Improve leaderboard consistency

This is a topic i’m dragging from the server:
This has bothered me for awhile, about how the devs have 0 consistency when it comes to clearing leaderboards. This is mainly targeted at ballrace, but other modes such as minigolf and trivia have the same issue iirc. The event horizon bonus, while meant to be uncompletable, is legitimately possible, and yet the devs keep wiping it. If you don’t want times set on that level, or any of the other bonuses for that matter, make them impossible. As for other levels which they have updated, they have not cleared times that are no longer possible in the slightest (looking at summit 2). As well, there are very obviously cheated times on levels, and the devs just leave them there. I’m not talking about times which have like a 1 or so second difference from a legit time, i’m talking about the times that are 6 seconds faster than 2nd place, and are clearly not possible (event horizon 1, and handful of summit levels, khromidro 2). Another member of the server brought up the “backlash” the devs may receive from wiping legit player, and while i agree, most cases as that will have proof to get it reinstated. As an example, i messaged support clearly labeling which times are faked on a level (4 total), and they decide to wipe the top 4 times, where 4th place was legit. After, i submitted another support request, providing proof of the time being legit, asking the time be reinstated. But the ticket was ghosted for over 2 months, so i closed it. The fake time still stands on the leaderboard. As another example, a person i know made an account named “gus fring,” and with the intent to cheat times. i do not know how he did it, but all of those times are blatantly still on the leaderboard. He told me that he has been trying to get a leaderboard ban, and even moved on to minigolf, setting multiple perfect scores (which is impossible) and it has been ignored by the devs.
To summarize, it frustrates me and many others with the selective leaderboard clearings, and it frustrates us more that times that are legit are getting wiped with no proof and no request, and the devs have no intent to actually patch the completion method (event horizon bonus)

idk how much it would fit in this thread about consistency, but in that conversation earlier in the Discord Shadon was brought up, who had gotten leaderboard banned for a bit. The ban was removed and certain leaderboard entries were reinstated, but I think only ones that people had proof of existing. Mac said they don’t have backups because they aren’t often need but like- if someone is a dedicated and legitimate player, it seems like a bit much to expect them to have their own records of their leaderboard stats when there’s at least 190 leaderboards in this game.

While it’s realistically not that hard to make a script to backup the leaderboard entries, with sub-30 lines of Perl and a file containing leaderboard IDs being able to grab you a crusty XML version of each leaderboard directly from Steam, that doesn’t seem like a burden that should be on players in a situation where they either didn’t do anything wrong, didn’t know something was wrong (e.g. pinching in Ball Race), or got an illegitimate score due to someone else in the lobby, whom they may have no affiliation with (e.g. host in Ball Race spawns the goal right over the spawn). That and there’s the possibility the “proof” the user provides when trying to get their scores back is falsified in some way. If PixelTail were the ones in charge of keeping track of that then there wouldn’t be much to question regarding the validity of the scores being re-entered.

And on the subject of proof, this has been said a bunch already but a demo-like replay feature to allow the devs or even just other people looking at the leaderboards to view and verify that there’s nothing super sussy happening would be pretty useful even if just as a thing to reference when making a decision.

Also gus fring is odd because they’ve been leaderboard banned for a few days now, their leaderboard entries should be getting cleared automatically, right?

  • In terms of proof, i understand the virus case, but i’m more referencing leaderboards as in timed ones or scores ones, such as accelerate, minigolf, and ballrace. With minigolf and ballrace, that i know of, 90% or times that are legit, people have clipped or have reputation in those respective fields. The proof i provided for the times that was falsely wiped (btw i pointed out the exact names of the people that needed to be wiped, and those were ignored in a favor of just the number 4) was a clip of the run.

  • I see what you mean about times due to another person (buffering, which idk how is even still a thing at this point), but those times are almost always spottable, either due to the person outright saying they got launched, or just having a time which is impossibly fast. Skips involving pinches i see otherwise, since 90% of skips in ballrace being so rare to achieve accidentally, and usually times that are buffered alongside hard pinches are obvious.

  • a replay system is 100% implementable with some coding, as ballgame has proven. this would make the most sense, however i understand that this would take effort, so i see why it hasn’t been implemented yet.

  • gus fring is still on the leaderboards, but if he’s been leaderboard banned, i’m not sure why the times would stand. If it’s not an automatic process, i would think removing his handful of times manually wouldn’t be hard.

Bonus levels are not meant to be on the leaderboards and we occasionally clear their scores. It is low on my list of bugs to fix, but they will not be part of the leaderboard soon.

Leaderboard banning requires us to run a script that goes through every entry one by one. We don’t run this script every day because it hammers the API. There is no other way to ban players from leaderboards. We have reached out to Valve about this but they have no current plans to add such a feature, unfortunately.

This account was banned the moment it was reported. So no, it was not ignored by us.

I am the only person who maintains the leaderboards right now. I am also consistently busy working on the game.

To verify each of the top 20 scores daily would be a lot of time spent, that I currently don’t have. I do take in reports and also handle support tickets relating to leaderboard scores, but without evidence of a leaderboard entry being cheated, I cannot just remove scores. So far, my only source of information has been from people who have skin in the game and know a community of people who are in a separate Discord from ours.

In the past, I have removed scores that were reported as illegitimate and then people have come to me telling me that they are legitimate afterwards. There’s not a lot of information to go off of to verify the top 20 scores until someone can present a video.

I also remember the support ticket and the last 2 months have been the busiest time for us and for me personally. We also had a holiday bream. I have been non stop working on other aspects of the game. I also remember the support ticket was closed before I could reply to it.

We have not developed a leaderboard backup system yet. We are busy with other aspects of the games and we have 3 programmers who are all incredibly busy. Such a backup system would also be a huge strain on the API as we have to request thousands of entities across hundreds of leaderboards each day, so we would have to be careful with our system.

Replays is not something I’ve personally investigated, but I do know Unreal 4 has a system. Again, it would be something we may be able to tackle, but we have to weigh if it’s as important as fixing a major bug or finishing a planned feature.

i understand that the bonus levels being incompletable is the point, it makes sense. I’m just saying in terms of consistency, since you wiped EH, the other 2 possible ones should’ve been wiped alongside it, otherwise they all should’ve stayed. Also, another easy fix would be to simply create more death barriers around the bonuses, and implement it in the next patch.

Glad for clarification about “gus fring,” and thank you for clarifying how the leaderboards are cleared.

I am not suggesting that every leaderboard should be checked constantly, but even a skim over them from time to time wouldn’t hurt. Scores that are quite obvious have been sitting there since i started playing 3/4 of a year ago (EH 1, summit 4 and 5 to name a few).

In terms of the 2 month support ticket, a simple “I’ll look into it later” or “Sorry, but i cannot reinstate times even with video proof” would’ve solved it. I feel 2 months is not a reasonable time to have a support ticket completely ignored, but i understand.

A backup system for every time is understandably excessive, but in terms of the devs all being busy on other aspects, this was a really big thing that bothers me. Because in my opinion, the aspects of the game which are already created should take priority over unnecessary additions such as the dark ride. The ballrace community is niche, i understand, but it feels like an already existing gamemode should at least be cared for. Wiping not every leaderboard makes sense, but when the time has been put into updating a level (summit 2 again) so the skip is significantly slowed, the leaderboards no longer reflect that level properly.

As i mentioned, a replay system would be ideal, but i understand that it takes dev time so i see why it hadn’t been implemented in the past.

It’s just two people (and one of them part time) who are managing support tickets right now. Since we had the two week break, the support tickets piled up pretty quick.

The Dark Ride was something we’ve been working on for awhile on and off and is something we are passionate about (I spent a lot of my free time to finish it for Halloween). It was also planned to come out a year ago, but got side lined for other more important updates. It’s not an unnecessary addition to me.

We’re still developing parts of the game and we have two Game Worlds to finish up as well. We do try to keep up with fixing issues with current games, but we also are busy working on other features as well. We try to balance everything and sometimes that means putting more niche features on the backburner until we have some off time between projects.

mate you can’t call whole new parts of the game unnecessary additions, they’re all really welcome (especially if they’re something which had been long ago in gmod tower, and the halloween ride thing was)