Veteran network programmer says The Division needs a "complete rewrite"

Never trust the client.


During The Division’s open beta, we saw people editing game files and using cheat engines to give themselves super powers. Never fear, responded Ubisoft, server-side checks will be implemented ready for launch. Recently, it’s become apparent that server-side checks haven’t been enough to stem the tide of cheaters in The Division. Exploits like vaulting through solid walls are bad enough, but former Sony and Respawn lead network programmer Glenn Fiedler has spelled out why the success of memory-editing cheat engines (to give players more health, ammo, etc.) is “super bad news”.

“This indicates that The Division is most likely using a trusted client network model,” writes Fiedler. “I sincerely hope this is not the case, because if it is true, my opinion of can this be fixed is basically no. Not on PC. Not without a complete rewrite.”

There’s some level of speculation involved, but having worked on Titanfalls 1 and 2, Journey and God of War: Ascension, the man knows his stuff.

In ‘top-tier competitive FPS games’, he says, the server never trusts what the client is saying—what happens server-side is gospel. The server runs client-side player inputs through the ‘real game’ on the server. The result is then seen and experienced by everyone.

If, as Fiedler suspects, The Division is running a trusted client model, client-side evaluation of hits and stats is sent to the server, which checks for anything suspect but ultimately trusts what it’s fed.

“I hope they’re not using a trusted client networking model,” Fiedler concludes. “I hope they have something up their sleeves. I hope they have a valid networking approach based around server-side checks that can address this issue in some way… But unfortunately, so far, all signs point to no.”

You can read his full blog and all the technical detail here.


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