> What if he's just a savant (at video games)? Then he'd be exceptional, to the point where it would look, to an observer, like a cheater.
No, not really. Anti-cheat software has never and probably will never work that way.
It checks things that are easily verifiable.
For example; some anti-cheat software will:
- Look for programs running in the background that are known to be used in cheating. That is, if software shows your running "CheatBox.exe -MapHacking" than you might be a cheater
- Also checks checksum of files. Cheats modify files/code to do things not intended. Obviously if the checksum doesn't match what you released and something that is not allowed to change then you might have a cheater on your hands.
- False conditions for achievements. There are known xbox cheats that will get online only achievements while offline. Hrm, I don't know how a savant is so good that he can play with online friends when his internet is down?
- Achievement push. If you get 200 different achievements in the exact same millisecond; that is suspecting no? Also most of these will be false conditions too (see above). How can you be "Flying High", "Running Fast" and "Diving Low" at the same moment in time?
- Logic checks. For example in one of our games you can only get 20 strength max though legit means. In fact, even if there is a bug in one of our items to give you 21 then the client will auto correct it back to 20. Obviously if someone logs into the server and we have a modified packet (checksum doesn't match) saying that their str is 40; well, we probably have a cheater.
- Look for cheats. We had a problem that allowed users to execute certain server commands though the console that would give them unfair advantages. Obviously we fixed it, but we also put logging in to record any cheaters still trying to abuse it.
- Looking for cheats 2. We log a bunch of stuff. We also have an automated server process that parses/processes current and old logs. For example, recently we put in a trigger that'll flag anyone who gains more than X amount of XP in Y time. It'll flag it and an admin will look into it. Gaining 100 xp in 4 seconds. Quote possible. Gaining 200 xp in 2 seconds? Maybe, but very suspect; could be really good. Gaining 400 xp in 1 second? Well, let's look into it. Ok, this player some how got 2 different quests at the same time from different NPCs that are in different towns even though he didn't meet the quest requirements. HRM.
- Action checking. If the max theoretical speed a character can run is 17 mph in your game and you have someone running 40; then you might have a cheater. No matter how good that kid is, he can't be running faster than 17 mph unless he has 1) Found a bug 2) Exploiting a bug 3) Using a cheat 4) Problems in recording speed.