Cheaters never prosper, get banned and don't get a refund in The Castle Doctrine, an indie online game where players protect their "castles" and families from other players by decking it out with various hazards to ward of thieves. Developer Jason Rohrer has banned the first player from the alpha version of his online game The Castle Doctrine, and he says that anyone who uses the source code to create cheats or exploits a bug during the alpha test will be banned from play and not receive the early adopter $8 fee they paid.
Rohrer added a security camera element to the game so he could monitor what players were doing when they robbed another player's house. Because he found that watching playback videos so entertaining he decided to open up the feature to players as well. The main goal of implementing this feature was to catch players who were up to no good, and it turns out that he has caught someone doing something they shouldn't have. In turn players can also rat out other players they suspect of cheating or using a bug.
But the big problem for Rohrer is that he may see a lot of credit card / Paypal charge-backs from players who have been banned because the game doesn't present any kind of end-user license agreement or terms of service to the player. Even the readme.txt that comes with the game executable doesn't mention anything about any behavior guidelines – it mentions screen resolution, music and controls.
The first player to get some notoriety by being banned – Steven William Goddard, a.k.a., Michael Ronald Downey – apparently used the source code to make it so that he could walk through walls and ignore the various hazards that homeowners can put out to deter thieves.
Rohrer lays out his thinking on his banning policy:
"Some of you may notice some strange security tapes where someone keeps moving after death and walks through walls," Rohrer writes. " You may also have noticed an impossible house with no path to the vault. Steven William Goddard, a.k.a., Michael Ronald Downey, has apparently modded their game client to walk through walls and ignore death."
"Though this is impossible to PREVENT (even with a closed-source game), it is easy to catch, because everything is recorded," he continues."The great thing about security tapes is that they catch people in the act. In fact, the security tapes were originally in the game just for me to catch cheaters, but I thought that they were so interesting to watch that I made them part of the game."
"Anyway, that person has been banned from the game, and is out $8."
He closes by saying that anyone who sees suspicious activity should let him know so he can review the security tapes and make a determination.
The Castle Doctrine is available in alpha form for $8 at thecastledoctrine.net.