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

Submission #6130: The8bitbeast's SMS Sonic the Hedgehog "Max Special Bonus" in 20:27.28

Console: Sega MasterSystem
Game name: Sonic the Hedgehog
Game version: USA/Europe
ROM filename: Sonic The Hedgehog (UE) [!].sms
Branch: Max Special Bonus
Emulator: Bizhawk 2.3
Movie length: 20:27.28
FrameCount: 73542
Re-record count: 73852
Author's real name: Jake M
Author's nickname: The8bitbeast
Submitter: The8bitbeast
Submitted at: 2018-10-20 03:06:56
Text last edited at: 2018-11-03 00:53:30
Text last edited by: Stovent
Download: Download (26618 bytes)
Status: published
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(Link to video)

The above encode cuts out the long tedious score screens for the sake of keeping a fast paced run. I’ve also uploaded an unedited encode here: https://youtu.be/hkagni5v4sY

Sonic the Hedgehog is one of Sega’s most successful mascots, appearing shortly after Alex Kidd and Opa Opa. The first Sonic game was released in 1991 for the Genesis/Megadrive titled “Sonic the Hedgehog”. Later that year, Sega released a Master System version of the same name. The Master System version is completely different from the Genesis version. Sega then released the Game Gear version which is a reworked clone of the Master System version.

Dr. Ivo Robotnik, the mad scientist, is snatching innocent animals and turning them into evil robots! Only one tough dude can put an end to the demented scientist’s fiendish scheme. It’s Sonic, the real cool hedgehog with the spiked haircut and power sneakers that give him super speed. Spin ‘til you’re dizzy, save the animals and become the super hero. Be Sonic! Be atomic!

Category Description

This TAS completes the Master System version as fast as possible, while collecting the maximum special bonus at the end. This is essentially the 100% equivalent category for this game.

The maximum special bonus is 500,000 points and to receive it you must to the following:

. Collecting all 6 emeralds - 50,000 points

. Collecting all 18 lives (one on every level, special stage lives don’t count) - 50,000 points

. Playing all 8 special stages - 50,000 points

. Completing all 8 special stages - 50,000 points

. Not losing a life - 100,000 points

. Completing all of the above – 200,000 points

This category is a category for RTA speedruns. The leaderboard can be found here: https://www.speedrun.com/s1sms#Max_Special_Bonus

Note: To get into a special stage you need 50 rings on a level. There are 11 levels where you can get 50 rings, but only the first 8 let you go to special stages. This means we have to go to the special stages out of the first 8 possible levels (act 1 and 2 of the first 4 zones).

Timing Method

The TAS timing is close enough to what I want for this run, but it’s not perfect. There are problems with optimizing for purely real time and problems with optimizing purely for game time. To hear more about these specific problems, see the submission text for my any% TAS: http://tasvideos.org/5129S.html

There’s another timing method called RTA-TB which is what the RTA speedrun community uses. This is essentially what I optimized for with the slight alteration that I still ended inputs as early as possible. This is the time of the run minus the time which is spent ticking down the time bonus. I still tried to minimize the time that the ring bonus was ticking down in the special stages. But I didn’t slow down to reduce time bonuses.

TAS Timing: 20:27.280

RTA-TB Timing (like on https://www.speedrun.com/s1sms ): 19:28.104

RAM values and Scripts

I was heavily using Scripthawk while making this TAS. It is an extremely useful tool that supports many games. It can be found here: https://github.com/Isotarge/ScriptHawk I also had a RAM watch of some useful values
Description Value
X Vel 1404,1403
Fade Timer 1289
Ivo Hit stuff 12EC,12B1
Lightning 12E9
Platform X (sky1) 156A
Platform Y (sky2) 12A2,12A1
Misc 1493,1492,14EB,146A,1469

Tricks and Techniques

This TAS is all about building and maintaining speed. If you can build a little more speed, that difference will be present on all following frames giving a large net improvement. The majority of tricks in this run are to do with building and maintaining more speed than intended.

Broken Speed Cap

When not in water, Sonic's X speed is capped when it exceeds 0x0300. However, the cap is only applied when Sonic is walking or jumping and the same d-pad direction is pressed. If Sonic is moving faster than the speed cap it is best to let go of all directions to preserve this speed as the cap will not be applied. Water has a speed cap of 0x0100 which can be exploited in the same way as on land. So if Sonic is entering the water at walking speed, it is best to let go of the direction input temporarily to avoid the speed cap being applied. This allows for faster movement speed when entering water. Exploiting the cap in this way is possible in an unassisted run.

Speed Cap misalignment (a.k.a alternation boosting)

Normal acceleration when holding right is 0x0010 velocity units per frame. When not holding any direction, acceleration is -0x0008, or -0x0010 if you are at or above 0x0300. If the speed is 0x02FF and right is pressed, speed on the next frame will be 0x030F. If right is held on the next frame, speed would be capped to 0x0300. But if right is released, speed would be reduced back down to 0x02FF. Therefore it is possible to alternate between pressing right and letting go every frame to alternate between speeds of 0x02FF and 0x030F. The average speed during this movement is 0x030E, which is greater than the speed cap of 0x0300. A side effect of this technique is a visual animation glitch which is seen throughout the run.

In practice, Sonic's velocity has increments of 0x0002, so it’s not possible to achieve a speed of 0x030F. But it is possible to alternate between 0x02FE and 0x030E. This is a rarity though, since manipulating the last digit of X velocity to be E is difficult. The way to achieve this is to start climbing a hill which will lower speed, then jump off when the last digit is E. This is often not the fastest way to move since you would only be averaging speed 0x0300 leading up to the hill and there is not always a perfectly placed hill to use this method of misalignment.

It is possible to alternate between 0x02FC and 0x030C on arbitrary terrain apart from in water. This is achieved by rolling then pressing left. The roll has acceleration -0x0004 which puts you at 0x02FC. Pressing left exits the roll but lowers speed to 0x02CC. After building back up to 0x030C the alternation process can begin. Jumping out of the roll at 0x02FC unfortunately doesn’t work. Since slowing down is needed to set up the alternation boost, it is required to boost for at least 28 frames to be worth it. This drawback along with the extra lag from boosting means that this method is not used in every possible situation. The game has a few different types of lag. One type still has the game complete the calculations for that frame and successfully render, but it doesn’t read input, rather it just copies the input from the previous frame. In levels with this kind of lag, alternation boosting is impossible since it requires different inputs on each frame. The bad type of lag is more common in the SMS version, but it still occasionally happens on Game Gear.

In a run optimizing purely for game time, alternation boosting would be used in more situations since lag does not cause game time to increase.

Unbounded Roll Speed (a.k.a Roll Zipping)

When rolling on flat ground, acceleration is -0x0004. But when rolling in the air and holding right, acceleration is 0x0010. This is the same acceleration as walking, but unbounded as the speed cap is not applied when rolling. The most well-known exploitation of this is in Green Hill 1 where the level can be beaten quickly by rolling off the ramp near the start which is used in unassisted runs. This technique is used in the TAS far more than in unassisted runs, for example Jungle 1, and is the most common method used to exceed the speed cap throughout the run.

Unbounded Negative Velocity

When Sonic is rolling and the player presses the opposite direction on the d-pad, he stops rolling and the game subtracts 0x0030 from his velocity regardless of his facing direction. Since travelling left is negative velocity, subtracting from it speeds Sonic up. So when travelling left, it is possible to increase speed in that direction by 0x002C every 2 frames. This is a greater increase than the usual 0x0010 per frame. Since this process does not involve pressing left while not in a roll the speed cap is never applied. This technique is used in many places throughout the run.

Spring Rolls

The GG version has a quirk where you hit the ground weirdly. Your y velocity goes to 0 but you’re still kind of in the air and kind of not in the air. There’s a point where you’re technically in the air enough to hit a spring but you are on the ground enough to roll. So you can hit an upwards spring in your rolling animation. This means one thing… roll zipping, and a lot of it. Since you get so much height from the spring you can build up massive speed. Unfortunately this isn’t possible in the Master System version so this TAS doesn’t use it. But I’m writing about it hear for full documentation.

Optimal Signpost hitting

In this game when you hit a signpost at the end of the level it flies up with height depending on how fast you hit it. The level doesn’t finish until it hits the ground and stops spinning. If you slow down enough it doesn’t fly up any more but it does spin for a little while. If you hit it nearly still then it lets you finish the level nearly instantly (here finish the level means sonic runs off to the right and the jingle for the end of level starts earlier, it’s still a few hundred frames until the level actually fades out).

You can actually hit the sign with 0 velocity by jumping over it, stopping in the air then falling onto it. In practice, this is slower since you can hit it with very close to zero without wasting time by jumping. You’ll usually see me jump after hitting the sign in this TAS. This is mainly to reduce lag and is used in almost every level. If it’s not necessary to jump then I don’t do it, because I don’t want to give runners a false impression that jumping after hitting the sign is faster out of the context of lag because depending on what frame you jump, you might save or lose time to lag over just walking. I also often jump off the capsule in the end of act 3 for the zones, this is also a lag reduction technique.

Rising platform clip (Labyrinth)

This was already mentioned briefly in the version choice section and is a v1.0 exclusive glitch. If you stand on the edge of a rising platform and let it push you into a roof, sonic will clip into it. If you try to press into the wall then you will clip back out, but it you stand there on some platforms you will eventually zip up. I often look up while doing this in the TAS, but that was for lag reduction and it doesn’t have anything to do with the actual zip mechanics.

Corner Clipping (Green Hill 2)

By jumping at a corner in Green hill 2 with the right jump and the right x position, you can clip into the corner and often shoot upwards. This is most well known with the spring that shoots you left, because the left speed is so high that it makes it easy to do without TAS tools. This glitch is actually possible to do at normal walking speed with enough subpixel optimization, as can be seen here: https://youtu.be/WjTVhIEvtRA

It only seems to work when coming at a corner while going left and it doesn’t seem to work in levels other than green hill 2, even with very similar corners.

Damage boosting

If you take damage you get hit the opposite direction that you’re facing. I use this to get hit in the desired direction whenever I use a damage abuse.

Bridge Jump

An example of this glitch can be found here: https://clips.twitch.tv/RoughHappyPicklesPermaSmug I’m not sure if the runner in this clip discovered it, but it is the first example I was made aware of.

The glitch happens when walking across a bridge with falling segments and sometimes sonic can shoot up in the air as if he had hit a spring. This glitch doesn’t save any time on bridge 2 since it’s an autoscroller and doing the glitch causes a lot of lag. But using it in Bridge 1 it would save a lot of time. The reason for this is that you can do a glitch similar to the “spring roll” glitch and get a lot of speed and also you wouldn’t need to use the see-saw.

After learning about this glitch, I managed to get it in Bridge 1 and TAS the level using it: https://youtu.be/iJXsJTuSezY

While this saves about 100 frames real time in any%, it’s not worth it for max special bonus because it causes you to miss so many rings.

Ledge Velocity Thing

You know that thing in most TASes where you try to jump off a ledge and get down lower as soon as possible. Then it’s better to jump so that you land barely further than where the edge ends because then you have big downwards y speed. But if you just ran off the ledge you would have 0 y speed when you leave the ledge and have to build speed after leaving the ledge (see super Mario bros tricks page for an example). Also a similar concept happens when you’re trying to go under/above a wall and you shouldn’t bonk on it.

I’m going to call that the “Ledge Velocity Thing” to save time.

Quick Box Turnaround

If I need to get a monitor and turn around quickly, there’s a good method to do this quickly. The idea is to avoid the slow turnaround by using the monitor as a wall to stop your velocity. This then causes the issue of how to break it. You walk away from the monitor for one frame, then back towards it for one frame, then roll. This breaks the box but leaves you with an extremely low speed so you can turn around quickly. See the extra life in Green Hill 3 for an example of this.

Special Stage Optimization

This isn’t a glitch but I think it needs its own section outside of IL comments. The pink springs bounce you the lowest, orange are in the middle and green is the highest. Sonic is always in a strange movement state where it’s impossible to roll, you’re stuck at the speed cap (0x300) if walking, but if you jump you can exceed this speed cap to a max of about 0x1500. This is very different to normal movement, where a jump is capped at the normal walking speed cap.

When bouncing on a spring there’s a frame where you’re in the walking state, so you’ll snap back to the walking speed cap. This can be avoided by letting go of right on this walking state frame. You lose a tiny bit of speed, but it’s much better.

The curly bumpers will usually eject you with a slight boost in x velocity, but in the other direction. Usually this is not worth it, but sometimes it is (Special Stage 3). The ends of the curly bumpers can bounce you up or down depending on a few things.

Special stages 5-8 are repeats of 1-4 but with pink bumpers added. These pink bumpers are supposed to be annoying, but they actually help a lot in TAS as they open up more options.

Optimizing the special stages is fairly straightforward. You try to get where you need to in as few bounces as possible. Usually this involves slightly slowing down, so you make sure to slow down as little as possible. Then you go through and make sure there was no lag. You do this process for all of the possible routes (there’s not many). You also need to make sure that you get a minimal number of rings because each ring wastes a frame ticking down on the special stage score screen. See special stage 4 and 8 for a good example of ring dodging.

Individual Level Comments

Green Hill 1

Having to get 50 rings slows me down here. Getting rings 15-18 sacrifices time because I end my roll earlier than optimally. I get the invincibility to reduce lag as the box causes more lag than the stars around sonic.

For the hill roll/jump I can’t go super high like in any% because if I outrun the screen too much the extra life won’t load. I bounce off the speed shoes so that I can maintain a consistently fast speed while not going too fast for the screen. When I get the extra life, I manage to get it without bouncing up, so I can get some rings shortly after it (rings 27-30, offscreen). I sacrifice some time towards the end to get up to 50 rings. Otherwise I could roll for a lot longer.

Special Stage 1

This stage takes 3 bounces no matter how hard I tried otherwise. I make my first 2 bounces on purple springs so that my third bounce can come as soon as possible, hence the end of the level comes as soon as possible. From here it’s all lag reduction, ring dodging and making sure I cross the final curly bumper as soon as possible, as right as possible and with as much speed as possible.

Green Hill 2

Getting the 8 rings as the start means I have to do a shorter jump to fall underground. This means I have lower downwards speed for the ledge velocity thing, which loses some time. This is minimal time loss and is definitely worth it for the 8 rings. I get the ring box which takes me to 18 rings. This is mainly because I need the rings and secondarily to reduce lag. Unfortunately this means that I have to walk off instead of doing the ledge velocity thing, but the lag reduction makes up for most of that.

After the extra life, I roll through the water to break the speedcap. Being able to use the extra life ledge without losing time to get in there (since I need the life), this makes the watery section a bit faster than any%.

After the water section I hit the spring to shoot me left and do a corner clip. I then use the unbounded negative velocity trick to get through the water quicker and fall down to the emerald. This is where the route diverges from RTA, because I can do a precise corner clip to zip up.

When jumping across the gap at 0:22 I land on the moving platform and stay on for as long as possible. This gives me a small speed boost as it adds my speed to the platforms speed. For the last few rings in the level I had to slow down significantly. This was the part of the run I was least happy with, but it’s unavoidable since there aren’t many rings in the level.

Special Stage 2

Everything up to the fall at 0:55 takes a certain number of spring bounces, so I just reduce rings and lag before that. During the fall I bonk on the wall, which looks like a mistake but I actually use it to line up my position correctly with the spring bounces without causing extra lag.

Green Hill 3

Ivo flies too high to hit in the first section of the fight where he’s flying. When he comes down you can land 7 hits but it takes 8 hits to kill him. The second time that he flies, he is actually a pixel lower, so you can hit him while in the air. You have to hit him at the lowest point of his flight, which lasts for a few frames, but whether or not you can hit him depends on your y subpixel value before the jump. This means it’s a 1 frame trick, but it’s also inconsistent because of subpixels. I manipulated the subpixel value so that I could hit him on the earliest frame possible.

This boss is much easier and faster on the Game Gear version since the small screen size made everything squish together meaning you can hit Ivo easily during any flight.

Bridge 1

I sacrifice some time from rings 11-17 to get more rings. It’s less than a frame that I lose for several more rings, so it’s worth it.

The falling bridge/see-saw area has a lot of lag reduction. I then achieve the very difficult movement of using the see-saw speed to get across the next waterfall without jumping (this is one of the hardest tricks in the run).

While offscreen I can’t collect rings, so this makes the ring count quite bad towards the end of the level. I use the bush offscreen to jump to the extra life. I have to slown down a little to get the extra life monitor on screen so that I can break it.

While it doesn’t look like it, the jump to get the emerald is actually a clip. I jump not quite high enough to land on the grass above the emerald and I get far enough into the wall to fall down. This is similar to the clip in Bridge 3 in the Game Gear TAS. Near the emerald I have to sacrifice some time for the rings above the falling bridge. If I went at full speed I would go past the first one.

Special Stage 3

This stage was a mess to route and if I used just springs it would take a stupid amount of bounces to get to the end. I decided to utilize the curly bumpers speed boost to avoid needing a bunch of spring bounces at the end.

Bridge 2

Autoscrollers suck. This level is really laggy but with careful lag reduction, I didn’t get a single lag frame :)

I do a glitch at the end for playaround where I clone a falling bridge piece. This is done by grabbing a ring at the same time that it starts falling. The bridge piece that remains is not solid. It was very hard to do this glitch without causing lag.

Special Stage 4

Careful lag reduction and ring avoidance.

Bridge 3

The extra life is hidden to the left, I do a quick box turnaround. The side that Ivo comes up on is RNG and it’s determined when you enter the fight. I manipulate him to be on the right at the end of the fight because he leaves the screen sooner at the end, saving about half a second.

Jungle 1

I avoid getting the shield for lag reasons. It would get me to the life a frame faster, but it would lose heaps of time later on until I found a place to lose it. The life is in a very awkward spot. I was sad that I couldn’t find a way to get it faster, but my method was still a bit faster than the intended method. I bounces on the crab after the life to get heaps of speed.

If I had more speed I could get over the swingy platform at 0:13 (like in any%), but that wasn’t possible here, so I waited for the cycle. Some careful speed cap management allows me to not slow down very much in the water section.

At 0:21 I have to jump quite high to turnaround in such a way that I have enough speed to make it to the lower area. In the lower area I have to ride the water thing for a little while but I use unbounded negative velocity to speed it up a little bit. Since unbounded negative velocity gives me such a high speed, I could actually jump off much sooner and make it to the emerald, but this would mean that the water thing is too far away to make the jump back.

At 0:32 I could have jumped across to the next area, but it’s better to wait for the falling log cycle so I can roll off the last log to gain a lot of speed. This speed cam be used to come off the ramp so fast that I make it to the end of the level very quickly. The green viney ramp is very bad for dropping sonic off it if he goes too fast, so I have to slow down a bit so that it actually flicks me up rather than dropping e off the bottom. If you hold right at this point, while you’re off the screen in the air, you’ll most likely go past the end of the level, so I avoid this and instead make it so that I’m standing still on the signpost as soon as the screen catches up (the signpost doesn’t load until it’s on screen)

Special Stage 5

This still takes 3 spring bounces, but the pink bumper makes the gap between bounce 2 and 3 much smaller, so this is quicker than Special Stage 1.

Jungle 2

This is quite similar to any%. The camera only moves up when you’re standing/walking on ground. So rather than optimizing for how quick I can climb the waterfall, I optimize for climbing it quikly, but spending as little time jumping as possible. My ring choices are also influenced by how much I can stay on the ground, but there aren’t many choices anyway. You have to wait for the screen to catch up in some places because the moving logs don’t load until they’re on screen. This level is interesting to TAS since you can’t see sonic most of the time, but with good scripts and RAM watches, it’s not too bad.

Special Stage 6

The pink bumpers save some time at the start over Special Stage 2, but lose some time towards the end.

Jungle 3

I jump down to the life and spend as little time in the water as possible. I use the water speed cap to turn around quickly after bouncing on the life. This is a satisfying section because the life is very slow and awful to get casually.

Labyrinth 1

At 0:09 I have to get the shield because I need to do a damage boost and can’t afford to lose my rings there. I do a little clip on top of the box and use a roll off the box to both break it and gain some speed. Usually you can’t easily get on top of a box because you’d have to jump up there and jumping breaks the box. Doing this roll on the box means I can’t get a quick turnaround but it’s worth it since I can break the speed cap to the right with a roll.

At 0:20 I damage boost to the right to get past the enemy. The intended method of waiting for it to shoot the projectiles and then killing it is incredibly slow. After the enemy I would normally do an upzip with the elevator like in any%, but I need the rings, so I have to ride the elevator up normally. I get the enemy offscreen as soon as possible to reduce lag.

After the lift I spawn a bubble and get it to reduce lag from the drowning countdown timer. I then can more freely use unbounded negative velocity to get a lot of left speed without causing too much lag. The turnaround at 0:37 looks slow, but that’s mainly because I have to wait for the spikey ball. After this, I grab some rings, but have to jump back down and then up which is really slow. I though perhaps I should have gotten some more other rings earlier, but there wasn’t enough to avoid the down and then up again issue.

Special Stage 7

Bumpers help tremendously and I save a bunch of time over Special Stage 3. This is my favorite Special Stage in the TAS.

Labyrinth 2

No horizontal underflow like in any%, I have to get a lot of stuff. When I first enter the water I avoid hitting the speedcap which lets me get left very fast. I then wait for the enemy so I can roll bounce off it, this saves a lot of time. After getting the life I elevator zip up, which saves heaps of time and allows me to do a quick roll in the area where the enemy was earlier. At 0:35 I roll off the edge and carefully manage my speed. I manipulate a bubble to spawn at the bottom because the counter causes lag and I would run out of air without a bubble. After getting the bubble is one of my favorite parts of the TAS. It’s a normal jump that gets heaps of rings, but it also has the bubble animation which is funny. The next few sections involve grabbing as many rings as possible as I don’t have much room on the ring count in this level.

I can zip up the lift since there are no rings on the normal path up. I then get the invincibility so that I can grab the emerald. On the way to the invincibility the spikey ball was in a bad spot so I actually roll under it. After grabbing the invincibility, the water level is much lower than it is in any%, so I can get a lot of speed through that last water section.

Special Stage 8

Pretty much the same as Special Stage 4.

Labyrinth 3

Getting the life is hard casually, but easy in TAS and you can use unbounded negative velocity a lot. I didn’t like how I had to exit the spikey life area. You can’t jump far enough to make it on to the next platform closer to the boss so I had to fall down onto the one before and then jump to the next one. I thought about jumping on the tiny ledge up near the first set of spikes. However this ledge has a weird property where it’s not proper ground, it’s actually a wall. So you can land on it, but you can’t do anything like jumping off it. It’s a like the property on the ledge in the Sky Base 2 shortcut for any%.

The maximum you can get on each boss appearance is 3 hits. For the last appearance I want to land the second hit (last hit in total) as soon as possible. So you would think that I jump for the first hit as soon as possible, then jump the frame I land for the second hit. But that’s slow because the boss bounces you down faster if you’re rising up faster to hit him, so on the 3rd appearance I tried all of the possibilities for the first hit until I found the one that allowed me to give the soonest second hit.

Scrap Brain 1

We no longer need 50 rings per level. So I just need the extra life here. This is exactly the same as the any% route for this level since I grabbed the life in any% despite it not being needed.

The doors in scrap brain are very annoying. It’s best to roll under them. I didn’t realize this in the any% TAS because I didn’t have a good watch for position.

Scrap Brain 2

A deathwarp would make this level much faster (like in any%) but one of the requirements for max special bonus is not dying, so I can’t do this. I go up to get the emerald and hit the switch to alternate the two doors, then I go back down to get the life and do to where the level finishes. When exiting the emerald room I do some very careful unbounded negative velocity to get over the 3 gaps without having to jump. After this there’s a downwards slope and if you go too fast, sonic will fly off this slope into the roof (like in jungle 1 towards the end). To get the extra life there’s 2 options: go so fast that I clip left through the door (like I did in this TAS), or fall down partially in the wall earlier to clip through the door (like I did in my RTA run here: https://youtu.be/f-t_GWR7Ft4?t=1252 (I think this was originally found by mike89). There’s also the third method which is the intended method but that’s very slow.

It turns out that going through the door like I did in this TAS saves 32 frames over the falling method.

Scrap brain 3

Doors suck

Sky Base 1

So there’s 3 times where I’m waiting on lightning in this level. The first is at 0:11, the second is at 0:17, the third is at 0:21 (I damage boost through this one). In any% only the first lightning is an issue, but since I need the extra life that slows me down enough that the second and third lightning are issues. Because I’m waiting on lightning for essentially all of this level, I mainly focus on lag reduction rather than getting through the level fast. Nothing matters apart from lag up until the second lightning at 0:17 where I get through it as soon as possible, as right as possible and as fast as possible (even though it doesn’t matter to optimize it before this, getting there as soon as possible without lag is very hard).

I could damage boost through lightning 2 to save some time, but then lightning 3 happens and I would have no rings to damage boost through that, and I’d have to wait for a lot longer on lightning 3 than lightning 2. I also thought about getting a shield and rings and damage boosting through both 2 and 3 but when you get hit from a shield you don’t have any invincibility frames, so that wouldn’t work. Since I damage boost through 3, the lightning being there actually saves some time because I can use the damage boost to jump across a much wider gap. Otherwise I would have to wait for the moving platform to move more right before I could jump across the gap. I hit lightning 3 as low as possible so that I can land and start moving right again sooner.

Sky Base 2

I discovered a new strat here that is useful in both TAS and RTA. The intended method to get to the life and emerald area is to jump down left at the start of the level and land on the moving platform which takes you (very slowly) to the right to platform 2. You can try to jump to platform 2 directly but it’s just barely out of reach.

What I realized is that the platforms move up and down, so by waiting a little while at the start, platform 2 moves further down an you can jump on it without needing to do the very very slow ride on platform 1. I tested this on console and it’s quite easy to pull off without tool-assistance, but you have to wait just a bit longer than the TAS. This saves a lot of time over the current RTA runs, but they might improve soon to incorporate this.

I then get a life with a quick turnaround and jump down to moving platform 3 with trying to cause as little lag as possible. After waiting a little while on platform 3, I can jump to platform 4. Now, if you do the smallest jump possible off platform 4 while still landing up on the ship, you’ll zip up on top of the chain (but we want to be under the chain for the emerald). Strangely if you do a bigger jump you’ll stay under the chain! I’m glad I noticed this because I would have otherwise had to wait a long time for platform 4 to move more right before jumping off it, but I was able to jump off on the earliest frame without losing time in the TAS.

In the emerald area, any kind of jumping causes heaps of lag, so I run up the slope, sacrificing a little bit of speed in order to avoid a lot of lag. Strangely doing the unbounded negative velocity trick in this area doesn’t cause lag (it’s usually a very laggy trick). So I get heaps of left velocity into the room with the signpost.

Sky Base 3

We see an extra life here at the start. This only spawns if you got all of the other hidden extra lives in each level.

I do the trick to get into the glass with Ivo. You can land 8 (out of 12) hits in the first section. Then I land hit 9 and 10 in between two of the electric shocks. Getting hit 10 without dying is insanely precise and depends on very fine subpixels and velocities. I then land 11 and 12 and Ivo is defeated.

Special Thanks

Isotarge – For making Scripthawk: https://github.com/Isotarge/ScriptHawk . Scripthawk supports this game (among many many others) and it was fantastic for TASing. The position is very complicated (it’s not simply RAM Watchable) and I only had velocity for my any% TAS, but Scripthawk gets an accurate position, among other useful features. https://twitter.com/Isotarge

Phozon – For giving me lots of feedback and encouragement on WIPs and being a great RTA runner. https://www.twitch.tv/phozonn

mike89 – For introducing the idea of this category to the community, doing the first proper run and doing a lot of routing/glitch finding. https://twitter.com/SegaJunkie

The Sonic 1 Master System Speedrunning Community – For keeping this great game alive and interesting. https://www.speedrun.com/s1sms

Memory: Judging

Memory: Optimization seems good, apparently even better than the published fastest completion run.

So at first glance one would think this movie is not Vault eligible full completion due to the seeming laundry list nature of the tasks. However, there is a specific bonus for completing all of these tasks. This means that the tasks are a closed set internally defined by the game to give a reward. This hits upon multiple points from the movie rules on full completion. "Some games reward the player for something internally defined as maximum completion goal." " Full completion can only consist of optional one-time, irreversible, or otherwise strictly limited accomplishments that can be objectively measured and maximized." Additionally, the category appears to be recognized by the RTA community as a form of full completion. Therefore this goal best fulfills vault full completion, meaning it is acceptable even if it were to not make Moons.

The movie is very entertaining however. The goal choice forces Sonic to travel to different areas than that of fastest completion but still contains plenty of zips and interesting movement. The audience really liked the movie too.

Accepting to Moons.

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