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Open discussion about the best way forward for GR4 anti-cheat.

There are always going to be idiots out their looking to spoil true gamers enjoyment by creating and distributing cheats either for the challenge, or more often these days, for financial gain.

Anti-cheat measures is a subject that always evokes strong feelings, but what we want here are concise and constructive suggestions. :thumbsup:

SUMMARY

  • Punkbuster (checks for cheats and also client game settings) + PBBans

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1)Replays: I prefer the replay system used in [GR], but can live with demos from each player.

2)Punkbuster: I know some will disagree about PB, but PB goes far be on checking for cheats. Ladders use checks to even the playing field, making sure playing are using the same settings so some don’t have an advantage like removing sound files or setting the video settings to a point they can remove grass and more…

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  • 2 weeks later...

I believe that PB is a great option for an AC, but to have PB on its own is not enough.

The rooms that I mainly game on ( COD 4 & CoDWaW) stream direct to PBBans and Punksbusted simultaneously , It makes a huge difference in weeding out the cheats, All you need to do is look at their Master Ban List (PBBans & Punksbusted).

Edited by Metal_Jacket
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I don't think that an AC will ever be 100% fool proof, I guess it's a lot like anti virus companys like Nortons, ZoneAlarm etc, they need to have the problem in their hands before it can be acted upon.

That's what makes PBBans and Punksbusted so viable, the streaming system allows its members to receive an antidote ASAP.

Edited by Metal_Jacket
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  • 2 weeks later...

^

He might have been referring to a dongle or old serial type null modems physically plugged into your PC and required to run an app - sometimes paired up with a soft(ware) key. The armor sim Steel Beasts uses one. Used to prevent unregistered users/piracy, but I don't know if any are or have been used in an AC capacity.

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The cheat system needs to be able to differentiate between cheats and mods. and that can be difficult. But hey, you asked.

For example, I like to play with 6 grenades, is that a cheat or a mod? I vote mod. even if I am playing with others who have only 1 grenade in their kit. If I came in with unlimited grenades or even 10 grenades, ok, that's a cheat. But plenty of troops carry 6 grenades.

With this mod. I can not play on a coop server with others unless they too have the same mod. Fair enough in one way, but be good to be able to have your own kit outs and still be able to play on a server...kind of like a mercenary.

As I said, not easy, but it would be good to have some leeway to accommodate mods. in the one game while still excluding cheaters.

Dav

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The cheat system needs to be able to differentiate between cheats and mods. and that can be difficult. But hey, you asked.

For example, I like to play with 6 grenades, is that a cheat or a mod? I vote mod. even if I am playing with others who have only 1 grenade in their kit. If I came in with unlimited grenades or even 10 grenades, ok, that's a cheat. But plenty of troops carry 6 grenades.

With this mod. I can not play on a coop server with others unless they too have the same mod. Fair enough in one way, but be good to be able to have your own kit outs and still be able to play on a server...kind of like a mercenary.

As I said, not easy, but it would be good to have some leeway to accommodate mods. in the one game while still excluding cheaters.

Dav

In a multiplayer server if you show up with 6 frags in your kit and the others players only have 1, you don't think that is cheating!? :huh: Even if you have 2 while everyone else gets 1, IT IS STILL CHEATING. If you are modifying files to give yourself an advantage, IT IS CHEATING. If it is a mod then the server would have to be running the same mod as well as everybody else on the server, then it would NOT be considered cheating. Using PB doesn't make the distinction between mod or cheat. If the server files are the same as your game files then PB doesn't do anything. If you have "modified" files that differ from the server files then PB will kick/ban you depending on the server rules.

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Whatever AC system they use, it should be able to function without all of the syncing False-Positives that occurred with a certain recent title, leading to unnecessary problems for and/or questioning of players.

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In a multiplayer server if you show up with 6 frags in your kit and the others players only have 1, you don't think that is cheating!? :huh: Even if you have 2 while everyone else gets 1, IT IS STILL CHEATING. If you are modifying files to give yourself an advantage, IT IS CHEATING. If it is a mod then the server would have to be running the same mod as well as everybody else on the server, then it would NOT be considered cheating. Using PB doesn't make the distinction between mod or cheat. If the server files are the same as your game files then PB doesn't do anything. If you have "modified" files that differ from the server files then PB will kick/ban you depending on the server rules.

I call it realism. I think when it moves beyond realism in the context of a game, it's cheating.

We are talking about the same ideals here...I hate cheaters. They are scum. Just check out my post in the GRAW2 forums on the ^%$^$'s pushing a speed and amo. hack on the GRAW server list.

But I am also a modder and I would like to see a game that caters for mods. in a flexable (non-arbitrary way) and does not use the limitations of kits to cover up for flaws in the gameplay and in doing so, incorrectly label modders cheats.

How about something where there can be some (system level) negotiation between the server and the player's PC around what is and isn't an acceptable modification for that "game world" the players are in. At the moment the current system is essentially all or nothing - it does nothing to encourage the sharing of information about options, kits and mods. and their implications on gameplay and indeed it has the direct effect of discouraging gameplay innovation and mods. because people without them are "encouraged" through the game system to view those with mods. as cheats. And being a cheat is a very low thing in my books.

GRIN themselves said they deliberately limited number of grenades to one per player in ghost recon advanced war fighter because a greater number than that impacted the gameplay. In my view that's completely ass about. they should have designed the gameplay in a way which cater to real-world situations not restricted player options to cover up the floors in the gameplay.

Now, coming from a technology background I fully understand the implications of the above desire in the real world implementation of software and in particular gaming software. However, let's dare to dream for a moment.

I am suggesting an alternate paradigm to the traditional view of "everyone who has something different to me must be a cheat". I am suggesting that the game designers could structure the anti-cheat system around trust and bias towards to embracing and encourage mods., and still providing for level gameplay.

How do they do that, well, that's not something but we need to understand as customers. We simply need to set the parameters to which the architects to design the system.

Dav

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I believe PB offers ID banning as it is now.

Oh, I did not know that! :)

PB keeps track of players buy a PB GUID that is linked to your CD-Key. New CD-Key= new PB GUID.

New CD-key=more money. Another nifty ability would be the ability to ban via IP addresses. That, coupled with banning CD-keys would virtually banish cheaters. Personally, I'd like to see cheaters completely banished from the game when caught. That is, once their CD-key and IP address are logged and sent to a Ubi server somewhere, that database would be checked every time the player tries to log into a game server, anywhere. The only way people could play online at all after that, would obviously be to not only buy a new copy of the game, but also to obtain a new IP address. Will that happen? No, probably not. Wishful thinking, I suppose.

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I believe PB offers ID banning as it is now.

Oh, I did not know that! :)

PB keeps track of players buy a PB GUID that is linked to your CD-Key. New CD-Key= new PB GUID.

New CD-key=more money. Another nifty ability would be the ability to ban via IP addresses. That, coupled with banning CD-keys would virtually banish cheaters. Personally, I'd like to see cheaters completely banished from the game when caught. That is, once their CD-key and IP address are logged and sent to a Ubi server somewhere, that database would be checked every time the player tries to log into a game server, anywhere. The only way people could play online at all after that, would obviously be to not only buy a new copy of the game, but also to obtain a new IP address. Will that happen? No, probably not. Wishful thinking, I suppose.

PB doesn't ban anybody from a game and only kicks them from the server, unless they are cought trying to actually hack the PB software itself. In which case they hardware ban them, meaning it identifies your hardware installed in your computer and bans it from any PB enabled game. Most cheats are not trying to hack the PB software, but just find ways around it.

The easiest way a GUID is permabanned from a server is if he/she is caught cheating on a server that is streaming to Punksbusted or PBBans. Your server PB logs are streamed to either or both of them and they keep a running banlist that is updated to all servers that are streaming to them. There is really no way to ban an IP across the board as most people don't have static IPs, given they don't change very often but they do change every now and then. You can do it locally on your own server but PsB or PBBans does not do this by default. I remember in Ravenshield there was a group (Respected Admins, RA) that kept what they called a Repository Player Index (RPI), in which members of RA could submit players IPs that matched known cheaters IP (from PsB) and could have them added to the RPI. It was updated on a continuous basis as well, though the server admin had to manually update the RPI bans on his/her respective server.

I know PB isn't perfect but it's the best out there and there is already a huge community that supports it. Most notably PunksBusted and PBBans.

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I wasn't suggesting that PB worked the way that I described. More or less, I was saying I'd like it if an anti-cheat system did work that way. If cheaters were CD-key/hardware banned the first time, then they'd get the hint, quickly.

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I wasn't suggesting that PB worked the way that I described. More or less, I was saying I'd like it if an anti-cheat system did work that way. If cheaters were CD-key/hardware banned the first time, then they'd get the hint, quickly.

They are essentially banned by their cd-key but I, as well, wish they would take it one step farther and be able to issue hardware bans. Though even then their are ways around that as is IP banning.

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  • 1 month later...
Give server admins the option to ban players by CD-key. Simply have the client check for CD-keys when they connect, and when a player is banned, ban that CD-key as well.

Because I play on Mac, most of my games don't even have a CD key - or any other kind of copy protection for that matter. Luckily, a lot of Mac software comes without copy protection or DRM, and I say "luckily" not because I want to pirate software, but rather because I prefer to enjoy the software I purchased without the hassle of DRM. Anti-cheat should really just be "anti-cheat" and not give developers another excuse for degrading customers with yet another means of control over software they purchased.

Hash-checking of game files should be quite enough to avoid cheating, as long as the game application also effectively protects against altering code execution in real-time. This means that game-relevant data (e.g. remaining ammunition, player's health, weapon capabilities etc.) need to be processed in a protected environment and any attempts to modify these values (e.g. in memory or during net transfer) need to be detected and punished.

But as with all kinds of additional control, the flip side of the coin is less freedom and higher probability of errors / false positives, and the technical measures to restrict cheating will always have to try and keep up with the technical potential of people willing to cheat. A good game that provides a balanced and mature way to have fun playing it can go a long way in curbing the urge to cheat. Of course there will always be the lowlifes with nothing much going for them who feel compelled to gain unfair advantages in any way possible, so IP banning is a must to at least limit a game's exposure to that kind of human filth.

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