Bugs in third-party software

 
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KaVir



Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 565
Location: Munich

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 12:54 pm    Post subject: Bugs in third-party software Reply with quote

A player recently complained to me that another player was abusing a "crash bug". Further investigation revealed that the bug didn't cause a crash in the mud, but rather in a screen reading program called JAWS (Job Access With Speech) which is used by many of my blind players. Apparently certain words, such as 'caesure', kill the application, and the player in question had been broadcasting said word over public channels.

Now technically I could just say that it's not my problem - its not my software, nor is it part of the mud. However it's a popular application for several of my regular players, and obviously it's going to cause them severe difficulties if players abuse it. I don't want to have to enforce it through rules though, which only really leaves the option of dealing with it through code - some sort of gag option perhaps. That's not going to help much if a player decides to create a character with that name though, and presumably other words are going to cause other issues so simply locking out characters with that name (which I have already done) isn't going to help much in the long run.

This got me thinking about other third-party software, in particular mud clients which often have quirks. How far should we go to cater to the bugs in other peoples software?
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Cornelius



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 42
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure if this question is answerable in a general sense. I think it should depend greatly on many external factors that change dramatically from case to case (severity, repeatability, infiltration level, etc...). For the longest time I had used the unsupported version of Zmud as my mudding client- that thing crashes about every 10 minutes but I didn't expect the mud owner to address that problem.

Perhaps the best general answer I could recommend is to find out what feature an external program is adding to the playing experience of your mud; figure out if that feature is necessary for the enjoyment of the game; and then find a way to impliment a similar feature within your game- where you can control the bugginess.

Anything out of the realm of that response really needs to be addressed on an individual level. As for your particular dilemma I would throw in a configuration option to filter out those words similar to filtering out bad language that people using the program could activate. Then just add words (or letter combinations) known to cause problems when they crop up.
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Kelson



Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 71
Location: SC

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Cornelius suggested, I would give players the ability to turn any word into another word (a reverse alias). Thus a word that crashes their text to speech could be ignored (perhaps set up by an admin, since they clearly wouldn't know which word crashes their program). I think it more likely I would inform players of the availability of such tools in many freely available mud clients (I'm not as large a fan of mimicing client functionality - especially for the special cases which many players wouldn't need/use productively).

- Kelson
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Tyche



Joined: 13 May 2005
Posts: 176
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I read the problem right, it appears the phonetic 'a e' combination causes the crash. So installing a output filter on the affected users switching 'a e' around to 'ea' would be the least instrusive of measures. If one's also implementing a flag for spam reduction and non-display of ascii maps for the same reason, then that's a good place to turn it on.

Here I coded it up... it's a one liner. Razz

output.gsub!(/ae/mi,"ea")

or

RE("ae",RE_Options(PCRE_CASELESS|PCRE_MULTILINE)).GlobalReplace("ea", &output);
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