Patrick Klepek interviewed the developers of Homefront: The Revolution who are surprisingly still updating the game almost a year after it was released. This comes as a shock because it was received poorly by both the critics, and while it found some audience, most of the gaming public as well.
I’m mostly interested in the game because it’s set in Philadelphia. Not many games are set there, usually choosing more recognizable cities like New York or San Francisco which was the setting for the first Homefront game.
Watching Austin Walker’s quick look of Homefront: The Revolution when he was still at Giant Bomb was heartbreaking. It seemed to lack any flavor of Philadelphia, no genericized Philly Frenetic, and it was just an unfinished mess of gameplay ideas borrowed from better games.
Hearing that the game is still being updated is a bit of solace, maybe there is something in there worth playing the next time it goes on sale.
How does Valve handle cheating?
When Valve’s anti-cheat system, VAC, detects a user has cheated in a multiplayer game they’re marked for seven years on their Steam profile page and blocked from VAC protected servers.
Patrick Klepek interviewed cheaters who were branded:
“When you have big red letters on your profile announcing everyone you have a ban, the experience is never going to be good,” said Oliveira. “If you don’t suck at a game, they will right away point a finger at you and accuse you of cheating. You get told so many times that ‘Once a cheater, always a cheater.’ I knew I did it, I knew I would never do it again, and I wanted to prove that that was not me. But how do you do that? How will they believe you? Yeah, no. It’s the biggest badge of shame a person can have in an online world.”
Oliveira found himself taunted when playing games, years after his initial offense. He couldn’t shake the stink, and Valve offered no recourse. He was, for at least seven years, a cheater.
Bizarre to me is that everyone interviewed agreed the policy was generally acceptable.
This program lacks nuance. Policies against cheating are good, but without more granularity in enforcement it’s kind of ridiculous. Someone who cheats at Counter-Strike for ten minutes shouldn’t necessarily be punished the same as another person who cheats for a month.
A few years ago I asked at a Valve GDC booth for job-seekers if they ever had room for online community managers. It’s not surprising the Valve employee thought the idea of them hiring an online community manager was ridiculous after reading this article from Patrick. The one-size-fits-all kind of anti-cheat enforcement has the stink of developers making community decisions all over it.