Super Tilt Bro. 2.0-alpha9: Redrawn menu, replays, and wishlist
What's new around the game?
Wishlist the cartridge now!
Ok, there is no Steam for retro game cartridges. We do it in the pure homebrew tradition: our wishlist system is crafted at home with love!
To wishlist your Super Tilt Bro. cartridge, go to https://super-tilt-bro.com/wishlist.html and fill your e-mail address. This is a notification system, you will receive one mail when the pre-orders are available. Nothing more, nothing less.
As soon as the mails are sent, the list will be deleted. We care about your privacy, and the well-being of your inbox. If you want to follow the game's development, you should also follow Super Tilt Bro.'s Twitter or join us on Discord.
You outrageously out-played your opponent but forgot to record your screen? That happens all the time!
We know this terrible feeling when you cannot show your best moves to the world. You deserve internet felicity for every win! So here comes the replay system.
After playing an online game, you can now head to https://super-tilt-bro.com/replay.html to watch the replay of the game. As simple as that!
It's then up to you to record your screen, and share the game. You can also use this page to watch games, it is kind of a Super Tilt Bro. TV channel.
What's new in the game?
Redrawn online menu
The online menu has been completely redrawn by Martin Le Borgne.
Other menus have also been updated. It is more subtle but you may notice that there are more sound effects than before, the navigation is slightly better, and clouds' parallax is more consistent.
Bad ping is gone
About the infamous "bad ping" message when trying to connect to a server.
This message happens when the game decides that the network conditions are too bad to even try to connect. It originally was when ping was above 200 ms.
With time, and netcode improvements, this limit became too low. The game can handle 200 ms ping and still be playable. The limit has been raised to 800 ms.
The fast-fall mechanics has been improved. Now, your character shines while fast-falling, and weird cases where you stayed in fast-fall mode for too long have been fixed.
Added sound effects for jump, fast-fall, and land moves.
Finally, the maximum time allowed on the respawn platform has been decreased, from five to four seconds.
Most animations of Kiki have been extended. The goal is to smooth the animation, and to add end-lag to her moves. Kiki always has been a character with a good range, and strong attacks. The idea is that she is strong at punishing her opponent's mistakes, but should not spam here attacks. Search the weakness in your foo's play, and exploit it. Adding end-lag to her animations ensures that Kiki's player has to think twice before attacking.
Animations change details:
- Jab is now 16 frames instead of 12. It can still be cancelled by another jab at any point.
- Side-tilt: Added 4 frames of end-lag. The animation is now 20 frames instead of 16.
- Up-tilt: Added 4 frames of start-lag, and 4 frames of end-lag. Removed 8 frames with active hitbox. The animation's duration is unchanged, 16 frames.
Talking about animations, Kiki now has a proper animation for drawing a platform above her head.
When landing during an attack, Kiki slides on the ground performing the attack. This is not new, but has changed a little. Tilt-slide, and jab-slide distances are slightly reduced.
Finally, Kiki's platforms now last 2 seconds instead of 2.40 seconds previously.
This patch happens to be quite a nerf for Kiki. It will need some serious play-test to see if balance is not broken in the unusual way.
Slide attacks go slightly farther.
What's new under the hood?
Real NTSC compatibility
There are some differences between the PAL and NTSC NES. The most impacting one is the frame rate. An NTSC NES displays 60 frames per second, while the PAL version outputs only 50 frames per second.
Super Tilt Bro. has been primarily developed on PAL hardware. That said, since the beginning the game is playable on NTSC systems. Until now the trick has been to double one out of six frames, to virtually reduce NTSC frame rate to 50 frames per second.
Frame doubling trick to get 50 FPS on NTSC
While it basically works, it is far from ideal. This trick not only loses the extra smoothness of 60 FPS, it adds extra bumpiness by oscillating between 60 and 30 FPS.
So, how do get rid of this doubled frame? There are three impacted domains: physics, animation, and audio.
In physics, all speeds have to be slower on NTSC. An object that moves 1 pixel per frame at 50 FPS needs to move at 0.83 pixels per frame at 60 FPS, to keep progressing at the same speed (50 pixels per second.) So speeds needs to be multiplied by 0.83 but here's the catch, the NES is very poor at two things: multiplications, and floating point arithmetic. Full description of the solution would not fit in this release note. Long story short: by decomposing the multiplication byte by byte, and reserving 1 KB of ROM for lookup tables, it is possible to multiply by any constant (even 0.83) blazing fast.
Characters animations also need to be slowed down. These animations actually do not run at 50 FPS, they are more like animated GIF: each encoded frame takes ROM space, so we limit it. For such animation, the frame doubling trick is completely unnoticeable, lightly extending one animation frame's duration from time to time. Just take care of always extending the same animation frames, so the animations are always played exactly the same. It is important to have consistent frame data in versus games.
And the audio engine. Yes, the audio is impacted by the frame rate: in the NES, the most reliable timing information we have is the periodic display of a new frame. We naturally use it to regulate music's beat. As most authors compose for the NTSC NES, Super Tilt Bro.'s audio engine has been converted to NTSC-native. On PAL, it occasionally plays two beats in one frame to simulate 60 FPS.
It is to be noted that while feeling the same, the game is slightly altered: 50/60 is not exactly 0.83, and frame data is not the same between PAL and NTSC. That sadly means that the netcode cannot accommodate a cross-play PAL/NTSC, desynchronizations would be terribly common. An option could be to fallback to the frame doubling trick only on cross-play, maybe better than nothing.
And voilà! You know the fun parts of being PAL/NTSC compatible (the right way.) It's been a long time without "under the hood" section in the release note. Please tell if it was a nice surprise, or "too technical, didn't read." Maybe this subject deserves a complete devlog entry?
Get Super Tilt Bro. for NES
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