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The Anti-Cheat Decline

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Huge corruption in today's gaming industry? Or lazy developers with little care for the masses of fans? You decide.

Here is an Article I wrote pointing out the problems with modern Anti-Cheat and it's motivation.

Please discuss your views or opinions of the Article.

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your link doest work for me...
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Old   #3
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Well the rant was definatly too short in this case,
Of course Cheat prevention is a good thing but hackers
doesent point out to be the one who can say "Ph33r m3",
cracking a game is an challenge and an improvement for ourselves and the developers since they can Debug the Problem and see what they've done wrong, so if we was really up to getting the best cheater then we would just give ourselves a kick in the ****, but still they can't fix human stupidity.
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Originally posted by lowskill@Mar 27 2006, 01:29
your link doest work for me...
The Anti-Cheat Decline

The main reason for the Decline in Anti-Cheat efficiency is simply this, no one cares, no one but the players.

In this Article I will not be covering such bullshit as nProtect and GameGuard, because they are crap. All they do is search for Window Name, Class Name and Exe Name any idiot could scrape up a simple Anti-Cheat like that.

So, today in 2006 the situation is this; Anti-Cheat is not a concern for Game Developers because they will just lump Punk Buster on their game or they will use the ?Scare? tactic.

What is the Scare tactic? The Scare tactic has been demonstrated by Game Developers many times before; remember UBISOFT sued Phaez for using their SDK to produce a Cheat? Remember when Orum the author of Surreal Aim was legally threatened by Epic for using ?Unreal? in the name of his Aimbot?

A big offender; and I hate to say this, because I love Valve Software, but, the Valve Anti Cheat (VAC) is a joke; with unseen potential.

The problem with VAC is, it?s not that good, I wont go into explaining how it works because the point of this Article is not to understand how Anti-Cheat works, it?s about the reason why Anti-Cheat is poor.

VAC detects cheats using simple methods, the main reason for this is to reduce the CPU usage during game so it doesn?t effect the performance at which your games runs at however; this is becoming more of an Excuse for people like Valve Software lately since the detection code could be much improved and still make no visible performance reduction to your games. VAC is about fear, not Cheat Detection, the whole business of ?Delayed VAC Bans? make it impossible for anyone coding a cheat for say that the cheat is ?VAC Secured? (meaning VAC cannot detect it) since it would take five months of testing with multiple steam accounts to prove this.

VAC Bans can be delayed up to, apparently, five months so you never really know if a cheat is secure or not, you never know if VAC has already detected you and you will soon be banned.

Of course there are exceptions, if you have a cheat that is widely used, then sooner or later you will see a load of people getting banned within the next few days simply because of the massive amount of people using that cheat, not all the detected ban?s will be delayed as long as 5 months, some just 5 days, some just 5 hours.

Scare tactics used to work, but now people don?t seem to care if they are banned, and some people believe they will never be banned. Overall there are more people cheating now even with the fear of a banned steam account than there would be if ban?s where instant.

But scare tactics just don?t work, I am sure that any Game Developer will tell you some thing like this ?The scare tactic is more efficient in the long run? but this is just bullshit what they really mean is ?The scare tactic is cheaper and makes it look like we care about the communities of our games? the fact is, if ?The Game Developer? cared enough to prevent cheating on games, he would employ a team of people to constantly check for the latest cheats and make them detected by Anti-Cheat but obviously this means less profit for ?The Game Developer?.

Punk Buster ban?s instantly, and that?s the way it should be, but here all we see is again, people that don?t care about anything but money. At the end of the day Punk Buster could easily be great Anti-Cheat software but it?s not, to put it bluntly, it just sucks; If they bothered to spend a few days improving their Anti-Cheat, employed some people to search for the latest cheats that actually did their job rather than look at porn and drive fast cars then there would be millions of happy legit players.

Some Game Developers may use the excuse that ?Some one will always be smart enough to bypass the Anti-Cheat in some way so it?s not worth spending thousands of pounds on Anti-Cheat development? and that has to be the mother load of bullshit ever to cave into my ears. It is a well know fact that it?s really not easy at all to disable Anti-Cheat software because of the key factor ?The Internet? and it?s really, really easy to detect a piece of software running on a computer system, you don?t need thousands of pounds of research, just a few relaxed days and a coffee maker. Let?s not forget to mention, most of the people that develop cheats aren?t exactly polymorphic experts they aren?t going to make any challenging code for Game Developers to detect. I will note that Patrick is an exception; he is one of the few people that can aggravate those working on Anti-Cheat.

All Game Developers seem to care about is their games, not the Anti-Cheat software that comes after.

Actually it seems Valve Software only cares about their game development the Half-Life 2 Engine. Maybe Tim Sweeney care?s about his work more than the money too. Not sure about John Carmack, I would like to think so.

Anti-Cheat could easily destroy public online cheating in an instant but it?s never going to happen, as long as the likes of Valve Software keep making money from the Steam Ban?s it?s highly unlikely they are going to want to spend money on stopping that income that would be quite a profit loss. But if it means we get better Game Engine?s to play with that?s fine by me, I can ignore the misplaced morals because I?m not misplacing them.

I am not saying that all Valve Software cares about is the money, I know for a fact they are all really quite nice people and they really do care about the development of the Half-Life 2 engine, I can defiantly say different about most of the other Game Developers out there, hi Christian Antkow, but no your just a Sound Developer aren?t you. Valve Software deserves a lot of positive credit for their work. All I am pointing out is that there?s something wrong in the encouragement of today?s Anti-Cheat systems, because they are defiantly no aimed to prevent cheating anymore.

The Half-Life 2 Engine is great, I love playing with the SDK and steam is the most efficient way of keeping previous Valve Software products alive, I don?t see why you all cry about how crap you think steam is, if it was not for steam game?s like Day of Defeat, CS 1.6, HL1 MP would all have died out. Take the Quake 3 community for example.

I?m not complaining, and if you cheat, you shouldn?t either, but if I was a legit player I would be very unhappy about the lack of care in today?s Anti-Cheat software.

It would be nice to have some feedback from Game Developers on this subject; all feedback is welcomed at the address:

Any feedback will not be used in negative context, this Article is not to express hate or knowledge it is to define the subject problems. Any feedback I will keep with an open mind making not immediate decisions on the feedback.

Article by: James Fletcher (LiX)
Web Address: ||
Email Address:

This Article is copyright to James Fletcher 2006-2007, the Article is not to be modified in any way other than appearance of font colour, styles and formatting, credit to the original Author of this Article (?James Fletcher?) must be left intact. Other than that, do as you wish, this article can be displayed anywhere you want without my permission.

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What in gods name, this much wasnt at all in the file on the top.
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Old   #6
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Originally posted by LiX@Mar 26 2006, 01:59
Huge corruption in today's gaming industry? Or lazy developers with little care for the masses of fans? You decide.

Here is an Article I wrote pointing out the problems with modern Anti-Cheat and it's motivation.

Please discuss your views or opinions of the Article.
There is another world outside of counterstrike and halflife

if you want to wrtie a serious article you should investigate alot more and better than you did

e.g. nprotect/gameguard dont just search for window or process names they do it but there is more!!!
they try to prevent any access to the process they guard

your article makes one thing clear you are a counterstrike/halflife player and thats the problem
halflife valves main game is not an online game all the online game stuff is just an extra a bonus and of cause they don`t care much about it real online games every mmorpg should care alot more cause all they have is the online game

thats all i want to say now for your first article its a nice try but my tips try to research alot more and try to look at one theme from every point of view or restrict yourself to one point of view cause an artivle about "The Anti-Cheat Decline" sound like you look at everything that regards anti cheating

p.s. there are very interesting article written by Developers and Producers of big online games about cheat prevention in various ways they could be of interest for you
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Nice written for non-mmorpgs, for mmorpgs definitly not.

And the part about nprotect/gameguard is wrong, gameguard is as far as I know a ring0 rootkit wich is really hard to bypass, also it got way more detection routines besides scanning window names. Also, gg is hooking much api's that are undocumented, thats the next story..

You should also mention the new age anti-cheat called warden from blizzard, in my opinion one of the upcoming top anti-cheat engines, because gg will break down next year to a newbie-level after windows vista will be released to the whole world (read more about undocumented api's in windows vista), imho.

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