Forums  /  Maniac Mansion  /  Category Nightmares :D

Hey all, thank you for your interest in this game and for all of your hard work in finding new skips and tricks!

I want to propose a question to everyone who is currently running this game -- are you comfortable with limiting our runs to any% and using the cracked version of the game?

While I think ScummVM is inaccurate, it is popular and there are some amazing runs in it right now, so we should keep that.

But it starts to spiral out of control when we talk about real hardware. A 286 will run this game differently than a 386, and so on.

My proposal is this:

Two main categories, ScummVM and DosBox.

For both, we must use the vanilla versions of each, no forks. For DosBox, we must agree on a set speed. My suggestion is a fixed frame rate, but at maximum cycles. Meaning that the game is running as fast as possible but not at a speed that would be "turbo"

Then, for DosBox, one run that employ a very specific copy protection removal (wherein any code works on the Steel Security Door as well as the Inner Lab Door) and a run that uses a 100% unadulterated copy of the game.


Category I:
ScummVM (source files: original game version 2.0 without copy protection, since ScummVM uses its own deprotection method)

I-A: any% -- you can use any tricks
I-B: 100% -- no tricks allowed. you must get the lab door code even though you do not need it. You must feed Green Tentacle. You cannot skip Purple Tentacle. Etc.

Category II:
DosBox (source files: game version 2.0 either vanilla with copy protection enabled, or the specific crack that allows any codes)

II-A: Copy protection enabled
II-B: Copy protection disabled
II-C: Enabled, any%
II-D: Enabled, 100%

Characters will not get their own categories. Endings do not matter. Therefore a 100% run with Bernard will always be faster than a 100% run without Bernard.

So we would have only 6 categories, which is very easy to deal with for us. This still allows for a variety of challenges for players -- no one has yet to attempt a 100% run, for instance.

Let me know what you think. At this point, though, we definitely need to reign this in. I feel terrible for letting this go for so long -- a new runner just submitted a cool Amiga run and I have no real way of knowing how to categorize it. It is not as simple as "Amiga, Real Hardware" even...

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend, and I look forward to your input.

If we get stuck going back and forth, or if I do not get much feedback, I will implement these changes soon so that the rules are clear for everyone and there are no disappointments.


In terms of making sure we are all using the same version of the game, I can create an MD5 signature of the original files that we want feed to both DosBox and ScummVM. A long-term goal for me is to make an ips patch so that you can purchase the Steam version and my patch will make that Steam copy identical to the Version 2.0 PC version.

The only issue I see here is that this game originated on the C64. And it never got a 2.0 release, just 1.0

If we want C64, we will make that a new entire game much like how we are not attached to the NES version here.

In that case there would be the NES leaderboards, the C64 1.0 leaderboards, and what we should I guess call the Maniac Mansion 2.0 Enhanced leaderboards, ha!

(edited: )

I would agree with Category I for the start as long as there not so many runs it would be not such a good idea to blow up the Leaderboard with to much new categories.

If I would be in charge I just would setup a DOS-Box/ScummVM, Amiga, C64 (Atari ST, Apple) Leaderboard with the two subcategories Any% and 100% for each one of them. This kind of setup is often used (check out Lemmings i.e.)
(btw if you need help here you I can support you or just ask Non-Slim-Jim I am sure he would also be happy to help -> We are both mods for other games also)

Its true that having a basic setup for everyone to have a fair competion is needed, but also tricky to define, not sure yet how to approach that. I am not a big DOS-Box/ ScummVM user so there is not much experience I can share.

I am also not sure about the copy protection, it would be more difficult for new runners to get a version with copy protection (I assume most version avialable have it removed). On the Amiga I still have to do a 4-digit input even if its always the same symbol -> I dont see much difference if you have to look up the code or press the default code to open the door but I am not 100% sure how the copy protection of this game really works and how times consuming it is to find out the right code.

For the Amiga configuration I could hand you over my setup and then we recommend using that in the rules.
My setup is pretty basic so I am sure everybody using an Amiga emulator can configure it.

It is a pretty tricky topic, but we should definitly extend the Leaderboards somehow, this game just deserves it 🙂

For me personal (as long as I am the only Amiga runner) I dont care if everybody is on the same Leaderboard for the beginning as long as people can identify the difference on the Leaderboard (like The Secret of Monkey Island I am in last place, because the Amiga version is different and I am the only one running the Amiga version but people can esay identify why).
So if setting up the Leaderborads is to diffcult, I can also live with that. My main goal here on src is to represent the Amiga community and not getting Records.


Yes, I would love the help. I will speak to @Non-Slim_JimNon-Slim_Jim and see if he is ok with modding here, too. Heck, I would be more than willing to even grant him my role ("supermod" or whatever it is called, haha) if he is interested in that role. Same goes for you.

I like your ideas for the categorization. It still reigns everything in to something more manageable here. We can still set guidelines such as "Use the vanilla version of DosBox, no forks of that or ScummVM" and so on. For the differences between hardware and emulation, ScummVM will have to be a separate category no matter what given some issues with accuracy, let alone that they changed the behavior of the game (you can skip the Dr. Fred dialog at the end with "." key, which drastically speeds up the run.) As for DosBox, it is reasonable accurate. I know some folks want to run this on real hardware, but that is going to be a headache given how many "real hardware" machines exist, haha. Heck, I can boot a core i9 PC into DOS and run this on "real hardware", let alone the difference between a machines that existed in the late 80s. In 1991 I still had a 286 to play this game and it is much, much, much slower than even just a 386, let alone a 486/Pentium, ha!

As for the copy protection -- in Version 2.0, the game came with a booklet of codes. The codes were written in black, but each code was obscured with red letters. You had to use a red film to "cut out" the red writing in order to read the code. Later, in the official Lucasarts Classic Adventures compilation, they printed the codes in black and white, so you didn't need the red film. In either case, yes, it adds quite a bit of variance to the run -- heck, I also wonder if this will impact the timing of getting upstairs before Ed returns from the dungeon.

So, perhaps we do just ask people to run the copy protection disabled version. That said, we need to reign that in, too. Some copy protection goes as far to keep the Steel Security Door as being always open, just like what ScummVM does. This of course is a huge advantage as you do not need to click "OPEN", let alone having to hit those first 4 buttons to get it to open. Thankfully the most widely available version is the one we all run in DosBox -- any code is allowed on any protected door, however no door is permanently open.

Again, let me know if you would like to be modded here, if not even in my role as the "main mod", I would gladly do that since I am not remotely an experienced speedrunner, haha!

MilkToastMilkToast likes this. 
(edited: )

@mattmcgrathmattmcgrath I wouldn't mind being a mod if you want to make me one. Either regular mod or your position, if you just want to move to being a regular mod. I'll leave it up to you.

In regards to the categories, it's a tough call. I agree that SCUMMVM should remain a separate category. I think DOSBox and Amiga could possibly be combined into one category, since code lookup isn't necessary in either. There's also the option of separating categories by the door settings (i.e. one category where the door to the 2nd floor is open, one for closed but any code, and another with full copy protection in place). I'm not sure which one is best, though.

Perhaps looking at other games' categorizations would be quite helpful. I'll try to find some that have similar issues and see what was done there.

MilkToastMilkToast and mattmcgrathmattmcgrath like this. 
(edited: )

Thanks for taking part at the discussion.

So at the moment we have two different kind of runs

1. Both Doors open (Lab Door Mod)
2. Inner Lab Door closed (No Copy Protection?)

I think those both type of runs would be the most common and we should at least seperate the LB for those.

If I click on "submit run" there are three different options you can choose from:
1. Lab Door Mod
2 .No Modification
3. -
What is the differences between 2 and 3 ?

Btw: Stoic_Rose is currently practining the Atari ST Version, I try to find out what doors are open/closed in this version.

(edited: )

It's not actually a 3rd option, there's only 2 options available for mods. The - is the equivalent of skipping the question on a form you're filling out, so it's neither No Mod or Lab Door, it's "I didn't feel like selecting one."

There's also the fact that SCUMMVM allows text skip, while other versions that have the Lab Door Mod don't allow it. So that would be 3 categories, I guess. One for SCUMMVM, one for non-SCUMMVM LDM, and one for no LDM.

EDIT: Made some changes to the categories. Thoughts?


Alright got it thx.

Well I assume I have to submit my run into the No Mod Category then?


Yeah, that would be the category for it.


Congrats MilkToast on your WR.

As for the categories: "No Mod" is a bit confusing. The game is still "modded" in that the copy protection has been disabled. Perhaps "No Lab Door Mod" is better.

In addition, ScummVM does have a Lab Door Mod, and they go even further with their removal of the copy protection by leaving the Steel Security Door open, unlike the traditional DOS/DosBox removal where you still have to try to open it.

If I did not know this game, and I saw the leaderboards, I would presume that the ScummVM version is harder, not easier, hah!

Again, there are so many versions and the very least, I think "No Lab Door Mod" should clear up some confusion. Let me know what you all think.

(edited: )

Yeah, "No Lab Door Mod" is probably better. Not sure how else to separate SCUMMVM from the others than to just label the category SCUMMVM. Any ideas?

EDIT: Maybe make "Any% Lab Door Mod" and "Any% No Lab Door Mod" the two main categories with "SCUMMVM" as a subcategory and "Other Platforms" as a 2nd under the first main category, and outright ban it in the 2nd?


mattmcgrathmattmcgrath likes this. 
(edited: )

Changed the categories. Forgot to edit the runs first, though, so @mattmcgrathmattmcgrath your DOSBox run and @MilkToastMilkToast your Amiga run had to be resubmitted. SCUMMVM runs weren't affected. Everything should be correct, but if you don't mind, please check and ensure that the miscellaneous info on the runs is indeed correct (e.g. description, date, etc.).

MilkToastMilkToast likes this. 

This looks so much cleaner now, thanks man.

Also -- when I clicked on "Other Platforms" my run showed up but I did not see Milk's Amiga run.

(edited: )

His is under the No Lab Door Mod category.



I want to come back to this game, but I dont like to play this one route over and over again, so
I'd want to suggest new categories for Maniac Mansion:

Would be nice if we extend the Leaderboards with a new Tab labeled something like "Endings". In there are 3 (or 5 this depends) new Leaderboards for the different Endings.
Weird Edsel
Meteor Police

(please check out the post from misguided_fool at the very end, he explains everything very well about all the different endings. There are more possible categories to be found if needed.)

Not sure how to handle this between LabDoorMod/NoLabDoorMod. Imho we should just note in the rules, that you have to get the code for the door regardless which "Mod" you play. The run would be longer sure, but still sub 15m.

What do you think?
I am open for everything, as long as there is a new cool category 😃