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United States Entertainment Games

U.S. Army to d00dz - We're Coming for You 183

Posted by Zonk
from the i-am-now-officially-scared dept.
Thanks to cdagobah for mentioning a post up on the America's Army game site. Executive Producer Phil DeLuca posts a message updating the community on a recent anti-hacking campaign they've initiated, and has a clear message for would-be wrongdoers. From the post: "Allow me to speak directly to the bad guys for a moment: When you get banned, know that we know and have records showing you were doing something that's a violation of terms of service, breaks your EULA, and also happens to be against the law. We know who you are, and can track down where you play from. We have incontrovertible proof you did something illegal. The Army is angry, and we're coming for you. "
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U.S. Army to d00dz - We're Coming for You

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  • Re:Since when... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuantumG (50515) <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @06:49PM (#11341380) Homepage Journal
    It's really funny to see lawyers misuse legal jargon. It's not illegal, it's unlawful. You agreed to a terms of service, and by violating those terms of service you are in breach of contract. They can sue you, they can't call the police and have you arrested.

    That said, if they then ban you and you continue to play under a fake account or something similar, you are now illegally accessing a computer system, and that you will do time for (probably more than a rapist does on average too).

  • Now I'm scared (Score:4, Interesting)

    by karnat10 (607738) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @06:58PM (#11341511)
    Nobody except judiciary has the right to go after me when I've done wrong.

    Everything else breaches separation of powers and / or is plain illegal. Like the RIAA paying retired police offers to play Gestapo. Or the army saying "The Army is angry, and we're coming for you".

    Rather than threatening its own people, I'd prefer the army focusing on defense, and on respecting the law themselves. As a suggestion, they could start in Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo.
  • by Jtheletter (686279) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @07:15PM (#11341757)
    Choice quote: Truth be told, the bloodiest day in America's Army Game account history is still ahead of us and we got most of the information leading to that day from the bad guys themselves!

    Throughout the article this guy keeps saying "bad guys" like he was fighting for something tangible and sacred. Get some perspective man, you're booting cheaters from a game server, not saving babies in 'Nam.

    How about: Tampering with software and servers owned or used by the Army is cyber crime.
    Oooooh, oh no! I'm not fully clear on what people are doing that's got General McNads' panties in a bunch, but I'm assuming it's a bit more annoying than just using a wall hack, perhaps people are trying to crash servers and the like, but that happens to every game/website/store on the web! But because it's happened to the army's game, now they're really serious and pissed. Hello, US Gub'ment, this is the sort of "cybercrime" that goes on daily and is ignored or completely fumbled by current law bodies. Now you know what Joe Developer has to deal with daily when he wakes up and his web-store has been hacked to shit. Did you care then? Nope, but apparently now that it's personal it matters. The guy writing this sounds almost surprised by the affront of the "bad guys": 'How dare they hack us! I mean we're the army for crissake!'

    And the bit at the end saying "We're coming for you." Honestly, I think this guy actually believes someone's going to have their house stormed and shot up. At best they'll be sending a lawyer, there will be due process in court, and life will continue as usual. Someone, please, get this over-inflated self-important bastard away from his keyboard and someplace where his gung-ho attitude might actually affect change at the scale he hallucinates. It's a friggin game.

    "My god Er, I can't believe we are standing in the presence of THE Moon Master!"

  • by dstone (191334) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @07:16PM (#11341766) Homepage
    I really hope they fly at all these little idiots with the full weight of the US Army and everything that entails.

    Spoken like someone who isn't paying enough taxes to care how his government spends his money.

    Really now, do you want military-sized, wasteful, beurocratic budgets to spend time tracking down people who cheat in a video game?
  • Finally! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by trawg (308495) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @07:43PM (#11342120) Homepage
    As a long-jaded gamer and server admin, all I can say is hooray. Finally, an organisation with the resources to combat cheating kids. To draw an analogy, these guys are the script kiddies of the gaming world - most of them are just silly punks out to ruin the gaming experience for others and have no real idea of how many people they're affecting.

    Sure, non-gamers say "but its just a game", but (to draw another analogy) imagine if every social sports game you played had streakers, people doped up on horse steroids, and people that just walked up to you and started screaming abuse. It would quickly become annoying.

    Of course, in the real world, doing that sort of thing quickly has repercussions (ie, someone smacks your bitch ass up) but online, its a real pain in the ass (especially in a free game with no real mechanism to ban users - like Steam, but that's another kettle of fish) to stop these users from ruining the online experience of others.

    Personally, the thought of Delta Force guys kicking in some random hackers door at 3am and throwing in a couple of flashbangs makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Hell, they could record it on video and put it on the America's Army website and people would PAY MONEY to see it.
  • Re:I hope they do! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @07:51PM (#11342224) Homepage Journal
    ..how about making the system more hack-proof?

    the line between a 'hack' and a non hack on a online game is very slim anyhow.

    is turning up the contrast a hack? or using 1920*1400 resolution and a maginifying glass on the centre for insta sniping? or using a lightgun to pinpoint the mouse to the enemy, friend sitting next to you with the gun(a little work and it's doable, you just run around and your frind picks up enemies).

    is buying a better mouse a hack?
    is having a crappy internet connection a hack?
    or is it hack if you're just _really_, _really_ good? you hear that being called a hack all the time.

    these problems can only be combated with novel game element design really... of course, you'd have none of these problems if you played seriously face to face on the same table.

    or just didn't give a rats ass if someone shot you.

    but this "we're coming for you!!!" is a bit extreme crap, especially coming from the fucking army(especially hacks being outside of usa probably, too).
  • by Zevets (728720) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @08:13PM (#11342483) Journal
    I don't know how many people play AA, but if you don't, let me explain how this works to you.

    The primary hacks are: full auto 203s. Imagine a grenade launcher, add unlimited ammo, and a firing rate of 700 RPM. Imagine maps where there is almost nowhere that cannot be hit. It becomes impossible to deal with. This can also be applied to rocket launchers, sniper rifles, just about any gun in the game can benefit from full auto. Then there are the speed hacks which allow players to run to the objs in about 4 seconds, the obj hacks, where players can take the obj without even being near it, or maybe the respawn hacks, where even if you kill the hacker, he comes right back from the dead. And don't forget a hack that adjusts for the game-physics and run speed, so literally there is no safe thing to do. And don't forget the standard set of aim-bots no fog hacks, etc. All there, and in more numbers than most games, and even more than CS. Almost every server had a blatant hacker on them at anytime, and most had a couple of covert hackers.

    Then there is the problem with the server company having a monopoly on honor servers.(honor is a number displayed by your screen that is a rough indicator of skill, but only kinda) The servers crashed non-stop, the support tickets went unanswered, and generally SCI was a pain in the ass. It went so far as there were Freedom of Information Act requests put on the Army and SCI's contract. There was no response. It took SCI repeated requests to allows us access to PB screenshots, which take a picture of whatever your screen is, and them send them off to the server. But this was hacked too, allowing the hacker to send any image he wants, so on many PBSS it was a picture of tub girl. CVAR checks didn't work because after every crash(usually 3-4 times a day) it resets all server scripts. Every AA player who has played since 1.9 remembers the good 'ole days of HomeLan and admins, who were utterly ruthless.

    Recently Speakeasy's gamefire division has been allowed to rent honor servers, but they currenty don't have PB enabled, so no-one plays on them anyway. But this just started the 10th, so we will need to wait and see.

    There have also been numerous bugs including the "critical error" or "General Protection Faults". In 2.0-2.2 a critical errors would happen non-stop meaning that no AA session lasted for much more than an hour.

    And for people who have been bashing Phil Deluca or [Dev]Skippy, recently a large number of hackers were banned, and that caused a notable improvement in the quality of gaming. Under his control, they also released 2.2.1 which has cut down on the critical errors. Things under skippy are looking up, so I really wouldn't be suprised if you see on CNN in a couple of weeks that "the Army has sued several internet sites for hosting hacks for the Army's free recruiting tool video game, Americas Army".

    We've been through hell, but for some reason AA just has me coming back for more. Some of the 1.9 era maps are brilliantly done(Bridge SE is possibly one of the best maps ever in an online video game) AA is also the only game to have realistic long range combat. Not just twitch shootin, but tactics will almost always win in AA. Don't bash AA if you havn't been in the community for a long time.

    If what Skippy says happens, we are going to be a very happy bunch of gamers.
  • by EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @09:46PM (#11343644) Homepage Journal
    This guy has to be talking out of his ass. I doubt the Army cares much about people cheating on a video game. It's just a fucking video game.

    If the Army tried to 'come after' people for cheating, they'd catch hell from all over the place for not doing their job.

    The Army isn't exactly supposed to be operating against US citizens.
  • by xplenumx (703804) on Wednesday January 12, 2005 @10:46PM (#11344304)
    Considering that the military is using America's Army as a recruiting tool, a PR campaign [slashdot.org], and a psychological experiment [slashdot.org] it's in their very best interest to take a such a hard line against any and all hacks.
  • Re:I Guess... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by unitron (5733) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @12:32AM (#11345113) Homepage Journal
    " Do you know what percentage of vehicles were not armored when that question was planted in the mouth of a soldier by a reporter? And do you know what percentage currently is?"

    Well, I know that the company making the armor plates was only running at about two-thirds of capacity but nobody from the government bothered to check with them to see if they could supply more product sooner until after that GI put Rumsfeld on the spot. And I'm pretty sure that the soldier wasn't forced by the reporter to say anything he didn't want to or that he knew to be untrue.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 13, 2005 @12:37AM (#11345150)
    For a special announcement.

    Your point is valid for any other game out there. The fact is, though, that no matter how entertaining AA is, it's an advertisement and recruitment tool for the Army. It's a tool of propaganda aimed at young people, for the purpose of enticing them into military service.

    It's immoral (and annoying) to purposely disrupt other people's fun for your own amusement. But it's also immoral to make a credible threat of violence to someone who is disrupting your advertisement. Just because the programmer's a nitwit doesn't mean he can just talk shit about the Army coming to get you.

    Right now, upwards of ten thousand American men and women have been either killed or injured in the course of this war. In this context, f*cking with a recruiting tactic starts to sound positively saintly.
  • by DingerX (847589) on Thursday January 13, 2005 @06:04AM (#11346706) Journal
    Actually, yeah I do. And I'd like some of that budget sent my way, please. The gap between video games, recruitment tools and training tools is narrowing. Expect the next generation of "America's Army" class games to come in pure vid, recruitment and training variants.
    In such an environment, you need to secure the code, or the game is worthless for any of these applications.
    Naturally, shipping the aimbot crowd to one of the world's favorite war zones is an ideal solution. Didn't you read the part of the EULA that said:
    The licensee agrees that any violation of this EULA or the AA TOS constitutes a request to the Secretary of the Army for immediate enlistment and deployment to a combat zone. Should, in the judgment of the Army, the licensee's age, nationality or physical condition render the licensee incapable of active duty, the licensee will be granted immediate and mandatory employment with one of the Army's Civilian Contractors for Peace(tm) at the going international rate for janitorial staff (currently $200/month).

    Anyway, always nice to see sabre rattling from the army. Wake me when the firing squad shows up.
  • by TarrVetus (597895) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [suteVrraT]> on Thursday January 13, 2005 @02:14PM (#11350358)
    This is awesome. I think that we should prosecute them as criminals [penny-arcade.com].

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