ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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 Post subject: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:54 pm 
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Low Yeek

Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:15 am
Posts: 5
Hi,


Maybe that this has been reported before but I haven't found any evidence when searching in the forum.

I noticed that killing the application (on any OS) allows us to restart the game at the last save point (most of the time the level entrance). So it clearly become an easy abuse (for me) to do so when I'm stuck in a very bad situation to kill the app and try again, knowing what to expect.
It's even easier with the alchemist because when you die you take control of the golem, having a second chance to kill the app before losing a life.
I think that this is a really too easy abuse that should be addressed (at least with online players)

Regards,


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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:20 am 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:10 pm
Posts: 227
I think the biggest problem with trying to prevent this is that it will also affect anyone whose program actually crashes/freezes (seldom as this might occur). Because the game can be played offline, there will most likely always be the possibility of savescumming. The best plan is just... not to do it.


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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 10:47 am 
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Loremaster

Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:18 pm
Posts: 3516
Location: London, England
Most roguelikes aren't too restrictive on this front. You're not meant to do it, but if you want to cheat the game isn't going out of its way to stop you.

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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:11 am 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:39 pm
Posts: 237
CaptainTrips wrote:
I think the biggest problem with trying to prevent this is that it will also affect anyone whose program actually crashes/freezes (seldom as this might occur). Because the game can be played offline, there will most likely always be the possibility of savescumming. The best plan is just... not to do it.


Amen. My laptop is rather old, and sometimes it crashes when playing ToME on full graphics settings.

We do have to remember that ToME is a single-player game. I was very critical of the change DG made to prevent savescumming, since ToME occasionally had some potentially game-ending bugs back then. (I don't know if it has today, I don't keep up with things that much.) I felt that it was inappropriate, removing a way for players to save bugged characters because some people didn't want savescummed chars in the vault. Apart from these people who take a computer game too serious, nobody was hurt by people savescumming their way through the game, while my occasional savefile backups saved more than one character from doom by bugged save. I think the same applies here.


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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:11 pm 
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Low Yeek

Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:15 am
Posts: 5
I Understand (all of) your point (especially the technical issue for those who have real issues) and I Agree, but I still think that it is ridiculously easy to do this kind of abuse and that it makes the character vault kind of useless as we don't know if the players did the things properly.

I'm too trying to quit doing this but sometimes... in nightmare... it's your last life... you are close to the end... It's really hard in these situation not to be tempted, especially if the abuse is so easy to perform

I agree that it's up to the player not to corrupt is own game experience but no way of cheating the game should be that easy.

At least that's my opinion :)


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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:31 pm 
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Master of Eyal

Joined: Wed Jul 24, 2002 9:26 pm
Posts: 10230
Location: Angolwen
Well how do you propose fixing that ? :)
Removing the save while playing is a big no, it would lead to lost saves in case of real crash/OS reboot/...

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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:40 am 
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Sher'Tul

Joined: Mon Nov 24, 2003 2:31 pm
Posts: 1252
Location: South Africa
I've thought about this problem a lot. And the only solution I've come up with is not all that practical. It is to make the game deterministic. So your save file is literally your random seed plus all your keypresses, and is appended after every keypress.

Most games probably doesn't last 1m keypresses, but loading the game could take very, very long.


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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:42 am 
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Low Yeek

Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:15 am
Posts: 5
I was thinking handling the issue only with online players. Would it be possible to detect when a player go back in time? like sending to the server some info about the player experience level. In that case we just have to fix a maximum of "going back in time" for each player (like 5 times) and assume that a player that seems to go back in time is a player who is cheating, and in that case prevent this character from playing online (no item vault, no achievement, no character vault).

the main issue would be to chose the right number of time it could happen ot handle those who really have their application crashing (but if the app crash more than 5 times for the same character we could assume we got a big stability issue)

Just to add to the "size" of the issue here, it's also possible to do the "kill process" thing just before opening some chest or some other random event...

edit : we could also just save the number of time a specific save point is used, if people load 5 time at the same point of the game it should seem odd..


Last edited by demerzel0 on Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:23 am 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:10 pm
Posts: 227
I think most people just don't really care too much that "we don't know if the players did the things properly" while playing the game. Why do you care so much about how other people are playing a single player game that you want to ban them from online goodies (which don't affect you) for 'misconduct'?

As far as the character vault goes, I think it's safe to assume that the vast majority of players don't engage in clandestine save-scumming, and so the occasional abuser hardly warrants deeming the entire player vault to be "kinda useless". For those players who achieve 'incredible' goals - beating insane for example - it's almost always clear from other types of information that they are legit, e.g. they are able to describe in detail the strategy employed, which you could then scrutinize for plausibility by trying it out for yourself if you don't believe them. But even if somebody does beat insane using a naked Yeek PM by abusing this tactic, why should we really care enough to 'punish' them? Really, if someone feels the need to cheat, hide their cheating, and then brag about their triumphs, they deserve more pity than scorn in my opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 10:57 am 
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Low Yeek

Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:15 am
Posts: 5
CaptainTrips wrote:
I think most people just don't really care too much that "we don't know if the players did the things properly" while playing the game. Why do you care so much about how other people are playing a single player game that you want to ban them from online goodies (which don't affect you) for 'misconduct'?

As far as the character vault goes, I think it's safe to assume that the vast majority of players don't engage in clandestine save-scumming, and so the occasional abuser hardly warrants deeming the entire player vault to be "kinda useless". For those players who achieve 'incredible' goals - beating insane for example - it's almost always clear from other types of information that they are legit, e.g. they are able to describe in detail the strategy employed, which you could then scrutinize for plausibility by trying it out for yourself if you don't believe them. But even if somebody does beat insane using a naked Yeek PM by abusing this tactic, why should we really care enough to 'punish' them? Really, if someone feels the need to cheat, hide their cheating, and then brag about their triumphs, they deserve more pity than scorn in my opinion.


Some people do care, I personnaly think it's it nice to study other players strategy, it's not about competition, it's about completion. But it's not really the point

Following this way of thinking we sould never care about means of abusing the game and never correct them. I don't agree.
I think that a lot of players are like me, they don't especially want to abuse some game mechanics but it's hard not to be tempted to when they are to easy to perform. In the end just about giving players a balanced and coherent gameplay with the minimum ways of lower the quality of their experience.


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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 11:33 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 1:41 pm
Posts: 128
The core problem is effort versus gain. A lot of those countermeasures seem like a lot of effort for minimal gain, and there's the issue of potentially screwing over honest players. Honestly, I'd rather not bother with paranoia about people cheating in this method. They're better served by playing in exploration mode anyway.

As for the whole issue of 'going back in time', I suppose you could use turn count or something like that. Really, turn count would be the only sane measure, considering some characters can literally time travel. But like I said, I dislike the thought of any countermeasures that might screw over honest players. I think ensuring a good play experience for those players is vastly more important than attempting to catch cheaters, to the point where I wouldn't even rank the latter at all. Just look at DRM for how anti-misbehavior countermeasures can alienate innocent players.

Besides, the game automatically saves if you die anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:47 pm 
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Archmage

Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 10:31 am
Posts: 394
darkgod wrote:
Well how do you propose fixing that ? :)
Removing the save while playing is a big no, it would lead to lost saves in case of real crash/OS reboot/...


Even if you remove the save while playing, one can play in a VM and snapshot the VM and use that as a save point.


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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:54 pm 
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Wyrmic

Joined: Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:10 pm
Posts: 227
demerzel0 wrote:
Some people do care, I personnaly think it's it nice to study other players strategy, it's not about competition, it's about completion. But it's not really the point

Following this way of thinking we sould never care about means of abusing the game and never correct them. I don't agree.
I think that a lot of players are like me, they don't especially want to abuse some game mechanics but it's hard not to be tempted to when they are to easy to perform. In the end just about giving players a balanced and coherent gameplay with the minimum ways of lower the quality of their experience.


Look, DG has made a conscious effort to minimize aspects of the game which are scummy, grindy, and boring; i.e. things that lower the quality of gaming experience. In addition to getting rid of loot runs, exp grinding, consumables, etc., he has even added several play modes specifically tailored to those who might otherwise have resorted to save-scumming, namely the Adventure and Exploration modes. This approach provides an incentive to players to choose these modes over save-scumming by 1) legitimizing multi-life playing by making it officially supported, 2) making the 'resurrection' easier and more natural by remaining in-game, and 3) still providing an external element of control via a set number of extra lives in Adventure mode. Having provided these incentives to avoid save-scumming, it cannot be DG's job to go even further and save people from themselves by introducing punishment for non-compliance, especially when such a policy might unduly punish innocents and will never be able to fully deter those determined to scum.

If none of that persuades you, maybe you could try making an addon that wipes your save on cmd + alt + esc. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Kill process / abuse
PostPosted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 10:13 am 
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Low Yeek

Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:15 am
Posts: 5
Just to be clear, I'm not complaining or asking for anything. I just wanted to point something that seems to be far from optimal from my point of view and that I thought I haven't seen reported on the forum yet.

I do think that loooooots of features or issues have higher priority than this one. I just don't like issues to be put aside just on principles or high moral standard so I gave some arguments supporting it.


Now I did my "job" and the team can do whatever they want with it, and if they think that solving this issue is too costly or would create more issues than it solves i'm totally cool with it.


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