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Introduction

This is a 49 frame (0.82 second) improvement over the published movie. There are small improvements in many areas of World 8, but nearly all of these gains were sacrificed to make use of the Bowser Quick Drop, which optimizes Bowser's death animation as seen in the published warpless movie. Details for many tricks are explained on the published submission text and the SMB3 tricks page.
Mitjitsu did not take part in this improvement, but with his permission we use much of his input from the published warps movie.

Lord Tom's comments

I was very eager to do this project once Tompa discovered the Bowser Quick Drop. I had a lot of fun working with Tompa and Co. on the warpless, and had some free time I knew I could dedicate to knocking this out. The fortress in World 8 was one of the most complicated segments I've ever done, and I was psyched to find 12 frames there after the 2 previous publications had found a combined 2 frames total.
It was frustrating to have such bad luck with the Bowser manipulation wipe out most of our gains, but it was cool to learn some more about this game's innards and we got some good entertainment in there to compensate. Tompa was, again, an enthusiastic and talented partner.

Tompa's comments

When we had finished the warpless run, we had found some improvements to this run as well, so it was a must to improve this as well. Lord Tom started the project with some improvements in the fortress. I joined in and we managed to extend that improvement further, it seemed just like one of our "frame wars" during the making of the warpless run :).
TASing this game is a lot of fun (And sometimes painful due to manipulation) and I would love to do work on it again, perhaps with Tom for a third time? Who knows...

Improvements

World 1 -- 0 Frames

We attempted many strategies, with particular focus on the fortress, but nothing proved useful. To optimize the boomerang hammer brother guarding World 8's first tank, an improvement would have to be at least 14 frames.

BoomBoom Landing -- 2 Frames

Tompa discovered that the point at which BoomBoom moves toward Mario in stages where Mario drops into his room (8-Airship, 8-Tank-2) is affected by how soon Mario lands after going down the pipe. By optimizing the y subpixel, Mario can land 1 frame sooner, so Mario's second set of fireballs hit sooner despite being fired on the same frames.
In 8-Ship, it wasn't possible to save a frame, despite testing all subpixels down the pipe.

World 8 Fortress -- 12 Frames

The savings here were very hard won. First, Lord Tom found 2 frames getting to the first door by getting a bigger P-speed boost off one of the pillars. Tompa also knocked a frame or two off the first moving-walkways screen.
We then discovered that the P-block could possibly be used to our advantage because the moving walkway at the end of the level (under the spikes leading to BoomBoom) starts once the P-block expires. The P-block runs off a timer at $567, which decrements according to a 4-frame rule -- so every time we're able to decrement this counter, the moving walkway will start 4 frames sooner, getting Mario by those spikes just a bit faster. We found two ways to do this:
  1. Hit the P-block as soon as possible (i.e. land on it as far left as possible)
  2. Going through doors on certain frames can cause a double-decrement
We needed just one more frame from the first screen to drop another frame-rule from the P-block, so we started looking. Tompa seemingly found the needed frame but it got killed by a longer transition lag going through the door. After both of us looked for many hours, Lord Tom finally scratched and clawed an extra frame from the first screen by plotting an obscenely intricate path through a subpixel minefield.
All this work with the P-block paid off on BoomBoom's screen as we were able to take a shorter jump out the door, reaching the ground just as the moving walkways started. It's worth noting that despite hitting the walkways with less speed (40 vs 41 in the published run), we navigate that final room 5 frames faster.

Bowser's Castle -- ? Frames

Using the techniques discovered in the warpless run as well as those above, we were able to get to Bowser 27 frames ahead of the published movie. BUT...
The Bowser Quick Drop works by killing Bowser 1 frame before he makes a small hop. To accomplish this requires manipulating Bowser to take 6 small hops before his first big hop -- any less and there's not enough time to kill him before a time-consuming big jump. Bowser can take between 3 and 6 small hops, and this is determined soley by the frame the fight starts -- nothing Mario does afterwards can influence it.
Unfortunately, the 6-hop pattern is quite rare; we had to sacrifice 21 frames to manipulate it. Faced with this, we redid the castle trying to find the most entertaining ways we could think of to lose those frames (taking the low route on the first screen, duck-jumping off the wall, silly backward jumping).
If anyone's interested in the technical details, Bowser's y velocity is at $d4. On a small hop, this gets set to 240 (1 px/frame upward velocity). When Bowser is killed, it gets set to 204 (3.3px/frame upward). When the Quick Drop is performed correctly, Bowser's y velocity gets set to 204 when he's killed, but continues his pattern for 1 frame longer than he should - so his y velocity gets overwritten with the much slower 240 speed.
What happens when Bowser is killed just before a big jump? Well...it's interesting.

Future improvements

Wow, it's getting tough to imagine where it might come from. As mentioned, a World 1 improvement would need to be 14+ frames. What's more, the next possible Bowser Quick Drop manipulation would require getting to Bowser 17 frames faster than our best time (38 frames faster than this submission). We'll keep looking, though!

adelikat: Accepting for publication as an improvement to the published movie.
Flygon: Decided I'll encode with hardsubs instead.

TASVideoAgent
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Encode on its way.
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Yes vote. Now watching this.
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Highly entertaining run, and a nice, if small improvement. As with the warpless run, the subtitles were a nice touch, especially in a game that has both a lot of things not visible to the common eye (subpixel manipulation for example) and that has been run countless of times before, making it sort of stale otherwise. I think more runs should be accompanied by commentaries such as this. Obvious yes vote here.
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I have to bring something to your attention in 1-1. It's possible to save a frame on 1-1 via lag reduction, I believe andymac found it. Lag doesn't effect the RNG so it is an improvement which can be implemented in World 1.
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Mitjitsu wrote:
I have to bring something to your attention in 1-1. It's possible to save a frame on 1-1 via lag reduction, I believe andymac found it. Lag doesn't effect the RNG so it is an improvement which can be implemented in World 1.
very nice :) Also, this TAS should aim to beat the smw TAS time. idk if anyone beside myself has noticed this, but the smb3 and smw TASes are always extremely close in time.
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Probably a stupid question... but what is the cause of the different sound effect when you gain your 94th life in 8-1? While I'm not an expert on SMB3, I know most of the little easter eggs hidden around the game, so I was surprised to hear that unique sound effect.
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Wow! I have a few questions though: * Is it possible to hex in a 1-frame improvement in 1-1 without too much trouble? * When you stomp the boomerang brother in the first stage of World 8, you look like you're drifting down slowly to land on him because of the P-speed. Is it faster to let go of the B-button for a few frames when running to him to avoid getting P-speed? That way, you're in the air for less time. (It might not matter though, if the boomerang still has to leave the screen before the chest appears...) * Are you going to apply these new improvements to the warpless run again? In any case, fantastic work once again!
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.
Post subject: Re: #2765: Lord Tom, Mitjitsu and Tompa's NES Super Mario Bros. 3 in 10:25.6
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TASVideoAgent wrote:
When the Quick Drop is performed correctly, Bowser's y velocity gets set to 204 when he's killed, but continues his pattern for 1 frame longer than he should - so his y velocity gets overwritten with the much slower 240 speed.
Did you mean faster? Also, easy yes vote. Plus, is there any way to test earlier frames, to see how many frames you'd have to save to get 6 hops?
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EtchenBa wrote:
Probably a stupid question... but what is the cause of the different sound effect when you gain your 94th life in 8-1? While I'm not an expert on SMB3, I know most of the little easter eggs hidden around the game, so I was surprised to hear that unique sound effect.
It's caused by Mario flapping his tail at the same moment that he gets an extra life. It was discussed pretty thoroughly in the SMB3 thread. I like to think of it as a combination of the extra life sound and the Legend of Zelda "solved a puzzle" music.
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Yes vote. Good job.
Recent projects: SMB warpless TAS (2018), SMB warpless walkathon (2019), SMB something never done before (2019), Extra Mario Bros. (best ending) (2020).
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mklip2001 wrote:
Wow! I have a few questions though: * Is it possible to hex in a 1-frame improvement in 1-1 without too much trouble? * When you stomp the boomerang brother in the first stage of World 8, you look like you're drifting down slowly to land on him because of the P-speed. Is it faster to let go of the B-button for a few frames when running to him to avoid getting P-speed? That way, you're in the air for less time. (It might not matter though, if the boomerang still has to leave the screen before the chest appears...) * Are you going to apply these new improvements to the warpless run again? In any case, fantastic work once again!
-I'm investigating the 1-1 issue. It will be no problem to hex it in if that lag frame can be eliminated; however the technique that I'm aware of to eliminate that lag involves losing 1-2 pixels, so I have to see if the lag can be eliminated w/o losing time. This wasn't relevant in the warpless b/c we needed a different hammer manipulation, so we were losing time intentionally for that. -On the boomerang brother, we have all the time in the world to actually kill that guy; the boomerang is by far the limiting factor -I'm open to doing the warpless again, but I'd prefer to hit some other projects first! This run really only has the BoomBoom y-subpixel trick to add to the warpless, so it'd be a very tiny improvement to bother hexing in.
DarkKobold wrote:
Did you mean faster? Also, easy yes vote. Plus, is there any way to test earlier frames, to see how many frames you'd have to save to get 6 hops
No, 240 is slower than 204. It's because for negative/upward vertical speeds, the absolute speed is 256-x; so 240 is the same speed as 16 in the opposite direction; 204 is the same as 52, etc. One can test earlier frames by hex-editing Mario further ahead than he can really go. We did so, and mention in the last section of the comments (you didn't read to the end?! sniffle) that one would need to get to Bowser 17 frames faster than we could (or 38 frames faster than this submission, which wastes 21 frames). Etchenba: the 1-up sound glitch occurs when Mario tail-flips five frames after the 1-up sprite appears. I believe there's a great technical explanation in the SMB3 forum.
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Great to see another improvement! HD encoding... I'd do an extremely optimized SD encode, but Toothache wore out my motivation, heh.
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It's great to still be seeing improvements here after all these years. Voting yes, surely we must be near the limit now...
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Great improvement! I can understand that those 49 frames were hard earned. Easy yes vote. Regarding potential future improvement: How many lag frames are currently in this movie? Any hopes of saving any more frames by reducing lag?
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Randil: Currently, the only lag frame is in 1-1, but it has been mentioned that it can be removed without losing time, we'll see about that though.
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Dailymotion Playlist Part 1 Part 2 Also, encoding in SD anyway. I request my encode not to be published however, due to the fact that it will be using soft-subs and thus unpublishable... all of my future encodes will actually be unpublishable, due to this fact.
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Wait, why are softsubs unpublishable? I would think the ones using hard subs (i.e. text actually added to the video feed) would be the ones unsuitable for publication. And why would you be changing your encoding style long-term in favor of unpublishable encodings?
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http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xe6nop_super-mario-bros-3-tas-in-10-25-6-w_videogames Here's an encode using the FCEUX subtitles for commentary, much easier and better looking than softsubs
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Toothache wrote:
Here's an encode using the FCEUX subtitles for commentary, much easier and better looking than softsubs
Unless you fix the softsubs =p
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Derakon wrote:
Wait, why are softsubs unpublishable? I would think the ones using hard subs (i.e. text actually added to the video feed) would be the ones unsuitable for publication. And why would you be changing your encoding style long-term in favor of unpublishable encodings?
Derakon is right, going to hardsubs is a step backwards. MP4 and MKV both support softsubs, you should use them.
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Anyway, watched the encode, and I have to admit we're getting to the point where improvements are basically impossible to see at normal speed. :( Still, it's a magnificientâ„¢ improvement. Nice work!
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I was actually referring to soft-subs regarding the player name and such. Grunt has drilled it into my brain that an encode using those for the purpose of player name and such is unpublishable. Anyway, uploaded the soft-subs to YouTube and Dailymotion (Though, there is a 2 second delay I should fix... but it isn't too noticeable if you haven't seen the source movie file played back in the emulator... but I should fix it when I get the time anyway, unless there is a tool that could do it for me).
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To chime in on subtitles: Soft subs for movie commentary subtitles are fine if not encouraged strongly over hard subs (and we have several published encodes that make use of them). The current policy for the stock movie info subtitles is to hard subs basically as a watermark to ensure that our encodes can't be ripped off by unscrupulous types (it's much easier to do that than to create the encode in the first place), and it's far too easy to remove soft subs of that nature for me to consider using them as that watermark.