VACnet: This is the network of 1,700 CS:GO anti-cheat servers.

The biggest problem players face when playing against other players online is cheating. Virtually all online games have certain users who use tools that give them an edge over others, which ultimately spoils the online gaming experience and tarnishes the game’s image. For this reason, those responsible for online games have all kinds of tools to combat these cheats and one of the most advanced platforms in this regard is VACnet, Valve’s deep learning system.

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Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is one of Valve’s most successful titles. Since its launch in 2014, this title has faced all kinds of scammers who have made use of a variety of tools or hacks to have a higher window than other users, tools that are even capable of VAC system hack bypassed by Steam.

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Valve takes the fight against these cheats more and more seriously and bans in waves all users who use such illegal tools to gain an advantage over other players. To do this, the company uses a machine learning, or deep learning for short, based platform that constantly monitors the games and can detect virtually any tool used to cheat in online games. This platform is called VACnet.

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This way, VACnet can see if you are cheating or not

VACnet is primarily based on Overwatch, a platform (not related to Blizzard’s multiplayer game) used to judge whether user-reported players are guilty or innocent of cheating. VACnet studies this platform and learns for itself the details that a scammer reveals. So, this platform starts monitoring the games and automatically reports any suspicious cases to Overwatch, where finally one decides whether to cheat or not.

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Once one decides whether they are a cheater or an innocent one, VACnet automatically learns and continues to monitor games for new cheaters with newfound intelligence. Moreover, the players did not even notice the presence of this tool monitoring their games, which is very important not to cause further delays in the games.

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VACnet requires a lot of computing power to run

This platform will undoubtedly become much more efficient, but to keep it running, Valve needs a lot of powerful, dedicated hardware. To date, the server powering this deep learning engine has more than 1,700 processors spread over a total of 64 servers, each with 54 cores and 128 GB of RAM. Moreover, the structure of this server is designed in such a way that you can duplicate the hardware if you want to increase it in the future.

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Since December 2017, this platform is finally reporting more scammers than innocent ones, so it is doing a good job and learning more and more efficiently. Fewer and fewer scammers are playing online thanks to VACnet, which is welcome as it greatly improves the online experience of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

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