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

Submission #4148: Malleoz, CoolKirby & Masterjun's GC Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door in 4:52:30.72

Console: Nintendo GameCube
Game name: Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Paper Mario - The Thousand-Year Door.iso
Branch:
Emulator: Dolphin 3.5-1729
Movie length: 4:52:30.72
FrameCount: 1032141
Re-record count: 78815
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: Malleoz, CoolKirby & Masterjun
Submitter: Malleoz
Submitted at: 2013-12-31 21:42:25
Text last edited at: 2014-03-02 16:40:12
Text last edited by: natt
Download: Download (65260 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is an RPG made by Nintendo and is the second game in the Paper Mario series following Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64. It incorporates a world made of paper and turn-based battles, much like its predecessor. The story of the game is that Peach asks Mario to help find a treasure hidden in Rogueport. When Mario arrives, he is notified that the princess has gone missing. He later finds out that she was captured by a group called the Secret Society of the X-Nauts and has been imprisoned at their base on the moon. Mario has to collect 7 Crystal Stars in order to save her and open the Thousand-Year Door to retrieve the treasure that they’ve been searching for.


(Link to video)

This run was live streamed on the Twitch channel of the WR holder for this game, almolicious, with commentary from him. A video of that stream is available here.

Objectives

  • Emulator used: Dolphin 3.5-1729 (also syncs on this 64-bit A/V sync Dolphin build)
    • Dual Core and Idle Skipping off
    • DSP LLE recompiler
    • No memory cards inserted (Slot A and B: <Nothing>)
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Abuses programming errors in the game
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Genre: RPG

We used the ISO with the MD5 checksum db9a997a617ee03bbc32336d6945ec02 from dumps of our own game discs, though this run also syncs on the ISO that’s widely available online with the MD5 d13426a926055be11a8330b27fe231ea.

Authors’ Comments

Malleo

Considering that my childhood consisted mostly of this game, I had a blast TASing Paper Mario: TTYD. It was interesting to learn and understand the strange game mechanics behind this masterpiece. This run wouldn’t have been possible without Kirby and Masterjun. Kirby began TASing this game much before me. At the time, I was interested in joining him, so I did so. Masterjun was able to explain most of the game mechanics, such as RNG advancement, as well as discover the speed swap glitch. I’d love to have another opportunity to work with them.

CoolKirby

I have to say, both Dolphin and this game’s route have come a long way since I started working on this back in summer 2011 on the feature-starved, desync-prone Dolphin r7323. I’m really glad Malleo came along, since I hardly had any time to work on my run after I started college. He did many of the rooms in the run while Masterjun and I were busy with school. And I’m really glad Masterjun came along and figured out the RNG patterns, and also discovered the Speed Swap glitch, since we use that for at least half of the movement in the run to save time everywhere. I’m very happy to see this run finally completed and I hope the three of us (or either combination of two) can work together again sometime.

Masterjun

I was the last person to join this project but because of my discovery of speed swap we had to redo everything from the start once I joined :P. With TASing itself I was more active in chapter 1 and a bit in 2 but I was more the person that gave the proper tools for better and easier TASing. I built the custom Dolphin build that shows things like position, speed, RNG, etc. on the screen (we call it TTYDolphin :D). I also sometimes looked into the game code to understand what's going on, for example when something was determined by RNG or if we were unsure if something would work with enough manipulation. It was a pleasure working with Malleo and CoolKirby.

RAM Addresses

All values are Big Endian. GameCube RAM Addresses start at 0x80000000.
Offset Name Value Type
0x008C6504 X-Position Float
0x008C6508 Y-Position Float
0x008C650C Z-Position Float
0x00B079CC Speed (X and Z)* Float
0x0041E3C0 RNG 4 Bytes
  *Does not apply to contact with other objects. Walking into a wall will give a speed value greater than 0.

Glitches and Tricks

Speed Swap Glitch

Oddly enough, in this game Z-axis speed is greater than X-axis speed (2.6775 vs. 2.25). However, it’s possible to maintain this greater speed while still walking on the X-axis by abusing the fact that the game takes at least 1 extra frame to update your speed. Unfortunately this glitch does not work with Yoshi because the game updates his speed faster.
  • The main way to speed swap is to walk on the Z-axis for 1 frame and jump the next frame (in any direction) and have the Z-axis speed. This will save 1 frame every 8 frames.
  • In a few cases, this will not work, however. For example, Peach and Bowser both cannot jump in their respective sections of the chapter. The next fastest way to speed swap is walking on the Z-axis for 2 frames, then walking in any direction for 14 frames, and repeating this however many times it is needed. This can also be faster for Mario instead of jumping in some cases.

Red Bones Battle Early

After pressing A next to the Red Bones to trigger the Dull Bones falling, there’s a frame where Mario can move, a frame that freezes Mario, and then a frame where Mario can move again. On that last frame, pressing A again will cause Mario to jump next to the Red Bones. After Mario gets pushed back to the left, this somehow triggers the battle right away. This might be because the game stores Mario’s position next to the Red Bones hitbox, but we’re not entirely sure. This does not work for Dark Bones because Mario does not have that extra frame of movement after triggering the cutscene.

Goombella Buffering

After pressing X to activate Goombella’s ability, Mario can move for 4 frames before being stopped by her text box. This can be used to inch into loading zone trigger areas and bypass them. We use this in Hooktail Castle to skip getting a key from the flipping staircase room. Once you walk or drop out-of-bounds, precise movement is required to clip back into the room. There are no other known locations where this can save time in any way.

Block Switches without Koops

When Mario jumps onto a switch that raises or lowers a block, there is 1 frame where the game can be paused. Once the game is unpaused, there is another 1 frame opportunity to jump off of the switch while activating it at the same time. This allows us to hit a green and later a purple switch in Hooktail Castle the second time around without using Koops while normally his ability would be required to progress.

Puni Glitch

Chapter 2 requires you to guide Punies around the Great Tree to complete certain tasks. Often, Mario can lose these Punies if he gets too far away from them. However, if you move toward the Punies for a short amount of time and then jump away from them, the game will not update the Puni count. This is used to skip a few small puzzles that would normally be required to progress, such as blowing the Punies across the bubble room.

Danger/Peril Status

From Chapter 4 on, we have Mario take damage to be able to use the effects of the Power Rush and Mega Rush badges. Power Rush increases Mario’s attack power by 2 when his health is 5 or lower (Danger), and Mega Rush increases his attack power by 5 when his health is at 1 (Peril). Not only can these badges be equipped and used at the same time, but multiple instances of both badges can be stacked, increasing the effect by 2 or 5 for each extra equipped badge.

Plane Pad Skip

After going back to Hooktail Castle, you can skip a plane panel by hovering with Yoshi on the far edge of the rising yellow block, saving several seconds.

Fish Glitch

This glitch is the reason why we do Ms. Mowz’s trouble after Chapter 4 and get her as a partner. If Mario falls into water immediately before using Ms. Mowz’s ability, the player can regain control of Mario while in the air. We use this to get on top of the gray block that previously prevented Mario from opening the Chapter 5 and 6 warp pipes. This allows us to exit and enter those two chapters at any point (though the Chapter 5 pipe will not load properly if entered right away). We also use this to skip a boat panel after getting the Boat curse in Pirate’s Grotto and a switch in Chapter 8 that removes a statue to the Riddle Tower.

Hopping Off Yoshi Before Cutscene Areas

Hopping off of Yoshi on the last frame possible before entering a loading zone allows you to load the next area while Mario is getting off of Yoshi. This saves time when the next area has a cutscene that starts immediately because the cutscene will play earlier if Mario is already off of Yoshi than if he has to automatically hop off.

Bill Blaster Skip

Upon entering Pirate’s Grotto, you can use Yoshi to hover around the first set of Bill Blasters. In both Chapters 5 and 8, you can transform into Paper mode and creep along the edge of the wall to get Mario past them without triggering the battle. In Chapter 8, you can also use paper mode to pass between two Blasters instead of sidling along the wall.

Chapter 7 Gear Room Skip

If you come out of the pipe that places you on the structure to the left of the moving platforms, you can hover with Yoshi over to the left and get the Card Key without the use of the airplane panel which was originally intended. From there, Yoshi can hover to the save block, and Mario can spring jump upwards to land on the moving platforms.

Shadow Sirens Skip

After completing and exiting Riddle Tower, Mario can push up against the bridge and jump over the cutscene trigger for the Shadow Sirens rematch. This works because the cutscene only starts if Mario is on the ground while in the trigger zone.

Riddle Tower Boat Panel Skip

By using the previously mentioned fish glitch right next to the front statue before Riddle Tower, Mario can get over the statue’s hitbox and land on the plane panel without hitting the switch in the background.

Chapter 8 Green Switch Skip

In Chapter 8, you can hover with Yoshi behind the large green block to save a few seconds.

Wooden Wheel Skip

By transforming into paper mode on the wooden wheel, Mario can walk up the side without falling off. This skip saves a significant amount of time (over a minute) from activating the rotating wheel.

Chapter by chapter comments

Prologue

There’s not a ton to say about this small portion of the game. The use of speed swap will not be noted in these chapter comments because we pretty much do it everywhere. The first notable thing in this Prologue is the slightly different item route from the WR. We pick up more Fright Masks and we get a quicker, free Fire Flower in the sewers later on. After the Goomba Trio fight, with the use of the Speed Swap glitch, we were able to make it across the platform to the pipe without stopping and waiting like we had to before. After going down said pipe, we hit the block next to the Spiked Goomba and jump to manipulate it to fly out to the left side. If we didn’t jump, it would shoot out to the right instead. This might be related to the effects of the Red Bones Battle Early trick. After the Blooper fight, the distance between the platforms when they are farthest apart from each other is too far to speed swap nonstop, so we have to wait a bit for the platforms to move.

Chapter 1

The first part of this chapter didn’t have anything interesting besides Dolphin’s inaccurate emulation of the sewer water. One small thing to note is that during the quiz, there’s a small chance that the Thwomp statue will ask, “Are you sure?” during questions 2-4. It occurs randomly and can be avoided by advancing RNG a few times. He will always ask this on questions 1 and 5 though. There was slight RNG manipulation to get FP after the Fuzzy battles. In Hooktail Castle, we utilized the Red Bones timesaver to save roughly 2.5 seconds. Following that, we used Goombella Buffering to skip getting the key in the large staircase flip room. After getting the paper curse, we backtracked to the Red Bones room. Once there, we used a small trick to jump before Koops grabs the key. This is done by shooting him far enough to the left so that he grabs the key at the last instant. After leaving the room that Ms. Mowz appears in, we do an interesting strat that seems to serve no purpose. Pausing gives Mario an extra frame to move around without triggering any enemy battles. By doing this 7 times, he can maneuver around the Dull Bones without triggering an encounter. Before leaving Petal Meadows, we get Mystery for the Shadow Sirens battle in Chapter 2.

Chapter 2

First off, we get the P-Down, D-Up badge for financial purposes so we can afford Mega Rush and Power Rush, and Quake Hammer for Chapter 3 battles. We then manipulate Mystery during the Shadow Sirens battle to use as a Shooting Star. The main difficulty in this chapter was the cute, yet annoying, Punies. In the room with the bubbles, we use the Puni glitch so they don’t run away. We spent a lot of time trying out Jabbi battles with different RNG values and went with the best we could get. Because the Punies get scared by Piders (and not the Yux!?) we have to do the Puni glitch again a few rooms later. We get a Thunder Bolt for the Hyper Clefts battle in Chapter 3. We do the same Puni glitch again to skip the switch that makes the water drain out. After we placed the orb in the Crystal Star room, we took it out once all the Punies triggered the cutscene because we wanted to see what would happen. This caused an overlaying text box glitch. Pressing A when two text boxes are overlaid will actually close both text boxes at the same time. We still manage to beat the WR’s escape time though we leveled up, which took several more seconds. At this point, the Punies don’t matter, so we let the Pider scare most of them away, and leave the rest in the bubble room. There was some RNG manipulation to get Power Rush on sale in the badge shop and have Charlieton sell Mega Rush, which is a 25% chance.

Chapter 3

Because of the conditions that Mr. Grubba finds necessary to put on every fight, we constantly manipulated RNG so each condition doesn’t cost any time. The first battle versus the goombas will always have the same condition. We have no choice but to appeal. When we go after the Yoshi egg, which has poorly programmed collision detection, we activate the same double text box glitch for fun. We run from the Armored Harriers battle because that will hatch Yoshi whose Gulp ability is their only weakness. When swinging the Super Hammer, it’s intended that Mario hammers and holds down B. Instead, while in the air (either hopping off of Yoshi or jumping) we can hold down B and hammer swing without actually hammering beforehand. We let the Red Chomps take us down to Peril status to get the attack power boost for the Rawk Hawk and Macho Grubba fights. After Chapter 3, as Mario goes to the Thousand-Year Door, switching partners before flipping out of paper mode will cancel out the transition from paper to regular mode.

Chapter 4

Cronikeys discovered that the Pig Mayor cutscene can be triggered from outside his house. Unfortunately, due to the nature of his movement pattern and the area of the cutscene trigger, it would require waiting too long to activate and therefore cannot save time in any way. We get into a battle with some Hyper Spiked Goombas to quickly get into Peril status, manipulating a 0.195% chance for all three of them to attack Mario on the first turn. Once more, we switch partners before switching out of paper mode to save time on the way through the Twilight Trail. When we talk to the Boo in the main Steeple room, we do so from the left so we get pushed closer to the door we need to enter next. The highlights of this chapter were most likely typing in Doopliss’s name incredibly fast, the A spamming during the Bowser intermission, and the Fish Glitch. We have to enter Chapter 5 the normal way so that everything loads properly.

Chapter 5 and 6

The route for these two chapters may seem confusing, but the main idea is that it skips half of Chapter 5. The only reason we even need to go to Chapter 5 is for Bobbery, and later the Boat ability. We used the Hopping Off Yoshi Before Cutscene Areas trick for two cutscenes in Keelhaul Key. After getting Bobbery, we exit through the blue pipe. We then fish glitch from the top of the grey block to the blue switch and then into the water. By falling back into the water, we respawn on top of the the grey block again, saving us from having to fish glitch an extra time to get back on top. We then complete the train and Riverside Station in Chapter 6 the normal way to get the Ultra Boots. After the Smorg Battle, we go back to Chapter 5 to complete the Pirate’s Grotto for the Boat ability. Because we already went to the next Chapter, the entrance to the Grotto is automatically open. Then, we go back to Chapter 6 and enter Poshley Sanctum to get the Garnet Star. After the Bowser section, we accept Frankie’s trouble so that we can get the Gold Card, which will give us the ability to trade in Piantas for badges (and other items) at the Pianta Parlor in West Rogueport. This is used to buy 6 more Power Rush badges. We use the slots as it’s the fastest way to win Piantas.

Chapter 7

There’s absolutely nothing to note about Fahr Outpost. This part of the chapter is about going randomly to past chapters in search of General White, who Mario later finds sleeping, and Goldbub, who is at Poshley Heights. Inside the gear room in the X-Naut Fortress, after coming out from the pipe in the background, we used the Gear Room skip to skip an airplane panel and save a significant amount of time. Then we hover on top of the save block and spring jump up to the platform to save more time. Unfortunately, after hitting the switch to reveal the staircase to the door, the platform is a couple pixels too far to the left for Mario to jump on it nonstop, so we have to wait.

Chapter 8

To start the chapter off, we squeeze past the Bill Blasters in a way similar to that of Chapter 5, but in this case we can pass them in the middle instead of going against a wall. Unfortunately, the Red Bones cutscene skip does not work with Dark Bones because Mario does not have an extra frame to move for some reason. We pass Riddle Tower to fight Gloomtail and then backtrack to the tower. Prior to fighting Gloomtail though, we only activated one of the two blue switches outside of the tower that remove the statues from the boat panels. We only need to remove the one closest to the tower because we can fish glitch to skip the first statue. By canceling out Ms. Mowz’s text box later, Mario gains more height but less horizontal speed. So we delay the text box long enough for Mario to have enough height to pass the statue’s hitbox on the side and land inside the statue to use the boat panel. After completing the long series of riddles, we leave the tower and venture towards the palace doors on the right. On the last bridge before the doors, we jump strangely on the Z-axis. This is to bypass the Shadow Sirens rematch to save several minutes. After using Koops to release the platform so Mario can cross over, we use Yoshi to hover behind the green block to save several seconds over hitting the switch to lower the block. We skip spring jumping onto the second pipe in the next room by hovering with Yoshi. In the next room, we transform into paper mode and walk up the wooden wheel. This saves time from originally having to make it rotate. In the next room, we break the wooden panel on the edge so we can drop down and avoid hitting the spring below. After using the airplane panel and retrieving the key from the following room, we go to the plane panel again. By using it on the very lowest point on the Z-axis, we’re actually in front of the platforms to the right. During the Shadow Queen fight, we used Bomb Squad with Bobbery. During the second phase, the game requires you to hit the Shadow Queen three times in order to trigger the hands pulling the audience into the ground. Jumping once, having one bomb hit her, and having the last two chain together ends the phase as early as possible. Once Mario gets some encouragement from everyone, we skip the first round of the second fight to get down to Peril status. A huge problem with this battle was the jump cap, which is the maximum number of jumps, decided by RNG, that Mario can do in a given turn. With RNG manipulation, we were able to get a 9 jump cap, which was just enough to take the Queen out. With the power of Power Rush, the Queen has fallen and Mario has saved the world and found the secret treasure!

Known Improvements

This trick, discovered after the run was finished, can only be done after the Goomba Trio fight because of an invisible wall that’s present. However, it can save about 4.5 seconds after the Trio fight from going around the right side.

After the Cleft and Bristle battles at Shhwonk Fortress in Chapter 1, Mario can jump right before the gate opens. This saves 46 frames.

Outside of Hooktail's Castle, we use Koops's shell ability to hit the blue switch as Mario hammers the other. Though this is the intended strategy, recently we discovered it was possible to activate both switches without the use of Koops. To go along with this, the first time through Hooktail Castle, Mario can hit the green switch, as well as the purple switch a few rooms later, without using Koops. We did do this during Ms. Mowz’s trouble though. That strategy can be used to open the pipe to the Castle. This can save several frames each time.

In Hooktail’s Castle, when we retrieve the key to open the door to get to Hooktail’s lair, we can hit the block while dropping down from the air saving 4 frames.

In Riverside Station, there’s a blue switch that was later found to be able to be activated by jumping on it in tube mode instead of unrolling and hitting it with the hammer as we do. This would save roughly a second.

At Riverside, Poshley Sanctum, and the Shadow Palace, when spring jumping up to the poles, it is possible to press A to cancel the swinging animation to save a bit of time.

Possible Improvements (with different RNG)

In the Prologue during the Blooper fight, it is possible to get an HP Drain from the crowd, which can be used during the Gold Fuzzy battle to save around 10 seconds. With the RNG in our run, we would have had to wait way too long in order for the audience to be holding one.

Both Jabbi fights may be able to be improved through extensive manipulation of RNG and better movement.

Overall, luck manipulation, most often associated with getting the best scenario possible during battles, may not require as many frames to be wasted if either of the previous improvements were implemented.

We were experimenting with the Flurrie Glitch which involves using Flurrie as you open up a door. This can be used to walk around outside of a building and into the blackness beyond. We could not find any uses at this point, but that doesn't mean there might not be one in the future.

Suggested screenshots

Frame (not VI): 91610, 356849, 641018, 1029999

Special Thanks to

  • Cronikeys for discovering most of the glitches in the run, including the Riddle Tower fish glitch, Hooktail Castle Plane Panel skip, Shadow Sirens skip, and many more
  • Nathanisbored for discovering the Fish Glitch
  • Almolicious for the any% route, streaming our run and sharing all his knowledge about the game with us
  • RachelB and Bobo the King for helping with the Paper Plane parts
  • Everyone in the TASVideos thread and on YouTube for their encouragement and motivation
  • Flavio for motivational purposes :D


Ilari: Changed time 4:46:42.35 -> 4:52:30.72.
Nach: Very nice run. Sorry for the delay, there were many technical difficulties. Accepting as first run for this game.
Natt: Processing (May take a while)...

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