The Hobbit Forum  /  Potential IL-Timing-Change (Locked)
  SchneiderSchneider
(edited: )

On Discord we have been discussing the possibility of changing IL-Timing from the way it currently works (from loading screen to loading screen) to some system which eliminates the menu navigation at the end of the level.

Here is a folder with my notes on the subject:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ofetrl1ilg55gjr/AADilHG7SBPk45ZgojCZEBKXa?dl=0

 
  chrixiam1998chrixiam1998

Regarding Bilbo being frozen at the start of the level, it's also important to note that this doesn't only happen at the start of a level. It also happens:
-Every time a save is loaded
-Every time a room fades in (specifically in A Warm Welcome)
-Every time a room fades out (specifically in A Warm Welcome) (watch a console All Quests run to see why this loses time)
Unless we want to remove all of these instances from timing as well, I'd say to just leave the frozen Bilbo as part of the final IL timing.

We should probably also take note of the differences between Console Any% and PC Any%. As far as I can tell, all of the above still applies to console, with a slight exception: Every level ends on a black screen. For example, in Troll Hole, there's about 1.5 seconds of complete black screen before actually moving to the pause summary screen. If timing were to end on pause summary appearance on PC, would it end the same on console, or end on black screen?

 
  chrixiam1998chrixiam1998

One more thing to note: One of the reasons that's been brought up to change IL timing is that the vendor and pause summary don't really feel like you're "in the level" anymore. As Promageddon said, it feels more like an intermission.

That being said, switching to bookpage for timing wouldn't help with that at all, since the bookpage still comes after the pause summary and vendor. So while I don't think it's necessarily a bad option, it may not be the best option to consider.

 
  SchneiderSchneider
(edited: )

@Chrixiam98:

I agree on the frozen Bilbo issue. Cutting that out would create ambiguity and inconsistency.

Ending timing on the black screen would introduce an issue pertaining to the regular Roast Mutton exit, as the final cutscene is skipped when the screen is completely black. Maybe we could use audio to resolve that?

The only level for which I brought up the bookpage is Dream World. For the regular cases I'm in favor of the score screen (or the black screen preceding it).

Something we should discuss are special exceptions:

Right now the only one is The Clouds burst, which is timed to either the final barrel or the bookpage. I guess this is done because the only gameplay after the final Rube Goldberg cutscene is skipping the cutscene of Bjoern killing Bolg. I approve of this. The cutscene takes about 37 seconds, which is over 20% of the preceding level, going by the current record.

There is, however, a similar instance with All Quests / Glitchless A Warm Welcome on PC. Here we have a few seconds of Bard talking to Bilbo before you can finally exit the level. I lean on leaving this in, as the cutscene isn't too long (about 28 seconds, only just under 5% of the including level) and you actually have to move Bilbo after it to get to the end.

 
  chrixiam1998chrixiam1998

I don't think cutscenes should be cut out purely because they're cutscenes, or purely because they're "too long". If the cutscene is a mid-level cutscene, I think it should be included in the time for the IL. So in the case you mentioned with A Warm Welcome in All Quests/Glitchless, the 28-second cutscene should be included in the IL time.

The Clouds Burst is in an interesting place in regards to IL timing. I guess we've been using the barrel timing for that because that's where we consider the full-game run to be over, but that's probably not the best way to determine.

A Warm Welcome isn't the best level to compare to The Clouds Burst anyway. Yes, there's an unskippable cutscene near the end - but you also have to move more after that cutscene in order to actually finish the level, as you mentioned above. I guess The Clouds Burst is kind of the odd-one-out in this situation, and I wouldn't mind leaving the timing the way it is for that.

As for your point about black-screen timing, you're right in pointing out that it can be as unclear as timing the bookpage if the cutscene is skipped fast enough. So that probably isn't the best option outside of Dream World (which I'd still be in support of timing Dream World to the load screen, even if other levels aren't timed that same way). Although, as you said above, we could potentially use audio to solve that - to an extent. If I recall correctly, Dream World triggers the quest-book sound effect when completed, so maybe we could use that? I'm not sure how many levels use that same sound effect, though, but again, Dream World is inevitably going to be an odd-one-out because of the lack of a puase summary/vendor at the end.

 
  chrixiam1998chrixiam1998
(edited: )

As for my actual stance on timing, here's what my preferences would be:

-All levels should start as soon as the prior load screen ends.
-Dream World should end either on the start of the next load screen, or on the start of the quest-book sound effect (similar to the way a Crash% run on console ends on the start of the crash sound).
-The Clouds Burst should end on the start of the barrel/Rube-Goldberg Machine cutscene.
-All other levels should end either on the black screen, or on the appearance of the pause summary.
-Any and all time between the start and end times (with the exception of load screens themselves, which are removed from the loadless time), including cutscenes, saves, etc. should be included in the final IL timing. This includes the mid-level bookpage cutscene in Inside Information in categories outside of Any%.

Again, this is just my personal stance/thoughts. I'd love to hear others' thoughts on this.

 
  SchneiderSchneider

Just to clarify: What do you have against ending Dream World timing on the bookpage? That's what we currently do for unusual exits to The Clouds Burst.

 
  chrixiam1998chrixiam1998

I have nothing against ending the level on the bookpage, other than how unclear it can be. I probably should have clarified that better. If we do decide to end the other levels on black screen, bookpage seems to be significantly later than that, but if we end the other levels on pause summary appearance, then I definitely wouldn't mind bookpage timing.

And I especially wouldn't mind bookpage timing in general, since that's what I use for my full-game splits.

 
  SchneiderSchneider

Ah, I see the problem now.
On PC there is no fade-in-fade-out between the preceding cutscenes. They hard cut into each other. I would have used the frame right after the bilbo-waking-up-cutscene plays, but since that has a fade-in on console, it doesn't show up when skipped quickly.

I think sound timing is a viable alternative to what we've been doing. It has a much higher sampling rate than video (44100 Hz vs 30/60 FPS) and the sound cuts are very abrupt on console and on PC.

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  chrixiam1998chrixiam1998

I'd definitely be in support of sound timing, at least for Dream World. As for the other levels, I think either black-screen or pause summary would be perfect. Is the sound on my videos clear enough to get a good idea of exactly when the segment would end with that timing?

However, if we end up using sound timing, that means that no ILs without sound can be accepted on the leaderboard. That isn't necessarily a bad thing though, since that could further help with preventing cheating/splicing.

 
  MD_PiMD_Pi
(edited: )

As much as I'm the only person who runs ILs that skip the vendor, we still have to write rules for them, & if we make the vendor (or even the storybook cinematic) the end of level, then we have to write a special case rule for when there is no vendor (or storybook cinematic) that can be applied to all levels. So I personally believe the vendor to be the worst option of the 3 being considered. As for audio timing in DW, I worry many runners may not themselves have the knowledge required to frame time to audio and that the burden of timing runs would be shifted even more onto mods by that change. I do still personally believe that the current rules are the best ones, and I'll give an example as to why; using menu glitches on PC, I have a run of AUP that reaches the vendor in 0.033 seconds, and another run which reaches the roast mutton load screen in 0.100 seconds. I believe the second to be a superior run as it is faster (the vendor will always take more than 0.066 seconds to navigate), but if the rules change the first run would have a faster time. (edit: Actually I'm wrong they would both be 0.00 seconds under the black screen timing, but that still doesn't accurately represent that the second run is faster due to skipping the vendor). But black screen timing could still work without having to write a bunch of rules for exceptional cases at least.

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  chrixiam1998chrixiam1998

If it's possible to skip the vendor, then we definitely should be timing to black-screen.

As for the runners not being able to time their own runs properly, I'd be happy to check/time/verify any runs of Dream World that appear on the leaderboard, if that would help the cause.

I haven't really spoken about this, but my preference overall would still be to just keep the rules the way they currently are. As long as new runners seek out the rules (and PM people or post on these forums if they have questions), I don't see many others having a problem with the current ruleset. Especially for Dream World, it's easier to time to loading screens (with the exception of videos recorded with fade-frames, which will be troublesome no matter what).

If we do end up changing the rules, my preference would be to time to black-screen. But overall my preference would be to just leave the rules as is.

 
  MD_PiMD_Pi

Another potential problem (in this case one I'm not nessacarily against) with black screen timing is that it allows for runs to exist which softlock after finishing the level. However we already allow for this in TCB for full game runs, such as the new PC menu glitches route(which I should really run soon).

 
  chrixiam1998chrixiam1998

To everyone following this thread:
A vote was taken in our Discord. A plurality voted for leaving the timing as is. Therefore, the timing will not be changed as of now.
This thread will now be locked.