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KirbyComment, -Tom-
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rec98 th03 gameplay player

Turns out that covering TH03's 128-byte player structure was way more insightful than expected! And while it doesn't include every bit of per-player data, we still got to know quite a bit about the game from just trying to name its members:

  • 50 frames of invincibility when starting a new round
  • 110 frames of invincibility when getting hit
  • 64 frames of knockback when getting hit
  • 128 frames before a charged up gauge/boss attack is fired automatically
  • The damage a player will take from the next hit starts out at ½ heart at the beginning of each round, and increases by another ½ heart every 1024 frames, capped at a maximum of 3 hearts. This guarantees that a player will always survive at least two hits.
  • In Story Mode, hit damage is biased in favor of the player for the first 6 stages. The CPU will always take an additional 1½ hearts of damage in stages 1 and 2, 1 heart in stages 3 and 4, and ½ heart in stages 5 and 6, plus the above frame-based and capped damage amount. So while it's therefore possible to cause 4½ hearts of damage in Stages 1 and 2 if the first hit is somehow delayed for at least 5120 frames, you'd still win faster if the CPU gets hit as soon as possible.
  • CPU players will charge up a gauge/boss attack as soon as their gauge has reached a certain level. These levels are now proved to be random; at the start of every round, the game generates a sequence of 64 gauge level positions (from 1 to 4), separately for each player. If a round were to last long enough for a CPU player to fire all 64 of those predetermined attacks, you'd observe that sequence repeating.
    • Yes, that means that in theory, these levels can be RNG-manipulated. More details on that once we got this game's resident structure, where the seed is stored.
  • CPU players follow two main strategies: trying to not get hit, and… not quite doing that once they've survived for a certain safety threshold of frames. For the first 2000 frames of a round, this safety frame counter is reset to 0 every 64 frames, leading the CPU to switch quickly between the two strategies in the first few Story Mode stages on lower difficulties, where this safety threshold is less than 64. The calculation of the actual value is a bit more complex; more on that also once we got this game's resident structure.
  • Section 13 of 夢時空.TXT states that Boss Attacks are only counted towards the Clear Bonus if they were caused by reaching a certain number of spell points. This is incorrect; manually charged Level 4 Boss Attacks are counted as well.

The next TH03 pushes can now cover all the functions that reference this structure in one way or another, and actually commit all this research and translate it into some RE%. Since the non-TH05 priorities have become a bit unclear after the last 50 € RE contribution though (as of this writing, it's still 10 € to decide on what game to cover in two RE pushes!), I'll be returning to TH05 until that's decided.