Submission #7917: somyeol & Gawrit's PSX Sled Storm "playaround" in 18:48.26

(Link to video)
System Sony PlayStation Emulator Bizhawk 2.8
Game Version USA Frame Count 67500 (Cycle Count 38212760831)
ROM Filename Sled Storm.cue Frame Rate 59.826716266608294
Branch playaround Rerecord Count 35456
PowerOn Authors somyeol, Gawrit
Game Sled Storm
Submitted by somyeol on 12/30/2022 7:32:01 PM

Submission Comments
Sled Storm is a snowmobile racing video game published and developed by Electronic Arts. It gained critical acclaim due to its original concept of being one of the first snowmobile racing titles.
The game features snowmobiles (referred to as sleds), stunts and fourteen snow-covered courses consisting of slippery slopes, inclement weather and treacherous cliffs. Six racers were selectable from the outset and two more were unlockable, each of which had different snowmobile handling attributes.
TAS with Commentary by Gawrit:
  • Emulator used: Bizhawk 2.8
  • BIOS used: SCPH-5501.bin
  • Demonstration
  • Abuses Programming Errors
  • Glitch Abuse
  • Uses Cheat Codes
  • Genre: Racing
This is my submission for the PSX Version of Sled Storm (1999). In this TAS i want to show off the amazing Glitches and Tricks the game has to offer. Note that this is not a TAS aiming for Speed, but rather Entertainment.

Game Information

The game has purchasable upgrades for the riders' snowmobiles which can improve handling, acceleration, and more. A trick feature may be performed by using two shoulder buttons in combination with the direction pad. The combination of buttons used determines what trick is performed. It is also possible to multi-combo on higher jumps to gain an even higher score. After completing the Open Mountain Championship, the player can unlock the Storm Sled, which is a thin, quick and agile sled capable of outracing even the fastest standard sleds.
There are a variety of modes to play in this game but im only going to focus on 2: Open Mountain Championship and Quick Races. When selecting to play Open Mountain Championship, you are able to buy upgrades for your sled to make it faster, improve handling or stability. 5000$ are given to you at the start of the game to help you customize your sled. Cash can be earned by winning races, performing tricks or breaking objects in the race.
In the Beginning you start off with a very slow sled, so to avoid TASing the Open Mountain Championship with a slow sled which would roughly take 25 minutes, i want to start off with the "Storm Sled" from the beginning. This can be done with Cheats. I use 2 Cheats in this TAS, the first one is used to unlock the "Storm Sled" and the second one is for unlocking all the Open Mountain Levels. Open Mountain Championship Levels can only be unlocked by playing the Championship which i did not want to do, because i want to keep the TAS short and not too repetitive. You can select from a variety of racers before going into the course, only a few of them can actually do all the tricks in the game and as such, i pick Nadia because she can do all the Tricks, and because i like her colors.
Its important to note that i dont play through the Championship, but Quick Races instead, as i dont want to repeat the same courses too many times and to keep the TAS short.
For more information watch Gawrit's video, it goes more into detail.

History

Around 2.5 years ago i got interested in speedrunning Sled Storm, it was my childhood game and one of the best racing games i have ever played. After checking out the Speedrun Leaderboard for Sled Storm, i saw Gawrit's name and to my surprise, he did a lot of work finding Glitches, Skips, Tricks and whatnot. I was in shock when he showed me what was possible. After speedrunning the game for a while i became fairly accustomed with the handling of the Sled and performing tricks.
One day i was watching Gawrit speedrun Sled Storm and he asked this question: What if Sled Storm had a TAS? I was also wondering what it would possibly look like, as there are endless possibilities to make the game look great. This was before i had actual knowledge of TASing and how to make a TAS entertaining. I TAS'ed every Open Mountain Level so me and Gawrit were able to see how much time you could possibly shave off. Very smooth gameplay can be achieved with the fully upgraded 800cc, even better than the Storm Sled, but i will get to that later.
I still had one question in mind: Is this actually entertaining to watch? To some people it was, but there was just something missing. Every lap almost always looked the same, perfect snaking and submarining to shave off fractions of a second. The way i TAS'ed Sled Storm was to play through the races normally like in the Speedrun, without the use of Checkpoint Manipulation or Wallrides.
After completing the Open Mountain TAS i stopped playing Sled Storm for a while. A few months later i found out that TAS'es dont have to go specifically for Speed alone, but also Entertainment, thats when i had the idea of making this submission.

Explanation of the TAS

As i have said before, this submission does not go just for speed, but also aims to entertain. I had to device a plan for every track so that i dont repeat movement and tricks too many times as it can quickly become boring to watch. The game starts off with me going into the Options and putting in the 2 Cheats to unlock the "Storm Sled" and the Open Mountain Tracks. Then i go back to Start and select Quick Races and choose Nadia, then going into Pine Valley to race. After finishing Pine Valley you can choose the next track to race, up until Lost Peak, the last track of the Open Mountain.

Movement Tricks

Snaking

Holding Up on the D-Pad while holding Left or Right can make your Sled turn faster, even faster while holding either L1 or R1 to lean.
Holding Down appears to have the same effect, but its only half as fast.

Submarining

Holding Up while your Sled is in the air makes it dip forward, resulting in you getting stunned for a brief moment or just straight up crashing. When holding forward while landing on the ground, the front of your sled will become embedded into the ground, making it possible for your Character to go below the surface.
The use of submarining is that it allows you to go past or below objects, even Checkpoints. You will see this trick a lot in the TAS, it is used for Checkpoint Manipulation and to have access to Wallrides which cannot be gone into without the use of submarining.
It may look like as if it were possible to submarine everywhere, but some tracks such as Goats Bluff will make the Character on your Sled instantly faint if you were to go too low into the ground.
You can go into Submarines without getting stunned, but its very difficult to do. It can be possible to submarine through entire walls, i.e. Glacial Grind, but the low stability of the Sled will almost always make you crash.

Wallriding

The Walls appear to be seamless, but they are not. It's possible clip into the spot where two walls meet by holding Up. Holding up is done so that your Character does not crash while ascending upwards. There are only a handful of easily accessible walls you can clip into and wallride ontop.
You can also wallride out of a submarine, the submarine makes it possible to reach areas you were never intended to go, so in theory it would mean that it is possible to wallride anywhere.

Backwards Wallriding

This is possible with the Upgrade "Power Reverse" obtained from the Championship. The TAS Storm Sled does not have that upgrade.
Instead of holding Up you have to hold DOWN to keep your sled stable.

White Space

The seemingly endless void found on top of the wallrides. Weird geometry and shapes can be found out of bounds, crevices, checkpoints, anything really.
When Wallriding and going ontop of the stage, you can go out of bounds but it wont be long before your Character disappears and inevitably crashes into geometry or a crevice.
If you were to go out of bounds on a SuperSnoCross track, you can jump into the same track. It looks like the Developers just copied and pasted the track over and over again.
Gawrit has a video on this subject:

Storm Sled (Cheat Sled)

The Storm Sled obtained from the Cheat Code i used in the TAS and the one you obtain from winning the Open Mountain Championship are different. The Stats look the same but do not be fooled, the acceleration on the Storm Sled i cheated in is so much worse.
This is why we call it the "Cheat Sled".
Acceleration is in fact so poor that it made some tricks in the TAS so much more difficult.

Tricks (Actual Tricks)

17 different tricks can be performed by holding either L2 and R2 or both and using the D-Pad to input the trick while your sled is in the air. Trick Points range from 100 to 1500.
Tricks are used to gain points in the Championship to buy upgrades for your vehicle. Some tricks can also be "held" to increase the amount of points you get. Tricks can be combo'd together, i.e. One Footed Can Can into Superman. These combos are relatively easy to do because they are on the same shoulder button (R2). Tricks that use the R2 button can be combo'd together with ones that use the L2 button and vice versa, but they are frameperfect.
There is no reason to do tricks other than aesthetics or to emote.
If you are unsure on what tricks can be combo'd together, either watch the TAS or observe one of the 3 CPU Racers that race with you, they also do frameperfect tricks. A simple trick is "Look Back" where you need to press L2 and Up. Know that you are locked into the animation of your trick and cannot move your vehicle while this happens, most of the time i dont do tricks so that i can have more control over my vehicle.

Perfect Start

This trick is just in every racing game isnt it? When the Countdown starts from 3 and just before the 1 reaches the Characters shoulders on your sled, let go of accelerate and you will be able to reach the maximum speed of 103mph. This will also work if you let go of accelerate for just 1 frame. You have around 20 frames for Perfect Start to work.

Signboosting

Signs can be broken by driving into them, sometimes they will knock you back or to the side. Some signs however will boost you into the next dimension with how they are placed on the tracks. It is not possible to signboost on every sign.

Stage by Stage Comments

I TASed the Stages in different ways, for example "Pine Valley Lap 1" i went through a Normal lap (N) like in a speedrun, i will label these levels as:
  • N = Normal
  • S = Skip (A skip like in the speedrun where checkpoint manipulation is performed)
  • R = Random (Wallride, Submarine or anything else)

1. Pine Valley | N/S/R

Lap 1: Right after the perfect start is the first frameperfect trick. After that instead of taking the first shortcut as intended, i submarine into the ground a little so that it forces the sled out with enough momentum to get into the wall and have the wall push the sled onto the shortcut.
I perform a submarine when i leave the shortcut, submarining below the cave entrance which was blocked by an icewall so that i dont have to break it. After exiting the shortcut i go near a wall to perform the Infinite Hold Glitch, when going near a wall with a slope you can perform a held trick for as long as you are going into the wall, the game thinks your sled is in the air so it is possible to do tricks.
Lap 2: The first Skip, i cross the checkpoint and turn my sled around to crash into the wall. It puts me before the finish line and im able to complete the lap.
Checkpoint Manipulation is quite simple: Cross the first checkpoint and somehow find a way to cross the last checkpoint before the finish line. Here it is done by me crashing into the wall and have my sled cross the last checkpoint before the finish line, thus placing me before the finish line.
Lap 3: I cross the checkpoint again, however, i turn around after i pass the slope and use it to jump into a submarine, submarining low enough to cross the last checkpoint before the finish line. Big Credit to Gawrit for finding this.

2. Kodiak Canyon | N/S/R

Lap 1: Not performing a Perfect Start here to have more control over the sled, taking the next shortcut not as intended again. Submarining a little bit and then jumping onto part of the hill, visiting the bear for a dance and then performing the Early Cave Jump which was so much harder to do with the poor acceleration of the Cheat Sled.
Lap 2: Crossing the Checkpoint and then touching the part of the wall because the checkpoint is there, checkpoints ascend upwards aswell.
Lap 3: Going a little further than previous Lap because i wanted to see whats up with Jay (Red Racer), i turn around and make use of a "slope" to get into a submarine. This submarine in particular was very difficult to get into. The camera has a moment and i had to switch perspective and finish the lap without touching the wall it seems.

3.Hard Pack | R/S/R

Lap 1: Here i take the shortcut and we see the first sign boosting me into the wall without me crashing or getting stunned. Next we have a submarine going into a wallride, i intentionally submarine into another terrain for a bit so that i can clip better into the wall. Wallriding on top of the shelve, it doesnt take long for me to fall down, everytime i watch this part i get that sinking feeling you get in your dreams.
The next Signboost is by far one of the strongest i have seen. In order to get a good signboost you need the sign to be near the edge of a slope or path. Staying on the track, i find the bunny and kick him with a Parallel Can Can. Finishing the lap with another wallride which i didnt even know was possible in that spot.
Lap 2: The usual skip, crossing the checkpoint and turning around, then performing a trick while jumping into a wall to crash. This puts you before the finish line.
Lap 3: I take the shortcut because i needed to find a way to get a submarine working, this one doesnt get me stunned but its difficult to get into. I submarine under the finish line and then crash, observe my sled going up the wall, yes that is a spot where you can wallride.

4. Eagle Ridge | S/R/R

Lap 1: One of the hardest tricks in the game, the 1-frame on Eagle Ridge. I cross the checkpoint and turn around to go near the wall to perform the 1-frame.
Utmost precision is required to successfully get this to work and even in TAS i had to slow down a lot for this to work. When crashing into the wall, your sled needs to be in a very specific spot or the game puts you before the finish line and the lap wont count.
Lap 2: Doing a Backflip while bonking off of the sign, some more snaking is done and i enter shortcut for the Train Track Jump. Poor Acceleration of the Cheat Sled once again made this painful. After exiting the shortcut i go into a submarine and my initial plan was to go behind the waterfall, but Nadia will just drown on her Sled. I found a way to clip into the boulder and then into a wallride, the hardest wallride to get into. Going ontop of the shelve i drive around the track, its difficult to not crash here. I finish the lap with a frameperfect trick.
Lap 3: A wallride once again, but this one is the first and easiest wallride found by Gawrit. I drive around the track for some scenery and then drop into the Train Track Shortcut. I then meet Ryan (Blue Racer) which i purposely crash into. See how fast Ryan is, that is rubberbanding which makes him around 25% faster than me. I perform some wacky movement with the rocks, after the trick i clip into the boulder which then leads into a rockclimb, an RTA strat and easy to do. Taking the shortcut and then performing the Rock Hop. Careful with this trick, as you must cross the checkpoint before the finish line for your lap to count.

5. Glacial Grind | R/S/N

Lap 1: You can perform a Perfect Start here without getting stuck in the wall, but you must press Up and Right at the same time. I go near the slope here to avoid a jump, after bouncing off of a slope i perform a trick with seemingly no airtime. I slow down and clip into the igloo and wait for one of the racers to break it. Poor Acceleration is displayed again on the ice here, im barely able to move. I take the shortcut, break the wall and exit the shortcut just in time to witness Ryan performing a Superman from one of the biggest jumps in the game. I manage a signboost which puts me into a submarine and into a wallride. I drive ontop of it for some time to enjoy the scenery and then drop down right before the finish line. For a moment you can see Ryan getting stuck in the wall, that is because walls will literally "grab" you and it will be very hard for you to move.
Lap 2: Crossing the checkpoint and the turning around into a wallride, the checkpoint is on top so i have to crash while wallriding. This puts me juuust behind the finish line, but i reverse and then accelerate to make the lap count.
Lap 3: When you crash you will be able to see the ghost of your character for a little bit, this is where i meet Jay and decide to possess him. You can do this for as long as you want, given you are inside of one of the racers. Driving the track as usual on Lap 3 until i get to the sign to perform a boost.
Signs can be boosted off of multiple times without breaking, this was found by me almost 2 years ago. After the signboost i drop down just to get up again with the Bunny Hop, then i take the cave shortcut. I saw Ryan on the map here and was wondering what he was doing because he did not seem to be moving.
When i finally get to him, he appeared to be struggling with his sled and just crashes but i managed to stop him. I initially wanted to make him crash into the igloo first but then i realized i can balance him on top of me.

6. Goats Bluff | N/S/R

Lap 1: This is most likely the craziest trick in the TAS: The Goat Climb. One of the hardest tricks aswell, as it only works on a precise spot on the rocks.
This is a TAS only trick, meaning even with practice i never managed to get it even once on the 1st lap. Given my attempt counter i can assume this to be a 1/500 chance of getting. It can be done more consistently with a slow setup though.
You can see that im apparently still in 4th place, but after passing the red sign im in 1st place, so another checkpoint is located after the red sign.
After the Goat Climb i take the track as usual, passing the goats and staying as straight as possible. This track is somewhat boring to watch as there arent a lot of jumps. I follow the line on the ground as there wasnt anything else to do, this was very tedious to do.
Lap 2: Ah yes, the pain.
Performing a Goat Climb again but this time without the perfect start speed and the poor acceleration of the Cheat Sled really is something else. I managed to get it somehow smooth looking and then cross the checkpoint, just to jump down again and crash off to the side. This puts me before the finish line and the lap counts.
Lap 3: Goat Climb again and crossing the checkpoint, but this time i go for an unexpected wallride i found RTA. I get on top and then crash into a similar spot as in Lap 2.

7. Perilous Pass | N/S/S

Lap 1: This track features a lot of big jumps for a huge variety of tricks. Most of the tricks you see me perform here are very unusual or just 1-frames. There is not much to say for this track, keep in mind that when i do tricks i am locked into the animation and cannot move my sled.
Lap 2: The first major shortcut which saves a whopping 16-20s. The Perilous Pass Shortcut. This is the Castle Entry Version:
This can also be done RTA but with only a 20% of actually getting it after enough practice. The reason you dont fall off here immediately is that there is geometry and shapes behind you. It is still possible to crash or fall off, but there is a lot of leeway.
Hard to do with the Cheat Sled however, with no acceleration its hard to jump over, so i wrapped around the hill and managed to get across. More Tricks follow after that.
Lap 3: Another Castle Entry but i still want to show off another method of doing this Shortcut:
This is a much safer method of doing this shortcut and very consistent, it only loses around 3-4s. After the shortcut i was waiting for Ryan so that i can mess with him again. So i went to look at the Snowman, there is one in almost every track.
Finally Ryan arrives, and i start copying his tricks which was very fun to do. It also gave me insight on how much the CPU was capable of. On one of his jump he performs an Indian Air into a Superman while being in the most awkward position. The Lap finishes with me performing a new trick i found through Ryan, Ryan also crashes.

8. Lost Peak | N/S/R

Lap 1: The last track and the most difficult one, it is very easy to fall off here. After exiting the Cave Shortcut i perform a Decade off of the crashed plane. Some more tricks and precise movement before the finish line.
Lap 2: I crash off to the right side which teleports me further into the track. I turn around and get to the slope before jumping down again. If you were to jump down earlier Nadia will instantly faint because of the death zone. I come down and go for a submarine to go below the checkpoint and have the lap count. My initial plan was to crash off to the left side and respawn before the finish line, so this submarine was a nice find.
Lap 3: Instead of going into the cave shortcut i go to the right to perform another very hard trick, the Leap of Faith. Very well deserving of its name, this trick can be done RTA but with just a 50% success rate. Lost Peak is the last track in the speedrun and having to perform Leap of Faith 3 times in a row sure gets your heart pumping, and Gawrit will agree on that.
Leap of Faith will 90% of the time result in you getting stunned, 10% for no stun. When failing this trick, your sled will bounce off on the side and you will respawn in one of 3 places:
  • Your sled landed in the middle of the ravine = You will be teleported to the other side which invalidates your speedrun as it is considered Checkpoint Manipulation.
  • Your sled lands in the water next to the rocks = You will respawn where you jumped off of, but its possible to do a backup for the Leap of Faith.
  • Your sled lands somewhere in the middle of that = You will respawn near some huts, its not possible for the backup here.
With the poor acceleration of the Cheat Sled i had to somehow make it across the ravine. After what felt like 5000 Rerecords i decided to give up as Nadia barely makes it across and still falls down into the ravine. So i just teleported to the other side with the skip but it still felt wrong to do it this way and after some time i decided to go back to it and try again.
I found a way to make it across, this involved me going a little further in the Backup, as i needed more room and time to accelerate. By slowly jumping off of the slope before the Backup, i snake/submarine a little into the slope just enough to boost me across, i was more than happy that i made it. It was the most frustrating part of the TAS.
After the Leap of Faith i jump onto part of the hill and get to the finish line. Be careful with this shortcut as it acts quite similar to the Rock Hop. You must cross the last checkpoint first before crossing the finish line.
Inputs end when i cross the finish line.

Final words and thoughts:

Making a TAS of this game has been a big goal of mine, i want everyone to see how awesome this game really is with this Demonstration. Im also glad to have worked with Gawrit, what you see here is a work of only one person, and that is Gawrit. He helped by finding basically everything in this TAS.
The TAS also made me think with how i could possibly improve it, the answer to that does not exist. It is up to you the TAS'er to decide how much effort you put into your TAS'es. The amount of effort i put into this TAS was enough to me, there may be some parts i want to look different, but this is just how it is sometimes. I made sure to not repeat movement too many times and i made sure i gave every track a unique Trick or Glitch. I also managed to put every trick in the game.
Again, all the credit goes to Gawrit, without him this TAS would not exist and i really am happy it turned out the way it did. There were a lot of fun moments like the possession of Jay or the signboosts which are just crazy to me. There may be a time where i would like to do another TAS of this but with very different movement, or more twists. The game is just that crazy.
This was my submission for Sled Storm, this is a Showcase/Demonstration or Playaround to show all the Tricks the game has to offer and i hope you enjoyed it!
Suggested Frame: 41000

Samsara: Added playaround branch, and judging. The file has been replaced with a bugfixed update from the author.
Samsara: And now for the a run that has it all: Ridiculous speed tricks, amazing glitches, and even a dancing bear. This is one of the most outstanding examples of a playaround I've seen in quite a long time, every track feels as fresh as the snow covering it. What really amazes me is just how much mileage each glitch gives over the course of the run: The submarines and wall rides in particular always seem to lead to more incredible things every time they're used, so they never feel stale or overused. On top of all that, there isn't a single moment of downtime over the course of the run whatsoever. Even the stuff that relies on the CPU riders doesn't require any waiting, it almost feels as though they're collaborating with the playaround by showing up precisely when needed and giving a lot more variety to a run already full of it to begin with.
Absolutely incredible work here, and great feedback to boot. Accepting as an Alternative branch!
fsvgm777: Processing.

Last Edited by somyeol 15 days ago
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