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Submission #5403: Sniq's SNES Super Metroid in 37:39.1

Console: Super NES
Game name: Super Metroid
Game version: JPN/USA
ROM filename: Super Metroid (Japan, USA) (En,Ja).sfc
Branch:
Emulator: lsnes-rr2-beta23
Movie length: 37:39.1
FrameCount: 135769
Re-record count: 158820
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: Sniq
Submitter: Sniq
Submitted at: 2017-02-24 21:22:09
Text last edited at: 2017-03-19 09:09:49
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (48032 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:

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Attributes

  • Forgoes major game breaking glitches
  • Forgoes out of bounds
  • Aims for lowest real time / frame count
  • Abuses minor glitches and exploits
  • Takes damage to save time
  • Manipulates luck
  • Speed-Entertainment tradeoffs

Terminology

  • Energy Tank = E-Tank
  • Reserve Tank = R-Tank
  • Power Bomb = PB
  • Gravity Suit = Grav
  • Speed Booster = Speed
  • Charge Beam = Charge
  • Ice Beam = Ice
  • Wave Beam = Wave
  • Hi-Jump Boots = HJB
  • Mother Brain = MB
  • Corner Boost = C-Boost
  • Damage Boost = D-Boost
  • Shinespark = Spark
  • Crystal Flash = CF
  • RNG = Random Number Generation

The list of rooms and names/nicknames for those rooms can be found here.

Tools Used

Overview

This is a new classic Any% TAS of Super Metroid. It beats both the real time and game time of the previous Any% records by Taco & Kriole (2009) and Saturn (2011). The real time improvement is 3522 frames (58.7 seconds) whereas the game time improvement is 2 seconds, resulting in a real time of 37:39.1 and a game time of 22:36.

Many fresh optimizations were found during this run, and the run is the first to include exploits found last year such as Draygon underflow to obtain over 65k Missiles / Supers, and "bowling skip" to skip the cutscene involving the Chozo statue in Wrecked Ship before Grav.

As was the case with 13%, this was created on Lsnes, a more accurate emulator compared to snes9x v1.43 which the previous runs were created on. As a result, I lose 2-3 frames per door transition and have more lag to deal with in comparison.


Route Outline

For the purpose of performing Draygon underflow, the best boss order ended up being Phantoon -> Draygon -> Ridley -> Kraid, an order not seen before in runs. A handful of major items were able to be skipped as a result, including ones previously-thought-mandatory such as Wave and even Charge.

Similar to 13%, I grab the Brinstar R-Tank as it is required for performing bowling skip, and it serves as a replacement to one E-Tank for surviving MB's rainbow beam. The ammo choices before Wrecked Ship are the standard and obvious ones. I need two packs of each ammo type in order to perform underflow later.


Details & Improvements Per Area

Ceres -> Blue Brinstar

The same improvements that were recently made to the Any% ACE run exist here - the 1 frame improvement to the tile room of Ceres escape and the 4 frame improvement to the Construction Zone revisit.

Although not an improvement, I found a way to fall down the right side of Parlor that matches the speed of the standard left side descent.

Awakened Crateria

By having one of the rocks produced by a Skree strike Samus, thus causing Samus to blink, 1 frame of lag was removed in the door to Flyway. In this case, even though the Skree produces rocks both when it perishes and when it burrows, I had to slay it on a specific frame before it burrowed in order for one of its rocks to strike Samus in a location where c-boosts would not be missed.

Upon returning to Parlor after Bomb Torizo, the "ball pump" technique was applied to the Alcatraz tunnel and saved 2 frames, and I was able to open the door to Terminator a frame earlier.

The last pirate in Green Pirate Shaft was disposed of in order to save 20 energy.

Two Kago bugs were farmed right before the Brinstar elevator. It's surprising that this option went unnoticed for all these years, considering it only cost 12 frames to perform.

Green & Pink Brinstar

Applied a new method for collecting the R-Tank by farming enough ammo in the Main Shaft to open both red doors in succession.

A few enemies were farmed along the way to Red Brinstar to afford performing the bowling skip later.

Red Brinstar

The first d-boost in Hellway was optimized just enough to gain previously-thought-impossible subpixels, and barely reach the right door a frame earlier.

A frame was saved by perfectly centering the door leading to the first PB pack, and two more were saved by reaching it 2 frames earlier.

More impossible subpixels were obtained by optimizing the jump and d-boost right after collecting the first PB pack, thus saving a frame.

Wrecked Ship

Phantoon was dispatched 1-2 frames faster than the published Any% runs, all the while collecting more drops during the fight.

Phantoon's drops were in much more favorable locations than in previous runs, saving a whopping ~70 frames.

In the Attic, some lag was reduced during the PB explosion, and 1-2 frames were saved by performing a lower jump while double-striking the Kihunter and Atomic from below.

Slopekiller was performed above the West Ocean, but the result was equal in speed. Ball pumping in those tunnels saved 2 frames, its usual amount.

Despite all the farming and pausing involved to perform it, bowling skip saved 8-10 real time seconds. The third pause was performed to return brightness to the screen so that the audience could witness it in action (since otherwise, brightness would not have returned until obtaining Grav), which is the primary speed-entertainment trade-off of this run, costing 2-3 seconds.

Norfair

The Ice path was approached more efficiently by falling off of the elevator's edge, shooting the door open earlier, and centering the door.

A few frames were saved in the Ice section compared to Saturn's 14% Ice run.

Maridia

Better room optimizations than previous runs led to a handful of frames being saved.

Norfair

Clever strategies such as c-boosting / walljumping off of frozen enemies were implemented to save frames.

Lower Norfair

Even more spark strategies than before were used here - a spark was performed in every room from Pillars to Kihunter staircase, and a spark was performed after the steel pirates encounter to fly all the way to Ridley's Gadora instead of dealing with the enemies and acid.

Norfair Escape

The spark through the exit pillars and knockback from the Multiviola to reach the ledge barely worked without HJB.

Kraid's Lair

It turns out that it's faster to use a regular bomb instead of a PB in the first room by 2-3 frames, an improvement over Taco's Any% WIP in that regard.

Kraid's lag was reduced majorly by firing Missiles at the rocks from point-blank range, resulting in a fight that is 20-30 frames faster than the one in my 13% run.

To Tourian

The spark suit gained at Kraid was used to reach the platform below the door, high above Mt. Everest.

Tourian

All (or almost all?) of the rooms were improved compared to previous runs.

Skipping the Super Metroid with a spark was barely able to work in these conditions (Speed, no HJB, no Wave). Unfortunately, this skip was still 13 frames slower than 13%'s method (coincidental numbers), but was the only option given the conditions.

Escape

2 frames were saved compared to my 13% run.

Additional

As you would expect, the never-ending ammo obtained through Draygon underflow saved time throughout the remainder of the run.


New Techniques

Bowling Skip

By allowing the R-Tank to trigger automatically while in the Chozo statue's grasp, Samus will be freed and allowed to move freely during the cutscene (after being teleported backwards a few times).

Maridia Green Gate Mock Clip

This gate is possible to open by mockballing into a frozen enemy at low height by using the peak momentum value (3.49152) - which is present for only 1 frame - combined with a dash value of at least 1.20480. Not only is this route faster, but also conserves a Super Missile, since that is what green gates normally require.

Botwoon Skip

What happens if the game has to decide whether Samus should collide with a wall or a frozen enemy? Surprise! The frozen enemy has priority, making it possible to clip inside solid objects. Properly positioning the Zoas for performing this skip is much more difficult with only Ice.

Draygon Underflow

The game uses the same memory address for reducing ammo via CF as it does for releasing Samus from Draygon's grasp via the directional pad. Therefore, through proper spamming of directional pad inputs upon initiating a CF while in Draygon's grasp, ammunition amounts underflow, and a spark suit is gained.

Boomerang C-Boost

Same as boomerang ledgegrab, except performed while c-boosting. Not sure if this saved frames anywhere.

Boomerang D-Boost

Same as boomerang ledgegrab, except performed right before making contact with a damage source. This causes the d-boost's momentum to begin from 1.57344 (or 1.61440 if Samus had a dash value of 0.04096 prior to the d-boost) instead of the usual 1.16384 (non-spinjump) or 1.24576 (spinjump). This technique saved a frame when Samus was struck by the Rinka in the last Metroid room in Tourian.

Missing Echoes

It sometimes reduces lag to prevent Samus from gaining speed echoes. (see Speed Booster Hall and Tourian Escape Room 3)


Known & Potential Improvements

When the run was ~80% complete, Reeve and I figured out that, despite the utilization of bowling skip, Draygon underflow, et cetera, a KRDP route would still be faster than this route, although the approximate amount by which it would be faster is currently unknown.

That being said, the route showcased in this run has very little potential improvement, but I'll try to list a few:

  • Somehow manipulating Kihunters in Lower Norfair into better positions so that rolling underneath them is not necessary?

  • MB2's rainbow had a delay of 45 frames, which I'm satisfied with since I think it's lower than the delay in all currently-published runs, but it could be lower.

  • It might be possible to improve steam RNG during Tourian escape by 5-10 frames if a brute force search was performed for some time (potentially weeks).


Special Thanks

Thanks to EternisedDragon, Overfiend, Reeve, Taco, Total, previous TASers, and the speedrunning community.


feos: As I promised 3 years ago, the option to obsolete the "in-game time" run is now available. That has already happened when [1368] SNES Super Metroid (JPN/USA) by Taco & Kriole in 38:41.52 obsoleted [1075] SNES Super Metroid (JPN/USA) "ingame time" by cpadolf in 41:02.4 by simply beating it by the IGT, and that's the case now again. The community generally approves of that scenario as well, so there's no issue with this.

Some people feel uneasy about the new glitch this run uses though: the underflow glitch that grants you a ridiculous amount of ammo. The previous runs had to manage that resource heavily, that being a part of the challenge, and now it's taken away after the point when the glitch is performed. So some expressed the wish to have "underflow glitch" and "no underflow glitch" as separate branches instead of "real time" and "in-game time". But that doesn't seem to be justified at all, firstly, because it's not that common an impression, secondly, due to lack of real arguments advocating such decision.

When two runs are published alongside each other, they should have significant difference that can be easily seen and clearly defined/explained, and the percentage of content overlap between them should be minimal. None of that has been proven to be true for "underflowed" and "underflowless" branches, as the only serious con is that the former feels less entertaining in that exact aspect of ammo management, and it's still very entertaining on its own. All the other content is conceptually the same: one has to beat the game ASAP without game breaking glitches, no other restrictions set. Moreover, as pointed out by the author: "Majority of the time saved comes from significantly better optimization and especially realtime optimization. Underflow was just berry on top of the cake." It sums up the lack of conceptual difference between these 2 suggested branches, since the greatest difference right now is in time saved due to things unrelated to "underflow".

So while this run has so much content overlap with the IGT one, it has just as much content overlap with the previous "no major glitches" branch. And in a situation when there are permanently so many branches of Super Metroid published alongside each other (which by itself isn't bad, as I said already in the thread), it becomes harder and harder to clearly differentiate between branches, so cross-branch obsoletion becomes unavoidable.

Another point that was brought up, aside from "feeling less challenging", was "feeling like a GT code". It sounds silly when you look at the technical details, but I'll explain our official take. It doesn't matter how many "cheap" resources a certain glitch can grant you. It only matters which way you access them. If you access them by entering a cheat code, you get rejected. If you access them by performing some actions that were proven to be a debug mode combination, you get rejected. If you glitch the game and enter the debug mode by corrupting memory, it's legit. This run doesn't even enter the debug mode of any kind, it just glitches a certain counter, that's all. Comparison to GT code is also invalid.

Finally, there's an argument that if "underflow" is allowed here now, all other branches will automatically demand it too, as well as the applicable Super Metroid hacks. While this seems to be true, as separating the "underflow" category doesn't look justified, I won't be setting any policies here, because the final decision can only be made when such a run is submitted and reviewed by the users and the judge.

Accepting this run as an improvement over [1368] SNES Super Metroid (JPN/USA) by Taco & Kriole in 38:41.52 and [1908] SNES Super Metroid (JPN/USA) "ingame time" by Saturn in 39:15.3.

Spikestuff: Publishi- ...dual obsoletion... Mother Brain.


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