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Spectraball (Any %) (Single Segment)

Decision: Reject

Reason: The run needs more polish

This run will be available for a month. After that these link(s) will no longer work.
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Run Information

Spectraball (Any %) (Single Segment)

Verification Files

Please refer to the Verification Guidelines before posting. Verifications are due by March 8, 2014.

Please post your opinions about the run and be certain to conclude your post with a verdict (Accept/Reject). This is not a contest where the majority wins - I will judge each verification on its content. Please keep your verification brief unless you have a good reason otherwise.

After 2 weeks I will read all of the verifications and move this thread to the main verification board and post my verdict.
Edit history:
ktwo: 2014-03-05 02:14:38 pm
I'm guessing the submitter is new to sda. There are some good things to take away from the video, but there were lots of restarts and tricks that needed to be retried several times. I know this is a single segment and not individual levels, but it still lacks polish. I wish the runner good luck practicing and seeing if the time can be pushed lower. For now, this is a


(If the runner reads this, I'd recommend them to search for games containing "ball" in the sda game list. Watch some of the gameplay for relevant games (and add Marble Madness, Marble Blast and maybe some other games as well) and see if they can achieve something similar with Spectraball. The runs of similar games that are already hosted here should give an indication of what kind of play quality that's expected.)

(see below for a more thorough review)
First of all, it's really not fair to compare an SS run to an IL table, especially one consisting of mostly short levels created by a team of insanely dedicated runners, like Marble Blast Gold.

Second, I've played this game and MBG (although I'm not great at them) and the physics in this game feels less precise. Maybe some of it is that so many parts of the levels have obviously intended routes and they just don't work reliably for reasons that are not obvious, whereas in MBG you're usually required to do things right yourself. But I'm not surprised to see a few checkpoint resets because of boosts just not giving the right amount of speed. Also, the ball is much less bouncy, making physics tricks less impressive.

It is a bit odd to see some levels totally destroyed by that boost exploit, while others at least resemble the intended route, but if those are the only known useful places for the exploit, that's just how it is. I watched some trick compilations on YouTube and didn't notice major exploits (with this power) in other places.

I'd love to see a run that uses more aggressive routes in a few places and doesn't have to retry tricks, but I don't think we have to demand that kind of perfection from the initial run of a game. If it's actually easy to do better, someone will see it and submit a better run. So I would lean towards accept.
Edit history:
LotBlind: 2014-03-06 05:47:38 am
LotBlind: 2014-03-06 05:46:59 am
LotBlind: 2014-03-02 11:50:03 am
I changed my mind after ktwo's in-depth analysis below.

I was writing a more thorough review of this run when I discovered that there is a problem with the video. It has ghosting in it (see attachment). If this video issue is enough to reject the run, then that's it. If it's fixable (or not judged to be severe enough for rejection), I'll finish up with the more thorough review and post it here.

ktwo: I never even noticed it and I'm guessing neither did you on your first watch... how could it cause a reject? It's only if it's unwatchable or missing critical bits.
As I understand it, ghosting is usually caused by a bad capture or a bad encode. It's either fixable or it isn't.
Not a walrus
Ghosting is pretty much an auto-reject if it's not something the game itself is doing. Can anybody else verify that it's not an in-game effect? I'm leaning towards a reject myself because the run doesn't look polished enough, but the ghosting would make the decision much easier.
Why is it an auto-reject? I looked at several youtube let's plays and I can see some ghosting in all of them visible especially when approaching edges of platforms at higher speeds, in case that means anything. There doesn't seem to be any around the timer's running digits. Does that mean it's the game post-processing its graphics?
Not a walrus
Because ghosting *usually* means the capture was done incorrectly, but if it's an in-game effect then it's fine. So yeah, it's probably an in-game effect if there's never any around the timer.
I guess what you're really saying is the currently submitted encode can be rejected/requested to be replaced because of such effects, not so much that the actual run needs to be rejected if it's okay otherwise? Even if it can't be corrected though, I simply can't bring myself to think of a little encoding glitch that basically seemed to slip by everyone's eyes on their first look a reason to reject the whole submission. So maybe no-one meant that.
Edit history:
ktwo: 2014-03-05 02:15:51 pm
I downloaded the demo of this game from steam and played around with it. One would need more time to fully assess the difficulty of all the tricks, but at least I got familiar with the basic mechanics. Like other "ball" and "marble" games, the controls are sensitive, but seem fair (at least the basic mechanics).

A/V: As discussed above, there is ghosting in the video. By comparing with youtube photage, I agree with Lotblind that it might very well be from the game as the other videos also have it.

Tropical Island [leaderboard #1 57.42; fastest with video 63.55; leaderboard runner 80.92; this run 89.27] (this video is highly interesting because it shows one successful attempt as well as 10 failures, so it gives an idea of how difficult some of the shortcuts are)
0:39 - Stops to build up speed for the shortcut. The youtube video doesn't stop, saving 2.5 seconds. The youtube video had an 8/8 success rate for this.
0:47 - Takes the long route around, instead of jumping further, like in the youtube video (9 seconds faster). 4/8 success rate in the youtube video, but it would have been possible going for a slightly easier jump. The success rate would have been more like 6/8 in that case for a time gain of 5-7 seconds.
1:00 - Drops down to the elevator platform instead of jumping directly to the tube (5 seconds lost). Success rate in the youtube movie: 4/4.
1:15 - Takes the moving platform instead of jumping across the pit (5 seconds lost). Youtube movie success rate: 3/4. The failure looks like the youtube runner was just trying to make as much out of the shortcut as possible, so this could probably be a 100% shortcut without much effort.
1:27 - Possible to jump to the path above (would have saved 4 seconds). Only 1/3 success rate in the youtube video.
1:48-1:52 - Could a second or two have been cut by staying closer to the inner edge?
1:56 - Jump over the corner instead of going around (1 second).
- Nothing terribly wrong with the execution (even though it was played a bit on the safe side in a few sections instead of cutting corners). Lots of time lost from not including more shortcuts though.

Barren desert [88.21; 113.60; 161.32; 143.28]
2:16 - Starts out with a missed trick and has to restart the level (6 sec lost).
2:26, 2:28 - Doesn't cut corner on the next two turns (~1 second each, no risk).
2:35 - Doesn't take the shortcut past the 1st loop and then follows up by failing to go over the edge (~15 seconds lost because of not taking the shortcut).
3:02 - Fails twice reaching the next level of the pyramid (~10 seconds).
3:38 - Fails four times in a row in the same spot trying to reach the next level (~15 seconds).
4:32 - This run jumps off the pyramid here, while the youtube run continues higher. The youtube run could easily have saved 10-15 seconds here.
- Too many failed tricks considering it's still fairly early in the run and the route seemed far too conservative.

Volcanic Crater [46.71; 52.70; 48.46; 102.34]
4:53 - The runner continues straight, while the youtube video went left for a huge shortcut. The youtube route looks a bit risky, but would have saved ~30 seconds...
5:44 - Had to restart at the checkpoint twice for a loss of ~10 seconds.
6:00 - Failed a difficult jump twice (8 seconds lost). The failed trick looked somewhat tricky. The youtube video followed a different path that looked easier. Both paths would have been equally fast without the two failures.
- Execution was a bit sketchy and not including a shortcut worth 30 seconds is very questionable. Unless it's multiple frame perfect actions combined (it didn't look it was), saying goodbye to 30 seconds when you're 5 minutes into a 13 minute speedrun is major.

Snowy Peaks [56.15; - ; 82.98; 88.91]
(I couldn't find a speedrun IL video for this level)
6:55 - Would it be possible to jump off the moving platform earlier? Could have saved ~5 seconds (if possible, that is).
7:43 - Why not follow the big snowball before it went over the edge? 1-2 seconds to be saved by starting earlier with no risk.
- Execution was not flawless, but maybe acceptable. There must be more shortcuts than above, but it's difficult to tell without playing around with the game. Some time was lost by not jumping over corners though (judged to be too risky?).

Sky Ruins [30.97; - ; 30.97; 48.51]
(I couldn't find a speedrun IL video for this level)
8:20 - Doesn't jump high enough and has to restart the level (3 seconds lost).
8:37 - Misses the speed plate and has to restart from the last checkpoint (4 seconds lost).
- This level involves a "momentum-boost jump" exploit that allows a huge shortcut. Other than the two mistakes above, not sure why this level was so much slower than the fastest time? Maybe possible to skip even more with the glitch jump?

Towering Mountain [168.67; 211.06 ; 168.67; 179.12]
10:29 - Doesn't have enough momentum to get to the top and has to go back and retry the jump (5 seconds lost). Or was this intentional? The youtube video does the same thing.
11:37 - 5 seconds lost from a missed jump and the runner has to retry from the last checkpoint (nice shortcut though).
- It shows that the runner has put a lot of effort into preparing this level (also shown on the leaderboard, where the runner is the outstanding #1). This resulted in what's clearly the best performed level in the run. Several nice shortcuts and corners that were politely followed in previous levels were now jumped across (like they should in a speedrun). There are a couple of mistakes, but considering it's late in the run and that this looks like one of the more difficult levels (?), this level looks acceptable in my eyes.
- The youtube run is made by the runner. The difference is mainly that this run includes several new shortcuts.

Space Construct [14.15; - ; 14.15; 38.23]
(I couldn't find a speedrun IL video for this level)
12:53 - Not enough speed (?) and has to restart at the last checkpoint (8-9 seconds lost).
- This level has a glitch similar to Sky Ruins (massive amount of momentum gained -> jumps across half the level). I assume even more of the level could have been skipped?

Despite not being an expert at this game, I'm convinced there is lots of time to be saved by including more shortcuts without adding a terrible amount of risk. I understand that single segment runs of this type of games aren't trivial, but it also looks like more attempts could have cut a significant amount of time by patiently waiting until things align and most of the tricks are nailed the first time. I congratulate the runner on the "world record", but my recommendation is still a


Edit: Link to leaderboard,
Thanks ktwo for all that research. I don't know why I never went out of my way to do that myself, probably because I just assumed all the YouTube videos were going to be using IL-only massively risky strategies but turns out the runner had missed a lot more than just this. Never assume? Also I knew this game was not the most competitive so the leaderboards didn't really mean as much as I was making them out to mean. The top times the runner has a probably mostly because others never played around with the major skips he's using.

I'm surely convinced now that this really deserves the reject.
Lotblind, I don't think you have to excuse yourself. When in doubt, my opinion is that it's better to accept one time too many than reject one time too many. A rejection can backfire in that you don't only miss out the opportunity of publishing a good run, but also risk pushing away the runner. Accepting one mediocre run isn't the end of the world (but it would of course look bad if whole updates consisted of "timed let's plays"). Anyways, it's not like you can expect every verifier to go into every detail every time for games they hardly know (I'll gladly admit that I don't). That's why it's good to have several opinions for each run...
Decision posted.
I just stumbled upon this:

Spectraball w/ Power Brake in 13:19

Spectraball w/ Power Brake (glitchless) in 15:45
Hmm... The submission had 13:08 though if they were timed the same way.
I was the runner that posted the SB run and yes there was so much I could have done to improve that run. (I wish I found this sooner)

At the time (3 months ago) I thought I would be a okay run to put a new game on the site for anyone who plays the game and enjoys speed running to try an beat my run.

I'm not to sure what ghosting is or if you guys found if it was just in the game, I used Bandicam to record that run the full version not the 10 minute free trial stuff.
some tricks I use at the time were newly discovered and not many know about.

In the youtube links a few posts up I noticed that he skiped the basic training level I guess I would have to talk to him about all that.
Don't you worry I will get a better run Cheesy   
Quote from Crocodile373:
Don't you worry I will get a better run Cheesy

Cool man, looking forward to it Smiley
Yes, good luck with that stuff!
Edit history:
ktwo: 2014-04-13 04:28:12 am
I'd be interested to hear about updates on how things are going if you created a thread for planning. You could also consider publishing your IL videos in there. When watching your single segment run, I got the feeling that you had put in more work in some of the levels than others (for example Towering Mountain) and that resulted in much better results for those maps. I think getting competitive IL times for all maps would help you in single segment as well. Just my 5 cents...

Anyways, good luck. It's a really entertaining game to watch, so I hope you keep trying to push the time lower.

Edit: Ghosting is when it looks like there is a half-transparent layer on top of another. Sometimes a sign of improper capture. But it seems like you don't have to worry about it since it appears to be the game itself creating the effect.
He HAS several top 1, top 3 and top 5 times Smiley

The idea about a planning thread is solid. Link it here and we might start following it straight away. Why not wiki while you're at it, here's the instructions...
Main thing is to include sufficiently detailed descriptions of any and all tricks but you can just link your fastest (or preferably, if possible, world fastest) times.
Edit history:
Crocodile373: 2014-04-13 06:28:42 am
Crocodile373: 2014-04-13 06:28:18 am
Crocodile373: 2014-04-13 06:28:04 am
Crocodile373: 2014-04-13 06:27:42 am
from ktwo I got the feeling that you had put in more work in some of the levels than others (for example Towering Mountain) and that resulted in much better results for those maps

Yes I spent a very long time trying to place first on that level and as a result that level is almost been optimized as much as it can (to my knowledge) I have been working on some other maps and been taking more risks during the runs.

*lowers head* I'm kinda new here and forums in general so I have no idea on how to make a page to discuss the run. I'm surprised at the fact that I was even able to summit a run but still any help would be great! thumbsup
Creating a thread in the forum is a good way to get some attention that someone is working on the game and hopefully get some exchange going. Discuss routes, tricks, post videos etc. It's also good for other runners to have some things documented already if they come searching for this game in the future.

If the exchange gets very long with constant route updates and/or a bit off-topic, reading through a forum thread becomes tedious. The wiki page LotBlind talks about is more to document the fastest routes, a clear description of tricks and glitches etc, but without having to wade through all the back and forth of a forum thread. For posteriority, that's of course even better for future runners. However, I can from personal experience say that it's also a great way to improve yourself. Being forced to write things down as clear as possible and explain route choices in a logical way can sometimes reveal improvements to things you thought were set in stone. A wiki page does take more time to make than just creating a thread in the forum though. There is of course no obligation to make one, but anyone here with a forum account can do it.

LotBlind, you're right it was a bad choice of word from my side. I still think publishing the ILs (and trying to improve the ones that aren't optimized, regardless of if they're #1) is the way to go at this point.