A speedrun is any playthrough of a game wherein the player attempts to complete the game as quickly as possible. Speedrunning refers to the competitive e-sport of producing speedruns.
Speedruns are usually recorded on video, and such video recordings are required for participation in most speedrunning leaderboards and tournaments. Today, most speedrunning leaderboards are hosted on Speedrun.com, but popular alternatives include Twin Galaxies and Speed Demo Archives. Some video games may also include built-in leaderboards that sync through the Internet.
Different speedrunning communities abide by different rules, and it is not uncommon for a single speedrunning community to have multiple leaderboards for multiple sets of rules. It is common practice to allow the use of glitches (but not cheats) in speedrunning, though there may be separate "glitchless" leaderboards that exclude runs involving glitches.
Duke Nukem 3D
Main Article: SR-50
The Jump/Duck/Jump involves crouching while landing from a well-spaced jump in order to clip into air vents that normally require Duke to shrink. It may also be used to clip through doors, windows, and walls if Duke is moving fast enough. For instance, this can be used to skip directly to the exit button on Movie Set. The Jump/Duck/Jump technique exploits the fact that the developers programmed Duke to clip into the floor for a single frame after landing from falls. This was done in order to create the appearance of Duke's knees bending in recoil.
See Also: Warp
When walking up against walls near ledges, Duke's movement and physics are programmed to obey slightly different rules than in other circumstances. Specifically, his spatial position will jitter according to a function of (1) his speed, (2) the distance between the wall and the opposite ledge, and (3) whether he is crouching. This effect allows Duke to climb stairs; the spatial jitter causes him to clip onto higher steps, which is why it was coded into the game. However, the effect can also be seen while swimming underwater or using the Jetpack. For speedrunners, these unusual physics can be exploited to clip through walls with a technique known as the "Ledge Push."
There are at least three ways to achieve a Ledge Push:
- With a running start, use a Jump/Duck/Jump up against a wall along a ledge. If Duke is moving fast enough and the wall is thin enough, then Duke will clip through the wall. This is useful on many levels, but one notable example is the route to the second exit button on Red Light District.
- While underwater, position Duke atop the upper lip of a protruding ledge beneath a door or window, and face away from the door or window. Then, fire a rocket or detonate a Pipe Bomb a short distance away from Duke while moving backwards, and Duke will clip backwards through the wall. This is particularly useful in Flood Zone.
- A special case of a Ledge Push can be seen with large objects that are comprised of a ledge and are usually capable of moving. By simply strafe-running and slowly turning in their direction, Duke may automatically clip onto, beneath, behind, or inside these large objects. Examples of such objects include the revolving sign at the start of Raw Meat and the revolving entrance of the pornography store on Red Light District. One useful instance of this can be found with the large enclosures surrounding the hatchery (the room with water in the middle) on Incubator (see video demonstration).
By standing up against a wall and then turning at a slight angle, the front tip of Duke's held weapon will clip through the wall, even though it does not appear that way. This can be exploited to fire explosives (including the Pipe Bombs) through walls and to blast open passages long before the developers intended. Notable exploits involving this technique can be found on Bank Roll, Duke-Burger, Shop-N-Bag, and Going Postal.
Speedrunning in Duke Nukem 3D makes extensive use of the Steroids. The Steroids allow Duke to move much more quickly than usual, and they are necessary to reach the speeds required in order to glitch through certain walls with the Jump/Duck/Jump or Ledge Push. However, they also allow for extraordinary sequence-skips that do not involve any glitches at all. Most famously, the Steroids have been used to skip nearly the entire map on Hollywood Holocaust and finish the level in 15 seconds (see video demonstration). The "Steroids Route" on Hollywood Holocaust caught the attention of the game's developers, who mention the route in the 20th Anniversary Edition developer commentary. However, the route is now obsolete due to the discovery of multiple faster routes.
Speedrunners make frequent use of the Jetpack. In full-game speedruns, segments of certain levels can be skipped if the Jetpack was retained from a previous level. Notable examples of this can be found on Fusion Station, Dark Side, and L.A. Rumble.
Prior to 2014, the preeminent speedrunning leaderboard for the PC version of Duke Nukem 3D was hosted on Speed Demo Archives. Since then, the speedrunning community has migrated to Speedrun.com, which now includes speedruns that were previously shared only on Speed Demo Archives. Most versions of the game share a single leaderboard, but Duke Nukem 3D: 20th Anniversary World Tour has a separate leaderboard of its own.
In the Xbox Live Arcade version of Duke Nukem 3D, the leaderboards are built into the game's interface, and video recordings can be viewed by pressing Y after selecting a gamertag (online alias) from the leaderboard.
Speedruns in Duke Nukem 3D can be categorized according to various criteria. The leaderboards are divided into different sections according to these criteria.
First, a speedrun is categorized as one of the following:
- Full-Game Speedrun
- Individual Level (IL) Speedrun
- Xbox Only: "Singleplayer Leaderboard" speedruns are score-based rather than time-based and award points for finishing quickly, collecting secrets, and playing on the "Damn I'm Good" difficulty.
Next, speedruns are further categorized as follows:
- Complete the game or individual level.
- Complete the game or individual level and collect all the secrets.
- Complete the game or individual level, collect all the secrets, and leave no enemies remaining.
- Complete the game or individual level, collect all the secrets, leave no enemies remaining, and kill all spawnable enemies (i.e., some enemies may be triggered to spawn and will not count towards the "Enemies Remaining" unless spawned).
IL speedruns are even further categorized as one of the following:
- Clean Start ("Pistol Start" on the Xbox)
- Start the level from scratch.
- Item Start
- Start the level with items retained from the previous level.
Finally, speedruns are categorized as either segmented or continuous:
- Segmented / In-Game Time (IGT)
- Multiple saved-and-loaded segments of gameplay that have been spliced together
- Uses the in-game timer, measured in seconds
- Continuous / Real-Time Attack (RTA)
- Continuous gameplay only
- Uses a real-time timer, measured in milliseconds
On the PC, speedruns may be even further differentiated according to the version of the game. In particular, speedruns involving the 20th Anniversary Edition are relegated to an entirely separate set of leaderboards.
Although speedruns can be completed using the standard releases of Duke Nukem 3D, there are two software programs that are widely used in Duke Nukem speedrunning on the PC.
- EDuke32 is a popular program created from Duke Nukem 3D's source code that allows for various gameplay enhancements, and it is required for speedrunning custom maps and total conversions (e.g., Duke Hard, which has its own dedicated leaderboard).
- pkDuke3D is an unofficial patch for the Megaton Edition of Duke Nukem 3D. pkDuke does not modify gameplay, but it introduces peripheral features that are useful for speedrunning, including alternate timers and advanced recording options.
Fernito was one of the first Duke Nukem speedrunners. Most of the strategies that are widely used by Duke Nukem speedrunners today were first popularized by Fernito (e.g., the SR-50 technique). Fernito once held nearly all of the world records in Duke Nukem 3D on the PC, and he still holds many of the IL records today. He is no longer active in the speedrunning community.
Alex "pogokeen" Dawson was another of the earliest Duke Nukem speedrunners. He is still occasionally active in the speedrunning community, and he holds a few of the IL world records. He is particularly notable for having created pkDuke3D, which has been used by many of the top speedrunners in the Duke Nukem speedrunning community.
Some of the other best known speedrunners include baker_zsr, Cubeface, Dauswectus, depr4vity, King_Mamba_48, mr_wiggelz, MrTJRuffey, O_Circles, and SlyJapel.
Xbox Live Arcade Speedrunners
On the Xbox Live Arcade, some of the best known speedrunners include Dingbell, Dysits, HaloJesse, Helinkka, King Mamba 48, KTILLA23, Peketeus, SBMxRECOGNIZE, Slinky Ss, and xBloodyWolf.
- Main Series
- Popular Expansions
- Popular Spin-Offs
- Duke Nukem 64: Speedrunning Leaderboards
- Duke Nukem Advance: Speedrunning Leaderboards
- Duke Nukem: Land of the Babes: Speedrunning Leaderboards
- Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project: Speedrunning Leaderboards
- Duke Nukem: Time to Kill: Speedrunning Leaderboards
- Duke Nukem: Total Meltdown (Plug 'N' Pray Episode): Speedrunning Leaderboards
- Duke Nukem: Zero Hour: Speedrunning Leaderboards
- Popular User Maps, Mods, and Total Conversions
- Related: Legacy Leaderboards for Duke Nukem 3D (via Speed Demo Archives)
- Speedrunning Techniques & Glitches in Duke Nukem 3D (Red-Stars.net, via Alex "pogokeen" Dawson)
- Guides to Speedrunning Duke Nukem 3D (Speedrun.com)
- Duke Nukem 3D Speedrunning Discord (Discord)