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Game Developers Cracking Down on Cheating

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the attack-troll-with-rusty-knife dept.

Games 510

Hector73 writes "ZDNet has an article discussing a growing concern for the makers of on-line video games. Cheaters and trolls are making it harder for casual users and newbies to get hooked on the on-line versions of games. Considering that on-line gaming may become the major revenue source for game makers over the few years, maybe they will actually do something about it."

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RoboTroll (560160) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661833)

LNUX death watch: Powered by Microsoft Moneycentral! []

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Can anyone help me out? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661869)

Hi, I'm new to Slashdot. When I click on the comments list of an article, although I see some funny, insightful and interesting comments there are always loads of inane, pointless and downright disgusting ones. I was wondering if there is a way to screen these out.

What I'm trying to say is, is there a way of filtering out comments with a score of 1 or above?

Re:Can anyone help me out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661905)

yea ... sure ... follow this link ...

It doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661938)

And I wonder why? '' anyone? Seriously, these high-scroing posts are really offensive (to my intelligence mostly) and I just want not to have to view them.

Re:It doesn't work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661984)

mistake was made obviously ...

Re:Can anyone help me out? (1)

digitalmuse (147154) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661949)

yeah, RTFM... or change your viewing threshold to something to keep out the trolls (1 is usually pretty safe), check of the "save" box and then click change. or you can get really creative in your user prefernces and edit your own weighting for different moderation selections....

Peer ratings (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661837)

They need to introduce some sort of peer rating system, where each individual rating doesn't mean much. Something like -1 Troll, +1 Good Sportsmanship, etc.

Re:Peer ratings (1)

MisterBlister (539957) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661985)

That was suggested in the article. Surely you read the article before commenting?

Re:Peer ratings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3662000)

Yes, and clearly, I'm commenting because I'm behind this idea.

One method (2, Insightful)

arthurs_sidekick (41708) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661841)

I suppose it's not an optimal solution, but you can always lock down the server and only play with people you know. The drawback is, of course, that you won't always have a full server, but then, locking down the server is a good way to manage how much time you spend playing online =)

Counterstrike (2, Interesting)

AKAJack (31058) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661846)

I don't know about you guys, but CSGuard and HLGuard have just about killed Counterstrike for me. If I go into servers without them there's no problem, with them and it's constant crashing.

I don't mind products to even the playing field (a 12 year old with OGC can ruin a whole game you've been in for hours), but when they interfere with game play, what's the point?

Re:Counterstrike (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661915)

One of the servers I play on frequently uses CSGuard, and I have not seen any problems with it at all. I think the steps that the Counter-Strike/Half-Life developers have taken lately, such as how now when a server starts up it connects to them and receives the latest cheat protection, etc. It's not perfect, but I've been playing on quite a few random servers lately and cheating seems to have gone down a bit.

I've found I have more fun playing on a server I know well, and usually there are admins around to keep things in check if some nutcase does get in there.

Re:Counterstrike (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661935)

What's the point? that's the big question no one will ever be able to answer. Why does anybody cheat at anything, let alone an ultimately useless, meaningless computer game?

I've often been baffled by the people on UT with aimbots who just keep going, completely ruining the match until everyone has cleared out of the server.

Is it that important for some people to be an obnoxious snot? From where comes the pleasure of being the one who ruins something for everyone else?

I'm baffled.

Re:Counterstrike (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662001)

I'd love to know for sure, because i know of several people my own age like that. I personally think its the last resort of a personality completely devoid of redeeming favors to find somethhing s/he is good at

Re:Counterstrike (1)

someonehasmyname (465543) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661957)

yeah, I was totally happy with punkbuster. hlguard and csguard make servers far too unstable, and there's still cheaters.

Will those facists stop at nothing? (0, Troll)

Anomolous Cow Herd (457746) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661851)

When I buy a game, I am purchasing it. It's mine. That doesn't mean that they can come back later and take away my rights, like the right to cheat.

You can be sure that I won't be buying any games from the people mentioned in that article, and I suggest everyone else who values their freedom do the same.

Re:Will those facists stop at nothing? (3, Interesting)

Boone^ (151057) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661881)

How long would Tiger Woods put up with the PGA if people took a mulligan any time they wanted?

When I buy a game, I'm purchasing the entertainment. If you're on there with autoaimers or speed-up cheats, you're taking my entertainment away.

Re:Will those facists stop at nothing? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661884)

I'm all for people having the right to cheat as long as they're clearly labeled as such. Heck, that might be interesting to have an all-cheaters league. Let the best cheater win. Keep them out of the other normal games.

Re:Will those facists stop at nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661907)

You fuck, you can cheat all you want when you're playing single player but when you play online you've got to be a first rate jackass to cheat. Go die alone.

Re:Will those facists stop at nothing? (1)

MrSloth (544065) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661922)

Hey, I have no problem with people cheating in single player, I do it myself sometimes. When you cheat in a multi-player game, especially if you hurt someone else in the proccess, you ruin it for everybody. Also you should know that the article addressed MMORPG's. MMO's aren't run on private servers, so you dont own even a liscense the part of the game that has to be modified for you to cheat.

Re:Will those facists stop at nothing? (2)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661937)

When I buy a game, I am purchasing it. It's mine.

Technically no, read you licensing agreement. Strike 1.

That doesn't mean that they can come back later and take away my rights, like the right to cheat

No such right existed. However cheat all you want on your system in your single player environment or in a LAN environment with your buddies who know what you are doing, but when you connect to a public server you are bound by a terms of use in order to access that server. Strike 2.

Re:Will those facists stop at nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661975)

the fact is it's not yours, the same way that the music on a CD is not yours - you have simply bought the rights to listen to it, or in case of a game, you have bought the rights to play the game.

when it comes to multi-palyer gaming, you should learn to play well with others or you will no longer be invited to the party.

it's interesting how upset you seem when someone threatens to outcheat you, effectively spoiling things for the one who usually spoils things for others.

tough titty for you, i say.

Re:Will those facists stop at nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661995)

Please post a list of all the games you are not going to buy so I can buy them. That way I can play and be judged on my actual talent instead of how well I can cheat.

Ack (1, Interesting)

MrSloth (544065) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661863)

I have always been bothered by cheaters and jerks and such. Mostly my real world friends and I just play alone. Beats dealing with the general gaming pupulace.

Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661865)

> Cheaters and trolls are making it harder for casual users

Does anyone understand what a troll is anymore? The moderators certainly don't....ah, the long-gone days of usenet when YBHT. YHL. HAND. actually meant something. Let's hear it for today's bright IT majors! Yeah! Go administer some systems for a terrible salary...good work, fellas.

Re:Trolls (1)

arthurs_sidekick (41708) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661879)

People can join games for the sole purpose of making you mad. They can even do it by sending out inflammatory messages. Sounds like trolling to me.

Re:Trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661951)

You're confusing trolling and flaming. Look at this earlier post [] , which is a great example of a Troll: The poster is saying things he knows that the highly opinonated slashdot crowd will jump all over, without believing it himself. He's doing it because it's funny to see people get up in arms about things he doesn't even care about - dead-serious responses (being trolled) to serious-sounding but actually bullshit comments designed to suck people in (trolls) are what it's all about. Fucking mods don't even get it.

Re:Trolls (2)

Peridriga (308995) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661964)

You Have Been Trolled. You Have Lost. Have A Nice Day

Xbox live to combat cheating (4, Informative)

magicsquid (85985) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661868)

This is precisely why Microsoft announced that all of the Xbox's online games will be run off of Microsoft controller servers. They've seen how cheating can rapidly cause a subscriber base to shrink. By controlling everything themselves they hope to limit the damage done by those looking for ways to cheat. I imagine that just in case anything should go wrong, this means frequent backups that can be restored upon a users requests.

Re:Xbox live to combat cheating (1, Insightful)

mongoks (540017) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661926)

How about because Microsoft wants to control everything the way they usually do as being the reason they are doing this. User data restored on request? I'm sure the admins will love having someone go "I just got my 30th level char. killed and I need to restore him from yesterday's tape."

Re:Xbox live to combat cheating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661950)

Yeah, and that worked SO well with Sega's PSO servers...

Seriously, those took, what, a month to be cracked?

Re:Xbox live to combat cheating (2)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661970)

Backups? It's not like you can just stop an online game and restore a backup because a single character feels the got ripped off by another player. The online games are fairly integrated and you can't typically just restore one user.

And in MS's case, I thought they already had something like 500,000 game servers setup. Aren't they running a beta of "crash the server by sending too much data at once v0.5"?

Re:Xbox live to combat cheating (2)

yasth (203461) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662024)

It is not for "a single character feels the got ripped off by another player" that one goes to back ups. One goes to backups when a player hacks in a mighty wand of smiting and kills everyone within reach till caught.If you have good enough records you can at the least remove those deaths caused by the renegade player.

Re:Xbox live to combat cheating (3, Insightful)

pjh3000 (583652) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662008)

By controlling everything themselves they hope to limit the damage done by those looking for ways to cheat.

Isn't that the exact same approach Microsoft takes to Windows security? They think that if they control the code, no-one with be able to find the holes. Security through obscurity...

In the gamers hands... (2, Interesting)

imta11 (129979) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661870)

Gamers should take power into their own hands. Some people will write cheats, so others have to write anti-cheats, and they don't have to be the fluffy "detect and block" kind either. Some jackasses at my school were cheating at CounterStrike, the only game worth playing, so I took it into my hands to write a little java app that crashes their server whenever they do it. Legal, maybe not, effective hell yes.
They stoped cheating, we started playing.

Re:In the gamers hands... (1, Offtopic)

Lord Omlette (124579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662005)

Share, please.

This sounds like a job for.... (2, Funny)

HP LoveJet (8592) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661873)

Black ice.

Re: Bots and Campers... (2, Insightful)

twoslice (457793) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661874)

Great, now if only we can get rid of the plethora of bots and campers in Quake!

jESUS was a cheat. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661877)

jESUS cheated everyone ... him and his goddamn bible scam!

From the article (1)

IndependentVik (582582) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661882)

Let the MS bashing begin!

A presentation for Xbox Live, Microsoft's online service for its game console, stressed hack-proof servers.

Xbox Live should be a closed, secure system (1)

erdna (558965) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661991)

I wonder if people realize that sometimes Microsoft might actually be right - especially with regards to having a closed, "secure" system for Xbox online gaming (aka Xbox Live). Not trying to sound pretentious, but having worked in the online gaming industry for years, I can tell you from first hand that cheats and hacks are the number one issue with gamers - and more importantly, the reason people get turned off of playing online. There are a lot of good people out there, and if everyone was like them I'd be all for having a completely open anonymous system for online gaming on an Xbox. But this isn't the real world. Instead we live in a world where we need people to be accountable for their actions. You can't have accountability without some sort of identification - even if it's just an anonymous number. I'm all for gaming online, even with the Xbox, but I for one am hoping the Xbox *is* serialized, and Microsoft has the ability to lock out users who abuse the network - not by a transportable user ID, but by the system itself. Yes, I'm well aware of Microsoft's track record on security. But that's no excuse for them to not try. AV

Question. (2, Interesting)

3-State Bit (225583) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661885)

Remember dongles of a by-gone era? (They were hardware that would "activate" your game by returning the proper answer to challenges given through the serial/parallel/etc. port).
Well, why don't gaming industries today make dongles that have /lots/ of the game logic in the hardware? Besides fancy graphics, etc, I bet you could basically /cripple/ a game by having the basic maps/character stats/whatever be controlled by secure hardware attached on a USB slot. Since this solution would cost far less than the $49.95 for which a next-generation game retails today, why don't we see more "cheating isn't possible" solutions based on having lots of the "easy" (low-computing power) solutions based on a dongle attached via USB?

Re:Question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661963)

Are you on crack? How long do you think it would take someone to crack the dongle?

Re:Question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661965)

This would never fly with the consumer. If I saw that a game needed a dongle to work, I would move right along to one that didn't. Even games which require the cd to run are a pain in the ass, especially when you play a few different games.

Re:Question. (2)

man_ls (248470) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661992)

Actually, you're on to something here. Most comptuers come standard with MORE than enough USB ports.

Maybe if they made it so you could plug in your USB dongle into another computer and bring your saved settings and stats too....on the computer there's the game engine and graphics, but the data and networking code (and CD-Key) are encrypted onto a USB dongle with a few megs of flash memory. This would not only make it extremely easy to transfer the game between PCs, without actually copying it. As long as you made the host software not care *what* dongle was attached, it'd be a lot easier. Just check the CRC of certain files on it.

I bet we'll see something like this in the future.

Re:Question. (2, Insightful)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662003)

There is a reason why dongles aren't used much anymore--they are easy to crack.

Dongle? Huh? (2, Insightful)

Sendy (31825) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662004)

And what about cracking the dongle? Like that hasn't happened before? Just store the maps on your computer.

You can't stop someone with tampering software on his own (or her own) computer.

Just, basically, dongles suck.

Re:Question. (4, Informative)

Peridriga (308995) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662007)

Dongles, in the historic sense have been cracked/emulated a long time ago.

A great sound editing software for the Mac was Power Tools. Originally package with a dongle to prevent piracy. The dongle was emulated about 24 hours after the release of the product.

Now though with the cheap USB storage devices hitting the market the concept of dongles might come back. Although the only way to truely secure it would be with a strong cryptographic code to secure both the device itself and the traffic between the device and the software. Althogh you still come down to the fundemental problem that the information is still passing through the users computer and is open to sniffing and cracking.

Securing end client software has always been an extremely difficult problem to solve....

Re:Question. (1)

d3nt (213239) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662023)

It's already easier for me to mount an ISO than to track down a CD, stick it in the drive, and hope it spins up without SafeDisc2 causing bad block errors -- which often freeze Explorer for minutes at a time.

The thing about software copy protection schemes is that, like SafeDisc, they tend to be third-party off-the-shelf solutions that, once beaten the first time, are as simple to crack as they are to implement. Poke around at and you'll find countless cracks for the various well-known copy protection schemes. I doubt a dongle solution, when confronted with the existing army of hobbyist game crackers, will last very long.

So, given the choice of downloading a mountable iso from irc or a some private ftp, or paying $50 for a piece of hardware I keep having to swap back and forth, what do you think I will likely do?

Huh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661887)

Cheaters and trolls are making it harder for casual users and newbies to get hooked on the on-line versions of games Sounds like some "blogs" i know of.

Do something about it? (2, Funny)

theEdgeSMAK (467213) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661888)

There have been many attempts to do things about this. Plenty of bot detectors for the fps's. Between diablo 1 and 2 there were many changes made for anti-cheating concerns. If you look at the top of the changelog here. [] You'll see that anti-cheat protection is right on top. I believe its goin to be the same battle as OS security, and game console copy protection. There is always going to be something that somebody can do to cheat the system, and there will always be somebody willing to do it just to make themselves feel a little more powerfull.


"It's all fun and games untill somebody looses a harddrive."

Odds anyone? (1)

niloroth (462586) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661890)

from the article:

"A presentation for Xbox Live, Microsoft's online service for its game console, stressed hack-proof servers."

Should we start a pool maybe? For when it will first be cracked? I want 24 hours after they some online myself.

Disclaimer: no this is not a shot at Microsoft just because it is microsoft. But if anyone calls anything hack-proof, you can bet that there are a lot of folks out there who are just dieing to prove you wrong.

They need to (1)

FCAdcock (531678) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661895)

They need to take cheats out of the game all together. It's more fun if you can die. That's why games are exciting and fun. If there's no risk (to your character), then why play a game at all? Why not just stare at the floor. I don't know much about online gaming, but I would assume that the online cheats are possable because of cheats and hacks in the game meant for local, non-networked play. If they cut those out, it would be alot harder for cheaters I'd assume. Between that, and taking an active role in the online game itself (playing the game and catching cheaters in the act to kick them off), I think that games would be pretty much cheat-less.

Re:They need to (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661976)

You have no clue.

Public voting (3, Insightful)

MongooseCN (139203) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661898)

Designers should write in the ability for users to vote off other people they think are cheating. Usually it's obvious that certain people are cheating and so some mod writers for games like Counter Strike have already written this in. If enough people vote that someone is cheating, they will get booted.

This should be taken a step further though. If a cheater has been booted off a server a certain number of times, their cd key should be revoked or temporarily disabled from the master database. Then they won't be able to play online anywhere instead of simply moving to another one of the 1000's of servers.

The problem is this could be abused. People could vote against a player that just happens to be really good, but from all the games I have played the really good players almost never get booted off. It's always the real obvious cheaters that get voted off.

Re:Public voting (1)

bahtama (252146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661953)

Yeah, let's get a REAL tight grip on everyone that plays and that will for sure get rid of all cheating and nasty people! It will work especially well if a majority of people vote off a player, because then it has to be accurate right? ;)

There will always be cheaters, we can't just assume that by making more rules and letting people vote others off will solve anything. Remember, a lynching is a very democratic event where the majority decides what goes.

This is done already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661962)

This kind of voting is already done. The problem is that people have CD-Keygen programs.

Re:Public voting (4, Interesting)

LowneWulf (210110) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661994)

I know lots of Counterstrike players who are constantly banned from servers for winning too much: unless the other players are at the same level, they assume the better players must be cheating.

(of course, this never happens to me; nobody could cheat and still suck so badly)

Perhaps a ranking system. Players of approximately equal skill are pooled together by the server automatically after a certain minimum number of games. Cheaters can then play to their heart's content, but will end up with other cheaters and those who are so good that they can take on cheaters and still live.

Solving cheating requires closed source! (3, Interesting)

limpdawg (77844) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661899)

The fact is that games can not simply act as a glorified frame buffer and transmit keystrokes and mouse movements to a centralized server and then display the results with minimal computation on the client side.
To get around the limits of network connectivity available to vast majority of people developers have to allow the client to render the graphics and interpret the input and then send back the minimum that is needed.
While we all know that open source generally increases security, when you're dealing with people who are trying to abuse features you can't let them know all your secrets. Open source security assumes that the people working together want access to each other, but want to keep others out. The game security model assumes you want to let anyone in, but keep them from doing bad things.
Thus unless you move all potentially abusable functionality to the server side, open source gaming will be limited except for games which tolerate low bandwidth and slow ping times.

Re:Solving cheating requires closed source! (4, Interesting)

alriddoch (197022) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662009)

At WorldForge [] we have obviously been considering this point since soon after we started, and we believe that this is not the case. It is true that to achieve the twitch responce of a first person shooter it is extremely difficult to detect client side cheating, but the more moderate pace of online RPGs can be different. If a model is chosen where the client is totally untrusted, the players ability to cheat by modifying the source of the client is minimised. An additional benefit is that this security model means it is far more difficult to cheat using add-on programs like those available for many current online RPGs.

server-side processing? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661900)

I'm interest in making a game. How possible is it to defeat cheating by doing server-side processing of multiplayer game data?

CS 1.4 (4, Interesting)

wbav (223901) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661902)

Well, we have seen valve put in code with Counterstrike 1.4 that checks to see if your opengl.dll is correct, to stop people with cheats like OGC. However, this sucks for all those using wine, becuase wine uses a hacked version of opengl to run windows games in linux. I've been cs free for about a month now, as a result.

The real irony is, wine will not load cheats (as far as I can tell), so people using wine cannot cheat. I had a similar issue with Cheating-Death.

Re:CS 1.4 (5, Insightful)

Dimensio (311070) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661966)

Why not inform Valve of this and give them the hacked opengl files so they can add it to their checksums?

Re:CS 1.4 (2, Informative)

wbav (223901) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662016)

Actually valve is aware of the problem, they have a fix if you pay for winex. But if you're a poor college student like me, you're up the creek.

Re:CS 1.4 (1)

Peyna (14792) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661996)

Have you tried contact the CS developers about this so maybe they could check to see if a person is using either the wine opengl.dll or the windows one? It couldn't be too hard to implement.

Re:CS 1.4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3662015)

off of transgaming they say they are working on a fix even as we speak^H^H^H^H^H type.

Cheaters never prosper.. (1)

Linuxthess (529239) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661906)

At least in Return To Castle Wolfenstein, in the latest rev, 1.3(?) they added whats called "Punkbuster" which throws cheaters off of servers which are screening for cheaters.

Trolls? (1)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661909)

Okay, I can understand blaming cheaters and newbies for shitty gaming communities. But trolls? How do you troll Quake? By faking a limp and laughing at people who shoot you?

At some point, game developers are going to have to own up to the fact that they just make shitty games that are easy to hack.

Re:Trolls? (2)

Peyna (14792) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661968)

Trolls are common in Counter-Strike, such as:

- Shooting teammates when friendly fire is on

- Shooting hostages no matter which team you are on

- Having the bomb and not planting it

- Repeatedly start and stop defusing the bomb when your teammates are waiting on you

- Get a friend to play for the other team, hang back until you are the only two players left and then run around and don't kill each other but pretend to knife fight and waste everyone's time

There are many ways to ruin such a game without cheating. These are also difficult to address from a developers perspective.

Re:Trolls? (1)

tps12 (105590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662022)

How is that trolling?

A perfect world? (5, Insightful)

bahtama (252146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661911)

Let's see. We have a world where most people behave themselves, except for a small minority that run around stealing and causing problems. Yeah, that sounds so strange and alien!

The bottom line is that there are cheaters in every aspect of life, whether it be real or virtual. Game companies, much like governments, can only do so much. The rest of the problems people just have to live with. Virtual worlds will never be perfect and people will always try and ruin someone else's day.

Tao Te Cheating Llama (3, Insightful)

GearheadX (414240) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661912)

The main problem is that there is actually a rather strong, organised group of people out ther ewho distrubite exploits and hacks for online games, considering it their 'right' to cheat because they purchased a copy of the game. The problem is that when they do this they fail to take into consideringation the position of the other people who's gaming experiences they're wrecking.

Of course.. the difference between Man and Beast, when you get down to it, is being able to think about things frm someone else's point of view, so when you think about it, this shows you something about the mental state of the organised online cheater.

Even a Chimp can think about something from someone else's perspective...

Basics? (3, Insightful)

Peridriga (308995) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661914)

The fundemental problem is that the game itself lies on the clients computer.... It is completly unfeasable to secure that program once it has been taken out of the shrink wrap...

Sure you can require frequent patches to fill the holes after release. Or maybe require a check-sum of critical files to play. Etc, Etc... But, there will always be people that are willing to figure out ways to by-pass it.

Just like computer security in general. You trade amount of security to functionality.

Heck. I remember when I had snake on Qbasic. I was 6 and had no clue about programming. But, I realized that Player1_Lives = 5 means something and I wanted to change it.. I understand that this is an oversimplified analogy that is completely missing the multiplayer side but, people will always want something for nothing and this is a way they can do it.

Probably the only way to completly secure a game from cheating is to make the client side as thin as possible but, of course the trade off is the server would have to work extremely hard (already a problem now, with server's designed as the thin ware)....

As solution will work itself out eventually.

Social stigma (5, Interesting)

LBrothers (583483) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661921)

I've played my share of online games, from the simple telnets [] to the varied mmorpgs. Technological and admin based solutions never seems to adequately solve any real poroblem.

You can boot players, ban IPs, reprimand, close servers, but the miscreants always find a way back in, because its an enjoyable game to them... annoying others.

The only viable solution I've ever come across is the social stigma. This method of self-regulations fails if the game doesn't implement a system of reliance on other players though. As long as several players are needed to band together to achieve certain goals, social stigma works.

Picture a mmorpg where you need 3 other players to help you defeat a certain barrier. There's no other way, its part of the game structure. If you're a cheater, others won't help and you're limited in your game play. Where's the fun now?

Game builders have to be aware that cheaters exist and really strive to construct game play in such a manner where players can self-regulate like that. Admins and code-limitations never seem to solve the real problem.

Re:Social stigma (2, Insightful)

Pvt_Waldo (459439) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661944)

Picture a mmorpg where you need 3 other players to help you defeat a certain barrier. There's no other way, its part of the game structure. If you're a cheater, others won't help and you're limited in your game play. Where's the fun now?

Are you kidding? The cheater will just simulate the two other people via a cheat. But I like the concept.

Uhh.. (1)

blake213 (575924) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661927)

A presentation for Xbox Live, Microsoft's online service for its game console, stressed hack-proof servers.

I don't think "Microsoft" and "hack-proof" should EVER be used in the same sentence again.


EverCrack? (0, Troll)

Skirwan (244615) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661929)

Cheaters and trolls are making it harder for casual users and newbies to get hooked on the on-line versions of games.
We can generalize this in the form
_CURRENT_USERS_ are making it harder for casual users and newbies to get hooked on _PRODUCT_.
to apply it to a larger number of subjects:
Online Gamers, Online Games

Heroin Junkies, Heroin
Obnoxious Drunks, Drinking
Trolls, Slashdot
Damn the Emperor!

Does policing work? (2)

mekkab (133181) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661930)

I understand that having a GM be the final arbiter can be both fair and unfair, so are there any/many instances where a non-cheater was expelled as a cheater?

I understand the example in the article (fighting a guy with twice your stats) perfectly-
I went to a live action role playing event (LAIRE for those who know) and it SUCKED. In the first round of combat, in one hit, the "npc" character completely decimated me. Yes, they were given orders by the GM's not to actually kill anyone.

NOTE: this message is free from any comments regarding Microsoft servers as military grade.

finally (1)

shadowofdarkness (578100) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661932)

This is long over due since cheating in multi player games annoys everyone. If you want to cheat it is fine with me as long as it is a single player game.

Trolls? (3, Interesting) (557454) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661933)

I can see you you can crack down on cheating, most people don't like it, and would support that kind of action, but Trolls? How could you ever crack down on that without censureing(sp?)? I personaly like the /. method of moderation, because all the posts still show up, but we can choose how much crap we want to see. But how can you implement that in a real-time senerio? I don't see how without using server-side filters which people will object to, or client-side filters which has already been done before.

Online Gaming with the PS2 (1)

mstyne (133363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661939)

Not being able to wait for Sony's version of an ethernet adapter, my younger brother and I went out and bought a Linksys USB Ethernet adapter. Being that the only online game thus far was Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, that's what we were playing. When we first started using it, we noticed people getting obscenely high scores. This was explained away on a few websites (and by players) as them just being *that good* at the game. However, a few online players conceded that they had gotten high scores by using a Game Shark.

The rumor mill has me believing that Activision (or whoever is running the game servers) is keeping an eye out for rampant cheaters, especially those using the Game Shark.

Another good move was that each individual server is set with a skill rating. For example, I absolutely suck at THPS3, so I would look for a lower skill level server. However, this doesn't keep cheating (or just exceptionally talented) players from coming in to these beginner's sessions and kicking everyone's ass.

I guess that was a little whiney. But it sort of takes away from the online experience when you know you suck, put yourself in a position where not being good at the game would be okay, and still have some ass clown rack up millions of points (legitemate or otherwise), while you're just trying to have some fun and perhaps compete a little.

Game devellopers are quick! (0)

YahoKa (577942) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661942)

This has been a problem since counter-strike came out. How long did it take them to figure this out!

Quake (1)

+_-repo-_+ (315890) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661945)

Reminds me of the first time I saw a bot on Quake. I remember playing on a server and then a new guy started. I ran up behind him to give him a little surprise and saw that he was just running straight with rockets firing off in all directions. I just sat there thinking WTF is going on. Then we learned you could type in "no bots" which kicked off the first bots before people started modifing them. Never understood the thrill of cheating like that.

Trolls? (1)

Black Aardvark House (541204) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661947)

I didn't know there were trolls in online gaming, except Ultima Online, and they're just an adversary, and I'm pretty sure they don't cheat.

Cheat detection (1)

NeoSkandranon (515696) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661961)

I think the solution would be the release of a program that functions somewhat like an antivirus software, that must be run in order to play public games (I'm thinking public CS servers, MMORPGs, etc) that scan for hacks, cheat programs or exploits. Sure, sure, bitch all you want about your precious privacy, but how many people cry about the fact that Norton AV scans their harddrive? not many. And yes, the cheaters, the dedicated ones, would figure out how to make their stuff harder to detect, but with regular updates, it shouldnt matter. I for one would be only too happy to let a program from a reputable game company scan my memory and perhaps my hdd to see if there are cheats, knowing that the idiots (must resist impulse to cal them '12 year old morons') who get their kicks out of breaking rules and screwing people are not going to be interfering with me.

Ideally, in games like CS or MOHAA, where an individual runs the server, it could be their option to implement this...if all the cheaters wanna play a game together where everyone can get headshots and see through walls, fine by me, but stay out of my game.

What about open source and cheating? (1)

Xcrap (583883) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661969)

From what I've heard, open source games are easy to cheat with. If you can modify the source code then you can certainly cheat with it. This is an intresting area of thought and yes I have seen people cheat on open source games by modifying the source code.

SP or LAN play (1)

delphin42 (556929) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661971)

My experience in a lot of recent games has gotten me rather jaded on the online gaming experience in general. I find it much more enjoyable just to play the single player versions of most games, or to play with trusted individuals only on a LAN. I wish more games would come with support for a wider variety of networking options.

i find it funny when (1)

paradesign (561561) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661972)

people buy a new videogame and the cheat guide to go with it. its like their paying for the fun and then paying you to take away the fun. But it takes to long to win with out a guide they say. guess what, the games were designed to take that long.

on another note, PSO became unbearable to play online once all of the cowards with their game sharks started cheating. they ruined it for me. i seriously hope they do something about that for PSO2.

ps iddqd
yeah, now im ready for the last board.

Counter Strike + winex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661973)

The new 1.4 version that has CSGuard and HLGuard running says that I'm cheating when I try to play counter strike using winex on linux. I guess it checksums dll and when it fails it spits out that I'm cheating and I get kicked off of servers. Just another pain in the butt carried over from windoze land.. :(


Counter-Strike nick : neddy [TUX]

Re:Counter Strike + winex (1)

wbav (223901) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661989)

You might look below, it's an issue with the opengl32.dll being hacked to run in linux.

Apparently if you pay for winex 2.1 it has a fix. But that fix is not on the cvs. What we get for being cheap I guess.

Hey I made a lot of money.... (1)

papasui (567265) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661980)

duping stuff in Diablo2 and selling it on ebay.

Hack Proof Severs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661982)

"A presentation for Xbox Live, Microsoft's online service for its game console, stressed hack-proof servers."

And we all know how hack-proof Micro$oft products are.

Slashdot hypocrisy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661983)

RIAA cracking down on song theft: bad

TV Network cracking down on Tivo commercial skipping: bad

Microsoft cracking down on security hole advertisers: bad

AT&T cracking down on cable theft: bad

Game developers cracking down on cheating: good

It's not just the server but also the data packets (2)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 12 years ago | (#3661997)

It's not just the security of the servers but also the data packets. Authenticating packets as having come from the game itself not some hacking tool for example. Authenticating users is also troublesome, near-positive ID is needed to enforce policies. Relying on IP numbers and cd keys is insufficient. This topic is far more complicated than the article suggests.

Attack troll with rusty knife? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3661999)

Ouch! You slashdot editors are evil bastards! I don't wan't to end up like this! []

Technology backed social fixes (5, Interesting)

ChaosDiscordSimple (41155) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662006)

Games with huge numbers of people like EverQuest will suffer from a certain number of bad apples, just like the real world. They're ultimately going to need to rely on policing, technology can't solve everything.

Fortunately, many games don't have huge numbers of players. Quake games peak at a few dozen. Even as small scale games grow, there are practical limits that will keep size down.

There is a partial solution I haven't seen implemented yet: trust networks. To play, you generate a public key and share it with all of the other players. As you play, you mark other players as being friends. (You can also blacklist them, but it's easy for the other person to create a new identity, so it's only a very small part of the solution.) When you mark another player as a friend, your client provides them with a signature proving that you marked them as such. Then based on these networks of trust you can make judgements about who to play with. When you create a game, you might limit it to "my friends, my friends' friends, and 3rd generation friends if they have at least three references from 2nd generation friends." Maybe you leave a spot or two open for anyone to hop in on as a way to make new friends (and if they're a punk, you and your friends can blacklist him quickly).

This will make it harder for truely new people to make initial friends. Many gamers will know at least a few real-life friends who can give them a hand up. For the rest, they'll regrettably have to spend some time learning who they can trust. It's a shame, but it's just like real-life.

There are few details I'm admittedly handwaving (key revokation, special case exceptions), but they're all solvable problems. I'd really like to see a system like them when I play Quake, Half-Life, Diablo II, or Dungeon Siege online.

Or, they'll just do what Sonic Team did to US PSO: (1)

windex (92715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662010)

"Hello, thank you americans for buying our game. We do not feel like fixing the problem for anyone but our much respected japaneese players who we actually care about. Please continue to pay us for PSO v.2 so it will fix the cheating untill someone works arround it! hehe! stupid americans.. oh, what? it's still recording?"

Phantasy Star Online (Dreamcast) was a bust due to people cheating out of boredom who went mostly unpunished because the facilities to stop them were only implimented for Japaneese servers. When they did make it to the US servers, they were almost instantly defeated and still major steps behind the Japaneese counterparts.

Lots of people seem to think this was NOT how it was, but Sonic Team had NO INTENTION of making things easy on US players, all the way down to only accepting payment methods popular for Japan and not any other countries (No debit cards, for example), do I even need to mention the price for access in PSO v.2 was 2000¥ (up to $15 USD) for 3 months, sure, they sell the game in Europe and the United States, but the prices are only in Yen and not given an exact ammount for exchange rates. I think I was charged $14.63 and then $3 by my credit card company for doing the conversion. UGH.

So, new PSO players for other platforms, beware: Sonic Team has no idea how to write secure Client/Server enviroments.

I don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3662018)

Surely good design can defeat cheating? I know Bungie's Myth series was cheat resistant after a couple of patches.

Now /that's/ a mature attitude! (5, Funny)

devphil (51341) | more than 12 years ago | (#3662020)

From the article (ya know, that thing you should read before commenting on its contents):

"We have a very straightforward attitude to cheating: We see it; you're gone," Jacobs said. "I will happily sacrifice a small portion of my paying customers to ensure the rest of them have a quality experience."

Kick. Ass. I know nothing about this company or their games, but I like them already.

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