GSB Scores made meaningless by modding


#1

Hi,

I’ve recently uploaded very high scores for Encounter At Andromeda and The Orion Ambush that I obtained by modding ship modules. I find that this invalidates the two scoreboards, which is a pity.

-I suggest making modded modules unavailable on these two challenges and flushing all recorded scores to start anew.
-I notice that the game crashes when scores hit just over 1.000.000.
-I notice that every 300.000 points or so, the screen dims and blanks to black for Encounter At Andromeda, and to blue for The Orion Ambush then comes back to normal.
-I notice that it is possible to run multiple GSB instances at the same time (neat). It works ok mostly, which is great!

WinXP SP2 32bits
2GB RAM
Core2 Duo 3000MHz
Geforce 8800GT 512MB


#2

http://positech.co.uk/forums/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=3890

Only over 1 million? But my 1.8 Billion score was just a bit over that…

And I agree. Need to level the playing field, and reset the scoreboard.


#3

Well, I suspect that its not the score causing the crash since its at least a 32 bit integer, rather some sort of memory leak on some other variables from running at 4x for so long.

Btw, your 1.8 Billion score isn’t on the board?


#4

…Yeah. Um… Reset the scoreboard. Please.


#5

That won’t help, modded modules need to be excluded from those challenges.

Also, there should only be one top score per user, because nothing is stopping me from uploading 100 times a score of 900.000 and bumping everyone out of the chart.


#6

I know it’s not there. I asked for it to be removed. Technically that Tribe score that’s up there with my name next to it should be removed also. Early attempt at manipulating the modules. Think I was playing with the cannons on that one.

I did notice that once you got past 2 billion points the count reverts to an improbably large set of negative numbers. In my case part of the trick was getting my fleet to die on schedule.


#7

In your opinion, the other top scores (other than mine) are genuine?


#8

I doubt it, But can’t prove it. I figure if they can do it without mods once, They can do it again. Wiping the scores won’t affect their ability to reclaim their high score, this time with validation.


#9

It would be cool if the game engine did the component pricing. Simply take the price parameter out of the component files. When a player creates a modified component, then the game’s internal math can price the component according to its specs.

Then, players wouldn’t be able to make ridiculously cheap, overpowered weapons.


#10

Also mentioned in my previous thread.

Problem is how to cost things. I know how parts of the equation for weapons should look, But judging the value of mass power and crew…

For a weapons:

Damage * (Max Range² - Min Range²) / Fire Interval.

That describes the base line effectiveness of a weapon.

Additional Modifiers:
Weight: Divisor with diminishing returns. Making a weapon super heavy will only reduce the cost by so much. Making it light has no upper limit to the multiplying effect.
Power: Divisor With similar attributes to weight.
Crew: Divisor, Ditto.
Shield and Armor Penetration: Multipliers. As a balance issue I say keep the value a flat. While shields would have a exponential value based on resistance. Armor will be ugly…
Tracking Speed: Multiplier. Flat curve as penetration, while giving engines an exponential curve as they gain more thrust.
Hit points: Multiplier. I’d make it additive, But The More HP a module has, the less likely it is to be knocked out prematurely.
Optimum Range: Have No Idea. Don’t know how this mechanic works.
Fuel: This actually affects parts of the main equation. If the Fuel is less then the range, then it becomes the range. If it’s greater then the range, then it affects the Fire Interval.
Speed: Similar to fuel, this affects other parts of the equation. Accuracy is affected by the weapons speed, while fire Interval is sometimes affected by this value for missiles.
Decoys: Multiplier.
EMP strength & duration: Multipiers. Strength is Linear, Duration exponential.
Disruption Strength & Duration: Same as EMP.

Defenses
Armor:
(Damage absorbable^Resistance + HP)/(Weight * Crew * Power)
Thats a basis for how it could be. The problem is that Resistance is a function of Damage absorbable and the ship design. As such the cost would differ from ship to ship. Given that we tend to like having a fixed value for modules…

Shields:
(Shield Strength ^ (ResistanceRecharge Rate) / (Weight * CrewPower)
Shields at least seem easy enough. Might want to play with where and how the Recharge rate is used. For that matter the fact that I’m using Resistance (Shield and Armor) as an exponent may be a mistake. It could just as easily be a Multiplier, and be raised to a power such as " *resistance² "

Point Defense.
Weapons equation.

Engines:
Thrust^(Pick a number) * Hit points / (Weight * Crew * Power)
Bear in mind that Weight Crew and Power are all limited in how much weight they have to reduce the cost of the engine, While making them very small values will cause the cost to rise without limit. (Dividing by Zero is bad) (Fighter Modules will be interesting…)

Crew Modules And Power Plants
(Value Produced + Hit Points)/ (Weight * Values Cost)

Repair Systems:
(Rate * Repair Supplies* Hit points) / (Weight * Crew * Power)
In general, If the loss of a module will affect the combat capability of the ship I Multiply it’s value into the cost. If Losing the module Won’t affect the functionality of the ship, I add in the Hit points.

Boosters (Not just targeting. Assume we get some more modules that affect things like Range or damage output, or resistances):
Bosters have issues like armor does. It depends on the ships design how much they’re actually worth. If a ships cost was made to be dyanmic so that adding or removing things affect the cost of the modules already on it, then a boosters cost would be based on the changed values of what they affect, The catch being that They should have a reduced cost because they take up an additional slot on the ship. Which brings up the stacking stat of a module. Figure Having a low ability to stack would make modules cheaper, But with diminishing returns So as to prevent The uber weapon with approaching zero stackability. Which brings up having the game check to make sure weapons of different names are actually different. Say you have 2 Very low stackability weapons with different names, But are Identical. It would get around the limits of stacking. Which brings up how to prevent 2 Nearly Identical weapons of the same type… Just how much does a weapon need to change before it’s a different kind of weapon… I suppose you could get rid of the stacking mechanic…

Tractor Beams:
Similar to the EMP and Disruptor weapons. Weight and Power are multipliers, otherwise the normal weapon equation can be applied.

Custom Ships:
Power output * Bonus’s * (Hardpoints ^ Whatever)+ Standard Modules) * (Additional things, like maybe it naturally supplies some crew) / Length
Or something like that.

And please remember That I’m only presenting the basic form of what the equations could look like. Through out these equations would be a string of constants that bring the costs to a range that looks right, rather then the over the top numbers that would be produced with some of those equations.

And It’d be nice if I knew what the equations in use now were for determining costs. Unless the “Pull them out of hat” Method is being employed.


#11

There will, sadly always be someone who cheats. If you did exactly as you describe, someone anti-social with too much time on their hands will break apart the exe and change some variables to hack their way to the high score top anyway. I just don’t get it. You don’t win any money, just bragging rights, and very hollow ones at that… but anyway…

What I might do is just add a bit of a terms and conditions thing to the high score thing to get people to agree that they aren’t using modded files. You simply cannot post high scores without a full copy of the game and a username/ serial, so if there are people who keep using modded stuff, then I can just exclude them from posting their scores.

With any online-enabled scores for a game, you have to either go 100% to prevent cheating, which even blizzard and valve and activision cannot do with total success, or just accept the fact that its an impossible battle. Another option would be to set up private leagues, so you see a high score that only contains your friends, which I personally think is a better system, and one I’d lvoe to find time to implement.

I also intend to wipe and reset the high scores soon, so everyone can have another go at getting to the top :smiley:

I appreciate the frustration of thinking people are cheating, but I’d rather spend the time on stuff like content, gameplay and bug fixing than waging a war against cheaters.


#12

It would be really cool though if you had the component pricing math done within the program, according to each component’s capabilities. People could still hack that as you said, but it would be really useful for everyone else, maybe.

If such a thing could be turned on and off within the interface, that would be the best of both worlds; ignore the set price in the component text file, and employ the internal math instead; or go by the price set in the text file. Allowing both methods would at once give the game itself a standarized valuation system (math done by the program), and allow for customized valuations, as it does today.

For the honest players, it would be really cool to introduce new components into the game, and the program’s default internal component pricing maths would see to it than nothing with outlandish capability were at the same time cheap; you’d get what you paid for. Some components as designed within the game’s pricing system would be priced so astronomically so as to be unavailable within challenges as we know them today; components costing millions of points, but with great defensive, motive, or destructive capability.


#13

2 Things.

A: Having Cost be a calculated value is high on my list of things I desire. It would open up the potential for adding my own modules without worrying about game destroying balance issues. Otherwise we’re stuck with stock modules for any form of large group interaction.

B: Whenever someone submits a score, have the game send their ships and deployment in challenge like form. Allow that information to be downloadable to be peer reviewed. Any tampering should become quickly evident as we watch the battle unfold with unmodified modules. The only issue I see with this is people copying a winning fleet and submitting their own scores with that fleet. On the other hand, a method of detecting and denying duplicate challenges is already being asked for elsewhere, That could be used to limit exact copies at least.


#14

peer review of challenges is a nice idea, and indeed just having the challenge data uploaded would work too, as the server could then theoretically verify all the data, although doing so is non-trivial. If I do make changes to the survival high score stuff, it will likely at least upload and store the challenge data, so I can at least verify them if there is a dispute.


#15

You can get millions of points with a perfectly legitimate fleet. You just alter the computers fleet. All standard modules on your fleet, no weapons on theirs. I tried this and it works, didnt upload the score though.
I think we as the community should just start a topic, posting our fleets, so each person can run them (You only need to check the higest score, really).

As for “duplicate” fleets, what an aweful idea. Only the first person gets to use that strategy? Haha, i used a fast cruiser laser rebel fleet.
Sorry everyone else. Its my strategy now.

As for the mathematically balanced weapons, im also against that idea. For new players, they mightnt understand. It could easily increase the time spent figuring out what each weapon does. Imagine
Yellow laser reflects off shield one battle. Penetrates the next. Has huge range the next. Youll never get to know the stats.
We basically have the same cost per effectiveness built in, but in a way people can understand easily.


#16

I think they were talking about varying the pricing only, based on how much the component was being used in challenges.

That’s way off topic, of course. Interesting suggestion though. Cost balancing has a tendency to invalidate fleets, so if it were happening all the time the old challenges would become invalid much more often, that’s not necessarily a good thing.


#17

Crakker does have a point. The learning curve would go up if modded modules were allowed on the scale I’m suggesting. On the other hand Things would be more interesting.

I disagree with the “Same cost for effectiveness” There are many instances where two items cost nearly the same, Yet have different stats to the point where one is clearly better then the other. With a balanced built in costing system. The two systems would be equivalent. You get what you pay for.

I don’t think I mentioned anything like that Dogthinker. Closest might be having the cost of armor increase as more of it is put on a ship. Or something similar with boosters. There might be some merit to your interpritation, Though I would personally hate it. I prefer to use the same design en mass. For me it’s not about well balanced, fleets, but well balanced ships. Doesn’t quite work out the way I could hope.

And I know the challenges would become invalidated. On the other hand, I think a person can only have so many challenges posted at a time. I’ve noticed that your agressive rebel fleet is missing.


#18

Ahh. Not sure what you meant then.

What I thought you meant… Was that supposing, say, the Cruiser Laser gets used 500% more often than any other weapon, over the last 100 challenges posted, then the cruiser laser would become slightly more expensive in the next update. I didn’t mean (or think you meant :stuck_out_tongue: ) the cost changing within a build, or even from one to the next… But rather changing to reflect global trends of component use over periods of say a week, to influence the pricing of each component (by component, I mean any item in the game - hulls included.)

If a module didn’t get used much over a period of weeks, its cost would decrease. If it got used frequently, its cost would increase. Over time, this should lead to all components in the game becoming useful (even the Dove fighter hull would get useful, once its cost had fallen low enough.)

It’s a clumsy, brute force, method of game balancing. The main flaw in it, is that it assumes all the players are making good choices, therefore you can deduce that a popular weapon must be somewhat overpowered :wink: In practice this isn’t the case - just look at all those plasma fleets that still pop up.


#19

Also a good Idea. My method attempts to model how effective things should be. Yours doesn’t care and simply changes things to reflect what they are. Truthfully I like your method better Simplier and better based on reality, Though I suspect it would break old challenges faster then my method would.