This guide is an attempt to help educate players of what to watch for when it comes to cheating. Hopefully it will also help stop false cheating accusations.
The automatic cheat detection in America's Army uses the PunkBuster technology from Even Balance. There are servers that do not have PunkBuster turned on, and there are players who don't care if they play on servers using the technology. To play on a server that has PunkBuster turned on, the player must also have PunkBuster enabled. Keep in mind that this technology is not perfect. Only cheats that use known methods will be detected. It does however reduce some of the impact that cheating players would have on the servers.
Please contribute to reducing cheating by emailing information about hacks and cheats directly to Even Balance research.
No AA cheats were actually used in the making of this guide, although most info is pulled out of the cheat program manuals.
Just a cautionary word: Cheats do exist, but be very careful in accusing someone because there are people good enough to wipe out whole teams a couple times over. And also because some high honor players have second accounts, honor isn’t really a good judge of skill.
Stare at the Floor/Ceiling on Spawn “bug”
One of the most commonly used cheat programs for America’s Army has a known bug that causes the player to look at the ceiling or floor upon spawn. Now, this is not proof of cheating, because it can happen without using cheats. However, if it is observed multiple times, the player should be watched closely for other signs of cheating.
Frag Grenade Aimbot
The same idea as the above aimbot, but calculates the proper aim angle for the grenade. By default, the grenade will be aimed at the head, but will not necessarily hit it. Note a direct line of sight is required, the aimbot does not take into account for obstacles, or bouncing off walls
Same idea as the above aimbot, but calculates the proper aim angle for the 203 grenade. By default, the grenade will be aimed at the head, but will not necessarily hit it. Note a direct line of sight is required, the aimbot does not take into account for obstacles.
No recoil can be detected by looking at bullet hole patterns.
A normal bullet hole pattern should be random and unorganized, such as below:
No recoil can be detected by bullet holes in a straight line such as below:
It is also possible that with the no recoil the bullets will leave one larger hole as below:
Note that as a player’s health is reduced, the accuracy should as well. No recoil does not do this though.
No fog/No smoke
No fog believe it or not is hard to detect. Players can practice in single player "blind shooting" in which the player picks the spot an enemy is most likely to be and prints out or memorizes what the screen looks like. This relies on using the surrounding terrain as a guide for your crosshair, so it can only be done in certain spots. If someone is shooting you "blind" and you are not at a normal "camping" spot, then move to your right or left as fast as possible. If the bullets follow your every move, it’s probably a cheat. If it’s a one shot one kill (non-203 or sniper), almost guaranteed a cheat. It’s still possible to get a lucky shot though.
Modified Player Skins and/or no lighting effects
It is possible in recent hacks to modify the player’s skin so that the figure is blue or red, depending on team. This helps tremendously in nighttime when visibility is poor. It also helps distinguish friendly from enemy. No lighting effects makes everything fullbright (use rmode 9 in single player to see what it’s like). This is hard to detect without screenshots from the player in question.
No smoke/flashbang effect
Smoke and flashbangs do not affect the person. This is difficult to detect, because flashbangs and smoke do not always prevent you from seeing the enemy.
Hacked Zoom View
Modifies the player’s zoom so he has custom sight with the FOV normally used by the sniper scope. Can be detected through an unusually high long distance hit to kill or long distance head shot ratio.
Note: This hack does not work with a miles weapon.
Exploiting holes in maps
Sometimes when maps are made, tiny vertical or horizontal holes between wall or floor edges are left.
Objects can be removed from visibility so you can see what is behind them. This includes the cars on bridge or boxes on weapons cache. If someone is constantly shooting at objects, it is possible they are using a hacked map.
No randomness to shots. Can be detected in the same manner as the no-recoil.
Note: In newer cheat programs this has been removed. Using the cheat will crash the user's game if he is flash banged. Definitely a method for detection.
Crosshair/Sights don’t move up and down while in zoomed mode. Hard to detect.
No Grenade Ringing
The ringing sound doesn’t play when a grenade goes off nearby. Almost impossible to detect.
No Weapon Jams
Weapons never jam. No method of detection since jams are random.
A crosshair appears while holding a grenade. Impossible to detect without screenshots.
Busy State Crosshair
A crosshair appears while you are “busy” jumping, crawling, etc. Impossible to detect without screenshots.
A crosshair appears while zoomed in. Impossible to detect without screenshots.
Players can be identified no matter how far away. Hard to detect without screenshots.
Player name, weapon name, and distance are displayed above each player. Hard to detect without screenshots. NOTE: There is currently a bug with this cheat. If a player has two weapons, the shouldered weapon is detected.
Night vision Hack
Night vision is seen full screen instead of through “goggles”. Hard to detect without screenshots. Be careful though, because there is a bug where someone will get full screen night vision. None of the Anti-Cheat communities ban for a screenshot
The user’s weapon never runs out of ammo. Basically re-fills clips when reloading. Hard to detect without counting the number of bullets a person fires.
Weapon Use While (Jumping, Fast Crawling, Lowering/Raising Weapon, Rolling)
The user should not be able to fire while doing the above actions. Easy to detect while spectating.
No M24 Recharge
Normally there is a two second recharge before the M24 can be fired again. Easy to detect if rapid M24 shots are being heard.
M24 Quick Reload
Reloads 5 bullets instead of 1. You have to watch the sniper closely to detect this. If he fires five shots without reloading, reloads one bullet, and fires five more shots without reloading again, then he is using the cheat. It takes a little under 3 seconds to reload one bullet.
M203 Rapid Fire
Allows rapid, infinite M203 grenades. Easy to detect due to high rate of fire. Also allows player to return to normal fire mode and fire M203 grenades rapidly.
Turns any weapon into an automatic, and optionally fires when the crosshair is pointing at an enemy. Can be detected by unusual high rate of fire when using a sniper rifle or M16A2/M4.
Walls are semi-transparent allowing the player to see right through the walls. Can be detected if player is “tracking” other players through walls, or with screenshots.
Vesting gives a person apparent invulnerability. While the player may not be completely invulnerable and will die if enough damage occurs, it will seem that way. Apparently the player’s health is somehow boosted or locked. Now, sometimes the game will glitch and a bullet or nade will not do any damage at all. If this happens to a player every once in a while, then the player is normal. However, if the player just will not die no matter how much damage he should receive, he may be using this hack. Nades and sniper rifles are an excellent way to detect this. If the player is hit by a nade and uninjured, it may be a glitch. If a second nade hits the player and still no damage, it is most likely the hack. Same goes for sniper rifle. If the sniper is good with one shot one kills, and can't kill the player, even with multiple shots, the player is most likely using the hack.
The player can crash the server, booting all players. A sharp lag spike from the player will occur just before the crash.
A small radar is added to the HUD, showing players as dots and/or weapon locations. It can be detected through screenshots.
It may be possible to map the directional sound to a radar overlay. This has been possible in other FPS games. Because of this, it may be possible to detect if a player is grabbing an objective, climbing a ladder, reloading, switching weapons, or priming a grenade, even if it normally could not be heard. to detect someone who is using radar, spectate the individual [if the player is on same team or server allows spectate of all players]:
- suspect shows irradiate behavior when no enemy is in sight such as hiding behind a rock/wall or generally acting psychic - fires around a corner before the actual target appears - fires AND KILLS an enemy from "across the map" which you cannot see "seeing through the suspect's eye" via first-person spectate view - sneaks up to an enemy even though the suspect cannot possibly have any prior knowledge of an enemy in the location
In order to first-person spectate view, you must press the designated [use] key while spectating. The best way to spectate a suspect is at the beginning of a round by suicide then immediately viewing spectating the suspect.
Final note about cheaters in general: most cheaters show up on the least played maps. the obvious ones just show up to get revenge on any map.
Being invisible in light brown, sandy-type areas.
Warning: this can also be caused by a random glitch (although it is rare). It only seems to happen like this to people on your team, so if you see someone on your team that looks like this and it only happens once it is unlikely to be a cheat/hack, but if it happens multiple times it is more than likely a cheat.
No Horizontal Collision Detection
The player can walk through walls. Very easy to detect. Has not been confirmed, but rumored to exist in AA. A variant of this is the ability to take objectives through walls. This variant does exist in the wild.
Shooting Through Walls
The player can shoot through walls. This must be combined with an aimbot. This would be fairly easy to detect. Has not been confirmed, but rumored to exist in AA.
Admin Pass Crack
The player can obtain Admin access to the server. Passwords of 8 or more letters are recommended to keep this from happening. This cheat exists for the original Unreal Tournament, so it may be possible for it to work with an America’s Army server.
The player can open doors from long distances i.e. across the room or can open all the doors on the map at the same time.
First Slot Choice
The player can remove everyone from their slots at the start of the round and choose their own first along with forcing people into slots that they choose. If this happens and everyone's name appears in the box on the right then it is definitely a cheat but, if someones name appears where yours was and your name is not showing up anywhere it is a common glitch.
The player can put up admin messages even though they are not in the server as admin.
Fake Server Crash
The user causes the server to appear like it has crashed causing all the users to be locked in place while they walk around and kill everyone.
Hiding Under the Map
In a large number of the maps that have uneven terrain (and are not like Bridge Crossing where the true bottom of the map is far away from the 'playing area') it is possible for someone to get under the ground in certain areas and once under ground they can:
- Not be shot/blown up (except for parts of them sticking out)
- Can not be seen (except for parts of them sticking out and grenades etc. that they throw.)
- Can see underground areas on the map, but cannot shoot them.
- Shoot you unless you have something other than the bare ground between you and them.
This cheat requires more than one person to be involved. You can detect this by finding screen shots where the player has no visible ground below them and/or is looking up at someone 'floating'.
Pipeline m203 Glitch
The player can shoot a 203 from the Control Panel room out side to the courtyard area. Easily detected because they get kills at the start of the round before anyone on defense goes out side.