Church Glitches and Ghosts FAQ *spoilers*

#1
This thread is basically a FAQ to the strange anomalies in Aeris's church in Midgar, Sector 5 Slums. Both the strange misplacement of characters are dealt with, and both versions of the Aeris ghost although the flower-tending Aeris is treated as the "main" ghost.

Huge credits to BrutalAl for most of this info. :monster:

1) Basic Ghost Mechanics
a) Why this ghost and these glitches?
b) Ghost-removing NPC
c) The flower-tending ghost starts appearing when...?
d) Can I talk to the ghost?

2) Variations of the Church Glitch.
a) Why the misplacements?
b) Glitch before defeating Jenova-Life
c) Glitch after defeating Jenova-Life

3) Other

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1.a) Why this ghost and these glitches?

We don't know why the ghost of Aeris can be seen tending the flowers in the church. Her presence could be merely symbolic, or maybe part of a sidequest that was scrapped. The ghost itself has nothing to do with the glitches; here referring to Aeris and the kids being briefly visible in the aisle. Nobody knows why the developers messed up with this part of the game; maybe it was some last minute changes or simply they forgot to fix it.
In conclusion, the ghost at the flowers however seems much more intended than the glitches.

1.b) Ghost-removing NPC
Aside from the ghost being permanently cancelled by passing by the out-sticking pew in the aisle, the Nibelheim Inn Keeper during Cloud's flashback in Kalm (not the Inn-Keeper in the present) also removes the ghost!
When speaking to him a second time you are given three dialogue alternatives. Choosing the third alternative, "Let me know the situation of the town.", will cancel the ghost in same way as approaching it. (Choosing the first or second dialogue alternative will not affect the ghost at all.)
Why does he have this effect? A programming error; anything else is highly unlikely.

So if you want the ghost to remain in your playthrough, all you have to do is NOT choose the third dialogue option.
NOTE: Still looking to confirm whether or not there are more NPCs that cancel the ghost.

1.c) The flower-tending ghost starts appearing when...?
BrutalAl (huge thanks yet again) managed to uncover the EXACT moment when the ghost appears;
Right after the fight with Jenova-Life, when all the battle spoils have been given. Entering the church from here on, cheating or not, will show you Aeris at the flowers.

1.d) Can I talk to the ghost?
No, you can't engage in conversation with it. The trick to get up to it though, without it being cancelled, is to just run past the aisle while the screen is still loading. If you are too slow the ghost will detect you passing by that point where the pew sticks out. The ghost disappears whether you pass this point from above or below.
Again, the ghost has no dialogue but is treated as a solid figure that you can't walk through.

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2.a) Why the misplacements?
While the screen loads we see the characters moving about erratically. The reason so many start out in the section above the pews is because that is the field's centre/origo. How is that important?
Usually an object/character has only one position, an initial position, assigned to them. The same with direction, animation, visibility, etc. However they need to be assigned a second trait, such as disappearing when you talk to them or approach them.
This is the case with the kids and Aeris in the church. They have initial attributes, second attributes and so on. For some reason the intended initial attributes fail to load or are all nullified. THAT is why the characters are placed in the middle of the church(in the aisle), standing, and facing down; it's the natural thing for them to do when they have no traits assigned to them.
When the second traits manage to load we see them moving to their intended spots.
So why isn't Reno, as far as we can see, placed in the middle? Well his whole presence is a mystery as well, but somehow he remains there from the earlier scene with Aeris and Cloud.

We don't know why the church is this glitchy. Maybe the programmer had no idea what he was doing, maybe there were some last minute changes that were not finished. We can only speculate.

For those who have not seen the details of the church glitch, below are snapshots of every stage of it. If you cancel Aeris's ghost in the second scenario, all that happens is that the characters are moved about on the scene earlier. In other words it is easier to see Reno's presence when the ghost is slowing down everything. Notice also that while Reno is standing where he is, he is an obstacle that you can't pass through.
2.b) Glitch before defeating Jenova-Life.
Even if you cancel the flower-tending ghost and observe this glitch, the Aeris facing the entrance will be seen.

The boy is at the flowers, but is facing downwards away from the flowers. The girl and Aeris are occupying the same spot (origo) above the pews. Reno can't be seen, but he is at the very bottom. (It is not unlikely that the boy was initially placed in origo, but this can't be seen because the screen is too dark)


Boy is turned to face upwards to the right. On the same frame girl is moved from origo to the flowers. She is facing downwards away from the flowers. (I can't tell for sure whether the boy too occupies origo at one point, but it looks like he was actually assigned an initial position)


Girl looks to the left. (Reno is starting to be visible, only as one pixel though)


Aeris disappears from origo and is not seen anywhere.


Reno disappears.


The screen fully loaded.



2.c) Glitch after defeating Jenova-Life

This is when the ghost that tends to the flowers appear.

The boy and the girl are both occupying origo. The ghost of Aeris is tending the flowers.


The ghost of Aeris starts turning to the left. (Reno is visible)


The ghost of Aeris has finished turning to the left.


Boy is moved from origo to his actual position. He is looking downwards away from the flowers.


Boy is turned to face upwards to the right. The ghost of Aeris starts turning back again.


Girl is moved to actual position.


Girl looks to the left (her actual direction). The ghost of Aeris has finished turning and stays there from that moment on.


Reno disappears.



3) Other

a)
There is more to say about the kids in the church.
Before Aeris's ghost appears you can enter the church and then the kids ask for permission to take care of the flowers. Funny thing is that the same "flag" of this piece of dialogue is shared by the old Inn keeper in the Nibelheim flashback! So if you first speak to the old Inn keeper before speaking to the children, the kids can never ask for permission to take care of the flowers. Because the game thinks it already happened!
(In other words that old man is not just linked to himself, but the dialogue with both kids and Aeris's ghost as well.)

b)
The part with Reno standing where he is is obviously a remnant from the scene before he and the Shinra grunts hunt after Aeris. It is not unlikely then that if we could look below the pre-rendered background, we should see the Shinra grunts standing there as well only to disappear the same time as Reno. (Speculation by BrutalAl)
 
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Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Makoeyes987, the notorious liar Marquis Halim Ondore IV, Cupcake, Smooth Criminal, Xelloss, Christian Bale, Ma'at
#3
Wow, that's actually pretty damn interesting. Thanks so much for sharing this. I wonder why they chose these events to add the flags for when Aerith's "ghost" disappears?
 
AKA
Noctis
#4
I second the thanks! This is really interesting, I can't wait to see the updates to the thread. :)

I'm also wondering why they chose these certain events as well.
 

Ryushikaze

Deus Admiral Parsimonious, PHD, DDS, MD, JD, OBE
AKA
Tim, Ryu
#5
If we follow bizarre inscrutable wisdom of the creators logic people apply to the LTD, it's that the more Cloud experience and remembers, the less Aerith matters to him, so her ghost can't appear any longer.

But that's just throwing a hasty backfit into the mix. Honestly, no clue.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Makoeyes987, the notorious liar Marquis Halim Ondore IV, Cupcake, Smooth Criminal, Xelloss, Christian Bale, Ma'at
#6
Don't say things like that Ryu! You're gonna piss off crazies who'd actually believe that :monster:
 

Ryushikaze

Deus Admiral Parsimonious, PHD, DDS, MD, JD, OBE
AKA
Tim, Ryu
#7
Then let them be mad. I have no problem pissing people off with their own asinine logic.
 

Makoeyes987

Listen closely, there is meaning in my words.
AKA
Makoeyes987, the notorious liar Marquis Halim Ondore IV, Cupcake, Smooth Criminal, Xelloss, Christian Bale, Ma'at
#8
LOL Ryu :monster:

Which NPCs are these btw? What do they say? Does anything they say even reference or refer to Aerith or the situation of the Planet at all?

Or is it all random?
 
#9
LOL Ryu :monster:

Which NPCs are these btw? What do they say? Does anything they say even reference or refer to Aerith or the situation of the Planet at all?

Or is it all random?
I only know what I found so far, and outside of the kids in the church happening to be, well, IN the church, the other NPCs are not related. I mean, the Inn Keeper in the Nibelheim/Kalm flashback only says stuff like "The inn is booked for Shinra, Cloud is that you, monsters have been appearing" etc. And a few points are triggered just by the story progressing. Weird, I know. (The weirdest one is the points triggered by the Shinra Grunt just standing still :awesomonster: )

So yes, it appears to be random. However as to why this would appear at all is anyone's guess; maybe it was accidental and/or this flag value is related to other aspects of the game. Unless I can get a hold of Terence (see updated second post), we'll probably never know.
FFVII's programming is effed up :monster:
 

Ryushikaze

Deus Admiral Parsimonious, PHD, DDS, MD, JD, OBE
AKA
Tim, Ryu
#10
I only know what I found so far, and outside of the kids in the church happening to be, well, IN the church, the other NPCs are not related. I mean, the Inn Keeper in the Nibelheim/Kalm flashback only says stuff like "The inn is booked for Shinra, Cloud is that you, monsters have been appearing" etc. And a few points are triggered just by the story progressing. Weird, I know. (The weirdest one is the points triggered by the Shinra Grunt just standing still :awesomonster: )
You see, the longer Shinra Grunt stands there, the more he thinks about how a flower girl in pink killed his father as a child, and, well...
 
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#11
I just realised (thanks to BrutalAl) that all those NPCs and events I listed (except the old inn keeper in Nibelheim) are useless to include. :awesomonster: The only important ones, it seems at this point, are those that instantly cause a flag value of 128 or higher.

So this thread is no longer nearly as exciting, but I still have things to check and double-check, so the first post will be edited as I uncover more stuff.
 
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Ryushikaze

Deus Admiral Parsimonious, PHD, DDS, MD, JD, OBE
AKA
Tim, Ryu
#12
Wait, doesn't the Grunt standing also send it above 128? Or does it simply start randomizing the number?

Also: technically, does talking to those NPCs RAISE or SET the flag? Because that does change things.
 
#13
Wait, doesn't the Grunt standing also send it above 128? Or does it simply start randomizing the number?

Also: technically, does talking to those NPCs RAISE or SET the flag? Because that does change things.
Those other NPCs set their own flag one could say. This group of flag looks like this when none is activated;
00000000
When all is activated, it looks like this;
11111111

The only digit that matters is X0000000; when it is set to 1, in binary numbers the code equals the value 128.

Overview;
flag value
1 * 1
1 * 2
1 * 4
1 * 8
1 * 16
1 * 32
1 * 64
1 * 128

Total sum 255

And 1+2+4+8+16+32+64=127, which represents talking to those 7 other NPCs, hence why it is pointless to have them (since they never reach 128).

The grunt represents 32 points, and no, the numbers aren't randomized. :monster:

Note: BrutalAl actually helped confirm that the game treats the children in the church (the event where they ask to tend the flowers), and the old Inn Keeper, as the same npc in a way. Whichever one you talk to first gives 64 points, but then no points can be gained from the other :awesome:
Needless information.
 
#14
I added info on exactly when the ghost appears.

This project of mine would be a cake walk if I could read the disc's code, know the code for "write to flag (aeris's_ghost)", and then search all the disc's files. This requires some programming skills; although it would confirm definitely if there are more NPCs other than the one in Nibelheim that permanently cancels the ghost. I've never heard of any other character being flagged to the ghost, but I just can't be sure... :(

Edit: I will be asking for assistance on this issue in the qhimms forum.
 
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Eerie

Fire and Blood
#15
...

I never knew Aerith's ghost could appear.

I blame my achiever side. I always talked to every NPC a LOT, to get all their informations. LOL. XD
 

Arianna

Holy, Personified
AKA
Katie; Seta.
#16
Okay, this ghost - is this the one of Aerith standing (facing Cloud) near the pews when you enter the church? I've seen this 'ghost' - she's never disappeared for me, even when I talk to every NPC, and that includes the inn keeper at Nibelheim...
 
#17
Okay, this ghost - is this the one of Aerith standing (facing Cloud) near the pews when you enter the church? I've seen this 'ghost' - she's never disappeared for me, even when I talk to every NPC, and that includes the inn keeper at Nibelheim...
So you are certain you chose the third dialogue option, "Let me know the situation of the town."?

This info was confirmed 100% on the NTSC version (kudos to BrutalAl), and almost 100% on the PAL version (I haven't visited the ghost there).
Which version are you playing? I deduce it is either NTSC or PC.

Edit: If you're only referring to the "ghost" that faces Cloud when the screen loads, that thing is not the one I am speaking of. I am talking about the ghost that tends the flowers, next to where the children are once the screen has loaded. The Aeris that faces Cloud is not a 'ghost' at all, as it does not work the same way as the ghost that tends the flowers.
 
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Arianna

Holy, Personified
AKA
Katie; Seta.
#18
Edit: If you're only referring to the "ghost" that faces Cloud when the screen loads, that thing is not the one I am speaking of. I am talking about the ghost that tends the flowers, next to where the children are once the screen has loaded. The Aeris that faces Cloud is not a 'ghost' at all, as it does not work the same way as the ghost that tends the flowers.
After I answered this, I went on YouTube to find a clip of this 'ghost' spoken about. I've never gotten that one, the one tending the flowers. I was speaking about the - I guess it's a glitch? - one that shows amongst the pews of the church, the one you said wasn't a ghost.

I never saw the ghost of Aerith tending the flowers, probably because I have always talked several times to each NPC, or at least a majority of them. Especially the innkeeper at Nibelheim - I always checked all options available to me to 'ask' him, and that does include the third one - regarding the situation of the town.

Hmmmm... Now I'm interested.

... But also, what's that (again, a glitch?) other vision of Aerith - the one amongst the pews?
 
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#19
I have to confess I'm a bit confused here. I haven't really thought much about the way the characters are placed in the church while the screen is loading.

In this video the person among the pews is just the little girl, not Aeris. And Aeris simply faces a different direction but still is tending the flowers. The boy is also pointing a different direction.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=torre9kV71M

I can not say I've ever seen Aeris stand among the pews, like the girl does.

Note: The reason I write "Aeris" is because I am talking about the original FFVII, where she is named Aeris :P
 

Arianna

Holy, Personified
AKA
Katie; Seta.
#20
I have to confess I'm a bit confused here. I haven't really thought much about the way the characters are placed in the church while the screen is loading.
Yeah, I see that 'glitch' too, and that's the one I'm talking about (in general); but I swear mine looks like Aerith - pink dress and all. It does not look like the little girl for me in my game(s). :huh:
 
#21
Yeah, I see that 'glitch' too, and that's the one I'm talking about (in general); but I swear mine looks like Aerith - pink dress and all. It does not look like the little girl for me in my game(s). :huh:
While we may never know why the position of the characters are messed up in this fashion, one thing is interesting to note; while the screen is still loading, that line at the pews (the pew that sticks out) which will trigger the cancellation of the ghost is not active.

Many here may know that if you RUN into the church and past that line, which usually cancels the ghost, you can walk up to the ghost tending the flowers. It can not be spoken to though, and when you go back down to that pew which sticks out, the ghost will be cancelled.

So something in the game is saying "Oh wait, that spot in the church is supposed to trigger the flag for Aeris's ghost!".


I am almost convinced that programmers have already figured out the nuts and bolts of this "flower tending ghost" and the character placements while the screen is loading, however I am unable to find complete guides about it. They probably have just kept the info to themselves.

Also, I seem to not be getting any help at the qhimm forum... I may have to look up the programming software myself in other to see if I can find any additional NPCs.

Edit: If I ever get the chance, I will try to figure out why you sometimes see the red girl and other times Aeris facing the entrance. Could either be a difference between versions, or dependant upon whether or not the ghost already has been cancelled by talking to the Inn Keeper in Nibelheim.
 

Tennyo

Paladin of Voltron
#22
Ghost removing NPC:
Nibelheim Inn Keeper (crouchy old man). When speaking to him a second time you are given three alternatives. Choosing the third alternative, "Let me know the situation of the town.", will give a flag value of 128 and thus prevent Aeris's ghost from appearing in the church.
In other words, DO NOT TALK TO THE INN KEEPER IN THE NIBELHEIM FLASHBACK IF YOU WANT THE GHOST TO REMAIN!
So wait, if you talk to him a second time and choose an option other than the third one will it still give you a flag value?

Also this is all really interesting. I had never heard of her ghost not appearing to anyone. I never got the Midgar key so I had never gone back to the church to check it all myself.
 
#23
So wait, if you talk to him a second time and choose an option other than the third one will it still give you a flag value?

Also this is all really interesting. I had never heard of her ghost not appearing to anyone. I never got the Midgar key so I had never gone back to the church to check it all myself.
No, choosing option number 1 or 2 will not affect the ghost in any way. Ergo no flag value will be given. It is only the third option that does this.

Edited the first post now so to be more clear about this.

Note: Actually speaking to the Inn Keeper the first time will give a flag value below 128, something that happens on six other occassions in the game. Although flag points accumulate, these seven together can NOT erase the ghost. You MUST find an NPC that gives 128 immediately. That is why I no longer list those other NPCs/events.
 
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Arianna

Holy, Personified
AKA
Katie; Seta.
#24
While we may never know why the position of the characters are messed up in this fashion, one thing is interesting to note; while the screen is still loading, that line at the pews (the pew that sticks out) which will trigger the cancellation of the ghost is not active.

Many here may know that if you RUN into the church and past that line, which usually cancels the ghost, you can walk up to the ghost tending the flowers. It can not be spoken to though, and when you go back down to that pew which sticks out, the ghost will be cancelled.

So something in the game is saying "Oh wait, that spot in the church is supposed to trigger the flag for Aeris's ghost!".


I am almost convinced that programmers have already figured out the nuts and bolts of this "flower tending ghost" and the character placements while the screen is loading, however I am unable to find complete guides about it. They probably have just kept the info to themselves.

Also, I seem to not be getting any help at the qhimm forum... I may have to look up the programming software myself in other to see if I can find any additional NPCs.

Edit: If I ever get the chance, I will try to figure out why you sometimes see the red girl and other times Aeris facing the entrance. Could either be a difference between versions, or dependant upon whether or not the ghost already has been cancelled by talking to the Inn Keeper in Nibelheim.
I'm sorry, Shade... This totally went over my head. I don't get it, but I know what you're trying to talk about (at least, I know who the 'ghost' is verses the 'glitch' or whatever I've been seeing.)

This 'glitch' - to separate it from 'ghost' that you are talking about - can be seen even with Aerith while she's still alive. I go back to the church with Aerith, and that glitch comes up while the screen loads. Then it disappears right when I have control over playable character.

Please explain what you are meaning though. I get that the 'ghost' will disappear once you reach that pew that sticks out. But, what did you mean when you typed, "While we may never know why the position of the characters are messed up in this fashion..." and "I am almost convinced that programmers have already figured out the nuts and bolts of this "flower tending ghost" and the character placements while the screen is loading..."?

Thanks! ^_^

PS: For me, I've never ever gotten the 'red girl' facing me as the screen loads - it's always Aerith.
 
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#25
Please explain what you are meaning though. I get that the 'ghost' will disappear once you reach that pew that sticks out. But, what did you mean when you typed, "While we may never know why the position of the characters are messed up in this fashion..." and "I am almost convinced that programmers have already figured out the nuts and bolts of this "flower tending ghost" and the character placements while the screen is loading..."?

Thanks! ^_^

PS: For me, I've never ever gotten the 'red girl' facing me as the screen loads - it's always Aerith.
The "While we may never know" was a response to the question WHY we have this glitch and the ghost in the game in the first place. No one knows if it was part of a sidequest that was scrapped or not.

"I am almost convinced" etc means that players with programming skills (like Terence) probably know how the game is built; thus know why everything here happens the way it does. :hohum: But some of this knowledge never gets caught up by the public or get written into guides; it was pure luck that I heard about the NPC in Nibelheim that cancels the ghost.


My guess is that you face the red girl when the ghost is there, but you get the Aeris glitch when the ghost is gone. Just a guess, but makes sense since you always cancelled the ghost in your playthroughs.
 
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