Regulation about the stage order of 100%NG+ and future new game plus related categories
2 years ago

[Edit 24 april 2022 : discussion about the revival of the all visions category is taking place in the second page on this thread]

In the light of the eventual resurrection of a previously removed category, all visions, some discussion has sparked surrounding the topic of stage order. As it is today, we don't seem to have any stance about it, and rules don't speak about it either... despite 100%NG+ category being open and hosting runs for years. There are few runners of that category, and although such a case hasn't happened yet, how would we respond to someone submitting a run with a completely different stage order outside of the final vision ? Such a technicality would also affect the all visions category, and more generally any category that involves the stage select screen.

What's more, if we were to effectively allow a freedom of choice with the stage selection (outside of extra and final), then we would most certainly have to change the beginning timing point of these categories to not be the one we have in 1-1 due to otherwise time discrepancies (for which there already are ideas). While such a discussion wasn't originally meant to take place here, points being raised on Discord and the realization of its significant impact both on the current runs and also the community now fully requires it to.

Being able to play stages out of order would almost always result in you losing some time navigating the stage select screen, compared to an in-line order. On the other hand, it would allow you to clear the harder stages first, without having to wait minutes for them to come up normally. It's more time effective and less annoying, and will thus allow to have better times overall.

So, once and for all, let's try to get to a consensus on the subject. Should we allow stages being played through whichever order people want, or should stage order be enforced to the runner ? Why, and possibly how so ? If we allow for it, should we make two sub-categories, or track runs using such freedom with a variable, similarly to what's done with the extra stage ? The response to this might be really simple and obvious to some of you, but you'd be surprised that opinions have been much more conflicting on the question (referring to Discord conversations). You'll have to discuss it out regardless.

Hope I didn't forget anything.

Edited by the author 1 year ago
amoser and Nazzareno like this

One sure thing is that it's a sensitive subject. It's easy to be offput by this new way of play. Even I, in the past, would have reacted negatively to it. It's some simple out of the box thinking, and could lead to faster speedruns, but for some reason it doesn't feel like it belongs. Thing is, 100%NG+ runners have all been playing the category following stage order, so did players of the unofficial all visions category. We're also used to it in any%, though it can't be any other way there. So, naturally, playing without stage order looks really incorrect to our eyes. Why feel stepping out of the norm, not doing like all others ? Why would anyone not want to simulate a normal 100% playthrough of the game ?

The reason that category is set the way it is, from a beaten empty save-file, because doing otherwise would put disadvantages for all the Japanese versions due to unskippable ending cutscenes. But avoiding dealing with these cutscenes altogether to get to play the extra faster was also a huge benefit of this approach. In a parallel universe, we could totally have had the extra after the main game was cleared, with a big break in-between. We could've been forever forced to play the levels in order, and it would have been acceptable given the rules. In the end, the choice is a little arbitrary, but it's not like we can do better. DtP itself doesn't help an inch on the matter. Designing a 100% speedrun that feels both rewarding and accessible to play is impossible because of it's uncommon collectible system. In any cases, our approach that's currently used is more friendly to all versions, considerably faster than any other approach at achieving 100%, and has the small quality of play of the dreamstone counter being reset after each stage, to easily monitor our dreamstone progression (instead of exclusively serving as an extra life monitoring counter). This is all just to say that we could have had a completely different story if things went differently.

In any cases, the unintended consequence of this specific choice is that it suddenly puts us right inside the stage select screen. Do we disregard this fact and mindlessly run the only way we've known to do ? Can't we use this environment to potentially complete the game even faster than before ? Would that be cheating ? Or simply a different way to play the game ? Well, one thing is sure. One doesn't prevent the other. The game doesn't force any stage order onto us. Its purpose is for the player to replay stages, save some of the missed phantomilians, listen to the game's music, time trial on extra and finally, track dreamstone scores. that question, it won't answer for us, leaving it to ourself to decide. And what do you know, we've decided to beat extra before Nahatomb. For obvious reasons, but it breaks the order regardless. And because of that and everything else, I think not playing in order shouldn't be forbidden. It's a different and interesting way to get 100%, it would be a waste to not consider it.

There is one truth to be taken though. Although its times are most certainly comparable, its gameplay and run integrity simply isn't. Hence why it might be necessary to separate them. This is my ultimate-but-personal conclusion.

Leaderboard wise, I think this would easily be translated by tracking runs using a variable (whether a run goes through stages in order or not), and thus building two sub-categories based on it. Think this should settle this dilemma once and for all.

If we allow freedom of stage, however, we would need to change the timing definition of the run, the current one being problematic in that regard. Which I'll get to discuss in more detail in my next post.

Edited by the author 2 years ago
United Kingdom

"Can't we use this environment to potentially complete the game even faster than before ?" If this were the case then it makes sense


Pardon me, but I am slightly confused by your post. Are you expressing your approval of this part or expressing your thoughts ?

Either way, reading it again, I seemed to have overkilled it with the "complete the game" naming. It's too strong or important sounding compared to what we're talking about here, namely an category designed to simulate a 100% playthrough of the game, following one approach out of many, because the game itself doesn't give us a easy answer. It can only be that much meaningful.

Edited by the author 2 years ago
United Kingdom

I approve if it's faster in any way than doing the run normally by starting at vision 1-1

Super moderatoramoser
He/Him, She/Her, They/Them
2 years ago

I was a little bit confused at first too. You're saying you approve of playing the stages out of order if it IS faster, yes? This seems to run a bit counter to your earlier concern that doing so seems like cheating (which I still think is certainly not the case for the 100% category, for reasons I'll reiterate in my next post), but it's a valid stance I suppose. It's also just a bit surprising generally; normally you see people wanting to ban certain methods of play because they do give some measurable "unfair" advantage over playing in a more traditional way, rather than wanting to allow them for that same reason.

NoobKillerRoof likes this
Super moderatoramoser
He/Him, She/Her, They/Them
2 years ago

As for the overall issue at hand, I didn't have a strong opinion on it at first, but based on the discussion so far, I am absolutely convinced that playing stages out of order for 100% (I'll get to All Visions in a moment) SHOULD be allowed, even if it doesn't really seem to make too much difference from a practical standpoint. Ultimately I think using a developer-intended route to achieve the goal for a category should never be forbidden. After all, almost all categories in almost all games (including No Skips / Glitchless categories) permit at least some strategies NOT intended by the developers; here, we're talking about banning something that IS intended to be allowed (playing the stages out of order) for no concrete reason, which seems completely nonsensical.

And in the case of the 100% criteria, it is overwhelmingly clear that the developers deliberately allowed the stages to be played in any order, because the 150 dreamstone achievements can only be accomplished from the level select screen (NOT a first playthrough), and the game additionally doesn't reward collecting these in the "correct" order in any way. The fact that this is fundamentally different from how the criteria for the other categories function (unlocking the Extra Vision or simply completing the game) further emphasizes that it's an intentional choice from the developers. The game doesn't just allow you to use the level select screen, it forces you to use it. Defining the category in a way that's basically "yeah, but just pretend you're not actually allowed to use the level select screen" would need to provide some substantial practical benefit to be worth considering, I think.

It's worth noting that there is an argument to be made that a "true" 100% category would require first playing through the entire game once (in order, from a fresh save file) to unlock the level select screen BEFORE collecting all dream stones by replaying each level from the level select screen, but there would still be no reason at all to play the visions in a particular order the second time through. It's also not at all clear why anyone would want a category like this; it would essentially just be "do an Any% run and then also do the current 100% NG+ category," and that really doesn't seem to add a lot of value over completing those categories individually as they currently exist.

As for All Visions, it's definitely less clear whether this should be allowed, at least in principle. The game does at least allow you to rescue all Phantomilians the first time through, before unlocking the level select screen. On the surface, that might actually be a more sensible way of defining the category than rescuing all them from the level select screen, but as Balneor addrressed above, requiring that would both require watching long unskippable cutscenes and also introduce a drastic timing difference between game versions that otherwise doesn't exist (with different cutscenes being skippable depending on version). It would also render all existing runs invalid (or at the very least make them hard to meaningfully compare to runs completed on a fresh playthrough). In light of all that, I do understand thinking that the All Visions category should be done in order such that it roughly simulates a fresh playthrough despite not being one, with the level select screen being a technical convenience and not something the game itself imposes on the category. To me this all feels like a lot of unnecessary baggage, though, compared to what could otherwise be a very simple definition for the category: just play through all of the visions from a completed save file with nothing unlocked. It's easy to understand and it should also allow timing methods, etc. to carry over from the 100% category.

As for how runs should be timed, I haven't given this much thought yet. Requiring the run to start from Vision 1-1 just for timing purposes obviously is a bit arbitrary, so I would be fine with any alternate method as long as we can be sure it can still be safely applied even in cases with poor capture quality and inconsistent brightness (e.g. as from a run recorded via a camera pointed at a TV screen).

Balneor likes this

Ah, I understand now.

Technically, since you play the exact same stages, and spend a bit more time in the stage select screen, playing in order would be faster.

But I doubt this'll ever get to happen (if people were to play both playstyles equally), because of RNG. In out of order play, you will be able to play and optimise the really hard and RNG stages (mostly because of bosses)... quicker than anyone ever could do the normal way. I mean just look at how much time you have to wait to get to Pamela normally, the first truly RNG moment of the game. Do the same thing for Gelg Bolm (not RNG but still a tricky obstacle for a lot of top players). Keep the counter raising all the more for Joka, 6-2, Ghadius... Waiting time that you'd completely skip here, therefore having infinitely more chances at getting lower times. And should I say, without any comparable pressure of play. Even just in any% it would be huge. What about all visions or 100%NG+ ?

We still need to see how slow the additional menuing is, but I doubt it's that big of a deal compared to the time-save you'll get back. And if anything, if you play stages in reverse order (which I'd find a blast to watch personally), you'd virtually be just as fast as a in-order run and yet do more than 50% of the hard bits earlier. Let that sink in.

Edited by the author 2 years ago

Yea, reading amoser's comment really brightened the picture for me.

Under normal, casual gameplay circumstances, what would stop players from choosing the stages they want to fully complete, after defeating Nahatomb ? What stops me from getting the Slazza enemy sprite first (6-2) ? Well, there are people who would prefer tackling the hardest stages first, the ones most difficult to them, so they can then be completely relaxed, in a peace of mine, and partially steamroll the rest of the game, pushover in comparison. There's people that see things like that like that, and, at least as far as video games go, I think I share such a mindset.

The common point between casual gaming and speedrunning is that you "play a game". The difference of the latter is simply that you try to do it as fast as you can, fairly and under the game's code. As such, this makes me realize that the in-order way of play we're currently used to actually is the odd one out here. There isn't anything more arbitrary than enforcing a fixed way of play to simulate a 100% playthrough of the game. To a game that again, couldn't care less about order. Not to say it doesn't have any right to exist, it has merit and it would be a waste to toss all those runs away (even mine, it's a bad time). But I'm seriously starting to wonder if, leaderboard wise, we shouldn't just move the out-of-order sub-category to be selected by default.

For the rest, amoser said it best.

Namcollection would be killed, I'm not sure how people would feel about that. And past runs wouldn't be compatible anymore. Which technically isn't an argument, but it would surely be a waste of top level gameplay...

Finally, I still think we should also enable a in/out stage order for all visions (if the category comes out), in tradition with 100%NG+ (if that change ever happens).

Edited by the author 2 years ago

So about it. Reminder that this is all I've personally come up with. It's just one opinion.

In the case that we would allow these two ways of play to coexist, for relevancy, they should be timed the same way. It's the same gameplay, and we achieve the same goal, but the stage order is different, and so is the overall flow of the run. It would thus be entertaining to have the two face off, compare the height they could reach.

Problem is, the current timing definition, while perfectly and obviously fine for stage order runs, have issues when overlayed with this new way of play. How so ? Well, recall how the run is supposed to start upon the first movement of the player, specifically past the cutscenes of 1-1 ? If we do a run from another stage, this bits of cutscene skipping that is never cared about will suddenly take weight in the run, implying that playing on 1-1 first is the optimal pathing, and I think that speaks volumes for itself.

What could we replace it by ? Well for a while, I thought we had no choice but to push the beginning timing point all the way back, before we'd even get to play. Ideas sparked about timing it from the appearance of fade down from after selecting a vision, or the "now loading" test in the affiliated screen. The former was proven to not be very favorable because of a quirk in the fade-down behavior. If you access the stage select from a save and play from there, the fade-down will be slow. But coming there dirctly after beating a stage will have these fade-downs go like twice as fast. Therefore, one would have to beat a stage before beginning their run to have an optimal start. While it doesn't impact the level choice, and saves no time since you can only do it on the first vision you choose... the fact that it's still there, something anyone could use if they're willing to waste their time getting out of their way beating a stage, for nothing but a laughable gain, that doesn't constitute gameplay in the slightest is very infuriating to me, almost offending. Would much rather avoid something this dumb entirely.

The latter one might be able to do the job, but it's still far from being the best. Unlike any%, a player wouldn't be able to restart a run by simply resetting the stage they're on, because it started before even entering it. Very cumbersome, especially when out of order players are much more inclined to reset due to playing the hardest stage first. Well to be exact, they could restart the run by resetting during a boss fight. The game doesn't treat these instances the same as stages portions. Similarly to when we need to wait for the game to load the boss, resetting the stage from there will have the game load it back. And so, the now loading text making a return. There's still a potential issue, though. Is the duration of that load the same than when you first load the stage from the stage select screen ? Because if anything, we might accidentally enable the same irrelevant optimal start issue that the first idea met. Plus, it cannot be argued that it is generally just a terrible beginning point game-wise.

But there's one very simple idea I'm surprised to never have seen brought up before, that would still solve all of these. What if we just started on the frame that the stage loads ?

Personally, I had unconsciously never been enthusiast about it, cause I always thought it would end up being messy to use, look blurry. And it could look worse if we skip cutscenes as early as possible. But I had never tested it, until the time of making this post. And yea, it was unfounded. It's very easy to time, the HUD appears clearly even for the first frame, and isn't affected by cutscene skipping. It's so convenient that it could be used to create stage ILs in the future. I don't have much more to add on the subject. It's a simple idea that works, and still feel a little bit meaningful. It'll add one second to everyone's run, requiring a retime. But there are so few runs that it could happen in under thirty minutes.

So that's what we would probably do if we were to allow freedom of stages.


Perhaps I'm biting more than I can chew. But I'll go ahead and say it.

I've just had a very cursed idea that might be very controversial. You might not like hearing it but what if...

...we simply just don't bother beating Nahatomb at all ? Cause upon light of this, what's the point ? You don't progress the 100% status of the game doing that errand.

A player who wants to get all dreamstones/enemy sprites after beating the game won't bother playing the final vision again. So, why do in a speedrun ?

This would imply that, an in-stage order play of 100% would fundamentally be different than an out of order. In the former sub-category, you'd want to simulate an accurate 100% speedrun of the game, as discussed many times before. Rule-wise, nothing changes for that way of play. All runs done to this point would belong to it. It would be illogical to exclude the Nahatomb part.

But for out-of-stage order... who's there to cares ? Is it really necessary to stop by Nahatomb ? If we're okay with that, then we'd need two different timing rules for each sub-categories. Rule panel wise it's not too great to set-up, but definitely still possible.

Now let's add another layer of complexity by talking about all visions. Regardless of what gets said, an in-order play of any of the two categories would have Nahatomb. But, would we consider the final vision as a stage ? If we do it would change whether we play it or not in the out of order sub-category. It would be more consistent to consider it not, since we would truly have the same two sub-categories types for both categories (100%NG+ and all visions).

By that point though, I think calling it "in-order" and "out of order" doesn't fit anymore. Something more like "legacy"/"adventure", and "sandbox"/"freemode" respectively, may fit them better. If we don't care about the Nahatomb bit though, no need for any of that.

Good night.

United States

for all visions you have because it’s technically a vision and for 100% it’s would also technically be part of it because you need to play every stage, definitely a very cursed idea and think it shouldn’t be implemented

Super moderatoramoser
He/Him, She/Her, They/Them
2 years ago

Yeah, All Visions definitely seems like it should require playing all visions, and not just because of the name. Even if we wanted to re-title the category to place the focus to be on rescuing everyone and not completing the stages, we'd also have to think about whether it should require actually playing through the extra vision, since that's really just the reward you get after completing the rescue objective. To me neither of these things seem worth the change (including breaking compatibility with existing runs) unless there's actually demand for a Nahatomb-free category.

For 100%, well, it also obviously really wouldn't be 100% anymore, but on the other hand, renaming it something like "All Post-Game Icons" (or ideally something a bit catchier) could also help to clarify why it doesn't require playing through the entire game twice.

In the end, though, I think part of the appeal of these categories (maybe most of the appeal) is the completionist aspect of them. For that reason I imagine most people simply won't be especially interested in skipping the final boss, even if there's ultimately not a strong objective reason for requiring it.


Yea, I think that when writing this I was exclusively focused on the indicative 100% markers aspect of the game, that are the blue gems and enemy sprites in the stage select screen (Which as such, wouldn't include Nahatomb), and never about actually completing the game by beating all of its relevant content, which is one of 100%'s aspect.

This also breaks my "player won't beat Nahatomb again" argument, since even if that statement remains true, they still need to beat him once to access the stage.

So let's just turn the page on this now. I'm happy to have dared to talk about it regardless

Edited by the author 2 years ago

Well, if there is no more discussion about it, let's wrap this up.

In light of our discussion, it seems like we will intend on adding a variable that distinguish two types of runs for 100%NG+, hence creating two sub-categories (they will be accessible via an unfolding option button). The former and current way of play would be set as shown by default (1). It would go by the name of "stage" when submitting submissions, and we will need to think of names to call their two different states that dictate the two ways of play. Should we respectively call them "in order" and "out of order" ? Or only change the first one to "legacy", "classic" ? And the keep the out-of-order one as is, or change it too, to like "freedom", "freeplay" ? I think the former, more basic name types are clearer and more convenient to use.

We will need to have a new timing definition of the beginning of the run that works for both sub-categories, which, as I discussed above, would be from the first frame of the stage appearing on-screen. The retiming movement should happen very quickly.

If we were to modify the rules to accomodate for this, they may be :

" Beat the game by collecting at least 150 Dream Stones in every stage. You must start on a completed save file with 0 Phantomilians saved and 3 lives.

Depending on if you play the stages in order or not (outside Nahatomb), you can choose to submit your runs in either sub-categories.

See the main rules panel for additional info on runs and submissions.

Timing rules :

  • Timing starts as the stage is loaded.

  • Timing ends upon the first frame of Nahatomb's last health bar breaking up into pieces, after decreasing to zero. "

Note that you are allowed to play on save-files that have already achieved dreamstone records. They don't impact the run in any way, and you will be required to replay them again anyways. I consider it obvious enough to not mention it.

If everyone don't have anything to say about this, I'll go and make the changes.

(1) After more consideration, I think it would be better that the "legacy" way of play of 100%NG+ is selected first to be shown on the board. It's what we've ever been used to, it's meaningful, and most importantly, not completely empty.

United States

I think in order and out of order sound fine, but im confused with the last part. Does that last part imply hiding the out of order runs? Id assume not, but still confused on what it means


I am fine with the idea of a double category. I would generally be concerned about having two categories for "almost" the same run, but I understand that just prohibiting one way of going through the stages or the other would not be completely satisfying. Hopefully both runs will get the love they deserve and many runners (myself included, if I ever find the time for longer runs).


Not really, more like separating them in their own boards. Take example on the 1P/2P sub-category selection of Super Mario Odyssey any%

Now, it would also be technically possible to make them show the same way the "version" and "disk speed" columns are displayed. And thus, keeping all the runs within a single board. But not only it would start to take its toll on the board readibility by adding yet one more column, there would be decisions the community would have to make to allow it to exist. It would take much more time, basically.

If people aren't happy that the two ways of play aren't both displayed on the same board and don't interact with one another though, we can discuss it to change it that way.

United States

I’m not so sure about double category, due to it pretty much being the same run, just done very slightly differently, a variable would be much better to differ the runs


Fair enough. I don't have issues with this. Although it could look weird that an out of order run may faster than every single in order runs, it's only logical that it does so.

We just need to get over one last detail. There's a board making functionality that if toggled on, makes it so if a player submits runs on more than one setting of a given variable (for instance, two different game versions, like I've done with USA and Namcollection), their two run would independently appear on the board. Understandably, we could make it so every in-order and out-of-order runs are displayed, instead of some of them being obsolete and invisible in the board. Which might be the better thing to do, as we would be able to monitor both "boards" at once. There is a slight catch with this system though. Out of all the submissions someone has that, let's said are played on multiple versions of the game, only the fastest one of the bunch will be ranked. All the other runs will have their rank replaced with "---". Not great if we want to compare runs. But, this can be solved by filtering runs. There's not much way to have two rankings on the same page unless we separate boards, but doing that and filtering runs is kind of the same thing, so whatever.

Besides, disabling this option wouldn't make these obsoleted runs truly invisible. You'll still be able to filter runs and find them again. The matter here is if we want to display all runs of the stage order variable at once, or only show people's fastest time. This is how this variable when toggled up would look like, here applied to the version variable on the any% board : Notice the duplicate names, and the holes in the rankings. I suspect that it could potentially become a little harder to read, as opposed to keeping only people's best times.

What do people prefer ?

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