The switch to in-game time
3 years ago
Madison, WI, USA

Over 3 years ago, switching the leaderboard to in-game time (IGT) was first brought up. Many of the initial objections to it were that it would be too difficult to migrate existing runs over to IGT.

In October 2017, I started calculating IGT out of curiosity. To my surprise, I found inconsistencies in load times in a few runs, and after calculating IGT for all the 'Cups' runs, I made this post.

In retrospect of the 2018 post, there are a few things I regret that I'll note here quickly:

  • I feel bad about removing Insane's runs from the leaderboard. If we legalize ISO loaders, I'd love to see them back.
  • Using audio spectrograms to detect Dolphin turned out to be a fluke of where the menu music was when you pressed 'OK'. There still may be something of value in analyzing the audio, but it's not as clear cut as it was in the image.

In April 2018, I started the mass conversion of all old runs to IGT, in which I requested help from fellow runners.

Also in April 2018, the category extensions leaderboard was created, which was a crucial testing grounds for the IGT-based leaderboard. This helped immensely in forming a ruleset that prevented abuse of the IGT timing method.

In July 2018, I created mkwii-igt-calc, a purpose-built web app that makes it easier to add up in-game times.

And 2 years later, we've finally finished converting all old and new incoming runs to IGT.

Here's some interesting (not entirely accurate) stats of the IGT conversion process:

  • 1243 runs converted
  • Cups: 690
  • Nitro/Retro: 255
  • 32 Tracks: 298
  • 16376 total tracks converted

Huge shoutouts to the folks that helped convert runs:

  • @AmayaMKWii
  • @Estaloy62
  • @Francesco
  • @Jeroen
  • @MangoMan
  • @NicoPlaysThings
  • @Storster

You can preview what the leaderboard will look like by viewing a leaderboard and clicking the "In-game time" header. Runs with an IGT will appear first, followed by any runs with RTA-only (usually proofless runs). This makes IGT serve as a sort of "Verified" variable that you might see on other games. If you want to compare an RTA-only run to runs with IGT, you can still sort by "Real time".

The switch will come with some rule updates, most of which come from the category extensions page. Some have already been put in place.

Unfortunately, there are many videos from expired Twitch past broadcasts, or terminated YouTube channels that could not be converted to IGT. If you are one of those runners and still have the video, please re-upload and edit your run with the new video and IGT.

Other runs were so poor quality that IGT could not be seen from the video, or a part of the run was cut out. Going forward make sure that IGT can be calculated from your video.

Most major changes to the rules and leaderboard were put off until after the IGT switch. Once it happens, here are some topics of concern. I'll likely spin up a topic for each in the future and run a vote.

@MangoMan proposed setting video-less runs' IGT to the same as their RTA time, effectively giving them an IGT penalty, but still appearing grouped with the "Verified" IGT runs.

Many old runs were performed on USB/SD Card loaders, or just had fast load times that indicated the use of a loader. Legalizing ISO loaders after the IGT switch introduces more accessibility to the game, reinstates old runs, at the risk of more cheating.

Similar to the ISO loader question, but with the added risk of TAS playback and emulator accuracy.

There seems to be strong support for the switch, but I'll leave this post up for about a week to let people show any objections or ask questions. If all goes well, I'll flip the switch.

In the mean time, newly submitted runs won't require IGT, but it is always appreciated.

Edited by the author 3 years ago
Lord_Rigor, 1, and linny356 like this
Maryland, USA

Is this just a Wikipedia page?

Madison, WI, USA

tl;dr IGT switch coming soon

European Union

My thoughts

Run Submissions We should allow people who dont submit proof to also submit IGT. We already do this with real time, whats so different about in game time? We already have a thread about the time cutoffs for real time, but after the switch I say we could draw up some new cutoffs that use in game time instead.

Furthermore, like I brought up in my other thread and on discord, we could ban runs with no proof and require at a minimum that runs have images of the IGT after the race since runners could pause the game to get a photo of the time. There is obviously a possibility of players submitting the photos of others, or even reusing their own photos, but thats why theres a cutoff for when we need video. Its not what I would consider "proof" but its still better than nothing.

Finally, I say for runs with only RTA, set the IGT as RTA. I say this for 2 reasons:

  1. It makes the boards look much cleaner will less missing cells (This doesnt matter that much, but its a bonus)
  2. If Player X only has RTA, but it is still faster than Player Y's IGT, there is in my mind no reason why Player X should be ranked below.

USB/SD Loaders and Emulator I think we should allow USB and SD loaders for the reasons you outlined, but I do not think emulator should ever be allowed. The TAS tools built into dolphin are in my opinion too much of a risk. There is a reason after all why its banned from nearly every wii/gamecube game leaderboard. Not to mention that if you know where to look, Wii's can be pretty cheap.

VS Mode Options I think you should be able to use any order you like. Its an option in the VS mode put there by Nintendo, not some funky exploit. I see no reason to disallow playing with a selected order or random order. Especially since you can chose your starting track.

In a similar vein, I think we should reallow team mode. Nobody used it, but it was not against the rules, I was just simply the only one to think of using it.

Edited by the author 3 years ago
European Union

I only partially agree with you @wastedu6

I do agree it looks very odd that 9th place out of 79 runs has no video, although I believe this is likely due to different rules when this leaderboard was smaller, however I do think that allowing slower runs to have no video actually is beneficial in helping this leaderboard grow.

The fact of the matter is that for some people, recording console gameplay can actually be quite a hassle. Up until recently I could only record my own gameplay if I had a chair in my way that blocked half my vision. Not to mention that some runs can be very long, and people with older phones/recording devices might not have enough storage space for those runs. It also allows new runners to get their feet wet in the MKWii speedrunning scene without needing to bother to much about video quality and stuff.

Finally, I understand that the general attitude here on when it comes to proof is to require video for everything, but the Mario Kart community as a whole has always very much relied on the honor system. Even today in 2020 if you go to the players page you can see players claiming times without proof, and if you would pester those players for proof you would most likely get it. Mandating video proof, or atleast not allowing proofless runs to submit their own IGT in my opinion would not only demotivate potential runners, but would go against the philosophy of the Mario Kart community. Also faster runs already require video proof by our rules.

Westboyka likes this
New Jersey, USA

I do not know that this is the best solution. Mainly because I have one question. I do not have a capture card, meaning i have to start filming my runs with a camera. Would IGT on that still be accepted? Also, do we have to calculate our own igt? Thanks.

New Jersey, USA

@MangoMan does that mean that if i had a time of 1:20:00 for example without proof, that my time would be way lower than what it would be now?

Madison, WI, USA

Would IGT on that still be accepted? Also, do we have to calculate our own igt?

Recording a screen a with a camera is fine, as long as the in-game time is readable.

All runs with videos will require the runner to calculate the IGT. I made this tool a while back to make it easier.

Madison, WI, USA

The rules have been updated and the leaderboard has been switched to IGT. 🎉

FluffX, PSI_Claus and 2 others like this
North Brabant, Netherlands

Great post!