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Rust’s new anti-cheat system is working - but Facepunch are “never going to be finished fighting”

Rust had previously relied on Valve Anti-Cheat.

Rust’s thing is survival at any cost – and since its Steam release, a subset of players have chosen to interpret that as a green light to cheat and exploit not just other players, but the game itself; it’s a shame because we loved it in our Rust review.

Apparently tired of waiting for Valve’s anti-cheat system to kick in, Rust creators Facepunch have built and implemented their own temporary solution over the weekend. In the time since, they’ve issued more than 4,500 bans.

Until last week, Rust relied on the Valve Anti-Cheat system first designed for Counter-Strike in 2002. It’s been updated ever since, and picked up on thousands of cheats in the first two months of Rust’s alpha release.

VAC isn’t without its flaws, however. It’s criticised by players for its unpredictable delays, which sees marked cheaters banned in waves weeks or months after they’re detected. Facepunch had looked at other third-party alternatives, but didn’t fancy Punkbuster’s forced-install client – nor the questionable “effectiveness [and] accuracy” of a server-side solution.

Instead they’ve built their own, named CheatPunch. Over the weekend, the homebrew system detected and banned 4,621 alleged cheats.

Facepunch are still testing CheatPunch for stability, so for now it’s applied automatically only to their official servers. Server owners can implement the system manually by updating to the latest version of Rust and running with ‘-cheatpunch’ on the command line.

“If you get kicked from the official servers with the message that you’ve been banned then you have been caught,” wrote Facepunch’s Garry Newman.

“You’re a naughty boy. You know what you have done. You won’t get unbanned. We know it was your 9 year old cousin. We know your computer got hijacked. We know that the CIA is getting you banned from all your games on Steam so you will join them in the hunt for aliens.”

Facepunch hope to set up a site for banned players, so that they can see for themselves the proof of their offenses. And then, hopefully, they’ll hush.

CheatPunch isn’t “the answer to all of our prayers” – rather it’s a useful stopgap solution, and by design it won’t be foolproof.

“We fully expect cheats to be touted as ‘CheatPunch proof’ quite soon,” said Newman. “That’s cool. We’re never going to be finished fighting.”

Yesterday we learned that Rust has sold a million copies, despite being only 10% finished. Have any of you lot come across cheats in-game, as well as the expected creeps and killers?