Author Topic: Pole Position and how to get better  (Read 46377 times)

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Offline johnmcallister

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2018, 10:47:13 am »
Richies race was far from perfect as I've come to find out.  There are so many things that make you slow down, being in outside of turn, hitting a puddle, touching the rumble strip or grass, getting to close to another car, skidding, it all adds up even though you can't see it on the screen it adds up. 

I've been working on a spreadsheet inputting data of races that I have done and can analyze areas of the track and see the slow downs and the areas where you go fastest.  It comes down to basically 100 sections on the track each equaling 100 points for a total of 10000 points per lap.  In each 100 section it takes around .5 seconds of in game time to do.  If you can stay at top speed and be on the right place on the track you will have a time of 50 seconds.  Obviously cars, puddles, and sharp turns prevent that from happening.  So to maximize your time you have to whenever possible be on the correct portion of track and be at top speed to get the fastest time. 

I've only been able to have small sections where I was getting that .5 per 100 section and not enough of them.  So if you have say .5 + 1 frame per section that extra frame will add 2.5 seconds of time.  40 frames per in game time, 100 frames lost in the 100 sections = 2.5 seconds.   There are sections of the track specifically in the hairpin turn along with a few other tight turns that you can actually gain a frame or two, usually at the cost of speed.

While experimenting in mame I figured this out.

Found out that after your race and entering initials that once it cycles back to that screen and shows your best lap and avg speed that the avg speed is only for that fastest lap and not the whole race.  Again Atari math involved and I can't find the formula they used to get all 3 numbers to be figured out.  Speed, Time, Distance, they just don't add up to the numbers that get reported.

Now go out and play some Pole Position and have fun.
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Offline poleposition

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2018, 02:21:31 pm »
Here is another photo from the 80's that may be of interest.

It shows a race time of 214'02, just three hundredths of a second from the required 213.xx world record time.
And a fastest lap of 52'15, possibly the fastest lap time I have ever seen.
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Offline johnmcallister

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2018, 03:13:17 pm »
Oh man that is a close one, only 2 frames from getting the extra second.  Scoring is from .01 - .00.  So if you had a 214.00 it would count as being a 213.xx and you would get the extra seconds. 

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Offline danman123456

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2018, 07:33:02 am »
Thanks for responding I was hopeful you would. :D

Again this is I assume on your cabinet? I said im skeptical because well frankly you and Les both get the BEST run of your lives in the same tournament on the SAME cabinet?  Did you get these 67,260 scores on a different Pole Position cabinet or just your cabinet? Do either of you have a video you made getting 67k+ scores in the last 30+ years? My point was perhaps there was an issue with the cabinet and you could go a little faster than normal? Early romset issue? Bad rom due to a power surge? I'm certain you are very good at this game and I'm sorry I'm so skeptical but way to many of these 80's scores with this exact type of scenario (no videos and and no one else has come close to this score in 30+ years) have ended up being false but I do appreciate you coming in an discussing it here and posting the photos! I'm just a bit of a cynic about these things nothing personal for sure :D

I need to figure out how to just TAS this thing and be done with it.
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Offline johnmcallister

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2018, 04:45:32 pm »
More messing around in mame.

Was trying to see if you could set the cars up into specific patterns.  Seems you can manipulate the starting setup.  Crossing the finish line and being at different places of the track yielded different setups.  I did a save state before the end of the qualifying lap and then from there tried to cross the finish line at different spots.  Just before the start of the race from there I save stated again and then went different paths and speed to the first turn where you see cars.  I would then reload the second save state and do it again and again, the cars always were in the same spot.  Go back to save state 1 and cross line at different spot.  Go to first turn with cars and different pattern of cars would appear. 

From save state 2 the start of the race after qualifying I would always get the same pattern of cars.  Only when I load save state 1 could I get a different pattern on that first turn of cars. 

I have a race recorded where all the cars on the first lap of the race were on the right hand side of the track, not a good set up by the way as you will have to be in the outside of the turn on too much of the race and yield slower times. 

So it seems that crossing the finish line at different spots will set the cars up for the rest of that lap.  If you could find the perfect spot and have them set up on the left side of the track you would now be able to beat the record. 

I have noticed that the original setup that you get from the first turn of cars in the qualifying lap will stay the same throughout the 1st lap of the race, it might even be for the rest of the game.  I've noticed that the 2 orange cars that are in the first group will almost always stay where they are for the rest of the race.  Meaning that when you pass them and then in the next group of cars they will be in the same spots they were in when you passed them.  The white car seems to sometimes move around, not sure why though.

After the first lap the game adds random cars to the groupings, I'm not sure where or why they place them the way they do.  If that can be figured out and manipulated the game will become much easier. 

The next time I get to play though I will be crossing the finish line always on the right side and trying to narrow down the exact spot or range that you need to be in to get them to do what you want. 

The last thing is that in mame using the cheat of invincibility so that I don't have to worry about hitting cars and just staying on the road I have discovered that after you have been going at full speed for a certain amount of time you will sometimes get a super burst of speed.  This speed only seems to cause the cars and track to wiz by really fast like 2x faster.  It doesn't last very long, maybe 1/4 second or something like that.  That got me thinking that if it can happen in mame it might also happen in the real game.  If so that would be something to explore even more.

Figuring though that for the life and amount of games played someone would have said something about that long ago so it's probably just a mame thing. 

One other thing to try and manipulate on a real machine is the rumored, "put your foot under the gas and lift up on it to go even faster".  You should be able to do this by resetting your machine and before it resets and reads the position of the gas peddle, push it down 1/4 or 1/2 or 1/3 or whatever until it resets fully.  Then try playing a game and see if you can go faster by lifting up on the gas.  Usually though from past experience this yields slower acceleration.   But who knows if enough people try maybe someone will discover something new and interesting.


 
 
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Offline bestcellar

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #20 on: June 05, 2018, 08:27:43 am »
This is all really fascinating info, John, thanks for posting all of this. I think Pole Position is one of the best classic games of its era for precisely the reasons you're uncovering now. There's so much to the scoring and the margins are razor thin at the upper echelons. It's also maybe the best tournament game ever.

Last night it took me quite a while to warm up as I was coming off of a full day of work and a complex band rehearsal. It took me a full hour to even get warmed up and even then I was only able to manage a single crashless race at 64950. I did have a 63700 with a crash on the final turn (!) which would have probably been a 65100 without. I'm getting more consistent on my first lap but my last three laps still leave a whole lot to be desired.
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Offline poleposition

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2018, 12:44:29 pm »
Thanks for responding I was hopeful you would. :D

Again this is I assume on your cabinet?
Yes, the 67,010 score was on my cabinet.
I don't know what happened to the Video Paradise cabinet from the 80's, although the owner of the arcade claims that he can identify it by the location of a hole drilled in the back.

I said im skeptical because well frankly you and Les both get the BEST run of your lives in the same tournament on the SAME cabinet?
I know that I had a few other games with 213.xx times before the contest at Space Shuttle, I'm not sure about Les.
We were at the top of our game at that time. It does not surprise me that's when we both achieved our best score.
When we met again at CAX a few years ago, Les did say that he had not played since the contest, so he retired in July 1984.
The machines at CAX were in bad shape, so no serious play was done that day.

Did you get these 67,260 scores on a different Pole Position cabinet or just your cabinet?
My 213.xx times were all played on that one cabinet from the Video Paradise arcade.
My best on my personal machine is 67,010.

Do either of you have a video you made getting 67k+ scores in the last 30+ years?
No. I did record some games back then with a dedicated camera (this was before camcorders), but the tapes have been lost to time. If I had recorded a 213.xx time, I believe that I would have kept the tape.
All other games recorded since then that were short of a high score have not been kept.
 
My point was perhaps there was an issue with the cabinet and you could go a little faster than normal?
It was a factory machine, like any other. I do get lap times of 52'20 on my personal machine, so I have every reason to believe there is not something unique about the Video Paradise machine.

Early romset issue? Bad rom due to a power surge?
As far as I know, there are not multiple romsets, and that the Video Paradise machine did not suffer any malfunctions.

I'm certain you are very good at this game and I'm sorry I'm so skeptical but way to many of these 80's scores with this exact type of scenario (no videos and and no one else has come close to this score in 30+ years) have ended up being false but I do appreciate you coming in an discussing it here and posting the photos! I'm just a bit of a cynic about these things nothing personal for sure :D
Video recording was rare for the early 80's.
The high scores were done at an official Guinness site, witnessed by a TG referee, and are within a few percent of widely accepted previous scores by me and Les... but it seems nothing short of a video will be convincing evidence for you.

I need to figure out how to just TAS this thing and be done with it.
Hey! Don't call John a Tool ;)
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Offline johnmcallister

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #22 on: June 05, 2018, 04:00:27 pm »
I've gone back and forth a few times over those 2 scores.  My first thoughts were that they were impossible, anyone that was good at Pole couldn't even get close to those scores.  Did research and asked questions and then I was in the yes it can be done.  Then did more research and testing and playing and was back at it's impossible with today's machines.  It had to be some other rom or a prototype machine.  Now even after more research, questions, testing, answers and such I'm on the strong side of those scores are legit.  I'm finding out through the above stuff and more communication with Michael that they were very hardcore into Pole and they put the time and effort into getting better and better.  So if I've never said it before I'll say it now, The Pole records are as close to perfection as one can get to maxing out a game so early in it's history. 

The Pole II score though I still highly question with all the research that I have put into it and now Pole I. 

Anyways thanks Michael for filling in questions and stuff about the scores and some of the history of the scores.  Hopefully some of the info that I have provided has been new to you and will help in your quest to break the record.

I hope soon that we can get a video of you playing, or even better yet of you breaking the record.

« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 04:02:59 pm by johnmcallister »
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Offline TheSunshineFund

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #23 on: June 05, 2018, 05:31:54 pm »
they were very hardcore into Pole

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Offline bestcellar

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2018, 09:21:21 pm »
Great news gents.

Not only was I able to get a new pb/house record of 65,810 tonight, but somehow I unlocked the entirely left lane car sequence. Any guesses on exactly how? I wasn't trying to do it, and I don't know how I did it. Also, given that I GOT it, I ran an embarrassing display of a first lap with that sequence :P

Also, I didn't realize that the time doesn't exactly equal seconds until tonight. Pretty hilarious, since it's really obvious and not even close.

lap times as best as I can extrapolate (no split times on display :( )

57.62
53.54
53.66
54.47


« Last Edit: June 05, 2018, 09:54:36 pm by bestcellar »
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Offline Barra

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2018, 10:44:40 pm »
Wow sick run!! Is that left side only sequence possible on later laps?
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Offline bestcellar

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #26 on: June 06, 2018, 12:05:43 pm »
Wow sick run!! Is that left side only sequence possible on later laps?

Thanks! From what I understand from what John said above, I triggered the pattern of the first lap from the qualifying lap finish somehow
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Offline bestcellar

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2018, 12:09:02 pm »
In all three of these runs (my 65,810, Gorz' previous GGA house high of 65,600, and Richie's 66,510), there seems to be one less car passed in my manual count than the count displayed


I have 135 for both Gorz and I, and 137 for Richie. The game seems to tally one extra car for all of us. I've counted several times several different ways..

In the MAME run

The tally and manual count are both 138..
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Offline mrvaya

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #28 on: June 06, 2018, 12:20:17 pm »
Awesome stuff. Can't compare with you guys but had 61,570 tonight with a single crash (first complete run for me). Still learning :D I'm using a mouse for steering. What kind of controls do you guys use for mame?
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Offline johnmcallister

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Re: Pole Position and how to get better
« Reply #29 on: June 13, 2018, 12:25:47 pm »
Did some more thinking about this and some research. 
Getting the car setup is the key to getting the fast times.  I've seen enough game play that getting all the cars in the left lane is a must.  Now with your video, all cars on the left, Richies 75% of cars on the left, and some other videos with 75% or cars on the left, I know it can be done. 

The next question is can it be done on all laps or just the 1st lap.  I believe those cars for the most part stay in the left lane throughout the game and as cars are added into the mix it sometimes makes them shift to the right lane.  Just need to keep trying to figure out how to manipulate the car setup so that it can be done with more consistency. 

Your 65810 game was a good one and thanks for sharing.  Couple of notes, you need to get more into the inside of those turns.  You hit 1 puddle that could have been avoided but I saw that you had your sights on the finish line so I'll let you slide this time.  Hairpin turns were pretty good.  The 1st turn of the laps though you were sloppy and way to slow.  Clean up those and you will be in the low 66k range in no time.  Hope to get more video of your new high scores.
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