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dondon151

FE6 HM 0% growths, with commentary (complete)

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Many broken promises and unfinished playthroughs later... It's finally here!



Complete YouTube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPtcK2f-aIoT9WbxLMRByDhQjGVLxqz9e

I won't cover everything that Mekkah and I talked about in the video, but here are some nuggets that the average user may not know.

FE6 mechanics in-depth

GBA FE random number generator (RNG)

So first of all, the RNG isnt truly random. But you probably know that already. Thats a limitation of computing.

The GBA FE games generate their random numbers (RNs) using a linear feedback shift register. How exactly that works is not a terribly important detail, and I dont have sufficient knowledge of RNGs to be able to provide a good explanation, anyway.

The key point here is that the GBA FE RNG uses the 3 most recently generated numbers to generate subsequent RNs. How are those 3 numbers seeded? Its always the same 3 numbers. Whenever you start up the GBA, the game uses a seed that corresponds to the decimal sequence 8, 56, 21. The RNG in this game is deterministic and entirely predictable. If you always reset the game prior to starting a chapter, you will always get the same results given the same sequence of inputs.

n9aEUAN.png
rngdisplay.lua in action after a hard reset. The upcoming RNs are on the right, with 8, 56, 21 as the seed.

I use a tool called a Lua script to view the RNG while playing the game on VisualBoyAdvance. The script itself is called rngdisplay.lua and was written by user amaurea of TASVideos. This is an immensely helpful script that allows me to route more efficiently.

Hard mode differences

FE6 is the first installment in the series to give the player an option to play on an increased difficulty. This difficulty has classically been referred to as hard mode (HM), with the default difficulty retaining the designation of normal mode (NM). This run will be played on HM.

In FE6, there are 2 key differences between HM and NM. The first is that HM enemies get a stat bonus compared to their NM counterparts. The second is that some maps have more starting enemies and/or more enemy reinforcement units on HM.

L3bsWdk.pngcowLwhp.png
These are the exact same enemy from chapter 22. The stats on the left are from NM. The stats on the right are from HM.

HM bonuses are generated by applying extra hidden level ups to all enemy units. I wont get into the details here. HM bonuses in FE6 increase in magnitude as the game progresses. Enemies can have as few as 5 extra level ups near the beginning of the game to as many as 16 extra level ups at the end of the game. For comparison, in FE7, all HM enemies get only 5 extra level ups, and in FE8, all HM enemies get between 1 and 4 extra level ups.

Speedrunning techniques

In order to cut down on video time and make the cleanest possible strategies, I employ a handful of speedrunning techniques. Not all of them need explaining. Note that this is not an actual speedrun, and so not every decision is optimized.

Fast cursor movement

In the GBA FE games, holding down the B button while moving the cursor allows the cursor to move at double the normal speed. Unfortunately, this makes the cursor difficult to control, especially when moving units.

One way to deal with this is to always move the cursor at right angles when moving units. With practice, it is possible to fairly consistently move exactly 1, 2, 3, etc. spaces while holding B.

Another way to deal with this is to take advantage of natural barriers. When moving a unit, the cursor stops if it would move out of the units movement range. Essentially, if at any time during the movement path I run the cursor into a wall, an enemy unit, or simply the edge of the units movement range, the cursor stops immediately. This helps to ensure accuracy of unit movements.

TYavC9B.png
Its easier to move Roy if he keeps running into walls.

L-switching

The L button serves a convenient purpose in the GBA FE games: it switches the cursor from one player unit to another. The sequence of cursor switching is determined by the order in which units are deployed in the chapter.

Example: here is the deployment order for chapter 24.

zaT7rxi.png
Suppose that the cursor is on Roy. One L input switches the cursor to Fae. Subsequent L inputs switch the cursor to Lalum, then to Milady, and so on.

If the cursor is not on a player unit, pressing L will move the cursor to the first unit in the deployment order. This is usually Roy.

RNG abuse via path retracing

Sometimes, youll see me do this funny thing where I appear to move a unit somewhere, wobble the cursor a little bit, and then I end up doing something else. This is a speedrunning trick used to advance the RNG. Occasionally I come across a sequence of RNs that I cant use effectively, so I simply burn them with some path retracing.

qoUoFBx.pngir4OPaa.png
I first draw Zeisss (the selected units) movement path on the left. Then, I wobble the cursor to another tile on the edge of his movement range. The game has to retrace the movement path. rngdisplay.lua indicates that the new path took 7 RNs to draw.

The game uses RNs to generate a new path if it cant adapt the old path. The longer a path is, the more RNs on average will be used for a path retrace. This technique features prominently in TASes (where they do it super fast), but I usually reserve it for when I have no other option, not only because its somewhat time-consuming, but it also compromises the integrity of the run.

About this playthrough

This playthrough operates under the following conditions:

  • Player units have 0% growths in all stats.
  • It recruits all possible units and keeps them alive (there are 51 player units in any given playthrough).
  • It primarily aims for the lowest possible turncount.
  • It secondarily aims for a low play time on the game clock.

Videos of each chapter will be uploaded, with audio commentary from Mekkah and me. An explanatory write-up will accompany chapters for viewers who are unfamiliar with this game or have trouble with the Japanese.

Chapter list

Chapter 1: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919#entry3367971
Chapter 2: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=2#entry3379647
Chapter 3: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=3#entry3380927
Chapter 4: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=3#entry3447044
Chapter 5: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=3#entry3447243
Chapter 6: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=4#entry3449344
Chapter 7: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=4#entry3453075
Chapter 8: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=4#entry3455387
Chapter 8x: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=5#entry3458115
Chapter 9: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=5#entry3460135
Chapter 10L: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=6#entry3463103
Chapter 11L: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=7#entry3494317
Chapter 12: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=8#entry3499332
Chapter 12x: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=8#entry3502394
Chapter 13: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=8#entry3504657
Chapter 14: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=9#entry3508235
Chapter 14x: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=10#entry3511808
Chapter 15: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=10#entry3515341
Chapter 16: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=11#entry3522230
Chapter 16x: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=12#entry3525404
Chapter 17I: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=12#entry3529519
Chapter 18I: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=13#entry3532345
Chapter 19I: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=14#entry3535621
Chapter 20I: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=14#entry3537858

Chapter 20xI: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=16#entry3541219

Chapter 21: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=17#entry3546341

Chapter 21x: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=18#entry3550008

Chapter 22: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=19#entry3553618

Chapter 23: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=22#entry3557115

Chapter 24: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=23#entry3561147

Final + epilogue: http://serenesforest.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=49919&page=24#entry3570017

Turncounts:

01   5 turns  07   7 turns  12   5 turns  16  11 turns  20x  3 turns  Fin   1 turn
02   5 turns  08  13 turns  12x  5 turns  16x  3 turns  21   4 turns
03   6 turns  08x  6 turns  13   5 turns  17   4 turns  21x  2 turns
04   7 turns  09   6 turns  14   4 turns  18   4 turns  22   4 turns
05   3 turns  10   7 turns  14x  2 turns  19   4 turns  23   2 turns
06   7 turns  11   9 turns  15   4 turns  20   2 turns  24   7 turns

Total: 157 turns

Edited by dondon151

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During my time in the Link Arena, i remember discussion and battle operations featuring 0-99 RNG generation, not 0-100 or 1-100. Is it really 1-100 as you guys said, in FE6?

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During my time in the Link Arena, i remember discussion and battle operations featuring 0-99 RNG generation, not 0-100 or 1-100. Is it really 1-100 as you guys said, in FE6?

a user like toothache can explain it better than i can, but here's the gist of it.

the RN generation is supposed to be from 0-99, inclusive. there's a rounding error in FE6 that makes it possible to generate values of 100, though i don't think 100s are as likely as any other value. so if you use the rngdisplay.lua script, you can actually see 100s in the RN string.

the rounding error got fixed in FE7 and later. and mekkah made a mistake during the commentary, which i pointed out in the annotations.

EDIT: thanks, klok.

Edited by dondon151

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a user like toothache can explain it better than i can, but here's the gist of it.

the RN generation is supposed to be from 0-99, inclusive. there's a rounding error in FE6 that makes it possible to generate values of 100, though i don't think 100s are as likely as any other value. so if you use the rngdisplay.lua script, you can actually see 100s in the RN string.

the rounding error got fixed in FE7 and later. and mekkah made a mistake during the commentary, which i pointed out in the annotations.

Ahh, I see now. Interesting...

I've already learned something new about this. I look forward to being educated by the great minds of yourself and Mekkah. Thanks for doing this

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This is gonna be great.
I can't wait to see more of your challenge runs Dondon!

I can't ever find too many informative and detailed LPs of FE, and yours is one of the best for sure.

I'll be keeping track of this for sure.

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dat production value

but honestly its great that you provided a bunch of links and explained everything beforehand for people that don't entirely know what's going on.

also i hope the low play time doesn't interfere with the low turns at all and is just making the videos as fast as possible so they're nicer to watch

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I'll be following this closely and actually found your Youtube account by random chance and needless to say I watched FE7 0% growths all night several weeks ago. I love the informative commentary style that you deliver and look forward to seeing the rest of the run. I know next to nothing about FE6HM but I can help out with a cursor trick for what little value it has (Probably mentioned this unless I was thinking of something else).

Looking from the deployment picture the order goes Shin, Perceval, Niime, Cecillia

If you press R to open up the status screen you can scroll upwards through you units in the opposite order a L-switch would take you. You can move from Niime to Percy really fast. This is assuming the status screen you were talking about was the unit list and not this particular status screen, in fact you proabably already know about this switching method and I'm making myself look silly.

Regardless Good luck with the playthrough and I'll be watching closely.

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also i hope the low play time doesn't interfere with the low turns at all and is just making the videos as fast as possible so they're nicer to watch

yes. top priority is low turns, second priority is to play the game faster than general horace :P

If you press R to open up the status screen you can scroll upwards through you units in the opposite order a L-switch would take you. You can move from Niime to Percy really fast. This is assuming the status screen you were talking about was the unit list and not this particular status screen, in fact you proabably already know about this switching method and I'm making myself look silly.

actually, i didn't know this. or rather, i sort of knew this, but i never really used it. i kind of borrowed all of my speedrunning techniques from FE speedrunners like vykan, and he never uses the status screen, so i never use the status screen. it's still a nice trick, i think.

Edited by dondon151

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actually, i didn't know this. or rather, i sort of knew this, but i never really used it. i kind of borrowed all of my speedrunning techniques from FE speedrunners like vykan, and he never uses the status screen, so i never use the status screen. it's still a nice trick, i think.

Watching another GBA FE speedrunner named legrandgrand I noticed him also using the R-Switch (whatever you want to call it). It's depends on the situation and is only useful if you have the moves completely optimized in advance.

I should point out legrandgrand is routing NM!FE6 based off of your old(?) route with some improvements. The run looks cool but compared to FE7 and FE8 there is so much more RN burning. FE6 as a speedgame is something I think I would try to avoid for awhile...

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I liked your FE7 0% growths run, the commentary really helps to understand why certain people were deployed, why some seemingly strange opening moves were made. It's also kinda funny to see the game broken over one's knee.

What about characters with over 100% in a growth? Is there a particular reason for taking it to 0%, or is it just for consistency? Not that Barth, Fae and Karel will really appreciate it but I'm curious.

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Watching another GBA FE speedrunner named legrandgrand I noticed him also using the R-Switch (whatever you want to call it). It's depends on the situation and is only useful if you have the moves completely optimized in advance.

I should point out legrandgrand is routing NM!FE6 based off of your old(?) route with some improvements. The run looks cool but compared to FE7 and FE8 there is so much more RN burning. FE6 as a speedgame is something I think I would try to avoid for awhile...

interesting. i gave up on the run after it became apparent that i'll never be a speedrunner because i don't have the time to practice and stream. i'm glad he's picked it up. hopefully that awful run on SDA will get knocked off someday, if it hasn't already.

What about characters with over 100% in a growth? Is there a particular reason for taking it to 0%, or is it just for consistency? Not that Barth, Fae and Karel will really appreciate it but I'm curious.

it's just consistency. it's also easier to explain "0% growths" over "0% growths but units with >100% growth get 100% growth."

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man i can't wait for this!

yeah, you get to hear mekkah commentary! wait a minute...

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Chapter 1 is completed in 5 turns.

Chapter information

[spoiler=]

New characters

xct3JoC.png
Roy (ロイ) - Lord L1
18 HP | 5 str | 5 skl | 7 spd | 5 def | 0 res | 7 luk | 6 con | 5 mov | D swords

Roy is the main character. His bases are terrible. In FE6, every chapter except for the last one has a seize objective, which means that Roy has to reach a certain point on the map (which is always occupied beforehand by an enemy boss) and use the “seize” command to progress to the next chapter.

JFlKlBY.png
Marcus (マーカス) - Paladin L1
32 HP | 9 str | 14 skl | 11 spd | 9 def | 8 res | 10 luk | 11 con | 8 mov | D swords, A lances, E axes

Marcus is a fantastic unit. His bases are stellar for this point in the game, and he has solid weapon ranks that let him use pretty much anything he wants to. He’s also mounted with 8 move. You’ll be seeing him frequently.

Those of you who have played FE7 should remember a character named Marcus. This is the same guy, only much older and still really darn good.

vb2eNkp.png
Allen (アレン) - Cavalier L1
21 HP | 7 str | 4 skl | 6 spd | 6 def | 0 res | 3 luk | 9 con | 7 mov | E swords, D lances

mbG4ctF.png
Lance (ランス) - Cavalier L1
20 HP | 5 str | 6 skl | 8 spd | 6 def | 0 res | 2 luk | 9 con | 7 mov | E swords, D lances

Allen and Lance can carry units around and hit things for some damage every now and then. Their bases become obsolete pretty quickly.

1bEhhpN.png
Wolt (ウォルト) - Archer L1
18 HP | 4 str | 4 skl | 5 spd | 4 def | 0 res | 2 luk | 7 con | 5 mov | D bows

Wolt is a genuinely terrible unit, but there are some situations early on where I absolutely need someone pitching in chip damage with a bow.

2pySD5R.png
Bors (ボールス) - Knight L1
20 HP | 7 str | 4 skl | 3 spd | 11 def | 0 res | 4 luk | 14 con | 4 mov | C lances

The number of situations in which Bors is useful is fewer than those in which Wolt is useful, no doubt because Bors can’t actually get anywhere with his 4 mov.

Important weapons and items

01.gifIron Sword (てつの剣)
E rank sword | 1 rng | 5 WT | 5 MT | 85 hit | 0 crit

All physical weapon classes have a tier of iron weapons. These are the lowest ranked weapons of their class, usually with the lowest MT, lowest WT, and highest hit. I try to use iron weapons when convenient, because they have good accuracy and low cost per use.

23.gifSilver Lance (ぎんのやり)
A rank lance | 1 rng | 10 WT | 14 MT | 65 hit | 0 crit

All physical weapon classes also have a tier of silver weapons. These are the highest ranked common weapons of their class, usually with the highest MT, middling WT, and decent hit. Silver weapons are occasionally necessary for their higher damage output, but they aren’t especially useful in many cases.

107.gifVulnerary (きずぐすり)
A Vulnerary heals 10 HP for the unit using it.


EDIT: so the whole rationale behind me not improving chapter 1 was that changing chapter 1 also changes the amount of EXP that units gained. this means that in later chapters, units would level up at different times, which would burn RNs at different times, which would necessitate writing a new plan for every chapter in the run. it's like the butterfly effect in chaos theory.

Edited by dondon151

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Can't wait to see the next chapter.

Sophia is probably gonna be the best unit after giving her a truckload of statboosters so she can start to look like Niime, isn't it? :Sophia:

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In my opinion the commentary style on the FE7 run was already pretty good. No offense meant to Mekkah or your own thoughts on your commentary, you could solo the commentary to save yourself work on what is already a big time investment.

Also, is the goal of this to entirely redo the FE6 run, or simply to add commentary to the existing run? Considering your unwillingness to 4 turn chapter 1 I am left wondering.

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In my opinion the commentary style on the FE7 run was already pretty good. No offense meant to Mekkah or your own thoughts on your commentary, you could solo the commentary to save yourself work on what is already a big time investment.

that's like the first time i've ever heard someone say that my FE7 was good. it was really dry, it didn't match the length of the videos, and i lacked any sort of charisma. the commentary is actually mostly done already, but mekkah and i have to redo some chapters near the beginning because they were bad.

also, mekkah is way better at commentating than i am. he has a sexy dutch accent, speaks clearly, and doesn't use filler words. having someone else to do commentary with you is really helpful because he can chime in with something if your brain gets stuck on what to say next, and he also brings a different perspective and flavor to the run.

Also, is the goal of this to entirely redo the FE6 run, or simply to add commentary to the existing run? Considering your unwillingness to 4 turn chapter 1 I am left wondering.

i'm adding commentary to the existing run. unless i get new flashes of inspiration, i don't think i can improve the run other than shaving a turn off chapter 1.

Edited by dondon151

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Some of your annotations don't fit the box you're putting them in, and you can't see the full calculations. (intro with Let's check out the Tutorial, or on C1 with the Silver Lance vs the Boss calcs)

Also, doesn't a 4 turn also neccessitate Marcus connecting more Silver Lance hits earlier in the chapter too, or am I mistaken on that?

Edited by Irysa

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I started enjoying your commentary when you started writing down what you wanted to say during a video. But regardless, if you are more satisfied by the end product then by all means do it.

oh, that's kind of what mekkah and i do. we don't write it down word for word, but after going through the video once, we hammer out the big talking points and ad lib from there.

Some of your annotations don't fit the box you're putting them in, and you can't see the full calculations. (intro with Let's check out the Tutorial, or on C1 with the Silver Lance vs the Boss calcs)

Also, doesn't a 4 turn also neccessitate Marcus connecting more Silver Lance hits earlier in the chapter too, or am I mistaken on that?

the annotations depend on the dimensions of the video that you're watching, i'm pretty sure. when i write the annotations, the video size is relatively small and the font defaults to a somewhat small font. with those dimensions, all of the annotations fit. i then watch the video normally, where the video size becomes larger and the font also (annoyingly) defaults to a larger font. when that happens, the annotations start to not fit.

it would be great if someone knew how to fix these problems, because i had been wrestling with them for a little while and threw up my hands in frustration.

in a 4-turn, roy would have a bit more difficulty surviving since he needs to be dropped near the gate a turn earlier. i don't think marcus needs silver lance hits because he should still be able to clear the way with help from the other scrubs, but i've never tried to 4-turn chapter 1.

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