Hello everyone, and welcome to my Doom 64 Be Gentle Any% run! This run aims to complete the game on Be Gentle, the easiest difficulty, as quickly as possible. This run clocks in at 29:31 RTA timing (difficulty select to loss of control on the last level) and 29:27 SDA timing, over three minutes faster than my previous submitted run! Most of the time saves come from new tricks and more optimized routes for several levels, but the general execution is also cleaner and better than my previous run.
I'd like to thank the following people Grav, Icy, and Headshot for making serious contributions over the last couple of years in this game as well as Peaches, Gari, and WinDEU for their early contributions / support.
Neutral Reset: The D64 engine does not have a hardcoded limit on Doomguy's speed so the only limit is how far I can push the control stick. By holding the control stick all the way down and pushing L+R+Start to lock that position as neutral, letting go of the stick makes the game think I am holding up, and then actually holding up tells the game I'm going twice as up which increases my speed significantly.
Control Mapping: The default controls are quite awful, but thankfully I can remap all the necessary functions to convenient places:
- Use to R
- Strafe Left to C-Left
- Strafe Right to C-Right
- Map to D-Pad Down (just moving it out of the way)
- Run to L
- Backwards to C-Up
I then use a hairband wrapped around my controller to keep L held through the duration of the run and reset my Neutral Reset position more easily for a couple of tricks. Since I cannot move backwards with the stick due to Neutral Reset, I have Backwards mapped to C-Up so I can back up at run speed as needed.
SR40: Strafe-running by holding forward and pushing Strafe Left or Strafe Right to run diagonally.
SR50: Strafe-running by doing above plus holding Strafe On and left or right on the stuck to get a double-strafe, cannot turn while doing this so it is only used a couple of times.
Monster Routing: There are two main reasons I will kill monsters:
- Monsters will block my path at one point or another if I don't kill them
- Killing certain monsters will trigger events that are necessary to advance
Spawn Blocking: Some enemies will spawn in specific spots after activating an event trigger. If I place myself over the spawn point when that happens, the enemy will fail to spawn.
Trigger Skips: Running over a floor trigger at a fast enough speed and good angle can cause the trigger to fail, which can be both good (skipping enemies) or bad (skipping triggers that make floors rise and fall).
Scripts: Some events have timed scripts running and cease when the timer runs out. Because only one script can be active at a time, we can abuse a scripted event in a couple of levels to prevent other scripts from activating during that time.
Key Clipping: Similar to PC Doom games, running into a wall at a high enough speed can partially clip you into the wall for a short period before getting pushed back out. We can use this to our advantage to grab some keys that barely sit out of reach on pedestals and skip some events.
Causing lag with the Super Shotgun: Though lag is normally something to avoid, some tricks involve causing a lot of lag and screwing with the game's collision detection so we want to abuse this where we can. By firing the Super Shotgun straight into a wall or other surface at point blank range, the shot particles will lag the game a ton, potentially opening up the clips listed below. A few factors can cause the amount of lag to change: better firing angles, larger levels with more enemies, and even when the shot is fired relative to Doomguy's bobbing up and down when he runs; more lag is caused when firing the SSG at the top of Doomguy's bobbing, so you will often see me take some time to set up a shot for maximum lag and ease of clipping.
Gate Clipping: This is the easier of the two clip types; running diagonally at a gate edge and firing the Super Shotgun into a nearby wall or surface usually gets enough lag on its own that will allow us to clip to the other side of the gate with our speed.
Bar Clipping: This is a new clip type discovered only about a year ago that breaks many levels, there are two variations of this trick and both involve using a diagonal neutral reset to get enough speed to pass by bars (which are thicker than the meshed gates and are much more difficult to clip past as a result):
1. Position yourself at a slight angle and strafe run with diagonal neutral reset and the strafe button on a bar until you get stuck on it, then fire the Super Shotgun to cause enough lag to clip by.
2. Position yourself at an angle roughly perpendicular to the bar, face the wall, and then strafe run with diagonal neutral reset and the strafe button; fire the Super Shotgun to cause the lag and then quickly release and repress the strafe key to adjust your angle slightly so you push past the bar.
Fist - Short range, never runs out of ammo (obviously) and powers up with a Berserk pickup, almost never used in either speedrun category.
Chainsaw - Slight upgrade to the fist, still never used.
Pistol - Default weapon that does almost no damage, never worth using except for hitting wall switches or waking up monsters in a casual playthrough.
Shotgun - Good for killing Zombiemen, Shotgun Guys, and Imps during the earlygame but is quickly outclassed by the Super Shotgun.
Super Shotgun - The main workhorse for most of the game, one-shots weaker enemies and creates lag when fired close range at walls (good for a few tricks, bad when fighting).
Chaingun - Rapid-fire weapon that's good for weaker enemies or stunning Lost Souls, not used much in Be Gentle due to having more ammo for the Plasma Gun.
Rocket Launcher - Powerful and fairly quick weapon that's good for handling stronger enemies, difficult to use in close quarters due to the splash damage.
Plasma Gun - Fires rapid bolts of electricity, stronger but slower than the chaingun, generally good but has problems targeting airborne enemies at close range due to the angle the shots get fired.
BFG 9000 - The most powerful weapon in the game with some interesting mechanics. A large plasma ball is fired and the game remembers which angle the shot was fired at. After the ball explodes and does its initial damage, a swarm of invisible tracers fire from Doomguy's position in a cone using the original angle and the current position. Great for crowd control or dealing with Cyberdemons at point blank range.
Unmaker - A strange weapon that fires single lasers and is upgraded with Demon Artifacts from the secret levels. Since we acquire it so late and never get any upgrades, it is useless for a run.
1 - Staging Area: This was about average to start with, maybe a bit better than normal. Nothing interesting really happens here like the previous run.
2 - The Terraformer: There is technically a faster route for this level that skips the Blue Key puzzle switch and relies on skipping the floor trigger for the crushers on the way to the Red Key, but it is too inconsistent to go for in runs due to both the difficulty of skipping the floor trigger and not getting a second trigger by the Red Key to activate at the wrong time and block your path. So again, the standard route is used with pushing the switch after clipping into the Blue Key to avoid the crushers. Two tries on each key clip is acceptable and my movement was overall okay though could have been a bit better.
3 - Main Engineering: The extra two years of running this game and refining my movement start showing in this level, as I save five seconds from better movement control and combat. Though I don't get the lucky double-Lost Soul kill in the elevator room, I get a good double kill in the switch room and a lucky trigger skip, allowing me to control myself better and get a random Soulsphere drop on top of the Red Key for a bit of safety at no cost.
4 - Holding Area: I save a couple of seconds over the old run with a successful ledge run by the Blue Key and just better movement around corners; :39 is a nice time for this level.
5 - Tech Center: Bar clips start making their appearance in this level and we can use them to skip both the middle maze and the final teleports. The first bar clip into the Red Key saves well over twenty seconds from not doing the maze and revisiting the room so it is well worth doing, while the second bar clip at the end skips a lot less and also misses out on rockets so it's less worth doing. I go for the first clip and execute it very cleanly but I fumble over the Blue Key pit and setting up the second clip was a bit slow so several seconds can definitely be saved here.
6 - Alpha Quadrant: New gate clips in this level save a little backtracking during the Yellow Key sequence as well as skipping the pillar (football) room that used to be a huge run ender. The clips were done well and the level itself only had some small slipups, but I forgot to grab extra rockets in this stage to compensate for the ones I skipped in Tech Center and this would come back to bite me on Even Simpler.
7 - Research Lab: Didn't get the trigger skip for the Lost Souls and had a bit of bad luck with losing speed on my first attempt at the Blue Key jump, so this was a few seconds slower than before unfortunately.
8 - Final Outpost: The gate clip has a new setup: line up on the elevator so that the third column of dots on the wall align with the right edge of the screen. This gets a good enough angle that allows the clip consistently without getting a run-ending trigger skip over the exit. My movement and clip execution were basically perfect here, great time save over my previous run!
9 - Even Simpler: Here's the first of three bad levels in this run that had significant time losses. Some of the time loss was from forgetting to pick up extra rockets in Alpha Quadrant and having to grab some backups on the fly, but my spawn block on the Baron failed and my combat was a bit shoddy so this level can definitely go a lot better (probably ten seconds or so).
10 - The Bleeding: No new tricks here, just much cleaner execution and movement. I even got the trigger skip on the Lost Souls that are supposed to appear by the Yellow Key again, so saving seven seconds just from execution alone made this a huge confidence booster after Even Simpler's disaster.
11 - Terror Core: I got a different bit of bad Hell Knight RNG at the end, but overall this only a couple of seconds slower than before and no time-wasting trigger skips happened so it wasn't too bad. Leaving the level with a decent amount of health helps too since I don't get much to refill on in the next stage.
12 - Altar of Pain: Thanks to bar clipping, we can now skip the Blue Key and get a keyless run of this stage! The clip was set up a little slow due to sliding past the sticking point a couple of times, but the diagonal neutral reset jump to the exit was executed much faster and cleaner this time, making for a significant improvement over the old run.
13 - Dark Citadel: This level remains the same until I get to the bottom room of the library area; it turns out you can hit the switch through the bookcase if you position yourself at the right angle so I guess Doomguy's hands just phase through solid matter at times? The switch press is done quickly, saving a bit of backtracking and getting around a pesky Hell Knight which is nice, and aside from getting stuck on some Imps after the Red Key this was a pretty solid level.
14 - Eye of the Storm: No route changes here, so it's business as usual. Some bad RNG caused enemies to get in the way of the Hell Knights and block my BFG shots early on, so several seconds were lost that I had little control over unfortunately.
15 - Dark Entries: The Blue Key bars could be clipped through with either bar clip method, but they both save little time and are extremely difficult to do for one reason or another (straight clip is difficult to line up with and you're a sitting duck for attacking enemies, sideways clip is too inconsistent to do with how dark the wall is) so I just do the normal Blue Key clip. Solid level here, nothing to complain about!
16 - Blood Keep: Here's the "that's never happened before" moment of the run: A Nightmare Imp spawn blocked two Lost Souls at the end and stopped my jump with his infinite height, losing me a few seconds. This was definitely made up for with really solid movement around the level (no elevator or block falls this time!) and getting a lucky early door opening from a random enemy at the beginning, so I'm still more than happy with this map.
17 - Watch Your Step: New bar clip skips the whole level here so it's just a race around for extra plasma ammo and then going straight to the end, quick and easy level now.
18 - Spawned Fear: This stage had a few reroutes with ammo use and switch done to save time and I'm pretty pleased with the optimizations. The optimizations and better execution led to a ten second time save over the previous run, so this stage was quite good!
19 - The Spiral: Still nothing of note here.
20 - Breakdown: The second of the bad levels and by far the worst executed run in the level. A new set of sideways bar clips allows us to skip the entire upstairs trek to the Red Key but I spaghetti'ed my controls on the clips and the maze area pretty badly and lost 15 seconds over an optimal level with the skips, so I'm not happy with this level at all. I probably would have reset on just a normal run but my overall pace was significantly faster than my PB at this point so I ate the time loss and played the final levels more aggressively to make up for it.
21 - Pitfalls: Another "that's never happened before moment" here: I somehow ended up skipping the Invulnerability Sphere, so I had to improvise with the Super Shotgun instead of launching rockets everywhere. A few seconds were saved with a bit better execution, so I guess I can't complain.
22 - Burnt Offerings: New sideways bar clip to the Red Key is convenient but scary, as I can get sniped to death on the way back by an Arachnotron if I'm not fast enough to set it up. Smooth clips and good movement made for a great level here.
23 - Unholy Temple: An early bar clip past the Yellow bars allows me to break this level's sequence and skip a bunch of backtracking, so it's well worth going for. An unfortunate trigger skip with an Arachnotron cost a bit of time from both a wasted shot and a Hell Knight suddenly getting in the way, but the rest of the level was extremely good.
24 - No Escape: Saved some time on the gate clip no longer needing diagonal reset speed; the clip can be done just strafing normally and firing the SSG at the correct height. Aggressive fighting against the Cyberdemon went well and rounded the level off nicely.
28 - The Absolution: Unfortunately, the last level ends up being one of the worse ones here. Some crappy spawn luck made me have to change my ammo plans and I didn't fight extremely well from being nervous, so I lost about ten seconds over a more optimal fight.
This run has a few rough stretches but overall I'm quite satisfied with this improvement. Showcasing much more polished execution and all the new tricks has been a blast and I don't expect to improve this run again any time soon. Sub-29 is very possible and perhaps even sub-28 can be done on current knowledge with perfect execution, but I will hold off on those until I make an improvement to Watch Me Die. Thanks for watching and reading, I hope you enjoyed this run as much as I did making it!