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Submission #7164: Wobmiar's GC Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles in 1:37:54.48

Console: Nintendo GameCube
Game name: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles
Game version: JPN
ROM filename: Final Fantasy - Crystal Chronicles (Japan)
Branch:
Emulator: Dolphin 5.0-14445
Movie length: 1:37:54.48
FrameCount: 704236
Re-record count: 20448
Author's real name: Laetia
Author's nickname: Wobmiar
Submitter: Wobmiar
Submitted at: 2021-07-10 23:33:34
Text last edited at: 2021-08-05 20:55:19
Text last edited by: Zinfidel
Download: Download (20923 bytes)
Status: published
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Author's comments and explanations:
Notes about timing: This TAS is faster than the previous submission despite the file saying otherwise. Dolphin 5.0 has faster loads, and newer versions seem to have have more accurate (thus slower) loads. In Game Time is faster here than the previous publication. It is still optimized in Real Time though.


(Link to video)

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles is a RPG created by Square Enix that follows a different approach in gameplay to the main series. In this game, the goal is to collect drops of myrrh at the end of dungeons to protect your village each year from deadly miasma that plagues the world. Your caravan travels the world, discovering the secrets behind the monsters' existence, and fighting their way through evil. In this TAS, the caravan is formed by one character, helped by a moogle companion, and saves the world in a record time.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: dolphin-master-5.0-14445-x64
  • Complete the game as fast as possible

Important game mechanics

Version

The Japanese version is used primarily for 2 reasons. The first is it's the only version capable of peforming the actively-used Sign Glitch. The second is that temporary stat boosts (from food) stay active between loading zones (meaning they last longer). Text difference is negligible.

Text

There are different kinds of text and ways to skip them as fast as possible. The most common is the dialogue, mostly seen during events, that need one A press to reveal the whole text, and another A press to close it. Some text needs 3 A presses, and rarely, some more. Certain dialogue is unskippable, while others don't affect the time (due to cutscenes). Others might require additional A presses to accelerate the screen transition (notable example at the start). There is only one occurence in the game where Japanese saves time due to having less characters, and it's right after the intro song.

Events

In the overworld at the intersections on roads (with the exception of Lynari isle), you can encounter some events. They are randomly generated, and most of the time, they need to be avoided. Unfortunately, there are story-based events that cannot be skipped.

RNG

RNG in this game can be manipulated by doing basically anything. This includes movement, time passing, and actor positions (monsters, characters, objects, etc). Manipulating enemy behavior is mostly done by playing differently, even if only by a pixel of difference. Some things that need to be manipulated are dungeon bonus conditions, random events, and loot drops. A seed is created when entering a section of the overworld, so any changes must be done prior to this (most of the time at the miasma streams). It is sometimes possible to manipulate bad RNG while losing no frames, but it's rare. Loot from monsters is decided as we enter the zone, and the artifact set is decided just before the selection at the end of dungeons.

Combat

Monsters react to your presence when seeing you, and stop trying to attack you after a certain amount of time when you unreachable/too far away. They also react after receiving damage. Most monsters have a cooldown between actions. It is possible to stun some monsters with focus attacks, and there's also a small chance they get stunned by the third hit of the normal attack combo.

Stats

Health is represented by hearts, and we start with a total of 8 hp (1 per half-heart). Due to how damage calculation is done, stats only have different effects in each increment of 5. This is why eating meat (or fish) that gives +2 in the strength stat only has an effect if it gets you to a higher multiple of 5 (5 10 15 20 25 etc). It's worth noting that most focus attacks become less effective time-wise as your strength stat increases.

Artifacts

Artifacts are one of the main ways to permanently increase your stats, and a choice is offered at the end of each dungeon to select one. We mainly want strength artifacts, and they can be found inside the dungeon itself, or part of a set at the end. The set is decided by how many points you get in the dungeon which relies on the dungeon's randomly-selected bonus condition. Having less points is faster at the end, so if set 1 is needed, we go with low points. If a higher set is needed (and fast to get) we try to get a practical condition like "Don't cast spell" or "Don't heal yourself" ("Don't" bonus conditions start the points counter at 100 points).

Glitches

Sign Glitch is the main glitch used in this run. It consists of interacting with a readable object (like a sign) and then taking damage while the text prompt is still active to cancel out of it. It gives the character's hitbox weird properties where it can move/push many things by simply running into them that were either previously unmovable (active monsters for example) or that were movable at a slow pace (items and inactive monsters). It does not work on everything, but it is used in a lot of instances during the run. Due to the incredible difficulty and precision needed to control where you push objects, it's not practical to be used in most RTA runs. The main glitch used in RTA runs is the 'Infinite Gil Glitch' which can be used to duplicate money, but this glitch requires the use of multiplayer mode (which itself requires the use of a Game Boy Advance and link cable) which thus makes it not possible to TAS. It should be noted that on many occasions I push things without using the Sign Glitch. This includes something I refer to as 'Mog Push' where I run into the moogle carrying the chalice to make him move faster (especially when he becomes tired). Also whether using the glitch or not, walking into any object continuously tends to make your character model eventually phase through an object and stop pushing it. The workaround to this is to stop running into the object for one frame (or some variation of this) so don't be surprised if you see my character doing any strange stuttered movement.

Effects

There are many effects your character can be affected by. The most noteable statuses in this run are burning and being slowed. Being on fire reduces your defense, but increases your speed. The reason it's not used more can be due to health regulation. Being on fire speeds you up enough to allow you to outrun the safe zone of the chalice that your companion moogle (Mog) carries which causes you to take additional damage by being in the miasma. Being slowed can seem bad, because it affects your casting speed and your movement speed, but it does not affect your normal attacks. For this reason, it can be quite useful to be hit by a slow spell instead of a damaging or hard crowd control spell (such as a thunder stun or blizzard freeze) while attacking stationary things like bosses.

Hitbox

The hitboxes in this game are very janky in how they operate. Most have vertical components and visuals that don't necessarily match up to the attack itself. These are a persistent challenge throughout the run to manage, but with careful movement I am able to squeeze out extra optimizations by abusing their properties. An example of this is that I can often skirt around the edges of attacks by using my character's combo attack animations with some specific timing. This can allow me to just barely evade the hitboxes of enemy attacks when my character does a little jump during the third hit of a combo. Additionally, for some monsters it is important to initially attack them in a certain way (the side vs. the front) as this can impact their reaction times enough for me to get extra attacks in safely that I wouldn't be able to if I had done the other option.

Route

Dungeons

The final dungeon is accessible at the earliest in the in-game year 5. This is when the Lynari Desert dungeon is first made available and where the unknown chalice element is located which is required to pass the miasma stream to the final dungeon. However, the river that you sail across to reach the final dungeon's miasma stream is also dried up in this year. Due to this, the Veo Lu Sluice dungeon also needs to be completed this year prior to going to the final dungeon so the river's flow can be restored. Each year passes after 3 drops of myrrh are collected (1 drop from each dungeon), and there's no known sequence break to get around these requirements to finish the game. The dungeon route is very similar to RTA, as it simply does the fastest dungeons possible, but there are many differences inside the dungeons themselves compared to since RTA runners cannot guarantee what items will drops and need to plan around more realistic expectations for how much money and materials they can get. The main difference in the routing of the TAS is going to Mushroom Forest's third cycle at the end of year 4. This saves a trip to Mount Kilanda (which saves some travel time, gil, and gives a better strength artifact), but is also significantly more difficult and is viewed as not really being a viable route for human runners to save any time trying to attempt going for.

Weapons

Here is where everything changes significantly. Normal RTA runs (and my last TAS) tend to craft the Warrior's Weapon in year 1, and then craft Master's Weapon as early as possible to last for the rest of the game. I decided to try completely disregarding this strategy for a much more exotic new one. I craft Novice's Weapon at start of year 2 (which involves me making another unusual choice of picking the blacksmith faily), and Valiant Weapon in middle of Year 3. Novice's Weapon is much weaker than Warrior's Weapon, but the logic behind this choice is to save time farming for items in Mushroom Forest cycle 1, and then skip the first trip to Marr's Pass completely. As a result of these choices, a lot of the earlier dungeons are slightly slower, but it makes for a quick and easy weapon craft by my character's blacksmith father. Valiant Weapon is chosen for it's strength +1 higher than Master's Weapon, and its focus attack proves to be very effective. (The Lilty's master's weapon focus attack is quite lackluster in comparison.) The valiant weapon's hitbox and invulnerability potential (it has something similar to 'counter' in a small frame window on its focus attack) makes it quite nice to have. It also ends up saving some use of food and thus menuing, but it requires a special random event to be manipulated so I can get an ingredient required for crafting the weapon.

Money

Gil is the money of the game, and getting some is required to finish it. A big part of the route was decided by taking into account the gil required. Taking the ferry to pass the river costs 50g (we traverse this 2 times in total), going to Lynari Isle costs 300g, and coming back costs another 300. Skipping Mount Kilanda saves 500g. The main method of acquiring gil is selling items, and since we don't need mythril as an ingredient for the Master's Weapon anymore, we can sell it with many other of the starting items. The game starts you off with 200 gil. It costs 70 gil to craft Novice's Weapon (30% discount from father) and 500 gil for Valiant Weapon. Overall, much less gil is required than the old route, and this saves some time farming for it.

Walkthrough

Character creation

The Lilty race is chosen for stats (the most strength) and weapons. It is named one character to save time, and girl is the gender chosen for the attack animation that makes it faster to kill some enemies (more specificaly the spear goblins in Goblin Wall boss fight). The skin chosen doesn't lose any frame, and the job is blacksmith to craft the weapon as fast as possible.

River Belle Path 1

The first cycle of this dungeon is the first instance of sign glitch. I eat a meat to be able to 2 shot the goblins guarding the keys, that I manipulate to run towards me as soon as possible so I can push their bodies. It is to be noted the insertion of keys into the pedestrals is unpredictable, so it can happen you can insert it from far away, and sometimes you need to almost kiss it lol. The Giant Crab is manipulated to always be hittable with focus attacks, that are for now the fastest way to defeat bosses. You can counter the slow ball attack with the invulnerability frames.

Miasma Stream

Sign glitch is used in most miasma streams because Mog is not there to carry the chalice for some reason. You also need a specific element for the crystal to pass it, in this case you need water element, that you take after finishing last dungeon.

Mushroom Forest 1

I need 108 points here to have a chance of the second set of artifacts. Killing an enemy gives +1 point, and picking up an item gives up +1 too. Iron is needed for Novice's Weapon. The weapon scroll is also manipulated, a bronze drop for later too. Some convenient fruit is taken too to sell later. Monsters are manipulated to get multiple kills at the same time. Malboro needs extra manipulation to dodge and counter the bodyguard attacks.

Mines of Cathuriges 1

I need here a total of 116 points. Killing enemies is slower because I don't have any advanced weapon. A bronze is also required, so I do a multikill in the second room where I need to kill the ogre for the key anyway. Carrying an item is normally slow, but being on fire fasten the movement speed. The Orc King is killed by abusing of his hammer attack, that is easily dodgeable.

Tipa

The yearly festival is skipped, then I make my father craft the weapon I want.

Goblin Wall 1

In this dungeon, you need to hit skulls to open paths to proceed further. There's a more chaotic battle at the boss door, where you need to kill the big goblin to get the key. It also needs to drop a bronze. I get burned again to carry it faster. The first phase of the boss fight consists in killing some goblins, and while normally it's faster to focus attack, Novice's Weapon is unable to be effective enough, so I kill them one at a time. Being a girl modifies my attack combo that makes me able to dodge lances with frame perfect action. The boss attacks you if you are too close, attacking from a bit farther is common.

Tida 1

Even if it's a long dungeon, it is needed for the earth element. I use sign glitch to push monsters at the first door, and pick up fire because you need that magicite to pass through the second section by burning webs blocking the way. Armstrong is one of the most chaotic bosses, because it moves randomly everywhere, and reacts in ways that can be hard to manipulate. At the same time, the skeleton mages defending it are a pain.

Veo Lu Sluice 1

In this dungeon, you need to walk on pressure plates to uncover keys. The chalice is used to keep them pressed while I go get the keys. This is the first dungeon where Mog's exhaustion becomes a problem I have to manage. I get a meat while the boss door opens to not lose time. The Golem is a really simple boss, after half hp gone you need to make him never grow its hands again.

Shella Event

A key item needed to craft Valiant Weapon is a Ceberus Fang. The only way at that point of the game to get it is getting it given to you. The fastest event to manipulate (and it's slow) is the one where Yukes propose an exchange. I give them a bronze, and they give me a Cerberus Fang. It cost about 1 second manipulating it, but it's worth it.

Mushroom Forest 2

This is the first instance of Mog Push. Mog gets tired, so I need to push him. The normal strat would be to carry the chalice, but it's obviously too slow. If it looks like I'm struggling pushing him, it's because I am! x) Even the ground elevation has some impacts in the movements (I can sometimes go under Mog just because of a slope). I get mythril and the Valiant Weapon scroll at the end of the dungeon. Malboro 2 is almost easier than the first because I can let him just slow me and spam attacks. I can kill the small worm bodyguard without losing time.

Marr's Pass

I sell everything unnecessary and buy the missing bronze. Valiant Weapon is then crafted. Fun fact: I have just enough gils to finish the run (that will end with 0g).

Selepation Cave 1

The easiest dungeon, not counting the boss. You walk straight to the end. The Cave Worm would be easy too if it wasn't for the electric jelyfishes. This boss, in contrast to almost all other enemies, does not make your character auto-target him. So if the jellyfishes come too close, I attack them instead (and as a bonus I get stunned). Fortunately, I have the wind element on my chalice at that point, so I can manipulate them to just attack me with magic (element gives you resistance). There is a close to frame perfect timing you need to do to kill the Cave Worm before he jumps in the air at the end. I call it the super first cycle.

Daemon's Court 1

The most complex dungeon by far. You need 2 keys to open the boss door. Those 2 keys are dropped by 2 golden lizardmen, that are spawned randomly at 4 possible different parts of the dungeon. I also need a specific artifact from a chest on the top. The strategy I made up was to go get Sign Glitch from the moggle house (there is one per place), then go take the artifact, then kill one gold lizard, push the key to the second lizard, that I kill too, while manipulating fire. I then push the 2 keys at once on a bridge, and finally carry one of them while moving the other. The Lizardman King has an "attack" that consists of just defending himself with his shield. I use a tiger-thing monster called coeurl to position myself optimaly and just spam until he is dead.

River Belle Path 2

Basically a copy of the first cycle, but even faster. Even the boss is easier, he is completely destroyed by just spamming (and of course some manipulation).

Goblin Wall 2

Enemies are stronger and more plentiful, but it's still the same route. I don't even need to pickup anything. The boss has more attacks, and I abuse being burned to move faster, but there is nothing too big to mention other than the fact that no, charging a focus attack is not faster. I redid this boss 3 times, I kinda know by now.

Mushroom Forest 3

Cycle 3 is made for late game, and this makes this dungeon really really hard. First, the main path is blocked, you need to do a detour, which makes Mog Push longer. Second, even with food and artifact picked up in the chest, 60 strength is not enough to kill a monster in one swift of a combo. So I need to beat the boss with 3 high level monsters targeting me. There's 2 plants that can cast spells, dealing 5 damage, and the other middle plant shoots projectiles for 4 damage. Each boss attack does 4 damage, and it's ultimate attack does... Way more than 8, which is how much hp I have. After half hp, Malboro also refuses to cast slowga (the big slow attack). I had to be creative and thank the minuscule health regen at the end for saving me.

Lynari Desert 1

We go inside this dungeon to get the unknown element, and the warp back. There is steps to follow: cast thunder on a cactus, cast gravity on a tent, cast fire on a mushroom, cast blizzard on 3 rocks (in a certain order) and then cast holy on a plant that just appeared after that. Mog Push is abused here.

Veo Lu Sluice 2

The river is dried up, to revive it and use the ferry to go to the last section of the game, beating this dungeon is necessary. I need to get a life magicite at the start to rejuvenate the plants to be able to get the required keys. For the last key, I use the fact enemies don't attack you in cinematics to lure a lizard on the pressure plate so I can get the key faster/without losing life. The Golem works the same way.

Miasma Stream

2 rare instances where Sign Glitch is just not possible: when you pass in the zones backwards.

Mount Vellenge

In the last dungeon, I manipulate 2 high strength artifact drops (+5 each) from chests at the start (while taking care of Mog being easily tired). Then straight to the boss. The Meteor Parasite has 3 phases, and there's waiting times 2 to 3 times in each of these phases. The best strat I found is to charge up a focus attack while waiting, that I unleash when he is vulnerable. Then it's just timing attacks. In phase 2 and 3, he starts doing explosions. I do a mix of dodges and focus attacks to beat him as fast as possible, sometimes even getting invulnerable inside the explosions.

Nest of Memories

We get transported in another world just before dealing the final blow, and we get attacked almost immediately. Those 2 monsters are strong and can 1-hit kill you. Stunning them is important to deal with them fast. After that, there's just a bunch of questions to answer. Their length matter minimaly, and they are decided before entering this dimension.

Raem

Bad guy is bad. But invulnerability is pretty op. First I wanted to kill the weaker minion on the left of the arena to make the boss respawn him, but it just happened I dealth damage too fast and he went to second phase anyway (when he starts shooting lasers). Optimising the focus attack is not only frame perfect, but you also need to manage to get far enough from Raem for him not to kill you instantly.

Memiroa

I just mash A for first phase (lol he can't even touch me with his stupid attacks). In second phase, my normal attacks can't reach him while he is shooting lasers, so I take that time to charge. And like that, he is dead. I deal the final blow on the Meteor Parasite, and the day is saved!

Other comments

Possible improvements

A known mistake can be seen in the third dungeon, the Mines of Cathuriges. At the start, I could kill the 2 first orcs with a focus attack, that would save roughly 1 second. It was discovered too far in the making of the TAS to want to restart it. Daemon's Court features one of the most chaotic route, and could potentially be improved by also 1 second with better rng. It could as well get slower, so I decided to roll with what I was able to manage. Better rng would obviously also save some time, but you will be happy to hear that my standards have been higher for this project than the precedent, so this is cleaner and more optimised.

Special thanks

  • Manaclaw, a RTA runner who helped me to revise this submission text (and is still working on it when I'm writing this) because English is not my first language
  • The FFCC speedrunning community, simply for being there and enjoying my work while commenting on it from time-to-time
  • The TAS community as a whole. I'm including everyone, viewers, staff, and programmers for the emulators. This is possible because of you

Suggested screenshot

https://i.imgur.com/VnQCXAP.png
CasualPokePlayer: Judging...

CasualPokePlayer: Disregarding emulation differences, this is indeed an improvement compared to the published movie. Accepting.

Zinfidel: Processing...


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