Talek's Trophy Tips: S.M.E.L.T.I.N.G. with Tangor
Ever wondered how to get that shiny golden trophy? Or chase up that elusive avatar? With guides abound, it has never been easier to get trophies. Everyone’s writing down tips, but you still can’t wrap your head around it? Talek will take you down the path towards the gamer superstardom. Follow this new series of “Talek’s Trophy Tips”, and every few weeks I will present you with a new tutorial how to make it to the top of the scoreboard. This article will provide a step-by-step tutorial and some advanced insight to reach that extra mile.
NOTE: This step-by-step guide will set you on the path to stand the highest chance of getting a champion trophy after the monthly trophy reset. For the month-to-month evolution of the scores, consult TrophyTracker’s petpage.
S.M.E.L.T.I.N.G. with Tangor
The first game in the series is S.M.E.L.T., presented by none other than the resident Moltaran artificer, Tangor. Be it constructing mechanical petpets at his workshop, or crafting metal plates, you can trust the Mynci to do its job to utmost perfection. That said, he is constantly overloaded by requests and not beyond asking for help from skilled craftsmen such as you - and hence we come to S.M.E.L.T.
The basic premise of S.M.E.L.T. requires you to fit a specified number of parts onto the given metallic sheet as quickly as possible. This is done by clicking the part-shaped cursor and cutting the part off the metal sheet. Provided the part fits, a single mouse click cuts the part from the sheet. If the part does not fit, you are presented with a text and a sound warning, requiring you to place the piece elsewhere.
Each level has a prerequisite amount of parts to fit. If you run out of space, the “Smelt” button at the bottom enables you to get a new sheet. Each time it is used, the next sheet provided is a lot smaller than the previous one. However, the “Smelting” option should not be abused: each use takes time, losing you precious bonus points. Certain levels provide you with a number of “free smelts” to get a new sheet. This works two-fold: a) it gives you a new sheet much faster than a standard smelt; b) the timer is stopped while it takes place, enabling you to rotate pieces or place the mouse cursor where is best. Be forewarned - bigger pieces may not fit on the fresh sheet so they will need to be rotated or placed on the preceding sheet.
Now that you are done with the basics, we come to the scoring. The total score for each level in S.M.E.L.T. is composed of three elements: the Level Score, the Time Bonus, and Perfect Cut Bonus. The level score is the base score you get for completing the level and cutting the parts from the sheet. Time Bonus is given for completing the level in the fastest time possible. Perfect Cut bonus is given for fitting the entire part onto the sheet, without overlapping with an already cut out part or jutting outside the sheet.
Time Bonus is imperative in going for a trophy run. In the more difficult levels asking you to place more parts, it is recommended to forgo perfect cuts for the Time Bonus. In later levels (as you will see in the Trophy Run section), it is pretty much mandatory, and you will rather have to focus on completing the level..
Let’s start with Level 1. On Level 1, you will be asked to cut four pieces. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Wrong. It will only get harder from here on out. For each subsequent level through level 9, you will have one more piece to place. On levels 4 and 7, you will be given an additional free smelt. After level 9, the next level will reset to 4 pieces, but you will have a shorter time limit to cut the pieces. The cycle will repeat itself after every 9 levels, with fewer and fewer precious seconds left in the time limit.
Unlike most games, failing the level will not result in forfeiting the score or hindering your progress. Instead, this will allow you to test what parts you are given and where to place them before completing the level. This will enable you to net more time bonus points and plan out your free smelts. In particular, this is important in later levels when you need to place multiple big parts in a limited space.
Also, remember, you can use Space in between levels to take you to the next screen, allowing you to pre-aim the cursor to where you expect to place the shape at the start of the next level. Coupled with reviewing the level, it will allow you to devise the best tactics to complete the level.
One major aspect of the game is the shapes, particularly the first two you are presented with in each level. Certain smaller shapes, like the circular gear, or the unidirectional shapes, like the spring, are rather easy to place. However, there are four major culprits that will make it harder for you - the L-shaped scraps, the diagonal camerton, the bent note, and the inverted C. On their own, they might not be a big deal - until they come consecutively. That is why it is important to learn where to place the starting pieces in order to place as many of them and as quickly as possible on the sheet.
For the L-shape, always start at the lower left of the screen, slightly off the left and bottom borders. This will allow you to place another L-shape or a bent note underneath or to the left respectively, and place the other big shapes in the empty space above, freeing up a lot of space to the right.
Much in the same way, for the bent note, try to aim for the top left of the screen, right at the border.
The inverted C can be placed on either side, but it is recommended to start from the right side. This will allow to place L-shapes and diagonal shapes underneath (and even fit in bigger ones underneath by sacrificing extra cut points).
Be warned - the game has a huge randomness factor when it comes to the sizes of the parts you are given. This will limit your possibilities in the more difficult levels, sometimes making them near-impossible to complete. In such cases, restart, rinse and repeat may well be your only choice. This is also why pre-aiming is imperative in this game to maximise your chance of getting a trophy.
Basics, check. Scoring, check. Progression, check. Time to play the actual game. As we progress, I will go over each of the levels and explain the process. In order to get a trophy, you will at least have to get past level 27. The gold trophy range for the game almost always averages between 6200 and 6400 during the reset, meaning you will at least have to get to level 37-39. The silver trophy ranges in the late 5000s, while bronze usually averages between 4500-5000.
Levels 1 to 9
The first 9 levels serve as the perfect training grounds for what’s to come. They are also good for farming points given the high time limit. The time bonus will start at 10 and increase by 1, through 18 for level 9. If you are aiming for gold, try to learn not to use more than 1 second for 4 parts. In fact, you should be placing up to 5 (6, if you are really good) parts per second. Do not fear if you cannot do it, however. It is not mandatory to make it picture perfect every time.
Also, try to learn placing the parts without rotating them. Rotation wastes valuable seconds. Better sacrifice the Perfect Cut bonus and aim the starting part better.
In the first three levels, you are given 4, 5 and 6 parts to place respectively. These levels are a good way to get started and get both the Perfect Cut and the Time Bonus. Try not to use more than 1 second on any of the levels. Aim to have 365-375 points by the end of level 3.
Levels 4 through 6 introduce the first free smelt. Try to place 4 to 5 pieces on the first sheet and quickly use smelt. You should use only 2 seconds per level, one before the smelt, one after the smelt. Level 6 is likely to be the first level where multiple big pieces will impede your quickness, and is also a good level to start thinking about where to place your pieces. Aim to have 930-950 points by the end of level 6.
Levels 7 through 9 introduce a second free smelt. Learning to outmaneuver these tricky 10-12 piece levels will be make or break on your way to a trophy. The tactics used are fairly similar to levels 4-6, with one huge caveat. The shapes will now dictate not only where you can place the starting piece, but also the final pieces on the small sheet you are given after your second smelt. This is particularly applicable for level 12, where fitting 12 large pieces will largely drain your time bonus. You should not use more than 4 seconds for levels 11-12. It would be beneficial to use these levels to learn how to quickly place 5 (in 1 second) or 7 (in 2 seconds) shapes on the sheet before the first extra smelt for later levels.
If you feel like the pieces slow you down too much, restart the game at this point. You should aim to have around 1650-1750 points at this point, 1750+ in an ideal scenario.
NOTE: Levels 8-9 (and subsequently all others with 11-12 pieces) will enforce considerable difficulty, in particular when the final shapes are inverted C’s, notes or diagonal, which may not fit on the small sheet. You can then either try fitting more pieces before smelting, or rotating it while the new sheet is being smelted. Be warned all following shapes will also be rotated making it more difficult to place.
Levels 10 to 18
Level 10 will restart the sequence at 4 pieces, however the time limit will be limited to 6 seconds for levels 10 to 12; 7 seconds in level 13; 8 seconds in level 14; 9 seconds for levels 15 and 16; 10 seconds for levels 17 and 18. At worst, aim to have 3200 by end of level 18. This is also the last chance to farm points. Later levels will have very limited time, so make the seconds count. An ideal range would be anywhere over 3300.
Levels 19 to 27
Much like the levels before, the only difference is the time limit. Level 19 and 20 start at 3 seconds, so it is imperative to be able to place 4-5 shapes per second. Accordingly, levels 21 through 23 will have 4 seconds, 24 and 25 - 5 seconds, and 26 and 27 - 6 seconds. At this juncture, you can still minimise seconds used to gain some extra points.
Moreover, level 26-27 will bring you past the default bronze threshold on reset. You should have around 4500-4550 points after level 26, and 4750-4800 after level 27. The latter should bring you comfortably into the bronze range, although it is likely the range may increase following the release of this guide *wink wink*.
Levels 28 to 36
But who said we want to stop there? In order to get the coveted champion trophy, it is imperative to go past the next 9 levels, particularly level 36. And this is where things get really hard. Where time was limited before, now you are restricted to 2 seconds between levels 28 and 31, and 3 for levels 32 through 36. By this point, I hope you have flexed your muscles and made sure to maximize your output. This is where it is mandatory to have learned to place 4-5 shapes per second and use the smelting button to maximize time. For levels 28 to 29, it is even possible to not waste a second and complete the level. Calculated spamming will do the trick.
Levels 31-33 require the same pattern we used before: place four to five shapes as quick as possible, and click smelt, then place the remaining ones. Ideally you would have 5-6 placed before clicking smelt. Otherwise, you should only have spent 1 second and placed the remaining ones afterwards.
In level 34-36, the randomisation factor is very important, as large pieces are likely to ruin your chances. In level 34, try to place 5 to 6 shapes, smelt, then place 2 to 3, and smelt again. Same applies to level 35 - but remember to only have 1 or 2 pieces left for the final sheet. Level 36 is where things get trickier. Sometimes you are given a set of shapes which make it nigh impossible to complete the level. However, this is where we must remember the tricks listed in the Shapes’ section. Your best bet is to have an alternating number of bigger shapes at the start, so that none are left for the final sheet. You should aim to have 6-7 pieces on the first (but never use more than 2 seconds, I would suggest 1), 4-5 on the second, and only have 1 or 2 for the last one. If the last shape does not fit the small sheet, try leaving 2 seconds for the last sheet so you can rotate the piece. Ideally, you will have one that fits, but bent notes, L-shaped figures, and C-shapes often make it difficult on the last one.
At the end of level 36, you will have anywhere between 6250 to 6350 points, which definitely guarantees a silver trophy.
Now, in order to guarantee yourself gold, you must be able to complete at least two levels after level 36 which will bring you to 6400+. Levels now require you to cut the shapes in less than a second. Personally, I have never been past level 39, but you will likely not need to either. The trick is to spam the shapes as quickly as possible. I suggest using space button in between the levels to make sure you have the time to place the shapes. Assuming you get through level 39, you will be able to use the extra smelts to give you that split second you need in order to complete levels 40-41.
With practice and by closely following the guide, you will be able to get that highly coveted S.M.E.L.T. trophy. That was the first edition of Talek’s Trophy Tips. Hopefully, my dear Neopian, it will have helped you on your way to gamer superstardom. Look out for further trophy tips in future editions of the Neopian Times. Before we go, any last words, Tangor?
Tangor: “Let’s get S.M.E.L.T.I.N.G.!”
Struggling to get a trophy? Want tips on a certain game? Neomail me and I will consider including the game in an upcoming article for Talek’s Trophy Tips.
CREDIT: TrophyTracker petpage for the average scores.