- 📝 Posted:
- 🚚 Summary of:
- P0162, P0163, P0164
- ⌨ Commits:
- 💰 Funded by:
- Ember2528, Yanga
- 🏷 Tags:
- rec98+ th01+ gameplay+ player+ shot+ animation+ glitch+ waste+ jank+ unused-
No technical obstacles for once! Just pure overcomplicated ZUN code. Unlike 📝 Konngara's main function, the main TH01 player function was every bit as difficult to decompile as you would expect from its size.
With TH01 using both separate left- and right-facing sprites for all of Reimu's moves and separate classes for Reimu's 32×32 and 48×* sprites, we're already off to a bad start. Sure, sprite mirroring is minimally more involved on PC-98, as the planar nature of VRAM requires the bits within an 8-pixel byte to also be mirrored, in addition to writing the sprite bytes from right to left. TH03 uses a 256-byte lookup table for this, generated at runtime by an infamous micro-optimized and undecompilable ASM algorithm. With TH01's existing architecture, ZUN would have then needed to write 3 additional blitting functions. But instead, he chose to waste a total of 26,112 bytes of memory on pre-mirrored sprites…
Alright, but surely selecting those sprites from code is no big deal? Just
store the direction Reimu is facing in, and then add some branches to the
rendering code. And there is in fact a variable for Reimu's direction…
during regular arrow-key movement, and another one while shooting and
sliding, and a third as part of the special attack types,
launched out of a slide.
Well, OK, technically, the last two are the same variable. But that's even worse, because it means that ZUN stores two distinct
the same place in memory: Shooting and sliding uses 1 for left,
2 for right, and 3 for the "invalid" direction of
holding both, while the special attack types indicate the direction in their
lowest bit, with 0 for right and 1 for left. I
decompiled the latter as bitflags, but in ZUN's code, each of the 8
permutations is handled as a distinct type, with copy-pasted and adapted
code… The interpretation of this
union variable is controlled
by yet another "mode" variable… and unsurprisingly, two of the bugs in this
function relate to the sub-mode variable being interpreted incorrectly.
Also, "rendering code"? This one big function basically consists of separate
unblit→update→render code snippets for every state and direction Reimu can
be in (moving, shooting, swinging, sliding, special-attacking, and bombing),
pasted together into a tangled mess of nested
While a lot of the code is copy-pasted, there are still a number of
inconsistencies that defeat the point of my usual refactoring treatment.
After all, with a total of 85 conditional branches, anything more than I did
would have just obscured the control flow too badly, making it even harder
to understand what's going on.
In the end, I spotted a total of 8 bugs in this function, all of which leave Reimu invisible for one or more frames:
- 2 frames after all special attacks
- 2 frames after swing attacks, and
- 4 frames before swing attacks
Thanks to the last one, Reimu's first swing animation frame is never actually rendered. So whenever someone complains about TH01 sprite flickering on an emulator: That emulator is accurate, it's the game that's poorly written.
And guess what, this function doesn't even contain everything you'd associate with per-frame player behavior. While it does handle Yin-Yang Orb repulsion as part of slides and special attacks, it does not handle the actual player/Orb collision that results in lives being lost. The funny thing about this: These two things are done in the same function…
Therefore, the life loss animation is also part of another function. This is
where we find the final glitch in this 3-push series: Before the 16-frame
shake, this function only unblits a 32×32 area around Reimu's center point,
even though it's possible to lose a life during the non-deflecting part of a
48×48-pixel animation. In that case, the extra pixels will just stay on
screen during the shake. They are unblitted afterwards though, which
suggests that ZUN was at least somewhat aware of the issue?
Finally, the chance to see the alternate life loss sprite is exactly ⅛.
As for any new insights into game mechanics… you know what? I'm just not going to write anything, and leave you with this flowchart instead. Here's the definitive guide on how to control Reimu in TH01 we've been waiting for 24 years:
Pellets are deflected during all gray states. Not shown is the obvious "double-tap Z and X" transition from all non-(#1) states to the Bomb state, but that would have made this diagram even more unwieldy than it turned out. And yes, you can shoot twice as fast while moving left or right.
While I'm at it, here are two more animations from
which aren't referenced by any code:
With that monster of a function taken care of, we've only got boss sprite animation as the final blocker of uninterrupted Sariel progress. Due to some unfavorable code layout in the Mima segment though, I'll need to spend a bit more time with some of the features used there. Next up: The missile bullets used in the Mima and YuugenMagan fights.