How I Would Fix Cheating in Destiny 2

My Bona Fides

Your first thought on reading that was probably “why should I give a flying… fig… what this guy thinks about how to fix cheaters in Destiny?” Well, I’ve worked in the game industry since 1999, both on game teams and support systems, although most of my work has been on back end systems. I used to work on an MMO (Ultima Online) and dealt with a lot of cheating there (although it wasn’t an action game). My one presentation at GDC, a paper called “Dupes, Speedhacks and Black Holes,” was specifically about the types of cheats players engaged in, and how we dealt with them.

The Nature of the Problem

Destiny 2 (rightfully) moved their physics simulation into their own data centers. P2P was the only way to go back in the day, but the internet is getting better, thank glob, and while it was great they could schlep randos together grouped by geographic location, that doesn’t help when I (in Austin) am playing with clanmates from Seattle and Orlando.

So What’s the Answer, O Wise One?

What I would do, in their shoes, is not try to catch cheaters in real-time. I’m making two assumptions here that I think are true, though I certainly could be wrong:

  1. It’s not necessary to catch an instance of cheating as it’s happening, as long as players know cheaters are being caught and removed.
  2. It’s not necessary to catch every single cheater, so long as enough are getting caught that it deters casual cheating.
AWS diagram theme from draw.io, which is awesome.

Oh, and One More Thing

This system could also be leveraged for playbacks, which would be nice for generating footage of great plays from multiple angles. Handy for, say, a game intended to be a competitive e-sport meant for streaming. Hint hint.

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Tim Keating

Tim Keating

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Tim Keating is a Senior Software Engineer at Indeed.com. He has been developing software, and talking about developing software, for a long, long time.