So I wanted to reach out to the community and hopefully to the team to have some clarification as the progress of hacking is going to jump significantly.
I'm very worried that the game will release and then within 3-4 months be unplayable for about the same time and going in this cycle. The biggest concern for me is how to combat hackers that are now using machine learning. With there being so much incentive for profit im really concerned that the dev's wont be able to keep up with the machines. Is there any way to actually counter this?
Wow- people are now using machine learning to cheat in games. I just watched a video tweeted out by "Anti-Cheat Police Department" that shows basically an aimbot working on console that uses machine learning to aim at people. I don't know if this is real or not (or how accessible it really is), but if it is that is actually pretty impressive. They say that it "sends input to your controller whenever it sees a vaild target." I don't know how that works but I don't think it uses some kind of robot arm. This is actually a pretty clever approach. Input from a controller is always blindly trusted. I can't really throw many ideas out there about how to solve this because I honestly don't know specifically how it works.
I will throw some suggestions out for on the PC side of things. If this was used on PC I would imagine that the program would programatically send mouse and keyboard input. The best approach to combatting cheating devices, etc might not be to try and explicitly detect and block but to make it either impossible to use some cheat device or software or really hard to. We might need help from the operating system (Windows). For instance, if the game could ask Windows to disallow sending input programmatically while the game is running. Of course, I could still build a device that plugs into the computer and sends input that way. It is a complicated situation that would require more discussion and consideration. For now, I think the answer is this is something that can't be helped. I'm not saying it is impossible to combat this, I don't have all the information and answers right now. However, I question what the barrier to entry for machine learning cheating really is. How expensive is it? What hardware do you need to make it work? Is the really going to be that common of an issue that we need to worry about it?
As far as generic cheating (like flying around the map) goes, I think this can be helped by not baking all of the anticheat detection in client side. The dedicated server should be able to do basic sanity checks on player actions and reject moves that are obviously over the top or invalid.
I think cheating is always going to be a thing. There is a chance that what you described comes to be reality. It is possible that within a few months the game is rife with cheaters. I have my doubts about this actually happening, at least as badly as you describe it. If it does get that bad and so soon I can imagine or would hope that they would take action. It would be revenue impacting if noone plays your game because of rampant cheating. I don't think this is a problem that lies exclusively on the shoulders of game devs to fix.