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one topic that seems to come up very often in several places regarding the ladders is stuff like "what does SRPR mean?", "what is AF?", "how is that different from total course time?", etc.
i thought it'd be a good idea to have some definitions and explanations of what these ranking methods are and why they exist in FZC in the first place. sometimes you start wondering how exactly the ladders calculate those columns full of weird numbers that are not part of what the game provides when you do Time Attack and why sometimes these ranks don't correspond to total course and lap rankings.
The Various Rankings of FZC
in FZC, there's various ways to rank times on each ladder. these consist of SRPR, AF, Course Total and Lap Total. there is also Speed Total for games that record speeds along their times.
SRPR: this is Site Record Personal Record. it's a score determined by the difference between your PR (or Personal Best (PB) as other sites like to call them) and the best time recorded on the site. to get a SRPR score, you need to divide the best time on the site over your personal best (SR/PR) and you'll get a value which represents your SRPR. the higher the number is, the closer you get to the best score and the maximum should be 1. if a player holds the site record, they have a SRPR of 1 in that track and if they hold all site records, they'll have a total of 1 SRPR across the whole game.
AF: this is Average Finish and is an average out of all the positions in which your times are ranked. simply, look at the rank of each of your times, add them up and divide by the total amount of tracks. this will give you your AF. to have an AF of 1 you'll have to have every site record. unlike SRPR, this score starts high and goes lower as you reach the top. if you were to hold every site record, your AF would be 1.
Course and Lap Totals are pretty obvious since they're just all of your times from all tracks added together. likewise, Speed Total is all your speeds added up.
you might be wondering why the scores are different in the actual ladder compared to the explanation. the reason is the championships ladder which measures all F-Zero games against each other. the numbers get converted to be used in the calculations for that ladder and to not have to display decimal scores. for AF, there's an extra calculation so that the score shown is on the rise instead of going down to keep consistency with how a SRPR score rises and to help the overall ladder calculations (don't ask me why it is this way. the ladder coders thought that up)
now that you know what these scores are, you might wonder: how do these makes things better than just adding up total times?
well, here's the thing. total course time and total lap times aren't balanced. the SRPR and AF score methods are balanced to show best how a person's true rank is. the reason there's no balance in total course and lap times is because the tracks themselves aren't played on equal level and aren't optimized on the same level. take for instance a player that is good in 10 tracks and bad in 10 tracks. maybe this person only focused on the first half of the game and had no time to play more. now, we have a second person that played all 20 tracks but was more average due to dedicating the same time to the whole game since they didn't have extra time to polish up their times more. ideally, they would be about the same rank with SRPR and AF scores since these scores would reflect this difference by how their times are ranked individually and then overall against everyone else. now, what of the first half of the game was composed of mostly short tracks that had very low time variation between the slow times and the fast times and the second half had a lot of long tracks with less optimization overall by everyone. in this situation, player 1 who polished up the first half a lot but wasn't so good on the second would suffer in course ranking and the second player who polished all their times equally would gain for his better second half times because the longer tracks would contain much more time losses when not optimized as well.
here's a more extreme example. you have one cup where, in the first 4 tracks, times don't vary much and the site record is around 5 second off from a rank 50 time in all of them. then, the last track is a lot longer and times at rank 50 are about 30 seconds slower than the site record. a person who only looks at couse time could grind up the last track a lot to approach site record and shave over 20 seconds there alone, while another player would grind up the first 4 and not be very good in the last track and still be behind by a lot because the time gain from the first 4 tracks is much smaller even with optimization. also, player 2 was lazy and didn't grind any of the other 4 tracks because his only good track let him be on par or ahead of the other player and this would mean one player could reach the same rank as another one with 1/4th of the work because course total didn't differentiate between tracks at all.
with SRPR and AF. this is no longer possible because each time contributes equally to your score. even if your score is very bad in a long track, it won't impact your total rank that much because the score provided in that track will be relative to everyone else's score there and the amount of time won't be a factor. suddendly, the player who only polished 1 track in the previous example is way behind the other one that polished 4 because the first one had good AF in 4 tracks while the latter only had good AF in 1. in the very first example the players would be really close to each other regardless of how long the tracks are since the player who played a lot the first half would have very good AF in that set and quite lower in the second set and the second player's rank would be pretty average overall.
that is pretty much the reason SRPR and AF are the main rankings of FZC's individual ladders and championships. course ladder and lap ladder still has an use but it's not very important, especially in games where time variation is pretty large. it can work to set yourself some goals like under a certain amount of time, etc.
between SRPR and AF, it's debatable which one is best. AF seems to be preferable because in SRPR there's still some dependency on how strong or weak each site record is but AF only measures the position of each player relative to others, so it doesn't really matter if the time itself isn't as optimized as long as the person is at the top.
Speed Ranks are much simpler since they are high scores instead of times. these are not counted for any ladder because, in FZX, they have a cap at 3000 and in GX there's really not much to do to max your your speed besides doing a strong MTS somewhere to get a high speed or use space diving in the open ladder to get as close to 10,000 km/h before triggering the speed stop glitch when you land.
Course and Lap times have a weight of 50/50 in each ladder. this was agreed because the common idea is that the level of optimization would depend on the length of the track and shorter times would get better optimization regardless if they were a lap or a course time. there's been debates to change this to be more beneficial to couse times but that's something better left for a later discussion if there's too many people wanting it to change.
i know i left out other things like how the championships ladder works but i'll let other staff members fill in on that and expand this topic since i bet there could be more explanations and examples added to some areas and this is a community effort and i'm sure the way i explained can be improved. i bet i also left something out accidentally.
|"Patience is useful in any moment"|
If AF score wasn't 'higher = better' on the Championship ladder, we wouldn't be able to include anyone that is missing games. The formula was first used on the Mario Kart Player Page combined rankings, we just copied it as it's pretty good.
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