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LotBlind: 2016-04-12 11:09:40 am
Can someone tell me if any of these are allowed? The rules say "Editing config files and console commands for PC games beyond the scope of the ingame settings are only allowed for purely cosmetic changes that grant no gameplay advantages."

- changing field of view via console (gameplay advantage? maybe, but also just a question of what you're used to just like mouse sensitivity)
- removing extra view bob via console if you feel it's annoying: it's just cosmetic otherwise.
- rebinding commands not given in the controls menu, e.g. quicksaving and loading, also your weapon binds which are for some reason missing from the menu: this one seems like, yes, you're getting an advantage over not doing this, but it's still very much in the spirit of FPS games and these days I feel very commonplace whether or not it's in the menus. The game was released early and it kinda shows in stuff like this not being configurable. There is both a "next weapon" and a "previous weapon" command available (not that we'd prefer to use them), but for some reason only "next weapon" is bindable via menus. Seems more like an oversight than anything.

Overall FPSs in general are games where even casual play is based around being comfortable with your binds and settings. The runner shouldn't be fumbling for the right guns, it makes the runs look amateurish. This is why I can't bring myself to think of any of this as cheating per se.

I presume you're allowed to make the brightness whatever you like when it's through normal menus. Even though most people might remember the game being a bit darker? Is there a concern with a/v quality if you have to lower the game graphics settings considerably (using max settings as a baseline) in order to get smooth frames per second or clearer vision of what's happening?

EDIT: Oh the rules do say PC gamers are allowed to remap keys, but does that include using the console to do that?
What about editing config files to avoid a game crash? That's listed in the documentation files that come with the game for Neverwinter Nights as being something that's useful on Windows XP and up (i.e. basically all modern computers), but there's no way to get at the settings from inside the game.
Everyday is puppies and sunshine...
To echo what ais523 was saying, in my Quest for Glory 1 and 3 runs, disabling EMS in the DOSBox config file stops a 100% guaranteed crash that happens when speedrunning the games.  We discussed it in private verification (LotBlind was a part of that, if I recall), and decided it was the appropriate measure.
FOV has always been a preference thing. It doesn't give any advantages unless you're using FOV switch commands as a sort of zoom key, and we draw the line there.
Removing view bob is also cosmetic and the gameplay advantage is miniscule.
Rebinding keys is not considered in the same vein as editing config files.
Brightness is also usually accessible through the game menus so changing it in the config is no different. There was a run done by groobo of FEAR that had the most garbage graphics settings you could think of, but it was still accepted as all the changes were done through the menus.

Editing config files to prevent crashes is fine, as long as you explain what you changed.
I feel it would be a benefit to everyone if we had a "hidden" or optional second page of rules where such things as these are given a more thorough discussion. I know it's work to put it together but I feel we won't be the last to make these inquiries. I think it might really save people some confusion.
I'm not sure how feasible it would be to have someone write an additional rule page from scratch. I guess one fairly simple thing that could be done would be to create a sticky thread in this sub-forum with a link to the rules in the knowledge base and then continuously add links to threads when more specific rule discussions have taken place. It's sort of in the eleventh hour, but could be worth a shot going forward?
You must only use features that are available on any controllers
that were officially bundled with the system. Thus, turbo-fire is not allowed except for
systems such as the TurboGrafx-16 that come with official turbo-fire controllers.

So Turbo is allowed for Famicom games?
Everyday is puppies and sunshine...
I feel it would be a benefit to everyone if we had a "hidden" or optional second page of rules where such things as these are given a more thorough discussion. I know it's work to put it together but I feel we won't be the last to make these inquiries. I think it might really save people some confusion.

I like it.  I picture it almost like a court of law, where you argue your case based on other rulings that have similar precedent for your case.  It's not enough to argue based on an obscure case, though.  You have a better case if it's actually in the rule book.
Blubbler, I have a feeling you already know the answer to your question and that the purpose of your post was more about pointing out a case of poor wording. I'll try to reply anyways. "System" in this case should be understood as the combined platform consisting of NES, Famicom, Twin Famicom and what else there was of official releases at the time. Seen in that context, autofire is not allowed for SDA-submissions on those consoles. I've changed the wording a bit in a way that I hope reflects this better.

Of course, if the Twin Famicom had important technical differences compared to the NES and the Famicom (which is not the case, as far as I'm aware), it could be argued that it should be treated as its own platform/system (similar to how games released on different consoles or re-releases are handled). If that had been the case, I think it would make sense to also consider autofire as a standard feature.
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Grygor: 2016-04-15 01:11:10 pm
That interpretation would seem to forbid the use of analog control on PS1 games, and the use of the X, Y, and Z buttons on six-button Genesis controllers, among other things.
It's not a matter of finding the lowest common denominator among the features of all released controllers or finding out which controller that was first bundled with a system (I'm not sure that's how you interpreted my post, but I guess it was something along those lines). It's about finding out what's reasonable/common practice and that will differ from system to system. In practice, I doubt that this is a problem for the vast majority of systems.

For the NES-system, basically no one (maybe except a few Japanese players) uses autofire so the answer is simple. The examples you mentioned are more about the controller layout and not really additional features and they both seem to be commonly used as well. I therefore don't see why they would be controversial.
Edit history:
LotBlind: 2016-04-18 11:29:20 am
LotBlind: 2016-04-18 11:26:16 am
LotBlind: 2016-04-18 11:19:19 am
My apologies: I missed the link at the top of the rules page that specifically takes you on a more detailed page. I think that page in the KB in an of itself is the very place to link any extra discussions.

Is it really so that "with deaths" is an additional tag for deaths-abusing runs and not the other way around, so "deathless" is a category? I know they had this same discussion on TASVideos not long ago. In case it's retreading old territory let's not get into it here, but in my mind you do whatever is fastest as a default for any speedrun and deviating from that is what creates the extra category.

I'm talking to someone running a specific game, who wants to do deathless runs because of (amongst other reasons) he thinks it showcases more skill. I know that this is not really an SDA way to approach speedrunning, but the question is can such a community decide that, for them, deathless is the default? Well, and if deathless IS, as stated in the rules, considered the default, could the community decide with deaths was the default for them. By default I don't really mean default but the real question is, could they then disallow runs that do the opposite to what they thought should be done? Given the differences are significant.

BTW: under "multiplayer", the extended rules page says "This rule also includes runs where one player simultaneously controls two (or more) characters in the game. " That makes it sound like 1-p-n-controllers is the same category as multiplayer, but isn't it always separate when present? Unless what the other runner is doing is absolutely trivial, I think most of the time it makes sense that they're separate by default.
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TheMG2: 2016-04-18 11:31:02 am
Do the deaths that you cut out save time? Because I'm pretty sure no death abuse categories are occasionally a thing.

EDIT: Oh this is deciding what is the default category. That's a lot trickier of a subject.

Some communities are ok with the "any%" having implicit restrictions (Super Metroid is an example), other communities hate having that.
I'm just not sure it's fair to impose any absolute restrictions on everyone: specifically if the category people like to run is not the fastest, that should basically always be an argument in an of itself to allow someone to do what's objectively the fastest. Doom predates SDA and should probably not enter this discussion. The only other game I personally know of to have a not-fastest community default is Descent where they run the middle difficulty and hardest, but not the easiest (because it's considered too straightforward). Would SDA still accept easiest-difficulty runs for such a game despite what the community seems to largely be opting for?

Metroid also predates SDA doesn't it? As I said, everyone can be of whatever opinion, but how can you argue having restrictions when speed is the only issue in the end? Speed is what defines a speedrun, nothing else can replace it. That's why I feel the restrictions, as I said, should be what gives rise to each a new category, i.e. "no major skips", "no warps" etc. That doesn't have to define which category people are mostly interested in running, and it also doesn't affect existing runs and communities in any way, just the category tags that their runs have.

The rules also say the default difficulty setting is accepted by default. Or does it still imply needing to have justifications like it says any additional settings apart from the 3 main ones need to have? Isn't 3 difficulty settings a bit tautologous for a lot of games? Surely the grand majority only ever go for fastest difficulty or hardest. I just don't get the idea with this rule. I mean it doesn't always have to lead into a reject if a first-timer has chosen a weird difficulty (just obsoletions later on), but if they had actually read all the rules, they'd have known to avoid that tautology anyway, which is to say those "weird accepts" is not the reason it has to be worded that way.

BTW: "New game+/DLC " might also mention that using prepared save files from other playthroughs constitutes NG+, and that when you run DLC, you need to use all the beneficial DLC (or is that true? what DOES it actually mean?)
Super Metroid itself predates sda, but the large skips that are not allowed in "any%" were discovered more recently. These skips are considered "any% glitched".

IMO in terms of difficulty, accept what is found to be interesting and different enough. Also if that difficulty is actually able to finish the game (some games you can't finish on lower difficulties).
I see the issue in any situation where the large skips are discovered after the fact, which is true for 95+% of games, especially those with a history. that's probably the main reason those get tagged and whatever came before is allowed to keep its old "name". This seems like something you could technically overcome by applying a bit of logic into the way run categories are handled - the site itself could do a check whenever something more glitchy/skippy comes up to make sure that gets the new any%/no tag, and the previous is applied "no X" which would depend on the exact (hidden, internal) labels on the new entree. But that's not happening.

Still it's more about what should be allowed - is faster always in no matter what? And I suppose you could think about it from the point of view of what the majority of viewers would prefer to see, or are expecting to see, although I personally don't want to go there simply because you're losing any logical terra firma you might have once stood on. Sigh.
I'm bit late in the discussion but I want to say that I disagree with the rule permitting runners to redo earlier segments. In the majority of cases it's hard to judge wether or not the runner altered a segment in the middle of the run for his own benefit later on. This only causes trouble for the already hard task of the few verifiers we have on SDA.

For example, in the only run I have on SDA, a segmented Borderlands run, I can imagine a bunch of points I could redo early segments without people noticing I did it, just to get a lower time. But as you probably know, borderlands rng and dropped items carry over during the run and that would invalidate the run in terms of quality.

In my opinion, a good workaround for this rule would be to only allow redoing segments in games with Individual Levels feature, that means, games in which the items and stats don't carry over across different levels.

On another topic, currently in the game Bioshock it's allowed for the players to use Autohotkey to rebind the windows virtual key "Volume up" to any key of their liking in order to access menus and do certain skips. This was allowed because some keyboards have the "Fn" key or a special Volume up key and others don't, the skip is also very meaningful in terms of time saving. Maybe exceptions can be made for the use of Autohotkey?
* Regarding category names. In short, the way SDA is organized makes the current category naming convention practical. Not to mention that it would take some effort to change everything that has been entered so far. I therefore don't see a change coming in the near future, even though it could have certain benefits as pointed out. Don't let that stop you from further discussing it though.

* The problem with 1p2c is that it's not compatible with the video requirements here. You can't really prove that you're playing on your own without also submitting another video with a cam pointed at yourself.

* About difficulties. Just like the rules state, the easiest, the hardest and the default difficulties are generally acceptable. The default category was actually added in this revision of the rules. Just like there are those who prefer the fastest or the most challenging difficulty, other people prefer not to change any settings at all and just press start to play the game. There have been plenty of default difficulty submissions already accepted, so it was natural to acknowledge that. I don't see a big risk of having too many categories because of this. First of all, it's not like SDA has ever been flooded with submissions to begin with. And if the difficulties for a game are too similar and several submissions were to appear, you can always obsolete runs across categories or not accept the new run in verification if it doesn't improve over an existing run in a very similar category.

* I changed the wording for NG+. LotBlind, you're right that it doesn't technically have to start from a completed game file. It can start from any save file that gives you the needed benefits or game state with unlockables available etc. I don't really see a need to specify more about DLC though. I believe it's already pointed out in the text that if you use something, you should use it to the fullest. The text is pretty long as it is and would get even harder to read if all such details had to be explicitly written down every time.

* Penta, while it's phrased a bit generically, re-doing of segments that impact the RNG in future segments is not acceptable. I fear that being more specific in this case will just create tons of exceptions. How can you be sure that no RNG is carried over between levels for every single game released? I believe it's manageable to look at each case individually when segments have been redone and evaluate if it's reasonable to assume that it had no noticeable impact on future segments. It's clear that an fps will be very sensitive to this and would hopefully also be heavily challenged in the verification phase. Drops, enemy spawn locations (or despawns thereof), movements etc could all be impacted by redoing a segment. But it's of course not always the case either. Let's say you have a long obstacle course level without enemies and a checkpoint in the middle. Wouldn't that seem fair to redo if you later on discovered a faster route?

I can't comment on any details in Borderlands specifically. However, if you say that you could redo earlier segments in such a way that the RNG would change, but without anyone noticing (so I assume all stats would be identical to the beginning of the following segment), then it wouldn't be allowed with the way it's currently phrased. You'd still get away with it regardless of how the rules are written though (assuming that no one manages to reverse engineer your run in such a way that the inconsistencies become apparent).

* I'll leave the question about the use of Autohotkey in Bioshock for someone else to reply to.
Why is rebinding the Volume Up key any different to rebinding a key in the menu?
ktwo: Thanks for detailed answers on everything! In my mind there's a quick reference, and there SHOULD be more detailed references for those still left in doubt on a topic relevant to their situation, but I understand the fluid nature of the discussion and difficulties in pinning down exactly formulated permanent rules.

However, that doesn't answer this: Can you always submit another run that's objectively faster than another one but doesn't follow the community's general preferences? Can a community categorically enforce something like "no deaths" on SDA even when deaths save time? Let's skip Doom etc. again as vestigial cases. It feels like something that can't be decided case-by-case, but that has to derive from a principle.

Difficulty settings: Okay, seems weird about difficulties, and I still don't get how it's compatible with the general aversion towards tautology and arbitrariness. I wouldn't go with either "generally acceptable" or "generally not acceptable" but rather something like "difficulty settings that will always be accepted are the fastest (usually the easiest) setting and the hardest setting. Additional settings (especially the game's default, or special challenge modes) are accepted so long as there's sufficient variation between them and the aforementioned ones." If there's one of them that's too many, it's always the middle/default setting, which is why I wouldn't present them as completely equal choices.

FPS RNG: In my experience, FPS RNG is more often than not a non-issue. I.e. it's seeded in a continuous way not based off earlier drops or anything (I think that's mostly old games when CPU was at a premium isn't it?). It's far more critical in anything turn-based where actions are far more quantized.

Also, as ktwo pointed out, the possibility you're cheating with RNG manipulations is not something most verifications (which are mostly in public verification done by people not experted enough to tell) will ever mention, not even when it's labeled a segmented run, not even when there's rerecorded segments. For this reason I don't quite get what you mean by this causing trouble for verifiers. We're on a base line of trust here, and we have every reason to be that. You're (not you penta but generally) kinda sad if it's even occurred to you to cheat in a speedrun. Tongue The rules are more there so everyone knows which exact parameters they're meant to be acting within.
I'm pretty sure no death-abuse categories exist even on SDA. I think there is a crash 2 no game over abuse category.
Edit history:
dunnius: 2016-04-23 10:35:04 pm
dunnius: 2016-04-23 10:34:11 pm
dunnius: 2016-04-23 10:32:26 pm
Intruding N313 and F014
NES Metal Gear has a no death-abuse category, but I think it should be obsoleted because it is boring.  It is any% but with more redundant walking.
Quote from ShadowWraith:
Why is rebinding the Volume Up key any different to rebinding a key in the menu?

For some reason, the devs decided to hard code the windows media keys (previous/next song, fast forward, volume up/down) to manage menus. The inputs for these menus are not in the keybindings options, the only way to use them is via media keys. Traditionally you're supposed to access the menus using the mouse, but in this way the skips aren't possible.
LotBlind, it looks like your first question has already been answered. The suggestion about difficulties looks good. It has the same meaning as before, but your wording is clearer. It's changed now.
Quote from penta:
For some reason, the devs decided to hard code the windows media keys (previous/next song, fast forward, volume up/down) to manage menus. The inputs for these menus are not in the keybindings options, the only way to use them is via media keys. Traditionally you're supposed to access the menus using the mouse, but in this way the skips aren't possible.

Ah. I see. In this specific case this workaround would be acceptable to us then.