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F-Zero Knight-Grand Prix (Expert Level)

I want to start off by first thanking EdwardFourZero6 and Psicoh for their input on the game mechanics. Although this was one of my top games I played growing up, there were still many things that weren't apparent and was required to produce a movie of this scope. As many people are aware, EdwardFourZero6 is the WR holder of this game in every category and track...except for Mute City I Practice Mode. Psicoh is a top tier runner of this game and was able to provide his views and confirmation on my progress.

Terminology

  • Golden Fox - The fastest accelerating vehicle on the circuit.
  • Blue Falcon - The second fastest accelerating vehicle on the circuit, with a little more top speed than the Golden Fox.
  • Wild Goose - The third fastest accelerating vehicle, with higher top speed than the blue Falcon.
  • Fire Stingray (Car of Choice for this TAS) - The slowest accelerating vehicle, with the highest top speed of the available cars for racing.
  • Brown Cars - Also known as CPU RNG obstacles. These cars can be of massive aggrivation and costly of lap times. Usally, they cost anywhere from 1/4 of frame to 2 frames to avoid them. In one situation, 6 frames were lost... but recovered by reTASing earlier parts to avoid RNG for that terrible situation.
  • Super Jet - On the completion of each lap, the driver is reward a super jet, which when used...moves the car from its capped speed to 562 as the highest. It cycles from 562 to 478 for 4.25 seconds.
  • Brake Tapping - Refers to a technique, for when super jets are used, to gain greater speed by manually cycling the speed back up to 562 as fast as possible. This is done by braking at a certain speed to eliminate the lower part of the super jet speed cycle so that your car is running at speeds on the top end more. The result, is about 4 frames cut per lap.
  • Blast Tapping - Refers to when the accelerator is released to allow your car to make tighter turns. This coincides with a slippage value and prevents it from reaching the maximum value. Basically, it keeps your car stuck to the ground and prevents you from loosing traction and thus keeping your speed up.
  • Wall Tapping - This is a term that I came up with, that is used to help cycle the super jet speed correctly so that the timing is fixed to maximize the use for when traversing dirt of borders.
  • Practice Mode - The game offers a player the ability to race a single track. This usually is accompanied by the selection of an opponent. The choice of your opponent can determine greater speeds...in most cases, Golden Fox is used to get the highest speed boost and used most often.
  • Grand Prix Mode - The game is normally played with through one of three leagues...known as Knight, Queen, and King leagues. This TAS features the first league.

Tools Used

  • Lua Script (For determining optimized inputs on turns and super jet usage during brake tapping, creating car placement values for determining if changes were moving me ahead of behind, and vectoring...since it was near impossible to determine with precision where you are headed)
  • RAM Watch (The need for super jet timing, subpixel placement, and speed changes)
  • LSNES Emulator

F-Zero TASing

I have to say, that I believe the reason why no TAS has ever been produced of this game yet...is the extreme dedication that it takes in order to produce high quality times. So far, we have never seen a full Grand Prix TAS yet...until now. During the making of this, I can completely understand the reason now why this never happened before. During the 5 months of TASing, there were times that I wanted to give up. The idea of cleaning up and optimizing was so painful that I had to walk away from it at times and do something else...perhaps for days. After a number of months, where I did nothing but lua script and ram searching...I finally figured out what it took in order to make this TAS beyond human capability.

Track Details

Mute City 1 (1st Track of the Knight Grand Prix circuit)

1st Lap: Best effort is to use Blue Falcon for a double speed boost, since a Blue Falcon/Wild Goose boost is about 15 frames slower at the finish line. It is also worth noting that it is impossible to use the Golden Fox for speed boost here, as it is too far to the right to reach. Lastly, the ramp is used to get my speed up to 478. By the time we reach the finish line, we cross so close to the checkpoint that my frame count is 1 less than I had hoped for...which causes the next lap to be 1 frame longer...but the end result is the same.
2nd Lap: Right after the finish line, the Fire Stingray cuts a corner where it gets hit. The drop of speed is acceptable, since the space it cut is easily made up before the next turn and worth the effort. Here also starts the use of my first super jet where we cut the dirt to quickly get going again at high speed...taking advantage of a larger part of the track being cut without the effect of losing speed.
3rd Lap: Same as 2nd
4th Lap: Same as 3rd
5th Lap: Changes up a bit on where the super jet is used. Basically, it is used as in the same manner as Legend's RTA Practice run...called cutting the dirt. Mainly, because it would be a waste to be speeding across the finish line with extra speed. So, we take it back a bit and use it through the dirt.
Finish Line strategy: Since this TAS was designed for Real-Time, coming in 2nd place allows us to cut time from the celebration cut scene. In this case, it was about 60 frames eliminated.
End Results:
TAS EdwardFourZero6
0'25”86 0'26”30
0'23”12 0'23”25
0'23”04 0'23”26
0'23”04 0'23”24
0'23”58 0'24”12
Total
1'58”64 2'00”17

Big Blue (2nd Track of the Knight Grand Prix circuit)

1st Lap: Same situation applies here at 1st track. The need of double speed boosting from the Blue Falcon.
2nd Lap: Super jet usage starts, and is able to cut borders at high speed while not loosing that speed.
3rd Lap: Same as 2nd lap
4th Lap: Same as 3rd lap
5th Lap: Same as 4th lap
Finish Line Strategy: Same concept is used to come in 2nd place, although the cut was around 40 frames...probably because of the straight away being longer to deal with waiting on the 2nd place driver.
End Results:
TAS EdwardFourZero6
0'27"61 0'28"53
0'24"77 0'25"01
0'24"76 0'24"97
0'24"77 0'24"96
0'25"42 0'25"91
Total
2'07"33 2'09"38
  • Note: The frame count was the same for laps 2,3, and 4...but because of the game timer, it alternates between 1/100 and 2/100...giving a alternation of time.

Sand Ocean (3rd Track of the Knight Grand Prix circuit)

1st Lap: Same situation applies here at 1st track. The need of double speed boosting from the Blue Falcon.
2nd Lap: Super jet usage starts, and is able to cut borders at high speed while not loosing that speed. Wall tapping is used through the dirt to cycle the speed of the super jet to time the capped speed from being slowed as the car traverses through the dirt.
3rd Lap: Same as 2nd lap
4th Lap: Probably showed up where car avoidance costed 1 frame.
5th Lap: Same as 4th lap
Finish Line Strategy: Same concept is used to come in 2nd place, although the cut was around 35 frames...probably because of the straight away being longer to deal with waiting on the 2nd place driver.
End Results:
TAS EdwardFourZero6
0'30”51 0'31”20
0'27”44 0'28”11
0'27”43 0'27”72
0'27”45 0'27”82
0'27”45 0'29”36
Total
2'20”28 2'24”21
  • Note: The frame count was also the same for laps 2,3, and 4 (as in track 3)...but because of the game timer, the same situation applied to the differences of times.

Death Wind I (4th Track of the Knight Grand Prix circuit)

1st Lap: Death Wind has a strong right crossing wind, which aids for the use of the Golden Fox for speed boosting. This led to a second boost by the Blue Falcon, and to be followed up with by the Wild Goose.
2nd Lap: Super jet usage starts, and is able to cut borders at high speed while not loosing that speed.
3rd Lap: Same as 2nd lap
4th Lap: Same as 3rd lap
5th Lap: Same as 4th lap
Finish Line Strategy: Most speed runners don't take 2nd in this track, because the cpu is too far behind to catch up for forcing a 2nd place finish. However, because we are able to predict the CPU's behavior...I was able to cut 7 frame off initially, but figured out that slamming into a brown car would keep the CPU closer to me and provided 15 frames cut! My speed was so dramatic on this track, that the Wild Goose was almost overlapped.
End Results:
TAS EdwardFourZero6 Edwards TAS
0'22”66 0'23”32 0'22”78
0'20”15 0'20”24 0'20”16
0'20”14 0'20”23 0'20”16
0'20”15 0'20”37 0'20”16
0'21”27 0'21”45 0'20”16
Total
1'44”37 1'45”61 1'43”42
  • Note: The frame count was also the same for laps 2,3, and 4 (as in track 3)...but because of the game timer, the same situation applied to the differences of times. Edwards TAS was shown for comparison on the optimization level of my inputs.

Silence (5th and final track of the Knight Grand Prix circuit)

1st Lap: Same speed boosting as used in tracks 1,2, and 3.
2nd Lap: Super jet usage starts, and is able to cut borders at high speed while not loosing that speed. Car avoidance costed two frames here.
3rd Lap: Same as 2nd lap
4th Lap: Same as 3rd lap
5th Lap: Same as 4th lap
Finish Line Strategy: Nothing special here...just needing to finish the TAS by crossing the finish line at the high in-game time possible.
End Results:
TAS EdwardFourZero6
0'24”49 0'25”27
0'21”57 0'22”43
0'21”54 0'21”91
0'21”54 0'21”75
0'21”56 0'22”11
Total
1'50”70 1'53”47

Nach: Judging.
feos: Wikified. Sorry if you preferred the completely broken version.
Masterjun: Removed the 0 byte moviesram.srm file from the lsmv (to remove the SRAM error on this submission).

Nach: This was a nice entertaining TAS. It correctly aimed to complete the game as fast as possible, skipping bonus recognition. Just like in Super Mario Bros. fireworks are skipped, and in Super Mario Bros. 3 three of a kind stars are skipped, this skipped the first place fanfare for each level. Overall fastest speed requires some sacrifices in the earlier levels, and this TAS did exactly what TASs should do.
I find making separate TASs for each of the circuits to be acceptable. I am accepting this run as an improvement to the existing incomplete one.
feos: Pub.

TASVideoAgent
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This topic is for the purpose of discussing #5576: nymx's SNES F-Zero "Knight League" in 12:16.89
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TAS of 2019SNES TAS of 2019SNES TASer of 2018TAS of 2018SNES TAS of 2018SNES TASer of 2017SNES TAS of 2016
As a person who knows absolutely nothing of this game, Voting yes due to rerecord count and it being the first f-zero TAS of it's kind (as far as I know?). Looking to be a well made TAS.
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Liked your work on one of my favorite SNES racing games, but I voted meh for 2 reasons (sorry for this): 1 - You didn't aimed for in-game time instead of real time at the each last lap (expect Silence). 2 - You didn't COMPLETE this game, because there are other races on Queen and King League, respectively. Althrough the expert level is the only way to see the credits, there's a Master level difficulty, which is more harder than expert level.
My homepage --Currently not much motived for TASing as before...-- But I'm still working.
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@Challenger Thanks for you statement and your appreciation for my work, but I must disagree with you on your two points. 1. Aiming for in-game time is very inaccurate on NTSC, where 1/100 and 2/100 are the time for the alternation between frames. This means that 1.5 seconds (in-game time) will go by for 60 frames. Since the TAS actually is designed with Real-time in mind...you could run this TAS against an in-game TAS and find that this one would beat it by roughly 3 seconds. Additionally, the only way to reference the speed of this TAS is to compare it with human runs...in this case, we have Edwards numbers for examination. Aiming for real-time also means that the cut scenes are shorter, by excluding the long celebration theme. 2. In regards to beating the game, this is also not true. Where as you have any%, 100% , low% for other games...the game offers 3 categories for grand prix. The game has been beaten in one of those areas. If this is not the case, then TASVideos should not have published a Practice Mode round by Saturn as a "Beaten Game". Additionally, speedruns.com offers these as individual categories...because beating the game is done in a variety of ways. Additionally, Master level cannot be achieved in a TAS...unless you want to supply everyone with "Save State" information. This is simply not possible with a "Fresh" rom for everybody to run the inputs against. I'm also sure that nobody would care to watch a TAS where you run through all levels to get Master status so that it can run through them again. The TAS would be extremely long and ridiculous, IMO.
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God please, I know you know I'm an atheist but please God, stop this horizontal scrolling madness on Earth, amen @_@ Other than that, I vote Yes =P
Challenger wrote:
2 - You didn't COMPLETE this game, because there are other races on Queen and King League, respectively.
I'm cool if he decides to launch the releases in episodes kinda like Wolfenstein 3D ^^
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Oh good, now we can finally obsolete that stupid first lap TAS. Giving this a yes.
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Great job on the TAS, I'm glad to finally see a highly optimized TAS for the first cup of this game. I gave this a yes vote as a runner of the series that knows how complex this game can get. So there are 3 things I'd like to talk about. 1. Regarding the ingame time discussion. IGT can be manipulated by pausing and unpausing rapidly, so the timer increments by 0.01 each frame instead of alternating between 0.01 and 0.02. For more information you can look into the F-zero Central discussion: http://www.fzerocentral.org/viewtopic.php?t=13945&sid=02735c7825c36a3421d5c4ca37a23509 and here is a video demonstration by Edward: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWmlXD3ccMg 2. I assume you went without the rapid pausing glitch seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9wcWH_Q99w Though I don't know if that's only an emulator bug, but watching a TAS Glitch around the finish line wouldn't be as much fun to watch. 3. Do you plan on TASing the other cups as well ? I'd love to see those tracks highly optimized as they are even more complex and involve wall bounces, extremely sharp corners and some sick shortcuts.
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@E-Dragon Thank you for your comments and appreciation. I'm glad to see that someone else notices that this is not an easy game to perfect...especially with TASing. In regards to TASing the next 2 leagues...yes. I am more excited to do these two, because of the harder situations and possible TAS only ramp jumps. As for Pause Abusing, I'm against that use...since I believe it is painful to watch. There are just some games that I wish to watch in its pure form. :)
SOYZA: Are you playing a game? NYMX: I'm not playing a game, I'm TASing. SOYZA: Oh...so its not a game...Its for real? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Anybody got a Quantum computer I can borrow for 20 minutes? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ BOTing will be the end of all games. --NYMX
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Master could be done with a "starts from sram" movie, which has been done many times before on TASVideos. You provide an unoptimized verification run that starts from clear sram and ends with sram in the configuration needed to start master, and while the judge does verify it, it's not part of the encodes or movie that the end user has to watch
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@Nach That is interesting to know. I just had never seen the use of that before. Do you suggest that I do that for the next league?
SOYZA: Are you playing a game? NYMX: I'm not playing a game, I'm TASing. SOYZA: Oh...so its not a game...Its for real? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Anybody got a Quantum computer I can borrow for 20 minutes? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ BOTing will be the end of all games. --NYMX
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I personally don't think Master difficulty provides much more entertainment than the others.
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@Natt sorry, I mean to direct my previous statement to you...It looked like Nach. Well, we both know that there is that slight bit more of difficult...but in regards to visible entertainment...I agree with you. :)
SOYZA: Are you playing a game? NYMX: I'm not playing a game, I'm TASing. SOYZA: Oh...so its not a game...Its for real? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Anybody got a Quantum computer I can borrow for 20 minutes? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ BOTing will be the end of all games. --NYMX
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Honestly the big thing about difficulty is the potential for better bumps maybe
[16:36:31] <Mothrayas> I have to say this argument about robot drug usage is a lot more fun than whatever else we have been doing in the past two+ hours
[16:08:10] <BenLubar> a TAS is just the limit of a segmented speedrun as the segment length approaches zero
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The ending of this run seems to aim for the fastest credits instead of the fastest input goal. Since you don't aim for in-game time anyways, I'd rather prefer to see the fastest input goal, which could look like this: https://gfycat.com/WetMadAyeaye Anyways, this is a racing game so I don't agree with suboptimal times for the sake of faster realtime. I want a TAS to show the fastest route with tight optimizations.
Warning: Might glitch to credits I will finish this ACE soon as possible (or will I?)
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I had forgotten about the pause glitch causing the timer to run slower, thanks for pointing it out E-Dragon. Getting the fastest in-game time would require bugs (considering techniques used in here just exploits and not bugs per se). I prefer this run being as such, after all this is how runners compete in GP Mode. Otherwise you could do individual runs for the tracks that lets you play in Practice just to get the best in-game timer, which includes the full Knight League. As for playing under Master difficulty, regardless whether or not you can get faster times, you can get a different ending, so that's make a difference (other than just playing in the hardest mode) so it could be a plus to include it. Anyway, I really loved the TAS so congrats and thanks for making this possible nymx :)
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samurai goroh wrote:
Getting the fastest in-game time would require bugs (considering techniques used in here just exploits and not bugs per se). I prefer this run being as such, after all this is how runners compete in GP Mode. Otherwise you could do individual runs for the tracks that lets you play in Practice just to get the best in-game timer, which includes the full Knight League.
Why not "IGT, low glitch"? I don't know exactly what that would entail but there's probably a way to allow a lot of interesting stuff without devolving to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJC37fdPoB4
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@Masterjun Thanks for your comment. I completely understand your choice of In-Game time. I come from the Super Metroid community where we push for Real Time, so i have naturally become accustom to tactics that reduce the timing for the entire game completion. In this case, it is the choice I made in order to satisfy the requirement of "Completing the game as fast as possible". However, since I like having the fastest lap times...I did create individual inputs files for me to go back and encode for personal viewing. If that is something that you would like to have...I can provide them. Again, the choices I made for this TAS are purely preferential. If I were to do In-Game time, then the opposite side of the coin would be presented as a downside. Anyway, this goal of this TAS goes for fastest time of completion, by frame count....where 1 frame is 1/60 of second.
SOYZA: Are you playing a game? NYMX: I'm not playing a game, I'm TASing. SOYZA: Oh...so its not a game...Its for real? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Anybody got a Quantum computer I can borrow for 20 minutes? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ BOTing will be the end of all games. --NYMX
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@samurai goroh The Pausing Glitch is something that I feel voids the category for what I've committed too. Opions do arise in regards to the fact that some would call it a glitched run, which is what I wanted to avoid as well. But thanks for your input, as it does bring up interesting points to how different approaches to TASing this game can be done.
SOYZA: Are you playing a game? NYMX: I'm not playing a game, I'm TASing. SOYZA: Oh...so its not a game...Its for real? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Anybody got a Quantum computer I can borrow for 20 minutes? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ BOTing will be the end of all games. --NYMX
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@Masterjun I wasn't able to see the video until now. I wondered how that would be accepted, so I only cut enough to keep the same lap time where I previously held the accelerator until I crossed the finish line. I just wonder, what would you suggest for the next step to move this forward?
SOYZA: Are you playing a game? NYMX: I'm not playing a game, I'm TASing. SOYZA: Oh...so its not a game...Its for real? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Anybody got a Quantum computer I can borrow for 20 minutes? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ BOTing will be the end of all games. --NYMX
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This is a good TAS. I'm not sure I agree with aiming for realtime here. As far as I'm aware, the F-Zero community still uses the in-game timer to compare their performance, and instead of going with the "more precise" realtime timer (which is incredibly cumbersome to monitor on the real hardware down to a frame), they just disqualify glitches that tamper with the ingame timer without making the car actually go faster. Which I believe is the way to go. Thus, although this particular run should absolutely be published, the authors of future improvements might want to switch to ingame-oriented timing keeping the restrictions in mind.
Warp wrote:
Edit: I think I understand now: It's my avatar, isn't it? It makes me look angry.
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@Moozooh Thanks man for your comments. It does seem to be a controversy with any chosen timing methods. I think I'm going to decide how to approach the next TAS after I get a good feel from the collective. It will be interesting to see what people think. Personally, I am for the fastest time possible for real-time that reaches the credits asap. In this TAS, I cut 37 frames from the ending to still allow for the IGT to remain the same. But Masterjun demonstrate this further...where the car crosses in 2nd place, yet this still beats the game. It is a toss up and I'm going to have to decide quickly.
SOYZA: Are you playing a game? NYMX: I'm not playing a game, I'm TASing. SOYZA: Oh...so its not a game...Its for real? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Anybody got a Quantum computer I can borrow for 20 minutes? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ BOTing will be the end of all games. --NYMX
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Masterjun's demo is quite funny, btw. It cuts a lot of time and it looks unexpected and has that nice "all according to the plan" TAS feel to it. Since you don't care for the lowest ingame time anyway, you might as well go with this strategy and cut the input time further by several seconds. If anything, this would be the most compelling argument to go for realtime timing in my book.
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Edit: I think I understand now: It's my avatar, isn't it? It makes me look angry.
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nymx wrote:
Additionally, Master level cannot be achieved in a TAS...unless you want to supply everyone with "Save State" information. This is simply not possible with a "Fresh" rom for everybody to run the inputs against. I'm also sure that nobody would care to watch a TAS where you run through all levels to get Master status so that it can run through them again. The TAS would be extremely long and ridiculous, IMO.
The applicable rule here is to create a "verification" movie which upon ending creates the proper conditions for the savestate anchor or SRAM to start the actual TAS from. http://tasvideos.org/MovieRules.html#WeDoNotAllowSaveAnchoredMovies
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nymx
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@boct1584 Thanks for showing me that. I didn't realize there was a rule in place for it. However, I had the mindset of always using a fresh rom without SRAM information and didn't realize that my own approach was agreeing more with the rules of this site. So, this puts to rest any argument over my lack of master level.
SOYZA: Are you playing a game? NYMX: I'm not playing a game, I'm TASing. SOYZA: Oh...so its not a game...Its for real? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Anybody got a Quantum computer I can borrow for 20 minutes? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ BOTing will be the end of all games. --NYMX
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Speedy TAS of 2015
It was nothing like the Mario Kart TAS. No vote. :P ... Just kidding. That was fun to watch, and I really liked that jump in Silence. Good work, Yes vote!