Infinite Speed

From Metroid Prime Speedrunning Wiki
Revision as of 18:06, 21 October 2021 by Whiskers (talk | contribs) (→‎Nan Bomb)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Infinite speed (IS), is a misnomer. The effects of this glitch are not due to the number infinity or speed. It is a glitch in which Samus' angular velocity overflows. It causes Samus' morphed shell to disappear, and allows you to "framedrag" - effectively collide with most objects in a room simultaneously, causing strange effects, and allowing you to collect certain items. The exact mechanics by which this occurs are still under investigation. Upon unmorphing, the camera data is corrupted, putting you in "Lightshow." While in lightshow, beams and missiles will not fire correctly, and the screen will be covered with seemingly random triangles. You can still move, and open blue doors using bombs. Lightshow is fixed by any cutscene that reloads Samus' Camera. This is accomplished through most cutscenes, as well as any elevators or save station.

Name Origin

The name was originally coined by Master_ZED, who discovered the trick after some suggestion from Doninss who had originally noted that Samus could get stuck in walls while morphing in rooms she was not correctly transitioned into. It is also referred to some as 'Flickerball' and was the preferred name for a period of time, initially.

Obtaining Infinite Speed

To obtain IS, one must be "stuck" in collision while in morph ball with low enough friction to rotate freely, and then hold the control stick at a very specific angle. The morph ball will then begin to spin rapidly, eventually flickering between two different visual frames of rotation. Here Samus is building angular velocity in Morph Ball exponentially until it overflows to Nan. This takes roughly 45 seconds, and can be confirmed visually when the Morph Ball shell dissappears. This means you now have Infinite Speed.

The places which you can obtain IS usually contain most of the following characteristics:

  1. You will be able to fit as Samus, but not quite fit as morph ball
  2. Tilting the control stick will cause morph ball to rotate very quickly, or not at all, depending on the angle
  3. Two different pieces of vertical collision near each other

In Metroid Prime you can get IS between a box and a wall (for example, in Magma Pool, as demonstrated in the examples below). In all newer versions of the game, the only way to get IS is through Out of Bounds methods.

Using NaN

Nan is a numeric value used in computing. It is undefined and unrepresentable similar to Infinity however they behave differently and are not Interchangeable. Any effects of Infinite Speed are a result of Nan carrying over to other memory addresses. The two primary effects of Infinite Speed are Framedrag and Lightshow. There are a number of other effects, mostly stemming from one of these two primary effects.


Framedragging is the most useful effect of and primary reason for using Infinite Speed. When Framedragging, Samus' transform's position is set to NaN, which causes the collision algorithms to break down as it proceeds down the calculations for the Collision Tree. This usually leads to Samus "colliding" with most active objects in the game simultaneously. How Samus is stuck and where, will change how Samus proceeds through the Collision Tree and can result in different outcomes. Typically Samus will "collide" with every enemies, trigger, and pickup loaded when achieving frame drag. This is most notably useful to pick up certain items that are otherwise unobtainable or to touch multiple triggers simultaneously. It also has several other uses in a TAS setting - triggering elevators and save stations remotely, killing enemies and picking up health drops from a distance, etc.

Framedrag can be triggered in one of the following ways:

  1. Boosting with Boost Ball and running into something
  2. Toggling Spider Ball a few times on a track
  3. Spring Ball (Wii games only)
  4. Bombs (Wii games only)

There are also a few ways of triggering framedrag using cheats:

  1. Obtaining IS while moving
  2. Obtaining IS while unmorphed
  3. Moonjump, under certain circumstances

Nan Bomb

On the frame Samus has Nan position from Framedrag, Samus can lay a Morph Ball Bomb or Power bombs. This will cause the respective bomb to be laid at Nan Position. This essentially will allow the bomb to framedrag as well. This results in it damaging everything at the same time. This can be used to bomb multiple bomb slots simultaneously for example. The easiest way to lay a Nan Bomb is to use Framedrag inside a door to have it close on you. Being stuck inside the door gives you permament Nan Position.


Lightshow is the visual effect caused by unmorphing after obtaining Infinite Speed. During lightshow, the camera's transform's position is set to Nan. This forces the game to try to render from Nan perspective resulting in seemingly random flashing colorful triangles to be drawn across the screen. This makes it impossible to see the game, however Samus can still move around normally. Beams and missiles do not work properly. This is because Samus Arm Cannon is tied to the Cameras position and therefore the Arm Cannon position is also set to Nan. If morphed, bombs and power bombs work normally, and can open the doors they would normally be able to open.

Fixing Lightshow

It is possible to disable both IS and Lightshow while morphed if you unmorph and re-morph in an area with a fixed camera. This can be done with Spider Ball tracks or Morph Ball tunnels or fixed camera perspectives like in Ruined Fountain. Upon unmorphing, the camera will be drawn at Nan again, giving Samus lightshow. To permanently fix lightshow, the Camera must be reloaded. This is accomplished through any cutscene that has a scripted camera or by reloading Samus entirely with a death or elevator.

Nan Cannon

By giving yourself Lightshow, the Cameras position is written to the Arm Cannon's position. This causes projectiles to be fired from Nan which results in most weapons not working. In Metroid Prime, Samus can use Flamethrower with Lightshow to interact with triggers and damage enemies. In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Missiles can sometimes open doors, and have some other strange effects.

Interesting Effects

  • The Map and Visor can be seen with Lightshow, by disabling the Hud Lag in the options menu.
  • In Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, Morphing and Unmorphing with Light Show can make the map unload. Attempting to open then close the map more than once will crash the game.
  • In Metroid Prime 3: Corruption It is also possible to get Nan 'linear velocity which behaves differently with collision than traditional Framedrag. This can be done after Spring Ball jumping into a specific elevator without the use of Infinite Speed. More research is needed in this game.

[Video showing off lightshow, including unmorphing with fixed camera]


[Videos are still needed for these]

  • [MP] Chapel of the Elders (wavesun)

Detailed Mechanics