Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 is the third game of the Tony Hawk series. This game introduced the revert and double tap tricks, which allowed for much longer and higher scoring combos. There are 8 main levels in the game, five of which are with goals scattered across the level, and three competitions.
In THPS3, the choice of skater affects which photo challenge goals one has to do per level (one for vert skaters and one for street) as well as the SKATE letter positions. The best goal/letter layouts are with skaters Jamie Thomas, Bam Margera, and Officer Dick. Officer Dick is an unlockable character, so he was out of the question. This leaves me with two options in Jamie and Bam. In the character selection screen, it is faster to get to Jamie than it is to get to Bam (two to the left for Jamie and six to the right for Bam), so Jamie becomes my skater of choice.
Another reason for selecting Jamie over Bam is with the default special tricks that each skater has. Jamie has a manual special, which is very important to score fast points, while Bam does not. To make changes to the special trick for Bam to replace his lip trick special with a manual special would take too long.
A nice bonus with Jamie's default special tricks is that it provides us with one flip trick and two grinds, which allows more variations and decreases the score decay when using the same tricks in a combo.
Immediately after selecting the skater, I change one of the grab tricks to the One Foot Japan. In THPS3, there are two grab tricks which score 800 points, Judo and One Foot Japan. When combined with a 180 boneless, it is enough points to collect full special meter. Jamie does not have either Judo or One Foot Japan as a default grab trick, so we must replace another trick. It's faster to select the One Foot Japan over Judo, so I go with One Foot Japan.
By default, each skater has stats spread across nine different stat categories. To make the skater have the best stats where necessary, I completely remove stat points from all balance categories and hangtime, and place what I can within Ollie, Speed, Switch, and Air while leaving it half filled for Spin. The reason Switch is maxed instead of Spin is that without being maxed, It is slower to skate in Switch than it is in regular. With the Switch stat maxed out, the skater has the same speed in both directions. We do not collect any additional stat points during the run, as it wastes time after completing a level, so we change the stats in the character edit screen.
The route used in this run is based on the current RTA world record which can be watched here
, which is done on the PC. The order of goals are pretty well optimized, however, time is saved in this run compared to the RTA run by optimizing the movement to complete the goals.
As for game mechanics, I abuse a quirk in the trick mechanics to continue certain combos without losing much speed by using manual for a few frames during a combo. This keeps the combo from ending without having the manual count as part of the combo and and allows me to quickly Ollie afterwards.
The fastest ways to traverse in the game is to grind on rails and ledges and to boneless. When grinding, your speed decreases over time, so to keep the speed up, I Ollie repeatedly whenever possible. This gives the added bonus of adding to the combo multiplier.
When ending runs, you get a few additional frames of movement, which I use in every level to complete goal objectives.
In Game Timer comparisons
| Level|| RTA WR|| TAS|| Difference|
| Foundry|| 1:30|| 1:31|| 1|
| Canada|| 1:48|| 1:48|| 0|
| Rio (Round 1)|| 0:56|| 0:57|| 1|
| Rio (Round 2)|| 0:56|| 0:57|| 1|
| Suburbia|| 1:26|| 1:31|| 5|
| Airport|| 1:48|| 1:49|| 1|
| Skater Island (Round 1)|| 0:56|| 0:56|| 0|
| Skater Island (Round 2)|| 0:56|| 0:56|| 0|
| Los Angeles|| 1:24|| 1:27|| 3|
| Tokyo (Round 1)|| 0:56|| 0:56|| 0|
| Tokyo (Round 2)|| 0:56|| 0:56|| 0|
In Game Time Difference: 12 seconds
This level contains the easiest and fastest goals compared to the rest of the levels, so I complete all of the goals within the level. One thing to note is with grinding the molten bucket, it is on a set timer to come out and pour which makes it grindable. Keeping this in mind, I must grind the bucket within a certain time period or else time is lost. After grabbing the secret tape, I jump fall off the steel beam and land on the sloped part of the molten compactor to give myself a slight increase in speed and give myself a proper angle to do the 50-50 grind on TCs rail.
Before grinding the 4th lever, I slow myself down a little bit to set myself up for the Soak The Foreman. This setup includes grinding the right rail on the walkway, then transferring to the long rail without doing an Ollie. This gives me the proper speed (albeit slow) to trigger the cutscene for Soak the Foreman and collect the last letter of SKATE at the same time. When triggering the cutscene, there is a small section which allows it to trigger without doing a grind, so I jump just before the trigger and land hitting the trigger.
With this setup, turning to the left places me on a platform with a rail, which allows me to do a quick grind and leads me to the final lever. After grinding the final lever, delaying ending the run up to a certain point skips the cutscene which appears after grinding all five levers.
From an area of use perspective, Canada is the smallest of non competition levels. Most of the goals are within a small radius of one another, so it's only a matter of completing the goals as fast as possible. Speed manipulation is limited as 120,000 points are also needed to complete all the score challenges within the small area of space. Because of the limitations of speed manipulation, the route is practically the same compared to the RTA run, but done a little bit faster.
The first of three competitions, Rio only requires around 25,000 points per run to get a third place ranking in the competition. All competitions take the score from the top left hand corner when determining a final score from the judges. The interesting thing with the increasing score is that it ticks up per frame after landing the combo. Ending the run one frame too early can make your score lower than the threshold to get third place. All the competitions themselves aren't really too special, but I do take a deviation in collecting points in Rio by using a special grind and special manual with a manual pivot to collect the necessary points instead of doing a manual and doing a special air trick off a tree planter.
The biggest amount of time saves are found here in Suburbia. Instead of simply rolling off the tree, I do a boneless upon landing on the lower half of the ramp attached to the tree to get myself some additional distance. When collecting the first SKATE letter, I set up my position to quickly grind the top of the under construction building and jump to the wooden rail with the axe on it. There is very limited space where you can successfully jump off the top of the house to land on the rail with the axe, so the position of my skater when grabbing the SKATE letter is important.
Once collecting the axe, I make my way to the wires with the branches stuck on them. Normally in RTA runs, runners go wide to give themselves a consistent setup to make the first wire. However, it's simply faster to go straight to the fence which leads me to the first wire. This saves roughly a second of time. The next time save comes when transferring from the first wire to the second. By doing a quick manual at a certain angle and then doing an Ollie, I negate the need to do a wider and longer manual to position myself to grind the second wire. This saves about a half second. Grinding the wires is an example where always hopping on the rails can have it's downsides as you can possibly jump over the branches instead of clearing them. Nevertheless, I hop as much as possible while increasing my score and cutting the angles to complete the level faster.
The most time is saved towards the end of the level when setting up to collect the final skate letter and the secret tape. Normally to collect the secret tape, you must give the axe to the thin man, which allows you to access the back of the haunted house and properly collect the secret tape. However, because I don't like spooky scary skeletons, I instead grind up a conveniently placed wooden beam which brings me to the secret tape. Instead of doing the slower real time setup, it's faster to simply bank off a ledge near the stairs to make the grind.
Airport is a relatively short level, similarly to Canada where most of the fast goals are within a certain radius. Because I don't mind getting screened by the TSA (and because it's faster), I take the shortcut through the baggage X-Ray machine to get to the photo challenge of grinding around the baggage claim area. On the way there, I must continue my combo to make sure I finish the run with over 300,000 points. I must also throw in a Crooked Grind somewhere in the combo to have the grind around the baggage claim goal to complete (the special trick does not count). With the use of some speed tech, I'm able to complete the level one second sooner in game compared to the RTA run.
Again nothing really too special with this competition, but it requires roughly 50,000 points per run to complete a third place ranking in the competition. Uses the same route to collect the points as done in the RTA run, but is done slightly faster. I do tie in third place with another skater after ending the competition, but the bias in ranking is given to the human player which gives me third place.
By far the biggest level in THPS3, Los Angeles has the goals spread apart across the level which also makes it the longest level in the run. The main reason for the length of the level being so long is with the requirement to cause an earthquake by grinding a few rails to complete some goals. With the rails spread out around a particular building, we must loop around the beginning area of the level to grind all four rails.
The route itself is not changed much compared to the RTA run. However, the biggest source of time saves in this run is due to doing a wallride up the small purple wall on the art installation where the letter T is placed instead of using the curved tall bench. Along with many movement optimizations, I'm able to shave three seconds of in game time compared to the RTA run.
Once again nothing too special with this competition, but it requires roughly 100,000 points per run to complete a third place ranking in the competition. Uses the same route to collect the points as done in the RTA run, but is done slightly faster.
All in all, I save 12 seconds of in game time (or roughly 6 seconds RTA) compared to the RTA world record when not accounting for loads. This was a fun experience to get myself back into TASing, and also doubled as a run-through of TASing tools for Dolphin before 5.0 release. A few issues popped up during the making of the run on the emulator side, but nothing really major occurred. My next challenge will be to do an "All Goals/Gold Medals" run of this game, so be on the lookout for that.
: Replaced submission file with a 248 frame improvement.
: A nice and fast paced run full of skating action. Accepting for Moons.