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Uchiha Madao
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hi.

one thing that has started to become quite apparent lately for me is the lack of actual tutorials for the game. you go to the articles section but it is quite vague in some aspects or doesn't explain too clearly a few things. also, very little details are left out or not mentioned that make a difference while playing.

in a way, this could be excused since those articles were made 7-8 years ago and back then, people learned everything with trial and error and copying the video and an explananation for the more advanced stuff but this assumed the player was already familiar with a lot of the game. if you were a real newcomer, you wouldn't know where to start and would waste time by picking a bad car or driving bad until you went and looked up a video.

the idea i have is making a kind of guide to bring someone who has never played the game to an acceptable skill level in the shortest time possible. also, i'd like it to be a good resource for all the little details and quick explanations that sometimes people don't get or general workings of the game that go unnoticed due to the lack of experience.

so, here it is. the first attempt at an encyclopedia of the basics in an F-Zero game: the F-Zero-pedia GX.

i plan to do one for X too. for the 2D games, someone else will have to do them since i don't know all the little things about those games. FZSNES seems simple but there have been some new discoveries lately that i didn't pay much attention and the GBA games have their own set of little things to take care of.

"Patience is useful in any moment"
Yazzo
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 hey great idea jose. seeing something like this for all games would be great indeed.

Uchiha Madao
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i couldn't write much the other day due to an error in the forum but i'll do a bit today.

 

Basic Game Info

game name: F-Zero GX

developer: Sega (Amusement Vison) (Nintendo was just the publisher)

release info: came out in 2003 for GameCube in every territory.

extras: no physical limited editions or bonuses. there was a 1-time giveaway of the hidden unobtainale parts in japan to participants of a contest but this never happened internationally (this is why people call those parts "AR parts")

 

Technical Info

Resolution: 640x480. NTSC versions have Progressive scan support. PAL versions have 50Hz support. runs at 60 fps 99% of the time (50 fps in PAL50).

special note: the 50Hz mode converts the timer automatically so you don't need to do time conversions to get equivalent times like in FZSNES or FZX.

Memory card usage:

main save uses 4 blocks and cannot be copied in any way (not even with Wii homebrew because it uses info about the original card's format and block location and the save would be unusable in a different card. those bastards...)

replays use 3-6 blocks with original machines and 7-14 blocks with custom machines. ghosts use 3 blocks always. emblems use 3 blocks always. garage uses 18 blocks always and allows 4 custom cars to be saved (including the emblems you paste on it. you don't need the emblem data in the same card as the garage data)

connectivity: can connect with F-Zero AX to unlock some things faster or earlier (AX cup before Diamond cup is only possible this way). compatible with logitech steering wheel for GC.

 

Game Engine global properties (part 1: controls)

this is the section where a lot of the little things that people don't get initially will be detailed. some of these properties are surprising and counter-productive to usual racing.

let's start with the regular actions assigned to every button. i'll use default key assignments.

 

Gameplay Controls (Story, Practice, VS and GP)

Control Stick: steers the ship. sensitivity can be adjusted in the options menu. the default setting can be too sensitive for some people. i recommend trying out between the default sensitivity and customized ones to see what suits you best. personally, i play with adjusted sensitivity (in the sensitivity option, i just rotate the stick until the polygon doesn't move anywhere and save the changes)

A Button: Accelerator (gas). accelerates the ship. unintended side effect: release it at a high speed and your speed decrease rate will be lower than what you get if you just hold it. this is known as Momentum Throttle (MT) and is a very powerful technique since it is the basis for a lot of the other techiques used in high level play like MTS, MTRS, Shift Boosts, MT Boost and Dive landing. the thing you should know is the time where MT should be used and where not to use it since it stops being effective at a certain speed. over the years, it has been found that, on heavy ships with high top speed, you should use MT for any speeds over 1300 km/h. ships that have low top speed but a decent weight should use it above 1200 km/h and for light ships with bad top speed, it works good on speed above just 1100 km/h. top speed takes preference over weight so any ship above 1100 km/h non-boosted speed should use MT when above 1300 km/h (even if they're light like Sonic Phantom).

B Button: Air Brake. stops the ship. less useful than what you'd think due to the speed decreasing really fast normally when you stop boosting. the way i brake is just by not doing MT after i stop boosting. the brake is useful if you need to brake really fast in a pinch.

Y Button: boost. uses the booster. unintended side effect: by using MT just as your boost ends and then pressing A and Y at the same time to resume the gas and activate another boost, you can keep your speed at higher levels and make your boosts last more until the next refiller. this is called MT Boost and it helps greatly those ships that have a fast boost pickup speed since they can Boost, MT for more than a second and Boost again to get more out of their boosts. the other ships can wait like between 0.5-1 seconds between boosts to do well.

X button: Side Attack. attacks to the side. you need to press the control stick left or right to attack in the appropiate direction. unintended side effects: the first one is the side attack dive. this move resebles FZX's DTDs in a way but it is done way differently. to do one, hold the shoulder button corresponding to the direction you're going, hold the control stick in the same direction and use the side attack continuously. if you start with the correct angle and speed, you can go above 2000 km/h easily in the air and land at much higher speeds than normal. the second side effect is at the end of an MTS. when you exit an MTS, use a side attack to minimize speed loss (this one depends on the ship. some ships don't benefit from this. the third side effect is getting extra speed in turns where an MTS wouldn't be practical. if you hold a shoulder button and the same sirection with the stick (say, left and L) and use side attacks, your ship will get some extra speed. this is only useful with certain ships (most popular usage is the long turn in PTAD after the first zipper)

Z button: Spin attack. attacks by spinning the ship around. this move is useful in CH4 to defeat a lot of enemies quicky but it has little use outside that since GP mode opponents are much harder to kill with that strategy. side attacks are much more effective.

L and R buttons: Strafe/Shift. this shifts the ship to the side. useful to adjust the ship's direction. unintended side effects: first and most popular ones: snaking and spaceflying: when you set max acceleration, pressing these buttons in combination of the stick with a certain rhythm causes the ship to build up massive speeds without using boosts. the reason is that the shift action gains power the more you approach max acceleration. spaceflying is possible because this shift is done in an upwards manner and it can overcome the game's gravity. you need to hop out of the road to fly since the road itself prevents the ship from raising into the air. the second effect is shift boosts. by going out of the road and back into it, you can get an extra burst of speed due to the difference in the terrain change. shift boosts are usable without these buttons but they become more abusable if you combine the L and R button shift and MT.

D-pad: camera adjustment. it has been proven that the default camera is bad for driving properly. zoom out once and you have the perfect camera for playing the game and getting the best out of it. the other views are just for novelty and first person camera is awful for any advanced maneuver.

C-stick: no use in normal gameplay but it lets you chosse between machines in a GP mode replay. with this you can see how the CPU cheats when they are magically ahead of you.

Start/Pause: pauses the game and lets you retry or quit if you messed up. you can also go to the settings screen or change course in Time Attack.

 

Settings Screen controls:

Control Stick: move the settings bar left and right

L and R: cycle between ship/pilot colors

 

Cutscene controls:

Z Button: activates subtitles

Start/A Button: skips cutscene

 

Replay mode Controls:

Z Button: cycles between GX logo and speedometer

D-pad: lets you adjust the camera view

L and R Buttons: cycle between pilot themes

"Patience is useful in any moment"
Uchiha Madao
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Game Engine global properties (part 2: physics)

while every ship has their own stats and stuff determining how bad or good they are, there's some global properties that apply to every machine. i'll do my best to explain these.

 

Weight

first, Weight in this game is important. in this game, the heavier a ship is, the better it is because it can reach much better speeds and benefits from practically everything that happens within the game.

Weight is beneficial for the following things: improves MT, improves Shift Boosts, improves Max Boosted Speed, improves Body resistance, improves Side Attack Dives, improves mine boosts. (all of these are better with higher weight)

Weight is detrimental for the following things: reduces air time, reduces acceleration, makes some shortcuts harder, hinders spaceflying greatly. (all of these improve with lower weight)

Weight is neutral for the following things: Quick Turn, cornering, Grip, Boost pickup speed, MTS, MTRS. (individual ships have a much bigger effect in these)

that's why you see beasts like Gallant Star-G4 taking the WRs in max speed settings while things like Maximum Dragon are used for spaceflying.

 

Settings bar

something that is easy to miss is the effects from the settings bar causes on ships. unlike FZX, people use either max acceleration or max speed in all the ladders since anything in between is banned in the snaking and max speed ladders (open is best with max acceleration always so there's no reason to go above).

setting the bar to the far right does this:

improves momentum-based moves (MT, MTS) because speed loss rate is at its lowest.

boosters pick up speed slower but reach higher max speeds.

improves body and grip performance.

cornering is at its worst (you need to use Quick Turn with most ships to take corners)

gives you the maximum non-boosted max speed available (not on every ship though)

reduces the speed gain by turning and by pressing L or R in a turn (that's why you can't snake effectively with max speed)

setting the bar to the far left does this:

speed loss rate is at its highest. even if you MT, you lose speed rather quickly.

boosters pick up speed faster but reach lower max speeds

body and grip performance is at its weakest

cornering is at its best (you can turn with no effort at all by just steering the ship)

gives you the minimum non-boosted max speed available (not on every ship)

increases the speed gained by turning and by pressing L or R in a turn (this makes snaking and spaceflying possible)

that should cover the settings bar effects.

 

Air Time (Max Speed version)

i've heard people complain that navigating in the air is a pain and it makes sense. when you're in the air, the physics behave weird.

here's what you should know when you go into the air:

distance tips:

doing MT when going straight lets you retain a lot more speed and cover bigger distances. helps to cut some corners.

touching the stick is bad. you lose height instantly. the best way to cover air distances is to line up before you leave the road and, if you need to adjust the ship, use the L and R buttons since those don't make you lose height faster. combine with MT for the full effect.

diving tips:

when you're diving, the best is to actually hold the accelerator for the duration of the dive. also, when you dive, push up in the stick all the way since that gives you the highest speed gain and the ship has a limit in how much it can point down its nose (unlike FZX where if you push up all the way, your ship goes all the way down and messes up the dive)

when it comes to the landing, you need to know that the best way to retain speed is to line up the ship parallel to the road just before you touch the road. if you land at an angle, you lose more speed. landing parallel has the minimum speed loss on landing. you also need to MT just a bit before you touch the road to get the best effect out of it. if you MT when landing or later, your speed will be gone before you realize it.

side attack dive:

this move is a bit tricky to pull off. to get the best angle, you first do an MTS in the direction you want to start the dive (say, if you want to do the right side dive in PTAD, MTS between the 2nd and 3rd zipper before the dive towards the right ) and when you're in the air, you start holding the shoulder button of the opposite side, hold the stick towards the same direction and up and start using the side attack repeatedly (if you're on the right side, hold L + Left and Up in the stick and mash the side attack). after a while, you need to line up so that you can land properly. at this point, you stop using the side attack and holding L and the stick and MT while you use L or R to line up with the road. the reason you MT is that when you stop side attacking and are not nosediving, your speed will die fast normally. with MT, you keep the speed while you line up. when you are lined up, you can nosedive and hold the accelerator for extra speed if there's still enough distance before landing. when you land, don't forget to be parallel to the road and MT just before landing.

it is also possible to switch between L+left and R+right while doing a side attack dive. that's useful in the ADS dive since that one is big enough to give you time to do this and build extra speed.

max acceleration changes the way being in the air behaves but i'm lacking knowledge there since i don't play with those settings.

 

Road Elements

each track has several things that affect your performance while driving. some of them can have massive effects in the race.

Refiller: refills your health bar. it refills you very fast so you can pass it at max speed most of the time but there's some tracks where it is better to slow down a bit here to ensure you are at 100% health.

Zipper: the zippers in this game don't replace or stop your boost's effect. they just add up to your current speed. unintended  side effect: if you hit a zipper at the very edge on either side but parallel to it, it can give you extra speed that isn't possible by taking it normally.

Jump Plate: these let you jump in the air. for most of them, it is better to nosedive when you take them but a few can allow you to cut corners, provided that you don't skip a checkpoint. CH3 is where they're more prominent. air time tips apply when you're in the air from them.

Dirt Area: this are slows you down when you touch it and don't have a boost active. zippers and boosting negate their effect.

Ice Area: these areas make your grip drop to the lowest possible and you slide out easily. you can still control your ship with help of the L and R buttons and can MTS on it easily (after all, MTS relies on breaking the ship's grip)

Mines: while these seem to be just a hazard, they actually provide extra boosts for the heavier ships that can hit them and lose little energy. they cause a type of shift boost when you hit them and shift boost rules apply here.

Lava Area: this area is in story mode only. their only effect is reducing your health. they don't affect ship handling but you shouldn't hit them too often.

Checkpoint: these are invisible areas that tell the game you've passed a part of the track so that it allows you to get to the next and so on. unlike old Mario Kart games or 2D F-Zero games, the tracks' whole information isn't completely loaded at once when you play them and you can only be on a chunk of it at a time. that's why you die instantly when you try to get to a part that looks reachable but is much further than your current position. in some situations, you can trick these checkpoints and can hit some further areas without dying if you have the correct height and speed.  they're also pretty bad because, if you fly too high, you can skip a lot of them and that's why spaceflying is viable at all since flying around the whole track would be slower than snaking.

AX Checkpoint: i suppose someone will ask about this one. they give you extra time in the AX version but have no use in GX. the devs were too lazy to take them away from the tracks.

 

Deaths

in this game, when you run out of energy and hit something, you start exploding and then die with a big explosion. in story mode, this is final and you die pretty much when you start exploding but, in GP mode and Time Attack, the game doesn't count you as dead until the big explosion. due to this, you can die and actually finish the race. while this looks like it has no use because you normally lose speed after dying, if you die in certain ways, you can reach speeds much higher than normal for that brief period of time and cross the finish line before exploding. this si called a suicide finish and can happen in various ways. the most popular one is doing an MTRS against a wall at low energy and a certain angle to shoot off at the finish line as soon as you "die" (MCSO uses this type). there's also types that use an MTS against a wall in such a way that the resulting bounce sends you towards the finish line (LTR has one of the oldest ones like this). there's also others where you just touch a wall and gain speed after dying (BBO is this type).

one thing to keep in mind is that crossing the finish line must be done above it. if your car goes outside the track and falls too low to the side, it won't count. the finish line extends upwards and to the sides so you can suicide upwards or to the sides fine and finish the race (some lines don't extend too far but they're few)

you also die by not hitting the checkpoints in the correct order or hitting certain objects in the track. these objects are usually very solid ones like walls. things like the metal structures in FF won't kill you in 1 hit. there's also some objects that have no collision but these are few.

 

"Patience is useful in any moment"
NTM
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That's a great idea. I actually made an instructional video for the same purpose years ago, but the quality was poor, and there were a lot of omitted critical points. I was considering doing a video series sometime in the future for this purpose, but it's still a ways out. 

Uchiha Madao
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something that i forgot to add to the diving section is that weight affects how much you can point down the ship's nose to dive.

the heavier the ship is, the less you can push the nose down.

you can still nosedive pretty good with heavy ships. in fact, it is better that the game limits how much you can nosedive since nosediving too sharply doesn't let you gain as much speed and you need more time to readjust when you land on the track.

"Patience is useful in any moment"
Naegleria
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I was thinking of making videos to explain some of the finer points in this game.  I've done this with other games, and I'd say I'm familiar enough with GX to explain most of the max speed techs.  Anyone else interested in making video tutorial stuff?

One video explaining everything wouldn't be efficient.  I'm thinking a video on each different tech (one for MTS, one for shift boosts, one for quick turns, etc).

Uchiha Madao
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that'd be nice. make a few vids and post them to see the result. if there's any inconsistencies, we can point them down.

"Patience is useful in any moment"
Naegleria
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Perhaps I should of asked first; I hope you don't mind that I copy-pasted your posts and put them on SDA's knowledge base. 

https://kb.speeddemosarchive.com/F-Zero_GX

Naegleria
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ub97QnGcGxA - MT

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6aKqspnwLk - Dives/Jumps

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhuL3luoKYg - Shift Boosts

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8X9h96dBjg - MTS

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KEozbOY_E9M - Side Attacks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPMl4stBMLc - customize/calibrate

I made these impromptu, any errors or things I overlooked?

Uchiha Madao
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they're good so far. improvements can be made later if people have problems learning the tricks.

"Patience is useful in any moment"
Naegleria
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http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5UD8kOhQuv8I3IpEU57N1pCAeiYQNr36

I went through each level (including story mode levels) and talked about strats for them.  I did this on a whim, so its not exactly concise.

 

Edit:  I've also wanted to get a guide/list of all the shift boosts you can do, not the L/R ones, but the ones you get going over slopes like at the start of Half Pipe.  I'm pretty sure every down slope has some range of speeds/angles where you can get a shift boost, and I've seen a ton of people use different shift boosts on the same tracks.  I think that having a list of all places where you can get a shift boost, as well as the speed/angle required to get it, would be really helpful.

Mooninite69
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Naegleria wrote:

Edit:  I've also wanted to get a guide/list of all the shift boosts you can do, not the L/R ones, but the ones you get going over slopes like at the start of Half Pipe.  I'm pretty sure every down slope has some range of speeds/angles where you can get a shift boost, and I've seen a ton of people use different shift boosts on the same tracks.  I think that having a list of all places where you can get a shift boost, as well as the speed/angle required to get it, would be really helpful.

 

I would love if we could start a discussion about this.  I don't really know much about the nuances of the tracks, or how to activate most road shift boosts.  For example, I didn't know about this one on Multiplex: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wSX_Vaxdjg&t=1m12s.  And this jump on Phantom Road seems different than what I get:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90kUgIXnu_Q&t=1m28s.  I've only gotten Lightning Loop Cross once on accident: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEqQXJ9szFw&t=1m02s.  Split Oval I reallllly want to know:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkcrpU8VZ0A&t=37s  I think some machines with low boost can benefit big time from this.

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