Boot Durability

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Summary

The game uses an algorithm that is relatively simple, but a bit complex to explain.

Here's the answer to the question on everyone's minds:

Chiral boots last twice as long as Bridges Boots Lv.3.

Durability of Different Types of Boots

Simplified Comparison Table

Here's how the different types of boots compare to the Bridges Boot Lvl. 1:

# Type Vs. Row
Above
Versus
BB1s
1 Mule Boots (MB) - 60%
2 Terrorist Boots (TB) * 1.33 80%
3 Bridges Boots Lv.1 (BB1) 1.25 100%
4 Bridges Boots Lv.2 (BB2) 1.30 130%
5 Bridges Boots Lv.3 (BB3) 1.30 170%
6 Chiral Boots (CB) 2.00 340%
*  Porter Boots are the same as Terrorist Boots, for boot wear. Expand this for more on Porter Boots.

You get a pair of Porter Boots when you complete Craftman's second (Ruined Mall) mission.

After that, maybe you can find it in Share Lockers (especially Craftsman) or maybe on friendly porters. But it's pretty random and you might never see another pair past your first one.

They're the same as Terrorist Boots, for boot wear.

Here's a more detailed comparison of boot types

# Type Going Up:
Mule up to CB
Going Down:
CB down to Mule
Each Pair Cumulative Each Pair Cumulative
1 Mule Boots (MB) 1.00000 1.00000 0.7500 0.1765
2 Terrorist Boots (TB) 1.33333 1.3333 0.8000 0.2353
3 Bridges Boots Lv.1 (BB1) 1.25000 1.6667 0.7692 0.2941
4 Bridges Boots Lv.2 (BB2) 1.30000 2.1667 0.7692 0.3824
5 Bridges Boots Lv.3 (BB3) 1.30000 2.8167 0.4971 0.4971
6 Chiral Boots (CB) 2.01183 5.6667 1.0000 1.0000

How to read:

  • Going Up means going from the lesser boots to the better ones. Going down means the other way.
  • For the Each Pair column of Going Up, the table is comparing each pair of rows with the one just before it and saying, e.g., Terrorist Boots last 33% longer than Mule Boots, BB1s last 25% longer than TBs, etc.
    • Going Down does the reverse: BB3s last half as long as CBs, etc. (It's the reciprocal of the related Going Up value.)
  • The Cumulative columns are if you multiply the Each Pair values in succession, effectively comparing everything to the lowest (or highest). For example, BB1s last 1.6667 (1.333 x 1.250) times longer than MBs. CBs last 5.6667 times as long as MBs. Etc.
    • Likewise, Cumulative for Going Down is the other way. MBs only last 0.1765 times (~18%) as long as CBs. (It's the reciprocal of the other Cumulative column, along its entire length.)

I am glossing over some very slight fluctuations in the data starting around the third decimal point or so; see Stair-Step Values for All Boots if you want more details.

Simple Explanation of What Affects Boot Durability

These factors affect how long boots last:

  • The load, i.e., the kilograms Sam is carrying. It's not a simple curve based on percent of max capacity; it's a simple stair-step function based solely on actual load. Also, carrying lots of chiralium offsets heavier loads, causing less wear.
  • Whether he's wearing a Power Skeleton, which results in significantly less wear for a given kg load. The other two skeletons let you carry more, but don't change the wear rate for a given kg load.
  • Sprinting causes boots to wear out 2.5 times faster, but doesn't change the relative wear rates seen in the table. (And No, Sprinting in a Speed skel does not wear out boots even faster. But it does causes more fatigue and use batteries faster.)
  • With Walk, boots last twice as long as Jogging, and five times as long as Sprinting (2 x 2.5).

What I call "Jogging" is the default speed with keyboard+mouse, and the maximum non-Sprint speed with a controller. With an analog stick, Sam’s speed varies based on how far you push the stick, the lowest speed being something of a power walk.

  • Boots seem to last 18% longer in Snow. This wasn't tested much.
  • Roads cut your wear rate to a fourth. This applies to autopaver highways as well as roads at big knots. It does not apply to the concrete sidewalks beside roads at big knots. Just the road themselves. Whatever your wear rate would otherwise be (for Sprinting, Jogging, or Walking), roads multiply boot duration by four.

I did not test other factors, but I'm sure that at least one of them also affects the wear rate (but probably not boots' relative durability): terrain roughness.

In case you don't know: Timefall never degrades boots. Not ever. Not if they're worn or in containers or even on the ground. Timefall never degrades boots one bit.

Simplified Version of How I Tested

A bread-clip nib against my Up key

It's pretty simple:

  1. Have Sam face something in a knot (a wall or corner).
  2. Put on a pair of boots at 100% Durability (not walked in one step).
  3. Write down game time a.k.a. Standard Order Time.
  4. The instant I come out of the Map, start him Sprinting (or jogging or walking, if I'm testing that).
  5. Use something to hold down Forward so I keep running.
  6. The instant the boots wear out, hit Tab and write down the new game time again.
  7. Compare the two times to see how long the boots took to wear out.

The point is to have him moving from the instant you get out of the menu, until the moment you catch the boots wearing out so that you get a precise time delta (end time minus start time). Even then, there will still be 2-3 extra seconds; see Testing below.

This was a LOT of work inasmuch as every single test completely tied up my PC. I couldn't even task-switch out; if you try, DS stops getting keyboard input. As of this writing (9/29/21), I've done 333 individual trials (total time PC tied up: 123 hours) since 7/10/21, for the type of test described above. I also got some additional data by completely wearing out boots during some of my extensive speed testing and battery testing.

The Boot Degradation Stair-Step Function

Boots wear out based on the weight of the load you're carrying. Your max capacity doesn't affect it, only your actual load does. Of course, if you increase your load because you can carry more, it increases the wear rate – because the actual load is greater.

Overview of Stairsteps and the Baseline

Wear rate versus load isn't linear, it's a stair-step function. Here's how Mule boots wear out for my highest-level Sam (60+ on all Bridge Star points, and 50 kg Bonus Chiral Capacity). This is for Sprinting; standard speed takes longer to wear out boots:

Death Stranding stuff - Excel chart of max Sam boot durability stair steps 1 - fixed.png

Or, stated as a table:

Up to Load
(kg)
Time for Mule
boots to wear out
Vs. Row
Below
Vs. Row
Above
130.0 40:00 2.000
150.0 20:00 1.500 0.500
170.0 13:20 1.333 0.667
190.0 10:00 1.250 0.750
210.0 8:00 1.200 0.800
230.0 6:40 1.159 0.833
250.0 5:45 1.150 0.863
270.0 5:00 1.124 0.870

What are we seeing here?

My particular late-game Sam (Chapter 15) can carry any load up to 130.0 kg and his Mule boots will wear out in 40 minutes. Even if he's only wearing the Mules Boots (total load of 0.5 kg), it's still 40 minutes. I call this important point (130.0, the highest value at which you get the least boot wear, just before it starts increasing) the baseline for stairsteps.

If he was at 130.1 to 150.0 kg, they'd wear out in 20 minutes.

150 kg is as much as a high-level Sam can carry, without a skeleton. But if he dons an ATS or SS, he can carry more. In which case, the stair-steps don't change. Sam will simply be farther to the right on the chart than he could be without a skel.

The stair steps are 20 kg wide, as you can see. This is true for all skels (and none) except the Power Skel.

Also: In the examples I show above, Sam had over 50k cgs of chiral crystals (CXls). This gives him +50 kg of Bonus Chiral Capacity (BCC): He can carry 50 kg more without being Trudged, and it also moves the baseline (where effects occur) to the right by 50 kg. Basically, BCC moves your entire durability graph to the right.

If Sam has no CXls (like, early in the game), the baseline is 80 kg.

If you want to check your stairsteps, see How to Check Your Stairstep Values, below. Still, the stairstep model and 20 (or 40) kg steps will be the same as shown here.

For the Power Skeleton

The Power Skeleton (PS) has several advantages:

  • Of course, it lets you carry the most of any skeleton. But also,
  • It moves the beginning (baseline) of the stair-step function up considerably (+80 kg versus no skeleton), AND
  • Its steps are 40 kilograms wide, not 20 kg.

Taking all these together means Sam can move much more cargo with much less boot wear. Here's the stairsteps for my highest-level Sam:

Death Stranding stuff - Excel chart of max Sam boot durability stair steps 2 - Power Skel 3 v2.JPG

As a table:

Up to Load (kg) Time for Mule boots to wear out
210.0 40:00
250.0 20:00
290.0 13:22
330.0 10:00
Times are the same for Steps (here, Steps 0 to 3) as with other/no skels.

See? The Mule Boots take 10 minutes to wear out at 330 kg for my highest-level Sam. But with the other skels (or no skel), he hits the 10-minute mark at 171.1 kg, almost half the load (see first stair-step chart and table). And with a max load of 270 kg on an ATS3, his boots wear out in 5 minutes – twice as fast.

Honestly, I'm not sure why the devs made the PS so OP. Was it a kludge because boots wore out too fast otherwise? (Think of how long they'd last with a PS if the first chart above kept decreasing every 20 kg, all the way up to 330 kg.)

You could speculate that the Power Skel has special, protective soles below the boot (or whatever). But wouldn't you expect the All-Terrain Skeleton to have the most robust soles of all?

Anyway, it is what it is.

Enjoy your Power Skel, Porter.

Stair-Step Values for All Boots

I showed the Mule Boots in the charts above because it's quickest to test, and its numbers are nice and round. Here are stairstep values for other boots.

If you've been watching, I've actually already provided everything you need to extrapolate the Mule Boots to the other types. Let's go ahead and do it. We're going to multiply relative boot durations against Mule-boot times from the stairstep table to get stairsteps for all boots (time is in h:mm:ss):

Speed Sprint Jog (Sprint x 2.5)
Boot Type Mule Terr BB1 BB2 BB3 CB Mule Terr BB1 BB2 BB3 CB
Step × ⇒ 1.0000 1.3333 1.6667 2.1667 2.8167 5.6667 1.0000 1.3333 1.6667 2.1667 2.8167 5.6667
0 40:00 40:00 53:20 1:06:40 1:26:40 1:52:40 3:46:40 1:40:00 2:13:20 2:46:40 3:36:40 4:41:40 9:26:40
1 20:00 20:00 26:40 33:20 43:20 56:20 1:53:20 50:00 1:06:40 1:23:20 1:48:20 2:20:50 4:43:20
2 13:20 13:20 17:47 22:13 28:53 37:33 1:15:33 33:20 44:27 55:33 1:12:13 1:33:53 3:08:53
3 10:00 10:00 13:20 16:40 21:40 28:10 56:40 25:00 33:20 41:40 54:10 1:10:25 2:21:40
4 8:00 8:00 10:40 13:20 17:20 22:32 45:20 20:00 26:40 33:20 43:20 56:20 1:53:20
5 6:40 6:40 8:53 11:07 14:27 18:47 37:47 16:40 22:13 27:47 36:07 46:57 1:34:27
6 5:45 5:45 7:40 9:35 12:28 16:12 32:35 14:22 19:10 23:58 31:09 40:29 1:21:27
7 5:00 5:00 6:40 8:20 10:50 14:05 28:20 12:30 16:40 20:50 27:05 35:12 1:10:50
8 4:27 4:27 5:56 7:25 9:39 12:32 25:13 11:08 14:50 18:33 24:06 31:20 1:03:02
9 4:00 4:00 5:20 6:40 8:40 11:16 22:40 10:00 13:20 16:40 21:40 28:10 56:40
10 3:40 3:40 4:53 6:07 7:57 10:20 20:47 9:10 12:13 15:17 19:52 25:49 51:57

"Jogging" is Sam's default speed. Not sure what to call it; "running" is a general term that includes sprinting for most people, and he's clearly going faster than walking. So on my pages, to keep everything clear, Jog speed specifically means: Sam's default speed; no Shift boost to Sprint and of course no Walk or Crouch.

Jogging is the default speed with KB+M and the maximum non-Sprinting speed with controller. With an analog stick, Sam’s speed varies based on how far you push the stick, the lowest speed being something of a power walk.

As you can see, boots take 2.5 times as long to wear out when Jogging rather than Sprinting. Said the other way, they only last 40% as long when Sprinting versus when Jogging.

More details on testing different boots

This table is not actual observed values. Instead, I did ~300 stairstep trials in Mule Boots as I learned how the whole stairstep system worked, including on different skeletons and levels of Sam. Then I did a smaller number of tests on other boots, which both got me their multiplier compared to Mules and confirmed that they, too, use the same approach. Then for this table, I used all this data and smoothed it over just a little into something that best approaches what the games shows as a whole. For example, I removed 2 or 3 seconds from individual test results to account for interface lag, while also keeping an eye on how it affected the multiplicative relationships between boots. In theory I might then have checked that everything still looked good, but I already knew it did because of how consistent everything is.

The simplified info I presented in the Overview only went to step 7 (5:00), but this All Boots table goes to step 10 (3:40). This is because the Overview (accurately!) shows you everything my highest-level Sam can see (with a baseline of 130 kg). But you start the game at baseline 80, and in theory have more "room" to wear out your boots faster, laugh. This is especially true when you first get, e.g., the ATS3. It has the highest increased capacity of any skel that's not a Power skel. (The PS increases your baseline by 80.) That's why you can get to higher steps (and wear out boots faster) in late mid-game... you can carry heavier loads, but your baseline hasn't increased much yet, because you probably don't have much chiral crystals.

To make a long story short, I got data for Step 8 to 10 by putting an ATS3 on a mid-game Sam who didn't have many CXls.

How precise is the All Boots table? I tested Sam in Chiral Boots, Jogging at Step 0 (low load). Left my PC on with Sam Jogging all night long. In the morning, I got 9:26:07 versus the 9:26:40 in the table above. So after 9½ hours, it was only off by 33 seconds. (9:26:40 is 34,000 seconds; 33/34,000 is a difference of 0.097%.)

Anybody that wants to scrutinize the data closely or try to reproduce it should know it's hard to get these values super-precise:

  • Any short-duration values (less than, say, half an hour) can suffer from interface lags (at least 2-3 seconds) and other problems that amount to anywhere from 2 to 20 seconds. So this might only be precise to about 1%. IOW, only good to two figures.
  • Longer trials in theory greatly reduce the impact of the relatively minor errors you get with any trial (like shorter ones). But here, there seems to be a very small amount of timing imprecision under the hood, even when using Game Time. Over long periods of time it can add up. The net result is that even though long trials help minimize the small, fixed errors of short trials, they introduce their own long-term imprecision.
  • So you're kind of screwed, if you really want to get something super precise.
  • The best I could do is try to do a lot of trials, and then guesstimate the underlying "truth" that the devs were aiming at. Namely, the rather simple fixed multipliers you see in the boot testing tables.
  • But I got tired of doing very long boot tests on all the different types of boots. As a result, I saw some discrepancies trying to make the results look smooth and predictable, especially with the BB3 results, and BB3 compared to CBs. For instance, I'm not sure if BB3 should be a little higher and/or CB should have a Cumulative multiplier of simply 5.6333. In point of fact in my results I had three long-term values for both BB3s and CBs and couldn't find any multipliers that made everything look great. So I sort of sighed and said to myself, "You've been spending too much time on this. Make a call and post it up." Laugh.

To make a long story short: Your results will not exactly match what I have, but they should be extremely close.

And if all you want to do is know what step you're on, this is super easy. Look at the values in the table. If your results are only off by 5 or even 20 seconds, there's just no way to confuse one step with another. (Okay, maybe with Mule Boots for Step 8+. But you can always run it again a few times or use better boots or run on a road or Walk if a particular step's time is real short.)

If you can't get anywhere close to my values, or yours have a lot of variation if you try to repeat them, carefully read my notes on checking your values, below.

I didn't put any load (kg) in the Step column because the starting baseline point (end of Step 0) depends on how many chiral crystals your Sam is carrying. But you can see my simplified examples above if you want.

Other Factors Affecting Boot Wear

Roads

All roads in the game reduce boot wear by four times. This includes:

  • Autopaver highways
  • All roads (that are clearly roads) coursing around big knots

More details on what's a road

These things are not roads:

  • Not the concrete sidewalks lining many of the roads in and around big knots. Illustration:
    • Right across from Cap KC is the main incoming road, a little strip of concrete island, and another smaller access road.
    • Both the main road and access road are 4x durability, but the concrete island is not.
Boot Testing next to the Terminal in the Lobby of the DC S LKC
  • Not the floor of a big knot's "lobby" (the "downstairs" room of a big knot, with its terminal). Thank heavens ... boot testing is super simple running right next to the terminal, where it's so easy to switch up the load out. If it were road, tests there would've taken four times longer.
  • Paths across the landscape are not Road. (Paths are where the grass and ground is trampled smooth.)

At the entrance to big knot buildings, the apron (or tongue or lower jaw) at the entrance is considered road.

  • This only applies to the light-gray level part where it meets nearby road.
  • It does not apply to the dark-gray surface right at the top of the ramp going down into the terminal's lobby, that looks like a lowered hydraulic door.
  • It also doesn't apply to the level floor that's down in the "lobby".
  • I haven't tested the descending ramp itself; it's not a good place to test boots. But it's probably not road either, since the areas above and below it are not road, and it looks like the same type of surface.

I don't know about some of the "maybe" roads, like the little side parking slots at DC N of MKC, etc. Every place I've specifically mentioned had to be assayed with at least one 5-minute test. It's a lot of work to test everything, so I didn't. You still get the general idea.

This is as good a place as any to mention:

It doesn't matter if roads are inside or outside a knot's perimeter line, unlike for stamina/fatigue and energy:

  • You never use energy anywhere inside knot perimeters, whether road or not. Outside the perimeter, you have to be in the centerline of autopavers to be on the grid.
Tip: Your running lights are green if you're on the grid.
  • You never lose stamina or incur fatigue anywhere inside knot perimeters. They do affect you anywhere outside perimeters, even on the centerline of autopavers (unless riding a vehicle, of course).

To see how long boots last when on roads, just multiply any of the boot-duration times by four.

Walk's Low Rate of Boot Wear

If you Walk, boots only wear out half as fast as Jogging (1/2), and a fifth as fast as Sprinting (1 / (2 x 2.5)).

The PC has a Walking Speed slider at:

  System / Options / Controls (Keyboard & Mouse) / Walking Speed

It goes from 1 to 100. The default is 30.

Values at or below Walk 88 count as the slow (Walk) rate for boot-wear purposes (this equals 14.5 kph off road, 15.3 kph on roads). At Walk 89 and above, you get the medium (Jog) wear rate.

The majority of players probably don't care about boot wear this much. Bridges boots are practically free, right? But still, it doesn't hurt to be aware of it. Plus some folks actually want to take their time to enjoy the scenery. A few even want to be as efficient as possible, even if it is all funny money. In the final analysis, it's just a game. It can be played any way you want.

More details on Walk speed, including versus Crouch

On roads, there's a cut-off at Walk 91 where it equals Jog speed (15.5), and increasing it more (to 100) won't make you go faster. (You can still set the slider from 92 to 100, but this just pegs you at 15.5 kph.) Two implications:

  • You can't exploit this to Walk a little faster than you can Jog, while also getting half the boot wear. (Using the Walk-rate equation, Walk 100 would've gotten you to 16.3 kph, which is 5.2% faster that Jog's 15.5 kph.)
  • By Walking at setting 88 or less, your boots last twice as long. Walk 88 is 15.3 kph, only 1.5% slower than Jog (1 - 15.26/15.50). It's so close that you don't notice any difference. (Which also makes it hard to tell if Walk is on or not, laugh.)

Also:

Crouch (by itself) doesn't get the lower boot-wear rate. Even though it's 12.1 kph, considerably slower than 15.3 (with Walk 88). Effectively, you must Walk to make your boots last twice as long. Don't ask me why they set it up like that, but they did. So strictly speaking, it's not actually the speed you're going. It's just whether you're Walking.

It's possible to both Crouch and Walk. Unlike Sprint, these are not mutually exclusive. If you do both, you'll get Slow boot-wear if Walking Speed is 88 or less. Just to be clear: I'm not saying Crouch prevents the Slow wear rate. It's just that if you only Crouch, then you're not Walking (at 88 or below). You must Walk (at 88 or less) to get the lower rate. If you also Crouch, then you also get the low wear rate.

To see how long it takes to wear out particular types of boots, just multiply Jog times by 2, or Sprint times by 5.

For much more about Walk Slow and Crouch, including graphs of speeds relative to the slider, see Speed: Walk and Crouch Speeds.

Snow

In very limited testing, boots last ~18% longer in Snow. (That's snow on the ground; I don't mean "while snow is falling". Also, I was not on, and didn't test, paths through snow. But they are probably the same as paths in non-snowy terrain. Which is to say, the same rates as normal terrain.) I only did five trials:

  • Steps 3, 4, 9, and 10 (this last one twice)
  • Only Sprinting in an ATS3 with Mule boots

All results were ~1.18 times the expected boot-duration step value for that load and skel while Sprinting in Mule boots.

In case you didn't know, the All-Terrain Skel moves considerably faster in snow than the other two (or no skel). See Speed.

Trudge Speed Boot Wear

When you carry so much you can barely move, you've been Trudged.

You can only go 2.25 kph when Trudging. Its rate of boot wear equals the Jogging rate of boot wear. Compare the Grand Table of Boot Wear Rates.

Holy crap, I wrote a short section??

Other Factors affecting Boot Deterioration

The Tips section Sam: Movement has this entry called Footwear Deterioration:

Walking will cause footwear to gradually deteriorate until it is eventually damaged beyond repair. The heavier Sam's load becomes, the faster the rate of deterioration. Rough terrain, jumping, falling over, and sliding downhill will cause footwear to deteriorate at an even more rapid rate.

So that's:

  • Heavier load
  • Rough terrain
  • Jumping
  • Falling over
  • Sliding downhill

I've got heavier loads covered. The others would be pretty hard to test in a uniform, predictable way. A.k.a., which rough terrain? And most slides and spills take real time to set up each test but only last moments, which makes it arduous to test dozens or hundreds of times to get good numbers on the amount of wear.

Still, most of these other actions are less frequent and can be minimized if you try.

So anyway, there's the official word on what causes boot wear.

How to Check Your Stairstep Values

I wrote this section before I discovered the easy way to find your Trudge Point, which also tells you your all-important baseline. What follows is how I did the most of my boot testing (362 trials so far, as of 9/29/21). Thus it's kind of a historical piece, but also may help someone trying to pin down values. Especially if you find they don't conform to what I found, and you can't use any tricks on them.


The easiest way to find your stairstep values is: give Sam a near-max load (like, 0.2 kg less than your max capacity) and do a Sprint test. Preferably in the highest level ATS skel you have. (Don't use a Power Skel.) Time it and look up your result in the table for the kind of boots you're wearing. You should find something extremely close to a step value for that type of boot (but I'd be surprised if it's exactly that value). See Testing (below) for more info.

You want to max your load because it will give the quickest test. Important because you're going to use that highest step to find the edge of the stairstep boundary. You're going to repeat it a lot, so you want it to be fast.

Here's what it might look if you're trying to find a stairstep boundary, when your max capacity is, say, 250 kg in an ATS3. Using Mule Boots so it goes the fastest (but you can use any boot you want):

Trial kg Time Notes
1 249.8 04:03 Initial range-finder just below 250 kg max tells us we're on Step 9. Note how I always have an 2-3 extra seconds relative to the modelled values due to interface lag. Sometimes even 1 to 5 seconds. But you still know what step you're on.
2 240.0 04:30 Steps are 20 kg wide so I try 10 kg, half of that (the quickest way to divide something up). 250 - 10 = 240. This trials finds we've already crossed into Step 8 territory.
3 245.0 04:29 So I divide 250 and 240 in half, and try this. Still Step 8. Okay, go higher. Divide the gap by 2.
4 247.5 04:02 Okay, we're back in Step 9. Divide the gap in half...
5 246.3 04:28 Okay, back in Step 8. Divide again...
6 246.9 04:03 Step 9. Divide...
7 246.6 04:04 Still Step 9. Divide going back (246.6 and 246.3). Could chose .4 or .5; I'll go with .5 for the helluvit (nice and round)...
8 246.5 04:29 Bingo! Step 8 ends here; Step 9 starts at 246.6 (the previous datapoint).

And that's all she wrote! Now you know:

  • Where all the steps start and end (subtract 20 from the Step 8/9 boundary).
  • If Step 8 ends at 246.5, then Step 0 ends at 86.5 (246.5 - (8 x 20)).
  • The above holds for ATS, SS, and no skel. For the Power Skel, add 80 to the 86.5 baseline. Its step 0 ends at 166.5. And remember its steps are 40-kg wide, not 20.

If you wanted to confirm, you could, e.g., test the edges of Step 0 and 1 (86.5 kg should be 40:00, and 86.6 kg should be 20:00). Or whatever.

Just so it's clear: What we have effectively done here is confirmed that the stairsteps work as described, and in this case, it's also reflecting / confirming that your Sam has 6,500 cgs of CXls on him. (That's why the baseline in this example is 86.5 kg, not the 80.0 kg with no CXls.)

Notes on Testing Boot Duration

For anyone interested. You have to Expand this element for the subheadings visible in this page's Table of Contents.

Boot Testing Conditions

For better and for worse, I did most boot testing running against a wall at a knot (often while afk). These test conditions do NOT have:

  • Any need for power, since everything inside knot perimeters is on the energy grid.
Of course, you can easily set up a generator outside a knot. Still, knots are great for testing boots. (But you can't test energy usage there!)
  • Any stamina or fatigue effects, unlike the real world. You don't suffer from these inside knot perimeters.

A Countdown Timer is great for a.f.k.

For longer tests, I set a countdown timer on my phone that's about 1 minute before the expected end of a test. (So I can get back to my PC if I walked away.)

But if you're testing a boundary, like trying to confirm the Step 0 (40 minutes) to Step 1 (20 mins.) edge from the example above ... If it barely misses, 39 minutes would completely miss a 20-minute result.

So I usually set it for the lower boundary value (19) just to be sure. If it's still doing fine at 19 minutes (only about halfway done), you know it's on track for 40.

Step Edges, Baseline, and Trudge Point are sometimes ± 0.1 kg

I've talked about step edges like they're hard and fast. But in fact, edges can be ± 0.1.

  • They probably are precise, under the hood. But measuring them via testing sometimes showed variation. One day a test would say the edge was 86.5, the next day 86.6. Maybe it's something in the algorithm. Or some rounding effect?
  • Or possibly it has to do with the weights you're using. Consider that if you have two EX grenades on you, both of which only have one charge left, individually they say they weigh 0.5 kg. But if you remove one of the two, you lose 0.6 kg. Clearly they have some kind of remainder past the 0.5. (So n.b., DS isn't always good to 0.1 per se... that's just all it shows!) So, when possible, I try to avoid grenades and other things whose weight decreases when charges are used (like climbing anchors). I use materials containers as much as possible, but they can only do so much when you're trying to find edges good to 0.1. Also see Precision of Weight Measurement and Pinpointing Fine Differences.

Whatever it is, you've been forewarned.

How to tell if Sam is Sprinting or not

You want Sam to always move at the same speed throughout a given test (always Sprinting if testing that, Jogging if testing that, etc.). But it can be hard to tell just what he's actually doing sometimes, especially if he's moving against a wall (and therefore not actually moving along the ground at all). His movement animations can be affected (e.g., Sprint look like Jog) if his POV isn't free to move around, such as inside a knot building.

Here are ways to tell if Sam is Sprinting or not:

  • If you have a skeleton:
    • Sprinting causes a mechanical whine (loud at first, then very soft).
    • The light bars on Sam's ass blink out every ~1.6 seconds. For me, this isn't always clear, especially if he has lots of stuff hanging off his back around there.
    • The tiny battery to the left of the battery meter gauge (lower left) will have a little glowing cloud around it. This is pretty definitive. If you're not sprinting (or not using energy, like if you don't have a skel), there's no cloud.
  • But he might not have a skeleton on, especially if testing an early (low level) Sam.
    • Sometimes you can tell by how his hands move. They whip around much faster when Sprinting. Watch him sprint versus jogging a little before you test; look for any distinct differences that stand out for you.
      • You might've thought that simply watching how fast his feet move would be enough, but it's not for me... his feet always move in these tests. Is it faster now? I dunno. It's not definitive to me.
  • The best test of all is to simply pop him in and out of the desired speed briefly, using its toggle (Shift for Boost, Control for Walk, etc.). Don't worry, a split second at the other speed is only going to change the results by less than a second. He's still moving (and wearing out his boots); it's just a little change in how fast, for a very short while.
    • When he slows down (from Sprinting to Jogging), the camera creeps up on him. (But you won't see this if you're running in a corner of the cramped confines of a prepper shelter.)
    • When he speeds up, the camera falls back a little, and Sam does a little burst of running.
    • It's this little burst of leg movement that's definitive, to verify Sprinting versus Jogging.
    • Walking is a whole nother deal. If your Walk Slider is set real low, you'll just have to free-move a little (not jammed against a wall) and see which is slower, when you hit Control or not.
    • But really the easiest way to be sure you're Walking is just to make sure you hit Control once (and only once) right at the beginning of any Walk trial.
Remember that almost any menu action (Map, Inventory) drops you out of Walk. You can always reset it easily. But for highly precise results, you want to avoid the extra interface lag that'll cause.

How to tell if Sam fell while you were a.f.k.

If you're running a lot of tests, especially with Sam heavily loaded and you afk, it's entirely possible he will spontaneously stumble and fall... but because you have Forward jammed, he'll get back up and keep moving into that same wall or corner. And it'll look like everything's hunky dory when you get back to your PC.

But if he had been Sprinting, he'll now be Jogging - which can completely boggle your timing results.

Here's how to see if Sam fell:

  • If he had something on top of his pack, it may have fallen off. Thus it's better not to have cargo on the ground near you, so it's obvious when there's something new on the ground.
    • Also you should always check the weight of his load when done. Both to protect against this, and just to double-check that you got the load right in your notes. (If you do a lot of tests, they start running together in your mind after a while!)
  • He usually loses blood from falling (like 99 or 49 mL). If Sam has blood packs, they should be full so it's obvious when one's been drained. If you don't have any, it'll be obvious from his health (blood) bar.
  • Of course, if you're testing Sprinting, it's always good to check that he still is Sprinting, just before the test ends. If he's not and you're sure you started with him Sprinting, he must have fallen when you were afk.
  • If you're at your PC and actually catch Sam falling, I usually just pick up anything that fell off his pack, and keep him running. It's only going to add maybe 5-7 seconds to his time. The current (relative) Step should still be clear. You just can't use that result as a highly precise measure of the time needed for that particular step. But it'll still tell you which step it is.

Sticking down a key

A bread-clip nib against my Up key

If it helps: You can use a piece of a bread clip to hold down the Up key on a PC keyboard, for boot testing. They were just the right size for my keyboard.

But first, go into your keyboard options to make Up also equal Forward. (You can assign two keys to each action. Keep the W, of course.) It's better to stick down the Up key because it doesn't have other keys above it (like W does). The edge of the keyboard housing here gives the nib a nice firm edge to stick against.

Unfortunately, the nib doesn't work for vehicle battery usage (where I drove vehicles into walls until they ran out of juice). The Up key refuses to work for them, even though it works for Sam. I guess the devs must have redefined these key sets separately when they ported from the PS4.

So for vehicles, I use a flat backscratcher (with a little weight on it) to reach over my keyboard and hold down the W key, lol.

Whatever works.

Only use a Stopwatch in addition to using Game Time, for any tests that involve time

I do not recommend using only a Stopwatch instead of Game Time (Order Time). Game Time is not always consistent with real time. At worst, it's off by up to 20%. Your results will seem inconsistent or even goofy if you only use a real-time stopwatch.

Don't ask me why, nor does it matter to anyone playing the game. But it's big enough to make test results seem pretty variable.

The size of the variation differs from day to day, DS session to session, even hour to hour. I haven't found any way to predict it. Over half of the time it's very close (within a few percent). Other times it's off by 5 or 10%. And infrequently, as much as 20%.

Differences likes this will cause "unexplainable" (i.e., non-repeatable) results, where you can't seem to pin down a value, or think my values are off. (They're unexplainable because if you only use a stopwatch, you won't realize that DS time was doing its own thing.)

You have to use game time to stay consistent with what's happening in the game world, to see the values as precisely as I did.

Plus, game time comes with a real upside: You can stay in menus as long as you want (copying data, etc.). It pauses while you're in menus. Conversely, it would be a real chore to keep starting and stopping a stopwatch if you need to keep an eye on a value. Or to feverishly write down numbers while the clock keeps ticking.

There are a few exceptions to this rule where I myself used a stopwatch.

Can I bring up the menu (Tab) during boot testing?

I never did, but... sure, you can. It will introduce a little interface lag each time you do it, but the steps should still be clear (if you subtract a 2-3 seconds, or whatever, for each time you hit Tab). I don't recommend it if you're trying to get precision values for Steps though (as opposed to just trying to see what Step you're on, in general).

Interface Lag and Boot Testing

Each test usually adds 2-3 seconds of additional time. Occasionally it might be 1-5. This is due to interface lag, as described here.

It was very clear that it was added. Look at the Mule Boot times in my tables. In reality, Step 0 would always be 40:02 or 40:03 (or even 40:01 or 40:05) instead of 40:00. Even a short high-level Step (like 5:00) would be exactly the same way (5:02, 5:03, etc.).

When you already know that there's interface lag, and the values become very pretty and consistent if you remove this small amount of extra time, it's clear that you're seeing it in your results.

Here's what contributed to it, for boot testing:

  • Actual interface lag (~1.6 seconds).
  • Getting Sam moving the instant you start the test.
You're standing still at that moment. First you hit Forward, then you hit Boost. Both of these will add a teeny amount of time that you're not already Sprinting.
  • Time to react (hit Tab) the instant the boot is destroyed. It's probably a sizable fraction of a second, but could be longer if not watching like a hawk and hovering over the Tab key.

Some might ask, "why use Order Time if it's always going to be off?"

Because I'd rather deal with the devil I know, than the one I don't. I know interface lag adds about 2-3 seconds. But if I were using a stopwatch instead, then:

  • I'd have to struggle with multitasking the stopwatch the same instant I start Sprinting.
  • Sometimes the stopwatch is off relative to game time. Once, it was off by 16%.
  • And if you ever brought up the Map to check something or pause the game during the test, the stopwatch is completely sunk.

But Order Time isn't ... it'd just add another fixed 2-3 seconds to the time, no matter how long I stayed in the menu.

All this adds up to the stopwatch not being consistently reliable. but Order Time is consistently unreliable in a completely reliable way (lol), adding just a few seconds each time.

I'll take it.

Testing Partial Boot Wear (not wearing them out 100%)

Strictly speaking, you don't have to test boots all the way from 0% to 100% Damage (Destroyed). Honestly, you really only need to do this if you want to confirm exact step times. Past that, you can extrapolate from lesser damage. These "partial tests" are fine if done intelligently:

  • Notice that if you walk just one step, new boots go from 0% to 1% damage. Yet it takes far more time to truly wear boots out by 1%. Said another way, percent boot damage is conservative, much like the blood and grenade fullness bars: they only show completely full when they are completely full.
I think this is great as a general rule while playing the game, because you can see at a glance whether something's truly full. But it leads to complications for something like boot testing.
  • Because the boot damage percent is conservative and rounds up, it means that the percent you're seeing is actually somewhere from x% to (x-1)%. (Consider what happens at 0% damage, when you first start walking.) Therefore, when testing only partially-damaged boots, all you need is enough damage so that the x-1 to x% is enough to pin down one of the known wear stairsteps. A spreadsheet is helpful here:
    • Write down the damage at end of test (x%), and how long it took.
    • Have two result columns: time * (100 / x%) and time * (100 / (x-1)%). Example:
      Sam has a middling load and Mule Boots, and got them to 28% damage in 5:33 minutes:
          x:   5:33 * ( 100 / 28 ) = 5:33 * 3.57 = 19:49
          x-1: 5:33 * ( 100 / 27 ) = 5:33 * 3.70 = 20:33
19:49 to 20:33 includes Step 1 (20:00) and is far from Step 0 (40:00) or Step 2 (13:20). So this example is clearly Step 1.
  • Testing for very short times OR only a little boot damage greatly inflates the range you obtain (the "19:49 to 20:33" above). You can only push this so far.
    • If it's a very short step duration (like Step 8 is only 5 minutes for Mules), why not just test it to 100%.
  • If you use partial damage, I would subtract 2 or 3 seconds from the time of the test for interface lag. Otherwise this small, unavoidable difference will be multiplied, especially if you have very short times.
    • You should play with your test setup a little to see if your interface lag is like mine. I usually had 2-3 seconds, even though I was starting and stopping as fast as I could. Sometimes it was more like 1-5 seconds.
  • I personally always started with boots that had 0% Damage. They're easy to get, and I set up all my calculations for it. I used savegames to test small sets of 100% Mule and Terrorist Boots (and one Porter Boot) over and over. I just fabricated Bridges Boots. And I had a number of Chiral Boots. It's really pretty easy to test 100% healthy boots using savegames.
Coming at it from the other side,
You can start with something that's not 0% Damage if you want, but you'll need to account for the additional variability. If you're also not testing them to 100% Destroyed, now you have two sources of variability to deal with.
I just kept it simple and clean and always started at 0%. But I didn't always go to 100%, after I'd seen the same stairsteps so often that I could see them coming a mile away. Sometimes I'd just extrapolate and check that the projected range included a particular step, and no other steps. (That said, I still did lots of testing to 100%. You have to do that if you're trying to make sure a model works precisely that way in every new situation.)

Are stairsteps always 20 kg (40 for Power skel)?

Yes.

But sometimes the edge (right where it transitions) might be on one side or another; see testing notes. (Technically this could make a step appear to be 20.1 or even 20.2 kg wide, if it waffled on both sides of the step.)

Past that, I haven't seen anything that contradicts the stairstep model and step widths.

But I did see some odd things in early testing (before I understood the stairstep nature) that were not 20 kg that I had to go back and check, at which point I did find it to be 20-kg.

I will say this:

If you have low fatigue or stamina, or perhaps especially if you've been injured, it is possible it will affect the test results. So make sure you're all healed before you start testing.

Unless you want to test these conditions on the model. (I haven't tested it.)

N.b.: If Sam spontaneously stumbles and falls while testing a heavy load, he'll take damage (probably 99 mL of blood). So either have more blood so he can heal, or at least be sure to make a note of it, if you continue that particular trial or use its result. Then you'll have a clue as to why it differed, if it doesn't match my model.

You'll forget exactly what happened in earlier trials unless you make notes.

Grand Table of Boot Wear Rates

This page is already so fricking long that I put this into an expandable section, laugh:

Grand Table of Boot Wear Rates

Maxxed Sam Mule Boot duration versus load - both schedules
Load versus Mule boot duration at Jog speed
Loads over 300 kg versus Mule boot duration at Jog speed

All times are for Mule Boots. For other types, multiply by the Cumulative value in the little table at the beginning of Stair-Step Values for All Boots.

This table only applies to a max-level Sam with baseline 130.0 kg, Bonus Chiral Capacity (BCC) of 50.0 kg. The Step kgs must be adjusted for lower BCCs or the kg boundaries will be wrong.

For example, a newbie Sam has no BCC. His Step 0 is 0.0 to 80.0 kg, Step 1 is 80.1 to 100.0 kg, and Step 2 is 100.1 to 120.0. His max capacity is 120 kg and with no skels available, his Trudge Point is straight-up 120.1 kg.

As discussed above, steps are 20 kg wide for all configs (All-Terrain, Speed, or no skel) except Power Skel. For the Power Skel, the baseline starts 80 kg higher, and steps are 40 kg wide.

For Speed columns:

  • Sprint. It doesn't matter if you're using a Speed Skel or not.
  • Jog is Sam's standard speed, which I call Jog speed for lack of a better term. ("Run" is too general and could apply to Sprint.)
    • Boots last 2.5 longer than when Sprinting.
    • The Jog rate is also used when you're Crouching (if not also Walking) and when you're Trudged (overburdened).
  • At Walk speed (set to 88 or lower on PC; see above), boots last two times longer than Jog, and five times longer than Sprint (2.5 x 2).
  • On Roads, boots last four times longer.
  • In Snow, boots last ~18% longer (not shown below).

Longevity of Mule Boots versus Load, Speed, and Roads
for a maxxed Sam (baseline 130.0, Delivery Volume 60+, BCC +50.0 kg)
Step Step Width 20 kg
(No Power Skel)
Speed
Not on Road
Speed
On Road (x4)
Step Width 40
(With Power Skel)
See
End
Note
Start End Sprint Jog Walk Sprint Jog Walk Start End
0 0.0 130.0 40:00 1:40:00 3:20:00 2:40:00 6:40:00 13:20:00 0.0 210.0
1 130.1 150.0 20:00 50:00 1:40:00 1:20:00 3:20:00 6:40:00 210.1 250.0
2 150.1 170.0 13:20 33:20 1:06:40 53:20 2:13:20 4:26:40 250.1 290.0
3 170.1 190.0 10:00 25:00 50:00 40:00 1:40:00 3:20:00 290.1 330.0 1
4 190.1 210.0 8:00 20:00 40:00 32:00 1:20:00 2:40:00 330.1 370.0
5 210.1 230.0 6:40 16:40 33:20 26:40 1:06:40 2:13:20 370.1 410.0 2
6 230.1 250.0 5:45 14:22 28:45 23:00 57:30 1:55:00
7 250.1 270.0 5:00 12:30 25:00 20:00 50:00 1:40:00
8 270.1 290.0 4:26 11:05 22:10 17:44 44:20 1:28:40
9 290.1 310.0 4:00 10:00 20:00 16:00 40:00 1:20:00
10 310.1 330.0 3:38 9:05 18:10 14:33 36:20 1:12:40 3
11 330.1 350.0 8:20 33:20
12 350.1 370.0 7:40 30:40
13 370.1 390.0 7:10 28:40
14 390.1 410.0 6:40 26:40
15 410.1 430.0 6:15 25:00
16 430.1 450.0 5:52 23:28
17 450.1 470.0 5:30 22:00
18 470.1 490.0 5:15 21:00
19 490.1 510.0 5:00 20:00
20 510.1 530.0 4:45 19:00
21 530.1 550.0 4:35 18:19
22 550.1 570.0 4:20 17:20
23 570.1 590.0 4:10 16:40
24 590.1 610.0 4:00 16:00
25 610.1 630.0 3:50 15:20
26 630.1 650.0 3:42 14:48
27 650.1 670.0 3:35 14:20
28 670.1 690.0 3:27 13:48
29 690.1 710.0 3:20 13:20
30 710.1 730.0 3:15 13:00
31 730.1 750.0 3:08 12:30
32 750.1 770.0 3:00 12:00
33 770.1 790.0 2:56 11:45
34 790.1 810.0 2:50 11:20
35 810.1 830.0 2:46 11:04
36 830.1 850.0 2:43 10:52
37 850.1 870.0 2:37 10:30 4
38 870.1 890.0
39 890.1 910.0
40 910.1 930.0
41 930.1 950.0
42 950.1 970.0
43 970.1 990.0
44 990.1 1010.0
45 1010.1 1030.0
46 1030.1 1050.0 5

End Notes:

Note 1: Step 3 is the lowest Trudge load possible, AFAIK. I got it from a very early Sam for whom Step 3 was 120.5 to 140.4 kg. This Sam was at the DC W of Cap KC, baseline 80.4, BCC +0.4, Max Cap 125 (Delivery Volume 10), Trudge Point 125.5. Load was 125.6 kg, and Mule Boots lasted 25:00.

Remember, the table above is showing the Step Loads for my maxxed Sam (Baseline 130.0, BCC +50.0). You must recompute the kg boundaries for the steps, for any other baseline (i.e., anything less than BCC +50).

Note 2: Step 5 is the point where the Power Skeleton ceases to function due to being overloaded. On my maxxed Sam (baseline 130.0, BCC +50.0), a Power Skel 3 (+80 baseline) gave him a displayed Max Cap of 330.0 kg, which the BCC brought to 380.0 kg. At 380.1 (Trudge Point), the Power Skel no longer works. Although one could easily generate the values for additional Power Skel steps, it would be meaningless (and confusing to readers) because it no longer applies in the game; it can't be done.

Still... look at how you're still only on Step 5 when you're carrying more than you possibly could in a working ATS3 (270 + 50 = 320, Step 10). You really feel how much better handling the PS has even with max possible load. Power Skels are beasts!

Note 3: Similar to End Note 2, Step 10 is the highest Trudge Point that can be reached with skels besides the PS. Specifically, on my maxxed Sam (baseline 130.0, BCC +50.0), the All-Terrain Skel 3 (displayed max cap 270) can only get to 320.0 before Sam is Trudged at 320.1 kg. Once you're Trudged, you can no longer Sprint or Walk and only the medium-speed (Jog) values can be used. Of course, you could still Trudge on a Road.

And Yes, the Road 4x applies while Trudging, too. I tested it. You're welcome. 🙂

Note 4: This is the heaviest load I could readily put together using a "relaxed" Sam goes for broke hyperload of 865.6 kg. As a result, I don't know what the times would be for higher steps. All one needs to do to extend this table is get a bunch of High-Density Special Alloys (see next note). Maybe I'll do that one of these days.

You could also use the equation in the graph to continue it, but that's probably a bad idea because it's off the edge of the graph and it's using a 4th-order polynomial. Although the function has a high correlation coefficient, it's only for the data I had. I'm sure it will skew up or down if extrapolated off the graph to the right (or left) because that's beyond its purview. This is true of any function like this... all bets are off outside the domain of available data.

Then again, what does any of this matter? Nobody cares exactly how fast boots wear out when trudging anyway, lol. Players hardly ever trudge. It's just a matter of curiosity. Still, some may be curious enough to flesh it out.

Note 5: A load of 1,033.5 is the highest theoretical hyperload I can think of, but I didn't have the 14 High-Density Special Alloys on hand that I'd need to test it. Maybe someone else can figure out the Trudge times for Steps 38 to 46 some day.

Boot Damage Indicators and Impact

The indicators are pretty simple:

  • At 66% Damage, you get the yellow text warning "Footwear almost ruined" but the boot bar is still green.
  • At 70% Damage, the boot bar goes yellow and starts pulsing yellow. There's no text message.
  • Unlike for other items and structures, there's no red text message, and the boot bar never goes red. It just stays yellow until your boots are destroyed.

It's not a big deal, because you can always just look at the bar and see how much health is left.

Sam starts talking about his boots, and large knots will warn you too, when they're pretty worn. I'm not sure what exact damage percent, though.

More on the impact of worn-out boots

The impact of having highly-worn boots is hard to test. But consider:

  • The Tip Sam: Stamina / Losing Blood Due to Damaged Feet says "Walking barefoot or in worn-out boots will damage your feet."
You will definitely track and lose blood if your boots are actually destroyed (you're still wearing them but they say "Destroyed").
But I've never tracked blood when boots were not yet Destroyed, even when 99% damaged. So I think that here, "worn-out" means "completely worn-out"; destroyed.
  • The next Tip, When Footwear is Damaged, says "If your footwear is damaged, you will tire more easily. If you keep walking regardless, the soles will eventually wear through, damaging your footwear beyond repair, and injuring your feet." Two thoughts here:
    • It clearly says that quite worn boots tire you more easily.
    • But it also says they won't actually hurt you until they're Destroyed.

I don't think anybody would argue against the fact that boots need to be Destroyed before you start hurting. Still, I'm just pointing this out that game Tips also make this clear.

On a side note:

It's funny but you won't bleed due to destroyed boots if you're running against a wall or corner (i.e., testing boots), no matter how much weight is on you. The game keeps track of how far you actually go, if you look at your Order Distance, but of course you don't actually go anywhere when running against a wall (the "Distance Traveled" doesn't increase). Apparently DS takes actual distance travelled into account, in this unusual situation.

Sometimes Death Stranding is a pretty amazing piece of software even way down under the hood.

This and That

  • When boot testing, you can carry one (just one) pair of boots through Fragile's fast travel, without it getting the least wear (i.e., keep it at 0% Damage). Put the boots on inside the knot-terminal menus, then go to Private Room, fast travel, exit room, then take them off the instant you get to the new knot's lobby.
It stays at 0% damage (not a single step taken) if you never take a step with it on, outside the menus. It doesn't receive any wear while in the PRoom.