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An update on Easy Anti-Cheat support for Wine and Proton

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Currently, the Wine and Proton compatibility layers for Linux don't work with Easy Anti-Cheat and we have something of an update on the status for you.

Easy Anti-Cheat is one of the most widely used systems to reduce cheating in games, it's available in some form for actual Linux builds of games but it's something of a sore spot for Wine and Proton. Some time ago, it was confirmed that Valve and the Easy Anti-Cheat team were planning to work together to get the situation sorted, Epic Games later confirmed Easy Anti-Cheat was still supported on Linux for native builds too after it appeared that was stopping. Since then, we've not really heard anything officially on it.

However, over on Reddit, user Guy1524 who happens to work for CodeWeavers (who work on Wine / Proton) gave a personal update on their own clearly unofficial (EAC themselves are not involved) progress to get Easy Anti-Cheat working.

At this point, EAC will load, correctly process an IOCTL in which the loader sends an encrypted "internal dll", which it expects the driver to inject into the game process. EAC will then correctly map this dll when the process loads, and try to initialize it. This is the point where it is failing right now (the internal dll will yield an error), but we seem to be really close to the end of the initialization function, and once blitzcrank finishes devirtualizing it, we should be able to quickly get the function to succeed. In theory, if all goes to plan, the game should then launch, and be able to load the EAC library through the hooks setup by the internal DLL / kernel.

Wine (and so Proton) has always been a game of cat and mouse for Windows games on Linux, a constant game of catch-up as developers do new and different things and break compatibility. Anti-cheat tools add another layer of complexity that can cause more problems. The issue here, is that even if they manage to get it hooked up and working, EAC could end up doing something to block it if they don't like how it's operating. This is actually something that Epic Games Founder and CEO, Tim Sweeney, mentioned on Twitter when asked about it:

We'd be fully supportive of these efforts if confident they wouldn't lead to the worst-case scenario, which is a significant increase in cheating that we have no ability to detect.

If they manage to get Easy Anti-Cheat properly working with Wine and Proton, it would open up yet another big world of gaming on Linux. I think we can all agree that would be a great thing until the day our market share rises enough that more game developers support Linux directly.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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38 comments
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Raaben 20 Jun
This is great news but I'm still wary about banking on unofficial support of these anticheats; if its not perfect/something changes and you get caught by it, I have my doubts many companies will care to look into it or fix it. I know the famous Overwatch case of reversing bans, but Blizz is one of the few companies that openly goes out of their way for that. Hopefully I'm wrong.
Seegras 20 Jun
it is still the totally wrong idea to

a) try to control the users computer in any way

b) rely on software that runs on users computers to inhibit cheating. And this applies to your own software (the game) in the first place. If you're handing out too much information to the client (because of speed) you're also allowing cheating. And nothing will change that.
Eike 20 Jun
Quoting: AsciiWolf
QuoteYeah this doesn't involve the EAC team at all.
Source: Reddit

Sad to hear this, but still amazing news!

Very interesting, thanks for pointing out!

This should be added to the article IMHO.
Liam Dawe 20 Jun
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: AsciiWolf
QuoteYeah this doesn't involve the EAC team at all.
Source: Reddit

Sad to hear this, but still amazing news!

Very interesting, thanks for pointing out!

This should be added to the article IMHO.
It already is in the article, on top of noting it was a "personal" update it also said:
Quotetheir own clearly unofficial progress
I have now made "unofficial" bold as well as italic to make it stand out more but it was clear if people actually read that properly.


Last edited by Liam Dawe on 20 June 2020 at 12:17 pm UTC
Eike 20 Jun
Quoting: Liam DaweI have now made "unofficial" bold as well as italic to make it stand out more but it was clear if people actually read that properly.

I missread that as "unofficial information on progress of work" instead of "information on progress of unofficial work".

I understand your annoyance with people not reading or understanding what you've already written, but I still think it's worth noting that this is reverse engineering stuff without any help of Epic with more than a word.
g000h 20 Jun
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: g000hI get quite irritated by the fact that the likes of Garry Newman and Tim Sweeney and other game developers suggest that the approx 1% Linux gaming market-share would in any way influence the amount of cheaters on their games.

Statistically speaking, if 10% of Linux users were cheating, then that is 10% of the 1% population, i.e. 0.1% of gamers. Comparatively, if you have 10% Windows users cheating, then that is 10% of the 99% population, i.e. 9.9% of the gamers. Even if every Linux gamer was cheating (*ridiculous*) then that would only amount to a max of 1% of the population.

If I as a Windows user would want to cheat, and it were hard on Windows and easy on Linux, I might just dual boot. I guess that's what they're fearing, not the 0.whatever%.

Don't think your point holds weight *because* cheating is easy on Windows. Almost all the cheating tools are built to work on Windows. It would be harder for me as a Linux gamer to find cheats to use on Linux. Sure, someone could make Linux better for cheating, but the status is that it isn't a great cheating platform unless you build the cheats yourself rather than take advantage of all the cheats already built for Windows.
Eike 20 Jun
Quoting: g000hDon't think your point holds weight *because* cheating is easy on Windows.

I can't judge that part. But if they're fighting windmills already on Windows, I guess it doesn't matter if Linux joins in.
TheSHEEEP 20 Jun
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Quoting: g000hDon't think your point holds weight *because* cheating is easy on Windows. Almost all the cheating tools are built to work on Windows. It would be harder for me as a Linux gamer to find cheats to use on Linux. Sure, someone could make Linux better for cheating, but the status is that it isn't a great cheating platform unless you build the cheats yourself rather than take advantage of all the cheats already built for Windows.
You are confusing cause and effect.
That you can find more cheats and tools for Windows is exclusively down to the fact that 99% of gamers are on Windows. Writing some tools to edit hex values while a game is in RAM isn't easier on Windows, it's the same on pretty much any platform.
Same with editing game-specific dynamic libraries, inspecting/inserting network packages, and all the other ways to cheat.

It just wouldn't make sense to write some cheating tool for Linux as it wouldn't really be used by anyone. There already aren't too many gamers on Linux, and (potential) cheaters are an even smaller subset of that.
g000h 20 Jun
Examples of Cause and Effect: (something happens causing something else to happen as a result)


1. Something happens:
99% of the game market is running games on Windows.

1. Effect:
There are less cheating tools on Linux compared to Windows.


2. Something happens:
Only 1% of gamers are using Linux to play games.

2. Effect:
Even if there were loads of cheating tools available on Linux, we're talking about a very small Linux gaming market-share, i.e. very few people who would use them to cheat.

---

If the Linux market-share grew substantially and the amount of cheating tools for Linux also grew *then* these developers might have concerns, otherwise *not*.

---

Yes, it is of similar difficulty to *build* these tools on Linux compared with Windows. But I'm not talking about building the tools from scratch, I'm talking about what is available to download and use right now.
iskaputt 20 Jun
Do cheaters really care about the OS they are playing on?

Right now we are in a situation where developing cheats might be similarly difficult to implement on Linux compared to Windows (I'm not into that scene, so I don't know for sure), but the games don't even work on Linux in the first place. So implementing any kind of cheat is rendered moot by that fact.

If it turns out that cheating is less likely to be detected via Wine (which is the concern as I understand), there is little reason for it to not be exploited. Now if I remember correctly from a post by a cheat and later anti-cheat developer I read some time ago, there are cheats involving virtualization and hypervisor stuff (this appears to be the reason for anti-cheat on Windows becoming more and more rootkit like) which I'd assume is way more complicated to set up than installing a free Linux distribution and playing through Wine.

Meaning the real fear is not that suddenly the <1% Linux gaming community starts cheating, but the 10% (for a random number that came up in this thread before) of the 99% Windows players to switch to Linux for their cheating desires. Because it is (then) easier and safer.

PS: Yes, I ignored the Mac share.
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