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Timer exploit
 
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Rottstein



Joined: 27 Mar 2011
Messages: 1
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How about showing 2 times. The time like it is now, and a second timer that shows total time invested. It will at least allow us to get a gauge on whether we will take their times seriously.

nicnac



Joined: 7 Jun 2011
Messages: 1
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I dont think less than two minutes is possible.

Your fingers cannot work that fast.

My best time ever (on easy) was 2.57

ta
lampshade



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Messages: 16
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Ok folks. Is cheating possible? Yes! Of course it is! Sometimes the cheating is obvious -- anything less than 30 seconds seems to be impossible for a touchscreen device where a menu pops up for each cell. However, what some of you are saying is "obvious" cheating is often completely legitimate. Based on the times I have uploaded (where I know that I wasn't cheating), I find that my scores on easy and medium are consistently in the top 10%. I got there by playing thousands of games! There are some times that I know I could never beat, but they still fall under a statistically probably curve. Please don't label really good players as cheats: it stinks of sour grapes.

Can the cheating be stopped? A number of techniques could be employed to cut down on the cheating, for sure. I suspect that most of the things you could do would hurt legitimate players more than they would stop cheaters. I play sudoku on my phone. I also get phone calls on my phone. I get emails on my phone. I get text messages on my phone. All of these things, plus more, happen when I'm playing sudoku! Is it fair, during a competition, that my time should be ruined because my phone rang during the middle of a game? I assure you that I'm not working on the puzzle while I tell my mother how to fix her email. I can guarantee, as the owner of two Android devices, that simply removing the option to pause wouldn't keep me from cheating if I wanted to do so.

Cheaters will always find a way: if you worry yourself with finding a way to stop them, you will always be frustrated. Remember, SUDOKU IS A GAME. There's no cash being exchanged based on the results. Nobody is going to die if they don't get the best time. Nobody should be basing their self worth on the ranking they receive in competition. Just let it go! The system in place is fine! If they go screwing with it to stop cheaters, it will just run off legitimate players that want to enjoy themselves.

Personal best times:
Easy 0:34
Medium 0:54
Hard 1:15
Extreme 1:39
mamour



Joined: 16 Jul 2011
Messages: 4
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nicnac wrote:I dont think less than two minutes is possible.

Your fingers cannot work that fast.

My best time ever (on easy) was 2.57

ta


My android lags frequently and I still managed 1:33 a couple days ago. 11 seconds under my second best time. About 1:20 I realized how fast my time was gonna be and it was so overwhelming that I froze up (I'm not clutch). It could have been 1:25 ish. On medium I got 2:36 But I hardly ever play. On hard I can get about 5 minutes. I dont play it much but I felt in the zone and posted 5 sub-6-minute times yesterday. I've been doing this since March Back then a time of 10 minutes used to make it in my top 10 on easy. Now that won't even make my top 10 on hard. It's crazy how my times just steadily dropped. None of my records lasted longer than a month. Last month my best time was 2:04 now I can clock in at 1:55 consistently and miss my own top 10. My goal is 1:20 on easy then I'll play medium until I get about 1:45 Then maybe 2:30 on hard and 3:45 on expert.
shaft928



Joined: 29 Sep 2010
Messages: 1
Offline

I play on the hard setting all the time. I can consistantly break under 4 minutes. My best time is 2:07. All legit. There are ways to cheat on this im sure and those people who do it are obvious. Someone currently has a time of 2 seconds on hard. Not possible. The thing is, on a competative level, you have to account for the cheaters. Get a top 10 score for the day and you can pretty much assume that 2 or 3 of the other top 10 times were obtained by cheating. That being said, just because your not able to get a high time doesnt mean that everyone who has gotten a high time has cheated. My advise would be that someone who shows up consistantly on the leaderboards is probobly legit, if the show up just once randomly then they probobly cheated and have no life. That being said i just posted on a forum about sudoku, apparently I have no life either.
Stryve



Joined: 17 Oct 2011
Messages: 1
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As long as the timer pauses, you will always have exploitation. It is quite simple, for instance, to load a game, write the numbers on a blank sudoku board, figure it out, and then load the game and plug in the numbers. You can consistently do thus and record numbers well under 1 minute. Having a timer start and not stop is the only way around this, I believe.
You have created a wonderful version of sudoku, with a great and simple way to challenge a community of players. Unfortunately this feature is completely voided....the people who cheat the timer make the comparison of times not only futile, but frustrating as well. You have an entire community that doesn't, or wont, utilize the online capabilities due to a few people who are too irresponsible to be honest.
Thank you for putting this together. I sincerely hope you can help us create an environment to challenge eachother that isn't made pointless by a minority that disregards any type of sportsmanship. This program is very good, and has the potential to be great, possibly with the addition of a timer that can't be manipulated.

Thank you again!
machine


[Avatar]

Joined: 19 Feb 2011
Messages: 6
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Having read stryve's post I can only say that I heartily agree. If you were to give me a printout of the solution I could not fill in the digits in some of the times I have seen posted on the site. I don't understand the satisfaction some people derive from "beating the system".

LIFE........nobody gets out alive!!!
jeka
(Forum Admin)



Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Messages: 242
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Stryve wrote:As long as the timer pauses, you will always have exploitation.


The thing is even if the timer didn't pause, anyone determined enough to cheat could still do it fairly easily. All they'd need to do is use another device with Google's goggles on it to take a snapshot of the puzzle on the screen and solve the puzzle presented on the original device. They could then proceed immediately to entering the solution without ever needing to pause the game.

I understand your frustration with the cheats, but taking out pause functionality would not deter them, while making it harder for legit players to pause / resume games.
dustin



Joined: 7 Feb 2012
Messages: 1
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there is no way to disable uploading when game is paused view it as a cheat
dhayes501



Joined: 26 Mar 2012
Messages: 1
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I currently have the top score on easy of 58 seconds (if you ignore the 3sec time). I can guarantee you it is possible on easy. My best time ever on easy is 54 seconds. Yes, you have to start with a really good board. For me, maybe 1-5% of the boards are possible to get it in under a minute and you can't mess up once.

My best time on medium is 1m41s, on hard 3m21s, and extreme 5m47s. And on hard and expert, those times are outliers for me. It seems obvious to me that the people on hard and expert are either cheating or guessing a lot and getting really lucky. And it totally ruins the fun...
benson94



Joined: 1 Apr 2012
Messages: 1
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My best time in extreme is 6mins 7seconds. Some of these people must have found a way of tweaking the timing of the game. Is it my imagination or have the games got a bit harder?
plb



Joined: 29 Feb 2012
Messages: 1
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blisterpeanuts wrote:The only solution is to disallow pauses. Like a road race, once you start you can't stop.


Totally agree. At the very least you should do one of the following:

(1) put scores in italics or with an asterisk if pause was used
(2) have another column listing total time or paused time
(3) simply disallow upload for any game that was paused.
sharkattack_nt@hotmail.com



Joined: 7 Apr 2012
Messages: 4
Offline

My best time on easy is 58 seconds, totally legitimate, my top 10 times are all below 1:10. So it is possible to type the numbers fast, but for extreme it is definitely impossible to be finishing, even an amazing run, below 4 minutes. I noticed a player who had almost exactly the same time for extreme, hard, and medium. Not hard to work that one out. I think displaying the total time invested is a good idea, and perhaps you can't pause a game until you've solved a minimum of 2 cells? Or, the time should also display the average time between inputs, which would be far less than if someone had solved it themselves from the start (e.g. Time = 2:00, AveTimePerCell = 0:01.00, CellsSolved = 65, IdleTime = 0:55). Another way would be to detect either a formulaic input order, or to use the "Hint" mechanism to determine which cells can be logically solved. If the input was done in a clear pattern, or if the order of cells solved was not logical, then the time could be discarded.

Suggestions:
1. Cannot pause until a minimum of 2 cells are solved.
2. Idle time too large relative to total time: time is discarded.
3. Detect illogical input order, or patterns in input order: time is discarded.
PalaDolphin



Joined: 7 Apr 2012
Messages: 3
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I like plb's idea. Actually I was going to suggest something like that.

But seriously, user thedapperlass entered a time today of 3 seconds. The only way I can think of achieving that is by rooting your Andriod device and stop the clock.

I suggest using time-of-day: once for starting and once for solving. Of course, if you're hacking your phone by rooting, that could probably be worked around too; unless you force a retrieval of the date/time each time from the server.

I don't know. I really like comparing my times against others, but there must be a way to guarantee that they are legitimate.

-=- PalaDolphin
jeka
(Forum Admin)



Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Messages: 242
Offline

Hello all.

We would love to be able to limit / exclude invalid entries, and we've been thinking about ways to do that for quite some time now. However, none of the proposed options are bullet-proof and most of them run a very high risk of excluding valid times. In addition, even if we did introduce a solution in one of the future versions, the cheaters would still be able to keep cheating as long as they didn't update to that version.

We welcome your recommendations, but remember, our goal is not only to stop cheaters, but also to avoid "false positives", that is - avoid excluding legitimate results.

Regards.

The developers.
 
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