Automation and Scripting - An investigation into further abuses of BGS and Powerplay

They would have to run those missions in open or they would have no effect at all in the player faction system
So they guy picking up the random assassination mission. Wouldn't care if it effected the BGS so it wouldn't bother him unless he was out to do harm to that player system then he would have to do it in open
Seems to that it would work perfectly the only people like you that want to do harm on the quiet would object
Please stop derailing the thread which is about automated abuse and its effect on the game.
 
I have a suggestion that would prob appease both sides have it so you can only attack a player faction In open only but it can be defended from both and I couldn't care less about Npc factions
Nope - disagree with that principle too since it would not be practical.

You seem to be under the false impression that a faction state is only affected by actions committed directly for/against a given faction - the BGS does not work that way.

Ultimately, those campaigning for Open only gameplay should either learn to accept that ED is not and never will be specifically designed for their desired gameplay or move to other games that are.

So called "Player factions" are merely an NPC faction that has been requested to be added to the BGS - the same fundamental in-game rules and mechanics apply to ALL minor factions regardless of their origins.

[EDIT]As someone else has already stated, this particular aspect is off-topic in the main.[/EDIT]
 
Wait, does that mean they have been god modding your BGS to soften Bot impacts?
Of course not! Why would you even think such a thing.

This is us reporting things, and support looking into it. But so far we have seen no let up in the attacks, and are losing control of systems nearly every week.
 
They would have to run those missions in open or they would have no effect at all in the player faction system
So they guy picking up the random assassination mission. Wouldn't care if it effected the BGS so it wouldn't bother him unless he was out to do harm to that player system then he would have to do it in open
Seems to that it would work perfectly the only people like you that want to do harm on the quiet would object
As has been pointed out repeatedly, these bots occasionally log to Open, but do not show to other players, and cannot be communicated with. They maybe logged to Open but they aren't _in_ Open, as you can't instance with them and can't talk to them (connection error). Even when they were seen in Open over a year ago, the insta-log on the first sign of damage. So, "Open Only" is not a solution against bots. At all. Anyone who believes we can end botting by shooting the bots in Open is not thinking this through.
 
I would like to take a left turn and consider if similar technology used to create "bots" could also be used to create a more benign "add on" autopilot for CMDR's to use when jumping to/from distant systems...

As with everything discussed re ED: I know some people would hate this and some people would love it. I've always wondered if it would be possible to program an external process which automates the controls while jumping long distances (turn away from stars, target the next system, jump, etc) by analyzing the actual image (raw pixels) on the screen using a tool like AutoIT or similar...
 
I would like to take a left turn and consider if similar technology used to create "bots" could also be used to create a more benign "add on" autopilot for CMDR's to use when jumping to/from distant systems...

As with everything discussed re ED: I know some people would hate this and some people would love it. I've always wondered if it would be possible to program an external process which automates the controls while jumping long distances (turn away from stars, target the next system, jump, etc) by analyzing the actual image (raw pixels) on the screen using a tool like AutoIT or similar...
If this is not an official and supported tool by FDev available to all then one could argue that it is not benign as it will offer an unfair advantage to those who possess it vs those who don't. The ability to progress in game (literally hours sometimes) without any player input.

Another point to make is that if we cross that line in that case, what's the next thing we automate and are ok with? In the end do we just want bots playing the game and us just looking at stuff now and then and saying.. "look how good my bot is..."

Could be a slippery slope.
 
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I would like to take a left turn and consider if similar technology used to create "bots" could also be used to create a more benign "add on" autopilot for CMDR's to use when jumping to/from distant systems...

As with everything discussed re ED: I know some people would hate this and some people would love it. I've always wondered if it would be possible to program an external process which automates the controls while jumping long distances (turn away from stars, target the next system, jump, etc) by analyzing the actual image (raw pixels) on the screen using a tool like AutoIT or similar...
Just as a programming exercise I once spent time figuring out how to create an autopilot for a previously plotted route. On arriving in a system, identify the largest bright circle, then steer around it, identify star type from colour, etc. But then my sense of proportion kicked in and I realised that in the time needed to write and debug such a program I could probably fly to Sag.A* and back. Also, I don't like to think what might have happened in a double-star system.
 
I would like to take a left turn and consider if similar technology used to create "bots" could also be used to create a more benign "add on" autopilot for CMDR's to use when jumping to/from distant systems...
It's certainly possible, rather simpler than the BGS bots described in this thread, and it would be just as much cheating as using a bot for any other in-game purpose.
 
You think? Just to burst your bubble..

Drop from super cruise to station
Orientate to station in front
Use Green/Red to orientate for perfect approach
Enter grill
Landing pad is now show on gimbal ball
Orientate and land

All the above can be done by reading portions of the screen and acting accordingly

Maybe we should get rid of Huds? Stations? The Game?

The bottom line here is; If it can be viewed on screen it can be read. And none of it would break EULA as there is no memory or executable manipulation. They could ban 'automation' which would in theory fix it, but I doubt botters care about EULAs or anything FD have to say. And of course, you'd be automatically banning VoiceAttack. Which might not be a bad thing, as it can be used to automate a while swathe of things.
It's not impossible no, but is it sufficiently difficult to discourage most scripting? Yes probably. They're going to eat rebuys docking in the station at the same time as an aggressive T9 NPC.
 
Nope - disagree with that principle too since it would not be practical.

You seem to be under the false impression that a faction state is only affected by actions committed directly for/against a given faction - the BGS does not work that way.

Ultimately, those campaigning for Open only gameplay should either learn to accept that ED is not and never will be specifically designed for their desired gameplay or move to other games that are.

So called "Player factions" are merely an NPC faction that has been requested to be added to the BGS - the same fundamental in-game rules and mechanics apply to ALL minor factions regardless of their origins.

[EDIT]As someone else has already stated, this particular aspect is off-topic in the main.[/EDIT]
Why would it not.be practical to have no solo influence applied to any system with a player faction in it? Fdev have a list of every player faction people applied to have them
Can't be hard to cross reference to see if the influence about to be applied to a system was scored in solo or open
 
Why would it not.be practical to have no solo influence applied to any system with a player faction in it? Fdev have a list of every player faction people applied to have them
Can't be hard to cross reference to see if the influence about to be applied to a system was scored in solo or open
Fly to station in Solo, relog to Open, hand in mission...

It would be necessary to separate mission boards (the opposite of what's just now being done) and track what modes a ship has been in between accepting and handing in a mission. I think it would end up a bug-ridden nightmare.
 
Why would it not.be practical to have no solo influence applied to any system with a player faction in it?
Because you are effectively part shadow banning players for no good reason, plus at least some "player factions" have been requested by players who do not engage with Open at all (reasons are irrelevant). Further more, even in Open not everyone will instance with everyone else thus your reasoning for wanting it is fundamentally flawed.

The long and the short of it is that regardless of this, FD have reaffirmed their commitment to ED being mode-agnostic so I would suggest either learning to live with it or move on to other games.
 
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Why would it not.be practical to have no solo influence applied to any system with a player faction in it? Fdev have a list of every player faction people applied to have them
Can't be hard to cross reference to see if the influence about to be applied to a system was scored in solo or open
Because when you get right down to it, 'player factions" AREN'T. A bunch of players got to stick their name on an NPC faction, but it's still an NPC faction like any other. It takes buffs and nerfs from player actions like any other NPC faction, in all modes. That's how this game works. Deal or play something else.
 
Unless you find the right instance. Or does anyone here in the thread believe that Open means Open?
Because I'm a filthy board hopper, I occasionally fly around in Open. I just recently learned a regular system I hang out in was subject to a KOS order by a large group of players for all ships. I was definitely in open in that system, that day, and never saw a single person.

Why would it not.be practical to have no solo influence applied to any system with a player faction in it?
Because that would defeat the purpose of the BGS, which contrary to popular belief, is just to simulate a living, breathing universe which reacts to all player input, regardless of mode, platform or any other variables. And as DaveB said... Player factions are not owned or controlled by players, and are indistinguishable from NPC factions, and are simply entities put in the game on request by players.

Groups, wings, squadrons, whatever... as much as people want to *believe* they control the minor factions, they dont.
 
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Just caught up with this thread after missing maybe a half dozen pages.

For all of those doubting bots exist or how difficult they would be to write, I know HOW I would do it.

Using something like OPEN CV which is a freely available Computer Vision package to read the screen. Everything you need to steer the ship is visible on screen such as the compass and various warnings.

Write a few simple algorithms to steer the ship in SC, align to a FSD target, avoid the big easy to see shiny sun etc and then make that algorithm mimic a key press input.
Throw in a a few random delays or a little bit of white noise in the steering input and this would be nearly undetectable by frontier because you aren't hacking anything you simply have a simple automaton reading the screen and pressing buttons. And you can make it slightly random so the inputs don't look too perfect.

The only way to find them would be to laboriously track suspect commanders and search log files to find long gaming periods with very little variance on activity. but crucially fdev would have to have some idea of where to look. Remember as well that the instancing and peer to peer set up of the game means that fdev servers do NOT see every keystroke you make, only those that require a server response. I am guessing this is limited to calls for new star system load and calls such as 'landing completed', mission accepted/completed... That would mean fdev could only track suspected commanders based on elapsed gaming time or repetition of the same mission types.

The only slightly more complex part of this approach would be the ability to read navigate and choose missions. But with all the screens in a fixed layout and the fonts can be read through OCR, this is still very doable. It is debateable whether running tourist passenger missions is easier or harder, it would make more cash. Trickiest part of passenger missions would be identifying and tracking the tourist beacon to scan before returning.

This is all WELL within the range of a Highschool / A level student studying computer science. I reckon I could pull the necessary resources from google searches within a couple of hours, and coding/training the bot is maybe a day or two's work.

Yes, the docking computer makes things easier, but docking is not hard. the compass tells you where to fly to to get to the station, the trickiest bit is getting in front of the station with just visual cues, but once there the whole slot is lit up like a beacon and easy to track. Leaving the station is pretty easy as the slot is lit up and easy to track and the path you take from the pad you launch from is perpendicular to the slot.

The only real risk to such a bot would be being PvE interdicted - ie anything that disturbs the routine. I thinkin that instance I would simply program the bot to return to the main screen wait the 15 seconds and log out. Remember the bot account would be rated harmless, but because of the earning power could easily be in a clipper, so it is not going to attract attention of any NPC likely to be able to destroy it in 15 seconds. then simply login again, replot course and off we go.

I think inside a week you could have a bot running capable of 24/7/365 doing cargo missions between predetermined (human chosen) systems and stations that have been bookmarked. Or more accurately I could have several bots running simultaneously.

That makes you a shed full of money in the early part of the week, which you can then use to buy tons of PowerPlay assets in the later part of the week and basically run the same processes to deliver the PP assets 24/7



Your views on whether you think this si cheating or not are your own. However for the avoidance of doubt FDev have explicitly stated it is against their terms of service so it IS cheating. The inability for anyone to rigorously police this though does leave the whole issue unresolved.
 
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Just caught up with this thread after missing maybe a half dozen pages.

For all of those doubting bots exist or how difficult they would be to write, I know HOW I would do it.

Using something like OPEN CV which is a freely available Computer Vision package to read the screen. Everything you need to steer the ship is visible on screen such as the compass and various warnings.

Write a few simple algorithms to steer the ship in SC, align to a FSD target, avoid the big easy to see shiny sun etc and then make that algorithm mimic a key press input.
Throw in a a few random delays or a little bit of white noise in the steering input and this would be nearly undetectable by frontier because you aren't hacking anything you simply have a simple automaton reading the screen and pressing buttons. And you can make it slightly random so the inputs don't look too perfect.
You do realize though, that it is a pretty easy matter to read things like system memory and look for things like CV running. While this alone may not warrant actionable responses, it does lay the foundation for an actionable response. Think of it like this: It may be perfectly legal to own bolt cutters, grounding rods, jumper cables, a lock pick set, latex gloves, super glue, packing tape, carbon powder and a ski mask. You can even drive around with all these things in your car, at night. But, if you happen to get stopped by your local police, they can, and regularly do, charge people, especially those with a documented criminal history with "Possession of burglary tools", because these are the tools a burglar would have.

In the same token, CV is something a botter would have running, at the same time as Elite. And there are already pre-written packages out there specifically designed to look for things like this running at the same time as various games. So there is validity to this.

The only way to find them would be to laboriously track suspect commanders and search log files to find long gaming periods with very little variance on activity. but crucially fdev would have to have some idea of where to look. Remember as well that the instancing and peer to peer set up of the game means that fdev servers do NOT see every keystroke you make, only those that require a server response. I am guessing this is limited to calls for new star system load and calls such as 'landing completed', mission accepted/completed... That would mean fdev could only track suspected commanders based on elapsed gaming time or repetition of the same mission types.
Clearly not.

The only slightly more complex part of this approach would be the ability to read navigate and choose missions. But with all the screens in a fixed layout and the fonts can be read through OCR, this is still very doable. It is debateable whether running tourist passenger missions is easier or harder, it would make more cash. Trickiest part of passenger missions would be identifying and tracking the tourist beacon to scan before returning.

This is all WELL within the range of a Highschool / A level student studying computer science. I reckon I could pull the necessary resources from google searches within a couple of hours, and coding/training the bot is maybe a day or two's work.

Yes, the docking computer makes things easier, but docking is not hard. the compass tells you where to fly to to get to the station, the trickiest bit is getting in front of the station with just visual cues, but once there the whole slot is lit up like a beacon and easy to track. Leaving the station is pretty easy as the slot is lit up and easy to track and the path you take from the pad you launch from is perpendicular to the slot.

The only real risk to such a bot would be being PvE interdicted - ie anything that disturbs the routine. I thinkin that instance I would simply program the bot to return to the main screen wait the 15 seconds and log out. Remember the bot account would be rated harmless, but because of the earning power could easily be in a clipper, so it is not going to attract attention of any NPC likely to be able to destroy it in 15 seconds. then simply login again, replot course and off we go.

I think inside a week you could have a bot running capable of 24/7/365 doing cargo missions between predetermined (human chosen) systems and stations that have been bookmarked. Or more accurately I could have several bots running simultaneously.

That makes you a shed full of money in the early part of the week, which you can then use to buy tons of PowerPlay assets in the later part of the week and basically run the same processes to deliver the PP assets 24/7



Your views on whether you think this si cheating or not are your own. However for the avoidance of doubt FDev have explicitly stated it is against their terms of service so it IS cheating. The inability for anyone to rigorously police this though does leave the whole issue unresolved.
Frontier has also demonstrated in the past the ability to detect "Long Running Macros", and let's not forget about their glorious sweep of the module engineering exploit. It's just that these things have to be prioritized, investigated, documented - there's an entire process that needs to be worked before action can or should be taken. And it takes more than a simple "Wah, someone cheated!" post here with an expectation of what? That person so accused is instantly banned? A special MI-6 task force is dispatched to their home to drag them out of bed and give them a flogging? Or the magical "I Win" button appears on your screen?

Let's put this into a better perspective - we can all agree that Frontier does not want, welcome or condone cheating. Now where does this factor in to a much bigger picture? That is, how do you prioritize addressing this in comparison to something like: If anyone equips this particular module and then attempts to engineer it, it applies the wrong modification, and the next time that person tries to log in, their client crashes because of this (happened during the Engineers beta), or If more than 4 people enter an instance in this particular system at the same time, a memory leak starts in the Matchmaking Server and destabilizes the game for everyone.

Clearly, if you are a rational, even moderately intelligent person, you realize that game-breaking, server-crashing, wide-reaching issues need to be addressed before something as relatively minor as this - and yes, this really is relatively minor in comparison. This doesn't break the game, just the arbitrary rules that are not required to make the software functional, but exist merely to attempt to reign in human behaviors.

Here's another way to look at it - the word: "******", but let's just assume that whatever that word happens to be, was not filtered by profanity filter. It's vulgar, makes some people cry to see, and yet, for some reason, the chat filter lets it right on through. Should all work on all other areas of the game be stopped to fix this? Does the word "******" showing up render the game unplayable? No, it doesn't. Sure, you may not like seeing "******" on your screen, but that doesn't stop you from being able to play.

On the flip side, something like "******" might make its way up to the top of a fix-list a lot sooner than something like "In the flavor text for missions hauling biowaste, biowaste is mis-spelled as "biowaist".

Is cheating a problem? Sure. Is it game-breaking, universe-ending, insolvency-causing? No.
 
I think people are mistaking both how easy this is and how hard.

For example - getting opencv to work at all is completely daunting to me and I have yet to achieve "Hello World" in this.

But menu reading - I think people think that is hard because they don't have a solid grip on BGS states and their effect on missions.
When you read the menu without a solid understanding of why you are being presented with each of these missions, and which ones are effective, and which ones can be completed in-station, that would seem daunting. But me - All I want is to find one keyword in one area of screen.

Another thing is that Elite Dangerous doesn't like being out of focus.
Like to pause netflix, I have to put up with no input from my joysticks.

To me - passing a control input back to Elite is a hard thing.

Fortunately Voice Attack has solved this, and has a good set of tools for reading and writing variables.
And if you buy an HCS Voice Pack - the Singularity profile comes with over 2000 preloaded Elite Dangerous commands.
And it can get a lot of current state information both from the client-side Journal and from public database APIs like eddb.io
And they get great support from Frontier - in the latest patch notes there is something about increasing the spam limit in chat to resolve some Voice Attack issues:

Comms

  • Increased the volume of the background chatter in Conflict Zones
  • Increased the chat spam limit from 3 to 5 (fixes some Voice Attack issues)
  • Fixed issue that caused chat messages not to be delivered when the recipient was on main menu
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Voice Attack - I think it's brilliant, and being able to interact with you ship by voice is just SO 3304.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with third party databases like eddb.io either.
Some of the moderators here are instrumental in developing the tools to deliver game journal entries to those services.
I'm not saying there's anything wrong with INARA. You should go check my INARA profile - I love and curate that thing, yeah?

What I am saying is that similarly to how bomb disposal robots - which are undeniably life saving - they have been weaponised in some instances
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/08/police-bomb-robot-explosive-killed-suspect-dallas


These tools which we love and rely on are providing a platform upon which to build fully automated CMDRs.
 
Because you are effectively part shadow banning players for no good reason, plus at least some "player factions" have been requested by players who do not engage with Open at all (reasons are irrelevant). Further more, even in Open not everyone will instance with everyone else thus your reasoning for wanting it is fundamentally flawed.

The long and the short of it is that regardless of this, FD have reaffirmed their commitment to ED being mode-agnostic so I would suggest either learning to live with it or move on to other games.
If they don't engage with open they would not be effected they can still defend the system from solo
people would have to attack them from open so they can sit happily in thier mom's basement knowing they are safe from the outside world
And bots In solo is what's screwing everyones BGS so if you can't get rid of the bots get rid of thier influence
And your argument you might not instance with the bot is irrelevant because you have more chance of instancing with it in open than you do solo
Or maybe you should just learn to live with bots at least I'm making a suggested fix rather than just saying that prob won't work because they might only log on While everyone is asleep or picking their nose
 
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