Today's blog covers a nifty but serious bug we found out and had fixed. Since the coding has already changed, I can pretty safely mention it now. There's no longer any risk of people exploiting it and it provides a nice insight into what Beta Testers do (or should be doing anyway...).
In one of the latest builds, SI included the AI teams. Basically, these are bot teams. When there are no human opponents available, you can challenge a bot team, which is always available and will never reject a challenge. This way, you can keep the players fit, try out tactics, give trial players a go and more.
The matches you play don't count towards a players history and injuries don't stick, so they turned out to be ideal sparring partners. Later on, we discovered we could add them to the line-up of our friendly competitions as well. This was pretty nice, as you could add a few weak AI teams to the line-up to ensure everyone got a few easy wins.
This led me to experiment. If I could add them into a normal friendly, what would happen if I would add them into the line-up of a DYM? Would they pay their entry fee like the other teams? Would I be able to make a profit really easy this way?
It turns out I was... With some tweaking, I could make competitions with a 50k entry fee and after playing one match, I could earn upto 250k. That's 200k profit for twenty minutes of work. Ten minutes for setting up the competition, ten minutes for manually playing the game. Not a bad deal eh? Basically free money, as no-one got hurt.
Naturally, I didn't milk this exploit. I ran a few competitions and logged them all with the other moderators, so they could keep an eye on me in case I did decide to milk this little trick. After logging it with the other moderators in the GameWorld, I logged this with the development team.
With the whole logging post, you provide as much details as possible. For instance, how did I find this loophole, which different styles of competitions worked, how bad was the maximum damage it could do, would it be a lucrative exploit, how hard would it be to police this exploit and more things.
It turned out it was a pretty difficult exploit to police, as the Miller GameWorld has over 20 pages of friendly competitions and even when you filter out the free ones, you have 3 pages of money competitions left. Checking all of these competitions for the presence of AI teams is a pretty arduous task, especially in the larger competitions.
Anyway, after two days of policing the friendly competitions, the coding was changed so it's now impossible to start a competition for money when there are AI teams in the line-up. A pretty nice idea basically, you can still spend 10 minutes to set the whole thing up, but you just can't start it anymore.
So yeah, that's the kind of stuff we do in Beta Testing. Remember this next time you slag anyone off for doing testing work. We are helping the development team to make a better game, because I couldn't even begin to imagine the carnage of what would happen if an exploit like this ever came out in a live world.