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Messages - Duplode

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Competition 2018 / Re: Z205 - Not your fault
« on: August 04, 2018, 02:09:58 AM »
And also default...

I actually interrupted my very first lap a few seconds in to check whether I had picked the right track  :D

General Chat - ZSC / Re: ZCT 202 - Dual-way concept
« on: July 29, 2018, 01:52:05 AM »
Dup! You programmed some years ago a tool to mark in a map where the car's position is in every moment of the replay. Could you show the first half of this replay in an image?

Sorry it took a bit long, but here it is! Open the attached SVG and crank up the zoom. The usual resolution Cartography uses to draw the traces wasn't enough to show the tile being traversed clearly, so I had to hand edit the SVG to make the yellow line thinner :o

(The coordinate data file for the lap shows the car spends two frames within the tile. At 17.55s (cf. the screenshot above) the car is 59cm ahead of the western tile boundary, and 126cm from the southwestern tile corner. At 17.60s, the car is about six milimeters behind the southern tile boundary, and 305cm from the southwestern corner... It seems plausible that if the car had been on the same path but moving a little faster, it would not being within the tile bounds at any frame, and so the path wouldn't be legal. Verifying that would be an interesting experiment.)

General Chat - ZSC / Re: ZCT 202 - Dual-way concept
« on: July 04, 2018, 08:30:00 PM »
But here, this is not the case, as you never actually join one of the two paths.

This is an overhead pic from Alan's lap at 17.55:

The car is just inside the first tile of the orange path -- what counts in such cases is the position of the centre point of the car -- and so both paths are used. Right on the limit! 8)

(Note that the highlighted tiles in Alan's map aren't part of any path, and so they don't count indeed.)

Chat - Misc / Re: Football Fanats 2018 - Another World Cup Year
« on: June 30, 2018, 04:02:25 PM »
Knockout stage predictions, anyone?

France 1 - 2 Argentina (France may well turn up and start playing to their potential. I still believe in Messi, though.)
Uruguay 1 - 0 Portugal (I see Portugal being found out against Uruguay, though you can't count Cristiano out.)
Spain 2 -1 Russia (Spain should muddle through this tie.)
Croatia 2 - 0 Denmark (Sorry BJ, but I don't see Croatia having trouble here)
Brazil 1 - 0 Mexico (I see either we getting an early goal and Mexico collapse, or a tough game. Here I'll stick with the latter.)
Belgium 3 - 0 Japan (As much as I'd enjoy seeing Japan make a deep run, Belgium should make short work of them.)
Sweden 0 - 1 Switzerland (A ferociously close tie. I feel individual skill from the Swiss will tip the balance.)
Colombia 2 - 0 England (I predict England to disappoint in typical fashion against a fine Colombia side. One question mark is how well will James be come Tuesday.)

Chat - Misc / Re: Football Fanats 2018 - Another World Cup Year
« on: June 15, 2018, 12:11:31 AM »
Saudi Arabia is an awful team... Holy crap! Russia played as an adult team against a U-17 team.

At least we got to see two very nice goals, which was more than I had expected from this match.

We're on a good run of mascots lately... this aggressive-looking canary is quite bizarre, but I like it.

The ones I played a lot were NFS II SE (I loved the crazy concept cars) and NFS IV: High Stakes (very nice ambience).

Here is my take:

Early days

I first met Stunts in 1996 or thereabouts, when I was seven. At home, we had a 100MHz 486 since late 1994, and my father would regularly exchange floppies with other PC users in the school he worked at. One day, he came home with a floppy auspiciously labelled "AUTOPISTA" that contained, along with a few other disparate things, Stunts 1.0. I loved cars and motor racing from a very early age, and I enjoyed making up city grids and racing tracks with pen and paper, and so I was instantly fascinated by the game. Stunts sessions quickly became a favourite pastime for me and Yves, the neighbour next door and my inseparable buddy back then. Yves was a very competitive kid, but such was the magic of Stunts that it got to suspend that: instead of hotlap competitions, we'd just design our crazy tracks and then take turns playing driver and copilot while trying to survive them (and/or laughing at the absurd crashes).

More than meets the eye

I found out there were websites about Stunts in 2002, around the time I came back to the game after a longish hiatus. That quickly made me aware of many things I had overlooked as a small kid (I'm not even sure I knew about powergear before). In particular, there was a lot of fun to be had in trying out the myriad track design tricks described and demonstrated in Luke's site.

Becoming a pipsqueak

Competitive racing was not a huge draw for me in those early years. Still, I was curious enough about the online contests to drive a (never submitted) lap on Z40, and to send a couple replays to Alan's 4DSL (which never reached the scoreboard -- I guess they were illegal in some way). Back then, I was extremely shy and self-conscious, not to mention very busy (I spent most of 2004 preparing for university admission exams), and so I didn't stick around. Another hiatus would follow.

I picked up Stunts again in 2007. While thinking about torque curves of real cars, I remembered that Car Blaster made it quite easy to tune Stunts cars, so I figured I could use it to perform some virtual experiments. That didn't really work (not enough was known about the physical model back then), but the fire was rekindled. One of the first things I did was to pay a visit to Kalpen. As luck would have it, the first race of the 2007 Kalpen season had just begun, so I felt like "why not?", and sent a replay. Soon enough, I found there was a lot to learn (being up to that point for a mildly-mannered auto gears BB 1.0 driver, I knew little about shortcuts and Stunts-specific driving technique), and that I felt at home in the community. And here I am, eleven years later  :)

Running a competition

In the mid-to-late 00's, starting your own Stunts competition was a natural step in the evolution of a Stunts pipsqueak, and, I would add, an integral part of Stunts' gift economy. My first brushes with contest management happened thanks to JACStunts, a blossoming Brazilian community which used to gather at the now defunct Orkut social network. Not long after I joined, though, a silly argument escalated up to the point the manager quit his own contest, and the site admin took his ball and went home, taking the site offline with no warning. The remaining pipsqueaks were left to pick up the pieces, sharing the tasks needed to restart the contest. I used what I had learned in the international community to write a set of rules and help sorting out interpretation conflicts about them.

The freedom to make up your own rules being part of the charm of Stunts, I always cheered for and tried to participate in competitions with alternative rules. In mid 2009, with Paleke's WSC having been unfortunately discontinued a while ago, there was an opportunity to step up and try to keep OWOOT racing as a going concern. The result was The Southern Cross Stunts Trophy, which was successful, if short lived in all of its five races. Perhaps some day there will be a second season, though if that ever happens it is likely to morph into a NoRH with shortcuts competition.

Stunts hacking

One nice thing about being a Stunts driver who likes to code is that Stunts is a perennial source of inspiration for hobby projects. I joined the community shortly after having my first experiences with programming, and not long before the major reverse engineering breakthrough in 2008, and so I was able to help grow the knowledge about Stunts' internals, and to build a few things with it. In terms of software tools, the one I have written that I'm happiest about is Stunts Cartography. I definitely need to make up some time for adding a few extra features to it!

My one regret when it comes to Stunts hacking is not being all that successful in converting my assembly reading efforts into more effective and tangible contributions to the restunts project. My latest attempt to do so went up in smoke (literally). There might still be time for that, though...

I would like to know if there's a topic or a graphic with the different competitions in choronological order or a history of how each formed, when and by whom.

The Chronology article in the wiki is a good starting point.

On your broader point, the Wiki is also meant as a repository of community lore, so expanding it with historical notes is definitely welcome, be it through first-person accounts or by digging into the depths of the forum or of the Internet Archive.

Stunts Questions / Re: Default track! (yes teh original!)
« on: June 04, 2018, 08:13:08 PM »
My record is 1:19.05 driving in GAR style with a Porsche March Indy

You might enjoy doing CTG's exercise (in fact, this makes me feel like giving it another try  :)). Note that most laps discussed in that thread aren't strictly GAR, but are done with minor shortcuts (staying to the right of the red cork wall rather than looping around it, and driving on fast grass in the chicane before the bridge); they should be about half a second to one second faster than the corresponding GAR laps would be.

Chat - Misc / Re: Politics around the world
« on: June 03, 2018, 11:15:16 AM »
Today I was surprised by news from Hungary in my mailbox... the Georg Luk√°cs Archives in Budapest are being dismantled. Surely there are more pressing concerns in Hungary than the woes of a bunch of philosophers, and some of you know are overwhelmingly better able to talk about them than me. Still, it is revolting.

Competition 2018 / Re: Z202 - Ketiranyu
« on: June 03, 2018, 10:09:53 AM »
In my eyes, it boils down to:
  • Dual-way switching is an integral part of free rules racing.
  • Two-tile-wrong-way dual-way cuts of the sort we are discussing here are evil.
On the first point, I believe dual-way switching should be allowed by default. That said, I agree the track designer should be able to disallow it. There are precedents for dual-way switching being forbidden in specific ZakStunts tracks: Zak made it so mid-race in both Z127 and Z146, after discussion among the pipsqueaks revealed broad support for it (the Z146 thread has some interesting comments). Explicitly asking the designer might make sense, especially if the track designer isn't yet aware of the full range of cuts dual-way switching makes possible. (A side effect of asking beforehand might be increasing a lot how often it is disallowed, but perhaps there is no need to worry about that.)

On the second point, two-tile cuts have pretty much always been deemed as illegal through an unwritten rule, enforced by Zak whenever it became a problem (one precedent is Z136, in which wrong way driving was forbidden with the specific purpose of making a two-tile cut impossible). I mostly like afullo's suggestion of disallowing driving the same stretch of track to be driven in both ways. There is one potential problem, though: depending on how it is interpreted, end up ruling out some power gear lines which rely on slides across sections of the track. I will try to find some actual examples of that later on.

Competition 2018 / Re: Z202 - Ketiranyu
« on: June 02, 2018, 03:39:58 PM »
Quote from: Duplode on the shoutbox
My remarks on the forum [...] suggesting there might be an issue were made thinking of something much more sinister.

Here is a demonstration. (I'm not posting it as a competition replay as I don't feel it should be legal.)

Stunts Code Extraction / Re: Replay recording and limits
« on: May 15, 2018, 08:19:59 PM »
For example if you press ESC before having got down completely from the truck (in the first second), and then you continue driving, you can start from the lorry, but then the pattern would not fit the standard of starting properly from the line, and while the replay is re-run it would show in general a different path for your car. Some parameters seem to be fixed regardless of the environment and the initial conditions in which the race is taking place...

The rolling out of the truck is performed through a special purpose auto-driving mode. Quoting this thread:

Quite a few branches of update_car_state are skipped if a certain "input mode" flag is not in its usual, waiting-for-driving-input, state (that is e.g. what makes it impossible to crash after crossing the finish line). If you track down the places in which this flage is not in its usual state, one nice thing that will be revealed is how the car is rolled out of the truck -- that is, the mechanics of accelerating it a little bit and then slowing down so that it stops at the right place.

Pressing ESC and then continuing driving allows you to escape this mode before you are supposed to.

The proper initial position is indeed specified somewhere else (I don't remember where). If you look closely, you'll note the staring position (where "Fasten your seatbelt" shows up) is, in general, not exactly the same one where the car stops after rolling out of the truck. One car for which that is relatively easy to see is the McLaren.

Stunts Related Programs / Re: Bliss / Cas-Stunts track editor
« on: May 15, 2018, 07:47:05 PM »
Ok. On the other hand, as far as I know, it is not known whether that "scenery" is an unfinished feature, an error of interpretation (remember Ermac, "error macro", in Mortal Kombat, which was retconned a posteriori as a character?), or something else.

I'm fairly certain that all setting the scenery byte outside of the 00h-04h range does is filling the memory area used for the horizon bitmap with arbitrary stuff, and that the "chaotic scenery" interpretation is not canon, in an Ermac-esque way indeed. I also remember reports of it working for some people but not from others back from Z77, which originally used it.

Competition 2018 / Re: Z202 - Ketiranyu
« on: May 10, 2018, 03:37:58 AM »
Though I haven't actually driven in this track or watched any replays yet, if Cas' message on the shoutbox...

Quote from: Cas
OK. Let's start playing dirty, ha, ha XD - Honestly, I didn't know that dual-way switching could be done wrong-way :P

... means what I think it means, there is an ancient precedent in ZakStunts according to which wrong way shortcuts are forbidden. This issue has last shown up in Z136 (see also). This situation in Z85 might also be relevant, but I can't say for sure as I haven't driven yet  :)

Chat - Misc / Re: Politics around the world
« on: May 10, 2018, 03:23:30 AM »
^^ Good one! It reminds me of the tales of Besiktas, Fenerbahce and Galatasaray ultras protesting together against Erdogan.

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