Ban EcoManager & Similar Mods

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I propose we ban mods that automatically throttle energy and mass spenders (mass fabs, engineers, factories, etc.) to prevent stalls such as, but not limited to, EcoManager and UI Mass Fab Manager - Auto Fab Manager.

The way EcoManager in particular works is that it will throttle energy users when your mass/energy in storage falls below a certain threshold. It provides a huge gameplay advantage, preventing shields from going down, without any input from the user since it just plays the game for you.

Here is a recent example of it being used. You can see the streamer lilSidlil add 14 hives to a t3 pgen, which crashes his power to -30k. The mod immediately reacts to pause all mass fabs and other engineers to save as much power as possible.

https://youtu.be/vbKlS3k-LRE?t=8032

EcoManager has some features that are acceptable, such as the Mex overlay and the Nuke overlay (displaying mex tech level/number of missiles loaded) that don't need to be banned, but those non-cheat should be bundled into a new mod or the cheat features removed from the current one.

In my opinion this mod far surpasses the threshold for a cheat mod, and honestly am a little confused at how it is still allowed to be used. It should be straightforward to just remove it from the vault and ban people that still use it, since it's pretty obvious when it is being used. What are your thoughts on the issue?

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To add to the discussion, the continuously toggling of fabricators can be quite expensive on the sim. It can easily eat 2% to 4% of the budget late game when players have all their storages capped.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

7

Hello it is me.

I've said since the beginning that EcoManager is an obvious cheatmod and the opinion has not changed.

1

I can see a valid argument for allowing mods like this if the desire is for FAF to be primarily about what decisions you make, and for high apm to play as reduced a role as possible. However, this means that various other currently banned things like auto-clickers and auto-manual reclaim should be allowed. Essentially any automated micro should be permissible.

The alternative is that high apm activities are for the most part not considered appropriate to automate beyond UI type options (e.g. selection based hotkeys that selects certain units at the press of a button) and basic quality of life enhancements (right clicking a mex to build storage around it). For the most part this seems the route FAF has taken.

Therefore as things currently stand it doesn't make sense to me that a mod is allowed that automatically takes actions for you (enabling and disabling mass fabs based on your current energy requirements), but other mods such as the autoclickers and reclaim are banned. I'd therefore favour banning this aspect of EcoManager, regardless of whether such functionality is considered good or not (as many people have commented in the past about how relying on this functionality can teach you bad habits and make you a worse player).

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@maudlin27 said in Ban EcoManager & Similar Mods:

I can see a valid argument for allowing mods like this if the desire is for FAF to be primarily about what decisions you make, and for high apm to play as reduced a role as possible. However, this means that various other currently banned things like auto-clickers and auto-manual reclaim should be allowed. Essentially any automated micro should be permissible.

I thought these were already banned?

Anyway, +1 to getting rid of any automated bs

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@maudlin27 said in Ban EcoManager & Similar Mods:

I can see a valid argument for allowing mods like this if the desire is for FAF to be primarily about what decisions you make

Yes, it would be nice if players had to make decisions about how to distribute their buildpower rather than build 20 hives and switch assist targets with impunity. Eg. you built 20 hives lategame and are stalling -500 mass. Then enemy team provides a nice exp massdump. With ecomanager you won't stall as u start reclaiming. If you don't have a cheatmod you have to be a little more careful with planning out your buildpower rather than brainafk switching 20 hives between projects. Ie. ecomanager reduces decisionmaking.

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I vote to remove the mod.

3

Delete. This mod gives a clear advantage against players who do not use it.

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Here's the gist of what I discussed with Arch in PMs.

What does banning those mods mean?
A: Remove them from the vault
or
B: Track down players who use them and slap them with a ban

A is very simple to implement but also doesn't accomplish much. Players will be free to share, install, and use these mods, just won't be through FAF servers. If you truly believe they provide enough of an advantage to be called cheating, then this would do little to solve the problem.

B would actually solve the problem but would be immensely difficult to implement. UI mod usage is not reported back to the server, so it would require reporting by players (who are what, zooming in to see if mass fabs stop spinning every few seconds?) and then processing by moderators. The mod team already has a ton of work to do, and a significant backlog as it is. Even if we were willing to go through all that it would greatly slow the processing of all other reports, many of which are more significant than "this guys mass fabs are toggling".

A? Yeah whatever, don't think it matters much either way
B? Absolutely not. While I agree these mods do technically provide an advantage, it's minuscule compared to the effort needed to put a stop to it

2

I'd argue that blocking them from loading in-game, and not allowing these mods in the vault, would prevent 99% of the users of using this mod. As it requires effort to use them: you'd need to circumvent the block and manually place it at the right location.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

1

If you're able to block UI mods from loading that'd be awesome. The impression I got from a conversation with Brutus quite a while ago is that UI mods are just a fact of FAF life and it'd be difficult to control their usage.

0

Mod has always fallen under the general rule of “no mods that do input commands for you” but was allowed because it genuinely loses you games except on maps where you have hyper efficient builds ie sentons or do nothing but eco for 30 minutes so nobody cared.

0

@nullptr what you have done

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This post is deleted!
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@deribus said in Ban EcoManager & Similar Mods:

If you're able to block UI mods from loading that'd be awesome. The impression I got from a conversation with Brutus quite a while ago is that UI mods are just a fact of FAF life and it'd be difficult to control their usage.

And he's right - if the user really wants to then we can't prevent the user. But we can make it more difficult 🙂 .

edit: but one way or another, this will likely take up time of moderators. Whether that is of the moderation team banning people from using their own version of the mod, or of the creative team by banning people from the vault who re-uploaded the mod.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

1

To make banning possible, you could add code to FAF sim to detect if too many things are switched too often, and have it autoreport the user somehow, for example by adding a message to chat, or doing something similar to achievements.

This way ui modders couldn't byass the block, and moderators wouldn't have an unreasonable workload.

1

I was thinking of that too - we could add some bookkeeping.

A work of art is never finished, merely abandoned

0

Did not know there was a mod for this, either make it part of the base game or ban it.

7

Microing massfabs adds 0 value to the game, they should have been automatic from day 1. They just need some warning when they're not running on 100%, so you don't build more of them just to find out they are all disabled.

2

I vote to remove the mod.