Community Forums > Games > Other Games > Midtown Madness > Feedback & Comments: Midtown Madness 2 - Anti-Cheat v1.0

Feedback & Comments: Midtown Madness 2 - Anti-Cheat v1.0

 _HoMeR_


Join Date: 8 December 2008
Posts:313
Edited 28 November 2010 - 9:09 pm by _HoMeR_
Please write any improvements that should/could be required in the next iteration of the anti-cheat update.

Any feedback will also be appreciated.

Thanks.

- HoMeR
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 _7_Skeeball_7_


Join Date: 20 November 2009
Posts:26
Edited 29 November 2010 - 12:19 am by _7_Skeeball_7_
EDIT
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 _7_Skeeball_7_


Join Date: 20 November 2009
Posts:26
Edited 29 November 2010 - 12:18 am by _7_Skeeball_7_
EDIT
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 _BBD_Teddy


Join Date: 20 September 2009
Posts:15
Edited 29 November 2010 - 8:28 am by _HoMeR_
In addition, the NAT traversal still isn't finished at this point. NAT Traversal would further make this ANTI-CHEAT, ANTI-CHEAT PROOF by preventing someone getting the host ip address using a system command, taking out Voobly anti-cheat files and patched exe and then rentering or entering the game via TCP/IP. NAT would prevent this by no longer allowing tcp/ip games to be played and, in addition, would make voobly safer by concealing one's ip during gameplay. NAT would also help to attract new players who have trouble opening the ports neccessary to play on Voobly.

GameRanger has NAT. The only thing that I feel is better about GameRanger is it's NAT. GameRanger is safer because of it's NAT. You should finish the NAT on Voobly ASAP if you hope to recruit people from GameRanger or if you would like better bragging rights over GameRanger.





now everyone knows what you dont want them to use... gj skee.... ugh

should have said some of that privately to a mod
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 _7_Skeeball_7_


Join Date: 20 November 2009
Posts:26
Posted 29 November 2010 - 12:23 am
Ok. Thank you.
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 _DoGGy_


Join Date: 22 October 2010
Posts:3
Edited 29 November 2010 - 8:29 am by _HoMeR_
*Suggestion messaged to Developers*
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 _HoMeR_


Join Date: 8 December 2008
Posts:313
Edited 29 November 2010 - 8:31 am by _HoMeR_
Thanks for the suggestion Doggy, Skee. We need feedback like this to improve this program.
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 _7_Skeeball_7_


Join Date: 20 November 2009
Posts:26
Edited 30 November 2010 - 2:45 am by _7_Skeeball_7_
Add another Anti-Cheat feature (i.e. a seperate button in the host settings "Anti-Cheat for Addons"), except this feature allows the host to allow certain .ar file packages, such as cars and other addons the host approves of. Can this feature check for the .ar file for the other players in the room in correspondence with the host, to make sure the .ar files are exactly the same for all players? This feature would also be easier to maintain as opposed to trying to allow every single downloaded, addon car that could potentially lag the game to MM2's goldenfile list.
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 _DoGGy_


Join Date: 22 October 2010
Posts:3
Posted 30 November 2010 - 3:24 am
thats a waste off time IMO when u can just run with AC off
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 _7_Skeeball_7_


Join Date: 20 November 2009
Posts:26
Edited 30 November 2010 - 4:55 am by _7_Skeeball_7_
If you wanted to seriously play a CnR match with downloaded cars, without anybody else using any other additional speed mods, the "Anti-Cheat" for addons, would still be a nice idea. I think the Midtown Madness 2 Modders community from MM2X still might like this idea. Plus, like I said, it would be more convenient in a sense that a host could instantly approve a file of his or her choosing, instead of waiting for approval for the goldenfile lit. I'll add some more on my reply later.

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 HasTheGold_


Join Date: 20 October 2007
Posts:6
Posted 1 December 2010 - 5:24 am
I experienced the anti-cheat feature for the first time today, and found it to be extremely aggravating. I dislike cheaters as much as anyone else, but this feature is unintelligent and mostly creates problems for people who aren't cheaters. Here's what I found.

The bad:
As has already been mentioned, the way anti-cheat was implemented creates a major headache for people like me who have add-ons in their MM2 folder such as NYC, additional car colours, SF/London Racemod. etc. Anti-cheat would be less of a hassle and far more effective if it identified cheaters by scanning the contents of AR files (file signatures), rather than by merely looking at file names.

The ugly:
The dialog box that alerts of an unapproved .ar file in the MM2 directory caused my game window to minimize, and then become stuck in the minimized position even when relaunched. Rebooting fixed it. To give you an idea of my setup: I'm using Windows 7 with dual screens. One is a standard LCD monitor, the other is my TV. Having dual screens has created weirdness with MM2 in the past, as MM2 is an old game and there is no way to select which screen the main window opens on from within the game. When MM2 opens on my computer, both screens blink randomly for about 6 seconds, and it seems like the game is deciding which screen to open on before finally picking my TV (the correct one). If a window opens during this process, such as the anti-cheat alert, the game minimizes and gets stuck that way, even if I kill all instances of MM2 completely and run MM2's redetect video script. By the time I was able to reboot, the game I was trying to join was already in progress.

This would probably not be an issue if the alert was changed to a notification in the taskbar.

Overall:
This feature, in its current form, is not ready for primetime and should be considered a beta release at best. I hope that Voobly doesn't abandon this project or consider it completed as a lot of work still needs to be done. Most importantly, I'm not convinced that it will be an effective tool against cheaters. There are some individuals in this community who have been cheating for years, and in all likelihood they will continue to cheat by circumventing this system. It's well known that some MM2 players cheat by using modified system settings and speeder applications, none of which are blocked by anti-cheat.

I have been playing this game for 10 years, and have always tried to play fair, respect other players, and have fun. I don't accuse people of cheating in games unless it is blatantly obvious that they are, as cheating accusations make this game thoroughly unenjoyable for me. Accusations of cheating fly around all the time on MM2, and in a lot of cases they amount to sour grapes and have no factual basis. The way I see it, anti-cheat is an escalation of the witch hunt against "cheaters" and adds an unnecessary annoyance to legitimate players who are just trying to enjoy the game.

The hassle that anti-cheat creates outweigh the benefit. I'm worried that it will create divisions in our already-small community of players, especially if people like me decide that it isn't worth the hassle and stop joining games with this setting enabled.

I apologize for the long post and hope that we can have intelligent discussion on this issue.
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 _7_Skeeball_7_


Join Date: 20 November 2009
Posts:26
Posted 1 December 2010 - 4:04 pm
Quote:
Anti-cheat would be less of a hassle and far more effective if it identified cheaters by scanning the contents of AR files (file signatures), rather than by merely looking at file names.

The anti-cheat already looks at CRC signatures for the goldenfile list. So, the goldenfile list feature of the anti-cheat does not just look at AR file names.
Quote:
- All golden files are checked by the server to make sure they have not been manipulated or tweaked by performing CRC checks [properly scanning the golden files]
Code:
http://www.voobly.com/forum/thread/30254.
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 HasTheGold_


Join Date: 20 October 2007
Posts:6
Posted 1 December 2010 - 11:56 pm
Golden files are just .AR files in the "Golden List" that Homer posted, which mostly contains pointless shader mods that Homer likes and isn't nearly as extensive as it needs to be. Unless I missed something, CRC verification is not performed on files not in that list, which means that no such verification is performed on .ar files for most addons.

What I was suggesting in my post is for cheats to be identified in a more intelligent way. Rather than just cheating any file that is not on the "Golden List" as a cheat, only files that alter the performance of cars or of the game should be considered cheats.

If we stick with the current system, at the very least, it would be much better if cheaters were identified before launch (not after launch) and given a full list of the .ar files that they need to remove. Not just one at a time. This would make things much easier and eliminate the need for players to remove .AR files in a crunch before the game starts. Players who have disallowed .AR files should simply be prevented from launching.
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 _HoMeR_


Join Date: 8 December 2008
Posts:313
Posted 2 December 2010 - 1:44 am
HTG, before I begin my reply to your comments, I just want you to know that i really appreciate your detailed input here, I wish I could reply to you in a way that would completely satisfy your problem, but you need to realize that there have been some revolutionary developments in a game like MM2 which has never, EVER been supported by its own game-makers. Your whole reply included a lot of critique (which is what we need to improve upon) but, there are certainly a few things that should have been highlighted regardless of having minor (and imo personal) aggravating events. I have a lot of respect for you as you're an old part of this community and I want you to try to understand what I will be writing down here.

I'll try to reply as much as I can, following some supporting comments afterwards.
Quote:
As has already been mentioned, the way anti-cheat was implemented creates a major headache for people like me who have add-ons in their MM2 folder such as NYC, additional car colours, SF/London Racemod. etc. Anti-cheat would be less of a hassle and far more effective if it identified cheaters by scanning the contents of AR files (file signatures), rather than by merely looking at file names.
I agree it's a hassle initially for people with multiple files in the folder, but to have a competitive game & to prevent cheaters from 'ruining' the competitive game, I think the tradeoff of "a few clicks" is - from a competitor's standpoint - not much of a hassle. The suggestion was given initially to the developer to create a window where HOSTS can actually choose which files would be allowed for the game which one's wont, but, the whole point behind having an anti-cheat program is to prevent people from using anything at all, again, for a competitive environment. Whatever you have pointed out here, we can only add those activities to our 'fun/leisure' category: "playing different games with different cities/cars" especially when it comes to playing MM2 - where we don't have a lot of people to play with anymore. And, if you want specific car-colours to be added into the 'golden list' - you can post it here, or forward the files directly to the developer [UB]Elusive, and can have it added on after testing/approval. A selection of modified files were provided to developer, the main reason why they weren't included to check is because if you can just try to think outside the box: apart from checking the 4 main .ar files in the game that are required for it to RUN, why should the system even bother and waste bandwidth to verify on each and every existing file in the folder? It's inefficient and unnecessary.
Quote:
The dialog box that alerts of an unapproved .ar file in the MM2 directory caused my game window to minimize, and then become stuck in the minimized position even when relaunched. Rebooting fixed it. To give you an idea of my setup: I'm using Windows 7 with dual screens. One is a standard LCD monitor, the other is my TV. Having dual screens has created weirdness with MM2 in the past, as MM2 is an old game and there is no way to select which screen the main window opens on from within the game. When MM2 opens on my computer, both screens blink randomly for about 6 seconds, and it seems like the game is deciding which screen to open on before finally picking my TV (the correct one). If a window opens during this process, such as the anti-cheat alert, the game minimizes and gets stuck that way, even if I kill all instances of MM2 completely and run MM2's redetect video script. By the time I was able to reboot, the game I was trying to join was already in progress.
This would probably not be an issue if the alert was changed to a notification in the taskbar.
This, I think, is a system-issue. I know what you're trying to point out here though, the notification of being "kicked" messes around with your system setup. Again, focus, "your" system setup.
If there is another way to notify the user of this notification, it will be looked after in the next release, or as you said, system should scan the file before the game launches.

Quote:
Most importantly, I'm not convinced that it will be an effective tool against cheaters. There are some individuals in this community who have been cheating for years, and in all likelihood they will continue to cheat by circumventing this system. It's well known that some MM2 players cheat by using modified system settings and speeder applications, none of which are blocked by anti-cheat.
I agree, about individuals cheating for years and for some who won't stop cheating, but I don't think you are looking beyond your personal issues here. If you find someone circumventing with the system, find out, share the knowledge and Voobly will make sure its dealt with. System settings is an issue that has been dealt with in this iteration, the biggest one is V-sync issue. Did you try testing it out? Please let us know if you find any bugs. As for speeder applications, I'm really looking into it, trust me that's something that has been on my mind too, and it will be one of the main things to tackle in the next version.
Quote:
The way I see it, anti-cheat is an escalation of the witch hunt against "cheaters" and adds an unnecessary annoyance to legitimate players who are just trying to enjoy the game.
In what sense do you mean here (I'd like to know)? I think the community fell apart due to lack of support in the first place, I think this is exactly what this broken community needed. It creates another spark, another reason to play, and yeah argue but that's part of competitive games in the first place. If there's no spark, then any game would get boring. I also would like to mention, that partially I do agree with your statement but that can be applied to a community that's huge, but to an already broken up small community, this strengthens up their game, it gives people a reason to play, & accept defeat a lot better than assuming that a win has been achieved out of cheating.
Quote:
The hassle that anti-cheat creates outweigh the benefit. I'm worried that it will create divisions in our already-small community of players, especially if people like me decide that it isn't worth the hassle and stop joining games with this setting enabled.
The hassles that you've pointed are based on the things that you've experienced, and not the 30+ people that I've been playing with for the past 2-4 days. None of them pointed out anything that you have so far, that makes you a unique case. Unique cases, unfortunately, have to compromise, or bring up the issues (which you did) - so in the end I'll tell you that we will try to address the issues that were presented here, if they are feasible they will be added, if not, please work with the system as we all need to stick together in this community that we have at the moment. You can always disable A/C and play the game whatever way you want.

We have played this game for more than a decade without any sense of security and protection from cheaters, we've had fights, we've had very good games and we basically assumed those games to be fair and square, we didn't have any guarantee if everyone was 'clean' at those times. Now is the time when we can actually say and prove with factual evidence that sufficient (if not all) security is provided to have a protected and competitive game - why not enjoy that certain aspect of the whole experience?

Ofcourse improvements are needed, required, and should be pointed out all the time, but appreciation of the system should also be given after a decade worth of no support & protection from such things.
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 HasTheGold_


Join Date: 20 October 2007
Posts:6
Posted 2 December 2010 - 2:38 am
I agree with most of what you said, Homer, and I really do appreciate any efforts that you can make to improve anti-cheat. I half expected you to defend the software and question the legitimacy or importance of the concerns that I raised, but you seem to be keeping an open mind about my criticism and have answered each point that I made fairly. Thank you.

To be honest, I was really angry by my initial encounter with anti-cheat, as the host of the game didn't indicate that she had enabled it, I didn't know that it had been released, and I had to do a lot of configuration changes to make it work properly. I didn't actually get to play as a result of this.

Now that I'm aware of the limitations, it should be easier for me to avoid receiving anti-cheat alerts by maintaining a "clean" MM2 folder. I'll probably just write a simple script that adds and removes the relevant .ar files to the MM2 folder as needed, which should make things easier for me.

Some of the things I mentioned are still important to me though. Especially:

1. Adding a feature that informs "cheaters" that they will not be able to join the game before the host launches.

2. Changing anti-cheat alert so that a list of all unapproved .ar files found on the user's system are listed in one place. The list could even be written to a separate log file, as long as the alert explains where to look for it.

3. Expand the golden list so that commonly-used .ar modifications, such as additional cities, are allowed. I don't expect every possible add-on and car to be added, as this would require a massive list and would mostly be a waste of time. However, it would be great if the most popular stuff could be added.

I will submit some suggestions for the golden list soon.


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