Speedrunning Keen 4

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Speedrunning Keen 4

Post by Skypest »

Hi I'm speedrunning Keen 4 and trying to reduce my time. When I compared my video against the world record I noticed that my game loads slower. Does anyone have any idea why, and any idea how I can reduce load times (while still playing on a viable version of the game)? Thanks!
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Re: Speedrunning Keen 4

Post by Quillax »

Welcome to the PCKF, Skypest! Hope you don't get squished around here! :)

Are you running it on a compatible computer (like DOS and early Windows systems) or DOSBox? In the case of the former, I think it depends on how fast your computer is -- you might have to try a faster computer. If you're using DOSBox, though, you can just set the cycles to the maximum (this should help: https://www.dosbox.com/wiki/Performance). That should make the loading times non-existent (or at least close enough).
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Re: Speedrunning Keen 4

Post by troublesomekeen »

That's a tough one. I remember vaguely some sort of menu trick that quickens the Loading sequence. I wonder if it's the call:sound that slows up the game. Sometimes Keen's thumbs up happens slowly, frame by frame, other times it's over like a flash. I'm guessing runners have found a way to jiggle the quick route 100% of the time. And that's just the half of it! The first and easiest enemy, the poison slug, can slow or end runs entirely--as I'm sure you're aware. Gotta catch a lot of luck with those yellow cretins. :poison
Pressing Enter seems to help with the loading right before you complete levels.
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Re: Speedrunning Keen 4

Post by Nisaba »

Hey there Skypest and welcome to the forums,

yeah, as troublesomekeen already mentioned, pressing Enter twice right before exiting a level brings the Status Screen up and down which is a tiny glitch that will save time.

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Re: Speedrunning Keen 4

Post by K1n9_Duk3 »

When a new level is loaded, the game always waits for the current sound to end before you can actually play the level. So turning the sound effects off (or otherwise preventing the game from playing the sound for entering or leaving a level, like in the trick that Nisaba mentioned) means shorter delays after the actual loading is done.

The level loading times themselves depend largely on the emulated CPU speed and on how many graphics actually had to be loaded. In Keen 4-6, the thumb animation is just for loading and decompressing the graphics (tiles and sprites). Loading the level istself is relatively fast: the duration of the "One Moment" window is how long it takes to load and decompress the level data.

In short: Speedrunners should set their DOSBox cycles to "max" (and maybe the core to "dynamic") and turn sounds off for the fastest level loads. And of course your real CPU and storage device should also be fast.
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