Talk:Bot

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Discussion

This article seems to imply that bots are not cheating. Well, I'm not all that skilled at HTML programing, but I know enough to see that it would be insanely easy to make page that caused whatever character you were logged in as to attack the barricades multiple times in rapid succession. Yet zombie players apparently haven't done this, and I'm sure it would be frowned on- I'm hesitent even to discuss it here because it will probably make me look bad, but truth is I don;t know enough to really abuse this idea.
I can see that it would only be slightly harder to add an "?in" after every attack, so the character would enter the building and continue attacks on the cades from inside.
Now, how hard would it be to set it up so this file opened at a specific time? What if a couple dozen zombie players at one mall all set their comps to open that file at one time? What if it was a smarter script (like Sentinel's) that could see conditions around it, know it was inside a mall, and make attacks?
Point being, why is there a mall defense bot, but no mall ATTACK bot, when all zombies really need to take down a mall is split second synchronized timing and very fast command entry- both things bots do very well, and humans do very badly? Is it just due to moral integrity?
--Swiers X:00 22:24, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
You're only assuming that bot use is more prevalent in the survivor community than amongst zombies. Zombie anonymity makes it harder to get evidence of cheating, so it's hard to compare the two -- boxy T L ZS Nuts2U DA 22:41, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
Maybe, but given the relative ease and large payback, you'd think news of zombie-bot use would spread quickly- the evidence would come from the community, not from in game behavior of characters.
There's also the simple fact that survivors outnumber humans 2-1, and probably its 3-1 when you count survivor players (some of whom will have un-willingly been zombified) vs zombie players. So its not a value judgement to say there would be 3 times as many (and more talented & sophisticated) cheaters playing as survivors; its just simple math, like saying most UD cheaters are male, because most PLAYERS are male. --Swiers X:00 23:52, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
"Is it just due to moral integrity?" you said. Just simple math, eh?
Na, I got the message, and I'm getting a bit sick of it too. Whenever a survivor stronghold manages to put up a fight, it's bots this, and zergers that, bah. I've been zerged by zombies, I've seen zerging survivors... deal with it, we're all players, neither side morally superior (seeing as most play both sides at one time or another). There are arseholes in both camps -- boxy T L ZS Nuts2U DA 01:06, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Heh- well, yes, I thought maybe it was moral integrity, and then thought again. Sometimes it helps to talk those things out. --Swiers X:00 03:22, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Distinctions

I think there's a big difference between a bot that performs in-game actions (barricade, attack, rise, heal, etc) and one that collects meta-gaming information from the game interface, yet they're all lumped in together in the article at the moment. Gaining yourself auto-attack capabilities is, IMO, cheating. Auto-harvesting info, not really. There seems to be no limitation placed on what info you can save from the game The preceding signed comment was added by boxy (talkcontribs) at 15:29 6 September 2007 (BST)

In fact I don't think the Rouges Gallery is a bot at all, neither are bookmarklets or iwitness (from what little I know of it). DEMON... well maybe, but a very different one to sentinel bots and the like The preceding signed comment was added by boxy (talkcontribs) at 15:39 6 September 2007 (BST)
Think of it like an alt-less sentinel(not the barricade bot but the zerg concept). --Karekmaps?! 16:04, 6 September 2007 (BST)
I tend to agree with Boxy. When I originally lumped them all in one section, it was partly with the aim of showing there was a broad spectrum of behaviors that all fell under the definition given for "bot" at the top of the page, and that some of those are quite well accepted game behaviors. I didn't then have the experience or inclination to make separations, though I expected it would be obvious that not all bots were of the same class. After some reflection, I still consider "info bots" and "action bots" both to be bots, and I'd argue that while in different classes, one can be just as bad as the other. As to classifying them, it seems that bots seen so fare exhibit (or lack) some (but almost never all) of the following characteristics:
  1. Performing in Game Actions - this can range from simple repetition of a given action (eg the bookmarklet that repeats a single action blindly at a set interval) to sophisticated conditional behavior (eg Sentinel). This is probably the function people think of most when they say "bot", but the page definition allows many others.
  2. Perceiving the Environment - bots that gather data for any purpose fall in this category. That would include the DEMON autoscouter and Iwitness, but would also include Sentinal. It would NOT include blindly acting bots like the bookmarklets. These bot functions are probably the most widely used.
  3. Conditional Response to Game and Other Data - this includes Sentinel (as it looks at the game and reacts to it) but also includes UDtool, as UD tool colorizes names based on its perception of the game screen. DEMON does the same, by condensing information onto a map. Iwitness so far does almost no processing / augmenting of information, leaving that almost entirely up to humans. It seems that you can't have this feature without the previous one, although UDtool's character colorization comes close, in that (in itself) it entails no data collection or sharing- that part comes largely through human effort.
  4. Augmenting Human in Game Action - the bookmarklets primarily do this (by multiplying a few clicks into many actions). UDtoolbar also does it (by providing a "repeat attack" button that is faster than the standard attack method), and certain atack methods that doen't involve any code (such as playing in several open windows at once) would also qualify. Clearly Sentinel also does this, as a short set up can result in large amounts of game action. Bug exploits (such as zombie shooting) might also fall in this category. UDtool might also be considered to have this capacity, as it aids and speeds up your judgements, or even provides info to act on you would otherwise not have, this augmenting human in-game action by making it faster and more effective. UDwidget has a similar capcity in its "expand profiles" tool; this is a capacity that humans already have, but which UDwidget makes much faster and with some processing of the resulting data. A simple high speed connection vs dial up is also a feature in this category, though few would go so far as to call a highspeed connection a bot in itself.
  5. Augmenting Human Metagame Capability - this is the forte of DEMON (and RG / RRT), Iwitness, and UDtool. It is also the one area that Sentinel hardly treads (its metagme boost is limited to people knowing the are protected by the bot). By the definition given on the page, tools with this effect feature are (at least potentially) bots, and I'd argue that a bot that treads to heavily and powerfully in this area is just as damaging to the game as other types.
Note that, in themselves, none of these behaviors is clearly objectionable- some are obviously beneficial to the game, in that they make it more fun to play for most people, and don;t ruin the fun of the rest. However, certain combinations of them (especially 1 with 2 and 3) are almost sure to be objectionable, as they probably can decrease fun for other players. 4 in and of itself seems equally objectionable if taken to extremes, but for some reason is rarely considered bot use.
Perhaps these features could be used to classify bots. Its is less obvious than classing them by intended purpose, but also seems less prone to false judgement based on personal opinion or "pigeonholing". SIM Core Map.png Swiers 22:31, 6 September 2007 (BST)
Look, as far as I'm concerned, a bot is something that takes makes an in-game action for a player while the person controlling the account being used is not supervising (a big no-no IMO, and presumably against the rules seeing as Kevan has banned examples he has found in the past). Then you have things like firefox extensions that make actions easier, but is not autonomous (the player selects the in-game action to take), which isn't a bot, but rather a... well something... game interface tool? And then there are meta-gaming tools like the Rouges Gallery, Iwitness, DEMON, that are used to collect info from the game, but don't take any in-game actions, just read the page, or provide info that others have supplied. All are open to abuse, but I do think they should be on different pages The preceding signed comment was added by boxy (talkcontribs) at 16:35 7 September 2007 (BST)
Well, that's your own definition of "bot" - a good one for many purposes, and likely the one that most people have in mind. Its just not the one historically given on the page. I'm fine with that definition being changed (or, as currently, given and then expanded on) if a decent level of cross referencing to related issues is maintained. The concerns raised by bots-that-act-in-game and other code tools that don't act in game are similar, as are the technologies involved, so personally I think its simpler to have it all on one page. Why is it really so important to make a distinction as to bots that perform in game actions without human guidance vs scripts that do other game related tasks for the user? If all are detailed in the same place, I think it actually helps highlight what might make them abusable, whatever the specifics of their function is. SIM Core Map.png Swiers 05:12, 9 September 2007 (BST)
It is the one historically used on the page, until you added all the others. I'm moving them out to a page like Intelligence Gathering Programs unless someone else can come up with a better title (I know that one sucks pretty hard) -- boxytalk • 03:38 28 September 2007 (BST)
It was me who put the second definition on there. If it's not good or could be improved, do feel free to change it. --Toejam 12:32, 28 September 2007 (BST)
As I see it, from day one the initial defining text on the page was '"Bots are automated scripts that are designed to perform specific actions on behalf of a user. In the context of the Urban Dead community, bots are typically scripts that perform repetitive actions that would normally require a human player to spend considerable time logged into the games." Every example I have added follows that definition. Intelligence gathering / sharing is a labor intensive task that often requires you to be logged in for longer periods than normal; a tool that automates those posts will thus "perform repetitive actions that would normally require a human player to spend considerable time logged into the games." Hence, it is by this pages definition, a bot. The main "problem" seems to be that "bot" is typically seen as a special sort of automation that only operates in game, while the page's definition and examples go beyond that. As a solution, why not just change the page name to "Automation", and then redirect (or perhaps just reference) "Bot" & "Bots" to the "Automation" page? Again, its not like there is an info overload on the subject; this isn't the suggestions page! SIM Core Map.png Swiers 15:38, 28 September 2007 (BST)
"designed to perform specific actions on behalf of a user", that's the defining part of the statement, and the actions it refers to are in-game actions... things that cost AP. A bot is something that plays the game for you when you cant! That is the context that it has always been used in, that is the context that the vast majority of links to the page will be. No, the page wont be renamed, when people link to a "bot" page, they want a page that explains what bots are... the ones that Kevan has banned... not a page listing all the software/extension/metagaming time saving devices for people who play the game themselves. A bot is a roBOT, a machine that plays the game automatically, without the need for human control. Find somewhere else to promote Iwitness -- boxytalk • 00:02 29 September 2007 (BST)
I don;t see why you read more than "designed to perform specific actions on behalf of a user." The author of that phrase could have made it "designed to perform specific actions withing the game", but did not. As for promotion- if you check the history, you'll clearly see that I added DEM's tools to the page long before Iwitness- am I promoting them? Is questioning the potential abuses of Iwitness and similar programs (DEMON, red rum scouter) a promotion technique? If anything, I'd think it would STOP people from using it, and hope it would stop / reveal abusive uses. If its not "botting" why do people get so up in arms about DEMON, for example?
Without the subjects I added, this page is essentially about Sentinel. It has zero other specific examples. "General Scripting" is pointless as an example- those who can code would do it in thier own language, those who can't it just confuses. Under the definition "plays the game for you when you can't", none of the bookmarklets would really qualify; they require pretty active human direction to run for any length of time over a few minutes. So should this page ONLY have Sentinel (which few people have ever seen the code for- I know I haven't) as an example? Call me strange, but I think a broader base of information provides a better service to the community. Sure, the majority of the (very few) links to this page may refer to bots that perform action in the game, but that doesn't mean the page shouldn't educate people about the in-game impact of programs that perform game related actions in general, does it?
Your right, this page probably shouldn't be about random user tools, but its clear that many people DO consider certain programs (such as DEMON) to be suspect in the edge they provide to players, and there should be SOME place to provide information on / discuss the ethics of / post the common community opinions given on such things. SIM Core Map.png Swiers 02:14, 29 September 2007 (BST)

Change

OK, here's what I'm proposing. A higher level page, probably called Helper Programs and Sites or something similar (it's hard to get a short, yet inclusive pagename), containing the following list of different types of... programs, sites, shortcuts, etc...

  • Bots - automated scripts that perform actions autonomously with the game.
  • Bookmarklets - use javascript shortcuts to perform simple in-game actions more "conveniently" than through the game interface, yet still fully controlled by the player.
  • Actions via "question marks" - uses URL shortcuts to perform simple in game actions, as above.
  • Intelligence Gathering Programs - that gather information automatically from the game as the game is played.
  • Metagaming Sites - websites set up to collate information provided by many players.

It's basically a list of the different types of technological ways that players use to "augment" their gameplay... some of it cheating, some not, and a lot inbetween -- boxytalk • 08:49 29 September 2007 (BST)

Sounds good to me. The higher level page would seem a good place for discussion on the potential impact of metagaming & helper tech in general, or to link to other pages that do so. As long as you are at it, you might want to toss in a category for maps. Although very basic, these were the first game helpers to appear, and still probably the most effective. I'd probably broaden "intellegence gathering programs" to include ones that compile and track manually entered info as well. For example, the Revive Request Tool mostly uses human entered data, although it also provides machine generated updates on the status of those who make requests, automatically removing them when they get revived. SIM Core Map.png Swiers 17:09, 29 September 2007 (BST)
Well I made a start, I included the revive tool and rogues gallery in both the Intelligence Sharing Programs and Metagaming Sites pages, as they cross over between being automated, and having human input. Maps are also in the metagaming section -- boxytalk • 14:47 30 September 2007 (BST)
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