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Information DemoAnalyzer guide & Player Investigation

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Bastiannn, Mar 27, 2020 at 00:31.

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    Bastiannn

    Bastiannn PR Senior Administrator PRTA Global Security Initiative

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    I recently wrote up a comprehensive guide regarding player investigations for our admin team internally, and a big part of it was the use of the tracker, the demo and the demoanalyzer tool in relation to making proof videos, aswell as some tips and tricks.
    At the recommendation of someone, that some players may also find it useful, I decided to post it here aswell with the relevant parts for the public view.

    Tracker

    Watching the tracker of the round before watching the demo is recommended, if not a must, as the tracker can provide you with good insight and context of the round.

    The tracker of a specific round can be identified easily from the tracker list as the filename contains the time and date (of when the round started), the map name, gamemode and layout; you can either sort manually or you can use the search (CTRL+F) function and search by one of the criterias mentioned.

    When trying to get a hold of trackers, some communities, like PRTA, will offer built in support and open them to play directly in your browser; others, like HOG, will download the file in your PC and then you have to use a site such as https://eu1.prta.co/servers/prbf2/tracker/index.html to play them yourself.

    To name some things that you can find through the tracker:
    1. Did the team he was on had a Commander? Did he use the UAV? Commander can easily spot stuff using the UAV and mark stuff on the map or relay info to squad leaders;
    2. If he's a squad member watch out for markers his SL gives and see if he could've had knowledge through that, if he's a SL watch the markers he puts down and see if he's premarking stuff he couldn't know about (most recent and clear example can be found here);
    3. Could any other player on his team relay information to him by e.g. spotting?;
    4. The tracker offers a mini-laser for where the player is aiming (not as good as the demoanalyzer), and while for an infantry player its just a cone, for an asset the laser expands a bit and can indicate if he is tracking a target accurately or not;
    5. Team chat can also offer insight into what intel the player is aware of;
    6. Identify key moments of the player during the round so you know what to expect from the demo;
    7. The kill feed, which offers you the distances for the kills the player has done, can indicate if, for example, the player has killed someone beyond visual range of the map.
    While the tracker offers a good chunk of information, it should not be used alone to determine if the player is hacking or not as it doesn't offer the perspective that the demo does, so look at it as something that helps you eliminate some possibilities and helps you prepare for when you watch the demo.



    BattleRecorder & DemoAnalyzer

    The Battlerecorder is a build-in BF2 tool to open a previously played round (a demo of the round) and analyse everything that happened. You can move around freely in 3D space, fast forward or pause, follow and switch between players and use various camera modes.

    The Demo analyser is a third-party tool that allows for a more in-depth view of suspicious players and to more easily gather evidence against griefers and hackers. It works by adding some extra functionality to battlerecorder.

    PRTA already has a public page available which explains these two a bit, and it also offers instructions on how to get it running, aswell as controls.
    If you follow those instructions you should avoid most crashes, however understand and expect it to still crash from time to time. Most common problem that you might run into is the game freezing upon trying to play the demo from the menu; that is fine and a restart of the game usually does the trick, its no big deal and it doesn't mean that you did something wrong, don't give up on it just because it crashes once or twice.

    The BattleRecorder (BR) file is usually stored for a few months at best, given its big individual file size they will get deleted rather quickly as they occupy too much space on the servers.
    While the server starts recording the tracker file for a round immediately after it has loaded the map, BR files only start getting recorded by the server after the briefing time has elapsed, right when everyone is about to spawn in, so the date will be offset of the tracker date by a few minutes (exact number of minutes depends on the server, the amount of which the briefing time is set to by the administrators). On PRTA the offset is more or less 5 minutes so when looking for the demo file based on a tracker, look for a similar date and time, perhaps add exactly 5 minutes to the tracker time when using the search function.

    PR:BF2 recommended Profile settings for viewing demos

    I'd recommend creating a new profile that you use everytime for analysing demos so you know you will not mix up some settings;
    Essentially you'd want:
    • to make sure view distance is set at 100% (max);
    • Audio running on decent quality;
    • A windowed resolution for easier switch between recording software, demo and browser where ideally you have the tracker open (I use 1600x900 windowed game on a 1920x1080 desktop resolution);
    Demo analyzer options

    These are the advanced options that the Demo analyzer offers on top of the vanilla ones of the Battlerecorder:
    [​IMG]

    Master switch essentially acts as a toggle for the options of the Demo analyzer, if you have the Wallhack, the Laser and the other options enabled, disabling the Master switch will make all the other disable aswell. So if you want the others to work, you have to enable the Master switch.
    Options available: 0 (disabled) and 1 (enabled);

    Wall-hack is pretty self explanatory, as the name tells, it offers you a wallhack so you can more easily see through terrain or buildings the players your suspect is facing.
    Should be on 1 (enabled).

    Options available: 0 (disabled) and 1 (enabled);

    Laser from player offers a laser, represented by a straight line, that showcases accurately where the player is aiming at; the laser will appear when the player is aiming near or at an enemy (or rather more accurately the player camera is aimed near or at an enemy), be it through terrain, a building or just through the open. The starting point/origin of the laser is the exact position of the player camera, and the end point is the exact point where the player camera is pointed at, note here that while that point itself is accurate the laser cuts off exactly at the same distance away where the player is at which prompted it to appear.

    Options available: 0 (disabled), then for each player individually from 1 up to 64; due to game limitations you will have only 64 player lases available at any time (decided by the order that they joined the server), so if a player joined the server too late, his laser might not be available only until later in the round. Once a player from the 64 list leaves the server, another player's laser will become available on the 64th slot, and so on.

    More details about the laser & how to bypass the 64 laser limit will be below.

    See health and distance works hand in hand with the laser, so when a laser appears by your player aiming at an enemy, you will also be displayed with a health bar of the enemy, aswell as the distance between the player and the enemy. Should be on 1 (enabled), however, note that sometimes it is better to switch it off due to the healthbar covering what the player is aiming at, thus making it hard to see (this is situational).

    Options available: 0 (disabled) and 1 (enabled);

    View distance allows you to increase the view distance beyond the normal one the map has, leave it on the default value (1); personally I haven't used it thus far but you never know when it might come in handy.

    Options available: 1 (normal, default view distance of the map), any higher value is artificial increase of the view distance;

    In the video below you can see me toggling the Master switch on and off (and its effects), you can see the Wallhack effect as it is enabled, you can see the laser in action, you can see the Health bar and the distance between the players displayed, and you can see that, with the view distance left on the default value, the player in question is trying to kill someone beyond normal viewrange, player in question being banned for that.




    THE LASER & USING IT

    The laser, as mentioned above, is essential and you should always have it displayed from the player in question should you try to record any proof videos. It is very reliable in displaying but you should be aware of a few of its characteristics:

    Left shoulder is where the laser originates from in the demo, here is a short explanation and demonstration of it. So, if you are to track the laser to showcase what the player is aiming at and the things that are in the way, you should start from the left shoulder/left side of the neck area.

    Tracking the trajectory of the laser is used to showcase what the player is looking at; by following the path of the laser you showcase what the player sees in its way to the enemy he's watching and thus judge if he realistically could see the guy he's aiming at or not.

    If you are having troube staying on course of the path I recommend using the Commorose (Q) to aim at the center of the enemy by aligning the PLAY text (which is more or less at the center of the screen) with the hitbox of the enemy and then moving, repeat midway if you need to make sure you are staying on path.
    [​IMG]

    The 64 player limit as mentioned above is an engine limitation which can however be circumvented in two ways:

    a. You can fast forward the demo in hope the laser of the player becomes available later in the round, then when its available, select it, use the Restart function from the Commo Rose and the laser will be retained, however if you move it after you will not be able to select it again and have to redo the aforementioned step.
    Example: Laser from player 78 - Innokin (as seen above).

    b. If you can find another demo of a round where the player is available in the 64 player list you can load that demo, have the laser selected then exit and play the other demo, the laser will be retained, just don't change it or, just like above, you have to redo that step to get it again.

    The one thing people might consider a laser inaccuracy is showcased in this video; when you move away sideways or ahead, in front of the player, the laser snaps away from its origin to the bottom of the screen and at that point only the endpoint of the laser is accurate, the rest of the laser is unreliable and should not be taken as accurate at all. This is easily avoidable if you do things right and easily noticeable when it happens.

    Other things about the Demo & Demo analyzer

    • The player joins and spawns mid round but you don't know at what time to watch the demo? Watch the tracker and time him spawning with someone doing something or being somewhere, e.g. an asset being at X position, something being built, etc. Then you watch said player in said asset and when you see him in that X position you know that your suspect has joined and spawned and you can switch to watching him.

    • Using the tracker to know what key moments to watch in the demo is useful, but sometimes what seems as nothing in the tracker can be useful in the demo, e.g. player seems to be doing nothing in the tracker, but in the demo you can see him tracking through terrain or something similar. Don't disregard and overlook moments because you will catch people in obscure ways when you expect it the least.

    • I usually have a normal viewing of the demo, taking my time and understanding moments. After that I have a second replay of the demo where I know what to expect and what moments to record for proof, so that you don't start a video too early or too late or miss a key moment.

    • For assets, the laser of driver is not available in the commander view. Some assets, like the BMP-2, have two different views for aiming and that might make the laser look weird or not working at all sometimes.

    • Smoke might sometimes turn out to be unreliable in the demos, so while in the demo the smoke obscures the target completely, in game for the player it might've been visibile, or the smoke had rendering issues for the player (this is a rare occurence).


    Recording proof videos & Uploading

    Any recording software should be good as long as the quality is not very bad and there is no software watermark that clogs the screen. Personally I use Fraps but that is up to you.

    When recording a proof video try to capture the context of what is happening but without dragging on too much, so avoid a 10 minute video of what could've been 3 minutes.

    After you have the videos recorded and in a folder I recommend numerotating them to keep track (1,2,3 etc.), maybe add a keyword or two in the name (1 - tracking through smoke) but as long as you have the video that should suffice.

    Personally I upload to YouTube and I would recommend sticking to that, but something like Streamable works aswell. After you have it uploaded to YouTube and you want to keep it organized (in case there are too many videos) you can either name them Playername+1/2/3 or have playlists in which you add videos for every player for easier sorting.



    Miscellaneous

    The term BVR refers to "Beyond Visual Range". Visual or view range is the maximum distance that you can see before the fog starts setting it.
    Watching certain angles using your corner of the screen can increase view range a bit and is a known trick, so watch out if anyone does it not to be confused with actual hacking.

    Each map has a set view range which can be found in the game files, more exactly in
    mods/pr/levels/MapName/server.zip/init.con file as this line
    GameLogic.MaximumLevelViewDistance 1000 (Saaremaa example)

    Sometimes you might run into moments where its hard to tell, at maximum view distance, if the player was able to see or not the target, or part of it.
    One example of this long range firefights at maximum view distance, where sometimes the enemies/assets are barely visible through jagged edges of the texture.
    Recreating the scene offline can be helpful. You load the map offline, you go in that spot, you can make use of the rcon commands to get a TOW up fast or spawn a Tank and see if what he was aiming at could've been visible or not. Use markers, the minimap and the tracker of the round for high accuracy when recreating scenarios.

    Recording your own gameplay is not 100% proof of the player not cheating. Depending on the type of cheat and the recording software, the video can conceal the cheat and make the game look normal while the player still sees the cheat on his side.

    If you have any questions about anything related, just ask.
     
    Wicca, DogACTUAL, Yrzn and 5 others like this.
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    Wicca

    Wicca Project Founder Head of PRTA Comms Dept. Head Community Dept. Head PR Lead Administrator Lead Tester Squad Lead Admin IRL Task Force Potato Regiment

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    Stickied
     
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    tobi-the-fraggel

    tobi-the-fraggel 'Princess Negativity'

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    Great Tutorial Bastiannn !
    Maybe some of the lazy :tounge: 1. Sysadmin guys some day makes a page out of it.

    There is one point in it though, which is a little inaccurate:
    So, why is this inaccurate? The lazer is actually not as precise as you describe it. In fact you mention it yourself, therefore you probably are aware: "the laser will appear when the player is aiming near or at an enemy"
    The lazer will "stick" to an enemy if it is aimed near or directly at it. That means, a player doesn't need look straight at a player. The "lazer" still will point at him, if he aims close enough. This effect increases with the distance of the player, because the beam is not really straight, but it rather is a thin or narrow cone and the beam is the center representation of this cone. The effect becomes visible, when someone looks at a group of enemies in a distance. If his view sweeps slowly from left to right, you see the "lazer" kinda jumping from one enemy player to the next or it looks like the beam is somewhat "glued" to a player. In that regard, the "lazer" is more comparable to the light cone of a torch. Just that the beam is much more narrow than the one of a torch light. I sadly don't know the exact angel of degree the demoanalyzer beam is opening with. It still is something to keep in mind. Sometimes it just looks like a player is looking straight at someone, while in fact he's just coincidentally looking in his direction. As far as I am aware, this "feature" has never been patched out of demoanalyzer. I am happy to be corrected nonetheless.

    Greetings,
    tobi :wink:
     
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    Bastiannn

    Bastiannn PR Senior Administrator PRTA Global Security Initiative

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    It will not stick to an enemy if you aim near him.
    Yes, as mentioned, the laser appears even when the player aims near an enemy, but it doesn't mean it will appear as glued to the player, it just appears exactly where the player is aiming near the enemy, a bit to his left, to his right, or wherever he is aiming nearby.
    This is exactly according to this part:
    And this is easily observable with the eye in just about any proof recorded using BR & DA, at different ranges, as you see, even at long range, the laser being near an enemy (where the player is aiming, near) and not glued to the player.

    What you are describing sounds more like the angle at which the laser will appear, as of course at longer distances, the laser will appear even if you aim lets say (hypothetically) 10-15 meters near the player (showing you are aiming 10-15 meters near him), while up close if the player is aiming at an enemy the laser will not pop up if he is aiming 10 meters near him, but less due to the opening of the angle.
    This of course has nothing to do with the accuracy of the laser.

    DogACTUAL, whose opinion I asked when I made the whole thing, as he is more into the technical part of it than me and whose videos are the only learning resources I could find, has a video on this.
     
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    tobi-the-fraggel

    tobi-the-fraggel 'Princess Negativity'

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    Yea, I've actually asked DocActual to make the video as I have had a similar discussion with him about this topic as I remember now. There should be a thread on the forum with this discussion. As my memory is at best swizz cheese, I might have forgotten this problem has been "fixed". Maybe as a side effect to other smaller fixes it received by some realitymod guy. The "glueing" effect was well known in the past. The video however, doesn't give any indication of a "sticky" lazer beam. I'm going to watch upcoming videos to check whether I find it again. Hopefully it is fixed though.
     
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    DogACTUAL

    DogACTUAL PRTA

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    Good comprehensive guide, covers pretty much everything.

    Tobi i never saw any indication of what you are talking about. I remember you posting an old school proof video of vanilla BF2 which you claimed showcased the laser sticking to people here: https://prteamwork.com/threads/batt...-admin-viewing-recommended.30934/#post-283462

    But to me it just looks like a low quality demo file with a very low tick rate which of course makes the laser look snappy, plus the guy might have been using an aimbot as well, but to me it looks more like the low tick rate is the real cause. This is clearly backed up if you observe the movement of the player model in conjunction with the laser, the player model turns in the same snappy fashion but is always perfectly aligned with the laser. And there are also lots of moments in the video where the laser is visible but pointed besides a player without sticking directly on him.

    You keep citing 'common knowledge' but I've seen nothing to indicate that the laser sticking to players was ever a real thing. Do you mean you actually know of specific code that was/is in demo analyzer that was meant to make the laser stick to players as a feature? I never heard or seen such a thing but then again i didn't look at a lot of old bf2 forums, so if you have a link where this is described by someone else please post it.

    It really just seems that this is a misconception born out of proof videos of low tick rate demo files.
     

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