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Jace Hall
12-22-2020 at 07:54 PM
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Further Database Organization.

Seasons greetings to all!

Holiday is coming up soon and this will provide me some time to work on TG matters and decisions.

I've been digesting all of the issues and various suggestions surrounding the whole EMU organization issue and I think there is a reasonable approach to take but before I work to implement I wanted to run it by the community for analysis and further suggestion.

@timmell and others have suggested that platforms essentially be broken up into two categories with tracks listed separately for each:

1) Original Hardware

2.) EMU / Other

I think we can accomplish that.

Here is what would actually happen -

We would need @admin staff and his team to auto create an EMU / Other category that appears in the drop down of every main platform listing.

Then all the tracks (just the tracks and rules, not the scores) that are currently under the main platform listing would be duplicated over to the EMU / Other category that is listed for that platform, This would allow members be able to submit without having to recreate the same tracks all over again.

Now there is some complexity here because some platforms have EMU Tracks listed underneath them already with scores, and they would have to be detected (manually or programmatically) and moved over to their EMU / Other category.

There are also likely some very special cases to consider.

It could be a fair amount of work and take some time to do this, but once completed there would be a clear and consistent place / method for original hardware submissions and non-original hardware submissions across the entire database.

If a particular EMU type begins to overly dominate a mixed EMU track for some reason of and starts needing its own official platform separation (like MAME or Flashback) then we can break that EMU type out and move those scores to that newly created specific EMU platform category. We may not need to do this, but it would at least be an option.

Does this make sense and should we work on this?


Comments
  1. Garrett Holland's Avatar

    This is a big, fat, meaty YES from me.

  2. nads's Avatar

    Me personally I would like to see the leaderboards more like the speedrun boards, have Original,EMU, and Regions altogether.

    I do understand why people would like them separated, but I think the ESI would be better as it would stop multiple subs on the one game.

    If we go the way suggested how does the ESI work? Would Atari EMU be separate from the Hardware Tally?


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  3. swaggers's Avatar

    I like like like this

    But then we need 100% official rules as to what is "original hardware". Rules from TG, not just adjudicators feelings. Is AV Modded original? Is Region modded original? Are flash carts original? All of this needs to be laid out plain as day.

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  4. MyOwnWorstEnemy's Avatar

    Sharing a link to @timmell wall post from a few years back when this topic was discussed.

    https://www.twingalaxies.com/timmell/wall/5562/vote-yes-on-proposal-emu/page/2#comments

  5. francoisadt's Avatar

    I suggest we do have the category filter to list as follows per game:

    A) all

    B) original hardware

    C) Emu

    Reason gamers want to see all scores listed for a game with the Category Type in one column as "original hw (i.e. Arcade or mame).


    Then by filter out choose either" Arcade Original hardware" or "Arcade Emu"


    Now we be able to calculate true total ESI across and top down for a game.


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  6. francoisadt's Avatar

    Forgot to write: we also want the original game and the emu version to be linked so that we can compare and also be able to visually see the full score list for a game.

    This will save a huge amount of navigation time...

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  7. timmell's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by nads


    If we go the way suggested how does the ESI work? Would Atari EMU be separate from the Hardware Tally?



    I would hope so. Cause that inflates the ESI value currently on a platform. Just imagine if you had Arcade and MAME combined for ESI.

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  8. timmell's Avatar

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  9. timmell's Avatar

    I hope TG will separate them. I think it creates new competition with in a platform. Without diluting the original platform ESI leaderboards.

    But if TG doesn't, then TG should at least combine MAME and Arcade together. For it to be more consistent with everything else.


  10. MyOwnWorstEnemy's Avatar

    I think ESI is a related topic and worth mentioning in this thread. The platform and EMU discussion is mostly about organization, user interface, and database design. But for what its worth here's my view of ESI and other measurement across the current database structure. I'm going to start from the bottom to the top.

    At the game level, we want a way to determine who is best. For game with multiple tracks, there needs to be a way to compare the tracks with each other and then rank order the competitors. The current ESI calculation works for that purpose.

    At the platform level, we also want a way to determine who is best. Now the decision is how do we want to determine who is the best console player, by individual track or individual game? I think it should be by game or else the rankings could be skewed to much to games with lots of tracks and a narrow range of gaming skills. To base the console rankings by game, use the ESI scoreboard by game and recalculate using the ESI formula. Lets call this Game Skill Index (GSI). For example, Gran Turismo will be represented as one game in the GSI calculation, not 1000+ tracks.

    At the overall leaderboard or TG site level, we want to determine who is best. The decision becomes do we measure this by track, game, or platform. I think it should be based on the rankings by platform. This can be done in the same manner described in the above paragraph. Take the leaderboards at the platform level and run it through the ESI calculation, but to avoid confusion, lets call this metric Console Skill Index (CSI). Each platform leaderboard is weighted by the number of competitors so not all platforms are equal; Microvision < Arcade.

    - Game Leaderboard determined by ESI

    - Console Leaderboard determined by GSI

    - Overall Leaderboard determined by CSI





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  11. 90skidJohnny's Avatar

    My biggest concern is what is classified as original hardware.

    There are many ways to run games on original hardware, but using emulated media. (ie, everdrives, flash cards, etc)

    I personally dont consider running off an everdrive emulation, as the console is still doing all the work, just reading from a different format type.


    Im all for having 2 categories (or even merged like from above) but as long as the terms are defined as to what emulation is considered.


  12. D.B. Cooper's Avatar

    Yes it makes sense but no I don't think you should change it the way you are describing. I would like MAME to be listed with Arcade to make things consistent. If any change is made, I think Nads suggestion is the way to go but I imagine there will be folks who won't like this as they will lose both ESI and High Scores.

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    Updated 12-23-2020 at 09:23 AM by D.B. Cooper
  13. Garrett Holland's Avatar

    I could be wrong, but it appears that what is being discussed in the OP is whether or not emulation tracks should be recategorized as "anything other than original hardware" (or in other words, *what* gets submitted to an "emu and others" track) and not necessarily whether or not these tracks should be grouped together under the game's main category on their respective platforms for the purposes of aggregating or segregating ESI calculations (or in other words, *where* those leaderboards are facing the user). That's an important discussion to be had, but it is a separate discussion as far as Im seeing it. Or, I could be missing something, as per usual.

    Updated 12-23-2020 at 01:15 PM by Garrett Holland
  14. Barthax's Avatar

    Just trying to visualise Jace's suggestion...

    So navigate to TG records > View Leaderboards & there's no change on that page in the initial work. Select a platform, select a game: no changes there.

    On the game page, there's some kind of drop-down which performs a filter or the tracks listed & the two options on the drop-down are "Original Hardware" and "EMU / Other".

    Have I got that right?

    Looks like good progress to split for third-party systems (Retron, etc.) to be "officially" included into the mix. If that is the aim, then it would be a good idea to separate "Other" from "EMU" for the next step:

    Once that drop-down functionality is in place, the original tracks are then automatically duplicated into the other category (or categories).

    Then there's the bit about separating an emulator... If it proves that a particular emulator is so popular that it overshadows the original hardware, the emulator gets a separate "platform" for itself like MAME.

    (Just regurgitating...)

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    Updated 12-24-2020 at 12:51 AM by Barthax
  15. Barthax's Avatar

    Assuming my regurgitation is a reasonably correct understanding... a couple of exceptions which spring to mind.

    PC: many DOS tracks are already merged for EMU and original and Luigi's efforts in creating tracks explicitly mentions this in his rules. If PC were to be split there would be many exceptional circumstances or manual work for TG to massage everything into place.

    On the matter of Arcade vs. MAME as separate platforms. MAME tracks are often different settings and almost every track needs extra rules due to MAME version differences, so the base "duplication" aim of the OP wouldn't work. Retaining these as seperate platforms retains the complexity that MAME involves (especially now MAME is everything, not just Arcade). Additionally, merging MAME & Arcade would mean anyone playing on original hardware wouldn't make a dent in ESI overall for the "merged platform". Based on the wording of thoughts about separating out emulators for other platforms, these would be explicitly retained in their current scenarios.

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  16. francoisadt's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Barthax

    Assuming my regurgitation is a reasonably correct understanding... a couple of exceptions which spring to mind.

    PC: many DOS tracks are already merged for EMU and original and Luigi's efforts in creating tracks explicitly mentions this in his rules. If PC were to be split there would be many exceptional circumstances or manual work for TG to massage everything into place.

    On the matter of Arcade vs. MAME as separate platforms. MAME tracks are often different settings and almost every track needs extra rules due to MAME version differences, so the base "duplication" aim of the OP wouldn't work. Retaining these as seperate platforms retains the complexity that MAME involves (especially now MAME is everything, not just Arcade). Additionally, merging MAME & Arcade would mean anyone playing on original hardware wouldn't make a dent in ESI overall for the "merged platform". Based on the wording of thoughts about separating out emulators for other platforms, these would be explicitly retained in their current scenarios.

    I think there need to be three ESI for arcade per platform and two per game level:

    A) Arcade Original Hardware (as it is TODAY)

    B) ARcade EMU (MAME Arcade only, not the whole of mame.. Manne do contain many engines)

    C) All Arcade (Combine A and B above

    This mean each game do have at least two ESI,

    if original then A & C

    If emu then B & C

    When C is selected then all three filters can be used.

    Now we be able to see total ESI per game on all three scenarios.

    We also be able to see ESI on platform in a high level with also the three filters A, B, C above






  17. Snowflake's Avatar

    yes the new categorization of original and everything else is needed.

    now that the "yes" is out of the way, like everyone else i have other points to distract you with that hopefully wont result in the important point you initially asked about being lost. I'm curious about if this is just going forward or will be retroactive. you know, will nes mini and nes emu (theres very little nes emu to begin with so this wont be that bad) all be merged? atari does have a lot of emu, will it be merged retroactively with the flashback? if a retroactive merge is done i'd like to request neo geo x is a special excpetion. rather than make this super long i'll go into more detail if needed, but if necessary i can absolutley go into detail why I dont feel neo geo x should be lumped into emulation and should stay its own platform.


    or, i could also see a claim of no need for a "all" third category. let original be submitted to both original and "emu". "emu" under the new categroy would be meant for everything. what makes original so special, is well its original and plenty of purists want it seperate, but for emu plenty of emu users usually want it merged. so maybe instead of "original and everything else" it should be "original and everything"

  18. Jace Hall's Avatar

    Ok I have been looking into this and unfortunately there is no easy or quick way to accomplish this change / separation.

    To do it properly is going to take a lot of time, money and experienced manual labor. So this task is going to have to wait for a minute or two until I finish up a couple other things on my to do list!

    I agree with a lot of the suggestions presented, but to implement them requires someone to specifically examine each database entry case and make informed decisions - unfortunately an engineer cannot simply write some code to do this automatically and eliminate the need for extensive, highly detailed, manual clean up.

    We will keep this larger task on the todo list, and continue to attack some of the smaller and more manageable items for now.

    Appreciate everyone's patience on this.



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  19. Snowflake's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Jace Hall

    Ok I have been looking into this and unfortunately there is no easy or quick way to accomplish this change / separation.

    To do it properly is going to take a lot of time, money and experienced manual labor. So this task is going to have to wait for a minute or two until I finish up a couple other things on my to do list!

    I agree with a lot of the suggestions presented, but to implement them requires someone to specifically examine each database entry case and make informed decisions - unfortunately an engineer cannot simply write some code to do this automatically and eliminate the need for extensive, highly detailed, manual clean up.

    We will keep this larger task on the todo list, and continue to attack some of the smaller and more manageable items for now.

    Appreciate everyone's patience on this.




    for a merge could the dispute be used? make clear what sort of things should be merged, the community can go through and dispute things that need to be moved over, and based on votes you wont have time for the mistakes and can just focus on moving over the ones everyone agrees need moving

  20. Jace Hall's Avatar

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowflake

    for a merge could the dispute be used? make clear what sort of things should be merged, the community can go through and dispute things that need to be moved over, and based on votes you wont have time for the mistakes and can just focus on moving over the ones everyone agrees need moving

    Unfortunately no, as you are talking about potentially hundreds or thousands of tracks.

    Its not as simple as a merge, as it is clear that over time Old TG did not use standardized naming conventions, so each track will need to be potentially renamed or at least error corrected to prevent duplication.

    For this task to be done, it has to be done correctly and meticulously. Everything must get organized and standardized. The people doing it will need direct access to the database.

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