Glitch speedruns can provide incredible insights into the way games are made - and more importantly, how they can be broken. Awesome Games Done Quick, the speedrunning charity event, is in full swing this week - and one of the most amusing runs I've seen so far is by the ever-entertaining speedrunner tomatoangus, best known for his Fallout anthology runs - including sex% speedruns. Yes, you read that correctly.
Having recently changed his name from tomatoanus to the more family-friendly tomatoangus ("the g is silent," he says), yesterday tomatoangus took the floor to show everyone his Fallout anthology speedrunning skills. Although he ran overtime, finishing at 2:16:21 instead of the 2:05:00 estimate (thanks in part to missing the Radaway right in front of him), the run was incredibly entertaining and informative - with tomatoangus sprinkling in fun facts to keep viewers engaged. This is a hole you'll want to go down.
One of the biggest revelations for me (aside from learning you can push Liam Neeson into dialogue triggers with a Nuka-Cola truck) was that Fallout New Vegas' end slides aren't actually a cutscene: instead, the player is placed in a small room facing a projector screen. After enabling player controls in the command console, tomatoangus walked behind this to display Ron the Narrator standing behind the slides, talking through the script. "You can kill him and drag him off, but then he just slides in from the other side - he doesn't want to leave," tomatoangus said. Now that is dedication to the job.
When speedrunning Fallout 3, tomatoangus explained it's possible to cut corners by exiting the vault at age 16 - but doing so means the player ends up sharing dialogue with the other vault children, as opposed to being merely a voiceless protagonist. This meant that throughout tomatoangus' Fallout 3 run, exiting combat triggered a voice line of "I guess it was nothing". Often with excellent comedic timing.
Another highlight came at the start of Fallout 4 - the most complicated Fallout game to speedrun - in which tomatoangus enlisted the help of a prop to demonstrate a particularly difficult glitch. Using a model constructed from orange cups and pipe cleaner, tomatoangus painstakingly explained a glitch which allows speedrunners to bypass Vault 111's elevator, saving a grand total of... 40 seconds.
Along with this, I learned the female model in the original Fallout runs faster thanks to her shorter animation cycle, how "stophopping" works (a circle jumping technique speedrunners use), and that crippling yourself in Fallout 3 somehow makes you move quickly. Here's a particularly wholesome fact about the Fallout speedrunning community: due to the way Fallout 4's physics are tied to framerate (something which became a problem in Fallout 76), speedrunners have agreed to play no higher than 60fps so as not to disadvantage those with low spec PCs.
If you want to watch tomatoangus' run, you can catch up on GDQ's Twitch channel, where it begins around 31:38:34 (with the Fallout 4 model explanation starting around 32:47:00). Most importantly, if you want to donate to AGDQ - which is raising money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation - you can do so here.