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How Zelda fans turned the ending into Ocarina of Time on the Vanilla N64

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Summer Games Happened

Shortly after our guide to the Summer Games Done Quick 2022 went live, the event hosted a surprising performance of a classic video game—which has since crowdsourced answers to that Ars article. If We Want To Split Hair, This 1998 N64 Classic Runs Through Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time There isn’t a “speedrun,” but it’s another example of the “TASBot” concept that changes games in ways we never would have dreamed of 24 years ago.

The team of fans and programmers responsible for this week’s “Triforce-percent” performance has since revealed how they achieved the feat with nothing but a stock N64 and an original. ocarina Retail Cartridge – Although the secret involves controller inputs so fast and precise that they cannot be executed by anything less than a computer.

nothing out of date about this run

A video from the beginning of 2020 that explains how old context manipulation works. You’ll want to watch this before you watch the SGDQ 2022 video, which is embedded more below.

The 53-minute performance (embedded at the end of this article) opens with an exploit previously revealed in late 2019 that the community dubbed “stale context manipulation”. This exploit takes advantage of a vulnerability in the original 1.0 version of the game, allowing players to manipulate numerical values ​​assigned to specific objects in the game’s memory. The most brilliant explanation for this complex technique can be found in a YouTube video from early 2020 (embedded above), as it explains the different numerical values ​​assigned to each object in the game, such as their X-, Y -, and Z-axes and their rotation.

Knowledgeable players can overlap values ​​or overwhelm the game’s core code so that players can manipulate them as they see fit. The technology we see in this week’s race requires Link to pick up a rock while passing through a “loading zone,” a hallway used to hide loading poses on the N64 hardware, And to do so in a way that the game was not designed to handle. ,

Initially, this exploit was a fast-moving tool, as it could trick the game into loading the end credits sequence and technically only counted as “completion” within a few minutes. But the Triforce-Percent Run goes much further.

Ramming up new stuff in a classic game

Hey, wait, she's not here... but as the TASBot performance team points out, <em>Star Fox 64</em> Origin of an Arwing <em>Ocarina</em> was left in the cartridge, as a reminder that this object was used to test some animation routines in the early development period.” src=” /uploads/2022/07/Screenshot-103-980×653.png” width=”980″ height=”653″/><figcaption class=
in great shape , Hey, wait, she’s not here… but as the TASBot performance team points out, one from Arwing star fox 64 was originally abandoned ocarina cartridge, as a reminder that this object was used to test some animation routines in the early development period.

Summer Games Happened

By picking up and dropping specific objects, then moving and maneuvering the game’s protagonist Link in a specific sequence, the TASBot team opens a Pandora box known as arbitrary code execution—used by hackers around the world. The type of vulnerability to be exploited is to allow a closed computer system to run whatever code they want. What’s more, the TASBot series of tricks and commands begins by telling the N64 to accept button input from all four N64 controllers as if it were code.

This item-manipulation menu was left in the game as a beta element, easily discovered for use in the SGDQ 2022 run.
in great shape , This item-manipulation menu was left in the game as a beta element, easily discovered for use in the SGDQ 2022 run.

Summer Games Happened

At this point, a computer takes over all four N64 controller ports and sends a rapid-fire series of button taps, as if it were a zillion-finger superhero equivalent of The Flash. jumbled up ocarina The cartridge instructed the N64 to accept each button tap in a way that matches specific code strings. Once enough of this payload has been shipped, the team can revert to normal control over the “Player One” port, so that a real person can play through an entirely new sequence of content—all of which are random-accessed to the N64. being dumped into memory (RAM). ) by the incredibly fast input of the other three controllers.

These on-the-fly patches can do an incredible number of things that, combined, resemble a fully fledged patch of a cartridge’s read-only memory (ROM), although the TASBot team limits itself to those changes. Those specifically apply to the console’s RAM: small changes to existing code, total file replacement, or commands to tell the game to ignore content it would normally load from ROM. As a result, this exploit may glitch or crash if players go outside the expected path for which this exploit is optimized.

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