Speedrun

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The standard maps in Doom, Doom II, and Final Doom are designed principally for solo play, with deathmatch modifications added as an afterthought. Early Doom players therefore looked for a way to quantitatively compare their relative prowess in these single-player levels, and speedrunning allows for such direct competition.

Players record their fastest level run-throughs in real time as demos, which keep track of each movement and action taken by a player in completing one or more levels. The demo format then allows the speedrunner to send his run-through to other Doomers, who can view it on their own machines and compare it to others. A player who believes his or her demo to be one of the fastest ever recorded, at least with a particular map(s) and in a particular category, can submit it to a competitive speedrunning site (such as Compet-n) for verification and posting.

Classification of speedrun demos

The following descriptions are abridged from the Compet-n documentation. [1] [2] Compet-n is generally accepted as the most prominent speedrunning competition in the world, and its terminology and rules have become fairly standard within the Doom community.

General demo categories

  • UV speed: finishing a level as fast as possible in Ultra Violence.
  • UV max: finishing a level as fast as possible in Ultra Violence, killing every monster at least once, except lost souls, and with 100% secrets.
  • NM speed: finishing a level as fast as possible in Nightmare!.
  • NM100S: finishing a level as fast as possible in Nightmare!, with 100% secrets.
  • UV -fast: finishing a level as fast as possible, in Ultra Violence with the -fast parameter, killing every monster at least once, except lost souls, and with 100% secrets.
  • UV -respawn: finishing a level as fast as possible, in Ultra Violence with the -respawn parameter, with at least 100% kills and with 100% secrets.
  • UV pacifist: finishing a level as fast as possible in Ultra Violence, with the following restrictions: not harming monsters directly (no shooting, chainsawing, or punching monsters), and not harming monsters indirectly (no destroying barrels that hurt monsters, no activating crushers that hurt monsters). Causing monsters to attack each other is permitted, as are unintentional telefrags.
  • UV Tyson: finishing a level as fast as possible in Ultra Violence, killing every monster at least once, except lost souls, with the following restrictions: no weapons other than the fist, berserk fist, chainsaw, and pistol may be used.
  • MMH: finishing a level in Ultra Violence, with the highest Maximum Minimum Health (MMH) possible. MMH is calculated this way: "Watch the health everytime the player takes damage, and take the smallest value of the whole recording. If the player takes no damage at all, the health at the exit counts." (Steffen "Rini" Udluft)

Ultimate Doom only

  • DOOM UV Episode: finishing an episode as fast as possible in Ultra Violence. The official length of the demo is the total time given for maps ExM1-ExM7, and the player must also survive ExM8 (where x is the episode number).
  • DOOM NM Episode: finishing an episode as fast as possible in Nightmare!. The official length of the demo is the total time given for maps ExM1-ExM7, and the player must also survive ExM8.
  • DOOM UV Max Episode: finishing an episode as fast as possible in Ultra Violence, killing every monster at least once, except lost souls, and with 100% secrets on all nine maps. The official length of the demo is the total time given for maps ExM1-ExM7 and ExM9, and the player must also survive ExM8 and meet the above requirements there.
  • DOOM NS Episode: finishing an episode as fast as possible in Nightmare!, with 100% secrets on all nine maps. The official length of the demo is the total time given for maps ExM1-ExM7 and ExM9, and the player must also survive ExM8 and meet the above requirements there.
  • DOOM UV -fast Episode. (Entries exist in the database, but the rules themselves have not been made available.)

Doom II only

  • DOOM II UV Episode: finishing an episode as fast as possible in Ultra Violence. (Valid "episodes" in this case are MAP01-MAP10, MAP11-MAP20, and MAP21-MAP30.) The official length of the demo is the total time of all completed maps; in the case of MAP11-MAP20, the secret levels are optional.
  • DOOM II NM Episode: finishing an episode as fast as possible in Nightmare!. (Valid "episodes" in this case are MAP01-MAP10, MAP11-MAP20, and MAP21-MAP30.) The official length of the demo is the total time of all completed maps; in the case of MAP11-MAP20, the secret levels are optional.
  • DOOM II UV Max Episode: finishing an episode as fast as possible in Ultra Violence, killing every monster at least once, except lost souls, and with 100% secrets on all maps. (Valid "episodes" in this case are MAP01-MAP10, MAP11-MAP20, and MAP21-MAP30.) The official length of the demo is the total time of all completed maps; in the case of MAP11-MAP20, the secret levels are required.
  • DOOM II NS Episode: finishing an episode as fast as possible in Nightmare!, with 100% secrets on all maps. (Valid "episodes" in this case are MAP01-MAP10, MAP11-MAP20, and MAP21-MAP30.) The official length of the demo is the total time of all completed maps; in the case of MAP11-MAP20, the secret levels are required.
  • DOOM II UV -fast Episode. (Entries exist in the database, but the rules themselves have not been made available.)
  • DOOM II UV Run: finishing MAP01-MAP30 as fast as possible in Ultra Violence. The official length of the demo is the total time of all completed maps; the secret levels are optional.
  • DOOM II NM Run: finishing as many maps as possible (beginning with MAP01) as fast as possible in Nightmare!. The official length of the demo is the total time of all completed maps; the secret levels are optional. Note that John Romero once characterized the idea of a Nightmare! run through Doom II with the words "it's just gotta be impossible!" [3]
  • DOOM II UV Max Run: finishing MAP01-MAP30 as fast as possible in Ultra Violence, killing every monster at least once, except lost souls, and with 100% secrets on all maps. The official length of the demo is the total time of all completed maps; the secret levels are required.
  • DOOM II NS Run: finishing as many maps as possible (beginning with MAP01) as fast as possible in Nightmare!, with 100% secrets on all maps. The official length of the demo is the total time of all completed maps; the secret levels are required.
  • DOOM II UV -fast Run. (Entries exist in the database, but the rules themselves have not been made available.)

Note that none of these categories explicitly requires that the player survive the entire recording. Although exits often take the form of switches, one occasionally finds a Compet-n entry in which the player is killed — but then his body crosses the appropriate linedef and ends the level, so the demo is legal.

In the Doom II "Run" categories, the elapsed time is used to break ties between recordings with the same number of completed levels.

Compet-n usually allows the same recording to be entered in multiple categories. For example, most of the UV speed records on MAP31: Pharaoh have been set using the UV pacifist style.

Exceptions to the above percentage requirements have been made due to highly unusual level design or bugs. For example, killing every monster in the last room of E1M8: Phobos Anomaly is presumed impossible without a rocket launcher, and 100% secrets on MAP27: Monster Condo cannot occur during normal play.

Compet-n rules for recording demos

  • All demos must be recorded using the original MS-DOS executable files; demos created with a source port are unacceptable. DOOM.EXE must be version 1.9 (size 715493 bytes); DOOM2.EXE, used for Doom II and Final Doom demos, must be version 1.9 (size 709905 bytes). (This uniformity is what makes it possible to establish "world record" times and detect cheating.)
  • No additional PWADs may be loaded with the IWAD when recording the demo.
  • Slow-motion may not be used when recording a speedrun (although certain "spinning utilities" are allowed).

Compet-n's FTP database includes all previous record-holding demos, as well as legal demos which have been invalidated by subsequent rule changes.

Tool-assisted demos

Tool-assisted speedrunning (TAS) permits the player to use special utilities, programs, or gameplay options which are banned from Compet-n submissions. Such utilities tend to decrease the overall time required to complete a speedrun; as such, speed records set in tool-assisted demos are normally considered invalid for the purpose of establishing speedrun world records. Demos recorded using any source port are considered tool-assisted.

See also the list of notable TAS runs.

Related links