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Rules regarding third party tools

Printed From: Illyriad
Category: Miscellaneous
Forum Name: Technology & data
Forum Description: Discussions on data dumps, downloads, and third party applications.
URL: http://forum.illyriad.co.uk/forum_posts.asp?TID=756
Printed Date: 03 Dec 2021 at 20:33
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.03 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Rules regarding third party tools
Posted By: GM Stormcrow
Subject: Rules regarding third party tools
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2010 at 09:41
Copied over from another thread, but should reside here as a sticky:

THIRD PARTY TOOLS

We've been made aware of tools that some players have developed to assist them in playing Illyriad.  Some of these tools are basic (web-enabled spreadsheets and the like) and some of these tools are quite advanced (JavaScripts etc that "float" above the web client).

We haven't had a particularly stringent policy on these tools, and have been happy to let players develop them.

However, when we've been aware of functionality within a tool that gives what we deem to be an unfair advantage over other players, we've asked that the functionality be removed until we can find some way of closing down the source of the data to whatever extent possible, and it is muchly to the credit of the players who have developed these tools that they've done what we requested.

We do, now, have guidelines for players who wish to develop tools, and these are as follows:

1. Data usage must comply with the current, publicly visible User Interface
The tool must only use the data that is publicly visible and explicitly available on the User Interface to all players without having to go into the source code.

If, for example, the publicly visible interface does not tell you where an army is travelling to, then this is something we do not intend for you to know, and tools that attempt to extract this data from the source of the world map are not allowed.

2. Tools that automate regular data capture
Tools that automatically refresh their data without any intervention from the user are forbidden. This includes map-scanning tools and event notification tools that conduct their *own* data refreshes. 

We don't have an issue with tools that ride on the back of manually initiated refreshes of data (or refreshes of data that Illyriad refreshes itself, such as Chat channels) but we do have an issue with tools that poll the server.

3. Tools that automate actions
Tools that submit ingame *actions* back to the web server are forbidden. 

The word "action" is important here. 

We don't have a problem with anyone who has (eg) a tool that allows you to click on a player's name and view their ranking, open a new mail message, look at their profile, or center the map on their capital city.  These are all examples of reasonable uses.

However, any tool that (eg) dispatches an army, casts a spell, starts construction etc is a definite no-no.

-------------------------

Please be aware that these guidelines are subject to change.  If you are in any doubt at all about whether a particular function of your tool is permitted, we'd urge you to get in touch with us before writing or using it.  Please use Petitions ingame to do this.



Replies:
Posted By: Larry
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2010 at 19:10
Are tools allowed to automatically download the updated datafile_towns.xml file on a 24hr basis? Given that that's the express purpose of providing said xml file...


Posted By: GM Stormcrow
Date Posted: 07 Jul 2010 at 19:27
Originally posted by Larry Larry wrote:

Are tools allowed to automatically download the updated datafile_towns.xml file on a 24hr basis? Given that that's the express purpose of providing said xml file...

Yes, absolutely Larry.

Datafiles we provide may be downloaded at the frequency we specify that the datafile refreshes at.




Posted By: HonoredMule
Date Posted: 22 Oct 2010 at 04:14
I have the idea stuck in my head that I cannot have a script post information gathered from the in-game interface to another server.  However I cannot find the text that gave me this impression.  Can you please clarify or point me to the relevant rule?  And assuming it isn't a fabrication of my imagination, is it only talking about scraping tools, or is any form of submission including data gathered from the interface (like names and coordinates of account's cities, resource numbers, etc.) going to be a problem--even if it only occurs with a manual button press?


Here's some context:

I'm currently having HarmlessButler submit some user-generated data (particularly attack plans that generate launch timers) to a server for the purpose of syncing it with other computers or browser installations.  Eventually I may use it for additional purposes in the future, such as sharing attack plans with allies/war coordinators, setting email alerts for launch timers, or showing a combined, chronologically ordered list of (your private) launch timers for every account you own or sit).

I'm starting to extend the user-generated data to handle such things as dividing cities into groups (navigationally) and tagging cities to help identify them by iconified specializations/strengths.  With 9 cities spread all about in unfamiliar territory, keeping things straight gets quite difficult and will become more so as Illyriad grows more dynamic and fluid.  Naturally, I want to sync all this data as well.  But that would be a lot easier if I didn't have to keep user-generated and interface-gathered data at arm's length from each other.  It would be much simpler if I could organize data strictly by relationship and just sync the whole kit and caboodle, excluding only objects that haven't any user-generated data.


Posted By: Noryasha Grunk
Date Posted: 24 Oct 2010 at 02:54
Would a script to scan sections of the map (upon my initiation, not automatically) for tile data be accepted?

There's been no response to my request for release of tile data, so I was wondering if it would be allowed to simply do it myself.


Posted By: lep
Date Posted: 24 Oct 2010 at 23:59
I already asked via petition Norysasha and was told "no" in no uncertain terms.

I was however also told that a map tile data release is under consideration and would be announced in data request section.


Posted By: GM Stormcrow
Date Posted: 25 Oct 2010 at 00:35
Originally posted by HonoredMule HonoredMule wrote:

I have the idea stuck in my head that I cannot have a script post information gathered from the in-game interface to another server.  However I cannot find the text that gave me this impression.  Can you please clarify or point me to the relevant rule?  And assuming it isn't a fabrication of my imagination, is it only talking about scraping tools, or is any form of submission including data gathered from the interface (like names and coordinates of account's cities, resource numbers, etc.) going to be a problem--even if it only occurs with a manual button press?


Here's some context:

I'm currently having HarmlessButler submit some user-generated data (particularly attack plans that generate launch timers) to a server for the purpose of syncing it with other computers or browser installations.  Eventually I may use it for additional purposes in the future, such as sharing attack plans with allies/war coordinators, setting email alerts for launch timers, or showing a combined, chronologically ordered list of (your private) launch timers for every account you own or sit).

I'm starting to extend the user-generated data to handle such things as dividing cities into groups (navigationally) and tagging cities to help identify them by iconified specializations/strengths.  With 9 cities spread all about in unfamiliar territory, keeping things straight gets quite difficult and will become more so as Illyriad grows more dynamic and fluid.  Naturally, I want to sync all this data as well.  But that would be a lot easier if I didn't have to keep user-generated and interface-gathered data at arm's length from each other.  It would be much simpler if I could organize data strictly by relationship and just sync the whole kit and caboodle, excluding only objects that haven't any user-generated data.


Posting data gathered ingame to a third-party server is allowed, so long as the data was gathered from user initiated actions rather than anything automated.  Scripts that poll the server under any guise are not allowed.

Posting data *back* to the Illyriad server as player actions is not allowed (see Rule 3 above).

I'm hoping/sure that all data you're gathering - with the exception of XML data we provide - is "user generated" data - by which I mean a) either data that a user enters into your own interface, or b) data which is gathered from the interface based on a user interaction with the interface.  I think when you talk about "user generated" data in this context you mean information that users specifically give you/your servers.

I would also say/warn that many of these features (and more besides) are coming in the UI v2, and that all third-party tools will either break (and/or become partially/wholly redundant) as a result of UI v2.

Originally posted by Noryasha Grunk Noryasha Grunk wrote:

Would a script to scan sections of the map (upon my initiation, not automatically) for tile data be accepted?

There's been no response to my request for release of tile data, so I was wondering if it would be allowed to simply do it myself.


Yes, Noryasha. So long as the data you gather is user-initiated this is acceptable.

However, you might wish to wait for the data release, as this will be a) accurate, b) complete, c) take account of changes in terrain (it does change under certain circumstances), and d) will contain more information than is currently in the user interface (such as "Terrain in terms of combat resolution").

Originally posted by lep lep wrote:

I already asked via petition Norysasha and was told "no" in no uncertain terms.

I was however also told that a map tile data release is under consideration and would be announced in data request section.


A slight misrepresentation, Lep!

You asked whether it was permissable in a Petition with the words "one-off bot data collection" in it the subject line.

Our response to that is absolutely not.  However, user generated map views - with a data collection tool that sits above - is acceptable (see Rule 2 above).

Again, though, I'd recommend waiting till the data is released officially. It'll be more complete, and your tool won't break when we change the UI.

Best,

SC


Posted By: HonoredMule
Date Posted: 25 Oct 2010 at 01:42
Thank you for the clarification.  At present, HarmlessButler uses data of types a (input by user to the script itself) and b (gathered via user interaction...i.e. reading information stored on a page the user views manually), and shares data only exclusively of type a.

Allowing us to share/export data of type b opens a lot of possibilities for useful and equitable innovations, and in my case just makes development a little easier/simpler.

I'm well aware that UI v2 will utterly destroy my script, but at the same time I look forward to having a more dynamic system which can more easily and cleanly be extended--reading (user-requested) api-consistent xml/json responses instead of parsing (user requested) pages with, for example, variations in resource name spelling and plurality; more lightweight extra UI that doesn't need to be re-generated by such frequent full page reloads; perhaps no longer needing towndata.xml or a 3rd-party lookup server; etc..  Given a fresh start, I just may come up with an entirely different set of extra features. Smile  Of course I'd be most keen to get back any that were lost but not provided by UI v2.

I do hope you get a chance to check out HarmlessButler while it still works, especially on a multi-city account handling high volumes of production and active warfare.  I think it strongly represents what developed players need to make their playing experience manageable and free from tedium.


Posted By: Marquesta
Date Posted: 02 Jan 2012 at 18:11
Illy Tools seems to fit the outline, but is there anyone who can check it out to be sure it wont get someone in trouble?

-------------
~~Marquesta
Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing, end them...


Posted By: Rill
Date Posted: 02 Jan 2012 at 22:08
The closest thing to a bot in Illytools is the feature that allows you to send a spy to the human statues by pre-entering the coordinates in the send diplo box.  However, you still have to send the spies yourself, so I doubt this would be considered a bot.

The hot spot finder seems to fit the description of "user generated map views" which are considered acceptable.

I haven't used other features of Illytools except for the chat, which I think should get Eaque hired by the devs since he's managed to create private chats.  Yay!


Posted By: GnuTri
Date Posted: 02 Jan 2012 at 22:27
Is this something available to everyone or has it been created for a particular alliance?


Posted By: Babbens
Date Posted: 03 Jan 2012 at 08:31
I should think it is for everyone and everyone can get a link from Eaque, its creator.


Posted By: Eaque
Date Posted: 06 Jan 2012 at 00:33
That's correct, send me a PM to get the script and the guidelines to install it.

On another note, I'd like to clear something with the GMs...

In the context of a new Illytools feature, would it breach the rules to "centralize" information on a page, and send orders from that page. e.g. provide a page that display all the buildings of a town, and provide buttons to launch upgrades for each building listed?

Thanks



Posted By: Rill
Date Posted: 06 Jan 2012 at 01:33
/me wonders why the devs don't just hire this guy already. Wink


Posted By: HonoredMule
Date Posted: 06 Jan 2012 at 03:52
Players can't be devs, or I might have been one myself. Wink

3rd party development lets players get involved and push independent agendas (i.e. better interface usability, information management, etc.).


-------------
"Apparently, quoting me is a 'thing' now."
- HonoredMule


Posted By: Eaque
Date Posted: 07 Jan 2012 at 04:27
That makes sense HM... Conflict of interest

And also, we don't work with the same backend technology... I'm specialized in Php, when Illy runs on ASP


Posted By: Soulwarrior
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2012 at 13:07
First of all I wanted to say thanks to the devs for providing the town data in xml format. Highly appreciated Smile

It might be interesting to propose the downloads also in compressed format to save bandwidth.


Posted By: JimJams
Date Posted: 18 Jan 2012 at 22:56
Where can I get the town file ?


Posted By: Basiclife
Date Posted: 09 May 2012 at 19:16
Can I clarify - Can a user-initiated action retrieve data that isn't visible on the current page or cached but is available to the user from another screen?

eg...

User decides to send Resources from UserTown1 to UserTown2

Is a script allowed to retrieve the current resource level for the target town to warn if your delivery will over-fill (taking into account harvesting rates/travel time). I will most likely have the resource data cached (or can force it) but retrieving the max resource limit requires going to the resource summary (as far as I know). Do I have to force the user to browse there for each town or can I just get the data when prompted (and cache it of course!)

In this case, although it's riding on the back of a user action, it also potentially requires 1-2 additional requests to the server


Posted By: GM ThunderCat
Date Posted: 10 May 2012 at 02:29
Originally posted by Basiclife Basiclife wrote:

Is a script allowed to retrieve the current resource level for the target town to warn if your delivery will over-fill (taking into account harvesting rates/travel time). I will most likely have the resource data cached (or can force it) but retrieving the max resource limit requires going to the resource summary (as far as I know). Do I have to force the user to browse there for each town or can I just get the data when prompted (and cache it of course!)
There might be a javascript variable called: maxStorage which contains that value for the current town focused - but you will have to cache this as it you can only have on town focused at once and it changes when you change towns.

Please note I'm not advocating the use of this variable or assuring its continued presence; but it may be what you are looking for for now.


Posted By: Basiclife
Date Posted: 17 May 2012 at 22:55
Thanks, that's really helpful.


Posted By: Elrond EƤrfalas
Date Posted: 26 Jun 2012 at 12:34
Is there a list complied of 3rd party software that is available?


Posted By: HonoredMule
Date Posted: 03 Jul 2012 at 15:32
Not to my knowledge.  Arcanum Illyria has a namespace just for 3rd-party tools of any kind (sites, scripts, etc.), but I'm the only person that uses it so far.  Eaque (author of illytools) has expressed interest but hasn't started anything yet.

If people do start using it, categorization and listing pages will follow.


-------------
"Apparently, quoting me is a 'thing' now."
- HonoredMule



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