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Thinkshooter: 2010-08-12 07:10:46 pm
Runs: FCP, FC3, XWA, HD1-2, KotOR1-2
Hi all. It took a while but my KotOR II Done Quick speedrun has finally been released. Hope you'll find it worth the wait!

The speedrun was made on a PC on normal difficulty. You can watch it at the KotOR II Done Quick page on my Youtube channel. Also available on the KotOR II game page or the KotOR II speedrun watch / download page here on SDA. As before, if you want to be able to see every detail & read all text and scores, I recommend at least High Quality.

Thanks to the SDA crew and the verifiers for helping my run see the light of day!

Here's the science behind some of the weirdness you can see in the run:

Trigger line skipping

When the currently controlled character reaches trigger lines in the game, sequences such as cutscenes and fights are triggered. Under certain conditions, it's possible to send another party member beyond this line without tripping the trigger. You can then switch to him / her and continue and thus avoid the time consuming sequence.

I've found three ways to do this.

1) Go to solo mode, run close to the trigger line, kick a party member and then add him back to the team. If you approached the line the ideal way, sometimes the game places him just beyond the trigger line. Switch to him and continue past the line.

2) Leave a party member behind and go to solo mode. Stand close to the trigger line, turn around in an arc and deactivate solo mode. It helps if the other party member is far enough, or beyond an obstacle. But even if he isn't, he will often *teleport* (rather than run) to you. Sometimes he will teleport beyond the trigger line. Switch to him and continue.

3) Run close to a trigger line and quickly turn around. Other party members following you will sometimes "fling" past the trigger line.

You'll see an example of each of these methods in the run.

This trick may have some side effects. For example on Peragus, skipping the line that triggers the Kreia vs. Darth Sion duel leaves Kreia in the party.

Script breaking with save/load

Many cutscenes and some fights start just after a level load, or immediately after another cutscene or dialog. Right before this new cutscene kicks in and the game engine takes over, you sometimes have a split second to save the game. (The simplest is to quicksave.) After you reload this save, the game forgets about the cutscene or fight and you can continue on your way. The SDA rules page says cutscenes should be skipped if possible -- this is a very simple trick to do just that. By strategically placing segment boundaries at these points, I skipped some useless cutscenes and a few non-essential battles.

This trick may occasionally have side effects. On Korriban, saving/loading right after the Sith Academy level is loaded skips a cutscene with Darth Sion. But because I broke the sequence, Sion remains in the central room. (He is not in combat mode, although you could pick a fight by talking to him, which I obviously didn't do Smiley ).

Trayus Academy is similar. After I approach the entrance, I break the script with a save / load so there's no Mira vs. Hanharr fight, and, more importantly, a Darth Sion cutscene is skipped. Since "Cutscene Darth Sion" never plays his role, he remains in the room as an artifact after I kill the real Darth Sion 4 times.

On the Ravager, saving just after the level load and before the cutscene leaves you without your party. Visas, a mandatory companion on the Ravager, is missing. After I kill Darth Nihilus properly, his health goes to zero, but the death animation never kicks in because Visas would have a line there and the game is waiting for her to speak. I had to save/load after the fight with Nihilus to break out of this stuck sequence. Thankfully the game registers Nihilus' death (otherwise it wouldn't let me off the Ravager).

Freedon Nadd tomb skip

This trick is specific to this location. After the party enter the building, Visas can ask Xarga about the tomb. Normally she would have to go on, open the door and fight Sith enemies. Then Xarga would appear and when they talk again, Visas would ask "And what happened to K2DQ?" and then the story would continue at the hangar on Dxun.

If, after asking about the tomb, you are quick enough and immediately talk to Xarga again as he walks off, Visas can ask him what happened to K2DQ and the game will continue on Dxun, skipping the rest of the action in the tomb.

These are the tricks and glitches that I newly discovered. But I employed plenty of others that were found by other players or are standard KotOR II features. If something is not clear, ask away and I'll reply as my time allows. If you notice any missed shortcuts, I'd love to hear it!

Watch for another exciting KotOR II announcement in the near future.
Thread title:  
Joke of all trades
whats the estimate for time ::)?, also are you using a warrior class again or sticking with the magician. (forget starwars names)

cant wait
I <3 speedruns
Great, happy to hear you're running KotOR II! Looking forward very much to seeing the run.

Loved your KotOR 1 DQ! That was fantastic <3
I thought that run could use an update. Btw, I thought Kotor 2 was darker and more atmospheric than 1, so I liked it more even though technically it was obviously suffering.

I'm very excited that you decided to do this! Thanks!
Edit history:
Thinkshooter: 2010-03-07 10:38:54 am
Runs: FCP, FC3, XWA, HD1-2, KotOR1-2
I'm basically done with the run. I might be able to shorten the last segment a bit (hence the 98% in my sig) but even if I can't, it's good for submission as it is. Mike will soon need some KotOR II verifiers.

Beenman: timing is up to the verifiers so let me not say anything.
Edit history:
Thinkshooter: 2010-04-06 10:13:19 am
Runs: FCP, FC3, XWA, HD1-2, KotOR1-2
I've uploaded a short clip from my upcoming KotOR II Done Quick run to Youtube. It's the shortest planet, just over 2 segments.

This isn't the most action packed part of the whole video, but I don't want to spoil the surprises of the full run. There are some goodies even in this clip if you are observant enough.

Here's the link:
I <3 speedruns
Nice, thanks! :p
Edit history:
Thinkshooter: 2010-04-25 06:09:08 pm
Runs: FCP, FC3, XWA, HD1-2, KotOR1-2
Mike is back from vacation. This speedrun is now up for verification.

Edit: KotOR II is not on the list any more; Mike must have found enough verifiers.
Edit history:
Thinkshooter: 2010-05-17 07:14:20 am
Runs: FCP, FC3, XWA, HD1-2, KotOR1-2
The verifiers have passed the run and it's now in the publishing pipeline.
One of the verifiers suggested this run could benefit from an audio comentary from yourself.  Any plans to go ahead with that?

I know I would listen.
Runs: FCP, FC3, XWA, HD1-2, KotOR1-2
Well, let's get the existing material published first and see if it does need explanation. If it does, I'll think of something.

I do think that an audio commentary (or anything else that is confined to the timeline of the run, like subtitles) isn't the best way to explain fast speedrun-type events. E.g. you don't always have time to go into detail if the trick is quick.

I submitted to the verifiers the explanation of those tricks that I newly discovered. For starters I was planning to paste that into the first post, soon after the videos are released & we'll go from there.
Edit history:
Thinkshooter: 2010-07-12 12:42:15 pm
Runs: FCP, FC3, XWA, HD1-2, KotOR1-2
Hi all. The wait is over: my KotOR II Done Quick speedrun has just been released. Here is the game page. (If Youtube says you can't play the intro in your country, here's the alternate intro which has MIDI music instead to get around copyright issues.)

Download / watch the speedrun videos here.

I'm gonna let you guys catch up with the videos. Shortly I'll update the first post with the explanations of the tricks I newly discovered & will answer questions.
100% runs=great to watch
Congrats on a highly entertaining and speedy run, made for great watching earlier today!  8)

Looking forward to whatever you tear to shreds next.
The Dork Knight himself.
Hot damn that was sweet Smiley

Skipping mandatory cutscenes was great (Peragus/Telos surface were the best). Now we just need a full writeup to explain how many glitches you expoited. I spotted a few, but there are probably so many more that I didn't even get to see.
Edit history:
Thinkshooter: 2010-07-21 12:33:44 pm
Runs: FCP, FC3, XWA, HD1-2, KotOR1-2
Quote from honorableJay:
Skipping mandatory cutscenes was great (Peragus/Telos surface were the best).

So you enjoyed most the part that wasn't there. Got it.


Other tricks, let's see... Which one didn't you catch?

- Prologue glitch
- alacrity stim expiry extension
- crossing the mined corridor leading to the hangar on Peragus needed some preparation that may not be obvious
- saves (segment boundaries) have their ideal spots
- Atton's strategy to beat the Twin Suns quickly, more to it than meets the eye in the video
- Mira and Handmaiden have some counterintuitive tricks to save extra time
- container contents manipulation,
- ...

Some of these are just tricky uses of standard KotOR II game mechanics.
The Dork Knight himself.
Quote from Thinkshooter:

So you enjoyed most the part that wasn't there. Got it.


heh, well seeing Kreia in the party up until the end of that sequence was great, but topping it was definitely seeing all of those mercs just stand around on Telos surface letting you take out the turrets an get into the base. The item manipulation for the crates was pretty obvious, but what about those interesting "strats" with Mira and Handmaiden you were referencing? And what else was to that Twin Suns fight? To me it just looked like they were lured to the corner close enough for 1 gren to take em both out (with the primer gren to make em more vulnerable to the plasma gren).
It was a really long time since I played the game, so I am sure I missed out on quite a few of the tricks and glitches. Still a very entertaining and fast run, good work.
Edit history:
Thinkshooter: 2010-08-04 04:56:58 pm
Runs: FCP, FC3, XWA, HD1-2, KotOR1-2
Thanks guys, appreciate the good feedback as always!

Quote from honorableJay:
but what about those interesting "strats" with Mira and Handmaiden you were referencing? And what else was to that Twin Suns fight? To me it just looked like they were lured to the corner close enough for 1 gren to take em both out (with the primer gren to make em more vulnerable to the plasma gren).

Mira is a great timesaver. Her ability to walk thru mines speeds up Nar Shaddaa a lot. But her fight with Hanharr was tedious -- requiring lots of rounds -- and for long I didn't have a fast solution. (And skipping the 2nd Hanharr fight became a last minute discovery so I aimed to prepare her for both fights.) She's a high Dexterity ranged fighter, the opposite of a swordswoman, but getting a capable gun -- so she can kill Hanharr in as few rounds as possible -- was a problem. To get a decent gun would take more than the time you save with a shorter fight. (You could buy it but the decent ones are pricey and then getting the money is time consuming, ditto constructing upgrades.) You can see that my solution was to give this cowgirl a sword instead. With upgrades, she turned out a decent melee warrior. This made for better use of the team inventory: by that time I had great melee items. I didn't have to fiddle with guns just for Mira's sake either.

Handmaiden is the opposite. She has a battle with Atris towards the end. You can prepare her to win in 3, even 2 rounds but that takes a lot of extra prep time. The solution was to *weaken* her in the previous segment so she falls in 1 round. So I let her walk into a mine in the Freedon Nadd tomb level and abused the feature that in KotOR II, returning to the ship doesn't heal the team.
A useful side effect is since she didn't have to win, I could sell Handmaiden's staff early in the game when I needed credits the most.
It's ironic that I sent the ranged fighter to close combat, while the sparring expert just sat out her battle...

I always smile at the Atton fight, it's the weirdest scene Smiley You're basically right, first to weaken the Twins with a low profile grenade (not too much otherwise they reach for their medpacks), and then the plasma nade. The problem is that there's a pretty good chance they will save against the plasma and survive the second round. The chance that *both* fail the save and fall is extremely low. The solution is to start with a *sonic* grenade. This disorients them (lowers Dexterity) and makes it a lot more likely that both will simultaneously fail to save against the plasma grenade.

I love these new "riddles" which appear when playing speedrun style!

I'd say glitches and tricks are only about half the story; the overall run "design philosophy" or whatever you wanna call it, is at least as important. For example, I was utterly surprised (and this is probably a game design error) that from battle perspective, it's totally NOT worth getting to higher levels. This is true whether you speedrun or just play to build an efficient fighter.
The Dork Knight himself.
Yeah I noticed that when I leveled up all of the enemies were leveled up just as high as I was. I guess games have started doing that to get around the problem of people getting into an area and having to fight against super-powered villains (hey, you were stupid enough to go there in the first place....). So far I've seen it in Oblivion, Kotor1/2, and Mass Effect. I wonder how many other games have this "easy mode" style of fighting....
Also tenkiforecast
Yeah, KOTOR 2 is one of those games.

The other extremely famous game that uses this system if Final Fantasy 8.  All the enemies level up with you, so while it takes more effort at the beginning to not level up, the pay off is the game becomes much easier.  It's similar with KOTOR 2, but the game is already too bloody easy to begin with. X_x;

that said, this speedrun was insane.  I knew KOTOR 2 was glitchy as hell, but... good god.  That was plain brutal to the game, and rather hilarious.

"Kreia, your hand just vanished!"
The Dork Knight himself.
She must've had a run in with these guys.
Edit history:
Thinkshooter: 2010-07-21 04:00:08 pm
Runs: FCP, FC3, XWA, HD1-2, KotOR1-2
Quote from honorableJay:
Yeah I noticed that when I leveled up all of the enemies were leveled up just as high as I was.
I wonder how many other games have this "easy mode" style of fighting....

I found that this feature is a two edged sword. On the one hand, as you progress, your enemies won't be a lot more powerful than you. (From speedrun perspective, I guess this is OK.)

However, they won't be significantly *less* powerful either. You can knock yourself out and collect all the XP in the KotOR II world, reach amazing levels, and your enemies will only get relatively *tougher* to kill! This feature ends up discouraging players from exploring the virtual world. It rewards playing with more difficulty in combat.

The best comparison might be the fight against the cloaked Sith enemies in Mandalore's camp on Dxun. (End or Part 2 in my run.) The previous runner abuses the level up glitch just beforehand while I stay at a low level. Look at the difference in how quickly we could hack through the foes. Since I'm at a low level, my gear and other upgrades make me quite powerful compared to the enemies. In higher levels, this relative advantage disappears.
This triggers a rant I have to get out of my chest.

In pretty much all current computer RPGs (except perhaps Nethack and related games), the player is the centre of the universe; everything revolves around you - even the levels of the opponents! While RPGs like Oblivion try to increase the level of immersion and realism by making an open-ended world where progress is not necessarily linear, the same basic fact remains: the story is ultimately unconvincing because deep down you know that if you don't move, the world will patiently wait for you to get going, rather than crush you underfoot.
It's a bit of an offtopic, but there is a very little known old game with a corny name Space Rangers. The game has elements of Star Control 2, Freelancer and Master of Orion. There isn't really a storyline (like in MoO), just a Coalition of 5 races (good guys) attacked by an unknown force - Klissans, and you control nothing of it, it's like computer plays MoO with itself. Coalition planets trade, develop technology, build military, fight off pirates and invaders, launch attacks to free occupied systems and so on. And you play as one of the rangers - volunteers of sorts who are given ships, some money and free hand to do what they wish (preferably help military effort) , so you can even choose to not interfere in the war at all (be a pirate or trader, for example), and end up being crushed by Klissan hordes, or if you are playing on easy difficulty Coalition can win by itself without help of any "heroes" at all. But again, the game has a rudimentary storyline and I don't think it's possible to create dynamic and living worlds with rich storylines in it.