Announcement: EmoTracker Auto-Tracking

Feb 24th, 2019
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About EmoTracker's New Auto-Tracking Support

I'm incredibly happy to announce the imminent availability of auto-tracking for EmoTracker, with ALTTPR being the first game to get support. To my knowledge, it's the most comprehensive auto-tracker we've ever had, but it's also usable by more users in the community than ever before. From the concept phase, this has been many months in development, and this feature alone represents almost a person-month of development time to do properly, all of which I've done over the last 1.5 months. When you consider that I have a 50-60 hour a week career, this has been a LOT of work, and I'm really happy to finally share it with everybody.

EmoTracker's new auto-tracking feature for ALTTPR works quite differently from the auto-trackers of the past.

  • Uses ConnectorLib (the underlying technology for CrowdControl) rather than the "SRAM trace" hack to ultimately support as wide a variety of games as possible
  • Works on both console hardware (using the SD2SNES flash cart w/ USB support) and a popular emulator (Bizhawk w/ the BSNES core)
  • EmoTracker's Lua frameworks allows for easy development of quality-of-life improvements, like the new notification showing the most important stats when you hit the Triforce room (rather than having to wait for the end of the credits). This is a huge time saver for streamers on console, who've never had access to features like fast-forward..
  • Supports auto-tracking both item collection and overworld location clear data

Tracking chest clearing in dungeons is not supported. Neither is marking which dungeons are which crystals/pendants. Why? Because we can't currently do it reliably without reading memory that would constitute cheating. Preventing cheating is something that I, and the rando developers, care deeply about. Speaking of which...

Why auto-tracking NOW?

For a long time, I (EmoSaru) have been the one preventing EmoTracker from supporting auto-tracking. Nobody could have stopped me if I "just did it", and I certainly could have put out the standard "use at your own risk and follow your community's rules" disclaimer. It is by far the most common request from users, at a variety of experience levels, and it feels rare that I have a day where I'm NOT asked about it. The last thing I want to do, however, is disrupt the way we handle competition. Rather, I'm deeply interested in improving it in the long-term. Some of you have had conversations with me about this - certainly some of the devs and admins have. My answer to the question "why now?" is that I believe we've reached a point, technology- and community-wise, where I think we know enough to start moving forward. I look at auto-tracking as not just an optimization for streamers, or a convenience for players, but rather as the foundation on which a new generation of tools for making restreams higher quality, and tournaments more secure, can be built.

There's a lot to unpack there, and those of you who know me also know that I'm usually happy to talk at great length about this type of stuff. Here are a few of the big highlights for why I think this is a point at which we can move forward...

  • Support for both console hardware and emulator users allows for significantly broader community adoption. While EmoTracker is Windows only, that is the overwhelming majority of the player-base.
  • EmoTracker provides a server-managed system for restricting what memory/save-data an auto-tracking game pack can access. Developers/admins can whitelist or blacklist memory ranges that would constitute cheating if read, and the ALTTPR developers have done so.
  • The development roadmap includes additional feature, already in progress, for allowing communities to secure the usage of auto-tracking and provide in progressively more significant competition.

I look forward to continuing conversations about this, and other cool things in the future, with our amazing community.

EmoTracker is available to download at https://emotracker.net/download - follow the in-app instructions to install or update to the latest version of my LTTPR game pack to get access to auto-tracking. Further support can be found on the tracker Discord server - instructions for joining are at https://emotracker.net/community.


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