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

Submission #4780: Samsara's SNES Run Saber in 13:05.27

Console: Super NES
Game name: Run Saber
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Run Saber (U) [!].smc
Emulator: BizHawk 1.11.1
Movie length: 13:05.27
FrameCount: 47194
Re-record count: 83416
Author's real name: SJC
Author's nickname: Samsara
Submitter: Samsara
Submitted at: 2015-07-28 15:20:24
Text last edited at: 2020-07-12 00:32:07
Text last edited by: Samsara
Download: Download (25840 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Rin Saber is a Fate/Stay Night spinoff game, released for the SNES (Sega Nintendo Enix-Square) sometime between 1900 and 2100. Meanwhile, Samsara is a fraud who can't write an honest, original submission text to save her life.

The Objective Origin

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 1.11.1
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Contains speed/entertainment tradeoffs
  • Does not use hardest difficulty, leading to at least 1 no vote from someone who failed to read the rest of this submission text
  • Embarrasses me less than my old run

The Encode Elevation

The Game Greetings

Dash Dagger is a game near and dear to my childhood. It's one of the first two-players games I've ever actually played with a second player, it's one of the first games I've ever actually beaten, and it's definitely the first game I've played that was named after a form of movement and a bladed weapon. It was developed by Horisoft, which sounds less like a company and more like a Las Vegas brothel, and it was published by a company that would go on to become one of my favorite game companies ever: Atlus. Horisoft would later go on to make classics, such as:

The currently published run of Sprint Scimitar was my first honest TAS effort, which is why it's really not a very good run. This improvement has, technically, been in the works since shortly after that first run was published. I've got copies of my old improvement run dating back to late 2011. So if you count really long hiatuses and generally not caring too much, this is a run almost 4 years in the making. Directly comparing frame counts of the two runs, this run is 1915 frames faster than the published run, and 289 frames faster than the old improvement run (up to where it ends at least). Every stage is improved over the published run by at least 3 seconds.

The Trick Table

  • Landing Cancel: Normally when you land from a high fall, you're forced to crouch for 8 frames. This can be shortened by crouching normally, saving a couple frames on each landing.

  • Tricking the Camera: The camera is on a heavily fixed track, WHY DID I LEAVE THIS UNFINISHED? Okay. Calm down, Samsara. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. Good. Okay. The camera is on a fixed track, and won't move in a certain direction unless it hits certain points first. When you move, the camera moves with you. When you run, it moves faster. By wiggling back and forth while running, I can trick the camera into moving at running speed while staying still. This helps the camera catch up to me at points where I'm near the edge of the screen. This also works with vertical camera movement by wiggling back and forth on slopes!

  • Boss Manipulation: Boss patterns are highly dependent on a couple things - Your current position and when you jump. Jumping a frame earlier may change a boss's pattern, while moving farther away or behind the boss may influence them to use a better attack or to move into a more favorable position. Bosses are usually invulnerable for 50 frames after every attack, but certain attacks may mess with their hitbox in a way that leaves them invulnerable a few frames longer, so it's important to manipulate these bosses into not using those certain attacks.

The Accuracy Accusations

BizHawk and Snes9x 1.43 are decently close in terms of time, but BizHawk is obviously slower because it sucks and we need to bring back Snes9x 1.43 immediately. Also, Mupen is the best emulator in existence, and PCSX is also amazing.

...Okay, seriously, BizHawk's accuracy leads to a few things being different. Namely, I'd estimate this run is about 3-5 seconds slower than a comparable Snes9x run. Loading times are longer, of course, with the biggest hit being right at the beginning of the game. Stages take... generally 7-9 frames longer to load, but right at the beginning there's a full second of difference.

On top of that, BizHawk emulates lag a lot better, so there's more lag throughout the run. Not much, but enough to be somewhat noticeable. One difference that isn't noticeable is that every time I land, I lose a frame when compared to Snes9x. I land a lot. Lots of landings. That's what LOL means, right? Good, that's what I thought.

On top of THAT, the camera acts differently a couple places, the most noticeable of which (to me at least) is that opening vertical shaft in Grey Fac, where the camera doesn't scroll up as much when I reach the top.

That's all alright, though. Losses I can't really control and all that. Speaking of which...

The Difficulty Dilemma

This run of Skip Cleaver is actually done on Normal difficulty as opposed to the previous two runs, which were done on Hard. "But Samsara," you ask, and now that I've written the Wanpaku Graffiti submission text I know for sure that I've used this as a setup before, "isn't that against site rules?" Well, yes. Bye!

...Alright, let's get serious. The difficulty differences in Stroll Rapier are so minimal that it's not even worth changing. Hard has less item drops and the enemies move a little bit faster, and that's pretty much it. It's barely noticeable. I've always been under the impression that the hardest difficulty is only preferred if it significantly changes the way the run is presented: For example, enemies doing more damage might mean less damage boosts, or more careful health management/luck manipulation. Enemies having more health might leads to longer, more satisfying boss fights. One hit kills means more excitement by dancing around each and every killing blow.

That doesn't really happen in Walk Sword, so I elected to just go for the default difficulty. No one in the thread seemed to mind, which makes it clear that people are going to complain about it in the submission thread. Can't wait for that!

This was kind of a hellish run to do, despite my constant statements that Strut Knife is a simple game to TAS. The difficulty switch threw off a lot of things, some of them being in my favor but most of them being a massive pain in the ass. I tried my best to adapt to these differences, which makes the run look a bit different than the published run. Overall, not changing the difficulty still saved time, as a fair bit of the time loss was balanced by time gained, and the time gained just from not switching difficulties was pretty significant to begin with.

What I thought to be a minor difference in Jog Blade turned out to be a major one in terms of the TAS. I think, oddly, this actually makes for a more entertaining movie due to all the new and interesting strategies I had to come up with to not lose time because of enemy placements.

Pardon me, I'm not used to saying good things about my movies, especially in regards to Form Of Ground Transportation Type Of Bladed Weapon.

The Stage Stresses

Like Splatterhouse, I stayed up quite a while finishing the run and knocking out submission comments and an encode, so more detailed comments about improvements and things will have to come at a later date.

Titles: The Intro Improvements

Loading times! Saved a bunch of frames by not switching to Hard difficulty, but lost over half of that in return with BizHawk's more accurate loading. I ain't even mad.

Taj Base: The Base Breakdown

Lots of better execution and the application of a couple tricks, new and old, allowed for a significant time gain over the published run. A new strategy on the boss allowed me to save about 3 seconds there alone, and my entertainment during the plane flippin' is a lot cleaner. Most of the time saved over the old improvement was in the boss fight, but I squeezed out a few more frames through sheer determination.

Tong City: The City Comments

One of the most improved stages. Two of the boss fights were improved significantly, and damage was taken to save quite a lot of time. I think this was what set me off to do this improvement in the first place, 4 years ago or whenever it was I started this. The rock wall boss is more boring, but I think it's ridiculous that there's a spot where you're 100% safe and still able to hurt it ASAP. So that's why that's there.

One thing to mention is that I intentionally walk for a few frames in one area to avoid being hit by a tiny enemy. It looks sloppy, but it's the fastest way I could deal with that part. Okay bye.

A little note on Kurtz fights: The more dynamic you are in these fights, the more likely he is to use attacks that extend his invulnerability time. In this first fight, I elect to just make it entertaining, which loses me some frames compared to my old improvement. It might still be faster than the published run's fight, though. I'll let you know when I stop cringing at my efforts from over 4 years ago.

The entire Undead Princess fight is basically a metal album cover.

Jodvalley: The Valley Violence

So this stage was a huge pain with the difficulty switch. The dinosaurs, being slower, messed up a lot of the routes I used in the published run and my old improvement. I spent a few days working out new strategies and ended up with what you're seeing here. It... turned out looking really nice, actually! Even if the new strategies are still slower, I think they look pretty cool.

Anyway, no vote, vault this piece of not-Hard difficulty crap.

The main miniboss of the level, who I've affectionately taken to calling Eaglebot, is much like Kurtz in that it's near impossible to be dynamic and entertaining while preventing him from using attacks that extend his invulnerability time, so once again I elect to lose some frames to actually have an entertaining boss fight.

There's no way to speed up the stage boss. RTA runs use a bomb for the last three hits, but in a TAS it's faster to just keep attacking normally.

Grey Fac: The Fac Facts

The smoothest stage in terms of improvements, pretty much everything went over really well. It's also the least improved stage when compared to the published run, but "least improved" in comparison to the published run is still a good 3 seconds. The section around Engine Knight is where a fair chunk of the time saved over my old improvement happens. Engine Knight was manipulated into a better pattern and the enemies right before it were dealt with much faster, as I didn't need the health.

The stage boss lags a hell of a lot once it starts climbing up the girders, so I stay still to minimize it as much as possible. Not the most exciting boss fight, but better that than LAG CITY.

Bruford: The Bruford Beatdown

One more bomb is used to save time! The new bomb use on the first miniboss saves about a second, and this was the second improvement I found that made me want to redo the published run all those years ago. Also, holy crap there was a lot improved in this stage, almost 11 seconds of the improvement were in this stage alone. I made a lot of really weird choices in the published run that I corrected the hell out of in this one. Less health pickups, faster boss spawning, much better boss manipulation, not being terrible at the bosses in general, all sorts of things!

The final hit on Orb Head 2 is delayed, as hitting him any earlier would cause him to drop down the side of the arena before exploding instead of exploding immediately. Kurtz 3 went incredibly well, since this was the fight against him that I chose to optimize as much as possible. About 90 frames were saved there.

The Abomination fight (second to last boss) was heavily improved thanks to Omnigamer's LUA script letting me know precisely how the boss worked: The bottom head of the boss is only vulnerable once the top two heads are destroyed, so I prioritize killing the top head ASAP, as it has more health. The bottom head doesn't actually start taking damage until a number of frames after the top head is killed, so I make sure to leave the bottom head vulnerable and hit it on the first frame it's able to take damage. Alongside that, the actual final boss was significantly improved as well thanks to me actually caring about it. The RTA strategy for Hard difficulty is used here for convenience, as it allows me to hit the core every 50 frames with a little bit of leeway. I don't need to hit the head as often as I do, but I like to think of it as revenge for how badly this fight went in the published run. That's right. I am the final boss. Shield my heart and slap me in the face.

Like the published run, I use a bomb to end input 50 frames early, because this is a TAS and I like the bomb animation. Sue me. That's right. You won't. Because you're a coward.

Please don't sue me. I'm a coward.

The Possibility Parade

I'll just go right ahead and say that switching the difficulty back to Hard could give a few frames benefit. I'm not entirely sure how much time I'm losing and gaining due to the switch, so it's entirely possible that I've lost more time than I've gained. I don't think that's true, though.

If you want to take some of the entertainment out of this run, you can be more careful with boss manipulation and save around a half-second. But who would wanna do that?

The Thanks... Theremin

  • Huge thanks to Omnigamer for rekindling my interest in this TAS with his amazing hitbox viewer script. This run would be quite a few seconds longer (and would have taken longer to make) without it.

  • Equally huge thanks to adelikat and the rest of the BizHawk crew for putting in so much work on TAStudio. Once again, it would have taken me a lot longer to do this run without it, and it would've ended up much longer as well. Not shorter. Why do I exist. Goodbye. Goodbye forever.

  • Thanks that are at the very least a 'meh' vote to ars4326, for being a constant source of encouragement throughout the creation of this run. Now you gotta accept it to Star tier. It's your duty as a new judge to give your friends the edge over the rest of the competition!

  • Finally, thanks to everyone else who supported me while I was bitching about the creation of this run in IRC. Inside joke. Meme. Scrimpy.

The Suggested Screenshot

Frame 15474:

(Not optimized)

ars4326: Accepting for publication to Stars! Claimed for judging :p

ars4326: Hi, Samsara. This was a remarkable improvement over your 2011 published run. From the improved "singing" sequence in the Stage 1 Boss fight, to the collective optimizations made throughout the course of the playthrough, this was an all-around demonstration of improved TASing. Carefully watching both runs side-by-side, I've also determined that the differences in difficulty are minimal (as outlined in the submission text). Thread feedback was also enthusiastic and unanimously positive.

Accepting to Moons as an improvement to the published run!

Spikestuff: Touch the finger...

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