Bringing a knife to a gunfight: Cheating
Cheating remains one of the biggest and seemingly unsolvable problems in online games. Things like wallhack are not as dangerous as cheats, built into a mouse. We remember Katowice, where tournament organizers were gathering players’ devices and studying them carefully for the purpose of finding cheats.
However, new technological developments are likely to make such checks a waste of time. A possible solution to the problem can be Game:ref device, created by 28-year-old programmer David Titarenko. This is the first hardware anti-cheating system, which compares actual movement of a mouse with the cursor movement on the screen. Though, Game:ref is not a nostrum. The project is still under development and even its developer doesn’t know when it will be done.
Some e-sports organizations have already had a look at this new project. Together with its author pro players are thinking on how to make modern games more honest. Console players do not face this issue, therefore PC players wish their games were fair and square as well.
The working principle of Game:ref is the following: a player moves his or her mouse and makes clicks, while the anti-cheating device reads these signals and compares them to the screen action. If the two streams of data don’t match, a player is considered to be cheating. Such device may work for not only Counter-Strike, but for other games as well. For instance, it could be used in Dota 2, where there are lots of illegal software and macros. An easy way to understand how it works is to look a triggerbot cheat. It basically simulates a mouseclick, when it is not happening, so Game:ref is doing just the opposite.
Cheating can be compared to doping in traditional sports. The International Olympic Committee has been fighting doping for a long time and banning people, who use it, from competitive sports. Doping gives sportsmen a huge advantage over their opponents, and the same is true for cheats. People used to think that cheaters cannot show themselves at LAN-tournaments. However, this proved to be wrong and there were documented cases of players using illegal software at LAN-finals, let alone online tournaments. For the last 2 years more than 10 professional players were banned for cheating, some of which were really famous. So, the more anti-cheating software and devices there is, the safer our virtual world will be.
How Valve deal with cheaters:
If we look specifically at cheating in CS:GO, here game developers are not leaving players to deal with cheaters by themselves. Valve pays close attention to its players. Their anti-cheating software Overwatch has achieved decent success. In it, users submit their verdict of the suspected cheaters, after watching them play for several rounds. The system makes speeds up the banning process and gets more cheaters banned than Valve could have done on their own.
Another way of banning cheaters is an internal Valve Anti-Cheat. First VAC system was developed in 2002, back when Counter-Strike 1.4 was still popular. VAC process is one of the Steam components, which watches the player so that outside processes won’t interfere into the game. If a foreign software is detected, the data will then go to VAC servers and player’s account will be tagged as “cheater”.
All these systems are great, however, they don’t stop players from cheating. There are still individuals, using aimbot and wallhack freely on the servers. In such cases the best thing to do is to report a cheater. Never ignore blatant cheaters, or otherwise they will only multiply.
Cases of pro bans in CS:GO:
While there is nothing new in regular players in public servers getting banned, when a pro player gets a VAC ban, the consequences would be serious, up to his exclusion from competitive e-sports.
2015 seems to be more paceful in this regard. There were some bans, however, famous players haven't been caught cheating so far. Though, lately pro players have been making the same mistake of playing rigged matches over and over again. But this is a whole different story.