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Scyther: 2014-03-20 06:26:57 am
Congrats: Reading Skill Lv Up!
  TowerFall Ascension is out now; everyone should play it.  There doesn't seem to be any thread for the game yet, so I've made one.  It would be amazing to see someone run Quest Mode, preferably on Hardcore, during the next AGDQ or even SGDQ if that's enough time.  This game is difficult enough that such a feat would be as entertaining to watch (for me) as CGN's run of F-Zero GX at this past AGDQ.  These are games that take average people hundreds of attempts to clear such difficult events, if they even clear them at all.  Getting to see a TowerFall run live would fill me with joy, but perhaps some history is in order first.

  TowerFall was a multiplayer only game exclusive to the OUYA console, which I kickstarted and went nuts for.  It was famously local-only because "that's more personal than online multiplayer".  It was praised by those who played it, but mostly languished in obscurity as an indie game on a forgotten console.  It is easily as fun as any Super Smash Bros game, and yes I have played them all for thousands of hours, but sadly had no Single Player modes.  Eons passed...  TowerFall Ascension is out now for PC and PS4, and has tons of new content, but most importantly it now has two single player modes for speed running.

  Quest Mode has waves of enemies spawn sequentially, as soon as all the enemies in one wave are defeated.  It is the most fun I've had in years, is playable co-op which could make for even more awesome speed runs if you're into that, and has VERY little randomness.  Most (not all) of the spawn locations are set, and the only real luck is that sometimes the enemies exit their spawn portals in different orders, throwing off the timing to kill them instantly by fractions of a second.  The power ups are static and based on the wave.  I think the power up chest locations may be random, but honestly haven't been paying enough attention to notice.  Dying wastes considerable time but your respawn is covered by an explosion that kills enemies in the vicinity, which CAN be used to recover a bit of the lost time with some lucky multi-kills.

  Trials Mode is an obvious "Break the Targets" copy that further increases the comparisons to Smash Bros, but it is perfectly executed.  For one thing, the timer doesn't start when you start the level, it waits until you move your character.  For another thing, the in-game timer goes down to 1/1000th of a second.  Finally, the "Diamond" times already demand near perfect execution to meet, so the devs really knew how to push it to the limit.  The fastest horizontal movement is Super Jumping, which is done by sliding (Down + Dash) and then Jumping out of it.  This may change if tricks or glitches are discovered.  You can fall faster by holding Down, which is optimal whenever descent is on the menu.

  Here is a video of me proudly and finally beating Ascension on normal, by playing badly and sucking professionally.  I am deeply ashamed of each and every one of my deaths, and watching them is heartbreaking.  But at least I beat it YEAH!!!

Thread title:  
Congrats: Reading Skill Lv Up!
  It was probably foolish to think that an upstart indie game would make waves in anyone else's pond, looks like it's up to me.  There are a lot of games fighting for what little free time I have, but I guess I'll work on this one.  If I can just beat every quest on hardcore in a single sitting without dying, that will warrant a decent time.  To me, that sentence looks like some impossible bullshit.  It's like some kind of devil task only a superhuman with preternatural skill AND patience could achieve.  Of course I personally viewed skipping an energy capsule on F-Zero GX Chapter 5 similarly, but CGN proved that if it is theoretically possible, a human can do it.  I better buy some extra controllers to replace the ones this will break.
Edit history:
Kaede: 2014-03-24 05:18:28 am
Kaede: 2014-03-24 05:15:57 am
Kaede: 2014-03-24 05:15:34 am
Kaede: 2014-03-24 05:13:10 am
Kaede: 2014-03-24 05:13:00 am
Kaede: 2014-03-23 06:27:49 pm
Kaede: 2014-03-23 06:26:43 pm
Kaede: 2014-03-23 06:20:12 pm
Kaede: 2014-03-23 06:19:27 pm
Kaede: 2014-03-23 06:18:55 pm
I am working on getting better times in "trials" mode. Have started uploading IL recordings (Youtube) after seeing this guy's. I wish this game had leaderboards.

I thought that to reach the fastest speed, one had to dash and then "cancel" that dash by dashing again at the right moment (hard to execute). I have yet to try your sliding method Smiley Didn't know about the faster fall either. Thanks for the tips.

Anyway, I have not finished the "quest" mode yet, trying to finish every level in hardcore, but it is so hard it is driving me nuts.
I am sure a quest mode speedrun could be fun to watch. Probably a lot of planning to do. Good luck Smiley
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Scyther: 2014-03-26 08:44:41 am
Congrats: Reading Skill Lv Up!
Yeah Trials mode will be fun to compete in.  But... let's all give up on quest mode.  In my hubris as I practiced levels like Twilight Spire on Hardcore and felt good about some of my stylish strats, I gained confidence.  I foolishly thought that the rest of the levels would be somewhat sane, but that dream was shattered.  No one will EVER get "good" at Ascension on Hardcore, although a true God among Men may become decent.  Too many enemy archers: their randomness and arrow stealing ways make it a gamble every time.  It's just so much to deal with over and over.  The last wave, if anyone here is good enough to even get to it, is the boss but now he shoots LIGHTNING arrows and his endless minions are now ENEMY ARCHERS.  That's like, if you condensed pure evil into a game.  His laser attack also goes all 8 directions, trapping you in a small region of the screen where the archers can easily rape you.  You can shoot his ball projectiles away, but you can't prevent the laser attack unless his barrier is down.  Just beating that deserves a foot massage, 3 gold medals, 6 high fives, 1 pat on the back, and a very long hug.

Here's a video of me suffering and beating the hellish abomination.  Sorry I didn't go fast, this was like the 200th try in that session and I wanted to be as safe as possible.  How bout someone else go faster?

Edit history:
Kaede: 2014-03-26 03:51:01 pm
I will try to beat this as soon as I am finished with the trials, but after a quick look at your video, I think I am probably far from your level of mastery Smiley

Finding optimal paths in trials is fun. There are many possibilities and sometimes it is even hard to determine which is the best.
Execution is fun because it is not too easy. I am wondering how hard would be a single segment trials run, would love to try that later.
Edit history:
Kaede: 2014-03-26 04:48:18 pm
Kaede: 2014-03-26 04:47:45 pm
Kaede: 2014-03-26 04:44:59 pm
Kaede: 2014-03-26 04:43:59 pm
Forget my shitty runs, I *SUCK*.
At least that will give me better reference times to try to beat ('though most looks like they are pretty optimized already).
Congrats: Reading Skill Lv Up!
I think the issue here is that, we are merely humans.  Don't feel bad.  We need a machine to run this game.

My favorite levels in trials involve bomb arrows because it's so satisfying to get multi-kills with them.
Edit history:
Kaede: 2014-04-03 11:25:29 am
Kaede: 2014-04-03 11:25:20 am
Kaede: 2014-04-03 11:23:14 am
I have been trying to speedrun levels consistently for a few hours (getting back to #speedrunslive to stream a little bit).
I have found that although I could improve my times a lot, I can get nowhere near as fast as this Suyooo fellow (YT uploads), AND I lack consistency (failed runs are frequent).

Considering he made 56923 attemps total, that might be normal, 'though.
Perfect runs (the likes of Suyooo's) seem incredibly hard to do. I have only done about 3K attemps so I still have a long way to go to mastery, I guess Smiley Have sent Suyooo a YT PM to have his views on speedruns consistency anyway, just to be sure...

PS. it is a pity that the controls aren't easily rebindable, I would like to play with my arcade stick but the default layout is terrible ... it looks like the recent update will make manual rebinding easier, though Smiley
There is now an option to display gamepad GUIDs and something else to show all buttons and axes of DirectInput gamepads \o/ Can't wait to try this.
Congrats: Reading Skill Lv Up!
Y'know, I don't have my arcade stick with me and didn't even think about playing this game with it until you mentioned it.  But damn, that sounds fun.  The arcade stick makes Guardian Heroes and Ikaruga a lot more fun, but I still mainly use it only for fighting games.  I don't think his 56,000 attempts is unreasonable when the restart wait is instant and the game is this difficult.  Consistency is certainly a problem of mine too, but at least most enemies aren't random.  The enemy archers are the biggest problem because they often react certain ways but nothing they do is 100%.  The last two Gauntlet quests are also the worst when it comes to portal randomness, where both the spawn locations and order are horribly inconsistent.
It's kind of a punishing first game to try and speedrun, but I'm going to try and see what I can do with this game for a quest speedrun.

I just today found out that it's on PC - I picked it up for PS4. Do you guys know of any reason to play on one version over the other, or does it just come down to preference?
I've been running the game since my last post, so I guess a few days shy of a week, and I think that normal quest could be a very competitive and consistent category to compete in. I've been timing single-segment runs from selecting "fight" on the character select screen to the final killing shot on the boss, and my PB is sitting at 24:21. I know that time can be reduced by at least 40 seconds (my best segments add up to 23:37).

Bring your friends, this could be a fun thing.
Edit history:
Suyooo: 2014-08-14 07:26:32 am
Suyooo: 2014-07-15 01:09:58 am
Suyooo: 2014-07-06 02:44:58 pm
Suyooo: 2014-07-06 02:34:40 pm
Suyooo: 2014-07-06 02:33:09 pm
Suyooo: 2014-07-06 02:05:08 pm
Suyooo: 2014-07-06 01:34:25 pm
Suyooo: 2014-07-06 01:34:22 pm
Running TowerFall Ascension
So I stumbled across Buncy's video a few days after SGDQ and decided to start speedrunning Quest Mode, so here I am. Guess my videos of Trials Mode were faster than me, though!

Never saw the YT Message, sorry Kaede - ever since the G+ switch YouTube refuses to send me notifications when new messages arrive, so I haven't seen it until I found this thread just now. I'll just reply here then:
Trials Mode routing is pretty much optimized (EDIT2: Yeah, put a huge nevermind here. Now that there's competition, new routes keep being found, and new methods to save frames are used), but you a couple more seconds out of it. I still hold the WR on most stages, but some have been beaten, for example someone got Twilight Spire I in under a second (EDIT: nvm, just got 0.920), and TowerForge I is at 0.799. By the way, TowerFall measures times even more precisely than 1000ths of seconds. If you sum up your times for every trial, it'll be less than the total time displayed, since that takes all these fractions of milliseconds into account.
The biggest problem now is consistency, which I still don't have, at least for Pearl times. I'm pretty good getting Diamond times on every level using safer routes, but some trials require almost frame-perfect actions. Even still, some levels take around 10 tries, so my strategy for a full run would be trying the route first, then cleaning up the missed targets. On some levels you'd be forced to take a safe route because arrows can disappear (Backfire's Bomb Arrows and Mirage's Laser Arrows). The biggest hurdle to being consistent is getting good dashes, since the perfect dash is a 1-frame window, and if you cancel your dodge on the same frame as you start it, you will only do a regular dodge and lose a lot of speed.
One of Kaede's questions was "how many attemps do you think it would take you if you had to redo all your best runs with similar times" - my total right now, including reruns, routing and other shenanigans, is ~77000 attempts. I'm sure lots of them can be cut out of the equation because I found the perfect routes now, so I'd estimate ~3000. There's still some levels which are very hard for me to beat the dev time on, like Flight III and Ascension III.
Before I attempt a full run of Trials Mode, however, I've been trying blindfolded runs. Very fun, working better than expected, but of course a lot slower. Might experiment with that a bit before I get back to "regular" Trials.

Now on Quest Mode - I've given it three runs so far, and my PB is at 20:24. I've uploaded a video of a 21:27 minute run here, planning to upload another one as soon I get sub 20. While there's a bunch of RNG in this mode (spawn locations, treasure locations, enemy paths, behaviour...) most of it is negated because groups of enemies always spawn at a fixed point in time. The delay between two groups is hardcoded into the quest data, and is not dependent on how fast you kill them. The only group that really matters is the last one in each wave, because the next wave won't begin until you finished them off. So the strategy I've been using is to play it safe on enemies during a wave, making sure that I do not get overwhelmed, and then disposing of the last group as fast as possible, spamming arrows and going for spawnkills. I hardly collect arrows during a wave as that loses a lot of time, and instead do that during the intermissions. Least consistent stages for me right now are Backfire and Frostfang Keep.
(Also, the fact that no enemies really matter except the last ones and that you have a lot of lives should open a lot of possibilites for swag strats. And I think a coop speedrun would be incredibly entertaining, especially once the friendly fire shows results. Or with someone who is inexperienced, so you carry the team while they are screaming and running away from a Birdman.)
One thing I've been thinking about is what kind of run should be the "main" one for Quest Mode - Hardcore can be ruled out, because that shit is fucking insane. Seriously, fuck Ascension. God. Gauntlet isn't even that bad. The final phase of the Reaper is not made for humans. I've been trying to think about the length - I've been doing runs up to King's Court since that's what Buncy did, but maybe you could do a full run up until Ascension, which would work at marathons too now that the unlock all code is in the wild. The two Gauntlets and the upcoming bonus towers are unneccessary I think, so I'm trying to decide between the regular stages run and the full run.

One of the reasons I enjoy this game so much is that Quest and Trials are pretty much polar opposites - the Trials mode is all about perfecting movement, frame-perfect actions and routing, while the Quest mode has just enough RNG that it does not affect the total time by a lot, but still requires you to approach each level differently every time, so you have to adapt a lot and know the behaviour and spawn pattern of every enemy.
And while not relevant for speedrunning, the third mode, Versus, is pretty much the greatest multiplayer game since Smash Bros. For the past few years, when someone asked me what my favorite game of all time was, the answer was simple for me, but TFA's a big contender.

Well, that's my 2c for now. Got a couple of things going with TowerFall right now, apart from the aforementioned blindfolded runs and Quest speedruns, I'm also working on some other things, and just got into the beta testing team. If anyone is at i52 in Coventry in August, I'll be there, maybe we can try that coop Quest speedrun. Smiley
EDIT: Also, hanging out on #towerfall on SDA IRC. Come stop by if you feel like it.
Running TowerFall Ascension
Little update on the Quest speedruns, I might have to redo it because I found a bug when VSync is disabled. While all basic game mechanics behave correctly, it seems animations are just a tiny bit faster when playing at a framerate above 60 - but it's enough to save 10 to 20 seconds per stage compared to VSync enabled. It would be really unfair if you had no chance of beating someone's time just because the have a better computer. Already reported the bug to the dev, he'll look into it after EVO is over - until then I'll only run more Trials, since with VSync enabled there's noticable input lag and it's hard to get good dashes.
(PS4 version obviously doesn't have this problem.)
Hey all. Hoping to revive the TowerFall speedrunning scene. I've been running various categories mostly to set benchmark times. See my YouTube channel. I'm also maintaining the TowerFall wiki, which has a speedrunning page with instructions. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Look forward to seeing more runs.