Sunday, January 29, 2006

Further observations and a moral dilemma

This post does actually have some scripting content in it - I promise.

Further to previous posts, vandalism has continued, with flames being placed around the Black History Month exhibit, and I have produced what appears to me to be a weapon that is hard or impossible to shield against. I would call it a defensive weapon, but in truth, any weapon can be used offensively, so that would be a misnomer.

BHM burning 0

I have been playing with push scripts recently and it seems to me at the moment that an effective push weapon has two elements - firstly, the targetting script, which identifies a target and sends instructions to the second group, the push scripts themselves. One link message will activate an arbitrary number of other scripts. So one can simply have

llMessageLinked(LINK_THIS, 1, (string)(llVecNorm(dir) * 2147483647), id);

(where dir is the direction to the target and id the target's key) in the targetting script when contact is established, either by collision or by sensor or however one wishes to do it, and then have a number of other scripts in the same object that are merely

link_message(integer s, integer n, string str, key id)
llPushObject(id, (vector)str, <0,0,0>, FALSE);

The above can be duplicated an arbitrary number of times. I am not aware of a limit on the number of scripts in one object but it's certainly rather high.

Apart from sitting on something, which protects one from any push, I am not aware of a defence against pushes apart from the threat of legal action - and it appears that this is not sufficient to deter a sufficiently keen griefer, given that punishment is going to be limited to a few days' suspension for an alt account. Setting a land parcel to ban all foreign scripts from activating is possible and has some effect, but it is inconvenient for visitors and also does not protect against pushes launched from outside the parcel. I have established that it is quite possible to set one off of sufficient magnitude to seriously annoy whoever is on the receiving end. The stupidest griefer can set off a C4 script from just outside.

So what is one to do? I can't sit around in group areas all day waiting to catch vandals at it. Banning them from the area is pointless as they can just use alts or build vandalising objects outside the parcel and move them in. Abuse reports are filed each time, but there seems to be little reaction to them, and I don't have much confidence in the deterrant effect of any sanctions applied. We've identified a lot of names of people who are likely to cause trouble - all of the vandalism so far has been by two of them. I built an early-warning system that sets off an alert whenever any of those names come within 96m, but it would be so easy to add the object that automatically fires unstoppable phantom missiles that push once they come within range. Except that that would be against the rules.

I suppose that sometimes, one must be the grown-up.

I hope to get away from this more martial theme in the near future.


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