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What stops Reloaders? - 5/21/2020 8:22:56 PM   
ElvisJJonesRambo


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Just notice you can reload games. If I remember correctly, year ago when I played, there was some indicator. Is there anyway to tell now?

Some serious fishy moves going on. Move my fleet multiple times in consecutive turns (and in different games), not once does opponents fleet "run into" one of my pieces. Flawless fleet attack. Okay, there are good players, that make good moves. But the real eye opener are where the opponents ships/subs stop. No frickin' way 2-away with no collisions on their turn. It there were no spotters.

Reloaders has happened in previous versions of SC, this doesn't surprise me. Want to say year ago, when I played version 1.02 (which was biased to Axis), had some message if the turn was reloaded. Is there now? I tested, it likes Online Poker, just disconnect, then reconnect.

< Message edited by ElvisJJonesRambo -- 5/21/2020 9:33:30 PM >
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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/21/2020 11:23:25 PM   
amandkm

 

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Not sure there. I think there's a leap of faith involved in playing someone, and if they are going to pull something like that, nothing stops you from quitting the game on them.

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/21/2020 11:57:08 PM   
ElvisJJonesRambo


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I'm thinking more along the technology side of things. I thought a server could tell how many times a player has loaded the game. Year ago, thought there was some indicator. When you see the turn is in italics & in the color, they are playing the turn or have at least loaded it. Don't know much about computers, but there's probably local data and database data. No idea. I've played what, nearly 45 games, I've had to reload couple times due to internet. I try to play the turn exactly like the first time. Wanna say I've see the word "reloaded" or something. Probably the '.dat' file for data. No idea.

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/22/2020 2:10:19 AM   
Dalwin

 

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I know some games do that, so it certainly is possible. I am not sure how it is here.

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/22/2020 9:28:46 AM   
BillRunacre

 

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Repeat offenders will find themselves being contacted by the publishers, as stats are recorded on the PBEM server. So my recommendation is not to do it as you will be found out.

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/22/2020 2:14:53 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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Just to add there is no way to effectively stop someone from disconnecting/killing the game and downloading the turn again, it's a built in feature that allows players to regain access to their games in progress in case they do have a connection issue or a power outage and so on.

However, as Bill mentioned all the stats for every upload/download is tracked for each game and for each player, and looking at some of the stats this morning there are definitely players that *appear* to abuse the system. We can't say for sure why players download more than they upload, but there are players that essentially have an equal number of downloads to uploads (fair use of the system), whereas there are some that have something more along the lines of a 70/30 ratio (which appears to be abuse).

Some for example, will have 3 separate downloads of a single turn about 5 minutes apart which doesn't look on the surface like a connection issue, but rather a download, game play, didn't like what happened after a few minutes, killed the game, downloaded again and so on.

As Bill mentioned, these players are tagged and warned by the system, but that aside, if you really do feel like someone is not playing above board, I guess you can ask them for clarification and in the end avoid games against them and play those that you feel/know to play more fairly and gentlemanly.



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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/22/2020 11:15:07 PM   
ElvisJJonesRambo


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Thanks for the response. Yeah, I'm cool. I've been around since the beginning. The Virus brought me back. Much as I wanna be Young Elvis, I'm leaning Old Elvis.

Even Rambo has run his race. Last year, went to "Rambo V: Last Blood". That movie could use a 'reload'. I'm embarrassed to tell ppl I even watched it. First 40 minutes had excellent story/plot; fell apart from there.

I've got those hup, two, three, four
Occupation G.I. Blues
From my G.I. hair to the heels of my G.I. shoes
And if I don't go stateside soon
I'm gonna blow my fuse





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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/27/2020 5:03:52 AM   
Dalwin

 

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Well, to say "there is no way" is not right at all actually.

The way to do it (and the way it was done in games like Grigsby's War Between the States) is that when the turn is loaded, a small change is saved to the file indicating that it has been loaded. If the turn is then interrupted and reloaded, that would get incremented a 2nd (or 3rd) time. This can then be tied to a message to the opponent when he opens his turn.

Yes connection issues can sometimes happen, but this system would flag anyone doing this with any regularity.

< Message edited by Dalwin -- 5/27/2020 5:04:20 AM >

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/27/2020 5:17:34 AM   
sapper32


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dalwin


Well, to say "there is no way" is not right at all actually.

The way to do it (and the way it was done in games like Grigsby's War Between the States) is that when the turn is loaded, a small change is saved to the file indicating that it has been loaded. If the turn is then interrupted and reloaded, that would get incremented a 2nd (or 3rd) time. This can then be tied to a message to the opponent when he opens his turn.

Yes connection issues can sometimes happen, but this system would flag anyone doing this with any regularity.

That seems like a good idea any indication that the turn has been reloaded would be informative, I had a turn freeze halfway through playing it, Had to reload but messaged my opponent explaining what happened

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/27/2020 5:18:59 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dalwin
Well, to say "there is no way" is not right at all actually.


Hi Dalwin,

Respectfully the question was "what stops reloaders" and unfortunately the answer remains that there is no effective way to stop it as it is a built in rescue feature of the PBEM++ server to allow players to presumably recover turns from a bad connection. Which also unfortunately does happen from time to time as we've seen in the past with PBEM++ server issue tech support threads and so on. Essentially since it is two way traffic, a bad connection can be sometimes on the server side, and sometimes on the player end. A game crash can also require a player to re-download a turn in order to complete it.

Long story short, if you take away the ability to re-download a turn then players will never be able to recover a lost turn due to a connection issue, thus the purposeful disconnect and re-download strategy that some players unfortunately take advantage of.

In our older games before using the PBEM++ server, we also included a re-load counter that would let players know how many times a turn had been reloaded. However, even here players were able to figure out a way around that by simply deleting the turn and reinstalling the original turn as received by their opponent via email.

We also considered hiding the reload data on the PC somewhere less obvious but determined players could also work around that by employing file change tracking software to eventually locate the file, or by using a hex editor to crack open the code and see exactly where the game executable was sending the data.

I'm not sure what PBEM method War Between the States uses, if it is email transfer or via the PBEM++ server, but if it is email transfer then it is something that can also be cheated as described above, and if it is via the PBEM++ server I would have to inquire further since as it works to my understanding right now reload data is not provided by the server and in our case it would have to be because otherwise it is also worked around if it is stored locally.

I can inquire to see if having reload/redownload data can be added as an accessible bit of data via the PBEM++ server, but even here, in the end it still doesn't stop anyone from downloading the turn multiple times and players will have to still decide between themselves whether a re-download was a legit one or not by their opponent.

I would think we also don't want to necessarily have anyone accused of being a cheat if they legitimately had connection issues and had to re-download a turn in order to player it through, e.g. due to a game error, an upload error and so on. This is also likely the reason why the re-download info is not passed from the server to games and why it is only statistically tracked on the server itself, e.g. for internal use and warnings etc.

Hope this helps,
Hubert

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/29/2020 2:13:17 AM   
Sparky0565

 

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One enjoyable but gamey tactic is to have neutral countries spot for you. Italian fleets while neutral can uncover Allied ships so the Germans can avoid them. Even better when the Japanese can use ships and carriers to spot while the are still neutral. I also like Maritime Bombers for spotting especially with air range and the naval mod!. I can see almost all the Pacific with a few maritime bombers! Germany and Italy only get 1 each. They are great for getting around ships in the Med and North sea. Even better for Arctic convoy due while protecting the subs.

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/29/2020 5:57:19 PM   
Dalwin

 

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The point is that the incrementation of the file is at the beginning of the turn. They don't get to do anything or even see anything unless the load process was completed, including incrementing the load counter. This in no way affects the recovery concept. If the initial load was interrupted, it would still be as it is now, no harm no foul. But if the load is completed, the counter is incremented.

It is fine to say that this is not how it is being done, but that is not the same as it cannot be done.

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/29/2020 6:20:56 PM   
Sparky0565

 

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How many players max Intel? As the Japanese I go for max every game. Japan can't afford to be sneak attacked.

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/29/2020 9:20:19 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dalwin

The point is that the incrementation of the file is at the beginning of the turn. They don't get to do anything or even see anything unless the load process was completed, including incrementing the load counter. This in no way affects the recovery concept. If the initial load was interrupted, it would still be as it is now, no harm no foul. But if the load is completed, the counter is incremented.

It is fine to say that this is not how it is being done, but that is not the same as it cannot be done.


The way the PBEM++ server process works is that you connect to the server to download the turn, and then you are no longer connected. The only time you connect again is to upload the completed turn after that, or to refresh the lobby list of games etc. There is no persistent connection or communication with the server outside of those two events when it comes to game turns.

So incrementing a counter at the beginning of a turn after the download process is completed is unfortunately pointless as no dynamic data is stored locally when you play PBEM++. Game turns are loaded into game memory and then the game loads the turn to play. Not storing any dynamic data on your hard drive prevents game file editing/hacking.

Thus in technical terms, a game crash, a failed upload, or a player purposefully killing the game executable are indistinguishable and why it still remains no way that I know of to prevent a player from reloading a turn. Don't get me wrong, if there was a way, not only myself, but all the developers published by Matrix as well as the Matrix PBEM++ server team would love to hear it.

As mentioned, it is theoretically possible to have the number of turn downloads reported to players as this data is tracked on the server, it can persist there as dynamic data is stored there, e.g. game files as well as server data such as downloads/uploads etc., it is just that at the moment that data is not passed to the game in any of the available calls that we as developers currently have access to regarding the PBEM++ server.

Hope this helps to clarify this a bit further,
Hubert



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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 5/30/2020 3:09:35 AM   
ElvisJJonesRambo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Sparky0565

How many players max Intel? As the Japanese I go for max every game. Japan can't afford to be sneak attacked.


@Sparks - Your game is solid, one of the highest ranked in the world. That polished Cookie Cutter, is focused & gets the job done. Being gamey with Chit selling, Diplo pressure, Techno use, Maritime use while executing a proper grand strategy is the name of the game. Over the years, there's just some machines who master the game. SC-1 (Terif), SC-2 (DragonFire), SC-WaW (HamburgerHill). The Grandmasters got every piece on the board accounted for, they're like IBM-Big Blue playing Chessmaster 5000 software.

We're talking Reloaders.

Speaking of loading games, just got a turn in, 1 of my current 10 :) Thanks C19 & Hubert, something good came outta this timeout in life.

-Legend


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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 6/2/2020 11:55:53 AM   
Sparky0565

 

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Elvis, you should play Jackmck. He has a great allied strategy, especially for Russia. I need to use his strategy as my Russia attack versus him does not like it will be successful.

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 6/2/2020 12:36:21 PM   
ElvisJJonesRambo


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Sparks, looking at my record as Allied in the default 1939 game, I'm 17-4. Two of my losses I got SeaLion'ed (HamburgerBun & Argentum). The other two, against you, got slaughtered at Midway by you, I panicked early. The Naval Mod, I'm 0-1, not concerned about that.

Maybe we're do for a mirrored game?

< Message edited by ElvisJJonesRambo -- 6/2/2020 12:42:58 PM >

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 6/2/2020 12:53:40 PM   
Sparky0565

 

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Sure. I need to vastly improve my allied play. I am working on the new Russian research and defense. My Russian defense is weaksauce.

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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 6/4/2020 7:25:41 PM   
The Land

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Hubert Cater

Just to add there is no way to effectively stop someone from disconnecting/killing the game and downloading the turn again, it's a built in feature that allows players to regain access to their games in progress in case they do have a connection issue or a power outage and so on.

However, as Bill mentioned all the stats for every upload/download is tracked for each game and for each player, and looking at some of the stats this morning there are definitely players that *appear* to abuse the system. We can't say for sure why players download more than they upload, but there are players that essentially have an equal number of downloads to uploads (fair use of the system), whereas there are some that have something more along the lines of a 70/30 ratio (which appears to be abuse).

Some for example, will have 3 separate downloads of a single turn about 5 minutes apart which doesn't look on the surface like a connection issue, but rather a download, game play, didn't like what happened after a few minutes, killed the game, downloaded again and so on.

As Bill mentioned, these players are tagged and warned by the system, but that aside, if you really do feel like someone is not playing above board, I guess you can ask them for clarification and in the end avoid games against them and play those that you feel/know to play more fairly and gentlemanly.




Would it be possible to make the fact this is logged more transparent to the player?

As it happens I had a power cut just as I was finishing a War in Europe turn last night. So obviously I had to redo the turn.

However the game could have showed me that my average number of downloads per turn had gone up from 1.003 to 1.005 in all time and 1.000 to 1.100 in the last fortnight.

That that would discourage cheat-reloading, just by presenting information that's already been gathered, and without any significant cost to people who are using the turn recovery system for its intended purpose.

Some further steps could be - prompting people to enter a reason why I had downloaded a turn twice or more, and/or making the number of downloads per turn available to other players.


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RE: What stops Reloaders? - 6/5/2020 2:12:52 PM   
Hubert Cater

 

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Thanks The Land and the honest answer here is I don't really know if this will ever be possible since unfortunately I don't have control over this part of the server. As developers we have access to a limited set of calls and access to the server statistics when I view the server directly through an access portal, but currently we don't have any way to present this kind of info to players via the in game server calls.



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