Preventing cheaters in Fog Of War Games

Link: https://twitter.com/EAThomson/status/1264994996807176199

What is Fog of War?☁️

From Wikipedia, Fog of War (FoW) is defined as:

“FoW is the uncertainty in situational awareness experienced by participants in military operations.”

The concept applies to many different types of games not just those about war. Fundamentally, it is about having some piece of the gaming map that’s hidden from the player’s view.

Total Annihilation had both Fog of War and true line of sight (source)

Cheaters, Peekers👀

As mentioned, it is possible to create a program that can look into the computer’s memory to see the whole map and all of an opponent’s units. This is possible as most game developers in the past didn’t try to solve this problem. They assumed that most players wouldn’t be sufficiently skillful.

Can we solve the peeking problem?💡

Yes, but with a caveat. The solution works provided the players don’t lie to each other about their positions.

Picture showing the in-game view and a representation of memory (source)
A simplified protocol run (source)

How can we prevent active attackers?🔨

From skimming through research papers on Private Set Intersections, it seems that there isn’t a general solution that’s secure against dishonest actors. That said, I do believe that there will be a good cryptographic solution to the problem in the future as it does not seem unsolveable but I also think we can find good solutions for particular instances of the problem.

Can blockchain prevent active attackers?⛓️

Given the public and immutable nature of data stored on a blockchain, then we can envision a possible solution where the initial state, the end state, and all the actions that happened in between can be stored on-chain.

Acknowledgements 🏅

I’d like to give thanks to the following people from feedback on my previous blog or for engaging in discussion about Fog of War and the related privacy techniques in this blog.

About me🎯

Currently, I work at the Web3 Foundation (mainly running the grants program). This blog is of a personal nature. It just so happens that my hobby aligns with work.

Questions / Comments?❓

You can create a reply to me here on Medium, or reach out to me on Twitter: @EAThomson.

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