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Researchers working on project to crack down on game bots

Bots lack the same variability of human players

North Carolina State researchers have developed a new way to identify automated bots in online games, reports The Abstract.

Bots, which are commonly used to reap a game's rewards quickly, are problematic for game companies. Players using bots do not purchase game rewards. They also keep players from viewing or interacting with advertisements.

The technique allows game designers to identify bots and cancel the account. It's done by monitoring player's movements and mouse clicks. Bots lack the same variability of human players and don't interact with objects in the same way.

"Depending on the sophistication of the bot program, it may have some variability, but not enough to fool our monitoring technique consistently," said Dr. David Roberts, an assistant professor of computer science at NC State. Roberts is also the co-author of a paper detailing the project.

"If this technique tracks gameplay for any significant amount of time, it should detect a bot," said Roberts.

The project is currently still in the research stage. Its next step is to test in actual online games without interrupting human players.

"We're optimistic that we'll have agreements with online gaming companies soon and can start tackling the bot problem in the wild," said Roberts.

"We want to make sure that anything we produce does not disrupt the experience of real, human gamers."