There’s nothing worse than going on a tear in Counter-Strike, only to get gunned down by some asshole who’s spinning around, one-tapping everybody. He’s obviously cheating. Why hasn’t he been caught? According to Valve, it’s complicated, but they’re working on a new system to bust fun-killers.
First, here’s the reason Valve hasn’t augmented their Overwatch (not to be confused with the game) anti-cheat system—which has qualified players review reports of suspected cheaters after the fact—with auto-detection software for obvious cheats like spinbots:
“Some bad news,” said Valve on Reddit. “Any hard-coded detection of spin-botting leads to an arms race with cheat developers–if they can find the edges of the heuristic you’re using to detect the cheat, the problem comes back.”
Valve’s solution? Machine learning. Reason being, machine learning, unlike other automated solutions, isn’t static. It’s a kind of AI that parses data and, well, learns from it over time, adapting its behaviors in the process.
So, why isn’t this system busting every cheater already? Because it’s extremely complicated in a game like Counter-Strike.
“The process of parsing, training, and classifying player data places serious demands on hardware, which means you want a machine other than the server doing the work,” explained Valve. “And because you don’t know ahead of time who might be using this kind of cheat, you’d have to monitor matches as they take place, from all ten players’ perspectives.”
“There are over a million CS:GO matches played every day, so to avoid falling behind you’d need a system capable of parsing and processing every demo of every match from every player’s perspective, which currently means you’d need a datacenter capable of powering thousands of cpu cores,” Valve added.
All that said, an early version of the system is currently in the game, and it’s apparently already yielding results. “The good news is that we’ve started this work,” said Valve. “An early version of the system has already been deployed and is submitting cases to Overwatch. Since the results have been promising, we’re going to continue this work and expand the system over time.”
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