Retiming Ninja Gaiden II
2 years ago
Washington, USA

Hello everyone. Ninja Gaiden II is in need of an overhaul in the way the game is timed. To get into the specifics, splitting on 000 at the demon is inaccurate. Due to the way the game handles HUD updates, splitting on 000 can vary by up to 12 frames.

The minutia: $A0 is the status_update_index which decrements 6-0 over every 7 frames and determines which element of the status bar (score, ninpo, max ninpo, lives, timer, the two health bars) gets updated at the start of the next frame. Except that can get preempted by other graphical updates so in practice the cycle can take some frames longer. On the frame boss HP hits 0 a 305 frame countdown ($50E, $50F) starts for the tally (so if timer remaining + ninpo remaining is greater than 305, all the points don't get tallied!) and the first frame of fadeout is the frame after that countdown ends.

0.2 seconds might not seem like a big deal, but with top times as optimized as they are, this is an issue. There are a few ways we can handle retiming this, but unfortunately they would add time to everyone's run on the leaderboard, which can affect "milestone" times (namely "license" and sub 10). The most consistent and "runner friendly" way to retime would be to split on first frame of "fade to black" after defeating the demon. Retiming would affect Arcus' run the most, as he would no longer have a sub 10 time. The mod team have contacted the top runners and they are all fine with a retime. What does the community think?

Edited by the author 2 years ago

All for it.

Västra Götaland, Sweden

I'm all for more accuracy

YUMmy_Bacon5 likes this
United States

Okily dokily!

Tennessee, USA

What about stopping the timer on the last hit? There's a clear visual indication of when the demon is officially dead:

You still have control but imo that's a mostly meaningless leftover rule from SDA. Pretty sure once the last hit is registered there's no stopping the ending from playing, so the game is completed at that point anyway.

Edited by the author 1 year ago
NeoKad likes this
Washington, USA

@omqwat We had thought of that possibility. Basically it would be final split on first frame of demon heart explosion. The good thing about that is it's consistent and would make everyone's run faster by a pretty substantial amount of time. Arcus keeps his sub 10 and Wangdao is the newest sub 10 time. Through the mod discussions it was decided that the bad thing is it's difficult for the player to do the final split, would result in a lot of frame count verification, and is kind of silly because the player is still controlling Ryu (that old SDA rule you mentioned). There is also the possibility that the player can split on first frame of fade-out. Nothing is set in stone here yet so any discussion around these possible split scenarios is appreciated.

4iSteven and omqwat like this
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