The Finish Line

This week the learning project has come to a close.  I have created this video to demonstrate my improvement at speedrunning this game.  It shows five different levels of the game, with half being my first ever attempt, and half being my best attempt.

On the whole, I have thoroughly enjoyed doing this learning project.  Not only did I get to learn something I have always wanted, but I have also learned a lot about learning, and about the different tools that are out there.  If I can, I would like to implement something like this project in the classroom.  I feel that one of the most important things that I’ve gained from it is the ability t troubleshoot on my own; when I ran into a problem, I had to just figure out a solution without consulting the instructor.  This is an extremely important skill, and one that I hope to teach my students.

As far as tools are concerned, I have learned a ton through this project about video creation and editing.  I know I have said this before, but OBS and Lightworks are truly fantastic free programs that have a lot of customization.  These programs will serve me well in the future, and I never would have found them without this learning project.

I have also learned about myself through this project.  I have found that, for me, video tutorials were a very effective way to learn, much moreso than merely text-based instructions.  In this way, Youtube became an invaluable resource; most of what I learned, I learned from there.  More than anything, however, I seem to learn best by doing.  If I can actually work with what I’m learning, I tend to learn better and faster.

Aside from that, I have this little bit of proof of the fruits of my efforts:

That’s me in 135th place overall.  Not a top time certainly, but 135th in the world isn’t bad either.  Thank you very much for being with me on this journey.


Running with a Couch

The semester is drawing to a close , and so I wanted to try something different with my speedrun this week.  Where before I would make these attempts alone, this time I invited a group of people to watch and commentate.  The result was, quite frankly, the first video that I have posted that I recommend you watch, as it is actually entertaining.

Big thanks to those who helped me on this.  One thing that this experience has taught me is the important of prep work prior to anything involving technology.  I am so thankful that I decided to set up all of the a/v equipment prior to people arriving.  With all of the unexpected delays and problems, I ended up working on just the setup for over an hour.  Had this happened when people were there, this would have been a disaster.  Looking at teaching itself, this just stressed the importance of having all tech fully prepped prior to class starting.  I won’t be able to get everything working every time, but I can cut down on downtime in a major way.


There was no sound in the video previously due to something on Youtube.  I have re-uploaded it with sound.

Flight School

For this week, unfortunately, there has been a problem with recording the full run, so that won’t be happening until next week.  Rest assured that progress has been made, and the time will hopefully drop below 40:00.

In the meantime, there is the project for this week, namely teaching the rest of the class something that is related to our learning project.  As such, I have chosen to make this video attempting to teach the most valuable skill to have when speedrunning this game: flight.

Making this video was surprisingly difficult.  While I knew all of the steps required for the different types of flight, it was harder than expected to communicate them.  I had to do several retakes to be able to get the wording right.  In addition to this, I had to redo the video several times as I would realize that I needed to explain something basic to me that other people might not know, such as the controls, and how to get up into the air in the first place.  On this whole, this was an interesting experience in breaking down a skill into its component parts.

Learning a New App: Screencast-o-Matic

Another week has gone by, with another attempt made at the No Starworld speedrun.  This week, we had an additional task: use some sort of new app along with your learning, either to document or show your learning.  In my case, I decided to use a screencast.  As I don’t use Google Chrome, I went with the program called Screencast-o-Matic, and decided to do a play-by-play account of one of the levels from the speedrun:

Overall, the screencasting software was very intuitive and very easy to use.  Unfortunately, it was also very simplistic, and I didn’t have the opportunity to work with the minutiae of the software.  As such, for things like volume levels and mixing, I had to work with the hardware end, specifically changing settings on the microphone itself, which resulted in a lower quality.  This was especially frustrating considering the end product was something that could be produced more easily, and in much higher quality, just fiddling around with the settings in OBS.  What have I learned through all of this is that, if I ever need to create something like this, just to stick with programs that I know already do the job well.  While screencast programs may be simple to use, they lack the customization and real-time user input that can be very helpful.

On now to the run itself.  You may have noticed that the video above was from last week’s run.  The reason for that is that Forest of Illusion 1 was… weird… this week.  Even with that, this was still far and away the best run I have done, with a time of 43:28.  This puts me under my best time by over three minutes!

Next week, striving even further towards 40:00, but another big change as well.  There should be a couch for next week!

Livesplit: Now with Splits!

Unfortunately I have been very sick over the past week, so practice was not happening as much as I would have liked.  Nonetheless, though the run run this week had several major mistakes, it was still only around 30 seconds slower.  Here is the run:

One thing you might notice immediately is that this run looks yet again quite different from the previous runs as far as format goes.  While I haven’t been able to learn and practice new techniques this week, I have been able to expand on Livesplit to better show the data for my speedruns.  In particular I have added in the splits that will be helpful for me going forward (and those that are used in competitive runs).  In order to do this, I found and made use of this wonderful video:

This video was very enjoyable to learn from.  The author is clear and concise, while also not rushing through the information.  I found that I was able to have Livesplit open while the video was running, and follow along in setting up Livesplit how I wanted.  I recommend giving it a watch if you ever want to work with Livesplit.

One final thing that I am going to mention.  If you are still unsure about what speedrunning actually is, and what it looks like in practice, there are a lovely series of videos out there that showcase the history of speedrunning various games.  Here is the one for Super Mario World (though admittedly not the category I am working with):

Next week, inching closer to 40:00!

Goal #2 Achieved

The second goal has been achieved, and I managed to get a time under 47 minutes.  the next and final step for me will be drop my run under 40 minutes.  Anyways, here is the run itself.

You might be wondering why I don’t speed these runs up like some of my other videos.  The reason for this is that, in order for the run to count, it must appear as a full run, unedited.  While this takes a lot longer, it’s how it needs to be done.

One last thing I should mention has been my process of learning how to use the various different programs that are part of my videos.  While OBS has been really good at recording what has been going on on the screen, there have been essentially constant problems with its actual functioning and the official support for it has been very scarce.  As such, I’ve had to rely on Youtube videos for any individual problem.  While the videos are good, the tricky part is finding the right one, and looking for the perfect solution isn’t something that I would ever ask my students to do.  As for Lightworks, the amazing free video editing software I’m using, there have been no problems at all, and the proghram is so intuitive that there hasn’t been any need to troubleshoot online.

For now, more practice is in order, and then next week I aim for that sub-40 time.

The Worst Run I have Yet Done

Well, this week has been a dismal failure, as you can see:

The time overall dropped to 52 minutes.  Nonetheless, I am improving in parts.  If you want an idea of how I practice for castle 5, here is a video of that:

You may have noticed that some of the videos have had some amount of editing involved.  This is done through the free video editing program, Lightworks.  If you need to edit anything for this project, i highly recommend this program.  It’s free and easy to use.

For now, more practice is in store, and then the top 150.