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Punkbuster: Destroyer of Mod Communities


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Every game that I have played with PB enabled has been good. Yes, PB does have some bugs, etc... but it does a LOT more good than bad.

As everyone has pointed out, you have the option of enabling PB on a server or not. If you want a mod server, then disable punkbuster. It's that simple.

All of you anti-PB people sound like a bunch of children, imo. PB did wonders for most of the games it was put into.

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Like Americas Army...just last nite i joined a server with 2 hackers in there they couldnt be kicked out. I had to spend my own honor and TK them becuase pb cant kick them.

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the point of this thread is that even if pb worked perfect it would

1. divide the gaming community between those who use 'official' mods and those who dont

2. which reduces the demand for mods because a large part of the players will never even try one (because theres way less players)

3. which in turn reduces the number of people making mods because theres way less demand for them

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very true... but there really is no good balance, UNLESS there is some sort of anti cheat software produced with the game. However, I can't see this happening. If it does, wonderful, if it doesn't, well, I'd rather be stuck with PB than the ability to have mods.

Now that I'm thinking about it. There shouldn't be any problems with the modding. Ravenshield is a very map modded game. I've even been in servers where the player characters are terrorists, players where Santa Hats, etc.. all of these servers still have PB enabled. So in saying that, I don't believe that PB will take very much away.

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i've used PB for a while now, i've found it hard to use and a few times it didn't even work the way it was suppose to..

my persinal oppinion unless games developers are going to take an active interist in thier games online after shipping date, we will have to put PB for a long time, i with they included the gaming servers app within the game instead of having to use a 3rd party add-on, just so we can play online..

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You know you can host games with PB turned off? And I think if PB is going to be retaliating against mods, there should be an intergrated system to specify an actual 'Mod' from someone tweeking with the gun settings/files of the original game.

Sort of like... All lifes in /mods directory are classified as mods, and have a directory called /gamefiles or something like that strictly for the original game, and the original games intent.

Then maybe something in the games menu to watch over mods sort of what like GR has, but more advanced...

And yes, I do agree with you on a certain level when it comes to conflicts with PB and mods... I hope that there can be some way that both can be intergrated and adapted to work if GR2 indeed gets PB Enabled.

RvS does have a huge fan based modding community of its own, its quite interesting to scour around the RvS community.

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just keep it like gr for crying out loud.

basically that is my point, with one addition:

RSE needs to build some cheat detection directly into the dedicated server code this time

why is this better than PB?

well, if your a savvy net/game coder,

you can detect a much wider range of cheats by analyzing raw network data then you can by just checking a memory footprint (which is all PB can do.) so if you want to do a good job catching them kids, you have to know every aspect of the net code and compare whats going on btw server/client . Guess what -- 3rd party means you dont know that code, and never will. Which equates to you not being able to do a very good job improving that code (which you will never fully understand.)

as previously stated, this method of including cheat detection in the server (and not relying on anything else) is 1.) all that's required because 2.) it has already been proven with all the MMRPG's. Other genres that want to tackle the cheating seriously will follow. Why not FPS'S ?

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But wouldn't the issue in anaylizing network data also cause lag in the system and create a large surge of processing for the CPU to handle on the server itself? I personally think if the network data thats going to be anaylized in any serverside cheat detector shouldn't be running 24/7 since its going to be constantly anaylizing so much information coming 'in' and then thats not even close the the 'out' stream of data that has to be delivered to all the clients connected.

But yes, if there would be a server side anti-cheat implemented to look at network data, I just hope in gods name there is an 'auto-update' feature. It's like an anti-virus/spam program!

Whats kool about serverside anti-cheats is the fact that the server itself gets to look at the data that it has, and have all the files on the server not being tampered with. If a cheater wanted to get by, they'd have to hack the server of some sort to get the anti-cheat to look the other way.

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I'm in full support of PB. One of the members of my clan works for PB moderating and making the configs for RavenShield. Before PB, cheaters ran rampant, then the 1.41 patch came out with PB and the cheating died down. UBI then sent out the 1.5(something) patch which opened the in-game cheats. The cheats that UBI put into the game. No-recoil, retlock, wallhack, ect. The game was full of cheaters for months until finally the 1.6 patch came out, but guess what! the in-game cheats were still open. UBI had done nothing. Nothing except allow PB to check for these hacks. PB can check for people using these in-game hacks and catch them and MBL 'em. THe game has been empty of cheaters for since PB could do this. PB works when the game and UBI allows them to check.

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I'm torn. I played GR1 with NYSF for a couple of years. I've played quite a bit on Harn's server through a couple of revisions of the harntrox mod, although I probably played more with the Gunslingers Realism Mods, which Dark Angel later --cough-- expanded upon --cough-- with DA4.8 and 4.9.

When RvS came out, those of us so invested in Ghost Recon were salivating at the thought of what Harn and the Gunslingers might do with this new engine. I mean, the new engine had potential, but its potential (in our minds) was only going to be reached when those who had pumped up GR got a hold of it and polished it up. No major mods came, and while I enjoy RvS, it is NOTHING like what GR was for those of us who loved that game.

I despised haxors in GR, and I despise them RvS. Because of this, I welcomed PB for RvS, even with its faults. However, this is the first I've heard that PB played a role in keeping the modding community from doing with RvS what it did with GR. I never even considered it. With that in the equation, PB gets my middle-fingered salute. It's insane that they would amke a decision like. Harn and GRM/DA mods are what gave GR such a long lifespan. I would have gladly taken the haxors if I knew it would mean Harntrox and GRM mods for RvS.

As far as how to handle the haxors, in light of what PB does to the modding community, I think dedicated servers with vigilant admins might be the best option. In RvS, there is a group called RA(Respected Admins), a group of clans whose server admins agreed on a set of rules for server management and who are dedicated to hosting good games. Something like this could work for GR2. If there were servers whose admins were vigilant and had an alliance of sorts, where replays would be tracked, hackers caught, and then those hackers banned from multiple servers simultaneously, it would provide a great place for real gamers to play without the drawbacks of PB.

Good to see you're still active, Harn. Thoughts of the good old GR days give me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. If you get things going in GR2, I'll see you there.

And that's my two cents.

--Logos

Edited by Logos
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Punkbusters has been part of Battlefield 1942 community for quite awhile now, and there are allot of mods that work with PB. The JDs (my clan) server is running BF1942 with the Desert Combat mod, and Punkbusters right now. Unless UBI has decided to stop mods I don't see why PB would do it.

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h'lo everybody

I have scanned and scanned and scanned.. and I see no where mentioned on the punkbuster site that they have been contracted for GR2 (they normally announce the games they are contracted for).

as for lag with PB, as soon as you add function you are going to add some lag.. depending on the speed of your computer and the communication link as to how much, but there will always be some.

I mean PB just asked for 80,000 pixels of screenshot to be sent down your comm link, what? it sends it down your own comm link.. yep

Replays are great, and I would dearly love to see them on all my FPS, but it wont happen, and with the current trend of 100 player games, it wont ever happen..

can you imagine a replay that had to write out to your server drive every time somebody moved or turned or fired in a game of 100 people. talk about lag, harddrive would be in constant write mode. not to mention vehicles and such.

Do replays work yes, does punkbuster work yes, both require quite a bit of admin time. Replays you spend hours and hours looking at replays. PB you spend not as much time looking at SS's but you also spend time finding the filenames of hacks and putting them in the MD5 statements

Can PB fail, hell yes. Saw that with JO when PsB started banning for skins. had a lot of people banned for using skins.. were they using skins in normal games.. damn skippy.

can replays fail, hell yes.. saw a lot of that with idjits who banned people for have unlimited ammo and unlimited sensors, when it turns out that is a replay bug.

Seen peoples name dragged thru the mud, yep, in both systems.. Seen a bunch of people who were called cheaters.. first they have to actually go find somebody who knows what they are talking about in replays. Then get them to check the replay (got the mod?).. then after its all over with the server admin says 'Hey I know what Im looking at, the bast*** is a hack'.. sometimes it works sometimes not.

Yes I agree, its much harder to fight a program and to fight evenbalance/punkbuster than some idjit admin. But in the case of being banned for md5 checks, thats an admin thing and has be fixed over and over again.

As for the mod thing and PB ruining mods.. sorry, that goes back to the programmers at UBI or wherever. They can set the program up that way or not, allowing you to put mod files in other directories or whatever. In reality it doesnt have a thing to do with PB.

Iv'e had both.. given the choice, I'll take PB. why? because of my time. With the onset of 'hacker blues' - that is when everybody in the server starts getting owned and calling people hackers. to honestly check every request, to honestly check every time somebody calls somebody else a hacker, your team, your squad, your friends, your regulars, your whatever, and the noobs, and the new guys, and the other squads. With replays you get no time to play.

I can scan 1000 SS in less than a half hour. split second on the ones that are unusable, and a second or two on the others, longer if I find something. That gets me thru more than an hours worth on a 64 player game on my settings.

But to scan a replay, its to go thru, half speed, then 1/2 speed, etc etc.. thats damn near twice as long as the game, and just for one person not for all of them in the server.

I will use whatever tools I have available at the time, Replays or PB.. given the choice, I want both.. given the singular option, I want PB

I would rather play :rofl:

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.. and I see no where mentioned on the punkbuster site that they have been contracted for GR2

Good thing too. If a number of people hadn't posted on this forum and at Ubisoft, I wouldn't have taken the time to bring up this subject of how modding communities can be made or broken by short sighted decisions like what happened with PB and RvS.

How many people are cheating on Valves server? You know, they dont run PB. They laughed at PB when they called..."Um, thanks but we actually wrote our own code. and know how it works, and, therefore know how to maintain proper security on a game server. bye."

As for the mod thing and PB ruining mods.. sorry, that goes back to the programmers at UBI or wherever. They can set the program up that way or not, allowing you to put mod files in other directories or whatever. In reality it doesnt have a thing to do with PB.

Nope. You have no clue as to how PB really works, then. MD5 is a memory footprint CRC check. Location of files is irrelvant. PB does not scan files. It scans memory.

like so many other quick to jump up to the plate and equate PB with some sort of magical solution, you simply haven't done your homework.

To scan for more than a few of the most popular mods is Impossible using the current slow, heavy-handed system that PB uses to thoroughly scan changing memory. Incidentally, this is similar to how SoftICE snapshots changed memory. You know what SoftICE is, dont you? (um, without it there just wouldn't be Haxors)

Anyways, check the PB dev sites and read what the PB dev's say -- theres serious limitations to the size and accuracy of checking RAM. That means they cant even approach what could be done with MMRPG-style server security and cheat detection on that server maintained in one single process without external connections to other processes, like PB.

Finally, this topic isnt about whether PB worked in your favorite middleware title or game from some new dev company that didn't know how to write their own net code.

Its about expert programmers taking serious the security of video game servers and setting a priority and a budget to back it up -- and solve it properly in C++ code in the game server itself.

why:? because player communities are based on modding communities, and this post by Logos sums up my whole point about why PB would be bad thing for GR2:

No major mods came, and while I enjoy RvS, it is NOTHING like what GR was for those of us who loved that game.

For those of you who still support PB for GR2, consider the ramifications. ! :o=

Edited by harntrox
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Nope. You have no clue as to how PB really works, then. MD5 is a memory footprint CRC check. Location of files is irrelvant. PB does not scan files. It scans memory.
Agreed MD5 checks are checks are done within memory.

Its about expert programmers taking serious the security of video game servers and setting a priority and a budget to back it up -- and solve it properly in C++ code in the game server itself.
Any company that does it is great, but most companies are going to rely on the quick and dirty. No anti cheat anything (was the GR replay originally designed for anti cheat?) or they are going to incorporate the quickest easiest most cost effective anti cheat measure they can and still release the game two months before christmas.

because player communities are based on modding communities,
The communities are based on the game and its type. Agreed that the communities will grow and last longer if the game allows user mods.

based on cost and feasibility, if the choice is anti-cheat vs mods.. I sincerely hope that the software companies choose anti-cheat.

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I was scanning this Thread getting caught up and I couldn't help but notice an All Too familair Trend in mostly everything I'm seeing nowadays.

Case in points...

> Jee - I wish it would rain, its been kinda dry lately.

> That night Nature dumps the largest rainfall of the Year on Your door and floods Your basement.

What I'm trying to get at here is that be You have to be careful what You ask for as You just might get It...

I and My Team have played with or without Anti-cheat Software and have been a large part of and supported a great deal of the Anti-Cheat Coalitions and Initiatives that have sprung up around the Net. For Instance ;

> M.O.R.P.F. ( Replays and Screenshots ).

> KidBu$ter ( BETA Testers for The GR Anti-Cheat Tool ).

> PunkBu$ter ( We've Investigated Known or previously Unknown JOTR & JOE Cheats and then sent that Info to "PB" for Inclusion as It regards Code and process behaviour under those Cheats running While the Game executable is up ).

Now while I can sort of see both sides of having Anti-Cheat Software - Its the side of having It that does even up and level the Basic Game for those with not enough knowledge to go farther as Posters in this Thread normally do. Not all People Mod their Games and want to run all of the Mods that are out there or even a few. Most People have trouble resizing their Desktop and let Me tell You I've seen alot of 'em - LOL.

Now many would say that the current Anti-Cheat Software out there Limits Your ability to experience a Game to the fullest by limiting Your ability to Mod or Modify those Games whatever the Game may be but I say this - You must look deeper than that and You'll find Info that should make You pleased - Not angry about the ways things have gone.

For Instance - With KidBu$ter All You had to do to use the Tool with Mods was to enter Your Mod(s) into the Program's Interface and Voila - The Mod(s) were now playable on Your Server.

With PunkBuster - They're now accepting VIA Email Mods for inclusion into the Program's allowances as playable Expansions on the Original Game.

VWACHE - Soldner Anti-Cheat Software which allowed most Mods I knew of at the Time when the Game WAS popular ( Which was limited let Me tell You but the Tool was not limiting is what I'm getting at ).

So I say again - We have to be carfeul what We ask for as We just might get It and in this case - Mods are now finally being thought of ( Even by such Programs as PunkBuster ) and are finally being included as allowable enhancements to the Original Game.

Please don't get Me wrong as I love Mods myself and many will tell You that I'm a Modder and not a bad one in My own right ( SPV4, GR Sachel Charges, Misc. Missions for "GR" ) but that said - I'd rather have the Tool and the ability to run It as I see fit with or without Mods ( Server Option ) rather than NOT.

> I hear You stopped playing X,X,Z, Game because of all the Cheating.

> Yeah - I wish they'd make it so You can't Cheat in these Games because I payed for an even playing field - Not this Crap.

Sound familiar ? ? ?

;)

Respectfully,

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  • 2 weeks later...

the question of:

to have mods vs cheats

is a logical fallacy -- a false dichotomy in fact.

that question is irrelvant.

there is simply no reason to lose 'modability' when you include anti-cheat code in the dedicated server itself.

@ soto,

the fact that all of the anti cheat methods you mentioned 1.) didnt come out with any of that support originally 2.) came out with it only when they realized they were affecting modding communities by restricting the scans to a small authorized list

actually, when you think about it, further proves my point about the whole issue of using a properly designed in-house security method rather than some retarded half-ass 3rd party hack. (i.e. PB)

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> M.O.R.P.F. ( Replays and Screenshots ).

> KidBu$ter ( BETA Testers for The GR Anti-Cheat Tool ).

> PunkBu$ter ( We've Investigated Known or previously Unknown JOTR & JOE

MORPF: A nice attempt but the collective smarts regarding watching replays couldn't have powered a flashlight. I saw reports from them regarding replays that were so far off base that it was laughable. Screenshots are absolutely useless unless the screens are taken from the player's computer and sent to the server (like PB does). Replays do catch cheaters but reporting common replay bugs (such as the ret sometimes switching weapon types) as a cheat was at the very least irresponsible. Replays are the best anticheat out there, but require a server that has an admin presence. The best servers are the ones that have an admin. Playing on a server that's left up for days at a time gives the hacker kiddies a new home.

Kidbuster: Kidbuster would kick people for cheating if they were dropped from the server and didn't crash the game, restart KB and then rejoin the server. It wasn't very effective and caused major lag issues. Junk software.

PB: Causes lag, gives players a false sense of security and to date isn't being supported as well as it was just 2 years ago. We kicked 3 hackers just last night off of our AA server. As for PB and FarCry, we've tried to contact EB about adding support regarding extra file folders (w/the cheat) needing a hash and scan w/the software. EvenBalance is not staying on top of these things.

Even though MORPF was a joke, replays are what kept many of the ladders clean. Unfortunately they require a bit of skill for the person watching the replays. Knowledge of some of the replay glitches are important. I can't tell you how many times I was asked to look at replays about players heading "right towards the other team's spawn point". My first question is always "Are these random spawns?" When the answer is no I tell them to look at the replay again w/the attitude that red always spawns at the same place on the same map. Also, was the guy who was allegedly cheating on a squad? Were other members of his squad playing on that server too? I'm gonna say that 99% of the time those guys are on voice comms.

Having the experience w/software anticheat solutions that I have, I can't justify trusting them. The cons far outweigh the pros. The main thing is educating the public that joining a PB enabled server doesn't guarantee you any kind of relief from the hackers.

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Well - I'm not going to argue with You Guys. The Rage used to be "I wish there were Anti-Cheat Programs available". Now that People have them - All they do is complain about Them.

:wall:

As far as MORPF goes - At least some of Us tried to help which is less than I can say for alot of other People in the Community ( And Who knows If We'd had more support from Our Detractors - Maybe We'd have caught alot more Cheaters - Eh ? ).

Anyways - I'm out of this Convo as I've said My Piece...

Regards,

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...Now that People have them - All they do is complain about Them.

but at least im providing solutions to the problems. they are working examples that are implemented in other games. like putting anti-cheat code in the dedicated server, where it should be.

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Man, no offence, but I hope some of you are typing English as your second language. :P

I think it was a noble effort on the part of all who worked on punkbuster and MORPH. I remember when it was still being worked on, and some of us where very excited. I completely agree with Harntrox though, the place to take care of the problem is in the game. The question is, then what? What happens when that gets hacked, cause we all know it will, eventually. The harder it is to hack, the more some turd will stay up all night trying to do it. So, if it's written into the game engine itself, how do you fix it once it has been hacked? Update? Just curious about that aspect. I personally cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would go thru the trouble to even fire the game up on thier puter, just to cheat. I suppose if you have no conscience, or self-esteem/respect, it may in some pityfull way make one feel some sort of confidence or something? Sry, I'm a psychology student, so sometimes I think too much about why people do the stupid s**t they do. Anyway, I really hope the devs take note. GR, IMO, has the best community I've come across, and I really hope they listen and do something. However, as someone said, in some fashion, it's too late for us once we've bought the game and found out the hard way, and it doesn't pay them anything extra to do the work, because once it's sold, it's really not thier problem(unless they want to sell more, later). I don't know squat about half the technical stuff you guys are talking about, and that's cool, I trust your knowledge, Rugg and Harn have been around well before me. I got into modding GR about the same time I started playing it, and it's prolly the only reason I'm still around. I will be very, very, very, extremely dissapointed if modding is not supported in GR2.

Another idea, I would be willing to break the knees of anyone proven to be a cheater.:D Perhaps we could form a brute squad? :shifty:

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As far as MORPF goes - At least some of Us tried to help which is less than I can say for alot of other People in the Community ( And Who knows If We'd had more support from Our Detractors - Maybe We'd have caught alot more Cheaters - Eh ? ).

We tried to contact you guys and got no response. We could have showed you the intricacies of replays.

Edited by ruggbutt
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