Novice Zones => reduced code size

  • There is a proliferation of open-source bots in the game. This is unavoidable and not necessarily a bad thing.

    What is bad is when an open source bot that has been developed for hundreds or thousands of hours is spawned into a novice zone. The bot eats new players alive and perhaps puts them off the game, making them think they'll never have a chance. This is supposition on my part so it would be interesting to see a stat of all the players that never make it out of a novice zone, how many of them had a competitor in the zone running an open source bot in the zone, and how many had non-open source codebases.

    But assuming that it is true that open source bots in novice zones puts off new players, it would be interesting to tighten up restrictions on novice zones so that a serious open source bot couldn't be used in the zone. Novice zones are restricted to players at or below GCL3. How about restricting the size of code that could be uploaded if a player is in a novice zone (or if it's easier, restrict the size of the code if a player is at or below GCL 3).

    It takes ages to write 2 MB of code (I've not done it after hundreds of hours development), so restricting novice zones or low GCL players to maybe 50KB of code might stop the plague of advanced open source bots farming novice players without causing any harm to novice players.


  • Isn't there already a heuristic that is able to identify open source bots?
    But I agree this is a good idea.

    Maybe even scale with each GCL starting with 10kb and double that on a new level.
    You teach 2mb on level 5 this way.

  • Full disclosure: I think "open source" bots are a cancer to begin with. The game is SUPPOSED to be about writing your own code. That doesn't mean you can't help noobs get going, just not write their code for them. Instead, help by suggesting algorithms and correcting individual lines of code they have syntax problems with. It's their job to write and debug their own code.

    However, you can't stop the signal (Or git). And it's pointless to even try. If people want to 'cheat' and start with a fully trimmed up code set, there isn't anything you can do but ignore them.

    That said, the 'problem' isn't the bots. The 'problem' is the sandbox aspect and connected nature of all shards. Even shard 3, which is the official "Noob Shard" has no restrictions on the use of, say, boosts in combat. If I wanted to literally annihilate shard 3, I would just establish a foothold with a portal, import T3 boosts through said portal (Or manipulate the holes in the market.) and go to town. Sure, it would take a while... I would have to leapfrog 2 base rooms from sector to sector, but it would be effective.

    Even if you limited code size to 50K on shard 3, bot makers would just take it as a challenge to make a noob version of their bots that fit in 50K. It would still have many times the expansion capability and efficiency of an actual 'noob' player.

    All that said: The only real solution is provide an actual noob shard. One that provides a GCL limit, a market limit, no portals, and a PvP limit. Of course, then you'll find out two things: The vast majority of people have no interest in PvP and people don't want to subscribe, even if it means they can only play 5% of the game. Once you get there, you might realize that the most sustainable path the game could take is NPC combat instead of PvP combat (Invaders / Strongholds / NPC colonies) and trimming the upper limits of player power (Dumping Power Creeps, Hard limit of GCL to 10 or 15, etc.)

    TL,DR: You can't stop bots anymore than you can stop people from running multiple colonies or forming alliances. All you can do is design the system around that.


  • I in general agree to @wtfrank's idea. There needs to be a way to limit the proliferation of open source codebases among newbie zones. Hell, check the respawn zones on shard3, most of them are full of Overmind bots.

    @Smokeman that's what the newbie zones are for. Setting up entire shard like that would be inefficient, and result in most newbies not learning anything and/or just leaving their code vegetate on the shard. Timed safe area for initial development is a much better incentive to "get sh!t going". And I'm yet to see a person who'd go out of their way to wipe all the rookies from a rookie area once it despawns. Most of this community are incredibly welcoming to new players, at least to the ones who are actually developing their own code.

    And finally, getting roflstomped early in the game can also act as a great motivator. Need to exact revenge on someone can really get you going.

    Speaking of motivation, all those overmind bots in my vicinity on shard3 have been a good motivator for me to get going with stuff too. I've been using them as punching bags to test/develop battle code. But I am not OK with them spawning in a rookie zone and driving the real rookies away from the game.