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Not a changeling.

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Aug
10th
2021

PGDQ: Time Enough For Love, Any% · 1:05pm August 10th

(inspired by a late-night read of Pony Games Done Quick: The Enchanted Library)

Clover was approaching Queen Platinum's throne to deliver his usual Sunday morning report when an ear-shattering boom split the air, and the game paused.

The audience applauded as speedrunner BarbLessTia tabbed over to the "Flashbacks" section of the pause menu, clicked on the sole unlocked entry ("A Midnight Epiphany"), and waited through the loading screen. "Right at the beginning of the game, before the opening cutscene starts, there's a few frames of normal gameplay as the throne room door is sailing through the air," the Pony Games Done Quick announcer explained. "Along with the item duplication glitch you're about to see, that starting pause is one of two strats which has brought the world record down to under 60 seconds. Meanwhile, our runner's going to hold the right trigger down as this scene starts —"

A nighttime scene loaded in with young Clover in his bed. "Hup!" he said, backflipping through the covers and cancelling into a dodge roll past the shadowy figure of Star Swirl the Bearded, who was moving books from Clover's study table back to his bookshelf.

"Huh? Who's there?" Star Swirl said, turning toward the noise. Clover backflipped past him again as he was turning, crouched, and then reached out a hoof, bringing up the pickpocket interface.

"Frame perfect!" the announcer said as the audience applauded again.

BarbLessTia scrolled through Star Swirl's belongings, locating the time travel necklace and acquiring it, which brought a red exclamation point up on the screen. "Normally, you can't take any of Star Swirl's belongings, since the game hard-codes his detection skill to maximum," the announcer explained. "But as long as you return his original belongings to their original places, the game counts anything extra in his inventory as yours, and lets you take it as if you were canceling out of a reverse pickpocket attempt."

BarbLessTia highlighted the necklace and held a button down to pick it up, then opened two of Star Swirl's belt pouches and let the button go to drop the necklace. A copy appeared in both pouches. She took the necklace from the first pouch, closed the pouches, and put the original necklace back into Star Swirl's main inventory. BarbLessTia then opened up the second belt pouch and took the duplicate necklace. The red exclamation point disappeared.

She closed the pickpocket screen and immediately paused again. She then went into Settings, turned off "Show Warnings For Necklace Turns", and started hammering the B button on the necklace in Clover's inventory. It started spinning, the game interface scintillating as the years piled on.

"We've got time for two quick donations while she's giving her finger a workout," the announcer said. "Here's $50 from Poorly Disguised Alt, who says 'Well, at least you're writing again.' And here's $100 from TiaFan420, who says 'Sequel when.'"

BarbLessTia tabbed to the main pause menu, clicked "Save and Quit," and shook her hand out. The Time Enough For Love title screen came up, and she selected "Continue," flexing her poor abused fingers while a little Mister Smashy spun on the loading screen.

1000 CE, the screen displayed as a scene of a mountaintop castle faded in. The Daybreaker Empire.

"So, since this is an any% run, we're just going for the solar genocide end here," the announcer said. "Normally you just get one-shot by the boss and get a non-standard game over if you advance in time too far without finishing the final chapter of game content. However, since the save state still puts us in the opening cutscene, we can glitch the unwinnable boss fight ..."

WHAM! Five tons of iron door shot past Clover's shoulder. The thick stone wall just to the left of the throne exploded as the door hurtled through it. As ponies screamed and fled, Clover ran up the dais to join his queen, Daybreaker the Radiant.

"My name," a voice thundered from the tall white mare in the doorway as the audience chanted along, "is Celestia Invicta, Slayer of the Dragon Legions, Tamer of Tartarus, Imperatrix of the Tribes." The audience cheered and hooted as BarbLessTia skipped the rest of the dialogue, the screen flashing between End-Boss Daybreaker Celestia and Young Drunk Celestia as Clover intervened to save his kingdom from Drunk Celestia's coup.

The drinking scene started. BarbLessTia clicked "Skip Tutorial". The scene faded out and cut to a snoring Daybreaker on the floor, with little alcohol bubbles floating over her head. Clover dodge-rolled to a crater nearby, picked up Mister Smashy, then dodge-rolled to Daybreaker and swung the weapon.

The scene cut to black as the "Godslayer" achievement popped up in the bottom right corner.

The audience applauded as the credits rolled.

Comments ( 11 )

Well, at least you're writing again.

:rainbowlaugh: Magnificent. Especially... Well, I can't really call that bit at the end a gamebreaking bug, now can I? Clearly the devs thought of everything.

5566600
Normally, you unlock the legitimate solar genocide ending by advancing to the final chapter, then skipping forward to 1000 CE without reconciling with Celestia and without helping her defeat Luna. That opens a special dialogue option prior to the non-standard game over where "for old time's sake" you challenge her to a boxing chess-style duel: every time she tries to kill you and misses, she has to take a penalty drink. Then you dodge one-shot-kill attacks for about five minutes until she drinks herself into a stupor.

The game uses the same code for Celestia's drunkenness level in that boss fight that it does in the first level, so when the starting cutscene ends it sets her drunkenness level to max and then deposits you back into the era loaded from the save file. So it's less about the devs anticipating that glitch, and more about runners abusing the logic of that specific boss. :raritywink:

Sequel when.




...Wait, what account am I logged in with?

The problem with the Godslayer achievement is that it instantly sets the Hostility flag on each alicorn, so if you manage to kill one, the other will track you down and kill you back before you can get your inventory open to use another item. There has been some work around the fringes on a strat to kill both alicorns at once, and we know it can be done because of the Double-Godslayer achievement in the code database, but that also dooms the world to eternal sun or night and dumps the game, so...

Alas:

Since I haven't played a video game since a round of "Tank" sometime in the late 1980s, I have almost no idea what's even going on here.

Nice to see you back about the site, though, sir!

Mike

5566735
It's hard to explain from ground zero! But basically, GDQ (Games Done Quick) is a convention for speedrunners in which they play games for charity in front of an audience. Speedrunning is exactly what it sounds like: completing the game as quickly as possible, sometimes with optional objectives such as collecting 100% of all items (a 100% run as opposed to an "Any%" run, where all that matters is that you reach the end credits ASAP). As such, speedrunning often involves exploiting glitches in game logic and game physics to do "sequence breaking", which is being able to complete tasks and acquire items out of intended game order.

So this is an attempt — within the boundaries of the story but also breaking it via video game logic — to get Clover the Clever to the future and the end of the story as quickly as possible, regardless of the outcome, as long as the ending reflects some sort of accomplishment and closure rather than straight-up failure. Video game logic is its own can of worms which I can't explain in a single comment of any length; but as an example, the idea of saving the game and then reloading it takes advantage of the fact that the game will only record certain parameters within your save file rather than a 100% record of the existing game state, and so by quitting and restarting the game you can greatly alter the game state within a few seconds (e.g. warping large distances across the map, or refilling your life, or restarting a partially completed map but keeping the benefits you acquired during previous play). In this case, the player is causing that reload to bring the game into an incoherent state, resolved by the game applying Celestia's change in drunkenness to the future Celestia he needs to defeat.

Clear as mud, I'm sure. :twilightsheepish:

5566628
They patched that problem with game release 1.1, but most speedrunners consider the console version (1.0) the authoritative one, which is what keeps the question open.

5566615
This one, presumably! You may just need to change your username back if you changed it for the sake of some other gag.

Nice. :D

I also recommend donating to the Celestia Bus For Charity stream. The player has to regularly press a button to entertain a lonely goddess, so she doesn't destroy your skull. After one year IRL you score 1 point and are given the option of doing it again.

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