BioShock Infinite Speedrun Scene Revitalised By Mutual Agreement To 'Cheat'

Under ideal conditions, BioShock Infinite's speedrun should be a short rush full of shotgun blasts and level skips. Instead, it's often a dice roll to see if runners get an item that saves them time. Fed up with random chance ruining their attempts, speedrunners have agreed on a solution to remove the problem: cheat.

One of the most important tools to going fast in BioShock Infinite is the Hill Runner's Hat. It is a piece of equipment that gives the player a 50% speedboost whenever their shield breaks. Whenever the player takes a certain amount of damage, they can get a burst of speed that significantly cuts down on time throughout the speedrun.

It can save up to eight minutes over the course of a speedrun. However, the hat only has 2% chance of dropping for the player and runners can go hours without ever picking it up. The prospect of grinding hours of runs in order to get a decent Hill Runner's Hat drove many runners to stop regularly running the game.

"I no longer have any desire to run the game purely because HRH makes it hard to commit to any runs and even if you get it quickly you still have to execute," one former speedrunner said on Reddit. "It's a great run with lots of cool tricks throughout but the grind is too frustrating."

Runners came together in the community Discord to discuss ways to bring more people back to the game. Yesterday, they decided to allow players to use a mod to ensure they get the Hill Runner's Hat on their first attempt.

After debating it if modded runs should be in their own category or not, the community decided to include modded runs in the game's Any% category, which seeks to beat the game in the fastest time possible.

The Force HRH mod is a simple patch that ensure that the Hill Runner's Hat always drops at the spot where speedrunners always grind for it. The aim is to give everyone the same advantage and remove a significant stopgap from the run that was driving many to stop playing the game.

The decision is somewhat controversial as the mod is technically a form of cheating, at least according to the original rules for the category.

"You can't use gameplay altering mods and call it any%," a commenter said on Reddit. "Make it a separate category. If no one wants to run the game without the mod, remove any% and only keep the mod category." "You can do whatever you want and call it whatever you want so long as everyone is on the same page," another user replied.

"There's no speedrunning council that can decide whether your naming conventions meet guidelines. All speedruns are community driven."

Speedrunning categories help specify rules for individual runs but those rules are often subject to debate and interpretation as new glitches and techniques are found. Certain games do allow modifications and custom saves that all runners can use in order to reduce random chance.

Borderlands 2's speedrunning community shares a number of save files that grant players default weapon loadouts at the start of the game. The decision to allow the HRH mod in BioShock Infinite may seem odd to the casual player but should allow BioShock Infinite runners create a more consistent and competitive community.

"Pandora's box has been opened," one runner said on Twitter.


Comments

    It makes perfect sense to me. A level playing field.

    How would you be if your were a minute off the best but knew that RNGesus blessed the other runner with a hat, but not you.

      To play devil's advocate, a lot of speedruns actually rely on good RNG. For example - for the longest time (at least until a new route was discovered that didn't rely on this), Ocarina of Time any % speedruns relied on the player getting good RNG in regards to where the cuccoos spawned in kakariko village. They could spawn in a number of preset locations but they would be randomised each run and bad RNG would cost you a lot of time.

      That's the game though. If they mod it to get that hat, then it is no longer the game 'as made'. Part of being a legitimate speed runner, I imagine, is being dedicated enough to grind away until they get that perfect run.

    lol Bioshock Infinite is so bad that even speedrunners have to cheat to make it work.

      Agreed, this game is bloated self-important garbage.

      meh, i enjoyed the time i spent with the game. dont have any desire to go through it again though.

      I was so excited for it, and I convinced myself that I enjoyed it when I was done. But, looking back, I really didn't.

    So you can't have 2 records? A HRH record and not?

      my understanding from this article alone is that the item has a chance to spawn at the beginning of the game or right at the end when you're almost done

      naturally it's more useful in the first instance then the latter. the mod will fix it one location ?with the % chance to drop? (this article doesn't mention a change in drop rate)

        The mod basically guarantees you'll get the hat in the first box spawn of the game, removing the 2% chance RNG completely. It changes it from a 2% drop rate to a 100% drop rate.

      I wondered the same thing. What happens to the community that wants the category to still exist without the mod?

      So I looked at the speedrun site, and quite simply it adds a column to show whether the HRH mod is active or not. Fair compromise, and in effect the 2 records can be maintained side by side.

      I wonder if its a dangerous precedent though. Many games have RNG as a factor, and part of the reason many people speedrun - they always feel there is improvements to be had with just a little better luck. So does this open the door for other mods or TAS assisted runs to be OK'd in other RNG impacted games?

    "It's a great run with lots of cool tricks throughout but the grind is too frustrating."

    Well seeing how you're playing the same game again and again in the same way, just trying to do it faster... I can see how that could become a little grindy.

    It would almost be kind of repetitive, in a way.

      They are only talking about grinding one specific part of the game. You see it in the video above. It basically takes him the whole video - about 11 minutes or so, of reloading a checkpoint over and over to open a box that has a 2% chance of containing the item he wants. That's the grinding they are talking about in this context, not necessarily playing the game itself over and over.

        If I had my way, even reloading checkpoints would be outlawed! Damn' hippies!

    Since speedrunners use hacks to cheat anyway i dont see the fuss.

    Its not like they play with vanilla settings anyway, cause if they did then i might actually be impressed with speedrunning.

      Unless a category allows it, almost all speedruns are done using a agreed-version vanilla copy. Just because it wasn't developer intended doesn't mean it's not vanilla. All of the glitches and holes runners find are in the game, no hacks needed to use them.

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