Monday, April 6, 2015

Fanfest 2015 Security Presentation: Organization And Rules

CCP released the Fanfest 2015 presentations onto its YouTube channel last week. I was interested in watching the Security presentation because I was so nervous during the presentation that I didn't remember exactly what was said. I knew from meetings what everyone planned to present, but things always change from what is planned vs what is actually said. Given the structure of the talk, I'll make two posts, with today's post covering the first part of the presentation given by the InfoSec members of Team Security.

The presentation started off with an introduction by CCP Bugartist, the Director of Information Security. One interesting tidbit of news is that Internal Affairs is back under CCP Security.  Internal Affairs was moved into Security for a little while in 2012, but by 2013 had moved back outside the structure.

The members of CCP Security

Security generally falls into three areas. Team Security, which is related to in-game and product matters, InfoSec which provides security for infrastructure and supports internal departments on security-related matters, and Internal Affairs, which monitors the behavior and activity of dev accounts and other accounts used by employees.

The responsibilities of CCP Security
The last of the big news in CCP Bugartist's introduction was the introduction of two-factor authentication coming to Tranquility on 28 April.

CCP Random was up next, with the unenviable task of attempting to explain the rules surrounding multiboxing and input multiplexing and input broadcasting. I think he did quite well, although those who wish to see a return of input broadcasting would probably disagree.

He started by giving an explanation of what CCP considers valid multiboxing gameplay. I found this conclusion on the subject instructive:
"It's mostly about playing EVE and not enjoying it with a specific technology that is from a third party window or somehow injected into the client. It is unmodified and played as it [the client] is shipped."
"Played as it is shipped" is a key phase that CCP Random used more than once. That would indicate that CCP means for the players to play EVE using an unmodified client. Not in a client that contains sections of several clients mashed together into a single client. And not using a window that isn't part of an EVE client at all. CCP wants the game played using what some call "a vanilla client".

CCP Random then went on to explain what is meant by input multiplexing. How he concluded his explanation raised the ire of many ISBoxer users:

Client modification identified in the yellow box
"Interestingly enough we also see that client modifications get shipped with certain 3rd party software, and these modifications actually bring you into another totally different policy." 
In the above example, the client is considered modified due to having four ship control panels located in the window. While programmers and ISBoxer supporters may come out with technical reasons why having four ship control panels is not client modification, the simple fact is that the vanilla client that CCP ships only has one. Thus, client modification.

Examples of forbidden actions
The next slide contained a list of actions/activities that violate the EULA. I have to admit smiling as CCP Random made reference to a particular video that a "popular player" posted at the end of 2014. I really didn't think he planned to go as far as make such a direct reference. Okay, no names were named, but I'll embed the video CCP Random referred to in relation to the question of whether ISBoxer's rollover feature was allowed.

The answer is no, what is shown in the video is not allowed. Neither is using the round-robin feature, as noted ISBoxer user Lord's Servant forcefully explained on the Dual-Boxing forums:
That is EXACTLY what they said. EXPLICITLY telling you Roll-over or Round-Robin are NOT allowed. You have your answer, stop whining about trying to get around the rules, and play the game by their rules.
Super explicit translation of the above rules and others relevant for the Feeble-Minded:
1. You may only send a SINGLE action to a SINGLE game client at one time.
a. That client must have focus - it is either in the foreground or the background. Not both, and you MUST explicitly focus this client through some action.
2. You may only send actions to clients in compliance with the above if it is in a manner consistent with the vanilla game.
a. This means, for example, to activate a module YOU must CLICK the module manually, or YOU (not a triggered event) must press the button on the keyboard that corresponds to the INGAME shortcut (ie f1 activates highslot 1), or in the case of titan bridges etc etc, right click and activate through other INGAME methods.
b. If you are not explicitly doing one of the above, you are IN VIOLATION.
3. The only exception to any of these rules would be if the client itself is performing some action, as in the case of the autopilot warping, approaching, and jumping or docking across multiple systems with one button press and/or toggle.
a. If you are modifying the game client in any way not authorized by CCP (ie downloading sanctioned patches to update the software version) you are IN VIOLATION.
b. Being in violation of subsection (a) of this rule will result in a zero-warning permanent ban of all accounts accessed and/or "owned" by the user.
Also, as a side note, in case anyone missed it (several have posted here about this) - if you are caught breaking the EULA on ANY of your accounts, punitive action will be taken against ALL of your accounts. It doesn't matter if you were only multiplexing on 3 alts - all 10 of your accounts will be banned for just those 3.
While I'm not quite sure violating the rules would result in a permanent ban, the sub-title of the presentation was "Better Safe Than Sorry." Perhaps those are words to live by.

Finally, despite the activities of some ISBoxer activists, not all users of ISBoxer are fighting the ruling. In fact, according to the final graph CCP Random provided, the vast majority of ISBoxer users are rule abiding players.

Input broadcasting/multiplexing is down to a trickle
The reason CCP Bugartist asked me to participate in Team Security's presentation was that he wanted a player perspective on the job that Team Security has done. So perhaps I should end this post with some words from Joe Thaler, the creator of Inner Space and ISBoxer:
"The damage is already done, look at their graph. Multiboxing in EVE has all but stopped, and now we're trying to help a tiny fraction of people in an increasingly uphill battle."
I think that EVE players would dispute that multiboxing in New Eden is almost dead. Let's say that players are just following the EULA.


  1. Here is a list of very easy to answer questions.

    As much as some of the "anti" ISBoxer crowd like to believe, the reality is there are probably more questions POST fanfest then there was before hand.

    Anytime people from Team Security want to stop being obtuse and answer my questions directly, I will welcome with open arms the conversation. I have time and time again asked very easy to answer questions that they refuse so far to even acknowledge exists, nevermind answer.

    (And no, I am not going to bother sending them a support ticket to get a copy/paste response that I am not allowed to share with anyone else.... thats just ridiculous).

    For those without forum access (the 20k + daily logins that arent playing anymore, I am sure many of them multiboxers ) here is a paste for you -

  2. Uninstall ISBoxer. What is there to understand?

  3. Shadow, cut the act and stop trolling us. It's getting old.

  4. I, too, think that multiboxing is not dead at all in EVE - it's just back again to the original style of people having multiple clients open and manually clicking between them. I could even imagine that these users have never profited that much from ISBoxer's 'advanced' capabilities, as running a scout while hauling stuff, or lighting cynos for your super doesn't really benefit from input replication or macroing.

    I think it should also be pointed out that people may have multiple accounts for other reasons than just multi boxing, just to experience different parts of the game depending on their mood.

    Shadow's post, btw, I couldn't even finish (I have kept out of the threads on this topic so far - partly because I don't have much beef in the discussion). When EVEHQ was mentioned, I rolled my eyes and simply dismissed it. There were a few good posts in the thread, but most were simply comedy.

  5. Charadrass is also one of those who refuse to accept that he is breaking the EULA, and still argueing that everything he's doing is legal.. Instead he threatens and blames everyone who tries to argue against it.

    He is a shame for the german community.