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Working on getting this game into SDA and wanted to work out some details on how this game interacts with the rules since this game is odd.

- Strange question that will sound really dumb without context. What is considered 'game completion' (for LoR)? Labyrinth of Refrain has 4 'Game over' points within it's linear story. The first one appears near the completion of the 5th stage, the scripted, unavoidable story will game over you and roll the games real credit sequence (If you choose to not skip it), tell you to save your 'game clear data' and will create a save file with the description 'dead end data' then will force you to the title screen. This data can be reloaded and the story resumed from the point you did the game over event at. It's a very strange mechanic within the game's storytelling. The first time it does this it does slow roll credits like you've completed the game and it's actually over. The second and third time this dead end event happens the credit rolls are at a very exaggerated speed (if you choose to not skip them), they zoom by and toss you straight into saving your game(not 100% on the speed of the credits, it's been awhile since I've watched these events, can get clarification if needed). The fourth time this sequence happens is after what is considered the games natural final boss. The same credits, a different animation and story plays and then you save 'clear data' as 'clear data' rather than dead end data. Does the dead end point count as low% and the final boss credits any%? or is completion just marked as the true credit sequence+story that results in real 'clear data' being saved? If I need to provide a video/screenshot for better reference just let me know, since this one is kind of strange. But the games story is COMPLETELY LINEAR. This isn't a side path I can take to roll joke credits like you see in nier's joke endings. None of the player's choices will influence if these events happening or any of the outcomes (with the exception of finding the games true end through optional boss fights, and continuing the story past the normal 'final boss')

- Does being forced to save go to title and reload a save file provide any difficulty to the 'single segment' category? I figure if it's all one seamless recording and the same file is loaded it's not a problem?

- I assume since the PC version of the game has an unreliable timer (can be stopped by unfocusing the window) that RTA is the preferred method.

- I assume turning the game off and back on is not allowed as it would involve interacting with systems outside of the game as stated in the rules. This one I just wanted hard clarification on since it's a pretty common thing in RPGs to manipulate RNG with a hard restart, since this idea can be used to save 4-8 minutes in Labyrinth of Refrain and remove a very annoying farming segment.
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About games with multiple endings one after the other. There are other examples of games with consecutive endings/credit rolls. I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer though. Most of the time, I believe there will still be a fairly good consensus on what makes the most sense.

If I understand the situation correctly in LoR, there is nothing particular going on in the game when the first, second or third credits roll. It therefore sounds to me like game completion is after the fourth and final credit roll. If anyone has any arguments for why any of the earlier endings would constitute a type of game completion, then nothing prevents the creation of additional categories. But based on my understanding of what you write, I can't see any arguments for more than one category.

On SDA, "single segment with resets" is generally placed in a different category than "single segment" (i.e. without resets). If you're using resets, I don't see why hard resets would be considered different than soft resets. However, as far as SDA goes, playing around with e.g. the config or save files during the downtime in case of a hard reset would not be allowed. It would be considered interfering with the system outside the game.
Okay that makes sense. Any% is generally considered complete at the 4th and true credit roll that makes 'clear data'. But the only other person to do speedruns of the game, Kabota1215 did do single segment runs from each individual credit roll to the next, and a version of Any% that just went to the first 'dead end data', before the ideas were consolidated on into an agreed upon definition. So the idea has existed, I personally never endorsed it as making sense. As it would look very unsatisfying to watch as you rush to stage 5, skipping most of the requirements to finish the game and about 75% of the way through stage 5 the game would just suddenly end with little meaning, and no boss fight, no crazy glitch just walk through a door, skip a generic event, go back to base, and the game ends.

Would difficulty be factored into making different categories? (I assume yes since that is pretty standard). If so then how would that work for Labyrinth of Refrain? Again this game is kind of weird. Instead of changing the difficulty of the game through the menus of the game you instead purchase the difficulty with currency you earn while playing the game (Mana). The game starts on normal, so it could definitely see a normal or 'no difficulty swap' category, and easy being defined as "Any run that uses the 'Gentle World' setting at any point for any reason". But I don't know how 'Nightmare World' would work since unlike 'Gentle World' it's extremely expensive, and would be difficult or very time consuming to obtain before the games first boss, and would likely require completing the entire first stage just to farm reasonably to buy it, but then you've already completed the entire first stage on a lower difficulty. I've never personally figured out how to square away difficulty categories in this game with this system since only 2/3 can be hard defined with cleanly acceptable answers, or would the in game currency method just invalidate the system to 'Anything but the fastest is a challenge run'? I figure the system of 'What difficulty did the final boss die on' to be too cheesy to really be an option? (To note the only thing that changes from difficulty to difficulty are the hidden stat numbers on enemies, nothing else in the game changes as far as anyone has been able to tell.)
I took a poll of the only speedrunning related community I know of for this game (a discord I made for it.) About the categories, and if 'dead end' should be considered any%. I'll put results here so it's recorded. Obviously these aren't the entire conversation, they are edited, but no ones opinions were omitted at the time of posting this. So outside of the Japanese runner fiddling with the idea of dead end data being Any%, and even he didn't have any complaints calling the 4th ending Any% (as far as I know, language barrier being kind of a thing). It's pretty unanimous. I think that solves that until it gets brought up by someone else?

So restarting LoR for the RNG manip looks like this, it takes awhile for OBS to recognize that the LoR window is a thing, and looks a bit strange if I have to rush it cause of a timer. Should I stop and wait for the main menu of the game to load on OBS? Would this be a timed section of the run? Should I swap from game capture to something else?

About difficulties. It sounds again like the developers decided to do their own thing and go against the convention of formally selecting the difficulty through the menus. In principle, it still seems like a variant of something that has been done elsewhere. Just as an example, you can e.g. recruit helpers in some games or farm to buy powerful equipment. If the player decides to do it, it's in a way not that different from buying an easier difficulty.

I think the questions you need to ask yourself are:
- Is there a solid way to define different categories based on difficulty? Is there an earliest point you can swap to the harder category? Or at least a well-defined point in the game (the first, second or whatever level), where a difficulty swap would be natural to make.
- Is the harder difficulty interesting? Games with "good" harder difficulties are ones where the game needs to be played differently. E.g., there can be more enemies, different considerations for the item management or even different game physics. If the only difference is that enemies take more hits, that's usually not a great thing for speedrunning. In general, a speedrunner has strategies to dispatch enemies and more HP usually just means more of the same thing.
- Assuming it's faster, is there any reason that farming enough currency to buy the easier difficutly would not be considered the default any% category? Isn't that pretty much the same thing as farming to buy powerful equipment or similar in other games? It's a trade-off between the time it takes to farm and the time saved by reaping the benefits.

What happens during the portion of the video where the screen goes black? Are you back in Windows and relaunch the game?
Yeah, I'm also thinking that it sounds fairly arbitrary to separate into difficult categories. Definitely not the hard one. Maybe not even the easy one... cause like ktwo said, how is it fundamentally different if you buy something like better gear that makes you stronger relative to the enemies compared to buying a thing that makes the enemies weaker relative to you? I mean, I guess you could have the same exact game otherwise where one version of it puts the difficulty selector at the game start, the other one makes it an item in the shop, and even if it's in the menu, a lot of runners wouldn't bother with the harder setting if it's mostly all the same anyway. One hit less to kill or can take a few more hits before having to heal...
When you start the game you have 1k free mana, and that's enough to buy the easy difficulty + 'more items' (you need this to progress through NG any% story). So that ones super easy to time, you can just leave the dungeon right as the game starts, or do your first run on normal and go back after that run to save load screens. Nightmare not so much, costing 30x more than Easy it's hard to pick up in the first stage without about 10 minutes of grinding. Probably about 6 minutes if you have the skill 'wall break' but you'd have to get about halfway through stage 1 for that.

Since this is a turn based. The games difficulties do actually do quite a bit to make the game easier/harder. The game when swapped to easy on the speedrun route you can get into the 5th stage before there is any challenge, then the 5th stage gives a huge payout in items that lets you coast to the final boss with some ease. On normal the game is actively difficult by the games first real boss in stage 2, and you are forced into exp farm or mana farming in stage 3 just from how much you are missing in the way of stats. Enemies both hitting harder and taking less damage. Since the speedrun strats use mages with a set value of mana and no way to restore it without leaving the stage completely, it does make it (in this strategy) very different. I've never played with a 'Nightmare' run since I could never define how to make an acceptable category out of it.

Yeah I'm relaunching the game and OBS takes awhile to register that it's back with game capture, but I assume screen capture would look a bit unprofessional, when it suddenly turns into my desktop?
Uh-huh. Well okay, I guess two difficulty options would make sense then, and indeed the definition would simply be "don't get the easy item" for the normal difficulty one. Is there a NG+ that can start on the hard setting?

The thing is, we have to require showing the desktop in all cases like this just to have some proof there's no splicing. That's why Israeli was talking about showing a running clock.
You can start NG+ on any difficulty since it carries over the difficulty from the save file loaded. My only issue with that is the player has extreme scaling on NG+ when people have time to super stack their files and walk through the game one shotting every creature that dare look at them. So in NG+ all of the difficulties end up basically equivalent, it just depends on how much work a person wants to put into a file to one shot everything. I'd say the only exception to this being a 'True end' run, where enemy scaling will actually catch up and matter at the very end, and would change the final fight of the game to a degree. (I'd need to probably talk with other people who have done the post game recently to see exactly how accurate that is, versus super optimized player builds.)
Okay, well if you guys think some NG+ category or categories aren't redundant, probably SDA will accept them too as they sound well-defined anyway.
NG+ gets run, it's not the most interesting thing in the world because of how silver spoons and super strong characters walk through the game entirely unhindered, it turns the game mostly into a routing challenge. But it's definitely the gateway run that gets people into running LoR:CoD. Pretty easy to define.