Ben_Schultz_11 (AKA ska) is an inactive, veteran, Dronie-nominated highscorer/speedrunner, and semi-active, Dronie-winning N mapper, hailing from Australia; he is one of the few members to be nominated for a Dronie as both a player and a mapper. On 2 January 2013, local time, he was also the first player to complete the N 2.0 beta, less than 8 hours after its release, at a rate of less than a minute per level.
In late 2012, ska successfully sought Mare's approval to lead a campaign which involved selecting a shortlist of user-made maps for a single secret column for N 2.0. He voluntarily created a committee to get a broader selection of quality maps, but the process was marred somewhat when Flag tried to assert control over the project. Mare and Raigan decided on making two user columns based around ska's campaign to include user levels despite initially not intending to include any at all. They are unlockable upon successful completion of episodes 00–99. Four of ska's maps were included in the final release.
Ben_Schultz_11 was the name of an old account formed on Numa in September 2005. Although he has used ska on Numa and the Metanet forums since April 2006, he continued to use the Ben_Schultz_11 account for highscoring in both N and NReality until his highscoring retirement on 9 January 2015.
Highscores[edit | edit source]
As of his retirement from highscoring, ska held 462 Metanet highscores (ranked #8th) and 6 0ths (ranked #4th) using his Ben_Schultz_11 account, and he has purportedly held highscores as early as November 2004, including a peak of 32 0ths as late as November 2012.
In 2012, ska reached 70,000 seconds of Total Level Score; he was the 12th player to accomplish this. By the end of 2012, ska managed to reach the 70,500 mark; he was only the 9th player to do so at the time.
Ska took his first 0th off jg9000 on 85-3 on 1 January 2007. More recently, on 2 November 2011, he took a 0th on 17-0, before further improving the score again a few days later. A couple of weeks later, ska engaged in a skirmish with vankusss by reclaiming the 0th on 08-1, a level ska had initially innovated. Vankusss—who had lost an episode ownage as a consequence (i.e., a 0th on every level in an episode, including the episode 0th)—was evidently displeased with this, and edged out ska by a few frames with a score of 186.525 from ska's new 186.400. Ska fought off the response by posting a 186.950, which officially cemented ska as the longest continually active highscorer until his retirement in 2015. (The current highscoring grandmaster, EddyMataGallos, eclipsed this score in 2014 with a score of 187.075.)
On 30 January 2012, ska got an episode top-20 on episode 92―completing his set of all 100 episode top-20s―with eru_bahagon and lookatthis being the only other players to hold 100 episode top-20s at the time.
Despite his retirement from highscoring Metanet levels, ska will very rarely highscore custom levels from Numa or develop innovation ideas for Metanet levels for the benefit of active players. This includes new routes for 31-1, 16-0, 27-1, 46-0 (twice) and 13-1, as well as 12-0 a while before that, which has since been re-innovated by Kool-aid. All of these aforementioned innovations―whilst 0ths at the time―have since been improved by other players. On 2 September 2010, ska also innovated 29-2, smashing a 3-year-old 0th held by retired former grandmaster johnny_faneca, and was engaged with a battle for the 0th with the current grandmaster, EddyMataGallos, who currently holds the 0th. He also innovated several parts of 87-1, including both gold chambers. These were used by Eddy to attain an almost 2.5-second lead over 1st.
Ska's most recent major innovation included a video that showcased a route change at the start of 39-2. Ska had the idea for many years, but he finally decided it was time to thoroughly test the idea. Once he realised it was definitely faster (and viable), he posted the route change on the forums in October 2017. With ska's idea in mind, macrohenry used the new route to take back the 0th from EddyMataGallos by 2.050 seconds. Currently (as of 12 May 2020), this is the biggest difference between 0th and 1st. Part of the reason the gap is so wide is that the new route allows a player to bypass a bottleneck.
Some of ska's more recent highscore innovations include various runs from his episode 09 run (which, at the time, was the least improvable episode in the game, with a difference of only 0.425 between the episode run and the total of all the individual level 0ths). This run included a complete route change on 09-1; ska's run on this level still stands as a 0th today. Episode 09 was ska's last remaining episode 0th; it was later taken by EddyMataGallos. He also innovated 27-1 when he altered the beginning part of the level to secure a 1.1-second lead, subsequently taking the 0th for episode 27, which was also eventually taken by EddyMataGallos. On 11 November 2012, he innovated 64-2 by collecting an extra piece of gold, but this 0th run was clinched by a frame by Eddy.
As mentioned earlier, ska sometimes innovates levels without the intention to take the 0th but rather showcase it for a player that is better suited for the level, such as his innovations on 87-1 and 61-2, as well as a short-lived 0th with a more optimal route on 31-1. He has also formerly held 0ths on 67-0, 18-0, 34-1, 23-0, 61-4, 33-4, 34-0 and 86-3 amongst others.
Ska was also a semifinalist for both sections in season 4 of Blur, a highscoring and speedrunning tournament. Ska also achieved all 600 NReality top-20 highscores and was the 5th player to complete NReality.
Mapping[edit | edit source]
Ska has been mapping since the old-school days and has submitted over 400 maps to NUMA. He started mapping in September 2005 with his old Ben_Schultz_11 account and created over 90 maps before April 2006, when he transitioned to his current ska account. Despite taking several long breaks over the years, he has since submitted over 328 maps published at a variable rate. Ska gradually gained more and more quality over time, and these days he is known for his clean and polished maps, many of which being 'Metanetesque' in nature.
As a highscorer himself, his maps are usually designed for the best highscoring experience without disregarding all the rest of the important factors, such as style, flow, and ambiance. This is one of the reasons that ska is the only person to have been nominated for both highscoring and mapping Dronies, having won a mapping Dronie in 2010. In 2009, ska earned his first Dronie nomination for his DDA entitled iKara. In 2010, ska earned 3 Dronie nominations, including a Dronie win for puzzle map of the year 2010 for his map Vinyl Spritzer.
On 18 June 2010, ska announced that he'd be releasing his own map pack, codenamed: "Medieval Myriads ", which he released under the same title on June 24, 2010. It's composed of 50 levels in column structure. He also announced that there'd be a prize for the first player to complete the column, and this player was the then-little-known EddyMataGallos, who completed the column less than 5 hours after the release of the map pack, receiving a map dedication for his efforts; the dedication level was called Japanese Game Show. The next day, Izzy completed AGD runs on all the levels in the pack. Medieval Myriads went on to be nominated for map pack of the year in the 2010 Dronies, where it placed 3rd.
As of 28 August 2013, ska has 427 maps, including his old account.
Other contributions[edit | edit source]
Ska created the N Sidescroller, an experimental port of N into side-scroller format, and it has since had over 2,500 downloads as of September 2010.
Ska also created the acclaimed Best of N Video which contains some famous highscores and other interesting exhibitions of N's unique gameplay.
Other forum contributions by ska include hosting highscoring tournaments such as Elimination, Elimination 2, Blur 4, Bounty Hunters, Holy Grail, and LOCKDOWN, as well as regular contributions to the Metanet Podcast .
On May 19, 2009, ska became a reviewer on Numa, although he was demoted almost a year later due to a parody review he made satirizing a contest created by Skyline, in addition to general reviewing inactivity. However, on 1 February 2013, ska successfully had his reviewer position reinstated, only to lose it again, before yet again having it reinstated to this day.
Ska also regularly contributes to the N wikia pages, especially the highscores section.
On September 22, 2010, ska formed a tongue-in-cheek mutiny against vankusss on Blur 4 when he overthrew him as the host of the contest. Ska placed 4th in both highscoring and speedrunning categories. He also organised and hosted Blur 5, which was won by EddyMataGallos in both highscores and speedrun mode.
In April 2011, ska said that he had planned to complete a sequel to the Best of N Video; a preview containing most of the footage was later leaked. A final version was never completed.
The Rap[edit | edit source]
ska produced a satirical rap about the N highscoring community (for TheRealOne).