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Messages - Erkka

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General Discussion / Re: A spambot thread
« on: January 13, 2021, 07:06:10 AM »
And there are also legitimate cases of copypasted threads. For example, a person might ask a question on Steam or Reddit, and then decide to register here to ask the same question in the official forums. It might be a complicated task to code an algorithm which could tell apart "a same person re-posting their own text" or "a random user copypasting just some stuff from the internet".

So any such automation couldn't be granted rights to delete posts or user accounts right away. An algorithm could just issue a report for moderators to review. And I think that we all together can already handle that, I don't feel like wasting precious coding time for making (or seeking and installing) such an algorithm.

Theoretically speaking, what could be useful would be an algorithm detecting if a forum user returns to edit their older post to insert suspicious links. But again, for this there are legitimate cases, where person posts something and then later edits their own post to insert a link to savefile, or a link to an external picture hosting site for screencaptures etc. So, again, such an algorithm could only be allowed to issue a report.

So I prefer doing some manual work, instead of having any algorithm detecting false positives and deleting real user accounts because of AI failure.

General Discussion / A spambot thread
« on: January 12, 2021, 09:15:28 PM »
For a while we have had two layers of automated anti-spam measures. The first layer is invisible, tracking site traffic and spotting known bots based on a vast database. And the another layer is visible to the user, often an image captcha which is beyond bots' ability to solve. Also, users with less than 3 posts need to pass the captcha when making a new post - that should stop old undetected spambot accounts if they try to activate.

Yet, we witness new spam posted on the forums every now and then. Many of them with copypasted content from elsewhere.

I'm afraid that we can't make our anti-spam measures significantly tighter. At one point I tried adding a third layer, which instantly resulted in a post at Steam forums, someone saying that the registration at these forums is broken.

I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere out there is a sweatshop where poor people get paid paltry money for passing captcha to post spam content everywhere in the internet. I mean, that is a more plausible explanation, instead of there being a spambot AI which can solve those captchas far better than the state-of-the-art big company AI systems do. And if we have real people posting spam, then there is not going to be a captcha to stop them.

For a long time things were fine with custom security questions which were easy for anyone familiar with the game, but made no sense for a random visitor. Eventually, all of those questions became useless (maybe the spam networks keep on building their own database of 'known captcha questions and their correct answers'. Already at that point I suspected that they are paying people to answer those questions and storing answers for bot use. But I really don't know how sophisticated or how ugly the hidden machinery of spam networks are. Just guessing.

All in all, I felt like posting these general thoughts here, for we are all affected by the situation. We have four people in the moderation team, that allows us to manually weed out spam posts and accounts on a daily basis, and I think that is the last line of defense we anyway need to have.

So, everyone:

1. if you suspect spam, but are not sure, one good way is to do a google search with post content. If it turns out that the post is copypaste from old post from some other corner of the internet, please use "report to moderator" button

2. if you suspect spam for any other reason - the obvious ones being malicious links embedded in text - hit the "report to moderator" button

3. Thank you for your co-operation, and we apologize for all the inconvenience!

Gameplay questions / Re: Are Map tiles eventually cleared?
« on: January 12, 2021, 08:51:30 PM »
I wonder if that 'clearing zoom files'-trick could be used to flush out modded, outdated flora?

I have no answer to this, for I'm not familiar with the related section of code. Sami only knows. He might answer one day when he has time, or then this is left for modders to find out by experimenting  :)

Gameplay questions / Re: how do i hang a bear skull up?
« on: January 12, 2021, 08:44:32 PM »
Welcome, Varmin! And I hope you got that bear skull up to the tree.

Quote from: Buoidda
Anyone to have posted just once and 0 likes is very likely a spam-bot.

Everyone needs to make their first post at some point, so I think we can't treat all the newcomers as likely bots. A more reliable, but a bit more laborous method is to feed parts of a suspicious message to a google search. If it appears that the text is copypasted from and old post someplace else, that is a 95% warning sign.

Off-topic / Re: Ancient Savo : A new Enormous Elk game in the making
« on: January 10, 2021, 03:59:52 PM »
Sounds like fun! Isn't the Kaumo in UrW based on Savo?

I think Kaumo is more like Kainuu. But you are close - Kiesse is inspired by real world Savo.

For a long time I was unsure if I'd like to set this new game in the world of UnReal World. In which case the title might have been "Kiesse pioneers" or something.
But at some point I decided to use the real world name Savo, maybe making the game easier to approach for those who haven't been playing lot of UrW. And also to allow a bit more freedom in another way - yes, I'm somewhat restricted with the historical facts, but then also if there will be a need to do something differently than in UrW world, I can do that.

Anyway, the differences won't be that great. It is around 1200 CE pagan Finland.

Ps. And since we are here, let me mention that the very first early development test version is already available for the project backers. No, it isn't anything like a game yet. But I thought it would be nice to let the backers have a taste of the bare minimum, and then see how the development goes from that zero level, week by week.

Suggestions / Re: Village services
« on: January 07, 2021, 09:14:53 AM »
I think all of this is already listed in the official development goals, where it says:

Ability to ask a craftsman to make you a certain item; to be paid and obtained after it's ready

Off-topic / Ancient Savo : A new Enormous Elk game in the making
« on: January 06, 2021, 04:35:25 PM »
Would you like to participate in the making of a new game by Enormous Elk?

The game is called Ancient Savo, and it is a peaceful simulation of a 1200 CE Finnish family who moves to live alone in the woods. Do slash and burn agriculture to grow crops. Hunt and fish. Try to survive hunger, cold, accidents and the scarcity or resources. And in case you accumulate some extra, go visit the annual market to barter for more and better tools. The timescale of the gameplay is weeks - you can see years rolling by, your children growing up, and forest re-taking abandoned fields. Instead of controlling a character you hover on a more abstract 'designer level', a bit like the old SimCity.

Estimated release: Autumn 2021, for PC, Mac and mobile devices

We run a small home-made crowdfunding campaign for January. Become a follower for free - join project Discord channel to read frequent development news. Or donate any sum to become a backer. Backers can participate in the discussion, and have an access to the early development-phase releases. The first development release is scheduled already for this January. (If or when you donate, remember to send Erkka a message at Discord, so that we can connect a donation with your Discord user account!)

During the development phase we will have quick and simple graphics, but graphics and UI will be improved once the simulation and game mechanics are up and running.

For more info see the campaign page

Oddly enough, for me the download link in wiki still didn't work, and the edit history didn't show any recent updates to the page. So I edited it myself, making the link more simple, pointing to the beginning of this thread.

Also, in general, things are easier from now on. We gave guests a permission to see signatures and attachments, so no more need to register merely to download mods.

Bug reports / Re: Birch Saplings Block Line Of Sight
« on: January 06, 2021, 10:27:36 AM »
Will it also be possible to see through the branches of full-grown birches during winter time?

Not likely to happen any time soon. At the moment the code doesn't support dynamically defining if this or that tile is blocking line of sight. Each tile type is given that property statically, once and for all. Changing that would require a bigger overhaul of the underlying system. And it would quickly grow complex - birches block less late in the autumn when all the leaves are gone, but might be blocking more again if the winter pours down a lot of snow, turning birches into big snowy heaps.

Although, I suspect there is something slightly wrong with the download link in the wiki. As a logged in admin, if I click the download link on that wiki page, it says "You are not allowed to access this section" to me.

Technically speaking, I could of course go edit the wiki myself, but I'd rather leave that for the mod maintainers or heavy users, for they probably have a better idea what is the actual link destination they'd like to have on the wiki.

Is there a different link at which the mod can be acquired?

I think the most reliable link should be Brygun's own post, the one just above your question. Now when you are registered and logged in to the forums, you should see Brygun's signature under his post. The download link is there.

General Discussion / Re: Crowdfunding : your thoughts?
« on: January 03, 2021, 08:20:58 AM »
Hehe, yes, continuing this thread is good for more background- and meta discussion.

So I would like to ask if there are any other alternatives to paypal

That is a good question, thanks for asking! All this time I was under the impression that for the customer it is easy to send money via PayPal without an account. In which case they'd just ask your card number and stuff, and then process they payment. Your question made me to check the details of the procedure, and indeed it seems that such an option exists, but it isn't anywhere to be found. In other words, over the years PayPal has been making their user experience less user-friendly. Oh well.

Well, but the good thing is that with this kind of home-made campaign we always have alternatives. They are:

- Good old squirrel hides. Sending me a personal message to ask for my mail address to send anything nice, usable, fun or helpful stuff.

- A bank transfer. Again, first sending a message to ask for more detailed instructions. I think this is a handy alternative especially in EU.

- A card payment. Send me a message (preferably e-mail), describing the amount you'd like to donate. I'll then use PayPal to send you an invoice - I think in that case the recipient can simply click "pay now" button on the invoice message, and pay it with a card instead of a paypal account.

- Send me a message suggesting your own alternative. I'm not asking anything, but I promise to consider offers and questions. (Like, are you skilled in 3D modelling, fluent with Blender and such tools, and would like to participate in the developing team? That might be possible, but at the moment I'm not actively looking to expand the team, but as the development goes on at some point I might be more than happy to outsource certain pieces of the workload)

General Discussion / Re: Crowdfunding : your thoughts?
« on: January 01, 2021, 08:00:06 PM »
Just a quick mention here:

I realized that I already have all the essentials set up, and instead of postponing things further I felt like starting a small campaign right at the first day of the year. This is not targeted for any wide audience, but seeking a team of people who wish to support and to participate in the project. For more info see the homemade campaign page

Since this thread is already cluttered by quite a lot of "maybe-this-way-and-what-about-that-and...", I will start a fresh thread as promised. I'll probably do that in the off-topic section, for strictly speaking this is not general UnReal World discussion, but a general Enormous Elk thing =) But due to the way my mind works (ie. going step by step), I'll post that fresh announcement later on next week, once I see how the campaign start has been.

General Discussion / Re: Information about the Spirits
« on: December 30, 2020, 10:07:30 AM »
And then a general level comment from the Enormous Elk team  :)

In a way, I think that exact names and well-formulated definitions on which god / spirit does what, is maybe a later invention. Or, if we take a look at any contemporary major established religion, we see that despite all the centuries of organized scholarship to define the exact dogmas of this or that religion, there still are a lot of internal disputes, different sub-versions constantly being forked from the main-stream interpretation of a religion.

So I feel that it would be safe to assume that this was going on already a 1000 years ago in pagan Finland. Different regions called their spirits using different names. The definitions weren't set it stone, and a lot of villages or individual people could have their own local variations and adaptations.

Then, later on, when some people got this idea that history can be documented by writing it down, we got lists of deities based on what was known at that time by that person doing the writing. It is very likely that the actual folklore was seven or twenty three times richer that what got documented.

Yes, I appreciate the approach of wanting to familiarize with the details, names and natures of the ancient Finnish spirits and deities - or those adaptations we have in the game. Yet, I feel that the one thing we learn also in the game is that gods, deities and spirits are little bit elusive. So, ones own personal imagination is a valid guide as well, when venturing into the realm of seldom-seen aspects of our world.

All that being said, I also have an answer to one of the details asked:

-How can the spirit affect the everyday life of an individual?

I don't know for sure, but I'd guess that one way is to send accidents and other unfortunate events. When an individual feels that something unfortunate and highly unpleasant happens, it is rather tempting to assign that to the spirits, or some malicious witchery by other people. Go fishing, return with empty hands having caught only cold, and lie down in fever? Probably a punishment from the water folks? Or maybe it is Jussa from the neigbouring village - a week ago I instulted Jussa, and now he has sent his unseen spirit minions to harm me, maybe I need to go back to apologize him?

General Discussion / Re: Crowdfunding : your thoughts?
« on: December 29, 2020, 07:17:30 AM »
That’d be lot bigger than couple months of coding though, and not likely just a “side-project” scale. 

Depends on the level of detail we want to have. When I think of a side project, I think something which isn't such a deep simulation as UnReal World is.

are you including trade elements with settlements villages?

My idea is something like this: in this game you can't visit this or that individual village. (we will only simulate your homestead and the immediate surroundings, and you won't have neighbours that close).

Instead, you can choose a more generic "visit the market place"-option, and then be presented a mostly text-based dialog where you do the trading. That is one example of keeping the level of detail on such a level that the game idea is doable as a side-project.

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