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History of Elasto Mania (1995-2018)

Language:    Published: 2018-05-05   Modified: 2021-09-08   Views: 29309   Type: Fruit
Table of contents

Briefly

The screenshots below are from two motorcross computer games named Action SuperCross and its sequel Elasto Mania. The most active enthusiasts have played the game for over 20 years, organized dozens of international meetings, awarded trophies, recorded songs, filmed movies and much more.

This article is an overview of one digital sub-culture that has gathered together a few thousand players. The number of really active players is a few hundreds. Let's see what we did and how the gameplay and the community evolved over the years.

Action SuperCross (1997)

Elasto Mania (2000)

Article history🔝

  • 2021-07-29 Improved text, grammar and presentation. Fixed a bug in #ballelma battle results. Fixed image Across times on paper (1999).
  • 2021-01-03 Fixed picture of FM meeting 2007. Fixed picture of sunl's Elma wiki profile. Improved text and grammar.
  • 2020-06-09 Fixed errors in Most WRs in one table statistics (2000-2019).
  • 2020-05-29 Fixed screenshot of the cheated WRs table. Added notifications about of the new Steam Elma to relevant chapters. Changed wording of Elma Done Quick to use v1, v2, v3.
  • 2020-05-27 Improved text. The fact of Spef being under 35 minutes added. The fact Zweq having 51 different WRs added. Broken videos fixed (eg. Elma Done Quick v2). Elma Crime added. A screenshot of the Community history from 2004 added. A song from MC Studios' second recording session (Vi hoyler mer) added. Mentions of Instagram and Twitch added in Social media chapter. A few saveload replays added to Dark moments chapter. New WR statistics added to Final results chapter (Longest time having the most WRs, Most WRs in one table (2000-2019), Most different players/teams/countries in a single WR table). New observations added to Conclusions (The most fundamental question, Mystery of Islands in the Sky).
  • 2019-06-02 The screenshot of the development version of Across from 1995 added. The fact that zyntifox drove six WRs in a row also in 1. Warm Up (+1 more later) added. The fact that Zweq has had 50 different WRs added. Credits of Internal Memories to niN added.
  • 2018-04-12 Article is published.
  • 2018-04-07 Age of EOL chapter is finished.
  • 2018-03-08 Belma Period chapter is finished.
  • 2018-02-21 Golden Era chapter is finished.
  • 2017-11-11 Prelude to Elma chapter is finished.
  • 2017-09-26 Across Days chapter is finished.
  • 2017-09-21 Writing the article is started.

Disclaimer🔝

As I myself, Abula, was one of the most active players, the text can be slightly biased written. On the other hand, a personal twist can make it more interesting to read. I refer to myself in third person when I think it's relevant for the context.

I joined the community in February 1999 so the events before that is second hand information. Also after 2007 I've been pretty much inactive except again in 2017 when I started to write this article and researched the history. Fortunately lots of material has survived even from the very early days.

The text was written in 2017-2018 so the events just before that date can have a viewpoint that needs to be corrected when the history is more clear. Additionally the events after 2018 are missing for obvious reasons – except of a short mentions of the most important milestones: Spef under 35 mins and Steam Elma.

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 and I'm open to feedback. Many events and players ended up to the article because they were first to do something new or in some other way special, not always the best result in terms of the game itself.

Many files mentioned in the article can be downloaded from Elma Ultimate DVD (.iso, .txt).

The date format used in the article is YYYY-MM-DD, year-month-day.

There's a topic for this article in Mopolauta (reference).

Big thanks to Maxdamantus who programmed the replay player used in the article (reference). It's possible to zoom the replays in the timer area.

Introduction🔝

A hungarian programmer, Rózsa Balázs created a computer game which looks very simple at first glance but in essence has a complex and clever gameplay. The first version of the game was named Action SuperCross (or just Across) and it was published in 1997. The sequel is named Elasto Mania (or just Elma) and it was published in 2000. Later many unofficial versions have been published, made by the community.

To give some idea of the game itself, the video below shows the current best public speedrun video of the game. It was published in 2012.

The fastest public speedrun video of Elasto Mania (2012). The total time of the replays is 34:58,49. You can skip the video if you are going to read the whole article. Current world records total time is 34:26,65 (2020-05-04) so while watching you can speculate where to cut off 32 seconds.

The fundamental idea of the game is to drive a record time better than other players. The level is finished when all the apples are collected and the flower is touched. You die by hitting your head or by touching a killer object. Also you can save your replay, a recorded video file of your drive which can be easily shared to other people.

Elasto Mania, the second major version that we have played since 2000, contains 54 official in-game levels, internals as we call them. The player who has a world record in any of those levels, is the king of the hill, the champion of the greatest heroes, one who shall never be forgotten. The game has also an in-game level editor which enables players to create own levels, externals, which can be competed like the internal levels. And hell, the community has created thousands, maybe even a million levels. But what's interesting is not the number of levels created but the different concepts of all the competitions that have been invented during the decades. There are total times, world cups, leagues, battles, beer battles, first finish battles, multiplayer, blind folded, reversed keys and so on. And it's not only the playing that can be competed but who makes the best level, or the best level name, or who builds the best website or creates anything interesting for the community.

The gameplay of Elma is very complex eventhough there are only five keys to control the bike: gas, brake, left push, right push and turn. And what makes it so complex and possible to improve the official world records even after 20 years, is the fine granularity of the game physics. It makes a difference whether you press the right push now or 0,001 seconds later. And that affects the next key press, and the next and then you may have found a totally new style which gives you enough speed to finally make the big jump to a new place that no one else has ever reached before.

Finding a new style in a level is great. It happens all the time when new levels are played but if you want to play some of the original in-game levels from year 2000, finding a new style is very difficult. But it still happens now and then even after 20 years. You can also höylä, to play so much that you eventually improve the old record without using any new style.

If you want to try to play the game yourself, the shareware version is downloadable in the official website (reference). Be aware that it's not trivial to get it running without lag in the modern operating systems, but you can try your luck on Mopolauta (reference). You might also encounter the term Elma Online (or just EOL) which refers to an unofficial patch created by the community. By using the patch people can play and compete with each others online and in real-time. EOL is what all the "professional" players use nowadays but to get there you need to buy the registered version first. There are also an iOS version and Elasto Mania II but they are utterly different games and unpopular compared to the original version from year 2000.

(UPDATE 2020-05-29: the game was published in Steam a few days ago so it's probably easier to try it there now.)

As mentioned, the game was programmed in Hungary but most active players come from the Nordic countries. The total times list (reference) represents quite well the variaty of the players. There are 24 different countries in top-135 (2020-05-04): Finland, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Norway, Hungary, Argentina, Austria, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Uruguay, Belarus, Australia, France, Britain, Germany, Iceland, Ukraine, Denmark and Latvia.

The reason why Across and Elma became so popular in Finland that many people even believe the game is made by a Finnish programmer is probably the gaming magazine named MikroBitti which circulation was over 100 000 in the best years. The magazine had a website named MBnet where the readers could download shareware versions of the games that were introduced in the magazine. MikroBitti maintained also a list of monthly downloads and both Across and Elma were among the most popular ones. Two months after Elasto Mania was published, the number of monthly downloads was 7188 and a month later 1964. But for sure most of the copies have been made between real life friends, spreading floppy disks in schools, warez so to speak.

In addition MikroBitti nominated Across the second best shareware game of the year 1999. The original introduction (in Finnish) reads as follows: Mikrobitti 2/99: Vuoden 1997 loppupuolella ensi kertaa esitelty motocross-taitopeli ylsi samantien kuukauden peliksi, mutta pankki räjäytettiin vasta viime kesänä uudemman v1.2:n ilmestyessä. Kiikkerällä moottoripyörällä tarkkuutta ja taitoa vaativien ratojen selvittäminen rynnisti suuren kansan suosioon, kun pelaajat pystyivät viimein väsäämään omia ratojaan ja pelauttamaan niitä toisillaan. Suomalaisista tuli suorastaan SuperCross-pöpi kansa, ja maailman kaikista pelaajista lähemmäs puolet onkin meikäläisiä.

The sequel Elasto Mania was also the Game of the Month in MBnet in April 2000 and the Game of the Day in 2001-03-03.

MikroBitti a popular Finnish gaming magazine nominated Elasto Mania the game of the month in April 2000.

Elasto Mania was the most downloaded software in MBnet during the last 30 days in 2000-04-10.

Elasto Mania is still played actively so if you want to check out what's happening right now (2021-07-26), you should look at the official website (reference), Moposite (reference), Mopolauta (reference) and Elma Online (reference).

I. Across Days (1997 Feb – 2000 Feb)🔝

This chapter discusses the first era of the Across and Elma saga which starts from the publication of the first major version in 1997, Action SuperCross, and ends to the publication of the sequel, Elasto Mania in 2000. Virtually no one kept on playing Across after Elma was out.

A mediocre player finishes 39/42 Action SuperCross official levels.

1. Software versions

The very first version of Action SuperCross (1.0) was programmed in C++ and it was released in 1997-02-11. It contains 24 internal levels and no level editor. Version 1.1 (1997-03-24) had only minor bugfixes but version 1.2 (1998-03-23) finally introduced a level editor and several new levels, total being 42 now.

Three old levels, 12. Fair Trial, 14. Slippery Slope and 17. On Top were dropped out and 15. The Turnaround and 23. The Enigma got modified radically.

Version 1.3 (1999-01-06) provided bugfixes only.

Technically there are four Across versions (1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3) but only two in effect (1.1, 1.3). The games were built for MS-DOS operating system so you need to use DOSBox or some other DOS emulator in the modern operating systems to play Across versions.

The author has published a screenshot of the development version of Across. The modification date of the image file is 1995-05-30.

The registered version of the game has always cost 9.95 USD. As it was a common practice to warez games back in the days, not too many people have actually paid for it. The author has never revealed any sales numbers but many players have paid the price afterwards to support Balázs.

More
  • Read Moposite's Across information page (reference).
  • View the development of internal levels (reference).

2. WR table

The first observation of the game for most new players is probably the funny suspension of the bike and the crazy physics in general. Next the player might get excited of just staying alive and finishing a few levels. Then he usually tries to finish all original in-game levels which normally takes some weeks because in order to finish the hardest levels the player must learn quite well how to control the bike. Finally to get really addicted to the game the player must either notice the timer or level editor.

In the first place it may feel stupid to even have a timer in the game because it's fun enough to just cruise the levels, perform big airy jumps, go full speed and swing nice hangs but it's also thrilling to compare own times to someone else's, maybe a school friend's or just the random person's who had just happened to play the earlier copy of the game.

After someone has played a level long time and is happy with his record, he wants to find out if there is some kind of records list available online. And yes, there is. The World Records list (WR table) has been running since the game was published in 1997 and after 24 years it's still going strong (2021-07-26).

The first WR table we have a screenshot of, has no date written but the statement in PeXi's old website, "Near x-mas 1997" is probably true because the next screenshot we have, is dated to 1998-01-25 where the world records are only slightly better. Then we have screenshots of WR lists from 1998-02-13, 1998-03-15 and 1998-07-19 which is the first dated table containing the new levels of Across 1.2.

There's also an undated screenshot of a list which has Across 1.2 levels (so it's after 1998-03-23) but the times are much worse than in 1998-07-19. What's also interesting is that Csaba, the brother of the author of the game, has a few world records in the list which implies the screenshot was taken soon after when Across 1.2 was published. It could be even the first Across 1.2 WR list.

The oldest existing Across 1.0/1.1 WR list is undated but it's approximately from the Christmas 1997. Players don't have teams yet and all or at least almost all the records are driven by Finnish players.

The oldest dated Across 1.0/1.1 WR list is from 1998-01-25. Two replays were also available but it's unknown why only in those levels.

The oldest existing Across 1.2/1.3 WR list is undated too but it's probably published soon after the new version was out (1998-03-23). Csaba the brother of the author has two WRs and Pekka_T (aka PeXi, aka px) has three. Finns are still dominating the table and the first teams (ASC, EMT, WACT) are also present.

The oldest dated Across 1.2/1.3 WR list is from 1998-07-19. Karlis and Pekka_T (aka PeXi, aka px) had WRs, players who become great legends in later years.

The Across WR list was last time updated in the official website in 2000-02-17. There are players from new countries besides Finland: Sweden, Norway, USA and Australia. Karlis, psy, Dr_Luni, zeth, Champi0N and umiz are players who will achieve success also in Elma.

The next tables preserved finally contain the table numbers: #315 (1998-12-10), #321 (1999-01-06) and all the tables from #337 to the current one: #418 (2004-09-16). As can be deduced from the dates and the table numbers, the world records list was updated almost daily after Across 1.0 was published and weekly a bit later. After Elasto Mania was published in 2000 almost no one kept on playing Across seriously anymore. The last Across WR table in the official site was #395 (2000-02-17). After that the community, Moposite to be precise, started to update the table.

Getting a world record was easier when the game was new but never has it been easy because the game was played so much (mostly) around the Europe and everybody wanted to get a world record.

Because we don't have data of all the old Across WR lists it's impossible to tell how many different players have had a WR. In Elma we know it: 160 at the time of writing (2018-02-18) (source). There can be a few double nicknames but the magnitude is roughly this. The total number of active "professional" players is roughly a few thousands which can be estimated by making an intersection of the players ever submitted something to the Moposite or appeared in the EOL database.

As one can see in the screenshots, Finnish players ruled in the beginning. Mikko, Nikke, Mazor and Jouni were most successful. Also two players who later became great legends, KarLiS and Pekka_T (aka PeXi, aka px) can be spotted. Jokke and psym0rph (aka psy) were also successful players in Across years. Later the WR table got more diverse when new players also from Sweden and Norway started to achieve world records. To drop of few names: Champi0N, BoBBo (aka KingKong), Mandel, TuA and zeth.

More
  • View the current Across WR table (reference).

3. Official level packs

Playing Across isn't only about driving best times but the level designing community is also strong. Across 1.2 was the first version to contain a level editor.

The level editor in Across looks quite the same as in Elasto Mania.

Level making in Across and Elma is very simple because the levels contain just polygons and vertices, start and end positions and optional food and killer objects. Experienced level designers can make decent levels in a minute but it's also common to use hours to polish and design details and different route variations.

The last internal levels of both Across (43th) and Elasto Mania (55th) are virtually unfinishable and their primary point is to advertise the official website to download new levels made by other players. During the first years the brother of the author maintained a webpage where anybody could submit own levels and get them included in the next official level pack.

Probably the most usual level type that the new players created was (and is...) a so-called speedloop because, you know, what could be more fun than a MEGA speed level?! In reality speedloops are awful levels to play because you can't control the bike in fast speed and you end up dying without any chance to react. However, there are many, way too many speedloops in those level packs.

The quality of the official level pack levels has always been fairly low but because the levels were official, people played them. In Elasto Mania quality remained same. Moposite started to select top-10 levels out of the big official level packs because there were usually some good ones too.

Some players like Blake, psy, Petri and umiz published level designing guides.

Big names in the official level packs during Across Days (1997–2000):

Level pack    Designer     Alias      First level
-------------------------------------------------
acpack03      PEKKA_T      px          1998-05-16
acpack04      TOBLE                    1998-05-26
acpack17      AP           psy         1999-02-27
acpack22      VJ32         veezay      1999-08-08
acpack24      zo3non       zo3         2000-01-04

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

More
  • Download the official level packs (reference).
  • Read Blake's Level Designing Tips (1998) (reference).

4. Teams

Especially in the early days when the driving routes and styles were mainly private and secret, there was a huge need for colloboration. Soon after the first teams were founded, groups of players who help each others by sharing ideas and replays. The unwritten rule was that the members share all the replays inside the team but spreading outside was dishonourable except when trading.

Usually teams had a webpage containing a history section, members information and team records. The primary communication tool was IRC and ICQ.

There isn't any hard evidence when the first team was founded and whose idea it originally was but we do know that the WR list in 1998-03-15 didn't contain any teams but in 1998-08-10 it had.

The first teams were ASC (Acrossive SuperCrossers), EMT (Eddie Monsoon Technologies), karihola and KDF. ASC was mentioned first time in PeXi's Across News in 1998-05-28 and EMT in 1998-06-03. FIN (Team Finlandia) was founded in 1998-09-23 and the news imply that NC (Nalle Crossers) already existed then.

Other active and successful teams in Across Days (1997–2000) were T98, HC, ahf, PRA, CWS, SSC and tLD. Team FM which later became one of the greatest teams was founded during the 12th event of World Cup 2, just before the new millennium.

The number of different teams in World Cup 1 was 26 (1999-08-01) and 32 in World Cup 2 (2000-01-29).

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

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 soon there appeared also teams whose members lived in different cities, even in different countries. Most of the teams mentioned in this chapter were Finnish except PRA from Sweden and CWS and tLD from Norway.

SSC (Scandinavian SuperCrossers) was the first international super team where all members were chosen regardless of their geographical locations.

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

More
  • View ASC team page (1999-01-27) (reference).
  • View PRA team page (1999-12-19) (reference).
  • View a (huge) list of teams in SSC's team page (2001-04-18) (reference).

5. PeXi's Across Site

The official website of the game offered two vital components which made the game living: world records and level packs. Next communal step was creating teams and building team websites. When the author added the submitted website links to the official website, it made it possible for the players to find each others. The community was born.

We don't have data of the first websites but the most comprehensive unofficial website in Across Days (1997–2000) was PeXi's Across Page. The first one (the green version) was published in 1998-04-26 and it already gathered about 100 daily visitors. This number gives also some idea of the popularity of the game because to visit PeXi's website the player had to finish all the levels to find out the official website, have access to internet in 1998 and finally end up to PeXi's Across Site from the links in the official website.

When I entered PeXi's Across Site first time, it was already the second one (the grey version) which was published in 1999-05-09. The number of daily visitors was about 300 at that time.

PeXi's Across Page was active from 1998-04-26 to 1999-05-09.

PeXi's Across Site 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 page called Stuff (1998-12-20) for all kind of extra material related to the game. Additionally the first roller coaster, PEKKA_T'.LEV [sic] locates in acpack03 (1998-05-16).

PeXi invented also the first skijump and pipe levels. The levels were some of the first external contests ever created after the level editor had been available less than two months.

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

More
  • View PeXi's Across Page (1999-05-09) (reference).
  • View PeXi's Across Site (2000-02-07) (reference).

6. Total times

One very important early innovation was the concept of total time (TT), player's all personal best times summed up to one total time.

World records have always been only the most devoted players' business but everybody can improve their own best times which automatically improves their total time. It's much easier to get into the total times list than to the world records list.

Total times can be used to rank players because almost every active player has a public total time.

Across didn't have a built-in total time counter like Elma has but for sure it's possible to calculate it manually. The first time a total time was mentioned is The ACrossers team page in 1998-06-07 where Pekka_T has 47:55,67 total time. A few screenshots of the old top-20 total times lists have been preserved and we also know the players who were first to break the minute limit barriers.

Total times minute limit breaks in Across Days (1997–2000):

Limit       Player         Nat.    Date
---------------------------------------------
40 mins     Nikke          FIN     1998-09-25
39 mins     Mazor          FIN     1998-12-19
38 mins     Joni           FIN     1999-02-10
37 mins     Champi0N       SWE     1999-05-28
36 mins     Champi0N       SWE     1999-06-26

... Elasto Mania is released ...

35 mins     StIkKyBeAr     USA     2003-01-21

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

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

Top-20 total times 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 started to beat old Across records. StIkKyBeAr even did a new minute limit break in 2003-01-21.

In Across 1.0/1.1 total times were not competed.

More
  • View current Across total times top-20 list (reference).
  • View Across total times ranking list from 21 to 60 (2001-07-30) (reference).

7. World Cup

The first World Cup (aka WCup, aka WC) lasted four months from 1999-04-04 to 1999-08-01.

The basic idea of the cup is that a new external level is published every week and the players have only one week to play it and submit their best time. The players get fresh and high-quality levels and the results were broadcasted in real-time chat every Sunday. People didn't usually share their best times to other players during the week so the results were thrilling.

Teams were very effective in World Cup because it's much faster to find better styles when you can co-operate with other players. And the faster you find the right style, the more time you have to improve all the little details and get the time you know is possible.

The first World Cup gathered 204 players, 26 teams and contained 15 events, so in order to be successful in the final standings the player had to keep on playing for 15 weeks. World Cups were also opposed because players "had" to play for so long time.

World Cup competition, at least after battles, is the most popular contest type. At the time of writing (2018-02-18) seven World Cups have been organized, two in Across (1999, 1999) and five in Elasto Mania (2000, 2002, 2005, 2013, 2017).

Additionally World Cups have been kind of status checks of the community because the competition gathered hundreds of players including many of the best ones and usually some old veterans too who haven't been around for a while.

The top-10 players in the World Cup final standings have been usually slightly different players than those who dominate the WR and TT lists. Cups are more about the team work and steady playing than super höyling. Out of the top-5 in the first World Cup, BoBBo, Jokke, Mandel and Mazor were well known WR players but the fourth, kuiva, never had a WR. In the later years the players with zero or little WRs will make more success in the World Cup.

World Cup 1 standings development (1999).

Top-10 players in World Cup 1:

#    Player        Team    Nat.   Points
----------------------------------------
1.   BoBBo         PRA     SWE     422
2.   Jokke         HC      FIN     416
3.   Mandel        PRA     SWE     350
4.   kuiva         FIN     FIN     311
5.   Mazor         ASC     FIN     309
6.   Nikke         EMT     FIN     284
7.   Dr.Across      -      SWE     278
8.   Fulgore       FIN     FIN     277
9.   Jyppe         ASC     FIN     251,5
10.  Gasmaker      Da      FIN     243

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

8. World Cup 2

Because World Cup 1 was a big success, the second one was organized almost right after. It lasted also four months (1999-09-26—2000-01-29), gathered 246 players, 32 teams and contained 15 events. A new player named Dr_Luni dominated the cup—he was nine times in top-3 and an overwhelming winner in the final standings.

World Cup 2 standings development (2000).

Top-10 players in World Cup 2:

#    Player       Team    Nat.   Points
---------------------------------------
1.   Dr_Luni      FM      SWE     920
2.   psymorph     FM      FIN     714,5
3.   Champi0n     PRA     SWE     675
4.   zeth         tLD     NOR     652
5.   YeeS         FM      NOR     606
6.   loX          tLD     NOR     602
7.   Stene        FM      NOR     550,5
8.   BoBBo        PRA     SWE     531
8.   Jokke        FM      FIN     531
10.  Karlis       FM      FIN     477,5

psy's diploma in World Cup 2

9. FAST

We played many different games in the school break times with my friends in the 90s but Across had something more. It had a timer. Carju my dear friend happened to see the timer and started to improve his best times. Then Tuska, Ultra and me, Abula, wanted to beat them.

Our playing started in summer 1999. Before buying my first computer in Christmas 1999 I played in different places and wrote down my best times on paper.

Abula's best times before buying the first own computer in the end of 1999.

Then we somehow ended up to PeXi's Across Site, the grey one, and found some professional replays like 23. Circuitous and 4. Over and Under. The times and styles used were much better than ours. We were amazed.

Also seeing a picture of Mandel [PRA] inside the Headbanger pipe was a mind blown: How the hell is that possible? You know, 26. Headbanger, one of the original internal levels has empty spaces in the edges of the level. The author didn't think they could be used to finish the level but they could.

The Headbanger pipe is very hard to drive through but it cuts off about 15 seconds, so it was very important in the total time competition.

In fact many internal levels have these kind of hidden shortcuts and tricks which people have found during the years but let's leave those aside for now.

The picture of showing Mandel [PRA] going through the 26. Headbanger pipe was a game changer to me in the summer of 1999.

We started to try to go through the pipe by ourselves and eventually Ultra made it half way. That was a key moment. Now we understood much more about the crazyness of the game: the bike is so flexible that unbelievable tricks can be done. Using the Headbanger pipe shortcut was rare in Across Days (1997–2000) and only a few players were able to do it. In Elma a few hundred players have done it – including myself.

0:51,03 psy (WR #1)

psy was one of the few players who had managed to use the Headbanger shortcut in Across. He was also the first one to learn it well enough to get the first Elma WR (2000-03-06).

Finally in July 1999 Abula, Carju, Tuska and Ultra founded a team named FAST (Finnish Action SuperCrossers Team) and soon after renamed it to MC (Mahti Crossers). Our achievements in Across years were Tuska's WR in The Enigma (version 1.0/1.1) and a few points in World Cup 2.

Team logo of ASC

In the late of 1999 a new name appeared in the total times top-20 list: Markku. He submitted his best times and took the 3rd place in the list without any help of other players. To do the Markku has a special meaning in the community which means to achieve something big out of nowhere.

Markku didn't have a team so I emailed him a several A4 pages long story and he agreed it. Markku joined MC in 2000-01-06 and took 39 out of 42 team records. Not very balanced, I must admit.

The mighty history of Mahti Crossers (2000).

Our school teached us how to talk in IRC so we joined the #across IRC chat and fooled around. Later we saw, even talked to the great heroes like Karlis, psy and Petri – and the toughest of all, Tisk the channel operator.

Another boost in our Across life was noticing that PeXi, the website maintainer, happened to live in Haukipudas which locates only 20 km from Oulu where we lived. And it got even crazier when Tuska saw a person looking like PeXi sitting in the computer class in Tuska's school, Karjasillan lukio. There are about twenty upper secondary schools in the Oulu area, not to mention in whole Finland, so it was quite a coincidence. The detective work was completed when Tuska recognized PeXi's real name in the running results. Then we met, said hello and started to chat in IRC. This happened in the beginning of year 2000.

More

10. Early meetings

Most of the first teams were founded by real life friends but the term "meeting" usually refers to an event where players meet each others after they had met online first. It's no problem to participate in the community and be very active without ever meeting anyone in real life, but it's intereting to meet other players and share some moments.

The only meetings during Across Days (1997–2000) are PeXi's swimming trip to Tampere in 1998-11-08 and a bus trip to Piteå in 1999-07-29. In Tampere PeXi [FIN] and T0rPeD0 [FIN] met Mikko [EMT] and Lusu [CIA] and in Piteå PeXi met several members of PRA, the best Swedish team at that time.

PeXi visited PRA guys in Piteå 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 easy to catch because the times and the moves of the bike were 100 % same.

The first dangerous (and funny) cheating tool was called mod.com and it appeared in 1999-12-02. It changed the physics of the bike radically and it didn't require apples to be collected to finish the level. All this made it possible to drive unbelievable times like 0:03,90 in 5. Uphill Battle when the world record was about 24 seconds at that time.

Total times and average times lists got frozen because state.dat files couldn't be trusted anymore. The problem got never resolved because Elasto Mania was published a few months later and everybody moved to play it instead.

Some example replays driven by the mod.com patch which changes the game physics radically. The last level, Expert System has two interesting details: a moving apple and a wheel touching the flower by going through the wall.

Two special tricks, bounce and supervolt, which will be introduced in more details a bit later, were also suggested to be considered as cheating in the early days but this opinion never received much support because the tricks actually improve the gameplay.

Another cheating type has been tacit approved because it is nearly impossible to catch. Level makers can lock the level if they want to prevent opening it in the level editor to be able to use it to train the level in parts or just protect the copyright. The lock was cracked already in 1998 and since then unlockers have been available in the community underground. Unofficial Elasto Mania 1.2 didn't respect the lock anymore so after 2002 locking a level didn't have any effect anymore.

More
  • View mod.com WR table (2000-03-03) (reference).

12. Stuff

Not everybody wanted to just play but also produce something. People made levels, built websites and created things to be shared. Some of the best art works during Across Days (1997–2000) are presented below.

Text
  • First preserved #across log (1998-07-31) (reference)
  • Interview of Balázs by MOTOMEN (1999-01-22) (reference)
  • Target times in Across by PeXi (1999-08-23) (reference)
  • Forecast of Elma future by kuiva (1999) (reference)
Audio

MC Studios - Ajetaan Me Motskarilla was one of the four songs produced by Abula and 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 many members.

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

13. Levels and replays

Replay files are very essential components of Across and Elma. Unfortunately no good collections of Across files exist although back in the days team KGB had many good replays available in their team website.

Because the Across levels work also in Elasto Mania, many good Across levels were moved to Elma level packs.

Good levels of Across Days (1997–2000):

* Misc level packs  >  Blake's levels
* Misc level packs  >  Eilen
* Moposite levels   >  Custom levels (1-21)
* Team TAP levels   >  zebra's levels > Old across levs
* World Cup levels  >  Wcup 1
* World Cup levels  >  Wcup 2k

(Paths refers to Elma Ultimate DVD.)

In addition Elma Ultimate DVD contains a few Across replays but because replay sharing was slightly dishonourable in Across Days (1997–2000), the number of good public replays is modest.

Summary of the chapter

The first part of the saga, three years from 1997 to 2000 consists of the release of the first version of the game and the first steps of the community maturation. Many important concepts such as world records, total times, teams, cups, contests and meetings were initiated. In the following chapter we will see what happens when the sequel named Elasto Mania is released.

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

The first era of Elasto Mania, the sequal of Action SuperCross, spans roughly 18 months from the release of the game to the publication of Elasto Mania Forever CD, the first exclusive collection of the creative art work the community had produced. July 2001 happens to be the last time the greatest Across team (PRA) was last time seen in the Elma WR table.

During the era a lot happened when people learnt what the new game offers. Some Across players quitted but many more new players joined the community. We were worried about the new version being a disaster but Elma turned out to be better, way better.

1. New versions

"Across 2" was a common topic in the community during Across Days (1997–2000) because of some rumours and because we had our fears and nightmares of features such as 3D, teleports, turbo boost, gravity and other super cool additions. The hardcore players have always liked the simplicity of the game. New fancy things could ruin the playability.

The author has always been very moderate of revealing any facts but apparently he had mentioned something to PeXi who had written in his website's FAQ page: I only know that they are making it, trying to at least remove the bugs and improve graphics, maybe a multiplayer mode will be true too. (source) There was another clue of the publication in August 1999 when PeXi announced to draw a few copies of Across 2 between the participants of World Cup 2, which was scheduled to end in January 2000.

Elasto Mania 1.0

Indeed in the 3rd February 2000 Across 2 was out! The name had changed and it was Elasto Mania now or just Elma.

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

The new gravity apples that switch the gravity of the bike can't be distinguished from the normal ones which apparently are meant to be funny but at least they are annoying because you can't know the next direction and position the bike for it. Luckily there are only three internal levels to contain gravity apples: Gravity Ride, Upside Down and Bowling. There is no consensus whether the gravity apples increase or decrease the gameplay but my humble opinion is negative.

The graphics got fancier but fortunately there is a setting to turn them off to have a simple look like in original Across. The pretty trees and bushes might look appealing but it's more difficult to see clearly where the bike goes. The only useful component is grass which gives more contrast to the ground. However everything was good because of the setting. Perhaps the nicer appearance lured more new players. Elasto Mania supports also custom graphics via a special file called LGR. A new concept of finding secret areas was also introduced.

The game got a total time counter integrated, saved best times of external levels and top-10 times instead of top-6. Replay length was extended to five minutes and a possibility to configure the controls was added which kind of solved the problem of too many modern keyboards which didn't allow to press several keys at the same time. In Elma you may need to press even five keys in some situations, like in the start of 52. Hang Tight (left, right, gas, turn, enter).

Twelve new internal levels were introduced, total being 54 now. Four of the new ones, 30. Pipe, 32. Steep Corner, 34. Bumpy Journey and 45. Sink are so-called speedloops (sob) and three were gravity levels and another two, 53. Hooked and 48. Downhill were actually already published as a slightly different versions in the official level packs during Across Days (1997–2000). So basically there were only three fresh and good – well at least mediocre – levels: 8. Tag, 39. Haircut and 49. What the Heck. But actually all the old levels were kind of new ones because the game physics changed so much. There were also some minor changes in some levels like 33. Zig Zag and 47. Enigma.

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 nominated the game of the day again in MikroBitti magazine in 2001-03-03.

More
  • Download Elasto Mania 1.11a shareware (reference).
  • View the development of internal levels (reference).
  • Read Moposite's Elasto Mania information page (reference).

2. Modified physics

The physics of the Elma world was different to Across world. At first it felt awful because after spending hundreds of hours with Across, embracing it, you started to feel it both natural and correct and everything else is just wrong. But when looking back now we can admit that Across is more irritating and Elma is smoother and just better.

As the new name implies Elasto Mania is more elastic, more slippery. Across had a better grip but Elma gives you smoother, faster and more powerful drive—even the character is standing when in Across he seems to be sitting.

2.1. Gravity apples

A big change in the laws of Elma physics was the concept of gravity apples which can change the gravity to all four directions.

Unfortunately the apple doesn't indicate the direction in any way so the player needs to be prepared for everything when taking the apple first time. And because that's not always possible, you occasionally die unfairly.

On the positive side the gravity apples give more opportunities to design new kind of levels. The established way to deal with the unfair indication problem is to draw arrows next to the gravity apples but it fixes the problem only in external levels.

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

psy made a new world record by taking the gravity apples in an unusual order (2000).

2.2. Head position

What is interesting in Elma is that the position of the head got mirrored related to the wheels. In Across the character had to look at the wall to keep the head as far as possible from it to not die but in Elma to do same he must look away from the wall. When you realized and adopted that fact, you got more margin and better times. In the beginning some players drove even world records in the hard way.

The horizontal position of the head in Elma is same as in Across but mirrored. The bike is also a bit higher in Elma so some levels like 37. Jaws is slightly tighter and harder.

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.

A bounce can be done by back and front wheel, from the wall, from the ground, from the roof and well, from about everywhere. There are also many kind of bounces like an alobounce, bugbounce, deadbounce, half-deadbounce, o-bounce. Bouncing is art and pleasure.

There were some levels in Across like Tunnel Terror and Bounce Back where bouncing was possible but overall bouncing levels were fairly rare and challenging to do because of the more uncontrollable ground touch in Across and less speed compared to Elma. Instead at the time of writing (2017-09-29) almost every world record in Elma includes at least one bounce – or four like in Jaws. So bounce wasn't a totally new thing in Elma but now it just became a very common day-to-day trick.

Performing a bounce isn't usually depressing hard—still hard enough to give a shot of endorphin when you perform one.

Mawane's videos shows clearly what is a bounce:

  • Watch MEGA Bounce (part 1/2) by Mawane (2009-12-05) (reference).
  • Watch MEGA Bounce (part 2/2) by Mawane (2010-05-02) (reference).

Bounce is actually a bug in the source code, a good ol' division by zero error, but it was decided to leave unfixed because the error actually improved gameplay and a fix might have meant a WR table reset.

Bounces can be extremely powerful sometimes which people consider as a bugbounce. But where's the limit? Which one is a bugbounce and which is not? Unfortunately it's not possible to draw a line by picking some official number for the maximum value of acceleration allowed because the value depends on the situation. Some bounces which don't look buggy at all can have higher value than a bounce which is clearly a bugbounce. So even today we are relying on jury (2020-05-06), a table updater who must decide if a certain bounce is a bug or not.

Luckily there aren't many internal levels where the question of bugbounce is relevant, except one: 47. Enigma. Stini had a world record in Enigma for 214 tables (4653 days, almost 13 years), longer than any other WR ever and the replay has been under hard debate.

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

Is this a bugbounce or not?

slesk018.rec

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

More
  • Read the discussion about Stini's Enigma (reference).
  • View a poll of Stini's Enigma (reference).

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, turning, volting, climbing, dropping, hanging, jumping, pushing, streching, picking (apples) and dodging (killers) are obvious enough and can be skipped. The Moposchool level pack introduces them in more detail. However there is one trick we need to look at now: supervolt or the special case of it called alovolt as "supervolt alone".

Supervolt is a special volt that works only in clockwise direction when the player presses both right and left push keys at the same time. It's very easy to perform when you first press, let's say right push, keep it pressed and then press left push. There you have a supervolt.

Supervolt is more powerful compared to the normal volt and because it's not a tiny difference, it gained lots of interest after it was found.

Actually supervolt trick was possible in Across as well and it's strange that people didn't notice it back then.

The first Elma world records where supervolt is used are Tookai's Bumpy Journey and Champi0N's Hi Flyer in WR table #1 (2000-03-06). A more significant one is Tuska's Hang Tight in table #20 (2000-06-04) where the supervolt start is much faster.

Supervolt is easy to do in the start of the level because you can press both right and left before starting the level.

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

Supervolt start is much faster in Hang Tight (2001).

But it turned out that actually there aren't many internal levels where you need to do many right volts in a row that could be potentially replaced by a supervolt. However if you could press both left and right keys simultaneously and make a supervolt without a normal volt first, supervolt alone so to speak, you would get more advantage. But it's very difficult to press two keys at the very same time.

People began to experiment the new volt and they found out that slow computers and some keyboards made it easier to make the supervolt without preceding the normal volt. mr, my team friend, discovered that it's possible to configure two keys to one button in an external pad controller and thereby it could be used by a foot. The finding was top secret because we didn't want to give the benefit for our competitors.

Pipe WR by dz in table #70 (2001-06-24) is the first WR to have an alovolt in the middle of the level. dz didn't use the alovolt start in Over and Under in table #67 (2001-05-14) but swos used it even twice in table #71 (2001-07-08).

First world records utilizing alovolt were driven in levels where the trick is in the beginning of the level where the trick can be attempted to perform more often.

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

swos' Over and Under is the second WR using the alovolt trick, even twice, at 2 and 7 seconds (2001).

Later the community solved the alovolt issue by making an unofficial Elma patch (1.11h) which made it possible to configure a special key to perform it. After that everybody was able to use it no matter what their hardware was.

We haven't talked much about the unofficial Elma versions yet but there are some of them. The first one, the version introducting alovolt (1.11h), was released in 2002-10-07. After that many world records were improved because alovolt was very useful in many levels.

So in the end it took about one year from finding a new revolutionary trick to be utilized by almost every player on daily basis. The trick evolved from secret information of few to a new key in the game without having the original source code.

Many old Across world records were also easily beaten after the alovolt was found. Some people saw that as sacrilegious act but the records are legitimate because the table never got frozen.

In addition there has been discussion about implementing a left alovolt to the game because it's unlogical to have it only in clockwise direction but because the change would mean a WR table reset, the idea was never really welcomed by the community. Right alovolt has been always technically possible to perform but left alovolt never was.

More
  • Read about the Elasto Mania 1.11h (reference).
  • View a poll about the left alovolt (reference).

5. Let's play internals

The official in-game levels (internals) have always been the center of attention. When there were 12 new internals in Elma and when the 42 old internals were practically new as well because of the modified game physics, many players started to play the official levels a lot again.

A few events during the first 18 months are important in the world records' point of view. At first Moposite started to maintain the official WR table in 2001-04-08.

Secondly the first discussion board, Ultimate Bulletin Board was opened in 2000-04-17 where players could talk about their times, styles and even share files (reference). Eventhough the discussion was quite spare, even childish, it was a step forward. The board welcomed new people to the community who weren't able or willing to join IRC. Inducing from the links in Moposite news, the second discussion board, now called as Mopolauta was put in service between 2001-04-01 and 2001-08-30 (reference). No records of the first discussions have preserved.

5.1. WR tables #1-#72

The era of Prelude to Elma (2000–2001) consists of 72 world records table updates during the 18 months period. That is exactly four tables per month but updates didn't occur weekly as the number suggests. In the beginning the WR table was updated more often, almost daily when the world records were constantly improved.

The first 72 tables had 522 new WRs (~7.3 per table, 29 per month) when for example the last 72 tables at the moment (#319-#391) have had 177 new ones (~2.5 per table). The difference is even more overwhelming if we compare it to the last 18 months (#384-#391) where we have had 18 new WRs, one per month. Of course the world records were much easier to get in the beginning but all the same, the internal level playing was very active and extensive when Elasto Mania was just published.

The author of the game informed the date beforehand when the WR table will be updated first time. The community knew that they have exactly one month to drive as good times as possible because the first table was promised to be updated in 2000-03-06. Before the deadline everybody could submit their personal best times to be checked by the authors who then picked up the best ones and created the WR table #1. People didn't know other teams' times so it was very interesting to finally see the first table.

Elasto Mania World Records Table #1 (2000-03-06).

And there we go! FM took 25 and PRA only 9 world records. Our team (MC) got 7 and to my greatest surprise I got one: 30. Pipe. The players who got most WRs were psy 10, Champi0N 9, Jokke 6, Markku 4 and Stene 4.

Team MC's world records in table #1:

Level                    Time     Player
----------------------------------------
20. Upside Down       1:10,29     Markku
32. Steep Corner        45,10     Markku
46. Bowling           1:14,58     Markku
51. Tricks Abound     1:01,18     Markku

14. Loop-de-Loop        18,94     Tuska
45. Sink                35,18     Tuska

30. Pipe                35,30     Abula

The next table six days later had 31 new WRs, following 35 WRs in table #3. People were really active and played a lot. The WR total time was dropping fast.

WR table total times during the first month:

Date          Table    Total time
---------------------------------
2000-03-06      #1       44:26,47
2000-03-11      #2       43:45,46
2000-03-17      #3       43:03,96
2000-03-23      #4       42:50,84
2000-03-29      #5       42:48,71
2000-03-31      #6       42:44,21
2000-04-05      #7       42:43,12

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

There were 80 different players from 7 different nationalities and 36 different teams in the first 72 tables. Only 26 out of the 522 WRs were driven by a player without a team so again we see the power of co-operation.

Number of new WRs per nationality in tables #1-#72:

#    Nat.    WRs
----------------
1.   SWE     224
2.   FIN     170
3.   NOR     113
4.   HUN       7
5.   USA       5
6.   POL       2
7.   AUS       1
Number of new WRs per team in tables #1-#72:

#    Team    WRs
----------------
1.   FM      107
2.   PRA      79
3.   SC       39
4.   SSC      28
5.   ukc      27
6.   tld      23
7.   SAT      22
     MC       22
9.   WRS      19
10.  TWN      15
...
Number of new WRs per player in tables #1-#72:

#    Player      WRs
--------------------
1.   Jokke        39
2.   Champi0N     32
     zyntifox     32     
4.   Jeppe        31
5.   KingKong     24
6.   Karlis       20
     psy          20
8.   elg          15
9.   Markku       14
10.  pajen        13
     Stene        13
...

An interesting detail is a WR table #37 where zyntifox had world records in the first four internal levels: 1. Warm Up, 2. Flat Track, 3. Twin Peaks and 4. Over and Under. I'm sure many players once got the brilliant idea to drive all WRs starting from the first level. zyntifox got it most close missing only the last 50 levels – or 49 to be precise because he had also 10. The Steppes at that time.

Another interesting WR related detail in zyntifox's Warm Up WR is that he improved it by 0:00,01 seconds six times in a row starting from the table #28. He did it also five times in Flat Track starting from the table #15.

Besides driving world records in large measure, the total time competition was also intense. It was easy to improve your total time but it was same for everybody else so you had to rush to keep up with others.

Total times minute limit breaks in Prelude to Elma (2000–2001):

Limit       Player       Nat.    Date
-------------------------------------------------
45 mins     KingKong     SWE     2000-03-11 (#1)
44 mins     Champi0N     SWE     2000-04-05 (#7)
43 mins     KingKong     SWE     2000-06-04 (#21)
42 mins     zyntifox     NOR     2000-11-21 (#47)

Top-50 total times (2000-06-22).

Top-50 total times (2001-04-15).

As one can see team PRA was dominating the total times competition in the beginning. FM was quite inactive after the first WR table but became number one when Jokke, Karlis, Stene, YeeS and Ufo started to play seriously. Later more players entered the competition and especially zyntifox, pajen and Dezz (aka dz) started to rule the total times list. Other successful total time oriented players of the early days were Jeppe, elg, Elbono, zeth, Totalnew and Joni.

5.2. First WR statistics

We looked at quite an amount of different statistics in this chapter. Back in the days there wasn't any statistics. mrickx was first to write down the WR development and Petri published it in the SSC team page in 2000-09-05 before it was moved to Moposite in 2000-10-26.

  • View the oldest WR development page (2000-09-02) (reference).
  • View another old WR development page (2001-04-07) (reference).

5.3. Country, average and top-X lists

More extensive internal level playing in Elma led to more records lists. Tier [AAF] from Australia was first to maintain a world top-5 list already in Across and later in Elma as well. The list contained the top-5 world best times of each internal level. Later the list was hosted by mrDJ (aka EML), team ahf and Tonylee who expanded it to top-10. Finally Moposite adopted the list in June 2002

Another new list type was average times introduced by Abula in 2000-10-15, namely the average of the player's top-10 times per level. Balázs made a program to count the average times—there weren't many programmers around in the community in 2000.

There have been country records since Across Days (1997–2000): Slovenian records being the first one in 1998. Oulu records by Abula was the first city records in 2000. The country and city lists were updated by many different players around the Elma world. In addition there were a few top-30 lists for single internal levels.

  • View average records (2001-04-30) (reference).
  • View average records (2001-10-02) (reference).
  • View top-5 records of every internal level (reference).
  • View top-5 records of every internal level (reference).
  • View top-10 records of every internal level (reference).
  • View Slovenian records (1998-12-04) (reference).
  • View Finnish records (2000-06-22) (reference).
  • View Finnish records (2001-04-18) (reference).
  • View Swedish records (2000-06-22) (reference).
  • View Danish records (2001-04-22) (reference).
  • View Norwegian records (2001) (reference).
  • View South African records (2001) (reference).
  • View Oulu records (2000-04-01) (reference).
  • View Espoo records (2001-01-21) (reference).
  • View top-30 of Loop-de-Loop (reference).
  • View top-30 of Headbanger (reference).
  • View top-30 of Pipe (reference).

6. Mysterious WR replays

Next we can watch the best world record replays driven during the first 18 months. Keep in mind that all those styles and replays were top secret back then and people would have sold their grandmas to get to watch them. Replay sharing was still very moderate.

0:20,95 Eliaz (WR #62) 0:24,93 Eliaz (WR #35) 0:28,26 Champi0N (WR #3) 0:32,40 onlainari (WR #2)

The biggest absolute improvement of all times (0:16,14 seconds) goes to onlainari with his 47. Enigma WR in table #2 (2000-03-11). The shortcut he used was already known in Across. Eliaz (twice) and Champi0N found a few new tricks in the level.

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

10. The Steppes is the shortest internal level—yet the world record evolution has been very fascinating. Karlis uses the old Across style, mr goes head first, zyntifox back wheel first and Markku does a totally different turn. Amazingly the WR is even 0:02,53 seconds faster at the time of writing.

1:06,88 Jeppe (WR #73) 1:06,93 Joni (WR #8)

Joni's 20. Upside Down lasted 65 tables (484 days) which is longer than any other WR during the first 72 tables.

0:15,95 MGen (WR #42) 0:17,20 Karlis (WR #35) 0:33,71 Joni (WR #6)

The biggest relative improvement of all times (44.7 %) goes to Karlis with his 44. Freefall WR in table #33 (2001-08-19). Unfortunately the replay file has been lost but he improved it again on the table #35 and that replay has preserved. A bit later MGen found even faster style. The current WR is astounding 0:11,41. Freefall is also the most improved internal level by 42 new records.

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

33. Zig-Zag has the most evolved world record style. The first 72 tables cut the time by 0:44,78 seconds and in the upcoming tables it will drop 15 seconds more (status in 2020-05-23).

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

Jokke was the first player to use the legendary 24. Ramp Frenzy shortcut (2001-02-17).

0:54,77 Joni (WR #1)

Joni had several mysterious world records which other players couldn't figure out how to beat. His 48. Downhill world record lasted 19 tables (91 days), longer than any other WR from table #1.

7. Funny replays

It's not only the fastest replays that are interesting to watch but the replay can be interesting in some other way. The coolest replays of the first years of Elma are rather mediocre in today's standards but let's watch a few.

slesk007.rec

zyntifox was one of the most skilled players in 2000-2001. His double round mastering in 47. 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.

8. Cheating (2nd wave)

A program to crack the encrypted state.dat file was published soon after Elma was published. Since then the record list maintainers had to watch the replays in order to be sure the submitted times are correct.

In 2000-06-25 a patch named Nitro was released. It made possible to change the game physics such as acceleration, spinning and gravity. The patch added 10 minutes to the finish times and the replays didn't work in normal Elma. Nitro supports also immortality and driving in slow motion.

Nitro was fun to play for a while but it opened dangerous gates too. What to do if someone was able to remove the 10 minutes addition?

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

slesk045.rec

An anonymous player uses Nitro patch to finish 29. Headbanger in 0:19,56 in 2001.

Nitro also offered a new revolutionary feature: replay merge. Now you were able to watch two replays at the same time and find out how to improve more easily.

And then it happened what was feared: in April 2001 two norwegian players got caught on cheating nine world records with a patch like nitro which just didn't have the protection features. The cheaters had adjusted the bike physics very little like gravity 999/1000 and immortality in places where the head was very close to the wall to make it hard to detect with a naked eye. They also used slow motion in short levels like 1. Warm Up, 12. Loop-de-Loop and 34. Bumpy Journey.

03djwr.rec

mrDJ (aka EML) uses immortality in the end of his cheated 3. Twin Peaks world record in 2001.

MGen was the first programmer to create anti-cheating tools which helped to catch the first cheaters.

The first anti-cheating tool was MGen's elmaplay (2001). The program created fancy histograms but to be honest, it didn't always give very clear answers if the replay was cheated or not.

Because of the cheaters some old WR tables doesn't have any new world records (eg. #27).

More

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

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

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

48. Downhill is a different level to play in multiplayer mode.

The author never updated the multi world records in the official website but gave it to Tumex who started to update the list in March 2000. The earliest existing screenshot is from the table #28 (2000-12-20) which is probably the last one Tumex updated. SveinR adopted the multi table in 2001-02-07 and the first one we have from his website is #18 (2001-04-22) so the table numbering was reset. One more screenshot exists from the era we are talking about: #22 (2001-05-22).

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. Pre-battles

Elasto Mania has a multiplayer mode for two players out of the box but let's see what other ways there are to play with other players.

The first World Cup was organized in April 1999 and as we already discussed the idea of the cup where a few hundred players play the same level at the same time for one week.

Another contest of the early days that has a real-time social aspect, is the 24 hours total time competition because it's often played by several players at the same time. The idea of the competition is to drive as good total time as possible in 24 hours. It was first time organized by Abula in 2000-07-08.

One technological step was also necessary to make playing with other players possible, fixed term internet connections, which were becoming more common in the Nordic countries in 2000.

Another real-time contest idea is the concept of battles. It's a competition where one player makes a level, uploads it and launches a short competition in a dedicated IRC channel. In the beginning the playing time was always 30 minutes and the winner had to manually upload the replay for others to verify.

Battles started to gain popularity because it was both interesting to see who had skills to drive good times quickly and also to get new fresh levels one after one.

It's disputable to determine the exact date of the beginning of battling but personally I see the leikki and kisma levels as a pre-battle contest. We created those levels in team MC (Abula and Tuska) to compete with each others by improving in turns on the same computer for short periods of time. The first leikki level was created in 2000-06-13 and 90 more were created before August 2002. In the second Across meeting, AC-meat2 (May 2001), there was only one computer and the only organized contest was played in kisma style.

The very first record when the term battle is mentioned is mrDJ's (aka EML) interview dated to 2001-05-01. As far as I can remember the first active battlers were Abula, Tuska, MUe, Petri, onlainari, Tisk, EML and skint0r. The first logs are lost but the channel was #30minsbattle.

Battles are short living competitions and the results are quickly forgotten soon after the next battle is started. Many people see battles as more like a training camp for the official levels but there are also players who find battling the primary reason to play Elma.

More
  • View the 24 hours total times page (2000-09-03) (reference).

11. World Cup 3

We had been playing internal levels in Elma only for five months when PeXi organized the third World Cup from 2000-06-26 to 2000-12-17. It contained 20 events this time. There were 208 participants and 45 teams got points.

Dr_Luni kept on dominating and took his second World Cup victory. Jokke was again in the top-10 in the final standings. Team FM was overwhelming again. Team PRA who had won the team competition in WC1 and who became second in WC2, was fifth this time.

World Cup 3 standings development (2000).

Top-10 players in World Cup 3:

#    Player        Team     Nat.    Points
------------------------------------------
1.   Dr_Luni       FM       SWE     1655,5
2.   Elbono        SC       SWE     1366,5
3.   Karlis        FM       FIN     1004,5
4.   Jokke         FM       FIN      959
5.   AAL-Owen      SRX      NOW      840
6.   Tapzu         POP      FIN      820,5
7.   Jarkko H      swos     FIN      786,5
8.   Kumiorava     POP      FIN      745
9.   Matte                  SWE      734,5
10.  Markku        MC       FIN      727

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

Since World Cup 2 PeXi asked other people to design levels for the cup. In World Cup 3 two levels were designed by Abula. The latter one was named Impsybility which also started the pipe level tradition. Roller coaster level type is another World Cup tradition.

12. OLP

Because the players had wished more new official levels in Elma than just twelve, MUe, a hungarian player who had made one in-game level (46. Bowling), launched a project called OLP (The Official Level Pack). MUe collected levels from the community and Moposite created a new WR list looking like the real WR table. The level pack release was in 2001-03-03.

The level pack never gained the popularity we had aimed for. The level quality was moderate and the OLP name was confusing because there were already the official level packs in the official website.

More

13. More Levels

It wasn't just the Moposite crew who created Elma websites and organized contests: many teams and players contributed too.

The very first cup after World Cup that we have any record of is Motomen's Team cup. Kahvicup is known by strange and varying rules. Much more popular and serious one was Middle European Cup which gathered 58 players from Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Netherlands and England.

Cups organized during the first 18 months:

Start          Name                    Winner     Organizer(s)
--------------------------------------------------------------
2000-04-16     Team Cup                FIN        MOTOMEN
2000-12-10     Kahvicup                Tisk       psy & Sathy
2000-12-31     Middle European Cup     Raider     TonyLee
2001-02-22     LOS Cup                 ?          LOS
2001-06-11     Elma League             ?          EML

Raider's diploma in the first Middle European Cup (2001).

Elma League was a new idea where players competed with each others in the same group, and the best and the worst players of every group had to change their groups after each round. Unfortunately the league didn't keep on running after the first season. The concept is demanding for the organizers but Zebra and Zworqy have arranged something similar called duel and elimination cup in the later years.

Another interesting contest was the mini internals which Totalnew started already in Across. Mini47T.lev was created in 1999-12-03. The idea was to replicate the official internal levels and make them smaller, mini versions so to speak. They were fun to play because you kind of felt like playing the original levels but just bizarred ones. In later years the mini internals were recreated programmably but back then it was manual work all the way.

Almost all team pages had contests of their own. Usually there were regular external levels to drive best times. We didn't have any polls to award the best ones in the early years but here are some highlights.

Good Elma levels created during Prelude to Elma (2000–2001):

Directory
------------------------------------------------------
Internals            >  Mini internals made by players
Misc level packs     >  kahvi
Misc level packs     >  Laina (1-90)
Misc level packs     >  Olliz levels
Misc level packs     >  RiZ's levels
Misc level packs     >  sex levels
Moposite levels      >  Custom levels (22-72)
Official levelpacks  >  elma top10packs (26-66)
skintatious levels   >  Skint (1-67)
Team LOS levels      >  The LOS Levels (1-45)
World Cup levels     >  Wcup 3

(Paths refer to Elma Ultimate DVD.)
First appearances of some famous level designers in the official Elma level packs:

Level pack    Designer     Alias      First level
-------------------------------------------------
empack26      VJ32         veezay      2000-02-05
empack35      Olliz                    2000-06-02
empack37      SveinR                   2000-06-30
empack39      RiZ                      2000-03-23
empack44      TL                       2000-05-17
empack49      skint0r                  2000-08-13
empack53      umiz                     2000-12-31
empack61      Zworqy                   2000-09-26
  • View TSC team page (2000-12-09) (reference).
  • View Elma League (2001-08-19) (reference).
  • View Middle European Cup final standings (2002-02-20) (reference).

14. Moposite

Between February 2000 and July 2001 Abula and PeXi created four Elma sites. In later years three more were built but that's a topic of the next era.

Abula's Elma Site

The creation work of my first Elma site took one month and the first news were written in 2000-01-26. The songs of MC Studios, Oulu city records, food recipes and a list of Elma players (ElMaKuskit) were first of their kind in the community. This was also the time when Höylä Mission and the team page of MC were introduced. Hill climbing, Slowness, Hanging and Impossibility contest types got released.

The number of daily visitors was roughly 50.

Höylä Mission records table #28 in Abula's first Elma website in April 2000. The website was active from 2000-01-26 to 2000-06-25.

Soon after I started to make the next version in April 2000 which got a new name: Moposite. The spring 2000 was hectic time because Elasto Mania was also just published and the website had to be migrated from Across to Elma on top of creating the new layout and structure for the website.

More
  • View Abula's Elma Site (2000-04-01) (reference).

PeXi's Elma Site

PeXi was also renewing his website in the beginning of 2000 in order to add dedicated sections for Elasto Mania. He published the new site in 2000-02-27. About 400 visitors viewed his website daily which is a 25 % increase compared to the previous website.

PeXi's Elasto Mania & Action SuperCross Site, "the blue version" was active from 2000-02-27 to 2000-06-25.

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.

More
  • View PeXi's Elasto Mania & Action SuperCross Site (2000-06-22) (reference).

Moposite v1

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

Moposite v1 was active from 2000-06-25 to 2001-04-30. The design is by Abula.

The first Moposite was published in 2000-06-25 which means that previous Elma sites of PeXi and Abula were up and running only for four months. First Moposite version gathered about 500 daily visitors and the 200 000 visits barrier was crossed in 2000-09-05.

The new sections were the 24 hours total time competition, average records, Kinglist, multiplayer contests, top-10 level pack ratings, Flag Tag levels, anagrams, dictionary and old WR tables. Also a WR development page was included and two new special contest levels: Bouncing and Invisibility.

In 2001-04-30 Moposite was taken offline. The plan was to calm down the activity and get some attention while making the next Moposite version. Temporary offline version provided updates to the most important sections like world records and news.

Moposite went offline for four months in 2001 while the next Moposite version was built.

The Moposite v2 wasn't ready before the end of the era, July 2001. The tradegy of web designing has always been that once you get a new website running, you already know many things that could be better. Both your skills and web technologies are evolving so fast that you are never satisfied with the current version.

More
  • View Moposite v1 (2001-04-30) (reference).
  • View Moposite offline version (2001-07-22) (reference).
  • Read Moposite history (reference).

15. Players IRL

Real life pictures of other players were desired material back in the days when Facebook didn't exist. Some website updaters published a few pictures of the players but it was Petri who made the first picture gallery of the players in July 2000. Later MUe collected and published all the available pictures in the Elma Forever CD in 2001-07-21.

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

Player interviews titled as Kuski of month (KOM) were started in January 2001 which gave insight to the real lives of the best players. zyntifox won the first KOM poll (reference).

First two AC-meats, the predecessors of the Finnish Elma Meetings (FEM) were organized in Ulvila in June 2000 and in Nokia in May 2001. The participants were Finnish actives from #across IRC channel and the meetings were mostly invite only.

AC-meats were special compared to the future ones because back then people didn't want to bring own computers including the heavy old-school CRT monitors. Instead they drank beer and chatted. There were some Elma competitions too but with one computer ten players can't do much.

Group picture of AC-meat 2000: Karlis, bluu, Conny, PeXi, kuiva.

Group picture of AC-meat 2001: Tisk, Tuska, Abula, PeXi, bluu, Toble, Karlis, kuiva.

Old-school Across legends Mikko and Nikke [EMT] were special guests in AC-meat 2001.

At this point I started personally to be more in contact with other Elma players who I didn't know before and who didn't live in the same city.

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

16. MC

Our first team, Mahti Crossers (MC), was doing very well during the first 18 months after Elma was released. We drove 26 single world records, many multi world records, became the 7th in World Cup 3 team standings and we were also very active team all-around. Especially Tuska's Across and Cemetery LGRs, Abula's website projects and the production of MC Studios were widely noticed by the community. Abula and Tuska participated also the second Finnish Across meeting in Nokia in 2001.

The members of MC were in move in December 2000 when Markku left the team while quitting Elma after World Cup 3 and in the same month mr joined MC after being the only active player in his old team (ahf).

More
  • View MC team page (2001-11-25) (reference).

17. Forever CD

The era of Prelude to Elma (2000–2001) is closed by the Elasto Mania Forever CD which MUe published in July 2001. MUe is the only player who has been active in both sides: in the community and in the production crew of the game itself.

The CD was the first collection of the greatest Elma art work created so far. The biggest effort was put to a movie of 35 minutes titled as Elma Crime.

The cover of Elasto Mania Forever CD by MUe (July 2001).

The brochure of Elma Crime movie which was filmed in Budapest in July 2001.

Elma Crime directed by MUe (2001-07-23).

  • Download Elasto Mania Forever CD (reference).
LGR

It is possible to create custom graphics for Elma via a special file named LGR. Although it's quite a job to edit all the 80 different pictures of the game, many people have done that.

Let's look at some of the coolest LGRs which were created during Prelude to Elma (2000–2001).

Tuska's Cemetery LGR was the first LGR published (2000-03-29).

Tuska created also the Across LGR (2000-03-29).

RiZ made Quake Arena 3 LGR (2000-04-25).

Style LGR by MTB_Ace was the first LGR trying to improve the default one (2000-07-20).

MProd is a nickname I haven't heard anywhere else but he created the Matrix LGR which make you feel like not playing Elma at all (2000-10-04).

Program

The first Elma programs were game property modifiers which changed the level names and the menu texts.

ASF's background and foreground texture changer fixed the contrast problem that some internal levels like 48. Downhill and 19. Turnaround have. Later the problem was fixed in Elma version 1.2 (2003-03-08).

Text

During the era the amount of the textual work was still moderate and mainly technical.

  • Running Elasto Mania in UNIX by fotn (2000-02-26) (reference)
  • Interview of Mandel [PRA] by ->LUKE<- (2000-03-25) (reference)
  • Anagrams of Elasto Mania by Abula (2000-06-06) (reference)
  • Interview of Balázs by MUe (2001-07-21) (reference)
Audio

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

MC Studios - Vi Höyler Mer was one of the six songs produced by Mahti Crossers in the second recording session in the summer of 2000.

MUe - Losing my World Records was published in Elma Forever CD in 2001-07-21. Lyrics (reference).

Video

MUe was the only one making Elma videos 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.

Abula created a gallery of kuski driving around the world (2000-05-31).

MUe created a 3D model of Elma bike in 2000-08-30.

A polish gaming magazine reviewed Elma in October 2000 and gave a rating of 66 points.

GiZ was the first artist drawing Elma pictures by hand (2000).

rm created Elma cartoon strips in January 2001.

MUe created the first Elma april fool in 2001-04-01.

Elasto Mania appears again in some random MikroBitti screenshot (April 2001). Looks like we had a man inside.

MUe created and published an Elma poster with a signature of Balázs (2001-05-26).

Summary of the chapter

During the first 18 months of Elasto Mania, a lot happened. The new game attracted more people to play which resulted richer community and crazier playing. The two new concepts which later become very essential parts of the game were invented: battles and alovolt.

Moposite and the predecessor of Mopolauta, the two central places of the community, were established during the era. Meetings of circa ten players were organized in Finland and Hungary. World Cup 3 gathered 208 players.

Elma Forever CD closes the era by welcoming more people to join in. It was getting big.

III. Golden Era (2001 Jul – 2006 Dec)🔝

The most prosperious period of the Elma saga lasted roughly five years from July 2001 to December 2006, from Elma Forever CD to a new online version named Belma.

The first public speedrun video Elma Done (fairly) Quick was also published in the end of the era. The video revealed first time almost all world record replays including many legendary and mysterious styles.

During Golden Era (2001–2006) many big things happened. Lots of new world records were driven, 357 participants in World Cup 4, five total time minute limit breaks, dozens of meetings and very active Mopolauta discussions. Battles got popular – yet it was still very different experience without the modern patches of the later eras.

Golden Era was also Moposite's most active time. In the end of the era the community started to shift from the Moposite centricity to a whole new reality: Belma.

Abula's desktop in 2001-08-23. What you see is Apple Harvest poster, Elma Forever CD + MUe's bonus, Winamp skin, Elmapicnic animation and Moposite.

The third discussion forum (Mopolauta) was started in 2002-05-19. It's an information treasure for this era.

1. Elasto Mania 1.2

As mentioned earlier there was a huge demand to get an upgrade to the game after the alovolt trick was found in summer 2001.

The author of the game wasn't able to fix the inconvenient situation by open sourcing the program code or making a new version. This could have been the end of the story but then a player named Hibernatus reverse-engineered the essential parts of the source code and found a way to add a new single key to perform the alovolt. The first unofficial Elma version 1.11h was released in 2002-10-07 and 1.11hb in 2002-10-17 with a few bugfixes.

Hibernatus added also a replay merge, a feature that was introduced first time in Nitro patch. In addition there were VCR-style controls to rewind, pause and watch replays in slow motion. The patch gave a significant boost for the community because the new features improved the gameplay radically without altering the core physics which means the world records table remained open.

A year later in 2003-03-08 Hibernatus released one more version, Elasto Mania 1.2, which introduced more useful features like different screen resolutions and a centered camera which eliminated the annoying camera moves when turning the bike. Hibernatus' effort was remarkable not just because he improved the gameplay a lot but he also proved the community can change the course of the Elma history when it's about to end.

Configuration settings of Elasto Mania 1.2 (2003)

The author of the game wasn't excited about the violations of his copyright but he never went against us, thankfully.

More

2. Golden Apple Awards (2003-2006)

A new useful concept for the article was initiated during the era: Golden Apple Awards (aka GAA) is an annual event to find out who's the best in 10-16 different categories such as the best player, team, rookie, level and contest. A player named Sprocket suggested the concept in 2002-12-25 (source) and Moposite started to organize it.

The basic idea of GAA is that the community and a jury of five members nominates ten candidates per category and after that the community votes for the winners. The gala is held in IRC and the winners can have a speech. Even physical trophies have been handed out.

Golden Apple Awards in 2003:

    Category         Winner              Nat.    Reason
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1. Rookie           Juish               CAN
 2. Comeback         kuiva               FIN
 3. Level            Barbapappa          SWE     ADVENTURE LEVEL (MOPSI005)
 4. Replay           Jalli               NOR     Impsybility Hard version (slesk059)
 5. WR               IRK                 CZE     Apple Harvest (54_081IR)
 6. Contest          px                  FIN     World Cup 4
 7. Site             Abula               FIN     Moposite
 8. Designer         Barbapappa          SWE
 9. Contribution     Abula               FIN
10. Kuski            DarMoeD             RUS


Golden Apple Awards in 2004:

    Category         Winner              Nat.    Reason
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1. Internalist      Zweq                FIN
 2. Externalist      Axxu                FIN
 3. Battler          Markku              FIN
 4. Rookie           Axxu                FIN
 5. Designer         Juble               AUS
 6. Team             ICE                 -
 7. WR               psy                 FIN     Apple Harvest (54_133ps)
 8. Multi WR         Ramone &            SWE    
                     Barbapappa          SWE     Enigma 18,37 #97
 9. Style            mr                  FIN     Quick Round (23_123mr)
10. Replay           Luther              SWE     Downhill (48_151Lu)
11. Level            MP                  FIN     WC Flush (KingC04)
12. LGR              Lucian              ?       HighQ
13. Contribution     Viper_KillerGuy     DEN     Scripts
14. Achievement      TorInge             NOR     24h tt under 38 mins
15. Site             Abula               FIN     Moposite


Golden Apple Awards in 2005:

    Category         Winner              Nat.    Reason
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 1. Internalist      TorInge             NOR
 2. Externalist      Axxu                FIN
 3. Battler          Markku              FIN
 4. Rookie           Tm                  LTU
 5. Designer         Zebra               FIN
 6. Team             ICE                 -
 7. WR               TorInge             NOR     Apple Harvest (54_199To)
 8. Multi WR         Stini & Stini       FIN     Pipe 21,62 #127
 9. Style            Axxu                FIN     Apple Harvest alt. route (54012769)
10. Replay           Jalli               NOR     Impsyjallity 49,47 (jalli15)
11. Level            skint0r             NOR     Mada Mada Dane (WCup504)
12. Contest          px                  FIN     World Cup 5
13. Contribution     Zebra               FIN     Battles, contests, programs
14. Achievement	     MP                  FIN     2nd World Cup victory
15. Site             MP & Ville_J        FIN     MopoCorner


Golden Apple Awards in 2006:

    Category         Winner              Nat.    Reason
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Internalist      John                SWE
2.  Externalist	     Axxu                FIN
3.  Battler          jaytea              USA
4.  Rookie           A.K.B.              AUS
5.  Designer         Zebra               FIN
6.  Team             WNO                 -
7.  WR               John                SWE     Apple Harvest 1:23,35 (#248)
8.  Multi WR         Zweq & Juzam        FIN     Apple Harvest 0:39,41 (#136)
9.  Style            Xiphias             ISL     Animal Farm start (31XiNf04)
10. Replay           John                SWE     Impsybility Easy Version 1:09,12 (MC19John)
11. Level            jonsta              POR     Brick Chili (MC209)
12. Contest          TAP                         MasterCup 2
13. Contribution     Viper_KillerGuy     DEN     Paprika, scripts, active in DEN scene
14. Achievement      TorInge             NOR     13 new WRs in #232, 27 WRs in #232
15. Site             skint0r             NOR     skintatious

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

Nine of the fifteen winners of Golden Apple Awards 2004 from three different countries.

3. TorInge, Zweq et al.

Playing the official internal levels heavily was obvious right after the game was released but it's interesting that it wasn't about to stop in the next years, quite the contrary. During Golden Era from July 2001 to December 2006, 686 new world records were driven in 181 WR tables (#73-#254).

There were many active top players during the era, actually more than ever. New super teams were founded and tactics developed in order to get better results. While playing skills improved, many new styles were also found by the most innovative players.

One important milestone in the internal levels playing is 2002-03-29 when Moposite published all internal levels as editable external levels. The levels had been available in the underground community for a while but now it became possible to anybody to use them to train different parts of the internal levels.

This was also the era when technical assistance became widely used. Hibernatus' unofficial version was utilized by every professional player because the alovolt key couldn't be missed. The other features such as centered camera, VCR-controls and replay merging were useful tools particularly in style finding.

3.1. WR tables #73-#254

This is how the WR table looked in the beginning of Golden Era (2001-08-04). WR total time was about to get under 40:00,00 soon.

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 in Golden Era (2001–2006):

Limit       Date
-----------------------------
45 mins     2000-03-06 (#1)
44 mins     2000-03-11 (#2)
43 mins     2000-03-23 (#4)
42 mins     2000-06-03 (#20)
41 mins     2000-12-09 (#49)

... Golden Era begins ...

40 mins     2001-12-01 (#77)
39 mins     2002-10-26 (#99)
38 mins     2003-07-13 (#135)
37 mins     2004-10-30 (#189)

... Golden Era ends ...

36 mins     2007-06-14 (#265)
35 mins     2012-10-21 (#354)

An overwhelming contribution of the internal levels höyling was done by two new superstars who dominated both the WR table and personal total times list: TorInge and Zweq. TorInge's first world record was driven in 2002-04-27 (#83) and the last one in 2006-10-15 (#250). Zweq got his first WR in 2003-01-18 (#109) and at the time of writing (2021-07-26) he is still active, last WR in 2021-04-12 (#416).

TorInge won the Internalist category in Golden Apple Awards 2004, Zweq in 2005 and John in 2006.

TorInge's and Zweq's times and skills were beyond of everybody else, so the guys were widely suspected to be cheating until they were met in real life and their playing skills were documented.

686 new world records appeared in 181 tables in five years, meaning roughly 11 new ones per month. The total number is a bit higher than in the previous chapter (522) but back then the rate was 29 new WRs per month. The number of active hardcode internal players was on its peak but it simply took longer to drive world records now. However you could always ease that by finding a new route, trick or style.

Number of new WRs per nationality in tables 73-254:

#    Nat.   WRs
---------------
1.   FIN    297
2.   NOR    159
3.   SWE    122
4.   HUN     27
5.   AUS     22
6.   RUS     14
7.   SVK     11
8.   POL      8
     CZE      8
10.  DEN      7
11.  NED      4
12.  CAN      3
13.  ISL      3
14.  LIT      1

The top-3 countries remained same, just in different order. Only one country had disappeared compared to previous era (USA) but seven new ones entered the main stage: Russia, Slovakia, Czech, Denmark, Netherlands, Iceland and Lithuania.

Most different WRs in one table goes to Finland with 38 WRs out of 54 in table #136 (2003-07-23) which is still a record (2020-05-19). Norwey had 30 WRs in #232 (2006-01-21) and Sweden 24 WRs in #81 (2002-02-23).

Number of new WRs per team in tables 73-254:

#    Team   WRs
---------------
1.   ICE    101
2.   WNO     97
3.   IC      88
4.   FM      77
5.   EM      38
6.   REM     24
7.   TTT     17
8.   .       15
9.   tb      14
     TEA     14
...

In team standings FM lost leadership but it was the only team remaining from the previous era's top-10. It's notable that all top teams are now kind of international super teams where players co-operated with other players from different cities, even countries, and not with their neighbourhood friends like it was during Across Days (1997–2000).

Most WRs by one team goes to ICE with 31 WRs in table #232 (2006-01-21). IC had 26 WRs in #151 (2003-11-01) and WNO had 16 WRs in #150 (2003-10-25).

Number of new WRs per player in tables 73-254:

#    Player      WRs
--------------------
1.   TorInge     122
2.   Zweq         97
3.   Karlis       45
4.   John         41
5.   Cloud        24
6.   dz           23
7.   Jeppe        22
     Mick         22
9.   Jalli        20
10.  psy          17
...

Karlis, Jeppe and psy withstood from the previous era. TorInge and Zweq joined the competition. Out of the top-10 Mick is the only one not coming from the nordic countries but from Australia.

Most WRs in one table by one player goes to TorInge with 27 WRs in table #232 (2006-01-21) and Zweq with 22 WRs in #152 (2003-11-08). John had 13 in #254 (2006-12-23). The previous leaders were Jeppe with 12 WRs in table #78 and psy with 10 WRs in table #1.

TorInge had half of the world records in WR table #232 after submitting 13 new WRs. It's probably the greatest single achievement ever done in Elma.

The most WRs by two players is table #201 (2006-01-21) where Zweq and TorInge had 31 WRs combined. The number is surprisingly low compared to their personal records (TorInge 27, Zweq 22) but it's because they competed pretty much in the same levels with each others.

Another mind-boggling record is that Zweq has had a WR in 51 different levels out of 54. TorInge's record of 42 different levels isn't bad either.

During Golden Era (2001–2006) seven world records crossed the stricking one minute limit barrier. After Upside Down in 2004 no more have been seen.

One minute world record breaks of all times:

Level                     Time     Player      Date
----------------------------------------------------------------
51. Tricks Abound        58,00     Fulgore     2000-03-23 (#4)
50. Expert System        59,77     loX         2000-05-23 (#18)
24. Ramp Frenzy          59,90     Jokke       2000-06-30 (#24)
37. Jaws                 59,93     Tookai      2000-10-14 (#41)

... Golden Era begins ...

43. He He                59,78     Karlis      2001-10-22 (#74)
36. Fruit in the Den     59,10     TorInge     2002-10-26 (#99)
 9. Tunnel Terror        59,92     IRK         2002-12-07 (#105)
46. Bowling              59,79     Cloud       2003-05-24 (#128)
15. Serpents Tale        59,37     Zweq        2003-06-28 (#133)
33. Zig-Zag              59,76     Ramone      2004-03-13 (#166)
20. Upside Down          59,71     Zweq        2004-09-05 (#181)

... Golden Era ends ...

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

Oldest world records (by number of tables):

#   Player       Level             Tables     Driven                Broken
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Stini        Enigma               214     2004-05-29 (#175)     2017-03-01 (#389)
3.  Bokhylle     Freefall             114     2004-05-29 (#175)     2008-08-30 (#289)
4.  Zweq         Bumpy Journey        109     2003-05-24 (#128)     2006-04-01 (#237)
5.  Phillip      Spiral               108     2004-09-25 (#184)     2008-10-25 (#292)
6.  mr           The Steppes          100     2003-06-14 (#131)     2006-01-15 (#231)
7.  Luther       Downhill              97     2003-11-01 (#151)     2006-09-03 (#248) 
8.  John         Enduro                97     2006-09-03 (#248)     2012-01-23 (#345)
10. niktata      Loop-de-Loop          90     2004-01-04 (#157)     2006-08-26 (#247)

... after Golden Era ...

2.  Zweq         Warm Up              122     2007-03-17 (#259)     2015-04-13 (#381)
9.  Jarkko       Uphill Battle         96     2009-10-09 (#301)     2018-04-24 (#397)
More

3.2. dz under 40:00:00

As much as the world records, the total time competition was also intense and profound. The top-100 personal best total time list saw a minute limit break five times – including the most legendary one: 40:00,00.

Personal total times minute limit breaks of all times:

Limit       Player       Nat.    Date
--------------------------------------------------
45 mins     KingKong     SWE     2000-03-11 (#1)
44 mins     Champi0N     SWE     2000-04-05 (#7)
43 mins     KingKong     SWE     2000-06-04 (#21)
42 mins     zyntifox     NOR     2000-11-21 (#47)

... Golden Era begins ...

41 mins     pajen        SWE     2001-10-14 (#75)
40 mins     dz           FIN     2002-05-02 (#85)
39 mins     TorInge      NOR     2003-04-11 (#122)
38 mins     Zweq         FIN     2003-09-28 (#147)
37 mins     TorInge      NOR     2005-03-16 (#205)

... Golden Era ends ...

36 mins     John         SWE     2009-07-13 (#298)
35 mins     Spef         FIN     2018-05-09 (#405)

TorInge's personal total time was only 0:11,33 seconds behind the world records total time when he got under 37 minutes which most likely will be a record that won't get beaten. John was 0:17,92 and Zweq 0:23,92 seconds behind when they went under the limit.

Total times list in the end of the Golden Era (2006-10-01). John was hunting down Zweq and TorInge.

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

  • TorInge's best times replays, part 1/4 (2006-11-27) (reference)
  • TorInge's best times replays, part 2/4 (2006-11-27) (reference)
  • TorInge's best times replays, part 3/4 (2006-11-27) (reference)
  • TorInge's best times replays, part 4/4 (2006-11-27) (reference)

3.3. 24 hours total time

Total times were also battled in the 24 hours competition. TorInge proved to be an overwhelming master in this competition as well and Zweq was the only one getting even close. By driving under 38 minutes in 24 hours during the Finnish Elma Meeting 2005, TorInge earned the Achievement category in Golden Apple Awards 2004.

The idea of the competition is to drive as good total time as possible in 24 hours and it was organized first time in 2000-07-08 by Abula. The first participants were Tisk, onlainari, Karlis and mengerle.

Best personal total times in 24 hours (by difference to contemporary WR total time):

#   Player    Total time        WR tt     Date
-----------------------------------------------------------
1.  TorInge     37:39,71     +0:51,98     2005-06-14 (#212)
2.  Zweq        38:12,84     +1:16,14     2004-12-22 (#195)
3.  dz          40:55,93     +2:07,21     2003-01-04 (#107)

... before Golden Era ...
	
5.  Elbono      44:45,71     +2:56,34     2000-07-11 (#26)
7.  psy         44:59,67     +3:10,30     2000-07-14 (#26)

... after Golden Era ...

2.  Zweq        36:41,75     +1:04,93     2009-10-13 (#301)
4.  Raven       37:55,98     +2:13,90     2009-07-24 (#298)
6.  adi         37:38:87     +2:56,92     2016-08-24 (#385)
More
  • Read TorInge drives 37 mins in 24h topic (2005-10-15) (reference).
  • Read chat log of the first 24 hours total times session (2000-07-08) (reference).

3.4. Forecasting the WR future

Forecasting the world records future has been always an interesting question. Usually the last limit has been thought to be the next one but there have been also attempts to estimate it in more analytical way.

Moposite v2.0 introduced a new section titled as Forecasting Elma future where the deadline to submit was in 2002-01-01. The participants were requested to give estimations to about 20 questions and the last checking date was set to far future (2006-01-01) when probably no one is playing anymore. Unfortunately the checking did never happen but hold on, let's do it now. We can use the current date as well (2018-01-30) because it was meant to be the final check anyway.

Two questions of the forecast are particularly interesting: the WR total time and the number of World Cups organized. Abula got World Cups right (7) but the total time guess failed badly: 38:50,99 when the current one is 34:35,50. To closest got Sathy out of the 37 participants by guessing the lowest number (37:04,23) but even that is two and half minutes worse than the real one. In 2006-01-01 the WR total time was 36:40,53 so actually Sathy got it pretty close.

The estimations were also done on Mopolauta discussions. When the WR total time was 39:06,96 in table #95 (2002-09-30) Abula published an estimation how to get 37:23,24 (reference). People considered many of the predictions impossible but today 50 out of 54 are better (2020-05-19).

Another attempt was Phillip's mathematical estimation model which he published in 2004-11-01 in the same topic where Zweq were also speculating the times according to his professional experience and opinion (reference). The model predicted the total time being 35:59,99 in table #500. Today we are now at table #411 and the total time is 34:26,65. The model should be updated to use real dates instead of the table numbers.

Phillip's mathematical model predicted in 2004 that WR total time will be 35:59,99 in table #500 but it got under already in #265.

Elma programmers have also tried to brute force the records by creating an AI bot to optimize replays. However only small improvements have been managed to do. In the next chapters, a saveload patch will give a new viewpoint of what is possible at least theoretically.

3.5. Blossom of multiplaying

Not many multiplayer statistics exist but we do know who dominated the lists during the Golden Era (2001–2006): first Miguel and Uube from Raahe (Finland), then TorInge and Tantal from Namsos (Norway) and finally Zweq and Juzam from Kokkola (Finland). In the 107th multi WR table (2004-04-24) TorInge and Tantal had amazingly 45 multi world records out of 54.

Multi total times minute limit breaks of all times:

Limit       Player(s)            Nat.    Date
---------------------------------------------------
27 mins     MoorZe               NOR     2001-04-20

... Golden Era begins ...

26 mins     TorInge              NOR     2002-05-16
25 mins     TorInge & Tantal     NOR     2003-01-18
24 mins     Zweq & Juzam         FIN     2003-03-12

... Golden Era ends ...

23 mins     Zweq & Juzam         FIN     2007-04-25
  • Watch multi replays by TorInge and Tantal, part 1/2 (2010-02-13) (reference).
  • Watch multi replays by TorInge and Tantal, part 2/2 (2010-02-13) (reference).

Multi WR table #136 (2006-12-12).

Multi total times list #56 (2005-11-20).

Most of the multi world records were driven by local real life friends but quite many in meetings too.

Multi WRs in AC-meat1:

Level                    Time     Players
---------------------------------------------------
43. He He               45,54     Karlis & Tisk
Multi WRs in Finnish Elma Meeting 2002:

Level                    Time     Players
---------------------------------------------------
19. Turnaround          39,71     dz     & mrickx
23. Quick Round         15,21     Jokke  & Karlis
24. Ramp Frenzy         55,40     dz     & Jokke
31. Animal Farm         41,99     mr     & mrickx
35. Labyrinth Pro     1:31,07     Karlis & mr
38. Curvaceous          18,88     Karlis & mr
43. He He               44,33     Karlis & Tisk
49. What the Heck       25,69     dz     & Jokke
50. Expert System       31,91     dz     & mr
Multi WRs in Finnish Elma Meeting 2003:

Level                    Time     Players
---------------------------------------------------
 9. Tunnel Terror       29,97     Jokke  & mr
10. The Steppes         12,08     mr     & mr
28. Bounce Back         22,56     Karlis & mr     
41. Framework           38,96     mr     & Terba
42. Enduro              34,97     Jokke  & mr
Multi WRs in Finnish Elma Meeting 2004:

Level                    Time     Players
---------------------------------------------------
32. Steep Corner        26,96     axxu   & mr
33. Zig-Zag             45,60     mr     & Ramone
Multi WRs in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005:

Level                    Time     Players
---------------------------------------------------
 9. Tunnel Terror       28,78     TorInge & xp
22. Slalom              16,49     TorInge & Jalli
30. Pipe                21,78     TorInge & Cubein
32. Steep Corner        26,53     TorInge & skint0r
39. Haircut             38,24     Stini   & Juzam

mrickx (CZE) and mr (FIN) drove a multiplayer world record in Animal Farm in Finnish Elma Meeting 2002, in the last moment before we had to leave the building.

mr and Zweq drove Zig-Zag multi WR in 2004 in a small Kokkola meeting.

Stini and Juzam drove Haircut multi WR in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005.

Markku and mr drove Double Trouble multi WR in a small Joensuu meeting in 2005.

3.6. Records systems development

In the beginning updating the records lists was manual work all the way. During Golden Era (2001–2006) new programs were created to help the updating work.

CSabi published a program to generate a stats.txt file for the external levels in 2001-08-15. Zebra programmed ElmaTimes (2002-03-06) and Mergestats (2004-09-15) to generate record lists from stats.txt files.

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. A player named partybear coded a software in 2003-04-11 to generate the WR 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. The manual work was not needed anymore and Moposite introduced many new lists: country, city, average and personal top lists every week.

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

Viper_KillerGuy's elmatimes.php as it looked both in the year 2003 and 2018.

There is even one older dynamic records system that I'm aware of. It was made for the Czech community by Bobisek in 2001. I haven't found the website anymore but Bobisek has dated the Czech meeting report on the same background as the records system was running on (2001-10-06). I can assure you that I remember the background because I was so excited about his advanced systems that I even bought a book to learn to program PHP by myself in 2002.

4. Revolutionary WR styles

Golden Era saw several new, even revolutionary styles which challenged what we thought was possible. World records in the first years tended to be more about driving the obvious routes but now it got crazier.

One of the classics are "left first" WRs. A few world records have been improved by changing the driving direction at the very start. Each of them are grandiose.

World Records of all times with a new start direction:

Level                  Player       Date
-----------------------------------------------------
44. Freefall           Karlis       2000-08-19 (#33)

... Golden Era begins ...

54. Apple Harvest      IRK          2002-02-23 (#81)
40. Double Trouble     IRK          2002-09-21 (#95)
38. Curvaceous         milagros     2004-09-25 (#184)

... Golden Era ends ...

32. Steep Corner       Zweq         2008-05-11 (#284)

IRK is an interesting character, similar to Joni, because all WRs by him, perhaps Headbanger excluded, were exceptional. His Tunnel Terror WR got mentioned already as a one minute limit breaker which was also almost his third "left first" world record because he took a completely new direction after the first six seconds. Additionally IRK's Apple Harvest WR is the fifth biggest absolute improvement of all times.

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

IRK was the first to drive the legendary 54. Apple Harvest one route WR in 2002-02-23. psy's record was the fastest before him. Apple Harvest is one of the most improved world record and today the WR is 1:12,89 (2018-02-05).

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

IRK's WR in 40. Double Trouble (2002-09-21) is where the "left first" term orginates.

0:30,74 milagros (WR #184) 0:30,79 Djievis (WR #172)

milagros found a new style in 38. Curvaceous by driving to the opposite direction at start (2004-11-25).

Another interesting aspect is that two very short and easy internals, the levels number 2 and 3 which everybody knows over and out, revealed new earth-shaking styles. Both Flat Track and Twin Peaks are among the biggest relative improvements of all times.

Zsolt's Flat Track style was found after the Mirror internals level pack was published in 2003-03-25. When Flat Track is mirrored, you are able to use alovolt and the time improves easily by a few seconds. Many players must have thought about doing the style in normal level without the alovolt possibility but it was Zsolt who actually nailed it.

I must take the credit of the Twin Peaks style by spreading the idea to everyone in #across after I wasn't allowed to break WRs anymore in 2003.

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

Zsolt's 2. Flat Track is top-20 the biggest relative improvements of all times. In a simple level like Flat Track it's a miracle (2003-01-25).

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

Raider's 3. Twin Peaks WR is also top-20 the biggest relative improvements (2003-03-08).

A few more new fascinating routes were driven in Serpents Tale and Quick Round.

0:55,98 TorInge (WR #146) 1:01,62 Zweq (WR #124) 1:02,04 Raider (WR #120)

TorInge's 15. Serpents Tale WR in 2003-09-27 is the 15th biggest absolute improvement ever. The current WR is even crazier: 0:46,63.

0:40,69 mr (WR #123) 0:46,78 ZeiZei (WR #85)

mr used a brutal volt in his marvellous 23. Quick Round WR in 2003-04-19, a trick which will be introduced in more details in a while. The WR gave mr the victory of Replay category in GAA04.

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

milagros' 44. Freefall WR in table #83 is the 4th biggest relative improvement ever (2002-04-06).

5. Vsync tuning

Elma is a simple game but there are situations when technical tweaking such as vsync tuning can give some advantage. Many top players ignored tweaking totally such as TorInge and MP, so the importance shouldn't be overstressed but when going for WRs, particularly in shorter levels the tuning may give you the last 0,1 seconds.

In 2002-09-01 a player named DarMoeD published an article how the vsync setting affects Elma gameplay. DarMoeD was revealed to be a cheater two years later but vsync tuning has nothing to do with cheating, eventhough many people don't like it.

There isn't exact proof when vsync tuning was utilized in a WR but because we know from Mopolauta discussions (reference, reference) that Karlis, dz and Zweq were the first ones to be interested in the topic, Karlis' Freefall WR 0:12,24 in table #97 (2002-10-12) could be the first one.

DarMoeD was the first one to publish information about vsync tuning in 2002-09-01.

Two years later in 2004-12-02 Zweq published a list of the best settings for every internal level (reference).

Technically vsync setting determines if the refresh rate of the game (FPS) is limited by the monitor setting (vsync on) or the computational power of the processor (vsync off). The lower the FPS is, the better grip the bike has on the ground and the easier it is to bounce. And the higher FPS, the smoother the bike goes.

When vsync is off, FPS doubles if the timer is set off.

Later in 2010 a new unofficial version (Elma Online) introduced a configurable setting to change the vsync. Before that people just had to find out a way to change the setting in their system which wasn't always easy. For example it was found that certain applications such as Quicktime changed the setting which made people to keep it running on background when they needed vsync on.

It was also figured out that it's possible to change the refresh rate in the middle of the drive by turning off external hard drive or giving the computer a scheduled task to calculate something (reference).

6. Cheating (3rd wave)

While technical knowledge of the game was increasing among the players, more sophisticated cheating was also developing but so was anti-cheating tools as well.

MGen, Hibernatus and milagros with operators Abula and px were the anti-cheating team and the dicussions took place in a private forum of Mopolauta.

Since April 2001 we had had MGen's histogram analyzer which caught a few cheaters but in December 2002 both MGen and milagros were programming new tools. They were able to detect replays with altered physics or different timescale used. Now we were able to catch all slow motion, early ESC, deleted frame, missed apple, immortality, modified acceleration and gravity and even cracked state.dat cheats. It was also possible to see whether the replay was driven in the original or somehow patched Elma.

And yes, surprisingly many people had cheated world records. Different methods had been used and sometimes a player would have gotten the WR even without the cheat. Before December 2002 the times of replay files were shown in 0:00,03 accuracy so it was fairly easy to cheat 1-2 centiseconds just by lying.

mrDJ and Weird-AAL, later using names EML, Nostrada and Deadelous kept on cheating during their penalty which gave them a lifetime ban. mrickx the updater of WR statistics who also came to Finnish Elma Meeting 2002 from Czech Republic had also cheated several WRs. In total nine cheaters were added to the Blacklist and over 60 world records had to be cleaned up.

The patched Elma detector was crucial to catch the biggest fish of all-time cheaters, DarMoeD in 2004-08-05. He used autoplay, a patch which reads the timestamps of each key presses from a data file. By using the autoplay DarMoeD won a World Cup 4 event while getting five new WRs during the same week. Results like this put him even above TorInge and Zweq until everything collapsed.

DarMoeD had cheated 56 world records and the victory of World Cup 4. He was also voted for the best Kuski in the Golden Apple Awards 2003. He had got also some real money by selling his replays.

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

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. Many rookies have tried to get the WR by sending a replay using the bug.

More
  • Read about Third cheating wave on Mopolauta (reference).

7. Brutal volt, deadbounce...

Back to the brighter side of the game. A few new tricks were found during Golden Era (2001–2006). Alovolt (2001) and bouncing (1999) were the previous revolutionary tricks.

A player named Capo who has been rumoured to play only after drinking 15 beers and even then only on standing, invented brutal volt in June 2002 (reference). The trick was used a year earlier in Kahvi Cup but Capo gave it a name.

A new trick discovery led to finding new styles in the internal levels and actually a few were found: 5. Uphill Battle (reference), 33. Zig-Zag and 23. Quick Round. In later years some more world records will utilize the trick: 24. Ramp Frenzy, 10. Steppes, 51. Tricks Abound and 30. Pipe.

cbrutal.rec

Original brutal volt by Capo (2002).

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

Ramone and Barbapappa drove a new multi WR in 47. Enigma by using a brutal volt style (2004).

In addition deadbounce (2002-11-27) (reference), juishpop (2003-01-29) (reference) and o-bounce (2005-09-11) (reference) were discovered as well but none of them have been utilized successfully in any internal level world record.

PLSP05Dr.rec

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

  • Watch Special tricks part 1/2 by Jappe2 (2007-09-16) (reference).

8. Pipe Kings

We haven't talked yet about driving inside narrow pipes. A totally new way of driving became common during the era. The primary goal of driving inside pipes isn't to finish the level as fast as possible but to survive the longest way possible. Since World Cup 3 (2000) every world cup has had a pipe level and there are several level packs dedicated only for pipes.

The first known pipe levels, 26. Headbanger the original level and Da Pipe were already played during Across Days (1997–2000) but it was a level named Impossibility by Abula in 2000 to introduce the idea of driving in narrow pipes as long as possible. psy was the first player to finish the level.

psy's replay isn't preserved but his winner replay of the 17th event in World Cup 3 is, another pipe level made by Abula in 2000. Both levels are easy in today's standards but back then the finishers were gods with exceptional superhuman skills.

WCup317: 1:54,64 psy

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

A much harder pipe level was created by me in 2000-11-21 (Impsybility hard version) which finally seemed to be hard enough to not get finished.

A year later a new player entered the stage who was later called the Pipe King. Jalli finished the level in 2002-01-27 and he also won the pipe events of both World Cup 4 (2002-12-22) and World Cup 5 (2005-08-09). The latter one is titled as Impsyjallity. Jalli was also the first finisher of Impsybility easy version in 2004-10-17.

WCup414: 50 Jalli

PeXi modified the end of the pipe level practically impossible in World Cup 4, yet Jalli almost made it (2002). Even DarMoed the autoplay cheater lost to him.

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

In the coming years the pipe skills of some players surpass even Jalli.

9. Slesk replays

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

slesk028.rec

First zweqspin by Barhom (2001)

slesk034.rec

Barbapappa (2002)

slesk039.rec

Ramone showing off in Jaws (2002).

slesk064.rec

milagros (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. The cup gathered 357 players which is more than any other cup ever. 61 teams and 22 countries got points. The country list is fascinating (ordered by points): FIN, SWE, NOR, RUS, HUN, DEN, CZE, CAN, AUS, SVK, ISL, POL, ISR, GBR, LAT, USA, ROM, GER, ESP, SUI, BUL and MIR. Yes, MIR, we will get back to it.

MP won the cup after DarMoeD was cleaned up from the results. kuiva did a comeback and was second. Jokke reached top-10 again which he had done in all four cups by now—Karlis was third time in top-10. MP was also the first player to make a hattrick by winning three events in a row.

MP is also a player who hasn't had a WR, a pattern that works with some other great world cup players too such as kuiva and Dr_Luni who had only one.

World Cup 4 is also my personal best: I was 8th in the final standings.

Top-10 players in World Cup 4:

#    Player       Team    Nat.    Points
----------------------------------------
1.   MP           CF      FIN     1279
2.   kuiva        FIN     FIN     1249,5
3.   Karlis       FM      FIN     1141
4.   Jalli        FBE     NOR     1133,5
5.   Jokke        FM      FIN     1017,5
6.   magicman     CF      SWE     901
7.   Barbapappa   CF      SWE     879
8.   Abula        FM      FIN     871
9.   Tapzu        POP     FIN     862
10.  ZeiZei       EM      FIN     841,5

I was 8th in World Cup 4 (2003).

Jappe2 created a film about World Cup 4 in 2010, eight years after the cup.

  • Watch World Cup 4 by Jappe2, part 1/2 (2010-06-23) (reference).
  • Watch World Cup 4 by Jappe2, part 2/2 (2010-06-23) (reference).

11. World Cup 5

Another World Cup was organized during Golden Era (2001–2006). World Cup 5 was running from 2005-05-02 to 2005-08-09 and it gathered 235 players from 22 countries and 58 teams. New countries were France, Portugal, Ukraine and Belarus.

And the winner was MP again! This gave him also the victory of the Achievement category in Golden Apple Awards 2005. He repeated also the famous hattrick by winning three events in a row, an achievement only he has done.

Karlis was fourth time in top-10 and sharing the achievement now with Jokke.

After five world cups, one team had got points in all of them: Team Finlandia.

Top-10 players in World Cup 5:

#    Player     Team    Nat.    Points
--------------------------------------
1.   MP                 FIN     1116
2.   axxu       AC      FIN     1111
3.   Jalli      ICE     NOR     1000
4.   Luther     ICE     SWE      869
5.   Karlis     FM      FIN      832
6.   J-sim      EMA     DEN      616
7.   Munkki     MAN     FIN      561
8.   Red        AC      SWE      541,5
9.   Ramzi      GF      POL      529,5
10.  DaemoN     GF      HUN      497

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

  • Watch World Cup 5 by Kopaka, part 1/2 (2006-03-17) (reference).
  • Watch World Cup 5 by Kopaka, part 2/2 (2006-03-17) (reference).

12. Mopobattles

The first online battles were organized in #30minsbattle IRC channel in 2001 or 2000. No results have preserved.

The first battle results are from 2001-10-16 when the first Mopobattle was organized by Abula. It gathered 20 players and the winner was psy. Two long time active players, Tisk and onlainari, were present.

Mopobattles were organized manually in the beginning and in total there were only ten battles in year 2001. MGen created a program to calculate the statistics in 2002 but still only seven battles were organized in year 2002.

skint0r adopted the organizing work in year 2003 and by then the total number of annual Mopobattles was 51. The most popular one gathered 44 participants (2003-04-20).

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

No Mopobattles were organized in year 2004 when the more casual battles satisfied the demand in the #battle IRC channel. Zebra started to organize Mopobattles again in year 2005. Mopobattles are different compared to casual battles by pre-arranged schedules, extensive results and statistics and the playing time was always the same, 30 minutes.

42 Mopobattles were played in 2005, 27 in 2006 and 26 in 2007.

Top-10 players in Mopobattles by total points in 2001-2007:

#   Player     Nat.  Battles   Won   Points
-------------------------------------------
1.  dz         FIN      74      10     1418
2.  axxu       FIN      78      35     1221
3.  Abula      FIN      90       4     1085
4.  MP         FIN      46      10     1068
5.  mr         FIN     112       3      942
6.  Ismo       FIN      88       1      930
7.  Zebra      FIN      83       0      784
8.  Jalli      NOR      36       4      777
9.  Orcc       FIN      51       2      744
10. cyre       FIN      61       1      739

The best teams were FM (most total points), AC (most battles won) and TTT (best average points). The best countries were Finland (most total points, most battles won) and Iceland (best average points).

In total there were 376 different player names. Because Mopobattles were played during seven years, the top players tend to be those who were active all the time. That's why the average points are interesting too.

Top-10 players in Mopobattles by average points in 2001-2007:

#   Player [1]   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

[1] Ten battles played at minimum.
Top-10 players in Mopobattles by battle win ratio in 2001-2007:

#   Player [1]   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 %

[1] Ten battles played at minimum.

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

Results of Mopobattles in 2012

13. #battle

Thanks to Zebra the #battle data is preserved (reference). Another big helpers have been Viper_KillerGuy's vkprivupload.php and the work of <@battlebot> by MagnusB and skint0r.

Because Mopobattles were organized seldom, people started to play them spontaneously in IRC channel called #battle. Points were not calculated and no one was an organizer particularly. Thereby we don't have data of the years 2001 and 2002 but we do have year 2003 onwards.

Battlebot is an IRC bot that calculates battle results automatically from the IRC chat. The bot was launched in July 2003. During the first month the bot reported only the playing time left but in 2003-08-09 it was also generating the results. skint0r adopted Battlebot development in February 2004 and kept it serving till April 2007 when Belma was released.

More
  • View the first preserved battle log (and MopoGirl) in #battle (2003-01-01) (reference).
  • View the first results by battlebot (2003-08-09) (reference).
2003—2004

2329 battles were played in year 2003 and 7018 in year 2004. On average six battles per day were organized in 2003 and 19 battles per day in 2004. Because we know the average lengths of the battles (18.29 and 14.59 minutes) we can calculate that there was a battle running 8 % and 19 % of the whole year, day and night. Now it was possible to compete in real-time competition around the clock. The number of participants per battle was relative low thought: 4.72 in 2003 and 4.86 in 2004. In Mopobattles 30 players was normal.

It's difficult to determine the best battler of all times but it's certain that Markku could be one—at least he ruled the first two years. After he joined the channel in August 2003 he was the best in total points up to April 2004 in every month except in January 2004 when he took a break. The ratio how many battles he won out of the ones he participated during the entire era (2003-2007) is amazing: 75 %. His longest winning streak is from year 2006 when he won 23 battles in a row.

The years 2003 and 2004 were Markku's total dominance which was also recognized in GAA04 and GAA05. Other successful players of the first two years were SkedoR (4 times The Battler of Month) and veezay (2). MagnusB and Jalli had success in the very beginning in January 2003.

MagnusB wrote in 2003-08-04 (source): "Markku is the best battler ever. It's that simple. Out of the approximately 18 battles he has participated in the last couple of days he has only lost (not won) two. It's not just that he wins, he is also frequently so overwhelming that he completely discourages his opponents, often winning by several seconds (...)"

2005 — 2007 April

Battles became even more popular between 2005 and April 2007. 13686 battles were played in 2005, on average 37 per day which means 32 % running time in the whole year. Year 2006 was active as well but the numbers of year 2007 are not comparable because people started to move to Belma in January 2007.

jaytea won the battler of month 17 times out of 24 since May 2005 when he joined the channel. jaytea also won the Battler category in GAA06. Other battlers of month were Zox (2 times), axxu (2) and The OooO (2). jaytea kept on dominating in #battle until everybody moved to Belma.

Annual statistics
Annual statistics of battles in #battle period:

Year     GAA Battler   Most points     Avg. pts [1]     Win-% [1]
---------------------------------------------------------------------
2003     -             Markku          Zweq (10.62)     Markku (59 %)
2004     Markku        veezay          ?                ?
2005     Markku        jaytea          ?                ?
2006     jaytea        jaytea          ?                ?
2007     Zweq          jaytea          ?                ?

[1] Player must be in top-100 in total points.
Annual meta statistics of battles in #battle period:

Year   Battles   Running   Players    Length [1]  Designer [2]
---------------------------------------------------------------
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

[1] In minutes
[2] By number of levels
Total statistics (January 2003 — April 2007)
Top-10 players by battle total points in #battle period:

#   Player     Nat.  Battles   Points
-------------------------------------
1.  jaytea     USA     7000     24824
2.  Markku     FIN     3002     16871
3.  terb0      FIN     5034     12813
4.  Zox        FIN     2918     12213
5.  talli      FIN     2888     10815
6.  axxu       FIN     1750     10641
7.  Jeppe      SWE     2287      9788
8.  aavv       POR     2638      9426
9.  Zrex       FIN     2259      9384
10. John       SWE     1613      8850
Top-10 players by battle average points in #battle period:

#   Player [1]   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
	
[1] Player must be in top-100 in total points.
Top-10 players by battle win ratio in #battle period:

#   Player [1]   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 %

[1] Player must be in top-100 in total points.

Markku and axxu were the best battlers in the #battle period unless you weight total points over everything else.

Top-10 most productive battle level designers in 2003 - 2007 Apr:

#   Designer   Nat.  Levels   Players
-------------------------------------
1.  Jeppe      SWE     1951      3.67
2.  jds999     USA     1765      2.88
3.  kestas     LTU     1625      3.56
4.  insguy     GER     1364      4.34
5.  talli      FIN     1318      3.40
6.  Jappe2     FIN     1061      3.68
7.  iob        AUS      988      4.34
8.  Rasken     NOR      933      3.93
9.  Zebra      FIN      908      5.54
10. Devan      CAN      906      4.29

14. More Contests

During Golden Era (2001–2006) there were numerous other contests too besides World Cups and battles.

The best external level player of the era was axxu. He dominated several cups and contents which earned him hattrick in the Externalist category in GAA04, GAA05 and GAA06. He also won the Rookie category in GAA04.

Level reviews

PeXi had a level review page named Custom levels in his Across page in 1999 (reference). Level reviews were continued in Moposite v1 since March 2000 by selecting and publishing top-10 levels of the official level packs. Moposite v2.0 introduced the Single Level Rates page in August 2001. Level of Month (LOM) by Abula was started to be organized in January 2002 (reference).

In Level of Month competition the designers had one month to create a level in a given theme and the winners were chosen by the jury. Barbapappa and Juble were triple winners and Xhomaz, Zebra, Ville_J won it twice. In total points Barbapappa and Zebra would be the top-2 if the points were calculated.

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

Internal styled levels

One very popular contest type has always been external levels which imitate the official internal levels.

Mini internals was the first pack in 1999-2000 but there were many more. Oldschool routes (aka no-shortcut) internals where created in 2002-05-31. All the difficult shortcuts of internal levels were blocked in those levels. Antz removed the apples and published the Nofood internals in 2002-11-02. milagros mirrored the internal levels programmatically in 2003-03-26 and also new mini internals were created programmatically in 2003-06-07. Max internals were published in 2003-09-07. Killers and apples got reverted in 2004-09-11. bob reversed start and end positions in 2005 and Tilted Internals were created in 2006.

There is another way to create new internal levels by designing new levels to simulate the feeling of the original levels. The first popular internal style level pack was named Lost Internals and the story was that the author of the game had lost some levels which were found. The levels were published in Moposite in 2002-01-25 and the designer was Barbapappa.

Ville_J released Internal-ish levels in March 2002 and skint0r created skinternals in July 2003. Team TAP published Internal Feeling Level Pack in 2004 and Team LOS released Almost Internals in 2005. More of these will be published in the coming eras.

Mopo Corner, skintatious, Zebra's Elma site and more

A few high quality level sites were founded during the era. Mopo Corner by MP and Ville_J was launched in 2002-06-20 and their levels Alternative Level Pack (ALP) and King Kon Tests were widely played. They also organized two popular cups: King Cup in 2003-10-05 and Kon Quest in 2005-10-01. MP and Ville_J won the Site category in GAA05.

Another remarkable level site and designer is Zebra who launched his Elma site in 2002-08-13. Zebra has been one of the most productive players in the community. He has organized Mopobattles, generated statistics of #battle and Belma battles and organized several contests such as Master Cup (2005), Master Cup 2 (2006) and The TAP Challenge (2006) (reference). He has also created the biggest level pack archive out there (Zebra's Level Archive) (2008) and finished the Moposchool project, the most sophisticated collection of Elma bike tricks, which was started by Abula and Barbapappa in 2002.

skint0r won the Site category in GAA06.

According to the statistics of Moposite's Links section, dz's, GuyB's, TonyLee's, Olliz and Kopaka's websites received most visits.

psyte by psy (2002)

Kopaka's first Elma site (2003)

GuyB wrote the first news in 2003-12-01 to this site 8)

Olliz Elma Cave (2004)

District of dz (2005)

Czech Elma Site by TonyLee (2005)

Mopo Corner by MP and Ville_J (2005)

skintatious by skint0r (2005)

The TAP Challenge in Zebra's Elma Site (2006)

Cups

Besides two World Cups many other cups were also played.

Cups organized in Golden Era (2001–2006):

Start          Name                         Winner       Organizer(s)
---------------------------------------------------------------------
2001-08-25     Elmaduel                     ?            Landlord
2001-09-09     Meaningless Cup              ?            ?
2001-09-15     EC cup                       EML          MUe
2001-09-30     Magyar Kupa 2                MGen         CSabi
2001-11-26     Mitik Cup                    EboNitE      mitik
2002-01-16     EAM Cup 2                    Trabi        EAM
2002-02-03     Höylä Cup                    ?            ?
2002-07-15     Summer Cup 2002              MGen         CovBoy & CSabi
2002-09-29     Dragstrup Cup                GuyB         Kopaka

... World Cup 4 ...

2003-04-14     MET Flag Tag Cup             Marci        Flatley & Zsolt
2003-08-17     Vicious Cup Summer           MP           Dezz
2003-10-05     King Cup                     TorInge      MP & Ville_J
2004-01-14     Mopo Kup                     axxu         Zworqy
2004-03-17     LOS Cup 2                    axxu         Xhomaz
2004-04-17     Elimination Tournament       psy          Zworqy
2004-06-22     Smash Cup                    Red          Kopaka
2004-11-14     Elimination Tournament 2     Munkki       Zworqy
2005-01-15     Master Cup                   axxu         Zebra

... World Cup 5 ...

2005-10-01     Kon Quest                    The OooO     MP & Ville_J
2006-01-29     Mopo Kup 2                   axxu         Zworqy
2006-02-06     TAP Challenge                Homer        Zebra
2006-08-13     Master Cup 2                 axxu         Zebra

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 (reference). John's JoPi is probably the most popular pipe level pack. There are also Olimpic Elma levels (2005-01-11) in Zebra's Level Archive (Russian ElastoMania Club levels) which got to the closest of the Olympic games so far.

The first chain level was started in 2002 by Barbapappa. It's a level type where several designers participate in making the level. Barbapappa also created the first adventure level which won the Level category in GAA03.

Chain level and Adventure level by Barbapappa (2003)

Winners of the Level category in Golden Apple Awards (2003-2006)

ADVENTURE LEVEL by Barbapappa (GAA03)

WC Flush by MP (GAA04)

Mada Mada Dane by skint0r (GAA05)

Brick Chili by jonsta (GAA06)

Winners of the Designer category in GAA 2003-2006:

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

This was also the era when level designers got the first community made level editors.

Especially Advanced Level Editor (ALE) by Nicolas (2003-09-02) (reference) and ALE 2.1 (2004-12-17) (reference) were popular.

ALE (2003)

radim's levelmaker was the first level generator (2003-04-13) (reference).

15. Moposite (under construction)

Golden Era (2001–2006) was prosperous for Moposite as well, although the website was continuously under construction. Three major versions were released and the updates happened weekly, even daily.

Regular updates and lots of new material established Moposite's status as a central place of the community. Number of daily visitors rose from 500 to 1500. Balázs the author also recognized Moposite's status and gave us the world records table and free licenses of the game.

Moposite has always received lots of help from other players. Especially the programmers tura, MGen, partybear, Hibernatus, milagros, Viper_KillerGuy and Kopaka have been great help. Close to a hundred players have helped us. Thank you.

Moposite v2

Moposite had been running about one year when the second major version was published in 2001-08-25 (reference). The moposite.com domain was purchased, color scheme got adjusted and the SSI technology (Server Side Includes) was used. Apart from that the website was still pure static.

Some of the new sections were Mopobattles, Lost Internals, Level of Month, Funny replays, Articles, Blacklist, Videos and Meetings sections. The number of daily visitors was about 700.

This is also the Moposite version which welcomed the official WR table.

2002-02-19 was a big day when Moposite was moved to a new and more professional host (Sigmatic) (reference). Now it was possible to use PHP, perl and MySQL. The first dynamic page was programmed by tura: Links. The Site Navigator and new email addresses were initiated. The number of daily visitors was about 900 now.

Moposite v2 by Abula (2002-03-25). Two interesting details visible. ribot the leader of the anti-establishment movement got into the Moposite news by changing names (rQ-E%, csybe, △) and Homokaasu results are displayed, a non-Elma related game of who clicks the mouse button most. That was Moposite's first integration to an other website.

Moposite v3

The third version of Moposite was published in 2002-07-25. It was a huge technical uplift in the first place. The number of daily visitors was still increasing and it was 1100 now. An elma2.exe file was downloaded 1035 times from Moposite during 24 hours in April Fools' Day in 2003.

Moposite v3 had many improvements in technical side of the web site. Valid XHTML 1.0 standard and CSS2 were met in 2002. The printable version was working well with text readers.

Because the manual work of all the updates was getting more and more time-consuming, a programming help was requested in the Moposite news in 2003. And yes, Viper_KillerGuy from Denmark was ready to rock. His first script to Moposite was Kuski gallery where players were able to chat, upload pictures and share information, one year before Facebook was launched.

Moposite v4 (Paprika)

Building the fourth version of Moposite was started in 2004. Viper_KillerGuy was programming and Abula made the layout and ran the "business". Moposite reached the popularity peak of its whole history: 1427 daily visitors in average in November 2005.

Moposite v4 by Abula looks almost same in 2006 as in 2020. Compared to v3, the layout was refreshed and the technical foundations were improved again.

Paprika was a very ambitious project, maybe too ambitious. Dynamism was added even when not really needed. More should had been concentrated on what matter most: records, replays and contests.

Building Paprika was started from the core: the technical foundations of the website was the highest quality (reference). The website is still running quite nicely after the release 15 years ago. The website uses the three-column layout succesfully (Holy grail of web design, reference) and works in all major browsers without any rendering flaws. On top of that, the main area of the contents, the central column is first in the HTML source code making it to serve the actual content first even for text browsers.

Moposite v4 was a great website in technical terms but it took almost two years to get the early release live in 2006-03-24 (reference).

Moposite v4 was optimized for text readers in 2006.

It is possible to hide the left and right columns to get more space for the contents.

Paprika and the OLD version were running alongside for several years until all the data was moved to a new web site. Remember the paprika image. We will get back to it.

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 is a part of Moposite and administrated by Abula and SveinR.

Mopolauta (2002)

Number of new posts and users on Mopolauta (2002-2017)

  • View Mopolauta's the most popular topic (2002-05-19) (reference).

16. Community

The term "community" was first time mentioned in 2002-05-22 (source). For sure the community had existed since the first communication between the first players in 1997 but it was year 2003 when Moposite started to use the term.

This article you are reading right now is a comprehensive historical overview of the game and the community but the first something similar was the Community history page in Moposite v3 in year 2004 (reference). It listed the best players, the greatest teams and the most important historical dates.

Community history by Abula was the first history overview of the community (2004-11-06).

Golden Apple Awards had also a few community specific categories.

Winners of the Contribution category in GAA 2003-2006:

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

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

The community developed also a unique slang. The Elma slang is called Acrossish and it's mostly a mix of English, Finnish and Swedish. Some common terms to have a special meaning in the community are höylä, kuski, balle and pie.

International meetings were also more common during the era but more on that a bit later.

More
Kuski gallery

Kuski gallery was released in 2003. The section was upgraded and renamed to Players in Moposite v4. People were able to upload personal pictures and send messages.

Kuski gallery (2003)

Players (2006)

Kuski of month

As already mentioned the first Kuski Of Month poll (KOM) was won by zyntifox in January 2001. I won it in April 2002 after Moposite v2.1 was released. The polls were very popular and most of the winners wrote long interviews to tell their Elma stories. Karlis was the first one to win it twice after we allowed players to get renominated three years later since last win.

Winners of Kuski of month in 2001:

Month    Player
---------------------------
 Jan     zyntifox
 Feb     mrDJ
 Mar     MUe
 Apr     Stikky
 May     Karlis
 Jun     pajen

... Golden Era begins ...
 
 Jul     MGen
 Aug     ciph
 Sep     CSabi
 Oct     deadelous
 Nov     psy
 Dec     dz


Winners of Kuski of month in 2002:

Month    Player
---------------------------
 Jan     Jeppe
 Feb     Barbapappa & ribot
 Mar     mrickx
 Apr     Abula
 May     Cloud
 Jun     TorInge
 Jul     GuyB
 Aug     DarMoeD
 Sep     px
 Oct     Nostrada
 Nov     Jokke
 Dec     kuiva


Winners of Kuski of month in 2003:

Month    Player
---------------------------
 Jan     milagros
 Feb     Ramone
 Mar     Mick
 Apr     Zweq
 May     Zsolt
 Jun     Jalli
 Jul     SoC
 Aug     MP
 Sep     Markku
 Oct     skint0r
 Nov     Luther
 Dec     mr


Winners of Kuski of month in 2004:

Month    Player
---------------------------
 Jan     TomCat
 Feb     MJXII
 Mar     Juzam
 Apr     Tantal
 May     Axxu
 Jun     John
 Jul     Stini
 Aug     nh
 Sep     SveinR
 Oct     Viper_KillerGuy
 Nov     Karlis
 Dec     MadMan


Winners of Kuski of month in 2005:

Month    Player
---------------------------
 Jan     zebra
 Feb     insage_guy
 Mar     Raider
 Apr     Crazy
 May     Jeppe
 Jun     TorInge
 Jul     J-sim
 Aug     Dariuz
 Sep     The OooO
 Oct     xp
 Nov     infected
 Dec     Homer


Winners of Kuski of month in 2006:

Month    Player
---------------------------
 Jan     milagros
 Feb     Memphis
 Mar     Kuper
 Apr     Zweq
 May     petsen
 Jun     ANpDaD
 Jul     proDigy
 Aug     Raven
 Sep     Xiphias
 Oct     Markku

... a break begins ...
More
Blogs

The first Elma blogs were started in 2004 by skint0r and dz. Abula's Applelane blog was online from 2005-01-21 to year 2017.

skint0r's Elma blog (August 2004)

Abula's Elma blog (2005-2017)

Wikipedia

The first Elasto Mania Wikipedia article was created in 2004-12-07 (reference).

Elasto Mania Wikipedia article (2018)

17. Anti-establishment

Elma community had an opposition too, an anti-establisment movement which wanted to revolutionize the system by several methods. For us, PeXi and Abula, dictators of the Elma world, they were annoying troublemakers. But we didn't fall to totalitarism. There was freedom of speech, sometimes even democratic polls (reference).

When looking back now and reading old Mopolauta posts, I can better understand the actions of the troublemakers who had even good points once in a while. Debate is important. In addition they were often the early adopters of the new patches and other (potentially) next things which wasn't always the easiest job.

There was a three level resistance structure against the Moposite regime: underground world, anti-establishment movement and the established opposition. Cheating tools and other illegal actions belong to undeground. Anti-establisment movement refers to the players who tried to hack the systems, participated the contests "in wrong way" or againts the spritit. The established opposition consists of people who had different views but accepted the rules.

I'm not sure if people want their names to be listed in this section so I mention only the leader of the movement who has been around for ages. ribot, interesting work and legacy created. ribot won the Kuski Of Month title before me and by doing it in his style: tie with Barbapappa is the only one in the KOM history.

For an obvious reason I haven't saved lots of material the movement created but they got to Moposite in quite many places which some of them were already mentioned in the article. ribot's country, Miranda (MIR), got 1.5 points in World Cup 4 and he was also the last one in the first Level of Month ( January 2002).

One famous way to sabotage was the team and nick name changes which forced website updaters to do extra work to fix the statistics. And the harder the name, the better. For example ribot is known by several different names but to mention a few: csybe, rQ-E% and △.

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

Some people created and used the Abula is watching banner on Mopolauta signatures (2005).

Abula in Urban Dictionary (2006)

Abula game 1 (2006)

Another interesting political case relates to Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. One player asked me to replace the country flags of some other players living in the new Balkan countries to the old yugoslavian flag. I couldn't care less about the politics back then but quite soon I figured out that some people do. The flags got changed back.

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

18. Meetings

More and bigger meetings were organized during Golden Era (2001–2006). Finnish, Danish, Hungarian and Czech players were particularly active and almost all meetings gathered players over the borders. Several smaller meetings were also organized.

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

Zweq in Kokkola (2004)

Usually the greatest top players haven't been the most active participants of the meetings. Champi0N, Jokke, Karlis and Dz were met in the early days but it was 2004 when the best Elasto Mania player at that time (and of all times) let our documentary group to enter his home. After meeting Jeppe first in Haparanda, Abula, mr and terb0 drove to Kokkola to meet Zweq (reference).

During the meeting Zweq drove multiple world class times giving usually only 2-3 tries: Over and Under 0:30,33 (+0,35 behind WR), Tricks Abound 0:44,30 (+1,11) and Headbanger 0:45,37 (+0,83) which was also filmed. It was another key moment in my life. Now it was 100 % clear. Some players are from different planet.

First picture of Zweq, probably the best Elasto Mania player ever (2004). He is not playing on his own computer in this picture. Lapin Kulta.

Zweq drove several close to WR times during the two hour meeting in 2004 but due to camera issues only 0:45,37 Headbanger got filmed (+0,83 behind the WR).

Finnish Elma Meetings

There are six players who participated all Finnish Elma Meetings organized during Golden Era (2001–2006): Abula, Jokke, Karlis, mr, Orcc and Tisk. PeXi and terb0 were in three meetings and axxu, dz, Juzam and MP participated in two. Because so many old actives were present, let's create some combinated statistics—new material coming!

Details of Finnish Elma Meetings 2002-2005:

Year     Location     Multi WRs   Participants [1]  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

[1] number of foreigners in brackets
BB = Beer Battle
6 first internals in FEM 2002-2005:

#    Player        Nat.       Time       FEM
--------------------------------------------
1.   Stini         FIN     2:44,04     05
2.   Abula         FIN     2:51,77      04
3.   veezay        FIN     2:55,50     05
4.   Orcc          FIN     2:56,42      04
5.   Markku        FIN     2:56,50     05
6.   Tisk          FIN     2:58,27      04
7.   Jokke         FIN     2:59,03      04
8.   MP            FIN     3:02,49     05
9.   onlainari     FIN     3:03,29     05
10.  Jeppe         SWE     3:07,23     05
11.  xp            NOR     3:08,07     05
12.  Cubein        NOR     3:10,62     05
13.  terb0         FIN     3:11,26      04
14.  Karlis        FIN     3:16,00       03
15.  dz            FIN     3:17,75        02
16.  Ramone        SWE     3:27,98      04
17.  krychek       HUN     3:34,62      04
18.  OME           FIN     3:38,34     05
19.  Barbapappa    SWE     3:49,07     05
20.  mr            FIN     3:50,35     05
21.  psy           FIN     3:52,79      04
22.  axxu          FIN     3:54,28      04
23.  mrickx        CZE     4:05,14        02
24.  skint0r       NOR     4:11,39     05
25.  px            FIN     4:21,96     05
26.  Luther        SWE     4:32,34      04
27.  Tapzu         FIN     4:48,00       03
28.  Juzam         FIN     4:50,92     05
29.  MIF           SWE     4:57,53     05
30.  Hapa          FIN     5:36,00       03
31.  Pallukka      FIN     6:27,40       03
1 hour total time in FEM 2002-2005:

#    Player     Nat.    Total time       FEM
--------------------------------------------
1.   Ramone     SWE       52:58,84      04 
2.   Markku     FIN       54:39,70     05
3.   Tisk       FIN     1:01:57,70     05
4.   Jalli      NOR     1:03:21,86     05
5.   Jokke      FIN     1:08:10,87      04
6.   veezay     FIN     1:09:43,29     05 
7.   Orcc       FIN     1:10:25,39      04
8.   Abula      FIN     1:18:52,12     05
9.   dz         FIN     1:41:53,08        02
10.  axxu       FIN     2:10:51,46      04
11.  Luther     SWE     2:11:51,41      04
12.  Stini      FIN     2:20:44,64     05
13.  mr         FIN     2:37:23,53      04
14.  Karlis     FIN     2:58:22,29      04
15.  terb0      FIN     2:38:06,88     05
16.  mrickx     CZE     2:53:31,97        02
17.  Juzam      FIN     3:46:15,81      04
Battle total points in FEM 2002-2005:

#    Player        Nat.   Points   Battles   Avg.   Meetings
------------------------------------------------------------
1.   axxu          FIN     494       58      8.52       2
2.   Tisk          FIN     451       85      5.31     4
3.   Jokke         FIN     419       64      6.55     4   
4.   Orcc          FIN     417       76      5.49     4   
5.   Abula         FIN     401       74      5.42     4   
6.   Karlis        FIN     393       78      5.04     4   
7.   terb0         FIN     291       88      3.31      3  
8.   Markku        FIN     262       31      8.45        1
9.   veezay        FIN     234       38      6.16        1
10.  dz            FIN     222       42      5.29       2 
11.  Ramone        SWE     211       28      7.54        1
12.  mr            FIN     188       39      4.82     4   
13.  Luther        SWE     183       30      6.10        1
14.  xp            NOR     150       29      5.17        1
15.  Jalli         NOR     104       10     10.40        1
16.  Pallukka      FIN      97       16      6.06        1
17.  Tapzu         FIN      70       12      5.83        1
18.  Barbapappa    SWE      63        9      7.00        1
19.  skint0r       NOR      57       12      4.75        1
20.  Juzam         FIN      55        9      6.11       2
...
Beer battle total points in FEM 2002-2005:

#    Player      Nat.   Points   Battles   Avg.   Meetings
----------------------------------------------------------
1.   Abula       FIN     374       40      9.35      3   
2.   Karlis      FIN     287       39      7.36      3   
3.   MP          FIN     282       28     10.07        2  
4.   Orcc        FIN     282       32      8.81      3  
5.   Tisk        FIN     251       37      6.78      3   
6.   terb0       FIN     229       37      6.19      3   
7.   Jokke       FIN     196       27      7.26      3   
8.   px          FIN     157       25      6.28       2  
9.   Jeppe       SWE     139       14      9.93        1 
10.  skint0r     NOR     128       15      8.53        1   
...

A Czech player named mrickx joined FEM02. No international players came to Polvijärvi, the deep east (2003) but in 2004 there were three: Luther and Ramone from Sweden and krychek from Hungary.

Finnish Elma Meeting 2005 was a blast: eight international players and one particularly interesting: TorInge, one of the greatest Elma players of all times. He drove his legendary 24 hours total time (37:39,71) including one WR during the meeting. Additionally he drove four multi world records. TorInge was also able to drive unbelieavable times by his strange game pad. And high graphical details on. Magic.

TorInge is doing one of the hardest WR trick, Serpents Tale bounce in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005. At that time only he, Zweq, Luther and Kuper had done it.

10 participants in FEM02

11 participants in FEM03

16 participants in FEM04

24 participants in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005

Other meetings

The biggest meetings in 1998-2006:

Date         Location          Participants
-------------------------------------------
1998 Nov     FIN, Tampere           4      
1999 Jul     SWE, Piteå             5      

... Elasto Mania is released ...

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

... Golden Era begins ...

2001 Aug     FIN, Helsinki          4      
2001 Aug     HUN, Budapest          9
2001 Oct     DEN, Frederica         7
2001 Sep     CZW, Vermerovice      15
2002 Mar     HUN, Budapest         24
2002 Aug     FIN, Lammi            10      
2003 Apr     DEN, Frederica        15
2003 Jun     FIN, Polvijärvi       11      
2003 Jul     SWE, Falkenberg        4      
2003 Aug     DEN, Aabenraa         10
2003 Dec     SWE, Gothenburg        6
2004 Jul     FIN, Lammi            16      
2004 Aug     HUN, Siófok           17
2004 Sep     RUS, Moscow           10
2004 Dec     FIN, Kokkola           8      
2005 Feb     DEN, Aabenraa         14
2005 Jun     FIN, Leivonmäki       24      
2005 Oct     DEN, Fjelstervang     21
2005 Dec     DEN, Aarhus            6
2006 Apr     DEN, Aabenraa         20
2006 Aug     FIN, Espoo            11      

Four Elma players attended Assembly 2001 in Helsinki: Kumiorava, mr, Tisk and ->LUKE<-.

NJU the best female Elma player in Czech Republic in 2001

Hungarian Elma Meeting 2001

MUe congratulates CovBoy in Budapest in 2001.

Danish Elma Meeting 2001

Hungarian Elma Meeting 2002

Danish Elma Meeting 2003

Abula was invited to a local LAN party in Falkenberg in 2003 where Elma wasn't the only game played.

Russian Elma Meeting 2004

Hungarian Elma Meeting 2004

21 participants in the second Danish Elma Meeting 2005

Many smaller meetings were organized for example in tiny student flats, like petsen's.

19. FM

Eventhough I'm very biased, I argue that Flowertouching Men (FM) is the most successful Elma team ever, at least in overall results. Throughout the history FM has had a WR in 362 tables out of 396, more than any other team. FM has had most different WRs (44), most improvements (188) and the biggest aggregated total time improvement (1:08,45) if Zweq [WNO] is excluded.

FM was the best team in World Cup 2, World Cup 3, World Cup 4 and 3rd in World Cup 5. Moreover FM has the most team points in Mopobattles.

The members of FM team have been active in many different areas of the Elma world since 1999 when the team was founded. The members of the team have organized four Finnish Elma Meetings and kept Moposite running for two decades.

FM didn't ever win the Team category in Golden Apple Awards because the dominance didn't last to year 2004 when the first team trophy was given. Team ICE won it twice during Golden Era (2001–2006).

Flowertouching Men, an international super team, was founded by Dr_Luni [AA], Jokke [HC], Karlis [HC], psy [Fed.], Stene [tLD], Ufo [AA] and YeeS [SOA] in December 1999. All the members were the top players of the Across era. FM got 25 WRs in the first Elma WR table when PRA was second with 9 WRs.

There have been 13 members in team FM in total. YeeS left and Sathy joined in 2000. Ufo and Dr_Luni disappeared. Stene got kicked out. psy and Sathy quit and Tisk joined in 2001. Abula and mr joined in 2002. dz joined in 2003.

After Golden Era (2001–2006) Jokke quits and MP joins in. Karlis is the only one staying since foundation, although the situation is unclear at the moment (2021-07-27).

So mr and Abula joined FM in 2002. We were the only active players in Mahti Crossers (MC) when Tuska had quit in November 2001 and Markku was having a break. When Finnish Elma Meetings were not organized in 2006 and 2007, FM organized team meetings.

FM (2002)

FM (2004)

Secret FM corner in FEM05. A battle break for Tisk (ear), Karlis, Jokke (red shirt), mr, Abula and MP (star)

FM team meeting (2006)

Team FM in secret FM corner in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005

20. Art

The best art work created during Golden Era (2001–2006) is presented next.

Program

Amle is an Elma inspired platform game released by Cossades in 2004 (reference). There are videos online (reference).

Amle uses Elma graphics (2004).

Text

In August 2001 a new section named Articles was added to Moposite where people could publish texts about the game and the community.

  • Cheating in Elma by Ambulance (2001-09-02) (reference)
  • Elma is a lifestyle by nemo (2001-09-06) (reference)
  • elma & drugs by rQ-E% (2002-02-20) (reference)
  • Balázs interview by Kopaka (2002-11-14) (reference)
  • About internal level designing by Barbapappa (2003-02-02) (reference)
  • Elma is a new religion by Barbapappa (2003-02-02) (reference)
  • Programmers destroy the game by Barbapappa (2003-05-30) (reference)
  • The nature of Elasto Mania skill by sierra (2005-08-30) (reference)
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, Raider, Mika and Bob): you are not unique. These are the nick names that were used by at least two different players.

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

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

Video

The first videos of the actual Elma gameplay were filmed in meetings, at least since Finnish Elma Meeting 2002. Back then it was more about fooling around than documenting anything interesting until December 2004 when Abula and mr videographed Zweq playing. The video was already shown in the Meetings chapter.

TorInge and Jalli the Pipe King were filmed in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005.

After a screenshot dumper patch got released in 2005, External Ways by Kestas was the first gameplay video (2005-07-30) (reference). The video scene of Elasto Mania will bloom in the next eras.

External Ways by Kestas was the first "professional" Elma gameplay video (2005-07-30). This is part 1/2.

  • Watch External Ways by Kestas, part 2/2 (2005-07-30) (reference).
Image

Moposite wallpaper created by skint0r (2001). 1600x1200 was the highest resolution imaginable.

PeXi's price poster in World Cup 3 containing signatures of Bálazs, MUe, CSabi, MGen and ? (2001).

Mobile phone icons were hot in 2002. This is magicman's phone.

mr played Elma in army (2002).

Elasto Mania in real life news! Rigger got somehow his World Cup points to a local newspaper in September 2002.

Elma Cake (2002-09-29)

ZernoXelma6 (2003-01-03)

Elma 2 was first time out in 2003.

A cartoon by Barbapappa (2003-06-19)

Abula kommer! Big things happening in Falkenberg in July 2003.

Abula won the Elma contest of PROFIL-LAN 2003 in Falkenberg.

Moposite works in mobile phone in 2003.

Elma Draw 4 (2004)

108 users in #across (2004-05-31)

Elma 2 (2004)

Legos used in 2004

An actual 2. Flat Track replay played in 3D mode by milagros (2004).

Elma 2 (2005)

Computer by Karlis (2005)

Brutal (2005)

FM RuLzE by Tisk (2005)

Ded is most likely the oldest WR driver by being 65 years old when he got 2. Flat Track (#328). Honza his grandchild has had WRs too.

Norwegian university magazine made an article about Elasto Mania and FEM05. Stini is incorrectly named as Cloud.

Someone got Elma to work in a pocket device using PocketHAL software (2005).

mr's Elma stuff in 2005

Raster by Abula (2005)

IRL Elma (2006)

Computer by Fecal (2006)

Moposite's April fool in 2006

Elma Cake Again (2006)

Wooden Elma (2006)

Summary of the chapter

Golden Era (2001–2006) was full of big moments: dz under 40:00,00, TorInge having 50 % of WRs, TorInge under 38 minutes in 24 hours, Mopobattles started, brutal volt found and nine Golden Apple Awards trophies were handed out in Finnish Elma Meeting 2005. Zweq, TorInge and Jalli were proved to be clean and documented on video. Dozens of meetings were organized and World Cups gathered the most players in its history. Hibernatus and milagros programmed the first unofficial Elasto Mania versions.

We have reached year 2007 by now. Fourth version of Moposite had been just published but the community was already in a move from Moposite centricity towards online playing. The move will only accelerate when Belma is published in the beginning of 2007.

Let's close the era by watching the first speedrun video, Elasto Mania Done (fairly) Quick, made by skint0r (2006-01-17).

Elasto Mania Done (fairly) Quick by skint0r (aka Elma Done Quick v1) is the first Elma speedrun video created (2006-01-17). The total time of the replays is 36:56,80 which is only 0:16,27 seconds behind the contemporary WR total time. The current WR total time at the time of writing (2020-05-23) is 34:26,65 so plenty of newer styles are not yet found.

IV. Belma Period (2007 Jan — 2010 Jul)🔝

The era of this chapter spans three and half years from January 2007 to July 2010, from Belma release to first EOL battle in the database. The game had been played for ten years by now but it wasn't even near to end.

During Belma Period (2007–2010) milagros programmed his famous (unofficial) online patches which revolutionized the game and the community. Battles were running almost around the clock. Zweq the Great went bananas and nailed records that shall shine forever.

The number of new crazy WR styles found during the era is astounding. Once again the complex and fine-granular physics of the game was proved to be just uniquely perfect. Players became more skilled while playing battles and having the fast feedback loop.

There are many high quality videos created during the era. Belma Period (2007–2010) is documented very well.

Golden Apple Awards were organized every year and the second exclusive Elma collection was published (Elma Ultimate DVD). Moreover the biggest level collection ever created was released in 2008 (Zebra's Level Archive).

Belma Period (2007–2010) didn't see a World Cup and Finnish Elma Meetings were skipped. Focus was again on playing like it had been in Prelude to Elma (2000–2001). The community was truly reforming.

1. EOL (2006)

bob was the first player to mention the term Elma Online (2002-06-11) but he didn't really mean the same concept how the term is understood today. Four months later Karlis presented the actual Elma Online idea (2002-10-04).

The first working Elma Online patch, Elma Online (2006) or EOL (2006), was released in 2006-02-15. It enabled the original in-game multiplayer mode over local internet (LAN).

(2002-06-11) Elma Online term is mentioned first time.

(2002-06-12) There are rumours.

(2002-10-04) Elma Online idea is mentioned first time.

(2003-02-24) Technical information is shared.

(2006-02-15) The first working Elma Online patch, a multiplayer mode over LAN, is ready.

Network configuration settings of EOL (2006)

2. Belma

After programming EOL (2006), the multiplayer patch over LAN, milagros kept on developing. The next Elma Online version was named Belma and it was released in 2007-02-22. Belma was the first Elma Online patch to support battles over internet between several players.

(2006-11-24) Battle mode idea is introduced.

(2006-12-03) ez to do

(2006-12-12) Technical information is shared.

(2007-01-23) YEAAAAAAAAAH

(2007-02-22) belma.zip

(2007-11-30) Version 1.008

(2009-10-05) Vsync off setting is added to the patch two years later.

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

The playing experience in Belma was totally different. It was almost a new game that just happened to have the same physics. The old levels and world records were comparable and the WR table remained open. milagros did an amazing job. Many players helped him with testing, servers, results and other organizing tasks.

In Belma you could see other players, chat with them and get the battle results automatically inside the game. Other notable new features were custom T-shirts, in-game file downloads and uploads, new contest modes such as first finish, one-life and one hour total time. The infamous Hooked-bug got fixed, the replay filename was extended to 15 characters and the replay length to one hour.

Custom t-shirts were possible in Belma (2009-08-19).

Belma was a huge step forward in battle playing but it had also severe flaws to deal. Most of the problems were fixed in the next patch, Elma Online (2010), but that's a topic of the next era.

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

More
  • Read belma_readme.txt (reference).
  • Read "BELMA - Battle Elasto Mania" discussion (reference).

3. #ballelma

Belma made battling much more popular. People were able to upload and download levels and replays inside the game and the results were real-time and automatic all the way. Previously you had to write your times to IRC and upload and download the files manually.

There wasn't any established website or database to collect the battle results in Belma. The patch echoed the results to #ballelma IRC channel and Zebra generated some statistics out of the logs like he had done with #battle channel battles since 2003.

skint0r made also a website for the results but it was taken offline after some players hacked Belma.

A short-lived Belma battle website (2007-05-24)

The #ballelma battle results are not 100 % clean but clean enough to make some analysis.

58395 battles were played during Belma Period (2007–2010). The average number of players per battle was 13.91 and when the average length of the battle was 16.61 minutes, it means that there was a battle running 51 % of the whole period. The running time is just amazing. Battles were running almost all the time for four years.

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

Markku and jaytea dominated battles in 2003-2007 but when more people joined in, Markku and jaytea weren't overwhelming anymore.

Annual statistics
Annual statistics of Belma battles:

Year     GAA      Most points   Avg. pts [1]    Win-% [1]
------------------------------------------------------------
2007     Zweq     Zweq          Zweq            Zweq  (48 %)
2008     Zweq     adi           Zweq            Zweq  (50 %)
2009     Zweq     Grob          Zweq            Zweq  (50 %)
2010     Grob     jonsykkel     Ali             talli (48 %)

[1] Player must be in top-100 in total points.

Zweq won about everything in Belma battles.

Annual meta statistics of Belma battles:

Year    Battles   Running   Players   Length [1]  Designer [2]
---------------------------------------------------------------
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

[1] In minutes
[2] 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.  Bjenn            SWE      5643     74941
6.  Nekit            RUS      6505     71371
7.  FinMan           FIN      5041     69825
8.  GRob             HUN      4705     69077
9.  Smibu            FIN      5189     67331
10. nick-o-matic     FIN      5622     65594
Top-10 players by average points in Belma battles:

#   Player [1]   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
  	
[1] Player must be in top-100 in total points.
Top-10 players by battle win ratio in Belma battles:

#   Player [1]   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 %	

[1] Player must be in top-100 in total points.

By looking at the results I would argue the top-3 best battlers during Belma Period (2007–2010) were Zweq, Markku and Kazan. Next comes axxu, jaytea, talli and Madness.

Top-10 most productive battle level designers in Belma battles:

#   Designer   Nat.   Levels
----------------------------
1.  Mawane     CAN      2305
2.  Barry      GBR      1830
3.  Ramone     SWE      1559
4.  Pab        URU      1471
5.  Bjenn      SWE      1299
6.  bEAT       POL      1142
7.  Jappe2     FIN      1076
8.  umiz       SWE       960
9.  Jeppe      SWE       923
10. k0en       NED       861
More

4. It's getting tight

There were 180 new world records in the internal levels during Belma Period (2007–2010) and one total time minute limit barrier was broken (36 mins). During the era the magnitude of the new world records was roughly one third compared to Golden Era (2001–2006). It was getting tighter.

Number of new world records in 2000-2017.

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.

WNO remained in the WR table but ICE didn't, well except The Stig (Cloud?) with his Bumpy Journey WR. Kazan's first WR appeared in 2007-10-28 (#273).

Just a random note but for some reason the world record of 12. Islands in the Sky has always belonged to not very well known internalists: Gazoline, jx, krus, proDigy, Honza anda zaraptor.

Number of new WRs per nationality in tables 255-314:

#    Nat.   WRs
---------------
1.   FIN     84
2.   SWE     34
3.   RUS     28
4.   CZE     13
5.   SVK      5
6.   GBR      4
     DEN      4
8.   NOR      2
     LIT      2
10.  NED      1
     CAN      1
     ISR      1
     USA      1

Thirteen different nationalities was only one less than during Golden Era. Finland is still number one but Norway has collapsed. Russia is clearly doing better by improving by two positions. Czech seems to be a solid performer and milagros carries the Slovakian flag. Hungarians are missing.

Number of new WRs per team in tables 255-314:

#    Team    WRs
----------------
1.   WNO      74
2.   EPO      18
3.   NK       11
4.   SPEED     9
5.   27        6
     EF        6
7.   SET       5
8.   FM        4
9.   WTC       3
10.  SC        2
     WAW       2
     EM        2
     MiE       2
...

WNO was overwhelming. The previous leader ICE is gone. FM and WNO were the only teams to survive from the top-10 of previous era.

Number of new WRs per player in tables 255-314:

#    Player     WRs
-------------------
1.   Zweq        46
2.   John        28
3.   Kazan       20
4.   Raven       12
5.   Jarkko      11
6.   Madness      7
7.   Cap          6
     talli        6
     Bjenn        6
10.  milagros     5
...

Out of 180 new WRs Zweq got 26 %, John 15 % and Kazan 11 %. Zweq and John are the only ones in top-10 of both Golden Era and Belma Period.

During Belma Period (2007–2010) Zweq won three times and Kazan once the Internalist category in Golden Apple Awards.

4.2. John under 36:00,00

John got his first WR in table #139 (2003-08-09). In Golden Era he drove the fourth most WRs and was second in the total times list. In Belma Period (2007–2010) John passed TorInge in 2007-01-07 to become the number one in the personal total times list (reference). John kept the leading position for four years and two days. He also reached the ever-lasting achievement: the first player under 36 minutes.

Personal total times minute limit breaks in Belma Period (2007–2010):

Limit       Player     Nat.    Date
------------------------------------------------
45 mins     KingKong     SWE     2000-03-11 (#1)
44 mins     Champi0N     SWE     2000-04-05 (#7)
43 mins     KingKong     SWE     2000-06-04 (#21)
42 mins     zyntifox     NOR     2000-11-21 (#47)
41 mins     pajen        SWE     2001-10-14 (#75)
40 mins     dz           FIN     2002-05-02 (#85)
39 mins     TorInge      NOR     2003-04-11 (#122)
38 mins     Zweq         FIN     2003-09-28 (#147)
37 mins     TorInge      NOR     2005-03-16 (#205)

... Belma Period begins ...

36 mins     John         SWE     2009-07-13 (#298)

... Belma Period ends ...

35 mins     Spef         FIN     2018-05-09 (#405)

The WR table total time went under 36 minutes already in 2007-06-14 (#265). It's the table where Zweq drove the new crazy styles in 7. Hi Flyer and 24. Ramp Frenzy which improved the total time by over ten seconds. The speculation how to get under 35 minutes started right after (reference).

The total times list when John had just got under 36 minutes (2009-07-13). This was the last Moposite Records update during Belma Period (2007–2010).

4.3. Multiplayer in LAN

Elma Online (2006) patch enabled multiplaying over network so players were able to use their own computers. During Belma Period (2007–2010) the multi WR total time improved 0:25,93 seconds – mostly by Zweq and Juzam who also broke the 23 minutes limit barrier (2007-04-25).

Multi total times list (2009-05-21). Zweq and Juzam got under 23 minutes in previous table which was updated two years earlier.

Multi WR table before EOL (2010) enabled multiplaying over internet (2009-09-05).

There was a discussion if the community should accept WRs driven in the online mode (reference).

4.4. pawq and jonsykkel

As mentioned earlier Moposite became inactive somewhere in 2006-2007. The Records section was updated 11 times in year 2006 but only 4 times in 2007. During the years 2008-2010 there was only one update per year which was too little considering the new activity around the game and Belma patch.

Luckily there were players like pawq and jonsykkel who started to update the Elma records in their platforms. pawq created a combined total times list on Mopolauta in 2008-11-21 (reference) which is still updated at the time of writing (2020-05-23). jonsykkel's elmastats page was released in 2010-10-17 (reference).

Combinated total times list (2018-02-02)

jonsykkel's elmastats (2018-03-01)

5. Crazy WR styles

Zweq drove his first new crazy WR (31. Animal Farm) during Belma Period (2007–2010) in the WR table #255 (2007-01-06). In total Zweq drove nine ridiculously amazing world records during the era.

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

Zweq's first crazy WR was only 0:01,48 seconds better in 31. Animal Farm (2007-01-06) but the style was radically different opening gates for more improvements. Today the time is over four seconds better (2018-02-28).

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

Zweq's 54. Apple Harvest time was 0:05,72 seconds better (2007-05-07). The WR is the eigtht best absolute and the 14th best relative improvement ever. Apple Harvest WR was 2:02,63 in the first Elma WR table in 2000 and at the time of writing (2020-05-23) it's 1:12,89. The WR was 2:40,63 in Across in 1998-07-19.

We would watch Zweq's 10. Tunnel Terror 0:54,98 (#262) now but there's be a better chapter for it.

0:14,22 Zweq (WR #264) 0:14,99 John (WR #253)

0:00,77 improvement in a 14 seconds level is a lot (2007-05-26), especially after 13. Hill Legend had been played already for ten years.

0:30,66 Zweq (WR #265)

Zweq's WR in 7. Hi Flyer in table #265 (2007-06-14) is one of the greatest world records ever. An easy short level which has been played since the first Across 1.0 version, had an undiscovered style. Zweq improved the WR by 0:02,35 seconds. Today it's even four more seconds better: 0:25,91 by ... Zweq (2021-07-28).

0:42,85 Zweq (WR #265)

Table #265 (2007-06-14) is probably the second most amazing WR table ever after TorInge's 27 WRs in #232 because in addition to Hi Flyer, Zweq drove also the legendary 24. Ramp Frenzy shortcut. The shortcut had been known since 1997 because it's so obvious but just too hard. Zweq's Ramp Frenzy WR is the 6th biggest absolute improvement by 0:08,21 seconds and the 3rd biggest relative improvement ever. The replay won the Style category in Golden Apple Awards 2007 and it's also a brutal volt WR.

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

Zweq discovered the seventh revolutionary style in 10. The Steppes. The WR style of Steppes has changed several times throughout the history. This is also a brutal volt WR. Since WR table #266 Steppes has been the shortest world record (2007-06-26).

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

After one year break Zweq found another new "left first" style in 32. Steep Corner in 2008-05-11. The replay won the Style category in Golden Apple Awards 2008.

0:50,13 Zweq (WR #289) 0:50,45 talli (WR #285)

Zweq drove another crazy WR in 28. Bounce Back in 2008-08-30. Styles like this were dreams of hundreds of players but only a few actually drove one. Zweq did it nine times in less than two years.

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

John's new jumping style to the octopus in 31. Animal Farm improved the WR total time by 0:01,93 seconds (2009-07-04).

0:51,50 talli (WR #298) 0:51,80 Bjenn (WR #290)

It's always prodigious when the start style of the WR changes. talli did just that in 15. Serpents Tale in 2009-07-04.

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

zaraptor found a new route in 4. Over and Under after the level had been played 13 years (2010-05-01). The style was exposed first time in 300 AVR PART2 video (2009-10-06) (reference).

6. Zweqspin

Many new tricks such as bounce, supervolt, alovolt and brutal volt were already discovered in the earlier eras but there was at least one more trick left that was even utilized in a world record.

First public zweqspin (aka spinning) replay was driven by Barhom in year 2001 but it was Zweq's 9. Tunnel Terror WR (0:54,98) in table #262 (2007-05-07) which popularized the trick.

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

Zweqspin is a new trick found during Belma Period (2007–2010) and which was utilized in a world record (2007-05-07). At that point 9. Tunnel Terror had been played since ten years. Current WR is six seconds better (2020-05-23).

10znew1154.rec

10. The Steppes can be also finished by using the zweqspin trick but it's slightly slower style. The new style was invented once again by Zweq the Great. It won the Replay category in GAA11.

Zweqspin is a good example of the new skills the Belma Period (2007–2010) had teached to some players. Zweqspin is also an example of one great player whose innovativeness and skills were just beyond everybody else. The previous two sections (5. Crazy WR styles, 6. Zweqspin) indicates that there was only one player around but that's not the case at all. Yet Zweq's performance is not here even at end.

More
  • Watch Zweq zweqspins in Warm Up (2008-09-04) (reference).
  • Watch Spinvid vol3 by Moszat (2013-04-30) (reference).

7. Uphilling

Besides zweqspin there was another new driving style that was popularized during Belma Period (2007–2010). Uphilling means levels where the goal is to drive upwards and often very slowly. The levels are usually very hard levels and not liked by everyone.

teajay was probably the first one with his Fish levels (2007-05-28) to introduce the uphilling levels. In battles the uphilling levels are often set as first finish contest type (FF) so you didn't have to be super fast if you could just keep on climbing.

There were some pre-uphilling levels in Moposite Special Contests such as Hill Climbing and Kiskotus and of course there's the internal level 5. Uphill Battle.

Fish0013_802Zwe.rec

Zweq is uphilling (2007-05-30).

More players will join the uphilling competition in the next era.

8. Pipe Princes

Pipes were also played more than ever before. Pipes were common in battles but also a few level packs and even a cup were dedicated just for the pipes (reference). The replays got crazier when the new pipe royals finished extremely hard levels and even some of the classics in a way that overshadow the old Pipe Kings.

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

  • Watch Chain Pie by talli (2009-04-26) (reference).

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 Period (2007–2010) 19 minutes long replays weren't possible.

John's 0:49,96 record in MOPOCO15 in 2010-01-14.

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

9. Active contests

Three events related to the external contests during Belma Period (2007–2010) are essential: Kopaka's Interactive Levelpack Records system was published in 2006-11-14 (reference), Kopaka's Open Source Automated Cup script was released in 2009-08-15 (reference) and Zebra's Level Archive was published in 2008-06-13 (reference), the biggest level collection created (2020-05-23).

Hosp organized Thorze Cup 1 by using Kopaka's cup script (2009-10-20).

Kopaka's interactive level pack system was launched already in 2006-11-14 and it's still running in 2018.

Numerous cups were organized.

Cups organized in Belma Period (2007–2010):

Start          Name                          Winner                Organizer(s)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2007-10-04     LOS Cup 3                     axxu                  LOS
2007-12-06     Goliath Cup                   adi                   teajay
2008-01-28     TAP Elimination Cup           axxu                  Zebra
2008-02-06     Error Merry Cup 2             Deestent              error
2008-12-03     MasterRacer II                Memphis & BoneLESS    nIN
2009-01-22     Banana Cup 4                  BoneLESS              Zebra
2009-06-21     Spring Run Cup                Yorki                 coc0k & error
2009-?         Hungarian Summer Cup 2009     GRob                  Binder
2009-08-12     TEH Cup                       NightMar              Igge & Kopaka
2009-10-20     Thorze Cup 1                  Are                   Hosp
2009-10-12     MawCup 2009                   adi                   Mawane
2010-02-01     Rambo cup                     Bjenn                 Ramone
2010-02-28     Talvi Cup                     romy4                 Ville_J
2010-05-06     MiE pipe cup                  FinMan                MiE

Zebra's One Year Level Pack (OYLP) was a new concept in 2008-09-22 to have a level for each day around the year (reference). Banana Cup 4 had strange rules like Kahvicup in the early days. TEH Cup was the first to use Kopaka's Cup script. Goliath Cup had exceptional long levels.

Two internal styled levelpacks were released by Ramone (Internal Edits, 2008-06-09) and jonsta (Instead Internals, 2008).

Ramone was a very active level designer overall and he won the Designer category in GAA08, GAA09 and GAA10.

Winners of the Level category in Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010)

The Dead Scene by Xhomaz (GAA07)

Tyrant by Jappe2 (GAA08)

Chain Pie II MPFKBJKZB by Mawane (GAA09)

Deth Appels by jonsykkel (GAA10)

Winners of the Designer category in Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010):

Year     Designer
-------------------
2007     Jappe2
2008     Ramone
2009     Ramone
2010     Ramone

Finally a list of videos of different cups and contests created during Belma Period (2007–2010). The quality of the videos compared to earlier eras increased both in resolution and in presentation.

  • Watch Skintatious levels by skint0r (2007-08-12) (reference).
  • Watch LOS cup 3 by Jappe2 (2007-12-12) (reference).
  • Watch Spring Run Cup by Jappe2 (2009-06-21) (reference).
  • Watch Banana Cup 4, part 1/3 by Jappe2 (2009-08-25) (reference).
  • Watch Hungarian Summer Cup 2009 by Grindelwald (2010-04-02) (reference).
  • Watch Talvi Cup 2010 by Grindelwald (2010-06-25) (reference).

10. Community reformation

When Moposite wasn't active anymore, there was more room for other websites and sub-communities to bloom. People who played mostly battles and chatted inside the game were clearly a new group but there were also some regional communities with their own contests and cups.

The German speaking countries had own regional Elma community. The Elmasite was most active in 2003-2006.

Russian Elma community has been good both in programming and playing. The Elmaclub website and Domovoy's map viewer were in high technical level in 2008.

Hungarians is the most influencal regional community of all times after Nordic countries. They organized a regional cup in 2010-09-20.

Finnish Elma Meetings and other big meetings were taking a break during Belma Period (2007–2010). Team FM organized smaller, invite only meetings at Tisk's student flat in 2006 and 2007 which gathered pretty much the same Finnish active players as in FEMs. Old veterans Petri [SSC], Ari [ahf] and kimitys were met first time. The meetings got even smaller in 2008-2010 but the next generation was already growing up.

After three years break Raven continued Kuski of Month polls for seven months. Zweq was first to win KOM three times (2003, 2006 and 2009).

Winners of Kuski of month in 2009:

Month    Player
-----------------
 May     Kazan
 Jun     Raven
 Jul     John
 Aug     adi
 Sep     Zweq
 Oct     zaraptor
 Nov     talli

A new community related category was added to Golden Apple Awards: Community Award.

Winners of the Contribution category in Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010):

Year     Player
------------------------
2007     milagros
2008     Kopaka
2009     Kopaka
2010     milagros
Winners of the Site category in Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010):

Year     Player
------------------------
2007     Kopaka
2008     Kopaka
2009     Zworqy
2010     jonsykkel
Winner of the Community Award category in Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010):

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

Social media was still fairly simple during Belma Period (2007–2010) except the online videos in Youtube which were created in a new magnitude. The oldest video still online (2021-07-28) was uploaded by Tontsa84 in 2006-03-20 (reference).

The first Elma Facebook group was created in 2008-05-18 (reference) and a Twitter tweet was written in 2007-04-05 (reference). IRC and Mopolauta forums were still the primary communication methods.

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 after that. Organizing big meetings is 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 bonus players.

Players were also having meetings during their holiday trips. teajay met many big names in Denmark, Sweden and Germany in 2006 and later Abula met milagros (2011, 2012, 2013), Balázs (2012) and teajay (2013).

teajay, insguy and brother in eurotrip 2006.

The meeting facilities were not perfect in the secret FM meeting 2006. The Across legends Ari [ahf] and Petri [SSC] were also present.

Watching Elma Done Quick v2 in the secret FM meeting 2007. More Across legends were met: kimitys and vender.

11. Golden Apple Awards (2007-2010)

Golden Apple Awards was organized first time in 2003 and the tradition continued during Belma Period (2007–2010).

Golden Apple Awards in 2007:

    Category            Winner          Nat.    Reason
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Internalist         Zweq            FIN
2.  Externalist         axxu            FIN
3.  Battler             Zweq            FIN
4.  Rookie              Bjenn           SWE
5.  Designer            Jappe2          FIN
6.  Team                WNO
7.  WR                  Zweq            FIN     Ramp Frenzy 42,85 (#265)
8.  Style               Zweq            FIN     Ramp Frenzy
9.  Replay              talli           FIN     mkup309 21,57
10. Level               Xhomaz          NOR     The Dead Scene (LC306)
11. Contest             LOS                     LOS Cup 3
12. Contribution        milagros        SVK     Belma
13. Achievement         Zweq            FIN     Hi Flyer, Ramp Frenzy WRs; multi TT 22 mins
14. Site                Kopaka          DEN     Kopasite
15. Community Award     milagros        SVK


Golden Apple Awards in 2008:

    Category            Winner          Nat.    Reason
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Internalist         Zweq            FIN
2.  Externalist         adi             FIN
3.  Battler             Zweq            FIN
4.  Rookie              Pab             URU
5.  Designer            Ramone          SWE
6.  Team                EPO
7.  WR                  Cap             RUS     Zig-Zag 55,91 (#281)
8.  Style               Zweq            FIN     Steep Corner "left first"
9.  Replay              John            SWE     Labyrinth Pro 2:14,85
10. Level               Jappe2          FIN     Tyrant (TEC03)
11. Contest             niN             SWE     Mäster Räcer II: Pair Play
12. Contribution        Kopaka          DEN     EOL site, GAA jury
13. Achievement         Zweq            FIN     WRs, styles, most improvements ever
14. Site                Kopaka          DEN     Elma Online
15. Art                 Antz            FIN     Ecchi levels and battle levels
16. Community Award     niN             SWE


Golden Apple Awards in 2009:

    Category            Winner          Nat.    Reason
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Internalist         Zweq            FIN
2.  Externalist         adi             FIN
3.  Battler             Zweq            FIN
4.  Rookie              Mielz           POL
5.  Designer            Ramone          SWE
6.  Team                WNO
7.  WR                  Jarkko          FIN     Uphill Battle 19,79 (#301)
8.  Style               talli           FIN     Serpents Tale
9.  Replay              Zweq            FIN     Hi Flyer, not finished (07zwoot7)
10. Level               Mawane          CAN     Chain Pie II MPFKBJKZB (ChainPII)
11. Contest             Zebra           FIN     Banana Cup 4
12. Contribution        Kopaka          DEN     EOL site, Kopasite, TEH Cup, scripts, GAA jury
13. Achievement         John            SWE     35 mins TT
14. Site                Zworqy          SWE     Zworqy's site
15. Art                 Jappe2          FIN     Videos
16. Community Award     Kopaka          DEN


Golden Apple Awards in 2010:

    Category            Winner          Nat.    Reason
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Internalist         Kazan           RUS
2.  Externalist         Pab             URU
3.  Battler             GRob            FUN
4.  Rookie              jonsykkel       NOR
5.  Designer            Ramone          SWE
6.  Team                SPEED
7.  WR                  Zweq            FIN     Tunnel Terror 51,88 (#315)
8.  Style               John            SWE     Animal Farm 1:10,59 (#307)
9.  Replay              John            SWE     Animal Farm 1:10,59 (#307)
10. Level               jonsykkel       SWE     Deth Appels (jon001)
11. Contest             Ville_J         FIN     Talvi Cup
12. Contribution        milagros        SVK     EOL patch
13. Achievement         Pab             URU     Taking all JoPi records
14. Site                jonsykkel       SWE     jon's Elmastats
15. Art                 niN & Jappe2            Internal Memories Elma 10 years
16. Community Award     milagros        SVK

Zweq was overwhelming with 13 awards in four years, Kopaka became second with 5 and Jappe2, John and milagros got 4.

And how a level pack can win the Art category like Antz did in 2008? By tits.

12. Gameplay videos

Elma art incarnated in video format in Belma Period (2007–2010). Next we have the rest of the best videos which weren't already presented in more appropriate chapters.

The pioneers of Elma videos were MUe (2000), Abula (2004), Kestas (2005), skint0r (2006) and 8-ball (2007). Jappe2 was particularly active in Belma Period (reference). iCS will enter the stage in the next era.

Internal levels

Elma Done Quick v2 (35:58,33) was released in 2007-07-28 by skint0r (reference). All the replays are contemporary world records.

Elma Done Quick v2 (35:58,33) by skint0r (2007-07-28). John had most WRs during that time (16).

Internal Memories by Jappe2 and nIN (2010-09-22) explains the world wecords history. The video was created in honour of the 10th Elasto Mania anniversary (reference).

Internal Memories by Jappe2 (2010-09-22)

Art
  • Watch Elma meets Super Mario Bros by Polarix (2008-08-08) (reference).
  • Watch Zweq's Tunnel Terror top-10 merged by Jappe2 (2010-06-03) (reference).
Tutorials
  • Watch Special tricks part 2/2 by Jappe2 (2008-04-22) (reference).
  • Watch Level making by Pab (2009-11-28) (reference).
  • Watch How to do the start in Animal Farm by John (2010-01-11) (reference).

13. Ultimate DVD

The second Elma data collection was made by Abula in 2010: Elma Ultimate DVD. The first collection, Elma Forever CD, was made in 2001.

Elma Ultimate DVD by Abula (2010)

Most of the files in the DVD from Belma Period (2007–2010) were already presented – except a few.

The Elma Cake scene strikes again (2007-08-21).

yntifox' (?) Elma tattoo (2007-10-11). But what is the level?

Next images missed the DVD.

Elmariddle by Zebra (2007-09-10)

Elma beer by Orcc (2008). Lapin Kulta.

Summary of the chapter

Besides of the Belma patch itself, the highlights of Belma Period (2007–2010) are definitely Zweq's nine revolutionary WR styles, John under 36 minutes and Jappe2's videos. Golden Apple Awards were organized every year. Improved uphilling and piping skills were proofs of players becoming more and more skilled while playing online battles from day to day.

milagros' patch revolutionized the game and the community but Belma Period was also a decadence. Moposite was inactive, no big meetings or World Cups were organized and many players were having a break.

Belma was vulnerable to hacking and sabotaging the battles if someone wanted. And of course there was someone who did just that and kept on terrorizing and demotivating others for years. On top of that an undetectable cheat method was spreading in the underground (saveload) and the WR table was near to be frozen. It looked like the end of the story but there was some light left: milagros was working on a new version.

V. Age of EOL (2010 Jul –)🔝

The era we are going to look next, hasn't ended yet. It spans from the first EOL battle to this day (2018-03-14). We haven't yet seen the next big thing that will change the course of Elma history.

milagros had programmed two unofficial online versions already, the simple multiplayer LAN patch (2006) and Belma (2007) but he decided to make one more. Belma had severe flaws and a few new features could be implemented as well.

The third EOL version was released in July 2010 and it made Elma to flourish again. Skills improved, new tricks were found, even World Cups and Finnish Elma Meetings got revitalized. Hell, Elma was even seen in TV! New superstars rocked but a few old legends made also glorious comebacks.

1. Elasto Mania 1.3

milagros' newest patch isn't really known by the version number 1.3 but it's more logical in the long history of the Elma versions because Hibernatus named his last version as 1.2 and Balázs' official versions use 1.1, at least if we make an assumption that the version number 1.11 should be actually 1.1.1. Eventhough 1.3 is written in the start screen of the new patch, most people call it just eol.

Belma Period (2007–2010) was sort of decadence because some idiots abused the vulnerable system which got other people to stop playing, even quit. Belma didn't provide tools for moderators. Luckily milagros decided to fight back.

(2007-12-14) New version is mentioned.

(2009-12-13) After two years most of the program code has been written.

(2010-07-25) NaDiRu drove the first record to the EOL database. EOL website was running under Moposite in the development phase.

In addition to the moderating tools, EOL provided many new features to make playing more convenient and fair. Now all finished times were saved to the database as well.

Here's a list of the most essential features:

  • Free camera to overview the level
  • Fixed FPS to solve the vsync issue
  • Centered navigation map
  • Replay saving reminder
  • New battle modes: last finish, flag tag, apple count, maximum speed, reversed keys, one turn, hidden times, one wheel and multiplayer
  • In-game battle queue
  • In-game file downloads and uploads (levels, replays)
  • In-game chat (public, private and ignore modes)
  • In-game viewing of all players' results in all levels
  • In-game 24 hours total time contest and cups
  • Speed-o-meter
  • Last apple taken time
  • Number of objects, polygons and vertices increased to practically unlimited
  • Background, foreground and graphics settings to improve contrast
  • Setting to stop the moving apples animation
  • Showing and hiding other players and team members

Configuration settings of EOL (aka Elasto Mania 1.3)

Most of the new battle modes are not used very often: normal and first finish battles are the most popular which were available already in Belma patch.

Because EOL uses a server to send the data of all key presses, it became impossible to use the saveload cheat. Without this feature, the WR table would have been closed down because the saveload cheat tool was already spreading in the Elma underground in 2009. We'll get back to this.

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

The next multi WR table a few weeks later (2010-08-17) had 29 new WRs by 24 different player combinations and eight days later 11 WRs more. EOL was a breakthrough. A big thing. A blast. Multiplaying was only a small part of the new patch—online battles were even more popular.

The patch was beta tested exhaustively by many players. It was officially released in 2011-08-12 with a promo video and an official level pack (reference).

EOL Trailer by 8-ball (2011-08-11)

More
  • Read eol beta release (2010-07-25) (reference).
  • Read New Features article (2010-09-24) (reference).

2. elmaonline.net

The elmaonline.net domain was registered in 2010-08-07 by Kopaka (reference) and the first version of the website was published in 2011-08-30.

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 third design of the EOL website was made by Kopaka in 2015-11-04.

The Elma Online website has all relevant information related to the (online) game: results of the EOL battles, results of the internal levels, results of the external levels + player profiles and news. Lots of replays can be viewed directly in the browser.

2.1. EOL Battles

The battling data has been collected since 2010-07-26 so it's quite a big set of data. Some players have been höyling a lot.

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

Annual statistics
Annual statistics of EOL battles (2010-):

Year     GAA Battler   Most points     Avg. points [1]    Won-% [1]
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
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 %)

[1] must be in top-100 in total points
Annual meta statistics of EOL battles (2010-):

Year     Battles   Running    Players      Length    Designer
                            Avg.  Tot.[1]   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

[1] Total number of players who finished at least one battle
Total statistics
Top-10 players by total points in EOL battles (2010-):

#   Player      Nat.   Battles    Points
----------------------------------------
1.  Zero        FIN     11169     146585
2.  Blaztek     NOR     14116     138415
3.  juka        FIN     11818     124627
4.  Eddi        RUS      9267     117530
5.  Luther      SWE     12104     106961
6.  Bjenn       SWE      7682      91079
7.  Vitesse     RUS     11117      86003
8.  roope       FIN      9291      85015
9.  Kiiwi       FIN      8627      83312
10. Lukazz      AUT     10952      83245
...

Data updated: 2018-03-14
Top-10 players by average points in EOL battles (2010-):

#   Player       Nat.   Battles      Avg.
----------------------------------------
1.  FinMan       FIN      1326     16.13
2.  Zweq         FIN      3852     15.85
3.  GRob         HUN      1529     15.62
4.  Markku       FIN      3451     14.72
5.  adi          FIN      5128     14.47
6.  Ali          CZE      1571     14.04
7.  Jeppe        SWE      2164     13.77
8.  NightMar     RUS      3109     13.71
9.  Smibu        FIN      1328     13.58
10. ANpDad       RUS      3879     13.25
...

Data updated: 2018-03-14
Top-10 players by win ratio in EOL battles (2010-):

#   Player       Nat.   Battles    Win-%
----------------------------------------
1.  Zweq         FIN      3846      55 %
2.  Markku       FIN      3451      55 %
3.  adi          FIN      5116      52 %
4.  GRob         HUN      1529      52 %
5.  Zero         FIN     11169      49 %
6.  John         SWE      1926      45 %
7.  Kazan        RUS      5287      44 %
8.  Leek         NZL      1595      44 %
9.  ANpDaD       RUS      3874      43 %
10. zaraptor     GBR      1392      42 %
...

Data updated: 2018-03-14

Many old veterans were mastering EOL battles but some new superstars were also in fire: Zero and adi are new names in the very top.

71 levels in a battle queue (2017-02-14). Each level must be uploaded by a different player.

The next video shows clearly how skilled some players are. Most of the replays have been played in 10-30 minutes in year 2012.

Big Plays Battle Highlights by Bjenn (2012-08-30)

More
  • View statistics of EOL battles (reference).

2.2. Apple battles

The idea of an apple battle is to collect as many apples as possible and it doesn't have to be done in one drive.

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

2.3. Battle Cups

Battle Cup is another new idea initiated during Age of EOL (2010–). The idea is to have, let's say, 10 events, one per day and one event lasts for example 60 minutes.

Battle Cups in Age of EOL (2010–):

Start         Name                    Winner     Organizer(s)
--------------------------------------------------------------
2014-12-01    World Battle Cup        Zweq       Ramone & Zero
2016-04-08    World Battle Cup II     Zero       niN

3. The Last Warriors?

Since 2011-06-23 internal level world records must have been driven in EOL while connected to the server to prevent saveload cheats. We have come quite far from the release of Elasto Mania: to get an official world record, one must play it in an unofficial version of the game. But that's the way to keep the WR table still open.

When talking about the WR table, the outlook of it has interestingly remained the same since 1997. The hungarian flag and the classic white background with team logos is something the community doesn't want to change. In 2011 even 17 % of players were against adding a WR total time below the table to ease browsing the WR history (reference).

The WR total time went under 35 minutes in 2012-10-21.

3.1. WR tables #315-#396

There have been 205 new world records between WR tables #315 and #396 in about eight years which means roughly two every month. The activity peak was over but there was still a lot to improve.

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

WR table in 2018-03-17. Spef and team dat appeared.

  • Read how to get WR total time under 34 minutes (2012-10-17) (reference).
  • Read how to get WR total time under 33 minutes (2011-04-01) (reference).
Number of new WRs per player in tables 315-396:

#    Player     WRs
-------------------
1.   Spef        42
2.   Zweq        37
     Kazan       37
4.   Bjenn       12
     Mielz       12
6.   Madness      9
7.   Bene         6
8.   FinMan       5
     GRob         5
     Nekit        5
...

Spef beat Zweq and Kazan. Spef's first WR was driven in 2012 and he won the Internalist category in Golden Apple Awards 2013, 2014 and 2016.

Zweq, Kazan, Bjenn and Madness survived from the top-10 of Belma Period (2007–2010). Zweq was present also in Golden Era (2001–2006).

Number of new WRs per team in tables 315-396:

#    Team    WRs
----------------
1.   SPEED    65
2.   WNO      40
3.   EF       13
4.   dat      12
5.   NGT       5
6.   27        4
7.   TEM       3
8.   NK        2
     EPO       2
     MiE       2
...

SPEED, WNO, EF, 27, NK and MiE made it from the top-10 of Belma Period (2007–2010).

Number of new WRs per nationality in tables 315-396:

#    Nat.   WRs
---------------
1.   FIN     91
2.   RUS     48
3.   SWE     24
4.   POL     12
5.   CZE     11
6.   HUN      9
7.   ARG      3
     LIT      3
9.   GBR      2
10.  DEN      1
     USA      1

Familiar countries in top-10 except Poland and Argentina being positive surprises.

The oldest WRs (potentially)

Age of EOL (2010–) has potential to become the cornucopia of the oldest WRs if the era doesn't end, people keep on playing and px updates the table. Quite many if:s but it's possible! At the moment it's not there yet.

Oldest WRs driven in Age of EOL (2010–):

#    Player     Level                Tables     Driven          Broken
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
20.  Kazan      Tricks Abound          77       2010 (#318)     2018 (#395)
27.  Zweq       Over and Under         73       2011 (#330)     2019 (#403)
28.  Zweq       Twin Peaks             72       2011 (#330)     2019 (#402)
32.  Kazan      Apple Harvest          69       2011 (#342)     2020 (#411)
33.  _Mika      Spiral                 67       2010 (#319)     2016 (#386)
42.  Kazan      Haircut                64       2011 (#333)     2018 (#397)
47.  Ded        Flat Track             63       2011 (#328)     2017 (#391)
...
70.  Zweq       Expert System          50       2012 (#356)     -

Data updated: 2020-05-23

91 tables is required to get to the all-time top-10.

3.2. Almost under 35:00:00

John was leading the personal total times list in Belma Period (2007–2010) and he kept the lead till January 2011 when Zweq became the number one again. Kazan passed Zweq in April 2014 and Spef took the lead in July 2016. Kazan stroke back in March 2017.

(2011-01-09) Zweq 35:44,51

(2014-04-14) Kazan 35:20,60

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

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

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 different players participated the one hour total time competition in Finnish Elma Meetings during the years 2002-2005. After EOL was released in 2010 the competition has been played by the best internalists but the results are not really comparable because it's very different to play at home as many times as you want than in a meeting when other people are watching. Nevertheless, let's combine the results.

Best personal total times in 1 hour:

#    Player      Total time         WR tt     Date
---------------------------------------------------------------
1.   Kazan         38:46,01      +3:54,20     2014-05-18 (#374)
2.   Zweq          40:54,09      +5:12,01     2009-07-21 (#298)
3.   adi           40:03,43      +5:14,02     2014-10-05 (#376)
4.   Bjenn         40:06,74      +5:29,45     2017-11-30 (#392)
5.   Spef          40:28,47      +5:39,06     2014-09-28 (#376)
    
... in a meeting ...

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

... in early days ...

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

(Rank is by difference to contemporary WR total time.)

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

More
  • View Kazan's 1h tt times (2014-05-18) (reference).

3.4. Multi is closed

Multiplaying got easier and much more convenient in EOL which activated players to drive lots of new multi WRs. The table #144 in 2010-08-17 had 29 new multi world records and there were 24 different player combinations.

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

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

4. 5 mins on Sunday

It's never been very common to reveal one's real playing time. It's much more likely to see comments like "I only played 5 mins on Sunday" no matter if the result required one or one hundred hours.

First time when we got hard data about playing times was in World Cup events and battles. No one could play more than the event lasted.

Since 2010 we have much more data, namely the exact timestamps of all key presses and apples collected of every play. And because the replay isn't even considered legal if played offline, the data is essentially complete.

Despite the vast amount of data available, quite little new information exists. It's probably not that interesting to know who pressed ESC or throttle key most which is probably the one who has played most in total. Perhaps Jarkko and 5. Uphill Battle?

Technically it would be possible to create statistics of, let's say, the easiest WRs: what was the total playing time required to get a world record after the previous WR was updated on the table? Ultimately, is there any real "first try" WR that can be proved by hard data? Who has played the most in total? Per year? Per level? What's the most played level in total by all players? The least played internal? My bets: 29. Headbanger and 25. Precarious.

Who has played the longest time without any break longer than 1 minute? Longest time having only maximum 15 min breaks? 24 hours? 1 week?

Because we don't have that kind of statistics now, let's look at some single facts which are public information. Jarkko published his top-2000 times in 5. Uphill Battle in 2011-11-17 (reference). The total time of his top-2000 is 11 hours and 5 minutes. First time he got WR under 0:20,00 was in 2006-06-03 (#244) and the current WR (0:19,79) was driven in 2009-10-09 (#301). His first Uphill Battle WR (0:20,11) was driven in 2006-04-01 (#237). It's impossible to tell how many times he got under 20 seconds out of the all attempts but I guess it's probably not very far-fetched to estimate it to one tenth or even one hundreth. So during four years he used something like 110-1110 hours in one level.

Another insane record in playing time wise (and in pipe skill wise) is adi winning the Achievement category in Golden Apple Awards 2016 by finishing 2593 pipe levels in 30 days.

Blaztek has played 14116 battles in eight years which is 1750 hours if we estimate that he played half of each battle's playing time.

5. Amazing WR replays

Now we must be careful because it's possible that some WR styles are not public yet. WR table has a five year rule which means that a WR replay can be published after five years when it appeared on the table.

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

Zweq kept on finding new crazy WR styles after Belma Period (2007–2010). The first one was 10. Tunnel Terror again (2010-08-28). The totally new route improved the WR by 0:02,65 which was quite much in year 2010 because the level had been played already for over 13 years. The replay won the WR category in GAA10.

0:52,26 romy4 (WR #317) 0:52,93 Bjenn (WR #314)

romy4 used a new route in the bottom part of 50. Expert System which had been played for 13 years at this point (2010-09-18).

0:41,79 Kazan (WR #318) 0:42,51 John (WR #301)

The new end in Kazan's 51. Tricks Abound made it the sixth WR style having a brutal volt (2010-09-25).

We would watch Kazan's 48. Downhill 0:43,94 now (#334, 2011-06-05) but there will be a better chapter for the new style.

0:50,24 Kazan (WR #341)

Kazan found one more new style in 10. Tunnel Terror in 2011-10-29. The end bounce won the WR category in GAA11.

Then we can finally watch the speedrun video, Elma Done Quick v3 (2012) which was presented in the introduction chapter of this article. So go watch it now and come back here. Or, actually all the interesting styles of the video have been introduced already at this point (or shortly) so you can also just keep on reading.

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

Bjenn's 6. Long Haul wasn't a big improvement in 2013-07-23 but it's marvelous that one of the six first levels had 16 years an undiscovered style during the first second of the level.

0:30,29 Kazan (WR #374)

The seventh brutal volt WR style had been known since Golden Era (2001–2006) and at least mr and Stini had driven better times than the WR in 30. Pipe but it was Kazan who finally found a way to make the jump without a bugbounce (2014-04-01). The WR is the 10th biggest relative improvement of all times which after 14 years is just amazing. It won the WR category in GAA14.

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

It's unbelievable but the first level of the game 1. Warm Up which had been played for 18 years, revealed a new style. The time didn't improve much but the style is totally different. There is also a new trick called wheelpop which we will discuss shortly. The previous WR by Zweq lasted 122 tables which is the second longest time of all times. Bene won the WR category in GAA15 by this one.

Spef 0:52,73 (WR #385)

Spef has most WRs driven in Age of EOL (2010–). 33. Zig-Zag is a level which has over 10 different routes and the world record has been improved 39 times since 2000. The current record is over one minute faster than it was in WR table #1.

We already watched Mielz's 47. Enigma WR (#389) (2017-03-01) but it needs to be mentioned here because it improved the oldest WR of all times, the legendary Stini's Enigma which lasted almost 13 years.

Looks like Kazan's 15. Serpents Tale WR (#389, 2017-03-01) isn't public. Over two seconds improvement in a level which had been played for 19 years, is mind-boggling. The WR is the 30th biggest relative improvement of all times.

6. Wheelpop

Four major tricks were discovered before Age of EOL (2010–): bounce, supervolt (alovolt), brutal volt and spinning. But there was still one more left.

The oldest known WR having a wheelpop is Ded's 2. Flat Track WR in 2011-01-15 (#328) but it was Bene who popularized the trick in his 44. Freefall WR in 2014-01-11 (#371). Bene also used it in his 1. Warm Up WR in 2015-04-13 (#381).

Theoretically wheelpop can be used in almost every level but because it's so difficult to perform, it's mostly used in short levels.

Rumours say the current 2. Flat Track 0:14,64 WR contains three wheelpops (reference).

under03sz292.rec

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

At this point we would read about the technical details of the wheelpop if I understood it myself. Bene has explained it on Mopolauta (reference).

It gets even more wicked when several wheelpops are performed in a row. Even terminology is murky here but chainpop seems to usually refer to multiple successive wheelpops in so short time that the trick can be performed only by technical aids. Player must tap brake very fast in right rhythm while changing the FPS on fly. Chainpop is practically impossible but wheelpop is not.

Bene invented the chainpop trick in 2016-08-10. Eventhough it wasn't useful in world records, Bene and Zweq decided to create an entertaining replay of the longest internal level, Labyrinth Pro, to be shown in Finnish Elma Meeting 2017. They pushed the time to incredible 1:55,48 which is 16 seconds better than the current WR. The best saveload time without any wheelpops is nine seconds slower (2:04,54) so wheelpop in general and chainpop specifically are very effective tricks but just too hard to actually use except in very short levels.

35. Labyrinth Pro 1:55,48 by Zweq and Bene (2017-07-29). The replay is tool-assisted and utilizing all known hacks and tricks. It's not humanly possible but theoretically: yes. The current real WR is 2:11,62 (2021-07-29).

Bene introduced also reverse wheelpop in 2018-01-29 (reference) but 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 (reference).

By swaping gas and brake while doing alovolt, the bike rotates 11.5 % faster in optimal case compared to normal volting. The trick is based on the fact that there is a 0.2 seconds delay before the alovolt is performed after the key is pressed and this time window can be used to gain more energy by turning the bike to different direction while pressing gas.

spinboost_super.rec spinboost_super_no-sl.rec spinboost_gas.rec spinboost_idle.rec

sunl proved how to rotate 11.5 % faster by using the spinboost trick in 2017-01-10.

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

Sla used spinboost trick in his 2. 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 more closely. It looks like it has been brought to a new level once again. The fine-granular nature of Elma is indeed extraordinary.

The changed head position in Elma compared to Across is the first scientific discovery documented by Abula in 2000. It was shown in Prelude to Elma (2000–2001) chapter. In 2002 DarMoed published a paper about vsync and Moposchool is a comprehensive collection of different bike tricks and moves that was published in 2007.

domi published a poster of his discoveries in 2010.

Big Book of Elma Facts by domi (2010)

One player to have a clear scientific approach in his playing was Pab. He was a very active battler in Belma Period (2007–2010) who later specialized to hard and strange levels.

In addition sunl continued his hi-tech work in Scifi Level Pack (2016-12-09) (reference).

pob0742Pab11139.rec

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

scifi02j.rec

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

When playing Elma in low FPS, say 30 FPS, it means that a single frame lasts 0.033 seconds (and 0.034 every 31st time). And that means the wheel and head positions are checked every 0.03 second by the program code so it's possible to go through the wall in high speed if the collision happens between the checkpoints.

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

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 in World Cup 6:

#    Player           Team     Nat.    Points
---------------------------------------------
1.   Kazan            MiE      RUS       1130
2.   FinMan           dat      FIN       1020
3.   adi              MiE      FIN       1005
4.   Zero             dat      FIN        970,5
5.   Bjenn            EF       SWE        876,5
6.   hehe             WLA      SVK        852,5
7.   J-sim            EMA      DEN        623
8.   Zweq             WNO      FIN        621,5
9.   Tm               TEM      LIT        525,5
10.  nick-o-matic     MiE      FIN        524

One interesting detail is that there was one level by Csaba Rozsa, the designer of most internals, the original in-game levels (reference).

World Cup 6 was involved in half of the victories of Golden Apple Awards 2013 so it was a really big thing and it refreshed the community beyond measure.

World Cup 6 movie by iCS (2016-12-15).

More
  • Watch World Cup 6 Trailer (2013-07-12) (reference).

10. World Cup 7

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

Website of World Cup 7 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 in World Cup 7:

#    Player           Team     Nat.    Points
---------------------------------------------
1.   Zweq             dat      FIN     1185
2.   Zero             dat      FIN     1069
3.   adi              MiE      FIN      998
4.   Bjenn            EF       SWE      979,5
5.   Mielz            SPEED    POL      787
6.   talli            MiE      FIN      760
7.   Mira             SLAM     CZE      679
8.   pawq             TR       POL      675
9.   J-sim            EMA      DEN      630,5
10.  Sick_Mambo       EMA      DEN      593

The 5th event had an interesting detail. The level utilized the Hooked-bug in the start which made it possible to skip some apples in the level. It was also the traditional pipe level.

World Cup 7 movie by iCS (2017-07-22). Levels were particularly interesting in this World Cup.

Event leaders statistics by skint0r.

Ramone was awarded the best level designer of World Cup 7. The prize is the first 3D printed Elma figure.

mengerle, onlainari, terb0 and Tisk have participated in all seven World Cups.

11. Traditional contests

Age of EOL (2010–) mostly consists of playing battles but there have been also some traditional contests.

Cups organized in Age of EOL (2010–):

Start          Name                              Winner      Organizer(s)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
2011-02-14     Master Cup 3                      adi         Zebra
2012-03-10     10th Anniversary Cup Kopasite     Madness     Kopaka
2012-11-01     Peace of Cake Cup                 Eddi        dat
2015-02-01     MiE Cup 1                         Spef        MiE
2017-11-26     Rambo 2                           adi         Ramone
  • Watch Master Cup 3 by Jappe2 (2011-07-07) (reference).
Internal styled level packs in Age of EOL (2010–):

Released       Name                    Designer
-----------------------------------------------
2013-04-18     Found Internals         Ramone
2016-04-28     Stolen Internals        Sla
2017-11-11     Misplaced Internals     Hosp
Official EOL Level Pack

Kopaka organized and community created 54 levels for the EOL patch. The levels are considered as official EOL levels. The levels were released in 2011-08-12 and competition is still on (reference).

  • Watch EOL Done Quick (2012-07-29) (reference).
HALF

A level pack named HALF was made by Ramone the four time Level designer of Golden Apple Awards (GAA08, GAA09, GAA10, GAA17) and Zero (GAA15) in 2015-08-09 (reference). The quality of the levels was pushed to next level. The creation process was also interesting because the couple co-operated via Skype voice calls which is even more exciting when considering the ages of Ramone (35) and Zero (19). The fine result of different generations met.

HALF won the Contest and Art categories in Golden Apple Awards 2015. Moreover SkypeC05 by Ramone and Zero won the Level category in GAA16.

  • Watch HALF part 1/2 by Ramone and Zero (2016-02-29) (reference).
Winners of the Level category in Golden Apple Awards (2011-2017)

Slavery by FinMan (GAA11)

feel free in every aspect of being by chip (GAA12)

QueenCup07 by MP (GAA13)

DAFF104 by Danielj (GAA14)

insHL by insguy (GAA15)

SkypeC05 by Ramone and Zero (GAA16)

WCup704 by skint0r (GAA17)

Winners of the Designer category in Golden Apple Awards (2011-2017):

Year     Designer
-------------------
2011     TL
2012     yoosef
2013     Danielj
2014     umiz
2015     Zero
2016     kuchitsu
2017     Ramone
Level designing etiquette

The early day level designing guides and the modern knowledge was summarized to a few key points which everybody should respect.

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

12. New contests

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

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 (reference).

  • Watch ReDesign Cup by jonsykkel (2011-03-15) (reference).
NoobStyl

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

A pink strike. Laramie became the fourth female Elma player appearing public in 2015.

More
  • View Elma Bingo by 8-ball (2012-04-03) (reference).
  • View Couples Contest by pawq (2017-07-30) (reference).
  • View Under - The Ultimate Challenge Pack by Ramone (2017-05-27) (reference).

13. Fancy levels

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

Level 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 (2004-12-17).

SLE is only one part of Smibu's entire Elmanager project which also includes Level manager, Replay viewer and Replay manager. The development of the project has been active throughout the whole period of Age of EOL (2010–) (reference).

Smibu's Level Editor (2011)

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

Ville_J has created two online level editors: Yale - the collaborative level editor and Lousy Touch Editor (LTE) for touch screen devices.

Yale by VilleJ (2018-03-30).

Level generators

One of the ever-lasting goals of Elma programmers has been an automatic level generator. It's not trivial to create a logic to generate random levels which are possible to finish and fun to play. Since 2003 many programmers have tried to achieve the goal but community hasn't really adopted any of them in daily usage. It can be also because it's more fun to interact with level designers than with some boring bot which produces endless number of levels. However finding the best generator algorithm is again one more new aspect what makes the phenomenon of Elma so fascinating.

All level generators of all times:

Released       Name                               Programmer      More
----------------------------------------------------------------------
2003-04-13     radim's levelmaker (vectrast)      radim            yes
2006-03-13     Ribot's Random Level Generator     ribot            yes
2007-07-17     ElmaLevelGenerator                 DaFred           yes
2011?          Uphill Generator Online            Ville_J
2011-02-23     new level generator                ribot            yes
2012-07-23     Stini's level generator            Stini
2013-04-22     ZLE                                Zebra            yes
2013-08-25     Domi's Lev Creat0r                 Domi             yes
2014-02-08     Quantum Level Generator            ribot            yes

rlg00004 by ribot's second level generator (2011)

maissi07 by Stini's level generator (2012)

A sample level by Zebra's level generator (2013)

A sample level by Domi's level generator (2013)

A sample level by ribot's Quantum Level Generator (2014)

FancyPic, FancyBoost

sunl's Scifi levels were already revolutionary but he went even further by releasing FancyPic in 2017-02-05. The second version is named as FancyBoost. It enables high quality images in Elma levels by patching the default LGR. The miracle was showcased in Dino Run 2 (reference).

FancyBoosted level by sunl (2017-02-05)

14. Fancy replays

Before watching the best replays of Age of EOL (2010–), we salute Recsource, the replay viewer platform working in browser which Ville_J published in 2015-03-21 (reference). Pretty much all replays worth remembering are saved after that date.

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 rec2swf which Domovoy published in 2006-07-25 (reference). Maxdamantus' open-sourced viewer was published in 2015-01-16 which is used in this article as well (reference).

Also Smibu has programmed Replay viewer and Replay manager in 2009-2010.

Replay viewer by Smibu (2015-07-01)

Replay manager by Smibu (2015-07-01)

Next we will look at some fancy replays after 2010 selected by me (Abula).

sahtia04_197Zwe.rec

Zweq doing hongyspin (2010-08-15)

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)

WC708Zweq.rec

Zweq drove almost 8 seconds faster time than anyone else in a one week World Cup 7 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 (reference), where players share the keys: Zero used push keys and alovolt, FinMan gas, brake and turn. The replay was played in 20 minutes.

Black030_290Zer.rec

Zero drove this replay in a 60 minutes battle (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 (2010–). Very tight, very long and even new pipe types were introduced. Some of the classics got smashed as well.

MC08Pab.rec

Impossibility 0:39,51 by Pab (2011-01-07). The level was published in the beginning of 2000.

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

wcup414eZer.rec

Zero was the first to finish the legendary WCup404e (2015-05-29), a super hard pipe level.

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 (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) (reference). He finished the level for the first time in 2012-07-24.
  • Watch Chain Pie (11:40,85) by jblaze (2018-01-01) (reference). We already watched talli's replay driven in Belma Period (2007—2010) but jblaze improved the time by two and a half minutes nine years later.

16. First Finish

The first finish battle mode (ff) was introduced already in Belma patch in 2007 but EOL's free camera feature made it possible to observe other players.

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

dodgelol_280Mar.rec

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

ayGTTL66_116Nek.rec

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

J2DONASH by Markku (2018-02-21). The level is by Jappe2. It's an incredible development how the game, the players and the level designers have evolved since 2000. Markku's bike control is astounding but the level is very high quality as well.

More
  • Watch DAFF121 by Markku (2014-03-07) (reference) (reference).
  • Watch Sanpo002 by adi (2014-08-11) (reference).
  • View Dino Run (2016-12-14) (reference) and Dino Run 2 (2017-01-08) (reference) which are popular first finish battle cups by sunl.
  • View Nice - The Ultimate First Finish Levelpack by Ramone (2017-07-24) (reference).
  • Watch nekit uphilling (2018-03-28) (reference).

17. More videos

The rest of the best videos created during Age of EOL (2010–) which haven't been presented yet in other chapters.

Art
  • Watch Secret leaked Elasto Mania 2 footage by Jappe2 (2011-09-23) (reference).
  • Watch Bugbounces by Jappe2 (2012-01-26) (reference).
  • Watch Spef the Batman (2014-08-14) (reference).
  • Watch Elma in 4K (2018-01-21) (reference).
Tutorial
  • Watch 24 Hour Levelmaking Timelapse by DanielJ (2014-10-26) (reference).
  • Watch Road to Freefall World Record by bene (2014-12-29) (reference).
  • Watch BaSk0256 making of by skint0r (2016-04-29) (reference).
  • Watch Shirt tutorial by iCS (2017-11-22) (reference).
LGR
  • Watch Sonic The Hedgehog by astral-r (2011-05-22) (reference).
  • Watch Grassland by Jappe2 (2012-01-31) (reference).
  • Watch ElastoMania LGR (v3.1) by iCS (2015-12-09) (reference).

18. Documentaries

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

There is also a documentary project ongoing and the first "rough cut" was presented in Finnish Elma Meeting 2016.

insguy is interviewing Ramone in FEM15.

19. Misc

All the interesting files of Age of EOL (2010–) that wasn't presented yet are here.

Audio
  • Watch A Girl named Elma by gimp (2011-03-23) (reference).
Image

Lousku noticed in 2010 that 42. Enduro is modified 26. Circuitous. Mind = blown.

It's surprisingly hard to make good high quality images of the Elma levels. This one is by FinMan (2013-02-02).

Elma paper craft by Ville_J (2015)

The first Elma painting by Bludek (2015)

Coding art by Lee (2015). Every internal level personal record in EOL database visualized.

The oldest WR holder Ded turned 70 years (2015).

The first WR driven in macOS by Tm (2015-12-19)

Christmas cards by Ville_J (2015)

Soup by Lee (2016)

Bene the chosen one was awarded in FEM17.

Brutal T-shirt by HaraldH (2017-07-27)

The prize of Couple Contest in FEM17 was a 3d printed award by pawq (2017).

22. Slalom and 40. Double Trouble being siblings was discovered by Schumi in 2017-12-02.

20. New generation

niN mentioned the term new generation in 2010-05-11 (reference) which describes very well the new community, for which playing online was taken granted. Many old veterans were taking breaks while new players took bigger roles to organize contests and meetings to push new energy to the community.

Community related categories were decreased in Golden Apple Awards but here are the ones that remained.

Winners of the Contribution category in Golden Apple Awards (2011-2017):

Year     Player(s)
------------------------
2011     Kopaka
2012     Kopaka
2013     Ramone
2014     nick-o-matic
2015     Ville_J & Maxdamantus
2016     nick-o-matic
2017     Kopaka
Winners of the Site category in Golden Apple Awards (2011-2017):

Year     Player
------------------------
2011     Kopaka
2012     Lousku
2013     Ville_J
Winner of Community Award category in GAA 2011-2017:

Year     Player
------------------------
2011     Kopaka
2012     Kopaka
2013     Ramone

Kuski Map was initiated by pawq in 2017-03-08 (reference). It shows where the most active players live.

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. To Wikipedia and blogs Elma went in 2004, Youtube 2006, Twitter 2007 and Facebook 2008. During Age of EOL (2010–) the list was appended by Discord and Instagram in 2012, WhatsApp and Twitch in 2014.

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

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.

37 chatters in #across (2010-11-10)

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

Discord (2016)

Mopolauta has been the platform for discussions since 2001. The phpBB software was upgraded to v3.2 in January 2018 when the layout was also modernized suitable for mobile phones. Elma WhatsApp group was created by Orcc in 2014-12-26. Apparently some activity has been also in conference rooms. Elma fax, anyone?

Mopolauta (2018)

Tinychat session during FEM 2014

Meetings

Years 2008-2011 were skipped in meetings but in 2012 Orcc and terb0 went to Kokkola to meet Zweq, Juzam and other Kokkola players.

Abula met players during his holiday trips: milagros in London (2011), Balázs in Budapest (2012) and teajay in Amsterdam (2013).

milagros and Abula in London (2011)

Balázs and Abula in Budapest (2012)

Abula and teajay in Amsterdam (2013)

The new generation Finnish players gathered to Lousku's home in 2011-06-28 for two weeks but the meeting was invite only. However it was the first step of the upcoming renaissance of Finnish Elma Meetings. 2012 was skipped again but an unofficial Finnish Elma Meeting 2013 was organized in Lohja. It can't be really considered as official FEM because there wasn't a Mopolauta topic to welcome everybody and none of the classic competitions were organized.

Nine participants in the unofficial Finnish Elma Meeting 2013

Finnish Elma Meetings (2014-2017)

Nine years after the last open Finnish Elma Meeting 2005 the tradition was revitalized in 2014. Many of the best players attended including also a few foreigners. And like last time, year after year the meetings gathered more participants and new quality contests.

Details of Finnish Elma Meetings 2014-2017:

Year     Location     Multi WRs   Participants (*)   1h tt     6 first    BB win      Battler     Quiz
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2014     Sastamala        0          ~31 (4)           -          -       Ville_J     Markku      Orcc
2015     Sastamala        0          ~23 (4)          adi      Ramone     Ville_J     Markku      Orcc
2016     Sastamala        0           26 (6)           -          -       jblaze      Markku      Markku
2017     Sastamala        0           34 (11)          -          -       Zero        Markku      Markku

*) number of foreigners in brackets

No battle results have preserved but nick-o-matic's iconic FEM Quizes have:

Total points of FEM Quizes in 2014-2017:

#    Player        Nat.    Points    Quizes
-------------------------------------------
1.   Markku        FIN     145.25     4
2.   Orcc          FIN     130.00     4
3.   adi           FIN     117.75     4
4.   Lousku        FIN     105.00     4
5.   Tisk          FIN      97.25     4
6.   Roope         FIN      80.00      3
7.   Ville_J       FIN      76.00     4
8.   axxu          FIN      66.50      3
9.   Zweq          FIN      64.25       2
10.  Abula         FIN      58.25      3
11.  Smibu         FIN      56.50      3
12.  terb0         FIN      49.25     4
13.  Zebra         FIN      45.75      3
14.  Ismo          FIN      45.50      3
15.  Zero          FIN      39.50       2
16.  Kopaka        DEN      38.00       2
17.  8-ball        LAT      34.50       2
18.  jblaze        POL      34.00        1
19.  insguy        GER      32.50      3
20.  Spef          FIN      31.75        1
21.  Ramone        SWE      30.00       2
22.  Bludek        CZE      28.50        1
23.  Hosp          SWE      28.00        1
24.  FinMan        FIN      27.50        1
25.  jonsykkel     SWE      27.25        1
26.  talli         FIN      26.75        1
     Quantz        FIN      26.75        1
28.  Polarix       NOR      29.00       2
29.  Mats          NOR      25.00        1
30.  Chaza         FIN      23.50        1
31.  Kortsu        FIN      23.50       2
32.  Luther        SWE      23.25        1
33.  jamppa        FIN      23.00        1
34.  Koo           FIN      22.75       2
35.  igge          SWE      20.00        1
36.  Stini         FIN      19.25        1
37.  veezay        FIN      19.00        1
38.  Mira          CZE      15.25        1
39.  Luther        SWE      14.25        1
40.  Jokke         FIN      12.50        1
41.  Barbapappa    SWE      11.00        1
42.  pawq          POL      10.50        1
     dz            FIN      10.50        1
44.  Nekit         RUS       7.00        1
     Ramses        FIN       7.00        1
46.  Ruben         NOR       6.00        1
     HaraldH       SUI       6.00        1
48.  ILKKA         FIN       0.75        1

In FEM15 Ramone beat Stini's old FEM record of 6 first internals (FEM05) and adi did same in 1 hour total time beating Ramone's old record (FEM04).

6 first internals in FEM 2015:

#    Player     Nat.      Time
------------------------------
1.   Ramone     SWE     2:39,3
2.   adi        FIN     2:43,3
3.   Markku     FIN     2:48,5
5.   Roope      FIN     3:04,9
6.   Zebra      FIN     3:15,1
8.   Lousku     FIN     3:28,1
10.  Ismo       FIN     3:32,6
12.  insguy     GER     6:07,5

... not a new personal FEM record ...

4.   Tisk       FIN     2:59,8
7.   Abula      FIN     3:16,0
9.   dz         FIN     3:31,7
11.  Luther     SWE     5:03,1
1 hour total times in FEM 2015:

#    Player     Nat.    Total time
----------------------------------
1.   adi        FIN       40:43,30
2.   Tisk       FIN       55:14,63
3.   Ville_J    FIN     1:29:55,17

... not a new personal FEM record ...

4.   Ramone     SWE     4:03:33,43

The venue of Finnish Elma Meetings 2014-2017 has remained the same. This is the sauna.

Ramone plays the classic 6 first internals (2015).

jblaze won the Beer Battle 2016 and axxu (left) and Orcc were next.

Elma meeting in year 2017

teh schedul of FEM17

30 players in the group picture of FEM17. Four missing.

21. Golden Apple Awards (2011-2017)

Golden Apple Awards have been organized every year since 2003. Organizers have changed and categories updated but the core concept has remained the same: jury, candidates and gala with speeches.

Golden Apple Awards in 2011:

    Category          Winner            Nat.    Reason
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Internalist       Kazan             RUS
2.  Externalist       Jeppe             SWE
3.  Battler           Markku            FIN
4.  Rookie            Spef              FIN
5.  Designer          TL                FIN
6.  Team              SPEED
7.  WR                Kazan             RUS     Tunnel Terror 50,24 (#341)
8.  Style             Kazan, ANpDaD     RUS     Apple Harvest
9.  Replay            Zweq              FIN     The Steppes 11,54
10. Level             FinMan            FIN     Slavery (MC305)
11. Contest           Zebra             FIN     MasterCup 3
12. Contribution      Kopaka            DEN     EOL + levpack, Kopasite, GAA jury, movies
13. Achievement       Kazan             RUS     39TT in 1h, all 1min+ WRs, 35TT, 11 new dif. lev WRs
14. Site              Kopaka            DEN     Elma Online
15. Art               milagros          SVK     32TT project + videos (1, 7, 47, 48, 51)
16. Community Award   Kopaka            DEN


Golden Apple Awards in 2012:

    Category          Winner            Nat.    Reason
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Internalist       Zweq              FIN
2.  Externalist       Jeppe             SWE
3.  Battler           Zero              FIN
4.  Rookie            bamilan           FUN
5.  Designer          yoosef            FIN
6.  Team              SPEED
7.  WR                Zweq              FIN     Expert System 49,67 (#356)
8.  Style             Zweq              FIN     Expert System 49,67 (#356)
9.  Replay (int)      Zweq              FIN     Expert System 49,67 (#356)
10. Replay (ext)      Zweq              FIN     ib9814 21,88
11. Level             Chip              AUT     feel free in every aspect of being (cp080ff)
12. Contest           Kopaka            DEN     Kopasite 10th Anniversary Cup
13. Contribution      Kopaka            DEN     EDQ 2012, Kopasite Cup, EOL work, GAA jury
14. Achievement       Spef              FIN     6 WRs by last year GAA rookie
15. Site              Lousku            FIN     Elma Monthly
16. Art               Kopaka            DEN     Elasto Mania Done Quick 2012
17. Community Award   Kopaka            DEN


Golden Apple Awards in 2013:

    Category          Winner            Nat.    Reason
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Internalist       Spef              FIN
2.  Externalist       Kazan             RUS
3.  Battler           Zero              FIN
4.  Rookie            PELUSON27         SPA
5.  Designer          Danielj           NOR
6.  Team              MiE               FIN
7.  WR                Spef              FIN     Long Haul 29,91 (#368)
8.  Style             Bjenn & Bene      SWE     WCup610
9.  Replay            Zweq              FIN     WCup608 39,20
10. Level             MP                FIN     QueenCup07 (WCup614)
11. Contest           Ramone            SWE     World Cup 6
12. Contribution      Ramone            SWE     World Cup 6, Found Internals
13. Achievement       Kazan             RUS     World Cup 6 victory
14. Site              Ville_J           FIN     World Cup 6 site
15. Art               nick-o-matic      FIN     WCup613
16. Community Award   Ramone            SWE


Golden Apple Awards in 2014:

    Category          Winner            Nat.    Reason
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Internalist       Spef              FIN
2.  Externalist       adi               FIN
3.  Battler           Zero              FIN
4.  Breakthrough      Bene              SWE
5.  Designer          umiz              SWE
6.  Team              MiE               FIN
7.  WR                Kazan             RUS     Pipe 30,29 (#374)
8.  Style             Zweq              FIN     33z5231, 33x5338
9.  Replay            adi               FIN     chainpi3adi
10. Level             Danielj           NOR     DAFF104
11. Contribution      nick-o-matic      FIN     FEM14 organizing
12. Achievement       Kazan             RUS     38TT in 1h
13. Art               Ville_J           FIN     Julkalendern
14. Juror's Choice    SveinR            NOR


Golden Apple Awards in 2015:

    Category         Winner              Nat.    Reason
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Internalist      Bene                SWE
2.  Externalist      Zero                FIN
3.  Battler          Zero                FIN
4.  Designer         Zero                FIN
5.  Breakthrough     Mira                CZE
6.  Team             dat
7.  WR               Bene                SWE     Warm Up 13,97 (#381)
8.  Style            Zweq                FIN     MiECC101
9.  Replay           Spef                FIN     29sp4159
10. Saveload         Zweq                FIN     limpsy01oke
11. Level            insguy              GER     insHL
12. Contest          Zero & Ramone               HALF Competition
13. Art              Zero                FIN     HALF1 levels
14. Contribution     Ville_J             FIN
                     & Maxdamantus       RUS     Recsource
15. Achievement      Bene                SWE     Warm Up WR
14. Juror's Choice   Mawane              CAN


Golden Apple Awards in 2016:

    Category         Winner              Nat.    Reason
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Internalist      Spef                FIN
2.  Externalist      adi                 FIN
3.  Battler          Zero                FIN
4.  Designer         kuchitsu            RUS
5.  Breakthrough     Sla                 ARG
6.  WR               Spef                FIN     Zig Zag 52,73 (#385)
7.  Style            Zero                FIN     Tre547zerDONE
8.  Replay           adi                 FIN     VOU004adiJES
9.  Saveload         Madness             SWE     SL51Mad3291
10. Level            Ramone & Zero               SkypeC05
11. Contest          niN                 SWE     World Battle Cup II
12. Art              iCS                 HUN     World Cup 6 movie
13. Contribution     nick-o-matic        FIN     FEM16, femquiz
14. Achievement      adi                 FIN     2593 finished pipe levs in 30d


Golden Apple Awards in 2017:

    Category         Winner              Nat.    Reason
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Contribution     Kopaka              DEN
2.  Collaboration    Bene & Zweq                 Saveloading
3.  Art              iCS                 HUN     World Cup 7 movie
4.  Internalist      Kazan               RUS
5.  Achievement      Zweq                FIN     World Cup 7 victory
6.  WR               Kazan               RUS     Serpents Tale 46,63 (#389)
7.  Externalist      Zweq                FIN
8.  Style            Spef                FIN     33sp5273
9.  Battler          Zero                FIN
10. Breakthrough     AndrY               RUS
11. Designer         Ramone              SWE
12. Level            skint0r             NOR     WCup704
13. Contest          Kopaka              DEN     World Cup 7
14. Replay           Spef                FIN     33sp5273
15. Battle Replay    Zero                FIN     Black030_290Zer
16. Saveload         Bene & Zweq                 35zb15548

Most GAAs during Age of EOL (2010–) went to Zweq (14), Zero (13), Kazan (10), Spef (10), Kopaka (9), Bene (7) and Ramone (6).

22. Friendly contacts

Elma is a small community, a cultural bubble that has been isolated from the outside world most of time. There have been a few contacts with other gaming communities, mostly friendly but also some existential threats were faced, the most obvious being new cheating methods.

It has always been a controversial topic how many new players are wished to be joined the community. The new people are the energy to keep this going but they also change culture as they like which is not always what the old players hope. Promo videos for Belma and EOL were created but there has never really been put lots of effort to give people a warm welcome. For example the Wikipedia article about Elasto Mania or step-by-step guides how to start playing online haven't been top priorities.

A few gaming magazines have written articles about Elasto Mania. MikroBitti is most likely the reason why Elma became so popular in Finland since 1999 but there was also a Polish article in 2000. In addition a Danish newspaper published a small announcement about Rigger's World Cup results in 2002 and a Norwegian university magazine reported Finnish Elma Meeting 2005. During Age of EOL (2010–) another Finnish gaming magazine Pelaaja (2011) and a British PC Gamer (2017) published high quality articles.

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

Pelaaja, a Finnish gaming magazine had an article about Elasto Mania in 2011.

Digital version of the PC Gamer article (2017-10-02)

Since about 2009 gaming channels in Youtube have been gaining lots of popularity and Elasto Mania has been also played in a few channels.

  • ARHN.EU's video has over 100k views (2013-10-16) (reference).
  • STAMSITE visited EOL in 2017-08-09 (reference).

There are also other games having similar characteristics to Elma and it has happened several times that some Elma players grouped with each others inside some other game community. I'm aware of Ski Jump International (reference) (second version published in 1996), TKEP (2001) (reference), #ranks (2004) (reference) and a bit later Aapeli Minigolf (reference) and Worms.

In addition there are games inspired by Elasto Mania like already mentioned Amle (2005) and a more serious one, X-Moto (2005) (reference) which even imported Elma internal levels in 2009 (reference).

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

xkcd greeted Elma (2014-05-24).

Elma greeted xkcd (2017-04-17).

There have been also a few outsiders who wanted to buy the license of Elasto Mania: the most recent one in March 2017 (reference). The discussion got pretty far and the business model canvas had some realism but in the end the community and Balázs ultimately rejected it. Considering this and Balázs' iOS Elma projects it looks like he hasn't given up with the development of the game but there is no more information.

(UPDATE 2020-05-26: Balázs sold the rights of Elasto Mania (2020-04-20) and it was published in Steam yesterday (2020-05-26) so this chapter needs to be rewritten one day.)

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

Remember the paprika image? The one that Moposite used? I took it randomly from the Google image search to use it as a temporary placeholder while the website was in transition to a new platform. For some reason the alleged copyright owner of the image emailed and requested us to remove the image (reference). How did he find Moposite? Why does he care about a basic paprika picture and how did he bother to find our email address, send a message and not even trying to claim any money? Strange world.

23. Dark moments

There have been three cheating waves in the history before Age of EOL (2010–): mod.com in Across (1999), Nitro cracked (2001) and DarMoeD's autoplay (2004). Hibernatus also talked about his just finished autoload patch in #across chat in 2003-01-17 but apparently it wasn't spread or started to be used by anyone.

milagros' anti-cheating tools were capable to catch some cheats but the inconvenient truth is that it's possible that some players have used undetectable patches from day zero. Only since 2011-06-23 when the WRs were required to be driven online while connected to the EOL server, the WR history is 100 % clean, and saveload and other tool-assisted speedrun tools (TAS) could be used only in style finding and creating TAS replays.

WRs before 2011-06-23 must be based on trust. Luckily most of the best WR players are very well known and for example Zweq and TorInge, the most WRs driven players by far had active multiplayer friends, Juzam and Tantal. Also both of them drove similar results in meetings. It's very likely the WR history is ~100 % clean except maybe 38. Curvaceous by Djievis the letter (#172, 2004-05-01).

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

  • Watch invulnerability cheat by DEATH (2015-03-27) (reference).
  • Watch gravity cheat by DEATH (2015-07-14) (reference).

There is no more public information about other cheats but before moving to the brighter side of using the tools to improve times, I must mention a few dubious events that happened before 2011-06-23. There are rumours that DarMoeD's autoplay patch was spreading in the Ukranian and Russian Elma communities and some players seemed to be well on map in discussions on Mopolauta.

The first two videos including several new styles and WR improvements were uploaded to Youtube in October 2009. Another TAS tool (Hourglass) was released in 2009-11-07 (reference) and Elasto Mania was one of the first games to be discussed in their forum. In addition milagros programmed a saveload patch in June 2010 which he and Zweq were using in the secret "32tt project" which was fully uncovered only years later.

  • Watch 300 AVR, part 1/2 (2009-10-01) (reference).
  • Watch 300 AVR, part 2/2 (2009-10-06) (reference).

Hourglass was released in 2009-11-17. It's a general TAS tool to save and load a computer game state and proceed it frame by frame.

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

Two days later the author of Hourglass tells that Elasto Mania should 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 7. Hi Flyer, a classic saveload level which was improved in 2009-03-08 (#295) by a player who has never had other WRs and who is from a country which is better known by technological knowledge than Elma WRs, and a country which is politically controversial making it tempting to be discredited of cheating (Israel). But because no evidence exists, it's only an interesting piece of Elma history.

24. Tool-assisted speedrun

Saveload and other TAS tools are superior in style finding and creating funny replays but because they ridiculate normal replays, we didn't want to look at them until all other replay and video chapters were discussed. But now it's the time to bring Elma to a new level once again. Next we are going to look at what is theoretically possible when everything is allowed and the most sophisticated tools used.

Keep in mind that for style finding the saveload patch is more effective than train levels but all the official records are still driven like normal because EOL server can verify it.

Saveload improves style finding and training difficult parts a lot because you get the correct start angle and velocity. For example the end bounce in 10. Tunnel Terror is very difficult to reproduce in a train level. And actually that is exactly the level where the first known saveload trained WR was driven: Tunnel Terror 0:51,88 by Zweq (#315, 2010-08-28).

Zweq using saveload in style finding since June 2010 was told in 2018 (reference). Smibu published the saveload patch on Mopolauta in 2011-06-17 (reference) after which the patch has been available for everybody. It's also known that two videos including several WR improvements and new styles were uploaded to Youtube in October 2009 and that Elasto Mania was one of the first games mentioned in the general TAS forum when Hourglass, a new tool was released in 2009-11-07.

Using saveload in style finding isn't illegal but moral can be questioned. It compares to alovolt, train levels, vsync knowledge and FPS limiter which all help with playing but isn't technically cheating because all those are theoretically possible to use by everybody. For example, you can always create your own version of Warm Up as a train level. But because saveload is so remarkable aid, it's fair to be available for everyone, so thanks to Smibu to publish it.

Just for the record I must mention here that FM had a secret foot pedal for alovolt in 2001. That was one year before the alovolt key was added to the game in October 2002.

So saveload patch was secretly used in style finding by some players at least since 2009 and it's possible that there are cheated WRs in the WR history before 2011-06-23. Back then the public discussion around saveload patch was not about speedrunning or training levels but about cheating until milagros tricked the community big time in April's fool day in 2011.

"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 (reference). It was the April's fools' day and no one believed for a second that any of those times could be possible, eventhough just recently milagros had proved to be a phenomenal programmer with EOL and other patches.

The April's fool was forgotten for a while but in 2011-04-18 it became evident that something is actually happening. The seven seconds improvement to 48. Downhill WR was published in a Youtube video and it was soon followed by five seconds better 7. Hi Flyer, eight seconds faster 51. Trick Abound and 1. Warm Up first time under 0:14,00. The improvements were some of the craziest ever. The April's fool wasn't a fool after all and milagros had turned the community upside down once again.

downhill nab vs pro vs uberpro by Jappe2, Zweq and milagros (2011-04-28)

  • Watch saveload Hi Flyer 0:23,52 (2011-05-02) (reference).
  • Watch saveload Trick Abound 0:33,93 (2011-06-17) (reference).

Spreading insane styles like those was a controversial topic. It's interesting to see what is theoretically possible, of course, but it's unfair for the current WR holders whose records are ridiculated. Moreover it demotivates the players who can't get the joy and fame of finding the styles anymore. Nonetheless milagros decided to start spreading the styles so let's accept the fact. Luckily it was done together with Zweq the Great so the outcome is the best possible. milagros claimed to be the player himself back in the days but the co-operation was revealed in 2014-10-28 (reference).

So the true story is that since June 2010 milagros and Zweq had been driving crazy times using all the cheat and tricks they had. The total time was told to got down to 32:29,44 which was almost three minutes better than the contemporary WR total time. Most of the replays have never been published so we can assume that the best ones were (48. Downhill, 7. Hi Flyer, 1. Warm Up and 51. Tricks Abound). The rest probably include more or less just very strong bug bounces and other not-so-cool tricks like in the next replays.

55. More Levels

55. More Levels was never meant to be finished but milagros did just that. It took 11 years, 2 months and 16 days to get to the flower without modified physics (2011-04-19).

  • Watch saveload Enigma 0:17,05 (2011-12-24) (reference).

The ultimate goal of Elma, what's theoretically possible, made a big step when saveload was started to be used.

The first known WR table allowing cheated replays was published in 2004-10-18 (reference).

ELMA Cheated WR Table (2005-08-15)

The first WR table including saveload cheated WRs was published in 2012-08-23 (reference). The rules were well-grounded: no bug bounces, bug stretches or other humanly impossible tricks were allowed.

The saveload WR table got quite popular when many top internalists send in their records because they already used saveload for style finding anyway. At the time of writing (2018-04-01) the most recent table was updated in 2018-01-07 (reference) and it has a total time of 33:11,11 which was about 80 seconds better than the normal WR table.

Saveload WR table: 33:11,11 (2018-01-07)

After we have desecrated the WR table, there is no reason to limit anything at all. Let the orgy begin! Most saveload WR replays are public which means that pretty much all the possible WR styles are public as well. In addition some levels were finished in very unusual ways.

SL06x3087-Zweq.rec

Crazy route in 6. Long Haul by Zweq (2011-06-02)

SL31x10134-Zweq.rec

Crazy route in 31. Animal Farm by Zweq (2018-04-01)

SL33x5231-Zweq.rec

9th route in 33. Zig-Zag by Zweq (2012-11-19)

SL33x5137-Zweq.rec

10th route in 33. Zig-Zag by Zweq (2015-07-17)

SL33x5190-Zweq.rec

11th route in 33. Zig-Zag by Zweq (2016-05-01)

SL49x3701-Zweq.rec

Crazy route in 49. What the Heck by Zweq (2018-04-01)

SL29x4070-Zweq.rec

Super fast 29. Headbanger by Zweq (2011-01-30)

There is also a TAS WR table where everything is allowed. The best Elma WR total time utilizing all the possible hacks and tricks is 9:54,58 which is roughly one fourth to the normal one.

Elasto Mania tool-assisted speedrun (TAS) WR total time 9:54,58 by Bene, Zweq and FinMan (2015-11-19). 29. Headbanger 0:04,20 is my favourite.

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

Impossible 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 so-called failed start position level. The level designer most likely forgot to move the start to the correct place after testing the level. The level was created in 1998-09-23 and it was finished 16 years later in 2014-11-24 by culinko.

  • Watch Theoretical replays by Zweq (2014-11-04) (reference).

One more thing: please remember to always include "SL" or "TAS" in the replay filename to make a clear separation to normal ones.

Summary of the chapter

During Age of EOL (2010–) the game moved to new dimensions. Eventhough milagros' latest EOL patch was just perfect, even a miracle, it didn't give a big push to WR progress. Instead saveload patch did because it turned out to be very effective in style finding and training.

Spef and Zero progressed to the level of the grand masters during the era. Zweq and Markku of the older generation have been active and very successful. Elma Done Quick v3 was released in 2012.

Community was vividly creating new art work and better systems: for example elmaonline.net, Recsource, several new level editors, many gorgeous videos and level packs. Elma science was examined in projects like domi's Big Book, 32tt project and new tricks where found such as wheelpop and spinboost. Also sunl's Scifi and FancyBoost levels expanded the limits of the game to the new level.

Golden Apple Awards were organized every year and some old classics were revitalized like World Cups and Finnish Elma Meetings where old and new generations met. The outside world started to show some more interest to the game that had been played for two decades at this point.

Excluding a few more topics, the history of Elasto Mania is covered by now. Age of EOL (2010–) is a container chapter for all relevant events happened since June 2010 and it might need to be rewritten in the future when history is seen more clearly and in right context.

(UPDATE 2020-05-26: After writing this chapter in 2018 a lot has happened. Balázs sold the rights of the game and Elasto Mania was published in Steam in 2020-05-25.)

Utopia🔝

Several new Elma versions, even official ones were released during Age of EOL (2010–) but none of them made a breakthrough. This chapter is about the next popular version which doesn't exist yet and which I will refer to as "Elasto Mania 3" in this chapter. But before that let's look at the history and current status of the different versions.

(UPDATE 2020-05-27: Balázs sold the rights of the game and it was published in Steam two days ago so this chapter will be out-of-date very soon.)

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

New versions

Android Elma (2014)

Ropelli announced to have programmed Elma Android version in 2014-02-06 (reference). 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 (reference).

The game has no level editor nor advanced statistics but there are replays, although you need to take screenshots and videos manually to share with other people which is not very user-friendly. The physics got modified greatly and in common opinion the driving feeling got worse. The levels can be interesting for a new player because there are elevators, teleports and other fancy stuff but that wasn't really what community was hoping for. Some people played more than a few hours (reference).

WR video (2:52,68) of the last level (D8) by ASPIRINKA (2016-03-31) who has been dominating the iOS Elma lists.

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

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

Elasto Mania II (2017)

Community wasn't involved this time either when Balázs published Elasto Mania II in 2017-12-13 (reference). The version is for Windows and it's titled to be sequel for the original Elasto Mania eventhough it's only a ported iOS mobile version.

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 (reference). He also stopped the press by mentioning to work for MUe these days (2017).

Community didn't move to playing Elasto Mania II. There is some interesting work created around it (reference).

Danielj shows Elma II (2017-12-17)

Sunl has been active with many modern things, for example improving Elma 2 (2018-03-10).

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 (reference). It was called Elma 2 until Balázs released Elasto Mania II in 2017. After that it was named to EOL2.

The latest version (0.5.1) supports most of the original Elasto Mania 1.11a features and some of Elasto Mania 1.3 (aka EOL) features. There have been approximately one big upgrade per year so it's progressing.

EOL2 works in Linux, Windows, macOS and even in a web browser. (2014-04-28)

Bigger levels are possible in EOL2 (2014-04-28).

Feature ideas for EOL2 (2018-04-03)

Libraries

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

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 or even finish levels by own. Yet it has been too difficult task. Especially if you don't want to allow bugbounces.

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

Elasto Mania 3

(UPDATE 2020-05-26: Balázs sold the rights and the game was published in Steam in 2020-05-25. I wrote this chapter in April 2018.)

I'm not going to list my favourite features that I would like to see in the next version. There are many good lists of those available. But I have another proposal.

By now I think it's clear both to Balázs and the community that Elasto Mania II wasn't a success. I don't want to list why it doesn't make justice for the original version which is actually much more interesting to talk about.

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

Elasto Mania has a great brand. I can tell you that about 50 % of Finnish 30 years guys know it and liked to play it for a while. Same with many other European countries. It's because the game was quite widely advertized in the local gaming magazines. You can't get players unless people are aware of your game.

Many people know Elma not just because of marketing but because it was a really good game and people actually liked it, even finished all the levels. The internal levels are not that hard if you really play the game for dozens of hours like some do. Most players didn't just get addicted to the game, maybe because they didn't notice the timer or level editor or the website link or there just happened to be something else on the table. They would play Elma 3 if they saw an advertisment but they don't check elastomania.com or any other website of some old game. It's only us the hardcore enthusiasts who still check the original website.

We the most active players are not playing the game because we like it so much more than the other players but because the great community that has grown around the game. Others just haven't found the place. And because we actually have played it for 21 years, we know quite a bit about the game and the phenomenon. Elma is a great playground to learn different skills which has been proved in this article by many great works created in the community.

I think the next Elma version should be made in collaboration with Balázs and the community. Balázs has knowledge and the brand of his life work and community has data and knowledge. The actual programming work can be made by several people if they were paid.

Have you looked at what kind of games make profit? For example Hill Climb Racing is an Elma clone which has made millions for a Finnish software house. But it's for touch screen and I don't think Elma is good for that. Elma is good for "realistic" trial bike simulation. The complex physics is the point really, it has so much to discover. It's silly because no one would ever say Elma is realistic after seeing the first turn or hang, let alone a bounce, brutal volt or piping. It's only funny. But it is actually kind of realistic, because the touch to the bike is so sharp once you start to master it. The secret of Elma might be the evolution of the playing experience from funny to realistic in its own unique way.

To keep the sharp touch the game must be played on real keyboard but then it's competing with games of very different scale than mobile phone games. I don't know the Steam scene or if Elma could have any place there but it could be made more interesting with the special story that we have with Elma. If we could bring the old records, the old legends to the same records scope shared with the new players, it might be really fascinating. That means the physics must remain same or at least to have a mode to play with old physics to connect the old history with new times. It would be great if the physics were only expanded like moving polygons, left alovolt and stuff like that which doesn't change the original touch. The new players could learn the same touch and they could quite easily try to beat the old records if they wanted in one day. I have no idea if the new players would like to compete with the old times but at least there was the connection and the story of 21 years. I think this could be something special to stand out in a crowd.

In addition the monetizing model could be changed that you can play the full version of the game for $2 / month in the first year and then $5 / year or something like that.

I wanted to write this article in honour of the greatest game ever. I'm happy if the saga continues in any way like just having the periodical World Cups and meetings for the sake of good ol' times. But after researching the recent history of Elma, I'm starting to find all this very interesting. Elma 3 has potential!

The new version could have for example three different level packs: a tribute for the community, trial bike levels and adventure levels. Looks like Balázs wanted to create adventure levels in the new versions but those levels are funny only when playing first time. Waiting for the same elevator, going downhill full gas only or just flying around doing nothing, gets boring fast. Some of the best old classics like 33. Zig-Zag or 10. Tunnel Terror have been played for 20 years and there are still new styles and tricks discovered. The level designing knowledge in the community is incredible and I'm just a beginner in this area but in my opinion the best Elma levels are kind of tricky trial bike levels which have always something more to improve and master.

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 for 20 years?

Elma Olympics could be interesting too. A polevault and so on. And not too many attempts per level.

Alumni

No matter what happens to Elma 3 or WR table, community will always exist in some way or another and it's only up to us. There could be a fund to pay salaries for some boring Elma jobs. Elma has changed lives of many people and once someone is fortune enough, he might want to fund the phenomenon.

Wish list

Finally my personal wish list.

  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 is something valuable to be seen.
  5. Recsource: The platform would be even more awesome if there were lists of the most viewed replays per year.
  6. Elma Olympics: How this concept could be done in Elma? Somehow bring all special level types like hill climbing, polevault etc. together.

Final Results🔝

Next we have some combinated results of all times.

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 60 minutes total time
Kuskis = number of players in Kuski gallery
EOL = number of players in EOL database

Data updated: 2018-04-04

45 countries presented. There can be a few fake ones but no more than that. Western countries make the majority but there are also Argentina, China, Chile, Egypt, Brasilia, Turkey, Venezuela and Japan.

Most different countries in a single WR table were 10 in 2013-01-26 (#362): FIN, RUS, CZE, SWE, LIT, DEN, GBR, HUN, USA, POL.

Teams

Best teams by WRs and WCups (*):

#    Team      WRs   WCup pts
-----------------------------
1.   FM        188     14039
     WNO       211      1427
3.   ICE       102      3419
4.   PRA        79      4576
     IC         88       549
6.   SPEED      74      2152
7.   SC         47      1928
8.   EM         38      3024
9.   SSC        28      2549
     WRS        31       587
11.  MC         26      1479
12.  REM        26       452
13.  ukc        27       130
14.  tld        23      1528
15.  EF         19      2933
16.  TEA        19      1346
17.  EPO        20       837
18.  SAT        22       275
19.  TTT        17       887
20.  swos       16      1363
...

*) arbitrary combination by Abula

Data updated: 2018-04-04

Most different teams in a single WR table were 20 in 2002-08-24 (#91): EM, REM, FM, WRS, IC, tb, iht, TEA, ter, CART, swos, mEkK, tlt, SC, SSC, Fed., SRX, FRC, TEK, SET.

Players

Here's a top-10 of whose topics have most views.

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

(Editor's note: So the final final results are: 1. Finland, 1. FM and 1. Abula.)

And who was mentioned most times in this article?

Most mentioned players in History of Elasto Mania (1995-2018):

#   Player       Nat.   Times
-----------------------------
1.  Zweq         FIN      170
2.  Markku       FIN       56
3.  Abula        FIN       52
4.  TorInge      NOR       50
5.  Zero         FIN       48
6.  John         SWE       44
7.  Kazan        RUS       42
8.  milagros     SVK       40
9.  Ramone       SWE       38
10. Karlis       FIN       37
...

Data updated: 2018-04-04

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 Golden Apple Awards:

#   Designer     Nat.    GAAs
-----------------------------
1.  Ramone       SWE      4.5
2.  Barbapappa   SWE      2
    MP           FIN      2
    Zebra        FIN      2
    skint0r      NOR      2 
    Jappe2       FIN      2
    Danielj      NOR      2
8.  Zero         FIN      1.5
...

Data updated: 2018-04-05

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 time 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 at the same time if the total number of played battles is hundreds of thousands. The same problem is also with World Cups but in smaller degree. WR table has been open for everybody for 18 years so it's the most unambiguous and self-evident. Get a WR and you are in the history.

It's extremely difficult to find a fair way to compare battle players of different eras. Total points can't be the criterion. In addition average points per battle is pretty much only a matter of number of players participated, meaning the winners of Mopobattles being the best battlers. Battle win ratio is the best of possible but it's easier to get high when there are less players like in #battle era (2003-2007). But if we weight the number of top-10s of different battle eras and after that take the player with the highest battle win-%, we get some list. It's 100 % objective at least. First time in the Elma history we have a list of the best battlers of all times!

Top-20 of best battle win ratios weighted by number of top-10s of different eras:

#    Player       Nat.   Points   Win-%     Era
-------------------------------------------------------
1.   Markku       FIN       12     42 %     Mopobattles
                          3002     75 %     #battle
                          3781     43 %     Belma
                          3451     55 %     EOL
 
2.   Zweq         FIN       23     35 %     Mopobattles
                          1107     59 %     #battle
                          3844     49 %     Belma
                          3846     55 %     EOL
 
3.   axxu         FIN       78     45 %     Mopobattles
                          1750     63 %     #battle
                          1623     34 %     Belma
 
4.   zaraptor     GBR      432     59 %     #battle
                          1392     42 %     EOL
 
5.   John         SWE     1613     58 %     #battle
                          1926     45 %     EOL
 
6.   ANpDaD       RUS      716     52 %     #battle
                          3874     43 %     EOL
 
7.   adi          FIN     6793     28 %     Belma
                          5116     52 %     EOL
 
8.   Kazan        RUS     4229     35 %     Belma
                          5287     44 %     EOL
 
9.   Jeppe        SWE     2287     62 %     #battle
10.  Kuper        RUS      640     61 %     #battle
11.  skint0r      NOR      622     55 %     #battle
12.  GRob         HUN     1529     53 %     EOL
13.  kd           HUN      543     51 %     #battle
14.  Zero         FIN    11169     49 %     EOL
15.  Cloud        FIN       11     45 %     Mopobattles
16.  Leek         NZL     1595     44 %     EOL
17.  swos         FIN       10     40 %     Mopobattles
18.  jaytea       USA     4654     36 %     Belma
19.  talli        FIN     7220     35 %     Belma
20.  BoneLESS     CAN     4113     34 %     Belma
...

Data updated: 2018-04-05

World Cups

The number of event wins could be the best criterion for the best World Cup player of all times.

Most World Cup event wins:

#   Player       Nat.   Event wins
----------------------------------
1.  Dr_Luni      SWE        11
2.  Jokke        FIN         8
    Kazan        RUS         8
4.  MP           FIN         6
5.  Jalli        NOR         5
6.  Karlis       FIN         4
    psy          FIN         4
8.  axxu         FIN         3
    Elbono       SWE         3
    Luther       SWE         3
    zeth         NOR         3
...

Data updated: 2018-04-05

World Records

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

Most different WRs:

#    Player       Nat.       WRs
-----------------------------------
1.   Zweq         FIN     51 (94 %)
2.   TorInge      NOR     42 (78 %)
3.   John         SWE     33 (61 %)
4.   Kazan        RUS     31 (57 %)
5.   Spef         FIN     27 (50 %)
6.   Jeppe        SWE     22 (41 %)
7.   Karlis       FIN     21 (39 %)
8.   Champi0N     SWE     16 (30 %)
     dz           FIN     16 (30 %)
     zyntifox     NOR     16 (30 %)
     psy          FIN     16 (30 %)
     Cloud        FIN     16 (30 %)
...

Data updated: 2020-05-26

Most different players in a single WR table were 37 in 2000-08-05 (#31): KingKong, zyntifox, Champi0N, Jokke, loX, zeth, mr, Hotwax, Tier, Petri, Mandel, onlainari, Ntc, Fulgore, Markku, Doc, Tuska, Totalnew, Karlis, AnTTiM, mason, TheGepi, mengerle, powell, SoGe, Dr_Luni, psy, StIkKy, DeG, Garion, Ufo, LocDog, Joni, Jeppe, TuA, 3 Litre, oizo!

Number of new WRs:

#    Player       Nat.    WRs
-----------------------------
1.   Zweq         FIN     190
2.   TorInge      NOR     122
3.   John         SWE      72
4.   Karlis       FIN      65
5.   Kazan        RUS      59
6.   Jeppe        SWE      54
7.   Jokke        FIN      53
     Spef         FIN      53
9.   zyntifox     NOR      41
10.  psy          FIN      37
...

Data updated: 2020-05-26
Most tables with WRs:

#    Player       Nat.    WRs
-----------------------------
1.   Zweq         FIN     303
2.   mr           FIN     280
3.   Karlis       FIN     249
4.   Stini        FIN     221
5.   TorInge      NOR     214
6.   zyntifox     NOR     210
7.   John         SWE     187
8.   Jarkko       FIN     157
9.   psy          FIN     157
10.  Jokke        FIN     152
...

Data updated: 2020-05-26
Most WRs in one table (2000-2019):

#    Player      WRs       Year     Table 
-----------------------------------------
1.   TorInge      27       2006      #232
2.   Zweq         22       2003      #152
3.   Spef         22       2019      #405
4.   John         19       2007      #260
5.   Kazan        15       2011      #342
6.   Jeppe        12       2002      #78
7.   psy          10       2000      #1
8.   Champi0N      9       2000      #1
9.   pajen         9       2001      #75
10.  Raven         9       2009      #298

... Top-10 ...

11.  Cloud         8       2003      #151
12.  Karlis        8       2005      #223
13.  KingKong      7       2000      #13
14.  zyntifox      7       2000      #49
15.  Jokke         7       2001      #60
16.  Mick          7       2002      #100
17.  dz            6       2001      #73
18.  Joni          5       2000      #3
19.  zeth          5       2000      #11
20.  Madness       5       2012      #344

... Top-20 ...

21.  Markku        4       2000      #1
     Stene         4       2000      #1
23.  elg           4       2000      #44
34.  YeeS          4       2001      #59
25.  MGen          4       2002      #86
26.  deadnite      4       2003      #136
27.  mr            4       2003      #156
28.  Luther        4       2005      #212
29.  axxu          4       2005      #221
30.  Bjenn         4       2010      #314
31.  bene          4       2015      #381
32.  StIkKy        3       2000      #1
33.  Garion        3       2000      #5
34.  loX           3       2000      #6
35.  TuA           3       2000      #15
36.  Totalnew      3       2000      #42
37.  swos          3       2001      #54
38.  Eliaz         3       2001      #65
39.  ZeiZei        3       2002      #85
40.  FatherGod     3       2003      #130
41.  oizo!         3       2003      #134
42.  Stini         3       2004      #185
43.  Jalli         3       2005      #220
44.  Jarkko        3       2008      #293
45.  GRob          3       2011      #339
46.  Mielz         3       2014      #373
47.  FinMan        3       2014      #377
...

Data updated in 2020-06-09

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

Nine different players (2018-04-04)

Nine different players again (2018-04-04)

(2018-04-04)

Finally, who has been the leader of the WR table for the longest time?

Longest time having the most WRs:

#   Player         Days      Periods
---------------------------------------------
1.  Zweq           2565      #130-#179  (433)
                             #180-#198  (147)
                             #282-#286   (99)
                             #291-#340 (1106)
                             #354-#377  (780)

2.  Spef           1646+     #377-#389  (812) 
                             #395-      (834+)

3.  TorInge         981       #96-#130  (246)
                             #179-#180   (15)
                             #198-#256  (720)

4.  Kazan           719      #340-#354  (371)
                             #389-#395  (348)

5.  John            532      #256-#282  (442)
                             #286-#291   (90)

6.  Jeppe           408        #46-#48   (14)
                               #54-#60   (39)
                               #70-#75  (119)
                               #77-#96  (308)

7.  Jokke           135        #20-#22   (13) 
                               #36-#38   (14)
                               #60-#70  (108)

8.  zyntifox        112        #38-#46   (56)
                               #48-#54   (56)

9.  KingKong         88        #11-#12    (3)
                               #19-#20    (8)
                               #23-#36   (77)

10. Champi0N         61         #6-#11   (21)
                               #12-#19   (32)
                               #22-#23    (8)

11. pajen            42        #75-#77   (42)

12. Joni             14          #3-#6   (14)

13. psy              12          #1-#3   (12)

Data updated: 2020-05-26

Conclusion🔝

After writing the historical overview of Elasto Mania, two ultimate questions must be answered. What is Elma and what's the limit? What is this game that gets people so enthusiastic for decades?

What's the limit?

The ultimate goal of Elma is to find out what's the limit of WRs.

The first years of the community passed while players were improving their skills, forming teams, trading styles, discovering alovolt and train levels, getting replay merge and centered camera, tuning vsync and just doing everything in more and more sophisticated way. The websites, statistics, art work and endless interesting discussions kept community vibrant.

Elma is a good playground for programmers, the builders of the digital world. The game has complex physics, it's fun to test and the community is active. There have been and still are several interesting programming problems to be solved. It's also an interesting problem for cheaters, especially when the game is so competative.

The general Elma enthusiasm was slowing down somewhere in 2006. Driving new world records was getting harder and harder, TorInge was inactive, Zweq was inactive and the first Elma Done Quick speedrun leaked almost all WR styles. Moposite was also passive and the greatest Elma party of that time was behind (FEM05). But then milagros entered the main stage and programmed an online patch which gave the community a push of one decade more.

Figuring out the limit of world records was done by educated guesses in the early years. The most optimistic estimations were 37:04,23 by Sathy in (2002) and 35:59,99 by Phillip (2004). In those years the WR total time was 39:49,86 (#80, 2002-02-03) and 37:05,78 (#180, 2004-08-29). Phillip's predict (-1:05,79) was based on a mathematical model and, as I see it, Sathy relied on his distancial view about internal levels (-2:45,63). Anyway it felt like we had already reached the maximum in year 2002 and 2004.

But playing online greatly revitalized the community after Belma was released in 2007. Battling different levels all day long and having an immediate feedback loop improved the skills of playing vastly. John, Kazan and Zweq particularly started to improve the WR total time a lot. After three years the WR total time had dropped to 35:24,25 (2010), way better than Sathy's and Phillip's over-optimistic estimations.

The release of EOL in 2010 and the saveload patch becoming available to be used in training for everybody in 2011 were big boosts again. Since then the WR total time has improved by almost one minute more: at the time of writing (2021-07-28) it's 34:22,13.

After 2011 when speedrunning tools were released, some people started to update a saveload WR table. Actually there are two tables: one where everything is allowed and another one where the rules are set for humanly possible, at least theoretically. So if we accept the speedrunning tools, we know the theoretical limit of the Elasto Mania world records is about 33:11,11 (2018). And if bugbounces and everything else is accepted, the limit is about 9:54,58 (2015).

What is Elma?

So it was answered what has kept community active two decades: the ongoing WR progress. But there must be something more, a deeper meaning, a philosophical aspect.

One thing is obvious for everybody. Elma got us addicted: we wouldn't be here otherwise. We wanted to progress. We played a lot until realizing some players are from different planet who are just impossible to compete with. Unless we happened to be one of the top players, we either quit or moved to back seat to enjoy the ride.

But after all, in the end, what is Elma all about? I argue that Elma is something pure and beautiful in this cruel world. It's something exciting and thrilling in this boring world. It's only a game. And a competition. And we have a community which is unique. Only future can show what's possible.

And what's the mystery of 12. Islands in the Sky? Why all the WR holders of that level are relatively unknown internalists? Gazoline, jx, krus, proDigy, Honza and zaraptor. At least I haven't met any of them.

We are living privileged times in human history. Many of us belong to the generation who lived first years in the analog world but have been moving to the new digital world which is changing human kind faster than ever before and which social and cultural impacts can't be seen clearly yet. Nevertheless Elma has provided a fantastic viewpoint to the transition.

Do you remember the websites of the 90s, the internet connection of 5.1 kB/s, ICQ, mobile phone logos and CRT screens? Then became dynamic 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 the forerunners in the digital world.

Elma is a very fascinating and inspiring digital sub-cultural phenomenon which has been possible only in our times and which at least I don't know any other similar. Elma is a collaborative art project. Elma is a cultural miracle created by us.

UPDATE 2020-05-27: I've finally figured out the most fundamental question of Elma. Is Stini's WR in 47. Enigma a bugbounce or not? Balázs is genious. The Enigma.

Bonus🔝

Do you remember the first image of the article, the pole level? It was 10. The Steppes, one of the most legendary internal levels and also one of my own favourites. When I started playing in 1999 the best public replay was about 24 seconds by zeth. In 1998-07-19 the record was 0:34,92 by Jouni. Today it's 0:10,50 by Spef.

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

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

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

In fact it's strange we never had a pole contest – except Bubka.

Bubka by Zweq and jonsykkel (2012-07-17)

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. On the other hand I was able to include the online era now and get to know it by myself. In total the article took seven months and 630 hours. The text has 446k characters, 12 % of the length of the Bible.

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

As stated previously, it's difficult to write about the recent history because the big picture isn't visible yet. Also I personally value the original in-game levels more than any other competitions. World Cups and battles come next.

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

It's been a long journey from the MS-DOS operating system to AI programming. Personally the early days and Golden Era (2001–2006) especially were nostalgic to go through. Great moments. Great people. Thank you everybody to join the ride.

Abula, 11th April 2018, Helsinki

Comments

Author Comment
Raven / Korppi2020-12-23 18:25

Well done! It was great to read this and also thanks for the regular updates!

I checked the WR tables from time-to-time but never thought I'd see ElastoMania 2 or an online version.

Kimsor2019-08-23 21:49

Read this. Good game. Good article. Played it alot at across and elma times (1998->) i made some levels then, which you have höyled: Drunken Men and Hord World are some of them. I was HordAsc. Hope to see Elma3 some day . I bought the Elma at time, by sending money to Balazs in snail mail. What times they were :)

KimblaZ2019-07-14 08:27

Awesome article! Made me get the game again after many years and do a bit of höyling

Marci2019-06-21 22:14

Great work!

kd2019-05-08 09:33

Awesome stuff Abu, a trip down memory lane for me.

frgr2019-03-08 23:58

terrific

Ryan2019-02-02 05:34

Excellent article!

CaHlAiIcNeS2019-01-16 00:54

This takes me back, thanks, Abula. Spent too much of my high school and college years playing this game. It wasn't really big here in the USA, but I'm really glad to have found it!

Erik2019-01-08 08:46

I'm a Swedish guy born 1981, so I'm in the right age group for this. Me and my friends played across (as we called it) and Elma a lot back in the day. Great article, brings back memories!!

Savvy2019-01-01 02:15

GAA material right here! Thanks a lot!

dimon2018-10-21 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!

umiz2018-10-11 13:53

Really great article! Nice job!

petsenRDK2018-10-10 21:44

Nostalgic trip down memory lane. Thanks :)

BeyPokéDig2018-08-23 00:49

Amazing article, thanks for writing it. I just wish it mentioned Riders of the Lost Flowers in greater detail :P

nyymi2018-07-21 21:00

aika assburger

Uube2018-07-14 16:15

Thanks Abula! I had great time and memories playing the game and still checking new wr lists couple of times in year.

H82018-06-16 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!

Abel2018-06-06 23:16

Amazing work, Abula, thank you for the contribution!

TarGEnoR2018-05-27 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.

Abulaatikko2018-05-17 19:19
PROTECTED

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.

Orcc2018-05-16 07:20

Dr. Across was already taken 20 years ago, but this article should reward you the title of Dr. Elma. Amazing work!

niN2018-05-13 20:15

Nice one Abula. Your dedication to this game and it's community is impressive!

Petrenuk2018-05-11 22:40

Awesome article! Why is Slalom impossible to improve? Is that a joke?

zebra2018-05-11 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!

tomator2018-05-10 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.

jaytea2018-04-23 13:39

Thoughtful conclusion. Amazing work all around. You're an excellent writer.

Love, jt

ArSeNiC2018-04-22 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!

Tisk2018-04-14 14:41

was oke


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