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HackCam – The Past and the Future
Articles. Posted by elumineX, 06/12/05 17:27:17

For a few months it seemed that HackCam, the popular yet to-be-released anti-cheat tool had disappeared. Many of you probably wondered what happened to it, and so did we. It turns out that HackCam is far from dead.

HackCam is an exciting new approach to both the anti-cheat community and tools. A lot of creative work and ideas have been put into the project, and it’s not what we would call a “standard anti-cheat tool”. First of all, to those out there who doesn’t know/have heard of HackCam, we strongly recommend reading this interview with the developer. Unfortunately, the HackCam forum at az-prod.com is down because of hosting-relocation. SteamBans will announce when it’s back online, and you should definitely check it out – it has all the info you need."

HackCam (v4) was originally intended to be released in late April. Unfortunately certain complications hindered the development to continue as expected and both fans and the developer was turned in a new unforeseen direction. It was a big surprise to everyone when AzHole/OutOfAmmo announced that he had signed an NDA-agreement with an unknown company
(copy of official announcement located here), causing almost all development to be transferred out of his hands, which made things seem much less bright. From here on a grey-zone emerged. The public was left only with rumors and many doubts. However, in the past seven months a lot has happened behind the scenes, and HackCam seems to finally be moving closer to a *real* release date. In the meantime, SteamBans caught up with the developer to shed some light on a few questions.

- SteamBans: Since the official announcement of the NDA-agreement, what has happened concerning the development of HackCam?
OutOfAmmo: The NDA-agreement has been in place since very early on in the development of HC when it started groping its way from the 1.6 world into the Source world. What has been primarily occuring however, is the continued development and optimization of the systems and functions employed within HC to perform its duties, as well as development of newer systems to run in conjunction with it. As some may remember, during the very early stages of when HC was being used 'live in the field', the main system was over 500MB and took nearly all the resources available to it. The current revisions and development versions are less then 1/10th that size now and are requiring less resources by the compile.

- SteamBans: What is the current status on HackCam?
OutOfAmmo: HC is still in development though we are hoping to bring it out of its cradle here soon. Beta-Testing of the server-side modification has been nearly non-stop for the last 3 months and is progressing exceptionally well.

- SteamBans: What exact cheats are HackCam capable of detecting?
OutOfAmmo: In reality, there are very few cheats available, or even useful, in the game. The predominant ones would of course be any form of wall or XYZ cheat, aimbots or anti-recoil, and network exploits, such as a 'speedhack' and other such items. These specific activities were the original development goal to detect effectively, which has been completed far above our original expectations. However, there are varying degrees of each of these types, from very subtle, to quite blatant and explicit. The more blatant of course, the easier it is to detect. The more recent progress has been made on fine-tuning the detection systems and adding in additional detection routines to try and increase the percentage of cheaters detected when they are being more subtle about it, such as using a 'wallhack' but not firing on players through the walls.

- SteamBans: Did you feel like letting down the fans of HackCam with the NDA-agreement announcement? Why did you sign it? What back thoughts did you have regarding HackCam?
OutOfAmmo: As I said earlier, the NDA was in place long before HC became well known on the levels it currently is. I have also stated on several occasions that an NDA agreement was in place, so any fans that were let down because of it should have been reading more and posting less. The original point of the NDA was needed in order to gain access to resources that at that time, were not available to us for use. Additionally, licensing had been discussed for the technology as well. Both of those reasons require an NDA in the business world before one can continue in discussions.

- SteamBans: A lot of rumors have been floating around the net regarding the unknown company with which you have signed the NDA-agreement. Can you clear this up a bit?
OutOfAmmo: Rumors will come and go and I find there is little I can do in order to quell them or direct them in the proper direction. As you know, the NDA forbids me from discussing this exact topic any further then it already has been.

- SteamBans: What do you think will happen to HackCam in the future? Do you have any goals or expectations?
OutOfAmmo: It is our goal and hope, that HC will become a standardized part of the Steam Dedicated Server, like any other modifications are nowadays. It's hard to find a server without some form of modification, such as maniscript, AMX, and other notable scripters (my hat is off to you gentlemen). It would only make sense then to allow for HC to be an additional part of that infrastructure to assist administrators, and more importantly, the community of gamers that continue to play the games we all enjoy. We have hopes that in the future, when HC is out of its infancy and roaming the world (send postcards!), to begin porting the core technologies to other applications
and FPS realm games.

- SteamBans: Do you have any future plans for projects in context to HackCam or alike?
OutOfAmmo: We hope to engineer HC to the point of making the core technologies more portable between engines, such as from the Steam engine to the Doom engine, though this is simply an example. If this becomes plausible and possible, we plan on launching simultaneous threads of development to other engine'd FPS systems.

- User question: I was on the official HackCam beta list, but never heard anything from you. What happened?
OutOfAmmo: The HC beta-list, when finally closed to the public, had over 8900 users, with an additional 1200 on the 'backup' list. People that posted their desire to be on the list via our forums were given priority originally over others since they had spent the time to do their research in reviewing the available technical documents and descriptions on them. So, if you never signed up for a forum account, that may be why. Secondly, that list of 8900 was quickly stripped down to a list of 150 for security reasons, the less copies floating around the world, the better chance of HC moving forward rather then backward. Those 150 were asked to submit hardware specifications and other information regarding themselves, which dropped the list to 30. Those remaining were also required to sign an NDA document to be allowed in the testing environment, dropping it to the final 22 users currently in the beta. Consider it like the WoW beta, or EQ2 beta, some got in, several more did not. If you were not among the lucky ones to be selected, I wish you better luck in the next beta that comes our way.

The future
As stated above HackCam isn’t dead at all, just merely quiet at the moment. We are in progress of entering exciting times on the anti-cheat side, and it will be quite interesting to see how HackCam competes with the other anti-cheat tools on the market. Will HackCam revolutionize the movement of anti-cheat in the future? Will we finally see a completely cheat-free online environment? Only time can tell. But HackCam certainly is a promising project.
SteamBans will be announcing any news regarding this project in the future, so be sure to check up on our site regularly.

We thank OutOfAmmo for taking his time to answer our and our users’ questions.

While waiting on further news we recommend you to read the below links and watch the HackCam promo video. Be aware though; if you are looking to get your excitement down this is not the place. The below is highly addictive material, and will probably just excite you even more!

Interesting reading-material on HackCam:
GameArena - Copy of Announcement
GhostRecon - Interview
GhostRecon - Summary
GameSpace - More Information
Wikipedia - HackCam
The-Space - Info

HackCam promo video (Must see!):
Mirror #1
Mirror #2
- Mirror #3


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