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Exploit versus Intended Design?


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Has Klei ever given official word regarding certain behaviors in the game that some consider exploits and if they are by design or will be fixed in the future? A previous example of this is the recent changes to water sieves. Current examples include using germy water for sinks or small packets not state changing in pipes (plenty more though). Seems like if it makes it past the official launch then that is by design, but it would be nice to have official word.

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I've only ever seen them call the metal cannon an exploit. The most the tend to do is mark an issue as known on the bug tracker.

Then there are things like the sieve which are not bugs but changes in design. I would see a future change to diagonal building as this.

The release client will not be the final product. There will be bugs remaining that aren't intended and design aspects they might later rethink.

Basically, don't lose any sleep over what you think their intentions are.

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I saw many discussion about "exploit" which is not well defined universally, and it is somehow subjective.

Some design is "exploit" to myself, then I will try to avoid it, while it may not be "exploit" to others, then they may use it. 

I think the developer does not give the official definition easily because they don't want to limit the player's creativity, especially before they have a solid change plan.

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Man don't get me started on exploits. There's this one exploit where things at high pressure explode better, and some guy came up with an exploit involving connecting it to a set of wheels. 

 

What I'm (sarcastically) getting at is that the line between exploit and emergent design is imaginary. 

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I've always assumed that "intended design" is a term meaning "an exploit I don't want to be fixed but feel subconsiously guilty about using, enough that I need to justify it to myself with language like "intended design" because otherwise I'll be no better than those monsters who savescum to get the best care packages."

 

PS: Savescumming is totally intended and the only way to play. Freezing plastic every 3 cycles!

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2 hours ago, nakomaru said:

Basically, don't lose any sleep over what you think their intentions are.

They will also understand that this is a simulation and that you cannot predict what is possible and what is not in that situation. And, quite frankly, why should they wish to limit what players can do, except if it grossly affects game balance? This is not some "divine plan" where we have to all act out what the great "creators" intended. The whole idea is beyond silly, even if some people do seem to feel that way.

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One of my engineering professors used to tell us: "When you're designing something, its important to remember that the end user will NOT use it in the way you intended.  If poking random buttons makes your device blow up, then you need to re-think your design.  Even if you think you've thought of every possible way your device can be used, you haven't.  Think about it: There's a warning label on packages of forks telling you not to stick them into the light socket because... somebody did."

 

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7 hours ago, Scyth02 said:

Has Klei ever given official word regarding certain behaviors in the game that some consider exploits and if they are by design or will be fixed in the future? A previous example of this is the recent changes to water sieves.

You're confusing changes in design with exploits.

Exploits are abuses of bugs or mechanics that clearly go against design intent.

The Borg Cube, Philosophers stone and other designs that utilized broken mechanics are clear examples of exploits, as these utilized bugs in order to function. From mass duplication to drip cooling(heat distribution that was applied multiple times).

Buildings like the Water Sieve literally had tooltips that described their behaviors. They were designed to output at a fixed temperature, for better or worse. You could utilize that to do whatever you needed to without it being an exploit because that was again, literally how the building was designed to work.

Some people didn't like this because it was abusable, but not in a way that could be considered an "exploit".

The Developers changing this behavior also doesn't mean any previous usage was an exploit. It doesn't matter if they always intended to change it or not, that was how it was supposed to work for those patches.

 

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Current examples include using germy water for sinks or small packets not state changing in pipes (plenty more though).

Using Germy Water isn't an exploit. It doesn't make a ton of sense, but there is no requirement to use germ free water. It'd be nice if it lessened the effect, but this comes down to a feature shortfall. If something not working exactly as it should IRL makes it an exploit, well I hope you don't have much knowledge on how gas pressure works, or any other feature with non-perfect simulation(IE about all of them).

 

Small packets on the other hand... Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are the pipes supposed to transfer heat?
  2. Does it only not transfer heat when a rare condition occurs?
  3. Does that rare condition require specific and intentional engineering to occur regularly?

The answer is yes to all three. It's an exploit, specifically an unintended behavior(bug) that only occurs is specific circumstance that require specific steps to create. That's an exploit.

 

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Seems like if it makes it past the official launch then that is by design, but it would be nice to have official word.

The best you'll get is checking if it's a confirmed bug or not. And if not, then reporting it and seeing what happens. But this is a single player game, so the Devs aren't going to be denouncing things as exploits.

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I still consider polluted water and polluted oxygen as legacy/obsolete inclusions superseded by the addition of germs. In the first release of the game polluted oxygen gave random diseases while dupes were exposed and polluted water constantly threatened your bases with this so you had to "sieve" it away. Now it's only an inconvenience.
 

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33 minutes ago, Logicsol said:

specifically an unintended behavior(bug) that only occurs is specific circumstance

For pipes not to break, someone coded that in deliberately. Just as for water sieve output temp, these kinds of things can not occur due miss-prediction of how your code would work, as it was with matter conversion and duplication. They can only be there if someone coded them there. If I remember correctly, sieve fixed temp was not in the game info as well. 

And to think of this particular example, it also makes sense - if the pipe is wide enough to handle 10x of the volume of the liquid, it can handle the gas without breaking. Does not transfer well to solids though.

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53 minutes ago, Logicsol said:

The answer is yes to all three. It's an exploit

What a great case study in why you shouldn't try to read the minds of the developers. It is said they specifically addressed this as intended due to small packet size.

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5 hours ago, Yunru said:

Man don't get me started on exploits. There's this one exploit where things at high pressure explode better, and some guy came up with an exploit involving connecting it to a set of wheels. 

 

What I'm (sarcastically) getting at is that the line between exploit and emergent design is imaginary. 

It is imaginary for us but for devs it is easy to spot what is a feature and what is exploit. If we mention for example sweeping diagonal by auto sweeper ( this is just an example) devs will pick this up and either "gosh we didn't think about this behaviour, well spotted we need to cjange it to balance it"(exploit) either "yep, ppl found it it works as we thought will work" (feature). We can only assume that something is one of those but without clear info from devs we will not be able to differentiate what is what. 

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55 minutes ago, nakomaru said:

What a great case study in why you shouldn't try to read the minds of the developers. It is said they specifically addressed this as intended due to small packet size.

Yeah... no.

The small packet exclusion exists so that small quantities aren't rapidly temp shifted into a state change. The behavior itself is intended, as it's a bandaid fix for unwanted behavior(instant pipe breakage). 

It's not meant for actual transport. This is an example of what I wrote in my 2nd sentence:

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Exploits are abuses of bugs or mechanics that clearly go against design intent.

Temperature is a core mechanic of the game. Using a workaround fix to suspend it so you can pipe 1600+c magma with no heat integration is a clear exploit.

 

There is a reason I didn't put " is it a bug" in the 3 questions.

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59 minutes ago, ONIfreak said:

It is imaginary for us but for devs it is easy to spot what is a feature and what is exploit.

What you're describing is exactly emergent gameplay & design.

Something crops up they didn't think about.

They watch how people are using the game & consider whether it's something they like or dislike.

It either gets adjusted or it doesn't.

2 hours ago, Logicsol said:

The answer is yes to all three. It's an exploit, specifically an unintended behavior(bug) that only occurs is specific circumstance that require specific steps to create. That's an exploit.

The reason I disagree with this reasoning is that it starts with an assumption about what's "intended" or "acceptable"

Because even if something isn't quite intended, it still has to go through the design process before it can be declared "unacceptable".

Next, every single useful machine (1) relies on mechanics that only occur in very specific circumstances (2) requires engineering.

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11 minutes ago, avc15 said:

 

The reason I disagree with this reasoning is that it starts with an assumption about what's "intended" or "acceptable"

Because even if something isn't quite intended, it still has to go through the design process before it can be declared "unacceptable".

 

You have to apply critical thinking.

Does something bypass or suspend core mechanics? 99.9% of the time that is going to be an exploit. That's the case here. Abusing this suspends a core mechanic.

 

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Next, every single useful machine (1) relies on mechanics that only occur in very specific circumstances (2) requires engineering.

No and no.

Everything single machine works in a consistent manner when given the required connections and inputs. Buildings don't suddenly require no power if you engineer a way to feed them only a few watts. They don't keep producing full outputs if you engineer a way to interrupt their input supply and reduce it to a slight fraction.

 

They don't utterly change their behavior in a way that is not consistent with the mechanics said building uses. If they did, and deliberate manipulation allowed you to ignore the normal game rules you would(or at least should) consider that an exploit.

 

 

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3 hours ago, KittenIsAGeek said:

One of my engineering professors used to tell us: "When you're designing something, its important to remember that the end user will NOT use it in the way you intended.  If poking random buttons makes your device blow up, then you need to re-think your design.  Even if you think you've thought of every possible way your device can be used, you haven't.  Think about it: There's a warning label on packages of forks telling you not to stick them into the light socket because... somebody did."

Very much so. The basis of all safety engineering is to make it hard to cause accidents of any kind. Of course, some things you cannot avoid: Hammers have to hammer, knives have to cut, etc. But there you need to make the danger obvious. And, of course, experts and end-users are a little different on what they need to be warned of.

But experts will use devices for other than intended purpose just the same, and it is actually the right thing to do so. One of my CS professors told us how to solve problems (such as design of an algorithm, but also other things) most efficiently: Whatever the system and its border-conditions give you and allow you to do, use it. He called that "merciless cooperation". 

And that is why, in a simulation, the idea of an "exploit" does not make any sense at all.

2 hours ago, Logicsol said:

Exploits are abuses of bugs or mechanics that clearly go against design intent.

You cannot know what goes "against design intent". Unless you have a secret line to Klei and they have shared their "design intent" with you?

Because if they have not, then the default assumption for a simulation is that whatever is possible is intended. That is the very nature of a simulation. Maybe Klei just intends to see what crazy things players come up with? 

All this pontification about "wishes of the designers" and "clear design intent" and "the way the game is meant to be played" and the like are just empty claims with no meaning.  

 

1 hour ago, ONIfreak said:

It is imaginary for us but for devs it is easy to spot what is a feature and what is exploit.

And how did you divine that? Because this is generally not true in a simulation. 

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6 minutes ago, Gurgel said:

 

You cannot know what goes "against design intent". 

 

 

Yes, Yes I can.

Does something allow me to completely ignore temperature?

Does something allow me to create something from nothing?

Does something allow me to operate something without it's required input?

Does something allow me to change the behavior of something to be inconsistent with established mechanics?

 

A developer does not design a several different pipe types, which combine with a complex material system to create dozens of difference in how they handle temperature, only to let you completely ignore the mechanic by sending small packets.

The small packet exclusion exists so pipes don't instantly break when a tiny amount of material passes through them. Abusing that is an exploit. Given the above, it's laughable to suggest that no, they totally want you to not use any of the mechanics they designed for this and just send through small bits at a time.

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28 minutes ago, Logicsol said:

If they did, and deliberate manipulation allowed you to ignore the normal game rules you would(or at least should) consider that an exploit.

And who decides what the "normal game rules" are? You? I don't think so.

Just now, Logicsol said:

Yes, Yes I can.

Does something allow me to completely ignore temperature?

Does something allow me to create something from nothing?

Does something allow me to operate something without it's required input?

Does something allow me to change the behavior of something to be inconsistent with established mechanics?

 

A developer does not design a several different pipe types, which combine with a complex material system to create dozens of difference in how they handle temperature, only to let you completely ignore the mechanic by sending small packets.

The small packet exclusion exists so pipes don't instantly break when a tiny amount of material passes through them. Abusing that is an exploit. Given the above, it's laughable to suggest that no, they totally want you to not use any of the mechanics they designed for this and just send through small bits at a time.

You have absolutely nothing here. Your conclusions are invalid. Ask the developers, get a clear statement, and then you may have something. Or you may find out that they just went, did it and were waiting to see what players would do with it.

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3 minutes ago, Gurgel said:

And who decides what the "normal game rules" are? You? I don't think so.

No, the game does.

ONI works off of a consistent ruleset that does not change. (During play)

Buildings require power, making food requires ingredients, heat spreads.

If, via a contrived circumstance you are able to change those core behaviors, you are exploiting. There is nothing inherently wrong with this in a single player game, but that is what you are doing.

 

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37 minutes ago, Gurgel said:

And how did you divine that? Because this is generally not true in a simulation. 

I might be naive but if you make tool you usually know what this tool is doing. Similar to games and applications. From my understanding exploits are ways to use design tool in the way that was not inteded. For example sql indections.

Lets say you have a tetris game. You have to design corners and blocks and movement ( and much more but lets focus on this). Now as dev you design basic blocks as square line and dot. And you write down that blocks can stack on each other and not pass through other blocks. Now you forgot to add this to block "dot" - so they will he going through blocks filling gaps - this is exploit as it make game unbalanced and you as dev didn't want this to happen. You also design movement left right down and you added up as well. Someone notice that when you press up button block will go up - this is feature as you design this movement in game. You also design corners of map and decided to leave top left corner just simple for testing - so when you move block there it will dissapear - this is small help for testers so instead of playing they can simply skip blocks to test particular one. You forgot to remove it from game - this is exploit as it was a tool just for testers. So if someone will say "hey when you move block to top left corner will dissapear is it a bug?" And ppl will argue on forum if it is or not you know it is a bug because you know why it is there. Is that make sense?

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I think sometimes Klei doesn't even intend for something but end up being okay with it because they didn't plan or know how players will make use of their mechanics.  I've watched some twitch streams where they featured players maps and save files and the dev was like this is cool. And they were surprised by the clever use of game mechanics.    It was some save game showing pipe bridges. 

 

I've seen players report something as an exploit or bug and the developers closed the thread saying it was game mechanics and they weren't planning on fixing it. Like the 1 element tile rule.  

 

So using the 1 element tile rule you can make use of the mechanic to by pass max pressure for vents.  Or  for deleting elements when it has no where to go.  Is it intended?    Or is it just clever use of game mechanics. 

 

 

From what I think klei is just proving us tools and game mechanic rules. And the game is pretty much open world sandbox for players to create machines and systems.    It's like here are the Legos  build something cool with it. 

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20 minutes ago, Gurgel said:

 

You have absolutely nothing here. Your conclusions are invalid. Ask the developers, get a clear statement, and then you may have something.

This is an appeal to Authority. Please don't use logical fallacies to argue your point. I've already pointed out that the confirmed bug list is the closest to a direct ruling players can get.

I'm talking about actually using your own critical thinking skills to identify what is an isn't an exploit.

 

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Or you may find out that they just went, did it and were waiting to see what players would do with it.

They do this with everything. Development takes a huge amount of man hours, and not all bugs can be fully fixed. The trouble is that you're trying to imply they did it intentionally to add a new feature. The truth is closer to that they implemented a work around for a behavior they found problematic and are waiting to see if it causes problems.

 

That doesn't mean it's not an exploit.

3 minutes ago, RonEmpire said:

I think sometimes Klei doesn't even intend for something but end up being okay with it because they didn't plan or know how players will make use of their mechanics.  I've watched some twitch streams where they featured players maps and save files and the dev was like this is cool. And they were surprised by the clever use of game mechanics.    It was some save game showing pipe bridges. 

Sounds like the mechanical filter. That thing is sweet, and it purely uses the games rules. Totally not an exploit in any way.

 

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So using the 1 element tile rule you can make use of the mechanic to by pass max pressure for vents.  Or  for deleting elements when it has no where to go.  Is it intended?    Or is it just clever use of game mechanics. 

 

Nope, this is an exploit. But it's also something that not easy to change without overhauling the game mechanics in a way that would be too burdensome, so it's unlikely to ever be fixed.

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From what I think klei is just proving us tools and game mechanic rules. And the game is pretty much open world sandbox for players to create machines and systems.    It's like here are the Legos  build something cool with it. 

Yep, that's the beauty of singleplayer sandboxes like ONI. There is absolutely nothing wrong with playing around with exploits. They often allow you to do really cool things. The Borg cube was really fun to play around with for making supercold liquids.

But exploits are still exploits. Denying that you're using obvious ones make you the kid beats contra with konami code and tells his friends they did it totally legit. Just be frank with how you're doing it and let people admire the ingenuity.

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Sometimes when players exploit something   and Klei ends up just adding it to the game for quality of life.   For example when they added the ore dumper vents.       Before those features   players were left with tricking the sweeper arm to drop items by cutting power or automation to enable and disable. 

 

 Or players having to set stuff on sweep only in storage bins and then just manually uncheck everything to drop stuff out of the bin to cheat the max storage and leave stuff on the ground.   Then they added ore dump station. 

Players doing water lock and they added viscol gel. 

 

I remember there used to be a debate or a group of people feeling that the ore dump was not an intended behavior and people claimed it was an exploit and then Klei came out to make it a feature.   Made me chuckle to think those people who wanted it to be an exploit to be not intended. 

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