How Are Video Games Cheats Created?

Video games can be incredibly complex and require an incredible amount of skill to play well. However, some players like to cheat, either to avoid the grind of acquiring skills or simply because they enjoy the thrill of going against convention. Cheating in video games can be a very interesting thing and can often lead to unique hacks like the recent Fortnite aimbot. However, how exactly are these hacks made and is it really considered cheating?

Many video game cheats are implemented by modifying game software, despite EULAs which forbid modification. This can be accomplished by modifying a game’s data files or by altering the underlying system driver, allowing the hack to bypass security protections.

Some cheats are inserted into a game by the developers themselves as part of debugging or as a way to test new features. Other times they are inserted by third-party software like GameShark or by a player discovering unintended code in a game’s programming. Cheats can do a wide variety of things from replenishing ammunition to changing a character’s appearance or even jumping forward to the end of the game.

In order to create a cheat, someone needs to have a good understanding of the game’s architecture and mechanics. This includes a thorough understanding of the game engine and a solid grasp of programming languages. In addition, hackers who develop cheats must be able to identify and patch game vulnerabilities and work around the various ways in which games protect themselves from attack.

The process of creating a game cheat isn’t easy and is often very time consuming. The first step is identifying a vulnerable location in the game. This can be done through various methods including analyzing the game with runtime inspection and static analysis tools. These tools will look at the game’s assembly instructions and identify all if statements, switches, function invocations and loops. This information will then be used to find a suitable target for a cheat.

Once a hacker has a target they will start to analyze the target with tools such as ‘control flow graphs’ and ‘call graphs’. These tools show all the if statements, switches and function invocations as arrows that link to a specific assembly instruction. This allows the hacker to pinpoint the critical logic that they need to change in order to make the cheat function properly.

As a final check before publishing their cheat, some cheat developers will run it against VirusTotal, a legitimate service that can analyse potentially suspicious files. This can help them to ensure that their hack isn’t detected by anti-virus software or other security defences.

While it may be tempting to use a cheat in a video game, doing so is usually considered against the rules of most online gaming communities and can result in an account being banned or suspended. It is also considered fraud and illegal in some jurisdictions. The ability to cheat in video games can also serve as a gateway into malware development and other forms of cybercrime. This is evidenced by the fact that many criminals begin their careers in gaming cheat sites and hacking forums before progressing to malware development.