Cheaters Convinced Rust Creator To Add Anti-Stream-Sniping Mode

Cheaters Convinced Rust Creator To Add Anti-Stream-Sniping Mode

Stream sniping is when someone watches your stream to get an upper hand — to essentially cheat — against you in a game. It sucks.

Rust developer Facepunch is, to my knowledge, the first game developer to build a preventative measure against it into their game. They call it Streamer mode. Here’s how it works, per a post by Garry Newman on Rust‘s official website:

“Streamers sometimes find it hard to play Rust because people will find out what server they’re on and either DDOS it or hunt them down and kill them. Streamer mode hopes to make that a bit less likely. First of all it tries to hide all server names, so if you’re streaming and you accidentally press escape, your audience won’t see the server name. Secondly, it changes everyone’s name to something random. The names are based on their steamid, so the same guys will always have the same names. You’ll recognise your friends because they will always have the same random name.”

I got in touch with Newman to find out why he decided to take a stand against stream sniping in the first place, and he told me that no single specific incident prompted his decision. He just watches a lot of people stream Rust — in order to learn.

“There’s not really one incident,” he told me via email. “I watch a lot of streams. It’s really useful to see how normal people play. You can make estimations of how they play based on what you see them do in game, from another point of view, but you can’t see what they’re seeing. You can’t see their cursor dance around looking for things in a menu that are obvious to us as a developer, but are completely hidden to an end user. Watching a stream is incredibly useful for stuff like that. Especially when you factor in that they don’t know they’re being watched by a developer, and most of the time they’re narrating their own experience, what they want to do, what they’re thinking about, how they feel.”

Interestingly, he noted that he typically watches low view count streamers, because they’re more indicative of what the game is like for regular folks than big Twitch fish taking a dip in the small pond. “These are usually the people with the most average PC, having the freshest experience,” he explained.

“Every now and then I’ll catch one of the bigger guys streaming and jump on to see what they’re doing, why so many people are watching,” Newman added. “A few times I’ve noticed that people seem to know where they are and everyone is calling cheater, so I’ve jumped on and spectated them. They haven’t been cheating in any obvious flying around running through walls way, but they have had knowledge that they shouldn’t have, so I can only assume that they’re watching the stream too.”

Thus, streamer mode was born. Newman acknowledged that this probably won’t completely turn people’s stream sniping past-time into a thing of the past. But it will make things tougher for aspiring stream snipers, and sometimes a little difficulty is enough to make the majority of people reconsider.

It will be interesting to see how well this works out, and if other game developers add similar modes to their games. Or perhaps someone will try to design a game where stream sniping is a key part of the design. That would certainly be… well, it’d be something, that’s for sure.


  • Stream sniping is when someone watches your stream to get an upper hand — to essentially cheat — against you in a game.I always thought stream sniping was when someone watching your stream attempts to troll, harass or otherwise show you up on your own stream by joining your game or finding you in the game world (Basically stealing the show). I would have thought this was Stream Cheating. (ie. A play on Screen Cheating)

  • I’ve watched a few streams and the more popular people seem (mostly) to have a no shits attitude towards stream sniping. This is because they have their screens on public display and whatever happens happens.

    If your sick of stream snipers… stop streaming! its that simple.
    Hell, play on a private server like all the cool kids do or even stop publishing the server information!

      • Not victim blaming or excusing the actions of the trolls, just pointing out that they’re asking for some sort of contradiction. They want their live broadcast open to the public but they don’t want the public knowing where they are. It’s not unreasonable to ask for a mode where things like server addresses, Steam IDs and player names aren’t displayed but there is only so much a game developer can do. Fair or not the only way to be sure is to play on private servers when streaming or not stream live.

        • I see it from the other perspective, now you don’t need to play on a private server if you want to avoid griefers who are using this trick. It’s not a contradiction to let people publically watch you play and still not want someone to take advantage of your stream to grief you.

    • That’s not really true, plenty of things are livestreamed that have no audience participation at all. But that aside, there are a lot of ways the audience can participate that don’t involve them actually appearing in the game the streamer’s trying to play.

      • Still seems pointless. “It’s me, Some Jer,k playing a game. It’s live, so no editing out the boring parts or game freezes – those give me more time to prattle on. I hope you’re having fun not playing this game yourself.”

        Maybe I’m old, but it sounds about as fun as an all-day golf tournament on TV.

  • Have done similar before with destiny. Playing trials against a known streamer, so jumped on to hear what they were saying about me lol didn’t use it to cheat, as the second you look at the stream will be the second you get shot in the face, but was funny to hear the otherside of it

  • I was at a LAN playing some COD4 back in the day and kept getting found/killed consistently by one person who just happened to have two big CRT’s sitting in front of him. Turned out that he’d plugged one of them into the back of my rig!

    • I remember years ago in a LAN cafe playing an RTS two guys challenged me and my Brother, I accepted but under the guide of getting a drink I had the cashier move us to new PCs. He looked at the guys who challenged us and said oh they watch your screen to see what you do, laughed and moved us to the computers facing them. They got worked and left in a huff.

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