MW3 = a great game BUT it’s going to get ruined by cheaters (to my personal opinion –> am I alone with this thought?).
Surprisingly there are tons of Threads about VAC, Punkbuster and many other Anti-Cheat-Systems in almost all game forums. For example UPlay Forum (these guys getting better and better!), where lots of users discuss about Anti-Cheat-Methods of FarCry3 -> use with Steam (VAC) / use with UPlay (Punkbuster). Also many other thoughts about known Anti-Cheat Systems like Warden Client (Blizzard), GameGuard (INCA Internet Co., Ltd.), ESLwire (ESL) etc.
Since almost every 3th thread in steam Forum and many Threads in this Forum contains VAC complains, I like to start a discussion about Anti-Cheat-Systems in this specific game. MW3 seems to have the highest amounts of complaints about cheaters compared to all other Steam Game Forums (even the WarZ got less = what a great release)! What do you people out there think about the existing AC-Systems and which one is the best method to get rid of cheaters (at least of the Check-Internet-for-3Min-and-find-free-cheats-cheaters)?
Since MW3 only got VAC here some basic Information (to best of my knowledge) about the Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC):
VAC is an anti-cheat solution developed by Valve Corporation as a component of the Steam Game Development Platform. It was first released with Counter-Strike 1.4 in 2002 (by the way, any here remember WON?
When the software detects a cheat on a players system, it will ban them in the future, possibly days or weeks after the original detection. It may kick players from the game if it detects errors in their system's memory or hardware. No information such as date of detection or type of cheat detected is disclosed to the player.
During one week of November 2006, the system detected over 9.000 cheating attempts (unconfirmed information)
As of 2012, it is estimated that over 1.5 million Steam accounts have been banned by VAC
As of 2013, it is used in over 60 games on Steam
(check here: http://vacbanned.com/view/statistics )
There are at least 10 known instances of the system kicking or banning for FALSE Detections. Most notably in July 2010, approximately 12,000 owners of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 were falsely banned. Gave in person apologized and gifted each innocent gamer 2x Left4Dead2. (check here: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1380803. Also, a Trojaner called SpyEye was detected as Cheat which results in the above bans, which were reversed. Bad enough for these poor souls since this Trojaner was collecting online-banking information.
VAC History and the persons behind it:
Ban time increased over the years: 2002 during its initial release, it only banned players for 24 hours. Later players were banned for 1 year and 5 years, until 2005 when any new bans became permanent. (check: http://vacbanned.com/static/informations)
VAC 1 saw success for a period, but in March or April 2004 updates ran dry as the Valve engineers maintaining it moved on to the production of its successor, VAC2.
Eric Smith and Nick Shaffner was the original contacts for game administrators. In February 2010, the VAC Team consisted of Steam's lead engineer John Cook and his team of 16 engineers. (check: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valve_Anti-Cheat)
Function of VAC:
Basically there are at least two methods used by VAC: The Textstring-Method and the Fingerprint-Method! Unconfirmed rumors saying there are between 3 and 4 VAC updates each year. For understandable reasons Valve will not disclosure more information.
During the early testing phase in 2002, some information was revealed about the program via the HLDS mailing lists. It can detect versions of "OGC's OpenGl Hack", OpenGL cheats, and also detects CD key changers as cheats. RAM/hardware errors detected by VAC may kick the player from the server, but not ban them.
The software sends client challenges to the machine, if the appropriate response is not received, it is flagged as a possible violation. It uses heuristics to detect possible cheats when scanning the computers memory, an incident report is created whenever an anomaly is detected, which is then analyzed by Valve's engineers. The engineers inspect the code and may also run it on their own copies of the game. If the code is confirmed as a cheat, it is added to the database of cheat codes. New detections are also compared to previous detections in this database.
According to Steam's lead engineer John Cook, to stop the anti-cheat software itself from being exploited, "The software is constantly updated and sent down in small portions for the servers as needed, so hackers only get to see small portions of it running on any particular time. So while they may be able to work around pieces of it, they can never hack everything (check: http://spectrum.ieee.org/consumer-electronics/gaming/steamed-valve-software-batt les-videogame-cheaters)
Valve also accepts submissions of cheat programs and cheat websites from players through the official Steam Forums. Players may also report players they suspect of cheating through their Steam Community profile, although players are not banned from these reports alone (check: https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=7849-Radz-6869&l=english#rep ort)
Spending long nights in different forums and being aware of CoD MW3 Fan projects like NXGen-Cheater Database plus getting killed through walls myself far too often, I came to my personal conclusion the BEST way for an successful Anti-Cheater System might be:
Let the community decide!
Let the gamer, the steam user, INSIDE the game decide and give us, the pc game buyers, the possibility (with one/two clicks) to submit to the formal voting!!! The majority of the gamers, actual playing in this specific game lobby, shall be able to make a quick and democratic decision while playing! So not only one or two low wannabe cheater(s) can ruin the game for all other players! Cheaters should be kicked off the lobby then and the cheater-report goes direct to the VAC System.
But keep in mind, first in Line are the game developers (Activision/IWNet=MW2/3/4<-will use VAC again?) to make a change possible!
By the way, you will find this thought about Anti-Cheat-Systems also at the Steam forum!
What do you think?