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

Submission #5187: MUGG's GBA Stuart Little 2 in 22:58.18

Console: Game Boy Advance
Game name: Stuart Little 2
Game version: USA/Europe
ROM filename: Stuart Little 2 (UE).gba
Branch:
Emulator: Bizhawk 1.11.6
Movie length: 22:58.18
FrameCount: 82315
Re-record count: 38538
Author's real name: Christoph H.
Author's nickname: MUGG
Submitter: mugg
Submitted at: 2016-07-31 14:18:18
Text last edited at: 2016-08-08 07:56:29
Text last edited by: fsvgm777
Download: Download (45238 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

(Link to video)

Objectives

  • Takes damage to save time
  • Abuses programming errors
  • Uses Normal difficulty (Easy being an alternative that merely adds some pointing hands that tell where to go)
  • Genre: Platform
  • Used emulator: Bizhawk 1.11.6 mgba-core

About the run

This is a random little platforming game I had played way back despite never even having watched the second movie. I did watch the first movie, however, but forgot the plot.

At one point, I found a neat little glitch where if you run at a wall and turn around right before bumping into it, you could enter the wall and be ejected upwards. This allows for a number of time-saving skips and made the game promising to TAS. Unfortunately, the game has its share of annoying autoscrollers. The one in the 2nd level actually made me postpone the run for a long time. And now there is a cutscene skip I found while TASing that pixelates the graphics and makes some of the otherwise good parts of the run unwatchable. Thus the TAS probably turned out to be rather bland but I let you decide.

For all the tricks used in the run, go to the tricks section below.

Level by level

Level by level comments follow. A 💩 indicates poop. It means you will probably not get much entertainment out of watching that level.

Level Rating Note
1 Good Objective is to find 5 tubes of paint throughout the level. The devs have put a test room where the tubes are all located near each other so the run just clips into that room to finish the level.
2 💩 3 minute autoscroller. The emulator's lag counter didn't work correctly so the run probably loses about half a second to lag. After this, I added a "did the camera position change between two frames" check to my luascript for certain levels and reduced lag accordingly.
3 Ok Nothing to say, really.
4 💩 Can't see anything because of the A+Start glitch. We can skip both cutscene screens from this level, but the side effect is that it messes up the fade-in graphical effect and so it makes the level to be pixelated forever. I found that you could clip through ledges that are 1 tile thick. Unfortunately it seems you cannot clip through wall tiles or anything that's 2 tiles thick. Either way, due to the level layout and the devs putting death tiles in inconvenient places, I wasn't able to skip to the end. Not that you could have seen the glitch in action anyway.
5 Good In this level we have to clear some obstacles so that Margalo can travel to the right. The wall clip technique gets used to bypass and clear most of the obstacles.
6 💩💩💩 4 minute autoscroller + 2 minute autoscroller. Now is the time to go to the store and take a bathroom break.
7 💩 The A+Start glitch causes this level to be pixelated as well. The objective is to collect $3.00 worth of coins and I used what I think is the most optimal route.
8 Cool I like the music in this level. It conveys a feeling of quick pace and I like that. The wall clipping in this level is instant due to the different physics of Stuart.
9 Good The objective in this level is to find the 5 pieces that will be used to repair the plane. Unfortunately, I had to take the intended route in one place (crawling through two tunnels and jumping across water) because the piece in that section is located inconveniently. Here is a rough map, made by using Screenshot Autostitcher (thanks to TASeditor & feos for help making the map).
10 Ok Another autoscroller, but it's a short one and leading to the final battle with the Falcon. Not that it's a particularly interesting fight but yeah. The falcon behaves according to two timer addresses (first one determines when the falcon does something, second one determines how long he keeps doing that) and one mode address (what it is that he does: flying, attacking or nothing at all) and the fight has been optimized to the best of my ability by keeping those frame rules in mind. That's also why I did some loops through the air because it makes the timer addresses run in my favor. Input ends when the final hit connects.

Tricks

The tricks are also explained on the game resource page, but I'm going to explain them again here briefly.

Wall clip
This is the main trick used in the run. To do it, walk up at a wall and turn around before bumping into it. Thus you slide into the wall while facing away from it and you will be ejected upwards. NitroGenesis pointed out that you can do small hops in order to zip to the top very fast.

A+Start glitch
This is another very good timesaver. It basicly lets you skip a few cutscene screens that weren't meant to be skipped by pressing A and Start simultaneously. As a side-effect, it causes the pixelation screen transition effect to fail in some levels so those levels are played with pixelated graphics. In order to still see what was going on, memory addresses that determine the zoom factor have been edited ($04285c for BG, $04285d for OBJ). It didn't cause any desyncs. The A+Start glitch is also used at each password screen to trigger the sound and the fade-out faster.

Level 4 ledge clip
In level 4, where you drive around with a car in bird's view, you can clip through ledges with proper positioning. Unfortunately, the devs were careful and put some death tiles at one place where you could have skipped right to the end. So overall, this saved only 2 seconds or so.

Autofire pause glitch
During cutscenes, when there is movement going on, pausing over and over will cause the characters to move only half the distance. In some places, it enables you to move around as long as you keep mashing Start. E.g. When doing it while fading in into level 8 part 2, you can move a bit before the level has even started. And when doing it while fading into the post-level 8 cutscene, it allows you to reach the trigger faster that makes Stuart jump off the balloon ride (and also allows him to be displaced completely for fun).

Addresses

The game uses dynamic address assignment so they had to be searched per level. I used a luascript for this run but the addresses used in it have become outdated after hex-editing improvements in. If you need help with anything, feel free to contact me.

Links

Thanks

  • NitroGenesis for finding that you could zip up fast while wall clipping, and contributing
  • feos & TASeditor for linking me resources on how to make a rough level map (of level 9)
  • endrift and Bizhawk staff for mGBA and Bizhawk
  • Ashra for contributing


Samsara: I should judge a Little more often.

Samsara: It's like half autoscroller, but the parts that weren't moving automatically looked really tight and interesting. Accepting to Vault.

fsvgm777: Processing.


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