Is The ASUS ROG Sonic Radar A Cheat?

Posted: May 21, 2013 by: Daniel Hindes

So, the next generation of ASUS Republic of Gamers motherboards are shipping with something called Sonic Radar. It’s a visual overlay that places a bespoke “radar” on the screen that “points” to the direction of sounds such as footsteps and gunshots. Essentially, it’s the kind of thing that would make it far easier to locate and eliminate an opponent in a first-person shooter. Since it draws a visual overlay on the screen, we were concerned not only about its potential to unbalance gameplay, but also for the possibility anti-cheat systems may detect it as a hack and ban PC gamers’ accounts.

We brought up our concerns with Senior ROG Staff Member Stanley Fei at the reveal event, (full story on p. 60 of PCPP#216) and he seemed genuinely surprised that we would even consider this ‘feature’ a cheat. Fei needed to return to the higher ups at ROG and discuss our concerns before providing us with the below clarification on just what ASUS intents to do with its new Sonic Radar.

Stanley Fei, Senior ROG Staff Member

PCPP: What is happening with Sonic Radar? Is it still going to be included now that we’ve made you aware of how it will cause issues with PunkBuster?

Fei: We will keep developing the idea of Sonic Radar. And, we are working with PunkBuster to have Sonic Radar fully certified, as is it a significant innovation in gaming we believed.

ROG is run by gamers, so how did this feature get through without staff realising what a potentially huge problem it could cause?

Since most of our members are gamers, our design propose of Sonic Radar is to provide gamers a new gaming experience with better odd to win. To do so, our principle is: we can use only the existing information in game, and we cannot distort the game to let people to get some information they are not supposed to know, like making the wall disappears you mentioned to me. By enhancing the current gameplay information, we think we are doing a some concept similar to Creative’s Scout mode. Gamer can identify enemy’s position from the surround sound detail, which has enhanced by Scout mode. Instead of enhancing the sound, we do one step further – we visualize the sound direction as well. Once again, we provide only the information supposed to be known, helping gamers to identify where the sound, if they missed it from hearing.

However, Sonic Radar is not designed for either PRO gamers or to use in any kind of e-Sport competition, but for most of regular gamers they play games just for fun.

If you are going to include the feature, are you going to warn gamers that they face being banned if they do choose to use it?

We are still evaluating this, while we’re collecting feedbacks from major game titles and cooperating with PunkBuster to resolve any potential issues.

What is ROG’s stance on cheating – the Sonic Radar feature suggests you support cheats?

ROG is made of gamers and we are staunchly against cheating. Sonic Radar does not automate or substitute any actions that require player skill, and does not distort gameplay. It merely adds a radar feature to show the sound direction which is just an enhanced information through visual display. We are not hooking games to extract information of enemies position but only processing sound information. As you cannot prevent people from rising the luminosity of their screen when play in the dark, you cannot prevent people from having a good audio system or raising up the volume to hear things better. We believe Sonic Radar does not constitute cheating.

Thanks for your time, Stanley.

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5 Responses to “Is The ASUS ROG Sonic Radar A Cheat?”

  1. Darren #

    It seems much like having traction control on a motorbike – it takes a skill set away from the human operator and dulls the over-all experience.

    May 24, 2013 at 1:27 am Reply
  2. Not totally fair but... #

    I don’t think this is totally 100% fair but it’s similar to playing with surround headphones vs speakers.

    The one thing nobody has mentioned but is important: this could be a huge help for disabled children trying to play FPS games. If a child is deaf or hearing impaired, this would make the game a lot more enjoyable for them. Just a thought.

    May 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm Reply
  3. DRiVER_helsinki #

    unfortunately when something else is doin the work for the player,
    its like cheat.
    Manufacturers invent and build what looks cools and sells.
    Asus sure sense this has risk to get ban -but before such happens it has sold a lot.
    Luckily they didnt (yet) make external version out of this -which is plugged in between your headphone wire and computer. -because those cant be detected by punkbuster,
    like many such recoil-removing mouses where scripts are uploaded onto mouse, and dont use/ need any software/process inside the operating system.

    July 3, 2013 at 9:44 am Reply
  4. This radar function is in fact a cheat and this will disturbe game balance.
    Sound is a moment, something that happens in a instance and having the brains to calculate what sounds to pay attention to is a skill.
    It takes skill to estimate distance based on amplitude. Getting this visualized will let lesser players se this because computer hardware is used to do the calculation.

    The arguments on stereo VS surround sound is false, none of the former keep visual records of past events, again you have software doing what the player should be doing.

    Also, console players main argument against PC gaming is usualy – at least consols dont have hackers.
    Well, it sad to se ASUS using manhours trying to he how close to the line between cheat and legit they can get.
    I have used their motherboards, both ROG and others for years and I spent money on their xonar essense STX, is this how they spend their time. I dont want to be assosiated with a company that will not take a clear and negative stance against hackers.

    Im out, Gigabyte or MSI next.

    July 27, 2013 at 8:37 pm Reply
  5. Matt #

    There’s a hack out there for things like BF3, that make enemy soldiers bright neon green so they stand out like a sore thumb and makes them very easy to see and hit.

    You can claim that …

    “we can use only the existing information in game, and we cannot distort the game to let people to get some information they are not supposed to know, like making the wall disappears you mentioned to me.”

    …but it’s still a bloody cheat.

    This is a straight up cheat, and I hope PunkBuster put their foot down about it.

    August 17, 2013 at 4:35 am Reply

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