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Mickey
08-23-2005, 03:11 AM
As part of our ongoing effort to thwart people that use scripts to automatically collect jewels, we've changed the way you collect jewels.

You still use the jewel collecting KML file (http://www.googleearthhacks.com/war/resource_jewels.php) and fly to the city that it tells you to fly to.

When you get there and zoom in, it will still say "YOU FOUND A JEWEL". However, you have not yet been credited with the jewel. You found it, but now you have to pick it up.

To start, click on the jewel to view it's description. It's often easier just to click on the "YOU FOUND A JEWEL" text in your "My Places" area.

Once the description pops up, it will say "Congratulations! You have found a jewel. Would you like to take it?". Click the word "yes" below that. This will open a web browser, where it will ask you to perform a simple image verification. At the point, the jewel is yours and you can go get the next one.

After (if?) we determine that this system is more or less script-proof, we'll likely raise the jewel-to-Geo conversion rate, but we'll see.

You all have been very good about letting me know about your jewel hunting scripts and helping me to block them. Feel free continue to try to exploit the system, but continue to tell me about it when you're successful.

aravan
08-23-2005, 03:14 AM
I just tried to enter my verification key but I came back with an error saying the string was invalid.

Mickey
08-23-2005, 03:17 AM
The string is case-sensitive. Also, if you get it wrong, you need to refresh the page that shows the string so you get the newest version of it.

aravan
08-23-2005, 03:22 AM
I've tried a couple of different times. Even logged off and started again and got the same error message. Pretty sure my strings were the same as what was on the screen. Any other thoughts???


Sorry. I spoke to soon. Works perfectly. Excellent game. Alot like Risk...

cheakerdoodels
08-23-2005, 03:36 AM
So we have to do this after every single jewel. Can't you make it like every ten or something.

Actually if you can avoid it I really don't like this whole thing at all. Isn't there any way to do it without changing the current meathod of collecting jewels

birq
08-23-2005, 03:45 AM
I'm all for this as long as you proceed with raising the value of jewels. If it's going to be a beating to collect them, I would expect to get more than G0.45 each.

It's a good move to help keep the script kiddies in check, though.

Mickey
08-23-2005, 03:52 AM
Sorry. I spoke to soon. Works perfectly. Excellent game. Alot like Risk...
Glad you got it figured out. What was the problem? I'd like to know so I can better help people if this comes up again.


So we have to do this after every single jewel. Can't you make it like every ten or something.
I think the increased rate (coming soon) will make up for it.


I'm all for this as long as you proceed with raising the value of jewels. If it's going to be a beating to collect them, I would expect to get more than G0.45 each.
I'm going to wait until at least tomorrow, but I promise to raise the rate soon. What would be a good value - double (.9)?

aravan
08-23-2005, 03:56 AM
I had some trouble with the refresh. I still have to refresh each time before entering the new code but then it works. I think .9 is a good number...

Is there a way to grandfather everyone in. Just to prevent those who were hoarding jewels to overly benefit from the change???

birq
08-23-2005, 03:57 AM
What would be a good value - double (.9)?

45 each (1000x)? Maybe that's a bit much... .9 seems low, but I guess double is better than nothing.

SnakeMan
08-23-2005, 04:00 AM
This is not good, if u know who's taking advantage of any bug using macros, scripts, etc. just take his IP and ban him/her. Simple... because others who just play for fun without any script get inside this. Just Mickey make new rules, like in any forum or game.

Here's some examples:

Things you should never do

1. Never take advantage of a bug in the game. (report the bug as soon as possible)

2.Do not train AFK (away from console) or like automatic scripts...

3.Attacking and killing other players is allowed, but can trigger a ban if done excessively. Avoid fighting characters that are much weaker than your character. (U know who's talking about)... And yes, it's a war game but since i watched some citys being nuked, u can make a new script, some of the nukes works, and others dont. Cool idea...

Cya all...!

Snaky.

Mickey
08-23-2005, 04:41 AM
This is not good, if u know who's taking advantage of any bug using macros, scripts, etc. just take his IP and ban him/her. Simple... because others who just play for fun without any script get inside this. Just Mickey make new rules, like in any forum or game.
Tracking those people and finding out who it is would take a lot of my time, as well as a lot of server resources. Those resources and time could be better spent making improvements to the game. With the right script, it would be very hard, if not impossible, to tell who was getting jewels using a script and who was doing it the right way. If it's that hard to tell, wouldn't it bad to ban someone that simply was putting in a ton of time on the game?


1. Never take advantage of a bug in the game. (report the bug as soon as possible)
Agreed


2.Do not train AFK (away from console) or like automatic scripts...
Agreed. However, I'm somewhat encouraging that for now, so we can keep securing the scripts to prevent it. If we just say "don't do it" and fail to make changes to actually prevent it, it will get exploited much more in the future and pretty well ruin the game for everyone.


3.Attacking and killing other players is allowed, but can trigger a ban if done excessively. Avoid fighting characters that are much weaker than your character. (U know who's talking about)...
I don't know about that. If you've got the money and the armies, attack whoever you want. The object of the game is to move up the list, and the only way to do that is to attack the good players. However, if you want to waste your money attacking newbies, that's up to you - not me.


And yes, it's a war game but since i watched some citys being nuked, u can make a new script, some of the nukes works, and others dont. Cool idea...
Not a bad idea there.

birq
08-23-2005, 04:46 AM
some of the nukes works, and others dont. Cool idea...

Or, they have different effectiveness -- if it misses its target a little or is detonated at too high or too low an altitude, it won't be as effective or could have the wrong kind of effect. Instead of killing 100% of troops, it could kill 95% or (once other types of value are taken into account) do extra damage to the city to lower its net worth to the point where it is worthless without serious repair costs.

rasqual
08-23-2005, 05:02 AM
Not bad. The new jewel method definitely makes scripting a bit tougher.

Whokay, so getting jewels is now officially BORing. So here's what I suggest. You know all that talk of random intelligence reports? Random news from the front? Inside knowledge leaking out here and there?

Park tidbits on the same page as the confirmation graphic.

People who have the patience for jewel collecting will be rewarded with intel.

This intel should be volatile -- it's given out as randomly and it evanesces as quickly as the confirmation page itself. If jewel hunters want to take advantage of THIS intel, they'll need to notepad it somewhere.

Just a thought to spice up the jewel collection process. Meanwhile, there's nothing you can do about the violations of child labor laws as players conscript their kids to mine the jewels.

;-)

Now you need to work on methods to defeat automated cotton field planting scripts.

;-)

viVaPaLeStIne
08-23-2005, 08:56 AM
the new collectin way is not gooooddddd, i went to sleep and when i woke up i found my cities were attacked and my armies r weakers, i went to college and came back and found armies around my city and i cant collect 2 or 3 jewwels in 5 mints so i can rebuild them,the game is great and intrestin bt we do have life and we cant stay 24 h hunting for jewels, i know that u r tryin to fix a problem but its not workin with me to click and open links and then write the code, maybe i write it right or maybe not, its killing the game after it became intresting, sorry i dont have any sugestions right now bt i'll think of it and if i found somethin i'll post it

Bastian
08-23-2005, 11:15 AM
What would be a good value - double (.9)? 45 each (1000x)? Maybe that's a bit much... .9 seems low, but I guess double is better than nothing.
at least 5.0, because it takes very much time to collect it.
before, you had to go to the city (or maybe open your placemark and move GE a bit) and you were ready for the next jewel.
now you go to the city, click the jewel, click the link, enter a code, click the button, close the site, and hunt the next.
additionally, some people have problems (i, too), because google earth doesnt open a new browser window, and if you dont close the code window and the next code opens in the same it will show you the same code. it is the same problem i described with building two oil wells in the same window. i don't know if it's maybe a problem of the internet explorer.

wiccanerd
08-23-2005, 01:58 PM
wow...jewel hunting really is tedious now...maybe increasing it to 10 would be better. that way 1 jewel = 1 army, easier for people to recover from nukes/large scale atacks

elk-tamer
08-23-2005, 02:27 PM
Agreed. However, I'm somewhat encouraging that for now, so we can keep securing the scripts to prevent it. If we just say "don't do it" and fail to make changes to actually prevent it, it will get exploited much more in the future and pretty well ruin the game for everyone.

I take that as a free pass to waste my morning fooling around with OCR.

His Lord Uberdude
08-23-2005, 03:06 PM
Man, this is slow now. I'm with the others to up the value and/or change the number of jewels per code-entry. This just takes too long.

razzam21
08-23-2005, 04:05 PM
Wow a great game took a major turn for the worse. I didn't have time last night to play because I got off late from work so early the today I was getting ready. Then I login, read the message board and because there are cheaters the rest of us have to suffer. I can understand where you are coming from in getting people to stop cheating. I am not sure this is the correct method. Before you could get 5-20 jewels every minute now with the loading and additional clicking we are down to 1-5 depending on your computer. Yes making jewels more valueable would help but I am not sure it will help with the utter tediousness of the exercise to get each jewel.

We have two ways of generating income when we aren't able to actively play. I love this idea. As an example I have an oil well that generated 113 barrels a day. At the current rate that give me a grand total of 3 geos a day. You really can't do anything with 3 geos a day. I am not complaining by any means because it is 3 more then I had before however lets not kid ourselves and claim that it is more then it is. I learned with how fast the oil wells filled up to get several cotton plantations. I did that. I spend the time searching to jewels, the honest way. To get me a few extra. And as more and more plantations are developed mine are worth less and less and there is nothing that I can do about it. While I agree with the reasoning. The free ways of making income are fairly easy. They don't affect the game a massive amount. jewel collecting is still the way to actually play the game the cotton and oil just make it not hurt so bad when you have to go to work knows that at least something is happening to help you out.

I can understand the reasoning behind the anti-jewel collecting mechanism. I however think that there is probably a better way of doing it. I am a web developer a profession and I for one really dislike cheaters as it takes away from a game. I hope feel that this implimitation will probably have an adverse reaction to the game.

I read in one thread that you won't give out your code. I complete understand why you wouldn't want to and will support you there every step of the way I however feel that there are lots of us that play the game that would love to help you develop it but understand how it can be abused. Think that there needs to be some balancing done between stopping the cheating and not completely stopping the fluid game play that we had before.

While I don't know what you code looks like I have a decent idea of what it does because of my professional experience. Without knowing your code I would recommend something along these lines. While I don't think that it will fix all of the cheating I think that it might make the game play a little better then spend so much time verifing that I am not a script.

1) make it so that you can only collect only so many jewels a minute and when the is reached then the rest that you fly to will no longer be collected. A number that is high enough that users can still collect manually but not so high that users never collect. Of course it would take a while to figure out exactly where that number should be but I think that it couldbe solved.

2) the same as above only flag a user that once they have reached their quota that it is felt that they are a script. Allow that flag to only be set 3-5 times. Send out an email to the users email that makes them login to the gewar home page to clear the flag, verify that they are infact a person and then make them agree that they won't use scripts to collect jewels. If it were me I would make so each time they had to do this to clear the flag. But I would only let me do it something like 3-5 times and then I would ban that user for collecting jewels or make it so that they can only collect 1 jewel a minute for 2-3 days as a punishment for using a script.

3) do some combination of what was previously used and the current method where you can collect them normally and then every 10th or 20th or something the users would have to verify that they are people and not a script.

4) maybe as a side note create a forum where you can invite members and then bonus ideas off them about improving the game. Maybe make it the developers forum or something and tap some of the ideas of them and when you feel overwhelmed ask for help. It is all up to you. Just a suggestion as to a way to help you and tap the experience of some of the users of the group.


I am sure that there a numerous user who like myself know a little about programming and would love to help. I beleive that there are far more of us that want the game to be clean and honest then there are those that are dishonest. But I personally feel that the current method of collecting jewels is just going a bit. By taking much of the joy out of the game. Increasing the value of jewels helps but it doesn't change hassels of verfing that I am a real live person every single time. That is a bit much in my opinion. I know I am not the programmer of this game and I am greatful for the work that you have done.

These are just my opinions and I know everyone else will have their own. And discussing them is the only way for others to know what you think as no one can read minds.

reklats
08-23-2005, 04:40 PM
Please make this stop. ;) I don't like jewel collecting at all anyway. Let's switch to a turn base game where we get X turns each 24 hours. :P

bueth
08-23-2005, 04:56 PM
I can't collect any jewels at all! I tried it several times - logged out and back in, closed GE and restarted. Doesn't work. The code I enter is definitively correct written as in the image but it always says "Invalid verification string."!

BTW: I also think this new way is very boring. Somehow this should be a little bit spiced up.

Hadrian
08-23-2005, 05:33 PM
Hi!

To me, it makes sense to tie the resource production directly the the value of the cities one holds directly (their GDP, if you will). Realistically, Italy cannot hope to maintain the production that the USA has, though a person who held multiple cities would definitely be able to have more buying power in terms of oil production.

FurryGit
08-23-2005, 07:49 PM
Man, this is slow now. I'm with the others to up the value and/or change the number of jewels per code-entry. This just takes too long.

I second that.

elk-tamer
08-23-2005, 07:57 PM
Since it was being "encouraged", and there was so much whinging about cheating, I wrote a script that:

gets the city name
looks up the coordinate and submits the bbox to the server
confirms that it wants to collect the jewel
does an OCR on the negative of "verify.png"
submits the verification string.

Are we being rewarded for finding the holes by being allowed to keep the loot? You can consider all but about 10 of the ones I collected today to be illicit.

Stanley
08-23-2005, 08:35 PM
Since it was being "encouraged", and there was so much whinging about cheating, I wrote a script that:

gets the city name
looks up the coordinate and submits the bbox to the server
confirms that it wants to collect the jewel
does an OCR on the negative of "verify.png"
submits the verification string.

Are we being rewarded for finding the holes by being allowed to keep the loot? You can consider all but about 10 of the ones I collected today to be illicit.

woo-hoo! another admitted cheater!

seriously, I think Mickey put a limit on the # of jewels per minute, so your advantage isn't SO great as a scripter. This is a fair compromise, and he really should think about turning the #Jewels/Verification down a LOT.

rasqual
08-24-2005, 08:08 AM
gets the city name
looks up the coordinate and submits the bbox to the server
confirms that it wants to collect the jewel
does an OCR on the negative of "verify.png"
submits the verification string.


Was that a homebrew OCR? I was about to try too (despite my earlier pledge that I wouldn't go there ;-) Scripted all but the OCR simply enough:

Retrieve KML for cities
Parse out city nodes and location
Compare city array to jewel page to resolve center
Construct & post BBOX, confirm collection
etc.

I still think Mickey should take it into the jewel descriptions. He could use variable (inconsistent) text obfuscation methods (ISO, etc.) to present and specify links that'd be a bit rough to script for, IMO. However, they'd be darned easy to use from the GE UI. It'd be one step instead of three, but more secure.

wiccanerd
08-24-2005, 12:48 PM
A: whats the script your using and
B: Mickey, Please change this! try other methods of anti-scripting and make this game fun again!

araT
08-24-2005, 12:54 PM
Verification scripts are too easy to get by these days ;)

Nice work elk-tamer, i'm sure when mickey surfaces in a few hours he will foil you again ;) thanks for the research.. I'm sure he'll let you keep atleast some of your loot as a reward for turning yourself in :)

T.

Mickey
08-24-2005, 01:50 PM
B: Mickey, Please change this! try other methods of anti-scripting and make this game fun again!

It's not too bad any more if you use the in-game browser ("tools" --> "options" --> "preferences", uncheck "show web results in external browser" and it should work pretty smoothly now.

bell
08-24-2005, 01:59 PM
It's not too bad any more if you use the in-game browser ("tools" --> "options" --> "preferences", uncheck "show web results in external browser" and it should work pretty smoothly now.

Other things that speed things up (for those who haven't figured it out yet) is to up the Fly-To speed to the maximum and change the View based refresh on the placemark from 1 to 0 seconds. However a decimal value(instead of hex) would be preferable so that you could rely on the numercial keyboard alone...

wiccanerd
08-24-2005, 02:18 PM
ARG!
i did what you said mickey (about the internal browser) but now when i click on "yes" it automatically says "the security codes do not match"
HELP!!

druidiine
08-24-2005, 03:13 PM
The security codes do not match.

For admin troubleshooting:
scode: 3605260
currentjewelscode: 7606641

i do not use any programs etc, i just work hard, but now i cant collect jewels anymore?!

Mickey
08-24-2005, 03:15 PM
See if this (http://www.googleearthhacks.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1555) helps.

elk-tamer
08-24-2005, 04:22 PM
Was that a homebrew OCR? I was about to try too (despite my earlier pledge that I wouldn't go there ;-) Scripted all but the OCR simply enough:

Retrieve KML for cities
Parse out city nodes and location
Compare city array to jewel page to resolve center
Construct & post BBOX, confirm collection
etc.

I still think Mickey should take it into the jewel descriptions. He could use variable (inconsistent) text obfuscation methods (ISO, etc.) to present and specify links that'd be a bit rough to script for, IMO. However, they'd be darned easy to use from the GE UI. It'd be one step instead of three, but more secure.

It's not a home brew OCR, I used a demo version from "AspriseOCR".
Better text obfuscation would work. I was also thinking that images of animals or something would be harder to script.

Another way to keep everything in the GE UI is to use the "email" function to send the kml to an address that can be parsed by a process.
You'd have to make a placemark, name it, then email it to the gewar server. Still pretty awkward, though.

Let me know if anyone wants the java files for the script. It is very ugly, but I am working on something less ugly which uses Voronoi diagrams to find the locations for Oil Wells and Cotton Fields.

edit: Just checked the jewel collecting, my script appears to be worthless now.

Mickey
08-24-2005, 04:41 PM
Better text obfuscation would work.

edit: Just checked the jewel collecting, my script appears to be worthless now.
Is this due to the new obfuscation I implemented? It's very cheesy, but it's getting there. I'll probably keep tweaking it...

elk-tamer
08-24-2005, 05:51 PM
Is this due to the new obfuscation I implemented? It's very cheesy, but it's getting there. I'll probably keep tweaking it...
Yes, it may be cheesy, but it's reduced my percentage of correct recognitions from 90% to about 5%. The dots that don't overlap the characters do nothing, the ones that do seem to make it unreadable. I think that lines would be even worse.