Online Game Cheating

I hope to bring to your attention some of the filthy, low down, sad and dare I say it 'lame' tactics that gamers choose to use during online tournament games such as Quake and Half-life. I myself stay faithful to Quake 3 but I will try to give some examples of what goes on in the popular Counter-Strike mod for Half-life.

Its a well know fact that online games are not cheat proof, often you might hear cries of "Oi lamer453 : Are you using an AimBot?" and "Hmm, your accuracy of 97% looks a bit suspect" in-between all the usual shouts of "Laggggg" and "Rape!". Players who call upon such nasty means of cheating by using Aim-bots and game exploits are normally quite easy to spot but very hard to track as they will normally change they screen name more times then they change their underwear, they will normally flick between obvious names that give a small hint to their cheating ways like "W4lLh4(k" and "(--AimBot", while being very obvious most people would ignore the name thinking of it as a joke.

A couple of nights ago I was in a thrilling game of Quake 3 : Rocket Arena 3 when from another arena on the map someone broadcast a message say that player "*cough* Wall hack *cough*" was using an AimBot, this was quickly followed by the said player spamming the server with public broadcast messages of "STFU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!", a common message by the younger audience of players on online games normally spammed in multi-coloured text from their l33t colour changing binds. As this is so common, no-one in the arena I was in thought anymore of it and continued on with the 12 vs. 12 carnage. After a few messy rounds I noticed a new player had joined on the same team as me with the name "*cough* Wall hack *cough*", thinking that the player in the other arena was merely crying because he just got totally spanked by Mr. "*cough* Wall hack *cough*" I said nothing and neither did anybody else until the first round ended and funnily enough one of the few remaining standing was "*cough* Wall hack *cough*" a few more rounds passed and a few people were starting to suspect that maybe he could be using a bot, so I decided to die early (Well that?s my excuse anyway) and watch him through the spectator mode and sure enough I noticed the trademark AimBot side effects.

1, Screen jitters as if it is trying to track something.
2, After the jitters it seems to lock onto something which is normally behind a wall or object.
3, Player heads toward locked on object.
4, Once in sight blasts the living crap out of target with incredible accuracy.
5, Player Gloats usual along the lines of "0wN3d" or "j00 5uK".

After much gang rapes, opposing team crew up and attack him at the start of the round, and chat speak abuse the player decides that having a bot is cool and starts shouting about it "(-- AimBot!", "1 0wNz j0o 4lL!!11" and so on. So what can you do? Well some servers run Voting with which you can normally /Vote kick players who steep out of line but the players can change their name before getting kicked and stay on the server but if you happen to have a Server Op on the server at the time he can get all the juicy details about the player such as the IP and ban the annoying little shit before he knows what has hit him. =P

After this little experience I decided to do a little research and I stumbled around a few search engine to find some information about these 'hacks' n 'cheats' and maybe a little more about the scum that use them. Finding them was not the easiest of tasks so I hit a few Message boards and it was not long before I found a supermarket full of 'bots', 'hacks' and 'exploits'. Here is a short rundown of what I uncovered..

(These are mainly for Quake 1 as it did not have too much in the way of cheat protection)

First up is called a "proxy" - effectively sniffs network information packets passed between the server and clients and gives all the details of players states (Health, Armour and Ammo) on your screen for you to choose your guaranteed weak victim. A sad thing to note is that some of these "proxies" are shareware, means you have to pay for them, but as the average user of these cheats probably did not pay for the game they are cheating in I am sure they have no intention of buying the cheats for it either if you get what I mean.

Next we have the "Model Hack" - quite simple, the cheater opens up the player model and adds a few 'enhancements' that make the opponents stand out a bit more like long lines in different directions so you can see players sticking out around corners and editing the invisible models to something not very invisible. Because the edited models are local to you, non of the other players on the server can see the changes and are thus oblivious to the cheaters changes. This exploit was fixed in later versions of Quake by adding CRC checking on the all the files to make sure everybody plays the same version of the client.

Sickening as it is I will continue, The "Wall Hack" - basically the player will edit the local map file and remove walls and any other objects the get in the way of the cheater and the victim. I am not sure if this allows you to shoot through the now non existent walls and hurt the opponent but in theory you could. Again the CRC checking has help eliminate this exploit.

Much like the "Wall Hack".. "Texture Editing" - Simple, change all the textures on the map to bright white and the opponent models with their normal textures will show up much like a bright pink elephant at a Goth gathering.. ouch.

With the well accepted release of the Quake 1 Source code has come the not so well accepted "Hacked Executable" - Having the games full source code in you hands can help allow you to do what ever the hell you want to give you an advantage but this does require some programming knowledge or the usual Copy & Paste 5k1lLz will do fine.

Last but certainly not least is the EVIL, NASTY, VILE, SCUM-RIDDEN, PH33rS0m "Aim-Bot" - Put in the easiest terms I can it does all the aiming (and sometimes firing) for you, offering 100% accuracy to the cheater and guaranteeing a easy frag. A piece of code that calculates where you need to be aiming to score a perfect hit on your opponent and that combined with the Rail gun or other pinpoint accuracy weapon you will have your victim gibbed all over the wall within seconds and all without need for your input, leaving your hands free to type l33t insulting messages to your prey.

A special bonus cheat for all you Half-Life : Counter-Strike cheaters out there is the famous "Speed Hack" - Now I am not too familiar with this one as Counter-Strike is not my cup of tea but from the message boards I have read and the various sites I have dug up I understand that this cheat speeds up the game to as fast as your client system can run and so you can belt it round the map at 100 times the speed of non "Speed Hack" users and cut them up before they even know the game has started, you appear on the screen as a blue/green blur to your victim. I don?t know if there is any fix for this but from the impressions I got on the message boards the whole Counter-Strike Community is suffering from these cheaters.

In closing there is nothing I can say to make it all better and there is nothing I can recommend as even console games like Phantasy Star Online by Sega (Sonic Team) for the Dreamcast suffer from cheaters who 'hack' the saved games, going online attacking players and stealing all their hard earned items. It?s very sad that such a wonderful thing as playing online against millions of potential opponents gets ruined by people unwilling to take the time to perfect their playing skills and taking the easy way out. What does it achieve and who does it impress?

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