(Link to video)
TAS of the 1995 FMV Point'n'click Horror Adventure Game Phantasmagoria by Sierra.

Technicals and Details

  • Original Game Platforms: MS-DOS and Windows
  • Game Verison: Current GOG release (Version 1.0 galaxy hotfix patch WIN Internal Update 23 April 2018)
  • Emulator used: LibTas 1.4.5 running ScummVM 2.8.0
  • This is the first submission of a TAS on this site, and therefore most definitely has improvements.
  • At the time of submission, the RTA speedrun WR is 5:12.233, this TAS is 1:49:670
  • We follow the route of the movement tutorial and improvements found in the guides by darkshoxx here
  • First frame: First non-ScummVM-Splash-Screen frame
  • Last input: Adrienne using the cruxifix, this is where the run ends. Total frames: 6580

Game objectives

  • Any%
  • Minor visual glitches

Comments

Most inputs require 2 frames for the game to be interpreted as an input: one for pressing and one for releasing the button. Cutscenes are skipped with ESC, next chapter is confirmed with Enter, everything else is clicking. The game slightly glitches out on the loading of some new chapters: At the 40 second mark Adrienne stands in nothingness because only her character is loaded, no background, same goes for the door at 1:02.

Stage by stage comments

Intro

Sierra Logo intro cannot be skipped. Entering the username with a keyboard key press saves the frame of the button animation, same for chapter select by pressing the "1" key instead of clicking.

Chapter 1

Pretty much follows the inputs from the movement tutorial (see above). Right after standing up, the menu is opened to change the video settings, for better compatibility of all involved software. Other than the car transition, every cutscene is skippable.

Chapter 2

Whenever Adrienne descends from the third floor to the second, the initial transition is unskippable, which causes agony throughout the game. Other unskippables in this chapter are a car scene and the scene in the shed.

Chapter 3

Unskippable: 3rd floor nail on keyhole, entering and descending, as well as the caretaker's classical "Well?".

Chapter 4

Unskippable: Another two descents and one ascent from the thrid floor.

Chapter 5

Theatre skips: at 0:53 it is crucial that after exiting the secret passage to the theatre, one does not go backstage via the entrance on the left, that costs like 400 unskippable frames. You need to go backstage twice, once each in chapters 5 and 7. In chapter 5, click the apparatus on stage instead, and go to the entrance from there, that skips the unskippable. Furthermore, at 0:55 exit the backstage via the hitbox on the left hand side of the screen and NOT the bottom of the screen. Again, multiple hundred frames being saved here, thanks to Pazuzu.

Chapter 6

Another great "Well?" from the caretaker to the final chapter.

Chapter 7

Second theatre skip. Since the object on stage can only be clicked once during the game, you cannot use that a second time. However in chapter 7 the camera box on the right side of the stage is now clickable, so using that saves more frames yet again. The first half of the showdown is one long unskippable cutscene, the rest is skippable in its entirety. Run ends when Adrienne uses the crucifix, as that is the last input. Final cutscene included for enjoyment.

Other comments

Things to look forward to in this submission: The caretaker saying "Well" and "Well" are the only spoken words during gameplay. Cursur jumping across the screen during unskippable cutscenes.
I haven't changed the framerate settings, and a couple of inputs are probably redundant (though the frames in which they occur might not be)
Suggested screenshots:
Further Credits go to
  • ResiDrache for the original Any% Guide,
  • Pazuzu for optimizations and
  • DanielAlbu for inspiring a new wave of interest in the Phantasmagoria series.

Samsara: Submission file replaced with a version trimmed to final input. The original file used for the encode is here.

ikuyo: Claiming for judging.
ikuyo: Can't successfully sync, so I'm releasing it for another judge to handle.

ikuyo: Claiming for judging.
ikuyo: Delaying while author addresses sync issues.
darkshoxx: updated sumbission details to fit latest file

ikuyo: Replaced file with newest version after sync confirmation.
Thanks for the work to getting this synced, because it was a fun run! Optimization is good enough, and I adored the playaround with your pointer as you waited on cutscenes.
Accepting!
fsvgm777: Processing.
Also replacing the movie file with one that sets the platform (Windows, as it uses the offical GOG release, which runs on Windows via ScummVM) in the annotations. The rest is untouched.

TASVideoAgent
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This topic is for the purpose of discussing #8249: darkshoxx's Windows Phantasmagoria in 01:49.67
darkshoxx
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Hi, I already messed somehting up. The ltm movie I included was the one to generate the VOD and goes far beyond the last input to include the final cutscenes. It's identical to #638184863588021012 in my files. It should to be replaced with "#638184862883926668 - Phantasmagoira 1 TAS file for submission" from my files, which is the same inputs, but truncated after the final input. I'm very sorry.
Samsara
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No trouble at all! I've gone ahead and replaced the file.
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PLANET
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Wow, that's a great TAS, thank you! Adventure games are such a treat to be TASed, and this one is a great example, especially after seeing the RTA WR a few weeks ago. If possible, please consider working on other titles!: ) Easy Yes vote! : )
darkshoxx
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Well, I have no idea how this works, or if I'm supposed to so do something, so I'll just wait for now? @PLANET Thanks for the kind words. I do have some other titles in mind, however I've encountered some issues. There's crashes with the SCI engine of ScummVM with LibTAS, and I can't tell which side is causing it. It only happens in Full Screen cutscenes, which is why they're all half screen in this run. It might be caused by ScummVM, LibTAS or anything between them and my WSL Ubuntu. Flagged it as a bug on ScummVM but haven't got a response yet. There's another issue for other games that seems to only happen in ScummVM WSL (without any LibTAS involvement) but disappears on Windows ScummVM. I'll stay on the lookout :)
CoolHandMike
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Lol that B-movie quality live action cutscene was deliciously terrible. Yes vote.
discord: CoolHandMike#0352
ikuyo
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Hi! So, I purchased the game from GOG, downloaded the offline installer, grabbed the folder and moved it to my Linux partition. The game runs on ScummVM, but the movie desyncs right away. Did you provide any specific command line options? I suspect the ScummVM splashpage might be related to the issue.
darkshoxx
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ikuyo wrote:
Hi! So, I purchased the game from GOG, downloaded the offline installer, grabbed the folder and moved it to my Linux partition. The game runs on ScummVM, but the movie desyncs right away. Did you provide any specific command line options? I suspect the ScummVM splashpage might be related to the issue.
So I realized today that I didn't even mention in my submission that the Linux I'm running is Ubuntu 22 via WSL on Win 11, together with XLaunch. I did not use specific command-line options. I didn't move the game folder, as I have the games installed on my E drive and I'm accessing that via /mnt/e/ The inputs include the (non)-inputs on the scummvm splash screen. If it helps, I can record myself setting up and playing back the file? I previously had issues with ScummVM on Linux as it kept opening the wrong version, not sure if that's related. Can you confirm that when you just open the game with ScummVM and click "Watch Intro", that it does so in half-screen (i.e. in a tiny window in the middle of the screen) and not fullscreen?
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You're starting with save data which moves the position of the start new game button. I changed this input and the movie syncs almost to the end. Perhaps you can identify the issue (screen recording because encoding broke and cba to fix it rn). Link to video
darkshoxx
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Okay, that's odd. You're right of course. But there shouldn't be? I have no idea where it got those savegame files from. Must've made them during the creation of the TAS. But the curious this is the "desync". It's caused by the game bein in the wrong video settings. While you're playing, when you open the menu (the big P in the middle of the inventory), you can choose between "Half Screen" and "Full Screen". By default for me it was set to "Half Screen", but apparently it was "Full Screen" on your end. The final chase scene happens all in that specified video format, meaning for me the window was a lot smaller than for you, and therefore my inputs are in the right position for "Half Screen" but the wrong position for "Full Screen". Can you please confirm somehow that the default on your end was indeed "Full Screen"? Now there's 2 ways of fixing that. The easy slow fix that costs frames is to add like 10 menu frames where that setting is changed at the very beginning. The proper way would be for me to rerecord the final chase in full screen. I personally highly favour that second option. If it weren't for THIS https://bugs.scummvm.org/ticket/14445 BUG https://github.com/clementgallet/libTAS/issues/540 That prevents me from TASing Sierra games in Full screen. If it weren't for this bug I'd have already started more TASes. In fact, I only discovered this bug AFTER finishing this Phantas 1 Tas, because it was "Half Screen" by default on my end and didn't happen. Open for debate and discussion. I mean we can always do the slow fix, and then if someone scoops me for those 10 frames I won't be mad.
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I'm not sure. The setting might have been changed when I originally tried playing the movie back and it desynced. Otherwise it's a new install of the game and of ScummVM. Should probably try deleting the save data but I'm not able to test till tomorrow.
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Checked and I don't have any save data. I get the same issue playing a fullscreen video from a savestate, though it seems to work when making a savestate while the video is already playing.
darkshoxx
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Just out of curiosity, does it run all the way to the end if you change the settings to half-screen in-game and then restart?
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Where is the setting? I had a quick look last time but couldn't see it
darkshoxx
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https://imgur.com/a/2itSlum The large P on the bottom opens this menu, the setting is in the lower left corner, just push the button there.
ikuyo
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Given the reported sync issues, I think delaying this submission for some time while they get sorted out might be the way to go. How do you feel? I'll delay it myself if you agree with this.
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I turned off Prevent writing to disk in libTAS, changed to half screen, saved the game, and changed the input back on the menu screen. It still used full screen when playing the movie.
darkshoxx
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@ikuyo I'm not sure what the protocol is here, but I'm in no rush. @Randomno In that case, can you try inserting the inputs for setting it to half-screen at the beginning of the run? Like When you first gain control after skipping, before opening the drawer to get the matches? I'm currently having a hard time getting it to run on my end again, I'm sorry.
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User movie #638255899432179081 I added it in shortly before the the video plays at the end, but it then desyncs a bit. Won't be able to fix it myself.
ikuyo
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darkshoxx wrote:
@ikuyo I'm not sure what the protocol is here, but I'm in no rush.
Yup, no rush! Take the time you need to fix the sync issues. In the meantime, I'll mark the submission as Delayed, which states the submission cannot currently be accepted until that issue is fixed, and indicates we're waiting for it to be fixed. Once you have your syncing movie, you may post it on this thread, I'll replace the original with the fix, and resume judging. You can also delay it yourself. Is that alright?
darkshoxx
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@ikuyo when I try to edit the submission the only options I have are "judging underway" and "cancelled", so I'm not sure how to set it to "delay". Could yyou please mark it for me or tell me how to do it? @Randomno I'll try fixing it today.
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I tried again with switching the screen size at an earlier point. It really likes to desync. I changed it right before the end of chapter 1 (I think) and it synced all the way to the last 6 seconds again. Probably best to just redo that last section.
darkshoxx
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This is very frustrating. I gave it another shot today, but I can't seem to even record any inputs. The cursor doesn't show up on screen no matter what I do, and running ScummVM without LibTAS completely glitches out. This will take some time to troubleshoot, and will definitely be delayed. Sorry about that.
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darkshoxx wrote:
running ScummVM without LibTAS completely glitches out
I wasn't able to run it on its own either. Seems to be related to audio issues with WSL.
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I cataloged this as DOS, but there is no Platform annotation in the movie file. Just to note if replacing the file.