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Thread: Why are Frontier "battling" against Trading tools?

  1. #1

    Why are Frontier "battling" against Trading tools?

    We are seemingly at the cusp of number of tools joining forces to allow players to gain commodity information from their neighbouring systems. Or at the very least keep track of it better themselves; OCR software will allow players to instantly capture market data and upload it to their own applications or even to online hubs, where other player can then utilise it.

    This will come. There is no stopping it. Player will be willing to jump through a few hoops in order to:-
    a) Help other players out by submitting up to date market data.
    b) Use (online) data to improve their trades.

    What I'm confused about is why FD are making players go through these hoops? Why seemingly force developers to create all this software, and players to run applications and submit things, simply because ED doesn't offer (still) a nice unified way to access market data?

    Again, these tools will end up achieving the end goal... Why make it unnecessary painful for the users/developers?

  2. #2
    A similar thing happened in WOT. modders made things from innocuous gui fiddling to stats tools.

    And then the game implemented its own verions of the very same things.

  3. #3
    It has been discussed in the past a few times - after the FD data access policy changed - and suggestions were made. Examples in random order "[SUGGESTION] Multi step solution to trade data", "Reviving thirdparty (trading) tools using a poor man web-api solution -- XML dumps", there a multiple similar threads. The most recent on "additional request for player data". Also when commanders discovered the iOS web-api could be very easily accessed, FD said its verboten (not allowed) to use it. The iOS web-api It basically is wet dream for tool authors. To be fair the iOS web-api is coupled to your Frontier account (for logging in) and trusting 3rd party tool authors with your login account IS NOT something you want. Still I could type the url in a browser, get the data, copy it, let a 3rd party tool use it. Solutions like hashkeys in EVE exist to hide username/passwords.

    I've been creating quite a few threads in trying to get data out of ED - in a legal way. We are slowly reaching the point we are succeeding. But I've to admit we have to jump through a LOT of hoops just to get basic information. Calculating coordinates, OCR-ing to get price info etc etc. Getting current system name out of the netlogs - which was nerfed but setting a debug flag and its there again. The tool authors are good ED citizens and don't do scraping and don't access the iOSweb-api because they believe in FD. It probably won't stop the new flood of commanders from the 16th which probably are much younger then the current commanders. Probably the new ones are aged 16+ and given their age probably don't give a <insert word of choice> about what FD tells them....

    FD in the form of Michael Brookes HAVE been able to supply us with some data - coordinates systems with an economy and I think that is great. It was a spreadsheet they used internally. I know they have been under a lot of stress to get ED released. Still the suggestions made in the past - simply dump info in a file (received by ED for free from the FD servers when playing/testing the game when for example opening the market) - to me as a Java programmer don't seem to be something what would take that much time.

    I know FD is considering/planning to release an official web-api after release. That takes much more time to develop, cpu usage FD servers, Bandwidth FD servers then the dump file suggestions.

    The game could imho benefit so much from a thriving 3rd party tools community. The current ingame tools are not that matured atm. I don't know what their reasons are for not giving us the data. It could be the release, it could be something else. But I've I hard time convincing myself that FD IS looking for a thriving 3rd party tools community. So far I can't see that much evidence. I've been choosing my words very very carefully but I have to say the most diplomatic word I can think of and use here is "DISAPPOINTMENT".

    YES, they do NOT owe us anything, lets just be clear about that..... Still working together with the community would be so nice. Perhaps in the future......

    EDIT: Just imagine what could have have happened if all the countless hours spend to work around the limitations just to get basic data could have been spend in 3rd party tools. We probably would have LOTS of extremely valuable tools to complement the ED in game tools. Ingame tools which are imho not that fleshed out atm. Perhaps in the future.....

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  4. #4
    Same with route planning tools. As long as the in-game tools have such a short range (80 ly or so), people are forced to use external tools.

  5. #5
    The frustrating thing would be, lots of time and effort is invested by members of the community to get around the hurdles FD have put in place, only for them to finally achieve a workable solution, and only then for FD to open its doors and offer a better means of accessing/obtaining the data.

    All that time, effort and hassle for basically nothing...

    Again, I believe the tools will be created to offer a workable solution, but it would be so much better/easier if FD joined in surely. Plus they would have more say in the outcome.

    - - - - - Additional Content Posted / Auto Merge - - - - -

    Originally Posted by mitchman View Post (Source)
    Same with route planning tools. As long as the in-game tools have such a short range (80 ly or so), people are forced to use external tools.
    Just last night I used a 3rd party tool to tell a friend how to travel to my location

  6. #6
    I need to pick a trade (data recording) tool any suggestions? I used Slopey's a few months ago and it seemed pretty good, but just started playing again.
    So many butt heads, so little ammunition!

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by Snowdog View Post (Source)
    I need to pick a trade (data recording) tool any suggestions? I used Slopey's a few months ago and it seemed pretty good, but just started playing again.
    Complete list of all third party tools, spreadsheets, manuals and other data sources. I'm using both Trade Dangerous and Slopeys BPC. Both have their merits. TD (command line tool) is VERY VERY fast and has oodles of options (also has a route planner). The BPC has a great GUI but is a lot slower, no route planner atm. Cmdr Thrudd also has a nice tool, though I have never used it. All based on manual input of data - though Slopey can get the data from EliteOCR generated .csv file. In the future all three will (most likely) have support for EDDN and have the same amount of data. At that point its a matter of taste.... Also if your NOT into crowd source data and not interested in prices, but only in entering supply/demand levels see here.

  8. #8
    I suspect something will be built in to the game at some point. But they didn't have time to do it (and test it) before release.

    They are not against trade tools I don't think. They were during the beta, but only because it was found to be throwing off the results of networking tests etc.

  9. #9
    How are Frontier battling against them? Your post looks like you're trying to imply that if players are choosing to use external, non-critical programs to enhance their personal experience, Frontier has done a bad thing.

  10. #10
    To be honest I got the impression the game design is somewhat stuck in the 80ies. Frontier definitely lacks experience with modern multiplayer games. Which still lead to an enjoyable foundation that is the current state of ED, but they have a lot to add to make this stand the test of time. Marketing this as an action-packed space MMO was a bad decision in my opinion. You've read the newsletters and seen the cinematic trailers, you know what I mean.
    Sometimes the game design really baffles me, just think about this: you can purchase custom ship skins, but the only external view for you to see them is outfitting in stations. Same with player comms and trading tools.

    I hope they will listen to us and improve the game.

  11. #11
    Originally Posted by Binerexis View Post (Source)
    How are Frontier battling against them? Your post looks like you're trying to imply that if players are choosing to use external, non-critical programs to enhance their personal experience, Frontier has done a bad thing.
    They aren't, in fact they have been helping. Michael gave Commander Thrudd an XML file of systems back in beta 2 to help populate his trading tool site (though that was about 400 systems and 4 billion is a bit much to expect from an XML file). The only bits they have been battling were the tools that actively scanned the client and/or client memory for data and they banned that because it was interfering with the client and causing bugs.

    Personally I think it was just a case of available time as they have all but admitted they didn't get everything they wanted in for 1.00 (wings being the most obvious example). Now the community has done so much I suspect they feel the pressure in these areas has eased allowing them to focus on other stuff. They will probably revisit these areas later.
    Out here, people struggled to get by with the most basic technologies; a ship would bring you work, a gun would help you keep it. A captain's goal was simple: find a crew, find a job, keep flying.
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  12. #12
    There probably need to be some hoops to jump through for the sake of FD's servers. Based on the number of active players and the time it takes them to travel between systems there is a limit on the number of systems that need to have persistent data present and available. No point storing and updating price tables for a location until the first visitor arrives there. Similarly, the number of requests for data is going to be limited by the number of active players. Make an online price service and immediately any system can be queried at any time, as frequently as the API will allow.

    Do any of the existing tools include data on distance from the hyperspace drop point to the station? I'd much rather do additional jumps than have a long haul in supercruise.

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by NeilF View Post (Source)
    We are seemingly at the cusp of number of tools joining forces to allow players to gain commodity information from their neighbouring systems.
    Urr, maybe they think trading should be a personal/team experience, not a globally-available crutch to make trading rather pointless?

    I don't get where the sense of satisfaction is if you simply jump to a website and it tells you where to go and what to buy. Immersion is completely broken and it becomes a pointless farming exercise.

    I think the devs were quite naive in thinking that a 1984 gaming paradigm would survive in 2013. In 1984 you played Elite (and it's successors) by yourself, or maybe with a few mates, looking for trading "scores" and taking satisfaction from the effort required. Now it's a farce, with data scraping and tools telling you exactly what you need to do to "succeed".

    I assume that FD will make the in-game trading tools more robust, but there still has to be some sense of effort and reward in "finding" that good route, or it's a pointless exercise.

  14. #14
    Originally Posted by EDbubba View Post (Source)
    ...but there still has to be some sense of effort and reward in "finding" that good route, or it's a pointless exercise.
    Yes and no. For me trading is little different if I find a trading route myself, or a friend tells me... Trading is nothing more than a means to an end for me. I simply want the CR really so I can "retire" and go and do the other things I'd prefer to be doing...

    So in short... I'm grinding to get it out of the way. The sooner I can get it out of the way, the better.

    It's of course not as black and white as that, but you get my drift



    So if I can reduce the 60+hrs I'll need to trade for by using a tool, I'll gladly do it.

  15. #15
    Because tools like that tend to spoil the game by basically playing it for you and negatively influencing the economy as such. That's the basic reason why we have things like the Standard Exchange Commission in the US that cracks down on insider trading so you can't sway the market in your favor using insider knowledge hence spoling the whole free market system. The tool I don't agree with being frowned upon though is the route planner. That to me is the equivalent of asking for directions and should be available since the in-game version takes forever to do its thing and treats jump distances poorly.
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