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Is PBEM cheating possible?

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  • Is PBEM cheating possible?

    If a PBEM turn is replayed, other players are warned. This warns against possible cheats. Is it possible to replay a PBEM turn without alerting other players? If it's possible, I don't care how it's done. I'm just wondering if it can.
    Matthew Greet

    You're just jealous because the voices are only talking to me.

  • #2
    Perhaps if you start two SMAC sessions at the same time and load the same game in each session. Then you will have a warning with the second load. You could then, in the second 'illegal' session, explore and try what you will do in your first official session. Perhaps, I emphasize 'perhaps' cause I'm not sure at all it's true, the other players won't get a reload message when you send the official save to them.
    But of course, you must have a good computer to do them. I once started two SMAC sessions (no, not to cheat) and my crappy computer ran out of system resources. He ****ing crashed!
    Contraria sunt Complementa. -- Niels Bohr
    Mods: SMAniaC (SMAC) & Planetfall (Civ4)


    • #3
      I knew I'd get those ****.
      Contraria sunt Complementa. -- Niels Bohr
      Mods: SMAniaC (SMAC) & Planetfall (Civ4)


      • #4
        I presume there some mechanism that notices if you:[list=a][*] Copy/Reneme the incoming game file (1 or more times) before opening it;[*] Play your turn with one of them, save if you like it - exit if not;[*] Repeat "B" until satisfied.[/list=a]
        I have to think that this has been already tried and I gather that the game has a way of catching it, but I can't help but wonder how the game detects it. It would have to write to the registry or to some kind of secret reference file on your disk (unless it just looks at autosave files, which you could, of course ...). I've always assumed that PBEM could be subject to questionable behavior along these lines (hoping that somehow it wasn't), but not having done much PBEM, I've never experimented with it; I'm not sure how much I really want to know anyway.

        It seems to me that the Honor System would be in effect more than anything else; I can't imagine a verification system that couldn't be gotten around somehow - after all, we're starting with just an e-mail attachment and we're not exactly computer dumdums. Even with the most ingenious detection scheme, someone who was determined enough could do something radical like backing up their entire computer before taking their turn. Feel no shame when you lose a PBEM, because it could be that the funny look in Yang's eye is there from staying up all night waiting on his backup tape.

        Anyone who may actually know a simpler way might want to consider first asking the group if we really want to know before spilling the beans. If I started to think that any or all of the others were doing something like this, it could be a lot more serious than the Stockpile Energy thing.

        [This message has been edited by johndmuller (edited May 02, 2001).]


        • #5

          I believe in the honor system but at the same time understand that some people may cheat. However I will believe that am being beaten fair and square unless there is compelling evidence otherwise. If that makes me naive or something-- so be it. My attitude is that I play for the challenge win or lose. If I win I will know that I did it fairly. If I lose I will assume that the winner played fairly.

          I do not know how the game monitors this but I always take at face value a players explanation of any reload messages.


          • #6
            that has been attempted right when the hotseat/pbem patch came out, two years ago, by cousLeee first IIRC.
            The game must be writing something in the registry (reason for which the m@ni@c trick doesn't work...).
            Renaming the files, keeping copies of them, erasing them and downloading anew form email in different directories, none of the above got rid of the tampering notification to other players.

            But what cuts discussion on the issue, is that *uninstalling* and *reinstalling* SMAC doesn't even solve the problem.
            Thus, the solution is:
            - investigate in the machine registries. I'm not a true computer geek, some attempted to track it down, to no avail.
            - use multiple PCs ;^). I stick to the Honor System, but sometimes I was tempted, when I could play both @home & @work
            - backup your machine b4 playing a turn, and restore it if you don't like the results

            I have to say that, as I keep an end-of-turn Ctrl+S savefile of almost all my pbem turns, when I reopen one to check something that happened several turns & weeks ago (e.g. when I didn't kept note of when an election was called and the like), I see taht I can reopen them without getting the warning.... beware of slackers

            About spilling beans, figure that there's a pbem bug that allows you not to replay a turn unspotted, but to play as many turns as you want in one (first player in a pbem could receive first turn and transcend without ever passing the first turn to the second player....). but of course a CMN check would spot this...

            Otherwise, I second every word cbn wrote.

            I don't exactly know what I mean by that, but I mean it (Holden Caulfield)


            • #7
              Have a second computer

              Lots of people have 2 computers capable of running SMAC. But what's the point? Either you play for real, or you don't. If someone is cheating regularly, this will gradually become apparent because once infiltration is active, other people watch you play. Over the course of a few games, a playing style emerges. If your pod pops are almost always good, if you almost never make a mistake on your attacks, if you lose too few units given the game circumstances ... well gradually, things will start to smell ...
              Team 'Poly