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

Submission #6201: Fizztastic's PSX Animorphs: Shattered Reality in 30:48.79

Console: Sony PlayStation
Game name: Animorphs: Shattered Reality
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Animorphs - Shattered Reality (USA).cue
Branch:
Emulator: Bizhawk 2.2.1
Movie length: 30:48.79
FrameCount: 109620
Re-record count: 19296
Author's real name: Jean-Francois Boyer Bergeron
Author's nickname: Fizztastic
Submitter: Fizztastic
Submitted at: 2018-12-25 00:17:47
Intended tier: Vault
Text last edited at: 2018-12-31 23:53:08
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (72607 bytes)
Status: publication underway
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Author's comments and explanations:
Animorphs might not have made it into AGDQ's Awful Block this year but I bring you an improvement to Animorphs: Shattered Reality just in time for Christmas!

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 2.2.1
  • BIOS (U) SCPH-7001 Version 4.1 (SHA1: 14DF4F6C1E367CE097C11DEAE21566B4FE5647A9)
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Taking damage to save time
  • Abuses death
  • Abuses programming errors
  • Genre: Platformer

Temporary Encode (with subtitles)

A note about playing back this movie

  • This game crashes on Bizhawk 2.3 so I advise playing it with either 2.2.1 or 2.2.2
  • The movie also contains subtitles throughout.

Comparison with the currently published TAS

This TAS Published TAS
Section Frames Frames Delta C. Delta
PSLogo 3106 3205 99 99
Intro 206 206 0 99
New Game 183 183 0 99
Memory Card 171 171 0 99
The Entrance 136 136 0 99
Pick Rachel 551 551 0 99
1-1 5179 5176 -3 96
Loading 548 548 0 96
1-2 5073 5096 23 119
Loading 567 565 -2 117
1-3 4946 5040 94 211
Loading 568 568 0 211
1-4 7571 7635 64 275
The Sea 454 456 2 277
Pick Rachel 390 389 -1 276
2-0 6377 6438 61 337
The Forest 454 465 11 348
Pick Rachel 559 559 0 348
3-1 3660 3757 97 445
Loading 486 486 0 445
3-2 3631 3920 289 734
Loading 417 446 29 763
3-3 6029 6003 -26 737
The Swamp 451 454 3 740
Pick Rachel 465 476 11 751
4 8142 8226 84 835
The Gardens 456 453 -3 832
Pick Rachel 581 582 1 833
5-1 4137 4239 102 935
Loading 554 553 -1 934
5-2 3796 3832 36 970
Loading 503 501 -2 968
5-3 1780 1916 136 1104
Loading 572 572 0 1104
5-4 1448 1462 14 1118
The Dark 452 459 7 1125
Pick Rachel 380 374 -6 1119
6 7760 7773 13 1132
The City 457 475 18 1150
Pick Rachel 562 563 1 1151
7-1 3851 3849 -2 1149
Loading 554 555 1 1150
7-2 4649 4987 338 1488
Loading 574 572 -2 1486
7-3 5829 6190 361 1847
Loading 605 605 0 1847
7-4 5701 5808 107 1954
The Finale 455 485 30 1984
Pick Rachel 458 458 0 1984
8 3107 3103 -4 1980

The bios change

The old TAS used SCPH-5501 but switching to SCPH-7001 saves almost 3 seconds in loading with the only drawback that I noticed being in stage 3-3 where it delays an elevator by 24 frames.

The New Technology

  • Animation Substitution
Instead of waiting for the recovery animation of enemies, I discovered that you could purposefully hit them during their recovery to force them into a block animation. This has the benefit of shortening the wait time between every hit. The only exception to this are the enemies without recovery animation (the Skirt and Na) and the Iskoort because their recovery animation is shorter than their block. Here's a breakdown of the time it saves per hit for every enemy in the game.
Enemy Time saved per hit
Fast Hork-Bajir (in 1-3 and 5-2) 14 frames
Slow Hork-Bajir (everywhere else) 24 frames
Howlers 22 frames
Kaa 24 frames
Gedd 22 frames

  • Snapping
This was a known trick that I discovered when I made the old TAS but I decided not to use it due to its wildly volatile results. If you let go of the R2 button while getting recoiled from taking a hit, the game will just instantly snap your position to the point where the enemy originally hit you. This trick is only used in 7-2 and 7-4.

The Existing Technology

Lag Management
The game will occasionally lag when scrolling most likely due to the loading of a new section or assets. Usually, those lag frames can be mitigated or sometimes completely avoided by simply changing the position of the character in any axis. Some actions are also more likely than others to cause lag when executed like jumping on the edge of a platform, jumping on a tilted platform, taking damage and moving near a static object.
Jumping vs. Walking
When jumping, your speed is locked to the value it had in the previous frame for the whole duration of the jump. When walking, his speed will oscillate slightly resulting in an overall slower movement option by about 12% versus jumping on the first possible frame after landing.
Momentum Boost
When riding a moving platform, jumping from it will carry their speed in every axis for the duration of the jump.
Ledge Clipping
When jumping with an apex near the edge of a platform, the game will sometime clip you on top of it if your hit box is close enough to the edge.
Boost Meter Management
When you power on the console, the boost meter will be full the first time entering an auto-scroller. It will otherwise remember how much boost you had when you finished your last auto-scroller even if you replay one of those levels. Furthermore, once depleted or under 25%, the boost meter will start filling back up to 25% where you'll be able to use your boost again. This 25% threshold is also very important because at the start of each subsequent "auto-scroller", you are unable to start moving until you can boost. So ideally, you want to finish the first two "auto-scrollers" with 25% boost to be able to move immediately on the next "auto-scroller". Resetting the console will put the meter back at 100% for the next auto-scroller.
Damage Recoil & Target Locking
During combat, it's possible to lock the orientation of the character with R1 so that you're always facing a specific enemy. There is also no distance limit that would break that lock as long as you hold down R1. Since you will always move backward when taking damage, it's possible to boost yourself on each enemy that you collide with or that hit you if you lock yourself onto an enemy and start moving away from it while locked. This is used in the bridge section of 1-4 and to reach a checkpoint outside a fight in 7-2 and 7-4.
Invulnerability Frames
Some enemies will be invulnerable for a set number of frames after getting hit. The number of frames varies with the type of enemy but is also implemented inconsistently as there are two Hork-Bajir with a fast animation while the rest of them have a slower animation. Additionally, if you're standing too close to them while their invulnerability timer runs out, they'll instantly do a counter-attack move that makes them invulnerable for its duration. Doing Animation Substitution (see above) pretty much negates those invulnerability frames.
Free Double Damage Hits
When delivering the last hit on an enemy, you can sometime hold or press [] a few frame later that will make you do an attack that deals double two damage instead of one. Doing so seems to have a very long recovery before you're able to attack again. This is used only once in the second combat of 1-1 since it one-hit kills the second enemy.
Glitchy Jumps
When jumping on the very edge of a ledge or seemingly at random, you can sometime gain extra height on that jumps.
Checkpoint Abuse
There are 3 checkpoints in the game that can be abused to skip part of a combat as they will respawn you outside of the combat zone. It saves quite a few seconds in 7-3. It also saves a few seconds in the first fight of 7-4.

Stage by stage breakdown of improvements

1-1 (The Entrance)

This stage was not changed from the previous version.

1-2

I improved the setup for the fight skip and the jumps on the last three cogs.

1-3

Skateman222 found the clip after the fight with the Hork-Bajir during one of his practice run. It saves 24 frames over going through the pipe.

1-4

Unchanged except for the Animation Substitution on the Hork-Bajir.

2 (The Sea)

I saved a bit of time by not getting slowed down at all by the fan in the middle of the stage as pointed out to me by Skateman222. I also optimized movement.

3-1 (The Forest)

This stage remained mostly unchanged except for the Animation Substitution on the Hork-Bajir. I saved a bit of time by staying on the top of the rocks in the waterfall section. Going in front of the rocks instead of having to go on the second tier at the end of the stages saved a little bit of time.

3-2

Beside using Animation Substitution on the Kaa and both the Howlers, going in diagonal instead of up and right on the dam saves about 3 seconds.

3-3

This stage was not changed from the previous version.

4 (The Swamp)

The movement was improved in this stage but otherwise remains unchanged.

5-1 (The Gardens)

I got a very lucky Glitch Jump that saved 3 jumps to skip the slide. I also improving the setup to skip the second and third fight.

5-2

The movement in the first section of the stage was improved as well as saving a few frames on the eleveator at the end by going in diagonal instead of straight down.

5-3

I skipped going on two boxes by jumping on the edge of the tanks and did the Animation Substitution on the Howler.

5-4

This stage was not changed from the previous version.

6 (The Dark)

I improved the movement in this stage.

7-1 (The City)

This stage was not changed from the previous version.

7-2

I improved the setup for the death warp in the third fight using Snapping. Aside from that, Animation Substitution was used in the first two fights.

7-3

Doing a very precise jump on the arm of the excavator avoids having to wait 6 seconds for it to come back around.

7-4

I use hit recoil in the fight with the Hork-Bajir to hit the lever early and go directly to the bridge instead of hitting the lever after the battle. This combined with Snapping saves about a second. I also improved hitting the first lever by not having to go on the platform.

8 (The Finale)

This stage was not changed from the previous version.

Special Thanks

  • Skateman222: For discovering a few new tricks and the Chinese TAS.
  • 張致浩: For making a TAS which contained faster strats then the current movie. It can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3I7gbYTEJM
  • Keizaron and CavemanDCJ: For finding most of the early skips in this game. Also showing it at AGDQ 2017.

Suggested Screenshot: 93749


Memory: Judging

Memory: Optimization feels like it can be taken further but it is still acceptable as it is.

The PSX bios used while not preferred is still acceptable.

The movie was fairly dull with only some slightly entertaining moments here and there. Audience reception was fairly mixed as well.

Accepting to Vault as an improvement to [3735] PSX Animorphs: Shattered Reality (USA) by Fizztastic in 31:21.63.

Spikestuff: That's a pub.


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