Transcendence speedrunning

General discussion about anything related to Transcendence.
NMS
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Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:07 am

Hi. I've been a fan of Transcendence for several years, but I only got serious and completed it after 1.1 came out.

I'm also a longtime member of Speed Demos Archive and I'm thinking about doing a segmented speedrun (using saves and attempting each part multiple times). If anyone here is interested in helping me with planning, that would be great.

I've been looking through the code and I can follow most of it, but I haven't been able to figure out how item tables work. I'd like to know (or know how to figure out) which ships and stations are theoretically capable of selling or dropping items like halo gems and transspace jumpdrive.

It seems to me that the only major requirements for completing the game are a high level weapon and a reactor that can support it. There seem to be a few reasonable options:
-The Ares positron cannon is probably the quickest to obtain: Kill sentries (with NAMI missiles?) and use sustain to get in and loot it and get out alive. It also has low power consumption, so the ubiquitous 250MW reactor (or maybe even a 100MW) would do. But it's mediocre DPS and lack of WMD might make another option better. Selling them to Teratons could also be a quick source of rins for purchasing more powerful reactors.
-The lamplighter prototype and plasma cannon can both be obtained from the Europa weapons vault ("guessing" the password to skip defending Point Juno).
-The plasma archcannon could be obtained by luring a phobos to a ringer shipyard.
-The fabricator can make all kinds of nice things, but the difficulty is quickly obtaining enough materials (that fit in a Wolfen's hold). A bunch of light Tharsis plate would be enough for one thing, I guess, but I'm not sure it would be worth the time.

If I'm reading the Heretic code right, the requirements for breaking the quarantine are escorting the explorer or bringing the crew from its wreck to the control station and bringing them 3 Heretic data ROMs. Some of the quests could be fairly quick, but it's probably faster to loot at least some of the ROMs from the sentinel attack waves (since they generally don't fight back).

As for the command ship, it's not very dangerous if you maintain a good distance and shoot down it's disintegrator spheres (an ICX would help, but hopefully isn't necessary). The sentinels it spawns are inconvenient though. A gem of contrition might be enough to leave them behind and finish off the command ship before they recover and catch up. Ideally, the fight (like most of the game) would be done with autopilot on. If that isn't practical, it would work to leave one sentinel alive so that more don't spawn and dodge it while firing on the command ship.

Edit: Gem of Sacrifice + Shatter is also an option, but I think a good weapon is still necessary for Heretic, so I'm not sure if it would save time to obtain them.
Last edited by NMS on Wed Mar 11, 2015 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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RPC
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Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:32 am

Congrats!
I have a few questions:
1. what is the ship you'll be using? (presuming Wolfen)
2. Item tables in ships and stations usually call a specific table, problem is they're usually hidden in some segment of Transcendence.tdb.
If you'd like me to look up where X item spawns I'll be glad to do so though.

I remember the positron cannon, it's very wimpy almost. It's great against small and medium stuff, but lack of WMD *hurts*, especially against the ICS. The shields will be down, but get ready to spend a while hacking the armor.
You can kill sentries even with a lancer cannon: they aren't shielded and use the weakest Ares armor, so hit them until they die, use I=>1 for sustain, move in to take cannon, and leave.

When you're at Heretic, do these missions, and leave Kate for last (spoiler warning):
1. Ringer mission to kill the Huygens
2. Taikon mission to kill the Xenophobe Ark
2. MRAD mission given by Nares-Strong (if you're good at triangulating)

Then get kill the pteravore nests around the Heretic sun and let the pteravores run after you. Hide on a manipulator so you don't get hit.
Get Kate, the quarantine will lift.
If you can't find Kate you can talk to the CW station next to the inbound gate. Talking to the stationmaster reveals her location in the nebula and/or asteroids.
WARNING:
The timer for the sentinel attack starts the instant you gate, so be sure to be quick and mind the attacks -- if one of the three stations I listed above die, you'll have to do another mission, which take more time imo.

Killing the ICS
If you did the Antarctica mission in Dantalion you should get the gem, but you have to defend the Antarctica (don't attack it). Once you're done killing Aquilas, just dock with the Antactica again to get the gem of contrition. The gem of contrition knocks out everything (including you) to 1 hp, armors and all, so if you use Domina Defend => Contrition => attack ICS => instawin.

Sentinels:
If you have a jumpdrive you can lure the sentinels out to the other side of the system. Then jumpdrive back and finish off the ICS. Be careful since it has an Iocrym healer, and will have healed ~5-10% of its hp. However, the sentinel distraction is worth it.

Also:
If you have less than 250MW for a reactor the Teratons start to mug you IIRC.
There's another video gameplay of Transcendence, but it's not a speedrun so you should be fine:
http://forums.kronosaur.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5661
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Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:19 am

When I try to get though a game quickly, I always plan out my run - I save every few moments to get optimal results. If you are at a place where you have a choice, or might get lots of damage, save before and then go and do what you need to and save right after.
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Deltax
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Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:45 am

NMS wrote: I'd like to know (or know how to figure out) which ships and stations are theoretically capable of selling or dropping items like halo gems and transspace jumpdrive.
Penitent shrines/sanctums are the most reliable way of getting halo gems, you might catch a ringer station selling a few every now and then as well; as for the jumpdrive I don't believe they are dropped by any enemy stations though I could be wrong, I always get mine from adventurer outfitters for around 70k credits though its a bit of a gamble since there not pre identified.
Last edited by Deltax on Sun Mar 10, 2013 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Have you ever destroyed a phobos badass style? I.E flying towards it?

NMS
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Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:30 am

Yes, the Wolfen is the fastest and starts out most combat capable. SDA would consider them separate categories, but I'm not interested in doing the others.

Halo gems and jumpdrive are the main things I'm interested in- if there's even a slight chance they can show up in an early system, I'm willing to retry a segment until I find one and skip most of the way to the end. I know Penitents are the most common source of halo gems, but I have seen them on other wrecks or for sale at stations once or twice. I found the table for them, but it just had a level and an adjustment factor, or something like that. I assume that alters the probability of a halo gem of a particular level appearing. That explains why Despair is more common than Contrition, but not whether it's possible for Sacrifice to appear as a random drop. I don't see any tags that would prevent it, just that it's higher level. I looted a jump drive from an enemy station wreck once, but I don't remember what kind. I assume that means it was generated by one of the major item tables. Also, if there are low level ships or stations (or cargo crates?) that can drop Lucifer missiles, they might be enough to kill everything that's necessary before getting an endgame weapon. They're not too expensive, so I guess buying them from a Black Market might work, too.

The MRAD mission seems like a good choice. No need for triangulation, I'll just get it in one. Going up against the Xenophobe Ark seem worse- I'm not planning to invest much in defense. The Huygens Explorer might be better. I've never done the Sisters' mission. Maybe on my next regular playthrough. Fortunately, two missions should be plenty, as I can get the third one from sentinels. In theory, the first attack wave could have two sentinels, both with a ROM, but I think that's a 1 in 800 chance. That would be a pain. Maybe still doable if I saved right before they spawned and used debug mode and a script to check how many sentinels with ROMs are in the system after each attempt, only a few seconds each try. Even just waiting for the next attack wave only takes twentysomething seconds with autopilot on, so missions that take much longer than that real time are not really worth it.

The Gem of Sacrifice code appears to damage each armor segment by between 95 and 99% of it's health, which still leaves the command ship at at least 10. But maybe it's still worth getting even without domina powers.

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Atarlost
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Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:44 am

Things never appear unless they appear in a table somehow. The gem of sacrifice doesn't. Nothing level 12 will show up unless it has the alien or consumable tag. The former can show up in ringer and taikon inventories, the latter in teraton inventories. The gem of sacrifice has neither.
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PM
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Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:15 pm

Unidentified jumpdrive is easy to spot. It is the only unidentified level 7 alien miscellaneous device (with blue enhancer icon) in the game. You can find one in either Adventurer's or Thor's as early as the first system beyond St. K's.

Sisters' mission plays like Lunar Lander. Just practice, and once you get the hang of it, you can complete it reliably. Installing a quantum CPU will make the mission easier, but it is not required.

If you defend the Antarctica, not only your reward is the GoS, but also the Ares in Heretic become friendly, and you can get a mission from them: destroy an Iocrym outpost (in the nebula). Their reward is a ROM like everyone elses'.
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Atarlost
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Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:28 pm

Speaking of Heretic missions I find the MRAD to be the quickest. Just drop a couple probes a couple light minutes apart and triangulate.
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Amilir
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Mon Mar 11, 2013 4:07 am

I did a no tool speedrun a while back:

Code: Select all

AMILIR

Domina relationship   Curate
Fate   Left Human Space on a journey to the Galactic Core
Genome   Human male
Korolov rank   Apprentice
Score   25,225
Ship class   Wolfen-class gunship
Version   1.02

COMBAT

Enemy ships destroyed   48
Most powerful ship destroyed   Iocrym command ship (1)

COMMERCE

Profit on arms   158,160
Profit on goods and materials   17,989
Profit on luxury goods   33,319

CONDUCTS

Honored permadeath   

ENEMY SHIPS DESTROYED

Iocrym command ship   1
Tundra-class heavy gunship   1
Sandstorm-class gunship   5
Marauder raid platform   1
Wind slaver   6
Corsair II-class gunship   1
Viking-class gunship   4
Hornet-class battlepod   6
Corsair-class gunship   23

ENEMY STATIONS DESTROYED

Marauder stronghold   1
Penitent shrine   1
Marauder compound   1
Marauder outpost   1
Sapiens compound   1
Sung slave camp   3
Anarchist settlement   1
Charon pirate stronghold   1
Charon pirate outpost   1
Charon pirate cache   2

EXPLORATION

Systems visited   25
Never reached Jiang's Star   
Never reached the Galactic Core   

EXTENSIONS

Extension d0160572   
Extension dcba0040   
Extension dcba0060   
Extension dcba0070   
Extension dcba0072   

ITEMS INSTALLED

positron lancer   
heavy Tharsis plate   
Koshiba-500 reactor   
Longreach I autocannon   
SN2500 reactor   
150NX reactor   
heavy meteorsteel   
MRAD experiment   
light plasteel armor   
NAMI missile launcher   
dual laser cannon   
hull plate ionizer   

MISSIONS & ACTIVITIES

Agricultural colonies defended   1/1
Korolov escort missions   1/1

WEAPONS FIRED

positron lancer   418
Longreach I autocannon   81
XM300 Reaper missile   2
NAMI missile launcher   29
dual laser cannon   2,784
KM100 Longbow missile   27
I've long lost the save/highscores, but IIRC it took me a bit less than two hours.

What I did (to the best of my memory):
One Korolov mission. (Opens up military ID mission)
One milita mission. (ID)
Earned ~200k credits. For the money, I did quick trading in St. Kats, plus I sold a lucky heavy ion drop. (Manipulating probability should make this dead easy)
Killed a couple shrines for gems of despair.
Despaired to Pt. Juno, bought 500 MW reactor.
Despair to Heretic.
Sold wimpy reactors, bought+installed longreach.
Escorted Kate. (Hit dock to stay next to the explorer as it's moving, the longreach will kill pterevores safely.)
MRAD.
Hunted Hyugens. Lured it into ptervores. Autopiloted on sun until it died. (That's enough data, but it left the sisters mission open. Neither the Hyugens nor the Sisters missions require the base to be intact afterwards for you to collect the data BTW.)
Looted the Hyugens/dead ringers for a positron lancer. (~2/3 chance of getting one from one of those.)
Repaired lancer with longzhu.
Sold ringer gem (bought that somewhere), installed lancer at a ringer SY a sector back.
Killed ICS. (Longreach keeps you safe from quantumspheres, dodging sentinels isn't too hard. You don't even need any armor or shield, though it helps compensate for dumb mistakes.)

The extra domina powers helped a bit, as do map roms, but you shouldn't need either.

Gem of sacrifice is sorta difficult to get. You have to KILL half a dozen Aquilas. It's probably doable without weapons if you have shatter? If you can kill them straight, you hardly need the gem. Take a milita mission against a slaver transport to get a bunch of slaves quickly, give em to sisters.

You need to consider friendly station killing. It doesn't count against you if something else strikes the final blow. Or you might just not care. There are two major friendly factions, corporate, and commonwealth. They won't arrest you for crimes against the other. Ringers too, but you probably need them friendly for heretic and weapons installation. Starton Eridani is dead easy to kill. Restart until it has a manticore with mags guarding it, give it 24 rotations of dual laser cannons, get off. It'll die to a stray hit for lots of loot.

NMS
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Mon Mar 11, 2013 10:43 pm

Thanks, Amilir. I think I saw that report in another thread, but it's nice to have the details fleshed out. Under 2 hours seems very fast for a straight playthrough (Single Segment, as it's called at SDA).

How long did your ICS fight take? Ideally, I'd like to achieve zero relative velocity to it, leave the sentinels behind somehow, and just pound a single armor segment with autopilot on. They're kind of slow, so I could probably just lure them far away and return to the ICS. But maybe Gem of Contrition would be better.

One option for the Svalbard is actually to destroy it myself, but this would be tricky without defenses. With a slow, powerful weapon, like the plasma cannon, it might be possible to line up a shot at maximum range and have enough shots to hurt it pretty badly on the way by the time it turns hostile. (This might work for the Hugyens, too.) Alternatively, I could just let the pteravores kill it while I go buy items if needed, intercept an attack wave if one has spawned, and head for a station with a mission. I might have to wait a bit for it to die before accepting the mission, but it would involve less backtracking.

As for jumping to Elysium, I'm starting to wonder if it's worth it in a segmented run. Especially if gems and jumpdrive can't show up before early midgame and I decide stopping at Point Juno is the best way to obtain equipment, then each one wouldn't skip all that many systems. And the jumpdrive would probably only work once, if that, before upgrading the reactor (Can you even install it?). I'll do a proof of concept of flying through all the systems with no stops, manipulating the stargates to be close together (except for fixed layout systems).

I'm not necessarily averse to killing friendly stations, but I'm not sure what items they might have that would be easier to obtain that way than from ships or small enemy stations.

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Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:27 am

You need 150MW reactor minimum for jumpdrive, and after you use it, fuel will drain like crazy. What I do is look for a fabricator, and transmute a reactor to a 500MW reactor.
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NMS
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Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:09 am

It turns out escorting the Svalbard doesn't count as a mission, so it makes sense to offer to escort and then just let the pteravores kill it.

Most late game enemies are basically immune to starting weapons, but not Ares sentries. They die easily to Longbow missiles.

So a bare minimum plan would be:
-Fly straight to Point Juno without stopping.
-Kill a couple sentries with missiles and loot intact positron cannons.
-Open the Europa vault and loot a plasma cannon and some other weapons.
-Continue on, stopping at a Teraton station on the way to sell extra weapons.
-Stop at a Ringer Shipyard and upgrade to a 500 MW reactor and install the plasma cannon. Refuel or self destruct.
-Go straight to Heretic.
-Offer to escort the Svalbard.
-Go do MRAD.
-Intercept the sentinel attack wave and loot a ROM.
-Loot another ROM if lucky enough, or do another mission. The Huygens should be pretty easy using the plasma cannon and staying out of it's range and the Iocrym AI is a reasonable choice too.
-Pick up the team from the Svalbard wreck and take them to the control point. Give them the ROMs.
-Go fight the ICS. When it's shields go down, lure the sentinels far away. Return to the ICS and lead it in the opposite direction.
-Loot the control rod and win.

Amilir
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Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:51 am

It took a couple of minutes for me to kill the ICS I think? I wasn't in a hurry. I just circled it at long range (dodging sentinels as needed) until it died.

I guess killing friendlies isn't such a great idea in this case. It's a fairly reliable source of a bunch of credits, but you don't need those.

I'm curious about a couple things:

How do you intend to get the vault password? There are enough permutations that brute force won't work so well. You could redo much of the game to get it in the normal way, but I don't think the plasma cannon is generated every time. Doing this enough times isn't impossible, but would be a major pain. I guess debug mode would be simplest?

Disintegration spheres. You intend to try to shoot all these down? Fair warning, that's pretty dang hard without omni/tracking.

I can't remember just what the rin economy is like in the current version, but the 500MW reactor's pretty expensive. You're confident you'll have enough money?

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RPC
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Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:42 pm

-Intercept the sentinel attack wave and loot a ROM.
Another word or warning: last time I waited for a rom from a sentinel it took me ~5 waves before I finally got one.
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Atarlost
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Wed Mar 13, 2013 8:36 pm

The longreach allegedly stops the quantumsphere.

For anti-Iocrym weapons I favor the mid-range tier 4s: The ares positron, the ferian plasma cannon, or the positron lancer. These do a little less damage than the short range tier 4s, but they give you more room to stay out of range of the avalanche cannon, which means you don't need to grind fancy armor or shields or the hyperion to power them. The lamplighter is in the same range bracket and better still, but it's a pain to get.

You can also go in with the top grade tier 3s. The xenophobe lancer, fusionfire howitzer, ion flame cannon, and heavy ion blaster can all do the job unenhanced. It'll be slower, but if getting them requires less time in the rest of the game it might work out.

The best lobster smasher in my experience is a +110% or higher advanced tritium cannon. It'll take one from full health to wreck in one cooling cycle. If you pick up tritium boosters as you see them and order from a few trading posts you may be able to manage that in a speedrun. The key would be getting lucky looting Ares weapons and selling them to the Teratons. You can also alternate it with almost any other weapon to improve your Iocrym killing times because it's one if the highest DPS peak weapons in the game.

A full suite of Domina powers will more than halve your Iocrym killing time (one of the powers doubles your damage output and a couple others deal lots of damage fast with a long cooldown; because of the relative damage resistance of shields and armor it's best to pop those after you drop the Iocrym's shields with a conventional weapon) and let you pull it off with weaker defenses, which may be worth the time to get them. I think The quickest way to get them is to bust up a Sung camp, savescuming until you roll a high value for slaves and donate them to an abby, then repeat. I think Sanctuary is supposed to always have an abby so scumming for two slaver camps there would do the trick.
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