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The release of Project Slippi, the rollback-enabled netplay option for Super Smash Bros Melee, has opened up the possibilities for online tournaments. Project Slippi enables nearly-lagless online play across internet connections, with little regard to the actual internet speed of each competitor. This demands the question: do we still need Melee tournaments to be held in-person?
In order to start this conversation concisely and with precision, I’ll list out the negatives of the two most obvious options - in-person tournaments on traditional Melee setups versus online tournaments on Project Slippi setups. There are alternatives in-between these two, but beginning with binary options allows for common reference points for further discussion.
Issues with In-person tournaments
- Will be delayed due to COVID-19 pandemic
- Requires travel, resources and housing for players at long distances
- Often requires expensive Melee setups
- Risk of player misbehavior much larger
- TOs have to coordinate venues and collect entry fees
Issues with Project Slippi tournaments
- Opportunities for cheating are larger (lag switches, client hacks)
- Gameplay may have small lag delays that interrupt high-level play
- Requires computers and internet connection powerful enough to run Project Slippi
- Potential legal issues with Melee ISO
- Controllers and coaching cannot be regulated
- No way to verify with certainty the individual player in the tournament
- Competitive play will be taken less seriously by bystanders and results will be considered subpar to in-person tournaments
Given these issues, it seems reasonable that lower-level rounds of tournaments could operate using Project Slippi. The possibility of a few frames of lag wouldn’t often impact the more casual and low-round matches, and bylaws could allow for rematches in situations where a few frames determine the very close outcome of a match. Project Slippi wouldn’t require as much of a resource commitment for players, and lower-level rounds might function well as “qualifiers” for the final rounds of the tournament.
Large tournaments could consider hosting the final rounds of tournaments in-person to further facilitate lag-free competition, and we can keep personal interaction between competitors, interviews, live commentary and all the other benefits of in-person tournaments that the scene has grown with.
Author’s Note: I’m personally indifferent to the idea of online tournaments vs. in-person tournaments, but I think it’s an important outcome to consider! Are you considering this possibility? Let me know in the comments below!
Editing ( Thirdkoopa and Zerp )
Graphics ( Zerp )
Social Media ( Zerp )