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Submission #3160: DarkKobold's PSX Final Fantasy VIII in 8:08:32.98

Console: Sony PlayStation
Game name: Final Fantasy VIII
Game version: USA
ROM filename: ff8disk1.img, ff8disk2.img,ff8disk3.img,ff8disk4.img
Branch:
Emulator: (unknown)
Movie length: 8:08:32.98
FrameCount: 1758779
Re-record count: 25870
Author's real name: K. Thomson
Author's nickname: DarkKobold
Submitter: DarkKobold
Submitted at: 2011-05-29 18:34:18
Text last edited at: 2011-06-10 00:10:47
Text last edited by: Nach
Download: Download (104455 bytes)
Status: published
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The first multi-disc submission to TASvideos.org!

Final Fantasy VIII needs no introduction. One of the three epic tales on the Playstation from Squaresoft, it is the first Final Fantasy to focus on a love story. This time, my eternal protagonist Z is an emo teenager forced to save the entire spectrum of time, instead of writing awful poetry. With the help of a broken junction system and a bit o' luck manipulation, he takes down 4 discs in record time.

Disc 1:


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Disc 2:


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Disc 3:


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Disc 4:


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Glossary

  • ATB - Active Time Battle, this is the bar that fills to determine when a character/enemy gets a turn.
  • GF - Guardian Force, allies that grant players special abilities, and can be called upon in battle. GF abilities require AP to learn.
  • AP - Ability Points, these points teach GF different techniques that the player selects. AP is far more important than experience in FF8, as GF Abilities are necessary to win the game.
  • Junction - GF's allow magic spells (up to 100) to be attached to a character stat*istic, which can greatly increase that statistic. This system is abused throughout the TAS to give the characters more strength and HP than normally available.
  • Limit Break - Special Attack for each character when they are in danger. These special attacks wildly vary, but are all very strong and useful. I manage to use each main characters limit break at least once during the run.
  • Crisis Level - A value that is computed every time a character is selected. It is partially random, and partially fixed based on HP. A higher Crisis Level tends to mean a better Limit Break. This value is hidden from the player, but observable through memory watch.

Tricks

Luck Manipulation

  • Delaying battles - by delaying when a battle starts, the amount of HP, as well as the starting ATB of all enemies and characters changes. Note, the RNG only changes once per 2 frames. HP is varied by the enemy level, which is randomly between 4/5ths and 6/5ths the parties current average level.
  • Character Select - by pressing circle, the currently selected character changes. Since Crisis Level needs to be recalculated, the RNG advances 1 step. This means I can advance the RNG once per 2 frames. It is the cornerstone of this run.

Run-Speed-up

Any time an action is selected, a preparation animation occurs. This can be skipped by running at the same frame the action is selected, and holding run until the action begins. Additionally, the animation for the anemic fall down that occurs after a limit break can be removed by running, allowing the ending speech of an enemy to occur 1 second earlier.

Action Queuing

Many bosses, such as NORG and Edea's 2nd fight, have multiple stages. After their first part is over, their ATB counter will jump from any value to be totally filled, and then they will begin a dialogue. However, this can be avoided by making sure that all actions required to kill them are queued before ending the first part of the fight.

Enemy Idling

Many, many enemies randomly have a 'do nothing' result when their ATB is full. This includes Ifrit, Diablos, Ultimecia round 2, NORG's discs, and more. Obviously, when fighting these, I make sure that the RNG roll comes up 'do nothing' when their turn comes. Some enemies do not have 'do nothing' commands, unfortunately. However, over the course of 4 discs, you will only see me attacked twice,not including desperation attacks (i.e. attacks when the enemy dies). See if you can find both of them!

Slower Battle Speed

I do NOT select the fastest battle speed. This pays off through the entire run. Note that the ATB counter maxes at 8000 instead of 4000 on the 2nd highest speed setting. The ATB counter fills based on your speed. However, since the ATB counter fills linearly, you actually get more turns than an enemy with a lower speed rating, at a lower battle speed. For example, the first fight with Ifrit would be impossible at highest battle speed, since Quisty would not get two turns for Ifrit's one.

Stutter-Walk

The encounter mechanics are really difficult to explain, so look at this post at SDA. In short, you can walk for a single frame, which increases your danger value by 2 instead of 5. Now, in a segemented speedrun, this can be less valuable, as saving and resetting resets the danger value. However, since you never save and load in a TAS, it is far more important. It is not always necessary to stutter-walk, and I created a lua script to tell me when to stutter-walk and when to just run. If people want, I'll create a separate post explaining all of it better. This disappears at the middle of disc 2, because I get Enc-None from Diablos

Disc 1

Balamb Garden

One of the TAS only tricks I pull off is skipping the first 7 cards that are given by the guy in the hallway. While it only saves ~6 seconds, it forces me to get 4 card drops, which are extremely rare (9/256). Additionally, only a few enemies I encounter will actually drop cards.

Trial By Fire

I went with Laser Eye to take down Ifrit. It is about 1 second slower than using Renzouken, but it will pay off later. Also, I wait for Ifrit to fill his ATB, and then have Quistis shoot her laser eye. This allows her to get a second turn before his ATB fills again, preventing Ifrit from saying his 50% health statement "Not bad for humans". Also, she needs Crisis Limit 4 for her Limit Break to do enough damage. Finally, I fight the 4 enemy battle, and pick up 3 cards, 2 bombs and a vampire bat. I need to fight this battle to gain 4 AP, or else the Eloverett Battle's AP will go to waste.

Fish Eyes

This is the battle were Laser Eye pays off, as the Fasticolon-Fs don't have to pop out of the ground (Damage is reduced by 50% while they are underground). However, only one RNG value allow Quisty's LE to be level 4, and still drop enough fins - thus, after she fires, Z speeds through all 255 other RNG values, to get back to the same value as before. If you ever wondered what cycling the entire RNG sounded like, this is it.

A Killer Test

At this point, I have the perfect 30 AP to get I Mag Ref, which turns 5 of my fish fins into 100 Waters. These junctioned to Str cause Z to become a powerhouse. In previous runs, I'd have to manipulate both G-Soldiers to have 85 HP, however, with Water on Str, Z can kill the higher HP one. I manipulate the single G-Soldier battles to have 85 HP, as Z needs to deal damage to himself, to get into Limit Break range. I use the Anacoundar battle to drop the final card so I can have a full hand. Note that the 10 AP gained is just enough to learn both Boost and finish off Card, which allows me to switch to Str-J and Card Mod.

Can You Hear Me Now?

The communication tower battle is the most difficult battle of disc 1, from a TAS perspective. Against Wedge, I don't trigger Z's Renzouken. This barely keeps Wedge alive, and thus I wait until Z's ATB is full again, before finishing him with Selphie. This allows me to Renzouken Elvorett twice, before he is able ever to attack. Unfortunately, X-ATM092 has too much HP, so I have to use Rough Divide so I am able to run. I use the Dollet Bar trick, as it saves well over 15 seconds.

The Graduate

Returning to Balamb, I pick up the Zell card from Zell's Mom. She sucks at cards, as she places the Zell card first, no matter what. This makes her easy to beat with my sub-par hand. The scene were you wait for the test results is one of the single most painful waits in the game - nothing can be done to make it faster - it takes a fixed amount of time, no matter what. After the SeeD party, Quisty takes you aside to the "secret place" i.e. make-out central, with the hopes of getting some. However, before that, she gives a tutorial on Status-Atk-J. This is important, because only in a Final Fantasy game would have a make-out session preempted by a tutorial. Quisty and Z make it to the 'secret place', and proceed to babble instead of kiss. That will teach her to tutorialize! In the Granaldo battle, I use Z to manipulate Granaldo into not attacking, which is why I delay Renzouken until right before Shiva. It saves 1-2 seconds using Renzouken right before, as that causes all enemies to die at the same time. Finally, after a good nights rest, I pick up the Quisty card from the cafeteria. This card battle is far more difficult than the Zell Card battle. Also, I manipulate a weaker hand for him, so my cards actually work.

Lord of Destruction

The Diablos battle would be one of the longest, if it weren't for a little love from Selphie. This is the only time 'The End' saves time, since it is such a ridiculously long animation. I tried it against Elvorett, and sadly, two Renzos are much faster than one 'The End.'

How NOT to Get Laid

Laguana is seriously the biggest wuss in all of the Final Fantasy Universe, which is saying a lot, because... well, Vaan. He does absolutely everything wrong, and still manages to get the girl to invite him up to his room. After THAT, he drones on for what may be the most akward conversation ever to take place on a gaming console. The first Laguana dream sequence really does nothing for the game plot, other than building a connection between Squall's father and Rinoa's mother, which almost makes the rest of the relationship seem like incest.


My First Mission is to go Logging?

I pull off the Rinoa skip, as it saves 2m50s. However, it prevents Rinoa from ever being in a menu until the final scene of Disc 1. Funny enough, if you open a menu while Rinoa is in the party in Timber, she disappears from battles. In the Deling battle, I use action queuing to prevent any talking after the fake president transforms into the ugly thing. Note, I junction Selphie instead of Zell, so I don't have to switch junctions for Laguna Dream Sequence 2. After the train sequence, I pick up invicible moon for Rinoa, but as she isn't actually in the party, I have to wait to use it. There is a whole bunch of nothing until...

This guy, again?

I don't trigger the bomb in centra, so I can't get Spd-J in disc 4, which is of questionable value anyway. I need all the AP I can get, so I can get both Enc-Half and Time Mag-Rf before the Edea battle. Also, note that Cottages are rare drops from the E-Soldier(Cyborg). I manage to get the 4 I need, so I can have 100 Curaga to junction to two characters.

Worst. Advisor. Ever.

The Iguanon battle goes slower, since I learned Enc-Half before Time Mag-Rf. However, the reduced encounters in Centra/Laguna Dream 2 saves far more time. I only need to switch the character junctioned with Diablos, so I have a continual Enc-Half. Also, note that here I assign Rinoa to learn Invincible Moon. I will bring this up later.

Disc 2

Irvine is Driving while Asleep

There isn't much to this dream sequence. There is a skip of the first dialog between Kiros and Laguna, however, it prevents the patrol from happening, and is therefore useless. Also, note that this dream is Squall, and Zell, and the other 3 characters in the prison. This means Kiros must be Irvine, who is currently driving to the prison. I'm sure he ran over at least 3 children on the way.

Prison Break!!!

I take Zell upstairs, to stop from having to switch Junctions three times, and only twice in the prison. I do manage to drop a cottage from the Red Soldier, which fills my cottage requirement. Angelo Cannon FTW!

Rinoa, I have something long, hard and metallic for you...

I take Zell and Rinoa here, so I don't have to switch Junctions. Also, bringing Rinoa prevents a ton of extra scenes between her and Z, if she goes with to Garden. Now, in the Missile Base, I can pick a fight almost right away, but that starts up the step-encounter mechanism, causing too many battles. For some strange reason, it is faster to help the Galbadians fire the missile. Rinoa's Angelo Cannon prevents the dialog from occurring after you fight BGH251F2. Also, I drop Shotgun Ammo for Irvine to fight the Oilboyles.

Who wants to Start a Riot?

nfq showed the minimum route to get Xu to appear. I copy his route, which is the "I don't care about anyone else" route. Only one battle is required to get Xu. Also, less dialog occurs if you don't fight in the infirmary. OilBoyles die quickly to shotgun rounds. The NORG battle uses action queuing to prevent his dialog after he opens up. I skip Leviathan, because he has no abilities worthwhile. Also, after NORG, I have Enc-None, which means no more random encounters to run from! I should mention that the coming Ellone scene is my favorite in the entire game, Ellone's theme is fitting for the mood she presents.

Crashing the Party

Balamb crashes into Fisherman's Horizon. Once again, Irvine's shot clears out all the enemies, extremely fast, and works much better than Renzo. It takes about 5 extra frames to get the correct tune to play, which is yet another remix of Eyes on Me. I counted about 5 different mixes of that song played throughout the entire game! Hope you like Faye Wong.

Something smells fishy...

It is much faster in balamb to move the guard away from the stair case than it is to go and grab the dog. This is most likely due to the long loading time between screens. I do draw Pandemonium, as he is a worthwhile GF for Spd-J, Str+40%, and Str+20%. Angelo Cannon is pretty awesome for these multi-enemy boss fights. Afterwards, it is faster to let Quistis invite me to tea than argue with her, since it won't matter. We head to Trabia next, which is just a ridiculous amount of dialog for the big reveal - All the main characters grew up together, in the same orphanage. No one remembers because of Guardian Forces.

Better Homes and Gardens

The two Garden battle is a long attack. Note, that there is about 5 minutes between when Rinoa falls off, and when you finally go and save her. She is literally hanging around for five minutes. That is some massive forearm strength. Seriously square, couldn't you have given her a platform to stand on, to make it at least somewhat realistic? Anyway, once I'm inside Galbadia Garden, I finish of Seifer with Criticals, and finish off Edea with Irvine's Shot, using action queuing. Drawing Alexander may have helped in Disc 4, for his Abilityx3, but I would have had to junction Z, which takes extra time.

Disc 3

I wanna be a Star!

I tried many fights with the dragon - the one where I get hit once, seemed to be the fastest. Otherwise, a pretty short and straight-forward dream, with lots dialog between here and the next dream.

Esthar

The boss is invulnerable to phoenix down, so I'm forced to use an Elixir. Otherwise, there isn't much to getting into Esthar. Ellone picks the worst time to send you a dream sequence.

Yet Another Prison Break!

Serves them right, seeing as Laguna kept his gun during the entire prison sequence. It is faster to use Laguna's limit break than junction Kiros and Ward. Nothing really exciting to manipulate, other than Laguna's starting ATB. Afterwards, Z and pals rent a car, and then head into space.

Crazy Panda Bear!

From the TAS perspective, the Lunatic Pandora invasion is one of my favorite parts of this TAS, as I have 5 minutes to kill, without having to worry about lost time. Thus, I get into two card battles which will help later. (Note, I have to leave the Odine Lab to start the countdown, and then re-enter to battle. I battle Odine and his assistant, as Odine has a rare, but the old man takes forever to think of what card he wants. Additionally, I do a bunch of stuff in the menu I wouldn't have otherwise done, Quisty learns a ton of blue magic, Guardian Forces learn useless abilities, I card mod away my entire deck of cards, and I take the SeeD test. I also shop for a nice pair of clean pants. I'm sure Zell spoiled his at some point.

Space, Space. Want to go to Space. Space. Space. Go to Space.

Space. The final... metric ass ton of dialog. There isn't much to do from a TAS perspective. I do hit the perfect frame for having possessed Rinoa move into the next part of the ship. Here we see the Rinoa free Adel, and Adel gets dragged down to Loony Panda by the Lunar Cry. Watch closely, and you may see the Space Personality Core from Portal 2! (Not really, back to testing). It is pretty cool when Ellone sends you back into Rinoa after the Edea fight. Ultimecia tells you to "get out", because 3 people inhabiting a single body is a crowd. After a ton of cutscenes, I finally get to do some real TASing, and fight all of the big nasties in Ragnarok. Since they all die to a single hit, the only thing to do is manipulate a high ATB for Squall. I think my order is the optimal one, faster than nfq's route. Then, we get the finally iteration of Eyes on Me, with lyrics!

Loony Panda Revisited

After another metric ass ton of dialog, we head back to loony panda. However, the dialog at Edea's house makes the beginning FMV finally make sense! Note that after you leave Edea's house, it is the last time to switch party before the Raijin/Fujin battle, and the damn game keeps switching your party! ERGH! Also, you will note that Renzouken makes a comeback here, and is the first time it has been used since Disc 1!

Disc 4

Ultimecia's Castle

The first boss is fairly difficult, since I can't manipulate any criticals - Limit breaks locked means no crisis level calculation, so no RNG advance. This is one of the few times that Squall is more valuable in a TAS than other characters - he can hit his 150% critical, regardless of the RNG. Listen closely at the clock tower, and you will hear a tone. This signifies that Angelo just learned Invincible Moon, 3 discs away, two screens away from the final boss. Talk about cutting it close.

Suggested Screenshots

Actual Suggested Screenshots

Thanks to -

  • zeromus - without him, this run would have never existed. The new PSXjin with hot SPU action is so much better.
  • adelikat - adding all the spiffy features to PSXjin, making it less of a retarded emulator
  • ForteGSOmega - His work on the Battle Mechanics FAQ saved me tons of time trying to figure it out myself. He also helped me over email.
  • nfq - for his initial run, which showed me a lot of time savers.
  • Dada - for watching WIPs, and keeping me motivated
  • Carcinogen, darkwasabi, Shush, and other SDAers - the SDA thread was full of great info, and Carcinogen taught me the run trick!
  • mz - his dialog skip script, while not perfect, was great for allowing me to speed through dialogs, as opposed to doing it by hand.

adelikat: Judging
adelikat: Accepting for publication

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