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I had such a blast TASing this one, and it was really a journey with so many ups and downs.
To give some context, if you don't know the game, this is a visual novel with escape room puzzle sections. Honestly, you should play the game before watching because it's such a great story (though, I personally prefer the console version for the added effects and voice acting). Because of that, I won't go into the story here, just the TASing bits. The aim was to do all of the endings, which is effectively the game's 100% category. There is one ending, the coffin ending, that is more like a dummy ending, and gets unlocked with the true ending, so I don't have to do that one specifically. Also, with the true ending, the game does 4 story checks in addition to the route of doors you pick, so there are times during that ending that I'm forced to pick slower dialogue options, since they're required.
  • TAS bits
The first ending I did was the knife ending. There's no real reason behind the order of endings, I just picked the route that the new game English speedrun does. A note about that: the speedrun page for this game doesn't distinguish between Japanese and English, though they really should, so as of right now, the record for this category is 6 hours, but that was done on the Japanese game, not English.
Anyway, this was all very straight forward. Only thing of note is that while you could test every text box and figure out how soon to tap the screen to advance the text, I soon learned that holding B does the exact same thing, and just as fast. Because of this, during the novel sections, I just hold B. It's a real shame there doesn't seem to be any cool tech, but technically holding B *is* the cool tech (credit to CasualPoke for that line). However, there are points where holding B doesn't work, which is the box before decisions. For some reason the game stops reading if you're holding B, and won't continue. I get past this by releasing for a frame during that last text box, which keeps things going no problem.
The piano in the first class cabin escape is so wonky with polling inputs. I'd have to deconstruct the game to fully know what's going on, but basically where most things in a game would have one frame where you can press a button, and everything before that you can't, with the piano it's kind of scattered about. Through testing, I found that all interactive sections like these (the piano, the card puzzles in the casino, etc) are scattered in when they can accept input, like so: YNYNYNYYYYYYY. I haven't *quite* found a pattern to when the first acceptable input frame starts, but I'm sure there is one.
After the first ending is finally done is when things start to get interesting. The text skip is very fast in this game, with boxes or paragraphs lasting only about a few frames, maybe more if there's an animation going. However, if you just hold right to advance the text, there's a few frames where an arrow appears to tell the player to advance the text. If you hold B at the same time, however, this arrow isn't there, saving about 2-3 frames per box, which makes the boxes even faster, lasting only 1-2 frames.
I originally did this on desmume, but when I got to the last ending, dshawk was released. While I was apprehensive on switching emulators and having to resync a 7 hour run, I knew time could be saved by using tastudio to fix early mistakes.
Finally, it was a little confusing on when I should consider the game beaten, as after the sudoku, it's just dialogue. I decided to go with the recommendation of the rules on the site and stop timing on the final input just before the credits roll. The dialogue after that is just post game stuff that doesn't need to be timed, which I've included in the linked user file.
  • Closing comments
Possible improvements would probably come from route changes. It wouldn't surprise me to learn some routes are suboptimal.

Samsara: Claiming for judging.
Samsara: I feel like TASvideos always needed a good movie to test a normally inconsequential rule.
Let's talk language, オタク. Historically, the rules for language choice in a TAS has been as follows:
Regional differences such as text and cutscene length are completely discounted when considering improvements.
This also means you can use a "slower" version that ends up generating a longer input file, as long as pure comparable gameplay is improved.
Or in less professionally flowery terms, changing to a faster language does not count as an improvement by itself, and changing to a slower language does not count as a detriment by itself. We make these for two main reasons. First, barring other version differences, we consider language choice to be purely artistic on behalf of the TASer. We have a diverse community of creators from all over the world, some of whom may be more comfortable TASing games in their native languages, and who are we to tell them they can't do that? While we are a predominantly English speaking community, we want both the site and the hobby to remain as accessible as possible, and we want our members to have the freedom to TAS things in any way they want without having to fear making some "mistake" that they never would have accounted for otherwise.
The second reason is that we simply don't consider language choice to be gameplay. In the past, we saw such things as "cheap" or "free" improvements, i.e all of the work was done for you and there was no creativity in shortening the input length. These days, well, we focus more on the accessibility part, but we do still primarily compare gameplay when considering improvements.
What that means for this run is that, despite a 3 hour time difference between this TAS and the RTA WR of the Japanese version of 999 (also performed on 3DS which is faster overall), the language choice does not affect whether or not it's publishable. As long as the run is good, which it is, we can publish it.
That just leaves the matter of the category being called into question. I'm very familiar with this game and series, I love 2/3 of the series to death and 999 is thankfully one of those 2. I consider this to be adequate full completion for 999, as endings are explicitly tracked (for very good reason, to those of you unfamiliar with the game) while the actual escape rooms aren't. The sequel, Virtue's Last Reward, would be a different story as there is something trackable attached to escape rooms, but that does not apply to this game.
Therefore, I'm accepting this!
Just to briefly (or, as briefly as I am personally able to) discuss what could potentially happen to this run... A run on the Japanese DS version would only obsolete this if escape room gameplay was improved. A run on the PC version would most likely end up being a separate publication altogether. A run that modifies the route to include the skipped door and escape room would probably lead to a bigger discussion about whether or not it would obsolete on fuller completion, but we'll get to that discussion when it happens.
fsvgm777 has claimed this for publication.
fsvgm777: Processing. Note: It may take a while.

TASVideoAgent
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Memory
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Have not watched yet but am extremely glad the tas is in fact 9 hours.
[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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Is there a reason this TAS is slower than the current RTA record ? https://www.speedrun.com/999#All_Endings
Memory
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TheKDX7 wrote:
Is there a reason this TAS is slower than the current RTA record ? https://www.speedrun.com/999#All_Endings
that was with JP text which is much faster
[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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Memory wrote:
TheKDX7 wrote:
Is there a reason this TAS is slower than the current RTA record ? https://www.speedrun.com/999#All_Endings
that was with JP text which is much faster
I know in most cases regional and text differences are ignored when it comes to judging optimization, but in this case we're talking at least 3 hours difference in a movie that tops 9 hours. (And if you look at the other branches on the Speedrun.com leaderboards, they are all topped by the Japanese version as well by significant amounts.) Is it worth making an exception for this case when you have a known gap of this massive a size?
c-square wrote:
Yes, standard runs are needed and very appreciated here too
Dylon Stejakoski wrote:
Me and the boys starting over our games of choice for the infinityieth time in a row because of just-found optimizations
^ Why I don't have any submissions despite being on the forums for years now...
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GJTASer2018 wrote:
I know in most cases regional and text differences are ignored when it comes to judging optimization, but in this case we're talking at least 3 hours difference in a movie that tops 9 hours. (And if you look at the other branches on the Speedrun.com leaderboards, they are all topped by the Japanese version as well by significant amounts.) Is it worth making an exception for this case when you have a known gap of this massive a size?
It's not "most cases", it's "all cases". TASes are more than just times, they're creations. At TASVideos we offer our creators some degree of artistic freedom. This game is extremely heavily text based, to the point to where some refer to it as a visual novel. The rest of the game is sorta first person adventure game type stuff. The choice of english text is understandable here.
[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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Sync Notes: Remove bios and firmware in order to sync this TAS. (That's if you have it in place to begin with) Link to video
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+fsvgm777 never censoring anything.
Disables Comments and Ratings for the YouTube account. These colours are pretty neato, and also these.
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A TAS of one of my favorite games ever. This is going to be interesting. First of all, I also agree that if the Japanese version could save time, it should have been used, ESPECIALLY for several hours of nothing but cutscenes. In particular, there really is no benefit for this time loss from a viewer perspective since the gameplay is understandable regardless of the language used. Also, since the submission text is missing this information, here is the general route used from what I skimmed from Spikestuff's temp encode: - Playthrough 1: Doors 5, 7, 6 for Knife ending - Playthrough 2: Doors 5, 8, 2 for Submarine ending - Playthrough 3: Doors 5, 8, 1 for Axe ending - Playthrough 4: Doors 5, 8, 6 for Safe ending (prerequisite for True ending) - Playthrough 5: Doors 4, 7, 1 with the 4 story checks for Coffin ending, then door 9 for True ending For the purpose of obtaining all endings, I believe this route is indeed optimal. What personally irks me however is that door 3 is never entered, and thus an entire set of puzzles is completely skipped. Personally, I would consider playing through all puzzle sections a requirement for full completion, and I find this omission disappointing. I understand that this is open for debate however since this is not tracked on the file select screen. I will refrain from voting since I don't have the time to sit through this entire movie even on fast-forward, but I believe I would have voted Meh because of the above issues.
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SmashManiac wrote:
What personally irks me however is that door 3 is never entered, and thus an entire set of puzzles is completely skipped. Personally, I would consider playing through all puzzle sections a requirement for full completion, and I find this omission disappointing. I understand that this is open for debate however since this is not tracked on the file select screen.
I get the want for door 3, but the goal was just all endings, not all escapes, and there's never any reason to go through door 3. As for the debate on Japanese vs English, I still stand with using English, that way most of the viewers can follow what's going on. I don't find the additional 3 hours to be a problem as the ability to follow along adds to the experience. If there turns out to be a Japanese only trick in the future, then absolutely I will update it, but until then I'm sticking with English.
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How much time would it cost to substitute one of the visits to door 8 with a visit to door 3? I agree that seeing all of the escape sequences would be a worthwhile tradeoff to make the movie more interesting.
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BigBoct wrote:
How much time would it cost to substitute one of the visits to door 8 with a visit to door 3? I agree that seeing all of the escape sequences would be a worthwhile tradeoff to make the movie more interesting.
I personally don't like trading speed for entertainment. It would probably cost a decent chunk of time, maybe around 15-30 minutes, if not more. The goal was simply to get all of the endings, not all of the escapes, therefore it's faster to never go through door 3.
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To clarify, I brought up the door 3 omission because I personally feel that it should count for full completion, since it's basically an entire level being skipped otherwise. (Door 3 contains the shower room.) It's also worth clarifying that the Knife, Submarine and Axe endings are not required to achieve the True ending, so this run is obviously not a fastest completion either. (Doing so would also skip door 2, which contains the confinement room and the torture room.) There's nothing wrong with "All endings" as a goal, but skipping an entire escape room in an escape room game just feels wrong to me, and if I were a judge, I would be rather conflicted to qualify such a run for the Standard class for this reason. Oh by the way...
yep2yel wrote:
As for the debate on Japanese vs English, I still stand with using English, that way most of the viewers can follow what's going on. I don't find the additional 3 hours to be a problem as the ability to follow along adds to the experience.
yep2yel wrote:
I personally don't like trading speed for entertainment.
...aren't you contradicting yourself here?
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SmashManiac wrote:
...aren't you contradicting yourself here?
I don't think language selection in TASes should be judged the same way as a movie's goal choice.
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I know that Movie Rules currently exclude regional differences (although I would be surprised if such a ridiculous difference in timing was ever realistically considered when this rule was added), but we're talking about increasing the movie time by about 50% strictly for the purpose of entertaining English viewers in a SPEED-oriented goal. This whole situation just feels wrong to me unfortunately.
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I understand taking issue with the language selection, given the amount of time it adds here, but being critical of the goal choice here seems less understandable in my opinion. It doesn't feel right to judge a TAS based on criteria that it never sought to fulfill. I understand maybe preferring a different goal over the one being presented, but it seems very reductive to discuss it. I understand that goal choice is an important part of movie creation and part of the criteria that judging is based on, but considering the goal in question, "All Endings," generally fulfills the criteria of being "as objective as possible," I don't really think there's anything to pick apart here. I don't think I personally have the patience to find a TAS like this that entertaining, but it does appear to more or less be optimized, and the some sections are non-trivial as detailed in the author notes, so I think I'll go with a yes vote.
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benstephens1000 wrote:
I understand taking issue with the language selection, given the amount of time it adds here, but being critical of the goal choice here seems less understandable in my opinion. It doesn't feel right to judge a TAS based on criteria that it never sought to fulfill. I understand maybe preferring a different goal over the one being presented, but it seems very reductive to discuss it. I understand that goal choice is an important part of movie creation and part of the criteria that judging is based on, but considering the goal in question, "All Endings," generally fulfills the criteria of being "as objective as possible," I don't really think there's anything to pick apart here.
I fully agree with you there, and if I sounded critical of yep2yel's goal, I'm sorry as that wasn't my intention. My only concern about the goal choice is whether it qualifies for Standard or not.
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I don't see the problem here with the routing choices. The goal of the run is very clear: Reach all the endings. If the game then allows a lot of content to be skipped, that can be unfortunate, but it's not any different from other games where people complain about too much of the game being skipped. I mean this is not even close to one of those examples that would justify separate categories, like games with memory corruption that allow the player to just reach 100% completion by glitching through some menus.
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Watched the whole movie :) First, this game is truely an epic novel! Second, the TAS' route is very good so that the audience can understand the true story of the game! Yes vote from me :)
Post subject: Movie published
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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. ---- [4786] DS Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors "all endings" by yep2yel in 9:24:03.02