On 2020-06-19, UbuntuJackson laid down a very impressive speedrun, beating Frogatto in 19:36.21. Around the our virtual water-cooler, we all agreed that we were quite impressed!
As a developer, watching a speedrun of your own game is both humbling and inducing of a feeling of incredulousness. “How could we create this little content, yet include so many bugs?”
It also raises the question of what to do about the bugs. A developer of the game is both a tremendous asset and huge risk to a speedrunning community. When a run comes to the developer’s attention, critical bugs tend to get fixed and run times go up. Sometimes, the reaction of the community has been to run on early builds of the game, canonicalizing the release-day disk as the version the run is built on. (This is often a lot harder with heavily DRM’d games, as you have a much more tenuous ownership of them and can only play the most up-to-date version.) Other times, the community will shrug and move on, accepting a slower patch for stability and bifurcating the leaderboards to reflect this. With Frogatto, we are lucky in that we are a very traditional single-player game with no DRM. We do not have to patch exploits or force people on to the latest version.
So what about the issues UbuntuJackson has showcased for us? Some are fixed in the next release already. Some have simply gone away, as we replace older content with newer. The next version introduces two new act bosses; so we definitely don’t have to worry about keeping the times the same! So, we have to take a hand-off path; to marvel how broken our game is, and be honoured by the attention that has been paid to break it.
We look forward to seeing what merry havoc will be played with our next release.