Mods, Steam Achievements, and Ethics [ possible spoilers ]

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(Mods, if I'm giving away too much here feel free to edit)


After I hacked my game to support keyboard zooming (, I discovered several things:


- if you modify some game files (including, by default the game will detect the change, and refuse to grant Steam Achievements


- however, it's fairly easy to defeat this anti-cheat mechanism (I did so the "hard" way by recomputing the hashes and updating the hash file; but found out later there's an even easier way)


- it would appear that this anti-cheat mechanism is specifically designed by Klei to be easy to get around (a more secure system would use asymmetric cryptography to protect the file).  Indeed, it turns out there's an achievement you can ONLY get by doing this.


In my opinion, it's perfectly ethical to defeat this hashing mechanism in order to a) get the hidden achievement, and b) make changes to the game that do not affect any of the actual game rules/items/characters etc.  (I don't think anyone would argue that my keyboard-zoom hack gives me an unfair advantage).


What do other people think?  Do other modders here intentionally disable the anti-cheat mechanism?

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The meta-game of competing with friends for achievements is multiplayer, if you're into that.  For me it's just personal -- when I get achievements I like to feel I did it "fairly", even if they're ultimately meaningless.  Definition of "fair" is fuzzy.

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I'm not trying to suggest someone is going to get into some kind of "serious trouble" or anything like that, sorry if I gave that impression.


I think you can still "cheat" on self-imposed rules (e.g. cheating at solitaire or cheating on a diet).


If I didn't care about Steam achievements at all, I wouldn't go to the trouble of defeating the anti-cheat mechanism; it doesn't affect the game in any other way.


In my opinion, some hacks are clearly cheating (with respect to achievements) -- the simplest that comes to mind is just modifying the game to immediately grant you all achievements on startup.  Others are just as clearly NOT cheating (artwork changes, input control changes, etc.)


Then there's a middle ground that's less clear to me, such as more-or-less balanced gameplay changes (new items, characters, and so forth).

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it wouldn't surprise me if the Meta-hack achievement wasn't an encouragement to tinker with the game files further.


I think that's what OP was getting at originally. Maybe it means there might be mod support in the future? Or maybe it could mean the opposite. 


Oh oh oh this is a perfect time to talk about the history of achievements! Modern day achievements are believed to be based on the original numerical scoring system, but I believe today's achievement system more closely resembles a 2 dimensional "system" built by DHT (Doom Honorary Titles) around 1994. This was a fan website where Doom players could earn honorary titles (achievements) based on completing Doom in a certain way & uploading the demo. For example, the "Tyson" honorary title was awarded to people who completed the game with fists only. The guy who made this website is a genius who's working on replacing passwords btw. 


I found that I did this a lot with strategy games like Final Fantasy Tactics (solo mode, mage only, beastmaster, etc)


This is (in my mind at least) was the first sign of a more completed achievement system with multidimensional aspects. The achievement was tied to the gameplay change, so it made the player think in new ways in order to get that achievement & learn the game more. Unlike today, where a lot of achievements you get just by beating a certain difficulty... woohoo... I was already on my way there...


Sorry for getting a little off topic but it's exciting to see someone use achievements in a creative way. 

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