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LotBlind: 2015-08-19 12:15:20 pm
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LotBlind: 2015-08-19 12:05:13 pm
LotBlind: 2015-08-13 10:48:14 am
Excuse the slightly provocative title and let me explain what this is about... I'm writing another front-page update that will become public in some days' time. I was writing about one particular genre of games that I felt was the most deserving, if any, to claim the hypothetical crown amongst all the genres that people do speedruns on. NOTE: this is only inside the sphere of speedruns. I realized I didn't want to leave it at that but instead would like to hear if others are in agreement with me. However, you will not hear my own opinion until the update is out!

What is the "King of All Genres" for speedrunning?

EDIT (19.8.)
Here's a summary of what everyone said. First all the genres named.


I didn't count the number of "votes" because it was a bit vague how that went. A few people pointed out that it's a pointless exercise, but... can't we just have a bit of fun? "It depends on how you define it" means you're doing it wrong.

So here's my own reasoning in some depth. As you'll see when the update comes out tomorrow, I chose something no-one here mentioned and I'm not actually incredibly surprised that they didn't. My choice is the RTS, real-time strategy games. There aren't a lot of runs for those games and there's a lot less of them to begin with than some other genres, and perhaps the crowd is a bit esoteric, off on their own orbit so to speak. My first RTS run I saw was for Dune 2000, which, in many ways, stands out amongst all SDA runs to date. Firstly, the runner 'Shaokhan' is a long-term competitive player and only started work on the speedruns much later as a challenge or demonstration. He even had an extra stipulation he set himself (to try to never have to use turrets, which are very powerful in defense) to see if it could be done. And when I say "if it could be done" it really was NOT a trivial run to produce, even by his high high standards of play. The game's hard mode is very difficult to succeed at without save/loading a lot. So yeah he was running hard mode, but also did easy mode, all the three factions and every alternate "form" of missions that had one, which totalled 84 missions in about 14 hours combined time. That's the first thing that catches your eye about this run though it's not really what's relevant to the discourse at hand.

When I started verifying it, I was doing the usual thing... I of course didn't really have any in-depth understanding of strategies, and though I had played the game and the original from 1992, I didn't really even know what the different strengths and weaknesses of each unit type were. I was looking for moments where the runner might have taken a little bit of time placing a building or where they lost units that they maybe could have saved etc. but I was really struck by how much game knowledge the guy was positively exuding in his in-depth replies to my many many probing prods. In fact if you'd like to see it, here it is! All the 5 pages of it. It ran for 6+ months though that's partially because it also had A/V issues and such.

The thing is, there is no way to fake this kind of knowledge or copy somebody else's work (I'm not saying you can do that with all other games). Every competitive match the guy had ever played, every new strategy he had discovered over the years, would have an impact on the way the runs shaped out. And the actual difference between an RTS like that (and I'm talking about missions with the traditional "just kill everything" objective) and all the platformers and all the FPS games and really almost everything I can think of, is because no two attempts are going to go exactly the same, the amount of improvisation you're being asked for is higher than anything else you can think of, other than maybe non-real time strategy games.

Think about it: the A.I. is governing when the enemy sends in their attack troops, which determines when you need to be home defending. Depending on its complexity and scriptedness (I'm still looking as the ideal of an RTS one where there is no scripting, which does, after all, happen), it might have taken different bases if it's like Starcraft, or maybe built different types of units. In order to beat a mission in Dune 2000, to return to what I know the best, you CAN have a large-scale plan of doing it in two big attacks, who you attack first, how many different types of structures you build etc. but the individual influence of many factors - namely the outcome of individual skirmishes, which buildings the enemy has bombed down, which way the enemy's harvesters are (it's good to get rid of them early if you can!) and generally whether you can have favourable trades in the area your troops are stationed at or whether you should retreat - will make decision-making a hugely complicated task. Even just knowing what your general plan needs to be might well come down to just experimenting, and it's very very difficult to call whether or not your approach is the most prudent one. What you do at all times during the attempt will slow or speed you up in a cumulative way for all the rest of it.

Now, I know, having seen runs from virtually every genre in public verification and during marathons etc., that other genres may well have aspects of this, but I cannot see one where it's all intermingled in such a Gordion's knot as in the ideal RTS. Everything is laid out in front of you from the beginning. It's not area-per-area. It's not corridor-per-corridor. It's the same table from start to finish. Like a game of chess, you can only really try to split it into phases like opening-middle game-ending, where the opening is basically doing your chosen build the same way every time (if you're still confident with it), middle game is where it gets messy, and ending is the part where you've basically won and only need to direct your ascendant troops to the remaining bases to eradicate them in an efficient way.

Further yet, and this is what I think starts to really set the ideal RTS apart from anything else, is the incredibly far-emphasized execution. The two pillars that produce a pro match between two players of Starcraft II (who I might just as well nominate as THE archetypal and iconic competitors in all e-sports, thanks to an entire nation dedicated to supporting them) are named the "micro" and the "macro". The macro is things like making sure you have all the buildings you want to have, your workers are always doing something, you have the right balance of workers gathering each type of resource etc. "Microing" is the low-level issuing of commands to troops to make sure they're taking good positions for each fight and wounded units are sent back.

There simply is NO TIME when the runner can idle during a run. There are hardly any moments at all when you can sit back and wait a bit. Unless you're using advanced movement techniques (which actually happens in many of the most popular platformers or in Quake), in other genres there tends to be times when you're JUST running down the hall, when you're JUST standing still in the ideal spot and aiming, when you're JUST falling down or climbing up a ladder, or when you're JUST waiting for the elevator to show up. In an unscripted RTS you switch focus between two or more places giving commands, all the micro, all the macro, at up to 400 actions-per-minute (which is the kind of maximum the Korean pros are sometimes seen at). It's almost like speed-typing, and each of those actions is still important. They're not all game-changing, but in the context of a speedrun, every one of them tends to have some small effect on your finishing time.

And that's why I think RTS is the "king of all genres" in speedrunning. It's not a bit of cruisin' here, and THEN a hard trick (even frame-perfect) there, and then an easy bit and then a hard bit. Heck, there isn't usually ever anything frame or pixel-perfect at all. But it's a continuous flurry of activity lasting through the entire mission that draws from such a major portion of your general game-knowledge, not just doing one thing exactly right at the exact right places. Nothing is skipped. Nothing is ignored.

So that's my words for you all! Maybe you'll agree, maybe you won't. I think that's enough of this discussion for me though but I might start another thread like this if something else inspires me later on.
Thread title:  

Would love to discuss differing opinions.
Personally, I find JRPG speedruns to be the most entertaining and most impressive speedruns. They're less 'frame perfect actionfests' and more a test of endurance and focus over what is usually a long period of time, with impressively optimised routes that just focus on the absolute bare-bone essentials. In most JRPG speedruns, you're still playing the game, just usually in a crazily unintended way using very specific strategies to deal with being MASSIVELY underlevelled.

FPS speedruns are still impressive, but in a different way. I don't follow any FPS speedruns, but what I usually get from watching them at GDQ is "Glitch out of map and skip everything", which seems the same regardless of game, with minor variations. I appreciate the work that's gone into finding optimised paths and everything, but it just seems so repetitive 'clip through wall, find end of level'. I don't mean any disrespect, just stating my reasons to personally not find it enjoyable.

"King of all genres" is such a meaningless non-title that you could probably apply it to anything though, to be honest. It depends on how you define it. The falling block genre usually has the most 'wow' factor with TGM, the 2D platforming genre has probably by far the most iconic and well known speedruns (Marios, Donkey Kongs, early Metroids, etc), same with the 3D platforming genre (Mario 64, DK64, etc).

But hey I'm new, so what do I know?
Borderlands 2 Glitch Hunter/ router.
I'm Bias and cannot vote.

If I was free to vote WITH BIAS I'd say FPS, If i was more logical I'd probably say platformers due to them having a longer history in games than FPS's do.

My bias comes from every speedrun I've done being a FPS game : /
Quote from Mindez:
FPS speedruns are still impressive, but in a different way. I don't follow any FPS speedruns, but what I usually get from watching them at GDQ is "Glitch out of map and skip everything", which seems the same regardless of game, with minor variations. I appreciate the work that's gone into finding optimised paths and everything, but it just seems so repetitive 'clip through wall, find end of level'. I don't mean any disrespect, just stating my reasons to personally not find it enjoyable.

Think thats mostly with the modern 21st century FPS... the classics like Quake and Doom had a very minor amount of clipping that takes you outside the levels. Its alot of very tight enemy manipulation, and precision motion that weaves thru enemies like they aren't even there. I've tried some of the older ones and the pros make it look much easier than it looks. The modern ones, look and designed like even the developers hate their levels and just wanted a quick way out.

To me, the king of all genres in speedrunning is the racing game, because its a type of game thats already got a "mostly" accurate timer... is competitive for those who play it more than once because hi-scores help you push them down and down,  and by all intended purposes will never have "perfect" play, and there will always be time to gain on nearly every track, with every car, every time you play. You can play it every day, and still find out you can save .0X seconds on a corner if you manage to do this, or if I turn like that.

Not to mention its always fun to push a slow car fast, than a fast car faster. When you have to play a career mode, and you lack funds to upgrade a car you still try to win a championship in a car significantly weaker than the field because YOU KNOW YOU CAN... wait thats a PIU reference
F*ckin' sanity effects...
Quote from moooh:
Get over here!
It's strange how speedruns can turn the genre devs build their game for completely around. Once out of bounds tricks are introduced pretty much everything becomes a

other than that I can agree that RPGs in general have very intricate routing which makes it very interesting. But it can also turn very grindy.

If you want to get more specific than just "platformer," metroidvania games tend to fully challenge every aspect of speedrunning. Super intricate routing, challenging movement, many different categories, in some cases a route that varies with your RNG...
Metroidvania style platformers are the big one - the original Metroid being one of the first games to reward speedy play with special endings while leaving it completely optional. The inclusion of lots of optional upgrades lets the player choose between saving time by skipping them, and losing time by not having the extra health or weapons. Plus, platformers are just so lovely to watch when the player plunges through an intricate landscape of ledges at breakneck speed.
Clear as a crisp spring morning!
Seventeenthing metroidvanias
Everyday is puppies and sunshine...
Agreeing with Metroidvania; hands down for platforming/sequence break potential.  Cheesy
I won't say a specifc genre....I guess all fast paced games make really good speedruns, both to run and watch.
Terribad is as terribad does
Generally speaking, metroidvanias are among the most interesting to watch as they require everything. Most of the time, something like an FPS is also quite interesting to watch, but it seems to focus on one trick over and over again (sword flying, staring at the ground, etc.) and adjusting as much as possible to the AI. You can get away with a platformer like Shovel Knight, so long as you have it sort of "free" in terms of movement, a la SMB3. Then again, precision platformers, like Super Meat Boy or Boshy, are always impressive to witness. Personally though, the unique speedruns, the ones for brawlers, the ones like Boy and His Blob, the ones that smash the game to pieces so that its no longer recognizable; those are the best speedruns.
Edit history:
Freezard: 2015-08-17 11:46:12 am
1. Metroid/Zelda games where you can change the normal order of playing the game by getting items early and stuff. I guess puzzle games like Portal are included here as well
2. Platform games cause they require good execution
3. FPS games cause they're usually fast paced and can be broken in many ways
Oh yeah and 4. Racing games for the reason Hsanrb said
Also F-Zero.
hmmmm depends on the game, I could say FPS for example, But theres tons of terrible FPS speedruns along with the greats.

Also, if I box myself in too much to a particular genre I miss lots of great runs...
I didn't mean to imply that it's a pointless exercise at all, and stand by my original post. If 'king of speedrunning genres' is defined to mean the hardest/most skillful games to speedrun, I'd probably fully agree with it being the RTS genre. It's not the first to come to my mind when it comes to the 'best' or 'most interesting' speedruns, but they probably do take the crown for being the most demanding in terms of losing concentration or focus for a split second costing time.

I apologise for answering this question 'wrong'. Tongue
RTS games aren't nearly as difficult to run as people tend to think. Us guys that are running Age of Empires, we probably wouldn't get near grandmaster in SC2 with our level of micro/macro skills. But with the same amount of practice as any other speedrun, campaign maps become pretty trivial.
The way LotBlind describes RTS games reminds me of when I first discovered RTS progaming heh. I've played RTS games for a long time and been speedrunning multiple ones but for me the genre feels too "new" to be the king of speedrunning. It's never really been popular either, probably because it's hard to enjoy watching RTS runs if you don't have any understanding of the game. Also I agree with Onin that APM isn't really as important as it seems, most of the time you'll spend planning a mission and optimizing resource income etc. But of course there are exceptions like destroy all buildings and "hero" missions where the time can pretty much always be improved with faster APM.
Edit history:
Hsanrb: 2015-08-20 09:39:58 pm
I like RTS speedruns too, but I'm only blown away by the franchises that I've physically played through (in my case SC/BW/2 & WC1-3) because I know how hard they can be playing them normally that I love them. If you showed me an Age of Empires, Total Annihilation (ok I've played part of this) or a Civilzation speedrun I'd probably not reach that same appreciation even if I've played the Multiplayer component.

Other genres usually have the "oh I've done IL's of this game or that game" so knowing small issues magnified out into longer time losses can be felt even if you haven't played that specific title. Platformers have the same thing, even if the mechanics aren't the same in terms of motion like Cave Story or Super Metroid... you still notice that failure to preserve momentum.
Edit history:
LotBlind: 2015-08-21 10:14:35 am
Onin: Yes, I know that AoE or Ao Mythology are not the prime examples. In order to be able to discuss and compare genres at all I had to choose ideal examples (as I said many times). If you watch a few of the longer Dune 2K missions you'll see what I meant. And also e.g. the mission in the update itself.

Mindez: I could have said "most challenging" definitely cause that's what I meant, but I expected "king" implies that. People tend to have this mode where they assume there's an actual world out there with hard things you can know something about and take the fun away from things. Hence my reaction, and also I could have taken another post as an example.

Freezard: I don't quite get why there's a temporal perspective on what can be king. And it's older than FPS games if you take Herzog [Zwei] as your prototype (I don't know much about it), or as old as Wolf 3D if you take Dune 2. I've never thought it's difficult to enjoy RTS games in particular as random runs you see if it's... well again I'm pointing at Dune 2K and SC1/2 and the APM bars. But SC2 is smaller than mobas or CS:GO... so maybe I was right when I said "esoteric crowd". Also you missed when I said (multiple times) that I'm specifically talking about destroy-everything missions...

When are people going to just read the thing?
Racing games. Designed for speed gaming