ParadoxxicModeratorAugust 22 2018 at 10:13 PM ESTPosts: 1571
This forum post is a place for discussion surrounding the state of Halo 2 (H2) and Halo 2: Anniversary (H2A) on Haloruns. As many are aware, discussion has surfaced within the community recently regarding the potential of merging these two currently separate categories into one (i.e. Halo 2 Vista, Halo 2: Anniversary, and Halo 2 Classic would all be tracked as "Halo 2"). This discussion has been spurred by the recent patching of the insider version of Halo: Master Chief Collection (MCC) which has re-enabled swordflying and melee cancelling in campaign mode for H2A.
Before we begin I want to provide some context for everyone as to how we got to this point. Halo: Master Chief Collection was released November 11th, 2014 to an international audience. It was obvious that the release of four classic Halo games was going to have a major draw and get a whole slew of both old and new fans playing Halo again. The crown jewel of the MCC release was Halo 2: Anniversary, a re-mastered version of the original game (Halo 2 (2004)) that by the time of MCC release, was a decade old. It was apparent that there would be a huge influx of new players and that many of those players could potentially take an interest in speedrunning. A number of achievements in the game were named after popular halo speedrunners, and the in-game speedrun leaderboards would no doubt provide halo speedrunning a level of visibility that was unheard of up to that point.
Well-known Halo speedrunners Mr. Monopoli and Goatrope were invited to visit 343 industries prior to the release of MCC and had the opportunity to play an early build of H2A. In that early build you were able to perform sword cancels, but not swordflies. It is not known how or why cancelling was broken but the ability to perform sword cancels was removed/broken sometime before the public release of MCC. This presented the admins of Haloruns at the time with a quandary: This game, while poised to be an introduction for so many into the world of Halo speedrunning, would not allow these new speedrunners to be competitive in the fullest sense of the word against those running Halo 2 on the Xbox 360. There was founded worry that the lack of competitiveness could subdue the positive effect that MCC could have in bolstering the Haloruns community.
So, to combat this, it was decided that H2A would be made into its own separate category on Haloruns. This allowed an entirely new playing field for these new runners to forge their own path and created a competitive environment separate from that of the original game. To quote Goatrope
The goal was to accommodate the influx of users surrounding MCC's release. Post-release we had a discussion and generally agreed that if and when sword tricks got fixed, we would combine the categories. - Goatrope
This leads us to the current state of the game today. Sword tricks have been fixed (or are imminent) and H2A is now more reminiscent of Halo 2 classic. H2A has been a very good resource for the site, bringing in a plethora of new faces that have helped evolve and grow the Halo speedrunning world. But in light of the recent changes to MCC the discussion of a category merge is warranted.
Currently, there are a few hurdles that need to be discussed before any action is taken:
In order to merge the categories of H2 and H2A together, the points already present on the site need to be dealt with. If a runner has a full suite of times for both H2 and H2A, which times (and therefore point values) do they get to keep?
How will we deal with the current timing differences between the two games? For fullgame runs, H2A currently allows the subtraction of loads while H2 does not. For IL runs, H2A is timed using the in-game MCC timer while H2 is timed RTA.
There are still fundamental differences between H2A and H2 with regards to framerate, physics, hitbox displacement, and skull activation on pickup. It should be noted that many of these differences are also present in H2V, but H2V is merged as part of the H2 leaderboard.
H2A is still in a process of indeterminate change as it is still receiving updates and post-release patches, while H2 is not.
While these points are obvious stick-out points for me, I encourage everyone else to bring up your own thoughts or suggestions on the matter in this thread. I will provide an overview of some discussion on the matter that has already transpired between the Haloruns admins over the last few months in order to better bring everyone up to speed on the topic.
Implementation of a "Version" tag for all games on the site would enable runners to see what version of the game a run was completed on without having separate leaderboards for each version. This would allow differentiation not only in Halo 2, but also for all games with version differences across the site.
While there are differences in physics, graphics, and framerate between H2 and H2A, a precedent for merging already exists in-spite of those differences for other games on the site including HCE and Halo 3 (and H2V as mentioned before). The updated graphics in the anniversary edition of HCE allows for significantly easier execution of certain out-of-bounds tricks in the game, while the heightened framerate of Halo 3 on MCC allows for major tricks that are not possible on the original Xbox 360 release of the game. Despite these differences, H3 and HCE only have one overall category on Haloruns each; with WR times being achieved on whatever version is most appropriate for that level or run.
A potential solution has been posed for the point number 1 made above. If a merger is made, a player's H2 and H2A runs would be consolidated and the runner would keep whichever of their runs is the fastest of the set. For example: if a runner had both a 4:13 outskirts on Halo 2 classic, and a 4:09 outskirts on H2A, their outskirts time after the merge would be their 4:09 H2A run, and their 4:13 classic time would disappear from the leaderboards. Conversely, if a runner had a 15 minute Oracle Legendary H2 classic run and a 13 minute H2A Oracle Legendary run, the H2A time would be kept and the classic run would disappear from the leaderboards[¹].
I would like to try and keep discussion in this thread as on-topic as possible. Obvious attempts to derail conversation, or posts that are orthogonally not on topic may be subject to removal. This thread will act as a living document and I will strive to continue to update this main post as new ideas are brought to the forefront in order to act as a central point of information for all things regarding the potential merge of the Halo 2 categories on Haloruns. Feel free to contribute to the discussion below.
May you be as swift as a coursing river, - Para ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[¹] EDIT - 22/08/18
Merged times would not disappear, times would be available to view through a "Version" filter, where runners could search for rank by Version or Platform (Vista, Classic, H2A).
[²] EDIT - 26/08/18
This thread only exists to allow for the community to come together to lay out a possible plan for the merge. Before any action is taken there will be a community-wide vote some time in the future to decide whether or not we merge the categories.
Edited by Paradoxxic on August 26 2018 at 5:25 PM EST
I think that a way to show each complete game leaderboard, with additional tabs/filters to separate by version, would be the best way of solving not just the H2 situation but also situations such as H3. That way we can still see the fastest runs for each version, while keeping the overall leaderboard unified. If there are version differences, you can either choose to fight a battle in the niche of a sub-optimal version or you can make the switch to gain the improvement. Regardless, your previous work on the other version would still be visible to see to all.
As for things such as tracking world records, calculating points, and summing the new sum of ILs timer, I think using the overall leaderboards would be sensible.
Also I think it would be sensible to have not three but four categories for H2: Classic, Vista, MCC Original, and MCC Redux. The changes made to MCC will completely obsolete most runs on the original patch, and in the same way that we want to preserve the old runs from both H2 boards, we would want to preserve the runs made in the original, without the benefit of sword flying.
Now there are a couple of possible problems, and timing is the major one for H2. However I think that it's best to focus on the practicality of the runs themselves first, and the timing later. After all, the end goal is to play the game as quickly as possible. The timer is just the measuring stick we use, and changing the stick doesn't alter the fact that one run is faster than another run.
A second problem is the implementation of said filtering system in the site. For one thing it would be a massive undertaking for the site staff, and would present a number of challenges in its construction (because this site wasn't really built for this). Another consideration would be how to convert all existing runs into one of the categories. For WRs and other top times this could be done manually, but for lower times (some without video) this would not be possible. I think the best solution would be to leave it up to the individual runner to add a platform, and if no platform is chosen then the run simply does not appear on any filtered board.
(also as a little addendum it might be interesting to add things like regional filtering on the boards as well, so we can see who the fastest EU runner is on one IL or how the Swedish runners stack up against each other. It's not an important thing and probably isn't worth the time to implement, but it's interesting at least)
The idea of making times "disappear" is sickening.
Timing methods are wildly different and there is not a single way you can change the timing rules for both games and make them competitive against each other (which is the only reason people should change timing rules in a situation like this, so both games are competitive. You could care less about that though.)
If a merge is made, it should just be with filters. Keep the peas and carrots out of the mashed potatoes if they're going to be on the same plate. (lol)
There has been four years of progress on both leaderboards since the release of MCC, and the thought of deleting that progress in any way is just wrong. The amount of differences between Classic and the next patch of MCC hugely affect the run, even enough to change a large chunk of the route entirely for legendary difficulty when you compare the future H2A with classic. You can argue that they should all be merged since every other game with advantages on different versions is merged with slower versions, but they weren't separate for **four years** with completely incomparable timing rules and hundreds of submitted runs with said timing rules.
Timing rules and better hardware in MCC make runs arbitrarily faster than classic. A run on Metropolis might be hitting the physical limit to how fast you can beat the level on classic, but an average run of metropolis on MCC will beat that with ease. Fullgame runs on MCC have well over a minute saved against classic solely because of lack of lag, as well as loads between levels being trimmed out for timing.The definition of "faster" when considering making times disappear may as well be arbitrary.
There's four years of Halo speedrunning history behind H2A's leaderboards and the runners that occupy it, as well as god knows how many years for Classic. Merging the two and weeding out parts of that history is something I will never agree with.
I strongly feel that whatever the community says on this, the admins will push forward with their ideals anyways. It feels like almost no admin listens to runners, especially those that they don't like or don't think are relevant enough to have an opinion.
ParadoxxicModeratorAugust 22 2018 at 11:41 PM ESTPosts: 1574
I agree with some of the ideas here. I hadn't thought of keeping the runs on the site still available to view through their "version" tag, which Nibre has informed me is how it would be done.
What about the stats data? Is that also a part of history you feel should be preserved Dustin? Or is the video of the run enough?
IbeechuAdminAugust 23 2018 at 9:55 AM ESTPosts: 1405
In the runners list, you can isolate runners by country by clicking on the flag next to their name (or next to their name here in the forums). IIRC I implemented this for fun one day and it's never really been updated, so it's not really an elegant way to do it. It works for now, though :P
Edited by Ibeechu on August 23 2018 at 9:56 AM EST
IbeechuAdminAugust 23 2018 at 10:07 AM ESTPosts: 1406
I strongly feel that whatever the community says on this, the admins will push forward with their ideals anyways. It feels like almost no admin listens to runners, especially those that they don't like or don't think are relevant enough to have an opinion.
This is just toxically wrong. This site was built by and for the community and is a testament to compromise. I wanna remind you that there are hundreds of people this decision will affect and nobody is taking it lightly, least of all the admins. This issue has been spitballed for months and if we had wanted to make the change regardless of community input, we would have. I know you feel strongly against the idea, but plenty of people feel strongly FOR it. That's what this thread is for; both sides listing the pros and cons. Whatever ends up happening, the idea is for it to be done with the community's blessing.
How to address "merging" for leaderboards and points:
You Archive the current H2a Leaderboards as they are without the sword tricks. You put it on a different page on this website and freeze it. This is to ensure the history is viewable. There is no point keeping points for these runs as they would be permanent points for the individual that cannot be contested once the new version launches. You don't merge you freeze H2a Leaderboards and as soon as the patch hits everyone submits to the H2 leaderboard.
Why Keeping them separate is a bad idea:
As others have said to have Vista and Classic under the same leaderboards and not H2a when H2a new will be closer to classic then vista is makes literally no sense.
90% of the levels will be the exact same strats on both games. To allow a runner to get a WR twice on haloruns for doing the exact same strats on a level for two different leaderboards is really silly.
When we talk about other "differences" to consider between Halo 2 classic and new H2a, It should be noted that other halos have the same if not arguably more prevalent differences between classic and mcc and have always been fine under the same leaderboard.
In Halo 1 the level Maw on MCC is ridiculously easier with OOB strats then the PC version. That is a gigantic difference. In Halo 3 Classic You cannot DC clip through walls and skip sections but you can in H3 MCC. This is prevalent on 3-4 of the IL WRs on this site. It is my understanding that Ghosting is used on two levels ILs for Halo 2. I see DC clipping in the same light as this
There is 4 "going through wall techniques" used in Halo 3 WRs with the potential for 2 more. Halo 2 has half this at 2.
The list of framerate differences between halo 3 MCC and Halo 3 classic is huge. I made a massive post about this back when MCC was first released. AI being further advanced, More Agressive, The fact you can't jump of certain equipment. The strength of DC launches is so weaker on Classic compared to MCC. Your pathign and routing is changed in a lot of areas. The list goes on and on and on but i'm not going to list them all because I'd be here all day. At the time MCC was released it was deemed none of these were big enough differences for a separate Halo 3 MCC category so for Halo 2 considering the frame rate differences as a reason against against putting all 3 Halo 2s under the same leaderboard makes no sense.
In every single speedrun out there you run the fastest version and the best version when you want to compete as a speedrunner. Halo 2 Should be no different.
Edited by TheBlazeJp on August 23 2018 at 5:57 PM EST
I'm with Blaze on the frozen legacy leaderboard being viewable somewhere, at a minimum. I'm not opposed to category tags but I assume those are harder to code. I do not mind one way or the other where the HR points go.
@Ibeechu: I was referring to an ability to filter by country on the IL time page itself, rather than the total points ranking. While we're talking about that page though, I would like to make two suggestions (one that is reasonable and one that is perhaps less so): - Can you add the ability to apply a game sort and country filter at the same time? For example, allow players to sort the board to see the fastest H3 runners from the UK, rather than having to choose between either viewing the fastest H3 runners *or* the fastest UK runners. - Could you add additional country-based filters on wider regions (for example, a filter for Europe and a filter for North America)? This is less reasonable, but would be nice to have.
@Blaze (cc: @BatChat): I think the best way to do a 'leaderboard freeze' of the current H2MCC runs would be to leave Original MCC and New MCC as separate categories in the filters. That way the non-swordfly runs are viewable, but it's still integrated into the new leaderboard system.
@Ibeechu Just because you think an opinion I have formed over two years is toxic and wrong does not inherently make it toxic and wrong.
I don't see any positives to merging, the only reason this discussion is here is because Goatrope said it four year ago and runners in other games think they should be merged regardless of four years of times being submitted for MCC as a separate game from classic.
Things are fine the way they are. Keeping MCC leaderboards separate will give it a breath of new life for new runners and it'll be like a fresh start for classic runners too. It will literally be the fastest, most streamlined version of Halo 2 to speedrun. I can't express how excited I am for MCC but like I said, deleting times because they're arbitrarily faster than your classic PBs puts a bad taste in my mouth. Just use filters lol.
ParadoxxicModeratorAugust 24 2018 at 12:37 PM ESTPosts: 15711
@Bhay, @Blaze, @BatChat
I like the concept of Frozen legacy boards, it seems like a nice succinct way to address Bhay's idea of "MCC original" and preserving the history of H2A while allowing these new "redux" runs to have a place on the H2 board. Let me discuss this with the admins that would actually be involved in writing the code for it and see what kind of an undertaking that would be.
I understand your want for a breath of "new life" into H2A. I would make a counterpoint and argue that there will be a breath of new life into the speedrun regardless of whether the categories are merged or not. I think it is important to consider the anomalous nature of the current H2A/H2 in the general speedrunning world. The reason for merging the categories may be ideological (i.e. they are the same game in story, level design, scripts, etc) not just to "make them competitive against each other". However, I do agree with your point about how we can't just mash H2A and H2 runs together and consider them competitive largely because of the timing differences, which leads me to what I think is the most important part of this conversation.
Halo 2 Timing
Should a merge of these two occur, what is the easiest and most effective way to time? Should they all be unified under a single timing method? I for one believe that they should be unified and that we should let the natural pros and cons that arise from the timing method dictate which version people run for different things. (i.e. time H2A as RTA just like H2 classic is currently. Do not allow for load removal. This would make H2A fullgame undoubtedly slower than H2 classic for fullgame runs, but H2A would still be the choice version for certain ILs because of reduced lag and some version specific tricks.) I would like to hear other's thoughts on this particular matter though, as I believe it to be a huge hurdle that once overcome will allow for a clearer image of how the future could look.
@Paradoxxic: I don't think that having *frozen* legacy boards is the best solution. I think the runs should be treated just as any other version would be, as an 'Original MCC' category. That way if that is someone's fastest time it still gives points and a position no matter what the categories and filters end up being and how they are merged. Also I don't like the idea of a frozen board because speedruns are fluid and always change, and it will still be possible to set times on Original MCC (yes, some people still buy physical games). If someone were to want to do that they would need a platform to submit it to.
Also I don't think that we should choose a timing method that specifically intends to obsolete one of the versions due to load times. Speedruns should be judged based on the gameplay, not what your specific version happens to do between that gameplay.
H2A is RTA minus loads, which makes it faster than Classic. Classic has a whole minute on average of loads between levels, plus we have a minute or whatever of wait time while activating ICG on Legendary.
H2A ILs are IGT which don't count white screens, which makes it faster than Classic.
The whole point for changing timing methods is to make both games competitive against each other which is literally impossible. Changing them and "seeing which problems arise" thing you're talking about sounds like runners will have to go back and forth between Xbox 360 and Xbox One to be a serious runner. Sounds exhausting.
You can't change the timing method for H2A to compare against Classic because of just how long load times are, plus between level loads in Classic can vary meaning you can't just add an exact amount to your H2A run and act like it's suddenly the same.
Taking away IGT timing for ILs in H2A and changing it to RTA would make people waste a shit ton of time and force people to time their runs from fade in to fade out, this would take away the simplicity of running H2A since runners can easily just stream from their Xbox One, look at their final time, then highlight the IL on Twitch and then put it on Haloruns. This is what makes H2A the most streamlined way to speedrun Halo 2 and it's a hell of a lot easier. Changing to RTA also makes the in game leaderboards completely useless to runners. These quality of life issues are a huge factor.
Did I mention the part where changing timing methods also makes hundreds of runs inaccurate?
ParadoxxicModeratorAugust 26 2018 at 11:34 AM ESTPosts: 15714
Putting all versions under one H2 leaderboard with version tags sounds like a nice packaged way to do it, and I agree that it would still be technically possible to submit "MCC original" runs. With that said, would we allow runners to submit MCC original, MCC redux, AND classic times to the leaderboard, only to have their fastest of the three be used for the overall leaderboards? There is a bit of a double standard here because Vista does not currently receive this kind of treatment in that you cannot have a classic run AND a slower vista run submitted as "PB" at the same time.
@Dustin, If you wanted to go for every legendary IL in H3 you would have to swap back and forth between OG H3 and MCC H3. If the RTA-only method doesn't work for H2A then we'll need to come up with a way to time H2A that brings it more in-line with H2. Hundreds of runs for H2A would be inaccurate if we change the timing rules you are correct, but I don't mind volunteering my time to re-time them all manually if we have to, it would be difficult to re-time ones without a video, but if we can figure out the offset between the timing rules from runs that have videos, we could apply the offset to those without.
Edited by Paradoxxic on August 26 2018 at 11:35 AM EST
Saying "if the RTA-only method doesn't work" means you guys have no clue how to change timing methods, but that you are dead set on doing it anyways.
Downloading GB after GB of H2A runs and retiming a shit ton of them from start to finish sounds stupid.
Why bother making timing rule changes if you're going to just do trial versions of certain methods of timing? You should be considering every possibility and create timing methods afterwards. Testing new rules out and seeing which one fits is inefficient and stupid, especially when the patch isn't even out yet. Please don't tell me admins are rushing the H2A merge like this, because it's fucking embarrassing.
What was the point of a huge thread if we didn't really have any kind of say to stop this merge? Seems like every reply furthers my certainty that you guys have no plans to NOT merge.
Edited by DustinEchoes on August 26 2018 at 1:53 PM EST
ParadoxxicModeratorAugust 26 2018 at 5:21 PM ESTPosts: 15716
I don't think I fully understand what your thought process or position. We don't have a clear set idea of how to change the timing methods. We have some ideas but nothing set in stone. The purpose of this thread is to try and consider every possibility by bringing in ideas from any and all in the community that want to contribute. No merge would be done without an actual plan in place. We are not rushing this process, no code has been written for this at all and its quite a massive undertaking. If we go ahead with a merge it will take months. You will have your say in stopping this merge both in this thread and in the inevitable vote that will be held once a plan for how the logistics of the merge would look is actually in place.
I have heard your voice of dissent, but I have also heard the voices of others that like the idea of the merge and have ideas about how aspects of it should be implemented. I am trying to spitball as many ideas as we can here in order to create the best possible plan for a merge that we can create. Once a plan is in place, a vote will be held to determine whether or not the categories will be merged.
@Paradoxxic: I do think that a runner should be able to submit a time for any and every version of a game. The current time submission system is flawed in that it requires the old time to be deleted and a new one entered, when in reality you can have a run that is slower than your current time but still want it on the site. Say I'm bored one day, and decide I want to try and get the 360 record for Floodgate. If I get a good time and want it submitted as a 360 run, there should be a way to submit that without it removing my faster MCC run. When the leaderboard is formed, for the overall it takes the fastest time each runner has across all versions, but for the version boards it takes whatever time the runner has for that version, even if it isn't their overall PB. Vista wouldn't be a double standard in the updated system because you could choose to submit a Vista run like any other game+version combo, so I don't see the reason to mention it.
I will post here and give my ideas on everything. I've memed since first starting running on H2A that it shouldn't be its own category, and I understand the reasons for not having it there, and I probably wouldn't be here if I didn't have the chance to compete with it as its own category. However, now that this update is pushed, I think the two should be merged.
I mostly agree with everything Blaze has said. I think a frozen leaderboard of some sort, or even just images of top times somewhere on the wiki or something, is a good idea to at least preserve the work that nearly 4 years of runner's efforts has led to. But at this point, H2A is more similar to classic than Vista is. It has all sword tricks, and even the fire rates are fixed to match classic. Having them be separate categories when classic and Vista are not, just doesn't make sense. And there are differences between all of the versions, but the convention in speedrunning has usually been to run the fastest or most competitive version of the game. That's how CE/H3/H4 have all functioned since multiple released versions are available. Halo 2 would be joining them.
As far as merging is concerned. I think one big category for Halo 2 with filters to see versions of which game each time was done on is a good idea. As well as being able to submit times for multiple versions. SRCom is setup where runners can have multiple leaderboard submissions for different versions or whatever and they can show up separately. An option to hide everything but the runner's fastest time or something could help avoid clutter for an overall leaderboard, and when a filter is selected, all runs for that version appear. I do also think though, that this should probably apply to the other games on the site with multiple versions.
From a point perspective, I don't know how it should be handled. I think a new point system entirely should be in place, but I can't give a good idea of what it is. I think it should be for the overall leaderboards of the game however, and go off a runner's fastest submitted time for whatever version.
From a timing standpoint, I'm not entirely sure how to merge full game speedruns as of this moment. I think there will be a good way to do it, but I don't think there's anything most people agree on yet. However, for ILs, the solution is very simple. Just time full-white to full-white like classic/Vista for H2A. The timer is inaccurate, and takes off a second at the end half of the time, and does not count mid-level cutscenes towards the time. You could argue it's more inconvenient, and it is, but that's what Halo 4 currently functions as since the timer on MCC does not match the original RTA counterpart of the 360 released version. Retiming runs will be a pain yes, but laziness doesn't mean it shouldn't happen. Pokemon had to retime thousands of runs across leaderboards when all the games made the switch to RTA. It can be done here too.
I should also mention I understand not all of this is easy to do, and will probably be very time consuming. This is just my two cents as a runner of both games though and ideas I have.
@Cryphon: Just a quick thing about the timer taking a second off at the end and your implication that that is somehow inconsistent: while the in game splits may not always be accurate, the carnage report always displays the correct time. This was confirmed by a 343i employee in the discord, the splits are a little broken due to a rounding/conversion error but the carnage report handles it correctly. I think the timing method will need to be changed in the event of a merge anyway, but in the meantime the current timing is completely consistent and saying that it is inaccurate is wrong.
@bhayward2000: The timer removing a second happens when it counts up during the fade to white. It isn't inconsistent with it, and it's fine for comparing H2A runs to each other. And if a 343 employee confirmed that it's consistent, good. My point was more towards the timer isn't the most accurate way to time runs since it doesn't count up during mid-level cutscenes. At least as far as Halo 2 is concerned. For example, the RTA and the IGT differ by about 9 seconds on Oracle by skipping cutscenes as fast as possible, and there are similar large time discrepancies for other levels. This timer not being accurate to the RTA timing like Halo 2 is something we already account for with Halo 4 and the IGT is not submitted.
edit 1: changed philosophy on RTA minus loads for Halo 2 MCC fullgame.
Hi all, most of you probably don't know me anymore. This thread is a fun distraction from some other stuff I've got going on right now, and I think there are good points being made and questions being raised.
I'm not a speedrunner anymore, or anything more than a stream monster. However, I did help found the site (with Monopoli and Goatrope) and in particular, I was responsible for setting down all the original timing rules. So I'm interested in this debate from the theoretical angle. However, I obviously don't have any 'authority' in this discussion since I'm not active in the scene anymore. I'm just laying out potential ideas for discussion.
Sorry I wrote this massive wall of text, I haven't thought about speedrunning this deeply in a long time. Also sorry to repeat good points other people made. Also, if I've got any facts wrong, please let me know and I'll edit.
TL;DR My Proposal.
The MCC category should be merged back into the overall "Halo 2" category.
Ideally, the site will have tags for Halo 2 (original), Halo 2 Vista, and Halo 2 (MCC). The site should also have tags for "Sword Tricks Possible" or "Sword Tricks Not Possible". (Alternatively, we could say "patched" and "unpatched", although that could get confusing - e.g. on Halo 2 original, 'patched' means no swordflying, but on MCC 'patched' means yes swordflying.) The most ideal "tag" would be numbered versions: v1, v1.1, etc. People can tag their runs accordingly.
If a "version" system is implemented, people should be able to submit individual times for every combination of version tags. Meaning I can have a Halo 2 (original) PB and a Halo 2 (MCC) PB up at the same time, even if only one of them is displayed as my "Halo 2" time by default.
Halo 2 (original) fullgame will continue to be timed RTA.
Halo 2 (MCC) fullgame will change to be timed RTA, unless in-game loads are still random enough to reduce competitiveness, or the load times continue to destroy comparability to Halo 2 original, in which case the category will continue to be timed RTA minus loads.
Halo 2 (MCC) ILs will change to be timed RTA, to be comparable to Halo 2 original.
Runners' fastest times (either MCC or original/Vista) will become their new "Halo 2 category" times. The fastest runs overall will get the trophy/points, and people should run the fastest version overall if they want the overall best time.
Philosophy / Why the categories should be merged. We have a couple sources of precedent here: (a) The way other Halo games in MCC are treated; (b) the way different versions of games are treated in other speedrunning communities; (c) the original reasons we had for making these categories separate.
Philosophy: The way we think about categories: When we created HaloRuns, we were superseding a website called High Speed Halo. HSH used to have categories out the ass -- we had Normal difficult, Heroic, SLASO, Pacifist, Zero Shot, etc etc... for every single level of every single Halo game. It was absurd and uncompetitive. If you didn't want to beat somebody's Easy speedrun, you could just go do the same strats on Normal and get an uncontested free WR.
When we made HaloRuns, we wanted to consolidate categories as much as possible so that people would actually want to compete with one another, improve their strats and execution, collaborate to find new tricks, etc etc instead of isolating themselves from all of that. Obviously that desire has been wildly successful. This is the same thing other game communities do: while many people are loyal to splitting up versions, there's a way more dominant tendency that says we should combine all these separate categories and just do whatever's faster. I think we should stick to that philosophy.
HOWEVER, sometimes having combined categories can kill innovation in a particular version of the game, innovation that could end up discovering new things or making things faster. So while I want this merger to happen, I also want to make sure people are continuing to innovate in the categories they play, both original and MCC.
Why the categories were different: The categories were originally separate because of the lack of sword tricks. Obviously there are other differences (AI, framerate, certain other tricks, etc.) However, sword tricks were so integral to the Halo 2 run, that they made the MCC and original run not comparable at all. This is a matter of how significant the differences were between the two versions, and the sword tricks were the main reason they were so different that we didn't want to compare them. See the timing rules FAQ for more on that. Now of course that main difference has gone away. There are still other difference but they don't rise to that same level.
Also, as mentioned earlier in the thread, we didn't want to turn away MCC runners when the game caused a huge boost in interest, even though it was different and slower. With MCC having been released a long time ago, we don't have to worry about killing interest in the scene, although we should still want to preserve innovation. Version tags are a great way to split the difference here.
What other Halo MCC games do: For the other Halo games in MCC, we decided that the differences did not rise to the level of making a completely separate category. The reasons for this was our original philosophy (me / goatrope / Monopoli) in making the site (see above).
TL;DR: Things are more competitive when categories are merged and people do whatever's fastest; however, we should merge this in such a way that people continue to innovate new MCC tricks, because they could end up one day being faster than the original. "Fun" is subjective, but in speedrunning I think it's more fun to have a big community where people are sort of working on the same goal of innovating the fastest time.
With that out of the way...
My Timing Rules Philosophy in general: I am a supporter of doing everything by RTA unless there are good reasons to do other timing schemes. RTA is the easiest way to time things; it's the most accessible to everybody; it's the most intuitive way to time for speedrunners and non-speedrunners alike. However, if RTA is less competitive than other timing methods, and it detracts from innovating on the fastest time - e.g. if loading times are inconsistent/RNG, or if RTA necessitates doing stupid strategies that are actually slower in gameplay - then we can consider some other method. We can especially consider alternatives to RTA if there's an easy, reliable, non-ambiguous way of avoiding these issues (e.g. 'theater time' in Halo 3).
Why Halo 2 fullgame is RTA, but Halo 2 MCC fullgame is currently RTA minus loads. Halo 2 is RTA because Halo 2 does not have loading screens to subtract. In addition, there isn't variance in the level loads that is significant enough to prove uncompetitive. Finally, we had the precedent of the rest of the speedrunning community. In other games, the default timing scheme is RTA, unless there's a reason to do it otherwise: you start the timer at the beginning and you stop the timer at the end.
When Halo 2 MCC was released, we had to come up with a timing scheme that took into account the between-level loads. This is all my recollection, so correct me if I'm wrong, but: At the time of MCC's release, arguments were being made about the randomness of Xbox One hardware load times, depending on the person's machine and factors out of your control. The randomness of these load times made the category less competitive as an "RTA" category than as an "RTA minus loads" category. Since Halo 2 MCC and Halo 2 original were different categories, the comparability of these two timing schemes wasn't an issue.
Why we should switch to RTA fullgame, if possible; but also, why it's okay to have different timing schemes for different versions, even in the same category. There are two issues when considering timing schemes for different versions in the same category: 1) Competitiveness; 2) Comparability.
Competitiveness: First off, correct me if I'm wrong: the randomness issues with Xbox One loading times, as far as I know, have not gone away. So if that's the case, then the original reason for doing RTA minus loads still holds.
Comparability is also a key issue. It doesn't help the quality of speedruns to have one version of the game that's faster in the gameplay but slower in the loading times, and so people end up using the version that has slower gameplay but faster loads. That basically goes back to fairness / entertainment value / etc. It's worth noting that we have precedent here: Halo 1 (pc) is timed as RTA, but Halo 1 (Xbox) is timed as RTA minus loads, because otherwise it would be literally impossible to compare the Xbox version to the PC version of the game. This isn't so much of an issue now, because PC is also faster in other ways, but anyways, we have precedent for using different timing rules for different versions of the same game/category.
Options: I'm fine with saying both Halo 2 MCC and Halo 2 original are timed as RTA minus loads. The only issue, of course, is defining what a "load" means in Halo 2 original. In practice, I don't think it's enough of a competitive difference to be worth the hassle of timing it out. So for Halo 2 original, the easiest thing to time is still RTA.
If loading times for Halo 2 MCC are no longer random, such that they create a less competitive category, then we should do RTA for Halo 2 MCC as well. However, if the loading times are still random, then we should be careful about whether we include them in the timing scheme. We also want to make sure that runs are comparable and that we're promoting the fastest gameplay (not just the fastest load times).
So my ranked preference:
RTA for both (if load times are not random)
Keep the different timing schemes for different versions (if Xbone load times still random or if they're the main reason MCC runs are slower)
RTA minus loads for both (allows 'comparability' but you lose a lot in convenience IMO.)
Why we should switch to RTA for Halo 2 MCC ILs: We should look at the way other games in MCC are treated with respect to ILs. Specifically, I want to point to Halo 1 and Halo 4, neither of which had an in-game timer in the original game. We currently use RTA for both Halo 1 and Halo 4 ILs so that both of these are comparable to the original game. We should do the same thing for Halo 2 - switch to using RTA for ILs, for both MCC and original.
FAQ: What about the old MCC runs? How should we preserve them? What about re-timing? People have raised concerns that the runs with the old strats will become obsolete. This happens all the time in speedrunning - whether a game is patched, or whether a new strat is developed and a minority of people decide they don't want to use it. What generally ends up happening in these cases is that the world keeps on moving, people switch to using the new strat/fastest patch, and the old ways go away. I think it's inevitable that people will end up doing what's fastest, and IMO we don't need to do anything special to preserve the older runs. People can keep doing runs however they want, but if they want that little trophy icon, they should be doing whatever's fastest.
Re-timing is actually less of an issue than people think, IMO. We should only be caring about re-timing runs for runs that are in the Top 5 / Top x Runs for that category. This cuts down on the admin workload. It doesn't really matter if someone's #46 ranked time is inaccurate.
For the records graph / stats purposes: We should be thinking of this merge as the "MCC" category being merged back into the "Halo 2" category. The "Halo 2" category was always inclusive of multiple versions; the only difference was that we specifically split out MCC, and now we're merging it back in.
For historical reasons, I think it would be interesting to export the timeline graphs for the "Halo 2 MCC" category to some kind of archive. After we do that, we should have one records graph. Ideally, we would be able to merge the current "Halo 2" graph with the current "MCC" graph, picking the fastest time of each. However, this may not be feasible, in which case: The current "Halo 2" graph would be used for all dates until the merge, and then we can continue with the combined category.
The reason we should do the records page this way is because future MCC runs will be more similar to Halo 2 original runs than to current MCC runs. Therefore, it makes sense to have the graph page reflect all the records that were achieved with swordflying possible.
Edited by Reed_Tiburon on September 16 2018 at 11:21 PM EST
bkpaguySeptember 19 2018 at 5:27 PM ESTPosts: 7822
Lots of great discussion going on here. I'll remain opinionless on everything due to my lack of H2 knowledge, but I just want to let everyone know that I am currently working on this year's HaloRuns Archive, and because of the above discussion, I'll be having two archives for the H2A categories this year, one before the Inside Update and one as it is now. If the H2 categories are merged before I post the archive (mid to late October), I'll only use the H2A archive as seen before the Insider Update. Regardless of what happens, I'll make sure to have an accurate representation of H2A in the Archive.
I see that most H2A records started to fall on 8/27/2018. Is it safe to assume that all MCC records before this date are ran without the Insider Update and all runs after this date are ran with the Insider Update?
I'm fairly new to all this so there isn't much weight on my input but I'll drop it here anyway. If sword tricks were the MAIN reason for separating MCC from classic H2 then it logically was a shaky reason in the first place due to the fact that Vista also lacks them and still gets lumped with the xbox version. The explanations I'd seen given were that it was all the other differences as well and in this thread the idea of encouraging newer people to get into speed running as well. The last one seems to be the true sticking point with the re addition of sword tricks being more of an arbitrary point to just merge things back together. From a self interest point of view naturally having them separate is convenient. Objectively though it makes sense to merge them as they should have been; I think the idea that the game is four years old and the sword tricks being back brings the games closer together is very reasonable. I'm not sure how much the lack of duel wielding Sangheili affects things but the significance of that is probably arguable as well. At the very least version tags are a great idea. It's something I've thought about a while back myself a while back and it makes sense to do since it gives some nice insight on how different versions run. The idea of being able to filter runs by game version goes with that as well. I think theoretically being able to submit a time for each version while still ultimately having one definitive list of times between all versions is fantastic. I can only imagine the difficulty in implementing it but it'd be very handy and also a nice way to view personal bests and compare them. The one thing I suppose is worth asking is how far one considers different versions. For H2 the obvious ones are Xbox, vista, and MCC. Then we have pre patch xbox and post patch MCC. It probably isn't worth adding various patch variants and while I understand there's the aspect of language variants affecting dialogue based triggers I'd hesitate to separate those either to be completely honest. For HCE PAL would be the only regional difference worth noting as far as I know. As for timing, for MCC individual levels on at least where there are no mid level cutscenes nor deaths I'm curious as to whether there's a discrepancy between the IGT and the RTA. If there is none those times should be fine I would think and I'd even argue that the IGT would probably be okay for those going forward (for levels that do have cutscenes obviously it should be all RTA.) If there is a descrepancy then sure; retime however many at the top are necessary. As I understand it Halo 4 on MCC has ways to trick the IGT hence why RTA ultimately is the way to go. I don't believe there's anything for that in H2A though but of course there's also the perspective of caution just like how the Iron Skull isn't allowed despite seemingly not affecting the game whatsoever. I'm not nearly as knowledgeable on full game runs but as I understand it H2 xbox has very consistent loads while H2A has somewhat inconsistent loads between levels; on gut instinct I would think cutting out both would be best even though in practice it sounds like a hassle. Anyway that's my 2+ cents.
Edited by Raiyuki on November 04 2018 at 8:49 PM EST