Max Natural HP/MP Challenge Completed…for real this time!

by March 7, 2012 0 comments

Some visitors may recall last Christmas when it was announced that a certain “HARSHREALM” had managed to get each playable character (excluding Aeris) to their natural max HP/MP at level 99. However, after providing save files to prove said achievement it was discovered that he had actually tampered with the file data.
This individual, who appeared very suddenly on GameFAQs with no prior public documentation of his supposed way to the top, was nothing more than a liar and a cheater.

The event, as unfortunate as it was, however spurred the GameFAQs community to take up this never-before-completed challenge yet again. One of the most respected posters on the FFVII GameFAQs board, songsengnim, has now on March 7th 2012 achieved this daunting task.
As he has documented his progress for a very long time, plus added that he has contributed to info and methodology for the Perfect Save File challenge in the past, there truly is no other member whom we could trust more to honestly have completed the challenge!

See GameFAQs Thread

After thousands and thousands of resets we finally have it confirmed that at least in this line of HP & MP progression songsengnim went through the charts provided in Absolute Steve’s guide work! A big round of applause for songsengnim!

For those who want a more in-depth explanation of the Natural Max HP/MP Challenge and its history, I now repost the same presentation from my now deleted Christmas post about the challenge.

Details of the “Natural Max HP/MP” Challenge

An in-depth guide to this challenge exists in Absolute Steve’s FFVII guide, but those who want a summary, aimed at non-perfectionists, can read the paragraphs below.

Anyone who has done multiple playthroughs of FFVII may have noticed that a playable character’s max HP and MP once on level 99, without any Materia added to change the values, is not the same when comparing both save files. The exact stat progressions when levelling up is far from a fixed affair in FFVII.

For those interested in achieving a “Perfect Save/Game File”, this is a huge problem because getting the maximum possible HP/MP becomes impossible. However, thanks to hacking efforts, the charts now exist which map the required HP & MP values a character must achieve. These tables can be found in Absolute Steve’s FFVII guide.
As there are no official definitions for a perfect “Disc 1” save file, Aeris/Aerith is left out of the equation and no one has calculated the charts for her optimum stat growth (yet).

It is once a character reaches their “max safety level”, that players must keep track of the progression of these stats. For example, Cloud is in the safe zone up until level 64-65, but after this his HP and MP growth must be monitored if both are to reach their max values by the end.

The matter is not so simple though. Cloud’s theoretical natural max HP is 9511, while his theoretical natural max MP is 905. However, both HP and MP can’t achieve their max at the same time! The game will not allow it. So one must be sacrificed for the sake of the other. Members of the GameFAQ forums quickly agreed that MP would be sacrificed, as this value is increased anyway when magic Materia is equipped. As a result, Cloud’s final, natural max MP goes down to 902.

So what’s the big deal? Well, initially getting the right values may be easy and may require no more than a few resets, but after a certain point, if you are aiming for maxing out both HP and MP, we are talking a harsh probability of 1/64. So imagine these probabilities for two dozen or so levels for one character, then take into account all the eight characters in total, and on your table you have the task to reset the game literally thousands of times to get the best values.

So that summarises the challenge and why it is a subject of concern for those dreaming of having a Perfect Save File. But getting to this point that made the challenge possible was not an easy one. I know, even moreso because I once played a part in it…

History of the Natural Max HP/MP Challenge

In 1999, Terence Fergusson made his own website where he posted his various FFVII findings. Over the years, he continued hacking the game and published guides on GameFAQs. After many revisions, he re-uploaded the guides in 2009, in the form that we now know them:
Battle Mechanics FAQ: Status Effects, Attack Types, Battle Speed etc.
Date Mechanics Guide: Mapping instances when Love Points (or “Affection Values”) are changed and by how much.
Enemy Mechanics FAQ: In-depth Enemy AI and Encounter data.
Party Mechanics Guide: Mechanics of Level-Ups, Materia, Limit Breaks, Weapons and other equipment.

These monumental guides, all the result from serious hacking efforts, set the grounds for devicing ridiculous (but still working) strategies against enemies as well as an expanded exploitation and understanding of the game’s glitches. Many variations of low-level playthroughs, speed-run accomplishments and indeed the “Perfect Game” challenge, would not have been possible without these guides.

Of importance then to the Natural Max HP/MP challenge was the Party Mechanics Guide where Fergusson revealed how the stat-up systems worked. As an appendix to the guide he added charts for optimum HP or MP growth for each playable character (excluding Young Cloud and Sephiroth). I can recall, from back in 2008, reading on GameFAQs about players who had begun using these charts.

Trouble soon striked though when, after certain passes, those using the tables found it impossible to get the proper HP and MP value simultaneously for some levels. Fergusson figured out that a random number generator was keeping the two separate values from reaching max at the same time. The charts would have to be re-made to adjust to this previously undetected part of the HP/MP growth mechanics. As I previously described, the conclusion was that MP would be sacrificed so that HP could reach its maximum natural value. It is for this reason that we know Aeris’ theoretical max MP to be 994, but no one has calculated the lessened value when her natural max HP, 8816, is preferred.

For a while the project was in limbo. The charts for Cait Sith, Vincent & Cid had been discovered especially arduous to make, requiring extra programming skills, and the members with the know-how were too busy to contribute. Some could do the calculations by hand but did not have the knowledge to create the functions to automatically spew out the correct tables. Not to mention, the likelihood was still there that other characters might have erroneous charts, still.

It was then, in early 2009, that I contacted GameFAQ member “1whoistornapart”, a prominent figure in this project, and asked him to provide the new charts for me to test. He obliged and did his best to gain the additional coding knowledge required to print the correct HP/MP progression path.

The results were, sadly, not positive. On multiple occassions I found myself stuck, often having to ask for revisions. This also meant that on multiple occassions Absolute Steve updated his guide with the revisions, only to find after a while, as I continued resetting my PlayStation like a lunatic with OCD, that 1whoistornapart had overlooked details in his coding.

After more than two months of intensively testing the various iterations of the HP/MP progression tables, I threw in the towel. No hard feelings on 1whoistornapart though, as he made an honorable attempt at filling in for the GameFAQ members that had presently left the project, plus doing his best to help despite a busy personal schedule. I recommend people to watch his YouTube videos, such as his No-Damage run in “Castlevania : Bloodlines”.

Naturally I had lost the will to continue with this challenge or even keep myself updated on its developments, but fortunately there were others who kept on trying. Absolute Steve has listed that, back in November 2010, an edit was made to Yuffie’s Max Natural MP chart. Most recently, in June 2011, edits were made to Barret’s, Red XIII’s, and (again) Yuffie’s charts.

The rest you all know by now. Around Christmas last year a new GameFAQs member, HARSHREALM, lied about completing the challenge but fortunately this event spawned additional effort by the GameFAQs community to finally prove that the Max Natural HP/MP charts work. On March 7th 2012, long-time poster songsengnim finally did it and he has now made his mark in FFVII gaming history. Congratulations again, songsengnim!

No comments yet

  1. Songsengnim
    #1 Songsengnim 7 March, 2012, 18:41

    Thankski veryski muchski budski 🙂

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  2. Augusto Cicatriz_ESP
    #2 Augusto Cicatriz_ESP 7 March, 2012, 21:10

    Congratulations, Mr Songsengnim, I was cheering for you. I have confidence in your determination. As previously said, you’ve earned your place in FFVII history. It’s thanks to people like you and Mr Atomos199 (created the superb FF IX EIIPG guide) that these game keep on living. ;D

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