Author Topic: Is hacking/cheating possible in CryoFall?  (Read 197 times)

ai_enabled

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Is hacking/cheating possible in CryoFall?
« on: November 13, 2018, 12:25:40 am »
TL;DR:
No, hacks are NOT possible in CryoFall as it uses authoritative-server model and any client-side changes are irrelevant.


And now, the longer version below:

The issue
Some players have asked us about potential hacking/cheating in CryoFall. Whether it is possible and what our approach is.


The bigger picture
Such concerns are expected nowadays - there are multitude broken online games released in the past few years. If fact, cheating is almost expected in multiplayer / online games nowadays. And even big successful games like Fortnite and PUBG are suffering from cheaters and their developers are even suing the cheaters. Mass-blocking the accounts of players suspected in cheating is something people are already used to.

Naturally, why would anyone expect a new indie project from a small team to be any different? But in reality the above mentioned problem doesn't have to be the case!


The simple reality
We're using authoritative server architecture which means that the server never trusts the client - it simply executes a limited set of allowed input commands and runs its own world simulation.

Normally this approach means that the client will have to wait for any changes to take effect but in our case the latency is concealed by using the client side prediction algorithms (basically client-side simulation for player movement and most of the actions including items management).

The server also doesn't send any information the client which it should not be receiving. For example, your visual scope is limited by server and attempting to hack the client to zoom out the camera more will provide no benefits as the server simply doesn't stream the world objects and characters outside the visual scope of your character on the server side. It means that the "map hack" (or any other hacks for that matter) not impossible.


Benefits of open source
Please also note, that all the game-related code is fully open source and its possible to see how everything is done and understand how it actually works.

It also means that any person could try to locate the places where we might have forgotten to put some necessary checks (which is quite unlikely, but could still be the case). There are dozens of remote procedures (such as "eat food") and we have multiple checks there to ensure that you met all the prerequisites to invoke such an action for the particular item in your current character's state.

As the code is available in open source it means that there will be many eyes reviewing the code and reporting any of the possible exploits - something which could never be possible with a closed source game.


Hacking attempts
Since the game has full support for client side modding it is possible to make any client-side changes. Some "hackers" may be impressed by the "results" they get with their attempts - like increasing their health points, weapon fire rate, inventory capacity or setting the technologies unlock price to zero.

But naturally, such changes could not be propagated to the server as it has its own persistent state inaccessible to players and running independent world simulation with it. There will be a discrepancy with the server and that's it - the server will not agree to the hacker's actions and they will have no actual effect what so ever.

The only one such "hacks" will fool is the hacker himself :)


Is there ANY hacks/exploits that are possible then?
This leaves us with really only one class of exploits which are still technically possible and that is bots and aimbots to assist players with the game. Yes, it's perfectly possible to write a bot that would automate certain action (e.g. gathering items) or assist in performing other actions (aiming).

Yes, these types of mods are possible and we neither could nor want to prevent this. The game is moddable to the maximum extent possible and there is no way of preventing this kind of modding without removing the modding capability altogether. But given real impact of such modifications there isn't much actual harm. Not to mention - all of these mods are available publicly and could be used by anyone. And we are even considering making some of them a part of the base game to remove the last reason to even attempt to do something like that.


Conclusion
The bottom line is, there is really no possibility for cheats in CryoFall due the authoritative server model we are using. Hopefully with this approach - CryoFall could be one of the very few games where there are no cheaters and everyone plays under the same rules! :)

Regards!
« Last Edit: November 13, 2018, 01:37:02 am by Lurler »