Letter from PD - December 2015

64bit Client & GameGuard

Greetings Daevas!
It’s about time there was another ‘Letter from the PD’, and for once the focus won’t be on the server merges, but on a couple of issues which have been with us for some time: the 64-bit client, and HackShield/GameGuard.

- Nic

Summary

Starting now, we’ll be offering the 64-bit client version directly via the launcher. Assuming you have a 64-bit system, the launcher will automatically select the 64-bit client when starting the game. This version has improved overall FPS results for a number of players, providing better memory management, and reducing the amount of stuttering and lag in larger battles. Up until now, however, it could only be launched using certain workarounds.
In connection with this development, however, we will have to put our work integrating a ready-made anti-hack solution into the game on ice, and instead take other measures against cheats. Keep reading to find out why this is the case, and what this has to do with the 64-bit client.

Background

Implementing an anti-hacking solution has long been an integral part of our internal feature schedule. Work on the integration of GameGuard has been underway since the beginning/middle of the year. However, things got caught up for a long time between our developers NCSOFT and the GameGuard developers INCA, and in the meantime the date for release has been gradually creeping forwards. Then recently, an issue cropped up which has had a fundamental impact on our decision-making: at least for the time-being, NCSOFT will only implement GameGuard for the 32-bit client.

As the 64-bit client is not officially supported by NCSOFT, they will not make changes to it in any way. It is for this reason that we have turned a blind eye to its use in the past, without offering official support, a policy similarly pursued in other territories (at least for a long time). I’m sure everyone can see that it would be absurd to implement GameGuard solely for 32-bit clients whilst leaving the 64-bit version untouched. That would only force cheaters to switch to 64-bit. As a result, we find ourselves stuck between two choices, either:

  • 1) We implement GameGuard and deactivate/block the 64-bit client.
  • 2) We offer the 64-bit client, but put the integration of GameGuard/HackShield temporarily on hold.

Here in the AION Team we’ve had long discussions back and forth over the benefits and disadvantages of both options. But the fact of the matter is that we no longer want to dither between these two positions. Instead, we’re going to go along with solution number 2. Once this letter has been published, the launcher will automatically start the 32-bit or 64-bit version of the client based on your operating system, immediately giving all players with a 64-bit OS the benefits of the respective client.

Even so, this decision does not mean that we have given up working towards an anti-hack solution, merely that for the moment we will not be looking to integrate a ready-made solution such as HackShield or GameGuard, but will concentrate on the automated analysis of playing behaviour.

We will continue to stress our view to NCSOFT that there is demand for a 64-bit version including GameGuard, and should we make progress in this area, we will continue to push towards its implementation.

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