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Punkbuster: Destroyer of Mod Communities


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PB sukz0rZ

There has never been a more destructive force unleashed on a thriving mod community than punkbuster. Look at how many mods there are for RvS and AA ... yea rite ... because there is no practical way for a piece of crap system like that to differentiate between a mod and a cheat.

So given the choice of the .00001% chance of having a cheater

vs.

the 100% chance of having no mods, no community based on them, no replay value, and therefore -- no fun!!! ....

i choose to have mods, thanks.

Programmers are Hax0rZ too

besides, it is possible to detect cheating on the server to an extreme degree , depending on the budget provided by the publisher --- if they want people hosting professional cyberathelete competitions etc. with their game this time (unlike GR1 because of the cheats) they damn well better take it serious. it will affect their bottom line and the reputation of their franchise.

if they are taking it serious and dedicate some serious time to it, then its not like spam -- you really can verify all the packets coming in are good.

but anything less than that and there are only degrees of failure and gray areas where those bad packets make it. and unfortunately most games dont take it as serious as they obviously should.

Middleware - fuel for the cheat factories

Sane coders admit, it is only possible to fix the million line game engine and net code they created, not someone elses. middleware = endless cheats with no end to the road of misery. So crap like unreal , quake, etc are a wasteland now, along with all the derivative garbage that came from them.

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I'm with you on that one H.

They always say that cheating eventually kills a game, well I think an excluded mod community kills it a lot quicker.

At the end of the day players can always chose what servers they play on and who they play with and the record for PB regards keeping cheats out is patchy at best.

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Agree with both of the above, Punkbuster sucks, it's more likely to kick somebody out for no reason (as has happened to me many times in AA and ET) than it is to catch a cheater. Punkbuster wouldn't really affect SP mods, would it? Seeing as that's my main enjoyment from GR, I'm very concerned about that. Even if it doesn't (I dont think it does), I still dont want to see it for the simple fact that many people live on the MP of the game, and make and play mods for that. Anyway, I'm rambling, point is: PB = evil.

Edited by GothicSnake
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Then how do you solve the problem of rampant cheating on the Ubi public servers. Clan and dedi servers, servers on ASE can police themselves with replays and knowledgeability, but the public servers are wide open. There has to be either aN RSE anticheat or some 3rd party software like PB. Better to have a clean playing field than a modded public server, the most popular mod on Ubi is DA4.9. This is the portal for new players and they need a place free from cheaters and haxors. If not PB, then what?

My suggestion is that PB be mandatory to play on Ubi. Only non modified games would be allowed, no mods, no cheats, but only at Ubi.

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Well if such a lame Antihack programme can't scan a servers mods as matching a clients mods then it sucks as an Antihack.Also if it is coded by haxors then a double thumbs down.Write a programme so they know the back doors and keep the info privy to their hacking friends, who they think we are suckers????

This is a field that game developers should be paying more attention to when they develop their games (although i can see little incentive for them) in improving the net code and encryption to make it a lot harder for haxors.

Although you'll never stop the haxors, cus they will always break it (thats their buzz) but by making it harder will keep the game cleaner for longer.

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Then how do you solve the problem of rampant cheating on the Ubi public servers.....o n a modded public server, the most popular mod on Ubi is DA4.9. ... If not PB, then what?

My suggestion is that PB be mandatory to play on Ubi. Only non modified games would be allowed, no mods, no cheats, but only at Ubi.

like i said,

it is possible to detect cheating on the server to an extreme degree , depending on the budget provided by the publisher ....its a matter of spending the time to write good net code in the game itself, not rely on anything outside of it. to do so breaks security paradigms that extend way beyond the code itself. the primary concern is all the haxors involved and the social engineering that results from a distant (and perhaps haxoring) 3rd party mucking with the community,

but the main point is:

this net code thing is not magic wands and wizards and clicky icons, but hard core c++ and assembly code written by the modern equivalent of mad scientists. it is not magic; there is no excuse for crappy net code in a premium online title nowadays. period. (!)

if our military can write unhackable code, then so can the civilian contractors they let loose on the gaming community (that wrote that code.). you would be amazed to know how much net code had made its way from civilian contractors doing research projects for the military ---> into the games we play today.

finally, if you put DA49 on your server you effectively eliminate retlock as an advantage because all the guns already have it (loL) so much for that advantage being useful on an Ubi server with DA49.

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I just think some drastic steps have to be taken with the Ubi service. It's an embarressment and a mess, it is pretty bad that most people experience their first MP play in this craphole setup. If they don't, it will be up to ASE to provide good support for MP. As bad as it is, PB would be better than nothing, even if it were only used on the Ubi service. Something has to be done.

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valve anti cheat = worked well catching n00b cheaters

PB = is rubbish and shouldnt be sued al though it may help if its just on ubi.com servers where there is noone else to police them unlike the clan servers

RSE should write their own program, even a basic one would be better than PB

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::sigh:: code is code

there is no reason to put the anti-cheat code outside of the game. put it in the game.

running external programs opens up a pandoras box of wonderful possibilities for the hax0rz.

the ubi game service really should win an award for the most retarded gaming lobby that has ever been cobbled together. what a joke. 500 players in a lobby limit? yea thats for the year 2000. in fact, ill bet the coders ar RSE play by IP or ASE, not ubi ... lol

so with all the issues ubi already has, do you think forcing players to use un-modified files (i.e. no mods) will help bring more talented, mature, tactical players there ? IMO it will only attract the biggest losers into one ubar L33t n00b hax0rz n-ubi squad 12 year old run and gun fest -- o wait thats what it already is

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The Ubi service should geared towards the new player, someone who wants to try MP and play with like minded players. It has become a cesspool of the worst, most immature and rude people filling the chat lobby with profanity and obscenities, trading cheats, ghosting identities and preying on noobies to make their MP experience as hellish as possible.

The mature players you talk about do not play on Ubi, they play on ASE and direct IP to dedi and clan servers. These servers can take care of themselves. The Ubi service is like Dodge City.

If Ubi is not interested in building an anticheat program, then make PB the default program on Ubi public servers, players, whether new or more mature could expect to play a cheat free game with unmodded games. If people want to play mods, they need to go to the dedi servers that feature those mods. You don't need to play mods on Ubi, you do need to find good honest games with good people to play with. PB would deter the haxors and cheaters to go elsewhere. They might end up migrating to clan servers to disrupt games there. If that were the case, a lot of servers would have to be PW protected to screen players.

The chat lobby needs a stringent language filter and strict banning for discussion of cheating or warz.

Think about it, how many of you, who deride PB, use the Ubi lobby? One way or the other, this mess has to be sorted out.

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Every game I have played with punkbuster has the option to join games with or without it. That means, if you dont like it and if you want to play a mod then you can set up a server without punkbuster. It is that easy. Punkbuster is better then nothing.

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I use ubi, but only to set up private games for me and my friends so I cant really relate to the horrid state of the lobbies/servers there b/c I never payed any attention, just went in and set up a game but either way I'm still not for PB even if Ubi is too lazy to write their own code, although the fact that PB is optional does make it a little more acceptable, but only a little. And whoever said Ubi is the most retarded gaming service, ever, I'm inclined to agree. <_<

Edited by GothicSnake
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well, i'm glad that ppl take this cheating thing serious.

but i think the point about not needing external programs to prevent 100% of it is falling on deaf ears here .... and the false dichotomy of : 'to have cheating or mods' is a logical fallacy if you put the anti-cheat code in the game itself.

@ EasyCo:

PB being optional really means that its up to the person hosting the server to determine which is going to attract more players: mods or the chance of reduced cheating

@Kurtz

If people want to play mods, they need to go to the dedi servers that feature those mods. You don't need to play mods on Ubi, you do need to find good honest games with good people to play with.

now, if our favorite french publisher takes the company line that they want to have everyone on ubi install PB then what it creates is a very sad condition: all the n00bs who will never discover ASE will also never discover mods.

thats serious. ... that means that there wont be a demand for mods anything like GR1. if you look at the percentage of ppl playing with mods on ubi, its like 75%. the no mod servers seem to be more popular on ASE.

a ballpark estimate: could that mean we lose 50- 75% of the mod community ?

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This has raised a good point that I hadn't really thought about. Although Cheating suck & does kill the community No mods is a greater sacrifice & I'm with you on that one. Having said that on the few occasions I played on a cheat riddled server I've got very frustrated.

I don't think there will ever be a piece of software that could reliably spot the difference between cheats & mod. I don't think this is where the battle needs to be faught. I think the only way this could be done would be to improve the banning. At the momment alot of servers police them selves & share information about cheaters so when the get banned from one for cheating (Useing replays that don't lie) they get banned from aload. But this dosn't bother the cheat too much because theres loads of other servers without such awareness or don't communicate with the others.

What needs to be worked on is a bigger deterrant. What I would suggest is this

1) replays wich store additional information for each online character ip or identification/serial number.

2) A central body that can validate if a cheat is being used. (som software tool might also be needed for this.

3) Once someone is proved beyond doubt to be cheating then they are banned from all Servers. I would also like them to be banned from all other UBI game servers aswell but that would probably never happen.

Then If someone thought that if they got caught they could never play online again without changing there ISP or reinstalling/rebuilding etc.. I think it would stop alot of people from trying. at the momment if they get banned they just find another server.

there's obviously alot more to this but it would work without destroying the Modding community.

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Ubi does run mods, but, a very narrow selection, if they run mods at all, 90% run DA4.9 and Harntrox 5. Most ASE servers do not run mods. Mods get more play in SP because they tend to cause technical problems in MP by crashing servers.

You are not going to find servers to play mods by Jack57, Sixpence, Blakarion, En4cement, and most others.

New players will not likely find servers for the mods they play in SP. They do need a good place to play online free of cheats.

Choices have to be made. The bottom line is that the Ubi service is a disaster and needs total remediation. An anticheat program would be the answer, but, if the company does not want to spend the resources, something will have to substitute. It does not make any difference to people who use ASE or direct IP, but, the people who go to Ubi, especially new players, deserve better.

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Just going back to the initial post that started this thread off.

I think the reason that there are no MODS for RvS & AA (both have punkbuster) is because an SDK has not been released to allow the communities to actually make the MODS. As far as I know - this has nothing to do with PunkBuster.

Just take a look at CoD (punkbuster) - there are a ton of MODS available for it that work just fine with punkbuster enabled AFAIK.

Personally, as an Admin for TeamWarfare.com - I am all for Anti-Cheat programs that will help make my life easier & allow us to weed out the haxzorz from participating in our competition. Just some recent figures - over 120 people banned in 4 days for hacking in CoD (they are all on the PB MBL), now thats what I call a result. :)

:gun:

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How does PB distinguish a server sided mod from a hack?

you mean client side, right? if someone modifies the server there aint much you can do...

all about PB

http://www.gamesurge.net/cms/PunkBuster%20Chat/

basically, someone has to spend some serious time researching and locating an actual cheat program.exe. then PB can detect the running process once it is known and coded by a human. (and distributed to millions through a massive update for each batch of new cheats) if it is scanning memory and finds , through say a CRC check, that some code is mod(ified) there is no way for it to know, unless the mod author submits the entire set of files to PB. then time must be spent by someone at PB to add those mod files to an exclusion list that the aforementioned CRC check can safely ignore. very labor intensive.

so its like a spam filter - never 100% perfect, must always be updated, and sometimes good mail doesnt make it through. (read: significant CPU hit if scanning for many cheats)

I think the reason that there are no MODS for RvS & AA (both have punkbuster) is because an SDK has not been released to allow the communities to actually make the MODS. As far as I know - this has nothing to do with PunkBuster.

but if there was no PB for CoD I gurantee you the demand for mods would be much greater. i would not say that CoD is even 1% of the thriving mod community that GR is. so its not really a good comparison in terms of a mod community. also its middleware so they dont know how their net code works, have no control in fact, and therefore have to resort to 3rd party software Because They Failed to Include the Anti-Cheat code in the Main Application.

also, there's no SDK for GR1. That's because unlike middleware titles, it was designed to be modded. no pak files -- just text and binary for your convenience, and a mission editor. No C++ SDK, no compiler, sorry its the fact that its miidleware that uses PB and wasnt designed to be modded in the 1st place. (middlware is basically a mod you know -- they didnt write a new game, just changed the assets and tweaked a very limited set of parameters)

caveat emptor: there is a way to cheat on any game regardless of whether or not PB is installed, even if 100% perfect cheat detection is built into the dedicated server:

if you remember back in the days of Quake team Fortress, there was a packet translation server that you could run that would make your bullets guided missiles that fire from , say, the back of your head to the nearest enemy. every press, bam, someone in view dies instantly. kinda like auto aim in R6.

basically it sat infront of your winsock and examined and modified packets in real-time unbeknownst to the server. if you run such a proxy on a different machine, there is simply no way in hell it can be detected. Though certain parameters like distance travelled and auto-aim can be checked by the server, stuff in the world state packet like positions of players on the other side of the wall is totally possible.

I have discussed this issue at length with various game programmers I have worked with. once haxzorz establish a safe set of untestable parameters, the last hurdle for the haxzorz then is to figure out the encryption and its all over.

PB simply cant stop cheats running on seperate machines. Only the game server can do that, and only if the Anti-Cheat code is included in the Main Application and heavy encryption is used. And you have to include that in the Main Application or its not proper encryption, and is hackable.

All of this obviates the need for the process-scanning-3rd-party-software constantly running in the background of your game.

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How hard could it be to design a program that detects, an AIMBOT, OR GOD CHEAT? COME ON THIS ISN'T 1969 ! Here is an example of what punkbuster can cause I spent 2 hrs downloading AA another 1 1/2 setting up my account already to play, I never played before so I couldn't tell friend from foe 2 mins in the came I by miistake kill one of my team, hey it happens not proud of it but a honest mistake. PUNKBUSTER KICKS ME CAUSING MY HONOR SCORE TO DROP BELOW 10 !, I was done not a single server would accept me because my honor score said I was a punk cheater, I pride my self in playing fair and following the rules,, and fgr 1 mistake PB decides I'm scum.

LET US POLICE OURSELVES! MOST PEOPLE WHO OWN AND RUN SERVERS KNOW WHAT ADMIN MEANS!!! METH

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Punkbuster is better then nothing.

Actually nothing is better. I run PB on our FarCry server. It drops players, causes lag and isn't catching anyone. PB is a wonderful server admin tool, but a horrible anti-cheat. I have screenshots (from PB) that caught a hacker using acid skins and retlock, but the PB code itself didn't catch it. Only because I'm vigilant in checking the screenshots did I catch this guy. But the PB code didn't catch it.

Evenbalance can only scan for cheats after the cheat itself has been sent in to them. Then there's the infamous banning of Witness for "cheating". The MD5 tool misread his system config and got him put on the master banlist. It took 4 months but Tony Ray from EvenBalance himself set the record straight that Witness wasn't guilty. The only reason that the Witness case was looked into was because of his standing in the gaming community. What happens when PB screws up and gets one of you guys banned cuz it's glitchy, spotty software? Who is gonna stand up for you? No one cuz the only reply you're gonna get is "Don't cheat". Too many n00bs out there have no idea how PB works.

PB can only check 2000 characters in the code. This means that if you have code that has 2 million characters, you have to hash the code w/the MD5 tool correctly, 100 times. Otherwise there's a huge hole in the code that isn't being read by punkbuster. FarCry is about a 4 gigabyte install. Anyone wanna do the math and tell me how long and how much code needs to be hashed (by hand) to make sure that this wonderful product called PunkBuster is gonna be able to thoroughly check your game files for cheating?

Replays are the only solution. I wrote a program that caught retlock, combat aim, perfect aim etc. for replays in GR. Piece of cake. It used the GR engine itself to show you where the bullets were going, so there was no dispute on whether the person was cheating. Since the GR2 engine is a modified version of the GR engine, this should be no problem inplementing.

Here's a .wmv I made showing off my Admin Test Kit. It only works in single player and in replays. I made this flick for a guy I caught cheating on TCZ, so please excuse me for the smartarse comments that are in text in the flick. There are a few curse words in the vid, so if you're sensitive to 4 letter words in print, don't watch.

Rugg's Flick

Edited by ruggbutt
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How hard could it be to design a program that detects, an AIMBOT, OR GOD CHEAT? COME ON THIS ISN'T 1969 !  Here is an example of what punkbuster can cause I spent 2 hrs downloading AA another 1 1/2 setting up my account already to play, I never played before so I couldn't tell friend from foe  2 mins in the came I by miistake kill one of my team, hey it happens not proud of it but a honest mistake. PUNKBUSTER KICKS ME CAUSING MY HONOR SCORE TO DROP BELOW 10 !, I was done not a single server would accept me because my honor score said I was a punk cheater, I pride my self in playing fair and following the rules,, and fgr 1 mistake PB decides I'm scum.

LET US POLICE OURSELVES! MOST PEOPLE WHO OWN AND RUN SERVERS KNOW WHAT ADMIN MEANS!!!  METH

You dropped below 10 honor because you were a newb straight out of boot camp. You tk'ed someone, got ROE, and it dropped you an honor point. You couldnt join a server because most require an honor level of 10, although the Official ones allow nine and up.

It cracks me up, I've played three games with PunkBuster enabled. I've never even touched the game folders, added anything or tweaked anything. Just take a guess as to how many PB problems I've had, and this goes for the majority of others.

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