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Cheating Online Gamers

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the laziness-impatience-and-hubris dept.

Games 488

An anonymous submitter writes: "The NYT has an article - Do Cheaters Ever Prosper? - Just Ask Them. Hmmm.. Wireframe walls in Quake?"

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488 comments

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Forgot it? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607207)

Free reg required, bla bla bla.

I hate cheaters! (5, Funny)

Dutchmaan (442553) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607209)

Anyone have a log and pass for the NY Times site!?

Re:I hate cheaters! (5, Informative)

PerlGuru (115222) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607234)

replace the www at the beginning of the link to the article with archive. this works for any story at NYT

Re:I hate cheaters! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607276)

MOD PARENT UP

MOD PARENT UP!! (5, Funny)

DM_Slicer (660706) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607292)

> replace the www at the beginning of the link to the article with archive. this works for any story at NYT

...and the first NYtimes cheat code is... :)

UP-Down-Left-Right-Select-START!! (Correct Link!) [nytimes.com]

Re:MOD PARENT UP!! (3, Insightful)

zebs (105927) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607384)

Do Cheaters Ever Prosper?

No-reg access to NYT... the answer must be a resounding yes then!

Re:I hate cheaters! (-1)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607350)

Somebody mod parent up quite a bit, please.

If there's one reason I never visity the NYT site, it's because I have to register. Knowing this little tidbit is extremely helpful.

In fact... hows about putting this information in the FAQ?

Re:I hate cheaters! (1)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607472)

and here's a clickable link for you RSI stricken people out there who don't like to type:

[click] [nytimes.com]

Don't mod me up, but don't mod me down either. This is just for convenience.

Re:I hate cheaters! (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607262)

l/p cyberpunk

Re:I hate cheaters! (1, Informative)

mirko (198274) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607302)

somebaudysentme / somebaudysentme

We are several people entering this login/passwd each time some free reg has to occur.

Re:I hate cheaters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607308)

Lazy! It is free...for the sake of cowboy neal - spend a few minutes of your hard working time to register.

Re:I hate cheaters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607405)

I use warez:warez

Re:I hate cheaters! (1)

programcsharp (514902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607484)

Actually, there is a standard slashdot logon:
User: NYTSlashdot
Pass: slashdot

No cheating here. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607210)

I scored this first post fair and square.

Re:No cheating here. (-1, Offtopic)

mezelf (658504) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607258)

I scored this first post fair and square.

... as can be seen by the fact that you didn't score a first post at all.

Woohoo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607211)

I love being the first...

*continues trolling along*

First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607215)

First post

gam0r gurL=No Subscription (-1, Offtopic)

Vespasia (578442) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607218)

FP? I wish I could read it.

Pro$per (5, Interesting)

tiltowait (306189) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607227)

Anyone care to add up [ebay.com] these total sales?

Re:Pro$per (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607351)

Who moded off topic?
That is significant and relevent to the article. Unless you didn't read the article.

oh wait... its /.
nevermind.
-R

please do not post NY Times articles (-1, Offtopic)

meshko (413657) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607229)

There are thousands newspapers and web sites with much more exciting news than NYTimes which do not require stupid registration. Why do editors keep letting these stories through?

Re:please do not post NY Times articles (0, Offtopic)

koan (80826) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607272)

It took me less than 2 minutes to sign up the first time now i just enter an user name and pass, is that really so hard? I would rather people feel they can post from any site than have to worry about someone "complaining" that they have to log in.

It's money that matters.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607275)

...and the even the NYT get's horny over the /. effect... nuff said!

Re:please do not post NY Times articles (1)

quake74 (466627) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607355)

Maybe it's because the NYT actually has *good* articles written by *professional* journalists, as opposed to certain web sites were the same article is published twice on the front page, or where editors do not spell/grammar check. And by the way, "It's even waterproof!"

quake74

Re:please do not post NY Times articles (1)

leviramsey (248057) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607371)

Perhaps because the NYTimes (for articles like this) tends to be the only paper carrying the story (NYTimes rarely uses wire-service reports).

Slashdot running out of topics (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607231)

This is weird, shortest topic I've ever read.... /me thinks /. is running out of things to talk about...

Catching (-1)

flapjackboy (622768) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607237)

How would you catch a cheater?

Re:Catching (2, Interesting)

Maeryk (87865) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607293)

How would you catch a cheater?

Not sure what you mean. I dont play MMORPGS or RTS.. Im a first person shooter kinda guy.. but when I get on Quake3 server, adn I see one score of 300 and the rest are around 30, its a clue.. and when you see the skin standing in the wide open firing faster than any human could shoot and spin, with rails apparently coming out its ass, you get a clue that this is what is going on.

usually, I suspect those bots are actually _on_ the server. But Punkbuster helps..

Playing UT23K I havent seen much trouble.. the game seems much more even and better than Quake(s) ever were.

But Im sure there are people scripting things for Evercrack, and letting them run overnight. And buying and selling items on Ebay.. or running six player accounts, and then transferring things to each other.. but I guess thats part of the game. There is always some moron who just isnt happy that he isnt as good as the next guy, and feels the need to "even" the playing field for himself.

Maeryk

Re:Catching (1)

unborracho (108756) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607461)

The only real problems with cheating in EverQuest was when ShowEQ [sourceforge.net] came out. Of course, sony gave the owners of the website distributing it a "cease and desist" and it went down immediately, and if I recall correctly, patched EverQuest to look for this running and then ban their account, as it's a violation of their EULA (in short: cannot use third party software to aid EverQuest).

Then of course there's the infamous EverQuest Simulator [sourceforge.net] where you can make any character how powerful you want without a subscription to EverQuest.

There was also a scripting program which the name of dosen't occurr to me at the moment, but it allowed you to sit by a vendor overnight, buy items from him, make something with the items, and sell it back to the vendor at a greater cost than you bought the supplies to make it for, and pretty much let you made a sick amount of EverQuest money (Platinum) overnight. I'm not sure they ever found a way to detect this one, but they made sure that if they found out you were banned for this one as well.

Re:Catching (1)

GearheadX (414240) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607543)

The easiest way back in the days of Q2 was that the bot was a little bit too good for it's own good. It would spin a character model around to fire faster than any human could ever manage. the side effect of this was, it would move faster than the human eye could keep up as well.. leading to the very distinctive illusion that the bot-user was firing weapons out of his.. ah..exhaust port.

read it here (1, Informative)

SiggyRadiation (628651) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607242)

Do Cheaters Ever Prosper? Just Ask Them
By PETER WAYNER

HE Sims Online is a clean, well-lighted corner of the Internet where people work to build an elaborately decorated, chat-filled virtual world. But if playing by the rules in this realm isn't entertaining enough, there are after-hours joints where rogues and grifters gather to swap schemes for gaming the game and growing rich.

The chatter at TSOExtreme.com, for example, is a mix of simple tips for guiding the characters known as Sims and elaborate strategies for earning millions of the online currency known as simoleans. Recently much of the talk has centered on using extra software, known as a bot, to automate the most tiresome clicking so players can rack up hundreds of thousands of simoleans in their sleep.

One of the players engaging in this automated counterfeiting, a 29-year-old financial planner from Texas, said he did so without apology (although he did not want to be identified by name). "I think the bots actually level the playing field for people who have day jobs," he said. "When I play an online game, I can't be the best because there are some college kids out there spending 14 hours a day."

Web sites like TSOExtreme.com are a challenge for the rapidly growing world of interactive games. While breaking the rules or using secret "cheat codes" has always been an accepted, even treasured part of single-player games, new online games match competitors, often strangers, remotely, which changes the dynamic. No one likes to lose unfairly, and those who play by the rules often struggle against schemers who believe that all is fair in love and simulated war.

For their part, many of the cheats say that bending the game's rules is part of the fun. It is only a game, and when it becomes boring it is time to turn to the greater game of beating the system, they argue.

Brian Reynolds, a designer of a new online game, Rise of Nations, likes to joke that he was "the guy who put 'Cheat' on the main menu" when he developed games like Civilization II. A player could use the menu at any time to create new assets like warriors or defenses for a city.

In his new game, however, in which players meet and battle for ratings over the Internet, that option is gone. Mr. Reynolds and his team try to ensure that people who buy the game have a pleasant and balanced experience when battling others to dominate a virtual world. They fear that people would stop playing if those who cheated held all the power.

Haden Blackman, the producer at LucasArts responsible for Star Wars Galaxies, an online game now being tested by 5,000 users, said that preventing cheating was one of the biggest challenges of creating a virtual world.

One lesson the game industry learned the hard way is that dedicated cheats will rewrite software to give themselves an advantage. "There are a lot of great ideas we come up with and skip because there's going to be 1 percent who will abuse them," Mr. Blackman said.

Designers of the new Star Wars game initially planned to let players communicate in strange languages that would be translated by other players' computers, he said. But the developers soon realized that cheats would find a way to break into the hidden dictionary, gaining the ability to speak the various languages and negotiate with aliens from other planets - a skill that would normally develop only over time.

Bots like the ones discussed on TSOExtreme.com are just the beginning. Some players of games with a shooter, like Quake or Counter-Strike, have automated aiming tools that target an opponent more rapidly than the quickest of fingers.

Others reprogram their video cards to hide the elaborate textured walls in a game. All that is left is a wire-frame outline, allowing a player to see through walls and track those hiding behind them.

All of these techniques depend on users' having full control of the software running on their home machines. Adept programmers can rewrite the game or insert new instructions. The other players can either play fair or join the arms race.

(Page 2 of 2)

The game Rise of Nations challenges a player to take a civilization from stone axes to nuclear weapons. The biggest worry of its designer, Tim Train, is not so much tricks that let players triple their bankroll with a single click, as ones that reveal hidden information or parts of a map.

"We use a simultaneous simulation on each player's machine," he explained. "If your wealth is suddenly increased by 100 times, the other computers notice it and quit."

To prevent people from poking around the computer memory in search of information about the location of hidden objects, the game encrypts all communications and stores data in different places every time users play.

Some software makers are working on more aggressive solutions. Tony Ray, the president of the Houston-based company Even Balance, distributes a free product called Punkbusters that acts as a virus detector by looking for modifications on every player's machine. Game companies are paying for its development in the hope of keeping the games fair. Software installed on every player's machine watches for cheating while periodically filing reports to other players.

"When QuakeWorld came out online, the community was huge and teeming with people," said Mr. Ray, referring to a first-person maze game that was popular in the mid-1990's. "There was serious competition and an enormous amount of online status. Then the cheats showed up, and almost overnight it went from something that was a hugely popular community into something that was a wasteland.''

"All of the major developers were saying that they could do nothing to fight cheating because they couldn't control what went on in people's computers," he said. "The whole landscape of online gaming changed when we proved cheating could be fought effectively."

Mr. Ray's job is not easy. Every day he monitors discussion sites where cheats exchange notes and software. If a new tool emerges, he adds it to the list of unacceptable software. The cheats, of course, look for ways to keep their software off his list, and the larger game continues.

Tools like Punkbusters can only detect active reprogramming, not ways in which players abuse loopholes. (Game players often call these "exploits" to distinguish them from outright cheating.)

"Where we run into the gray area is when people do new things in games with the tools we've given them," Mr. Blackman said. "They're just using them in ways that we never expected."

Spencer Armstrong, a game tester in Calgary, Alberta, said he once found that a glitch in a virtual world called Neocron let his shots pass through a tree that blocked return fire. He recounted with a mixture of pride and chagrin that he killed some monsters to run up his score. Only after "taking full advantage" of the situation did he report the bug to the designers of the game, for which he was a pre-release "beta" tester. "During a beta, I play a little fast and loose," he said,.

But outside his circle of close friends, he said, he would never use such a trick. "If you're playing Counter-Strike online competitively against people you haven't met, cheating's wrong," he said. "It's as wrong as blood doping or taking steroids. But if you're playing a bit more for fun, just to explore, and you're playing with the game, then why not cheat?"

Gordon Walton, the executive producer for The Sims Online, said his staff monitors the state of the game, looking for anomalies. They also watch Internet activity and sites like TSOExtreme.com for new techniques for cheating. "If something goofy was going on, we would see it in 2.4 seconds." he said.

This policing, however, is never perfect. "I've never seen more than a tiny fraction of people cheat, but when they do, it can become a tactic," he said. "It's like how everyone can go five miles over the speed limit, because that's how it's enforced. If you leave a cheat long enough, it becomes part of the culture of the game."

Deciding when to step in and reprogram the game is a challenge for designers. Mr. Reynolds, for instance, said it was hard to outlaw a technique that was permitted by the game's logic.

"It may be fair when the game first comes out, but we still have to preserve the game itself," he said. "We'll start to patch it when it destroys the balance of the game."

Some players are still saddened that Electronic Arts, the publisher of The Sims Online, closed a loophole in the game that showered simoleans on anyone who stepped backward immediately after breaking a virtual piñata at an online party.

The worst nightmare for designers are tactics that give players unbeatable power, eliminating the pleasure of watching a game unfold. Even when a technique breaks no rules, balance can sometimes be restored only by banning it. Mr. Armstrong, for instance, was simply exploiting a loophole by shooting through trees. But if everyone did so, the challenge of the game would disappear.

Mr. Blackman said his team would pay extra attention to the economy in Star Wars Galaxies because designers have built in unparalleled freedom for players to create objects and sell them. In theory, this should give players many options and strategies to explore, but it could also lead to players' gaining monopolies. "I'm sure that six months after launch we're going to have plenty of stories," he said.

Sometimes the lines between the players and their game roles blur so that it is difficult to define what is fair. Star Wars Galaxies encourages players to adopt a persona from the "Star Wars" milieu, a world in which not everyone plays by the rules.

Asked how Han Solo, one of his favorite characters, would play, Mr. Blackman laughed and said he "would use any advantage he could get."

"I'm that way," he said. "If you give me an advantage in the game, I'm going to use it. We want to have some things for the power gamer to discover, but there can't be so many that it unbalances the game."

Re:read it here (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607522)

Reposting an article in its entirety does not consititute fair use. The new york times charges NOTHING for access to the article and has a minimal number of reasonable ads. It's possible to register without compromising one's own personal info--they are very liberal about it. The NY times site is slashdot-effect proof.

It's time slashdotters lived up to their own words and started frowning upon article-reposts like this. Otherwise, dont complain when the GPL is likewise ignored.

"stealing" free things encourages copy protection (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607547)

I realize the NYT registration is kind of a pain, but the site is free. People pay $1 for a dead tree version. When you repost the story like this, you deprive the NYT of ad revenue. How do you expect them to pay the people who work there?

I hope people mod this guy down.

Hell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607251)

...so Linux is insecure?

Until Unix and Linux programmers get over their macho love for low-level programming languages, the security holes will continue to flow freely.

Cool.. let's port all our Linux shit to .NET then...

Re:Hell... (3, Informative)

GeckoFood (585211) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607395)

...so Linux is insecure?

It can be, if the gamers in question are always logged on as root instead of setting up a user account with normal user access...

Wallhackers and the honesty of surveillance (5, Informative)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607303)

I'm a fan of the game Urban Terror [urbanterror.net] , a mod for Quake 3, and play online a fair bit (I usually run Visual Studio on one monitor, UT on the other: One good thing about being a rambo player in team survivor games is that I'm dead the majority of the time, and hence find it to actually be a remarkably productive time): While recently an anti-cheat tool, PunkBuster [evenbalance.com] was added to Q3 (and it is constantly updated), there is still a serious issue of cheaters, the most common among them being wallhackers. What is a wallhacker? Well it's what was mentioned in the summary: Wire frame worlds, allowing cheating players to view other players whereever they are on the map, obviously giving a pretty clear advantage.

So what does this have to do with the honesty of surveillance? Well in team survivor when you die you can ghost other players as they move around the map, and it tends to be that wallhackers are discovered quite quickly--Their behaviour and actions in the game do not correlate with the information that they should be visually receiving (from what we can see ghosting them). Usually this quickly leads to cries of cheater and a vote to kick the offending player.

Re:Wallhackers and the honesty of surveillance (1)

jdh-22 (636684) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607520)

I usually play CounterStrike. The servers that I will only play are on, are they ones with anti-cheat protection.

Most of them run HLGuard [unitedadmins.com] or Cheating Death [unitedadmins.com] . Both seem to work for the average cheaters. But once and a while, you get people who get through, that are either increadably good, or cheating. Sometimes it is very hard to tell apart.

The anti-cheat protection software that runs on the client/server will only block script kiddies. What happends when a smart player figures out how to make his own cheat, and keeps it to himself? There is possible no way to tell.

My question is, What motivates cheaters to keep playing? Cheating elimnates the challenges that make the game fun in the first place!

Re:Wallhackers and the honesty of surveillance (1)

modecx (130548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607553)

Yeah. Iv'e had the same experience, more or less. I play UrT CTF. I used to be a maniac, playing every time I could, but I've slowed down a bunch--mostly playing with the members of various clans that are known for their hardline stance on cheating--largely due to the fact that cheating on CTF is very rampant.

There's noting more fun than running around a corner, have a SR-8 weilding sniper jump up and take your head off...repeatedly. With the possible exception of sneaking around his flank and giving him a good 'ol pistol 'whippin.

Aimbots, wallhacks... It sucks the fun out of any game damn fast.

Of course they do... (3, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607310)


In terms of being "better" at the game than others, but part of the question should be is it cheating, or just another game.

Someone who buys or downloads a cheat that someone else made is a different deal, and clearly some of those people are pretty sad individuals who just want to say "ha ha fragged you", before never ever having sex with anyone.

However the person who creates the cheat, who engages in what can be described as espionage against the game developer is playing a different game of skill, that person is learning things, developing things and playing their own game with their own rules and "winning" by being able to cheat. The challenge here isn't to be better at Quake, but to be able to cheat the best at Quake, that in itself is a game.

How about an open game in which these developers play their cheats off against each other using the best players without cheats as the players in the game. That way you can find out who developed the best cheat.

Re:Of course they do... (1)

Have Blue (616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607433)

That's no excuse for helping idiots ruin the game for honest players. Write an autonomous bot or go play RoboWar or something.

I hate cheaters (3, Interesting)

diablobynight (646304) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607540)

Especially in Counterstrike. I took down my counterstrike server because I spent half my time banning cheaters. The key thing I turned off was the ability to see anything after you died, I found players would ghost enimies and then relay this to their teamates sitting in the same room. It really pissed me off, because of an obvious reason, the dead shouldn't be able to talk to the living, (without a medium and a big seance). I think cheating in one player games, like I did after I went through and beat Hitman 2 the first time, is fun. But people who cheat in online games, how do they even find it enjoyable. Have the fun of the game is the challenge, being able to cheat and win is stupid. Just develop your skills and get better. All cheaters should have their IP and user name out on a CS ban list, that all CS servers will automatically view and then BAN those people.

Playing a different game of skill (1)

EnlightenmentFan (617608) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607573)

The challenge here isn't to be better at Quake, but to be able to cheat the best at Quake, that in itself is a game.

Yes, but--suppose you're winning at chess and your opponent jumps up and skillfully whacks you with a hockey stick? Maybe in his own mind he is playing a different game of skill, but that doesn't mean you want to see him across the chessboard again.

Code Rewriting (0)

Vespasia (578442) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607318)

One lesson the game industry learned the hard way is that dedicated cheats will rewrite software to give themselves an advantage. "There are a lot of great ideas we come up with and skip because there's going to be 1 percent who will abuse them," Mr. Blackman said.
next patch=Main Toon Uber Nerfed

Wireframes? (4, Insightful)

Student_Tech (66719) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607323)

Wasn't there a driver several years ago for a video card that allowed somehting like this? (Ok found /. story here [slashdot.org] .)

Why modify the game where they might be able to detect it when you can just play with drivers to do the same thing (assuming the game is sending all that to the video card already)

Re:Wireframes? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607382)

That's why anti-cheat systems like Punkbuster look at more than just the game binaries and additionally allow server-triggered screenshots. The latter is optional, but when the game goes beyond casual deathmatch, ladders may require that it's enabled.

Re:Wireframes? (1)

1337_h4x0r (643377) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607447)

This is exactly how the cheats for Americas Army work, they modify the Direct3D framework to color models, put a crosshair right on the heads of people (which you can see through walls) and more. As far as I can tell it's totally undetectable by the "client" program.

Consoles (4, Interesting)

luzrek (570886) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607333)

I'm not sure about how the Xbox handles games (how much does it load on the hard disk?), but wouldn't consoles which run the software off of a non-rewritable medium (PS2/Gamecube) be ideal for online gaming since then the distributor can control what software is on everyone's machine?

memory patching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607469)

Console cheating still works by "patching" memory (like trainer programs for PC games). Lock the byte for the players health at a set value, and they never die; lock your ammo at it's maximum and blast away with those ammo-eating rapid fire guns all day long. It's a bit harder with CD/DVD based consoles like the PS2 or Xbox, but it's still done.

Re:Consoles (1)

mezelf (658504) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607494)

I am not sure whether that would help a lot.

The first problem would be that the loading time of the software would be much larger, because even the fastest CD-ROM drives (which are the fastest non-rewritable-medium readers) are much slower than hard disks. And this slowing would happen every time some part of the software needs to be loaded in memory (also when this happens in the middle of the game). For a game console, this isn't a big problem, because the game is all that is going on on the console, so all resources can be used for the game (specifically all available memory). A PC usually runs several applications at once, all wanting a piece of the memory.

And even if what I just said isn't completely true or will not be true in the future, it still wouldn't help, in my opinion. People will still control what software exists on their computer. Even when the game runs from a non-writable medium, the software can only be executed when loaded in the memory (which is a rewritable medium). What would prevent someone to run a cheat program that changes the interesting part of the game each time it is loaded in memory? It would be a bit harder than just changing it on a hard disk, but technically, it can be done.

Re:Consoles (3, Informative)

Hakubi_Washu (594267) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607500)

Possibly not... Many "modern" cheats don't change files on your disk(s) at all, because simple checksums can prevent this. Instead they modify values in your RAM directly, which is more nitty-gritty, but harder to prevent. And: This is possible on consoles too, as they have RAM as well (For the PlayStation there are a lot of "Modules" that are inserted into it's serial port, another way is to load a CD with "malicious" code before loading the game...)

Cheating IS fun.... (4, Funny)

Deth_Master (598324) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607335)

I remember the good old days of Doom:
  • iddqd
  • idkroz
  • idkfa
That was fun. Load up on the berzerk pak, and god mode. Then run around smooshing imps. I used to cheat on all my old single-player games, Descent, Duke Nukem, Shadow Warrior. But that was just me, not me vs some other real person, that doesn't like it when I'm invincible, and got the rocketlauncher with unlimited rockets.
Cheats on the internet probably shouldn't be allowed, it'll just piss people off.

Re:Cheating IS fun.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607558)

Don't forget the ever famous:

idspispopd

I agree with the author.. (2, Insightful)

tempestdata (457317) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607337)

cheating itself is not such a problem. I remember using tainers in Diablo so that I could just go in and kill some monsters. I never PKed, or went into games where they said 'cheaters not welcome'. I went off with a few friends into the caves in nightmare mode. It was a gore fest and it really was fun!
I think the issue is decency more than cheating. There will always be a few who wish to gain a 'competitive advantage' somehow, making life difficult for the average joe. This isn't the case just in games... look at our law books and you'll see what I mean.

Re:I agree with the author.. (2, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607430)

Speaking of Diablo, the online variant of it was absolutely destroyed by cheaters. I know that shortly after boring of the single player game I gave the online variant a try: After several attempts at play, always to be PKd by cheaters (level 2s with hundreds of HP, for instance), I gave up on it forever and never tried it again.

Re:I agree with the author.. (1)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607589)

I agree. When I don't have much time and projects to finish, I don't feel like dying everytime I turn around a corner. Enter cheatcodes. They allow me to run through the game, enjoy the "storyline" (for whatever that's worth with FPS games), the scenery and the plotlines, find out secret areas at leasure and then do some real work after.

Of course for online gaming I never cheat, because that does take away the fun. It's also a great confirmation that I suck. I like having my feet planted firmly on the virtual ground when I get too boistrous :)

Cheat me once (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607346)

Cheat me once, shame on you. Cheat me twice, shame on me. If I continue to play against cheaters, or people who continuously kick my butt, where probability should demand a more balanced percentage of win/loss, it's my own fault. Better to play honest people like me, who play for the fun of playing, not for some thrill of cheating fellow players.

ESR has a good essay on game cheating (3, Informative)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607348)

The Case of the Quake Cheats [catb.org] .

I'm working, in my copious spare time, on a cheat-resistant comm library. Someone is sure to beat me to it.

The One (4, Funny)

mrpuffypants (444598) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607353)

Others reprogram their video cards to hide the elaborate textured walls in a game. All that is left is a wire-frame outline, allowing a player to see through walls and track those hiding behind them.

If you can reprogram your video card then you wouldn't even HAVE to cheat.

You already are "The One"

Re:The One (1)

DavidLeblond (267211) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607474)

The textures... are not real.

Whod they reference... (2, Interesting)

nfsilkey (652484) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607356)

PlanetQuake? ^_^

This article seems rather dated when discussing the FPS cheat-em-ups. Punkbuster has been dead in the water since early 2001. VAC is just now gradually working at bridging the gap between legitimate players and cheat-free bliss. Still buggier than a Brit tho. :>

Then again, it is poignant to observe the Q2-era cheats. When the mood strikes, and an old Q2 vet hits up the few Lith servers left on the Net, he is greeted typically with one or more players OBVIOUSLY craxing and haxing. Still going strong. The CS community is one which works hardest, imho, at a social more and communal interest in enforcing a 'policy' of sorts that cheating just sucks and work has to be done.

Re:Whod they reference... (1)

mgs1000 (583340) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607380)

Punkbuster dead?

I guess you don't play Soldier of Fortune II, Quake 3, or Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

Why? (1)

Drunken Coward (574991) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607359)

The first example given in the article, a man who cheats playing Sims Online, seems pointless. Why would you want to cheat playing a game that can't be won?

The are probably the same people that drive in the carpool lane with no other passengers :[

Cheaters (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607360)

I nevar cheat when I play my favorite game of all times, DOOM, on my Linus bewoufl clusters.
My mom told me not to. DOOM is a fun game in which you run through a maze gathering different weapons to shoot at evil humans and monsters demeons.

What college is this? (5, Funny)

Lord_Slepnir (585350) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607361)

From the article: "When I play an online game, I can't be the best because there are some college kids out there spending 14 hours a day."

What college is this that you can play games 14 hours a day and still pass? Everyone I know that did that either failed out or is taking so few credits they might as well have dropped out. College kids, I fear not. 12-year olds who have nothing to do all summer long, I fear.

Re:What college is this? (2, Insightful)

anon*127.0.0.1 (637224) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607528)

But thats always the justification that cheaters use. They're not doing it to gain an advantage. They're just doing it to "level the playing field", because everyone else cheats already, or has lots more time to play, or has a better computer.

The worst thing about cheating is the climate of distrust it creates. Any time a player gets lucky, or does something unusually skilled, they're quickly accused of cheating and usually booted. Even worse are the "So-and-so is cheating! / No I'm not!" arguments. Once one of those gets started, the games ruined. I spend more time worrying about whether that person is cheating or not then I do playing my own game.

Re:What college is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607534)

"When I play an online game, I can't be the best because there are some college kids out there spending 14 hours a day."

So basically, he's shit. So shit in fact, that he has to cheat, making him pretty damn shit in any 12-year old kid's book.

What a knob.

Re:What college is this? (4, Interesting)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607587)

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Our number one complaint from kids: "Why is Kazaa so slow?" Number two: "Look, I am a professional gamer and I am getting lag to the game server in Fiji that we use. And it is your fault." I had a kid claim that he made $60000 one year. Is this possible?

Never Trust the Client (1)

tbmaddux (145207) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607369)

I believe I first read this as a formal statement from Chip Morningstar, one of the creators of the "Habitat" game. Seems that many of these problems stem from people failing to heed that simple rule.

Unrealistic rule? (1)

PseudoThink (576121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607548)

Unless they are going to stream the pre-rendered video/audio directly from the server to the client, I think they have to trust the client. Even if they sent all the game data to the client encrypted, the client still has to be able to decrypt and process it, at which point it's wide open for cheat programs. I suppose Palladium will potentially make the client much more trustworthy, though. Even though gamers everywhere would despise it, I'm sure they would use it if the latest games required a Palladium-enabled client.

Re:Never Trust the Client (1)

osgeek (239988) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607577)

A good rule, but even games like EverQuest that "mostly" don't trust the client are susceptible to macro programs that automate movements. Games like Quake are susceptible to aimbots.

Both of these hacks simulate player input that you must have from the client machine.

Here comes the old "leveling the field" argument (1)

bigmouth_strikes (224629) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607370)

One of the players engaging in this automated counterfeiting, a 29-year-old financial planner from Texas, said he did so without apology (although he did not want to be identified by name). "I think the bots actually level the playing field for people who have day jobs," he said. "When I play an online game, I can't be the best because there are some college kids out there spending 14 hours a day."

Yeah, bots also level the field for stupid people, less skilled people and complete idiots who don't know the game. "Leveling the playing field" is an stupid excuse. Games usually reward those who spend 14 hours a day compared to those who spend 1 hour a day, it's called practice.

Granted, games where the pure amount of time spent playing is rewarded are inherently poorly designed. But that doesn't excuse using bots.

PunkBuster (1)

sheetsda (230887) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607372)

Some software makers are working on more aggressive solutions. Tony Ray, the president of the Houston-based company Even Balance, distributes a free product called Punkbusters that acts as a virus detector by looking for modifications on every player's machine. Game companies are paying for its development in the hope of keeping the games fair. Software installed on every player's machine watches for cheating while periodically filing reports to other players.

This has always bugged me. PunkBuster is just another piece of software. What stops it from being hacked just like the game? It seems to me that theres a sort of circular reasoning going on here: "This software is hacked, add software to prevent hacking." Whats worse is some servers require and kick those who don't have it and it many players assume that when someone uses it they absolutely cannot be cheating.

Re:PunkBuster (2, Informative)

scalis (594038) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607517)

PunkBuster is just another piece of software. What stops it from being hacked just like the game?

You are right and Punkbuster has been circumvented and hacked in the past.
The difference however is that the company that developed the game seldom provide a good way to stop new cheats fast. PunkBuster provides protection against cheats, and does ONLY that while the developing companies might very well have moved on to different projects and so on...

Um (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607378)

What does this article say besides "some people cheat at online games and developers don't all agree on how it should be handled"?

Maybe I'm missing something.

Ravi

QuakeWorld first-person maze game (1)

Alrocket (191107) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607383)

"When QuakeWorld came out online, the community was huge and teeming with people," said Mr. Ray, referring to a first-person maze game that was popular in the mid-1990's. "

It's a what now??

Al.

Re:QuakeWorld first-person maze game (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607506)

Even Wolfenstein 3D wasn't really a maze game... 2 generations on and QuakeWorld was?

Yes (1)

koan (80826) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607387)

Cheaters can prosper and quite often do, in school, on the job and in politics.
It is a moral question rather than a question of "do you profit or not" having been a bot user in Quake 2 and 3 I found the game quickly lost it's fun and I became jaded believing that others were cheaters and there was no "honor" any longer.
As silly and naive as that may sound when I first started playing the game it was all about honor and team work (I play CTF) and I loved it.
Once I tried a bot and started using it the entire experience became negative for me.
So if you can live with your self when cheating more power to you, I can't, and after 5 years (4 of which were cheat free) I don't play Quake any longer.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607519)

q2ctf is the best game ever!

Another economic model for virtual worlds ? (1)

OneInEveryCrowd (62120) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607391)

The site www.TSOExtreme.com mentioned in the article is a pay service that costs $24.99 to join and $1.50 a month after that. This is much more compelling than the virtual designer jeans mentioned in yesterdays article about There.com.

My concern with that big moneymaking idea is how long does it take a cheater to post the pay cheats on usenet ?

Some Common-Sense Solutions (4, Interesting)

fuzzybunny (112938) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607394)



Note, I'm not a really hard-core gamer or expert, so take this with a grain of salt, but...

Cheating in online games is always going to be a problem. You won't solve it, but can at least reduce it to the point where a server admin can deal with individual accusations.

-Only send each client information it really needs.
-Use checksums on binaries and libraries and things.
-Try to get more 'mature' gaming crowds together. I have noticed vast difference playing Battlefield 1942 at various times during the day, such as when it's mostly high school kids, or people with jobs who start playing after dinner, whatever.
-Make it clear that cheating sucks and won't be tolerated--this can help catch the remaining people with aimbot screen overlays and things that automated means won't take care of.

Netrek [netrek.org] used some anti-cheating mechanism, by embedding an RSA key in every "authorized" client, to which only a few developers known to the "RSA guy" and the Netrek community as a whole had access. Imperfect system, but it reduced use of bots to the point where it didn't really matter.

Also, one thing that a lot of people forget is that a lot of 'active' cheats (mainly bots in action games) fall into one of two categories:

a) Fully-automated -- these are predictable.
b) Partially automated -- things like aimbots. Their "owners" probably suck otherwise. If they see you, they'll get off a clean shot, but you don't have to confront them directly to smash them.

I am usually sufficiently gratified when I crush someone I suspect strongly of cheating by knowing it's probably some whiny 13 year old staring at his screen in impotent frustration to not really care about the other 9 out of 10 times he's beat me, not by skill but through some technology he most likely didn't create.

Re:Some Common-Sense Solutions (3, Funny)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607554)

I am usually sufficiently gratified when I crush someone I suspect strongly of cheating by knowing it's probably some whiny 13 year old staring at his screen in impotent frustration to not really care about the other 9 out of 10 times he's beat me, not by skill but through some technology he most likely didn't create

I feel the same way - when the Quake 3 demo first came out, I played online a bit. One day a player came along that was taking advantage of a serious speed enhancement... so I devoted the rest of my time to tracking and killing him. It didn't take long to find him as he'd wander all over at top speed... the funny thing was is that he was pretty predicable, even though very fast... so I was able to kill him before he got me about once for every three kills he got. I also taunted him, and I know I got to him as eventually he started only going after me!! Of course, knowing he was coming made it even easier to get kills as I could just slam rockets into a wall he was about to go past and throw him into a chasm, or other fun things... plus he was rather an idiot and probably killed himself as often as I did by trying to use rockets while running all over at top speed.

Anyway, it is fun to torment cheaters.

Cheaters never prosper (1)

Mattygfunk1 (596840) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607412)

.... just ask this guy [jubii.dk]

___________

Want a vanity domain? Cheap Web Site Hosting [cheap-web-...ing.com.au] @ $3 a Month

Cheaters can win (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607413)

However, we are reaching a point where bandwidth will permit realtime polling and storage of stats. Cheatproofing as discussed in the article is possible, however, I don't recommend quiting if cheating is detected but instead resetting the client to the polled composite average. Or possibly even including damage. This will of course open up the floodgates for group cheating where a group of individuals hacks their clients to autokill enemies. SO, the ultimate fix must include random polling(to prevent gang up hacks), random remote storage, and encryption. This will prevent many cheats, but will do little or nothing to eliminate aim-bots etc which IMHO are just as big of a problem, but at this point, the client is still in the control of the "enemy" so partially insecure.

They dont... (2, Interesting)

xRelisH (647464) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607418)

Most cheaters never prosper, that being because they're usually shunned, and they often just get bored of the game and leave, since where's the fun if there's no challenge?
Sure, you could get an hours worth of kicks out of hit at maximum, but there's a good chance you'd just get bored and leave.
However, there's a big twist here, that new gaming site, YouPlayGames may bring cheating to a whole new level. I've seen how crazy people get in Tournements, how they whine and bitch and some of them try to bend the rules, but at least in Tournements things are monitored. In this service, all you have is a bet, and there probably isn't any monitoring done (and even if you recorded the game, I'm sure your opponent could hide his cheating if he knew how to do it right and make it look natural). Since there is money involved, the cheaters will have a new reason to play, and that is for money. This will be a greater drive for people to implement more complex hacks, that make say, an AimBot look like the same sort of aim present in CAL-i CS players.

Takes the fun out of it (3, Funny)

mao che minh (611166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607421)

I never saw the point in cheating, it just lessens the experience. I remember there was this one team of guys that used to use cheats and/or exploits in Operation Flashpoint. I never understood the logic: if you are playing a game for fun and challenge, how do you feel rewarded if you achieve victory unfairly?

For example, CNN reported that Iraqi forces were using wallhacks, and they have been camping in spots located well outside of the battle map/field where US missles can't reach. Totally unfair.

Re:Takes the fun out of it (1)

TwistedSquare (650445) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607544)

War is not a game...

World + Models should be rendered in 1 pass. (4, Informative)

Otis_INF (130595) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607428)

Now, the worlds in most FPS games are rendered first, then the models and other entities are rendered, using clipping /depth buffer info of the world. A lot of engines use 2 different render routines to do this: the world is mostly static and uses a different routine than the model renderer.

THe result is, that when you 'patch' the world renderer so that it f.e. renders wireframes instead of solid polys (in OpenGL based engines this is 'not that hard', you just change the value passed to glBegin()) the models still are rendered solid, plus because most renderers for models rely on the depthbuffer filled during the world rendering, the models close to corners are fully rendered, since the depthbuffer is empty. So you can easily 'see' the models close to corners. If you also 'patch' the model renderer for not doing world clipping, you will see ALL models rendered in your window.

This can't be done if the world + models use a single render routine, i.e.: model polygons and world polygons are packed together as THE set of polygons to render, then the single render routine will eat these single pack of polys to render. If you patch the routine for wireframing, you will see the models also wireframed, if you patch out the world clipping, you will get the complete world in your window, not what you want.

I think in future game engines there will be a merger between world + model polygon sets, because worlds are more and more modfyable in game by the player, which in the end requires that the modifyable parts are 'models' too. However games based on the current crop of quake * engines will keep on suffering from this.

Cheating is not cool! (1)

stevenp (610846) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607455)

Cheating is part of the "hacker" fun. However it is normally directed against the machine.
If somebody cheats in a single-player game it is a clever hack, if he cheats in a multiplayer game, it is cheating against the other people and it may be considered abusive.
There is something in the idea that the machines are stupid and may be cheated, but not the people. Maybe because the machines can not respond back?

-- You human clever? You human smart cheater? I computer reformat you hard disk!!!

Cheaters need to be stopped (1)

guacamolefoo (577448) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607482)

I hate those people who have installed Hand-Eye Coordination v. 1.4. I am stuck with a crappy alpha that barely works. Something needs to be done!

GF.

rat bastard cheaters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607487)

I used to think it was my age! Little buggers were using bots and wireframe wall on HL mods! I haven't played since.

...thank God! now I have a life again!

Quake 3 cheaters (1)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607496)

I love playing Quake 3 online, but I suspect there are a number of players cheating. I haven't been able to find many resources to Q3 bots, and other cheat methods other than this site: http://ogc.ath.cx/ [ogc.ath.cx] Anyone know of other ways people in Q3 cheat?

Re:Quake 3 cheaters (1)

Maeryk (87865) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607581)

I love playing Quake 3 online, but I suspect there are a number of players cheating. I haven't been able to find many resources to Q3 bots, and other cheat methods other than this site: http://ogc.ath.cx/ [ogc.ath.cx] Anyone know of other ways people in Q3 cheat?

Dont know if its specifically falls under "cheating" but learning to play with a wide FOV helps. Also, I just upgraded to a new system, and noticed that my scores rather dramtically improved immediately. Simply because it "looks okay" on your end, doesnt mean you see everythign someone with a hot-shit system sees. (I was rather amazed, actually, at the difference in the game.)

Now.. Im still a bit torqued about the guys who can rail you, while facing away from you, and do it from so far away you cannot see them, or who rail you while you are falling off the edge of the space platform, etc. But Im not sure if thats a ratbot, an aimbot, an exceptionally good player with really good combo macros, or just a really really good player.

Maeryk

Sometimes it's OK, sometimes not (2, Interesting)

ParnBR (601156) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607508)

I think it's OK to exploit a game. If there's a loophole, sooner or later everyone will know about it. Although that may be later closed by the game's developer, it's not like someone has unfair advantage. That's in the rules. If the rules change, well, that's OK because everyone is affected by it. Much like the "grenades through walls" in Counter-Strike.

I also think it's OK if it's an inside, official cheat. I don't think this exists in online games, but if it exists, then it should be used. It's like it were in the rules.

But pure cheating is not OK. Yes, some people can be very successful at cheating, but they CAN be caught any time. Their fun is cheating, not playing by the rules. I believe it's OK to cheat in a game, but not at the expenses of the other players. If it detracts from other players' fun, it should be banned. If you want to play fair, it's really annoying when some other person is cheating and usually in a better position in the game than you.

As a side story: we have a card game in Brazil called "Truco" (I think it also exists in other countries) where it is allowed and even encouraged to cheat. But if you get caught you lose instantly or must pay some compensation. Usual cheats include signaling to the other player, hoarding cards or looking at cards before drawing them. You must keep your eyes peeled all the time. As you see, cheating is not really allowed, but you play the game with such a mindset that you expect a cheat anytime, and that's part of the game. It's fair in this context.

Nethack cheaters (3, Funny)

termos (634980) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607539)

Those Nethack cheaters finally confessed!

Rather than fight... encourage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5607551)

There is no reason why 'robots' should not be allowed in a game; none. It is just a form of descrimination. For example, suppose that someone who is blind has a program that 'helps' them play. Is this cheating?

There is nothing more natural than using robots when playing an on-line game. It is the fault of the game designers if the game is so repetitive that a robot usage is considered 'cheating'. The game should only be concerned with participants, be them human or otherwise.

Reward those who think outside the box (1)

Tropaios (244000) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607552)

I remember playing the old TSR Dark Sun game, and discovering you could get unlimited Dragonlances/money/whatever if you loaded up one player and droped him from your group then did a hard shut down on the system. When the game came back up the players who originally had the items/money/whatever would still have it and you could have the other rejoin your group with all the goodies. Granted it was a one player game and it was pretty lame running around with 8+ dragonlances after awhile, but as we always used to say:

It's not cheating if the computer will let you do it.

I say reward those who can think out side the box and be at least marginally creative, it's a rare enough quality in the world today. Of course those who just use someone elses methods are lame posers/cheaters who should be flayed.

Cheaters Anonymous (1)

BadmanX (30579) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607561)

Cheating is why I play games over a LAN with friends rather than over the internet with people I don't know. Cheating is why I don't play MMORPGs (well, cheating and the incredibly amounts of time they require to get anything done). The anonymity makes it impossible to punish people for wrecking the game or getting ahead unfairly, and this problem simply isn't solvable without removing the anonymity of the internet, and few people want that.

Reminds me of a time I decided to try a MUD. Even though it was free, I was asked to provide my real name, and address and phone number and was explicitly told in the Terms of Service that they would have no qualms about calling my local police department on me. Once I read that, I changed my mind about trying the game, even though I knew that they were doing this in order to cut through the anonymity of the internet and bring real consequences to people to who used the system to abuse others. That knowledge wasn't enough to make me want to lose my anonymity in order to play the game.

Oddly enough, consoles with their unique serial numbers would be better suited to bringing about real consequences for online assholery. You can change your character, you can change your IP, but you cannot change your PS2's serial number. You get your console banned, your only option would be to buy another one. In this case, you're not anonymous, but you're also not identified by an actual name or address either. I think that's a good tradeoff, and will become an even better one in the future as console online gaming takes off.

turn off the damn hack!!! (1)

kraksmoka (561333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607568)

oy vey! i hate laggy starcrack games!

why bother to play if you're just playing to cheat?

Maybe I'm a Little Paranoid (1)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 11 years ago | (#5607569)

But this phrase in the artical just jumped out at me:

All of these techniques depend on users' having full control of the software running on their home machines.

Hrm, a hidden agenda push for DRM? They do go on to say later:

"All of the major developers were saying that they could do nothing to fight cheating because they couldn't control what went on in people's computers," he said. "The whole landscape of online gaming changed when we proved cheating could be fought effectively."

In refrence to a software package that they claim acts like a "virus scanner" in what I would assume basicly prevents people from using trainers. However, and again maybe it's just my paranoia chanting, I can just hear the DRM drumbs beating in the background.
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