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Cheating Online Gamers

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  • by Dutchmaan (442553) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:29AM (#5607209) Homepage
    Anyone have a log and pass for the NY Times site!?

  • Pro$per (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tiltowait (306189) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:31AM (#5607227) Homepage Journal
    Anyone care to add up [ebay.com] these total sales?
  • by ergo98 (9391) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:37AM (#5607303) Homepage Journal
    I'm a fan of the game Urban Terror [urbanterror.net], a mod for Quake 3, and play online a fair bit (I usually run Visual Studio on one monitor, UT on the other: One good thing about being a rambo player in team survivor games is that I'm dead the majority of the time, and hence find it to actually be a remarkably productive time): While recently an anti-cheat tool, PunkBuster [evenbalance.com] was added to Q3 (and it is constantly updated), there is still a serious issue of cheaters, the most common among them being wallhackers. What is a wallhacker? Well it's what was mentioned in the summary: Wire frame worlds, allowing cheating players to view other players whereever they are on the map, obviously giving a pretty clear advantage.

    So what does this have to do with the honesty of surveillance? Well in team survivor when you die you can ghost other players as they move around the map, and it tends to be that wallhackers are discovered quite quickly--Their behaviour and actions in the game do not correlate with the information that they should be visually receiving (from what we can see ghosting them). Usually this quickly leads to cries of cheater and a vote to kick the offending player.
  • Of course they do... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MosesJones (55544) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:37AM (#5607310) Homepage

    In terms of being "better" at the game than others, but part of the question should be is it cheating, or just another game.

    Someone who buys or downloads a cheat that someone else made is a different deal, and clearly some of those people are pretty sad individuals who just want to say "ha ha fragged you", before never ever having sex with anyone.

    However the person who creates the cheat, who engages in what can be described as espionage against the game developer is playing a different game of skill, that person is learning things, developing things and playing their own game with their own rules and "winning" by being able to cheat. The challenge here isn't to be better at Quake, but to be able to cheat the best at Quake, that in itself is a game.

    How about an open game in which these developers play their cheats off against each other using the best players without cheats as the players in the game. That way you can find out who developed the best cheat.
    • That's no excuse for helping idiots ruin the game for honest players. Write an autonomous bot or go play RoboWar or something.
    • I hate cheaters (Score:4, Interesting)

      by diablobynight (646304) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:03PM (#5607540) Journal
      Especially in Counterstrike. I took down my counterstrike server because I spent half my time banning cheaters. The key thing I turned off was the ability to see anything after you died, I found players would ghost enimies and then relay this to their teamates sitting in the same room. It really pissed me off, because of an obvious reason, the dead shouldn't be able to talk to the living, (without a medium and a big seance). I think cheating in one player games, like I did after I went through and beat Hitman 2 the first time, is fun. But people who cheat in online games, how do they even find it enjoyable. Have the fun of the game is the challenge, being able to cheat and win is stupid. Just develop your skills and get better. All cheaters should have their IP and user name out on a CS ban list, that all CS servers will automatically view and then BAN those people.
    • The challenge here isn't to be better at Quake, but to be able to cheat the best at Quake, that in itself is a game.

      Yes, but--suppose you're winning at chess and your opponent jumps up and skillfully whacks you with a hockey stick? Maybe in his own mind he is playing a different game of skill, but that doesn't mean you want to see him across the chessboard again.

  • Wireframes? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Student_Tech (66719) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:39AM (#5607323) Journal
    Wasn't there a driver several years ago for a video card that allowed somehting like this? (Ok found /. story here [slashdot.org].)

    Why modify the game where they might be able to detect it when you can just play with drivers to do the same thing (assuming the game is sending all that to the video card already)
    • Re:Wireframes? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That's why anti-cheat systems like Punkbuster look at more than just the game binaries and additionally allow server-triggered screenshots. The latter is optional, but when the game goes beyond casual deathmatch, ladders may require that it's enabled.
  • Consoles (Score:5, Interesting)

    by luzrek (570886) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:40AM (#5607333) Journal
    I'm not sure about how the Xbox handles games (how much does it load on the hard disk?), but wouldn't consoles which run the software off of a non-rewritable medium (PS2/Gamecube) be ideal for online gaming since then the distributor can control what software is on everyone's machine?
    • Re:Consoles (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hakubi_Washu (594267)
      Possibly not... Many "modern" cheats don't change files on your disk(s) at all, because simple checksums can prevent this. Instead they modify values in your RAM directly, which is more nitty-gritty, but harder to prevent. And: This is possible on consoles too, as they have RAM as well (For the PlayStation there are a lot of "Modules" that are inserted into it's serial port, another way is to load a CD with "malicious" code before loading the game...)
    • It would make it a bit more difficult, however, you could for instance use another computer as gateway between the internet and the console and capture/modify the packets that flow between the server and the console, and thus work out somesort of cheat
    • by doublem (118724)
      Gameshark

      Codebreaker

      There are others, but they do the same thing.

      Boot form the CD. Select the cheats. Boot the game. The cheat program runs in memory changing values for you so you have lots of cash, lots of lives and so on.

  • by Deth_Master (598324) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:41AM (#5607335) Homepage Journal
    I remember the good old days of Doom:
    • iddqd
    • idkroz
    • idkfa
    That was fun. Load up on the berzerk pak, and god mode. Then run around smooshing imps. I used to cheat on all my old single-player games, Descent, Duke Nukem, Shadow Warrior. But that was just me, not me vs some other real person, that doesn't like it when I'm invincible, and got the rocketlauncher with unlimited rockets.
    Cheats on the internet probably shouldn't be allowed, it'll just piss people off.
    • idkroz

      There was no idkroz code in Doom. Don't know which one you're thinking of :)
    • Gawd, I hated those cheats back when I was in college. I had upgraded my 486 to a DX and maxed out the memory to like 32 megs and somehow my computer was designated as the official gaming station.

      One friend would come in and as soon as anyone wasn't looking would pop in the cheat codes and thus he could play for hours (the rule was one you died, you gave up the controls to someone else). It got the the point where my girlfriend would literly pull the pul out of the wall to get him off of the machine so w
    • I can't believe there was actually a way to beat the final stage without cheating. The one with the creepy severed head on the other side of a moth in a huge room with hundreds of re-spawning enemies (was that Doom or Doom II?). At one time or another, I went through the whole game without cheating, but that part just seemed ludicrous.
  • cheating itself is not such a problem. I remember using tainers in Diablo so that I could just go in and kill some monsters. I never PKed, or went into games where they said 'cheaters not welcome'. I went off with a few friends into the caves in nightmare mode. It was a gore fest and it really was fun!
    I think the issue is decency more than cheating. There will always be a few who wish to gain a 'competitive advantage' somehow, making life difficult for the average joe. This isn't the case just in games... l
    • Speaking of Diablo, the online variant of it was absolutely destroyed by cheaters. I know that shortly after boring of the single player game I gave the online variant a try: After several attempts at play, always to be PKd by cheaters (level 2s with hundreds of HP, for instance), I gave up on it forever and never tried it again.
    • I agree. When I don't have much time and projects to finish, I don't feel like dying everytime I turn around a corner. Enter cheatcodes. They allow me to run through the game, enjoy the "storyline" (for whatever that's worth with FPS games), the scenery and the plotlines, find out secret areas at leasure and then do some real work after.

      Of course for online gaming I never cheat, because that does take away the fun. It's also a great confirmation that I suck. I like having my feet planted firmly on the vir

  • Cheat me once (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ackthpt (218170)
    Cheat me once, shame on you. Cheat me twice, shame on me. If I continue to play against cheaters, or people who continuously kick my butt, where probability should demand a more balanced percentage of win/loss, it's my own fault. Better to play honest people like me, who play for the fun of playing, not for some thrill of cheating fellow players.
  • The Case of the Quake Cheats [catb.org].

    I'm working, in my copious spare time, on a cheat-resistant comm library. Someone is sure to beat me to it.

  • The One (Score:5, Funny)

    by mrpuffypants (444598) <.mrpuffypants. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:43AM (#5607353)
    Others reprogram their video cards to hide the elaborate textured walls in a game. All that is left is a wire-frame outline, allowing a player to see through walls and track those hiding behind them.

    If you can reprogram your video card then you wouldn't even HAVE to cheat.

    You already are "The One"
  • by nfsilkey (652484)
    PlanetQuake? ^_^

    This article seems rather dated when discussing the FPS cheat-em-ups. Punkbuster has been dead in the water since early 2001. VAC is just now gradually working at bridging the gap between legitimate players and cheat-free bliss. Still buggier than a Brit tho. :>

    Then again, it is poignant to observe the Q2-era cheats. When the mood strikes, and an old Q2 vet hits up the few Lith servers left on the Net, he is greeted typically with one or more players OBVIOUSLY craxing and haxin
  • The first example given in the article, a man who cheats playing Sims Online, seems pointless. Why would you want to cheat playing a game that can't be won?

    The are probably the same people that drive in the carpool lane with no other passengers :[
  • by Lord_Slepnir (585350) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:43AM (#5607361) Journal
    From the article: "When I play an online game, I can't be the best because there are some college kids out there spending 14 hours a day."

    What college is this that you can play games 14 hours a day and still pass? Everyone I know that did that either failed out or is taking so few credits they might as well have dropped out. College kids, I fear not. 12-year olds who have nothing to do all summer long, I fear.

    • But thats always the justification that cheaters use. They're not doing it to gain an advantage. They're just doing it to "level the playing field", because everyone else cheats already, or has lots more time to play, or has a better computer.

      The worst thing about cheating is the climate of distrust it creates. Any time a player gets lucky, or does something unusually skilled, they're quickly accused of cheating and usually booted. Even worse are the "So-and-so is cheating! / No I'm not!" arguments. O
    • by The Ape With No Name (213531) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:07PM (#5607587) Homepage
      The University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Our number one complaint from kids: "Why is Kazaa so slow?" Number two: "Look, I am a professional gamer and I am getting lag to the game server in Fiji that we use. And it is your fault." I had a kid claim that he made $60000 one year. Is this possible?
    • My College [rit.edu]

      We love to play our Counter-Strike here at RIT.
    • // What college is this that you can play games 14 hours a day and still pass?
      who said they're passing?
      personally, i'm more worried about the recently unemployed techie armies out there.
  • I believe I first read this as a formal statement from Chip Morningstar, one of the creators of the "Habitat" game. Seems that many of these problems stem from people failing to heed that simple rule.
    • Unless they are going to stream the pre-rendered video/audio directly from the server to the client, I think they have to trust the client. Even if they sent all the game data to the client encrypted, the client still has to be able to decrypt and process it, at which point it's wide open for cheat programs. I suppose Palladium will potentially make the client much more trustworthy, though. Even though gamers everywhere would despise it, I'm sure they would use it if the latest games required a Palladium
    • A good rule, but even games like EverQuest that "mostly" don't trust the client are susceptible to macro programs that automate movements. Games like Quake are susceptible to aimbots.

      Both of these hacks simulate player input that you must have from the client machine.
      • by Sloppy (14984)
        Games like Quake are susceptible to aimbots.
        Then it needs to just be part of the game. Quake is a virtual reality of a very high-tech world; it's only natural that the soldiers of that world have cybernetic enhancements and smart weapons.

        Alas, this rationalization wouldn't work in a FPS game that models a low-tech world, like one where savages run around shooting each other with arrows, throwing daggers, etc.

        • Then it needs to just be part of the game. Quake is a virtual reality of a very high-tech world; it's only natural that the soldiers of that world have cybernetic enhancements and smart weapons.

          Then, you're competing with other players with your clever movement skills. When someone comes up with a movement cyborg that executes dodge combinations and such, then what? Make it a part of the game! After all, it's only natural that the soldiers of that world have cybernetic enhancements and smart movement
  • One of the players engaging in this automated counterfeiting, a 29-year-old financial planner from Texas, said he did so without apology (although he did not want to be identified by name). "I think the bots actually level the playing field for people who have day jobs," he said. "When I play an online game, I can't be the best because there are some college kids out there spending 14 hours a day."

    Yeah, bots also level the field for stupid people, less skilled people and complete idiots who don't know the
  • Some software makers are working on more aggressive solutions. Tony Ray, the president of the Houston-based company Even Balance, distributes a free product called Punkbusters that acts as a virus detector by looking for modifications on every player's machine. Game companies are paying for its development in the hope of keeping the games fair. Software installed on every player's machine watches for cheating while periodically filing reports to other players.

    This has always bugged me. PunkBuster is just
    • Re:PunkBuster (Score:2, Informative)

      by scalis (594038)
      PunkBuster is just another piece of software. What stops it from being hacked just like the game?

      You are right and Punkbuster has been circumvented and hacked in the past.
      The difference however is that the company that developed the game seldom provide a good way to stop new cheats fast. PunkBuster provides protection against cheats, and does ONLY that while the developing companies might very well have moved on to different projects and so on...

  • by fuzzybunny (112938) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:47AM (#5607394) Homepage Journal


    Note, I'm not a really hard-core gamer or expert, so take this with a grain of salt, but...

    Cheating in online games is always going to be a problem. You won't solve it, but can at least reduce it to the point where a server admin can deal with individual accusations.

    -Only send each client information it really needs.
    -Use checksums on binaries and libraries and things.
    -Try to get more 'mature' gaming crowds together. I have noticed vast difference playing Battlefield 1942 at various times during the day, such as when it's mostly high school kids, or people with jobs who start playing after dinner, whatever.
    -Make it clear that cheating sucks and won't be tolerated--this can help catch the remaining people with aimbot screen overlays and things that automated means won't take care of.

    Netrek [netrek.org] used some anti-cheating mechanism, by embedding an RSA key in every "authorized" client, to which only a few developers known to the "RSA guy" and the Netrek community as a whole had access. Imperfect system, but it reduced use of bots to the point where it didn't really matter.

    Also, one thing that a lot of people forget is that a lot of 'active' cheats (mainly bots in action games) fall into one of two categories:

    a) Fully-automated -- these are predictable.
    b) Partially automated -- things like aimbots. Their "owners" probably suck otherwise. If they see you, they'll get off a clean shot, but you don't have to confront them directly to smash them.

    I am usually sufficiently gratified when I crush someone I suspect strongly of cheating by knowing it's probably some whiny 13 year old staring at his screen in impotent frustration to not really care about the other 9 out of 10 times he's beat me, not by skill but through some technology he most likely didn't create.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:05PM (#5607554)
      I am usually sufficiently gratified when I crush someone I suspect strongly of cheating by knowing it's probably some whiny 13 year old staring at his screen in impotent frustration to not really care about the other 9 out of 10 times he's beat me, not by skill but through some technology he most likely didn't create

      I feel the same way - when the Quake 3 demo first came out, I played online a bit. One day a player came along that was taking advantage of a serious speed enhancement... so I devoted the rest of my time to tracking and killing him. It didn't take long to find him as he'd wander all over at top speed... the funny thing was is that he was pretty predicable, even though very fast... so I was able to kill him before he got me about once for every three kills he got. I also taunted him, and I know I got to him as eventually he started only going after me!! Of course, knowing he was coming made it even easier to get kills as I could just slam rockets into a wall he was about to go past and throw him into a chasm, or other fun things... plus he was rather an idiot and probably killed himself as often as I did by trying to use rockets while running all over at top speed.

      Anyway, it is fun to torment cheaters.
    • Those Aimbot guys really annoyed me sometimes though. You go to all of the trouble to sneak up on the guy from behind (because he's a camper naturally), and then the railgun embedded in his back shoots you dead the instant you come into view. That's just weak, especially when you are then called a n00b buy the aimbot guy.

      That's why I generally only play online with friends. I don't need that kind of BS.
      • That's why I generally only play online with friends.

        That's the soliution that works best. If you play with people you trust, you not only escape all the misery and suspicion of dealing with cheaters (potential or actual), you get the pleasure of popping your buddy in the head with the railgun, and not some random dork in his mom's basement.
        -aiabx
    • I am usually sufficiently gratified when I crush someone I suspect strongly of cheating by knowing it's probably some whiny 13 year old staring at his screen in impotent frustration to not really care about the other 9 out of 10 times he's beat me, not by skill but through some technology he most likely didn't create.

      And then of course, when you finally beat him, he accuses you of cheating. :)
    • I gave up on Counter Strike many years ago, after the cheats were posted all over the sites and everyone (even myself, I'm sorry to say- I just didn't beleive cheats worked until I tried it) downloaded and tried them.

      About 6 months later I found Day of Defeat. I've seen some people cheat there, but it is much more rare than CS ever was.

      Other games to try would be games that don't move so fast. I Hear there are WW2 mods for Ghost Recon that move so slowly cheaters/Immature idiots never bother.
    • Cheating is rather hallow. Whever some new cheat for CS comes out, I always grab it and play with it a bit before it gets patched. Granted, they're fun, and the technology is really coming along(some are at the point where they're in game gui's that come up and you select your cheat from a menu), but it's so unsatisfying. When I'm not cheating and I get some awesome 200 yard head shot or round a corner and put half a dozen shotgun shells into someones chest, it's satisfying. Tracking a guy through a wal
  • .... just ask this guy [jubii.dk]

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  • They dont... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by xRelisH (647464)
    Most cheaters never prosper, that being because they're usually shunned, and they often just get bored of the game and leave, since where's the fun if there's no challenge?
    Sure, you could get an hours worth of kicks out of hit at maximum, but there's a good chance you'd just get bored and leave.
    However, there's a big twist here, that new gaming site, YouPlayGames may bring cheating to a whole new level. I've seen how crazy people get in Tournements, how they whine and bitch and some of them try to bend
  • by mao che minh (611166) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:50AM (#5607421) Journal
    I never saw the point in cheating, it just lessens the experience. I remember there was this one team of guys that used to use cheats and/or exploits in Operation Flashpoint. I never understood the logic: if you are playing a game for fun and challenge, how do you feel rewarded if you achieve victory unfairly?

    For example, CNN reported that Iraqi forces were using wallhacks, and they have been camping in spots located well outside of the battle map/field where US missles can't reach. Totally unfair.

  • by Otis_INF (130595) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:50AM (#5607428) Homepage
    Now, the worlds in most FPS games are rendered first, then the models and other entities are rendered, using clipping /depth buffer info of the world. A lot of engines use 2 different render routines to do this: the world is mostly static and uses a different routine than the model renderer.

    THe result is, that when you 'patch' the world renderer so that it f.e. renders wireframes instead of solid polys (in OpenGL based engines this is 'not that hard', you just change the value passed to glBegin()) the models still are rendered solid, plus because most renderers for models rely on the depthbuffer filled during the world rendering, the models close to corners are fully rendered, since the depthbuffer is empty. So you can easily 'see' the models close to corners. If you also 'patch' the model renderer for not doing world clipping, you will see ALL models rendered in your window.

    This can't be done if the world + models use a single render routine, i.e.: model polygons and world polygons are packed together as THE set of polygons to render, then the single render routine will eat these single pack of polys to render. If you patch the routine for wireframing, you will see the models also wireframed, if you patch out the world clipping, you will get the complete world in your window, not what you want.

    I think in future game engines there will be a merger between world + model polygon sets, because worlds are more and more modfyable in game by the player, which in the end requires that the modifyable parts are 'models' too. However games based on the current crop of quake * engines will keep on suffering from this.
  • I love playing Quake 3 online, but I suspect there are a number of players cheating. I haven't been able to find many resources to Q3 bots, and other cheat methods other than this site: http://ogc.ath.cx/ [ogc.ath.cx] Anyone know of other ways people in Q3 cheat?
    • I love playing Quake 3 online, but I suspect there are a number of players cheating. I haven't been able to find many resources to Q3 bots, and other cheat methods other than this site: http://ogc.ath.cx/ [ogc.ath.cx] Anyone know of other ways people in Q3 cheat?

      Dont know if its specifically falls under "cheating" but learning to play with a wide FOV helps. Also, I just upgraded to a new system, and noticed that my scores rather dramtically improved immediately. Simply because it "looks okay" on your end,
      • Keep in mind that the model of an enemy you see on your screen may be nothing like what the other person is actually doing. The clients snaps, packetloss and fps all affect how well the server is able to predict a players position and direction, and if the server isn't getting correct data, then it won't give you correct data. The other player might be turned around but your computer hasn't received that information before he shoots and kills you.

        As for railing you after you fall of the edge, it's not tha

  • I think it's OK to exploit a game. If there's a loophole, sooner or later everyone will know about it. Although that may be later closed by the game's developer, it's not like someone has unfair advantage. That's in the rules. If the rules change, well, that's OK because everyone is affected by it. Much like the "grenades through walls" in Counter-Strike.

    I also think it's OK if it's an inside, official cheat. I don't think this exists in online games, but if it exists, then it should be used. It's like it
    • Midwest US has a game called "Euchre"; the dealer has a slight statistical advantage. The deal is supposed to rotate with each hand, but sometimes players will work to "steal the deal" by skipping opponents and passing the deal on to their teammate. Considering it's usually played at parties with a lot of conversation and such, it can be easy for someone to forget that it's their turn to deal.

      Generally the game is declared void if someone's caught after stealing the deal; but if you catch them before, you might continue with the game, wondering if you missed one before...

  • by termos (634980) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:03PM (#5607539) Homepage
    Those Nethack cheaters finally confessed!
  • Cheating is why I play games over a LAN with friends rather than over the internet with people I don't know. Cheating is why I don't play MMORPGs (well, cheating and the incredibly amounts of time they require to get anything done). The anonymity makes it impossible to punish people for wrecking the game or getting ahead unfairly, and this problem simply isn't solvable without removing the anonymity of the internet, and few people want that.

    Reminds me of a time I decided to try a MUD. Even though it was
  • oy vey! i hate laggy starcrack games!

    why bother to play if you're just playing to cheat?

  • But this phrase in the artical just jumped out at me:

    All of these techniques depend on users' having full control of the software running on their home machines.

    Hrm, a hidden agenda push for DRM? They do go on to say later:

    "All of the major developers were saying that they could do nothing to fight cheating because they couldn't control what went on in people's computers," he said. "The whole landscape of online gaming changed when we proved cheating could be fought effectively."

    In refrence t
  • "All of the major developers were saying that they could do nothing to fight cheating because they couldn't control what went on in people's computers," he said.

    Interesting. I wonder how the methods of fighting online cheating relate to DRM. Anyone ever heard of such an analysis?
  • Finally, I understand the movie "The Matrix."

    Neo and his cohorts are cheaters in the great game of life. "There is no spoon," indeed.
  • by Pejorian (258646) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @12:33PM (#5607834) Homepage Journal
    Hey, I haven't seen anyone mentioning that there are two kinds of cheating. The Quake-style cheats that involve looking through walls or whatever are relatively harmless, mainly because most people can play Quake online for free, and unless someone is wagering on your performance, there's no cash rewards.

    On-line game cheating in role-playing, especially subscription games is FAR more serious, because in some games, the currency or objects of power or weapons are worth real cash and can even be sold on e-bay (see the post with the e-bay link above) and it suddenly matters very much that some people are cheating.

  • by Kakurenbo Shogun (64436) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @01:36PM (#5608355) Homepage
    I don't think cheating is a problem IF AND ONLY IF everyone who's playing agrees that it's okay to cheat. In other words, if one of the rules is "you may use any methods you wish to gain an advantage--if you find a way to hack the game, more power to you", then great! It's a competition between hackers.

    I think a partial solution to the problem would be for online game sites to have separate games where cheating is explicitly allowed. Lame-ass cheaters who don't have the guts to match their hacking skills against others will still cheat in the no-cheating games, but at least the cheaters who have confidence in their skills will participate in these games, because winning there will earn them legitimate respect from the community they have the most respect for.

    If those who participate in the hacker games make some effort to create a culture that looks down on people who hack in the non-hacking games, that could help too.

    People who cheat in games where cheating is not allowed by the rules are lame-ass selfish bastards with no character and a pathetic substitute for self-confidence. If they really feel like they've accomplished something by winning in a way that spoils the game for unsuspecting people who play by the rules, then I feel sorry for them.

  • by Cerebus (10185) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @01:43PM (#5608411) Homepage
    --and therefore requires a social solution.

    As long as code executes on fundamentally untrusted platforms and as long as code is imperfect, there is no way to prevent cheating or exploiting in a multiplayer game. That's just the way it is; more technology isn't going to change it a whit, especially for

    If we approach the problem socially, however, solutions present themselves.

    Many games provide unique identifiers for each installation, like Half-Life/CounterStrike. This is usually an anti-piracy measure-- but we could use it to control cheating. Banning by unique ID is part of the solution, but not everything. Consider a solution modeled on USENET killfiles--

    I join a game, and the client downloads the UIDs of the other connected players. The client compares this list against my personal list of people I don't like to play against (cheaters-- or maybe just obnoxious twits) and notifies me if any are in the game. I can then make an informed decision about whether to play there or look elsewhere.

    Clients could also collaborate; if a player joins who's on my 'shit list,' I could allow the client to notify the other players. Perhaps even an automated voting scheme could be enabled-- a player UID thats on enough people's shit lists could be automatically banned (assuming the server allows it).

    Yes, there would be a market for new UIDs, much as there is a market for CD keys. However, if the client makes it easy enough to maintain the shit list, that in and of itself is only a temporary problem. As a side-effect, if an ID gets widespread my client plonks the whole lot of cheaters with one entry.

    The emergent behaviour of such a system would force all the cheaters to play each other on cheater-friendly servers. At that point, who cares? 8) I see this as a win-win scenario; cheaters get to cheat, and the rest of us don't get bothered.

    Some games are partway there. Tribes2 and some CS admin mods have voting mechanisms that kick/ban players; but this doesn't carry over between servers, whereas the above scheme would.

    A third-party tool would help, but to be really effective it needs to be integrated into the game client so that all players are using it.
    • I almost hesitate to draw a parallel, but look at XBox Live. There we have a system of centrally managing not only user information but problem user reporting. Maybe they weren't being innovative in their idea, but at least they implemented it. Might be a step in the right direction for gaming as a whole.
  • by DJ FirBee (611681) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @02:28PM (#5608832) Journal
    How to ruin a 14 year olds day. Or a 30 year old.

    Why be a cheater when it's more fun to TeamKill instead ??

    Seriously, killing guys all day with wireframe and grenade hacks does not piss the otherr players off as much as team killing.

    You have to get really psychological with the other players. Do a couple of team kills and explain that you are a newbie (having a name like Player 6 helps). Sorry man !! didn't mean to kill you!! I did not know where you were when I threw the grenade and so on ...

    After a while they will figure it out and team kill you and get the same server enforced penaltys (less money for weapons and whatnot).

    Then you go into chat and start saying "what's your problem man ? Just trying to have some fun and being a dick .." During this phase don't team kill (just GET team killed).

    Finally the last phase is when people trust you again to really open up the team killing whoopass.

    This is so damn fun ....
  • by fritter (27792) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @02:44PM (#5608953)
    Designers of the new Star Wars game initially planned to let players communicate in strange languages that would be translated by other players' computers, he said. But the developers soon realized that cheats would find a way to break into the hidden dictionary, gaining the ability to speak the various languages and negotiate with aliens from other planets - a skill that would normally develop only over time.

    Have the LucasArts people seen the new Star Wars movies? The only alien languages would be "Broken English with Asian accent," "Broken English with Jamaican accent," "Broken English with Italian accent"...

  • by bluyonder (643628) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @02:44PM (#5608955)
    wouldn't they cheat and just lie?
  • by Restil (31903) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @02:44PM (#5608960) Homepage
    Some comments to comments made in the article.

    said he did so without apology (although he did not want to be identified by name)

    This means you know what you're doing is wrong, and you have a great deal of shame for doing so. Otherwise, why would you care? Oh, maybe your account would get canceled, but that's a small price to pay for being right, isn't it?

    While breaking the rules or using secret "cheat codes" has always been an accepted, even treasured part of single-player games,

    Yes, sometimes you find insurmountable obstacles that cheating seems to be the only way around. But it's not true, you're just not trying hard enough. But by cheating, you rob yourself of the thrill of actually BEATING the damn thing. But once you start adding extra programs to "assist" you in playing the game, or exploit hidden bugs to give your character an unfair advantage, you've just admitted to yourself that you aren't good enough to play by the rules.

    and when it becomes boring it is time to turn to the greater game of beating the system, they argue.

    No, when it gets boring, that means its TIME TO STOP PLAYING! That's your brain telling you that it's time to get a life.

    They fear that people would stop playing if those who cheated held all the power.

    And ultimately this is true. However, all game companies aren't perfectly innocent in this regard. Cheaters may comprise a small percentage of the total player base, but it has appeared at times that reforming the cheaters seems to be of a higher priority than showing them where they can get off, and giving them a shove in that direction. Ultima Online went through this several times during the first few months. Kept giving amnesty to cheaters if they just gave back the stuff they obtained by cheating, or even warning them a few days before they would start checking. I say, day one, mention that all cheaters will be banned permanantly and immediately, no exceptions, no warnings, NOTHING. And in their defense, a lot of them say this, but there wouldn't be that many cheaters if they were serious about it.

    In theory, this should give players many options and strategies to explore, but it could also lead to players' gaining monopolies.

    And in the real world, monopolies are regulated.

    Games also typically have a grey area, mentioned in the article. These are tricks you can do in the game that are within the rules and maybe even the spirit of the game, but have a result that was not planned for. FPS Speedrunners have long exploited these tricks without crossing the line into cheating. In Doom for instance, you had strafe running, wall grabs, wall running, rocketjumps, archie jumps, flipping switches that are "out of reach", clearing ledges that should have been too far, but aren't, etc. Of course, all of these tricks are generally more difficult than playing exactly as it was intended. Players have spent hours trying to perfect a trick that will save them a few seconds, just so they can shave a second or two off the record.

    If a grey area is considered unfair, then it should be stated as such and fixed. In a perfect world, most such exploits and grey areas will be identified and removed during an extensive beta period, but beta periods have been traditionally too short, and game developers are caught with problems that they have to fix without upsetting a world that can't be reset. In games that end after 30-60 minutes, this isn't a problem, but for the games that go on forever, your options are limited.

    -Restil

  • by Quill_28 (553921) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @02:50PM (#5609004) Journal
    I _used_ to play Counter-Strike.
    But it took to much time too many cheaters.

    Two reasons I haters cheaters.

    When I made a great move or kill or too many kills in a short amount of time, people would call me a cheater. I would get tired of defending myself.

    In other games(real basketball) when someone makes a nice move or shot/pass, I tell them so(Complimenting other players seems to keep egos in check, and thus more fun)
    The problem is in Counter-Strike I never know if they are cheating or not.

    Thus is the end, is simply ruins the game.

  • by mustangdavis (583344) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @03:05PM (#5609150) Homepage Journal


    I run several massively multiplayer, free, web based online games (WWII - War of Supremacy - war.coldfirestudios.com [coldfirestudios.com] and Space - Glory Through Conquest - space.coldfirestudios.com [coldfirestudios.com] to name a couple) ... and of course, with any online game, I have people cheating.


    Now I know that everyone that administers an online game handles cheaters differently, but here is what we like to do ... (depending on how "bad" they have been)
    • First, deactivate their account(s)
    • Allow the other players to pick appart their characters, so that the people that "lost" something from these cheaters can enjoy a little revenge ...
    • Rename their characters in a very colorful, but interesting way ... example: General Pink Fuzzy Bunny of Candyland
    • Post in the forums who was caught cheating, what they did, any appropriate amount of proof, and what penalties they suffered from for cheating
    • Then, finally, sit back and allow the player community to embarass the person that cheated



    Now, don't get me wrong ... we're not terrible people. When a player in our game finds a bug, we reward them for reporting it to the proper moderator and for not exploiting it (other than to verify that they did, in fact, find a bug).


    We only do the above nasty things to people when they ruin the experience for the other players ... and if they do it intentionally. We do our best to squash any time of bug or imperfection in game balance as soon as it is located, but no game is perfect ... and there will always be people out there that are going to ruin games for an entire gaming community just for a laugh, so we allow the community to retain some sort of dignity by allowing them to have the last laugh ....


    It may not be the perfect answer, but most of the people playing my games seem to enjoy it ...


    Begin Ranting and Raving


    My thought on cheating, especially with games, is simple: Why would you spend hours and hours playing a game that doesn't provide a challenge? If you cheat, it takes away the feeling of accomplishment that you have when you're done playing ... whether you win or lose ... since all you have done is proven that you don't have the skill to win; that you have to cheat in order to feel the "thrill of victory" ... and that you are so selfish and self-centered that you don't take into account that there are other people playing against you, people that have invested their time and effort, that have just wasted their time so that you can prove that you suck so bad at a game that you have to cheat ...


    So again, what is the point of cheating? ... to prove that you an untalented, selfish ass???

    /Ranting and Raving


  • by zapp (201236) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @06:51PM (#5610877)
    I'm not all too familiar with the multiplayer gaming infrastructure, but I am a 4th year computer science student... so I think this makes sense.

    How about The server keeps track of positions of all the clients, and does some vector math on calculating visibily before even transmitting coordinates to the clients? With the fast-as-hell CPU's we have out there now, I'm sure this could be pulled off with VERY little slowdown. This reduces network traffic by not sending everyone everyone else's position, but also... so what if player X does have a see through walls hack? If the server doesn't tell Player X where Player Y is, he still can't see him.

    Any Thoughts?

    Oh, and by the way... I knew a guy doing transparent wall hacks back before 3d accel cards were even invented, it's not news :)

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