Mario 64 Notes

These notes are mainly for reference. You definitely need to watch the videos as some parts depend on visual examples to make sense.

Advanced Speedrunning Principles – Episode 2: How To Practice

Video here

You want to eliminate downtime during practice. Save states are the best way to repeat attempts on techniques quickly. Save states make your practice way more efficient than having to set up the technique after every attempt. This allows you to use your short-term memory (lasts about 30 seconds) to make adjustments during each attempt.

Using an emulator is fine for practice, even if you plan on doing runs on console. It removes the need to buy expensive hardware to practice efficiently.

Importance of Sleep

Being well-rested helps with performance and it also helps solidify things you’ve learned or practiced throughout the day. Proficiency in a motor-skill can increase by 20% or more after sleep.

Practicing every day is the most efficient way to learn a new skill. That way every sleep is contributing to the consolidation of the skill. It’s better to practice multiple techniques each day as opposed to technique A one day and technique B the next. Both skills get the benefit of sleep in between sessions instead of just one skill each sleep.

It’s less work to maintain a skill than it is to learn a new skill. You may not even need to practice it because your run attempts will be enough to maintain the skill.

The ideal way to structure a practice session:

  1. Choose a collection of techniques that you want to practice.
    • Example: If you have 2 hours to practice, choose 4 to 6 techniques, and practice them every day for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. When you get competent enough to include the technique into your run, pick a new skill to take its place.
  3. Use run attempts to maintain skills in the techniques you have mastered.

Avoid these pitfalls:

Don’t spend your entire practice session, working on one technique. Repetition has diminishing returns. At most, spend 1 hour on a single technique.

Avoid practicing random techniques. Make sure you choose and practice the skills until they are mastered.

Don’t spend too much time practicing something you’re already good at. Your time is better spent learning faster and more difficult strategies.

Use mistakes made in runs to know if you need to revisit the skill and practice it again.

Don’t place expectations on how long it’s going to take you to learn a skill. It will just make you frustrated.

Advanced Speedrunning Principles – Episode 1: The 50/50 Rule

Video here

Study Videos Closely

You must be able to envision the correct method of what you’re learning in your mind. This means to study relevant videos. You need to be able to replicate them and be able to spot when things go wrong.

Regular review of the videos is important because you won’t absorb all the information in one sitting and you need experience before you can notice all the smaller details.

Mistakes are unavoidable. They can help us learn where our problem areas are and what to adjust to fix it.

The 50/50 principle

“So long as my timing or accuracy is not biased in any particular direction, my mistakes will be evenly distributed on either side of my target.”

The spread of mistakes should be uniform in both directions. If a frame perfect trick can be performed 8/10 times, the remaining 2 times should be evenly spread between too early and too late.

Our perceived center is not aligned with the true center if accuracy or timing is biased in either direction. If our perceived timing is off, then the amount of successful attempts is reduced.

Correct intention does not equal correct execution.

Always try to keep track of your mistakes and try to identify patterns.

Overcorrecting

The quickest and easiest way to correct imbalances is by overcorrecting. If you’re usually missing too late, practice missing too early. If you’re always too far to the left, practice being too far to the right. Only do this during practice, not during runs.

This helps breaks bad habits that have formed because you’re doing something completely different, which helps you mold a new way to do the technique.

It also helps define the limits of the technique. You don’t know what too late looks like if you’re always too early.

Usually don’t need to overcorrect very much before the problem is fixed.

Beginner Tips For Speedrunning Super Mario 64

Video here

I left out the tips that don’t apply to 16 star runs. So, watch the video if you want all the information.

  • Roll your thumb over B and A when rolling out of a dive
    • Increases your chances of getting a dustless rollout (fastest dive)
  • There are 4 frames to do a wall kick.
    • 1st frame: Mario will keep the speed he had from going into the wall and an additional small percentage of speed.
    • 2nd, 3rd, and 4th have a set speed that Mario will go after the wall kick.
  • Holding Z will allow you to jump on steep slopes you might otherwise slide down on.
  • Going through the left door has a 0.3 second shorter cut scene on a set of double doors.
    • This excludes the basement and upstairs doors that require keys.
  • Run up the right half of the pillar in SSL to avoid Shy Guy coming after you. Important for Star 9.
  • Also, for Star 9, hold “A” after jumping on the Shy Guy’s head. This will make Mario spin faster and farther.
  • Selecting “Don’t save and continue” is faster, which is compounded to a significant amount of time during a run. Not so much for emulator.
  • Mario cannot jump kick when he’s jumping from a slope.
  • Mario will jump out of the water in the direction he’s facing.
    • To make Mario jump forward, make sure he’s facing forward and not straight up.

Super Mario 64 Speedrun Movement Guide

Video here

Single Jump

  • Done with a single A press.
  • Mario goes higher the longer you press down the A button.
  • Usually, a set up for other jumps.

Double Jump

  • A double jump by jumping as you hit the ground after falling
  • Cannot be done out of special falling states:
    • Long jump
    • Triple jump
    • Dive
  • Does work with:
    • Single jumps
    • Kicks
    • Side flips
    • Falling off of a platform
    • Wall jumps
  • It’s actually pretty uncommon to start a double or triple jump with a single jump. Jump kicks are the faster alternative.
  • A double or triple jump can be started by walking over a small gap.

Triple Jump

  • A triple jump can only be done by pressing A after a double jump and having a moderate amount of speed.
  • The triple jump is the highest jump you can do.
  • How to triple jumping into a wall at the peak of the jump.
    • During the triple jump, let go of holding up on the control by moving the control stick sideways or in the neutral position.
      • Hold up on the control stick again near the peak of the jump, or you won’t have enough speed to wall jump.
  • You only need speed to start the triple jump. You can move in any direction once you’re in the air.
  • Triple jumps can be done on a slope.
  • Mario can’t grab ledges after a triple jump.
    • Solution: do a wall jump after a triple and drift back to the ledge.

Long Jump

  • Press Z right before A while Mario has some speed to initiate a long jump.
  • Long jumps are the best way to accelerate from a standstill.
    • Usually done after entering a stage.
  • Holding down Z and pressing A when hitting the ground allows you to chain long jumps together, even if the necessary speed is lost.
    • This is part of the backwards long jump (BLJ) trick.
      • You can BLJ by long jumping backwards up a slop, stairs, or a rising platform and chaining them together. This creates backwards acceleration, which is uncapped, and allows Mario to gather lots of speed.
      • BLJ’s are banned in 70 star runs.
  • If you long jump on to a slope and continue holding Z, you can instantly jump once you hit the slope.

Side Flip

  • A side flip is done by gaining enough speed in one direction, then tilting the control stick in a vaguely opposite direction you were holding. You’ll see Mario skidding on the ground, and if you jump during this animation, you’ll side flip.
  • If you enter a third input on the control stick during the skidding animation, you can influence the direction of the side flip.
  • Different timings on the side flip are used at various points in a speedrun.
  • A delayed double jump can be performed after a side flip.
    • Usually done to adjust Mario’s angle before a triple jump.

Backflip

  • The backflip is done by holding Z and then jumping while standing still
    • It’s extremely slow and rarely done in runs

Wall Jump

  • The wall jump is done by pressing A within 5 frames of hitting a wall from most jumping or falling states.
    • There needs to be a certain amount of speed when hitting the wall for it to work.
  • Wall jumps have different properties depending on which frame you jump on.
    • Firsty – when you do a wall jump on the first frame of Mario hitting the wall. This gives you the most speed.
      • Firsties can mess up certain tricks, such as owless or grabbing ledge, after a triple jump to wall jump. This is because it propels you too far away.
    • The later you wall jump, the slower you move away from the wall.

Punch

  • Press B while standing still or moving slowly to punch.
    • You can make Mario punch when he is moving quickly, but you must move the control stick back to neutral for the punch.
  • Punches are useful for picking up enemies or items quickly.
    • It’s occasionally used to kill enemies.
  • Punches move Mario forward slightly and can be used for specific spacing setups, like in the cannonless setup.
  • If you move too quickly after punching, the animation will be canceled, and the punch won’t come out.
  • Punch combo
    • Done by pressing B three times in a row.
    • Don’t use this.

Grounded Kick

  • The grounded kick is done by simultaneously pressing B and A or by pressing B while A is held.
    • Typically, the grounded kick can only be done while standing still or moving slowly unless you’re doing a speed kick. You’ll dive instead of a kick if you have too much speed.
      • A speed kick is done by moving the stick to a neutral position, kicking, and then moving the stick back in the desired direction. NOT recommended for beginners.
  • Grounded kicks are typically used to initiate double or triple jumps because it’s the quickest way to do so.
  • They are also used to accelerate Mario from a standstill.
    • They’re still not faster than a long jump, so they’re only used when the spacing works better.
  • Silly kicks are performed by holding A while going up a slope and pressing B in a certain rhythm.
    • The steeper the slope, the quicker the rhythm.
    • If you press B too quickly, you’ll dive instead of kick because Mario built up too much speed.
    • Some slopes cannot be silly kicked on.
      • Example: The slope at the end of Bowser in the Dark World.

Aerial Kick

  • An Aerial kick is done by pressing B while in the air.
    • This is only during a single or double jump and if Mario’s forward speed is fairly low.
      • Mario will dive from all the other jumps or from falling off a ledge.
  • The aerial kick is useful for getting a bit more distance and height needed to make a jump.
    • This can be tricky because if you’re moving too quickly forward, you will dive instead.
      • The trick is to hold back on the control stick to slow Mario down just enough to execute a kick instead.
  • Kicking after a double jump changes Mario’s falling state.
    • He will keep double jumping instead of going into a triple jump.
    • Some sections require chaining double jumps together.
      • Known as kick stalling.
  • Mario will not grab the ledge after an aerial kick.
    • Useful for dodging ledge and pole grabs.
  • Kicks, dives, and ground pounds reset your fall distance, meaning you can avoid fall damage if you do one of those before hitting the ground.

Dive

  • The fastest way to get around
    • The dive is done by pressing B while moving at a moderate to high speed. This can be done on the ground or in the air.
      • The speed requirement for a dive is removed when doing it after a side flip, triple jump, wall jump, or falling of a ledge.

Rollout

  • The rollout is the second part of the dive.
  • After a dive, press A or B when Mario touches the ground to rollout.
  • The fastest dives are when Mario rolls out on the first frame that he hits the ground. Otherwise, some speed will be lost.
    • This is very precise. To make it a bit more forgiving, you can press B and then roll your thumb to A, or the other way around.
    • No dust is kicked up when you perform a frame perfect dive. These are known as dustless dives.
  • When rolling out and falling off a ledge, you don’t take fall damage.
    • You cannot do anything else in this state.
  • You can do a quick rollout while running up a slope, and it will make you go up the slope very quickly.
    • The goal is to hit B then A one frame apart for the most amount of speed.
    • The quick rollouts on slopes can interfere with rolling your thumb from B to A in normal rollouts in some sections. See 12:04 of the video.

Breakdance

  • Hold Z then press B
  • Useless

Slidekick

  • Done the same way as a long jump but using B instead of A.
  • Uses
    • To grab stars close to the ground and too low for a ground pound
    • Go a short distance from a standstill
    • Killing piranha plants

Ground Pound

  • The ground pound turns Mario into an invincible ball of death.
  • Done by pressing Z anytime Mario is in the air.
  • Useful for grabbing stars.
    • Once a star is touched, the ground pound animation is canceled, and Mario keeps all downward momentum. Therefore, he falls very quickly after.
  • Breaking a box with a ground pound cancels the ground pound, and Mario will fall like normal the rest of the way to the ground, allowing you to double jump or dive afterward.
    • Useful for canceling the long ground pound animation.

Ledge Grab

  • Press up on the control stick to get up from the ledge slowly or press A to get up from the ledge quickly
  • Press down to get off the ledge slowly and pressing Z will get down quicker
  • Some ledges have hitboxes that protrude through barriers. This is why you can grab through walls and ceilings in certain spots
  • Mario’s hitbox stays up on the platform when he’s grabbing the ledge and enemies can push you off sooner than you would think because of this.
    • This quirk is one of the reasons why the cannonless trick is possible.

Swimming

  • Rhythm is important for swimming.
    • There’s a sound cue that will tell you if you’re doing the correct rhythm. check out the video at 15:20.
  • To jump out of the water, the control stick needs to be held down and Mario needs to be at the surface of the water.
    • The angle Mario jumps out of the water depends on the direction he is facing, not the stick direction.

Special Terrain

  • Steep slopes will lock Mario into an angle when he jumps off them
    • He will also dive no matter what when jumping off these slopes and you press B.
  • If you get caught in the sand, hold A and spam B to kick until you regain enough speed to dive again.
  • If you fall too far and get stuck in the snow, press A repeatedly to get out faster.

Camera

  • Two styles of camera
    • Mario cam – activated and deactivated with R
      • It can be zoomed out with C-down and zoomed back in with C-up.
      • the camera is dynamic in this mode; therefore, it moves on its own.
        • Follows Mario tightly and useful for situations with sharp turns.
        • If Lakitu cam is stuck on an object and you can’t see, then use Mario cam.
      • If you fall a long distance, the camera will lag behind you.
        • Press R twice to snap it to Mario.
      • If the camera faces the wrong direction when you enter a new area, pressing R during the black transition will move it to the correct spot.
        • Example: When you first enter the castle through the front door.
    • Lakitu cam
      • It can be zoomed out with C-down and zoomed back in with C-up.
      • Lakitu cam can be both static (stays in one spot) and dynamic (swings around automatically).
        • Stages it’s dynamic: JRB, BBH, HMC, DDD, SL, and certain parts of other stages, such as BOB

Lag Reduction

  • Not applicable to emulators.
  • The N64 has trouble rendering some large objects and small details, so the framerate will drop, causing everything to move slower.
    • Moving the camera away from these objects, so they don’t need to be rendered will save time.
  • There’s a bit of lag when you hit save. The faster option is to hit Don’t save and continue. It can save 10 seconds in longer runs.
    • It’s not worth doing on an emulator because the time saved is so small and an error will lose you more time than you save.

Holding Neutral

  • If you lost control of Mario and now you’re sliding off a slope, then holding the control stick in the opposite direction that you’re sliding will actually make you slide for longer.
    • If you just put the stick in its neutral position, you will stick your landing much quicker.
  • Any time you want to cancel all Mario’s momentum, land on the ground and put the control stick in its neutral position. This includes after diving too.
    • This makes Mario feel less floaty

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