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Automated Macros
I don't think we need them

Currently we have a rather old, rather wonky system for automated macros that looks for specific triggers and executes a macro in response.

I think this system goes against our other rules regarding client side macros, is confusing to use, and honestly, I don't know why we have it and would like to remove it. This would not affect existing not automatic macros. In fact, it might result in us allowing more non automatic macros (raising the cap from 20 to 30 or something).

What I'm looking for with this topic is for people to change my mind (or not). What are your use cases for automatic macros? Why does the game need them? Why would these being removed be a net negative for you or the game?

I'd be happy to see these gone if it meant we could have more macro slots. It's hard to identify a specific trigger for situations I might want to use a macro in and I'd rather have a wider selection of macros to allow me to select an appropriate reaction to circumstance than attempt to sort a one size fits all auto-macro. That can be the difference between pulling a bo staff on an immy and giving them a knock about to teach them a lesson and pulling an SMG and to blow them out of meatspace.
The only automated macros I ever had was phone number lookup for progia 9 (maybe we could just add it to the Ringing message if it is in your inventory/hand as you can look it up from there anyway) and for an automatic stand when I was seated and forgot about it.

So fine with me, especially if as a result we can get more macros altogether.

Actually, while on the subject, maybe with the removal of automated macros the system could be renamed to aliases to be more in line with usual MUD naming convention?
As someone that hasn't ever used any of SD's macro systems, I wouldn't miss this being gone for whatever reasons. I didn't even realize we had auto response macros...definitely feels wierd that we do.

If it opens up further non-auto macro slots for the folks that really like and rely on them, cool.

I am using the heck out of the automated macros. My character uses them every day.

Without going into too many IC specifics, there are some elements of the immigrant grind that are made significantly less cumbersome with the macros.

(Staff, feel free to look at my character to see what I mean.)

Another macro that I don't mind sharing is the one to close my apartment door behind me. Having left it open one too many times, I finally wrote a macro that closes it. It's actually two. One to punch in the code, open the door, enter the apartment and enable the lock macro. Then the lock macro that fires off based on the name of the apartment, closes the door, and then disables itself.

I've never used automatic macros, although I've been pressured in the past to use them. I'm already at all 20 macros used anyway, so that's that.

Maybe if the conveniences folks mentioned above were taken care of, they could go away.

I am not big on the automated door locking macro, especially as it relies on using macros to control other macros. Yep, its possible to make a mistake and leave the door open - I did that, and that sucks. But also having it auto-lock, just as soon as you exit the door, seems gamey, and drastically reduces chance for sneakers to go by as you are matching instant reflex vs human reaction.

You aren't wrong.

On the other hand, my understanding is that the movement code takes attributes into account. If your character is on the tail of someone who enters a locked door, they should be able to follow them in before the macro fires.


Another good auto-macro would be to toggle @luck upon entering or leaving a 'safe' location (apartment, etc.)
That depends if you are following someone from before, or stalking outside of their apartment. Of course, this can be countered by setting an automated macro to enter the door as soon as it opens/stalking the victim as soon as it enters the room. But I don't think this is in the spirit of the game.
I agree with you Empemeralis, it is way better to create mechanics where macros and aliases only provide convenience, not advantage. So I would prefer for shadow into an apartment to actually work as long as you will, well, successfully shadow them, rather than rely on typing reflexes to beat having doors slammed into your face.

Similarily I also see absolutely no reason why for stuff like outfits, or basic command convenience we can't use client-side aliases, this doesn't give you an advantage - merely makes life less annoying.

I would much rather have a game where triggers and automation do not provide advantage rather than restricting them. But that would require quite a lot of changes, like a trigger to auto-attack any pickpocket would be tremendously powerful, so it's a pretty slippery slope.

Yep, delete automacros.

I have used one for shutting my apartment door in the past, but really if I forget it's on me, so haven't used it in ages.

Can't think of a legit reason for these to exist myself, they just come across as a way to be lazy/careless without suffering consequences to me.

No offence intended to anyone, happy to be enlightened if I'm just being a baka ;)

I can see both sides of this. In their defence for some use of automatic, a lot of arguments i see is the attempt to replicate real life IC. Well a lot of our real behaviour has become instinctual without much thought needed.

To use an example the automated door close macros some people are talking about. This just replicates our real life behaviour. When i come in my house i don't consciously have to think about closing my door. I just close it. So I don't see an issue with small automated things like this. I don't know how the coding of shadowing someone into their place so cant really comment on the effect of that.

As long as someone isn't using this for a major advantage just for minimum things I don't see the issue.

While it's true that stuff like locking doors is an instinct, there are also many instances where IRL you will forget to do it, and a subset of those which will be used by opportunist burglars. Shadowing as far as I can tell works the same way as follow, which mean you won't start following them into the room before they are in and can shut the doors behind you. The counter for that is to create your own automated macro to do "sneak XYZ" when the text that doors to XYZ open.

Without that, unless you have some insane dex advantage you will not be able to sneak in against autolocker, at least in my experience.

I think that mentioning the auto locker has distracted from some other very good uses for automated macros.

I personally haven't used the auto locker in a few months. I type "close o" these days to lock it myself.

Can you bring some up Hek? I am most curious.
The only automated macro I've ever used is to pull out a weapon if attacked, and that can lead to accidents as well. I know there's a default weapon thing already but it doesn't know to look in holsters/slings/sheaths etc.
Marleen, I'm not sure if I can.

I'd like to get the thumbs up from staff first. I'm fairly certain they are legit, as I've had them for months. But I want to be careful.

I have used automated macros for a variety of things in the past but 9/10 times I find myself wondering if what I was doing might not be borderline abuse. As I have become more familiar with the game and what is considered good sportsmanship, I have used them less and less.

Currently, I only consider them in two cases:

1. To deal with code limitations where it makes sense for my character. A prime example of this is using them to automatically get a weapon from a container or prep the weapon if that is needed. A lot of times there is a down side to this too as you might find that there are times when doing this is a bad thing.

2. To change default behavior to fit my character. This is really a super set of the above. For example, if my character is a hothead I might have them always switch to kamikaze when combat starts. A macro will make this default behavior for MY character. Again, in many cases changing the default usually has downsides. It usually requires you to use additional commands if you want to get into the state that most start with.

Ultimately, I would rather have more manual macros than any automated ones. Given the choice, that would be my preference.

I agree that we should try and make the code automation resistant but I think there are limits and downsides Ephemeralis.

For example, if we put a two second timer on the closing of doors we just made life hard for a player who is actively playing their character and paying attention and thinking of angles so we can accommodate someone who wants to automate their character.

I would also prefer to only see solutions like this that make sense ICly. Any timers added should be there because it makes sense ICly and not because we have to implement meta solutions to deal with players who want to automate their characters.

While I fully agree that there is no way to 100% identify those who use automation and that people who do this are likely to have already caused trouble by the time they are caught, people are caught a lot more often then not (from what I've seen at least).

It's not hard to notice that someone is doing X and nothing else. Or to pick up on super-human reflexes being displayed on multiple occasions. Once this happens it can be reported to staff who can watch the player even more carefully than we can.

So yes on robust code but no on making life hard on the masses just to accommodate a few bad eggs. The best I think we can hope for is a nice middle ground.

I've played for a little while and I've never found a use for automatic macros. I think they should be usable as an accessibility feature for those who would benefit from them but otherwise are unnecessary.

Non-automatic macros are all you should really need.

Frankly, if you want to break the rules and build some really meticulous scripts - there's much better clients to do it with. For the rest of us, I like to think SD as Mario teaches typing for the masochistic.

All of my Macros are tied to commands and usually they are just to automate things I am too lazy to remember. For example I have had in the past macros that were in the vein of:

mount bike

start bike


But it is still keyed to something such as ~work.

The only automated one I have is one that sets @lp and @title when I do something specific. It wouldn't be hard to make it a keyed one.

Staff reviewed my macros and they were pretty much the textbook case of what NOT to do with macros.

I wasn't using them to gain an advantage in combat or otherwise come out ahead of other players during any sort of conflict.

But I did automate out a pretty fundamental part of the game, and staff would prefer that players engage with that part of the game manually.

Let me guess, crate running? I can see how those easily could be macroed into automation, and you would be such a nice target for dips/crate wranglers when doing so.
You got it Marleen.

I figured that the automated aspect of it made my character a huge target. Always following the same path. Not really paying attention.

I thought it was kind of cool to have him wandering around like a brain dead NPC for part of his day. But staff wants us present and engaged.

Well, crate running is pure profit™ but at the expense of time and boredom (and a little risk). The boredom and time is likely the biggest balancing factor, so being able to just have it done goes against the idea.
I think automated door locking macros are code abuse and should be nixed.

I will put in one caveat though.

I don't know how the follow / shadow code works. That said, IF the code works in such a way that the "follow" someone through a exit triggers BEFORE the auto-macro, then there's no need to get rid of the macro.

If on the other hand the auto macro is ALWAYS going to fire off faster than Character A can follow Character B through a door, then the macros need to go away.

Follow follows after you've changed room, hence why it's so easy to lose people following you unless they are a lot faster. Shadow is similar as far as I can tell.
To be honest, at first I was rather uncertain about this. But after hearing this topic come up several times and hearing how people could or might use automatic macros and all the probing to see what they can get away with, I would be happy to just see them gone. Triggered only does pretty much everything I want or need and I'd love the extra triggered slots. So my vote is in. Kill automatic macros.
Yeah, I don't really care if there are 'ways around' things like automated door lock macros and the like, and no they are maybe not huge deals, but they feel silly. If we're going to be against them client-side we should be against them MOO-side, it's a grey area that doesn't need to exist.
Macros are for newbs
I understand the tedious things that you could argue would be a Natural reaction that macros would be great for, but I’ve never seen the need for them personally. I also typo a lot of shit, especially on mobile. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it to be easier to stay on point and focused when my car is not on cruise control.
I've no idea how piloting works @ephemeralis, though is that something that could be offset with having higher skills/stats? If yes, then, well, the macro seems to be making you a better pilot than you are. If not, then it probably should be fixed at the core, rather than to be worked around with a macro.
Ugh, a bit off-topic but I would rather rework that to be skill/stat-based instead of a reflex-or-crash thing. Because as you say, automatic macro makes that go away, so it's not a problem, just something that needs a macro.
I piloted and never needed them. I also refused to fly when I was on mobile though.
Caveat that I've never used an aero in-game ever so I'm willing to take Eph's input at face value (though Griz offers counter-input, so maybe not?).

But let's say automated macros are at least borderline necessary if your character is a dedicated pilot in some capacity in the game because of the situation(s) mentioned.

To my mind that instantly screams not a use case argument for automated macros being allowed, but rather a game design flaw that needs to be corrected, probably. That's most likely a discussion for a different thread, but there probably shouldn't be a situation in the game where that happens. If from a game design standpoint the admin DO want a situation where that can potentially happen from one or multiple failed piloting skill checks or whatever leads up to it, there definitely shouldn't be situations where an automated macro would potentially or even certainly save your life / vehicle / job but reasonably fast typing wouldn't.

I think it's kinda ridic that multiple staff members have called color-correcting accessibility QoL triggers that make the game as a whole playable for me -cheating- but apparently GMs are like hey if you stall your Skyfox cab and might die just make a macro bro and sure make one so you never forget to lock your door too BTW our rules say you can't make stuff to play the game for you but do it anyway. :)))))

Fly at a higher altitude, have skill/stats for piloting and pay attention to your screen and use the simple command when you see you have stalled. You don’t get massive death resulting damage from stalling in the same room as a street and “crashing”. Done it plenty of times.
+1 Grizzly

Macros are for noobs. You're playing a text based game. I also always thought any combat based macro was a no-go. If it's not it should be.

My client has extensive scripting capabilities, I don't use them because they are against the rules. And really, the solution is to fix those design flaws, instead of caving in on them.

Although I will point out that spotting an automated trigger is relatively easy, as long as you have proper moo-side logging and a bit of know-how on how to process logs and extract anomalies from data.

XXXXXX is dead on.

There should probably be a much more earnest and open discussion about what people do (or 'would lol winky) use basic or sophisticated triggers and macros for, because that probably exposes a range of MOO-side design flaws, whether or not those are things that are felt staff feels need to be addressed.

But be clear-minded and earnest. Understand what the game is and what people are intending to get out of it. Realize it's 2019. Spend five minutes with what any M** client developed in the last ten years offers.

(Edited by Johnny at 5:27 pm on 3/5/2020)

I use the webclient and no automated macros.

My opinion is that if you feel the need to cheat against me, I take it as a compliment. I'm flattered that you needed to go to such lengths to win.

What bugs me, however, is the people who deny cheating afterward. Those folks got problems.

"Automated macros as they stand even the playing field a little bit in that regard. "

This is Johnny's opinion on the matter as well. I've disliked automated macros for a long time and would like to see them gone but I also understand that offering them is our way of providing an interface in the game that we can customize to fit the needs of the game we are building while maintaining our no client side macros policy.

I personally think offering automated macros is just a gateway for people to get frustrated with the lack of scripting we allow and be driven to look for something client side where as if we simply didn't allow automated macros, people wouldn't get the idea in their head that it was possible.

I also think that our community is pretty evenly split with many people playing it as their first or only MUD and thus, only a subset of our community is aware of or inclined towards, client side scripting. I think the folks that are inclined to try to script out interactions within the game using client side macros are going to attempt to do that regardless of if we offer automated macros or not, so I don't think that is a very good argument for having them.

In the end though, Johnny doesn't think they should be removed and has asked me to figure out better ways of implementing automated macros such that they are both more useful and more fair.

Give them a two-second delay on firing?