Since we’ve covered basic combo video etiquette, I figured I’d extend the discussion to what makes a good fighting game tool-assisted speedrun. There are a number of perfectly valid ways to approach TASing, but it helps to keep these general guidelines in mind.
- Fighting Games Don’t Make Interesting Speed Runs
- Make It Like a Combo Video
- Fighting Games Usually Make Bad TASes
- Don’t Be Afraid to Try It Anyway
Except in rare cases, a fighting game speed run is going to look like this: find the most damaging combo and then use it over and over, completing the game in as little time as possible. This can be really painful to watch, even if you’re familiar with the game. Both Dammit and I thought we found a way to do an interesting fighting game TAS with speed as the primary goal. I did a “pacifist” run, and he did a great slash mode TAS. Both failed badly.
If you can’t use speed as the main goal, the obvious alternative would be to find your favorite combo video and copy those ideas. The problem with this plan is that you can’t do a lot of what makes a combo video entertaining: no cool soundtrack, no flashy editing, no extremely complex setups, etc. You also lose a lot of what makes a TAS unique – normally when you TAS a game, no one has ever played frame-by-frame before, so it’s easy to make something more complex and impressive than anyone has seen before. Most fighting games have been studied frame by frame for years, so just playing with extreme precision isn’t going to impress anyone.
So what do you gain over a combo video besides additional wait time between combos and extra difficulty setting them up? Not much. You should always try and have fun with enemy manipulation but that’s probably not worth more than a minute of entertainment, in most cases. This means fighting games are generally a poor game choice.
Obstacles aside, the TAS format still offers a bunch of possibilities that can’t be done as a combo video. I think my Street Fighter Zero 2 Alpha run works much better as a TAS than if it were a combo video. A well-done run can be entertaining no matter what, but you’re at an advantage if you’re doing something new, or at least if you choose Mokujin.
Well, that just about covers the basic considerations for producing a fighting game TAS. Since they’re likely to continue growing in popularity, now is a good time to share your opinions on the subject. What do you guys want to see more of in tool-assisted playthroughs?