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Automated Sleuth Helper complete!
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Jan-30-2007 12:13

Hello, fellow Sleuths!

Over the last two months, I've been working on a brand new Sleuth helper. You might not think that sounds all that special - after all, great helpers are already available - but what makes this one different is that it's automated!

What it does is monitor your progress in the game, and extract relevant information from the pages. The information is stored and analyzed, in order to help you determine who did it, and who didn't.

It's heavily inspired by Evita's JavaScript-based Sleuth Helper, so a special "thank you" goes out there.

The application is made with Delphi 2005, and should run on any machine with Windows NT/98/ME/2K/XP/Vista and Internet Explorer 4 or later. Additionally, source code is included (ZLib license) in case someone wants to port it to another platform and/or language (such as Java).

The program can be downloaded from (330 KB), and a screenshot of the program can be seen at

Please take a look at the help file before using the program (it's very short), so you are familiar with how the program works.

(Disclaimer: The application depends heavily on the current structure of the game pages, and changes to this may break the program. Although the application is designed in such a way that it should fail entirely if something goes wrong, this cannot be guaranteed. Use of this program is entirely at your own risk, and any cases lost because of errors in the program should not be blamed on the program or the author.)


Lady Jas
Lady Jas
The Chosen One

Sep-1-2007 14:11

Pidgeot, the helper is great. I happy with it just the way it is. If you chose to add more, then so be it, if not, I will continue to be happy with it. It is a lifesaver, and your doing as all a huge favor by sharing this with us.


Sep-2-2007 06:59

Dave Von Wave, I can't say I've noticed that connection myself, but I'll try to keep an eye out - if such a connection really exists, that might be a valuable hitn to solve the problem of not having those skills.

Steve Long, there are really several problems to be handled when you don't have those two skills:

1) I need to make sure you don't have them - since I can't force you to go to the detective page, and I can't implement persistence of it on a per-detective level without the profile system, I can't reliably check for them, and it doesn't feel right for me to do the check "behind the user's back" as long as I don't have that.
2) Even with that info, I need to determine if you may have missed anything. Obviously, if there can be up to 3 or 4, and you found 2 less, I know you missed something, but I don't if there's just 1 missing (unless Dave's claim holds). I can add code for v1.15 to never mark as innocent if you provably missed at least one piece of evidence, though, which should help in some of those cases.
3) Even with that - I made a change in v1.14 to mark them as guilty once you prove their guilt through WE, regardless of PE. However, as far as the helper is aware, he really couldn't have done it - of course, that's mainly since it hasn't been "taught" the rule of missing PE.

Once I get the profiles up and running, I'll add checks for those two skills, forcing skill gathering for new detectives. If you don't have those two skills, I will assume the case has maximum PE, unless I'm able to prove somehow that it doesn't - that appears to be the best way to solve the problem, since no one will be marked innocent when there's doubt.

Gena Long
Gena Long
Sleuth About Town

Sep-2-2007 08:33

Pidgeot, I do have all smarts skills, and it's never caused a false accusation for any reason, let alone not having all the evidence. It's just a simple process of keeping notes of people that may still be guilty, not really a problem. Thanks again for your program.

Dave Von Wave
Dave Von Wave

Sep-2-2007 12:05

I get a case with a missing PE about once every two days. ie 24 cases or so, sometimes less. IH or up. It's been true every time so far. 10 times.
And I have all smarts skills.

On a side note : Aka was talking about having a bookmark for the research page set up in his browser in a different thread. How about adding a menu button on top that takes you directly to the research page. Saves a lot of clicking.
At least in my case, since I check it every time I get a new person.


Sep-2-2007 15:01

I won't be adding such things before the profile system is done, because it's a slippery slope. Yes, research is clearly one of the best candidates for inclusion - if not THE best - but many other pages can be argued to be just as eligible for inclusion (the message boards, agency case files, etc.).

Since I'm sure you can see how that might get out of hand, I want it to be user-customizable what links are there. However, since everyone has their own preferences, I can't simply make that link collection global - that would be counter to my intention of allowing multiple people to use the program on the same computer. This, in turn, means that I'd be giving myself a lot of problems if I implement that before the profile system.

As it happens, I'm prioritizing the profile system as high as I can, but I'm struggling to come up with a practical way to make all of this work well. I'll probably only do one more release before putting all other changes to the code on hold (excluding necessary bugfixes, of course), since there are a lot of ideas that require that system to be there.

Dave Von Wave
Dave Von Wave

Sep-3-2007 04:20


The "claim" that I made (and still hold) was that a case with one less PE where the detective has all analysis skills will invariably have one less suspect than the full amount.

The reverse is not true. I say this just so that there are no misconceptions. There are plenty of cases where there is one less suspect. That is after all why we have fortune tellers. :)

The cases with full PE and one less suspect crop up far more often than the ones with one less PE. So a detective without the right skill might not find a PE in a case with one less suspect. Thus, knowing whether the detective has the right analysis skills or not really is the only way to know whether a PE is really missing.

Adonis Parker
Adonis Parker

Sep-5-2007 22:20

Okay I had a pretty bad experience with the helper.

I had a matching PE + FAKE ALIBI. The name of the suspect turns red.. and I accuse.

Guess what?
False Accusation.

Apparently he has a real alibi! As far as I'm concerned this is the first time this has happened to me. It sucks really bad though, because with my exp, Shady is REALLY expensive. =/ Is it a programming glitch?


Sep-6-2007 01:43

I'm not aware of any bug that could cause such a thing, but of course, that doesn't mean it couldn't be there. I'll need more details if I'm to figure that out, though.

Do you remember the names of who actually did it (according to the game), and who the helper marked as guilty?
Did you, at any point during solving the case, receive an error in the helper (this might have caused internal corruption of the data)?
Do you remember how you got their alibis (and how they were confirmed)?
Did the helper's data match what you discovered yourself?

If you can answer *any* of those questions, it would help me greatly in figuring out what might have gone wrong.

Adonis Parker
Adonis Parker

Sep-6-2007 13:39

1. I do not remember the name, sorry. :( I think it's 'Christian Macklin' or something along the lines of that name.
2. Yes, I received something like 'error (plus some coding here) bla bla'.
3. Alibis were checked. Research eliminated one. Physical Evidence was a hair I think.. I checked it with Barber, matched. Alibi was a fake one, I believe it's the Bartender (I'm really sorry, I do a lot of cases, I'm not too sure about either).
4. Yes. Matched.

It's alright though. I only have 1 FA on me right now, and I have a bit of cash stowed away.

None of my cases today suffered anything though. I think it's a one-off.

David Adams
David Adams

Sep-6-2007 14:24

Regardless of which helper you use, they ALL cannot replace the gray matter you have between your ears. USE IT, people. Double check your evidence on the Case page BEFORE you accuse EVERY time.

I've had almost instanteaneous instances of this helper lighting up on a suspect out of the blue and saying he/she's guilty. So far, it's been right. Doesn't mean I don't double check.

Computers can only do so much of the work for us, regardless of how much we'd like to have it be otherwise....:-/

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