Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

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Keizaron
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Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by Keizaron » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:33 pm

Per this thread, the discussion in the PSR Discord, and the results of the poll we took prior to the thread, it's pretty clear that the majority of the community is in favour of going forward with a switch to RTA. With this in mind, we need to look at just how to make this switch. From the thread, I had made a rough list of some possible timing methods for all the gens, as seen in this image:

Image

Please note:

- I only included main series games. Side games like XD I'd assume would just follow standard RTA notions
- Aside from gen 1, all the methods listed assume ending at the fade out to credits (in gen 2's case, the blackout before the final flash)
- For any "start timer upon soft reset" games, that basically just means once you start your game at 0.00 per the manipulation. I know some manip setups don't soft reset at all and just start the game from the DS bios upon hitting 0.00. Treat them as the same in this case.
- I lack knowledge on gen 5 and gen 6, so I kind of winged it there; I'll need runners' thoughts and knowledge on that a lot more
- I tried to make it as unbiased as possible; hopefully I succeeded
- There are probably some other timing methods I haven't included
- I did not include power on to credits

I'm not entirely sure how best to approach it from here. I don't want to post polls in here mainly because those can be manipulated in some way. If polls for each gen are preferred, we can always set those up in the Discord and share the results here.

I'll put my thoughts on which method is best in a little while. I'm posting this from work.
Last edited by Keizaron on Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

Ryosotis
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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by Ryosotis » Tue Aug 02, 2016 4:49 pm

For Gen5 (specifically Pokemon Black) my opinion is to just start the timer on New Game as we usually do. The reason for this is since Gen5 forces people to find their own seeds, the timing will vary. My own seed starts at the 30 second mark so if anyone who has a seed that starts sooner than that, they already have an unfair advantage.

For the final split, it would be the best for it to be when N says 'Farewell' on the very last textbox and the screen fades to black and the credits start rolling.

I have no experience with White 2 speedruns so I can't say anything on that matter, but this is just my 2 cents for Pokemon Black

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by JP_Xinnam » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:41 pm

For FRLG, starting at name entry is probably the way to go because of the Rng prediction. At first movement is likely, but it makes it harder for figuring out when to select Squirtle.

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by mumpfel77 » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:08 pm

For Gen1 I agree with all the hurdles that Keizaron listed. Method 3 is the worst and I would slightly prefer Method 2 over Method 1 because it makes re-timing easier and I think it looks nice to stop the timer at the same time IGT shows. Glitchless runners (the majority of runners I guess) are also more used to it.

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by Chromatrope » Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:17 pm

For Gen 6 I am fully on board with the current timing, which is start on new game, end on last gameplay segment, for both games.
Perpetually lazy and uninspiring.

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by Sfayne » Tue Aug 02, 2016 8:52 pm

Firered / Leafgreen

First, please note that the typical first thing you do in a FRLG run with RNG manip is checking the trainer ID in the menu so Option 2 shouldn't display "Start timer upon character movement" but something like "Start timer upon first player input in the overworld" (there probably has a better way to say it).

I don't think that's the case but if by "Start timer upon character movement" you mean the player is allowed to enter his menu and do stuff before starting his timer, I would be strongly against it (I can give the reasons if that's what you meant but as I said, I'm pretty sure that's not the case).



So now let's give my opinion about all 3 methods:
First of all, you should know that even though most runners started starting Wsplit/Livesplit timer on name select, every run prior RNG manip did start the timer on the New Game screen. That being said, whichever method end up being used, we won't be able to use the WSplit/Livesplit timer as a reference for many runs. Method 1 would have to re-time about half the runs on the leaderboard, Method 3 would have to re-time the other half while Method 2 would have to re-time all of them.

Now let's give my opinion on the different methods:



Method 1: New Game

Starting timer at New Game seems the most natural thing to do.
To me, the current problem of this solution is that a few of the recent runs weren't necessarily going as fast as they could between the "New Game" input and the character name input, since the runners knew that this part basically didn't matter for IG timing.

Basically, some runners stop doing anything a few seconds before the naming input to help them focus. That used to not matter, but using Method 1 would end up making those runners lose a bit of time on their runs for an unfair reason.

For that reason, I went to check top 7 leader board runs of FRLG any% and FRR2 categories to check how important the time loss would be:
- snorms any% PB (7th on leader board) would lose about 5 seconds
- JP_Xinnam any% PB (3rd on leader board) would lose about 3 seconds
- The majority of the runs (like 70% of them or something) would lose less than one second
- The rest of the runs would lose between 1 and 2 seconds

(Note that I did NOT check anything about top Emerald runs)

Those time loses would sure be unfortunate, but I consider that this down-side is not bad enough to justify starting the timer anytime else since starting on New Game is just intuitive and therefore makes much more sense to me.


Method 2: Character Movement

This timing method would force to re-time every single existing run since no one starts Livesplit/WSplit there.

To be honest, I always hate when a speedrunner in a game is allowed to actually be inside the game and do nothing without starting the timer. I don't think that's how a speedrun should be: if you're in the actual gameplay part of the game, you should have to play.

I consider his option of being a straight up worse Method 3, since it basically has the same hurdles with some additional flaws and not a single advantage over it in my opinion.


Method 3: Character Naming

It's was runners have been using as a reference until now, and it's not that illogical itself, but as I said, starting the timer on "New Game" just makes way more sense to me since it's just the intuitive reaction and Method 1 flaws aren't bad enough to make me think Method 3 is better.

However, I still consider Method 3 as a decent option and wouldn't feel down if it was selected.



Conclusion

To me, starting timer on New Game should be the default option and another method should be used if and only if there are really good reasons not to, and my opinion is that it's not the case for Firered/Leafgreen .

Therefore, my opinion is that Method 1 is the way to go.

However, if another option had to be chosen, I'd strongly prefer Method 3, which I still consider fine, over Method 2.




(Sorry for my mediocre english)

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werster
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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by werster » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:16 pm

Repeating myself to a few here I'm sure but I am highly, highly highly opposed to any method that starts timer during or after an intro sequence. Going through the whole process of switching to RTA to time the runs "properly" and then....not timing the runs properly just to try and make it ~easier~ on some people, without ACTUALLY being accurate (shoutouts to everyone who misused that term) is quite possibly the dumbest move we could make.

Like...if you're going to do that, we may as well just come with pre-loaded savestates at those times. If you are saying "this shit isn't part of the game" when -we- are the ones timing it, that means it doesn't matter in any capacity. So yup, just start with a savestate wherever the fuck, do the run from there. (This is an example to show how incredibly dumb I think this idea is)

Gen 4/5 should start time from soft reset/game startup (Run starts when the seed the generated as the game is loaded. Not doing so is discounting parts of the run)

Every other gen I honestly don't give a shit about now, but if you read above paragraphs you can surely figure out where I stand.
Last edited by werster on Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by entrpntr » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:45 pm

(I'll preface by saying I only understand Gens 1-3 well enough, so my comments primarily extend to those games.)

Because RNG is running before New Game, there's an argument for starting from [hard] reset/power on, as that will make it easier to ensure the validity of runs. My understanding is that Emerald and FRLG have the RNG re-seeded on the naming screen by a hardware-backed entropy counter, so there isn't any compelling reason to time those games from hard reset.

Otherwise, generally speaking, timing should start as soon as you begin "playing the game". For Gold Any% and Sapphire, strats take effect from the moment you reset, so I would argue heavily in favor of starting timing for those categories from reset/power on. We should probably reach a consensus on how to handle categories with RNG manip that begins prior to New Game selection so that we have consistent rulesets. We're inconsistent right now in already existing RTA categories: Gold Any% is timed from New Game selection, but the Gen 4 Any% categories time from soft reset or game bootup.

There exists the potential for RNG manip applications in Gen 1 glitched (TID manip) and Gen 2 glitchless (lottery manip) categories, so my preference would be to time those from reset as well. This clearly isn't popular opinion, and no existing runs in those categories perform any manipulation, so I doubt this approach will be favored. If there is a consensus reached on how to time runs that use pre-New Game manipulation, there shouldn't be much argument if future manip applications do arise, so we could also choose to ignore things for now and re-time runs after the fact (if necessary).

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by SIVIURFY » Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:17 am

For gen1 i personally prefer method 1 because it makes the most sense for the run. However I realise how big a pain in the ass it would be to retime current runs with that method. I've said before I'm willing to help retime runs if that's what we go with. If it does become too difficult to retime then method 2 is the best choice.

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by ExtraTricky » Wed Aug 03, 2016 8:00 am

I want to throw my support behind method 1 for gen 1. I like the glitched timing as the endpoint because it's the last input, and it accounts for differences in the length of the pokedex rating (In 151 it's always the same by definition, but other categories could have different ratings due to messing with pokedex flags, catching different amounts of stuff, etc). If we're okay with the inconsistency, I don't mind having glitchless end at IGT popping up, but I think the consistency is worth the effort of retiming/grandfathering existing runs.

I do think that there's a real argument for starting from power on in that the one existing RNG manip we have (trainer ID) involves watching the full intro in order to buffer two inputs. However, no run currently uses this manip, and timing from power on has significant downsides:
* Resets become longer, making running the game less fun.
* Version differences start to exist, and the most common/cheapest streaming setup (GBP) has longer hard resets than the alternative, so people doing attempts on GBP get fewer attempts than people on other setups.

In particular, emulator has faster hard resets than any official console. I am extremely strongly against any ruleset that puts console players at a disadvantage to emulator players, and so if we end up going for power-on we need to rethink our rules for emulator. 5-10 seconds per reset adds up pretty fast.

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by G_heinz » Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:01 am

i haven't really participated in the discussion much til now, but i think sapphire is a bit unique in some respects so i'll give my two cents.

while the main consideration in an rta shift would and should be accuracy and consistency of timing, i think we ought to bear in mind how certain timing cutoffs affect the way a game is and can be played and developed by runners. starter manipulation in r/s is most easily abused with a dead battery in which case the same "list" of potential stats is ordered sequentially per one frame. by virtue of the run there are already very few nature+IV combinations that are feasible for top times, and most are not clustered, nor near the beginning of the list, making 60fps manipulation inefficient to say the least, especially when some of the better stats are several minutes into the list. starting time at reset for r/s naturally punishes manipulation of the later stats, which both narrows the range of strategy by giving a big advantage to the earliest stats, and eliminates many if not most of the better options from a routing perspective.

epicdudeguy has monkeyed with a setup where through a cartridge modification he can connect and disconnect the battery at will. this changes the list of stats based on the minute since the clock was restarted, allowing for new stat combinations that might be closer to the beginning of the list for that minute, and thus the reset. it could make for more diverse and better stats without sacrificing time for a longer reset, but it's complicated and requires external modification, something that most people won't or can't do, which could also inhibit newcomers.

i understand the reasoning behind starting time at reset, and i agree that starting time somewhere after "new game" is dubious in emerald or fr's case, but since r/s manipulation doesn't directly involve the TID, starting time at "new game" is the norm for most runners, and a natural place to start time. some sapphire runs have started time at TID set (truck cutscene in r/s, tho name confirmation in e/fr), because we did experiment with TID manipulation for purposes of rng variance reduction, but this isn't really done or necessary anymore since the find that choosing may reduces variance by an npc deload (TID manip was only circumstantially available for some kips and inconsistent anyway).

we could get into the finer points of whether passive rng manipulation constitutes "gameplay" (more like rng facilitation, imho), but i think practical considerations are sufficient in sapphire to suggest standard "new game" start time. as far as end time, anything around hof entrance will do.

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by Keizaron » Fri Aug 05, 2016 6:27 am

Before I say anything else, I would just like to mention I added this in the first post, and it's significant to my opinion:
- For any "start timer upon soft reset" games, that basically just means once you start your game at 0.00 per the manipulation. I know some manip setups don't soft reset at all and just start the game from the DS bios upon hitting 0.00. Treat them as the same in this case.
My opinion on this whole thing is to try and recognize either a "New Game" or the best alternative possible. I'm not concerned with how much/little work it would take to re-time something, because a leaderboard overhaul is going to take a good chunk of time regardless. I much rather spend an extra 5 minutes per run on re-timing now and have a nice, clean and consistent start point in the future, as opposed to an easier re-timing now and an awkward looking/sounding start in the future. I see a good timing method as one that includes most, if not all, execution. I understand some complaints about certain re-timings when it comes to the middle gens, gen 4 being a good example, but I find it so minimal that it isn't worth molding a timing method around it. With that said, here are my opinions:

Gen 1 - Method 1. We already have RTA categories with an established finish time. While it would be faster to re-time the glitched categories to match something like Method 2, there are still inputs and, therefore, execution (obviously it's super brief and not difficult at all). The fade out to credits makes the most sense here.

Gen 2 - Method 1. Timing how long credits takes isn't too hard, so it isn't too difficult to remove that allotted time.

Gen 3 - Method 1. I know I had R/S and E/FR/LG listed separately, but I will treat them the same here. There is NOTHING wrong with runners of E/FR/LG starting their timer late to make good reference for their manipulation, and I say this because it ISN'T THAT HARD to re-time from New Game to beginning of manipulation. It will take, like, 5 minutes max to make sure. That's worth a clean looking RTA leaderboard.

Gen 4 - Method 2. While this may sound like it goes against my previously mentioned argument of "not going for the easiest transition", I find the soft reset/start game once timer hits zero here is a really clean starting point since you are basically accepting your parameters at that point. To me, setting your DS clock and waiting for a reset is akin to setting your options in gen 1 and hitting "New Game" after a brief period of time setting up/chatting/whatever. All manipulated runs have this soft reset, so it's just a really obvious starting point IMO. It includes all execution.

Gen 5 - Method 2. Same case as gen 4.

Gen 6 - Method 1. I don't really think there's an argument against this. If manipulation for this is ever found, that can be explored later.

Now for something that hasn't necessarily been brought up in prominence, but involves the point of S + Q.

I think if we go through with this, we should include in the rules that reset points should be mentioned in the submission comment. This is more for the whole soft/hard reset deal with emu/console. It will make moderators' jobs easier and isn't an unreasonable thing to ask for.

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by RXFADEZ » Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:03 pm

I'm tired and ill right now and may want to gather all my thoughts later and make a longer post - but I'll just keep it short for now.

I largely agree with Keizaron on everything, however I think that perhaps we should remove any extra time the player might have sat on the naming screen for on Gen3 - for I know myself and many others didn't input their name as quickly as possible as they knew IGT wasn't running and would rather have an accurate manipulation.

Gen4+ I'd rather have a "Press Start" or "New Game" start where available - but as I do not run those games or have plans to run them in the near future, I am not strongly opinionated either way (also should be noted that I believe 3DS loses ~1 second if we use these timings, but I'd rather someone with more knowledge comment on this)

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by deathline » Sun Aug 07, 2016 9:36 pm

I guess I'll put my 2 cents in since I do run a Pokemon game lmao. I run Pokepark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure (and eventually Pokepark 2: Wonders Beyond). Park 2 is in RTA, but Park 1 isn't. It's timed in IGT even though RTA makes more sense for this run. I've always put RTA time along with IGT time along with my pb when submitted to speedrun.com.

We start timer on "Play in Pokepark" and finish RTA timing on the last textbox you get from Mew in Sky Pavilion. We then sit through 3m 20s of credits, to save, then get IGT. The IGT would be the same as RTA if the credits didn't exist, so... :roll:

Anyways, yeah, I'd be a fan of RTA over IGT.

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by Famarok » Sun Aug 07, 2016 11:41 pm

Gen 1:

I prefer method 1, but I will not mind method 2 either. While I personally do not linger on the IGT screen for a while, I understand why some (dare I even say most?) runners enjoy taking a longer look at their accomplishment before going to the credits. Because let's face it, even with the switch to RTA, I am extremely confident most will still feel great satisfaction from watching their IGT go lower and lower as they improve.

With that being said, method 1 is still the more logical option (albeit being more difficult and tedious to re-time) just based on the fact that this is the point where the game is over.

What I hope the most, regardless of which method is chosen, is that the members of the community who are still active on Twitch, Discord, the forums, etc, all take a small amount of time to re-time their own runs, just to lighten the burden on the mods by a little bit.

As for the other gens, I do not find myself qualified to comment. Just due to lack of knowledge and the possibility that initial opinions might change after having run the games for a while.

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by TehHammerShow » Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:11 pm

Gen 1:

My opinion is basically the same as Famarok. Although we would need to retime a lot of runs. (Which I am willing to do and I am sure others will voluntarily retime runs.) I did some 151 catch em all runs before and I really like the method, since it is a really consistent place to split and it requires the runner to start with the first input and end with the last input of the run.

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Re: Moving Forward With RTA: Timing Methods

Post by MeGotsThis » Sat Aug 13, 2016 6:31 am

Gen 1:

While I have not ran any official category recently, I'll put my 2 cents as a perspective of 2G1C. Both me and 360chrism have done runs for 2G1C with the same timing methods which is Method 1. Since it is a newer category that was invented, deciding to use RTA was kinda easy from the start since there is no leaderboard from the start. Unlike glitched categories that does rely on saving, 2G1C glitchless does not need to have saving. So being the first runner, I decided to go with RTA timing with method 1. It does vastly improves marking PB's and worry less about getting good stat Squirtle and Nidorans or good stat on both Nidorans. I don't think I can handle that many resets.

I will be able to volunteer some time to retime any game or do some kind of frame counting in the video to help ease the process of the retiming.

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