As SFV wants to encourage the competitive community, I have some very useful related ideas that I wanted to share, from most important to least:
Pre-game button check
On the character select screen, there should be an option to configure your buttons, and test them out, without leaving the screen. When one player decides to alter their button configuration, it shouldn’t affect the other player - the other player should still be free to cycle through the characters on the character select screen.
After the buttons have been configured, have it display the controller inputs, in similar fashion to training mode notation in Street Fighter 4 training mode. This way, the players can verify their buttons have been configured exactly as intended, without wasting time by going in to the game to verify.
A game mode that caters directly to the competitive community, that has all possible tournament rules applied automatically (lessening the need of tournament organizers to enforce a rule set). Sets are best of 3/5/7 matches (configurable), with the game keeping track of the score until a set is complete.
After a match, only the loser of that match can go to the character select screen, and only they can change their character (standard tournament rules).
A bonus would be the ability to enter player names, and have them displayed on their respective sides - reducing the necessity of 3rd party software to keep score & show player names.
Having a ‘best of’ set can come with its own issues though, as sometimes there are problems mid-set. Here are some things that can address these problems:
As some tournament rules can call for forfeiting a round (the need to pause due to a hardware failure or otherwise), there should be an option on the pause menu to forfeit a round (with a verification prompt, of course). A great example of this is the Grand Finals of EVO 2015, where the audience had to wait for the match to time out to continue.
Because of the chance of a hardware issue, there should also be a button check option in the pause menu (in the same fashion as described above) - so that if a hardware failure occurs mid-round, and the player is able to resolve the issue or obtain a temporary replacement, they can test the hardware without completely restarting the game.
There is also the case of accidentally continuing into another match when a player meant to go to the character select screen. Therefore, there should also be an option to return to the character select screen (from the loser’s side) in the pause menu. When used, it should not affect the score of the set. Whether or not a player will lose a round or match is up to the tournament organizer or judge, in which case, the forfeit round option can be used.
Tournament Mode Feature - Tournament Return Mode
Unfortunately, sometimes a game console will need to be re-booted due to an error/problem beyond control. When this happens, often the players will be required to re-create the previous scenario as accurately as possible.
Although this is a very rare/scarce scenario (although it was common for a while with USF4 1.04), it could still be a good idea to have it implemented in one way or another (It shouldn’t be a front menu option, of course.)
The idea of Tournament Return Mode is to allow these scenarios to be accurately recreated. After going through the initial character select & button check process, the score of the set can be configured, as well as the rounds won (eg. 2-1 in a best of 5 set, with each player having won 1 round each in the current match).
From here, time can be reduced, health bars & super meters can be configured, and player positioning can be set on the screen. Once everything is configured as accurate, both players confirm they are ready (by pressing a button) and a 5 second counter counts down (5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Fight!)
After the countdown, the game unfreezes and the match is continued.