CS:GO Developer Recommends Valve’s Three Anti-Cheat Tools

CS:GO Developer Recommends Valve's Three Anti-Cheat Tools

Valve remains in a constant battle with cheaters and hackers. The developer is yet to find the most effective system that can eliminate cheaters in CS:GO yet. But based on a previous report from John McDonald, the head developer of CS:GO, the game’s Overwatch system, Trust Factor, and VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat) can all work together to achieve success.

Trust Factor and VAC are already out in the open, but the Overwatch system remains a mystery to new and regular players. Overwatch is not the team-based shooter game developed by Blizzard Entertainment. CS:GO’s Overwatch, according to Valve, is “an in-game replay review system that lets the CS:GO community regulate itself by allowing qualified and experienced members of the community, called ‘Investigators’.”

These Overwatch investigators review reports of disruptive behavior, determine whether those reports are valid, and apply temporary bans if appropriate. They are selected based on their CS:GO activity and account standing. Some factors include:

  • Competitive wins
  • Account age
  • Hours played
  • Skill group
  • Low report count

McDonald already presented the potentials of Overwatch combined with VAC and Trust Factor before. In a conference report, he said:

“What would happen is you would see a thread pop up on the Steam Community Forums where someone would say ‘CSGO is filled with cheaters.” We would go [and find the user’s trust score] and [they’d] be tied to 50 accounts, and 49 of them have bans for cheating.”

McDonald also emphasized that Trust Factor doesn’t actually stop players from cheating. Instead, it collects players whom the system deemed most likely to cheat together and group them as one. This prevents cheaters from destroying games for clean players.

The Overwatch system can make up for the shortcomings of Trust Factor. McDonald’s idea was to use Overwatch verdicts as a “pool of data” to come up with VACnet, a then proposed deep learning anti-cheat feature. VACnet can give additional player reports and allow CS:GO to choose random matches and specific Overwatch cases.

For more information about how the system works, you can watch the full Game Developers Conference (GDC) presentation of John McDonald on YouTube.