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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.

Item Shop

Fortnite reveals first look at Ant-Man skin coming soon

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Fortnite Ant-Man skin teaser

Epic Games have revealed the first look at what’s expected to be an upcoming Ant-Man skin in Fortnite, but you’ll have to be looking closely at their teasers to spot him.

The Fortnite developers are continuing their relentless spree of crossovers, especially with superhero skins, and it looks like we’re getting another one very soon.

This time around, it’s the tiny Ant-Man. On March 6, Epic Games tweeted an image Domino, Cable, and Psylocke, but look closer, and you’ll spot someone else there too.

Sitting on Cable’s arm, we can make out the tiny hero.

And that’s not the only teaser for Ant-Man. In a second image, we can see him standing on the tip of the sword.

We’d assume that Ant-Man will actually be the regular character model size when the skin is playable in game – or else it would be the most powerful skin around (although not sure how he’d hold any weapons).

Unfortunately, we can’t make out the finer details of the skin as the images show him so small.

When is the Fortnite Ant-Man skin release date?

We don’t have the exact release date for the Ant-Man skin yet unfortunately. But, just based on previous teasers, we wouldn’t expect the wait to be too long.

Usually after a new portal is added in-game, and teasers start dropping, it’s only a matter of days before we can get our hands of the skin.

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Guides

How to disable pre-edits in Fortnite

After over a year of fan requests, Epic have added a ‘disable pre-edit’ option to Fortnite. Here’s where you can find it.

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In the v15.20 update, Epic Games added a much-requested setting to Fortnite: ‘disable pre-edits.’ Here’s how it works and how to select it.

Finally, after years of Reddit threads, Twitter posts, and pro players begging, Epic added a ‘disable pre-edit’ setting to Fortnite.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new setting, including how it works and where to find it.

What does ‘pre-editing’ mean?

Pre-editing refers to the ability to edit a structure before placing it. The most popular use of pre-edits throughout Fortnite history was a cone/ramp edit when controller players had to use Combat Pro.

Now, however, very few players use pre-edits. Instead, pre-edits offer an obstacle, as they’re almost always completed by mistake. Of course, there are still some niche applications for pre-edits, but most players wanted Epic to add an option to disable these edits.

How to disable pre-edits

You can find the new option under the settings tab (cog wheel) in the start menu. Scroll down to the “Building” section, and you’ll see four options. One of them is the new “Disable Pre-Edit Option.”

If you turn this off, you’ll no longer be able to edit structures before placing them – good news for the bulk of the Fortnite community.

If may have taken Epic years to add this option, but it’s finally here. Next stop, an FoV slider!

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Tips

How to use pre-editing to your advantage in Fortnite

Don’t turn off pre-edits so fast! Learn how to make pre-edits work for you in Fortnite with these new competitive strategies.

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Learn how to make pre-edits work for you in Fortnite with these competitive strategies.

Pre-edits in Fortnite can be maddening when you’re in the middle of a fight. More often than not, the pre-edits will work against you as you accidentally edit a hole in your floor or a window in your wall. Before you know it, you’re taking fall damage or getting shot because you hit the wrong button while battling someone.

Epic recently added a lon-requested setting to Fortnite, giving players the ability to toggle pre-edits on and off. Now, with a simple setting change, you’ll never need to worry about pre-edits again.

This doesn’t mean that pre-edits are entirely useless. In the patch before the setting change was released, pro player Maken used them expertly to outplay his opponent.

Useful pre-edits have also been posted to the r/FortniteCompetitive subreddit in the past. These pre-edits focus on cones, and give players the ability to fake-out opponents and even place their structures through turbo-builds.

The first strategy involves subverting the expectations of your opponent. Most skilled players anticipate edits, but using a pre-edited cone can get you a free shot.

As you can see, all you have to do is edit the wall, place your triangle cone, resent the cone edit, and shoot your opponent. There’s hardly anything they can do to prevent this free shot – especially since they aren’t going to see it coming.

The above clip from u/DemianNieuwenhuis has a very niche application. After all, using a regular cone is going to be far more useful in most situations. The only time your pre-edited cone will work is when someone is standing outside of your box.

This next clip is more of an exploit than anything. It also requires you to pre-edit your cone; this time in a V shape. You can exploit the new Turbo Building system and place the V-cone under your opponent’s ceiling after breaking their cone.

Again – like the other clip – this strategy will only be useful in certain situations. You won’t be able to cone-block opponents or even protect yourself from above if you run around with your cones all jacked up like this.

Still, these strategies are worth mentioning – especially if you find yourself in a 1v1. You can surprise your opponent with both of them, and steal some shots without taking damage.

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