Maulet
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Question for pbem WoN

Mon Nov 09, 2015 10:06 pm

hello,

Usually I play field of glory with "pbem slitherine servers". This way is clear and fast, you don't need to use dropbox, upload or download files, etc. It could be possible to use this method/servers with pbem in this new game?

thanks!

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Emx77
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Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:05 pm

PBEM via Slitherine servers would be excellent additional feature for all Ageod games. However, I think that developers explained somewhere it couldn't be implemented. IIRC, main reason is WE-GO nature of game engine.

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Pocus
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Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:05 am

Indeed, the Slitherine system works with UGO-IGO for now. Hopefully it will be improved in the future. :)
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Michael T
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Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:29 pm

What I don't understand is that there are a many wego games (WITP, CM etc) that have completely secure PBem systems. In fact WEGO is easier to make cheat proof than IGO/UGO.

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Pocus
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:51 am

There is no 'completely secure' system, this is impossible. As soon as you have 2 computers, you can use one to load and take some peeks at what you should not see, and doing your true turn on your main computer. So for a very significant portion of players (anyone having access to 2 computers), cheating in PBEM is trivial, if you are into that.

Except if the game is really built, fully on a client/server model, where what you get in your turn is only what you can get legitimately, but this is quite an extra work to build your game engine as such.
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Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

bob.
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:08 pm

You can by the way rather easily make a "do-it-yourself PBEM server" if you use Dropbox.

All you have to do is put the whole folder of a PBEM game into your Dropbox and use mklink to make a Symbolic link between the Dropbox folder and your AGEOD game folder.
Now you just play the game and you don't even have to copy and paste your files anymore.

Michael T
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Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:43 pm

All that is done is player A submits T1 orders and sends file to B, player B submits T1 orders and resolves the move but does not see the results of T1, player B sends T1 results file to A, Player A replays the T1 turn and submits T2 orders and so on, as long as the files are password encrypted then its a very secure system, not impossible to beat but certainly secure for 99% of people. And used by numerous WEGO games.

With all due respect Pocus, you seem ignorant of this method. It is a proven system.

The current AGEOD PBEM system is about the most cheat prone method I have encountered.

Drake001
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 12:31 am

So player A has the password necessary to see the results?

Could player B still run player A's turn on another computer first to see what happened and then submit the file to the main computer before sending the results onto A?

Michael T
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:28 am

But B does not see the results. So what point of running it again? The thing is B never see's the result of T1 until A has submitted T2 to him. The crux of the matter is that neither player is able to see the result of his move until his opponent has submitted his next move. Works fine as long as your password is secure.

This method is the standard WEGO PBEM system. The only way to beat it is to hack the opponents password. Which is not possible for most players.

Drake001
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 5:42 am

You need to learn how to play along, heh. More flies with honey kinda thing.

So, even if player B ran the turn on an alternate computer, it would not help him because the results of the turn are not known until he sends the file to player A, who has the password to unlock it?

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Pocus
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:52 am

That's not good because you can only play with one other player... If a method can't apply to n players, that's a problem. The best solution is to have an arbiter and send him the files, as the host don't play, he will not cheat. Others games have setup automated hosting to act as the host, you can probably find that on Dominions and the lama server, if memory serves. Stars! in its time also had automated servers, might still be up.

Again, we wanted to have MP for more than 2 people. PON had PBEM of 16 people. EAW have 3 sides, AJE have between 2 and 4 sides per scenarios.
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Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

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loki100
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 9:07 am

Michael T wrote:But B does not see the results. So what point of running it again? The thing is B never see's the result of T1 until A has submitted T2 to him. The crux of the matter is that neither player is able to see the result of his move until his opponent has submitted his next move. Works fine as long as your password is secure.

This method is the standard WEGO PBEM system. The only way to beat it is to hack the opponents password. Which is not possible for most players.


why are you so obsessed with cheating? The PBEM community for AGEOD games is relatively small and I've only heard of one instance in quite a few years where someone was suspicious.

There are three really simple solutions. Only play with people you trust - or make the more pragmatic decision to trust everyone you play with (my personal preference). Most people swap hosting around from game to game anyway. You can do the trick with double turns and swap hosting as the game goes on. Or ask a third party to host the game for you?

They all work, I prefer my version of the first but there we are.
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Michael T
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Sun Nov 15, 2015 10:01 am

You could also set up a server for multi-player. All players submit there move to the server and the 'server' resolves the move.

@Loki once you have been cheated it kind of brings the 'anti-cheat' thing to the forefront of one's mind. I am not obsessed with it. My method now is that I only play games that have weak cheat protection with trusted players. But I like to play many people, so when I play 'unknown' or 'random' players I stick with secure systems.

Looks like WON will be a strictly 'friends only' type game for me.

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Pocus
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Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:51 am

No, just find a non playing host and give him back the courtesy, when he plays to be his host for his game.
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Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

Michael T
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Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:54 pm

Ok even with a host is there anything to stop a player 'looking' at opponents units simply by resolving the move on his own machine? So I am now asking is an opponents side protected by a password?

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loki100
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Tue Nov 17, 2015 12:04 pm

Michael T wrote:Ok even with a host is there anything to stop a player 'looking' at opponents units simply by resolving the move on his own machine? So I am now asking is an opponents side protected by a password?


I realise I am probably wasting my time, but try to think about how many player AGEOD games work. WoN is going to have some attributes of Pride of Nations - a long campaign game and the possibility of up to 7 players - so I'll try and explain it from my experience of PoN.

Generally with long game it matters to keep the game moving so if one player is going to be away for a couple of weeks and their state is basically at peace, the convention was to do one of two things. First, obviously, no one attacks them. Second, to stop the game reverting control to the AI, fake orders were submitted (in effect the orders were blank but there was a need for an order file from that country). Second problem, is that players drop out - sometimes time pressures, sometimes in a huff because they are losing. In the current system the country can be reverted to the AI and if another player wants to join later it can be returned to human control.

Third problem, more general. As with WiTE, a lot of AGEOD games feature situations were a fundamentally weak side is dominant early game (such as France in the French and Indian wars) or Prussia in Rise of Prussia. Unfortunately, as in WiTE players who take this side sometimes give up when the balance of the game shifts (and I have had 2 WiTE PBEMs end on T80 ... you'll know exactly what this means). Now the current system at least allows the player who has been the weaker side to that point to revert to the AI and carry on.

Fourth problem, idea testing. Sometimes when playing the AI you may want to rerun a turn. Not to 'cheat' but to test something - stances, force organisation etc ... or try multiple branching paths from a key point. All part of gaining both tactical competence and a strategic overview. You may even want to use an old PBEM game as the base for this.

Your proposal/desire cuts across all this flexibility. Which is why I am left wondering why you are so obsessed. Yes security in the AGE game system is weak, its designed to allow a wide range of play styles and flexibility. AFAIK instances of suspected cheating are vanishingly rare. In the main because in the AGE game system, the true pleasure of PBEM is outwitting your opponent (or stumbling into a trap).
AJE The Hero, The Traitor and The Barbarian
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Baris
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Tue Nov 17, 2015 1:22 pm

I usually play with one opponent (not trust issue, mainly for quick turns and veteran in AGE engine) for several AGEOD games and enjoy testing scenarious and balance even some games I play older it feels like ‘continuous beta testing’. There are many qualified opponents in forum and I don’t think cheating would be a problem.

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Pocus
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Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:12 pm

Michael T. has a point. I still had my mind set on the older files scheme where the player never had the HST file, only a subpart of it, named the TRN file. Since CW2, to speed up turn processing, the HST is given to everyone. Because doing so will only bother a small part of a small part of the Ageod players, i.e the people doing PBEM with others people they don't trust entirely. Versus global speed up of all turns for everyone, I had to choose.

So indeed, since CW2, Ageod games PBEM demands you fully trust your opponents.
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Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's law."

Michael T
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Thu Nov 19, 2015 2:41 am

Thanks for your take on it loki and Pocus. I now have a handle on exactly how WoN will work PBEM wise.

I have played (or tried to play at least) Matrix EIA. So I know full well the trials and tribulations of getting 7 reliable players to continue with the game at a reasonable pace.

I have 3 trusted friends who I would play WoN with and no need for an independent host.

If I were to venture in to playing with 6 other ‘unknown’ or ‘random’ players (and at this stage I probably would not do that) having the move resolved on an independent host would solve most issues.

As for someone peaking at other players units before plotting their turn, well I would just have to assume that there is no FOW.

@Loki you and I won’t ever see eye to eye on any issue I think. I play for different reasons to you.

Maybe you have never been cheated, maybe you have but just don’t realize it. Maybe you don’t care. It’s not my concern. But I have been cheated on more than one occasion. And I despise it. Spending hundreds of hours on a campaign game and realizing you have been cheated is not my idea of fun. I will always advocate for anti-cheat protection methods whether you like it or not. You may recall I dedicated a lot of time and effort routing out fuel exploits in WITE.

I tend to play pretty well whatever game I put my mind to. I win a lot. So that makes me a target for some people. Some of those people will stoop to low things just to ‘knock me off’ so to speak.

This is why I rate security in PBEM so highly. I like the matrix server system for PBEM. It’s not perfect but its heading in the right direction.

For me, if AGEOD had their own server that would host the game and only allow players to download/upload their own move file that would be perfect. And a service I would gladly pay a fee for.

Meanwhile I will observe what happens with WoN. Maybe it will become what Matrix EIA promised to be but never delivered, security issues aside.

Next project for me is DC3 via PBEM++ Server.

See ya.

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