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Springy
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Posts: 1370
Registered: 09-12


The unlucky few who have watched my demos will no doubt know that I'm far from a good speedrunner. I've been playing Doom and multiple wads for years and would like to know how do you guys improve? I thought before I attempted speedrunning that I'd be quite good at it. I think I'm up to my maximum potential (not the weight training documentary) at the moment and I am finding it difficult to progress, but I really would like to improve. I am just wondering if anyone has any techniques that they used to improve their times over the years that they would like to share.

Old Post 06-24-13 16:14 #
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Plut
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Posts: 358
Registered: 09-12


Record First-try Demo Attempt demos when you are playing new WAD. Max long and tough maps (Speed of Doom, Plutonia 2 for example).

Old Post 06-24-13 16:28 #
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dannebubinga
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When you reach what you think is your maximum potential, just keep on going. You have to grind for hours and hours to take the next step. It's like that with everything. I'm at that point with both skateboarding and Super Street Fighter 4 AE atm. It's pretty hard to motivate yourself to keep going, but eventually when you've reached the next step, you will feel that it was worth it.

When it comes to doom. You could try to run some highly otimized map and compare youself to the current record holder's playstyle and try to break down what you two are doing different. Remember that there's a big amount of luck when it comes to doom. Infighting and monsters making doors re-open are two examples of things that can boost your time alot.

I guess it also depends on what type of maps you like to run. I only run slaughtermaps so I wouldn't know how to improve on SSG fests or doom1.wad for example.

Old Post 06-24-13 16:36 #
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Memfis
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I never did anything specifically to get better at Doom, I just kind of kept playing. Maybe you should do the same and not turn this into some kind of job. Just have fun...

Old Post 06-24-13 16:49 #
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Demonologist
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The simpliest technique to improve in anything (it could be any activity from dooming to dismembering children, it doesn't matter) is to actually do it. If you want to raise your Dooming skills - pick challenging wads and play them, abandon savegames, record fdas and such. And if you want to improve your speed on a specific level - try over and over again. So this is more like a job indeed. Speaking of myself - I don't have neither time nor desire to choke the fucking life out of every map I play for the sake of smooth demo, so I make no secret out of the fact that all my [rare] demos are mainly first exits and I rarely improve upon them. Plus my natural laziness of course, though I can still fight it if I want to. Beauty demands sacrifices, and I have other things to do in life instead of being geek and gamer extraordinaire.

tl;dr - either spend a lot of time trying or step away. Simple as that.

Old Post 06-24-13 17:07 #
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Phml
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Going to echo others, practice makes perfect.

On a personal note, when I started to try to speedrun Doom levels I thought I was already at my peak when it comes to twitch skill and the like. So instead of trying to improve what I couldn't, I started looking at the game differently, with a more strategical approach as opposed to the "me see, me shoot" that was enough to cut it when playing with saves and without a time pressure. This made me a much better player pretty quick, and as it turns out I feel now I can act "faster" and aim "better" as well, because even though I might have hit a physical ceiling on what I can do long ago, I didn't know how to make the most of it.

Not that I'm any great as a speedrunner, mind you; and if you look at those who are really great, all the really big names in anything that isn't long UV Maxes, you can see there's often a lot of metagaming involved, deep knowledge of the engine. So unless you're some kind of Doom genius who sees patterns the rest of us would miss if they played for their entire life, you may not get anywhere close to that level by just playing, past some point you'll likely want to get familiar with the inner workings of the game.

Old Post 06-24-13 17:53 #
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Grazza
Let's try Caesium


Posts: 12509
Registered: 07-02


The following threads should provide some useful thoughts:

http://www.doomworld.com/vb/showthr...?threadid=30335
http://www.doomworld.com/vb/showthr...?threadid=52129
http://www.doomworld.com/vb/showthr...?threadid=18995

Old Post 06-24-13 18:26 #
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jongo
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Posts: 311
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This is such a difficult and rich topic, so i won't attempt writing an essay here, and will just drop my humble 2 cents without delving in too deep.
If you're already trying to work hard on improving your mechanical skills, but still want to speed up your pace, learn from the better players. Try to analyze what makes a good run good. What does he do differently? Where is this point you're not able to replicate his running/clearing speed? Is his mouse control superior to yours, or is there anything more fundamental you're missing? What is it then? Can you tell?.... and so on. Asking yourself questions and answering them is extremely helpful.
Playing online with skilled players and trying to keep up will provide a lot of insight as well, and will help you point out your weaker points more efficiently. Thus you'll improve not only your mouse/keyboard skills, but also will develop a proper, broader mindset, which is essential for a fast progressing.
As everyone pointed out above, it's just like with any other activity in life. You really need to practice alot, but the better your approach at practicing is, the faster you'll grow. There are limits we all reach eventually, which at times may seem to be impossible to break. Again, it basically means that either you're lacking either in mechanical skills, or your mindset is flawed and you're not noticing something important that you need to work on which pulls you back. At this point you either need to keep practicing and analyzing further, or just take a short break and focus on some other activity, - because everything is intertwined in life and if you're getting better at one thing, you're almost certainly getting better at another one. Upon getting back to dooming, your fresh mind will help you in seeing your weaknesses better....
Oh crap it's too long (that's what she said).

TLDR version: Analyze yours and gods' demos + grind like crazy until confident. Find your next weakness. Grind like crazy. Find the next weakness, repeat until no obvious weaknesses left. All this grinding will help broadening your understanding and help noticing less obvious weaknesses. Repeat until completely stuck. Take a break, but instead of being lazy, work as hard on something else. Upon getting back, find your weakness. Repeat.

REAL TLDR VERSION: grind like crazy, never give up.

Old Post 06-24-13 19:23 #
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j4rio
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Record, quit in case of mistake (optional), post first exit to dw - A short summary of my last few autistic years.

Old Post 06-24-13 19:46 #
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4shockblast
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Now, I'm not by any standards as good at Doom as the top players, but, with respects to your playing style, I would say that it's too safe, and you need to take riskier approaches to routes if you want to have better speedruns. Part of the difficulty with a risky route is that it often seems impossible to do initially, but I found that if I try the route many times, I'll find often relatively minor changes in what I do in the route that will help increase my chances of survival. For example, in a recent speedrun I've worked on (etrnyour.wad map 03 UV-Max), the second room I have to go to is filled with chaingunners and a crowd of shotgun guys right in front of the door I open. The safe route would be to run around the first room and try to kill off the shotgun guys so that the route to the first switch and teleport is more or less clear, but the risky, faster approach would be to just run into the room. Initially, that seemed almost impossible to me because I'd lose almost all my health in the room, but what I found eventually is that if you move to the left after you open the door and shoot, you are able to line up two shotgun guys and, on many runs, they die, leaving you with a more or less clear path to the switch. The route still often leads in major losses in health or death, but I'd be a lot more likely to get a run where I'd reach the teleport on top of the left platform with 60% health or more. Thus, the key to succeeding at a risky route is often in minor things you change in your run.
That being said, you're still battling against a lot of luck, and sometimes, I've found that there were no ways of increasing my chances at survival on a certain route, and all I could do is repeat the same motions over and over again until the monsters behave correctly and until I have a run where I don't mess up. Also, sometimes, giving up might be a good idea, actually; if you genuinely think that the route you choose is dangerous to the point of being impossible, then you should choose a safer route. Furthermore, I assume that you want to speedrun for personal enjoyment, so if you're finding that grinding the same run over and over again is starting to be too unenjoyable, then it's perfectly OK if you try a different run or come back to the run later (for instance, I came back to modify E4M8 of my Doom Done Turbo Quicker TAS run two times after months of not trying because I couldn't get the improvement I wanted and I didn't find it enjoyable).

Demo for etrnyour.wad included to demonstrate what I talk about, don't upload to DSDA yet.

Attachment: ey03-409.zip
This has been downloaded 11 time(s).

Old Post 06-24-13 19:47 #
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40oz
Why don't I have a custom title by now?!


Posts: 7031
Registered: 08-07


It might help to ask yourself a few questions. Why do you feel your at your max? What are other players doing that you want to do better? What skills do you think you are lacking that you want to improve on? It might help to analyze your weak points and create a practice level that exploits that weakness or play an IWAD map with fake rules and make yourself follow them. Theres no cap on how hard you can make doom for yourself. One easy example is I had trouble avoiding the fireballs from groups of mancubi at a time, so I ran dead simple map07 on uv and tried hanging out in the middle area as long as possible without killing anything. Playing map22 without finding secrets or playing pretty much any level with fast monsters on can be great prep work for a good demo too

Old Post 06-24-13 23:36 #
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Ryback
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Posts: 396
Registered: 06-01


I think the skills you need as a good speedrunner really boil down to two things: Movement and Memory.

Movement
This is probably the main one, and it's a bit tricky to work on as Doom generally doesn't test your movement skills that strenuously. For the most part, the enemies in the game are weaker than you, slower than you, dumber than you, have a much slower fire rate, and what they do fire does less damage than you can deal back to them. And the level layout rarely requires fine movement skills either. You learn to strafe, you learn to run, and that's where the lessons stop. Just adequate movement skills are enough to defeat the original game, and most pwads for that matter. And if that's the case it's hard to keep pushing yourself. And very easy to think you've reached a plateau in your skills when in fact there's a lot further to go.

So two ways around this. First, play a lot of deathmatch. That takes care of the enemy imbalance problem, giving you opponents a class above any you'll find in single player. You'll learn to move well, and fast, as the alternative is getting fragged a lot. Second way is to follow in the footsteps of previous Doom gods. Watch some speedruns, good ones, and try to do the same thing yourself. If they can do it, you can do it. And even if you fail you'll probably learn something about the way they succeeded. Copying old speedruns gives you the opportunity to practice at things the original game never requires of you, like trick jumps or 2-BFG kills or pacifist runs. And that's when you start learning speedrunner tricks for yourself.

There is of course a third method, which is to switch to mouse control, but I never saw the point myself :)

Memory
Quite a long time ago I used to learn piano. The way you get good at a particular song is to first read through the printed tune, play it to commit the sequence of notes to your head, then practice, over and over. At first the copy held in your memory will be very weak and tentative, and you'll play slowly so you have time to read and think. Over time your memory becomes surer, and you need the printed music less and less. Eventually your brain is telling the muscles in your fingers to move even while you're still on the previous note. And then it's all in your head and you don't need the music. You don't even need a piano, you could just play the song with fingers in the air.

None of this is learning technique. This is all about grooving things deeply into your memory. You want to know the piece so well you don't even need to think to recall any of it, your fingers just move in sequence and you perform.

Well, that's my metaphor for a what makes a good speedrun. It's really the same thing - you play a route once, see where you have to turn left, where you turn right, where you shoot. You commit the sequence to memory. And then you play it again, and again, and again. Till the sequence of keypresses is second nature, and nothing in the level can surprise you anymore. You know where every monster is in every room you enter, and how they'll react when you run through on your chosen route. You play and play to learn the rhythm of the run, and you can visualize ahead of time everything you need to do. And at some point you stop training for your good run, and start performing it.

There's really no substitute for practice. Some players are quicker to pick up on routes than others, but generally a good speedrun time will take dozens if not hundreds of tries. And yes, some of that is rolling the dice to get luck from the random number generator, but mostly it's just about getting the sequence learnt. And once you've got that, luck tends to fall your way.

TL;DR - learn to move well, and practice heaps.

Old Post 06-25-13 13:54 #
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Springy
Senior Member


Posts: 1370
Registered: 09-12


Wow, quite a few detailed replies. I'll read them in a bit so thank you for this. @Memfis I know it's not a job and I don't treat it as is. Just asking for advice to improve a hobby.

Old Post 06-25-13 21:44 #
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j4rio
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Posts: 2670
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Rough guide on how to improve your leet speedrunning skillz in a matter of but a few years, based on real story -

Try to replicate performance of demos on maps in category that appeals to you. Bonus points if the demo isn't quarterdecent and category actually received more speedrunning attention. Don't expect to beat it, just try and get as good time as possible. At first, you'll most likely not notice a single route change possibility that may save time, quite the opposite. Most of changes you apply will be a result of further slowing down of final time. When you reach what you think is your best possible performance despite being incapable of beating the said demo, simply move on to other demo and repeat. Eventually, after a load of practise, you'll get times closer to record. Later on, maybe even beat it. And with more experience you'll start noticing quirks in demo you try to beat that can be used to your advantage and save much time from demo you're trying to beat. That comes from knowledge of core engine of doom, which you'll have basically plastered all over your brain by that time. Playing with timer may be especially helpful, it shows you a summary of all good and bad that happenned, except unanalyzed (that sort of stuff is possible to analyze after demo is recorded). Playing longer maps is also quite a help, so retrying every moment isn't exactly desirable.

Old Post 06-25-13 22:32 #
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gggmork
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bind keys, like I have rocket launcher right next to my normal forward button instead of way over at key 5 etc.

Skill takes practice, but for uvmax route speed optimization, its often (but depends on how linear the map is etc):

basically go to the exit as fast as possible, shooting as much as possible all the while, then mop up at the end. This triggers everything so all monsters will be out and infighting as much as possible.

bunch up monsters as much as possible, like skip a big horde, then come back later when they're all bunched in some corner and rocket/splash damage them.

go get heavy weapons asap, and optimize limited cell ammo etc by doing max damage with bfg shots.

If you have hell knights infighting revenants or something, you can shoot the species that is winning instead of waiting for them to infight then mopping up later. Like if there's 10 hell knights and 5 revenants, might as well start shooting hell knights because they'll be left over.

often kill cybers last because they do lots of infighting, kill viles/pain elementals first because they make more monsters.

Old Post 06-25-13 22:44 #
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