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Melon

Would there be interest in a C-N-like for more modern wads?

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The title says it all really, if I were to start up a site to maintain records for a small number of popular Doom pwads, would you be interested? If you think I should not care what you think and go ahead and do it anyway, let me propose a different question: are there any particular features you would want from it?

Let me explain what I have in mind by preempting a few questions:

Is this a C-N replacement or something else?
Something else. I am calling this a "C-N-like" because it would follow a similar format while being something else entirely. The aim is to have a place where people can compete under a specific and consistent rule-set/basis for a world record. The only submissions accepted would be ones that beat the current best submission, rather than something like P-DANG where anybody can submit a demo and they earn points based on how good it is. There would likely be a "number of world records held" leaderboard but that would be it as far as "points" are concerned. I think it's better to put the focus on individual records.

What wads were you thinking of including?
By "modern" wads I actually mean wads that aren't already covered by C-N (there's no point in re-inventing the wheel for those wads). In practice I would likely aim for a mixture of old and new wads e.g. Scythe, Speed of Doom, PRCP, etc. but I imagine it would be down to community consensus. Instead of competing under a large range of wads, I'd prefer to keep it constrained to a small number of wads at a time, introducing new wads at a rate of 2 or so per year to give people time to focus on a particular wad.

What demo categories are you thinking of including?
I want to try and avoid including too many categories if possible because it might stretch the competition too thin, and we all only have so much time to play so there's no point in including a billion categories. I am planning to include UV-Speed, UV-Max, -fast, Nightmare, Pacifist and Tyson (all of these for per level, per episode and full wad movies) as I think these have enough interesting differences between them to be worthwhile. Would there be enough support for -respawn and NM-100%Secrets as well? I don't know about co-op categories, I don't think there are enough people willing or capable to do them to be worthwhile. I'm happy to include anything with enough support.

What would the rules be? What source port will be used?
The current modern standard for speedrunning is PrBoom+/GLBoom+ so that makes the most sense to use. Just like everybody tends to do here anyway when recording demos, each wad would be recorded under a specific complevel depending on what the wad was designed for. The SR-50 options would be banned, as would mouselook (looking up and down), but I'm not bothered about other conveniences the port allows such as monster kill counts, alternate HUD, transparent automap and gamma correction raising the lighting level in GLBoom+. I would allow these mainly because it's too hard to prove if they were used or not, and also because having monster kill counts available removes a bit of frustration from failed attempts due to wandering monsters.

How would you prevent cheating?
This is where it gets tricky. I believe that the best way to prevent cheating is to try and promote a friendly and close-knit atmosphere as much as possible. My current thought was to have the submission process be attaching your demo to a post in a dedicated thread in this forum if that's OK. This is for two reasons, one is because you're all registered here anyway, but also because such an openly public and community-oriented submission method would hopefully help quash some thoughts about cheating. Aside from that, I'm planning to watch all of the demos looking for suspicious behaviour, but I may need some help for "second opinions" if necessary. I'm aware that I'm not the most experienced person when it comes to this, so maybe this is a sticking point? There will always be the danger of people submitting subtly tool-assisted demos regardless of what methods were put in place and going to sophisticated lengths might just provide more incentive to try and get around the rules, so an honour system might just end up being the best anyway.

Would you accept old demos recorded before the site began?
Yes, provided that they happened to be recorded under the same rule-set as those being used for the site. You would also need to resubmit them yourself, I will under no circumstances go through DSDA and pick up old demos myself, if you were worried about that. I imagine many old demos would likely be obsoleted by a new record pretty soon anyway. On a similar note, "records" in this case will only be compared to other demos specifically submitted to the site, so even if there is a faster demo on DSDA, your submission only needs to beat the previous best submission for my site.

Are you aware that this is going to be a hell of a lot of work?
I am aware that this will be a lot of work, and as always happens my highest estimate will probably fall short. What I should probably do is get all of the backend preparation up and running and then see how I feel about it after that (and finish that map for the progressive fiction community wad first).

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I think that could be cool, if done well. I also believe it'd be nice if the rules were crystal clear and set in stone before the whole thing even started (inclusive definitions of each category, of optional and forbidden settings, etc.).

Echoing another topic, I would be interested in a FDA category, although I'm not sure how it should be tallied. If it was me, I'd rank kill% above secret%, secret% above time, and time calculated by adding up all lives (if the player died).

Then again it might not be realistic if you're only picking super popular wads that everyone is likely to have played already. :)

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good idea and i'd definitely join the fun.

@cheating:
well, permanent sr50 (on turns) is recognized easily, you might even catch an occassional slo-mo cheater, but you have no chance against segmenting. we could just put trust in the community to not abuse it, but with great competition comes great temptation, heh. to be "completely" safe, you'd need to leave vanilla/boom demos and build a new format. perhaps it'd be enough if entryway made a new complevel that marks the demos somehow... and stops marking them with -recordfromto, kinda like the opposite of what it does with always sr50. i'm very aware this would be just a thin curtain to obscure segmenting and people with just a shred of coding abilities would blow it apart with a bit of effort. but hey, just throwing ideas here. :)

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Personally, I think this forum and the DSDA are enough. No wad limit. No category limit. Every demo posted here goes to the DSDA. People compete against each other already.

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eternal slumber said:

Personally, I think this forum and the DSDA is enough.

Me too.
What I would like to see is contests. Someone makes a map and then people work on max/speed/etc demos for a few days. No need to create a new website for this, just use the forum.
Maybe I'll try to organise something like this soon. Anyone interested?

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dew said:
perhaps it'd be enough if entryway made a new complevel that marks the demos somehow... and stops marking them with -recordfromto, kinda like the opposite of what it does with always sr50. i'm very aware this would be just a thin curtain to obscure segmenting and people with just a shred of coding abilities would blow it apart with a bit of effort. but hey, just throwing ideas here. :)

in my other C-N question topic, this was exactly what I wanted to advice or ask if this would be possible to make.
an option or a new "complevel" which forces a certain amount of parameters/settings
or w/e could help in being sure what is used. Of course, this would be just a maniacally-safety setting need, such as for these kind of competition


edit:
at the topic itself, even tho I kinda would like to have join old C-N and such kind of newer competition, I'd say that you maybe should think about making the "fda-contest" more often or something alike (forgot the name of the competition with the new map and every doomer interested posting their first demos). just an extra competition on those, where people can have 24h from the download (for example) to try get the best in various categories. After the time expires, no other demo will be considered (for the contest)

edit2:
you can even, for such contests, allow some downloads with password, and let the challenger submit the demos to the guy organizing and not in public, so that every guy/girl (are there dooming girls in community? o.o) partecipating can actually decide -according to his job and free time- when the 24h limit actually begins. Since you'd give the password for the download, you will know when the player exactly get hands on the file.

edit3: (last one i promise)
+1 at what tod,memfis wrote. dsda is quite large and opened to any kind of challenge already. Your idea is nice to spice up situation, but I don't really think a totally new website would be needed. Some internal challenges more often here on forum would be interesting for many for sure :)

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Some contests would be cool, but modern C-N with prb+ would be basically what's going on casually at DSDA.

Eh... whatever. :p

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eternal slumber said:

People compete against each other already.

IMO, there's not much competition against each others because there are too many wads against the amount of players. I guess hell revealed 2 map07 UV max is the most recent where people could see some competition.

Many of those miscellaneous demos are too painful to watch because you don't know the wad then you have to download the wad, unzip it and then you can watch usually one demo about that wad. Usually the demos in misc demos are tablefillers (ie. second exit), so at least for me it's just too much work to watch a single demo, so I'll just skip them. But if there is a thread going about "misc wad", then it's easy and enjoyable to watch all the demos. That's why I liked the inferno demopa(c)k thread.

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Well, I think it's a pity that many great players (e.g. Anders Johnsen) have recorded mostly for C-N wads and ignored other stuff. In some way, I'm glad that C-N is unpopular now and people produce bigger variety of demos.

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Some good points made so far. I wasn't sure if we people would prefer a more consistent base for comparing demos but I suppose the unwritten rules for how people record their demos in this forum provides a reasonably consistent comparison point anyway. I also wouldn't want to create a less friendly atmosphere if some fierce competition would do that.

FDA contests sound like a fun idea though. Once my current mapping commitments are over I might take a shot at a small contest and see how it goes.

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Reviving Compet-N, along with adding a few WADs and allowing PRBoom would be my suggestion. Getting the code and setting it up on a new server would be much easier.

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I had recently been toying with the idea of starting a thread concerning a revival of an annual demo awards (a sort of revival of the Golden Cybers, if you will). For the past few days I jotted down reasons why to do it and came up with quite a few... Y'know, encouraging competitive demoing, attracting Doomers who otherwise ignore speedrunning, weeding out the best demos from the others etc. I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be done. Perhaps the only reason I didn't post a thread was due to the fact that I felt there were others far more capable of leading such a project (Grazza, SAV, etc.).

It'd also be a good way to bring the attention to demo-friendly wads people might have overlooked (ngmvmt1 comes to mind).

Basically, I'm all for anything that encourages friendly competition. Anyone care to comment on this?

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Andy Olivera said:

Reviving Compet-N, along with adding a few WADs and allowing PRBoom would be my suggestion. Getting the code and setting it up on a new server would be much easier.

Let's talk about revivng C-N. The reason why I wanted to suggest making something else instead of shouldering the responsibility for C-N is because I'm worried that I don't have enough Doom experience and relevant technical expertise to do justice to something as major as C-N. It worried that it's far too important for me and I might cock it up.

So let me make a proposition: Instead of making a C-N-like, I will happily take on reviving C-N provided somebody is able to help me with the verification process, because I am not confident enough to do that on my own.

After that was settled, I might consider making another table for newer wads requiring PrBoom+, but I would keep it separate from the real C-N (even if it were hosted in the same place) because I think C-N should retain it's vanilla-only condition. That and it's too historically important to feel like I should start shaking it up.

Thoughts?

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Anders Johnsen was planning to resurrect C-N a couple years ago and might still be planning to do that. They were also making a source port to use for recording with a new demo format to help prevent cheating. I don't know if they were going to add new wads, but the idea was supposed to be hardcore oldschool demo recording like the old C-N, and I don't know if there was going to be any new features in the source port like PrBoom has (custom weapon keys, higher resolution, etc).

Apparently ocelot had some new C-N records back then but chose not to post them publicly, so who knows what the real records are anymore.

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Somebody please correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is that the licensing on the Doom engine source code is that any modifications you make must also be made open source and freely accessible, so I'm not sure how feasible making a new source port would be to try and eliminate cheating. You wouldn't even be able to rely on security through obscurity. Sure, it might be more difficult than using a port that already has TAS tools readily available or even built-in, but the ability to cheat is never going to go away unless you only accept demos when you have someone physically go to their house and watch them play to verify that there's no cheating.

Is it just not worth even trying to run something like C-N these days because cheating is far too easy? What if there were further incentives to not cheat, such as allowing a separate TAS entry for each category so people who want to use such tools can still compete (I don't know if C-N did this already)? I think that's the only sort of practical solution we'll ever have. You'll never prevent anyone who's determined enough to cheat from doing so, but it's similar to how you're not going to stop someone who's determined to break into your house from doing so, regardless of how many doors and windows you lock.

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Melon said:

What if there were further incentives to not cheat, such as allowing a separate TAS entry for each category so people who want to use such tools can still compete?

i like this idea!

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eternal slumber said:

and I'm not suspicious of anyone here.

damn, i should've said my pl2 and sod movies were legit.

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Melon said:

Let's talk about revivng C-N. The reason why I wanted to suggest making something else instead of shouldering the responsibility for C-N is because I'm worried that I don't have enough Doom experience and relevant technical expertise to do justice to something as major as C-N. It worried that it's far too important for me and I might cock it up.

So let me make a proposition: Instead of making a C-N-like, I will happily take on reviving C-N provided somebody is able to help me with the verification process, because I am not confident enough to do that on my own.

I can't say how much expertise it would take to maintain Compet-N, as I haven't seen the site's backend, but I would think that once it was up and running it would be easy, though time-consuming. As for verification, you would have every C-N player helping you. Any invalid C-N demo gets discovered pretty quickly. Also, PRBoom+ makes verification as simple as skipping to the end of the demo and looking at the HUD (or using -levelstat).

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So I'm going to go ahead and start working on a C-N revival soon, but I was wondering if anybody knew of a good way to contact Adam. Partially because not needing to reconstruct the c-database from scratch would be quicker, but mainly because he worked on C-N for 7 years and I think it's only fair to ask him if he's OK with it first.

I've got two e-mail addresses, one's a doom2.net address and the other is a tre.hu address. Is there a better way? I wouldn't expect any sort of prompt response after so many years, I'll just hope for the best.

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Just posting to wish you well with this venture. Since you are proposing to use this forum as the method for people to make entries, then I should state that, as forum moderator, I am completely happy for you to do this.

I doubt you'll have much luck contacting Adam. I don't think anyone in the Doom community has heard from him in many years. I'll be in Budapest again next March - I could look in a phone book. :p

But anyway, your venture sounds different enough that it isn't really treading on compet-n's toes. If you were proposing to take over the compet-n site or use demos that were intended as compet-n entries, that would be different.

Regarding verification, then yes, checking that entries are valid in terms of kills, etc., is pretty simple, though you might want to clarify a few issues that have been to some extent ambiguous in some formulations of the rules. For example, the Max definition with respect to rekilling, and hard-to-reach monsters; the Pacifist rule on accidental indirect kills that potentially might be avoidable; you might want to consider if in Tyson you want to allow, e.g., rocket jumps that don't harm any monsters. You shouldn't feel that you have to follow Compet-n rules, warts and all. I'd suggest specifying that intercepts overflow emulation may/should be turned off.

As for cheating, I agree that for this to be a success, you're largely relying on entrants to be honest. I don't think you should let the cheating issue dominate your plans, or resort to elaborate anti-cheating measures that will put people off bothering to record, as well as complicate your task in setting up the site. Blatant TAS use can easily be thrown out, but you might get some vexing entries that look possibly cheated but for which there's no smoking gun in terms of telltale signs in the data. Then you'll have the tough choice between offending a possibly honest recorder, or allowing a demo that may devalue the hard work of other recorders. In those cases, you'd probably want to consult other players, as I believe AdamH did.

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If you are going to try to replace compet-n, then I suggest allowing chocolate doom, but not prboom. I consider prboom+ to be a TAS tool, and it's too much to expect people to use it without any of the features that could assist the player. Of course it will still require honesty since we can't tell what port is used though.

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I'm not really sure if it's worth redoing something that has been going on since ages ago without adding any real enhacements, if you know what I mean. I would be more enthusiastic towards contest-like competitions (somebody makes map, players have to record smt until deadline with whichever port they want, and with no TASing allowed), held from time to time and maybe having some sort of point system or whatever.

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I'm sorry to hear you say that xit. :(

But yeah, it would be weird to revive compet-n and allow prboom for recording. I think the old doom2.exe records should be separate from prboom records.

But if you're not going to include any of the original compet-n wads, then I don't see a problem.

By the way, I might have misunderstood, but is there something in the prboom movement code that differentiates itself from doom2.exe? That way you could tell if a demo is prboom.

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