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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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37 comments
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Seegras 21 Jun
Quoting: rezzafriHow about hardening Proton to protect itself from becoming a tool for a cheater
How about people just recompile it? Or do code-injections? It's their machine. there is NOTHING (but skill) that stops people from running whatever they want on their machines.
Akitake 21 Jun
This would be wonderful, I keep my hopes low but if it does happen, I can ditch my Windows partition.
randyl 22 Jun
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Quoting: Seegras
Quoting: rezzafriHow about hardening Proton to protect itself from becoming a tool for a cheater
How about people just recompile it? Or do code-injections? It's their machine. there is NOTHING (but skill) that stops people from running whatever they want on their machines.
What Sweeney, and other publishers and studios employing client side anti-cheat, wants is to be able to confidently detect when people do that so they can be banned. If this project can inhibit cheating while confidently identifying those who work around it, then that skeptical crew is more likely to listen.

Playing together means establishing rules mutually agreeable and beneficial to all parties. Some Linux users want to play their game. They want assurance this won't affect cheating at all. Public perception and image count. If studios and publishers are perceived as being weak on cheating or favoring a new platform it could cause a bunch of unwanted trouble with their current player base. So, we need to establish that confidence to entice their cooperation.
Quoting: randyl
Quoting: Seegras
Quoting: rezzafriHow about hardening Proton to protect itself from becoming a tool for a cheater
How about people just recompile it? Or do code-injections? It's their machine. there is NOTHING (but skill) that stops people from running whatever they want on their machines.
What Sweeney, and other publishers and studios employing client side anti-cheat, wants is to be able to confidently detect when people do that so they can be banned.
Yes, but I think what Seegras was saying is basically that that's theoretically impossible, that if you have control of your computer, there would always be a way to defeat such attempts. That would be why anti-cheat systems seem to often look pretty much like rootkits--in order to work with any reliability, they have to take control of your computer away from you. But it's hard to make that stick.
I don't actually know enough to be sure if that's true, but it seems pretty likely. And anti-cheat creators presumably know that and in real life are settling for making it hard to cheat undetectably. The problem with that is that software is copyable; if one person has a solution, everyone has a solution and then it's no longer hard.
Guppy 22 Jun
Quoting: iskaputtDo cheaters really care about the OS they are playing on?

It's not a homogeneous group obviously but it seems that the vast majority of cheaters ( and gamers in general ) do not even know what an operating system is. If you ask them what they are gaming on the answer will be "Alienware/Dell/etc".

As a side note; It's a personal pet-peeve that the common vernacular in use for cheaters is "hacker", that term used to have a meaning before even the media adopted it as a term for blackhat operatoers - these individuals are at best script kiddies... now get off my lawn
randyl 22 Jun
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Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: randyl
Quoting: Seegras
Quoting: rezzafriHow about hardening Proton to protect itself from becoming a tool for a cheater
How about people just recompile it? Or do code-injections? It's their machine. there is NOTHING (but skill) that stops people from running whatever they want on their machines.
What Sweeney, and other publishers and studios employing client side anti-cheat, wants is to be able to confidently detect when people do that so they can be banned.
Yes, but I think what Seegras was saying is basically that that's theoretically impossible, that if you have control of your computer, there would always be a way to defeat such attempts. That would be why anti-cheat systems seem to often look pretty much like rootkits--in order to work with any reliability, they have to take control of your computer away from you. But it's hard to make that stick.
I don't actually know enough to be sure if that's true, but it seems pretty likely. And anti-cheat creators presumably know that and in real life are settling for making it hard to cheat undetectably. The problem with that is that software is copyable; if one person has a solution, everyone has a solution and then it's no longer hard.
I feel like they're not looking for an ironclad framework, but something that is as reliable as their Windows counterpart. Like you point out the system doesn't prevent cheating, it discourages it by imposing hurdles and the uncertainty of getting detected, caught, and subsequently banned. If this project can instill that same level of confidence then I think that will be realistically enough for EAC and its users (the publishers not gamers). If some Linux gamers can cheat but face the same uncertainty of getting banned as Windows users then that will put them all on the same playing field.
riusma 26 Jun
Progress: source

Edit: and more info on GoL obviously!


Last edited by riusma on 26 June 2020 at 9:49 am UTC
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