Submission #2919: criticaluser & sgrunt's GBA Advance Wars "glitched" in 13:43.97

Game Boy Advance
VBA-rr v22
0095 - Advance Wars (U) (v1.0)
Submitted by sgrunt on 11/25/2010 11:00:31 PM
Submission Comments
Without warning, the forces of Blue Moon mount an assault on the nation of Orange Star. Only Orange Star's new advisor, in collaboration with Orange Star's commanding officers, can stop them and get to the truth behind this sinister plot... or at least that's what they'd normally do if they weren't capable of just magically compelling their opponents to surrender at the sight of them.
This is an improvement of 00:58.62 seconds (3517 frames) over criticaluser's earlier submission thanks to strategic improvements and cursor movement optimisation.

Game objectives

  • Emulator used: VBA-rr v21/v22
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Heavy glitch abuse
  • Colours the battlefield with static


I first became interested in this upon seeing ALAKTORN's alternate strategy for Fog of War; thinking that it was a shame that a game could be broken in this fashion and yet remain improvable, I subsequently worked to implement that strategy under TAS conditions on the theory that it could be spliced into the rest of the run. That theory proved to be well-founded and prompted further scrutiny from criticaluser, ALAKTORN, and klmz; what you see here is the result of their combined strategising (and my occasional splicing) - this is the fourth and hopefully final time that improvements have been added to the run.
I am submitting this on behalf of criticaluser after an extensive round of optimisation (largely on his part) due to my continued interest and efforts to splice improvements into the earlier version of the run. Very little of my input remains in the run proper, but criticaluser has graciously extended me a co-author credit for my work.
Most of what I have written hereafter is sourced from criticaluser's earlier comments.

Cursor movement

Moving the cursor on two consecutive frames will cause the cursor to immediately jump to the second tile, saving a few frames of cursor animation. Careful planning can let the cursor move a significant distance with a minimum of button presses. See criticaluser's post for some insight on moving the cursor around in this fashion.


Design map glitch
This bizarre glitch makes campaign mode think it's in design maps mode. It is triggered by losing the Naval Forces training mission by allowing one's transport copter to be destroyed, then going into design maps mode and destroying/recreating a unit. How does that work? I don't know.
Force surrender
With the design map glitch active, creating a unit on the enemy force will give you control over that force. One can then yield in the normal fashion to win the mission instantly.
Turn skipping
If you create an enemy unit before the game gives you the control of the campaign cursor, the AI will take control of that army for a turn. This is used to skip turns in the mission "Kanbei Arrives!".

Stage by stage comments

Intro screens

If you look carefully, you notice that the answer to Nell's question as to whether this is the player's first time playing is "Yes". It turns out, counterintuitively, that this is faster than selecting "No", which would yield an extra question and at least five extra screens of text.

Fog of War

ALAKTORN first suggested the improved strategy presented here, later improved by a suggestion from klmz. I initially implemented ALAKTORN's strategy which criticaluser subsequently went through and optimised with cursor movement.
Most of the improvement here is by virtue of cursor movement, though ALAKTORN did point out a unit that was unnecessarily moved.

Campaign missions

Most missions here are won by forced surrender as explained above.

Kanbei Arrives!

Normally, completing this mission in less than 8 days and the following two missions in less than 10 and 12 days respectively cause an extra set of three missions to be played. This would waste time, so this mission was selected for having the lowest time limit that could be exceeded easily.
criticaluser's new strategy here skips turns without needing to play through them each time and saves 1220 frames in total.

Other comments

There's an encode available at:
The YouTube module above is also an HD encode done by me.
This has my first time working with a strategy game, which is a more interesting experience than my previous work, and though the amount of my work which has ended up in this run is less than stellar, I may pursue more of it in the future.
I offer extended thanks to both ALAKTORN and klmz for their strategic advice, and echo criticaluser's previous thanks to samurai goroh for the design map glitch which made this run possible.
In closing, I offer this insight by criticaluser:
As you can see audience is an important factor on this run. We have to be sure that audience won't kill us with a lot of 'meh'.
So, I hope you enjoy this!

DarkKobold: Claiming for judging, due to nudging.
DarkKobold: The majority of 'meh' voters said in this and the previous thread that the glitch was interesting in its own right, and simply got repetitive; I agree, watching this glitch for 16 of the 17 missions (not counting mission 8) was very repetitive. However, I don't think that destroys the entertainment. While perhaps the authors could have played the last mission, that brings in arbitrary goals which I am vehemently against. That said, I think this glitch is unique enough to deserve it's own movie. Accepting as a new publication.
Last Edited by adelikat on 9/20/2023 11:57 PM
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