TASVideos

Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #1743: DarkKobold's Genesis Shining Force in 2:08:40.07

Console: Sega Genesis
Game name: Shining Force
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Shining Force (U) [!]
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 2:08:40.07
FrameCount: 463204
Re-record count: 8443
Author's real name: K. Thomson
Author's nickname: DarkKobold
Submitter: DarkKobold
Submitted at: 2007-10-31 02:00:26
Text last edited at: 2010-05-20 02:04:50
Text last edited by: DarkKobold
Download: Download (22895 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Often in a TAS, we have to do the exact opposite of what is required in a normal playthrough. To save 13 minutes on the previously accepted movie, I kill less enemies, and more playable characters. Additionally, new strategies for 3 boss battles, and a computer algorithm to optimize cursor movement add up to 45K frames of saving.

MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS/CHANGES

  • Max Leaving the village
  • Balbazak battle
  • Mishaela Battle
  • Dark Dragon Battle
  • Overall: Less force members per battle (see battle 9,15,16,24)

Minor (Notable) Changes

  • Zombie in CH2-B2 no longer requires 2 hits
  • Boost Spell cast less often
  • Power Spear purchased
  • Speed ring picked up
  • Long Sword picked up
  • 2 less promotions
  • Valkrye and Halberd ignored
  • Less enemies killed

Almost unnoticeable:

Every battle order was chosen by an optimization algorithm. Upthorn commented on the last video, noting that the cursor movement was optimized 'to the best of your ability'. I realized that I could not do it as well as a computer could. Now, I have a new algorithm that takes the start and end location of each enemy/player, and calculates the time to move from one place to the next, and tells me the lowest. The available battle orders are still first trimmed down by necessary order components, such as a player going before or after an enemy. (Additionally, the step of grouping is removed, since the computer algorithm already takes that into account.) For the most part, the computer seems to find circles of cursor movement, that would have been impossible to locate via human techniques.

Inspiration

I restarted this movie for 2 main reasons. The first being Max leaving town. I hated how poorly that had been done in the previous video. Secondly, Earnest appeared to be useless through the majority of the game. Then, as I continued the run, I started to notice how other force members were dragging the team down. Thus, I analyzed who did what job, and then figured out who could be eliminated. As it turns out, very few characters are needed when you have near full control of the game.

Balancing Experience

Last movie I was very, very, very lucky in how the experience levels turned out. This time, I purposely had to be very exact in my planning on how many enemies each character killed. Additionally, killing fewer enemies meant less experience overall. The main reason for this is BOOST balancing. If a character is boosted with zero experience, that character can kill a maximum of 6 enemies before losing the BOOST (see glitches from previous submission) This is very important for battle 20 and 22. Additionally, I needed to balance experience of Max so he could do the perfect Mishaela kill, before he reached level 4. If he had reached level 4 before this, the archers would have blocked the way to her, since his turn would have been forced before theirs. Additionally, experience is balanced so no one gains a level on the last head of Dark Dragon.

Speed Ring

Grabbed in the second chapter, and not really used (abused) until the 7th. Since so few levels are gained, the biggest gap as the game progresses is Agility. Thus, to make up the later chapters, the Agility ring is used in battles 10,21,23,25,27 and 28. Almost always used in the last round, it skips many enemy turns that would either attack, or simply take extra time. (Including the Laser Eye countdown!)

Mishaela

Going into the Mishaela fight, I knew I needed 2 things. First, being a character who could move within reach of Mishaela, and be strong enough to kill her. Boosted Max equipped with the broad sword and mobility ring meets this criteria. Second, the character needs to have at least 22 agility. This is the minimum agility for a character to have a turn before her. Additionally, I wanted Max's agility low in the first round, so that he could go AFTER the 3 archers, as mentioned previously. Thus, he starts the round, equips the mobility ring, moves into place, and then switches to the speed ring, bringing his agility from 18 to 22. Next round, he switches back to the mobility ring, and moves in for the kill.

Balbazak and the Cursed Power Spear

Once again, this battle was fully dependent on someone being able to move fast enough, and long enough. Last rendition, I had to kill most of the enemies in the battle to get close enough, fast enough. This run, I had planned ahead, and picked up the Power Spear. (This was the only PLANNED reason for the purchase.) This gives me the chance to avoid killing 7 enemies! The only enemies that are killed are the ones that would have either blocked Earnest's path, or attacked otherwise. The spear seems cursed, however, as whoever has it seems to die, and sometimes fairly quickly! The reality is, Mae takes the Power Spear over the power ring, to avoid boosting Balbaroy in battles 9 and 10. I had planned her death for Battle 10 since before I started the run. Earnest needed to die quickly after his one use in the run, which required the Power Spear. Avoiding the Halberd and Promoting Pelle saved a ton of time, and he is only barely strong enough to kill Kane equipped with the Power Ring and Spear. His death in the Chaos Battle opens up many faster Battle Orders in the next battle, hence his death. Further, I can skip his weapons. We no longer need to kill the 3 gargoyles in Mishaela's battle, since they never get a 2nd turn, or waste time picking up the Valkyre in the tower!

Colossus Battle, or why I hate Shining Force

This battle can only be labeled as excruciatingly painful. Last time, Earnest stood in the perfect spot to lure the 3 Chimeras away from Balbaroy's flight path. In the first run, I had no idea this happened. This is the reason the cursor movement in this battle is so particularly horrible. Max has to move to Earnest's spot, run away, and etc. Additionally, his agility is 35, where the Chimeras are 42, making it especially difficult to find good battle orders. This time around, we abuse Balbaroy and the speed ring to avoid killing one of the heads of Colossus, as well as an all around faster completion, with less enemy movement and activity.

Dark Dragon

Skeletons are stupid. The improvement to this battle should be exceedingly obvious.

Newly Ignored Enemies

  • 1 Mage dodged in the Road to Manarina.
  • 1 Silver Knight ignored in Elliot battle (Long sword makes up for the gap in attack)
  • 2 Pegasus Knights dodged in Urbanatol battle
  • 8 Enemies in Balbazak battle
  • 1 Bat in the Shining Path (moved out of the way of his attack range instead)
  • 2 Gargoyles in Kane Battle (I have zero idea why I killed them in the first place)
  • 3 Gargoyles in Mishaela Battle
  • 1 Head of Colossus
  • Total: 19 more enemies ignored!

Suggested SS: (Same as last time, matches movie)

More text to come... (I'd like to do a table of battle by battle improvement when I have the time)


Truncated: Speedy-accepted, since there is already an accepted movie in the queue. I noticed a lot of the improvements in this one, but I still don't know how you did it (why didn't the shellfish appear, why didn't you need the halberd, how did you catch up to Michaela, etc.), so more explanations are welcome.

I see no need in publishing the previous movie. You can discuss the differences just as well anyway (link to the old submission), and this submission is interesting either way. You can either set it to canceled, or I can reject it.


NesVideoAgent: Hi! I am a robot. I took a few screenshots of this movie and placed them here. I'm not sure I got the right ROM though. (I tried Shining Force (U) [!].gen, which was the closest match to what you wrote.) Well, here goes! Feel free to clean up the list.

DeHackEd: Look what I've claimed for encoding! Encoding canceled due to desync at final boss. Seems like movie playback terminates too soon. Thanks to Upthorn for helping sync the movie.


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