Let’s start with the following game rule as found here.
7. bots and scripts
Please obey the Terms and Conditions:
5. Special terms and conditions for the use of online games and all subsections from 5.1 to 5.7.
There are certain tools which are allowed. A list of permissible scripts can be found on the forum.
Should you be unsure whether a tool which you have is permissible or not, please contact Support and send them the script.
If you would like to write a script, please ask Game Support if your script is permissible before uploading it. ?
It references special Terms and Conditions as well as stating that:
- Certain tools are allowed;
- A list of these is available on the forum (never even seen such a section on the kingsage.org forum. I could be that these words are still part of a standard template that has remained unmodified…);
- If you are unsure whether a tool is allowed, to contact support and send them the script;
- If you’d like to write a script, to contact support first to obtain permission.
The terms and conditions can be found here.
Of interest are:
5.2.The user is prohibited from any form of manipulative interference in the online game. In particular, the user is not entitled to use measures, mechanisms or software that could interfere with the function or the course of the game. The user may not take measures that may cause an unreasonable or excessive burden on the technical capacity. The user is not allowed to block, to rewrite or to modify contents generated by the game administration or to interfere in any other manner with the game.
5.3.The user is also prohibited from running the online game (including all individual web pages) with other programs besides the Internet browser or the client program that has been provided. This refers in particular to so-called bots and other tools meant to replace or supplement the Web interface. Also prohibited are scripts and completely or partially automated programs that provide the user with an advantage over other users. This includes auto-refresh-functions and other integrated mechanisms of the Internet browser, if it includes automated operations.
5.4. The user may under no circumstances
a) create or use cheats, mods and/or hacks, and any other third party software products that may change the result of the online games,
b) use software, that allows “data mining” or otherwise intercepts or collects information in connection with the online games,
c) use outside of online games, buy for “real” money or sell or swap virtual objects that are used in online games.
This includes all evasions, similar actions or actions that match in their effect the aforementioned bans.
5.5. The application of advertising suppressing measures is prohibited. It is immaterial whether advertising is deliberately suppressed or generally blocked e .g. by so-called Pop-Up Blockers, or similar.
5.6. Log-in is only permitted on the homepage of each online game and the Gameforge portal page. An automated opening of the user accounts, regardless of whether the home page is displayed or not, is not permitted.
Which brings me to my next thought: GreaseMonkey for Firefox, GreaseMetal for Chrome and GreaseKitfor Safari. We also have GreaseFire for Firefox in order to help us find java-scripts for sites on userscripts.org. Wikipedia mentions:
As a side note, have a look at some 200 user scripts for another OG, Ikariam.
Running GreaseMonkey in Firefox does not break terms and conditions in section 5.2. or in any section at all. How could it? No one tells me how I use my browser… or that I’m tied to either Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera, lynx or any other browser. I read the paper with FF, read my email, get the tv guide etc etc… I don’t just use it for one website… This is an excerpt fromdiveintogreasemonkey.org:
Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that allows you to write scripts that alter the web pages you visit. You can use it to make a web site more readable or more usable. You can fix rendering bugs that the site owner can’t be bothered to fix themselves. You can alter pages so they work better with assistive technologies that speak a web page out loud or convert it to Braille. You can even automatically retrieve data from other sites to make two sites more interconnected.
Well then, I hear you say..What about this nifty user script called KingsAgeX of which I wrotepreviously. What does it do and more importantly, how does it work? How is it against the rules? How is it not against the rules? Does it break the terms and conditions you agreed to? Can OG actually uphold such terms and conditions in the first place?
KingsAgeX collects and displays information in the same way it is displayed to the user. It does not alter or manipulate information which it retrieves for you. It is the same information and more of it. It does not play the game, you do. It does not auto-refresh. It does give you a menu option and buttons to click on which are not part of the game menu, it’s part of the HTML that is generated on YOUR BROWSER on YOUR COMPUTER. It does this in mid-air so to speak or on-the-fly. The important thing to note is that your browser still interfaces with the KingsAge server in exactly the same way!
It is partially automated in that it collects data you would otherwise have to click a thousand times for. You could call it a macro that you run on your computer. Normally, you click this much anyway, and that’s how you spend your time playing the game. The unfair advantage is gained because through KingsAgeX you use a considerable less amount of time to do your Intel. Thus, the remaining time you can then choose to spend in Planning or Operations. This speeds up decision making and makes it easier to manage your assets. However, the unfair advantage is lost when everyone uses it. Just like history teaches us, warfare is all about gaining and loosing edges – all the time. Can OG stipulate to you how you use your time playing their game? I think not.
In a sense, it can be detected, because it looks as if you’ve clicked (say for example) a thousand URL’s in a very short time span when you generate a server map. However, if I can manually stitch a map together in 35minutes (which I have done by taking ~16 screenshots and then using Microsoft’s free ICE) and KingsAgeX is made to do it in 35minutes, there’s no difference in web traffic. It’s exactly the same. Save for the interval between clicks. Mine would vary (I can get interrupted – I am human), KingsAgeX would always have the same interval..If KingsAgeX was made to do this with a random interval, it would be another matter again…
In conclusion, a web browser displays information. GreaseMonkey enables you to load a userscript which can re-arrange this information and or add information from the same or other sources in mid air/on the fly and then display it in your browser. The manner in which this information and or other information is retrieved is through your browser and is the same should you have done so manually. OG can ask you to comply and you can choose to say yes, but these terms cannot be binding for using Greasemonkey userscripts as you are NOT:
…Guilty of manipulative interfering in the online game. (Whatever that may be. Do you mean gaining root access on the server and changing low level code? — Different story that, innit?)
…Interfering with the function or course of the game. (On a technical level you are interacting with it in exactly the same way)
…Blocking, rewriting or modifying content. The content from the server stays the same. If I have non exclusive use from my colleague at work to print out his email, overlay the email with my own thin plastic and highlight certain sections on the thin, plastic and see through layer with a yellow marker pen, it’s my prerogative. I can give his print-out back unmodified.
…Using cheats, mods or hacks. No parameters are changed and send back to the server. As stated before, Firefox remains Firefox. The browser remains the browser. This is the vehicle we speak through and it remains unaltered. Argue differently!
…Data mining. You are not sending data from the kingsage server to another third party server. This however is how kahelper.com works though.
Here we go:
Section 5.3 is absolute rubbish. Who is to stop me from compiling my own browser to access the internet? Everyone knows for example Firefox is open source right?
Section 5.5 is absolute rubbish. I use Adblock Plus for Firefox. You trying to tell me again how to use my browser and view the net? To disable it on kingsage.org or other OG sites? Rubbish.
Section 5.6 People…..
Log-in is only permitted on the homepage of each online game and the Gameforge portal page. An automated opening of the user accounts, regardless of whether the home page is displayed or not, is not permitted.
Well, what about the remember password for sites function found in every browser these days? For every time I logged in, I broke that section…and many with me. Are you telling me again how to use my browser and view the net?
My point: KingsAgeX ought to be endorsed by KingsAge as the experience everyone should share in. Make it so.