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      ‘When all you have is category theory, everything…’

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        “…is an object in some category,” yes. Also, when all you have is a deductive system, you have a category. When all you have is a directed graph, you have a category. When all you have is an FSM, you have a category.

        The original insight that led to this note was from Zelda 3. To traverse a superroom in that game, we traverse some of its rooms. To traverse a room, we start at a cutscene called the door animation, and end at another door. Rooms naturally form a graph and speedrunners rely heavily on the topology of that graph, particularly when playing randomized room layouts. So, one day when I was playing a randomized copy of Zelda 3, I thought about how a TAS script might automatically discover routes through the randomized graph, and realized that there is a complex interplay between the room graph and the item layout.

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      When someone writes “A speedrun is an athletic manipulation of a video game which transitions to a specified state” are they doing it as a sarcastic commentary on academic writing, or are they serious?

      In any case, the wikipedia definition is more precise

      Speedrunning is the act of playing a video game, or section of a video game, with the goal of completing it as fast as possible.

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        “Specified state” may refer to the objective of the category. “100%” generally requires you complete a game with a particular set of other actions accomplished first. The Wikipedia definition is appropriate to “any%” which is probably the most popular category. It’s a little like describing Newtonian mechanics as “What goes up must come down.”

        So I imagine the author is getting precise about the definition in order to, in the finest speedrunning tradition, identify the wildest loopholes possible.

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        Oh, I’m always sarcastic, for sure. Consider…

        Think of the software and hardware that you’re currently using. What makes it distinct from a video game? What is the difference, exactly, between credits and CTF? Is every machine a weird machine?

        Think like a speedrunner. When is ACE allowed for any%? What is a marathon strat and why is it different from a strat? In Super Metroid, does it count as swag to save the animals?

        Even the definition you chose shows some of the problem. Is a speedrunner having a ludic experience? One of the games I run has multiple five-minute stretches where I press a single button every few frames like a drum machine; it does not feel playful to me, but makes me feel like I’m back in my high-school drumline.

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      I’ve had this note on my whiteboard, stored as jargon and section titles, for several years. I’m mostly sharing it so that I can remove it from my list of things to write up. I strongly expect that this note will get no traction among experienced TAS’ers until somebody demonstrates a successful application of the principles, but that’s life.