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samurai goroh
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F-Zero X Time Attack Tool Assisted Speedrun
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From comicalflop at TASvideos.org


"I'm thinking (*read disclaimer at bottom*) about starting a Tool Assisted Speedrun (using an emulator, in this case mupen 64, using slowdown and savestates for 100% perfection) of F-Zero X Time Attack mode, matching or beating all the WR's. The WR's are pretty tight, but I'm sure that tool assistance could either prove that a WR is otpimal, or show the course taken to the max. Basically all conceivable shortcuts, speed tactics, and advanced techniques would be utilized in order to get the absolute fastest time on each course. The run would go through all 20 courses in sequential order.

The main driver would be Blood Hawk, on max acceleration. On a few courses if a driver change is nescessary, it will be done. A code will be used at the start to access all drivers and courses.

If anyone has any suggestions on changes to make to the WR's, please feel free to make them. I've already studied the WR's and thought of a few possible additions already, ones that are incredibly gutsy to do and that are out of reach of normal human playing. If anyone knows of specific tricks that have not been accomplished yet for this reason, let me know because a skilled player will be sure to know what tricks haven't been done yet and what some I may have thought of are indeed not possible.

At the moment I'm doing little experimentations to get familiar with the game, and currently noodling around with Mute City and trying to match the pace of the WR for that course (and hardly succeeding .) It should be noted that I have never played this game before and in real time suck at it, but that is never a factor for a TAS, since the game is mostly on pause as I advance frame by frame.

I've taken the liberty to do as much research into the advanced techniques as possible, from the difference between slider and jumper cars, to floating, and angled dives, etc. By no means have I mastered them, but I have the vids and the descriptions, and from that I should be able to deduce how to replicate/optimize them.

Assuming that I work on this, all videos will be posted right here on the first page for easy downloading. I will encode the vids myself, with a noticable amount of high quality that will distinguish it between a recorded videotape and emulation.
Comments, questions, pointers, and everything in between is highly saught after.

*Disclaimer*
I have not started this run yet. I am unsure if I am going to follow through with this; if I don't, I will delete this post.

I am unsure how much work a project like this will require; if it's to much, I will have to back down. This game is very complicated, but I've mastered many many games from scratch, and become quite a perfectionist in how I approach games, so hopefully this will be no different.

I am an incredibly distractful person, and currently working on other TASes, namely Mario Kart 64, Ocarina of Time, Yoshi Story, StarFox 64, and A Link to the Past, to name a few. This amount of workload will likely get the better of me, and starting on this may not be such a hot idea, but it's very attention grabbing.

At the moment my progress of this is secret to the TASvideos.org site. Please do not divulge to them that I am working on this."

WMJ
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I have been working on a video tutorial for this game since the past few months. The idea is that show different strategies for each track of varying difficulty from the very easy with almost no techniques (that at least beats the staff) up to the current WR strategies. I hope to get players of all skill levels on board with this and one you master one strategy you can move on to the next up to the WR really.

 To make those videos I try to perform each strategy as perfect as possible with TAS to give the best possible example of how to do it. It is also very easy to make videos like this with some slow-mos for difficult moves and so on. I have repeated some of Lord Tom’s TASes for a few tracks (when it’s the current wr strat) and generally my runs are very close but not as fast (only beat them on pt1 and sa). The amount of optimization Lord Tom put into his TAS is really terrific. I think it’s not really needed for the project anyway as long as it’s close enough.

 On average I have about 3 – 4 strategies for each track now and everything up to DF2 is completed already. It is a slow process to make all those TAS runs however and at the current pace (and with a busy schedule) I’d be happy to release the whole thing sometime late next year. So at least some work is done on a TAS for this game. Because it is mainly meant for tutorial purposes I have (so far) not included anything that has never been used on console. If I think that Daniel or myself wouldn’t be able to pull off most of it there’s not much point in trying to explain it because by the time players get to that level they should make their own tutorial Razz. Most of JAGG-ZERO’s TASes are at this level so that’s good so no double work is done and they serve a good purpose of showing what the max of the game really is like.

 So far it’s a lot of fun to make this and on literally every track I’ve learned new things. I can probably manage on my own but if anyone is willing to pitch some strat ideas (also easy strats) I am always interested Smile.

 There are also still some small things I am a bit confused about in this game. It would be hard for me to explain for example why TN is better than Red Gazelle on Silence 1 but on Sector Alpha Red Gazelle and even Death Anchor are better than TN. The acceleration is of course better for TN but the top speed is better for the heavier ships and with a track going straight the whole time you’d expect that to win out. I can only think of the curvature upwards in the beginning (essentially s1 is a huge looping) that slows down the acceleration of heavier ships sufficiently much that the super-fast acceleration of TN still triumphs there. This is one of those things that’s so subtle it’s not really intuitive.

JAGG_ZERO
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The video tutorial project sounds neat. I'm not sure if/how well I can contribute in the way of strat ideas but I hope it goes well Smile

Vanilla Track: Sector Alpha Jumper VS Slider



I ended up doing 2 different comparisons using 3 (techinaclly 2.5) TASes. Why that is may become obvious half-way through the video.

I also uploaded the individual runs (beware that they all have their final times in their video titles so if you don't want the results spoiled, watch the main vid first Smile )

Jumper: www.youtube.com/watch

Slider #1: www.youtube.com/watch

Slider #2: www.youtube.com/watch

JAGG_ZERO
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Bit late posting.

Vanilla track: Silence 1 [0'58"454] (by comparison, the previous TASes were 0'59"757 and 0'59"842, so there's a big improvement here)


Custom Track: CP2 - Screwed Looping [0'54"810]


I'm seeing how I'll go with updating the Jack Cup (since MC1 and SO1 happened) so the plan is to go through the vanilla tracks in chronological order. Right now I'm improving Sand Ocean 1. If my calculations are correct, the time I'll shave off will be in the ballpark of 1-1.5 seconds.

JAGG_ZERO
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Vanilla Track: Sand Ocean 1 [0'30"857] (an improvement of 0'01"644 over my previous TAS)

Custom Track: Fatal RR [0'59"969]

I didn't plan this, but I'm early by a month this time Very Happy This may/may not be a one-off.

Oh, and Philippe gave me a challenge of sorts to skip the 2 loops in Haunted Ocean 1, so I whipped up this rough demo in under an hour because why not (though thinking about it, I probably should have trimmed out some of the beginning...oh well):

JAGG_ZERO
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Vanilla Track: Devil's Forest 1 [0'52"609]

Custom Track: Smooth Clouds 9 driven in reverse (ft. Deep Claw) [1'05"530]

JAGG_ZERO
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Vanilla Track: Big Blue 1 [0'39"685]

Custom Track: Hex D [1'14"881]

JAGG_ZERO
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Custom Track: Terror Jungle 4 (was previously known as Terror Jungle 3 due to a typo) [0'57"676]

For the time being, this is the last custom track TAS I'm making. More info in the video's description.

As for the lack of a vanilla TAS, I took a slightly longer break from TASing than I planned (turns out that doubling the pace I was used to didn't do too well for my long-term motivation...who knew, right? Razz) and I faced a bit of a roadblock while TASing PT1. The result is a delay of another 1-? months for the Jack Cup TAS.

On the plus side, I'm pretty confident that I can break the 1 minute mark in terms of how much in-game time I can save over the current Jack Cup TAS on tasvideos. That's 5'37"738 IGT down to at least 4'37"737 IGT between all 6 tracks once I've finished PT1 and MC1. Again, more info/detail in the video's description if you like lots and lots of words.

JAGG_ZERO
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 Vanilla Track: Port Town 1 [0'53"711]

With that, the total time saved VS previous Jack Cup TAS is now over a minute: 1'02"442! That's an entire track's worth of time and then some.

I'd like to make it clear that the...strat that I chose is not an speed/entertainment tradeoff. Comparison video with an explanation here (make sure you watch the main TAS first):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4FyVwAU83A

 

The plan was that I'd release my Mute City redo at the same time as Port Town. Well, that's changed to releasing the Mute City redo and now the Sand Ocean re-redo at the same time in another month or two or whenever I can.

JAGG_ZERO
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All of the Jack Cup tracks are now done. Just gimmie a day or so to compile everything together to submit to tasvideos and make the full Jack Cup TAS video.

Mute City 1 [0'33"214]:

 

Just from general optimisation and an improved first lap, I managed to take a surprisingly large chunk out of the previous TAS, hopefully for the last time! It has now gotten to the point where runs that use a speed cheat/code/hack are either getting a run for their money or are outright beaten by the TAS! It's pretty amazing how far things have come now...

Also, the backwards-DTD at the end stays because it's faster and quite entertaining. Of course, entertainment wise, it later gets up-staged big time by Port Town's new WTF-strat...

Silence 1 [0'57"962]:

 

Even Silence, of all tracks, gets a (mild) strat upgrade! Also, sub 58 Very Happy Speaking of subs...

 

Sand Ocean 1 [0'29"943]:

 

...sub 30!! Very Happy

samurai goroh
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That's excelent, congrats Jagg :D
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SuperJojo
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Amazing Jagg ! And by the way contratulation for beating my Death race time Wink

JAGG_ZERO
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Thanks goroh and SuperJojo. I actually had that Death Race time for a while now (can't remember how long, but it's a time that's measured in years) but I only recently remembered to submit it.

Also, the full Jack Cup run is now on TASVideos (and YouTube):

http://tasvideos.org/5203S.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOjoSK1lkAg

JAGG_ZERO
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Red Canyon 1 [0'36"329]:

Also, here's a bonus video showing something strange going on with the blue dot on the mini-map:

This would only happen once I got close to the right angle/approach, which was abnormally tight by regular checkpoint standards, so I'm guessing that I may have accidentally (at least initally) exploited this somehow to allow me to pass through the checkpoints successfully. Anyone else encounter something like this before?

LordTom
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 Whoa, that Red Canyon TAS is intense, great work, Jagg_zero!

Thought I'd drop a note here that tasvideos.org is currently voting on awards for 2016 and Jagg's nominated for several of them (Speedy TAS, Funny TAS, Glitchy TAS, Best N64 TAS, Best N64 TASer):

http://tasvideos.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=21

He's not currently ahead for these, but anyone registered on tasvideos can vote. Smile

Also, it's worth noting that tasvideos gave the Jack Cup TAS a "star" (given to only a few, high quality runs) and is the 5th highest rate N64 TAS on the site, so it's definitely been a big hit over there.

Congrats!

samurai goroh
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Usually I don't vote on these kind of polls, but that run is something worth to go and do it, thanks for the reminder LordTom

JAGG_ZERO
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Well, even though the best I did in the 2016 awards was tie 2nd with a TAS of a Jim Carrey game (no, really), getting nominated and starred etc. is more than good enough for me especially considering it's a TAS of only 1 cup Very Happy Thanks, Lord Tom (and congrats on the awards that you won Smile )

Anyway, while I work on Devil's Forest 2, here's Fire FIeld 2 [0'45"983]:

JAGG_ZERO
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Had some trouble posting this when it was new and chances are pretty much everyone here would've seen this by now, but for the sake of formality, here's Devil's Forest 2 [0'37"802]:

I'll also be stopping the Queen Cup TAS here for the time being and go back to making TASes that don't require intense optimisation (DF2 was particularly difficult to optimise). I already have something planned that involves mostly various Custom Tracks although I'm still tossing up whether to show them off as individual levels or make a "Mixed Cup" sort of thing. I'm leaning towards the latter but we'll see I guess Smile

JAGG_ZERO
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I decided to do ILs. With that, here's the first TAS: Cold Planet 9 - Prelude...but facing backwards

youtu.be/BP3rUNxs6LA

Over the past couple of years, I've been looking through quite a lot of tracks, both custom and from the base game / EK, to see how many of them can be fully completed with the machine facing backwards...because of course. However, making a TAS of every single track that I've found so far where this is possible would be a bit overkill and some tracks wouldn't be all that entertaining to watch, so after a lot of note-taking and much consideration, I've narrowed my choices down to a list of 30(!) tracks to TAS in this backwards style - one for each machine/pilot. Since I don't have to spend a large amount of time optimising these runs to the absolute extreme, I should be able to put out more of these TASes over a shorter period of time.

Honestly, with this many TASes on the horizon, I'll be quite surprised if the backwards gimmick doesn't start to get at least somewhat old but I aim to mitigate that by putting a similarly large focus on various other speed/entertainment tradeoffs like performing different, usually progressively faster and/or crazier strats on each lap (there's only a small handfull of TASes where I won't be doing this); playing around with mines, road edges, dashplates etc.; occasionally doing something random like doing a fancy flip, flipping the ship upside-down or doing a barrel aileron roll and so on. Ideally, these TASes should still be quite entertaining even if you were to completely ignore the backwards element of these runs. If that turns out not to be the case and a sizable amount of people feel like I'm running this gimmick a bit too hard into the ground over a few too many TASes, I might consider scaling things back or something...I dunno, we'll see.

Of course, it is necessary to allow some setup time at the beginning of each TAS in order to execute an opening backwards DTD/maneuver that's good enough to carry me throughout the rest of the run. Ideally, this period should be very brief which is why most of the courses I've selected take <5 seconds to get started, although there are a few that need 5-8 seconds. Ultimately, I don't want the setup time to exceed 10 seconds.

I tried to include tracks from quite a few different authors while also keeping the amount of tracks between each author reasonably equal/balanced while making the list...but here's the thing: Philippe not only makes the most tracks out of everyone, he also makes the most tracks that can actually be successfully completed while facing backwards. Because of this, out of the 30 tracks that will be shown, 18 will be by Philippe while the other 12 are either from other track creators (Effendi, Relm, Uchiha etc.) or from the base game / EK. I'm also going to abstain from making backwards TASes of any of the official tracks that I've already TASed except for the last 4 tracks of Joker Cup (SP, SO2, PT2 and BH) partially because those TASes haven't been fully shown yet, but mostly because they were made to demonstrate optimal execution of RTA-friendly strats rather than push the game to its limits. WL2 is also off the list, too.

I also wanted to mostly avoid half-pipes / cylinders as they're both very easy to use to gain and maintain lots of speed (and thus, not quite as interesting to watch) but I did allow a small amount of tracks that have some half-pipe / cylinder sections that don't last too long. If it's possible to do a complete backwards TAS of Mute City 4 from the EK, however, then I'll make an exception solely for that track.

Finally, it's worth noting that a portion of the courses that I've selected have already been TASed, either by myself or by another TASer. Despite the self-imposed disadvantage, I may or may not end up beating some of those TASes and there may or may not be a couple of close races that could come down to 1-2 seconds difference Wink

Happy New Year!

JAGG_ZERO
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The second TAS will probably surprise quite a few people: Sand Ocean - High Speed Edge from F-Zero X Climax

youtu.be/IfwZ5Sb9bYw

It's also worth mentioning that this TAS uses the latest version of the GlideN64 graphics plugin which fixes the long-time graphical bug where the side-attack and spin-attack border effect was either black or rainbow-ish coloured instead of red.

Philippe Brodier
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Please don't stop !!! Those two were fantastic !!!

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