[MUD-Dev] Containing automation?

Charles Hughes charles.hughes at bigfoot.com
Mon Jul 19 19:05:54 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Monday, July 19, 1999 5:05 PM, Timothy O'Neill Dang [SMTP:timothy at nmia.com] wrote:
> I'd be very interested in any recommendations on design and programming
> methods of preventing client-side automation, whether in graphical or
> text-based games.

> The basic gist I have so far is, include randomness from a large
> possibility space, with high payoffs for reacting properly or penalties
> for failing to do so. In theory I can see that this will make automation
> more difficult, and hopefully keep things entertaining enough that folks
> don't want to macro.

I've personally used macros to keep my character alive, handle stupid stuff, and
make certain things easier and less boring.  Here's a quick list:
staying alive:
	see big bad meanies - 1 key: run away, narrate for help, keep running
	see the warning sign of a teleport in progress - same as seeing big bad meanies
	triggers on room names that contain exits leading to death traps
stupid stuff:
	eating food & drinking water to stay healthy
	buying food
	the complete act of buying ingredients and making food
easier & less boring:
	changing my appearance (using strategic equipment, using pretty clothing, etc)

> I'm largely concerned with automation of trade skills, however, and while
> I'm sure it's possible to design them to act just as complex and exciting
> as combat, I haven't seen it done yet. Trade skills, probably naturally,
> tend to be pretty straightforward in execution. My concern is preventing a
> bot from buying material, making good, buying material, making good, put
> good in bank, buying material, making good...

I suggest looking at this from the other angle - trade is based on economics
and scarcity. If a bot is continually buying material and creating a good
then the material will start to increase in value as it gets consumed, 
and the good will decrease in value as it becomes more available. Eventually,
it will cost more to produce the good than the good can be sold for, and/or
the materials to create the good will no longer be available.

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