Goin' BioFast in BioForge: Part 03 - Explainin' The Route

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turboman

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Edited By turboman

Part 02 - I Bought The Strategy Guide

Part 03 - Explainin' The Route

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I've always enjoyed watching speedruns casually ever since the days of Speed Demos Archive. For the most part I enjoy being on the viewing side but I have occasionally dipped my toe into speedrunning. I spent a good chunk of time putting together a speedrun of Hitman 2016 which I was very proud even though over half of it is spent staring at loading screens. But you know what... I never have gone for a world record. The urge to be immortalized and wanting to add something to do while waiting for the vaccine to be out has led me down the path to buying Speedrun Science: A Long Guide To Short Playthroughs, which is kinda like a speedrunning textbook that has been advertised for the past couple of AGDQs that I've always been interested in.

So I'm enjoying my book and then get to the chapter with the most important question to speedrunning: What game should I choose? Usually you'd want to pick a game that you'd say is your favorite game, but when running down these options I'm seeing a lot of speedruns that are currently at 3+ hours long and that's just something that I have no interest in getting into. Also, most games that I sink a ton of time into these days are Sports games, or games that doesn't really have a "beginning to end". So I decided to go with a game that's special to this website. Persona 4 and Deadly Premonition are the first games that comes to mind here, but once again I don't have that kind of time. So why not go with an old favorite that I've made three different Best Of videos for: BioForge!

Even looking up the current speed run record for it has a glitch that was found by Vinny in his playthrough of it so it's a perfect fit for me. Currently on Speedrun.com there's only three runs recorded for BioForge so my chances of breaking the record should be fairly high if I spend enough time on it! My goals is to discover and implement new tactics to improve on previous speedruns and to execute well enough to improve on the current World Record. This process will hopefully be documented through this blog, as I am intending on sharing all of my findings (which is heavily encouraged in the book).

The current record was completed by a user who goes by "LiquidSteak" and it clocks in at 43m and 52s, which is 13 minutes faster than the run in second place. LiquidSteak's run is super well done but is fairly straightforward and doesn't have any major glitches used, except for one that was accidentally found by @vinny in Backflips n' Bioforge (linked below). Basically in casual runs the player is forced to drop the big gun when they pick up the bomb, causing you to need to do another lap to go back around and pick up the gun after you're done with the bomb, which adds about two minutes to the clock. But what was found is that if the gun is placed in the same spot you pick up the bomb, the player picks up both the bomb and the gun at the same time so you don't need to do that extra lap.

Other than that the only notable thing used was a few ways to skip animations. For example when you fall off ledges if you mash on up the player will skip his "wobbly ledge" animation or whatever you want to call it. Another skip is at the very beginning of the game when you wake up if you hit Escape you skip a screen shake that takes quite a bit of time.

I'm not sure how I'm going to structure this series of blogs/videos, but as of right now I think I'm going to give a weekly update on my investigation phase of this speedrun before I begin routing and executing. Hell, if there's other people out there on these boards who would like to join me in trying to find the best way to speedrun this thing than I'd love to start that community (BioForge is currently $1.50 on GoG).

So my homework for myself this week is to come up with a list of all items that are NEEDED to complete the run and where at I can get these items (I have a skip in mind that I came up with while writing this so I'm excited to test it out and report back on results next week). I'm also planning to open up a spreadsheet and start filling it with data on attack values and HP of enemies that need to be dealt with along the way so hopefully that work will be done by the next post as well.

Thank you for reading (and possibly joining me on this journey) and I will leave you with this beautiful melody:

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jeremyf

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Hell yeah! Speedrunning is great to watch, but there's no way I could have the patience to do it seriously. Even then, I would choose a game that's more, uh... visually appealing.

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No Caption Provided

So instead of creating new forum posts every week I'm just going to make this a weird continuous thing.

So let me start this week with this update: I have purchased the Bioforge Strategy Guide.

I haven't started reading through it yet but whoo boy is it extensive. Somebody was hired to write this guide with the help of the developers and there is 224 pages worth of tips/strategies/log books in this guide. So if anybody has any specific questions feel free to ask them and I'll look it up. Somebody on my twitter immediately asked if the Flute had any purpose and the corresponding page is below:

No Caption Provided

I spent most of my playtime this week going through and updating a spreadsheet with the amount of times each attack is used to defeat an enemy. There are at least 12 different attacks in the combat system for the game, so that was 12 different loads I had to do for every enemy in the game, meaning that this shit took a ton of time. The hope was for me to be able to assign damage points to each attack, but right now the math is coming up a bit muddy... and the official strategy guide's numbers (they give damage points and health for each enemies) doesn't correspond to my research (which consistently gave me the same numbers each time I did it).... so the Strategy Guide is incorrect here unfortunately. Which that alone might show that the guide might not be worth anything but I'll read through it to see if there's some type of hidden strategy that isn't considered in the current speedrun.

Here's a link to my spreadsheet that might be somewhat unreadable to everyone else but it might be interesting to some: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1DPCbadFTQfix8O6ybQMQ00z147FWCIy6IW3YsojQH9A/edit?usp=sharing

The idea of a skip I teased last week completely fell on it's face when I tried to execute it... this game seems to be pretty open in the order that you're allowed to complete objectives but once you start to tinker around it becomes very appear ant that the structure of how you're supposed to get from beginning to end is very linear. Maybe my goal this week is to try to find a different way to get to the end from my normal routes and to see if there's any benefit to doing so. And then to see if there is a possible glitch to open it up. I did find a way to guarantee the game to crash so that's fun!

I'll end this week with a video of what I'm getting a bit better of consistently executing on. On the top floor you probably remember having to reflect the bullets off the wall to hit drones. My new method speeds this up a bit.

Loading Video...

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@turboman:I look forward to hearing more about your progress! I compared your method in the video with LiquidSteak's WR run by recording the time between the elevator doors opening and the first shot of the gun, and you saved approximately 9 seconds. Keep it up!

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#6  Edited By lastly

It's cool to see someone else picking up this game as a speedrun! I'm looking forward to seeing more of your updates.

A possible reason why your damage numbers might not be adding up is that on Normal and Hard difficulties, repeating the same move multiple times in a row makes the damage go down each time. It wouldn't surprise me if it's bugged and also applying to Easy or that the manual that comes with the game is wrong about it not effecting Easy as well. Trying to efficiently 'route' each combat encounter to use as few attacks as possible was always something I (and Steak) have wanted to do but never bothered with because we're both very lazy and didn't want to bust out Cheat Engine to be able to watch enemy HP and such.

I like the rooftop strategy you've come up with to get the drones to shoot each other, that's really clever!

Also, just fyi, Steak uses she/her pronouns (in your video you used he/him).

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#7  Edited By turboman

@lastly said:

It's cool to see someone else picking up this game as a speedrun! I'm looking forward to seeing more of your updates.

A possible reason why your damage numbers might not be adding up is that on Normal and Hard difficulties, repeating the same move multiple times in a row makes the damage go down each time. It wouldn't surprise me if it's bugged and also applying to Easy or that the manual that comes with the game is wrong about it not effecting Easy as well. Trying to efficiently 'route' each combat encounter to use as few attacks as possible was always something I (and Steak) have wanted to do but never bothered with because we're both very lazy and didn't want to bust out Cheat Engine to be able to watch enemy HP and such.

I like the rooftop strategy you've come up with to get the drones to shoot each other, that's really clever!

Also, just fyi, Steak uses she/her pronouns (in your video you used he/him).

I'll try this later on and rotate attacks with the same damage output to see if that works. I assumed that maybe it was just that numbers were changed later on when they playtested the game more.

And sorry about the last line! I'll keep it in mind, thanks.

edit: I tried alternating attacks and it did not change anything unfortunately against the fork guy.

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Update: So I've downloaded everything that I need to record/stream/speedrun at the same time and I'm pretty dern confident that I can put up a WR run at some point in the near future just to get it over with. So with everything ready I decided to record a run just going through the current run. It's not gonna be uploaded to SpeedRun.com because there was a few deaths on the top floor, but other than that the run was pretty solid! So here's my weekly update... perhaps next week I'll go into detail the random puzzle locks since I should spend time on the second one to improve my run?

Enjoy! There's a few timestamps of interesting segments in this demonstration if you'd rather just watch the few interesting bits in this casual run:

10:50 - Top Floor (includes a couple of failed attempts)

21:00 - A very exciting reactor section

25:46 - My big skip!

29:09 - The Caravella Method

31:30 - Drogg Skip (Really, I'm very excited this worked)

38:20 - Very complex sequence of events

44:30 - Dude falls off ledge mid-cutscene

Loading Video...

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Your blog has got me back into running! I've been away for two years almost at this stage but I saw your vid showing the strat for the top floor and I had to try it out, and then I saw all the strats posted in comments on my WR video and knew there was too much time to save to ignore. I've a run right now that's pretty messy in spots but it's got all the new tech I'm aware of incorporated except your alien cube section float. I'll be trying to clean it up this week, hoping to get in the low 41s or maybe even just sub-41 minutes.

I did watch your run and I have two main bits of tech you might have missed:

  1. Subtitles off is faster than subtitles on, the delay between voice lines is longer when the subs are on. It's the middle button in the options menu.
  2. For the drogg skip you don't have to run away at all before activating the puzzle. regardless of what you do Drogg will teleport behind you once you're on the puzzle screen. I think the trick to getting them to not attack you is to take a hit as you're in the animation of starting the puzzle.

WRT to damage, as I understand it from looking at the gamefiles ages ago (some are kind of human readable) and doing some cheat engine investigation even longer ago is that each attack has a base damage that is modified by the armor of the opponent. For example I'm pretty sure everyone that's not wearing any armor has 0 damage reduction, Captain Tumolt has 5 damage reduction and Drogg wearing the reflective cube armor has 10 damage reduction, or something like that (it might be 10 and 15, or even the other way around.) The damage numbers you have in your spreadsheet line up to my memory, except for I think your 14s are actually 15s and your 28s are actually 30s?

Best of luck in your runs!

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#10  Edited By turboman

@liquidsteak: Hey, awesome and thanks for the tips! I just watched your run today and will put up some attempts soon. That's amazing you skipped the last dude at the puzzle.

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