Submission #7420: wafflewizard1's PSX Spyro The Dragon "Vortex" in 20:30.80

(Link to video)
Console Sony PlayStation Emulator BizHawk 2.7.0
Game Version USA v1.0 Frame Count 73774
ROM Filename Spyro the Dragon (USA).bin Frame Rate 59.94005994005994
Branch Vortex Rerecord Count 23590
PowerOn Authors wafflewizard1
Game Spyro the Dragon
Submitted by wafflewizard1 on 4/2/2022 10:35:15 AM

Submission Comments
Spyro the Dragon Vortex TAS in 20:32
Made by wafflewizard1
Adjusted to RTA timing standards with PS2 fast disk speed: 18:25
Δ World record: -2:05

Game objectives:
Emulator used: BizHawk 2.7.0 with no memory card inserted
BIOS: scph1001.bin
SHA1 hash of Spyro the Dragon (USA).bin: cf3ce6bedeb89dfbc40990336180f3b9b0f40d9f
Takes damage to save time
Uses death to save time
RNG/enemy manipulation
Videos:
Goal of this TAS:
After using the unlock all homeworlds cheat code, we go into each individual level (excluding the completionist bonus level) and attempt to reach the exit level vortex as fast as possible. Normally in Spyro you have to collect gems, dragons and eggs to unlock the following homeworlds. Due to the nature of these collectable requirements, skipping them is currently impossible. This category aims to showcase the types of movement, boosts, and glitches that Spyro 1 has to offer when collectables aren't taken into consideration. Going from point A to point B as fast as possible is the primary focus in this category.
Acronyms/Generalities:
Vortex: The end of level portal that takes you back to the homeworld
Charge: Holding square causes Spyro to run forward in a “charge”
Proxy: Getting a boost off an enemy/scenery from hitbox or animation
Squeeze proxy: Getting a boost by squeezing with enemies or scenery
Wallglide: Gaining height while gliding along a wall at a specific angle
Damage boost: Getting a boost from getting damaged by an enemy, possible because of how the game stores momentum
Skitter jump: A charging jump input while on a sloped surface which causes an immediate landing on said slope, allows for faster travel up hills
Charge glide: A charge input with a glide input the frame after which causes your glide to start with a boost of momentum, and reach top speed instantly.
Charge jump: Pressing jump while charging will give you a short but fast jump the direction you're charging
Bonk: When you charge into a wall or enemy that can't be moved
Instant Load: Entering level portals from specific angles to reduce, or completely remove the level entry animation.
Roll: Pressing L1 or R1 makes Spyro roll left or right
OoB: Out of bounds E.g. Going over a wall to unintended areas
Flop: The falling animation state
Power jump: A charge into a late jump input that gains extra momentum
Supercharge ramp: Ramps with arrows that gives Spyro extra speed with a special animation
Squop: A charge into a glide input
Magic stairs: Utilising the mechanics of edges to push you up stairs with a charge jump
TAS: Tool assisted speedrun
Fodder: The small creatures that when killed gives you a hit point
Balloonist: The NPC in each homeworld that takes you to the other homeworlds
RTA: Human viable
Glide buffer: When doing a charge jump, pressing x will make Spyro glide for one frame and charge again, which extends the charge jump a little

Interesting level comments:
General run:
I'm stoked with how this TAS turned out. Major improvements from the last TAS in terms of both movement and tricks. I timed a lot more stuff this time around to make sure I was doing optimal strats.
Magic stairs/glide buffers - Last TAS I tried to magic stairs on every stair, turns out a lot of them were slower and I've timed this one to check which ones are worth going for.
Artisans homeworld:
Stone - More optimised skitter jumps, nothing huge. The cheat code entry was also moved to the portal entry for this level rather than the balloonist.
Town Square - Getting magic stairs at the start carries a lot of momentum through the start of the level which is faster than the RTA jumps currently used.
Wallglide into Toasty - Instead of using a jump into a glide, a charge jump is used which is slightly faster. After jumping off the scenery Spyro lands on, we glide OoB and touch the level portal. A specific angle is used to get an instant load into the level.
Toasty - We get a proxy off the dog at the start of the level which sends Spyro directly up, skipping all of the level. I tried getting to the dog as fast as possible to get the proxy faster. I cut the proxy off with a glide so we touch the top of the vortex. This proxy is due to the interaction between both the dog and the shepherd, not just one of them. Leaving Toasty, more skitter jumps were found and implemented for faster movement.
Dark Hollow - Most of the level is running in a straight line to the end, but this updated TAS also includes a proxy off the frog fodder at the end, saving a little time.

Magic Crafters homeworld:
Alpine Ridge - The wallglide in this level is an improvement on the RTA version of the trick and was named “Fish Escalator”. Using the scenery Spyro can glide along the wall and achieve enough height to fly OoB and into a later part of the level that is much closer to the vortex.
Alpine to High Caves - I was messing around with the moving platform outside alpine one day and managed to get a small boost off it which sparked this new boost. While making the TAS I managed to tweak it so it got Spyro just enough height to get up to the platform, skipping the need to run around.
High Caves - Magic stairs are used to optimise the movement up to the super charge ramp, which leads into using the supercharge to fling Spyro against a metal gem chest and up into the vortex. This flop was proven to be faster than the previous TAS implementation.
Wizard Peak - After supercharging up to the ledge, I keep the supercharge to proxy off one of the druids. This was much faster than the last TAS.
Blowhard - There are multiple damage boosts utilising the wizards in this level, some of which are RTA, but there is one at the very start of the level that is carried into a very tight wallglide that we use which saves a few seconds.
Tuco the Balloonist - Unlike the other balloonists, this one has an RNG element. The next level we want to go to is in the Peace Keepers homeworld, and Tuco lets us select this homeworld but there's an optimisation; Tuco has a 2/5 chance to give us a level inside the homeworld which lets us skip running from the Peace Keepers spawn and instead it already puts us inside a level inside of Peace Keepers. One of the 2/5 options saves more time because it skips some backtracking. We manipulated the RNG (through small input changes) to give us the best option which is the level ‘Dry Canyon’.

Peace Keepers homeworld:
Dry Canyon - Using a wallglide at the start of the level allows us to get upto a small platform which is normally unreachable. Once on the platform we roll while Spyro is very close to the edge which sends Spyro up the sloped wall to the vortex platform. For some reason rolling up slopes only works when Spyro’s teetering over the edge of a platform which is why we have to get close to the edge.
Cliff Town - One of the hardest squeeze proxies to get, it saves us having to charge up the long windy level which is a big time save. Was in XandoToasters old vortex TAS. After getting the squeeze we get magic stairs to carry momentum up to the vortex.
Doctor Shemp - Off the start of the level we manipulate the enemy thrown at us so that they run into a corner. If we roll into the corner as the enemy is running into it we can set up for a trick that is called ‘Shemp skip’. Shemp skip is performed when we jump frame perfectly as the enemy is swinging their knife at Spyro which proxies Spyro high enough to get up to the vortex, skipping the level and the boss fight.
Ice Cavern - This level was altered from the previous TAS to exclude wall gliding into the top of the vortex as it was timed to be slower.

Dream Weavers homeworld:
Haunted Towers - We skip a large proportion of the start of the level through multiple dead body proxies off of the wizard enemies (the first one was a new find by me which was a nice surprise), currently dubbed ‘Quad Wiz’. The supercharge turnaround is then used which is done by taking the supercharge out of its intended area and doing large jumps across platforms that are normally unreachable.
Dark Passage - Most of this level is skipped from a damage boost off the archer enemies. Bonking into the wall while getting shot gets the boost high enough to where we can use a small wallglide to reach the end of level vortex.
Lofty Castle - This level is the first instance where power jumps are used. You may recognise the two power jumps by the size of the gap Spyro clears. The jumps are not RTA viable and are very precise with positioning and angle. After getting the power jumps we get boosted up to the vortex on the enemy known as the turkey with the trick suitably named “turkey boost”. By jumping at the right time and flopping onto the enemy, it puts Spyro in a perfect position where he wont slide off and instead, gets hit again and lifted up. By pressing X we glide off the turkey when we are able to glide to the vortex.
Lofty to Jaques - WOW, I finally found the trick to take us from lofty to Jaques, and it turns out it's slightly faster! Super sick find + an awesome instant load into the level.
Jaques - Last TAS I said there was a potential proxy off one of the fools onto the scenery, and I found it. This new trick saves over 5 seconds compared to the last TAS. I then glide off into a slight scenery proxy which puts us up onto one of the platforms at the end of the level, entirely skipping the boss fight.

Beast Makers homeworld:
Terrace Village - The proxy you see in this level is called “Bisquick”, an alternative name of the original trick named Biscuit Blast, which has recently become RTA viable. The height acquired in this instance is much harder to accomplish, and saves time because Spyro is high enough to reach the top of the vortex portal and skips excessive gliding behind the scenery as an RTA route would perform.
Tree Tops - By getting a small squeeze proxy between the torch pole and the sloped wall, we can make a jump onto the platform across which is a direct supercharge to the end of the level. A proxy was removed at the end from last TAS as it was slower and instead ramped off the wall to get some height. The fodder is still hit and replenishes a hit point for Spyro.
Metalhead - Some magic stairs were removed as timed jump charging up stairs was definitively found to be faster. “Double Bowling” is the new implemented strategy here which involves timing a jump and charge glide to bounce off of the metal monkey’s hitbox, skipping the usual route of crossing the bridge as well as the Metalhead boss room. A new scenery proxy was also implemented, dubbed “Squooce” (or Bowling 2.0) which involves using the boost obtained from the second bowling and in and out of the wall’s scenery in a specific manner to obtain more height. This new version is faster than the previous strategy by approximately 3 seconds and allows enough height to glide directly into the vortex room.

Gnasty’s World:
Gnorc Cove - Rat Proxy. This one didn't get us as high as I’d like it to, but it's still a second faster over the old TAS because we use a new trick that Lumilaura found which is the barrel boost at the start.
Twilight Harbour - The tricks in this level were tricks I found around 4 months ago. It's multiple tricks chained in a row which creates an amazing but overwhelming level so bare with the explanation. The enemy at the start can be charged at such an angle that it starts shaking up and down because it's stuck in a glitchy bit of scenery. If you attempt to squop onto the enemy when it's shaking it launches you upwards which can then be used to glide into another proxy, this one being a scenery squeeze between the archway and the wall. This scenery squeeze launches you straight up and you land on the roof above. The chimneys on the side of the roof happen to have collision only on the side facing the wall, so we clip into the chimney and get *yet another* scenery squeeze proxy which sends us finally high enough to glide to the end of the level. The RTA strat for this level charges through the whole level and this trick manages to save some time because it's a more direct line from start to finish.
Gnasty Gnorc - Gnasty Gnorc was altered to involve some tougher movement tech. Grabbing the keys from both thieves remains unchanged however in the Gnasty chase Spyro has been manipulated to be directly in front of Gnasty Gnorc the entire run up to the first flame, allowing for optimal speed on Gnasty.

Potential improvements:
This TAS has been made as optimal as possible with current strats and movement. New strats and movement tech would be needed to see any improvement on this time. For example the balloon proxy in Lofty, or a new clip in Cove. Most of the potential improvements I stated last time came to fruition through some strat finding, some of which were found literally days after the first TAS which was unfortunate timing.
Special Thanks:
Thank you to my friends in discord for helping me keep sane through the creation of this TAS. Thank you to XandoToaster for teaching me the ropes of TASing (who also made the former TAS) and to c0mposer for help with TAS stuff.

-wafflewizard1&c0mposer - tex wuz here ඞ

ThunderAxe31: Removed 12764 blank frames at the end of the movie file.
feos: I know nothing about this game, so judging this precedent setting submission is going to be a lot of fun.
feos: Indeed it was crazy, as detailed in this post I made. It doesn't make sense to repeat it, but it's important to emphasize the main points:
  • Indeed this movie uses a cheat code that does not meet our old rules on codes.
  • Our old rules on codes weren't helping more people like and respect TASVideos.
  • We want rules to serve people, not people to serve rules.
  • We want to inspire and educate more people so they make more cool TASes.
So we agreed to adjust the rules a little bit to feature Moons level content even if an in-game code by itself makes the game easier. If the code is so bad that people can't even enjoy the movie, I think it's a perfect reason to reject send such a run to Playground. But if it ends up helping a movie stand out more and people also like it for what it is, I don't see a problem.
However I don't really know how to make the branch label make more sense to those who don't know the game. A vortex is just an end level portal, it doesn't imply any cheats, it doesn't get tracked by the game how many vortexes you visited. But adding anything to the label feels even more confusing. At least it's better to leave it capitalized so it means a phenomenon and not a singular portal.
Accepting to Moons.
fsvgm777: Processing. Spikestuff is handling the encodes for this one.

Last Edited by fsvgm777 on 6/5/2022 7:13 AM
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