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FZC
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Discussion regarding rule-sets for Fast-Laps in Climax
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Recently, FZC staff have discussed privately whether or not new rules should be added for Fast-Laps in Climax.

Using save-states/restore-points for Fast-Laps is already allowed for the game as we allow emulators to be used, but the question regarding Fast-Laps is to determine when the save-state/restore-point before the Fast-lap should be allowed to be set. Current Fast-Lap World Records use save-states/restore-points shortly before the Fast-Lap begins, with boost power and alignments for shortcuts having been made beforehand.

But the argument against allowing this is that building up the boost power to max speed (1920km/h) in Climax arguably takes a certain amount of skills to perform as it requires timing the boosts on top of each-other in successive fashion, which also gets harder to do the more complicated the track layout is as you would then also have a good sense of the drift mechanics of the game. And the same skill-argument goes for making difficult trajectories or alignments for shortcuts before the Fast-Lap begins. Thus the argument is that the whole set-up before a Fast-Lap begins should also be included in the Fast-Lap attempt, and so the save-state/restore-point should be made before any techniques that makes you go faster are performed, or any sort of alignments that makes the entry of the Fast-Lap easier to execute. This would arguably also be consistent with rules for Fast-Laps in other F-Zero games.

The argument against new rules for Fast-Laps is that we already have sufficient enough rules set in place that determines that a save-state/restore point only needs to be set before entering a Fast-Lap, and that these rules have already been used by people in the last couple of weeks since allowing emulators. With new rules added, these players would get their times and WRs removed from the ladder as they would then not have a correct starting point for the save-state/restore point. This could potentially make the affected players unmotivated to continue playing the game, which would be a detriment for our community. Another argument is that the building up the boost-power is not very skillful, and instead falls more in the tedious/annoying category, which thus warrants it being eliminated by having the save-state set afterwards, similarly to how it's mostly tedious to save up boosts in SNES/MV, or clearing mines before attempts in GPL.

As we have already discussed this thoroughly just between us staff, we would now like to hear from others what they think is the right move to do for the future. We welcome all opinions, but would especially like to hear the opinions of people who have played the game in a competitive fashion.

/ FZC staff

EDIT: After some consideration, FZC have decided to update its rules regarding save states/restore points usage for F-Zero Climax. See the rule page for detailed explanation: https://fzerocentral.org/viewtopic.php?t=824. Times submitted not following these rules will get removed from the ladder.

Yazzo
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Re: Discussion regarding rule-sets for Fast-Laps in Climax
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I'm definitely for adding new and improved rules for fast-laps in this game. I think similiarly to how you must include the whole set-up of building up speed for fast-laps in other F-Zero games, you should also have to perform the techniques in this game that makes you build-up speed before a lap begins. In my own experience playing the game at the top level, these techniques are not tedious/annoying, but instead are actually part of the challenge of playing the game. It's not easy to get to 1920km/h in this game, and it's especially not easy to maintain that speed going into the Fast-Lap and getting the correct alignment for perfect trajectories or shortcuts. To me, it's something that you can become better at the more you play and improve at the game, and thus it makes perfect sense to me that the save-state should begin before any such techniques are performed when going for fast-laps. And it's for sure not a direct comparison with the other 2d F-Zero games where you gain max speed from boosting immediately. In that sense, Climax is actually more similiar to the 3d games. To eliminate having to do these techniques/speed build-ups for Climax would as I see it completely remove the purpose of what I would consider proper Time Attack ethics, and is more akin to performing a semi-TAS run. Something that definitely should not be a part of FZC competition.

I also don't think we should worry about making people upset that their newly set times would have to be redone and/or they would quit. For once, we have only allowed emulators for this game for a very short amount of time (it's not even been a month), and so the times that have been set are not even very optimal yet and can all be improved by said players. I also think these new rules would actually make the competition better for the future as it then becomes much more skillful to go for fast-laps than how it is currently, and thus also more fun to participate in. As I see it, we should try thinking about these issues long-term rather than (very) short-term. Imagine if we determined you didn't have to do the JDT set-up in MV, or the DTD or AGG before a fast-lap attempt in X, or a shift boost in GX that leads into the Fast-Lap as an example (yes, i know emulators are not allowed for GX, but if they were I don't think anyone would say it would be okay for that speed build-up to not having to be performed for a fast-lap).

Also, if we allow new rules, one could make the argument that older times set in the game that doesn't include the full set-up in the video would have to be removed. For example the WRs set by RichardTaro in the past. But since those times were set playing on a GBA, and that RichardTaro is a very trusted member of our community, I think it's much more reasonable to assume that save-states were not being used (as it's not even possible on a GBA), and so the times should continue to stand as they are.

Having said all that, these are my proposed rules for Climax Fast-Laps:

- You must start at a stand-still before making the save-state (this makes sure you have to include the whole speed build-up, and naturally also makes it so the save-state is made earlier rather than later as you'd ideally want to have max speed going into the Fast-Lap).

- You are allowed to clear mines on tracks before making your save-state (this i actually think goes in the tedious/annoying category and thus should be allowed to do as it makes the competition better).

- Old Fast-Lap WRs set on GBA will continue being allowed as it's reasonable to conclude they did not use any save-states before the Fast-Lap began.

I look forward to reading other peoples' opinions!

Faizer
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 In my opinion some rules against skip set up should be put in yes, however I personally think speed gain falls more into tedious than skilled, since unlike in a 3lap you are not only trying to reach the top speeds, but also trying to accidentally use a boostfire, lose too much energy during the lap before the FLaps. 

If anything, imo it will just make people want to do laps less since you got to do 2 laps for it, and it will be easier for them to just do a normal run and hope they got a fast lap. 

Obviously Im biased towards that opinion, but I still think some of the ideas in these new rules are good, so in a nutshell

-imo the State must be set before the start of the lap or performing of any advanced technique (like the many skips), but imo speed is more of a nuisance than skilled trick (because by that logic mine clearing would take skill to do since you have to do it fast enough to not reach the 5 min limit and be good enough to not die), but hey, its just my opinion

zewing
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Have a video showing the setup to max speed, then allow savestate similar to SNES (as in you guys need to define a Climax version).  Makes no sense doing lap 2 all over again when you can show a video proving how the setup was attained.  It's not as aggregious as GX where you can get insane shiftboosts potentially, and this game basically has a similar concept of wanting to start the fast lap as fast as possible like SNES, though a bit more difficult.  I discussed this a bunch in the discord and this was a compromise I thought would satisfy all sides.  

Yazzo
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If building up the boost power and maintaining it going into the fast-lap equals something tedious and/or a nuisance and thus shouldn't have to be performed more than once with the help of a save-state, then why should you have to do it during the actual fast-lap at all? If that's the aforementioned viewpoint, I struggle to see how one can make any other argument, unless you think the inputs you do before a fast-lap are not considered as important as the actual inputs you do during the fast-lap. But this just doesn't make any sense to me as the inputs you do before a fast-lap are quite obviously such a vital part of how good your fast-lap will become in the end. This is true for all F-Zero games and why we also have such rules for them, but it's especially true for those games where building up the boost to max speed requires more than just one press of a button, or performing a certain speed-trick ala JDT. This undeniably includes Climax with how its boosting mechanics work, which differentiates it from the other 2d games.

Faizer: Surely you have plenty of time to clear the mines that are just in the way and get ready for the fast-lap? Besides you'd only have to do it once and that would be it. Everything takes a certain amount of skills, and I guess we can argue what is tedious and not ad nauseam, but to me at least it's pretty clear the mine clearing is not something that should have to be done before every fast-lap attempt, which is also why we traditionally have always been okay with eliminating that part.

zewing: with that solution, you'd still only would have to do the set-up once, which completely defeats the purpose of saying that the set-up is part of the f-lap and thus should _always_ be included for each attempt you make. You could argue it's not as aggregious as GX or X, but If anything, if you're saying that you want to start the fast-lap as near the finish-line as possible as in SNES, that is simply not true for Climax.

Faizer
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 Difference is unlike in a 3lap where you are trying to reach that top speed as fast as possible, for a flap you generally just boost and nothing else, there isn't anything like in GX/X which gives you crazy high speed, everyone knows how you got to that speed, and during the lap you don't really bother with keeping it because of boost fires (hell on some tracks you are trying to lose speed for a trick or something). Whilst in a 3lap you're trying your hardest to have that speed constantly at Max, Boost fires generally cover that front for Flaps (that's why we always try to not waste it in lap 2)

Also slight bonus but the machines most commonly used for FLaps (NT TN and GS) are also the ones that gain speed so damn easy you can do it one handed, Crazy Bear on the other hand is mostly used for 3laps (a lot of FLap WRs with CB are from failed 3laps) but even then the tracks where it's viable for laps pretty much kill any of the difficulty, since they generally have boost plates, and even then since you're just trying to get speed and nothing else, you dont do any risky stuff during Lap 2 that could waste speed, unlike in a 3lap where you're trying to save time on Lap 2

Also personally Im ok with the idea zewing suggested

Yazzo
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I want to try and give an example explaining my reasoning further. On the first track Mute City - Six Carat, you want to get to and maintain as close to max speed before entering the fast-lap attempt. This requires planning on how you take the last turn, since because of the timing mechaniques of the boosting, the risk of losing max speed in the turn is high if you use it during the turn. You don't want to use your boost fire in this situation as you'd want to save it for use during the actual fast-lap to eliminate those short periods of times inbewteen boosting where you go down in speed. So ideally, you'd want to be close to max speed, and you'd also want to use your normal boost just as you go into the final lap so that you enter it with as much speed as possible and save your boost fires for later.

Now take a look at my PB on the track: https://youtu.be/tLkx4_lQlDI?t=30 (and imagine I was going for fast-laps). I try my very best to get to max speed in lap 2, but as you can see, despite my very best efforts, i'm not able to do so entering the last lap. Also, my timing is not ideal as I boost too late and not just before the finish-line. With the help of a save-state I could have made this process much easier for which you can see an example of here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0QTKCD3NLs In this video, Faizer has made a save-state where he gathered up enough speed to reach max speed in his next boost, and is able to boost just as he enters the lap. Very conveniantly he can just reset if he doesn't time the entry of the final lap perfectly. My point is that it would not have been easy to get this all perfectly lined up had I tried it starting from standing still. Not in getting the best timing to boost before entering the last lap, but also not in getting the last boost-timing to be perfect so that you enter with 1920km/h, or to get enough speed without the help of boost fire to even make this kind of entry possible.

This is my experience of playing the game. It's actually very hard, but not impossible that I could have entered 1920km/h just as I went into the last lap, which would have improved my beginning section of the fast-lap. But since I wasn't able to do so, my fast-lap suffered as a consequence. As I see it, this set-up takes a tremendous amount of skills to get perfectly right, and is very much part of the challenge, and in fact, particularly when going for fast-laps. Maybe this challenge varies in difficulty depending on which track you're playing or which machine you're using, but I think the general line of thinking can still always be applied.


In conclusion, to minimize these set-up strategies to "just boost and nothing else", that "everyone knows how you got to that speed", that "gain speed (is) so damn easy you can do it one handed" or simply as something that's only tedious/annoying surely can't be valid arguments. I don't agree whatsoever that it's easy to pull off a perfect set-up consistently (which I've hopefully demonstrated with my example), and with that same logic being used for the other games, one would not have to perform the JDT set-up for certain fast-lap attempt in MV, or the boost plate set-ups in SNES on the basis that these strategies are so easy to do and so not neccessary to perform for every attempt. Arguably, these set-ups are even much easier than anything required for Climax.

Faizer
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Yazzo wrote:

I want to try and give an example explaining my reasoning further. On the first track Mute City - Six Carat, you want to get to and maintain as close to max speed before entering the fast-lap attempt. This requires planning on how you take the last turn, since because of the timing mechaniques of the boosting, the risk of losing max speed in the turn is high if you use it during the turn. You don't want to use your boost fire in this situation as you'd want to save it for use during the actual fast-lap to eliminate those short periods of times inbewteen boosting where you go down in speed. So ideally, you'd want to be close to max speed, and you'd also want to use your normal boost just as you go into the final lap so that you enter it with as much speed as possible and save your boost fires for later.

Now take a look at my PB on the track: https://youtu.be/tLkx4_lQlDI?t=30 (and imagine I was going for fast-laps). I try my very best to get to max speed in lap 2, but as you can see, despite my very best efforts, i'm not able to do so entering the last lap. Also, my timing is not ideal as I boost too late and not just before the finish-line. With the help of a save-state I could have made this process much easier for which you can see an example of here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0QTKCD3NLs In this video, Faizer has made a save-state where he gathered up enough speed to reach max speed in his next boost, and is able to boost just as he enters the lap. Very conveniantly he can just reset if he doesn't time the entry of the final lap perfectly. My point is that it would not have been easy to get this all perfectly lined up had I tried it starting from standing still. Not in getting the best timing to boost before entering the last lap, but also not in getting the last boost-timing to be perfect so that you enter with 1920km/h, or to get enough speed without the help of boost fire to even make this kind of entry possible.

This is my experience of playing the game. It's actually very hard, but not impossible that I could have entered 1920km/h just as I went into the last lap, which would have improved my beginning section of the fast-lap. But since I wasn't able to do so, my fast-lap suffered as a consequence. As I see it, this set-up takes a tremendous amount of skills to get perfectly right, and is very much part of the challenge, and in fact, particularly when going for fast-laps. Maybe this challenge varies in difficulty depending on which track you're playing or which machine you're using, but I think the general line of thinking can still always be applied.


In conclusion, to minimize these set-up strategies to "just boost and nothing else", that "everyone knows how you got to that speed", that "gain speed (is) so damn easy you can do it one handed" or simply as something that's only tedious/annoying surely can't be valid arguments. I don't agree whatsoever that it's easy to pull off a perfect set-up consistently (which I've hopefully demonstrated with my example), and with that same logic being used for the other games, one would not have to perform the JDT set-up for certain fast-lap attempt in MV, or the boost plate set-ups in SNES on the basis that these strategies are so easy to do and so not neccessary to perform for every attempt. Arguably, these set-ups are even much easier than anything required for Climax.

 

...you know, you gave me an idea to show my argument again

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNPfWNkXGI0

Same Track, same Machine, and I get max speed every time, except the last one because the main tedious part hit. Because again, you were going for a 3lap run in your example, whilst for this we all just drive casually, hell I even miss boost timings and boost plates and I still got top speed. And for tracks with harder set ups we use different machines (since ngl Crazy Bear is meh for laps). I'm sorry but if you're gonna use one of mu runs as an example, I will give you a counter example, you can literally see how little I try in that video

Faizer
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 Also another example that I can give about how little the set up itself can affect the lap, here is an example of me beating a Lap PB with worse set up, less speed, 1 boostfire only, and lots of speed loss  and the properly set up run, kinda to show how little the set up can matter for these 

 

Yazzo
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To say how little the set-up matters just because you can beat your existing lap-times doesn't make any sense. All you're showing to me is that you can in fact affect your existing lap-times with better set-ups - set-ups which are not even that optimally done by yourself. To make these set-ups more optimal takes more skills (by mine and now also your demonstrations), and if you'd do them better you'd also improve your fast-laps. Thus, it's essential that they need to be included for each attempt. Just how it is in other F-Zero games as well.

Also, why would Crazy Bear be meh for laps if it has the best drifting capabilities? Seems to me you can easily infer that if you want to set as fast of a lap as possible, Crazy Bear is generally the choice to make. But in any case, I don't see why using a different machine would change anything regarding the importance of the set-up.

Faizer
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 Again, I gave the 2nd example because the old time ised the optimal set up and everything, whilst the new one wasnt even set up for a lap and beat it

Also yes, Crazy Bear is generally considered bad for Laps, it's horrible boost means it's tedious to save up a boost fire (and its why its mostly used for Laps with more boost panels), there you can make an argument about skill or stuff but generally Night Thunder is used instead because of this fact, and since the biggest advantage it has besides a better drift and a better lap 1 speed than any other machine, whilst NT is used in laps because it's faster on boost laps but lacks speed on Lap 1, and the Noritta is used for its boost and jump, but lacks the drift so it's use is confined to skip heavy laps (i.e. all 3 MFs,ILWs and WL2). I'm just trying to say that Lap meta is slightly different, and whilst the Bear is still good for them, its boost makes it beaten by other machines (unless the track has lots of boost plates)

Note: a majority of Lap WRs are are set with NT and TN + GS, and most of the Bear ones are from either the 3lap WRs or a failed attempt 

Yazzo
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Assuming I grant you that the Crazy Bear is not the fastest machine to use for certain f-laps, what does this even have to do with what we are discussing? The set-up before the f-lap still affect how fast your fast-lap will be regardless of what machine you're using. It doesn't matter exactly how much this affects your fast-lap; we're dealing with Time Attack after all where the whole point is to shave off hundredths if not thousands of a second. To disregard having to do a certain set-up that takes a certain amount of skills to get perfectly because it doesn't matter *that much* completely goes against the purpose of what we're doing on this website.

Faizer
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 alright decided to set a lap with these new rules https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9ct_pyenoI

I guess this can be used as an example of what youre propossing 

and if youre wondering what the best lap prep is (aka the easiest and most consistent one) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiBIbhlkKgg

most tracks don't actually need you to be boosting from the start to even gain enough speed...just a fun fact I guess


Ive kinda given up at this point

yoshifan
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zewing wrote:

Have a video showing the setup to max speed, then allow savestate similar to SNES (as in you guys need to define a Climax version).  Makes no sense doing lap 2 all over again when you can show a video proving how the setup was attained.  It's not as aggregious as GX where you can get insane shiftboosts potentially, and this game basically has a similar concept of wanting to start the fast lap as fast as possible like SNES, though a bit more difficult.  I discussed this a bunch in the discord and this was a compromise I thought would satisfy all sides.  

Just want to raise a question related to this suggestion. Most of this thread so far has discussed skills vs. tedium of the pre-lap setup, whereas zewing's suggestion addresses a different concern - proving that the setup was performed legitimately.

So my question is what 'legitimately' would mean. If we adopted a rule that lets you savestate close to max speed (1920 km/h), then what should the rules be for the pre-savestate gameplay? Obviously we shouldn't allow game-modifying cheats, or you'd be able to savestate at 4000 km/h. But should there be a limit to how many savestates are used in the setup - 1 state in the previous lap, 1 state from standstill, etc.? Or do we essentially allow establishing the savestate using TAS (which, ironically, could increase tedium in flap competition unless people share savestates)?

Faizer
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 I should've probably mentioned that also, but a lot of laps don't actually require max speed (some can be done with as little as 1500), as for the thing Yoshifan suggests, I d say 3 is the maximum reasonable (counting a state before lap 2 and a state before the FLap), hell I'd say only 2 are really needed, the one at the start of Lap 2 and the one before the FLap (or any major skip). I do think that would be a better idea than just having to waste time doing the exact same thing (aka do nothing for half a lap and then boost a few times), and I was gonna suggest State sharing...but that is gonna be a nightmare for those who want to keep their saves (mGBA does allow for state sharing btw) and the whole argument is that it would ignore the people on GBA

Valyssa
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The way I see it there's 2 different mindsets at play here.

1. An FLap should be a considered as a standalone run, which includes everything done before the lap that could possibly influence the run
2. An FLap is a test of what's humanly possible to achieve in a single lap, being able to do quickfire attempts with no worries about setup or downtime

And honestly, I don't think either side is gonna budge based on what I've seen so far. Personally I'm more on the side of 2, as that sets it apart more from 3-laps and allows us to go for some crazy skips and more optimal driving/risky drifts. It also just allows us to focus more on the lap itself and not need to spend half a minute setting up before every attempt which is very valuable to someone without a ton of free time. I like seeing the game be pushed to its limits and theorize crazy stuff which might never work if you get it less than 1% of the time unless you spend hours or days trying to get it just once in a run (and then pray you don't make another sloppy mistake). I like how unique FLaps feel when you can just do attempt after attempt without downtime for a humanly perfect lap. Because realistically, on most tracks it is just downtime and not very interesting to play over and over. Yes, the setup matters, but I don't think it matters enough to warrant the increased timesink and tedium. As long as you hit 1920 with enough energy, the only major thing left that matters is the drift you enter the lap with, which is why we should have at least a second of video showing before entering the lap (and since air stuff IS complex and important, you want to include all of that, and then at least a second before showing how you hit the jump plate). Don't even compare this to AGG setups in X, those are far more intricate due to there being another dimension and freedom to move outside of the track as well since you're floating.

Regarding Yoshifan's post, the rules state to not use cheats. That should be enough IMO. In GX we only allow AR for unlocking the parts because it's a permanent unlock, no cheats need to be enabled after. You should never have cheats enabled during your run. Regarding TASing the save state setup... I can't see this being an issue on any track since nothing you can do allows you to go past 1920 km/h anyway. At most it just makes it easier to reach the save state point with top speed, but it never makes anything that's impossible suddenly possible. I don't think it's worth the hassle to provide proof of setup, but if people disagree (or prove me wrong) then sure, I can absolutely live with a limited number of save states being allowed before the FLap attempt

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AKC12
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Valyssa wrote:

The way I see it there's 2 different mindsets at play here.

1. An FLap should be a considered as a standalone run, which includes everything done before the lap that could possibly influence the run
2. An FLap is a test of what's humanly possible to achieve in a single lap, being able to do quickfire attempts with no worries about setup or downtime

And honestly, I don't think either side is gonna budge based on what I've seen so far. Personally I'm more on the side of 2, as that sets it apart more from 3-laps and allows us to go for some crazy skips and more optimal driving/risky drifts. It also just allows us to focus more on the lap itself and not need to spend half a minute setting up before every attempt which is very valuable to someone without a ton of free time. I like seeing the game be pushed to its limits and theorize crazy stuff which might never work if you get it less than 1% of the time unless you spend hours or days trying to get it just once in a run (and then pray you don't make another sloppy mistake). I like how unique FLaps feel when you can just do attempt after attempt without downtime for a humanly perfect lap. Because realistically, on most tracks it is just downtime and not very interesting to play over and over. Yes, the setup matters, but I don't think it matters enough to warrant the increased timesink and tedium. As long as you hit 1920 with enough energy, the only major thing left that matters is the drift you enter the lap with, which is why we should have at least a second of video showing before entering the lap (and since air stuff IS complex and important, you want to include all of that, and then at least a second before showing how you hit the jump plate). Don't even compare this to AGG setups in X, those are far more intricate due to there being another dimension and freedom to move outside of the track as well since you're floating.

Regarding Yoshifan's post, the rules state to not use cheats. That should be enough IMO. In GX we only allow AR for unlocking the parts because it's a permanent unlock, no cheats need to be enabled after. You should never have cheats enabled during your run. Regarding TASing the save state setup... I can't see this being an issue on any track since nothing you can do allows you to go past 1920 km/h anyway. At most it just makes it easier to reach the save state point with top speed, but it never makes anything that's impossible suddenly possible. I don't think it's worth the hassle to provide proof of setup, but if people disagree (or prove me wrong) then sure, I can absolutely live with a limited number of save states being allowed before the FLap attempt

 

Reading this post reminds me of how I pushed to change the GX max speed rules when I should have focused on making it its own category from the beginning. As I have said before in Discord, ideally these two approaches to fast laps should have separate rankings because taking full advantage of save states before the lap is an overwhelming advantage over console players. I think the difficulty of the set up itself is a moot point when it goes against this point.

If we allow fully utilizing save states before the lap without making it essentially a new category, then we would be asking console players interested in doing fast laps to switch over to Wii U or emulator. Would you be okay with this? I'm not sure myself. Sending this message to console players seems like a massive mistake to me and might push those players away from the game for good.I am curious to hear what Figh and other players who shelled out good money to buy a physical copy thinks about this. If it were me, even if I had a copy of the game there would no longer be a reason for me to do fast lap times on a console, or even 3 lap runs as well possibly. And I would feel cheated if I spent a lot of effort on fast laps.And worse yet if the player spent much of their savings to pick up the game and they end up feeling they wasted their money.

Perhaps the argument for fully utilizing save states is because the Wii U version has save states. As we now realize this issue should have been addressed immediately and it could be too late to make amends at this point. The question I ask now is do we care if playing on console would put the player at a disadvantage for fast laps? I am not sure if SNES F-Zero is a good comparison to base this decision because it had no Retry option. Or is it given across multiple communities at this point that if we allow modes of play that allows save states, then putting console players at a disadvantage is an acceptable consequence?

I think now would be a good time to ask what should principals FZC should value the most. Fairness? Accessibility? Pushing the limits on what's possible? We really don't have a single leader so now us mods and admins with our own various viewpoints and priorities are trying to essentially push our own preferences through. I suppose it would be very difficult or impossible to be of one mind on what we should value.

Apologies if this came out as slightly incoherent.

All of my GX times with various machines: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12c92zTykQvGwPoCU6yGuOb7lwxFENUC9ELbHZcse1qE/
yoshifan
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Re: Discussion regarding rule-sets for Fast-Laps in Climax
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AKC12 wrote:

Reading this post reminds me of how I pushed to change the GX max speed rules when I should have focused on making it its own category from the beginning. As I have said before in Discord, ideally these two approaches to fast laps should have separate rankings because taking full advantage of save states before the lap is an overwhelming advantage over console players. I think the difficulty of the set up itself is a moot point when it goes against this point.

Just want to say I like this idea. I said so in the staff Discord as well, but I made a concession that "I do see how this type of [ranking filter/separation] feels a bit more 'extra' compared to filters on driving style [such as GX max speed vs. snaking]". After thinking about it more, I'm retracting that concession. If there are such strongly different opinions on what the 'best' kind of fast-lap competition is, then I think accommodating both types of competition is a perfect reason to have filtered or separate rankings.

That being said, ranking filters aren't going to exist until the new FZC website is ready, and it is pretty tedious to add a new ladder to the existing FZC website. I'm already working on some features related to the other recent Climax rule changes (https://fzerocentral.org/viewtopic.php?t=14382). After that, I'm probably drawing the line on major new developments to the existing website. If locks or his friend can get time to code up a new ladder though, then that's a possibility. Otherwise, we'll have to pick just one ruleset to go with on the FZC ladders for now, while the other ruleset would get relegated to a separate WR table and/or Google spreadsheet.

Yazzo
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I think having the mindset of what FZC should have as an identity and looking back at our history when we make this kind of decision is very important.

Including the whole set-up for each fast-lap attempt is historically something we as a community have always felt is important to include. In principal, I don't see how there's anything different between for example having to include a JDT set-up in MV, having to include a AGG set-up in X or indeed having to include the boost-speed and boost-timing set-up in Climax (which I would consider way more difficult than say a JDT set-up in MV). The requirement is exactly the same which is that all the inputs that affects how fast you are able to drive the fast-lap have to be included for each attempt. It doesn't matter how easy/hard it is compared to other set-ups in other games, or how much it even affects the lap. All that's important is that these inputs DO affect the lap, and that it takes a certain amount of skills to do them.

Now one can argue we strafed away from this mind-set the moment we began to allow restore points to eliminate gathering up the lap-boosts in SNES/MV. One could say that the console players are already at an disadvantage since they need to keep driving those laps for each attempt, so why not just say that other inputs before an attempt also shouldn't have to be done based on it just making the competition better and more fun that way. But as I see it, one directly affect the outcome of your fast-lap completely based on your skills, while the other is primarily a huge time sinker if you're going for fast-laps, which by my own experience is very boring and taxing on a player. So it makes sense to me to allow skipping having to do those laps for the sake of making the competition better and more fun. This weighs more to me than having to take into consideration the ones who are only playing on console. Especially when Nintendo keeps re-releasing these games for younger players who didn't grow up playing on console, while at the same time it also being harder and more costly to get a hold of them the original way.

Now if the argument then is that what you need to do in Climax to set-up the fast-lap is tedious, and thus shouldn't have to be done more than once, I just don't see the logic behind that. Again, what you're saying then is that the inputs you do before a lap are not as important as the inputs you do during the lap. But surely it's still the same kind of inputs? As such, if the goal is to see the game "pushed to its limits", one can only conclude that you shouldn't have to do any inputs that affects your lap the normal way since arguably they're just tedious and prevents you from setting the perfect time. At that point, I cannot see any other conclusion than just making a fully fledged TAS instead.

And of course, there's nothing wrong with making TASes, but is that really what FZC is about? To me, FZC is about Time Attack. And Time Attack by itself IS tedious. That's the whole point of it as I see it; you maddenly keep retrying and retrying attempting to get the perfect jumps, the perfect drifts, the perfect speed build-ups in a run, and then suddenly after 5 hours of hardcore grinding everyday for weeks and weeks you (more or less) get the perfect run where all those things come together in one awesome run which leads to a personal best, or maybe even a world record. Going through this 'tedious' process and achieving your goal is an incredibly satsfying feeling to experience, and I don't see how you can get that same feeling by eliminating having to do certain skillful inputs for each of your attempts. It's just not the same, and it's not what FZC is about to me.

So what I'm saying is that this line of thinking of eliminating 'tedious' things in the games really is a slippery slope, and we must be careful with our decisions to not strafe too much away from the identity of FZC. I think removing having to do certain things to make the games more accessible and fun is important if we want this community to live on in the future, which is why I'm okay with using save-states as a concept for certain things, but we must also make sure that we don't lose our identity as a Time Attack community and keep being strict about the allowed usage of those tools. If anything, shouldn't at least the starting point be conservative where we start with having a similiar rule for Climax as in the other games relating to the fast-lap set-up?

Lastly, I'm not against keeping track of times that uses emulator tools to one or another degree, but I struggle to see the point of it being FZC's primary duty to do so. If anything if we're going to keep track of runs that skips inputs that affect the outcome of your lap, then we should only keep track of the ones that fully uses every trick in the bag to take the game to the absolute limit (that is, a TAS). But of course there is already a site that keeps track of that. So my suggestion is that people who want to use these tools to a lesser degree (but still more than what FZC allows) can do so and create their own competition for it with their own rules elsewhere. But I think for FZC, the best we can do is to keep the rules as consistent as possible over all the games, and have rules that makes sure we keep our identity. At least as a starting point.

yoshifan
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Yazzo wrote:

If anything, shouldn't at least the starting point be conservative where we start with having a similiar rule for Climax as in the other games relating to the fast-lap set-up?

I do think this makes good administrative sense. Ideally, we would've figured out this savestate-usage rule at the same time that we allowed emulator for Climax (though I have no intention of pinning blame on anyone for that). And if we consider this fast-lap decision alongside the emulator decision, then "allow emulator, on the condition that it doesn't have a significant advantage over GBA" sounds like a pretty good compromise package.

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