How are people cheating at Quake III?

I just re-installed Quake III Arena after not having played the game for what seems like an eternity. When I last played, I was pretty good and would consistently be tops on my team in a game of Capture the Flag or Team Deathmatch. These days, I walk forward about two steps and immediately die.

Everyone playing on the map seems to be able to make one-in-a-million shots at will. For instance, I’ll be sailing through the air on the space CTF map and someone will hit me dead on with a rocket from all the way across the map. This happens to me several times a game - enough to make me think that there is cheating involved. No one can be that good consistently, IMHO.

I installed something called Punkbuster that is supposed to negate the most common cheats in the game, but I’m still concerned that there are people taking unfair advantage, y’know?

Any clue as to how this is happening? Are folks cheating with something I haven’t seen yet? Or have my skills just deteriorated to a point where everyone is light years ahead of me?

Im always concerned about that in Counter-Strike I have been in many games with blatent wall-hackers, but believe me. If someone is cheating, you will know without a doubt. They’re score will be like 10 times everyone elses combined sorta score. Dont be too concerned about dieing in Q3; its made to be pretty fast paced.


The trick is something called an “aimbot”, which are getting more and more advanced despite anti-cheating software. Basically, these programs recognize enemy player models and will “snap” your crosshairs to them (usually around the head). The player using it just has to move the mouse in their general direction and press the fire button when it’s locked on.

Sounds like loads of fun. The person is capable of pressing a button. Yipeee.

Since rockets aren’t instant-hit weapons, I really doubt it would be possible to cheat with them except at very close range. I notice that Quake III involves a lot of long jumps, and its quite easily to mentally calculate someone’s path and catch them in the middle of an arc with a railgun, for example. A rocket would be SIGNIFICANTLY harder, simply because of the timing involved, but quite doable I’d think.

I know that feeling.

In a case like this, though, there may be possibilities that require neither cheating nor superhuman skill.

it could be that someone’s mastered this one shot - using a rocket on an opponent making a specific bounce-jump - and is doing nothing but going for the same potshot over and over. He might be missing 9 times out of 10. He might even just be firing at random toward the trajectory of a busy set of bounce pads, and lucking out now and again. But when he scores - when he manages a long-range, mid-air hit with a rocket, it seems so impressive you’re bound to remember it.

Just because I kept getting killed–then for some reason it started taking 30 seconds to come back to life. But I always thought it was because I played from the keyboard.

I’m sure there’s some cheating going on, but you are underestimating the time and dedication which some people give their gaming. There are guys (I’m generalizing here) who have nothing better to do, at least with their free time, and so they get ridiculously good at some (or several) games. A friend of mine plays Tribes semi-religiously and I’ve seen highlight videos he’s got (yes, people actually spend the time to record and edit their playing), and there is unbelievable shot after unbelievable shot. And BTW, my buddy claims that Tribes is way more difficult than any other 1st person shooter, including any of the Quakes.

I’m still an avid Quake player, and I play with a few people who make shots like that all the time. I highly doubt they (the people I play with) cheat at all, and if they do, they certainly don’t use any kind of aiming assistance. Also, if i’m not mistaken, a lot of those jump pads in Quake III make the jumper follow a pre-determined route through the air. This means they go exactly the same distance and speed each time. Or if they’re not 100% pre-determined, any movement the player inputs in mid-air has at the most, very little effect on the actual movement of the player through the map. I’m not sure about this as I’ve only played QuakeIII a few times, but if this is the case, those shots aren’t as hard as you think.

Like Ender_Will said, there are some people out there who play these games way too much, and as a result, are ridiculously good at them.

They have some pretty good ways of making sure people don’t cheat on public servers in Q1. I’d imagine they’ve ensured that cheating in Q3 is damn near impossible, as suspicions of cheating is one of the main reasons a lot of people I know (and I’m sure many others) stop playing the game.

Sure there is some cheating going on, but if you find yourself thinking more then 2 and 3 people a game are cheating, honestly you just a. think too highly of your skills. b. because you think too highly of yourself and your skills you can’t comprehend how other people could be making those impossible shots, because you can’t.

If you got hit with a rocket like you said, im next to positive it is not an aim bot. There are too many variables against the aimbot being able to hit you with such a slow projectile. MHO is that it was just pure random luck, or some guy who has watched you take that same line over and over again. Then shot off a few rockets and nailed you because you were predictable.

When I played Q3 every chance I could get I had it down to be able to nail people in the air with the rocket then if it didn’t kill them switch to the rail and kill them before they ever hit the ground. Something that sounds impossible and of course I was accused of cheating and this was when there were no known cheats for Q3. But because I spent countless hours setting up specific scenarios and practicing them I had it down.

Q3 has been around a long time. People have had the time to developer better skills then when you last played.

Either practice more or just quit playing because yore only going to frustrate yourself and build ego’s to those people that your accusing of cheating, that really are not.

I did the same as you; reinstalled Q3 after months of not really playing it that much and got absolutely hammered, even on the public FFA servers. It’s not that people are cheating, it’s just the quality of the players is immense. My housemate is in a division 1 or 2 clan and when I see him play, some of the shots he consistently pulls off are amazing (especially with the railgun).

I think the problem is that Q3 is an old game, so most people have moved on, so that only leaves the really good players still playing, it’s the same with any old game - reinstall Age of Empires and you’ll get demolished so quickly it’s unreal, it’s not that you’re not very good, it’s just most players have moved onto Age of Kings/Mythology or Warcraft, etc.

      • There was a great article on Game Developer magazine that detailed the most common types of cheats used in online games. I am not interested or smart enough to try the stuff, but it was amazing what lengths people would go to to cheat.
  • One way of cheating at online action games is stated, an automatic aiming program running on a second computer hooked inline with the “end” computer the cheater is actually playing on. The aimbot programs can aim and automatically fire for you, or just automatically aim and let you decide to press the button or not. These used to work better on old 586 computers communicating over 56K phone lines. With the advent of high-speed computers and connections, aimbots aren’t that much of an advantage because the game server can do some player analysis and cross-verification and spot inconsistencies.
  • Some other examples of cheats: one makes all the solid surfaces of game areas partially transparent, so that the cheater has “X-ray vision” and can see other players wherever they go. A similar cheat gives the cheater “night vision”, so that dark areas appear lighter to that player than everybody else.
  • Or maybe nobody is cheating at all: if you have a 3-yr old 1000 Mhz computer with the display set at 600x800 and a 375Kb cable connection, and you’re playing against someone else with a brand new 3-gigahtz computer with video at 1200x1600 and a 1.5 Mb cable connection, that person can see things better than you can, and can often react faster than you can. Game anti-cheating measures generally end at the game software (the game program files on the client-side are checked to attempt to detect if any modifications have been made to them) but you can run any hardware and ISP you want, and people with the latest greatest hardware and fastest connections do have an advantage in action games.

Here’s an interview with a bot maker.

Back when I was playing it I noticed a sudden proliferation of AI characters in deathmatch games who spawned with massive health and armor, and never missed. “Timothy McVeigh” was a popular AI character for awhile.

However, if you’ve ever watched the fatal1ty comeback video you would know that there are some people out there who are virtual Michael Jordans at these games.

Well everyone summed it up pretty well, so there’s not much left to say. Keep in mind that Aimbots will lock you on to the closest person, even if they are behind a wall, which is a good way to spot a cheater. If you have any doubts, spec the person, and if they are making 180s and staring at the wall consistently they are probably cheating. The lightning gun and the railgun are usually the only weapons that ainbots will work with, because they are instant hit. Cheating was a big problem, but punkbuster has made a huge difference. Another thing, server admins nowadays are banning people by cd key, not IP, which means to get back on that server, you need a new copy of Quake. Since punkbuster came out for Q3, I really haven’t seen any problems with cheating. Make sure that you are going to a PB enabled server, which should be listed to the right of each server on the in-game browser. As mentioned earlier, some of these people are just that good, I see them all day everyday, playing the same 10 map loop, so you know they have every nook and cranny memorized.

For some good FFA servers try the OPC ones, the admins do a great job, and they are all PB enabled. The people in there are very friendly, but be forewarned, they are some serious gamers. If you see [AX7] say hello thats my clan. Try the Three-wave mod if you ever get the chance. I normally only play FFA, but I must tell you it’s like crack, you can’t get enough.

One last thing, there’s a mod called Defrag. Get it. It’s all training stuff, obstacle courses for rocket jumping, target practice for railgun, plasma gun and bfg jumping, the works. Watch the demos, then try the map, you skills will greatly improve.

P.S. Learn how to strafejump, because you will jump gaps that are huge, and it’s faster then running. You will see what I mean when you try the strafejump tutorial in Defrag.

Good luck, and good gaming.

I just wanted to add something my friend is doing to “cheat”. I used to play counter strike but I moved on (working too much, no time for online games) and he borrowed my serial code…so what he does is log on with both accounts, sets up a ghost with one computer and uses it like a security camera…

It’s kinda funny when you have a “sneak” attack going on and he just lobs a few grenades at ya :smiley:

I doubt any serious cheating is happening these days. I think it would be too noticiable. I used to be called a cheat when I played action quake on some servers for my shooting (generally with a sniper gun). My fast connection gave me a edge (something you might want to look into, even a small lag is a lot of time to shoot someone).

very true, unlike your average fps tribes is true full 3d all the way. each player is equiped with a jet pack and an energy bar that allows limited flight. the maps Require fight to get in and out of bases and several areas of the game.

and inspite of the fact that some people are just Insanely good (like me 2 yrs ago) there is very little cheating. some peeps are just GOOD.

I felt alot like you when I came back to play again recently, the only skill I still seemed to have down pat was “dueling”

I don’t know if you would call cheating or not, but I used to play older flavours of Quake using a ridiculously wide field-of-view.

It was a supported feature from the console, eg: ]FOV 300 would give you a 300° field of view. You have to tweak the mouse sensitivity a bit to make it workable, but once you get the hang of it, people can forget about sneaking up on you- you have eyes in the back of your head.

Ugh how could you aim with that? I’m getting a headache just thinking about that.

Thanks, everyone for your comments.

One further development… When I’m in spectator mode, I click the left mouse button to “follow” people in the game and see things through their eyes. I noticed that many folks seem to have their crosshairs snap right to whatever they’re aiming at. I am assuming this is the aimbot that ProjectOmega was talking about. But isn’t Punkbuster supposed to detect that?

In general, though, I think it might just be that my skills deteriorated while everyone else still playing the game got much better during my absence. Sometimes, though, I’ve gotta wonder whether anyone can be THAT good. I’ve played in CTF games recently where if I jump or leave the ground at all, I am instantly pegged with a railgun and I go flying off into space. Very frustrating and certainly no fun.