Aimbot rage - where are the devs looking?

Just want to explain some basic things about shooters and PC platform.

It’s impossible to guarantee players won’t be able to use aimbots on PC ever and it has nothing to do with the devs.

1. How aimbots work

Everything that’s happening on your screen is roughly speaking sits in your computer’s memory. In order to draw an enemy character within the 3D-world the game naturally has to know that enemy’s coordinates within the world. So it keeps them in memory and whatever’s in memory can be accessed by anything else on your computer - for example, another program that will imitate mouse movements to get precise aim for you.

2. Isn't there a way to circumvent this?

Short answer: Nope. Just contain some of it.

Long answer:

The best you can have is what you have in the virus-antivirus world. I remember having an anti-virus application in Microsoft DOS back in 90s and we still have viruses and anti-viruses 25 years later.

How do anti-viruses work and why is it relevant? Well, a virus (or, broadly speaking, a malicious something) comes to the knowledge of an anti-virus company. (Please note that I say “comes to the knowledge”. The said virus could’ve been quietly doing its evil work for several years prior to that.) The AV company writes code that will know how to detect the virus and then everyone checks their computer for it and the virus becomes largely extinct. Until its code is changed by its creators so that the AVs won’t be able to detect it anymore.

So what anti-viruses do is outbreak containment. They don’t and can’t prevent bad stuff from happening. It’s always like this:

  • Bad stuff happens
  • People run AV for damage control, but bad stuff already happened anyway

All of this looks similar to … right, criminal activity and the police work, and that’s been happening since the other oldest profession in the world. You can’t eradicate criminals but if you work hard you can lower it to a minimum. And the best tools to combat crime is

  • Inevitability of punishment
  • Creating conditions where it simply cannot happen (studied by criminology)

We don’t have criminal liability for griefing other people on the internet, but #2 is something we can use.

The point being: neither crime nor viruses can be prevented completely and both have been around for a long time. It’s not getting better and if you understand this and isn’t getting your hopes high you won’t be disappointed.

Aimbot/anti-hacking is in the same boat as virus/anti-virus. As an anti-virus can only save you from a known virus so is anti-hacking mechanism can only save you from known aimbot code (basically the game comes with a specialised anti-virus, for example PunkBuster).

3. But PlayStation doesn't have hackers!

Short answer: special hardware with physical intrusion protection.

Long answer:

PC is pretty much an open hardware / software platform. That’s why you can do anything, access anything.

PlayStation is another matter entirely. It’s a closed platform so you can’t run arbitrary programs on it, and an aimbot is exactly that: some arbitrary piece of code created by third-party.

Well, what’s the difference, why can’t we have this closed thingy on PC? Ah, because it won’t be a PC anymore. PC lets you run anything and PlayStation is a totalitarian regime where you can only run stuff verified and approved by Sony. For your own good, obviously.

Theoretically PS can be hacked too, but the cost of that is so high it would take a dedicated laboratory with expensive equipment and very specific specialists with millions of dollars of budget.

I believe the PC industry attempted something similar called “Trusted Computing” and I do know the TC chips come on many motherboards today and you probably don’t even know that, but the software isn’t catching up. Not sure it’s even theoretically possible, for many reasons.

4. Why a PunkBuster-similar guard program is not enough?

It tries to watch over what’s happening with your software. Great, but what’s stopping a hacker from writing his own program that will turn such guard off? Lemme tell you: nothing. It’s not that simple, but it’s what it comes down to. Well you say, can’t you create some special program for Windows that will be super-important and Windows won’t let any other program touch it? Nope. This is only possible for closed platforms (see above).

5. Isn't there anything we can do?

Short answer: Nothing, except adjust game mechanics to make aiming either not that significant or too complicated for computer programs to do.

Long answer:

In cryptography, asymmetric encryption algorithms work on the idea that some mathematical problems are very difficult to solve and while humanity doesn’t know how to solve them quickly and/or doesn’t have enough computing power to just brute-force a solution in a short time span, our banking accounts are safe and protected.

Same thing with internet services protecting themselves from bots based on the problems that are hard for computers to solve, that is - image recognition. Hello annoying Captcha, I’m talking about you. You pick something that human brain does easily but is really hard for computers and there’s your protection.

I’m thinking maybe something similar can be done to FPS games, but have no idea what exactly.

For example the slower your bullets move the more useless aimbot becomes, and I believe that’s what Gearbox is doing. It annoys players but it’s an aimbot countermeasure (that somewhat, just somewhat helps).

In World of Tanks for example aimbots and wallhacks are useless.

  1. Wallhacks are impossible because since it’s a slow-paced game the server only really tells its client about enemy positions when they are “spotted” so a wallhack program wouldn’t know who’s where because it’s not in computer memory at all. You can’t have that in FPS since everyone moves much faster and you’ll be getting noticeable visual lag, not to mention it would put a huge load on the servers since they should be calculating whether there’s a single pixel of an enemy player in your camera view or not, to decide whether to tell you see a player or not and hence draw it in 3D-world.

  2. Aimbots are useless because of significant gun inaccuracy. Also you can’t simply point and shoot because you have to think whether you can penetrate this particular armor plate at this particular angle. Also 5 to 15 second reload time. Also slowly-moving turret. It’s just pointless. Whatever an aimbot could’ve done you could do it yourself.

In Battleborn enemies disappear from minimap if you’re not engaging them, so maybe Gearbox is trying to hide enemy coordinates from the game clients, but I’m not sure it’s not just a minimap feature.

6. Summary
  • Play on closed platforms (PS)
  • Play games with non-traditional shooting mechanics
  • Play coop games, not pvp



You forgot the fact that this game is server authoritative, which means that if a cheater is caught (by whatever means), the server can simply refuse to let them connect.

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I’ve never had a problem with aimbot, and I’ve never seen anyone complain about aimbot.

Had a marquis on the enemy team that was too consistent to not be using something. It felt very similar to what I saw on a youtube video. There were times when he could only have hit me through the smallest crevice in the center bridge after I had been out of sight for a couple seconds as soon as I move he hits me. I’m pretty sure if I knew marquis better I could have told you how much attack speed gear he was using the hits were so consistent.

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Good chance that a invisible Hoodni was nearby but I can’t prove you right or wrong.

The important thing isn’t what you didn’t see, but what others have been seeing. Google Battleborn aimbot.

I just didn’t think banning was important to mention. I’m certain some kids (just some of them) don’t have money to purchase another copy of the game, but adults surely do, so you know.

So in all seriousness you assume that people who got cheating and permantly banned, go and buy another copy, and repeat for everytime they get caught?

High unlikely I would say, but then it wouldnt fit into your dooming and glooming.

Not everytime, but yeah they do. And it’s only if they get caught.

Just because you close your eyes it doesn’t get dark outside.

First you go from ‘some kids, but just some’ cant afford it, but adults, implies the majority of caught cheaters will rebuy the game. Now ‘not everytime’. Actually you seem to agree to me.

Also I would dare to claim the minority of caught cheaters will rebuy the game. And if they do, they at least compensate Gearbox for the damage they caused in a way : )

Quote: “I just didn’t think banning was important to mention.” To me you come across pretty smug and clinging to be right all the time.

We can only assume.

The main problem is psychological, when in every pvp game seeing someone with a hitscan weapon doing suspicously overly well you’ll always be wondering whether it’s a cheater, because you can never be sure of the contrary. This is my entire point. You can’t prevent it, there is always a chance, it has to do with the PC platform and will always be here. So posting threads like “look at this guy aimbotting, where are the devs looking?” make no sense. Devs do everything they can, but on PC we’re always talking containment, not putting it out of existence.

Toxicity still remains.

What does that have to do with anything? Like the mods say all the time, discuss the game, not other people. If you think I’m wrong you can always specify where exactly and we’ll have a discussion. That’s what reasonable people do.

Played yesterday against a Marquis with consistent headshots that went 23-0, had a Marquis in my team who went 19-0. Just now I played against an Oscar Mike that went 20-0… funny how I am only seeing this with the sniper/shooter players that seem to benefit from this hack.

If winning means playing with an Aimbot cheat then this game’s competitive environment is dead and I’ve just wasted 60 bucks. Might as well just delete all the other characters and keep a couple of them around that work with this aimbot.

I suspected Gearbox has a way to tell how many critical hits a player achieves and compare that to the rest of the players and check for any unusual activity. Coupled with a reporting system for suspected cheaters.

You have to understand hacking is possible (and does happen) in every PC shooter game - Battlefield, Counter-Strike, Overwatch, Battleborn - take your pick. There are two ways to go about this problem for us players:

  1. Either seriously move to PlayStation or,
  2. Lay back and think of your homeland; in other words, just enjoy the game trying to ignore people who might (you can’t prove it immediately) be cheaters.

Like I said. There should be statistical software from Gearbox servers that look for inconsistencies. Spikes in critical head shots that fall of the standard deviation, etc. It is true you have gifted players out there but you should not see a spike in these numbers all of a sudden. These accounts should be penalized if caught and they should be if Gearbox wants this to work. I’ve done my part in reporting a couple of players on Steam although I guess this is just a drop of water in the ocean.

I don’t care about other games and their cheaters. I care about the game I spent 60 dollars on right now that is currently being tainted by this ■■■■■■■■. The fact that you believe in having consolation that cheating is widely done is no consolation at all. I never played any of the other games and don’t really care for them.

TLDR: Yeah it would be cool if Gearbox posted reports about how many cheaters were detected and banned.

I mentioned other games just to show that these problems affect all games, and that’s not because other games’ devs are retards or something, but because it’s technologically impossible to prevent aimbotting or reliably detect it. You’re saying about deviations and stuff, but aimbotting wasn’t invented yesterday and the aimbot programs, from what I heard, are very clever - there are kinds that will help you to be good, but not excessively so.

Having said that, I’m sure Gearbox, like all the other game studios, are working on detection mechanisms, coming up with various heuristics (and we’re not even talking false positive rate), but however hard they try, there will always be people who’ll expect the game to be free of cheating, which is wrong. You can only compare levels of cheating between two games, like you compare crime rate between two cities.

You can’t for example seriously expect to buy a tour, arrive at the destination and say hey I paid $500 for this trip, why the hell are local police claim there are car thieves in the city?

It’s a psychological problem and should be dealt with psychologically: calm players down with reports about many were detected, banned, etc.

P.S. Back in 1996 or so when people still used Fidonet and played multiplayers games via landline modems I remember there was one guy who called me on the phone and asked whether I wanted to help him test something. We had a small (relative to present day numbers) Fidonet community of DOOM II players who sometimes called each other to play a deathmatch, so this guy wanted a match of DOOM and I didn’t even know him presonally, we started the map and he completely oblitirated me with his godlike machine gun and you could see he was 100% accurate at any point during the game. After the match I called him back and asked what’s up and he said oh, I just wrote an Aimbot in assembler and wanted someone to test it out with. The point is aimbotting is physically older than some of the people who play shooters and that should tell something.

By the way, the solution might be coming from an unexpected direction:

But this would only truly be possible when everyone’s internet gets much, much better.

Cheating happens in all pc games its too wide open of a platform for it not to. Hopefully it’s fairly rare because penalties exist to remove offenders and as deterrents. I reported the guy that I suspected and moved on to the next game. I acknowledge he may have just been very good but the regularity of the shots coming in on the small hitbox character I was playing was a bit too common.

could not a counter measure to check if some one is using a aimbot is they can aim to inhuman, to precis. the game can monitor the mouse movement and how accurate it can stay locked on someone’s head even if there behind a wall because you should not be able to track some one behind a wall

This is why I only play competitive multiplayer games on a console. Even without aimbot there’s too much unequal play going on with the PC. To really be competitive you need top notch hardware, a gaming mouse, a good desk situation, a gaming keyboard can help in certain games, and so on… Then of course you have the huge possibility for cheating using outside software.

With consoles everyone’s on equal footing for the most part. The only variable there is your internet connection.

I thought aimbots move the reticle. If thats the case, wouldn’t mouse input information be lower than in game reticle movement?

Also their is a small amount of aim assit current in the game which is pointless.

Finally, isnt all the player location information server side? I would think it would be possible to limit client side access to server but I would state clearly right now my ignorance on the subject is quite vast. :slight_smile: