Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dodging Spoofing Bullets Left And Right

Writing a helper has alerted me to many quirks of the game text that I never noticed as a casual player. For instance, the "Warping to sector..." message does not appear when you move using the 'M' key. And the "Transporter Engaged!" message only appears when you bwarp blind; when you bwarp with a lock, the destination and distance message is repeated instead. These inconsistencies make detecting ship movement far more complicated than it ought to be.

Even sector fighters aren't completely straightforward. Thankfully, fighters that are genuinely yours or your corp's are displayed with a purple owner name. But there are still opportunities for mischief. The color difference is easy to overlook, so a trader named "your Corp" could set personal fighters that would fool many players. And with only one exception that I know of, fighters that aren't yours are always displayed with a yellow owner name. So a player with a name like "The Ferrengi" or "Corp#2, Stupid Corp" could lure players into unwanted alignment changes and keep them wondering who the fighters they encounter really belong to.

If I've learned one thing from this project, it's how to make a text interface a real pain in the ass to parse!

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