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I love YaBB 1G - SP1!

I've watched dozens of speedruns in the past 2-3 years and I always wanted to find a game that I might have a shot but never really tried. Last week, I've decided to start working on my first speedrun and I must say I'm really exited. I won't say the game yet because my questions are not game specific. I hope my questions won't be too general to be adequatly answered but here I go:

1) Is practicing on a emulator before playing on a console is a good idea?
1a) If yes, will I see a lot of differences between the two gameplays?

2) In the first few weeks, should I play the game from beginning to end or divide the game in sections and optimize my game one section at a time?

3) Is there any threads in this forum that might answer some of my questions / concerns?

I don't have more inspiration than that for now. I'll be happy to hear from you and don't be shy to post any info that might help me.
I'll probably post more questions if my brain cooperate.

Thread title:  
well i am not an experienced runner (only have 1 run up for verification), but before i ran the whole game i broke the game down per level to see what worked best on each and then once i found a good strategy i followed it (i did a SS).

the biggest difference i see from playing on an emulator is obviously the controller, but also perhaps slowdowns, but nothing completely weird.

but just know what if you're serious about speed running, you'll find that it is a very rewarding experience, that is if you can deal with weeks or perhaps months of failure.
Edit history:
bmn: 2010-08-22 03:47:16 pm
1) Absolutely. A lot of people who can play their game on an emulator do so to experiment and practice levels and tricks.
1a) Depends on the console, game and emulator. Generally, the 8 and 16-bit stuff is close to perfect, but it's an idea to get the most accurate emulator if possible - BSNES is the most accurate SNES emu for example. You should also note that the feeling of the input (e.g. the timing) will be slightly different so you may need to get up to speed on the real thing before recording.

2) This one depends on so many things, so I can't say one way or the other. In my experience, playing a ~2 hour game segmented, playing the whole game dulls my sharpness on the segment I'm currently focusing on, but at the same time it helps avoid burnout, gives the possibility of finding stuff elsewhere that will work in the current segment, and helps me avoid treating my current strategy as the best there is.

3) Not that I know of. If you look through the Gaming Discussion or Site Discussion archives, you may find similar topics to this one.
Visit my profile to see my runs!
This thread is technically in the wrong section.  I would move it to General Discussion (in the alternative, SDA discussion, but probably the former), because even though you are planning a run, you need to be reasonably specific (at least discussing the game itself) to put this in the speedrun-planning section of the forum.  A moderator should probably move it, unless you change the thread title and discussion so that it belongs.  (By the way, this a common mistake, so don't feel bad!)

1) Anyway, practicing on an emulator is a common practice.  Feel free.  What bmn said.

2) Whatever feels natural to you.  This question is really just asking whether you should make a single or multiple segment run, and that's up to you.  Generally, the longer the game and the more difficult the game, the more likely you will save yourself quite a bit of frustration by segmenting (splitting the run into multiple parts).  Of course, the fewer segments you use, the more impressive the run will be.

As far as the order in which you play the parts of the game, I would guess that 90% of runners practice by playing through the whole game, from beginning to end that is, over and over.  That is, for those making single segment runs.  Though, I've actually performed more than one run by beginning towards the end (I would just play through the majority of the game without caring about mistakes, and then perform as perfectly as I can on the last portion ... this is helpful if you need more practice on the later sections of the game).  If you plan to segment and run certain parts of the game, then you will just practice one section of the game until you record a satisfactory segment.  When that's done, then you can move onto the next part of the game.

3) Again, I would suggest that you change this thread so that it is specifically about running whatever game you have chosen.  People who have played the game can then jump into the thread and post their advice, including whether you should split up the run (if members of the forum know that a speedrun of the game you have chosen will be many hours long, they might advise you to split it into segments, for instance).

Good luck!  Keep us posted on your progress, if you have the time.  New runs are always welcome.
I am working on my first run for SDA and agree wholeheartedly with bmn's comment on #2.  Especially if you don't take early failure well, I've found the best approach is to first play the game through a few times, even if you make some bad mistakes, just to have a completed run to start from. 

From there, ask yourself for every possible decision you make "Is this the best decision?"  Probably your first few runs through will give you a basic idea for what could be improved, but improvement often comes from where you least expect it.  Start thinking in terms of ideals.  What would be the ideal thing to happen at such and such part of the game?  Then, how close can you come to achieving this ideal?  Try everything.  Sometimes a game glitch will help.  Other times you can take damage or make extreme sacrifices to achieve a temporary goal. 

My favorite examples of this on the site are from the Starcraft speed runs and the Castlevania speedruns.  Sometimes in a starcraft speed run (SCT6 is an example) a floating building is used as a meat shield to take hits for some dropships.  I don't know what genius came up with that, but it blew my mind the first time I saw it.  In the castlevania runs sometimes the runner jumps at just the right moment to get hit by an enemy, and the deflection from the hit boosts him to the next floor up.  Also ingenius.
As far as #2 goes, it really think you should spend time both practicing the whole thing for continuity, as well as the particularly difficult individual parts for consistency.
Talk to the Hand
As it happens, I'm doing a panel on this very topic in a few months. Tongue

My thoughts:

1. Yes, yes, a million times yes. This goes double if you have some kind of USB controller you can hook up to approximate whatever actual controller you'll be using. In particular, emulators are great because you can use save states--more on that in question 2.
1a. For 8 and 16-bit games, I doubt it. While you want "the most accurate" emulator if you can find it, truthfully, any half decent emulator should get you to the point where you don't notice any difference between that and the real thing except for some extremely weird cases (Emulators for that era of gaming have been around long enough that any emulator that's survived to this point is going to be pretty damn good. I can't speak to any of the CD-based system emulators.

2. This is a bit tougher to answer. I can tell you what I do, and you can see if it works for you. But what I generally do nowadays is play through the whole game once, taking notes and making maps and stuff as I go (I primarily do adventure-type games). Not necessarily for speed, or even all at once, but once to get my brain into it or whatever you want to call it. Then I'll fire up the emulator and go through it piece by piece, making save states as I go. So if I expect the run to take 2 hours, I'll make a save state at roughly every ten minutes, or major dungeon, or whatever, in addition to save-stating before really tricky parts that I'll need to practice on their own. Then I'll go piece-by-piece and slowly work up to playing the whole thing. So I'll play through the first ten minutes a few times. Then the second ten minutes. Then the first twenty minutes all at once. Then minutes 21-30. Then the first half hour all at once. And so on and so forth until I'm playing through the entire game, at which point I start finally recording.

Hope that helps!
Listen to everything everybody above me said.  It is good advice.  Smiley

The only thing I want to contribute is this:  make sure you REALLY like the game you want to speed run.  You will be spending a lot of time together; a LOT of time.  If you don't like the game, or find yourself getting sick of it after a few hours, you may want to reconsider.  I've done some "speed runs" of games I hated in the past, and they did not turn out well at all (hence why "speed runs" is in quotes) and just left me bitter afterwards.  Game selection is really important.

Good luck and have fun!
SDA Apprentice -- (3-1)
I was in your position not too long ago myself...  It wasn't until recently when I actually had my first published run and I have to say that I have been very proud since then (although I do hope to expand my speed run resume soon)...  The only things I would suggest is to practice in a way that you feel more comfortable... People may perform SS runs, yes, but not without heavy amounts of practicing first, while others perfer to go segments at a time...  Depending on the game you are playing...

As for threads, if you are planning to speed run a game that has a thread, then post ahead to put in your ideas...  If the game doesn't exist yet, go ahead a post a new thread (just be sure to not post many games at once and be sure to post in the right location) and leave your thoughts on how the run should be done...

Outside of that, best of luck to you sir...
I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
wow I didn't expect to have that many replies so fast. I'll try to touch to everyone's reply. Don't be mad if I don't I've read every word.
Any MOD can move my thread. I thought here would be the best place for my thread but I guess IMW is right.

I've order a PlayStation to USB adapter it should be in my mail this week. I've often played games with my keyboard for entertainment purpose but I realised playing with a keyboard is trickier and doesn't feels natural as with a controller and for a speedrun, goind with a keyboard is just not appropriate. Can't wait to play with a good old PS Controll and throw the keyboard away.

For the 1st question, everyone agrees it's a good idea and I'm glad the differences are minimal. I won't play forever on it though that's for sure. When I'll get enough experience to go through the game a good % of the time or whatever the criteria I'll put on myself, I'll jump on the real thing. But I guess this might be in a long time lol. I've already played the game once and saved a lot of save states of every tricky parts of the game. I think I have between 30 and 40 states so this will helped me to perfect some of the run killers. Thereis a lot of them haha.

Now for the second question, before creating a thread about my run, I'll get more experience with my game and have a first time. The game I'm running has a good amount of luck so it's kinda difficult to have a preliminary time. I'll probably creating the thread when I'll be ready. I don't even have my route memorized yet. Since my run will be a single segment, I think playing the whole game, even if it's full of mistakes, will help me improve my overall skills instead of trying right away to search the perfection for every tricky part. I don't want to encapsulate myself with a plan that if I have problems along the way, I won't be lost and play in a erratic manner. I want perfection obv but also consistency.

This week, it will probably be a "planification week". Getting down in my memory the paths I need to go throughout my run. When all of this will be memorized, I'll be ready to attack the game more seriously. Right now, I'm playing with my emulator and beside it the current best run of the game and follow its path. Having the path memorized is I thing the first step. And for PJ, yes the game I chose I like it a lot. I realised though that if I succeed, I might just destroy my cartridge. I'm only one week in and I often find myself completely frustrated but I guess it's normal. I can't wait to have a time and with practive seeing that time go down and down closer to the time to beat.

Thanks for the fast answers. You might find my official running thread in the coming weeks Smiley

PSP zealot
for #3, like inspid said, once you have a thread on the game you're planning to speedrun, other people will definitely jump in and drop some info, tricks and techniques to help out. My first published speedrun had a route/sequence made by an anonymous user, and time savers/tips from multiple other players. It's not uncommon to see one runner literally copying another one's route then improving on it, so don't be afraid to ask for help.

Quote from kinghippo423:
I'm only one week in and I often find myself completely frustrated but I guess it's normal.

If you find yourself getting frustrated quickly/badly, you should take a break for a few days. Some runners take months to complete their run, and believe me they didn't go at it 24/7 without taking a breather.
Edit history:
feasel: 2010-09-11 11:03:16 pm
difficult and stupidly random
I recommend getting an adapter that converts your console controller to USB (e.g. RetroPort for NES/SNES/Gen) -- there is such a thing for pretty much any console.  I think it really helps to practice using the exact same kind of controller you're going to use.

Also, something that i'm surprised nobody brought up is that on emulator you will have some amount of input-lag.  This will be better or worse depending on what kind of operating system you're using.  When you're playing "for fun", you'd probably not even notice.  But when you get to the point where you are timing your moves precisely, it will start to come into play.  Typically when I move off emulator and onto a real system (which I usually wait until the last minute to do, since I prefer emulator practice to console practice) it takes some time for my body to adjust to the difference.  And for this reason I tend not to swap back and forth between console and emulator.  Your results may vary -- perhaps it won't be such an issue for you, but it's definitely something to be aware of.  If it just "feels wrong" when you switch to console, that's probably the reason, and it will go away over time.

EDIT:  I missed part of BMN's post.
My feelings on The Demon Rush
Oh hey, how did I miss this thread?

People have covered the topics thoroughly, but I think I have a couple of things to add

1) Yes, it's a very good idea. If we didn't allow emulator practice then we would have maybe 5% of the 8 and 16-bit runs we currently have on the site. There are sometimes differences between the emulator and the real console, usually the amount of lag/slowdown is different on emulator. For example, Contra III almost never slows down on ZSNES, but slows down frequently in the first stage when you play it on console.

2) This really depends on the game. For a game like Metal Slug or Contra III, I play through section on an emulator before attempting the final run for the following reasons.

1. They're short and simple games, so there's a lot of benefit to optimizing on a small scale.

2. Using savestates allows me to practice under speedrun conditions, since you need to keep all of your weapons throughout the entire game.

3. If I suceeded during a practice runthrough that wasn't recorded, I would be super pissed.

On the other hand, for a game like Castle Crashers, I played through the entire game when I practiced for the following reasons.

1. I needed to see how much money I would have for each section of the game, and if I had to go out of my way to collect gold (turns out I really didn't).

2. The game is very random, and optimizing on a small scale only works against bosses.

3. The save system is incredibly dumb and saves everything, forcing me to make a new profile every time I want to start a new game or test something out in new game conditions.

Honestly, the answer is, "it depends on the game".

3) This is probably the best thread we have so far.
I want off the ride....
Honestly i can only say one thing about 1a.

Be careful as some tricks are just annoying. Like MMX2 i know there are some CONSOLE only tricks (i believe) and I know rom and myself have achieved a sotn level too high to ever use an emulator... Seeing me play sotn on an emulator actually makes me look like I suck extremely horrible at the game! (Yeah... its weird like that ya know?)

Thats the only thing I can add. Just watch the games, and maybe if you get too optimized on the console going back to an emulator could be tricky. Its a good start but might not be the best finish...

Also, watch how lag affects you in both.. cause no matter what its going to differ. After Playing Seiken Densetsu 3 on an emulator where my inputs are very rarely dropped, to the real thing where they are dropped a lot more often... its hard to call whats going on.
Quote from feasel:
Also, something that i'm surprised nobody brought up is that on emulator you will have some amount of input-lag.

Quote from bmn:
You should also note that the feeling of the input (e.g. the timing) will be slightly different so you may need to get up to speed on the real thing before recording.
Though I'm not a speedrunner I think I can still throw in some experiences as instead of speedrunning I'm usually doing no damage runs on some quite difficult games, and it's a bit similar. I didn't feel like reading every post since it's late, so i might repeat some things.

1) If you can then you absolutely SHOULD use an emulator. If there's a boss late or complicated part late in a game without save function or passwords, it would be stupid to practice it directly in game.
1a) basically, emulators often lag. that's one thing. Second thing is that if you're using an emulator you need to keep in mind that even for games for the SNES or any console, there is often different versions, even for the same country, like for PC games. So if you have like.. Zelda for the SNES and download any Zelda rom for an emulator, it might be a different version. Different version MIGHT mean different timing, less or more lag, etc.

2)I think most people here would agree that playing through the game 1-2 times first and writing down (or remembering if it's not too long) the parts that need practice (they should be obvious) or that might have shortcuts/ have shortcuts or glitches you know of but are hard to use and then just practice these first, again and again until you can consistenly accomplish what you want. Then play through again to see if you can do them under the pressure of doing it linked to the rest of the game. If you can then you should look what the less obvious faults or problems are. And thus you proceed from thee most important parts to the less important. You should also try to find out whether you play better when taking breaks often or can just try something relentlessly until it works.