Hello Future Online TSB Player,
If you're looking for how people play Tecmo Super Bowl online, then this is the guide you need to follow in order to get yourself setup and ready to join in on the fun.
This guide is designed for those who are brand new to the site and playing TSB online, and those who may not be too computer savvy. Hopefully, this guide will be extensive enough to leave you without problems, but if you should run into any issues or questions, feel free to ask!
For the purposes of this guide, all screenshots are based off of Windows 7. Windows 8 and Windows XP shouldn't be much different. If you're trying to play off a Unix based machine (Mac included), then you're going to need more help than this guide can give. I suggest looking into Wine.
Download everything you need...
First, you'll need to download the emulator. The emulator currently used by the online Tecmo community for Netplay is Nestopia, with anti-cheat modifications made by Bruddog. This Nestopia emulator can be downloaded here.
Second, you'll need to download a ROM (game file) of the original Tecmo Super Bowl itself. This game ROM can be downloaded here.
And that's it! Those two things will be enough to get you rolling in the online Tecmo world.
Setting up Nestopia...
The first file you downloaded above, brudtopia.zip, is an archive folder that contains all the necessary files needed to run the emulator. If you know how to handle .zip files, you'll be all set. If not, here are some helpful screenshots below.
When you open the file by double-clicking on it, Windows, by default, will open up a window that looks like any another folder. If you have some other software installed that handles .zip files, you'll see something else. Either way, what you're looking for is to "Extract" the contained files. In Windows 7, this can be achieved by clicking the button that says "Extract All Files."
Clicking "Extract All Files" will prompt you for a place to put these files. I recommend making a new folder. Once complete, you should have all of the above files in whatever folder you specified. For the sake of this guide, let's say you named that folder "NES."
Within the newly-created NES folder, at this point, I recommend making a folder called "roms." Then, within that newly-created roms folder, place your tpc_original.nes file (which was the second thing you downloaded) into that folder. It should all look something like this:
Simple enough, right?
At this point, if you have a controller that you plan on using, please make sure you plug it in. Do you not have a controller and are looking for one? If you've got a NES controller stashed away and want to be able to use that for an authentic Tecmo feel, try the Retrolink NES to USB adapter. There are many other options available. Ask your fellow players what they have and what they like to use if you're interested in getting something different.
Now, it's time to fire up Nestopia! Open nestopia_anticheat_V2.exe.
[ Note: If Nestopia opens--great! If you get an error at this point about a missing file--fear not! Download and install this straight from Microsoft and it'll take care of your issue. ]
Once Nestopia is open, the first thing you'll want to do is configure your key inputs. This is accomplished by going to Options -> Input. Doing so will bring up the following window:
This window is pretty self-explanatory. The "Key" in the middle box is what corresponds to the actual NES controller input. The "Mapping" is what you press to achieve that functionality. In order to change these settings, you can either double-click on one of the mappings to change them individually, or you can click the "Set All" button at the bottom to do them all in order.
[ Note: "auto-fire A" and "auto-fire B" will do nothing due to the modifications made by Bruddog. I always just set these to some arbitrary letter on the keyboard and forget about them. I'm honestly not even sure what the "Mic" setting is used for. You can set that to some arbitrary letter as well. ]
Another example screenshot--here's what mine looks like after it's been configured (I use a controller):
Once you're done with the configuration, press "OK" at the bottom.
The next step involves a couple of settings that need to be changed in order to prevent problems with desynchronization when playing online, as well as some other issues.
Head on over to Options -> Paths.
In this window, the first thing you'll need to do is check the box in the "Save Data" section that says "Treat as Read Only." This will prevent desynchronization as the game state does not begin synced if you have a different save file than your opponent.
The next setting needing alteration is in the "Save States" section. There is a checked box that says "Use Internal Compression." Uncheck that. Doing so allows information to be read from your save states which is then used by different websites for statistical purposes later.
Here's what this screen should look like:
Next, you'll need to add the game ROM to our list of available games for Netplay. That can be done by going to Netplay -> Connect. Doing so will open a window with a blank box and a couple of buttons. The button that we're interested in for now is the "Add.." button to the right.
Browse to where you have your tpc_original.nes file, which, if you have been following this guide, should be in the "roms" folder that you created earlier. Add tpc_original.nes to the list, which should look something like this:
Since we're not actually starting a game just yet, go ahead and click "Cancel" after you've added the ROM.
At this point, you are done with the initial setup. To ensure that these changes are saved, go to File -> Exit. Yes, you are sure. At this point, in Windows 7 at least, you will get a message saying that Nestopia has stopped working, and the whole default Windows error report stuff. You can close that out without worry. This happens because Nestopia is expecting a different Netplay client than the one that we use with Nestopia, so it throws a fit when trying to close. An annoyance, but nothing to worry about.
Setting up Netplay and TPC...
Now we're ready to rock and roll and play someone online! But how do you find people to play?
The best place to start your online Tecmo career is the Tecmo Players Circuit (TPC). This is the place to find opponents for games. The site is located here.
First, you'll need to register an account on the TPC website. Simply click "Register" located on the left side of the website, and then enter a Username and E-mail Address. A password will be e-mailed to that address, so please be sure to use a real one!
While you are waiting for your TPC password to be e-mailed to you, take this opportunity to create an AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) account, if you don't already have one. That can be done here. AIM is the primary means of communication for online Tecmo players. Once you are registered for an AOL Instant Messenger account, there are a number of ways you can access AIM. There is a web-based AIM client here, which does not involve any kind of download or installation. If you're interested in installing something on your computer, I actually recommend against AOL Instant Messenger itself, as it is full of ads and just typically other annoying things. Instead, I recommend using something like Pidgin or Trillian. Refer to those websites for assistance with setting up those client programs.
Alright, back to TPC! After you get the e-mailed password to your TPC account, head back to the main TPC page and log-in. On the left, you will see something that says "MyTPC." That's where you want to go. In that page, you'll see the default black Tecmo silhouette player portrait, and a summary of your profile. Go ahead and click "Edit Profile." Feel free to edit your profile as you like. I highly recommend putting your AIM account in the field for it, since this is the primary way people will contact you for games. Also, it's probably a good idea to change your password to something you'll remember.
Once you're done with that, your registration and profile setup for TPC is complete. Be sure to read the rules for TPC before you begin a game. These rules are pretty standard for all online play. Once you're done with that, you can head back to the main page to begin looking for an opponent. This can be done by expanding the "Challenge Table," and finding someone who is showing as being available online in AIM. Use this table to get their AIM name, and send them a message via AIM. Something as simple as "TPC game?" will work just fine. When you do find someone willing to play, you'll have to negotiate who will serve as the game host. For the sake of this guide, I will assume that your opponent has the capability of hosting.
(Please note that this guide will not cover hosting! That is an extensive topic in itself will be covered in a guide I plan on writing in the near future. A link to that guide will be put here when that's done. In the meantime, reference "Bruddog's Guide to Port Forwarding," which can be found in the post below this guide if you're in immediate need of hosting help.)
Your opponent will give you an IP address and port number that you will use to connect to them (for example: 127.0.0.1:6996). Time to fire up Nestopia!
Playing the game...
Optional: Recording your game | Part 1 -- Recording your games is a good habit to get in to, especially if you are interested in online Tournament play or League play. Having a video file allows for stats to be extracted in league games in the event of a disconnect, and is also the ultimate evidence if any disputes ever come up. Fortunately, this is easy to do. Once Nestopia is open, navigate to File -> Movie Player -> File... Doing so will open up a window where you can simply insert a file name and click "OK." I usually just type "v" and hit okay, as it takes a whole 3-seconds to write. That's all you have to worry about for now!
Navigate to Netplay -> Connect, then click the "Launch" button. You should then see a License Agreement, which you agree to, and then you'll see the following window:
You don't need to worry about too much in this window. For the purpose of this guide, the only two things you need to worry about are the "Nick" field and the "IP/SID" field.
The "Nick" field will be your nickname in chat during the game. Change it to whatever you like.
The "Port" field does not matter unless you are hosting.
The "IP/SID" field is where you will copy/paste the IP and port of your opponent that they sent to you, the 127.0.0.1:6996 number or whatever similar address. Be sure when you're entering this, you're entering it without any spaces before, after, between:
Once you have that taken care of, click "Connect." If all goes well, you should see this:
[ Note: If you get this window without the "Connection confirmed" message, then the connection was not successful. Sometimes, for the first time you use Nestopia, Windows Firewall will prompt you on whether or not you'd like to allow Nestopia to communicate across the network. You may have to allow it, then close the chat window, and try again. If problem persists, you may have other programs installed that are interfering with the connection, or you may not have a problem at all, and it could be your opponent's issue. ]
At this point, the person who wants to be "Player 1" hits the "change game" button and loads the game ROM. After the ROM is loaded, both players have to click the "ready" button, and then gameplay begins. Good luck!
Optional: Recording your game | Part 2 -- Another place to begin recording your game is when you reach the TSB coin toss screen, go to File -> Movie Player -> Record. This will begin the recording of the match-up. (Some players claim that you also have to stop the video file once the game is over in order to have it successfully record, but this has never been the case for me.)
According to TPC rules, the winner of the game is responsible for uploading the results of the game. In order to upload the results, you will need to save a state of the game when TSB is at the blue stat summary screen. This is achieved by pressing both "SHIFT" and "1" at the same time. Doing so will save a file named tpc_original.ns1 within a folder called "states," which is located in your "NES" folder. You can save multiple states at a time (in the event you win more than one game against someone before getting around to uploading the results). Each number in the name of the save state file represents a different save state slot, so you can simply save a different state by pressing Shift + 2, Shift + 3, Shift + 4, and so forth. All of these files can be uploaded without any problems.
But where do you do this on TPC website? Go back to the MyTPC page, and you'll notice that there is a link that says "Upload NES Stats." Click the "Choose File" button and locate your save state file. You will then be asked to indicate whether you were "home," or "away." You'll then need to find your opponent in the long drop-down list of player names. After you select your opponent, you'll be prompted on what type of ROM the game was played on. Typically, this is going to be the Original NES ROM. After you've completed these steps, click "Submit."
Doing so will bring you to a stat overview page. This page is just a quick review for you to make sure everything looks correct. Verify that the stats are correct, and that the proper players have the proper teams, and that you didn't flip-flop them. Once you've confirmed that everything is correct, go ahead and submit!
[ Note: If you're seeing ridiculous stats like 52,000 yards rushing or 300 Interceptions, then you did not uncheck the "Use Internal Compression" box. Refer back to Step 2 on how to do that. Do not upload this state, it will get deleted, and you'll just wind up wasting your time. ]
Once completed, you can then leave feedback for your opponent, which can also be accessed through the "MyTPC" page. General etiquette is to give someone "Good" feedback unless they were a complete asshole.
If you've made it all the way to this section of the guide, then congrats! You've now joined the ranks of the online Tecmo community. Eventually, you'll want to set yourself up with the ability to host games, which can be a slightly difficult process based on how your connection is setup. Once again, for help on hosting online Tecmo Super Bowl games, please reference "Bruddog's Guide to Port Forwarding", which can be found immediately below this guide in this same thread.
Good luck and see you on the field!
(If anyone has any questions, feel free to reply here, or message me on AIM. My AIM username is Kweh11.)
Frequently Asked Questions
"I'm getting an error when opening Nestopia, saying a file isn't found! Help?" -- Download and install this.
"I uploaded a game wrong/someone uploaded a wrong game against me on TPC! What do I do?" -- All TPC related requests should be posted in the TPC subforum found here.
"Why do I keep lagging and/or getting disconnected during games?" -- The connection between you and your opponent is bad. This might be your fault, but it might not be. Try to avoid playing on wireless connections if you find yourself experiencing lag or disconnects. If you do play on wireless on like a laptop, move as close to the router as you can so that there's less to interrupt the connection. Also, make sure you're not in the process of downloading anything, or streaming movies or something along those lines, and that no one else in the household is either. Try to eliminate anything that could be taxing on the Internet connection.
"I'm on a Mac! Can I play?" -- The short story is no, the long story is yes, but it's not something I've never sat down and figured out entirely. In theory, it should be possible. In practice, it's not so easy. I personally don't have a Mac to play around with, so I can't really provide much help here. Like I mentioned in the beginning of the guide, Wine is probably your best bet.
Edited by davefmurray, 13 August 2013 - 02:58 PM.