Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

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Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Keizaron » Fri Jul 15, 2016 8:55 pm

As many of you may have seen in the PSR Discord, it has been proposed recently to look into our current timing methods. As it stands now, all glitched categories are RTA, but the vast majority of glitchless categories are IGT. Dabomstew and I made a poll recently to see just how interested people were in this topic (which you can find in the Discord [not posting it here to avoid any shitters from messing with it]), and the response was very much in favour of exploring a change of some sort. With this in mind, I'd like to formally open up discussion for how we as a community should approach this. Should we make a change? Should we keep things as is? How should we approach this? If changes are made, how do we best mediate them so as to not punish current runs too badly if at all?

I want to approach this in as clean of a way as possible. I want good, productive discussion from the varying degrees of opinions on this. I don't necessarily have a rubric or formula for how posts should be conducted like we did with the Instant Text discussion, so I'm putting faith in everyone here. In short, no petty arguments and serious discussions appreciated.

Please keep in mind that regardless of what happens, no changes will be made until after the PSR Marathon at minimum.

RXFADEZ made a doc that had some pros and cons listed, if anybody wants to use that as reference.
Last edited by Keizaron on Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Bbforky » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:06 pm

Make the change and make Keizaron convert all the times by himself

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by RXFADEZ » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:08 pm

I may have more to say at a later date depending on the replies here, but for now I just wanted to mention a few things for timing, that were addressed in the Discord, if we do switch to RTA timing:
  • Gen 1 should have the timer end after all Pokémon have been shown in the HoF, but before or during the IGT is shown on screen, because3 people will likely have waited on that screen or the input beforehand as opposed to mashing - as this did not matter with In-Game Time.
  • Gen 2 should have the credits accounted for, as they did previously not alter the time when using IGT and those who did not reset the credits should not be punished. The timer should be paused at the point where resetting is possible and re-started at the continue screen.
  • Gen 3 should have the timer start when the player gains control (as the truck doors open) because players will have likely taken their time on the intro screen (such as name selection and assuring accuracy for RNG manipulation). This did not previously affect their time.
  • Gen 4 should also begin when the player takes control of the character to not disadvantage 3DS users - who were not previously disadvantaged.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Amoeba » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:22 pm

I'm highly for switching to RTA, for reasons I've already made in the discord (and others will likely make, in more coherent sentences). If we do come to switching to RTA, I'm more than happy to volunteer to help re-time the leaderboards. Fadez has made good points about potential new timings, which I think should be as close to the start and end points for IGT in the runs as possible, to avoid punishing existing runs that optimized for IGT alone.
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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Keizaron » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:27 pm

Oh, uh, serious responses appreciated. I'm looking at you, Basketball for Kentucky.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by SIVIURFY » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:29 pm

I've always thought using RTA makes more sense since 2 supposedly tied runs can, in reality, be almost a full minute apart.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Shenanagans » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:32 pm

Pasted from my discord pastebin:

Switching to RTA would cause many previously set times to be comparatively worse. Naming the rival "U" for example doesn't cost any time in IGT, but it would cost a second or so in RTA. It would also be very inconvenient to make the switch. We would have to go back and retime every run, and we would need to make a timing method that does not provide disadvantage to runs completed in the past.

IGT is also "accurate" for some games so if we simply want accurate timing then there truly isn't a large need to switch.

Despite all of these reasons for Keeping IGT, there are several reasons to consider a switch. The most prevalent to me is that while IGT may be accurate, it is by no means precise. two runs can be nearly a minute apart, but both considered to be "equal runs" and this has led to what I call "playing to the IGT" mentality. Oftentimes runners could easily PB in RTA, but are forced to take massive risks because "I need to save 50 seconds over my PB to PB" which is just silly.

I also find it silly that we force some runs to use RTA timing, but dont force others too. For example, in Gold Glitched you don't need to save and quit at any point and we time this category in RTA, but in Gold Glitchless there is a forced Save + Quit, but the timing is in IGT. It would make a lot of sense for all the categories of the game to have the same start and end point, and if we timed each category in RTA we could do this. We could make NSC/151 end timing when the IGT displays at the HoF. For Gold we could end time when the screen fades to the credits. This would allow for consistency between categories, and would assure that previous runs are not punished by the switch.

IGT also causes a lot of ties, which while not entirely a bad thing under the current system these ties don't really feel like ties. For example Exarion's Red Glitchless run is far faster than Gunner's. Gunner himself will admit that Exarion's run is better, but well it isnt. Currently the times are the same. This leads to stagnation of the category, because even though Exarion's time is far better both runs are the record, laving little reason for Gunner to attempt to improve his time.

IGT is also not always accurate. I am not an expert on this by any means but I do now that IGT for Yellow is VERY finicky. Though in this case IGT for Red Glitchless is accurate, just not precise.

I have a bit more I may talk about in a later time, but for now these are my initial thoughts. While switching to RTA will initially be a struggle, the longer we wait the harder it will be when we do finally decide to switch (as I am sure this switch will be made someday in the future, and vetoing this decision is just delaying the inevitable)
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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Vulajin » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:57 pm

I used to feel a lot more strongly about this, but now I'm just kind of lukewarm in favor of RTA. If we do switch, I'm highly in favor of permitting save and quit. Feel free to accept my opinion with the same weight you'd give to anyone else who doesn't currently actually run anything in the series.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Decon082 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:12 pm

Keizaron wrote:Oh, uh, serious responses appreciated. I'm looking at you, Basketball for Kentucky.
wow i was going to side with forky on this one but if that's what his name stands for then sorry i'm all in favor of whatever lord keizaron says Kappa
I am the person who has ruined Red "Glitchless" forever and seconhandedly, Blue NSC Single Segment too
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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by EpicFail » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:23 pm

Honestly, I prefer RTA over IGT. There wouldn't be so many ties with RTA and that IGT can be inaccurate at times.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Pokehero » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:32 pm

Since the switch to RTA seems inevitable, I say it should be a simple system of "Begin on selection of "New Game" ends on last input"

I know some games don't follow this atm (HG/SS come to mind), so it should be adjusted on a game to game basis. However overall, I think the timing of New Game to last input is a pretty good starting point

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by RXFADEZ » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:48 pm

Gonna quickly address a few things posted here
Shenanagans wrote:Switching to RTA would cause many previously set times to be comparatively worse. Naming the rival "U" for example doesn't cost any time in IGT, but it would cost a second or so in RTA. It would also be very inconvenient to make the switch. We would have to go back and retime every run, and we would need to make a timing method that does not provide disadvantage to runs completed in the past.
Timings will be adjusted so that IGT runs are not made significantly worse. Entering the overworld seems to be a good "global" start time at this current point.

Conveniency is really not an issue either. Both myself, Keizaron and many other have agreed to re-time runs and make the potential switch happen very smoothly to the point at which is doesn't overly affect the majority of the community.

My previous post addresses disadvantages of timing methods, but I am aware that when the original pastebin was posted - that forum post wasn't there.
Pokehero wrote:Since the switch to RTA seems inevitable, I say it should be a simple system of "Begin on selection of "New Game" ends on last input"

I know some games don't follow this atm (HG/SS come to mind), so it should be adjusted on a game to game basis. However overall, I think the timing of New Game to last input is a pretty good starting point
This just doesn't work for the vast majority of games. Categories that already have that in place (e.g. glitched categories) will likely not change, but most glitchless categories would suffer from a basic New Game-Last Input system.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Amoeba » Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:51 pm

PokeHero, the major issue there is that that system would massively punish existing runs. For example:

Gen 1: Last input is clearing the IGT screen before the credits, however many runners leave the IGT screen up because your IGT is set once it shows, clearing that last text box doesn't save any time IGT. Also the intro scene where you name yourself and your rival doesn't count towards IGT so some runners won't particularly rush through that.

Gen 3: RNG manip requires starting a timer as soon as you name your character, so there is a small wait time in the intro cutscene (where again IGT isn't counting) that will cause time loss on existing runs.
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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by ExtraTricky » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:22 am

When we switch to RTA, I personally don't think we should worry about existing runs too much and should mostly focus on having rules that will make sense going forward. In particular, I don't think we should worry about existing routes becoming non-optimal, but I do think it makes sense to ensure that all existing runs are valid (grandfathering if it makes sense). In particular, I think S+Q should be allowed in all categories.

For gen 1 I have a small preference here to using fade-to-credits for consistency with the glitched categories, and grandfather in any runs that previously waited on the IGT screen. For the opening scene I would just say those runs lose some time.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by entrpntr » Sat Jul 16, 2016 12:41 am

The Gen 1 thru Gen 3 Pokémon games have in-game timers that are very accurate in WHAT they measure (I have limited knowledge on Gen 4+ so can't speak to them). Yellow and Gen 3 have some notable distortions with respect to real-time, but these are minor distortions and have no significant impact on the way the games are optimally run. Not many non-Pokémon games can claim this, and most people are missing what a luxury this is.

Without in-game time, we'd be relying on either a timer/split program and/or a local recording. This introduces external technology into the equation, rather than relying on a timing mechanism that will never change. If someone's computer crashes mid-way through a run, it would be a verification nightmare using real-time. If someone's stream crashes and they weren't local recording, it'll be another verification hassle. If someone starts their splits late or accidentally resets their timer and wasn't local recording, it's another issue. In-game time is still reliable in all of these scenarios, barring some extreme circumstances.

I've brought up this reddit thread several times, as it brings several additional considerations to the table (including a LiveSplit developer suggesting console games use an in-game timer if one's available). There are a handful of known cases where LiveSplit has been inaccurate up to 10 seconds per hour due to various PC clocks being inaccurate. Even with the atomic clock functionality introduced in 1.6, LiveSplit needs to "learn" from the PC clock before it shows an accurate time (source). I'm aware of at least one unresolved issue, even with the atomic clock functionality activated. I don't think this issue has been fixed yet, but someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Thus, even assuming someone hits the start/end splits at the exact official time, I don't think LiveSplit can't truly be trusted as a precise measurement of real time. Of course, if someone isn't using LiveSplit, the accuracy is also in question. For real time, we need to trust LiveSplit users have activated the atomic clock functionality, and that LiveSplit has properly and accurately learned from their PC's clock. If LiveSplit introduces bugs in the future, we'd have more problems to worry about.

Having said all that, consider this situation: someone has a run with a slower IGT than the WR run, but their real time appears to be faster by, say, 2 seconds. The runner doesn't have a full local recording of their run. Do you feel comfortable calling that run WR? Would we expect others to find it credible that the slower IGT run was truly faster?

People often mention local recordings as the solution to the problem. My understanding is that local recording software uses the PC clock, which introduces the same problem (based on https://www.reddit.com/r/speedrun/comme ... ?context=1), and of course introduces another technology we have to trust. That said, ExtraTricky has mentioned that a common way around the PC clock issue is to use the known length of some cutscene as a scale factor to determine an accurate real time. Assuming the recording software that was used works as expected, this does seem to provide enough to measure a reasonably accurate real-time, in case there are instances where LiveSplit timings are brought into question or are otherwise not available for whatever reason.

Given these considerations, I still think it is a very clear mistake to stop using IGT as the official timing mechanism. However, most runners clearly want real time to be used in some way. Assuming some good criteria are written up and expectations are made clear to runners and leaderboard mods, it makes sense to me to add a real-time column to the speedrun.com leaderboards. If we choose an option along these lines, I'd propose not to bother listing a run's real time below a certain cutoff, and I'd propose making this cutoff reasonably low; for Red, I'd suggest something like 1:50 or 1:51, for example. I still don't really like using real time as an official way to break ties, but if people want it that way, so be it.

This kind of setup makes a lot of sense to me and should make most people happy. Verification would remain simple for the vast majority of runs, and we wouldn't need to overhaul our leaderboards and retime hundreds of runs. Lastly, we would have seconds granularity for the top runs, which are the only runs where seconds really provide a meaningful distinction between run "qualities" (and, frankly, the runs of top runners have always been the predominant factor in creating momentum for the RTA switch).
Last edited by entrpntr on Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by SIVIURFY » Sat Jul 16, 2016 1:44 am

Livesplit is the most accurate timer out there and theres a massive amount of games that use RTA and livesplit is used. I think that shouldn't be an issue because it just overcomplicates things.

I am also willing to help re-time runs if the switch is made.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by astralslide » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:00 am

As far as Gen 6 goes, in the case RTA is put in place I would advocate the timer start to be upon pressing the Start Game and end with the fadeout after the Congratulations page showing your team after beating the E4. That would save 10 minutes of credits and a pretty much superfluous fight. The Japanese timing rules end the timer when the THE END label appears after beating Brendan after the credits, but as it is gradual there's no precise way to tell when exactly to split. Neither of these two are the IGT cutoff time, which is after a soft reset when the game autosaves after the Brendan cutscene. I don't really mind having to sit through the credits and using the JP timings, but there have been complaints before regarding the matter.

As for other games, I don't run the older gens so I won't say much, but personally I think that allowing S+Q will drastilcally reduce the barrier of entry to Gen 2+ games which are of unwieldy length to do single segmented runs out of. Pokémon is the only series that force SS runs for a route that oftentimes can last up to 4 hours, and with many places that are very dependent on RNG and become very unforgiving especially when you want to learn the games. It won't have any effect on people going for WR, but getting more people to speedrun any Pokémon game that isn't RBY would be awesome. S+Q can also potentially allow new strategies and route changes.

The end goal of a speedrun is to beat the game in the lowest time possible, so there's a case for reducing limitations to accomplishing such a task. The IGT is a nice tool, but ultimately it's just a frame counter, and hardly consistent across Gens or even precise.

On the other hand, emulator runs would be restricted as a matter of fact, but seeing that the current rules already restrict most emulators that don't have precise timings there shouldn't be much of a difference.
Last edited by astralslide on Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by ExtraTricky » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:02 am

entrpntr wrote:Having said all that, consider this situation: someone has a run with a slower IGT than the WR run, but their real time appears to be faster by, say, 2 seconds. The runner doesn't have a full local recording of their run. Do you feel comfortable calling that run WR? Would we expect others to find it credible that the slower IGT run was truly faster?
For me the only factor is that there's a complete recording. If there's a full twitch vod then it should be possible to verify the time based on that. If there's no recording then I wouldn't be happy calling it a record even if both the RTA and IGT were faster.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Keizaron » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:11 am

entrpntr wrote:Having said all that, consider this situation: someone has a run with a slower IGT than the WR run, but their real time appears to be faster by, say, 2 seconds. The runner doesn't have a full local recording of their run. Do you feel comfortable calling that run WR? Would we expect others to find it credible that the slower IGT run was truly faster?
Switching from IGT to RTA doesn't change the rule at all that WR runs must be a complete video. This isn't really a good argument and it's kind of showing that you're so hyper-focused on making your point that you're not taking the current ruleset into consideration. (Admittedly, I don't know how common knowledge the complete video rule is, I just always assumed it was obvious).
I'd propose not to bother listing a run's real time below a certain cutoff
Under no circumstance are we adding a cutoff of any sort, under any situation.
the runs of top runners have always been the predominant factor in creating momentum for the RTA switch
That isn't the case with me, at least, and I don't know how many people fall under that category either.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Keizaron » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:14 am

ExtraTricky wrote:For gen 1 I have a small preference here to using fade-to-credits for consistency with the glitched categories, and grandfather in any runs that previously waited on the IGT screen. For the opening scene I would just say those runs lose some time.
Something I proposed in Discord was we just time how long it takes to mash from IGT appearance to the fade out and just add that time to older runs to grandfather them in. So it would be a combination of retiming runs after the Champion split and adding that extra time for any runs that don't mash through the IGT screen. It seems like a fair compromise to me so gen 1 end splits are consistent across the board.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by SIVIURFY » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:20 am

i was thinking for gen 2 some people reset at the credits some people let it play, so would we just time the credits and add that to old runs? that would mean making watching the credits mandatory.

Or on the other side we could subtract the credits time from people who watched them IDK.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Keizaron » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:24 am

SIVIURFY wrote:i was thinking for gen 2 some people reset at the credits some people let it play, so would we just time the credits and add that to old runs? that would mean making watching the credits mandatory.

Or on the other side we could subtract the credits time from people who watched them IDK.
I'm more for subtracting to grandfather the runs in, but to be honest I don't care if we don't remove them and force people to go back to suffering gen 2. :^)

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by golderzoa333 » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:39 am

I feel rta timing should be exactly the same as it was. But igt should be a reference only for the runner to see how well he/she did. However rta should only break a tie it shouldn't be the main timing method in fact both should be used igt as a reference if your run was SS if not don't put it. i also think for GCN pokemon games timing should be exactly the same since gcn uses a clock inside the system and is quite accurate. but rta would be the over all timing method and will be used as a main for runs using IGT should be re timed by mods that users submitted including their own. this is my thoughts on the matter ty for taking the time to read this.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by entrpntr » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:49 am

ExtraTricky wrote:
entrpntr wrote:Having said all that, consider this situation: someone has a run with a slower IGT than the WR run, but their real time appears to be faster by, say, 2 seconds. The runner doesn't have a full local recording of their run. Do you feel comfortable calling that run WR? Would we expect others to find it credible that the slower IGT run was truly faster?
For me the only factor is that there's a complete recording. If there's a full twitch vod then it should be possible to verify the time based on that. If there's no recording then I wouldn't be happy calling it a record even if both the RTA and IGT were faster.
My understanding was that HLS system wouldn't yield accurate VOD lengths, but maybe that is only the case when the broadcast is still live? Anyway, I'll defer on such matters to the experts.
Keizaron wrote:Switching from IGT to RTA doesn't change the rule at all that WR runs must be a complete video. This isn't really a good argument and it's kind of showing that you're so hyper-focused on making your point that you're not taking the current ruleset into consideration. (Admittedly, I don't know how common knowledge the complete video rule is, I just always assumed it was obvious).
I know of the rule, but local recording ≠ Twitch VOD. If Twitch VODs aren't an issue as I thought, then it's less of an issue, though the IGT/RTA mismatch is still an odd situation regardless (at least to me). In any event, I appreciate the assumption about my temperament.
Keizaron wrote:
entrpntr wrote:the runs of top runners have always been the predominant factor in creating momentum for the RTA switch
That isn't the case with me, at least, and I don't know how many people fall under that category either.
People have definitely had reasonable stances on RTA for a while now (and been consistent in those stances), but it's always a top runner missing an IGT minute cutoff that has led to an actual push. But if there's 0 chance of a cutoff, then I'll cede on the matter.

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Re: Revisiting Timing Methods for Pokemon Speedruns (IGT vs RTA)

Post by Keizaron » Sat Jul 16, 2016 2:51 am

entrpntr wrote:People have definitely had reasonable stances on RTA for a while now (and been consistent in those stances), but it's always a top runner missing an IGT minute cutoff that has led to an actual push. But if there's 0 chance of a cutoff, then I'll cede on the matter.
This was going to be brought up by me after SGDQ regardless of any top runner missing any cutoff time. Some people think I brought it up because of my Silver run but that was just funny timing.

Also, yes, 0 chance of cutoff.
If Twitch VODs aren't an issue as I thought, then it's less of an issue, though the IGT/RTA mismatch is still an odd situation regardless (at least to me).
They aren't much of an issue unless the video is broken into several parts. The only separation of video that's allowed is during the dreaded quality options split, and that's pretty easy to discern.
In any event, I appreciate the assumption about my temperament.
Well, to be fair, that's how you tend to debate, so I'm just calling it as I saw it. No hard feelings or anything, if anything I was just saying you were very focused on making a point and may have missed something.

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