No, these won’t help with cheating in PUPG

PUBG announced their plans to fix problems that exists in the game, I’ve just checked the site for the most important problem, anti-cheat and left disappointed:

COMBINED ANTI-CHEAT SOLUTION: In addition to our current anti-cheat solutions, we are in the process of deploying additional improved solutions to secure competitive integrity. Our goal is to prepare a comprehensive solution that incorporates existing and newly implemented anti-cheat functions. These solutions will prevent malicious programs from accessing the game memory, as well as detect and react to cheating programs that make attempts to penetrate the game. Through these solutions, we intend to prepare the following defenses against cheating programs.

Detecting and banning cheaters by restricting access to game memory and recognizing motion patterns of suspicious programs. Detecting hacks or other inappropriate programs that succeeded in circumventing our first line of defense. Secure an extra line of defense that utilizes machine-learning technology to improve cheat-blocking cycles more efficiently and faster. Fundamentally block cheating users by encrypting game logic, blocking Dll injection, hooking, and modulation.

This shows that PUBG corp is still fighting an unwinnable battle for the client, trying to stop cheaters from using cheat programs. That can catch some noobs who buy low effort cheats but does nothing against those who use a properly updated cheat program or one that isn’t popular.

The proper angle against cheating is server-side fighting cheating behavior. Let me explain the most obvious: movement hacks. We saw flying cars, we saw vault-teleports, we saw punches from afar and especially guys sprinting with stupid speed. These are all trivial to detect server-side: the player travels faster than possible or flies. These players should be insta-killed. Banning them is lucrative, but can create false positives when bikes have the tendency of flying without hacks. But killing them has no downside. Innocent bike-flyers will die anyway when landing, so no one would get hurt if everyone who travels faster than possible or flies would get a “you got killed by crash” message. Cheaters would immediately stop cheating.

The other is anti-recoil cheat. Currently the recoil effect makes a movement on the client cursor that the player can compensate with mouse movement or cheat program. In real life it creates a force that cannot be compensated. Nobody is capable of pinpoint shots full auto. So the proper action is that the center of the aim isn’t affected by recoil, but dispersion is. If I shoot full auto, the bullets should land in a large circle around my aim, preferably with server-side randomness.

Finally: autoaim. This can be addressed similarly: the reason scopes exist is that human eye doesn’t have the resolution to tell fraction of degree differences. Ergo, you are unable to tell if your iron sight is aligned with the target or is it 0.1 degree off. At 500m, that’s 87 cm difference. The scope magnifies the target, making the difference visible, allowing you to compensate. The in-game solution for this is giving proper dispersion to the weapons with ironsight, allowing different scopes to decrease it. Ergo, if you make perfect aim shots with ironsight (autoaim) at 500m, your shots would disperse in a 1.6m wide circle. With a 8x scope shots, these would be 0.2m circle shots. So the cheater has to find a scope first before he starts making impossible shots and the cheat program must be able to shoot with all scopes to be useful.

Scoped shots on the other hand could be limited by speed: if you hold scope on, you can’t run. If you are holding the gun hipfire, you have to first scope in before you can shoot and the server should check for proper time passes. I mean:

  1. guy runs, sees target at distance
  2. presses right mouse button to look into scope
  3. scoping animation takes place that lasts X time
  4. presses left mouse button to fire
  5. shot takes place
  6. presses run key
  7. descoping animation takes place that lasts Y time
  8. character starts to sprint

The server should check for X and Y taking place between actions. This wouldn’t stop the cheater having perfect aim, but at least would deny him inhuman reflexes.

Anyway, the point is that PUBG corp has to accept the industry standard that the client is in enemy hands and start to create server-based solutions for cheating.

Author: Gevlon

My blog: https://greedygoblinblog.wordpress.com/

6 thoughts on “No, these won’t help with cheating in PUPG”

  1. I think that those changes, introduced to PUBG, would drive away a much larger portion of the player base than cheaters themselves would. More server-side checks and calculations is definitely the right path to fight cheating, but the changes you propose would have major side effects and would not even hurt the cheaters too much – they would still have an advantage over everyone, just less significant.

    For you, as you have explained in your original post series about it, PUBG is a strategic hiding game. For majority of the players, PUBG is a shooting game, and it was also marketed as one. Proposed changes would pretty much kill the dexterity challenge in shooting someone, removing a layer of skill from the game – if two players have similar strategic abilities and no advantage over each other, with current mechanics the one with better aim and recoil control would win, but with these changes, it would be random. As someone who dislikes dexterity challenges, you’ll be fine with it, but I assume the majority of the players do like it and want to play a shooting game, and if PUBG effectively stops being one, they will likely lose interest in it.

    In Battlefield 1 DICE tried to switch focus from recoil towards spread mechanics in an attempt to improve weapon balance, and while they did arguably succeed in making a larger part of the weapon options viable, the change was widely hated by the community and is being reverted entirely in Battlefield V.

    Though such mechanics would make perfect sense for a game made from ground-up and marketed as a niche highly competitive hiding game, or an (MMO)RPG set in a world with guns. World of Tanks-style target lock would fit well too.

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  2. I don’t think they’ll ever consider these server-side solutions. First problem – that would require major software rewrite (both client- and server-side). Second problem – computational power required. It’s trivial for a modern PC to calculate the outcome of actions taken by a single player and merge that with the information received from server – but it’s not a trivial task for a server which would need to calculate that for dozens of players simultaneously. They can’t, for example, introduce TiDi like in Eve so that would require them to add (probably a lot of) new servers. They’re not stupid – they know their solution can’t stop cheating, but it’s cost effective and “good enough” (the “unwashed masses” think the company does everything it can do to fight cheaters).

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  3. @Anon: anyone who likes “recoil control” is a cheater with a programmable mouse. No one in his right mind would find it a valuable gameplay. Recoil is a necessity to prevent full auto pinpoint shots practically oneshotting anyone.

    @raw: the “unwashed masses” don’t care what they do against cheaters. They care about the amount of cheaters.

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  4. Setting aside the opinion of the “unwashed masses”, I highly doubt the company would be willing to invest in rewriting the game to the extent you propose. The development and maintenance (additional servers) costs would surely be considerable, and they may honestly believe they’ll be able to secure the client software (after all, many companies still believe DRM solutions like Denuvo will prevent piracy).

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  5. While i agree with the argument you made, there’s one major factual issue you got wrong: the human eye can resolve around 2-3 minutes of angle (between 1/12 to 1/10 degree) quite easily if it knows where to search, and can see smaller things with some difficulty. The dot on a (irl) red dot sight is only two minutes large, for instance.

    Also i think you did your math wrong, since 3 minutes @ 500m is somewhere around 30 or 40cm or so.

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  6. I agree, performing server-side calculations is the most viable solution to cheating. That is one of reasons I like Wargaming.net, which utilize this approach in most of their games, including World of Tanks. Such approach sadly require noticeable investments in servers and therefore is not as common as it should be.

    WoT is a good example: detection checks, calculations related to movement/firing/hitting/penetrating (or not) enemy and many others are performed server-side. Data which should not available to client (for example: position of undetected tanks) is not even sent from server. As a result most of the cheating issues plaguing common multiplayer FPS are downright impossible in WoT.
    Of course, even server-side approach does not solve ALL issues. For example: incoming shells are visible in client, therefore it is possible to create unfair (and forbidden by WG) modification changing shell tracers’ visual to laser beams (which would show target (or maybe even origin) point ).

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