Multiplayer cheating

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Although the standard cheats are not available in multiplayer, there are various other underhand practices. This sort of cheating in OpenTTD can range from being annoying to ruining an entire game for all the players concerned. As I've had a lot of experience in this arena, I hope this document will bring out a smarter generation of Multiplayer servers that work hard to dissuade cheating.

Contents

The Scams

Mostly if you find yourself in hot water during a game, it's because of either of two factors (or both). The two things that go wrong are:

  • Someone joins your company because you didn't set a password. Then they do stuff you don't like
  • Someone has great wealth and lowers all the land / buys up exclusive transport rights to everything

I'm going to deal with these in two sections. The password issue first.

Always Set A Password

This is the easiest type of problem to avoid. Always, always set a password. If you want to encourage friends to help your company along, have them join a server as an observer, then tell them your password by using IM or private talk. Don't just leave your company open. Really, you have only yourself to blame. Also watch out that some servers reset your password if you're gone for more than a certain time period.

Outsmart the bad guy

In case you (deliberately) decide to play without a password, there is an "emergency" tip to save some of your money from the "bad guy" that has just joined your company and decides to crash all your trains, destroy your rails and delete all your airports. Simply build several (train) depots and fill them with wagons (no trains!). These depots and these wagons will not show up in any list, so the only way for the "bad guy" to find them is scan the whole map. In my experience, most "bad guys" are in for a quick destruction of your company. After the "bad guy" has left, DO set a password, sell the wagons and you should have a nice starting capital to rebuild your empire :).

Great Wealth

Nothing can be done per se as to people who have great wealth, but there are ways you can prevent fraudulent amounts of wealth being collected in the first place. By far one of the easiest cons is share dealing. You buy up 75% of a company, give it all your money (you have two TT's open, one is you and the other is your second company) and then sell the shares for more than you paid for them. Then you send the money back, and keep doing that. It is feasible to make about £300,000,000 using this method in a few minutes. Potentially the revenue from it is limitless.

The prevention for this con ultimately should be that server admins should disable share trading in openttd.cfg. Share trading is a bad idea in multiplayer. It should just not be there.

If you are on a server that allows share dealing, you can take steps to prevent it becoming rampant. Companies must be a certain age before their shares can be traded. If you're done with your game, wind it down by selling the vehicles, and either give the money to other players or bulldoze water at the corner of the map until your funds are exhausted. This way the company will soon go bankrupt. A deserted company may have its password reset to blank and it will be old. So it's a five minute job for someone to spot this company and use it as a bank company.

Surviving Being Starved Out

If someone has bought exclusive transport rights to cover all your stations, and your revenues are nil, there are a few things you can do if you want to survive (the alternative is to just quit).

  • Stop all your vehicles. Even when they are loading/unloading they incur a running cost. Stopped vehicles have no ongoing cost.
  • Pay off any bank debt. You pay loan interest each year and over time it can be hefty. Pay off what you can to minimize costs.
  • Do not construct anything. What resources you have are precious. The more money you have the longer you can survive.
  • Talk to the person with exclusive transport rights and ask them politely to not renew them. If the person has millions, they CAN outlast you if they really want to. Your best bet is to bargain with them.

When All Land Is Flattened

Sometimes a mega rich person flattens all the land in the map to water level. I have done that in the past. It's something you can spend all your millions on. But for the players it's a real problem. Here are some handy tips for dealing in just such a situation.

  • Don't panic. Your trains and roads and the like cannot be flattened by another player.
  • Ask the millionaire for funds, citing financial difficulty. They might be charitable and give you some millions. You can use these later for land reconstruction when you decide a linkup needs expanding
  • See if there is an old, deserted company around, and use the share dealing exploit (above) to generate mass funds. Use these to perform land reconstruction.

The Server Admin

Always remember the server admin has the power to dissolve companies and ban players, so in a crisis your best option may be to speak to them if possible. A large number of servers are run by absentee admins who are not there to observe play, but you might get lucky.

Key Points Summarised

  • Always set a password for your company. Make it the first thing you do.
  • Wind down a company you no longer want or need. If not, you're leaving millions in assets to whoever wanders along.
  • Try not to get anyone mad, they may not be as honest as you.
  • The server admin is your friend. Use them whenever you can if there is a problem.
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