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Easy Anti-Cheat not as simple as expected for Proton and Steam Deck

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Even though Epic Games announced recently how they expanded support for Easy Anti-Cheat to have full support of native Linux, plus Wine / Proton (and so the Steam Deck), it seems it's not as easy as we hoped.

In the original announcement, Epic mentioned how it can be enabled with "a few clicks in the Epic Online Services Developer Portal" but the situation is never that simple. A developer of Warhammer: Vermintide 2 has written a post on Steam to explain, noting that there are two versions of EAC. There's the original and the newer version used via Epic Online Services. The majority of games are likely still with the old version, since the newer one needs SDK upgrades and newer integrations.

We already knew that developers needed the latest SDK from the original announcement, but this makes it simpler for us all to understand.

Here's what they said:

So we have looked in to this. It's far more complex than first suspected -- EAC has two versions. Non-EOS and EOS (Epic Online Services). Most games historically use Non-EOS EAC. It's the one Vermintide 2 uses as well. Epic only added Proton support for the EOS version of EAC. Therefor in order to implement proton support for Vermintide 2, a huge amount of reworking of the EAC implementation would be required, which may also require all players to authenticate with Epic Online Services as well -- perhaps even logging in to the Epic environment (to be confirmed, however).

So the "just a few clicks" statement made in the original announcement wasn't entirely accurate, and would only apply to titles using the EOS version of EAC, which simply hasn't been many games aside from either pretty new ones, and likely predominantly Epic exclusive titles.

We are still looking at what is or isn't going to be possible, but it's not as easy as it was made out to be -- far from it in fact.

There may be other solutions or workarounds, but ripping out the old EAC and rewriting everything to implement "NuEAC" and potentially asking our entire playerbase to connect through and sign through EOS for an honestly tiny market share that was (and would remain) unsupported from the get go might be a deal breaker.

Time will tell.

One part we already know not to be true, is a requirement of Epic Online Services authentication, as the developers of Brawlhalla showed in their own testing with the new integration which worked without users touching Epic's services directly.  The other point remains though, as developers won't upgrade from the older implementation to the newer without a good reason, due to extra work involved when the older one is still getting the latest EAC updates as normal (as confirmed in a later post). Although, there may come a time Epic force EOS for it, but it stands to reason they haven't currently as it would have been a big upheaval for so many developers using it and likely caused plenty of developer backlash there.

Tripwire Interactive also hinted towards the exact same thing, when asked about hooking up support for
Rising Storm 2: Vietnam, a developer noted back in September 2021, "The version of EAC used on RS 2 is not the version that is advertised in this, and it is not something that will work for RS 2 players.".

Hopefully the actual work involved in moving from old EAC to new isn't too much, but it's a reason why we've yet to see any really look to do it. Once the Steam Deck is out though, it should improve, if enough players ask developers to get it sorted, otherwise players may have to resort to a manual install of Windows on the Steam Deck instead of SteamOS 3 to play some of the most popular multiplayer titles.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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52 comments
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There's no reason for this game to have anti-cheat in the first place, it's a coop game. :/
Ardje 9 Jan
So Epic actually uses the steam deck to force users to get an epic online account.
I think this shows why EAC is evil.

The question is: what can you do to get around this? Rewrite to another anti cheat?
My biggest question is always: why an anti cheat? What games are worth playing with an anti-cheat?

I mean people will still complain that you are using cheats. So why all this trouble for the end user?

EDIT:
I now read that log in is not needed for the new EAC. I think Valve has yet again helped us there.
Thank you Valve!


Last edited by Ardje on 9 January 2022 at 10:30 am UTC
Beamboom 9 Jan
Quoting: ArdjeSo Epic actually uses the steam deck to force users to get an epic online account.
I think this shows why EAC is evil.

You need to read the whole article.


Edit: And so he did, later. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 9 January 2022 at 10:53 am UTC
Ehvis 9 Jan
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It's funny how the same thing keeps coming back. People assuming that EOS requires an Epic account while it doesn't. Can't shake the feeling that this is by design though. Epic making this purposely vague so more Epic accounts would be made.

I had no idea about the two EAC versions though. So thanks to these devs for clarifying that. And I'm very curious if something more is going to be done with this.
Quoting: EhvisI had no idea about the two EAC versions though. So thanks to these devs for clarifying that. And I'm very curious if something more is going to be done with this.

So for the one version of EAC it literally is just an SDK update and then a "few clicks", but nobody seems to have bothered to mention that there's an entirely other version of EAC that is used by a most current games that is completely unsupported. I do suspect that EAC will eventually be deprecating the non-EOS version though as keeping two codebases up to date seems like an unnecessary waste of resources.
Quinn 9 Jan
All that's happening here is that Fatshark don't want to put in the effort to switch to the current branch of EAC for a years-old game that they probably are just about done with supporting altogether. But instead of saying "we're gonna be lazy here because Linux support isn't going to make us any signifcant amounts of money to offset the dev cost of swapping that piece out", they're just deflecting blame onto Epic because they know it's easy to whip up a bunch of Gamers™ into a frothing anti-Epic frenzy, at which point FS's own culpability here will just fade right into the background.

In the context of Vermintide 2, the decision to include any anti-cheat at all was not a good one. Not only they could do without it, but they could also learn from Valve to not punish people who decide to play on non-protected servers.

Epic themselves state: Starting with the latest SDK release, developers can activate anti-cheat support for Linux via Wine or Proton with just a few clicks in the Epic Online Services Developer Portal.
They're not hiding the fact devs have to be using the latest SDK, and I highly doubt it's difficult to switch to the latest one.

You don't need Epic Account Services as an identity provider in Epic Online Services; it's an option. You can integrate other identity providers if preferred.

413 games on Steam (link) make use of Epic Online Services and don't require an Epic Games account.


Last edited by Quinn on 9 January 2022 at 1:04 pm UTC
A login might not be required yet, BUT it can be required in the future.

Epic is no saint and definitively wants to profit from it.
mirv 9 Jan
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Quoting: QuinnAll that's happening here is that Fatshark don't want to put in the effort to switch to the current branch of EAC for a years-old game that they probably are just about done with supporting altogether. But instead of saying "we're gonna be lazy here because Linux support isn't going to make us any signifcant amounts of money to offset the dev cost of swapping that piece out", they're just deflecting blame onto Epic because they know it's easy to whip up a bunch of Gamers™ into a frothing anti-Epic frenzy, at which point FS's own culpability here will just fade right into the background.

Actually there are more responses in the thread that indicate they're actively trying to make things work, and it's simply not functioning as advertised. Don't be so quick to hate.
denyasis 9 Jan
I'm also completely shocked that a company would put new features in that newest version of software, but not out it in there older versions!!!!

What kind of horrible people are they!?!?
Bogomips 9 Jan
Quoting: JoshuaAshtonThere's no reason for this game to have anti-cheat in the first place, it's a coop game. :/

There is no reason for any game to use an anti-cheat in the first place if it is thought from scratch and build around that idea but it is way cheaper/easier to use third party SDK, engine, netcode or whatever to take care of everything even if it doesn't work well.

I you play a little bit of CS:GO (with VAC) for example, it is completely useless against cheaters.
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