After 7 months after publishing the original TrackMania and Tool-Assisted Speedruns FAQ, I’m publishing this post to showcase the tool I have today, communicate the advantages and disadvantages it would bring to the community, and ask you to vote on whether it should be public or not. Before voting, please read the content below! This poll will not decide on the final decision whatsoever. It’s a mere test on what anyone else thinks about the issue, not a definitive answer.
Some Facts First
- This tool allows you to create pre-programmed runs for TrackMania, copy other legitimate runs and improve them.
- This tool is not an “AI” or any program that creates runs itself - however, it exposes an interface to hook into many game’s functions which could be used to build one.
- It was never intended for malicious use nor for cheating. There are multiple restrictions in place to ensure that it’s not used for that. When launching the game with the tool, you are only allowed to login offline and save replays with a special signature.
- It’s still software that can be reverse engineered and abused, just like the game. It’s not possible to prevent reversing nor to guarantee that it’s 100% safe forever.
- Works only for TMNF and TMUF.
Positives of Releasing Publicly
- Creating a new, separate category of runs to compete in and opening the possibility to see new time limits.
- Ability to replay and analyze your own & anyone elses runs, replicate them and fix failed runs. Ability to start a run from a savestate.
- Allows for creating your own scripts that control the game state.
- Voiding the need to create a new tool from scratch and giving less reasons to create one by other people.
- Possibility of broadening the reach of TrackMania to a wider community.
Negatives of Releasing Publicly
- Nothing stops anyone from uploading TAS’ed replays to the TMX leaderboards, even though they can be automatically detected when a run was done with the tool.
- You can copy the inputs of any replay publicly available and pass of someone’s run as yours.
- Possibility of reversing the tool and using it for malicious cases such as uploading runs to official mode or making replays undetectable.
- Increased interest after release could lead to people creating their own tool.
- Could result in an eventual change of rules on how replays should be uploaded & validated.