For years now one of the most active and dedicated factions of the Quake community
has been the speedrunners. To this day they are defying the laws of Quake physics and entertaining the masses
with their crazy passion for playing through the game at absurd speeds. Speedrunning is just
that, completing Quake levels in the shortest time possible, by any means possible. It may sound simple enough, but unless you've seen the skilled runners from
Speed Demos Archive and
Quake done Quick strutting their stuff like
true Quake Olympiads, then you haven't really experienced Quake to its fullest!
At the recent Nolans
2002 Quake Speedrun Awards ceremony I managed to snag some time on the red carpet with
several individuals from the still thriving speedrun community. In Part II of this interview
series I yack it up with Thomas 'Stubby' Stubgaard and Richard 'Morfans' Skidmore.
Interview - Part II
Thomas 'Stubby' Stubgaard... what can I say, he's one of the rocks that keeps the Speedrun
community afloat, and he's also a damned good runner! At this year's Nolans awards, Stubby
snagged himself a healthy set of statuettes, and screaming girls everywhere are now lining up for his autograph. Okay, maybe not, but he's still hot stuff!
Jube: What's keeping the Quake Speedrun community alive after all of these years?
Stubby: Well, to answer that, I need to go a back in time and a little deeper into how it began, and eventually I'll end up at the question you asked me.
I've always been a big fan of the Quake done Quick series, but it wasn't until August 31st 1999 that I submitted my first speedrunning demo to SDA, how crap that demo is nowadays is another story :-) But just when I started getting into it, SDA crashed, and it wasn't until several months later that Stefan Schwoon re-wrote the script and got SDA back up on its feet. Chris Longden, veteran speedrunner and now employee at GameSpy wrote the original script. By the time we reached 2000, SDA was in lack of new updaters, and it was back then one of the co-founders of SDA (which moved to PQ.com on the 12th of April 1998) asked me to join the SDA team, the exact date is December 16th, 2000. Soon after I joined the team, several people left the site, some joined the army, some just weren't motivated to help out, and soon thereafter it was mostly me doing all the updates.
I was responsible for getting the Run of the Week competitions back up on its feet again, and it was a big success, which I personally believe was a big part of keeping the speedrunning community motivated and alive, at least in that period. It was a shitload of work keeping the website running though, and in August 2001, I asked Richard "Morfans" Skidmore to join TeamSDA, and ever since we've been kicking major ass :-) We've taken SDA to a whole new level. We've added several new additions to the site, and we've pretty much done everything we can to still keep the community alive. Of course there will always be ups and downs, but I think the majority of the community is satisfied with what we do. A thing that still amazes me is that we still receive almost as many speedruns as we did several years back! There's been a few occasions when everyone thought that the speedrunning scene would die, but we always seem to get back on track somehow. And as far as I know (and I'm almost 100% sure), we're the Q1 site on the net that gets updated most frequently. Nearly all other major Q1 sites has died, or gets updated extremely rarely, which saddens me, 'coz Q1 is still the best game ever in my opinion. It's speed and manoeuvre/air movement ability and the nice folks in the speedrunning community still keeps me motivated to go on and on.
Most (not all of them mind you!) of the great legends in speedrunning has retired or just vanished, but new talents keeps cropping up, and there's still some veterans left that continue to kick ass. I predict we will continue to support the speedrunning scene for many years to come.
Jube: Have you tried speedrunning in other games? If so, outside of Quake, which games do you think are best suited to running?
Stubby: I've tried to speedrun Doom, but I sucked at it. Doom is very well suited for speedrunning though, which you can witness at Compet-N (premium Doom speedrunning site). I've tried to speedrun Serious Sam, but I sucked at that as well, and the game is too slow to be fun in the long run. There's plenty of action though, but the maps are too vast and the gameplay too slow.... I've tried speedrunning Quake2, but it wasn't much fun due to the slow movement of the players/weapons. We had a Q2 section on SDA dating back to 1998, but it was taken down due to several issues I won't bother any of you with.
Jube: Are there any games that you're currently looking forward to the release of? Any that you are hoping will be able to support a speedrun community?
Stubby: Yep, Doom III, Worms III (it's hilarious to play when you're hammered...), World of Warcraft and Quake IV! There's probably some other games which I forgot.... None of the games I mentioned will support speedrunning, I'm convinced of that, and I doubt there will ever be a game as suited for speedrunning as Q1 is (and Doom to some extend). Maybe if someone created a game/mod that were targeted for speedrunning, but I doubt that will ever happen....
Jube: Any thoughts as to why the Quake speedrun community appears to be primarily European? Was there ever a strong North American following that you can recall?
Stubby: Because Europeans can't afford new computers? :-) I dunno to be honest... The speedrunning scene used to be dominated by Finns, Norwegians and Swedes, but now it's mostly just Swedes and a few Finns along with all the other contries which only has a few players. I'm the only Dane along with my younger brother who has a history in Q1 speedrunning :-) There's been quite a few players from America, but only a few of which has dominated the scene, at least from what I can remember.
Jube: Which country do you think has spawned the best runners over the years?
Stubby: Well, Scandinavia, Finland in particular, has generally been the strongest contender throughout the years, but Hungary have had some of the greatest players ever, they still do, but they have more or less retired :-(
Jube: If you were stranded on a deserted island with three other runners, which three people from the speedrun community would you want there with you?
Stubby: Tough choice! I guess I'd pick Richard "Morfans" Skidmore to tag along just because of his silly humor and abilility to always cheer me up :-) And I guess I'd have to pick Nolan "Radix" Pflug as well, 'coz that guy has got the smartest brain in the world, so he could probably figure out a way to get off that crappy island! And finally, but not least, I'd pick Evelyn Morgan (yes, we do actually have female speedrunners on our site!) because... well, I think you know why :-)
Jube: You and Jozsef really whored the Nolans 2K2 awards at the recent awards ceremony. Anything you want to say to the people who voted for you that doesn't include the "C" word, the "F" word, or talk of bodily functions?
Stubby: Yeah, screw you and the horse you rode in on!