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Game paused - The verdict.

Discussion in 'Civ4 - BTS Multi-Team Demogame' started by Rik Meleet, Nov 21, 2009.

  1. Rik Meleet

    Rik Meleet Top predator Retired Moderator

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    As you are all aware the game has been paused for some time now. The reason was talk of "impossible" RNG results. The game admin, the moderator-team and our contacts with the creators of the game at Firaxis performed an investigation. Here are the results:

    • While the results are unusual, there is no evidence that can prove cheating.
    • Restrictions on the accused player or team are not required.
    • To remove any future doubt on RNG results we're adding a few new rules:

      1 - The bulk of the turn must be played in one sitting, or at least in a way that moves more than one unit at a time.
      Getting out to discuss what to do next when battle does not go according to plan, is OK, in and out for each unit is not.

      2- Battles must be separated from other actions. Meaning: When you've started a battle, you must continue with doing battle and cannot do other things that may influence the RNG like diplomacy, hut popping, spying etc.
      Basically your turn becomes a three phased sequence -> pre combat phase - combat phase - post combat phase. Move your units into position and decide a battle order is the "pre combat phase". If you want to do scouting, city management, spy operations, diplomacy, hut popping etc. before battle, this is the time. The combat phase is the phase where all actions allowed are selecting a unit and attack an enemy unit. Get a result and select the next unit to attack the next enemy unit. Rinse and repeat till you do not want to do combat any more that turn. When ending this phase, no more battles are allowed. The post combat phase is where you do after battle movement, diplomacy etc.

      There is an exception; if you defeat an enemy unit (outside or inside a city) and want to attack another unit (outside or inside a city) that became available because you've won a battle, unit movement(s) for a combat-goal are allowed. Diplomacy, city management etc. are not allowed.
      .
    • We've installed a program that detects RNG tinkering. This is done not to accuse a player or a team, but to remove any grounds for future accusations. It will prevent a theoretical possibility to influence RNG-outcome to a certain degree.

    Please continue the game.
    Any discussions may take place in this thread, but no (more) accusations.
     
  2. AutomatedTeller

    AutomatedTeller Frequent poster

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    This seems reasonable. Clarification question:

    Can you a unit with multiple moves be left far away from a target? two scenarios come to mind:

    1) A stack is attacking another stack. There is a horseman 2 tiles away - can he move and attack?
    2) A team is defending against an invasion. After combat has started, can a rifle move 6 tiles on a rail and attack?

    I think the answer to these questions is yes, but I wanted to be sure.
     
  3. Krill

    Krill Chieftain

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    Comment on bolded part: sometimes you need to use workers, settlers and occasionally great people during what you would call the combat phase, for tactical reasons in the battle (ie roading and settling mainly), which could be planned prior to the battle, but the usage of the none combat units is dependent entirely on the outcome of a battle.

    Is the rule as described now stating that such a move is illegal?
     
  4. Rik Meleet

    Rik Meleet Top predator Retired Moderator

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    1) Sure, that is an "unexpected combat phase" for the defense.
    2) Sure, that is also an "unexpected combat phase" for the defense.

    The spirit of that rule is create a distinct "combat phase" instead of having many combat activities mixed up with RNG-altering activities. The spirit should be clear and firmly applied. In the reality of in-game happenings there should be no reason to refrain from incidentally moving units or even incidentally do a combat action as a response to a direct threat. This rule is not to limit your options in the game, but to minimize RNG-influences.

    Of course, in your planning (and playing) of the turn you should seperate pre-combat phase, (planned) combat phase, and post combat phase and stick to it.

    No, those worker actions or settler actions are combat-oriented and are not illegal. Even spy missions may be combat-oriented and not illegal during the combat-phase. As long as you've planned them before playing the turn to perform those actions in the combat phase. If planned as combat-activities they will not (illegally) influence the RNG, which is the goal of the rule(s).

    Just refrain from doing non-combat oriented worker, settler or spy, (or whichever unit I've forgotten) actions during your combat phase.
     
  5. Krill

    Krill Chieftain

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    Thanks for the clarifications there.
     
  6. slaze

    slaze Chieftain

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    Was this sort of thing happening?
     
  7. Rik Meleet

    Rik Meleet Top predator Retired Moderator

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    We have found no evidence that this happened.

    In our investigation we learned about theoretical ways someone can influence the RNG outcome. Most of the ways to do that require a very deep level of understanding both the cIV game and computer technology. It is unlikely that this has happened, but it is theoretically possible.
    The new rules and the RNG-tinkering-detection software that is installed on the server now are designed to eliminate the possibilities of RNG-tinkering and to detect it if it happens.
     
  8. Indiansmoke

    Indiansmoke Chieftain

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    Since new random seed on reload is not clicked for this game, do you have any way of knowing if someone loaded a save (by cracking admin password) played the battles and depending on results took it to real game?

    Not saying that Sancta used this method BTW.
     
  9. HUSch

    HUSch Secret-monger

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    You don’t need the admin PW, you can load every save.
     
  10. slaze

    slaze Chieftain

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    To reiterate IS, can it be detected that the game was saved?
     
  11. IamJohn

    IamJohn (was)?

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    If rng differences can be detected, then I don't think it's really an issue in any case, and you'd think that they were taking care of the easier solutions before tackling the hard ones.

    I'm content with their solution, it looks like they really tried their best to address every team's concerns, and put a significent amount of work into getting a much more foolproof method of detecting cheating.
     
  12. Indiansmoke

    Indiansmoke Chieftain

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    Of course... just asking out of curiosity for other multiplayer games.
     
  13. slaze

    slaze Chieftain

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    There's no mention of this. Only the loosely enforceable recommendation to perform the turn in one sitting (as there are countless reasons to break this rule). On the day in question, there was a log in and exit with the completion of the turn some 21 hours later. Also some diplomacy occured mid battle, something now stated as against the rules. It seems to me like all their effort was put towards detecting manipulation of the RNG, when, it seems as though one can produce desired results without such manipulation.

    Of course, this would be a clear violation of rule 1.5, although it appears that rule went largely neglected by some teams before it was put on the books.

    Is it possible is all I ask. I know everything's really hard to prove but is it possible?
     
  14. Memphus

    Memphus Chieftain

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    :salute:

    I will now walk away from this game.

    I sat through and patiently wait while the mods did thier investigation, on the legitimacy of SANCTA's (but me being the only turn player, my word).

    The Mods came to their conclusion, but it doesn't seem to be over. There is no point playing a game, when it starts to feel like a chore, and the other players continue to accuse you of being a cheater. As a professional I found the original accusion insulting , but undertood the reason for the due process to take place.

    I will log in to pause the game on SANCTA's turn while they find a new turn player.

    Congradulations Cav you just won the game. :clap:
     
  15. mwin

    mwin Chieftain

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    What is your point? Where were you when all investigation was happening? Why did you choose to go through Sulla, when you know that you are going accuse again, if you don't like the verdict?

     
  16. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    Several of us know the answer to this, but I for one don't like the idea of what some people might do with the answer. However it does not appear that any worse damage can be done at this point... :(

    Yes, it is possible to obtain an optimum result in that way, with the game settings we're currently playing with. In particular with preserve random seed and sequential turns.

    Both of the alternatives have their own problems. If simultaneous turns were used, then there could be abuse of turn order and it would be impossible to replay exactly if a crash recovery were necessary. New random seed allows someone to crash the pitboss on purpose if they get a result they don't like, and on the reload from autosave a new random number would guarantee a different result. There are enough network glitches to make either one a significant risk and difficult to detect.

    In the end, I think we should either trust and respect the people we play with, or leave it to those who prefer an honorable game. Personally I would need a reasonable expectation that proof was possible before even making an accusation, and if told there is no proof I would drop the matter, not keep picking at it until the accused gets annoyed and leaves.
     
  17. slaze

    slaze Chieftain

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    My question was the earlier one, was is possible to see if the game had been saved. To me, it was unclear if this avenue had been pursued. We got to sit back and wait three weeks and all that we see are the words at the top of this thread. This is the time for discussion. I want the details.
     
  18. Ronnie1

    Ronnie1 Chieftain

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    I did a test on a different pitboss game I'm playing in. I saved the game to my hard drive, tried to load the game without being connected, and got a screen asking for the "ADMIN PASSWORD", which I don't have. The game would not load without it, and defaulted to LAN set up screen I believe.

    I personally am not a "tech guy", I just play the games, but it seems to me that it would require a great level of sophistication, and LOTS OF TIME, to get any useful data out of a save that can not be opened without a password. I for one, am not that sophisticated, and have nowhere near that kind of time to waste. I personally believe that Memphus, like me, is way to busy to have spent that amount of time trying cheat at a flippin game. :(
     
  19. azzaman333

    azzaman333 meh

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    You're accusing Memphus of cheating a couple of days after the game has been unpaused because there was no evidence of cheating.

    You're just being petty, and destroying the game.
     
  20. slaze

    slaze Chieftain

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    So then he's lucky? It was all some good-natured luck?
     

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