Speedrunning involves a lot of trying to figure out the precise logic of a game. Discovering where it's making checks, how it orders operations, figuring out the cracks in the code. The best speedrunners may as well have a flowchart for getting through any given stage—but rarely is that chart as literal as in Styx: Shards of Darkness.
Annual speedrun fest Summer Games Done Quick is currently underway, and Heat Signature developer Tom Francis (opens in new tab) spotted a truly bizarre skip in runner Tohelot's Styx run last night (thanks, RPS (opens in new tab)). It turns out that the game logic for levels is embedded within its own geometry. Figure out how to reach it, and you can stomp your grubby goblin footprints all over it.
"The database holds all the information about the level objectives and we just go on top of the buttons and press 'yeah, we did the thing' and go to the next level," explains Tohelot.
These charts are likely a quick and dirty way to help test a level's logic during development, but it effectively lets the runner tell the game he's done a map's objectives without doing them. Since the game often reuses maps, the same chart is often repeated across levels, letting you reuse the skip across a run.
Getting to these charts still requires a bit of work, mind, and Tohelot's co-commentator notes it's often quicker to just outright speedrun a mission as normal. You can catch his full run over on Twitch (opens in new tab), with Summer Games Done Quick 2021 (opens in new tab) still running live until Sunday, July 11.