1. Policy
  2. Good evidence packages

The nature of good evidence will change with the platform, game type and even the rules used for a particular track. This article aims to cover the more generic approaches as well as some of the more esoteric scenarios. Many submissions will not cover everything indicated here and as such this article tries to cover the best approaches but in no way dictates what must be shown - that is ultimatly decided by the adjudicating audience of the day and the future (who may dispute the evidence and if successful will bring about the removal of the submission).


Good evidence packages are about providing confidence in the evidence you are presenting, covering the myriad perceptions of the adjudicators. Thus you are trying to cover a moving target depending on the adjudicator audience that review any given submission. Typical sets of things looked for are that the gameplay is genuine, the systems match the expected use and that each component of the track and rules can be matched easily to facts shown by the evidence. A very good evidence package isn't just about spoon-feeding the information to the current adjudicator audience but about covering all possible aspects of the gameplay so that any future discovery/query can still be answered by your evidence and sequence of events shown in the footage.


Equipment

Default rules in use at Twin Galaxies dictate the use of original equipment. With multiple platforms approaching museum-piece age or being in scarce supply, the community may have begun to accept replacement components instead of original for some platforms. To be certain of answering such questions of originality, consider providing as much information about the equipment in use: console/computer, game, controller and any other peripherals that may be required such as video converters.


Note that equipment ages and may have become misconfigured - not just the platform and game but also your recording equipment. Make test recordings to ensure that you are able to show the features of your equipment and that you are able to compensate for any deficiencies of the recording equipment. For example, many digital cameras suffer bluring when the picture (or camera) is moved rapidly or a game changes it's luminosity (flashing sequences or transitions from black screens to white). Multiple cameras record at a different frame rate to the platform/game being played and so screen "tearing" can occur destroying important information. Even if you're a seasoned submitter, test your recording equipment when transitioning to new scenarios.

Platform

There are many clone systems available by third-parties which are generically not supported by the originality clause. Many of these systems appear to play the same as their original counterparts and so the adjudicating audience may expect to see proof that the system you are using is genuinely original. For older platforms the scoreboard is not only split by platform but also by the TV signal type - NTSC, PAL and sometimes SECAM also - and also sometimes further split based on the region a game was released into (music games, for example, where there are differences in available songs). Providing evidence of the system can come in multiple forms but visual inspection of the serial plate for the console will confirm many of these aspects.


Submissions using emulator are segregated on the scoreboard and similarly to the clone systems, the adjudicating audience may desire to see proof that your attempt is or is not an emulator/original depending on the circumstance of the track. For those tracks which accept emulator submissions, the feature set of the emulator may also require some extending the idea of evidence to confirming there are no cheating measures at play and that other settings of the emulator meet the expectations of emulator use for the platform.

Game

The game comes in two parts. Not only is evidence needed that the game is the correct version but also that the settings of the game are correct.


Where a platform uses external media for the games, it has become common place to use third-party replacement parts. The views on this subject matter varies by platform, however. Using a replacement chip in an arcade system is not the same as using a copied CD in a Sega CD or a ROM loaded via Everdrive on the NES. Consider each matter separately and check the history of the submissions per-platform. If uncertain, perhaps make a single submission to the scoreboard to test the waters and post about it on your Wall to attract opinion on the circumstance.


Most platforms use games where the settings of the game are displayed visually during game choices. There are multiple circumstances where a physical inspection of settings remain necesssary so be certain that you have covered the requisite evidence. A great many platforms have cheat devices and many games have passcode or cheat codes. For most submissions evidence that such devices and codes are not in use should be provided (see Sequence of Events) but still other games have rules which require the use of such codes and so it is necessary to include their use in the evidence.

Controller

One of the underpinning values of the scoreboard is that each track should provide a level playing field to all participants. When it comes to the controller, many third-party controllers were available for most platforms and games. With aging platforms and especially aging bespoke systems (many arcade games) obtaining an original contoller can become more difficult than obtaining a game. The controller is therefore often left out of evidence packages. There are some platforms and/or games where this is still considered a must-show to confirm the originality of the controller or that the input is not being faked or otherwise subverted. Some genres are expected to show the input to confirm there is no bending of the rules - typically anything that requires rapid repetition of input from classic button-mashing games like Track & Field to more modern dextrous games like Piano Tiles. The rules may necessitate, directly or indirectly, that the input should be confirmed - Shoot 'em ups (SHMUPs) where the rules indicate no auto-fire, for example.


If you plan (or are required) to show the controls in your evidence package, you should aim to show the full control panel (arcade particularly but also joystick/joypad/keyboard/guitar/etc) in a single camera shot that includes the game display. This allows the adudicators to monitor the input with the gameplay in a single shot. If the controller and the game display are in different film then there could be de-synchronisation between the films which may induce doubt that the two films are of the same performance.

Sequence Of Events

Once you've understood the requirements of the platform and game that you wish to submit for and have tested your evidence-gathering configuration, there remains the chronology of what to show and when to best inform the adjudicators of today and in the future - even if your score is accepted by the current adjudicators it can be disputed and removed due to flaws in the evidence package.


At the start of your evidence, begin by identifying the platform you use and how that matches any regional requirements of the track you are submitting to. If using a camera to show the platform with original game media, take the opportunity to show the game also matches the regional requirement of the track. Power on the platform so that the loading sequence displayed on the visual display and any requisite peripherals can be seen to begin.


Where a platform has multiple loading steps to get to a game, take the time to pause at each step and confirm any details the platform gives opportunity to show. Identify any settings that are available before powering on the hardware such as the switches on an Atari 2600. If the platform allows for late insertion of the game media (many disc-based systems), boot up the platform without the media. For example, with a PAL-region original Xbox the BIOS settings can be used to confirm the Xbox is running at 50Hz (the PAL-60 setting is set to No) or show the BIOS version of a Sony PlayStation 2 to confirm the region of the console.


For games or third-party media (Everdrives, for example) with settings and cheat/passcode options take some time to visit these options before playing and delay for a moment with the settings on-screen. The delay helps in multiple ways but not least it allows any camera / encoding mechanism a chance to settle with a clear view of the requisite information. During your testing you may have found that your equipment is unable to show clear and precise information from your visual device - use the zoom feature of your camera (or the pick-up-and-walk method for older cameras) to ensure this information is covered. Remember: just because you see the information on screen it does not mean your recording equipment is able to provide as precise an experience so take the small opportunity to be certain. Where a game has a save option for the settings, use the save option and then revisit the settings if possible to confirm them again.


Many games will have different tracks on the scoreboard with the track depicting a suite of choices in the track name. Cycle through the selection process of the game steadily to again ensure your recording equipment is able to keep up with the choices you are making.

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