Encapsulating

A word on cheating

My final year project focuses on implementing anti-cheat systems in an emulated DMG-01 (Gameboy). This has me thinking about cheating and how it’s impossible to cheat on cloud-based (OnLive) gaming platforms. Or is it? While the idea of a silver bullet in the cheating arena might sound good, it is an illusive notion. Cheaters and cheating in games will always exist, even if you migrate the computation of the game and graphics from the local machine to a remote box.

My initial thoughts were one of euphoria, no more modification or reading of game memory. No more code injections or dodgy DLLs to give users advantages in games. This was going to be great, but then OnLive didn’t get big, and I thought about cheating on cloud-based platforms some more..

While an agent interested in cheating on a cloud-based game could not modify or read the game at an assembly level, it would still still possible to ‘see’ the game. That is, cheating on cloud-based platforms would still be possible through the use of pixel scanning. If an agent used pixel scanning to determine the state of the game, some types of cheats could still exist (aimbots being the prime example (not quite like the YouTube video, because the aimbot wouldn’t be able to ‘see’ through walls, but you get the basic idea)). It could also be argued that detecting cheaters on a cloud platforms would become more difficult, as no game code would be modified. It may become necessary to implement an anti-cheat system in the thin-client which is used to display the game and thus, we’re back to that cat and mouse game the developers and hackers play.

No silver bullet here – move along.

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