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HavocProdigy: 2013-08-13 09:17:49 pm
Warning: Long Post

Alright so I was holding off on posting the details until I re-timed it.  My final split is always 1 or 2 seconds off at the end because it's impossible for me to hit my final split the exact second that Maharito is killed since I never know for sure exactly when he's going to die.  The player loses control of Milon the second the final bubble hits Maharito.  I've clocked this at 11:11 although if you add in 10ths of a second, this MAY be an 11:10.  The run posted by PJ earlier in this thread (which we are to assume is the world record) clocks in at 11:15 using SDA timing.

Some quick notes: I've learned that it's virtually impossible for everything to go correctly in a run of this game.  Some things were mediocre, some things were real good, but I think I can honestly say that nothing in this run went horribly.  While there are some parts of the run that I wish had gone a little bit better, as I said, combining all of the random or incredibly difficult parts into one run and have them all go well is something that just doesn't happen in this game.  Here's a small list of things that could have been better:

-I lost half a second in the 1st room.  I usually exit at around 22.5ish seconds and this was a little over 23 seconds.  Whatevs.
-The Well escape wasn't bad but I wasn't fortunate enough to 1-cycle the balloon creature or get the immediate 2nd-cycle spawn.  This was an average/slightly above average escape.
-Farming for two umbrellas in the Right Tower was a little sloppier than usual.
-I got trolled by bats in the Left Tower and took some hits while I was running.  Not a big deal but it annoyed me quite a bit at the time.
-I lost a couple of seconds in Dungeon 2 after killing the crow which holds the cane.  I slid off a block.  Since you have to wait for the cane to appear anyway, I'm not even sure if this cost me a full 2 seconds.

My personal Favorites:

-I completely owned the Left Tower Boss (purple poop boss) faster and prettier than I ever have before.
-Maharito was absolutely OWNED after a poor start to the fight.  I've never killed him that quickly before.

Some of you were probably hoping for sub 11 minutes.  At some point, this WILL happen.  However, all of the stars have to align in this game for me to do so.  I'm not done with this game, even when I submit a run.  I complete an absurdly low percentage of my runs using this route and my reset button is really starting to hate me.  Basically, my point: it's depressing.  Speed runners usually fail in their attempts until they get that 1 perfect run and so this isn't shocking.  However, I can't think of another game in which I fail as many runs as this one.  This game doesn't mess around and I've promised myself that I will never learn to speed run a game this hard ever again.  Sub 11 minutes is going to happen but it may be a long time away (or maybe not?).  The culmination of my gold splits in this game is roughly 10:41.  For me to get within even 10 seconds of that, I would need nearly flawless boss fights on all 7 crystals, another incredibly fast Maharito kill, a lucky well escape, and a plethora of other enemy RNG patterns to swing my way.

I'm going to run this game for another week and if I can't beat 11:10, this is the run which I will submit.  I want to thank ALL of you who posted in this thread.  Even those who simply posted to wish me luck contributed to making this happen.  In particular, I want to thank PJ for helping me with the Well escape and ktwo for contacting the TAS creator and informing me of how to manipulate Maharito into the red room every time.  Your contributions have not and will not go unnoticed or uncredited.

I will get sub 11 some day.  I promise.

"There is only one Maharito".

Awesome time!  Great work, Havoc!  ^_^  I can't wait to see it!

Good luck with the rest of your attempts this week.
Learning to Stream
Havoc, this isn't as hard a game as you feel it is. Truly it isn't. It's all in the mind.

To put some spin on this, I evidence with Super Mario Bros. Now there truly is a game of difficulty at its finest... at this point.

Much as that, the game seems difficult as hell from the get go, but with practice and diligence it becomes easier over time. You slowly become accustomed to what to expect and what you can do to work past difficulties. Almost everything is set, even if RNG tries to dictate otherwise. It just comes down to memorization, execution and confidence.

THEN it will truly become the most brutally difficult game you've ever run... as the more you improve, the more taunting the elusive frame rules will become.

But that's still a long way off. Because you're going to slowly keep chipping away and finding those tiny magical moments where things start coming together even tighter. You are going to weave a tapestry of magnificence with your determination. Every time we think it's beyond gorgeous, you're going to weave a little more and make it even more gorgeous then we thought possible.

Sub-11 is way closer then you realize. With that, you will chip it down more and more and more. THEN it will truly become a difficult game.

Milon's Secret Castle offers many a branch of Golden Fruit to be offered to they who persist.

SMB offers true suffering with but a few frames to conquer before perfection is true. But a few frames never stopped someone from reaching for the Stars. As SM64 also proves.. sometimes you can be so damn good you ARE the Star and you don't need the others.

You're going to nail this... there is no doubt in my mind. It's not a secret Smiley
I appreciate your confidence and perspective, Kelly R.  I won't turn this into a debate on which game is harder to run for a couple reasons: I don't run Super Mario Bros. and it has nothing to do with this topic whatsoever.  However, I would like to point out that this game is full of randomness that I believe you're overlooking.  I'd rather not turn the topic into examples of randomness that lead to hundreds of resets but if you have your doubts, I'd be willing to list them in a future post.

Players of popular games have one benefit that this game will never have: knowledge.  There is no Milon's Secret Castle speed-running community, at least not in North America (and based on the many many poor attempts at this game which I have seen in Japanese, possibly not anywhere).  I'm one of the few that was stupid enough to try to run this game many months back.  While I'm new to posting on SDA and this may look like it all came together in 8 days, the truth is that I've been at this for many months and close to 2,000 resets.  I stream on Twitch but I haven't streamed since mid-June because I wanted to focus on this game on my own and without an audience.  Ignoring the couple hundreds of hours I spent running what turned out to be around an 11 minute game, I spent hours with a pen and notebook, planning the best possible route and adjusting it when needed.  Since removing the fireproof vest and 2 honeycombs from my route, I believe I've completed 4 out of around 600ish attempts.  This route is a suicide mission.  These are rough estimates but I don't believe that they are far off.

I can't console with other English-speaking Milon runners on how to spawn a beatable pattern on the 3rd floor bosses because...there aren't really any.  If it weren't for ktwo contacting the TAS creator (who is Japanese), we wouldn't even know how to guarantee the final bosses' spawn location.  There is still no confirmed way to guarantee that the Well escape will even be possible on any given run.  If you don't 1-cycle the balloon creature at the bottom of the well, he can just as easily respawn on the other side of the screen (beyond the flames) or he can take 5-10 additional seconds to respawn...just because.  Same for the balloon creature which spawns higher up in the well.  Simply put, while a game like Super Mario Bros. has a plethora of knowledge available to its runners, Milon has virtually none.  That doesn't necessarily make it easier or harder, but it is what it is.

I could go on and on about aspects of this run which the player has virtually no control over, but it would turn into a ridiculously long post.  With that said, I truly appreciate the boost of confidence which you provided and as I said in a prior post, this won't be the best run of Milon that I ever get.  However, I can proudly submit this run (assuming I don't best this run in the next week) and know that it is the best that is available to the world at the time.  I am going to get sub 11 some day.  For now, I've almost entirely exhausted my enthusiasm to run this game beyond some casual attempts each day.  One more week of this game and I'll be willing to put it to rest for a little while.  This run is the best that I or anyone else has to offer for now.

Best wishes!
I agree with Havoc.

Milons >> SMB
Congrats Havoc! The internet cookie you offered me above was really sublime, so I'm excited to see what kind of delicious dish you have prepared this time. :-)
I agree with PJ.
Haha.  Thanks, guys.
Edit history:
HavocProdigy: 2013-08-17 01:41:28 am
So I have a little bit of an update here.  I've done some digging on the NicoVideo site for Japanese runners over the past 2 days and I came across this:

Obviously it's in Japanese but these are their leader-boards for Milon's Secret Castle.  As pointed out earlier in the thread, the player whose 11:22 RTA time video was posted has an alleged 9:54 RTA time.  There's quite a large jump from the 2nd place time (9:57 RTA) and 3rd place time (11:49).  My time would place me in 3rd place if I were a part of their speed running community. 

I translated the chart and the 4th and final column appears to translate into "vessel without fire" which I assume means that no turbo controller was used.  However, I can't seem to dig up any video of these times ANYWHERE.  I'm not sure if these players are just insanely protective of their runs not being posted or if they're hiding them from people who don't have premium memberships on the site.  As it stands, there does not appear to be a public video that exists which is better than the 11:22 RTA time (I'll be changing that!).  For those who are interested, the 2nd chart is for runs in which the player goes through the game 8 consecutive times.  Each consecutive playthrough of this game speeds up enemy movement, umbrellas, and boss fireballs.  Neat? :p

Through my creepy internet stalking, I found that the top player (referenced earlier) posted something a while back on Twitter which translated roughly into "Boss patterns confirmed: putting it into practice is another story".  He doesn't appear to actively run the game anymore.  It's a shame that so many of their runs are either imaginary, don't exist on video, or are hidden.  I believe that a lot could be learned from these runs if they are real and do not use turbo or other enhancements which we would deem to be banned.

Unless I can find a way to manipulate the well escape 100% of the time OR crack how these boss patterns work, I'm going to be done with runs of this game in a few more days.  I've had a couple of runs where I was 20 seconds ahead of my 11:11 time.  However, these runs ended in a death on the 3rd and 4th floors.  While I've been close to getting that sub-11, something always seems to go wrong in the late game.
Edit history:
PJ: 2013-08-17 01:03:00 am
Yea, "vessel without fire" would mean no turbo.  That gets translated into a bunch of different funny english gibberish phrases, but generally if "no" and "fire" are in the same sentence, it didn't use turbo.  I got "no smiling fire" as a translation once.  I'd believe those top times if they used autofire though, for sure.  It murders this game.

That's some interesting investigation!  It would be amazing if the bosses could be manipulated in real time.

Holy shit!  :O
Learning to Stream

Damn.... Insane!
So I've started doing attempts of this again.  After 3-4 hours of attempts on stream, I haven't completed a run.  Instead of wasting my time and hoping for good patterns on some of the harder bosses, I've decided to take action and figure out a consistent way to beat these fuckers.

After toying with the idea of getting behind the bosses to quickly do damage (until they back up into me), I saw something that I've never seen before.  I was practicing the Right Tower boss on emulator and I somehow got him stuck on the far-right wall after getting behind him.  I have a savestate of it and nothing that I do will get him to get off of the wall.  He's just sitting there, hopping in place, and firing shots at me, unable to move.  I also recorded a short video of me fighting and killing him while he's stuck on the wall.  Unfortunately, this happened just moments ago while I wasn't streaming.  However, if anyone is interested in seeing the video, I will post it in this thread.  Otherwise, I won't go through the trouble.

This savestate that I have could be a gold-mine for 2 reasons:

1.) Since he is stuck on the wall, I can study how many different fireball patterns he shoots and whether or not it's random.

2.) If it turns out that this isn't just a one in a million glitch that occurred, it may be possible to freeze all 7 bosses against the right wall.  Being able to do so would make running this game unbelievably easier than it currently is.

I may or may not have just inadvertently stumbled upon the biggest discovery in Milon's Secret Castle speed-running.  Oops?
I must see this.

I still have no idea if this is going to help matters at all.  I don't even know how I got him stuck there except that I ran back and forth behind and in front of him a few times.  Also, I don't see any pattern in his fireballs at all but maybe another pair of eyes could see something that I don't.
Yea that's happened to me before, too.  I tried fighting them from the right as well, and had this happen once.  Didn't really look into it much because I ended up taking a lot of damage trying to set it up and figured it'd be better to play safe.  It would definitely be useful if you could do it without getting hit much.  It would revolutionize Milon's running.  ^_^  Good stuff!
WR hype, obviously.  I'll miss you, sub 11 run(s).

So there's probably not very many people that are interested in speed runs of this game, but after failing hundreds and hundreds of times between attempts, I came up with a new route.  Not only is it faster, but it's considerably safer.  A few hours ago, I dabbled with it for the first time and had a lot of runs get deep into the game (and I died on Maharito twice).  I stepped away for an hour or so, came back, and less than 5 minutes into the stream, this happened.

The run was completed in 11:18.  It's not a new record but only because I backtracked after fighting Kama (skeleton boss) to replenish some health and the 4th floor was a bit shaky due to lack of recent practice.  If I hadn't gone back for health and had survived Maharito, I would have beaten 10:43 fairly comfortably.  This is my 3rd fastest run of Milon's Secret Castle and I have practically no experience with this new route yet.

While my SDA run hasn't been published and thus, there's no frame of reference for anyone else to go by, the route change involves going to level 3-2 (fireplace room) immediately after the Right Tower.  Doing so means that I need to defeat that boss with only double shot, but it basically eliminates any grinding for umbrellas and health in the Left Tower.  I dismissed this idea in the early stages of routing this game earlier this year.  As it turns out, it's faster and safer.  I'll be completing attempts much more regularly now.

Unfortunately, the route for my pending SDA run is now a bit outdated before it has even been published but I believe that it will still be a pretty enjoyable run for many a few people.
Wow, awesome!  Can't wait to see how this develops.  ^_^
Speed > Safety
Have I mentioned how much I love watching these runs Havoc? No? Okay, well I love watching these runs, please keep at it dude! Cheesy
Haha.  That makes a total of 3 of us at most.  I appreciate it a lot.
Quote from PJ:
Wow, awesome!  Can't wait to see how this develops.  ^_^