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Old 09-20-2011, 05:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Arrow Usage Tracker

OOTP 12.5 will include what we're calling the Usage Tracker. We wanted to be upfront about what it is and what it does.

The Usage Tracker captures basic gameplay information, but we want to emphasize that all data we gather is anonymous. The goal is to learn more about how OOTP is played so we can make improvements in version 13 and beyond. What we're doing here is no different than what many companies do with their software.

We also want to make it clear upfront that the Usage Tracker does not slow down the game or hamper it in any way. It transfers data to our server when the game connects to check for news. This happens while OOTP loads the skin and other data. If the data transfer takes too long because the server is busy, or if it hangs because the server is unavailable, the process will abort as soon as the game data is loaded, so the Usage Tracker won't get in the way. It also won't produce any annoying error messages.

The Usage Tracker generates a unique random key the first time OOTP starts. No IP addresses or other identifying information is used; it's simply 20 random letters and numbers. It's the "inst_key" value in the file app.cfg.

The following information is uploaded with the unique key:

- Product name and version (i.e. OOTP 12.5.28)
- OS, OS version (i.e. Windows 7 64-bit)
- CPU type (i.e. Intel or AMD)
- Memory size (RAM)
- Product window size (i.e. 1024x768)
- Product running fullscreen Yes/No
- License status (demo version or licensed version)
- Number of sessions (i.e. game starts)
- Amount of minutes played
- A counter for each page and dialog that has been opened
- A counter for certain program features like team file import/export

All data is transferred without encryption as a simple HTTP call with parameters. There are no hidden data transfers or fishy things going on, we just need to learn more about how you play OOTP. You also do not need to fear that we remove screens or features that are not being used often. After all it was a lot of work to create them

The usage tracker can be disabled and enabled anytime in the Preferences dialog on the "Misc." tab. By default, it's disabled and OOTP asks you to enable it when you start OOTP first time.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Thanks.

Last edited by Andreas Raht; 09-30-2011 at 03:17 AM.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Is there a way to disable this?

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Old 09-20-2011, 09:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Is there a way to disable this?

Tom
OOTP will ask whether it may collect the data. Just click on "No, thanks" and it will not be enabled. But it's really anonymous data and needed too improve OOTP, so we will appreciate it if you don't disable it
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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"amount of minutes played" can you guarantee that this info will not be passed onto wives, girlfriends, places of work etc
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:45 AM   #5 (permalink)
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"amount of minutes played" can you guarantee that this info will not be passed onto wives, girlfriends, places of work etc
Yes, we can, because it's anonymous
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Can't see why anyone would/should have a problem with this.
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Old 09-20-2011, 09:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andreas Raht View Post
OOTP will ask whether it may collect the data. Just click on "No, thanks" and it will not be enabled. But it's really anonymous data and needed too improve OOTP, so we will appreciate it if you don't disable it
Yeah, I typically refuse such requests but you guys have earned enough of my trust over the years to allow it.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:03 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Yes, we can, because it's anonymous
In some ways it's too bad that it's anonymous, it would be cool if y'all could periodically post a list of the top 10, 20, 50 or 100 ootp addicts. Would be curious to see where I stand amongst(is that even a word?) my peers.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:05 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thank you for the very detailed and transparent explanation.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:18 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Having twice been humbled and dragged into the 21st Century on the subject of the possibility of OOTPB on Steam, I suppose I cannot object to this. I just hope that the lack of an Internet connection will not prevent gameplay should this information transmission fail.

For sure this procedure is not unusual these days and I echo the sentiments of those above who are thankful for the explanation. You probably should continue to make this disclosure someplace prominent for future sales.

As far as the information itself goes, as I "know" you folks, you are quite welcome to it.
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Old 09-20-2011, 10:19 AM   #11 (permalink)
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In some ways it's too bad that it's anonymous, it would be cool if y'all could periodically post a list of the top 10, 20, 50 or 100 ootp addicts. Would be curious to see where I stand amongst(is that even a word?) my peers.
I know I don't have to worry about my name showing up on such a list since I don't play as often as many of you guys do, but such a list would not be cool at all, in my opinion. Much better to keep it anonymous.

Personally I'm not crazy about the whole idea but at least Markus & co. are being upfront and honest about it, and giving an opt-out option. Many software developers won't even do that.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:14 AM   #12 (permalink)
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In some ways it's too bad that it's anonymous, it would be cool if y'all could periodically post a list of the top 10, 20, 50 or 100 ootp addicts. Would be curious to see where I stand amongst(is that even a word?) my peers.
And hope your boss isn't a OOTP player and trys to figure out how you get 10 hours a day in of OOTP in your 8 hour work day ?
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:22 AM   #13 (permalink)
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And hope your boss isn't a OOTP player and trys to figure out how you get 10 hours a day in of OOTP in your 8 hour work day ?
Ah, I don't play at work. But, I see how that could be a problem for some folks.
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Old 09-20-2011, 11:24 AM   #14 (permalink)
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In some ways it's too bad that it's anonymous, it would be cool if y'all could periodically post a list of the top 10, 20, 50 or 100 ootp addicts. Would be curious to see where I stand amongst(is that even a word?) my peers.
I often leave OOTP open all the time, or play during baseball games on TV when I'm not paying attention, or leave it on when I fall asleep. Not sure how accurate these lists would be. Fun idea though.
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Ah, I don't play at work. But, I see how that could be a problem for some folks.
Then you would not crack the top 100, my dear sir. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get back to my game. I want to finish this series with the BoSox before I go to lunch . . .
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:21 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Then you would not crack the top 100, my dear sir. Now, if you will excuse me, I have to get back to my game. I want to finish this series with the BoSox before I go to lunch . . .
He should be burned as a witch for saying things like that
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:27 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Do you see any potential problems with Firewalls and Anti-Virus programs?
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Old 09-20-2011, 12:57 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Do you see any potential problems with Firewalls and Anti-Virus programs?
This is a great question. Hope it can be answered and I hope the answer isn't "disable your anti virus software when playing."
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:01 PM   #19 (permalink)
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What about installs on stand alones?
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Old 09-20-2011, 01:22 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Do you see any potential problems with Firewalls and Anti-Virus programs?
No, I don't see any problems with firewalls and anti-vir software.

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What about installs on stand alones?
If you're not connected to the internet, the usage tracker will just fail. We've tested it here: no error message, no wait, nothing.
The tracker data transfers runs in a background thread which runs parallel to the game's startup routine.
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