There is an easy way to cheat in MAMEgreenspun.com : LUSENET : MAME Action Replay : One Thread
Well, I'm sorry to bring this news to MARP, but it's only a matter of time before you all know about it. Ever since MAME 35 it has been possible to [CENSORED]. It works in all the versions of MAME 36 I've tried as well.
In a nutshell:
etc, etc... a very bleak picture for INPs for all the high score boards emerges :-(
The MAME programmers should be told that this "feature" is no damned good. It's up to the programmers here who truly care about high scores to make a true tournament version of mame. I would suggest starting with MAME 34. People are starting to openingly question all the best INP files, a situation I find distressing. I would also suggest that for Williams games, and most games that a TG settings option be programmed as an option in this new tournament edition.
Chris Moore is probably the best suited for the job. I'll help any way I can. I've been fighting against fake scores since the Guinness Book of World Records published 1,500,000+ for Joust with 5 men, a score most of us think is now false (this was in the 1986 edition). I would HATE to see another wave of fake scores.
-- Mark Longridge (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 14, 1999
Mark, two things. One, thanks a lump for telling people how to do it. Most people here didn't know that before you told it. Two, I guess that makes MAME32 recordings clean and clear. Since they don't involve the DOS prompt to select the settings, that kind of thing wouldn't/couldn't happen on MAME32.
-- Chris Parsley (email@example.com), October 14, 1999.
Does the MAME team work for Blizzard???
Aside from fixing MAME, is anyone familiar enough with the other emulators (like Retrocade) to know if there is any kind of option - so at least some of the games might be "saved" :(
Aqua, who wonders what the next depressing news will be...
-- Aquatarkus (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 14, 1999.
I take it there is no way to detect that a recording was created with this method? I think it should have been posted, security thrugh obscurity is not the answer.
-- Dave Kaupp (email@example.com), October 14, 1999.
I think using mame34 or mame35bX only or win35+ would be an excellent thing to do for tournament2. But clearly a header and tailer with the start and end time encrypted is the way to secure inp files. This would not only stop the cheat above but fps slowdowns. The only problem with this is that this method is still not fullproof, a debugger can pic out the encryption algorithm for someone to create their own headers and tailers. We need to think of a way to securely encrypt the system start and end time...
I'm sure many people know and have known about this cheat was possible (even before mame35) so stateing it in a post isn't really going to do a whole lot, but assuming everyone who reads here knows it was kinda lame. There are other ways to cheat if people really want to, but i believe most people don't cheat because they want know what their true abilities are. but somepeople don't care about their true abilities, so a fullproof encrypted mame would be very nice.
-- Chad Hurwitz (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 14, 1999.
It would be nice to contribute to this conversation. It is unfortunately impossible to comment because the the mame flaw reported by Mark is CENSORED. From some comments above several people have actually read what this flaw is already. Why are the rest of us being excluded? I (and others) have previously raised the slomo flaw/issue which is undetectable in both DOS and WIN versions of MAME. I had to seriously consider whether it was worth while making recordings because the playing field did not appear to be level due to the slomo. Now it looks like there is a terrible flaw in the DOS version of MAME which from Mark's report appears to have been introduced after MAME34. I'd like to know what it is so I can make an informed decision on whether it is worthwhile submitting any other recordings until it gets fixed. Now since the MAME DEV team are unlikely to be interested, as Mark suggests, we may have to start building MAME versions for MARP that incorporate a better encrypted, more secure, more informative recording format with timestamping and more profiling etc. Tim
-- Tim Morrow (email@example.com), October 15, 1999.
As far as I understand, despite the censorship, there's a way (I don't know how....seems to be via command line), to save state games. Since I'm not telling how (because I DO NOT know), I'm quite confident I won't be flamed... :-)
Also pausing, IMO, is a way of cheating that should not be allowed, if you want your scores run for TG book or whatever.
My idea is to suggest the MAME team to release "Competition Releases" of MAME, maybe final versions only, in which both methods are disabled (at least only when recording an .inp), and in which there is not compatibility in the .inp format with the "non comp" corresponding version.
-- Cicca (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 15, 1999.
My opinion on eg. the PAUSE possibility.
I dare to admit (and I'm absolutely not ashamed to do so) that I use PAUSE frequently and for the following reason. Maybe other players have the time to continuously play for hours but I haven't. Especially when playing those long lasting games (naming a few at the moment: Boulderdash, Block block, Pang, etc.). I have a family/children, I get phone calls frequently, and so on, that causes me to pause the game. So in my opinion there should be an encrypted playing time in the INP file and NOT the start and end time of a play. In this way it doesn't matter whether you pause the game or not. I know it's not possible to pause your game when playing in the arcades but now I'm not in the arcades, I'm at home.
-- MvdV (email@example.com), October 15, 1999.
We have gone through this pause key discussion before, and although there are two distinct ways of using the pause key (1. Because something came up that forced you to interrupt this game; 2. Using pause to gain some kind of advantage in the game you are playing (use your imagination; there are several cases in which using the pause key definitely gives you an advantage)), I personally would not submit a recording in which I used the pause key for ANY reason. If others do, fine. I am not going to worry about it. People will always find ways to cheat and I have better things to do with my time than to try and catch them. As has been said several times before: Let those people prove themselves on the real machine.
-- Ben Jos Walbeehm (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 15, 1999.