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MBCollector672

A few questions about demos

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Sorry if this is the wrong place or if this has been answered before, but I'm having a few issues recording a demo with PrBoom+.
First off, is there any way to restart mid-demo without suicide? It's very frustrating to go die every time I want to try the level over.
Second, if I want the demo to be the single successful attempt like the ones on DooMed Speed Demos Archive, do I need to restart the entire game every attempt? Seems annoying to do and I have a feeling there's a way around both of these things.
Sorry if this is a dumb/commonly asked question, but I've been really frustrated for the past hour or so to get demos working properly.

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Posted (edited)

There are ways to restart an attempt mid-demo, but it is a little complicated, and this would make it a tools-assisted demo (TAS), which you probably don't want to do. TAS demos tend to be extremely optimized and basically works of art more than a recording of play.

 

Yes, you need to restart the program in order to make a new recording attempt. This can be done really quickly and without fuss if you have things set up right. A double tap on Y can be made to exit, and then just a couple of key presses (e.g. arrow up and enter) will start the new attempt. If you need help in how to do so, then ask and you'll probably get a bunch of suggestions for various ways to do so. Also see the relevant sticky threads in this forum.

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Posted (edited)

Hi, welcome to the forum. As Grazza indicated, you need to restart the entire game every attempt for a run to be considered valid. As a result, I guess the first question isn't super relevant, if you wish to get valid times. :D

 

But FWIW, you can restart a map in PrBoom+ at least if you press the Home button (likely not true for most or all other source ports). And of course, this only works playing casually (not recording demos). And yes, as per Grazza's post, if you're making TAS demos, you can use a feature kind of like this with demos.

 

If you need more help, I suggest joining the speedrun Discord server BTW! There's a bunch of experienced runners hanging around there, so you could get answers very quickly. :) Here's a link: https://discord.gg/ghWqUYu.

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No, the idea is to set Y as the quit key instead of F10. Then a double tap on it quits. Much much quicker. Important if you are making hundreds of attempts at a demo that will only last a few seconds.

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apologies Grazza i mis-read your instructions on navigating Windows Explorer as key-presses within PrBoom+. sorry.

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Thanks for the quick responses!
I'm currently using Doom Launcher to open PrBoom+ and start recording demos, I'm assuming that's not optimal?

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Posted (edited)

I don't know about launchers since I've never felt the need to use one. If starting a new attempt requires anything more than a couple of key presses or takes more than a split second, then it is certainly suboptimal.

 

The way I do it (and other people will use different methods, maybe equally efficient) is to have a command prompt open. In this I will have put the necessary command line for whatever I am attempting to record. Let's suppose that's for another fruitless effort to record a quicker Pacifist of Kama Sutra map13. It would read:

C:\DOOM2>glboom-plus ksutra -warp 13 -skill 4 -complevel 2 -record ks13p0xx

(actually I would skip the complevel bit since that is set in my cfg, but including it does no harm and avoids any mishaps). After the hell knights had handed me my ass yet again, I'd press Y Y to quit, and then arrow up and Enter, and the new attempt begins. Presumably after a large number of attempts I'd have exited in 0:09 and would rename the file as ks13p009.lmp, and zip it up to avoid accidentally deleting or overwriting it.

 

If you try something like this and there is something getting in the way of the whole process, then there is probably a setting you can change to streamline things. You will want it so it overwrites existing demos, and so that it does not display the ENDOOM screen. You can find these things in the menus (OPTIONS - GENERAL).

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Yeah it takes a while to actually start a new demo. I was hoping I wouldn't have to mess with command line but it shouldn't be too hard to learn how to use most likely. Thank you for the help!

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It's useful to get used to the command line (or using batch files) anyway if you end up wanting to do more advanced stuff, like NoMo or -fast, etc.

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Posted (edited)

Just to be completely clear, you only need to type the command line once (or you could use a premade batch file and edit it, but frankly that's messier - same goes for shortcuts). For the second, third and thousandth attempt, you just reuse the same command line.

 

Some people use a more advanced batch file that renames each attempt, which is worth doing if you want to keep all of your unsuccessful attempts. That obviously requires a little more know-how.

 

If you don't know what a batch file is, in this context it is basically a command line (or a number of them) saved as a text-file, given the .BAT extension and then executed. They were kind of a big thing in the DOS era (and were often rather elaborate back then), but are still useful. Only worth getting your hands dirty with this stuff if you plan to record a lot of demos. It makes sense right now just to use a simple method to get used to the basics.

Edited by Grazza

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Personally I just hit esc, up, enter, y

Like some kind of monster.

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How do I check the decimals? I know the game only displays a rounded number of seconds but I often see people talking about times with decimals.

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In prboom+ (and some other ports) there is an advanced HUD option which can show a timer with higher resolution. There is also a -levelstat command line parameter that writes the times, with precision, to a text file when you exit a map.

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When checking the decimals via the advanced HUD, it is useful to slow down the gamespeed to give you more time to see the decimals. Whatever decimals you see immediately before the stats screen comes up, is the precise time. Remember to restore gamespeed to 100 before playing (and especially recording) again.

 

Oh and (obviously?!), you'd check the decimals in this way while watching the demo after recording it, not while recording. Checking the decimals is useful as it helps you decide whether it is realistic to hope to improve upon your time. If it is .97 and everything has gone great with no major time-losses, you might decide it would be a waste of effort to bring it down by a whole second, unless there are major route changes to try. A .06 with an obvious cock-up suggests that a little more effort will be rewarded. They're less important in long or messy demos, of course.

 

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@MBCollector672, I hope you don't mind me asking this in your thread, but given the convenient title I'd figure it makes more sense to ask here than make a new thread :)

I'm hoping someone can please help me with something - I'm currently doing demo attempts of level 15 of a wad, for which there are of course two exits, the regular and the secret. Is it convention that the person making the demo needs to state which exit they used in the text file and/or demo title?

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Generally we would say Map 15 for regular exit and Map 15s for secret exit (s = secret). They are treated as separate runs, so depending on the map you may want to do both of them.

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