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

Submission #4442: TehBerral's GBA X-Men: The Official Game in 16:30.83

Console: Game Boy Advance
Game name: X-Men: The Official Game
Game version: USA
ROM filename: 2405 - X-Men - The Official Game (U)(Trashman).gba
Branch:
Emulator: VBA-rr-v23.6 svn480
Movie length: 16:30.83
FrameCount: 59180
Re-record count: 3146
Author's real name: Matt B.
Author's nickname: TehBerral
Submitter: TehBerral
Submitted at: 2014-09-22 00:17:11
Text last edited at: 2014-10-24 22:10:17
Text last edited by: TehBerral
Download: Download (5287 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
I had canceled my first submission of this game because after finding a number of general optimizations and finding out a bit more about how the teleport glitch works, I found that my last submission was, quite frankly, unacceptable.


(Link to video)

Game Objectives

To save a bit of time I'm mostly going to be talking about improvements I've added from my canceled submission. You can look at the comments there if you're looking for even more detail about the run, but I'll try to touch on as much as I can here while trying to be brief as well.

Danger Room I firstly want to thank Dooty for showing off some of the optimizations. I did make a bit of a change in the strats since I need to make a detour for boost energy for later in the run. I make this detour because grabbing the big energy blob in the first stage makes it so I can skip one in Maintenance Tunnel 2. (This saves about 1.97 seconds overall).

Virtual Sabretooth The only real change to this fight is that I go out of my way to pick up the big energy at the top of the boss arena. I didn't do this before because I was debating the time trade off, but picking up the energy here allows me to skip another, more time consuming pickup later. Just like stage one.

Alkali Entrance The optimizations here are mostly around cleaner platforming. I need to make sure Colossus can get all of the energy he's going to need for his upcoming boss fights, so I have him grab one orb at the end of the stage, and give the other one to Wolverine. Thankfully, the mooks' RNG was nice so they weren't shooting at Colossus while doing this, so everything went relatively smooth in this stage.

Note: there is a x4 energy at the bottom of this stage, but going out of the way for it is waaaaay less optimal than grabbing the needed energy on the way.

Gas Room With the new boost energy path, I can skip grabbing the energy on the right side of this room. So I don't have to be stopped by the gas as often as my last attempt.

Wiring Tunnel There's nothing new in this stage. But in case you don't feel like reading the canceled submission's TAS, I have to make sure Colossus touches one of the slopes in order to line him up to pass through two platforms towards the end of the stage.

Maintenance Tunnel 1 Wolverine runs much faster than Colossus and can also jump up the platforms quite a bit faster, so it's much more optimal to use him whenever I can and only use Colossus to break the walls. I was able to save around 10 seconds on this stage alone using Wolverine.

Juggernaut Due to not using Colossus so much during the last stage, I had to punch him a couple more times before gaining a full boost meter. I do a downward punch one of the times since it does a tiny bit more damage, and at that time wouldn't put me in a position to get hit. Overall, even with the extra needed punches, it's still faster than using Colossus during the stage.

Maintenance Tunnel 2 This is where the new boost energy path comes into play. I can skip two different pickups and save a large chunk of time. A lot of my new knowledge on how the enemies work was used in this stage. You might have noticed that there are a couple times when I stop to attack enemies and run through them. This is because often when you attack an enemy while his back is toward you, he'll either fall down, or turn around and shoot at where you were (after you'd already ran past him). This was used once to allow Colossus to smash a wall without getting shot in the process, and once towards the end to not only get an enemy to shoot in the other direction, but also to set up the following two enemies.

Half-Built Sentinel "Fight" This is the first time (besides the unavoidable time in the gas room) when I take damage in the run. I need to take damage in order to activate this glitch. To repeat what I said in my old submission, the basic line of action to trigger this glitch is as follows:

- Get the sentinel to fire his laser (which he does after a short time) - Attack the sentinel in boost mode after the laser is done - Take damage from one of the spawning drones - Knock said drone into the other (which will fly into the sentinel) - Run up and quickly attack the sentinel's torso and head in boost mode - Attempt to run to the left

The window for getting this trick depends on how fast you attack the drone, how quickly you attack the sentinel afterward and when you start to run back to the left. You don't have enough time to stop to put Wolverine in an idle state (3 frames) switch to Colossus (another 3 frames) and switch back and run to the left (about 5 frames) in order to preserve boost energy. So sadly I just have to let the boost energy run out a bit once the glitch is activated and try to gain it back in the next stage.

Elevator Shaft This took a lot of time to make and a lot of time examining how the RNG works for drops.

Which drop you get tends to change every 10-14 frames. It isn't always consistent, but it varies within that frame window. The smaller drops aren't necessarily a big deal, but they do add up a bit. The big focus is on the green mooks, since they're the only ones that drop big energy blobs. Keep in mind that I only need Colossus to have energy for one more boss fight until Comm Room 2. Wolverine on the other hand needs enough energy for four fights. Even if I gave all of the energy to Wolverine he wouldn't have enough, but grabbing as much as possible saves a lot of detours in other places.

The drops for the green guys tends to cycle as: nothing > health > energy > nothing > big health > big energy > X-token (a useless trinket since I won't be dying in this run). Like I said this changes every 10-14 frames, but by attacking them and camping out in their hit box I can wait and attack them in the frame window that will give me a big energy drop.

As a small note, due to the amount of sprites a lot of the time, the energy orb doesn't always show up graphically, but it's there as you'll notice by Wolverine's meter jumping up instantly. Sometimes I do have to take a hit (which is kinda ugly if I'm honest) but a lot of the time it was fairly unavoidable since moving out of the way would make it so I'd miss the frame window for the desired drop.

Funny enough, once I figured out how the RNG worked for the green guys, getting all three of the drones at the end of the stage to drop energy ended up being the hard part.

Office Area 1 This is where I can start using the teleport glitch. If you don't know, the regular animation for Nightcrawler's teleport is kind of slow (at least compared to running). You can glitch out the teleport animation, though, so that you teleport instantly - or at least after only 4-5 frames.

You can do this by jumping and teleporting on the same frame as you're meant to hit the floor. After you've done it once, you can start chaining it in mid-air and continue doing so until either the stage ends, or you teleport vertically.

You can get the glitch to happen during upward teleports as well by jumping and attacking, and then waiting two extra frames before hitting jump again to do the teleport. Sometimes it's not optimal since it requires not only an awkward jump, but also a couple extra frames to perform. It also cancels out the original teleport glitch, so you can't chain it in mid-air afterwards unless you jump and activate it on the ground first.

Assuming any of that made sense, this means I get to break the game thoroughly from here on out.

Office Area 2 Can you believe they actually expect you to use Colossus in this stage?

You might think it's a cop-out to drop below the stage like I do, but this actually avoids a lot of graphic lag. I can do an upwards teleport glitch at the end of this stage seeing as I won't need to chain the teleport before the stage ends.

Lab Areas 1 & 2 Very, very rarely the teleport glitch will transfer over into the next stage as it does here, so I can start chaining mid-air teleports from the start. I'm still not sure what causes it to transfer over since it doesn't seem to coincide with anything as far as I've seen. Regardless, I'll take it.

Pretty much all of the optimizations in this stage come from exploiting the teleport glitch. Both Lab areas are pretty similar in this regard so I'm going to just lump both of these stages together.

Pyro The only note-worthy optimization in this fight is forcing Pryo to stay in, basically, the same spot for the second and third rounds. Other than that I simply have to jump just before getting hit and this allows Wolverine to recover from damage quicker, also allowing him to attack twice within Pyro's shield.

Sewer Skipping past the redundant 2nd Lab Area.

The sewer took a bit of planning in order to avoid hitting as many enemies as possible. Sometimes I just have to roll with it and hit an enemy with the teleportation. Regardless, I found a number of times when I could activate the mid-air teleport chain to save some time.

X23 Pretty much as broken as it looks.

Comm. Room 1 Due to the new energy path I can skip a detour right at the beginning of this stage. I still make a much better detour later in the stage, but after that Wolverine is pretty much set for the rest of the TAS. He has three more boss fights and he's done for the run.

This is the first stage where I get into some vertical teleport chaining. No, you can't chain vertical teleports like the horizontal ones, sadly. Hitting enemies on the way up causes a slight hesitation before Nightcrawler can teleport again so I have to keep this in mind as I begin ascending the shafts.

Sabretooth A four-round fight is basically all I've been able to get this down to. He automatically attacks after taking a certain amount of damage and staggers back after taking an even more certain amount of damage, so there's only so much I can do. I was able to quickly use Nightcrawler to teleport behind Sabretooth to cancel out his last attack phase early.

I make sure to grab the energy for Nightcrawler at the end of this fight. I need Nightcrawler to have enough boost energy for Multiple Man, and to get an early hit on the last boss.

Comm. Room 2 The only detour I have to make is for a x4 energy pickup for Colossus. This sets him for the rest of the game since he only has the final stage left in terms of when he's going to be used.

Mystique Mystique can be RNG hell when it comes to her transformations. She always starts off as Xavier and will randomly transform into either a regular mook, one of the X-men, or a previous boss. The most optimal thing is for her to turn into an enemy that can be killed in one-hit (the dog). Thankfully, I didn't need to do any RNG manipulation to make this happen. Simply completing the second Comm. Room the way I did and skipping the cutscene on the first available frame happened to line up this pattern.

After that you just need to keep wailing on her and the fight should go pretty quickly. Her slap is a two-hit kill, but she should only be able to attack you once.

Stronghold Since Wolverine is okay for the next boss fight (his last) I was able to skip a detour for energy and end the stage quickly.

Stryker This fight can get pretty close to death if you don't get the first hit in before you take damage like I do. This is the only boss other than the Half-finished Sentinel that has multiple hit boxes, but sadly I haven't found a way to break this fight in the same way. :(

Sentinel Construction Hangar I was able to find quite a number of places where I could optimally do some vertical teleport glitches. For some reason it doesn't cancel out the teleport glitch as easily in this stage. So with that, this stage was fairly quick.

Credit where it's due; when you aren't teleport glitching, the scene where you see Master Mold in the distance is pretty foreboding.

Multiple Man I hate this fight! The auto-scroller tunnel was by far the most boring part to make. Then after the auto-scroller, the boss fight is piss-easy. Next!

Master Mold In this area I have to have Colossus destroy these pistons throughout the stage in order to progress. Due to better boost energy planning, I was able to use Colossus' boost to destroy the pistons in two hits instead of five.

As far as the Master Mold fight is concerned, I use Nightcrawler to get an early hit in and leave the rest to Colossus. There's a damage glitch with this fight. When you get him to spawn drones and uppercut them, it lags the game substantially. So much so that a single uppercut will hit multiple times, making the first two phases pretty quick.

For the last two phases, Master Mold starts firing a laser a la Death Egg robot, so I have to get as many hits in before he does so. The laser is one-hit kill, so I can't tank the damage, sadly. Regardless, once Colossus attacks the core for the final time and I skip the final cutscene (I still don't actually know what it says or why Storm is there, honestly) the TAS is finished.

Final Comments Again, big thanks to Dooty for showing off some optimizations for stage one. Looking at some of the platforming in his exhibition clued me into some smaller platforming mechanics I was able to use for later stages.


Mothrayas: Judging.

Mothrayas: Response was fairly good for the previous submission, and while this 2-minute improvement of that run didn't get quite so many comments, the votes are just the same. Accepting for Moons.

fsvgm777: Processing.


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