sometimes try to go for the fireball smash right away.  If successful, I'll sometimes make a long run back to the right where I'm not really steering anything to get repositioned to make a lot of last minute barrel steers to clean up the screen.  This method is a bit more complex and will sometimes result in 1 - 2 missed barrel smashes, but often times getting two or even just one fireball smash in lieu of these barrels is actually profitable.  Remember, fireball smashes are worth more points than barrel smashes.  But also, if the fireball climbs up before being smashed and then causes significant delays and missed barrels, then these losses are often more costly than what may have been gained by getting 1 - 2 extra barrel smashes.  Again, for me a lot of this decision has to do with the fireball position and what else is going on with the screen as I feel that I can often miss the fireball and still proceed with the transition with mimimal delays (which would be profitable).  This is another one of those decisions that getting better at it will yield more effective point pressing.

Yeah, leeching the wild barrels in combo with rolling barrels while waiting around on the 2nd girder is a good technique to add.  Again, I remember seeing Ross have some success with this a long time ago and decided to begin trying it myself and it has been useful.

I agree, I do a LOT of "tapping" between barrel smashes.  I am constantly making lots of little adjustments and inputs that are probably hard to see just by watching my games.  More inputs = more steering.

With regards to the 2nd hammer on the Pies, you need to be cautious about overusing it.  When you really look at it, it's actually pretty amazing how often you can grab that 2nd hammer and it leads to a net loss of points.  Remember, 900 Bonus ticks off the clock while holding the hammer and if you cause yourself a lot of extra delays after the hammer expires because of all of the fireballs respawing above you, you could be looking at a big loss of Bonus even when you are able to rack up several smashes.  I DO believe that there are opportunities to use this hammer aggressively for extra points, but this might only be feasible 3 - 4 times in a full game, for example.  The other times the hammer should serve as a defensive back up plan if you are trapped.

Yes, I agree about the rivets -- I have been looking for more opportunities to "run up the right side" and finish the screen lately.  I think that overall this is a net gain of points for me as my rivet averages have always been lacking and I've been looking for ways to boost it.  Since becoming less worried about always using the top hammer and sometimes just finishing the screen efficiently, my rivet averages have been on the rise.  It's counter intuitive since you can never get a "BIG" screen by completing it in this manner, but you CAN often avoid the disasterous screens this way.  Clock delays are serious pace killers on Pies, Elevators and Rivets and finding tactics to eliminate them is a good way to boost scores.
Donkey Kong:  1,206,800  Kill Screen
Donkey Kong:  898,600     16-5
D2K:                 380,200     L=9
Donkey Kong Junior:  In Progress
Twitch TV  Streamer DK Killscreener MAME DK WR Holder DK 1 Million Point Scorer DK 1.1 Million Point Scorer Wildcard Rematch Champion DKF Blogger DK 1.2 Million Point Scorer

Offline stella_blue

  • High Score Moderator
  • Spring Jumper
  • *
  • Posts: 1501
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2013, 10:20:04 AM »
Hi Svavar, perhaps I never did a proper analysis of that game ... I can't seem to find my stats on it.

No cause for concern, Dean.  You won't have to do a proper analysis, unless you're interested in tracking the results of your blue barrel, fireball, and pie smashes.  Your 1,167,400 game is on my DK summary "to do" list, along with Jeff's 1.107m (MAME) and Vincent's 1.135m (arcade) accomplishments.

DK High Score 
952,100
  (L22-1)
DK Level 1-1 
13,400
DK No Hammer 
535,300
  (L15-2)
Twitch TV  Streamer Most Time Online DKF Blogger DK Killscreener

Offline d3scride

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 80
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2013, 02:34:38 PM »
Dean,

Thanks for creating your blog. Being able to watch your stream over the last year or so has helped me improve my game tremendously.

I was wondering if you touch base a bit on spring stage strategy? More specifically tips for "free-styling" the springs?
PBs:

DK: 702,100 at 1,040,000 pace
1-1: 11,800
1-2: 22,700
No Hammer: 562,800
Lvl 2: 50,400
Twitch TV  Streamer

Offline Bliss1083

  • Elite Member
  • *
  • Posts: 272
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2013, 03:30:38 PM »
Awesome advice Dean and Mike about the 3/4 rule for the bottom hammer. This little change in my game has helped. I use to shoot for the safe just left of the ladder and am now steering better then before!
Donkey kong  arcade 867,000 kill screen
Donkey kong arcade 1-1 12,800 12,200 12,100 and 12,000
Donkey kong end of level 4 132k
working on my hello kitty island adventure skills
Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger DK Killscreener

Offline Jeffw

  • Full Member
  • *
  • Posts: 72
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2013, 05:42:04 PM »
Hey Dean, I learned a few things about pie factory recently that you may not have know already. Firstly, I'm sure you are familiar with the situation on pie factory where the first pie of the screen spawns on the bottom conveyor so that it goes just off the left side of the screen as the conveyor reverses direction and sometimes it comes back but other times it stays off screen. I often delay smashing this pie when I grab the bottom hammer in favour of smashing other stuff first, hoping that the pie will come back on screen and I still get the smash. Well it turns out that the pie actually always goes off screen and despawns and is sometimes replaced by a different pie, which makes it look like the same pie came back, but you are actually missing out on a smash if you let the pie go off screen. This means that you always need to make smashing this pie a priority before it goes off screen. If the second pie to spawn also spawns on the bottom and you leach it three times before grabbing the bottom hammer you will never be able to reach the first pie on time before it goes off screen. Even if you leach the second pie only twice you need to make sure to grab the bottom hammer as early as possible on the second jump or else you won't make it to the first pie on time. You can tell if you made it on time based on whether you end up with two successive smashes or just one.

The second thing I learned has to do with the direction of the upper conveyor. You've probably noticed that the upper conveyors can sometimes move in the outwards direction when you are in the lower part of the screen but will always change to moving inwards as soon as you make it slightly above the bottom conveyor. What's interesting about this is that as long as the upper conveyor is moving outwards, no pies can spawn up there and instead all pies will spawn on the bottom conveyor, which means more smashes. You can actually use this to guarantee yourself a strong bottom hammer. How it works is that the screen starts out with the upper conveyor moving inwards, which means pies can spawn both on top and on the bottom. Then partway through the screen it will reverse direction (assuming you don't rise above the bottom conveyor). If you grab the bottom hammer after it reverses direction then the jump will raise Mario above the bottom conveyor causing the upper conveyor to immediately switch back to moving inwards, which is bad and you will likely get a weak bottom hammer. However, if you grab the hammer just before it starts moving outwards then as soon as you land it will reverse to moving outwards you will be guaranteed a strong bottom hammer.

In practice when you go for the bottom hammer you often leach one of the early pies two or three times before grabbing the hammer, which usually results in the hammer being grabbed at just the right time. However, if nothing is available to leach before getting the bottom hammer then it's easy to actually grab the hammer too late. A good reference point for this case I found is to jump as kong is moving left just before Kong's left foot reaches the middle ladder of the three ladders up top. So when the free pass is unavailable and no pies are on screen it's actually best to grab the bottom hammer according to this reference point rather than waiting around for fireballs to come down. By grabbing the bottom hammer at the right time you can guarantee three pie smashes (and a possible 4th if your lucky) in addition to any pies that are already on screen plus any fireball smashes you get. I think this means that it is best to go for the bottom hammer even if there is initially only one pie on the bottom conveyor, however if there are no pies on the bottom to start out with then it is probably still best to take the free pass. I haven't really played much recently to try this out in a game and see how it affects pie factory averages but during the testing I did from a pie factory savestate I seemed to be scoring really well. I think this in combination with the the first thing I mentioned could significantly improve pie factory averages.

If you want to play around with this stuff for yourself in mame with RAM watch then 0x62A2 is the address of the direction reverse counter for the upper conveyor, it reverses when this reaches 0. Also, note that this counter freezes when Mario is slightly above the bottom conveyor (including when he jumps off of it). 0x62A3 indicates the direction of the upper conveyor, 01 means outwards and FF means inwards. If after grabbing the bottom hammer this value is FF then you didn't grab the bottom hammer at the right time.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 05:43:51 PM by Jeffw »
Twitch TV  Streamer DK Killscreener Kong-Off 2 Champion DK 1 Million Point Scorer DK 1.1 Million Point Scorer Kong-Off 3 Champion

Offline stella_blue

  • High Score Moderator
  • Spring Jumper
  • *
  • Posts: 1501
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2013, 09:50:29 PM »

That's some good info, Jeff.  I just experimented with your recommendation, using a Level 5 save state (with no pie leeching), and managed to score 12,100 on my 2nd attempt.

There was some discussion last week in the Donkey Kong X-Files thread regarding the upper conveyors.  I was fooling around on that stage, trying to determine the height that cancels the "outward" direction.  As far as I can tell, it's when the vertical position of Jumpman's foot is somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd rungs on the ladder leading up from the bottom conveyor.

DK High Score 
952,100
  (L22-1)
DK Level 1-1 
13,400
DK No Hammer 
535,300
  (L15-2)
Twitch TV  Streamer Most Time Online DKF Blogger DK Killscreener

Offline ChrisP

  • Spring Jumper
  • *
  • Posts: 1653
  • I'm going to jump next to your leg.
    • Donkey Blog
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2013, 09:53:40 PM »
This thing about the upper-conveyor direction is blowing my mind.

I'd never noticed or even thought about it before.
http://donkeykongblog.blogspot.com

4 Quarters :-* - 800K Avg. Per Qtr. :o - No Restarts 8) - No Proof :'(

7/26/2013   Coin 35,946   710,800   18-1
7/28/2013   Coin 35,947   903,700   22-1
8/16/2013   Coin 35,948   694,100   17-6
8/17/2013   Coin 35,949   893,100   22-1

3,201,700: the $1 World Record?
Twitch TV  Streamer DK Killscreener Crazy Kong Killscreener DKF Blogger

Offline JNugent

  • Senior Member
  • *
  • Posts: 234
  • Just a guy who likes to play games.
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2013, 10:46:47 PM »
This thing about the upper-conveyor direction is blowing my mind.

I'd never noticed or even thought about it before.

+1

567,200 - Crazy Kong (MAME) - ended on L=21 rivets
555,000 - Donkey Kong (MAME)
Twitch TV  Streamer DKF Blogger

Offline LMDAVE

  • Spring Jumper
  • *
  • Posts: 604
Re: Dean's DK Blog
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2013, 05:52:02 AM »
About increasing points on conveyors, it would be cool to find a way of using the middle hammer giving that they respawn on the same side. As long as you can get safe to the hammer with about 3 fireballs on that side, and maybe get abotu 5 hits. Hard to find the best time to go for it though.



Donkey Kong (Arcade): 1,108,100

Donkey Kong 1-1: 12,900

http://twitch.tv/LMDAVE
Twitch TV  Streamer DK Killscreener DK 1 Million Point Scorer DKF Blogger DK Online Open #1 Winner DK 1.1 Million Point Scorer