Godsbane / S’lag

The Half-Life of… Godsbane and S’lag.

I started taking notes of players ids on my own soon after I started playing, those days there were tons of players at any time and so the list grow rapidly.
It was soon obvious a list (or notes) wouldn’t cut it so moved to databases, important details such as ips I was getting them from servers I was admin on or sites like ag-stats.net
Those days again it was common there were lots of these player dbs. To name a few, the most important and used was ep-power, but there were also SF, 6thGear, Arma, Zaxx, and many more probably.
I hadn’t a way back in that time to share the contents in public such as an irc bot or a web, but when zaxx joined (SC) he kindly hosted my db for me in his bot along his own db while I was coding my own bot and in general I got great support from all SC.
And so S’lag first revision came live for first time 29th Aug 2003. It was simply an irc bot (all coded from scratch, and not one of the typical eggdrop bots) that allowed to do searchs in the db, it hadn’t any sort of cheat list nor could connect to servers.
Sep 2003 I joined the ranks of demon uk servers admins and they allowed me to access that new source of data.

At some point during the second half of 2004 my db and findings called the attention of Rich and Chronos and I was invited to join the ep-power crew. I joined and right away noticed they played in a different league, I also learnt a few things there.
Their resources allowed me to greatly improve both their db and my own, while at same time I gained full access to the logs of past and future cheat detections which allowed me to start a cheater list based on facts, and not 3rd hand info which I always had refused to add to that point.
I was by then working on a total S’lag revamp to automatize the gathering of data connecting directly to servers and the tools to easily manage the new tons of data incoming.
During 2005 the relationship between Rich and me became colder, due to an incident between SC and ep for which he blamed all SC as a whole and because by that time he had started to lose interest on the player db and anticheating and started to move towards a stats system (skill, kdr, etc…) which the rest of us on ep crew hadn’t really any interest on. That’s how in 2005 ep-power became epacs and shortly after I went my own way with a redone S’lag. Chronos and Duesouth came with me not long after as epacs pretty much abandoned the player db/cheat maintenance and ep-power/epacs finally disappeared near the end of 2006.

During the years that followed more features were requested and added and some leagues adopted/supported S’lag, such as Redrum, EHLL, NWL and even HLCCL(altho this never managed to get rebooted in the end)… Chronos and Duesouth finally retired too…
In 2009 incorporated its first own detector plugin during the opengf32 paranoia period.
Then came vac ban detections, the ehll ban list, the second chance policy, HLTV commands…

And after all this load of useless history lessons, what is S’lag really? :p
For people that know what is GCC or PBBans (or Steambans in a way) , S’lag is a cross of a massive player db and one of those sites. What do those sites/S’lag do? they log and verify the different cheat incidents that happen on a server (in this case the main source until a few years ago was ag anticheat itself) and then apply the resulting ban list(s) to each server connected to it (if requested). All the data collected is used to build the player db, verify the cheat incidents, and (try to) find the new ids of people trying to evade a previous ban or fake ids in general for different purposes.

One of the key points of S’lag DB is that is built around persons, even if I don’t know anything about the real life of said persons (which is none of my biz), conceptual persons if you want, and not a simple collection of ids. A person usually has more than one game id, and different persons can share any given game id.

So what happens when a game id is found cheating? The first thing is to verify the detection and track it down to the person, not just leave it at the id. There has been cases where was not possible to track a detection to a specific person (shared ids along insufficient data for example) and then said detection had to be ignored, despite of the frustration caused.
Once the person is identified all of his present and future ids are banned, the reason for this was obviously to try to prevent the player from evading the ban with just a new id.

What if the person is identified but the game id is shared with clean persons? Then the game id is still initially banned, but this is more of an attention call in the case the legit owner of the id is one of the clean players. Once the player knows what’s up with it, the ban on that id is lift unless is seen again in a banned persons hands.
Examples of clean persons who had ids shared and the ban on a specific id lift that come to my mind right now would be xerox, worldspawn, mastercow, spydah… but there has been quite a few more.

So what about mistakes?
I have always done my best to avoid them, but I’m sure I have done some, I’m not perfect and I don’t know it all. The key point is what sort of mistakes I’m willing to accept and there I’ve always played on the safest side possible, ie, the least hurting ones.
For example, say there is a person with 2 ids, I’d much rather have the person as 2 different persons in the db (which technically is wrong) if the data is inconclusive than the mistake it would be to put 2 different persons as 1 person.
After so many years it’s also possible that someone said the truth when his defence was someone else was using his pc when a cheat incident happened, if you want, that could be a mistake too, and I could understand the frustration of anyone that had been a victim of this. In the end unless the opposite could be proved the policy has always been you are responsible of what is done with your pc/account as otherwise that would be a way too easy scapegoat for anyone.
And you could always argue how much responsibility I have in any mistakes past or present the ehll demo team could have made despite of me not being a voter and being an independent ban list.

All in all I always found a bit amusing how over all these years some people have thought people can be banned for nothing while others have thought I required way too much evidence. The standard has always been the same for everybody doesn’t matter the name, location, reputation, or anything else.

Sometimes I even get (apparently at least) some people to change his mind a bit about this. xxxxxxx is a banned player trying to get other banned(to this date that player is still not banned).
Nov 2013
(after showing me some (to my standards) inconclusive evidences and rejecting them one by one)
19:00 <Godsbane> you are under the impression i ban happily with no proof but reality is i need conclusive proof 😛
19:00 <xxxxxxx> yeah ive changed my mind a bit
19:00 <xxxxxxx> but if it was me back in 2006
19:00 <xxxxxxx> u would have happily banned me for that
19:00 <xxxxxxx> 😛
19:00 <Godsbane> nope
19:01 <Godsbane> same as i didnt ban xxxxx with your shit proofs before
19:01 <xxxxxxx> so maybe ur not as bad as you seemed to be after all
19:01 <Godsbane> all of this you are showing it could maybe be used to confront him and make him confess, but other than that i dont know, and you dont want that to happen so
19:02 <xxxxxxx> well yeah I know what you mean

One of the most common questions I have heard when a player is s’lag banned is “is xxx still cheating?”
My reply typically is just “no idea”. When a player is busted all that really tells me is that he used a cheat that time, maybe was his first time, or maybe not, maybe was the last time, who really knows besides of himself?. Doesn’t tell me anything about what will he do in the future either.
However, if since that time he has got many more detections more, then maybe instead i’ll say “no idea, but wouldn’t surprise me the least”.

Examples of other questions:
My mate says he was banned because he posted a vid where there was a wh visible used to expose another player, was he banned for trying to help and expose others?
No, nobody has ever been banned for posting a video, for starters would be practically impossible to prove the poster and maker of the video are the same person plus if is based on a demo then it’d have been made offline. However, if someone is using cheats for that purpose instead of other tools and is not careful enough and makes a mistake such as going online with it, then there is a chance it can be detected at some point. And the excuse “I only used it to make a video” is not a valid excuse really.

Can I be banned from ag for cheating in cs?
If you use a cheat for other games and make the mistake of joining an ag game before turning it off then you’d be banned if detected. Countless people has admitted the detection but then claimed they only used it in cs (apparently they claim is a fair deal to cheat there because everybody do it!?) and forgot to turn it off but again that was never a valid justification. Besides of that there is always the risk you could get VAC banned.

Can I be banned for using the name of someone banned? or can I get banned if someone banned uses my name?
Not a chance. All the data collected is used to verify who is the person playing behind any id. If you played with nick <insert banned player here> from your usual location and I wanted to ban you for that I’d have to reason something like, “yeah sure, <insert banned player here> went to <insert clean player here>’s house to play with his id, that makes perfect sense” and wish me gl to convince anyone of such “sense”… In a case like that the first anyone in his right mind would think being able to just see the locations is: what is more likely?, that he is trying to be funny with a name or that the other person is in his house? the answer is usually a no brainer, unless very real evidence of the opposite appears which is extremely rare (I have known maybe 2-3 cases in the past that lived in the same town and did this to play in matches and even then in such case a warning to stop (case of ringers like happened fi) it would be better than a ban given the difficulties such case present).

I’m not sure where I’m getting myself here but, any other questions? I don’t promise to reply to everything mind :p