Hello all! It's been a fairly hectic week for reasons out my control and is looking to be that way for the foreseeable future (more on that at the end of the post), but there's still some cool things to report this week so let's focus on that! In terms of audio stuff, I've been busy again recording more guitars for the new World Beyond album which is really shaping up well, and I finally got some time to work on writing the new Better Than The Book album too! So far there's 4 lyric sheets finished and six left with 4 complete(ish) demos, another 3 almost there, and various other partial demos/lyrics too. Hoping to get back on track with it more soon and get these tracks fully written while I record for World Beyond. I'll keep you updated on the situation. Meanwhile another thing happened this week which I was super pleased with and wanted to share with you. It's not audio related at all but I hope you enjoy the story. Let's go!
So as many of you may be aware I quite enjoy playing video games, and I'm also fairly competitive (those may be understatements). One of my favorite games to play at the moment, and it has been for some time, is the mobile version of Sonic The Hedgehog (1), which is available on both Android and iOS and is a great load of fun. Additionally to the original Sega console versions, you can play as other favorite characters Tails and Knuckles, Sonic can use the spin dash technique introduced in later games, you can save your progress and revisit levels, and there's a fun time attack mode where you can keep track of your fastest times for completing levels as well as place yourself on the global leader-board if you're fast enough (iOS only). That last feature has been one of the most fun and at the same time frustrating aspects of the game, as seeing how I compare among the 1000s of other Sonic players out there I can't help but take it as a challenge and see how fast I can go.
I've had the game for a few years now and as such have been making my mark on the leader-boards for quite some time now playing the game in my spare time and being in the top 10 fastest players for various levels including 2nd fastest in the world for one of them. Well, a few weeks ago I started working on it again specifically on a level I knew I wasn't very good at Scrap Brain Zone Act 2. I really just wanted to get into the top 25 if I could, which after a long while of trying was just about doable. Having got to know the level though, I noticed better and faster routes than those I'd been using and grinding as you do when you want to get better at something, I slowly formulated and optimized a path which felt to me like it would be the fastest. Pretty soon I was in the top 10 players, then the top 5, and yet I didn't feel like I'd reached my limit at all so I kept pushing on. At that point I figured that the world record might actually be reachable, it wasn't a matter of how anymore, it was just a matter of having a good run and good luck and not messing up this method I'd been working hard on. But it wasn't easy by a long shot, and while I could see the goal, I was painfully just out of reach.
Well, after a lot of practice, a lot of swearing under my breathe, and some achy fingers, on September 11th 2017 I finally broke the Scrap Brain Act 2 mobile speed world record, with a time of 40.76 seconds!
I was so pleased with the achievement. After all that hard work, it had finally payed off and I'd made my mark on the top of the Sonic leader-boards, beating the previous record of 41.43 seconds which had remained untouched since February 19th 2014.
But the thing is, I knew I could go faster. The run had been good yes, good enough to beat the world record, but I make a ton of mistakes which cost valuable time. Although I'd beaten the world record, I still wasn't satisfied...
So I kept playing. I knew I could go faster and world record beaten or not, I wouldn't be happy until I knew I'd given it my all to achieve the fastest time (or at the very least beat the 40 seconds barrier).
The next day. I had a fantastic run. Pretty much everything that could go right did, I timed the jumps right, let go of the spin dashes at the right time, I couldn't have asked for a better run. And I smashed my previous record. By a whole 2 seconds!
That was truly a time I could be proud of. On September 12th 2017 I set the new world record at 38.75 seconds. Super pleased with that.
The strange thing is though, whether or not I can go faster, and I'm not sure I can, I still haven't reached my saturation with playing that level. My personal top 3 times are separated by 2 seconds each (as opposed to one of the other levels where my top time is 0.02 seconds faster than the 2nd fastest time which is exactly the same as the 3rd fastest), so I'd like to keep playing and keep trying to get faster until I'm absolutely sure I can't go any faster. I'm hoping my record stays there for a while, but having been pushed down from 3rd to 4th place on a different level as a new world record was made for that one last month, I'm not sure how long it'll be until I'm surpassed on this one. If anything, the fact that the record has been broken means that more people will be temped to outdo it as the invisible barrier of the previous world record has been smashed open. Whether it's a few days, months or even years though, I'm truly happy to have been able to make my own little mark on the Sonic The Hedgehog gaming community.
Just a little background on this world record, I have to specify that this is the iOS Christian Whitehead Sonic The Hedgehog world record for this level. The actual world record for this level across all consoles sits at ~30 seconds, but there are differences in the game mechanics for the iOS and console versions which must be addressed as so they're incompatible for comparison. The original console versions don't feature Sonic's spin dash move which can be used to gain speed, but there is also no time attack mode for speed runs and so the the record time is measured by the game's level clock which only measures to the nearest second. The world record run for this level too exploits a clipping/wrap glitch to skip a large portion of the level which cuts out a great deal of time compared to running the level in the intended way. The iOS version on the other hand as well as having the spin dash move and the clock to the nearest hundredth of a second, has amended these glitches in the game mechanics and so they are no longer exploitable for speed runs. The world record here plays the level without glitches in the way originally intended by the game developer. Just a little bit of interesting history about the world record if you're interested.
And I think the take home message from this blog post is that you can do anything if you try hard enough and that I play waaaay too much video games (amongst other things)!
That's about it for this week, and I hope you enjoyed the look into some of my other hobbies outside of music/audio. Back to the topic I mentioned in the introduction, due to circumstances in my personal life, things have been turbulent as of late, and as a result there may be short to extended periods of time where I'll be unable to attend to JabunAudio for the foreseeable future. I don't feel it my place to disclose the details, but please bear with me over the next month or so and thank you in advance for your patience. Please feel free to send in your requests as usual, but unfortunately there may be delays in my being able to help, though I'll do my best to help as usual. Additionally, there may be weeks where there is no blog post. Apologies for any inconvenience caused and I hope to be back to normal as soon as possible.
What's the plan for next week? Well while I'm currently all up to date with recording for World Beyond, there should be more guitars and bass to record soon so I've no doubt I'll be working on that. I'd also like to do some more Better Than The Book writing if I can too. We shall see. Anyways, I hope you've all had great weeks (I usually start with that, don't I?), I hope you all have a great week to come, and thanks as always for supporting JabunAudio and my other creative endeavors. See you all in the next post and take care!
Nick Standing; Better Than The Book; Jabun!
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