It's actually pretty relevant because those are the things that will be created. And no, they won't be testing it in that manner because anything that actually interacts with the code is not allowed.
Members of this community have proven themselves to be adept at coding. Consider:
1. Hypothetical Feature A is on the developer's list, prioritized at number 1493/7400 in the list of things to do.
2. Hypothetical community member @codewarrior69 comes up with a user generated program to do Hypothetical Feature A. This program does not violate the ToS or EULA. This imaginary program does not interact with the game code itself but operates external to STO, not even requiring an interaction with the game client.
3. Devs check it out, confirm that it does not, in fact, violate ToS or EULA or actually interact with STO.
4. Devs can now re-prioritize Feature A because if somebody really wants it they can use external program. It stays on the list but drops to 2681/7400, right above PvP maps and Klingon content.
5. Devs create a process by which things get evaluated. Nothing ever gets better than a "use at your own risk" rating, but things also get a "no you can't do that and we'll ban you if we catch you" rating.
What takes more time, developing something or vetting something brought to you by a community member?
Check out renimalt's post. They can point at the ToS all day but it doesn't address the specific situation. They've provided a combat log function, it can provide data in real time to a file outside of STO which can be acted upon seemingly without violating the ToS.
So somehow when you do it makes it unacceptable? Even though it interacts with neither the game code nor the client?
UGC (and I ain't talking Foundry) happens. Don't take a draconian CYA across the board policy. Be progressive, work with the talented community members that STO has drawn to it in an open manner. Critically examine each community authored offering on its own merit.
And none of those individuals work for cryptic thus any idea they have is a third party creation subject to all manner of legal problems... Remember STO is not open source. People can suggest ideas in the forums, but until the devs decide to implement that suggestion using their code and methodolgy that's as far as things go. So no, whether or not a feature should be part of the UI, it's not relevant. The only aspect which is relevant is how any 3rd party tool interacts with Cryptic's proprietary code. Your example is fine up to step 2, then it completely falls over both due to resource and legal issues.
And Cryptic is extremely unlikely to answer in the specifics on the forums as the TOS is essentially a legal document. They'll tell you, rightly, what the rules are but not how they'll react in any specific scenario.
The foundry is an entirely different discussion as it's a tool provided by cryptic using and interacting with Cryptic assets in a manner 100% controlled by Cryptic.
If the Combat Log is a text file and isn't locked (meaning a program like notepad can open it while the client is still logging), and the parser doesn't do anything but access the text file, then it shouldn't be against the rules. Reading a locked file in real time would certainly be bypassing an intentional design decision and would be against the eula/tos.
Combat Log is just a user requested data output file like a screenshot or perhaps demorecord (I'm not familiar enough to know how that works) If looking at the combat log in a 3rd party program that doesn't interface with STO is against the rules, then opening a screenshot or demorecord file in a 3rd party tool while STO is open is also against the eula/tos, and screen recording via FRAPS would also be against the eula/tos.
I just do not see why someone would risk their account on such a third party program which does not even calculate a true product.
Edit: There are so many game mechanics in question with the combat log that are not tracked that it will never give a true product to the user of said illegal program. In space distance from target matters on the damage you are doing and same goes for a few ground weapons like pulsewaves, pistols, sniper rifles, etc. I wouldn't shed a tear though if PWE put their foot down on this because not only are these programs not accurate but I don't feel like getting all these random tells or messages about DPS when I know what I am doing and some below average intelligence person who cannot even comprehend what they are saying gets themselves put on ignore.
Last edited by zeuxidemus001; 01-16-2013 at 10:23 AM.
Everyone is making such a big deal out of their enforcement of their rules.
There are two main problems to that suggestion that I see.
1) The STO forums are pretty much the place to distribute anything related to Star Trek Online. As they should be. The forums were (I hope) set up with the intention to provide a single unified place to discuss and post anything STO-related; anybody distributing something outside of the forums would reach a much smaller audience, and many STOers would be missing out on something perhaps particularly neat.
2) Even if the question of whether distribution on the forums is allowed is ignored, what still remains is whether Cryptic believes these types of programs to violate their EULA/ToS. Without knowing that, as a responsible person I (and I hope, most other people on this forum) cannot, in good conscience, distribute something that could be later declared a hack/cheat and have people's accounts sanctioned for using it. Furthermore, if they do declare that it's unallowed, then I can't, in good conscience, continue to advocate for it's availability and use. However, if they do allow it, then that would resolve all the problems of where it should be distributed and whether I (or anybody else) could talk about it on the STO forums.
In short, the entire thing is about their rules, and it's quite important to know what their stance on the issues is before proceeding with any sort of action.