100% category?
2 years ago
New Mexico, USA

Good evening, all!

After getting the Any% run down to what we feel is a fairly solid time unless a faster route through the tree level can be found (which is certainly possible,) we were vaguely curious about what a 100% category for this game would look like.

Without collectibles or anything to track completion, our initial thoughts are that it would involve going through all the content that is currently skipped, specifically the three bonus stages and the optional bird.

  1. There is a bonus stage with a ball-fetching minigame that one unlocks by collecting the tennis ball item at the end of the first house stage. This one is well known; anyone who speedruns this game knows it because the ball is right there directly in the player's path. Any% runners looking to skip the unnecessary bonus stage and save time need to treat the ball like a deadly obstacle and jump over it while running through the stage, as the entire run is over if they accidentally collect it.

  2. There is another bonus stage with a similar fetching minigame, only with a boomerang this time, that one unlocks by collecting the boomerang item on top of the cabinets (near the top of the screen) in the last (kitchen) area of the house. This one is less obvious because the Any% tactic in the kitchen is to drop to the floor and just run out the rest of the level, jumping over the vacuum as necessary; collecting the boomerang would have to be a very intentionally done act for which the player must go out of their way.

  3. The attract mode demo play features a third fetching game, this time involving dishes on a kitchen floor with ice physics. We actually have no idea how to access this one. We assume there must be a collectible dish item (like the tennis ball and boomerang items for the other two bonus stages) somewhere in the three house stages, and we would hazard a guess it's somewhere in House 2 (just because the ball is in House 1 and the boomerang is in House 3.) However, we've never found it. This game is... not exactly popular, to the point that there are no maps or even walkthroughs or anything on GameFAQs that could tell us where it is. But it has to be somewhere... right?

  4. This one is our own personal discovery that was one of the first things that helped us get our 6:05 WR, before we optimized the outer pound/forest 2 routing to bring the time down even further. There are a total of five birds to be rescued in the inner pound. The two birds on floor one and the one bird on floor two are needed to weigh down the switch that opens the staircase leading to floor three. Floors three and four have one more bird apiece, and every previous run before we started running this game ourselves (including the former-WR 6:14 run by Tish_Wittenberg) rescues them both. However, the bird on floor three is completely optional; when freed, it will just fly (very slowly) to the top of the nearby columns of kennels, and if the player waits for it long enough, it will drop an extra life. This is obviously not necessary for Any% runs, and therefore neither is the bird. It's just the bird on the fourth floor that breaks the window and therefore leads to the outer pound area.

So we were thinking a theoretical 100% run might just be a run that requires the player to access all three bonus levels and maybe(?) to rescue every bird in the inner pound, including the optional one on floor three. However, we have some questions that we wanted to run by the rest of the community (or, you know, anyone still here reading this) to come to a consensus on what this category would look like.

  1. Should a 100% run require the player to successfully complete each bonus stage, or merely access them? Is just getting there then intentionally throwing the game to get out as quickly as possible a valid tactic, or must all five rounds of fetch be completed and the extra life collected in each minigame? (Those minigames are brutally hard, by the way, so we're kind of hoping that one needs only access them and that winning is optional.)

  2. Should a 100% run require the player to rescue the optional bird on floor three of the inner pound?

  3. If so, should a 100% run require the player to wait for the bird to drop the extra life, or would it be permissible to just keep running as soon as the bird is technically free?

  4. No, seriously, where the heck is the dish item to access that dish themed bonus stage??

Ohio, USA

All very valid questions that need deeper thought. Basically how most new runs are come up with on the site is

  1. Someone has an idea for a run

  2. They come up with a ruleset and discuss within the community

  3. Bust out a run to showcase it

  4. An admin adds it as a category

  5. Profit$$$$

  6. If the plan is to add bonus stages to make a 100% category it only makes sense to me that you have to be successful in completing them.

  7. Yeah I have no clue where that minigame is.

  8. I personally would say that saving the birds is part of a 100% run but this one can very much be up in the air.

  9. The ball is kinda in your court at this point. Whatever sounds like 100% to you is going to be the starting point.

Kjorteo likes this
New Mexico, USA

Oh geez, busting out a sample run to showcase it if you actually have to be successful in completing all the bonus stages is going to be... a challenge. Those minigames are hard. And we don't even know where the dish one is....

Well, that gives us something to play around with the next time we stream Family Dog, I suppose, now that we're not chasing any% records anymore for the time being. We'll see how it goes!

Thank you so much for the thoughts. ^^

Edited by the author 2 years ago
Ohio, USA

it all just depends on what the moderators want.

New Mexico, USA

That's true. The community for this game is... quiet, shall we say, so not sure if/when the moderators will see this. But we'll see! We would definitely be interested in their input.

New Mexico, USA

Just wanted to provide an update: We found the dish item and the second bonus stage. It was in House 2, as I suspected.

So, here's what we're looking at for all of the bonus stages, and our thoughts on whether completing them (or just accessing them) should be part of a theoretical 100% run:


How to access: Collect the tennis ball in House 1 AKA the first major room of the house area. (The literal first room in the game.)

Details: Everyone who's ever speedran Family Dog knows about the [expletive] tennis ball; it is sitting on the ground just before the exit such that the player actually has to avoid it in any% runs. Yeah, that ball that basically means the run is over in any% because not jumping over it means going to the bonus stage and there's a good minute or two down the drain. The one you've probably accidentally collected more times in your practice runs than you'd care to admit. Yeah. That one.

The bonus stage: Five rounds of the boy (his name is Billy, by the way) tossing a tennis ball and you having to fetch it and bring it back to him. Each toss is harder/faster than the one before. If you can't catch up to the ball before it reaches the girl (Buffy) on the other end of the room, it hits her and she cries and you lose the minigame instantly with no reward. Blocks on the floor (like in all the chased-by-Billy stages) make this harder to deal with. If you can successfully retrieve the ball five times, you get an extra life and the bonus stage ends.

There's a mechanic where you get a little leeway as far as how far away from Billy you can be during his wind-up and how soon you can start running when he actually goes to throw the ball, which will give you an head start and allow you to fetch the ball before it gets too far ahead of you. If you're too far away or too early in your run, though, you get caught and called back to the starting position and the wind-up for the throw restarts. Think of it like stealing bases in baseball; you can get away from the plate to a certain point while waiting for the pitch, but you have to be careful. Perfect management of this mechanic is pretty much required to fetch the ball on the fifth toss.

Thoughts: This one is BRUTAL. This one is the main reason I was hesitant about "do we really have to beat the minigames or can we just access them" when sounding out the details of this theoretical category earlier in the thread. The first three fetches are easy, the fourth isn't too bad, but you have to be perfect with the head start to have a chance at the fifth one. I guess the good news is that it's the first one, so (much like accidentally collecting the ball in an any% run when you don't want to) at least the big run-killer moment happens early on instead of coming at the end of runs you were more invested in.

I guess it could add some spice to runs since being caught on a false start and having the wind-up reset is obviously a time loss, but even then, this feels more like a "do the procedure perfectly or die" moment that's kind of not fun for anyone when it comes to speedrunning--the kind that runners hate doing because it's hard and you're liable to lose the run, and viewers aren't even all that interested in because this stage (when done perfectly) would look pretty much identical on anyone's run. One of those "can you follow this rigid structure or will you mess it up" deals.

If you couldn't tell, we hate this one and we would be advocating very hard for "please let just accessing the bonus round be enough; please don't make us actually DO them" if all three games were like this, but fortunately the other two are a lot better, which makes the overall question a bit more complicated.


How to access: Collect the dish/plate in House 2 AKA the second major room of the house area (after the first room and Billy chase sequence and the tennis ball bonus round.)

Details: The dish is in roughly the same part of House 2 that the ball was in House 1 (by which we mean it's right before the exit) but it's a lot more out of the way and harder to find. What you will want to do is stop at the last set of shelves before the exit (you know, those things that look like cupboards on floor level, have empty shelves going up from there, and are patrolled by haunted flying books.) Climb that. When you get high enough, the dish will be just off to the right; you can jump off the shelves, grab the dish, land on the ground, and proceed to the exit. The dish has a (decorative, non-interactive) light affixed to the wall just behind it and the sprites overlap, so it can be a bit hard to see if you're not specifically looking for it.

The bonus stage: Five rounds of Billy tossing a dish like a Frisbee; you have to fetch it without letting it hit the ground. This takes place in the kitchen and the floor has ice level physics, making movement trickier. If a dish touches the ground, it breaks and the bonus stage ends instantly with no reward. Successfully fetching and returning it five times earns you an extra life before the bonus stage ends.

Rather than having to return the dishes to Billy himself like you did the ball, there's a stack of them on the ground in front of him, and getting close enough adds the caught dish back onto the stack, at which point Billy is already ready to throw the next one. If the "can't get too far away too soon or it's a false start" exists in this game like it did with the tennis ball, it's so much more lenient that we never triggered it in our first few times trying this game.

As before, each toss is faster and farther than the last, but even the final few dishes are nowhere near as heinous as the final few tennis ball tosses are.

Thoughts: In contrast to the above, I actually like this one a lot. The difficulty is much reduced. As long as the player knows they're free to get in position after the dish is back on the stack (rather than having to go all the way back to Billy and wait for him to throw) then even with the ice physics, it's easy enough to turn around in time that the player can be ready to chase the next dish by the time it's thrown. Also in contrast to the tennis ball game, this feels a lot more open and entertaining from a speedrun perspective: the ice physics make it close to impossible to have any kind of rigidly defined structure to homogenize the run. There's no "oops I missed a step and that puts me an entire frame rule behind" level optimization here, in other words. It's a fun stage to play, and in a game where everything else (all the "just keep running" stages like the entire house in any%, Forest 1, etc.) is leveled out enough, a close race between two 100% runs could very well come down to the sheer execution in the dish minigame.

In other words, if all three games were like the tennis ball one then we would be begging the people considering the rules of a possible 100% category to please not make us actually do them, but if all three games were like the dishes one then we would be arguing just as strongly that they are essential and quite honestly the most entertaining part of the entire run, both to play and to watch. It's the fact that you have one and then the other back to back that makes the overall question of bonus stage completion a mixed bag. I guess it's up to the third bonus round to act as a tiebreaker of sorts...?


How to access: Collect the boomerang in House 3 AKA the kitchen.

Details: The boomerang is above the cupboards, toward the top of the screen. It isn't surrounded by anything else, so it should be fairly easy to spot. Drop to the ground and start running like you would on an any% run, and just keep an eye on the top of the screen above the cupboards. You'll see the boomerang up there eventually, at which point you can stop and jump up and collect it. The only real trick in this stage is surviving; collecting the boomerang puts you back on the counter instead of the floor, and this is right before the gantlet of fire because this family seems to have absentmindedly left on vacation and left all fifty of their stoves on (don't you hate when that happens?) Even in a casual play wherein one is trying to go slow and be careful and time things properly to avoid getting hit, the hit detection in this area is... not very forgiving. In a speedrun wherein one just has to keep running, consequences be damned? You're going to eat several hits running across the stoves here. All we can really advise is make sure you have enough health built up from previous stages that you can facetank this part. Considering you also have to facetank the three hits at the start of the kitchen (to get from the counter you first start on down to the floor in the first place) there could be some very tricky health management going on here. We'll have to experiment with this further.

The bonus stage: Now you and Billy are outside playing fetch with the boomerang while the dad (Skip) is raking leaves. There's a medium-large leaf pile (you can jump over it even with a running long jump instead of a standing high one, but the positioning to do so was close enough to make me nervous in our tests.) If either the dog or the boomerang hits the leaf pile, the bonus stage ends instantly with no reward.

Billy tosses the boomerang high up in the air, it flies up and off the screen, then comes back down at the perfect trajectory to hit the leaf pile from the right side if it's not intercepted. While we haven't yet done a lot of experimentation to see if it's possible to intercept the boomerang before it comes in on the pile, the easiest way to clear this stage appears to be to jump over the leaf pile, wait on the right side, and jump up to intercept the boomerang when it comes in.

Again, I'm not sure if the false start mechanic has been lifted for this minigame or if it's just more lenient than it was in the tennis ball stage; all I know is that we didn't trigger it in our first few runs testing it.

As before, five successful fetches grants an extra life. They probably get faster with each one, but since the primary strategy involves just running and jumping over to the right side of the leaf pile and then waiting for the boomerang to come back, and even the fifth throw gives you plenty of time to get there, the speed/power of the throw doesn't really matter or make any functional difference in how hard it is to just jump when you see the boomerang coming down.

Side note: You can't do the flip when you have the boomerang in your mouth, so if you're trying to fetch the boomerang and jump back over the leaf pile on the same jump, you have to make sure you do a standing high jump with enough room to clear the leaf pile without the flip. I lost a lot of trial runs to counting on having the flip when I need it and "wait why isn't this... oh...."

Thoughts: After one solid No and one solid Yes, this one's a... Maybe. If that is indeed the only way to do this, then this is another stage that doesn't have a lot of room for improvisation or variety when running it: the only real difference in execution or possible time saves would be "can I angle this jump to leap up, catch the boomerang, and jump over the leaf pile again all in one jump (doable but tricky) or do I have to jump to catch the boomerang, then jump again to clear the leaf pile (safer but slower.)" When the run gets tight and optimized enough, forks like that tend to boil down into "try to do the harder one and either succeed or lose the run" scenarios that just assume you'll get to the more optimal execution eventually.

We still need to test whether the "wait for the boomerang by the leaf pile" strat is the only way to get it or just the safest. If it can be intercepted early then that would reduce this stage's time drastically.

Overall, I wouldn't be against doing this one as part of a run like I am the tennis ball game, but I certainly wouldn't call it the highlight of the run like I would the dishes game. This one's... take it or leave it, I guess.

In conclusion, there are your three bonus games. I do know that whatever answer we come up with for "do you have to complete them too" has to be the same answer; "the first bonus game isn't canon but the second two are" doesn't make any sense from a rule perspective even if the first bonus game sucks. But with an awful one, a fantastic one, and a completely average one, the question of whether to include or exclude the whole lot is... mm. I don't know.

Seirea likes this
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