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Is there sense still playing? - detective vs bots ...


Today I have first doubts - should I play or should I stop ... Why?

I have had a plenty of time today, so I was starting playing ...

About 4AM server time (high noon Central European Time) I checked AIU's standing - 126570 and KKK's standing - 73924). After solving 3RH cases I had extra 24 points - it took me about 45 minutes (quite fast, but of course it could be done a little faster). Next I checked KKK standing - 322 points more - it means 46 SH cases - average 1SH case per minute. After a few more minutes L.D Wallen solved next 23 cases. In sum L.D. Wallen solved in less than 2 hours 59 SH cases.

Any comments?

Are we human or robot?

Ben could You humanize our game? What is the sense playing, when I play half of a day and finish about 15 cases, so bots do 60 cases in 2 hours ....

Are we still feeling spirit of competition?



Bilbot, I think you may be confused as to what people have a problem with. Yes, the best chess player in the world is now a computer (actually called Deeper Blue, Deep Blue was unable to beat Kaspirov), but if you walked into a chess grand masters tournament with a laptop, you wouldn't make it to the first round before you were out on your ear.

There are a few "Honour Code" rules that Hypothetical Software implemented when Sleuth: Noir first kicked off. And before people start complaining about Noir having no bearing on Shades, these rules are considered to be "common sense" and as such should not need to be written down in the first place:

1) Abusive, obscene and uncivil posts are not acceptable on the public message boards, and repeated, unwanted private messages will get you banned.
2) Taking advantage of bugs or exploits to gain an advantage in the game is forbidden. This includes URL manipulation, cookie editing, server attacks, network sniffing, etc.
3) Repeated theft of items from agency lockers can get you blacklisted.
4) A single player should not be the primary controller of any more than two detectives in a single agency.

Now, if one was to forgo the ethiclal implications of automating gameplay, there is the obvious thought that it is cheating. You may be able to do 59 cases inside a 2 hour period. Congratulations. From what I can gather, an experienced SoM player can do a similar level case in around 10-15 minutes (maybe longer now the PE bug is gone). That means that this SoM player would have to play for 10-15 hours in order to complete that many cases. So, for players that physically don't have that much time, they are unable to beat your "bot" simply due to the fact that they dont have the time.


Another point would be that if bots were allowed in the game, it would have been so much easier for Ben to implement the game if all you had to do was click on a button in the case file that says "Complete 30 cases" and sit back for an hour. Wouldn't that make the game fun?

I don't think anyone is in doubt that your bot works. Well done. You have a skill that so few people in the world can master. I'm sure there are many of applications where that skill can be put to good use. Getting back to the rules above. Rule #2 says that exploting the game is forbidden. Whether your bot uses game source code, or a bunch of macros, it exploits the fact that the game is linear and repeatable. That makes it forbidden. I'm sure when Ben gets round to seeing this thread he will make his own assessment. But if he condones the use of bots, then the game will deteriorate to the point where it is just a simple 1-click exercise.

Remember, just because there isn't a rule specifically forbidding it, doesn't make it right.


I confess my unfair advantage :). I online 15 hrs per day, 7 days a week. If I had done the proper 5 hrs max, I would have now something like 250,000 xp and not yet on the overall scores list. I am now 88 days, so with 5 hrs max, I would score about 850,000 xp in 300 days and about 1,135,000 xp in 400 days. That would be about the same as the average other on that list. So it is evident that any comparison to my xp/day and my ranking are not fair to most of the others here. Personally, I find my ranking kinda fun, and truly respect those who have earned their xp and ranking with the same effort but within a longer period of time.

L.D. Wallen
L.D. Wallen


0) I don't want to go into gory details, but you opened the door. Deep Blue is the name of IBM's computer(s). Deeper Blue is only the *nickname* of Deep Blue's last incarnation.

1) I can't read minds, I can read text. There is no common "common sense" definition. So what may be common sense for you may not be common sense for me. That is why rules are written to avoid any doubt or confusion. Any rule not worth written is a rule not worth knowing.

Ben (or somebody else) took the time to write a long and extensive rule of conduct for SoM. Please read it and you'll see none of "your" rules except #1 are listed.

2) Noir and SoM are two *different* games, sharing the same background. So a SoM player, as I am, can only know SoM rules, as it is not mandatory to have been a Noir player to play Som (as far as I can tell). So there may be unwritten "your common sense" rules in Noir, but a SoM player has no reason to know them.

3) Any rule that cannot be enforced is not a good rule. If you believe that telling people "please don't use bots" is enough to prevent the use of bots, then we must not be living in the same world. In my world, all the fairies are gone.

Is it worth spending time tracking bots or implementing anti bot measures? No. We both agree that running bots for the sake of running bots is pointless. So let people who wants to run bots run bots: they will quickly be fed up. It is called the baker's boy theory (the'orie du mitron). When a baker has a new apprentice, he lets him/her eat all the cakes, (s)he wants. Sooner or later, the apprentice will learn to hate eating cakes.

L.D. Wallen
L.D. Wallen

@jonny (part 2)
So why is running bot frown upon?

1) It makes you feel that the time you spend playing is wasted. In a way, it is true: there are always far better things to do than playing any game. But we need to do little tasks to cool off. So, if you play to cool off, the fact that another play is running a bot doesn't make difference. So why bother?

2) You feel cheated. Cheated for what reason?

- You are top 31 and the bot stole your place in the top 30. Well play a few more games and you'll reach top 30 again. If all top 30 detectives were bots (they all may, for all we know), it would be a problem and there will be an easy and "no problem" answer: 2 top 30 ladders (one open to all players, one for human players).

- You need 15 minutes to solve a case and the bot only 2. Well now you know that a bot can solve a case faster than you do. So what? Again Deep(er) Blue/Chess.

3) You find it immoral. Morality is a relative thing. What may be moral in one place may be not in another place. What may be moral in one time, may not be moral in another time. And morality is a private matter, and most advanced thinkers say that this is immoral to impose your morality onto others. So you are free to think that something is wrong or right. If it breaks no (written) rule, it has to be tolerated.

I may find it immoral that a footballer earns several millions $ in a year, because he can kick a ball. But no footballer sleeps in jail. I find it far more immoral to use tools and not telling it. I find it even more immoral to say that one has to be banned for "cheating", when you have "cheated" yourself.

So when your argument is "it is right/good or it is wrong/bad", it is not an argument. It is an opinion. Its value is no more no less than "I like bananas or "I don't like bananas".

4) We are left with this unique argument: bots are a no-no because they brake servers. This is true but only when there are lots of them (the same way as too many human players break a server) or they are badly written. So far the server doesn't seem to dislike my bot

L.D. Wallen
L.D. Wallen

The conclusion: when you take the time to go beyond simply stating that "bots are bad", you'll see it means nothing but tells a lot on people using it.

Now the really interesting part (maybe not).

Running a bot is neither a real fun for me, nor a pain (it essentially keeps my computer busy, while I do other things like helping other players by answering their posts or less pleasurable tasks).

I don't run bots to brag that I'm the best. I don't need, everybody agrees :) In fact I don't care. I do care a little about what people think in the real life but on Internet which sane person would?

I run a bot as a learning and experimenting tool. I'm trying to find out what are the best strategies (I can tell you that the murder weapon plays a key role) and whether the games are really random (now :) or not. So I run my bot on various detectives and various difficulties to see how skills, standing bonus and other things interact. The only missing difficulty I can't played yet, is AI. That is why I'm rushing L.D. towards the 4,000,000 exp level (which is way too many for my taste). A nice side effect is that KKK's fame grows at more than 600 fame points a day, even when not doing treasure hunts. A even nicer side effect is that it makes Azar mad. Well this was not my goal at first (believe it or not) but now it is.

As a scientific, I only trust facts so I need data. As I'm blase' to play games the good old way, I decided to use a bot. So I don't run a bot to run a bot or to ridicule anybody (*). All the data will help me write a guide to SoM leveling, based on facts not on beliefs. I hope, this will help new players stay longer in the game, so that they get a chance to grasp all its complexity. On the hand, I hope that Ben will appreciate my work and revealed the next improvements before I died of old age :)

So, if you still think that what I'm doing is evil, well...

(*) he does that by himself pretty well.


Its a little known fact that Deeper Blue was the final codename of the chess playing machine that beat Kaspirov. Deep Blue was relegated to the position of Reservations Clerk for American Airlines early into the program.

The code of conduct (which was borrowed heavily from the original on Noir, if not verbatim) was primarily put in place to cover the community aspects. There were never any issues in the game that required any specific "game play" rules, except the common problem of issues causing people to get a third FA. Ben tried to keep the game open and better to play by not listing a set of "rules" and instead having an honour code, hoping people would not participate in events that were not deemed honourable.

You say that rules that are not enforced are not worth having. There are lots of rules in the real world that are not enforced, such as speeding. I have done it before, and have never been caught.

Also, if you need someone to hold your hand and say, "You can do that. But not that. That's OK, but you can't do that. I'm not too sure about that though." then there is a serious problem there. When you walk down the street, and you see a car, do you need someone to come up to you and tell you that you are not allowed to break the window and steal the CD player? Or do you use common sense to decide not to? Its the same principle here. This thread wouldn't have started if people in the community didn't have a problem with what yoru bot does.

There is nothing wrong with someone who can play for 15 hours a day playing for those 15 hours. But if on one day they don't play, they will fall behind the bot, who can play consistently. Then it becomes unfair, as you would only need 2 hours to replicate 15 hours of gameplay. If you can't see the sense in this, then fine.


I would just like to say, first and foremost, that I in no way see this thread as a "public attack" against anyone. It is quite a good discussion on SOM, its players and community, and what should be deemed as ethical in game play.

People can bring up the 1st PE example all they want, but it is done and gone. Everyone used it. Everyone did it. Stop referencing it as a source of why bots are okay. If 1st PE was okay, it would still be in the game. But it's not.

I feel that the only logical move after this is to stop the community from being human run. Let us all create bots to post and respond for us. True, it might not be us actually discussing things, but we did create the program discussing it. So it's basically the same thing.

My point is not that you don't have skill. You played the game, made it to the top without a bot, and that is to be applauded. But what is happening now is completely undermining all that it was worth. You made it to the top on a leader board. But that leader board is all for nothing now, because anyone with some programming knowledge and the desire to learn a little bit about our game could become #1 in just a short time.

The great thing about Sleuth is that it is healthy competition. Who has the drive? Who has the determination? Who has the patience and effort to try to overthrow the leading player?

What is it now? A competition of the best programmer.

*This post was automated by Jojo V2.27*


And, for the record, if this bot were created strictly for learning and experimental purposes, I would be fine with that. But let's make sure that that bot can't gain any exp points or fame for anyone.


The server is horrendously slow at the moment, I'm pretty sure it is partly due to Milnot's bots hammering it.


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