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A game of chess: an interview with a Fortnite cheat developer

We spoke with a cheat developer about cheating in Fortnite, the Fortnite anti-cheat, and the mentality of a cheat developer.

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On July 31, we covered the story of a Fortnite player known as Bman. Bman was exposed for allegedly using cheats during the Bugha Cup and Cash Cups leading up to this tournament. His trio teammates in the Bugha Cup were the ones to expose him.

Zykoma, one of Bman’s former teammates, tweeted several clips that showed Bman tracking players that should be invisible to him. In the tweet, he wrote, “I’m posting this to show how easily these hacks are accessible and can go multiple tournaments undetected.”

After discussing the topic with the players involved, I was sent some information on how Bman got these cheats. One thing led to another and I found myself in a Discord server for a cheat developer – selling cheats for Fortnite, PUBG, and Apex Legends. I was directed to one of the Discord admins and creators of the cheats. For the purpose of this article, he will be referred to as “Clay,” to avoid potential misuse of this feature for promotional purposes.

Clay agreed to be interviewed and provided some insight into cheating in Fortnite along with general information about himself and why he does what he does. According to Clay, he and his partner(s) sell one of the only effective cheats that gets through the Fortnite anti-cheat. He could not confirm nor deny whether these were the cheats that Bman used before his disqualification from the Bugha Cup.

I went into this conversation thinking that Clay would talk about the abundance of cheaters in Fortnite and how easy it is to get around their anti-cheat. I thought I’d find someone who just wants to watch the world burn – sending as many cheaters into a game as they could. As it turns out, neither assumption ended up being true. Let’s get into it.

An interview with a Fortnite cheat developer

People are calling out the Fortnite anti-cheat. Would the Valorant anti-cheat detect this type of cheat? I know that’s supposed to be much more advanced than other games.

The Valorant anti-cheat is definitely good, presumably the best anti-cheat since ESEA, both insanely invasive in ways that the communities have already found out about without any developers having to prove.

It’s highly unlikely that any anti-cheat can detect our cheat(s) as it’s operating at an extremely low level compared to what they’re used to, and if they could see how we do it then they’d most likely steal some of our ideas.

In Fortnite – with public tournaments and open qualifiers – there seems to be a lot more incentive to use cheats to earn money. The same is true for developing cheats, I assume.

To be honest, we love what we do, and making money is simply an addition to it, we don’t do this for a living or else we’d have many more customers.

Cheating has been around since forever, it has definitely changed and evolved from even year-to-year, but it’s still cheating. The difference is definitely huge between players using it for content or public matches, as opposed to using it to earn tons of money but along with that, there are also greater risks. When you start trying to use third-party software or even non-tool assisted cheating for money, that’s when legal actions begin to become a risk.

You said you do it for the love of the game and not for the money. What do you love about it? Getting around the system? Trying to have the best product?

Bypassing anti-cheats is a hobby, similar to how cheating in games is a hobby. It’s enjoyable to bypass something that isn’t supposed to be bypassed, and ahead of that we also provide for someone else’s hobby which is cheating in a game. The money made isn’t important, it’s a bonus to what we do.

We don’t even try to compete to have the best product, we’re known for having the most secure products for many years now but we don’t even attempt to mass-sell or advertise what we do, it simply comes to us because of how well we do it. It’s simply a hobby, and when you do it well, people realize it.

Besides, when we see anti-cheats doing illegal stuff like pulling information from user’s computers or even dumping memory – we want them to realize we can see what they’re doing. What we do is just as illegal as what they do, probably even less illegal as they’re doing it to millions of players. Well, it would be illegal but no one cares about the TOS each player agrees to. I guess cheaters and RE’s (reverse engineers) just enjoy being on the opposite side.

The prices you list are quite expensive for a hobby. What do you think people get out of cheating in a game if not money and notoriety? Calling it a hobby suggests that people are doing it for fun – not trying to earn money or make a name for themselves.

There are definitely people who just cheat as a hobby, it may require an investment but when there’s only one undetected cheat – people are willing to pay any price. Of course, there are people who also do it to gain an advantage and win tournaments, but those rarely ever continuously cheat.

Would you say that yours is the only undetectable cheat in a particular game?

In the specific game we’re talking about (Fortnite), yes. At least the only one undetected that isn’t extremely private and selling for over $2,000 a month.

Okay. So in your opinion, cheating in Fortnite isn’t as widespread as people seem to think it is? Right now, a lot of pros are suspicious.

Cheating with third-party programs isn’t as big as people think it is. There may be other forms of cheating, but not with third-party programs like this, as it’s extremely rare or difficult for someone to get their hands on something like this.

I did see someone named “Zygama” (Zykoma) or something like that saying something along the lines of “I want to spread awareness to show how easy it is for people to get cheats that can go multiple tournaments without being banned.” This is extremely false.

I’m in contact with many other developers and well-known cheaters who have tried numerous cheats and created cheats who haven’t even been able to go a few days without getting banned.

The cheat we’re offering isn’t something out of the ordinary, and we aren’t regular RE’s with basic knowledge. We’ve been making cheats for over a decade, and to make this cheat as safe and undetected as it has cost us many weeks of reversing and studying how the anti-cheats work, luckily we didn’t go out of our general knowledge as everything they do – we’ve already seen in previous anti-cheats.

Do you play Fortnite or any of the other games you have cheats for? When you do play, do you cheat?

I personally don’t play the games, or if I do play them it’s only with intentions to add/debug something about the cheat. I’m not entirely a gamer, not anymore at least.

“It bothers me when people say ‘fix your anti-cheat’ to developers who work day and night to catch a cheat that snuck past what they took months developing.”

Would you ever switch sides and work for the good guys, catching cheaters and making anti-cheats?

Creating an anti-cheat was something a colleague and I have thought about, but there’s something better about being the “bad guys”.

Besides, when you’re working on this side of the field not only are you learning the tricks anti-cheat developers are using, but you’re also using your full knowledge to create new ideas while also understanding other’s ideas. Which is something anti-cheat developers can’t do, unless they get access to that specific cheat.

I will say that it bothers me when people say “fix your anticheat” to developers who work day and night to catch a cheat that snuck past what they took months developing. They truly work hard, but it’s not an easy task to get rid of every single cheat available to people. Then when certain cheats like this one comes up, that they’ve never seen before or have an idea how it works – they can’t do anything but spend half of their salary on getting their hands on the cheat to detect it.

This cheat is definitely going to be something head-breaking for them to solve though, and they will learn a lot from it if, and only if they are able to figure out even a small portion of it.

I want to get back to the prevalence of cheating in Fortnite. This past weekend the topic blew up with the FNCS. Has anything changed or is that statement still true?

I don’t know of any cheats that are undetected, at all – other than us. I think Fortnite cheating is really dead, and I don’t see it taking any turn anytime soon. Specifically speaking about third-party program cheating, because other forms of cheating may definitely be common.

Of course, teaming and all of that, but we’ve seen a ton of clips of players with “suspicious” aim and tracking from this weekend. Do you think players are seeing something in clips that isn’t there or are more players actually using cheats?

We opened 5 slots prior to all of these tournaments. I’m not claiming any of those users are my customers and there have been numerous clips of people having suspicious aim who are simply just good.

It’s highly unlikely that these users are cheating, but I do think Fortnite is becoming scared of what’s going on and are enforcing bans without their anti-cheat picking up a clue. They’re definitely desperate to clean up their game, but as I said it’s highly unlikely that these players are using cheats unless they’re paying what they make from the tournaments to only keep the publicity.

Can you clarify what the “slots” mean?

We have limited slots for each product we offer in order to prevent an abundance of cheaters, it’s also an easier and more secure way to handle the cheats as opposed to mass-selling it. Usually, we have 25 slots for our products, but for Fortnite, we’d like it a bit more private as there are no other cheats that offer the security we offer.

Really, so at one time only 5 people were cheating using your cheats during the FNCS?

Correct, as I said it’s very rare to have secure cheats and we don’t want to hurt the game any more than we already do.

“This is definitely like a game of chess though, and I hope they’re enjoying it the way I am; except I’m a few moves ahead at the moment.”

You have an interesting stance on game development. Not wanting to hurt the game, standing up for anti-cheat developers, etc.

Truth is I like what I do, I’m not attempting to hurt anyone by doing this. There is a lot that could be bragged about, but there’s a limit to when you can brag.

The anti-cheat developers are trying their hardest, but there’s always someone who’s better, just as I’m sure there’s someone better than us – they just haven’t shown up yet. This is definitely like a game of chess though, and I hope they’re enjoying it the way I am; except I’m a few moves ahead at the moment.

The takeaway

My primary takeaway from this conversation was this: according to (self-proclaimed) one of the only successful Fortnite cheat providers on the internet, there aren’t a ton of cheaters in Fortnite, especially in official tournaments. There are, undoubtedly, people using third-party cheats in Fortnite tournaments, but they aren’t nearly as common as the professional community seems to think.

What’s more, the Fortnite anti-cheat – which has been getting a lot of flack from pros – is one of the better systems in gaming. It might not be as sophisticated as some, but it’s far better than the anti-cheat in other popular games. According to Clay, their cheats wouldn’t even be registered by the most stringent anti-cheats in gaming, anyway. If you take his claims at face value, then you acknowledge that he’s creating a cheat – unseen in gaming until now.

Cheating will always be a part of gaming. As Clay told me, it’s a game of chess between cheat and anti-cheat developers. There will always be people like Clay, who enjoy skirting the system by developing cheats. There will always be players who purchase these cheats as a way to gain an advantage – or to, simply, anger other players.

I decided to look at the silver lining of the information we received: cheating in Fortnite isn’t that bad. Third-party cheating Fortnite tournaments seems to be even less of an issue.

Sure, some people will get away with it and Epic can’t keep up with everyone. As players, all we can do is keep an eye out and report what we see without getting too paranoid. As Ballatw stated in a tweet, false and frivolous accusations only harm the community.

This appears to be the end of my communication with Clay, for now. He claims to have no knowledge of any particular players who are cheating in Fortnite – although I have my doubts about that. I wouldn’t expect him to admit it if he did. I’m taking some of his claims with a grain of salt, but feel as though he has no reason to lie about most of what he told me.

Hopefully, this interview gives players and developers alike more of an insight into the world of hacking in video games – specifically in Fortnite. Fortnite players can take some comfort in the knowledge that the anti-cheat is strong and catches most of the wrongdoers.

Some cheaters will always slip through the cracks, but those who use third-party software in tournaments are subject to legal action. It’s a huge risk that carries more of a punishment than public humiliation if a player is caught.

I can only hope that this information helps to give some competitive Fortnite players peace of mind, dissuades potential cheaters, and informs those who were interested ideology of a cheat developer. I’ll be answering some questions on the FortniteINTEL Twitter account, so make sure to follow us there.

Patch Notes

Fortnite v14.20: what to expect

Here’s what to expect in the next Fortnite update: v14.20.

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It’s been two weeks since the last Fortnite patch, and all signs are pointing to the v14.20 patch coming this week. We’re writing this before any official announcement, but our best guess is that there’s a patch incoming tomorrow, September 22.

We have a few ideas of what’s to come, including the bug fixes that come with nearly every patch. Let’s get into it.

Bug Fixes

As always, there are several issues that should be resolved when v14.20 goes live. Here’s a list of all of the bugs that are listed as “Fixed in Next Game Update” on the Fortnite Community Issues Trello board:

  • Fishing Spots can disappear on PC with Effects set to Low.
  • Replays not saving on PlayStation 4.
  • Heroes Park and Ghost House don’t count as Discovered Locations after discovering them.
  • Groot Awakening Island Missing
  • Redline Ramirez’s Commander Perk doesn’t work properly with charged Sniper Rifles. (Save the World)
  • Inconsistent Fishing Spot visibility on Nintendo Switch and Android.

2020 Birthday Celebration

Fortnite: Battle Royale released on all platforms on September 26, 2017. That means that Fortnite’s third birthday is coming up – on Saturday, to be exact.

Each year that passes, Fortnite brings some sort of celebration to the game. The past two years have given us free cosmetics along with some birthday-themed challenges.

We don’t have a ton of information about what will come this year apart from some leaked weapon wraps, but we’ll almost certainly get some more details when the patch comes out.

The next hero or POI

This is a general prediction, but we think that another batch of hero abilities and/or a new POI will come to Fortnite when v14.20 goes live.

We saw Stark Industries come in the last patch and most fans assume that some of the abilities in Marvel Standoff will come to the base game at some point. In v14.20, we could see any of these abilities with their accompanying hero as a boss or another hero we haven’t seen yet.

Again, this is only a prediction and doesn’t have too much tangible evidence behind it.

Wolverine fortnite

Now, all that’s left is to wait for an announcement. We’re pretty confident in our prediction of a patch coming this week, even if it doesn’t go live tomorrow.

Of course, we’ll update this post if our prediction is wrong or if we learn more ahead of the update.

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Esports

DreamHack Open ft. Fortnite September results

Alliege, Marz, and Teeq take home first place in each region for the DreamHack Open Fortnite September tournament.

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The DreamHack Open September Fortnite tournament is in the books with Alliege, Marz, and Teeq taking home the victory in each region. The NA-East and EU stages of the competition took place over the weekend with NA-West wrapping-up on the 13th.

The tournament saw some rising stars along with some returning champions place at the top of the heap. Here’s a look at the full results for each region.

NA-West DreamHack Open results

The NA-West region was the first to finish the DreamHack September tournament on the 13th. After several qualifications and lackluster placements, Alliege put it all together and won the tournament. He was followed by 5G Nach and one of the most dominant players in the region, Arkham.

Several NA-East players went off-ping to place highly on NA-West. Dubs came in at 8 and Jamper placed 11 – padding his purse for the event. Other noteworthy finishes include Cented at 6, Lanjok at 9, and Whofishy at 12.

Stats via: FortniteTracker

NA-East DreamHack Open results

A rising star in the Fortnite scene, Marzz_OW, took home first place in the NA-East region with 293 points. The win was a long time coming for Marz, who has been grinding competitive Fortnite since the early days. It’s good to see him take the win.

Behind Marz was, unsurprisingly, Bugha. Bugha remains one of the best solo Fortnite players in any region – continuing to prove himself tournament after tournament. A portion of the competitive Fortnite fanbase likes to pretend that Bugha is “washed,” but the pro constantly proves that his World Cup win was anything but a fluke.

Other noteworthy finished include MackWood at 7, Jamper at 8, Slackes at 11, Zexrow at 17, Unknown at 21, and Bizzle at 22.

Stats via: FortniteTracker

European DreamHack Open results

Teeq proves that he’s one of the most dominant Fortnite players in EU with yet another DreamHack Open win. He took home the DreamHack July competition as well and adds a September victory to his portfolio.

Znappy and Verox had identical statistics in second and third place, but Znappy won the tiebreaker. Some noteworthy players who finished outside of the top 15 include Th0masHD at 17 and BenjyFishy at 18.

Stats via: FortniteTracker

Next up for competitive Fortnite will be the FNCS Trios, which should begin within the next couple of weeks. After that will be another DreamHack Solo tournament in October.

In the meantime, competitive Fortnite fans can wet their appetite with Ninja Battles, region-locked Cash Cups, and daily pro scrimmages streamed on Twitch.

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Party Royale

Everything you need to know about the Fortnite BTS event

Find out how to watch the exclusive premier of the new BTS music video for “Dynamite” inside of Fortnite.

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Epic Games are continuing to invest in their Fortnite: Party Royale game mode by signing some of the most popular artists in the world to offer exclusive content to their game.

The mode launched with sets from massively popular DJs like Diplo, Dillon Francis, and Steve Aoki. More recently, we saw Anderson .Paak host a live performance. Next up is K-Pop sensation BTS, which looks to be the most popular Party Royale concert yet.

The performance will take place next weekend, beginning of Friday, September 25 at 8 PM EST, BTS will premier their new music video for their song “Dynamite.”

Two new emotes will also be coming to Fortnite this week – both choreographed by BTS. Purchasing them will let you dance along with the music video when it goes live on Friday.

If you’re not able to make the showing on Friday, Fortnite will be hosting a rerun on Saturday, September 26 at 8 AM EST. This timing allows everyone in the world to participate in the Fortnite premier.

You’ll only have two chances to view the music video in Fortnite, but it will undoubtedly be available on YouTube after the event is over.

Stay tuned for the BTS emotes coming to Fortnite on September 23. With a presumed patch tomorrow, keep an eye out for leaks surrounding this event. As always, we’ll have everything covered here and on Twitter, @FortniteINTEL.

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