2 comments on “Chris Remo, 7th of October

  1. Hypocee says:

    I’m no big guru – I usually die in late Jungle at this point – but in my experience improvement comes in two primary mental mechanisms. One half is the muscle memory that comes just from time getting hit by an area: Your eyes see some combo that’s hit you before, you get tense and you suddenly stop moving to think without quite knowing why. In more routine situations, each new threat gets tagged as it enters the screen and throbs until it’s been explicitly dealt with or permanently left behind.

    I felt your doom as soon as you started looking at that idol, not because I thought you’d get squished but because I knew your attention there meant you had never seen that arrow trap my eyes were riveted to. It was fate at that point that it was going to finish you off, and I clenched more as you jumped around in front of it. Had I entered that room (assuming no complete brain freeze, of course) I would have made no moves without first modeling the order of operations on what would set it off and where I would be at that moment. Mines is all about horizontal lines.

    Sadly I don’t really imagine there’s an intellectual route to this beyond “be more scared”, but one exercise I’ve noticed in myself is to externalize the situation: Periodically imagine a player trying to come towards you from the direction you’re going. What would they have to use? Where would they jump ? What would hit them? It gives your eyes a second sweep at the threats almost “fresh”. Although it’s not something I do, I also wonder if for some people counting or numbering the extra-deadly spikes and arrows might help them start to stand out: “Five spikes and 8 arrow traps so far this level – ah, six.” The first major plateau in Spelunky is to start getting predominantly killed by loss of health rather than instadeath.

    Intellectually, my advice to myself and others is much simpler: Mistrust your fingers. Learn Sure Things – setpieces you’ve proven before – learn to prefer Sure Things over the very breath of life, and if you can’t get a Sure Thing learn to stack up the die rolls; prefer more chances of safety over one better chance. For instance, twice in this run you set a damsel down to whip a bat. The whip is a last resort for if you have nothing to throw or miss with a throw, and can’t jump or in case you fail a jump. If there aren’t spikes or a pit that could lead to spikes, throwing the damsel at enemies is preferable because if it fails, you still have your chance at the whip. A sure sign of a Spelunky newbie – not characteristic of your play by the way – is excessive jumping and lack of dash. This is not because dash leaves more time or correlates with confidence, though both are true, but because the dash is more predictable with less dexterity. You can jump over a 1-square hole, but a dash will carry you over 100% of the time without further input. You can jump over a 2-square hole, but a dash will carry you to a hang on the other side 100% of the time without further input. Certainty is priceless.

    The other example I noticed in this particular run is interesting to consider because I think it’s an example of the same principle of doubt in your execution. However it relies on a piece of knowledge about the game systems, the kind you either figure out by inadvertent experimentation in more time than you spend on Spelunky or get told at some point. At that spikes-2tall-spikes-1tall-spikes-spikes-spider strip, you displayed proper discomfort. It was a terrible little obstacle and you stopped and thought, and got to the 1tall with reasonable risk. However, your response from there was completely badass. (Baddas: adj. Stupid, needlessly risky, dangerous.) It required three precise inputs to not instantly kill you, and in a spectacular demonstration Phillippa Warr stopped there like you, thought there like you and then died there trying to do the exact same thing you did. There was a time, I think at around your progression, when my correct response to that situation would have been to swallow my pride and spend a bomb to make the sea of spikes go away. It’s one reason you have them! However, there is a more optimal play that I’d use nowadays. The knowledge it relies on is that only the upper edge of a spikes tile is dangerous, and only if you’re in a falling state. You can cape through it, climb a rope through it, or the best move in this example, fliphang through it. Were you aware it was possible to fliphang down into spikes?

    I’m pretty spoiler-blind in general and have to be careful. I wonder for how many people the kind of info I get from watching this kind of thing or reading stories and commentary would count as a spoiler. In any case, if there is a third principle I think it boils down to “practice or read a wiki.”

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