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LotBlind: 2022-02-10 02:45:09 pm
LotBlind: 2022-02-10 02:44:37 pm
From our timer: "timing of Dungeon Keeper is manual, it seems to be just the gameplay occurring during the level (so start of level to end of level)".

I invited the timer to this thread to explain in more detail.

Hmm... Yeah, starting the recording during the intro "cutscene" has to be good enough I guess. We usually never have to take anyone's word for these things, they're asked to record a little bit before starting and a little after but looks like even the DOSBox capture method isn't able to capture what comes after you've pressed SPACE to end the level. We could maybe change it so we end timing when the knight/avatar enters his death animation but that would require showing them dying in every level. Is that something you can do? Then it wouldn't have that sudden cutoff.

Your quality test / level 1: so is the only thing that matters how fast you kill each wave of enemies? Is there a maximum number of minions that can fight a single enemy? Does it have something to do with their bounding boxes (if there's room around the enemy)? I see there's a fly flying away from the first fight... and it seems there was room on the other side of the knight for the flies to participate in the second fight.

The wiki says the creature pool has 12 beetles but can't you get more than 5 at a time? Even if you sac or kill the flies? I'll ask you similar questions about at least some levels you post here so there won't be surprises in verification. Although redoing a level is (as I may have mentioned) luckily not an issue for this game.
Edit history:
12114: 2022-02-10 04:26:25 pm
12114: 2022-02-10 03:21:20 pm
12114: 2022-02-10 03:14:23 pm
12114: 2022-02-10 03:14:07 pm
12114: 2022-02-10 03:06:47 pm
12114: 2022-02-10 03:06:28 pm
12114: 2022-02-10 03:04:21 pm
12114: 2022-02-10 03:00:25 pm
12114: 2022-02-10 02:54:18 pm
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
I have found an objective way to test the times in Vdub.
The initial running into the heart as an imp part. You're running into it in VDub frame by frame, then there's a the 'totally white' part in each one of zoonel's videos (and all of my current and upcoming ones), which is exactly 6 frames.
On the 7th frame it changes to the bird view part with the white screen about 50% faded away. I say, this 7'th frame should be the objective starting point for all of the videos here in case of timing disputes. The end frame should be after objective completion on the FIRST black frame. You then process it with as little processing as possible in vdub (ideally direct stream copy for both video and audio, which I don't thnk is possible for mp4s), make the video, then hover over your cursor to look at the length.

Am I on the right track here Lot?

About level 1: Only the initial glitch matters where you save 20 seconds, and how fast you kill the 2 waves. I believe there's a max number of minions per enemy (not including possession guy?). About 6 maybe (beyound which the rest of your minions jump in the background, rooting for the fight, which is cute)? Even if there's room? I can't get the 12 beetles because they only come every 20 seconds and the knight comes way before that. The 3:04 is a tie with the current record on SDA and is a very solid run in my opinion. 3:03 is possible but very difficult.

Edit: Hmm, I just noticed zoonel's "fully white frames" are only 2 in length, not sure if it's because he's using the "diagonal view" or not (which he does get a bit penalized for because it auto zooms out for him a bit). But I think the first half white bird view frame is still a good objective starting point.
Edit2: With my method zoonel got 2:38 on level 2, 1 second faster than what is on the website... Rendered it as uncompressed from .mp4. Maybe the first white frame is better? He still gets 2:38 with counting the first white frame though.

Perhaps it should be 1 frame before the white frames? It seems there's a nerf for people with my mom diagonal view type which is offset by faster control takeover but with the detriment of smaller zoom. This way it'll always be 6 for non diagonal view types and 2 for zoonels type views.
Edit history:
12114: 2022-02-10 06:07:11 pm
12114: 2022-02-10 06:05:20 pm
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
An even better method is to count the frames, don't even have to process the video. It seems that one second = 60 frames. So with the above method, pick the first frame as the one before the totally white frames, then the end frame as the first black frame (after knight dies or whatever the level is), subtract the frames at the beginning and the end that don't count from the total frames, divide by 60 and you get your actual time based on objectivity. Are we cool on this, Lot? Seems that all of zoonels times need to be revised on this site...
Dragon Power Supreme

SDA timer here Smiley I can answer anything you need re: timing since this is my area (LotB asked me to come in instead of him being the messenger, for obvious reasons haha).

I didn't time DK 1 back then (it was the previous timer), but I did find the spreadsheet used previously.
All runs are manually timed (I don't know if In-Game is reliable). It appears as though the runs started as soon as something was on screen, which I assume to be the imp/player running into the heart? If so, it always started like that.

Based on your test submission and the runner's own level 1:
0:05.680 -> 3:10.080 = 3:04.400 [25fps - published]
0:05.283 -> 3:10.000 = 3:04.717 [60fps - your test submission]

Which makes your new run to be slower but the same final time of 3:04 (we round down unless there is frame-battles)

If we use the new suggested which is the first frame after the full-white frame (as game moves to bird's eye view)-- something I also prefer, then:

0:06.080 -> 3:10.080 = 3:04.000 [25fps - published]
0:05.600 -> 3:10.000 = 3:04.400 [60fps - your test submission]

I don't mind re-visiting all times if requested but we don't (usually) change published timed (exceptions occur of course) but if I need to compare these two runs and I'm being made aware there is a need to re-time old v new with a new method as part of actually determining if the new run is faster/slower, I most certainly will.

Any questions re: timing, feel free to ask me!
Quote from 12114:
About level 1: Only the initial glitch matters where you save 20 seconds, and how fast you kill the 2 waves. I believe there's a max number of minions per enemy (not including possession guy?). About 6 maybe (beyound which the rest of your minions jump in the background, rooting for the fight, which is cute)? Even if there's room? I can't get the 12 beetles because they only come every 20 seconds and the knight comes way before that. The 3:04 is a tie with the current record on SDA and is a very solid run in my opinion. 3:03 is possible but very difficult.

Okay, so a few things here. First of all, I think running this game, how many beetles can be gotten to fight a single enemy at once is the kind of thing that I really think you ought to look into. Same with other types of minions/enemy combinations, in case there's differences. How else would you know for sure what the objectively fastest way to get those critical kills is? Sometimes there's a very finicky way to fit in that one more minion (in this case) so test different configurations. Maybe it could be something like 5 beetles AND 1 fly. There might even be a way to dupe the AI a bit and let more minions take swings at those enemies than the normal limit, perhaps by picking up a minion that's just attacked and letting another one replace it. That might only work for minions that have a long attack cooldown (or maybe it doesn't at all, but something to test). So what I'd do if I was you is ignore the possession spell for a while, just do tests on what you can do with microing the minions from the bird's eye view to make sure you're not missing something there. I'm willing to bet the game ignores the possessed minion in those checks for whether another minion can join the fight or not.

There really aren't a lot of tools in the toolbelt in level 1 yet but I was thinking about lairs. Could you relocate the lair in the cave the heroes appear in? Like actually force beetles to make their nests on the tiles that are adjacent to the spawning tiles.

What's the initial glitch BTW?

Based on Israeli's timings, you were slower than the old run even though it was in the same second. In theory a segmented run doesn't have to improve on every segment... but there isn't really any excuse why you should be slower in this particular case IMO. When there's so little you can do (seemingly) to speed it up, at least make sure you're doing everything right that's in your control. Seeing as some levels are clearly very difficult to speed up, moving into sub-second timing with this game might be called-for. Do you agree? Can we do that Israeli?

Timing: I also thought maybe it's possible to capture the end-level stats screen if you start a new recording after ending the level? If it shows the level name/number it could be used as evidence of the time that way as well (if the in-game time is otherwise precise). But of course that's just full seconds so it might not be useful anyway.
Dragon Power Supreme
Segmented run should have identical (to the second) times as the previous runs. If this was turned into a full-blown IL level (which means every possible level, since the previous run did make different choices), then milliseconds can be counted.
Edit history:
12114: 2022-02-11 03:19:04 pm
12114: 2022-02-11 03:10:52 pm
12114: 2022-02-11 03:10:11 pm
12114: 2022-02-11 03:09:54 pm
12114: 2022-02-11 03:08:35 pm
12114: 2022-02-11 03:08:11 pm
12114: 2022-02-11 03:06:39 pm
12114: 2022-02-11 02:46:46 pm
12114: 2022-02-11 02:46:31 pm
12114: 2022-02-11 02:45:50 pm
12114: 2022-02-11 02:45:03 pm
12114: 2022-02-11 02:44:25 pm
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Thanks for the reply. I would much rather prefer not to deal with milliseconds in the current particular SDA category that's on the site. I would really start taking the lead in the 5th level and if all goes to plan my final time should be at least a minute faster (so it's not even needed). Milliseconds could be reserved for IL levels by many different players (without creature transfer, for obvious reasons). My intention was to not beat his level 1, but tie it, so I'm very content with my run actually. He did get a perfect knight spawn in possession mode which is lucky, and I didn't, as you can see I had to run for a little bit (part of the reason why beating him will be tedious). Admittedly, I kinda just copied his run and I assumed he didn't utilize the flies in his knight battle because of the "# of creatures attacking one creature" limit and he didn't want to risk a fly stealing a beetle's position in the fight. The "first creature" glitch I referred to isn't really a glitch (rather good script knowledge), but it's claiming your portal uber fast and getting your first creature in the first several seconds of the level (which literally no one in history even thought of or did until zoonel did it here on sda), that's why I kinda refer to it as the semi-glitch. I guess the more correct way to call it would be a "script level trick". P.S, the flies are negligible, they do very little damage anyway. I tested the knight fight with 2 flies and 5 beetles before, basically no difference. Actually, in fact, I think it was slower WITH the flies (in my limited testing), because of the above theory.

I still have some timing questions that weren't addressed.

In the diagonal view, there's only 2 fully white frames. In the view that I prefer (for casual play anyway), the straight down view, there's 6. Israeli, do you think my view could potentially gain some sort of advantage in light of this if you go by the first half-white frame after the fully white frames? If you skip 6 frames instead of 2 white frames, wouldn't that make a difference? Also, the diagonal view kinda "auto zooms" out of the first few frames, whereas mine doesn't. Which makes me wonder if the 1 frame before the FIRST white frame should be used instead. That way, the auto zooming out counter balances the fact that diagonal view only has 2 white frames.

Additionally, how come our initial two numbers in the timings that you've done are different? i.e 05.680 vs 05.283, and 06.080 vs 05.600? Isn't the SDA logo a fixed consistent time? Is this again because of the different view types?

Also, where is your end frame? The first black frame at the end? And is the first black frame included in the final time count?
Also #2, " In theory a segmented run doesn't have to improve on every segment.." About the theory, what if I can't beat some of his individual levels but my overall time is faster?
Dragon Power Supreme
SDA timing begins on player control unless there is a reason otherwise.
From what I gather, the first frame after full-white frame is where player control would start. If there is a better spot and/or earlier spot that would make both views consistent, then it should be used instead.

The initial numbers are different because I was testing two different start-timing methods: at 5.680 (published run) is where the video/cutscene starts (imp starts running to the heart), whereas at 6.080 (published run), the first frame that isn't fully white (but instead is in-game) occurs.
In your run (that I downloaded from the quality submission test), these were at 5.283 and 5.600 respectively.

The end frame is last visible frame before the black frame (which obviously is included in final time count).

For #2: if you are unable to beat some of his times, it might be better to change the entire gamepage to ILs (and add the missing levels at some point in the future) and then you only have to improve some. However if things you do in previous levels transfer to the next ones, this really changes the whole question.
Edit history:
12114: 2022-02-12 02:34:48 am
12114: 2022-02-12 02:34:28 am
12114: 2022-02-12 02:34:06 am
12114: 2022-02-12 02:21:46 am
12114: 2022-02-12 02:21:39 am
12114: 2022-02-12 02:20:54 am
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Ty, this clears up a lot of confusion (for future would be runners as well I'm sure if nothing comes of this). Yeah, things you do in previous levels affect the later levels. I know Lot is very excited about level 1 ;D, but that's the least of my worries. His level 20 is god tier, I'm worried about that one the most, there's maybe 2 other ones that I'm a bit worried about but nowhere near as much as level 20, but I'm fairly certain I can beat his overall time. We'll see what happens. I probably won't bother submitting my run if I can't at least tie all of his levels and then make a +1 sec improvement overall somewhere, that would ruin the category. If anything, it'd be better to make a new IL level category.
Edit history:
IsraeliRD: 2022-02-12 05:02:01 am
Dragon Power Supreme
Segmented runs can be accepted even if some segments are slower than others but the overall time is faster, but over 20 levels you really want a healthy amount to be close-to, match or slightly better than the previous one to be accepted.

ILs seem to therefore be required with previously provided save files, otherwise the game can't have an IL table. Best of luck with the run!
Edit history:
LotBlind: 2022-02-12 12:04:25 pm
LotBlind: 2022-02-12 11:03:02 am
Why couldn't ILs with creature transfers be a category of their own in your mind?

A/V: I noticed you don't zoom out during the run. Is that to make it less laggy? If it doesn't otherwise matter and you have some downtime, I personally think a zoomed-out view makes it easier to follow what's happening, so other viewers might appreciate that too.

So the heroes don't always spawn in the same square? That complicates things, yes. However, if you could save the game quickly enough (reach the save menu quickly enough), you could manipulate such things wherever it matters enough. Maybe not in this level. I was thinking "no reason to be slower than zoonel" because it seems so simple without a huge amount of execution (maybe I'm wrong). I still think you should not be slower than zoonel without good reason, such as him having gotten very lucky somewhere (again, something you could be manipulating with in-level saving).

The first-creature trick: So the creature spawning is at set times instead of being relative to the time when the portal was first claimed? I just finally read zoonel's run comments which answer some of my questions. Didn't occur to me before. Well, okay, I guess if there was a way to get more firepower for the first fight at least (a fifth beetle), it would be known-about (though I don't like to assume such things). Although he says "1 creature comes through every 20 seconds" so by the 3 minute mark, by my calculations, you should have 3 creatures / minute, so 9 creatures, but you only have 7.

Yeah I'm "excited about level 1" because I like to see the runs here utilize the less obvious timesavers too (same reason as why I'm selling you the idea of multi-segmenting some levels). I'm just a fan of high-quality speedrunning! And I won't have time to keep watching what you're doing here later anyway so just wanted to make sure you know what you're doing and you're utilizing all the current knowledge and not just making assumptions. I don't wanna be mistrustful but you never know. Sometimes we accept runs and then the runner comes back himself after a few weeks saying "hey nevermind that run, I found tons of new timesavers now".

Are you saying there are other things carrying over from level to level than just the creature transfers? Or is that what you meant with "things you do in previous levels affect the later levels"?

Yeah good luck! I might ask a few more questions here and there.

BTW: I think Israeli was confused there thinking the game has branching levels but I explained to him it's all linear.
Dragon Power Supreme
I was bamboozled Sad
Edit history:
12114: 2022-02-12 08:11:29 pm
12114: 2022-02-12 08:07:58 pm
12114: 2022-02-12 07:18:55 pm
12114: 2022-02-12 06:39:29 pm
12114: 2022-02-12 03:21:19 pm
12114: 2022-02-12 03:17:51 pm
12114: 2022-02-12 03:07:38 pm
12114: 2022-02-12 03:06:37 pm
12114: 2022-02-12 03:05:56 pm
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
"Are you saying there are other things carrying over from level to level than just the creature transfers?"

Just the creature transfer and unlocking secret levels for more creature transferring (doubt the latter is useful for this category, though you could maybe transfer some level 10 to the last level).

Maybe after 300 tries level 1 can be done in 3.03, I'm not ruling it out. Killing the first 2 dwarfs should be perfect too, I dumpstered many runs immediately after a bad dwarf fight (too many beetles on 1 dwarf which kills them out of sync, or too many misses, or really bad spawn again, or mistiming possession due to a missed slap or something else). For the total creatures thing, as far as I remember, a beetle comes in the middle of the fight at 3 min so he's not usable. I will find out the limit of creatures that are allowed to gang up on a single enemy though soon (I'll do some tests), I agree, that's something I should know.

About the view and frame thing, nevermind, when you take control (the first half white frame after fully white frames) is a good starting point.

P.s Lot I know you think my time is slower but actually in my opinion it's the same. As far as I understand I saw no confirmation that we are switching to the new system of "taking control" starting point (don't bother doing all that work unless I've done all the levels and ready to submit), so a 3.04.99 is the same as a 3.04.01 as it currently stands. If the new system does get implemented I might go for the 3.03 since it'll be much easier to achieve (milliseconds still won't count but I'd prob go for 3.03.9x which is a 3:03).
I don't really have an opinion on if you're slower or faster, I was just going by what Israeli said (we'd be a mess without a dedicated timer!). I won't poke you any more on this level, like I said, gotta do a bit of that to test the runner's mettle and if they're "trustworthy" if it's the right word. It's gonna make the verification easier when I/we know you're giving all the less obvious ideas their due consideration too.

I realize the idea of saving in the middle of a level might also be problematic for recording? Or more like when you reload, how do you start the recording on the first frame when it's done loading? I was wondering if a full screen capture would help if you didn't already try. Like make the game windowed (3x size from the graphics option selector if you're running the GOG version) and capture the whole screen, at 30 fps if that helps. I just tested it: it captures all the resolution changes between main menu / loading screen / gameplay perfectly. That kind of video could at least be used for verification purposes, with later cropping down to the size of the in-game window. I know windowed mode can make it laggier so maybe that's not ideal for you?

I also noticed that when you reload, it actually goes to the in-game resolution for a while before it resumes, so you could also simply start recording while it's still black. Didn't confirm that but I presume it works. Anyway...
Edit history:
12114: 2022-02-21 12:07:54 am
12114: 2022-02-20 11:54:44 pm
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
With all dude respect (due*), throwing in flies as well as beetles into the last knight fight on level 1 is indeed something pretty obvious and I'm sure zoonel thought of that. His meticulousness should not be underestimated. There is a reason that speed runners even to this day use the same strat I did in the video, i.e only throwing the beetles in.

Anyway I tested how many creatures can gang up on 1 creature, it's 4. Those flies are totally useless in the knight fight, at best, they'll do nothing, at worst, they'll take a spot of a beetle and lower your damage. They can only be used on the dwarves.

Also, I don't play on dosbox (nor am I interested in doing so to be honest, just because the current record does not do so either). Don't you think that can open a can of worms? Cycle manipulation to make the game faster? Or needlessly lag?
Edit history:
LotBlind: 2022-02-21 12:28:56 pm
LotBlind: 2022-02-21 12:28:21 pm
No need for special respect, if you've turned every stone, then so be it... but you can never establish a negative, so you can never be completely sure you haven't overlooked something LESS obvious, like if you can somehow glitch the game into allowing more than 4 attackers at once. Even in a video games context, a formal and complete proof that it's not possible would require something like a search of the whole space of states the game can enter. I'm sure you've seen how new tricks are found in games even after years of scrutiny by TASers, so while I don't have any specific practical suggestions on what more to test, I recommend forgetting about what speedrunners "even to this day" do or don't do if you wanna give yourself a chance to be the one who eventually finds that next surprising thing. Reminds me of a short front page column Akiteru wrote on this topic. It was on Monday, April 26, 2021 if you wanna see it.

DOSBox has a paragraph on our rules page, it's been accepted for maybe 5–7 years already as a practical solution to how it would be asking quite a lot to have a native setup to play DOS games on these days. I don't remember any accusations of abuse so far, and there's nothing you can really do to completely quench the possibility of cheating anyway. If more lag is ever better in this case, that can often be achieved by other means as well.

EDIT: Hahaha, "with all dude respect" sounds hilarious.
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Level 18:

Is that an IL? It's not even worth using the Dragon's meteor attack aside from the fire breath?
Edit history:
12114: 2022-02-24 04:12:23 am
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Sort of? It's 1 segment IL which is a part of a whole set of 20 all by one person. Anyway, for some reason you can break doors down faster with fire breath mixed in with meteors, but not the dungeon heart. Don't ask me why. That's why both the current SDA run and my youtube run break the door down with fire + meteor, but only use fire on the heart.
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
level 16 hf :

Started at the same exact frame (after taking control) so you can see who's actually faster without cut-scene bs.
Quote from 12114:
Anyway, for some reason you can break doors down faster with fire breath mixed in with meteors, but not the dungeon heart. Don't ask me why.

That could be because they implemented a cap to how much damage the DH can take in one blow because they figured without it it's too fast to kill. The continuous dragon breath (that's gotta be a bug? it always felt so OP) is obviously not going to suffer from such a cap at all.

Just to be clear, these videos have nothing to do with SDA submissions right? You did that thing you're "not supposed to do" of mixing in music, which can be pretty divisive.
Edit history:
12114: 2022-02-24 02:48:43 pm
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
"Just to be clear, these videos have nothing to do with SDA submissions right?"

They do. It's for both. I still obviously have the original clean fraps videos without music...

And the youtube is just for everyone's amusement.
Ok, sorry, I was just super-surprised you're ALREADY in level 18? Or are you doing them out of order or something?

I was thinking that when you tunnel with a possessed imp, it should be fastest to go diagonally but maybe you factored that into what you did in level 18?
Edit history:
12114: 2022-02-25 04:59:16 pm
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
Quote from LotBlind:
Ok, sorry, I was just super-surprised you're ALREADY in level 18? Or are you doing them out of order or something?

I was thinking that when you tunnel with a possessed imp, it should be fastest to go diagonally but maybe you factored that into what you did in level 18?

Not in strict order. I thought of that too but it's way too hard without some sort of script. It was super hard as it is to merely push w and claim earth tiles (80% of fails were there), and it would be that much harder to run diagonally.
Okay, whenever I used to do it, I wasn't claiming the tiles I guess. I just tried it briefly: felt possible if you keep moving the mouse a little bit left, then a little bit right to make sure you're on the correct wall each time. What feels difficult to me about that technique is the mouse clicking itself!