Algorithms aren’t the answer to everything, but they can help you catch Counter-Strike: Global Offensive cheaters. A teenager going by “2Eggs” has apparently identified 14,000 of the buggers, knocking together an AI that can analyse reports of potential cheaters in a fraction of the time it would take a human. He’s called it HestiaNet, after the Greek goddess “of hearth and fire”. I’m happy enough for the over-performing bedroom AI to have a grandiose name, even though that number might have more to do with Valve’s own software than Eggs’es.
Valve regularly ban hundreds of thousands of players using Valve Anti-Cheat, an independent system that detects cheats when they’re running. But the fight is fought on other fronts, too.
HestiaNet works by looking at the confusingly-named Overwatch, a tool within CSGO that lets players review replays of matches where cheating is reported. As reported by The Loadout, 2Eggs trained his AI by feeding it data from previously successful reports. The Loadout report says that “out of the 14,782 cases HestiaNet has reviewed in the last two years, 14,515 have resulted in a ban for one reason or another, giving her a strike rate of 98.19%”.
I’m a bit confused by that statistic. Even if we assume that a very high percentage of the cases that make it into the Overwatch system feature people who break the rules, that stat suggests that every single review HestiaNet performed concluded that cheating had occurred, and that it was right about nearly all of them. 2Eggs himself has proudly tweeted the numbers.
I can only assume the AI is more discerning than this suggests, and isn’t actually simply saying yes to every case it reviews. Although it could be that Overwatch is really good at putting cheaters up for review. In any case, it’s also worth bearing in mind that any data will necessarily lack information about false negatives, and noting that Overwatch assigns bans based on collective agreement between investigators, which is hardly a foolproof way of determining guilt.
2Eggs has previously earned $11,450 for reporting CS:GO bugs, and says he does what he does out of love for Valve and CS:GO. “I want HestiaNet to heal over the games infestation and to get rid of as many cheaters as possible”, he says. “To many of us in the community, CS:GO is a home, and Hestia is also the protector of the house.”