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LotBlind: 2019-06-27 01:49:17 pm
SuiRose: 2018-11-05 07:00:52 pm
Hey all, do you like gritty stories? How about beat 'em ups? Good good, now what about furries?

Dusty's Revenge is the kind of game that feels like a lot of love went into it. Unfortunately for a lot of people I've talked to: it's also the kind of game you pick up, play once or twice, then quietly return to the Steam library never to be seen again. So I did what any normal, sane individual would do: decided to see if I could speedrun it!

My first attempt (Medium difficulty, Dusty's Story) took me over 3 hours and had an embarrassing amount of deaths. Also, being my first attempt at speedrunning much of anything: I didn't do my timers right (didn't start at gain/loss of control, missing an entire level split), but can be found in it's terrible, terrible glory on YouTube here:

My second attempt on Medium was so bad I abandoned the run because I had 12 deaths at the very end of Junkyard Sewers. From here, I made the decision to instead try running on Easy for now; the biggest changes being less enemies with less health who deal less damage.

The next few attempts had me learning a lot of what I can get away with and ultimately resulted in the run I'm most proud of so far at a decent 1:54:49.07 (load times included). The biggest hiccups I ran into were a few dumb deaths in the Odgro Depths, the Lykan death, screwing up my splits which made me pause for a moment at the beginning of the sewers, and a rough time with Craven (but I didn't die for a change!). That run on what I'm calling EasyD% is honestly going to be hard to top for me. That run can be found here:

A fair warning if you're watching the videos: the cutscene/intro screen volume is LOUD and doesn't care about what you set the volume sliders to. And no, sadly, I can't skip those cutscenes.

Hope y'all enjoy and if anyone wants to join me in learning the game, I'm excited to see what folks come up with!
Thread title:  
Okay, seems you've submitted a run? Based on what you've written in this thread and a very brief look at the run itself, you haven't put in nearly enough time yet for your run to have gotten SDA quality. You should first think about all the different levels, combos etc. (I don't know anything about the game) and make sure you know what the best options are in each case, look for skips of any and all sorts, and don't even start grinding out runs until you've been thorough with all that. Otherwise it's more casual speedrunning than what we're after here on SDA.

If you keep at it, you can eventually get there, but you'll need to make it into a long-term project! I'm probably four years into the game I'm currently speedrunning and am only now even getting close to recording the first few segments.

A few questions if you're still interested: What you mean by D%? As in with deaths? If the deaths don't act as warps (if they're not useful to you in some way), we don't have a separate category without deaths. Secondly, the submitted run is on medium, yet based on what you wrote here, it sounds like you've switched to Easy? If the game is tough to beat without deaths, then starting with a clean Easy any% run would be advisable.

The sound in the Easy video is really low. You should probably set the game sounds to a high setting (so the cutscene volume and gameplay volume is matched), then adjust the recording volume until it's good. Before starting/resuming recording actual attempts, you should definitely post a quality test under Tech Support once you think your settings are good. Make sure to get acquainted with all the relevant stuff in the FAQ, rules etc.

I can give you feedback on the actual run if you say you're still interested in submitting it on SDA. Otherwise I don't really have time.
Thanks for getting back to me, and I apologize for all the newbie mistakes with everything going on. I'm sort of fumbling in the dark trying to find my way, haha. I thought that someone in the private thread for the run submission had mentioned making a thread here on the forums, but if I misunderstood, I apologize! Honestly, a part of me was hoping I might be able to find other people to run the game and any assistance in finding skips (though it seems like most of the level design wouldn't allow for that, sadly). I'll definitely keep running it and seeing about getting a more consistent run down!

EasyD% refers to Easy difficulty, Dusty's story (there is an alternate character you can play with a separate first level and boss and moveset that I don't really know anything about) and any%. That first run in Medium difficulty has sadly been the best I've had thus far mostly on the merits of being able to finish the run: subsequent attempts have had a lot of difficulty on the auto-scroller sewer level unfortunately. Something I plan on returning to Soon(tm) to give more attempts, but I've got Easy difficulty down fairly well with only one or two deaths. In more recent runs I've experimented with different boss strategies and combos and managed to reduce the time fairly drastically. Is there some way I can amend the submission to reflect the changed difficulty or should I resubmit, assuming it's good enough to be accepted?

As for the volume, that's unfortunately something I've been fighting with since first playing the game: for whatever reason the cutscenes are obscenely loud compared to the rest of the game and there doesn't seem to be any particular method of changing that. I'll continue fiddling with it and see if I can get something that sounds a little less objectionable, though! Admittedly, if I could find a way of skipping the cutscenes altogether that would be ideal, but I guess we play with what we get, eh?

Of course any additional help or commentary on the runs is absolutely welcome and whatever I can do to improve going forward I'll do my best at! Should I post a link to some of my more smooth runs with better times and  less deaths or should I reserve that for the submission form? Thanks again for the response and have a wonderful day!
Starting a thread is the right thing to do, just in case someone does show up. It's not a given though, especially for a less-well-received game as this seems to have been. You can just keep posting status updates here and there so some documentation exists and so people can see your work-in-progress. Feel free to also start a strategy guide as a more permanent and well-ordered place to store your information.

Audio: Well, it's not your fault at the end of the day. We won't reject the run because of it. If it's really boomy, we should consider making a special exception and allowing to edit the video audio in post-editing seeing as it wouldn't really compromise the gameplay footage in any way. But yeah keep tinkering and then post another video that demonstrates the balance and I'll tell you if it's a problem.

Video: As you may know, SDA runs just have the game footage so you can crop out the splits yourself for the next submissions, or we can do that too.

I see what you've done with the submission now. Let me take a look at the run now. I'm just going to throw ideas out and you take whatever's good and ignore what's understood.

00:59: In all fights, you should try to make them end so you're as close to the right side of the screen as possible, or wherever you're going next. Is there anything you can do to make the two guys stop before either of them goes so far left or is that scripted? You do some combo at the end that mostly misses and takes you further left yourself. Maybe you could at least deliver the last blow from the right side?
1:02: You really don't want to miss the lever here right at the start of the run. For serious attempts, that should probably be a reset. If you are able to activate it or similar switches more than once, you might want to practice activating them separately.
1:05: Are you using visual cues for stuff like this? As in when exactly you're good to jump?
1:10: Do all these steps really require double jumps? Landing earlier means faster movement.
1:49: Here you're right next to the enemy when you land the final blow. Can you actually start taking small steps towards the right as you're fighting them without slowing the fight down?
1:55: You forgot you needed to hit the switch first? You really have to remember the route a lot better than this. Or is there something else going on? Looked like you didn't need to get full height off the platform to be able to reach the ledge? Could you have, e.g., jumped onto the platform earlier off the climbable stuff on the left and jumped off before it was all the way up?
2:02: It also looks like you could land sooner unless that's a trick of the perspective.
2:07: Maybe could have started to go back left as soon as you'd triggered the fight? More importantly though, you could probably have hit both of them at the same time saving several seconds.
2:33: Could have moved towards the right during both of the falls?
2:37: Can you avoid falling this far right here? I'm guessing you're avoiding the kneeling animation.
2:56: Looks like a minotaur joins this fight half-way through. This is often done in games by linking their entry to the death of a particular enemy. You should figure out if that's the case here and try to kill that enemy first, although looks like they died at around the same time anyway.
3:10: Maybe even this little platforming bit can be sped up by somehow? Can you, e.g. activate the float ability while climbing to move side to side faster without having to drop down a tier?
3:56: So again, maybe you have a little bit of time to get set for this fight (once you remember what's coming next) so you're already in a position to hit both minotaurs at once. Would have saved two swings on this particular attempt.
5:50: Should you have kept moving right and attacked the minotaur ASAP hoping the other guys would have wandered over to you? Do they never do that?
7:25: You're only using this combo for this boss. Couldn't it have been used with any of the other mobs? I don't see any kind of mana or power meter...

An advanced idea would be to bait out attacks from enemies that cause them to move the direction you want them to go, perhaps by standing at a certain distance from them. If you always do everything the same way yourself, you might easily miss some of the AI's quirks.

Any time you've got nothing to do but wait, even if you can gain a small edge in some way, you should spend the time gaining it. It doesn't look good in a speedrun to do nothing if you can do something.

So all this stuff may sound small but we really appreciate it. It keeps a rote activity nuanced and interesting for the runner and viewers alike. Once you've got the principle down in one spot, it will carry over into the whole rest of the game.

All that having been said, two hours is quite a long time so inevitably, you won't remember quite everything about every wave of enemies showing up. Still, I think you'll remember a surprising amount of it by the time you're ready with testing, based on what I've seen with previous runs-in-progress.

You can't start from whichever level, can you? If you can't do that, or save the game wherever, I know it's more difficult to do thorough testing. Also can't emulate a game this new... You might want to take a look at your latest run yourself and actually pause the video like I was doing there, just to give yourself time to theorycraft and revise what worked and what didn't. Obviously also to time how long alternative strategies took. If you really wanna go ham, statistical analysis and establishing the expected values of various approaches. A gut feeling is probably good enough for an SDA accept though.

If there's triggers of any sort anywhere high up, try getting a boost off something (traditionally off enemies) to reach it early. Also, sometimes you can skip fight triggers too just by trying to fly high above where they seem to be (though in some cases you can't proceed before you've hit them anyway). Looks like the first level at least is just a beat 'em up. Those tend to have skips like that quite seldom but at least older ones would sometimes despawn enemies if you just got far enough away from them. If you want to see some top-tier beat 'em up/run 'n' gun plays, you can check out basically any run by PJ.

Not gonna flood this any the more but if you have specific questions, go ahead.
Holy wow it's been a while since I looked into this. Apologies I didn't get back to this sooner! Life got a little bit crazy there for a hot minute, but watching the SGDQ marathon prompted me to look back into my strange little amateur speedrun project. I do have a few things to report, too, and a much, much faster time to post (that I'm still going to work on getting more perfected as, frankly, I'm still inconsistent in some of the platforming sections).

The best news I have is I ended up accidentally finding out how to skip those absurdly loud cutscenes.

I really appreciate the advice you shared! Here's what I can tell you about what I know for the time being, and I'll get back to you with more info as I learn more (or maybe if other folks have some compulsion to figure it out; I'm not one to complain!)

-For the most part, I haven't been able to consistently get mobs to the right side of the screen with juggling without ending up losing more time than I'm gaining trying to position them properly. Something to work on as I continue figuring out how to optimize combos.

- Fights that lock the camera, so far as I've encountered, lock you in until every enemy is defeated. My memory is fuzzy if specific enemies trigger new waves to spawn, but that's something I'll do some work into finding out! Unfortunately for trying to find ways to get over the triggers or the like, the game is largely very horizontal where these locked-camera events happen which means getting around the triggers to skip them is going to be unlikely or very, very difficult.

- Ranged enemies are pretty notorious for trolling me: they don't move except to try and run away from you a safe distance to shoot at you again. Aside from this, I haven't found much in the way of AI manipulation on normal enemies. Figuring out the AI manipulation strategies would be a godsend as, especially later in the run, there are plenty of enemies who love to decide they're done being slapped around and whap me out of my combo (meaning a tiny time loss, but it can happen multiple times in a row meaning a few extra seconds spent in the fights overall). At least on Easy difficulty: so long as you stay up in their face, most enemies won't do anything too surprising. Usually.

- Corners are more of a suggestion in Dusty Revenge and I can say 100% that it is a trick of perspective that makes it look like you may be able to land sooner in most cases. There's a notorious point in Deep Jungle where I've been unable to get up a level and through a doorway due to little weirdness like this and have lost more than a few runs to simply falling through the floor to my death.

- Speaking of death: the levels do run on a global cycle, so taking a death (I've learned) means having to deal with a new cycle of platforms as it restarts from zero from the checkpoint reached rather than where I'd normally be in the run. To this end, I'm not certain if perhaps in some later sections (looking specifically at the last Temple level before Ganuk) using an intentional death might make for a faster, more consistent pattern for the platforms where it might take an age for the proper cycle to return.

- Individual level selection is possible, however the quirk is that it saves your experience total if you attempt to go back to an earlier level which changes up your available combo moves. I'm actually not sure how much faster the run might be on a pseudo-NG+ run where I have everything unlocked, but perhaps that's another fun experiment for the future!

- First level is pretty beat-'em-up heavy, and as the game progresses it becomes more platformer-y with beat'-em-up breaks. I'll try to post up a more manageable-timed run so more folks can see just all the crazy fun movement you can get to do later on that just feels amazing to nail down.

Funnily enough there's even a second character in the game with an entirely separate first stage and story that I've never played with an entirely different moveset. Also, local co-op is a thing! All this is stuff that I haven't delved too much into, but has the potential for more options of categories to run, if anyone is ever interested in the game. And hey, there's a sequel to this game now: Dusty Raging Fists!

Finally, I do want to say - with no shortage of embarrassment on my end- that for the longest time I was calling the game by the wrong name up until about a couple months ago when my significant other pointed it out to me: it's "Dusty Revenge" not "Dusty's Revenge". Oops.

Cheers, and hopefully next post I make isn't another 7 months in the making (or, if it is, that I have more to show for it!)
I'm glad I didn't scare you off! If you take your speedrunning at all seriously, I'll be more than happy to verify your run if and when it comes to that.

Did I already suggest looking into buffered movements or attacks? Is there something like if you wait at the left edge of the screen and at some point start spamming an attack that automatically repeats, this will auto-complete the fight for you? It's a long shot, especially if you have to guesstimate the starting time...

Yes, total trigger skips are not common in these kinds of games. Also some tricks that tend to work in NES/classic brawlers might well not in such a more modern one. Still, feel free to check out some of the guides people have written for other games in this genre.

If you'd like input on a specific part of the game, I can probably spend 15 minutes watching a part of a run you post later.

Renamed the thread.