Player Anti-Cheat Letter #3 - LOD Hacking - Krafton: Yes, it's cheating. No we won't do anything about it. - FPSHUB (2024)

1. Caught red handed

In April 2023, at PGS (a Krafton hosted LAN competition), pro-players were caught cheating by another team. Players from TSM hopped on practice computers and found the cheat still active – they reported it and Krafton later clarified in an official statement that it was 100% cheating, but no action was taken. The IGL of TSM made a post about it on Twitter (https://x.com/PurdyKurty/status/1651266480162619394) and players familiar with the issue from the same region as the team that were cheating confirmed that the allegations were true and that team was cheating, but to this day, there has been no punishment. Worse, other players from the same region tried to take action against TSM in competition as revenge for revealing the cheating, and Krafton took no action against them either. Worst of all, this method of cheating is still allowed and is still used.

The method is known by basically everyone in the competitive community at this point, but not generally outside it. Some pro players believe that they are entitled to use it in public matches, but not in competitive ones, which is pretty gross (eg https://www.reddit.com/r/CompetitivePUBG/comments/131rrxb/comment/ji25ubd/?utm\_source=share&utm\_medium=web3x&utm\_name=web3xcss&utm\_term=1&utm\_content=share\_button), and there seem to be in-groups of competitive players who use it together in pubs (for example in the videos below you'll notice that some players who abuse it appear in squads together, even if the abuse occurs in different games). The method used relies on a program called Nvidia Inspector. Nvidia Inspector is a program for editing graphics settings beyond the ones that you can usually access in the control panel. There are lots of legitimate uses for it to improve performance or make games look better, but it's also possible to use it to gain an unfair advantage. The method of cheating under discussion today is using it to decrease the Level of Detail (LOD) that the graphics card outputs.

This video has a general explanation of LOD hierarchies in UE4 that should make it easier to understand what's happening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYpH9qGrb90

2. So what does this method look like and what does it do?

It lowers the detail of things. Lowering the detail of textures can make enemies easier to spot, especially through some types of transparent textures like smokes. Lower detail models can, in some cases, let you see and shoot people who would otherwise be completely covered. The game does do checks to prevent the latter from happening, but the checks aren't perfect and it apparently gives some leeway to the shooter in cases near the edge of shot blockers that lets people who are cheating in this way make shots that they otherwise couldn't. Occasionally the leeway the player would need to connect the shot are too great and the checks do their job, but mostly it's close enough that they don't.

PurdyKurty posted three screenshots depicting its use in the twitter post above. I won't post any footage of my own using it because the whole point of this post is to ask for bans to be handed out for abusing it. The method reduces the apparent detail of surfaces and textures by forcing a lower quality LOD. LOD are used by game engines and graphics cards to reduce the detail of textures and models that are far away from a player so that they can achieve better frame rates. As you go further from a player, you get higher LOD numbers which are lower detail models and textures.

At low values, people had used it for a long time to reduce the detail of textures a little bit to reduce eye fatigue and make enemies contrast a little bit more against noisy textures by flattening them a bit. Sort of like a texture detail settings just a tiny bit lower than Very Low. In my opinion this wasn't an unfair advantage, it was mostly just aesthetic preference, but you could absolutely argue it the other way and you wouldn't necessarily be wrong – it's definitely a gray area at that level. Some people also used this setting to slightly increase the quality of textures, mostly to make scopes and red dots look a little crisper, but also for some other (non-cheaty) reasons.

But what we were seeing here, at a LAN competition where supervisors watch all PC use, was using it to force the game to much lower levels of detail where smokes, foliage and certain types of terrain began to render very differently. Supposedly the main reason people were using it in comp was to see through smokes (much) better, but having had the time to look at more footage of people using it I think some of them were doing it for the terrain advantages that I'll show here. If a person were really determined to cheat in comp and very careful about how they were doing it then this would be a great way to cheat since they could end up with smokes that were a tiiiny bit more transparent and cover that's just a tiiiny bit smaller than players expect, so that they'd see enemies peeking a tiiiny bit soooner, etc.

See, once you jack the LODs to a high enough number, the game starts to change the geometry of the models it uses for things like rocks, trees, doors and a lot of things inside compounds, and the edges of certain types of terrain (for eg parts where there's a single sharp edge on the crest of a ridge, this method will sometimes omit the highest crest to save 2 polygons by joining the terrain from the 2 second highest crests). It does this anyway without any tweaking, but it usually uses those LODs so far away that you can't exploit it.

Watching people exploit it in this way can be unintentionally hilarious – since people who are carelessly abusing this cheating method don't even know they're shooting people who their bullets shouldn't be able to reach. This is even more blatant to watch than a nasty wallhacker, since at least wallhackers normally know when they're not supposed to be able to see someone and will usually try to hide it, and will rarely shoot people who they shouldn't even be able to see. Here are some examples of what it looks like:

https://youtu.be/Gv1dfI4FomQ

https://youtu.be/D-wcwVeSmoc

https://youtu.be/LP\_uMZjGDAM

https://youtu.be/UrQSLOJ9a50

https://youtu.be/dAe0AcYlL7c

https://youtu.be/-rOervX1IRQ

3. How is it done?

I will make a top level reply explaining exactly the settings that you use to do this so that if a mod decides that it violates the "discussion of cheating methods" rule that post is deleted instead of the OP. I'm posting it since, hopefully, Krafton will do something about it instead of continuing to close their eyes and block their ears. Frankly, it would be nice if Krafton manned up, issued some bans against those abusing it to cheat, and updated their AC to prevent the abuse of it (which amounts to the unbelievable technical challenge of checking something like three registry keys).

Player Anti-Cheat Letter #3 - LOD Hacking - Krafton: Yes, it's cheating. No we won't do anything about it. - FPSHUB (2024)

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