Fighting the Urge to Cheat

So going back about a decade now I played an MMO pretty religiously. 7 days a week and from day one had started forming a guild. Try no lifing a game for that long and not getting good at it. And try growing a guild for that long and not having it successful.

Things were good. We were competitive. 3 days a week we competed and after holding our territory for over 2 years when we finally lost it because someone exploited a server bug resulting in a server wide crash. To start with it didn’t matter we’d assumed the admins would fix it. They’d rollback the server or at least restore our economy.

They decided no. It wasn’t our fault their software was out of date but we were the ones who suffered.

Within a week I’d sniffed out a packet for getting currency from an NPC, modified it and sent it repeatedly. I then wrote a script to buy the items I’d like and by the end of a month I’d scripted an entire bot army capable of beating entire teams of actual players.

Since then gaming has been alright. Short bursts of ways to spend time. But the most fun I’ve ever had has been working around the game rules. Sometimes it’s been daft little bugs or small edges and other times game breaking modifications. It’s a bigger challenge than playing the game most of the time but I do usually get bored pretty quickly after succeeding.

Turns out this has carried over pretty well to real life (I’ve posted about the matched betting and casino thing I’ve been doing) and that’s worked out well lately but I’ve been playing a game here and there and having to work hard to NOT cheat. I’ve been playing an FPS and an hour in I was thinking through how I could build an external ESP but stopped. I’ve been having fun actually being competitive with it and I’d like to keep that going.

free game

So when I started playing my first ever fighting game yesterday (Brawlhalla) and again an hour in I started thinking about RGB macros I could write to react faster than a human possibly could. But I’m forcing myself to not think about how I would do that. It’s a fun game and while I’m sure I’d have a lot of fun trying to script for it? I’m not even going to try. I’m not. I’m really not.

I probably won’t.

On Getting Free Spins

It’s been at least 9 months or so since I started matched betting (that’s the Wiki entry on it which will give you a basic understanding what I’m talking about but I do mean basic) and it’s been an interesting experience. Having never placed a bet before and only ever stepping foot inside a casino once because they clubs were closed I thought I was really going to be a fish out of the water.

Turns out it wasn’t actually that bad.

The original concept is fairly straight forward. We’re not gambling or risking our money but taking advantage of the bonuses bookmakers use as incentives in order to profit. In general it’s risk free and comes down to some pretty basic mathematics. I really won’t get too much into it because it’s an argument not worth having. When I first heard about it I gave my friend the “yeah right, whatever” treatment but when he turned up a month later a few grand heavier I had to pay attention. Since then I’ve tried to explain to people why I’m not actually gambling but to no avail.


So don’t worry about it too much.

But my point here is the free spins. Even if you don’t do the whole matched betting thing you can still do this and it’s a load of fun if nothing else. Can also make some pretty good money as well.

Remember I said I’d never placed a bet or really been to a casino? All true. I had no experience at all in betting or gambling. Turns out that wasn’t an obstacle. Sports betting involves understanding the sport (I’m assuming) but taking advantage of something like this just needs some basic math and creative thinking.

I remember being incredibly bored at school in both computing and physics.

While studying programming I got myself the IDE at home and began working on a multiplayer text based game dubbed Matrix the Operator. We were still barely past Hello World back in class but this was quickly shut down as a waste of time and I was told to focus on my textbook. In physics I couldn’t stand memorizing a lot of equations. I scored just under full marks on our problem solving exam but when it came to the one involving learning everything by rote? Well it’s a good thing I wrote the equations on the inside of my calculator for the exam.

I’m not a programmer. I’m not a physicist. I’m not saying I’m smart. I’m pretty firmly average. But everyone has a skill set and mine is evidently the ability to look at things the way most won’t. And, since my days in high school, I’ve developed the tenacious ability to take something from a conceptual idea to reality the way a dog will chew on a tenderloin.

So what did this mean?

It meant I started looking at the casino.

Now we all know (or at least those of us with any sense) that a slot machine is there to make money. A casino is not sitting around hoping to get lucky the same way a player is. They have an edge. An advantage. They understand variance and understand that in the long run they’re going to win out. So their job is to get the system in place and then to get as many people playing as possible.

So I have some magical system involving pushing the spin button 3 times and dancing around in my birthday suit, right?

Well it’s a little more advanced than that.

So (as I constantly see when people ask what I’m doing) people don’t believe a bookie can be beaten. Most long term gamblers either go into it expecting to lose money (I don’t understand the mentality) or they’re looking to get value from their bets. The same way as a poker player will get it in when they think they’re ahead it’s the same kind of mentality. But if the bookies can be consistently beaten in the right situations (when there’s a promotion on for example) why can’t a casino?

The internet is full of rubbish in many fields. The fake gambling “systems” are a prime example. There is only one case of a still working casino system and it involved some incredible engineering, lasers and a roulette table. It’s known as sector targeting but involves way too much complexity and the risk of going to jail for my taste.

slot machine

I still wouldn’t know how to play one of these

But I started looking at the casino the same way as I’d look at a bookie. Did they have a promotion? If I stuck to certain guidelines would I get back more than I was giving away? The goal is not to never lose (it’s a hope but not a goal) we need to understand variance and look for opportunities where we’re ahead. I started with the bookie sites I was already on checking their casinos.

The theory held out. Treating it the same as I would a sports bet the only difference was I needed to play a slot machine spin instead of betting on a horse or team. So that was good but I wanted to take it further.

I started hunting down more casinos with free spins promotions, bonus offers or risk free cash backs. A simple spread sheet can calculate if it’s profitable in the long term and the only work was trying to hunt them down and find them. I stumbled across a free spins no deposit tool and that became a lot easier. It’s maybe only about 1/3 of what I get from sports betting but it doesn’t require a lot of effort.

Now, of course, I need to keep that trend going and see what else I can do with this. The money is a good way to keep score (and you know, pay rent) and actually playing the slot machines can be alright but the real fun is finding stuff like this and toying with it to see how far you can take it.

On Being Productive

Motivation is a fickle bitch.

Sometimes I have a project I really want to work on and I’ll sink 20 hours a day into it without blinking an eye. At other points the exact same project will make me want to puke just thinking about it.

motivationA while back I had completely given up. Burned out. Sure I was getting paid but working a crappy day job a few hours a week was enough to pay my meagre bills and I was able to spend the rest of the time sitting in a climbing gym.

That was fun for a time but it didn’t last. They say time spent having fun is not time wasted. That may be and I don’t regret that time I feel I grew and progressed as a person but it felt too much like I was just spinning my gears.

So then came the master plan idea.

Get back to work and spread myself thin because that’s never gone wrong before, right? I took up a half dozen projects at once and thought I’d stay productive in the long term by focusing on them all separately over time.

Turns out that’s a worse idea than you’d think.

Not only are you totally ineffective at any task but finding the motivation to actually get anything done is a pain when everything is mediocre. Don’t get me wrong, things are going well. But I like to hit on the big AH-HA moments when things just click and I feel like I’m killing it. I like to win over the big projects so the smaller ones don’t feel like pushing a boulder up a hill.

So I’ve been bashing at the projects lately filtering them down to the ones I actually want to do. Handed some of it off to others and found (or created) software to help out in other areas. I’m down to a much smaller list of things which I’m actually psyched to be working on. Results are flowing a lot better now which doesn’t make them stand out as such as mental obstacle the moment I wake up.

Physically I’ve ripped and torn tendons in multiple places which still haven’t healed. It’s been around a year now and for the last 9 months I feel like I’ve been missing my life but to be honest it might of been a hidden god send. It’s led to other things in my life working out well and while I continue listening to the physio orders I’ll be able to keep that balance when I return back to that life.

So I’m working hard. I’m at the gym again (as much as I’m physically able at the moment) and I’m battling to avoid making excuses instead of results.

Fuck motivation. it’s a fickle and and unreliable little dickfuck and isn’t worth your time.

Better to cultivate discipline than to rely on motivation. force yourself to do things. force yourself to get up out of bed and practice. Force yourself to work. Motivation is fleeting and it’s easy to rely on because it requires no concentrated effort to get. Motivation comes to you, and you don’t have to chase after it.

Discipline is reliable, motivation is fleeting. The question isn’t how to keep yourself motivated. It’s how to train yourself to work without it.