1. #1

    Action Hotkey Abuse

    What should have been a Quality of Life update to allow keyboard players to achieve the same speed and inputs as controller/wheel players in early gears of dirt/grass and also on bobsled has now turned into an abuseable system to maximise times, becoming an absolute necessity in order to get good times, relying on tools and not skill.

    The premise of action hotkeys would be fine if it was tuned and balanced around just that, a quality of life change to balance out the playing field and making all inputs, regardless of device used, equal and fair. The problem is, you can't balance something like this when the game is primarily based around the timings of your inputs, every nanosecond matters, and so you can see more and more people moving away from vanilla, human reaction and skills, and are instead relying on the tool to do most of the work for them.

    This has resulted in a large number of players out of nowhere achieving times that before the action key update they weren't able to achieve. It has allowed players like the Tauro team and TMGL pros to abuse perfect starts on dirt/grass maps, to the point where it's now an 100% essential to use action hotkeys or you're accepting a .3 time loss simply for playing the game as it is intended, while these pro tool users sit atop leaderboards having achieved the perfect tool assisted start every run. It's now less about in game skill, and more about how much can you abuse this system before it's fixed.

    A simple solution is to do exactly what the rest of the speedrunning community does globally, which can seen on the website speedrun.com. Each game will have sections to upload records, depending on the version of the game and the format that they are playing on. Old patches that are favourable for time attacking, glitchless vs glitches categories, and normal vs tool assisted speed run categories for example. As trackmania falls under the speedrunning category of gaming, I would deem it necessary to create 2 divisions of hunting within Trackmania to solve the issue with action keys; one category for the base vanilla gamers who only play with their own skills, and another category strictly for those who use action keys. That way, there is an equal and fair leaderboard, and the integrity of speedrunning in this game as a whole is left intact, because as it currently stands, the upper echelons of the game abusing something which they don't need at all essentially strangles out any competition.

    The other alternative, should the above not be an achievable goal, would be a complete rework of the action hotkey system. Failing to act on this issue will leave the summer campaign completely void of human inputted times at the top of the leaderboards, and will push away the majority of average players who fail to achieve the same times as the people abusing this.

    Finally, the situation echoes the words spoken by Techno in regards to Riolu's cheating scandal. If people are required to use action hotkeys simply to keep up with the pros who are abusing this system, then like Techno said, if someone is playing fairly and another person isn't, more and more cheaters are going to come out of nowhere simply to try and take their time back. As it currently stands, a handful of the summer campaign world records are already locked because of the action key inputs, unbeatable times set by a tool which leaves that map pointless to play/hunt.

    If you want the summer campaign to be taken seriously by the top 100 hunters, things needs to change, because it won't be long before people realise the issue and give up on the campaign. Futhermore, if nothing is done and come a month's time when the majority of leaderboard times are set by the tool, nobody will be playing the campaign besides the top 1% of players - it will become dead a lot quicker than the utter fiasco that was the spring campaign physics updating and cheater times.
     4 people found this helpful

  2. #2
    First of all I wanna say that I see that as a big plus. I haven't used action keys yet, but I'm having trouble believing they're as OP as you put it. You have to get used to pressing extra keys first of all, the timings still have to be on point.
    The whole Idea behind the actions keys is to give everyone the same tools. The "same" was possible with programmable keyboard macros, AHK, DXTweak, other macro software etc. Things that needed external software can be done ingame now. (like you mention nosliding dirt, ice etc.)
    But it was only few players who abused that, and in this case the word "abused" deserves its place. I don't get why you call using a game feature abuse, and I think it's far fetched to compare it to cheating.
    I think a good controller player or wheel player still got an edge over non professional keyboard players with action key. (I'm @ controller)
    I got pretty used to the WRs driving perfect starts and me losing 0.3 here and there. Not sure if that's the action key's fault.

    I already suggested seperate offline and online solo modes (ladders) one for legit online realtime runs, and one for TAS and slow-mo players. It would be healthy for the community to have some honesty about who's cheating and who isn't, and it turns out there's actually people willing to play a TAS ladder. I they want to take a pacifist approach towards cheaters, this is it.

    Now I don't see them taking any approach regarding cheaters, which makes me a little sad. They are still deleting cheated times manually. I really hope they're working on it.
    What caught me a bit off guard, was that they didn't put out a statement about Riolu's case, they didn't delete any of the record times set by trabadia, who admitted to using a macro. Maybe they thought "a macro is legit, right?"
    And well I have to admit that using a macro doesn't seem like much of a cheat, compared to playing on 25% speed. I'm not saying ban trabadia, but I think the one record one the one map, that he admitted using a macro on, should have been deleted, and I'm sure rank #6 world on spring 01 agrees.

  3. #3
    Still waiting to hear nadeo's take on the situation, whether human vs computer inputs are going to be under one umbrella or if you're going to divide the time attack part of trackmania into 2 separate divisions of hunting.

  4. #4
    I wrote a topic about action keys too and I share your point of view, for me action keys are a flawed addition to the game because they are creating inequalities between players using action keys and those who don't.
    The Action Keys do more harm than good. That's a fact.
     1 people found this helpful

  5. #5
    Post Bump, still waiting for a reply.

  6. #6
    I fully agree with everything you said.
     1 people found this helpful

  7. #7
    Hello there!

    Are you a keyboard player? Have you ever tried to water bounce on keyboard? What about smooth-steer, bobsleigh, and some other weird stuff ? Well, you can’t. You physically can’t.

    They basically implemented this feature to allow keyboard players to be able to actually compete against Pad and Wheel players, which can perform these “tricks” (/bugs).

    I don’t see the issue with that feature, especially that for using it, it is definitely not broken, considering you never have the perfect % of steering, which you can achieve on digital input devices.

    Personally, I only use it for starts (because you always lose .05 if you start going left or right on kb), and for water bounce SD, which is literally impossible on KB.

    Hope you’ll understand the necessity of that feature.

    ~Chickenrunnn
     2 people found this helpful

  8. #8
    I am a pad player who plays like a keyboard player (tapping over smooth steer) so can relate -somewhat- to the issues you face as a complete keyboard player and agree that yeah, the reasons it was implemented for (balancing the input playing field for kb players to have equal opportunity in output) is a logical and fair reason, and one which I support 100%, no input method should have an advantage or disadvantage for that matter.

    The issue I brought up in my post had nothing to do with that though, sure I may have highlighted it briefly as a reference to the actual point of the post, but it wasn't THE point, as you seem to be focusing on. The actual issue is that human inputs, things that ARE physically possible and that you CAN physically do as a keyboard player is now replaced by a tool that does the work for you but better, it's less of a quality of life balance change to assist keyboard players in their output for equal input and more about how perfect you can get each line, which nobody can do regardless of if you're a keyboard, pad, wheel, joystick or mouse player. Mistakes happen, we're all human, and even the likes of CarlJr have failed runs. This is the point, and one which you completely glossed over in your reply. YOU are not playing the game, the tool is doing it for you, and you're reaping the benefits of that, while human players are left wondering how they can compete against a tool.

    If you want to justify that with "well it's fairer for us keyboard players so allow it", then you're missing the point. In making this quality of life change, anyone who uses 100% human skill only are now getting worse times/placements/rankings compared to people who are using tool assisted inputs. It's no longer a question of quality of life, but whether humans vs tools is a fair comparison to make in the spirit of competition. Literally every other competitively driven speedrun game in the entire library of gaming has separate categories for human input, glitched inputs, cheated inputs and tool assisted inputs. TRACKMANIA DOESN'T. If you want part human, part tool inputs competing on the same playing field as entirely human inputted runs, then that reduces the integrity of trackmania and it's competitive nature to zero, furthermore valuing your fingers and the starts you get using this tool over the literal competitive integrity of the game itself is a super questionable decision that leaves little credibility to your reply. This is bigger picture, official categorising of a game stuff, which is far more important in the long run than the .03/.04 gains you so desperately need to stay relevant to other input methods.

    Hope you understand the necessity of accurate and fair competition and the importance of dividing human vs tool inputs.

  9. #9
    Again, I think your comparison here with tool assisted runs is too far fetched. Like I said earlier, you need to hit the timing perfectly even with action key.
    That being said, it looks like some pro players would agree with you, that it can be abused on controller.
    Maybe one solution would be, to limit action keys to keyboard, and remove it for controllers, but then people just might use DXTweak and AHK again.
    In my opinion, it should stay.

  10. #10
    Originally Posted by Chickenrunnn Go to original post
    Hello there!

    Are you a keyboard player? Have you ever tried to water bounce on keyboard? What about smooth-steer, bobsleigh, and some other weird stuff ? Well, you can’t. You physically can’t.

    They basically implemented this feature to allow keyboard players to be able to actually compete against Pad and Wheel players, which can perform these “tricks” (/bugs).

    I don’t see the issue with that feature, especially that for using it, it is definitely not broken, considering you never have the perfect % of steering, which you can achieve on digital input devices.

    Personally, I only use it for starts (because you always lose .05 if you start going left or right on kb), and for water bounce SD, which is literally impossible on KB.

    Hope you’ll understand the necessity of that feature.

    ~Chickenrunnn
    All good what you say there but Nadeo themselves don't seem too happy about it seeing as they even banned the use of the Action keys for the TMGL.