Wednesday, October 26, 2022 by LotBlind

Career Enemy Harrier, Lay on the Fear from the Rear of the Area, Tappin' the Apnea to Cap Deer that Hap Near Something Something

Am I to supply my own beat here? Today, I ended up experimenting with the update format in small ways. Hope you enjoy!

Quote of the Run: "Make a mockery out of it. This is fun."

We've been there, done that (low attention span) with MechWarrior 2 but we haven't been anywhere or done anything with the third big Mech power fantasy since 2008, a year most inductive to escaping reality. MechWarrior 3 has the player, his can-tank-erous task group and supplies make slapstick landfall after their tentative dropships come under fire from clan Smoke Jaguar's friendly automated greeting system. A system hailing their frequency from planetside with special futuristic communication lasers that encode friendly messages into super-concentrated packages completely unambiguous to any receiving entity including hiveminds and races from QuasiSpace. Thinking of the topology here, is that more like "coming over fire" then? You can't tell which way is up on planet Exegol! Oh wait, this planet's called "Tranquil", which ends up being like if Venus was called "Chilblains". From there on out, aside from ganging up with the surviving allies for a stadia-packing comeback tour, the player is expected to stop making excuses and start making lemonade with the unaltered general orders. There are Places of Interest in the vicinity in spirit not unalike where Arthur Dent holds residence at the start of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (primed for demolition, that is). Along the way, whenever the player makes contact with the clan that designed the greeting system, new friendships are forged for life. Only they're not a long-lived type of people, or one resistant to skull-boring. (Am I describing a friendship here, I have basically zero experience?)

Whatever parts are spared in each destined mech disassembly become spare parts for the player's mean menagerie to avail themselves of instead. Even completely serviceable vehicles are recoverable, which seems to be a standard in warfare these days. In the 0:30:44 run, also wisely disassembled into parts (part-wise you might call it), this fact is never lost sight of by Cmdr. 'Falconer Gray', nor are other avenues of avid exploitation. But what exploitation could you possibly be referring to, LotBlind?

There's really a similar knotty optimization problem here as something like Megaman Network Transmission, with the fastest mechs being far from always the breadwinners. The many interweaving systems leave those aching for realism and immersion – and exciting speedrunning applications – sitting neck-deep in a balmy 19th century Parisian hydrotherapeutic bath. It... just... makes... sense! There WOULD be bits and pieces left over to repa[r]triate. There WOULD be concerns about the heat produced by the mech's components and that heat WOULD rapidly dissipate when entering a body of water, take said hydrotherapeutic bath. The player WOULD be able to delete targets from the next mission early if the missions play out in the same neighborhood. Oh, and the enemy WOULD blindly attack arbitrary points in the terrain in the present because you've suggested to some squad mates to go hang out there and have a cold one sometime in the future. Wait, what?

So yeah, while this run on the whole doubles as a demonstration of what our recent MechWarrior 2 runs might have looked like in the developers' minds, there are still quirks left over to quip about. More quipping I'll leave to Falconer now and his objective multi-angled coverage he's broadcasting in his comments like the one-man band of independent news crews. Like this is really one of those times I could hardly even think of anything the runner could add to what their commentary had already intimated. And good job redoing the whole run after a watermark first got in the way! Remember Aalyah's immortal words: "Cause if at first you don't succeed... dustoff and try again!" Did I mention this run dusts off the gamepage in a big ol' way? As in beats the crap outta it and shakes it down for over 12 minutes of loose changeS in strategies. 28% of the old segmented run time winnowed off. Winn[ow]ing!

I lied some about being done with
MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat. 'PROX' brought another IL down a second, making it dangle unesthetically just below the round 1:10 mark. We still prefer it that way! Here's mission 11 of the Wolf campaign, Aquiline Fire (meaning "eagle-like"), in 0:01:09, total down to 0:30:41.

Quote of the Run: "I guess the developers never ever foresaw that people would try shooting him immediately."

You know mountain bike racing?
The nerve! The thrill! The verve! The... hill. A careening precision sport so adrenaline-injected and holistically engaging as to wipe all memories of bothersome physical ailments. The ones you got mountain bike racing. Next, do you know hobby horsing? No, not hubby nursing. No, not Habbo Hotel either despite being the brainchild of the same evil / misunderstood geniuses of the north. As this article has it, "the sport is still largely a grassroots, DIY activity in its native Finland. There’s no official rulebook or governing body[.]" It's the great equine equilizer; anyone can afford a stick with a horse head stuck to it like that weird stables-and-quidditch-related nightmare I've been having since that ill-fated Harry-Potter-but-also-The-Godfather movie marathon...

Okay, so that's your comedic setup and heeeeeere's your payoff: You combine the flawless ache-relieving drift of the one with the lawless make-believing thrift of the other and whaddya get? Why, you get speedruns of Sniper: Ghost Warrior of course. I mean, look at it! Isn't it kinda like mountain bikes but your budget ran out before the mountain bikes? There's traverses like show jumping if you watch closely – at one point you can see the hobby horse hobbyist 'ImEliteGlitches' vaulting a live crocodile. That and countless fences, crates, barrels... nothing's off limits here and even the objectives are willing to flex. And like the bikers shoot through the dirt of the race track, so does the sniper shoot bullets through the dirt BAGS of the... race track. I mean, that's what it amounts to. A-mountain-bikes to.

Don't believe me? The sniper dude's called "Razer" but also "Raser" depending on how they felt like spelling it in each cutscene and briefing. That's clearly a subconscious pointer towards the word "racer". "Change your position! Change your position!" barks the overwatching officer at the pro racer person in one of the missions. This is doubly insulting as the game is telling both the sniper and the speedrunner their jobs. To be honest, only one can save their face here and it ain't the bush wookie! There's always a fearsome paradox when speedrunning a game that's politely asked you to "enjoy your STEALTH action I said, Sir or Madam". After blowing through an enemy military camp in what can only be described as Thomas the Engine's clickety-clack approach to a 90-yard touchdown run if Thomas the Engine was also asked to channel Mr. Bean from that Snickers commercial, it doesn't escape you the hilarity of the stone-faced "Fuck! I've been compromised" at the sound of the clickety klaxon. More or less all of the stealth left standing in the single-segment 0:36:43 trumping even the old ILs table by a whole 1:42 is solely a merit of solitary principled scripts, like in school when there was just one guy busting their ass on the assignment and hard-carrying everyone else's. And if you think that's perversion of tacit rules a-plenty, think again! Mr. Glitches scores a second six-pointer with a complete overhaul of said ILs table (down to 0:33:38) – aside from one asinine mission that, like the future when you lose at Chrono Trigger, refused to change. Your immutable future is to consume both runs and tell your friends / neighbors / complete strangers about them and tell us how that affected the net number of friends. I'm taking notes.

Something I can't say I noticed at all was apparently they re-used the same areas multiple times by making consecutive missions show the same events from varying points of view. Try and catch what I couldn't.

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 0:30:42. 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, 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 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.

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