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This run is 1892 frames, 31.53 seconds, faster than the published run. This run features an item overflow glitch, a new route, abusing how the sphinx question works (involving the broom), abusing that some rooms don't drain torch charges, and more minor improvements. See below for details.
  • Emulator used: FCEUX 2.1.4a
  • Genre: Storybook
I have put ZenicReverie as co-author since he was the one who sparked my interest in revisiting this game, and has continually found improvements and provided feedback. It is safe to say that this run would not have been made if it wasn't for him.
This game is quite edit friendly, so thank god that .fm2 files are text based. This made life a lot easier for me as a big part of this TAS was made by splicing sections together. The rerecord count is still pretty accurate.

About this run

This run started about 7 weeks ago when ZenicReverie posted on the forum that he was going to make a console speedrun of this game, and that he had put together a a new route. I tested this route, and found it to be slightly faster than the published run. After that, ZenicReverie posted additional improvements to his route, making it gain a few seconds over the published run. By that time it was clear that his route was faster than the published run. He and I continued to make a few tweaks to this run, in particular I worked out how the sphinx teleportation worked, and abused that to be teleported to the coffin room. I also discovered the broom trick (see below), which didn't save a whole lot of time in the TAS, but is a weird bug and a welcome addition.
A lot of the findings we did were negated when I found a practical use of the so called "Glasses trick" (see details below), which is that you can pick up the glasses over and over, and can get access to items outside the normal inventory. After a lot of research I found how to use this to save time (I knew about this trick when I made the currently published run, but didn't know of any practical use of it). Read below for details.
Of course there are as always some cursor navigation improvements scattered through out the run, a lot of them are thanks to ZenicReverie.

Tricks and glitches

Spoiler alert: This section will contain spoilers on the run, so don't read if you want to be surprised when watching the run!

Glasses trick

All items in this game have a hexadecimal value between $0 and $FF, but it's only the first 104 values (up to $67) that are "normal items" - for values higher than this, the game acts weird when you interact with that item.
Whenever you pick up and item, the game knows that you carry this item by setting a flag (one unique flag for each item) to 1. So if you try to pick up an item from your own inventory, you can't do this because this flag has been set, and not because it is in your inventory (if you set this flag to 1 in the Hex Editor before picking up the item, the game says that you can't pick it up). The Glasses trick abuses that the programmers of this game forgot to add this flag for the Glasses, so the game always allows you to pick up the Glasses, over and over. This can cause your inventory to overflow, giving you access to RAM addresses outside the reserved space for inventory items.
I abuse this trick to get the staff by reaching RAM addresses outside the normal inventory range. This not only allows me to skip getting the Staff, but also a lot of other items (suchas the Sword and Wand) as well as the Humana spell.
The first inventory item you pick up gets placed on RAM address $0496. For every new item you pick up, the list will keep filling up, so item 2 will be placed on $0497, and so on. The game has only reserved space for items up to RAM address $04DA, so if you manage to fill up your inventory with more items than this, you get access to a block of RAM addresses determining game state.
For this trick, RAM address $04DE is the most interesting. For all those stones that I pick up, and using the sphere in lake, taking sphere again, and taking key 3, this RAM address will change value. No other action in the game makes this value change, so you won't have to worry about that. If you do all these things, the hex value of $04DE will be $50, corresponding to the Staff item, when the game interprets this value as an item. There is no random element to this, it will always be set to this value if you do exactly these things. It doesn't matter what order you do these things in, but you have to pick up exactly the stones that I pick up (if you don't, $04DE will have another value, and won't correspond to the staff).
So, after doing these things, $04DE is set to $50, and stays this way through the whole run. Then, when I reach this RAM address in the inventory list by filling it up with glasses, I can simply pick up the staff, since the game knows that I still haven't picked it up yet.
I chose to pick up all the Glasses in the final room of the game, because this is one of the rooms in the game where your torch don't drain any charges (see this forum post).

Broom trick

I found that the initial state for the sphinx question is the broom question. This means that on game start-up, the sphinx will expect the broom as answer to his question. If you don't talk to him, but just walk up to him and give him the broom, it will have answered his question correctly. This allows me to skip some dialogue with the sphinx, saving quite a few frames.

Other info

Randomness is on a global timer so there is some luck involved in getting the right sphinx question and 3 lightnings at the warlock. In this run, no time was lost for luck manipulation purposes, which was very nice. I made a lua script that looked for mistakes in this run, and this script found a few frames of improvements.

Thanks to

Of course, first of all, my biggest thanks goes to ZenicReverie for all his help, feedback, and for being generally helpful. I think both of us benefited from this collaboration. I wish him good luck on his console speedrun (here is the SDA discussion thread). I would also like to thank everyone in the Shadowgate thread for feedback and keeping my motivation up.

Mukki: Judging...
Mukki: A very impressive improvement, I did not expect so much time to be saved. Accepting as an improvemant to the currently published run.

Brandon: Publication underway.

TASVideoAgent
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This topic is for the purpose of discussing #3185: Randil, ZenicReverie's NES Shadowgate in 08:23.84
NitroGenesis
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Encoding in SD and HD
YoungJ1997lol wrote:
Normally i would say Yes, but thennI thought "its not the same hack" so ill stick with meh.
Brandon
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Congrats Randil! I hope this means you'll have a lot of time for Startropics II now! :)
All the best, Brandon Evans
NitroGenesis
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HD Encode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpLo9620jd0 I voted yes for a well done improvement. And now I'm off to cobble a Toyota and a PS3 out of 885 pairs of glasses.
YoungJ1997lol wrote:
Normally i would say Yes, but thennI thought "its not the same hack" so ill stick with meh.
Personman
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Brandon wrote:
Congrats Randil! I hope this means you'll have a lot of time for Startropics II Baby Moses now! :)
FTFY :D
A warb degombs the brangy. Your gitch zanks and leils the warb.
Brandon
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Personman wrote:
Brandon wrote:
Congrats Randil! I hope this means you'll have a lot of time for Startropics II Baby Moses now! :)
FTFY :D
I would work on improving Baby Moses, but Gens isn't working right now. So, me and Randil are going to try to shave a few minutes off of Startropics II. You can check the topic for more information, but I'll stop derailing this thread. I remember encoding an earlier version of this game. Nitrogenesis, you could easily fit your subtitles into the notepad if you just align it to the right and change the ypos. I think that'd look better. I really can't vote on this run as I have no idea what's going on, but I like improvements and I'm sure this one was a good one.
All the best, Brandon Evans
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Kind of repetitive at the end because of the glass glitch but still nice.
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Wow, you two are BLIND! Get Lasik. yes vote.
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I liked the new route and noticeable improvements. I also enjoyed the glasses glitch and your explanation in the submission notes of how everything was set up to make the glitch work. Yes vote.
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I guess after defeating the Warlock, the hero can open a glasses shop with the ability to make an infinite amount of glasses. Yes vote.
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This post from the Shadowgate discussion topic sums up my entire reaction to the final fight: http://tasvideos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=274732#274732 Actually, the run is incredibly dull up to that moment, but that moment alone makes the entire run worth watching. Yes vote.
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Yes, yes absolutely.

I want to know how the programmers could "forget" to set this is_picked_up flag for the glasses, and only the glasses. It seems like they would have had to have gone out of the way to change the way to change the way the glasses are handled, assuming they used some sort of subroutine. I wonder if they were trying to fix another, more sinister bug...
>> Standing on head makes smile of frown, but rest of face also upside down
BoursinBurger
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Warepire wrote:
This post from the Shadowgate discussion topic sums up my entire reaction to the final fight: http://tasvideos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=274732#274732 Actually, the run is incredibly dull up to that moment, but that moment alone makes the entire run worth watching. Yes vote.
Guess I shoulda waited for the submission, eh? Excellent work, Randil and ZenicReverie. Yes vote!
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Wow. I was impressed to see how many steps could be skipped from the previous run when you don't need the staff. I'm sorry I couldn't really be any help with this (I had an improvement thought that didn't work), but I'm very happy to see this got done! It's also nice to see that the storybook genre of games can be glitched too. Yes vote.
Used to be a frequent submissions commenter. My new computer has had some issues running emulators, so I've been here more sporadically. Still haven't gotten around to actually TASing yet... I was going to improve Kid Dracula for GB. It seems I was beaten to it, though, with a recent awesome run by Hetfield90 and StarvinStruthers. (http://tasvideos.org/2928M.html.) Thanks to goofydylan8 for running Gargoyle's Quest 2 because I mentioned the game! (http://tasvideos.org/2001M.html) Thanks to feos and MESHUGGAH for taking up runs of Duck Tales 2 because of my old signature! Thanks also to Samsara for finishing a Treasure Master run. From the submission comments:
Shoutouts and thanks to mklip2001 for arguably being the nicest and most supportive person on the forums.
Brandon
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Publishing. Waiting on nitrogenesis' encodes. As I am currently coauthoring a TAS with Randil, I will hopefully be able to talk to him on IRC to discuss descriptions and a good screenshot. Again, this game escapes me!
All the best, Brandon Evans
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I love imagining what the hero must be thinking when the dragon at the end appears and he just starts whipping out glasses left and right. :P
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Voting yes cause Randil
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YoungJ1997lol wrote:
Normally i would say Yes, but thennI thought "its not the same hack" so ill stick with meh.
Post subject: Movie published
TASVideoAgent
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This movie has been published. The posts before this message apply to the submission, and posts after this message apply to the published movie. ---- [1827] NES Shadowgate by Randil, ZenicReverie in 08:23.84
Brandon
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Well, I was going to let the subtitle placement slide, but I'm already encoding an obsoleted version of this run, and I have the perfect settings for the placement, so I'll be re-encoding this. Edit: I'm doing the HD. I can't get the SD to work properly, and I don't care about SD nearly enough to figure out why.
All the best, Brandon Evans