Valve created AI to detect and ban cheaters in Counter Strike


    In its war against cheaters, Valve decided to use an AI to detect unfair advantages.


    There are few things as frustrating as meeting a cheater in a competetive shooter. There isn’t much “normal” people can do about it, but to report them. But as some of those cheats are quite ridiculus and obvious (like spinbots), a reddit user raised the question why those player’s haven’t been banned yet.

    “So some bad news: any hard-coded detection of spin-botting leads to an arms race with cheat developers – if they can find the edges of the heuristic you’re using to detect the cheat, the problem comes back,” Valve answered.

    But now the company armed their anti cheat software with machine lerning. The AI can learn over time, adapting its strategies. Still, it’s a pretty laborious process to implement such a software in games like Counter Strike.

    “The process of parsing, training, and classifying player data places serious demands on hardware, which means you want a machine other than the server doing the work. And because you don’t know ahead of time who might be using this kind of cheat, you’d have to monitor matches as they take place, from all ten players’ perspectives,” the company explained.

    “There are over a million CS:GO matches played every day, so to avoid falling behind you’d need a system capable of parsing and processing every demo of every match from every player’s perspective, which currently means you’d need a datacenter capable of powering thousands of cpu cores.”

    But Valve already started to work on the software. And the new system already scored success. “An early version of the system has already been deployed and is submitting cases to Overwatch [Valve’s anti-cheating software]. Since the results have been promising, we’re going to continue this work and expand the system over time. ”