Thursday, March 14, 2013

ISBoxer And The Ninja Edit

Just a follow-up to yesterday's post about Inner Space.  Some people are upset with CCP for going back and doing a stealth edit on their original forum post concerning CCP's multi-boxing policy.  Why the stealth edit?  Blame Lavish Software, makers of Inner Space and ISBoxer.

On the ISBoxer website is a page titled "Is Multiboxing with ISBoxer allowed?"  One section of the page is aimed specifically at Eve Online players to convince them that CCP has no problems with the use of ISBoxer.  The TL;DR of the logic of the argument is:
  • User was banned for using ISBoxer.
  • User then shows the same actions could be performed mechanically.  See Kotaku and Gizmodo for the famous story.
  • CCP issues post on forums stating that multiboxing programs are allowed as long as they follow certain guidelines.
  • ISBoxer follows the guidelines.
Looked at and parsed very closely, that is not an endorsement of the product or approval by CCP of ISBoxer.  But as part of the sales pitch, the original post by GM Lelouch was quoted in its entirety by Lavish Software and the website directly linked to the post on the old forums.  The implication is that if CCP was banning users of ISBoxer and have now stopped, CCP must approve the use of ISBoxer.  If CCP wanted to get the information out that ISBoxer was not officially approved for use by CCP, then the surest way to get the message across was to edit the post since it is used as part of Lavish Software's marketing material.  Apparently this became a concern to CCP on 18 February 2013.


Hopefully this answers the question of why CCP would ninja edit a post on the old servers.

Update: I just reviewed the OP of the forum thread.  The player in question was not banned for using ISBoxer as is stated in the Lavish Software marketing materials.  The player was using Synergy, open source software that allows a user to move the mouse across multiple computers and move the keyboard functionality.  I will try to be more careful in checking my sources in the future.

30 comments:

  1. So, is it legal to use Synergy or ISBoxer? Still have no clue.

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    1. If I had a definitive answer, I'd post it. I'm using Input Director, which I liked better than Synergy. I think that type of software is safe. What may not be safe is ISBoxer because it uses Inner Space, which is what Questor and the bots built on ISXEVE use. Since I don't know CCP's detection methods, I can't tell you for sure. It may be allowed but, like the guy claimed to riverini, you could get picked up on a false positive.

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  2. NO. It is NOT legal. Pls read the EULA for yourself and then...
    (1) err on the side of caution and assume it is not ok unless clearly stated and
    (b) PLAY the effin game the way it was meant to be played... ATK. You sitting At The Keyboard, hitting keys and using the mouse YOURSELF. Why is this SOOO effin hard for people to understand?

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    1. You tell me to err on the side of caution, which means that you believe some software could conceivably be compliant with the EULA. You tell me to wait until that software is clearly stated yet you know that CCP will not ever make such a list public. To quote:

      "nor will we at EVE customer support be able to officially endorse or sanction specific third party multiboxing programs."

      So, you are not being reasonable. The one thing CCP has done it NOT issue a blanket ban. Trying to scare and bully people into playing the game as you see fit is a pathetic statement about your own delusions and insecurities.

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  3. I didn't think of this until I saw that Nosy uses input software... which I find disturbing for someone who spends so much effort and time on botters.

    I use MY HANDS. That's it... just my 2 gripping appendages evolution gave me..The ones a mouse and keyboard were designed for. The ones the GAME was designed for. The ones CCP intended for you to use.

    IMHO, anything else is cheating and crap. Period.

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    1. I'd say, just like with ISBoxer, it fully depends on how you use InputDirector or Synergy. If you just use it to move the input focus from one computer to the next, then the only advantage you gain is that you have space on your desk for whiskey and beer (instead of having all available surface covered in keyboards and mice) - you're still commanding only one client at a time.

      If on the other hand you use the software to issue commands to multiple clients at once (what InputDirector calls 'Mirror Input'), then you're stepping deep into the grey zone, if not beyond it.

      So, "Input Software" is not immediately the same as "cheating". It's how it's being used.

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    2. And to give a concrete example:

      One computer is running EVE in its full glory - full-screen, max detail, FRAPS on standby.

      The other computer is running a twitter client, Kitten Cam, a music player, maybe dotlan EvE Maps - stuff which doesn't tie into the EVE client at all.

      How would it be cheating to use input software to control both computers from a single keyboard and mouse?

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    3. Wait a minute. You mean that Input Director can input keystrokes on both computers at the same time? Basically I use it because I don't have enough space on my computer desk. To open up everything I'd need a new desk.

      And I just looked up the documentation and indeed, Input Director can record macros up to 256 characters. I did not know that. I just use it to move my mouse back and forth. Comes in handy when I want to look up a website without doing alt-tab. Or as I've said before on the blog, move between Eve clients.

      Got any ideas on a replacement software?

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    4. I think you are seriously misunderstanding what Input Director and Synergy really DO. They are a software KVM switch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/KVM_switch), and not much more.

      If you think that is 'cheating', you should really pull the stick out of your ass.

      Delete
    5. Remember kids, if you use Microsoft Excel and import price data from eve-central, then that is cheating and crap. Play the game as CCP intended. Thus spake Tur.

      Delete
    6. "I" am not being reasonable??? I assume you are arguing that you should be able to play EvE (or any game I assume) as if you had a multiple personality disorder no matter what anyone says. And with the extremely clear "…nor will we at EVE customer support be able to officially endorse or sanction specific third party multiboxing programs."

      I believe that pretty much settles that. Sounds like a ‘blanket’ ban to me as without official sanction you use ANY third party software at your own risk. CCP is simply leaving themselves the room, and the right, to officially state that Software “X” is now in violation when changes to Software “X” alter its abilities to the point where CCP determines it IS in violation. So, yes… to err of the side of caution in this case seems to be to play the game the way CCP intended.

      @Druur, I agree fully... what I was stating is my understanding of not only the EULA, but much of what I have read from Dev posts and Blogs on this topic... CCP 's rules are against 'cheating' on the 'player experience'... IE YOU actively playing the game, not software (be it macros, fully automated bots or whatever human interaction emulation software workaround you prefer) playing the game FOR you... and yes, I agree it can be a fine blurry grey line with new software coming out everyday thinning, blurring and greying out that line more and more...

      Noisy using software to 'multiply' HIS manual inputs may not be a 'cheat' as defined by CCP right now, his inputs are multiplied but not delayed or created (run) by the system or software, and they are manually input by him... but I am curious...

      As someone who plays one toon at a time and always has, was there any of this kind of software, specifically for games, available in '03? I ask this as a serious question as I was playing Doom, Quake, Halo etc. the same way I play EvE back then and we didn't have multiboxers (that I knew of) then...

      As for "...pathetic statement about your own delusions and insecurities." and “…pull the stick out of your ass.” Ahhh... the things children say when they have no recourse but waaaa waaa waaa… LOL you guys are a riot... and remember, when mommy says bed time, she means it.

      @Anon2:48… actually as long as you manually “…use Microsoft Excel and import price data from eve-central,” which is how I do it too, then you are, as far as I can tell, “Play(ing) the game as CCP intended.” So thus spake Anon2:48… and the good lord knows we should always listen carefully to children who speak anonymously on the Internet... LOL

      I don’t RMT, bot, grief (beyond my understanding of what the EULA condones etc.) or use ANY third party software to run the client, I do that by hand one toon at a time… and that aint nothing more than just the way I roll… We are all free to play the game however we each want… But if you break the rules, and get caught, you have to live with the ban… not me.

      I know a guy in EvE who multiboxes... runs two clients and uses at-tab, no additional software... and DAMN is he good! Scary good... he usually always flies a Falcon on one client (his maxed out EWar toon) and jams, like EVERYTHING, and on a second client, he flies whatever DPS ship he is most interested in at the time… usually some flavor of T3… and he is amazing to watch and sheer hell to fly against… it really is like fighting twins… and, as I said, he alt tabs so his inputs are always manual and single.

      My point was I do not believe CCP ever intended for people to have keyboard or mouse inputs into the game that were not MANUALLY initiated by the player AT THE MOMENT of input. IE Playing the game with your hands, not with software.

      Delete
    7. Yes, you are being unreasonable. I should be able to play the game as I see fit as long as that does not breach the EULA. CCP encourages the use of alts. They run a 'power of two' sale that encourages the creation and plexing of additional characters. Your self righteous pride about owning only one character is just silly.

      If your position is that CCP has issued a blanket ban on all third party multiboxing software, then I question your reading comprehension. In their post the state that it is a guideline to what is acceptable. A Guideline to acceptability is not a blanket ban. It is to state that their is a line and that one should not cross it. The very existence of a line is to state that one can be on the correct side of it.

      CCP wants people to PLEX the twelve man ice mining gang. They just don't want people to bot. Ok. What does that mean? I don't know, neither, apparently, does CCP.

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    8. @TurAmarth - Let me make one thing clear. I was using ID to move my mouse from one keyboard to another. I then would use one click to perform one action in one client. I never used the software to perform a click or command in multiple clients. After actually looking at the guide for ID after you pointed out it could be done I found out it can do that as well as make some rather lengthy macros.

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    9. @ Noisy,,, I wasn't jumping you about it man, was curious as I looked up the software you used thinking it was something I might look into and then saw that it does allow some of the functionality currently being discussed... that was ALL.

      I was not accusing you of anything... I follow your blog and greatly respect you, your efforts and the time you devote to a more serious side of the metagame.

      Delete
    10. Anon-9:29..
      (1) Of course CCP wants you to own multiple accounts, they make more profit on PLEX than on subs;
      (2) I don't have just one toon or account I just only PLAY one 'toon' at a time.
      (3) a 'guideline' that says they do NOT support nor endorse ANY third party software is as blanket as one can get... NONE... N O N E... look up the definition and be enlightened.
      (4) What it means is sooo frakkin simple any reasonable person can get it... Of course CCP wants you to have 12 accounts... they make a lot of real ISK off you that way... and what you do with them is your business AS LONG AS YOU DON'T BREAK THE EULA... If you find it difficult to PLAY on 12 accounts at the same time, mebbe you shouldn't have fell for the advertising... how simply does one have to put it?

      You have been answered, twice, that's one more than reasonable people need.

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    11. Sorry my muse had my brain in its hands and I forgot to add...

      I use UltraMon (www.realtimesoft.com) for multiple monitor functionality... It allows improved control over displays and multiple monitor functions, IE dual and stretched wallpaper, Smart Taskbar, screensavers etc. but not mouse & keyboard functions as far as I have read and tested and I have used UltraMon for years.

      Delete
    12. A refusal to offer prior approval does not a blanket ban make. This would be like an airline saying that since there is a great diversity of soft drinks and beverages in the world, they cannot tell you which beverages may be brought on the plane, however they do reserve the right to throw you in a cage and fuck you in the ass. At their discretion. That is just silly. They are not saying that all liquids are banned. Just some liquids. Which ones? Gosh, we can't tell you. Too much hard work to do that. I say tough titty to that.

      It is not a blanket ban. They have not banned all third party software. They. Have. Not. If they wanted to issue such a ban, they could simply say that all third party software is verboten and if detected will result in a ban. That is a simple and precise rule. They have not done that.

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  4. I use isboxer because it allows me to lower the display frame rate and there for stop the gpu melting on my older laptop. It was nice of ccp to incrementally increase the graphics load over a number of patches but not so great if you didn't intend on buying a new of to continue playing the game. I think they are entering a very gray area in a desperate attempt to stop something that might actually be unstoppable. Look at the other mmo's out there that have failed as well.

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  5. Right now, it seems that only Synergy is lacking the mirror input feature - but I also remember somebody mentioning (maybe even the OP of the forum thread himself - I can't check right now) to have added that feature to Synergy himself.

    Which is why CCP can't categorically state that one software or the other is legal or illegal, because they all can be abused. Any statement by CCP in this regard would immediately be gamed and lawyered by botters ("I'm not using InnerSphere - I built myself a hardware KVM switch! You didn't outlaw that!")

    The best we as players can ask for is a confirmation that the mere presence of input software is not a bannable offense per-se.

    In my (totally irrelevant) opinion, CCP hopefully knows better than to punish the usage of focus-moving software, because otherwise running multiple clients on the same computer in windowed mode would have to be made illegal as well.

    I think, the best defense here is to not break the EULA (gain advantages at faster than human speed). If I don't gain unfair advantages, CCP has no case for a ban, no matter what technology I use (if any).

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    1. I found some software that I don't think has the capability to break the EULA. I'll install it tonight and give it a test run in Eve to see how it works. This will give me something to write about for Friday.

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    2. @Druur, that's about as concise a summation as I have heard yet. Beats my Err of the side of caution... but means the same thing. Read the EULA, read the forum posts and Dev blogs on this topic, set your expectations within that framework and play within that framework and you should be fine... All CCP really wants as far as I can tell is PEOPLE playing and enjoying EvE, not software blindly running code in EvE...

      I have yet to hear of a Bot that can 'appreciate' the beauty and grandeur that is EvE... =]

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    3. I have yet to hear of a person that 'appreciates' ice mining.

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    4. @Druur - I found out that the latest version of Synergy has the "mirror image" functionality that duplicates mouse movement/keystrokes across computers. Apparently if all else fails the config file can be edited to allow it.

      https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups=#!topic/synergy-plus/iw53DqjQSZU

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  6. Slightly freaked out by the Synergy thing. I use it at work so I don't have to use 3 keyboards and 3 mice. I guess that means I won't be updating the skill queue from work ever again just in case.

    I'm running an older version without the mirror functionality and I have no use for that anyway. To be on the safe side I'm never running EVE at work again.

    Fortunately I at home I run both EVE clients from the same machine which is hooked up to two monitors. No need for Synergy there.

    Still - scary that a piece of software I had assumed was safe is in fact unsafe.

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    1. It is the constantly new and increasing functionality of software that CCP is trying to deal with. As new software comes out with more and more new features and abilities, which in turn gives players new abilities they did not have before, then the EULA etc. becomes obsolete and harder to interpret and enforce because these new specific abilities were not addressed before because they did not exist before.

      I see CCPs 'blanket statement' that they will not endorse or support ANY third party apps as simply the only way they have left to go. There is no way they can effectively decide their position on features and abilities that do not exist yet, and as we all know that new features and abilities will continue to be offered in new apps or added to existing apps, then the only reasonable response is exactly what they have done...

      They will not approve any third party apps, period... and they reserve the right to determine, on a case by case basis, what constitutes a breach of the EULA. I realize I pissed off some of Noisy's readers by my use of the words 'cheat' and 'crap' to define what they obviously feel is their God Given Right to play EvE as they see fit...

      But the simple truth is, we ALL play EVE Online at the good grace of CCP. If CCP says "X" is wrong and you will be banned for it... even if "X" is as something as stoopid as fitting smartbombs onna Noctis... then I would not risk ever fittin smartbombs onna Noctis again... period. It's their game, they created it, they own it they can make any rule they see fit... we AGREE to those rules every time we dubbleclick on the EVE Icon. Period.

      EvE accounts are like shoes, you can buy as many pairs as you please but you're only 'supposed' to wear one pair at a time... Creating mechanical legs you harness to your body so you can wear more shoes at the same time is idiotic... and in a race if these 'extra' legs gave you abilities over 'normal' humans, it would be a cheat and you would be disqualified. Same as creating a robot, disguised as you, to run for you is a cheat.

      And BTW, how in the hell do you get away w/ running EVE at work?? LOL

      Delete
    2. If you want to argue that CCP can do whatever they want, that is an argument from power, not principle. The issue is not whether CCP has the power to create and enforce rules, they do, but what specific behavior falls within those rules. For example, exactly what type of griefing is bannable? Are you allowed to repeatedly bump or gank someones ship? Can you send them humerous in game mails that contain no swears or slurs, or is that still harassment? Is forwarding a single keystroke to multiple clinets a bot? The old answer was no. The new answer is that "nor will we at EVE customer support be able to officially endorse or sanction specific third party multiboxing programs."

      That is the issue.

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    3. Yep. The issue is that a relatively clear statement has become an opaque set of grey areas where CCP can act in a relatively arbitrary manner. It's for this reason that Screegs is a fucking idiot (the other possibility is that his boss is a fucking idiot).

      Take his statements about 'I believe cache scraping to be illegal but we won't ban you for it at the moment'. It basically sets the stage for any future employee in Screegs position to arbitrarily ban hammer people. Which given CCPs habit of double downing when they prove to be wrong means that a future trust breaking incident is a high probability.

      Delete
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