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Leveling up Nana's 'Reference AI'

Myougi

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Here's how the trick works: Select your character as Ice Climbers in any port, then set your port's status to 'CPU'. Move the slider to whatever level you want to level up Nana too - Level 1 is default, then reselect the Ice Climbers with your port's status still as 'CPU' then go into a loading zone such as the main menu or the Stage Selection screen. You can hold B to go back or just press L+R+A+Start to go back to the main menu. The game now saves that a CPU of whatever level you selected is in your port and when you reenter the Character Selection Screen, your port will still be a CPU Ice Climbers. Now Switch your port's status to 'HMN', and you should have a Nana that is prone to do more attacks depending on the level when she is distanced from Popo.

Here is the basic gist of it: You trick the game into remembering that there is both a player and a level of a cpu in a single slot, making NANA's CPU mode reference the level of the CPU chosen in the same slot.

This is a recently discovered trick by one of my netplay Ice Climbers friends, Aliami. By opening Dolphin in it's debug mode and poking around in the game's memory addresses he found a correlation between NANA (the cpu mode) and the AI level that a CPU is set to in any given port.

Another example of gameplay while the trick is in use:
(Keep your eye on Nana as she Forward-Smashes Shiek, performs a roll to get out of the way of Shiek's Up-Air, and clanks a smash attack with a jab and then grabs and throws)

That's about it. I will edit this post later if needed and I will try to answer questions about it. This is a recently discovered trick so I would like it if other Ice Climbers players would chip in and help me continue to explore this.


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[collapse=Edits/Additions]

Nana's DI differences between levels:​
Directional Influence differences between a level 5 Nana and a level 9 Nana!
If you are worried about either me or Aliami (he helped me with the video :D) crouching affecting Nana's DI, remember Nana can't crouch cancel any attacks. Just watch Nana's DI and ignore the Popos.

Nana Power Shielding a Projectile from Gatoray:​
I know this isn't the best evidence, but someone messaged me on Reddit with this video they personally recorded while experimenting with this trick. Apparently level 9 Nana powershields lasers:

http://a.pomf.se/bjykye.webm

They further explained that Nana does not do this when set to level 1, but provided no video proof. I realize it's not impossible for level 1 CPUs to powershield, only unlikely. But wouldn't the probability of power shields be evident when comparing Nana levels?

EDIT: Really important CPU state stuff from Aliami:​
Looking over that footage leads me to think that Nana will only powershield when she actually 'turns into' a level 9 computer as other people have suggested. From that and my testing in DEBUG mode today I have some information.

Nana will go through multiple CPU modes - she doesn't stay under the CPU mode NANA all the time.
The CPU mode switch is obviously dependent on the situation, but may also be dependent on Popo/Nana's percentage as others have thought. The CPU modes Nana can switch into are NORMAL*, FREAK, DEFENSIVE, COOPERATE, and STAY. The CPU mode FREAK is when a CPU stays put and attacks opponents if they get close to her. This could explain her not running up to people from time to time and only jabbing them when they get close. The DEFENSIVE CPU mode causes Nana to only use defensive moves such as shields and rolls (I think this is what we see in the video). The COORERATE CPU mode causes Nana to walk around and attack without Smashes. This may be what she does when trying to reconnect to Popo.

Let's say Nana is separated from Popo. The first thing Nana will do is try to find a path back to him. If Nana can not find a path to Popo, she goes into the STAY CPU state (Nana goes into the STAY state and not the NOACT state. NOACT CPUs will not try to recover or DI). If Nana does successfully make it back to Popo, she will enter the NANA CPU state - This is the only CPU state in the game that allows her to perform attacks that the player in her specified port command her to do.

If Nana is separated and the game's code sometimes switchers her CPU mode to NORMAL when Popo or her are at a high percent. When in the CPU mode NORMAL, Nana will start mimicking the moves of a 'normal' computer opponent, reading from whatever level is defined in your port from use of the trick. When either Popo or Nana is at a relatively low percent, The game can switch her to other modes like FREAK or DEFENSIVE as we saw in the video. When Nana is seperated from Popo in the video, she went into the FREAK cpu mode and started jabbing. When she was hit with a laser though, she went into the CPU mode DEFENSIVE.

I encourage you to test this out - Play against a level 9 Ice Climbers and spam projectiles at them (Use a space animal and just laser them). Popo+Nana or Popo alone will powershield a bunch of projectiles, but Nana only will when she is feeling threatened when she is alone. Nana will never powershield lasers when she is following Popo or is in any other cpu mode but NORMAL (When she attacks like every other computer and draws data from a level 9) or DEFENSIVE (when she is using shields or rolls).

*edit: It may have been suspected Nana will go into the CPU mode STRUGGLE (this is when a CPU fights like a normal CPU but is not attracted to fighting humans over other cpus) instead of NORMAL at times, but this is not the case; Nana seems to have a tenancy to target humans when other CPUs are in play.

EDIT: Nana's CPU Reference Level Change with her Memory Address:​
[/collapse]
 
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DJ _ICE

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Can you compare a regular nana and this level 9 nana in the same situtation to see if the level 9 acts smarter?
 

DJ _ICE

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Excellent, looking forward to it. This could be a huge gain for Icies everywhere
 

Fishaman P

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From a 5-minute test against a Lv9 Peach, I can confirm that Nana isn't as ******** anymore. Her throw mechanics seem to be the same, so no Brawl-style handoffs. She also doesn't seem to side-B or up-B to recover when alone, which is disappointing. However, Nana did have much smarter getups from the ledge.

This seems promising, but not absolutely game-changing.
 

Myougi

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From a 5-minute test against a Lv9 Peach, I can confirm that Nana isn't as ******** anymore. Her throw mechanics seem to be the same, so no Brawl-style handoffs. She also doesn't seem to side-B or up-B to recover when alone, which is disappointing. However, Nana did have much smarter getups from the ledge.

This seems promising, but not absolutely game-changing.
I don't think there is anything that we can do that would make Nana Solo-Squall (Side-B) on her own. As far as I know NANA (her cpu mode) and the other CPU modes don't have any code that make the characters use any Side-B moves to recover.

And I agree with you, it's not game changing at all. Nana just becomes a little more annoying for opponents to handle. :icsmelee:
 

Tomber

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This is really cool if it's true. However, there are quite a few a rumors around regarding Nana's AI, and I feel this might just come down to some sort of confirmation bias. Furthermore, stuff like this is hard to prove. In those videos you have linked Nana didn't do anything a "normal Nana" couldn't have done.

With that said, it's sounds interesting. I'll do some testing myself.
 

DerfMidWest

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From a 5-minute test against a Lv9 Peach, I can confirm that Nana isn't as ******** anymore. Her throw mechanics seem to be the same, so no Brawl-style handoffs. She also doesn't seem to side-B or up-B to recover when alone, which is disappointing. However, Nana did have much smarter getups from the ledge.

This seems promising, but not absolutely game-changing.
Nothing will change her throw mechanics or ability to recover.
She is coded to always throw towards the ledge if close, or randomly when in center stage. You can abuse her throws near the ledge, but you'll never achieve brawl-style handoffs.

Using solo upB or SideB is also not possible for computer nana, you can see this if you desync and try to use one of these moves as nana. this is also the reason why the game gets confused and will activate a freeze glitch.
So no level of intelligence can affect this.

as far as the original post goes, it's an interesting concept, I think it's worth further testing, but until it is proven via debug or something, I'm skeptical.
It'd be awesome if true though.
But not game changing.
 

Aliami Armador

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When's Nus?
as far as the original post goes, it's an interesting concept, I think it's worth further testing, but until it is proven via debug or something, I'm skeptical.
If 'Debug' you mean simply opening Dolphin in it's debug mode and finding within the game's memory addresses a correlation between NANA and the AI level in the port, then yes it has been proven.

If by 'Debug' you mean decompiling the game's ASM and recompiling it into C so you could physically see the game's code and analyze it line by line, that's near impossible at this point, and in my opinion be more work than needed.

Nana only 'references' AI code from other levels when she is desync'd, and just seems to make her attack more than just stand there blankly as level 1 CPUs tend to do. While this doesn't mean she will never stand there from time to time, it does mean that on average Nana will throw out attacks more and do more precise attacks - For instance my Nana, while desync'd, has powershielded a few of Falco's laser projectiles while using the Melee 20XX hack pack to control P2 to spam lasers. (Thanks for that Achilles).
 

Encephalon Decay

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So to me, the question is now whether or not people will complain about this. It shouldn't make too much difference at high-level play, but around mid-level Nana seems like she'd be notably more capable of defending herself, based on the first video.
 

Encephalon Decay

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My experiences with Nana tells me that she is definitely reacting much more quickly than usual though, in that video. There's typically a lot more delay between her attacks than that (referencing the grab>dthrow>utilt)
 

DerfMidWest

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I don't know, she's done stuff like that plenty of times for me, but w/e.
It can't hurt to just set it up regardless.
 

Encephalon Decay

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I'm also curious about how else this would effect her AI? Meaning: If I recall (And aren't just going crazy), I read somewhere around here that Nana won't do smash attacks until (I think) Popo gets above 50%. Would this change that at all?
 

IceTrain

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As much as I wanna believe, this still seems like conjecture until we can create some solid testing. Hopefull++++
 

Fly_Amanita

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All the rigorous testing I've done so far suggests absolutely no difference. This was all with both ICs at 0%; I still need to get around to testing behavior at higher percentages since that may very well be a factor.
 

Encephalon Decay

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Assuming the "nana won't use smash attacks while popo is under 50%" rule is true, there's definitely some difference: She tossed in a dsmash while I was at 44%. How far this extends, I don't know.
 

Aliami Armador

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Mid-match at DIME 10 I was pitting my Ice Climbers against a Peach and Nana caught two of her Turnips - Both while desynchronized. She ended up throwing one of the turnips downward into the ground, and the other was knocked out of her hands.

One thing that happened during friendlies at DIME: While I was controlling Popo offstage a fellow Yoshi main was retreating back onto stage to edge guard me again after hitting me off, but Nana jumped up and baired him catching him after his double jump making it impossible to recover.

Other than those two instances Nana didn't do any huge game-changing things. She did land a couple random f-smashes as well as got some grabs that I never expected her to get while Popo was away.

All the rigorous testing I've done so far suggests absolutely no difference. This was all with both ICs at 0%; I still need to get around to testing behavior at higher percentages since that may very well be a factor.


There may be some kind of 'trigger' that activates her aggressive side when a certain percent is met. I'll look into this myself, but just reading the thread and going back over some personal instances leads me to believe that this is not the case.

PS - Does anyone know if there is a way we can decompile a Melee ISO's ASM code and convert it into something a little more manageable like C? My efforts on this have failed, but It would make testing this (and other aspects of the game) far easier.
 
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Gatoray

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FYI, PBJ just mentioned this trick a few minutes ago during the M2K vs Wobbles winners finals set at Low Tier City 2.

I suggest someone really takes this apart scientifically, because if it's true, its legitimacy can't be left as just a rumor. Is there a way to set up a TAS and see if it desyncs if you change the level of Nana? Or someone needs to find and record proof in real time of the memory address actually changing or something.
 

DerfMidWest

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dammit PBnJ....
going around talkin bout bull**** as usual.
but yeah, this doesn't seem to be more than wishful thinking.

the nana only using smash attacks over 50% is more of a general rule. there are exceptions, because she's weird.
Generally, if you're around 50%, she's more likely to do it.
 

Gatoray

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Yeah. I was always under the impression that the Nana AI was separate from every other CPU AI, especially since she is programmed to try to reconnect with Popo.
 
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Aliami Armador

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Here is the got footage of what was described earlier in one of my previous posts.
Skip to 24 seconds in to see Nana run up and F-Smash Fox after Popo dies.
Skip to 1 minute in to see Nana follow up Popo's Back throw with a D-Smash.

Also, I talked with Wobbles at LTC2, and he confirmed to me that he has noticed his Nana is DI-ing much more.
If you watched LTC2, I played friendlies against PBnJ on stream with a level 9 nana and she hit an up smash to kill his Fox.



Is there a way to set up a TAS and see if it desyncs if you change the level of Nana? Or someone needs to find and record proof in real time of the memory address actually changing or something.
I've been talking to Myougi via PMs and we're going to do a demonstration video later regarding how differently Nana acts when her CPU level is changed from 1 to 9.

The memory address for Nana's CPU mode is 0x0048082f, and I'm creating a video right now of it changing. I can set up a TAS later if it's really needed.

Edit: Video's done. Took me a minute or two to do with SnagIt.


Yeah. I was always under the impression that the Nana AI was separate from every other CPU AI, especially since she is programmed to try to reconnect with Popo.
Nana does have her own AI, known in the game's iso as 'NANA'. It was programmed to reference other AI levels when she is away from Popo and near opponents.
 
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kelots

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has everyone been testing with level 9's only? wonder if DI changes at lower levels - like how if you combo a level 9 it DI's in but AI levels 3-7 can be more varied?
 

Gatoray

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I've been talking to Myougi via PMs and we're going to do a demonstration video later regarding how differently Nana acts when her CPU level is changed from 1 to 9.

The memory address for Nana's CPU mode is 0x0048082f, and I'm creating a video right now of it changing. I can set up a TAS later if it's really needed.
That is really interesting, but I wish you would have recorded the value when you switch from CPU to Human and enter a game. It's annoying me, but I guess I'll just have to trust you.

I tried doing this trick myself, but I didn't really see any major difference. What I did was compare level 1 and level 9 Nana's behavior on FD and purposely tried to get desynced and separated from Nana so she would fight against a CPU on her own. Maybe I didn't really understand the functionality of a lone Nana AI, but nothing really stuck out as different between the two levels, she still seemed like a dunce throwing random Fsmashed and Dsmashes when she felt threatened, but mostly either did nothing or tried to reconnect with Popo.
 

Myougi

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Directional Influence differences between a level 5 Nana and a level 9 Nana!
If you are worried about either me or Aliami (he helped me with the video :D) crouching affecting Nana's DI, remember Nana can't crouch cancel any attacks. Just watch Nana's DI and ignore the Popos.
 
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Gatoray

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Ok, I'm sold. Geez, Melee will never die will it? How many more things are there to discover?
 

kelots

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Sigh... shared this thread on the local facebook group and instantly one of the guys wants it banned -_-

His statements (paraphrased):
- If you don't make a rule banning/allowing it then players will call it cheating and a TO will have to sort it out
- Setting it up wastes time

While he admitted that he doesnt think it will make any difference, his closing statement was: "Manipulating your character outside of the game (i.e the match itself) to change its performance via a bug doesn't seem like something that will be allowed in tournament play."

Any thoughts on legality? or any reason why this would be banned? :/

#freeiceclimbers
 
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Myougi

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Any thoughts on legality? or any reason why this would be banned? :/
First off, setting it up is not an issue. It can't be. It takes less than a few seconds, and you can be discussing stage strikings while doing it.

In my mind, the trick should be legal. I've talked with some friends about this, and I think we all believe that you give as much as you get:
The only time Nana starts will try to attack is when she is desync'd from Popo. that said, an opponent would have an easier time killing her if the climber player is playing with the two desync'd. Nana would die much earlier when she is being played desync'd, especially with a Level 9 Nana's lack of random DI.

Though the trick is not revolutionary, it might effect tournament play. For all we know Nana could get the last stock off somebody and make the Icies player win the match. The chances of that happening are almost zero to none. As I said, Nana's kind of easier to kill, so Nana herself getting damage every now and then or a KO once in a blue moon would make up for it. Also, with Icies fighting Doc for the eighth spot on the Melee tier list, this small buff would do nothing more then boost them up a slight little bit.

I think the final say should be up to the TOs, but my vote is to legalize it in tournament.
 
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FlamingForce

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Though the trick is not revolutionary, it might effect tournament play. For all we know Nana could get the last stock off somebody and make the Icies player win the match.
She can pull that stunt on any AI level tho.
 

Fortress | Sveet

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I was under the impression that nana's DI was affected by your control stick if she was in range. Your DI test is very unscientific.
 

SpongeJordan

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What is the TO going to do about it though? "You went back to the main menu for a moment? RESTART THE SETUP!" Although wouldn't that still remain anyways?

*edit* I guess put in the rules "Level 1 CPU Nana only" or something. Still though
 
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Kezzup

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Question: After you perform the trick, will it work for all matches following as long as you don't quit out at the CSS, or do you have to re-do it every time a match finishes?
 

Little Nemo

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I was under the impression that nana's DI was affected by your control stick if she was in range. Your DI test is very unscientific.
The fact Nana DIs very different every time means your impression is wrong. But I assumed the same till I saw this thread.
I am fine with it being legal. I don't see why making a character who is not the best a little bit better is a bad thing.
 

SpongeJordan

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Question: After you perform the trick, will it work for all matches following as long as you don't quit out at the CSS, or do you have to re-do it every time a match finishes?
I believe it'll remain until changed, because its not like CPUs level reset back to level 1 at the end of a game.
 

FlamingForce

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A ban honestly sounds borderline impossible to enforce, nothing stopping an Icies player from making a swift 2 second adjustment before his opponent arrives.

Hell someone could do it before another icies player arrives and put him in danger of blame if I understand the process correctly.
 
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Fly_Amanita

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While the first several of my impromptu DI tests suggested no real difference (at least not strongly, as Nana appeared to be going along the same general trajectories either way; possibly not with the same odds, though), the last one I did did suggest something.

I go to Hyrule, have ICs back roll into the right side of the little pillar that is near the left end (the one with a drop-throughable platform, which ICs are on), have a Fox walk past ICs until ICs stop moving then back roll to the right, have ICs back roll into the wall again, have Fox double jab, have ICs crouch, and then have Fox laser ICs until they're at 100% (I did this weird set-up for the sake of being consistent and for the sake of making sure the lasers were hitting ICs the same way every time). I then have Fox roll to the left end of the bottom area, then roll to the right once (without ICs in the vicinity), then have ICs do the same thing, then wait until Fox stops moving, have Fox roll to the left of ICs, then have him fully charge an fsmash to the right while ICs crouch.

With both level 1 and level 9 AIs, Nana would frequently hit a particular part of the ceiling, then bounce back into the lower area and land around the sloped area in the bottom right. However, there was very little deviation in this with the level 1, whereas the level 9 AI usually flew into the tunnel in the upper right part of the bottom area, which I never observed the level 1 AI do.

I can grind out numbers later, and probably will since this is the first thing I've done that strongly suggests* any real difference.

* I did notice more consistency with when Nana would break out of grabs at higher percentages at level 9 than at level 1, but nothing I'd confidently assert as significant.
 
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