[INFO] APB Dev's fight Cheating and do major updates.
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Discussion: Game Forum Archives / All Points Bulletin - APB Dev's fight Cheating and do major updates. - http://apbreloaded.gamersfirst.com/
Cheating vs "Perceived" Cheating.
APB is a Server-Side game. This means that barring
APB is a Server-Side game. This means that barring various programming snafu's, there really are very few things you can do in the game to actually cheat. Unlike peer-to-peer games or games that rely more on the client being authoritative, APB is impossible to cheat with things like 'one shot kills' or 'invincibility cheats' and similar cheats of those types. The server rules all. Therefore (again barring coding mistakes, which do happen on occasion) most of these types of cheats are useless against the game.
However - there ARE things that the game is vulnerable to - specifically two items; aimbots and wallhacks (opponent 'ESP tags') since those two types attack the local client and exploit locally hidden information (players behind walls etc.). There is nothing quite as frustrating as finding a good hiding spot, only to be 'magically' found by your opponent. We agree.
We have two ways of attacking this issue, one is to change actual game code that will make certain exploits much harder, and the other is to work with an enhanced cheat deterrent system. The pros and cons of PunkBuster (or according to the community - the Cons) are quite well known, even though just last week it banned 2,000 players in one swoop when it was able to suddenly detect the latest evasion attempt from a cheat maker. The issue with PB is that it remains one step behind the aimbot/wallhack makers. But there is a solution for this issue in the pipeline as well.
Cheat solutions in 1.5.3 through 1.5.7
Starting with 1.5.3 we are making various aspects of cheat coding much harder to perform and/or easier to detect. Because it's cheating we are talking about we cannot really disclose exactly what we are doing, but as of this patch key cheat functions are starting to break in really odd ways. There should be plenty of frustration in the cheat maker side over the next several builds, though 1.5.3 has only implemented a portion of these changes. The goal is to get to make cheating a non-issue by the time we go formally "Live" with the game. As you can imagine, that's a tall order, but based on recent progress (some not yet in the game), we are starting to feel better about the prospects of solving this issue.
In a later patch closer to Live we have a much more drastic change that will also be rolled out, in addition to the road we have started down in 1.5.3. The goal is to have the full suite of changes in place before we release 1.6.0.
So - What do you mean by the "Perception" of cheating?
IF there are only TWO serious types of cheats that even work in the game, how about the 'perception' of cheating going on? Why is this perception rampant? (see Issue 3 for another critical problem - that also causes rage and/or cheat anger - so all these issues are tied together).
First Perception - Snapping
First - there is an oddity with the game itself. Snapping is part of the game (!). If you run in one direction, but are looking behind you, the moment you hit 'fire' your character on all opponent computers will appear to make an instant 180 and 'snap' in the opposite direction while firing the shot. Good players can make it appear they are 'multi-snapping' by being very exact. The effect is very easy to test with two computers opposed to each other.
The result is that in many matches you often perceive your opponent 'snapping' to you (almost magically), since you don't actually get a copy of the opponent's camera movement, only the end-shot (snap). That's not cheating. That's normal game play. When you face an extremely good player, it's very hard to NOT think they are cheating. Mostly because the visual appearance of the opponent (snapping around to different targets) makes it look like something is amiss (compared to playing MW2), but also because most of us think NOONE can possible beat us or have better map awareness . We know we are awesome (again - not saying that aimbotting and wallhacking cannot happen - just that often it also appears to be happening while it's really NOT taking place). Snapping CAN indicating cheating, but only when players target multiple targets that are large angles apart in a split second. Unfortunately the two types of snapping (legitimate and the real cheatin' kind) are hard to tell apart.
We will release some videos to show this in action as well.
Second Perception - Magic Bullets
Second - not all misses are noticed by opponents, often due to how bullet flight is handled. If you are being shot by an enemy all bullets that HIT your avatar will always be readily apparent. Bullets that MISS are still sent to your computer, but we often see test players in our focus tests that do not realize that a large number of bullets were fired in their direction during an intense firefight, and that many of them missed. This can lead to a perception that opponents magically HIT YOU with every shot they fire (and magically never missed!), though in reality your enemy is shooting more shots in your direction than you might realize.
Third Perception - Cheats that Aren't
Third - there are some supposed cheats (some that are even sold to people) - that in fact are not cheats at all. The best example is the 'no-spread' supposed cheat. If you use a 'no-spread' cheat and fire at a wall - you will THINK that bullets are hitting a wall and strike a tight area (or even easier - you can muck with local INI files and see visual changes in your client without having any effect on the server or opponent games). That's because it's a client side change. But, in spite of what you might see on a wall, shooting another player is handled entirely on the server. Turning on a 'no-spread cheat' might make you FEEL you are aiming better (and maybe you DO aim better because you 'feel' better) - but you are actually just as spread-y against opponent players as you were before the 'cheat' from the point of view of the server and the opponent player. Ie the cheat has no effect other than on your computer.
Are there any cheats right now?
Yep. No bones about it - that some people are using wallhacks and aimbots (or after the current update, are certainly trying to use them with the 1.5.3 build), and there clearly is a delay before they get banned. Therefore we are very interested in seeing the changing pattern during this patch version (1.5.3) and then followed by the upcoming 1.5.4 through 1.5.7 series of builds. What will players do? What will the cheatmakers do? We will all find out!
Other possible solutions - player kicks?
We often get the request to implement cheat-vote-kicking. A small sidenote, when Zak/Qwentle jumped in to Combat Arms for some quick analysis on how they handle something he was trying to work on, he was quickly vote-kicked by the Combat Arms players for being a 'cheater' (something you can do in CA). He clearly was NOT cheating, but he was simply just very good at playing the game, even though he had a brand new character. So player-banning also have problems.
So - what are we going to do?
In 1.5.3 we have done some interesting stuff. In x.x.4, 5, 6 and 7 we are doing additional interesting things. Depending on how they work out, we will start disclosing exactly what has changed. Let's first see how people react to them...
TG-30th Damion Rayne - Commanding Officer
Content Development Writer | Developer Relations Liaison