Pokémon Emerald Rogue EX (1.3.2a patch) finished in 20:25.331 by GobouLePoissonBoue.
- Patch used for this ROM-hack : 1.3.2a EX version (02/01/2023 release)
The movie starts from a SaveRAM, which means a verification movie
This TAS is the second known TAS to be published for this ROM-hack, and the first one that's thoroughly optimized for the sake of being submitted to this site. As such, this is a 2:23.720 improvement over the only other TAS of this ROM-hack published on Youtube (by Zoeytastic)
I played on the EX version of the hack as it includes features, Pokémon, etc. from Gen 4+.
- Set Text Speed to Instant
- Unlock the early postgame Secret Room in the Config Lab, adjust Adventure settings, then finish a first Adventure to complete the Adventure progress quests, the Shop Spree quest and the Collector quest, which in total grant 20 Rare Candies, access to the Collector X quest, the Traveling Marts in the Hub and the Safari Zone.
- Finish a second adventure with Seeded Mode on (Crawdaunt TOO STRONG) to register Landorus in the Pokédex, complete the Collector X quest, the Can't Stop quest and the Adventure progress repeatable quests, which in total grant access to Landorus in the Safari Zone, the Mach Bike and 9 Rare Candies.
- Catch a level 7 Landorus in the Safari Zone with perfect IVs, along with a Mild nature Mint, an Ability Patch (for Sheer Force ability) and a Life Orb from the newly unlocked shops.
- Enter another seed to use Seeded Mode (DON'T CARE) and adjust Adventure settings a bit to start 32 Adventures ; they are all the same and aborted after the 4th gym as I only need to complete the Gym Challenge repeatable quest to get two Rare Candies per Adventure, which in total grants 64 more Rare Candies.
- Finally, make sure everything is ready for the TAS movie : register the Mach Bike, level Landorus up to level 100 thanks to the 93 Rare Candies and adject Adventure settings in the Config Lab building to the following :
- Bag Wipe : any
- Trainer Difficulty : Hard
- Items : any
- Legendary Encounters : Easy
- Overleveling : any
- Player EVs : On
- EXP All : any
- Mega Ring and Z-Moves disabled
- Leaders : All regions
- Routes : any
- Pokédex : National Gen 8
Those are the Adventures settings used in the TAS movie. Aside from the Hard Trainers difficulty (which is the point of this run), they're all potential time savers.
The actual TAS
- Finish an Adventure with the Hard Trainers difficulty option enabled as fast as my RNG allows.
- Manipulate the RNG by waiting a few frames before certain events happen for three main purposes : in-battle RNG, gym leader randomized teams and map layout generation. I'll explain everything later.
About the ROM-hack
This is the first time a TAS is submitted for this ROM-hack, which means I'd have to make things more clear about what it is.
This is an interesting Pokémon Emerald ROM-hack developed by Pokabbie, in which the gameplay is much more different than your usual Pokémon main series game, or even ROM-hack. There's no set region to explore, only a small Hub area in which you can catch and prepare your Pokémon, that you can then bring to an Adventure. In those Adventures, much like in roguelike games, the map's layout is randomized, and you can choose which path to take to arrive at the end of the current map. In those paths, you can either meet : routes from the first three Pokémon main regions, marts, more or less special strong Pokémon encounters, or various other events. At the end of the current map awaits a gym leader, which specializes in a certain type, and after you beat them, you obtain a badge. The Adventure ends when you are defeated, or beat the True Champion after getting the 13th badge and enter the Hall Of Fame.
This is the main goal of the TAS run : beating an Adventure from start to finish with an already prepared Landorus to enter the Hall Of Fame as fast as possible, thanks to a save file that the verification movie has created. The Trainer Difficulty setting was also changed to the hardest one, prior to the TAS recording.
But many, many elements are randomly generated ; and as such, regular RNG manipulation is needed in order to generate a map layout that's fast enough and making sure the boss battles don't slow the TAS too much.
For this TAS, I chose to use Landorus, for multiple reasons : the first of them being that it's got access to an OHKO move in the form of Fissure. The move is used a lot at the end of the Adventure, because you need to fight a lot of Lv 100 Pokémon as fast as possible. Landorus is also fast enough (base 102 Speed stat) and has great offensive stats (base 125 and 115 Atk and SpA respectively), coupled with the Sheer Force + Life Orb combo that grants it a gigantic x1.69 multiplier to all of its attacks. Not only this was the reason I had to look for a Landorus with perfect IVs in Speed, Atk and SpA, but those stats are also boosted due to the EVs gained during the course of the Adventure. Note that the opponents get none, and that the EV system is completely reworked, which means defeating any trainer will grant 6 EVs in the stat boosted by nature if there's one, 0 EV in the stat lowered by nature if there's one, and 4 EVs in other stats. Finally, I simply wanted to avoid choosing the Pokémon that Zoeytastic used in her own TAS run of the hack and try something else.
Map layouts, time savers and basic movement techs
This is the moment when things need a precise, in-depth explanation.
I'll start with the map layout part.
(Roughly accurate map of possible layouts)
Let's start with the path. The player cannot touch grass, simple enough. They can spawn on any of the W tiles, and the end of the map can be on any of those yellow Pokéball tiles. The S tiles are scripts, they can be any of : A route (any of Calm/Average/Tough difficulties), a Pokémart/Competitive prep/Rest (both marts and prep) NPC encounter, a Strong Pokemon encounter, a Legendary Den encounter, a Birch Lab encounter, a Game Show encounter, a Strong Trainer encounter, a Dark Deal encounter, or literally nothing. There is always an encounter in the third column, as the game generates the tile that allows us to proceed to the gym battle only after this encounter. Each little "ledge part" of the path may or may not be generated ; of course, there needs to be multiple paths to the end of the map, and there's never a dead end.
An example :
It seems that I've spawned in D1, and the exit is located in E5.
Anyway, we need to reach the end of the map as fast as possible, that's obvious. So we need a layout in which the path to the gym leader tile is the shortest. Unfortenately, we are limited by our own RNG seed : the whole layout, including all of the scripts and the gym leader at the end of map, is generated after closing the textbox that brings us to the next map after a gym battle, or passing through the door at the beginning of the Adventure. There's one layout per PRNG state, and the latter changes on each frame. To summarize it all, I only need to check the layout for each frame, compare the amount of frames they take with other layouts, and choose the fastest one. But how do I compare the amount of frames everything takes? Here are the calculations for each relevant encounter :
- Pokémart - 236 frames (needs Mach Bike)
- Comp. Prep - 221 frames (needs Mach Bike)
- Rest - 229 frames (needs Mach Bike)
- Strong Pokémon - 202 frames
- Birch Lab - 199 frames
- Legendary Den - ? (I met only one in my TAS, it was the Alolan Legendary encounter on an island. This one only takes 164 frames)
- Empty Space - 39 frames
Additionally, I taught Rock Smash to my Landorus to use a glitch that allows me use this HM from the party menu and break an Average Route encounter, as the game only checks for the sprite in front of our character to determine whether an HM can be used or not. The sprite of an Average Route is a breakable rock, which takes 305 frames in total to be broken. I chose to lose many frames on that instead of trying to get a better layout : the chances of seeing two empty spaces + not a route or one empty space + no routes in one of the paths of the first map is minuscule, so I went for an Average map instead. It also allows me to showcase a little glitch, so why not?
To those calculations can be added the time taken by player movement :
- Registering a dircetional input if not moving takes 2 frames
- Taking a step : 8 frames
- Turning around while not moving: 8 frames
- Turning around when facing a wall, while not moving : 1 frame (see why)
- Jumping from a ledge : 32 frames
The sum of all the frames taken by movement and encounters are what I must compare in order to find the quickest way to advance to the next map.
It's also worth noting that since the gym leader's identity is generated at the same time as the layout, I need to check who they are before calculating the time taken to reach the end of the map. This is all because of the Hard Trainers difficulty setting : certain gym leaders, Elite Four members and Champions can summon permanent weather or terrain before the battle as soon as the second gym, wasting quite a lot of frames. Terrain users waste 76 frames before the battle, and weather users... waste a lot, because of the textboxes at the end of each turn. I made sure to enable all regions for gym battles, which leaves us with only a few opponents that can be fought with them wasting frames :
- Gym Koga, Falkner, Bugsy, Whitney, Morty, Chuck, Brawly, Norman, Winona, Kanto Bruno, Agatha, E4 Lance, E4 Koga, Johto Bruno, Karen, Sidney, Phoebe, Blue, Champion Lance, Prof. Oak and Red.
After we get a good map layout, we need the opponent to have a team that doesn't waste much time : the team is random, and is generated after closing the textbox that makes the battle start. Ideally, we aim for a team in which each member gets outsped by Landorus and OHKO'd, leaving absolutely no time for them to act. Each time save is also worth it : I manipulate the RNG to avoid ability popups, held items being used, AI choosing to protect switch out or use priority moves, and try to avoid additional move effectiveness textboxes such as "It's super effective!"/"It's a one-hit KO!", unneeded critical hits, etc.
Lastly, and obviously, text is skipped as fast as possible and we move as fast as the game allows every single time.
Possible improvements and conclusion
- It is possible that another Pokémon would be better than Landorus.
- First few battles include unneeded move effectiveness textboxes.
- Going for a better first map layout instead of using the Rock Smash oversight could save both some frames and a moveslot, for a move such as Focus Blast.
- The Pokédex mode could be changed to another one, instead of National Gen 8.
More ideal RNG
- I may have missed better map layouts, but it's much more likely that my RNG didn't allow for better ones. As a result of this, I had to settle for Erika and Liza as last gym leaders since there was no possible faster path.
- I completely underestimated the length of Pokémon cries. During the early gyms, the longer ones would be pretty easy to avoid, but optimizing this would be A LOT of work considering the teams are always random.
- The issue of needing to wait for better map layouts and opposing teams that allow for faster battles gets significantly worse as the movie goes. Unfortunate, but can be fixed by getting a better RNG seed.
- In-battle RNG could be better (misses, critical hits).
Special thanks to...
- Zoeytastic for giving me the motivation to make my own TAS and compete !
- Pokabbie for making this amazing ROM-hack !
- People on the TASvideos Discord server who helped me making my first submission on the website by answering to my questions about publishing a submission for a TAS on a ROM-hack !
- People who are worth mentioning here but aren't mentioned since I don't know how to make a proper Credits paragraph