Tool Assisted Speedruns

What is Tool Assisted Speedrunning?

A tool-assisted speedrun (commonly abbreviated TAS) is a speedrun movie or performance produced with the use of tools such as slow motion and re-recording. The basic premise of these runs is that a "tool" (such as an emulator that provides the author with features that are unavailable in regular playing) is used in order to overcome human limitations such as skill and reflex.

Creating a tool-assisted speed run is the process of finding the ideal set of inputs to complete a given criterion - usually completing a game as fast as possible. No limits are imposed on the tools used for this search, but the result has to be a set of timed key-presses that, when played back on the actual console, achieves the target criterion. Traditionally, the only available tool for this was an emulator with re-recording - the ability to use savestate while recording key-presses. However, due to advances in the field, it is now often expected that frame-advance, stepping through emulation one frame at a time, is used. A tool-assisted speed run done without this technique may be criticised as "sloppy play". Before Frame Advance became common, playing in slow motion was a common technique, but Frame Advance has displaced this.

In essence, Tool Assistance allows one to overcome human limitations of skill and reflex in order to push a game to its limits.  One important thing to remember is that TAS movies are not competing in terms of playing skill, nor do they claim to. 

For more info on Tool Assisted Speedruns:

FCEUX TAS features

FCEUX provides a wealth of tools and resources for creating TAS Movies for NES & FDS games.  It features the most current and cutting edge tools for optimizing movies and making the process of movie making quicker an easier.

Basic Recording features:

Frame advance, Slow-downs, "bullet-proof" rerecording, TAS Editor

Advanced Recording features 

Input presets, Auto Hold & Auto-Fire

Automated Movie Making Processes

Macros &  Multi-tracking, Lua scripting, Basic Bot

Finding RAM values:

Cheat Search, RAM Filter, Hex Editor, Debugger, NES RAM Guide

RAM Monitoring:

Memory Watch, Hex Editor

Movie Splicing Editing

Text based file format

Integrated development system

TAS Editor

Movie making

To get started making a Tool Assisted Movie, simply begin recording a movie (see Movie Recording).  The basic premise of TASing, however, is to use re-records to optimize the execution of a decided upon goal (usually to complete the game as fast as possible).  Re-recording is the act of replacing an already recorded part (of a movie) with something else; also called undo.

In the making of emulator movies, re-recording is done by loading a savestate of earlier event in the movie and continuing playing from that point.  The emulator will update the movie file to undo everything that was cancelled by the savestate loading, and continue recording from that point.  The makers of tool-assisted speedruns use re-recording very extensively to reach perfection and to avoid mistakes.

       * In single-segment non-assisted speedruns, re-recording is starting over from beginning. The recording of the failed playing is usually not preserved.    

       * In multi-segment non-assisted speedruns, re-recording is starting over from the beginning of current segment. The recording of the failed segment is not preserved.    

       * In tool-assisted speedruns, re-recording only undoes a small part of playing. The undone part will not be seen in the resulting movie.  A tool-assisted movie may have been re-recorded anything between 50 and 200000 times, depending on the precision of the movie and the difficulty of the game.  Often, the same small passage of the game (could be as small as fractions of second long) is attempted tens of times before continuing. 

For more info on making TAS movies:

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