Another day, another Fire Ring challenge race. Since FromSoftware’s hugely popular Soulslike dropped on February 25th, Tarnished the world over has tackled the game in some downright boring ways. But while hit it with a single hand and playing it with a harp is impressive, Twitch streamer Luality has taken it to a whole new level lately by attempting to complete Fire Ring with a freakin’ drawing board.
You may have heard of Luality before. A Brazilian content creator who primarily plays Soulslikes on Jerk and YouTube, Luality has been challenging itself to beat these difficult games in some really crazy ways for a minute now. Back in 2018, for example, she ran through Dark Souls 3 with a Dance Dance Revolution dance block, kill tough bosses like the dancer in the Boreal valley and the nameless king while you sweat up a storm. She later darkened all together Fire Ringthe villains with the dance floora feat that brought her so much attention she ended up showing up at PAX West’s Intel booth. You can imagine how shaken I was watching Luality do this. While FromSoft’s games continue to kick me, here she is, corporeal boss after boss with a dance pad like it’s nothing.
So when I tripped Luality stomping Godrick the Grafted with a drawing board while rolling Fire Ring subreddit, I was disheartened and needed to know more. Why? How did the setup work? Was it difficult to play with a drawing board, and more specifically, was it more difficult than with a dance pad? I had the chance to chat with Luality over Twitter DMs, who gave me all the tea.
Perhaps the most confusing part of the run is how it all works. Luality broke it down, explaining that she uses both a PC and PS5 (via PlayStation Remote Play) to stream Fire Ring for her Wacom Cintiq Pro 13 tablet. Things aren’t perfect, she said, but with the help of her community, she built something together worked well enough for her to beat the stupid Tree Sentinel waiting for all Tarnished at the beginning of Limgrave.
“I got this idea two weeks ago, I asked some friends for help, and in three days we could have a prototype that barely worked,” Luality said. “Then I went to PAX West. I was invited to play dance block Fire Ring live at the Intel Booth! It was incredible! As soon as I got home I continued to work on the tablet driving and right now we are close to perfect and by perfect I mean barely possible! This race is held together by my hopes and dreams more than anything else! I use five different programs that are not meant to work together to make this possible. But slowly tweaking things and making things more stable has been great fun, especially as the run started to take shape and I started killing bosses. it just makes me happy how far we’ve come in such a short time!”
If you’ve seen any of Luality’s clips, you’ll notice that she draws lines across her tablet screen to perform in-game actions such as attacking (a straight line) and jumping (a triangle). Some commands were too cumbersome to work with. Camera control, for example, was impossible with this setup, so she gave up on it entirely, relying only on the “reset camera” command. Accuracy is impossible here, which Luality said made the run “incredibly hard and frustrating” but completely doable.
“Both the dance pad and the drawing board are not very reliable controllers and have their challenges, but the tablet beats the dance floor on this one,” said Luality. “In many places they come together as equally bad. I don’t have camera control on either. But at least on the dance pad I can hold down the keys so things like sprinting and going diagonally are more reliable. With the tablet I can’t hold keys. I have to keep drawing and drawing. Sometimes the tablet lets me walk in a diagonal line, but if I use the pen I have to pick a direction or it gets overwhelmed with inputs! Talking about this makes me laugh. I just love how this all barely works. It makes it more fun and special for me.”
Something she is a little more aware of during this challenge is how her body feels when she plays.
“My wrists are good,” Luality said. “Sometimes the position I need to hold the tablet makes my hands a little sore, but I’m working on that problem so it’s not a long term problem! I injured a tendon in my feet doing dance pad runs a while back, but I’m mostly fine now!”
Of course, this is not Luality’s first foray through Fire Ring. Although she could not say how many times she has beaten the game, she is determined to finish it with the drawing board because she is “too stubborn” to give up now. She did, however, talk about the hardest part of the race so far, which, perhaps surprisingly, has only been walking around the Lands Between with her Tarnished. At first it consisted of drawing lines to initiate movement, but much like camera control it became too cumbersome. Instead, Luality left a virtual keyboard just for character movement, which streamlined things a bit.
The software setup is a work in progress, so Luality didn’t share the programs she uses to make it all possible. However, she gave several shout outs to her community for helping her see it through.
“I’m not doing this alone either,” Luality said. “People in my community have helped me and they have always helped me a lot. The reason I always say “we did it!” when we make something cool it’s because it’s always been a group effort. They help me troubleshoot things. They help me figure out details. They help me try different things. They support me financially so that I can afford to take my time and buy the materials needed for these runs and most importantly they are always there for me and they believe in me when I don’t believe in myself and they keep get me started.”
I love how community her Luality is and you really get a sense of camaraderie when you watch her streams. Not only does she give great relationship advice—example: respect yourself, don’t put up with bullshit—but she also hands out digital high-fives whenever she accomplishes something, whether it’s beating a tough enemy or surviving a big fall off a cut. It is very healthy, not least because she streaming with her bunnies. That doesn’t make it any less stressful, though, and I’ve sweated and watched her get repeatedly beaten by bosses.
So, what’s next for Luality? Except to finish Fire Ring with her drawing board – she’s about halfway through the game as of her latest Twitch streamcurrently battling Rennala Queen of the Full Moon and Starscourge Radahn – she’s also conjuring up some other seriously tough challenges for FromSoftware’s latest Soulslike.
“I’ve been playing FromSoftware games in weird ways for years,” Luality said. “I often think and have strange ideas for runs. I have a piano race planned sometime soon. Most things are clear [on that front]!”