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IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover Latest instalment in the acclaimed IL-2 Sturmovik series from award-winning developer 1C: Maddox Games.

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Old 08-06-2011, 05:44 PM
RCAF_FB_Orville RCAF_FB_Orville is offline
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Default Steam's 'VAC' efficacy......Discuss.

Greets all. I have been following the Mod developments recently with some interest (particularly weapon modifications), and being relatively new to Steam was wondering about the efficacy (or otherwise) of their anti cheat measures.

One of the reasons I was looking forward to CoD was that it would be hopefully a 'clean slate', and we could bypass all the paranoia/madness (real or imagined) that these things can sometimes bring.....and all be on the same page. NOTE: I am not anti-mod at all and have used them myself in IL-2 offline, that is not what the discussion is about.

Of course, CoD was very swiftly 'hacked' presumably using the same methods as in IL-2, so......How effective is Steams VAC in preventing abuses in other titles? While I realise that does not necessarily apply to CoD in particular, it might give some indication as to its overall efficacy.

Repeat: For posterity this is not a discussion as to the merits or otherwise of mods (personally I feel they have their place, and there are very talented people out there but please keep to the point chaps. Thanks.)

Unless I am imagining this, didn't Luthier say that there would be additional measures taken by themselves on top of VAC, as well as harsh perma bans for those found to be playing naughty buggers? (AKA Cheating *bleepers*) That's great if so. There is nothing more in simland I find more abhorrent, sad, and infuriating. Just hope this can be effectively enforced.

Cheers.
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Old 08-06-2011, 06:36 PM
Blackdog_kt Blackdog_kt is offline
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The way it works in other games (for example, various mods of the half life engines that then get released as stand-alone games by valve and modded even further) is that it's possible to compile signature lists of certain files and compare them against what the player is using.

Then, data is collected over a somewhat long period of time (to prevent cases of accidental banning) and once every few months all the offending accounts get banned in one fell swoop. The bans are also irrevocable. Getting banned doesn't prevent a player from running his purchased games, but he can't join multiplayer from that point.

Depending on the game/publisher, different types of files are open to modding.

Finally, it's possible for individual servers to have certain aspects of a game modded and on top of that, let the user automatically download the needed files upon joining the server.

I've seen this after i tried out Team Fortress 2 (which by the way is free to play since a couple of months ago, people who bought it get a bigger inventory and more items but other than that it's entirely possible to play and be competitive with the free version too), i happened to join servers that took a while longer to load and i saw on the progress bar that files were being downloaded. Upon entering the servers, some of them had custom community made maps, others had custom sound effects or on-screen messages with their corresponding triggers and so on.

So, what does that mean for us simmers? Well, let's say in a few months we have the SDK and some documentation on scripting and higher-level FMB functions. It won't take long before we have player-made maps, aircraft and dynamic campaign engines to generate missions (there are people doing similar stuff already as far as missions are concerned, some excellent examples in the relevant sub-forum here).

This creates a situation much like IL2, where each server might be running a different version of a dynamic campaign generator with custom-tweaked mission generation parameters (eg, a battle of France server would want to create more tactical air support missions and ground combat scenarios, while a battle of Britain server would need to create more strategic bombing missions and convoy raids), not to mention community made aircraft or maps (cut-up portions of the original map to maintain playability and help with loading times/frame rates in case a specific scenario is needed that only takes part in one part of the map).

Meanwhile, players would need to have the suitable mod packs installed or they could have more or less than what's needed.

If the steam framework is applied to such a case, we'll probably be able to have it all handled automatically for us and fly on all servers with a single installation of the sim, instead of having to manually update our mod packs and installing each one on top of a separate stock installation.

I'm not going to lie, i'm not very enthusiastic about the inclusion of steam in the bundle, but this is definitely its main saving grace as far as i'm concerned and a feature that might have a lot of positive outcomes for us all sometime down the line.

I know this explanation is not directly anti-cheat related, but i think it touches on the important bit: controlling cheating while differentiating between cheats and legitimate mods, so that player created content can flourish.
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Old 08-08-2011, 08:14 PM
RCAF_FB_Orville RCAF_FB_Orville is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackdog_kt View Post
The way it works in other games (for example, various mods of the half life engines that then get released as stand-alone games by valve and modded even further) is that it's possible to compile signature lists of certain files and compare them against what the player is using.

Then, data is collected over a somewhat long period of time (to prevent cases of accidental banning) and once every few months all the offending accounts get banned in one fell swoop. The bans are also irrevocable. Getting banned doesn't prevent a player from running his purchased games, but he can't join multiplayer from that point.

Depending on the game/publisher, different types of files are open to modding.

Finally, it's possible for individual servers to have certain aspects of a game modded and on top of that, let the user automatically download the needed files upon joining the server.

I've seen this after i tried out Team Fortress 2 (which by the way is free to play since a couple of months ago, people who bought it get a bigger inventory and more items but other than that it's entirely possible to play and be competitive with the free version too), i happened to join servers that took a while longer to load and i saw on the progress bar that files were being downloaded. Upon entering the servers, some of them had custom community made maps, others had custom sound effects or on-screen messages with their corresponding triggers and so on.

So, what does that mean for us simmers? Well, let's say in a few months we have the SDK and some documentation on scripting and higher-level FMB functions. It won't take long before we have player-made maps, aircraft and dynamic campaign engines to generate missions (there are people doing similar stuff already as far as missions are concerned, some excellent examples in the relevant sub-forum here).

This creates a situation much like IL2, where each server might be running a different version of a dynamic campaign generator with custom-tweaked mission generation parameters (eg, a battle of France server would want to create more tactical air support missions and ground combat scenarios, while a battle of Britain server would need to create more strategic bombing missions and convoy raids), not to mention community made aircraft or maps (cut-up portions of the original map to maintain playability and help with loading times/frame rates in case a specific scenario is needed that only takes part in one part of the map).

Meanwhile, players would need to have the suitable mod packs installed or they could have more or less than what's needed.

If the steam framework is applied to such a case, we'll probably be able to have it all handled automatically for us and fly on all servers with a single installation of the sim, instead of having to manually update our mod packs and installing each one on top of a separate stock installation.

I'm not going to lie, i'm not very enthusiastic about the inclusion of steam in the bundle, but this is definitely its main saving grace as far as i'm concerned and a feature that might have a lot of positive outcomes for us all sometime down the line.

I know this explanation is not directly anti-cheat related, but i think it touches on the important bit: controlling cheating while differentiating between cheats and legitimate mods, so that player created content can flourish.

If the steam framework is applied to such a case, we'll probably be able to have it all handled automatically for us and fly on all servers with a single installation of the sim


Understood Blackdog, and yes I'd agree that it is an advantage of Steam and very expedient if things can indeed be done this way. Not a great techie or well versed with server lore, and I'm struggling to see the difference between the old IL-2 CRT=2 checks and VAC, was hoping that VAC would be more rigorous and thorough? Perhaps it is.

Not a very enthusiastic response to the thread lol, maybe if had titled it with a more incendiary and dramatic tabloid-esque 'Cheating Scum must be Found!!! Can VAC thwart their EVIL PLANS???!!!' or something similarly ridiculous, there may have been more replies. Methinks no one cares, and judging by worldwide MP participation atm, its not really a surprise.

When it does get on its feet and working, I think the fact it was so easily hacked will resurface and there will be more community concern; but the modders are probably having too much fun playing with their ingenious 'Particle displacement Kannonz' and more 'agreeable' performance figures etc....So meh.

Joke btw, I know most modders are honourable and (some) can do great and worthy things for the community.......It's just the completely amoral (and to be fair minority) *bleep* head brigade who worry me at times. Off with their virtual heads!

Last edited by RCAF_FB_Orville; 08-08-2011 at 08:15 PM. Reason: *spelling
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