Author Topic: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning  (Read 3113 times)

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Offline 10yard

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dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« on: August 24, 2021, 09:22:39 am »
I've made a Donkey Kong coaching tool to assist people like me who are struggling to master the Springs stage.  There's more information about it on my project page at https://github.com/10yard/dkcoach#readme

I tried to visualise some of the excellent "Spring Theory" work done by Xelnia.  I have referred back to that thread about 100 times!

The coach determines the "spring type" between 0 and 15 based on length and displays this information near to where the springs are released,  helping you make quick decisions on when to make a run and when to sit tight or retreat back to safety.  The coach displays safe zones (in green) and variable danger zones (in red). 

As you become more confident with your gameplay,  you can reduce help features by pressing "P2 Start" button.  Toggling from "Max Help" to "Min Help" to "No Help".  The coaching should help you to identify springs and react to them quickly.

Here's a quick demo video.


Hopefully this tool will be useful to some.  I plan to add helpers to other stages too.

Jon
« Last Edit: August 24, 2021, 02:12:48 pm by 10yard »
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Offline Sock Master

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong mastery
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2021, 10:05:38 am »
That's pretty brilliant!   It's well thought out and I think it'll be a fantastic learning tool for a lot of players
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Offline muscleandfitness

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong mastery
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2021, 10:15:03 am »
?
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Offline 10yard

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong mastery
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2021, 01:34:48 pm »
That's pretty brilliant!   It's well thought out and I think it'll be a fantastic learning tool for a lot of players

Thank you Sock Master!  It's helping me improve my DK skill,  and I need it TBH  ROFL.  It was fun to learn a bit more about the internal workings of the game too. 
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Offline QAOP Spaceman

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2021, 02:23:21 pm »

Wow that looks great!

Bravo sir
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Offline hooch66

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2021, 11:01:01 am »
This is so cool. A great idea and execution.
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Offline 10yard

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2021, 01:28:48 pm »
Wow that looks great!
Bravo sir
This is so cool. A great idea and execution.

Thank you!

I extended dkcoach to include help with the barrels stage. 

I visualised the zones where Jumpman is safe from wild barrels.  I also added recommended positions near to ladders where you can sit, steer barrels and wait for an opening to appear before making a run for a ladder.  Together these zones act as waypoints for Jumpman.


Picture shows Jumpman inside the safe zone.  The red crosshair lets you know a wild barrel has been released.  Barrel will not hit.


It's a tight spot here but Jumpman is safe with both feet inside the box.

A summary of what is included in the barrels helper so-far.
  • 4 fixed safe zones (from wild barrels) appear in green on the board.

  • 4 "preferred" stopping points appear in amber on the board.  These zones are uphill positions adjacent to a ladder where you can steer barrels away and wait for an opening.

  • Ladders are highlighted blue when steering is recommended.

  • The barrel steering control probability is displayed top-left as a percentage.  This varies from 25% to 75% dependant on the internal difficulty setting.

  • An alert appears top-left when DK releases a wild barrel.  Jumpman is targeted with a red crosshair to draw your immediate attention to a wild barrel.

  • A visible hammer countdown timer appears on the vertical edges of the screen.  The timer toggles green, amber and finally red as the hammer time runs down.

  • Jumpman is repositioned on the 2nd girder as a starting point as this position is easily reached.  This gives you focus on the higher more difficult girders.

  • As you become more confident on the barrels stage, you can reduce helpers by pressing the "P2 Start" button.


The zones may not be 100% but seem good to me based on my limited testing.  My logic is based on the excellent barrel training video by Chambers_N_Gaming at

I will be playing, testing and learning more over the coming weeks.


Waiting for a clean 5th girder.  Barrels should be steered down the highlighted ladders.


Visible hammer timer appears in the vertical edges.


Almost out of hammer time!


Starting on the 2nd girder.  Watch out!  You're being targetted by a wild barrel.

The latest dkcoach release is available on my github page.
https://github.com/10yard/dkcoach
« Last Edit: September 01, 2021, 01:33:21 pm by 10yard »
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Offline Leal

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2022, 03:07:14 am »
Hey 10Yard, I've finally decided to take the plunge and learn DK and this plugin is a MASSIVE help. I've set the speed value to 0.50 in the mame.ini and I can really take the time to get the Long and Short spring landing positions "into my blood".
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Offline Leal

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2022, 05:30:34 am »
@everyone who knows more than I do, is this new tech??? More importantly, is this even useful tech???. I discovered if you run hard into the invis wall against Kong's double ladder you can wall jump to the "perfect" position for the 2nd safe zone. I did a quick test with all 16 spring lenghts and it seems completly free.

« Last Edit: June 04, 2022, 08:43:09 am by Leal »
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Offline Simpsons99

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2022, 04:33:14 pm »
The Green by the top hammer is not a safe spot when a wild is thrown that way.
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Offline Flobeamer1922

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2022, 04:35:30 pm »
Just don't move.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2022, 04:42:23 pm by Flobeamer1922 »
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Offline Kibbey93

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« Reply #11 on: June 09, 2022, 04:49:54 pm »
The Green by the top hammer is not a safe spot when a wild is thrown that way.

Green is definitely safe by wild hammer if you aren't moving.
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Offline Simpsons99

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2022, 08:15:09 pm »
I have been there many times and he can throw the Wild right on you.
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Offline Barra

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2022, 10:18:02 pm »
I have been there many times and he can throw the Wild right on you.

Early levels you might get hit by a rogue wild but its a safe spot on L5+
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Offline Simpsons99

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Re: dkcoach - A MAME plugin to assist with Donkey Kong learning
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2022, 05:49:13 pm »
TY
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