Final Fantasy VIII Forum  /  New to FF8, have some questions
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Hello, I am brand new to the ff8 speedrun, i've played the game casually many times (it is my favorite FF of all time), and mainly speedrun ff9. I have some probably dumb questions..

Ok so what exactly is the difference between the SS and RTA routes for this game?

What is the difference in the Q/Q+Z card routes?

And finally, to learn the run i'm planning on just watching some of the runs on the leaderboard with the guide(s) pulled up in another page and then try to put it together.

Solid plan? ..or is there a better way to go about this?

Thank you! See you guys on the leaderboard soon!

..oh, and whatsup with French? Is it the fastest language or is ff8 just really popular among the frenchies?


SS vs RTA is kind of an old thing for FF8. There were two routes, one did the Caraway code manipulation with a hard reset and the other went to the Tomb of the Unknown King to get the code, hence Single segment (no reset) and RTA (with reset). Nowadays the distinction is not really needed but some people still care about having a SS time rather than RTA.
Nowadays this applies more to the final party manipulation rather than the Caraway Code manipulation, since there is an easy way to get the Caraway code without resetting and without getting it from the TotUK. The normal party manipulation requires a hard reset before Ultimecia's Castle, but there is also a version which does not do any resets and relies in the same idea as the Caraway code. Therefore, the whole run is doable with Single Segment without drawbacks as long as you know how to do the manips.

Q/Q+Z just means which cards you got, they are short for Quistis and Zell cards. Since Zell card is normally (without manip) very RNG heavy, 10% chance to appear in any single game, a route with only Quistis card was made. There is also a manip for getting Zell Card on the first game, which makes that route superior, but obviously requires you to know the manip once again, and this one is probably the hardest one for beginners to get down correctly.

Having someone else's notes (there's multiple for each route in the Guides section) up while watching a run is a good idea. This way you can also edit them if you think you might need extra stuff or if you find some stuff unnecessary in the notes. Just watching the game in general will actually help you get better in the beginning if you actively try to memorize screens. Playing the game and running it yourself is obviously better since you will get the muscle memory going as well as actually having to think about correct movement, something you don't really do while watching other people play.

French language is roughly 5 minutes faster than the English in the any% run, because the text scrolls faster for whatever reason. This is not something you need to worry about in the beginning as you will likely lose more time than save if you try to switch languages before you know the game well enough. Movement is hands down the biggest factor in getting a decent time, and menus after that. And mostly just Esthar menu, if you can do the Esthar menu mostly in time (before 15:00 on the timer), you're good to go for a sub 7:45 imo, don't even need to know the other menus by heart.

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<3<3<3<3<3<3 tytytytyty

Last question.. when you refer to the manipulation needed to get Zell card, is that the whole using the ruby program with luz's spreadsheet (to track card rng) thingy? or has something else been found?

also go fins!! im 1/8th Finnish myself, would love to see it one day.


yes the Zell card manipulation is the one that involve using Ruby.

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When I started learning FF8 Any% a month or two ago I also sought out these answers and found them elsewhere on this site but having it explained above is good to have. The thread's headline would probably be best to edit to include RTA/SS and Z/Q+Z or "Questions on run terminology.".

I just hit a new pb of 8:02:52 on Windows10 on 11th September so if you happen to be around when I'm streaming FF8 maybe I can answer any questions (or perhaps the chat) live. Sub 8hr is doable but it's going to be touch and go. For the sake of it could anyone shed light on the difference playing on Windows10 makes compared to other OS? I recall someone in my chat, but a known FF8 runner, that Windows10 is capped at 30 fps whereas other OS aren't.

Maybe have an FAQ thread with all these questions would be helpful instead.

OS frame rate
Z vs Z+Q


AFAIK it's only Windows 7 where the FPS is limited to roughly 31.5 instead of the 30.5 (why isn't it 30 Square?!?) that other OSs have. The exact FPS is likely different from machine to machine as well, but differences are much smaller than in FF7 PC for example, where people have FPS of 32-36 depending on their PC.

For this reason we've thought about adding a new category, the way FF7 PC has, for a 30 FPS category that uses a similar fix to cap the FPS of the game at 30 FPS, but there's not been enough interest to warrant the creation of a new category yet. Also, I don't know if anyone has tested the same fix for FF8 and how well it works.

As for having some sort of FAQ, I'll think about it, If anyone else wants to, feel free to make a FAQ post yourself, I can sticky that if it's made well enough.

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Thanks guys, please excuse my ignorance but i'm a little confused about the step counter.. So the point is to avoid an encounter at fisherman's horizon? Whats bad about that encounter in particular?

I understand where I am supposed to walk and everything, (i'm not quite sure how to phrase this) but do all the other screens also require perfect movement to stay up with the step counter?

Like most of the time at the beginning when I run to the fire cavern I get an encounter on the world map. Is that just bad movement?

Also, for fire cavern I see people go into the menu quickly and then exit on the screen before Ifrit. What is the reasoning for this and is there an ideal time to do the fire cavern menu?

Also just to make sure, PC any% is the steam version or the one straight from square?

Thanks guys, apologies in advance if this is not the correct place/way to get the answers to these questions.


This is a perfectly fine place to ask questions, another option is to join the public FF Speedrunning discord. which you can find by googling. You'll have a bit faster response time there.
The original game and the Steam version are the same game, everyone just uses the Steam version.

So there are two types of encounters, world map (WM) encounters and "dungeon" encounters. The world map encounters are still totally random as far as we know and there is no way to minimize the amount of encounters other than just trying to minimize the distance. We do know that running in a forest increases your danger value (once danger value reaches some random value, an encounter is triggered) more than running in the field or beach. For this reason, some people opt to run around the forest when going to the Fire Cavern, but I am not sure that it decreases the chance of an encounter happening.because you also need to run quite a bit further in order to do so. So in short, getting an encounter before the Fire Cavern is random, nothing you can do about it, sometimes you'll even get 2 encounters.

What most people consider a "good World Map" is 2 encounters on the whole before and after Ifrit, so going to the Fire Cavern, going to the beach, going back to Balamb Garden. 3 is probably average and 4 happens often if you get an early encounter. Though what people should focus more, is how many total WM encounters they get. The last place to get a random WM encounter is before going to Deling city, as we learn Enc-None before we have to do any WM movement after that. I think 4-6 encounters is normal, average being 5. 3 at the start, 1 before Laguna Dream (LD) 2 in the forest, and 1 after (before or after entering Galbadia Garden).
Considering each encounter only takes roughly 15 seconds, it's not something you should worry about too much when you're starting out.

So the Step counter is actually quite a complex thing, but in short: We walk in certain places for a certain amount of steps in order to skip an encounter that would otherwise happen. For each section that we walk, we skip one encounter. The FH encounter is an encounter just like any other, it's just the last place where we don't have Enc-None for random encounters.

As for the quick menu open and close, this let's us get further ahead on the step counter. When the screen is fading from black, the step counter is not active for a couple steps so we get a bit of free movement when we do this. For the Fire Cavern it's usually done in order to push back the encounter that happens before Ifrit normally (2 Bats 2 Bombs) because if you end the battle with both Squall and Quistis in critical HP or dead, you will save a bit of time at the start of this encounter. Also doesn't hurt to get a bit ahead of the step counter to ensure that you don't get the FH encounter.
This is the reason the step counter is easy to maintain in FF8, even if your movement is bad as long as you do the steps correctly, you can catch up to the normal step counter with a few menu buffers.

Step counter is not necessary when you're starting out though, and will be impossibly hard to maintain if you don't have a certain level of movement. This will come with experience and time.

In more detail if you're interested:
There is a Step ID, which essentially tracks how many steps you've taken (doesn't relate to actual visual steps in game 1:1).
There is a Danger Value, which increases by 5 for each Step ID that you run, and by 2 for each Step ID that you walk. Resets to 0 once an encounter is triggered. This is the cause for walking a certain amount of steps in order to skip encounters.
There is a Battle Check value, which changes for every Step ID and once Danger Value is higher than BCV, an encounter happens.

So because the BCV is different for each Step ID, and Danger Value increases differently while walking as compared to when you're running, you can walk for a certain amount of Step IDs to skip an encounter. Here's an example:
You are at 0 Danger Value, you are on Step ID 0. Let's say that for each Step ID 0-9 is too high to trigger an encounter (each BCV is higher than 50 for example), but at Step ID 10, the BCV is 48. So you can see if we just keep running the whole time, we will trigger an encounter at Step ID 10 because our Danger Value will be 50 and BCV is 48, but if we walk for 1 Step ID (Doesn't really matter which Step ID we walk in) our Danger Value will be 47 at Step ID 10, thus skipping this encounter.

In order for us to actually benefit from this, it is not enough to just skip an encounter, because otherwise we could have a situation where in Step ID 11 the BCV is low enough to trigger a battle anyway, e.g. 6. In that situation, yes we would have skipped the encounter at Step ID 10, but then we would get an encounter at Step ID 11, whereas with the normal "just run" strategy, we would have gotten an encounter at 10 but NOT at 11, thus resulting in 1 encounter for each strategy.

Sorry for the long posts but I want to provide a certain level of detail instead of just saying "do as the notes say and you'll be fast".

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