Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cheater Cheater, bug eater.

We had our first cheater! Yay!! Its actually not a big deal, its a friend of ours.

The conversation around the table Friday night was very pleasant, and made even more fluid by the presence of our good friends Gin, Bourbon, and Captain Morgan. As Drew and I discussed how things were "at work" with our mutual friend Pad, who hosts our domain on his lovely hosting system, Pad got that evil gleam in his eyes.

Its worth telling you that Pad once had that gleam in his eye a long time ago when we played a game called Everquest. It was truly a trend setting game, one that quickly fell off the radar of most self respecting MMO players. During the time we played it though he told me of a cheating program called ShowEQ which I then got heavily addicted to. I recall that look in his eye then too. Maybe it was the challenge, maybe it was just the fun of rampaging across a zone on a PVP server, I don't know really.

Today Pad played one of our puzzle games and got over a hundred thousand points. The highest score to date has been five thousand. It was fairly clear he was cheating, and then of course we had a good long discussion about it.

I mention it on the blog because its something that weighs heavy on the overtaxed minds of game developers. In multiplayer games, where there is clearly a winner, people will cheat. Its right up there in with piracy. How do you stop cheaters and video game pirates and hackers?

The answer is really easy: you don't. You simply cannot. You might as well try to stop that cheese in the fridge from growing mold. Oh yes you can wrap it in a bag, seal it airtight, trim the edges at the first sign of peril, and then eventually find that your cheese is still moldy but sleep well knowing you gave it the devil before you threw in the towel. Devil cheese. I think I just created a new game...

Anywho its not possible to stop them, all you can do is hinder them. Make it so hard to cheat that its just not worth it, and then make your detection of cheaters good enough to spot them when they do it. Detecting is usually much easier than prevention, since prevention is impossible.

As for piracy, I should be so lucky that pirates start distributing my installer on their new fangled file sharing servers. That would save me the bandwidth. haha

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