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Submission #2113: inichi's SNES Chrono Trigger "newgame+" in 06:42.77

Console: Super NES
Game name: Chrono Trigger
Game version: JPN
ROM filename: Chrono Trigger (J).smc
Branch: newgame+
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 06:42.77
FrameCount: 24166
Re-record count: 5098
Author's real name: Y. M.
Author's nickname: inichi
Submitter: inichi
Submitted at: 2008-10-11 04:49:29
Text last edited at: 2008-10-22 13:00:43
Text last edited by: ShinyDoofy
Download: Download (2472 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

Chrono Trigger New Game+ TAS v2 by inichi

Emulator Details

  • Recorded on Snes9x 1.51 v5
  • Left+Right/Up+Down - off
  • Volume Envelope Height Reading - off
  • Fake Mute desync workaround - on
  • Sync samples with sound CPU - off

I confirmed that the movie synced fine on the original 1.51 as well, so it will probably sync on any later version.

Run Attributes

  • New Game+ mode (transfers items/status from a save file into a New Game)
  • Aims for fastest possible time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Abuses glitches
  • Genre: RPG

About the movie

This is my second attempt at Chrono Trigger New Game+ run. It is 8661 frames (2 minutes and 24.35 seconds) faster than the previous one. The improvements came mostly from a new glitch that allows all characters to equip a Bronze Fist, but other minor timesaver was also found.

About the version change

I switched to the Japanese version because the glitch in the English version, unlike that in the Japanese version, doesn't allow any characters to equip a Bronze Fist. Bronze Fist deals 9999 damage on a critical hit regardless of enemy's defense. This means that there would be a significant delay on each boss fight in the English version. Even considering benefits from Japanese faster texts and taking them all away, the Japanese version will still be at least 1.5 minutes faster than the English version. More details about the glitch can be seen in the new tricks section.

About SRAM

In the previous run, I used Saturn's maxed-out save file that had been validated. This time, however, I needed to use my own save file because I decided to switch to the Japanese version as stated above. To clarify, I recorded the whole setting up process, starting from clear SRAM. I believe it would work as a good reference and verify the validity of the run.

New Tricks

In this section, I will describe new tricks I used in making the run. It should be noted, however, that all these tricks will not show up in the movie. They were performed only in the setting up process.

Loading a save file that shows "No Data"

By pressing A+Up/Down at the same time on the load screen, you can access a save file that says "No Data". Depending on SRAM conditions and the data selection mode, the following three cases are possible. If you use the trick:

  • Against a clear save file on the normal mode, the screen will black out and never recover.
  • Against a dirty save file on the normal mode or the new game+ mode, the previous save file will be loaded.
  • Against a clear save file on the new game+ mode, abnormal values will be loaded, and a new game+ will start.

The first is obviously useless. It may seem the second isn't of any use, but it was actually really important for the run, which will be taken up later. The third is the core of the trick; let us go into detail.

As with many other SNES games, at first 96 is stored in all SRAMs in Chrono Trigger. In the third case, 96 is stored in various memory addresses such as for the item inventory and character's stats, and then a new game+ starts. Naturally, that causes many strange things to the game, which is "the glitch" that I have called. I will list some glitch features that are strongly related to the run:

  • Every character can equip any equipment except for two kind of weapons.

There are important differences on equippable weapons between the (U) ROM and the (J) ROM (see list below).

equippable non-equippable
(U) Bow, Gun, Broadsword, Arm, Scythe Sword, Fist
(J) Sword, Gun, Broadsword, Fist, Scythe Bow, Arm

As seen in the list, Fist type weapons, including Bronze Fist, are equippable only in the (J) ROM.

  • Almost all stats for every character are 96.

The only exceptions are speed, HP and MP. Speed is 16 because that is the limit value; HP and MP are 24672 because they are given two bytes. This feature makes it possible to get almost maxed-out stats for all characters without using any tabs.

  • Every character's techniques are limited.

Every character is allowed to use only the 2nd and 3rd single and dual techs. You can retrieve the 1st single tech of Crono, Marle, Lucca and Frog by having them meet Spekkio. However, there is no way to learn any other techs, since no enemies won't give Tech Points in a glitched data anymore.

  • A great deal of lag occurs during a battle.

Roughly estimated, the lag will make a battle 30% slower than a comparable battle in a normal data. Fortunately, that kind of lag can be completely avoided by keeping the item screen open.

  • Ayla's Bronze Fist doesn't appear.

Ayla's special ability, which automatically equips certain kind of fist depending on her level, is lost forever. Ayla's level is 96 in this case, so she should have a Bronze Fist, but the glitch doesn't allow it.

De-equip trick

In Chrono Trigger, you can change equipment, but cannot unequip it except when you are on the Blackbird. However, De-equip trick lets you do it anytime if certain conditions are met.

Requirement:

  • No equipment that the target character can change are in the item inventory.
    • To give an example, if you want to unequip Crono's Armor, you must sell out every armor that he can equip.

How to:

  1. Press L+down or R+up simultaneously on the equipment screen, and the previous character's equipment will be remained on the left screen.
    • It is required the cursor doesn't loop back in the key presses(by "the cursor doesn't loop back", I mean the cursor doesn't jump from the first character to the last and vice versa or from the weapon grid, which is located on the top, to the Accessory, which is located on the bottom and vice versa).
  2. Press A, and a blank space will be called to the left.
  3. Press A again, and you can equip the character with "null"―unequip the character's equipment.

On a related note, the trick also has useful features other than the mere de-equip stuff. However, I won't go into further since it is not important for the new game+ TAS at all. For those who are interested in, check out this post.

Transferring items from one data to the other

If you reset the game one frame after you save a data, only SRAM for the item inventory and Crono's status is overwritten. As a result of reseting the game in the middle of save processing, a target data shows "No Data". However, as it turned out, now that you can restore a deleted data with the data selection trick, there is no problem.

Notes on SRAM overwritten:

  • Item ID is almost always overwritten; item number is overwritten only if the trick is used against a dirty save file. That means you can duplicate all items to 96 by using the trick against a clear save file.
  • Apparently Crono's status has a 70-80% chance of being overwritten.

Performing the tricks

So far I have discussed the new tricks. In this section, I will focus on how they were combined and performed in the setting up run.

First, I unequipped Ayla's Bronze Fist with de-equip trick on a normal data. Second, I transferred it to a clear save file. Luck was manipulated so that Crono's status wouldn't be overwritten, leading to only Item ID overwriting and item duplication. Finally, I pulled off the glitch, using Data selection trick (you might think the save file is not entirely clear at this point, but overwriting only item ID doesn't affect the glitch performance).

Thus I got the glitched save file in which has Bronze Fists, which can be seen at the beginning of the run. For possible reference, I will provide a demonstration movie, showcasing all the three tricks in a short length.

Note: Make sure that your Snes9x 1.51 is 5 or newer version before playing the movie; otherwise, the trick won't be reproduced properly and it will desync in the end.

Detailed commentary on the movie

In this section, I will give a full description on the movie place by place, especially for different parts from the previous run. Note, however, that I didn't pick up any frame gain/lose from:

-Loading scene. This is highly rely on what emulator and ROM you are using. Since I used the different emulator and ROM from the previous run, it was very difficult to tell which was influencing on this. For ease of comparison, I decided to let it untouched.

-Text scene. All through the run, Japanese faster texts were helpful in saving a frame. However, I didn't think that kind of improvement was a real one because it was done without putting any effort in, hence I excluded them from counting. For reference, I suppose the text differences would be around 1000 frames in total.

Load Screen

The only way to change a critical hit RNG in the first battle is to load a save file on a different timing. I load the save file 55 frames late. This is a huge delay, but there is no RNG that will make a critical hit happen on the best timing in every three battles before that timing. 50 frames lost (I had already delayed it by 5 frames in the previous run).

Battle mode screen

I select Active. As I mentioned in the tricks section, you can reduce lag with the item screen opened. Wait is not suitable for this purpose, because it prevents the active bar from building up too.

Crono's name screen

I give Crono one-character name. The initial reason is that this is the Japanese version, and it was expected that most people here wouldn't care what he would be called in Japanese. I believe it wouldn't sacrifice any entertainment value. Since "Crono" is composed of three characters in Japanese, 2 frames will be cut off every time his name is called. 5 frames lost (but it will pay off little by little).

Lucca's name screen

I keep Lucca's name as it is. Shortening her name doesn't save any frame because it will appear only twice in the run.

Leene Square

Put Crono in a better position when returning the pendant to Marle. 2 frames saved.

Marle's name screen

For the same reason as Crono, I give Marle single character name. 5 frames lost (but it will be rewarded eventually).

Shop screen

As usual, this is a good chance to change equipment with slight delay. Here are all equipment I give Crono and Marle:

  1. Bronze Fists to Crono and Marle to deal 9999 damage.
  2. Haste Helms to Crono and Marle to double their speed.
  3. A Berserker to Crono to get the best critical hit RNG at the end of Lavos Shell battle.

The first two will be self-explanatory; the last may sound a bit strange. In the Lavos Shell battle section, I will take it up in detail. 6 frames gained by less equipment change. 1 frame gained by pressing Up instead of B in getting out of the shop, eliminating a null frame. In total, 7 frames saved.

Leene Square

Change the timing of entering into the area that sets the Candy cutscene, which allows you to pass the area without stopping. 5 frames saved.

Before Lavos Shell battle

Menu Entrance trick is used to change the battle speed to 2. That must be 2 because you cannot attack twice preceding the Hand Sickles of Inner Lavos at highest speed. In the previous run, I needed to set the menu cursor remaining function to reduce the amount of cursor movement. This time, however, I don't have to change anything except for the battle speed. 2 frames saved.

Lavos Shell battle

Weapon attack always increments the critical hit RNG for the next battle by 2; Berserker has additional increment before that process, which is depending on what an existing enemy's ID is. This additional increase is necessary to get the two critical hits in the Inner Lavos battle. This is why I gave the Berserker to Crono at the shop. Rapid cursor movement doesn't generate any lag in the battle, but affects the duration of screen transition. I will take it up in possible improvements section again. 1121 frames saved.

-Strategy

Character Attack Type Damage Total Damage Note
Crono Normal hit 390 390 Lavos Shell has 10000 HP.
Crono Critical hit 9999 10389 Fatal.

In the planning phase, I tried an alternative strategy:

-Equip Marle with a Berserker as well. Marle's shot has shorter animation than Crono's critical hit. If it were done on a normal data, it would definitely be faster. In a glitched data, however, you cannot prevent lag from occurring with the item screen opend anymore. Because lag is too much, it would be slower in the end.

After Lavos Shell battle

I change Crono's accessory from Berserker to Bandana. I have to minimize the RNG increase in the next battle to get the best RNG for the Core battle, and thus Berserker's additional increment is not necessary anymore. In the previous run, I healed Crono's MP once. Changing one kind of equipment takes much time than using one item. 12 frames lost.

Inner Lavos battle

All thanks to Berserker's additional increment, I've got the favorable RNG, which not only arises critical hits in the first two blows, but also offers a RNG that is close to the best RNG in the Core battle. The fastest strategy is to use Crono's normal attack once and Marle's critical hit twice. However, I have to twist it a bit to get the exact target RNG. Here are two things I do:

  1. In Marle's first turn, Have her attack after Lavos uses "does nothing" action. - "Does nothing" action increments the RNG like your character's attack does, but the increment varies depending on what the current RNG is.
  2. In Crono's first turn, use Slash instead of weapon attack. - Slash always increases the RNG by 1 unless it is used at multi-enemies.

Slight delay happens due to those changes. However, Both are necessary to minimize the RNG increase and get the exact target RNG in the Core battle. 3396 frames saved.

-Strategy

Character Attack Type Damage Total Damage Note
Marle Critical hit 9999 9999 The inner body has 20000 HP.
Crono Slash 36 10035
Marle Critical hit 9999 20034 Fatal. Once the inner body is dead, both arms also die.

Before Lavos Core battle

Unlike the previous run, Crono doesn't need any MP refill. All I have to do is enter and leave the status menu on the fastest timing. 57 frames saved.

Lavos Core battle

As a result of precise luck manipulation, I've realized a 1/256 chance of getting 3 critical hits out of the first 4 hits. This is the only RNG that allows you to sweep out all Lavos bits before they take any actions. I thus simply fire all the critical hits to the right bit. 3463 frames saved.

-Strategy

Character Attack Type Damage Total Damage Note
Crono Critical hit 9999 9999 The right bit has 30000 HP.
Marle Normal hit 29 10028
Crono Critical hit 9999 20027
Marle Critical hit 9999 30026 Fatal. Once the left bit is dead, the right and the center also dies.

Here is an alternative strategy that I tried in the planning phase:

-Switch the roles of Crono and Marle. Crono's normal attack is faster than the critical hit; the aim is shorter animation again. Under this RNG, however, Marle always takes her turn following Crono. That means, you have to wait for her turn enables, move the cursor on her and attack. Unfortunately, the delay is enough for the right bit to interrupt the final blow. It is feasible if you set down the battle speed 3, but that will be slower in the end.

After Lavos Core battle

Apparently, if you beat the center bit before it uses Time Warp, Lavos roar happens rather late. It's ironic that the quick kill results in losing the time. 96 frames lost.

End of Time

When the door opens, I put Crono in a position where it is 4 pixels closer to the door, but still keeps the amount of scrolling unchanged. 2 frames saved.

Possible Improvements

The only thing I can think of is to reduce the duration of screen transitions. Although the duration is consistent in most cases, it varies between a couple of frames in a few cases, especially around the three Lavos battles. Considering that even one key press affects the duration, I think NMI might be related in that. Due to its randomness, I mildly optimized them in making the run. If they all were managed perfectly, I guess another 5-10 frames would be cut off. However, I'm not positive about restarting the run for only lag management, because no one can possibly detect it after all. Unless other timesaver is found, I will never pick up the run again.

Credits

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has viewed and posted in the Chrono Trigger topic. Special thanks goes to Gocha for fixing the Snes9x bug that doesn't properly emulate the reset timing in playing back the movie.

I hope you enjoy the run!


mmbossman: Outstanding improvements. You've shown an absolute and complete mastery of this game, and I commend you for this (and the upcoming any%) run, inichi! This run is definitely worth a version change, so I'm accepting it as an improvement to the current "New game+" run.

ShinyDoofy: Processing...


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