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Rockstar Creates 'Cheaters Pool' For Game Hackers 228

itwbennett writes "Rockstar Games announced yesterday in a newswire post that the company has created a 'cheater's pool' (sort of like the populating of Australia with criminals) where players who have hacked the game to give themselves advantages will only be able to play against other cheaters. Although, Ars Technica points out that players may actually prefer the 'special' world."
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Rockstar Creates 'Cheaters Pool' For Game Hackers

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  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lithdren ( 605362 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:51PM (#40327355)
    I find this idea rather interesting, but I worry what might happen to someone who was placed in this pool by mistake?

    I can imagine that the aim-bot writers would find this rather interesting, you'd have a natural-selection pressure going on where the best and fastest aim-bots would survive. I have to wonder what might come of something like that.

    Wouldn't make the actual game very fun though.
  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by localman57 ( 1340533 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:57PM (#40327451)
    You're gonna need a hell of a lot more than an aimbot in this pool, I think. We're talking about full blown A/I, I think, to be competitive.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @04:02PM (#40327509)

    Playing in cheat servers in CS: Source was fun but something interesting happened if you played in the server for a while.... most, if not all of the hackers ended up playing hte game properly.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ottothecow ( 600101 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @04:28PM (#40327907) Homepage
    Well the way these things usually work are that they don't have to be perfect at catching you cheat, but they only have to catch you once.

    Its not even that novel of a concept...look at Valve and VAC, if you get caught cheating on a VAC secured server, your entire account gets blacklisted and can't play on other anti cheat servers (and this applies to every game linked to your steam account which is actually kind of scary). There are still other servers that don't enforce anti-cheat but my guess is they are filled mostly with hackers and pirates (so basically...a cheaters pool).

    What happens is someone comes up with a nice hack, people start using it, Valve figures it out and bans everyone it can catch, and then the hack author notices it has been found and they modify it in such a way that it avoids detection again. Every time Valve does this, they ban a bunch of accounts who are gone forever unless they come in and buy a new game. It doesn't stop cheating or make it impossible...but it puts a financial burden on the cheater.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Andy Dodd ( 701 ) <{atd7} {at} {}> on Thursday June 14, 2012 @04:40PM (#40328127) Homepage

    This is why I never purchased Crysis 2 and likely won't purchase Crysis 3.

    The single player game was gorgeous, and the graphics were stunning.

    The game had enormous multiplayer potential, but - For all their expertise in making a graphics engine, they didn't know jack shit about networked multiplayer.

    If a player shot a pistol at another player, take a guess where the decision on amount of damage done was made? You'd think that after years of online gaming, it would be the correct answer: The server.

    You'd be wrong - The damage calculations were done BY THE CLIENT. Both offensive (weapon damage) and defensive (armor effectiveness) calculations were done on the client. Weapon damage calculations were done by the client of the player firing the weapon, armor calcs (esp. for vehicles) were done by the client of the player being shot at.

    The XML files in which weapon and armor attributes were stored weren't integrity checked at all.

    As a result, it was dead easy to change an XML file, eliminate all bullet spread/variation from a pistol, and declare each bullet as doing 99999 damage. The client would say to the server, "I hit player Y for 99999 damage" and the server would believe it, no questions asked!

    Similarly, the server would notify the client of a player operating a vehicle, "You were hit by this weapon class for X damage. How much of that was actually absorbed" - For example, most armored vehicles had 80-90% damage reduction from small arms fire. Well, just like the 99999 damage pistol hack, it was easy to declare a 99% (or even 100% I think) damage reduction to any weapons type. So you could easily create an attack helicopter that was immune to everything but controlled flight into terrain... In nearly every game I ever played, a cheater would eventually get access to an attack helicopter, and even if you decided "fuck it, if you can't beat em', join em'" and gave yourself super-rockets - they could fly around the map with impunity.

    I actually eventually decided that the most interesting challenge for the game would be to see how far I could modify things without anyone calling me out - and thanks to the blatant cheaters, it was amazing what you could get away with (think 600 horsepower pickup truck, mobile antiaircraft cannon that could depress its turret by 10 degrees below horizontal, etc...) without anyone accusing you at all.

    I think I played legitimately for a week, experimented with cheating for a week as an experiment, then deleted the game. It was so insecure as to be utterly pointless - blatant cheaters in every match, and my own experiments showed that there had to be a whole pile of more subtle cheaters lurking.

  • Re:That's fine (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Endo13 ( 1000782 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @04:45PM (#40328219)

    No more so than any other server and internet resources used for games. Cheaters aren't any less likely to spend money on future content than other players.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AngryDeuce ( 2205124 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @05:27PM (#40328789)

    I agree, if only because you simply cannot play a multiplayer game on the internet these days without someone accusing someone else of cheating, hacking, 'glitching', whatever you want to call it. Very few people lose because they're just not as good as the other people in that particular match, no, it's because everyone else is cheating. I mean, people bitch and complain about campers for Christ's sake, and they're not even cheating, they're just not running around like the rest of the retards and are actually employing some strategy beyond "Mash all the buttons!! Fire all the weapons! Jump jump jump jumpity jump jump!!!!!"

    If some chickenshit 12 year old accused me of cheating because I had the audacity to kill him more than he killed me, and I ended up lumped in with a bunch of fucking wall-hackers and aim-botters for all eternity because of his butthurt, I would be furious and demand my money back. If they refused, I would never purchase another game from them ever again. There'd better be some sort of concrete proof required other than community feedback, even if they're depending on repeated infractions, because obviously people that are very good play a lot and hence will probably have a lot of bullshit reports of hacking/cheating just by virtue of that fact alone.

    Ask Microsoft how many bogus "system tampering" reports they get from butthurt players. I bet less than 5% of those reported are actually guilty of anything other than being better than the person that reported them.

    Outside of all that, though, I like the idea of a dedicated place to hack and such. I just disagree with the whole "email suspicious behavior" thing because I feel that is just going to be totally abused.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lehk228 ( 705449 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @05:57PM (#40329135) Journal
    technically those are clickers, but yea they are harder to detect just looking at data going to the server, except if you probe for them. send a very brief incorrect set of data indicating a head in the crosshairs, like one or two frames, if bullets come out instantly, drop the banhammer.
  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by citizenr ( 871508 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @06:46PM (#40329545) Homepage

    This is why I never purchased Crysis 2 and likely won't purchase Crysis 3.

    The single player game was gorgeous, and the graphics were stunning.

    The game had enormous multiplayer potential, but - For all their expertise in making a graphics engine, they didn't know jack shit about networked multiplayer.

    If a player shot a pistol at another player, take a guess where the decision on amount of damage done was made? You'd think that after years of online gaming, it would be the correct answer: The server.

    You'd be wrong - The damage calculations were done BY THE CLIENT

    Sounds like ARMA / ARMA 2.
    There is a very popular mod called DayZ ( [] ) for ARMA2. It features persistent character and permanent death. Popular cheats involve :
    -calling thermonuclear strike on a whole 250km2 island killing up to 50 players instantly
    -throwing whole server population into the air, they all die when they fall down
    -uploading your own mission file to the server spawning AI, This one is quite clever :) Ranging from spawning 3 women in Burqas following each player :DDD through small military convoy shooting all players on sight, ending with full blown carpet bombing done by AI.
    -spawning items out of thin air. Somehow Arma lets ordinary players spawn a BATTLESHIP on top of a building :) not to mention all the guns, equipment and vehicles your heart desires.
    -speed hacks / invisibility / aimbots / invincibility / flying (yes, player can tell server his position and server will just place him there without asking).

    -and my fav, changing whole server population into goats! :o)

    All that possible while being ordinary player joining MULTIPLAYER server, server that talks to a master server supposedly keeping track of all the players.
    Did I mention their standard security practice was to ask server admins to mail RDP passwords for all the servers, in cleartext? and that the official mail account got hacked and most of the servers turned into malware zombies for almost a week? and the official website and forum deleted, including most recent backups :D Shit is hilarious.

    Some of those companies just ignore past 10 years of experience and reinvent the wheel (or just cover their ears/eyes and pretend there is no problem) :(.

  • by jmerlin ( 1010641 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @07:33PM (#40329983)
    Top-end players used cheats while training. Being able to intimately learn sound->positioning and where you could shoot through walls with what weapons were made possible by sound-esp and wallhacks. Aimbots that aimed at actual hitboxes instead of models gave a better sense of where to shoot to score hits in various animation sequences. Looking at the actual recoil spreads and their trends for different guns (and using pitch/yaw compensation instead of nospread) showed you how to compensate for recoil extremely effectively. Armed with this knowledge, you're far better at the game than average people.

    I developed cheats for a while and I was also a cal-i level player. I went 23-0 legit in one side before being banned in a cal-i scrim back in 1.5, and then barred from scrimming with that team again (and a friend was the manager, he swore up and down that I was cheating). This was before it became common to use cheats to study the game, so I had a huge advantage. You can even download modified maps that have transparent walls if you don't want to run some shady executable cheat (now, you couldn't then). People had made player model mods before that painted the head a bright blue/green that made it very obvious where you should aim (and this was accompanied by color-based aimbots which were pretty terrible).

    When we're talking about competitive gaming, researching the game to this level with the assistance of cheats is clearly a benefit. If cheats are treated like some form of a plague where once a person is infected they should never be able to ever play again, you're really just dealing with a massive ignorance. You know, the ignorance of all these bad server admins than ban anyone who's better than them. "Once a cheater, always a cheater" level stupidity. Headshot 5 people in a row? BANNED, too many headshots, must be a cheater!

    If we adopted this type of reasoning in science, cutting open a body to figure out how it works would be cheating and would be disallowed. Deconstructing atoms with supercolliders would be considered cheating and disallowed. The creation of vaccines and medicines that cure diseases unnaturally would be considered cheating and disallowed. And if you ever violated any of these rules, you'd be sentenced to death, because once a cheater, always a cheater, and cheaters should be permanently banned from the game (life, in this case). Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?
  • Re:Interesting (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 14, 2012 @08:22PM (#40330445)

    Now I'm reminded of my days on PSO and the Dreamcast.

    Granted, it was the birth of viable Internet-connected consoles, and Sonic Team to my knowledge never had to deal with multiplayer before, but my god.

    They stored character data locally . With limited validation. To say nothing of trusting a number of calculations coming from the client, or the special craptastrophe that allowed players to corrupt at will the character data of other players, eliminating hundreds of hours of work.

    The game, of course, got boring quick - it was a remedial Diablo. I quickly found the most fun I had was hex-editing in items and giving them as gifts to 'legitimate*' players - angry, butthurt souls who couldn't comprehend the workings of the Dark Lord, R'han D'hum Nuumbahr, and thus accused anyone who got lucky and had a rare drop of being an evil, evil h4xx0r.

    I handed out tons of semi-rare crap 'h4xx3d' crap. They didn't know. But I knew. Oh, yes.

    Now that I look back on it, damn, I'm pretty sure I was some kind of sociopath back in the day. :p

  • Re:Interesting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by petsounds ( 593538 ) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @09:01PM (#40330747)

    And there's a reason the UT bots were good: the original UT bots were created by Steve Polge, the creator of the Reaper bot. You could always pick out a UT bot, they were in a kind of behavioral uncanny valley, but they made for a good challenge. Moreso from their accuracy than their tactics. As a map designer, it was very hard to get them to use advanced features of the engine like multi-stop platforms, but in generic DM and CTF maps they could easily hold their own. Sadly, shipping FPS games with bots seemed to fall out of favor with game developers.

    I'm not sure I'd say they are the "best" bot made -- the UT bots were short on group tactics, by comparison with the AIs in the Half-Life series. They assumed roles in team gametypes, but I don't remember them ever using flanking tactics or helping each other out. But in terms of being a one-bot fireworks show, yes they were quite proficient.

  • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shadow of Eternity ( 795165 ) on Friday June 15, 2012 @12:51AM (#40331937)

    Modern DLL hooks certainly do that, the original primitive aimbots for CS simply used red and green color coded models and would fire at anything that appeared with the color you set it for. There were some funny moments when people realised just having a rainbow spray could instantly lock most aimbotters on the wall.

If graphics hackers are so smart, why can't they get the bugs out of fresh paint?