FFVII Hall of Achievements - Project Thread

#1
Because the project won't get off the ground otherwise, I'm creating this thread to gradually flesh out each segment of this idea, before we make it known on GameFAQs (where there should be some people interested) and finally create the frontpage articles. I appreciate, nay, I need help and support from the community to finish this idea and make it work.

I need help with the following:
- Confirming the exact frame-rate performance of PAL vs NTSC vs PC.
- Writing the "How to Record Gameplay" tutorial. (Preferably I leave this entire section to somebody else; I won't voluntarily do this section anytime soon)
- How to record a tool-assisted "save-state-based" session.
- Are save-state based tool-assisted runs even possible on the PC version?

I should have the PC version available soon so I can do more research on that.

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"FFVII Hall of Achievements" is a list of all the top records in the FFVII minigames. It will also point out speed-run records. If anyone can think of more minigames or challenges that has any element of competition to them, please post in this thread about it (or just PM me).

The second post in this thread will be a guide on how to do well in a number of the minigames. Speed-run guides are left to extensive faqs posted on, well, GameFAQs and such sites.

We will demand video proof of said achievements, preferably all the way from the beginning to the end of a run. This is why the third post in this thread will be a tutorial on how to record gameplay, whether it be on your console or your computer.
Either upload the video to YouTube (or other video hosting service) or send a download link to my email, dempa_1988@hotmail.com, for viewing.


Version Differences

PAL vs NTSC vs PC
FFVII will play at different frame rates depending on which version you are playing. 50 Hz, 59,94 Hz, 60 Hz. This difference between NTSC and PC will not always be relevant.
NTSC cover both the Japanese and American release, so they should be playing at the same speed. "JORG" will be used as an abbreviation for the original Japanese release, as many changes were made between that and the International version.

Minigame Version Differences
Snowboarding, Slope-to-Great-Glacier:
- When Cloud leaps of the ground at the very end, the timer will keep going in most versions. However in the PAL releases it actually stops right when Cloud jumps (still have to check PC game). All we can do is try to pin down, in the non-PAL versions, the exact moment when Cloud jumps and then count that as the record time.

Speed Square:
- In the original Japanese release and the PC version, the zeppelin propeller is a target and will grant a ridiculous amount of points. To my knowledge, nobody is yet to determine the maximum score you can get from this target, ergo the maximum theoretical score for this version of the minigame is unknown.
In all other versions, where the zeppelin propeller is not a target, 8185 is at present the assumed maximum score. No code digging has been done to determine whether this is truly the max. The highest recorded achievement so far was done by me on the PAL version, where I got 8184 points. (The major challenge here is an element of chance, see second post)

Submarine Missions:
- In JORG and the PC version, the timer does not stop once the mission is finished. This is not so much an issue as with the Slope-to-Great-Glacier Snowboarding game, but still a noteworthy difference. The BIG difference is that in these releases your submarine is EXTREMELY SLOW, thus increasing the difficulty of the challenges.

G-Bike:
- *I think the PC version has three motorcyclist types chasing you. Will check*




HALL OF ACHIEVEMENTS


Snowboarding, Slope-to-Great-Glacier
NTSC:
Left-left:
Left-right:
Right-right:
Right-left:

PAL:
Left-left:
Left-right:
Right-right:
Right-left:

PC:
Left-left:
Left-right:
Right-right:
Right-left:


Snowboarding, Slope-to-Great-Glacier; Tool Assisted

Will add list if anyone ever shows interest in showing off tool-assisted achievements in this minigame.



Snowboarding, Gold Saucer, Time Attack
Course A
NTSC:
PAL: 01'01"959. Top record by Shademp.
PC:


Course B
NTSC:
PAL: 01'15"784. Top record by Shademp.
PC:

Course C
NTSC:
PAL: 01'19"922. Top record by Shademp.
PC:


Snowboard, Gold Saucer, Time Attack; Tool Assisted

Will add list if anyone ever shows interest in showing off tool-assisted achievements in this minigame.


G-Bike
NTSC:
PAL:
PC:

G-Bike, Tool-Assisted
NTSC: 27000. Top record by YouTube uploader(?) asutoroZnewmario.
PAL:
PC:


Speed Square, "Shooting Coaster"
NTSC:
PAL: 8184. Top record by Shademp.
JORG & PC:

Video must start, at the latest point, right before the red wheel is shot. 1860 is the max score at this point. No tool assist.


Submarine Missions
JORG & PC:
- Undersea Mako Reactor Battle
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 1
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 2
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 3
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 4
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:

NTSC:
- Undersea Mako Reactor Battle
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 1
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 2
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 3
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 4
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:

PAL:
- Undersea Mako Reactor Battle
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 1
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 2
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 3
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:
- Level 4
Fastest Time:
Highest Score:



Speed Runs

*Have yet to do research here*
http://speeddemosarchive.com/FinalFantasy7.html
 
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#2
Minigame Guide

*will flesh out this section much more*

How to perform well in each challenge.


Snowboarding, Gold Saucer & Slope-to-Great-Glacier:
- To the degree that it is possible, keep a straight line and stay on the ground. Turning and jumping will decrease your velocity. At times jumping and turning may grant you shortcuts, but more often than not they will be a detriment to your final record.
- Never hit the breaks and never collide with the environment. There is always a way to advance. Doing a quick turn will always be better than slowing down to avoid obstacles.


Speed Square:
Unfortunately this minigame is defined by elements of unfair stage design PLUS elements of pure chance. It is based on memory, but will greatly test both your concentration skills and your stamina.

The Red Steam Boat Wheel:
Maximum score from this baby is 285. The deal is to stay with the laser on the wheel for as long as you can. The wheel is indifferent to the power of the laser.
In the first segment, points accumulate as the laser stays on target. The goal is to first get 67 points this way, then have the 68th point be the triggered which makes the score counter increase on its own for a while. This is where the pesky element of chance appears though. The 68th point can either be just 1 point, or 218 points.

The moment when you get those 218 points is always around when the wheel is just about to get out of view and it can happen no matter how many or few points you gained before.
I have played this minigame over a thousand times (yes, literally over a thousand times) and never found a method to get 285 points. For this reason, I conclude that the game is checking a random value before deciding whether to give you 1 point or 218 points at the end.

The Large UFO:
In the PSX versions, short bursts of high-energy zaps at the UFO, is necessary to finish it off as quickly as possible. I remember seeing that in the PC version, you just need to hold down the laser and keep it on the UFO and that will be enough. *double-check this*

Secret Headlight:
Final target. Move the cursor to the bottom right of the screen. Hold down the zap. The target goes out immediately even with minimum laser power. NO skill at all is required to get this target, though you can, for the sake of it, aim and zap it as soon as it comes into vision.
 
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#3
Tutorial: How to Record Gameplay

*Anyone up to writing this part?

--------------------------------------
Recording Console Gameplay:

*Ryu/Ishtar has volunteered to write this part*
--------------------------------------

Recording Emulator/PC Gameplay:
 
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Ryushikaze

Deus Admiral Parsimonious, PHD, DDS, MD, JD, OBE
AKA
Tim, Ryu
#4
I can help with recording console gameplay, and the tutorials at TASVIDEOS.org should suffice for tool assisted console and PC gaming- it is possible, though I would need to research the program needed.
 

The Twilight Mexican

Ex-SeeD-ingly good
AKA
TresDias
#5
We will demand video proof of said achievements, preferably all the way from the beginning to the end of a run.
If you already have a record on your memory card that you'd like to post, would it be acceptable to make a video where you show your disc for region confirmation, insert it into your PlayStation, load your file, and go to the mini-game to access your record?

Shademp said:
NTSC cover both the Japanese and American release, so they should be playing at the same speed.
You should probably confirm this. NTSC-J and NTSC-U/C games may have the same framerate and there still be differences with time-sensitive features depending on how things were programmed.

"Shadow of the Colossus" immediately comes to mind. Time Attack records for the colossi battles in that game have to designate the Japanese, North American and PAL releases as each in their own category because of differences between the three in when you can start moving your character, when the timer starts, etc.
 

Ryushikaze

Deus Admiral Parsimonious, PHD, DDS, MD, JD, OBE
AKA
Tim, Ryu
#6
I think he wants the record shown because people do know how to edit the 'best times' records with codes, though not, IIRC, the 'best time' ghost.
 
#7
If you already have a record on your memory card that you'd like to post, would it be acceptable to make a video where you show your disc for region confirmation, insert it into your PlayStation, load your file, and go to the mini-game to access your record?
I suppose that is as valid as a recording of said achievement, yes. Both forms of "proof" have elements where possible forgery could happen and remain unnoticed. Someone *could* upload a tool-assisted record, yet claim it to be a normal playthrough and bypass it as such.

Though as for the 8185 score challenge in Speed Square, I will only accept a recording of said achievement. Confirming and actually getting to see this great feat happen is too important.

Also, with some effort, I can get the 8185 score via save-load-states. Just to show how easy it is...
Ergo, a single snapshot or a memory card save won't cut it.

You should probably confirm this. NTSC-J and NTSC-U/C games may have the same framerate and there still be differences with time-sensitive features depending on how things were programmed.
Yeah, if I ever find a way, or find someone with the know-how, I will confirm if they perform the same or not.

"Shadow of the Colossus" immediately comes to mind. Time Attack records for the colossi battles in that game have to designate the Japanese, North American and PAL releases as each in their own category because of differences between the three in when you can start moving your character, when the timer starts, etc.
Good stuff.
 
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Cthulhu

Administrator
AKA
Yop
#8
- DLPB tells me that the NTSC game runs at 29.97 frames per second. 1 fields = 2 frames. So apparently it is wrong to say that the NTSC game runs at roughly 60 "frames per second"? I am confused. What is the difference between field and frame?
It's the other way around - 2 frames = 1 field. A field is an entire screen, a frame - in this context - is half a field, interlaced. 60 frames per second means basically 60 half-screens, interlaced to form a whole picture. Good article on that here. NTSC has a refresh rate of 59.94 frames per second, so divide that by 2 and you get 29.97 whole screens per second. PAL on the other hand has 50 / 25 - 50 frames, 25 fields per second.

- Are save-state based tool-assisted runs even possible on the PC version?
As far as I know, yes. As long as the image used (the .iso) and possibly the same version of the emulator, you should be able to exchange save states just fine. Memory card files should be interchangeable as well. A save state is basically a memory dump, so yeah.
 
#9
The game will run at 59.94 (or perhaps 60 :P) internally in the playstation, but the PS outputs graphically interlaced 29.97. In the PC, they had to compensate for this by using frame limiting... so you ended up having field, and world map running at 30fps, battle 15fps and menus 60fps. The problem is this meant menu items in battle (like cait sith reels) ended up running 4x slower than they were supposed to.

Consoles can be made to run at a set speed, but PC's change spec... so you limit them by time based or frame based calculations. Sometimes both.

TV's use interlacing, a technology created decades ago... 2 fields make up 1 complete frame. Nowadays of course, LCD screens and so forth allow full progressive frames and variable frame rates. TV fields are best seen when you try filming an old CRT TV/monitor... you see the black band fields. In fact, I heard cats see this all the time? Humans obviously do not...
 
#10
I now have the PC version of Final Fantasy VII installed, along with Aali's driver. Just to let people know that now I can check out the minigames a bit to confirm version differences. This project will NOT be left to fade into nothingness.

I'll be a bit slow though because I'll be moving from the game's beginning all the way to the end, albeit with maxed out character. I know, there are save files out there to get, but I want to make the save files myself. :P
That way I feel more in control. Vgr Brat has confirmed already btw that the PC version of the G-Bike minigame indeed has blue motorcyclists that chase you, in addition to the normal orange and red motorcyclists.
 
#11
Oh man I love snowboarding, there have been occasions that I've booted up FF7 to play it, I may try to take on your record :monster:

These days I'd probably be playing on the PSN-downloaded one.
 
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