Sonntag, 3. Juli 2022

Personal best update and scoring guide (part 2)

The boss fight is the main meat of the extra stage. The first pattern is already a pretty hefty milk with several viable strategies. The commonly used one is what I'm doing here as well. Spinning the boss while grazing the bullets following you. With teams, you use your youkai character to get to full youkai pretty quickly, but that is obviously not viable for solo Youmu as she gains no youkai meter when grazing. Instead the best way to get to full Youkai immediately is to shoot her for a second to generate as many time orbs are possible and move up to get into position while in focus. This will lose you 100-150 time orbs from grazing but there's nothing else you can do. Generally, this gives you up to 4000 graze and 3900 time if Mokou's movement RNG is good. For me it was passable here at a roughly 3900/3800 split. It's worth about 50m and pretty consistent so a good start to the stage if you want to score this extra. One important detail for solo Youmu is that before you finish the spell, you want to graze the last swab of bullets unfocused so you actually end up in full human for the first spell. If you do this well, you go from 50% to -30% immediately. If done badly, you will lose up to 10m on the first spell, so practicing the transition is recommended.
The alternative strat for this non spell is much more difficult, but obviously gains score , but only if done well. I haven't tested this on slower shots but at least with Youmu (as well as Ghost team and Magic team by extension), it's possible to not only graze the bullets following you but also the ones leading you - at least to an extent. By dashing forward unfocused and immediately returning to the lane following, you are able to get extra graze for the bullets leading you. This is very risky for two reasons, however. The first is, obviously, the fact that you can just ram either the bullets or Mokou and die. The second reason is that, with solo Youmu, it's easy to lose full youkai too much. If your gauge management is bad, you might end up with less than 3800 or 3900 time, even if your graze is higher than normal. You'd risk your life to lose score in that scenario. I haven't tested this to the extremes, so I don't know how much can be gained but by my estimation it's about 5m. Dashing forward isn't something you can do at any given time, as you have to make sure you can return; and you have to make sure Mokou isn't going to move as you're dashing back and forth, or else she might just walk into you.

The first spell is a pretty quick affair but not without its problems. I angle my option to her right wing and I'm sitting not before Mokou but below her left wing she spawns on each spell. The reason I do this is because she spawns 3 familiars on each wing that spin around. Doing this gains you a lot more time than it would if you just shot her normally (about 500 time). This, however, means that you gain time at the highest rate possible in the game while shooting unfocused. The result of that is that it's incredibly easy to make gauge management mistakes that cause you to rise above -30%, losing you score. You can only make very short taps, and they can't be in too rapid succession. 
I enter the spell at -27%, so my graze/gauge management on the first non spell wasn't perfect, but fairly good  Unfortunately I was forced to make a lot of short taps in quick succession so I ended up going all the way to -11% on the gauge, which is basically unrecoverable. Best choice here is to just kill the spell as quickly as possible. Fortunately this happened reasonably late so I only lost 2m-2.5m spell bonus, instead the worst case scenario of 10m. I gained about 2100 time on this spell, out of the possible 2350. Overall, a quick gauge management mistake cost me about 4m score. Pretty hefty.

Non spell 2 is another attack with several viable strategies. One is the quick kill. It's the standard way of dealing with it. With Youmu's unfocused time gain, it gives about 600-650 time. The second way would be to milk it for graze unfocused. It's honestly worth almost nothing so I wouldn't recommend it for any goal. You gain maybe 1m through that extra graze. The third and final way is spinning it much like the first non spell while in focus. It is by far the most profitable way of handling it, but also the  most dangerous. I chose the fastest way in this run as I recently changed my route to be a bit easier on myself. 
The spins give you over 1000 graze, and time with the way I did them before. This is a score gain of roughly 15m. I exited the spin at about 30 seconds left on the time to dodge the pattern unfocused in the corner while dealing as little damage to Mokou as possible. That way I would be able to finish the spell while gaining time from shooting, making it so you only have to outscore the initial invincibility time she has at the start of each pattern. It is, however, possible to extend the spin by another 15 seconds, and it worth a relatively large amount of score. You'd have to kill Mokou while dodging completely unfocused so you enter the second spell as you go full human again, though. So it's riskier in 2 ways, since dodging in the corner is easier than doing it directly underneath the boss.
The main problem for the spins is that they're not as clean as on the first non spell. You will have to exit and re-enter the spinning spot through the red lane that is in front of you right of the bat, and will be forced to do it at least once more, maybe twice. Mokou's movement RNG is important here and there are spots where, if she is near the top of the screen, can kill you unless she moves down. Sometimes she moves to the very top (max height). That's pretty much always bad. She can wall you in almost any scenario from here, so long as you have to go over her. It's actually complete ass when that happens.
For the scenario where she is near the top, on the second spin above her, you can choose to opt out of the spin so she doesn't wall you. This obviously loses graze, but it's better than dying. Once the pattern make another revolution, you can re-enter the spin but the loss can not be made up. I recommend doing this only if your score goal is over 3.26b.

The second spell, flying phoenix, is one Youmu wants to kill after the 2nd cycle. She starts out by shooting 2 phoenixes on their own, and then a wave of 5 in a fan shape. You need to damage Mokou quickly so you can cancel the pattern on the 2nd set of 5, as that will gain you the largest bullet cancel possible. Anything over 7m yellow cancel is good, but almost 8m is possible. The cancel has some RNG to it in that that Mokou's height matters. She will be in the middle of the screen since you misdirect her horizontally, but if she's low on the screen, less bullets spawn. She was high here, so I got lucky. One more thing that I don't actively aim for is that if you kill the spell as she starts her third cycle (that is, she shoots out a single phoenix), you gain a better cancel; but only if you kill her immediately as she shoots the phoenix. None of the previously spawned bullets will have left the screen yet and you gain the bullets of a 6th phoenix (only the glowshit bullets and the jellybeans she shoots). This is what can push the cancel to 7.9m yellow bonus. I actually got this cancel in this run. Basically perfect execution and RNG. This was pretty lucky because as I said, I don't actively try to kill it at that specific time since being slow means you lose cancel instead. Could lose a huge amount of yellow bonus if you end up missing bullets. Killing it early is only a couple hundred thousand, so it's the better concession.

The third non has no interesting milk. You may choose to milk it in human for graze but it again gains basically nothing and is not recommended. Killing it unfocused is honestly the only reasonable choice. Spinning it is not possible either outside of a quarter turn before she moves that gains about 90 graze. But shooting unfocused with Youmu simply gains more score as time is worth more than graze.

The third spell, flawless shrine, is a bit like the first spell in that shooting the option at an angle gives better time, but it's not as pronounced here because not only do you not shoot familiars at all given times, there's also less of them. I did mess up my option placement here a bit, but the loss was barely noticable. You should gain 2150 time with the angled shot; I gained 2100 so it's whatever. Spell bonus was okay too. Maybe a few hundred thousand lower than optimal but negligible. 

Since time immemorial, the fourth non spell is a pattern that is started in full human and you quickly transition into full youkai for graze. The reason for that is not because it's a hugely profitable pattern to graze (it's about 500 graze, and roughly 4-5m score), but because it's followed by a spell you graze. 
One thing I haven't mentioned anywhere about this pattern is that it's possible to gain more graze. This is not done by being more aggressive with height, forcing you to make tighter dodges, but instead is done by dashing. The way this pattern spawns is that Mokou shoots slow red amulets in a circle away from her, and slightly faster purple ones in a similar fashion. The pattern overlaps in such a way that it is possible to dash is a half circle in the dodging area of the spell. Basically you do what the TAS does but not near bullet spawn but near the bottom of the screen. I don't know how much graze can be gained through this as I've only done this 2-3 times for testing to see if it was possible. All I know is that this is incredibly risky and unbelievably stupid. I doubt it will find any application if full runs, but optimizing this for the sake of a sum of best for this stage is a possibility.

The fourth spell, xufu, is the first really difficult pattern of the boss fight (unless you're doing the second non spins). There are 3 ways to graze it, although 2 of them are stupid - for different reasons. The first stupid way is doing it above the line you want to graze. This is stupid because it's just a bad strat. It loses a huge amount of graze and was fixed by ASL in 2009. If you use AM's replay for reference for some reason, don't copy that. 
The normal way is the only non stupid way. It's what ASL introduced and what I still do to this day. A regular timeout that was should give at least 11,000 time. I use time here instead of graze consciously. It is incredibly easy to miss time because you momentarily drop below 30%. It's not very common that you stay below that threshold, however. At the very least, I've only seen it happen during freak occurrences where a lot of things went wrong. I gained 14,200 time in this run, which is decent for me. I can't realistically ask for much higher, even though more is definitely within the realms of possible. The way this works is that you start by following the forming pattern because the grazing line. What is important to know is that the talisman spawns are static and that the rice in the ring spawns are, too. The other rice is aimed at you. What you want to do is to misdirect the aimed rice in a way that it doesn't get in the way, and well as have the rings with a more closed circle be on cycles when you aren't on their outside, because you're have to make up that ground to not die. Sometimes you will  be able to graze their insides, and sometimes you won't be in contact with the rings at all. You want to touch the corners of the pattern with your swings, if at all possible (though that's risky). 
the way to start is by making a large swing left, position yourself slightly left of the middle and move back to the starting position, let the blue amulets pass, and then go back left again. This start serves for extra graze, but also sets the cycle for the red rice, both aimed and circle rice. From here on, the graze pattern stay the same. You move left (after the 2nd long left swing) as far as you dare, return to where you started this cycle and then move left again and return, but this time to the middle.. By now, the aimed rice will almost have reached you, and will pass you to your left. Now you move right until you hit the corner of the pattern (optimally), and position yourself at the starting position of the entire pattern (after you followed it when it formed) and make a swing to the left until the middle and return, but one amulet further to the left (as a ring will pass through the starting gap). You now move right to the corner of the pattern again and return. By now, the aimed rice on the left will have left the screen and you move to the very left again with a large swing as the blue amulets sort of open up a path for you. Optimally you graze the blue amulets below you as you move. The pattern repeats from here (left, left, right from the middle, left, right, large left). My personal best with this strategy is just over 15,000 time, but more is possible with better gauge control.
The second stupid strat for this spell gains you several hundred more time, but is also much much harder, inconsistent and also poses a lot more gauge problems. It's stupid because it's just so unbelievably hard. No doubt turns xufu in the most difficult attack of the stage, but it's a very large improvement, with 16,000 time being confirmed possible, and 17,000 time being likely possible. How much the strat can be stretched is unknown, and also how much time can be expected from doing it, as a practice PB helps calculate score potentials, but not score averages. This is something I have to look into once serious attempts for 3.3b are on the table. But for now, it's something that exists only as documentation. I believe learning it eventually is necessary, though. 

The fifth non spell is about the same as the fourth.You Graze is not because it's super profitable but because the following spell is grazed and dodging this is still humane. It gains about the same amount of score as the previous non spell, but does not have the option of risking your life with the unfocused dashes. The purple amulets are too fast, so the pathway you'd dash through closes too quickly. Or at the very least, I'd like to think so. I haven't actually tried, because as I said, it was already stupid on the previous non spell. It'd only become dumber here.

The fifth spell, Honest Man's Death (HMD for short), is what people often think is the hardest attack in the stage. And it's true to an extent. In the learning phase, HMD is very straightforward, but also very hard. But because the movement is so simplistic, consistency can be gained to some extent. This graze consists on 78 microtaps, each of which you have to do with relatively strict timing. How much graze you get is mostly dependent on your height - the variance is huge. At higher levels, the tap length also becomes an important factor. There are 3 possible tap lengths, if you will. I will call them short, middle and long. The middle length is optimal, always. The short tap may kill you if the laser is approaching as you do not move far enough to dodge the entirety of its hitbox in that case. Make sure to note that if you practice this. The long tap is always safe, but moves you away from the middle, which is where you gain the most graze. You start out slightly off center (to the left, as the first laser starts spawning on the right). You move back and forth until the laser spawns, and then make 2 taps in the direction of the laser. The only exception to this is the 4th laser that spawns. You only need to make 1 tap in its direction (you will be centered for this if you did it right). As the pattern speeds up, you will have 4 taps per laser cycle. 
Do note that being too high on the screen actually loses graze. In Imperishable Night, you do not gain graze from bullets the instant they spawn. The bullets have a refractory period, if you will. It takes a few frames before they become worth anything other than a potential death (as they can still kill you). The tentacles are so fast that being too high means they pass you before you gain any graze from them. In the middle of the pattern at the best height, you gain graze from all sides of the tentacles (as well as from the black shit you're dodging anyway). Once you leave the middle, you're losing at least 1 side of the rough diamond shape. If you really fuck up you'll lose 2, and the tentacles open up the further you're away from them so if you somehow find yourself to the far side of the pattern, you not only miss graze from the bullets spawning directly above you (because they have no grazebox yet), but only because not as many bullet enter your graze box from the opposing side. Make note of that. In this run, I got just over 6200, which is pretty bad, but fortunately for 3.2b, whether I get 6600 graze or 6000 is not very relevant. 
With Youmu, about 6800 seems to be the hard limit. If you cancel it perfectly, maybe 6850 graze is possible, but because there is a hard limit to the spell in such a way, unlike with other patterns in the stage, and because the movement is simplistic, HMD can not be considered the hardest pattern in the stage, despite what many people believe to be the case. With current routes, it's the 3rd hardest pattern after Imperishable Shooting and Ichijo. Subjectively speaking, the final non is also harder for me but that's just because I can't dodge.

The sixth non spell is not a pattern where you have to do much, besides surviving (unfocused). You could gain more time by shooting not Mokou but exclusively her wings; it should a roughly 200 time increase. This is very risky, however as it forces you to dodge more aggressively (since she follows you and you don't want her above you). That could either mean death or failing gauge control. My current stance is that it's not worth it 

Woo is a fairly easy pattern, but a little inconsistent. For want to go for a very specific strat that allows you to speedkill it while having 9 familiars on screen. The way to do it is to direct her to either side of the screen after the first wave (which is always in the middle) and then go through the lanes closest to the corresponding side of the screen (which means you go through the rightmost gap between the lanes on the right side of the screen). Problem is that if the first wave gives you terrible RNG it may block you from going through the lanes. Reading ahead to see whether the gap will be closed or not is the only way to get this consistently. After going through the lane you misdirect the waves she shoots to the left (if you started on the right) and once the cycle is over, she starts in the middle again. This time you misdirect the 2nd wave of the cycle into the right side of the screen as you do not want to go above Mokou this time. You misdirect to remove the bullets so you can comfortably kill her now. If you did this right, you should have about 41.5m SCB and a 9 familiar cancel for this spell. 

The seventh non is basically the same as the sixth non. The same possibilities and strats apply. 

Phoenix Tail is generally speaking not a very difficult spell to survive. However, with solo human characters, you will be shooting familiars more than Mokou herself. And with solo Youmu, you will optimally not shoot Mokou at all. This spell spawns a lot of familiars that you can shoot. In Youmu case, you will sit below on wing and angle your shot to shoot the other one. Normally this doesn't give you any extra time but just like on Iwakasa, the familiars that spawn around the wings are their own targets, so Youmu's options deals double damage and gains more time. The time gain is immense compared to just shooting below while staying below her. The reason this is not trivial is because first of all, this means you take longer to kill Mokou. You start dodging at 62~ seconds left on the timer and have to dodge for 25-30 seconds if you do it correctly. This is doubly annoying because of the second reason: The gauge. With the absolute assload of time you're gathering through shooting, failing gauge control is incredibly easy, so you can only make very short dodges. that means your dodging options are limited. Furthermore, Mokou shoots aimed mentos bullets at you. These are no threatening but they force you to move around. Dodging them by going below them (since they come at an angle) is dangerous because the glowshit she shoots hides behind the mentos so you can just get hit by a bullet you couldn't see. So I advise against going below unless necessary. Which means you have to go around the bullet above it. Doing that without messing up the gauge or option positioning is difficult. I hit Mokou a whole lot this run because my angling wasn't flat enough. 

The final non is impossible. I bomb it. I bombed it here too. Sometimes I bomb and then still die. I hate this pattern. It's not something that should be in an extra stage. The whole schtick with shooting her wings for extra time is possible here too  but actually doing it is probably something no one will ever bother to do. Every player would be happy to just live through this shit.

Fujiyama likely the easiest attack after HMD. There are several ways to approach the spell, but they all want to kill it as quickly as possible. Important to note is that because she spawns a huge amount of familiars, an arbitrary cancel can cost you your items. On solo Youmu, you can not have more than 20 familiars on the screen (that's 2 of the explosions) without losing your items. The safe way to do this spell is to cancel the pattern when she starts a new cycle (she cycles through shooting 1 explosion, then 3 and then 5 is rapid succession). 1 Explosion is always safe and it's impossible to mess up the cancel. The problem with that cancel is, however, that it's slower first of all. You lose more spell bonus by doing that. Secondly, if you're allowed 2 explosions, then doing only 1 is obviously also a time loss. The, to my knowledge, optimal way of cancelling this pattern is finishing it at the end of the 2nd cycle, during the 5 explosion phase. After the third explosion disappears, you're left not only with all the bullets from the explosions but also still have 2 explosions left over. Cancelling at that specific timing gives you the biggest bullet cancel, a better time cancel, and you have higher spell bonus since you didn't wait for 3-4 seconds doing nothing. I don't think I would recommend this for people starting out but definitely for higher level play. It's been a long time since I made a direct comparison but if I remember correctly, the score gain was about 7-8m overall. The yellow cancel alone is over 3m more score; not to mention the spell bonus and extra time. How much extra score you gain is obviously dependent on timing though. You will, however, never score lower with this strat. The bullet cancel will always be bigger.

Possessed by Phoenix is pretty straightforward. Shoot unfocused for phase 1, graze the arrowheads for phase 2 and then shoot unfocused again for the rest of the spell. Trying to optimize the time gain from shooting is very difficult. It's the kind of difficulty that you will not see unless you have played this yourself. There are three things that can go wrong for time gain (besides getting hit). The first one is that is exclusive to Youmu: You don't control your option well. Not controlling it well means you're shooting the same target as your main shot. Avoid this at all costs. If you're slowly moving down, then allow the option to trails in front of you (so it shoots the familiars behind the one your main shot is hitting). The second one is the transition between phase 1 and 2. You want to be at 30% exactly when the arrowheads start coming out. This is very difficult to time. You can not just start focusing at xx seconds, because the amount of time flowing into your character will never be exactly the same, considering that your option control plays part in it. The third problem is the reverse of the second. Going back to full human from full youkai. While it's hard to miss it, it's easy to do it too early and lose some graze because of that. These are mostly small things but on a survival that doesn't have a spell cap, and doesn't count down, missing 10 graze can already be felt in the resulting spell bonus. 

Hourai Doll is a really good final spell. Too bad it's not the actual last attack though. It starts out easy and piles up the pressure very nicely. Not in an overwhelming way, though. You always have full control. If you die, it's always your fault. Everything you want to graze is aimed at your hitbox upon spawn. That means the red and blue balls are aimed at you long before they start to move. Keeping that in mind is important if you want to optimize this. The yellow rice is random so that's what's going to kill you if you do get hit. There's two ways to start grazing this spell. It's a decision you make at the start: by going up or down you grazing the way the balls fly at you. I prefer going down but I don't think it makes a real difference. Visualizing the pattern in my head, it feels like going down should be better but it might just be my imagination; I haven't tested this, after all.
Incidentally, I specified that it's a really good final spell because it's only good in runs. It's really annoying to practice, because you have to go through the start of the pattern every time before you get to the part you actually need practice for. I don't really do any practice on it for that reason and it really showed in my grazing here. Normally you'd expect about 3000 graze from this attack, but I didn't even manage 2650. In my defense, this was the first run since 2016 that got here, but it's still a huge score loss that should be avoided in the future. 

The last spell of this extra is also the hardest pattern in the category (with my route). Runs in the past used a very rudimentary and quite safe route to graze the spell to some degree but not to point where it would be particularly risky. It used to be your average graze you do in all sorts of categories. IS is maybe slightly unique in the sense that it doesn't repeat itself in any way, but that's really it.
In 2016, sometimes in spring I believe, the pattern was revamped by st and coco, two incredibly skilled players for the lower difficulties of IN. They turned what used to be a relatively basic pattern into something actually really fun. But this fun came at the cost of consistency. They also caused IS to become an incredibly difficult pattern, second only to the dumb strat on xufu that no one does. But even then, it's workable. Both coco and st had spell captures ranging from 44m to 46m. They worked out the route for the spell, but didn't optimize it greatly. Event he magic team capture is only 45m (46 was scarlet team). After properly learning the route I realized this and took it upon myself to try and squeeze out more than they did. As is well known, I succeeded in raising the spell bonus for this spell to 50m with Youmu, and more is possible. I have ideas for this spell. But these route changes would make it harder, if they work out so I don't want to mess with my consistency on this just yet. Obviously, using my current route for this spell is unnecessary at most levels. If you're just learning the stage, getting a cap itself is good enough. You will always get some time from the graze. 
Trying to explain the way to move in this would be completely silly, so check out a replay if you wish to. Both ASL's and my replay from 2016 use the easier route. Watch my shitty TAS if you want to see the full route for this attack. Or my uploaded 50m capture. Both work. This run doesn't work, naturally, since I failed the attack. The failure cost more 66m-67m score. It was a truly tragic event that is actually quite likely to repeat itself, but maybe in a different fashion. My caprate on this attack is just over 25%, so on average I need to get 4 runs this far to actually finish with a capture. I had hoped to luck out on it (like I did in 2016 with my old PB, even if the route was easier then), but it wasn't meant to be a lucky first try. 

With my current route, a projected NMFS (with 1 bomb on the final non spell) should be somewhere between 3.24b to 3.26b. If the run is below average, 3.23b is also possible, but higher is unlikely. I am missing a fair number of strats that I should be using to gain a higher score. Even 3.26b is incredibly unlikely and requires a great run overall. But by definition, most runs will average out in the end. 

By no means is what I posted in these last two posts everything there is to the extra stage, and playing is sometimes the only way to actually find out how things work, but I hope that this is comprehensible enough to help get people started, should they find interest in the extra stage. If you are reading this, it means you most likely know either my twitter account or my discord, so feel free to dm if about any questions you may have about this category. I'll answer as best as I can.

Thanks for reading. That's all this time. Next update will be the 3.2b run. When it will be, I don't know, however.

Mittwoch, 22. Juni 2022

Personal best update and scoring guide (part 1)


If you are reading this blog, then you most likely already know that on the 21st of June 2022, the world record for Imperishable Night extra with solo Youmu was updated for the first time in well over six years. The improvement came at the price of a failed spell, namely I failed the final spell, Imperishable Shooting. I will take you through the run while listing what went well and what didn't. 

The run starts as it always does with the furballs followed by the first cancel of the stage. The furballs have some variance in graze, but overall doesn't matter too much. Over 3200 graze is okay, 3300 would be good but the difference in actual score is tiny. 100 graze in the clear bonus is only 100,000 score; and since you graze in full human, it's only about 33 graze difference, which doesn't even add up to 100,000 score. Plus star items are worth only 25 extra score with 100 graze difference. Truly negligible. This run had 3270.

The first cancel is a frame perfect cancel. Hitting the best frame is not important, however. Optimal time after killing the first fairy is about 750, here I got 575. It's a bigger than 100 time difference but resetting over something this seems silly. For most of the run, and for simplification, you may calculate that 100 time equals 1 million score. the value changes over the course of the run but this is a good benchmark to remember. 
The important part for this cancel is that you want to kill the left fairy only and collect its items at maximum value. Collecting above the PoC line in full human gives double score for point items (both big and small). The right fairy needs to be alive because you gain more time by killing it by using the big fairy that spawns as you collect the items of the fairy you just killed. Doing this instead of killing the 2 fairies together is about 300 time you gain extra. There is one more important thing to keep in mind, however: You do not want to kill the big fairy immediately. If you did kill it instantly after the second fairy of the first cancel, you would end up gaining no time whatsoever. The reason being that you just cancelled out bullets from the large fairy with the smaller one, hence cancelling the big fairy means you don't cancel that many bullets less. This is clearly no optimal so you want to delay the kill of the large fairy by a second. I had good timing this run, but it wasn't perfect. maybe .2 seconds or so later would have yielded a bit more time, but if you get about 1000 time from the first large fairy of the stage, the cancel was acceptable.

What follows are two more large fairies. This section is easy to survive, but incredibly difficult to time properly. Probably people would call this deceptively difficult. You want to delay killing each of these two fairies too, but the issue here is that delaying the second large fairy for too long will mean you cancel bullets from the third fairy, which in turn loses time for that fairy. These large fairies have a very small window where they spawn a lot of bullets that don't move away from the fairies immediately. The kill timing is instantly after they finish firing the volley. This is true for both of these fairies. Very good timings give 1150-1200 time each. My timings in this run were not great. The second fairy gave just over 1100 time, which is fine. The third only net me just over 1000, which means I killed it too early.

The final fairy of this section is the same type as the previous three but the kill timing is different. The reason for this is obviously that more furballs spawn and they shoot a lot of bullets. Optimal timing for this cancel almost hits the item cap, but my timing this run was mediocre and didn't even hit 2000 time. Best timing for it is when the bullet is already filled with pellets, and then you want to time the kill in a way that you cancel right as another wave of pellets is being shot, basically cancelling all of those bullets. What is important to note, however, is that the furballs can run away if you do not pay attention to your option. This would cause you to miss an item. It doesn't necessarily sound like a big deal but a lower item count means that every time orb is worth 10 score less (taking effect every 2nd item). with over 120,000 time orbs gained, it's an unnecessary score loss. You should have 100 items after killing everything here. 

After that is the first of 3 extremely tight cancels, but this one may be the easiest one to understand and do. It starts with three fairies each shooting a blue burst of bullets (I will be numbering them from left to right 1, 3 and 5; 2 and 4 are the ones that spawn in later). You want to misdirect the bursts of bullets near the right bottom corner. For an optimal cancel, you have to damage fairy 3 and 5 with you option and main shot. This has two reasons, which I will explain shortly. The bursts of bullets follow the line of familiars the fairies shoot, so once the direction is determined, you have to move under fairy 1. You want to kill fairy one just as the bursts of blue balls spawn. This is the same effect as in the main game. Many of your have seen it before - if the timing is correct, you gain a thicker cloud of time orbs (as in, you gain more time orbs). This applies to the extra cancels as well. Because there's less cancels overall and less bullets than on lunatic, the effect is less pronounced, but it's absolutely vital for good time gains nonetheless. 
This cancel has the spawn timing cancel twice. This first kill is the first one. As you kill fairy 1, fairies 2 and 4 spawn in and shoot bursts of red bullets. Ideally you want to have those aimed somewhat near the middle of the screen but I'm terrible so they're always aimed to the left. You want to kill fairy 3 and 5 at the same time. The second spawn timing is here. Fairy 3 (and fairy 5) spawns 5 familiars in a fan shape here. You want to shoot the familiars and kill fairy 3 and 5 as the red bursts spawn in. This is extremely difficult to time correctly as you only hit the familiars of the fairies, which only transmit 50% of your total damage dealt back to the fairy. Shooting the familiar also means you may destroy them if your damage control was not adequate when this cancel started. Timing the first kill is pretty easy, but this second one is one I miss almost every time. I missed it here as well, being just barely slow with the kill. There is not much to pay attention to when killing fairy 2 and 4, outside of not destroying their familiars. All in all, this set of kills may gain you up to 2400 time if everything was timing correctly and the misdirection of the bullets is orderly. I gained about 2150 time here, so the mistiming is evident. I also destroyed two familiars. 

Once you take care of the first set of cancels, 2 sets of furballs spawn in. They do absolutely nothing for you so not letting them spawn any bullets is optimal as far as risk and reward is concerned. You gain 88 time total. Consistent at least.

Now comes the 5 fairy cancel. This one is not as straightforward as the 3 + 2 cancel from before, but the same principles apply. As all fairies spawn at once, you only have to misdirect the bursts once, but you also have to damage more fairies at the start. The ones you want to damage at 1, 2, 3 and 5. Fairy 5 is damaged by your main shot, as you direct the bursts near the right corner once again. Optimal aim is not exactly in the corner but slightly left of it. The way to damage fairies 1, 2 and 3 is to aimed your option between fairies 2 and 3 (with a 1 trail of bullets of the option hitting fairy 2, and 2 trails hitting fairy 3) and as the fairies take aim, you swipe your option in a way that you are able of dealing damage to fairies 1 and 2. you move immediately to kill fairies 1 and 2. The timing for this is difficult because you absolutely do not want to kill them at the same time, but rather after one another. The timing is as follows: Fairy 2 optimally dies first, taking the purple bullets they shot, but before the bursts spawned in at the familiar positions. Fairy 1 is the fairy that gains the spawn time. As fairy 2 dies, the bursts spawn in and you want to kill fairy 1 with such timing that you gain the full spawn time. This is difficult to do properly as you need to have dealt correct damage to both fairies beforehand. I nailed the timing in this run.
once you kill fairies 1 and 2, you move on to fairies 3 and 5. They again shoot out familiars in a fan shape and you again want to kill them without destroying familiars. This time the timing is not so important because every bullet is already long spawned it. I destroyed 1 familiar on each fairy so it wasn't perfect. Fairy 4 is, much like fairy 2 and 4 before, just a simply kill. Don't be dumb and kill familiars. The total time you can gain from this 5 fairy cancel is just under 2700 time; in this run I gain just over 2500 time, which was caused by destroying the familiars on fairy 3 and 5 as well as not misdirecting the bursts optimally.

More furballs. They shoot pellets again, which you graze at the top. The total graze is not as much as the start of the stage, but it's still over 2000 graze. The most important part of this gain is for the star items. Aiming the option downwards kills everything, but being careless will cause your gauge to be messed up so paying attention is advised. You lose half the value for items as well as lower graze (on the counter) if you're not full human. 

The last cancel before the midboss is the only 8 fairy cancel of the stage. And quite frankly, I don't fully understand how I'm supposed to gain optimal time (about 3600 time). While you direct the aimed bursts in the bottom right corner before, you have the fairies shoot towards the left side of the screen here. The hard parts of this cancel are the damage control and well as the timing and the positioning (this is everything). The positioning is somewhat tricky because you once again want to gain the spawn cancel. That means if you're too high up on the screen the familiars will leave the screen too early and you don't gain the best cancel because less than optimal numbers of familiars are being cancelled. If you're too low, however, the bullet spawn overtakes the the familiar lines. This is not a problem on the previous cancels so much because the fairies spawn in a lot lower than here. So getting the balance between the two right is already fairly tricky. next is the damage control. In this cancel, you do not actually kill all 8 fairies, as not every fairy spawns a second set of familiars (which is weird but ok). The fairies you kill are fairy 1, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8. 
The way damage control works here is that you damage fairies 6, 7 and 8 with your option (and mildly damage fairy 1 with your main shot, but only the 1 bullet that's on the right of the main part of the shot). You then move in a way that the option trails among the fairies until the option lands on fairy 3. It is at that moment that you move towards the right of the screen to kill fairies 6, 7 and 8. The relationship between fairy 6 and 7 is the same as previously with fairy 1 and 2, where fairy 6 gets right of the purple bullets and fairy 7 gains the spawn cancel. Fairy 8 is whatever, but getting the damage and as a consequence the timing right on all fairies here is extremely difficult. Once these 3 are dead, you move below fairy 3, without stopping to shoot so that fairy 5 takes some damage as you pass under it. If damage control was perfect, then fairies 1, 3 and 5 should die at the same time, taking with them the mass of bullets that were spawned. This is again tricky as you damage control needs to be perfect in order to not destroy familiars. I got rid of a whole lot of them this run, netting me a total of about 3000 time for this cancel. my time entering Keine is 14,194 (after getting a little bit of time from shooting her as she enters the screen). This should be about average but considering how terrible my cancels are usually, this is slightly above average for me.

The extra boss in this stage has three spells and no non spells. Of those three spells, all of them are being milked for graze. The first spell, Old History, is easily the most consistent of the three patterns. As you start in full human, the first thing you need to do is to transition to full youkai. The best way to do this with solo Youmu is to shoot the boss until she spawns her first set of familiars. You then angle your shot to hit the two familiars near you and focus. As Youmu's option deals double damage, and therefore gains more time, if shooting a different target as the main shot, the time that lingers on the boss before being sucked in as well as the time from the two familiars being shot will be enough to bring you to 30 % gauge. 
The graze itself is quite simple. You start below Keine, position yourself next to the lane so all the teal rice misses and and then stream the arrowheads to the right and upwards towards the familiar that spawns on the far right. At this point, the teal arrowheads spawn again. You now spin around the familiar and stream the red arrowheads back into the middle. You repeat this pattern until the time nearly runs out (cancel is on 4 seconds or so). If done properly, this should net a total of about 4000 time and around 30m SCB; it's likely that it will be slightly lower though, like 29.7m. 
The alternative strat for this spell is to just shoot it unfocused; as in the strat ASL uses in his PB. It gains far less time and score in the long run, but your spell bonus will be higher and it saves time. Considering that ASL has a score of over 3.1b, clearly it's viable until that level. Do keep in mind that what I do gains 13-15m more score overall, however. Doing what my old PB does is not recommended. It's actually somewhat RNG based. You are high enough that the arrowheads may catch you after a tarp depending on how they spawn. It causes resets that aren't the player's fault and can become quite irritating. 

Returning Bridge, or Ichijo, is the first really hard section of the category that will cause a plethora of resets all on its own. It may also be the first graze a new player to this category learns, but since it has a lot of variance, it's viable even at lower level scoring, particularly because its difficulty is highly dependent on how much graze you want to gain. Even at graze numbers as low as 1500, it's a net gain in score and definitely approachable. It does get incredibly difficult once you hit the 2800 mark with Youmu, though, which is about as much as I'd want from it currently. 
The pattern itself is static but starts with a random orientation. That is to say, there are several way the start of the attack can go and some rotations are easier to graze and are worth more. This is only really important for practice scoring, but important to keep in mind if you want to optimize this spell. The pattern I got in my run is actually one of the worst to graze. The main goal for Ichijo grazing is to stick to the ball. Optimal and very risky would be to never move away from it, but that will eventually turn into effective luckshit. There are three phases to this patterns and you do each of them twice (the first and the final pattern are very short, however). 
Think of the lanes in Ichijo in groups. 1 group being 4 lanes that converge on the ball. Phase 1 of the graze has you sidestep the middle lanes. Doing it to the right is better than to the left; the pattern slowly moves clockwise on its own axis so moving against the grain is easier. This first phase is, as I said very short because you want to move over to phase 2, the most profitable phase, as soon as possible. This one has you move along the ball while evading the aimed bubbles Keine shoots at you. The most effective way of dodging the bubbles depends on where you are in the pattern. If you're on the left, you move towards the right against the grain and jump over 2 groups of lanes, since the pattern is slowly moving into the direction where the bubbles currently is. If you're on the right, you move with the grain and jump 1 lane of the pattern, since you're moving with the grain, you leave the bubble being without issue. You extend this phase for as long as possible for best graze. You're doing if wrong if you can see you character's head. It needs to disappear in the ball. The third phase is the worst phase for grazing because you actively move away from the ball. The way this phase works is that you move down between the 2 middles lanes of a group. You quickly want to move on back to phase one, and then again to phase 2. Phase three comes up once more for the final three seconds of the attack. The highest known graze on this pattern is 3069 but I was assured that 3200 graze was possible if you're being reckless. I believe it. My graze here was quite low at 2705.

The third spell is a lot denser than the first spell but it looks similar. Here, you also start at full human. This spell has twice as many familiars per wave than the first spell, which allows you to gain a lot more time in the same time frame. The optimal positioning for the start of the spell is being below the two familiars to the right (the pattern is mirrored so you could also start of the left), and hitting both of them with 1 lane of your main shot. Your option should be angled in a way that you also hit the two familiars on the left. Once you focus, you should turn full youkai immediately. Youmu's time gain when shooting multiple familiars is honestly a bit disgusting. As for the pattern itself, you will want to graze it. The easy way is what ASL and I did in my old PB: You start at the bottom and move up a bit. This means you won't graze two lanes at all times. What I do is start higher up. This removes and hard visual cues and you mostly have to rely on gut feeling whether the height you chose will kill you or not. But it's mostly consistent I swear. There are soft cues you can use, like the teal rice pattern, which is static. Either way, you stream the red rice at an upwards angle. Be careful as the streaming here can be somewhat tight. It's also possible to be easily caught if your taps are too small. And if your starting height for the wave was wrong, you will get hit by one of the teal rice bullets on the way. Before resetting the position to prepare for the next wave, you go to sniff Keine's skirt for moral support. Right down the middle, stick your head between her legs. It gives extra graze somehow. There are seven waves total on this pattern and it gains about 15m over the old PB. Important gain.

I exit Keine with 31,351 time.  This is lower than average because of the fairly terrible Ichijo but it's acceptable nonetheless. Honestly, anything is acceptable if it doesn't get hit. For the section with the furballs, I just stick to the top left corner and kill everything with my option. Youmu is quite versatile. 

The first cancel in the 2nd half of the stage portion is the same as the first cancel in the first half. There are some important differences, however. The first one being that you are now at full power. The second one being that you have a choice in how to handle this cancel: There are two viable strategies the player can use for this cancel. The first one is the easier, more consistent one. It involves killing the two fairies at the same time. if done perfectly, they would yield about 1000 time. The second strategy would be killing just the left fairy (as you do at the start) and killing the right fairy when the first large fairy of the section spawns. This, too, is somewhat mirrored from the start of the stage. There is an important difference between the two sections, however: If you choose to pick the second strategy, you have to purposefully delay killing the large fairy that just spawned in. The reason for that is that if you do not do that, the freshly cancelled bullets (using the small fairy you left over) would already be cancelled, and as a result, would not be accounted for in the cancel of the large fairy. That means that if you kill the large fairy immediately, you just utilized a riskier strategy for absolutely zero gain. 
By delaying the kill, you allow bullets to spawn first. The fairy is already damaged so a kill without destroying familiars is possible. But because the kill was delayed, the next fairy is already on screen before the first large fairy is dead. But it is entirely possible to destroy all 4 large fairies without destroying a single familiar. 
With the first strategy of killing both small fairies together, you can get about 6000 time this section, but only if everything is perfect. More common is something like 5700 to 5800 time. With the second method, up to 6500 is possible, but 6100 to 6200 is more common. I used the second method, but only unintentionally. I hadn't intended to use it but failed to kill the fairy on the right and the only way to not just lose time was to go for the riskier strategy here. It didn't go particularly well, as I started with a very weak cancel (only about 400 time, instead of the wanted 700) and destroyed 4 familiars. This meant my time gain was actually the same as if I had just done it normally (about 5800). Unfortunate result. Over 37,000 time at this point is decent enough, though. 

There isn't very much to say about the next section. The jellybeans is a pure item collection section. Each set of color has 24 point items in them, and there's a total of 6 sets, for 144 items overall. I think the only shot that can actually get them all is Marisa/Magic, because the master spark lasts for 12 years and kill everything, although I think even master spark misses some. In total it's (theoretically) possible to enter Mokou with 689 items. 
For the first and second set (teal and green) you can follow the fairies as they spawn and collect every items for 48. The third set is blue and it's the set where most fairies are lost because the spawns are literally satan and they fuck off in less than 2 seconds. In this run I only get 11 out of 24 items from this section. My best is 15 or 16, so obviously I missed a lot but 11 isn't unusually low. The purple jellybeans are pretty famous for killing solo Youmu players. Most shot bomb during blue, at the end of blue or at the start of purple, but Youmu's option allows her to save the bomb and gain decent items by angling the option to the other side of the screen. Do this well and you will collect many items. I collected 15 here, which was decent I think. Unfortunately, Youmu is incapable of collecting all 24 items from this section because the fairies disappear too quickly, much like for the blue part, and the fairies in the front can block your shot so the fairies in the back leave the screen. You can minimize this only through angling it just right. The thing to pay attention to here is that you do not start this purple section too high, otherwise you will die by ramming the teal that spawn afterwards. Starting just below the PoC is good. You move up a tiny bit twice: Once shortly before the first jelly bean is about to hit you and the 2nd time once every fairy left the screen, to make sure you don't die by walking into some stray jellybean. The following teal and green sections are the same as before. With 13 missed on blue, and 9 missed on purple, I missed a total of 22 items, which is overall average. 

The next section is another 5 fairy cancel, similar to the one in the first half of the stage. There is once important difference now, though: The fairies have less health, so performing the necessary damage control is actually a complete nightmare. If you deal with this the same way as you do at the start of the stage, you'll just kill fairies number 3 and 5 and lose an assload of time. I generally prefer mucking up the cancel by having a late kill on fairy 1, which means I don't get the thicker cloud of time orbs, but at least I can kill everything. Nicking Fairy 3 and 5 is all I usually do. You misdirect the aimed bursts just as you did before and kill fairy 1 and 2. There's one important difference here compared to the first cancel, though. You move right a bit more to actually damage fairy 4 before the 3 remaining fairies shoot their 2nd set of familiars. Damaging fairy 4 in this way allows you to actually kill it without destroying almost all of its familiars. it's an easy to miss movement if you're watching the replay but makes a difference of over 150 time compared to not doing it. You now kill fairy 3 and 5 while cancelling leftover bullets. Be careful, however. The final death fairy of the stage will already have spawned at this point and if you didn't damage fairy 3 enough, it will hide behind that final fairy. If that happens, you lose the items it carries - which is 12 - and might as well reset. Do be mindful of that. Kill fairy 4 as leftover, just like with the 5 fairy cancel in the first half. Go to the right side of the screen to PoC, there are still gaps not filled by the death fairy there. Move down towards the middle after.
This time was actually surprisingly perfect; might just have been the first time I got time this high from the cancel. I destroyed a comparatively small number of familiars (they have less health too compared to first half familiars), so the time gain could have been higher, but I timed everything perfectly. 

The final fairy of the stage is a fairy with a fair bit of health. You can't particularly time the cancel as it spawns its maximum amount of bullets. The pattern is static. Moving left and right between the appearing gaps is consistent. It has a total of 17 familiars, and they are sturdy familiars. That means you can angle your option for extra time if you dare. it's about 200 extra. The problem with doing that is that more bullets spawn, and the timing of the kill becomes awkward as you have to make a final dodge as the time is being sucked in. If you focus tap that dodge, you will end up above full human and can't collect the items the fairy drops at maximum value. It's 40 items. With the extra time, you gain 2400 time from the fairy; regular kill is 2200 time. I always do the regular kill, simply because it's more consistent. 

I entered the boss fight with 667 items, 11283 graze, 42663 time and just over 800m score. The time is a bit above average, which helped my score a bit; 800m score is rather difficult but not a rarity anymore. The items are, as I mentioned before, average. The graze differences entering the boss are fairly inconsequential, it's usually just over 11000, as it is here. 

To be continued in part 2, the boss fight.

Sonntag, 12. Juni 2022

Progress report

There has been no progress as far as a new personal best is concerned. But that doesn't mean that no progress at all has been made since the last post almost 2 years ago.

In early 2020 I made the bold exclamation that I won't be able to PB before fall 2021 and while that was not incorrect, it was still far too short a time frame. I don't dare make an assumption as to how long I will need to get 3.2b, but it won't be short.

What this post is about is that while I have no finished a clean run, I have improved significantly both in terms of optimization as well as in consistency. As it turns out, Keine's first spell is quite easy now, and has no RNG anymore. Keine's third spell is not as had as initially thought and I have a capture rate of about 60% on it. My cancels have also gotten marginally better. My averages for the grazing have overall improved - on some spells quite significantly. Most notable is probably Returning Bridge, but also Xufu and Honest Man's Death. I also die less to things like the second non spell spins. 

I now make it to Mokou a few times per session. Unfortunately the improved play doesn't mean the runs get very far most of the time. Overall I still have work to do on my consistency for the early fight. Optimally I should make it to Xufu on 80% of the runs that get to Mokou. Right now it's closer to 30-40% so a good deal of practice - or an insane amount of runs that get this far - is required in order to minimize pointless failures.

In light of my consistency improvements (even if it doesn't sound like it), I opted out of altering the route any further as to not add more resets. Several improvements have been found, and some of those are monumental. Xufu has a route with currently unknown potential, but it is known to be able to get at least 16,000 time, which is 3,000 more than my current PB, as well as 1,500-2,000 more than my current averages. That means it's at least an improvement of 15m score at 16,000 time. Whether 16,000 is possible to be reached with some level of consistency or whether the average with the new route is gonna be significantly lower remains to be seen. Another such improvement is Returning Bridge. Despite what I said in 2020, 2,800 graze in a run is not unrealistic and is in fact about average for me now. About 1 in 3 runs that capture it are over 2,900 - which alone is about 7m score over my PB. There is a routing possibility that is incredibly risky but would allow for about 3,200 graze. Whether I want to learn that is not something I've decided yet, though. This largely depends on where my next PB stands, and how much extra score I will need to squeeze out of the stage. 

As the route currently stands, a new PB should at least score 3.25b, which is already including the bomb I am going to use on the final non spell. I more than make up for that score loss on Keine alone and most of my actual score gain is on Mokou in theory. A lower score is of course always possible and would not be terrible, albeit grating. The reason it is not terribly tragic is because the end goal is, and has been, for a long time, a score of 3.3b. 

In my last posts I talked about how the extra stage had potential of over 3.3b but thought that it wasn't enough leeway to actually achieve that score. This is different now. After a lot of testing, calculating and strat finding, the potential of the stage is nearing 3.4b and that's definitely enough room to spare to achieve 3.3b. It's been a while since I did actual calculations but the last time I landed in the ballpark of 3.38b, which didn't include everything, partially because other minor improvements were found in the meantime, but also because calculating score gains for grazes I haven't practiced a lot is difficult - such as the Xufu route mentioned above, or the double lane graze on Mokou's first non spell (I mean this). There are also thing I have thought about, but haven't looked into. For example, I have some ideas, for example concerning revamping parts of the Imperishable Shooting route to make 50m spell bonus more common. There are some things I don't think I can improve further compared to my practice results, such as Honest Man's Death or a variety of Mokou's more simple spells (like the first three, or Woo and Phoenix Tail). Basically, I already have a route envisioned for 3.3b, but do not want to make the jump immediately. Whether this is the correct choice or not is not something I know but is probably something most people would agree with. 

For the current route, the main improvements are on Xufu, Honst Man's Death and Imperishable Shooting, as well as Keine's third spell. More minor improvements will be Keine's first spell, Returning Bridge and just about every spell Mokou has that spawns familiars. Yes, I'm serious. For instance, I can gain almost 500 time on the first spell, as well as higher spell bonus (up to 1.5m). The only spell where such a gain is not possible is Woo. If I add all the possible scores together for these spells, it adds up to about 20m. Free score to be gained everywhere. Incidentally, this is not consistent, but it's also possible to get some extra on Possessed by Phoenix. The spell bonus can go to almost 54m if your shooting and grazing are both flawless. My PB gets 52.7m, so another minor improvement possible, but not forced by any means. 

To sum it up, all this means that my current route is significantly harder than what I did in 2016, but is not as hard as possible. This will be a 2 step journey, with each step raising the second digit of the score by 1. With the help of some other IN players, I was able to raise the potential of this stage to a point where I think 3.3b is humanly realistic. I am grateful to all the Nameless IN players of this world. I don't know when I will PB again, much less achieve a score of 3.3b, but I will try for as long as it takes (probably).

Also there's plans of IN lunatic between 3.2b and 3.3b and who knows what else I might want to play but that's not relevant just yet. Thanks for reading

Donnerstag, 3. September 2020

Further route improvements & analysis

I continue to play Imperishable Night extra with Youmu. Compared to April, the route has not changed that much but some potential changes and actual changes were found and made. 
Let's start chronologically in the stage:

 It is possible to enter the midboss with about 3,000 graze more than what I currently do. I don't graze these bullets for cancel convenience, but doing so would be a fairly significant improvement in the route, as this is before even the first boss pattern in the stage. I did the math before, looking at how many bullets each pattern has and we're looking at 7m-8m score improvement, more or less. This is obviously not accurate as cancels will be different here and there since the amount of bullets when you cancel a pattern doesn't always have the same amount of bullets onscreen. The improvement in undeniable however. Doing it would increase the number of resets tremendously though, so I opted out of it for my current goal. 

Next up we have Keine's first spell. In the last blog post I mentioned how I hadn't been able to find an improvement for it. This changed not long after. The improvement seems fairly small with 50-80 extra graze, but this is deceptive. This small graze improvement gains me 2m-3m score, due to the extra time gained keeping the spell bonus of the spell higher than it would otherwise have been. On a spell like Xu Fu or Honest Man's Death where you cap the spell bonus either way, this kind of gain isn't very large but for both Keine's first and her third spell, this doesn't apply. This new strat is also more consistent than the old one, even if it's harder in execution, because it removes the RNG element the spell had. You can find it here.

Next up is not a route improvement, but simply a vastly improved practice PB for Ichijou. Since 2015 (!) my practice PB for Keine's second spell was 2827 graze. Earlier this week however, I beat it and got 2892 graze on it. 65 graze doesn't sound like a lot but it's a significant improve at that level and also confirms that 2900 is definitely possible; something of which I wasn't certain before. This raises the theoretical maximum of the stage by roughly 2m score. I have uploaded it on Youtube as well. Additionally, I personally feel like my average went up its fair share, albeit my consistency suffers a bit in return. I'll have to practice this a bit more extensively in the near future so both things work out for me.

The last improvement I have to note since the last blog entry is that I managed to break 50m spell bonus for Imperishable Shooting. This is already some time back, and I have beaten that first 50m already, with my current highest spell bonus being 50,080,000. You can watch my first 50m replay here.

What follows is not actual improvements but rather some analysis I did on some things. I'm putting this here mostly for documentation purposes as I don't think this is particularly interesting to most people.

The first thing I want to talk about is xu fu. I've mentioned before that it is an incredibly difficult pattern to optimize. This obviously hasn't changed but for a long time I hadn't actually looked at the pattern more closely. It turned out that my practice PB (the only replay I have that is over 15,000 time) ends up making larger strides than I anticipated, also on parts I didn't expect. This replay is also 5 years old at this point and the break I took starting in 2017 certainly didn't help my memory. Armed with this new (old?) knowledge, I can try and aim for a much higher average, I believe. This may have felt obvious but knowing how much the grazing can be stretched per cycle is actually quite important and I had apparently forgotten. 

The last thing I want to talk about is not in regards to a specific pattern but in regards to Youmu's time gain in attacks where Mokou's phoenix has a hitbox. Technically speaking, in those attacks, Mokou has three separate hitboxes, two of which do not have a collision box. These are the two wings and Mokou herself. However, what is important is how the damage is distributed and how the time gain work for these when shooting unfocused. I wanted to find out which way of shooting those three hitboxes would end up gaining the most time. The reason this might be problematic on Youmu is that her option deals half damage when hitting the same target as the main shot, which leads to lower time gain as that's tied to damage dealt to a target. My testing ended up suggesting that shooting the wings gains the most time, but that it also makes no difference whether both shot hit the same wing or whether I angle the option and hit the other wing with it. The time gained was identical. If my testing was accurate (which I believe it was), that means that the wings and Mokou are all linked in terms of damage/time gain, rather then being entirely disconnected hitboxes from each other. This is different from familiars, who have their own health, which in turn in linked to the boss HP. A familiar having their own health means that Youmu's option deals double damage to it, gaining more time. This not being the case with the wings is an incredibly important discovery because that means angling Youmu's shot if there are no familiars on the other wing is pointless and just makes it unnecessarily harder. Additionally, getting more time by shooting the wings rather than Mokou herself is proof that Mokou takes less damage from her wings, but the difference in time game is not nearly as large as it is for familiars. A familiar transmit 50% of the damage it takes to the boss, whereas the wings transmit I assume 75%. 

This discovery means that shooting angled on attacks like Flying Phoenix or the final three non spells, which all spawn no familiars at all, gains no score compared to just hitting one side of the wing. This is obviously different for spells like Iwakasa or Phoenix Tail, which have familiar spawns. The pattern I tested it on was the final non spell, and instead of ~700 time, I gained just under 900 time. This means potentially ~600 more time from the final three non spells at a high level. This is significant at a level higher than what I play, and will play a role in the future if someone tries to get a score of 3.3b. 

As it stands right now, the theory maximum of this stage lies somewhere between 3.33b and 3.35b. I'd have to do the math for something more precise, but this is not quite enough leverage to get to 3.3b itself, unfortunately; even at the high end of 3.35b. I will continue to play and hopefully raise the potential of this extra.

Thanks for reading.

Freitag, 10. April 2020

Past the point of stupid

To the two people maybe reading this: you're good guys, but you waste a lot of time checking dead websites.

So my last blog post was almost three years ago. It wasn't long after that I ended up quitting Touhou altogether. I indeed ended up never PBing again, which means that even to this day, my Imperishable Night extra PB is standing at 3.15b. It is, at the same time, for some reason still the world record.

In February of this year, I restarted playing with the only category I really know - Imperishable Night extra. There have been numerous improvements in routing since January 2016, and even more improvements since I restarted two months ago. As it stands right now, the theoretical maximum score for Youmu should lie somewhere between 3.31b and 3.32b. I don't doubt that this will go higher eventually. Maybe in some years someone will actually produce a run that scores that high - when grazing is more optimized, spell strategies are improved and stage routes are better than they are now. 

However, this is not my goal. Right now, I'm simply looking to improve the world record by just over 40m, meaning I want to get a score that lies in the 3.2b range. This is definitely possible as I've improved on many things and the only place where I should notably lose score is Keine's second spell Ichijou as that was simply incredible in my PB. What I want to do with this blog entry is take everyone reading this through a potential run that would not die anywhere. I may also describe the reason for the improvement if it's worth mentioning.

 I'll start by saying that the eventual score could be anywhere from just barely reaching 3.2b to as high as 3.24b, depending on how well things go.

We start the stage with some pretty boring stuff, the furballs, the frame perfect cancel I never hit and the big fairies. Afterwards, however, we have three of the hardest cancels in all of Imperishable Night. The thing is that in the extra, familiar killing isn't a huge issue compared to the main game - unless you're playing at a high level, or in my case try to. The two five fairy cancels and the ten fairy cancel all combine very precise damage control, timing and positioning. The ten fairy cancel in might just be the most complicated and precise cancel in all of Touhou that isn't just RNG based. I never counted frames on these cancels so I don't want to name some random frame numbers. Just know that the window for the best cancel is not only dependent on the right frames but also your positioning. If your position is bad, then their spawning bullets will have an awkward angle, which will translate into less time for your cancel. This reason for that is, despite the familiars coming in at the same angle, is that you have only a small window in which you can actually cancel those bullets with the slightly trailing familiars (they're shot at the same time but the bullets' spawn movement is much faster). That means that your positioning needs to be far away from the fairies that you want to kill for clearing the clusters, but you can't just sit in the corner. Because for all three cancels, you want to basically cancel out the remaining clusters with the second waves of familiars shot. Important to note that if you damage control was not on point here, you will break familiars and greatly reduce the potential time gain. With teams, this can obviously be mitigated as you can just bypass the familiars but doing the cancels in human form is optimal. If every cancel up to Keine was absolutely perfect, I estimate Youmu could gain anywhere from 15,100 to 15,300 time. This will basically never be reached but it should be noted. The world record gets 13,800 time entering the mid boss, so this is a big point of improvement. you can calculate about a million score gain per 100 time for this point. As the cancels are overall pretty difficult, I usually end up with less than 14,300. 

Keine's first spell has actually not changed since 2016. I sometimes looked at it again to try and see if there was an improvement but I haven't been successful yet. Maybe I'll find something eventually but I don't think it would be a good idea anyway. It would just be connected with more precise positioning and repositioning. This extra stage is already tight enough as it is, if you ask me. This spell has basically no variance either so it should always give around the same amount of score. 

Keine's second spell obviously did not change either, but this time, there is a lot more variance to it. On a good day, I can match what I gained in my PB (over 2700 graze) but on bad days, I might go as low as 2450 or so. I already mentioned that this is where I will take a score loss, but not that big. My aim for this spell is around 2600 graze, more is welcome of course. This amount of score loss amounts to about 3.5m per 100 graze. That means if I mess up and get only 2500 graze, it's over 7m score lost compared to the world record. It's a very precise spell at that level. The important thing to note on this pattern is that it slowly rotates on itself, but there is some RNG involved in the starting position of the rotation. Some starting positions allow for very easy grazing (the one in the world record is basically optimal) and some are very hard to graze. This graze can be separated into three stages, if you will. Because the pattern rotates on itself, the way you have to move also changes slightly. You start out going into the gap between 2 lanes and 1 lane. I move to the right so the 2 lanes are on my left. This lasts only a very short time because the most profitable movement is what comes right after and I jump into it earlier than is recommended. In this phase you're basically moving along the ball of bullets. Basically that's where the graze is - the difference between 2500 and 2700 graze is how much time you spend hugging that ball. You want to do this as long as possible. You'll have to move out of the way of the bubbles that Keine shoots though. The final phase is going between the 2 lanes sets. This phase is worth the least because you spend the most time away from the ball. You want to try and keep that one very short. It is possible to get over 2800 graze on this spell, but I don't think that 2900 is very realistic for human play. Maybe with perfect movement or something. Incidentally, Youmu has an advantage on this pattern because you need the time gained from the graze to be able to push you to full human for the item collection. As Youmu goes from -50 to 50, instead of -100 to 100, this is much easier with her. If you're new to the extra stage and play a team, capping the spell 2-3 seconds earlier might be useful for the collection. Alternatively, you can use the time from the spell capture to give you full human, but it will obviously lose some spell bonus (and time, of course) on the following pattern.

Now for the black sheep of this mid boss. God, what have I done to this. Let me start by saying that this is one of the biggest improvements I have in this run and it's also a very consistent improvement that doesn't have a big graze fluctuation on a normal capture. What my PB does is very old at this point, but also incredibly easy. In 2016, t1100 showed an improvement worth about 10m to the spell, but it ended up being much harder. Basically they stream the jellybean bullets higher on the screen and therefore graze both streams of bullets, rather than just one as it used to be the case. This means that you have to reposition yourself every wave at a certain vertical height and you only have very weak visual cues like the moving pale rice bullets. However, as they are moving and seeing how you are not always moving the same, you will sometimes not have the correct height and die while streaming, which is why I consider the visual cue to be weak. At some point you develop an intuition of sorts as to what will work, but it's never truly consistent for that. Gut feeling can take you only so far. However, this was not all there was to the attack. It was in the end possible to improve it a bit more, which is what I did. In the section between positioning yourself for the streaming part of the spell, when Keine spawns the pale rice, I changed the route a little bit. Rather than just trying to almost touch all the small pillars, I try to sniff Keine's skirt. The area where I sit for just a little bit is quite small and disappears quickly. It is truly an improvement that fits into this extra stage thematically. I find that scoring in this extra can be summarized as very precise and this improvement is part of that now. It's become a very difficult spell and currently I'd put it on the same level of difficulty as Ichijou. It is probably harder to get a full timeout of this spell now than it is for Xu-Fu. It is not as difficult as Honest Man's Death or Imperishable Shooting though. My consistency on this may be worse right now but I'm much more practiced on the other extra spells. This spell now gains around 15m more score compared to the world record. If you have not seen the new spell route yet, I uploaded a video of it here

What follow is the second half of the stage portion, which is easier than the first half on a technical level. The only actually dangerous section here are the purple jelly bean fairies. With Youmu it is possible to collect a lot of items without using her bomb. In fact, Youmu has to since her bomb is pretty bad for this section. You can match the item gain from the bomb just by doing it without it. That means that sometimes you will die if you mess up the movement on this section. But normally this shouldn't be a problem once you have learned how to move. For those interested, hugging the fairies for the pale jelly beans is actually very easy. I will fail it once out of 500 times. That kind of easy. The part after is another five fairy cancel but these fairies have less health than the ones in the first half of the stage portion. Basically nicking them is all you need to do to set up your cancel. Be careful though, if you miss one of the fairies with items, you may as well reset your run. Sometimes the one second from the right will run away, but it fortunately doesn't carry any items. Nicking that one's health isn't easy, and it's more important to concentrate on the whole cancel, rather than that one fairy. The death fairy is static and always gives 2200 time. A good second half for the stage portion will yield about 11,000 time and 343+ items. Do remember that every 2 extra items increase every following time orb by 10 score. This may sound completely insignificant, but then also remember that I gain about 80,000 time orbs on Mokou. Together with the score from the item (about 900,000 in the second stage half) and the end game bonus (items * 50,000 * 2) makes every extra item worth almost 1.5m extra score on average, only actually taking effect with every 2nd extra item though. 

Now comes the boss fight. The opener is well known for spinning. A good opener will gain 4000 graze, but Youmu will not get all that in time because she starts at -50% gauge and first has to come to full youkai, which takes a bit longer than with a team or a solo youkai. Usually you can consider 3800 time to be successful. However, what is theoretically possible is to graze the wave you're usually grazing as well as grazing some of the bullets in front of you by dashing forward unfocused and then going back immediately to continue with the regular lane. This is not super difficult to do per se, but the problem here lies in the gauge control. Getting 4300 or 4400 graze with the strategy is possible and quite doable. But getting 4100 or 4200 time (minus 200 for the transition) is very difficult. So difficult in fact that I don't even consider it as a potential improvement. If I got a fantastic opener with this strat and gained 4400 graze with 4200 time gain, it would be an improvement of over 4m, maybe 5m. But more likely is that I'll gain that extra 400 graze at less than full youkai, so it's only like 1m extra score. A very tiny improvement considering you're risking your life with Youmu's unwieldy unfocused speed. Do note that this isn't trivial to do thanks to Mokou's hitbox. It's a vertically oriented rectangle that extends past her sprite. It's so large that it can kill you even in normal scoreplay. Always beware of fat bosses. 

Iwakasa is a very uneventful spell that a player with a high powered shot should have a capture rate of over 90% on. I angle my option to hit the familiars on the right for a time gain. If I remember correctly, it was actually 200 to 300 extra time compared to just shooting her as the world record does. Considering that the spell lasts insignificantly longer this way, this is basically a free improvement of about 1.5m-2m. 

The second non spell used to be an easy and free pattern but shortly after the current world record was set, it was suggested to me by Arf and Chirpy that I try spinning spinning it. At first I thought it was a stupid idea but as I fiddled around with the starting position and the pattern, I realized that this is actually a huge improvement. The spinning start above her and goes anti clockwise. The problem with this pattern compared to the opener is that if Mokou gives you bad movement RNG (vertically), then you can not continue spinning and are forced to quit. It is possible to reenter but I consider it to be a bit too risky to be worth. The good thing about this movement RNG is is that it is predictable when it is too dangerous to continue as Mokou will always move when you're below her. If she moves too high on the screen, with maximum height being certain death and close to maximum being RNG, you should stop. Another thing with this spin compared to the other one is that the lanes are messier and you have to actually move though a single lane of red amulets (exit and reenter) during the pattern. That might kill you. With Youmu, you need to be at full human going into the following spell or else you will lose significant spell bonus. So for Youmu, and most team shots as well I imagine, it is important to get back to full human on this non spell. What I do is that I spin the first 30 seconds of the non spell and take the rest of the time to go full human again. If RNG allows for this, I gain somewhere between 800-900 graze. With 800 graze, it's an improvement of just over 10m overall. And even if she doesn't allow for a full 30 seconds, it will still be worth more than doing what the world record does. 

The route for Flying Phoenix hasn't changed since 2009 and I don't think it will for solo humans and teams. I tried a few strats where I grazed it, but the time gain was too low. I lost too much spellbonus and it was really hard too. It might be worth considering for solo youkai shots but even then, spellbonus loss might just be too much. For Youmu the cancel timing is important. You want to aim for a big bullet cancel. Fortunately with Youmu's power, this is quite easy to do quickly.

Third non spell is completely uneventful. Milking it for graze unfocused gives around 1m worth of score but I don't do it. It's too little for 40 seconds extra dodging, trivial as it is. I don't need to increase my chances of failing a pattern even more. Incidentally, you could start to spin this if you start on her left. Going anti-clockwise you gain around 90 graze. This is stupid and improves the run by literally less than half a million score. Pretty funny though. 

Flawless Shrine is similar to Iwakasa in the sense that you should rarely fail it. Sometimes it will happen, but it shouldn't. I also angle my option here for ~100 extra time compared to my PB. It is not a big improvement but it's worth doing. Unlike Iwakasa though, this pattern lasts a bit longer because of this so if you're uncomfortable with this pattern for some reason, you might opt out of doing this.

The fourth non spell is what really starts the run. It is not a very difficult pattern to dodge and it has always been milked. Unlike on the second non spell, staying full youkai here is the good play, as obviously Xu-Fu comes after it. There isn't much to it other than not dying to bad movement, which occasionally happens.

Xu-Fu is a difficult pattern in some ways and a fairly easy one in others. The easy part is that once you understand how you have to move, the capture rate is going to be rather consistent for such a long pattern (a whopping 90 second for some reason, all other spells until the survival have only 70-78). The amulets are static and the red rice is not going to be in your way with correct movement. Which means that gaining 11,000 to 12,000 time is going to be very consistent even at the start. The hard part of the spell is the optimization. It is possible to gain over 15,000 time on this. That's up to 1000 graze variance compared to someone who just learned it properly. The highest time gain in any properly uploaded run I've seen is ASL's Youmu run at 13,600 time. The world record gains 13,000. I speak in time on this pattern on purpose because the cancel for the spell has huge variance to it. Sometimes you will gain 1200 or 1300 time, and sometimes close to 2000. Quite frankly, I haven't looked into the cancel enough to be able to tell when the optimal cancel timing is. Just know that it is significant. However, as the world record has a rather poor Xu-Fu, this spell should by all means be an improvement points. In practice, I tend to be somewhere between 14,000 and 14,300 time for this spell. At the lowest that means (with 1000 time) a gain of over 9m, and over 10m improvements are definitely going to be on the table here. But how does this huge difference come from? It's obviously in the movement - when you move towards the edge of the screen, hitting the corner of the swastika gives a fair bit of extra graze. On top of that, you need to make sure to hit the red rice rings, and whenever you're moving towards the left on the pattern, make sure you graze the dropping blue amulets as they open up the way for you. These are all small factors that individually don't lose you that much score but it accumulates during this long spell. The first thing to look for if you want to optimize this spell is the left movement with the blue amulets, because those are the biggest of the three. The edge of the pattern is next. Overall, this is the second hardest spell in the extra stage from a pure optimization standpoint, because it's not always clear where you lost graze.

The fifth non spell is much like the fourth non spell, except harder. I've died to this a lot in recent times. So much in fact that I considered not doing it, but at the same time, it is unfortunate but a full milk on this is 5m score. I can't really pass up on it. My score goal doesn't allow for that much leeway if the run is overall below average. 

Honest Man's Death (HMD for short from here) is infamous for its difficulty and is probably the #1 thing keeping people away from this extra stage. It is stupid looking and is stupid to play too. It is, however the thing that gives the most score in all of IN. Doing this pattern is a whopping 250m score (spell bonus included). Obviously the gain is influenced by your height, up to a certain point. This can be clearly illustrated with three numbers: ASL's 5300 graze, the world record's 6000 graze and my practice PB gaining 6700 graze. There is an incredibly large difference between the amount of graze you can gain from this. What most people might not realize however, is that most of the score does not come from the blue tentacles, but the small black bullets aimed at you. Optimally, you should be grazing all of them (the TAS does do this and gains over 8500 graze). This also proves the tentacles aren't as important because when you are that high, you gain no graze from them at all. This is obviously not human viable but the principle still applies for the most part. In current human play, you will try to graze 5 lines at of them at all times, with the tentacles brushing against you too, effectively. At the height I'm doing (with Youmu's head stuck in the phoenix' tail), inaccurate taps lose graze from the tentacles (geez, so they do matter after all!) but also from the black bullets as you will only be grazing four lanes for a short while. This, again, adds up even if individually not big. At this point in time, I will stick to my current height without trying to increase the lanes I'm grazing - but this is a potential point of improvement if 3.3b should be reached at some point. I think by going up more, you may end up being able to graze 6 or 7 lanes at once. Would have to test if those are worth more than the tentacles overall though, as you'd basically get nothing from them anymore then. Furthermore, you would have to make many more taps. Currently I move after every 5 bullets, but any higher, you'd have to move after every 4 bullets, which would be another reason why the spell would become more difficult. My typical graze here falls between 6200 and 6500, which is anywhere from 6m to 15m. A potentially big increase. Incidentally, the cancel timing on this spell has a variance of ~300 time. But considering how fast the bullets are moving, and how difficult this spell is already, I don't think it's something to worry about for now.

The non spells following HMD are very random. It would be more optimal to milk them, though a cancel in full human is required for all of them. The 6th non spell is actually still very doable but can be quite scary. I'm not good at dodging so I only try to finish it off unfocused. Youmu's time gain is still very good, after all.

Woo used to be a spell that gave me a headache. I died to it a lot 6 years ago. But fortunately not anymore. You want to kill it as quickly as possible, which can be done with Youmu when she is shooting the many waves for a second time. Optimally, you want to kill as there are 9 familiars of the screen but 6 is also acceptable for me. Wouldn't be if the goal was higher but that is irrelevant for now.

7th non spell is the 6th but harder. The red amulets actually really reach you and can cause some chaotic dodging when you have to get away from purple amulets too. It's potentially a very dangerous pattern, but it doesn't last very long so that's fortunate.

Phoenix Tail is a big improvement over the world record for two reasons: The first one being that in my PB, I actually go above full human and stop gaining time from shooting, which obviously loses a lot of spell bonus and PiV. The other reason is that I again angle my shot. Optimally I basically don't hit Mokou directly at all, killing the spell by only shooting her familiars. My past calculations resulted in me gaining 6-7m score on this compared to my PB if I don't mess up. This is a huge increase. It does make last the spell twice as long though, so dying on this attack is a very realistic possibility, especially for me.

The final non spell is so hard to me that I'm probably going to bomb it. A bomb here is 11-12m score lost, but my skill level doesn't really allow for the risk of capturing it. It's akin to some guy who can't 1cc EoSD trying to force a book capture for his first 1cc. Complete nonsense. I'll make the decision whether to bomb it on the fly in every case but I assume most of the time I'll end up using one. It's just too hard.

Fujiyama Vulcano is the easiest attack in the second half of this boss fight, and in fact the only one I would call easy since Flawless Shrine. Important to note is, however, that there's a big score increase in this pattern too. I've talked about my cancel like a hundred times already, but let's do it once more: What is commonly seen is people killing the spell when Mokou shoots a single explosion. What is much better, however, is killing the spell when she's shooting her multiple explosions just before. It is important to know that you mustn't kill it with more than 2 explosions on screen (10 familiars each) because otherwise you will lose you point items. This stupid cancel has huge variance to it, obviously. Because there are very many fast moving bullets onscreen when you cancel, the bullet cancel can have variance on over 4m. However, even at its lowest, it still gains score. Not to mention that you also gain more time. A more or less perfect cancel with the common strategy ends the spell with 100-200 time less than a good cancel with the dumb strategy. I call it dumb because the optimal window is like 2-3 frames thanks to the disappearing explosion bullets and the arrowheads, which leave the screen very quickly. Not to mention that if you're early with the cancel, you lose 45 items, each worth 1.5m at this point. However, this cancel gains 6-7m score. You gain a much bigger bullet cancel, more time and since you finish the spell earlier, your spellbonus will be higher. You need to deal enough damage before you get to that point, though. If your damage output wasn't high enough, resorting to the common cancel (like the world record) is necessary.

I don't think the route for Possessed by Phoenix has ever changed. It still hasn't. It's still the same. A bit of care during the tapping and you can capture the spell. Be careful not to ram into anything while you're shooting the familiars for time.

Hourai Doll is a personal run killer. Or used to be. I haven't actually gotten there on a live run since 2016. The spell is somewhat precise if you want good numbers, but the variance is not nearly as high as on other spells. A normal capture will gain about 3000 graze, and my practice PB isn't even 3300, although 3300 is definitely possible. This isn't a spell where I'll gain any score, I don't think but I also shouldn't lose much if any. For those wondering: When dodging, your main focus will not be the red/blue balls or the arrowheads but the yellow bullets. Those are random so you have to pay attention to them, while the rest is easily sidestepped since it's all aimed. It's certainly nerve wrecking this late, though.

Imperishable Shooting (IS) is probably my favorite spell in all of Touhou. It's also the most difficult spell in Imperishable Night (main game included) if you want it to be. The route used in the world record is obsolete and very bad. The current route looks very different and uses the screen much better. It also stretches the gauge more, making it easy to drop out of full youkai. In 2015, 2016 it was well accepted that any practice PB over 40m was really good, and that 41m spell bonus was incredible, so getting 38m in a run was great. Then the route was completely revamped by st. st used team shots, so they had an easier time with gauge management (as they gain youkai gauge by grazing focused). His results ended in the area of 45m, his scarlet capture was 46m spell bonus. When I saw those replays I was really excited. I spend thousands of attempts polishing his route into what it is now. I adapted some movement to adjust for Youmu's faster unfocused speed, changed some minor things to allow for more graze and managed to raise the spell bonus to over 49m in practice with 50m definitely being possible. Explaining the route in detail is pointless and very hard to visualize because it will mostly be "I go in circles", which is why you can watch the replay of my current practice PB here. It is an immensely fun spell, even if it is difficult. I don't think st rerouted the spell for the routes to be used in full runs because it's so difficult but such thing will eventually happen to any pattern improvements. For full runs, my goal spell bonus is anything over 46m. That translates to around 1500 graze, I believe. The improvement is obvious, as it would be 8m in spell bonus alone. It's 1000 extra time, and each orb is worth 5300~ score (plus 2000 endgame bonus), so that's another 7m. The graze also gives around 1.5m, which means a 46m Imperishable Shooting would gain me 15-16m score compared to the WR. And more is always possible (as is less, of course).

Putting all that together, it is easy to see why the potential variance for my next PB (if it ever does happen) is so large. Some patterns could give me more than expected (like Xu-Fu being 14,700 time, rather than just 14,200), others could give me less (Imperishable Shooting being 44m spell bonus). I could decide to not bomb the final non spell and suddenly have an unplanned buffer in my score or I could lose score by not being able to spin the second non spell for the full 30 seconds. All sorts of things could happen, which is why I have a window of about 40m score. In a good run, the improvement compared to my current PB would be somewhere over 75m (resulting in over 3.23b), but realistic is at the very least the ~12m loss from using the bomb. To give a more accurate prediction, I should probably be somewhere between 3.21b and 3.22b with my final score. 

However, the current problem is that I am not a good enough player to execute the route with any consistency. I will have to do a lot more practice and improve my skill level. Naturally, this includes a plethora of credits. My earliest estimation would put me somewhere in fall 2021, so in about 18 months. I don't expect to get a PB before that. This extra stage was already very difficult to begin with and I've changed some things to be multiple times as hard as they were in the world record (Keine third, HMD, IS, 2nd non spell, Xu-Fu) and I think it's possible that I will change even more things to make it even more difficult (like, say, I figure out how not to mess up the gauge on Mokou's opener). Arrogant as it may sound, a score of 3.2b in IN extra is so difficult that it would take even the best players serious dedication to get it (although they'd obviously not take 2 years of actually playing). I changed the route enough that I think I've gone past the point of stupid improvement but this is what I need to do not only to make 3.2b a reality but to also facilitate entry to 3.3b (which I think will be achievable with human play eventually). Because if I don't do it, no one will. 

I've tried getting people to play this extra stage with memes, by being honest about it and by trying to point out the good things about it. I'd always be willing to offer help, too. At this point, I've given up on getting people to seriously attempt to push it. I've come to accept that it is unpopular and I can see why potential players would want to avoid this extra, as unfortunate as it is for me. I think better scores could be achieved, since other players think differently and would be able to find thing I didn't even think about. It is lonely all alone.

Thanks for reading. Sorry if it was boring