Escape from Tarkov

The major problem is BSG’s netcode design; RMT and hacking is a byproduct of that

Content of the article: "The major problem is BSG’s netcode design; RMT and hacking is a byproduct of that"

I think way too many people are focused on the symptoms and aren't really focused on what is actually the root cause of all of the major issues when it comes to RMT/hacking. The biggest singular issue is that EFT's netcode is far too vulnerable and far too easy to cheat in, along with the fact that BattleEye is just straight up not competent enough versus savvy coders that can mimic legitimate signatures and fool it long enough (I will not go into great detail, but basically BE looks for the most common cheat signatures that they gather from looking at various cheat websites, and then use that as a way to flag people; that means if you're coding your own and are competent you can pretty much remain undetected for very long stretches of time).

I think we can all agree that rage hackers are the biggest problem in EFT. Rage hackers include speedhackers, people who can open doors from afar, loot from afar, fly hacks, invis hacks, magic bullet hacks, etc. (some of these have been partially fixed, some of these have not). This is the singular biggest problem in Tarkov. Not only does it ruin the gameplay experience for many players, but it's also forced BSG to take draconian measures that are pretty much unpopular at the moment. Rage hackers fuel their gameplay by RMTing; the two are pretty much synonymous.

Now, why are these hacks possible? It's because BSG decided to allow the client to be authoritative; the server trusts the client. Let me give you an example (in a much more simple form; it's alot more complicated then this)

  1. Player A client is shooting Player B with PRS ammo, sends to server
  2. Server then receives that Player is shooting Player with PRS, and trusts that this is correct; the server simply relays information for the most part between Player A and Player B
  3. Player A then shoots Player B with PRS ammo is then registered as true on Player B's side

This is problematic though because if you understand that the client is able to be authoritative, that means you can do something like this.

  1. Player A's client shoots Player B; although Player A is supposed to have PRS ammo, Player A's client is manipulated since the damage is calculated client side and not server side; Player A's client then sends that instead of shooting Player B with PRS ammo, it's actually shooting say a magical bullet that does over 5000 rounds of damage
  2. Server receives that Player A is sending information that it's shooting this magic bullet, relays to player B that they are getting shot with this magic bullet
  3. Player B receives then dies to one shot of PRS to the chest despite having a slick on.
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This is a problem. This shouldn't happen, but it does. Understandably, BSG was a much smaller studio, and in truth they likely thought that they would never see Tarkov become what it is today. They always thought it would be a niche game, and that there would be no need to be so strict on security. However, this is how most larger games do it to ensure that there's no wacky trickery going on

Server Side Check (More secure, but still can be manipulated)

  1. Player A shoots Player B on client side saying that it's shooting with PRS ammo; Player A's client is manipulated to say that this PRS ammo does 5k dmg instead of the base line damage (I don't remember the number off the top of my head).
  2. Server receives and checks to ensure that the damage value being sent to Player B is correct; if it is not, it corrects it to the right value, then relays this to Player B.
  3. Player B on their screen is then shot and receives the correct damage value

OR

Server Sided Everything (Valorant does this)

Everything is ran server side; this means that all the calculations and values are done server side, and the client is only given enough information to render/draw properly to the client. Basically everything is almost done in reverse. This is most commonly done in MMOs in order to securely ensure that there's no wacky stuff going on.

  1. Player A's client is given information from the server Player B is in front of him (Fog of War basically)
  2. Player A decides to shoot Player B, sends to server Player A wants to shoot Player B
  3. Server calculates EVERYTHING server side; no calculations are done on the client side at all
  4. Server then relays information to Player A and B, Player B registers as being hit on both clients
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All of this is obviously a gross oversimplification; but I tried to break it down in the most basic way possible so that everyone can understand. Obviously I haven't had an extensive look at BSG's netcode, but it's very safe to say that they are really not running model 3, and there are not that many server sided checks in the first place.

What does this mean for us as players?

It means you're playing in a game that has a fundamental netcode design flaw. It's a MMO that has several features on the client side. The truth is that IMO, it should have never made it past the drawing board, because most game devs know that you don't design a MMO with several very important features client side. You're pretty much playing in a fundamentally unsecure game, and will have to live with hackers until the netcode is overhauled.

What BSG should do

They need to rip out the old netcode and go from the ground up, and build a much more secure game. It will be hard, it will cost money, and it will impede development. But I would say that most of the RMTing is done by rage hackers who don't really care if they are banned as long as they can survive a few days. If the netcode was properly coded and implemented, we'd solve a slew of cheats such as

  1. Speedhacks (if they keep player position/velocity server side, or if they implement a server side check to see if someone's going too fast)
  2. Fly hacking (which to some degree they've stamped out, although the variables still exist in the Unity Engine to make it happen)
  3. Opening any door in the game
  4. Manipulation of damage values
  5. Item duplication (yes it actually exists; and yes I've seen proof of it)
  6. Various other shenanigans that I can't think of off the top of my head; haven't been created yet

Why should they do this?

They've already spent by Nikita's own words 3 months to stamp out radar hacks. If they are spending 3 months/65% of their development time, then they can take the time to stop and actually overhaul the netcode. It's a beta after all right? Now would be the time to overhaul the netcode; this would be an opportunity to make the game more secure, and it would be an opportunity to also improve the netcode performance dramatically. For example, the desync that's occurring because they implemented a hamfisted encryption process on top of their currently janky netcode? Could be dramatically reduced or all but eliminated if they redesigned their netcode, along with proper encryption on top of that. They'd also eliminate all the rage hacks on top of that.

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By doing these things, they do all of the below

  1. Eliminate rage hacks
  2. By virtue of eliminating rage hacks, reduce RMT dramatically (it becomes WAY less efficient if they can't do all the shenanigans they currently do)
  3. Opportunity to dramatically improve performance

TL;DR

Redesign the netcode, improve the performance, make the game more secure. Everyone wins.

Source: reddit.com

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