Simracing in 2023 – Is there an issue with cheaters?
Everyone who regularly plays online games will have encountered a cheater at some point. Whether through an Aimbot or Wallhack in a first-person shooter or through a game-breaking engine in a chess game. Of course, cheaters are also an issue in simracing, but in general one has not had the impression that they are frequently encountered on servers, especially in the e-sports sector.
In addition, the cheaters usually had little talent. Both in the choice of their ideal line and in the attempt to conceal their activities. Cheaters could often be discovered within a few seconds and banned from the server.
The public cheater
This group of people is mainly found on “insignificant” public servers. They draw attention more or less directly and often ruin the gaming experience of other players with their cheats.
The most popular are probably cheats to massively increase power or to significantly increase grip on the track.
In this video, you can see very clearly how the driver accelerates much faster and, despite disastrous driving, is faster than his rivals as a result.
This category of cheaters is more than annoying, but at least “harmless”, as it can be identified within seconds.
Cheaters in E-Sports – Part I: F1 2022
A few days ago, a video went viral in which the Youtuber Limitless questions whether an active F1 athlete could use cheats.
In doing so, he minutely compares the driving style with other drivers and for example observes cornering speeds and the point at which the drivers can give full throttle out of tight corners.
Part of the controversy is then also the qualifying of the PSGL (Premier Sim Gaming Leagues) race in Barcelona. There it becomes clear how much earlier the driver can step on the throttle out of tight corners without using a setup with more downforce.
In the second part of the video, Limitless also discusses a well-known cheat engine that can be used to change the grip in F1 22. The following options are available:
- Public Grip
- E-Sport Grip
In order to recognise the increase in grip by a factor of 1,015, detailed analyses must be carried out as in the video. And even then, it is hardly possible to identify corresponding hacks with absolute certainty, because there are simply too many factors that can influence the analysis. This results in a massive problem. How are such cheats to be prevented in practice if they cannot be prevented by the simulation itself? The only possibility for a 100% clean event therefore seems to be offline events at the moment.
Investigation already underway?
In keeping with current events, there was another incident a few days ago: The streamer and active F1 22 E-Sport athlete Alvaro Carrenton accidentally showed a Windows screen with current hacks in one of his streams. The first voices were quickly raised accusing him of active cheating.
Some time later, however, the following statement was released by Carrenton:
After what was seen on my stream, I must clarify that I do not use any mods or exploits to compete. In recent months, I have been part of an investigation into suspicious activity within the community. Myself and others have been testing what is possible and how it can be identified. We have shared our findings with Codemasters/EA and Fl to support their efforts to eliminate any cheating. I have never and will never use any cheats to compete. My goal is to help create a clean and fair game for everyone.https://twitter.com/AlvaroCarreton/status/1633900420102799380/photo/1
The statement by Jarno Opmeer, who is himself an active F1 22 e-sportsman, should also make it clear that Carrenton is indeed part of an active investigation by Codemasters/EA. It will be interesting to see what results emerge from this and to what extent they will be communicated to the community.
Cheaters in E-Sports – Part I: ACC
A few hours ago, a tweet was published by Dáire McCormack (driver for WilliamsEsports), which deals with the issue of cheating in ACC:
You can see the direct comparison between him and another driver during two qualifying laps in Watkins Glen as part of the LogitechG Challenge. It can clearly be seen that the driver is using cheats that give him a marginal but significant grip advantage.
According to McCormack, the driver in question has since admitted to active cheating.
Simracing in 2023 definitely has a problem with cheaters at the moment. However, how many drivers are actively cheating is currently just as unclear as the number of available hacks and to what extent the developers of the simulations can and will take action against them. Until then, we can only hope that the previous examples remain isolated cases.