Forums  /  Sonic series  /  Sonic Forces  /  The Unusable Rental System: Category change discussion
  CriticalCydCriticalCyd

Hey all, so as some of you are probably aware, there are some serious flaws with the rental system and as it stands the Any% route as we know it is becoming impossible to perform. The problem: the rental system pulls 9 choices from the top 32 runs on the in-game leaderboards. Currently the run relies on using this to get a Drill wispon way before you'd first be able to unlock it. Since Sega has pretty much stopped moderating these boards, we're getting to the point where all 32 are hacked times without Drill wispons, making it impossible to perform the strats currently used in the run. This is truly peak modern game speedrunning.

“Why were rentals allowed to begin with if this could end up happening?” The thought behind it was that we use every thing the game offers in order to get the time down as low as possible. No restrictions. If something like this would end up happening, we cross that bridge when we get to it.

Well we've reached the bridge folks, so what're we gonna do about it? Personally I'd like to see some changes that preserve the runs that have been done up till now, while implementing categories that'll promote activate competition. Here's my thoughts, none of this is set in stone, so please by all means discuss.

==Any%==

Any% should definitely be preserved as a main category, but with this change I feel like changes are in order.

- Add sub categories for Rental and No Rental.
- The default would be set to No Rental as that'd be the one people would actually be able to actively run.
- The Rental boards would be preserved to showcase the great runs done and so we'd be able to pick it right back up again should Sega fix the leaderboards.
- You could name the options for the Rental variable “Yes / No” too, but that looks hella weird on people's profiles and the front page, so I'd personally vote calling the options “Rental / No Rental”.
- Since the odds of Sega fixing the boards are rather small, I would personally be open to making an exception to the modding rule. If someone were to make a mod that makes the rental feature pick from a fake list of avatars full of Drills, then I would be willing to make that the one and only exception for the sake of preserving a category. If Sega won't fix their shit, we will.

==NG+ Any%==

While Any% No Rental is certainly an option I feel should be present at this point, I personally feel like the go-to category for a good run and competition would be NG+ Any%

- Cuts most of the downtime out of the run (unlocking avatar stuff, cutscene skipping, conversations).
- Since it's just stages, we'd be able to time by In-Game Time like we do for Episode Shadow, meaning the load time differences between platforms would cease to be a problem. Same goes for the known issues with locking FPS changing the speed the game runs at by tiny amounts, as thes in-game timer speed will always be on par with the game speed.
- To truly promote this as a category where all IL strats people feel crazy enoug to do are viable, I personally feel like we should allow people to either switch wispons for their avatar between stages or just prepare multiple avatars with the r ight wispons to switch between.
- As with any IGT timed category in the Sonic series, excessive pausing or breaks between runs would not be allowed.
- For now I would say Super Sonic DLC would not be allowed as it's not in the base game, but since it's free DLC I'm not very against it either, do voice your thoughts (though I'm pretty sure Super Sonic strats are slower in a lot of the stages anyway lol)

==Other thoughts==

- Normally I advocate for a category actually having people running it before making boards, but since we find ourselves in kind of a unique situation I'm willing to take a leap of faith that people will actually run these 2. Any% No Rental will be the only option for running from a new game and NG+ Any% is accessible to anyone who's finished the game.
- NG+ All Stages is also an option, but is gated by the fact that you need all red rings to unlock all extra stages and copying other people's save files sadly does not work. People would have to do it themselves, so I don't really think it's the go-to here. If people end up running it anyway we could always make a board for it some other time.

So yeah... discuss! I'd like to hear from runners especially of course as this is more of a “What would you like to run going forward” discussion rather than a “What would you like to see other people run”.

dangrdangr, AllegroAllegro and 2 others like this. 
  SayuriSayuri

I've stated my thoughts in the community server's Forces channel, but my basic suggestions are:

- Add NG+ (Nobody would run All Stages, so just NG+ All Story Stages)
- Add No Rental, either as its own category of Any% or a new category entirely (I am in favor of both, so either works)

I have runs of both of these, and I'm going to do more. Bluemania grinded No Rental for a bit some time ago, too.

IGT for NG+ is a welcome addition, though I still don't know about allowing wispon changing or Avatar changing in-between stages because IGT doesn't track that. Isn't that exactly the reason why we don't use IGT for Any%? Or am I misunderstanding something here? Besides that, this outline is alright. I'm so/so on Super Sonic being banned or not, don't really care about that.

Ultimately, I'd like to see NG+ All Story Stages and No Rental on the leaderboards.

dangrdangr, bluerapids12bluerapids12 and AllegroAllegro like this. 
  CriticalCydCriticalCyd

Re: IGT not tracking wispon changing.

The reason we ended up not doing IGT for Any% is because of the sheer amount of stuff not being tracked. All the menuing, skipping through convos and cutscenes quickly, actively trying not to achieve certain missions to get less unlocks, all of it would not matter if we did IGT, making it a more interesting run because of working around these time constraints

For NG+ on the other hand, the only thing to really worry about is the wispon switching. Does it make for a more interesting run to have yet another category working around the same constraints, but way less so than Any%? Or does it make for a more interesting run to let people go unrestricted on their creativity. I personally think the latter.

We're also gonna need to have a poll for how we're gonna name the category it seems lol

 
  KwasiorKwasior

As for wispon switching - we should not allow it. It would make for fair (as in no additional time in avatar settings) and less stressful run (you play with what you have from the start).

 
  SonicfindSonicfind

Not to mention, every stage (even IL-wise) only needs Bird & that one drill to be completed quickly. There's not really much of a point to swapping in the first place except to use up time and, like Kwasior hinted at, add extra unnecessary stress.

 
  CriticalCydCriticalCyd

I'd like to bring up another 2 points in favour of being allowed to switch in between though: Accessiblity and variation.

If you force people to stick to the same wispon (which in 99.9% of the cases is going to be Drill with stomp dash), people don't really get much of an option in terms of which strats they want to do, potentially scaring them away from the category. Let's say someone would feel more comfortable which let's say Lightning on Arsenal Pyramid or Burst on Null Space and wants to sacrifice some time to do those strats, but wants to be able to use Drill on everything else... they wouldn't be able to do that. The "less stress" argument would have the opposite effect here by forcing people into strats they don't want to do. Not to mention it would make for some nice variation in strats among runners.

If all of y'all are really for banning switching, then I will cave to majority rule, but I hope you can see where I'm coming from with my arguments.

 
  EnPassantEnPassant

I agree with most of the things in the OP, but there are a few points I would like to elaborate upon:

-I think Super Sonic should be allowed. Free DLC is basically a non-forced update of the game, and using the latest version is perfectly reasonable.

-I also think Wispon switching should be allowed, because it seems ridiculous to disallow intended features. Perhaps a clause could be added to add X seconds for each switch used, or to have time spent on the Avatar screen be counted as run time.

-There's a contradiction between the arguments that NG+ All Stages is tedious and that NG+ doesn't have to worry about losing RTA to missions. If someone has time to get all the S-Ranks and Use X Wispon/Y action to defeat Z enemies and three Gold Medals on their Avatars of choice in order to avoid potential mission pop-ups, they have plenty of opportunity to get all the Red Rings. I do agree that a leaderboard should be dependent on whether or not people actually run it since they haven't so far, but we shouldn't dismiss the idea out-of-hand.

 
  CriticalCydCriticalCyd

Agreed on the not dismissing NG+ All Stages as a category, point in the OP was more "It wouldn't be the go-to for replacing current Any% as the main thing people run", but rather look into it after people show interest in running it.

I'm not big on penalizing people for switching wispons as in nearly all cases, the switch means slower strats in the stage anyway. I feel like a "Don't use it as an excuse to take a break"-clause in the ruling should be a reasonable enough implementation. It's not ideal, but imo worth it for the sake of supporting accesibility, creativity and variation.

As for Super Sonic, fair point. I'm good either way honestly.

 
  sukimossukimos

About the igt, is it ipossible to make timer that only excludes loading time? Becauase some of the people wants to rental voids in some stages like infinite 3. In that case, that would have to play game by online and they will have sos missions. I think it would be unfair for them. Also, in final judgement, as you know there's a glitch that can end the game faster than usual by pausing. And as cyd said it would be uncomfortable for some people who wants to use burst or lightening in other stage if we ban switching wispon. This is NG+ category. It should not ban people to change their avatar. I think these would be problem. These can be settled if we use timer that excludes loading time.

 
  CriticalCydCriticalCyd

The problem with creating a loadless timer, assuming the pointers in the game's code even allow for it, is that you would basically only be able to use it on PC. The other consoles you'd have to calculate manually. This is a lot of work, so I wouldn't be willing to implement that unless multiple people step up to calculate future console runs, which I feel is a bit of a waste if we have other options available that require far less work.

As for taking rentals into account, this was brought up in the discord and people there seemed to agree that for this new category it would be better to ban rentals, as even the void on infinite 3 will eventually become unavailable if people hack the boards enough. The point of the leaderboard changes is to avoid problems like this.

The endless pausing at the end of Final Judgement is not a problem as there would be a rule to ban excessive pausing, much like most IGT categories in the Sonic series

 
  CriticalCydCriticalCyd

Alrighty since this has been up for about a week now, I think it's time to make some decisions/further polls

==Any% Rental / No Rental==
Seen no objection to this as expected since it's the easiest way to preserve the old times while still allowing active competition in the category. I'll be going over the existing runs to see if they use rentals and then splitting them accordingly

==NG+ Any%==
People seem down with wanting to run this, so let's make some boards I'd say. There is a few things to decide still tho

- Timing method
While time without loads has been brought up, most people seem to be cool with IGT which is definitely the easier option here. For PC runners Kwasior has already programmed an in-game timer tool as well. IGT it is.

- Allowing Rentals
It's been brought up that some people like to use rentals in some scenarios (specifically void on infinite 3), but considering that small amount of uses and to avoid recreating the problem we have in Any% atm, most people seem down with not allowing rentals. No rentals it is.

- Stage Order
Not something that's been brought up before, but something people just seemed to assume would happen in the normal story order. If people want this changed later it's possible, but for now let's just stay with "Play through every stage in story order"

- Switching Wispons/Avatars
This seems to be pretty evenly split atm, where some would prefer switching to not be allowed as it's not tracked by IGT, whereas others wants to allow it despite not being tracked for the sake of accesibility and variation. This one requires a further poll, majority is what we go with.
https://www.strawpoll.me/17809970

- Category Name
NG+ Any% and NG+ Story Stages have been mentioned as potential names, so let's do a poll.
https://www.strawpoll.me/17809911

 
  CriticalCydCriticalCyd

Ok then, Any% is now officially split between Rental and No Rental (with No Rental as the default). All current PBs on the board as well as the obsoleted runs have been assigned to the proper sub-category.

As for NG+ I'll make the category later this weekend with the following parameters based on the replies and polls:

Timing: IGT
Rentals: Banned
Extensive pausing: Banned
Breaks in between stages: Banned
Stage order: Story order
Super Sonic: Allowed
Shadow Reskin: Allowed
Switching wispon/avatar: Allowed
Name: NG+ Story Stages (poll tied, so I picked the one I didn't vote for as I feel active runners have priority)