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Offline yoshifan

Version differences
« on: August 18, 2008, 08:53:13 PM »
So far, I feel that we at TMC haven't been very confident about our decisions regarding different versions of the classic Mario games.  These decisions include what versions could be ranked together, what versions should be ranked separately, and what versions shouldn't be ranked at all.  Basically, we lacked enough knowledge of the games and their different versions to come up with sound judgments about these issues.

So what I'd like to have here is a big compilation of version differences, for each of the multi-versioned Mario games that we rank here.  Of course, I mean the differences that we need to know about - the ones that may affect competition in our charts.  This list is intended to help us make decisions about how to rank the various versions of each game.  Hopefully, it should also serve as a helpful resource for competitors.

 
Some notes on terminology used - this list may be updated whenever the need arises:

J,U,E - at the beginning of each game's post, all the official versions of the game are listed.  J stands for Japan, U stands for United States, and E stands for Europe.  JU indicates the single version released in both Japan and the US, and so on.

NTSC - the video standard used for televisions in Japan and North America, among other areas.  NTSC video games run at 60 frames per second, meaning that the game screen can be updated up to 60 times per second.  When I refer to the NTSC versions of a game, I'm referring to the Japanese and American versions of a particular game.

PAL - the video standard used for televisions in Europe, among other areas.  PAL video games run at 50 frames per second.  When I refer to the PAL versions of a game, I'm referring to the European versions of a particular game.

Ticks - one tick is what one might call a "game second" as defined by the game's timer, though I call them ticks because they're never really a second long.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 09:57:20 PM by yoshifan »

Offline yoshifan

Re: Version differences
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2008, 09:05:05 PM »
SUPER MARIO BROS. - version differences


--- Versions

Systems: Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy Color

NES - Super Mario Bros. (JU/E)
SNES - Super Mario All-Stars (U/E) or Super Mario Collection (J)
GBC - Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (UE/J)



--- NTSC NES,SNES / PAL NES,SNES

PAL has a 0.25-tick advantage over NTSC in accelerating on the ground from a stop to full speed.  0.25 of a tick is 5 frames in PAL terms, and 6 frames in NTSC terms.  It is not known what the advantage is when acceleration is not done entirely on the ground, such as in World 1-2 or 1-4.

Jumping Cheep-Cheeps tend to pose more of a threat in PAL than in NTSC.  In NTSC, Mario will never get hit by the Cheep-Cheeps if he keeps running right and stays in the lower half of the screen.  For some reason, in PAL the Cheep-Cheeps are able to jump farther to the right, so that Mario needs to jump to avoid some of the Cheep-Cheeps at full speed.



--- NES / SNES

Sometimes the NES timer lags behind by 1 to 3 frames, in which case NES may gain an advantage over SNES, with respect to the timer.  In both NES-NTSC and SNES-NTSC versions, the timer runs at an average of 1 tick per 24 frames.  In both NES-PAL and SNES-PAL versions, the timer runs at an average of 1 tick per 20 frames.  However, the SNES timer consistently runs at the average rate, while the NES timer sometimes falls behind by 1 to 3 frames and then catches up in the next one or two ticks.  This may make a difference if the NES timer happens to fall behind right at the end of a level.

SNES has a mysterious 1-frame advantage over NES at the beginning of some levels.  This means SNES-NTSC has a 1-frame advantage over NES-NTSC, and SNES-PAL has a 1-frame advantage over NES-PAL.  The advantage appears in short-distance and full-level running tests conducted in World 2-3, but not in a short-distance test in World 1-2.  This advantage is with respect to the timer's starting point.

SNES gives Mario a slightly higher boost from bouncing off of an enemy compared to NES.  The vertical boost is about 1 block high in NES, but closer to 1.5 blocks in SNES.

Piranha plants' hitboxes are larger in SNES than in NES.  In particular, if Mario jumps and falls straight down onto a piranha plant, you'll notice that Mario's shoes end up lower in the piranha plant sprite in NES than in SNES.  This means that Mario can safely pass through more parts of the piranha plant in NES than he could in SNES.  This hitbox difference makes some levels harder for the SNES to match the NES, and makes 8-4 strictly slower for SNES.

NES may have a higher tendency to have enemies disappear by scrolling.



--- NES,SNES / GBC

The screen's horizontal and vertical span, in blocks, is much smaller in GBC than in NES/SNES.  NES and SNES display 16 blocks in width and enough blocks of height to eliminate vertical scrolling.  GBC displays 10 blocks in width and 8.5 blocks in height.  As such, there is vertical scrolling everywhere in the levels in GBC, while there was none in NES/SNES.

When Mario walks off a platform, his initial falling speed is faster in GBC than it is in NES/SNES.  This gives GBC an advantage at the start of 1-2.

Paratroopas and bullet bills move slower horizontally in GBC compared to NES/SNES.  This change was probably made to give the player fair reaction time in the small screen.

GBC starts moving 1 frame slower than NES relative to the timer.

GBC has the higher ground acceleration of NES/SNES PAL.

Many level endings are missing two blocks in width in GBC.  (It takes about 1/2 of a timer tick to run 2 blocks.)  In levels with a staircase at the end, the GBC version has a shorter staircase than in NES/SNES - one less step, and thus one block shorter in both height and width.  To keep the jump to the flagpole the same, the distance between the staircase and the flagpole is also one block shorter in the GBC version.  This applies in levels such as 1-1, 1-2, 2-2, and 2-3.

GBC's starting points tend to be shifted slightly from NES.  For example, GBC has a 0.5-block advantage in 1-1.  It has a 1.5-block advantage in 2-2.  It has a 0.5-block disadvantage in 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 2-1, and 2-3.

Enemies, firebars, moving platforms, and other moving elements are often in different positions initially in GBC compared to NES/SNES.  This and the above fact that some enemies are slower lead to some very different situations when running at full speed:

- 1-1: the first goomba seems to start out closer to you in GBC (as you end up passing it earlier).

- 1-2: the green koopa troopa after the 1-block-high ceiling is a slight distance away from the low ceiling in NES/SNES, but in GBC it's close enough that you need a perfect jump just after the low ceiling to not crash into it.

- 1-2: shortly after the above point, in NES/SNES, the second falling goomba hits you if you're just running on the ground at full speed.  In GBC, it's the first falling goomba that gets you.  (This all assumes that you don't kick a koopa shell into the area to throw off the enemy timing.)

- 1-3: after the first question block, the red paratroopa is slightly trickier to get past in GBC.  In GBC, you need to jump from the left edge of the previous platform to just make it over the paratroopa (and you end up stomping it while jumping up).  In NES/SNES, you can jump over the paratroopa fairly easily.

- 1-3: when any of the side-to-side moving platforms appear onscreen, they're initially moving left in NES/SNES, and they're initially moving right in GBC.  Since riding platforms right saves a little bit of time, this gives GBC an advantage - you can get a time of 261 in GBC, but just 260 in NES/SNES.

- 1-4: in NES/SNES, the second and fourth firebars end up closely chasing you; in GBC, they're rotating away from you as you run through the corridor.

- 1-4: in NES/SNES, after jumping over the fifth firebar, there's a danger of running into the sixth.  In GBC there's no such danger, but jumping between the sixth and seventh firebars is a bit of a tight squeeze.

Miscellaneous level differences:

- 1-2: Mario's initial fall in GBC is 2 blocks less than NES.  Adding in the faster initial falling speed and subtracting for the 0.5-block horizontal position disadvantage, GBC has about an 11-frame advantage (about 1/2 of a timer tick) at the start.

- 2-3: the second platform is 2 blocks shorter in GBC than in NES/SNES.  Adding in the 2-block end staircase advantage and subtracting for the 0.5-block start position disadvantage, 2-3 is 3.5 blocks shorter in GBC.  GBC can finish 2-3 with 242 ticks left, while NES/SNES can only manage 240 (NTSC) or 241 (PAL).
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 04:20:23 PM by yoshifan »

Offline yoshifan

Re: Version differences
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2008, 09:22:28 PM »
SUPER MARIO BROS. 2 (J) - version differences


--- Versions

Systems: Famicom Disk System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy Color

FDS - Super Mario Bros. 2 (J)
SNES - Super Mario All-Stars (U/E), as "The Lost Levels"; or Super Mario Collection (J), as "Super Mario Bros. 2"
GBC - Super Mario Bros. Deluxe (UE/J), as "Super Mario Bros. for Super Players"



--- NTSC FDS,SNES / PAL SNES

PAL has a 0.25-tick advantage over NTSC in accelerating on the ground from a stop to full speed.  Also in SMB1.

Jumping Cheep-Cheeps tend to pose more of a threat in PAL than in NTSC.  Also in SMB1.



--- FDS / SNES

Sometimes the FDS timer lags behind by 1 to 3 frames, in which case FDS may gain an advantage over SNES, with respect to the timer.  Also in SMB1.

SNES has a mysterious 1-frame advantage over FDS at the beginning of some levels.  Also in SMB1.

Piranha plants' hitboxes are larger in SNES than in FDS.  Also in SMB1.

FDS may have a higher tendency to have enemies disappear by scrolling.  Also in SMB1.

World 3-2 is missing two coral structures in SNES.  It's at one part with a row of 9 coins and a koopa troopa. In SNES, there's only 1 coral plant in that area.  In FDS (and GBC), there are 3 coral plants, making it slightly harder to get through that part at full speed.



--- FDS,SNES / GBC

The screen's horizontal and vertical span, in blocks, is much smaller in GBC than in FDS/SNES.  Also in SMB1.

FDS/SNES gives Mario a slightly higher boost from bouncing off of an enemy compared to GBC.  The vertical boost is about 2 blocks high in FDS/SNES, but about 1 block high in GBC.

When Mario walks off a platform, his initial falling speed is faster in GBC than it is in FDS/SNES.  Also in SMB1.

Paratroopas and bullet bills move slower horizontally in GBC compared to FDS/SNES.  Also in SMB1.

FDS/SNES levels that require higher enemy bounces were modified slightly for GBC, to make them possible with GBC's lower enemy bounce.  Two examples of such levels are 4-3 and 5-3.

The GBC version doesn't have any wind.  Levels that have wind in FDS/SNES include 5-1, 6-1, and 7-3.

Many level endings are missing two blocks in width in GBC.  Also in SMB1.

Enemies, firebars, moving platforms, and other moving elements are often in different positions initially in GBC compared to FDS/SNES.  This and the above fact that some enemies are slower lead to some very different situations when running at full speed:

- 1-1: the second paratroopa lands only on the top step of the four-step staircase in FDS/SNES.  In GBC, it lands on the third step from the top.

- 1-2: the first paratroopa is nearer to the first gap when you get to him in GBC, compared to FDS/SNES.

- 1-3: the first side-to-side moving platform is moving left in FDS/SNES, but right in GBC.

- 1-4: the fourth firebar points left as you pass it in FDS/SNES.  In GBC, it points right.

- 1-4: the seventh firebar is an obstacle in GBC when you jump over the koopa troopa.  In FDS/SNES, it doesn't get in the way.

- 1-4: the eighth firebar points left as you pass it in FDS/SNES.  In GBC, it points right.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 04:08:11 PM by yoshifan »

Offline yoshifan

Re: Version differences
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2008, 09:39:44 PM »
SUPER MARIO BROS. 3 - version differences


--- Versions

Systems: Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy Advance

NES - Super Mario Bros. 3 (J/U/E)
SNES - Super Mario All-Stars (U/E) or Super Mario Collection (J)
GBA - Super Mario Advance 4 (J/U/E)



--- JP NES / US,EU NES

In JP, when Fiery Mario is hit, he becomes Small; in US/EU, he becomes Super.  To be more thorough: in JP, when Mario takes a hit as Fiery, Raccoon, Frog, Tanooki, or Hammer Mario, he goes all the way down to Small Mario.  In US/EU, he only goes down one level to Super Mario.

In 1-Fortress's spiked-ceiling room, the door to BOOM-BOOM is one block closer to the left in JP, compared to US/EU.  JP also has two more blocks of low spiked ceiling at the right side of that room.  Screenshots: http://themushroomkingdom.net/smb3_j-e.shtml#w1-fortress

In 5-1, JP has a pipe leading to the end of the level.  In US/EU, there's no pipe, and the end of the level is just beyond where the pipe used to be.  There is probably more ground to cover in the Japanese version.  Screenshots: http://themushroomkingdom.net/smb3_j-e.shtml#w5-1



--- NTSC NES,SNES / PAL NES,SNES

PAL Mario jumps up and falls down faster than NTSC Mario.  As a result, PAL Mario can make small jumps more rapidly, but NTSC Mario can make longer jumps.  In jumping up, falling down, and total time of the jump, the vertical speed ratio is fairly close to 6:5, which is the NTSC/PAL speed ratio of displaying frames.



--- NES / SNES

The timer speed slows down when the screen scrolls horizontally.  The faster the horizontal scrolling is, the more the timer slows down.  The timer slowdown from scrolling is less in SNES than in NES.  When Mario is walking the SNES to NES timer speed ratio is only about 8:7, but at full P-meter speed the ratio is slightly greater than 2:1.

In 1-Fortress, the SNES version of the spiked-ceiling room is different from either of the two NES versions of the room.  The SNES room has two extra blocks of horizontal space (and spiked ceiling) added on the left and right sides of the room, compared to the NES-US/EU room.  But the door to BOOM-BOOM is at the rightmost part of the room, under a slightly higher spiked ceiling, like in the NES-US/EU room.

In World 4-4, the water surface's height is different in NES and SNES.  The NES water level starts out high, and later becomes lower.  The SNES water level stays constant at a level between the NES water level's high and low points.  Screenshots: http://themushroomkingdom.net/smb3_nes2smas.shtml#w4-4

In World 7-5, a formation of ice blocks between two pipes has been moved one block to the right in the SNES version.  Screenshots: http://themushroomkingdom.net/smb3_nes2smas.shtml#w7-5



--- SNES / GBA

The GBA has a smaller screen resolution than the SNES, so in a level GBA displays 1 block less in width and 2 blocks less in height.  This led to many small level design changes in GBA.  (Actually, the GBA screen itself loses 4 blocks' worth of height to the SNES screen, but GBA no longer has the 2-block-high status bar at the bottom.)  Screenshots: http://themushroomkingdom.net/smb3_snes2sma_w1.shtml

In GBA, Mario gains the ability to swim while holding a shell.  Like in Super Mario World, this lets him swim faster horizontally.

In GBA, all Lakitus have been lowered by 1 block to better fit on the screen.  Screenshots: http://themushroomkingdom.net/smb3_snes2sma_p2.shtml#enemies

In converting SMB3 to the smaller screen of the GBA, many small level design changes were made.  The Mushroom Kingdom has a very thorough list of differences, complete with lots of screenshots, which can be found starting from http://themushroomkingdom.net/smb3_snes2sma_w1.shtml - the link to the World 1 differences.  Near the top of the page there are links to the level differences for Worlds 2 through 8.  Also, the list specifically compares the US-SNES and US-GBA versions, but most of the comparisons are valid between any of the NES or SNES versions on one side, and any of the GBA versions on the other side.

Offline yoshifan

Re: Version differences
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2008, 09:52:48 PM »
SUPER MARIO WORLD - version differences


--- Versions

Systems: Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Game Boy Advance

SNES - Super Mario World (J/U/E)
GBA - Super Mario Advance 2 (J/U/E)



--- JP SNES / US SNES

The last Special World level, Funky, has 3 green berries in the Japanese version, but 9 green berries in the US version.  When Yoshi eats a green berry, 20 ticks are added to the timer, so more green berries can drastically change the potential best time in that level.



--- NTSC SNES / PAL SNES

PAL has a speed advantage over NTSC, relative to the timer, in potentially all levels.
PAL runs at 50 frames per second and NTSC runs at 60 frames per second, but the game designers wanted to make both versions run at about the same speed in real time.  So in the PAL version, Mario and the timer would have to cover the same amount of ground in fewer frames.
In NTSC the timer moves at 1 tick per 41 frames, and in PAL it moves at 1 tick per 35 frames, for a conversion ratio of about 1.17.  But a simple speedrun of Yoshi's Island 2 (holding right and the run button the whole way) takes 1642 frames in NTSC and 1322 frames in PAL, measuring from the timer's start to the goal tape breaking.  This suggests a conversion ratio of roughly 1.24 for horizontal movement.
These non-matching conversion ratios mean that Mario was sped up more than the timer in the NTSC to PAL conversion, giving PAL faster times.  In a simple speedrun of Yoshi's Island 2, that advantage is slightly more than 2 ticks.  PAL finishes at 363, several frames earlier than 362; NTSC finishes at 360, just two frames later than 361.

Mario is able to make slightly longer jumps in PAL than in NTSC.  This is probably due to non-matching conversion ratios of vertical and horizontal movement.  A full standing jump takes 53 frames in NTSC and 46 frames in PAL, suggesting a conversion ratio of about 1.15 for vertical movement.  And as seen above, the ratio for horizontal movement is in the neighborhood of 1.24.



--- SNES / GBA

The screen's horizontal and vertical span, in blocks, is smaller in GBA than in SNES.  SNES displays 16 blocks in width and 14 blocks in height.  GBA displays 15 blocks (1 less) in width and 10 blocks (4 less) in height.  GBA sometimes reduces the height disadvantage to 3.5 blocks by displaying a half-block less of the ground.  Still, the display height difference led to many small level design changes in GBA.

In SNES, when Fiery Mario is hit, he becomes Small; in GBA, he becomes Super.  To be more thorough: in SNES, when Mario gets hit when Fiery or Caped, he goes all the way to Small Mario, and the item in the reserve box is dropped.  In GBA, he only reverts to Super Mario, and the reserve item is not dropped.

In SNES, Yoshi blocks always contain Green Yoshis.  In GBA, after a certain point in the game, you can get any Yoshi color from a Yoshi block.  Small Mario gets a random color, Super Mario gets Yellow, Fiery Mario gets Red, and Caped Mario gets Blue.  The different-colored Yoshis offer convenient access to abilities (spitting fire, making earthquakes, flying) that can affect time attack runs.

Yoshi can harmlessly stomp on Cheep-Cheeps in the GBA version, but can't stomp them in the SNES version.

Mario can climb vines more quickly when you're holding the run button in the GBA version, but not in the SNES version.

In converting SMW to the smaller screen of the GBA, many small level design changes were made.  Here's a not-too-thorough list of differences found in the first 3 worlds of the game.  Some differences shouldn't affect competition at all, some differences probably will - this list tries to be somewhat comparable to The Mushroom Kingdom's list of SNES/GBA changes for SMB3.

Yoshi's Island 1
- The clouds and 1-up block both were lowered by 1 block to fit on the screen.

Yoshi's Island 3
- While the SNES version has 4 platforms going up at the beginning, GBA has 6 platforms that are placed closer together, making the climb easier.

Yoshi's Island 4
- The high P-Switch has been lowered by 1 block, and the brown blocks just to the right of it have been lowered by 2 blocks.

Donut Plains 1
- The GBA version has one more yellow coin block before the first pipe, for a total of 3 instead of 2.
- The GBA version adds more coins in the Cape-Mario coin area, to make a total of 600.  GBA also adds a coin counter indicating how many coins are left in the area.
- At the keyhole area, the GBA version adds two 4-block-high pipes, one to the left of the key and one to the right of the keyhole.  So if you're approaching the key area via the vertical line of green blocks, you have to jump over the left pipe to reach the key and keyhole.

Donut Plains 2
- At the part with all the pipes on the ceiling: in GBA the pipes and ceiling have been lowered, and the moving yellow floors have a much shorter movement range: the high points have been moved down, and the low points have been moved up.  Nevertheless, the blocks go through one movement cycle in the same amount of time in both the SNES and GBA versions.
- In GBA the ceiling's lower at the end of the auto-scrolling part.

Donut Secret 1
- There's a newly added midway gate under the narrow tunnel with the two purple blocks. (The midway gate's Super-Mushroom effect may or may not be helpful for speedruns.)

Donut Secret House
- In SNES a Boo circle's orientation when you first see it is random.  In GBA it's not random; it's the same every time.
- In the room with the blue P-switch-activated doors, some out-of-the-way structures are added to accommodate 2 new dragon coins.

Donut Secret 2
- The GBA version adds a message block at the beginning to explain how the controllable-coin block works.
- In the SNES version, all surfaces in the level are slippery, including pipes and blocks.  In the GBA version, only ice surfaces are slippery.
- The GBA version adds a power-up block next to the upside-down green pipe, as well as a multi-coin block above the second small high platform just after that.

#2 Morton's Castle
- The GBA version has a newly added midway gate at the beginning of the moving-block area.  (It's still impossible to get a Fire Flower within the level, though, or a Cape except right before the boss door.)
- Surprisingly, the GBA version suffers no practical width differences in the moving block room.  The SNES version had a decent amount of "padding" on either side of the room, so the GBA version just cut off some of the padding.

Vanilla Dome 1
- GBA has one less stair at the beginning, and the "runway" at the start is one block longer, making it easier to get a running jump at the start.
- In the lava area, the starting platform and the ceiling have been lowered by 3 blocks in the GBA version.  Also, the sinking yellow platform has been lowered by 4 blocks, but still takes about the same time to fully sink.
- A few minor GBA changes in the tunnels after the midway gate.  There are a couple of small changes in the entrance to the narrow upper route, and the upper route has been lowered a bit relative to the passage before it.  The upper route's ceiling was lowered by 1 block where the dragon coin is.  The whole lower route now dips by 1 block in the Spike Top area, and then comes back up afterward.  (In that lower route, the gaps between the ground, ceiling, and blocks with the Spike Tops are still the same.)
- A bit later on, the steep upward slope is 2 blocks shorter in the GBA version.
- After that, there are 3 parallel horizontal tunnels.  The dividers between the bottom and middle ones are 1 block tall in the GBA version, instead of 2 blocks tall.

Vanilla Dome 2
- In the GBA version, the ceiling at the end is 2 blocks lower.

Vanilla Ghost House
- Once again, Boo circles' initial orientations are random in SNES, but not in GBA.
- The GBA version has a newly added midway gate, just past the second Big Boo.

Vanilla Secret 1
- The sloping ground just before the secret exit is shaped slightly differently in the GBA version, but the length of the walk to the goal is the same.

Vanilla Fortress
- The Reznors' platforms are closer together in GBA.  In SNES, when one platform is directly over the other, they're 4 blocks apart; in GBA, they're 3 blocks apart.

#3 Lemmy's Castle
- The row of yellow blocks that you start on is 1 block lower in GBA.
- There are several changes in the moving block room.  First, the moving block with an upper alcove is slightly differently shaped in GBA: the alcove is shaped differently, and there's a 1-block-wide lava gap near the end of the block (there's a newly placed dragon coin above it).
- Following that, there's a down-step in the stationary blocks in GBA, so the next part can fit on the screen.
- The following moving block is completely different in SNES and GBA.  The GBA version of the block is impassable for a longer time period, so SNES is more likely to have an advantage.
- After that there's an up-step in the stationary blocks in GBA, complementing the previous down-step.
- The following moving block is slightly different on the left side in GBA, for no apparent reason.
- Under that same moving block, there's a plain-sight power-up which is a Mushroom in SNES, but a Feather in GBA.
- The topmost step leading down to the boss door is one block shorter in GBA, though it turns out that its height relative to the last moving block is the same in both versions.  Also, the last few moving blocks have the same movement range and movement period (in fact, all the blocks have the same movement period of about 16 ticks).

Front Door
- In the SNES version, the timer starts at 400 ticks, and doesn't show up during the boss fight.  In the GBA version, the timer starts at 800 ticks, and continues to count during the boss fight.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 04:12:55 PM by yoshifan »

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