Arcade expansion? Not allowed if you’re Gold Rush, it seems…

About ten years ago, the Gold Rush opened its doors for the first time on the site of the former Holkham Hotel. Having laid derelict for decades, the owners gave the site a complete facelift, opened the doors and put out a new working arcade. It expanded deeper out to the back of the site, had new signs, employed extra staff and everything was good.

Meanwhile, next door to it, there was an attraction called “Yesterday’s World”, which would sometimes open with a few kiddy rides and a cafe and a play area. Sometimes it wouldn’t open. And then it was shut, people lost their jobs, and nobody went in it. And, like the Holkham, the Empire, and the Garibaldi to name but three, it sat there doing precisely nothing. The owners decided to sell up, and put the place to auction. It didn’t sell. Although not in their original plans, Gold Rush bought part of the building and expanded into it, with the opportunity to replace some of the attractions lost since the closing of Yesterday’s World. Suddenly, some of the other business decided they didn’t like the fact this might mean losing market share, and filed an objection to the expansion. This got reported in the Mercury today in what can only be described as a ridiculously biased article. It only lists a small fraction of the story, so we thought we’d fill in some of the gaps.

Firstly, prior to Yesterday’s World, the site is correctly pointed out in the comments as an amusement arcade – Barrons. So rather than just increasing the amount of arcades in Yarmouth above the levels, Gold Rush are instead restoring the site to its former use. I’m pretty sure that the spirit of the 2001 rules was to prevent the entire seafront becoming arcades so that there was sufficient provision for alternative activities, not for arcades to disappear and then because the site had a primary alternative use never being allowed to become an arcade again. It should also be noted that within Yesterday’s World were a small number of cranes and pushers – just the sort of things you’d find in an arcade.

The article quotes TR9, the council strategy, of which I’ll abbreviate here:

The policy states that planning permission for new amusement arcades, whether involving change of use, or extension will only be permitted in the following areas:

B) In prime commercial holiday complexes/areas where only changes of use within existing premises will be permitted provided there is no net increase in the total amount of floorspace or frontage used for amusement arcade purposes.

There is no net increase. If you apply that in the way the objectors intend to, then as soon as any applicable site ceases to be an amusement arcade, it can never be restored to an arcade as it would constitute a net increase. Yet we’ve established that this Barron’s was around in 2001 when this strategy was adopted, so by changing the use to an arcade at most the total amount of floorspace is equal to what it was when the regulation was drafted. That doesn’t sound like a net increase to me.

Secondly, look at the list of names who object. It might sound like that’s a lot of different business objecting, but in fact over half of those are owned by the same company: Pleasure and Leisure, who own the Pleasure Beach, Joyland and at least four of those arcades in the article. A company who in one breath talks about investing in Great Yarmouth and bringing so much to the area, and then in another are quite happy to leave leave rides and machines in just enough of a working order so that they can operate and generate an income regardless of the quality of experience for the customer, treating their workers with contempt and generally having no interest other than extracting every last penny from any soul who arrives near the northern end of the A12. This is a company who, four years ago, obtained the coveted licence for the large casino – of which only eight could be built in the country – yet so far have only produced a patch of levelled dirt because they have run out of money. There are rumours – which I certainly won’t try to verify at this time of night – that too much has been invested in foreign property for them to be able to properly fund investment in Great Yarmouth. They talk good, but don’t always seem very keen to back up their words – and certainly don’t like anybody challenging them about it.

Thirdly, the fact that nobody bought the site at auction suggests that if Gold Rush hadn’t bought it then it would sit around doing nothing: just like the Holkham, just like the Empire, just the Garibaldi. However, be aware the site hasn’t been entirely bought by Gold Rush; indeed, it wasn’t even Gold Rush who actually tabled the offer, but Caesar’s Palace on the other side. So far, they haven’t done anything with their side, yet as far as the article is concerned they might as well not even exist.

I wonder how much the seafront cartel has decided that they would far rather the site goes to waste than actually have a smaller rival invest and harm their profits. I wonder how much their PR machine has tried to influence Archant into writing a very negative piece on the expansion works with not even an attempt to convey any benefits arising from the work being carried out. I wonder if there are already secret deals at work deliberately trying to stop others developing the seafront at their expense. I’m quite sure that the group would be more than happy for it to become yet another clothes outlet or conveyor of generic holiday tat like the dozens already littering Regent Road as it wouldn’t affect them, but heaven forbid another arcade with working machines. I also wonder if this had happened the other way round, where part of the cartel decided they wanted it to be an amusement arcade. I’m pretty sure any objections that Gold Rush would raise for these reasons would fall on deaf ears, and the purchaser praised for their commitment to investment in the town.

What makes the future decision even more unpredictable is that the body responsible for the decision, of which there are 13 spaces, is technically empty. With local council elections on 5th May, the tenure of the 13 members expires on the 15th May, leaving the decision in the first meeting of the new board with a completely unknown make-up. Whether it is filled with those with a proper vision for Marine Parade or those with sympathies towards big business groups is yet to be seen.

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New website?

Well how about this? It’s a standard WordPress site!

It was time to ditch the old design and change to a proper blog, and so here it is. Now just have to configure it…

Memory Card Update

Fixed the outstanding memory card issue today, so custom songs are back in business. Technical details after the jump.

Please note that P2’s port has been squashed at some point, so be careful when inserting or removing the card.

Fixed the outstanding memory card issue today, so custom songs are back in business.

The actual problem was rather bizarre – for some reason OpenITG didn’t want to read the memory card settings which has worked perfectly. Even though you are explicitly instructed to use a rather logical format – say S:\ for any card going into S drive – this didn’t want to work. I had to drop the trailing forward slash. No, I don’t understand it either.

Please note that P2’s port has been squashed at some point, so be careful when inserting or removing the card.

Gold Rush Aperture

Please to be finding enclosed some form of rule book for Gold Rush Aperture. No, it’s not meant to make sense.


Seeding round, then streamlined round-robin, and finally into single-elimination knock-out if we can be bothered.

Match Rules

Seeding round

Competitors will be offered a choice of at least 2 songs. At least one song shall be from ITG 1, ITG 2 or ITG Rebirth. At least one song shall be from DDR, and have similar difficulties for easy, medium and hard (and possibly expert too). Competitors get to choose both the song and the difficulty level that they play at the same time.

Players will then be grouped into groups of 4 (switching to groups of 3-5 if necessary) based on their seeding result. Players will be asked to replay the seeding song if it deemed they picked a difficulty level substantially outside their difficulty range.

Players placed in the highest group(s) will automatically be be in the highest range of seeds. Players not placed within this group cannot suddenly spring to the top. It’s a bit hard to explain that without being really waffly, but there is a serious point in there somewhere.

Round-robin phase

Players will be randomly ordered within the group. Each player will pick any song of their choice, but not a difficulty level. Each player in the group will play every other player’s song choice on the difficulty level of their choice. For the first song, the playing order is determined by the random order. For subsequent songs, the playing order is determined by the ranking of the previous song, with the person choosing the song always playing in the first pair.

Players are ranked as follows:

  1. All passing scores beat all failing scores, regardless of score.
  2. All passes of a higher difficulty level beat all passes of a lower difficulty level, regardless of score.
  3. All passes of the same difficulty level are ranked by score. If this is equal, then they are ranked by Fantastic count, then by Excellent count, and so on.
  4. All fails are ranked by score, regardless of the difficulty level at which the song was failed. Fails with equal scores are considered tied.

Example: A group of four players (A, B, C, D). A chooses a song and will play first with B, followed by C and D. A passes with 90% on medium, B fails with 35% on expert. C passes with 85% on hard, D fails with 42% on hard. C “wins” the song, as they had the highest difficulty pass. A is second, as they had the other pass. D finishes above B, because D’s score was higher than B’s despite B picking a harder difficulty level. The next song will be B’s choice, and they will play with C (the previous winner). A and D will play as the second pairing.

After all songs have been played by all players, each player’s scores are turned into a match. For groups of 4, this is a best of 4 match, and so ties are possible. The ranking within the group then determines the seeding for the next phase, split by firstly match wins, then results in matches, then by game percentage, then by sudden-death.

Example 1: Suppose the results of three songs for A, B, C are:

Song 1: A 90%, B 80%, C 70%.
Song 2: A 90%, B 95%, C 70%.
Song 3: A 90%, B 95%, C 98%.

A loses to B. A beats C 2-1. B beats C 3-0. B wins the group with two “wins”, A is second with a 1-1 record, and C is bottom with 2 losses. This is despite each player winning their own song.

Example 2: For the next group, the results for D, E, F, G are:

Song 1: D 55% exp, E 65% hard, F 0% fail, G 0% fail.
Song 2: D 95%, E 90%, F 85%, G 80%.
Song 3: D 95%, E 75%, F 80%, G 80% but with more fantastics than F.
Song 4: D 95%, E 90%, F 92%, G 80%.

D beats each player 4-0, as their pass on Song 1 was at a higher level than E. E ties with F 2-2, but beats G 3-1. F beats G 2½-1½. D clearly wins the group, and G is clearly bottom. E and F each have records of one win, one draw, one loss. They can’t be split in their individual match, but song win-loss record is better E is ranked above F. If F had got a “better” fail on Song 1, then E and F would have a single random song to decide ranking. And again, this would be at the difficulty level of each player’s own choice.

For a group of 3, this will take 6 turns to complete. For groups of 4, this increases to 10 turns, and groups of 5 need 15 songs.

KO Phase

KO phase would be a simple best-of-3, and seedings would be generated by groups. Highest seedings would be to the “highest” groups, with the lower seedings going to lower-ranked groups. To be honest, once we know that it (doesn’t) work, we’ll only carry this as far as people can be bothered as the concept will be (dis)proven.


There is no prize fund. Let me retype that in bold emphasised text just in case you missed it. There is no prize fund. If all you care about is making money from the tournament, this isn’t really the day out for you. Come back in September-ish when our next tournament is on.

Expected effect on participation

You can compare the below with the <a href=””>guide for participation in various ranking systems</a>.

Each player is guaranteed at least 5 songs, including 2 of their own choice. This compares favourably with seeding-single elimination (only a guarantee of 3 songs), but is fewer than a lot of other formats.

Using 16 players as a basis for 4 groups of 4, the expected effect of matches is as follows:

8 players get 1 seeding song + 3 group songs + 1 KO song (minimum 6 songs, estimated 6.5 songs, maximum 7 songs)
4 players get 1 seeding song + 3 group songs + 2 KO songs (8/9/10 songs)
4 players get 1 seeding song + 3 group songs + 4 KO songs (12/14/16 songs)

In terms of running time, the worst case scenario is 80 songs (5:20, which would even allow for a complete lunch break). The best case scenario is 68 song (4:32), which makes the duration comfortably predictable.

In terms of time spread, the format is quite close to a seeding-group-top2 format. Where I hope this format will excel is in doubles. This makes groups of 3 and 5 much more viable (as only one person can play at a time, there isn’t the “wastage” that occurs with only one person playing singles.

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Gold Rush Aperture

The next machine dance tournament will take place on April 2nd 2011. And… it’s not even a tournament. Confused? Not as much as we are.

Gold Rush Aperture

Date: April 2nd 2011
Location: Gold Rush, Marine Parade, Great Yarmouth
Time: 10:30am – whenever people decide they want to go home, which hopefully will be some time later than 10:31am
Entry Fee: Haven’t decided yet, certainly not more than four pounds but probably a couple of quid to cover the costs of the freeplay bit, and then pay-as-you-play
Competition Rules: I’ll make them up as I go along

Entry criteria: You must be able to play the game

Prize fund: None

Gold Rush Aperture is the fifth event to be hosted on the machine at Gold Rush, and it’s the first “Tournameet”. The idea: you play and have fun and take it as seriously as you want, we run a tournament with a format so radical it will probably be an epic disaster. But that’s half the point.

Aim of the day for “competitiors”

We would like as many people as possible with as many skill levels as possible to turn up and join in a “competition”, meet some people and have fun on our machine. After the competition has ended, we’d like you to carry on playing. That’s it. Heck, we might even throw in some non-video game stuff into the day as well. It’s about having a bit of fun in Great Yarmouth (which considering it’s April I’m doing my best to sell…)

Aim of the day for “organisers”

arceast would like to try a very interesting tournament format for our next competition in September/October. However, it could do with a bit of real-life testing. And that needs people. So help us out, please. Otherwise you’ll leave poor Welly looking like a right muppet when the thing goes wrong on serious day.


Here are the current rules. They are quite close to final, not that they’re particularly binding, but barely anyone reads them anyway. Please have a look at them, I tried my best to make them interesting.

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New Year update

Christmas is over, 2012 is with us, and Isis is also back from holiday. That means it’s time for Gold Rush to reopen for a new year of gaming.

Specific to the machine, there’s now a new graphics card in there, which will hopefully alleviate those horrible lag spikes whenever there’s a fading background. Also gone are a large number of songs – too many to mention here, but but about 300 got chopped, mostly because nobody played them all year.

I will post some data about the year past in the future, but in the meantime head back down the seafront to get playing again.

I Can Has Twitter!

I set up a twitter account, @arceast. It’s not exactly news, as I did this a month ago, but given I’ve actually posted something on it now I thought I’d announce it here to make out that I am actually doing something and not completely forgetting that the site exists. Because that would be bad.

Machine Update

A significant machine is being applied over the next couple of weeks. It will include significant upgrades to hardware, software and gameplay.

We were due to upgrade the machine over this week and install a number of new features. However, only half of it got done today, and we aren’t quite sure what went wrong.

The following changes were applied to the machine on February 12th:


The hard drive got upgraded to a SSD. Load-up time in the mornings – including Vista’s whinge about not shutting down properly – is under two minutes, and SelectSongMusic loads substantially faster.

The box should (from Sunday) be running off the DVI port rather than the VGA port. This will (hopefully) make the images a little bit sharper.


There is a new revision of the theme, but it didn’t apply because I’m a spork. Not that it matters, because I expect by next week the revision will have a revision of the revision.


arceast + 1

Hot: NEW SONG. Difficulties on single: Beginner 1, Easy 3, Medium 5, Expert 9.

Dance Dance Revolution 3rd Mix

Zenius-I-Vanisher updated their packs for the two Korean mixes. The update provided a full set of doubles charts for all songs, improved mp3s and better quality graphics. We added both the packs on, so this means five returning songs (Byul, Gaagai, Gamyunwi Shigan, Sung Suk, Tell Me Tell Me) and ten more with extra charts and/or better quality music and/or better quality graphics.

Dance Dance Revolution 7th Mix – MAX2

Break Down: Fixed the error on the song wheel, and added background videos while I was at it.

Dance Dance Revolution UNIVERSE3

Songs starting with A, B and C have had their backgrounds modified so that they don’t appear as a small image with a huge black border around it. (They’re now 688 by 516, in case you care.) However, I don’t think they’ve been updated.

A Fifth of Beethoven: Offset and sample start suitably modified.

Rave Until The Night Is Over (Universe Edit): An updated banner has been included.

Dance Dance Revolution X

An extra 50 songs were added. Unfortunately, the difficulties are in the new 1-18 notation, because we haven’t had a chance to fix them back to 1-14.

Dancing Stage EuroMix 2

The files are of a better quality, like with 3rd Mix’s, but I forgot to add them to the patch. I’m sure somebody out there will appreciate this when it gets done.

In The Groove 1 and 2

Miscellaneous offset adjustments to 5 ITG1 and 18 ITG2 songs. Almost of all of them are within 0.015ms, so you’ll barely notice them.

Deleted songs

64 songs got deleted, mostly because nobody was playing them. I’ll try and get a list together at some point this week.

Participation in standard competition formats

Here at arceast, we don’t like doing single-elimination tournaments much. Sure, it’s nice and dramatic, but it often means a long journey for little action. And whilst that may be great if you can disappear off in half an hour to do something else, it rather defeats the whole participation objective.

Each of the scenarios below makes the following assumptions (unless specified otherwise):

  1. Each tournament has 16 players.
  2. A seeding match lasts 1 song.
  3. Non-seeding matches are best of 3.
  4. Each result is just as likely. Therefore a best of 3 match lasts 2½ songs, as it assumes that a 2-0 win is just as likely as a 2-1 win.
  5. A song takes 4 minutes to do. This might sound like a lot, but it allows a minute of head-scratching beforehand, two minutes of stomping, and a minute of organiser faffing.
  6. There is always a third/fourth play-off in knockouts.

Each format is summarised as follows:

  • Expected duration: how long the tournament is most likely to take
  • Lower and upper bounds: how long the tournament could take in the best and worst case scenarios
  • Play split: how many songs and matches each player would get, expressed as minimum/estimated/maximum number of songs.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of the format
  • Anything else noteworthy

Seeding into single-elimination KO

Expected duration: 48 songs in 3:12 (8 seeding songs, 8*2.5=20 last 16 songs, 4*2.5=10 quarter-final songs, 2*2.5 semi-final songs, 2.5 songs for 3rd, 2.5 songs for 1st)

Lower/upper bounds: 40 songs in 2:40 (8 seeding songs, then 32 KO songs) or 56 songs in 3:42 (8 seeding songs, then 48 KO songs)

Play split: 8 players get 1 song + 1 KO match (3/3.5/4 songs); 4 players get 1 song + 2 KO matches (5/6/7 songs);, 4 players get 1 song + 4 KO matches (9/11/13 songs).

Advantages: Easy to run, easy to understand.

Disadvantages: There’s a huge imbalance between the amount of playtime for the bottom half and the top four.

Notes: 32/40/48 songs is the spread for a single-elimination KO, which I’ll use a lot later.

Seeding into double-elimination KO

Expected duration: 81.75 songs in 5:27 (8 seeding songs; 37.5 single-elimination KO songs (due to no 3rd/4th place necessary); 2 sets of 4 loser QFs = 2*4*2.5=20 songs, 2 sets of 2 loser SFs = 2*2*2.5=10 songs, 2 sets of 2 loser finals = 2*1*2.5=5 songs, 1 winner v loser match = 2.5 songs, 1 possible rematch = 1.25 songs).

Lower/upper bounds: 66 songs in 4:24 (8 seeding songs, 30 single-elimination KO songs; 16 songs for loser QFs, 8 for loser SFs, 4 for loser finals, no rematch) or 98 songs in 6:32 (8 seeding songs, 45 KO songs, 24 loser QFs, 12 loser SFs, 6 loser Finals, plus a rematch of 3 songs.

Play split: Volatile due to extra matches in loser bracket. Weakest 4 players get 1 song + 2 KO matches (5/6/7 songs). Winner gets at least 1 song + 5 KO matches (11/13.5/16 songs) if no final rematch needed. Very possible some people play more than the winner does.

Advantages: Prevents one bad match ending the tournament.

Disadvantages: Long. Complicated. Tournament much longer and more complicated if persons 17 and 18 enter.

Notes: Tried this once with about 24 people and one dance machine. Nearly lost the will to live.

Seeding, group phase, top 2 to KO phase

Expected duration: 80 songs in 5:20 (8 seeding; 4 groups of 6 matches = 4*6*2.5=60 songs; 20 songs for 8-man KO).

Lower/upper bounds: 64 songs in 4:16 (8 seeding, 4*12=48 group phase, 16 KO phase) or 96 songs in 6:24 (8 seeding, 4*18=72 group phase, 24 KO phase).

Play split: 8 players get 1 song + 3 group matches (7/8.5/10 songs); 4 players get 1 song + 3 group matches + 1 KO match (9/11/13 songs); 4 players get 1 song + 3 group matches + 3 KO matches (13/16/19 songs).

Advantages: All players get a decent number of songs.

Disadvantages: Gets complicated with 17-19 players as groups of 5 needed which can nearly double the group time.

Notes: Losers can also have their own bracket, as in Gold Rush Revolution. This adds 16/20/24 songs (1:04/1:20/1:36) to the tournament. Better than double-elimination in most ways for 2/4/8/16/32 etc fields.

Modified Swiss

Expected duration: 100 songs in 6:40 (4 rounds of 8 matches = 4*8*2.5=80 songs; 20 songs for 8-man KO).

Lower/upper bounds: 80 songs in 5:20 (4*8*2=64 songs; 16 songs for 8-man KO) or 120 songs in 8:00 (4*8*3=96 songs; 24 songs for 8-man KO).

Play split: 8 players get 4 group matches (8/10/12 songs); 4 players get 4 group matches + 1 KO match (10/12.5/15 songs); 4 players get 4 group matches + 3 KO matches (14/17.5/21 songs).

Advantages: No seeding round (i.e. everyone getting bored of hearing the same song 8 times in a row). Everyone gets lots of songs, increasingly with players of their own ability. Two losses can still be enough to win the tournament.

Disadvantages: Difficult to follow, nightmare to manage without a computer. Not designed for events with one “table”!

Notes: Similar format to how Gold Rush +1 worked, except all went through to knockout. 2^n+1 players increases the time over 2^n players by a factor of about (n+2)/(n+1), for example 17 players take about 20% longer than 16, 33 players increases the already epic schedule by about 17%.

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Machine Update

A small machine update was applied today, just in time for the tournament. A brief summary of the update:

  • Modifications were made to the theme, which was actually installed this time.
  • There is an indication of a personal best for USB profiles during the evaluation screen.
  • Three new songs have been added.

The following changes were applied to the machine on September 18th:

Theme (revision 14a)

An unfortunate bug was fixed, where none of the fixes in revisions 13 and 14 of the theme would apply for a small number of players. And by a small number of players, we mean absolutely everyone. Whoopsies!

The gameplay instructions screen now has the song credits in the bottom-right of the screen.

An extra screen was added into the attract sequence.



The following songs had legacy edits which have been removed: Celtic Cross, Dreamin’ Sun, EXOTICA.

In The Groove 3

VerTex³: A “feature” which meant that the song title was always displayed as VerTex3 has now been resolved.


Bagpipe (Extended Version): NEW SONG. Difficulties on single: beginner 1, easy 4, medium 6, hard 8.

hora de verdad: NEW SONG. Difficulties on single: easy 5, medium 7, hard 9, challenge 10. Difficulties on double: easy 5, challenge 10.