History of Elasto Mania (1995-2018)
The screenshots below show two motorcross computer games named Action SuperCross and its sequel Elasto Mania. The most active enthusiasts have played the game for over 20 years, organized dozens of international meetings, awarded trophies, recorded songs, filmed movies and much more.
This article is a research of one digital sub-culture that has gathered together a few thousand players. Let's see how the gameplay – and the community – evolved over the years.
- 2022-04-03 Added a mention about game console versions.
- 2021-07-29 Improved text, grammar and presentation. Fixed a bug in #ballelma battle results. Fixed image Across times on paper (1999).
- 2021-01-03 Fixed picture of FM meeting 2007. Fixed picture of sunl's Elma wiki profile. Improved text and grammar.
- 2020-06-09 Fixed errors in Most WRs in one table statistics (2000-2019).
- 2020-05-29 Fixed screenshot of the cheated WRs table. Added notifications about of the new Steam Elma to relevant chapters. Changed wording of Elma Done Quick to use v1, v2, v3.
- 2020-05-27 Improved text. The fact of Spef being under 35 minutes added. The fact Zweq having 51 different WRs added. Broken videos fixed (eg. Elma Done Quick v2). Elma Crime added. A screenshot of the Community history from 2004 added. A song from MC Studios' second recording session (Vi hoyler mer) added. Mentions of Instagram and Twitch added in Social media chapter. A few saveload replays added to Dark moments chapter. New WR statistics added to Final results chapter (Longest time having the most WRs, Most WRs in one table (2000-2019), Most different players/teams/countries in a single WR table). New observations added to Conclusions (The most fundamental question, Mystery of Islands in the Sky).
- 2019-06-02 The screenshot of the development version of Across from 1995 added. The fact that zyntifox drove six WRs in a row also in 1. Warm Up (+1 more later) added. The fact that Zweq has had 50 different WRs added. Credits of Internal Memories to niN added.
- 2018-04-12 Text is published.
- 2018-04-07 Age of EOL chapter is finished.
- 2018-03-08 Belma Period chapter is finished.
- 2018-02-21 Golden Era chapter is finished.
- 2017-11-11 Prelude to Elma chapter is finished.
- 2017-09-26 Across Days chapter is finished.
- 2017-09-21 Writing the text is started.
As I myself, Abula, was one of the most active players, the text can be slightly biased. On the other hand, a personal twist can make it more interesting to read. I refer to myself in third person when I think it's relevant for the context. I joined the community in February 1999 so the events before that is second hand information. Also after 2007 I've been pretty much inactive except again in 2017 when I started to write this article and researched the history. Fortunately lots of material has survived even from the very early days.
Most of the material in this page is not owned by me. The original authors and sources are mentioned when possible and reasonable. It has been a common practice in the community to distribute material freely (levels, replays and other stuff). In legal terms History of Elasto Mania (1995–2018) is a popularized scientific presentation (reference) (reference). The replay viewer used in the article is programmed by Maxdamantus (reference). It's possible to zoom the replays in the timer area.
The text was written in 2017-2018 so the events near to that date can have a viewpoint that needs to be corrected when the history is more clear. The events after 2018 are missing for obvious reasons.
Many events and players ended up to the article because they were first to do something or in some other way original, not always the best result in terms of the game itself.
The date format used in the article is YYYY-MM-DD, year-month-day.
There's a topic for the article in Mopolauta (reference).
A hungarian programmer Rózsa Balázs created a computer game which looks very simple at first glance but in essence has a complex and clever gameplay. The first version of the game was named Action SuperCross (or just Across) and it was published in 1997. The sequel is named Elasto Mania (or just Elma) and it was published in 2000. Later many unofficial versions made by the community have been published.
(UPDATE 2022-04-03: The games were added to Steam in 2020 and several game console versions were released in 2022.)
The fundamental idea of the game is to drive a record time better than other players. The level is finished when all the apples are collected and the flower is touched. You die by hitting your head or by touching a killer object. Also you can save your replay, a recorded video file of your drive which can be easily shared to other people.
Elasto Mania, the second major version that we have played since 2000, contains 54 official in-game levels, internals as we call them. The player who has a world record in any of those levels, is the king of the hill, the champion of the greatest heroes, one who shall never be forgotten. The game has also an in-game level editor which enables players to create own levels, externals, which can be competed like the internal levels. And hell, the community has created thousands, maybe even a million levels. But what's interesting is not the number of levels created but the different concepts of all the competitions that have been invented during the decades. There are total times, world cups, leagues, battles, beer battles, first finish battles, multiplayer, blind folded, reversed keys and so on.
To give some idea of the game itself, the video below shows the current best public speedrun video of the game (status 2022-03-16).
The fastest public speedrun video of Elasto Mania (2012). The total time of the replays is 34:58,49. You can skip the video if you are going to read the whole article. Current world records total time is 34:22,04 (2022-03-16) so while watching you can speculate where to cut off 36 seconds. © Kopaka
The gameplay of Elma is very complex eventhough there are only five keys to control the bike: gas, brake, left push, right push and turn. And what makes it so complex and possible to improve the official world records even after 20 years, is the fine granularity of the game physics. It makes a difference whether you press the right push now or 0,001 seconds later. And that affects the next key press, and the next and then you may have found a totally new style which gives you enough speed to finally make the big jump to a new place that no one else has ever reached before.
Finding a new style in a level is great. It happens all the time when new levels are played but if you want to play some of the original in-game levels from year 2000, finding a new style is very difficult. But it still happens now and then even after 20 years. You can also höylä, to play so much that you eventually improve the old record without using any new style.
If you want to try to play the game yourself, the shareware version is downloadable in the official website (reference). Be aware that it's not trivial to get it running without lag in the modern operating systems, but you can try your luck on Mopolauta (reference). You might also encounter the term Elma Online (or just EOL) which refers to an unofficial patch created by the community. By using the patch people can play and compete with each others online and in real-time. EOL is what all the "professional" players use nowadays but to get there you need to buy the registered version first. There are also an iOS version and Elasto Mania II but they are utterly different games and unpopular compared to the original version from year 2000.
(UPDATE 2020-04-03: the game was published in Steam a few days ago so it's probably easier to try it there now.)
As mentioned, the game was programmed in Hungary but most active players come from the Nordic countries. The total times list (reference) represents quite well the variaty of the players. There are 24 different countries in top-135 (2020-05-04): Finland, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Norway, Hungary, Argentina, Austria, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Uruguay, Belarus, Australia, France, Britain, Germany, Iceland, Ukraine, Denmark and Latvia.
The reason why Across and Elma became so popular in Finland that many people even believe the game is made by a Finnish programmer is probably the gaming magazine named MikroBitti which circulation was over 100 000 in the best years. The magazine had a website named MBnet where the readers could download shareware versions of the games that were introduced in the magazine. MikroBitti maintained also a list of monthly downloads and both Across and Elma were among the most popular ones. Two months after Elasto Mania was published, the number of monthly downloads was 7188 and a month later 1964. But for sure most of the copies have been made between real life friends, spreading floppy disks in schools, warez so to speak.
In addition MikroBitti nominated Across the second best shareware game of the year 1999. The original introduction (in Finnish) reads as follows: Mikrobitti 2/99: Vuoden 1997 loppupuolella ensi kertaa esitelty motocross-taitopeli ylsi samantien kuukauden peliksi, mutta pankki räjäytettiin vasta viime kesänä uudemman v1.2:n ilmestyessä. Kiikkerällä moottoripyörällä tarkkuutta ja taitoa vaativien ratojen selvittäminen rynnisti suuren kansan suosioon, kun pelaajat pystyivät viimein väsäämään omia ratojaan ja pelauttamaan niitä toisillaan. Suomalaisista tuli suorastaan SuperCross-pöpi kansa, ja maailman kaikista pelaajista lähemmäs puolet onkin meikäläisiä.
The sequel Elasto Mania was also the Game of the Month in MBnet in April 2000 and the Game of the Day in 2001-03-03.
MikroBitti a popular Finnish gaming magazine nominated Elasto Mania the game of the month in April 2000. Source: MikroBitti
Elasto Mania was the most downloaded software in MBnet during the last 30 days in 2000-04-10. Source: MikroBitti
Elasto Mania is still played actively so if you want to check out what's happening right now (2021-07-26), you should look at the official website (reference), Moposite (reference), Mopolauta (reference) and Elma Online (reference).
I. Across Days (1997 Feb – 2000 Feb)🔝
This chapter discusses the first era of the Across and Elma saga which starts from the publication of the first major version in 1997, Action SuperCross, and ends to the publication of the sequel, Elasto Mania in 2000. Virtually no one kept on playing Across after Elma was out.
A mediocre player finishes 39/42 Action SuperCross official levels. © radxcell
1. Software versions
The very first version of Action SuperCross (1.0) was programmed in C++ and it was released in 1997-02-11. It contains 24 internal levels and no level editor. Version 1.1 (1997-03-24) had only minor bugfixes but version 1.2 (1998-03-23) finally introduced a level editor and several new levels, total being 42 now.
Three old levels, 12. Fair Trial, 14. Slippery Slope and 17. On Top were dropped out and 15. The Turnaround and 23. The Enigma got modified radically.
Version 1.3 (1999-01-06) provided bugfixes only.
Technically there are four Across versions (1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3) but only two in effect (1.1, 1.3). The games were built for MS-DOS operating system so you need to use DOSBox or some other DOS emulator in the modern operating systems to play Across versions.
The author has published a screenshot of the development version of Across. The modification date of the image file is 1995-05-30. Source: Action SuperCross development version
The registered version of the game has always cost 9.95 USD. As it was a common practice to warez games back in the days, not too many people have actually paid for it. The author has never revealed any sales numbers but many players have paid the price afterwards to support Balázs.
- Read Moposite's Across information page (reference).
- View the development of internal levels (reference).
2. WR table
The first observation of the game for most new players is probably the funny suspension of the bike and the crazy physics in general. Next the player might get excited of just staying alive and finishing a few levels. Then he usually tries to finish all original in-game levels which normally takes some weeks because in order to finish the hardest levels the player must learn quite well how to control the bike. Finally to get really addicted to the game the player must either notice the timer or level editor.
In the first place it may feel stupid to even have a timer in the game because it's fun enough to just cruise the levels, perform big airy jumps, go full speed and swing nice hangs but it's also thrilling to compare own times to someone else's, maybe a school friend's or just the random person's who had just happened to play the earlier copy of the game.
After someone has played a level long time and is happy with his record, he wants to find out if there is some kind of records list available online. And yes, there is. The World Records list (WR table) has been running since the game was published in 1997 and after 24 years it's still going strong (2021-07-26).
The first WR table we have a screenshot of, has no date written but the statement in PeXi's old website, "Near x-mas 1997" is probably true because the next screenshot we have, is dated to 1998-01-25 where the world records are only slightly better. Then we have screenshots of WR lists from 1998-02-13, 1998-03-15 and 1998-07-19 which is the first dated table containing the new levels of Across 1.2.
There's also an undated screenshot of a list which has Across 1.2 levels (so it's after 1998-03-23) but the times are much worse than in 1998-07-19. What's also interesting is that Csaba, the brother of the author of the game, has a few world records in the list which implies the screenshot was taken soon after when Across 1.2 was published. It could be even the first Across 1.2 WR list.
The oldest existing Across 1.0/1.1 WR list is undated but it's approximately from the Christmas 1997. Players don't have teams yet and all or at least almost all the records are driven by Finnish players. Source: Official website
The oldest dated Across 1.0/1.1 WR list is from 1998-01-25. Two replays were also available but it's unknown why only in those levels. Source: Official website
The oldest existing Across 1.2/1.3 WR list is undated too but it's probably published soon after the new version was out (1998-03-23). Csaba the brother of the author has two WRs and Pekka_T (aka PeXi, aka px) has three. Finns are still dominating the table and the first teams (ASC, EMT, WACT) are also present. Source: Official website
The oldest dated Across 1.2/1.3 WR list is from 1998-07-19. Karlis and Pekka_T (aka PeXi, aka px) had WRs, players who become great legends in later years. Source: Official website
The Across WR list was last time updated in the official website in 2000-02-17. There are players from new countries besides Finland: Sweden, Norway, USA and Australia. Karlis, psy, Dr_Luni, zeth, Champi0N and umiz are players who will achieve success also in Elma. Source: Official website
The next tables preserved finally contain the table numbers: #315 (1998-12-10), #321 (1999-01-06) and most tables from #337 to the current one: #426 (2021-10-19). As can be deduced from the dates and the table numbers, the world records list was updated almost daily after Across 1.0 was published and weekly a bit later. After Elasto Mania was published in 2000 almost no one kept on playing Across seriously anymore. The last Across WR table in the official site was #395 (2000-02-17). After that the community, Moposite to be precise, started to update the table.
Getting a world record was easier when the game was new but never has it been easy because the game was played so much (mostly) around the Europe and everybody wanted to get a world record.
Because we don't have data of all the old Across WR lists it's impossible to tell how many different players have had a WR. In Elma we know it: 160 at the time of writing (2018-02-18) (source). There can be a few double nicknames but the magnitude is roughly this. The total number of active "professional" players is roughly a few thousands which can be estimated by making an intersection of the players ever submitted something to the Moposite or appeared in the EOL database.
As one can see in the screenshots, Finnish players ruled in the beginning. Mikko, Nikke, Mazor and Jouni were most successful. Also two players who later became great legends, KarLiS and Pekka_T (aka PeXi, aka px) can be spotted. Jokke and psym0rph (aka psy) were also successful players in Across years. Later the WR table got more diverse when new players also from Sweden and Norway started to achieve world records. To drop of few names: Champi0N, BoBBo (aka KingKong), Mandel, TuA and zeth.
- View the current Across WR table (reference).
3. Official level packs
Playing Across isn't only about driving best times but the level designing community is also strong. Across 1.2 was the first version to contain a level editor.
Level making in Across and Elma is very simple because the levels contain just polygons and vertices, start and end positions and optional food and killer objects. Experienced level designers can make decent levels in a minute but it's also common to use hours to polish and design details and different route variations.
The last internal levels of both Across (43th) and Elasto Mania (55th) are virtually unfinishable and their primary point is to advertise the official website to download new levels made by other players. During the first years the brother of the author maintained a webpage where anybody could submit own levels and get them included in the next official level pack.
Probably the most usual level type that the new players created was (and is...) a so-called speedloop because, you know, what could be more fun than a MEGA speed level?! In reality speedloops are awful levels to play because you can't control the bike in fast speed and you end up dying without any chance to react. However, there are many, way too many speedloops in those level packs.
The quality of the official level pack levels has always been fairly low but because the levels were official, people played them. In Elasto Mania quality remained same. Moposite started to select top-10 levels out of the big official level packs because there were usually some good ones too.
Some players like Blake, psy, Petri and umiz published level designing guides.
Big names in the official level packs during Across Days (1997–2000): Level pack Designer Alias First level ------------------------------------------------- acpack03 PEKKA_T px 1998-05-16 acpack04 TOBLE 1998-05-26 acpack17 AP psy 1999-02-27 acpack22 VJ32 veezay 1999-08-08 acpack24 zo3non zo3 2000-01-04
Official level pack levels are not recommended to play because they are mostly made by unskilled rookie players but the concept was important for the community to evolve. People were able to get their work public and see that there are other players around.
- Download the official level packs (reference).
- Read Blake's Level Designing Tips (1998) (reference).
Especially in the early days when the driving routes and styles were mainly private and secret, there was a huge need for colloboration. Soon after the first teams were founded, groups of players who help each others by sharing ideas and replays. The unwritten rule was that the members share all the replays inside the team but spreading outside was dishonourable except when trading.
Usually teams had a webpage containing a history section, members information and team records. The primary communication tool was IRC and ICQ.
There isn't any hard evidence when the first team was founded and whose idea it originally was but we do know that the WR list in 1998-03-15 didn't contain any teams but in 1998-08-10 it had.
The first teams were ASC (Acrossive SuperCrossers), EMT (Eddie Monsoon Technologies), karihola and KDF. ASC was mentioned first time in PeXi's Across News in 1998-05-28 and EMT in 1998-06-03. FIN (Team Finlandia) was founded in 1998-09-23 and the news imply that NC (Nalle Crossers) already existed then.
Other active and successful teams in Across Days (1997–2000) were T98, HC, ahf, PRA, CWS, SSC and tLD. Team FM which later became one of the greatest teams was founded during the 12th event of World Cup 2, just before the new millennium.
The number of different teams in World Cup 1 was 26 (1999-08-01) and 32 in World Cup 2 (2000-01-29).
WR table allowed animated team logos already in 1998 and the tradition has lasted ever since. Every serious Elma team must have a cool GIF logo. Some of the first ones are shown below. (The authors of the logos are unknown.)
First teams were groups of real life friends but soon there appeared also teams whose members lived in different cities, even in different countries. Most of the teams mentioned in this chapter were Finnish except PRA from Sweden and CWS and tLD from Norway.
SSC (Scandinavian SuperCrossers) was the first international super team where all members were chosen regardless of their geographical locations.
Team total times list in MOTOMEN's team page in 1999-05-28. PRA would be leading if it wasn't missing. Source: MOTOMEN's team page
- View ASC team page (1999-01-27) (reference).
- View PRA team page (1999-12-19) (reference).
- View a (huge) list of teams in SSC's team page (2001-04-18) (reference).
5. PeXi's Across Site
The official website of the game offered two vital components which made the game living: world records and level packs. Next communal step was creating teams and building team websites. When the author added the submitted website links to the official website, it made it possible for the players to find each others. The community was born.
We don't have data of the first websites but the most comprehensive unofficial website in Across Days (1997–2000) was PeXi's Across Page. The first one (the green version) was published in 1998-04-26 and it already gathered about 100 daily visitors. This number gives also some idea of the popularity of the game because to visit PeXi's website the player had to finish all the levels to find out the official website, have access to internet in 1998 and finally end up to PeXi's Across Site from the links in the official website.
When I entered PeXi's Across Site first time, it was already the second one (the grey version) which was published in 1999-05-09. The number of daily visitors was about 300 at that time.
PeXi updated the site regularly, wrote news about the Across world and initiated several popular concepts like total times (first time mentioned in 1998-06-07), #across IRC channel (1998-07-14), World Cup (1999-04-04) and a page called Stuff (1998-12-20) for all kind of extra material related to the game. Additionally the first roller coaster, PEKKA_T'.LEV [sic] locates in acpack03 (1998-05-16).
PeXi invented also the first skijump and pipe levels. The levels were some of the first external contests ever created after the level editor had been available less than two months.
The author of the game also liked PeXi's work and added a link of the top-20 total times list under the world records list which forwarded more visitors to grow the community even more.
6. Total times
One very important early innovation was the concept of total time (TT), player's all personal best times summed up to one total time.
World records have always been only the most devoted players' business but everybody can improve their own best times which automatically improves their total time. It's much easier to get into the total times list than to the world records list.
Total times can be used to rank players because almost every active player has a public total time.
Across didn't have a built-in total time counter like Elma has but for sure it's possible to calculate it manually. The first time a total time was mentioned is The ACrossers team page in 1998-06-07 where Pekka_T has 47:55,67 total time. A few screenshots of the old top-20 total times lists have been preserved and we also know the players who were first to break the minute limit barriers.
Total times minute limit breaks in Across Days (1997–2000): Limit Player Nat. Date --------------------------------------------- 40 mins Nikke FIN 1998-09-25 39 mins Mazor FIN 1998-12-19 38 mins Joni FIN 1999-02-10 37 mins Champi0N SWE 1999-05-28 36 mins Champi0N SWE 1999-06-26 ... Elasto Mania is released ... 35 mins StIkKyBeAr USA 2003-01-21
Top-20 total times list in 1999-04-28. Champi0N, Jokke, Joni and kuiva achieved great results also in Elma. Source: PeXi's Across Page
Top-20 total times list in 1999-12-29. Markku has entered the stage a while ago. Source: PeXi's Across Site
When Elasto Mania was released, almost no one kept on playing Across anymore. After some years when the playing skills of the community had improved with Elma and especially after the supervolt was found, some players started to beat old Across records. StIkKyBeAr even did a new minute limit break in 2003-01-21.
In Across 1.0/1.1 total times were not competed.
- View current Across total times top-20 list (reference).
- View Across total times ranking list from 21 to 60 (2001-07-30) (reference).
7. World Cup
The first World Cup (aka WCup, aka WC) lasted four months from 1999-04-04 to 1999-08-01.
The basic idea of the cup is that a new external level is published every week and the players have only one week to play it and submit their best time. The players get fresh and high-quality levels and the results were broadcasted in real-time chat every Sunday. People didn't usually share their best times to other players during the week so the results were thrilling.
Teams were very effective in World Cup because it's much faster to find better styles when you can co-operate with other players. And the faster you find the right style, the more time you have to improve all the little details and get the time you know is possible.
The first World Cup gathered 204 players, 26 teams and contained 15 events, so in order to be successful in the final standings the player had to keep on playing for 15 weeks. World Cups were also opposed because players "had" to play for so long time.
World Cup competition, at least after battles, is the most popular contest type. At the time of writing (2018-02-18) seven World Cups have been organized, two in Across (1999, 1999) and five in Elasto Mania (2000, 2002, 2005, 2013, 2017).
Additionally World Cups have been kind of status checks of the community because the competition gathered hundreds of players including many of the best ones and usually some old veterans too who haven't been around for a while.
The top-10 players in the World Cup final standings have been usually slightly different players than those who dominate the WR and TT lists. Cups are more about the team work and steady playing than super höyling. Out of the top-5 in the first World Cup, BoBBo, Jokke, Mandel and Mazor were well known WR players but the fourth, kuiva, never had a WR. In the later years the players with zero or little WRs will make more success in the World Cup.
Top-10 players in World Cup 1: # Player Team Nat. Points ---------------------------------------- 1. BoBBo PRA SWE 422 2. Jokke HC FIN 416 3. Mandel PRA SWE 350 4. kuiva FIN FIN 311 5. Mazor ASC FIN 309 6. Nikke EMT FIN 284 7. Dr.Across - SWE 278 8. Fulgore FIN FIN 277 9. Jyppe ASC FIN 251,5 10. Gasmaker Da FIN 243
8. World Cup 2
Because World Cup 1 was a big success, the second one was organized almost right after. It lasted also four months (1999-09-26—2000-01-29), gathered 246 players, 32 teams and contained 15 events. A new player named Dr_Luni dominated the cup—he was nine times in top-3 and an overwhelming winner in the final standings.
Top-10 players in World Cup 2: # Player Team Nat. Points --------------------------------------- 1. Dr_Luni FM SWE 920 2. psymorph FM FIN 714,5 3. Champi0n PRA SWE 675 4. zeth tLD NOR 652 5. YeeS FM NOR 606 6. loX tLD NOR 602 7. Stene FM NOR 550,5 8. BoBBo PRA SWE 531 8. Jokke FM FIN 531 10. Karlis FM FIN 477,5
We played many different games in the school break times with my friends in the 90s but Across had something more. It had a timer. It was Carju who happened to see the timer and started to improve his best times. Then Tuska, Ultra and me wanted to beat them, of course.
Our playing started in summer 1999. Before buying my first computer in Christmas 1999 I played in different places and wrote down my best times on paper.
Then we somehow ended up to PeXi's Across Site, the grey one, and found some professional replays like 23. Circuitous and 4. Over and Under. The times and styles used were much better than ours. We were amazed.
Also seeing a picture of Mandel [PRA] inside the Headbanger pipe was a mind blown: How the hell is that possible? You know, 26. Headbanger, one of the original internal levels has empty spaces in the edges of the level. The author didn't think they could be used to finish the level but they could.
The Headbanger pipe is very hard to drive through but it cuts off about 15 seconds, so it was very important in the total time competition.
In fact many internal levels have these kind of hidden shortcuts and tricks which people have found during the years but let's leave those aside for now.
The picture of showing Mandel [PRA] going through the 26. Headbanger pipe was a game changer in the summer of 1999. © Unknown
We started to try to go through the pipe by ourselves and eventually Ultra made it half way. That was a key moment. Now we understood much more about the crazyness of the game: the bike is so flexible that unbelievable tricks can be done. Using the Headbanger pipe shortcut was rare in Across Days (1997–2000) and only a few players were able to do it. In Elma a few hundred players have done it – including myself.
0:51,03 psy (WR #1)
psy was one of the few players who had managed to use the Headbanger shortcut in Across. He was also the first one to learn it well enough to get the first Elma WR (2000-03-06).
Finally in July 1999 Abula, Carju, Tuska and Ultra founded a team named FAST (Finnish Action SuperCrossers Team) and soon after renamed it to MC (Mahti Crossers). Our achievements in Across years were Tuska's WR in The Enigma (version 1.0/1.1) and a few points in World Cup 2.
In the late of 1999 a new name appeared in the total times top-20 list: Markku. He submitted his best times and took the 3rd place in the list without any help of other players. To do the Markku has a special meaning in the community which means to achieve something big out of nowhere.
Markku didn't have a team so I emailed him a several A4 pages long story and he agreed it. Markku joined MC in 2000-01-06 and took 39 out of 42 team records. Not very balanced, I must admit.
Our school teached us how to talk in IRC so we joined the #across IRC chat and fooled around. Later we saw, even talked to the great heroes like Karlis, psy and Petri – and the toughest of all, Tisk the channel operator.
Another boost in our Across life was noticing that PeXi, the website maintainer, happened to live in Haukipudas which locates only 20 km from Oulu where we lived. And it got even crazier when Tuska saw a person looking like PeXi sitting in the computer class in Tuska's school, Karjasillan lukio. There are about twenty upper secondary schools in the Oulu area, not to mention in whole Finland, so it was quite a coincidence. The detective work was completed when Tuska recognized PeXi's real name in the running results. Then we met, said hello and started to chat in IRC. This happened in the beginning of year 2000.
- View MC team page (reference).
10. Early meetings
Most of the first teams were founded by real life friends but the term "meeting" usually refers to an event where players meet each others after they had met online first. It's no problem to participate in the community and be very active without ever meeting anyone in real life, but it's intereting to meet other players and share some moments.
The only meetings during Across Days (1997–2000) are PeXi's swimming trip to Tampere in 1998-11-08 and a bus trip to Piteå in 1999-07-29. In Tampere PeXi [FIN] and T0rPeD0 [FIN] met Mikko [EMT] and Lusu [CIA] and in Piteå PeXi met several members of PRA, the best Swedish team at that time.
11. Cheating (1st wave)
When the community matured it was only a matter of time when the first cheaters appeared. The official world records list had a text in 1998-12-10 announcing that the state.dat, the encrypted file containing the best times was possibly cracked and therefore a replay file was required to get a world record.
In the third event of the first World Cup (1999-04-29) two Finnish players submitted another player's replay as their own, namely Dr.Across's. That was easy to catch because the times and the moves of the bike were 100 % same.
The first dangerous (and funny) cheating tool was called mod.com and it appeared in 1999-12-02. It changed the physics of the bike radically and it didn't require apples to be collected to finish the level. All this made it possible to drive unbelievable times like 0:03,90 in 5. Uphill Battle when the world record was about 24 seconds at that time.
Total times and average times lists got frozen because state.dat files couldn't be trusted anymore. The problem got never resolved because Elasto Mania was published a few months later and everybody moved to play it instead.
Some example replays driven by the mod.com patch which changes the game physics radically. The last level, Expert System has two interesting details: a moving apple and a wheel touching the flower by going through the wall. © Abula
Two special tricks, bounce and supervolt, which will be introduced in more details a bit later, were also suggested to be considered as cheating in the early days but this opinion never received much support because the tricks actually improve the gameplay.
Another cheating type has been tacit approved because it is nearly impossible to catch. Level makers can lock the level if they want to prevent opening it in the level editor to be able to use it to train the level in parts or just protect the copyright. The lock was cracked already in 1998 and since then unlockers have been available in the community underground. Unofficial Elasto Mania 1.2 didn't respect the lock anymore so after 2002 locking a level didn't have any effect anymore.
- View mod.com WR table (2000-03-03) (reference).
Not everybody wanted to just play but also produce something. People made levels, built websites and created things to be shared. Some of the best art works during Across Days (1997–2000) are presented below.
- First preserved #across log (1998-07-31) (reference)
- Interview of Balázs by MOTOMEN (1999-01-22) (reference)
- Target times in Across by PeXi (1999-08-23) (reference)
- Forecast of Elma future by kuiva (1999) (reference)
MC Studios - Ajetaan Me Motskarilla was one of the four songs produced by Abula and Mahti Crossers in the end of year 1999.
PeXi arranged weekly polls like this in his Across website (1999-03-28). The polls were possible to manipulate but ahf had many members. © PeXi
It's possible to change the skin of the bike. This is also the first April fool (1999-04-01). © Unknown
13. Levels and replays
Replay files are very essential components of Across and Elma. Unfortunately no good collections of Across files exist although back in the days team KGB had many good replays available in their team website.
Because the Across levels work also in Elasto Mania, many good Across levels were moved to Elma level packs.
Good levels of Across Days (1997–2000): * Misc level packs > Blake's levels * Misc level packs > Eilen * Moposite levels > Custom levels (1-21) * Team TAP levels > zebra's levels > Old across levs * World Cup levels > Wcup 1 * World Cup levels > Wcup 2k (Paths refers to Elma Ultimate DVD.)
In addition Elma Ultimate DVD contains a few Across replays but because replay sharing was slightly dishonourable in Across Days (1997–2000), the number of good public replays is modest.
Summary of the chapter
The first part of the saga, three years from 1997 to 2000 consists of the release of the first version of the game and the first steps of the community maturation. Many important concepts such as world records, total times, teams, cups, contests and meetings were initiated. In the following chapter we will see what happens when the sequel named Elasto Mania is released.
II. Prelude to Elma (2000 Feb – 2001 Jul)🔝
The first era of Elasto Mania, the sequal of Action SuperCross, spans roughly 18 months from the release of the game to the publication of Elasto Mania Forever CD, the first exclusive collection of the creative art work the community had produced. July 2001 happens to be the last time the greatest Across team (PRA) was last time seen in the Elma WR table.
During the era a lot happened when people learnt what the new game offers. Some Across players quitted but many more new players joined the community. We were worried about the new version being a disaster but Elma turned out to be better, way better.
1. New versions
"Across 2" was a common topic in the community during Across Days (1997–2000) because of some rumours and because we had our fears and nightmares of features such as 3D, teleports, turbo boost, gravity and other super cool additions. The hardcore players have always liked the simplicity of the game. New fancy things could ruin the playability.
The author has always been very moderate of revealing any facts but apparently he had mentioned something to PeXi who had written in his website's FAQ page: I only know that they are making it, trying to at least remove the bugs and improve graphics, maybe a multiplayer mode will be true too. (source) There was another clue of the publication in August 1999 when PeXi announced to draw a few copies of Across 2 between the participants of World Cup 2, which was scheduled to end in January 2000.
Elasto Mania 1.0
Indeed in the 3rd February 2000 Across 2 was out! The name had changed and it was Elasto Mania now or just Elma.
The main differences compared to original Across were modified game physics, fancier graphics (sigh), gravity switches (no!!), 12 new levels, multiplayer mode (offline) and many small improvements here and there. The game didn't run on MS-DOS anymore but required Windows.
The new gravity apples that switch the gravity of the bike can't be distinguished from the normal ones which apparently are meant to be funny but at least they are annoying because you can't know the next direction and position the bike for it. Luckily there are only three internal levels to contain gravity apples: Gravity Ride, Upside Down and Bowling. There is no consensus whether the gravity apples increase or decrease the gameplay but my humble opinion is negative.
The graphics got fancier but fortunately there is a setting to turn them off to have a simple look like in original Across. The pretty trees and bushes might look appealing but it's more difficult to see clearly where the bike goes. The only useful component is grass which gives more contrast to the ground. However everything was good because of the setting. Perhaps the nicer appearance lured more new players. Elasto Mania supports also custom graphics via a special file called LGR. A new concept of finding secret areas was also introduced.
The game got a total time counter integrated, saved best times of external levels and top-10 times instead of top-6. Replay length was extended to five minutes and a possibility to configure the controls was added which kind of solved the problem of too many modern keyboards which didn't allow to press several keys at the same time. In Elma you may need to press even five keys in some situations, like in the start of 52. Hang Tight (left, right, gas, turn, enter).
Twelve new internal levels were introduced, total being 54 now. Four of the new ones, 30. Pipe, 32. Steep Corner, 34. Bumpy Journey and 45. Sink are so-called speedloops (sob) and three were gravity levels and another two, 53. Hooked and 48. Downhill were actually already published as a slightly different versions in the official level packs during Across Days (1997–2000). So basically there were only three fresh and good – well at least mediocre – levels: 8. Tag, 39. Haircut and 49. What the Heck. But actually all the old levels were kind of new ones because the game physics changed so much. There were also some minor changes in some levels like 33. Zig Zag and 47. Enigma.
Circa eight months later three new versions of Elasto Mania were published which all included bugfixes only. The version numbering is strange: 1.1, 1.11, 1.11a.
Version 1.11 was nominated the game of the day again in MikroBitti magazine in 2001-03-03. Source: MikroBitti
- Download Elasto Mania 1.11a shareware (reference).
- View the development of internal levels (reference).
- Read Moposite's Elasto Mania information page (reference).
2. Modified physics
The physics of the Elma world was different to Across world. At first it felt awful because after spending hundreds of hours with Across, embracing it, you started to feel it both natural and correct and everything else is just wrong. But when looking back now we can admit that Across is more irritating and Elma is smoother and just better.
As the new name implies Elasto Mania is more elastic, more slippery. Across had a better grip but Elma gives you smoother, faster and more powerful drive—even the character is standing when in Across he seems to be sitting.
2.1. Gravity apples
A big change in the laws of Elma physics was the concept of gravity apples which can change the gravity to all four directions.
Unfortunately the apple doesn't indicate the direction in any way so the player needs to be prepared for everything when taking the apple first time. And because that's not always possible, you occasionally die unfairly.
On the positive side the gravity apples give more opportunities to design new kind of levels. The established way to deal with the unfair indication problem is to draw arrows next to the gravity apples but it fixes the problem only in external levels.
0:26,09 psy (WR #20) 0:26,52 Joni (WR #4)
psy made a new world record by taking the gravity apples in an unusual order (2000).
2.2. Head position
What is interesting in Elma is that the position of the head got mirrored related to the wheels. In Across the character had to look at the wall to keep the head as far as possible from it to not die but in Elma to do same he must look away from the wall. When you realized and adopted that fact, you got more margin and better times. In the beginning some players drove even world records in the hard way.
The horizontal position of the head in Elma is same as in Across but mirrored. The bike is also a bit higher in Elma so some levels like 37. Jaws is slightly tighter and harder. © Abula
0:33,41 Markku (WR #4)
Look at the end hang at 32 seconds. Markku used the harder style by not turning the bike in the end (2000).
Because of the smoother and more elastic bike in Elasto Mania, bounces got easier to perform. A bounce is a special trick where the bike is popped up by braking while pressuring a wheel when having enough speed. And you know what? Bouncing feels so good.
A bounce can be done by back and front wheel, from the wall, from the ground, from the roof and well, from about everywhere. There are also many kind of bounces like an alobounce, bugbounce, deadbounce, half-deadbounce, o-bounce. Bouncing is art and pleasure.
There were some levels in Across like Tunnel Terror and Bounce Back where bouncing was possible but overall bouncing levels were fairly rare and challenging to do because of the more uncontrollable ground touch in Across and less speed compared to Elma. Instead at the time of writing (2017-09-29) almost every world record in Elma includes at least one bounce – or four like in Jaws. So bounce wasn't a totally new thing in Elma but now it just became a very common day-to-day trick.
Performing a bounce isn't usually depressing hard—still hard enough to give a shot of endorphin when you perform one.
Mawane's videos shows clearly what is a bounce:
- Watch MEGA Bounce (part 1/2) by Mawane (2009-12-05) (reference).
- Watch MEGA Bounce (part 2/2) by Mawane (2010-05-02) (reference).
Bounce is actually a bug in the source code, a good ol' division by zero error, but it was decided to leave unfixed because the error actually improved gameplay and a fix might have meant a WR table reset.
Bounces can be extremely powerful sometimes which people consider as a bugbounce. But where's the limit? Which one is a bugbounce and which is not? Unfortunately it's not possible to draw a line by picking some official number for the maximum value of acceleration allowed because the value depends on the situation. Some bounces which don't look buggy at all can have higher value than a bounce which is clearly a bugbounce. So even today we are relying on jury (2020-05-06), a table updater who must decide if a certain bounce is a bug or not.
Luckily there aren't many internal levels where the question of bugbounce is relevant, except one: 47. Enigma. Stini had a world record in Enigma for 214 tables (4653 days, almost 13 years), longer than any other WR ever. The replay has been under hard debate.
0:19,16 Stini (WR #175) 0:19,14 Mielz (WR #389)
A bugbounce or not?
This is a bugbounce from the year 2000. Another bug is also presented: the wheel can go through the wall in fast speed.
Bounce wasn't the only trick that became more possible in Elma. But it's not right time to discuss brutal volt, zweqspin, wheelpop or spinboost yet. Moreover I hope that accelerating, braking, turning, volting, climbing, dropping, hanging, jumping, pushing, streching, picking (apples) and dodging (killers) are obvious enough and can be skipped. The Moposchool level pack introduces them in more detail. However there is one trick we need to look at now: supervolt or the special case of it called alovolt as "supervolt alone".
Supervolt is a special volt that works only in clockwise direction when the player presses both right and left push keys at the same time. It's very easy to perform when you first press, let's say right push, keep it pressed and then press left push. There you have a supervolt.
Supervolt is more powerful compared to the normal volt and because it's not a tiny difference, it gained lots of interest after it was found.
Actually supervolt trick was possible in Across as well and it's strange that people didn't notice it back then.
The first Elma world records where supervolt is used are Tookai's Bumpy Journey and Champi0N's Hi Flyer in WR table #1 (2000-03-06). A more significant one is Tuska's Hang Tight in table #20 (2000-06-04) where the supervolt start is much faster.
Supervolt is easy to do in the start of the level because you can press both right and left before starting the level.
0:26,21 Tuska (WR #21) 0:26,59 Ufo (WR #20)
Supervolt start is much faster in Hang Tight (2001).
But it turned out that actually there aren't many internal levels where you need to do many right volts in a row that could be potentially replaced by a supervolt. However if you could press both left and right keys simultaneously and make a supervolt without a normal volt first, supervolt alone so to speak, you would get more advantage. But it's very difficult to press two keys at the very same time.
People began to experiment the new volt and they found out that slow computers and some keyboards made it easier to make the supervolt without preceding the normal volt. mr, my team friend, discovered that it's possible to configure two keys to one button in an external pad controller and thereby it could be used by a foot. The finding was top secret because we didn't want to give the benefit for our competitors.
Pipe WR by dz in table #70 (2001-06-24) is the first WR to have an alovolt in the middle of the level. dz didn't use the alovolt start in Over and Under in table #67 (2001-05-14) but swos used it even twice in table #71 (2001-07-08).
First world records utilizing alovolt were driven in levels where the trick is in the beginning of the level where the trick can be attempted to perform more often.
0:31,30 swos (WR #71) 0:31,31 dz (WR #67)
swos' Over and Under is the second WR using the alovolt trick, even twice, at 2 and 7 seconds (2001).
Later the community solved the alovolt issue by making an unofficial Elma patch (1.11h) which made it possible to configure a special key to perform it. After that everybody was able to use it no matter what their hardware was.
We haven't talked much about the unofficial Elma versions yet but there are some of them. The first one, the version introducting alovolt (1.11h), was released in 2002-10-07. After that many world records were improved because alovolt was very useful in many levels.
So in the end it took about one year from finding a new revolutionary trick to be utilized by almost every player on daily basis. The trick evolved from secret information of few to a new key in the game without having the original source code.
Many old Across world records were also easily beaten after the alovolt was found. Some people saw that as sacrilegious act but the records are legitimate because the table never got frozen.
In addition there has been discussion about implementing a left alovolt to the game because it's unlogical to have it only in clockwise direction but because the change would mean a WR table reset, the idea was never really welcomed by the community. Right alovolt has been always technically possible to perform but left alovolt never was.
5. Let's play internals
The official in-game levels (internals) have always been the center of attention. When there were 12 new internals in Elma and when the 42 old internals were practically new as well because of the modified game physics, many players started to play the official levels a lot again.
A few events during the first 18 months are important in the world records' point of view. At first Moposite started to maintain the official WR table in 2001-04-08.
Secondly the first discussion board, Ultimate Bulletin Board was opened in 2000-04-17 where players could talk about their times, styles and even share files (reference). Eventhough the discussion was quite spare, even childish, it was a step forward. The board welcomed new people to the community who weren't able or willing to join IRC. Inducing from the links in Moposite news, the second discussion board, now called as Mopolauta was put in service between 2001-04-01 and 2001-08-30 (reference). No records of the first discussions have preserved.
5.1. WR tables #1-#72
The era of Prelude to Elma (2000–2001) consists of 72 world records table updates during the 18 months period. That is exactly four tables per month but updates didn't occur weekly as the number suggests. In the beginning the WR table was updated more often, almost daily when the world records were constantly improved.
The first 72 tables had 522 new WRs (~7.3 per table, 29 per month) when for example the last 72 tables at the moment (#319-#391) have had 177 new ones (~2.5 per table). The difference is even more overwhelming if we compare it to the last 18 months (#384-#391) where we have had 18 new WRs, one per month. Of course the world records were much easier to get in the beginning but all the same, the internal level playing was very active and extensive when Elasto Mania was just published.
The author of the game informed the date beforehand when the WR table will be updated first time. The community knew that they have exactly one month to drive as good times as possible because the first table was promised to be updated in 2000-03-06. Before the deadline everybody could submit their personal best times to be checked by the authors who then picked up the best ones and created the WR table #1. People didn't know other teams' times so it was very interesting to finally see the first table.
And there we go! FM took 25 and PRA only 9 world records. Our team (MC) got 7 and to my greatest surprise I got one: 30. Pipe. The players who got most WRs were psy 10, Champi0N 9, Jokke 6, Markku 4 and Stene 4.
Team MC's world records in table #1: Level Time Player ---------------------------------------- 20. Upside Down 1:10,29 Markku 32. Steep Corner 45,10 Markku 46. Bowling 1:14,58 Markku 51. Tricks Abound 1:01,18 Markku 14. Loop-de-Loop 18,94 Tuska 45. Sink 35,18 Tuska 30. Pipe 35,30 Abula
The next table six days later had 31 new WRs, following 35 WRs in table #3. People were really active and played a lot. The WR total time was dropping fast.
WR table total times during the first month: Date Table Total time --------------------------------- 2000-03-06 #1 44:26,47 2000-03-11 #2 43:45,46 2000-03-17 #3 43:03,96 2000-03-23 #4 42:50,84 2000-03-29 #5 42:48,71 2000-03-31 #6 42:44,21 2000-04-05 #7 42:43,12
There were 80 different players from 7 different nationalities and 36 different teams in the first 72 tables. Only 26 out of the 522 WRs were driven by a player without a team so again we see the power of co-operation.
Number of new WRs per nationality in tables #1-#72: # Nat. WRs ---------------- 1. SWE 224 2. FIN 170 3. NOR 113 4. HUN 7 5. USA 5 6. POL 2 7. AUS 1
Number of new WRs per team in tables #1-#72: # Team WRs ---------------- 1. FM 107 2. PRA 79 3. SC 39 4. SSC 28 5. ukc 27 6. tld 23 7. SAT 22 MC 22 9. WRS 19 10. TWN 15 ...
Number of new WRs per player in tables #1-#72: # Player WRs -------------------- 1. Jokke 39 2. Champi0N 32 zyntifox 32 4. Jeppe 31 5. KingKong 24 6. Karlis 20 psy 20 8. elg 15 9. Markku 14 10. pajen 13 Stene 13 ...
An interesting detail is a WR table #37 where zyntifox had world records in the first four internal levels: 1. Warm Up, 2. Flat Track, 3. Twin Peaks and 4. Over and Under. I'm sure many players once got the brilliant idea to drive all WRs starting from the first level. zyntifox got it most close missing only the last 50 levels – or 49 to be precise because he had also 10. The Steppes at that time.
Another interesting WR related detail in zyntifox's Warm Up WR is that he improved it by 0:00,01 seconds six times in a row starting from the table #28. He did it also five times in Flat Track starting from the table #15.
Besides driving world records in large measure, the total time competition was also intense. It was easy to improve your total time but it was same for everybody else so you had to rush to keep up with others.
Total times minute limit breaks in Prelude to Elma (2000–2001): Limit Player Nat. Date ------------------------------------------------- 45 mins KingKong SWE 2000-03-11 (#1) 44 mins Champi0N SWE 2000-04-05 (#7) 43 mins KingKong SWE 2000-06-04 (#21) 42 mins zyntifox NOR 2000-11-21 (#47)
As one can see team PRA was dominating the total times competition in the beginning. FM was quite inactive after the first WR table but became number one when Jokke, Karlis, Stene, YeeS and Ufo started to play seriously. Later more players entered the competition and especially zyntifox, pajen and Dezz (aka dz) started to rule the total times list. Other successful total time oriented players of the early days were Jeppe, elg, Elbono, zeth, Totalnew and Joni.
5.2. First WR statistics
We looked at quite an amount of different statistics in this chapter. Back in the days there wasn't any statistics. mrickx was first to write down the WR development and Petri published it in the SSC team page in 2000-09-05 before it was moved to Moposite in 2000-10-26.
- View the oldest WR development page (2000-09-02) (reference).
- View another old WR development page (2001-04-07) (reference).
5.3. Country, average and top-X lists
More extensive internal level playing in Elma led to more records lists. Tier [AAF] from Australia was first to maintain a world top-5 list already in Across and later in Elma as well. The list contained the top-5 world best times of each internal level. Later the list was hosted by mrDJ (aka EML), team ahf and Tonylee who expanded it to top-10. Finally Moposite adopted the list in June 2002
Another new list type was average times introduced by Abula in 2000-10-15, namely the average of the player's top-10 times per level. Balázs made a program to count the average times—there weren't many programmers around in the community in 2000.
There have been country records since Across Days (1997–2000): Slovenian records being the first one in 1998. Oulu records by Abula was the first city records in 2000. The country and city lists were updated by many different players around the Elma world. In addition there were a few top-30 lists for single internal levels.
- View average records (2001-04-30) (reference).
- View average records (2001-10-02) (reference).
- View top-5 records of every internal level (reference).
- View top-5 records of every internal level (reference).
- View top-10 records of every internal level (reference).
- View Slovenian records (1998-12-04) (reference).
- View Finnish records (2000-06-22) (reference).
- View Finnish records (2001-04-18) (reference).
- View Swedish records (2000-06-22) (reference).
- View Danish records (2001-04-22) (reference).
- View Norwegian records (2001) (reference).
- View South African records (2001) (reference).
- View Oulu records (2000-04-01) (reference).
- View Espoo records (2001-01-21) (reference).
- View top-30 of Loop-de-Loop (reference).
- View top-30 of Headbanger (reference).
- View top-30 of Pipe (reference).
6. Mysterious WR replays
Next we can watch the best world record replays driven during the first 18 months. Keep in mind that all those styles and replays were top secret back then and people would have sold their grandmas to get to watch them. Replay sharing was still very moderate.
0:20,95 Eliaz (WR #62) 0:24,93 Eliaz (WR #35) 0:28,26 Champi0N (WR #3) 0:32,40 onlainari (WR #2)
The biggest absolute improvement of all times (0:16,14 seconds) goes to onlainari with his 47. Enigma WR in table #2 (2000-03-11). The shortcut he used was already known in Across. Eliaz (twice) and Champi0N found a few new tricks in the level.
0:13,03 Markku (WR #46) 0:13,55 zyntifox (WR #29) 0:13,86 mr (WR #4) 0:14,12 Karlis (WR #3)
10. The Steppes is the shortest internal level—yet the world record evolution has been very fascinating. Karlis uses the old Across style, mr goes head first, zyntifox back wheel first and Markku does a totally different turn. Amazingly the WR is even 0:02,53 seconds faster at the time of writing.
1:06,88 Jeppe (WR #73) 1:06,93 Joni (WR #8)
Joni's 20. Upside Down lasted 65 tables (484 days) which is longer than any other WR during the first 72 tables.
0:15,95 MGen (WR #42) 0:17,20 Karlis (WR #35) 0:33,71 Joni (WR #6)
The biggest relative improvement of all times (44.7 %) goes to Karlis with his 44. Freefall WR in table #33 (2001-08-19). Unfortunately the replay file has been lost but he improved it again on the table #35 and that replay has preserved. A bit later MGen found even faster style. The current WR is astounding 0:11,41. Freefall is also the most improved internal level by 42 new records.
1:08,31 swos (WR #49) 1:13,21 swos (WR #48) 1:25,60 Elbono (WR #18) 1:35,79 onlainari (WR #17) 1:35,84 zeth (WR #11) 1:43,44 Champi0N (WR #3)
33. Zig-Zag has the most evolved world record style. The first 72 tables cut the time by 0:44,78 seconds and in the upcoming tables it will drop 15 seconds more (status in 2020-05-23).
0:58,16 Jokke (WR #57) 0:58,79 Jeppe (WR #54)
Jokke was the first player to use the legendary 24. Ramp Frenzy shortcut (2001-02-17).
0:54,77 Joni (WR #1)
Joni had several mysterious world records which other players couldn't figure out how to beat. His 48. Downhill world record lasted 19 tables (91 days), longer than any other WR from table #1.
7. Funny replays
It's not only the fastest replays that are interesting to watch but the replay can be interesting in some other way. The coolest replays of the first years of Elma are rather mediocre in today's standards but let's watch a few.
zyntifox was one of the most skilled players in 2000-2001. His double round mastering in 47. Enigma was outstanding back in the days.
Pelle's record driven in 2000-12-20 in a special level named Invisibility remains a mystery. How was he able to drive this? It's still the record which probably makes it the oldest important record ever.
8. Cheating (2nd wave)
A program to crack the encrypted state.dat file was published soon after Elma was published. Since then the record list maintainers had to watch the replays in order to be sure the submitted times are correct.
In 2000-06-25 a patch named Nitro was released. It made possible to change the game physics such as acceleration, spinning and gravity. The patch added 10 minutes to the finish times and the replays didn't work in normal Elma. Nitro supports also immortality and driving in slow motion.
Nitro was fun to play for a while but it opened dangerous gates too. What to do if someone was able to remove the 10 minutes addition?
An anonymous player uses Nitro patch to finish 29. Headbanger in 0:19,56 in 2001.
Nitro also offered a new revolutionary feature: a replay merge. Now you were able to watch two replays at the same time and find out how to improve more easily.
And then it happened what was feared: in April 2001 two norwegian players got caught on cheating nine world records with a patch like nitro which just didn't have the protection features. The cheaters had adjusted the bike physics very little like gravity 999/1000 and immortality in places where the head was very close to the wall to make it hard to detect with a naked eye. They also used slow motion in short levels like 1. Warm Up, 12. Loop-de-Loop and 34. Bumpy Journey.
mrDJ (aka EML) uses immortality in the end of his cheated 3. Twin Peaks world record in 2001.
MGen was the first programmer to create anti-cheating tools which helped to catch the first cheaters.
The first anti-cheating tool was MGen's elmaplay (2001). The program created fancy histograms but to be honest, it didn't always give very clear answers if the replay was cheated or not. Source: elmaplay
Because of the cheaters some old WR tables doesn't have any new world records (eg. #27).
- Read Moposite's Cheating page (reference).
Yes, multiplayer, that was a new feature in Elasto Mania. It's a split-screen offline mode where players try to finish the level like in single mode but by doing co-operation: the first player can collect some apples and the second one drives to the flower.
There's also a so-called Flag Tag mode where the players battle of holding a flag as long as possible.
Multiplaying was quite an interesting addition but it has always been only that, a bonus. To play multi one needs a friend present, a friend whose skill level is from the same ballpark and on top of that a level that has any reason to play multi. For example if the level doesn't have any apples, it's totally same level in multi and single mode. Or a level like Freefall or Ramp Frenzy where one player's part is so ludicrous trivial that the level can be played even alone. But there are some internal levels which are good for multi and it's also possible to design own levels.
54. Apple Harvest has many different routes which makes the level good for multiplaying. Source: Elasto Mania
0:28,95 Zweq & Juzam (multi WR #75)
48. Downhill is a different level to play in multiplayer mode.
The author never updated the multi world records in the official website but gave it to Tumex who started to update the list in March 2000. The earliest existing screenshot is from the table #28 (2000-12-20) which is probably the last one Tumex updated. SveinR adopted the multi table in 2001-02-07 and the first one we have from his website is #18 (2001-04-22) so the table numbering was reset. One more screenshot exists from the era we are talking about: #22 (2001-05-22).
Some of the best multi players from the early days were MoorZe & JAnen, Dezz & NPhoBiaz, Abula & Tuska & Ultra and Terrace & Phillip.
Elasto Mania has a multiplayer mode for two players out of the box but let's see what other ways there are to play with other players.
The first World Cup was organized in April 1999 and as we already discussed the idea of the cup where a few hundred players play the same level at the same time for one week.
Another contest of the early days that has a real-time social aspect, is the 24 hours total time competition because it's often played by several players at the same time. The idea of the competition is to drive as good total time as possible in 24 hours. It was first time organized by Abula in 2000-07-08.
One technological step was also necessary to make playing with other players possible, fixed term internet connections, which were becoming more common in the Nordic countries in 2000.
Another real-time contest idea is the concept of battles. It's a competition where one player makes a level, uploads it and launches a short competition in a dedicated IRC channel. In the beginning the playing time was always 30 minutes and the winner had to manually upload the replay for others to verify.
Battles started to gain popularity because it was both interesting to see who had skills to drive good times quickly and also to get new fresh levels one after one.
It's disputable to determine the exact date of the beginning of battling but personally I see the leikki and kisma levels as a pre-battle contest. We created those levels in team MC (Abula and Tuska) to compete with each others by improving in turns on the same computer for short periods of time. The first leikki level was created in 2000-06-13 and 90 more were created before August 2002. In the second Across meeting, AC-meat2 (May 2001), there was only one computer and the only organized contest was played in kisma style.
The very first record when the term battle is mentioned is mrDJ's (aka EML) interview dated to 2001-05-01. As far as I can remember the first active battlers were Abula, Tuska, MUe, Petri, onlainari, Tisk, EML and skint0r. The first logs are lost but the channel was #30minsbattle.
Battles are short living competitions and the results are quickly forgotten soon after the next battle is started. Many people see battles as more like a training camp for the official levels but there are also players who find battling the primary reason to play Elma.
- View the 24 hours total times page (2000-09-03) (reference).
11. World Cup 3
We had been playing internal levels in Elma only for five months when PeXi organized the third World Cup from 2000-06-26 to 2000-12-17. It contained 20 events this time. There were 208 participants and 45 teams got points.
Dr_Luni kept on dominating and took his second World Cup victory. Jokke was again in the top-10 in the final standings. Team FM was overwhelming again. Team PRA who had won the team competition in WC1 and who became second in WC2, was fifth this time.
Top-10 players in World Cup 3: # Player Team Nat. Points ------------------------------------------ 1. Dr_Luni FM SWE 1655,5 2. Elbono SC SWE 1366,5 3. Karlis FM FIN 1004,5 4. Jokke FM FIN 959 5. AAL-Owen SRX NOW 840 6. Tapzu POP FIN 820,5 7. Jarkko H swos FIN 786,5 8. Kumiorava POP FIN 745 9. Matte SWE 734,5 10. Markku MC FIN 727
Since World Cup 2 PeXi asked other people to design levels for the cup. In World Cup 3 two levels were designed by Abula. The latter one was named Impsybility which also started the pipe level tradition. Roller coaster level type is another World Cup tradition.
Because the players had wished more new official levels in Elma than just twelve, MUe, a hungarian player who had made one in-game level (46. Bowling), launched a project called OLP (The Official Level Pack). MUe collected levels from the community and Moposite created a new WR list looking like the real WR table. The level pack release was in 2001-03-03.
The level pack never gained the popularity we had aimed for. The level quality was moderate and the OLP name was confusing because there were already the official level packs in the official website.
- View OLP records (2007-05-19) (reference).
13. More Levels
It wasn't just the Moposite crew who created Elma websites and organized contests: many teams and players contributed too.
The very first cup after World Cup that we have any record of is Motomen's Team cup. Kahvicup is known by strange and varying rules. Much more popular and serious one was Middle European Cup which gathered 58 players from Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Netherlands and England.
Cups organized during the first 18 months: Start Name Winner Organizer(s) -------------------------------------------------------------- 2000-04-16 Team Cup FIN MOTOMEN 2000-12-10 Kahvicup Tisk psy & Sathy 2000-12-31 Middle European Cup Raider TonyLee 2001-02-22 LOS Cup ? LOS 2001-06-11 Elma League ? EML
Elma League was a new idea where players competed with each others in the same group, and the best and the worst players of every group had to change their groups after each round. Unfortunately the league didn't keep on running after the first season. The concept is demanding for the organizers but Zebra and Zworqy have arranged something similar called duel and elimination cup in the later years.
Another interesting contest was the mini internals which Totalnew started already in Across. Mini47T.lev was created in 1999-12-03. The idea was to replicate the official internal levels and make them smaller, mini versions so to speak. They were fun to play because you kind of felt like playing the original levels but just bizarred ones. In later years the mini internals were recreated programmably but back then it was manual work all the way.
Almost all team pages had contests of their own. Usually there were regular external levels to drive best times. We didn't have any polls to award the best ones in the early years but here are some highlights.
Good Elma levels created during Prelude to Elma (2000–2001): Directory ------------------------------------------------------ Internals > Mini internals made by players Misc level packs > kahvi Misc level packs > Laina (1-90) Misc level packs > Olliz levels Misc level packs > RiZ's levels Misc level packs > sex levels Moposite levels > Custom levels (22-72) Official levelpacks > elma top10packs (26-66) skintatious levels > Skint (1-67) Team LOS levels > The LOS Levels (1-45) World Cup levels > Wcup 3 (Paths refer to Elma Ultimate DVD.)
First appearances of some famous level designers in the official Elma level packs: Level pack Designer Alias First level ------------------------------------------------- empack26 VJ32 veezay 2000-02-05 empack35 Olliz 2000-06-02 empack37 SveinR 2000-06-30 empack39 RiZ 2000-03-23 empack44 TL 2000-05-17 empack49 skint0r 2000-08-13 empack53 umiz 2000-12-31 empack61 Zworqy 2000-09-26
- View TSC team page (2000-12-09) (reference).
- View Elma League (2001-08-19) (reference).
- View Middle European Cup final standings (2002-02-20) (reference).
Between February 2000 and July 2001 Abula and PeXi created four Elma sites. In later years three more were built but that's a topic of the next era.
Abula's Elma Site
The creation work of my first Elma site took one month and the first news were written in 2000-01-26. The songs of MC Studios, Oulu city records, food recipes and a list of Elma players (ElMaKuskit) were first of their kind in the community. This was also the time when Höylä Mission and the team page of MC were introduced. Hill climbing, Slowness, Hanging and Impossibility contest types got released.
The number of daily visitors was roughly 50.
Höylä Mission records table #28 in Abula's first Elma website in April 2000. The website was active from 2000-01-26 to 2000-06-25. Source: Abula's Elma Site
Soon after I started to make the next version in April 2000 which got a new name: Moposite. The spring 2000 was hectic time because Elasto Mania was also just published and the website had to be migrated from Across to Elma on top of creating the new layout and structure for the website.
- View Abula's Elma Site (2000-04-01) (reference).
PeXi's Elma Site
PeXi was also renewing his website in the beginning of 2000 in order to add dedicated sections for Elasto Mania. He published the new site in 2000-02-27. About 400 visitors viewed his website daily which is a 25 % increase compared to the previous website.
PeXi's Elasto Mania & Action SuperCross Site, "the blue version" was active from 2000-02-27 to 2000-06-25. Source: PeXi's Elasto Mania & Action SuperCross Site
Besides converting the sections to Elma, PeXi added a few new ones too: Replays, Finnish and Swedish records, FAQ, "Hints, Tips & Cheats", Programs, LGRs and a discussion forum.
- View PeXi's Elasto Mania & Action SuperCross Site (2000-06-22) (reference).
Abula had been doing the next Elma site for a few weeks in April 2000 when PeXi asked for co-operation. We lived close to each others so why not combine forces? We met, made some plans and started to work. The contents of their websites got merged plus a few new sections and the famous blue and green theme was created.
The first Moposite was published in 2000-06-25 which means that previous Elma sites of PeXi and Abula were up and running only for four months. First Moposite version gathered about 500 daily visitors and the 200 000 visits barrier was crossed in 2000-09-05.
The new sections were the 24 hours total time competition, average records, Kinglist, multiplayer contests, top-10 level pack ratings, Flag Tag levels, anagrams, dictionary and old WR tables. Also a WR development page was included and two new special contest levels: Bouncing and Invisibility.
In 2001-04-30 Moposite was taken offline. The plan was to calm down the activity and get some attention while making the next Moposite version. Temporary offline version provided updates to the most important sections like world records and news.
Moposite went offline for four months in 2001 while the next Moposite version was built. Source: Moposite
The Moposite v2 wasn't ready before the end of the era, July 2001. The tradegy of web designing has always been that once you get a new website running, you already know many things that could be better. Both your skills and web technologies are evolving so fast that you are never satisfied with the current version.
- View Moposite v1 (2001-04-30) (reference).
- View Moposite offline version (2001-07-22) (reference).
- Read Moposite history (reference).
15. Players IRL
Real life pictures of other players were desired material back in the days when Facebook didn't exist. Some website updaters published a few pictures of the players but it was Petri who made the first picture gallery of the players in July 2000. Later MUe collected and published all the available pictures in the Elma Forever CD in 2001-07-21.
Player interviews titled as Kuski of month (KOM) were started in January 2001 which gave insight to the real lives of the best players. zyntifox won the first KOM poll (reference).
First two AC-meats, the predecessors of the Finnish Elma Meetings (FEM) were organized in Ulvila in June 2000 and in Nokia in May 2001. The participants were Finnish actives from #across IRC channel and the meetings were mostly invite only.
AC-meats were special compared to the future ones because back then people didn't want to bring own computers including the heavy old-school CRT monitors. Instead they drank beer and chatted. There were some Elma competitions too but with one computer ten players can't do much.
At this point I started personally to be more in contact with other Elma players who I didn't know before and who didn't live in the same city.
Abula's two copies of Elma Forever CD. One came from MUe from Hungary and one from mr who burned the CD faster than the hungarian post delivered. The signature in the CD is by Balázs (2001). © Abula
Our first team, Mahti Crossers (MC), was doing very well during the first 18 months after Elma was released. We drove 26 single world records, many multi world records, became the 7th in World Cup 3 team standings and we were also very active team all-around. Especially Tuska's Across and Cemetery LGRs, Abula's website projects and the production of MC Studios were widely noticed by the community. Abula and Tuska participated also the second Finnish Across meeting in Nokia in 2001.
The members of MC were in move in December 2000 when Markku left the team while quitting Elma after World Cup 3 and in the same month mr joined MC after being the only active player in his old team (ahf).
- View MC team page (2001-11-25) (reference).
17. Forever CD
The era of Prelude to Elma (2000–2001) is closed by the Elasto Mania Forever CD which MUe published in July 2001. MUe is the only player who has been active in both sides: in the community and in the production crew of the game itself.
The CD was the first collection of the greatest Elma art work created so far. The biggest effort was put to a movie of 35 minutes titled as Elma Crime.
The brochure of Elma Crime movie which was filmed in Budapest in July 2001. Source: Elasto Mania Forever CD
Elma Crime directed by MUe (2001-07-23).© MUe
- Download Elasto Mania Forever CD (reference).
It is possible to create custom graphics for Elma via a special file named LGR. Although it's quite a job to edit all the 80 different pictures of the game, many people have done that.
Let's look at some of the coolest LGRs which were created during Prelude to Elma (2000–2001). Source: Elasto Mania.
MProd is a nickname I haven't heard anywhere else but he created the Matrix LGR which make you feel like not playing Elma at all (2000-10-04).
The first Elma programs were game property modifiers which changed the level names and the menu texts.
ASF's background and foreground texture changer fixed the contrast problem that some internal levels like 48. Downhill and 19. Turnaround have. Later the problem was fixed in Elma version 1.2 (2003-03-08).
During the era the amount of the textual work was still moderate and mainly technical.
- Running Elasto Mania in UNIX by fotn (2000-02-26) (reference)
- Interview of Mandel [PRA] by ->LUKE<- (2000-03-25) (reference)
- Anagrams of Elasto Mania by Abula (2000-06-06) (reference)
- Interview of Balázs by MUe (2001-07-21) (reference)
MC Studios recorded six new songs in the second session in June 2000.
MC Studios - Vi Höyler Mer was one of the six songs produced by Mahti Crossers in the second recording session in the summer of 2000.
MUe - Losing my World Records was published in Elma Forever CD in 2001-07-21. Lyrics (reference).
MUe was the only one making Elma videos in the early days.
Elmapicnic (2000-08-20).© MUe
Haazelmaban (2001-01-31). Lyrics (reference).© MUe
Interesting Elma related images before July 2001 (in chronological order).
A polish gaming magazine reviewed Elma in October 2000 and gave a rating of 66 points. Source: Polish Gaming Magazine
Elasto Mania appears again in some random MikroBitti screenshot (April 2001). Looks like we had a man inside. Source: MikroBitti
Summary of the chapter
During the first 18 months of Elasto Mania, a lot happened. The new game attracted more people to play which resulted richer community and crazier playing. The two new concepts which later become very essential parts of the game were invented: battles and alovolt.
Moposite and the predecessor of Mopolauta, the two central places of the community, were established during the era. Meetings of circa ten players were organized in Finland and Hungary. World Cup 3 gathered 208 players.
Elma Forever CD closes the era by welcoming more people to join in. It was getting big.
III. Golden Era (2001 Jul – 2006 Dec)🔝
The most prosperious period of the Elma saga lasted roughly five years from July 2001 to December 2006, from Elma Forever CD to a new online version named Belma.
The first public speedrun video Elma Done (fairly) Quick was also published in the end of the era. The video revealed first time almost all world record replays including many legendary and mysterious styles.
During Golden Era (2001–2006) many big things happened. Lots of new world records were driven, 357 participants in World Cup 4, five total time minute limit breaks, dozens of meetings and very active Mopolauta discussions. Battles got popular – yet it was still very different experience without the modern patches of the later eras.
Golden Era was also Moposite's most active time.
Abula's desktop in 2001-08-23. There are Apple Harvest poster, Elma Forever CD + MUe's bonus picture, Winamp skin, Elmapicnic animation and Moposite. © Abula
The third discussion forum (Mopolauta) was started in 2002-05-19. It's an information treasure for this era.
1. Elasto Mania 1.2
As mentioned earlier there was a huge demand to get an upgrade to the game after the alovolt trick was found in summer 2001.
The author of the game wasn't able to fix the inconvenient situation by open sourcing the program code or making a new version. This could have been the end of the story but then a player named Hibernatus reverse-engineered the essential parts of the source code and found a way to add a new single key to perform the alovolt. The first unofficial Elma version 1.11h was released in 2002-10-07 and 1.11hb in 2002-10-17 with a few bugfixes.
Hibernatus added also a replay merge, a feature that was introduced first time in Nitro patch. In addition there were VCR-style controls to rewind, pause and watch replays in slow motion. The patch gave a significant boost for the community because the new features improved the gameplay radically without altering the core physics which means the world records table remained open.
A year later in 2003-03-08 Hibernatus released one more version, Elasto Mania 1.2, which introduced more useful features like different screen resolutions and a centered camera which eliminated the annoying camera moves when turning the bike. Hibernatus' effort was remarkable not just because he improved the gameplay a lot but he also proved the community can change the course of the Elma history when it's about to end.
The author of the game wasn't excited about the violations of his copyright but he never went against us, thankfully.
- View Elasto Mania 1.2 README (reference).
2. Golden Apple Awards (2003-2006)
A new useful concept for the article was initiated during the era: Golden Apple Awards (aka GAA) is an annual event to find out who's the best in 10-16 different categories such as the best player, team, rookie, level and contest. A player named Sprocket suggested the concept in 2002-12-25 (source) and Moposite started to organize it.
The basic idea of GAA is that the community and a jury of five members nominates ten candidates per category and after that the community votes for the winners. The gala is held in IRC and the winners can have a speech. Even physical trophies have been handed out.
Golden Apple Awards in 2003: Category Winner Nat. Reason ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Rookie Juish CAN 2. Comeback kuiva FIN 3. Level Barbapappa SWE ADVENTURE LEVEL (MOPSI005) 4. Replay Jalli NOR Impsybility Hard version (slesk059) 5. WR IRK CZE Apple Harvest (54_081IR) 6. Contest px FIN World Cup 4 7. Site Abula FIN Moposite 8. Designer Barbapappa SWE 9. Contribution Abula FIN 10. Kuski DarMoeD RUS Golden Apple Awards in 2004: Category Winner Nat. Reason ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist Zweq FIN 2. Externalist Axxu FIN 3. Battler Markku FIN 4. Rookie Axxu FIN 5. Designer Juble AUS 6. Team ICE - 7. WR psy FIN Apple Harvest (54_133ps) 8. Multi WR Ramone & SWE Barbapappa SWE Enigma 18,37 #97 9. Style mr FIN Quick Round (23_123mr) 10. Replay Luther SWE Downhill (48_151Lu) 11. Level MP FIN WC Flush (KingC04) 12. LGR Lucian ? HighQ 13. Contribution Viper_KillerGuy DEN Scripts 14. Achievement TorInge NOR 24h tt under 38 mins 15. Site Abula FIN Moposite Golden Apple Awards in 2005: Category Winner Nat. Reason ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist TorInge NOR 2. Externalist Axxu FIN 3. Battler Markku FIN 4. Rookie Tm LTU 5. Designer Zebra FIN 6. Team ICE - 7. WR TorInge NOR Apple Harvest (54_199To) 8. Multi WR Stini & Stini FIN Pipe 21,62 #127 9. Style Axxu FIN Apple Harvest alt. route (54012769) 10. Replay Jalli NOR Impsyjallity 49,47 (jalli15) 11. Level skint0r NOR Mada Mada Dane (WCup504) 12. Contest px FIN World Cup 5 13. Contribution Zebra FIN Battles, contests, programs 14. Achievement MP FIN 2nd World Cup victory 15. Site MP & Ville_J FIN MopoCorner Golden Apple Awards in 2006: Category Winner Nat. Reason ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist John SWE 2. Externalist Axxu FIN 3. Battler jaytea USA 4. Rookie A.K.B. AUS 5. Designer Zebra FIN 6. Team WNO - 7. WR John SWE Apple Harvest 1:23,35 (#248) 8. Multi WR Zweq & Juzam FIN Apple Harvest 0:39,41 (#136) 9. Style Xiphias ISL Animal Farm start (31XiNf04) 10. Replay John SWE Impsybility Easy Version 1:09,12 (MC19John) 11. Level jonsta POR Brick Chili (MC209) 12. Contest TAP MasterCup 2 13. Contribution Viper_KillerGuy DEN Paprika, scripts, active in DEN scene 14. Achievement TorInge NOR 13 new WRs in #232, 27 WRs in #232 15. Site skint0r NOR skintatious
During the era Axxu was the best individual with five awards, TorInge got four and Barbapappa, Abula, MP, John and Zebra came third with three.
3. TorInge, Zweq et al.
Playing the official internal levels heavily was obvious right after the game was released but it's interesting that it wasn't about to stop in the next years, quite the contrary. During Golden Era from July 2001 to December 2006, 686 new world records were driven in 181 WR tables (#73-#254).
There were many active top players during the era, actually more than ever. New super teams were founded and tactics developed in order to get better results. While playing skills improved, many new styles were also found by the most innovative players.
One important milestone in the internal levels playing is 2002-03-29 when Moposite published all internal levels as editable external levels. The levels had been available in the underground community for a while but now it became possible to anybody to use them to train different parts of the internal levels.
This was also the era when technical assistance became widely used. Hibernatus' unofficial version was utilized by every professional player because the alovolt key couldn't be missed. The other features such as centered camera, VCR-controls and replay merging were useful tools particularly in style finding.
3.1. WR tables #73-#254
This is how the WR table looked in the beginning of Golden Era (2001-08-04). WR total time was about to get under 40:00,00 soon. Source: Official website
And this is how the WR table looked in the end of Golden Era (2006-12-23), four minute limit barriers later. Flowers got replaced by ice creams. Source: Moposite
The WR table total time was dropping fast. It was a common debate to forecast what's the absolute limit of the world records. The current records always seemed to be close to perfection until something new was found again.
WR table total time minute limit breaks in Golden Era (2001–2006): Limit Date ----------------------------- 45 mins 2000-03-06 (#1) 44 mins 2000-03-11 (#2) 43 mins 2000-03-23 (#4) 42 mins 2000-06-03 (#20) 41 mins 2000-12-09 (#49) ... Golden Era begins ... 40 mins 2001-12-01 (#77) 39 mins 2002-10-26 (#99) 38 mins 2003-07-13 (#135) 37 mins 2004-10-30 (#189) ... Golden Era ends ... 36 mins 2007-06-14 (#265) 35 mins 2012-10-21 (#354)
An overwhelming contribution of the internal levels höyling was done by two new superstars who dominated both the WR table and personal total times list: TorInge and Zweq. TorInge's first world record was driven in 2002-04-27 (#83) and the last one in 2006-10-15 (#250). Zweq got his first WR in 2003-01-18 (#109) and at the time of writing (2021-07-26) he is still active, last WR in 2021-04-12 (#416).
TorInge won the Internalist category in Golden Apple Awards 2004, Zweq in 2005 and John in 2006.
TorInge's and Zweq's times and skills were beyond of everybody else, so the guys were widely suspected to be cheating until they were met in real life and their playing skills were documented.
686 new world records appeared in 181 tables in five years, meaning roughly 11 new ones per month. The total number is a bit higher than in the previous chapter (522) but back then the rate was 29 new WRs per month. The number of active hardcode internal players was on its peak but it simply took longer to drive world records now. However you could always ease that by finding a new route, trick or style.
Number of new WRs per nationality in tables 73-254: # Nat. WRs --------------- 1. FIN 297 2. NOR 159 3. SWE 122 4. HUN 27 5. AUS 22 6. RUS 14 7. SVK 11 8. POL 8 CZE 8 10. DEN 7 11. NED 4 12. CAN 3 13. ISL 3 14. LIT 1
The top-3 countries remained same, just in different order. Only one country had disappeared compared to previous era (USA) but seven new ones entered the main stage: Russia, Slovakia, Czech, Denmark, Netherlands, Iceland and Lithuania.
Most different WRs in one table goes to Finland with 38 WRs out of 54 in table #136 (2003-07-23) which is still a record (2020-05-19). Norwey had 30 WRs in #232 (2006-01-21) and Sweden 24 WRs in #81 (2002-02-23).
Number of new WRs per team in tables 73-254: # Team WRs --------------- 1. ICE 101 2. WNO 97 3. IC 88 4. FM 77 5. EM 38 6. REM 24 7. TTT 17 8. . 15 9. tb 14 TEA 14 ...
In team standings FM lost leadership but it was the only team remaining from the previous era's top-10. It's notable that all top teams are now kind of international super teams where players co-operated with other players from different cities, even countries, and not with their neighbourhood friends like it was during Across Days (1997–2000).
Most WRs by one team goes to ICE with 31 WRs in table #232 (2006-01-21). IC had 26 WRs in #151 (2003-11-01) and WNO had 16 WRs in #150 (2003-10-25).
Number of new WRs per player in tables 73-254: # Player WRs -------------------- 1. TorInge 122 2. Zweq 97 3. Karlis 45 4. John 41 5. Cloud 24 6. dz 23 7. Jeppe 22 Mick 22 9. Jalli 20 10. psy 17 ...
Karlis, Jeppe and psy withstood from the previous era. TorInge and Zweq joined the competition. Out of the top-10 Mick is the only one not coming from the nordic countries but from Australia.
Most WRs in one table by one player goes to TorInge with 27 WRs in table #232 (2006-01-21) and Zweq with 22 WRs in #152 (2003-11-08). John had 13 in #254 (2006-12-23). The previous leaders were Jeppe with 12 WRs in table #78 and psy with 10 WRs in table #1.
TorInge had half of the world records in WR table #232 after submitting 13 new WRs. It's probably the greatest single achievement ever done in Elma. Source: Moposite
The most WRs by two players is table #201 (2006-01-21) where Zweq and TorInge had 31 WRs combined. The number is surprisingly low compared to their personal records (TorInge 27, Zweq 22) but it's because they competed pretty much in the same levels with each others.
Another mind-boggling record is that Zweq has had a WR in 51 different levels out of 54. TorInge's record of 42 different levels isn't bad either.
During Golden Era (2001–2006) seven world records crossed the stricking one minute limit barrier. After Upside Down in 2004 no more have been seen.
One minute world record breaks of all times: Level Time Player Date ---------------------------------------------------------------- 51. Tricks Abound 58,00 Fulgore 2000-03-23 (#4) 50. Expert System 59,77 loX 2000-05-23 (#18) 24. Ramp Frenzy 59,90 Jokke 2000-06-30 (#24) 37. Jaws 59,93 Tookai 2000-10-14 (#41) ... Golden Era begins ... 43. He He 59,78 Karlis 2001-10-22 (#74) 36. Fruit in the Den 59,10 TorInge 2002-10-26 (#99) 9. Tunnel Terror 59,92 IRK 2002-12-07 (#105) 46. Bowling 59,79 Cloud 2003-05-24 (#128) 15. Serpents Tale 59,37 Zweq 2003-06-28 (#133) 33. Zig-Zag 59,76 Ramone 2004-03-13 (#166) 20. Upside Down 59,71 Zweq 2004-09-05 (#181) ... Golden Era ends ...
Eight of the top-10 oldest world records were driven during the Golden Era (source).
Oldest world records (by number of tables): # Player Level Tables Driven Broken ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Stini Enigma 214 2004-05-29 (#175) 2017-03-01 (#389) 3. Bokhylle Freefall 114 2004-05-29 (#175) 2008-08-30 (#289) 4. Zweq Bumpy Journey 109 2003-05-24 (#128) 2006-04-01 (#237) 5. Phillip Spiral 108 2004-09-25 (#184) 2008-10-25 (#292) 6. mr The Steppes 100 2003-06-14 (#131) 2006-01-15 (#231) 7. Luther Downhill 97 2003-11-01 (#151) 2006-09-03 (#248) 8. John Enduro 97 2006-09-03 (#248) 2012-01-23 (#345) 10. niktata Loop-de-Loop 90 2004-01-04 (#157) 2006-08-26 (#247) ... after Golden Era ... 2. Zweq Warm Up 122 2007-03-17 (#259) 2015-04-13 (#381) 9. Jarkko Uphill Battle 96 2009-10-09 (#301) 2018-04-24 (#397)
- Read WR analyses (2003-07-11) (reference).
3.2. dz under 40:00:00
As much as the world records, the total time competition was also intense and profound. The top-100 personal best total time list saw a minute limit break five times – including the most legendary one: 40:00,00.
Personal total times minute limit breaks of all times: Limit Player Nat. Date -------------------------------------------------- 45 mins KingKong SWE 2000-03-11 (#1) 44 mins Champi0N SWE 2000-04-05 (#7) 43 mins KingKong SWE 2000-06-04 (#21) 42 mins zyntifox NOR 2000-11-21 (#47) ... Golden Era begins ... 41 mins pajen SWE 2001-10-14 (#75) 40 mins dz FIN 2002-05-02 (#85) 39 mins TorInge NOR 2003-04-11 (#122) 38 mins Zweq FIN 2003-09-28 (#147) 37 mins TorInge NOR 2005-03-16 (#205) ... Golden Era ends ... 36 mins John SWE 2009-07-13 (#298) 35 mins Spef FIN 2018-05-09 (#405)
TorInge's personal total time was only 0:11,33 seconds behind the world records total time when he got under 37 minutes which most likely will be a record that won't get beaten. John was 0:17,92 and Zweq 0:23,92 seconds behind when they went under the limit.
Total times list in the end of the Golden Era (2006-10-01). John was hunting down Zweq and TorInge. Source: Moposite
TorInge has uploaded all his best time replays to Youtube, total time being 36:38,93 as it was in 2006-11-27.
- TorInge's best times replays, part 1/4 (2006-11-27) (reference)
- TorInge's best times replays, part 2/4 (2006-11-27) (reference)
- TorInge's best times replays, part 3/4 (2006-11-27) (reference)
- TorInge's best times replays, part 4/4 (2006-11-27) (reference)
3.3. 24 hours total time
Total times were also battled in the 24 hours competition. TorInge proved to be an overwhelming master in this competition as well and Zweq was the only one getting even close. By driving under 38 minutes in 24 hours during the Finnish Elma Meeting 2005, TorInge earned the Achievement category in Golden Apple Awards 2004.
The idea of the competition is to drive as good total time as possible in 24 hours and it was organized first time in 2000-07-08 by Abula. The first participants were Tisk, onlainari, Karlis and mengerle.
Best personal total times in 24 hours (by difference to contemporary WR total time): # Player Total time WR tt Date ----------------------------------------------------------- 1. TorInge 37:39,71 +0:51,98 2005-06-14 (#212) 2. Zweq 38:12,84 +1:16,14 2004-12-22 (#195) 3. dz 40:55,93 +2:07,21 2003-01-04 (#107) ... before Golden Era ... 5. Elbono 44:45,71 +2:56,34 2000-07-11 (#26) 7. psy 44:59,67 +3:10,30 2000-07-14 (#26) ... after Golden Era ... 2. Zweq 36:41,75 +1:04,93 2009-10-13 (#301) 4. Raven 37:55,98 +2:13,90 2009-07-24 (#298) 6. adi 37:38:87 +2:56,92 2016-08-24 (#385)
- Read TorInge drives 37 mins in 24h topic (2005-10-15) (reference).
- Read chat log of the first 24 hours total times session (2000-07-08) (reference).
3.4. Forecasting the WR future
Forecasting the world records future has been always an interesting question. Usually the last limit has been thought to be the next one but there have been also attempts to estimate it in more analytical way.
Moposite v2.0 introduced a new section titled as Forecasting Elma future where the deadline to submit was in 2002-01-01. The participants were requested to give estimations to about 20 questions and the last checking date was set to far future (2006-01-01) when probably no one is playing anymore. Unfortunately the checking did never happen but hold on, let's do it now. We can use the current date as well (2018-01-30) because it was meant to be the final check anyway.
Two questions of the forecast are particularly interesting: the WR total time and the number of World Cups organized. Abula got World Cups right (7) but the total time guess failed badly: 38:50,99 when the current one is 34:35,50. To closest got Sathy out of the 37 participants by guessing the lowest number (37:04,23) but even that is two and half minutes worse than the real one. In 2006-01-01 the WR total time was 36:40,53 so actually Sathy got it pretty close.
The estimations were also done on Mopolauta discussions. When the WR total time was 39:06,96 in table #95 (2002-09-30) Abula published an estimation how to get 37:23,24 (reference). People considered many of the predictions impossible but today 50 out of 54 are better (2020-05-19).
Another attempt was Phillip's mathematical estimation model which he published in 2004-11-01 in the same topic where Zweq were also speculating the times according to his professional experience and opinion (reference). The model predicted the total time being 35:59,99 in table #500. Today we are now at table #411 and the total time is 34:26,65. The model should be updated to use real dates instead of the table numbers.
Phillip's mathematical model predicted in 2004 that WR total time will be 35:59,99 in table #500 but it got under already in #265. © Phillip
Elma programmers have also tried to brute force the records by creating an AI bot to optimize replays. However only small improvements have been managed to do. In the next chapters, a saveload patch will give a new viewpoint of what is possible at least theoretically.
3.5. Blossom of multiplaying
Not many multiplayer statistics exist but we do know who dominated the lists during the Golden Era (2001–2006): first Miguel and Uube from Raahe (Finland), then TorInge and Tantal from Namsos (Norway) and finally Zweq and Juzam from Kokkola (Finland). In the 107th multi WR table (2004-04-24) TorInge and Tantal had amazingly 45 multi world records out of 54.
Multi total times minute limit breaks of all times: Limit Player(s) Nat. Date --------------------------------------------------- 27 mins MoorZe NOR 2001-04-20 ... Golden Era begins ... 26 mins TorInge NOR 2002-05-16 25 mins TorInge & Tantal NOR 2003-01-18 24 mins Zweq & Juzam FIN 2003-03-12 ... Golden Era ends ... 23 mins Zweq & Juzam FIN 2007-04-25
- Watch multi replays by TorInge and Tantal, part 1/2 (2010-02-13) (reference).
- Watch multi replays by TorInge and Tantal, part 2/2 (2010-02-13) (reference).
Most of the multi world records were driven by local real life friends but quite many in meetings too.
Multi WRs in AC-meat1: Level Time Players --------------------------------------------------- 43. He He 45,54 Karlis & Tisk
Multi WRs in Finnish Elma Meeting 2002: Level Time Players --------------------------------------------------- 19. Turnaround 39,71 dz & mrickx 23. Quick Round 15,21 Jokke & Karlis 24. Ramp Frenzy 55,40 dz & Jokke 31. Animal Farm 41,99 mr & mrickx 35. Labyrinth Pro 1:31,07 Karlis & mr 38. Curvaceous 18,88 Karlis & mr 43. He He 44,33 Karlis & Tisk 49. What the Heck 25,69 dz & Jokke 50. Expert System 31,91 dz & mr
Multi WRs in Finnish Elma Meeting 2003: Level Time Players --------------------------------------------------- 9. Tunnel Terror 29,97 Jokke & mr 10. The Steppes 12,08 mr & mr 28. Bounce Back 22,56 Karlis & mr 41. Framework 38,96 mr & Terba 42. Enduro 34,97 Jokke & mr
Multi WRs in Finnish Elma Meeting 2004: Level Time Players --------------------------------------------------- 32. Steep Corner 26,96 axxu & mr 33. Zig-Zag 45,60 mr & Ramone
Multi WRs in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005: Level Time Players --------------------------------------------------- 9. Tunnel Terror 28,78 TorInge & xp 22. Slalom 16,49 TorInge & Jalli 30. Pipe 21,78 TorInge & Cubein 32. Steep Corner 26,53 TorInge & skint0r 39. Haircut 38,24 Stini & Juzam
mrickx (CZE) and mr (FIN) drove a multiplayer world record in Animal Farm in Finnish Elma Meeting 2002, in the last moment before we had to leave the building. © Unknown
3.6. Records systems development
In the beginning updating the records lists was manual work all the way. During Golden Era (2001–2006) new programs were created to help the updating work.
CSabi published a program to generate a stats.txt file for the external levels in 2001-08-15. Zebra programmed ElmaTimes (2002-03-06) and Mergestats (2004-09-15) to generate record lists from stats.txt files.
The WR statistics got a few new additions in 2001-10-22 when Moposite added the oldest WRs, the most improvements and the WR owner lists. The biggest absolute and relative improvement lists were added in March 2002. A player named partybear coded a software in 2003-04-11 to generate the WR statistics automatically.
Another huge technological step was Moposite's record lists generator programmed by Hibernatus in 2002-06-26. The manual work was not needed anymore and Moposite introduced many new lists: country, city, average and personal top lists every week.
One more system must be mentioned, namely Viper_KillerGuy's (aka vk) elmatimes.php which also earned him the award of Contribution category in GAA04. The online script was published in 2003-03-07 and it calculated the record lists automatically and dynamically after the player uploaded his times. Later with the help of another Danish programmer named Kopaka, the script was converted to Moposite.
There is even one older dynamic records system that I'm aware of. It was made for the Czech community by Bobisek in 2001. I haven't found the website anymore but Bobisek has dated the Czech meeting report on the same background as the records system was running on (2001-10-06). I can assure you that I remember the background because I was so excited about his advanced systems that I even bought a book to learn to program PHP by myself in 2002.
4. Revolutionary WR styles
Golden Era saw several new, even revolutionary styles which challenged what we thought was possible. World records in the first years tended to be more about driving the obvious routes but now it got crazier.
One of the classics are "left first" WRs. A few world records have been improved by changing the driving direction at the very start. Each of them are grandiose.
World Records of all times with a new start direction: Level Player Date ----------------------------------------------------- 44. Freefall Karlis 2000-08-19 (#33) ... Golden Era begins ... 54. Apple Harvest IRK 2002-02-23 (#81) 40. Double Trouble IRK 2002-09-21 (#95) 38. Curvaceous milagros 2004-09-25 (#184) ... Golden Era ends ... 32. Steep Corner Zweq 2008-05-11 (#284)
IRK is an interesting character, similar to Joni, because all WRs by him, perhaps Headbanger excluded, were exceptional. His Tunnel Terror WR got mentioned already as a one minute limit breaker which was also almost his third "left first" world record because he took a completely new direction after the first six seconds. Additionally IRK's Apple Harvest WR is the fifth biggest absolute improvement of all times.
1:42,64 IRK (WR #81) 1:51,11 psy (WR #76)
IRK was the first to drive the legendary 54. Apple Harvest one route WR in 2002-02-23. psy's record was the fastest before him. Apple Harvest is one of the most improved world record and today the WR is 1:12,89 (2018-02-05).
1:26,73 IRK (WR #95) 1:26,84 oizo! (WR #93)
IRK's WR in 40. Double Trouble (2002-09-21) is where the "left first" term orginates.
0:30,74 milagros (WR #184) 0:30,79 Djievis (WR #172)
milagros found a new style in 38. Curvaceous by driving to the opposite direction at start (2004-11-25).
Another interesting aspect is that two very short and easy internals, the levels number 2 and 3 which everybody knows over and out, revealed new earth-shaking styles. Both Flat Track and Twin Peaks are among the biggest relative improvements of all times.
Zsolt's Flat Track style was found after the Mirror internals level pack was published in 2003-03-25. When Flat Track is mirrored, you are able to use alovolt and the time improves easily by a few seconds. Many players must have thought about doing the style in normal level without the alovolt possibility but it was Zsolt who actually nailed it.
I must take the credit of the Twin Peaks style by spreading the idea to everyone in #across after I wasn't allowed to break WRs anymore in 2003.
0:15,65 Zsolt (WR #121) 0:16,65 Vikto (WR #110)
Zsolt's 2. Flat Track is top-20 the biggest relative improvements of all times. In a simple level like Flat Track it's a miracle (2003-01-25).
0:18,24 Raider (WR #117) 0:19,38 Raider (WR #116)
Raider's 3. Twin Peaks WR is also top-20 the biggest relative improvements (2003-03-08).
A few more new fascinating routes were driven in Serpents Tale and Quick Round.
0:55,98 TorInge (WR #146) 1:01,62 Zweq (WR #124) 1:02,04 Raider (WR #120)
TorInge's 15. Serpents Tale WR in 2003-09-27 is the 15th biggest absolute improvement ever. The current WR is even crazier: 0:46,63.
0:40,69 mr (WR #123) 0:46,78 ZeiZei (WR #85)
mr used a brutal volt in his marvellous 23. Quick Round WR in 2003-04-19, a trick which will be introduced in more details in a while. The WR gave mr the victory of Replay category in GAA04.
0:12,97 milagros (WR #83) 0:15,32 Karlis (WR #68)
milagros' 44. Freefall WR in table #83 is the 4th biggest relative improvement ever (2002-04-06).
5. Vsync tuning
Elma is a simple game but there are situations when technical tweaking such as vsync tuning can give some advantage. Many top players ignored tweaking totally such as TorInge and MP, so the importance shouldn't be overstressed but when going for WRs, particularly in shorter levels the tuning may give you the last 0,1 seconds.
In 2002-09-01 a player named DarMoeD published an article how the vsync setting affects Elma gameplay. DarMoeD was revealed to be a cheater two years later but vsync tuning has nothing to do with cheating, eventhough many people don't like it.
There isn't exact proof when vsync tuning was utilized in a WR but because we know from Mopolauta discussions (reference, reference) that Karlis, dz and Zweq were the first ones to be interested in the topic, Karlis' Freefall WR 0:12,24 in table #97 (2002-10-12) could be the first one.
DarMoeD was the first one to publish information about vsync tuning in 2002-09-01. Source: DarMoeD's website
Two years later in 2004-12-02 Zweq published a list of the best settings for every internal level (reference).
Technically vsync setting determines if the refresh rate of the game (FPS) is limited by the monitor setting (vsync on) or the computational power of the processor (vsync off). The lower the FPS is, the better grip the bike has on the ground and the easier it is to bounce. And the higher FPS, the smoother the bike goes.
When vsync is off, FPS doubles if the timer is set off.
Later in 2010 a new unofficial version (Elma Online) introduced a configurable setting to change the vsync. Before that people just had to find out a way to change the setting in their system which wasn't always easy. For example it was found that certain applications such as Quicktime changed the setting which made people to keep it running on background when they needed vsync on.
It was also figured out that it's possible to change the refresh rate in the middle of the drive by turning off external hard drive or giving the computer a scheduled task to calculate something (reference).
6. Cheating (3rd wave)
While technical knowledge of the game was increasing among the players, more sophisticated cheating was also developing but so was anti-cheating tools as well.
MGen, Hibernatus and milagros with operators Abula and px were the anti-cheating team and the dicussions took place in a private forum of Mopolauta. Source: Mopolauta
Since April 2001 we had had MGen's histogram analyzer which caught a few cheaters but in December 2002 both MGen and milagros were programming new tools. They were able to detect replays with altered physics or different timescale used. Now we were able to catch all slow motion, early ESC, deleted frame, missed apple, immortality, modified acceleration and gravity and even cracked state.dat cheats. It was also possible to see whether the replay was driven in the original or somehow patched Elma.
And yes, surprisingly many people had cheated world records. Different methods had been used and sometimes a player would have gotten the WR even without the cheat. Before December 2002 the times of replay files were shown in 0:00,03 accuracy so it was fairly easy to cheat 1-2 centiseconds just by lying.
mrDJ and Weird-AAL, later using names EML, Nostrada and Deadelous kept on cheating during their penalty which gave them a lifetime ban. mrickx the updater of WR statistics who also came to Finnish Elma Meeting 2002 from Czech Republic had also cheated several WRs. In total nine cheaters were added to the Blacklist and over 60 world records had to be cleaned up.
The patched Elma detector was crucial to catch the biggest fish of all-time cheaters, DarMoeD in 2004-08-05. He used autoplay, a patch which reads the timestamps of each key presses from a data file. By using the autoplay DarMoeD won a World Cup 4 event while getting five new WRs during the same week. Results like this put him even above TorInge and Zweq until everything collapsed.
DarMoeD had cheated 56 world records and the victory of World Cup 4. He was also voted for the best Kuski in the Golden Apple Awards 2003. He had got also some real money by selling his replays.
Elma REC checker was programmed by MGen in 2002. It was able to detect several cheating methods. Source: Elma REC checker
milagros' Cheat detect0r was finished in the end of year 2002. The program detects similar kind of things like MGen's tool so we could double-check the replays. Source: Cheat detect0r
A so-called Hooked bug can be also considered as a poor man's cheat. The game has a bug where one apple is registered as two when it's picked by two wheels at the same time (or one wheel and head). Hooked is a level where it happens now and then. Many rookies have tried to get the WR by sending a replay using the bug.
- Read about Third cheating wave on Mopolauta (reference).
7. Brutal volt, deadbounce...
Back to the brighter side of the game. A few new tricks were found during Golden Era (2001–2006). Alovolt (2001) and bouncing (1999) were the previous revolutionary tricks.
A player named Capo who has been rumoured to play only after drinking 15 beers and even then only on standing, invented brutal volt in June 2002 (reference). The trick was used a year earlier in Kahvi Cup but Capo gave it a name.
A new trick discovery led to finding new styles in the internal levels and actually a few were found: 5. Uphill Battle (reference), 33. Zig-Zag and 23. Quick Round. In later years some more world records will utilize the trick: 24. Ramp Frenzy, 10. Steppes, 51. Tricks Abound and 30. Pipe.
Original brutal volt by Capo (2002).
0:18,37 Ramone & Barbapappa (WR #97)
Ramone and Barbapappa drove a new multi WR in 47. Enigma by using a brutal volt style (2004).
In addition deadbounce (2002-11-27) (reference), juishpop (2003-01-29) (reference) and o-bounce (2005-09-11) (reference) were discovered as well but none of them have been utilized successfully in any internal level world record.
Deadbounce was named after deadnite who published the trick in 2002.
- Watch Special tricks part 1/2 by Jappe2 (2007-09-16) (reference).
8. Pipe Kings
We haven't talked yet about driving inside narrow pipes. A totally new way of driving became common during the era. The primary goal of driving inside pipes isn't to finish the level as fast as possible but to survive the longest way possible. Since World Cup 3 (2000) every world cup has had a pipe level and there are several level packs dedicated only for pipes.
The first known pipe levels, 26. Headbanger the original level and Da Pipe were already played during Across Days (1997–2000) but it was a level named Impossibility by Abula in 2000 to introduce the idea of driving in narrow pipes as long as possible. psy was the first player to finish the level.
psy's replay isn't preserved but his winner replay of the 17th event in World Cup 3 is, another pipe level made by Abula in 2000. Both levels are easy in today's standards but back then the finishers were gods with exceptional superhuman skills.
WCup317: 1:54,64 psy
psy won the first World Cup pipe level in 2000-11-04.
A much harder pipe level was created by me in 2000-11-21 (Impsybility hard version) which finally seemed to be hard enough to not get finished.
A year later a new player entered the stage who was later called the Pipe King. Jalli finished the level in 2002-01-27 and he also won the pipe events of both World Cup 4 (2002-12-22) and World Cup 5 (2005-08-09). The latter one is titled as Impsyjallity. Jalli was also the first finisher of Impsybility easy version in 2004-10-17.
WCup414: 50 Jalli
PeXi modified the end of the pipe level practically impossible in World Cup 4, yet Jalli almost made it (2002). Even DarMoed the autoplay cheater lost to him.
Jalli plays Impsybility hard version in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005. No centered camera. He won the Replay category in Golden Apple Awards 2003 in this level.© Abula?
9. Slesk replays
Funny replays got renamed to slesk in 2001. The quality is better but still moderate in today's standards.
First zweqspin by Barhom (2001)
By Barbapappa (2002)
Ramone showing off in Jaws (2002).
By milagros (2003)
dz stopped the press by finding out how to drive through the impossible pipe shortcut in King Cup (2003).
Markku finished all internal levels without volts. Tricks Abound was one of the hardest (2004).
10. World Cup 4
The fourth World Cup was running from 2002-08-31 to 2003-02-24 and there were 20 events. The cup gathered 357 players which is more than any other cup ever. 61 teams and 22 countries got points. The country list is fascinating (ordered by points): FIN, SWE, NOR, RUS, HUN, DEN, CZE, CAN, AUS, SVK, ISL, POL, ISR, GBR, LAT, USA, ROM, GER, ESP, SUI, BUL and MIR. Yes, MIR, we will get back to it.
MP won the cup after DarMoeD was cleaned up from the results. kuiva did a comeback and was second. Jokke reached top-10 again which he had done in all four cups by now—Karlis was third time in top-10. MP was also the first player to make a hattrick by winning three events in a row.
MP is also a player who hasn't had a WR, a pattern that works with some other great world cup players too such as kuiva and Dr_Luni who had only one.
World Cup 4 is also my personal best: I was 8th in the final standings.
Top-10 players in World Cup 4: # Player Team Nat. Points ---------------------------------------- 1. MP CF FIN 1279 2. kuiva FIN FIN 1249,5 3. Karlis FM FIN 1141 4. Jalli FBE NOR 1133,5 5. Jokke FM FIN 1017,5 6. magicman CF SWE 901 7. Barbapappa CF SWE 879 8. Abula FM FIN 871 9. Tapzu POP FIN 862 10. ZeiZei EM FIN 841,5
Jappe2 created a film about World Cup 4 in 2010, eight years after the cup.
- Watch World Cup 4 by Jappe2, part 1/2 (2010-06-23) (reference).
- Watch World Cup 4 by Jappe2, part 2/2 (2010-06-23) (reference).
11. World Cup 5
Another World Cup was organized during Golden Era (2001–2006). World Cup 5 was running from 2005-05-02 to 2005-08-09 and it gathered 235 players from 22 countries and 58 teams. New countries were France, Portugal, Ukraine and Belarus.
And the winner was MP again! This gave him also the victory of the Achievement category in Golden Apple Awards 2005. He repeated also the famous hattrick by winning three events in a row, an achievement only he has done.
Karlis was fourth time in top-10 and sharing the achievement now with Jokke.
After five world cups, one team had got points in all of them: Team Finlandia.
Top-10 players in World Cup 5: # Player Team Nat. Points -------------------------------------- 1. MP FIN 1116 2. axxu AC FIN 1111 3. Jalli ICE NOR 1000 4. Luther ICE SWE 869 5. Karlis FM FIN 832 6. J-sim EMA DEN 616 7. Munkki MAN FIN 561 8. Red AC SWE 541,5 9. Ramzi GF POL 529,5 10. DaemoN GF HUN 497
- Watch World Cup 5 by Kopaka, part 1/2 (2006-03-17) (reference).
- Watch World Cup 5 by Kopaka, part 2/2 (2006-03-17) (reference).
The first online battles were organized in #30minsbattle IRC channel in 2001 or 2000. No results have preserved.
The first battle results are from 2001-10-16 when the first Mopobattle was organized by Abula. It gathered 20 players and the winner was psy. Two long time active players, Tisk and onlainari, were present.
Mopobattles were organized manually in the beginning and in total there were only ten battles in year 2001. MGen created a program to calculate the statistics in 2002 but still only seven battles were organized in year 2002.
skint0r adopted the organizing work in year 2003 and by then the total number of annual Mopobattles was 51. The most popular one gathered 44 participants (2003-04-20).
MGen's Mopobattle statistics generator was a big help in 2002. Source: Mopobattle statistics generator
No Mopobattles were organized in year 2004 when the more casual battles satisfied the demand in the #battle IRC channel. Zebra started to organize Mopobattles again in year 2005. Mopobattles are different compared to casual battles by pre-arranged schedules, extensive results and statistics and the playing time was always the same, 30 minutes.
42 Mopobattles were played in 2005, 27 in 2006 and 26 in 2007.
Top-10 players in Mopobattles by total points in 2001-2007: # Player Nat. Battles Won Points ------------------------------------------- 1. dz FIN 74 10 1418 2. axxu FIN 78 35 1221 3. Abula FIN 90 4 1085 4. MP FIN 46 10 1068 5. mr FIN 112 3 942 6. Ismo FIN 88 1 930 7. Zebra FIN 83 0 784 8. Jalli NOR 36 4 777 9. Orcc FIN 51 2 744 10. cyre FIN 61 1 739
The best teams were FM (most total points), AC (most battles won) and TTT (best average points). The best countries were Finland (most total points, most battles won) and Iceland (best average points).
In total there were 376 different player names. Because Mopobattles were played during seven years, the top players tend to be those who were active all the time. That's why the average points are interesting too.
Top-10 players in Mopobattles by average points in 2001-2007: # Player  Nat. Battles Avg. pts ---------------------------------------- 1. Cloud FIN 11 27.64 2. Zweq FIN 23 26.78 3. Raider DEN 24 24.96 4. LazY NOR 23 24.96 5. Markku FIN 12 24.83 6. psy FIN 11 24.64 7. Jokke FIN 14 24.57 8. TomCat HUN 21 23.71 9. swos FIN 10 23.30 10. MP FIN 46 23.22  Ten battles played at minimum.
Top-10 players in Mopobattles by battle win ratio in 2001-2007: # Player  Nat. Battles Win-% -------------------------------------- 1. axxu FIN 78 45 % 2. Cloud FIN 11 45 % 3. Markku FIN 12 42 % 4. swos FIN 10 40 % 5. Zweq FIN 23 35 % 6. MP FIN 46 22 % 7. The_OooO FIN 44 20 % 8. Munkki FIN 15 20 % 9. Zox FIN 16 19 % 10. LazY NOR 23 17 %  Ten battles played at minimum.
Zebra resurrected Mopobattles again in 2012 by organizing 20 more. The most popular one gathered 61 players in 2012-02-13.
- View Zebra's Mopobattle page (reference).
Thanks to Zebra the #battle data is preserved (reference). Another big helpers have been Viper_KillerGuy's vkprivupload.php and the work of <@battlebot> by MagnusB and skint0r.
Because Mopobattles were organized seldom, people started to play them spontaneously in IRC channel called #battle. Points were not calculated and no one was an organizer particularly. Thereby we don't have data of the years 2001 and 2002 but we do have year 2003 onwards.
Battlebot is an IRC bot that calculates battle results automatically from the IRC chat. The bot was launched in July 2003. During the first month the bot reported only the playing time left but in 2003-08-09 it was also generating the results. skint0r adopted Battlebot development in February 2004 and kept it serving till April 2007 when Belma was released.
- View the first preserved battle log (and MopoGirl) in #battle (2003-01-01) (reference).
- View the first results by battlebot (2003-08-09) (reference).
2329 battles were played in year 2003 and 7018 in year 2004. On average six battles per day were organized in 2003 and 19 battles per day in 2004. Because we know the average lengths of the battles (18.29 and 14.59 minutes) we can calculate that there was a battle running 8 % and 19 % of the whole year, day and night. Now it was possible to compete in real-time competition around the clock. The number of participants per battle was relative low thought: 4.72 in 2003 and 4.86 in 2004. In Mopobattles 30 players was normal.
It's difficult to determine the best battler of all times but it's certain that Markku could be one—at least he ruled the first two years. After he joined the channel in August 2003 he was the best in total points up to April 2004 in every month except in January 2004 when he took a break. The ratio how many battles he won out of the ones he participated during the entire era (2003-2007) is amazing: 75 %. His longest winning streak is from year 2006 when he won 23 battles in a row.
The years 2003 and 2004 were Markku's total dominance which was also recognized in GAA04 and GAA05. Other successful players of the first two years were SkedoR (4 times The Battler of Month) and veezay (2). MagnusB and Jalli had success in the very beginning in January 2003.
MagnusB wrote in 2003-08-04 (source): "Markku is the best battler ever. It's that simple. Out of the approximately 18 battles he has participated in the last couple of days he has only lost (not won) two. It's not just that he wins, he is also frequently so overwhelming that he completely discourages his opponents, often winning by several seconds (...)"
2005 — 2007 April
Battles became even more popular between 2005 and April 2007. 13686 battles were played in 2005, on average 37 per day which means 32 % running time in the whole year. Year 2006 was active as well but the numbers of year 2007 are not comparable because people started to move to Belma in January 2007.
jaytea won the battler of month 17 times out of 24 since May 2005 when he joined the channel. jaytea also won the Battler category in GAA06. Other battlers of month were Zox (2 times), axxu (2) and The OooO (2). jaytea kept on dominating in #battle until everybody moved to Belma.
Annual statistics of battles in #battle period: Year GAA Battler Most points Avg. pts  Win-%  --------------------------------------------------------------------- 2003 - Markku Zweq (10.62) Markku (59 %) 2004 Markku veezay ? ? 2005 Markku jaytea ? ? 2006 jaytea jaytea ? ? 2007 Zweq jaytea ? ?  Player must be in top-100 in total points.
Annual meta statistics of battles in #battle period: Year Battles Running Players Length  Designer  --------------------------------------------------------------- 2003 2329 8 % 4.72 18.29 2fast 2004 7018 19 % 4.86 14.59 insguy 2005 13686 32 % 4.14 12.12 talli 2006 12088 27 % 3.53 11.55 kestas 2007 1003 8 % 3.04 14.54 jds999  In minutes  By number of levels
Total statistics (January 2003 — April 2007)
Top-10 players by battle total points in #battle period: # Player Nat. Battles Points ------------------------------------- 1. jaytea USA 7000 24824 2. Markku FIN 3002 16871 3. terb0 FIN 5034 12813 4. Zox FIN 2918 12213 5. talli FIN 2888 10815 6. axxu FIN 1750 10641 7. Jeppe SWE 2287 9788 8. aavv POR 2638 9426 9. Zrex FIN 2259 9384 10. John SWE 1613 8850
Top-10 players by battle average points in #battle period: # Player  Nat. Battles Avg. --------------------------------------- 1. axxu FIN 1750 6.08 2. zaraptor GBR 432 5.65 3. Markku FIN 3002 5.61 4. John SWE 1613 5.48 5. Zweq FIN 1107 5.43 6. MadMan SWE 296 4.93 7. Jalli NOR 393 4.87 8. cyre FIN 432 4.81 9. veezay FIN 1838 4.80 10. Ali CZE 113 4.76  Player must be in top-100 in total points.
Top-10 players by battle win ratio in #battle period: # Player  Nat. Battles Win-% -------------------------------------- 1. Markku FIN 3002 75 % 2. axxu FIN 1750 63 % 3. Jeppe SWE 2287 62 % 4. Kuper RUS 640 61 % 5. Zweq FIN 1107 59 % 6. zaraptor GBR 432 59 % 7. John SWE 1613 58 % 8. skint0r NOR 622 55 % 9. ANpDaD RUS 716 52 % 10. kd HUN 543 51 %  Player must be in top-100 in total points.
Markku and axxu were the best battlers in the #battle period unless you weight total points over everything else.
Top-10 most productive battle level designers in 2003 - 2007 Apr: # Designer Nat. Levels Players ------------------------------------- 1. Jeppe SWE 1951 3.67 2. jds999 USA 1765 2.88 3. kestas LTU 1625 3.56 4. insguy GER 1364 4.34 5. talli FIN 1318 3.40 6. Jappe2 FIN 1061 3.68 7. iob AUS 988 4.34 8. Rasken NOR 933 3.93 9. Zebra FIN 908 5.54 10. Devan CAN 906 4.29
14. More Contests
During Golden Era (2001–2006) there were numerous other contests too besides World Cups and battles.
The best external level player of the era was axxu. He dominated several cups and contents which earned him hattrick in the Externalist category in GAA04, GAA05 and GAA06. He also won the Rookie category in GAA04.
PeXi had a level review page named Custom levels in his Across page in 1999 (reference). Level reviews were continued in Moposite v1 since March 2000 by selecting and publishing top-10 levels of the official level packs. Moposite v2.0 introduced the Single Level Rates page in August 2001. Level of Month (LOM) by Abula was started to be organized in January 2002 (reference).
In Level of Month competition the designers had one month to create a level in a given theme and the winners were chosen by the jury. Barbapappa and Juble were triple winners and Xhomaz, Zebra, Ville_J won it twice. In total points Barbapappa and Zebra would be the top-2 if the points were calculated.
Level of month themes and the results of the first LOM in January 2002. MIR is present again. Source: Moposite
Internal styled levels
One very popular contest type has always been external levels which imitate the official internal levels.
Mini internals was the first pack in 1999-2000 but there were many more. Oldschool routes (aka no-shortcut) internals where created in 2002-05-31. All the difficult shortcuts of internal levels were blocked in those levels. Antz removed the apples and published the Nofood internals in 2002-11-02. milagros mirrored the internal levels programmatically in 2003-03-26 and also new mini internals were created programmatically in 2003-06-07. Max internals were published in 2003-09-07. Killers and apples got reverted in 2004-09-11. bob reversed start and end positions in 2005 and Tilted Internals were created in 2006.
There is another way to create new internal levels by designing new levels to simulate the feeling of the original levels. The first popular internal style level pack was named Lost Internals and the story was that the author of the game had lost some levels which were found. The levels were published in Moposite in 2002-01-25 and the designer was Barbapappa.
Ville_J released Internal-ish levels in March 2002 and skint0r created skinternals in July 2003. Team TAP published Internal Feeling Level Pack in 2004 and Team LOS released Almost Internals in 2005. More of these will be published in the coming eras.
Mopo Corner, skintatious, Zebra's Elma site and more
A few high quality level sites were founded during the era. Mopo Corner by MP and Ville_J was launched in 2002-06-20 and their levels Alternative Level Pack (ALP) and King Kon Tests were widely played. They also organized two popular cups: King Cup in 2003-10-05 and Kon Quest in 2005-10-01. MP and Ville_J won the Site category in GAA05.
Another remarkable level site and designer is Zebra who launched his Elma site in 2002-08-13. Zebra has been one of the most productive players in the community. He has organized Mopobattles, generated statistics of #battle and Belma battles and organized several contests such as Master Cup (2005), Master Cup 2 (2006) and The TAP Challenge (2006) (reference). He has also created the biggest level pack archive out there (Zebra's Level Archive) (2008) and finished the Moposchool project, the most sophisticated collection of Elma bike tricks, which was started by Abula and Barbapappa in 2002.
skint0r won the Site category in GAA06.
According to the statistics of Moposite's Links section, dz's, GuyB's, TonyLee's, Olliz and Kopaka's websites received most visits.
Besides two World Cups many other cups were also played.
Cups organized in Golden Era (2001–2006): Start Name Winner Organizer(s) --------------------------------------------------------------------- 2001-08-25 Elmaduel ? Landlord 2001-09-09 Meaningless Cup ? ? 2001-09-15 EC cup EML MUe 2001-09-30 Magyar Kupa 2 MGen CSabi 2001-11-26 Mitik Cup EboNitE mitik 2002-01-16 EAM Cup 2 Trabi EAM 2002-02-03 Höylä Cup ? ? 2002-07-15 Summer Cup 2002 MGen CovBoy & CSabi 2002-09-29 Dragstrup Cup GuyB Kopaka ... World Cup 4 ... 2003-04-14 MET Flag Tag Cup Marci Flatley & Zsolt 2003-08-17 Vicious Cup Summer MP Dezz 2003-10-05 King Cup TorInge MP & Ville_J 2004-01-14 Mopo Kup axxu Zworqy 2004-03-17 LOS Cup 2 axxu Xhomaz 2004-04-17 Elimination Tournament psy Zworqy 2004-06-22 Smash Cup Red Kopaka 2004-11-14 Elimination Tournament 2 Munkki Zworqy 2005-01-15 Master Cup axxu Zebra ... World Cup 5 ... 2005-10-01 Kon Quest The OooO MP & Ville_J 2006-01-29 Mopo Kup 2 axxu Zworqy 2006-02-06 TAP Challenge Homer Zebra 2006-08-13 Master Cup 2 axxu Zebra
A few more contests must be mentioned because of their uniqueness.
A one post man Pityka shared his Warm Up times driven by his toes and nose in 2003 (reference). John's JoPi is probably the most popular pipe level pack. There are also Olimpic Elma levels (2005-01-11) in Zebra's Level Archive (Russian ElastoMania Club levels) which got to the closest of the Olympic games so far.
The first chain level was started in 2002 by Barbapappa. It's a level type where several designers participate in making the level. Barbapappa also created the first adventure level which won the Level category in GAA03.
Winners of the Level category in Golden Apple Awards (2003-2006)
Winners of the Designer category in GAA 2003-2006: Year Designer ------------------- 2003 Barbapappa 2004 Juble 2005 Zebra 2006 Zebra
This was also the era when level designers got the first community made level editors.
radim's levelmaker was the first level generator (2003-04-13) (reference).
15. Moposite (under construction)
Golden Era (2001–2006) was prosperous for Moposite as well, although the website was continuously under construction. Three major versions were released and the updates happened weekly, even daily.
Regular updates and lots of new material established Moposite's status as a central place of the community. Number of daily visitors rose from 500 to 1500. Balázs the author also recognized Moposite's status and gave us the world records table and free licenses of the game.
Moposite has always received lots of help from other players. Especially the programmers tura, MGen, partybear, Hibernatus, milagros, Viper_KillerGuy and Kopaka have been great help. Close to a hundred players have helped us. Thank you.
Moposite had been running about one year when the second major version was published in 2001-08-25 (reference). The moposite.com domain was purchased, color scheme got adjusted and the SSI technology (Server Side Includes) was used. Apart from that the website was still pure static.
Some of the new sections were Mopobattles, Lost Internals, Level of Month, Funny replays, Articles, Blacklist, Videos and Meetings sections. The number of daily visitors was about 700.
This is also the Moposite version which welcomed the official WR table.
2002-02-19 was a big day when Moposite was moved to a new and more professional host (Sigmatic) (reference). Now it was possible to use PHP, perl and MySQL. The first dynamic page was programmed by tura: Links. The Site Navigator and new email addresses were initiated. The number of daily visitors was about 900 now.
Moposite v2 by Abula (2002-03-25). Two interesting details visible. ribot the leader of the anti-establishment movement got into the Moposite news by changing names (rQ-E%, csybe, △) and Homokaasu results are displayed, a non-Elma related game of who clicks the mouse button most. That was Moposite's first integration to an other website. Source: Moposite
The third version of Moposite was published in 2002-07-25. It was a huge technical uplift in the first place. The number of daily visitors was still increasing and it was 1100 now. An elma2.exe file was downloaded 1035 times from Moposite during 24 hours in April Fools' Day in 2003.
Moposite v3 had many improvements in technical side of the website. Valid XHTML 1.0 standard and CSS2 were met in 2002. The printable version was working well with text readers. Source: Moposite
Because the manual work of all the updates was getting more and more time-consuming, a programming help was requested in the Moposite news in 2003. And yes, Viper_KillerGuy from Denmark was ready to rock. His first script to Moposite was Kuski gallery where players were able to chat, upload pictures and share information, one year before Facebook was launched.
Moposite v4 (Paprika)
Building the fourth version of Moposite was started in 2004. Viper_KillerGuy was programming and Abula made the layout and ran the "business". Moposite reached the popularity peak of its whole history: 1427 daily visitors in average in November 2005.
Moposite v4 by Abula looks almost same in 2006 as in 2020. Compared to v3, the layout was refreshed and the technical foundations were improved again. Source: Moposite
Paprika was a very ambitious project, maybe too ambitious. Dynamism was added even when not really needed. More should had been concentrated on what matter most: records, replays and contests.
Building Paprika was started from the core: the technical foundations of the website was the highest quality (reference). The website is still running quite nicely after the release 15 years ago. The website uses the three-column layout succesfully (Holy grail of web design) (reference) and works in all major browsers without any rendering flaws. On top of that, the main area of the contents, the central column is first in the HTML source code making it to serve the actual content first even for text browsers.
Moposite v4 was a great website in technical terms but it took almost two years to get the early release live in 2006-03-24 (reference).
It is possible to hide the left and right columns to get more space for the contents. Source: Moposite
Paprika and the OLD version were running alongside for several years until all the data was moved to a new website. Remember the paprika image. We will get back to it. Source: Moposite
- View Moposite v2 (2001) (reference).
- View Moposite v3 (2002) (reference).
- View Moposite v4 (2006) (reference).
- View Moposite history (reference).
The first discussion forum was opened in 2000-04-07 but it was Mopolauta on phpBB software that made the breakthrough in May 2002. Polls were used to find out the Kuski of the Month and Golden Apple Awards candidates. Mopolauta is a part of Moposite and administrated by Abula and SveinR.
Although most of the sub-forums of the discussion board were actively moderated, the discussion was quite free. Community was maturing and evolving. The most active moderators have been dz, MagnusB, axxu and later Orcc, roope and Sla.
- View Mopolauta's the most popular topic (2002-05-19) (reference).
The term "community" was first time mentioned in 2002-05-22 (source). For sure the community had existed since the first communication between the first players in 1997 but it was year 2003 when Moposite started to use the term.
This article you are reading right now is a comprehensive historical overview of the game and the community but the first something similar was the Community history page in Moposite v3 in year 2004 (reference). It listed the best players, the greatest teams and the most important historical dates.
Community history by Abula was the first history overview of the community (2004-11-06). Source: Moposite
Golden Apple Awards had also a few community specific categories.
Winners of the Contribution category in GAA 2003-2006: Year Player ------------------------ 2003 Abula 2004 Viper_KillerGuy 2005 Zebra 2006 Viper_KillerGuy
Winners of the Site category in GAA 2003-2006: Year Player ------------------------ 2003 Abula 2004 Abula 2005 MP & Ville_J 2006 skint0r
The community developed also a unique slang. The Elma slang is called Acrossish and it's mostly a mix of English, Finnish and Swedish. Some common terms to have a special meaning in the community are höylä, kuski, balle and pie.
International meetings were also more common during the era but more on that a bit later.
- View ElMa Dictionary (2000) (reference).
Kuski gallery was released in 2003. The section was upgraded and renamed to Players in Moposite v4. People were able to upload personal pictures and send messages.
Kuski of month
As already mentioned the first Kuski Of Month poll (KOM) was won by zyntifox in January 2001. I won it in April 2002 after Moposite v2.1 was released. The polls were very popular and most of the winners wrote long interviews to tell their Elma stories. Karlis was the first one to win it twice after we allowed players to get renominated three years later since last win.
Winners of Kuski of month in 2001: Month Player --------------------------- Jan zyntifox Feb mrDJ Mar MUe Apr Stikky May Karlis Jun pajen ... Golden Era begins ... Jul MGen Aug ciph Sep CSabi Oct deadelous Nov psy Dec dz Winners of Kuski of month in 2002: Month Player --------------------------- Jan Jeppe Feb Barbapappa & ribot Mar mrickx Apr Abula May Cloud Jun TorInge Jul GuyB Aug DarMoeD Sep px Oct Nostrada Nov Jokke Dec kuiva Winners of Kuski of month in 2003: Month Player --------------------------- Jan milagros Feb Ramone Mar Mick Apr Zweq May Zsolt Jun Jalli Jul SoC Aug MP Sep Markku Oct skint0r Nov Luther Dec mr Winners of Kuski of month in 2004: Month Player --------------------------- Jan TomCat Feb MJXII Mar Juzam Apr Tantal May Axxu Jun John Jul Stini Aug nh Sep SveinR Oct Viper_KillerGuy Nov Karlis Dec MadMan Winners of Kuski of month in 2005: Month Player --------------------------- Jan zebra Feb insage_guy Mar Raider Apr Crazy May Jeppe Jun TorInge Jul J-sim Aug Dariuz Sep The OooO Oct xp Nov infected Dec Homer Winners of Kuski of month in 2006: Month Player --------------------------- Jan milagros Feb Memphis Mar Kuper Apr Zweq May petsen Jun ANpDaD Jul proDigy Aug Raven Sep Xiphias Oct Markku ... a break begins ...
- View Kuski Of Month (reference).
The first Elma blogs were started in 2004 by skint0r and dz. Abula's Applelane blog was online from 2005-01-21 to year 2017.
The first Elasto Mania Wikipedia article was created in 2004-12-07 (reference).
Elma community had an opposition too, an anti-establisment movement which wanted to revolutionize the system by several methods. For us, PeXi and Abula, dictators of the Elma world, they were annoying troublemakers. But we didn't fall to totalitarism. There was freedom of speech, sometimes even democratic polls (reference).
When looking back now and reading old Mopolauta posts, I can better understand the actions of the troublemakers who had even good points once in a while. Debate is important. In addition they were often the early adopters of the new patches and other (potentially) next things which wasn't always the easiest job.
There was a three level resistance structure against the Moposite regime: underground world, anti-establishment movement and the established opposition. Cheating tools and other illegal actions belong to undeground. Anti-establisment movement refers to the players who tried to hack the systems, participated the contests "in wrong way" or againts the spritit. The established opposition consists of people who had different views but accepted the rules.
I'm not sure if people want their names to be listed in this section so I mention only the leader of the movement who has been around for ages. ribot, interesting work and legacy created. ribot won the Kuski Of Month title before me and by doing it in his style: tie with Barbapappa is the only one in the KOM history.
For an obvious reason I haven't saved lots of material the movement created but they got to Moposite in quite many places which some of them were already mentioned in the article. ribot's country, Miranda (MIR), got 1.5 points in World Cup 4 and he was also the last one in the first Level of Month ( January 2002).
One famous way to sabotage was the team and nick name changes which forced website updaters to do extra work to fix the statistics. And the harder the name, the better. For example ribot is known by several different names but to mention a few: csybe, rQ-E% and △.
The first time Abula character entered the Elma art was the Flower Raiders cartoon in January 2001. © RM
Another interesting political case relates to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. One player asked me to replace the country flags of some other players living in the new Balkan countries to the old yugoslavian flag. I couldn't care less about the politics back then but quite soon I figured out that some people do. The flags got changed back.
Non-existing countries, Yugoslavia (24.) and Miranda (30.), got to Records lists before the political line of Moposite was declared. Source: Moposite
More and bigger meetings were organized during Golden Era (2001–2006). Finnish, Danish, Hungarian and Czech players were particularly active and almost all meetings gathered players over the borders. Several smaller meetings were also organized.
Quite a lot of material has preserved but let's look at a few meetings in more detail and the rest through some pictures and basic facts.
Zweq in Kokkola (2004)
Usually the greatest top players haven't been the most active participants of the meetings. Champi0N, Jokke, Karlis and Dz were met in the early days but it was 2004 when the best Elasto Mania player at that time (and of all times) let our documentary group to enter his home. After meeting Jeppe first in Haparanda, Abula, mr and terb0 drove to Kokkola to meet Zweq (reference).
During the meeting Zweq drove multiple world class times giving usually only 2-3 tries: Over and Under 0:30,33 (+0,35 behind WR), Tricks Abound 0:44,30 (+1,11) and Headbanger 0:45,37 (+0,83) which was also filmed. It was another key moment in my life. Now it was 100 % clear. Some players are from different planet.
First picture of Zweq, probably the best Elasto Mania player ever (2004). He is not playing on his own computer in this picture. Lapin Kulta. © Abula?
Zweq drove several close to WR times during the two hour meeting in 2004 but due to camera issues only 0:45,37 Headbanger got filmed (+0,83 behind the WR).© Abula
Finnish Elma Meetings
There are six players who participated all Finnish Elma Meetings organized during Golden Era (2001–2006): Abula, Jokke, Karlis, mr, Orcc and Tisk. PeXi and terb0 were in three meetings and axxu, dz, Juzam and MP participated in two. Because so many old actives were present, let's create some combinated statistics—new material coming!
Details of Finnish Elma Meetings 2002-2005: Year Location Multi WRs Participants  1h tt 6 first BB win Battler ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2002 Lammi 9 10 (1) Tisk dz - dz 2003 Polvijärvi 5 11 Jokke Orcc Abula Jokke 2004 Lammi 2 16 (3) Ramone Abula Abula axxu 2005 Leivonmäki 5 24 (8) Markku Stini MP Markku  number of foreigners in brackets BB = Beer Battle
6 first internals in FEM 2002-2005: # Player Nat. Time FEM -------------------------------------------- 1. Stini FIN 2:44,04 05 2. Abula FIN 2:51,77 04 3. veezay FIN 2:55,50 05 4. Orcc FIN 2:56,42 04 5. Markku FIN 2:56,50 05 6. Tisk FIN 2:58,27 04 7. Jokke FIN 2:59,03 04 8. MP FIN 3:02,49 05 9. onlainari FIN 3:03,29 05 10. Jeppe SWE 3:07,23 05 11. xp NOR 3:08,07 05 12. Cubein NOR 3:10,62 05 13. terb0 FIN 3:11,26 04 14. Karlis FIN 3:16,00 03 15. dz FIN 3:17,75 02 16. Ramone SWE 3:27,98 04 17. krychek HUN 3:34,62 04 18. OME FIN 3:38,34 05 19. Barbapappa SWE 3:49,07 05 20. mr FIN 3:50,35 05 21. psy FIN 3:52,79 04 22. axxu FIN 3:54,28 04 23. mrickx CZE 4:05,14 02 24. skint0r NOR 4:11,39 05 25. px FIN 4:21,96 05 26. Luther SWE 4:32,34 04 27. Tapzu FIN 4:48,00 03 28. Juzam FIN 4:50,92 05 29. MIF SWE 4:57,53 05 30. Hapa FIN 5:36,00 03 31. Pallukka FIN 6:27,40 03
1 hour total time in FEM 2002-2005: # Player Nat. Total time FEM -------------------------------------------- 1. Ramone SWE 52:58,84 04 2. Markku FIN 54:39,70 05 3. Tisk FIN 1:01:57,70 05 4. Jalli NOR 1:03:21,86 05 5. Jokke FIN 1:08:10,87 04 6. veezay FIN 1:09:43,29 05 7. Orcc FIN 1:10:25,39 04 8. Abula FIN 1:18:52,12 05 9. dz FIN 1:41:53,08 02 10. axxu FIN 2:10:51,46 04 11. Luther SWE 2:11:51,41 04 12. Stini FIN 2:20:44,64 05 13. mr FIN 2:37:23,53 04 14. Karlis FIN 2:58:22,29 04 15. terb0 FIN 2:38:06,88 05 16. mrickx CZE 2:53:31,97 02 17. Juzam FIN 3:46:15,81 04
Battle total points in FEM 2002-2005: # Player Nat. Points Battles Avg. Meetings ------------------------------------------------------------ 1. axxu FIN 494 58 8.52 2 2. Tisk FIN 451 85 5.31 4 3. Jokke FIN 419 64 6.55 4 4. Orcc FIN 417 76 5.49 4 5. Abula FIN 401 74 5.42 4 6. Karlis FIN 393 78 5.04 4 7. terb0 FIN 291 88 3.31 3 8. Markku FIN 262 31 8.45 1 9. veezay FIN 234 38 6.16 1 10. dz FIN 222 42 5.29 2 11. Ramone SWE 211 28 7.54 1 12. mr FIN 188 39 4.82 4 13. Luther SWE 183 30 6.10 1 14. xp NOR 150 29 5.17 1 15. Jalli NOR 104 10 10.40 1 16. Pallukka FIN 97 16 6.06 1 17. Tapzu FIN 70 12 5.83 1 18. Barbapappa SWE 63 9 7.00 1 19. skint0r NOR 57 12 4.75 1 20. Juzam FIN 55 9 6.11 2 ...
Beer battle total points in FEM 2002-2005: # Player Nat. Points Battles Avg. Meetings ---------------------------------------------------------- 1. Abula FIN 374 40 9.35 3 2. Karlis FIN 287 39 7.36 3 3. MP FIN 282 28 10.07 2 4. Orcc FIN 282 32 8.81 3 5. Tisk FIN 251 37 6.78 3 6. terb0 FIN 229 37 6.19 3 7. Jokke FIN 196 27 7.26 3 8. px FIN 157 25 6.28 2 9. Jeppe SWE 139 14 9.93 1 10. skint0r NOR 128 15 8.53 1 ...
A Czech player named mrickx joined FEM02. No international players came to Polvijärvi, the deep east (2003) but in 2004 there were three: Luther and Ramone from Sweden and krychek from Hungary.
Finnish Elma Meeting 2005 was a blast: eight international players and one particularly interesting: TorInge, one of the greatest Elma players of all times. He drove his legendary 24 hours total time (37:39,71) including one WR during the meeting. Additionally he drove four multi world records. TorInge was also able to drive unbelieavable times by his strange game pad. And high graphical details on. Magic.
TorInge is doing one of the hardest WR trick, Serpents Tale bounce in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005. At that time only he, Zweq, Luther and Kuper had done it.© Unknown
The biggest meetings in 1998-2006: Date Location Participants ------------------------------------------- 1998 Nov FIN, Tampere 4 1999 Jul SWE, Piteå 5 ... Elasto Mania is released ... 2000 Jun FIN, Ulvila 6 2001 May FIN, Nokia 10 ... Golden Era begins ... 2001 Aug FIN, Helsinki 4 2001 Aug HUN, Budapest 9 2001 Oct DEN, Frederica 7 2001 Sep CZW, Vermerovice 15 2002 Mar HUN, Budapest 24 2002 Aug FIN, Lammi 10 2003 Apr DEN, Frederica 15 2003 Jun FIN, Polvijärvi 11 2003 Jul SWE, Falkenberg 4 2003 Aug DEN, Aabenraa 10 2003 Dec SWE, Gothenburg 6 2004 Jul FIN, Lammi 16 2004 Aug HUN, Siófok 17 2004 Sep RUS, Moscow 10 2004 Dec FIN, Kokkola 8 2005 Feb DEN, Aabenraa 14 2005 Jun FIN, Leivonmäki 24 2005 Oct DEN, Fjelstervang 21 2005 Dec DEN, Aarhus 6 2006 Apr DEN, Aabenraa 20 2006 Aug FIN, Espoo 11
Eventhough I'm very biased, I argue that Flowertouching Men (FM) is the most successful Elma team ever, at least in overall results. Throughout the history FM has had a WR in 362 tables out of 396, more than any other team. FM has had most different WRs (44), most improvements (188) and the biggest aggregated total time improvement (1:08,45) if Zweq [WNO] is excluded.
FM was the best team in World Cup 2, World Cup 3, World Cup 4 and 3rd in World Cup 5. Moreover FM has the most team points in Mopobattles.
The members of FM team have been active in many different areas of the Elma world since 1999 when the team was founded. The members of the team have organized four Finnish Elma Meetings and kept Moposite running for two decades.
FM didn't ever win the Team category in Golden Apple Awards because the dominance didn't last to year 2004 when the first team trophy was given. Team ICE won it twice during Golden Era (2001–2006).
Flowertouching Men, an international super team, was founded by Dr_Luni [AA], Jokke [HC], Karlis [HC], psy [Fed.], Stene [tLD], Ufo [AA] and YeeS [SOA] in December 1999. All the members were the top players of the Across era. FM got 25 WRs in the first Elma WR table when PRA was second with 9 WRs.
There have been 13 members in team FM in total. YeeS left and Sathy joined in 2000. Ufo and Dr_Luni disappeared. Stene got kicked out. psy and Sathy quit and Tisk joined in 2001. Abula and mr joined in 2002. dz joined in 2003.
After Golden Era (2001–2006) Jokke quits and MP joins in. Karlis is the only one staying since foundation, although the situation is unclear at the moment (2021-07-27).
So mr and Abula joined FM in 2002. We were the only active players in Mahti Crossers (MC) when Tuska had quit in November 2001 and Markku was having a break. When Finnish Elma Meetings were not organized in 2006 and 2007, FM organized team meetings.
Team FM in secret FM corner in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005© Abula?
The best art work created during Golden Era (2001–2006) is presented next.
In August 2001 a new section named Articles was added to Moposite where people could publish texts about the game and the community.
- Cheating in Elma by Ambulance (2001-09-02) (reference)
- Elma is a lifestyle by nemo (2001-09-06) (reference)
- elma & drugs by rQ-E% (2002-02-20) (reference)
- Balázs interview by Kopaka (2002-11-14) (reference)
- About internal level designing by Barbapappa (2003-02-02) (reference)
- Elma is a new religion by Barbapappa (2003-02-02) (reference)
- Programmers destroy the game by Barbapappa (2003-05-30) (reference)
- The nature of Elasto Mania skill by sierra (2005-08-30) (reference)
Tshabee - Enigmatic song (2002-01-26) uses the original sound clips of the game.
Bjorn - Can't get Elma out of my mind (2003-06-11). By the way Bjorn (and Zero, Raider, Mika and Bob): you are not unique. These are the nick names that were used by at least two different players.
DJ Barbapappa - One Two Elasto (2003-08-03).
CEC - All Up In Your Face by ciph, Juish and agent#00negro from Canada (2004-11-28). Lyrics (reference).
The first videos of the actual Elma gameplay were filmed in meetings, at least since Finnish Elma Meeting 2002. Back then it was more about fooling around than documenting anything interesting until December 2004 when Abula and mr videographed Zweq playing. The video was already shown in the Meetings chapter.
TorInge and Jalli the Pipe King were filmed in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005.
After a screenshot dumper patch got released in 2005, External Ways by Kestas was the first gameplay video (2005-07-30) (reference). The video scene of Elasto Mania will bloom in the next eras.
External Ways by Kestas was the first "professional" Elma gameplay video (2005-07-30). This is part 1/2.© Kestas
- Watch External Ways by Kestas, part 2/2 (2005-07-30) (reference).
PeXi's price poster in World Cup 3 containing signatures of Bálazs, MUe, CSabi, MGen and ? (2001). © PeXi
Elasto Mania in real life news! Rigger got somehow his World Cup points to a local newspaper in September 2002. © Rigger?
Ded the oldest WR driver by being 65 years when he got 2. Flat Track (#328). Honza, his grandchild, has had WRs too. © Unknown
Summary of the chapter
Golden Era (2001–2006) was full of big moments: dz under 40:00,00, TorInge having 50 % of WRs, TorInge under 38 minutes in 24 hours, Mopobattles started, brutal volt found and nine Golden Apple Awards trophies were handed out in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005. Zweq, TorInge and Jalli were proved to be clean and documented on video. Dozens of meetings were organized and World Cups gathered the most players in its history. Hibernatus and milagros programmed the first unofficial Elasto Mania versions.
We have reached year 2007 by now. Fourth version of Moposite had been just published but the community was already in a move from Moposite centricity towards online playing. The move will only accelerate when Belma is published in the beginning of 2007.
Let's close the era by watching the first speedrun video, Elasto Mania Done (fairly) Quick, made by skint0r (2006-01-17).
Elasto Mania Done (fairly) Quick (aka Elma Done Quick v1) is the first Elma speedrun video created (2006-01-17). The total time of the replays is 36:56,80 which is only 0:16,27 seconds behind the contemporary WR total time. The current WR total time at the time of writing (2020-05-23) is 34:26,65 so plenty of newer styles are not yet found.© skint0r
IV. Belma Period (2007 Jan — 2010 Jul)🔝
The era of this chapter spans three and half years from January 2007 to July 2010, from Belma release to first EOL battle in the database. The game had been played for ten years by now but it wasn't even near to end.
During Belma Period (2007–2010) milagros programmed his famous (unofficial) online patches which revolutionized the game and the community. Battles were running almost around the clock. Zweq the Great went bananas and nailed records that shall shine forever.
The number of new crazy WR styles found during the era is astounding. Once again the complex and fine-granular physics of the game was proved to be just uniquely perfect. Players became more skilled while playing battles and having the fast feedback loop.
There are many high quality videos created during the era. Belma Period (2007–2010) is documented very well.
Golden Apple Awards were organized every year and the second exclusive Elma collection was published (Elma Ultimate DVD). Moreover the biggest level collection ever created was released in 2008 (Zebra's Level Archive).
Belma Period (2007–2010) didn't see a World Cup and Finnish Elma Meetings were skipped. Focus was again on playing like it had been in Prelude to Elma (2000–2001). The community was truly reforming.
1. EOL (2006)
bob was the first player to mention the term Elma Online (2002-06-11) but he didn't really mean the same concept how the term is understood today. Four months later Karlis presented the actual Elma Online idea (2002-10-04).
The first working Elma Online patch, Elma Online (2006) or EOL (2006), was released in 2006-02-15. It enabled the original in-game multiplayer mode over local internet (LAN).
(2006-02-15) The first working Elma Online patch, a multiplayer mode over LAN, is ready. Source: Mopolauta
After programming EOL (2006), the multiplayer patch over LAN, milagros kept on developing. The next Elma Online version was named Belma and it was released in 2007-02-22. Belma was the first Elma Online patch to support battles over internet between several players.
Promo video of Belma by 8-ball (2007-03-06). © 8-ball
The playing experience in Belma was totally different. It was almost a new game that just happened to have the same physics. The old levels and world records were comparable and the WR table remained open. milagros did an amazing job. Many players helped him with testing, servers, results and other organizing tasks.
In Belma you could see other players, chat with them and get the battle results automatically inside the game. Other notable new features were custom T-shirts, in-game file downloads and uploads, new contest modes such as first finish, one-life and one hour total time. The infamous Hooked-bug got fixed, the replay filename was extended to 15 characters and the replay length to one hour.
Belma was a huge step forward in battle playing but it had also severe flaws to deal. Most of the problems were fixed in the next patch, Elma Online (2010), but that's a topic of the next era.
Belma made battling much more popular. People were able to upload and download levels and replays inside the game and the results were real-time and automatic all the way. Previously you had to write your times to IRC and upload and download the files manually.
There wasn't any established website or database to collect the battle results in Belma. The patch echoed the results to #ballelma IRC channel and Zebra generated some statistics out of the logs like he had done with #battle channel battles since 2003.
skint0r made also a website for the results but it was taken offline after some players hacked Belma.
The #ballelma battle results are not 100 % clean but clean enough to make some analysis.
58395 battles were played during Belma Period (2007–2010). The average number of players per battle was 13.91 and when the average length of the battle was 16.61 minutes, it means that there was a battle running 51 % of the whole period. The running time is just amazing. Battles were running almost all the time for four years.
The numbers of the previous four years (2003-2007) were 36093 battles played, 4.08 players on avarage per battle, 12.95 minutes length and 21 % running time. The popularity and activity of the battles roughly trippled compared to the #battle era.
Markku and jaytea dominated battles in 2003-2007 but when more people joined in, Markku and jaytea weren't overwhelming anymore.
Annual statistics of Belma battles: Year GAA Most points Avg. pts  Win-%  ------------------------------------------------------------ 2007 Zweq Zweq Zweq Zweq (48 %) 2008 Zweq adi Zweq Zweq (50 %) 2009 Zweq Grob Zweq Zweq (50 %) 2010 Grob jonsykkel Ali talli (48 %)  Player must be in top-100 in total points.
Zweq won about everything in Belma battles.
Annual meta statistics of Belma battles: Year Battles Running Players Length  Designer  --------------------------------------------------------------- 2007 9225 29 % 11.05 15.47 jds 2008 17965 55 % 13.79 16.11 barryp 2009 19277 63 % 14.90 17.14 Mawane 2010 11928 59 % 14.73 17.36 Mawane  In minutes  By number of levels
Top-10 players by total points in Belma battles: # Player Nat. Battles Points -------------------------------------------- 1. talli FIN 7220 89519 2. adi FIN 6793 86938 3. Pab URU 8078 85955 4. Lumen RUS 6632 82623 5. Bjenn SWE 5643 74941 6. Nekit RUS 6505 71371 7. FinMan FIN 5041 69825 8. GRob HUN 4705 69077 9. Smibu FIN 5189 67331 10. nick-o-matic FIN 5622 65594
Top-10 players by average points in Belma battles: # Player  Nat. Battles Average ----------------------------------------- 1. Zweq FIN 3844 15.93 2. Kazan FIN 4229 15.38 3. Madness SWE 2967 15.33 4. Markku FIN 3781 15.23 5. axxu FIN 1623 14.95 6. GRob HUN 4705 14.68 7. Ali CZE 3187 14.43 8. Bludek CZE 2195 14.55 9. LazY NOR 2226 14.38 10. VT GER 2466 14.24  Player must be in top-100 in total points.
Top-10 players by battle win ratio in Belma battles: # Player  Nat. Battles Win-% -------------------------------------- 1. Zweq FIN 3844 49 % 2. Markku FIN 3781 43 % 3. jaytea USA 4654 36 % 4. talli FIN 7220 35 % 5. Kazan RUS 4229 35 % 6. BoneLESS CAN 4113 34 % 7. axxu FIN 1623 34 % 8. Raven FIN 3136 29 % 9. adi FIN 6793 28 % 10. Xiphias DEN 3570 28 %  Player must be in top-100 in total points.
By looking at the results I would argue the top-3 best battlers during Belma Period (2007–2010) were Zweq, Markku and Kazan. Next comes axxu, jaytea, talli and Madness.
Top-10 most productive battle level designers in Belma battles: # Designer Nat. Levels ---------------------------- 1. Mawane CAN 2305 2. Barry GBR 1830 3. Ramone SWE 1559 4. Pab URU 1471 5. Bjenn SWE 1299 6. bEAT POL 1142 7. Jappe2 FIN 1076 8. umiz SWE 960 9. Jeppe SWE 923 10. k0en NED 861
- View Ballelma page (reference).
4. It's getting tight
There were 180 new world records in the internal levels during Belma Period (2007–2010) and one total time minute limit barrier was broken (36 mins). During the era the magnitude of the new world records was roughly one third compared to Golden Era (2001–2006). It was getting tighter.
Some levels particularly were near to their maximum.
Less improved WRs during Belma Period (2007–2010): Level Improved ---------------------------- 42. Enduro 0:00,00 47. Enigma 0:00,00 48. Downhill 0:00,00 * 37. Jaws 0:00,00 * 14. Loop-de-Loop 0:00,02 11. Gravity Ride 0:00,04 * 1. Warm Up 0:00,05 21. Hangman 0:00,05 53. Hooked 0:00,05 30. Pipe 0:00,06 * *) Level will be greatly improved in later years.
Many internal levels looked like they had reached the maximum. Only about half are short höylä levels which styles are very obvious but interestingly there are even four levels which will be improved quite much in the coming years: 30. Pipe four seconds, 48. Downhill three seconds and 11. Gravity Ride and 37. Jaws almost one second each.
5. Uphill Battle and 1. Warm Up are also two of the oldest world records ever.
Oldest WRs driven in Belma Period (2007–2010): # Player Level Tables Driven Beaten ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2. Zweq Warm Up 122 2007-03-17 (#259) 2015-04-14 (#381) 9. Jarkko Uphill Battle 96 2009-10-09 (#301) 2018-04-24 (#397) 14. Zweq Loop-de-Loop 83 2008-10-25 (#292) 2014-05-24 (#375) 18. mr Freefall 80 2008-10-05 (#291) 2014-01-11 (#371) 19. Zweq Bowling 77 2009-09-06 (#300) 2014-12-10 (#377)  Age is measured by number of tables
4.1. WR tables #255-#314
And this is how the WR table looked in the end of Belma Period (2010-07-21), one minute limit later. Source: Moposite
WNO remained in the WR table but ICE didn't, well except The Stig (Cloud?) with his Bumpy Journey WR. Kazan's first WR appeared in 2007-10-28 (#273).
Just a random note but for some reason the world record of 12. Islands in the Sky has always belonged to not very well known internalists: Gazoline, jx, krus, proDigy, Honza anda zaraptor.
Number of new WRs per nationality in tables 255-314: # Nat. WRs --------------- 1. FIN 84 2. SWE 34 3. RUS 28 4. CZE 13 5. SVK 5 6. GBR 4 DEN 4 8. NOR 2 LIT 2 10. NED 1 CAN 1 ISR 1 USA 1
Thirteen different nationalities was only one less than during Golden Era. Finland is still number one but Norway has collapsed. Russia is clearly doing better by improving by two positions. Czech seems to be a solid performer and milagros carries the Slovakian flag. Hungarians are missing.
Number of new WRs per team in tables 255-314: # Team WRs ---------------- 1. WNO 74 2. EPO 18 3. NK 11 4. SPEED 9 5. 27 6 EF 6 7. SET 5 8. FM 4 9. WTC 3 10. SC 2 WAW 2 EM 2 MiE 2 ...
WNO was overwhelming. The previous leader ICE is gone. FM and WNO were the only teams to survive from the top-10 of previous era.
Number of new WRs per player in tables 255-314: # Player WRs ------------------- 1. Zweq 46 2. John 28 3. Kazan 20 4. Raven 12 5. Jarkko 11 6. Madness 7 7. Cap 6 talli 6 Bjenn 6 10. milagros 5 ...
Out of 180 new WRs Zweq got 26 %, John 15 % and Kazan 11 %. Zweq and John are the only ones in top-10 of both Golden Era and Belma Period.
During Belma Period (2007–2010) Zweq won three times and Kazan once the Internalist category in Golden Apple Awards.
4.2. John under 36:00,00
John got his first WR in table #139 (2003-08-09). In Golden Era he drove the fourth most WRs and was second in the total times list. In Belma Period (2007–2010) John passed TorInge in 2007-01-07 to become the number one in the personal total times list (reference). John kept the leading position for four years and two days. He also reached the ever-lasting achievement: the first player under 36 minutes.
Personal total times minute limit breaks in Belma Period (2007–2010): Limit Player Nat. Date ------------------------------------------------ 45 mins KingKong SWE 2000-03-11 (#1) 44 mins Champi0N SWE 2000-04-05 (#7) 43 mins KingKong SWE 2000-06-04 (#21) 42 mins zyntifox NOR 2000-11-21 (#47) 41 mins pajen SWE 2001-10-14 (#75) 40 mins dz FIN 2002-05-02 (#85) 39 mins TorInge NOR 2003-04-11 (#122) 38 mins Zweq FIN 2003-09-28 (#147) 37 mins TorInge NOR 2005-03-16 (#205) ... Belma Period begins ... 36 mins John SWE 2009-07-13 (#298) ... Belma Period ends ... 35 mins Spef FIN 2018-05-09 (#405)
The WR table total time went under 36 minutes already in 2007-06-14 (#265). It's the table where Zweq drove the new crazy styles in 7. Hi Flyer and
The total times list when John had just got under 36 minutes (2009-07-13). This was the last Moposite Records update during Belma Period (2007–2010). Source: Moposite
4.3. Multiplayer in LAN
Elma Online (2006) patch enabled multiplaying over network so players were able to use their own computers. During Belma Period (2007–2010) the multi WR total time improved 0:25,93 seconds – mostly by Zweq and Juzam who also broke the 23 minutes limit barrier (2007-04-25).
Multi total times list (2009-05-21). Zweq and Juzam got under 23 minutes in previous table which was updated two years earlier. Source: Official Multiplaying website
Multi WR table before EOL (2010) enabled multiplaying over internet (2009-09-05). Source: Official Multiplaying website
There was a discussion if the community should accept WRs driven in the online mode (reference).
4.4. pawq and jonsykkel
As mentioned earlier Moposite became inactive somewhere in 2006-2007. The Records section was updated 11 times in year 2006 but only 4 times in 2007. During the years 2008-2010 there was only one update per year which was too little considering the new activity around the game and Belma patch.
Luckily there were players like pawq and jonsykkel who started to update the Elma records in their platforms. pawq created a combined total times list on Mopolauta in 2008-11-21 (reference) which is still updated at the time of writing (2020-05-23). jonsykkel's elmastats page was released in 2010-10-17 (reference).
5. Crazy WR styles
Zweq drove his first new crazy WR (31. Animal Farm) during Belma Period (2007–2010) in the WR table #255 (2007-01-06). In total Zweq drove nine ridiculously amazing world records during the era.
1:14,34 Zweq (WR #255) 1:15,82 Xiphias (WR #252)
Zweq's first crazy WR was only 0:01,48 seconds better in 31. Animal Farm (2007-01-06) but the style was radically different opening gates for more improvements. Today the time is over four seconds better (2018-02-28).
1:17,63 Zweq (WR #262) 1:23,35 John (WR #248)
Zweq's 54. Apple Harvest time was 0:05,72 seconds better (2007-05-07). The WR is the eigtht best absolute and the 14th best relative improvement ever. Apple Harvest WR was 2:02,63 in the first Elma WR table in 2000 and at the time of writing (2020-05-23) it's 1:12,89. The WR was 2:40,63 in Across in 1998-07-19.
We would watch Zweq's 10. Tunnel Terror 0:54,98 (#262) now but there's be a better chapter for it.
0:14,22 Zweq (WR #264) 0:14,99 John (WR #253)
0:00,77 improvement in a 14 seconds level is a lot (2007-05-26), especially after 13. Hill Legend had been played already for ten years.
0:30,66 Zweq (WR #265)
Zweq's WR in 7. Hi Flyer in table #265 (2007-06-14) is one of the greatest world records ever. An easy short level which has been played since the first Across 1.0 version, had an undiscovered style. Zweq improved the WR by 0:02,35 seconds. Today it's even four more seconds better: 0:25,91 by ... Zweq (2021-07-28).
0:42,85 Zweq (WR #265)
Table #265 (2007-06-14) is probably the second most amazing WR table ever after TorInge's 27 WRs in #232 because in addition to Hi Flyer, Zweq drove also the legendary 24. Ramp Frenzy shortcut. The shortcut had been known since 1997 because it's so obvious but just too hard. Zweq's Ramp Frenzy WR is the 6th biggest absolute improvement by 0:08,21 seconds and the 3rd biggest relative improvement ever. The replay won the Style category in Golden Apple Awards 2007 and it's also a brutal volt WR.
0:11,09 Zweq (WR #266) 0:11,48 Ded (WR #262)
Zweq discovered the seventh revolutionary style in 10. The Steppes. The WR style of Steppes has changed several times throughout the history. This is also a brutal volt WR. Since WR table #266 Steppes has been the shortest world record (2007-06-26).
0:42,69 Zweq (WR #284) 0:42,97 axxu (WR #254)
After one year break Zweq found another new "left first" style in 32. Steep Corner in 2008-05-11. The replay won the Style category in Golden Apple Awards 2008.
0:50,13 Zweq (WR #289) 0:50,45 talli (WR #285)
Zweq drove another crazy WR in 28. Bounce Back in 2008-08-30. Styles like this were dreams of hundreds of players but only a few actually drove one. Zweq did it nine times in less than two years.
1:12,41 John (WR #298) 1:14,34 Zweq (WR #255)
John's new jumping style to the octopus in 31. Animal Farm improved the WR total time by 0:01,93 seconds (2009-07-04).
0:51,50 talli (WR #298) 0:51,80 Bjenn (WR #290)
It's always prodigious when the start style of the WR changes. talli did just that in 15. Serpents Tale in 2009-07-04.
0:29,54 zaraptor (WR #311) 0:29,64 Zweq (WR #308)
zaraptor found a new route in 4. Over and Under after the level had been played 13 years (2010-05-01). The style was exposed first time in 300 AVR PART2 video (2009-10-06) (reference).
Many new tricks such as bounce, supervolt, alovolt and brutal volt were already discovered in the earlier eras but there was at least one more trick left that was even utilized in a world record.
First public zweqspin (aka spinning) replay was driven by Barhom in year 2001 but it was Zweq's 9. Tunnel Terror WR (0:54,98) in table #262 (2007-05-07) which popularized the trick.
0:54,98 (WR #262) 0:56,57 (WR #261)
Zweqspin is a new trick found during Belma Period (2007–2010) and which was utilized in a world record (2007-05-07). At that point 9. Tunnel Terror had been played since ten years. Current WR is six seconds better (2020-05-23).
10. The Steppes can be also finished by using the zweqspin trick but it's slightly slower style. The new style was invented once again by Zweq the Great. It won the Replay category in GAA11.
Zweqspin is a good example of the new skills the Belma Period (2007–2010) had teached to some players. Zweqspin is also an example of one great player whose innovativeness and skills were just beyond everybody else. The previous two sections (5. Crazy WR styles, 6. Zweqspin) indicates that there was only one player around but that's not the case at all. Yet Zweq's performance is not here even at end.
- Watch Zweq zweqspins in Warm Up (2008-09-04) (reference).
- Watch Spinvid vol3 by Moszat (2013-04-30) (reference).
Besides zweqspin there was another new driving style that was popularized during Belma Period (2007–2010). Uphilling means levels where the goal is to drive upwards and often very slowly. The levels are usually very hard levels and not liked by everyone.
teajay was probably the first one with his Fish levels (2007-05-28) to introduce the uphilling levels. In battles the uphilling levels are often set as first finish contest type (FF) so you didn't have to be super fast if you could just keep on climbing.
There were some pre-uphilling levels in Moposite Special Contests such as Hill Climbing and Kiskotus and of course there's the internal level 5. Uphill Battle.
Zweq is uphilling (2007-05-30).
More players will join the uphilling competition in the next era.
8. Pipe Princes
Pipes were also played more than ever before. Pipes were common in battles but also a few level packs and even a cup were dedicated just for the pipes (reference). The replays got crazier when the new pipe royals finished extremely hard levels and even some of the classics in a way that overshadow the old Pipe Kings.
Zero was 11 years old when he made this movie of playing himself (2008-06-12). Zero becomes one of the best battlers ever in the upcoming years. No center camera used.© Zero
- Watch Chain Pie by talli (2009-04-26) (reference).
adi finishes ChainPII (2009-12-21), a very long pipe level made by nine designers in collaboration. Mawane won the Level category in Golden Apple Awards 2009 by this level. Before Belma Period (2007–2010) 19 minutes long replays weren't possible.
John's 0:49,96 record in MOPOCO15 in 2010-01-14.© John
Summary of MiE Pipe Cup. The cup started in 2010-05-05.© Mawane
9. Active contests
Three events related to the external contests during Belma Period (2007–2010) are essential: Kopaka's Interactive Levelpack Records system was published in 2006-11-14 (reference), Kopaka's Open Source Automated Cup script was released in 2009-08-15 (reference) and Zebra's Level Archive was published in 2008-06-13 (reference), the biggest level collection created (2020-05-23).
Kopaka's interactive level pack system was launched already in 2006-11-14 and it's still running in 2018. Source: Kopasite
Numerous cups were organized.
Cups organized in Belma Period (2007–2010): Start Name Winner Organizer(s) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2007-10-04 LOS Cup 3 axxu LOS 2007-12-06 Goliath Cup adi teajay 2008-01-28 TAP Elimination Cup axxu Zebra 2008-02-06 Error Merry Cup 2 Deestent error 2008-12-03 MasterRacer II Memphis & BoneLESS nIN 2009-01-22 Banana Cup 4 BoneLESS Zebra 2009-06-21 Spring Run Cup Yorki coc0k & error 2009-? Hungarian Summer Cup 2009 GRob Binder 2009-08-12 TEH Cup NightMar Igge & Kopaka 2009-10-20 Thorze Cup 1 Are Hosp 2009-10-12 MawCup 2009 adi Mawane 2010-02-01 Rambo cup Bjenn Ramone 2010-02-28 Talvi Cup romy4 Ville_J 2010-05-06 MiE pipe cup FinMan MiE
Zebra's One Year Level Pack (OYLP) was a new concept in 2008-09-22 to have a level for each day around the year (reference). Banana Cup 4 had strange rules like Kahvicup in the early days. TEH Cup was the first to use Kopaka's Cup script. Goliath Cup had exceptional long levels.
Two internal styled levelpacks were released by Ramone (Internal Edits, 2008-06-09) and jonsta (Instead Internals, 2008).
Ramone was a very active level designer overall and he won the Designer category in GAA08, GAA09 and GAA10.
Winners of the Level category in Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010)
Winners of the Designer category in Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010): Year Designer ------------------- 2007 Jappe2 2008 Ramone 2009 Ramone 2010 Ramone
Finally a list of videos of different cups and contests created during Belma Period (2007–2010). The quality of the videos compared to earlier eras increased both in resolution and in presentation.
- Watch Skintatious levels by skint0r (2007-08-12) (reference).
- Watch LOS cup 3 by Jappe2 (2007-12-12) (reference).
- Watch Spring Run Cup by Jappe2 (2009-06-21) (reference).
- Watch Banana Cup 4, part 1/3 by Jappe2 (2009-08-25) (reference).
- Watch Hungarian Summer Cup 2009 by Grindelwald (2010-04-02) (reference).
- Watch Talvi Cup 2010 by Grindelwald (2010-06-25) (reference).
10. Community reformation
When Moposite wasn't active anymore, there was more room for other websites and sub-communities to bloom. People who played mostly battles and chatted inside the game were clearly a new group but there were also some regional communities with their own contests and cups.
The German speaking countries had own regional Elma community. The Elmasite was most active in 2003-2006. Source: Elmasite
Russian Elma community has been good both in programming and playing. The Elmaclub website and Domovoy's map viewer were in high technical level in 2008. Source: Elmaclub
Hungarians is the most influencal regional community of all times after Nordic countries. They organized a regional cup in 2010-09-20. Source: Magyar Elasto Mania Oldal
Finnish Elma Meetings and other big meetings were taking a break during Belma Period (2007–2010). Team FM organized smaller, invite only meetings at Tisk's student flat in 2006 and 2007 which gathered pretty much the same Finnish active players as in FEMs. Old veterans Petri [SSC], Ari [ahf] and kimitys were met first time. The meetings got even smaller in 2008-2010 but the next generation was already growing up.
After three years break Raven continued Kuski of Month polls for seven months. Zweq was first to win KOM three times (2003, 2006 and 2009).
Winners of Kuski of month in 2009: Month Player ----------------- May Kazan Jun Raven Jul John Aug adi Sep Zweq Oct zaraptor Nov talli
A new community related category was added to Golden Apple Awards: Community Award.
Winners of the Contribution category in Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010): Year Player ------------------------ 2007 milagros 2008 Kopaka 2009 Kopaka 2010 milagros
Winners of the Site category in Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010): Year Player ------------------------ 2007 Kopaka 2008 Kopaka 2009 Zworqy 2010 jonsykkel
Winner of the Community Award category in Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010): Year Player ------------------------ 2007 milagros 2008 niN 2009 Kopaka 2010 milagros
Social media was still fairly simple during Belma Period (2007–2010) except the online videos in Youtube which were created in a new magnitude. The oldest video still online (2021-07-28) was uploaded by Tontsa84 in 2006-03-20 (reference).
The last big and open meetings were organized in 2005 (Finland) and 2006 (Denmark). The meetings didn't stop but they were invite only after that. Organizing big meetings is a lot of work.
FM organized team meetings in Espoo in 2006 and 2007 with a few bonus players.
The meeting facilities were not perfect in the secret FM meeting 2006. The Across legends Ari [ahf] and Petri [SSC] were also present. © Abula?
Watching Elma Done Quick v2 in the secret FM meeting 2007. More Across legends were met: kimitys and vender. © Abula?
11. Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010)
Golden Apple Awards was organized first time in 2003 and the tradition continued during Belma Period (2007–2010).
Golden Apple Awards in 2007: Category Winner Nat. Reason ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist Zweq FIN 2. Externalist axxu FIN 3. Battler Zweq FIN 4. Rookie Bjenn SWE 5. Designer Jappe2 FIN 6. Team WNO 7. WR Zweq FIN Ramp Frenzy 42,85 (#265) 8. Style Zweq FIN Ramp Frenzy 9. Replay talli FIN mkup309 21,57 10. Level Xhomaz NOR The Dead Scene (LC306) 11. Contest LOS LOS Cup 3 12. Contribution milagros SVK Belma 13. Achievement Zweq FIN Hi Flyer, Ramp Frenzy WRs; multi TT 22 mins 14. Site Kopaka DEN Kopasite 15. Community Award milagros SVK Golden Apple Awards in 2008: Category Winner Nat. Reason ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist Zweq FIN 2. Externalist adi FIN 3. Battler Zweq FIN 4. Rookie Pab URU 5. Designer Ramone SWE 6. Team EPO 7. WR Cap RUS Zig-Zag 55,91 (#281) 8. Style Zweq FIN Steep Corner "left first" 9. Replay John SWE Labyrinth Pro 2:14,85 10. Level Jappe2 FIN Tyrant (TEC03) 11. Contest niN SWE Mäster Räcer II: Pair Play 12. Contribution Kopaka DEN EOL site, GAA jury 13. Achievement Zweq FIN WRs, styles, most improvements ever 14. Site Kopaka DEN Elma Online 15. Art Antz FIN Ecchi levels and battle levels 16. Community Award niN SWE Golden Apple Awards in 2009: Category Winner Nat. Reason ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist Zweq FIN 2. Externalist adi FIN 3. Battler Zweq FIN 4. Rookie Mielz POL 5. Designer Ramone SWE 6. Team WNO 7. WR Jarkko FIN Uphill Battle 19,79 (#301) 8. Style talli FIN Serpents Tale 9. Replay Zweq FIN Hi Flyer, not finished (07zwoot7) 10. Level Mawane CAN Chain Pie II MPFKBJKZB (ChainPII) 11. Contest Zebra FIN Banana Cup 4 12. Contribution Kopaka DEN EOL site, Kopasite, TEH Cup, scripts, GAA jury 13. Achievement John SWE 35 mins TT 14. Site Zworqy SWE Zworqy's site 15. Art Jappe2 FIN Videos 16. Community Award Kopaka DEN Golden Apple Awards in 2010: Category Winner Nat. Reason ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist Kazan RUS 2. Externalist Pab URU 3. Battler GRob FUN 4. Rookie jonsykkel NOR 5. Designer Ramone SWE 6. Team SPEED 7. WR Zweq FIN Tunnel Terror 51,88 (#315) 8. Style John SWE Animal Farm 1:10,59 (#307) 9. Replay John SWE Animal Farm 1:10,59 (#307) 10. Level jonsykkel SWE Deth Appels (jon001) 11. Contest Ville_J FIN Talvi Cup 12. Contribution milagros SVK EOL patch 13. Achievement Pab URU Taking all JoPi records 14. Site jonsykkel SWE jon's Elmastats 15. Art niN & Jappe2 Internal Memories Elma 10 years 16. Community Award milagros SVK
Zweq was overwhelming with 13 awards in four years, Kopaka became second with 5 and Jappe2, John and milagros got 4.
And how a level pack can win the Art category like Antz did in 2008? By tits.
12. Gameplay videos
Elma art incarnated in video format in Belma Period (2007–2010). Next we have the rest of the best videos which weren't already presented in more appropriate chapters.
The pioneers of Elma videos were MUe (2000), Abula (2004), Kestas (2005), skint0r (2006) and 8-ball (2007). Jappe2 was particularly active in Belma Period (reference). iCS will enter the stage in the next era.
Elma Done Quick v2 (35:58,33) was released in 2007-07-28 by skint0r (reference). All the replays are contemporary world records.
Elma Done Quick v2 (35:58,33) by skint0r (2007-07-28). John had most WRs during that time (16).© skint0r
Internal Memories by Jappe2 and nIN (2010-09-22) explains the world wecords history. The video was created in honour of the 10th Elasto Mania anniversary (reference).
Internal Memories by Jappe2 (2010-09-22)© Jappe2
- Watch Elma meets Super Mario Bros by Polarix (2008-08-08) (reference).
- Watch Zweq's Tunnel Terror top-10 merged by Jappe2 (2010-06-03) (reference).
- Watch Special tricks part 2/2 by Jappe2 (2008-04-22) (reference).
- Watch Level making by Pab (2009-11-28) (reference).
- Watch How to do the start in Animal Farm by John (2010-01-11) (reference).
13. Ultimate DVD
The second Elma data collection was made by Abula in 2010: Elma Ultimate DVD. The first collection, Elma Forever CD, was made in 2001.
Most of the files in the DVD from Belma Period (2007–2010) were already presented – except two.
Next images missed the DVD.
Summary of the chapter
Besides of the Belma patch itself, the highlights of Belma Period (2007–2010) are definitely Zweq's nine revolutionary WR styles, John under 36 minutes and Jappe2's videos. Golden Apple Awards were organized every year. Improved uphilling and piping skills were proofs of players becoming more and more skilled while playing online battles from day to day.
milagros' patch revolutionized the game and the community but Belma Period was also a decadence. Moposite was inactive, no big meetings or World Cups were organized and many players were having a break.
Belma was vulnerable to hacking and sabotaging the battles if someone wanted. And of course there was someone who did just that and kept on terrorizing and demotivating others for years. On top of that an undetectable cheat method was spreading in the underground (saveload) and the WR table was near to be frozen. It looked like the end of the story but there was some light left: milagros was working on a new version.
V. Age of EOL (2010 Jul –)🔝
The era we are going to look next, hasn't ended yet. It spans from the first EOL battle to this day (2018-03-14). We haven't yet seen the next big thing that will change the course of Elma history.
milagros had programmed two unofficial online versions already, the simple multiplayer LAN patch (2006) and Belma (2007) but he decided to make one more. Belma had severe flaws and a few new features could be implemented as well.
The third EOL version was released in July 2010 and it made Elma to flourish again. Skills improved, new tricks were found, even World Cups and Finnish Elma Meetings got revitalized. Hell, Elma was even seen in TV! New superstars rocked but a few old legends made also glorious comebacks.
1. Elasto Mania 1.3
milagros' newest patch isn't really known by the version number 1.3 but it's more logical in the long history of the Elma versions because Hibernatus named his last version as 1.2 and Balázs' official versions use 1.1, at least if we make an assumption that the version number 1.11 should be actually 1.1.1. Eventhough 1.3 is written in the start screen of the new patch, most people call it just eol.
Belma Period (2007–2010) was sort of decadence because some idiots abused the vulnerable system which got other people to stop playing, even quit. Belma didn't provide tools for moderators. Luckily milagros decided to fight back.
(2010-07-25) NaDiRu drove the first record to the EOL database. EOL website was running under Moposite in the development phase. Source: Mopolauta
In addition to the moderating tools, EOL provided many new features to make playing more convenient and fair. Now all finished times were saved to the database as well.
Here's a list of the most essential features:
- Free camera to overview the level
- Fixed FPS to solve the vsync issue
- Centered navigation map
- Replay saving reminder
- New battle modes: last finish, flag tag, apple count, maximum speed, reversed keys, one turn, hidden times, one wheel and multiplayer
- In-game battle queue
- In-game file downloads and uploads (levels, replays)
- In-game chat (public, private and ignore modes)
- In-game viewing of all players' results in all levels
- In-game 24 hours total time contest and cups
- Last apple taken time
- Number of objects, polygons and vertices increased to practically unlimited
- Background, foreground and graphics settings to improve contrast
- Setting to stop the moving apples animation
- Showing and hiding other players and team members
Most of the new battle modes are not used very often: normal and first finish battles are the most popular which were available already in Belma patch.
Because EOL uses a server to send the data of all key presses, it became impossible to use the saveload cheat. Without this feature, the WR table would have been closed down because the saveload cheat tool was already spreading in the Elma underground in 2009. We'll get back to this.
The first recorded time in the EOL database was driven by NaDiRu in 2010-07-25 and the first battle was played in 2010-07-26 (reference). Multi WR table #143 indicates the patch was already in use by some players: Kopaka (DEN) & Labs (HUN) and axxu & Markku from different cities had driven new WRs that got published in 2010-07-21.
The next multi WR table a few weeks later (2010-08-17) had 29 new WRs by 24 different player combinations and eight days later 11 WRs more. EOL was a breakthrough. A big thing. A blast. Multiplaying was only a small part of the new patch—online battles were even more popular.
The patch was beta tested exhaustively by many players. It was officially released in 2011-08-12 with a promo video and an official level pack (reference).
EOL Trailer (2011-08-11)© 8-ball
The elmaonline.net domain was registered in 2010-08-07 by Kopaka (reference) and the first version of the website was published in 2011-08-30.
Elma Online website was renewed in 2013-05-28. The layout design and all the functionalities were made by Kopaka. Source: elmaonline.net
The Elma Online website has all relevant information related to the (online) game: results of the EOL battles, results of the internal levels, results of the external levels + player profiles and news. Lots of replays can be viewed directly in the browser.
2.1. EOL Battles
The battling data has been collected since 2010-07-26 so it's quite a big set of data. Some players have been höyling a lot.
GRob won the first battle that was saved in the EOL database (2010-07-26). onlainari is always present when something new is happening. Source: elmaonline.net
Annual statistics of EOL battles (2010-): Year GAA Battler Most points Avg. points  Won-%  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 2010 Grob NightMar adi (15.60) Zweq (48 %) 2011 Markku Eddi Zweq (17.02) GRob (47 %) 2012 Zero Zero Zweq (16.87) Markku (59 %) 2013 Zero iltsu GRob (15.44) Zweq (58 %) 2014 Zero iltsu Zweq (15.15) Zweq (58 %) 2015 Zero Blaztek adi (14.50) Markku (61 %) 2016 Zero Blaztek ANpDaD (14.59) Zero (76 %) 2017 Zero Blaztek ANpDad (14.72) John (58 %)  must be in top-100 in total points
Annual meta statistics of EOL battles (2010-): Year Battles Running Players Length Designer Avg. Tot. Avg. ------------------------------------------------------------- 2010 5811 38 % ? 284 14.78 ? 2011 19843 56 % 563 15.54 2012 18937 54 % 699 15.07 2013 19150 56 % 654 15.28 2014 17872 49 % 526 14.55 2015 17828 49 % 501 14.47 2016 13648 41 % 414 15.98 2017 11975 42 % 416 18.36  Total number of players who finished at least one battle
Top-10 players by total points in EOL battles (2010-): # Player Nat. Battles Points ---------------------------------------- 1. Zero FIN 11169 146585 2. Blaztek NOR 14116 138415 3. juka FIN 11818 124627 4. Eddi RUS 9267 117530 5. Luther SWE 12104 106961 6. Bjenn SWE 7682 91079 7. Vitesse RUS 11117 86003 8. roope FIN 9291 85015 9. Kiiwi FIN 8627 83312 10. Lukazz AUT 10952 83245 ... Data updated: 2018-03-14
Top-10 players by average points in EOL battles (2010-): # Player Nat. Battles Avg. ---------------------------------------- 1. FinMan FIN 1326 16.13 2. Zweq FIN 3852 15.85 3. GRob HUN 1529 15.62 4. Markku FIN 3451 14.72 5. adi FIN 5128 14.47 6. Ali CZE 1571 14.04 7. Jeppe SWE 2164 13.77 8. NightMar RUS 3109 13.71 9. Smibu FIN 1328 13.58 10. ANpDad RUS 3879 13.25 ... Data updated: 2018-03-14
Top-10 players by win ratio in EOL battles (2010-): # Player Nat. Battles Win-% ---------------------------------------- 1. Zweq FIN 3846 55 % 2. Markku FIN 3451 55 % 3. adi FIN 5116 52 % 4. GRob HUN 1529 52 % 5. Zero FIN 11169 49 % 6. John SWE 1926 45 % 7. Kazan RUS 5287 44 % 8. Leek NZL 1595 44 % 9. ANpDaD RUS 3874 43 % 10. zaraptor GBR 1392 42 % ... Data updated: 2018-03-14
Many old veterans were mastering EOL battles but some new superstars were also in fire: Zero and adi are new names in the very top.
71 levels in a battle queue (2017-02-14). Each level must be uploaded by a different player. Source: Elasto Mania 1.3
The next video shows clearly how skilled some players are. Most of the replays have been played in 10-30 minutes in year 2012.
Big Plays Battle Highlights (2012-08-30)© Bjenn
- View statistics of EOL battles (reference).
2.2. Apple battles
The idea of an apple battle is to collect as many apples as possible and it doesn't have to be done in one drive.
Apple battle (2018-02-08) (reference)© Chris
2.3. Battle Cups
Battle Cup is another new idea initiated during Age of EOL (2010–). The idea is to have, let's say, 10 events, one per day and one event lasts for example 60 minutes.
Battle Cups in Age of EOL (2010–): Start Name Winner Organizer(s) -------------------------------------------------------------- 2014-12-01 World Battle Cup Zweq Ramone & Zero 2016-04-08 World Battle Cup II Zero niN
3. The Last Warriors?
Since 2011-06-23 internal level world records must have been driven in EOL while connected to the server to prevent saveload cheats. We have come quite far from the release of Elasto Mania: to get an official world record, one must play it in an unofficial version of the game. But that's the way to keep the WR table still open.
When talking about the WR table, the outlook of it has interestingly remained the same since 1997. The hungarian flag and the classic white background with team logos is something the community doesn't want to change. In 2011 even 17 % of players were against adding a WR total time below the table to ease browsing the WR history (reference).
The WR total time went under 35 minutes in 2012-10-21.
3.1. WR tables #315-#396
There have been 205 new world records between WR tables #315 and #396 in about eight years which means roughly two every month. The activity peak was over but there was still a lot to improve.
- Read how to get WR total time under 34 minutes (2012-10-17) (reference).
- Read how to get WR total time under 33 minutes (2011-04-01) (reference).
Number of new WRs per player in tables 315-396: # Player WRs ------------------- 1. Spef 42 2. Zweq 37 Kazan 37 4. Bjenn 12 Mielz 12 6. Madness 9 7. Bene 6 8. FinMan 5 GRob 5 Nekit 5 ...
Spef beat Zweq and Kazan. Spef's first WR was driven in 2012 and he won the Internalist category in Golden Apple Awards 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Zweq, Kazan, Bjenn and Madness survived from the top-10 of Belma Period (2007–2010). Zweq was present also in Golden Era (2001–2006).
Number of new WRs per team in tables 315-396: # Team WRs ---------------- 1. SPEED 65 2. WNO 40 3. EF 13 4. dat 12 5. NGT 5 6. 27 4 7. TEM 3 8. NK 2 EPO 2 MiE 2 ...
SPEED, WNO, EF, 27, NK and MiE made it from the top-10 of Belma Period (2007–2010).
Number of new WRs per nationality in tables 315-396: # Nat. WRs --------------- 1. FIN 91 2. RUS 48 3. SWE 24 4. POL 12 5. CZE 11 6. HUN 9 7. ARG 3 LIT 3 9. GBR 2 10. DEN 1 USA 1
Familiar countries in top-10 except Poland and Argentina being positive surprises.
The oldest WRs (potentially)
Age of EOL (2010–) has potential to become the cornucopia of the oldest WRs if the era doesn't end, people keep on playing and px updates the table. Quite many if:s but it's possible! At the moment it's not there yet.
Oldest WRs driven in Age of EOL (2010–): # Player Level Tables Driven Broken --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 20. Kazan Tricks Abound 77 2010 (#318) 2018 (#395) 27. Zweq Over and Under 73 2011 (#330) 2019 (#403) 28. Zweq Twin Peaks 72 2011 (#330) 2019 (#402) 32. Kazan Apple Harvest 69 2011 (#342) 2020 (#411) 33. _Mika Spiral 67 2010 (#319) 2016 (#386) 42. Kazan Haircut 64 2011 (#333) 2018 (#397) 47. Ded Flat Track 63 2011 (#328) 2017 (#391) ... 70. Zweq Expert System 50 2012 (#356) - Data updated: 2020-05-23
91 tables is required to get to the all-time top-10.
3.2. Almost under 35:00:00
John was leading the personal total times list in Belma Period (2007–2010) and he kept the lead till January 2011 when Zweq became the number one again. Kazan passed Zweq in April 2014 and Spef took the lead in July 2016. Kazan stroke back in March 2017.
3.3. 1 hour total time
PeXi invented the concept of total time in 1998. The first 24 hours total time competition was organized by Abula in 2000. And the first record of the 1 hour total time (1h tt) is from 2001.
The Czech Elma community initiated the one hour total time competition in 2001. Source: elastomania.cz
17 different players participated the one hour total time competition in Finnish Elma Meetings during the years 2002-2005. After EOL was released in 2010 the competition has been played by the best internalists but the results are not really comparable because it's very different to play at home as many times as you want than in a meeting when other people are watching. Nevertheless, let's combine the results.
Best personal total times in 1 hour: # Player Total time WR tt Date --------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Kazan 38:46,01 +3:54,20 2014-05-18 (#374) 2. Zweq 40:54,09 +5:12,01 2009-07-21 (#298) 3. adi 40:03,43 +5:14,02 2014-10-05 (#376) 4. Bjenn 40:06,74 +5:29,45 2017-11-30 (#392) 5. Spef 40:28,47 +5:39,06 2014-09-28 (#376) ... in a meeting ... 6. adi 40:43,30 +5:58,48 2015-08-14 (#382) 7. Ramone 52:58,84 +15:44,26 2004-07-24 (#178) 8. Markku 54:39,70 +17:51,57 2005-06-15 (#212) ... in early days ... 9. IRK 1:03:23,25 +23:44,03 2002-03-15 (#81) 10. TonyLee 1:10:33,44 +30:08,03 2001-05-01 (#65) 11. Bobisek 1:46:45,64 +66:23,41 2001-06-06 (#68) (Rank is by difference to contemporary WR total time.)
adi's 40:30,87 total time in one hour competition was filmed in 2014-08-31.© Danielj
- View Kazan's 1h tt times (2014-05-18) (reference).
3.4. Multi is closed
Multiplaying got easier and much more convenient in EOL which activated players to drive lots of new multi WRs. The table #144 in 2010-08-17 had 29 new multi world records and there were 24 different player combinations.
24 different player combinations in multi WR table #144 (2010-08-17) which was the first big update after EOL was published. Source: Official Multiplaying website
4. 5 mins on Sunday
It's never been very common to reveal one's real playing time. It's much more likely to see comments like "I only played 5 mins on Sunday" no matter if the result required one or one hundred hours.
First time when we got hard data about playing times was in World Cup events and battles. No one could play more than the event lasted.
Since 2010 we have much more data, namely the exact timestamps of all key presses and apples collected of every play. And because the replay isn't even considered legal if played offline, the data is essentially complete.
Despite the vast amount of data available, quite little new information exists. It's probably not that interesting to know who pressed ESC or throttle key most which is probably the one who has played most in total. Perhaps Jarkko and 5. Uphill Battle?
Technically it would be possible to create statistics of, let's say, the easiest WRs: what was the total playing time required to get a world record after the previous WR was updated on the table? Ultimately, is there any real "first try" WR that can be proved by hard data? Who has played the most in total? Per year? Per level? What's the most played level in total by all players? The least played internal? My bets: 29. Headbanger and 25. Precarious.
Who has played the longest time without any break longer than 1 minute? Longest time having only maximum 15 min breaks? 24 hours? 1 week?
Because we don't have that kind of statistics now, let's look at some single facts which are public information. Jarkko published his top-2000 times in 5. Uphill Battle in 2011-11-17 (reference). The total time of his top-2000 is 11 hours and 5 minutes. First time he got WR under 0:20,00 was in 2006-06-03 (#244) and the current WR (0:19,79) was driven in 2009-10-09 (#301). His first Uphill Battle WR (0:20,11) was driven in 2006-04-01 (#237). It's impossible to tell how many times he got under 20 seconds out of the all attempts but I guess it's probably not very far-fetched to estimate it to one tenth or even one hundreth. So during four years he used something like 110-1110 hours in one level.
Another insane record in playing time wise (and in pipe skill wise) is adi winning the Achievement category in Golden Apple Awards 2016 by finishing 2593 pipe levels in 30 days.
Blaztek has played 14116 battles in eight years which is 1750 hours if we estimate that he played half of each battle's playing time.
5. Amazing WR replays
Now we must be careful because it's possible that some WR styles are not public yet. WR table has a five year rule which means that a WR replay can be published after five years when it appeared on the table.
0:51,88 Zweq (WR #315) 0:54,53 Bjenn (WR #309)
Zweq kept on finding new crazy WR styles after Belma Period (2007–2010). The first one was 10. Tunnel Terror again (2010-08-28). The totally new route improved the WR by 0:02,65 which was quite much in year 2010 because the level had been played already for over 13 years. The replay won the WR category in GAA10.
0:52,26 romy4 (WR #317) 0:52,93 Bjenn (WR #314)
romy4 used a new route in the bottom part of 50. Expert System which had been played for 13 years at this point (2010-09-18).
0:41,79 Kazan (WR #318) 0:42,51 John (WR #301)
The new end in Kazan's 51. Tricks Abound made it the sixth WR style having a brutal volt (2010-09-25).
We would watch Kazan's 48. Downhill 0:43,94 now (#334, 2011-06-05) but there will be a better chapter for the new style.
0:50,24 Kazan (WR #341)
Kazan found one more new style in 10. Tunnel Terror in 2011-10-29. The end bounce won the WR category in GAA11.
Then we can finally watch the speedrun video, Elma Done Quick v3 (2012) which was presented in the introduction chapter of this article. So go watch it now and come back here. Or, actually all the interesting styles of the video have been introduced already at this point (or shortly) so you can also just keep on reading.
0:30,17 Bjenn (WR #367) 0:30,19 Spef (WR #344)
Bjenn's 6. Long Haul wasn't a big improvement in 2013-07-23 but it's marvelous that one of the six first levels had 16 years an undiscovered style during the first second of the level.
0:30,29 Kazan (WR #374)
The seventh brutal volt WR style had been known since Golden Era (2001–2006) and at least mr and Stini had driven better times than the WR in 30. Pipe but it was Kazan who finally found a way to make the jump without a bugbounce (2014-04-01). The WR is the 10th biggest relative improvement of all times which after 14 years is just amazing. It won the WR category in GAA14.
0:13,97 Bene (WR #381) 0:14,00 Zweq (WR #259)
It's unbelievable but the first level of the game 1. Warm Up which had been played for 18 years, revealed a new style. The time didn't improve much but the style is totally different. There is also a new trick called wheelpop which we will discuss shortly. The previous WR by Zweq lasted 122 tables which is the second longest time of all times. Bene won the WR category in GAA15 by this one.
Spef 0:52,73 (WR #385)
Spef has most WRs driven in Age of EOL (2010–). 33. Zig-Zag is a level which has over 10 different routes and the world record has been improved 39 times since 2000. The current record is over one minute faster than it was in WR table #1.
We already watched Mielz's 47. Enigma WR (#389) (2017-03-01) but it needs to be mentioned here because it improved the oldest WR of all times, the legendary Stini's Enigma which lasted almost 13 years.
Looks like Kazan's 15. Serpents Tale WR (#389, 2017-03-01) isn't public. Over two seconds improvement in a level which had been played for 19 years, is mind-boggling. The WR is the 30th biggest relative improvement of all times.
Four major tricks were discovered before Age of EOL (2010–): bounce, supervolt (alovolt), brutal volt and spinning. But there was still one more left.
The oldest known WR having a wheelpop is Ded's 2. Flat Track WR in 2011-01-15 (#328) but it was Bene who popularized the trick in his 44. Freefall WR in 2014-01-11 (#371). Bene also used it in his 1. Warm Up WR in 2015-04-13 (#381).
Theoretically wheelpop can be used in almost every level but because it's so difficult to perform, it's mostly used in short levels.
Rumours say the current 2. Flat Track 0:14,64 WR contains three wheelpops (reference).
Three wheelpops by Zweq (2017-07-29).
At this point we would read about the technical details of the wheelpop if I understood it myself. Bene has explained it on Mopolauta (reference).
It gets even more wicked when several wheelpops are performed in a row. Even terminology is murky here but chainpop seems to usually refer to multiple successive wheelpops in so short time that the trick can be performed only by technical aids. Player must tap brake very fast in right rhythm while changing the FPS on fly. Chainpop is practically impossible but wheelpop is not.
Bene invented the chainpop trick in 2016-08-10. Eventhough it wasn't useful in world records, Bene and Zweq decided to create an entertaining replay of the longest internal level, Labyrinth Pro, to be shown in Finnish Elma Meeting 2017. They pushed the time to incredible 1:55,48 which is 16 seconds better than the current WR. The best saveload time without any wheelpops is nine seconds slower (2:04,54) so wheelpop in general and chainpop specifically are very effective tricks but just too hard to actually use except in very short levels.
35. Labyrinth Pro 1:55,48 by Zweq, Bene and iCS (2017-07-29). The replay is tool-assisted and utilizing all known hacks and tricks. It's not humanly possible but theoretically: yes. The current real WR is 2:11,62 (2021-07-29).© iCS
Bene introduced also reverse wheelpop in 2018-01-29 (reference) but it's not used in any world record.
This is getting ridiculous now but there is even one more trick which sunl introduced in 2017-01-10 (reference).
By swaping gas and brake while doing alovolt, the bike rotates 11.5 % faster in optimal case compared to normal volting. The trick is based on the fact that there is a 0.2 seconds delay before the alovolt is performed after the key is pressed and this time window can be used to gain more energy by turning the bike to different direction while pressing gas.
spinboost_super.rec spinboost_super_no-sl.rec spinboost_gas.rec spinboost_idle.rec
sunl proved how to rotate 11.5 % faster by using the spinboost trick in 2017-01-10.
Sla used spinboost trick in his 2. Flat Track WR in 2017-09-03 (#392).
After reading about Bene's wheelpop and sunl's spinboost researches, we need to look at the history of Elma science more closely. It looks like it has been brought to a new level once again. The fine-granular nature of Elma is indeed extraordinary.
The changed head position in Elma compared to Across is the first scientific discovery documented by Abula in 2000. It was shown in Prelude to Elma (2000–2001) chapter. In 2002 DarMoed published a paper about vsync and Moposchool is a comprehensive collection of different bike tricks and moves that was published in 2007.
domi published a poster of his discoveries in 2010.
One player to have a clear scientific approach in his playing was Pab. He was a very active battler in Belma Period (2007–2010) who later specialized to hard and strange levels.
In addition sunl continued his hi-tech work in Scifi Level Pack (2016-12-09) (reference).
Pab did experimental stuff with killers in 2014-06-01.
jblaze finishes a scifi level by sunl (2016-12-09).
When playing Elma in low FPS, say 30 FPS, it means that a single frame lasts 0.033 seconds (and 0.034 every 31st time). And that means the wheel and head positions are checked every 0.03 second by the program code so it's possible to go through the wall in high speed if the collision happens between the checkpoints.
Demonstration how the head and wheel can go through the wall in high speed and low FPS (2015-08-30). © bene?
9. World Cup 6
World Cup 6 was running from 2013-09-01 to 2013-12-15 and there were 185 participants. 30 countries and 54 teams got points. px helped with organizing but most of the work was done by 8-ball, Kopaka, Ville_J and Ramone.
The previous World Cup was organized eight years ago so the top-10 had many new players. J-sim was the only one who has been in top-10 of previous World Cups.
Top-10 players in World Cup 6: # Player Team Nat. Points --------------------------------------------- 1. Kazan MiE RUS 1130 2. FinMan dat FIN 1020 3. adi MiE FIN 1005 4. Zero dat FIN 970,5 5. Bjenn EF SWE 876,5 6. hehe WLA SVK 852,5 7. J-sim EMA DEN 623 8. Zweq WNO FIN 621,5 9. Tm TEM LIT 525,5 10. nick-o-matic MiE FIN 524
One interesting detail is that there was one level by Csaba Rozsa, the designer of most internals, the original in-game levels (reference).
World Cup 6 was involved in half of the victories of Golden Apple Awards 2013 so it was a really big thing and it refreshed the community beyond measure.
World Cup 6 movie (2016-12-15)© iCS
- Watch World Cup 6 Trailer (2013-07-12) (reference).
10. World Cup 7
World Cup 7 was organized too. It was running from 2017-02-19 to 2017-05-21. 123 players, 22 countries and 46 teams got points. Italy got points first time. Ville_J was the main organizer.
Zero, adi, Bjenn and J-sim made the top-10 again. After Jokke (4) and Karlis (4) the most World Cup top-10s goes to J-sim (3).
Top-10 players in World Cup 7: # Player Team Nat. Points --------------------------------------------- 1. Zweq dat FIN 1185 2. Zero dat FIN 1069 3. adi MiE FIN 998 4. Bjenn EF SWE 979,5 5. Mielz SPEED POL 787 6. talli MiE FIN 760 7. Mira SLAM CZE 679 8. pawq TR POL 675 9. J-sim EMA DEN 630,5 10. Sick_Mambo EMA DEN 593
The 5th event had an interesting detail. The level utilized the Hooked-bug in the start which made it possible to skip some apples in the level. It was also the traditional pipe level.
World Cup 7 movie (2017-07-22). Levels were particularly interesting in this World Cup.© iCS
Ramone was awarded the best level designer of World Cup 7. The prize is the first 3D printed Elma figure. © pawq?
mengerle, onlainari, terb0 and Tisk have participated in all seven World Cups.
11. Traditional contests
Age of EOL (2010–) mostly consists of playing battles but there have been also some traditional contests.
Cups organized in Age of EOL (2010–): Start Name Winner Organizer(s) ------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2011-02-14 Master Cup 3 adi Zebra 2012-03-10 10th Anniversary Cup Kopasite Madness Kopaka 2012-11-01 Peace of Cake Cup Eddi dat 2015-02-01 MiE Cup 1 Spef MiE 2017-11-26 Rambo 2 adi Ramone
- Watch Master Cup 3 by Jappe2 (2011-07-07) (reference).
Internal styled level packs in Age of EOL (2010–): Released Name Designer ----------------------------------------------- 2013-04-18 Found Internals Ramone 2016-04-28 Stolen Internals Sla 2017-11-11 Misplaced Internals Hosp
Official EOL Level Pack
Kopaka organized and community created 54 levels for the EOL patch. The levels are considered as official EOL levels. The levels were released in 2011-08-12 and competition is still on (reference).
- Watch EOL Done Quick (2012-07-29) (reference).
A level pack named HALF was made by Ramone the four time Level designer of Golden Apple Awards (GAA08, GAA09, GAA10, GAA17) and Zero (GAA15) in 2015-08-09 (reference). The quality of the levels was pushed to next level. The creation process was also interesting because the couple co-operated via Skype voice calls which is even more exciting when considering the ages of Ramone (35) and Zero (19). The fine result of different generations met.
HALF won the Contest and Art categories in Golden Apple Awards 2015. Moreover SkypeC05 by Ramone and Zero won the Level category in GAA16.
- Watch HALF part 1/2 by Ramone and Zero (2016-02-29) (reference).
Winners of the Level category in Golden Apple Awards (2011-2017)
Winners of the Designer category in Golden Apple Awards (2011-2017): Year Designer ------------------- 2011 TL 2012 yoosef 2013 Danielj 2014 umiz 2015 Zero 2016 kuchitsu 2017 Ramone
Level designing etiquette
The early day level designing guides and the modern knowledge was summarized to a few key points which everybody should respect.
12. New contests
In addition to traditional contests, a few new contests were also invented.
Orcc and Ville_J organized ReDesign Cup in 2011-03-15 where the idea is that the participants need to create the level by themselves and then drive the best time. Objects are not allowed to be moved. Tisk won the competition and other FM members did a comeback too.
ReDesign Cup 2 was organized in 2015-07-11 and FinMan won it (reference).
- Watch ReDesign Cup by jonsykkel (2011-03-15) (reference).
Orcc's another new contest, NoobStyl in 2015 was asking for the most believable noob replay (reference). The competition was won by a real newbie who didn't even finish the level, but she used pink font color on Mopolauta. The long list of female Elma players (NJU, Katta, MopoGirl, Minna) got a new name: Laramie.
- View Elma Bingo by 8-ball (2012-04-03) (reference).
- View Couples Contest by pawq (2017-07-30) (reference).
- View Under - The Ultimate Challenge Pack by Ramone (2017-05-27) (reference).
13. Fancy levels
Not only the level designers pushed the limits to new dimensions but programmers also found ways to create even fancier levels.
The most comprehensive level editor made is Smibu's Level Editor (SLE) which first version was published in 2010-08-15. It was inspired by ALE 2.1 (2004-12-17).
SLE is only one part of Smibu's entire Elmanager project which also includes Level manager, Replay viewer and Replay manager. The development of the project has been active throughout the whole period of Age of EOL (2010–) (reference).
Zebra programmed also a level editor which was released in 2013-04-22 (reference). Because it has also a level generator, we will see a screenshot of it in the next chapter.
Ville_J has created two online level editors: Yale - the collaborative level editor and Lousy Touch Editor (LTE) for touch screen devices.
One of the ever-lasting goals of Elma programmers has been an automatic level generator. It's not trivial to create a logic to generate random levels which are possible to finish and fun to play. Since 2003 many programmers have tried to achieve the goal but community hasn't really adopted any of them in daily usage. It can be also because it's more fun to interact with level designers than with some boring bot which produces endless number of levels. However finding the best generator algorithm is again one more new aspect what makes the phenomenon of Elma so fascinating.
All level generators of all times: Released Name Programmer More ---------------------------------------------------------------------- 2003-04-13 radim's levelmaker (vectrast) radim yes 2006-03-13 Ribot's Random Level Generator ribot yes 2007-07-17 ElmaLevelGenerator DaFred yes 2011? Uphill Generator Online Ville_J 2011-02-23 new level generator ribot yes 2012-07-23 Stini's level generator Stini 2013-04-22 ZLE Zebra yes 2013-08-25 Domi's Lev Creat0r Domi yes 2014-02-08 Quantum Level Generator ribot yes
sunl's Scifi levels were already revolutionary but he went even further by releasing FancyPic in 2017-02-05. The second version is named as FancyBoost. It enables high quality images in Elma levels by patching the default LGR. The miracle was showcased in Dino Run 2 (reference).
14. Fancy replays
Before watching the best replays of Age of EOL (2010–), we salute Recsource, the replay viewer platform working in browser which Ville_J published in 2015-03-21 (reference). Pretty much all replays worth remembering are saved after that date.
The history of external replay viewers goes back to December 2002 when milagros programmed Cheat detect0r. The first public replay viewer was rec2swf which Domovoy published in 2006-07-25 (reference). Maxdamantus' open-sourced viewer was published in 2015-01-16 which is used in this article as well (reference).
Also Smibu has programmed Replay viewer and Replay manager in 2009-2010.
Next we will look at some fancy replays after 2010 selected by me (Abula).
Zweq doing hongyspin (2010-08-15)
adi finishes Labyrinth Pro by one wheel (2012-09-21).
2 wheels 6 flips by Lousku (2015-04-03)
sunl finished two internal levels by same key presses (2016-12-28)
Zweq drove almost 8 seconds faster time than anyone else in a one week World Cup 7 event (2017-04-16).
The replay was driven by Zero and FinMan in FEM17 (2017-08-01). pawq organized a new contest, Couples Contest (reference), where players share the keys: Zero used push keys and alovolt, FinMan gas, brake and turn. The replay was played in 20 minutes.
Zero drove this replay in a 60 minutes battle (2017-11-17). The replay won the Battle replay category in Golden Apple Awards 2017.
jblaze is speedspinning (2017-12-12).
15. Pipe Royals
Driving inside pipes got even more insane in Age of EOL (2010–). Very tight, very long and even new pipe types were introduced. Some of the classics got smashed as well.
Impossibility 0:39,51 by Pab (2011-01-07). The level was published in the beginning of 2000.
Kazan the elma pro piper (2011-08-02)© real69slim
Zero was the first to finish the legendary WCup404e (2015-05-29), a super hard pipe level.
An extremely tight pipe finished by Zero (2016-05-25)
adi won the Replay category in GAA16 by performing the backwards piping (2016-11-11).
Medium long and very tight pipe finished by Zero (2016-12-31)
- Watch GAA14 replay, ChainPie III (32:02,99) by adi (2014-04-01) (reference). He finished the level for the first time in 2012-07-24.
- Watch Chain Pie (11:40,85) by jblaze (2018-01-01) (reference). We already watched talli's replay driven in Belma Period (2007—2010) but jblaze improved the time by two and a half minutes nine years later.
16. First Finish
The first finish battle mode (ff) was introduced already in Belma patch in 2007 but EOL's free camera feature made it possible to observe other players.
Markku, Nekit, adi and talli have been great in first finish battles. Here are some examples.
Markku played dodgelol for 5 minutes and 38 seconds to finish it for the first time in 2012-11-20 (reference).
Nekit was first to finish ayGTTL66, the hard uphilling battle in 2018-03-06 (reference).
J2DONASH by Markku (2018-02-21). The level is by Jappe2. It's an incredible development how the game, the players and the level designers have evolved since 2000. Markku's bike control is astounding but the level is very high quality as well.© iCS
- Watch DAFF121 by Markku (2014-03-07) (reference) (reference).
- Watch Sanpo002 by adi (2014-08-11) (reference).
- View Dino Run (2016-12-14) (reference) and Dino Run 2 (2017-01-08) (reference) which are popular first finish battle cups by sunl.
- View Nice - The Ultimate First Finish Levelpack by Ramone (2017-07-24) (reference).
- Watch nekit uphilling (2018-03-28) (reference).
17. More videos
The rest of the best videos created during Age of EOL (2010–) which haven't been presented yet in other chapters.
- Watch Secret leaked Elasto Mania 2 footage by Jappe2 (2011-09-23) (reference).
- Watch Bugbounces by Jappe2 (2012-01-26) (reference).
- Watch Spef the Batman (2014-08-14) (reference).
- Watch Elma in 4K (2018-01-21) (reference).
- Watch 24 Hour Levelmaking Timelapse by DanielJ (2014-10-26) (reference).
- Watch Road to Freefall World Record by bene (2014-12-29) (reference).
- Watch BaSk0256 making of by skint0r (2016-04-29) (reference).
- Watch Shirt tutorial by iCS (2017-11-22) (reference).
- Watch Sonic The Hedgehog by astral-r (2011-05-22) (reference).
- Watch Grassland by Jappe2 (2012-01-31) (reference).
- Watch ElastoMania LGR (v3.1) by iCS (2015-12-09) (reference).
Elma entered the real TV in 2018-02-13 when a Finnish TV Channel (Sub) aired a program named Radalla (On the railroads) where Ville_J talked about Elma while travelling to Finnish Elma Meeting 2017.© iCS
There is also a documentary project ongoing and the first "rough cut" was presented in Finnish Elma Meeting 2016.
All the interesting files of Age of EOL (2010–) that wasn't presented yet are here.
- Watch A Girl named Elma by gimp (2011-03-23) (reference).
It's surprisingly hard to make good high quality images of the Elma levels. This one is by FinMan (2013-02-02). Source: Elasto Mania
20. New generation
niN mentioned the term new generation in 2010-05-11 (reference) which describes very well the new community, for which playing online was taken granted. Many old veterans were taking breaks while new players took bigger roles to organize contests and meetings to push new energy to the community.
Community related categories were decreased in Golden Apple Awards but here are the ones that remained.
Winners of the Contribution category in Golden Apple Awards (2011-2017): Year Player(s) ------------------------ 2011 Kopaka 2012 Kopaka 2013 Ramone 2014 nick-o-matic 2015 Ville_J & Maxdamantus 2016 nick-o-matic 2017 Kopaka
Winners of the Site category in Golden Apple Awards (2011-2017): Year Player ------------------------ 2011 Kopaka 2012 Lousku 2013 Ville_J
Winner of Community Award category in GAA 2011-2017: Year Player ------------------------ 2011 Kopaka 2012 Kopaka 2013 Ramone
Kuski Map was initiated by pawq in 2017-03-08 (reference). It shows where the most active players live.
Across went to IRC in 1998 and Elma went to discussion forums in 2000. To Wikipedia and blogs Elma went in 2004, Youtube 2006, Twitter 2007 and Facebook 2008. During Age of EOL (2010–) the list was appended by Discord and Instagram in 2012, WhatsApp and Twitch in 2014.
Facebook group was fairly quiet in the first years but when EOL was released, the group was getting more activity.
#across IRC channel has been the primary chat for the community since 1998 but after 2012 Discord has been gaining popularity especially amongst the new players. The in-game chat has also developed a group of own.
Mopolauta has been the platform for discussions since 2001. The phpBB software was upgraded to v3.2 in January 2018 when the layout was also modernized suitable for mobile phones. Elma WhatsApp group was created by Orcc in 2014-12-26. Apparently some activity has been also in conference rooms. Elma fax, anyone?
Years 2008-2011 were skipped in meetings but in 2012 Orcc and terb0 went to Kokkola to meet Zweq, Juzam and other Kokkola players.
In 2011 I started to travel around Europe and during the trips I met people like milagros in London (2011), Balázs in Budapest (2012) and teajay in Amsterdam (2013).
The new generation Finnish players gathered to Lousku's home in 2011-06-28 for two weeks but the meeting was invite only. However it was the first step of the upcoming renaissance of Finnish Elma Meetings. 2012 was skipped again but an unofficial Finnish Elma Meeting 2013 was organized in Lohja. It can't be really considered as official FEM because there wasn't a Mopolauta topic to welcome everybody and none of the classic competitions were organized.
Finnish Elma Meetings (2014-2017)
Nine years after the last open Finnish Elma Meeting 2005 the tradition was revitalized in 2014. Many of the best players attended including also a few foreigners. And like last time, year after year the meetings gathered more participants and new quality contests.
Details of Finnish Elma Meetings 2014-2017: Year Location Multi WRs Participants (*) 1h tt 6 first BB win Battler Quiz -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2014 Sastamala 0 ~31 (4) - - Ville_J Markku Orcc 2015 Sastamala 0 ~23 (4) adi Ramone Ville_J Markku Orcc 2016 Sastamala 0 26 (6) - - jblaze Markku Markku 2017 Sastamala 0 34 (11) - - Zero Markku Markku *) number of foreigners in brackets
No battle results have preserved but nick-o-matic's iconic FEM Quizes have:
- View FEM Quiz 2014 (reference).
- View FEM Quiz 2015 (with answers) (reference).
- View FEM Quiz 2016 (reference).
- View FEM Quiz 2017 (with answers) (reference).
Total points of FEM Quizes in 2014-2017: # Player Nat. Points Quizes ------------------------------------------- 1. Markku FIN 145.25 4 2. Orcc FIN 130.00 4 3. adi FIN 117.75 4 4. Lousku FIN 105.00 4 5. Tisk FIN 97.25 4 6. Roope FIN 80.00 3 7. Ville_J FIN 76.00 4 8. axxu FIN 66.50 3 9. Zweq FIN 64.25 2 10. Abula FIN 58.25 3 11. Smibu FIN 56.50 3 12. terb0 FIN 49.25 4 13. Zebra FIN 45.75 3 14. Ismo FIN 45.50 3 15. Zero FIN 39.50 2 16. Kopaka DEN 38.00 2 17. 8-ball LAT 34.50 2 18. jblaze POL 34.00 1 19. insguy GER 32.50 3 20. Spef FIN 31.75 1 21. Ramone SWE 30.00 2 22. Bludek CZE 28.50 1 23. Hosp SWE 28.00 1 24. FinMan FIN 27.50 1 25. jonsykkel SWE 27.25 1 26. talli FIN 26.75 1 Quantz FIN 26.75 1 28. Polarix NOR 29.00 2 29. Mats NOR 25.00 1 30. Chaza FIN 23.50 1 31. Kortsu FIN 23.50 2 32. Luther SWE 23.25 1 33. jamppa FIN 23.00 1 34. Koo FIN 22.75 2 35. igge SWE 20.00 1 36. Stini FIN 19.25 1 37. veezay FIN 19.00 1 38. Mira CZE 15.25 1 39. Luther SWE 14.25 1 40. Jokke FIN 12.50 1 41. Barbapappa SWE 11.00 1 42. pawq POL 10.50 1 dz FIN 10.50 1 44. Nekit RUS 7.00 1 Ramses FIN 7.00 1 46. Ruben NOR 6.00 1 HaraldH SUI 6.00 1 48. ILKKA FIN 0.75 1
In FEM15 Ramone beat Stini's old FEM record of 6 first internals (FEM05) and adi did same in 1 hour total time beating Ramone's old record (FEM04).
6 first internals in FEM 2015: # Player Nat. Time ------------------------------ 1. Ramone SWE 2:39,3 2. adi FIN 2:43,3 3. Markku FIN 2:48,5 5. Roope FIN 3:04,9 6. Zebra FIN 3:15,1 8. Lousku FIN 3:28,1 10. Ismo FIN 3:32,6 12. insguy GER 6:07,5 ... not a new personal FEM record ... 4. Tisk FIN 2:59,8 7. Abula FIN 3:16,0 9. dz FIN 3:31,7 11. Luther SWE 5:03,1
1 hour total times in FEM 2015: # Player Nat. Total time ---------------------------------- 1. adi FIN 40:43,30 2. Tisk FIN 55:14,63 3. Ville_J FIN 1:29:55,17 ... not a new personal FEM record ... 4. Ramone SWE 4:03:33,43
21. Golden Apple Awards (2011-2017)
Golden Apple Awards have been organized every year since 2003. Organizers have changed and categories updated but the core concept has remained the same: jury, candidates and gala with speeches.
Golden Apple Awards in 2011: Category Winner Nat. Reason --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist Kazan RUS 2. Externalist Jeppe SWE 3. Battler Markku FIN 4. Rookie Spef FIN 5. Designer TL FIN 6. Team SPEED 7. WR Kazan RUS Tunnel Terror 50,24 (#341) 8. Style Kazan, ANpDaD RUS Apple Harvest 9. Replay Zweq FIN The Steppes 11,54 10. Level FinMan FIN Slavery (MC305) 11. Contest Zebra FIN MasterCup 3 12. Contribution Kopaka DEN EOL + levpack, Kopasite, GAA jury, movies 13. Achievement Kazan RUS 39TT in 1h, all 1min+ WRs, 35TT, 11 new dif. lev WRs 14. Site Kopaka DEN Elma Online 15. Art milagros SVK 32TT project + videos (1, 7, 47, 48, 51) 16. Community Award Kopaka DEN Golden Apple Awards in 2012: Category Winner Nat. Reason --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist Zweq FIN 2. Externalist Jeppe SWE 3. Battler Zero FIN 4. Rookie bamilan FUN 5. Designer yoosef FIN 6. Team SPEED 7. WR Zweq FIN Expert System 49,67 (#356) 8. Style Zweq FIN Expert System 49,67 (#356) 9. Replay (int) Zweq FIN Expert System 49,67 (#356) 10. Replay (ext) Zweq FIN ib9814 21,88 11. Level Chip AUT feel free in every aspect of being (cp080ff) 12. Contest Kopaka DEN Kopasite 10th Anniversary Cup 13. Contribution Kopaka DEN EDQ 2012, Kopasite Cup, EOL work, GAA jury 14. Achievement Spef FIN 6 WRs by last year GAA rookie 15. Site Lousku FIN Elma Monthly 16. Art Kopaka DEN Elasto Mania Done Quick 2012 17. Community Award Kopaka DEN Golden Apple Awards in 2013: Category Winner Nat. Reason --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist Spef FIN 2. Externalist Kazan RUS 3. Battler Zero FIN 4. Rookie PELUSON27 SPA 5. Designer Danielj NOR 6. Team MiE FIN 7. WR Spef FIN Long Haul 29,91 (#368) 8. Style Bjenn & Bene SWE WCup610 9. Replay Zweq FIN WCup608 39,20 10. Level MP FIN QueenCup07 (WCup614) 11. Contest Ramone SWE World Cup 6 12. Contribution Ramone SWE World Cup 6, Found Internals 13. Achievement Kazan RUS World Cup 6 victory 14. Site Ville_J FIN World Cup 6 site 15. Art nick-o-matic FIN WCup613 16. Community Award Ramone SWE Golden Apple Awards in 2014: Category Winner Nat. Reason --------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist Spef FIN 2. Externalist adi FIN 3. Battler Zero FIN 4. Breakthrough Bene SWE 5. Designer umiz SWE 6. Team MiE FIN 7. WR Kazan RUS Pipe 30,29 (#374) 8. Style Zweq FIN 33z5231, 33x5338 9. Replay adi FIN chainpi3adi 10. Level Danielj NOR DAFF104 11. Contribution nick-o-matic FIN FEM14 organizing 12. Achievement Kazan RUS 38TT in 1h 13. Art Ville_J FIN Julkalendern 14. Juror's Choice SveinR NOR Golden Apple Awards in 2015: Category Winner Nat. Reason ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist Bene SWE 2. Externalist Zero FIN 3. Battler Zero FIN 4. Designer Zero FIN 5. Breakthrough Mira CZE 6. Team dat 7. WR Bene SWE Warm Up 13,97 (#381) 8. Style Zweq FIN MiECC101 9. Replay Spef FIN 29sp4159 10. Saveload Zweq FIN limpsy01oke 11. Level insguy GER insHL 12. Contest Zero & Ramone HALF Competition 13. Art Zero FIN HALF1 levels 14. Contribution Ville_J FIN & Maxdamantus RUS Recsource 15. Achievement Bene SWE Warm Up WR 14. Juror's Choice Mawane CAN Golden Apple Awards in 2016: Category Winner Nat. Reason ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Internalist Spef FIN 2. Externalist adi FIN 3. Battler Zero FIN 4. Designer kuchitsu RUS 5. Breakthrough Sla ARG 6. WR Spef FIN Zig Zag 52,73 (#385) 7. Style Zero FIN Tre547zerDONE 8. Replay adi FIN VOU004adiJES 9. Saveload Madness SWE SL51Mad3291 10. Level Ramone & Zero SkypeC05 11. Contest niN SWE World Battle Cup II 12. Art iCS HUN World Cup 6 movie 13. Contribution nick-o-matic FIN FEM16, femquiz 14. Achievement adi FIN 2593 finished pipe levs in 30d Golden Apple Awards in 2017: Category Winner Nat. Reason ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Contribution Kopaka DEN 2. Collaboration Bene & Zweq Saveloading 3. Art iCS HUN World Cup 7 movie 4. Internalist Kazan RUS 5. Achievement Zweq FIN World Cup 7 victory 6. WR Kazan RUS Serpents Tale 46,63 (#389) 7. Externalist Zweq FIN 8. Style Spef FIN 33sp5273 9. Battler Zero FIN 10. Breakthrough AndrY RUS 11. Designer Ramone SWE 12. Level skint0r NOR WCup704 13. Contest Kopaka DEN World Cup 7 14. Replay Spef FIN 33sp5273 15. Battle Replay Zero FIN Black030_290Zer 16. Saveload Bene & Zweq 35zb15548
Most GAAs during Age of EOL (2010–) went to Zweq (14), Zero (13), Kazan (10), Spef (10), Kopaka (9), Bene (7) and Ramone (6).
22. Friendly contacts
Elma is a small community, a cultural bubble that has been isolated from the outside world most of time. There have been a few contacts with other gaming communities, mostly friendly but also some existential threats were faced, the most obvious being new cheating methods.
It has always been a controversial topic how many new players are wished to be joined the community. The new people are the energy to keep this going but they also change culture as they like which is not always what the old players hope. Promo videos for Belma and EOL were created but there has never really been put lots of effort to give people a warm welcome. For example the Wikipedia article about Elasto Mania or step-by-step guides how to start playing online haven't been top priorities.
A few gaming magazines have written articles about Elasto Mania. MikroBitti is most likely the reason why Elma became so popular in Finland since 1999 but there was also a Polish article in 2000. In addition a Danish newspaper published a small announcement about Rigger's World Cup results in 2002 and a Norwegian university magazine reported Finnish Elma Meeting 2005. During Age of EOL (2010–) another Finnish gaming magazine Pelaaja (2011) and a British PC Gamer (2017) published high quality articles.
A popular gaming magazine, PC Gamer, made an article about Elasto Mania in October 2017. Source: PC Gamer
Since about 2009 gaming channels in Youtube have been gaining lots of popularity and Elasto Mania has been also played in a few channels.
- ARHN.EU's video has over 100k views (2013-10-16) (reference).
- STAMSITE visited EOL in 2017-08-09 (reference).
There are also other games having similar characteristics to Elma and it has happened several times that some Elma players grouped with each others inside some other game community. I'm aware of Ski Jump International (reference) (second version published in 1996), TKEP (2001) (reference), #ranks (2004) (reference) and a bit later Aapeli Minigolf (reference) and Worms.
A famous webcomic xkcd (reference) greeted Elma in 2014 and Leek replied by a custom LGR in 2017.
There have been also a few outsiders who wanted to buy the license of Elasto Mania: the most recent one in March 2017 (reference). The discussion got pretty far and the business model canvas had some realism but in the end the community and Balázs ultimately rejected it. Considering this and Balázs' iOS Elma projects it looks like he hasn't given up with the development of the game but there is no more information.
(UPDATE 2020-05-26: Balázs sold the rights of Elasto Mania (2020-04-20) and it was published in Steam yesterday (2020-05-26).)
The Business Model Canvas suggests how to develop and monetize the next Elma version (2017-03-08). Source: Strategyzer
Remember the paprika image? The one that Moposite used? I took it randomly from the Google image search to use it as a temporary placeholder while the website was in transition to a new platform. For some reason the alleged copyright owner of the image emailed and requested us to remove the image (reference). How did he find Moposite? Why does he care about a basic paprika picture and how did he bother to find our email address, send a message and not even trying to claim any money? Strange world.
23. Dark moments
There have been three cheating waves in the history before Age of EOL (2010–): mod.com in Across (1999), Nitro cracked (2001) and DarMoeD's autoplay (2004). Hibernatus also talked about his just finished autoload patch in #across chat in 2003-01-17 but apparently it wasn't spread or started to be used by anyone.
milagros' anti-cheating tools were capable to catch some cheats but the inconvenient truth is that it's possible that some players have used undetectable patches from day zero. Only since 2011-06-23 when the WRs were required to be driven online while connected to the EOL server, the WR history is 100 % clean, and saveload and other tool-assisted speedrun tools (TAS) could be used only in style finding and creating TAS replays.
WRs before 2011-06-23 must be based on trust. Luckily most of the best WR players are very well known and for example Zweq and TorInge, the most WRs driven players by far had active multiplayer friends, Juzam and Tantal. Also both of them drove similar results in meetings. It's very likely the WR history is ~100 % clean except maybe 38. Curvaceous by Djievis the letter (#172, 2004-05-01).
Eventhough playing online connected to the EOL server prevents most of the cheats, there seem to be methods to hack it somehow. A player named DEATH has demonstrated it.
- Watch invulnerability cheat by DEATH (2015-03-27) (reference).
- Watch gravity cheat by DEATH (2015-07-14) (reference).
There is no more public information about other cheats but before moving to the brighter side of using the tools to improve times, I must mention a few dubious events that happened before 2011-06-23. There are rumours that DarMoeD's autoplay patch was spreading in the Ukranian and Russian Elma communities and some players seemed to be well on map in discussions on Mopolauta.
The first two videos including several new styles and WR improvements were uploaded to Youtube in October 2009. Another TAS tool (Hourglass) was released in 2009-11-07 (reference) and Elasto Mania was one of the first games to be discussed in their forum. In addition milagros programmed a saveload patch in June 2010 which he and Zweq were using in the secret "32tt project" which was fully uncovered only years later.
Hourglass was released in 2009-11-17. It's a general TAS tool to save and load a computer game state and proceed it frame by frame. Source: TASVideos
Someone mentions Elasto Mania in the same day but there are some problems (2009-11-17). Source: TASVideos
Two days later the author of Hourglass tells that Elasto Mania should work (2009-11-19). And it worked. Source: TASVideos
By knowing these facts: saveload becoming detectable only in 2011-06-23 and the enthusiasm around the new TAS tools in 2009-2010, I can't be without checking the WR history of those days. The only one I see slightly suspicious is 7. Hi Flyer, a classic saveload level which was improved in 2009-03-08 (#295) by a player who has never had other WRs and who is from a country which is better known by technological knowledge than Elma WRs, and a country which is politically controversial making it tempting to be discredited of cheating (Israel). But because no evidence exists, it's only an interesting piece of Elma history.
24. Tool-assisted speedrun
Saveload and other TAS tools are superior in style finding and creating funny replays but because they ridiculate normal replays, we didn't want to look at them until all other replay and video chapters were discussed. But now it's the time to bring Elma to a new level once again. Next we are going to look at what is theoretically possible when everything is allowed and the most sophisticated tools used.
Keep in mind that for style finding the saveload patch is more effective than train levels but all the official records are still driven like normal because EOL server can verify it.
Saveload improves style finding and training difficult parts a lot because you get the correct start angle and velocity. For example the end bounce in 10. Tunnel Terror is very difficult to reproduce in a train level. And actually that is exactly the level where the first known saveload trained WR was driven: Tunnel Terror 0:51,88 by Zweq (#315, 2010-08-28).
Zweq using saveload in style finding since June 2010 was told in 2018 (reference). Smibu published the saveload patch on Mopolauta in 2011-06-17 (reference) after which the patch has been available for everybody. It's also known that two videos including several WR improvements and new styles were uploaded to Youtube in October 2009 and that Elasto Mania was one of the first games mentioned in the general TAS forum when Hourglass, a new tool was released in 2009-11-07.
Using saveload in style finding isn't illegal but moral can be questioned. It compares to alovolt, train levels, vsync knowledge and FPS limiter which all help with playing but isn't technically cheating because all those are theoretically possible to use by everybody. For example, you can always create your own version of Warm Up as a train level. But because saveload is so remarkable aid, it's fair to be available for everyone, so thanks to Smibu to publish it.
Just for the record I must mention here that FM had a secret foot pedal for alovolt in 2001. That was one year before the alovolt key was added to the game in October 2002.
So saveload patch was secretly used in style finding by some players at least since 2009 and it's possible that there are cheated WRs in the WR history before 2011-06-23. Back then the public discussion around saveload patch was not about speedrunning or training levels but about cheating until milagros tricked the community big time in April's fool day in 2011.
milagros started a new topic named "32tt project" in 2011-04-01 claiming that he had driven almost three minutes better times than the current WR total time (reference). It was the April's fools' day and no one believed for a second that any of those times could be possible, eventhough just recently milagros had proved to be a phenomenal programmer with EOL and other patches.
The April's fool was forgotten for a while but in 2011-04-18 it became evident that something is actually happening. The seven seconds improvement to 48. Downhill WR was published in a Youtube video and it was soon followed by five seconds better 7. Hi Flyer, eight seconds faster 51. Trick Abound and 1. Warm Up first time under 0:14,00. The improvements were some of the craziest ever. The April's fool wasn't a fool after all and milagros had turned the community upside down once again.
downhill nab vs pro vs uberpro by Jappe2, Zweq and milagros (2011-04-28)© Jappe2
- Watch saveload Hi Flyer 0:23,52 (2011-05-02) (reference).
- Watch saveload Trick Abound 0:33,93 (2011-06-17) (reference).
Spreading insane styles like those was a controversial topic. It's interesting to see what is theoretically possible, of course, but it's unfair for the current WR holders whose records are ridiculated. Moreover it demotivates the players who can't get the joy and fame of finding the styles anymore. Nonetheless milagros decided to start spreading the styles so let's accept the fact. Luckily it was done together with Zweq the Great so the outcome is the best possible. milagros claimed to be the player himself back in the days but the co-operation was revealed in 2014-10-28 (reference).
So the true story is that since June 2010 milagros and Zweq had been driving crazy times using all the cheat and tricks they had. The total time was told to got down to 32:29,44 which was almost three minutes better than the contemporary WR total time. Most of the replays have never been published so we can assume that the best ones were (48. Downhill, 7. Hi Flyer, 1. Warm Up and 51. Tricks Abound). The rest probably include more or less just very strong bug bounces and other not-so-cool tricks like in the next replays.
55. More Levels by milagros
55. More Levels was never meant to be finished but milagros did just that. It took 11 years, 2 months and 16 days to get to the flower without modified physics (2011-04-19).
- Watch saveload Enigma 0:17,05 (2011-12-24) (reference).
The ultimate goal of Elma, what's theoretically possible, made a big step when saveload was started to be used.
The first known WR table allowing cheated replays was published in 2004-10-18 (reference).
The first WR table including saveload cheated WRs was published in 2012-08-23 (reference). The rules were well-grounded: no bug bounces, bug stretches or other humanly impossible tricks were allowed.
The saveload WR table got quite popular when many top internalists send in their records because they already used saveload for style finding anyway. At the time of writing (2018-04-01) the most recent table was updated in 2018-01-07 (reference) and it has a total time of 33:11,11 which was about 80 seconds better than the normal WR table.
After we have desecrated the WR table, there is no reason to limit anything at all. Let the orgy begin! Most saveload WR replays are public which means that pretty much all the possible WR styles are public as well. In addition some levels were finished in very unusual ways.
Crazy route in 6. Long Haul by Zweq (2011-06-02)
Crazy route in 31. Animal Farm by Zweq (2018-04-01)
9th route in 33. Zig-Zag by Zweq (2012-11-19)
10th route in 33. Zig-Zag by Zweq (2015-07-17)
11th route in 33. Zig-Zag by Zweq (2016-05-01)
Crazy route in 49. What the Heck by Zweq (2018-04-01)
Super fast 29. Headbanger by Zweq (2011-01-30)
There is also a TAS WR table where everything is allowed. The best Elma WR total time utilizing all the possible hacks and tricks is 9:54,58 which is roughly one fourth to the normal one.
Elasto Mania tool-assisted speedrun (TAS) WR total time 9:54,58 by Bene, Zweq and FinMan (2015-11-19). 29. Headbanger 0:04,20 is my favourite.© Bene?
Saveload patch can be also used to finish very tricky levels or to create artistic replays.
Impossible piping by MopAq (2011-08-01)© MopAq?
limpsy01 by Zweq (2015-07-07) won the first Saveload category in Golden Apple Awards 2015. A replay like this is extremely hard to drive even with saveload.
Saveload patch was interestingly used to finish some old and very hard unfinished levels. For example TRICKY2.lev is a good example of a so-called failed start position level. The level designer most likely forgot to move the start to the correct place after testing the level. The level was created in 1998-09-23 and it was finished 16 years later in 2014-11-24 by culinko.
- Watch Theoretical replays by Zweq (2014-11-04) (reference).
One more thing: please remember to always include "SL" or "TAS" in the replay filename to make a clear separation to normal ones.
Summary of the chapter
During Age of EOL (2010–) the game moved to new dimensions. Eventhough milagros' latest EOL patch was just perfect, even a miracle, it didn't give a big push to WR progress. Instead saveload patch did because it turned out to be very effective in style finding and training.
Spef and Zero progressed to the level of the grand masters during the era. Zweq and Markku of the older generation have been active and very successful. Elma Done Quick v3 was released in 2012.
Community was vividly creating new art work and better systems: for example elmaonline.net, Recsource, several new level editors, many gorgeous videos and level packs. Elma science was examined in projects like domi's Big Book, 32tt project and new tricks where found such as wheelpop and spinboost. Also sunl's Scifi and FancyBoost levels expanded the limits of the game to the new level.
Golden Apple Awards were organized every year and some old classics were revitalized like World Cups and Finnish Elma Meetings where old and new generations met. The outside world started to show some more interest to the game that had been played for two decades at this point.
Excluding a few more topics, the history of Elasto Mania is covered by now. Age of EOL (2010–) is a container chapter for all relevant events happened since June 2010 and it might need to be rewritten in the future when history is seen more clearly and in right context.
(UPDATE 2020-05-26: After writing this chapter in 2018 a lot has happened. Balázs sold the rights of the game and Elasto Mania was published in Steam in 2020-05-25.)
Several new Elma versions, even official ones were released during Age of EOL (2010–) but none of them made a breakthrough. This chapter is about the next popular version which doesn't exist yet and which I will refer to as "Elasto Mania 3" in this chapter. But before that let's look at the history and current status of the different versions.
(UPDATE 2020-05-27: Balázs sold the rights of the game and it was published in Steam two days ago so this chapter will be out-of-date very soon.)
The version which community plays at the moment (2018-04-03) is Elasto Mania 1.3 by milagros (aka EOL), released in 2010. EOL is created by patching the latest official version, Elasto Mania 1.11a (2001). The community has also actively used unofficial versions named Elasto Mania 1.2 by Hibernatus (2002) and Belma by milagros (2007).
Android Elma (2014)
Ropelli announced to have programmed Elma Android version in 2014-02-06 (reference). It worked but the project is apparently discontinued.
iOS Elma (2014)
Balázs the author of Elasto Mania published an iOS version of Elma out of nowhere in summer 2014. The community wasn't aware of the development at all until Smibu accidently noticed it in 2014-08-24 (reference).
The game has no level editor nor advanced statistics but there are replays, although you need to take screenshots and videos manually to share with other people which is not very user-friendly. The physics got modified greatly and in common opinion the driving feeling got worse. The levels can be interesting for a new player because there are elevators, teleports and other fancy stuff but that wasn't really what community was hoping for. Some people played more than a few hours (reference).
WR video (2:52,68) of the last level (D8) by ASPIRINKA (2016-03-31) who has been dominating the iOS Elma lists.© ASPIRINKA?
Elasto Mania II (2017)
Community wasn't involved this time either when Balázs published Elasto Mania II in 2017-12-13 (reference). The version is for Windows and it's titled to be sequel for the original Elasto Mania eventhough it's only a ported iOS mobile version.
Many players bought the $9.95 license probably just to support Balázs' life time work but once again only few continued playing. This was the first time Balázs joined Mopolauta and had a discussion with the community which was highly appreciated (reference). He also stopped the press by mentioning to work for MUe these days (2017).
Community didn't move to playing Elasto Mania II. There is some interesting work created around it (reference).
Danielj shows Elma II (2017-12-17)© Danielj
Sunl has been active with many modern things, for example improving Elma 2 (2018-03-10). Source: Elmawiki
Elasto Mania II name was a problem for the community which was developing Elma 2 too.
EOL2 is a community Elma project started from scratch by Smibu in 2012-12-15 (reference). It was called Elma 2 until Balázs released Elasto Mania II in 2017. After that it was named to EOL2.
The latest version (0.5.1) supports most of the original Elasto Mania 1.11a features and some of Elasto Mania 1.3 (aka EOL) features. There have been approximately one big upgrade per year so it's progressing.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
It has been a goal of many Elma programmers for a long time to create a bot to improve existing replays or even finish levels by own. Yet it has been too difficult task. Especially if you don't want to allow bugbounces.
ribot published an experiment to figure out the designer of a random level in 2018-03-23 (reference).
Elasto Mania 3
(UPDATE 2020-05-26: Balázs sold the rights and the game was published in Steam in 2020-05-25. I wrote this chapter in April 2018.)
I'm not going to list my favourite features that I would like to see in the next version. There are many good lists of those available. But I have another proposal.
By now I think it's clear both to Balázs and the community that Elasto Mania II wasn't a success. I don't want to list why it doesn't make justice for the original version which is actually much more interesting to talk about.
Why original Elma is so good and why it has been played thousands of hours by thousands of players and why it is still played by hundreds of players after 18 years? If you can reproduce the same, Elasto Mania 3 could be a success too, even a bigger one if it was marketed and sold in modern ways. I'm not personally involved in the game industry or even play any other game but I've got ideas.
Elasto Mania has a great brand. I can tell you that about 50 % of Finnish 30 years guys know it and liked to play it for a while. Same with many other European countries. It's because the game was quite widely advertized in the local gaming magazines. You can't get players unless people are aware of your game.
Many people know Elma not just because of marketing but because it was a really good game and people actually liked it, even finished all the levels. The internal levels are not that hard if you really play the game for dozens of hours like some do. Most players didn't just get addicted to the game, maybe because they didn't notice the timer or level editor or the website link or there just happened to be something else on the table. They would play Elma 3 if they saw an advertisment but they don't check elastomania.com or any other website of some old game. It's only us the hardcore enthusiasts who still check the original website.
We the most active players are not playing the game because we like it so much more than the other players but because the great community that has grown around the game. Others just haven't found the place. And because we actually have played it for 21 years, we know quite a bit about the game and the phenomenon. Elma is a great playground to learn different skills which has been proved in this article by many great works created in the community.
I think the next Elma version should be made in collaboration with Balázs and the community. Balázs has knowledge and the brand of his life work and community has data and knowledge. The actual programming work can be made by several people if they were paid.
Have you looked at what kind of games make profit? For example Hill Climb Racing is an Elma clone which has made millions for a Finnish software house. But it's for touch screen and I don't think Elma is good for that. Elma is good for "realistic" trial bike simulation. The complex physics is the point really, it has so much to discover. It's silly because no one would ever say Elma is realistic after seeing the first turn or hang, let alone a bounce, brutal volt or piping. It's only funny. But it is actually kind of realistic, because the touch to the bike is so sharp once you start to master it. The secret of Elma might be the evolution of the playing experience from funny to realistic in its own unique way.
To keep the sharp touch the game must be played on real keyboard but then it's competing with games of very different scale than mobile phone games. I don't know the Steam scene or if Elma could have any place there but it could be made more interesting with the special story that we have with Elma. If we could bring the old records, the old legends to the same records scope shared with the new players, it might be really fascinating. That means the physics must remain same or at least to have a mode to play with old physics to connect the old history with new times. It would be great if the physics were only expanded like moving polygons, left alovolt and stuff like that which doesn't change the original touch. The new players could learn the same touch and they could quite easily try to beat the old records if they wanted in one day. I have no idea if the new players would like to compete with the old times but at least there was the connection and the story of 21 years. I think this could be something special to stand out in a crowd.
In addition the monetizing model could be changed that you can play the full version of the game for $2 / month in the first year and then $5 / year or something like that.
I wanted to write this article in honour of the greatest game ever. I'm happy if the saga continues in any way like just having the periodical World Cups and meetings for the sake of good ol' times. But after researching the recent history of Elma, I'm starting to find all this very interesting. Elma 3 has potential!
The new version could have for example three different level packs: a tribute for the community, trial bike levels and adventure levels. Looks like Balázs wanted to create adventure levels in the new versions but those levels are funny only when playing first time. Waiting for the same elevator, going downhill full gas only or just flying around doing nothing, gets boring fast. Some of the best old classics like 33. Zig-Zag or 10. Tunnel Terror have been played for 20 years and there are still new styles and tricks discovered. The level designing knowledge in the community is incredible and I'm just a beginner in this area but in my opinion the best Elma levels are kind of tricky trial bike levels which have always something more to improve and master.
I'm even less an expert with esport than I'm with game industry but obviously Elma is good for competition. I would research the possibilities in this area as well. Any car games competed against timer for 20 years?
Elma Olympics could be interesting too. A polevault and so on. And not too many attempts per level.
No matter what happens to Elma 3 or WR table, community will always exist in some way or another and it's only up to us. There could be a fund to pay salaries for some boring Elma jobs. Elma has changed lives of many people and once someone is fortune enough, he might want to fund the phenomenon.
Finally my personal wish list.
- Easiest WRs: Apparently it's possible to create statistics of the easist WRs out of the EOL data. Who needed the less time to beat a WR? And who the most? Any first try WR?
- Playing hours: What is the most played internal by one player? Or collectively? The less?
- Age of WR player: Who is the youngest WR player? Ded is the oldest at the moment. Many players have told their birthday in Kuski Gallery.
- Across WR statistics: We have about 25 % of Across WR tables preserved so the statistics wouldn't be complete but I'm sure there is something valuable to be seen.
- Recsource: The platform would be even more awesome if there were lists of the most viewed replays per year.
- Elma Olympics: How this concept could be done in Elma? Somehow bring all special level types like hill climbing, polevault etc. together.
Next we have some combinated results of all times.
Elma is played globally but how many countries have exactly participated?
All the countries to have participated somehow: # Nat. WRs TT Kuskis In EOL ----------------------------------------- 1. FIN 642 87 239 ? 2. SWE 404 92 223 3. NOR 274 58 139 4. RUS 90 72 158 5. HUN 43 48 133 6. CZE 32 45 51 7. AUS 23 26 68 8. POL 22 32 61 9. SVK 16 13 23 10. DEN 12 28 69 11. USA 7 9 114 12. GBR 6 11 36 13. LTU 6 3 9 14. NED 5 11 21 15. CAN 4 25 76 16. ARG 3 3 17 17. ISL 3 2 5 18. ISR 1 12 23 19. GER 0 18 29 20. FRA 0 17 20 21. UKR 0 15 29 22. POR 0 10 23 23. BLR 0 8 17 24. EST 0 7 16 25. ROM 0 5 24 26. AUT 0 5 20 27. YUG 0 4 8 28. NZL 0 3 15 SPA 0 3 15 30. LAT 0 3 9 31. CHN 0 1 11 32. CHI 0 1 10 33. EGY 0 1 7 34. SUI 0 1 3 35. SVN 0 1 1 URU 0 1 1 37. BRA 0 0 12 38. GRE 0 0 4 TUR 0 0 4 40. BUL 0 0 3 41. VEN 0 0 2 BIH 0 0 2 BEL 0 0 2 44. JAP 0 0 1 SRB 0 0 1 WRs = number of new WRs (Elasto Mania) TT = number of players under 60 minutes total time Kuskis = number of players in Kuski gallery EOL = number of players in EOL database Data updated: 2018-04-04
45 countries presented. There can be a few fake ones but no more than that. Western countries make the majority but there are also Argentina, China, Chile, Egypt, Brasilia, Turkey, Venezuela and Japan.
Most different countries in a single WR table were 10 in 2013-01-26 (#362): FIN, RUS, CZE, SWE, LIT, DEN, GBR, HUN, USA, POL.
Best teams by WRs and WCups (*): # Team WRs WCup pts ----------------------------- 1. FM 188 14039 WNO 211 1427 3. ICE 102 3419 4. PRA 79 4576 IC 88 549 6. SPEED 74 2152 7. SC 47 1928 8. EM 38 3024 9. SSC 28 2549 WRS 31 587 11. MC 26 1479 12. REM 26 452 13. ukc 27 130 14. tld 23 1528 15. EF 19 2933 16. TEA 19 1346 17. EPO 20 837 18. SAT 22 275 19. TTT 17 887 20. swos 16 1363 ... *) arbitrary combination by Abula Data updated: 2018-04-04
Most different teams in a single WR table were 20 in 2002-08-24 (#91): EM, REM, FM, WRS, IC, tb, iht, TEA, ter, CART, swos, mEkK, tlt, SC, SSC, Fed., SRX, FRC, TEK, SET.
Who was mentioned most times in this article?
Most mentioned players in History of Elasto Mania (1995-2018): # Player Nat. Times ----------------------------- 1. Zweq FIN 170 2. Markku FIN 56 3. Abula FIN 52 4. TorInge NOR 50 5. Zero FIN 48 6. John SWE 44 7. Kazan RUS 42 8. milagros SVK 40 9. Ramone SWE 38 10. Karlis FIN 37 ... Data updated: 2018-04-04
It's very subjective and disputable to determine who are the best level designers but at least we know the winners of the Golden Apple Awards.
Best designers by number of level designing Golden Apple Awards: # Designer Nat. GAAs ----------------------------- 1. Ramone SWE 4.5 2. Barbapappa SWE 2 MP FIN 2 Zebra FIN 2 skint0r NOR 2 Jappe2 FIN 2 Danielj NOR 2 8. Zero FIN 1.5 ... Data updated: 2018-04-05
In total 219766 battles have been played during 2001–2017. Some of the battles played in meetings and offline are not included but those cover under 1 % of total number.
Number of battles played per year (2001-2017). Battles have been played almost all the time since 2005. © Abula
The problem of battles is that there is no single ranking to find out who's the best because it's very difficult to organize battles to have the best players to participate at the same time. And we can't really make the analysis out of a few battles when they were actually playing at the same time if the total number of played battles is hundreds of thousands. The same problem is also with World Cups but in smaller degree. WR table has been open for everybody for 18 years so it's the most unambiguous and self-evident. Get a WR and you are in the history.
It's extremely difficult to find a fair way to compare battle players of different eras. Total points can't be the criterion. In addition average points per battle is pretty much only a matter of number of players participated, meaning the winners of Mopobattles being the best battlers. Battle win ratio is the best of possible but it's easier to get high when there are less players like in #battle era (2003-2007). But if we weight the number of top-10s of different battle eras and after that take the player with the highest battle win-%, we get some list. It's 100 % objective at least. First time in the Elma history we have a list of the best battlers of all times!
Top-20 of best battle win ratios weighted by number of top-10s of different eras: # Player Nat. Points Win-% Era ------------------------------------------------------- 1. Markku FIN 12 42 % Mopobattles 3002 75 % #battle 3781 43 % Belma 3451 55 % EOL 2. Zweq FIN 23 35 % Mopobattles 1107 59 % #battle 3844 49 % Belma 3846 55 % EOL 3. axxu FIN 78 45 % Mopobattles 1750 63 % #battle 1623 34 % Belma 4. zaraptor GBR 432 59 % #battle 1392 42 % EOL 5. John SWE 1613 58 % #battle 1926 45 % EOL 6. ANpDaD RUS 716 52 % #battle 3874 43 % EOL 7. adi FIN 6793 28 % Belma 5116 52 % EOL 8. Kazan RUS 4229 35 % Belma 5287 44 % EOL 9. Jeppe SWE 2287 62 % #battle 10. Kuper RUS 640 61 % #battle 11. skint0r NOR 622 55 % #battle 12. GRob HUN 1529 53 % EOL 13. kd HUN 543 51 % #battle 14. Zero FIN 11169 49 % EOL 15. Cloud FIN 11 45 % Mopobattles 16. Leek NZL 1595 44 % EOL 17. swos FIN 10 40 % Mopobattles 18. jaytea USA 4654 36 % Belma 19. talli FIN 7220 35 % Belma 20. BoneLESS CAN 4113 34 % Belma ... Data updated: 2018-04-05
The number of event wins could be the best criterion for the best World Cup player of all times.
Most World Cup event wins: # Player Nat. Event wins ---------------------------------- 1. Dr_Luni SWE 11 2. Jokke FIN 8 Kazan RUS 8 4. MP FIN 6 5. Jalli NOR 5 6. Karlis FIN 4 psy FIN 4 8. axxu FIN 3 Elbono SWE 3 Luther SWE 3 zeth NOR 3 ... Data updated: 2018-04-05
Finally the greatest results of the most important competition: Elasto Mania World Records of All-times!
Most different WRs: # Player Nat. WRs ----------------------------------- 1. Zweq FIN 51 (94 %) 2. TorInge NOR 42 (78 %) 3. John SWE 33 (61 %) 4. Kazan RUS 31 (57 %) 5. Spef FIN 27 (50 %) 6. Jeppe SWE 22 (41 %) 7. Karlis FIN 21 (39 %) 8. Champi0N SWE 16 (30 %) dz FIN 16 (30 %) zyntifox NOR 16 (30 %) psy FIN 16 (30 %) Cloud FIN 16 (30 %) ... Data updated: 2020-05-26
Most different players in a single WR table were 37 in 2000-08-05 (#31): KingKong, zyntifox, Champi0N, Jokke, loX, zeth, mr, Hotwax, Tier, Petri, Mandel, onlainari, Ntc, Fulgore, Markku, Doc, Tuska, Totalnew, Karlis, AnTTiM, mason, TheGepi, mengerle, powell, SoGe, Dr_Luni, psy, StIkKy, DeG, Garion, Ufo, LocDog, Joni, Jeppe, TuA, 3 Litre, oizo!
Number of new WRs: # Player Nat. WRs ----------------------------- 1. Zweq FIN 190 2. TorInge NOR 122 3. John SWE 72 4. Karlis FIN 65 5. Kazan RUS 59 6. Jeppe SWE 54 7. Jokke FIN 53 Spef FIN 53 9. zyntifox NOR 41 10. psy FIN 37 ... Data updated: 2020-05-26
Most tables with WRs: # Player Nat. WRs ----------------------------- 1. Zweq FIN 303 2. mr FIN 280 3. Karlis FIN 249 4. Stini FIN 221 5. TorInge NOR 214 6. zyntifox NOR 210 7. John SWE 187 8. Jarkko FIN 157 9. psy FIN 157 10. Jokke FIN 152 ... Data updated: 2020-05-26
Most WRs in one table (2000-2019): # Player WRs Year Table ----------------------------------------- 1. TorInge 27 2006 #232 2. Zweq 22 2003 #152 3. Spef 22 2019 #405 4. John 19 2007 #260 5. Kazan 15 2011 #342 6. Jeppe 12 2002 #78 7. psy 10 2000 #1 8. Champi0N 9 2000 #1 9. pajen 9 2001 #75 10. Raven 9 2009 #298 ... Top-10 ... 11. Cloud 8 2003 #151 12. Karlis 8 2005 #223 13. KingKong 7 2000 #13 14. zyntifox 7 2000 #49 15. Jokke 7 2001 #60 16. Mick 7 2002 #100 17. dz 6 2001 #73 18. Joni 5 2000 #3 19. zeth 5 2000 #11 20. Madness 5 2012 #344 ... Top-20 ... 21. Markku 4 2000 #1 Stene 4 2000 #1 23. elg 4 2000 #44 34. YeeS 4 2001 #59 25. MGen 4 2002 #86 26. deadnite 4 2003 #136 27. mr 4 2003 #156 28. Luther 4 2005 #212 29. axxu 4 2005 #221 30. Bjenn 4 2010 #314 31. bene 4 2015 #381 32. StIkKy 3 2000 #1 33. Garion 3 2000 #5 34. loX 3 2000 #6 35. TuA 3 2000 #15 36. Totalnew 3 2000 #42 37. swos 3 2001 #54 38. Eliaz 3 2001 #65 39. ZeiZei 3 2002 #85 40. FatherGod 3 2003 #130 41. oizo! 3 2003 #134 42. Stini 3 2004 #185 43. Jalli 3 2005 #220 44. Jarkko 3 2008 #293 45. GRob 3 2011 #339 46. Mielz 3 2014 #373 47. FinMan 3 2014 #377 ... Data updated in 2020-06-09
Number of WRs by players over time (2018-04-04). For reference: Prelude: 1-72, Golden Era: 73-254, Belma: 255-314, EOL: 315-396. © Abula
Finally, who has been the leader of the WR table for the longest time?
Longest time having the most WRs: # Player Days Periods --------------------------------------------- 1. Zweq 2565 #130-#179 (433) #180-#198 (147) #282-#286 (99) #291-#340 (1106) #354-#377 (780) 2. Spef 1646+ #377-#389 (812) #395- (834+) 3. TorInge 981 #96-#130 (246) #179-#180 (15) #198-#256 (720) 4. Kazan 719 #340-#354 (371) #389-#395 (348) 5. John 532 #256-#282 (442) #286-#291 (90) 6. Jeppe 408 #46-#48 (14) #54-#60 (39) #70-#75 (119) #77-#96 (308) 7. Jokke 135 #20-#22 (13) #36-#38 (14) #60-#70 (108) 8. zyntifox 112 #38-#46 (56) #48-#54 (56) 9. KingKong 88 #11-#12 (3) #19-#20 (8) #23-#36 (77) 10. Champi0N 61 #6-#11 (21) #12-#19 (32) #22-#23 (8) 11. pajen 42 #75-#77 (42) 12. Joni 14 #3-#6 (14) 13. psy 12 #1-#3 (12) Data updated: 2020-05-26
After writing the historical overview of Elasto Mania, two ultimate questions must be answered. What is Elma and what's the limit? What is this game that gets people so enthusiastic for decades?
What's the limit?
The ultimate goal of Elma is to find out what's the limit of WRs.
The first years of the community passed while players were improving their skills, forming teams, trading styles, discovering alovolt and train levels, getting replay merge and centered camera, tuning vsync and just doing everything in more and more sophisticated way. The websites, statistics, art work and endless interesting discussions kept community vibrant.
Elma is a good playground for programmers, the builders of the digital world. The game has complex physics, it's fun to test and the community is active. There have been and still are several interesting programming problems to be solved. It's also an interesting problem for cheaters, especially when the game is so competative.
The general Elma enthusiasm was slowing down somewhere in 2006. Driving new world records was getting harder and harder, TorInge was inactive, Zweq was inactive and the first Elma Done Quick speedrun leaked almost all WR styles. Moposite was also passive and the greatest Elma party of that time was behind (FEM05). But then milagros entered the main stage and programmed an online patch which gave the community a push of one decade more.
Figuring out the limit of world records was done by educated guesses in the early years. The most optimistic estimations were 37:04,23 by Sathy in (2002) and 35:59,99 by Phillip (2004). In those years the WR total time was 39:49,86 (#80, 2002-02-03) and 37:05,78 (#180, 2004-08-29). Phillip's predict (-1:05,79) was based on a mathematical model and, as I see it, Sathy relied on his distancial view about internal levels (-2:45,63). Anyway it felt like we had already reached the maximum in year 2002 and 2004.
But playing online greatly revitalized the community after Belma was released in 2007. Battling different levels all day long and having an immediate feedback loop improved the skills of playing vastly. John, Kazan and Zweq particularly started to improve the WR total time a lot. After three years the WR total time had dropped to 35:24,25 (2010), way better than Sathy's and Phillip's over-optimistic estimations.
The release of EOL in 2010 and the saveload patch becoming available to be used in training for everybody in 2011 were big boosts again. Since then the WR total time has improved by almost one minute more: at the time of writing (2021-07-28) it's 34:22,13.
After 2011 when speedrunning tools were released, some people started to update a saveload WR table. Actually there are two tables: one where everything is allowed and another one where the rules are set for humanly possible, at least theoretically. So if we accept the speedrunning tools, we know the theoretical limit of the Elasto Mania world records is about 33:11,11 (2018). And if bugbounces and everything else is accepted, the limit is about 9:54,58 (2015).
What is Elma?
So it was answered what has kept community active two decades: the ongoing WR progress. But there must be something more, a deeper meaning, a philosophical aspect.
One thing is obvious for everybody. Elma got us addicted: we wouldn't be here otherwise. We wanted to progress. We played a lot until realizing some players are from different planet who are just impossible to compete with. Unless we happened to be one of the top players, we either quit or moved to back seat to enjoy the ride.
But after all, in the end, what is Elma all about? I argue that Elma is something pure and beautiful in this cruel world. It's something exciting and thrilling in this boring world. It's only a game. And a competition. And we have a community which is unique. Only future can show what's possible.
And what's the mystery of 12. Islands in the Sky? Why all the WR holders of that level are relatively unknown internalists? Gazoline, jx, krus, proDigy, Honza and zaraptor. At least I haven't met any of them. Nevertheless the most fundamental question of Elma has been discovered. Is Stini's WR in 47. Enigma a bugbounce or not? Balázs is genious. The Enigma.
We are living privileged times in human history. Many of us belong to the generation who lived first years in the analog world but have been moving to the new digital world which is changing human kind faster than ever before and which social and cultural impacts can't be seen clearly yet. Nevertheless Elma has provided a fantastic viewpoint to the transition.
Do you remember the websites of the 90s, the internet connection of 5.1 kB/s, ICQ, mobile phone logos and CRT screens? Then became dynamic websites (cgi-bin, anyone?) and the first unofficial patches showing the Elma world can be greatly reshaped by programmers. Technologies used in Elma systems have been the forerunners in the digital world.
Elma is a very fascinating and inspiring digital sub-cultural phenomenon which has been possible only in our times and which at least I don't know any other similar. Elma is a collaborative art project. Elma is a cultural miracle.
Do you remember the first image of the article, the pole level? It was 10. The Steppes, one of the most legendary internal levels and also one of my own favourites. When I started playing in 1999 the best public replay was about 24 seconds by zeth. In 1998-07-19 the record was 0:34,92 by Jouni. Today it's 0:10,50 by Spef.
Meanwhile the skills of the players improved, the WR style of The Steppes has changed several times. The level name could have been The Pole because that's really the point of the level, not the steppes.
While writing this article I checked my old elmaplans.txt and there was an idea of the Elma olympics and a pole level. I introduced this idea on Mopolauta in 2018-03-05 (reference) and it didn't take long until sunl created a new contest and iCS made a video of the winner. Crazy and amazing!
Polevault by sunl and Tm (2018-03-16)© iCS
In fact it's strange we never had a pole contest – except Bubka.
Bubka by Zweq (2012-07-17)© jonsykkel
Wow, finally here, in the last chapter. It's been a long journey from the MS-DOS operating system to AI programming. Personally the early days and Golden Era (2001–2006) especially were nostalgic to go through. Great moments. Great people. Thank you to join the ride!
I've been planning to write this article since 2006 but there wasn't just enough time until now. On the other hand I was able to include the online era now and get to know it by myself. In total the article took seven months and 630 hours. The text has 446k characters which is 12 % of the length of the Bible.
As stated previously, it's difficult to write about the recent history because the big picture isn't visible yet. I personally value the original in-game levels more than other competitions. World Cups and battles come next.
The WR table is still open and all the records are possible to improve. Styles and replays are available. So, what are you waiting for? Just kidding. Start painting. Bludek got it.
Finally, Elasto Mania is a very good name.
– Abula, 11th April 2018, Helsinki
By giving a key you can prevent others to use the same alias. You can also comment again using the same alias if you remember the key. Choose a key that other users don't guess.