Forums  /  Sonic series  /  Sonic R  /  Sonic R Timing/Ruling Discussion
  bertinbertin

I've been away from anything dealing with Sonic R for quite sometime and one thing that has caught my eye with this leaderboard is that the rules have been changed to In-Game time in order to avoid any sort of issue dealing with the inconsistencies nad problems that the PC version/s of Sonic R bring to the table. My issue with this is that In-Game time seems to be a temporary and not the best approach to dealing with the problem that the PC version will bring to RTA timing and will bring other problems into the mix.

Here are some examples:

1. In-Game Time will only count the time you obtain for races tallied up at the end of your run, meaning that when your run is finished you must go back through your Past Broadcast or recording of your run to add up all of your race times in order to have the time for you to submit. This can be very inconvenient method since if one's stream were to go down and/or was unable to record they would be completely out of any way to tell what their final time is. As opposed to RTA timing which all you needed to do was to hit your final split on your run to see what you final time was.

2. With In-Game time anything in between races does not count towards your final time. This means taking your time on menus before the races and even pausing in the middle of the races. Yes, even one could even go to the options menu and change the difficulty or anything else they please before the next track in the run. There have been times when even I have messed up menuing and chose a character that I wasn't supposed to.

3. To bring anything minor to the table, Celebration Skip and Fast Fade become unless.

Now the PC version is a very unreliable version to have as our standard version to play for RTA it is very unstable and runs differently of different PCs. This is why I have some ideas to propose to relieve us of this situation while also bringing RTA back:

1. Separate the versions: With this method, we no longer have to worry about unstable versions running in with other versions of the game. Gamecube, PC and maybe even Sega Saturn could get their own board/category.

2. Ban PC version from RTA or completely: This is probably the harshest route to take as there might be runners who only have the PC version but I'm going to be very honest here, a console (Gamecube) and Sonic Gems Collection does not cost nowhere near as much as it used to and many people here could afford themselves a copy along with a console. Recording it shouldn't be an issue either as there are very cheap options for capture cards or even some other form of recording.

3. Use In-Game Time for all versions: Use the In-Game timer and tally them all up after completing the final track (Radiant Emerald). Since I've already stated on how I've felt about this I'll leave it at that.

I would like to hear more than just moderators give their opinion on this. I wasn't told about the last time PC vs. Console was discussed and I feel we should not leave anyone who runs Sonic R in the dark about this, moderator or non-moderator. Feel free to give your opinions and suggestions.

misterLO472misterLO472 likes this. 
  PrismaticBlackPrismaticBlack

I will give my insight on your points, just for the record. Hope that is okay for the sake of discussion. Really sorry this whole ordeal created a bit of tension between you and I, but hopefully we can move past that and work out some sort of solution.

1. Example 1 is a valid one, and definitely has been considered as a potential problem. The only real determinant of time we have that is not the results screen in the options menu is that the timer does stop for a small amount of time once the finish line is passed. Poor video quality can potentially make it hard to decipher those numbers, which obviously could pose an issue to any moderator.

2. I also agree with this in that menus can be a big part of the run.

3. Celebration skip. This was probably the biggest issue that I had with trying to justify IGT. This is a timing trick that does require player involvement, and because of that I will admit that it is something that I did not want to take out of consideration with run timing, but we couldn't think of a proper way to account for it.

---Example 2 and 3 are mainly issues that potentially arise for 100% categories, as menuing is not as involved in Any%. Unless character changes are made from Knuckles, the only menuing issue would be accidentally selecting something other than Radiant Emerald, since the order of the first 4 races is not really important. The cutscene skips though are big ones, but justifying the use of PC times on an RTA board with all other versions meant that those PC runners could have worse race times compared to console runners, miss all celebration skips, yet still place in the top time spots overall because they were saving so much time skipping loads. A thought had crossed my mind: "I wish we could calculate 100% as RTA, but any% with IGT". But at the end, that would have been even more of a mess, and just not make any sense.

1. Separate the versions: It's reasonable, and it would potentially solve a lot of problems. I don't want to inject too much of my personal preference into this, but I really like having a big, concise, and all-encompassing board across all versions of the game. That's not my sole justification. If we were to separate the boards, it would be solely because of the loading times. Generally the answer a lot of communities give to people who play slower versions is "Just get the faster version of the game." Or "If you want to take this game seriously, then you need to get be playing the fastest version game" etc. I do not agree with this sentiment, because as you mentioned earlier, PC version can be difficult to run, or entirely incompatible with some systems. Essentially we'd have to ban emulator runs, which run faster than the GC. Making a separate board for Emu is absurd (I'm sure we all agree). So we'd be losing a lot of times from our board by doing that. Just a necessary sacrifice to consider.

2. Ban PC version: Yes. It would be harsh, and would seem a bit unjustified. Most people I've talked to feel like this is not an acceptable option, since it is a legitimate release of the game. I don't think this is a viable option in the end, but I will say that I would certainly prefer that people consider playing on console.

3: Use In-Game Time for all versions: This is where we currently stand, and yes, it is certainly not perfect. It seems to be, at this time, the least destructive method to the integrity of the leaderboards. Most people do not show their results screen following their run, but as I mentioned earlier, the timer will freeze when crossing the line. I've addressed the inconsistencies and problems that could arise from that, so I won't push that any further. IGT would be a great option if it did consider menuing and cutscene skips, but unfortunately there is not yet a remedy to solve that issue.

The only remedy to menuing mistakes, or missed cutscene skips is to literally time those mistakes, and time the cutscene video, then add them in. That just seems overly complicated, but not completely out of the question.

---
I can retweet your post on this, and also contact a few people who may want to offer insight in this discussion if you would like. Just let me know.

 
  dailydaily

I first want to point out that I've never been happy with the decision to go to IGT for Sonic R. Keverage has always been the same, and we can back each other up on this. Personally, I was never told we were moving to the new system, and it has been my #1 reason for not playing this game like I used to. I'll try to make my post short because I feel Bertin has explained more than well enough my opinions on this matter.

I think IGT was a mistake from the start, and the first thing that should have been considered was either banning PC outright (which isn't a great idea, people who don't have the GC version shouldn't not be allowed to submit a time just because they only have the version we don't approve of) or separating the leaderboards by platform. Keep in mind I don't like either one of these solutions, but I would think of these before IGT.

I want to express that regardless of what we do, PC should be forced to stay on the IGT ranking system. It runs differently on different systems, runs differently if you're capturing the game, version you're playing, etc.

 
  PrismaticBlackPrismaticBlack

Well, I certainly want to apologize for the way I handled the shifting of times. I did not do the best job in giving ample warning about it to other runners, nor to Bertin. Yes, I personally MADE those changes to the leaderboards. However, there was a discussion between the Sonic Moderation group that took place, and an overwhelming majority of people (particularly those that are familiar with the game) suggested the switch to IGT.

I will echo this once again...I do not believe that IGT is a perfect end-all solution to the LBs, either. Considerations on making different boards and banning PC were made. Frankly the banning of PC is at this time highly unwarranted, but I am open to discuss splitting the leaderboards by console. Switching to IGT was done hastily, but this was mainly because there was a severe misrepresentation of actual skill level between RTA runs over different consoles that needed to be addressed ASAP. And at the time, more people were submitting runs on PC that had previously never submitted runs at all. Not sure if it was a coincidence, or because people were seeing how a bad run could place top 3 so effortlessly.

I want to make things right in terms of community opinion, and I'm sure I've lost a lot of respect and angered some people due to my role in changing things. I'd also like to do what is best for the leaderboards, and there will likely be no unanimous decision on this, but perhaps we can do something to at least make it a functional and fairly represented speed game.

 
  dailydaily

Personally don't see why the "Sonic Moderation group" was involved considering most of them have not played Sonic R.

 
  PrismaticBlackPrismaticBlack

The whole reason the timing discussion even started was because of an issue that was being reviewed regarding a submitted PC run and its legitimacy. At that time, I wasn't even a moderator of this game, but I was asked to give insight on it. The timing discussion came about after that. It was really something that was brought up within that group discussion, and I was just a part of it. Most of what I did during that time was present my knowledge of the variances between the different versions of the game.

A lot of people in that group have run the game, or are at least familiar with it enough to know how it plays. People who weren't familiar with the game really didn't have opinions on the matter. The only people outside of that group at the time who I felt would have offered more to that discussion were you and Bertin, as he was a long-standing record holder and player, and you were actively playing the game at that time. He was the only Sonic R moderator who wasn't in that particular group, and to be fair I had suggested that he be added ASAP. Another person in that group who kept regular contact with him said that they were in the process of inviting him in. For whatever reason, that took way longer than it should have.

I can't justify not keeping you up to date with the discussion and changes, and I really should have at least given you that courtesy, being that I was discussing the game with you leading up to the changes. I will hold accountability for my negligence on that matter and I apologize. The most I did publicly was make a forum post on the game page a few days prior to the changes, but that clearly is not enough as it seems no one really follows these discussions. What it really comes down to is that this was all discussed and handled too quickly. It was unexpected and noninclusive to some important people in the community.

I have been open to discuss this for the past 6 months, and so far Bertin has been the only person to approach me about it around the time these changes were made. He has not replied to any of my responses back to him, but hopefully we can discuss it here and now and remedy this. I'm not sure if he contacted any of the other moderators about this, but if they have spoken with him on the matter, it's unbeknownst to me. I realize the frustration that people may have with these changes and the way they were handled.

 
  PrismaticBlackPrismaticBlack

I'll stop with the explanations and just ask some questions...

If we separate PC from consoles, do all the consoles get separated as well? Or do they remain on one console board?

What do we do about emulators? Should they be banned outright, or kept on the console board?

Should IGT at least be kept as a secondary timing if these changes are made?

Should there be video evidence of all runs? If not what would suffice?

 
  KeverageKeverage

I didn't know there was even a forum post here until Prismatic just told me a little while ago, so I'll add my thoughts.

Like Daily said, me and him have discussed on numerous occasions that we would strongly prefer RTA over IGT for the leaderboards. Back when this whole discussion came up, I was added to the Sonic moderator Skype group in order to give my opinion. I maybe sent three messages before my opinions were seemingly shot down immediately, despite the fact that not only was I one of the most active runners of the game, but I have also played this game competitively for nearly ten years, and I had discussions with Daily (and maybe Bertin? I can't recall) regarding this issue, and nobody who ran the game wanted IGT. I could understand if there was a super valid, clear-cut reason for using IGT, but when it's split fairly even, I would think the people who actually run the game and are affected by this would have the ultimate say. But yeah, the mod group was extremely adamant about not banning PC, and the only option they cared to move forward with was IGT leaderboards (which a bunch of Sonic games use, and rightfully so, so they must have felt their experience with other Sonic games qualified them to make the decision here).

I still continued to run the game, despite having IGT being used for the leaderboards. I still ran splits, and often referred to times by RTA when speaking to people about the game. EVen recently, before I got the WR by IGT, I had beaten Daily's time RTA-wise but not by IGT, and it just puts us in a silly situation. It seems that IGT is moving people away from wanting to play the game as well, which isn't what we want.

Bertin mentioned the three possible options, and as you can imagine, using IGT would be the least desired by myself (and for all of us, really). I can see why banning PC outright is a bit harsh, but it's just so inconsistent. Daily could correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure he told me the loading times changed on PC depending on whether he was streaming or not? Obviously PC games vary on load times depending on PC builds, but having it change from other factors such as streaming it as well just makes it really awful. I've stated before, I'd have zero issues with banning PC, but I can see why people would be against it.

I actually have zero issues with separating it by console. We would have to split it four ways (GCN, PC, Saturn, Emu). I don't know how to set it up, but if you look at the Super Mario Sunshine leaderboards, you can see the first row of leaderboards consists of the categories, and the row below is normal/hoverless. We could implement it the same when, with the current categories we have as the top row, and then these four "system" splits as another row that acts as a subset.

The only issue I really have with separate categories for each "system" is the amount of runners for each. Let's be real here, a large majority of people run the game using Gem Collections, with a handful of people running it on emulator. Here's the splits by category:

Any%: 4 Total
[3] GCN
[1] PC
---------------------
Any% (No OoB): 22 Total
[15] GCN
[6] Emulator
[1] PC
---------------------
100%: 3 Total
[3] GCN
---------------------
100% (No OoB): 19 Total
[14] GCN
[2] Emulator
[1] Sega Saturn
[1] PC
[1] PS2? -- Didn't even know this was a thing...
----------------------

Seriously though, you can see from those alone that this game is absolutely dominated by people playing on GameCube. Having PC on the leaderboards didn't make this game suddenly more accessible, or make more people want to run it. And I know it's not really that nice to say, but the people who did run on PC weren't very good, and didn't even try to push the game to it's limits. With the exception of theultimategamer95's is the only one that's even good, and that was the run we thought was questionable to begin with. We're trying to appease to a very small subgroup of people who don't even run the game anymore, and honestly probably wouldn't even know or care.

Also regarding fastest version, I personally am not the biggest fan of running something on a certain console or such solely because it's the fastest if that version isn't very accessible. If it's easy to get then yeah sure, go ahead. But as you guys know, the PC version of Sonic R is not accessible at all, and you can tell from the leaderboards that a large majority of people play Gem Collections, because that's easily the most accessible. While pushing the time to it's limits is cool, it's not really impressive to be saving a full minute or whatever on a 100% run without doing anything skillful or noteworthy (or literally anything in general) to save that time.

I've probably rambled on a bit here, so a quick tl;dr. I would strongly prefer to just ban PC and move back to RTA, but I feel like that option isn't going to be on the table when it's all said and done. With that, I would strong prefer to seperate by console/ or whatever then, and moving to RTA for all except PC (which would stay on IGT). Continuing the use of IGT would be my last option.

 
  bertinbertin

I'm mostly for seperating them. For emulators, I'd say it would depend. Dolphin is not accurate, so going by that alone, I'd ban them for Gamecube and PS2. Saturn I'm not 100% on how accurate it is but I don't see very many people playing Saturn on emulator in the first place. Mainly putting PC into it's own category negates any crazy inconsistencies it brought in the past and we no longer would have to worry about it and at the same time it would no alienate any possible future PC player who somehow do not have a console to play Gems Collection. For a 2nd option I'd take banning PC and separating the others but I feel that would alienate possible PC players.

 
  PrismaticBlackPrismaticBlack

Yeah. I agree with this. A lot of Emu runs were beating console runs for load time differences as well. Not by as much as PC was, but it was definitely something that would warrant and emulator ban. Banning emulator would remove a lot of times, but we could at the very least document them in a Google doc just for safety. SS emulator may as well go along with those since I'm pretty sure no runs have used an SS emulator, and I've honestly never seen or used one myself.

Definitely not dead set on banning PC on the topic of load times alone. Although, seeing how commonly the inconsistencies are brought up by pretty much everyone, that is a point that could be argued if a ban were made. I think there could probably be more things that would justify a ban, so if anyone wants to bring all of them up we can discuss that. I know Daily has looked into PC a good bit, so maybe he can list all that stuff out.

It's really just preference, but I personally would like to have all consoles on one board, and for this reason: GC version is the most common, cheapest, and fastest of the versions. PS2 version is EU and JP only, making it less common, and as far as I know it loads a decent bit slower than GC. SS is the slowest version, and also a lot less common. I think the last SS run was from over 2 years ago. GC is already the go-to version for console runners. PC and emu are pretty much the only other easily accessible versions of the game that people would see viable to run. Removing those would make GCN version the sole priority for speed on the console board, which is great because of it's availability.

Separating the consoles is not a huge deal for me though. If that is what the overwhelming majority agrees to be most favorable, then I have no qualms with it. I just figured since it would basically put GCN with a massive amount of times and SS and PS2 with only one or two by giving those two consoles their own leaderboard, it may not hurt to just group the consoles together. I do see the organizational value in splitting all of the consoles though, since PC will have its own board.

 
  bertinbertin

After the months have passed and the overall agreement on rulings, I have decided to make the changes tonight to the leaderboards.

-Real Time is now the main measurement of the fastest time
-Removed the IGT rule sets that were listed in the rules
-Seperated platforms to prevent the inconveniences that PC can bring to the other platforms.

If you have any questions about these changes, feel free to ask.

 
  PrismaticBlackPrismaticBlack

Thanks. Are you okay with continuing to accept Emulator? It is still slightly faster, but none of the times are really super competitive at this point. Just want to bring it up in case it were to become an issue somewhere down the line.

 
  misterLO472misterLO472

I am against the ban of the PC version and in favor of separating the versions due to differences such as loading times, etc.
Banning PCs, even if they are the RTA, would reduce the players of this game (including me, I can only play on PC).
I do not agree with Keverage that having PC in the leaderboards does not make it more accessible, I know that most are gamecube and very few PCs, but little is not the same as nothing, at least it is more accessible to me and I imagine that for more people, although it is not much, I also understand that in PC we are not so good but I think it is more important to have fun and be more accessible and who knows, good players can come.
(Google Translate, sorry).