How to get into competitive NES Tetris

Thread in 'Competition' started by Rory76, 17 Nov 2019.

  1. I'm writing this for others who, like me, want to play some competitive NES Tetris matches but don't (or didn't) know where to start. It's a bit of a maze out there, and unless you know where to look or who to ask, it can be really hard to know where to start.

    [TL;DR - join Twitch, set up OBS, join Discord, find some places to play; instructions below]

    First off, there are the live tournaments. Obviously there's the CTWC, which has been taking place in Portland, Oregon, at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo. They have a website here and I believe next year's tournament will either be in August or somewhere else. I don't know how entry works, or whether it's just turn up and attempt to qualify, but I'm sure someone will let me know.

    There are also regional qualifiers, but I'm not sure where they're advertised. I probably could have gone to at least one of them in 2019 if I'd known they were taking place; but the first I heard were when the videos came out. I'll list the countries and websites later when I've done some research or had some feedback.

    [Regional CTWC tournaments, qualifiers, and other live tournaments to list here.]

    Probably the first step, though, is playing online matches. There's a buzzing and growing 'community' of players and lots of opportunities to play. Generally it seems if you ask someone how to get into it they link you to a discord 'server' (what used to be called a 'chat room' or 'forum') and then, if you're lucky, you can navigate your way through dozens of 'channels' and thousands of messages and instructions. I didn't find this easy, which is why I'm writing this.

    First of all, you'll need a Twitch account, some streaming software (such as OBS), and a 'stencil' so that your game board is in the right place. Here are the steps that I went through (there may be better or alternative ways to do this):
    • In Twitch, go to: Creator Dashboard > Settings: Channel > turn on Store Past Broadcasts
    • Copy your Stream Key (same page)
    • In OBS, open Settings > Stream > Service: Twitch > paste in Stream Key or connect accounts
    • In Settings > Video > Base (Canvas) Resolution > select 1280x720 (or some other 16:9 ratio)
    • You can change Output (Scaled) Resolution to 640x360 (may be smoother streaming)
    • In Settings > Output > Video Bitrate > that can be changed to around 800-1000Kbps
    • (The two above may depend on your computer and internet connection; better set ups can use higher numbers and quality, worse set ups can be lower - eg, 240p and 350Kbps)
    • 'OK' to apply all settings
    • In the main screen, in the 'Sources' box, click + and select Image, and navigate to the stencil you downloaded
    • Fit it to the preview screen by dragging and positioning; it should fit perfectly
    • If you're playing on emulator, click + and Window Capture. Select your emu program (might as well deselect 'show cursor') and line it up with the stencil by positioning, resizing, stretching, and cropping (to stretch, hold down Shift; to crop, hold down Alt). You should be able to get it perfectly aligned. This allows 'restreamers' (hosts and commentators for matches) to broadcast your game
    • In the right you can place images, live video, stats, PBs, timers, etc
    • Hit 'Transition' so that the 'Program' scene matches the 'Preview' (or hit 'Studio Mode' to make it single screen)
    • You can alter the stream information either in OBS by going to View > Docks > Stream Information; or in Twitch at Dashboard > Live (don't forget to press 'Update Information')
    • Click 'Start Streaming' (in OBS) and you're live
    That's pretty much everything, I think. How it works for those who are using a console, I don't know. Also, I believe Macs are a bit weird with OBS, so something else may work better for them (I find using 'Window Capture' on a Mac tends to result in flickering images, so have to use 'Display Capture', which can be a bit clunky, plus the audio doesn't function great - though there's a good solution to that here).

    Also, if you like, there's a very good video here on how to set up the stencil in OBS.

    Now you're streaming it's time to find some competition. Most of this seems to be arranged on Discord, at various servers. There's:
    • Classic Tetris Monthly (CTM) where you do a one-hour (pre-announced) qualifier to post your best score. The top 16 go into the Main Event (ME); the next 16 go into the Challengers Circuit (CC); and everybody else goes into the Community Tournament (CT) - so basically all skill levels get a shot. Then it's a straight(ish) knockout to crown the various winners (people like Koryan, Joseph, Richard Bagdan, and Ben Mullen take part in this).
    • Classic Tetris League (CTL), which is currently made up of five divisions of six or seven players, with promotion and relegation at the end of each six-week season. You play each person in your division twice, so have ten or twelve matches each round, scheduled at players' convenience. This is run by moodeuce and is in its second season, so will no doubt grow in the future.
    • Kingsman's Tetris Friendlies is currently a twice-weekly challenge night, where players face off against whoever is there, similar to the monthly Classic Tetris Death Match (CTDM)
    • Classic Tetris Gauntlet (CTG) is run by ITZSharky and is one-off, winner-stays-on matches against whoever shows up on the night.
    • Classic Tetris Brawl is somewhat similar, but I think the matches are pre-arranged
    • Classic Tetris PAL (CTP) for PAL players (I think it's a bit like CTM)
    • Classic Tetris Entertainment (CTE) run by Chris Foryst, a bit like CTG
    Other CT discord servers include: Classic Tetris Community (CTC), HardDrop, NubbinsGoody, and JdMfX; but I think most of the competition is taken care of in the list above.

    There are probably more things to mention so I'll update, edit, and add as required. Hopefully some of this stuff is useful to others. Cheers.
    Last edited: 23 Mar 2020
  2. In case you speak german, there is also a discord:
    Its operated by Marc, the winner of CTWC Germany 2019.
    Rory76 likes this.
  3. Hi! One of the crew for CTP here! Yes, CTP plays similarly to CTM in the sense you qualify for an hour and go head-to-head in a tournament. Right now there is only one large division that everyone competes in so anyone can take the crown as the CTP champion. We're also in the works of making a team-based event so stay tuned for that! :D
    Rory76 and furious programming like this.

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