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Gaming Hacks by Simon Carless

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Sequence-Break Quake

Speedrunners ( [Hack #68] ) don’t always exploit engine tricks. Sometimes shaving precious seconds off your personal records requires exploiting level design bugs and misfeatures. To become a competitive speedrunner—or even to find new ways to explore a well-loved game—you have to change your mindset. What’s the least amount of work you can do to complete a level?

The following sections demonstrate shortcuts the game designers never intended.

Sequence Breaking in Speedruns

The real meat of speedrunning, some argue, is sequence breaking, tackling the levels of a game in an unintended order or skipping entire sections the designers intended you to play. This usually requires using tricks to achieve the breaks, but occasionally exploiting an engine or map design feature may yield fruit.

For example, consider The Installation (http://speeddemosarchive.com/hack/e2m1.html), the first level in the second episode of Quake. The intended approach leads you through a sprawling maze of corridors and water in a military base, collecting two keys to unlock the route to the exit. Thanks to an oversight on the part of John Romero, the level author, it is possible to jump from the edge of one balcony near the start to a balcony near the exit, which allows you to complete the level in just 10 seconds! Bunnyhopping can cut this time to seven seconds.

As the exposure and notoriety of speedrunners and sequence breaking has evolved, so have the attitudes of developers and map authors. ...

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