TASVideos

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

Submission #6287: Iyerbeth's SNES Invictus "All Exits" in 34:43.7

Console: Super NES
Game name: Invictus
Game version: any v1.0
ROM filename: Invictus 1.0.smc
Branch: All Exits
Emulator: BizHawk 2.3.0
Movie length: 34:43.7
FrameCount: 125228
Re-record count: 41350
Author's real name: Chloe Sumner
Author's nickname: Iyerbeth
Submitter: Iyerbeth
Submitted at: 2019-03-05 14:22:26
Text last edited at: 2019-03-21 08:24:47
Text last edited by: ThunderAxe31
Download: Download (62774 bytes)
Status: new
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Author's comments and explanations:
An all exits run of Invictus in 31:05 from power on (30 minutes 59.72 seconds RTA timing). Invictus is a Super Mario World ROM hack which has new sprites, mechanics, and an awesome soundtrack!

Game objectives

  • Complete all stages with an exit
  • Enter the Credits stage
  • Goal was sub 31

Note: Wall jumping is patched out in this hack.

Comments

This run completes the All Exits run of the Invictus ROM hack, which is the most competitive category on the leaderboards. The hack itself is extremely well polished, and although a lot of the game is waiting for cycles or well disguised auto-scrollers where you wait for platforms it is possible to optimise triggering these platforms and so the run is over 3 minutes 10 seconds faster than the human record. This is also my first ever TAS! It was produced entirely via piano roll.

There are two inputs after the credits sequence, a start-select quit out. The correct ending is the final b input which occurs at 30 minutes 59.72 seconds after the final input to start the run. I can remove these inputs if prefered, it was just to give a smoother conclusion to the video for the audience as there is no exit from the credits sequence and I thought I should leave them in and it felt better to start-select out than just abruptly ending the movie.

Stage by stage comments

Intro

New Mechanic: Pipe transport.

You're meant to get out of this starting death trap by running in to the pipe to your right which spits you in to the hole. I found a way to escape without using the pipe - breaking out just felt like the right way to start a TAS.

Piranha Pipeway

Much of this level is about triggering platforms and snakes as fast as is possible, this is a constant throughout the game.

It looks very slightly slow after the first pipe transport, this was intentional to get the next pipe high to make the Piranha Plant jump straight over.

Scorched Earth

Much of this level is restricted to the speed of the block snake, so I trigger their starting as fast as possible.

There are three flying koopas near the start which I jump on in such a way to steal a red shell. In the section straight after I then manipulate the spawn time of the 3 fireballs and move right to trigger the double fireball wall. However, because of how many sprites I still have loaded, the red shell prevents the bottom fireball from being spawned and I'm able to just ignore this obstacle. In my draft IL video I just walk under the top fireball whilst staying on the snake as that's not intended to be possible but I've tried to make the section more interesting looking to a general audience who might not be familiar with the hack and what went on there. At any rate, I then get to ignore the spring which sits on the lava as it was never activated and I do the section with a shell jump instead of a spring jump.

On the next snake I briefly put a block in the ceiling and then collect it and use it correctly since, again, I'm waiting on the snake so much of this level is my attempting to make it more interesting for the audience. The ending of this level also features the first instance of me jumping through a saw sprite whilst avoiding the hitbox, I just think this is fun so it's used throughout the run.

One By One

This run begins to mostly differ from human strats in the fourth room where I steal an unintended green shell. Whilst it's slower than just skipping it, it is unintended, negates the obstacle on the way back around that room, and also later allows me to regain some time by skipping a whole on-off switch cycle whilst collecting a key with a very precise shell bounce under a death block.

The next interesting point is the room with the falling Chucks where the floating block is intended to give you a platform to get across whilst the falling Chucks and the lava are the obstacles, so I ignore the block and use the Chucks and the fact the bottom of the lava is water without a kill box to let me get through that room without waiting on the block.

Sewer Smashin' 1

New Mechanic: Horizontal looping. This is used more in Die-Tree later, but it's shown here.

This level starts with triggering the water level changes which a hidden pipe is connected to. After this the entire level is only about how fast can I trigger the left most platform that rises through the level. The tight jumps around obstacles and skipping a whole platform are for fun.

Red Switch Palace

Start by showing rounded edges aren't real but then the goal is to spawn the Boomerang Bro as quickly as possible.

The red switch button jumps are extremely precise. Skipping the landing ground on the first jump down whilst being the right height to get saved by the platform whilst not losing speed by being pushed out of the platform, and just to find a path over without being killed by the munchers was quite challenging.

After this it's just a 49 speed bunny hop to the end, though you're meant to shell jump over the final muncher and I think the jump used might be frame perfect. It's certainly not possible without freezing the speed oscillation.

Sewer Smashin' 2

Lots of 1/1 swimming in this level but the first interesting part is the movements by the 4 coins. The moving platform can be triggered by moving right, and by triggering it at the right time I get it where I need it to be in order to skip waiting in the water tube. This also causes a pretty big graphical error.

Built To Fall

There's a pipe which a thwomp moves under and althought I could beat the thwomp through, it was never by enough time to not die so I have to wait there a moment, frustratingly. The rest of this level is just about moving fast until the boss.

In the Reznor boss fight I never activate the alterating platform mechanic, instead opting to stay on the thwomp. When he moves up it is too fast and kills Mario so this fight is all about manipulating fireballs to not be in the way for being able to stay on the thwomp whilst hitting the platforms as soon as possible.

Plumber's Nightmare

This level goes really quickly, but actually ended up being my biggest time save in the run.

I use a few key jumps to speed up a couple of bits and to not kill the rex. After that though I do have to wait on the mole to do the next section as the key falls to quickly to pick up again, no matter what setup I tried.

The spike falling spike jump to make it past the ball and chain was a big time save that I couldn't get to work in my original draft of the stage.

Claustrophobia

In the second room of this level there is, for some reason, a platform just below the level which a key can land on, but which Mario falls straight through. I used this for my key jump here.

On the final screen I use the shell on Yoshi's tongue to negate the final obstacle, clearing an easier path to the exit pipe. It's also possible to save Yoshi, though I don't believe there's any way to get him out. I made a #SaveTheAnimals version of the first draft, but it is slower than the method used here by enough that the run would go over the 31 minute mark - though if interested here's that video:


(Link to video)

Lake Bodom

1/1 inputs and the speed I can gain height with TAS inputs make this level go by quite quickly, and I'm also able to get a lot of corner boosts.

The screen with the three raising dolphins, I start with a slight swim and, though I have to wait to start moving right to not die to the muncher, this does actually save time on just walking.

The room with the torpedoes I'm fast enough to prevent a second two following from spawning at all, and then in the section with the wall of green fish I'm able to move fast enough to despawn that chase, quickly leaving it behind. At the fish circle on the pipe, I don't believe there is any way past on the first cycle unfortuantely.

Cemetary Bloom

The first weirdness on this level is when I act oddly on the vine near the start. The boo train above does have the leading boo spawned and moving but the trail behind it doesn't begin spawning until you actually see it on screen so I'm setting up to jump up as soon as the boo won't obstruct the exit path from that section. Then a precise jump with 1/1 swimming allows for skipping the intended path of dropping out and jumping back in to the water tube to avoid the earies.

In the checkpoint room, standing on the platform at all raises you to the ceiling and crushes you on spikes, but you can yump it and not trigger the platform. I elect to trigger it anyway because doing so is meant to kill you and I needed to reset the trigger for the next platform anyway (which is also not the intended method, you're meant to jump over to the right).

In the room after this there's a slight pause, this is so the earie height, which desyncs him from the obstacles in the room so I can maintain 37 speed throughout. After the point with the throwing block though I get very close but I couldn't find any setup at all that let me skip the obstacle I wait at. The trigger for the floating block is too far over and I have to wait on the cycle.

Die-Tree

This is a vine escort level for the first half so there's nothing I can do to move faster. I instead opt to be fast enough to kill the Chuck's you're not meant to kill on the way up, and not kill the fish you're meant to get for free that fall on you upside down. The rest of the level is just moving right as fast as possible.

Frostbite 1

The very start of this level I actually move right and then left before moving right again. I'm forced to wait on the block snake but this left motion allows me to spawn the kicking koopa later and gives me a bit more time and sets up well to leave that area quicker. I tried to wait longer and wall jump past this section because the red switch blocks are possible to jump off but there's no way over the muncher after the red blocks without the koopa you lose by waiting.

Green Switch Palace

Most of Green Switch Palace is fairly self explanatory, you're not meant to use the initial block to jump off though, but there's just enough room to do it.

At the end of this level is my favourite troll in the hack. The message box says it's a scrub test, daring the player to double yump. If you succeed nothing looks wrong, but the floor actually turns to coins, killing anyone who fails. I wanted to subvert this for the players so the goal was to find a way to double yump up through the floor after it becomes coins. This also meant the platform you're meant to use becomes an extra obstacle, and to maintain 49 speed I could only drop the P-Switch - I couldn't throw it. This was one of the harder jumps to get in the run, but I considered it player vengeance and taking the scrub test to a new level was fun.

Frostbite 2

The level starts the same as before and gets interesting at the first horizontal penguin. There's no way to use it to bounce right sadly, and then shortly after that there's a section with a double bounce through. This is very much not the intended method, you're supposed to keep bouncing on them as moving trampoline platforms. Finding a set up that got me past the ceiling munchers, let me bounce once through to the second penguin and also have the second penguin spawn such that it's height and position actually allowed me to get over the final muncher was the single biggest time sink in this TAS. I genuinely came to believe it might be impossible until I actually got it. It's so smooth it actually looks easy in the final run, intended even, but this was hard.

At the end of the subworld there's a bit of jumping on a moving platform, this isn't only for show, I manage to clip the right corner which lets you in to the pipe faster than trying to run right at the correct moment.

Rise Again

New Mechanic: Double jump. The double jump mechanic adds some interesting options to the level but also means you can't control fall speed as well, since it uses the second jump up.

The main way this level is subverted is by saving baby Yoshi, you're meant to lose him when you throw him up but it's possible to give him enough rightward speed to get him out. There's sadly no way to escape the level with adult Yoshi but this whole level was me finding ways to bring Yoshi with me.

There's a part with two jumping dolphins and a fish. The dolphins are the obstacle pushing you in to the munchers and you're meant to bounce pat them on the fish. So I feed Yoshi the fish (waiting on dolphin cycle to be where I need) and then get through that section much faster than intended by instead abusing the double jump mechanic and using the dolphins that are meant to kill you.

There's a section in the subworld where I skip a rex; getting on the platform without the rex is tight but turned out to be possible.

Biohazard

New Mechanic: Vertical Looping.

The first thing I managed to do here was to hit a trigger early after the pipe where I wait on the two saw blades. This doesn't save time but makes the saws act slightly differently and so the vertical looping drop becomes much tighter, and it's unintended so why not? The rest of this level is pretty self explanatory until the boss.

For King Boo I had 3 things I wanted to achieve:

  • Never stand on the platform
  • Never use slow falling
  • Never hit him in a boring way

I did manage to do the fight in permanent free fall, but the despawn on the muncher combined with the ceiling closing up meant I did have to do a couple of slow fall loops near the end to get things to line up right. I also found 3 different ways to hit him! :D Get dunked on!

The Bridge 1

It's just a key jump. There's a star world after which takes you to a shell jumping level without an exit so it's not in the category. If you want to see it, here's an extremely dull video I made of it:


(Link to video)

The Bridge 2

Where-in I run to the right with a key.

Kamek Woods

The most interesting thing in this level is that the boss spawn is dependent on your height. I first use this to make jumping under some munchers really tight for no reason, and generally for more interesting jumps. Then I use the wrong (lower) turtle to enter a corridor early and this lets me "swap places" with the boss mechanic. You're meant to be chased through the corridor, and have to jump over, but I spawn the boss in our jumping spot instead, which also lets me exit that corridor fast - but it's an auto-scroller so this doesn't actually save any time.

At the very end of the level I do actually spawn the boss higher intentionally, it lets me spin jump out of the level without jumping over and using the final turtle, which actually is a time save!

Stellar

New Mechanic: Switch block toggle.

Pressing l or r toggles the blocks on this level. I mostly use it to make it look like I'm bouncing on nothing, but also every wall I go past I trigger to boost Mario out of the wall, and at one point I need to get down to a platform and rather than jumping it's faster to despawn the floor and fall.

At the end of the level you're meant to walk to the end of the bridge and you switch the blocks to keep mario alive. I'm able to slow his speed by making him fall and pushing him out of the bridge repeatedly, so that he can simply walk to his death and it's timed with the final frame of level completion. The game gets confused and flashes random colours and textures. In this version it's orange, I've also had yellows and greens, and it gets really weird if you do it a frame or two early.

Absolute Power

New Mechanic: Jump type swapping.

You can swap between regular and spin jump at will on this level. I use this a lot to make it look like I'm doing the wrong jumps or to just make it look like I'm switching my jump types after every other obstacle because I thought it looked fun.

After the pipe, there's a shell I manage to throw upwards so that it bounces off the right side of the hole which triggers the shell kick quicker, the same thing on the blue shell later had to be a little more to the right as otherwise the koopa slides off it and it's slower.

In the final section I'm not actually changing jump types; I just elected to not spin jump as intended - instead opting for very precise regular jump inputs to make it through without dying to the munchers above.

New Mechanic: Spawnable throwing blocks.

This boss lets you spawn blocks, but only 4 at a time so lag was never an issue. It did allow me to try to make the fight a lot more interesting than it otherwise could have been though, and I opt to yeet a block out of existence because I was throwing it up to see if I could juggle it or do something and it never came back and I thought that was funny.

Koopa Road

This level is fairly straight forward, it's just about triggering platforms as quickly as possible.

Invictus

There's not too much to say on this level that hasn't already been said. The first major deviation is the the big gap red shell jump, which is possible by using the walls to push you through allowing the platform to be ignored. In the third section of the level (with the 4 flying koopas at the start) it's possible to time the bounce off the shell to force it to go straight to the second pit and I also abuse some alternate frame jump type switching to give Mario a weird wobble because I could. Immediately after that I stand on a bridge for a moment, I tried a lot of different spawn timings on the trigger but I don't believe it's possible to get through immediately with the bridge pushing you back, unfortunately.

After this it's just the final boss.

  • Phase 0: Not much to do here so I just spin jump on everything and make my block landings tight.
  • Phase 1: Here I tried to ensure I got at least one bop on the boss and the rest of the movement is to manipulate the magic shot angles so I can keep bouncing around as much as possible on screen.
  • Phase 2: Boss attacks are dependent on Mario's height so I'm manipulating that to let me handle the boss to exactly how I want the fight to look. The time I go under is as close as I think it's possible to be without dying. Just trying to make the shell bopping interesting.
  • Phase 3: I start this phase by spin jumping in to the floor, which it turns out you can do on a rising surface. You need to hold a second jump at the right frame in the wall to get back up or you die, and (whilst I couldn't use it here as I was manipulating bomb shots) holding left down there spawned me on the top right of the platform which was interesting to note. Again, this section I wanted one bop and tried to make it fun to watch. There's no reason to do any of this.
  • Phase 4: When I was redoing this fight for the final version and trying to make it as fun as possible I still had my old inputs in there to ensure I didn't lose any frames in the new method. This resulted in me genuinely accidentally falling off, and I decided that was kinda fun since it spawns the boss attacks beneath the bottom of the screen so I can keep bouncing up from certain death with the boss's help. Thank you!
  • Phase 5: It is possible to hit with the shell earlier, but you need the sprite to come in off the screen boundary or it seems to cost frames. I couldn't figure out why, but it's a definite thing.

Credits´╗┐

The run officially ends on the final b press to enter this stage as there is no exit to be had. There is however a start and select input after this which are not part of the run, I just thought it was important to leave the credits in for the audience, and that was a nice way to signal the movie was over.

Other comments

I think the hack itself is very enjoyable to watch to a general audience with a lot of great sprite work, an awesome soundtrack and some interesting new mechanics. I've done my absolute best to make the movements as smooth as possible, to subvert expectations wherever I can and to generally make everything as engaging as possible - whether the viewer is familiar with the Invictus hack or with the techniques used in SMW TASing.

As I say, this is my first TAS ever and I did notice I could remove a lag frame from the end of the first level but I noticed after I had completed the optimisations from my first draft and desynced everything so that's not corrected yet. I guess there might be a few more frames that could be saved but I think this is very close to the limit of my ability at the moment and there has been a lot of interest on YouTube as I've been uploading the drafts, which can be found here for comparison to the final version:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPF9kYNXLcrLU439ijKF_BiDXF8NC3-5x

Every single level is improved in at least some way.


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