Modder Builds Super Mario Bros.-Completing Robot Controller

Modder Builds Super Mario Bros.-Completing Robot Controller

Some days you don't want to save the Princess yourself, you just want to watch someone - or something - else do it.

A modder, calling himself "pjgat09," has built an NES controller that can play games by itself, using information harvested from the speed run community to tell it what to do. Using this data, the controller is capable of completing Super Mario Bros. in around five minutes.

The information is loaded onto a flash card and run through a microcontroller that can interpret it, and convert it into button presses that the NES console can understand. The code in this particular video comes from the fastest known tool-assisted speed run of Super Mario Bros., which uses emulation - not to mention a few glitches - to clock the best possible time. Pjgat says that emulators are usually too different from the actual consoles for this to work, but in the case of NES games, the two are close enough that the emulator code can be adapted.

Pjgat also provides detailed instructions on how to build your own robot controller, including how to wire it all up and how to get the speed run data - known in the TAS community as a "movie" - working with the microcontroller. It seems like a pretty painstaking process, but it could be a fun project as long as you don't mind sacrificing a NES pad to get it to work. Pjgat encourages people to experiment with different movies, although he warns that not all of them will work

Source: Kotaku

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The bot needs a little work on scoring points, whilst achieving the least possible time it takes to complete a level. Still, kudos to the creator. :D

z3rostr1fe:
The bot needs a little work on scoring points, whilst achieving the least possible time it takes to complete a level. Still, kudos to the creator. :D

It's literally just playing from a script, so the fault would be in the original speedrun.

I hate seeing autoplaying bots. I know it seems cool but it just waters down the majesty of video games. I guess it's just me being a long time gamer feeling insulted by these things. It fills me with the same rage those people who have modded emulators doing bullshit speedruns.

Extremely simple idea, Xerox'ing (or even pirating) the moves of others. But an immense achievement for digitising it so well.

well the point of playing a videogame just goes flying out the window with this one. heh

Tho i can totally empathize. I cant get enough of watching SC2 matches but i never really feel like playing it much. good to be able to crack open a beer, sit back, relax and watch a game played for you XD

Ouch. See, the fact that a recorded script can do this is a little depressing. It means, fundamentally that these games are deterministic in nature.

Cool on a technical level, but really pointless otherwise.

ultimasupersaiyan:
I hate seeing autoplaying bots. I know it seems cool but it just waters down the majesty of video games. I guess it's just me being a long time gamer feeling insulted by these things. It fills me with the same rage those people who have modded emulators doing bullshit speedruns.

Bullshit?
Do you think you just 'plug in' a bot and watch it play by itself?
The people who makes TAS runs put way more time, effort and dedication into their speedruns than 'normal' players doing speedruns.
These people go through the entire game frame by frame, inputting commands on a pixel by pixel basis.
Who are you to shit on these people, saying that it's bullshit?
That's pretty damn low.

If it makes you feel any better, no one will be able to do this for Minecraft.

I'd like to see it complete the game with out using warp zones. However it's still crazy good. Congrats to the creator

first Super Mario then the world

Anybody else noticing the problems with hit detection? I counted at least 11 times he should have been dead, but passed right through an enemy or thrown hammer...

I have to call shenannigans on this run.

Still, this is very cool, and odd... a computer beating a computer at computing... meta.

Sincere outlaw:
first Super Mario then the world

I see what you did there. here's a song for you:

(I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords)

Last week: our game shows
This week: our games
Next week: ...?

Undead Dragon King:
(I, for one, welcome our new computer overlords)

^Flush that skin-job out the air lock!

I didn't even know you could wall jump :(

I've always found it bizarre that modders spend so much time on their projects, and yet so few of them seem willing to shell out for a basic capture card.

It's a neat contraption to be sure, but a little underwhelming as it is simply a button playback.

Now if you make image recognition and AI combination playing it that would be quite something.

He wasn't going for a speedrun, I mean look at the time he did 4 wall kicks in a row, It's nearly impossible for a human to do 1, much less 4.

He just took the shortest route because it means less programming and did the wall kick thing to prove it was a robot.

2xDouble:
Anybody else noticing the problems with hit detection? I counted at least 11 times he should have been dead, but passed right through an enemy or thrown hammer...

I have to call shenannigans on this run.

watch any SMB speedrun ever...

2xDouble:
Anybody else noticing the problems with hit detection? I counted at least 11 times he should have been dead, but passed right through an enemy or thrown hammer...

I have to call shenannigans on this run.

It was pointed out in the article that this speed run relied on a few glitches to get it done. However, I am of the firm belief that if you have to rely on glitches to complete a game that can be beaten by a casual player then you really aren't playing the game at all. Yes, I'm aware it's a speed run, I don't consider that (speed runs) playing the game for the sake of playing it. I agree that with the call of shenanigans on this, I would have loved to watch it go into a an infinite loop of death until gameover.

edit: fixed double quoting

First machine beats man in Jeopardy, now this. Yeah, our race is doomed.

Shift23:

2xDouble:
Anybody else noticing the problems with hit detection? I counted at least 11 times he should have been dead, but passed right through an enemy or thrown hammer...

I have to call shenannigans on this run.

It was pointed out in the article that this speed run relied on a few glitches to get it done. However, I am of the firm belief that if you have to rely on glitches to complete a game that can be beaten by a casual player then you really aren't playing the game at all. Yes, I'm aware it's a speed run, I don't consider that (speed runs) playing the game for the sake of playing it. I agree that with the call of shenanigans on this, I would have loved to watch it go into a an infinite loop of death until gameover.

edit: fixed double quoting

As you say, it's a speed run. Its a metagame for exceedingly dedicated players. Whether is Super Mario Bros, Meagaman, or Perfect Dark (yes, there are speedruns for that), it's about using whatever is made available in the game (glitches included) to go as fast as possible. The only point is speed, not collecting every coin or going through every level. And I can promise you that what a speed runner is doing is far, far more difficult than playing through the game without using glitches, as it requires absolute perfect timing and reaction.

Well, computers playing computers... we all know what that means.
Pack it up humanity! We won't be needed much longer!

Ninjas. DAMN! i was going to call bollocks on that mario wall jumping to but i see it's now a glith so nvm. Now somebody do this to a modern game like LIMBO

HOLY SHIT! I never knew about those warp tunnel things @ _ @!!! Or that you can Jakie Chan kick up walls like he did at 3:54 O_o

2xDouble:
Anybody else noticing the problems with hit detection? I counted at least 11 times he should have been dead, but passed right through an enemy or thrown hammer...

I have to call shenannigans on this run.

Play Super Mario Bros again. The hit detection on hammers is particularly crap; you can often be killed without touching them, and pass right through them. It's an issue with the game itself, not the run.

P.S. Thanks

I think this thing is playing via sending the electronic signals representing the button presses, so I would say its not as good as getting a robot to physically press the buttons, as I'm not sure that run would be so easy (or even possible) for a robot to physically do -- and that's what we have to do to control Mario. Least until we all get head-wires anyway.

MurderousToaster:
I've always found it bizarre that modders spend so much time on their projects, and yet so few of them seem willing to shell out for a basic capture card.

i think the point was to see that it was an NES being used, and so you could see the controller, but i have seen some videos where i have said the same thing.

 

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