SDA Logo

Playing through games quickly, skillfully and legitimately.



[Game List] [Features] [Submissions/Contact] [FAQ] All Languages
[Live Streams] [Quake] [Knowledge Base] [Games Done Quick] [SDA Forum] Facebook Twitter

Saturday, July 2, 2022 by LotBlind

"Spies Spilling into the Speakeasy! Split those Sparsely Spaced Spurious Spelunking Speciesists into Splattery Spareribs!"

(yeah, that's about what the character limit in the title is)

"...but then sometimes the tentacles come back and disrupt your dragon from breaking the magic door down."

Oh sorry, we're just enjoying a casual conversation about Bullfrog's Dungeon Keeper with a man known as 1:50:34. He's just mined through its delightfully depraved 20-level gold seam, as it seams, in only '12114''s time and so I thought I'd spend a minute breaking ITS magic doors down like it's a cube of undisrupted earth and I'm a possessed level 3 Imp with a handprint on my butt. Yeah, there's some things to unpack here.

Dungeon Keeper you either know or you don't. Well, okay, you might have come across its sequel, Dungeon Keeper 2. That would give you a good idea. Or you may have strayed into the two Evil Genius games. That would give you an idea. Or you might have seen its massively popular DIY sequel, War for the Overworld. And that one would give you a pretty good idea again plus I hear it's dope. What none of them can boast is the awe-inspiring originality at Bullfrog's ground zero. If you look for games where you're driven to the sudden suspending realization (like Nazi David Mitchell) that you may actually be clasping distinctly the wrong end of the playtime squabble, let alone ones where you've had it hammered in crystal-clear from the kick-off, you'll find... well, SOME examples prior to the June 24th 1997 launch of Dungeon Keeper. There's a city-storming gorilla cabinet called Rampage having appeared at the arcades in the eighties; there's the first Wario Land ('warui' meaning 'bad' in Japanese); there's the callously carnivorous Carmageddon birthed just a few days before today's subject; and I won't knock the walls down looking for more counter-examples because in its own subgenre of dungeon management games, it's very much the very first anyway, and past that has an ambience that felt entirely unburrowed from anyone else's atmosphere, barring one arranged by a shrewd player himself! (it's one of what must be a meager handful of games that you can literally make play your own selection of ambient sounds at runtime)

It was also the last Peter Molyneux game unadulterated by Peter Molyneux as we now know him. What's inside the cube? Just hot air, I'm afraid. At least he learned his lesson.

One of the things you definitely WILL need the landlord's (i.e. Lord of the Land's in this game's parlance) permission to knock walls down in a desperate scrabble for is earlier games that combined, more or less completely seamlessly and successfully, a first-person view and a top-down third-person view of the nefarious proceedings in your little evil petting zoo. And perhaps even more amazingly, both view modes approximate equally important in a speedrunning context as well, so you'll get to see it first-person! And third-person! First hand! Speaking of, the "Hand of Evil" is a special evilution on the mouse cursor that goes beyond what innocuous itches Windows 3.1 desktop toys ever could scratch. A lengthy spiel of all this game's innovations is unnecessitated by the newcomer notes already nested into the numeral man's run comments, which deliver a tale of petty-no-doubt yet reproducing rivalry with the long-time uncontested 'zoonel'. If for any reason you'd like to see what the page looked like for a dozen years before this update, here's an archived copy. Those are always available, by the way.

The time improved by in a game waterlogged in slowly sauntering scrappy scripts overflows 4 whole minutes following a recipe of pain, pain, spam, eggs, sausage and pain. Both for the runner and his undeserved underserved underearth under... serfs in desperate need of unionization (for which I produce this verbatim quote: "I don't want a hatchery*, it would slash my workshop productivity by a lot." *THAT'S WHERE ALL THE FOOD COMES FROM) Amidst the multivaried spec tech the most exotic sight is seen in level 11, which despite its full-on carved-in-granite bank vault -esque timer is accelerated from "quick as laws of nature will allow" to "just a little quicker than that", an effect only robbers whose gruff gunpointing skills are one-pixel sharp can hope to elicit. Mission 17 is the same but even longer, more drunken and slobbier. Shows the human side, methinks. With those two records robbed as well, there is nothing stopping 12114 from gaining on his antagonist across each and every segment.

Past that, this update also stars more of those steely Jurassic megafauna -alikes on an inward bound stampeding trajectory. Having dipped his toes into the well-maintained (pun unintended) SDA watering hole with the expansion run from an update ago, 'PROX' even less hygienically dives in deep with two more for its Mama, MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat. The format is intent ILs this time around, both for the screechin' Jade Falcon campaign in 0:27:52 and the howlin' Wolf one in 0:29:40. The Jade Falcon clan mascot, a suchly colored bird of prey, is of lesser stature so compensates by clutching that clichéd katana everywhere it goes (guaranteed bully repellent, kids!). The Wolf clan's mascot... well it's just a wolf ainit? It's a six-star wolf. That converts to between 2 and 3 Michelin stars, reflecting on its standards for fine dining venues; keep your local wolfdom well-gourmandized and they won't bother with your sinewy Sapiens. Both campaigns feature heavily in missions clichédly katana'd short – or ferally fanged as the case may be – with oracle-like precognition of where the critical targets are to be crossed paths with. Or just guessing till it goes right. Or looking at the map. DUNNO, they fast tho.

Compared to the single-segment run from before, it's largely the same, only more violent. We're still sniping dormant enemy mechs who forgot to plant hands on their heads to show they're not actively LARPing. We sometimes enter the poly-counting view mode again to mock the establisment game industry and its dull devotees with their insatiate infatuation with the graphics gimmick. We're still min-maxing mech-mounted munitions such as the llascivious LLASER, the mllow MLASER and the outright slly SLASER. (Make a splash with the SPLAS!) In the one big "auto-stroller" of the Wolf campaign, PROX perks it up with the best dance moves a military man in make-believe-mammalian mail can muster. So not that good, better skip it and go back to yer M.J. videos or Singing in the Rain or something to that effect. Nobody liked the dancing, PROX. Nobody.

To save face, PROX reasoningly resurrected this old concept with another TAS-timing speedrun if you're a gourmand like the wolves and missed that waffle-thin mint to round off your relished repast. Those mints... they never go wrong...

Wednesday, March 30, 2022 by LotBlind

Sniff 'em out, Snuff 'em out, Stuff 'em Stiff (and hang them on your wall)

A random and completely pointless observation I made watching 'PROX''s inaugural incursion into MechWarrior 2: Ghost Bear's Legacy is that sometimes these super-spiffy fully customizable upright tank-mobiles freeze in motion and are left standing on one mechanical foot like some sorta servoed seagull. A clockwork avian? No problem with the right kind of gyroscope built in, and a ho-hum ol' gyroscope ain't gonna make a hard-hitting farsighted sci-fi universe sweat one beadful. A hard-hitting farsighted sci-fi universe will make ME sweat like the back walls of refrigerators, though, by encompassing (being encompassed by?) over one hundred hard-hitting novels. So excuse me while I be shallow on the topic of what it's actually about.

One part that's obvious just from the beelinin' 0:29:19 run is that in this hard-hitting realm, everyone's cleanly cut into clans none of which welcomes being pushed around. Death before dishonor is an everyday reality during planetary system –spanning battles and doubly so in-between them. You'd think all the gore-splattered hard-hitting military steel would have an equally unyielding counterpart in cliffs and cave walls meeting any attempts of transgression with stiff rejections and gruff ejections... Yeah, when you have a bug oh-hey-look-what-we-forgot-to-include-in-the-manual that acts exactly like a no-clip cheat code would, you know the run isn't going to look quite the same! Aside from craven confinement to the mindless mores of physics, PROX averts, in his single-segment easy difficulty run, both of said death and dishonor in the main campaign missions to earn an entry into the fateful "Bloodname trials": bonus brawls where all but one must fall.

As an aside, you'll notice there's some traces left of artifacting PROX was struggling with when it's in the wireframe view mode. If you see anything similar in one of your recordings, try increasing the bitrate, which seems to have been key to get this run up to par.

Sam 'Samtastic' Locke strikes again, continuing to give more reasons to refresh the Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee tab in your browser. Today's offering is one of the large skips and deaths category, as fast as fast gets at 0:08:57, but how fast is this new fast vis-à-vis the old fast? The new in-game timing method continues to obfuscate things so a stiff upper limit to that is the best I can bestow, which is 1 minute 14 seconds. So it's less faster than that. Got it? Sam's touch is light and measured, leaving the viewer with at least the immovable impression of flawless execution. That combines with some new diagonal bee stuff that's alluded to in the comments.

We've talked about this game quite a lot in recent years so I think I'll leave it at that... well, why not throw in the uncut version of that Ars Technica interview with Lorne Lanning (one of the two founders of Oddworld Inhabitants) uploaded in 2020. He's quite the gripping raconteur and there's parts that non-fans too might find somewhat stimulating. So that's how you get in with the ladies!? Now where did I stuff that old Pong cabinet?

Nextly and lastly, we've got a cousin at most once removed of Serious Sam's. It's Earnest Evans in his similarly titled adventure that plots a firm second data point into the graph showing an inverse correlation between stiff-lipped names and the stiffness of the lips themselves. I burst into a well good guffaw seeing what fell out of this particular envelope. The sender was none other than our Evans veteran Phillip 'ZELLLOOO' Shanklin himself and it's a sub-1-second amendment down to 0:08:33.15 for a game that, by the sounds of it, effectively randomizes your whole speedrun for you. More importantly, it's what he believes will remain his quietus in the reliquary of quick absquatulations, which is a made-up-sounding word that means "fleeings". Because are games not escapism all round? Thanks as well for the Doom 64 and Mega Man Network Transmission runs over the years ZEL! They never disappointed.

In case you hadn't beheld it yet, Earnest Evans is one of those sights apt to being done that with. My ten-word summary of the protagonist might come to something like "profane crossbreed of Indiana Jones and the reptile he despises". Whatever the inspiration for the eldritch sinusoidal motions, that inspiration needed to be reserved for things like Contra bosses. Even the whip is better clutched by Terrence, the Underworld Lord from Area 8 in Blaster Master. What, you didn't know he was called Terrence? Evans should have all his limbs amputated and be repurposed as a bowling ball and/or pin. Or just one of those boulders he's getting harassed by. That's kind of rough but... no I'll give you that's rough. Poor Evans.

Sunday, March 13, 2022 by LotBlind

Blind Guessing #2: Volunteering pt. 1

Last time's post, which I felt my duty to post about at least somewhere else as well, obviously resulted in a great big cackle... speedrunners are a sub-type of gamers after all, and few games train you in the finer points of interlocution. There was a great heap about what the post DIDN'T say and not a heck of a lot on anything it DID say, unless it was to take offense at it. Sound familiar? Now that doesn't quite summarize the totality of the emerging chatter and I would love to take another look at the less odious comments later. As an unpaid volunteer, diving into lengthy discussions doesn't always feel hugely rewarding, doubly so if it's with people who won't give you an inch of that benefit of the doubt slack. Seriously, please read at least the phrase's dictionary definition. You don't have to agree with what someone is saying, but you should try to remember miscommunication is often a two-man show. There are so many situations where the fools will rush to connect dots in the only way they know how to, forgetting we come from different angles and my truth (what's important or likely to come to mind for me) can differ wildly from yours. That doesn't make me, or anyone here, insincere.

Speaking of unpaid volunteers – and the tautology notwithstanding – what I do want to dive into in a few of these haphazard "BG" columns is just that: what, if anything, has happened to volunteering through SDA's history, and in society as a whole. What especially ties the topic to SDA is the number of cries echoing in its metaphorical hallways about how "SDA had the HR to pull it off, but IT JUST DIDN'T WANT TO", about 5 to 8 years ago let's say. "Pull it off" here means "stay relevant", of course. You don't know what "stay relevant" means? Me neither... Just exactly how many users doing what exactly is enough to have "stayed relevant" is anyone's guess. We might be talking about stuff like making all the obsoleted runs directly accessible (currently you have to go to archive.org, stick in the URL and most of the time the run you wanted will be there, but it's a semi-chore and not everyone will realize it's possible); like changing the appearance in this way or that; like adding mobile support (but people spend too much time on their phones already as we're going to establish later); like what many people, self-evidently, wanted to see: those full-blown leaderboards that ended up emerging on speedrun.com. But even making it more apparent what kinds of tasks are available for volunteers, and then explaining how to do them... requires a volunteer to do that.

Here's what it seems to look like from the outside (source):

"Make [the site] responsive to volunteers. Every single time there's a thread about the future of SDA, people come out of the woodwork to volunteer. Don't give me this lack of manpower jazz. There's manpower. There's simply no leadership to take advantage of it, and there hasn't been since Uyama moved on. There are people willing to put in many hours for this site.  Find the next ktwo, and the next, and the next, and you'll work wonders for SDA."

Here's what it seems to look like from the inside:

"no one ever does anything. that goes for people coming from outside who had never submitted a run. the more successful track seems to have been people like mike uyama or dex or ua who were submitting runs and then got roped into doing site updates and sometimes even more. –– afaik that rule about outsiders versus insiders hasn't changed since the very beginning. at least as far back as 2008 i remember having high hopes for people coming in from outside and redesigning stuff and it never happened. eventually i became 100% skeptical but i didn't let it stop me from dumping info on new people since you never know."

If you want a sample of the kind of pain inherent in developing sites like this, you can head on over to this thread. As I understand, DJGrenola was a keen web developer and "dreamer of dreams" (more tautology notwithstanding) over on SDA for a substantial while, obviously quite skilled in his art. While his pet project, "SDA 2.0", ended short of tangible fruition with, as I gather, healthy helpings of burnout and disillusionment in the mix, early users knew him well for the updates he posted, which were done at a time when none of the relative luxury us pun[n]y whipporsnappxors are cod[dl]ed with could help you cut any corners (quote). Back then, to cut anything, you started from the raw bit porridge of the untamed wilds (more tautology there, by Jove what a hack I am). Grenola was basically an American Pioneer of Freedom of the kind that doesn't misappropriate native spaces, just like all the OGs around here are, carrying the torch (first having made it of course) through what I fully accept were "the Dark Times" (quote). The site as you see it today was ultimately coded by radix, nate, gammadragon, UraniumAnchor, dex and anyone who's not on that list but ought to be. To get a site like this up-and-running, then keep it up-to-date with Stone Age equipment towers above coming along later to write a few updates when someone else paid those 4000 food and gold to boost you right into the Imperial Age with all those blast furnaces, block prints and... umm... hand cannoneers.


SDA Queue v. 3SDA Queue v. 3


"the site backend is a deceptively difficult problem. it's not enough to know software and database design. you have to also enjoy week after week of thankless grunt work importing data since no one who volunteers ever actually does that work."

Of course the bit porridge is not the only kind of raw materials. It's just the least visible... and also the most visible, actually. After beaching at this palmy resort in and around 2012 on one of the giant waves launched by the earth-shaking early GDQ marathons, my first acts of recompense were in verifications. I was drawn to those since I got to use my critical thinking and creativity which I found could even trump those of the runners' in many cases, despite my apparent ignorance on the subject matter (most games aren't rocket science). The next frontier was these front page updates. At some point I started doing that dread PRC as well (that's when you look over a fully encoded run's A/V one more time before release, which used to be very arduous before certain later concessions). And finally, in 2016, I was knighted Sir LotBlind the Tautologous to take over retiring moooh's seat for gamepage duty, the shouldering of which was something it took probably half a year to say I was feeling anything like comfortable doing.

Now here's a paragraph all about hands! By that time, I had already taken charge of the front page as well by virtue of my delicate scribe's hands. Behold the mystique of fecundity! The feduncity of mystique! Like check this out: What's first thrown up, then thrown up again, only to be thrown up once more if it's NEITHER lutefisk NOR haggis? By the time I'd settled into that Round Table seat, I had started to pick up on those same gestures in prospective volunteers' hands: first they're raised up to show interest, then they're thrown up as a sign of defeat, then they're stuck high in the air again at the party they figured they'd rather hit. Let me be clear here. Are you listening and taking notes? I'm talking about 90+% of all volunteers that have approached me or a colleague on the two websites I've worked for. You handshake with enthusiasm, you talk them through some hand-picked options for what they could be doing, you make sure to hear out their own preferences, you hand them something seemingly quite easy-to-hand-le, you hold their hand over that initial hump with your handy advice... and then you're left empty-handed, time and time again. And that makes it a net LOSS of resources given the time off your own hands. I've tried being more hands-on with these "helping hands". I've tried being more hands-off too (though I admit as a fast typist, I tend to exuberate, if only in the name of giving a lot to go on, also what does "case in point" mean?). I've tried to ask them if they prefer simpler mechanical handiwork or to be given free hands. I'm handsome.

"you might think with thousands of people visiting the site, you would feel like your work was more appreciated. well, yes and no. i've noticed that some people are better than others at focusing on the positive. when you do all this work updating the site and then people file into the forum to start complaining about a million tiny things being wrong, or not how they prefer them, it gets discouraging. you wonder 'i did all this work? for these assholes?'"

What's that? Oh, so that's what "case in point" means? Thanks! Well in that case, allow me to share just one such individual occurence with you. I want to preface this by saying I'm NOT here to pick on anyone and I'm only using this particular example because it's fresh in memory and particularly illustrative. Not long ago, I was contacted by an archivist. Does Speed Demos Archive... actually have any use... for an archivist? Why yes, turns out it does! Here's an abridged and slightly paraphrased but accurate-in-spirit retelling of the tale:

2020-12-18, them:

"I'm a trained archivist, with a vested interest in speedruns. I'd love to help however I can."

2020-12-19, me:

"What kind of time commitment are you thinking of and do you think your situation is likely to change?"

2020-12-19, them:

"I could conceivably do 14–20 hours per week, two to three hours a day. My situation is not likely to change. SDA and GDQ have given me a lot over the years in terms of entertainment and joy so I'm just happy to be able to give something back if you guys are in need.

2020-12-21, me:

"14–20 hours is a lot already! I hope you're not burning yourself out."

Then I write three paragraphs about an overdue task that looked spot-on for their skillset. The message ends with: "Do these in whatever order seems smartest, and at your own pace."

2020-12-21, them:

"I was looking for something to do over Christmas break and this works out perfectly. I'm just someone who likes to stay busy, I don't know what to do with myself sometimes if I don't have enough things that I'm working on. This is fun work, trust me. I'm going to start working through point A, that shouldn't take me long, maybe a day or two." (In hindsight, this starts to sound an awful lot like I was getting trolled the golly gee out of, but I don't think that's ever been the case.)

2020-12-22, me:

"Sounds great! Keep us updated..."

Fast forward a few weeks.

2021-01-02, them:

"You know, this is actually harder than..."
"It looked good until...
"There are some problems with..."

Now those three highlights from their post-holiday status report are an incomplete summary to be sure. They do represent the only parts of the message with any obvious explanatory power, however. With 14–20 hours a week, it having been over a year now, we expect to see some incredible progress along this particular archive-o-logical roadmap, right? Like we should have the whole archive archived in an archive so we can archive while we archive, no? And not just some scattered notes on what its present state is and a couple of links, right? Right?

I want to be extra super crispy clear, I'm not barking up this person's tree here. Things probably didn't go the way they intended either. I don't know what the reasons are they had a change of heart/circumstances (hit by lightning for all I know) and I'm not about to start speculating. Not in this update or about any individual cases. We're only going to be happy to see them back if ever this should transpire and we can resume where we left off, no hitches. I included this story here because it demonstrates so usefully why the part that's publically visible (well, not in this specific instance), the first of those three ritualistic manual up-thrusts, is necessary... yet almost completely meaningless. And that concludes today's lesson.

(The unmarked quotes are from nate.)

Friday, January 14, 2022 by LotBlind

The Fore and the After

The slow but steady upheaval of our Project I.G.I.: I'm Going In page continues today with a 12-second betterment of Mission 10, the mission with the objective to defend mah boy Priboi. Прибой! Which is a town in Serbia, and a word meaning 'surf'. Waves like. But not here, here it's mah boy, the same we needed to "get" just back in Mission 6. What you needed to realize about this mission is that Priboi is not only unseemly needy, but also very much set in his ways and only makes a move when the mission timer reaches certain fixed values. (Almost like there's... a... plan?) And so there's a lot of bottle-necking during which you just need to clear off all the rubber-necking... scumheads. At certain moments, though, it's evidently best to act with alacrity and Minority Report -level forethought, and that's what 'OdDzBall' wishes to educate us in with this 4:25 that drops the ILs table to 0:39:02.

Continuing on the theme of education, wanna be that little bit more of a pro in your hasty hobby? When you start looking into a PC game, get out yer Cheat Engine or the like, wait till gameplay starts and search for a 4-byte value. At first just search for anything that's above 0. Then look for increased values. Repeat until you find something that keeps ticking up and resets to zero if you start a new game. If you're struggling, you can also try pausing the game and searching for unchanging values now and then. There's a chance you'll strike gold with a memory value that stores a timer the game uses to run all its systems punctually. Now you just plug it into your Livesplit or whatever and you're automatically cutting out loading times and so giving everyone a level playing ground.

Now, that's not necessarily going to sail as smoothly as I'm sirening you to think here but either way, it might have been through a similar process that allowed the run time of 0:35:55 to exist, seeing as the two first Oddworlds are now being in-game timed with confidence. Well, that and all the new tricks implemented by Sam 'Samtastic' Locke. The specific context here is the Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee any%, no tricks no gimmicks (as much as that ever applies to a speedrun), minutes faster but a little unwieldy to compare to the old run directly owing to this new timing method.

Lastly Super Smash Bros. Melee has one of our very most ancient pages, with even the extant version sporting one run from 2003 and the majority of them from just a year later. The updates since the earliest filling in of ILs tables (including the 10-Man Melee one in the spotlight today) have been scant but today we see some tonic splashed around courtesy of Michael Brancato. 11 times of 25 get flipped like a house, with 3.18 seconds worth of home renovation, an average of 0.29 s per character (that's a 0.29 s that whops, mind you), bringing the whole table from 0:02:58.76 to 0:02:55.58. You can picture this submission on a meta level as an 11-man-melee against the old runs, them getting punted into the pernicious "up too high" that seems to be the doom of many these phantasmal fighters.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021 by LotBlind

Blind Guessing #1: The State of Play on SDA

One of the big upsides of having something of a lull in submissions is I've finally managed to pull off writing one of the several articles whose topics keep crossing my mind, which I've decided to call "Blind Guessing", to liven up the front page. Honestly we're still all about quality on this site so we'd much rather take less incoming runs but all of them passing with flying colors rather than a lot of iffy stuff that hardly punches through the whatever you call the tape suspended at the finish line of some running events. And that quality is a function of the run commentary as well. So let's address the topic of SDA's waning "relevance" (hard to find a word more steeped in soggy individualism). There are a lot of constituting factors given here in a haphazard order:

  1. Elaine Marley's election slogan is laconic but irrefutable: "When there's only one candidate, there's only one choice." If you wanted your run up on the Internet somewhere, for a long time for the great majority of games, SDA was it. Just because everyone was sending their runs over doesn't mean they were in any way subscribed to SDA's deeper philosophy or even aware of or in agreement about what it should be exactly (it was something that evolved over time and in part out of sheer pragmatic reasons). This goes for a lot of stuff in life. You can find threads on the forum brimming with displeasure all through the times. You can't have what SDA does without a greater amount of effort from both the runners and site volunteers, so now when easier alternatives to just plop it out there exist, it's not really a big statement to stop doing it the more complicated and slow way, with another big delay before publication, if you never appreciated any of the benefits it might have brought along with it. BTW: The same applies in equal measure to finding high-quality runs to watch – that was similarly an SDA monopoly once, although compared to a randomly selected run on any site with no specific standards to aim for (and especially if you care at all for clean audio/video and some helpful commentary), it still is! Just not on as large a scale I suppose.
  2. Ever since the marathons broke off from SDA (which I understand was inevitable due to the increasing complexity and workload of organizing bigger and bigger events, and whatever else), not only did a lot of the staff go with them (I don't know how many would have stayed without the marathons but we may assume some would) meaning less manpower to continue developing the site, but also SDA stopped getting regular shout-outs anywhere in particular. None of the current staff is particularly oriented that way either, to any greater degree than I am. When something stops being marketed, it starts being forgotten about. Even when newcomers become aware of SDA, it's often in a somewhat negative light because they're asking on sites other than SDA itself where people who've been around long enough to have anything to say about SDA at all, obviously, will be ones who have made the choice to stop using it (I suppose some small part use both). Or the information they're getting isn't sufficient to understand why some people see it as the "gold standard" to quote someone from not long ago.
  3. Relatedly, when someone finally took the initiative to launch Speedrun.com, it was obviously far better-suited for what it was specifically designed for: mainly leaderboards and active competition in single-segment runs. SDA is for single "ambassador" runs prepared for the benefit of those masses of people who aren't interested enough in a particular game to go out of their way to look for those "random runs" for it elsewhere like YouTube, which in many cases are very much just a work-in-progress at best. SDA wasn't ever amazing at constant updates of the game pages with each passing WR, which in some cases drop far too often. To submit a run on SDA is an act of extroversion (and altruism) that contradicts the generally introverted Discord servers etc. around a particular game.
  4. Popularity breeds popularity. YouTube isn't a gazillion times more popular than DailyMotion or whatever comes second because it's a gazillion times better by any other metric. It's mainly because it's THE site. What led to that situation is another matter. Of course being THE anything means you tend to have the resources to keep streamlining and improving your system, even if it's just more volunteers. Things tend to become self-fulfilling prophecies in a situation where decisions are made on anything other than principles, which don't seem to be of the essence these days in case they sometime were.
  5. Because independent communities became more commonplace, more commonly the advantages of SDA's universal rules started to be lost. They're not visible until you start zooming out and thinking about games as a whole. Why should one community make arbitrary decision X and another arbitrary decision Y when we have a tradition of going with X by default? And wouldn't more people participating in the discussion have more wisdom on the matter to begin with? (Here's a thread serving as an example of that.) Long story short, our rules aren't really even very often at odds with what communities are doing anyway (which in turn might be partly inherited from SDA, either that or they're just very natural rules to have), and whenever they are, we tend to have an argument that's not just "this is what the community decided". I have a big bone to pick with the words "the community". That tends to be an argument by popularity (and doesn't mean everyone who's not just sheepishly tagging along agrees with it anyway) which is a primary culprit in all kinds of harmful status quos. I know that SDA's argument is, to a large degree, an argument by tradition and thus in a similar camp on paper, but those are still useful in not having to reinvent the wheel so many times with different standards each time. I might have to write more on this some day but the main takeaway should be, because it's veritably true, that most of the time SDA is actually fine with the category divisions used by "the community" even though timing is done in a different (arguably more sophisticated) way and even though there's a limit to how many categories we'd accept. I mean, it's a fact not every category that's been suggested on speedrun.com is actually being run by anyone anyway. It's a line in the sand drawn differently for the benefit of the average run quality.
  6. Streaming: When Twitch took off, many people switched from local recordings to streaming, which naturally made them wanna interact with chat. It's just kind of the default these days to stream I guess, and also helps to prove your runs aren't cheated. If they don't know how to or think it's too much effort (it's not, in OBS at least) to separate the game audio into its own track, none of what they do is eligible for SDA anymore due to a lack of clean game audio. Also there's the temptation to tack something like a timer onto the game video. I don't personally understand what the big deal is to assume there's some portion of the audience that's really mainly interested in watching the game output and not hearing the random chatter and live reactions or knowing what exactly your splits were when most of that stuff doesn't mean much to the casual viewer anyway. Also the stream viewers (and YouTube comments as well) are more tangible than the "potential" viewership of SDA even if SDA's was the same size (in some cases it will be bigger, actually), so those wanting a quick-n-easy fix of gratification through social means won't be attracted to what SDA promises. To comment on someone's run, you need to go to the forums, find/start the relevant thread, and express it there. Just not what people are used to going through I guess.
  7. Unfortunately, the prices on console games and cartridges and such are skyrocketing because of increasing rarity and also recently, some kind of artificial speculation that can go to hell. Because SDA doesn't accept emulated runs or clone consoles (with a few exceptions), this can put a pretty major hurdle in the way of anyone interested in submitting for an older console. Of course, it's not like everyone needs to have that capability anyway: just one submission per game per category every several years is plenty when the SDA audience isn't collectively so actively interested in any particular game anyway. You can still look for strategy improvements and such on an emulator, or just practice various parts of the run individually. You should! Maybe you can even borrow someone else's gear for the time it takes you to complete a submittable run, once you're truly ready? In the future, let's hope we get more stuff like Analogue's hyper-accurate clone consoles, and more affordable too. And everyone who just cares for the games as they were back in the day is suffering from the current hyperinflation of prices, that's not just an SDA thing.
  8. A surprising number of people complain about the way the site looks. I know it's not had a mobile-friendliness pass done. Other than that, urm... I'll let you be the judge of it, but it's never bothered me at all.

This isn't a complete listing by any means, just some stuff mostly off the top of my head. For more points that I missed, try this thread for instance (and probably a bunch of others). If you like SDA, it's likely the reasons are one or more of those suggested on this page. If you're new and interested in submitting a run, refer to this post. Okay, let that be all for today! Regular posting of runs will continue with the next update tentatively slated for January. Cyaz!

Saturday, November 6, 2021 by LotBlind

Overnight Retreat in Princess Howlch's Unmoving Castle

Apologies for any and all tardiness in publishing runs recently: I've been moving house and couldn't keep up my usual pace. The same certainly cannot be said for the runners featured in today's update however!

Speaking of moving houses, curious how it seems you can find utterly spotless yet A-grade affordable domicile inside bosses' hitboxes sometimes, eh? Is this at all akin to how you can poke your head inside a lion's maw and come off none the worse (something we surely discussed in that Lion King update)? Do you need to coat your pate with Marmite or fat-free mayonnaise for that to work? Are there similar preparatory measures for hitbox camping? Actually and obviously there are – like having lots of health for starters, or some kind of shield thing. I was gonna call hitboxes out for being an exceedingly abstract source of pain but it's in the name, isn't it? A hit-box. A hit-you-box. A smack-in-the-box! A slap-box?

The one promoting the ranger's mode of lodging here is Phillip 'ZELLLOOO' Shanklin who couldn't resist the call of the wild once again. The wild being the wasteland of the infected cyberspace in Mega Man Network Transmission. It's understandable a runner would feel at least somewhat entangled in its snares: where could you reallocate your know-how? It's too unique a combination of gameplay mechanics not to feel at least an initial sense of loss handing in your resignation letter from this particular game. If you want a full exposition on why that would be, hark back to the January 24th and June 25th updates, BTW. Maybe ZEL will dig something up and educate my proverbial ass on what is and isn't unique in the world of vidya games though. I think we could probably accommodate more card platformers, inside hitboxes and out. Anyway, to one-up previous efforts this time, it came down to things like saving a crusher cycle here, fitting in another damage boost there... Multiple gold splits culminate in a 0:54:06 of the any%, a cybernetic enhancement of 1:32 from his old already robotically robust record.

There hasn't been much news from the Toadstool Estate since about 2014. If I had the kind of paranoia that affixes all my experiences with the external agency of people who can, quite casually, read my mind, I would be inclined to think this prolonged dry spell of acrobatic takes on Super Mario 64's various run categories is only because they understand how much gnashing of teeth and subsequent jaw-locking needing to find an original train or strain or central European -style S-train of thought on a game whose want for talking-about has been as dotingly nursed would have incurred me, and is incurring right now gnash gnash. I don't normally go through any Action Button* -levels of preparation to pinpoint, for each game and run, the most rarefied of words that the reader, having exhausted all other ports of sacred insight, has been left most grievously strapped for...  but that's not because I'm at all confident what I'm about to say on each of them has not been, to some extent, said before somewhere sometime. Today, I'm almost perfectly convinced I'm about to rehash a thing even if I rig up a random number generator to a dictionary search bar, run it for half an hour and stick the resulting dough into an oven of faltering machine translations, going English-into-Icelandic-into-Zulu-into-Some-Dialect-of-Akkadian-Spoken-in-the-Western-Parts-of-the-Middle-Assyrian-Empire-into-English again, so long as I remember to spank a bright tag on it saying "Baked You a Cake". Speaking of, Gabe Newell says this game is his favorite ever. Valve's Gabe Newell. Valve? Portal? Cake??

As per the old venerable code of LotBlind SDA updates, this is where we're likely to enter the nitty-gritty of who and what, with some potential of a how or why. 'Xiah' is who. 0 stars is what. 0:06:44 is how [long]. "Cuz" is the most I can say on why. The run is significantly faster than the old SDA record, though how much exactly I'm not sure since it was timed using a different method.

* That guy's work comes highly recommended BTW. If you think the video game review had been perfected before him, I think YOU a damned fool!

In the left-field oddball of this update, in On the Run you're... you guessed it... actively retreating. In a vehicle. From other vehicles. I think that's about it. If you only watched the run, you'd be excused for thinking its storyline would make a great deal of sense only if framing a comedy: why do you need to do a full lap around the city first before getting to scoot over to the exit, thenceforth emerging into what looks like the Aqueduct trench from DOS classic Street Rod 2 (ultimately from Grease, no doubt) like it's some kinda pinball machine where the big booty is all stuck behind secured side lanes? Since you're also getting the benefit of reading about the run in this update first, you'll realize that... Those beams might imply an awkwardly timed train. Doesn't stop it from being a comedy though. As is statistically probable, this one wasn't particularly unpopular within the very large clan of what we cannot actively retreat from calling "random" Flash games that were effectively all freeware/adware and thus sort of "what-can-you-expect?" on the mean... or is that me being mean? In fact, as is statistically probable, this was some kind of hit in its own right with several similar sequels. At its core, this game series has honored its legacy all the way to the latest iteration, FFX Runner (a fair bit better-suited for trawling out of a search engine), being like a GTA 1 in mini-miniature through a chase cam if it wasn't out to shock the elderly and rouse the politicians who know that's who's voting for them.

On the Run [itself] now: One of those nostalgic or bored enough to give it a swift swing was 'RaulFran' who effects the laziest iteration of evasive maneuvers in 0:03:13.9, actually employing the AI drivers, bent to bulldoze, to overcome a far-too-languid maximum speed. This is the fastest run around in a competitive field so don't scoff at it, you scoffy person, even if you were for some reason going to.

Sunday, September 5, 2021 by LotBlind

Lost a Flying Tackle Box Lording Over Non-Fun Jezebels on the Open C

The next one really had me a bit lost as I confused it with one of its siblings. It's Lost Lands: Dark Overlord from an expansive series which are mostly pay-once, but a few of them Five-BN implemented something more mobiles-like in. A system where, while the download is free, your daily play time is limited by in-game "energy" obviously on offer for cash and I was wondering how the runner circumvented that but that was all in my mind. Secondly, I've lost the big difference between a traditional point-and-click adventure game and this "hidden object" game. The small difference is the specific emphasis on, well, hidden object puzzles, but in this game and presumably the whole series, there is also tons of everything else – rotating wheels, sliding tiles, and your common-or-garden item combination – so the lines are very blurry though certain conventions exist (like you need very crisp graphics to effectively hide things I suppose). Past that, I've been lost about what it means if a game is "casual". According to the definition currently up on wiki, shouldn't a lot of graphical adventure games always have been casual since something like Maniac Mansion or Loom? That is if we only require "simpler rules, shorter sessions, and less learned skill", since such games tend to be quite intuitive on a basic level. There's things you'll want to commit to long-term memory, and there's following the story through mindfully, whereas the little exposure I've had to hidden object stuff suggests the stories, at least, a child can understand. But wait, the Nancy Drew games are casual too apparently? I think "casual" is as much a calculated marketing/profiling move as anything.

Anyway, while this game is normally paid-for, there IS energy required in marathoning through all the puzzles without insensible stumbles, so
Michael 'arglefumph' Gray instead split his 0:33:26 into smaller, unerring morsels, numerically 28 of them, which conveniently also interrupts certain animations that otherwise hog up time at no-one's behest. There are subtler time-saving techniques here, too, including choosing the right way to pass between screens efficiently and trying to make many things happen concurrently, all explained in the pro-grade comments. This is argle's second go at the game with increased zeal after he found his first casual tryst with this casual game accruing views on his YouTube. NB: The StatID says something about a 34-minute run which is incorrect, and also segment 23 has the wrong segment number. Poop occurs.

Would you believe Marti Wong is selling NFGs now? That's my man, one half of the dev duo that wooed every freeware lover's heart with 1999's Little Fighter 2 smackstravaganza. Himself, Mr. Wong doesn't seem wooed, or even wonged, but rather woed, by the swashbucklers of the Waterworld we're increasingly living in, causing what was meant as a commercial sequel's, Hero Fighter's, all-important monetization scheme to capsize. Now, I have a soft spot for talk about pay-for-production instead of pay-for-distribution. It seems, on paper at least, like an ideal solution, removing a big nasty unknown from the aspiring software developer's calculations while also obviating the money-grubbing middle men where they still be a-lurkin' 'neath the waves. But that's not the sort of open seas* that these Chinese hackers in question are paving the... sea road... towards. "Pay-for-nothing-at-all" isn't some kind of lost evolutionary link between the traditional models and the one I'm presently espousing, waiting for someone to sea change my mind.

Anyway, what are NFGs? Beats me brother! The guy also has a traditional Patreon account, which, now that I think about it, kinda IS that missing link. So we've been doing it for so long already? Aside from the Hero one, Marti is also remaking the Little 2 one. Which you get a very narrow glimpse into through Antonio Peremin's latest run, completing the single-fight any% mode on Easy in an (apparently) record-tying 0:00:10, having made sure the opponent he's fighting is the weakest one.

* I swear I didn't realize Open Sea was also the Web's most saline... uh... salient NFG marketplace, lolllolololollullz! Is it kinda ironic that their currency is "Ether" when the reality of The [A]ether was disproven some time before the 20th century? Is this is what we all be investing in nowadays? I can't say I'm surprised after Theranos came and went.

We're going to briefly revisit something next that's probably still hanging on for dear life at the bottom of our rather longitudinal front page, in the November 16th update. I never found the time for 'HIKARI_MGS''s Single-segment European Extreme Foxhound Rank 1:17:30 but I DID for this new iteration in 1:17:09. I think I'm hopelessly late to any and all social events themed around pointing this out but... Metal Gear Solid 3 is hilarious. In case you're also still in the middle of brushing up your ballroom bangs or priming your party pumps, you can rest assured copious comedy awaits you on the other side of this alternate history portal to the high definition remake thereof.

There's plenty of small snack-sized snakes slithering about, but Mr. "Snake Eater" doesn't seem too peckish. Snake does, though, look like he's always about to eat the next trickily placed piece of masonry, flailing his arms and poking his head far forward like he's an anime... thing. Looks like Naruto DID come out a few years before this. The voice work is also suffused in that severely uncalled-for melodrama you'd be likely to hear in an anime. I'm pretty sure this effect always requires the translation to be uncanny valley at best to guarantee that authentic vibe. Is it just me or do all the guards sound one age rating too wide-eyed as well? They're always as readily beguiled by Snake's "C Box A" ("It's just A Box, C? An innocent cardboard box on its regular migration from Novosibirsk to Mumbai."), and the guard dogs always as fussy about whose permissionless passage it's worth their while stirring from rosy slumbers for. None of it is far from show wrestling levels of make-believe. Just look at the way Snake does that flying tackle special of his to INSTANTLY AND INDIFFERENT TO ANYTHING benumb a central nervous system, systematically overruling objections from causality.

Hmm... I seem to have made the assumption before that because this type-o-run goes for the elitest of grades, it must also be the least straightforward to flying tackle. However, just because removing that would give you a free hand on various grungy gadgets and less discreet modus operandii, its superiority in this sense doesn't strictly, by pure reason, have to be the case. What we CAN safely discern staring at the SRC leaderboard is this run is not only the fastest in its category that doesn't use a turbo controller... it's faster than ALL the other runs except those played on the other extreme, "Very Easy", difficulty. Those are runs awarded flimsy ranks like "leech" and "flying [tackle] squirrel". It's clear just from how cramped the times are near the top of the category Hikari has doggedly continued to whale away at that this very one is that which has been placed the most pressure on, making this an even more illustrious crown on his forehead. The run looks almost perfect. It's easy to forget it's not a scripted Machinima show or something. Just another brilliantly executed plan by the bright mind of Hikari and whoever else might be responsible for laying the groundwork for it. For paving... the sea road for.

Speaking of bright...

Blinding News Flash (sorry this is late, technical difficulties)

Another month, another marathon! This time it's the Big Bad Gameathon of 2020! Of 2022! Lulz just bein' funny ol' me... of 20X6! You wouldn't believe the "Stinkoman" emanating from these massive piles of whatsit! Thank our good neutral deity Jove for the swift decease of the Smell-o-Vision. Malodorous details in this thread in urgent need of sanitation.

Sunday, July 25, 2021 by LotBlind

Temporary Temporal Distortions in Confined Quarters


Never less a staple than last update's Quake III in global esports circuits, Starcraft also provides a much-liked one-player campaign for the introvert to enjoy. Earlier, I created this thread to discuss the "ideal RTS" as the highest skill cap game in speedrunning. Not every mission fits that pattern but there's certainly a little bit of it in two of the missions that are getting obsoleted today, Zerg 3 in 3:20 (down 1:27) and Zerg 4 in 1:28 (down 0:03), which are essentially more optimized abusings of some witchcraft that results in invulnerable and ill-tempered zerg workers. The third one, Protoss 6 in 1:58 (down 0:16), is an intestinally tortuous corridor, and an exceptionally torturous "Mor-ri-dor". Escorting of your tiny squad through all the nibble-happy zergdom would constitute a fine final exam at the Extreme Shepherding Academy in case that's a thing. These are from runner 'Plissken2097''s backlog but are, at a glance, more or less state-of-the-art, even by some margin. The new total is 2:27:04.

I noticed Freezard and Zergreenone created a nifty guide for this game in our Knowledge Base earlier. It's a good example of how to present and preserve such useful information in an organized and freely editable way. Starting a guide is simple. Wink wink! ;)

Chopin as Chopin in Chopin-land? I think every composer gets sucked up into their mind, like a leper messiah, when in the process of composing. It's the source of that endless etude, that infinite fugue... that Eternal Sonata. And so this game is a take on what Chopin's final biographical "movement", in part based on events from his life, in part specific compositions of his, dressed as an otherwise fairly traditional JRPG might have looked like. I got sucked up into thought myself, as I rested my eyes on the alternately resplendent and splendiferous visuals, about whether the names assigned to the characters and places were mostly quite logical, or to some degree whimsical and arbitrary. Like what makes the Chorus Plains "chorus" exactly? Maybe it's an area that you return to lots of times in regular play? And what connection do choruses have with Chopin who never composed choral works, or pop music for that matter? Glissando Cliffs I can see: the motion up and down the ropes is a smooth sliding one. And Forte City is big and pompous while "Ritardando" suits a peaceful small town. "Xylophone Tower", which is a tower made of xylophone parts, seems accurate enough. Can anyone explain to me "Mandolin Church" on the other hand? I think it's made of... church parts? There's a chick called "Falsetto", and the female falsetto actually is a thing, at least physiologically, and can cause female singers to be misclassified, with a potentially ruinous effect on many a promising faux soprano I'd imagine. The Adagio Swamp ('slow') really forces a subdued tempo on the runner, at least on the day of recording it did. "What do we call the mountain area?" – "Urrm... they're kinda jagged aren't they... Sharp Mountains?" The Wah Caves were named after... the wah-wah pedal?! The hot air does make everything visually undulate in that area, akin to what the pedal does to sound. If that really is the idea, I'll give you I would never have thought of that.

The routine fights in Eternal Sonata are from the Earthbound school: voluntary, or tantalizingly close to it. Herein lies the key, or if you will, the clef to fine-tuning run times, as 'valor' has here from his own 2:55:12 to a more concordant 3:51:01. If you can tell the new time is actually more than the old, you have nearly the same remarkable sense of arithmetic that valor needed when whittling away at the buff bosses, since tri-Crescendo made the ballsy move of completely scraping the health bars off enemies. Maybe the game needed all the bars it could get elsewhere in its musical design? Anyway, the trick here is the PS3 version simply has extra content compared to that of the PS2, hence the run time – and the number of barely dodgeable encounters – increasing. While the legibility of text boxes we speedrunning fanatics are, as a self-inflicted punishment, denied the joy of, we are not denied the joy of the voice-overs, which I find hilarious in parts. "Let us celebrate and be satisfied." I'm sure valor both celebrated and was satisfied with his run.

Compared to the other shooters we've gotten to relish recently, in Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil, it's less cozy arenas with an inordinate abundancy of leg- and headroom, and more a 3000-meter steeplechase event inside an office building that shifts between normality and horrid vistas of a plane of eternal condemnation (so an office building), with a hurdle every five meters, water hazards, sharks, and lasers on the sharks. Any wonder then 'lekolega' decided to re-stack the odds back in his favor, isolating the numerous problem areas and tailoring a solution to each, for just short of 50 segments in total? His sweat-and-tears 0:26:57 incorporates some boosts so subtle I couldn't really even visually confirm them while watching, but I think it really is more about not getting snagged by any of the myriad spikes and thorns, such as those growing from all the, you know, frothing denizens of hell.

But wait! Again, we have a very short-lived mystery at hand... What causes this run not to obsolete the existing one despite the upped difficulty? Isn't this kind of stuff like going back in time to murdlerize your own thoroughly unsuspecting grandfolks, damn the causative torpedoes? Again, the universe protects us from unseemly grandparent-doxes. There's no obsoletion because on "Nightmare" your endeavours are aided by the unlocking of all the three superpowers from the get-go instead of one by one after various tests and trials. (Like how those progressively more inclusive driver's licenses should work, I tell you!) That seems awfully kind given what nightmares the original two games' "not even remotely fair" highest setting left the Marine hounded by till the early hours when military types gotta get up and report for duty. [An almost continuous] "Resurrection of Evil" describes those games better than this one, surely. What's that? "The Marine takes 350% of the base damage. All medikits are removed from the game, and the player's health steadily drains until it's 25 or below." Well the kids are alright then!

Blinding News Flash

An upcoming Japanese speedrun marathon has been spotted on the curved horizon of the Earth we share. That event is called RTA in Japan, will take place between August 11th and 15th and please see this thread for info past that.

Friday, June 25, 2021 by LotBlind

Direct Connections to Delight


Fu! Fu! Ya! Chippu getto! Three peppy huffs for Phillip 'ZELLLOOO' Shanklin for keeping a difficult-to-keep promise. I made sure to highlight Mega Man Network Transmission's many complexities in a January update likely not yet to have tumbled into the oubliette behind the front page "black"... Well, things have only gotten more tangled-up since: the devious Professor's machinations are now getting undone in 2:00:42 while taking a more scenic, and decicively more OCD, road to get there.

Ain't no joyride on Route 100%! As I mentioned before, even the drops you get are meritocratic, with plenty of rare but compulsory pickings only available to men of swift and precise action. Not only that, a lot of the collectibles have at least some vague situational use, and thus have some kind of ripple effect after picking them up. A system of non-finite uses of special skills is akin to some early Final Fantasy games, cued in turn by AD&D CRPGs of the west. It causes ZEL to have to economize on even the lowly (more like highly?) double jump, something many other games treat axiomatically. That and there are tons of these cycling abilities – offensive, defensive and utility – the more of which you've gotten to grips with, the more fallbacks and redundancies you have for scooping from. Of the platformers, this must be Mega Man at its smartest. My belly tingles with joy!

There is a grind section but even that part's not as monotonous as they often get. Then there's another shorter gu-whack-a-mole and nacho intermission, which looks like it rewards fast reaction times. Anyway, not a run to miss, Miss!

But wait, where have YOU been all my life? We have an elephant-sized omission in the otherwise perfectly respectable gamepage list around the letter 'Q'. For a site that cut its mighty fangs on nothing but Quake for years, it's taken an awful long while for a showcase to surface of Quake III Arena. Now that has multiple reasons which I would enumerate as follows:

  1. The game always had significant online competition.
  2. The game is a big RNG fiesta.
  3. Grinding an FPS is rough on the hands.

Point one is a poignant one: Whenever the primary metric for skill is play against other people, self-confidences deflate like blown-out tyres, and no-one tends to have the balls to get the ball rolling. There's always a bigger fish with their latest recammed frag movie taking names on a server you're not even allowed to join. This is to some degree true of all speedrunning: we generally tend to only get what are WRs at the time (as many, though not all, of these runs are) even though it's not strictly compulsory. Still, the effect is more noticeable when skill metrics exist outside of the speedrun prowess itself. The most obvious of those would be universal typing speed tests vs. running the likes of The Typing of the Dead. So it's not a surprise the one to finally break this highly influential shooter for us is 'fearZZz', someone with experience in very high tier team deathmatch play especially, with those requisite recammed frag movies to testify.

Point two is poignant too: All your times are at the mercy of bot spawn locations. This initial 0:15:49.777 ILs collection is on the "You Can Win!" setting... More like "You Can't Lose!", actually. Quite uniformly, the more bots a-herpin' and a-derpin' around in your vicinity, the faster you reach the frags target that gradually goes up in increments of five. On the higher settings you could actually get overwhelmed as the bots will start to fight back. So this is, at the end of the day, a very long parade of prodigious skill and propitious RNG, more so than anything, but also of intelligent planning (just read the per-level comments) and good judgment calls. That makes this one required viewing also, or you're NOBUD. No bud o' mine, anyway.

Monday, April 26, 2021 by Akiteru

Community Column: Akiteru's Advice on Assumptions

Hi everyone!

I'm Akiteru, and I have been a member of SDA since late 2012.
My main speedgames have historically been Mega Man X and The Lion King (SNES), though I have ran other games at lower levels
of play as well.
Given that this article is associated with my 12:25 submission of The Lion King Difficult, I figured I would talk a little bit about
the game's progression and how important it is to experiment and think outside the box.

In late 2015-early 2016 I went on a pretty intensive grind to lower the Difficult record to a point where I was comfortable
submitting to SDA. I ended up getting a 13:48, the first 13-minute run in the world, which I was very happy with and
submitted shortly after. This run stood for over 2 years with no competition and no desire for me to lower it myself.
That was, until speedrunner Veo found a major skip in the Genesis version utilizing a leopard clip to skip nearly the entire
stage Be Prepared. Of course, since SNES and Genesis share a very similar engine, the skip worked in SNES as well.
I played the game on and off over the next few years, but eventually ended up with the 12:25 I have today. Had it not been for him,
I may not have touched the category again.

Veo did not have a history of running the game before finding the skip and grabbing the Genesis Easy world record.
It was an instance of a new set of eyes taking a look at the game and seeing a new opportunity. We had already been
using leopard clips to skip barriers one stage prior, in Simba's Destiny. At the time, I would have never considered
this new use of the tech. I was comfortable where I was in my grind and it had never crossed my mind to try it.
I was certainly impressed by this find. It came totally by surprise.

To this day, I keep it in the back of my mind when I'm working on optimizing a new game. It reminds me to never stop being
curious about what is possible. If you come up with an idea, it may be easy to convince yourself that someone must have
already tried it, but clearly that is not always the case. Give it a try anyway just to make sure.

I hope you enjoy watching my run of The Lion King. There is still some room for improvement but overall it is pretty solid
and I'm happy with it.



(LotBlind's addendum)

Didn't expect an improvement of over a minute for The Lion King, that 1994 animation tie-in platformer that's not exactly run-of-the-mill – for starters, it's super-tough for a kids' game as a response to the lesser cash-in-ability of a game that could be mostly completed during a rental. Take it from this guy. At the same time, he's saying it's not that much tougher than other platformers of the time? Maybe it's the cute guise provoking naive expectations then. Many of us never made it from "Scrub Cub" to "Neo Leo". Many of us are forever scarred by the villain's unopposed domination over the languishing lion nation. Be prepared... for real life, eh? Aside from bricks-tough it was also bricks-state-of-the-art in animation wizardry owing to collaboration with Disney's own artists. And similarly the music inherited from the movie OST like Simba, after some tribulations, from his dad. I did notice the Pride Rock fight and some other Scar-starring scenes, esp. "King of Pride Rock", are accompanied by a less subtle use of the classic "Dies Irae" theme than the movie, which seems to only have had a few individual quotings here and there.

As for speedrunning, this game has several SNES/60Hz frame-perfect tricks according to 'Akiteru''s run comments. It's also precise spatially as you can tell in a few of the stages, with some tricks of the trade making it all a bit more manageable. The 0:12.25 is also also precise RNG-wise. It's tamed some aspects of it kind of like wicked man used to tame the lions themselves. Where is that King of Beasts in its khaki kingdom? They're not called "prides" for nothing you know! Take a look at that golden number one next to that victorious smirk at the end and you'll understand how it feels to be firmly seated in the all-encompassing Circle of Life. I call for all to pay respect to the Panthera leo, our maned main man!

Waylaid by weariness? Waterlogged with wanton work? Well don't waste your weeks with wishy-washy woodledoo, wishlist the wacky and well-wadded-out Waladdin and The Why-oh-why-on Wing by wese wellas wover were. And wire ME to woo your WARKETING for woo! Weez, I can wange! This compilation really is worth mentioning though, with extras of the kind usually loaded into DVD releases of films, including a Mufasa-ton of mood-mellowing cheat options. An exemplary effort in software preservation AFAICS.

[Old News]