Cythera Speedruns



  • Note: Several portions of this topic were split out of the livestream discussion

    Cythera speedruns:

    Above, I’ve applied some tags, such as “True Rogue”. I’m imagining these descriptors, and possibly more:

    • True: “The game as intended” (uses stock Cythera Data without exploiting any bugs, or a Cythera Data patched to fix bugs)
    • False: “The game as released” (exploits bugs in the stock Cythera Data like Fetch)


  • I just had another go at speedrunning the game. It's actually pretty fun, but not all that suitable for a livestream. In addition to all the issues that were already discussed, I used the minimap to run around in the dark a lot, which doesn't make for very engaging visuals.

    Anyway, I manually timed it at about 1:39. The game says it took 1:11:48, the difference is from reloading a few times. It's definitely possible to do it in under an hour. I wasn't making any attempt to limit in-game time, but I cured Alaric on day 7 at "around 11 o'clock in the morning." I can confirm what @453 said about giving everything to Charax in one go, except that it took three dialogues.

    For the stream, I think rogue is the best archetype, unless you have multiple characters prepared anyway. It's pretty easy/quick to learn the extra mana/casting as a rogue, whereas it takes an unpredictably long amount of time to learn awareness from Meleager.



  • Nice, Buzzy! I'm sure I've never beat the game that quickly, I always get distracted wanting to build up my character and experiment on things. (Unless you count a cheating-playthrough, but I don't think I've ever timed that either.) Running around in the dark could be solved by sleeping until the sun rises or using the major embrightenment / daylight spell (the spell isn't great because it's buggy and goes out when you kill thing that turn into corpses). The magic staff, available pretty close to the beginning of the game, is another option for light, though does not light up the whole screen. But any of these options will probably add a little time to the playthrough.

    To learn Awareness, you need to scare Meleager by showing him a scary creature like a Seldane or a demon. So the fastest way to do it without risking being killed by a demon, would be to visit Jhiaxus right away. But unless you visited Sabinate first, you won't be able to understand him, so you'll have to come back again later, which wastes time...



  • I had a go a speedrun and wasn't able to beat Buzzy's time. I clocked in at 1hr47m. Speedrunning is hard! I definitely wasted time doing extra things like killing enemies and gathering sapphire books, but even so, I skipped most of the side-quests. I also had trouble fumbling with the controls a lot because I've just finished playing Exile II and have gotten used to its much-more-awkward controls @_@ Anyway, I think it would take a lot of practice to get a speedrun under an hour.



  • Okay, I did a 37-minute speedrun and recorded it.

    A few suggestions for the livestream:

    • Talk briefly about the pronunciation of Cythera
    • Demonstrate cooking
    • Learn haggling/persuasion
      • Probably a good idea to ask Demodocus about Neoptolemus while he's in LKH
      • Also probably a good idea to have Neoptolemus's dialogue sequence handy
    • Mention the demo paywall when showing the crystal to Lindus


  • Speedrunning Cythera seems to be interesting enough to break out of the Anniversary topic, especially now that Buzzzzy has uploaded the first speedrun video. I’d like to try too, so hopefully we’ll have a few examples soon.

    I found some of Buzzzzy’s techniques interesting. For example, he learned Cooking from Emesa, then walked away. For a moment, I thought that was strange, but then I saw that he was timing his actions to Hector’s patrols.

    Or, in Cademia, he heads directly to Neoptolemus to learn Persuasion so that he doesn’t need to wait for the right time to visit Halos. Are there other benefits to Persuasion, or could this be skipped by timing the visit to Cademia more tightly?

    On the other hand, there were a couple of times when he left LKH by the road to Odemia then came around to the cave entrance to the Underground. Is that really faster than taking the direct LKH-Underground route?



  • Wow, Buzzzzy! Spectacularly done! Speeding up game time helps, but your arrangement of quests and trimming out unnecessary parts is brilliant. 👏

    I was actually making similar notes last night and trying to cut down time as much as possible. The goal was to arrange as much daytime stuff at the beginning, and then do all the Seldane/Timeflux stuff at night since they aren't influenced by when. I did waste some time — doing more fighting, getting Meleager, and picking up the glowing staff — so it was still coming in around an hour for me. I'll post my rough notes at the bottom in case anyone's curious, but here's the thoughts I had regarding your video:

    • Crabs! I agree completely that these are the single biggest problem in a speed run because they're unavoidable at key junctures (land's end, crab cove, maayti). It looks like you had a lot of problems in the cove but expertly got around them in most places. I decided to learn mystic arrow at Pnyx so I could help kill crabs and keep the followers alive.

    • I played as an Explorer to have persuasion outright and not have to bother with Neoptolemus, BUT I thought the conversation with Ake was a must to prompt Halos. I've always had issues getting the murder to trigger, but you've demonstrated here that just speaking with his Halos' brother, then Halos, and the back-and-forth between Stentor and Pelagon is enough to do it.

    • I also thought you first had to prompt Charax about timeflux to get Itanos to respond to Idomenus, but it seems not.

    • It was dark in Crab Cove, so I couldn't tell how you handled the hydra. I was picking up arrows from LKH for this, but does Death Strike work? I thought they're too far away.

    • A difference in your order is that you go see Sabinate during the day, whereas I was favoring getting Timon and going straight to Sabinate from Timon's ruins first thing at night. I'm honestly not sure which order is more optimal, but it's clear you get more stuff done on the first day.

    • Now that I look at how you handled the murder, I wonder if Day 2 is necessary at all. If the murder can be solved last thing before night, all the rest of what I had in Day 2 could be done overnight except Charax. Perhaps Awake could be used to get Charax whenever he's needed?

    • One tip I learned from BW's videos that saves time: Alaric is accessible 24/7. Just move your cursor around in the locked room above his bedroom at night, and you can find him. It saves having to sleep.

    • Overall, I came away with the feeling that Cythera is very well organized for a speed run. You can literally do all the main quests in a day, finishing up zones of the island as you go, and then all the other stuff at night when it doesn't matter. Kesh and most of the rest of the game are completely optional. Plus, the Seldane teleporters make getting around to key places very quick. Like I said before, crabs were the trickiest part, and also having to run to the iron mine 2x during the middle of the night.

    You have some great suggestions for the livestream, especially about the demo differences. I know we've decided not to do a speed run for the livestream, but it's been really entertaining to discuss. I think I will split the topic out though, just because the speed run discussion is taking a life of its own.

    Here's my notes on quest arrangement:

    cythera speedrun
    
    Day 1: (as much during day as possible)
    explorer for persuasion
    omen's test: ring, crate, and bomb
    LKH: 
    	use bomb to get more and pick up arrow supplies
    	get smith's friend, healing, and mage's friend
    	talk to hector, learn to cook and make bread, get some food, get hector
    swing by Odemia to make Ariadne appear
    go to cademia, in comana use bomb to get money, move money and take what's needed, get staff
    get meleager
    rescue ariadne, take to odemia, get "pipes", talk to ake about "more" (persuasion comes in handy here)
    cure plague
    talk to glaucus and get kelp
    go to Pnyx, learn magic and a handful of spells (direct nexus & arrow)
    learn alchemy & prompt for charax
    go to charax to get timeflux started
    go to kosha, talk to itanos about stentor and idomenus
    go to cademia and talk to halos (persuasion again) about ake, kidnapping, and note; give net to stentor if time
    
    Night 1: (do as much stuff that doesn't matter the time overnight)
    go see pelagon about being dead
    go get timon
    go to seldane from ruins and talk to sabinate
    tricky part:
    	get to mine and get honor jinrai quest
    	go south and honor jinrai (use combo of smith friend and timon healing)
    	direct nexus and get to mine one more time to learn name bahoudin
    direct nexus and talk to magpie to get other half
    go to maayti and free it
    direct nexus and go to crab cove to get timeflux (also tricky)
    if any time left in morning, just sleep a little because nothing else left to do at night
    
    Day 2: (likely but if able to condense day 1, move some things up)
    if anything left from day 1, do first, but hopefully not!
    go to cademia and solve murder, speak with stentor
    go to kosha and play PHJMD on pipes
    pelagon should be there (you must have crolna on your person!) so get 4th piece (tricky! careful choosing!)
    go to sabinate and get mushroom
    take book, mushroom, and kelp to Charax, use distiller on crolna
    direct nexus and cure alaric
    
    current estimate ~1 hr. realtime and 1 day, 3 hours in game
    


  • Oh, yeah, and using Direct Nexus within LKH. My understanding is that he was sleeping to move Alaric to a point in his schedule when he’s in the throne room instead of a locked room. Just using the bed doesn’t trigger Alaric’s location to change, but Direct Nexus will reset him to an appropriate place.

    Is that correct? If so, it seems like a bug, but a workaround for a bug rather than an exploit.



  • To Pallas' points, persuasion is really only useful for Halos it seems. I thought you needed Ake, so I actually was trying as an Explorer. It seems that's not necessary. And I've not seen the method of using Direct Nexus to reposition Alaric. As mentioned above, @453 taught me that you can always reach Alaric just by checking above his bedroom.

    I'm curious to try a speed run that is shortest both in realtime and in-game. This means no sleeping and no save/reverting if at all possible. Seeing Buzzzzy fit the murder in Day 1 makes me think Day 2 is completely unnecessary in my layout.

    This really is very entertaining! Thanks for the excellent work, Buzzzzy 😄



  • I actually wasn't trying to avoid any exploits/bugs, it's just that none of them really save any time. Fetch takes way too long to learn, for instance.

    And yeah, the LKH-underground route is faster, I was just (inconsistently) paranoid about people getting poisoned by ratlizards and ooze.

    @Wizard said in Cythera Speedruns:

    I played as an Explorer to have persuasion outright and not have to bother with Neoptolemus, BUT I thought the conversation with Ake was a must to prompt Halos. I've always had issues getting the murder to trigger, but you've demonstrated here that just speaking with his Halos' brother, then Halos, and the back-and-forth between Stentor and Pelagon is enough to do it.

    I haven't really tested it enough to be sure, but it seemed like enemies were less likely to attack me as a rogue (and more likely to target followers). As an explorer, I died several times trying to rescue Ariadne.

    As for the hydra, I spammed mystic arrows at it. I learned it from the Pnyx library and used the grimoire on the Directed Nexus scroll from LKH. I also used the Death Strike scroll on Eudoxus. Those are the only spells I used/learned.

    Directed Nexus reloads the map, so it's just a faster way of leaving and re-entering LKH. Characters don't reliably reset location until you reload a map. Same reason why trying to time the meeting with Halos is tricky. But I also forgot that you can talk to Alaric in his study by just moving the cursor past the door. :P



  • Does an attempt count if it's not completed? 😛

    Here's my unsuccessful speedrun

    The game froze at the very end when trying to use "Awake" on Charax to get the Crolna purified.

    Aside from the issue at the end, I was not dissatisfied with this arrangement of quests. I now agree with Buzzzzy that getting Meleager is a waste of time; he simply doesn't contribute enough. Plus, the more followers you have, the more likely to get hung up waiting to load the next screen.

    Crab Cove, Maayti, and Land's End are the three challenging spots, but each one is unpredictable. You can run through one with surprising ease and then get stuck in another for a long time. Things started to go wrong for me around 26:15 when the crabs began to hound me in Maayti, culminating in a confrontation at 27:35 in which I became cornered with little life, magic, or support. In my hurried frenzy to survive, I ordered Timon to heal the very crab I was trying to kill! So anyways... I died somehow. I actually didn't notice at the time because it took a while to register in the game. After that, whenever crabs died, I got the sound effect for my death.

    Next attempt will have no Meleager, and I will train on a little more mana to have extra magic on hand. I will also save the healing potion for Crab Cove or Maayti because Timon has enough power to get you across the lava pit without difficulty. It's also important not to forget any steps! After getting the Timeflux book, I forgot to swing by Sabinate for the mushroom at first.

    Another thing I wonder about is using the staff to scare off enemies. Unless I'm mistaken, it causes effects like confuse, terror, or paralyze to anything not magic immune. Do you remember @Buzzzzy or @453?



  • Here's the best I've been able to manage

    It's just about 32 minutes. I would argue that an optimal speed run for Cythera is half an hour. I don't think the order can be arranged that much differently, but I could be wrong. The biggest factor is luck. As I mentioned in the last post, Crab Cove, Maayti, and Land's End are unpredictable. Depending on the random placement of enemies and who they choose to target, you can be looking at seconds or many minutes. For comparison, see the difference between the first time I entered Crab Cove and then again after leaving and re-entering.

    Charax remains my mortal enemy! 😤 Previously, he froze the game and undid all my efforts. This time, I tried the attacking approach, and it didn't work out at all. I lost about 2 minutes exactly (compare where I was at 29:40 and 31:40). As such, I don't think it's possible to do it without sleeping because there's no reliable way to purify the Crolna until morning. The two minute loss is also why I'm sure a 30 minute run is possible; it's just tricky to get everything right.

    Edit: I forgot to mention that @Buzzzzy suggested I use "Attack Weakest" AI instead of Berserk, and he's right, it's much more effective. I can see why the targeting for that script would be much more reliable, but I'm not sure why the other scripts just don't trigger the followers to fight much at all. I also benefitted greatly from Buzzzzy's quest arrangement and the directional hotkey trick he used in his video (shortcut key and direction arrow to perform "look", "take", etc.).



  • 23:27 Sure would be nice if there were a spell that could pick up an object at a distance…



  • Under 30 minutes, if only just

    I went with a mage and had pretty good results. I basically did things in the order @Wizard did, but with a few changes (e.g. I did the Cademia-Kosha back-and-forth before Pnyx). My original plan was to learn Fireball to make the cove easier, but getting four sapphire books and training in enough mana to cast it more than once proved too time-consuming. On the other hand, collecting two sapphire books really didn't add much time at all, and that way I was able to learn Resist Fire to get through Lands End a little quicker.

    I saved and reloaded after dying on the way to the mine and forgot to sleep near the end, which combined to cost me about a minute. For the record, I did manage to successfully attack-wake Charax one time, but I also forgot to learn alchemy on that run, so that didn't work out.



  • I like the approach of using a Mage, Buzzzzy! Having some extra mana can certainly help.

    I wonder how each individual class fares in a speedrun? We know Rogues, Storytellers, and Mages can do well because they each bring something (awareness, persuasion, or magic). Somehow I doubt Fighters or Beserkers would be as effective given their skill set.

    What I really want to know is... what about the Wizard? 😛

    Regarding the run itself, apart from the two minor things about having to reload and forgetting sleep, you've got this down about as much as I can imagine it going. It was already shorter than mine even the first time I got to Charax before the disastrous attempt to attack him!

    @Pallas-Athene said in Cythera Speedruns:

    23:27 Sure would be nice if there were a spell that could pick up an object at a distance…

    I've been trying to figure out any way to use Fetch or Remote Manipulation, but I can't see the time tradeoff being worth it. But here's some notes I made that could be useful for cheat runs:

    • Remote Manipulation (skip Honor Jinrai and immediately enter Hall of Truth stairs?)
    • Fetch, broken (zap the door in Hall of Truth out of existence and skip all the puzzles)
    • Fetch, patched (pickup the third shard without having to go around)
    • Selax's bird character ("can fly" attribute allows going over water and lava without difficulty, saves time and damage)
    • Selax's teleporter character (immediately pop into the city of interest; maybe modify to have a stairway to each relevant zone?)

    Then I also think, "if one were cheating, could you just put a purified crolna in your inventory at the start and end the game when you begin it?" Perhaps @Bryce or @Selax should try this and get a 1 second speed run! 😄



  • If you're going to cheat your character species, go with a ghost :P Can fly, and also invincible. But cheating does take the challenge away. I've watched the first two videos now, won't have time to watch the second two today, but wanted to post my comments:
    Buzzy's first video:

    • I thought it clever how you stole Emesa dough instead of mixing and kneading your own. Scummy, but time saving! ^_^
    • Using the death strike scroll on Eudoxus seems a very good use of it! But leaving the other ruffians alive and leading Ariadne through them was risky!
    • One thing I failed at when I attempted a speedplay was not bothering to get tasks before completing them. I've always wanted my to-do list to be full of check-off items, but this isn't practical in a speed-run. Buzzy has it down ^_^
    • Not bothering to talk to Mantinea. Yeah, I guess if you're not bothering to get Aethan, she's just a waste of time.
    • You could have saved a few seconds from going to Ayrit directly from Timon's ruins, rather than taking the long way around. I guess that doesn't really matter.
    • Not having a full conversation with Halos was my favourite part of the whole video :D You seriously learned Persuasion and talked to Propontis just to say hi and bye to Halos. Seriously, imagine a stranger approached you and you had the following conversation:
      You: I am really quite busy now, could you come back later?
      Stranger: But please, this is important.
      You: Very well.
      Stranger: Your brother sent me to talk to you.
      You: Oh? That does sound important.
      Stranger: Bye. leaves.
      ... some people would call that rude ^_^ (Now imagine you later discovered the only reason the stranger initiated the conversation was so that you'd be unfairly thrown in jail.)
    • I don't think there's any need to talk to Berossus before getting Dryas and talking to Stentor.
    • I think grabbing LKH's Smith's Friend Potion would have been worthwhile for Land's End. It's very short-lasting though. I feel like Resist Fire is worthwhile to learn, because it saves you having to cast Directed Nexus to get out of there, and you could get back to Jhiaxus faster.
    • You don't need to walk all the way through the lava, just most of it. You could skip the last three steps or so and throw the bread from there.
    • Your character sounded like she had a weapon when she attacked a crab. What weapon did you give her? I completely missed that.
    • I guess that leads into a whole other point about the video only showing the game screen. I miss a lot from not being able to see the log and the character windows. It's nice being able to see a bigger picture though.
    • What level did you get to by the end of the game? I am curious because without defeating enemies or completing quests, it's hard to imagine you got past level two or three...
    • I wonder whether bashing open doors would be a worthwhile use of time. Killing eudoxus is mandatory (well, I guess not mandatory, but much faster than tricking the game into deciding you've already completed that quest, I think), so there's a guaranteed free mace. Could save you the trouble of sleeping until Alaric's on duty (or save Wizzy the trouble of blindly searching the closed off room for him ^_^).
    • I also would have picked up the light staff while getting the timeflux book. This has been a dark video!
    • Lots of death in the polyp cave. I don't see how that can be avoided without leveling up :(
    • After talking to Sabinate, why not take the portal to Headwater?

    Overall, this speedplay was amazing! I don't think I could ever even come close! Speed is definitely stressful for me, and I want to complete everything and get strong. I'm not sure if I'll try again, but I think Buzzy and Wizzy are killing it ^_^

    I wanted to comment on Wizzy's first video too, but I've run out of time :\ Maybe someday I'll catch up with this thread!

    Also, I was totally surprised to hear crabs of all things are one of the main problems. I guess I never appreciated just how formidable a crab can be when you have total-newbie stats.

    Edit: Actually I'm going to try to pound out those comments really quick. I don't have many, because I covered most stuff when commenting on Buzzy's video.
    Wizzy's first video:

    • I'm not a fan of asking followers to "attack target" because it seems to undue whatever other strategy you asked them to do. It's just a pain to micromanage. I always used Attack Strongest, Weakest, or Nearest. Not sure which one is the best, but "weakest" would make sense, since followers have no sense of direction, and taking out the weakest enemy first seems wise.
    • You took an extra step to get the seldane disks placed. I honestly always do it the same way and never considered other solutions to that simple little puzzle.
    • My favourite part of this video was when you had Timon heal you... then quickly fled from the battle, leaving your followers to be devoured by crabs ^_^
    • In Maayti: you backtracked even though you could have gotten through going ahead, then got cornered by crabs. You may have gotten cornered anyway, but...
    • When trying to find Alaric through the locked door later: You’re searching way too high ^_^ Seems faster to bash the door, if you’d grabbed Eudoxus’ mace..
    • Why (in the polyp cave) did you move light-staff from Timon to you? Is it because you knew he'd die?
    • You know that when you get resurrected from the dead, the first thing you want to do is monologue about your research and how joining a band of adventurers will aid it :D
    • Just noticed you have no regeneration ring o_O
    • You skirted the coast to get to Charax’s house. This confused me, I actually thought you must be going to the scylla temple, but I couldn’t see how that would be worthwhile in a speedrun. Is the coastal route less likely to be ambushed by polyps?
    • The ending was sad. The first two times you used Awaken on him were fine, but when he tried to go to his distiller, he accidentally went outside and couldn’t figure out how to get back in… The moral of this story is, don’t wake up scientists from a dead sleep and ask them to perform huge world-changing experiments. (He was even labelled "person sleeping" while you talked to him, he was obviously not fully awake). I do wonder if you had locked the door shut (or blocked it), maybe it would have worked?


  • Following Buzzy's lead to get into the 4th Degree Hall, I decided to put Remote Manipulation to good use:

    23 min. speedrun

    I also adopted his excellent ideas of getting the bombs in LKH and doing the murder directly before going to Pnyx and Timon. I like this layout, although lost a few seconds throughout due to little errors on my part, like not using the spell hotkeys and letting the Ooze trap me for a moment.

    I'm not entirely sure how to classify this run. On the one hand, Remote Manipulation is designed to work this way; one is even required to make use of it in game (e.g. Tyrant's Tomb). On the other hand, it does bypass an intended quest, although we've been bypassing huge portions of quests (like repeat visits to Charax) from the beginning of this endeavor.

    I can see minor optimizations on this strategy trimming off maybe another minute at the most. Is there any possible way we can get down to under 20 minutes?

    At any rate, I've been very amused by all this speed running, and I'm hoping to see more!!!



  • Some very impressive times being posted here. I hadn't actually considered the idea of a speedrun, but it seems a lot of time-saving strategies are being found. I'm curious what the shortest in-game time has been.



  • @Wizard said in Cythera Speedruns:

    I'm not entirely sure how to classify this run. On the one hand, Remote Manipulation is designed to work this way; one is even required to make use of it in game (e.g. Tyrant's Tomb). On the other hand, it does bypass an intended quest, although we've been bypassing huge portions of quests (like repeat visits to Charax) from the beginning of this endeavor.

    I would say that Remote Manipulation is definitely not intended to work that way. Using it to pull a lever makes sense, but using it to activate a map transition is akin to teleporting. I’ve classified this as a “False” run above.



  • @453 said in Cythera Speedruns:

    Not having a full conversation with Halos was my favourite part of the whole video :D You seriously learned Persuasion and talked to Propontis just to say hi and bye to Halos.

    Yeah, I was surprised at how little you really need to talk to Halos. Just telling him someone sent you is enough.

    I don't think there's any need to talk to Berossus before getting Dryas and talking to Stentor.

    Huh, you're right. I thought Dryas wouldn't show up, but he does. That might shave a few seconds.

    I think grabbing LKH's Smith's Friend Potion would have been worthwhile for Land's End. It's very short-lasting though. I feel like Resist Fire is worthwhile to learn, because it saves you having to cast Directed Nexus to get out of there, and you could get back to Jhiaxus faster.

    I did wind up learning Resist Fire for the 29m run, but going back out the volcano isn't really worth it. Resist Fire + the potion don't quite get you through the lava twice, so you'll still usually need Timon to heal you a couple times on the way out (which wastes time), and the volcano itself is three maps long, which isn't much shorter than just heading back to the mine the long way.

    Both Speedy McSpeedface (37m) and Run! (29m) reached level 4 and just used the sword from the beginning.

    I don't think bashing doors saves much more than a few seconds, but it might be worthwhile if attempting a no-sleep speedrun. Charax is still problematic, but I did succeed at attack-waking him once, and then bashing down Alaric's door would allow you to cure him at night.

    The thing with crabs is that they're very good at flanking and boxing you in if you're not careful, which wastes time even if you manage to survive.


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