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