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Becoming a TASer, I need help
Forum Index - SMW Hacking - Works in Progress - Kaizo Hacks - Becoming a TASer, I need help
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Okay, I've been watching a lot of TAS videos of pit hacks and such, but I can't play pit hacks because I can't even get past the first few screens.

For example:
In "Item Abuse" I couldn't maneuver around the invisible blocks with the springboard. That's probably because I was only at 25% speed.

Here are a couple of questions I need to ask:
1. How do I turn frame advance off after I turn it back on?
2. What tools (Cheats?) do I need on?
3. What's a good method of walljumping?

I would really like to become a good TASer, but I need help to do so. Any awnsers to my questions or suggestions?
First off, if you're using ZSNES, Snes9x is a better emulator for TASing.

I'm not a TASer so correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe slowdown and save states are all that's used in making a TAS; nothing outside of the emulator. I'm also not sure of any good methods of wall jumping other than "keep trying until you get it." Just try and be familiar with where the edge of each tile is.

Overall, TASing just takes a lot of patience. I remember Dainegai saying that many of his TASes took up to 6 hours, and that some of them he had to redo because ZSNES' recording screwed up.
Originally posted by Sixcorby
First off, if you're using ZSNES, Snes9x is a better emulator for TASing.

I'm not a TASer so correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe slowdown and save states are all that's used in making a TAS; nothing outside of the emulator. I'm also not sure of any good methods of wall jumping other than "keep trying until you get it." Just try and be familiar with where the edge of each tile is.

Overall, TASing just takes a lot of patience. I remember Dainegai saying that many of his TASes took up to 6 hours, and that some of them he had to redo because ZSNES' recording screwed up.


Well I use Snes9x because ZSNES sucks for TASing

If you've seen any of TFB's TASing streams, he has cheats on. I don't know which ones though
Becoming a TASer is not just something you can just do overnight. It takes a lot of time and practice to find out how the game works in nearly every situation, the most optimal ways to do things, and generally be able to predict whether something is possible or not.

Generally to get started, I would advise that you start TASing pit hacks (though others would probably say otherwise). Start with something that you know will challenge you, like Item Abuse, as you mentioned. Although it seems nearly impossible now, all that you need to do is practice, and you'll get the hang of it eventually.
Just a few tips, I would use frame advance as little as possible if I were you, just to get into the swing of things. Also, do not be intimidated by TASes that have been optimized to the point that there is no longer a faster way (though there usually is); when you are first starting out, TASing SMW is about learning the tricks and practice, not trying to be as quick as possible.
As for your second question, cheats are not something you would use unless you were investigating the game or a hack you are TASing (assuming you are talking about physics modifiers).
And as an answer to your third question, there are many methods of walljumping, all of which have certain conditions and certain rules that apply. The most optimal and quickest-to-do way currently is not necessarily the easiest because of all of the rules that apply, so for now, I would start off by reversing the direction of the player for a couple frames before holding the direction toward the wall, as that seems like the easiest for beginners.

Becoming a good TASer takes time, and involves learning new tricks, or more optimal variations of the same trick.
Also, once you are moderately used to the feel of TASing, I would recommend using a lua script rather than using RAM Watch to see real-time RAM. There are some luas (such as my latest one :P ) which I would not advise that you use because they predict values of the game and give you information based upon it (like whether or not you can walljump or corner clip or hold down a direction on the ground and achieve values for a corner clip), but until you've actually learned how the trick works and can do it without a script, I wouldn't recommend that you do that.

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Your layout has been removed.


Well, to actually answer your questions, since I don't think anyone else actually has... ^^;

Originally posted by SuperAgentYoshi
1. How do I turn frame advance off after I turn it back on?

As mentioned, if you're using ZSNES, you don't have this option available to you.

In Snes9x (I recommend 1.51, or, if you don't care about TASVideos, 1.43), go to "Config > Hotkeys", change the dropdown to "speed", and you can set the key for frame advance (I recommend something easy to reach). To turn frame advance on, just press that key; every time you press that key, it'll advance a frame, and holding it down will play the game at 50% speed. If you want to turn it off, just go to "File > Pause" and the game will go back to normal speed.

Alternatively to Snes9x are two more accurate emulators, lsnes and Bizhawk, and if you want to submit to TASVideos at some point, you'll want to use one of these. In lsnes, it's pretty much the exact same place; "Configure > Hotkeys", change to speed, "advance frame" key. To unpause, go to "System > Pause/Unpause". Annoyingly, though, when holding it down, the game advances at 100% speed.

In Bizhawk, go to "Config > Hotkeys", but this time frame advance is the very first button in the list. To unpause, it's in "Emulation > Pause". Like lsnes, the game will advance at 100% speed when frame advance is held down.

Originally posted by SuperAgentYoshi
2. What tools (Cheats?) do I need on?

First of all, there are no "cheats" that TASing uses. If you actually used cheats at any time, your run would be basically disqualified, same rules as real-time speedrunning.

There are a good number of tools that people use to help, though. First, the most basic is the RAM watch; it's basically in the same place for every emulator, go to "Tools > RAM Watch" (or "Edit memory watch..." in lsnes). There, you can add any RAM address from the RAM map, and the game will tell you what that address contains on any frame. I recommend, as a start, picking some addresses from this list. You only need to care about the address, the data type, whether it's signed, and its description (of course).

In addition to RAM watch, there's also a helpful tool known as Lua scripting to display information visually on the screen. Thankfully, you don't need to know how to code to use these; when you have a lua script, simply go to "File > Lua Scripting > New Lua Script Window..." (Snes9x), "Tools > Lua Console" (Bizhawk), or "Tools > Run Lua script..." (lsnes) and load a .lua file. If everything worked right, it should start displaying information on screen. A few scripts I recommend trying are SMWUtils, which displays various pieces of information (most importantly sprite data and slots), and smwblockinfo, which will provide clipping values and will tell you when you can perform certain glitches such as walljumping, corner clipping, or block duplication.

Thirdly, there's the macro editor, which is pretty easy to explain, but is unfortunately only included with Snes9x as of right now (for other emulators, you'll have to write a Lua script). To use it, go to "Tools > Input Macro Editor..." and a window will pop up. Simply type a string of key presses into the boxes here (see lazymacro.txt that comes with Snes9x for syntax), choose the "overwrite" input mode, and check the box next to the controller. When you do that, the emulator will automatically press keys in the pattern you put in. It's useful for speed saving tricks such as 6/5 or 1/1 in SMW.

Finally, there's the TAS editor, which *can* be downloaded here. This isn't really used too often as far as Snes9x is concerned, since the only time you'll use it is for splicing two movies together or editing movie information. However, in both Bizhawk and lsnes, this handy tool is included within the emulator... and can be used while an input movie is running. It's located at "Tools > TAStudio" (Bizhawk) or "Tools > Edit movie..." (lsnes). In Bizhawk, you simply play your input movie back and press keys as its playing to layer your input. In lsnes, you click on the input button on any frame to turn it on. While this doesn't seem particularly useful, it can let you take time to optimize a movie and then work on making it entertaining later.

Originally posted by SuperAgentYoshi
3. What's a good method of walljumping?

Well, there's the lua script I mentioned earlier, which will tell you when you're at a speed when you can walljump off of whatever block you click on. If you don't want to do that, it basically amounts to running into a wall a few times until you manage to get it to work.


As ShadowDragon mentioned, though, becoming a TASer isn't particularly easy. It's a lot of trial and error, it takes patience, and it takes a good deal of experience before you really start to get used to doing it. I personally recommend starting out with a normal hack or just plain old SMW rather than a pit hack to help you get acquainted with the tools, since using something easy will let you experiment a little with what you can do. I also recommend checking this page for a few tips and tricks when it comes to running SMW (if you're planning on another game, though, you may have to figure things out on your own if TASVideos doesn't have a resource page for it). Once you learn the ropes to making a TAS, it isn't particularly difficult to start making really good ones; just remember that patience is a virtue, especially when it coming to something like this, and be sure to test any ideas you have.

Professional frame-by-frame time wizard. YouTube - Twitter - SMW Glitch List - SMW Randomizer
Thanks for the advice Shadowdragon121 and Thomas

Also, one more question:

(Boy do I fell dumb asking this) How do you make backup savestates in snes9x?

EDIT: I can't find the RAM watch in snes9x
F1 through F8 are the savestate keys.
Originally posted by MercuryPenny
F1 through F8 are the savestate keys.


Thanks, figured it out! I had no load hotkeys for backups


Originally posted by SuperAgentYoshi
I can't find the RAM watch in snes9x

Make sure you're using Snes9x-rr, which is a modified version of the original Snes9x.

Professional frame-by-frame time wizard. YouTube - Twitter - SMW Glitch List - SMW Randomizer
Originally posted by SuperAgentYoshi
(Boy do I fell dumb asking this) How do you make backup savestates in snes9x?


In Snes9x, you can have a total of 10 savestates.
If you want a backup, you have to manually go to the folder Saves and copy the file to a backup folder, because you will eventually overwrite these files. The same for smv movies.

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SMW TAS'er. My pages:
New TAS blog - old SMW Blog, Youtube - Twitter
Originally posted by RodAmaral
Originally posted by SuperAgentYoshi
(Boy do I fell dumb asking this) How do you make backup savestates in snes9x?


In Snes9x, you can have a total of 10 savestates.
If you want a backup, you have to manually go to the folder Saves and copy the file to a backup folder, because you will eventually overwrite these files. The same for smv movies.

...What the heck are you talking about?
Originally posted by MercuryPenny
Originally posted by RodAmaral
Originally posted by SuperAgentYoshi
(Boy do I fell dumb asking this) How do you make backup savestates in snes9x?


In Snes9x, you can have a total of 10 savestates.
If you want a backup, you have to manually go to the folder Saves and copy the file to a backup folder, because you will eventually overwrite these files. The same for smv movies.

...What the heck are you talking about?

Sorry, I misunderstood what he meant by "backup". I thought he wanted to backup the savestates files, instead of more slots...
Anyway, my advice still holds.

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SMW TAS'er. My pages:
New TAS blog - old SMW Blog, Youtube - Twitter
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