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Old Mar 05, 2012, 10:41 AM   #1
m4stermel
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Civ5 Introduction to GMR (Giant Multiplayer Robot)

Ever tried to do an email game of hotseat in Civilization V? Not the easiest thing to put together or maintain. It takes lots of repetitive work, and gets even more complicated if someone decides to stop taking their turns. And standard multiplayer? Sure, it’s fun, but simultaneous turns makes it a different game, and it’s a hassle to have everyone online at once.

Well, we didn’t think this was cool, so we made a new service called Giant Multiplayer Robot. It’s a simple (and free!) way to play hotseat games over the internet, either with people you know or with complete strangers.

Here’s what we’ve got cooked up right now, with more features coming in the future:
  • Play hotseat games over the internet without exchanging emails or keeping track of whose turn is next
  • Login through Steam – no need for yet another online account
  • Browse public games to play with strangers or invite your friends to private games
  • Lock your turns from being messed with by setting an in-game password on our website. Want to change the password later? Your new password will instantly apply in every game you’re in
  • Desktop app that manages downloading and uploading your save files automatically (it’s also the only way to use the service for now, but we hope to make website-only an option later on)
  • A player can leave a game at any time. In your game, they’ll be turned into an AI player (in the future, you’ll be able to votekick players too, if someone’s really trying to ruin your game)
  • Notifications for when it’s your turn via our website, email, and/or the desktop app
  • Play in up to 10 games at once for free (our server can only handle so much – but if you help us out with our costs, we’ll let you play in as many games as you want!)

Update - June
  • Has support for Gods & Kings games
  • Now able to flag a game that has DLC enabled
  • Set a turn-timer for a game, giving each player a specified amount of time to take their turn, if they don't do it the AI will take their turn for them and the game will progress to the next player
  • Vacation mode for when you won't be able to play any of your turns for awhile, it just has the AI take over while you're gone

Anyway, if you want to give it a shot or find out more, we’re going beta right now! Just head to multiplayerrobot.com. If you run into any problems or have questions, feel free to contact us.

Last edited by m4stermel; Jun 28, 2012 at 12:01 PM.
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Old Mar 05, 2012, 10:18 PM   #2
Onan
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This sounds like it could be a great service.

No catch?
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Old Mar 05, 2012, 10:42 PM   #3
m4stermel
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Originally Posted by Onan View Post
This sounds like it could be a great service.

No catch?
It is a great service, and yep, no catch!

My friend and I wanted to be able to play these type of long-term, pbem CiV games and the more we got talking about it the more we thought a service to automate everything would be awesome!

So, the two of us being programmers, we decided to build it mostly for our own use, but also to share with the rest of the CiV community. To somewhat control demand and usage on our server we limit the total amount of games you can be in at once to 10, unless you'd like to help support us with a monetary donation, at which point you're welcome to juggle as many games as you'd like!
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 01:53 AM   #4
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I think if you don't have a lot of uptake, it's probably in part due to what's giving me pause: you're brand new posting in this community...and your app requires people to input their Steam password. Kind of a big leap there...
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 06:49 AM   #5
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Make sure to post this in the general forums as well. Several people do not play multiplayer and this might help to change that.

Like most websites that have you log in using your steam account, it takes you to a steam page to do so. They are up to 31 users at the moment.

Last edited by zubrin; Mar 06, 2012 at 06:54 AM.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 08:36 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Onan View Post
I think if you don't have a lot of uptake, it's probably in part due to what's giving me pause: you're brand new posting in this community...and your app requires people to input their Steam password. Kind of a big leap there...
Steam is an OpenID provider which enables 3rd party sites to log you in through steam, without giving away your password. Multiple sites use it. There might be a way to spoof it, but since I am getting linked through steam, it looks like that is not happening here.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 08:38 AM   #7
species.zero
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Hi! I'm the other developer of Giant Multiplayer Robot. We probably need to make this clearer on the website, but the Steam login is completely safe. We're compliant with Steam's third party login policies (found here)

The way it works is, when you click login, you go to steamcommunity.com and give your credentials directly to Steam. If you authenticate successfully, Steam basically communicates back to us saying "this guy's legit," and gives us your user ID. With that ID, we ask Steam for your public info (this is what we get and how we use it). In other words, you give your username and password to Steam directly, and we can never possibly get either.

Thanks for your concern, though! It helps us realize that it's probably a barrier for more people, so we should add something to the website to make the process more clear. I'll add a card onto our development board for it.

Last edited by species.zero; Mar 06, 2012 at 08:54 AM.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 08:51 AM   #8
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Aww, there goes our links
Hope they come back!
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 08:56 AM   #9
zubrin
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One thing that may make it seem less sketchy to people who are unsure is to have an "About us" page. You have done pretty well as keeping it free from ego and not trumping yourselves up, but if people tie it directly to some names and faces in the US (you all are from Utah?), then people are going to be less concerned about some Russian hacker group trying to steal their precious TF2 hats.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 09:35 AM   #10
m4stermel
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Thanks for the feedback and the support Zubrin! I can definitely understand people being cautious at trying out a new service like this, especially when they don't fully understand our relationship with Steam and how the OpenID authentication works. Like species.zero said we'll try to find a way to make that clearer on the website.

It us unfortunate that we haven't been involved in the CiV communities longer, I can understand how being a brand new user to a forum like this would seem sketchy. However I would classify both species.zero and I as "casual" CiV players (as can be seen on our Steam profile). If it weren't for a service like the one we've built we probably wouldn't be playing multiplayer CiV at all.

We do have a sort of About Us page, but like you said we haven't put much into it since we wanted the emphasis to be on the service. Given the feedback we've gotten so far I think that's something we could change.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 11:22 AM   #11
m4stermel
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Here's a great post explaining the Steam OpenID system and why it's safe to use with 3rd party sites like ours: http://whatthefrag.net/2011/10/steam-openid-explained/
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 02:54 PM   #12
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Is there any way to get the .exe without registering?
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 02:59 PM   #13
m4stermel
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Is there any way to get the .exe without registering?
Sure thing! You can download it here. Although you won't be able to use it really without entering an authentication code generated by signing into the website.

But if you just want to download it and see how it works and if it's safe then that link should work. Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck!
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 06:14 PM   #14
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That was enough for my purpose: https://www.virustotal.com/file/c90c...is/1331081620/

Your emails seem legit, the website itself is registered to one which is used here, the geolocation confirms Utah.

-> you have your links back.
Happy civving .
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 06:34 PM   #15
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Awesome news for the MP community!(waited a bit before satisfaction but now The J confirmed that it's a clean site)

Great job guys! I will definitively check this out when i will have some spare time. I like sim. turns, but i wonder how it is for non-sim turns

Does the first guy to move will ALWAYS move first? If it's the case he's certainly in good position every turn isn't it? Is it random for each turn(not the same guy start each turn)?
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 07:23 PM   #16
Onan
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Thanks for all the feedback, guys, and for checking it out for us, The_J.

I'm in the process of downloading and trying to join a game. Hadn't DLed the app yet, but when I was trying to pick a civ it didn't seem to be changing, just remained on other. So...will try again once the app is installed.

This looks like a service which basically takes the hotseat mode and enables it in a way that's a hassle free PBEM or, essentially, a Pitboss service. Very nice. These features might be implemented very shortly...but, knowing Firaxis, your work around might end up being useful/better even after they're released.

Tabarnak, I'm sure the turn order remains constant. It's not such a big deal as you think, not an advantage at all, really. Look at it this way: yes the game starts with the setup order for players turns, eg 1 2 3 4 5 6. But if you look at the sequence like this, 2 3 4 5 6 1...then player six moves before player 1. Shrug--everyone takes their turns separately here. There are no fast clicks. And on the opening turn, there won't be any enemy units near you anyway. Make sense?

I'll post about your service in a thread of players waiting to start a PBEM...see if we can get you some more traffic. I'm gonna join the Let's Play Civ game...and if that works I'll be 7 of 8. Get on in there, Tab.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 07:36 PM   #17
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Okay, so post DL I get the icon on the desktop, but launching it I get the error, GMR encountered a problem and needs to close. I tried re-running the setup program, but same error on launch. Then I removed the program and deleted the setup file, and re-downloaded, but clicking install takes me to the same error. No joy.

I'm running Windows XP, using IE 8. I never got to the point where I could put the authentication key in; and I'd logged in via Steam on the website first, before DLing the app.

Also: how will the system handle multiple games if the save (play this one) always has the same name?

I've sent at least three error reports via microsoft's system. The GMR app took longer than expected to DL / install the first time.

Last edited by Onan; Mar 06, 2012 at 07:47 PM.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 07:39 PM   #18
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I think I shall jump into this as well to test it out and to beat up on Onan.
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 07:41 PM   #19
The_J
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tabarnak View Post
Awesome news for the MP community!(waited a bit before satisfaction but now The J confirmed that it's a clean site)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Onan View Post
Thanks for all the feedback, guys, and for checking it out for us, The_J.
Thanks for your trust, but please don't trust me too much .
That was not really a big investigation, just checked everything which seemed reasonable to check, and the result looks good, but that doesn't make it to 100% save.
It can't be excluded that the program is not legit (...like also the mods and other programs available via CFC or other internet sites), so if you notice that there's something strange going on, then please report it, don't turn of your brain .

Else...I hope that this program is just what it says, and that it will help to improve Civ5 MP .
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Old Mar 06, 2012, 07:43 PM   #20
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I think I shall jump into this as well to test it out and to beat up on Onan.
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