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Old 25th April 2011, 05:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default A question of ethics...

I'm mucking about with version 1.5 in single player at the moment and thought I would try a few mods. I'm not even sure if they would work in SMP but out of interest where do people draw the line in the sand between 'helpers' and 'exploits'?

Case in point, there is a mod called Material Detector which draws a small radar map on the screen indicating where different materials can be located. This has been incredibly useful for quickly getting a stock of diamond and iron. With this strip mining is a thing of the past as you can dig directly to your source. I really wish I had had this when I was trying to stock up on the iron needed for the rail. But is this considered an exploit or just a helper?

Are there other mods out there that cross the line? For that matter, does pressing F3 to locate mobs cross the line as well? (And who hasn't been able to resist this at times?! )
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Old 25th April 2011, 06:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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In SP who cares what you do? I fired up a Inventory editor so I could test booster designs, No big deal. Exploits or helpers should stay off the SMP server in all forms, otherwise might as well turn it into another creative if you going to be given everything.

Just my take on it.
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Old 25th April 2011, 06:33 AM   #3 (permalink)
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In regards to single player I think it's pretty much anything goes - the reality is you're only going to enhance or negatively impact your own game experience.

When it comes to SMP it's obviously more involved as mods / actions you take to enhance your game experience may have a negative affect on some one else's experience. Using your examples:

Material Detector:
You use it to find a resources in an area which is shared by a number of people so that you can built a rail network - which may or may not be used by multiple people. Using this mod however has resulted in you being able to effectively strip out all resources in an area using narrow targeted shafts and leaving none remaining for anyone else to find. The expectation of most players would be however that unless they were coming across massive strip mines, that they would be able to find resources in an area. They thus continue to futilely mine the area. One imagines they'd consider their game experience damaged when they continually fail to discover resources and/or find out what you've done after investing time themselves in mining the area.

It's probably one that I'd be viewing as an exploit / not in the spirit of fair play on the TOG servers.

I have my doubts however that this particular mod would work in SMP as it likely relies on having full information/access to the world data, which it would in single player, but not in SMP. The principle applies still to those mods that do work in SMP.

F3:
This one's probably a bit more grey in so far as (a) it's Mojang delivered functionality, albeit not being used for it's designed purpose - which could in itself be viewed as exploiting, and (b) it likely comes down to what purpose you're putting it to. Raiding mob spawners to the detriment of others having a fair shake at happening across them and utilising them themselves or occasionally checking if there's anything around that's going to present a risk to you would likely be viewed quite differently.

On the TOG servers, the intent is that players should have equivalent game functionality comprised of the core minecraft game as delivered by Mojang plus any server side mods that we are running. If you're running a client side mod that adds functionality that may have a directly or indirectly detrimental affect on other players you can expect it to be frowned upon.

While we do have the capacity to identify some mods that players may be using that may potentially be viewed as exploits or not in the spirit of a TOG community server (and have noted some minor instances), we hope that we can rely on players to make responsible judgements themselves before using a client side mod or a game exploit on the TOG server. We'd rather play the game ourselves than be spending time white/black listing mods and implementing detection solutions.
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Old 25th April 2011, 07:44 AM   #4 (permalink)
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In single-player I agree that it is entirely your own experience and if you want to make use of mods to achieve certain things then all well and good. I quite often use X-Ray in single player to locate the spawners so I can test traps. But my question was really with regards mods in SMP.

Very good point about stripping an area of goodies without the tell-tale strip-mines making the area useless to other unsuspecting players. I think this mod 'could' function in SMP because I don't think it loads the whole map. I think it just loads from the surrounding chunks. An aspect I do like with this mod which I would consider a helper rather than an exploit is that it makes a mud-map of your surrounds and gives compass points.
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Old 25th April 2011, 07:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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BTW. You guys are up early today. Were you going to ANZAC day dawn services? Every year there are maore and more people that are attending. I just got back.
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Old 25th April 2011, 09:26 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sp!at View Post
BTW. You guys are up early today. Were you going to ANZAC day dawn services? Every year there are maore and more people that are attending. I just got back.
I try not to miss it.
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Old 25th April 2011, 01:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It does seem to be a fine line - many know I used a flying mod in single player and then found it worked in SMP - and I loved it.
For building huge creations it really is the best thing out - though sadly I realize it does fall fairly and squarely in the "Exploit" category - or as Obsi put it "A bit cheaty".

Now I don't have it (Sor added kryptonite to the server in 1.5) I'd like to say I don't miss it, but I do - the amount of times I have pulled down and rebuilt the hull of my airship because it doesn't look right (and the amount of lost material) is bloody frustrating - I have just finished the front of a hull and it still isn't right...

But the trade off is community, and there is something to be said for wandering around the server and seeing what people have built and knowing what they had to do to build some of the epic creations.

We all asked for it to be a "hard" server and my take would be if it's released by Mojang then cool - if not then probably not (server and admin mods aside of course) - only exception seems to be the mini map?
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Old 25th April 2011, 02:53 PM   #8 (permalink)
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For single-player, cheat as much as you like, of course. For multiplayer, anything that's not supported by the creator of the game, I consider ammoral cheating. There's a difference between available functionality and intended functionality.

Take World of Warcraft for instance - from the second Beta revision onwards, Blizzard made the use of the built-in LUA script interpreter available for other people to use, spawning what has become a hugely successful modding community. Almost every aspect of the interface can be customised and additional functionality added within the framework - for instance (before the game incorporated it directly) mods to let you know how much threat you had on the target, relative to other players (most importantly, your tank). Or mods to guide you, GPS-style, to your next quest target.

Every now and then, however, someone came up with a mod which abused the available functionality in a way that Blizzard didn't intend them to. Sometimes they were able to disable that functionality (example: a mod which marked on the ground where any incoming boss damage effects would occur - Blizzard didn't intend the encounters to be this explicitly easy). Sometimes however, they couldn't disable the functionality and just had to tell people "Oi - stop doing that, stop making those mods, or we'll ban you." A prime example being cross-faction communication mods. It's still possible to write a mod which communicates, morse-code-style, with members of the opposite faction (where, any of those also running the mod could receive and decode the messages). However, it's not in the intended spirit of the game, fairly clearly, as Blizzard made a design decision to make the two factions not able to communicate natively.

So - how does this relate to Minecraft. Well, pretty simply - anything which is obviously a design decision in the game, shouldn't be countered (in multiplayer) by any modifications. It's *possible* to load up a wallhack in Counterstrike and view people through walls. Obviously it's not how the game was designed to be played, as the walls aren't all made of glass. Likewise, the main entire aim of Minecraft is to dig and explore and mine for resources. Anything which shows you how to get directly to them, is clearly against how the designers intend the functionality to be used. Otherwise diamond would be plentiful, and on the surface.

By making the game in Java, they really have opened themselves up to making it possible for anyone to hack anything into the game, client-side, that they want. Some things aren't possible (for instance, transparency mods - as the engine only renders the surfaces you can see - the blocks behind them aren't rendered until you dig down and can see them - and no, the 'zoning in' effect doesn't counter this - while chunks are loading, you can "see" them). This is as opposed to most 3D games, which render not only ever area you can see, but every area you'd be able to see into from standing in any of the points you can see - and there's good design reasons for that which I won't explain now cause this post is already too long, lol.

Flying is a possible client-side modification. Is it intended by Mojang? Probably not - until they add jetpacks to the game. Mineral radar is possible by client-side modification. Is it intended by Mojang? No - it goes against the whole idea of the game. Though if they do one day add metal detectors, you can be sure they'll work with a limited range (and won't pick up diamonds - not metal). If you can tell a modification goes against the design decisions of the game, then it's cheating. Don't do it!

EDIT: Although I confess while I don't use a flying mod, I don't have a particular problem with those who do use it for creative purposes rather than avoiding combat. I wouldn't, but that's probably why all my structures are low down on the ground and boring.
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Old 25th April 2011, 04:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bazz View Post
Now I don't have it (Sor added kryptonite to the server in 1.5)
While the kryptonite sounds way cooler, the more mundane answer I believe is that bukkit patched the exploit which the flying mod was using. Of course the patch may have in fact incorporated the addition of kryptonite - I've not checked the source code.
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Old 25th April 2011, 05:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
For multiplayer, anything that's not supported by the creator of the game, I consider ammoral cheating. There's a difference between available functionality and intended functionality.
I would disagree with that statement, because notch and team clearly are going out of their way to make modding available. Mods help to attract people to the game. They fill voids. So notch, in general, supports mods.

I do agree with some of the sentiments in this thread that when behaviour by one person affects others then it shouldn't be happening.
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