If you tried to take the laaads on another Playerunknown's Battlegrounds stag do over the weekend but found the game stumbling and crashing even before the Jägerbombs started to fall, know that it was caused by a wonky update to the game's cheat-blocking technology. Developers PUBG Corp launched a new anti-cheat update on Friday morning but, after two days of complaints about crashes and poor performance, decided to undo the update. The cause was... hazy. The devs say it seems that having certain other programs open while playing caused weird interactions with the anti-cheat but they weren't sure which, how many, or why.
At first, the devs tried to identify causes with the update still live, asking players to file reports. But evidently it became clear that the problem was big enough to warrant hitting Ctrl+Z.
The game's Twitter support account tweeted on Sunday morning that "despite its effectiveness in blocking cheats, we have decided to roll back our latest live server update."
If this update was more effective at blocking cheats, that is encouraging to hear, but obviously not if it comes at the cost of random crashes and stuttering framerates. Though I suppose a game you can't play is a game that can't have cheaters.
Not all players were hit by the problems, but those affected did include the game's developers. Lead community manager "poopieQueen" (the Internet, yeah?) explained the problem on Reddit before the rollback:
"Some of us in the office have experienced the same problems ourselves, and after some troubleshooting we've determined that various programs are interfering with our anti-cheat solution, and that there's a lot of tweaking we need to do on our end to fix that.
"The program that was causing interference for us was a Text Expansion app that automates and makes easier some repetitive communication tasks. We're not sure why it's interfering with the anti-cheat solution, but we closed it and it immediately solved the problems we were having. Our assumption is that many of you are experiencing issues because of other types of programs interfering. We've seen reports that some antivirus solutions are causing problems, automation and productivity tools are as well."
I saw a few players reporting that OBS, the popular livestreaming and recording software, was causing problems for some.
The devs say they're working on fixing the problem, now the patch has been rolled back, so fingers crossed that it returns soon to block cheaters without wonking it for the rest of us.
Anti-cheat technology is a fast and endless arms race between gamemakers and gits. Anti-cheat updates are best launched as a surprise, not giving cheatmakers any time to prepare. That said, Plunkbat's anti-cheat changes often seem to have teething problems. Only a few days earlier last week, false positives slapped some noncheaters with temporary bans. The game does use test servers for game updates, and maybe it's time to consider using them for anti-cheat updates too.