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Valve to use Machine Learning to detect CS:GO cheaters

As fun as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive can be, you will occasionally run into cheaters and while progress can seem slow at times, Valve does work to fight back against them. Unfortunately, hard-coded cheat detection often leads to an arms race with cheat developers, leading to a constant cycle of new cheats and ban waves. To combat this, it looks like Valve is turning to AI to run its cheat detection in the future.

Speaking on Reddit this week, Valve explained why it does not use auto-detection for certain cheats in CS:GO and put forward the idea of using machine learning to detect cheats instead. However, this approach would not be without its own unique problems. Using machine learning to analyse every CS:GO match from every player’s perspective would take a huge amount of server power.

“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. Instead, you’d want to take a machine-learning approach, training (and continuously retraining) a classifier that can detect the differences between cheaters and normal/highly-skilled players.”

“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. 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.”

While it might be difficult to put together a data centre powerful enough for this task, Valve is not shying away from it: “The good news is that we’ve started this work. An early version of the system has already been deployed and is submitting cases to Overwatch. Since the results have been promising, we’re going to continue this work and expand the system over time.”

KitGuru Says: CS:GO does have its share of cheaters but I think the issue can be blown out of proportion at times. Without a killcam system in competitive mode, it can be easy to call foul play if you don’t understand or get to see how things played out from the other player’s perspective. Still, hopefully this new machine learning system Valve is putting into place can help clean things up a bit. 

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