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Author Topic: Network play - Unlocking of unused players  (Read 9558 times)

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Offline Fifty

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Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« on: November 29, 2012, 03:34:45 AM »
This is a perpetual problem in netgames: people take a player and put a password on it, but never actually play with it. Thus, new players cannot access the server. I would like to suggest formally, as has been stated several times before, that if a player (other than human and public service) is locked for more than 5 game years with no financial activity, it be unlocked so new players can join.

This should be default behavior, but it might be nice to have a simuconf option to disable automatic unlocking for actively moderated servers where game entry is not open (players must request a password).

Offline Dwachs

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2012, 12:53:27 PM »
How can this be implemented without spoiling 'true' players and while at the same time discouraging 'cheaters'?

If a company is unlocked due to no financial activity -> the cheater will build some tiles of track somewhere, and voila: financial activity.

If a company is unlocked if no action happens for some time -> It could screw companies, where the owner is sleeping when game progresses.

Imho, this cannot be done by the program, it needs human interaction. There need to be moderators at the server, who can take action: reset passwords, or even remove existing companies.

Any opinions?

Offline VS

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2012, 01:51:37 PM »
Then, detect constant first derivative of finance! Assuming no player interaction with game and no company interaction with world, this should detect abandoned stuff reliably, as maintenance will stay constant. Any circumvention method requires either human attention, or something moving, losing or making money... at which point, arguably, the player is active :D

Or am I missing something?

Offline Fabio

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2012, 02:02:57 PM »
I would reset players who:
1) didn't build anything
2) built ways, if those ways have 0 vehicle transit over the considered timeframe
3) built stations, if they are not served by any line or lineless vehicle
4) built depots, if they don't have any vehicle running on the map

For these reasons:
1) obvious case
2) prevents the mentioned exploit, but protects players who might rely on cheaters' roads for their lines. It also allows players who build only ways relying on tolls for their revenue.
3) stations not served are an obvious exploit
4) depots are also an exploit, if you don't run vehicles.

In most other cases, the inactive player would bankrupt soon anyway.

(I still push here my idea of nationalization upon player's bankruptcy).

Offline VS

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2012, 02:08:06 PM »
Heh, nice heuristics, but the 1st derivative of finance would catch all of that in one go... ;)

Offline prissi

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2012, 03:19:22 PM »
No, the first derivative of most stuff is wildly varying even with few convois running. If you have for instance long shipping lines or an oilrig with spew out five years worth of production. But still, a constant number of vehicles is easily detected, as well as no building activity.

May be there are two levels needed:
- dummy companies (no vehicles running)
- abandoned companies (no activity)

Both could get different unlocking times.

Offline VS

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2012, 03:31:45 PM »
No, the first derivative of most stuff is wildly varying even with few convois running.
That's the point, since I want to check for inactivity...

Offline Fabio

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2012, 03:51:42 PM »
There can be also infrastructure companies, so I would not reset if toll is earned.

Offline prissi

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2012, 04:11:14 PM »
You cannot be profitable from infrastructure alone yet. Or you would need very peculiar settings.

Please find attached quick and dirty path to remove dummy and reset abandoned companies.

simuconf.tab
Code: [Select]
# remove companies without convois after x month (0=off, 6=default)
remove_dummy_player_months = 6

# remove password of abandoned companies (wihtout any activity) after x month (0=off default)
unprotect_abondoned_player_months = 0


Offline Fabio

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2012, 04:24:26 PM »
You cannot be profitable from infrastructure alone yet.
Bold is mine

This yet makes me hope for the future ;)

I would actually like to see the possibility of specialization between infrastructure only companies and transport only companies, it would create all a world of possibilities!

Offline Fifty

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2012, 09:13:53 PM »
Nice work, prissi, as always.  Hope to see this in the trunk.

For now infrastructure cos. could have a cheap token vehicle somewhere, if they ever become profitable.

Offline greenling

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2012, 09:44:15 PM »
Fabio
Your idea from only infrastructure companies and  transport only companies it interesting.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2012, 01:24:45 AM »
Hmm, this is an interesting issue. Recently, on the Bridgewater-Brunel saved game, I have noticed one player go to extraordinary lengths to try to get itself liquidated, closing down all its real transport operations, and setting up a ship line with vast quantities of ships profitlessly moving between two deserted docks. The player obviously wishes to bow out of the game and leave her/his slot open for others, but there is no easy way of doing this.

Would it be helpful to have a "liquidate company" button in the finances window? And would it also be helpful to allow the public player to liquidate any other player's company? If there was such a button, it would probably have to break with Simutrans tradition and have a confirmation dialogue - as much as I know that Prissi dislikes them, the consternation from players who have spent months building up their network to find it destroyed at the wrong click of a button is sure to outweigh it.

Offline Fabio

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2012, 01:41:25 AM »
Not just confirmation (which Prissi says correctly is sometimes ignored) but even to type your password again.

Offline ӔO

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2012, 03:11:02 AM »
I think typing password again is good.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2012, 01:41:39 PM »
What about players who have no password defined, including players in games not played online?

Offline prissi

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2012, 02:06:05 PM »
Again, just enter a number larger than in your bank account.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2012, 02:19:02 PM »
Again, just enter a number larger than in your bank account.

That could work.

Offline Dwachs

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2012, 05:18:05 PM »
Please find attached quick and dirty path to remove dummy and reset abandoned companies.
The removing does not work: all stuff of these players is deleted, but the companies themselves not, so they cannot be restarted.

Offline greenling

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2012, 08:46:28 PM »
I think we need a Button there the player can buy and sell Vehicles,Station,ways And depots on another player.

Offline prissi

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #20 on: November 30, 2012, 10:51:49 PM »
That patch had several errors. Now the players are deleted and settings is also repaired.

Offline Dwachs

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #21 on: December 01, 2012, 05:42:08 PM »
What about: one client can only create one company (just log IPs used to create the company) ?

Offline prissi

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #22 on: December 01, 2012, 05:51:49 PM »
Very good idea. One could also allow only one company per joining, which would already stop most kiddies. That is actually trivial to implement.

Offline greenling

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #23 on: December 01, 2012, 06:31:34 PM »
prissi & Dwachs
those idea over there you talk it very bad:
Very good idea. One could also allow only one company per joining, which would already stop most kiddies. That is actually trivial to implement.
What about: one client can only create one company (just log IPs used to create the company) ?

Because I would only name a Simutrans game server nor on Simutrans fan give Simutrans Forum located here in the international fully and completely logged in have
and a valid E-mail address on the Simutrans game server operator sent have .

Offline Fabio

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #24 on: December 01, 2012, 06:50:38 PM »
The idea is interesting, but I believe there should be a per server white list of IPs allowed to run multiple companies, especially for testing reason or if agreed with the admin.

Offline prissi

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #25 on: December 01, 2012, 07:12:13 PM »
With 14 real players I think this is not good. Apart from the adminsitrator (who can generate palyers offline), no other needs to generate additional players. But after generation you can still run more than one player, if you know the password.

Offline greenling

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #26 on: December 01, 2012, 07:21:11 PM »
Prissi, Fabio
I think that it is better to remove all Simutrans network game server from the public.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2012, 07:35:34 PM by greenling »

Offline Fifty

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #27 on: December 01, 2012, 07:39:44 PM »
What if a player goes bankrupt and needs to start over with a new player? It would be okay if you just had to disconnect and reconnect to get a new player, but if you had to wait until your old company is liquidated it would be too long.

Offline greenling

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #28 on: December 01, 2012, 07:47:06 PM »
Fifty
i Think that we first that build in:
I think we need a Button there the player can buy and sell Vehicles,Station,ways And depots on another player.
that´s it the best way to restart after bankrupt.

Offline Dwachs

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #29 on: December 01, 2012, 07:55:14 PM »
What if a player goes bankrupt and needs to start over with a new player? It would be okay if you just had to disconnect and reconnect to get a new player, but if you had to wait until your old company is liquidated it would be too long.
Otherwise, a player can use a company to do expensive terraforming, etc, go bankrupt, and continue with another company.

Offline kierongreen

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #30 on: December 01, 2012, 09:40:42 PM »
Problems with ip based restrictions are that they are easy to get around if you have a dynamic ip while they block multiple people playing on the same connection. Better to record the ips used by each player - that way a server admin can choose what sanctions to apply if there appears to be unfair play taking place.

Offline greenling

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #31 on: December 01, 2012, 09:53:46 PM »
kierongreen
your idea have the problem that unfair player than switch the computer out and make that a newstart and there be get
a new ip adresse.

Offline Ashley

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #32 on: December 03, 2012, 01:10:32 AM »
Keeping track of which IP addresses are associated with a company/client would be very useful in deciding how to apply a ban. The functionality to retrieve that would need to be exposed through nettool, along with the functionality to reset passwords/liquidate companies.

Offline greenling

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #33 on: December 03, 2012, 09:03:17 AM »
Timothy
A keeping track from ip addresses it worthless!
With a newstart from the Computer changes the ip addresses.
That said my tool with the name Network Meter.

Offline prissi

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2012, 03:24:17 PM »
I though nettool had already something to ban IPs?

Offline Ashley

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2012, 03:25:10 PM »
Yes it does, but knowing which IP to ban isn't easy unless you can tell which IPs are associated with which companies and which client.

Offline wlindley us

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #36 on: December 03, 2012, 09:26:42 PM »
How about a function in the forum, that somehow ties your account / password here, to a network game?  It should be possible wtih nettool to do some HTTP wizardry

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #37 on: December 03, 2012, 11:52:46 PM »
What about the German forum...?

Offline ӔO

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2012, 01:07:57 AM »
I wouldn't bother with tying forum accounts to game clients just yet. That would force new players, who may only lurk here, to sign up, which adds to hassle.

Simply banning by IP should be enough, for now. If the problem persists, then we can try something more drastic.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2012, 12:50:25 PM »
AEO is probably right on this, I think.

Offline TurfIt

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #40 on: December 20, 2012, 12:51:13 AM »
The nightly server is still removing passwords... Perhaps the attached is what was intended?

Offline Dwachs

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #41 on: December 20, 2012, 07:17:46 AM »
The nightly server is still removing passwords... Perhaps the attached is what was intended?
Looks better - please commit.

Offline AP

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #42 on: December 20, 2012, 07:50:55 AM »
Hmm, this is an interesting issue. Recently, on the Bridgewater-Brunel saved game, I have noticed one player go to extraordinary lengths to try to get itself liquidated, closing down all its real transport operations, and setting up a ship line with vast quantities of ships profitlessly moving between two deserted docks. The player obviously wishes to bow out of the game and leave her/his slot open for others, but there is no easy way of doing this.

Would it be helpful to have a "liquidate company" button in the finances window?

I second this idea. Having recently had a company with a high positive net worth, but after a disastrous-loss-making foray into the world of railway building, could see that it was doomed unless I could sell everything.

Unfortunately, the sheer amount of vehicles and infrastructure constructed made this impossible, so the company went into a slow decline. I'd much prefer a "liquidate all assets" button, as it would allow a healthy company to restructure in such circumstances.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #43 on: December 20, 2012, 11:13:34 AM »
I second this idea. Having recently had a company with a high positive net worth, but after a disastrous-loss-making foray into the world of railway building, could see that it was doomed unless I could sell everything.

Unfortunately, the sheer amount of vehicles and infrastructure constructed made this impossible, so the company went into a slow decline. I'd much prefer a "liquidate all assets" button, as it would allow a healthy company to restructure in such circumstances.

Ahh, this is a request for something subtly different - liquidation of a balance sheet solvent but unprofitable company without eventual dissolution of the company. I wonder how often that players actually want to do this...?

Offline AP

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2012, 01:11:28 PM »
Subtly different, but is not the underlying mechanics the same. I.e. to quit entirely, you press one button to liquidate, and then another to dissolve the company?

Re frequency - I bet it crops up more and more in server games, given the inability to test-run any changes. Better to consolidate a position and refocus than decline and fade to obscurity. May occur e.g. to rail companies when the motor cars rise to dominance, or canal companies when railways arrive - easier to sell the lot than spend months deconstructing everything?

Edit: it could even be made into a power function, with search filters. E.g. sell *everything that isn't fixed down*, sell *all road vehicles* etc.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 06:57:40 PM by AP »

Offline ӔO

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2012, 07:29:36 PM »
there ought to be a way to buy, sell and trade player owned ways and buildings.

maybe something like a box selection of objects inside.

Offline greenling

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2012, 09:20:00 PM »
there ought to be a way to buy, sell and trade player owned ways and buildings.
maybe something like a box selection of objects inside.
Yes, that is a great idea, she should be built as soon as possible.

Offline prissi

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2012, 09:50:37 PM »
There is a function to found a new city. Its cost is 50 millions on the nightly. YOu can easily make this 5000 millions, and will lead to instant dead.

Offline AP

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2012, 09:57:37 PM »
There is a function to found a new city. Its cost is 50 millions on the nightly. YOu can easily make this 5000 millions, and will lead to instant dead.
No that function is very useful! I use it when building rail routes through sparsely populated mountains between two areas of higher population, so I can introduce some settlements en-route and thus intermediate traffic. Would be a shame to lose it.

Offline Ashley

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2012, 10:12:12 PM »
What about a station extension building that costs a billion credits? Buy a few of those and kaboom...

Offline ӔO

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #50 on: December 21, 2012, 12:39:55 AM »
or just a vehicle that costs a few billion in maintenance per km.

You can name it something like... "Hubris Vehicle".
Only the super rich would be able to run it without bankrupting themselves instantly.

actually, speaking of which, I should make one... pure gold, encrusted with diamonds and uses paper money as fuel  8)

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Network play - Unlocking of unused players
« Reply #51 on: December 21, 2012, 12:55:17 AM »
The hubris vehicle is a rather cute idea; but this is rather a short-term workaround for something that should, when time eventually allows, be fixed by a dedicated solution in the code.