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Elasto Mania (1995-2018)

Kieli:   Arvosana: 5.00/5   Vierailuja: 3551  Julkaistu: 2018-05-05  Muokattu: 2018-04-12
Avainsanat: Elasto Mania, web-kehitys, tietokone, kilpailu
Table of contents

Briefly

The screenshots below are from motorcross computer games named Action SuperCross and its sequel, Elasto Mania. Quite many people in northern and middle Europe recognize them, at least if they went to secondary school in the 90s. The most devoted enthusiasts have played the game for 20 years, organized dozens of international meetings, awarded trophies, recorded songs, filmed movies and much more.

This article is an overview of a digital sub-cultural phenomenon of about a few thousand players, the number of really active being a few hundreds. Let's see what we did and how the gameplay and the community evolved.

Action SuperCross (1997)

Elasto Mania (2000)

Psst, can you get over that pole?

Article history🔝

  • 2018-04-12 Article is finished.
  • 2018-04-07 Age of EOL chapter is written.
  • 2018-03-08 Belma Period chapter is written.
  • 2018-02-21 Golden Era chapter is written.
  • 2017-11-11 Prelude to Elma chapter is written.
  • 2017-09-26 Across Days chapter is written.
  • 2017-09-21 Writing the article is started.

Disclaimer🔝

As I myself, Abula, was one of the most active players who bought his first computer because of the game, learnt to build websites because of the community, got several great friends both in homeland Finland and abroad, might be quite a biased writer. On the other hand, a personal twist can make the article more interesting to read. I refer to myself in third person when 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 quite inactive. Fortunately quite a lot of material has survived, even from the very early days.

Many people have involved in the history of these games. I try to be as fair as possible but I'm sure there are disagreements with some interpretations. It's not personal, I'm open to feedback and it's always possible to write your version of the history. Many events and players ended up to the article because they were first to do something or in some other way interesting, not necessarily the best result in the end. If I missed something big, it's most likely because I'm not aware of it.

If someone not knowing the games before this tries to read the text, enjoy it but can't follow after some point, please drop a comment where it got too unclear, boring or unconvincing.

Many of the files mentioned in this article can be downloaded from Elma Ultimate DVD. The date format used in the article is YYYY-MM-DD, year-month-day.

Thanks to Maxdamantus who programmed the replay player used in the article and all the others who have helped! You can zoom the replays in the timer area. If the viewer gets slow after watching lots of replays, please reload the page.

Introduction🔝

A hungarian programmer, Rózsa Balázs created a computer game which looks fairly simple at first glance but in essence has a very clever and complex gameplay. The first version of the game, named Action SuperCross (or just Across) was published in 1997 and the sequel named as Elasto Mania (or just Elma) in 2000. Balázs' work has changed lives of many people once and for all. To give some idea, the video below shows the best public speedrun video of the game—or world record replays as we the players call them.

The fastest public speedrun video of Elasto Mania (34:58,49). You can skip the video if you are going to read the whole article. Current world records total time is 34:33,82 (2018-02-18) so while watching you can speculate where to save 25 seconds.

The fundamental idea of the game is to drive a record time better than your friend. The level is finished when all the apples are collected and the flower is touched by the motorbike. You die by hitting your head or by touching a killer object. Another important thing is that you can save your replay, a recorded video file of your drive and share it with other people who can verify and respect your skills.

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, a player who shall never be forgotten. The game has also an in-game level editor which enables the players to create own levels, externals, which can be competed like the internal levels. And hell, we have created thousands, maybe even a million levels. But what's interesting is not the number of levels but the concepts of different competitions the community has invented during the decades. There are total times, world cups, leagues, battles, beer battles, multiplayer, blind folded, reversed keys and so on. And it's not only the playing that can be competed but who makes the best level, or level name, or who builds the best website or creates anything valuable for the community. And even competing is not mandatory: why not just chill, get a decent time, chat and hang around.

It may surprise but 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. 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 matters if you press the right push now or 0,001 seconds later. And that affects the next key press, and the next and then you might have found a totally new way to drive a part of the level which gives you enough speed to finally make a jump to the place which no one else has ever reached. Finding a new style in a level is a wonderful feeling. It happens all the time when playing new levels but if you play some of the original in-game levels today, finding a new style is very difficult and rare. But it still happens now and then even after 20 years. And believe me, people have played those levels thousands of hours and tried everything. Yet, people find new styles and beat the old records. You can also höylä, to play so much that you eventually improve the old record without using any new tricks. Figuring out the absolute limit of the world records has kept players to continue playing.

If you want to try to play the game yourself, the shareware version is downloadable in the official website. Be aware that it's not trivial to get it running without lag in the modern operating systems, but you can try your luck in our discussion forum, Mopolauta. 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 first to buy the registered version. 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.

As mentioned, the game was programmed in Hungary but most active players come from the Nordic countries, especially from Finland. The current top-500 total times list (2017-11-11) represents quite well the variaty of the players. There are 32 different countries: Russia, Finland, Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Norway, Austria, New Zealand, Canada, Lithuania, Uruguya, Belarus, Hungary, Britain, France, Denmark, Ukraine, Latvia, Germany, United States, Serbia, Argentina, Portugal, Romania, Iceland, Israel, Netherlands, Estonia, Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Switzerland.

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 and which 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. 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.

Elasto Mania was the most downloaded software in MBnet in 2000-04-10.

Elasto Mania is still played actively so if you want to check out what's happening right now (2018-01-31), you should look at Moposite, Mopolauta, Elma Online, Recsource and Elma Wiki. Back then Moposite was the most important Elasto Mania page updated by Abula and PeXi (aka px) with help of many other players, particularly by Danish players Viper_KillerGuy and Kopaka.

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, Action SuperCross, and ends to the publication of the sequel, Elasto Mania. Virtually no one kept on playing Across after Elma was out.

A mediocre player finishes all the Action SuperCross official levels.

1. Software versions

The very first version of Action SuperCross (1.0) was programmed in C++ and 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. For unknown reason three old levels, Fair Trial, Slippery Slope and On Top were dropped out and Turnaround and Enigma got modified radically. Version 1.3 (1999-01-06) provided bugfixes only. So technically there are four Across versions but only two in effect. The games were designed for MS-DOS operating system so you need to use for example DOSBox in the modern operating systems to play them.

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 quite many players have paid the price afterwards to support Balázs' life time work.

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2. WR table

The first observation for most new players is 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 usually the newbie tries to finish all the official internal 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 addicted to the game the player must either notice the level editor or the timer.

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, swing nice hangs but competitive persons may want to compare own best times to someone else, maybe a school friend or just the random person who had happened to play the earlier copy of the game. You know, the best times preserve when the game files are copied.

After the player has played his favourite level long enough and is happy with the best time, he wants to find out if there is some kind of records list available online. And yes, there definitely is. The World Records list (WR table) has been running since the game was published in 1997 and is still going strong (2018-04-07).

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 finally contains the new levels introduced in 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 developer of the game, has a few world records in the list which imply that the screenshot was taken soon after when Across 1.2 was published. It could be even the first Across 1.2 WR list.

The next preserved lists contain finally the lovely numbers which we are so used to: #315 (1998-12-10), #321 (1999-01-06) and all the lists from #337 to the current one: #418 (2004-09-16). As can be deduced from the dates and the list 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 updated in the official site was #395 (2000-02-17) before it was moved to Moposite.

Getting a world record was easier when the game was new but never has it been easy because the game was played so much around the Europe (mostly) and everybody wanted to get a world record. But 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. But in Elma we know it: 160 at the time of writing (2018-02-18). There can be a few double nicknames but the magnitude is roughly this. It's also difficult to tell how many people have played the game, or finished all the levels but the number of the active 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. In the early days the records were not that perfect so a talented player might had a chance to get a WR after playing, let's say 100 hours.

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 and px) can be spotted. Jokke and psym0rph (aka psy) were also successful players. Later the WR table got more diversity when new players also from Sweden and Norway started to achieve world records: Champi0N, BoBBo (aka KingKong), Mandel, TuA and zeth.

Personally I had no world record in Across but Tuska, a real life friend of mine had in the Enigma in version 1.0/1.1. However in Elasto Mania I had a couple. I wasn't the most talented player, not even close, but definitely I wasn't the most incompetent one either. My primary focus were community and Moposite website. Getting a world record was and is really hard and only the very best and the most devoted players can ever get one.

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3. Official level packs

If the player didn't want to play enough to get a world record, he might have found making own levels more fun. Across 1.2 contains a level editor, a very limited one in shareware version but in the registered version it could be used to create very complex and imaginative levels.

The Across level editors looks quite same as in Elasto Mania.

Level making is very simple because the levels consist of only polygons and vertices, start and end positions and optional apple 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 complex details and different route variations.

The last internal levels of both Across and Elasto Mania are practically unfinishable and they only have texts telling people to visit the official website to download more levels made by other players. In 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.

As it tended to be, the first own level for most of us was 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 the concept and the general quality remained same. We the Moposite crew started to collect top-10 levels of those big level packs because out of a few hundred levels per level pack there were usually some good ones too. Some players like Blake, psy, Petri and umiz published also guides how to design better levels.

Famous level designers in official level packs in Across Days:

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

So the official level pack levels are not recommended to play because they are mostly made by unskilled rookie players but the concept was important for community to evolve. People were able to get their work public and to see that there are other players around which motivated them to keep on playing.

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4. Teams

Especially in the early days when the styles were more secret, there was a demand for teams, a group of players who help each others by sharing ideas and replays ultimately. 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, like it still is, an IRC channel but team meetings have been organized too.

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 teams and 1998-08-10 did. The first ones were ASC (Acrossive SuperCrossers), EMT (Eddie Monsoon Technologies), karihola and KDF. ASC was mentioned in PeXi's Across News first time 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. The number of different teams in World Cup 1 was 26 (1999-08-01) and 32 in World Cup 2000 (2000-01-29). Other active and successful teams in the Across years were T98, HC, ahf, PRA, CWS, SSC and tLD. Team FM which later became one of the greatest teams and which I myself also joined later, was founded during the 12th event of World Cup 2000, just before the new millennium.

WR table allowed animated team logos already in 1998 and the tradition has lasted ever since. Every serious Elma team must make a cool GIF logo. Some of the first ones are shown below.

Team logo of ASC Team logo of EMT Team logo of FIN Team logo of T98 Team logo of HC Team logo of ahf Team logo of PRA Team logo of CWS Team logo of SSC Team logo of tLD Team logo of FM

First teams were groups of real life friends but quite 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 both CWS and tLD from Norway. SSC (Scandinavian SuperCrossers) was the first international super team where all members were chosen regardless of their geographical locations. We have a screenshot of the team total times list preserved from 1999-05-28.

Team total times list in MOTOMEN's team page in 1999-05-28. PRA would be leading if it wasn't missing.

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5. PeXi's Across Site

The official website of the game offered two vital components which made the game communal: world records and level packs. Then some people started to form teams and build own websites. When the author kindly added the links to the official website, the players were able to find each others. The community was born!

We don't have data of the first websites but the best fan page in the Across days, by far 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 also gives some idea of the popularity of the game because to visit PeXi's website the player had to have access to internet in 1998, finished all the levels to find out the official website and to finally end up to PeXi's page via the links. Of course many of those 100 people were returning visitors—I guess many of us checked the website everyday to see if anything was happening.

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's Across Page, "the green one" was active from 1998-04-26 to 1999-05-09.

PeXi's Across Site, "the grey one" was active from 1999-05-09 to 2000-02-25.

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 section named Stuff for all kind of digital artistic material related to the game (1998-12-20). The first legendary roller coaster, PEKKA_T'.LEV [sic] locates in acpack03 (1998-05-16). PeXi also invented the first highjump and pipe levels. The levels were also some of the first external contests ever created—the level editor had been available less than two months by then.

The author of the game also liked PeXi's work and added a link of top-20 total times list under the world records list which directed more visitors to PeXi's website to foster community even more.

PeXi didn't like the idea of sharing replays because if you get the replay, you see the style used and eventually be able to beat it without inventing anything new by yourself. Replays are valuable. On the other hand the replays are very entertaining and after all the most interesting thing for new players who can't believe the world record times. It has always been a common belief among the new players that the world records are somehow cheated or tool assisted but that's not the case. However some websites have always been giving away some nice replays free of charge. Nowadays almost all world record replays are public as the video in the beginning of this article shows (2018-02-18). Styles are not so crucial anymore but driving skill and endurance, the höyling power as we call it.

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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 aggregated time. World records have always been only the most devoted players' business but everybody can improve their own best times which also, by definition, improves their total time. It's much easier to get into the total times list than to the WR list. In addition 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 it's possible to calculate manually of course. 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:

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

The first reference of total times is from 1998-06-07.

The official total times top-20 list in 1999-04-28. Champi0N, Jokke, Joni and kuiva achieved great results also in Elma.

The official total times top-20 list in 1999-12-29. Markku has entered the stage a while ago.

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 beat old Across records quite easily. StIkKyBeAr is most likely the last minute limite breaker ever in Across.

In the very first Across 1.0/1.1 total times were never competed seriously.

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7. World Cup

PeXi also invented the World Cup competition (WCup, WC). The first cup lasted four months from 1999-04-04 to 1999-08-01. The basic idea is that a new external level is published every week and the players have one week to play and submit their best time. People like the competition because you get fresh and high-quality levels, everybody has the same seven days to play and the results are broadcasted in real-time chat in exciting atmosphere. You become truly interested in other players times when you have played the same level for more hours than you want to admit. 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 a style, the more time you have for polishing up and improving.

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 widely hated because that was a competition where players "had" to play for long time. The cup made people to skip homework and other duties. Across and Elma, eventhough having a great social aspect, doesn't usually require the players to match their calendars with real life events to play at the same time with other players, except during World Cup.

World Cup competition, at least if ignoring 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, 2014, 2017). World Cups have been also certain status checks of the community because the competition has always gathered hundreds of players including many of the best ones and usually some old veterans too who haven't been around for a while. mengerle, onlainari, terb0 and Tisk have participated in all seven World Cups.

The top-10 players of the World Cup final standings have been usually slightly different players than those who dominate the WR and TT lists because the multi event competition requires more perseverance and steady team work, not just shorter-term individual success. It was common to just give up, even after been höyling several weeks already.

Out of the top-5 of the first World Cup, BoBBo, Jokke, Mandel and Mazor were well known WR players but the fourth, kuiva, never had a WR. The same pattern will be better seen in the Elma World Cups.

World Cup 1 standings development (1999).

Top-10 players of 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

Jokke's diploma in World Cup 1 (1999).

8. World Cup 2000

Because the World Cup 1 was such a success, a 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. In the end of the cup a new international team, Flowertouching Men (FM) was founded.

World Cup 2000 standings development (2000).

Top-10 players of World Cup 2000

#    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

World Cup 2000 was also the first contest my own team, MC (Mahti Crossers) participated in.

psy's diploma in World Cup 2000.

9. Seppolaakso

I remember watching trial bikes in EuroSport when I was a kid in 90s and considered it really cool. The feeling when playing Across was something similar but it was Carju, my dear friend who was first to see the timer and to start improving his best times. And of course we others, Tuska, Ultra and Abula wanted to beat them. We compared our times at school where we also designed new levels on paper.

Seriously playing started in summer 1999. Until I bought my first own computer just before 2000 (phew, the Y2K bug didn't bite) I had to play at friends' homes and write down my best times on paper.

Then we somehow ended up to PeXi's Across Site, the grey one, and found some replays of levels like Circuitous and Over and Under which got us really excited because the times and the styles used were so much better than ours. But seeing a picture of Mandel [PRA] inside the Headbanger pipe was a mind blown: how the hell is THAT possible!? You know, Headbanger one of the original internal levels has these empty spaces in the edges of the level. The author never thought that they could be used to finish the level but they could. The shortcut pipe is very hard to drive through but it saves you about 15 seconds so it must be done if you want to get a good time. In fact many internal levels have these kind of secret shortcuts and tricks which people have found during the years.

The picture of showing Mandel [PRA] going through the Headbanger pipe was a game changer to me in year 1999.

We started to try the pipe by ourselves and eventually Ultra made it half way. That was a key moment in my life. We understood much more about the crazyness of the game: the bike is so flexible that nearly impossible tricks can be done. This is a great feeling in Across and Elma. When you have tried your best in a level and then you got to see someone else doing something totally different but faster. "Of course!" or just "OMFG". Using the Headbanger pipe shortcut was quite rare in Across years and only a few players were able to do it. In Elma a few hundred players have finished it, including even myself. The collective skill level of the players has been improving during the years.

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, first named FAST (Finnish Action SuperCrossers Team) and soon after MC (Mahti Crossers). Our greatest achievements were Tuska's WR in The Enigma (Across v1.0/1.1) and a few points in World Cup 2000. Carju and Ultra stopped playing after summer 2000.

Team logo of ASC

In the late of 1999 a new name appeared in Across total times top-20 list: Markku submitted his 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 incredible out of nowhere. Markku didn't have team so Abula 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.

The mighty history of Mahti Crossers (2000).

We were lucky because they teached us in school how to talk in IRC and make websites. We all four friends joined the #across chat at the same time and fooled around. Later we saw, even talked to the great heroes like Karlis, psy and Petri and the scariest of all, Tisk the channel operator.

Another boost in our Across life was noticing that PeXi the main influencer of the community at that time 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 of same school, Karjasillan lukio. There are about twenty upper secondary schools in the Oulu area so it was quite a fortune. The detective work was completed when Tuska recognized PeXi's real name in the sport results. We met, said hello and started to chat in IRC. This happened in the beginning of year 2000.

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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 lots of fun to meet other players and share the experiences. But there are also players from places like Australia, Uruguya and Siberia where coming from to European meetings is nearly impossible.

The only meetings of the Across years I'm aware of are PeXi's swimming trip to Tampere in 1998-11-08 and a bus trip to PiteĂĄ in 1999-07-29. In Tampere PeXi [FIN] and T0rPeD0 [FIN] met Mikko [EMT] and Lusu [CIA] and in PiteĂĄ PeXi met several members of PRA, the best Swedish team back then. After Elasto Mania was published and when the players grew a bit, the meetings became larger and more common.

PeXi visited PRA guys in PiteĂĄ in 1999-07-29. From top left: PeXi, Shadowplay, Ishmael, Champi0N and Mandel.

PeXi plays and Champi0N stands (1999).

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 quite easy to catch because the times and the moves of the bike were 100 % same.

The first really interesting, even funny cheating tool, mod.com appeared in 1999-12-02. It changed radically the physics of the bike and 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 Uphill Battle where the current WR was about 24 seconds at that time. Because of the mod.com some record lists including the total times and average times lists got frozen. 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.

Some people have suggested that bounces, supervolt and even replay sharing should be considered as cheating but this opinion has never received much support because they are so genuine features of the game. Both bounce and supervolt are admitted to be bugs by the author but because they only improved the gameplay the "bugs" were left untouched, making them features in effect.

One cheating type has always been quietly approved in practise because it is nearly impossible to catch. Level makers could lock the level if he wants to prevent opening it in the level editor to use it to train the level in parts or protect his copyright. The lock was cracked already in 1998 and since then unlockers have been available in the underground community. Elasto Mania 1.2 doesn't respect the lock anymore in 2002.

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12. Stuff

Not everybody wanted to just play but also produce something for the community. People can make levels, build websites or create whatever they think is interesting to be shared. Some of the funniest works of the Across years, Stuff like it was called are presented below.

Text
Audio

MC Studios - Ajetaan Me Motskarilla was one of the four songs recorded by Mahti Crossers in the end of year 1999.

Image

It's possible to change the skin of the bike. This is also the first April fool (1999-04-01).

PeXi arranged weekly polls like this in his Across website (1999-03-28). The polls were possible to manipulate but ahf had also many member.

The picture is painted by MUe (?) in 1999-05-20.

13. Levels and replays

External level and replay files are very essential components of Across and Elma but no good collections of Across files exist eventhough KGB had many good replays available in their team website. And because the old levels work also in Elasto Mania, all good Across levels were moved to Elma level packs.

The official level packs have lots of levels designed for Across but as mentioned earlier, the quality is fairly low. Some good Across levels can be downloaded from the Elma Ultimate DVD.

Good Across levels in Elma Ultimate DVD:

* 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

In addition Elma Ultimate DVD contains also some Across replays but because replay sharing was slightly dishonourable in Across days, 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 game and the first steps of the community maturation. Many important concepts such as world records, total times, teams, cups, contests and meetings were invented and initiated. In the following chapter we will see what happens when the sequel named Elasto Mania was released.

II. Prelude to Elma (2000 Feb — 2001 Jul)🔝

The first era of Elasto Mania spans roughly 18 months from the release of the game to the publication of Elasto Mania Forever CD which is the first exclusive collection of the best creative work the community had produced so far. The same date happens to be the last moment when PRA the greatest Across team 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 said goodbye but way more people joined the community. We were afraid of the new version being a disaster, for nothing. Elma turned out to be better, by far!

1. New versions

Across 2 was a common topic in community because of some rumours and because we had our fears of undesirable features such as 3D, teleports, turbo boost, gravity or other fancy additions. We the hardcore players had always liked the simplicity of the game and all new cool things could ruin playability, albeit looking fascinating at first glance. A notorious example are moving killers, apples and even a flower in Across which in common opinion are too much a matter of luck.

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. There was some clue of the publication date too because in August 1999 PeXi was planning to draw a few copies of Across 2 between the participants of World Cup 2000 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 like the first name of PeXi's grandmother which is just a weird coincidence.

The main differences compared to Across were modified game physics, fancier graphics (sigh), gravity switches (oh no), 12 new levels, offline multiplayer mode and many small improvements here and there. The game didn't run on MS-DOS anymore but required Windows.

The moving killers got removed but new special apples were added to switch the gravity of the bike. The gravity apples can't be distinguished from normal ones which make them annoying when playing the level first time. Luckily there are only three internal levels, Gravity Ride, Upside Down and Bowling to contain those troublesome apples. Even today (2017-09-28) 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 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. Another nice-to-have addition was the concept of secret areas.

The game got a total time counter integrated, perhaps inspired by PeXi's manual total times list. In addition there were saved best times of external levels, top-10 best times instead of top-6, replay length extended to five minutes and possibility to configure the controls which kind of resolved the problem of too many modern keyboards which don't allow to press several keys at the same time. In Elma you may need to press five keys in some situations like when starting a level where your first move is a supervolt-gas-turn.

Twelve new internal levels were introduced, so total being 54 in Elma. Four of the new ones, Pipe, Steep Corner, Bumpy Journey and Sink are so-called speedloops (sob) and when three were gravity levels and another two, Hooked and Downhill were actually already published as a slightly different versions in the official website's level packs during Across years, there were in my opinion only three fresh and good, well at least mediocre levels: Tag, Haircut and What the Heck. That was a disappointment but because the physics changed quite much, the old levels were almost new in effect.

Upgrades

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 renominated the game of the day in MikroBitti magazine in 2001-03-03.

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2. Modified physics

The game physics or the physical constants of Across world to be precise were modified in Elma world. At first it felt awful because after spending hundreds of hours with Across, embracing it, you start to feel it both natural and correct and everything else is just wrong. But when looking back we can admit now that Across is more laggy and irritating. Just try to play the level named Double Trouble in Across.

As the 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 guy on the bike is standing when in Across he seems to be sitting.

2.1. Gravity apples

A big change in the laws of physics was the concept of gravity apples which can change the gravity to four different directions: down, up, left and right. 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 which make you annoyed and frustrated. On the other hand the gravity apples give more variation to design levels because the order you take the apples has usually a big impact. The established way to deal with the indication problem in external levels created by community is to draw arrows next to the gravity apples.

0:26,09 psy (WR #20) 0:26,52 Joni (WR #4)

psy found a new route in Gravity Ride by taking the gravity apples in different 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 kuski had to look at the wall to keep the head as far as possible from it not to die. But in Elma to do same you must look away from the wall. When you realized and adopted that fact, you got more margin and better times. In the beginning some old-school players didn't make use of it even in world records.

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 tight places like the bottom in a level named Jaws is easier to die at.

0:33,41 Markku (WR #4)

Look at the end hang at 32 seconds. Markku used the slower but harder style by not turning the bike in the end (2000).

3. Bounces

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! Bounce can be done by back and front wheel, from the wall, from the ground, from the roof and well, from about everywhere. There is an alobounce, wallbounce, bugbounce, deadbounce, half-deadbounce, o-bounce, you name it. Bouncing is art and pure pleasure.

There were some levels in Across like Tunnel Terror and of course Bounce Back where bouncing was possible but overall they were fairly rare and challenging to do because of the more uncontrollable ground touch and less speed compared to Elma. Instead at the time of writing (2017-09-29) almost every world record in Elma includes a bounce or four like in Jaws. So bounce wasn't anything new for the community but it became much more common day-to-day trick in Elma. Performing a bounce isn't usually depressing hard—still hard enough to give satisfaction when you make it. Mawane's videos created in 2009-2010 shows clearly what is a bounce.

Bounce is actually a bug in the program 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. However bounces can be extremely powerful sometimes which people immediately consider as a bugbounce. But where's the limit? Which is a bugbounce and which is not? As it later turns out, 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 (2018-02-01), a table updater who must decide if a certain bounce is a bug or not.

slesk018.rec

This is a bugbounce (2000). Another bug is also presented: the wheel can go through the wall in really fast speed.

Luckily there aren't many internal levels where the question of bugbounce is relevant, except one: Enigma. Stini had a world record in Enigma for 214 tables (4653 days, almost 13 years), longer than any other WR ever and the replay which is public has always been under suspicion. Poor Stini, poor PeXi, poor community. Actually Stini has had another WR in a level where the bounces tend to be questionable nowadays: Pipe. I'm sorry that we haven't been able to resolve this remarkable problem. But Stini doesn't need to carry the mental load anymore because Mielz beat the Enigma WR in table #389.

0:19,16 Stini (WR #175) 0:19,14 Mielz (WR #389)

Is Stini's bounce a bug or not? That's the question.

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4. Supervolt

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, pushing, turning, volting, climbing, dropping, hanging, jumping, picking, streching and killer dodging are obvious and boring enough to skip. However there is one more trick that we need to look at now: supervolt or the special case of it named alovolt like "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. It is more powerful compared to normal right volt and because this is not a tiny effect, supervolt became widely used soon after it was found and learnt to be utilized.

There are rumours that supervolt was already used in Steppes WR in Across but it wasn't general knowledge. People must have made it accidently but because Across wasn't played so professionally yet, the trick was left pretty much unnoticed.

The first Elma world record where supervolt is used and I'm aware of it, are the starts in Tookai's Bumpy Journey and Champi0N's Hi Flyer in WR table #1 (2000-03-06). A more valuable 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 because you can press both right and left push keys before starting the level.

0:26,59 Ufo (WR #20) 0:26,21 Tuska (WR #21)

Supervolt start is much faster in Hang Tight (2001). I would probably remember if the style was mine so I guess it was invented by Tuska.

There aren't many internal levels where you need to do many right volts in a row so that can be also one reason why we didn't find supervolt in Across. But if you could make a supervolt without making a normal right or left volt first, by pressing both push keys simultaneously, supervolt alone so to speak, you could get more advantage. If you had two options to make a right volt, a very basic and constantly needed move, it would be a huge gain. But it's very difficult to press both push keys at the very same time except at start.

People began to experiment the new volt and they found out that slow computers and some keyboards made it easier to make an alovolt. A player named mr discovered that you can configure two keys to one button in an external pad controller which could be used by foot. All these findings were top secret because you didn't want to give any benefit for your competitors who could take easy world records before you or start campaigning against the hack to get it somehow banned.

Pipe WR by dz in table #70 (2001-06-24) is the first WR to have an alovolt. dz didn't use alovolt start in Over and Under in table #67 (2001-05-14) but swos used it even twice in table #71 (2001-07-08) so summer 2001 is most likely the first time when alovolt was started to be utilized by some players. First world records were driven in levels where the trick is in the beginning of the level where it can be attempted to perform more often.

0:31,31 dz (WR #67) 0:31,30 swos (WR #71)

swos' Over and Under WR is one of the first using the alovolt trick (even twice) to get prominent advantage (2001).

Later the community solved the alovolt issue by implementing a new setting in Elma which made it possible to configure a special key to perform it. Then alovolt became fair and trivial to use for everybody without depending on the player's hardware. Yes, we haven't talked about the unofficial Elma versions yet but there are some of them. The first one versioned as 1.11h got released in 2002-10-07. After the alovolt key was added, many world records were improved because as it turned out, alovolt was useful in many levels.

It took about one year to find and learn to utilize the new revolutionary trick, which evolved from secret information of few to general knowledge of whole community, and to have a political debate what to do for it and finally to find somebody to fix the problem, even without the original source code of the game. I find the entire process as a proof of the community's strength and vigor. After all, we were only a few hundred players.

Many old Across world records were also easily beaten where the alovolt was utilized as well. Some people saw that as sacrilegious act but the records are legitimate because we never froze the Across WR table.

Additionally there has been discussion about implementing a left alovolt to the game because it's unlogical to have it only in clockwise direction. 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.

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5. Let's play internals!

The official internal levels have always been the center of attention. When there were 12 new levels and when the 42 old levels were practically new as well because of the changed game physics, people started to play internals like never before. During the last year of Across the community had two world cups which indicates people becoming bored with the internal levels. Yet most of us found the joy again in Elma. And to be honest, many internal levels, especially the oldest ones are great levels. Csaba the level designer of the most internal levels was good enough player himself to be able to create playable levels but inexperienced enough not to plan everything in advance.

A few events of the era are important in the world records' point of view. Moposite started to maintain the official WR table in 2001-04-08 because the authors fed up and we had proven with the Across world records to be able to maintain the table in a professional way.

Additionally the first discussion board, Ultimate Bulletin Board was opened in 2000-04-17 where players could talk about their times, styles and even share replays. 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, ezboard was put in service between 2001-04-01 and 2001-08-30. No records of the first discussions have preserved.

5.1. WR tables #1-#72

The era of Prelude to Elma 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 only 18 new WRs (1 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 is 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 really exciting to finally see the first table. Many people played a lot because, you know, what could be cooler than showing your competitors that you can learn the new game, adopt the different touch and get a time better than anyone else in the very first WR table!

World Records table #1 was exciting as hell (2000-03-06).

And there we go! FM took 25 and PRA 9 world records. Our team (MC) got 7 and for my greatest surprise I got one! I had no idea that I've got good time in Pipe so most likely no one else just didn't play the new boring speedloop level. 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

I'm forced to mention my two other glorious world records now because they occured during the first 72 tables: Loop-de-Loop in tables #38 and #39.

Because many people in community love statistics, let's have some more! 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 once 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

The dominance of the Nordic countries is stunning.

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
...

The best teams originate from the Across years which isn't a surprise because they had already some skills compared to the players who started to play only after Elma was released. Out of 36 different teams only a few, mainly FM has been active up to this day, or even up to, let's say a year 2005. Teams tend to be more short-living.

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: Warm Up, Flat Track, Twin Peaks and Over and Under. I guess quite many players once got a brilliant idea to drive all WRs starting from the first level but later finding it a bit too challenging. zyntifox got it most close missing only the last 50 levels or 49 to be precise because he had also The Steppes at that time.

Another interesting WR related detail is zyntifox's Flat Track WR which he improved by 0:00,01 seconds five times in a row starting from the table #15.

Besides driving world records in large measure, the total time competition was also intensive and thrilling. It was easy to improve your total time but it was same for everybody else so you had to really rush to keep up with others. Unfortunately we don't have lots of data of the first total times lists but we know the legendary minute limit breakers.

Total times minute limit breaks:

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)

Top-100 personal total times in 2000-06-22.

Top-100 personal total times in 2001-04-15.

As one can see like in the WR tables, 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 remarkable total time oriented players of the early days were Jeppe, elg, Elbono, zeth, Totalnew and Joni.

5.2. First statistics

We have been presented quite an amount of different statistics in this chapter. Back in the days, any of those kind didn't exist. There was only a WR table. Later a Czech player named mrickx got an idea to write down the WR development. Petri published the first version of it in the SSC team page in 2000-09-05 before it was moved to Moposite in 2000-10-26.

5.3. Country, average and top-X lists

More extensive internal level playing provoked more records lists. It was Tier [AAF] from Australia who was first to have a top-5 list already in Across years and later in Elma too. 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 top-5 average times, namely the average of the player's top-10 times per level. The average records list was introduced by Abula in 2000-10-15. Balázs made the program to count the average times—there weren't yet many programmers around in the community in 2000.

There have been country lists since Across years, Slovenian records being the first one in 1998. Oulu records which Abula published in 2000 was the first city list. The country and city lists were updated by many different players around the Elma websites. In addition there have been top-30 lists for single internal levels.

6. Mysterious WR replays

Let's watch some of 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 which people would have sold their grandmas to get to watch.

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 Enigma WR in table #2 in 2000. The shortcut onlainari used was already known in Across but not the ones which Eliaz (twice) and Champi0N found.

0:14,12 Karlis (WR #3) 0:13,86 mr (WR #4) 0:13,55 zyntifox (WR #29) 0:13,03 Markku (WR #46)

The Steppes is the shortest internal level—yet the world record evolution has been extremely interesting. 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 Upside Down lasted 65 tables (484 days) which is longer than any other WR during the first 72 tables. And even then Jeppe didn't use the shortcut.

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 Freefall WR in table #33 in 2001. Unfortunately the replay file has been lost but Karlis' improved one on the table #35 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.

1:43,44 Champi0N (WR #3) 1:35,84 zeth (WR #11) 1:35,79 onlainari (WR #17) 1:25,60 Elbono (WR #18) 1:13,21 swos (WR #48) 1:08,31 swos (WR #49)

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.

0:58,16 Jokke (WR #57) 0:58,79 Jeppe (WR #54)

Jokke was the first player to use the legendary Ramp Frenzy shortcut (2001).

0:54,77 Joni (WR #1)

Joni had several mysterious world records which other players couldn't figure out how to beat. His Downhill world record lasted 19 tables (91 days) which is longer than any other WR from table #1.

7. Funny replays

We have already watched the best internal level replays but there are also other valuable replays which are not just the fastest but interesting in some other way. The coolest and craziest replays of the first years of Elma were called as Funny replays and they are rather mediocre in today's standards but let's watch a few.

slesk007.rec

zyntifox was one of the most skilled players in 2000-2001. His double round mastering in Enigma was outstanding back in the days.

BestCO14.rec

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.

46zsecret.rec

There are five secret areas in the official levels (2001).

8. Cheating (2nd wave)

As it was already available for Across, a program to crack the encrypted state.dat file of Elma was published soon after the game was released. Now 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 but luckily the patch added also 10 minutes to the finish times and the replays didn't work in normal unpatched Elma. Nitro supports also immortality and driving in slow motion. Nitro was lots of fun but it opened dangerous gates too. What to do if someone could remove the 10 minutes addition?

Nitro patch enabled to change some parameters of the game physics (2000).

slesk045.rec

An anonymous player uses Nitro patch to finish Headbanger in 0:19,56 in 2001.

Nitro also offered a new revolutionary feature: replay merge. You were able to merge two replays now and watch them on top of each others at the same time which usually shows very clearly where the replay is faster or slower compared to the other replay.

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 Warm Up, Loop-de-Loop and Bumpy Journey.

03djwr.rec

mrDJ (aka EML) uses immortality cheat to get a 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.

Because of the cheaters some old WR tables, like #27 doesn't have any new world records.

More
  • Read about cheating in Moposite (outdated)

9. Multiplayer

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 internal levels which are good for multi and surely it's possible to design own levels.

Apple Harvest has many different routes which makes the level good for multiplaying.

0:28,95 Zweq & Juzam (multi WR #75)

Downhill is an interesting level to play in multiplayer mode.

The authors never updated the multi world records in the official website but gave it away 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 Tumex updated. SveinR adopted the table in 2001-02-07 and the first one we have from his website is #18 (2001-04-22). The table numbering was reset. One more screenshot exists from the era we are talking about: #22 (2001-05-22).

Multi WR table in 2000-12-20 is the first preserved one.

Multi WR table in 2001-05-22.

Some of the best multi players from the early days were MoorZe & JAnen, Dezz & NPhoBiaz, Abula & Tuska/Ultra and Terrace & Phillip.

Multi total times list in 2000-12-20.

10. Social gaming

Although Elma has a multiplayer mode, the game is usually played alone. But because human being is a social animal, it's more fun to share the experience with other players. The ultimate cause of the popularity of World Cups is most likely living with other people. You play and talk about the same level, compete and analyze the results together.

The first World Cup was organized in April 1999. Another contest of the early days that has a real-time social aspect, is the 24 hours total time competition which is usually played by several players at once. The idea of the competition is to drive as good total time as possible in 24 hours.

One technological step was also preceded by to make playing together possible, namely fixed term internet connections which were becoming more common in Nordic countries in 2000. You don't want to pay extra for internet connection while playing Elma.

Perhaps the most crucial idea that has given years of vigor for the game is the concept of battle. It's a competition where someone makes a level, uploads it and starts 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 admire. It was really fascinating to see who has skills to drive good times quickly.

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. Abula and Tuska created those levels just for themselves to compete 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. There was only one computer in Across meeting in May 2001 (AC-meat2) and the only organized contest was played in kisma style.

The very first record where 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.

So we had internal levels to compete for an infinite time period, a world cup where the event lasts one week and now a battle of 30 minutes. All the different competition types require specialized skills and strategies. Internals are more about the höyling power, world cups more of team work and style finding but in battle you don't have time for co-operation or complex style comparisons. Instead you need to see very quickly a decent style which you are capable to get and then drive it.

Battle is a short living competition and the results are pretty much forgotten soon after when the next battle is started. Many people see battles as secondary contest, kind of training camp for the real competition which is the world records and total times of the official levels. For some people battling can be the only reason to play Elma at all.

More

11. World Cup 3

We had been playing internal levels 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. 208 players participated and 45 teams got points.

Dr_Luni dominated again and took his second World Cup victory. Eventhough Dr_Luni has had WR only in one level, Tunnel Terror, his greatness is widely recognized in the community because of his World Cup dominance. Jokke was again in the top-10 in the final standings. Team FM was also overwhelming again. Team PRA who had won the team competition in WC1 and who became second in WC2, was fifth this time.

World Cup 3 standings development (2000).

Top-10 players of 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

Jokke's diploma in World Cup 3 (2000).

Already in World Cup 2000 PeXi let other people to design levels for the cup. World Cup 3 had two levels designed by me: 2nd and 17th. The latter one was named Impsybility which also started the pipe level tradition that has lasted ever since. The concept of pipe levels will be introduced in greater details a bit later. Roller coaster level type is another tradition which have been seen in all seven world cups.

12. OLP

One of the biggest tragedies of the Elasto Mania was OLP, The Official Level Pack which we tried to make as official as possible next to the real official internal levels. MUe who has designed even one internal level himself (Bowling) collected the levels. Moposite created a new WR list looking like the real WR table and the release was greatly marketed. The release happened in 2001-03-03.

But the levels were not great. And OLP name was confusing because we already had the official level packs in the official website. Some people played the levels but it never received the glory we were aiming for. The takeaway here is that the levels, the content itself matters most. The rest is just icing on the cake.

More

13. More Levels

It wasn't just the Moposite crew who wanted to create Elma websites and organize contests: many teams and players contributed too. Let's look at some of them.

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. LOS Cup is remembered from the great levels and good organizing.

Cups organized in Prelude to Elma:

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 had a brilliant idea where players competed with each others in the same group, and the best and the worst players of every group had to change periodically their groups. 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 duels and eliminations cups 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 but make them smaller, mini versions so to speak. They were fascinating to play because you kind of felt like playing the original levels but just bizarred ones. Later we will have new mini internals created programmably but back then it was manual work all the way. As one might guess, we also got max internals, mirrored internals, no food internals and so on. In addition in the years coming, many level designers imitated the internal level feel and style to create new, kind of "lost and found" internal levels.

Many or almost all team pages and other Elma websites had contests of their own. Usually there were regular external levels to drive best times in. Because we didn't have any polls to award the best ones in the early years, here are some top picks by me.

Good Elma levels created during Prelude to Elma (in Elma Ultimate DVD):

* 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
Famous level designers in official level packs (Elma):

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

*) Data was searched by the filenames only

14. Moposite is born

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

I was 16 years old when we had a course to create a personal homepage in school. In late autumn 1999 I started to design my second website first on paper and a bit later in HTML when I finally got the computer in the eve of new millennium.

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.

The creation work 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) in the website were first of their kind. This was also the time when Höylä Mission and the team page of MC were introduced. In addition the special levels named Hill climbing, Slowness, Hanging and Impossibility got released. The number of daily visitors was roughly 50.

Right after that I started to make the next version in April 2000 which was called Moposite. The spring 2000 was hectic time because Elasto Mania was just published, which I played a lot while building and updating these websites. School grades started to drop.

More

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.

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.

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Moposite v1

Abula had been doing the next Elma site for a few weeks in April 2000 when PeXi asked for co-operation. They lived close to each others so why not combine forces? They met, made some plans and started to work like hell. They merged their websites' contents, added a few new sections and changed the layout again. The famous blue and green theme was created.

Moposite v1 was active from 2000-06-25 to 2001-04-30. The logo was designed by bluu, the second (?) #across operator.

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 we introduced 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 added and two new special contest levels: Bouncing and Invisibility.

In 2001-04-30 Moposite was taken offline. We wanted 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 while the next Moposite version was built.

The next version 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 technology are evolving so fast that you are never satisfied with the current version.

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15. Players IRL

It's natural for people to become interested in other persons they spend time with. You want to know what your team mates and chat friends do in life and how they look like. 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.

MUe published all the available pictures of the known players in Elma Forever CD (2001-07-21).

Additionally fairly comprehensive 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.

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 chat and the meetings were pretty much 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 socialized. There were some Elma competitions too but with one computer ten players can't do much.

Group picture of AC-meat 2000.

Group picture of AC-meat 2001.

Well, at least we had a few beers and a virtual bike.

Year 2001 was the time when I personally started to be in more contact with other Elma players who I didn't know before and who didn't live in the same city. mr was the first to becime a really good friend.

I've got two copies of Elma Forever CD. One came from MUe from Hungary and one from mr because he burned the CD faster than the hungarian post delivered. The signature in the CD is by Balázs (2001).

16. Mahti Crossers

My own team was doing very well during the first 18 Elma months. We drove 26 single world records, probably more multi world records, became 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 noticed by the community. Abula and Tuska participated 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 because he had reached everything he wanted. In the same month mr joined MC when he was the only active player in his old team, ahf.

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17. Forever CD

The era of Prelude to Elma is closed by the Elasto Mania Forever CD which an hungarian player named MUe published in July 2001. MUe is also known by as the designer of 46th internal level named Bowling, as the creator of the animated objects of the game and as the inventor of Flag Tag. 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 Forever CD is a 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. All the stuff can be downloaded from the Elma Ultimate DVD but let's highlight here some of the best ones.

Cover of Elasto Mania Forever CD by MUe in 2001.

Brochure of Elma Crime movie which was filmed in Budapest in summer 2001.

LGR

It is possible to create custom graphics for the game via a special file named LGR. Although it's quite a job to edit all the 80 different pictures of the game, many people created their new LGRs. Most of the LGRs are nice looking but it's a totally different question which of them are good for playing. After all, most of us don't play the game because of the nice graphics. Many LGR creators designed levels dedicated just for the LGR so people could enjoy playing them at least for a while and then switch back to their favourite one.

Let's look at some of the interesting LGRs created during the first and half years after Elma was released.

Program

The first programs were game property modifiers which changed the level names and the menu texts. They were just for fun but ASF's back and foreground texture changer delivered some value because the original textures of some levels like Downhill and Turnaround have poor contrast which makes playing harder and less fun. Later the problem was fixed in Elasto Mania 1.2.

Text

Textual work was still moderate and mainly technical.

Audio

MC Studios recorded six more songs in the second session in June 2000. A few more artists entered the stage too. For example BarTek one of the most productive Elma artists made his first song in 2001.

MUe - Losing my World Records was published in Elma Forever CD in 2001-07-21. Read lyrics.

Good songs of the era in Elma Ultimate DVD:

Released     Directory                        Filename
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2000-04-08   Community > Audio > Songs        InnersjMCAntonvsSimon.wav
2000-08-12   Community > Audio > MC Studios  
2001-04-26   Community > Audio > Songs        veezay_01_Elma_Rules.mp3
2001-05-09   Community > Audio > DJ BarTek    Dj_Bartek_Techno_kuski.mp3
2001-07-21   Community > Audio > Songs        MUe_-_Losing_my_World_Records.mp3
Video

MUe was the only one making Elma videos back in the early days.

Elmapicnic by MUe (2000-08-20).

Haazelmaban by MUe (2001-01-31). Lyrics.

Image

Some interesting Elma related images before July 2001.

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 de facto, were established during the era. The first big meetings were organized and World Cup 3 gather over 200 players. The first videos were created.

Elma Forever CD closes the era by encouraging 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 Belma release. Also in the end of the era the first public speedrun video, Elma Done (fairly) Quick was published. The video revealed first time almost all world record replays to everybody including many legendary and mysterious styles.

During Golden Era many great things happened. Most world records were driven, most participants in World Cup 4, most total time minute limit breaks, most meetings, most Mopolauta forum posts and much more. Battles got popular but it was quite different experience without the modern online patches.

Golden Era was important for me personally—Elma business was my primary life back then. In the end of the era the community was shifting from the Moposite centricity to a whole new world: Belma.

Abula's desktop in 2001-08-23. All the awesome Elma stuff presented: Apple Harvest poster, Elma Forever CD + MUe's bonus, Winamp skin, Elmapicnic animation and Moposite of course.

By the way, the current Mopolauta is an information treasure for this chapter because the discussion forum has been running since 2002-05-19. After this milestone most of the facts worth remembering are preserved.

1. Elasto Mania 1.2

As mentioned earlier there was a demand to get an upgrade to the game after the alovolt was found in summer 2001. Unfortunately the author wasn't active enough 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 French player named Hibernatus reverse-engineered the essential parts of the source code and found a way to add a new single key to perform an alovolt. Version 1.11h was released in 2002-10-07 and 1.11hb in 2002-10-17 with a few bugfixes.

Hibernatus added also a feature introduced first time in Nitro patch, replay merging as well as VCR-style controls to rewind, pause and watch replays in slow motion. Those and a few other new features gave a significant boost for the community because the gameplay improved quite a lot without altering the core physics which means the old world records were legal to beat.

A year later in 2003-03-08 Hibernatus released one more version, Elasto Mania 1.2 which introduced more useful features like multiple 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.

Configuration settings of Elasto Mania 1.2 (2003)

Balázs the author of the game wasn't excited about the violations of his copyright but he never went against us, thankfully. It's possible that the new innovations even made him more money because the game got played for longer time.

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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 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 then the winners are voted. 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

Axxu was the best individual with five awards, TorInge got four and Barbapappa, Abula, MP, John and Zebra came third with three.

Nine of the fifteen winners of Golden Apple Awards 2004 from three different countries in the same group picture. Quite an achievement for a small game like Elma!

3. TorInge, Zweq et al.

Playing the official internal levels heavily was obvious when the game was just released. But it's interesting that it wasn't about to stop, 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. Besides playing full-time (plus overtime), new super teams were founded and tactics developed in order to success. While playing skills improved, many new styles were also found by the most innovative players. The game was giving its best: the fine granular and complex physics engine was bending beyond the imagination.

One important milestone 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. But the technical aids shouldn't be overstated because for example TorInge had the high graphical details on which have only negative effect on playing because the bike can go hidden behind the trees and bushes.

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!

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.

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:

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 (2018-02-20) we don't know Zweq's last WR yet because he still plays and even got a new WR in the current table (#395) a week ago. 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 got met in real life and their playing skills were documented. After all we had caught several top players of cheating.

The 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 trick, style or even route.

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 eight 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).

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 the Across days.

Most WRs by one team goes to ICE with 31 WRs in table #232 (2006-01-21).

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. Two very skilled players joined the competition, TorInge and Zweq. 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). The previous leaders were Jeppe with 12 WRs in table #78 and psy with 10 WRs in table #1. The dominance of TorInge and Zweq was outstanding.

TorInge had half of the world records in WR table #232 after submitting 13 new WRs. This is one of the greatest achievements ever done in Elma.

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 with each others and in the same levels.

Another mind-boggling record is that Zweq has had a WR in 49 different levels out of 54. TorInge's record of 42 different levels isn't bad either.

During Golden Era seven world records crossed the stricking one minute limit barrier. After Upside Down in 2004 no more have or will be 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)

Eight of the top-10 oldest world records were driven during the Golden Era.

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         94+    2009-10-09 (#301)     -

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)

TorInge's personal total time was only 0:11,33 seconds behind the world records total time when he got under 37 minutes which must 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 Golden Era (2006-10-01). John was already hunting down Zweq and TorInge.

TorInge has uploaded all his best time replays to Youtube, total time being 36:38,93 as it was in 2006-11-27.

3.3. 24 hours total time

Total times were also battled in the 24 hours competition. TorInge proved to be an overwhelming master and Zweq was the only one getting even in the same ballpark. 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. It was organized first time in 2000-07-08 by Abula and the 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)
More

3.4. Forecasting the WR future

Forecasting what will be the last minute limit break has always been under discussion. Due to lack of imagination the last limit has always 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. My personal forecast 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 37 participants by guessing the lowest number (37:04,23) but even that is two and half minutes worse than the real one. Oh boys, if we just knew what was coming... But to be sportsmanlike, the WR total time was 36:40,53 in 2006-01-01 so Sathy got it pretty close!

The estimations were also done in Mopolauta. 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. People considered many of the predictions impossible but today 49 out of 54 are beaten (2018-02-20).

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. The model predicted the total time being 35:59,99 in table #500. We are now at table #394 and the total time is 34:35,50. 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.

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 years coming, a saveload patch will give a closer peek of what theoretically could be possible.

3.5. Blossom of multiplaying

Not many multiplayer statistics exist but we do know who dominated the lists during Golden Era: first Miguel and Uube (from Raahe, Finland), then TorInge and Tantal (Namsos, Norway) and finally Zweq and Juzam (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

TorInge has uploaded their multi replays to Youtube.

136th multi WR table (2006-12-12).

56th multi total times list (2005-11-20).

Most of the multi world records were driven by local real life friends but delightfully 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

3.6. Records systems development

In 2001-08-15 an hungarian programmer named CSabi published a program to generate a stats.txt file for the external levels like the original game does for the internal levels. Zebra also programmed ElmaTimes (2002-03-06) and Mergestats (2004-09-15) to generate record lists from stats.txt files.

LevStats v1.0 beta by CSabi (2001-08-15)

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. The lists were updated manually until a player named partybear coded a software in 2003-04-11 to generate the statistics automatically.

partybear programmed a software to generate WR statistics in 2003.

Another huge technological step was Moposite's record lists generator programmed by Hibernatus in 2002-06-26. Thanks for that the manual work was not needed so much anymore and the Moposite crew was able to update even more lists. Moposite started to maintain weekly country, city, average and personal top lists.

Hibernatus created a program for Moposite to generate records lists in 2002.

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 published in 2003-03-07 calculated the record lists automatically and immediately after the player uploaded his times. Later with help of another Danish programmer named Kopaka, the script was converted to Moposite.

Viper_KillerGuy's elmatimes.php still looks like in year 2003.

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 to 2001-10-06 on the same background as the records system was running. I can assure you that I remember the background because I was jealous of his system and even bought a book to learn to program in PHP. Bobisek, if you can read this, thanks for the inspiration!

4. Revolutionary WR styles

Golden Era saw several new, even revolutionary styles. Earlier world records tended to be more about driving the obvious routes.

One of the classics are "left first" WRs. A few new world records have been improved by changing the driving direction at the very start. Each of them are grandiose and proving the player being capable to execute wild ideas.

World records with a new start direction of all times:

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 IRK perhaps Headbanger excluded were exceptional. His Tunnel Terror WR got mentioned already as a one minute breaker but it was also almost his third "left first" world record because he took the new direction after the first six seconds. Additionally IRK's Apple Harvest WR is the fifth biggest absolute improvement of all times—the four bigger ones were all driven right after the game was published.

1:42,64 IRK (WR #81) 1:51,11 psy (WR #76)

IRK was the first to drive the legendary Apple Harvest one route WR (2002). psy's record was the fastest before him. Apple Harvest is one of the most improved world record: the record is 1:12,89 today (2018-02-05).

1:26,73 IRK (WR #95) 1:26,84 oizo! (WR #93)

IRK's WR in Double Trouble (2002) 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 Curvaceous by driving to the opposite direction at start (2004).

Another interesting aspect is that two very short and easy internals, the number two and three 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 some credit from the Twin Peaks style and spreading the idea to everyone in #across when I wasn't allowed to play for WRs anymore.

0:16,65 Vikto (WR #110) 0:15,65 Zsolt (WR #121)

Zsolt's Flat Track is top-20 the biggest relative improvements of all times. In a simple level like Flat Track it's a miracle. The jump at the start is surprisingly hard (2003).

0:19,38 Raider (WR #116) 0:18,24 Raider (WR #117)

Raider's Twin Peaks WR is also top-20 the biggest relative improvements (2003).

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 Serpents Tale WR in 2003 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 Quick Round WR in 2003, a trick which became much more common during Golden Era. The WR gave mr the victory of Replay category in GAA04.

0:15,32 Karlis (WR #68) 0:12,97 milagros (WR #83)

milagros' Freefall WR in table #83 is the 4th biggest relative improvement ever (2002-04-06).

5. Vsync tuning

Although Elma is a simple game, there are situations when technical tweaking such as vsync tuning can give minor 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 could give you the needed decimal.

In 2002-09-01 a player named DarMoeD published an article how the vsync setting affects Elma gameplay. DarMoeD was revealed two years later to be a cheater but vsync tuning has nothing to do with cheating, eventhough many people disliked it. There isn't any exact proof when vsync tuning was wittingly utilized in a WR but because we know from Mopolauta discussion that Karlis, dz and Zweq were interested in, we could guess that Karlis' Freefall WR 0:12,24 in table #97 (2002-10-12) could be the first one. Two years later Zweq published a list of the best settings for every internal level.

DarMoeD published the first information of vsync tuning in 2002.

In technical terms the 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). And what is really weird is that the lower the FPS is, the better grip the bike has on the ground and the easier the bounces are to be performed. In turn the higher FPS, the smoother the bike goes. Generally speaking better grip and easier to bounce are usually more useful but there are levels where the FPS needs to be high, for example Headbanger. Another funny fact is that when vsync is off and the timer is hidden the FPS roughly doubles.

veezay has given an attempt to explain the vsync. And Zweq underlines the little significance of the FPS tuning.

A new unofficial Elasto Mania version, Elma Online (2010 version) finally 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 to change the vsync setting. It was also figured out that it's possible to change the refresh rate even during playing by turning on or off an external hard drive or give the computer a task to calculate something in a scheduled time.

6. Cheating (3rd wave)

While technical knowledge of the game was increasing among the players, more sophisticated cheating was also coming. It was a fortune to have several great programmers in the community—MGen, Hibernatus and milagros have helped a lot in the anti-cheating fight.

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.

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 or 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.

mrDJ and Weird-AAL, now using the names EML, Nostrada and Deadelous had 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 the Across and Elma cheaters DarMoeD in 2004-08-05. He used autoplay, a patch which reads the timestamps of each key presses from a data file. DarMoeD had to be a good player too but his craziest results were just too much. For example he got 14 new world recrods in one WR table and he won a World Cup 4 event while getting five new WRs during the same week. Results like these 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 some money by selling his replays. For the website maintainers, cheaters cause lots of manual work because the old results must be cleaned up.

Elma REC checker was programmed by MGen in 2002. It was able to detect several cheating methods.

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.

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, even for newbies. The timer stops at about 13 seconds because the second apple doesn't need to be taken. Quite many people have tried to get the WR with the bug. Fortunately Elasto Mania 1.3 fixed it.

More

7. Brutal volt, deadbounce...

After discussing the deplorable but inevitable technical side of playing, we can now look at the brighter side. Alovolt and bouncing were fresh in the last era but quite many new tricks were invented during Golden Era as well. Most of them are just random oddities but there is also one new real revolutionary trick: a brutal volt.

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. It's true that the trick has been used earlier, for example in Kahvi Cup but Capo brought it to mainstream by giving it a name and story to remember. Fascinated people started to go through the internal levels trying to find new styles and actually a few were found during the next months: Uphill Battle, Zig-Zag and Quick Round. In later eras four more world records will include a brutal volt: Ramp Frenzy, Steppes, Tricks Abound and Pipe.

cbrutal.rec

This is the original brutal volt by Capo (2002).

0:18,37 Ramone & BarTek (WR #97)

ramone and BarTek drove a new multi WR in Enigma by using a new clean brutal volt style (2004).

A few more new tricks like Deadbounce (2002-11-27), Juishpop (2003-01-29) and O-bounce (2005-09-11) were entitled but none of them have been utilized successfully in any internal level WR. Nonetheless they extended the variety of the game.

PLSP05Dr.rec

Deadbounce was named after deadnite who published the trick in 2002.

8. Pipe Kings

A totally new way of driving became more common during Golden Era: driving inside narrow pipes. The point isn't to finish the level per se but to take as many apples as possible, ultimately driving the farthest possible inside the pipe. Since World Cup 3 the pipe level concept has been a permanent part of the world cups.

The first known pipe levels, Headbanger and Da Pipe were already played during the Across years but it was a level named Impossibility by Abula in 2000 with numbered apples that nailed the idea clearly enough to attract more people to learn this strange and difficult way to drive. psy was the first to finish the level but unfortunately the replay isn't preserved. Instead psy's winner replay of the 17th event of World Cup 3 is. The level is quite easy in today's standards but back then the finishers were gods with exceptional driving skills.

WCup317: 1:54,64 psy

psy won the first World Cup pipe level in 2000-11-04.

Abula created a new but much harder level titled as Impsybility hard version in honour of psy in 2000-11-21 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 hard version in 2002-01-27 and he also won the pipe events of World Cup 4 (2002-12-22) and 5 (2005-08-09). The latter one is titled as Impsyjallity in honour of Jalli. He 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 cheater didn't send in this good replay because he thought that no one would believe.

Jalli plays Impsybility hard version in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005. No centered camera. He won the Replay category in Golden Apple Awards 2003 by a replay in this level.

In the coming years the pipe levels are constantly played in battles and the skills of new players surpass even Jalli.

9. Slesk replays

Funny replays got renamed to slesk in 2001. The quality is better but still quite moderate in today's standards.

slesk028.rec

First zweqspin (?) by Barhom before Zweq had hardly even started playing (2001).

slesk034.rec

Art replay by Barbapappa (2002).

slesk039.rec

Ramone showing skills in Jaws (2002). It's important to know when to die to make an entertaining replay.

slesk064.rec

milagros is playing (2003).

kc02dz.rec

dz stopped the press by finding out how to drive through the impossible pipe shortcut in King Cup (2003).

51M15425novolt.rec

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. World Cup 4 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.

A player named MP won the cup after DarMoeD was cleaned up from the results. kuiva did a comeback and was second this time. 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. An achievement only he has done.

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. Well, Luni had in one level.

World Cup 4 is also my personal best: I was eight in the final standings and third in the 16th event. Losing to BarTek and magicman was tough.

Top-10 players of 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.   BarTek       CF      SWE     879
8.   Abula        FM      FIN     871
9.   Tapzu        POP     FIN     862
10.  ZeiZei       EM      FIN     841,5

Abula was 8th in World Cup 4 (2003). The diploma shows incorrect position number because of the cheating case.

Jappe2 created 8 years later a nice movie about World Cup 4.

11. World Cup 5

World Cup 5 was running from 2005-05-02 to 2005-08-09 and it gathered 235 players from 22 countries and 58 teams, numbers were almost as awesome as in World Cup 4. 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 also repeated the famous hattrick by winning three events in a row. Now the only missing piece was the third hattrick in a third world cup victory in a row to make it a ... power-hattrick?

Karlis was fourth time in top-10 sharing the achievement with Jokke and Jalli improved by one position being the third this time.

After five world cups, one team had got points in all of them: Team Finlandia, PeXi's own team but thanks go to kuiva and Fulgore. FM had participated in four but has way more points than FIN: 13351 versus 4362. Finland as a country is overwhelming in every world cup except World Cup 2000 where Sweden was really close to—exact points were never calculated (wonder why).

Top-10 players of World Cup 5:

#    Player             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

MP's diploma in World Cup 5 (2005).

Kopaka created 4 years later a nice movie about World Cup 5.

12. Mopobattles

In the previous chapter we discussed the predecessors of battles but we don't have literal evidence when the first battles as we understand the term today, were played. The IRC channel was called #30minsbattle in the beginning and I'm pretty sure it started in 2000.

Instead the results of Mopobattles have preserved so they can be considered as the first official battle era. Abula organized the first Mopobattle in 2001-10-16. It gathered 20 players and the winner was psy. Tisk and onlainari, long time active players were present.

The first Mopobattles were organized manually all the way and there were ten of them in year 2001. Then MGen created a program to calculate the statistics but still only seven battles were organized in 2002. Finally skint0r started to organize Mopobattles in 2003, total being 51 battles. The most popular one gathered 44 participants in 2003-04-20.

MGen's Mopobattle statistics generator was a big help in 2002.

Mopobattles were skipped in year 2004 because the more casual battles satisfied the demand in the #battle IRC channel. Zebra started to organize Mopobattles again in year 2005. Mopobattles differ compared to casual battles by pre-arranged schedules, more extensive results and statistics, quality levels and standard playing time almost always (30 minutes).

42 Mopobattles were played in 2005, 27 in 2006 and 26 in 2007. Let's look at the final results.

Top-10 players of 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 players minus the double nicknames. 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 of 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

*) 10 battles played at minimum
Top-10 players of Mopobattles by battles 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 %

*) 10 battles played at minimum

Zebra resurrected Mopobattles again in 2012 by organizing 20 more and the most popular one gathered whopping 61 players in 2012-02-13.

Results of Mopobattles in 2012.

13. #battle

At first I want to thank Zebra to archive the #battle data to his webpage. Another big helpers have been Viper_KillerGuy's vkprivupload.php and both MagnusB and skint0r's work with <@battlebot>.

Because Mopobattles were organized so seldom, people started to play them freely in IRC channel named #battle. Points were not calculated and no one was an organizer particularly. Thereby we don't have records of the year 2001 or 2002. But since 2003 we do have data thanks to Zebra to generate the results out of the IRC logs.

MagnusB programmed also an IRC bot to automate the battle organizing—battlebot started to serve 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 the battlebot development in February 2004 and kept it serving until April 2007 when Belma had become the primary platform to play battles.

More
Years 2003-2004

2329 battles were played in year 2003 and 7018 in year 2004. That means about 6 and 19 battles per day in average and 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 time out of the whole year. Numbers are enormous compared to Mopobattles. People really liked the real-time competition and when it became possible to play them almost all the time, it was a boom. Although the number of participants per battle was relative low (4.72 in 2003 and 4.86 in 2004) compared to Mopobattles where 30 players was normal.

It's difficult to determine the best battler of all times but it's certain that Markku could be the 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 January 2004. The ratio how many battles Markku won out of the ones he participated during the entire era (2003-2007) is stupendous 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 Golden Apple Awards 2004 and 2005. Other successful players of the first two years were SkedoR (4 times battler of month) and veezay (2). MagnusB and Jalli were the best ones in the very beginning in January 2003.

MagnusB wrote in 2003-08-04: "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 (this depends on the length of the level of course)."

2005 - 2007 April

Battles became even more popular between 2005 and 2007 April before Belma was released. For example 13686 battles were played in 2005, meaning 37 per day and 32 % running time during 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 after January 2007.

jaytea (USA) 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 Golden Apple Awards 2006. Other battlers of month were Zox (2 times), axxu (2) and The OooO (2). jaytea kept on dominating until everybody moved to Belma.

Annual statistics
Annual statistics of battles in #battle:

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          ?                ?

*) must be in top-100 in total points to keep it somewhat comparable
Annual meta statistics of battles in #battle:

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

Let's look at the total statistics of the whole period from January 2003 to April 2007.

Top-10 players by battle total points in #battle:

#   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

Team and country statistics are not available.

Top-10 players by battle average points in #battle:

#   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
	
*) must be in top-100 in total points to keep it somewhat comparable
Top-10 players by battle win ratio in #battle:

#   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 %

*) must be in top-100 in total points to keep it somewhat comparable

By doing a manual ad hoc combination I would say that the top-2 best battlers of #battle time were Markku and axxu.

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

There have been numerous other contests too, cups, duels and traditional level packs during Golden Era. I try to mention the most popular ones but my knowledge is incomplete.

The best player of the external levels during the era was axxu. He dominated several cups and contents which earned him hattrick in the Externalist category (2004, 2005, 2006) and also the Rookie category (2004) in Golden Apple Awards.

Level reviews

PeXi had a section named Custom levels of levels made by other players and ratings already in his old green Across page. Level reviews continued with Official Level packs in Moposite v1 in March 2000. Again Moposite v2.0 introduced Single Level Rates section in August 2001. The biggest level rating contest was Level of Month (LOM) which Moposite started to organize in January 2002. In later years the levels can be rated by a simple number directly inside the game.

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. The contest could deserve a chapter of its own if the organizers were able to update the final results. Barbapappa and Juble were triple winners and Xhomaz, Zebra, Ville_J won it twice. In total points it looks like Barbapappa and Zebra would be the top-2.

Level of month themes and the results of the first LOM in January 2002. MIR is present again.

More
Internal styled levels

One very popular contest type has always been levels modifying and imitating the official in-game internal levels. Mini internals was the first pack in 1999-2000 but we also got 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.

Another way to honour the internal levels is to design totally new levels but making them to feel like they were original internal levels. It's not easy to do but thankfully some designers have succeeded. It's difficult to create unplanned shortcuts.

The first popular internal style level pack was named as Lost Internals and the story was, the author of the game had lost some levels which were found by now. The levels were published in Moposite (2002-01-25) and the designer is called Barbapappa today.

Ville_J released Internal-ish levels in March 2002 and skint0r created skinternals in July 2003. Team TAP published IFLP (Internal Feeling Level Pack) in 2004. Team LOS released Almost Internals in 2005.

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 ALP (Alternative Level Pack) and King Kon Tests were widely liked. 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 Golden Apple Awards 2005.

Another remarkable level site and designer is Zebra who launched his Elma site in 2002-08-13. Zebra has been one of the most diligent players in the community. For example he has organized Mopobattles, created statistics of #battle and Belma battles and organized several contests such as Master Cup (2005), Master Cup 2 (2006) and The TAP Challenge (2006). He also finished the Moposchool project started by Abula and BarTek in 2002 which is the most sophisticated collection of Elma bike tricks.

skint0r renewed his famous level site in March 2006. According to the statistics of Moposite, dz's, GuyB's, TonyLee's, Olliz and Kopaka's websites were the most popular.

Cups

It was also the golden era of the cups. Besides World Cup 4 and 5 many other cups were also played. Here's a list of those which he have some data of.

Cups organized in Golden Era:

Start          Name                         Winner       Organizer(s)
---------------------------------------------------------------------
2001-08-25     Elmaduel                     ?            Landlord
2001-09-09     Meaningless Cup              ?            ?
2001-09-15     EC cup                       ?            ?
2001-09-?      Magyar Kupa 2                MGen         ?
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

Magyar Kupa 2 (2001)

EAM Cup 2 (2002)

Summer Cup 2002

MET Flag Tag Cup (2003)

Unusual contests

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. John's JoPi is probably the most popular pipe level pack ever. First levels were created in 2005. There are Olimpic Elma levels (2005-01-11) in Zebra's Level Archive (Russian ElastoMania Club levels) which got to closest to the Olympic games that I'm aware of.

The first chain level was started in 2002 by Barbapappa. It took over a year to make when 15 designers participated. Barbapappa also created the first adventure level which won the Level category in GAA03.

Chain level and Adventure level by Barbapappa (2003).

Level designing GAAs

Next let's look at the chapter by listing the winners of the level designing Golden Apple Awards during the era.

ADVENTURE LEVEL by Bartek (2003)

WC Flush by MP (2004)

Mada Mada Dane by skint0r (2005)

Brick Chili by jonsta (2006)

Winners of the Designer category in GAA 2003-2006:

Year     Designer
-------------------
2003     Barbapappa
2004     Juble
2005     Zebra
2006     Zebra
Level editors

The level designers have had possibility to use several level editors, not just the original one.

radim's level generator in 2003-04-13 and Advanced Level Editor (ALE) by Nicolas in 2003-09-02 were popular. Especially ALE 2.1 that got published in 2004-12-17 was widely used by the level designers.

Nicolas programmed the first version of ALE in 2003.

15. Moposite under construction

Golden Era was prosperous for Moposite as well, although the website was continuously under construction. Both PeXi and Abula went to army during the era—yet three new major versions were released. Weekly even daily updates of dozens of sections took vast amount of time, yet too many of them were severely delayed. Being afterwise more priorization should have been done.

Many famous sections were introduced during the era such as Mopolauta, Mopobattles and Kuski gallery but a great deal of the work was technical improving. The contents of the website is what matters most but Abula personally got profoundly interested in web development in general.

New versions of Moposite established its status as a central site of the community. Number of daily visitors rose from 500 to 1500. Balázs gave Moposite 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. Close to a hundred players have helped somehow, the very active ones being SveinR, Zebra, skint0r, psy, Jokke, dz and Luther. Donations were also received. Thanks a lot!

Moposite v2

Moposite had been running about one year when the next major version was published in 2001-08-25. PeXi went to army so it was pretty much Abula's work all the way. 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. Updating was manual and very time consuming.

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 because Moposite was moved to a new and more professional host (Sigmatic). Now it was possible to use PHP, perl and MySQL. The first dynamic page (Links) was programmed by tura. The Site Navigator and email addresses using the new cool domain were initiated. Number of daily visitors was about 900 now.

There are two interesting details in Moposite v2 screenshot taken in 2002-03-25. ribot the leader of the anti-establishment movement gets to the Moposite news by changing names (rQ-E%, csybe, â–ł). Secondly Homokaasu results are displayed, a game of who clicks the mouse button most. ranks is another very boring game which many Elma people played and which only purpose is the competition.

Moposite v3

Building the next version of Moposite took one year again. The third version published in 2002-07-25 didn't introduce new contents but was a huge technical uplift. The number of daily visitors was still increasing and it was 1100 now. An elma2.exe file was downloaded 1035 times from Moposite in 24 hours in 2003-04-01.

Moposite v3 is the version when the technical details of the website became important for the author. Valid XHTML 1.0 standard and CSS2 were met in 2002. Additionally the printable version was working well with text readers, not that someone needed it. Different languages was a bad idea but mozilla 1.0, how cute?

Abula went to army in July 2003 and also because the workload was getting too heavy, programming help was requested in the Moposite news. And yes, Viper_KillerGuy from Denmark was ready to rock! His first script to Moposite was Kuski gallery where players could chat, upload pictures and share information like in IRC-galleria, a Finnish picture gallery of IRC users which later converted to a generic social platform before Facebook.

Moposite v4 (Paprika)

After Abula was back from the army, building the fourth version of Moposite was started. Viper_KillerGuy was programming and Abula made the layout and ran the "business". Meanwhile the current Moposite reached the popularity peak of its whole history: 1427 daily visitors in average in November 2005.

Moposite v4 looked almost same in 2006 as in 2018 with the exceptions of Elma Ultimate advertisement and a few main sections. Compared to v3, the layout was refreshed and Panel added.

Paprika was a very ambitious project, even too ambitious as the future revealed. The trap of perfectionism was met. Dynamism was programmed even when not really needed. For example the filter system of the News took three months to implement, a feature that no one uses. More should had been concentrated on what matter most: records, replays and competitions.

Building Paprika was started from the core: the technical foundations of the website got actually really good. The website is still running quite nicely after the release 12 years ago. The technical detail the author is most proud of is the three-column layout (aka Holy grail of web design) working 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 browsers without graphical user interface, such as Lynx or slow mobile devices which Nokia were making more popular in 2004. Therefore the text version was supported as well as the columnless layout. This is also the moment when the content versioning system was utilized first time.

Moposite v4 was a great website in technical terms but it took us almost two years to get the early release live and even then (2006-03-24) it lacked many important sections and we had to run the old version alongside.

More

Mopolauta

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 in 2002.

Although most of the sub-forums of the discussion board were actively moderated, the discussion was quite free. Community was maturing and evolving. Thanks to SveinR especially but also dz, MagnusB, axxu and later Orcc, roope and Sla to moderate the forums.

Number of new posts and users in Mopolauta 2002-2017. Golden Era is visible (2001-2006).

16. Community

ribot was first to mention the term community in 2002-05-22 which Moposite started to use in July 2002. But players had been communicating and making connections since 1998. IRC and the discussion forum were the primary means in the early days but a few interviews and meetings happened too. During Golden Era the community evolved abundantly. Several international meetings were organized for example.

This article is a historical overview of the game and the community but the first something similar was the Community history page in Moposite v3 in year 2004. It listed the best players, the greatest teams and the most important historical dates. Later the section was titled as Hall of fame.

Golden Apple Awards had also a few community specific categories.

Winners of Contribution category in GAA 2003-2006:

Year     Player
------------------------
2003     Abula
2004     Viper_KillerGuy
2005     Zebra
2006     Viper_KillerGuy
Winners of Site category in GAA 2003-2006:

Year     Player
------------------------
2003     Abula
2004     Abula
2005     MP & Ville_J
2006     skint0r

The community as it's typical for human beings or well for all living organs, developed an unique way to communicate, a slang of own. The Elma language, Acrossish is mostly a mix of English, Finnish and Swedish and it's mainly evolving in IRC. Additionally some terms have been also invented in the websites when the maintainer needed an unique word to describe a new concept. Some very common and widely used terms to have a special meaning in the community are höylä, kuski, balle and pie. The language in IRC probably looks very strange for an outsider but when people know each others very well, chatting daily together even for decades, the communication happens in meta level, not in the level of exact words or characters. It's same with your beloved one: you don't use literary language anymore but signs of emotions. Some linguistics could find the IRC logs interesting because they represent quite perfectly in literal format, how a "spoken" language evolves.

More
Kuski gallery

Viper_KillerGuy programmed and Moposite published the first Kuski gallery in 2003. The section was upgraded and renamed to Players in the next Moposite version. People were able to upload personal pictures and chat with each other but the discussion forum has always been more active and more important for the community.

First Kuski gallery in 2003.

Players section in 2006.

Kuski of month

As already mentioned the first Kuski of month poll (KOM) was won by zyntifox in January 2001. My turn to get nominated was in April 2002 after Moposite v2.1 was released. The polls were quite popular and most of the winners wrote long interviews to characterize their Elma stories. Karlis was the first one to win it twice.

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 ...
More
Blogs

The first Elma blogs were started in 2004 by skint0r and dz. I wrote my first post to Applelane in 2005-01-21 and the blog remained public until 2017 but Elma hadn't been the main topic in a decade.

The first wiki article of Elasto Mania was created in 2004-12-07. It has been very difficult to meet the quality standards of Wikipedia and the article was taken offline several times.

17. Anti-establishment

As all societies Elma community had also an opposition, even an anti-establisment movement who wanted to revolutionize the system by hacking the rules. For us, PeXi and Abula, the dictators of the Elma world, they were just annoying troublemakers. Luckily we didn't fall to totalitarism because everybody had a freedom of speech, sometimes even democratic polls!

When looking back now and reading the 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 early adopters of new patches and other next things.

In the terminology's point of view we had three level resistance against the Moposite regime: underground world, anti-establishment movement and the established "legal" opposition. Cheating tools and other illegal actions belong to undeground. By anti-establisment movement I mean people who tried to hack the systems, participated the contests "in wrong way" and just did everything the other way round for its own sake. The legal opposition consists of people who had different opinions but accepted the rules.

I'm not sure if people want their names to be listed in this section so let's only mention the leader of the movement who has been around for ages. ribot, interesting work and legacy created! He even won the Kuski of month title before me and by doing it in 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 own "country", Miranda or MIR got 1.5 points in World Cup 4 and ribot was also the last one in the first Level of Month in 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 â–ł. I don't say \DC did it on purpose but his extraordinary nickname has caused lots of technical problems throughout the history.

The first time Abula character entered the Elma art was the Flower Raiders cartoon in January 2001.

Some people used the Abula is watching banner in Mopolauta signatures (2005). I guess I was quite strict moderator back in the days.

Another interesting political case relates to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. One player tricked Abula to replace 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 in the past but quite soon I did figure out that some people do and that it's actually very important question for them, literally a matter of life and death. The flags got fixed.

Non-existing countries, Yugoslavia (24.) and Miranda (30.) got to Records before the political line of Moposite was declared.

18. Meetings

More and bigger meetings than ever before were organized during Golden Era. Finnish, Danish, Hungarian and Czech players were particularly active and almost all meetings had international friends visiting. Several smaller meetings were also organized when people couldn't join the bigger meetings but wanted to say hi to their fellows, even rivals.

Quite a lot of material has preserved but let's look at a few meetings in more detail and the rest only through some pictures and basic facts. More in Ultimate DVD.

The biggest meetings in 1998-2006:

Date         Location          Participants    PeXi  Tisk  Abula
----------------------------------------------------------------
1998 Nov     FIN, Tampere           4           x
1999 Jul     SWE, PiteĂĄ             5           x

... Elasto Mania is released ...

2000 Jun     FIN, Ulvila            6           x      x
2001 May     FIN, Nokia            10           x      x     x

... Golden Era begins ...

2001 Aug     FIN, Helsinki          4                  x
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           x      x     x
2003 Apr     DEN, Frederica        15
2003 Jun     FIN, Polvijärvi       11           x      x     x
2003 Jul     SWE, Falkenberg        4                        x
2003 Aug     DEN, Aabenraa         10
2003 Dec     SWE, Gothenburg        6
2004 Jul     FIN, Lammi            16                  x     x
2004 Aug     HUN, SiĂłfok           17
2004 Sep     RUS, Moscow           10
2004 Dec     FIN, Kokkola           8                        x
2005 Feb     DEN, Aabenraa         14
2005 Jun     FIN, Leivonmäki       24           x      x     x
2005 Oct     DEN, Fjelstervang     21
2005 Dec     DEN, Aarhus            6
2006 Apr     DEN, Aabenraa         20
2006 Aug     FIN, Espoo            11           x      x     x
Zweq in Kokkola (2004)

Traditionally 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 in 2004 Zweq the best Elasto Mania player, let the documentary group to enter his home first time. After meeting Jeppe in Haparanda, Abula, mr and terb0 drove to Kokkola.

During the meeting Zweq drove multiple world class times giving usually only 2-3 tries, such as 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.

Zweq drove several near WR times during the two hour meeting in 2004 but 0:45,37 Headbanger got filmed which is 0:00,83 seconds behind the WR. Although this one needed more than 2-3 tries.

Finnish Elma Meetings

There are six players who participated all the Finnish Elma Meetings organized during Golden Era: 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
6 first internal results 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.  BarTek        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 results 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.  BarTek        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   
...

We need to remember that it wasn't easy to bring own computers to the meetings before the time of laptops and thin screens, especially when coming from abroad.

A Czech player named mrickx joined FEM02. No international friends came to Polvijärvi the deep east in 2003 but in 2004 there were three: Luther and Ramone from Sweden and krychek from Hungary. Year 2005 was a blast: eight players from Sweden and Norway. One player was particularly interesting: TorInge. He proved to be real and clean player when he drove his legendary 24 hours total time (37:39,71) including one WR during the meeting. And four multi world records. TorInge was also able to drive unbelieavable times by his strange game pad. And high graphical details on, of course. Just amazing.

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.

19. Flowertouching Men

Eventhough being biased, I'm pretty sure that 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 ignored. FM was the best team in World Cup 2000, 3, 4 and the third best in World Cup 5. Also FM has most team points in Mopobattles. All in all, the members of the team have been very active in many different areas of the Elma world since 1999 when the team was founded. The members have organized also four FEMs and kept Moposite running for almost two decades.

FM didn't ever win the Team category in Golden Apple Awards because the dominance didn't last till year 2004 when the first team trophy was given. Team ICE won it twice during Golden Era.

Flowertouching Men 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 very top players of the Across years. The team got 25 WRs in the first Elma WR table when PRA was second with 9 WRs.

There have been 13 members 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 Jokke quits and MP joins in. Karlis is the only one staying since foundation, although the situation is complicated at the moment (2018-02-17). Current members are Karlis, Tisk, Abula, mr, dz and MP but the glory days are far behind.

So mr and I joined FM in 2002. We were the only active players in MC when Tuska had quit in November 2001 and Markku was having a break. The deal of joining happened in Finnish Elma Meeting 2002 as well as the first team picture was taken. FM team spirit actualized in two team meetings after Golden Era when other meetings were not organized.

Team FM in secret FM corner in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005.

20. Art

Some of the best art work created during Golden Era are presented next.

Program

Some new games inspired by Elma were created such as Amle which is actually quite good platform game programmed by Cossades in 2004. There are some Amle videos online.

A platform game named Amle was inpired by Elma (2004).

Text

In August 2001 a new section named Articles was added to Moposite. Most of the texts below were published there.

Audio

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 ... and Raider, Mika and Bob. You are not unique.

DJ BarTek - One Two Elasto (2003-08-03).

CEC - All Up In Your Face by ciph, Juish and agent#00negro from Canada (2004-11-28). Lyrics.

Video

The first videos of the actual Elma gameplay were filmed in meetings, at least since Finnish Elma Meeting 2002 but the quality was poor and it was more about fooling around than documenting anything. Filming Zweq to play at his home in December 2004 was something more. The quality was still poor but you could get some sense and impression how a top player masters.

After a screenshot dumper patch got released, External Ways was the first quality gameplay video which was created by Kestas in 2005-07-30. The video inspired more artists to join and we will see great results in the next era.

Image

There are captions.

Summary of the chapter

The Golden Era 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 more players than ever before participated World Cups. Hibernatus and milagros programmed first unofficial Elasto Mania versions.

We have reached year 2007 by now. Fourth version of Moposite was 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 by skint0r in 2006.

Elasto Mania Done (fairly) Quick by skint0r 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 (2018-02-21) is 34:33,82 so plenty of newer styles are missing. Pay attention how the bike is still behind the graphical elements.

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 now but it wasn't even near to end.

milagros created the first versions of the unofficial Elma Online patches which revolutionized the game and community once again. Battles were running almost around the clock. Zweq the Great got also inspired and drove records which 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 and more innovative when playing a vast number of battles: the world records kept on improving. Luckily many high quality gameplay videos were also created: the era is documented very well.

Golden Apple Awards were organized every year and the second exclusive Elma collection was published (Elma Ultimate DVD). In addition Zebra's huge Level Archive was released in 2008.

Moposite crew including myself were in hibernation. Thereby this chapter is second hand information again. The era didn't see a World Cup and Finnish Elma Meetings were skipped. Emphasis was placed on playing like it was in the era of Prelude to Elma. The community was truly reshaping.

1. Elma Online

Before we talk about Belma, let's look at the development steps of online playing.

A player named bob was first to mention the Elma Online in 2002-06-11, although he didn't really mean the same as we understand the term nowadays. Back then eol referred to a multiplayer mode over LAN. It wasn't trivial to sync data over network and keep Elma touch pristine, so after almost four years were needed to take the development steps before milagros released the patch in 2006-02-15.

2002-06-11: bob mentions the term.

2002-06-12: There are rumours.

2002-10-04: Karlis presents the idea of Elma Online as we understand it today.

2003-02-24: Hibernatus shares technical information.

2006-02-15: milagros is ready with the first EOL, a multiplayer patch over LAN.

Network configuration settings of EOL (2006).

2. Belma

milagros kept on patching and he released Belma in the beginning of 2007 which was a huge step forward in battle playing compared to battlebot, but it had also severe flaws to deal with.

Technical information of Belma 1.006 (2009-08-19).

In essence Belma enabled online playing with an in-game chat and automated results. Some other new features were custom T-shirts, in-game downloads and uploads, several different contest modes such as first finish, one-life and one hour total time. The Hooked-bug got fixed, the replay filename was extended from 8 to 15 characters and the length from five minutes to one hour.

Everybody got own custom t-shirts in Belma (2009-08-19).

The playing experience in Belma was totally different. It was almost a new game except the physics remained same so the old levels could be still competed. Community is grateful to milagros for his efforts. Many players perhaps most notably skint0r, Zworqy and Zebra helped with testing, servers, results and other organizing tasks.

Promo video of Belma by 8-ball (2007-03-06).

More

3. #ballelma

Belma made battling more popular than ever before. People were able to upload and download levels and replays inside the game by a few key presses and the results were real-time and automatic all the way. No manual work was needed by the players.

There wasn't any website or database to collect the times into but Belma patch sent the results to #ballelma IRC channel and Zebra generated statistics out of the logs like he had done with #battle battles since 2003. skint0r made a website for Belma results but it was taken offline after some players hacked the Belma system which wasn't designed to be secure in the first place. The #ballelma results are not 100 % clean but still clean enough to make some analysis here.

skint0r made a quick site for Belma battles in 2007-05-24.

58395 battles were played during Belma Period. 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 time during the whole period. The running time is amazing. Battles were played almost around the clock for four years!

The numbers of the previous four years (2003-2007) were 36093 battles played, 4.08 players, 12.95 minutes length and 21 % running time. The popularity and activity of the battles roughly trippled compared to the #battle times.

Markku and jaytea dominated battles in 2003-2007 but when more people were participating, Markku and jaytea weren't overwhelming anymore. Once again it's hard to reduce the results to one single ranking so we need to look at several lists.

Annual statistics
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 %)

*) must be in top-100 in total points to keep it somewhat comparable

Zweq basically won everything in 2007-2009. It's unbelievable incredible that one player can win half of the battles when there are over ten competitors everytime. It's like TorInge had 27 WRs in one table: 50 %. Half is the maximum reasonable goal in most Elma contests. Exceeding that usually indicates that there is only one participant.

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
Total statistics
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.  Zweq         FIN      6208     79291
6.  Bjenn        SWE      5643     74941
7.  Nekit        RUS      6505     71371
8.  FinMan       FIN      5041     69825
9.  GRob         HUN      4705     69077
10. Smibu        FIN      5189     67331
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
  	
*) must be in top-100 in total points to keep it somewhat comparable
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 %	

*) must be in top-100 in total points to keep it somewhat comparable

By doing some manual ad hoc combination I would say that the top-3 best battlers during Belma Period were Zweq, Markku and Kazan. A bit behind 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
More

4. It's getting tight

There were 180 new world records between WR tables #255 and #314 in four years. Golden Era had about three times more in same duration so the magniture of the world records in Belma Period was about one third compared to Golden Era. In addition only one WR total time minute limit barrier was broken when it happened four times in Golden Era.

Number of new world records in 2000-2017.

It was getting tighter. Some levels particularly were near to their minimum.

Less improved WRs during Belma Period:

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 *

*) will be greatly improved

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: Pipe 4 seconds, Downhill 3 seconds and Gravity Ride and Jaws almost one second each.

Uphill Battle and Warm Up are also two of the oldest world records ever.

Oldest WRs driven in Belma Period (by number of tables):

#   Player     Level            Tables     Driven                Beaten
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  Zweq       Warm Up             122     2007-03-17 (#259)     2015-04-14 (#381)
9.  Jarkko     Uphill Battle        95+    2009-10-09 (#301)     -
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)

4.1. WR tables #255-#314

This is how the WR table looked in the beginning of Belma Period (2007-01-07).

And this is how the WR table looked in the end of Belma Period (2010-07-21), one minute limit later. One ice cream left and a few new teams appeared.

WNO remained in the WR table but ICE didn't, well except The Stig (who?) with his Bumpy Journey WR. Kazan's first WR appeared in 2007-10-28 (#273). For some reason the world record of Islands in the Sky has always belonged to not very well known internalists: Gazoline, jx, krus, proDigy and Honza.

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 were only one less than in Golden Era so it was more diversified now because the total number of WRs was only a third. 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 with Zweq and John was overwhelming. The top-2 in Golden Era was ICE and WNO but ICE was gone now. FM and WNO were the only teams to survive from the previous era's top-10.

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 surviving from the Golden Era top-10.

During Belma Period Zweq won three times the Internalist category in Golden Apple Awards and Kazan once.

4.2. John under 36:00,00

A player named 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 but in Belma Period he passed even TorInge in 2007-01-07 to become the number one in the personal total times list. 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:

Limit       Player     Nat.    Date
------------------------------------------------
36 mins     John       SWE     2009-07-13 (#298)

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 of Hi Flyer and Ramp Frenzy which improved the total time by over ten seconds! The speculation how to get under 35 minutes started right after in 2007-06-17. It took five years and four months more to finally get under the next limit but it happened.

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.

4.3. Multiplayer in LAN

milagros' first Elma Online patch, EOL (2006) enabled multiplaying over network and it was dicussed if the community should accept WRs driven in the online mode in 2006-02-16. Some players like Zweq and Juzam used it in LAN so they could play on their own computers, essentially having own keyboards and screens. Yet multi lists were pretty quiet during Belma Period: the multi WR total time improved only 0:25,93 seconds, mostly by Zweq and Juzam who also broke the 23 minutes limit barrier in 2007-04-25.

This is so far the last multi total times list (2009-05-21). Zweq and Juzam got under 23 minutes in previous table which was updated two years earlier.

The last multi WR table (2009-09-05) before EOL enabled multiplaying over internet.

4.4. pawq and jon the rescuers

As mentioned earlier the fourth Moposite version in 2006 was the end of the active times of Moposite. For example the Records section was updated 11 times in year 2006 but only 4 times in 2007. During 2008-2010 there was only one Records update per year which was way too little when considering the plenty of active internalists playing.

The demand of the more active records lists was met by pawq and jonharkulsykkel (aka jonsykkel aka jon). pawq started to update a combined total times list in Mopolauta in 2008-11-21 which is still updated regularly at the time of writing (2018-03-01). jon's elmastats page was released in 2010-10-17 which is similar to vk's elmatimes.php but much fancier look.

pawq started to update combinated total times lists in Mopolauta in 2008 when Moposite Records were updated too seldom. The screenshot was taken in 2018-03-01.

jon's elmastats was launched in 2010-10-17 and it has lasted the best dynamic records system since then. The screenshot was taken in 2018-03-01.

Moposite came back to business in 2011-01-09 when the Records were connected to EOL by Kopaka and all the times driven in Elma Online were automatically updated to Moposite as well. But even today (2018-03-01) both pawq's and jon's lists have slightly better times than Moposite so it's complicated.

5. Amazing WR styles

Belma Period starts from the WR table #255 because that's the table where Zweq drove his first crazy new WR style (Animal Farm). In total Zweq drove nine ridiculously amazing world records during Belma Period. I would argue that all of them belong to the top-20 coolest Elma WRs ever.

1:14,34 Zweq (WR #255) 1:15,82 Xiphias (WR #252)

The improvement of the first amazing WR was only 0:01,48 seconds (2007-01-06) but the style was radically different which opened gates for more improvements. Today the time is over four more seconds better (2018-02-28).

1:17,63 Zweq (WR #262) 1:23,35 John (WR #248)

Zweq's Apple Harvest time was 0:05,72 seconds better (2007-05-07) which gives it the eigth best absolute and the 14th best relative improvement rankings ever. Apple Harvest WR was 2:02,63 in the first WR table in 2000 and at the time of writing (2018-03-02) it's 1:12,89. The WR was 2:40,63 in Across in 1998-07-19.

We would watch Zweq's Tunnel Terror 0:54,98 (#262) now but there will 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 big (2007-05-26), especially when the level had been played already for ten years.

0:30,66 Zweq (WR #265)

Zweq's WR in Hi Flyer in table #265 (2007-06-14) is one of the greatest world record ever. An easy short level which has been played since the first Across 1.0 version, had an uncovered style which improved the WR by 0:02,35 seconds. Today the WR is almost four more seconds better (2018-03-01).

0:42,85 Zweq (WR #265)

Table #265 (2007-06-14) could be the second most important WR table after the first one (or TorInge's 27 WRs in #232) because in addition to Hi Flyer, Zweq drove also the legendary Ramp Frenzy shortcut which 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. Today (2018-03-05) the WR is three seconds better.

0:11,09 Zweq (WR #266) 0:11,48 Ded (WR #262)

Zweq discovered his seventh new revolutionary style in summer 2007. Since WR table #266 The Steppes has been the shortest world record (2007-06-26). We already watched some Steppes replays in Prelude to Elma chapter but the level is worth watching even more. Another brutal volt WR.

0:42,69 Zweq (WR #284) 0:42,97 axxu (WR #254)

After one year break Zweq found another new "left first" style in 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 one more new style WR in Bounce Back in 2008-08-30. Styles like this were dreams of hundreds of players but only a few actually made one. Zweq the Great did it nine times in less than two years.

1:14,34 Zweq (WR #255) 1:12,41 John (WR #298)

John's new style of jumping directly to the octopus (2009-07-04) shaves several seconds from the WR total time.

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 Serpents Tale in 2009-07-04.

0:29,64 Zweq (WR #308) 0:29,54 zaraptor (WR #311)

zaraptor found a new route in Over and Under after the level had been played 17 years (2010-05-01). The style was exposed first time in 300 AVR PART2 in 2009-10-06.

5. Zweqspin

Many of the possible tricks of the Elma bike such as bounce, supervolt, alovolt, brutal volt and deadbounce were already discovered but there was at least one more left which was even utilized in a world record.

First public zweqspin replay was driven by Barhom in year 2001 but Zweq's Tunnel Terror 0:54,98 appeared in WR table #262 (2007-05-07).

0:54,98 (WR #262) 0:56,57 (WR #261)

Zweqspin is the most remarkable new driving trick found during Belma period. It was even utilized in Tunnel Terror WR (2007-05-07), in a level that has been played since 1997. And even this style wasn't the fastest route: the WR is six seconds better today (2018-03-05).

10znew1154.rec

The Steppes can be finished by using the zweqspin trick but sadly it's slightly slower. The replay is by ... Zweq and it won the Replay category in GAA11.

Zweqspin is a great example of better bike control by Belma Period players who learnt these skills while playing different battles all day long. Of course Zweqspin is also an example of one great player whose innovativeness and skills were just beyond everybody else. The previous two chapters look like there was only one active player around but that's not the case at all. And Zweq's brilliance is not even ending yet.

More

6. Uphilling

Zweqspin was an impressive new trick but there was another special driving style that got more popularized during Belma Period. skint0r had tried his best to ban all uphilling levels during #battle era - which I completely understand - but during Belma the moderators gave up and the levels weren't blocked anymore.

teajay was probably the first one with his Fish levels (2007-05-28) to introduce these very hard uphill levels which were possible to finish but often just too hard even for the best players. The levels were usually set as first finish contest type (aka FF) so you didn't have to be super fast if you could just keep on climbing without dying.

There were some pre-uphilling levels in Moposite's Special contests and of course there's the internal level Uphill Battle but we are talking about something more now.

Fish0013_802Zwe.rec

Zweq was also mastering the uphilling battles in the beginning (2007-05-30).

It's not a surprise that players got even more skilled when their bike control improved in battles like these. More players will join the uphilling competition in the next era.

What's also interesting is that uphilling is actually the closest contest to real trial biking that we have got in Elma—yet only a few actually like them.

7. Pipe Princes

Pipes were also played more than before. They were common battle levels but there were also level packs and even a cup dedicated just for the pipes. The replays got crazier when the new pipe royals finished extremely hard levels and even some of the classics in a way which left old Pipe Kings in shadows.

Zero was only 11 years old when making this movie of playing by himself (2008-06-12). Zero becomes one of the best battlers ever in the upcoming years. No center camera.

ChainPIIadi.rec

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 the maximum length of the replay was 4:59,99.

John's 0:49,96 record in "Abula's classic pipelevel" in 2010-01-14.

Summary of MiE Pipe Cup by Mawane. The cup started in 2010-05-05.

8. Active contests

Three events related to the contests of Belma Period are important. The first one, Kopaka's Interactive Levelpack Records system was published in 2006-11-14. Kopaka released also the Open Source Automated Cup script in 2009-08-15. Kopaka's scripts enabled everybody to organize cups and level pack contests. Also Zebra's huge Level Archive was published in 2008-06-13 which is still (2018-03-03) the largest level collection ever created.

Numerous cups were organized and many of them are missing here due to lack of information.

Cups organized in Belma Period:

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. Banana Cup 4 had crazy rules like Kahvicup in the early days. TEH Cup was the first to use Kopaka's Cup script. Goliath Cup had exceptional long levels.

Ramone started to create lots of new levels during Belma Period like 321 battle levels in three months in 2008 and Internal Edits in 2008-06-09. jonsta also created internal styled level pack named Instead Internals in 2008.

Level designing GAAs

I don't know this period at all but looks like Ramone and Jappe2 have been active at least.

The Dead Scene by Xhomaz (2007)

Tyrant by Jappe2 (2008)

Chain Pie II MPFKBJKZB by Mawane (2009)

Deth Appels by jonsykkel (2010)

Winners of the Designer category in GAA 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.

9. Community reshaping

When Moposite wasn't active anymore, there was more room for other websites and sub-communities to bloom. People who played only battles were clearly a new group but there were also some regional communities with their own contests and cups. In the early days Hungary, Czech, Denmark and Russia were active particularly and in later years it looks like the German speaking countries had their own website as well as Hungarians and Russians.

Finnish Elma Meetings and other big meetings were taking a break during Belma Period. 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 a new 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: in 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 Contribution category in GAA 2007-2010:

Year     Player
------------------------
2007     milagros
2008     Kopaka
2009     Kopaka
2010     milagros
Winners of Site category in GAA 2007-2010:

Year     Player
------------------------
2007     Kopaka
2008     Kopaka
2009     Zworqy
2010     jonsykkel
Winner of Community Award category in GAA 2007-2010:

Year     Player
------------------------
2007     milagros
2008     niN
2009     Kopaka
2010     milagros

Social media was still young in Belma Period. Blogs and discussion forum had existed since Golden Era but the Youtube scene was blooming. The oldest video still online in Youtube was uploaded by Tontsa84 in 2006-03-20.

During Belma Period the first Facebook group and Twitter tweet were created but activity was very modest. The players still communicated in the old internet world, IRC and Mopolauta.

9. Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010)

Golden Apple Awards was organized first time in 2003 and the tradition continued during the whole Belma Period. Thanks to SveinR and other jury members to make it happen! The tradition will last at least till 2017.

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 levels can win the Art category like Antz did in 2008? By tits. Penis levels are so passé.

11. Gameplay videos

Elma art incarnated in video format in Belma Period. Lots of gameplay videos of internals, externals, cups, even LGRs were created. Let's watch the rest of the best videos which weren't already presented in more appropriate chapters.

The pioneers of Elma videos were MUe, Kestas and skint0r. Jappe2 was active in Belma Period and iCS takes the lead a bit later.

Internal levels

The second version of Elma Done Quick (35:58,33) was released in 2007-07-28 by skint0r again. All the replays are contemporary world records! People didn't keep their styles secret anymore.

Elma Done Quick (35:58,33) by skint0r (2007-07-28).

Another interesting internal levels video, Internal Memories by Jappe2 (2010-09-22) is a really nice history of Elma internal world records. The video was created in honour of the 10th Elasto Mania anniversary.

Internal Memories by Jappe2 (2010-09-22)

Art
Tutorials

12. Ultimate DVD

The second exclusive Elma data collection was made by Abula in 2010 when he got inspired by Zebra's huge Level Archive. The first collection, Elma Forever CD was made by MUe in 2001.

Elma Ultimate DVD by Abula in 2010.

Most of the interesting files in DVD from Belma Period were already presented except a few images.

And the following images should have been in the DVD.

Summary of the chapter

Besides of the Belma patch itself, the highlights of Belma Period are definitely Zweq's nine new 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 battles from day to day.

milagros' patch revolutionized the game but Belma Period was also decadence. Belma was vulnerable to hacking and spoiling the battles if someone wanted. And of course there was someone who did just that and even kept on terrorizing and demotivating others for years.

Moposite was inactive, no big meetings or World Cups were organized and many players were having a break. On top of that an undetectable cheat method was spreading in underground 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 the next patch.

V. Age of EOL (2010 Jul —)🔝

The era we are going to look at now, 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. It's difficult to align events to a bigger picture when looking at the recent history.

milagros had programmed two Elma Online versions already, the simple multiplayer LAN patch (2006) and Belma (2007) but he decided to make one more because Belma had severe flaws and a few new cool 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 also seen in TV! New superstars rocked but many old legends made comebacks to join the community, the one and only.

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 assume the version number 1.11 should be actually 1.1.1. In addition 1.3 is written in the start screen. Most people call the patch just EOL.

The era of Belma was sort of decadence because some idiots abused the vulnerable system which got other people to stop making good, even quit. Belma didn't provide tools for moderators. Luckily the community had milagros the hero who was ready to fight again.

2007-12-14: New version is coming.

2009-12-13: After two years most of the program code is written.

2010-07-25: NaDiRu drove the first record to a database after EOL was released. As the URL shows, the first EOL website was running in Moposite.

Programming EOL took about two and half years which is normal time compared to other big Elma projects and it's particularly justifiable when considering the vast number of new features implemented in EOL. In addition to the moderating tools, the most important feature is that all finished times are saved in the database. Lots of other data, for example all key presses of every drive are saved too but it was still the finished times that mattered most.

EOL provided many new features to make playing more convenient and fair. Let's look at some of the most interesting ones.

  • Levels and replays are downloadable and uploadable in-game.
  • The in-game chat has private and ignore modes and it can be scrolled.
  • All players' best times of all levels can be viewed in-game.
  • FPS can be set to a fixed number so the annoying and unfair vsync problem was finally resolved.
  • The maximum allowed amount of objects, polygons and vertices was increased to practically unlimited.
  • Battle queue in-game.
  • Observing other players. You can also show and hide other players and team members.
  • Speed-o-meter and the time when the previous apple was taken.
  • Lots of new battle modes such as last finish, Flag Tag, apple count, maximum speed, reversed keys, one turn, hidden times, one wheel and multiplayer.
  • 24 hours total time and a cup can be organized inside the patch.
  • Possible to force the background and foreground textures to always have the best contrast and set all pictures in background.
  • Moving apples animation can be stopped.
  • Centered navigation map.
  • Replay saving reminded.
  • Free camera to overview the level.

Most of new battle modes are not used very often: normal and first finish battles which were already available in Belma patch, are the most popular. Some new options increased playability a lot. Eventhough some modifications limited the power of level designers, it made more people to use high graphical details because pictures couldn't ruin visibility anymore. When game physics remained same but playability improved a lot, EOL was just perfect.

Configuration settings of EOL (2010). Or Elasto Mania 1.3 if you don't mind.

And the list didn't stop yet. Because EOL uses a server to send the data of key presses and other values, it became impossible to use saveload cheat which is very easy to catch programmatically.

The first recorded time in the EOL database was driven in 2010-07-25 by NaDiRu and the first battle was played in 2010-07-26. But multi WR table #143 in 2010-07-21 indicates the patch was already in use by some players: Kopaka (DEN) & Labs (HUN) and axxu & Markku from different cities had driven new WRs.

I've been told that the first beta testers were Zweq, Kopaka, Zworqy, Markku, Labs, 8-ball, Orcc, KD, Jappe2 and a few more. The number of beta testers was expanded quite rapidly to all known old players with a reputation of not being destructive. The next multi WR table in 2010-08-17 had 29 new WRs by 24 different player combinations and eight days later 11 WRs more. EOL was a breakthrough. Yet multiplaying was only a small part of the new patch—normal online battles and other contest modes were even more popular.

The patch was beta tested exhaustively and it was released with a promo video and the official level pack in 2011-08-12. The plan was to reset the database with the official public release but it never happened because most of the active players had been playing the patch seriously for a year already.

8-ball published the EOL Trailer in 2011-08-11.

More

2. elmaonline.net

The elmaonline.net domain was registered in 2010-08-07 by Kopaka and the first version of the website was published in 2011-08-03. The outlook of the website by niN was voted out of five candidates. The next important step was a new database engine in 2012-04-23. After collecting lots of data to the database, the queries started to be too slow at some point without smart indices and computed key value tables. The website outlook was refreshed again in 2013 and 2015.

The first version of EOL website by niN 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.

The current design of the EOL site was made by Kopaka in 2015-11-04.

The Elma Online website presents all information needed: news, battle results, internal levels times, external level contests, player profiles and many kinds of lists and statistics. It's a great service for the Elma Online patch.

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. Let's look at the results.

GRob won the first battle that was saved in the EOL database (2010-07-26). onlainari is always present when something new happens.

Annual statistics
Annual statistics of EOL battles:

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:

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
Total statistics
Top-10 players by battle total points in EOL battles:

#   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 battle average points in EOL battles:

#   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 battle win ratio in EOL battles:

#   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 born: Zero and adi are new names in the very top.

Total number of battles per year has been slightly decreasing over the years but community managed to get 71 levels in a battle queue in 2017-02-14. Each level must be uploaded by a different player.

There is also a nice video of EOL battles in 2012 when the most skilled contemporary players were on fire: Markku, Kazan, Zweq and others. Remember that most of the replays have been played in 15-30 minutes, yet the skill quality is comparable to the five years old WR replays. Battling had really taken players to a new level.

Big Plays Battle Highlights by Bjenn in 2012-08-30. The pike levels seems to have become more popular in EOL. saHHaus by Abula is the first known pike level (2000-02-11).

More

2.2. Apple battles

One of the most popular battle modes in EOL is the apple battle where the point is to collect as many apples as possible and it doesn't have to be done in one drive. Good apple battle levels are usually tricky.

Apple battle by Chris (2018-02-08).

2.3. Battle Cups

A new cup type was also initiated during Age of EOL: the idea of battle cup is that there are, let's say 10 events, one per day and an event lasts for example 60 minutes.

Battle Cups in Age of EOL:

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?

Most players have been mainly battling during the EOL years but some true warriors were still hunting down world records and total time limits.

Since 2011-06-23 world records must have been driven in EOL while connected to the server. 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 only way to keep the WR table still open.

When talking about the WR table, the outlook of it has intrestingly remained 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 some people were even against adding a WR total time below the table to ease browsing the WR history.

The last WR total time minute limit break (35:00,00) so far happened 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 climax was over but there was still a lot to improve.

This is how the WR table looked in the beginning of Age of EOL (2010-08-28). FM is still alive!

And this is how the WR table looked in 2018-03-17. Spef and team dat appeared. The number of different WR holders is the lowest ever: 12.

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
...

We definitely have a new superstar! Spef beat Zweq and Kazan which is remarkable. Spef's first WR was driven in 2012 and he won the Internalist category in Golden Apple Awards 2013, 2014 and 2016. Kazan in 2011 and 2017, and Zweq in 2012.

Zweq, Kazan, Bjenn and Madness survived from the top-10 of Belma Period. Zweq was present also in Golden Era.

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.

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 Elma Online 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 (by number of tables):

#   Player     Level                Tables   Driven                Broken
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
20. Kazan      Tricks Abound          77     2010-09-25 (#318)     2018-02-12 (#395)
30. _Mika      Spiral                 67     2010-10-09 (#319)     2016-10-26 (#386)
32. Zweq       Over and Under         66+    2011-02-07 (#330)     -
    Zweq       Twin Peaks             66+    2011-02-07 (#330)     -
45. Ded        Flat Track             63     2011-01-15 (#328)     2017-09-03 (#391)
    Kazan      Haircut                63+    2011-04-18 (#333)     -
49. Honza      Islands in the Sky     61     2010-06-23 (#313)     2014-04-01 (#374)

*) Data updated: 2018-03-15

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 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. The question who will be the first under 35 minutes is still open.

35:44,51 Zweq (2011-01-09). Ten total times out of top-20 were improved in Age of EOL.

35:20,60 Kazan (2014-04-14). At this point TorInge and Kowal were the last ones not improved in EOL years.

35:18,06 Spef (2016-06-03)

35:02,95 Kazan (2017-03-02)

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.

17 players participated the 1h tt 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. However, let's combine the results to have some fun!

Best personal total times in 1 hour (by difference to contemporary WR total time):

#   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)
...
    IRK         1:03:23,25     +23:44,03     2002-03-15 (#81)
    TonyLee     1:10:33,44     +30:08,03     2001-05-01 (#65)
    Bobisek     1:46:45,64     +66:23,41     2001-06-06 (#68)

... in a meeting ...

1.  adi           40:43,30      +5:58,48     2015-08-14 (#382)
2.  Ramone        52:58,84     +15:44,26     2004-07-24 (#178)
3.  Markku        54:39,70     +17:51,57     2005-06-15 (#212)

adi's 40:30,87 total time in one hour competition was filmed in 2014-08-31.

More

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. The real life friends weren't dominating anymore. One can ask if it's a good thing but community was positive in Belma Period to allow multi WRs to be driven by two computers over network.

24 different player combinations in multi WR table #144 (2010-08-17) which was the first big update after EOL was published.

The last multi WR table (so far) was updated in 2013-04-14.

4. 5 mins on Sunday

For some reason it's never been very common to reveal your total playing times. It's much more likely to see comments like "5 mins on sunday" which refers to an old World Cup joke or just saying "ez" no matter if the result required one or one hundred hours. People rather underestimate their efforts than reveal the truth of playing like hell. This is probably the second reason why average records never got very popular. The first reason is that it's waste of time to finish all attempts.

The first time when we got some data of the real playing times was in World Cup events and especially in battles. Now we knew that no one played at least more than one week or 30 minutes. But since 2010 we have much more data, namely the exact timestamps of all key presses and apples collected of every attempt. And because the replay isn't even considered legal if played offline, the data is practically complete.

Despite the vast amount of data available, quite little new information exists. It's probably not that interesting to know who has pressed ESC or throttle key most which is probably the one who has played most in total. And if we divide it by the playing time, it's probably the player who has played most a single level which requires lots of throttling. Perhaps Jarkko and Uphill Battle? Apparently this information is not available at the moment (2018-03-17).

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 a previous WR was updated on the table? Ultimately, is there any "first try" WR that can be proved by real hard data? Or who has played the most in total? Per year? Only internals? Per level? Or played a level longest time but never got a WR in it? What's the most played level in total by all players? The least played internal? My bets: Headbanger and Precarious.

Or who has played the longest without any break longer than 1 minute? Longest time having only maximum 15 min breaks? 24 hours? 1 week? Is there anyone who has played every week since 2010?

Because we don't have that kind of statistics yet, let's look at some single facts which are public information. Jarkko published his top-2000 times in Uphill Battle in 2011-11-17. 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. So during four years he used maybe 110 hours plus breaks. That's nothing to have the legendary Uphill Battle WR which is even the ninth oldest WR ever and is still counting (2018-03-30).

Another insane record is adi winning the Achievement category in Golden Apple Awards 2016 by 2593 finished pipe levels in 30 days. I haven't seen the levels but unless all of them are very short and easy, it's quite a result to finish almost 100 different pipe levels everyday for a month.

One more fact was revealed in a prior chapter: Blaztek has played 14116 battles in eight years which is 1750 hours if we estimate that he played half of each battle playing time. Zero probably surpasses even that with his 11169 battles because he has also played several other contests and cups.

5. Awesome WR replays

Now we must be careful because it's possible that some WR styles are not public yet. Moposite added a five year rule to the WR table in 2010-09-14 which means that all WR replays can be published in five years after they appeared on the table.

0:51,88 Zweq (WR #315) 0:54,53 Bjenn (WR #309)

Zweq kept on finding new amazing WR styles after Belma Period. The first one was 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)

A russian player named romy4 used a new route in the bottom part of the level 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 Tricks Abound made it the sixth WR style having a brutal volt (2010-09-25).

We would watch Kazan's Downhill 0:43,94 now (#334, 2011-06-05) but there will be a better chapter for the style because it was the first WR style which was inspired by the saveload patch.

0:50,24 Kazan (WR #341)

Kazan found one more new style in 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 2012 which was presented in the introduction chapter of this article. So go watch it now and come back then. On the other hand all the interesting styles in the video have been introduced already in this article at this point so you can also just keep on reading.

0:30,17 Bjenn (WR #367) 0:30,19 Spef (WR #344)

Bjenn's Long Haul wasn't a big improvement in 2013-07-23 but it's marvelous that a level number six had 16 years an uncovered 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 and at least mr and Stini had driven better times than the WR 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 awesome. It won also the WR category in GAA14.

0:13,97 Bene (WR #381) 0:14,00 Zweq (WR #259)

It's almost unbelievable but the first level of the game which had been played 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 will be discussed later. The previous WR by Zweq lasted 122 tables which is the second longest 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. Zig-Zag is a level which has over 10 different routes and the world record has been improved 39 times since 2000. Spef has had also seven WRs in Rubic's cube which is far more popular "game" so it's tempting to say the Zig-Zag WR is quite close what is humanly possible. The current record is over one minute faster than the WR in table #1.

We already watched Mielz's Enigma WR (#389) but it must 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 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.

6. Wheelpop

Four major tricks were discovered before Age of EOL: bounce, supervolt, brutal volt and zweqspin. But there was still one more left which is useful in world records. The oldest known WR having a wheelpop is Ded's Flat Track WR in 2011-01-15 (#328) but it was Bene who popularized the trick in his Freefall WR in 2014-01-11 (#371). Bene also used it in his 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 Flat Track 0:14,64 WR contains even three wheelpops.

under03sz292.rec

Three wheelpops by Zweq (2017-07-29).

At this point I would describe the technical details of wheelpop if I understood it myself. Bene has explained it in Mopolauta.

It gets even more wicked when several wheelpops are performed in a row. Even terminology is murky here but chainpop usually refers 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 a cool 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 even 16 seconds better than the current WR. The best saveload time without any wheelpops is nine seconds slower (2:04,54). So wheelpop and chainpop specifically, are very effective tricks but just too hard to actually use except in very short and easy levels.

Labyrinth Pro 1:55,48 by Zweq and Bene (2017-07-29). The replay is tool-assisted, utilizing all known hacks and tricks and it's only theoretically possible. The current real WR is 2:11,62.

And even that's not all. Bene introduced reverse wheelpop in 2018-01-29 although it's not used in any world record.

7. Spinboost

This is getting ridiculous now but there is even one more trick which sunl introduced in 2017-01-10.

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.

Spinboost explained by sunl (2017-01-11).

Sla used spinboost trick in his Flat Track WR in 2017-09-03 (#392).

8. Science

After reading about Bene's wheelpop and sunl's spinboost researches, we need to look at the history of Elma science. It looks like it has been brought to a new level. We can probably agree that the fine-granular nature of Elma is indeed extraordinary amongst the computer games.

The changed head position in Elma compared to Across is the first scientific discovery documented by Abula in 2000. DarMoed published a paper about vsync in 2002 and Moposchool, published in 2007, is a comprehensive collection of different bike tricks and moves.

domi published a poster of the Elma scientific facts in 2010.

Big Book of Elma Facts by domi in 2010.

One player to have a clear scientific approach with his experiments is Pab. He was a very active battler in Belma Period who later specialized to hard and strange levels.

pob0742Pab11139.rec

Pab did experimental stuff with killers in 2014-06-01.

elmzukexPab.rec

Pab's replay (2015-10-17) gets interesting at 2:55. Because the official level packs in the official website have tons of these kind of horrible newbie levels, everybody knows them but it was Pab who brought them back to the highlight in 2015 by showing something interesting.

sunl continued his hi-tech work by Scifi Level Pack in 2016-12-09.

scifi02j.rec

jblaze finishes a scifi level by sunl (2016-12-09).

Both wheel and head can go through the wall which reminds us that Elma world is digital. When playing Elma in 30 FPS, it means a single frame lasts 0.033 seconds (and 0.034 every 31st time), and because the wheel and head positions are checked every 0.03 second by the program code it's possible to go through the wall in high speed if the collision happens inbetween the checkpoints.

Demonstration how the head and wheel can go through the wall in high speed and low FPS (2015-08-30).

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.

Website of World Cup 6 by Ville_J (2013)

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 of 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 a level by Csaba Rozsa, the designer of most official internal levels. 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 by iCS (2016-12-15). The quality of the videos has improved quite a lot.

More

10. World Cup 7

The active players of the new generation organized World Cup 7 too. It was running from 2017-02-19 to 2017-05-21. 123 players, 22 countries and 46 teams got points. Italy got points the first time. Ville_J was the main organizer.

Website of World Cup 6 by Ville_J (2017)

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 of 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 by iCS (2017-07-22). Levels were particularly interesting in this World Cup.

skint0r created new statistics: events leaders.

Ramone was awarded the best level designer of World Cup 7.

11. Traditional contests

Age of EOL mostly consists of battles but there have been also some traditional high quality contests.

Cups organized in Age of EOL:

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

... World Cup 6 ...

2015-02-01     MiE Cup 1                         Spef        MiE

... World Cup 7 ...

2017-11-26     Rambo 2                           adi         Ramone
Internal styled level packs in Age of EOL:

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.

HALF

A level pack named HALF was made by Ramone the four time Level designer of GAA (2008, 2009, 2010, 2017) and Zero (GAA15) in 2015-08-09. The quality of levels was pushed to higher than ever before. 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 awesome 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.

Level designing GAAs

Slavery by FinMan (2011)

feel free in every aspect of being by chip (2012)

QueenCup07 by MP (2013)

DAFF104 by Danielj (2014)

insHL by insguy (2015)

SkypeC05 by Ramone and Zero (2016)

WCup704 by skint0r (2017)

Winners of the Designer category in GAA 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.

Level Designing Etiquette in Elmawiki (2015-05-08).

12. New contests

In addition to traditional contests, a few new contests were also tried out.

ReDesign

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.

NoobStyl

Orcc's another new contest, NoobStyl in 2015 was asking for the most believable noob replay. The competition was won by a real newbie who didn't even finish the level, but she used pink font color in Mopolauta. The long list of female Elma players got a new name: Laramie.

Laramie became third famous female Elma player in 2015. NJU was active roughly in 2001 and MopoGirl in 2003.

More

13. Fancy levels

Not only the level designers pushed the limits to new dimensions but some programmers also found ways to create even fancier levels.

Editors

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. 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.

Smibu's Level Editor (2011)

Zebra programmed also a level editor which was released in 2013-04-22. Because it has also a level generator, we will see a screenshot of it in the next chapter.

Ville_J has created different kind of online level editors like Yale - the collaborative level editor and Lousy Touch Editor (LTE) for touch screen devices.

Yale the collaborative level editor by VilleJ (2018-03-30).

Generators

One of the ever-lasting goal of Elma programmers has been an automatic level generator. It's not trivial to create 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 humans than with some boring bot which produces endless number of levels. However finding the best generator algorithm is again one more aspect what makes the phenomenon of Elma so fascinating.

All level generators of all times:

Released       Name                               Programmer      Info
----------------------------------------------------------------------
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
FancyPic, FancyBoost

sunl's Scifi levels were already revolutionary but he went even further by releasing FancyPic in 2017-02-05 which 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.

FancyBoosted level by sunl (2017-02-05).

14. Fancy replays

Before watching the best replays of Age of EOL, we salute Recsource, the replay viewer platform working in browser which Ville_J published in 2015-03-21. Pretty much all replays worth remembering are saved after that date.

Recsource by Ville_J has served the community since 2015.

The history of external replay viewers goes back to December 2002 when milagros programmed Cheat detect0r. The first public replay viewer was called rec2swf which Domovoy published in 2006-07-25. Maxdamantus' open-sourced viewer was published in 2015-01-16 which is used in this article as well.

Also Smibu who has programmed several other things as well created his Replay viewer and Replay manager applications in 2009-2010.

Replay viewer by Smibu (2015-07-01)

Replay manager by Smibu (2015-07-01)

Next we will look at the fanciest replays since 2010. WR and Pipe replays are in different chapters so what we have here are more artistic and experimental replays. We don't have a chapter for the best external level replays because it's practically impossible to tell which of them are the best ones. Do you weight short, long or infinite playing time contests? Classics or the best made levels? Or the contest with the most awesome Youtube video?

sahtia04_197Zwe.rec

Zweq doing hongyspin (2010-08-15). Lousku made a video.

onewheel35adi.rec

adi finishes Labyrinth Pro by one wheel (2012-09-21).

syncvolt2whl6fl.rec

2 wheels 6 flips by Lousku (2015-04-03).

mult0304finish.rec

sunl finished two internal levels by same key presses (2016-12-28). Amazing stuff!

WC708Zweq.rec

Zweq drove almost 8 seconds faster time than anyone else in a one week World Cup event (2017-04-16).

FE17co3a_finzer.rec

The replay was driven by Zero and FinMan in FEM17 (2017-08-01). pawq organized a new contest Couples Contest where two players share the keys: Zero used push keys and alovolt, FinMan gas, brake and turn. The level was played only 20 minutes.

Black030_290Zer.rec

Zero drove this replay in a 60 minutes battle in 2017-11-17. The replay won the Battle replay category in Golden Apple Awards 2017.

ch3679_132jbl.rec

jblaze is speedspinning (2017-12-12).

15. Pipe Royals

Driving inside pipes got even more insane in Age of EOL. Very tight, very long and even new pipe types were introduced. Some of the classics got smashed as well. The years 2012-2014 were quiet probably because of World Cup 6 and saveload patch which made pipes much easier, maybe even funnier to play. But after a while players returned to normal mode to find out the saveload patch had trained them to be even better.

MC08Pab.rec

Impossibility 0:39,51 by Pab (2011-01-07).

Kazan the elma pro piper by real69slim (2011-08-02).

wcup414eZer.rec

Zero was the first to finish the legendary WCup404e (2015-05-29).

mawpi563zer.rec

An extremely tight pipe finished by Zero (2016-05-25)

VOU004adiJES.rec

adi won the Replay category in GAA16 by performing the backwards piping in 2016-11-11.

mawpi531zer.rec

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). He finished the level for the first time in 2012-07-24.
  • Watch Chain Pie 11:40,85 by jblaze (2018-01-01). We already watched talli's replay driven in Belma Period but jblaze improved the time by two and a half minutes nine years later.

16. First Finish

The first finish battle mode (aka ff) was introduced in Belma patch in 2007. The winner of the battle is the one who finished first. It's pretty much a matter of luck in normal short levels but if the level has slow tempo it's a new and interesting contest, actually the closest to real trial biking what has been seen in Elma. Players with the best bike control win. Uphilling levels are also usually played as ff battles. EOL's free camera feature makes it possible to observe and make videos of the best players.

Markku, Nekit, adi and talli have been great in ff battles. Here are some examples.

dodgelol_280Mar.rec

Markku played dodgelol for 5 minutes and 38 seconds to finish it for the first time (2012-11-20).

ayGTTL66_116Nek.rec

Nekit was first to finish ayGTTL66, the hard uphilling battle in 2018-03-06.

J2DONASH by Markku (2018-02-21). It's quite an incredible development that the game, players and level designers have evolved since 2000. Markku's bike control is astounding and the level is great too: hard enough but no unfair parts which can't be tried more than once.

More

17. More videos

Let's have a list of interesting videos created during Age of EOL which haven't been presented yet in other chapters.

Art
Tutorial
LGR

18. Documentaries

Elma entered the real TV in 2018-02-13 when a Finnish TV Channel (Sub) aired a program named Radalla (lit. On the railroads) where Ville_J talked about Elma while travelling to Finnish Elma Meeting 2017.

There is also a documentary project ongoing and the first "rough cut" was presented in Finnish Elma Meeting 2016. The author doesn't want to have it public yet because the work is still in progress.

insguy is interviewing Ramone in FEM15 to collect material to his upcoming documentary.

19. Misc

No Elma website, collection or history is perfect unless a miscellaneous section exists. All the interesting files of Age of EOL that didn't fit into any other chapter are here. Misc is the undesired imperfect remainder when analog world meets digital categorization.

Audio
Image

20. New generation

niN mentioned the term "new generation" in 2010-05-11 which describes very well the new community, for which playing online is real and obvious. Many old veterans were taking breaks while new players took bigger roles to organize contests and meetings to keep community alive.

For an unknown reason some community related categories were dropped out in Golden Apple Awards. I personally think that they are very well deserved (wonder why...) so let's look at them first.

Winners of Contribution category in GAA 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 Site category in GAA 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

During Age of EOL the Kuski Map was initiated by pawq. Although many players missing, it gives a nice visualization how global the game is played.

Elma community around the world (2018-03-29)

Elma community in Europe (2018-03-29)

Social media

Across went to IRC in 1998 and Elma went to discussion forums in 2000, Wikipedia and blogs in 2004, Youtube 2006, Twitter 2007 and Facebook 2008. During Age of EOL the list was followed by Discord in 2012 and WhatsApp in 2014.

Facebook group was fairly quiet in the first years but when EOL was released, the group was getting more activity.

Elma Online Facebook group in 2009-05-11

Elma Online Facebook group in 2018-03-04

#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.

Only 37 chatters in #across in 2010-11-10.

54 chatters in #across in 2018-03-25. Discord is syncing messages.

Discord in 2016.

Mopolauta has been de facto 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. Maybe someone has also tried a phone call. Elma fax, anyone?

Mopolauta in 2018

Tinychat session during FEM 2014

Invite only

The last big and open meetings were organized in 2005 (Finland) and 2006 (Denmark). The meetings didn't stop but they were invite only now. Organizing big meetings is quite a lot of work and it requires someone to do the hard work. FM organized team meetings in Espoo in 2006 and 2007 with a few more Finnish players.

Years 2008-2011 were skipped but in 2012 Orcc and terb0 went to Kokkola to meet Zweq, Juzam and other Kokkola players but the meeting seems to have been more about beer and javelin than Elma. Players were also meeting during their holiday trips. teajay met many big names in Denmark, Sweden and Germany in 2006 and Abula met milagros (2011), Balázs (2012) and teajay (2013).

The new generation Finnish players gathered to Lousku's home in 2011-06-28 for two weeks but the meeting was also 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.

Nine participants in the unofficial Finnish Elma Meeting 2013.

Finnish Elma Meetings (2014-2017)

Nine years after the last open Finnish Elma Meeting the tradition was revitalized in 2014. Many of the best players attended including also some foreigners. And like last time, year after year the meetings gathered more participants and higher quality contests and other events.

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

Unfortunately not accurate battle results have been preserved but the material of a new iconic FEM contest has, thanks to nick-o-matic.

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.  BarTek        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 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 and closing down important websites.

It has always been a controversial topic how many new players we wished to join the community. The new people are the energy to keep this going but they also change the Elma 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. On the other hand, because it's so hard and random to end up to the community, only the best people find in. A long-standing inside joke is a phrase until chinese join meaning that until the Asian lunatics find the game, we have something left to play.

A few gaming magazines have written articles about Elasto Mania. MikroBitti (1999) is most likely the reason why Elma became so popular in Finland but there was also a Polish article in 2000. Danish newspaper published a small announcement about Rigger's World Cup results (2002) and a Norwegian university magazine reported Finnish Elma Meeting 2005. During Age of EOL another Finnish gaming magazine Pelaaja (2011) and a British PC Gamer (2017) impressed us by the high quality journalism.

A popular gaming magazine PC Gamer made an article about Elasto Mania in October 2017.

Since 2009 (or something) gaming channels 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)
  • STAMSITE visited even EOL (2017-08-09)

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 (second version published in 1996), TKEP (2001), #ranks (2004) and a bit later Aapeli Minigolf and Worms. In addition there are games inspired by Elasto Mania like already mentioned Amle (2005) and a more serious one, X-Moto (2005) which even imported Elma internal levels in 2009.

A famous webcomic named xkcd greeted Elma in 2014 and Leek replied by a custom LGR in 2017.

There have been a few outsiders who wanted to buy the license of Elasto Mania: the most recent one in March 2017. 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.

The Business Model Canvas how to develop and monetize the next Elma version (2017-03-08).

Remember the paprika image which Moposite used? I took it randomly from the Google image search to use temporarily while the website was in transition to a new platform. For some reason the alleged copyright owner of the image emailed us and requested to remove the image. 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

After watching and discussing all the good stuff we can finally look at the dark side. There have been three cheating waves in the history before Age of EOL: 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 Moposite asked WRs 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 unofficial replays.

WRs before 2011-06-23 must be based 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 and they both drove similar results in meetings. It's likely the WR history is ~100 % clean except Curvaceous by Djievis the letter (#172, 2004-05-01).

Eventhough playing online connected to the EOL server prevents most of cheats, there seem to be methods to hack it somehow. A player named DEATH has demonstrated it.

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 in Mopolauta. The first two videos including several new styles and WR improvements were uploaded to Youtube in October 2009. In addition another TAS tool (Hourglass) was released in 2009-11-07 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 is 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.

Someone mentions Elasto Mania in same day but there are problems (2009-11-17).

Two days later the author of Hourglass tells that Elasto Mania will work (2009-11-19). And it worked.

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 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 (ISR) which is better known from technological knowledge than Elma WRs, and a country which is politically controversial making it tempting to be discredited of cheating. But because no evidence exists, it's only interesting piece of Elma history.

24. Tool-assisted speedrun

Saveload and other TAS tools can be also used for good. They 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!

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 easily check it. The style finding is easier because you get the correct start angle and velocity when training some part. For example the end bounce in Tunnel Terror is very difficult to reproduce in train level, and that is exactly the level where the first known SL trained WR was driven: Tunnel Terror 0:51,88 by Zweq (#315, 2010-08-28).

Zweq using SL in style finding since June 2010 was told only in 2018. Smibu published the saveload patch in Mopolauta in 2011-06-17 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. So it's clear now that something was happening in underground in 2009-2011.

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. You can for example always create your own version of Warm Up train level. But because saveload is remarkable aid, it would have been fair to be available for everyone. But like with alovolt and train levels, the founder can keep it and be quiet if wanted. Back in the days the community was viral and resolved more quickly unfair situations like this. However I must confess now: FM had a secret foot pedal for alovolt in 2001.

To summarize: saveload patch was secretly used in style finding by some players at least since 2009 and it's possible that there are still cheated WRs in the history before 2011-06-23 but in lack of evidence, we blame no one. The public discussion around saveload patch and other tools was not yet about speedrunning but cheating, until milagros tricked the community big time in April's fool day in 2011.

32tt project

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. It was the April's fool 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 7 seconds improvement to Downhill WR was published in a Youtube video and it was soon followed by 5 seconds better Hi Flyer, Warm Up under 0:14,00 and 8 seconds faster Trick Abound. 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). It's the saveload movie that changed the course of Elma history. Sadly even today (2018-04-01) the time is not broken in normal WR table.

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.

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 and the total time was 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 probably assume that the best ones were (Downhill, Hi Flyer, Warm Up and Tricks Abound) and the rest include more or less only bug bounces and other embarrasing tricks. The next released material supports this theory.

55. More Levels

55. More Levels wasn't meant to be finished. It took 11 years 2 months and 16 days to get to the flower without modified physics (2011-04-19). milagros: grattis!

WARNING

The next chapter you might want to skip, at least the saveload WR table and replays. It's getting ugly. We are entering the dark side!

So saveload is used in style finding and it's ok. But it's also used to play records. EOL doesn't accept SL times but for sure the internal levels can be played to see what's possible. The ultimate goal of Elma, what's theoretically possible, made a big step.

The first known WR table allowing cheated replays was published in 2004-10-18 but it got quite boring after DarMoeD submitted his records. The first WR table including saveload cheated WRs was published in 2012-08-23. 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 SL for style finding anyway. At the time of writing (2018-04-01) the most recent table was updated in 2018-01-07 and it has a total time of 33:11,11 which is about 80 seconds better than the normal WR table.

Saveload WR table in 2018-01-07. Total time is 33:11,11.

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. I don't really want to watch them but you can do it yourself if it's alluring.

Ok, I watched them too. It's cool. Many interesting alternative routes, new tricks and perfectly driven replays. It's quite comical that Flat Track saveload WR is only 0:00,01 faster and Slalom isn't even that. Most normal WR table players are present so there is little moral problems. Some of the most interesting levels were Long Haul, Animal Farm, Haircut, What the Heck, Bowling and especially Zig-Zag's 9th, 10th and 11th new route, Jaws with 9 bounces and Headbanger, the level of the levels.

There is also TAS WR table where everything is allowed. It's the normal TAS playing which is the primary way to compete in many other games. The best Elma WR total time utilizing all the possible hacks and tricks is 9:54,58 which is roughly one fourth of the normal one.

Elasto Mania tool-assisted speedrun (TAS) WR total time 9:54,58 by Bene, Zweq and FinMan (2015-11-19). Headbanger 0:04,20 is my favourite.

Saveload patch can be also used to finish very tricky levels or to create artistic replays.

Impossible (finally) piping by MopAq (2011-08-01)

limpsy01oke.rec

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.

tricky2bcSL.rec

Saveload patch was interestingly used to finish some old and very hard unfinished levels. For example TRICKY2.lev is a good example of a failed start position. 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 in 2014-11-24 by culinko.

One more thing: please remember to always include "SL" or "TAS" in the replay filename to make a clear separation to normal ones. Relying on the Recsource meta tags only is problematic.

Summary of the chapter

During Age of EOL 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 pushed because it's so effective in style finding. The most remarkable impact of EOL is probably growing up a new generation who takes online playing granted.

Some new players, Spef and Zero particularly progressed to the level of the grand masters: Zweq and Markku continued to dominate the WR table and battles with them. Additionally Kazan has been leading the total time competition most of time. The third Elma Done Quick was released in 2012. Multi WR table was closed.

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, wheelpop, spinboost and sunl's Scifi and FancyBoost levels.

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 showed some interest to the game that has 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 is a container chapter for all relevant events happened since June 2010 and it might need to be rewritten in future when history is seen more clearly in right context.

Final Results🔝

After reading the whole history of Elasto Mania, let's look at some combinated results of all times.

Influencers

It's very opionionated to figure out the rankings how to find out which countries, teams and players have had the biggest influence in the community, but here are some lists I was able to work out.

Countries

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 60tt
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.

Teams
Best teams by WRs and WCups (*):

#    Team      WRs   WCup pts
-----------------------------
1.   FM        188     14039
2.   WNO       211      1427
3.   ICE       102      3419
4.   PRA        79      4576
5.   IC         88       549
6.   SPEED      74      2152
7.   SC         47      1928
8.   EM         38      3024
9.   SSC        28      2549
10.  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
Forerunners

I don't think the number of Mopolauta posts is a big merit, so here's a top-10 of whose topics have most views in total.

Most viewed Mopolauta topic creators:

#    Creator      Nat.      Views
---------------------------------
1.   Abula        FIN     1966515
2.   SveinR       NOR     1896426
3.   Cloud        FIN     1430389
4.   milagros     SKV     1145763
5.   Zworqy       SWE      914497
6.   8-ball       LAT      872932
7.   dz           FIN      733514
8.   Kopaka       DEN      710960
9.   ribot        SWE      654320
10.  Jonas        SWE      641079
...

Data updated: 2018-04-04

Who were 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
...

Designers

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 GAAs:

#   Designer    Nat.    GAAs
----------------------------
1.  Ramone      SWE      4.5
2.  BarTek      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

Battles

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 way since 2005.

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 together if the total number 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 extreme difficult to find a fair way to compare battle players of different eras. Total points can't be the criterion. In addition average points are pretty much only a matter of number of players participated which would make the winners of Mopobattles the best battlers. Battle win ratio is the best of possible but it's easier to get high when less players (#battle). 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 quite a fair list. It's 100 % objective at least. First time in the Elma history we have a list of the best battlers of all times? Until someone makes a comprehensive ranking system, this is what we have now.

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

World Cups

If skipping World Cup victories (Dr_Luni, MP, BoBBo, Kazan and Zweq), I think the number of event wins is 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

World Records

Finally the greatest results of the most important competition: Elasto Mania World Records!

Most different WRs:

#    Player       Nat.       WRs
-----------------------------------
1.   Zweq         FIN     49 (91 %)
2.   TorInge      NOR     42 (78 %)
3.   John         SWE     33 (61 %)
4.   Kazan        RUS     30 (56 %)
5.   Jeppe        SWE     22 (41 %)
6.   Spef         FIN     21 (39 %)
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: 2018-04-04
Number of new WRs:

#    Player       Nat.    WRs
-----------------------------
1.   Zweq         FIN     180
2.   TorInge      NOR     122
3.   John         SWE      72
4.   Karlis       FIN      65
5.   Kazan        RUS      57
6.   Jeppe        SWE      54
7.   Jokke        FIN      53
8.   Spef         FIN      42
9.   zyntifox     NOR      41
10.  psy          FIN      37
...

Data updated: 2018-04-04
Most tables with WRs:

#    Player       Nat.    WRs
-----------------------------
1.   Zweq         FIN     288
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: 2018-04-04
Most WRs per table:

#    Player       Nat.       WRs       Table
--------------------------------------------
1.   TorInge      NOR     27 (50 %)     #232
2.   Zweq         FIN     22 (41 %)     #152
3.   John         SWE     19 (35 %)     #260
4.   Spef         FIN     18 (33 %)     #379
5.   Kazan        RUS     15 (28 %)     #342
6.   Jeppe        SWE     12 (22 %)     #78
7.   psy          FIN     10 (19 %)     #1
8.   Raven        FIN      9 (17 %)     #298
     pajen        SWE      9 (17 %)     #75
     Champi0N     SWE      9 (17 %)     #1
...

Data updated: 2018-04-04

Number of WRs of the best WR players over time (2018-04-04). For reference: Prelude: 1-72, Golden Era: 73-254, Belma: 255-314, EOL: 315-396.

Utopia🔝

Several new Elma versions, even official ones were released during Age of EOL but none of them made a breakthrough. They will be most likely kind of development steps for the next good 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.

The version which community plays at the moment (2018-04-03) is Elasto Mania 1.3 (aka EOL), released in 2010. EOL is created by patching the latest official version, Elasto Mania 1.11a (2001). There were also unofficial Elasto Mania 1.2 (2002) and Belma (2007).

New versions

Android Elma (2014)

A player named Ropelli announced to have programmed Elma Android version in 2014-02-06. It worked but the project is apparently discontinued.

The Windows version of Elma on Android by Ropelli works but is unfinished (2014).

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.

The game has no level editor or 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 the touch got worse which leaves little to master. 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.

WR video (2:52,68) of the last level (D8) by ASPIRINKA (2016-03-31) who has been dominating the lists all the way which usually means that he is the only player.

Elasto Mania in App Store (2018-03-10).

iOS Elma WR list #18 (2018-04-02).

Elasto Mania II (2017)

Community wasn't involved this time either when Balázs published Elasto Mania II in 2017-12-13. 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.

Elasto Mania II (2017-12-13)

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. 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 but I guess they are more tributes for the original version.

Danielj shows something interesting in Elma II (2017-12-17). This with original Elma physics could be actually fun!

Elasto Mania II name was a problem for the community which was developing Elma 2 too.

EOL2 (2012)

EOL2 is a community Elma project started from scratch by Smibu in 2012-12-15. It was called Elma 2 until Balázs released Elasto Mania II in 2017.

The latest version (0.5.1) supports already most of 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 but very slowly.

Libraries

There are also some Elma libraries written by sigvef, domi and the GitHub crew.

Elma libraries in GitHub (2018-04-03).

Artificial intelligence (AI)

It has been a goal of many Elma programmers for a long time to create a bot to improve existing replays, even finish levels by own. Yet it has proved to be too difficult. The problem of bugbounces must be solved because the bot would probably try to optimize them only and we don't want to see more bugbounces.

ribot published an experiment to figure out the designer of a random level in 2018-03-23.

Elasto Mania 3

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 Elma is so good and why it has been played by thousands of players and why it is still played by hundreds of players after 18 years. If you could reproduce the same, Elasto Mania 3 will be a success too, even a bigger one if it was marketed and sold in modern ways. I'm not personally involved in game industry or anything like that but I've got ideas like everybody else.

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 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 gamers 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. Other platforms are the primary media these days.

We the most active players are not playing the game because we like it so much more than the other players but because of personal reasons and the great community that has grown around the game. But because we actually have played it for 21 years, or at least the collective knowledge is somehow present, we know quite a bit about the game and the phenomenon. Elma has been a great playground to learn different kind of skills which community has proved by many great technical and artistic works which many of were also presented in this article. Apparently there is also some business knowledge.

I think the next Elma version should be made in collaboration with Balázs and 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 success 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 and 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 just with some more dimensions and they could quite easily try to beat the old records. The Elma 3 could have a setting of "old mode" which would allow players to beat old records. 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 for the greatest game in the world. 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 quite 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 quite fast. Instead some of the best old classics like Zig-Zag or Tunnel Terror have been played 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 topic but in my opinion most of the best Elma levels are kind of tricky trial bike levels which have always something more to improve and master.

eSport

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?

Elma Olympics for example could be interesting for a wider audience. The competition starts by a first finish battle and after finishing it (or +50 % to the first finished time) a level pack is given of a few levels where could be a random internal level, a polevault and so on. Details can be discussed.

Fellowship

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, how it will flourish. Personally I would like to see community to grow from brotherhood to fellowship to have periodical classic competitions and meetings. I'm not sure if we will find volunteers to organize everything for free just for the sake of good ol' times but 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. This isn't realism today but let's see after 10 years.

Wish list

Finally my personal wish list. I don't want to stress anyone. No one owns me anything. But if someone can somehow make a positive contribution to the next things, at least I would appreciate.

  1. 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?
  2. Playing hours: What is the most played internal by one player? Or collectively? The less?
  3. 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.
  4. Across WR statistics: We have about 25 % of Across WR tables preserved so the statistics wouldn't be complete but I'm sure there was something valuable to be seen.
  5. Recsource: The platform would be even more awesome if there were lists of most viewed videos per year.
  6. Elma Olympics: It needs more discussion and working. It could be tested in FEM18 if someone wanted to organize it.

Conclusion🔝

After doing the historical overview of Elasto Mania, the 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 and what's the theoretical limit of the WR total time?

What's the limit?

The ultimate goal of Elma is to find out what's the limit of WRs. As long as we see WR progress, it's exciting and that keeps people around to create culture. And because WRs have progressed 20 years, we are still here. The first years were passed by players 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 sophisticated way. The websites, statistics, art work and interesting discussions kept community fun and motivating place to hang around.

Elma is a perfect playground for programmers, the builders of the digital world. The game is fun to play, has complex physics and the community is really active and constructive. There have been and still are several interesting problems to be solved. In the dark side it's fascinating to find a way to cheat but creating websites and all kind of tools is also interesting. Luckily the cheaters didn't win because that would have been the end of the story.

The enthusiasm was slowing down somewhere in 2006. Driving new WRs was getting harder and harder, TorInge had quit, Zweq went inactive and the first Elma Done Quick speedrun leaked almost all WR styles. Moposite got also passive after the great end party was successfully organized (FEM05). But then milagros programmed 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 (2002) and 35:59,99 by Phillip (2004). Before entering Belma Period the WR total time was 36:24,28 in December 2006.

Playing online in Belma was really fun and it greatly revitalized community. Battling different levels all day long and having an immediate feedback loop improved the player skills vastly. John, Kazan and Zweq particularly started to improve the WR total time once again. After three years playing the WR total time had dropped one minute to 35:24,25.

The release of EOL in 2010 and saveload patch becoming available for everybody in 2011 were big boosts again. Since then the WR total time has improved by almost one minute again: at the time of writing (2018-03-31) it's 34:33,45.

After 2011 when speedrunning tools were released, some people started to keep a saveload WR table. In fact 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 these, 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).

There is some ongoing development with a new version of the game and artificial intelligent bot which could bring new insight but at the moment it's fair to say that we are pretty close to the limit as we know it.

What is Elma?

We 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 and obsessed: we wouldn't be here otherwise. We wanted to improve. We played a lot until realizing there are way too good players who just can't be competed with. Unless we happened to be one of the top players, we either quit, moved to back seat to enjoy the ride or started to create fun value for others to have a positive contribution in the progress. If we were evil, we realized it and changed the course.

Elma seems to attract only males. It's not probably only the name Elma which happens to be a female name in Finland, and I don't want to go to feminism debate but it's clear that competition and getting respected by others is mainly males' business. In addition rational and logical thinking is surprisingly common in the community as well: many 60/60 math masters, programmers, riddlers, chess players and Rubic's cube enthusiastics around. Luckily some fellows were also able to create art.

The names of the first battle levels which we played with Tuska are exciting: leikki translates to "kid's play" in English and kisma is a slang version for "friendly competition". We were 17 years old and our easy sweet life was slowly transforming to adult's cruel world where the competition is real and intrinsic. Admit or not but for most of us Elma is ultimately about competition and trying to be the best. How much, it varies in normal distribution like almost everything in nature.

Elma is great because it provides so many ways to be the best. Everybody could find their area of expertise and interest, improve, contribute and get respected. We all are the champions! Hooray! I'm not sure if the desire is particularly strong in Elma community because I see the same behaviour in many other areas of life. It just needs to be kept construtive, not desctructive.

But what is Elma? It's 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, even brotherhood, which is unique, one and only that can always joined back to when time is good for that. Only future will show but if no new programmer pushes happen, we can always have the fellowship, the meetings and other periodical gatherings to organize classic contests for the sake of good old times. I'm in at least!

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 era which is changing the world in a way never before and which impacts can't be seen clearly yet. Elma has provided a fantastic viewpoint to the transition. Remember websites of 90s, the internet connection of 5.1 kB/s, ICQ, mobile phone logos and CRT screens. Then became dynamic web sites (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 forerunners. High quality videos, modern APIs and the mobile first platforms have been real for years and at the moment we are talking about artificial intelligence and positive psychology.

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 an exploration to the new digital world. How the journey looks, it's up to us. Elma is a collaborative art project. Elma is a miracle created by us!

Bonus🔝

Do you remember the first image of the article? It was Steppes, one of the most legendary internal levels. 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.

While the skills of the players have improved, the WR style of Steppes has changed several times. The level name could have been The Pole because that's the point of the level, not the steppes.

While writing this article I checked my old elmaplans.txt and there was an idea of Elma Olympics and a pole level. I introduced this idea in Mopolauta in 2018-03-05 and it didn't take long until sunl created a new contest and iCS made a video of the winner. That was really cool!

Polevault by sunl, Tm and iCS (2018-03-16)

It's actually quite strange that we didn't have a pole contest until now. Except Bubka.

Bubka by Zweq and jonsykkel (2012-07-18)

Afterword🔝

Wow, finally here, in the last chapter! I've been planning to write this article since 2006 but there wasn't just enough time until now. It took seven months and 630 hours plus the fixes. The text has 446k characters which is 12-13 % of Bible. It's my Elma thesis.

History of Elasto Mania (1995-2018) by Abula (2018-04-11)

As stated already, it's difficult to write about the recent history because the big picture isn't visible yet. I tried to be as objective as I could and if something big is missing, it's most likely because I don't know about it. But I do value internal levels way more than other competitions.

The WR table is still open and all the records are possible to improve. Styles and replays are available. Having 50 % of the WRs is the best result so far. So, what are you waiting for? Seriously, I would rather start painting - Bludek got it.

It's been a long journey from MS-DOS operating system to AI programming. The early days and especially Golden Era were emotional to go through for me personally. Great moments, great people! Thank you everybody to join the phenomenon. What a ride, and we can even keep on! Let's contribute, let's improve! And one more thing: Elasto Mania is a very good name.

– Abula, 11th April 2018, Helsinki

Tähtiä kiitos!

Kommentit

Kirjoittaja Kommentti
Tisk
2018-04-14 14:41
was oke
ArSeNiC
2018-04-22 13:27
I never read long texts like articles entirely but this one made me do so, becuase - well, Elma. I must say, this is simply fascinating, magnificent, extraordinary osv. Nice work Abula!
jaytea
2018-04-23 13:39
Thoughtful conclusion. Amazing work all around. You're an excellent writer.

Love,
jt
tomator
2018-05-10 21:51
Thanks Abula!
Even though I've played elma on and off for many years I have never participated in community, so this was very interesting.
zebra
2018-05-11 09:46
Thanks Abula for the awesome article and your devotion! I read every word. The whole article was very interesting, especially the Across years which gave very nostalgic feeling. There was much to read but it was very rewarding. I hope Elasto Mania will live another 20 years!
Petrenuk
2018-05-11 22:40
Awesome article!
Why is Slalom impossible to improve? Is that a joke?
niN
2018-05-13 20:15
Nice one Abula. Your dedication to this game and it's community is impressive!
Orcc
2018-05-16 07:20
Dr. Across was already taken 20 years ago, but this article should reward you the title of Dr. Elma. Amazing work!
Abula
2018-05-17 19:19
Thanks for nice words! Slalom was a joke because SL WR was same as normal WR when I wrote that part (at least according to some source) but because that's not true anymore, I had to remove it.
TarGEnoR
2018-05-27 16:16
Nice job, was good to read.

"One of the biggest tragedies of the Elasto Mania was OLP,"
Nah, was many bigger tragedies than OLP.
Abel
2018-06-06 23:16
Amazing work, Abula, thank you for the contribution!
H8
2018-06-16 13:19
Great work, Abula! It's awesome that the community still lives on, with new styles and WRs being made.

This article makes me wanna start höylin' again!
Uube
2018-07-14 16:15
Thanks Abula! I had great time and memories playing the game and still checking new wr lists couple of times in year.
nyymi
2018-07-21 21:00
aika assburger
BeyPokéDig
2018-08-23 00:49
Amazing article, thanks for writing it. I just wish it mentioned Riders of the Lost Flowers in greater detail :P
petsenRDK
2018-10-10 21:44
Nostalgic trip down memory lane. Thanks :)
umiz
2018-10-11 13:53
Really great article! Nice job!
dimon
2018-10-21 11:55
This was an amazing article! I have been playing since 2001 but was never active in the community, mainly because my times are so bad. I have learned more about Elma from reading this than from the countless hours I spent playing the game. So thank you.

By the way, I believe Elma AI is possible. Being an AI researcher, I have suggested it in the past on the forums, but I couldn't find any code for Elma physics. If someone could give me access to the physics then I can have a good shot at it. Email me at dkamenetsky@gmail.com

Let's hope Elma livers forever. It is simply one of the best games ever!

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