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Asus Request Feedback on "Cheat" Drivers 257

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the does-this-really-matter dept.
skunkeh writes "Asus have a poll up on their site asking the general public whether or not they would like to see "SeeThrough technology" available in drivers for Asus graphics cards. The technology in question is causing uproar in the online gaming community where the drivers can be used to cheat in games such as Quake III and Counter-Strike. Asus have posted some flimsy arguments in defence of the technology on their product page but they don't appear to be convincing the several thousand gamers who have already posted their comments." I still think this is cool stuff. People are just going to cheat online: drivers don't have all that much to do with it. And if they can't cheat, they'll DoS attack. Maybe I'm just disillusioned, but I have more fun playing with people I know and trust then strangers. Strangers cheat.
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Asus Request Feedback on "Cheat" Drivers

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    On the issue on cheating in online gaming, in my experience with a Q3 based FPS (STV:EF [ravensoft.com]), I've gotten attacked with claims of cheating because of someone else's ineptitude. Maybe they had a laggy connection, and I seemed better than I was, better than I should have been, but they would not let up with their claim that I must be a cheater. Lame.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Depends. If you consider "Asus" to be an entity, then the singular form (has) is appropriate. If you consider "Asus" to be a group of people then the plural form (have) is appropriate. And please don't consider your local viewpoint to be universal, this sort of thing tends to vary by region. And the USA is a region, not the planet.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Regardless, id software and Valve are both in the same boat: by using an open standard to render their games, they are relying on security through obscurity.

    As another noted, this makes absolutely no sense.

    I'm not into any kinds of games, but perhaps someone cares to explain to me why these sorts of hacks are possible in the first place: games like quake are clearly a client-server model. The server will of course know where every player is, and also the layout of the map. The client doesn't need to know these things. Of course, it's better to transmit some coordinates over a network rather than other information about what to render. Consider a scenario where client machines don't know anything about the position of other players until the server (who knows all positions and the map layout) sends the client such information in response to, say, an opponent popping out from behind a wall.

    Anyway, it seems like this problem has been solved a very long time ago; one of the very first principles in security is that the client is not running the software you wrote.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The gamers are being stupid here. People will write cheats and cheat anyways. If the cheats are public and published, as in this case, gaming companies can try to develop technologies that are less cheatable. If they're only distributed in IRC channels to people who want to cheat, the same people will cheat, but we just won't know all the ways how or be able to do jack squat about it.

    Security through obscurity is no security at all.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You keep them all? Where do you live, Utah?
  • ... but it's comments like this which make the visit worth it:

    "Maybe I'm just disillusioned, but I have more fun playing with people I know and trust then strangers. Strangers cheat. " - CmdrTaco, on multiplayer online gaming.

    That one goes in the quotebin ...
  • by torpor (458) <ibisum@gmail. c o m> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:53PM (#218532) Homepage Journal
    ... without needing to cheat. It scares me how good that girl is with a railgun sometimes.
  • Yeah, but basically the bots end up hurting good players. I used to take it as flattery when some idiot started yelling about how I was a bot, but it gets old really quickly to have your hard-won Quaking skills (thank you, college!) credited to cheating.

    ----

  • You must have a higher quality of friends than I do -- some of the more shameless cheaters I know are my friends.

    Patches that turn opponent's skins completely red or white, occassional-use aimbots, wireframe patches, hardware arms races.

    The real kick in playing this way is when you win anyway.

    ----

  • When someone rips a movie, it doesn't affect you watching that movie in any way.

    When someone using these drivers beats you 20-2 in UT, especially if he's a lamer who couldn't have done that without cheating, that's a pretty big effect on you.

  • This already happens, but it isn't 'exact' this 'see-through' technology just lets you see things that would ordinariliy be blocked by the depth buffer. You can see around corners a little, but any more and there just wasn't anything drawn to start with.
  • ...because all they're only tools for illegal purposes anyway, regardless of their beneficial uses. To be safe, ban VCRs, MD players, CD rippers, DVD burners, stethescopes, lockpicks, cellphones and toothpicks too.

    Cheaters will always find a way to cheat. If it matters, don't play against someone you don't know/trust. Besides, your CLQ ranking isn't Life.

    OpenGL proxies already allow this sort of thing anyway. It's removed now, but there was a "Matrix" Quake2 opengl32.dll proxy hack that did similar things here:

    http://users.chello.be/sf15772/

    Somewhere floating around there are screenshots. It intercepted OpenGL calls and replaced all the walls with Matrix-style green character waterfalls and called the real opengl32.dll internally.

    y

  • by Hrunting (2191) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @03:53PM (#218539) Homepage
    Never the less, cheating in any form in a multiplayer game is not only rude and unfair, but you _will_ be found out, and when that happens, you are immediatly discredited. Just try to use a cheat patch or auto-aiming script for more than one round before someone yells "[your name here] is a BOT!!!". Then, hopefully someone in the room has administrative privlidges, and can ban the cheater. Or there could be a voting system in place to kick the cheater (like there is in CS). This is really the only way to stop cheating. It is impossible to prevent, but easy to stop with the right methods.

    I think you're misunderstanding the motives of people who would use these hacks in online games. It's not about gaining prestige with better players by playing like them. Your last line, 'Cheaters:Online Games::Script Kiddies:Hackers', is closer to the truth. They're after just annoying and pissing people off. Nothing tweaks a cheater's knob more than seeing some really good player go down, and then scream bloody murder that someone's cheating or someong's a bot. It's funny, because the cheater's really destroying their ego. When a cheater gets banned, he just moves to another server and starts over, laughing when he magically beats the best and makes them cry. Given all the gaming servers out there, it would take a while to run through them all, and by the time you do, at least three or four new games are out ready to be tackled.

    Script kiddies and cheaters are both annoying plagues. The best way to deal with them is not to have reputable companies give out tools with which they can easily cause problems, but to actively work to prevent them from causing problems in the first place. Voting and admin bans are simply measures to stop problems after they've annoyed people (akin to locking down a box after you've let a script kiddie do some damage).
  • Simple really. The graphics card is the one that handles drawing to the frame buffer, and hence all the results of the graphics card are visible by inspecting the frame buffer, which is accessable through the OpenGL API

    --

  • Precisely, and this is ostensibly what the rendering option is for. It's a tremendously useful debugging tool for rendering engine writers and map makers to see if the bits of geometry they thought they were optimizing away are in fact getting chopped out.

    Schwab

  • As a decisively mediocre FPS player, I have mixed feelings about such tools in the hands of the Ethically Challenged. I'd love to have such tools available, so long as we agree not to use them when playing "for keeps".

    I spectate a lot, in the hopes of learning new moves that might help me rise beyond mediocre. But sometimes I spectate a server just as eye candy. For occasions like that, having a wireframe rendering mode would be cool, as I could immediately spot where the most action was and fly on over there.

    But let's assume there's a cheating player on the server, with X-Ray vision, super speed (Quakeworld time hack), and autoaim. You could decide to change your personal goals. Rather than best your opponent on frag count, you could instead choose to constrain his frag count by becoming difficult to find. Run around, staying out of direct line of sight. Though he may be able to see through walls, he can't shoot you through walls (unless you're playing HalfLife with that weird energy gun). Stay out of his sights and see how long you can keep him from hitting the server's fraglimit. He may say, "Ha ha, I totally 0wn3d you, 20 frags to zero!", but you get to say, "Yeah, but it took you 45 minutes to do it, nimrod."

    Take it from me: Getting thorked is No Fun. But if you decide on a new set of victory conditions for yourself, you can still have some fun.

    Ultimately, as Carmack the Magnificent observed, there can be no perfect solution here. The only way you can be "sure" is if you're in an environment where every player's machine is verified as trustworthy by yourself or a trusted third party. Therefore, unless you're in such an environment, don't play for money.

    (I'm reminded of a HalfLife TeamFortress Classic server, named Yiffy Rabid Foxies [scritch.com], where the admins will mess with you as you play (such as raining grenades down on you wherever you walk). Believe it or not, it's actually kinda fun in its own way.)

    Schwab

  • GeForce drivers are pretty much perfected.. no major improvements are going to show up in them.

    Ha! Tell that to NVidia, so they'll stop fucking leaking about three sets of drivers a week...

    Sorry about that - it's just that I get sick of _every_ geforce forum being nothing more than an extended testing lab, where nobody does anything other than compare one set of buggy beta drivers to another set of buggy beta drivers so the performance freaks can squeeze that extra 0.07% gain out of their cards...
  • Did you even think about this comment before posting or are you just trying to start a flamewar?

    WTF are you talking 'bout, fool? Nothing in the message you commented on about starting a flame war!?!? He was just saying that they should make all games cheaterific so that the cheaters would have no advantage.

    [flame] This is what happens when you allow karma to go up for meta-moderating. You get a bunch of knuckleheads posting with a +1 bonus who don't even know how to post correctly.[/flame]
  • In a game like Quake II, the ability to see through walls would hardly give you any advantage, because it comes down to your ability to move fast and aim accurately. I must disagree on this point, as a long time deathmatcher (I have won a few local tournaments, and been a top ranked player in Half Life Op For) I must say that cheats such as this *DO* make a difference. I have experimented once or twice with cheating, as I wish to know what my opponents are using, if they are cheaters. I do not however use cheating when I am in online play: With the exception that I once used a variation of the see-through technique in Half Life for about a week - Under a different play name. The cheat was a simple FOV hack, that let you move to third person view, this skewed you view and made some walls see through when you pressed a key. It did not work for all walls. I can say that this cheat was devastating. One could duck behind a corner or some other kind of game brush, and see if the person persuing you was continuing pursuit, or holding back, or what have you. There is a huge advantage in being able to step around a corner and have your cross hairs leveled at your opponed where they will do the most damage. It comes down to (like you said) reaction time. Being able to see through walls gives you an advantage in reaction time because you know exactly where your opponent is, and you are obscured to them. I would say that the only cheat worse than seeing through walls is an aimbot. The whole irony to this is that I have spent a grand total of 1 week cheating online. I am regularly kicked off of servers for "cheating". So, I am a pretty good player. (Read, until I picked up Whitewater Kayaking, I had no life outside of deathmatching... =) ) So to your comment here: Never the less, cheating in any form in a multiplayer game is not only rude and unfair, but you _will_ be found out, and when that happens, you are immediatly discredited. Just try to use a cheat patch or auto-aiming script for more than one round before someone yells "[your name here] is a BOT!!!". Then, hopefully someone in the room has administrative privlidges, and can ban the cheater. Or there could be a voting system in place to kick the cheater (like there is in CS). This is really the only way to stop cheating. It is impossible to prevent, but easy to stop with the right methods. I must disagree with this. I would reccomend Punkbuster for Counter Strike. However, I have been banned from a number of CS servers for cheating. Indeed, with the quake games we play here at work, a number of my co-workers were certain I was a cheater. I finally proved that I was not when I sat down at a "clean" PC (built by them), and they watched me deathmatch. There ARE good players out there. Not all of us cheat. Have I cheated? Yes, as I mentioned. For one week of online play. I stopped because not only was it lame, but I found it boring. Take that as you will.
  • by Aphelion (13231) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:35PM (#218551) Homepage
    So you ask, why don't id software and Valve just add cheat protection to their games? Well, that's the funny part. Because the games use an open standard to render their scenes, they are also succeptible to all sorts of totally unpreventable "hacks." Just like id software loves to hack open protocols and add some error correction to UDP, Asus likes to hack the open protocols and modify the way some OpenGL instructions work. It helps their business, just like it helps id's business.

    Is it A Bad Thing? No, I don't believe so. If someone will go to all the trouble to buy a $150+ video card just to see through walls, I believe that they would no less likely spend the five minutes searching to download the superwallhack cheat for Half-Life. Anyone who won't face up to this fact is simply naive.

    Regardless, id software and Valve are both in the same boat: by using an open standard to render their games, they are relying on security through obscurity.
  • At least the drivers work better than the See-Through-Clothing X-Ray glasses I bought from a comic book when I was a kid.

    --
  • by B.D.Mills (18626) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:46PM (#218557)
    A better solution would be careful game design that thwarts cheaters. For details, please refer to the Slashdot posting titled "Combating Cheating In Online Games" [slashdot.org]. It refers to an article on gamasutra.com [gamasutra.com] titled "How to Hurt the Hackers: The Scoop on Internet Cheating and How You Can Combat It" [gamasutra.com]. Please disregard gamasutra's incorrect use of the word "hacker" here.
    --
  • The genie is out of the bottle. The drivers are out there, and because this is client side, the same thing can be done by anyone knowledgeable, and it only takes one to spread the tech to lot's of cheaters. Now, that's all pretty obvious, so going on a big crusade to try and "undo" the genie is pretty fruitless.

    Solution? On-line gaming needs a Web of Trust. A system based on PKC where gamers, should they choose to, get to 'vote' on other players as to their potential cheating status (and possibly other things too, depending on the game, but that's something for the design stage..)

    Game servers could then be configured to allow only players who's been with the system for X days, and/or been signed by Y players, and/or have a 'neutral' cheating rating, and/or is signed by the server operator and/or someone currently playing.

    Players will only get to rate/vote so-and-so often, and only on players they've played with. And so on, many cool things can be done with something like this, but it must be done right by people who know their stuff.

    The client cannot be trusted. No amount of raving about cheating clients will solve this problem. A Web Of Trust is needed.

    Free Software project, anyone?

  • Maybe I'm just disillusioned, but I have more fun playing with people I know and trust then strangers. Strangers cheat.

    You're not the only one. I'm a pretty nifty UT player, and I *often* get accused of cheating cuz I can run up the walls with the teleporter (and other stunts). You try to calm people down by saying you're not cheating, but the next thing you know, they're sending you tons of ICMP's down your pipe, increasing your latency. Screw it. I only play with friends now. If ASUS comes out with cheat drivers, all the better, maybe us good players will have a bit of competition!

  • Take care of her, love her, respect her, take time out for her, take care of yourself and your appearance for her.

    She won't have a reason to cheat. Just be the same person she fell in love with. Too many guys (and girls) slack off in a relationship.

  • hehehe :) I have a girlfriend, and I haven't lost any yet!

  • Considering the number of brilliant programmers out there (me being at the pathetic end of programmers), I'm betting someone can figure out how to design a game that prevents see-through walls from working. It might take more CPU load, or increase latency, but I'm betting it can be done.

    Until then, who cares. Don't take it personally. Not everyone can be a quake god, and some can't be one even if they cheat.
  • The PC industry (in the form of Microsoft) will be happy to deliver a system that prevents cheating by refusing to run unapproved drivers. The same system will prevent you from ripping any copyrighted audio or video with hacked drivers, too. So decide which is more important to you: control over your own hardware or online trust.
  • spirit of fair play? where have you been playing? I'd like to join you!

    Compared to aimbots, client side hacks, spiked models, proxy cheating, rules bending (i.e. using game features in ways they were not supposed to be used to gain an unfair advantage), ping flooding other players etc. etc. these 'cheating' drivers are a drop in the sea...
  • Actually, I think it should be had now that the site is Slashdotted.
  • It's a tremendously useful debugging tool for rendering engine writers

    Almost all modern cards have an alpha value for each polygon. The idea that a 3d engine writer would need special hardware to debug a 3d engine is silly. They can draw all the verticies, a wireframe overlay or on more modern hardware render the polygon data that fails the z test into another buffer. It's a damn' 3d card... you don't need special hardware to get a different representation of your polys! Sorry.

  • All the games need to do is perform more computation on the server, to avoid sending "forbidden knowledge" to the clients.
    I'm no game programmer, but it seems to me that this approach would (1) make the game less scalable, since the bulk of the computation would be on the server machine, and (2) make network round-trip latency ("ping") harder to hide.

    (1) is important because a lot of the servers out there are run by the gamers, who don't have the means to put together a supercomputer to run the game.

    Anyway, I think you are right that the only way to keep information hidden is don't tell anyone. Seems obvious.
    --

  • Which would you rather play: A normal FPS were some idiots will cheat or an FPS where no one cheats but you only get 2 fps?
    FPS is not the issue. That has to do with your card's rendering speed. What would happen is that you'd get beautifully-rendered scenes where the objects appear to make odd jerky motions at random times, and characters appear out of nowhere.

    The odd jerky motions would happen if the server fell behind in calculating the motions, and position/velocity/acceleration updates are few and far-between. Characters would appear out of nowhere because the client machine doesn't know they exist until the server determines that the client can "see" them, and then the client doesn't find out until one network-latency later, at which point they could be quite a distance away from that wall they were behind.
    --

  • The difference, of course, is that SeeThrough technology is only useful for cheating.
    --
  • Just try to use a cheat patch or auto-aiming script for more than one round before someone yells "[your name here] is a BOT!!!".
    I used to run an Unreal Tournament CTF clan. I was not the best player on my team, yet I got accused of cheating quite regularly, even though I never did.

    Aurthur C. Clarke once said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Well, if you're enough better than your opponent, you are indistinugishable from a bot.
    --

  • the time to reach your performance peak is days rather than months
    I'm not sure what you mean by that. I played UT for months, improving all the time. When I plateaued, a few freinds and I started a CTF clan, and our skill and strategy improved again for a few months. When I plateaued again, I started specifically practicing things I wasn't good at, like different weapons and different play styles. (I was a flag carrier, and my specialty was avoiding fights, so I wasn't much good at deathmatch.) Again, for a few months, I improved.

    Have I misunderstood what you meant? I don't know about other Quake clones, but UT CTF certainly seemed to offer a lot of room to improve one's skill.
    --

  • Actually, this will do nothing more than eventually kill your network because of lack of bandwidth. Just think for a second...

    Such a driver will force people (read 'Id') to write games in a way that will reveal the client only what the client *should really* see at any given point in time. And when, say, you move a tiny bit, it has to send you more data (the stuff you couldn't see before) and invalidate all the data that you had, because you shouldn't be seeing it anymore. That would be immense amount of traffic! *ouch*!!!


    ------------------------------------------------ -
  • If the other guy is hiding behind the wall, figure that out on the server instead of relying on the client ... no reason the server couldn't offload this to a 3D card

    With our current technology, this is a bad thing to do. First of all, as someone already pointed out, most gamers don't have the budget for a supercomputer to do all that processing. I mean, that is a lot of processing. Secondly, our current idea of gaming graphics engines, 3D APIs, and 3D hardware have no way to do this processing (without some sort of gross hack, and even then the performance would suck tremendously). Everything tries to shovel information at the frame buffer as quickly as possible. By the time you figure out what is in front of what, it's probably already way too late to have any concept of show or not-show for a particular player (or even polygon).

    --
    SecretAsianMan (54.5% Slashdot pure)
  • by QuantumG (50515)
    You dont even have to do any tricks to be accused of "cheating". Just have good aim and a steady hand or fast reflexes, or half a brain not to stand out in the open (he's camping!!).
  • by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:36PM (#218590) Homepage Journal
    I would say that the players are ruining the spirit of fair play, not the drivers.
  • Like I've said a couple of times before:

    Guns don't kill people. Bullets kill people.
    ------

  • Asus have a poll up on their site asking the general public whether or not they would like to see "SeeThrough technology" available in drivers for Asus graphics cards.

    I don't know where you come from, but around here we use:
    he/she/it has
    they have

  • by Old Wolf (56093) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:19PM (#218601)
    One day, you're actually going to have a girlfriend.
  • Not everyone doing this is cheating on purpose, but when it happens it's hard not to take advantage of it. My roommate had a problem with his machine when he had a TNT 2 in it using the nvidia detonator drivers. Sometimes he'd magically be able to see through walls, it wasn't something he was trying for though. Seemed to be either a bug in the drivers or something, I never had it happen on my machine though.
  • Those of you on windows machines, try this now. If you hold the Left and right mouse buttons while pressing Escape, the time freezes. If you type in "xyzzy Enter Shift-Enter", this turns on see-through mode. In see through mode, a tiny pixel in the upper left corner turns on or off depending on whether or not your mouse is over a cell with a mine in it. Using this, you can win hard in 0 seconds. Looks suspicious though. :)

    -Ted
  • And Asus is a single company, therefor has is correct.

    -----------------------

  • The MPAA would like you to believe it's illegal, whether it actually is is a lot less clear.

    -----------------------

  • The problem is that the games can't be drawn on your screen by a remote server. Graphics cards are essentially Quake and Unreal accelerators, they know how the engine rendering pipeline works. Unreal uses span buffers and is pretty agressive about overdraw. Quake's VIS sometimes allows the kind of overdraw that these drivers from ASUS are hoping to exploit.

    What kind of security are you talking about? There's no security with GPLed Quake, Quake 1 online playing has all but died due to hacked clients. In this case it's not a matter of gamers cheating, it's a matter of selling cheats to gamers that can't be patched or worked around, killing modern games. Security through obscurity is the only kind with games that let rules run on the client. And if you want these games there's no other reasonable choice.

    Plus, assuming that playing with strangers has to be a bad experience, CmdrTaco, is pretty ignorant of how the game communities got started in the first place.

  • No, that is not it at all. Cheating ruins the game for all players. It has nothing to do with peer to peer anything. It is a "feature" in the video drivers to allow you to see through Walls and other object, letting you see the players hiding there. How dare you compare cheating to peer to peer file sharing?
    I'm not comparing cheating with peer to peer file sharing. I'm comparing the "SeeThrough" technology with peer to peer file sharing. Both can be abused but that doesn't make the technology invalid.
  • by FattMattP (86246) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:10PM (#218619) Homepage
    <sarcasm>
    So now people want to get rid of "SeeThrough technology" in graphics cards because it might be used to cheat by some individuals?

    What next? Getting rid of peer-to-peer file sharing because some people might trade copyrighted data?

    Yes, let's deny something that could be useful to many because of the actions of a few.
    </sarcasm>

  • by rbreve (94225) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:26PM (#218625) Journal
    > Strangers cheat.

    Girlfriends cheat too!
  • by sprayNwipe (95435) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @07:32PM (#218627) Homepage
    Anyone who thinks these are good has obviously never played an online game against anyone. One person running these drivers can cheat and ruin the entire game for the 20+ other people on the server.
    How would you feel if you were playing a game fairly, but were being killed 10 seconds after being respawned not because of skill, but because some cheating punk can see through walls.
    To put it in language that linux people can understand, this is the equivilant of a person getting root access illegally and kicking off other people connected so that they can get a bigger share of CPU time. Sure, it's great for the person with illegal root, but annoying and painful for anyone else
  • Write a wrapper around your OpenGL driver. It's really quite trivial to do. I did it myself once. However, you'll find that having transparent walls and automatic headshots really isn't fun at all. (and no, I didn't distribute my wrapper)

    ------
  • that was back on May 9th [shacknews.com]

    now it's the poll to remove it.

    shacknews had talked about this about a week ago [shacknews.com]

    anyway it's a pretty big deal. For me, i get to hear about how i'm a "gay4ss l0z3r" using the "wirefr4m3 asus h4ck" when i 0wn everyone in CS [counter-strike.com]

    -Jon
  • So that's how I managed that zero time game! I thought it was some sort of fluke (random bit corruption or something)... It all makes sense now.


    --Fesh

  • "SeeThrough technology" has no legitimate use. ASUS themselves say:
    There are three special weapons for ASUS VGA cards' users -- Transparent View, Wireframe View, and Extra Light. If you do not have an ASUS VGA card -- be careful! Never compete in the 3D games with anyone who has an ASUS VGA card. Because the only result is to loose.
    This isn't about technology being evil because it can be used for evil. It's about a company showing no fucking respect to the gaming community and encouraging cheating to raise profits. Name some honest uses of this feature and I'll shut up. Otherwise, only get self-righteous about issues that you understand.
  • In some games, like CounterStrike, weapons have the ability to penetrate thin walls. Kind of like reality, actually.

    Some people lay down suppression fire; this is expected. However, if you use a wall hack, you can easily kill numerous enemies this way.

    So no, it isn't just for campers.

  • Exactly. The only thing that will prevent "cheating" for games that hide information in the client is something that takes control of the computer away from its owner and gives it to the content provider. Do you want this?

    There are, of course, games where you're allowed arbitrary computer assistance. eTrade [etrade.com] is an example.

  • Kornelia [threedgraphics.com], for example.

    I wonder how things are going in the online chess world. Visions of some kid in his bedroom with a cluster of overclocked PCs claiming to be a grandmaster...

  • Yes, people will always write cheats, but how often does J03 Hax0r write a driver-level cheat?

    It would have been better if ASUS had released some sort of aim-bot, because that kind of thing can be detected by the game. How's a game supposed detect if your drivers are cheating?

    question: is control controlled by its need to control?
    answer: yes
  • Well, that's the funny part. Because the games use an open standard to render their scenes, they are also succeptible to all sorts of totally unpreventable "hacks."

    Games use open standards because, simply, there is no presently viable closed standard; all the closed standards (Glide, Metal, etc) died because of the fact that they were closed, when developers wanted to be able to write to a single API and have their program work on any hardware.

    Regardless, id software and Valve are both in the same boat: by using an open standard to render their games, they are relying on security through obscurity.
    This doesn't make any sense. They're using on *open* standard; doesn't that make it less obscure? Considering that both of these companies have open-sourced large portions of their code (Quake 1 and 2 under GPL, HL's game DLLs under a freewareish license), your claim here is invalid. That said, security through obscurity tends to be the *only* way to prevent attacks like this. Because this is a case of the untrusted client revealing data it shouldn't, there are far, far too many points of weakness, and encryption of any sort is completely out of the question for performance and compatibility reasons. What developers have to count on, instead, is that most of the hackers who have the skills to modify a 3d app significantly are white-hit; unfortunately, Asus seems to have proved them wrong.
    ------------------
    A picture is worth 500 DWORDS.
  • First, let me say that I consider using a wireframe- or transparent-mode video driver in any sort of multi-player game is absolutely cheating, and should absolutely be prevented. That said, it's worth pointing out that, while Asus has been promoting these drivers from the cheating front, there are legitimate uses for this sort of thing, mainly for developers.

    For a person writing a 3D app, not having a wireframe mode could make debugging and performance testing extremely difficult. Take, for example, the case of testing vistable algorithms (probably the case where this is most important), which are the systems used by games to selectively hide objects outside of vision and speed up rendering. Trying to debug and evaluate such an algorithm without being able to see exactly what is being rendered would be near impossible. Another case where this is important to have is when designing models or worlds through any sort of abstraction. A large percentage of the work in modelling is minimizing the number of polygons, which is difficult to say the least if you can't see them. This is exactly the reason Valve added a wireframe mode to Half-Life (which, I might point out, works only in single-player in software mode, making it effectively useless, so a driver like this could be extremely useful).

    My point is, while Asus is definitely promoting this for illigitimate use, there is good reason to have these sorts of things.
    ------------------
    A picture is worth 500 DWORDS.
  • This is a security issue that the games should be addressing. The game shouldn't be sending information on avatars that are out of line of sight. The cheating just shouldn't work, regardless of hardware or drivers.

    This is similar to UO, where Spot Hidden used to work on the client side. However, cheats arose to see all people, hidden or not, because the client knew about the hidden people. The solution was to move the spot hidden back to the server, and a similar solution should be adapted for 3d games in the long term. Information shouldn't be sent to the client if the player shouldn't know about it, because people *will* exploit it.

    Fixing this bug involves doing server side LOS checks, which will slow things down, but servers are just getting bigger and faster anyway. It'll be within reach soon, if not already.

  • Anyone who wants to use these drivers can find them online already, so this won't stop the people who really want to cheat. The people who wouldn't cheat aren't going to use these if they are included, so the conclusion is...
    It wont make a difference!

    There are so many auto-aim, modelhack, wallhack, bots, etc... that this will make no difference. Just play the game, and ignore the cheaters.
  • If someone will go to all the trouble to buy a $150+ video card just to see through walls, I believe that they would no less likely spend the five minutes searching to download the superwallhack cheat for Half-Life.

    Your missing somthing here. Said gamer is already going to buy the $150 video card. Asus is just giving him/her a reason to buy their card over all the other video card manufactures.

    -jason m

    btw; I'm of the frame of mind that this sends out the message that cheating is "okay". Which, its not. It sucks for those of us that don't have more then a few friends to play with.
  • make network round-trip latency ("ping") harder to hide.

    You mean like the position projection tricks used in Quake clients? That's a good point. I guess the only "secure" solution for that is faster networks :-)

  • by The Pim (140414) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @05:45PM (#218659)
    Regardless, id software and Valve are both in the same boat: by using an open standard to render their games, they are relying on security through obscurity.

    Disregarding the obvious fact (already pointed out) that using an open standard makes games less obscure, you bring up an interesting topic. One of the interesting aspects is that there is in fact no need, in principle, to rely upon obscurity at all.

    All the games need to do is perform more computation on the server, to avoid sending "forbidden knowledge" to the clients. If the other guy is hiding behind the wall, figure that out on the server instead of relying on the client (game software, drivers, hardware) to keep the secret. This is expensive, but given the gains in CPU speed and 3D hardware (no reason the server couldn't offload this to a 3D card), I think it may be feasible. And it will only get more feasible in the future, because the cost of figuring out what's visible is increasing much more slowly than the cost of detailed rendering.

  • by DeeKayWon (155842) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @04:07PM (#218661)
    Metabyte tried this exact same thing [bluesnews.com] back in the days of the Voodoo2. The community blew a collective nut [bluesnews.com], Metabyte pulled the drivers [bluesnews.com] and they never left the underground. I imagine the same thing will happen again.
  • Well, I'm more familiar with Q2 (i can't even count how many days i deprived myself of _any_ sleep because i wanted to play "one more map" of CTF or Lith Rail-Only), so I'll use that as an example.

    If you're coming up on someone from behind them, and all of a sudden you see them spin around on their axis and fire dead-on (or some other humanly impossible feat), then there are two possibilities: 1) he's cheating 2) he's lucky. If it happens more than once or twice, it's the former.

    However, most of the bots I've seen are so poorly designed that just watching them move is a sign. Especially when you notice railgun slugs coming from their back and grenades popping out of nowhere.

    If you are just really good, and don't want to be accoused of cheating, find some equal competition. I guess it's a double edged sword no matter how you look at it.
    --
  • by EvlPenguin (168738) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:39PM (#218666) Homepage
    In a game like Quake II, the ability to see through walls would hardly give you any advantage, because it comes down to your ability to move fast and aim accurately. However, in a game like Counter-Strike, a patch such as the one mentioned above could win you the game.

    Anyone who's ever played CS knows the intensity of crouching behind a box, hiding behind a corner or ducking in a vent, waiting to make your move. If your enemy could just look up and see someone waiting in the vents, why not jump in behind the enemy and blow his head off?

    Never the less, cheating in any form in a multiplayer game is not only rude and unfair, but you _will_ be found out, and when that happens, you are immediatly discredited. Just try to use a cheat patch or auto-aiming script for more than one round before someone yells "[your name here] is a BOT!!!". Then, hopefully someone in the room has administrative privlidges, and can ban the cheater. Or there could be a voting system in place to kick the cheater (like there is in CS). This is really the only way to stop cheating. It is impossible to prevent, but easy to stop with the right methods.

    Cheaters:Online Games::Script Kiddies:Hackers
    --
  • These drivers are totally ruining the spirit of fair play that exists alongside the fun that people have when they play an online game like QuakeIII or UT. This just helps the people out to ruin the gaming community.


    --

  • Of course, this is true, but you have to consider that there are many server operators out there who got sick of the cheaters and installed PunkBuster [punkbuster.com] to deal with all of the software cheats. However, actually having cheating occur at the driver level makes detecting any attempt at cheating sketchy at best, possibly banning anyone with a certain model of video card from playing on PunkBuster-authenticated servers.


    --

  • by electricmonk (169355) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:11PM (#218670) Homepage
    Does that mean we should leave bank vaults open?

    Actually, that's an incorrect analogy. He's not advocating that game developers purposely make it possible to cheat. He's saying that cheaters should be given the tools to abuse the game and make it miserable for everyone else, much like BUGTRAQ's philosophy that script kiddies should be given tools of destruction to embarass companies into fixing security holes.

    Perhaps what you were trying to say was that since people are going to steal things as well, we should sell them C4 and Thermite at the highest prices that they are willing to pay. Which I wholeheartedly support, as long I'm the only one doing the selling and they don't go out to rob my bank.


    --

  • someday you'll be glad girlfriends cheat... here's why:

    On average, hetero men and women have about the same amount of sex in a lifetime, because every time a man has sex, a woman does too. Generally, at the time of each act, the men are older, but men do start to have sex at close to the same age and men remain "desirable" till a much older age than women. So, men must be spreading the same amount of sex over a longer active period.

    So, young women must be very busy to service both the boys their age, and the older men they enjoy.
    In times of high fertility and high mortality (most of human history), there will be more young women for every older man so such female promiscuity would not be required. But today in western countries this is not the case, and as we see, the taboos and strictures against sluttiness have all dropped away.

    If you are a young woman, do your part and live it up, it's not going to last. And if you are a young man, realize that, yes, she's doing some others at the same time, but realize it with equanimity because you'll get your turn with her younger "sisters" later.

  • by boaworm (180781) <boaworm@gmail.com> on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:55PM (#218681) Homepage Journal
    In some way you're right. People will always cheat, at least some of us. To that I agree.

    I would not agree though that the result of a cheat being easily publicly available will reduce the amount of cheaters. I'd say the opposite.

    Assume some people really want to cheat. They will find some way (wallhack, aimbots etc) and have their fun. Then there are other people who feel "that could be cool to test", and tries it. Not for the purpose of winning the game, just for the fun of testing it out. Those people whould most likely not cheat if it was not easy to access those files.
    Then there are those who realize that gaming is more fun when played fair. Those people will not cheat anyhow..

    Making it easy to cheat wont reduce cheating frequency, in the same way as making it easy to steal copywrighted material wont reduce piracy.

  • by Mike the Mac Geek (182790) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:25PM (#218684) Journal
    I agree, but listen to this. At one time, everyone was a stranger. Give some people a chance, they might surprise you. And if they don't, then don't play with them again. You were a stranger once. Remember how much it sucked when people wouldn't play with you?
  • perhaps someone cares to explain to me why these sorts of hacks are possible in the first place: games like quake are clearly a client-server model. The server will of course know where every player is, and also the layout of the map.

    My guess is that it's a simple issue of processor time. Figuring out exactly what all 16 players in the game can see, at a speed fast enough to keep up with the video cards of all 16 machines would be... difficult.

    Which would you rather play: A normal FPS were some idiots will cheat or an FPS where no one cheats but you only get 2 fps?

  • Hiding an obvious use for something you've already paid money for is just plain wrong.

    This is just like copy protection or anything else, someone, somewhere, is going to figure it out on their own anyway. And then it'll just be a lot harder for the rest of us to do it too.

    Also, beyond the cheating aspect, there are some pretty cool possibilities for these drivers. Sure, people will cheat, but we really can't stop them. And that's a really lame excuse for hiding something as cool as this.

  • If you only want to play with people you know, you play on a LAN.

    Huh? Now I know I'm not the only one that does this... I run a private HL/CS server and play friends and coworkers all the time. But never on a LAN, my friend. We frag each other from the comfort of our respective homes, over DSL and cable.

    The best competition (measured in terms of screaming and crying and laughing!) is ALWAYS with friends. Cheat video drivers isn't an issue with friends (we'd find out who is running a card that has cheat drivers available, soon enough). So the cheat drivers won't spoil the BEST gaming at least.

    Yes, it makes gaming with strangers less satisfying though. Cause you just never know what the other guy is playing with. Unless there was a gaming standard to broadcast (untampered) HW specs to other players.
  • ... Only cheaters want this technology to be available.

    And I suppose game designers, beta testers, and that guy down the street making a killer game mod have absolutely no use for these? That's like saying only drunks have a use for cars. It makes no sense, just because a small group of people might abuse them doesn't mean that they're not valuable tools to many more.

  • by Arthropoid (194003) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:24PM (#218691)
    The only defence of these drivers is that they allow me to delete the nude Tomb Raider patch.
  • My ATI card works the same way. In "half-life" I can see other characters through walls and ceilings.

    Only in my case, it's because the ATI drivers suck so bad they won't render the textures, not because I installed a hacked video driver. Does that let me off the hook? :)

  • by Spazntwich (208070) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:36PM (#218705)
    Ok, let me see if I get CmdrTaco's logic. People are going to cheat, so we should give them the tools to do so.

    People are going to steal things as well. Does that mean we should leave bank vaults open?
    ---
  • by wrinkledshirt (228541) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @02:09PM (#218713) Homepage
    I can't very well admit that the reason why they keep getting headshots on me has anything to do with SKILL, can I?
  • Anyone who's ever played CS knows the intensity of crouching behind a box, hiding behind a corner or ducking in a vent, waiting to make your move. If your enemy could just look up and see someone waiting in the vents, why not jump in behind the enemy and blow his head off?

    Why just just shoot through the box?

    I'm an admin on a CounterStrike server, and I have seen many a cheater. Fortunately, most of them are so blatent or incredibly stupid that they're caught. One that I remember distictly shot me directly in the head through a wall while I was silently waiting to ambush him when he rounded the corner, in two consecutive rounds in different positions. Cheaters of that variety aren't the worst of them, there was another guy, a smarter one, who it took us weeks to catch onto, because he knew who the admins were and would simply not do anything suspicious while they were playing. Eventually the server's owner, playing under a different name caught him. I have no doubt there are probably cheaters that we've never caught, who may still be playing on our server. So, unfortunately you can't really say you _will_ be found out because the smart ones will get away with it until someone figures out how to stop it all together. -"[OSG] Hugh Jass"

    "// this is the most hacked, evil, bastardized thing I've ever seen. kjb"

  • by spoocr (237489) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @03:18PM (#218719)
    I play UT. One common technique I use is to use shadows to my advantage - there are certain spots where a player can all but disappear, and these often times make excellent sniping spots, or hiding spots when you're being pursued and are low on health. I find it's quite simple to identify those who are using some kind of modified display - upped gamma or wireframe or whatever - as they're the ones that will instantly see me and blow me apart, whereas 95% of the other players will run right by without even blinking. Brightness/gamma mods are definately an advantage, but its not like you can prevent it.

    I've played against aimbots, and they're infuriating. But thanks to them, experienced snipers are discredited. I spent days perfecting the art of the headshot playing against god bots in sniper areas, but now, when I make a less-than-newbie-probable shot, I'm accused of cheating.

    I don't cheat in online gaming. Never have, never will. Sure, you can raise your FPH with it, but it's not going to make you a better player. What satisfaction you can get out of being highly ranked just isn't there when you cheat your way to the top. But it's incredibly irritating for those of us who do play legitimately, and want a fair match.

    -- Chris

  • You know you can just edit that text file with the scores in it and make it whatever you want. Although putting the time at about 12 seconds for the hardest level will make people a little suspicious.

    =-=-=-=-=

  • This is very true. Most people that cheat do it because they are not very good. So even if you have bad players cheating, they still aren't that good. Although when you get good players cheating, that's a pain.

    =-=-=-=-=

    • All the games need to do is perform more computation on the server, to avoid sending "forbidden knowledge" to the clients

    Absolultely. I'm constantly surprised by how lame the network models are for commercial games. It's not as though they're breaking new ground: netrek [netrek.org] had a rock solid model close to fifteen years ago. The server pared the sent information down to the absolute minimum, so there was very little that a hacked client could do to gain any kind of advantage.

    For example, cloaked ships appeared on the strategic display as "??"; you could hack the client to show their actual designation and to draw them on the tactical display, but the server would still only be sending (incorrect) position information very infrequently, with no heading or speed info, so all you really got was a vague idea of where they were.

    • Actually, this will do nothing more than eventually kill your network because of lack of bandwidth. Just think for a second...

    Try the other way around. You're reducing the amount of info you have to send, not the other way around. Sending one "object hidden" packet is a lot cheaper than sending updates on every player who's anywhere near you.

    • cheating in any form in a multiplayer game is not only rude and unfair, but you _will_ be found out

    Not in my experience. Plus, play well enough, and you get accused of borging anyway. There is very little trust in Quakish games, and that comes down to them not being aggressive enough in culling network data and fixing the problem at the server. A PPK binary authentication scheme wouldn't go amiss either. See Netrek [netrek.org] for an example of how to do it right.

    • I'm betting someone can figure out how to design a game that prevents see-through walls from working

    It's not that hard. The server just needs to be more aggressive in culling the network information that it's sending. All solved [netrek.org] years ago.

    • I'm a pretty nifty UT player, and I *often* get accused of cheating cuz I can run up the walls with the teleporter (and other stunts). You try to calm people down by saying you're not cheating,

    It's sad, isn't it? Back in the day, I used to be a fairly nifty netrek [netrek.org] player. Whenever I found myself smacking an Ensign Bozo around too much, I would take the time to take him aside and show him how to do what I'd just done to him. I made a friend, he learned how to not suck as much, and we both got more out of the game.

    Nostalgia isn't what it used to be, but I now find myself totally turned off by Quake clones. The lame network model allows cheating, the time to reach your performance peak is days rather than months (then it's just down to learning maps), and there seems to only be three kinds of players:

    • Long time clued players.
    • Cheating lamers.
    • Clueless fodder who're just passing through.

    There seems to be very little encouragement or education, just frantic frag fests and irritating boasting. By making these games too easy to play, and too easy to hack, we're effectively throwing our doors open and hanging out a sign saying "Bozos welcome!"

  • by Maxlor (315315) on Thursday May 17, 2001 @01:36AM (#218756)
    "To help novice players to have a faster learning curve in playing 3D games"

    Thats a stupid argument. It should be the game developer who decides how difficult a certain game is, and certainly not the driver manufacturer. There's an "easy" setting with most games which is adequate even for absolute newbies. Also, by using see-through newbies won't learn the game faster. They'll learn to play a whole different game. They won't train their quick reflexes needed to fight someone who has surprisingly turned around a corner. They won't train their "feeling" for secret areas, because they can see hidden items from far away. In the long run, it will not help their gaming experience or skill, the opposite actually.

    "To let skilled players to have a chance to test their skills with a new challenge"

    If a player is skilled and wants a challenge, he most certainly won't turn to see-through, which effectively prohibits any challenge. Challenge comes from the situation in the game which need skills to overcome - If you can hit an enemy dead-on the moment he turns around the corner, you no longer playthe game the way the game designers intended; and therefore miss the challenges they set up.

    "To help users become familiar with 3D graphics rendering"
    "To save the time of developers for developing and fixing 3D graphics"

    While those point may be valid, they're negligable; Game designers who code 3D stuff surely also have the ability to also code in a wireframe or transparency mode for developement, which can be excluded from the final release or blocked for multiplaying. There are games that still have these devel modes in single player mode, and the "users" who want to "become familiar with 3D graphics rendering" can use those.

    The difference between the two ways of implementing is that if you implement it at game level, you can make it so its not allowed in online playing, therefore not altering the game for other players. If you however implement this at driver level, you give all other players an unfair disadvantage and destroy the game.
  • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:51PM (#218761)
    All maps in all games will just have to be designed with nothing but see-through walls. Cheaters would have no advantage.

    All games will need to come with built-in aimbots, etc. as well...

  • Up until 11am Monday morning (when I was made redundant - yet another victim of the dot com crash) I worked for Wireplay [gameplay.com] - an online gaming service provider in the UK. The Wireplay community is truly enormous - our forums [gameplay.com] have nearly 2 million posts and we run a huge array of leagues, tournaments and other competitions.

    You may laugh at online gaming but it is an incredibly rewarding hobby. I've been involved with online games for over two years now, having run a 500 player league in my spare time before landing a job at Wireplay. The average gamer in the league I was running would spend 2 or 3 hours a night online doing online gaming related things - playing on servers, talking with their clan mates on IRC or discussing league matters on the forums. Many people are even more commited - one UK clan that started out on Wireplay has now started playing in American leagues which requires them to get a team of 8 or 9 people together for amatch at 3am in the morning.

    Online gaming is not just a casual passtime any more. It is a full blown hobby, comparable to real life sports such as golf, football or whatever. Leagues are hottly contested, friendships are forged and a whole internet sub culture has built up around gaming. All You Base is an obvious example of the kind of thing I'm talking about - an in joke fostered by the online gaming community which went on to (breifly) take the net by storm.

    Cheating is a huge problem in online games. It destroys trust and means that truly talented gamers are often branded "cheats". It disrupts leagues, ruins people's enjoyment and can kill off entire communities. The new asus drivers are actively encouraging this kind of behaviour. They actually say as much on their site:

    Not only will novice players acquire a faster learning curve when playing 3D games with this secret weapon, the professional gamers will also have a chance to test their skills with a new challenge in online gaming tournaments.
    Secret Weapon sure sounds like a cheat to me.

    I'll admit that the wireframe mode could be interesting, but it seems to me that Asus' primary reason for releasing these drivers is not as an educational tool (the claim on their website saying "It also allows users to learn more about 3D graphics rendering" seems pretty flimsy to me) but as a tool for cheating.

    I've ranted enough...

    Skunkeh

  • by glenkim (412499) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:26PM (#218766) Homepage
    Man, I tried the ASUS see-through drivers on NPRQuake, and it didn't help my deathmatch skills at all! I tried the "wireframe" mode in the sketch rendering mode, and it didn't help me 0wnz anybody! What a scam.
  • by PYves (449297) on Wednesday May 16, 2001 @01:45PM (#218775)
    using the see-through to cheat at minesweeper! I played so long to get those high scores and those bastards can see the mines right off!
  • People cheat, code doesn't. People break into systems that aren't theirs, code doesn't. People use bad judgement, code doesn't.

    Granted, ASUS has some really dumb marketing folk who aimed at the "gaming" market with this feature (where cheating is seen as one of the primary benefits). But that doesn't mean the feature shouldn't exist. I can see some useful applications development as well as higher end 3d modeling applications (wireframe could enable engineers to model complex joint fits internally).

    Think of all the tools and technologies that wouldn't exist if we let their "misuse" keep them from existing. Think of all the technologies (esp in the area of security) that can just as easily be misused but are incredibly good things to have around (albeit - in some cases, to fight the misuse *smirk*).

    It's sad people think cheating is right...but let's bash on the cheaters and the users with no integrity. Keep the technology out of it and let the vendors create the tools...there are more appropriate ways to deal with those who misuse the technology.

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