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

Submission #6952: illayaya's SNES EarthBound in 57:17.02

Console: Super NES
Game name: EarthBound
Game version: USA
ROM filename: Earthbound (U) [!].smc
Branch:
Emulator: Bizhawk 2.4.2
Movie length: 57:17.02
FrameCount: 206561
Re-record count: 49066
Author's real name: J.T
Author's nickname: illayaya
Submitter: illayaya
Submitted at: 2020-12-03 11:09:53
Text last edited at: 2020-12-12 08:49:57
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (43617 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Originally, I and pirohiko had been working on improving old TAS in 2018 but we ended up not finishing then. But I finally managed to finish recently. This improved sharpRui36's run by 4815 frames, approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 2.4.2
  • Forgoes debug menu, check area glitch or save corruption

Temp encode


(Link to video)
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Comments

Initially, we started TAS several months after pirohiko had found onett skip and new cliff zip but lost motivation. I learned about this game more and was motivated to tas again by going through routing non-TAS speedrun of this game. Glitches were explained by chatterbox and pirohiko. I recommend reading those before watching my submission.

But one new glitch which previous TASes hadn't used was used in this TAS, that's item duplication with Teddy bear. Teddy bear acts like shield in battle and when it's broken when taking around 100 damage total. When teddy bear is destroyed then you use consumable item next to bear at the same time in battle, item you used will still remain and only bear will disappear from your inventory.

RNG manipulation

RNG manipulation is most crucial part of this run. In general, it's done all the time except cutscenes or credits. RNG affects to various things (Enemy spawn, pretty much everything in battle like enemy moves, damages). Manipulation is done by several ways below

  • NPC moves in field (Changing walking path can change their behaviors)
  • Texts scroll
  • Open menus (especially when you open with select or B button, which advances rng every single frames)
  • Enemy spawns
  • Walk on spawn lines (sometimes, those are invisible without lua script though)
  • Move cursor (Slowest way to advance RNG in those, it's only used in battles where menu manipulation can't be done)

Select/B button menu is most handy way to manipulate but it prevents ness from moving that is pure time loss. So it should be avoided as much as possible by using other ways. Spawn manipulation is fastest way to advance RNG if you can let many enemies spawn in very short time.

There is separate RNG which is affected by only walking over spawn lines. That changes enemy spawn position and occasionally can completely erase enemies that can't be done by above ways. It's called RNG3 in speedrun community.

Stage by stage comments

Start to Onett

Nothing interesting happened until performing Onett skip. But I skipped shopping in drugstore and withdraw money at hotel due to route change I'll explain later. Anyway, My skip approach was 1) Set most left barricade to sprite #00, 2) Have enemy spawn at the top of screen top of screen as much as possible then spawn some left of screen for minimizing lags. 3) The leftmost barricade is swapped by 22nd object. Different walking path can change which object will occupy sprite number very frequently, I couldn't go for just shortest path possible. 841 frames saved due to mainly route change and better Onett skip, less menu RNG manipulations)

Twoson

I bought cookie for later(old TAS didn't buy it because of different strategy). Due to this change, despite I improved field movement, 96 frames lost. (745 frames ahead)

Threed

Old TAS made unnecessary detour after zombie event in graveyard, saved 41 frames. (786 frames ahead)

Winters

Skip sandwich lasts for 600 frames to let ness move 1.5x faster (DX lasts 1200 frames, i.e. 20 seconds). But once its timer starts ticking down, loading or lags will never stop it until reaching 0. So the earlier you use sandwich, the more frames you can save. Old TAS wasted about 4 seconds of speed effect at riding UFO cutscene because using 1st sandwich was too late. My TAS managed not to waste at all and got better both cliff zips. 268 frames saved. (1054 frames ahead)

Threed (2nd visit) to reach Magicant

For 1st zombie fight, those things below need to be done.
  • At least one character has cold status and others who aren't infected with cold must be fainted
  • Steal Secret herb from Zombie Possessor (white enemy, steal possibility is 2/128 if anyone is curious)

Old TAS did that by having 2 cold and 1 fainted characters while my TAS used 1 cold and 2 fainted. In this category, we need to do Stair glitch twice. That means caution message needs to be popped out twice. (Message will appear when the character's HP goes below 20% of max HP, it's ~6 in this case). Old TAS did getting 2 colds strategy but it's much slower because only Urban zombie has infect cold move so you have to waste a turn just for that. In this TAS, I used skip sandwich to heal infected character's HP so that message will appear. Someone has to be alive until reaching underground (or it can be said failing hole), cookie is needed to keep alive cold character.

For 2nd zombie fight, you need A character with cold status and 3+ remaining HP after running away. I needed to setup item duplication glitch because I skipped buying Cold remedy in Onett. Setup is done by this step, give Ness Teddy bear then Secret herb. Battle is much simpler than 1st, have teddy bear broken then duplicate herb in our 1st turn, infect Paula with cold in next turn then run away. Heal cold with 2nd herb after stairs glitch. Cold is no longer needed at this point. 1104 frames saved. (2158 frames ahead total)

Magicant to reach Saturn valley

It's all about RNG manipulation to not let enemies spawn for reducing lags until reaching Sea of Eden and Ness's Nightmare battle. Old TAS revived Paula right before battle but she's already revived in this TAS, that's a timesave. Below is the list what happened in the battle.
  • 1st turn: Paula prays and make everyone confused. (<name> felt a little strange... means inflicting confusing)
  • 2nd turn: Nightmare casts PK flash Ω on us (emits glorious light is flash Ω, which can OHKO member(s) by 3/8 probability each)
  • 3rd turn: Nightmare casts flash Ω to itself and die (confusion comes into play for that)
Technically, 2nd turn can be skipped but if you do so, Paula also gets exp then losing time much more than skipping turn. 1130 frames saved thanks to not having Paula revive and much faster Nightmare battle. (3288 frames ahead)

Saturn valley to reach Cave of the Past

Teleport α (and β) are an ability which can send you places where you went previously. But game only registers place only if you go to there legitimately. (i.e. entering from caves, events that you normally trigger without glitch) Because of that, enter and exit cave is required to register Saturn valley for teleport. In Onett, I walked zigzag at 28:27-30 in the video. After roughly 4 seconds after this part, there's a spot where enemies won't disappear with menu or other sort of RNG manipulation. Other than enemy despawn, there's nothing new happened. 75 frames saved thanks to better walking path and less lag frames (3363 frames ahead)

Cave of the Past to movie end

Encountering Bionic kraken for Gutsy Bat, Ness's weapon. (steal probability is 1/128) It gives 100 Offence and 127 Guts. Guts is used for critical hit (it's called SMAAAASH!! in the game) formula, Guts/500. When ness equips that, critical rate becomes around 34% from 8%. Old TASes have equipped it before Giygas battle but octopuscal, Mother 2 speedrunner found equipping bat "during" battle was faster. In Giygas battle, Heavily Armed Pokey uses a very stinky gas on 1st turn and lowers party's offence. When ness equips already, his offence is lowered by 10 but if he doesn't, it becomes only 4. That difference is very important because it allows Ness to hit over 400 damage. You need to beat Pokey (HP 2000) then 2nd phase of Giygas (HP 2000). So there is no need to rely on other characters to compensate for small damage anymore. After finishing 2nd phase, Only Paula's pray works so I let Giygas do incomprehensive attack (Flash Ω) to faint Ness, which was a second faster than not doing. Nothing new was done after battle but you can enjoy super long credits then movie end. 1452 frames saved. (4815 frames ahead)

Special thanks

  • pirohiko, who helped me Onett skip, calculated desired positions for 1st cliff zip in Winters and his very useful lua scripts.
  • octopuscal, who taught me some details of this game that I didn't know and inspired to tas again.
  • ClassicJames, who told me about Teddy bear item duplication.

Samsara: File replaced with a 78 frame improvement. Also, judging!

Samsara: One of the beautiful things about spending time away from the site is that there's so many things you miss watching that you finally get to experience, so many massive improvements to TASes that you love and all the time in the world to watch them. Naturally, for me, this was no exception. Having missed the previous publication, things like the Onett skip absolutely blindsided me, and the rest of the manipulation and routing in general was just astonishing to watch play out in front of me. There were times where I felt like if I blinked, I'd have completely missed half the game... Though, granted, even when you're watching intently, the TAS itself misses about 90% of the game just on principle.

As a solid improvement with overwhelmingly positive audience feedback, I'm accepting this as an improvement to the published run, inheriting the Stars tier. Fantastic work, and thank you, pirohiko, sharpRui36, and everyone else who's contributed to EarthBound TASing in my absence.

Spikestuff: Earth my bound.


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