Cythera Speedruns



  • @Selax said in Cythera Speedruns:

    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.

    Shortest in-game is almost exactly 1 day. So far, there's no easy way to get everything to Charax before nightfall, and trying to give it to him overnight has been... problematic.

    @Pallas-Athene said in Cythera Speedruns:

    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.

    That's a reasonable argument. I'm still on the warpath for that perfect speed run: no sleeping, no saving, shortest in-game and real times. Regardless of the usage of remote manipulation, the biggest problem remaining is Charax! I wonder about BW's idea of using Awake with the door locked? 🤔

    @Buzzzzy said in Cythera Speedruns:

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

    I've been too scared to cut the dialog down much, but when we're talking about making every second worthwhile, it'll be necessary. To that end:

    • What exact prompt is needed from Glaucus for the wine question to work with Palaestra? Is it just "ruined"?
    • What prompt is needed from Jhiaxus for the Honor Jinrai quest? Just Jinrai?

    So far, it sounds like:

    • Halos needs either Propontis or Ake.
    • Itanos needs Stentor and Idomenus (at least to open the way).
    • Pelagon needs Stentor or Dead.
    • Lindus needs Crystal (for Timon).
    • Palaestra needs wine, teach, and Charax (I found that Sabinate wouldn't give me the mushroom once without first going to Charax since I hadn't prompted Charax with Palaestra)
    • For Magpie to respond to Bahoudin, Jhiaxus must be asked about both Son and Bahoudin I believe. Maybe Son isn't needed?


  • 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.

    I am puzzled. I feel certain that in most Cythera games I've played, I've used Resist Fire just one time to get across the lava field and back. It lasts way longer than the potion. I feel like the duration should be plenty for both directions.
    I didn't think about the path through the volcano to the mine nearly equalling the path from LKH to the mine. You guys really map it out!

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

    Nice! I think that proves that you receive experience from completing tasks even if you never bothered to get assigned those tasks ^_^



  • @453 said in Cythera Speedruns:

    If you're going to cheat your character species, go with a ghost :P Can fly, and also invincible.

    Now there's an idea! It'd be pretty fun to wander around finishing everything without needing to worry about enemies.

    • 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 definitely problematic in a speed run. I'm growing to like Attack Weakest, but it still seems like they don't automatically trigger until I start getting attacked. I'd like them to be more proactive.

    • 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.

    That's the order from the hint book (pg. 46), which I also put on Cythera Guides' key, but watching Buzzy's video, I realized it's definitely an unnecessary step. In my next speed run, I adopted the more compact method.

    • 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..

    Instead of the door bash, Buzzy demonstrated a great way to get bombs early, so I'm liking the idea of using one of those to blow the door. It saves the need to search blindly. In my original notes, I was going to the trouble of getting more bombs but never using them.

    • Why (in the polyp cave) did you move light-staff from Timon to you? Is it because you knew he'd die?

    Sadly, my followers aren't enjoying a high survival rate in these attempts. At least they're dying for a cause! (saving me time 😛)

    • 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?

    No, I just hadn't worked out which distance was less until seeing it on Buzzy's and checking the map.

    • 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?

    I may have to try this. I'm betting the problem lies with him being flagged as asleep but needing to initiate a dialog when up by the distiller. Maybe it will work if he's locked in or maybe attacking him is the only way?



  • I was wondering if I could Fetch away the secret door in Kosha, thereby allowing the Odemia arc to be skipped. The Sapphire Book bug can be used so that only one book need be found. Unfortunately, the game bugged out on me in the sixth hall, so I didn’t answer the question of whether that door could be fetched, but I did realize that “Ask Halos about Comana” can’t be acquired without at least talking to the Odemia guard.

    I did somehow manage to kill all the polyps under Catamarca with a single bomb, so I wonder if avoiding party members might be an improvement.

    I went looking in the code to see if I could find any shortcuts. For example, the Opheltius murder (state 3) progresses as follows:

    1. Murdered; Halos thought guilty
    2. Halos cleared (Charax can only proceed so far until this point; this must be the origin of the belief that he needs some time to study)
    3. Pelagon implicated (goes to Grotto)

    Unfortunately, while it’s clear where the progression from 1 to 2 and 2 to 3 are, I can’t find the code that starts the murder thread itself. Maybe it’s in some common subroutine that I haven’t disassembled. Does anyone know what exactly triggers it?

    (Also, there’s something about Eudoxus’s note in his code—can you progress with just that?)

    The Ariadne kidnapping (state 1) progresses through:

    1. Learned from Guard (at this point, you can get Ask Halos about Comana from Propontis)
    2. Killed Eudoxus
    3. Ariadne joined
    4. Returned to Odemia (dead or alive). If you return with a corpse, though, that sets state flag 3, though, which I believe prevents you from getting the pipes.


  • @453 said in Cythera Speedruns:

    I am puzzled. I feel certain that in most Cythera games I've played, I've used Resist Fire just one time to get across the lava field and back. It lasts way longer than the potion. I feel like the duration should be plenty for both directions.
    I didn't think about the path through the volcano to the mine nearly equalling the path from LKH to the mine. You guys really map it out!

    I just tested this out. It doesn't last long enough to go all the way through the lava (like I was doing) twice, but you can get far enough to toss the bread and back before it wears off. I also timed going back out the volcano, and it's nearly identical (about two minutes by either strategy). It might be worth it to bypass the ruffians, though.

    @Wizard said in Cythera Speedruns:

    • What exact prompt is needed from Glaucus for the wine question to work with Palaestra? Is it just "ruined"?
    • What prompt is needed from Jhiaxus for the Honor Jinrai quest? Just Jinrai?
    • For Magpie to respond to Bahoudin, Jhiaxus must be asked about both Son and Bahoudin I believe. Maybe Son isn't needed?

    After some experimentation, the necessary prompt for Glaucus is, bizarrely, "name." With Jhiaxus, it's "honor" and "Bahoudin". Jinrai and son aren't needed.

    @Wizard said in Cythera Speedruns:

    Instead of the door bash, Buzzy demonstrated a great way to get bombs early, so I'm liking the idea of using one of those to blow the door.

    That was the original reason I wanted to get the bombs, because I was still trying to get four sapphire books at the time. But later I decided two bombs for Eudoxus + one for the sewer door was a better use for them. You might be able to talk to Stentor through the window and then head back into the sewers, though (eliminating the need to bash/bomb the door). Not sure how that compares, speed-wise.

    You would need to get very lucky to do a no-follower speedrun. But it's probably possible: I've had crabs in Maayti ignore me for no reason and polyps in the cove all single-mindedly decide to gang up on a poor mini-crab, but both seem to be random. Otherwise, they will all target the player in the absence of a tank (Hector) and/or distraction (Timon).

    @Pallas-Athene said in Cythera Speedruns:

    Unfortunately, while it’s clear where the progression from 1 to 2 and 2 to 3 are, I can’t find the code that starts the murder thread itself. Maybe it’s in some common subroutine that I haven’t disassembled. Does anyone know what exactly triggers it?

    I think it's ask Itanos about Stentor –> return Stentor's net –> ask him about Pelagon –> ask Pelagon about "dead" –> murder.



  • @Pallas-Athene said in Cythera Speedruns:

    I went looking in the code to see if I could find any shortcuts. For example, the Opheltius murder (state 3) progresses as follows:

    1. Murdered; Halos thought guilty
    2. Halos cleared (Charax can only proceed so far until this point; this must be the origin of the belief that he needs some time to study)
    3. Pelagon implicated (goes to Grotto)

    Really good to know that Charax ties into the murder. For me and Selax, it would definitely affect our order, but for other play styles, one may never notice.

    (Also, there’s something about Eudoxus’s note in his code—can you progress with just that?)

    Maybe that just enables an additional response. In my experience, if you don't pick up the note from Eudoxus' body, Halos won't respond to "Note". Good question though: if you only pick up the note and don't get Ariadne, is that a loophole?

    The Ariadne kidnapping (state 1) progresses through:

    1. Learned from Guard (at this point, you can get Ask Halos about Comana from Propontis)
    2. Killed Eudoxus
    3. Ariadne joined
    4. Returned to Odemia (dead or alive). If you return with a corpse, though, that sets state flag 3, though, which I believe prevents you from getting the pipes.

    I'm surprised to see killing Eudoxus as part of the progression, so I went back to see if Ariadne says something different while he's alive. She doesn't, and he doesn't seem to mind that we freed her:

    0_1567928559611_eudoxus_ariadne.png

    I left him alive when taking her back to Odemia too, and no one seems to act differently.

    @Buzzzzy said in Cythera Speedruns:

    After some experimentation, the necessary prompt for Glaucus is, bizarrely, "name." With Jhiaxus, it's "honor" and "Bahoudin". Jinrai and son aren't needed.

    Thanks for figuring that out! I'm glad I've been running through the whole dialog with Glaucus because "name" is the first thing I would have ignored. Now that we know, it can save a little time.



  • @Wizard said in Cythera Speedruns:

    The Ariadne kidnapping (state 1) progresses through:

    1. Learned from Guard (at this point, you can get Ask Halos about Comana from Propontis)
    2. Killed Eudoxus
    3. Ariadne joined
    4. Returned to Odemia (dead or alive). If you return with a corpse, though, that sets state flag 3, though, which I believe prevents you from getting the pipes.

    I'm surprised to see killing Eudoxus as a requirement, so I went back to see if Ariadne says something different while he's alive. She doesn't, and he doesn't seem to mind that we freed her

    It’s not a prerequisite for stage 3—but the stage exists in the progression. I don’t think that learning from the Guard is a prerequisite either, though there are at least conditionals that distinguish 0/1, whereas I looked and didn’t find any that distinguish 1/2.

    Also, state[1]==7 seems to correspond to the interrogation.



  • 20-minute False run

    I followed @Wizard's lead in using the Remote Manipulation exploit, but also skipped the Maayti and Ayrit puzzles with Fetch and talking past doors. I made use of the Sapphire duplication trick like @Pallas-Athene suggested, and just did a save-and-revert beforehand to avoid the sixth hall glitch.

    As a bonus, this whole run is completed in one in-game day, with no sleeping.

    I still made a few mistakes. With better execution, it should be possible to do a sub-20 run.



  • That's incredible, @Buzzzzy! 👏 It's become clear to me that you are the speed running master of Cythera! The ingenuity of these ideas and the execution of everything, it's truly excellent.

    I wasn't sure if it could be cut to 20 without some other major change, but you've trimmed out just enough. I'm especially happy that you can catch Charax before he goes to bed. The puts the in-game record at something like 13 hrs.



  • @Pallas-Athene said in Cythera Speedruns:

    I was wondering if I could Fetch away the secret door in Kosha, thereby allowing the Odemia arc to be skipped.

    Yep, due to the Tlepolemus-pipes bug, using Fetch is the only way into the grotto in you let Ariadne die. Even that won’t work with the bugfix patch, but maybe someday someone will fix the Tlepolemus thing so you can buy pipes from him ^_^

    The Sapphire Book bug can be used so that only one book need be found. Unfortunately, the game bugged out on me in the sixth hall,

    What happened? I guess I’ll find out when I watch Buzzy’s video, but I remember that the Sapphire glitch had some unpleasant side-effects, like deleting myself from the game (I was just an empty space with no items or skills). It’s not a trick I really recommend abusing..

    Unfortunately, while it’s clear where the progression from 1 to 2 and 2 to 3 are, I can’t find the code that starts the murder thread itself. Maybe it’s in some common subroutine that I haven’t disassembled. Does anyone know what exactly triggers it?

    I remember one of the first times I played Cythera (close to 20 years ago, I guess), I just could not get the murder to trigger. I’d keep going to Cademia and scream “go to jail, Halos! >:[“ to no avail. My brother said I just needed to accuse Pelagon of being dead, but that didn’t work. I was frustrated because I so desperately wanted Dryas to join my party. Eventually I managed to trigger it by meeting Myus. Or so I thought... now I guess Myus had nothing to do with it, but my point was that triggering the murder is a little more complicated that it seems. It looks like you need to resolve the kidnapping and plague, take Stentor his net and discuss Pelagon’s death, meet Halos, and accuse Pelagon of being dead, but I wonder how I had missed any of those back in the day.



  • I did some more experimenting. The requirements for triggering the murder seem to be:

    • Complete "Ask Halos about Comana"
      • Prerequisite: Acquire "Rescue kidnapped Ariadne"
    • Confront Pelagon about being dead
      • Prerequisite: Ask Stentor about seeing Pelagon die
        • Prerequisite: Complete "Take net to Stentor"

    You don't actually have to rescue Ariadne, but you do need to learn about the kidnapping. So a ~19-minute speedrun is possible: swing by Odemia to talk to the guard, but then skip the farmhouse entirely (and make sure to ask Propontis about Comana, since Ake isn't an option).

    Then, as @453 points out, you can use Fetch on the secret entrance to the grotto. When I tried this, it proved a bit problematic due to Fetch's high mana cost and having to tackle the cove right after. But it is doable: you'd need to either grab the bow early on, keep Timon and his mystic arrow alive, or use a bomb (since they aren't needed for Eudoxus) to take care of the hydra.



  • @Buzzzzy said in Cythera Speedruns:

    You might be able to talk to Stentor through the window and then head back into the sewers, though (eliminating the need to bash/bomb the door).

    I was really amused by this mental image: Stentor and Bellerophon shouting at each other through the window from across the screen.

    @Buzzzzy, I've accidentally triggered the engine's time counter a couple times, but I don't know what key it actually is. How do you get that prompt to appear? (The message with total time played, number of times launched, engine version, etc.)

    I feel like we've really honed in some great speed running strategies in this thread. At this point, I'd say if you want to play the game as fully intended, you're looking at about a 30min run. If you don't mind using a few minor exploits here and there, you can trim it down to about 20min. So the main question left is an outright hacking speed run: ghosts, teleporters, starting with key items in your inventory, etc.



  • Comments on Wizzy's second (32 minute) video:

    • A bit of time wasted talking to Ake. Remember, you need to close the doors and window shutters so that you cannot see outside in order for her to divulge any information (and even then, she'll only ask you for a midnight garden meeting unless you know persuasion).
    • Going from LKH to iron mine: You took the seldane portal to headwater. Is that faster than just taking the underground to titan’s pass? You have to load the Ayrit and Headwater zones, your way.
    • Don’t the undine say the crolna is a weapon? I feel like you should be able to use it to blast away all those crabs.
    • Speaking of crabs. What on earth was going on when you were mystic arrow-ing them? You seemed to be attacking a living crab, but the log said you "reduced its body to ooze" and then "blood critically wounded" what??
    • Oh dear, several seconds wasted on paralysis :( I guess waking up a mage by force is a dangerous undertaking. (Actually I didn’t notice if Charax or Timon paralyzed you, but Charax seemed super ticked off.)
    • You’re going to go to sleep while your follower is poisoned? (You wake up and step carefully around Timon’s dead body) Yeah, saw that coming.
    • Another paralysis? :o Dude don’t step on the moss!

    Very impressive video though! I can't believe how fast you could finish, without any cheating or bug exploitation, and that's with two paralyses and a second journey to Charax!



  • @Pallas-Athene

    What do you think about broadening the classification from True / False over to True / False (Exploits) / False (Hacks)? Despite my original uncertainty, after reviewing the latest speed runs, I agree that the ones using no exploits should remain separate. But I think using minor bugs and exploits should also be separate from outright hacking. Character hacking will entail very different mechanisms to save time; plus this breakdown would give a nice 30min/20min/???min summary for the best times.

    @453

    As far as I can tell, Ake will talk to you as long as no other NPC is on the screen. I've had her tell me everything through the window if the other NPCs are out of sight, but it's definitely easier to go into the house.

    You're right about Ayrit vs. simply using the tunnel. I'm afraid to wander around in the tunnels because of ooze and moss — both of which have caused me trouble in these speed runs. I like how Ayrit gets me away from danger, but it does waste precious time.

    Crabs are glitchy. I believe its in the failed video that they started to take on human sound effects for being hit and killed, and yes, they started being treated as blood at one point!

    Charax has given me a lot of grief. What I've learned from all this is to let sleeping mages lie...



  • @Wizard said in Cythera Speedruns:

    What do you think about broadening the classification from True / False over to True / False (Exploits) / False (Hacks)? Despite my original uncertainty, after reviewing the latest speed runs, I agree that the ones using no exploits should remain separate. But I think using minor bugs and exploits should also be separate from outright hacking. Character hacking will entail very different mechanisms to save time; plus this breakdown would give a nice 30min/20min/???min summary for the best times.

    I don’t think that a “False (Hacks)” category is interesting. As noted before, if you’re hacking, then you can just give yourself a purified Crolna and skip the whole game. I think that if you allow hacking, you need restrictions if you want it to be an interesting category. If you want to do a “Chicken Rogue” run, though, then go for it.

    I do think that there’s room for interesting categories that are neither True (“the game as intended”) nor False (“the game as released”). I’m not opposed to calling True/False something else; I just liked the sound of “True Storyteller”, “False Wizard”, etc.

    There are also the standard speedrunning terms any% and 100%.



  • @Pallas-Athene said in Cythera Speedruns:

    I don’t think that a “False (Hacks)” category is interesting.

    I agree with that for the most part (although, who wouldn't want to see a chicken rogue run? 😛). I guess that's why I liked the idea of a third category; many of the exploits are interesting but could otherwise be buried under much shorter False times.

    It''s a moot point now though. The running madness of new videos every few hours has slowed way down!

    The any% rating is a nice idea. It could be a little tricky to measure because of Cythera's huge amount of optional content, but I can imagine many variations on that. Actually, I think BW's play style is a 100% speed run if you just click through the dialogues quickly.



  • @Wizard said in Cythera Speedruns:

    As far as I can tell, Ake will talk to you as long as no other NPC is on the screen. I've had her tell me everything through the window if the other NPCs are out of sight, but it's definitely easier to go into the house.

    Really? That is interesting! I always thought she had to be closed off. Why then did she refuse to talk to you un the video? Because there were chickens on screen?



  • Those roguish chickens…



  • @453

    Here's the relevant portion from Ake's dialogue script: (I've added a few comments denoted by semicolons)

    ConvNext0580:
        conversation_response "more" else ConvNext0808 
        if_not
            call_resource 0xF02
                arg Arg30
                byte 1
            end 
        then Conditional05B1 ;if not talked about Comana, branch down to 05B1
        '"You know, House Comana..."' ;else fall through to this response
        branch Branch0805
        Conditional05B1:
        if_not 
            sys IsInParty
                short 30 ;Milcom
            end 
            sys IsInParty
                short 35 ;Hebe
            end 
            or 
        then Conditional060E ;if Milcom & Hebe not "IsInParty", jump to 060E
        'She looks around nervously...*"Ah, I don\'t know what you\'re talking about."' ;else fall through
        branch Branch0805 ;branch away if fell through
        Conditional060E: ;Milcom & Hebe not around?
        '"I can\'t speak of that now - meet me in our @garden after dark - wait until after my husband goes to bed"'
        call_resource Resources.SetCharacterFlag ;check if character has Persuasion
            arg Arg30
            byte 2
        end 
        if_not 
            sys GetSkill
                global Globals.PlayerCharacter
                short 203
            end 
        then Branch0805
        sys TalkParticipant
            short 1
            byte 2
        end 
        '"I understand your reluctance, but I\'m not sure if I can make that meeting."*'
        sys TalkParticipant
            arg Arg30
            byte 0
        end 
        call_resource 0xF01
            arg Arg30
            byte 2
        end 
        call_resource Resources.SetCharacterFlag
            arg Arg30
            byte 1
        end 
        'Ake lowers her voice to a whisper, glancing nervously around.*"Well, this might just be a rumor, but I\'ve heard that House Comana was behind Ariadne\'s kidnapping."*"I can\'t say anymore, but seek out Halos of House Strymon in Cademia"'
        sys AddQuest
            byte 10
            word 0x021A[0]
            byte 10
            add 
        end 
        '*"Please, I\'ve said too much..."'
        Branch0805:
        branch Conditional01CF
    

    What DDASM labels as "IsInParty" is a call to function #188 in Delver byte code. I'm sure it does some checking for in party, but it looks like it's doing something else as well. If I had to guess, it's being used here to get a distance measure of some kind?

    Whatever the case, it looks like you only have to make sure neither Hebe nor Milcom is around to get her to speak with you, which is good to know. Bryce really has equipped us with a powerful set of tools with delvmod! 😁



  • Interesting, thanks Wizzy! I want to experiment with that a little bit sometime.

    Comments on Buzzy's second (29 min) video:

    • Ahh, so that’s how you got the bombs! I was wondering if you’d found some way to skirt around Omen teleporting you back to LKH, so that you could steal the bombs there. You could potentially get a fourth bomb, if it would be worthwhile, just by taking the one intended to complete the test.
    • In contrast with Wizzy’s videos, you took the time to beg Emesa for food. Food seems like it could be worthwhile, to protect your followers’ regeneration rates. However, you can’t divide food without risking someone eating Jinrai’s bread…
    • Do you always play as a female character? Or does she just look faster than the guy?
    • You took Eudoxus’ helmet, but not his mace. I think if I try this again, I’ll try mace as my primary weapon. It’s nearly as good as a short sword, and much better at bashing doors.
    • I can’t believe Ariadne never gets killed by Eudoxus’ henchies. Once I forgot to destroy the spike trap and she was killed by that on the way back through -_-
    • You must have been so frustrated when a random beggar blocked you in an alley and wasted five seconds :P
    • I am super confused. When you’re going up toward the magic staff, it sounds like three spells are being cast. The log isn’t shown in the video, so I have no clue what’s going on. You haven’t learned magic, and don’t have Timon in the party…
    • For a second I thought Dryas was going to get blasted by the bomb! Good thing you didn’t have any followers besides him and Hector!
    • Interesting - there’s no need to get Halos’s side of the story at all during the murder.
    • Steal a potion in order to get Palaestra to stop teaching her class and talk to you about wine was really clever! I would not have thought of that.
    • The number of arrows or Mystic Arrows that are needed to take down the hydra seems to vary wildly :\

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