Question of allowing faster disc speed functionnality for emulators runs
3 years ago
France

A new trick about loading times has recently been brought up. For what I know, it's only possible to use with duckstation, and retroarch/beetle.

It consists of changing the emulated disc reading speed. Increasing it causes loading-times to charge faster, much more than was normal disk speed allows for PS1 emulators. It would even be fast enough to stand a chance against the likes of Namcollection and PSTV, though there are no estimations. Despite this, we must put a limit to that disc speed, as it must not yield faster loads than that of consoles, to avoid unfair advantages. Thanks to Amoser who conducted tests, we came to the conclusion that the disc speed should not go higher than these numbers :

  • 2x (quad speed) for duckstation
  • 4x for retroarch/beetle.

Now there might or might not be side-effect gameplay issues that could warrant an automatic ban. But so far, no issues have been reported, and one run (done by the same person who did those tests) has actually been completed using this functionality, without any problems (). So we can't say for sure, and this def need more research in general, but it's not a bad start. Worth mentionning that this has apparently been accepted for other games such as Rayman original, Twisted Metal 4. Though each cases are, needless to say, completely unique.

Anyways, this thread is mainly to discuss if such a practice should be allowed for leaderboards runs. It could be a nice quality of life for those runners, and a nice way to mitigate the main downside of emulation. But you tell us. If it gets allowed, we'll make sure to ask for clarification when people use it in the submission description. Perhaps, even create a whole separate column of information based on that difference (so that it is easier to find).

The final verdict will likely take place during the 12th of this month.

[Edit : disc speed numbers are now in correct order]

Edited by the author 3 years ago
Nazzareno likes this
Super moderatoramoser
He/Him, She/Her, They/Them
3 years ago

To clarify a bit on what I tested and why I tested it in the first place, the idea is to get something closer to what you can get playing the original disc (not NamCollection) version on either the PS2 or the PSTV, both of which are already accepted platforms (although, unfortunately, both still slower than the NamCollection version on PS2 as well).

The particular quad speed setting in question ("4x" on Retroarch/Beetle, which should be equivalent to "2x (Quad Speed)" on DuckStation) was used in this run and compared to both this run (PS2, by agne567) and this run (PSTV, by Harutomo) and found to be slightly slower than both (which is most visible in boss transitions but applies throughout). The next speed up, 8x/4x depending on convention, on the other hand, appears to be slightly faster (although it's still much slower than on NamCollection). So in short, the 4x/2x speed is definitely NOT faster than what you'd get playing on either the PSTV, or whichever PS2 model was used for agne567's run, but it IS a meaningful improvement over playing on a plain PS1 (and consequently a plain PS1 emulator).

The reason I'm hesitant, for now, to consider speeds that bring loading times even closer to the NamCollection version itself (as nice as that would be) is that, unlike with playing the original on faster hardware, there are OTHER differences with that version beyond just loading times, so it's hard to say what would be "fair" quantitatively -- you'd arguably be playing a version of the game that doesn't exist on real hardware.

But for the 2x/4x speed, at least, there's no reason to think (nor any evidence thus far) that there would be any difference from playing the real original version on a real PS2 or PSTV, and in fact there's still a slight disadvantage over those platforms.

Edited by the author 3 years ago
Balneor likes this
France

Well needless to say, I was anticipating a bit more activity than just one comment (from no other than the guy who brought this idea up in the first place). It's not giving much value to this community decision imo.

So anyways, it is decided (maybe as an exception to the above) that we allow DtP runs to use this disc speed feature. Of course, to the disc speed "fair" maximum limit that Amoser provided us. I'll now immediately work on writing the rules and including this new board variable.

(Despite how it might seem like, I'm not angry at anybody or at the situation at hand. It amuses me more than anything. Like how a whole server ping somehow didn't amount to much. Anyways, off for the changes)

[Edit : rule and variable added.]

Edited by the author 3 years ago
Nazzareno likes this
United Kingdom

Lol, I appreciate the effort brother. Also unrelated, you may want to clarify what "The video must display the cutscene that shows up after beating the final boss" means exactly.

Edited by the author 3 years ago
France

I personally thought it was sound, but I wrote a new explanation :

" -The video must show at least seconds of the events that happens after the final split (in-game cutscene content, FMV cutscene, credits) in order to be considered valid. "

Nazzareno likes this
Italy

I was confused too at the beginning (you might remember I asked for explanation), because it made me thought the whole ending had to be shown up to the staff roll.

Balneor likes this
Super moderatoramoser
He/Him, She/Her, They/Them
3 years ago

This is so minor that I almost didn't bother to post, but I wonder if the new wording will make people think that they need to wait all the way until the FMV actually appears, even though I know that's not what it actually says. Maybe it'd be even clearer just to say something like "video must continue until the first line of dialogue after the fight appears"?

France

How's that then ?

" -The video must show the first line of dialogue after the final boss is defeated (in the case of a technical incident, mush show a tiny bit of post fight content for continuity sake) in order to be considered valid. "

Edited by the author 3 years ago
amoser likes this
France

I'm gonna make a little change to the way the disc speed variable works. I'll make it work in such a way that you can write whatever you want in the box. That'll be a life-saver because then we will be able to instantly understand via a look at the board, what emulator the runner used and which speed the disc was set at.

This is how it would read in the boards : duck 2x (quad) retr/bee 4x

I'll also get rid of the "modified" variable after this change (done)

Edited by the author 2 years ago
France

I also think I need to change the rules so that people have to show somewhere in the video that they've used this functionality via the configuration panel of their emulator. This is because I feel like a mere mention of the spec used in the description won't really do, especially in the long run. And also it'll go better with this disc speed board outlook change.

That way people also won't need to declare this information in the description. though they'll never be forbidden to. And exceptionally, runs who didn't do that won't be removed (So only Nazzareno's two latest runs)

Despite saying this, I feel something's wrong with this move (aside from its suddenness), so if it does to you as well please express it cause I can't figure out why

[Edit : Rule written : " If you're running on emulator using a modified disc speed, you need to show its specs in the footage of the run (like after the final split), for it to be deemed verifiable. Maximum allowed values are : - 2x for duckstation ||| - 4x for retroarch/beetle. "]

Edited by the author 2 years ago
Nazzareno likes this
Italy

I agree on both changes. I don't see anything wrong in requesting the players to display the reading speed, since there could be an improvement in using higher, not allowed speeds.

France

In preparation to setting up this system with Klonoa Beach Volleyball, I've revisited DtP's system and rules. Currently tweaking them a little bit. I've mainly added cases for when you don't use FDS, and other disk speed settings for the two special emulators. Also changed the wording a little (as a recall, these rules now belong to the main rule panel).

I might do a quick tour and update some of the recent runs with these variables (mostly using the --- one), for information clarity.

Nazzareno likes this
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