Forums  /  Don't Starve  /  Category Changes and Update
  MisutoMMisutoM

Hey guys, Misuto here.

Presently, our games categories are mostly dead. Of the four categories, two have 0 submissions, and two are sheer luck based on world gen.

Let's look at each category first and discuss the flaws before I propose new categories.

Doorway to Adventure:
This is pure luck, start a world, run towards a forest, if you pass 30 seconds and didn't find the door restart. This is our first category, the one people see when they come the and it's the biggest joke of a category. Keeping this is fine, but definitely move it to the back of the list, this should not represent our game.

Best Ending:
This is also pure luck as you can see in my most recent run. While world generation tends to follow rules, there are two checks made during world generation and and if the thing set pieces weren't spawned in following the rules they tend to follow (near a road, not in mosaic biome, then more specific rules for each like not a swamp for box and potato thing), then the game just breaks the rules and spawns it anywhere there is space. If it fails to find space then it just deletes anything non critical to make space leading to world gens where a set piece can randomly be in the mosaic biome no where near a road.

So, while one world gen may require an unlucky amount of exploration that punishes you for knowing the general world generation rules, another world gen could have all the things along a single road. This run, as it is, is just a longer version of the luck sack that is doorway to adventure. This run is nothing but start a world, run on roads, hope for luck, reset at 10 minutes if you didn't win.

Beat Adventure Mode:
This is a more skilled version of best ending as you essentially have to do best ending 5 times in a row. Honestly, this is probably our best run... Yet it has no submissions, not even from me. It's a long run. Each adventure mode is made to have multiple locks in place designed to slow down and test the player.

So while 30 minutes is an amazing run on Best Ending, 2.5 hours would be virtually impossible given the required amount of luck for adventure mode. 5 hours even would definitely be a great run in this category.

That's a 5 hour, no break, luck heavy, endurance speedrun. Yes there are (much) longer speedruns that some people do, but it takes a lot of dedication and interest.

All Bosses:
This speedrun could be fun in theory, but honestly should just be a deleted category. Rushing Ancient Guardian does in fact take a lot of skill compared to the other 3 categories (and likely would use the fireplace glitch to get an easy kill). However, the other bosses are just crazy luck dependent.

Spider queen, Unless your world has the queen's gathering set piece, the range of time for a spider queen to spawn from a spider den is [22.5 - 45] in game days. A ridiculously huge range. One player could take 3 real life hours longer (not including time spent paused on the map) than another just for this boss to spawn. Also, a spider den's growth is paused when it's not loaded into memory. This is why on long game worlds you can still manage to find level 1 spider dens far away from your base. There's a potential bug where going to the caves/ruins will also pause this growth.

Treeguard, also a luck dependent spawn but not time dependent. Time spent waiting on the spider queen can be used to chop down stupid amounts of trees while staying near the den to insure it's still in memory and growing.

Deerclops, this is the worst offender of luck. Deerclops has a 66% chance to spawn in the first winter, and in the first winter, if it spawns, it will spawn after day 31.5. So, over 4 and a half hours into the speedrun, you have basically a coin flip of having to hard reset and lose everything. (A reset is 100% required at this point, cause it takes more time to try to spawn him the second time than it is to restart and roll that first chance 4.2 vs 4.6 hours.)

This is another endurance speedrun that depends on a coin flip literally hours in...

Ultimately, only one of our current categories (adventure mode) is even OK. Though sadly unpopular due to it's time commitment. So how can we improve this?

Suggestions in reply to follow...

Casper_Casper_ likes this. 
  MisutoMMisutoM

First, Best Ending should be opened up to all characters. My new run doesn't eat, doesn't fight, doesn't craft, doesn't come close to insane, and only gets hit one time (and that was avoidable). No character has any sort of advantage in Vanilla DS for that kind of run. This shouldn't be different categories, just maybe a little note on which character was used in a run and perhaps a filter to show runs for a specific character. This make no difference to WR attempts while also making the game more appealing to people who have a favorite character outside of Wilson. I also think that this should not be our first tab run given it's sheer luck nature.

Second, Unless we brainstorm out a better category, at the very least adventure mode should become our first tab category. This is the most skill dependent category we have and maybe pushing it into the spotlight would incentivize people to actually submit even one run.

Finally, some suggestions on alternative categories:

-----

Hat Trick: Same as best ending, but escape 3 times in a row on the same file.

Why?

By having 3 successive runs, we mitigate a lot of luck without removing it. Same principle used in card game tournaments. More games in a single match helps mitigate the chance of a highly skilled player losing due to a poor draw as a poor draw is statistically improbable 3, 5, 7, etc times in a row.

Furthermore, this run would be shorter and thus less of an endurance slog than the current adventure mode (3 easier worlds vs 5 more difficult worlds).

As for rules, character choice would be a factor again as a sheer luck do nothing but walk world 3 times a row is statistically improbable. If true balance was desired it would have to be limited again, but I propose that this level of balance isn't even needed. This isn't a hyper competitive game and would likely have very few runners. If it did become competitive and was getting more submissions than splitting categories would be needed but would be messy. (Also the most consistent run for this would very likely be Wickerbottom as she can most easily create a diving rod but this is saving a few minutes on a run that very likely would be over 2 hours. World gen would be a bigger factor than Wickerbottom's minor advantage.) So I say, open it up to all characters. Also, no mods of course.

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Seeded Adventure Mode. This one has been mentioned before, but it would require an entire special made mod to make happen. So this suggestions is more of a dream as I personally don't have the modding skills required to make it a possibility.

Why?

If we hosted an official mod, that gave all runners the same 5 worlds, this run becomes less about luck and more about memorization, routing, and skillful execution. This would essentially be an entirely new mode modded into the game. This would be similar to runs in subnautica; a world you can learn the layout of while still having some luck to keep it interesting.

-----

Those are the best two that I can think of. One to mitigate luck, and the other is kind of a pipe dream.

While these runs are pretty much dead now, it's actually a good time to start making this game more inviting to runners. With the Hamlet DLC announced for single player, we'll see more people playing and watching Don't Starve soon. I feel the best way to do this is move our focus from sheer luck runs to skill based runs. Adventure mode and/or hat trick should become our focus in my opinion.

Let me know what you guys think below. Would you rather let DS stay as a luck-only game or see us push a more skill based category before the release of Hamlet stirs up more interest in our game?

Casper_Casper_ and knewsterknewster like this. 
  knewsterknewster

I like where you are going with this, I particularly think that the Wilson-only rule should be abolished. I disagree with it, and want to (and will) use other NPCs. If my runs end up being not suitable for speedrun.com, well that stinks, but I am going to use the character whom I like. I think it's a shame that the majority of speedruns of this game that I have seen on Youtube are not on speedrun.com, and I suspect the arbitrary Wilson-only rule is one of the major reasons why the leaderboard is so sparse. Apart from that, having a particular seed used all the time seems like a great idea, but apart from sharing a save file (which could be done) I can't think of any way to do it. Manipulating rng is something else that would make this game interesting, hardrocker recently posted something about it, and trying to find a great seed and then replicating it would make this run more controllable. I'd like to ask if we want people that run this game to always save when they do a seed right at beginning, then consider sharing that save file via dropbox in the event that it turns into a good run. If we can get video of them hitting the start button, we might even be able to time it so that we get the same spawns even without the save file with great timing (that may also be TAS only, sadly).

Casper_Casper_ likes this. 
  Casper_Casper_

I like all these ideas. I don't speedrun much, though I do watch a fair number. I find Don't Starve runs borderline unwatchable because of the clouds. I'd personally like it if there was support to remove the clouds with a mod, so as to make the run more watchable.

I think character selection makes the run more interesting. I know the run is pretty short, but I think you could come up with some interesting strats based on what character you are using. For instance, I could see Wickerbottom using sleepytime stories to get to the areas guarded by the clockwork automatons. (Not that I think it would be faster, but you get the idea)

Either way, I'd definitely be interested in more categories. Maybe some sort of "item-get" runs? I can't quite think of what part of the tech tree would be the end-goal. For kill all bosses, maybe a particular world-gen could be used to make the game go quicker. Shorter seasons, more often boss spawns, different starting season, etc?

MisutoMMisutoM likes this. 
  MisutoMMisutoM

I totally forgot to mention how the clouds turn off both viewers and runners. We need a mod to disable them or to add a rule to prevent zooming out. There's no way a serious runner would give up the tremendous advantage that is seeing more of the world unless it is expressly banned.

Even the people asking me to do this run on stream change their minds within a couple of runs of just staring at the clouds. So it's currently a run that isn't fun to run because it's pure luck and it's not even fun to watch for the people who are interested in seeing Don't Starve played quickly.

It would change the run so much if they opened it to all characters (since character differences give no advantage in one world) and banned scrolling out beyond the point to which the camera defaults.

Alas, unless redlof joins us in this discussion there's nothing we can do?

Casper_Casper_ likes this. 
  oddtomoddtom

I thought maybe this was one of those games that had its own, more popular, fan site outside of the SRC community, but it looks like that's not the case. Is there a discord server for this game? I'd be interested in jumping in. I love this game, but I've never considered speedrunning it until recently.

The hat trick is a pretty neat idea. I think it's a good compromise to balance the luck. I didn't know there were rules for the thing spawns, but if there are, players shouldn't be punished for having more knowledge of the game.

I would be most interested in doing Adventure Mode runs, but disagree with requiring showing the world preset for them I don't remember if I saw the requirement in the thread above or on the site itself, but I don't think the presets affect Adventure Mode maps and it would just be a hassle to restart the map and find Maxwell's door every single time just to show the list of presets.

A note about the layout: because there are so few runs so far, I think that the board would look a bit cleaner if "character" was just another input option like time or console. It's how the SSBM board handles all the characters, and unless we eventually find out that one character is much more broken than the others, I think it makes sense to do it that way for this game too. At least for now. See here: https://www.speedrun.com/ssbm#Classic

 
  Mr.ReeseMr.Reese

How about a 100% category where you would need to craft every item in the game ? I think something like that would make a speedrun of this game a lot more interesting.

oddtomoddtom likes this. 
  oddtomoddtom

So I'm a bit tickled that several months ago, Misuto deemed an Adventure Mode speedrun under 2.5 hours being "virtually impossible" due to RNG, and I find it somewhat satisfying that there are now two runs on the board under 3 hours and one that is very nearly under 2 hours. That isn't meant to be a criticism, but just a comment on where we used to be and how far we've come.

@MR.Reese If you want to do it, go for it. I'm working on getting back on top of the Adventure Mode category, but if you set a time for a Crafting% run, I think I'd give it a go too. Sounds kinda interesting.

 
  MisutoMMisutoM

@oddtom

Actually, after a lot more testing on stream after my record was beaten we found how easily hackable these records are. It's trivially easy to seed a run, including adventure mode. We tested even longer to try to find a way to show if a run was seeded or not but we failed. So really any run could be seeded.

For a lot of circumstantial evidence, go look at Vanakyria's YouTube page, where (s)he has posted world record after world record for all categories in one attempt all done on single weekends and is a new account and has never streamed or been part of the DS community. 6 world records his first weekend after making his account. 11 world records in one weekend later on. then 6 more over the next two weekends. A brand new account posting no PBs and SHATTERING 23 world records in a game that is trivially easy to hack? It's suspicious to say the least.

Honestly all runs should be called into question at this point, even mine (though it was done with a live audience sufering with me through bad run after bad run), it could STILL have been seeded and there's no way to prove it wasn't.

 
  oddtomoddtom

@MisutoMMisutoM
Sorry for the late response, but I wanted to make sure that we weren't jumping to conclusions before posting. For the most part, I agree with you, but I'm not quite done analyzing the videos.

First of all, I absolutely agree that a seventeen second "Doorway to Adventure" is suspect in the absence of multiple submitted PBs or videos of failed runs. I would understand resetting the game every 30 seconds and getting lucky eventually, but as you said, the lack of PBs leading up to it is suspect.

That aside- and bear with me here- I think that the "Doorway to Adventure" run itself is completely plausible, and you or I could easily have ended up with it on enough resets. You can see the wormhole at the start, and you can see a couple of evil flowers in the corner of the map on the other end of the wormhole. My point is that regardless of whether or not Vanakyria knew where the Doorway was ahead of time, if you or I was randomly given that map, I feel like we would have likely made the same exact moves. However, I can't think of a way to determine whether or not these given clues were used or if Vanakyria already knew the location of the doorway.

Second, I'd like to focus on a subset of DS runs where the deciding factor is getting from Point A to Point B quickly, but we don't know where "Point B" is. Not just "Doorway to Adventure", but "Spider Queen" (if the spider set piece exists), and Ancient Guardian (finding and navigating a cave). Aside from the Quacken (truly random 5% as far as I know) and the Treeguard (looks legit and a great strat to use beaver form to pass time forward three days), these are the videos on Vanakyria's page that are under ten minutes, and are also the runs most likely cheated.

A quick note here, Vanakyria tends to rotate the camera so that movement is in the "up" direction. In other words, instead of moving the character left and scrolling the screen left, Vanakyria will rotate the screen twice so that what was once "left" is now "up" on the screen. You can almost predict which direction Vanakyria is about to move by which direction the camera rotates.

When the "Spider Queen" WR first loads, Vanakyria rotates the camera three times left, then one time right. Keeping in mind that Vanakyria likes to keep the "forward" direction "up", we can tell that Vanakyria immediately decides that the default "up" given by the game is not the correct direction to go to find the wormhole.

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfy3M6jAuns&t=30]
Why does Vanakyria do this? What evidence was there that the wormhole was in that direction?

In my videos, I may rotate the camera once or twice near the beginning so the water line is either horizontal or vertical (personal preference) or so I can see stuff hidden behind trees, but if this were the case for Vanakyria, the camera rotations should be somewhat similar in other videos where the water line is present. However, other videos show no more than one or two camera rotations in the beginning, and usually none in the videos where getting from Point A to Point B isn't the limiting factor. This very specific camera rotation alone is proof enough to me that Vanakyria knew where the nearest spider set piece was as soon as the game loaded, and I feel that at least this run should be removed.

The "Ancient Guardian" run is similarly suspicious, but I don't have the evidence to back it up yet.

 
  VanakyriaVanakyria

@MisutoMMisutoM
@oddtomoddtom

I feel I should make a comment here, since there seems to be some questions about the runs I have posted.

First of all, I do speedruns without a timer present. Any timer in the videos has been added afterwards, so the notion that I broke all the records on my first try is false. The videos on my channel are merely the first runs I deemed worthy to put a timer on and upload for others to see, they are by no means my first attempts.

I don't rush to upload every single run I do or every time I break my personal best. I generally do a lot of tries on any particular category or categories, and only get around to timing my successful runs over weekends, so usually that's when I upload them. Usually several at a time if I've been running multiple categories.

As for camera rotations. As evident by my runs I walk using the 'W' key almost exclusively, that forces me to rotate the camera so "forward" is up on my screen. I don't care about the alignment of the waterline only the direction I am walking in.
Also, different runs call for different strategies. Sometimes this requires me to change the style of play, and as I don't upload trial runs where I test out new ideas, you only get to see the one result of those runs I actually find good enough to upload (Almost exclusively one that breaks a current record if one is present).

For the specific Spider Queen video I'm not sure what your problem is.
There's absolutely no evidence that there's a wormhole in that direction as you clearly stated. The only reason I went in that direction is simple: The initial "up" direction has a lot of impassable water so I rotate left (where there is land, right would only have more water). After 3 rotations I see more water. Obviously I'm standing in a corner and there's only a 90 degree angle of movement I can go, so I rotate back right and start walking (no point in following the water as it usually wastes half a screen of exploration only showing water. Especially since the initial target was a Treeguard kill, but since I add timers afterwards the video doesn't reflect that). After 5 steps I spot a wormhole in the top left corner and go for it. Who wouldn't? The fact that that particular run had a Spider Queen setpiece on the other end is just luck.

oddtomoddtom likes this. 
  oddtomoddtom

Hey, it's good to hear back from you.

In the Spider Queen video, we are in agreement that there was no evidence that a wormhole was in that direction. It makes it all the more odd that the camera is rotated several times, pointing the character in precisely the correct direction for the shortest path, when there is no evidence. It looks suspicious because how could you have known the correct direction without knowledge of the map beforehand?

Second, your argument for rotating makes sense, but you also don't always rotate the map simply because there is water in the corner. I understand the logic, but it's the inconsistency of the logic that is suspicious. For instance, there is nearly as much water in the corner of this map at the start, but you follow different rules:

We understand that this isn't your first time ever playing the game; your skill is clear from any of one of the videos, but it is your first submission, so, to the community, it is your first. Try to understand it from our perspective as we try to understand yours. We're not mad that you did really well; we're suspicious because the users who jump into a community and miraculously have best times immediately are one of two kinds of people, and it's tough sometimes to tell the difference:
- People who have been watching and following in the shadows, but have been secretly preparing for some epic WR bomb drop(s) when the time is right.
- People who swoop in and want to be recognized for being the best and showered with praise, no matter what it takes or what they have to do to get it.

That said, people who just submit their best runs and disappear are kind of missing the point of this site. It's not about winning or being the best; sure it's nice to have a top time, but there's more to it than that. In a way, it feels like you're hiding something from us.

Honestly, I wish you had submitted the lesser quality / slower runs, because we can often learn more from failures, and what to avoid for next time, then we can from perfect runs. Why didn't you submit any of the slower / lesser quality runs?

I've already learned several thing I can do to improve my own game by watching your videos. There may also have been a thing or two in the runs you chose not to submit that one of us may have picked up on that you didn't. Having more eyes and different perspectives is always better than just one, but we can't see it if you don't submit it. Do you still have any of the older slower runs you did before these?

P.S.
Did you know that you can use the spacebar to pick up / gather? I noticed you do a lot of clicking, where holding spacebar would be more efficient and isn't susceptible to mis-clicking. I can't tell you how many times I've accidentally attacked a penguin trying to gather twigs or hay only for a penguin to waddle under my mouse pointer before I realized spacebar existed.

 
  oddtomoddtom

P.P.S.
The "Adventure Mode Tutorial" in the "guides" section is in dire need of an update. We've come across a lot of improvements since I first uploaded it. Would love to get your input on ideas or things you've noticed, big or small.