Submission #7230: Gonquai, Silverbawxer, Blendra, Taru's GC Super Monkey Ball 2 "Story Mode, all levels" in 25:02.72

Console Nintendo GameCube Emulator Dolphin 5.0-14749
Game Version USA Frame Count 180150
ROM Filename Super Monkey Ball 2 (USA).iso Frame Rate 119.88285219372644
Branch Story Mode, all levels Rerecord Count 243523
Unknown Authors Gonquai, Silverbawxer
(Additionally: Blendra, Taru)
Game Super Monkey Ball 2
Submitted by Gonquai on 10/15/2021 12:20:55 AM

Submission Comments

Introduction

Hi. This is a tool assisted speedrun.

Game Objectives

  • Emulator: Dolphin 5.0-14749
  • Individual Level Time

Run Category

Differing from the previously published movies, this run is in the category "Story Mode All Levels". Rather than complete the Expert category of challenge mode, we opt to play through story mode since has tons of new levels never shown off in a publication before, and even the levels that repeat have slight variations to their respective challenge mode versions. Story Mode contains all levels from Beginner, Advanced, and Expert, excluding the 9 bonus stages found in the game. Instead, these are replaced by the first 9 stages of Beginner Extra. Additionally, all 10 stages of World 10 are not playable in challenge mode, so these stages are also all brand new for a published movie. Despite being different categories, we made sure to improve upon the previous movie wherever the runs were directly comparable.
In RTA runs, we distinguish "Story Mode: All Levels" from "Story Mode: any%" because the any% category allows a menu bug that skips stages without playing them. We went with All Levels so that we can show off every stage in the run.

Before each level begins, the camera zooms in while spinning around the stage until it arrives behind the monkey's starting position. This camera zoom can be sped up by quickly going to the pause menu and selecting "Retry" before each stage. This is why you see the menu flash during each load in.
Similarly, the monkey performs a long dancing animation after completing each stage. We can skip this by going to the pause menu and selecting "Stage Select" since the game flags the level as completed as soon as the monkey goes through the goal tape. This is why the menu also flashes at the end of each stage.

Movement Techniques

Frame Boosting

Even though the input range for the control stick is contained by a circle, the inputs are actually mapped to a square. This means diagonal inputs are further away from the center (neutral) input, giving the monkey more acceleration than could be achieved with cardinal inputs. At the start of each stage, we hold up-right for a fraction of a second and then switch to up-left (or vice versa depending on the stage). Although this takes us on a longer path than simply holding straight up, the extra speed we gain from this greatly outweighs the extra distance rolled. Unfortunately, this stops benefiting us at a certain speed, so we can't just boost back and forth for limitless speed gain.

Wall Boosting

Nearly every level in SMB2 begins with the monkey on what is colloquially known as the starting platform (referenced in the game’s files as ”bridge”), and each starting platform is surrounded by walls. By nature of the physics engine, on most levels it is faster to strafe back and forth and ramp up the walls to gain air-time and build speed. (Each time we ramp up a wall is one "wall boost"). Each starting platform is asymmetric which means that frame boosting in one of the two possible directions (i.e. left at the start or right at the start) is always faster. On longer starting platforms, doing a frame boost and then doing two wall boosts seems to always save time over performing three wall boosts.

Fast falling

When falling in SMB2, it is faster to have the control stick nearer to neutral (no input) than it is to have the stick nearer to the edges. This is intuitive in the sense that if you are moving the control stick away from neutral, you end up converting your vertical speed to horizontal speed. (We don't exactly know how this works, but this is a simple way to think about it).

Slow falling / Air Boosting

The inverse of fast falling is slow falling, and this is done by doing the opposite of fast falling (keeping the control stick as far away from neutral as possible). Similarly to how boosting works on the ground, you can cover more distance in the air by switching between the diagonal inputs up-left and up-right. One clear example is on 8-7 Warp, we use this technique to just barely reach the green goal. Without the air boosting, we wouldn't be able to cover the horizontal distance to reach the goal before falling too low to make it onto the platform.

Collision Oddities

Starting platform jump:

At the end of nearly every starting platform, there appears to be an invisible lip that spans across the far edge of the floor. It is possible to interact with this lip at certain speeds/positions, and it provides a decent amount of height and speed when hit. On some levels this speed bump is favorable (1-1 Simple, 1-2 Hollow, 1-6 Floaters), and on some levels we have to actively avoid it to get a more optimal strategy to work (1-3 Switches, 1-9 Spinning Top).

Speed bumps:

On certain levels, you are able to gain speed while rolling across flat ground due to what are known as speed bumps. (These are different from the bumps you can get at the end of the starting platforms). These speed bumps are seemingly random, and mostly unpredictable until you've already managed to hit them. They can be found on the starting platforms (9-3 Spinning Saw) but they can also be found on other completely flat surfaces (4-2 Giant Comb, 5-8 Tower). Additionally, they are more commonly found where 2 polygons of a platform meet, usually on a "curved" surface, or at a corner where multiple shapes meet to approximate a curved shape (1-10 Curve Bridge, 6-5 Tiers).

Inner-corner collision:

Due to how certain parts of levels were created as 3d models, you can land on and interact with geometric parts that are not visible outside of viewing the stage's wireframe model. The square moving platform on 1-6 Floaters looks as though you would roll across the top of it smoothly, but with a precise angle you can interact with the top edge of the far wall, as if the edges were misaligned and it was sticking out above the floor. Similar collision is present on the goal platform of 10-7 Postmodern, where colliding with the corner of a box-shaped platform sends us in a different direction than you would expect.

Party ball nonsense:

The golden party ball (referenced in the game’s files as ”scent bag”) dangles above the goal tape on each level, and it contains some bizarre and surprisingly useful properties. Because this party ball is a bouncy movable object, at certain trajectories we can collide with it in a certain way to suck us into the goal sooner than is otherwise possible.This is most obvious on stages 7-3 Obstacle, 10-2 Gimmick, and 10-8 Revolution. The party ball can also be manipulated to swing to one side or the other, giving us room to squeeze next to it and finish through the goal so that we don't have to slow down in instances when we have too much height or speed (3-2 Reversible Gear, 6-1 Combination).

LevelHuman RecordTASFrames savedComments
1-1 Simple54.1554.161fast
1-2 Hollow54.0654.102fast; hard to match an old TAS
1-3 Bumpy53.3053.406fast
1-4 Switches53.7353.783fast
1-5 Conveyers54.1854.265fast on a misspelled stage name
1-6 Floaters52.7853.2025fast; other stage version has a faster starting platform
1-7 Slopes54.0654.3819fast; above
1-8 Sliders52.7353.4141fast, new strategy
1-9 Spinning Top54.6054.685fast; above
1-10 Curve Bridge38.6849.66659fast, new strategy
World 1 Frames Saved 766
2-1 Banks55.2655.281fast
2-2 Eaten Floor54.3354.383fast
2-3 Hopper56.6656.713fast, smacked by bean in a new way
2-4 Coaster54.4654.460fast
2-5 Bumpy Check54.6854.9315fast
2-6 Swell52.9152.952fast
2-7 Gravity Slider48.0048.3320fast
2-8 Inchworms54.6354.8815fast, new strategy
2-9 Totalitarianism56.0556.082fast
2-10 Alternative52.9554.0566fast
World 2 Frames Saved 127
3-1 Organic Form52.4352.462fast
3-2 Reversible Gear54.3354.6519fast
3-3 Stepping Stones52.3552.6820fast, new strategy
3-4 Dribbles54.1554.203fast starting platform
3-5 U.R.L.53.5853.739fast
3-6 Mad Rings55.7155.731fast
3-7 Curvy Options53.2853.4611fast, achieves high score also
3-8 Twister54.3654.381fast
3-9 Downhill56.2356.230fast
3-10 Junction53.1153.269fast
World 3 Frames Saved 75
4-1 Pro Skaters56.9356.951fastest, breaks human 9-way tie (26-way tie if you count challenge mode)
4-2 Giant Comb53.1853.5019fast; not possible to ride the comb in this stage version
4-3 Beehive52.7652.887fast
4-4 Dynamic Maze54.2554.356fast
4-5 Triangle Holes53.5853.601fast; other stage version can be faster due to the starting platform
4-6 Launchers53.1853.201fast
4-7 Randomizer51.4351.8324fast
4-8 Coin Slots54.3354.457fast
4-9 Seesaw Bridges42.1549.31430fast, no bonks at the end
4-10 Arthropod54.7055.2533fast
World 4 Frames Saved 529
5-1 Wormhole53.8554.0311fast
5-2 Free Fall55.7555.750fast
5-3 Melting Pot25.9025.911fast and touched a ball
5-4 Mad Shuffle54.2354.230fast
5-5 Bead Screen54.1554.314fast
5-6 Jump Machine52.6853.2836fast
5-7 Zigzag Slope46.4347.3052fast
5-8 Tower49.6650.0122fast on flat ground
5-9 Toggle55.2355.315fast
5-10 Fluctuation54.1554.4116fast
World 5 Frames Saved 147
6-1 Combination56.0156.031fast
6-2 Punched Seesaws55.7355.751fast
6-3 Opera54.1154.205fast
6-4 Brandished56.1356.130fastest
6-5 Tiers53.3653.8026fast
6-6 Cliffs55.7655.813fast
6-7 Narrow Peaks55.9856.001fast
6-8 Detour52.8052.864fast
6-9 Switch Inferno52.9353.2620fast
6-10 Folders51.5151.531fast
World 6 Frames Saved 62
7-1 Spiral Bridge47.9848.5333fast
7-2 Wavy Option54.1654.234fast
7-3 Obstacle55.5355.668fastest in the whole world
7-4 Domino55.1555.4317fast
7-5 Sieve48.8550.4093fast with interesting clips
7-6 Flock52.9053.3527fast
7-7 Double Spiral51.2651.419fast
7-8 Hierarchy54.8555.0512fast
7-9 8 Bracelets52.3552.488fast
7-10 Quick Turn53.1553.4619fast
World 7 Frames Saved 230
8-1 Pistons54.6354.768fast, slightly new clips
8-2 Soft Cream54.8554.956fast
8-3 Momentum53.5053.500fast
8-4 Entangled Path54.6854.839fast, new strategy
8-5 Totters55.0155.010fast
8-6 Vortex54.1854.233fast
8-7 Warp52.2152.7633fast, green goal
8-8 Trampolines55.1555.309fast
8-9 Swing Shaft52.9053.4634fast
8-10 Linear Seesaws54.9155.0810fast, new clips
World 8 Frames Saved 112
9-1 Serial Jump55.8555.850fast
9-2 Cross Floors51.6552.6560fast (very fast)
9-3 Spinning Saw54.8054.885fast
9-4 Chipped Pipes54.6154.663fast
9-5 Flat Maze54.0154.105fast
9-6 Guillotine54.3354.362fast
9-7 Cork Screw47.5549.1898fast
9-8 Orbiters54.7854.9611fast, new strategy
9-9 Twin Basin54.3554.6518fast
9-10 Air Hockey56.5356.551fast
World 9 Frames Saved 203
10-1 Training53.6053.7811fast, new start
10-2 Gimmick45.5049.28227fast
10-3 Mountain55.8555.850fast
10-4 Disorder55.6555.756fast
10-5 3D Maze54.3354.351fast
10-6 Labyrinth49.5852.66185fast
10-7 Postmodern50.8552.4093fast, no going back for extra speed
10-8 Revolution55.1055.7338fast, immense ball-smacking precision
10-9 Invisible49.6050.2841fast
10-10 Created By53.5853.7611fast 101
World 10 Frames Saved 613
Total Frames Saved 2864

Miscellaneous: the catch all

  • Desired frame for screenshot: 63126 or 63127 (whichever yields 54:00 on the timer)
  • We changed dolphin versions in the middle of creating this, specifically from version 5.0-13603 to 5.0-14749. This was due to some issue in 5.0-13603 that sometimes caused the dtm to desync despite no notable changes to the iso used or dtm itself; just some inconsistency that was fixed sometime before 5.0-14749.
  • This is not the first Story Mode TAS created inside of the Monkey Ball series.

Samsara: i'm going to watch arthropod get absolutely destroyed and i will never be happier than in that moment I mean, uh, judging.
Samsara: Well, it wasn't just Arthropod getting absolutely destroyed, it was 99 other levels as well. This is a run I've wanted to see for a while and it absolutely did not disappoint in any way. Insane new strategies (Curve Bridge and Sieve were particular highlights for me, as well as basically all of World 10), very clear attention to saving as much time as possible through menuing, and most of all... fast (very fast)
Accepting as a new branch!
fsvgm777: Processing.

Last Edited by fsvgm777 on 10/23/2021 6:52:41 PM
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