An online gaming experience can be ruined by cheaters who seek to gain an unfair advantage in the gaming environment. To counter these fraudulent activities and maintain a fun, fair, and engaging gaming platform for all players, anti-cheat tools become crucial. These tools employ various methods, including behavior analysis, cheat detection, and security measures, to ensure a secure and cheat-free gaming experience.
After in-depth research on various anti-cheat tools available on the market, this article features the best four anti-cheat tools for indie games, including a detailed description and setup procedure for each.
It is really hard to find a good anti cheat tool with a fair price on the market today, it is even harder for indie game developers who do not have large budgets and large teams to integrate these toxicity protection solutions into their software.
The best anti-cheat solutions for indie game developers
- Easy Anti-Cheat for the best free anti-cheat tool
- Getgud.io for ease of integration, a variety of features and an AI-driven server-side approach
- Anti-Cheat Toolkit for Unity for seamless integration with Unity
- Anybrain for an AI-driven behavioral analysis approach
What makes a great anti-cheat software?
All the best anti-cheat tools essentially offer measures to detect, analyze, and prevent fraudulent activities in gaming platforms. However, the tools differ by their level of security, functionality, and ease of integration with varied gaming platforms and engines. Additionally, these tools should be able to handle a plethora of cheats and fraudulent activities with high precision and without causing any significant performance degradation.
The best anti-cheat tools also come equipped with analytics, enable proactive cheat detection, and offer user-friendly interfaces that aid seamless integration with various gaming engines. Furthermore, the tools should be scalable and follow a privacy-focused approach.
During the selection process, the following criteria were considered to rank the anti-cheat tools:
- Variety of cheats detected
- Accuracy and speed of detection
- Ease of integration with gaming platforms and engines
- Impact on game performance
- Analytics and reporting capabilities
- Game and platform agnosticism
- Privacy focus
The best anti-cheat software at a glance
|Name||Best for||Stand-out feature||Price|
|Easy Anti-Cheat||Client-side, a variety of cheat prevention and detection mechanism||Easy Unreal Engine integration||Free, through Epic Game Services platform|
|Getgud.io||AI-driven, non-intrusive approach, server-side, variety of cheat protection and analytics mechanisms||Easy integration with any game.||Starting from $50/month for small games|
|Anti-Cheat Toolkit||Easy Unity integration. Variety of basic cheat protection mechanisms.||One-time payment, good basic functionality||$80 one-time payment.|
|Anybrain||AI-driven, server-side approach, supports any game.||Behavioral analysis approach||Contact for details|
Easy Anti-Cheat is an anti-cheat service that counteracts hacking and cheating in multiplayer PC games using hybrid anti-cheat mechanisms.
Easy Anti-Cheat runs at the client level, meaning that it operates on the user’s end rather than the server. This strategy allows EAC to prevent memory edits, binary changes, etc. before they can impact the game. While some may argue that server-side cheat detection should be the first line of defense, EAC provides another level of cheat prevention that should improve the overall gaming experience.
One of the common questions asked by developers is whether their game has to be on the Epic Store to use its services? The answer is no. Easy Anti-Cheat is a separate entity, independent of the Epic Store. It can support any engine, any platform, and any store, meaning that it is platform and store-agnostic. This opens up a lot of opportunities for indie developers to utilize EAC’s services, regardless of where they distribute their games.
It’s important to note that ultimately, EAC serves to make cheating as difficult as possible. No client-side anti-cheat system is completely undefeatable, but the objective is to make cheating efforts too tedious and complex to be worth it.
To integrate the Easy Anti-Cheat tool:
- Start by running EasyAntiCheat_EOS_Setup.exe qa-factory-reset from a command prompt to fully remove the existing anti-cheat installation.
- Then, install the game as a player would, through platforms like the Epic Games Store, Steam, etc., which initiates the Easy Anti-Cheat setup that executes and installs the protection.
- Upon uninstalling the game, the Easy Anti-Cheat setup should uninstall the Anti-Cheat Service seamlessly.
- Finally, to start with the anti-cheat bootstrapper, visit the Developer Portal > Your Product > Game Services > Anti-Cheat > Configure, where you can select Enable All for enabling comprehensive cheat protection.
You can find full EAC integration checklist here.
Getgud is an AI-powered system designed to safeguard online First-Person Shooter (FPS) games from cheaters and griefers. It aspires to create a safe and toxic-free environment and simultaneously provides exceptional game analytics.
Getgud addresses cheating and toxicity issues with an excellent suite of features. The system autonomously analyzes in-match player behavior and spotlights toxic ones, including cheaters and griefers. Game developers have full control over tolerance levels and can decide the consequent action, automatic banning being one of them.
Moreover, gamers and the gaming community can view, investigate, and report players on all streamed matches with Getgud’s online FPS Modeler. Once a report is submitted, Getgud examines it, resolves it, and can execute a range of client-defined actions as needed.
The system offers comprehensive game and player analytics, aiding game developers in making informed decisions. With Getgud, developers can generate player retention and LTV reports, understand player statistics, identify trends and behaviors, examine server toxicity levels, and much more.
Emphasizing user-friendliness, Getgud is a server-side solution that requires no client-side intervention. The anti-cheat software relies on a stream of data that the server already possesses, delivered through a simple SDK or a game file parser. This approach does not affect game performance, supports all FPS games and is compatible with all platforms, including PC, PlayStation, XBOX, and mobile.
To integrate Getgud:
- Start by requesting access to the Getgud Beta to receive the integration package.
- The integration process involves feeding data into the Getgud platform using a simple SDK which supports multiple programming languages and most common game development platforms.
- Once the data is fed, Getgud begins analyzing player behaviors and detecting fraud.
- You gain access to analytical tools, including Getgud Modeler, Dashboard, and Webhooks, which allow you to take immediate action and better understand your game.
Anti-Cheat Toolkit for Unity
Anti-Cheat Toolkit (ACTk) safeguards variables and saves, detects a range of cheats, and is compatible with Unity’s built-in render pipeline and the Universal Render Pipeline (URP). It is a good starting point for developers who utilize Unity in their game development process.
Anti-Cheat Toolkit incorporates numerous anti-cheat measures, securing variables, saving, and detecting various forms of cheats. The toolkit is adaptable to the Built-in Render, Universal Render, and High Definition Render Pipelines of Unity.
Essential Features of ACTk:
- ACTk safeguards variables in memory and extends both Player Prefs and binary files.
- For tampering checks, it can generate build code signatures.
- It detects non-PlayStore installations on Android, managing three common types of wallhack detection.
- The toolkit successfully protects against intrusive speed hacks and time cheating.
ACTk also works well with third-party plugins like Opsive’s Behaviour Designer, PlayMaker, and others. Do note that, in spite of providing a strong defense against cheaters, ACTk does not ensure 100% protection, as a skilled and highly motivated cheater may still manage to break the protection. Therefore, it’s advisable to supplement the setup with a dependable code obfuscator.
ACTk offers comprehensive support and updates since its inception in 2013, diligently working towards making development less susceptible to cheating efforts. Despite its robust protection system, ACTk encourages users to remain aware that they remain susceptible to determined cheaters. This toolkit should be seen as a powerful tool that can be used to build your own anti-cheat solution and not a solution that guarantees 100% cheat-free gaming.
To integrate the Anti-Cheat Toolkit:
- Import the downloaded toolkit package into the Unity Editor.
- Go through the welcome window that provides quick access to the toolkit’s vital areas.
- Start using the provided components and functions in your scripts.
Coming against cheaters is not a novel endeavour, but Anybrain takes a fresh approach. Unlike systems that require invasive kernel-level access, Anybrain provides real time detection in a nonintrusive way. Their algorithm analyses cheater behaviors based on HCI (Human-Computer Interaction). The technology operates agnostic to the game and platform, allowing it to be universally beneficial and non-discriminative.
With behavior-based, proactive cheat detection, Anybrain’s anti-cheat system can detect the most common and popular frauds in the gaming community. The server-side approach of Anybrain is not only easy to integrate but also highly scalable with no maintenance required.
One intriguing feature of Anybrain’s approach is its focus on player behavior analysis. They reportedly analyze over 100+ behavioral biometrics, such as how a player moves a mouse, the force applied when pressing the keyboard, and the speed at which they use the joysticks. This information creates a unique gaming profile for that player, helping the system detect unusual or potentially fraudulent behavior.
For Anybrain integration:
- A developer would need to communicate with Anybrain to get access to their API.
- Once the API is obtained, the developer can use it to integrate Anybrain’s services into their game using the provided SDK.
The addition of these anti-cheat tools to an indie game offers marked enhancement in promoting a fair gaming environment, increased player retention, and a noticeable reduction in player churn due to cheating. With multiple functionality and ease of integration, these tools are an excellent choice for indie game developers seeking to ensure an enjoyable and honest gaming experience.
Note: It’s crucial to remember that while these tools significantly reduce cheating, no system is 100% foolproof. However, they can deter most casual cheaters, ensuring most players can enjoy a fair gaming experience.