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PC Games (Games) Games

The Million-Dollar Business of Video Game Cheating 102

An anonymous reader writes "If you play games online against other people, chances are you've come up against somebody who's obviously cheating. Wall hacks, aimbots, map hacks, item dupes — you name it, and there will always be a small (but annoying) segment of the gaming population who does it. Many of these cheating methods are bought and sold online, and PCGamer has done some investigative reporting to show us rule-abiding types how it all works. A single cheat-selling website manages to pull in $300,000 a year, and it's one of many. The people running the site aren't worried about their business drying up, either — game developers quickly catch 'rage cheaters,' and players cheating to be seen, but they have a much harder time detecting the 'closet cheaters' who hide it well. Countermeasures like PunkBuster and VAC are sidestepped quickly and easily."
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The Million-Dollar Business of Video Game Cheating

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  • 300 Large? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:19PM (#46884145) Homepage Journal

    $300,000/yr posting game hacks?

    Damn, I'm in the wrong business.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:38PM (#46884315)

    As people can easy bypass it by doing something as easy as rebooting the modem.

    Also it can flag the wrong person and it can get tripped by user behind NAT / proxies

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:43PM (#46884353)
    A modem reboot won't reset SteamID.
  • RE: 300 Large? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:51PM (#46884423)

    $300,000/yr for being a middleman between those who find game hacks and those who want them. If you're not a middleman you're in the wrong business. Nothing to do with games.

  • Well, the problem is the same as in securing your hardware: Physical access = Game Over.

    You've got folks running software on their hardware, they're going to be able to do whatever they want with that. I can see the ethics behind punishing people who cheat against other non consenting folk, but this statement bugs me:

    I told Gibson that I found [repetitive cheating] behavior mind-boggling. He isn’t confused by it. He’s just angry. “Give me five minutes alone with a hacker or a hack writer,” he laughed. “That’s what I think about that mindset.”

    If it wasn't for hacking and cheating in games I wouldn't have taught myself how to program as a child. In fact, the first thing I did when I got any new game was save the game, do some action, save it again and do a hex-diff to scan for the change, and edit the byte values to give myself more ammo or items or money, etc. I'd still take pride in beating the games without cheats, and in competitive servers I wouldn't cheat, but amongst other hacker friends, or on my own servers I see nothing wrong with cracking games. I've added new game modes, weapons, and levels to games via patching the EXE and data files.

    Lots of folks bought Doom when they already had Duke3D and Quake just to play with new weapons I added to the game: Flame Thrower: Replace rocket launcher projectile with imp fire ball frames, limit its range by making it disappear after a duration [use the frame tables], increase ammo counts, reduce the damage and reload for VERY rapid fire, replace the projectile's death frame with Archvile flame attack, FIX the damn Archvile flame animation sequence so it animates smoothly. The sound effects preempted itself, so rapid fire would make a great whooshing sound as big beautiful gouts of fire shot out and went crackling up the walls. It was beautiful and all done with just a hex editor using in-game graphics, and I couldn't for the life of me imagine why the game makers didn't have it in the game already... High Explosive Ammo: Set the bullet puff / bleed frame to be the rocket launcher explosion, great fun in co-op w/ specially designed insane difficulty levels. Then there was the Tactical Force Gun: Plasma rifle bolts w/ no damage, high HP, partial invisibility, and high mass, but slow speed. You could make a time-limited wall of force by strafing. You could maintain a barricade, trap folks against walls or via encircle them, great for escape. BFG mines: Zero speed BGF blasts, without the bright bit set - they look small but have a big radius for hit-detection, and just twinkle as a little dot until someone walks into the detection range and they explode -- When these mines go off, invisible kill rays shoot from the "owning" player's current location even elsewhere in the map, but aimed in the original direction the blast was fired at (because that's how the BFG code worked, yep, the biggest and "best" weapon is/was fucking buggy as all hell, ruined would be a better word for it, come the fuck on Carmack, do you even algebra? [gamers.org]). So, I'd do a binary diff and produce a binary patch that worked against a certain executable version to avoid distributing modded EXEs themselves so as not to break copyright. Soon DEHACKED came out, and even more folks were able to mod the EXEs. Thus when Doom2 just gave us one more shotgun barrel, everyone was fucking pissed! The hackers had shown off what the engine was capable of, so the game felt like a half-assed attempt to monetize the same game twice.

    My most successful hack was when I finally managed to fix the BFG in Doom2.exe by having the rays shoot out from the blast instead of the player and gave the ray direction the reflection vector of the surface it struck or reversed it if it was a player. This required reverse engineering the fixed point math format, and I had to find some unused area for my machine code to be inserted -- which was easy because Carmack

I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best. -- Oscar Wilde