Feature Proposal: Official Autocasting

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Feature Proposal: Official Autocasting

Postby Seven Shikami » 19 Feb 2009, 13:07

With the pervasiveness of autocasting gestures and scripts lately, and our official stance neither supporting nor fighting them (since any fighting we do would impact the fishing of ordinary folks too negatively), I've been pondering if we need to take some action on this front rather than simply ignoring the problem. I came up with this idea today, but given the volatile nature of the subject of autocasting, I felt it critical to open it up to community discussion rather than blithely plowing ahead and coding it into the fishing rods.

The proposal is such:

GIVEN that autocasters exist and many are undetectable,
GIVEN that fishing area owners may or may not want to ban autocasters,
GIVEN that most people use them just for convenience and not with any malicious intent,

THE SOLUTION is an Autocasting option in the fishing rods which, when turned on, will continue to cast until turned off or until you run out of bait. This option, however, works like Loud Catch Mode... a new fishing server would be released simultaneously which allowed fishing area owners to DISABLE autocasting in their fishing areas. If they disable it, then the official autocaster won't work.

THE ADVANTAGE is that the official autocaster would be safe, responsible, and ethical as a result... casual fishers could make use of it, fishing area owners trying to run marathons or have very rare customs could disable it, and it would provide a safe alternative compared to shady third party products. And anybody who DOES use a third party autocaster would immediately be suspect because there's no reason to use one anymore.

THE COMPLICATION is that while having a safe and ethical official autocaster satisfies the needs of 95% of fishers, there will always be some who turn to said shady third party products anyway so they can have an undetectable, unstoppable autocaster. There are already these things in the wild, and even though fishing area owners already can say "No autocasting!" they can't stop it, and we cannot provide tools to stop them. (An autocaster could be as simple as one of those plastic water-drinking birds repeatedly tapping your F2 key. How could you possibly stop that short of CIA level spy equipment and a SWAT team doing a home invasion to disable it?)

THE QUESTION is, would adding an ethical official autocaster improve the situation any, or would those who intend to ignore a fishing area owner's desires simply ignore it anyway and nothing would really change? Is it worth the inevitable hailstorm of controversy autocasters cause just to try and provide a responsible solution? Is this going to improve your fishing lives enough that you'd want it despite that? In short... what do you think? Should we do this?

Oh, by the way... one way or another, we are closing the gap which SOME autocaster creators are using to programmatically access our rod's casting functions. They are using unauthorized, non-OpenSeas channels against the wishes of the 7Seas developers and they will be stopped. While we aren't pledged to going to crazy lengths to stop autocasters, like skill minigames or checking avatar inactivity in weird ways, this is a simple five minute fix and one that's going into the next rod upgrade. This won't affect gesture based casting or plastic drinking bird toys, but it should handle many others. If you're selling a scripted autocasting device using unauthorized channels, you may want to stop now, or face some unhappy customers when they stop working.
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Re: Feature Proposal: Official Autocasting

Postby Chewart Bandler » 19 Feb 2009, 13:27

I think this would be a great idea. I have never "bought" an autocaster, but rather just setup a set of gestures...anyone can do that, and make it undetectable....but being able to test my area to check rarity custom catches would be good. On the flip side, it does promote anti-social behavior if enabled in costests.
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Re: Feature Proposal: Official Autocasting

Postby Barbara Schwarz » 19 Feb 2009, 13:28

(removed)
Last edited by Barbara Schwarz on 24 Feb 2009, 09:49, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Feature Proposal: Official Autocasting

Postby Seven Shikami » 19 Feb 2009, 13:39

I'd like to note I did not specifically bring Barbara's name into this. She self-identified as an autocaster developer. Now, then.

Anything which uses reverse engineered channels that are not part of our OpenSeas specs is shady in my book. It's deliberately poking the rod to try to find holes. We have the specs for a reason -- those are the authorized interfaces. Beyond that you run the risk of us breaking your gadget, which we are doing now.

As for "ethical" the script you showed me had no way to detect or stop the autocaster. It worked undetectably and could not be turned off in accordance with a fishing area owner's wishes. That's unethical. What I'm proposing is ethical because it respects the rights of fishing area owners. It's not "Oh, so SEVEN did it and it's fine, but *I* do it and it's not". I'm not doing what you're doing. I'm proposing a controllable and safe autocaster.

Yes, I changed my mind about patching the rod. Initially I told you I felt it wouldn't be appropriate hot in the heels of version 3.2, but after discussing with the dev team, we decided it'd be an acceptable risk to issue another version. I'm allowed to change my mind about things.

Now can we please resume discussing whether or not an official autocaster is a good idea instead of playing the defense/attack game? I don't care about your work specifically. I care about the overall health of the game and the wishes of the community.
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Re: Feature Proposal: Official Autocasting

Postby anddy heartsdale » 19 Feb 2009, 13:41

I AM NEW TO THE 7SEAS FISHING BUT I FOR ONE ONLY USE THE GESTURES AND IT SEEMS THAT IS IS ALWAYS THE SAME PEOPLE WINING THE CONTESTS WHY CAUSE THEY HUD I HAVE ASKOTER PEOPLE WHY THEY DONT ATTEN THE FISHING THEIR RESPONSE WAS WHY THE SAME PEOPLE ALWAYS WIN SO FOR ME I WOULD TO SEE A LEAVE PLAYING FOR ALL AFTER ALL IT IS ABOUT CATCHING THE CUSTOMS
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Re: Feature Proposal: Official Autocasting

Postby Jen Shikami » 19 Feb 2009, 13:53

Yeah, this thread is not the place to get into whether channel-detectors in SL are ethical or shady. And we already know some people hate autocasting (of any kind, authorized or not) and consider it "cheating" despite lack of rules against it, wheras other people don't care.

So in general I advise that we all strive to avoid turning this into an ethics-of-reverse-engineering or ethics-of-autocasting-in-general discussion.

As for whether we're being inconsistent for considering this now... This wouldn't be the first time in computing history that someone released back-engineered code that forced the creators to consider a radical change to their code or policies. (OpenSimulator vs. Linden Lab, anyone?)

Clearly there's community demand for autocasting or there wouldn't be all these third-party autocasters to start with. That alone is reason enough to open the discussion.

So the question at hand is: would adding an official autocaster improve your experience? Would it reduce the existing worries about cheating in cases where autocasters of all types are banned by fishing area owners?

P.S.: Anddy, I have to admit I don't understand your comment. I gather that you don't like autocasting at all due to the effect on contests. Do you think having an official autocaster would help?
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Re: Feature Proposal: Official Autocasting

Postby Atashi Toshihiko » 19 Feb 2009, 13:55

I am in favour of 7Seas producing or incorporating autocasting into the rods, but with a caveat.

I think it would be useful for people new to fishing, who enjoy the social aspects of fishing with friends, who don't know about the other alternatives, be they scripts, gestures, opensource viewers,et cetera. You can see where I'm coming from, looking at one of my first posts to the forum - I asked if there was a way to cast automatically... not because I wanted to win marathons etc, but because when I was socializing with my friends, I'd forget to keep hitting the F2 button, and it was 'annoying' when you're trying get that next bit of salvage or trying to get to that next level, and realize that you got into the conversation and forgot to cast for a half hour.

What I don't agree with, is promoting an 'official autocaster' as the only autocaster. As has already been mentioned here and in the group chat, it's impossible to combat or detect most of the alternatives. I don't feel it's "fair" or ethical to imply that the existing alternative methods are wrong, criminal, or themselves unethical (with the exception of anything that is proven to be a case of cracking scripts etc).

So, as far as I'm concerned, go ahead and add an official autocaster, plug any security issues in the product, but don't try to discourage any of the other gestures etc. out there and don't try to push your official one as the 'Only legitimate' one, and don't leave fishing area operaters under the impression that they can disable anything - letting them disable the official one is an ok option but won't guarantee that nobody is autocasting.

*edited to clarify: When I say 'autocasting' I'm including gestures, birds tapping the f2 key, etc. not just scripted objects.

-Atashi
Last edited by Atashi Toshihiko on 19 Feb 2009, 14:23, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Feature Proposal: Official Autocasting

Postby anddy heartsdale » 19 Feb 2009, 14:13

venues have contest to bring fisher that will come back to the venues to fish wheather there is a contest or not but when most of the fishers stop going becuse they feel the dont have a chance to win so there for venue owner lose out and i have heard this from a lot of fishers so yes i dont like them
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Re: Feature Proposal: Official Autocasting

Postby Amara Twilight » 19 Feb 2009, 14:39

anddy heartsdale wrote:venues have contest to bring fisher that will come back to the venues to fish wheather there is a contest or not but when most of the fishers stop going becuse they feel the dont have a chance to win so there for venue owner lose out and i have heard this from a lot of fishers so yes i dont like them


Except thats just heresay. Have you run tests or talked to anyone who has? Grey Natch ran a bunch of contest-tests with autocaster huds, and gestures and normal f2 pressing. The results were in most every case the autocasters and gestures LOST the contest. Any fisher that is at the keyboard and keeping an eye on casting is going to cast faster with F2 then any sort of gesture, the huds come close and what it finally boils down to is pure luck on what rarity of fish you catch to win.

An official autocaster levels the playing field for everyone involved. A fishing area owner having the right to disable autocasting for contests is also good. It won't detect if someone has found another way to have a hud autocast and it won't stop the HuD that uses the real restraint browser but if they are caught then there is no denying that they were cheating and thus a banning is quite appropriate.

official autocasters help the disabled members and are not much different then gestures. It was even mentioned in chat that someone could write a cascading gesture to cast for 8 hours!

In the end it comes down to luck of the catch and the community has been VERY creative in ways around Huds/gestures, such as the reverse payouts that Grey and others do now and then. A reverse payout is 5th place wins the most and 1st place wins the least :) easy enough to set up with some of the prize pots out there or any configurable tip jar style prize pot.

I'd much rather have an official autocast feature then wait for someone to find another way around the current way these are working that only a few will have.
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Re: Feature Proposal: Official Autocasting

Postby Jen Shikami » 19 Feb 2009, 14:46

Right Anddy, that's why some people don't like autocasting. But as repeatedly noted, we can't entirely prevent autocasting. This thread isn't about whether we should entirely prevent autocasting, because that's not possible in SL. What we're asking is whether it would help to have an official autocaster which area owners can block, particularly since Seven plans to patch some channels that other autocasters used.

I see what you're saying Atashi, esp. regarding the newbie experience -- very curious how others will feel as well! (By the way, personally I consider patching reverse-engineerable channels to be a security fix.)
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