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Interview with DeadBolt of DF2/3 Favorites

*Note to DeadBolt: Thanks for taking time for this interview, and hope to see more from you in the future!!

Sting: What is your Name?
A: DeadBolt (aka Ryan)

Sting: How old are you?
DeadBolt: 32

Sting: Male or Female?
DeadBolt: Male

Sting: What is your website's URL?
DeadBolt: http://dffav.dfcenter.com

Sting: Tell us a bit about your site. When it was started, what did you set out to achieve, plans for the future etc.
DeadBolt: The site was started about two years ago when Favorites was first released. It have moved around a bit, existing in different forms here and there until it found a more permanent home at DFCenter. There are not really any big plans for the site itself. The content it contains is there to support DF Favorites users vs trying to be snazzy or cute. As long as it serves the purpose it will remain mostly the same.

Sting: For the few who have never heard of or used the programs you have written for DF..could you please explain them and what they do?
DeadBolt: There is primarily a single application, DF Favorites, which is composed of a group of inter-related programs. Publically, the tools are broken down into the join tool, the remote tool, and the cheat blocker technology. The basic feature set includes, in a single downloadable package, the following:

DF Favorites Join Tool

  • Full support for DF2, LW, and TFD

  • Favorite server lists (locate and keep track of servers)

  • Ping, game type, passworded, etc (everything you would expect)

  • Embedded Novaworld lobby browser

  • Embedded DF Favorites World lobby browser

  • Join and auto-join on full servers

  • Trace route to a game server

  • Player profile editing (fancy/hexed names, weapons, specialty, etc)

  • Novaworld Lobby download and search

  • Buddy List and Messaging (send messages back and forth)

  • Tool messages (send links to running games, voice software, etc)

  • Game link sharing (send via ICQ or buddy lists
  • )
  • Integrated Community Chat

  • Run your own private chat servers

  • Game Screenshot Viewer (save images as JPEGs)

  • Web Remote Control of servers (simple web page)

  • Full Remote Control of servers

  • Remote Map Manager (enable disable map use)

  • Command and Control Server (CCServer)
  • Remotely Start/Stop Servers (including setting all options)

  • Punt/Ban players

  • Automatic messages (rules) shown at start of each map

  • Standard messages can be sent out on demand

  • Automatic net delay 0

  • Map Manager for enabling/disabling maps

  • User Manager for providing different levels of access

  • Web based remote control

  • Manages multiple game servers on a single machine

  • Supports CERDIP's campaign manager software

  • DF Favorites World
  • Alternate lobby for NW game servers (can be used when NW is down)

  • Provides the buddy list and messaging services used by Favorites

  • Provides the Cheat Blocker Server/Player publishin
  • g
  • Provides Server Status Web Bugs for squad forums and sites

  • Provides Chat Server publishing

  • Provides the Favorites Community Chat Server

  • Cheat Blocker - DF Favorites World Patch
  • Publishes server and player information to DF Favorites World

  • Cheat Blocker technology supports DF2 and LW

  • Server publishing supports DF2, LW, and soon TFD

  • Blocks the use of skins (DF2) and virtually all trainers

  • Directly integrated into the game, no external programs required

  • Auto-Update ability to keep up on the most current CB technology

  • Miscellaneous Extras
  • score2txt converts scores.txt files to text files you can impor
  • t
  • Chat Server extension allowing you to use CCServer within the chat program

  • Sting:
    What inspired you to write these programs?
    DeadBolt: A brief moment of insanity just about two years ago when someone asked me to decode the Nova Key (NK) used by NovaLogic (and a few other reasons I won't bother to mention). Really, it mostly derived from the simple belief that there should be a nice, simple, and single location you could do most things from for the DF games. I despised the fact that you had to go and find a bunch of different programs to do the smallest thing in the game. I wanted it all in one place and so do alot of others. Virtually everything the programs do I firmly believe that NovaLogic should have provided and I look forward to the day that they do. Until then I will continue, with the support of many online friends and beta testers, to provide a solid and complete tool that a new user can download and have just about everything they need for the DF game series. The other driving factor in the general design and features of the programs is that the community is greater than the game. There is a very strong focus on sharing and meeting other players via the community chat, link sharing, and messaging. The remote control features help establish good clean moderated servers for everyone to play in.

    Sting: Do you think that cheating will ever come to an end in the DF series games?
    DeadBolt: No, cheating in one form or another will always exist in all the DF games. It is simply human nature to seek an advantage and a matter of morales how far you will take that desire. There is no business model that would support NovaLogic continuing to address cheating in an ongoing basis. None of us could afford the game if they tried. The other issue surrounding cheating is not really the cheating but that fact that there was no viable way to disprove a cheating accusation. It is all the flame wars, screen shots, and general disatisfaction that you have no idea whether you are playing with others that do not cheat. The Cheat Blocker is a first step in addressing the cheating issue. If you believe in cheat free games, download it and use it. It will stop you from heating and provide a place on the Internet to actually show that you are not cheating. Virtually every average or better player has been accussed of cheating, this addresses that problem directly. It follows a simple model that can be used at all times by any player regardless of the server they are in. I firmly believe in the Cheat Blocker and it is a non-optional component of DF Favorites.

    Sting: What is your background in programming? (Self taught, schooling)?
    DeadBolt: I have been professionally programming for about ten years and have a math and computer science background with a keen interesting in operating system internals.

    DF Favorites has probably been most influenced by a desire to test new programming and distribution models. I use it as a place to try out different methods of peer and client server commnications. The fact that it has a viable use at the end of the day for others is a great benefit.

    Sting: What process do you use to find new "cheats" to update the system?
    DeadBolt: The Cheat Blocker is actually a container for multiple cheat detection methods (there are about nine different methods used at present). Each of these blockers runs concurrently and the vast majority of trainers/cheats are detected by at least two or more of each of the blockers. This approach makes the Cheat Blocker very effective, since no single method could possibly find all trainers or game manipulations.

    In terms of keeping the Cheat Blocker up to date. For the most part, I spend a bit of time browsing around looking for publically available trainers. Additional trainers and information are provided by the community as well (in the future this is where I hope most of the information comes from), and finally when trainer usage is detected that information is sent to the favorites server for further analysis. For completeness, any trainers that are found are cataloged to determine that they are in fact caught by the blockers.

    Typically, the cheat blocker will be updated every 1-4 weeks, updating the list of cataloged trainers, improvements in detection methods, and simply to shuffle the code and data of the cheat blocker itself around. The Cheat Blocker pages will only display users of the last two released versions of the Cheat Blocker and the pages always indicates the most current version of the software that is available.

    Sting: Have you ever used cheats/trainers before you began writing programs to block them?
    DeadBolt: No, I have not used any cheats/trainers or game modifications before - it strikes against my morale fiber. At the onset of the Cheat Blocker portion of the DF Favorites project I spent two months simply gathering trainers and when the actual beta began another three > months. All toll I have been watching the DF cheating community for about six months.

    That said, I am not against people cheating -- it is their choice. I understand why the trainers are made and why someone would bother to use one. I think there are four basic groups when it comes to this.

    1) those that make them mostly to see if they can;
    2) those that openly use them;
    3) those that use them but don't want anyone to know; and
    4) those that openly oppose the use of cheats regardless of reason. For those players that go into a Novaworld hosted server and then complain about cheating need to re-evaluate why they went into the server in the first place. If you go into a cheaters only server then you know what you are in for. It is the players in group #3 that bother me and most other players. It is simply a game but I do believe that cheating reflects on you as a person and in a negative way.

    Sting: How much time out of a week do you devote to DF?
    DeadBolt: Far too much ;) I don't actually play any of the DF games other than DF2 and I only play it perhaps every couple of weeks. I would probably easily spend about 20 hours or so a week on support, forums, and code development.

    Sting: Which squads have you been in? If you've been in multiple ones - why did you leave?
    DeadBolt: I have never been on a squad. I do like the idea of competitive play but simply cannot devote the time and energy that is required to really participate in a squad. I did have the opportunity to play in an S&D league as a merc for a squad that didn't have enough members (yes, designated mercs were permitted). I had a blast and hopefully will get other chances like > that. That league was the first use of the Cheat Blocker technology.

    Sting: Tell us a bit about your squad.
    DeadBolt: Well, based on the prior answer... since there is only me there are only a few arguments and the command structure is really easy to follow, lol

    Sting: What weapon do you use most often?
    DeadBolt: My preferred weapon is the M4/203. Works for just about every type of game and purpose. I don't have any preferences for LW or TFD since I don't really play them.

    Sting: In the game of DF, what would be your best abilities?
    DeadBolt: Pressing the spacebar.

    Sting: And your worse?
    DeadBolt: Just before I press the spacebar.

    Sting: Favorite map type?
    DeadBolt: Search and Destroy

    Sting: Do you have a favorite map? If so, what is it?
    DeadBolt: TDM High Desert

    Sting: Are you happy with NovaLogic's current level of support?
    DeadBolt: It depends on the context. I have never had reason to call NL for support but I expect they a moderately acceptable level of support to new users. On the ongoing support and and improvement of the game I think they come up short. NL was one of the pioneers of the game lobby but they simply have not stayed up with current technology and requirements of the players. In my ideal NL game there would be all the tools that DF Favorites provides and more. And real grass like DF2 as well.

    Sting: What do you like about Delta Force?
    DeadBolt: The actual gameplay of DF2 with the grass provides for a large number of styles to be used. This offers a great deal of variety in the way the game is played.

    Sting: What don't you like about Delta Force?
    DeadBolt: The loss of grass in the newer games, zero support of 3rd party developers, and stagnant feature set in regards to remote control, lobby, and cheating.

    Sting: Do you think the DF series is dying?
    DeadBolt: Absolutely not, I started playing the DF series shortly after DF2 was released. The number of online players has flucuated but remains pretty. There will always be diehard fans of each of the games and so long as NL keeps the basic services available I can see each game continuing on for a very long time.

    Sting: Your stance on cheaters?
    DeadBolt: Could do without them. The closet cheat should be ashamed.

    Sting: Besides your own, which sites do you like the best, or visit the most?
    DeadBolt: Well, DFCenter when it is up and running. DFBarracks for news. DFArena and DFHQ for forums.

    Sting: Do you intend to keep going? As in when BHD is released?
    DeadBolt: Unless something significant changes there will be BHD support for join and remote control. The Cheat Blocker, as planned right now, will probably stay in the DF2 and LW portion of the series. NL appears to be taking a more active role in addressing cheating so I want to see where that goes before butting in.

    Sting: Do you write any simular programs for other games?
    DeadBolt: Not really, the thought has crossed my mind and I do have a lobby page for OFP but it is not really for public use.

    Sting: Any comments?
    DeadBolt: I think we have just about covered everything. I would just like to say I am glad to see the return of DFBarracks and am looking for exciting things to show up on your pages. I would also like to thank you for the chance to be interviewed.

    Thank you for your time and good luck in all you do!!!

    **All DFBarracks interviews are copyrighted, and property of the DFB and any use in whole or part is violation of our copyright**





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