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redricky 01-15-2013 02:10 PM

re: Using the combat log
Dear Bran, et al.

What is Cryptic's policy on using a parser to make sense of the existing game code?

Given that they have been used by the STO community to find bugs and and inform discussions (discussions which have included devs) I would think that it is allowable.

Is there some specific policy on using such a parser in real time, i.e. during combat?


P.S. Before you move this thread, be real. You know the lion's share of ACT/STOICS users are PvPers, and using parsers for PvP.

pwebranflakes 01-15-2013 02:25 PM

What do you mean by "existing game code"? If you are pulling out game code, this violates the EULA/ ToS and is strictly forbidden.

I'm going to assume you meant your combat log, though. If it's real time, that sounds like it is a plugin or a 3rd party program attached to the actual game. This also is strictly not allowed and violates the EULA/ ToS.

As for using a combat log parser program, where you import a combat log containing data from the past and is NOT connected to the game in any way shape, or form, this may be acceptable. Also, using 3rd party programs should be done at your own risk and only after consulting the ToS/ EULA.

For more information, please read our ToS here.


Brandon =/\=

roshido 01-15-2013 02:41 PM

From what I know of the combat log program (never used it), it uses an in-game command to output the combat log to a file. It then reads that file after the fact. So honestly, I can't imagine that breaking any TOS.

themarie 01-15-2013 02:53 PM

Expand the functionality of the in-game chat window. As it stands now I can sift through the combat log in the window, but I need filters. I need to know exactly what the gateway is shooting at me. I need to know how much damage I put into a HYT to kill it totally. (BTW: I know beyond any shadow of a doubt what causes invisible-smite shots).

Filters. I don't want to know every shot fired by ever thing on the screen in a match. That's overwhelming. I should be able to click bring up ENEMIES. Click up again and select GATEWAY, and see every shot the gateway took at ME, OTHER PLAYERS or MISC.

This way I could keep the window open while playing and watch what is going on in real-time rather than using the /log command to generate a log file and have to struggle with some rather poorly designed parsing tools.

phantomeight 01-15-2013 03:09 PM

I use ACT along with a plugin that filters the log, the two combined are excellent and I keep ACT running on my second monitor. This is a guide on Reddit (r/sto) which respects wishes of Cryptic and would remove it if it violated the TOS of STO:

Using a combat log parser such as this one is just fine. Combat log parsers are mentioned fairly often when communicating bugs or potential issues to devs via threads.

Don't be confused about the entering of a command in the game, the program does not do this, the user must type /combatlog 1 to turn on the log. This is done because the log can grow to immense sizes if not actively managed by a combat log parser or the user this is probably why the log is not on by default. All ACT does is read the log and split off and delete the old sections of the log file to keep your hard drive from filling up. As BranFlakes said, this level of interaction is acceptable.

twam 01-15-2013 03:29 PM

Also, am I the only one who can't stop the autoscroll on the combat log? Makes it impossible to read the log while anything is shooting at anybody...

If just me: any hints?
If not just me: potential worthwhile addition?

redricky 01-15-2013 03:34 PM

So if it's done in exactly the same manner as as parser, but in real time, it's not allowed?

What if it's something that simply provides a data point that could be argued should be part of the game's UI?

Why wouldn't Cryptic approve and encourage these things? If resources are stretched, what is there to lose from creating a collection of user generated resources which have been vetted by the devs as tools which do not negatively impact performance, the game code, etc?

renimalt 01-15-2013 04:19 PM


Originally Posted by pwebranflakes (Post 7495201)
...I'm going to assume you meant your combat log, though. If it's real time, that sounds like it is a plugin or a 3rd party program attached to the actual game. This also is strictly not allowed and violates the EULA/ ToS.

Hey Brandon, could you provide input about the particular case I'll describe below?

STO currently has the /CombatLog command set up so that it prints real-time log data to the combat log file. That is, if I shoot at something and do damage, a few milliseconds later it appears in the combat log file and can be read by other programs. (Literally, I can just open the log as a text file, scroll to the bottom, and the information is there.) Would a parser that _only_ monitors the combat log and reports "real-time" information based on what's being output to the log be considered a plugin or 3rd party program attached to the actual game? I don't think so, because the parser is only examining something that STO _explicitly outputs in real time_, and doesn't hook into the game client executable or scan memory; in addition, I'd like to note that many popular combat log parsers (ACT included) have the option to display some "real-time" data based on what's being output to the combat log. I'm interested to hear Cryptic's official position on this matter. I couldn't find anything in the TOS about this particular situation...

This post has been edited to remove content which violates the Perfect World Entertainment Community Rules and Policies . ~BranFlakes

pwebranflakes 01-15-2013 04:22 PM

For more information, or further clarification, you'll have to read the ToS/ EULA :) I've provided the information I know and am able to.


Brandon =/\=

renimalt 01-15-2013 04:59 PM


Originally Posted by pwebranflakes (Post 7496581)
For more information, or further clarification, you'll have to read the ToS/ EULA :) I've provided the information I know and am able to.

Unfortunately, I've read the ToS that you linked to, and I'm still confused. :( (You mentioned an EULA; is there a link to the EULA or is the ToS also functioning as the EULA?)

Relevant sections seem to be 16) and 21a), but they mostly end up reading that PWE has the final say and that only PWE can authorize programs. The given prohibitiions are that one cannot run a program that:
- "ENABLES OR FACILITATES CHEATING OF ANY TYPE" - the parser I described doesn't allow "cheating" in that the player is able to do something that he wasn't able to do prevoiusly, but cheating's really up to be defined by PWE...
- "ALLOWS USERS TO MODIFY OR HACK THE SOFTWARE INTERFACE, ENVIRONMENT, AND/OR EXPERIENCE IN ANY WAY NOT EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED BY PWE" - the parser that I described doesn't change the software interface or environment. "Experience" is the tricky point here; if they mean "what the program outputs in any form" then no, but if they mean "what the user experiences" then anything could be considered an unallowed third-party program, like a music player that I listen to instead of STO's in-game music.
- "INTERCEPTS, "MINES," OR OTHERWISE COLLECTS INFORMATION FROM OR THROUGH THE SOFTWARE" - if the interpretation is that "examining the executable's code/scanning memory isn't allowed", then the parser I described doesn't do that; but if the interpretation is that "collecting basic information about damage isn't allowed", then practically all combat log parsers are in violation of this section. (Why have a combat log then? You're not allowed to read it...)
- "in any way influence or give you an advantage in the use of the Services which is not authorized by PWE" - again, PWE has to make the ruling here, but I'm rather curious if other combat log parsers like ACT and STOICS were/are authorized by PWE...

Do you know if there's some way that I could ask Cryptic for their position? Should I open a ticket to a particular team, perhaps?


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