Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance

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The issue with removing shift+g - a core game mechanic that a lot of other game mechanics, such as spread move and disperse move, rely on to work - to address concerns with cheating, is that it is solving a completely hypothetical issue. I believe all balance changes should be done with the same overall process in mind: Problem -> Justification -> Solution. This case, with the issue of shift+g, I believe the justification is insufficient.

For example, take this video that a few people I've asked have directed me to when I asked about the potential cheat mods people could construct using shift+g.
https://www.loom.com/share/27b2c79fe62b4784b579031d0854b6ef

I don't believe removing shift+g, and all associated mods like spread move and disperse move, just in case people make mods that do this, is justified. Beyond the fact that this cheat mod is extremely blatant and easily discoverable, it is also completely and utterly useless. Are we really worried about people making hacks like this?

The other case that I've heard mentioned is the fact that Espiranto was caught using an autoclicker in a tournament and he was banned for it. In that case, isn't the current solution already... working? Why can't we just keep doing that? Identify the cheaters and then ban them on a case by case basis, instead of removing entire core game mechanics for a hypothetical issue. Just my 2 cents.

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So how many people besides that 1 were banned to prompt this? And afaik wasnt he using a macro / autoclicker and not a UI mod? Also like arch (and me before) said, he got banned, just like anyone using a cheat mod can. Why is this not sufficient?

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@Mach said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

And why is it suddenly decided (and by who even) that this "potential cheat mods must be stopped at cost of any number of ui mods being destroyed" restriction should be added and for what reason? Where are the players ruining lobbies with them? Where are examples of uprise in cheating or matches that were ruined by them? Where are people that are leaving because someone cheated in their match? So far not seeing any reason for this at all and nothing that prompted it, seems more like dictators' playground to me. Maybe thats what should really change in FAF.

How do you think it goes? You have a perfectly normal game, and then a very evil person decides to use E C o m A n A g E r. Now the match is clearly ruined!

Seriously

These mods give all minor advantages which are too tiny to detect them influencing the outcome of the game. This doesn't mean however that they cannot influence the outcome. If you have 2 completely equally skilled players with a 50% winrate vs eachother while having played an infinite amount of games, giving one of them "e please" or "ecomanager" will skew the results in favor of the one using these mods, even though it is undetectable on a game to game basis.

You say the mod influencing the win % by a mere 0.1% isn't impactfull enough to be considered a threat? Sure. Now let me add another mod. and another one. and another one. Oh look now i have 30 ui mods that automate the game for me giving me a net total of +5%. I'm sure my opponent thinks that's very fair.

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The only reason espiranto was banned was because it was clearly visible and because he caught attention. I am 100% sure there are other players using autoclickers that are not getting banned cause there is no way of detecting them unless reported. People don't watch their opponents replay after every game to check whether he reclaimed too quick or not in order to find out whether they're "cheating" or not.

You know how much time it cost to come to the decision that pepsi was cheating? Like 4 dudes analyzed his games and discussed in order to come to the conclusion that he abused an autoclicker. A very efficient solution indeed.

Also this is for something like autoclicker which is way easier to spot than other mods like ecomanager or eplease which autopauses e draining structures. Try to prove with evidence that he is using the mod and not manually doing it. Also very efficient and easy to do.

And as a mention: Ur talking to someone who absolutely despises shift g getting removed and i argued hard against it. However acting like certain ui mods are/can not be a problem is ridiculous.

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@TheWheelie said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

Also this is for something like autoclicker which is way easier to spot than other mods like ecomanager or eplease which autopauses e draining structures. Try to prove with evidence that he is using the mod and not manually doing it. Also very efficient and easy to do.

Well, I just found a 100% effective solution. Ban and remove ability to pause. So there will be no way to auotopause something ever again

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Not sure if intentionally shitposting or just retarded

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Where I'm wrong? We have possible way to use shift+g to cheat, so we removing it. And we have possible way to use pause to cheat, so we removing it.

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@TheWheelie
I am not saying there are no cheat mods or possibilities of them. But I also dont think we should stop all ui mods from working just because of that possibility.

I already explained the difference between mods "playing the game for you" and mods fixing the trash controls you have by default by allowing you to give out orders easier. But here it is again with some more clarity: no UI mods should be allowed that give units "AI" aka allow translations of sentences like "if this then this else this" or "in case of this, this" into orders, but only "this, then this, then this". There can be no decision making that unit itself does (aka giving commands on its own without player), but any order queue of any orders that player wants to give them or manipulate, they should be able to do effortlessly and is fine. For any ui mod you can think of, see which category it fits and you will understand whether its playing the game for you or simply fixing your controls.

And yes this "rule" excludes ecomanager from allowed UI mods which yes I too think should not be allowed, because it does decisions on its own, gives units orders on its own etc. and probably whatever e please mod is. Again, check which category it fits.

And obviously better controls improve your winrate, someone with a steering wheel would have a better race winrate over someone turning their car with a clamp, and like I said before, some of those should be integrated in base game so no one has to search for those mods and thus has equal ground.

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Why are you all considering shift-g, some random spread move thing added by FAF, a core game mechanic? It isn't a game mechanic at all. It is just a UI mod that wouldn't ever have existed if not for FAF. FAF gave you this ability in the first place and now they are considering removing it since it allows people to easily make cheats. Hardly a dictator's playground.

I am not convinced that cheating is a big problem, or that it ever will be, but I also don't think spread move improves the game anyway. I have seen countless games that could have been interesting be prematurely ended because of shift-g surrounding an ACU after it was out of position for 1 second. Despite this, you guys still make the argument that shift-g only enhances the skill of the game and makes it better? Wouldn't it take a bit more skill to have manually microd all of the units to block the ACU, so it took some effort and APM to get the win instead of a single key combo? How about being clever and hiding some stuff in a part of the map that normally wouldn't get scouted? That won't work anymore because your opponent will just make 10 scouts and give a split move to scout the entire map and find your stuff on accident, might as well remove fog of war. Split move also gives you quite good automatic micro for many units. Just spam a bunch of move orders and hit a key and they will move around in unpredictable directions dodging everything. Combine this with target priorities and it is even more busted. None of these things enhance the game or increase the skill cap they just reduce micro that would have been impressive to perform and watch before into something everyone can do with the press of a button. As the power of these things becomes more realized micro will become less of a novelty and more of a mandatory part of the game.

Even without the threat of cheat mods, I would prefer to remove the ability for UI mods to issue move orders. Now that so much attention has been called to this I expect more people to start pushing the boundaries of what can be done and the line between acceptable and cheating will not be so clear. More people will probably start using actual cheat mods as well now that everyone is saying how easy it is and that they are difficult to detect. Allowing this ability to exist in the first place was a mistake and now it should be corrected.

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no UI mods should be allowed that give units "AI" aka allow translations of sentences like "if this then this else this" or "in case of this, this" into orders, but only "this, then this, then this". There can be no decision making that unit itself does (aka giving commands on its own without player), but any order queue of any orders that player wants to give them or manipulate, they should be able to do effortlessly and is fine.

Great, this means that disperse move, spread move, spread attack, and whatever else are all cheating because when you give an order to an entire group of units they give themselves new individual orders based on some decision-making code in the UI mod.

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Should we as well say, that a built templates are cheat, because they automatically places generators and facts, one after another. And FAF is very sad place, where so many potentially interesting games was ended by snipe because ACU wasn't protected enough in some moment.
And if some player make scouts, sent them to places where he didn't expect enemy units to be, and where he do not have radar, pay attention, and counter every of that units groups, before they did much damage, he is a cheater, because he didn't control every scout manually.
Pls, don't mind me, its just another point of view, that not really important.

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@ThomasHiatt said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

no UI mods should be allowed that give units "AI" aka allow translations of sentences like "if this then this else this" or "in case of this, this" into orders, but only "this, then this, then this". There can be no decision making that unit itself does (aka giving commands on its own without player), but any order queue of any orders that player wants to give them or manipulate, they should be able to do effortlessly and is fine.

Great, this means that disperse move, spread move, spread attack, and whatever else are all cheating because when you give an order to an entire group of units they give themselves new individual orders based on some decision-making code in the UI mod.

obviously there is decision making in code itself, otherwise, what would code even do? the decision making Im talking about isnt an if statement in lua, its the unit deciding on its own what to do, issuing orders to itself after player long left that unit alone, and based on something that player didnt specifically state to it

In mods you listed, this code is static, unit never changes its behavior depending on anything, there is no if, there is no in case of this, there is no decision making, there is only rigid "every unit gets these orders according to this specific unchanging algorithm every single time" (algorithm also stops running the moment players leaves the unit alone, because it only lets player give those orders easier), no unit decides what to do on its own or depending on circumstances, only doing what you specifically told it do, and there is no post-control giving of orders by the mod itself without player interaction (like ecomanager), for disperse move for example, every unit gets the closest order to itself (whilst keeping even distribution between those orders) from exact queue of orders you, the player, manually gave and then you, the player, manually told them to rearrange so, and then its done, it just has that order, it follows that order like it follows any other order, no decision making, no unit "AI", you just gave it that order more easily and faster instead of wasting your time doing a hundred pointless clicks for telling it to do something as simple as "split between these positions". You could use this argument for any control in game that already exists that could be more manual and thus increase "micro and skill" according to you. When does it end? When you have only vanilla controls and all UI mods are banned?

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@archsimkat said:

The other case that I've heard mentioned is the fact that Espiranto was caught using an autoclicker in a tournament and he was banned for it. In that case, isn't the current solution already... working?

Not really.

As Farms already eluded to: mutiple people who were both A: not part of the mod team proper: and B: were already invested in the event in question spent many multiple hours, including server tests and checking through replays etc. for ONE case that was pretty blatant, and visible to the public at large due to casting/being part of an event.

This is not something that can happen for every report. We can hardly call it working in my opinion. I think prevention is far better than a cure here.

This doesn't include the potential fallout of a tournament being ruined and how it impacts FAF's reputation too. This doesnt apply to casual games of course, but I would hate to see what happens when a sponsor decides he isn't getting a fair and respectable tournament out of his donor money.

@Mach You've gone from a couple of relevant movement related UI mods, to quote "any number of UI mods" to now "all ui mods". Stop inflating your position.

This is YOUR UI mod that is being questioned here. Don't try and hide this important point of information by claiming that removing the split g function will randomly destroy namestuff or supreme economy.

I'm sure if you call keyser a nazi a couple more times he will randomly change opinion and support you dude, real smart moves

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And last funny thing, just because Im bored. Mach do some mod, that brings some new control method, and share. So this and some other methods should be banned. An if hadn't share, and that mod for yourself, there a huge chance that he wold never have been spotted. So if in time, someone find new "loophole" which ui, better for him - to keep it low.

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@biass said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

@Mach You've gone from a couple of relevant movement related UI mods, to quote "any number of UI mods" to now "all ui mods". Stop inflating your position.

This is YOUR UI mod that is being questioned here. Don't try and hide this important point of information by claiming that removing the split g function will randomly destroy namestuff or supreme economy.

I'm sure if you call keyser a nazi a couple more times he will randomly change opinion and support you dude, real smart moves

Its not only about my mod if what allows all ui mods to have anything to do with move orders gets removed. Also when did I ever say anything about keyser? I dont even know who is deciding anything about this in first place because FAF is being illuminati about it as always. Is it only keyser then?

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@Arran said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

I agree with the points made by @Mach & @Tagada and disagree with @FtXCommando and @biass. FAF is an amazing game to me because I can control my units as I see fit without being restricted by the game designer’s limited imagination. If the game developers start restricting the player’s ability to control units their own way, I’ll leave the community and I’m sure others will too. Be warned.

Ability to control units vs APM is a stupid argument. Adding new ways to control units won’t decrease your APM, RSI will. New control methods will only shift where your APM is used. Admittedly if you have nowhere to shift your APM then that’s a bad thing for a game but FAF is sufficiently complex and epic in scale that this won’t (probably) become a problem.

Radical point. Pro FAF players (mostly old codgers who are dogmatically set in their ways, while blindsided by their fear of change) want split-move removed from the game because they screwed up their ACU positioning and got punished for it (similar logic for the removal of snipe-acu-mode). Why not just get good and not position your ACU like an idiot, or better yet, have an army with your ACU! If that still doesn’t give you enough survivability, before engaging add an ACU upgrade that gives you survivability when facing off against a huge T1 army swarm!

@RelaxBro made the point that the majority of FAF players are casuals. I hope the balance team takes that to heart when thinking about interfering with UI mods. If the mod doesn’t add AI elements to units, leave it alone.

I suggest adding a visible counter to mods which tracks how many players have downloaded it.

I second the nomination of adding @Tagada to the balance team (if he isn't already). He makes well thought out points, rationally considers other people's opinions and explains his reasoning.

@Mach this is just paranoia really) Those hypothetical cheat mods actually can't work that well, because the engine itself is not exactly great) None of those who think about removing it even tried to made or think how to make one so they don't know about all of the limitations of the engine. All the devs who actually worked with game engine commands will tell you what this is just 'fancy movement orders' like 'formations/guard/patrol' so essentially why don't we remove guard\assist patrol.

TLDR: Theoretical possiblity causes this 'ban/remove everything reaction', because people, who made decisions are just incompetent in game engine/programming in general.

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FAF would be improved if we could integrate a simple, effective autoclicker that would make manual reclaim less cancerous. SupCom 2 apparently had something similar, where you could "paint" orders on the screen, or at least Chris Taylor talked about wanting to have that feature as part of SupCom 2.

Or perhaps just a "target priorities mod" for engineers, such as: "when you are on attack-move this time, only try to grab rocks/wrecks that have at least 25 mass"

My idea was that if you give an engineer an "attack move order," and the order immediately preceding this attack-move order was a manual reclaim order, that this should be treated as a special kind of attack move where the engie only goes after bigger reclaim and ignores the small stuff.

The autoclicker thing happened because FAF is broken by the importance of clicking on manual reclaim. That should have been taken as a sign that FAF needs to make the game less broken, not that FAF needs to crack down on Russian hackers.

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FAF would be improved if we could integrate a simple, effective autoclicker that would make manual reclaim less cancerous. SupCom 2 apparently had something similar, where you could "paint" orders on the screen, or at least Chris Taylor talked about wanting to have that feature as part of SupCom 2.

@arma473 I actually implemented that and it just got removed from vault)
EDIT: https://forums.faforever.com/viewtopic.php?f=41&t=18783

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@RelaxBro said in Very long post about spread attack, UI mods and why improving player's controls and UI is apparently and wrongly considered a bad thing in FAF, also balance:

So now it is like - "we are gonna to remove something, because someone can cheat, but we do not have any evidence, community of FAF is bad enough, to have a lot of cheaters, so we do not have to proof that there is any"

Not everyone knows about it. But if you lurk in the relevant dev channels, you will notice.

Btw. this is one example of what it can do https://www.loom.com/share/3beeefd58b1b4a378b3d6e7cfdc1d1cc
Now imagine you add small delay between issuing those orders, maybe slightly random, also slightly random offset of those orders and BOOM it looks exactly like you'd be clicking it, but you just pressed a button once.

And there's no limit to what you can and cannot do, you have unlimited move and attack orders

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@speed2 each time unit takes command it have 0,5 second delay to issue them so issuing orders more frequently than 1-2 seconds will actualyl make your unit not fire at all).
This 'random' part also screws 'dodging', so it looks impressive, but will be actually counter-productive. I can micro lab way better manually than it is possible by having pre-made move order.
Also i am pretty sure i am the only one who bothers to do it just for lulz.

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But that doesnt apply for move orders. And that delay is started every tick, and there are 10 ticks per second.