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

Submission #7098: Austin Cannon's N64 Tony Hawk's Pro Skater in 04:43.28

Console: Nintendo 64
Game name: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater
Game version: USA,r1
ROM filename: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater (USA) (Rev 1).z64
Emulator: Bizhawk 2.4.2
Movie length: 04:43.28
FrameCount: 16997
Re-record count: 20796
Author's real name: Austin Cannon
Author's nickname:
Submitter: Nami
Submitted at: 2021-04-14 22:03:40
Text last edited at: 2021-04-20 06:52:10
Text last edited by: Spikestuff
Download: Download (14334 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater is the first game in a now extensive series of 10+ games that are still being created and released to this day. It was first released for the Playstation on September 30, 1999, and later ported to the Nintendo 64 and Sega Dreamcast. "Primitive" by today's Tony Hawk control standards, this game utilizes flip tricks, grab tricks, grinds, and special tricks, which can be done on street ramps, vert ramps, rails, and all sorts of other objects.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: BizHawk 2.4.2
  • Game version: NTSC Rev 1 (aka Rev A)
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Reach credits as fast as possible (without abusing replay glitch)
  • Perform every non-spin trick
  • Genre: Sport


20 years after this game came out, BSGrind discovered that turning the Autokick feature Off sped up the skater enough to make a noticeable difference in runs. Also, though Tony is tied with Bucky and Rune for the fastest speed, Rune is the only one with the signature move Christ Air. Landing signature moves gives a small speed boost, and Christ Air only takes 20 frames to perform allowing usage of it on lots of small jumps. Christ Air also improves each Roswell heat by a second. I'm fairly confident this and the other uses of it throughout the run make up for the time it takes to switch to him from Tony. Using soft reset to exit stages to the main menu instead of Retry'ing them saves on out of game loading times. This also helps skip the opening sequence faster. I made sure to improve the in-game time on every level as well, mostly from optimizing the extra speed Autokick Off grants. These improvements vastly outdo the couple of seconds it takes to change this setting. As a bonus, I made sure to perform and land every trick (flips, grabs, grinds, and specials) that Rune has access to at least once, with the exception of spins, as 720, 900, 1080, 1260, and Mega Ollie (what the game names any spin higher than 1260) simply take too long.

Stage by stage comments

Warehouse Woodland Hills

Cutting the corner near the beginning instead of using Nahoc's weird jump glitch saves time now. I don't want to go too fast and risk hitting the wall after the 'E' before being able to turn to make the jump to the second boxes anyway.
The biggest improvement here is the high jump off the quarterpipe that reaches the 'K.' I actually have to slow down before the jump to ensure I hit the 4th set of boxes and land on the quarterpipe below the 'K' for the next section.

School Miami

This is basically the same as Nahoc's, except I use 2 Fastplant Christ Airs down the awning to finish the level a frame before the timer changes to 1:51.

Mall New York

By landing on the decline into the water section, I get a speed boost that I use to jump to the 'A' and then up to the rafter grind without needing to waste time on the 'A' rail.
I hit the grinds around the 'T' a bit differently, then use 5 Fastplant Christ Airs which saves a few frames. Landing in the water here for a frame doesn't slow me down more than jumping on the ramp would have.

Skate Park Chicago

For awhile now, guished has documented that holding up+right and L on Skatepark allows the quickest left turn here. I utilized this in my RTA record, and optimized it here to hit a quick wallride combo both heats.
Falling here after the first trick gets thru the menu quicker, while my score is still high enough for 3rd place after only 2 seconds per heat. Normal menu'ing to Level Select is faster than soft reset, plus soft resets out of competition levels can cause odd glitches (see Fog's "replay glitch" run for an example).

Downtown Minneapolis

Only minor changes from Nahoc's run, just optimized for Autokick Off and Rune.

Downhill Jam Phoenix

Jumping left off the 1st valve rail and then off the small ramp to reach the S leaves less backtracking to reach the 2nd valve.
Another BSGrind discovery is what I dubbed the 'Holy Calamity' gap: When grabbing the 'A,' I perform a special trick and land at a precise angle to jump directly to the Hidden Tape from the same ramp.

Burnside Portland

This was one of the most difficult levels to make any improvements on, given its short nature. However, I spent a lot of time learning how to optimize scores here, and came 2 frames shy of improving both heats by 1 IGT. Aside from the slow Kickflip to Indy and Fingerflip moves, Madonna, Rocket Air, and Benihana have the highest base scores. Repeating 1 of those moves in a heat would always be a lower score than the other 2. Crooked Grind and Smith Grind are the highest scoring grind tricks. Staying on the Smith for a couple frames, then spinning and holding the Benihana as long as possible at the end grants just enough points to edge into 3rd place.

Streets San Francisco

I perform a big combo on the rails adjacent to Lombard Street. This is so I won't have to wait to land after grabbing the Hidden Tape. Jumps and Christ Airs up the building help me reach the roof a bit quicker and finish off the Pro Score. With the speed from Autokick Off, I can ollie up to the top ramp, then jump early from the lowest part of the ramp to get to the Hidden Tape.

Roswell New Mexico

Instead of grinding, I jump off the ramp at an angle and do a quick combo to get a few thousand points and special. I land at just the right angle to jump with enough height for a Fastplant 540 Christ Air Christ Air, which is more than enough for 3rd place. Repeat for the 2nd heat, and we're done.

Comparison Table

Breaking down the IGT differences between this run and Nahoc's. Of course, based on which frame each run ends on, a 1-second IGT difference could be anywhere from 1 frame to 1 frame less than 2 seconds, so not all of these improvements are equal, but I hope this makes it clear that the entire run benefitted from the changes. The only time that did not have an IGT improvement was the first heat of Burnside, though it still had a few frames improvement over the old run.

Levels My TAS in-game time Nahoc's in-game time (old TAS) Difference
Warehouse Woodland Hills 15 seconds 18 seconds 3 seconds
School Miami 8 seconds 9 seconds 1 second
Mall New York 32 seconds 33 seconds 1 second
Skate Park Chicago 2 and 2 seconds 3 and 3 seconds 2 seconds
Downtown Minneapolis 31 seconds 32 seconds 1 second
Downhill Jam Phoenix 35 seconds 37 seconds 2 seconds
Burnside Portland 3 and 2 seconds 3 and 3 seconds 1 second
Streets San Francisco 19 seconds 21 seconds 2 seconds
Roswell New Mexico 4 and 4 seconds 5 and 6 seconds 3 seconds
Total 2 minutes 37 seconds 2 minutes 53 seconds 16 seconds

Other comments

I've heard this copy of the game referred to as Rev 1, version 1.1, and Revision A. I've yet to find meaningful differences between it and 1.0 yet, both in TAS and RTA. I used it due to a theory that it would have faster loading times. In my experience so far, there has been no significant difference in these times, though. I've only seen 2 differences confirmed, both in TAS and on console: the title screen says "Tony Hawk's Skateboarding" instead of "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater," and the menu to delete files looks different.
This game does not distinguish between FS and BS for any grinds except Boardslides, so that was the only one that I made sure to hit both ways. "BS Boardslide" never appears on screen because the only one I do is in a combo too long to fit it. Can you find every trick, including the BS Boardslide?

Potential Improvements

By using 2 controllers at the beginning, you can alternate some button presses on the opening menus each frame, saving a few frames before starting Warehouse. I only recently discovered the tactic. Unfortunately I can't merely translate the run 10 frames ahead because it seems to change certain elements of the physics randomly, ruining the whole run. Any future TAS I make I plan to utilize it, and I will look for other places to benefit from the 2nd controller in the menus if possible, as well as testing it for luck manipulation.
I had to stay on the rail 1 extra frame the first heat of Burnside to get a high enough score, costing me 2 frames more than the 2nd heat overall. There is some variance to the competitors' scores, and perhaps with the right luck manipulation these frames could be saved, but so far I've been unable to do so.
I believe Rune is clearly the best character choice, though it is possible Bob has potential. Though he has a slightly slower speed stat, he is closer to Tony than Rune and he has a special grind. Using a glitch, the special grind can be used in the air in place of Christ Air. It may also make a difference on grinds. His Roswell would still be slower, though.

Special Thanks

BSGrind, for opening the gates wide on this run in multiple ways, including proving the Holy Calamity gap is possible not just on TAS but also RTA.
Nahoc, for creating the original TAS which served as an excellent blueprint for this run.
guished, for his contributions to the run and encouraging me through my speedrun journey.
Samsara: File replaced with a different, fixed version that trims down the input to not include the credits, and judging.

Samsara: What a wonderful first impression to make here! Innovative improvements, highly entertaining, and honestly I just love the full utilization of the Christ Air (the best skateboarding trick). Makes me really want to see what an All Goals/Golds run would look like, and not just because it would mean more Christ Airs. Accepting as an improvement to the published run!

Spikestuff: Checkout this kickflip~!
bails and lands on their face.

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