A Brief Guide to Tool Assistance

No doubt most of you have seen Majestros’ TACVs lately, and probably a few other combovids that have similar disclaimers regarding the use of programmable controllers, macros, scripts, and so on. This is just a short guide to one method of tool assistance that’s really easy to use.

So this guide will focus on FBA-RR. Emulators with re-recording are pretty common within the speed running community, because they allow you to move the game forward one frame at a time, inputting the exact commands you want at any time. Also, the ability to create multiple save states and revert back to them if you make a mistake, allows you to optimise potential ideas.

Some things you can do with fighting games on FBA-RR:
-Figure out link combos.
-Figure out punishing moves.
-Control 2 characters at the same time.
-Understand timing windows.
-Record high quality AVI videos.
-Archive your bread and butter combos in video form.

Think of it as training mode, but with more advanced options that let you see what is possible.

The main button that you’ll be using to control time in FBA-RR is the frame advance button, which is mapped to backslash by default. Pressing the button once moves forward one frame, while holding the button down will advance several frames. Use this in combination with the attack buttons and directions.

For the rest of this guide, I’ll outline the preferred steps that I follow when recording a clip. Each step is done in a specific order, and doing this out of order can make your video too long, or it can prevent the re-recording function from working properly.

Getting Started

Right off the bat there are 2 cheats you may wish to use. They don’t affect gameplay at all, so no need to feel guilty. I should note, if you do use game altering cheats, it is common courtesy to make a disclaimer. People will figure out if your combos aren’t legit.

cheats

Switching off the background music lets you edit in your own tracks, once you’ve recorded something. Also changing the background image can make the video more visually appealing. You may also wish to experiment with the different character colours available.

Once you’re in the game and have your meters built up (I just do this manually, no need to use cheats for this), the first thing you want to do is start recording your inputs.

menu

menu2

Make sure that “Record From Power-On” is unticked, and click “OK.”

Hold the frame advance key (backslash) to leave a gap at the beginning of the clip, so that if you want to edit the video later, it is much easier. Before you start attacking, create a save state by holding Shift + F1. You can use any of the function keys (e.g. F4, F5, etc), but don’t use F2 or F3, because these are used for accessing the test menu and resetting the game. To load a save state, just press any function key that has a save state assigned to it.

As you progress through a combo, create multiple save states so that you can revert to several places if any mistakes are made. Combos branch out in many directions, so having some save states at key places makes it easier to go back and try things differently, without having to re-do the whole thing again.

Another tip, if the start of the combo is complicated and determines everything that happens next, you will need to start over from scratch many times, there’s no way to avoid this. What you can do here is make some notes in notepad, telling yourself what you can do on specific frames.

notepad

It helps to write “do this 15 frames later” rather than “do this on frame 645″ because changing the start of the combo will change everything that happens later.

Useful Tricks

A quick and easy way to see if you have frame advantage, is to have both characters hold “up” and see who jumps first.

frame advantage

You can see that the blue Urien is able to jump while the red Urien is still stunned, so bluey has the advantage.

To check how much advantage he has, see how many frames it takes before the red guy can jump.

plus11

So that’s quite a lot, enough for most normal moves to connect.

Don’t assume you’re at +11. You need to test what moves connect and don’t connect before knowing for sure. Hitboxes can be weird, they can allow a couple of active frames to whiff, and the spacing might mean that nothing connects at all. Also note that not all characters have the same amount of pre-jump frames. Grapplers often take longer to leave the ground, so this method might be a bit confusing with them.

Finishing a Recording

Once you’ve finished, stop the recording using this menu option:

menu3

Notice that below “Stop Movie” is “Record AVI.” If you click on this, create a name for the file, then select “Start playback,” you can record a very high quality video. It’s actually too high quality for my computer to play, so I just re-encode them with a program called MediaCoder if I want to watch them later. If you’re editing a bunch of clips together though, it’s best to use the uncompressed AVIs.

One more editing tip, if you’re exporting a video from a video editing program, keep it uncompressed, then use a program like MediaCoder to compress it afterward. This may not be necessary, you can get excellent results using compressed clips, but this will ensure that you get the best possible results.

Here is a video of me using FBA-RR in real time:

[video]21263[/video]

And finally, just a short, impractical combo that is impossible to do by hand, but not too difficult with this program. Please remember to explain that you are using tool-assistance if you upload clips like this.

[video]21264[/video]

Please show us any combos or ideas you come up with, and if anyone needs help using this program let me know. Don’t ask about anything that is against the forum rules though.

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